Disclaimer: I don't own the Outsiders characters…. I do own Keira and whoever else might pop up that isn't in the original Outsiders

Sodapop Curtis stared outside with a thoughtful expression playing on his face. He was sitting behind the counter of the DX station and watching the wind whip up dust clouds that formed dancing, flying flecks of earth. His playful brown eyes danced with memories of times that had come and gone. It wasn't every day that Sodapop sat still long enough to reflect on what his life consisted of in the present. He was the type to just take every change in stride; he figured he had plenty of time to worry about the future as it came to him. But today he allowed himself to reflect on how the past two years had gone down.

The reality was that not much had changed. There were still Greasers (there probably always be greasers in some sense as long as poverty was still around) and there were still some Socs around. The Soc class had admittedly thinned out as more of the West Side rich kids had discovered drugs and 'free love'-the hippie movement- but there were still some die-hards out there with clean cut hair and a bone to pick with whoever looked at them funny. His neighborhood sure hadn't changed and neither had his gang, at least not substantially. Ponyboy was a junior now, 16 going on 40 it seemed sometimes. The deaths of Dally and Johnny had matured him faster than he probably should have matured. He still had trouble using his god-given sense, but he was a lot better now. Two-Bit finally managed to make it to senior year, while his personality and rep remained intact. Steve was done with high school and working fulltime at the DX while he figured out what he wanted to do. His dad had laid off of him pretty much as soon as he had turned 18 but they still got in spats. He was saving up for a place of his own, but until then he would lay low at the Curtis house and bide his time. Darry had changed, although it was a change for the better. He had begun to master the art of transitioning from father- figure to big brother which resulted in the Curtis kids being stronger and tighter- knit than ever before.

Without realizing it Sodapop had also changed. They were subtle changes that no one commented too much about but they were still there. He was still bored easily, late always, and as handsome as ever. He still could make anyone crack a grin faster than they knew they could and he still listened and understood everything and everyone. He had used these skills to connect with people and to mend himself and help his family mend as well. He had become a bit calmer and as a result he had become more intuitive than ever. He could sense others feelings almost before humanly possible. If Ponyboy or Steve had something bugging them he could feel before even their faces registered it. He had also become an expert in silent communication with Darry. Darry didn't just up and talk about what was wrong with him and Soda had become Darry's rock with his silent understanding. He was pretty much the whole gang's unqualified therapist, which they all were thankful for in their own way.

He was snapped out of his reverie by the sound of someone pulling into the station. It was after noon, so he figured it wasn't any of the high school kids that usually came by on their lunch breaks. The station always got a lot of business when Steve and Sodapop were working, but it usually tapered off when school was in session. He went outside and saw a tuff car. It was a blue-green convertible '64 Mustang with black interior and for some reason a small trailer hitched to the back. He saw some movement behind the trailer and heard the back doors slam shut. He walked over to the car and was preparing to offer his services to the customer when he saw her come around and from behind the trailer and look around at the street in front of the station. She was tall, maybe about 5'8, with a slender yet curvy body. She had long light brown hair that stopped a little lower than the middle of her back. When she turned and saw Sodapop he got a good look at her face. She had beautiful hazel eyes fringed with thick black lashes, her eyes seemed to remind him of something but he couldn't quite place it. She had full lips and her tan skin seemed to highlight how pink her lips were. Soda noticed that she didn't seem to have a stitch of make-up on, which was uncommon for most of the girls he came into contact with, and yet she was undeniably beautiful.

"Hey there, need some help?" Soda asked, once he had regained his powers of speech.

She looked at him in away that suggested that she was taking him in with her eyes in one glance. Soda though he saw something like interest pass behind her eyes but they returned to normal before he could figure it out.

"Yeah, I was hoping to fill up," she said. Soda liked the way her voice sounded. It wasn't brassy and obnoxious like the girls he knew. It was strong and clear but melodic at the same time.

"Sure," Soda said as he began to fill up her tank. He glanced at the license plates as she reached the drivers side door and opened it up. New York. She bent down and popped the latch to release the hood. He watched her as she walked to the front of the car and lifted the hood. He heard her fidget with the oil dipstick and as he was just about to place the gas nozzle back on its hook he heard her mutter something under her breath. He walked over to her and saw her trying to tighten something with her bare hands.

"Do you have a socket wrench it that garage of yours?" She asked, glancing up at him. Soda was slightly surprised at the request but went to the garage to grab one. Steve was too busy under a car to notice that his tool was about to be swiped to be used by some girl.

"Here, um… Whats your name?" Soda asked as he handed her the wrench. She took it and began to deftly tighten a bolt that apparently was too loose for her satisfaction. When she was done she turned to him and handed the wrench back.

"I'm Keira. Keira Rodriguez. Thanks for letting me borrow the wrench, um… What do they call you?" She asked with a small smile on her face.

"Sodapop Curtis. Most people just call me Soda though," he said and for once there wasn't a surprised look on her face. Ponyboy and Soda used to joke about how hard it was for people to understand they weren't kidding when they told people their name.

"Cool name," she said. "My middle name is kind of random too." She gave out a small laugh as she said that.

"What's your middle name?" he asked, his interest peaked. Her eyes danced as she answered him.

"I don't usually tell strangers. Sorry about that," she laughed again. She didn't know why she suddenly felt so lighthearted. She hadn't felt the least bit like smiling in months, and here she was standing outside at a gas station in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a guy she didn't know with eyes that were making her smile in spite of herself.

"We might have to fix that sometime soon, unless you're just passing through?" Soda hadn't meant to question her but he wanted to know all he could for some odd reason. He saw her eyes cloud and he could have kicked himself.

"No, I'm not passing through. I guess I'm here to stay, for awhile at least," she said, the smile dying on her lips. He didn't press her further, afraid to make her look any more unhappy. She seemed to be thinking about something and she suddenly snapped her eyes to him and smiled a small smile again.

"Look, I just got here and I have no idea where I'm going. My mom is supposed to live around here somewhere but I can't find her street on my map, it might be outdated, I don't know. Do you think you could give me directions?"

"Sure, where are you headed?"

"Autumn Estates?" She glanced hopefully at him.

Soda felt his heart sink slightly. Autumn Estates was a new community for the elite. He didn't doubt it wasn't on her map, hell, it wasn't even on his. But he knew how to get there and gave her directions. As she listened to him rattle on about how to navigate herself he smiled at the fact that when she seemed to be listening intently at something her eyes seemed to turn more green than anything else. As she began to walk towards her car after paying she turned and threw him a smile. His heart leapt again as he watched her.

"So what is there to do in this town?" She asked as reached her car. Her hand was on her door, yet she made no move to get in.

"Lots if you know the right people," Soda joked. She smiled at that and her eyes drank him in once again.

"Who would those people be?" She said with a mock serious tone.

"Well, I have been told in the past that I am an expert in getting around this town. I could show you around sometime," he said with an air of mock superiority.

"Sounds like a plan. Here's my number," she said as she handed him a piece of paper that she had been scribbling on a moment before. She threw him one last smile and drove off, leaving Soda staring off after her. He smiled to himself and for the first time since Sandy left he actually cared to call a girl who had given him her number. Even thinking about Sandy didn't give him the usual pang in the chest it usually did. He grinned even wider and ran to the garage to tell Steve what just happened.

As Keira pulled into the driveway of her mother's house her breath caught in her throat. She had never seen a single home as big as this in all her 18 going on 19 years. She wasn't necessarily surprised though, if he really thought about it. Her mother had traded in her old life for a new and improved one. She was reluctant to see her mother after the last decade without her, but what choice did she have? She left New York for a reason. She needed to lay low, and how much more obscure could you get than Tulsa? When her mother contacted her after her dad died suddenly a few months ago, she had debated with herself whether or not she should accept her mom's offer or not. Ultimately she had decided to put her pride aside and just use her mother as a means to an end.

She stopped her car in the middle of the long driveway and slowly stepped out. She saw the front door open and she held her breath without meaning to. This was going to interesting to say the least. She began to walk toward the door and ceased to think. Going through the motions had become second nature to her now. Yet as much as she willed herself to cease to think, to keep her emotions in check, asset of beautiful eyes kept drifting into her thoughts unwilling to be ignored. They were dancing, reckless eyes. They belonged to a guy that worked at a certain DX gas station. She smiled inside.

A/N- My first fanfic. I have the story essentially planned in my head, so there will be more chapters. Please read and Review!