SP: Chapter 24. A New Challenger

The monastery that became St. Catherine’s Boarding School was originally built by an old order of monks that also cultivated its nearly 5 square miles (13 square km) of property. The monastery proper was built on the top of a hill, overlooking the valley and the villages below. When the order of the monks began to die out, due to advanced age, and the monastery fell into disrepair as a result. A group of Roman Catholics discovered their plight and offered to purchase the property, doing any and all maintenance and repairs, letting the few remaining monks live their last days there in peace.

After the death of the last monk, the Catholics made some major renovations and then added a high school, as there was a great need—and where there is great need, there usually is great money. The Catholics were already in the possession of other properties in the surrounding area, acquired while waiting for the monks to die off. These were turned into schools for primary education. Thus, the St. Catherine’s Educational System came to fruition.

—The Complete History of St. Catherine’s Educational System by Jerald Weaving, with references.

 

After lunch, Kato was really looking forward to playing more ping pong with Murata. They had the whole afternoon to play at the Sports Complex, and no school tomorrow.

On the trek there, as certain asshole walked by them, shoving Kato into Murata with a rude greeting, “Hello bitches!” Kato stopped, becoming instantly angry, and yelled back, “Fuck off!” to Handa, who simply flipped him off as he continued walking ahead.

“Kato-san!” Murata exclaimed. “What are you doing?”

“Sorry, sorry. He’s such an ass. I can’t seem to help it.” Kato suddenly felt the feeling he was being watched. He turned around to look and saw a familiar sight: about 100 feet (30 m) behind him was his wolf tailing him. A complex knot of emotions swirled around in his heart that he couldn’t seem to untie. He could only ask himself, who really is this Takahashi guy?

“One of these days, that mouth of yours may get you in trouble. The whole class was talking about it this morning. Kato?”

“Hrm?” he replied.

“Are we waiting for Takahashi-san to catch up?”

Kato, being lost in thought, had forgotten for a moment that they were stopped. Whether or not Kato was consciously waiting for Takahashi to catch up or not, he did.

“Good afternoon, Takahashi-san.” Murata bowed and offered a polite greeting.

“Yup,” replied Takahashi.

Kato was a little annoyed at Takahashi’s seemingly cold indifference to Murata, but when he looked at Murata’s response, it didn’t seem to have even fazed him.

Takahashi looked at Kato and said, “Come on. Let’s go. What are you waiting for?”

“Not you!” Kato blurted out.

Takahashi looked at him with a glare. Kato heard Murata stifle a laugh.

“I—I mean, y—yes. But, no. I mean—” Kato rambled, rather flustered.

“Seems we are making some progress in your honestly training,” Takahashi pointed out with a smirk. Another stifled laugh came from Murata.

Kato was red with embarrassment. He didn’t know which was worse: his stupid white lie getting him into trouble, Takahashi’s stupid smirk, or Murata’s stifled laughter.

“Come on, Kato-san,” Takahashi said as he feigned a sigh, grabbing Kato’s arm and gently pulling.

Kato looked over at Murata with a glare as he was being pulled along, only causing some more stifled laughter to erupt from the boy.

—–

The boys split up, Takahashi to the baseball diamond and Kato and Murata to the ping pong tables. For Kato, the plan was to play hard, eat a good dinner, and sleep. After a solid hour, a taller boy in the class had approached asking, “Can I get in on a game?” Kato looked up and said, “Sure. Take my spot. Murata has had me chasing his balls for the past hour.” They all laughed at the double entendre. “I need to take a break.”

“Tell Takahashi I said hi,” Murata said with a grin.

“Shut up,” Kato replied, glaring at Murata, who was snickering. “I hope this guy beats your ass.” He set his paddle on the table for the new challenger and walked away.

When he got close to the door, he stopped and looked back. Murata’s new opponent was probably a little taller than Takahashi and also had a bigger frame. Kato wondered with that size advantage if Murata would have difficulties. He watched the game for a few minutes, and it seemed Murata had stepped up his game, making some amazing plays. Is he going easy on me? Kato pondered. The other boy was no slouch either. It was entertaining to watch. They were laughing and joking together, and Kato felt a tiny bit envious. Kato knew his head wasn’t in the game. And apparently Murata knew it too. Kato was thinking about a certain someone playing baseball.

—–

Kato was familiar with baseball. It was quite popular in Japan. He had watched lots of games and even knew some of the names of the famous players and teams. He sat down in the bleachers. It happened to be that the team Takahashi played for was down by 2 runs in the 3rd inning. He was currently manning shortstop. He looks—his brain stopped to scramble for a word­—handsome in his uniform, Kato reluctantly admitted. He really couldn’t deny it. Takahashi had this confident air about him; being a very talented and capable person, maybe even fearless. The ball was hit hard towards him and he effortlessly fielded the ball and threw the runner out at first.

When the game was over after six innings, Takahashi’s team had lost. The players from both teams lined up to congratulate each other. Takahashi took his hat off and put his face into Handa’s and yelled, “Eat shit, Handa-san!” This caused Handa to push back Takahashi and the boys from both teams ran over to separate them.

“Calm down Takahashi-san, calm down,” one of the boys holding him back was yelling. Handa was also being held back. He glared at Takahashi with an evil grin, shaking off the boys holding him, then turned and walked away.

Kato’s heart was in his throat as he watched. Takahashi said, “Alright, alright, let go.” The boys let go and Takahashi put his cap back on. “If he makes one more fucking remark like that about my uke, I’m gonna break fucking his neck.”

One of the other boys spoke up, “Don’t do that. Just ignore Handa-san. He’s just bitter that you found another uke and he still doesn’t have one.”

“That asshole doesn’t deserve one, and no uke deserves an asshole seme like that.” Another boy said.

“Let’s go.” Takahashi said, ending the discussion. The boys walked back to the dugout.

Kato just noticed that he was standing up. He didn’t remember doing so. There was still a little time left before they had to go back at 4. He decided to wait around the entrance of the Sports Complex. Murata came out first, along with that boy he played ping pong with earlier.

“Hi Kato-san,” he cheerfully spoke.

Kato looked at him and smiled, then looked at the other boy.

Rather formally, the boy introduced himself, “My name is Kōichi Nakamura. Pleased to meet you.”*

[lit. 中村 康一 Nakamura, Kōichi]

Kato return the greeting and introduction.

“You ready to go?” Murata asked.

Kato looked at them, “Nah, you go on ahead. I’m waiting for Takahashi-san.”

Murata gave a knowing smile, that rather irritated Kato, and said, “Ok, see you.” Both boys walked off, joking and laughing together.

Kato wasn’t stupid. He could see that Nakamura was probably a seme, and the two got a long rather well. Perhaps the tide turned for Murata. He felt a pang of envy. He wondered at why he couldn’t have a seme that he got along with, laughed with, and so forth. All he had was Takahashi, a true wolf in sheep’s clothing. All they ever did was argue, he reasoned.

“Waiting for me?” Takahashi said as he seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

Kato jumped and blurted out, “No!”

Takahashi replied, “Damn. You just gotta lie, huh? You just can’t admit that you might be ever so slightly fucking happy to see me.”

Kato sighed loudly, “Sorry. You scared me is all.”

“Uh huh. Well, way to make a guy feel welcome. Come on, let’s go.”

Kato felt guilty and reached out and grabbed Takahashi’s arm, preventing him from walking away. “Let’s not fight. I am sorry.”

Takahashi looked rather dubiously at Kato but didn’t say a word.

“Alright, fine, I was waiting for you!” Kato admitted with a fair amount of annoyance. He looked at Takahashi then looked down and added, “And maybe I was ‘slightly fucking happy’ to see you.”

A giant beaming grin appeared on Takahashi’s face as he brightly said, “See? Was it that hard to tell the truth?” He started to laugh.

Kato blushed furiously and smacked Takahashi’s arm, realizing he was just being toyed with.

“Your training is coming along nicely.”

Kato got behind Takahashi and pushed him, gently but with force, “Just go, go, go. Shut up and go!” Takahashi was laughing while Kato was trying his best to hide his beet-red face behind Takahashi’s back, pushing the silly laughing boy back towards the monastery.

 


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