Author's Note: Well, okay, this was just gonna be a short one-sided Steve/Pony fic, kinda inspired by the song, "Blame It On The Rain" by He Is We. I say kinda because no one but me will see the correlation. I'm weird. I mean, "Summerboy" by Lady GaGa makes me think of Kyman, so...

ANYWHORE, it spiraled outta control. It's a one-shot, but, I think if people like it and review about wanting it, I can make more chapters. It's kinda appealing to me, since Steve/Pony is my favorite pairing out of everything. So yeah, there ya go. That's my story and Imma stickin' to it. Hey, you just read this, and this is crazy, but I'm a newbie, so review this, maybe? (WTF is wrong with me?)

I stared off into space, washing the counter of the DX. Well, I should probably use the term 'washing' lightly. I was actually just moving the washcloth in a circular motion in the same spot. I'd been doing that for about twenty minutes now.

I wasn't myself. I mean, how could I be? I hadn't slept in about two days. I'd blown off Soda at least seven times to do absolutely nothing but stay at home, thinking. I knew he was mad at me. Everyone is, I'm not the kind of guy who people really dig. I'm obnoxious for starters, but I'd rather not go down that road. Evie dumped me, said she was tired of being with a guy who didn't care about her.

And I'm okay with that. Sure, at the time I was mad as hell, and I cussed her out pretty good. But she was only saying what was true. I didn't care about her. And I don't care about her. I only really care about one person: Myself. And lately, it seems like I don't care about myself either.

And then there's Ponyboy.

What does that bratty, whiny, stupid little tag-a-long kid have to do with anything? Oh, buddy, he has everything to do with my problem.

How good are you at keeping your secrets from your friends? In my gang, there are no secrets. It's basically seven brothers living in the same house with no parental supervision.

No, I guess that isn't true. Darry is twenty, isn't he? But if he's in a good mood-which is rare as- he's just as immature as the rest of us. And we're all pretty close considering we're all each other has. Some of us happen to be closer than other, like with me and Soda, or Pony and Johnny. Course, the Windrixville incident made everyone closer than ever, to the point now Dallas is even a more social and (dare I say it) caring guy.

But I got pushed away. No one talks about it, really, but surely they all notice. I hardly come around anymore. Why? Well, I guess there're a few reasons for that.

The most prominent being Soda and I just don't dig each other much anymore. I guess it started during that week. Soda was so distraught, he went off on everyone, and if you yelled right back, be ready for the water works.

I'm a shitty best friend. I know that. I should have been more considerate. Sodapop's baby brother had just run away, and no one really understood what had happened. But he was gone, and so was Johnny and Dallas wouldn't tell no one nothing about it, even though everyone knew that he knew everything. And Soda was worried sick over it. But I had my own problems to sort out. I had begun to think things about that stupid kid… and I wished he would just disappear so I wouldn't have to think about him anymore.

And my wish came true. He was gone. But I still couldn't get him out of my head. And it drove me insane. Soda would go on and on about the kid, and all I could do was feel just as depressed. I snapped. I told him enough was enough, and the kid would come crawling back-like always-to come and fuck up everything as usual.

I was angry, okay? I was tired of feeling like a freak for thinking about my best friend's kid brother in that kind of way. Not only because he was my best friend's kid brother, but because Hello! BROTHER? As in, boy?

I remember the way Soda had glared at me; I'd never seen him filled with so much intense hatred. All the anger I'd ever seen him possess, be it in rumbles, dealing with socs, whatever, was all directed at me. And in that very moment, I was no longer Sodapop's best buddy: I was his worst enemy.

We didn't talk much after that. I spent more time hanging with Two-Bit. He was freaking out over Johnny and Pony, too, but it wasn't all he ever talked about. When the kid came back safely, everything was okay again. I gave a half assed apology to Soda, and he accepted it…

But things didn't go back to normal. We started playing tug of war over Two-Bit. Neither of us realized we were doing it. And Two-Bit was kinda amused by it at first. We had drifted apart, and we were trying to find someone new to fill the void. And we naturally wanted to stick to what we knew. After a while, Two-Bit got bored with it, claimed Darry as his best friend, and that was that. Dallas was always kind of unapproachable, so we left him to his own devices.

This left us each other.

So we had a long, and I mean long talk about things, and we came to a sort of silent agreement after all that talking: We hated each other, but we were all we had in terms of friends. And since I'm not one to keep my feelings a secret, I stopped coming around. I didn't have to be around Soda, or his brother who was becoming more and more attractive.

Which brings us to right now, me standing, staring off into space, 'washing' the DX countertop.

"Steve?" I looked up, shocked by the noise filling my empty silence. Soda was looking at me funny, trying to determine what to make of me. "Are you okay?"

Soda didn't give a damn if I was about to pass out or puke, or whatever. He just wanted to know if he would need to call Darry for a ride home, seeing as I drove us to work today.

I looked down at the counter. God, it was filthy. I began actually trying to clean it, ignoring his question.

Sometimes, I'd wonder if he missed us being best friends. He'd start to fall back into our old pattern, but I denied it, and he'd get bitchy and wouldn't speak to me for several days.

I missed him. But I couldn't risk growing attached again. If I did, not only would I be around Ponyboy again, but I'd feel obligated to care again. And caring leads to trust, leads to honesty, leads to secrets…

I had to protect myself. There was just no other way.