In Unexpected Places

Disclaimer: None of these characters or settings belong to me; they belong to S.E. Hinton- I am simply borrowing them for my own uses.

Warnings: This is SLASH, there will be attempted rape, violence, coarse language, as well as some lemon scenes, though nothing very graphic.

Author's Notes: This is quite AU. Both Johnny and Dally are alive and Johnny never killed Bob.

Chapter One

"Hey, Greaser!"

Ponyboy sped up slightly, clutching his torn jean jacket tighter around his middle nervously, silently urging his legs to move faster. Rude and suggestive comments intruded on his thoughts, causing cold dread to seep into his veins, while at the same time making his blood boil.

Steadfastly ignoring them, and determined to stay calm, Ponyboy kept walking, his feet leading him in the direction of the lot, where he hopefully he'd meet up with another Greaser and even out the odds a bit. However, judging by the hurried footsteps and voices increasing steadily in volume, it seemed that his pursuers were bored with the hunt, and were now intent on making the kill. Panicked, Ponyboy broke into a full-fledged run, footsteps echoing loudly as he pumped his legs wildly, desperate to escape the five Socs that made chase.

Slowing slightly as he entered the lot, Pony's heart sank. The lot, for once, was vacant, no Greasers to be found. Ponyboy was alone.

Still, he was a Greaser and his pride wouldn't allow these rich kids to make him cower in fear, although that was in fact exactly what he felt like doing at that particular moment, as he saw for the first time his pursuers. They were big. Very big. Much bigger than Pony, and the young boy found himself wishing, not for the first time, that he wasn't so slim, and possessed even a quarter of his oldest brother's brawn.

However, even if he wasn't as big or strong as Darry, he would still fight, just like Darry or Soda or Dally would fight; he would fight as befit a member of the gang.

One Soc, a brunette, approached slowly and cautiously.

'He probly thinks I'm gonna pull a blade or heater on him.' Pony thought to himself. The young Greaser almost laughed out loud at the thought; there was no way he'd ever carry a weapon. After all, Darry would skin him alive if he found out, and come to think of it, most probably with Soda's help.

Observing the hesitant Soc's progress, the Greaser's intense green-grey eyes regarded him coolly and long, slim fingers toyed with a non-existent blade. However, the wide eyes of the young boy snapped up to observe the rest of the group as a shout sounded out, reverberating throughout the lot.

"Oh, don't be a chicken! Go on; grab him... he's just a kid!" A blonde Soc yelled impatiently.

Ponyboy stiffened as the brown-haired boy obeyed the blonde, approaching him with determination, and he tensed, crouching slightly in a defensive position, like Soda had taught him. He was prepared when the Soc grabbed him roughly and shoved him forward, and he started to struggle violently. He bucked and twisted like a wild animal about to be caged, refusing to remain passive and intent on dealing as much damage as possible to the cocky bastards holding him.

But he was outnumbered and soon feeling quite light-headed from a sharp blow to the temple with what felt like the blunt end of a knife, and dizzy from the pain of cracked ribs. It wasn't enough, however, to distract him from the actions of the Socs, who occupied themselves with trying to remove the faded jean jacket that he'd received as a hand-me down from Soda. He struggled weakly against their efforts and managed to bite one, drawing blood from the Soc's hand, and earning himself fierce cussing and a vicious backhand to the face.

Dimly, Ponyboy felt hands tugging at his clothes, and thrashed about, hoping to throw them off, but his vision was blurry and bile was rising in his throat. He paused for a moment, and as his vision cleared, his other senses returned to normal. He realised that he was flat on his back, body pressed forcefully against the dark pavement, pebbles digging into his spine, with the burly, blonde Soc on top of him, his dark eyes gleaming with something sinister. Pony strained to identify the emotion and his breath caught when he did.

Lust.

His efforts to escape doubled as he thrashed about, but the blonde seemed to enjoy it and began fondling the young Greaser, as he commented offhandedly to his companions, "He's pretty, isn't he?"

Laughter was the only response, but one answered, "Yeah...pretty as a broad, I'd say. Maybe even more so with that face."

The blonde grinned wolfishly, and looking down lustfully, responded contemplatively, "Maybe...I'm more inclined to say that his legs are his best feature, though...slim, shapely...what do you think?" he leaned down to whisper in the auburn-haired boy's ear. Will you spread them for me, Greaser?"

Stormy eyes widened in fear and outrage, and Pony spat in defiance, despite the fact that he was scared stiff. The blonde's eyes narrowed to slits, eyes blazing with anger and his next words were spoken in a low, dangerous tone.

"Fine, we'll play rough then. I hope you're prepared for a whole lot of pain, 'cause you're gonna get it...ya dig, grease?"

Pony was trembling, and his hands were clammy with fear. He understood, alright- he understood very clearly. He was going to suffer at the hands of these Socs. He'd seen the damage they could do when they jumped Johnny. The battered face of his friend flashed repeatedly through his mind, as well as Johnny's pain and all-compassing fear afterwards...Johnny was scared of his own shadow after his assault. At the thought that that could be him all Pony could do was plead silently and will the tears to stay at bay.

'Please,' he begged silently, 'please, someone help me! Soda...Darry...anyone, please! I'm so scared... SODA!'

And suddenly the hands were gone, pounding footsteps indicating the departure of the Socs, with a harsh voice cussing them as they fled. The voice sounded familiar...

"Dally?" Pony whispered. The blonde spun around at the sound of the soft voice, and knelt down beside the younger Greaser.

"Yeah, kid, it's me." The deep voice murmured with concern. "Glory, Pony, what happened to you?"

Ponyboy just shook his head, not trusting his voice. He buried his face in trembling hands, wishing Soda were there. Soda would understand. Before he knew it, the fear overcame him and tears streamed down his face. He made to wipe them away quickly, ashamed that he was crying in front of Dallas Winston, the tough hood that let nothing touch him- when that same hood suddenly brushed them away for him. Pony gasped, shocked by the tenderness of the touch, and his head snapped up to look at the elder Greaser questioningly.

Dally glanced away, a light blush settling on pale cheeks, but when he turned back to Pony, his face was impassive once more.

"What happened, kid? I got my suspicions, but I'd rather not be jumpin to conclusions...I'm aiming for the truth here, so that I can keep my ass outta the cooler if I'm wrong, but, dammit, skin some of those sonofabitches if I'm right."

Ponyboy studied him nervously. He didn't want to be the cause for Dally getting into trouble, but he knew that the blonde would pry it out of him one way or another; Dallas Winston always got what he wanted. Pony sighed in defeat, shoving a few strands of auburn hair out of his eyes, then fixed green-grey orbs on his fellow gang member.

"Well, I was walking home from school, just like every day, 'cept Johnny and Two-Bit had left already, 'cause I had track, so it was just me. I was walking when suddenly I hear these voices behind me, shouting at me- real dirty things, you know," Pony repeated some of the Socs rude comments, pausing as anger flared in Dally's eyes and the blonde cussed fiercely. Eyes ablaze and jaw set, Dally indicated for him to continue.

"Anyway, so I guess they were getting tired of me not getting mad and not responding, so they started to chase me. I'm real fast, though, so they couldn't catch me, but I came here, hoping someone would be here, and they got me cornered. I tried to fight, Dally, I swear I did! I-,"

Pony's voice was rising, and Dally took him by the shoulders, shaking him slightly, as he exclaimed "Glory, Ponyboy, I know you did! You're a Greaser! And a Curtis at that... 'course you fought! Now don't go getting off track; keep talking."

Pony took comfort in Dally's familiar scolding, and drew a shaky breath, mentally steeling himself for his next words, words sure to spark Dally's rage.

"Yeah, so I was fighting 'em off best as I was able, but they got the better of me. Pushed me t-to the ground...I was real dizzy, but I tried to fight...one of 'em smacked me right here..." he gingerly touched his jaw, where a purple bruise was rapidly forming, continuing shakily.

"I was real dazed...and that was when he, h-he started tearing at my clothes. I spat at the one on top of me, and then he...he..." his soft voice dropped to a whisper and Dally had to lean forward to hear him, rage mounting as Pony recounted the rest of the Socs' words.

When the young boy was finished, Dally jumped up and started pacing furiously, cussing colourfully all the while, and fishing in his front pocket for a cigarette. Only after lighting it did he pause in his swearing, but after taking a long drag, he seemed slightly calmer.

"They didn't get to do nothin', did they, Pony?" he asked hoarsely, body stiff with tension.

Ponyboy shook his head no, silky ginger locks falling across his face. "They didn't get a chance, thanks to you. I owe you one, Dally. Thanks." He grinned gratefully, awaiting a response from his friend.

The blonde shook his head as well, though instead of the vulnerable, grateful look that Pony's face had, Dally's was cold, his expression grim.

"Naw," he said harshly, "you got nothin' to thank me for. Greasers watch out for each other."

Pony nodded absentmindedly. "Yeah, I guess they do." He said quietly, sighing softly. " But they also gotta know how to take care of themselves. I dunno know what's wrong with me. I mean, I could've called someone, but I just don't use my head."

Dally regarded him with a cool expression, though black eyes were worried. "You're gonna have to learn, kid." He said. "This is just the start...Socs are always gonna be after you."

Ponyboy bowed his head, threading his fingers through his hair as more hot tears spilled down smooth cheeks.

Dally's expression softened slightly with a hint of compassion. "Hey, don't worry too much about it, Pony. If I don't take care of those Socs, then your brothers sure as hell will."
"Yeah, they would too..." the boy mused, wiping his tears away hurriedly "they're a little protective..."

Pretending not to notice the tears, Dally declared laughingly, ruffling soft auburn hair "A little? Pony, you don't even know the half of it, kid."

Ponyboy gazed at him with amusement, his own shy laugher filling the air some moments later. He closed his eyes in wonderment, considering the life he led-his home with his loving older brothers and the friends he had, ones he apparently didn't even know that well, judging by this new side of Dally... His enemies...he shuddered as feelings experienced only minutes before returned, reducing him to a quivering mess of nerves once more.

"Glory...I need a cigarette...you got a cancer stick on you, Dally?" Pony said in a shaky voice.

Dally smirked, trying to lighten up the mood once more. "Course I do, kid. Here, but don't tell Darry. You're supposed to be cutting down, remember?"

Pony stared at the man in front of him, marvelling at the change in character as he took the cigarette and lit it quickly. Inhaling deeply, the young Greaser observed Dally, attempting to understand his complex companion, concluding at last that Dally simply wasn't as cold as he originally thought him to be. He chuckled, suddenly remembering something.

"Dally, aren't you supposed to be cutting down too?" Pony asked slyly.

The blond head whipped around to stare at him, and black eyes glittered dangerously.

"What are you babbling about, Pony?" he muttered darkly, eyes warning him not to say a word. However, Ponyboy simply discarded that warning, continuing gleefully, recent experience practically forgotten.

"Well," the lovely boy said mischievously, "Two-Bit just told something about a secret adoration of yours. Said that one night you were drunk and revealed your deepest, darkest secrets, including your love of Mickey Mouse. I think he said...somethin' bout how he made you promise to quit smoking or he'd retract your Mickey privileges and reveal to everyone, including Tim Shepard, your secret indulgence. Blackmail, you know? Hmmm...should I tell, do you think? Everyone really should -."

Pony's statement escalated to a shriek as Dally tackled him, pinning him to the ground, as he shouted, "Holler Uncle!"

"Never!" Ponyboy responded haughtily, laughing slightly.

Dally simply pinned him harder, crushing the boy's slim figure with his own lean one. "Holler Uncle." he repeated. Pony only struggled, trying to escape the hold, and it was only then that Dally noticed the panicked look in the boy's eyes and became fully conscious of their position.

"Oh, shit!" he exclaimed, immediately jumping off the younger Greaser. "Sorry, kid." He held out a hand, relieved when Pony took it and he pulled the ginger-haired boy to his feet.

Embarrassed of his blunder, Dally pulled Pony along behind him, saying with finality, "C'mon, let's get you home. Darry'll be worryin' himself sick. Soda too."

Nodding in agreement, Pony made to follow but suddenly froze, grabbing Dally's arm roughly, voice taut with tension.

"Dally, you're not going to tell Darry and Soda, are you?" Pony asked urgently, biting a fingernail nervously.

Dally studied the youngest Curtis' face, answering carefully.

"Of course I am." He said simply, voice brooking no argument, but Pony paid no mind, protesting passionately.

"Please don't tell them, Dally! They have enough to worry about already; they don't need this too. Please?"

Dally was about to object fiercely, but expressive green-grey eyes caught his, gazing at him imploringly through lowered lashes.

Dally stared at him intensely before sighing in defeat, knowing that it would break the fragile bond of trust between them if he told. "Alright, fine. But just this once. If it happens again, they're the first to know, okay?" he said with finality, eyes serious.

Pony nodded eagerly. "Thanks, Dally, you're a real buddy." He said appreciatively, giving him a peck on the cheek before bounding off into the house, reminding Dally uncannily of Sodapop.

The blonde touched the spot on his cheek where only moments before Pony had brushed soft, full lips, and felt warmth spread throughout his body as he concentrated on the feeling. Suddenly catching himself, he chastised himself and his treacherous body mentally.
'I don't need this...the kid doesn't need this, especially now...he's too damn young! Besides, Darry'd have my hide if he found out...' He thought to himself. 'Dammit! Why do these damn Curtis' need to be so damned affectionate!' he shook his head to clear the tangled web of thoughts in his mind. 'I need to go find me a fight or something. Distract myself.'

Dally headed off in the direction away from the Curtis house, needing to resist the urge to break his promise and tell Darry and Soda, as well as the new temptation that had presented itself in the form of Ponyboy Curtis.