Categories > Books > Outsiders > Red Hot Moon

Chapter 3

by TWBasketCase 0 reviews

About a year and half after the events of the book, a new gang arrives in Tulsa and stirs things up. The soc/greaser war is at an all time high, and our gang's lives will never be the same.

Category: Outsiders - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama - Warnings: [!!] [V] [X] - Published: 2007-01-27 - Updated: 2007-01-28 - 2959 words

Chapter 3

Ponyboy looked up from the television set as his two brothers and his friends piled in the door. He wasn't going to think anything of it until he caught sight of his older brother's face. He took a double take and noticed that actually all three of them were marching in not looking too good. Randle's face looked like it had been pulverized by a bulldozer, and Two-Bit looked as though he couldn't stand on his own two feet without swaying. Sodapop looked the least hurt of the three, but Pony still couldn't help but feel nauseous at the sight.

He wouldn't admit it, but he hated the sight of violence anymore; it brought back horrible memories from a time in his life he could only wish that he would forget. A time where violence and stereotypes led to the untimely death of three young kids, two of them his closest friends. It didn't matter how long ago it happened, it still haunted him. He dreamt of it at night, he had flashbacks during the day of it. It was taking him a long time to get over.

"Heya Pony," Two-Bit mumbled with a small smile as he flopped down on the couch next to him. Pony managed to squeeze out a small smile and brought his attention back to Soda. "Are you okay?"

Soda flopped down on the floor and stretched out on his back. "I'm fine."

Pony furrowed his eyebrows and was about to say more when he was cut off by his oldest brother, voicing the exact thing on his own mind. "So you guys want to explain to me what happened to y'all tonight?"

Soda sighed amusedly and perched his head up on his hand. "It was nothin' Dar! Some rich boys were looking for some action and they found some. Don't worry, we stomped them good!"

Steve let out a snort and plopped down at the kitchen table. Steve's demeanor made Ponyboy frown usually, and tonight was no exception. He knew Steve was Sodapop's best buddy so there wasn't much he could say back without getting a good deck for it, but that didn't mean he had to like it. In any case, wherever either of his older brothers was concerned that was his first priority.

"Your mouth is bleeding."

Soda spun his head around to face Pony with a soft expression on his face. He approached him slowly, and sat next to him on the couch. "I know, but I am okay...really."

Pony said nothing and just sighed. The last thing he wanted was to lose Sodapop the same way he had lost Dallas and Johnny. He didn't say it enough, but Soda meant the world to him and he couldn't begin to grasp the concept of his -what was left of it anyways - family surviving without him.

"Ponyboy, look at me," Soda commanded.

Pony brought his eyes up to meet his older brother's and noted the worry and regret in them. Soda sighed and placed an arm over his shoulder. "I'm fine...ain't nothin' gonna happen to me, ya hear?"

Pony nodded somberly and rose from the couch. "I'm gonna call it an early one."

Darry furrowed his eyebrows. "You okay kid?"

Pony nodded and shrugged off the glances he got from the others. "Yeah Dar, I'm fine, just a bit sleepy is all."

Darry nodded his head with a bit of apprehension. "Okay then. Well I guess I'll see ya in the mornin' then."

Pony turned on his heel without saying a word and retreated into the small bedroom that he shared with his older brother. He hated that Darry worried so much about him all the time, but likewise he wasn't exactly always truthful to him when it came to what was really going on inside of his head. Anytime Darry would ask him what is going on, Ponyboy would always answer with the same old, 'I'm fine,' 'Nothing's wrong,' or 'Stop yer belly aching 'cause I'm good.'

He sighed as he sat down on the side of the small bed and removed his shirt. The room wasn't much; a small box with a dresser, a bed, and a mess. He shared the bed with Sodapop; it had helped him sleep at nighht since his parents passed on. Things were a bit easier when they had still been around. His father didn't have a great job but it was enough to put food in their stomachs, toys to play with, and lots of clothes to wear. But his parents were gone now and the only thing he had left to rely on were his two older brothers - the roofer and the gas pumper - to get him through school and take care of him.

He worried every day of his life that one night one of them won't make it through the damn door for dinner.

It wasn't that he didn't think they could handle themselves - they were both well beyond that - it was just what Tulsa had turned into. Before they only had to worry about carrying blades and not crossing over to the south side of town; just stayed clear of mustangs and they would be fine.

Now they had to worry about other greasers, hippies, socs, and even god damned shop owners. Everyone carried guns and blades, chains, pipes, knucks, just about any weapon they could get their dirty little paws on. Instead of keeping away from fights, everyone was going around looking for them. Fighting wasn't something that was on the top of Ponyboy's priority list, hell, he still wasn't exactly sure why he fought at all.

He peeled off his socks and rubbed his feet gingerly. They hurt him everyday now; almost as if it was a god damned excruciating effort just to make it through the damn day standing on his own two feet.

He pulled off his pants and looked around the room for a pair of shorts. It didn't help that Sodapop and himself had a pile of clothes that could fill the Grand Canyon in there. He snooped around a bit and kicked a few things over until he retrieved a pair of blue track shorts and pulled them on. He cracked the window open as high as it would go and fell into his bed, lying on top of the covers.

It was only a few moments later when he heard the door creak open slightly and a dim orange light painted the wall in front of him. Just as quickly, the door closed and the glum darkness of the room returned with the only light visible emanating from the crack between the door and the floor, and the street lamp at the end of their drive way shining in through the window.

Loud footsteps, and a few curses every time something was knocked over gave away Sodapop's presence. Pony figured it wouldn't be long until he came in there; even if his buddies were over he had worked all day and then got into his scuffle with the socs', and Pony also picked up some concern on his brother's features before he had left the room, so he figured he was coming in for a chat of sorts. The brothers were so close that they could predict the others' next move easily.

Soda sat on the bed softly and pulled off his work shoes; he hated shoes. "Ponyboy?"

"Yeah," he replied, rolling over half way.

"Just wanted to make sure ya weren't sleepin' just yet."

Pony figured as much. "No I'm not really that tired. Just exhausted, ya know?"

"Yeah, I know," Soda replied quietly. "Look, I didn't mean to scare ya brother..."

"Save it Soda, okay?" Ponyboy cut him off gently. "I know ya wasn't tryin' to scare me I was just worried is all." He raked a hand through his messy hair and sighed. "Every time I see somethin' go down all I think about is Johnny cakes, or Dally, ya know? I know it's been over a year..."

Soda turned his head so that he was looking at him. "You don't have to make excuses ya know. It was hard for all of us, but you were there, you got it worst than the rest of us. It really hurt ya, and that scared me."

"It still hurts me."

Soda nodded his head and rubbed his shoulders. "I know it does. And that's why I apologized."

Ponyboy shrugged it off. "I told ya already that I ain't mad at ya Soda. I can't get mad at ya, you know that. I just don't want the same thing to happen to you. I don't want you to end up like Dally. I don't want ya to end up like me with strange visions and dreams and stuff. I don't want ya to be scared or hurt, ya know?"

Pony heard him swallow hard and loud. "I know that, Ponyboy. But you think it makes it any easier for me to know that yer feelin' this way?"

"It's alright Soda, I'm dealin'. I have been dealin' for almost two years now...since mom and dad..."

"You sure are brave for a youngun Pony. I swear sometimes you should be callin' me kid brother," He chuckled a bit and twisted his hair.

Pony smiled at that. "Yeah that'll be the day, Soda."

Soda smiled a bit. "So what do ya know about those new hoods anyways?"

Pony scrunched up his face at that. "They're a bunch of Oklahoma City red necks with a hard on fer trouble, that's what." He turned over again so that he was fully facing Soda and tucked his hands under the side of his face. "They're always lookin' for a scrap around the school; buggin' kids for lunch money, blades...whatever they can get their hands on."

Soda nodded. "So they go to school?"

Pony shook his head. "Two of their gang do, the smaller one and the broad. The smaller kid actually ain't all that bad. He reminds me a lot of Johnny." Pony raised his eyebrows and sighed. "He's in my English and my biology class. I've talked to the kid a few times, and all I know is that they call him Franks, may be his last name or something. But he ain't that bad. He's definitely where he shouldn't be; he doesn't belong around that guy."

Soda nodded. "I figured as much."

"And the broad, I don't know much about her except that her name is Christine."

Soda nodded with a smirk. "And that she's a good lookin' girl."

Pony said absolutely nothing. "She doesn't say much. i do know that she's Ray's broad and he's quite clear on that."

Soda thought back to the switchblade incident at the DX. "Yeah no kiddin'." He lay back so that he was next to Ponyboy. "She's still cute though."

Pony sighed. "Yeah but you say a lot of girls are cute Soda. In fact all you been is talk for a while now big brother. Where are all your ladies at, huh?" Pony asked with a grin, trying to lighten the mood a little.

Soda shrugged and forced a smile. "They're around, kid."

Pony sat up a bit and supported his head on his hand. "Oh come on, Soda! You haven't introduced me to anyone! Aren't there any little sisters around?"

Soda laughed. "Since when are you so interested?"

Pony grinned. "Since you lost your charm there, big brother."

Soda grinned and knocked him back with a pillow and gave him a playful punch in the stomach. "Them's fightin' words, Pony!"

Ponyboy tossed the pillow back in his face and jumped on top of him and gave him a playful punch back. Soda in turn grabbed him by the legs and tossed him backwards and threw him into a signature Sodapop headlock - which wasn't quite as effective as Darry's was - but still. Soda could still keep Pony down with it. Ponyboy clawed at the back of Soda's arms and shook his head around violently. "Okay, okay Soda, you win!" he laughed.

Soda let him go grudgingly and threw the pillow at him. "I did not lose my charm! You should see my band of fan girls!"

They sat in silence for a few moments before Pony nudged him. "You miss her don't ya?"

Soda's face softened and he looked down at the floor. Pony already knew what the answer was; just like his own ongoing problems with memories of Dally and Johnny, Soda on top of those, still had his heartbreak over his first real love, Sandy. And although Soda was a huge flirt, he hadn't brought a girl home since. Pony couldn't blame him; in his opinion, his older brother got the shaft from that girl, big time.

"Yeah I do."

Pony nodded. "You wanna talk 'bout it?"

Soda shrugged and forced a smile. "What is there to talk 'bout? I loved her - wanted to marry her - she didn't wanna marry me and now she's gone. We both moved on, big deal."

Pony didn't believe that for a second. "Is that how it went? I recall it bein' a little more complicated than that..." he trailed off.

Soda sighed. "Yeah okay maybe it was, but what do you want me to say about it? That she ripped my heart out and served me the damned thing on a plate? That she ran around on me and got knocked up by some damn good fer nuthin' hood? That she was pissed off that I'd spent all of my time out lookin' for you an' Cade that she didn't wanna wait around anymore?" His eyes softened when he realized his voice had risen a bit, and in usual Soda fashion he collected himself. "I think that's what hurt me the most; she two-timed me all 'cause I was worried 'bout my teeny tiny family."

Pony felt horrible. He had no idea that it was all his fault that Sandy had done that to his older brother. If he had felt selfish about taking off before he sure felt worse now. "I had no idea Soda. I sure am sorry..."

Soda shook it off with a shrug. "It wasn't yer fault Pony, besides I always knew that you were more important than she was. She may have been my girl, but you..." he rubbed his shoulder. "You're blood. You mean more than anything, kid."

Pony forced a smile and nodded to reassure his brother, but yet, it didn't help him feel any better. It all went back to last year when the whole mess started. He just wished so badly that he could go back in time and not have gone to the movies, and not have ever spoken to Cherry Valence and messed with Bob and Randy. He wished that he had never had fallen asleep in the damn lot and gotten Darry mad at him.

If he could do that Sandy would still be around. Johnny would be alive. Dally would be alive. Bob would be alive. Children's aid wouldn't be breathing down their damn necks at their every move. Soda wouldn't be pretending to be happy, and Darry wouldn't be so worried. Most of all, Ponyboy would be back to his normal self and enjoying the movie theatre, and still lovin' those sunsets.

Johnny had told him to stay gold, and he couldn't even honor his dead friend's wish; he had faded to black.

It was that last thought that turned him icier than anything; that Johnny - the hero - had only asked him to do one thing. Johnny couldn't do anything; he couldn't grow up and have a family, get a job, or graduate school. Johnny was in a grave six feet below the ground. And to make it up to him - for saving his life and dying a hero - all Pony could do was NOT stay gold.

All he was was a coward; a black, icy little kid who couldn't do one simple thing.

He looked back at Soda. "You're right man. I just want ya to know though," he stopped and sighed. "That I want ya to be happy. Ya don't always have to put me before yourself. Ya deserve a happy life too."

Soda laughed. "I am happy doin' what I'm doin' Pony. As long as you get yer schoolin' and I can do what I'm good at then I'm happy, and Dar is happy."

Pony nodded as Sodapop stood up and straightened out his jeans. He flashed Pony a famous smile. "You should get ta bed, runt. Ya got school in the mornin'."

"You don't have to work tomorrow?" Ponyboy asked.

"Yeah, just not 'til later," Sodapop replied. "'Sides, there is a bunch of animals out there I gotta keep company." He leaned down and kissed Ponyboy on the head. "'Night kid."

"G'night Soda." He watched as Soda turned his back and crept out the door just as loudly as he came in. As soon as the door shut Ponyboy couldn't stop the tears from falling down his cheeks. He wasn't sure why, but he just felt so damn crappy. He didn't want to be a little coward or act like a little kid, but he couldn't for the life of him shake the bad feeling he had that something horrible was gonna go down.

He wiped his eyes and turned over so that he was lying on his back facing the ceiling. He heard a roar of laughter come from the living room and attempted to smile; he just hoped that he could get over himself and move on...for his own sake, and that of his brothers.

They were all he had left.

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