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fanfic100: Burn to the Wick

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Feb. 17th, 2006 | 09:46 pm
posted by: aikochan in withextrahappy

Title: Burn to the Wick
Fandom: The Outsiders
Characters: Steve, Sodapop, Ponyboy
Prompt: Passing
Word Count: 576
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Cleaning yourself up is never easy.
Author's Notes: Inspired by Hinton's commentary on what happens to the characters post-novel, but not set in that defined timeline.

It doesn't go so easy these days. His body hurts like hell in sharp cramps, and his forehead is burning with fever. He's always shoving off and pulling up the layers of blankets, puking in the bucket by the bedside, passing through fits where he shakes so much it rattles the bedframe. The curtains have been shut since he's been here. He's like an alley-cat, feral and spitting, but he's too weak and malaised to fight back when Darry puts cold washcloths on his forehead.

The only one he wants around is Soda, and so Soda he has. Soda brings him water and juice and coffee, tries to get him to keep it down. You've gotta keep your fluids up, Soda says, you gotta let it flush out. And he wants to scream back, it doesn't work that way! It's not that easy. But his mouth is too dry to speak.

Mostly it's Soda by the bedside, talking to him low and soothing. Sometimes it's Darry. If Two-Bit is bumming around he'll come hover in the doorway with that rare dark look in his eyes, and he'll whisper, You keep on going, Steve. Then he fades back downstairs. But Soda doesn't leave. Soda stays with him all morning, all day, sleeps on the floor at night and gets up to watch over him when the shaking fits come on bad. Soda's been with him for these three days.

Then on Tuesday - and he only knows the day because they told him - Soda leaves for just a moment, and then the kid comes in. He's got that sunset shit look about him, so before he can say anything Steve snaps, "Get the hell out."

But he doesn't. He sits down in the chair - Soda's chair, damn it - and smiles some stupid lopsided smile. "I can read to you for a while," he says.

"Damned kid." His chest is on fire and he's starting to shake. He can feel a fresh bad spell coming on. "I don't need some kid readin' to me like I'm two years old or something." But the last words peak up sharply because the worst of it is coming on full. His breath is going shallow and he's itching underneath his skin and his whole body is one big ache, and the shakes are coming on strong.

Soda's at his side again on the edge of the bed, puts a hand on his head and smooths his hair. "It's all right," he soothes, "it'll pass. Keep on going, Steve." And he's clenching his teeth and his breath is coming in hisses, tears leaking from his eyes, God he can't take it, they say it gets worse and worse before it gets better, he can't take it, damn it.

Then the kid's voice starts up, smooth and calm. "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." Steve wants to reach out and smack him but he can't even move, his body's jerking itself so badly. So he tries to breathe, and he holds on to the presence of Soda's hands on his head and gripping his own hand, and he holds on to the kid's voice spinning out this story, and he grounds himself in them. And slowly, slowly, the fire calms. Slowly the pain remains only as smoke with the odor of matchsticks.

All characters are the property of S.E. Hinton.

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Comments {8}


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from: phantomtravel3r
date: Feb. 6th, 2008 12:03 pm (UTC)

sorry that i haven't read your fic here yet, but i'm dying to know: could you please elaborate on hinton's commentary on what happened post-novel/timeline and anything else she might have said about the outsiders in general. now that i'm older and looking back at the book and novel, i want to learn more about it. commentary, the making, and so forth.

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