LOL I know I should be working on my other fanfic, but I was really really REALLY bored in algebra class today so I just started writing another ficcy~

Oh and this happens before the book and before everything happened, so Johnny and Dally are still alive- YAY!!! : )

Disclaimer: none of these characters belong to me; they all belong to SE Hinton *sob*

*WARNING*: this fic contains child abuse!!! If you don't like it, press the li'l X button on the right hand corner of your computer screen IMMEDIATELY. Lol.

No flames please!

~*~PONYBOY'S POV~*~

Track had just ended. The coach had made us all run ten extra laps around the field in addition to the normal thirty everyone had to do after class because some seniors wouldn't stop fooling around. Everyone cleared out of the field as fast as they could after practice ended, leaving me alone. I sighed, rubbing my aching legs.

"Curtis!"

I turned around. It was my track coach.

"Do you know how you're getting home?"

"Yeah."

"Okay." He turned and drove off. I walked over to the nearest phone booth, and dialed Darry's work number for a ride home.

"Yeah?" a man's low voice sounded on the other line.

"Hello? Can I talk to Darrell Curtis?"

"He's unavailable right now."

"Okay. Thanks."

The phone clicked. I sighed, fishing around in my pockets for another quarter. They were empty. I bit my lip. Darry would kill me if I walked all the way back home, but I really didn't have a choice. I regretted telling my coach I had a way to get home.

I looked up at the quickly darkening sky. It would be night soon. Ignoring my protesting leg muscles, I started walking home.

The first few minutes were uneventful. I went at a leisurely pace, knowing I had hours before Darry came home

Suddenly, I heard a soft footstep behind me. I whirled around. There was nobody in sight. I shivered. The warm, balmy evening turned into a menacing, shadowy night. I felt eyes watching me.

"Stop scarin' yourself," I said aloud. My voice was a little shaky. Looking behind me one last time, I started walking again at a faster pace.

I froze again as I heard a low laugh and a few more footsteps behind me. my heart rate sped up and cold sweat appeared on my palms. I wiped them on my pants.

"Who's there?" I called.

I heard another chuckle. Terrified, I started running as quickly as I could. Looking over my shoulder, I could see four huge shadowy figures giving chase. Socs.

My breath was coming in short, ragged gasps and the extra burst of energy adrenaline caused was being used up fast. I forced my aching limbs to keep moving, but I knew I'd never get home in time. The Socs were gaining on me. I could hear their jeers and taunts over their heavy, thudding footfalls.

Still breathing hard, I stopped and turned to face them.

They circled slowly around me, like vultures circling their prey. I could smell the whisky on their breath as they cussed me. They were all older than me, tall and lean, and dressed in expensive madras shirts.

"It's not smart to be wandering around on your lonesome at this time, kid," said the one nearest to me, his voice a little slurred in drunkenness. He emphasized the word 'kid'.

"You're the ones that should watch out," I said, trying my best to sound unafraid. "This isn't your turf."

One of them grabbed me. I struggled, but the hands holding my arms were strong. I winced as I felt bruises forming on them.

The other three laughed.

"This isn't your turf," imitated one of them in a high, squeaky voice.

Another punched my stomach hard. I tried to double up, but the Soc holding me wouldn't let go. The last one took out a blade. I started shaking as I watched it glint in the moonlight.

Again, I struggled to get loose. One of them cussed and slugged me a couple of times until I lay limply in the arms of the Soc holding me.

The one with the blade advanced slowly, and held it to my throat.

"Just picture it," he hissed in my ear. "By tomorrow morning it'll be all over the newspapers. One kid greaser found dead on the side of the road. Too bad you won't live to see it."

I panicked, feeling the cold, sharp blade against my neck. I saw the Soc grin drunkenly as he increased the pressure onto the blade. Summoning up the last of my strength, I yanked free of my captives at the last moment. The blade slipped and cut into my shoulder instead. Blood immediately blossomed from the wound, soaking through my thin white T- shirt. It looked black in the night. it throbbed painfully, but I didn't look at it. I could feel warm blood running down my arm in rivulets.

The Soc holding onto my arms swore and dropped me. I fell onto the ground, groaning as I fell on my wounded shoulder.

I dimly heard more footsteps running toward us, and wondered for a second if it was the fuzz.

I tried to sit up, falling back again when one of them kicked me in the ribs. There was a sharp pain and I heard something snap. I curled up on the ground, wishing with all my heart that the Socs around me would just disappear.

"Hey!" shouted a familiar voice. "Fuck off, trash!"

I tried to place the voice, but at that moment I couldn't think straight.

I gave a sigh of relief as I heard the Socs running away. The footsteps approached me and I felt hands helping me up.

"Glory, are you okay, Ponyboy?"

I looked up and found myself looking into the worried gray eyes of Two-bit. They seemed strange without their usual laughing sparkle. I felt a burning at the back of my eyes and I really wanted to start bawling, but I held the tears at bay.

"I'm okay," I said shakily, leaning onto my friend for support. "Thanks."

"No problem." Two-bit shook his head. "You really shouldn't be wondering around on your lonesome at this time, kid."

I shivered as the words brought back the image of the four, menacing figures around me, hearing the same words spoken, but this time, in a threatening tone. Two-bit's voice broke through my thoughts.

"Let's get you home."

I nodded, feeling a lot safer in the company of the other greaser. There was a sharp pain in my ribs whenever I took a breath, and the cut on my shoulder was still throbbing painfully. I ached all over.

Two-bit looked at me closely. "You look like shit kid. Darry's gonna go through the roof."

"You sure know how to make someone feel great," I mumbled.

We reached my house.

"Good luck in there," said Two-bit.

"You're not coming in?"

Two-bit shook his head.

"Nah. I'm gonna catch some action at the drive-in. See you."

"Bye."

I slowly approached the front steps, pausing as I put my hand to the doorknob. Darry was definitely home already. I braced myself for the inevitable lecture, and opened the door as quietly as I could.

Review!!! Pleeaaaz? The more reviews I get, the faster I update *grinz*