Disclaimer: I do not own Outsiders. I merely borrow them.

Author notes: Please note this is unbetaed, so let me know of any glaring mistakes.

I recently got a plot bunny for a sick Steve fic and just had to type it up right away. I thought I'd post as I go as then I'll have the motivation to actually carry on. :D

Anyway, enjoy!

Steve's POV

I ran out the house as fast as my legs could carry me, hearing a bottle smash to the ground not too far behind me. I could hear him yelling and swearing at me as I took off down the street, telling me to come back and take my beating like a man. Screw that. One of these days one of us is going to end up dead, either him going too far or me snapping and fighting back. I'm not sure which would be worse.

I slowed to a walk and turned in the direction of the Curtis' home. Where else was I gonna go really? I figured I'd crash on the couch, maybe snag some breakfast later depending on who was doing the cooking. The rain was pelting down like nobody's business and I wished I had had the chance to grab my coat. I wiped my wet hair from my eyes and shoved my hands in my jeans' pockets, bowing my head against the wind. Glory, when had that picked up? It was jeering almost, throwing rain in my face. My shirt was already soaked through and I wasn't even halfway there. Dang, another reason I wish I had my coat. My car keys were in the pocket, I coulda drove and been there by now. Or even driven to Buck's and slept in the parking lot. Woulda done me.

I shivered and took a breath, feeling the iciness of it shoot down into my lungs. Jeez, it was cold! I took my hands from my pockets and blew on my numb fingers. Yeah, that worked. Not. I tried wrapping my arms around myself and rubbing my arms but that minute warmth did little to raise my spirits.

I turned into their road and fixed my sights on the house. Not far to go. Almost there, Steve. Great, now I'm talking to myself. Ponyboy would probably say that's the first sign of madness and if he weren't Soda's little brother I'd deck him.

I made it to the gate and headed up the path, stumbling over the bottom of the porch steps. Great, steps. I was feeling tired and I really didn't want to climb any steps. After all, there was a whole four of them. Where's an elevator when you need it?

I finally reached the porch and almost fell against the wall beside the front door. I slid down into a seated position and leant my head back. Strangely enough I was beginning to feel warmer now. I was feeling out of breath – and, yes, I'm blaming the steps – and the air was rasping harshly in my windpipe, burning my throat. The walk, the wind, the steps – they must have all worn me out some as I was beginning to feel sleepy. Sleepy and warm. I slouched more against the wall and closed my eyes, hearing myself let out a violent sneeze. Huh, must be a bit of driving dust. Then I coughed, once, twice, then a several more, each one making my chest hurt and knocking blissful sleep back a few more moments. I heard the sound of a door opening and footsteps, then a curse. A blurry voice hit my ears but I ignored it. I sneezed again. Pressure on my arm, unappreciated shaking and more words. Hands under my arms, dragging me up, making me stand. Then the ground came up to meet me real fast...