Recently, we discovered a number of students, ages 15 to 17, intoxicated in building 7A. Apparently, they somehow managed to steal a number of bottles of sacramental wine. The students were disciplined, and the empty bottles recovered.
Please implement measures to prevent further theft of the wine, as soon as possible.
—St. Catherine’s Internal Correspondence
Kato had a restless sleep that night. He kept dreaming of being chased by a wolf. And each time he was caught, he would start arguing with Takahashi and run away again, only for the cycle to repeat. He awoke at 6:00 when the alarm went off. Kato got up and went to the bathroom.
He entered, and it was quiet as usual. Higashihara was there, he motioned Kato to the side. Curious, he followed.
“Takahashi-san and Handa-san got in a fight again last night.”
“What?” Kato exclaimed.
“Yeah, apparently Handa-san was taunting him.”
“What?” Kato repeated.
“Handa-san was saying that it served him right that he now has an uke that won’t have sex with him. Takahashi-san attacked him. They exchanged blows. Some of the other boys separated them and then staff members came and ordered them to the infirmary.”
“Well, dude. Last night, you shouted so that the whole damn room heard it.”
“Yeah, but we worked it out. It was my mistake. I didn’t mean to,” Kato sorrowfully replied.
“Tell that to your seme when he shows back up. I heard he will in segregation until this afternoon.”
“How bad was he hurt?”
“I don’t know but I heard there was quite a bit of blood. I doubt either of them won that battle.”
Kato was sad now. He went to the sink to brush his teeth. He looked in the mirror at himself. He looked himself in his eyes for a moment before guilt crushed him and he had to look down.
At breakfast, Murata sat down at the table next to Kato as usual.
Kato looked at him, then back at his food.
“You okay?” Murata asked.
“I know what happened. I’m on his wing, remember? I saw the whole thing.”
“Did he get hurt?”
“Yeah, Handa-san socked him in the mouth, cutting his lip pretty good. I think that’s where most of the blood came from. They wrestled for a bit and I thought Handa-san was winning but somehow Takahashi-san kneed him in the groin. Handa-san dropped like a sack of potatoes. Takahashi-san fights dirty.”
Kato sighed. “I feel sorry for Takahashi-san. He’s been fighting both me and Handa-san. It’s not right.”
“Yeah, perhaps. You sure don’t seem to give him much support being his uke.”
Kato looked at Murata, then looked back at his food.
“I don’t know what to do.”
“Well, first, stop being a goddamned, stuck-up ass. So, the fuck what if he wants to hold hands? Hasn’t he earned it?”
Kato was floored. Where was this attitude suddenly coming from? “You heard that?”
“Well, we did end up holding hands anyway,” he pleaded.
“Yeah, but everyone heard what you said. Did they see you kiss and make up in the bathroom? Did they? No. No they didn’t.”
Kato looked up and barked back, “We did not kiss!”
“Who…the…fuck…cares! In fact, do you even care? Is there anything in you that has any compassion for anyone else but yourself?” Murata spoke out.
Kato was silent. Again, why am I always the bad guy? he questioned himself.
“I feel sorry for Takahashi-san too. Not the way you do though,” Murata said.
“What way then?” Kato retorted.
“If he had chosen me instead of you and treated me and protected me the way he does you, I would have held his hand. I would have let him kiss me for that matter. Hell, I might even have let him fuck me if he wanted to.”
Kato was shocked. He couldn’t believe Murata was saying these things.
Murata huffed. “Anyway, who cares now? You don’t. You’re still thinking of yourself while he’s in segregation because he stood up to Handa-san for you.”
Kata became irritated at the accusation. “For me? He didn’t have to do that. He could have walked away.”
Murata replied, “Yeah, that possible. He could have. But he thinks so highly of you that he refused to back down to Handa-san. Even though he knows what Handa-san said is true, that you would never in a million fucking years have sex with him, he still went toe-to-toe with Handa-san.”
Kato looked down again at his food.
“What has me so fucking pissed is that you are so damn ungrateful about it. You’re such a victim, Kato-san!” Murata picked up his tray and moved to a different table.
Kato was beside himself. He just didn’t understand how everything could just go so wrong so suddenly. The other two boys who regularly eat at the table never looked up once and just kept eating.
Kato returned to the room. Tachibana was there, getting dressed. He looked up.
Kato sighed. “I already know about Takahashi-san.”
Tachibana simply replied, “I figured. It’s the talk of the town.”
Kato sat down in the chair and stared at the wall.
“You gonna cry again?”
Kato replied with an irritated “No.”
They sat there in silence for another minute.
“I don’t know what’s really going on between you two, but listen. You need to support your seme. Takahashi-san is out there, alone, fighting for you.”
“I never asked him to!” Kato complained loudly.
“Don’t get bitchy with me. You probably didn’t ask, but you never turned him down either.”
Kato laughed bitterly. “I didn’t know I could.”
Tachibana looked irritated. “Well, whatever. You don’t seem to know what you’re doing and it’s turning into a mess.”
Kato sighed. “Yeah.”
There was an uncomfortable silence for another minute.
“What do you think I should do?” Kato softly inquired.
“Make up with Takahashi-san.”
“But we did! We already did. I had nothing to do with that fight.”
“I only know what I heard, and it seemed it was very much about you,” Tachibana firmly spoke.
“Fine.” Kato was tired of arguing with everyone about this. “Let’s say it was. How do I make it up to him?”
“Well, what does he want from you? Sex?”
“No,” Kato replied. “He made it clear he doesn’t want that. He wants to be my friend.”
“Then, for Christ’s sake, do that. Just be his friend. Stick by his side. It will all work out in the end.”
“Yeah, but every time I try, it goes to hell.”
“And, yet, Takahashi-san hasn’t given up on you. How about you don’t give up on him, eh?”
“I guess so.” Kato looked at the floor.
“Well, take my advice or leave it. I don’t care one way or the other. Just don’t mope around okay?”
“Fine,” Kato replied with some irritation in his voice. He wondered at how Tachibana can be a nice guy one minute, a jerk the next.
Kato started to get dressed too. This morning he was to attend something called Mass. He didn’t have any clue what that meant. As he was changing into his uniform, he tried to brainstorm what it was that he could do for Takahashi to make it up to him. He could have sworn everything ended last night on a positive note. How did it all fall apart so fast and without Kato’s involvement?
A part of Kato was already sad that he would not see Takahashi this morning. He decided that he would go to the Sports Complex this afternoon. He hoped Takahashi would too. There was also the matter of fixing the rift between him and Murata. He had no idea where to start with that one.
At 10:00, Kato was in Mass. It was a Catholic ceremony held every Sunday that he had to attend. He was handed some literature at the door so he could familiarize himself with the proceedings. He learned that there were a number of these held throughout the day to service the entire high school. Parts of it were rather fascinating, but so much of it he simply did not understand. He liked the choir as the boys singing it were quite excellent. There was a soloist tenor boy that did a remarkable job.
One thing he thought curious was that there were pictures and explanations of their Christian god. In some pictures, he was represented as a Jewish man with a crown of thorns. In others, pictured as an old, white guy. Kato was pretty sure this god was the second guy. This Jesus guy seemed like a nice fellow from the picture. But he imagined the old guy was sitting up there in heaven, spending all day trying to think up new ways to torture Kato and writing it down in his book. He figured that any god that would torture rabbits for fun was neither worthy of song nor praise.
For most of the ceremony, Kato’s mind was elsewhere, though. He spent the time thinking of Takahashi, hoping he was okay. Kato really did feel sorry for causing so much trouble for him. He just didn’t know what to do. Murata thinks I’m selfish and a victim. Tachibana thinks I’m unsupportive. Takahashi thinks…well I don’t know what he thinks. Out of all these thoughts and emotions rolling through him, he could only conclude that, somehow, he misses Takahashi.