Author's note: I'm back with another story. I know I was writing another one, but I got writer's block on that one and came up with this idea. It's a sequel to my other story "What if it Happened Differently". It's about what happens when Ponyboy comes home from the asylum. I hope you all like it!

Disclaimer: I do not own "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton.

What if it Happened Differently Part II

Chapter One

We got from the asylum about a half hour later. I was dreading going inside; I'd have to go through all of Aurora's stuff. In a way, I thought it was disrespectful, but it could also be a way to remember her, I guess.

As soon as I got in the house, I saw the boxes sitting on the living room floor. I knew they were Aurora's.

"Do you want any help?" Soda asked.

I shook my head. "I just want to be alone for a while."

Soda nodded. "Darry and I will be outside if you need us."

He and Darry walked outside. They were probably going to clean up our tiny backyard. There had been a lot of storms lately, and the yard was covered with tree branches and leaves.

I took a deep breath and opened the first box. There were a few dance costumes; most of her clothes had been donated to Goodwill, but I guess they couldn't get rid of these. At the bottom of the box were her dance shoes. I picked up a pair of her tap shoes and clicked the heels together. Tap had been Aurora's favorite kind of dance. A tear slid down my cheek. I missed Aurora so much.

Most of her dance shoes were beat up. I was only allowed to keep a few of her things, so I threw out all the shoes except for a pair of tap shoes, and a kid-sized pair of ballet shoes. They were her first pair ever.

"When I get famous one day, these will be worth thousands," Aurora had said. "I'll never get rid of these."

It would have been wrong to get rid of that pair.

I opened the second box. There were several records, some stuffed animal rabbits, some jewelry, a bunch of books that I'd already read, programs from all the plays she was in, and an empty tin of Altoids that had "Merry Christmas Aurora, from Pony" written on it. I smiled through my tears when I saw that. I'd given her those Altoids when we were in fourth grade…

There was something else in the box, a composition notebook. I knew that that had been her diary. I knew I shouldn't read it, but my curiosity got the best of me. I opened it.

Mainly all the entries were about her dance competitions, plays, or her bitching about her mom. She said some stuff about me, like how she'd do suicide if it wasn't for me. There were several drawings of rabbits and a list of names for if she ever got a rabbit. One of the names on it was Flopsy; that was what she had named the stuffed animal rabbit that she had in the asylum. I started crying even harder, my tears landing on the pages and blurring the ink.

I got to the last entry in her diary…November 13; the day before my parents were killed and Aurora ran away.

The entry said:

11-13

It's cold. I want a rabbit. I'm skipping out on my ballet class; I hate ballet. I also hate my mom. Yesterday she said she'd kill me, not that that's anything new. She says that a lot. She's at work now, thank God. Whenever she's home, she beats me up, or yells at me. No one understands. Pony is the closest to understanding. I've never told him this, but I love him; more than anyone.

The entry stopped there, maybe her mom came home and she had to leave. I don't know, and I never will. The thought hit me; when Aurora had said 'I love you' the day she died…she had really meant it. It hurt more than ever then to think about Aurora. I slammed her diary shut and shoved it into the bottom of one of the boxes. I was regretting ever opening it.

I couldn't stop crying. I was sitting on the couch, holding one of Aurora's stuffed animal rabbits. It smelled like her. I buried my face into its fur, my tears making it soaking wet. I heard the door open and I looked up. It was Darry. He sat down next to me on the couch and put his arm around me.

"'You OK?" He asked. I think he knew the answer.

"I miss her," I replied.

Darry didn't say anything, I was glad. I didn't feel much like talking. He sat on the couch with me until I had stopped crying.

"I'd better go back out," Darry said. "Soda is probably wondering what happened to me. Do you need anything?"

I shook my head. I really didn't want Darry to leave. If he left, I would be all alone with my memories of Aurora. I didn't want to be alone. I was about to tell Darry not to leave, but he'd already gone outside. Maybe I just needed a nap; I'd been too excited about leaving the asylum to get any sleep last night. I laid down on the couch and closed my eyes. I realized I was still holding the stuffed animal rabbit, but I didn't care, I didn't want to get up and put it into the box.

The couch was lumpy, but I was tired and I was starting to feel depressed again. The sun was setting, and it gave the room a pinkish color; it was really pretty, but its beauty was lost to me. I just made me think of Aurora, her favorite color had been pink. I started crying again. I missed Aurora. I cried myself to sleep.

I dreamed that I was back in the Asylum. I was in Aurora's room; she was dying. Then I was back at my house. My parents were lying dead in twin pools of blood. Aurora's mom was a few feet away from them. Aurora was trying to say something, but I couldn't hear her. Then she turned and ran out of the door. Those scenes played over and over in my head. I wanted it to stop. I could faintly hear someone saying my name, but it wasn't enough to stop the nightmare.

I woke up wild-eyed and screaming a few minutes later.

Soda was sitting on the arm of the couch. Darry was looking nervously at me from the kitchen door.

"You were having a nightmare," Soda said.

I fought back the urge to yell at him, or say something sarcastic. I didn't want to hurt Soda's feelings right then. I needed him to comfort me. I realized I was shaking; the dream had really scared me.

Soda slid off the arm of the couch and sat next to me. I had told myself that I would prove to Darry and Soda that I wasn't crazy, but I wasn't doing a very good job of that.

"I'm sorry," I sobbed. "I should be back at the asylum; I'm still crazy."

"You just had a nightmare," Soda said. "It'll be OK."

I kept crying.

"What was it about?" Soda asked.

"Aurora was in it," I said. "I saw her die, and then I was back at home; mom and dad were lying on the floor and they weren't moving. There was so much blood…" My voice trailed off and I started crying again.

Darry was sitting next to me by then. Both he and Soda were trying to comfort me. They somehow managed to calm me down after a few minutes. We sat in silence for a few minutes, and then a timer went off in the kitchen.

"Dinner is ready," Darry said. "'You hungry?"

I shook my head, "I think I'll just go to bed early."

Darry nodded, "Come get us if you need anything."

"OK," I said as I walked in the direction of the room Soda and I shared.

I hadn't been there in over a year, and it still looked the same. The paint was still peeling off the walls, and there were pictures of horses on the walls that Soda had cut out from magazines. The bed was still against the wall farthest away from the door, and my pillow was still on the side closest to the wall. I laid down on the bed, but didn't go to sleep. Our house is small, so I could hear Darry and Soda talking in the kitchen. I decided that eavesdropping on them was more fun that having another nightmare. Their conversation switched awkwardly from one topic to another for a while, but then it finally settled on one thing. Me.

"How do you think he's doing?" Soda asked.

"I don't know," Darry replied.

"He seems distant," Soda said. "I don't like the sound of his nightmare either."

"His psychologist said that was normal, didn't he?" Darry asked.

"Yeah, but I don't like it," Soda said.

"I don't either," Darry said.

They were quiet for the rest of dinner. I wondered if all their conversations had been like that when I was in the asylum. Darry and Soda just weren't acting like themselves.

Or maybe I wasn't acting like myself.

I got bored of lying on the bed, and I could hear the TV on in the living room. I decided to get up and see what Darry and Soda were watching.

Darry and Soda were both sitting on the couch. Soda looked up when I came in. I smiled at him. He nodded.

"Did you have another nightmare?" Soda asked as I sat down.

"No," I replied. "Couldn't sleep."

I looked at the TV to see what Soda and Darry were watching. They were watching the news. The local crap was on. There had been a car wreck, but no serious injuries. It was supposed to rain again tomorrow. The animal shelter needed more volunteers, and the football team at the high school I went to before I got sent to the asylum had won the city championship.

"When'll I start school again?" I asked. I really didn't want to go back, but the football team being on the news had reminded me of that.

"I don't know," Darry said. "Soon enough, I guess."

I didn't want to think about what would happen when I went back to school. Everyone knew I had been in the asylum; they would all make fun of me. Coach probably wouldn't want an insane guy on the track team, even if I had gotten better, and the counselors would be all over me. The nurse would probably check my arms for cuts every day or something. I really didn't want to go back to school.

"Don't worry about school," Soda said. "You're allowed to stay out for two more weeks."

That made me feel a bit better. Two weeks would give me time to get used to everything; maybe I'd even stop missing Aurora so much.

At least, I hoped I would.