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Whether the sun burns our skin

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"Sticks! It's happenin' again!" Twist said anxiously, rushing through the Brooklyn Lodging House, trying to find the King of Brooklyn.

"Twist?" Sticks asked, sticking his head out of the "King's Quarters". "Sticks!" Twist cried, grabbing onto the older boy's sleeve. He pulled up his shirt and showed the king a large purple and blue bruise forming on his stomach.

"My soulmate! It's happening' again!"

"It's okay, Twist." Sticks took Twist's hand and led him into his room, helping him sit on the bed. "She's gonna be alright."

"But it's happening all the time!" Twist said.

"I know, I know." Sticks patted Twist on the back, trying to comfort him. "She'll be alright, Twist. But you have to be strong for her. Can you do that?"

"Yes." Twist nodded, sniffling a bit.

"Good." Sticks smiled and wiped a single tear from Twist's face.

 

 

Twist stared down at the nickel sized burns appearing on his skin, one by one. I have to be strong. I'll kill whoever is hurting her! Her. Her. Why does she have to be a her, whoever she is? Twist, stop. It's illegal to think that way. Twist sighed heavily and leaned back on his bed. Why are soulmates so confusing?

 

 

"Twist, I can't stay in New York anymore. I'm going to Maine to get a better job." Sticks said. They were sitting in the King's Quarters, and Twist was staring up at Sticks, confused.

"Why you tellin' me this?" Twist asked.

"I want you to be the new king." Sticks said.

"Me?" Twist asked.

"Yeah. There'll be a whole coronation tomorrah, so right now you need to decide what your new name is gonna be." Sticks explained.

"Coronation? New name?" Twist still didn't understand.

"I'm leaving, you're gonna be the new king. Got it?" Sticks asked.

"Yes?" Twist said hesitantly.

"Now think of a new name before tomorrow." Sticks said, waving his hand to dismiss Twist.

 

 

"Do you, (say your name), solemnly swear to uphold the code of Brooklyn, protect Brooklyn, defend Brooklyn, fight for Brooklyn, and most importantly rule Brooklyn to the best of your ability?" Sticks asked, holding a stick above Twist's head.

"I, Spot Conlon, do solemnly swear to uphold the code of Brooklyn, protect Brooklyn, defend Brooklyn, fight for Brooklyn, and rule Brooklyn to the best of my ability." Spot said proudly, bowing his head.

"Then I, Sticks Harrison, hereby step down as King of Brooklyn and pass the title, rank, and duties to you, Spot Conlon." Sticks passed the stick over each of Spot's shoulders. The Brooklyn newsies all cheered.

 

 

"I fold." Spot splayed his cards out across the floor of the Brooklyn Lodging House, and Race greedily pulled his winnings towards himself. Spot tried not to let his gaze linger  on Race's curly blonde hair, his smirk smile, or his well toned muscles. Spot failed.

"Excuse me for a moment." Spot stood up and left the room. He needed a minute to breathe. He had found out his soulmate was Race during the strike, upon seeing the burns on his forearm that matched Spot's perfectly. Although thrilled to find out his soulmate was male, he was also scared. He could get arrested for this.

"Conlon, I need to talk to you." A redheaded boy walked up to Spot in the hallway, his voice quivering slightly.

"Whadda ya want?" Spot asked gruffly.

"In case you don't know, my name is Albert. And I'm just going to say this right out: Race is my brother, Spot. I will protect him with my life." Albert said, stepping closer to Spot. "So let me see your left arm."

"No!" Spot protested, backing away.

"Spot, I know you know. Now, let me just make sure you're right." Albert said plainly, holding out his hand. Spot grudgingly gave Albert his arm. After a bit of close examination, Albert let go. "If you hurt him in any way, shape, or form, I will personally murder you and throw your body in the river." Albert threatened.

"I could beat you in a fight easily." Spot said, pushing past Albert to go back to the main room. "But don't worry, I would never hurt him."

 

 

"Walk me back to the bridge?" Race asked. Spot rolled his eyes. The two walked in silence, and when they reached the Brooklyn Bridge they stopped. "Spot, I need to tell you something." Race said suddenly.

"Oh?" Spot cocked an eyebrow, trying desperately to hide his emotions.

"I think you're my soulmate." Race said quickly.

"Took you long enough." Spot said with a smile, grabbing Race's shirt collar and pulling him into a nearby alley. And then Spot pressed his face against Race's, their lips meeting in a much too late kiss.

"Spot, I-" Race started to say.

"I'se sorry, Racer." Spot said suddenly, letting go of Race. "I shouldn't have-"

"I've been waiting too long for that kiss." Race simply said, pulling Spot in again.