Disclaimer: I don't own The Outsiders.

(Third person)

Johnny Cade relaxed against the old car seat in the lot. He closed his eyes, and thought about his life. His home, his "family", his friends. He wondered what he had done for his so-called "parents" to hate him so much. He usually tried not to think about it; every conclusion he came up with led back to him. I'm always doin' something wrong, he thought.

It was cold outside, late November. Christmas was soon. He wondered what he'd do, where he'd go. Maybe I'll go to the Curtis house, he thought to himself.

There was a strong breeze, causing chills on the young greaser's body. He sat up in the old car seat, which he had wordlessly claimed as his own long ago, and started a fire. He finally had the fire going when Ponyboy came running up.

"Heya, Pone," Johnny greeted his best friend.

"Hi, Johnnycakes," the boy replied.

Johnny scooted over to make room for Ponyboy by the fire. He glanced over at his best friend. Ponyboy appeared to be deep in thought; one might think something was bothering him.

"Ponyboy, is somethin' the matter?" Johnny asked with concern.

"Well…I'm just a little confused right now," Pony told him.

"'Bout what? Ya know you can tell me, Pony." Johnny poked at the fire with a stick. He didn't usually push Ponyboy to tell him things, but he could tell something was really bothering the younger boy.

"I…well, I think I have…feelings…for someone," he told Johnny, blushing.

Johnny seemed puzzled. "It's normal to like someone, man."

"No Johnny, it's not someone that I'm supposed to have feelings for," he explained.

"Well, what do ya mean?"

"It's nothing, Johnny, just forget it. You wouldn't understand," Ponyboy snapped.

Johnny looked hurt. He looked at his shoes, and fiddled with his laces.

"S-sorry, Pone, I just thought I could help," Johnny looked away, trying not to let the hurt show on his face.

"I'm sorry Johnny," Pony apologized. He laid a hand on Johnny's shoulder. Johnny's heart sped up.

"I just think that…maybe you wouldn't think that who I like is normal, for a person like me," Pony said.

Johnny was confused. "Well, come on, it can't be that bad," he said. He started thinking of his own crush; a crush was all it would ever be. He knew if he told Ponyboy who he liked, Ponyboy would freak out. The reason for this was because secretly, Johnny liked a boy. He had liked the boy for about a year now, and did his best not to show it. It was really killing him, but if word ever got out that he liked said boy, he would be an outcast.

"Okay…I like a soc," Ponyboy said nervously.

Johnny chuckled. "C'mon, Pony, that ain't bad," he said. "Who is she?"

"Cherry Valance," Ponyboy confessed.

"That ain't really a surprise, Pone. It's kinda obvious," Johnny said quietly.

Ponyboy shrugged it off. "Who do you like?" Ponyboy asked him. When Johnny said nothing, Ponyboy continued. "C'mon, man, I told you who I liked. Now fess up."

Johnny was silent. He didn't want to admit it, but his crush was sitting beside him. He'd liked Pony for about a year now, ever since Johnny was fifteen and Pony was thirteen. He thought the younger boy was attractive, smart, and had a great personality.

At first when Johnny realized these new feelings stirring up inside him, he denied them. It was only when every small touch would make his heart race, and every thought about Ponyboy made him blush, that he finally admitted to himself his feelings for this boy. Although he thought it was wrong, he couldn't deny how he really felt. So, he accepted it. He decided that nobody would ever know his secret crush, not even Ponyboy. He couldn't risk loosing his best friend over a silly crush, which he was still praying he would grow out of.

"Uh," Johnny hesitated. "I don't like no one, man," he lied.

Ponyboy didn't believe him. "Yeah right, Johnny. You gotta like someone."

Johnny didn't like where this was going. "Naw, man. Nobody."

"C'mon, Johnnycake. Just tell me, it don't matter to me."

"Look, Ponyboy, I can't tell ya." Ponyboy glared at Johnny. "Look…ya know how you said you like someone you shouldn't? Well it's the same for me, Ponyboy," Johnny admitted. It ain't a total lie, Johnny thought to himself.

"You like a soc?" Ponyboy was bewildered.

"Not exactly, Ponyboy," Johnny said slowly.

"What is it Johnny? Tell me!" Ponyboy was getting frustrated.

"It's a boy."

That shut 'im up real quick, Johnny thought bitterly. Why did he let himself tell? He didn't mean for it to slip out. It just did.

Ponyboy didn't say anything, just stared at Johnny like he was a mental patient. Just then Johnny heard Two-Bit's loud laughter, followed by a curse from what sounded like Dallas.

"P-Ponyboy, please don't tell them. It's okay if you hate me, just don't tell anyone. Please," Johnny begged. He was desperate. If word got out that he liked a boy, even though he never told Ponyboy which boy he liked, he would automatically be labeled as a 'queer'. Everyone would hate him, especially his idol. Dallas Winston had no patience for homo-sexuals.

Two-Bit and Dallas walked up to the boys. "Whatcha talkin' 'bout?" Dally asked.

Johnny looked at Ponyboy with pleading eyes. Please don't tell, he begged in his mind.

"About how Johnny likes…" he looked at Johnny with cold, hard eyes, "a soc," he finished. Two-Bit cackled.

"Oh, little Johnnycake likes a soc?" he mocked. "That's cute, Johnny! Hope you know that'll never happen." He muttered the last part. Of course it won't happen, greasers and socs never become friends, let alone get together. Besides, a soc wasn't who Johnny wanted. It was his fourteen-year-old best friend.

"Yeah…" Johnny muttered.

"So, who is it?" Two-Bit probed.

"C-Cherry Valance," Johnny lied.

"That dumb broad I tried to pick up?" Dally asked. "She didn't even gimme the time a' day."

Two-Bit laughed loudly. "Yeah, no 'fense, Johnnycake, but she ain't ever gonna waste her pretty little head worryin' 'bout a little greaser boy like you," Two-Bit stated bluntly.

"I know," Johnny agreed. "But I can't help who I like." He glanced at Ponyboy, who was bouncing a ball.

"True," Two-Bit agreed. "Well, we're gonna head over to the Dingo, we'll see ya'll later." They left.

"W-why'd ya cover for me, Pony?" Johnny asked. He was more then curious.

"'Cause ya asked me to," he said coldly.

"Pony, what'sa matter?" Johnny asked. He wondered if he offended his best friend some how.

"Johnny, why do ya like a guy? You know that ain't right," Pony said with disgust.

"I told Two-Bit already, I can't help who I like," Johnny said simply.

"Who is it, Johnny? Is it one of the gang?" Ponyboy shuddered inwardly at it being someone he knew.

"Yeah," Johnny said with caution. "It's one of the gang."

Ponyboy got a disgusted look on his face. "Is it Dally? I always knew you admired him, but I never knew it was like that…he's gonna flip. You know how he feels 'bout queers," he spat out the word like poison.

Johnny was hurt, but he decided to shrug it off. "Naw, man, it ain't Dally."

Ponyboy let himself be puzzled for a short moment, before becoming disgusted again.

"Is it one of my brothers?" Ponyboy asked, looking Johnny dead in the eyes.

"N-no," Johnny choked out. Ponyboy was glaring at him, Johnny didn't know why he was freaking out. He couldn't imagine what Ponyboy was going to think if he ever found out. But, he decided, he wasn't going to tell Ponyboy, or at least that's what he thought.

"Is it Two-Bit? Steve?" he asked. Johnny simply shook his head.

Now Ponyboy was really confused. Johnny's crush was part of the gang, but wasn't one of his brothers. It wasn't Johnny's idol, and it wasn't Two-Bit or Steve. That only left…No, Pony thought as the realization hit him. It can't be. No way.

He looked at the older boy beside him. He saw in his eyes that Johnny knew the conclusion Ponyboy had come up with. Johnny flinched visibly at Ponyboy's next words.

"Is it me?"

A/N: please review. Tell me if you liked it, or if it was stupid, or if it's waaaay over-used, or if I should just stop right here. Constructive criticism appreciated.

Stay gold,

Johnnnycadesgirl16. :)