When Dreams Take Hold

Pony's POV

It was just a normal night. I had spent it with my brothers, Sodapop and Darry. We stayed at home and played cards and watched tv. That night, when I went to sleep, the unexpected happened. It hadn't happened in months, but now, it was back and worse then ever.

Darry's POV

I woke up to a scream that'd wake the dead. It was pained and fearful, and I thought it sounded like Ponyboy. Sodapop ran into my room seconds later and exclaimed, "Darry! Come quick. It's Ponyboy. He's having a nightmare, and he won't wake up!"

I got out of bed quickly, running into Pony and Soda's room. Ponyboy was on the bed, screaming and crying, and tossing around. He was asleep, and having a nightmare. He'd had some like these before, when Mom and Dad died, but this is worse than I'd ever seen.

I got onto the bed and yelled, "Pony! Wake up! Come on, kid, wake up."

When he didn't wake up, I shook him. His screams were getting louder, and the tears continued to flow. His skin was pale, white with fear. I shook him harder, but it didn't work.

"Soda, go get some water!" I ordered.

Looking at Pony, his face full of fear, was nearly killing me. I couldn't protect him from this horrible nightmare.

Soda came back with a glass full of water. I grabbed it from him and tossed it onto Pony's face. He sat up with a jolt, and screamed again.

I grabbed him by the shoulders, turning him to face me and said, "It's okay, Pony. It was just a dream."

He hugged me around the waist, trembling and crying more. This was the worst I'd ever seen any of his nightmares. My insides churned with fear.

Soda came over and stroked his hair. Pony was still trembling and shaking all over. I held him close, trying to protect him from whatever fear he had faced.

After a few more minutes, he sat back. "I'm okay." He said, breathless and shakily.

"Are you sure? I've never seen you so scared." I asked.

"I think so." He said, trying to control his emotions.

I gave him one last hug, and said, "Get some sleep, kid. You're okay now.

He gave me a weak grin and laid back down. I got up and went back to bed, a little shaken myself.

Soda's POV

I laid down beside Pony, after his horrible nightmare. He was still shaking so I turned and put my arms around him.

"It's okay, Pony. You're okay now. It's over."

He pushed closer to me and my hold on him tightened. I'd never seen him so shaken before.

Ponyboy slowly relaxed, and I moved to my side of the bed. I laid an arm over his chest, and fell asleep.

Ponyboy's POV

I lay awake all night. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get back to sleep. The dream haunted my thoughts. I couldn't even allow myself to close my eyes, for fear of the nightmare coming back.

The hours passed slowly. I watched Soda sleep in peace, while I shivered with fear under his arm.

I was the first one up in the morning. I took a hot shower and it seemed to calm me down a little. Then I went and started breakfast. I made eggs(each different) and made some coffee for Darry.

Darry was up next. He came in, sat down, and started to read the paper. "Did you get much sleep last night, Pony?"

"Yeah. I was a little shook up, but I slept okay after that." I lied.

"Well, that's good. You wanna go wake Soda? He's gonna be late if he doesn't hurry."

"Okay." I said, and went to wake Sodapop up.

Darry's POV

I watched Pony leave. He looked tired and scared. Sodapop came in minutes after and sat down in front of me.

"'Morning, Pepsi-Cola."

"'Morning, Superman." Soda grinned at me.

"Ponyboy seems awfully shook this morning, don't you think? Did he go back to sleep after that nightmare?"

"Yeah, I think so too. I'm not sure, though. I went to sleep soon after that."

"That's understandable. You work too hard."

"So do you." Sodapop threw at me.

I sighed. "I'd never seen him like that before. It really scared me."

"Yeah, I know. When he wasn't waking up, I panicked, so I went and got you."

"I wonder why he couldn't wake up. I also don't understand why he's having the nightmares again. He hasn't had them since Mom and Dad died, and he had a few after Johnny and Dallas died, but it's been three months. I wonder if something's bothering him?"

"I don't know." Sodapop said with a sigh.

Then Ponyboy came back, dressed and ready to go to school.

"Are you taking me in today, or should I walk?" He asked us.

"I'll drive you, kiddo. It's on my way to the next site we're working at, anyway. I'll be ready in about ten minutes."

"Okay. I'll wait for you in the living room."

I got up and went to get changed and ready for work.

Sodapop's POV

I looked at Pony, sitting on the couch, staring at nothing in particular. I was dressed and ready for work. I was about to leave, but I wanted to see if Pony was okay.

I sat down next to him and he looked over at me, and then continued to stare, as though he were in deep thought.

"Hey, Pony. Is something bothering you?" I asked gently.

"No. Why?" Pony responded.

"Well, it's just, you had that nightmare last night, and you seem awfully tired this morning. I was just worried."

Pony gave me an affectionate punch on the arm and said, "Well stop worrying. I'm fine. I just didn't sleep too well last night."

It was then that I realized how much more mature Pony was. He wasn't the same little kid he was a little over a year ago. Back then, I would have held him, and he would have told me everything. Now, he hardly told me how his day went, much less about what bothered him.

"You're a tuff little kid, you know that?" I grinned at him.

He smiled back and said, "And you're my goofy big brother. Well, not as goofy as Darry." He laughed.

Then we could hear Darry's voice say, "I heard that!" from his room, and we laughed some more.

Darry came out, half dressed, and he picked me up and turned me upside down, shaking me.

"What was that I heard?" He said, his voice low, but he was just teasing us.

"That you're goofy!" Pony said, laughing at my discomfort.

"Oh, yeah?" Darry dropped me on the floor and ran after Pony. He yelped and ran toward the kitchen. Darry caught him around the waist and said, "Oh, no, you don't."

He flipped Ponyboy upside down, too, and then started tickling him. Pony laughed and giggled, and so I got up and helped Darry with the tickling. We all three laughed and tickled each other, until we realized we were gonna be late if we didn't hurry.

Pony's POV

The day didn't go fast enough for me. By my second class, I was exhausted. I hadn't slept except for a few hours last night. I wish I knew what that nightmare was about, but I guess it'll be like the ones I had after Mom and Dad died.

For some reason, I remember a switch blade, and blood. But what that means, I don't know.

When I got home from school, Darry was already sitting on the couch. He must have had a hard day, too, because he was asleep. Exhausted myself, I went over and sat next to him. I stretched out, leaning my head on his shoulder. That was how Sodapop found us later, only we were both asleep.

Sodapop's POV

What a day! I thought to myself as I walked up our porch steps. It had gone well. The DX had more customers than I could ever imagine, and I got a raise from my boss. I ran inside, ready to tell Pony and Darry my good news, but I stopped. They were both asleep on the couch

They looked good together, my two brothers. I had always worried that maybe Darry really didn't love Pony, or vice versa. But seeing those two, they looked as close as Pony and me, or Darry and me. It gave me a warm feeling inside.

I decided, since those two were so sleepy, that I'd cook dinner. I turned on the stove and took out the pork chops from the ice box. I would make pork chops, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I hadn't been as creative with my cooking lately, but I figured that's a good thing.

About the time I finished fixing everything up, I heard Darry stir.