Murata: you two fighting again? LOL
Kato: yeah, he’s being an asshole. 😡
Murata: what did you do?
Kato: OMG why do you think it’s my fault?!
Murata: isn’t it always?
Kato: it’s our anniversary this weekend and he scheduled a gig
Kato: he chose to do the gig instead. I seriously think he loves his fucking music more than me!!!
Murata: not true. he would have left you long ago if that was the case
Kato: hey, I’m the victim here. how come you are taking his side?
Murata: LMAO still the victim after all these years
Kato: I dunno why I bother talking to you
Murata: because you listen to me
Murata: just wait and see. :O)
—A text message conversation between Ren Kato and Sōta Murata
“Ren, what would you like to do?” Takahashi asked.
Kato looked around and saw a wall with balloons. He knew immediately what he wanted. First, revenge as he grabbed Takahashi’s arm and started to drag him around, and secondly, he wanted to pop some balloons with some darts.
Both boys were given three darts each. Takahashi had never done this before, and he was awful. Kato was laughing watching Takahashi throw. “Son, let me show you how it’s done,” Kato said with a confident smirk.
POP went a balloon on Kato’s first throw. POP. POP. Kato killed three balloons with three darts.
“Holy fuck, how did you do that?” Takahashi’s jaw dropped.
Kato grinned. “Skill. Just pure skill.”
“One of my mom’s nice boyfriends had bought me a dart board. It’s one of the few things I took with me whenever we moved around. I’d hang it up in my room and throw darts at it for hours.”
“Well, well, look who we have here.”
Kato recognized that voice and turned, “Murata-san!”
“A wolf and a rabbit… Really?” Murata laughed. “Be careful you don’t get eaten, Rabbit-san.”
Kato smacked Murata on the arm at the obvious sexual innuendo. “What about you? Honestly, a kitty?”
“So?” Murata laughed.
“And a dog?” He gave Nakamura-san a slight bow and said hello.
“He’s not just a dog, he’s a puppy,” Murata gleefully explained. Nakamura rolled his eyes.
“Nakamura-san. I know exactly how you feel. I was forced to be a rabbit.”
“Maybe we should leave the wolf and the cat and elope,” Nakamura said with a snort.
“Sure, I believe dogs and rabbits get along together well.” Kato grinned.
Kato and Nakamura looked at the faces on both the wolf and the cat and they both started laughing.
Murata hooked his arm around Nakamuara’s and said, “Come on, dog. Let’s go.” He pulled the laughing Nakamura after him.
Kato was still smiling when he looked back at Takahashi. He hooked his arm around Takahashi’s and said, “Come on, wolf. Let’s go,” in imitation of Murata.
The boys spent the rest of the evening going from booth to booth, eating lots of candy, though Kato certainly outranked Takahashi in the sweets department as he could put away so much sugar that he got a slight buzz off it.
At 8 o’clock, the winners of the various contests were announced. Kato and Takahashi won the Apple Bobbing contest by 4 apples. They both started laughing at the silliness of it all. They were both given a special ticket to a special screening of a movie on Saturday. Kato was super excited. Only a few tickets were handed out as top prizes. The rest of the contestants got candies and little prizes though, so Kato didn’t feel bad for the losers. Afterwards, the chow hall was closed so that all it could be cleaned up and all the boys were sent back.
“We’re assigned to the haunted house at 10 o’clock. So, let’s meet again at the front of the dorm and go together.”
“Okay,” Kato agreed.
They went to their separate rooms. Kato looked at his empty room again. It was very lonely. He had two hours to wait until the haunted house. He had never been in one before. He had no idea what to expect. He sat in the chair for a bit and thought about Takahashi. Then he went to the restroom and thought about Takahashi. He looked into the mirror and saw a goofy-looking rabbit wearing square-framed glasses. He thought about taking it all off and washing his face but then he knew Takahashi liked it, so he figured that when they went back to Takahashi’s room tonight, he’d wash it off then.
He went back to his room and folded up all the linen on Tachibana’s bed so he could take the bottom bunk now. He was thinking of, not Tachibana, but Takahashi. He sat on the bunk that was now his, freshly made, lonely, thinking about Takahashi.
He decided that maybe he would read that dreadful book but then he realized that he would probably read the same paragraph perpetually while thinking of Takahashi.
So, he gave up and stopped resisting the urge to let his mind wander, thinking of Takahashi. He had a nice time on their fourth date. Even the rabbit paint wasn’t a bad thing since it made Takahashi happy. He was sad about their conversation earlier. Kato felt that he really was missing something. There was just something holding him back that he didn’t understand.
He awoke an hour later. It was almost 10 o’clock. He was glad he woke up. If he missed this, Takahashi would probably never have forgiven him.
He exited the dorm into the cold night. Takahashi, the wolf, was waiting. Kato was glad that Takahashi didn’t remove his paint either. He did look cute as the wolf Kato always took him for.
Takahashi took Kato’s hand and interlaced his fingers. Kato looked up at Takahashi with a puzzled look.
“One last time.” Takahashi sighed. “The building is on the other side of the compound so it’s a little walk. Let’s go.”
Kato held onto Takahashi’s hand and they walked together in the cold, starry night. The moon was a waning crescent but there was plenty of light from the monastery and school buildings. Something bugged Kato though. What did he mean “one last time?” he wondered. It sounded so final and sad.
They encountered a crowd and had to wait for a bit for their turn to go inside. Kato was a bit nervous. He held on tight to Takahashi’s hand. The first thing that jumped out at him was a zombie. He yelped and latched onto Takahashi and held him tight, which caused Takahashi to laugh. This isn’t a haunted house, this is a place of horrors, Kato thought. There were a lot of dark passages. He almost jumped on top of Takahashi when something reached out at his ankles in one passage. After winding their way through that hell for a half hour, they walked through a crazy maze of mirrors. Their wolf and rabbit faces were all contorted. Kato was amused at one mirror that made the rabbit look taller than the wolf.
They exited out the other side and Kato breathed. It was like all the monsters in all those movies he laughed at as a kid came back to haunt him.
Takahashi laughed. “Did you have fun?”
“Fuck me, that was scary.” Kato laughed. “I had no idea.”
Takahashi smiled. “Come on, the crowd is heading back. Let’s go.” Kato held out his hand, but Takahashi simply looked at it and took off walking. Kato was confused but caught up to Takahashi and kept pace.
There it is again, Kato thought. He’s back in wolf mode. What the hell did I do wrong this time?
They got back into the dorm and there was a crowd. Kato followed Takahashi past the nun and to the door of Takahashi’s wing.
Takahashi turned around and put his hands on Kato’s shoulders and stopped him. “No. Go back to your room.” Takahashi was rather firm.
“But I wanna go with you,” Kato whined.
“No more swaps. I meant it.” Takahashi’s eyes were moist.
“I’ll be good. I can sleep on the top bunk with my doll. I won’t cause any trouble.” Tears were falling down Kato’s cheeks.
“I said no.” A tear rolled down Takahashi’s cheek.
“You boys, hurry and get back to your wings,” the old nun ordered.
“Go, Ren. Go now.” Takahashi turned Kato around and pushed him firmly towards the A-wing door. Kato stopped and turned back as Takahashi quickly opened the door and disappeared.
Kato was beside himself. He simply didn’t understand what just happened. Suddenly he felt that he lost both of his wolves: Takahashi, and the plushie that was still on Takahashi’s bed. Heartbroken, he turned and went to his room. He sat in a chair and started crying. The pain in his heart was bleeding out of him.