While Pony, Two-Bit, and Johnny are walking with Cherry and Marcia after the drive-in movies, Cherry asks Pony about his oldest brother, Darry. Pony snaps and says that Darry doesn't care about him at all and wouldn't mind if he was placed in a home for boys. When Johnny responds by saying that he thought Pony got along well with Darry, Pony loses his temper and brings up Johnny's terrible home life by saying, "an' you can shut your trap, Johnny Cade, 'cause we all know you ain't wanted at home, either" (Hinton, 37).
Immediately after Pony tells Johnny to shut his mouth, Two-Bit slaps Pony hard across the head and says that if he wasn't Sodapop's kid brother he would beat the tar out of him. Two-Bit reacts violently towards Pony because Johnny is everyone's kid brother. Johnny is described as the gang's pet and Two-Bit understands the importance of protecting him. Johnny is a vulnerable young boy, who comes from a broken home and relies on his friends to take care of him. Two-Bit slapping Pony demonstrates his protective instinct to defend Johnny at all times.