Students at St. Catherine’s practice hard for the annual Kyūdō exhibition held on Culture Day, the national holiday which is typically November 3rd every year, or November 4th if the 3rd happens to land on a Sunday. The event always draws a large crowd, but there are many more sports held on the same day that also draw big crowds, such as the baseball game which is everyone’s favorite.
Some have complained that they couldn’t see both exhibitions, but St. Catherine’s does this on purpose as a form of crowd control. There would simply be too many people to accommodate for a single event.
—Culture Day at St. Catherine’s
“So, what’s everyone going to do now?” Xan asked. “Handa-san is in today’s baseball game, so we’re headed there.”
Kato looked at Takahashi, who was glaring back and in full-on wolf-mode. He knew a war was brewing and it saddened him a little.
“Nakamura-san will be in the Kyūdō exhibition today. We’re going that direction,” Murata said.
Kato felt all eyes look to him. He wondered briefly why they didn’t instead look at Takahashi. Why me? he asked himself. “It’s up to Takahashi-san,” Kato said.
Takahashi never broke eye contact with Kato. “We haven’t decided yet,” he said flatly.
“Well, then. Perhaps we’ll see you later,” Xan said with a friendly smile. “Let’s go Handa-san,” he said as he walked off, leading Handa-san to the Sports Complex.
Kato looked at Murata. Murata looked at Takahashi, then back to Kato. There was a sense of worry in Murata’s eyes, but he simply said, “We’ll see you two later. Let’s go Nakamura-san.” They walked away leaving the impending war zone.
After another minute of glaring, Takahashi spoke with a little bit of a growl, “What’s going on between you and Xan-san?”
Kato instantly became angry at the insinuation, “What the fuck? Jealous much?”
Takahashi was turning that angry shade of red as he growled again, “Should I be?”
Kato didn’t want this. He really did not. He closed the gap between them and stood before Takahashi. He looked down at the ground and spoke quietly. “Of all the boys in this school, in all this world, even one as pretty as Xan-san,” he paused, then looked up and continued, “You’re my wolf. You’re the only one I would ever love.”
Kato noticed a sudden changed in Takahashi that puzzled him. Takahashi’s eyes got moist and his face softened.
“Sappy,” Takahashi croaked out with his coarse voice.
Suddenly Kato realized what it was. It was like Kato found a light switch that turned off Takahashi’s wolf-mode. He was completely astounded. His brain tried to scramble to remember other times that this had happened. Maybe he was on to something here.
“Let’s go to the Kyūdō exhibition,” Takahashi said, interrupting Kato’s thoughts.
“What?” Kato asked, surprised again. “I thought you’d want to watch baseball.”
“I know how your mind works,” Takahashi said. “You’d only want to watch it if a certain dashing young shortstop was playing.” Takahashi purposely wore a self-confident smirk.
Kato laughed and then he thought to give his wolf one more little treat today to smooth over the Xan incident. “You do look hot in that uniform with that cute butt of yours.” Kato grinned.
Takahashi actually blushed a little as he scratched the back of his head with a smile. “Come on, you pervy little rabbit. Let’s go.”
Both boys started walking to the Sports Complex.
“Will you be able to sing tomorrow?” Kato asked in concern.
“Nah. I’m just playing backup guitar,” Takahashi said, somewhat sadly.
“That’s too bad. I was hoping to hear my rockstar boyfriend sing,” Kato said.
Takahashi coughed. “Well, this stupid flu really wrecked my plans. I wanted to play baseball and sing. Now that it took those two things from me, I feel useless.
“Well, you still play a mean guitar. You should start up a band.” Kato asked.
Takahashi looked lost in thought. “Yeah, wanted to with Aizawa-san. There are a few boys here that can play but with my reputation, nobody wants to rock with me.”
Kato tried to give Takahashi an encouraging smile, “You’ll think of something, I’m sure.”
The boys walked the rest of the way, lost in each other’s thoughts.
The exhibition was out in the open rather than its usual location so that it could accommodate the crowds. There was a large grassy hill and Kato noticed that there were people of all sorts here, families. He was surprised as he didn’t realize this event was open to the public. Kato noticed that Murata was sitting in the back and off to the side, away from the crowd. He went over and sat down in the grass next to Murata, and Takahashi sat down beside Kato.
“Hi,” Murata said. Kato greeted him back. He could somehow sense that Murata was probably wondering how the war went. Kato was glad that there wasn’t one.
“The fourth-years will shoot first, then third, second, and first. Nakamura-san is a second-year,” Murata explained.
“What’s with all the people?” Kato asked.
“During Culture Day, family can come,” Takahashi stated.
Kato wondered why he hadn’t heard this before, but then again, he didn’t have any family anyways, or at least any that considered Kato to be family. So, it didn’t matter. It saddened him a little. He was also a little saddened that he was sure no family would come for Takahashi either.
“I met Nakamura-san’s parents and his little sister,” Murata smiled. “They’re nice people and proud of their son.” Kato was sure that he heard some pride in Murata’s voice too as he talked on about the family and Nakamura-san.
Kato looked at Murata, who obviously read Kato’s mind as he said, “My family is too far to come visit. But I will be flying back to see them for Christmas.”
“Cool,” Kato said, not knowing what else to say.
“So, what did Xan-san want?” Murata asked.
Kato somehow knew that this conversation could not be avoided. “He told me that he’s trying to help Handa-san and wanted us to stop making it difficult.”
Murata didn’t look pleased. “What does he want us to do? Hold hands and sing around a campfire?”
Takahashi stated plainly, “I’m not fucking doing that. He and I will never be friends.” Takahashi was back in wolf-mode again.
Kato wondered about this. He wanted to try an experiment. He was sitting close enough to Takahashi and there was nobody close, so he was pretty sure nobody would notice. He put his hand on top of Takahashi’s hand and held it.
“I’m not saying be friends,” Kato spoke softly to Takahashi. “But Xan-san told me that we could spend the next two years fighting until one of is hurt or dead, or we could try to support his efforts and maybe put an end to the hostilities.”
Takahashi’s countenance softened again. Apparently, Kato had found the wolf-mode switch and flipped it back off. This was intriguing to Kato. He would have to study this further.
Takahashi simply sighed. “I can try.”
Kato leaned against Takahashi’s shoulder a bit. “At the very least, we can maybe be civil. It might make it easier to live with him as his roommate and if he’s on good terms with Xan-san, we can swap without trouble.”
Kato was excited about the tournament but all that beef at lunch had weighed heavily on his stomach. He awoke, realizing that he was again laying in Takahashi’s lap. He wondered how this kept happening to him. He never did this before he met Takahashi. It seems that Takahashi had laid him down and took his glasses off. Takahashi was gently running his fingers through Kato’s hair. Kato continued to lay there with his eyes closed. He could hear the sound* of the arrows being released from their bows and hitting the target.
[* 弦音, orツルネ, tsurune, (tsoo-roo-nay), the sound of the vibrating bowstring after shooting the arrow]
Kato sat up. He looked at Takahashi, who handed back his glasses. He looked and noticed Murata was gone.
“The second years will be up shortly, so Murata-san went to get a closer seat,” Takahashi said, apparently easily reading Kato’s little mind.
“Ah,” Kato replied. “Sorry, I don’t know why I keep falling asleep on you.”
Takahashi smiled. “Don’t worry about it. I’m don’t mind.”
The second years got into position and prepared to take their shots. Kato looked around for Murata but there were so many people here that he couldn’t find him. He suddenly realized that he had been sleeping on Takahashi’s lap for a while with all these people around. It was a little embarrassing, but he figured nobody probably even noticed with all that was going on.
Kato noticed that Nakamura-san had very good form and was a handsome boy. He was dressed in the traditional attire* for this sport. He began to wonder if Nakamura was successful in winning over Murata yet. He was sorry to hear about Murata’s problem with his ex-girlfriend, Yuki, but at the same time, he wanted happiness for Murata. St. Catherine’s was truly a cold place and Kato was happy to have found a source of warmth in Takahashi.
[* Consisting of a top called a dogi, a bottom called a hakama, a belt called an obi, and sock-like items called tobi.]
The tournament took quite a long time since it was split up into two events, close target and far target. There were also four classes of students all competing. It finished at 3:30, after all the ceremony was complete and winners announced. Nakamura-san was good but there were a few boys in his grade that were exceptional.
Takahashi and Kato walked back to the monastery. They didn’t bother looking for Murata, who was probably waiting on Nakamura-san and his family. Kato looked over and saw that the baseball game was still going on and there was a huge crowd of people there too.
“So, what are we doing tonight?” Kato asked. He forgot already the schedule that Xan went over.
“Music, dancing, and fireworks,” Takahashi replied.
“Music?” Kato mused.
“Yeah, karaoke and dancing.”
“Dancing? Dancing. I have no idea how to dance,” Kato admitted.
“Me neither,” Takahashi admitted.
“Fireworks sounds awesome though,” Kato lit up.
“If you can stay awake that long,” Takahashi smirked.
“Hey!” Kato smacked Takahashi on the arm. “Who could sleep through fireworks?”
Takahashi grinned at Kato who then smacked him again. “Whatever,” Kato said.
“You have the cutest, softest, little snore,” Takahashi said.
Kato playfully barked, “Bah!”
As they continued to walk, Kato started to contemplate the wolf-mode switch he had discovered. He needed more research but if he could truly figure out the key to using it, maybe he could avoid much of the strife between him and his wolf.