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"I don't think I can do this, Spot."

"You never know ‘til you try. Come on!"

"No, really. I, just, yeah. No."

Spot glanced skeptically at Race before turning his head to look around. The frozen pond was deserted. Quickly, Spot reached out a gloved hand and grabbed Race's jacket sleeve. "There's no one here to laugh at you if you fall.

Besides, everyone falls on their first try." He tugged at Race, trying to force him onto the icy surface of the pond.

"Bet you didn't," Race muttered under his breath, resisting with all his might. "Spot, please. Not today."

"When else would we have the opportunity? We're both busier in the winters. This is the first time we've spend together for… a really long time. You know that. Don't make me beg." Spot glared at his companion. "You know I don't beg," he added threateningly, "unless I really, really want it."

Race furrowed his brows. This was very true; the only time he had ever heard Spot beg before was when the Brooklyn leader was asking him to be careful before the Strike. Race smiled fondly at the memory.

"What're you smilin' about?" Spot asked, moving his hand from Race's jacket sleeve to his warm hand. "Somethin' that has to do with me?"

"Trust you to be all egomaniacal. But yeah, it's about you."

"Egomaniacal's my middle name."

"I thought it was Patrick."

"Shut up!"

"Didn't you want to know what I was thinking about?"

"I dunno. Should I wanna know what you were thinkin' about?"

Race shrugged. "Just thinking about before the Strike. The only time you've ever begged me for anything."

"Oh. Yeah, I remember that. We wouldn't wanna mess up my record, would we?" Spot smiled.

"No. I guess not." Race grinned back, his breath misting the chilly air as he spoke.

"So let's go!" The Brooklyn leader pushed gently on Race's back, urging him onto the ice. "I'll be right behind you."

"You'd better be!" Race stiffened as his skates started to slide, taking him further from Spot's warmth. "Spot!" he yelled, panicking.

"Relax, Race. I'm right here." Race clung to Spot's wiry arms for a moment before taking a deep breath and nodding shortly.

"Let me go."

Spot obliged, releasing Race and following slowly as the Manhattan newsie slid out onto the middle of the icy pool. "You doin' all right, Race?" he called, ready to spring to the rescue if needed.

"Yeah! This is kinda fun!" Race yelled back.

"I toldja it would be!"

Race skated around the pond for another hour, learning the ropes and thoroughly enjoying himself. Dusk fell after a while and slowly Race turned and glided slowly over the ice into Spot's waiting arms. "You wanna go home?" Spot asked.

"Yeah. I think so."

Spot looked down at Race, and said, "I don't usually say stuff like this, but I just wanna tell you that I'm real happy you came with me today. It was fun."

"Yeah. I agree. I wish we had more opportunities like this, you know?"

"I guess we're just gonna have to make time." Spot's lips twitched into a small smile, and lowered his head to Race's level. Their breath mingled in the cold winter air as they kissed.

"I'm game for that."

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