Soda Pov

"Look Shawn, they're the new kids. They came late last night, Sister Emily brought them in." I slowly opened my eyes, a headache already forming in the back of my head. "Look Shawn look! He's waking up!" Excitement tinged the kid's voice, making it loud and grating.

"I'm not surprised with you blabbering a mile a minute! Shut the hell up Micky, and get dressed for Pete's sake!" As my eyes adjusted to the light, I could make out two forms standing at the side of the bed. The first was tall and stocky, with a shaved head and mean mouth. He looked annoyed by the other boy, a slim skittish figure dancing around at the end of the bed, looking torn between curiosity for us and fear of the other boy. Baldy took a menacing step forward and the weird kid darted off through the maze of beds.

He turned back to face me, clenching and unclenching his fists. We stared at each other for a minute, before he sniffed and nodded towards Ponyboy. "How old's the kid? Coz if he's younger than 13, Sister Margaret will send him to the kids unit, couple a miles down the road."

"He turned 13 a couple of months ago." The boy looks at me sceptically, but nods his head anyway. I don't blame him really, Pony's always looked young for his age, especially when he's sleeping.

"I'm Shawn." he says bluntly, holding out his hand which I shake. "I run this dorm, so you got any problems, you come see me. You cause any problems, I come see you. You get what I'm saying?"

I nod my head, I get it alright. But he doesn't need to worry, the last thing I plan to do is cause trouble. He's looking at me expectantly so I say "I'm Sodapop Curtis, and this here is my little brother Ponyboy. We're from Tulsa."

Shawn nods thoughtful, not commenting on our names. "That kid's in the wrong room." He says after a minute. "He should be in the 13-15 year old room down the hall."

"Nope, no chance. He stays with me." I say firmly, shaking my head. Shawn looks at me suspiciously, rubbing his chin like Darry does when he's thinking.

"What's your stakes in this kid huh? You fooling around with him or something? Coz I'm telling you now, I won't have any of that dirty stuff in this dorm…"

"Of course I'm not! He's my little brother!" Shawn raises his eyebrows and I realise I'm gonna have to tell Shawn about the nightmares else he'll be thinking I'm some sorta pervert. "Look, he gets these nightmares alright. Ever since our parents died, he wakes up every night screaming and he can't remember what's got him so scared. He needs me there to calm him down. He's not crazy or anything, he's just…" I shrug, because I don't know how to explain. "He'sonly 13..."

Shawn looks at me for a while, like he's trying to see inside my head. The way Darry does when I swear to God I don't know who finished the last of the chocolate milk. Shawn slowly nods, and I know he understands. "You leave it with me ok? I'll talk to Sister Emily about it, if anyone can swing it for you she can. She owes me a few favours anyway…"

I smile at him and lean down over Ponyboy, gently stroking his cheek. "Come on Pone, time to wake up now. Got someone here who wants to meet you…" Pony shifts slightly, reacting to my touch before opening his eyes. He looks straight at Shawn, gasps and jerks back against me, clutching the sheets in a death grip and yanking them up over his head.

Shawn looks pleased at this reaction, a smug smile spreading across his face. I laugh and pull the covers away from Pony's eyes. "It's ok Ponyboy, this is Shawn. He's…" I look up uncertainly, not quite sure how to describe him. "He's a friend."

Pony looks back at me then up at Shawn. "Come on kid, time to rise and shine. Breakfast's in 15 minutes and you gotta make your bed. I'm gonna get you settled in alright? Show you the ropes and stuff. Anyone gives you any trouble you come find me ok? I'll sort them out for you." Pony nods dumbly still staring at Shawn.

"Hey," I say, partly to break the silence and partly because I've just noticed him spying on us from between the beds. "Who's that kid over there? The one that was here early."

Shawn follows my gaze, then huffs in an annoyed way and gives the wierd kid the finger. "That's Micky. Don't pay no mind to him, he's crazy." Shawn taps the side of his head with his finger. "Not all there up here, dropped on his head as a baby someone told me. Completely harmless mind you, just like a little kid really. He'll do anything you want, but he's got a bit of a temper on him so humour him a little. Oh, and never never never under any circumstances call him stupid, hits a nerve that one. You like to play games kid? You play those kids games at home, you know tag and hide and seek and stuff?"

Pony nods, even though he stopped playing those a couple of years ago. Every now and then I catch him though, tearing along the street with some kids fromacross the road, racing or chasing or something. If Steve's with me he'll makesome comment, and Darry doesn't like Pony playing out on the street and 'making a nuisance of himself', but Pony always looks so happy and carefree just messing around that I don't seeany harmin it. What with everyone in the gang being older than him, it's nice for him to just be a kid every once in a while.

"Well Micky's gonna love you," Shawn continues, smiling ruefully. "He's always trying to get us to play games with him, but now he's got himself a real life kid to play with, you'll be his new best friend!" Pony blinks up at Shawn, and Shawn rubs his forehead. "Not much of a talker is he?"

I shrug and poke Ponyboy in the belly. He squeaks and doubles over just like I intended. "Nope, but he's a great giggler!" Shawn looks us like we're crazy, before shaking his head and walking away, but not before I catch the grin on his face.

Well this chapter is ridiculously short and pretty pointless, but I felt I've left it so long sice updating this story that I had to post something. Plus the fact I wanted the characters Micky and Shawn to be introduced properly, as they're gonna be pretty important characters in the next couple of chapters. Constructive critism and suggests are always welcomed and appreciated, so get reviewing people!

Smile xxx