Soda's POV

Pony lay stretched across the couch, Darry and I beneath him. Pony's head lay in the crook of Darry's arm and his legs were stretched across me lap. Darry brushed at Pony's hair, smiling down at him.

"What a night, huh?" I said, smiling at Darry.

He nodded. "Yeah."

We sat in silence on the couch, watching tv. The sound was turned down low so we wouldn't bother Pony. I was beginning to get tired, but wouldn't say anything. I didn't want to spoil a moment like this. Togetherness wasn't found often enough with us. Would it have made a difference for Pony if we had been around more? Some how, I doubted it. Pony trusted us for most things, but he didn't trust us enough to tell us about the important things. Just thinking about what he had said sent a pain through my heart.

I had tried to find a reason for Mom and Dad's deaths as well, stopping to think about how I could have been the reason for it. But I never held onto the thoughts for long because they just weren't reasonable. I was sure Darry had done the same. But with Pony, he must have held onto them, convinced he was to blame.

Ponyboy cried out with a yelp. Darry jumped, startled by the sudden noise. I looked down at Pony's face, but I didn't see any apparent reason for his cry of pain.

"Sh, sh," Darry said soothingly as he rubbed his hand across Pony's back. Pony immediately quieted, turning on his side so that his face was scrunched against Darry's biceps.

"You ready to get to bed?" Darry asked me, smiling.


Darry easily lifted Pony into his arms. Once he was standing and walking toward our room, I got up to follow.

Pony didn't react to being moved. Darry laid him down gently on the bed while I pulled the covers on top of him. I moved around to my side to get in. Darry stopped me with a hand on my wrist.

"What is it?" I asked, turning to fully face him.

"Do you think... is he going to be okay now?"

I nodded, smiling reassuringly at Darry.

"Yeah. Yeah, I think he will."

Two-Bit's POV

I held onto Mom's hand tightly as we walked down the aisle, Molly's casket laying at the end. I felt Mom shiver and I squeezed her hand in reassurance. I felt a lump form in my throat and tears came to my eyes. It was the last chance to see her, the last moments with her for the rest of my life. I didn't want to consider being without her for so long. Mom sobbed and I felt my own composure begin to break down.

Molly lay inside the casket wearing a beautiful white dress with small, colorful flowers outlining it. She looked completely peaceful, for which I was thankful. She was so still, so lifeless. How did death make her peaceful? Would I have found the same peace if I had gone through with suicide?

I decided it was better to remain here. Mom needed me now. I couldn't let her face two deaths in that short amount of time. She didn't deserve that. She needed someone to stand by her, to keep her upright when she loses the strength to stand. I would be that person for her, her personal lifeguard. I wouldn't let her face the emptiness and loss of losing Molly alone. As much as I wanted to disappear with a six-pack of Bud, I knew I couldn't do that. Not now. I had promised Molly I would be there for Mom and I would keep it.

Mom let go of my hand when we reached the casket. She now stroked the edges lovingly. She reached down and fixed a stray hair off Molly's face, smiling down at her.

"You look beautiful," She said, her voice cracking slightly.

If she didn't look so lifeless, she would have been beautiful. Though she still looked perfect and angelic, I wouldn't call her beautiful. Beautiful would be seeing her bright blue eyes looking up at me, smiling with a perfect serenity. It wouldn't happen though. My little sister was gone.

Mom moved off to the side. I looked down at Molly, noticing how one of my tears had dampened a spot on her dress.

"I'll keep my promise, kid. I'll be there for Mom. I just... I just wish you would be, too." My voice broke with emotion. I wiped at my wet face and runny nose.

"I... I love you. I know I never said it enough. I should have stuck around more. I didn't mean to abandon you like Dad did. Please, forgive me. I-I don't want to miss you because it hurts so much. But I do. The hurts still there everyday. I just wish you were here with me. I'm so, so sorry. I love you so much."

I leaned down and folded my arms against the edge of her casket, sobbing into my folded arms. I felt gentle hands on my shoulders and I looked up to find Mom watching me carefully. When my strength gave out, she was there to hold me up. Just like I'd be for her.

Later, Darry, Soda, Steve, and I carried her casket to her final resting place. I was grateful for how supportive the gang was. Pony spoke his regret for not being able to help. I wished Johnny and Dallas could have come.

I watched her casket be placed underground. The finality of it hit me hard, but I felt a peace was over me. I was going to be okay now.

Mom squeezed me around the waist as we headed toward are car. It was time to go home. It would never be the same without Molly, but we'd help each other get through the change. And I had a feeling Molly would be watching over us and helping us, too.

Johnny's POV

Dear Johnny,

Well, you'll be happy to know that I am much better now! I finally talked to Darry and Soda and told them the truth. And you know what? It paid off! I wouldn't have expected it. I had been so afraid to tell them anything when I ended up wasting time that I could have spent happy. Sure, I still worry about the gang because I don't really know how they're feeling, except you. Two-Bit seems to be doing much better. He had a bit of a breakdown at Molly's funeral, but that's to be expected I guess. Since then, he's been really different, but in a good way. He hasn't been drinking as much and he's been home a lot more. I think he's been taking care of his Mom and all. I'm glad he's better. Could you imagine if he had gone through with it?

Steve still seems pretty bitter, but he says he has talked to his dad. I know there's a lot of anger between them. I hope they can work it out some time. I don't want him to hate his father. At least he has one, right?

No one's heard from Dallas, but I guess he's okay. He can't get into too much trouble in jail. At least we know where he is. That's the way I see it. And he can't be on drugs or start drinking. I hope he's not too mad about that.

I hope you're doing okay. I can't believe you still have half a year to go. I hope the time passes quickly and we can figure something out before you get out. I don't want you to have to be stuck with a bunch of strangers.

I'll write soon!

Your friend,

Ponyboy Curtis

I smiled at the change in Pony's attitude. He seemed so much happier and that made me happy. I knew he had been going through a rough time. I was relieved to hear he was getting some new hope back.

I had finished Tom's journal. His life seemed so hard. It made me grateful for my own, though that didn't make much sense. Sure, he had had a nice family who actually cared about him, but his was taken away from him. I think it would be harder to have a family who loves you and lose them than to have a family who hates you who are living. I wouldn't wish death on anyone, but I know how hard it is trying to deal with a family who doesn't care that you even exist.

Six months is a long time. I can't wait to get out, but I'm also scared. I don't want to be put in a foster family like Tom had. He seemed to hate them, but then he had a good family to compare to. I guess anything else would be an improvement for me. Or at least I hoped so.

I sighed. There was no way for me to know what would come. I'd have to take each day as they come, hoping that things would be better for me. I wasn't too concerned. I'd have six months and I wouldn't want to waste my time worrying about something that I have no control over.

I'll just take what I can get.

Pony's POV

I sat reading my history book on the couch. I looked up when Darry and Soda came in, fighting over something. I wasn't sure what, but it must not have been too important. They were smiling and laughing as they hit each other.

"Say 'uncle,'" Darry demanded as he held Soda in a head lock.

"Never!" Soda screamed.


Darry grabbed Soda and slammed him down on the floor.

Soda hit the floor with an "ouch."

"That's what you get for hogging up the bathroom for so long. What were you doing? Shaving your legs?" Darry laughed. I couldn't hide my snicker.

Soda knocked Darry's legs from out from under him and Darry joined Soda on the floor.

"What are you laughing at?" Soda asked as he and Darry turned to look at me as I laughed at them.

"Nothing," I said between smirks.

"Oh, really?" Darry said, reaching up and pulling my arm. My book fell to the floor and I on top of it.

I laughed as they pinned me down, tickling me.

Soda was tickling my ribs relentlessly.

"Stop it!" I demanded between laughs, and then I did something that caused us all to stop in silence. So I repeated it.

I had kicked Soda.

We all looked at each other and soon we all broke out grinning. We all started laughing and we hugged each other in excitement.

Who knew something so small as a kick could bring so much joy?

It had. It gave me a new hope of how I'd progress. What next? Walking? Running? Dancing? I laughed. I'd face any of them head on. Good things were coming my way. It was about time, too.

Well guys, I hadn't really expected to end it here, but as I started writing this chapter I realized how boring it was getting. I'd have to add something new to make it more exciting. Sorry I didn't get Steve or Dallas' POVs in this chapter. I was running out of ideas for them.

In answer to a Fun Fact question, Tom was a last minute decision. I had had a plan for a character like him, but he didn't come to life until later in the story. I hadn't had an actual plan for him to appear in this story, but I realized I couldn't have Johnny all by himself and just writing to Pony. He'd need more interaction than that.

I hope you guys enjoyed this story! I'll have the third up by the end of the week. I need time to think of the general plan. I usually have over half the story planned when I begin writing it, and I'm not there yet with the upcoming one. I hope you can bear with me until then.

As always, thanks for your love and support! It wouldn't be worth writing without it!

As always, your dedicated writer,

Meghan aka Curtisbrothersfan