Author's note: This is the last chapter; it takes place a year in the future, when Pony is getting out of the asylum. Thank you all for the reviews, they helped more than you could ever imagine. This isn't the last of my story writing; I'm already working on another story, and I have several more ideas. Once again, thank you for the reviews, and I hope you enjoy the last chapter.

-BillyMartinGoodCharlottefan

Chapter Twenty-Three

Dr. Murphy's Sessions with Ponyboy Curtis

Doctor Murphy: This is it, Pony.

Ponyboy Curtis: Yeah.

DM: It took more than a year, but you're finally getting out of here. How are you feeling about this?

PC: Scared, but I want to leave.

DM: Let's recap on your stay here.

PC: OK.

DM: You got here in an awful state, you had tried suicide, and you were hopelessly depressed; you refused to talk to anyone. You got better for a while, then Aurora showed up and you started digressing and ended up trying suicide again. You stayed in the hospital for a month, and then you came here and spent three months in Hammacher. Once we knew you weren't going to hurt yourself again, we let you out of Hammacher, and eight months later; you're leaving.

PC: That sounds about right.

DM: You're brothers are very happy about this.

PC: I am too.

Here there is a long pause

PC: Are you going to miss me, Doc?

DM: I never told you this, Pony, but you were the strangest case I've seen in my twenty years of practice. But yes, I'll miss you.

PC: I won't miss you.

DM: That hurts.

PC: I'm just kidding.

DM: This is the happiest I've seen you in a while.

PC: I have every reason to be.

DM: I guess you do.

DM: Our time is almost up, Pony. Are you ready to leave?

PC: I guess so.

End Tape

Now

Darry and Soda are waiting for me at the front desk. I checked one last time to make sure I had all my stuff; I did. I couldn't say that I was going to miss the asylum, but I didn't want to leave; I was afraid to go out into the real world. I turned around and took one last look at the place. I decided that I really didn't want to stay there; Leonardo had left a few months ago, and I hadn't made any other friends.

I still missed Aurora, and Dr. Murphy said that was OK, just as long as I didn't try suicide again. I had promised him that I wouldn't. Once I got home I knew that I'd have to go through the stuff Aurora had wanted me to take when she died, and I also knew that I'd cry…a lot. Dr. Murphy had given me some anti-depressants "just in case", so maybe I'd take one of those.

Darry and Soda were looking at me expectantly, and I felt Dr. Murphy's hand on my shoulder.

"Now or never, Pony," he said. Now or never…that was what I thought the night I tried suicide.

I took a deep breath and started walking toward Darry and Soda. Dr. Murphy followed me. He started telling them last-minute stuff: what behaviors to expect, about the supply of anti-depressants, how we could call him if I ever needed help. He also said that I might have nightmares from the shock, but they wouldn't last long. Then he told us good luck and left.

"Come on, Pony," Soda said softly. "Let's go."

I nodded and walked toward the double doors between Darry and Soda.

The sky was cloudy, like my life had been for the past year. I thought about everything that had happened. Aurora was gone, but I was going to be OK, I realized this was how it was supposed to be. We got into the car and Soda started the engine. Elvis music started blaring from the radio.

The sun broke through the clouds; I took it as a sign that everything was going to be OK.

This is how Aurora would have wanted it to be.

The End