Hey, so this is my first fanfic. I actually do want you guys to tell me if I'm not portraying the characters right, or make grammar errors etc.

Disclaimer I do not own The Outsiders or any of S.E. Hinton's characters.

"Alright, give it here." Darry finally said.

We were sitting at the dinner table and had just finished eating. Darry knew that today was report card day, and I'd yet to show him mine. I got up silently and went to my room to retrieve it. I unceremoniously handed it to him.

He glanced at me, and then opened it. I watched as his eyes flew down the page, and then reread it again more slowly, comparing them with last term's grades. I watched the corners of his mouth begin to rise up, and knowing he was satisfied, I looked over at Soda. He looked curious, and somewhat anxious to see it too. Sometimes Soda gets the biggest kick out of the smallest things.

"Pony, this is great. Straight A's." He said, showing it to Soda. "Of course, you could always bring your geometry grade up a little, but still. Why didn't you show me this earlier?"

Because I didn't want you to start acting real proud of me and make Soda feel bad I thought. I knew that Soda sometimes wished he could have brought home good grades and had Darry be proud of him for it too. But of course, I didn't say any of that out loud. I just shrugged nonchalantly and said, "It's not that big of a deal."

Darry looked at me strangely for a minute. "Well, even if you don't think it is, I do." Which was about as close as he was going to get to saying he was proud of me. I guess I shouldn't have been so worried about Soda. But Darry has his moments, when he's in a good mood, when he goes off on a tirade of praise. Granted, this has only been directed at me twice in my entire life, but you can never be too careful. And Soda didn't have a whole lot going for him right now, seeing as how he'd been fired from the DX station where he worked. I still don't the whole story behind that—Soda won't tell me. But I think Darry knows.

Soda handed it back to me with a low whistle. "Whew-ee. Way to go Pone." He said with a smile.

I got up to put the report card back in my room. When I went back into the kitchen, Soda had started the dishes already, and Darry was still sitting at the table. I took my place beside Soda as the unofficial dryer of the dishes.

"What time is it?" Soda asked absently.

"Quarter past seven." Darry replied.

"Oh, uh, okay." He began speed washing the dishes.

"Got somewhere you're supposed to be?" Darry asked, noticing his rush.

"Yeah, I've got a date." Soda said, smiling at me.

"Well then let Ponyboy finish up the dishes. They're not gonna get clean like that." Darry said. He didn't even ask who he was going out with, or where the heck he was getting the money to pay for it, seeing as how Soda's last paycheck had gone to fix the car and pay the water bill.

"Ha!" Soda smirked, prancing out of the kitchen, free of dishes duty.

I sighed audibly, left with half a sink full of dirty dishes. I hated doing the dishes.

When I had finished drying the last clean dish, I looked back at the table where Darry had been. He wasn't there anymore.

I wandered into my and Soda's bedroom, and pulled out my homework. I glanced at the equations staring up at me from the paper, and surrendered. I would do it tomorrow before class.

Walking back into the living room, I saw Darry and Soda talking animatedly in low voices. They seemed to be arguing about something.

They heard me enter the room, and immediately stopped talking. Soda was still glaring at Darry.

"See you later Pony." He said, and walked out the door.

"What that all about?" I asked Darry.

"What? Oh, nothing. We just, uh, had different opinion about Soda's curfew. Want me to look over your math homework?" Darry said, quickly changing the subject.

I could tell by the way his eyes flitted around that he was lying to me.