Hey guys here is the last chapter of this story. I am thinking about doing one about Darry and Karen now. I am still working on Pony's Angel also. Please let me know what you think. Any ideas to a sequel are welcome.

It was early evening when they arrived back at the cabin. The guys were fishing at the lake.

Steve apologized to Ponyboy, then Dally suggested they start dinner.

After a feast of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, the older guys asked Pony and Johnny to go swimming with them up by the waterfall.

"I think I will stay here. You keep an eye on Ponyboy, Soda."

"I will Darry."

"I'm staying here to." Dally told them.

The boys joked around as they walked up the trail to the swimming hole. There was a tire swing over the highest bank. The water was up from the recent rains.

"It's up, I don't know if this is a good idea guys." Soda told them.

"Come on Buddy, it will be fun." Steve said.

"Pony, you and Johnny be careful and stay with one of us." Soda ordered them.

"Aw Sodapop." Pony moaned.

"You heard me." He said.

"Okay." They agreed.

None of the boys realized that while the water was tranquil on the surface, the currents below were swirling widely. At first they stayed close to the bank, but eventually Steve and Soda went to the swing. Johnny was on the bank with Two-Bit when Pony decided to wade out a little deeper. He felt the current try to grab him, he jumped back and for a split second thought he was safe before being sucked under.

Two-Bit saw him first and started running.

"Soda, Steve, the kid is in trouble." He shouted pointing to the last place he had seen the boy. Steve dived off the bank while Soda ran down the path.

"Johnny, run and get Darry. Hurry!"

He yelled before getting in the water. Steve surfaced without Pony.

"Soda, stay there. The current is too strong." He knew his buddy wasn't a strong swimmer and he didn't need two people to find. "I'll find him."

He went back under as Two-Bit grabbed Soda and pulled him back to the water's edge. Steve came up for air twice more before finding Ponyboy. His leg was caught in some brush and he was struggling fiercely to get free.

Steve popped up, gulped a lung full of air and disappeared again. Pulling hard in the brush, Pony's leg finally came loose. By the time they got to the top, Steve's lungs were burning and Ponyboy was limp, his lips blue. Panic was evident in his wide, green eyes as they closed a final time.

He carried Pony to land and laid him down as Soda cried out.

"He's not breathing. Oh God, he's dead."

"Two-Bit, keep Soda out of my way. I need room to work." Steve said as he tilted Ponyboy's head and cleared his throat before administering a few breaths, then did a few chest compressions.

"Come on Pony, breather." Steve whispered as he continued the CPR.

"Pony, don't leave me. I need you." Soda sobbed. After a few minutes he started coughing up water. Steve rolled him onto his side so he wouldn't choke.

"Darry! Dally!" Johnny screamed when the lake came into view. The two men looked up.

"What's wrong?" Dally demanded as he ran up to them.

"The water was up and Pony got sucked under and we lost him."

"Let's go." The three raced up the trail afraid of what they might find.

Soda held a shivering Ponyboy in his arms.

"Steve saved Pony's life." Two-Bit informed them. "He found him, got him loose, and breathing again."

Darry wrapped the blanket Johnny had grabbed around Pony and picked him up.

"Thank you Steve. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am to you right now."

"It's not a big deal." Steve told them.

Darry stared at his little brother's pale face.

"Yeah it is, but we'll talk about it later. I want to get him back to the cabin. He's so cold."

It was a swift walk back.

Soda helped Pony change into warm, dry clothes smiling when he promptly fell asleep. Steve and Two-Bit built a bonfire so they could sit around it. Darry sat watching Pony. After a while Steve came back in and Darry decided to join the gang. Neither was aware that Soda had followed Steve and was in the other room. Watching the youngest Curtis sleep, Steve was struck by how much he really cared about the kid. He turned to go.

"Steve?" Pony called softly.

"I thought you were asleep."

"Just resting my eyes. Want to sit with me?" He asked.

Once seated, they stared at each other.

"Steve, why? I know you don't want me around. So why?"

"Pony, not wanting you hanging around us all the time is not the same as wanting you dead, which I never did. This whole trip has made me realize something."


"We both love Soda and want him to be happy, right?"


"Soda would never be happy if anything happened to you. You are a big part of what make's Soda, Soda. I'm really glad you're okay."

"Thanks for everything." Pony held out his hand and Steve looked at him a minute before taking it in his own.

Soda cleared his throat.

"How ya feel Pony?" He asked.

"How long you been there?" Steve wanted to know.

"Long enough. So is everything all right between you two now?"

"Yeah." Pony said

"Sure is." Steve agreed

"Good. Darry said its time to roast some marshmallows if you feel up to it."

"Sounds like a good idea to me." Pony told his brother before going to sit by the fire.

"Thanks Stevie." Soda said.

"You're very welcome Sodapop."

"How you feel kid?" Two-Bit asked Pony.

"A little tired. I think I'll go lay down. Darry, can I sleep with you tonight?"

"Sure, if you want to."

It was an uneventful night. They all slept like the dead, even Ponyboy. Everyone was up early the next morning. It was their last day here, since in the morning they would head home.

"What's everyone want to do today?" Soda asked.

"I want to go back to the swimming hole." Pony told them.

"The water's still up." Two-Bit said.

"Not to swim, please I need to."

"All right, let's get ready." Darry ordered.

The day was perfect, the sun was beautiful and there was a slight breeze blowing. They enjoyed the walk up to the waterfall. Pony sat on the bank about an hour after that the rest of the day was spent fishing, hiking, boating on the lake and a big cookout to end the day.

Karen looked up when the door opened. She smiled at the seven guys that entered the building.

"Leaving us already?" She asked.

"Yeah, we gotta head back. We had a great time though." Darry said.

Soda was watching the exchange and Darry was actually flirting with her.

"Here's the key." He passed them to her.

"Have a safe trip home." She handed him his receipt and a piece of paper.

"Call me sometime. I would love to go out with you."

"I'd like that to." Darry wrote his number down and gave it to her, the belatedly introduced the gang. Soon after they left.

"So Superman, you gonna call her?" Two-Bit wanted to know.

"I really don't have time to go out Two-Bit." After seeing Pony frown, he added "Maybe she can come to the house for dinner sometime."

When they got home, it was still early so they played football then Darry went to get ready for work the next day. He was tan and relaxed and looking forward to getting back to his daily routine.

Darry thought about calling Karen but he didn't know if he had the time or the energy dating took. His hands were already full with his brothers, the gang, and work. He sighed, but he really wanted to get to know the tiny dark-haired woman better. Maybe he would call her tomorrow he thought as he turned over and closed his eyes.