A/N: Let's start on a clean slate, shall we? Hi guys! Thanks for bearing with me and my lack of time management skills! School's out on Friday though, so I'll be a bit quicker with updates. Everyone ready for that brother scene I was talking about? :)

Disclaimer: I don't own The Outsiders or the other thing that I will specify at the bottom!



"Shh, it'll be alright baby." Soda's soothing voice murmurs as he pulls back a single strand of sweaty hair off my forehead.

I let out a groan, trying to squirm away from the pain. I feel miserable. "It hurts Soda. Make it go away."

My stomach makes a violent jump and I lean forward, gagging.

"Relax little buddy." Darry whispers, rubbing my back. He gently pushes my head down onto his shoulder. I let a few burning tears slip, taking in a breath as they glide off my cheeks.

"It's okay Pony, we're here. You can sleep, we won't go anywhere." Soda smiles lightly, catching my fight to stay awake.

"You promise?" I mumble, sleepily holding out my pinky finger like a two year old.

Wordlessly, he wraps his around mine, planting a kiss on the side of my head. With a yawn, I close my eyes into a restless dark.

"No! Help!" I cry out, blocking my face with my hands.

A large figure looms above, his face shadowed over as he throws down a busted up bottle. I flinch away from it, the movement earning a fist connecting to my jaw. Metallic fills my mouth and I spit out blood. The person flicks his hair back, familiar blue-green icy eyes staring down at me.

"D-Darry?" I whimper quietly, half to myself.

He grins devilishly, pulling me up by my shirt collar. I'm slammed back against the wall before plummeting down toward the hard concrete of the alleyway. He jabs his toe into my gut a couple times, knocking all the breath out of me.

"Soda! Soda, please!" I call, despite the fact that'll just earn me more hurt.

"He's not gonna save you this time." He snarls and I'm instantly scared stiff.

Darry bends down, bringing his fist against my stomach roughly.

"Soda" I stutter out in a whisper, praying he hadn't heard me.


"Pony! Ponyboy! Wake up little buddy!" I blink open my eyes to find Darry shaking my shoulders.

I involuntarily flinch away, not exactly sure why I'm so scared of him. All I remember is hurt. Excruciating pain. Tears slip down my cheeks as I frantically glance around the room.

"Soda?" I call out panicky.

"He just went over to the bathroom, little buddy. It's okay, he'll be back in a little bit." Dare tries to grab hold of my hand, but I pull it back instinctively. Hurt flits across his eyes at the action.

"Soda! Soda, help!" I cry, squirming in my seat.

I'm terrified with my brother leaning above me. Even worse without Sodapop. My stomach tumbles around in circles and I feel bile rising up in my throat. Leaning over the armrest, I puke out of pure fear. It splatters into the garbage can with a sickly sound and I let out a tiny groan. My savior enters the room moments later, rushing to my side.

"Help me Soda." I mumble weakly, avoid eye contact with Darry.

He pushes Dare out of the way and I instantly feel safer. He rubs my back softly, murmuring. Digging my head into his chest, Soda holds me close, blocking out Darry from view.

"What's wrong, honey?" he asks gently, stroking the back of my head.

"D-Darry." I sputter out, shaking like a leaf.

"What about him? What'd Dare do?" he coos.

"B-beat…H-he beat me." Scattered memories of the dream come flooding back and I shy away from his touch. Soda doesn't notice, or doesn't care, at this point, I'm not sure which.

"Honey. He wouldn't ever hurt you. It was all just a dream. A bad, scary dream, alright?" he pulls back a little, just to look deep into my eyes.

I nod. Still shaking. Still crying. And still unconvinced. Sodapop brings his chair closer, rubbing my hand softly. Darry squats down in front of me, regret filling his face.

"I would never beat you Pony." He says, resting his hands on my knees.

Squeaking a little, I squirm out of his touch. Sighing in defeat, Darry gets up and steps out of the room.

"Ponyboy. Look at me." Soda's gentle voice is replaced with a half-stern, serious one, "Darry won't beat you. He'd rather die himself than hurt you again. He loves you. It was just a dream. Nothing like that will ever happen. Alright? You're safe." He glances to the door, "And you just made your brother feel terrible." I hang my head, upset that he's ashamed of me. "I want you to apologize to him. We're all stressed and hurting right now. Okay, little colt?"

I nod slightly as he motions Darry to come back inside.

"I'm so, so sor-" Dare starts. I cut him off with my hand, cowering back in fear of him getting mad I interrupted. Soda's words echo through my head and I sit back normally.

"I'm sorry Darry. I was scared from a nightmare. I didn't mean to hurt you." I say, playing with the seat seam.

"It's okay, little buddy." He ruffles my hair, a bunch of strands catching onto his hand. He brushes them away, pretending not to notice anything.

I groan, stuffing my face into my arms, "Not my hair."

"It's normal for hair to fall out, see?" Soda repeats the action, hopeful. Sure enough, a few strands catch as well, but I know that's not just it.

"We could cut it so you don't have to watch it all fall out." Darry suggests.

I shrug, not keen on that option either, "I guess."

"You really want to cut it off?" Soda asks, surprised.

I nod reluctantly, looking over to Dare. He gets the point, and leaves to hopefully find a pair of scissors. After a few minutes of silence, he reappears, the pointy object in hand. Silently cringing and regretting my decision, I pull myself up so he has access to my hair. For a second, I almost ask if Soda could do it instead, but change my mind. I feel a sense of déjà vu for a moment, with Johnny at the church, before shoving the thought out of my mind. Let's just hope this 'event' doesn't end as badly.

"Ready Pone?" He asks, breath hot on my ear.

"Ready as I'll ever be." I mumble stubbornly.

I feel the cool metal against the back of my neck, gulping as I hear the sound of my hair being cut off. Soda stands at my side, watching Darry, but still close to me.

"Golly, his hair sure is long." I hear Sodapop whisper quietly. Dare grunts out a half garbled response, detaching more of my second most prized possession. With the thought, I grab Gone with the Wind out from under my leg and flip through the pages, trying to take my mind off my hair.

I stupidly glance down, a sick feeling in my stomach as I see all the hair scattered across the ground.

"Haven't you gotten enough off?" I whine.

Wordlessly, he continues his work., humming lightly to himself. It's "Jailhouse Rock" and I smile inwardly.

"Number forty-seven said to number three: "You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see." Soda bursts out suddenly.

I let out a laugh as Darry joins in the singing.

"I sure would be delighted with your company, come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me. Let's rock, everybody, let's rock. Everybody in the whole cell block was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock."

My brothers poke at me, trying to get me to sing along. I shake my head, pretending to zip my mouth shut.

Shrugging, they continued on, "The sad sack was a sittin' on a block of stone
way over in the corner weepin' all alone. The warden said,-"

"Hey, buddy, don't you be no square. If you can't find a partner use a wooden chair." I hollered at the top of my lungs.

"Let's rock!" Soda leans in, punching my arm playfully.

"Everybody, let's rock!" Darry laughs out.

"Everybody in the whole cell block." I let out a small giggle.

"Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!" We're laughing too hard to finish the song, so we just end it there.

The door creaks open and I shoot my gaze toward it. Doctor Ford walks in with a smile and a blush creeps over my cheeks.

"You boys seem to be having fun." She looks us over.

Glancing up, I see both Darry and Soda are blushing too. Dare ruffles my hair up a bit, a couple already cut strands freeing themselves.

"My, you look different." Her eyes go wide.

Soda finds a mirror in one of the cabinets and brings it to me. She's right. I do look different. My hair is cut almost down to my scalp and it's so thin that the color looks lighter than I'm used to. I run a hand through it, letting out a long, low whistle at the feel. There's not much there. A pang of sadness hits, but I know this would've happened eventually.

"I'm glad you chose to do this, Ponyboy. Many patients keep their hair long and get even more depressed when it starts to fall." She pats my shoulder. "Your chemotherapy is done for today."

Doctor Ford removes the needle, covering it with a bandage. I freely move my arm, happy to have it gone.

"If you would come with me, I'll take you to your room." The three of us get up, following her down the bright hallway.

She pushes the door of room 3328 open. My room. My bag is sitting next to the bed, books inside waiting to fling open. I had to have Soda sit on top of it to close it. Of course, he didn't mind the books being gone. Not like he was ever going to read them. I lay Gone with the Wind on top, crawling into the bed. With a small wave, Doctor Ford leaves, her blonde hair shimmering in the light.

"You know who she reminds me of?" Soda asks.

"Sandy?" He looks at me in shock. Okay…not Sandy.

"Mom." Darry doesn't take his eyes off the door.

I look at the both of them like they're crazy.

"Think about it, Pony." Soda starts, waving his hands wildly for emphasis, "The hair. The eyes. She's always helping people. Always happy. She's the spittin' image of Momma, for cryin' out loud!"

And I do. I do think about it. And Soda's right. Doctor Ford does remind me of Mom. She could pass for her twin. Sadness floods over me. I really miss my parents. I would give anything to have them back. At least just to see them again. Just once. To be able to wrap my arms around Mom again. To breathe in the flowery smell of her perfume. To impress Dad with how much taller and mature I've gotten. To tell them how much I love them.

"You okay, Pone?" Soda's voice breaks into my thoughts.

I nod, rubbing at my eyes, surprised to find tears falling.

"I miss them too." Darry pulls me in a hug, reading my mind.

Hey Johnny and Dallas. Could you say hi to Mom and Dad for us? Tell 'em we really miss them. We'll see you guys later. Hopefully not too soon, though.

A/N: I don't own Jailhouse Rock either. The wonderful Elvis Presley does. :)