I own it not.

Pony is just a little younger in this (twelve instead of thirteen) but everyone else is the same. And I don't own them.

Darry kissed her again, trying to draw her obvious strength into himself and wondering if they were rushing this.

It had, after all, been only three months since their parent's car accident. Three months since he, Soda, and Pony had become orphans, since Soda had quit school, since Darry had given up his own dreams to take care of his brothers.

And in those three months, there had been drastic changes. Twelve-year-old Pony had become very...jumpy. Almost like Johnny at night when nightmares came. He had calmed down a little after Darry told Soda to sleep with him. Pony also wouldn't talk to him. A small change, really. It wasn't like he was mute, but whenever Darry was around, Pony wouldn't talk about his own life. Darry hardly noticed this change, really.

One other drastic change took place. Darry met Emily a week after the funeral. She was, as described by herself a few days into their immediate relationship, neither Greaser nor Soc, though Darry personally felt she was more Soc than anything. Class didn't matter, though. Something had happened between them, and Darry found himself being more drawn to Emily every day.

Today they were at the Curtis house. Emily had been pleading with him for weeks to introduce her to his family, wanting to get to know his brothers, the gang...everyone. Finally, Darry gave in.

"But only my brothers tonight." He said as he got out of the beat-up old car. "If you met them and the gang at once, you'd probably die of shock." Emily slipped her hand into his.

"Kind of tough to handle?" she asked kissing him softly on the cheek.

"You could say that." Darry said, trying to work himself up to what he knew would happen next. "Or you could say that they're a bunch of rowdy maniacs. One of the two." He was glad to get a laugh out of her. God, he loved her laughs.

Opening the door, Darry was glad to see that someone (probably Pony, Soda would never think of it) had picked up the place so it looked presentable, at least. He also saw Soda near the oven, and hoped that his brother was cooking something edible.

"Hi Darry," Pony said, looking up from a book as Darry and Emily walked into the house.

Soda glanced up from the stove where a pot of boiling water was spraying everywhere. "Hey Dare." He looked curiously at Emily and Darry was sure that he wasn't the only one who caught Soda's reflexive flirtatious smirk before he was engulfed by a cloud of steam.

Darry put his hand affectionately on Pony's head, noticing that he was once again absorbed by his book. "Emily, these are my brothers. Soda's the one who's screaming, and this is Pony. Guys, this is Emily."

"Hello." Soda said, emerging from the cloud of steam and shaking Emily's head. "Darry said he was bringing home a girl. We didn't really believe him." Darry took a swat at Soda who danced away, laughing.

"Nice to meet you too." Emily said, smiling as Soda ran back to the kitchen for cover.

"Hey." Pony said quietly, glancing up briefly from his book and smiling slightly.

"So what's for dinner?" Emily said, joining Soda in the kitchen. Darry watched her open the oven, eyebrows shooting up. "Blue chicken?" she asked incredulously. Soda and Darry both laughed.

Darry, heartened by the fact that his brothers had obviously tried to welcome his girlfriend, helped Soda with the rest of dinner and it was on the table in fifteen minutes.

The only problem Darry encountered was Pony. He mentally kicked himself for not inviting Johnny to dinner. Pony didn't talk much and even though chicken was his favorite meal he hardly touched any of it.

It was only fifteen minutes after they sat down that Pony asked if he could be excused. Emily, surprisingly, was the one to answer him.

"I think you should stay and eat what your brothers worked hard to make you." Her voice held a touch of something Darry had never heard there before and it was hard and cold as ice.

Pony looked at his oldest brother, then at Soda who intervened, his voice also hard. "Dare, we promised to meet the guys tonight."

"Okay, go on." I told them. Pony smiled his thanks before quickly clearing his place and leaving. Soda said good-bye before going after him.

Emily watched them both go. I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "That's my brothers for you. They always want to be somewhere else."

Emily nodded slightly before saying in the same cold voice she had used on Pony. "I think you should have make Ponyboy eat something, after you went through all the trouble of making it."

"It's okay. He can't really eat if he's nervous and meeting you made him nervous." Darry tried to explain his youngest brother. "He's kind of funny like that, but I think he was really excited about meeting you. So was Soda. They're good boys, really."

Emily nodded slightly, still looking at the door that Pony had disappeared through. Darry thought she was going to say somehting else about Ponyboy but instead she said, lightly, "Soda's quite the charmer."

Darry chuckled, drawing Emily nearer to him. "Yeah, he is." He thought they'd gotten over the whole Ponyboy thing.

He was wrong.

THought I'd try it. Sort of rushed, I know, but tell me what you think.

Yes, it is the day after Christmas, but review anyway.