First chapter's short but I really just wanted to start the story. And yeah I'm pretty sure this has been done before but whatever, I really wanted to try it.

And yeah I'm sorry about the absence. It's a long story.

His alarm clocked rang. Well, rang was a mild way of describing it. Shrieking, piercing, wailing… Ponyboy Curtis' brain droned on and on with adjectives. Squealing, squawking, crying, and blaring.

The funny thing was, Ponyboy could never remember when the ring of his alarm clock had really begun to bother him so much. When had it changed from a mild annoyance to something that filled him with dread? Or maybe it wasn't the alarm that filled him with dread but the idea that he had no other choice but to pull himself out of bed and face whatever horrors were in store for him.

He cracked an eyelid open. Soda was already gone. Pony bit back a sigh and sat up in bed before pressing the heels of his hands against his eye sockets in an attempt to ward of unwanted tears. He'd repeated this action so often in the past four months that he was surprised he hadn't given himself black eyes.

Everything was wrong. Pony could not believe how drastically different life was without them. He should but he didn't. It wasn't just the absence that hurt, although just thinking about gallant men was a stab to the heart; it was the affect he had never predicted it would have on everyone else.

Of course they were devastated, that was to be expected, but everything else was not.

Soda hardly spoke anymore, that was the general reason people attributed to the big drop in business down at the DX. He stopped being the understanding, charming, big brother a long time ago, now he was more like the ghost brother, hardly ever seen or heard.

Two-Bit was a drunk. Well he was always a drunk but it was worse, so much worse. No longer was he a social drinker for all occasions, there was hardly a moment that he hadn't been liquored up in the past four months, and Two-Bit had turned into a mean drunk. His mom threw him out of the house 'cause he stole his sister's lunch money for beer. Ponyboy didn't know where he was living. The only place that took in stray greasers was Buck's but none of them had been near the place ever since the disaster.

Steve just got angrier and angrier. He'd hit ya' as soon as look at ya'. Didn't matter anymore if you were a greaser or a soc, or if you were young or old, or fat or thin. Hell, Pony thought, it hardly mattered if you were a girl or a boy. One more fight and he'd go to the big house for a good long year. Ponyboy gave him about another week.

Pony rolled onto his side and took a deep breath through his nose. It never helped to dwell on the pain, he reminded himself, but maybe he'd stay in bed for a while longer. It was a Saturday if he wasn't mistaken, no one would be lookin' for him for a good long while. It didn't take much to convince himself, and without another thought he drifted off into the only place he could see Johnny or Dallas anymore—his dreams.


"If you had the chance, would you change things?" asked the voice.

"What?" Ponyboy Curtis jerked his head around the empty space he found himself in, looking for the source of the deep voice.

The omniscient voice chuckled, "Would you change it, Mr. Curtis?"

Pony swallowed, only his teachers called him "Mr. Curtis."

"Change what?" Pony asked tentatively.

The voice deepened in amusement, "The past Mr. Curtis. Would you change your fate and that of Mr. Cade and Winston?"

Pony flinched when he heard the names, but the voice either didn't notice or care because it continued on, "You could, you know. There aren't many rules restricting these kinds of things."

Pony swallowed and glared upward, as he had decided that was his best guess for wherever this voice was coming from, "I don't know what you're talking about. Get out of my dream." Because surely that's what this was. A dream.

The voice tsked him, Pony got the feeling that it was not so much annoyed as amused, "I'm only trying to help. Could be a bit more grateful. I simply asked you a question, if you could change what happened to your friends would you?"

Rage exploded in his chest, "What do you want from me? YES! Yes, of course I would save them! Is that what you want to hear you stupid…voice?" Pony screamed.

When the voice spoke it sounded positively delighted, "That's exactly what I'd like to hear!"

Suddenly Ponyboy felt as though he were being squeezed through a tunnel padded with cotton. Some unidentifiable pressure was pushing at him from all sides and something dropped in his stomach. Deciding now that maybe being awake would be better than whatever awaited him here he willed his screaming alarm clock to resume its task and when that failed he begged for one of his brothers or friends to open the door and shake him awake, but no such thing occurred. That didn't shock him really everyone seemed to avoid his house like the plague now a days, "Only one rule, Curtis," The voice warned, "A life for a life!"

When Ponyboy regained his bearings he was surrounded by blackness and a bright screen. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust but when they did he realized that he was longer in the same setting as that voice but instead sitting in a dark movie house.