Stay Golden

Leverage: Parker/Team as members/siblings of The Outsiders characters

Warnings: None

Parker moved slowly down the walkway. When she got half way down, she stopped in front of a grave stone under a tall oak tree. She knelt in front of it, her hands clasped around the stems of the flowers she had brought. It took a few minutes to be able to lift her eyes and gaze upon the name etched in stone. JOHNNY CADE. Her brother died two years ago from burns he received while saving some kids in a burning church. His friend, Dally, died that same night in a shoot out with the cops.

Parker gently laid the flowers in front of the headstone. She brushed the leaves and dirt off the top before pulling the weeds around it. It was the first time she'd come since his death. She'd been too heartbroken to visit the final resting place of her brother, but she was leaving today and it was the last chance for her to say good-bye.

“I don't really know how to do this.” Parker whispered softly. “Ponyboy said to just say what's on my mind and that you'd be able to hear me.”

Parker leaned in closer to the headstone, talking into it as if it were a microphone. “Can you hear me, Johnny?”

Parker waited with baited breath, straining to hear a response. When she got none, she sighed and sat back. Her fingers lifted slowly, tracing the outline of his name on the stone. “I miss you. I miss you so much.”

Her eyes closed against the pain that threatened to erupt within her. Taking a shaky breath, she withdrew her hand and gripped the edge of her sweater as she struggled to maintain control.

“Sorry. I promised I wouldn't cry. Soda said you wouldn't want me to cry.” Parker said. “He said that you'd just want to know I was okay.”

Parker paused as she thought about what to say next. “I wasn't okay for a long time. Things weren't the same with you gone. Home wasn't the same, didn't have you there to protect me. You said you thought you liked it better when the old man was hittin' you, but I ain't you, Johnny.” Parker looked down. “I couldn't take it, so I ran, lived at the park for a few nights. Darry found me, let me stay with him, Soda and Pony til I finished school.”

Parker slid to the side, folding her legs under neath her Indian style. “A couple weeks after graduation, I got jumped by a bunch of soc's. Busted some ribs, got a black eye, and a cut up lip. Pony and Soda fixed me up nice though.”

Parker couldn't help the smile that lit her face as she thought about her brother's friends and her newly acquired family. “Hey, you remember that red headed girl that Dally was bothering at the movies? Well, she and Darry are dating now. She turned greaser, dyed her hair dark, and everything. Didn't think it'd work with her being a soc and all, but he's real happy.”

As Parker talked, her fingers lightly plucked a blade of grass and ripped it into shreds.

“Me and Soda are dating. It's going slow, but good. Soda and Steve ain't talking much these days. Steve went and joined Tim Shepard's gang, goes by Chaos now. Stupid name, right?” Parker said. “Yeah, stupid name.”

Parker looked around for a few minutes, unsure of what else to say and putting off what she really needed to say.

“Oh!” She exclaimed looking back at the headstone as if she was face to face with her brother. “You don't know about Two-Bit! Warrant came out for his arrest, apparently he robbed a few liquor stores,” Parker gave a small laugh. “You know he loved his liquor. Anyway, warrant came out and they chased him all the way to the state line and then lost him. Last time anyone heard from him, he was in Europe, going by the name of Quinn and still wearing that damn Mickey Mouse shirt.”

“Pony's been learning how to fight. He's getting real good and he's even teaching me some things, too.” Parker continued. “Curly Shepard, you remember Tim's brother, well he got out of the cooler and hung around some before Steve joined his brothers group. Taught me a whole bunch of stuff he learned when he was in there, like picking locks, hot wiring cars, and stuff like that.”

Parker plucked one of the flowers from the bouquet she brought and snapped off the stem. She put it behind her ear as she continued talking.

“Everyone was real impressed at how good I got. Darry said I was the best thief he'd ever seen.” She smiled at that, her chest puffing out in pride, before letting it deflate and her smile fell. “That's why I'm here, actually. See, Darry was worried that we'd all end up like Dally or Two-Bit, running from the law or dead. He got us a place in Boston. So, we're leaving. All of us, including me.”

Parker paused and took a breath. Tears pricked the corner of her eyes, threatening to fall from her lashes. “I just...You need to know that you were just the best brother ever. And you don't gotta worry 'bout me, cus I'm gonna be just fine. I'm with the gang, Johnnycakes, and I'm gonna be alright.”


Parker looked up to find the gang standing a few feet away. Eliot "Ponyboy" Spencer, avid horse lover and Johnny's best friend stood there in front. Behind him to the right was Sophie Deveroux, whom they all called “Cherry” because of her naturally red hair, which had been recently dyed. She was in the arms of Nathan Darrell Ford, aka "Darry". Next to them was Alec “Sodapop” Hardison, nicknamed for the abundant amount of orange soda he guzzled down everyday.

“You ready, Mama?” Hardison asked softly. “We have to get going if we're gonna make the flight.”

“Yeah, almost.” Parker said.

Parker turned back to her brothers grave. Fishing a small scrap of paper from her pocket, she unearthed a section of dirt and buried the paper next to the grave. For a moment she sat, just staring at the name carved in the stone. She traced it with her fingers, scooting forward on her knees just a bit. With a small kiss to the top of the headstone, she whispered her final good-bye to him.

“Stay gold, Johnny. Stay gold.”

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January 2013

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