"What the hell…this is ridiculous…you can't just barge in here in the middle of the night…" I was speechless, they're going to take them away. There's nothing I can do. Shit.
Pony was standing in the doorway to his bedroom, his eyes big and scared. He didn't need this, not now. Hell, I didn't need this.
"We can do anything we want Mr Curtis. Is that one of the boys? Come on son, start getting your things together." Ponyboy's watching me, waiting for me to do something.
"Get your stuff Pone, you're going…" My voice was cracking, I cough and tell myself to get a grip. "You're going on a trip."
He comes and stands by me, he's in his night things, an old t-shirt of Soda's and a pair of boxers. He's blinking in the sudden brightness of the living room, one hand coming up to rub his eyes, the other clutching my arm. His hair's all messed up and I smile despite everything because Ponyboy's always at his best when he's just woken up. But he looks so young, younger than thirteen. This is going to kill him.
"Where we going?" He asks. He doesn't understand.
"We're not going anywhere Ponyboy. Just you…and Soda." I'd forgotten all about Soda, he was with Steve. And Sandy.
"And you. Sodapop, Ponyboy and Darry. You've gotta stay with us, else…" He trails off, it's sinking in. He looks at the man and the woman, looks at them hard and long, in that way only Ponyboy has. Then he looks at me.
Ponyboy sits down on the sofa and the woman sits down next to him. I stay where I am, with the man standing directly opposite me. I feel like I'm part of some twisted face off, good versus evil. But I don't want to fight, I know who'll win.
The woman's talking to Ponyboy, whispering quickly into his ear so I can't hear what she's saying. She's sitting too close to him, one arm wrapped around his waist, the other resting on his knee. I don't like it. That should be me holding him, not her. He's my brother, she doesn't even know him. Ponyboy's looking at the floor and if I didn't know better I'd say the whole things washed over him, but he's brain's working over time, trying to get his head around the fact they're taking him away. I know because mine's doing the same thing.
Soda comes bounding through the door, he's happy and bouncing, happiest I've seen him in weeks. It's been a tough few weeks for us, these last couple of days I thought things were starting to come together again. Now everything's ruined.
The man's talking to Soda and the woman's talking to Ponyboy, so I'm just left standing there. I feel I should be doing something, but I can't seem to move. Soda's voice is getting loud, he's saying he doesn't want to go, that I'm a good guardian. Ponyboy's not saying anything and I don't know which is making me feel worse.
I follow them out onto the porch, each of my brothers clutching their school bags and looking terrified. I packed there stuff for them, neither of them moved to do it when asked. I wanted to put something special in, a little reminder of home hidden amongst their jeans and underwear. I looked and looked, but couldn't find anything.
This isn't right. It's only been a month since the accident, it's not long enough, they haven't dealt with it yet. They need me, I need them…Hell, we need each other. Without each other we're…we're nothing.
I'm worried about Ponyboy, he hasn't said a word since he found out. Soda's eyes are red from crying, but Pony hasn't shed a tear. He's been having these nightmares lately, every night without fail. The last thing Ponyboy needs is more changes in his life, he doesn't cope with change.
There's a police car parked outside, it's flashing light casting errie blue shadows. The woman starts to lead Ponyboy towards it, while Soda shuffles along behind. Pony turns back, his eyes wide and confused, his lips parted in question.
"Wait…" I say sharply, leaping off the porch. They're all looking at me and I don't know what to say, there's so much…I should tell them everything's gonna be ok, that I love them, that I'm gonna get them back no matter what, even if it kills me. I open my mouth and say "Ponyboy's tired, he should be in bed."
Soda makes a sort of strangling noise in the back of his throat and covers his face in his hands. Ponyboy breaks free from the woman's grasp, running back and grabbing me around the waist. I hold him tight as his body shudders against mine. "Shhhh, everything's gonna be ok, I promise. Everything's gonna be fine…"
"Come on son." The man's got one heavy hand on Ponyboy's shoulder but he's looking at me. He looks bored, like this sort of thing happens all the time. Pony lets the guy turn him away from me and they walk away, Pony keeping his head down and wiping tears from his cheeks.
They get into the car, Ponyboy first, then Soda. As the door slams I think for one awful minute that I'm gonna start bawling right there on the sidewalk. I take a deep breath and squeeze my stomach muscles so tightly they hurt.
Soda winds down the window and I peer through at them, two scared little boys who I'm about to lose. "Now…you two behave yourselves…watch your swear…" my voice catches in my throat. I clear it quickly and continue. "Watch your swearing and keep your grades up. I'll see you real soon ok?"
They both nod their heads, tears trickling down their cheeks. Pony reaches out for me, but before I can grasp his hand, the car speeds off. I watch it go, Soda's sticking his head out the window while Pony's up on his knees, face pressed against the back windscreen, both straining to get one final look at home. I watch until their faces are nothing but pink blobs and I wonder if I'll ever see them again.
I walk slowly back into the house, Ponyboy's cup of chocolate milk is still sitting on the counter, waiting for him to drink it. I sit down on my bed, grabbing the photo of mum and dad from my dresser.
I stare at it for a long time, before finally whispering, "I've lost them dad. I've lost them."
Ponyboy hasn't said anything the whole ride here, but then neither have I. What is there to say? We pull up outside a train station and the women gets out. Ponyboy looks up, "Soda, why did they put us in a police car? They taking us to prison?"
"No Pone, we're not going to prison…"
"We've dealt with kids from your area before. We thought you kids might kick up more of a fuss. It's just a precaution." Pony looks at me and I nod to tell him the guys telling the truth. Pony sits forward in his seat so he's leaning between the two front seats, talking directly to the man.
"We're not like those kids. If we acted like them, we'd get in big trouble. We might get taken away…" He trails off, realising the irony of what he's just said. He sits back in his seat and looks at me. "But we're not like those kids…"
The guy clears his throat awkwardly and I put my arm around Pony. "I want Darry…" he whispers and looks like he's about to start crying all over again.
"Hey, lets look at the stars Pone," I say quickly to distract him. He turns and looks me hard in the eye.
"There aren't any starts tonight. They've gone." I peer out of the window and I'll be damned if he isn't right. But before I can say anything the woman come back and ushers us out of the car.
She's holding Ponyboy's hand but Pony either doesn't notice or doesn't care 'cause he's letting her. It's real late now, he looks tired. Hell, he looks worse than tired, he looks as if all the life's been drained out of him. He looks how I feel.
We're on the train a long long time; Pony fell asleep almost immediately, his head resting in my lap. I'm glad, I need some time to get things straight in my head. I stared out of the window and my reflection stared back at me. I absentmindedly played with Ponyboy's hair, it was just him and me now, I had to take care of him.
It was just starting to get light as we were hustled into another car. An ordinary one this time, I think they'd realised we weren't gonna do a runner or anything. I tried to catch a glimpse of the station sign, but I was hurried along before I could read it. I didn't have the foggiest idea where we were.
"Ponyboy, you gonna watch the sunset?" I asked as he climbed in next to me. He shook his head sharply and quickly lay down in my lap. "Ponyboy?"
"I don't want to," he mumbled. "Not today."
I shrugged and let the subject drop. Well, one thing's for certain, we were defiantly right out in the country. I hadn't seen another house for miles. But glory I was tired. I hadn't slept in over 24 hours.
I thought back to the night before last, Ponyboy'd had a nightmare, woken up screaming bloody murder. At least he hadn't had one last night, that would've taken some explaining. I wondered if they'd let me and Ponyboy sleep together at this boys home place. They'd better.
"Soda go to sleep," Ponyboy muttered. "And leave my hair alone…"
I smiled and closed my eyes, spinning a little fantasy to myself. It wouldn't be so bad at this place, it's in the country, Ponyboy likes the country. We could go fishing and hunting, just like we used to with Dad. And Darry…well he'd come and visit every weekend and maybe he'd like it so much he'd move down here. And maybe the gang could all come and live with us and we'd be like one big happy family. Ponyboy'd like that, and it'd be real nice….
The car shudders to a stop and I feel Ponyboy shifting around on my lap. He pulls himself up, looking at me through bleary eyes. I can tell he's thinking the same thing as me, where the hell are we?
Suddenly the car door opens and a women's stand there. She's dressed all in white and has a smile stretched across her face. We both jump back and I hear Ponyboy gasp next to me. "A ghost!" he whispers urgently, burying his face in my shoulder.
"Hello there," the women says, stretching her smile wider. "Oh you poor dears, you look so tired. Come on, I'll take you straight to the dormitory."
She steps back from the door, leaving us space to get out. I look at Ponyboy and know he's not going to move.
"Come on," she says again. "Out you get."
I start to clamber out and Ponyboy follows, clinging tightly to my shirt. She signals with her arm, wanting us to lead the way, but when we don't move she starts to walk away. Behind us the car revs back into motion, chugging off along the road. That's it then, we're stuck here. We both watch it go, disappearing into the distance.
"Hurry up please," the lady in white is watching us suspiciously, we have no choice but to follow her.
She leads us through doors, along corridors and up stairs before stopping outside a door. She takes a key from a chain around her neck and fits it in the lock, turning it until it clicks. I feel Ponyboy clutch at my arm and hear his breathing speed up slightly.
It's dark inside the room, but I can make out rows of beds, some with lumps of people on top, some without.
"There's two beds by the wall over there," the lady says pointing. I can hear whispering coming from various lumps around the room. "Back to sleep the rest of you, you know the rules, no talking after lights out."
She leaves, shutting the door behind her. The key grates in the lock and the room is silent again. I feel my way over to an empty bed with Pony close on my tail. It's hard and lumpy but I don't care. Ponyboy climbs in next to me and I hug him close. I hate it here, he tells me silently. I nod in agreement and watch my country dream dissolve into nothing.
Ok, so it's not one of my best. I know there are a lot of fics about the brothers being separated, so do you think it's worth me continuing this one? Do you think Pony and Soda leaving Darry was too over-dramatic? Let me know what you think, but please, no flames.