School is year around at St. Catherine’s, making summer school mandatory. The upside is that the schedule is light and involves many extracurricular activities, including many outdoor classes in survival techniques such as fishing, foraging, camping activities, and so on. With 5 square miles of property, there were plenty of fun things to do during the summer.
—Summer School at St. Catherine’s
Kato and Takahashi spotted Murata and Nakamura, who had already been setting up the site for their picnic. They dropped their bags there.
Nakamura invited all to a spot not far from the picnic spot and started to demonstrate what he expected of everyone. Kato learned that Nakamura and Takahashi would play the parts of the tori and, much to his annoyance at the vocabulary, Kato and Murata would play the roles of the uke.
[* Aikido training is based primarily on a partnership of 2 roles. Basically, without going into great detail, the 取りtori (tor-ee) is the attacker and the 受けuke is the defender.]
In the hour that they practiced, they learned some simple techniques that, if they practiced a lot at, could help them defend themselves. In spite of Takahashi’s ankle, he did not hold back or go easy on Kato.
They all sat down in the shade for lunch, each couple on the opposite side of the food. It was a warm day, but Kato felt it was a little chilly in the shade.
“Thank you, Nakamura-san, for teaching us today,” Kato offered.
“It was nothing,” Nakamura replied.
They all ate in peace for a bit, then Takahashi pulled out his guitar and started plucking away.
“Nakamura-san. What do you want to do this afternoon?” Murata asked.
“What? Don’t you get tired of me beating you?” Murata grinned.
“Yeah, right. Did you hit your head or something getting out of bed this morning?” Nakamura replied.
“I dunno, maybe I did. But it didn’t seem to impair my ability to remember yesterday’s ass-whopping.”
“You cheat.” Nakamura said flatly.
“I do not!” Murata protested.
“What would you call it? Creative score-keeping?” Kato realized that he couldn’t read Nakamura’s face, just like he could never read Takahashi’s. Is he upset or not? Kato couldn’t tell.
“Hey, not my fault if you can’t count to 20!” Murata jabbed back.
“Maybe we just need an independent scorekeeper.” Nakamura looked at Kato. Kato looked at Takahashi. Takahashi looked at his guitar.
Murata laughed. “You have no allies here, Nakamura-san.”
“Apparently not.” Nakamura replied.
“Tell you what. I’ll let you win a few today to keep you interested. How about that?” Murata smirked confidently.
“Bring it on.”
Kato smiled watching these two interact. They seemed to like to jest with each other. He was a little jealous, though, because it seemed every time he tried to jest with Takahashi, Kato ended up being the butt of the joke.
Takahashi started playing some songs that they all could sing along to. Then after a set, he started to sing some solo songs, and a couple love songs. Kato truly loved to listen to that voice. After the music was over, and clean up of the picnic area, they all decided to some doubles ping pong.
Kato and Takahashi were outclassed, and everyone knew it. So they didn’t keep score and just horsed around for an hour until Takahashi called it.
“Thanks for the games but I need to rest.” Takahashi bowed out. Kato thanked them too and followed Takahashi out of the building.
Kato stood there, looking at Takahashi, who was also standing there looking back. “So, what are we going to do now?” Kato inquired.
“I dunno. We have like 2 hours before we need to head back. What would you like to do?” Takahashi inquired back.
“Oh. I thought you said earlier that you would figure something out for us to do.”
Takahashi shrugged. “I couldn’t come up with anything.”
Kato thought for a moment. “Can you walk?”
“What do you mean: Can I walk?’” Takahashi retorted. “I’m not an invalid.”
“Yeah, but your ankle.”
“Need me to massage it again?” Kato grinned.
“No.” Takahashi responded.
“Then, how about we walk the track for a while?”
“Okay,” Takahashi agreed.
They walked the track for a bit in silence. Kato didn’t really know what to talk about now, so he just opened with some random question: “Do you have any siblings?”
“No.” Takakashi replied.
“Any family besides your parents?”
“Ever had any girlfriends?”
Kato was getting irritated now. “What’d you do, live under a rock?”
Takahashi looked at Kato for a moment then continued to look ahead. “Nope.”
Kato sighed. “Well, you’re a lot of fun to talk to this afternoon.”
“Who said I wanted to talk?” Takahashi replied.
Kato huffed. What’s eating at him?, he wondered.
“Look. I know about two things in this life. Ball and Guitar. Which would you like to talk about?”
Kato grumbled, “Neither.”
“Fine. Do you have any siblings, or girlfriends, or boyfriends, or pets?” Takahashi sarcastically asked.
“No. But you don’t have to be a jerk about it. I was just trying to find something to talk about,” complained Kato. “Why the attitude?”
“I dunno. I’m restless. My back aches, my ankle aches, and I can’t play ball.” Takahashi grumbled.
“You like it that much?”
“Well, I like watching you play,” Kato smiled.
“Let’s go sit on the bleachers and watch the game, eh? I know basic baseball but maybe you could teach me a few new things,” Kato sincerely offered.
“Alright,” Takahashi agreed.
The boys sat on the bleachers to watch the game. Takahashi explained that in high school baseball, they played with aluminum bats and played for 6 innings. He went on to explain a few more differences between a major league game and a high school game. Kato noted that Takahashi actually spoke rather excitedly about this game, and that his mood seemed to have improved.
Takahashi reached down and rubbed at his ankle a bit.
“Here, give me your ankle.” Kato ordered.
“It’s fine.” Takahashi replied.
“Takahashi-san. Don’t make me pull out some funky Aikido and hurt you in the process. I will take it by force.” Kato warned.
Takahashi glared at Kato. “Fine.” He put his leg up on Kato’s knees.
“See? Not so hard. At least let me help once in a while.” Kato began messaging Takahashi’s ankle. He noticed that Takahashi had that complicated look again. He started to notice a pattern. It seemed whenever Kato offered to care for him, he would act like this.
“We going to see the movie tonight?” Kato asked.
“Sure. I heard they are going to play some movie called Avatar.”
“Really?” Kato had heard about this movie but hadn’t seen it yet.
“Easy,” Takahashi warned. “Try not to rip my foot off.”
Kato chuckled. “Sorry.”
They sat and watched the rest of the game. Kato was happy to massage Takahashi’s foot. He was also pleased with the idea that even his seme could be trained. He also thought that maybe, in some small way, this could be his way of doing something of some importance for Takahashi, to repay a little of the kindness shown by him lately.
The chime announced the end of the game and the closure of the Sports Complex. Both couples met at the entrance and walked back.
Kato couldn’t resist, “Who won?”
Murata smiled, “Me.”
Nakamura spoke up, “Only because I let you.”
“Let me?” Murata exclaimed. “Care to explain how?”
“I let you keep score.” Nakamura stated.
Kato chuckled. “You two going to the movies tonight?” Kato asked.
“Yup,” Murata nodded. “You?”
“Yup.” Kato smiled.
“Another double-date.” Murata chuckled.
Kato playfully smacked Murata on the arm. “Hush.”
At dinner, Kato and Murata talked more about their swaps. Kato didn’t mention anything about wearing only boxers. He was okay doing it with Takahashi, but he felt a little shy thinking anyone else might find out about it.
“And I already know what you’re thinking, Kato-san.” Murata continued. “We did not have sex.”
Kato smirked. “I didn’t even ask that.”
“Yeah, but I can see your mind working overtime.”
Kato simply shrugged.
“Nakamura-san has been a perfect gentleman.”
“You know, that’s the same with Takahashi-san. I fell asleep on his bed and he slept in his roommate’s bed.”
“I think we just may have a pair of quality semes.” Murata said.
Kato chuckled. He looked over at Takahashi and looked back, “Dunno if I’d go that far.”
“You seem to be getting along better.”
“I suppose so. But he is so moody.” Kato complained quietly.
“Give it time,” was all Murata had to say.
Popcorn and treats in hand, the boys sat down to watch the movie. Kato had finished his popcorn in record time. He absolutely loved the stuff.
Takahashi glared. “What?” Kato asked. “I didn’t get a belly ache last time. I won’t get one this time either.”
Takahashi shook his head. “And when you do, don’t come crying to me.”
Kato scoffed. “As if I would. What sick rabbit would go to a wolf to ask for help?”
“If that rabbit got sick enough, I bet he wouldn’t have to ask.” Takahashi stated.
The lights dimmed to signal the start of the movie. Kato looked but Takahashi was simply staring at the screen. Kato sighed a bit. He regretted last weekend and he wanted to make it up to Takahashi. He looked up at the screen and stuck out his hand, palm down and waited. After a few moments, he felt Takahashi’s warm hand come from underneath and they clasped their fingers together. Kato didn’t know why, but he felt that it was not creepy anymore. In fact, it seemed like a source of warmth that he had been missing somehow.
Kato woke up suddenly when the lights came back on. He was still holding Takahashi’s hand and was laying against his shoulder. He let go and sat up. “Sorry,” he apologized.
Takahashi chuckled. “I’m getting used to you falling asleep on me. You missed a great movie.”
“Ah, yeah. Think I fell asleep somewhere about half way.” Kato realized that he wasn’t feeling all that well, like he was starting to catch a cold. His throat was a little sore.
“Let’s go back,” Murata said. “Show’s over.”
The boys went back, everyone wished each other a good night, and then they separated. Kato figured he just needed to get some sleep. Maybe it was tiredness and not a cold.