Welcome to another epic fanfic that begins a while after the events of the real novel. The one I don't own... Will most likely morph into a slash fic. Just a warning, nothing bad yet though.

Ponyboy yawned as he stretched on the couch. His reading material was far from enthralling. It was a school novel, it was a classic, and the kind of boring only a classic could achieve. And this was coming from Pony; he liked reading. But that damn captain Ahab could go impale himself on whale bone for all Pony cared. Another yawn and Pony groaned. This book would be the death of him. Although he was yawning in part because it was late and he was waiting up for Darry. Darry had been staying out later than usual and his response to any sort of a question was a "meeting" with the "new guy" or his bosses. He didn't smell like he came home from a meeting and sometimes he bore evidence of a fistfight.

But Pony wasn't worried. The guys Darry worked with were good guys and took care of themselves and Darry if the need arose. He was miffed that he was being lied to even if it wasn't his business. It should've been, Darry was his brother.

Pony started when the door opened. He must've dozed off in between enthralling whale-butchering sessions. He looked over the couch and started even more as Darry leaned heavily on a blonde man, stumbling through the door. Darry looked less than sober and sported some bruises. The blonde man looked a little younger than Darry but he was almost as big. He didn't look any better than Darry either; there was a gash just above his eyebrow that trailed into his temples. Pony got the feeling he was sober.

"Hey, you're Darry's brother, right?" The blonde man staggered slightly when Darry rolled his shoulders but grunted and let Darry roll right over his shoulders. That was the first and only time Pony ever saw anyone put Darry in a fireman's carry. He was so shocked he remained silent for a long moment.

"Yeah, you can put him on the couch. Is he bleeding?" Pony asked, seeing a cut on Darry's knuckles that shocked him back into reality. Definitely a fistfight.

"Yeah a bit. Do you know where any first aid stuff is?" The man asked.

"Yeah." Pony stared at the pair of them, brawny, tuff, and bruised.

"Could you get it? I'll patch him up." The blonde man eased Darry to the couch.

"Ice first." Darry muttered. Pony didn't think he was conscious. That was a pleasant surprise. Pony always wondered what Darry acted like drunk.

"All right. Is he hurt pretty bad?" Pony asked, jumping to his feet. Moby Dick fell to the floor and the man picked it up and handed it to him, blinking up at him from where he knelt.

"He's not bad. Mostly he's just really buzzed. And that book is a complete load of shit, by the way. Captain Ahab can suck it as far as I'm concerned."

Pony laughed as he jogged into the kitchen and grabbed a bag of ice. He went to Darry's bathroom for their makeshift first aid kit and came back out, handing it to the blonde guy. Big guys like Darry didn't usually have that sense of humor, if any sense of humor. They didn't read books about white whales either come to think of it.

"Hold this to wherever it hurts most big guy." The blonde man said. Darry held it to his head and groaned.

"That guy was big, New York." Did Darry just call the blonde guy New York? Pony blinked and set the box down.

"Thank you. Aren't you going to introduce us Darry?" The blonde man smiled as he started searching for the rubbing alcohol.

"This is my baby brother Ponyboy. Ow." Darry said. The blonde guy smiled as he poured rubbing alcohol over a cut on Darry's knuckles.

"It's your own fault. Hi Pony, I'm Brooklyn."

"Nice to meet you." Brooklyn took Pony's proffered hand and smiled, tilting his head so his eyes caught the dim reading lamplight. His eyes were topaz blue and glittering flecks of gold and emerald seemed to twinkle just for Pony. Pony wondered why he was thinking in such corny sentences, especially about a guy he just met. A guy at all really. Especially a guy with such a strong handshake, who was Darry's friend, co-worker and nearly as big as Darry. Maybe Pony should sit down?

"It's a pleasure. I'm sober by the way." His smile was vicious and sparkled with a caustic intelligence. He could tell the idea of a big, drunk guy made Pony nervous. It was easy to tell but most guys he knew wouldn't care.

"I figured." Pony said. Brooklyn chuckled.

"You still look nervous." Brooklyn taped some gauze to Darry's arm with steady hands and blinked. "Are you bleeding anywhere else there, chief?"

"Nope. What about you? Pony, why don't you fix him up? He can't fix his own head." Darry was slurring his words ever so slightly and he yawned. This was such a lapse in Darry's father like behavior that Pony couldn't help but grin.

"He's so eloquent when he's piss drunk." Brooklyn looked to Pony and blinked, getting on the couch with an air of stiffness.

"You're the one he's been out with lately, right?" Pony asked.

"Probably. He's my boss so it's in my best interest to make sure he makes it home all right." Brooklyn said.

"Don't be shy New York, you know you love me. Besides, if I did get the tar beaten outta me, you'd be in charge." Darry muttered.

"Yeah, which is why you're safe and sound. I should probably go. It's late." Brooklyn said. He did look tired. Pony stared at the receding line of his shirt and his defined chest for a moment before standing. He'd hate to see whoever had been dumb enough to wanna fight his brother and that chest.

"You sure you're okay?"

"Don't let him leave. He's probably concussed. Spend the night and let Pony fix you up. Hell, you can even meet the gang tomorrow. They'd love you." Darry said. Brooklyn noticed the proximity of Darry's brother and met his eyes.

"Yeah, you don't want to risk anything." Pony said, rubbing the back of his neck.

"I'm sober." Brooklyn reminded Pony and blinked down at Pony.

"Sober is sober but that looks like it might influence your driving." Pony said, motioning to the cut.

"All right." Brooklyn said, rolling his eyes. "Jesus, I can tell you two are related."

"You probably need stitches for that." Darry mumbled.

"Well thanks to the sterling medical benefits provided to me, I won't be making a trip to the hospital unless I'm bleeding from multiple locations." Brooklyn smiled and sat down in the armchair. Pony never would've guessed someone who worked with Darry would smile so much sober but he wondered whether it was always a sincere smile. It reminded him of Dally's cold grin that really meant he was angry and he intended to express that anger. He dismissed the comparison and stood over Brooklyn, examining the gash.

"What is this even from?" Pony asked.

"Brass knuckles with a filed edge." Darry said.

"It looks bad. Does it hurt?" Pony asked.

"It doesn't hurt too much." Pony got rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball.

"You're probably gonna change your mind."

What do you think? Pairings? He sounds gorgeous, doesn't he? Drooooool. Any suggestions are welcome but if you don't like boys thinking other boys are cute, don't bite me for it...