"Pony, you have 10 minutes then it's time for your bath." Darry Curtis called from the kitchen where he was doing the washing up.

"Awww, Darry," Ponyboy whined, looking up from his building blocks. "Just 5 more minutes...pleeeeeease."

"No Pony we've talked about this. If you don't have your bath now your hair won't have time to dry. Remember what happened last time you went to bed with wet hair."

"He woke up with a bird's nest on his head!" Sodapop laughed, pulling a face at Ponyboy.

"I did not!" He snapped back indignantly. "I would've known if a bird was living on my head Stupid!"

"Hey! Darry Pony just called m.."

"Enough! Ponyboy Curtis you get into that tub right this minute, Soad, don't you have homework to do?"

"Maybe," Soda answered suspiciously. He wasn't sure weather Darry would offer to help, or simply make him do it.

"Well get on with it then. Pony, move. I'm not going to tell you again!" Darry walked up behind his youngest brother who was busy pulling faces at Soda and get him a gentle smack to get him started in the right direction.

Once inside the bathroom, Darry began to run the bath while Pony undressed himself. By the time the tub was full Pony was sitting on the floor pulling his socks off.

"Come on then," Darry said, stooping to pick up the clothes Pony had dropped on the floor. "In you hop."

Pony handed Darry his socks and carefully climbed in. He giggled as the warm water made his skin prickle. "What you laughing at?" Darry asked, coming back in and ruffling his hair affectionately.

Pony shrugged. "Nothin'" He said simply.

"Tell you what," Darry began, picking up a flannel and some soap. "How about we get you all cleaned up first, than you can have longer to play at the end alright?"

Pony nodded and let Darry wash his face and hair without making to much of a fuss. Darry was just getting the last bit of dirt out from under his finger nails when he heard Soda calling his name.

"I'll be there in a minute Soda," he yelled back, then turned to Pony. "I'll be right back. Just stay in the bath, don't try to get out or anything understand? Pony nodded, no looking up from his game. Darry sighed and shook his head before standing up to go find Soda, leaving Ponyboy chatting quietly to a rubber duck.

"What's up little man?" He asked sitting down next to him.

"I can't do it Darry. Nothin' makes sense. I feel stupid," Soda whined, looking upset and angry at the same time.

"What are you talkin' about," Darry said, giving his brother a light punch in the arm. "Your not stupid. You just aren't so good with numbers, that's all."

"Will you help me?" Soda asked, looking up at Darry with big puppy eyes. Darry glanced nervously towards the bathroom but could only hear Ponyboy still happily splashing, around so agreed.

"But if you think I'm going to do it all for you, you'll be in for a shook." Soda looked innocently back at him as though shocked that Darry would even suggest such a thing. "Hmmmm," Darry said.

20 minutes later, they were still only on the second question. Soda really doesn't get this Darry thought to himself, trying not to loose patience with him. Sodas problem was he questioned everything. He had to know why the shop wanted to sell 34 apples at such a cheap price. Why the boy had to walk all the dogs at the same time. Why you had to copy out the question first. And it was driving Darry mad trying to explain it all to him. He had almost forgotten about Ponyboy.

That's why, when a startled yell came from the bathroom, Darry had to think for a moment who it could be. Then he realised, he'd left Pony alone in the bath all this time. "You Idiot!" He muttered to himself as he raced into the bathroom.

Pony was still sitting in the tub where Darry'd left him. He was holding both hands out of the water and staring at them, tears streaming down his cheeks.

"Pony, what's wrong?" Darry asked, frantically looking round for any signs of blood.

"My hands!" Pony sobbed. "My hands are like prunes!"

"You what?" Darry asked, confused.

"Look, my fingers are all wrinkly, like prunes!"

"I think he's spent to long in the bath," Soda said from behind Darry, making him jump.

"Yeah and who's fault is that then?" Darry snapped back, angry that Soda was still not doing his homework.. He regretted it as soon as he'd said it. Soda looked down guiltily and ducked quickly out the bathroom. "Soda..." He began, but it was to late. Darry heard their bedroom door click shut.

Still he could deal with Soda later. He turned back to Ponyboy who was looking at him strangely, his sobs having quietened during the argument but tears still falling from his eyes.

"Come here baby," Darry lifted him out of the bath, wrapped him up in a towel, then gathered him into his arms for a hug. "They won't stay like that forever, I promise."

"But they might do. I don't want my fingers to look like prunes. People will eat them."

"Come on," Darry sighed, carry him into their bedroom. Soda was lying on their bed, staring at the ceiling.

"Soda I didn't mean it," Darry began, setting Pony down on the floor and giving him one last rub down before pulling the towel off him. Soda didn't look up so he continued. "It wasn't your fault."

"Why did you say it was then?" Soda replied sulkily, watch Darry pull a Superman pyjama top over Pony's head.

"Because I was angry."

"At me?" Pony asked, putting his hands on Darry's shoulders so he could step into his pyjama bottoms Darry was holding out.

"No at me," Soda told him, sitting up.

"No not at either of you, I was angry at me so I yelled at you Soda and I'm sorry." He picked Pony back up again and shifted him to his right hip, all the time not taking his eyes off Soda.

Soda seemed to think for a minute, then shrugged his shoulders. His face broke into a smile. "That's ok," he said cheerfully. "Just don't do it to often."