I ran through the night. My tears blinded my vision, but I continued to run. I couldn't stop running. I had no destination in mind, but I knew I needed to get away, away from it all.

My breathing was choked, and my face was wet with tears. I would have run for hours if it hadn't been for a tree limb in my path.

I was running hard. I took a look behind me, but at that moment, the tears were too much for me to see. I blinked them away, and when I turned around again, I was tripping over a tree branch.

My toes got tucked under the branch, and I fell forward with a loud thud. I put my hands out to catch myself and I felt my hands scrape on the hard concrete. Pain shot through my leg, throbbing at my ankle. I was in deep pain. I got my foot out from under the branch and I lay face down on the ground.

I was so full of grief, that I didn't know how long I laid there. I could have lain there for hours without even realizing it. Life didn't matter. Death would be welcomed, and my heart was shattered to pieces.

I don't know how long I had been there before I felt a strong arm go underneath me and pick me up. It was Darry.

I was so busy crying that I didn't even here them approach me. I don't know if they said anything to me because all I could here was my own anger and sadness ringing in my ears.

Darry placed me on his lap and he hugged me tight. I just sat there, being stubborn and unyielding. I didn't cry. I wouldn't cry in front of them. I started out not moving. When he didn't release me, I started squirming. I wiggled and shoved, trying to escape his grasp, but his hold only tightened.

Neither Soda nor Darry spoke. When the shoving didn't work, I got mad. I lashed out at Darry. I punched him a few times and I elbowed him more. He still didn't let go. With each blow his hold grew tighter. When I had had enough, I punched him over and over again on the chest, trying to will him to let go.

He didn't. I punched and punched, draining myself of what little energy I had. When I finally got too exhausted to fight it anymore, I broke down into tears once more, and I put my arms around Darry's waist, and grabbed fistfuls of his shirt.

I cried like a baby. It was the most I had cried in years. Darry rocked me back and forth and Soda rubbed my back. I sobbed into Darry's shirt front until there wasn't a dry spot on there. Darry patted my back, and I could faintly here him whisper, "It's okay, Pony. It's okay."

Dampness fell on my hair, and I knew Darry was crying. If he was, then I figured Soda was too.

Gasping from trying to stop crying, I hugged my brother close. He didn't let me go, and I didn't let him go. I wished that Soda would hug me, too, but I didn't know how to let him know through all the tears.

Soda must have known what I wanted, or he wanted it, too. He hugged me from the back, and I was in the middle of my two brothers.

When the tears stopped long enough for someone to speak, Darry pushed me away from him gently. I leaned against Sodapop's shoulder.

Darry looked at me with a love-filled gaze. "Pony, you need to listen to us."
I knew it was true. I had judged them too harshly. I should never have said such horrible things to Darry, or Soda for that matter.

I nodded slowly, and Darry continued.

"Pony, we love you. I want you to get that straight. We love you more than anything in this whole world. You're our brother, and we will always be here to take care of you."

"We are here for you, and we won't let you down again."

Soda cleared his throat and Darry looked embarrassed.

"Pony, we owe you an apology." Soda said.

"What for?" I asked, though I knew perfectly well what for.

"For not being there for you when you needed us the most." Darry said.

"You went through some horrible things, Pony. I know we'll never truly understand how much you had to go through, but it's okay now. Now you're safe." Soda said, squeezing my shoulder.

"Pony, you were wrong about a few things, though." Darry said.

"Like what?"

"Well, we did try to contact you. We didn't forget about you. We love you. There's no way we could ever do that. We came to see you about a week before you got out. We tried to get in, but the security guards told us we weren't allowed. We ran through the halls screaming your name, but we were kicked out."

"Wait, when was this?" I asked, a memory coming back to me.

"About the third week you were gone."

The memory came flooding back to me. I hadn't been hallucinating! They were there!

"What! I heard you! I didn't think it was really you, though. I thought I was dreaming." I said.

"See? We did come. We called nearly everyday, but no one would let us speak to you." Soda said.

"Then why didn't you pick up when I called?"

"Because we were at work. Soda and I started working more than ever, trying to get enough money to get you back." Darry replied.

"So. . ." Isaid slowly. "You do still love me?" I was afraid to hear the answer. I hope it was the one I wanted to hear.

"Yes. Pony, we love you. You're the best kid brother I could ask for. Well, and Soda." Darry grinned and Soda.

"Sure, forget about me." Soda said, pretending to be offended.

"We love you Pony. We may not be too good at showing it, but we'll work on it, okay?" Darry said to me.

"Okay." We hugged again and then Darry and Soda got up and started to leave. When they noticed I was still sitting there, they turned to me.

Soda must have thought I was still mad because he said, "Aw, come on, Pony. We told you we love you. Don't you believe us?"

"Yes." I said.

"Then, come on!"

"I can't." Darry looked worried.

"Why?" He asked.

"Because I twisted my ankle. It hurts really bad." I tried not to be a baby, but it did hurt.

"Oh, okay." Soda said, relieved.

Darry fixed the problem by bending over and scooping me into his arms like I was a loaf of bread.

As Darry carried me home, my grip around his waist strengthened and I whispered, "Never let me go."

I didn't expect Darry to have heard me, but he tightened his hold and said softly, "Never."


Oh, I'm on the verge of tears. FYI, Soda died after the book, two weeks before his 19thbirthday. Check out my story, "When Will The Pain End(As I Was Saying)" for that!

Here's the quote from SEH: "I always say I'll never write a sequel, so I have no grand scenario planned out. Soda was killed two weeks before his nineteenth birthday in Vietnam. His friend Steve came back from Vietnam a heroin addict and he's been married twice and divorced twice. But now he's a drug counselor. Darry owns a successful construction business. Ponyboy is an expatriate writer. He writes mysteries under the name P.M. Curtis." -S.E. Hinton.

That was so much fun to write! I hope you guys liked it. It's all over now. I'll have to find a new story to write about. I think I'll read over it, and I might add a few bits and pieces here and there, but that's it! That was so much fun, I'm going to miss writing for it. But I can't, because I have nothing else to say for it. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks to all my reviewers and readers. Everyone of your reviews brightened my day. I hope you had as much fun with this as I did. Have a great day, and remember to stay gold!

Love, Meghan