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two soulmates

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Nikki had two soulmates.

Apparently, it was rare, but to her it just seemed… natural. Why would you wanna have one soulmate when you could have two?!

She knew one of their names, Neil, because he had told them on the first day he figured out how to write (which was way earlier than either Nikki or her other soulmate had, so she had to get someone else to read it for her). The other one preferred not to say his name, but she knew he was a he, not a she, or a they.

Nikki and Neil had taken to calling him Honeynuts, because he had said that that was the name of his bear when they were five and just learning how to write. It stuck.

When Nikki's kindergarten teacher explained soulmates to the class, he had said that they were “the one”, and when Nikki stuck her hand up and said she had two different handwriting styles on her arms, he looked at her with disgust. He didn't treat her the same for the rest of the year. Nikki didn't understand why it was bad. After all, Jemma had a girl as a soulmate! Why was having two of them bad?

But then again, her kindergarten teacher also didn't like her rolling around in the mud, which was also weird. He said it was “unladylike”. But Nikki is a lady, so how could it be unladylike? After all, a lady did it! So he was probably wrong about the two soulmates thing too.

When she asked her soulmates about it (along with a tiny doodle of a smiley face with sharp teeth), Honeynuts called him, “a goddamn idiot” (which was a big curse word for their age), and Neil didn't really understand, but was shocked anyway.

When they were around six, Neil started going on incoherent rants. Everyone thought it was gonna be a phase, but he never really stopped. Occasionally, he would write down a rant on his arm, and if Honeynuts disagreed with it, they would have a debate while Nikki highlighted the different parts of the conversation with highlighter. It took hours to scrub off, but it was worth it to see “thanks, nik” (somehow) slightly sarcastically written on her arm in Honeynuts’s messy handwriting.

Nikki was proud she had two soulmates, and wasn't afraid to show it.

She consistently wore tank tops and shorts, even though that made it so her arms and knees got scuffed a lot via falling into the dirt on purpose. She didn't care though. When her mom explained what a tattoo is to her (she overheard her talking about them looking “terrible on girls” and asked about it) she immediately wrote that she wanted to get both her soulmates’ names tattooed on her body. She wore her hair in pigtails because occasionally Honeynuts would write on his neck, for reasons unknown. When she broke her arm, she cried because what if her soulmates were having important conversations without her?! She couldn't see them with the stupid cast on!

Yeah. Nikki loved her soulmates, even if she hadn't met them yet.

---

Neil had two soulmates.

It was rare, he knew that, but it seemed totally fine to him. He couldn't really understand why others would have one soulmate, but if it made them happy, then he guessed it was fine.

One was named Nikki, and the other was dubbed Honeynuts, after his teddy bear. Long story. The name had stuck and he didn't want to reveal his actual name.

For a month, Neil was the only one who could write, so after he introduced himself his soulmates could only communicate with doodles. Honeynuts doodled skeletons, because his class was learning about the dinosaurs at that time, and Nikki basically drew bears all day. She seemed to really love bears. Then she forgot bears, and moved onto fire. Then forgot fire, and moved onto smiley faces with sharp teeth. Then forgot… you get the idea.

Neil was lucky to have a supportive family. He was told that a lot by many adults, so it had to be true, right? Occasionally his uncle would call him a “filthy gay child”, but he was told he was lucky he wasn't being beaten. And so it had to be true, because adults are always right.

Then his parents got divorced, and it all went to shit.

He was constantly traded from house to house, and staying with his dad became a nightmare, because not only was he embarrassing, he also consistently said, in a chipper tone, that Nikki was probably his only romantic soulmate, and Honeynuts was a platonic one, because his son wasn't about to get with a boy.

Throughout all this, Nikki and Honeynuts were constant comforts, ready to offer words that basically just meant “get your shit together” because none of them were good at comforting others. Surprisingly, it worked.

He learned to swear from Honeynuts, then learned it was bad when he said “goddammit” in front of his parents one time. That didn't mean he stopped, though. If anything, he did it more - just away from his parents.

Whenever he got into a fight with his parents, his soulmates would always be there to cheer him up. Or, well, offer to break his dad's nose, or his mom's legs. Once Nikki said she was gonna steal her teeth. That was a weird day.

Nikki and Honeynuts had gotten him through tough times in his life, and secretly he loved him both, even if he had never met them.

---

Max had two soulmates.

Of course he'd be the odd one out. Yeah, why would he have a normal, singular, female soulmate? ...That being said, he couldn't imagine that. Just having one. Max was a lonely person by nature, but monogamy wasn't for him.

Their names were Nikki and Neil. Max didn't really know why he kept his name a secret from them - nor why he put up with the nickname Honeynuts - but it was too late to stop now, he guessed. Nikki was a girl, and Neil? Neil was a guy.

His parents didn't like that.

However, he guessed it was better than them hitting him. All they really did was completely ignore him and snap at him if he ever came to them with a problem. And they didn't like it if he “stole” food from them. Couldn't forget that. Nope, he had to fucking sneak it, in the middle of the night.

Of course, his soulmates didn't know anything about his situation. For a while he thought it was normal. Then he noticed how other kids’ parents actually greeted them at the school gate, hugging and kissing them. Meanwhile, he had to walk home alone.

Whenever he mentioned he hadn't eaten for an entire day, Nikki and Neil would yell at him to eat something or they'd kill him themselves. Or, Nikki would kill him. Neil wouldn't have the guts.

The best parts of his day always, continuously, came from the doodles and writings on his body. Sometimes Nikki would tell a bad pun and Neil would actually write out “...” and you could practically feel the glare through that simple ellipse.

Whenever his parents would tell him to “just fucking kill yourself already”, he would write “hey nik got any cuts lately” and she would always, without fail, reply yes and list off any injuries she could find on her body, with Neil exasperatingly trying to get her to stop while simultaneously being unreasonably concerned for her health.

If he was stuck on a math problem, he could just write it on his hand and in a matter of minutes an answer would pop up along with a message saying, “You should really learn how to do this yourself, you know.” along with another in different handwriting saying, “Oh hey!! Now I can do that!! Thanks Neil!!!”

Even though he would never admit it, Max fucking loved his soulmates, which was weird, because he hadn't actually met them yet.

---

Nikki bounced in her seat on the old yellow bus, it creaking under her feet. The boy a few seats ahead of her had barely glanced at her as he sat down, and had started gazing out the window as if he was in a dream. He had a yellow sweater on, and was absentmindedly fiddling with the- okay, Nikki was bored of that. She looked out the window, and the forest racing past her was entertaining for a few minutes before she got bored again. She dug in her bag for a pen and started to write on her arm.

Hey guys I'm on my way to adventure camp right now!!

She doodled a pine tree next to the message as a response came through, in Honeynuts's handwriting. god i wish that were me. i’m stuck at this stupid fucking camp for everyone for the rest of the summer

I'm also on my way to science camp, but they don't have enough money for a clean bus, so I doubt it'll be good. I just found gum under the seat.

Eat it!!

What?! No!

yeah neil, don't be a fucking coward. eat the gum

EAT THE GUM! EAT THE GUM!

ugh david's talking to me one second

I think we’re coming up on the camp now, so I'll go too. Bye, Nikki.

Seeya Neil!!

Nikki, bored again, resorted to resting her elbows on the tiny windowsill of the bus. She looked out at the forest racing past.

The bus suddenly came to a stop, as if it had hit something. Nikki was flung off her seat, and she looked down the front of the bus to see a giant sign saying “CAMP CAMPBELL”. She wasted no time in racing to the front of the bus, hopping from foot to foot impatiently as the doors opened. The boy behind her made a noise, and she looked over to see him staring at her arm. Before she could ask why, or really get a good look at him at all, the doors opened and that became her main priority. She leaped outside.

---

Neil was in a state of shock.

He hadn't really looked at the other kid on the bus when he was getting on, just trying to avoid any sort of unnecessary human interaction. Looking back on it, he really regrets that decision, because now he saw that the writing on her arms suggest that the girl stood in front of him is Nikki, and it's far too awkward to try to say anything now.

She leapt from the bus with a loud shout, and took a deep sniff. “Oh yeah, smell that nature! Now that's the stuff!”

A man who Neil assumed was what the bus hit (how is he still alive?!) got up from the dirt and smiled at, assumingly, Nikki.

“Well, hello there little lady! You must be Nikki.”

Holy shit, it is her.

“My name is David, your camp-”

Nikki bit his hand. Neil was too focused on finding one of his soulmates to realise David's name.

Neil interrupted David's screaming by saying, “Um, excuse me?”

Everyone turned to look at him. Suddenly his palms got incredibly sweaty.

“Is… Is this science camp?”

That was not what he had meant to say.

The other boy, the one that was already there before them, was staring at him with wide eyes. Before Neil could wonder what was up with him, Nikki let go of David's hand. “No, silly!” She fell to the ground. “This is adventure camp! Ad-vent-ure? My mom said so! Unless she was lying. Again.”

Nikki suddenly squinted at his arm, before her eyes widened. “Wait. Neil?!” she pretty much yelled.

“Holy shit, Nikki?”

---

Max was having a weird fuckin’ day.

First, it was just a bad day, which it normally is at Camp Campbell, but today was especially bad because there were new campers, and that meant standing out in the sun with David for half the day. And that was torture.

Then David got hit by the bus, which was mildly amusing at best, seeing as he didn't actually die. Then the day turned from bad to just… weird.

The girl that hopped out of the bus didn't seem like anything special. He didn't really pay much attention to her. Then David said her name was Nikki, and he looked at her properly, and whoop! There it is, the writing he had written on his arm only minutes before on her arm. That's one of his soulmates. Cool. Good to know.

Then, another kid gets out of the goddamn bus, and wouldn't you know it! It's his second soulmate. The writing on his arms proves it enough, but then he's here for science camp.

And then he and Nikki recognise that they're soulmates, and if that doesn't seal the fucking deal, Max doesn't know what does.

Neil and Nikki stare at each other for a moment, before Nikki bursts out laughing.

“What? What's so funny?” Neil asks, slightly put out.

“No, just-” Nikki snorts, “The way you said that sounded so funny to me.”

Neil glared at her as she laughed, before she finally died down. David looked at both of them, and then at Max, confused.

Nikki smiled. “Now we just need Honeynuts.”

Max rolled his eyes at the name as Neil snorted, before stepping forward and coughing politely. Everyone turned to look at him, and he rolled down his hoodie sleeve to reveal the writing. Nikki and Neil gasped.

“Oh my God.” Neil stared at Max's arm for a second, before looking back up. “So, what's your actual name?”

Max snorted. “Max. Welcome to my shitty summer camp.”