When Racetrack arrived at the Brooklyn lodging house, it was already closed for the night, and it was just starting to snow, a light covering of powder over the streets. He hadn't actually intended to be that late, but it had taken longer than normal to get to Brooklyn. He should have stayed in Manhattan, but he'd promised Spot that he would come. It was Christmas, and there was a tradition.

Even if he made his way back to Manhattan now, he knew that Kloppman would have closed up the lodging house as well. No matter what, he'd be sleeping on the streets.

"You're late, Racetrack," Spot's familiar voice said, sounding a cross between amused and annoyed. Racetrack looked over, and saw Spot leaning against a streetlamp, smoking a cigarette. "You made me wait out in the cold."

"Sorry, Spot," Race said, and he smirked. "Didn't think that you'd have waited for me."

Spot shrugged, and he took another drag of his cigarette. "It's a tradition for you to be here," he said. "And you know better than to not show up."

It was true - if you were summoned to Brooklyn, you did what you were told. It was slightly different in this situation, but Racetrack still wasn't willing to cross Spot like that. Besides, he liked their tradition.

"Lodging house is closed," Spot added. "You should have gotten here earlier."

"I could've snuck in," Race shrugged. "Not like I haven't done it before. Besides, it took a while to sneak away from the other guys."

"Nah," Spot said. "My boys would have seen you sneaking in. It's better this way."

The two boys stood there for a minute, just looking at each other. Spot nodded his head, subtly gesturing for Racetrack to follow him, which Race did willingly. This was Spot's town - Race was just the guest, albeit a very welcome one.

"Merry Christmas, Spot," Race said finally, just to break the silence. He didn't so much expect a response, and Spot didn't disappoint him. Racetrack wondered where they were going, but he supposed it didn't matter much. He already knew how the evening was going to end. There were traditions, after all.

It was starting to snow, and Race shivered in the cold. He had really been hoping for the lodging house, just because it would have been warm. It would have made things much more complicated, but they would have managed. They always managed.

Then again, a little snow probably wouldn't be that much of an inconvenience. They'd all been through worse, and it wasn't like it was the first time Race had needed to sleep outside during the winter. At least this time he would have Spot to keep him company, and to keep him warm.

Spot looked around the streets, empty except for them and the snow that was starting to fall, and then led Racetrack into an alleyway.

"Merry Christmas," Spot agreed, as he pressed his lips against Racetrack's.

There were some traditions that Racetrack didn't mind continuing. Kissing Spot on Christmas was definitely one of them.