A/N- I do not own the outsiders obviously. Also, anything in italics in this chapter is either a dream or a thought. Thanks for tuning in kiddos :)

Keira looked over her shoulder and saw three figures chasing her down a dark and lonely street. The streetlights flickered and the moon was nowhere to be seen. She ran with all the strength she possessed and she could still feel them gaining on her.

Her mind was racing as fast as her legs were, trying to figure a way out of this mess. She had ditched the heater she had used to get herself in this disaster when she was running past an abandoned alley that housed several dumpsters. All she had left on her was her knife and the goods she had jacked from the crazy assholes who were on her tail.

Her lip was split from her near miss with the tall one, Jay, and her shoulder was aching from where the stocky one, Leo, had thrown her into a wall. That had been her cue to run. Now with the devil nipping on her heels and no way to lose them in sight she began to panic. Fuck.

The stitch in her side from running all out was becoming too much. She had very few options but she had to keep going unless she wanted to end up dead. Adrenaline surged as she realized that she still had not completed her mission. As she continued to run she reached into her purposely too loose jeans and retrieved her prize. 6 kilos of heroin taped together ready to be cut and handed out like candy were now clutched in her hands.

Heroin in this form was easy enough to dispose of on the run. She drew her butterfly knife from her pocket and flicked it open. She could hear the angry taunts from Jay and Manuel coming from behind her. They sounded close. Too close.

Her heart continued its rapid pace and even increased at the thought of them so close to her. She slashed the plastic wrapped kilos down the center, each in turn, and held them away from her. She spared a glance over her shoulder and saw that the dust was flying behind her and creating swirling clouds of poison before disappearing into the still night air.

The guys behind her saw what she had done and seemed to grow angrier. They seemed to fly at her like hornets. She was losing. They were only a couple feet away at this point. Suddenly the ground rushed up to meet her. She only had a second to register that fact before she was violently flipped over so that she lay on her back against the cold asphalt. Leo had straddled her and had his hands around her neck.

"Any last words, bitch? You just cost us more money than your worth, so trust me when I say that was the last thing you will ever do." He spat the words at her, his face contorted in pure rage. Keira looked into his eyes and the guys that were watching her were shocked to see no fear in them.

"Yeah, I have some last words for you. Fuck. You," She spit in his face as she said this. Leo began to crush her windpipe. He smiled a sadistic smile, and Keira continued to hold his gaze even as the edges of her vision started to blacken.

Keira felt as if she were watching this from the sidelines. She watched as Leo continued to choke the life out of her. She saw her right hand lift of its own volition before anyone registered what she was doing. She her reflection on one side of her blade before she had plunged it to the hilt into Leo.

The look of pure shock that crossed Leo's face was almost comical, but Keira couldn't bring herself to feel anything but relief as she began to breath freely once again. She felt more than saw Leo falling backwards from his position atop her. She heard more than felt Jay and Manual rush to Leo and try and stem the flow of blood.

Keira mustered her remaining strength and scrambled out of arms reach. She saw blood beginning trickle down Leo's chin. His eyes stared at her with confusion and hate. She turned and ran.

Keira shot up from her sleep in a state of pure terror. Her breathing was erratic and she shaking something fierce. She closed her eyes and tried to calm her breathing when she realized she wasn't alone. She felt a hand run slowly up her back finding its resting place on the back of her neck. Her heartbeat quickened as she slowly glanced behind her to see who was touching her.

Her scared gold-green eyes met warm brown eyes and she let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding. Soda reached the arm that was not caressing her neck around her waist and gently brought her towards him. She allowed him to bring her into his embrace and put her head in the crook of his neck. Soda held her like that for a few minutes as he felt her shaking ease and stop completely. He felt like he was dealing with a skittish horse and tried his best to relax her. He rubbed circles on her back and continued his gentle caresses on her neck. When she seemed completely aware and calm once again he kissed her cheek gently and asked if she was alright.

She pulled back slightly and once again took comfort in his eyes. She felt better when she saw the warmth there. She slowly nodded her head at his question and tried to find her voice. She hated anyone seeing her like this. She felt weak and pitiful, something she knew she couldn't afford to be. She hated the nightmares the came every night without fail. She hated that she had to relive details she would rather forget. But most of all she hated how it was all her fault.

"It was just a nightmare." She whispered more to herself than to Soda. She looked away from him, and continued, "I get them a lot. You would think I would be used to them by now. I'm sorry for waking you up." At her last statement she realized that she had been asleep on the couch of a home that wasn't her own. She made a move to get up when Soda gently but firmly held her in place.

"Hey there, where do you think you're going?" His smile was sweet and kind. She glanced at the clock on wall.

"Soda, its 2 in the morning. I shouldn't be here right now. I didn't mean to fall asleep here, and I should probably get going."

"You should just stay here. We always have room for anyone who needs a place to crash. We have a kind of open door policy in our house. Anyone is welcome. You're already here, and its late. Just stay?" His tone was hopeful and Keira couldn't help but smile. She knew she should probably leave but she had felt so safe in Soda's arms when he was calming her down. Breathing in his scent was enough to bring her down from her frightening nightmare. Truth be told she always hated being alone when her dreams turned ugly, reminding her of her past.

She didn't respond. She simply laid back down on the couch bringing Soda with her. As they stretched out on the couch Soda positioned his arm beneath her head and held her close with his other arm. Keira once again snuggled into his neck and his scent instantly soothed her. He smelled so good. Like soap, rosewood and something she was sure was just him. Her eyes began to feel heavy and she closed them hoping the nightmare wouldn't come again. Soda waited until he heard her breathing become even and slow before he closed his own eyes.

Darry was always the first Curtis to wake up every morning. He knew how hard it was to get Ponyboy and Soda up in the morning and he knew that if he didn't do it they would be late to whatever they had to do. He didn't mind being the first one up either, it had its perks. He showered first, got the coffee at its hottest and didn't have to rush around like a chicken with his head cut off.

After his usual morning shower he decided to poke his head in Soda and Ponyboy's room before he went to start breakfast. He was about to shake Ponyboy awake when he realized something was off. Where the hell was Sodapop? He nudged Ponyboy and got the usual muffled grunt of "Ten more minutes!"

Darry sighed and knit his brows in confusion. He hadn't heard Sodapop get up early or come in late. He walked to the kitchen and glanced around. Something caught his eye and he glanced at the living room. He saw part of a blanket hanging off the side of the couch and he walked over.

Darry stopped short and took in the scene. Soda and Keira were blissfully unaware of the world outside their dreams an each others limbs. Darry saw that one or both had kicked off a blanket leaving them exposed. Their legs were twined together and Soda had one arm acting as pillow to Keira and the other was on her back. Under her shirt. Keira had a hand on Soda's chest and the other at his waist. Her head was still resting at the juncture where Soda's neck met his shoulder with her lips almost brushing his neck.

Darry didn't entirely know what to make of this. He knew Soda was no innocent, but it didn't look like anything had happened. They looked peaceful just sleeping like that, as if they had taken comfort in each other in the still of the night. Darry didn't mind that his couch was bed to most of the gang at one time or another when they needed it, and he didn't mind that Keira obviously needed it last night. No, he had taken a liking to the girl. She was sweet, tough and she seemed wise. He admired that in anyone.

Darry leaned over the back of the couch and gently shook Sodapop awake. He saw Soda's eyes open slowly and land on him. He glanced down quickly at Keira and then stared back at Darry. Soda couldn't help the silly grin that began to form on his face. Without meaning to Darry began to grin back. The twinkle in Soda's eyes was enough for Darry to forget any misgivings he might have had about walking in on this scene. He hadn't seen Soda's eyes sparkle like that since Sandy had left. It had been too long in Darry's opinion. Darry mouthed 'Breakfast in 10 minutes' to Soda before he took his leave.

Soda stroked Keira's bare back and she began to stir. He saw her eyes flutter open and he smiled down at her. She returned it and took one last long inhalation of his scent before pulling away from his neck. Soda couldn't resist and leaned forward to find her lips for a quick peck. He pulled away with a wink and grin.

Keira blushed slightly but couldn't help but smile back as she felt the after tingles on her lips from the brief contact. She sat up slowly feeling the loss of warmth from Soda's body. Soda jumped up and ran to the kitchen as Keira pulled her shoes on and prepared to leave.

Keira made her way to the kitchen to say thanks and goodbye. She saw Darry making scrambled eggs on the stove and Soda opening up the fridge to retrieve what looked like cake. She cleared her throat before speaking.

"Thanks for letting me crash on your couch. I appreciate it. I'm going to head out now." Before she could finish her goodbye Darry began to speak.

"Stay for some breakfast before you head out, kiddo. Oh, and if you can, do you think you can go and get Ponyboy out here?"

Keira might as well have known the Curtis's for years the way she was being treated. And she liked it. It was as if she had been taken under the family wing, as if they sensed she had no real family anymore and she desperately wanted one. She smiled to herself before saying thanks and proceeding to what she had seen to be Ponyboy's room.

Keira slowly nudged the half open door in and walked around to the side of the bed that Ponyboy was draped over. When she was a kid her dad would wake her up in creative ways. He would either stomp in and squirt her face with a water bottle and then run out laughing to himself or he would open the blinds and start singing any loud song that popped into his head. She smiled at the thought of her absolute favorite way of getting woken up. She decided that she would introduce Ponyboy to this method.

She found his arms and began to walk her fingers up them. She saw Ponyboy's eyes began to flutter open. She smirked as her fingers continued their upward journey until they reached near his arm pits. She began to tickle him mercilessly and she knew he was now awake. His laughter began softly and grew in volume as she continued to tickle him awake.

She laughed as Ponyboy tried to wiggle away from her grasp. His breathing was coming in pants between fits of laughter. "Hey, I'm up, I'm up. Oh god, stop!" he laughed harder. Keira ceased her tickling torture and sat on the desk chair. She laughed again, happy to have shown someone the joys of waking up to laughter and lightheartedness.

"Good, I'm glad your up. Darry says breakfast will be ready soon. I'm sure you have school and all that jazz so don't go back to sleep, or else I'll have to wake you up again and I can't guarantee it'll be by tickling."She smirked as she stood up but smiled warmly before she left the room. She heard Ponyboy getting up as she headed back to the kitchen.

"Hey what was all that giggling about?" Soda asked Keira as she came into view. He had an eyebrow cocked and was looking at her curiously. Keira smiled in response and laughed a little at his facial expression.

"Mission accomplished, he's up. I just introduced him to one of my many ways of waking people up. I tickled him silly is all." She grinned.

"What other ways do you have for waking people up?" Soda asked lowly, a hint of innuendo in his eyes. Keira blushed slightly but did not look away. " There are too many ways to count." She smirked as his eyebrows shot up. Darry, who had been trying to ignore the blatant flirting that was happening next to him shook his head slowly and chuckled under his breath. Keira sure seemed to be one helluva girl.

Soon the usual ruckus began to swirl around Keira. She watched fascinated as the gang poured in, Soda and Ponyboy rushed around trying to get ready and food disappearing into bottomless stomachs. She laughed when Soda came back into the room after disappearing to shower and change. He was shirtless and only clad in jeans that were slung low on his hips and socks that had him almost sliding around the floor as he rushed around eating toast and looking for his shirt.

She snuck a look at his bare upper body. She admired his lean muscles, his six pack and his toned back. She noticed that Ponyboy was watching her watch Sodapop and she looked away with her cheeks tinted pink in embarrassment at being caught. Ponyboy snickered at her blush. Soda found his shirt and everyone seemed on the last legs of getting ready. She stood quietly and decided it was time to take off.

"See ya guys. Thanks for letting me crash here." She smiled her good-bye and began walking to the front door. She heard Two-bit and Steve grunt their goodbyes in between mouthfuls of food. Darry and Ponyboy called out their goodbye as they put their shoes on. She stepped out on the front porch and began to walk to her bike when a hand reached out to grab her own.

Keira whirled around and relaxed when she saw it was Soda holding onto her. He grinned at her and brought her closer to him. "Heading off without saying bye to me?"

"I said bye to everyone. I even said thanks. Did you miss it?" She smirked at his suddenly pouty face.

"I heard it. I just hoped you'd have a different goodbye for me." His tone was hopeful as he leaned in closer. She could feel his breath tickle her cheek.

"What kind of goodbye do you want?" Her breathing was shallow and she felt her heart pick up speed.

Soda didn't answer with words. Instead he closed the tiny gap between their lips and kissed her. This wasn't a peck. His lips felt warm and full against hers. She felt his tongue gently tracing her lower lip and she instinctively opened her mouth allowing his tongue to continue its gentle probing of her own. Her body felt like it was on fire. She relished the contact and the feelings that Soda had awakened. She broke the kiss, needing oxygen in her lungs. She heard Soda draw in shaky breaths of his own as he leaned his forehead against her own.

"I like that way of saying goodbye." She whispered as she pulled away and walked to her bike on hopefully steady feet. As she revved her engine she threw one last look over shoulder at Soda who was still watching her. He had a dazed look on his face. She smiled at him and waved over her shoulder as she pulled out onto the street. She didn't quite catch the full on grin that graced his face at the sight of her speeding off.

He was snapped out of his reverie by Steve approach. He saw his friends grin and and grinned himself. "So that was Keira. Damn, too bad I was under a car when she rolled up. Maybe I coulda had a shot then.' He joked. He quickly ducked a swing aimed at his jaw by his best friend.

"Yeah that was Keira, and buddy let me tell you, if I have it my way no one will have a shot but me. Besides you got Evie. Keira is mine." He said his grin shrinking to a small smile.

"Is she yours?" Steve asked seriously.

"I hope she wants to be." Soda said quietly.

He had dated around a bit after Sandy had left but it never lasted more than a couple dates. He didn't like hurting girls that he knew couldn't compare to Sandy. He had tried to find a spark of something with someone after Sandy but it was never there. But with Keira it wasn't just a spark that he felt, it was like an inferno. He couldn't remember feeling like this about anyone, even Sandy. Whatever was going on with Keira was definitely new for him. And to think, he'd only known her for a day. He grinned again at this thought and jumped into Steve's waiting car.

Keira pulled into the driveway of her mothers house and the almost giddy feeling she had enjoyed on her ride home vanished like a puff of smoke. She saw her 'step-father' pulling her younger half brother into a new looking car. She tried to quicken her pace to go unnoticed but her step-father looked up and spotted her.

"Keira," He called out to her, forcing her to place the kickstand on her bike and walk towards him. As she approached he extended his hand and smiled warmly at her. Keira only managed a nod while she took the hand that was offered. She firmly shook it before letting her arm drop to her side.

"I was hoping to get better acquainted last night, but I assume you decided to get a look around town?" His voice was deep and calming. It figured. He was a doctor after all. Instead of answering she simply nodded. She saw movement out of the corner of her eye and she turned to see what it was.

Jaime was in the backseat staring at her in awe. He looked about average height and build with light brown hair and light, peachy colored skin. What caught Keira's attention was his eyes. They were a perfect match of her own. He even had the same thick black, curly lashes that framed her own eyes. He continued staring at her until he suddenly cracked a tentative smile. Keira couldn't help but smile back. Jaime's smile grew and lit up his face exposing a missing front tooth.

"It seems Jaime likes the look of his older sister around." James spoke drawing attention to himself again. Keira turned to him once again and nodded.

"It was nice meeting you. I guess I'll be seeing you around," Keira finally spoke to her step-father. She began to turn away when James spoke again. "It's good to have you here Keira. I know the circumstances are no where near ideal but I'm glad that my son has an opportunity to get to know his sister. I know your mother is glad you're here as well."

That stopped Keira short. So her mother was glad she was here? Please. Like that woman could care about anything other than herself. James saw Keira's eyes narrow as she spoke to him in a carefully controlled voice.

"I'm glad to get to know Jamie. He seems sweet. Honestly though, I didn't even know he existed until yesterday. My mother, as you call her, never mentioned him and I'm sorry she didn't. Then again, Carmen hadn't tried to contact me since I was 12. If she hadn't been informed that my dad had been murdered I doubt I would have ever know about my brother." With that she turned on her heel and walked to her bike.

James stared after her with a shocked expression on his face. He hadn't know that his wife hadn't kept in contact with her daughter. He had assumed that she would have, but he had never pressed her for details. Carmen had always had an aversion to talking about her marriage and life before him.

He had felt bad for Keira, after finding out that her father had been murdered but now that pity compounded ten fold. He got in the car and began to drive Jamie to school with his mind working over the enigma that seemed to be Keira.

A/N- So that was chapter 4... give me your thoughts pretty please. Any comments, suggestions, and constructive criticism is welcome. So push that review button for me, will ya?! thanks!