Tis the Gift

Racetrack Higgins was making a mistake heading into Brooklyn that night. He knew he was. And if anyone from Manhattan knew what he was planning to do there, they probably would have told him he was trying to get himself killed.

After all, he had no business giving Spot Conlon a gift that had any sorts of romance attached to it. Not that this particular gift could be seen as romantic, but it was still more than most people would do.

That wasnít to say that people didnít give Spot gifts. He was one of the most respected, or feared, or whatever you wanted to call it, newsies in New York. That may not have meant very much to anyone who wasnít a newsie, but it meant everything in the circles that Spot and Racetrack traveled in.

Still. He was going to make the effort. It wasnít like heíd really done anything special, but he figured that he might as well make the effort to acknowledge that there was something between him and Spot that was different than normal, especially considering the amount of time they spend hiding out in alleys where no one could see them.

They had just made an agreement, even if they hadnít actually discussed it, that this was never to be spoken of and it was just an understanding. Nothing more.

Of course, that still didnít explain why he was walking through the streets of Brooklyn getting ready to deliver a gift to Spot. His... something.

Spot was sitting outside the Brooklyn lodging house, smoking a cigarette. Racetrack wasnít surprised. Spot always seemed to be able to know when Race was on his way to visit. Normally it would annoy Race, but this time he was just glad to see Spot.

"Higgins," Spot said, casually taking a puff on his cigarette. "Canít say Iím surprised to see you here."

Racetrack shrugged. "Manhattanís boring tonight," he replied calmly, using his carefully honed poker skills to prevent any sort of anxiety from showing through. "Figured youíd be up for something more... entertaining."

He bit back a smirk. He knew Spot would be interested.

Which was why it was so surprising when Spot shook his head. "Gotta take care of my boys," Spot said casually. "Canít spend all night sitting out in the cold."

It took all of Raceís years of practice to keep from letting his surprise and disappointment show through on his face.

Spot stood up, and dropped a package on the stoop. "Merry Christmas, Higgins," he commented, and then started up the steps.

"Hey, Spot?" Race called before his confidence got away from him.

Spot turned. "Yeah?"

"I got you something too," Race said, tossing the box up to him.

Spot smirked. "I knew you would." He paused. "Meet me at the races tomorrow."

Race nodded, and watched Spot head into the Brooklyn lodging house. It would do. It wasnít like he was expecting anything anyway.