Started: November 19, 2008 - 8:43 PM

Finished: November 21, 2008 - 4:01 PM

Disclaimer: I do not own the Outsiders, SE Hinton does. No profit has been gained in the making of this fic.

Warnings: Cussing. Including the word fuck. :)

Notes: Yes, I know, ANOTHER one shot? I told you - I'll only be doing one shots untill all the plot bunnies are away and I actually have a good idea of a novel-length fic.

You know, I had quite of a writers block. I had so many plot ideas, but every time I typed it out, it didn't seem right. What kind of writer's block is that?

Anyways, I know that I do page breaks too soon. Don't put only a few sentences before going on to a new scene, especially if I'm doing it numerous times. But, I didn't know how to lengthen the shot. I also didn't want to put them out, no matter how unimportant it may seem (but, it does play a big roll in this piece). I apoligize for that!

And about Ponyboy - I hope I didn't make him see too childish. I know, in the book, he acts distant towards Darry, but this is only a few weeks after their parents' deaths - so I think he'd be a bit more caring with Darry.

Last thing, you'll have to have a good attention span with this. This fic may be a bit more confusing than my other two, so you'll have to have a good understanding IQ. Maybe not, but just making sure. I'm trying hard not to just come out and point out the obvious for you guys. I think I've been doing that for It ain't your fault and Opposites Attract.

So, enjoy.

It's easier than you think

"It's better if you do this for your brothers. Look at yourself – you're twenty years old for lord's sake! You shouldn't have to do this." She was looking at me like she knew what she was talking about.

"I'll take care of my brothers, miss…"

"Barbara. Barbara Carson," she finished for me.

"…Miss Carson. I'm not going to send my brothers away just like that!" I tried to stay calm, but I couldn't help but snap at her.

A pause.

"I see you are quite adamant about this, Darrel," she said, slowly.

"More than that." I may not really know what adamant is, but I sure gotta good idea.

"Well, just in case, you know where to find me. Go through the doors on the far left and call before you do." She made it sound like she knew I was going to do it.

"I'm. Not. Going," I grounded out, word by word.

"I never said you did."

I looked closely at her, trying to see through her damn façade.

Sureness. Confidence. Knowing.

"I'm not gonna do it," I said, my shoulders getting tense.

"I never said that, either."

But she thought it. And, God damn it, she was right.


"Darry, where are you going?"

Putting my arms through the sleeves of my jacket, I turned around to look at Pony. I almost looked away. "I'm going to go meet someone, kiddo. It's gonna be quick, tell Soda when he wakes up, will ya?" I said, opening the door.

"I…wait!" Pony blurted out, just when I put my left foot through the door.

"Yea?" I didn't turn around. One look at this hopeless face, I knew I'd crack and not go through it.

"Will…you use the car?" he quickly said the last part, sounding embarrassed for asking that in the first place.

I flinched. "Well…" I paused, wondering how to go through things carefully. "…I'm gonna have to, buddy," I trailed off, knowing saying anything else one help one bit. Saying more will just make it worse.

"Alright…come back soon, 'kay?" I finally turned around to face him, making sure my face doesn't give away anything. But, this time, he wasn't looking at me.

"I will come back, Ponyboy," I said, emphasizing 'will'.

A small smile lit his face. "I know."


I pulled over the side of the road. I couldn't think straight, my vision's blurry, and my hands are shaking. Is that good conditions to be driving in? No, especially when you promised a certain someone that you'd be getting home safe 'n' sound.

I turned off the ignition, leaning back in my seat. I let my head lean backwards and close my eyes, wondering how in the world I was going to get to that damn building at this rate. "This is for the best," I murmured to myself, making a fist.

My mind seemed to disagree, though. "Is it?" kept ringing through my head. I didn't know the answer.

But that didn't stop my mind from thinking.

Soda will hate you, not forever, but almost as long. The gang may never talk to you. Pony will especially hate you forever. He'll never forgive you. He'll say you betrayed him. He'll say you hate him.

And wouldn't he be right? Two weeks after his parent's death, you're sending him to social services. Chances are, they'll just stuff him in some foster care then send him to strangers. He doesn't have a really good chance in staying with a steady family, neither.

It really does seem like you do hate your own kid brother.

"Fuckin' hell!" I yelled out, punching the wheel. My knuckles throbbed only a bit, but I still winced. I really hoped that I didn't break the wheel with that punch. "…Fuckin' hell," I repeated, just more softly.

I laid my head on the steering wheel this time, listening to the cars passing by my beat up truck. "This is for the best," I tried to assure myself. It wasn't working – Pony's tearful eyes just kept going through my head over and over and over again.

But, somehow, I started up the engine and forced myself to drive all the way there, ignoring that stupid voice in my head. Though, that gut wrenching feeling was much harder to ignore.


My eyes widened. Just as soon as I walked through the doors at the left and looked through the windows of Carson's office…there was my old high school buddy, Kevin. "What is he doing here?" I whispered to myself.

Then I saw a kid, around Pony's age, head bowed and slouched over dejectedly in his seat.

It all made sense right then.

Slowly, I went over and sat right next to him. I don't know why, but something told me I had to do it. It's sorta funny, since I never saw Kevin's kid brother, not even his name. But his kid brother already looked exactly like him, just by looking at one side of his face. He was wearing what Kevin used to always wear back in his senior year – a green madras shirt.

"You're Kevin's kid brother," I stated.

He didn't move, but I saw him look at me from the corner of his eyes. "I have a name, you know. Daniel. Who's asking?" he muttered. His voice was flat…dead, lifeless. I looked away from his face and stared at the window. I couldn't see Kevin from this side.

"An old pal of Kevin," I replied.

He let out a harsh laugh. "I don't want anythin' to do with that guy anymore." He looked at me after he said this, tears in the corner of his eyes.

I cringed.

His eyes were greenish-grey.

"Why not? I reckon you'd be looking up to him. Well, like he always used to say." I cringed again. That is far from one of the best things I could've said. Really, that's one of the stupidest.

He glared at me. No blame on him there. "What's funny is that I used to…" his voice faltered and he sighed. "…what's sad is that I still do." A tear fell down his cheeks, but he quickly wiped it away and continued to glare at me.

I bit my inner cheek, looking around the empty room. I never was good with people who were about to cry. Emotions are far from my strong points, obviously.

I looked back at him. His shoulders were shaking and he was clutching the sides of his shirt. "Hey, it may seem hopeless now, but it'll be better later." I bit back a groan. What kind of stupid advice is that?

And why the hell am I even comforting a kid that I don't even know?

"Why is a greaser like you helping a socy kid like me, huh?" Huh, he seemed to be reading my mind.

"Why is a socy kid like you being nice to a greaser like me?" I countered. He looked at me, his eyebrows furrowed together.

God damn those eyes.

"Thank you for coming Mr. McGregor." Daniel slowly turned his head to look at the door. I didn't though, noticing how his eyes suddenly sparked with something.

"…Welcome." At that, I snapped my head towards the door. I may have never heard that voice in a few months, but I'd recognize it, no matter how soft it sounds.

"Hey Kevin. Long time no see." A half smile was on my face.

Kevin looked at me, his eyebrows rising. "Darry? Hey, man!" He grinned at me.

The moment was pretty much ruined when Daniel spoke up though. "You forget 'bout me already, Kevin?" Daniel mocked.

Kevin's grin disappeared just as quick as it came, but didn't move his eyes towards Daniel. "Come on now, you should say good bye to your brother before he leaves," this red-haried lady said sternly, but smiling at Daniel. I was guessing she's the one who'll send Daniel to a home.

He stood up, but didn't walk towards his older brother.

"Will you miss me?" Daniel asked, sounding sarcastic. He sounded like he already knew the answer.

Kevin turned his head towards Daniel. I knew Kevin would never admit it to anyone, but his eyes were glassy with tears. "Yes," he whispered.

Daniel looked down. I could see that he closed his eyes. "I will more than you."

With a chocking sound, Kevin went over to him and wrapped his arms around Daniel's neck. "That's crap. See ya, lil' man."

Daniel pulled away from the hug, looking up at Kevin. "Please don't leave me," he whispered. "I'll do anything – anything." Daniel bit his bottom lip. He and Kevin seemed to forget that I was still here.

I looked at Kevin, expecting him to say "okay, let's go home." How would anyone be able to ignore those kinda pleas?

But instead, Kevin just shook his head. "I'm sorry," he whispered regretfully.

My jaw grew slack.

Daniel stared at Kevin before slowly saying, "I am, too." Then he walked away from Kevin and towards the redhead.

"Bye," Kevin said, almost yelling it, as Daniel walked through the doors. He didn't reply. Pony wouldn't have, neither.

Kevin collapsed on the chair, burying his head in his hands. I couldn't feel any sympathy towards him though. This wasn't the guy I had befriended at seventh grade…he wouldn't have done that to anyone, no less his own brother.

Then again, there was a time I would never even think of giving up Pony.

"Uhm…Mr. Curtis, I can see you now," Carson piped up, sounding uncomfortable. I held up my pointer finger, silently telling her to wait. "Come in when you're ready, then," she said, softly, closing the door behind her.

I kept staring at Kevin, my teeth gritted in an effort not say something stupid and make myself sound like a hypocrite. We both were silent for a long time.

"Go on, say it," Kevin finally said.

"Say what?" I asked, leaning back in my seat.

"How I'm being a bastard towards Dan. How I'm horrible for abandoning him. How I should just dig up my own grave and die," he spat out bitterly.

I smirked a bit. "You already know it."

He was quiet for a while. "My parents died a week ago," he admitted.

I sighed, looking at the ceiling. "Two weeks ago for me. Funny how things happen." I didn't mean to sound sarcastic at the end. I really did mean that. When something happens to you, all you can think of is your problem. But, somewhere else, someone is in that same damn hard place you are in now.

Kevin let one hand fall to his lap and turned his head to me. "Then don't say I'm doing the wrong thing," he said, angrily.

I rolled my eyes. "I didn't." Why does this sound so familiar?

"You were thinking it." Wow, this is really familiar.

"Why does that matter?" I asked, tiredly.

He didn't seem to hear me. "I had my whole fuckin' future planned out, ya know? A forensic examiner. My parents already got the money, all I need to do was just…go. Then they died. All the money went to me, but I couldn't go to college when I have to take care of a fifteen year old kid. I'm twenty, Darry, twenty! I can't do that. I won't do that. I love him…everyone knows I do…but I can't give this up for him. Not even for him," he choked up at that last part.

"Not even when knowing this foster crap s'not gonna do any good?" I asked, quietly. I was pissed off beyond belief. But either at him or at me, I dunno.

He closed his eyes tightly, his eyelashes getting wet instead of his cheeks. "Don't make me feel more bad than I am, God damn it. I don't want to do this. But I will make a future for myself now, not later on when I'm twenty-four. I shouldn't have to wait that long." He sounded like he was trying to assure himself that what he was doing was alright.

But I didn't tell him that. He was pretty much doing damage to himself – more damage than any belting I could've ever done.

He finally stood up and looked down at me. "You're just as weak as me, though. You're gonna give up your kid brother, too, right? You wouldn't be here if your not gonna do just that. You're just like me," he said, hate in his voice. But like me moments before, I don't think he knew whether or not the hate was thrown at me or him.

"Is it?"

And there it was again, that little question I asked myself minutes before.

But I knew the answer this time.

"No…I'm not like you anymore," I told him. But even when I said this to Kevin, I knew it wasn't only him I was telling.

"Mr. Curtis, I need to go in half an hour, so we should get on with it." Carson's voice snapped me out of whatever I was in.

Kevin's face came back into focus. He looked at Carson then back at me. He smiled sadly, shaking his head. Then he walked out without another word. I watched after him, wondering what in the almighty universe just happened.

"Ms. Carson, I changed my mind," I told her, still staring after Kevin. "I'm keeping Ponyboy."

I heard her sigh, annoyed. "Keeping him isn't so easy, Darrel," she snapped out.

I smiled. "It's easier than you think, Ms. Carson. It's easier than you think."

I said those words to her eight months ago, when she told me keeping Pony isn't easy.

And now, I'm lying in my bed while staring at the ceiling, saying those same words to myself.

"You'd like me just to get out. Well, it's not that easy, is it, Soda?"

Pony's stinging words ringed through my head like a siren.

"It's easier than you think, Ponyboy. It's easier than you think."

Except that…it's not the kinda easy that'd make giving you up not matter to me.

Now, if only I could say this to his face.


Yes, I know, Darry loves Ponyboy lots so he wouldn't be saying those last few sentences. That's why I added the second to last sentence. But, are you able to tell what kinda "easy" Darry's talking about? He already told us what "easy" isn't!

Anyways, drop in a review! You guys are what makes my stories better. And please leave good ones (feedback and constructive criticism equals good reviews)! You can even flame me if you want. Hope you won't have any reason to, though...