AN: This is the last chapter I may do another story but I'm not really sure.

I could hear Soda calling for Darry, but Darry wasn't home. It must be three o'clock already. I guess I had been sitting here for a few hours. I threw my head against the back bored. "He's not here, bud."

Soda came back into my room. "He still at work?"

"Yeah, he's still at work." I answered.

"Woah, I guess your Dad full filled his promise." He picked up my new guitar. The sunburst finish, exactly like Hendrix's Stratocaster; which was very pricy and there was absolutely nothing that my brother's could do to top it. He strummed the chords to Love Me Tender.

"Soda, when did you learn that?"

"Yesterday, I got bored and couldn't find anything on the piano so I taught it to myself on the guitar."

I scratched my head and this was the kid that was supposed to be dumb. He set the guitar down. "When did you get home?"

"Little while ago." I answered. I could see him trying to rack his brains for some type of conversation. It was kind of funny, Sodapop Curtis at a loss of words.

"Are you staying here?" He asked. "I mean, you know, for dinner?"

I smiled, any other time he wouldn't have had to ask. He rubbed the side of his face and chin; it was a habit he picked up from Darry; a nervous habit that always led everyone else to know that they had something on their mind. I patted the area next to me. "Come here, Soda, sit with me."

He hopped up on the bed using me for a pillow. I remembered talking to my therapist before leave asking all about kids and with dead parents. I couldn't give her much information because I really didn't know my brothers. I remembered her saying something about how they could use a lot of love and affection. I think it was just in Soda's nature to be affectionate. I thought back to how he couldn't care less if I hugged him in front of his friends or called any thing other than his name but my God, you weren't allowed to do that with Ponyboy. "What's on your mind?" I asked.

Soda shrugged. "I don't know if you left it'd be real different."

"It's a big decision."

"I know, I just want you to be happy but it's just going to be hell adjusting to losing another person, you'd think we'd be used to it by now." He smirked.

"Hey, that's not funny. You don't just get used to losing people you learn to live with out them. If I go you're not losing me."

"Maybe not for the first couple of months, then the letters die, phone calls stop and soon we don't see you."

"Come on, that's not true, I waited a long time to see you guys you really think I'm going to let distance come between us?"

Soda shook his head. "I don't think you'll let it, I think it will just happen. You did with your other family."

I sighed that wasn't something I wanted to get into now. "Soda, it's a big decision."

"I know."

"Is anyone home?" Pony screamed. I could hear the thud from his book bag hitting the floor.

"We're in here."

Pony came running in, he kicked off his shoes and studied Soda and I for a second.

"You're leaving aren't you?"

"He doesn't know yet." Soda answered him as if I weren't in the room.

"I'm still here you two!" I shouted.

"Sorry." Soda said.

I looked at Pony for the first time noticing a newly split lip. "Ruff day?"

Pony shot his hand up to his lip. "I got into some trouble with a few socs they were seniors." He took something out of his pocket and handed it to me. "Do we have to tell Darry? I'm not in the mood to be yelled at."

"Well your teacher says it was two against one and the stories didn't match."

"Yeah, she also put both yours and Darry's names down on the note. You can sign it and not tell Darry."

"You know how I feel about keeping things from Darry."

"I did fight back only because they swung first."

"Alright." I signed the note and handed it to him. "You won't have to tell Darry."

"Will you stay for dinner tonight?" Pony asked. "You haven't been here since your family arrived."

"Yeah, I'm tired anyways." The next thing I knew they were both asleep in my bed. I looked over at my guitars. The one my step Dad bought me was a beauty. That beat up acoustic my brothers gave me had history. I heard Darry shuffling around in the kitchen. I managed to get Soda and Pony under the covers. I found Darry in the kitchen shuffling through mail.

"Where's the other two?" He asked looking up for a brief second.

"They fell asleep in my room. I figured I might as well let them sleep."

"Yeah, they haven't gotten much sleep lately."

"Why not?"

"Worried, I suppose."

I smirked. "They actually asked me to stay for dinner."

"Yeah, well they like it when you're around; they'd tie you to the furniture if they could to keep you here."

It went into the one thing I dreaded awkward silence. I searched though some of the mail when a small stack of papers caught my eye. It had the state emblem in the back of it with my name sprawled across it. I picked them up and read them.

"Darry!" I half cried.

"Shit. I was going to show you those after you made you decision only if you were going to stay."

"Are you serious? I mean I told that IF something ever happened to you I'd take them no sweat but."

"Well see Dad's will actually said they go to their oldest brother technically that is you. So I figured I'd share custody. We have to go to the courthouse, you actually passed the last visit from the state, and I talked to social services and everything. You'll have to still get you're drug tests and stuff still."

"Darry; they're the most precious thing you have you want to share that with me?"

"Sunny, you pay the grocery bill you help pay the mortgage and the other bills. I thought after the first time you spanked Soda that they'd kick you out, but hell I have to hand it to you it works, I don't agree with the smoking or the swearing but they see past that. Your part of this family; we need you. I mean you already take care of them why not make it official."

"They want me, you guys need me. I'm going to have dinner with them since it looks like I'll be hanging around here more."

Darry grinned. "Have fun."


(Darry's POV)

I rubbed my temples happy that Two-Bit and Steve left; not that I minded them here it's just today it was too much energy in the house for me to take at the moment. "I mean it I want the living room cleaned." I threw a mountain of soda bottles in the trash before walking into the living room. Sunny was standing there with the look of death on his face.

"Go get, your coats guys, we'll go for pizza."

"Didn't you go to dinner with your family?" Pony asked puzzled.

"It was one of those fancy French restaurants they served snail." His eyes meant with mine for a second.

"Guys, go wait in the car for a second." I watched them parade off to the car.

"You alright?" I asked.

"I'm stupid, being irrational, assuming too much responsibility and I think I'm kicked out of the family."

I looped an arm around his neck. "Well, it takes a lot to get kicked out of this family. I mean if I haven't yet. Fuck, you're a shoe in?"

"When did you pick up cussing, sailor?" He grinned.

"See, I have this older brother who say's things that could make a sailor blush."

"Guy sounds like a real jack ass."

"We kind of like him."