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Racetrack Higgens had a soulmate.

He and his soulmate shared marks on their skin, in their eye color. Any scar that Race got, it would show up on his soulmate's skin in bright blue.

Race knew a few things about his soulmate.

They had deep, beautiful brown eyes. They didn’t have a good living situation, if the dark brown spots that covered his back and slashes over his ribs were anything to go by. They were ambidextrous, and they had been cutting neat lines into their arms since Race was 14.

Race never really got hurt, any marks his soulmate had would be small. (There may have been one on their back from when he was 5, but that would have been it for the big ones).

Not everyone had Race’s marks, soulmate marks depended a great deal on the circumstances of the soulmates in question. Ways for soulmates to find each other ranged from tattoos, to seeing each other in dreams, to seeing color.

Romeo and Specs had tattoos of what the other loved in full color. Routinely new images of the other would show up.

Jack and Davey were pen-pals, meaning that when they wrote something on their skin, it would show up on the other’s.

Albert and Elmer had each other's first words to each other on the other's wrist.

Les had a red string, but he wasn't too concerned with it right then. Like most kids his age, he was 'playing the field’. He spent too much time with Jack.

Race's parents were the first he had told when he noticed big brown spots on his arms. His parents explained soulmates to him then, and he became very worried.

“Does that mean my soulmate's hurt?”

Race's parents had looked at each other sadly. “Yes.”

Race’s face fell. “Why are they hurt? Did they fall?”

“No, sweetie. Those marks aren’t from a fall.”

That night, Race prayed for God to protect his soulmate until he could.

He was 7 years old.

Years passed, Race watching some brown marks fade away, new ones take their places, and slashes slowly cover his back and ribs.

Every night he prayed his soulmate would be okay the next. He was dead set on finding them, keeping them safe. They would have the safety they clearly didn’t have at home with him.

It was when he was 14 the first neat, horizontal lines appeared. His eyes had widened, and he had run to his parents crying. They did what they could to comfort him, but there was only so much they could do. Ever since, Race had worn long sleeves. It wasn’t his secret to share.

The next night more lines appeared, on both arms. Race would later note that his soulmate was ambidextrous, but he was more concerned than anything else.

 

Two years later, when he was 16, Racetrack Higgens crashed into Spot Conlon. It was Spot's first day in the school, and Race quickly adopted him into his friend group.

That night, even more lines showed up. Race panicked.

He didn't know what to do.

The next day, Spot crashed into Race again. They struck up another conversation that dissolved into a debate. It was fun to debate with Spot.

There were no lines that night, but a big slash showed up over his chest. Race cried into his pillow.

Spot was at school the next day, but he winced with every movement. Race noticed quickly. “Spot, you okay man?”

“Why do you care?”

“Well, sorry for wanting to make sure you aren't dying.”

Spot was silent. He sat with the group at lunch that day, sitting next to Race and not eating anything. Race noticed he wore a baggy sweatshirt, far too big for him, and Race found it adorable. He was practically swimming in it.

When Jack threw out a movie reference, casual like normal, Spot was baffled. The reference had been to ‘Avengers’, and Spot revealed he had never once seen the movie. Everyone faked horror. Race gaped at him for a solid 15 seconds before inviting Spot to his house to watch the movie.

Spot, surprisingly, agreed.

They set the date for Friday, two days from then.

The next two nights, no new brown marks made appearances. For the first time in years, it seemed that God had answered his prayers.

Race was giddy for those two days, bouncing up and down. Jack dragged him aside and asked what he was high on. Race, smiling like a idiot, replied that for the first time since they started, no new marks had appeared on his skin for two whole days.
Jack pulled him in for a hug.

Spot showed up at Race’s house that night. They had arranged for it to be a sleepover, so both boys were in pajamas. And Spot looked adorable in pajamas that were way too big for him.

They talked for about an hour before dinner, (Mac&Cheese) and then settling down with popcorn to watch the movie. Neither boy talked for the duration, too busy being transfixed.

Once it ended, Race’s Mom called that it was time for them to go to bed. Spot was confused. “But it’s only 8.”

“Yha, that’s bedtime.”

Spot looked confused and nervous, but followed Race upstairs and brushed his teeth with the toothbrush he had brought with him while Race set up the sleeping bags. Spot got settled while Race brushed his own teeth, and they finally were ready to do standard sleepover things.

Truth or Dare was the first. Spot took a truth first.

“What kind of music do you like?”

“Classic Rock.”

Race took a dare next, and Spot dared him to sing his favorite song. Not the song he was best at singing, the one he loved the most. Race sang ‘The Nights’. Spot sighed.

“Neeeerrrrdddd…”

“My turn! Truth or dare?”

“What the hell, truth.” Spot looked resigned.

“What kind of soulmate bond do you have?”

Spot froze. And he looked Race dead in the eye. And Race… He knew that shade of brown. That exact shade.

Race yanked the long sleeve of his shirt up. Revealing lines of brown that exactly matched Spot’s eyes. Said eyes looked down and froze, staring at the lines. And he pulled up his own sleeve, revealing matching lines in varying shades of bright red to pale tan.