Ponyboy gets home at 6:30, late as usual. There's only half an hour before the rumble.
Pony can hardly eat, so he takes five aspirins.
He takes the pills to help him sleep. Darry thinks he takes one, but it's usually four.
Pony takes five tonight because his head hurts, and because he needs something to help him in the rumble.
Pony then showers and gets ready.
Darry isn't sure if Pony should fight in the rumble tonight. He knows Pony's a good fighter, but he's been through a lot over the past week and might not be in prime fighting mode.
But Pony has to fight tonight, even though he doesn't like fighting. He has to help beat the Socs for Johnny.
Reluctantly, Darry gives in and agrees to let Pony fight.
Ready to go, the boys flip and cartwheel down the stairs and in the yard.
Soda says, "I am greaser. […] I am a JD and a hood. I blacken the name of our fair city. […] I am a menace to society. Man, do I have fun" (9.39).
Two-Bit says, "Get thee hence, white trash. […] I am a Soc. I am the privileged and the well dressed. I throw beer blasts, drive fancy cars, break windows at fancy parties" (9.42).
They walk to the lot for the rumble.
Darry tells Pony and Soda to leave the rumble if the police come; if they get in trouble tonight, Darry could lose custody of Pony and Soda.
Soda and Pony agree to do what he wants.
Tim Shepard and his gang, another Greaser gang, are waiting in the lot.
Also present is another Greaser gang, from a suburb called Brumly.
Pony thinks that these kids will be hoods forever – not like Darry, who will rise above it. Pony decides that he will, too.
The kids in Tim's gang "range from fifteen to nineteen, hard looking characters who were used to the strict discipline Tim gave out" (10.54).
In Pony's gang everybody is a leader. They're all just friends and aren't organized like these other Greaser gangs.
Tim and the guy at the head of the Brumly gang come forward to shake hands with Pony and the rest of the guys in the gang.
Pony wants to fight well because he thinks it will please Darry, who he knows is worried about the rumble.
Pony thinks it shows a lack of education that the Brumly guys call a rumble "bop-action" (10.62).
He isn't sure if the Brumly guys use weapons or not. He knows that the Shepard gang does. They use everything, from broken glass to even guns.
When Pony sees Darry moving toward Tim and the Brumly leader, he begins to think that none of the guys in his gang should be there, fighting like hoods in the night.
He's afraid he and his gang will end up hoods.
Very soon, four cars, carrying 21 Socs, arrive at the lot.
The twenty Greasers line up side-by-side, facing the line of Socs lining up in front of them.
A Soc confirms with the Greasers that there will be fists only, no weapons.
To start the rumble, Darry issues a general challenge to any Soc.
His old high school football buddy, Paul Holden, rises to meet his challenge, and the two begin to face off.
Pony can "feel their hatred" (9.81) even though they used to be friends. Pony has stopped hating the Socs, and wants Socs and Greasers to all stop despising each other.
All the sudden a voice calls for the rumblers to wait.
It's Dallas Winston, fresh out of the hospital!
Now they can get down to the business of rumbling.
Pony finds a kid about his size and starts fighting.
As he fights, Pony asks Dally how he got out of the hospital.
Apparently, Dally threatened a nurse with the knife he got from Two-Bit and she let him out.
The Soc that Pony was fighting gets him down on the ground and is punching him hard, over and over.
Darry gets rid off the guy, since the guy's heavier than Pony.
In turn, Pony goes over to help Dally.
He jumps on the Soc who's fighting Dally. The Soc throws him off, but Pony gets back on, choking the Soc.
Another Soc is kicking him, but Pony doesn't let go.
All of a sudden, he hears someone yell, "They're running!" (9.91).
It's true – the Socs are running to their cars and driving away.
The Greasers won!
They're busted up, but definitely victorious.
Dally is on the move. He has to see Johnny, because Johnny was doing poorly when Dally left him at the hospital to come to the rumble. He was asking for Johnny.
They get in Buck Merrill's T-Bird and Dallas speeds to the hospital.
A cop pulls him over, and Dally says they're taking Pony to the hospital from a motorcycle injury.
So, the cop drives ahead of them and escorts them to the hospital – pretty handy.
As they drive, Dallas talks. He says he made a mistake sending Johnny to the church in the first place.
He should have let Johnny face jail. That would have helped harden him, the way it hardened Dally, and none of this "mess" (9.106) would have happened.
Dally keeps talking, but Pony doesn't understand everything he's saying. He thinks Dally must be "out of his mind" (9.107). He doesn't sound like himself at all.
Later, Ponyboy will understand that it was because he's sick right now that he can't understand.
At the hospital they race to Johnny's room.
The doctor is there, and he tells them, "I'm sorry, boys, but he's dying" (9.107).
Dallas pulls the switchblade on the doctor and demands that they be let into the room.
The doctor says they can go in because they're Johnny's friends. The knife, he says, has nothing to do with it.
Johnny looks so bad that Pony thinks he might have already died.
Dallas goes to him and says his name.
When Johnny opens his eyes, Dallas tells him they won the rumble with the Socs. Then he tells him, "Yeah, they're calling you a hero now and heroizin' all the greasers. We're all proud of you, buddy" (9.115).
Pony can see it in Johnny's eyes that he's gotten his heart's desire: Dally is proud of him.
Johnny says Ponyboy's name, and Pony comes nearer to his dying friend.
Johnny tells Pony to "Stay gold […]. Stay gold…" (9.119). Pony thinks he looks like he's already died.
Dallas gets very emotional and begs Johnny not to die.