Hi y'all! IIII'mmm baaaacckk! (cue dramatic music and evil laughter). This chapter sorta has a story behind it. I was wearing blue jeans, a plain black t-shirt and an oversize blue jean jacket when I was outside writing this. It reminded me of Johnny. Anyway! Please read and review! This idea had been knawing on my fanfiction brain saying "write me! Write me!" so, I obeyed. I actually wrote this a few days ago, edited it (which I don't normally do for my chapters) and posted it today in celebration of a stressful week. Don't worry, I have NOT abandoned ship on my NCIS one, though I doubt any of you have read it. Important information needed to understand this story is below:

THIS IS SIX MONTHS AFTER THE BOOK

TWO-BIT IS STILL IN SCHOOL

SODA AND STEVE ARE NOT IN WAR

Please read and review!

Ponyboy's POV

"Ponyboy, what is this for?" Darry shouted from the kitchen for the tenth time. He'd been real distracted lately. There was something big and coming up at work, so I've rarely seen him at all for the past week. So, I jumped at the first chance I had to get him to sign the permission slip that would let me go on the field trip.

"Field trip to Chicago, Dar," I answered from the couch.

"Who else is goin'?"

I rolled my eyes. If he would just read the dang paper, I wouldn't have to answer these questions.

"Entire class," I responded.

"Two-Bit mentioned goin to Chicago too..." Steve asked from his half-sitting-half-laying-down position at my feet. His shift was shorter than Sodapop's today, so Soda was still at work.

"Yeah," I answered, looking down at him from over the top of my book. "His class and my class got the most money for the fundraiser,"

"Two-Bit going?" Darry called.

"Yeah, Two-Bit too," I hollered.

"Timbucktoo?" Steve asked, looking at me with confusion. I rolled my eyes and smiled.

"No, idiot. Two-Bit too," I replied, over enunciating the last phrase. I laughed at Steve's glare. He turned and grabbed my legs, yanking me off the couch and forcing me to leave my book behind. He scrambled to get on top of me, but I rolled to the side and jumped to my feet just in time to get knocked down again.

"You gonna be gone for three days?" Darry shouted from the kitchen, pretending not to hear the wrestling match that was ensuing. I shoved Steve off of me, and walked into the kitchen since I was tired of yellin' all the answers.

"Yeah," I answered at normal speaking level.

Surprisingly, Darry looked pretty well put together. The only hint that Darry was stressed was the dark circles around his eyes. That, and his posture. He was slumped over, his head being supported by his arm which rested near a half-empty coffee. I really didn't know how he could handle it all. Taking care of me and Soda, paying all the bills, and juggling two jobs. It was too much, even for Superman.

"What's the date?" Darry asked as he scribbled down his signature. I grinned, because I honestly didn't know if Darry was going to let me go or not. I knew Darry was never too crazy about me being out of his reach.

"The 24th," I supplied. He rushed to finish the rest of the form and handed it to me.

"Don't lose it," he mumbled, the corner of his lip twitching into a smile. He turned back to the pile of bills, and he quietly moaned. I nodded and went back into my room and stuffed it into my bag.

THAT NIGHT…..

I had toppled into bed next to Sodapop.

"You going on that field trip?" Soda asked me, even though I was already half asleep. Still, I noticed that there was something in his voice that sounded like…worry?

"Yup. Darry signed the form when he got home," I mumbled. I figured that it was probably my imagination that was making me think Soda's voice was tinged with concern.

Soda simply nodded and it was only minutes before I fell asleep.

VVVVVV

I woke up, not sure why, and noticed that Sodapop wasn't there.

"Ssshhhh! Soda, you're gonna wake Ponyboy up!" That was Darry, his voice a loud whisper. Too late for that, I thought. I quietly slipped out of bed, making sure not to be heard, and slipped down the hallway. Darry and Soda were in the kitchen.

"I can't believe you, Dar. You're seriously going to let Ponyboy go on that trip?" Sodapop.

Darry didn't say anything.

"Do you realize how many Socs are in that class, Darry?" Soda continued,

"Yeah, I do. But Two-Bit's going too,"

"Two-Bit can't be Ponyboy's bodyguard,"

"You never have any problems when he goes to the movies by himself," There was a short moment of silence, and I knew they were remembering the time I got jumped on the way home from a movie, it had happened six months ago, but I still haven't forgotten. That's just not something you can forget…

"He's not miles and miles away when he goes down the block," Soda murmured, finally breaking the silence.

"No, he isn't. But he's not, but we can't keep him here just because we're afraid of losing him,"

"What if something happens to him? We'll be miles and miles and miles away, Dar!"

"I asked myself that too. I almost didn't sign the paper," Darry mumbled so low I almost didn't hear it.

"Then why did you? The Socs ain't still his biggest fan." Flashbacks of Johnny and the night he killed that Soc ran through my mind.

Darry sighed. "I think it would be good for him. Give him a chance to see a little more of the world than just what Tulsa has to offer. Besides, you should've seen his face when I handed him the paper back, Soda. It's been a while since I'd seen him grin like that."

Silence ensued for a few moments, and I slipped back into the bedroom with my mind buzzing with questions. The biggest thing that was bugging me was that normally Sodapop would take the side that I was on, and Darry would take the opposite. I pushed away the thought and quickly fell asleep thinking about the next day.

Two days until the trip, was my last drowsy thought.

Please review! I think this is going to be a rather long story, but I'm not going to swear to anything. ANYWAY! REVIEW!