Ponyboy wonders how they got here, he and Two-bit; lying still on the ground, limbs sprawled, eyes shut. He can taste blood in his mouth. There is a puddle spreading out from under him, warm, much warmer than he ever thought it'd be. Red, or black, he doesn't know. Somewhere in between death and life, floating, he lies, weak with misery and pain.
"Kid, kid, kid," Two-bit keeps saying. Ponyboy wants to tell him to shut up, but the effort to move his mouth is too much work, so he keeps it shut.
They used to be walking on the side of the road, and now they're not. He thinks of screeching tires and the way that the socs had screamed, "Oh my God!" There was a flash of lights, and then identical thuds - Two-bit, and one from him, he wonders? Ponyboy can feel hands on his, telling him to hold the fuck on, holy shit, you're bleeding - and then there is nothing.
When Ponyboy wakes, he has regained some of his strength. He moves each limb once, at one point biting down on a scream. His legs are broken, his collarbone is shattered, there's glass in his hair, and the gravel has scraped his cheek. It burns, he muses, eyelids heavy. The world is black, he knows, folding in on itself, the universe non-existent at the moment because the feeling in his body is ten-fold, screaming and breaking and tearing of sack-cloth, wounds and scabs on skin, the heart literally bleeding because the valve doesn't shut properly, his mind like cracked mosaics. He sees pretty stained windows the color red.
"Kid, you gotta stay awake," Two-bit says, and Ponyboy lets his head loll to the side, so their eyes can meet. "God, thank God, you're alive. I thought you were dead." The words are choked, and Ponyboy shifts his fingers so that his brush his friend's the smallest bit.
Two-bit coughs, and something crismson dribbles down his chin miserably. "You okay, Pone?"
"You're askin' me.." Pony manages, choking on the feeling of pennies rising in the back of his throat. He tries to hide the growing alarm inside of him, but fails. The sixteen year old connects their fingers once more. He doesn't wanna die alone.
Two-bit starts to take smaller breaths, each one frantic and garbled, as if he were inhaling liquid, and Ponyboy knows that he is, but not any kind he ever should. He doesn't want Two-bit to die either.
"'ey, you keep your eyes open." He tells him, and Two-bit tries to smile, but the look is lost.
Ponyboy wonders how long they've been out here. If he were to scream, would they survive?
"I wish I 'ad a beer 'fore now." Two-bit slurs, eyelids slipping shut. He makes a sound that bubbles up inside of him strangely, as if he were breaking in two, and Ponyboy keeps their hands together as if he held on, he would never fall apart. He knows that there is nothing he can do. "... you think your brothers are lookin' for you?"
"Sure," Pony says, his own eyes now angled towards the starlit sky. He can see Heaven from here, he thinks. A mass of color and sound and light, right up in the middle of it all, swirling and rotating and breathing with laughter and love. He wonders what it's like, up there. "Darry an' Soda are prob'ly doin' it now. Lookin'."
"....that's nice," Two-bit muses, eyebrow quirked awkwardly, grinning feebly. "Wish my Ma were here..." He admits. "I ain't ready to die yet... I know it sounds like a fool thing to say, but I didn't tell her goodbye this mornin', 'fore she went to work. She's always workin'." He pauses, inhaling. "I guess I ain't such a hood after all, huh, Pony?"
"Nah," Ponyboy breathes, but smiles. "You ain't never been a hood."
He is glad that they are friends - Two-bit is unlike any other. Johnny was brave, but he was always quiet. Not that Ponyboy minded the silence, because sometimes his mind was screaming at him and he needed it. Johnny didn't steal, or rob liquor stores like Two-bit, but he did other things, like save Ponyboy's life. Two-bit's never done that, but that's okay. He doesn't exactly need to be saved.
Well, now he does, but where would that get them? Lying here, the ground cold and blood growing in puddles beneath them. Who will find them, he wonders, if they die? Will it be some stranger, driving down the road and hitting an unexpected bump in the road, the body twisted and gnarled and hands, still connected with another corpse. Or will it be Soda, or Darry, or Steve? Who will cry and duck their head and say, not the kid, not Two-bit.
"Do you ever miss your mom and dad, Pone?" Two-bit asks suddenly, words harsh from lack of use.
"All the time," his friend admits, and Two-bit squeezes his fingers in assurance; it's okay, the words unspoken. "Your dad?"
"No, not really." Two-bit says, then, "he was never around when he was here, so I ain't really thought of 'im often. If he loved my Ma, he had a funny way 'a showin' it." There is a long moment of silence, only broken by wet coughs and labored breathing. Two-bit's hand falls out his grasp, and he struggles to grasp it back.
"I'm tired," Two-bit finally states, eyelids closed, curled up on himself. Ponyboy has forgotten about his pain until now, and it comes rushing back; if screaming were a feeling, it'd be this, and maybe he does scream. Maybe he is already dead.
"Kid, kid," when he's back into reality, he can't stop thinking about his crooked legs, or the puddle that had seeped through his clothes, red and black at the same time. "You kinda spaced on me for a moment."
"Sorry," Pony gasps, his chest heaving. His ribs ache with the effort to push his collapsed lungs up, up, up.
It begins to rain.
"Are you ready?" Two-bit asks, voice wobbling with uncontained fear. "I'll see you there, Pone. Where ever the hell we end up."
Ponyboy can only nod. He memorizes the sound of his voice, and hopes that wherever he ends up next, is somewhere better than this. Somewhere without socs or greasers, somewhere with laughter and joy, and god, he's gonna die alone, he isn't ready, so many things he will never do; Two-bit's hand goes limp in his as the older male lets go, thrown into some reality. Perhaps somewhere, as this breath is released, someone else will take that breath and exhale, and inhale, and exhale. He wonders who will mourn for him.
His eyes open, close, and then do not open again.