The gang reads

Chapter 14

Chapter Fourteen

A/N: I OWN NOTHING! This is the end!

Two months had gone by since the gang had read Pony's theme, and since then the chance for the three brothers to talk about it was slim to none. Pony was determined to spend time away from the house while Soda and Darry were swamped with work.

"Okay," Soda said with a sigh after one work filled afternoon. "If one more Soc comes to the DX with a complaint which could be fixed if they changed their oil, I'm going to jump them."

"Wait until you have to roof houses for them," Darry groaned. "Then you'll have a valid reason to do so."

Both boys sat down on the sofa with a sigh.

"Dar?"

"Yeah Pepsi?"

Soda thought for a minute before he spoke.

"What did you think about Pony's theme?" he asked, his eyes still closed. Darry didn't answer. It was difficult enough to hear that Pony had almost died, not once but twice! If that Soc had dug his blade any higher or deeper…

"Dar?" Soda opened one eye.

"I guess it's a lot to take in," Darry let out a sigh. "I mean, you realize he almost died Soda? Twice!"

Soda nodded. "Yeah, but what really stinks is that he never told us about that second time. We knew that it was in self-defense of course but—"

"We never got the whole story," Darry agreed. A moment of silence filled the room as the two brothers continued to think about the revelations of Pony's theme.

Soda had never known that Pony had thought so highly of him. Of course, Pony thought highly of everyone if they were nice and let him do his own thing. He even thought that Dally probably had a high spot on Pony's list right now for helping him and Johnny out after the fountain incident.

Darry just couldn't believe that his youngest brother had almost died twice while thinking he still hated him. How was he supposed to live with that? What if Pony still hated him?

"I wish Mom were here," both brothers said at the same time.

"Nothing was difficult when they were alive," Soda sighed. "The house was always fixed up thanks to Dad. Even when he had a hard day at work, he still found time to fix the roof or—"

"Sweep the deck," Darry added on. "Not to mention the way the house always smelt of fresh baked cookies or any other fresh baked good Mom made."

Both men knew that if the gang had ever found out about the fact that they had helped their mom at times bake those goods, they'd never hear the end of it. Of course, the chocolate cake didn't count.

"What are you two doing on the couch?" Steve asked.

"Don't you have your own home to go to?" Soda responded, causing Steve to throw his hat at his buddy.

"The old man was there," Steve replied. "You thinking about the kid's theme?"

"Yeah," Darry nodded. "It's still a lot to take in."

Before Steve could respond, Two-Bit walked in. Another change that occurred from the theme was that Two-Bit was actually responsible now. Well, not really but he stayed in school and was actually getting good grades now that he was studying.

"What's up?" he asked the gang. "Where's Pony?"

"Probably at track," Soda said. "Toss me a beer, would you Two-Bit?"

Two-Bit nodded and tossed him a can of beer. Soda finished it in two gulps.

"Bad day at work?" Two-Bit asked.

"Socs a plenty," Steve groaned. Two-Bit made a face, which showed his sympathy for his buddies.

Suddenly there was a shout from outside, causing the entire gang to jump up.

"You don't thing—"

"He's the only one not here," Darry pointed out. "Who else could it be? Curly? He's still in prison!"

"DARRY! SODA! TWO-BIT! STEVE!" Pony could be heard shouting. They all ran out of the house at light speed. There, the location of the first jump of Pony's life, was the youngest Curtis with four Socs on top of him.

"Hey!" Two-Bit shouted and ran them off. Soda and Steve helped out, punching a couple of them if they could reach it.

"You alright Pony?" Darry asked, being careful not to touch his youngest brother.

"Yeah Dar," Pony nodded. "They didn't get a chance this time to pull out a blade."

Pony had a couple of punch marks by his eye but most of his wounds were defensive. His brother had fought.

"You okay Pon?" Soda ran up and asked. "Ugh, we'll get some ice for your eye. Okay little brother?"

"Yeah," Pony nodded. The rest of the gang ran up too and sat Pony down on the sofa.

"Come on guys, I'm fine! It's just a punch or two," Pony protested. Darry shook his head. He didn't want the past to repeat itself.

"Kid, you know those guys are eighteen right?" Two-Bit asked.

"Yes, they're in my History class," Pony said. "Why does that matter?"

"Yeah Two-Bit," Soda turned to him. "Why does that matter?"

"Cause those guys could be arrested for assault if we filed it," Two-Bit said and glared at the stunned looks. "What?"

"Ever since we read Pony's theme, you've gotten smarter," Steve said. "Except for this thought, we're greasers! When is the law ever on our side?"

Two-Bit frowned. He hadn't thought of that.

"Guys I'm fine," Pony said with a shake of his head. "Now, if I'm not needed I've got Spanish home—"

"Who's that girl you're always talking to?" Two-Bit asked. "Sally someone, right?"

"Shut it Two-Bit!" Pony growled. He kinda liked Sally, and she was fun to hang around with if you ignored the fact that she was middle class.

"Girl?" Darry and Soda asked at the same time.

"What girl?" Steve asked as well. He was interested in the kid's experiences now that he had read about what had happened two years ago.

"It's nothing," Pony said. "Just a partner for Spanish."

Soda got up and led his little brother back to the couch. "Pony, has anyone ever given you The Talk before?"

"No," Pony said flatly. "She's just a friend Sodapop. You don't have to do this!"

Steve and Two-Bit chuckled.

"Oh but we do," Darry said. "I gave Soda The Talk when he started dating Sandy and Dad gave me The Talk when I entered my teen years."

Both boys shuddered at the memories.

"Why now?" Pony asked.

"Cause now we've got back up!"

Steve and Two-Bit blanched and hightailed it out of there.

"Some friends you are!" Soda shouted after them but closed the door gently. "Had to get them to leave somehow. Don't worry Pon, we're not going to give you The Talk."

"You're not?" Pony asked, looking relieved.

"No, but we did want to ask about your theme," Darry said, looking a bit awkward on the couch.

"What's there to ask?" Pony inquired. "I've already told you everything there is to know. It was written down on there."

"Do you still have certain feelings?" Soda prodded gently, knowing that he had to get this out in the open if his brothers were to stop acting awkwardly around each other.

"Is that what this is about?" Pony asked and turned to Darry. "Dar that was written two years ago. I no longer have those feelings and if I did, would I let you read that theme in the first place?"

Soda and Darry grinned at that. It was one thing to think he no longer thought Darry hated him but it was another thing for Pony to confirm it.

"I'm hungry, we've got any cake?" Pony got up and asked.

"In the fridge," Soda shouted back, plopping back down on the sofa. Everything was back to the way it was supposed to be.

SMASH!

"I'M OKAY!" Pony could be heard shouting from the kitchen. "Part of the roof just came crashing down is all."

Both brothers groaned and got up to help their younger brother clean up the mess.

"Hey, this isn't the roof," Darry frowned at the white dust. "This is—"

"Flour!" Soda shouted. "It's a flour war Darry! Defend yourself!"

Pony jumped up and started throwing the flour, which was past its expiration date so it couldn't be used anyway, at his brothers. The war only ended when Soda and Pony teamed up and threw the bag on Darry's head.

"Okay you two," a flour covered Darry said with a mock glare. "Showers, and then we clean this up!"

"Okay Dar," Soda said with a chuckle. Yep, everything was back to the way it was supposed to be.

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