Disclaimer: I don't own The Outsiders.

Title: "People Like You and Me"

Rating: T

POV: Dally's POV, starting from Johnny's jumping. I took the liberty of adding a few scenes here and there. I cannot remember everything from the book, since I lost my home copy (NOOOO!), so I apologize in advance if some really nitpicky details are off. But I have a relatively good memory, so it shouldn't really be too big of a deal.

Summary: "I know this is going to sound really weird coming from me, but right now I'm scared of you. You just aren't the same. I think you know you aren't the same. That's the thing—you've been through it all before, but—but now you know it."

A/N: This was originally going to be one story, but it was just too long to post it all here. So I'm breaking it up into chapters. Review!


God.

That's all I can think when I see you. I look once and you're down on the grass.

You're not moving.

God.

I know, somehow, that this is it for you. What makes me sick is that I couldn't have done anything to stop it. You were all alone. You must have been there for a while. Why? Why are you bleeding like that? What reason is there for all of this?

Steve tells you not to talk. Ponyboy just looks at me.

They turn you over in the grass and then I get a good look.

God.

My heart is pounding so much I want to kill someone right now. I've got to get out of here.

My blood is boiling while yours is pouring out.

It's not looking good for either of us, kid.


You're a tough kid—a good kid—so I guess this entire thing will resolve itself. But there's something different in your face, and it's not that scar you got. I know this is going to sound really weird coming from me, but right now I'm scared of you. You just aren't the same. I think you know you aren't the same. That's the thing—you've been through it all before, but—but now you know it.

That scares the absolute shit out of me.

I'm sleeping when there's a quiet knock on the door.

"Ugh. Who is it?"

"It's Johnny," you say.

Damn. Oh, damn. Damn, damn, damn.

I groan in the pillows. Why now? I am so hung over it's not even funny. I have a system of perfect darkness here. If you open that door I am going to die.

"Come in," I say.

You walk in and don't seem to mind the darkness. You don't even ask why I've buried myself underneath a mountain of pillows. You must be getting pretty good at this stuff.

You shut the door behind you, sit down on the outermost corner of the bed and don't say anything for almost ten minutes. I don't forget you're there, but I might have if I didn't know you. Not even your clothes make a sound.

"John...'s getting late," I sniff. "You should, um, go home...or to Pony's."

"I don't wanna bother him," you say. "Not tonight."

I look up; there is a flash in your eyes.

"Dally," you say, almost too quietly...I don't like it.

"Johnny," I say. "What's wrong?"

You look at me and I finally realize something.

"Johnny...oh God."

"I don't—"

"No."

"I'm sorry Dally, really I am—"

"Johnny," I say. I'm starting to breathe a little faster. "Where is it?"

"—you've been a good friend and all—"

"Where is it, Johnny?"

"—I—I just hope you understand—"

"Johnny, I swear to God, if you don't tell me where it is—"

The dam bursts.

I hear something click, and a quiet, shaking sob.

"—I never wanted it to be like thi—"

"Put the fucking knife down, Johnny!" I scream. Lunging forward, I knock you over, and something glinting spills out from your front pocket. A switchblade. Black. It's almost too clean to be lying there. No fingerprints—you've been cleaning it all night. Clean...you want a clean break this time...and you've never even touched a blade before.

Who are you, kid? Just who are you tonight?

"No! Let me go!" you're screaming. "I have to die!"

Oh God.

"Oh, Johnny," I say. It's all I can say. "Oh, Johnny. Oh, fuck, Johnny, fuck it all..."

You look at me, then hang your head, like you've been doing a lot lately.

"I'm sorry," you whisper.

I hang on tight. I've never been so helpless in my whole fucking life. I'm pretty sure you can hear my heart pounding through my jacket. Damn it, I almost lost...I almost lost what I never even wanted to think about losing. But you're here, crying a mighty river to hell, soaking through my shirt, and now I've got to pull my shit through the fire...for you.

It's the first time I realize I can't love you more than you hate yourself. I can't change your life. What am I supposed to do? Whip your father's ass? Go after your mother? Jump every ring-wearing Soc who breathes on you? I wouldn't even think busting all their skulls and going straight to hell for it—but I'd just have to see one look on your face like the one you gave me a minute ago and I think I'd explode.

It takes hours before you calm down, sitting there in the silence. The sun is coming up a kind of orange-gold. I don't always know dawn from dusk, but for me, it doesn't really matter, because I'm usually too smashed to tell until it's afternoon anyway.

"Dally," you say finally.

"Shut up," I say. "Listen."

You listen.

"You hear that?"

A pause.

"...Yeah."

"That's my heart," I say. "Don't break it, you little fucker."


The first time you stand up for yourself is not even six months after that, in the movie bleachers of all places.

I snort. You get cut up and all of a sudden you think you're the shit. Hot damn. I like ya, kid, but you sorta have to know the waylay of things, y'know? Dally doesn't like these other little shits running around as it is.

I am so bored just sitting here. Why did I let you guys drag me along? Wait...I dragged you guys along. Damn. I must still be hung over.

Dumb flick, even dumber broads. Pony is grinning like an idiot at them, as always—oh shit, now you're catching it too, what the hell is that—and I'm already in a bad mood. I got busted for slashing Tim's tires today. Well, the motherfucker had it coming to him. I have no fucking clue why people are saying we're best buddies. I hate his guts. I don't care if he works or not; he had it fucking coming.

Oh. That redhead is a real spitfire. She's such a clever little pussy. Why not be chivalrous? I think, and offer her my Coke. Here, kitty, kitty

Of course she dumps it on me, the bitch.

And then you tell me to leave her alone.

This day just keeps on getting better and better.

"What?" I say.

You and Pony look at me as if I'm gonna start whuppin' your asses in three seconds, which, really, I'm not, but you Okies are weird like that—you wouldn't know a New York bluff if it fell right on top of you.

Finally, I get up, grumbling. I can't talk to bimbos all day. Besides, I've got to take a leak—but I sure as hell ain't gonna tell you that.

I see Two-Bit sauntering down the road. We greet each other in the customary way: first I flip him off.

"Hey, fuck you, man!" I say.

"Same same, ass-hat!" he nods.

We're starting to close the gap between us.

"Greasy bitch-ass!"

"Filthy motherfucker!"

Now we gotta be quick.

"Jackass!"

"Delinquent!"

"Wino!"

"Hood!"

"Shithole!"

"Bastard!"

Then, suddenly, I stop. He stops too.

"Fuck—I didn't say Simon Says," I say.

He grins and starts walking again.

"Hey, grease!" I call out.

"What?" he says.

"Can you tag-team me for Pony and Johnny tonight?"

"Why? You gotta hot date?"

"Nah—I gotta take a leak on your front lawn."

"Oh, so it is a hot date, then," he says, laughing like the hysterical drunk-ass he is, then flips me off in salutation as he runs on down the road.

I shake my head...I can always count on Two-Bit.


"Jesus," I say. I fell on my side at Merril's and now it's starting to burn. "Je-sus Christ, didn't anyone ever tell you you don't tie it like that?"

I take the tourniquet away from Buck and rip it off of me, starting again.

"That's what you get for ridin' an ornery pony, Winston," Buck says. He grins so wide I want to punch his mouth in and make him wear his bottom lip like a hat.

"Hey," I murmur, raising my eyebrows, "here's a new idea—how about you shut the fuck up?"

"Then you don't get your money," he says, dangling a green slip between his fingers.

I snatch the fifty away from his hand.

"Ow."

"Looks like you don't know how to tie a tourniquet either," he smiles.

"You shitting me, Buck? I know how to tie a tourniquet out of somebody's intestines. I should know—I lived in goddamn New York City. They eat people like you for breakfast."

Grinning stupidly, as always, he leaves me alone. After he finally closes the door, I toss aside the tourniquet and try to sleep off this fucking three-day hangover.


"Dally," Buck says about an hour later, shaking the bed. "Dally, come on, wake up—you got some visitors."

"Tell 'em take a rain check," I mumble.

"Dally—"

I whip a pillow at the door, missing his head miserably. "Go away!"

"Fine," he says. "I'll tell Pony and John or whatever the hell their names are you're still asleep."

"Pony and John—oh shit!" I scream. "Wait! Tell 'em to wait!"

Fuck! I think as I trip and bang my head on the door slipping my pants on. Then, struggling with the fly, I don't look where I'm going and almost trip down the first flight of stairs. But I somehow pull it together and stick a weed in my mouth just as I round the corner. It was a trick I learned, like a law of physics or something—if you're a dorkwad early on, you turn cool at the last minute. I call it Dally's Conservation of Tuff.

I am such a dickweed. I love it.

"Yeah," I say, peering out into the night.

Whoa; I draw back a little. Your eyes are huge, and Ponyboy is sopping wet.

"What's up?" I say.

You and Pony look at each other.

"I...killed a Soc," you say.

You...killed a Soc?

You killed a Soc?

You?

"Good for you," I say.

That's when you turn white and start to fidget: "I'm sorry—I didn't wanna take you away from the party and all-"

Party? ...Party? What party? Curious to see a party, I glance behind me; bluegrass is blaring from the main room while ten thousand country hicks are whooping and swinging off the chandeliers. I turn back around and suck in the urge to sigh. If you think that's a party, kid, then you got yourself some real issues.

"I was in the bedroom," I say. "Geez, Pony, not like that."

You guys follow me up the stairs.

"You'll die of pneumonia 'fore the cops ever get to you," I say, throwing one of Buck's shirts to Ponyboy.

Jesus. You killed a guy? Wait, no, not even a guy—a Soc? Are you guys fucking crazy?

You of all people?


So...eh? Yea? Nay? OK?