This is a short one-shot that came into my head and wouldn't go away until I wrote it down. I'm very grateful for my two betas, a. fictional. love and premeditated, for all of their help. Reviews are much appreciated.

Disclaimer: I don't own The Outsiders.

He's the actor. He puts on his costume and recites his lines. He's rehearsed them enough times that he can say them without thinking; the words everyone expects to hear from a tough hood come naturally now. He pretends to be someone who he's not, his mask hiding his fear, his guilt, his sadness. He's concealed himself so well that no one can see how close he is to breaking. He's the actor in a play only he knows about.

He's the storyteller. They ask about him, about his parents, about New York. So he answers their questions, exaggerating where the truth could use some embellishing and making up stories when the truth is best left untold. He has no control over real life, but what happens in his tales is all up to him. He's the storyteller, reinventing himself and his past for a captivated audience.

He's the hood. His reputation precedes him. Between his police record and the numerous fights he's been in, almost everyone knows who he is. They swap tales about his latest crimes, awe and fear evident in their voices. He's used to the stares and whispers by now. He's the hood that no one dares to mess with.

He's the hero. He's taken the fall for his friends and covered for them when they needed it. He's even risked his life to save them. In the end, though, he's the hero who couldn't save himself.

He's the friend. They can always count on him to have their backs in a rumble. Sure, he isn't sappy or anything, but he does care. In the end, though, that's the problem. He's the friend who would have been better off alone.

He's the enemy. He's a greaser, a hood. He's from the wrong side of the tracks, and they can't look past that. It doesn't matter that he's risked his life to save his friends. He's what's wrong with society. Getting rid of him would do the world a favor. He's the enemy they never understood.

He's the soldier. To him, life is just one big battle. He's been fighting for as long as he can remember, and by now his armor is thick enough that nothing can get through. But even he can't take on the whole world. He's the soldier who died fighting an unwinnable battle.

He is all of these things and none of them. He is more than anyone knows and less than anyone suspects. He is who he makes himself to be, for better or worse.

So, what did you think? I'd really love some feedback.