Disclaimer: I don't own the original Outsiders. They are owned by S.E. Hinton.

Thanks to those that reviewed my story. I broke it up like you told me to. Where the dialogue is just one liners I didn't want to skip two lines. But, where it gets more like paragraphs I skipped two lines. Let me know if there are any specific places, where you think I should break it up or some places where I should put it back together.

I worked hard to make this essay work. The deadline was close, and I just started. Plus I was planning on going well over the 5 pages requirement that was given to us. I didn't want to show

Darry, I thought he'd laugh at it or something. He wasn't the type that believed that things could be changed. He was the one that always said things are what they are and you just got to deal with it. I didn't even want to show Soda. I don't know why. I know that out of all people Soda would understand what I was trying to do, but I still didn't want to show it to him.

But Darry was on my back about my assignment since the start, and when I told him that I'm working on it he wouldn't believe me.

"That's what you said 5 days ago too," he snapped, "but you didn't lift your finger to write anything." So, I had to show it to him so he could see it for himself that I was working on it. He glanced at it briefly, then started reading more carefully. Then he sighed and said,

"You are wasting your breath kiddo."

"How come?" I said.

"Well," Darry's eyes were all serious like, "they are not gonna read it."

"How the hell do you know?"

"I know, just trust me." Darry said. "Your requirement was 5 pages right?"

"Right."

"Well, and you've got how many?"

"35 pages."

"Well, let's just say that teacher of yours is not gonna bust his ass and waste his time reading 35 pages of what some grease kid, whose 2 friends just happened to die wrote. He ain't gonna waste his time on it you dig, kiddo?"

"I guess," I sighed, "but I got to do something, I can't be silent, I have to say it, I want to SCREAM about it, Darry."

"I get it, but I'm telling you right now you ain't gonna change nothing, just wasting your breath. Even if he reads it, he ain't gonna read it careful enough to understand what the hell you're talking about."

"You sure can improve my mood, the big brother that you are. I said with disappointment, "At least I'm trying to do SOMETHING and not pretending that it's just the way it is, and nothing happened. I mean Johnny didn't even have a funeral. His parents wanted the money for the funeral from the social services people, but they didn't get none. So, no funeral was arranged for."

"Knock yourself out," Darry said walking towards the door. "This is just the way things are and you ain't gonna change nothing. I'm just being honest with you that's all. But like I said knock yourself out if that's what you wanna do 'nd write a 35 pages paper instead of 5."

"Yeah, that's what I wanna do."

"Well do it then."

"Well, I am doing it."

"Good, keep doing it."

"Yeah, I will. I'm actually almost finished. I ain't gonna pretend that nothing happened and it's ok, and this is JUST THE WAY THINGS ARE HUH?"

He just shrugged and left the room.

I was aggravated by then. I was really really mad.. I was mad at Darry for not trying to do anything about what happened, I was mad at Dally for making me believe that he was strong, but leaving me at the worst possible moment, I was mad at Johnny for dying - really, really mad at him. I was mad at the cop that fired his gun at Dally. I mean even if Dally's gun was loaded weren't the cops wearing their bullet protective vests, weren't they? So even if Dally had fired, they wouldn't get hurt 'cause of the vests. And besides, they could've just shot Dally in the leg or somethin' so that he'd fall, but not die. But they just knew who Dally was and his record and all, and they wanted to kill him, they wanted to rub it in that they finally got a hold of this hood and shot him. I hate them for that, I just hate them. I bet if it was a soc kid they wouldn't just shoot him like some mad dog, they'd be afraid that his rich father would make their life a living hell for that. I even was mad at Soda for being so carefree. I mean he's nice and everything, but how can he be so carefree even now when Dally and Johnny are dead, when things are rough all over the place? I don't' get it, I just don't get it.

I told Darry the truth, I was almost done with my essay. I kept writing. My hand was running across the lines of my notebook like a maniac. And tears were running down my cheeks, as I squeezed the pen in my palm pressing on it really hard as I kept writing, and I squeezed my teeth too- in anger. I don't know how long I was writing for, but I finished it by the time it was starting to get dark outside.

The door slightly opened, and Darry popped his head in. He was going to say something, but the expression on his face changed when he looked at me.

"God," - he sounded really concerned, "I thought you were getting better, Pony. I thought you were staring to get used to how things are and you started to accept things. I didn't think you were still in such a bad shape. I wouldn't ve given you such a hard time earlier if I knew. Don't be mad ok?"

"Ok," I said mechanically, "but I will NEVER get used to this, and I sure as hell will NEVER accept that this is just how things are ok?"

Darry looked me straight in the eyes and said in a really low voice, almost whispering "ok.."

I went to the kitchen to get something to eat. But food just wouldn't get down my throat. I felt hungry, but at the same time I couldn't look at food. I felt nauseous when I looked at it. And all the smells that I usually liked like fried chicken and stuff just made me want to throw up this time. I went back to my room, went to bed and tried to fall asleep, but I got a huge headache, because I was hungry. It was really weird, I was so hungry, but I couldn't eat anything and I couldn't even look at food at this point. I went back to the kitchen and looked around for anything that wouldn't make me feel nauseous. Chicken, fries, sandwich, corn, cake, I kept looking. Finally I grabbed an apple and took a bite - good. I grabbed another apple and went back to my room. I ate both apples in bed, and as the headache gradually disappeared I fell asleep.

I woke up shivering and with a funny feeling in my stomach. Shortly after I opened my eyes, and thought that I really didn't' want to go to school that day, Soda walked in, and he wasn't smiling this time.

We don't sleep in the same room anymore since all this stuff happened. I don't' know why, but I just like being by myself a lot these days. I love him and all, but I can't have him around in the same room all the time. I like to be by myself sometimes. And besides, I still think about what happened a lot, and I get kind of depressed and stuff and I don't want him to see that. I also wake up at night a lot and think about what happened.. I don't' want to, but I cant' help it. It's just there, in my head and it wouldn't let go. It's like a video tape that keeps rewinding in my head over and over again. Darry says it's called post traumatic stress disorder or something. Who cares what it's called. Anyway, if it was up to Darry he'd have me forget it all like it never happened. I know he just doesn't' want me to be upset and stuff, but I'd rather wake up in the middle of the night with the images of Johnny and Dallas than forget it all like it never happened.

So it's good that Soda isn't there at night anymore 'cause that way he can't see me being awake for hours. He is now using mom and dad's room. We left it untouched after they died in the car crash, and we intended to leave it that way, but enough time had passed and as much as we didn't want to, we thought it would be better to make use of it now.

Soda walked into the room. "Pony it's 11 o'clock. You were sleepin' and Darry said you were not feeling all that well last night so we thought it'd be ok if you missed 1 day of school. We didn't want to wake you up. Darry couldn't skip work today, but I could."

"Great," I thought "I don't' have to go to school today after all". But I regretted that thought a second later.

"The thing is, " Soda continued "those people from social services are here. They are making one of those "surprise visits" it's their new thing or something. Supposedly they get the true picture this way."

As he said that, everything in front of me got a bit blurry for a second. - "they are here now?"

"Yeah, they are in the living room waiting for you to come 'n do an interview with them or something."

"How many?" I asked as I was getting dressed.

"5 of them, they seem like real tide assess too, I wish Darry was here for all of this. Are you ok Ponyboy? 'cause if you want I can tell 'em that you are not feeling well and are in no shape to do this today."

"No, no way," I interrupted "if you say that, they'd think that I'm not doing well and Darry isnt' takin' good care of me or somethin'. I just don't get it why they showed up today, they should've realized that normally I'd be in school on a Thursday morning and Darry and you would be at work, so noone would be home. This makes no sense."

"Who knows," Soda said "maybe they just wanted to check if in fact you were at school and Darry and I were at work. Anyway we better go to the room now, before they sniff something. I will tell them though that you should have something to eat before talking to them."

"Don't bother I'm not hungry anyways."

"Pony, you didn't have dinner last night and you are not having breakfast this morning what the fuck is going on? You wanna tell me huh or you'd rather tell Darry, which I think would be a lot less pleasant."

"Shoot, just bug off Soda... please."

He looked at me, said nothing, and started walking towards the living room. I followed him.

The interview lasted about 2 hours. My head was hurting so bad I thought I'd pass out right there, right in front of them. But I kept smiling and acting like I'm totally fine 'cause I didn't want them to get an idea that Darry didn't take good care of me 'n all. They were really boring people. They asked a whole bunch of stupid questions like when do I wake up in the morning and when does school start and what time Darry and Soda go to work, and who takes me to and from school. Like I need someone to take me at 14 yrs old. And if I like doing my homework, yeah, right. But I said 'yes I like doing it, especially essays.' I said it just to shut them up and I said it with such a sweet smile too.

Then they asked who makes breakfast around here and stuff like that. Then they asked if I missed my friends that died. I mean what kind of a question is that, of course I miss them, wouldn't they? Well, may be they wouldn't, maybe they'd forget it the next day 'cause they don't really care. Then this one woman, who looked much older than the rest of them asked if Darry has a temper problem and if he ever beats me and stuff. That got me mad, where on earth would she get an idea like that? She may have as well asked me if he was an alcoholic or something. I mean if a person had a problem like that wouldn't there be a record of it or something. "Darry works two jobs," I said, "and he never hit me in my entire life even if I deserved it sometimes."

Then they smiled stiffly and politely and left saying that they would give Darry a call with the results of this interview. And yeah, they took a tour of the house right before they left. Supposedly to see if it's all clean and sanitary. I hated letting these strangers in my room and I hated letting them in my mom and dad's room, which was now Soda's room. But I had no choice so I let them in.

When they left I thought about Darry for a while. Darry works two jobs, Darry works hard for his money, and that's why we can eat, and have less or more decent cloths. That's why we can even have chocolate cake for breakfast. And these people, who are they? They are supposed to help people who are struggling with some issues and stuff. But instead they just go to other peoples houses without even giving a call in advance. They stick their noses in other peoples business and it sure don't look like they are trying to help. It looks like they are trying to intimidate you and to judge you if you are good enough or not. They take tours of other people's houses and look at things that they have no business looking at. And this is their job. This is what they get paid for. And they get paid much more than Darry does, even though he works so much harder. I bet they put some boys like me or Johnny or Curley Shepard in homes just so that it looks like they have something to do too, like they have a job too, you know.

They called later that evening saying that I was basically doing ok, and I could stay here with Darry, but I got to see a social worker-therapist once a week. To discuss about the death of my friends and all and just to see that I'm doing ok. That news didn't make me all that happy. I ain't gonna see no therapist. But they made it a requirement, I could only stay here with Darry if I did that. Darry was as mad about it as I was, but he had no choice and promised them to take me to the damn therapist on Friday evening. I mean Friday evening that's the time when all normal people are going out and stuff. I am in no good mood for going out anyway, but at least I wouldn't mind to hang out with Two-bit and some other people, and now I got to go to this therapist.

I don't even want to think about it right now I said to myself and went to bed. Friday is the day we hand in our writing assignments I thought as I was falling asleep, but I didn't feel as good about it as before. Darry's words were still ringing in my ears: "he ain't gonna read it, he ain't gonna understand it, you are just wasting your breath kiddo."