This Bishop Canterling guy is a nuisance. His school has, what seems to be, unlimited funds to cultivate young talent and to scout them out to various agencies. This hasn’t created a healthy, competitive environment. Instead, it’s created practically a monopoly as other school’s talent is passed over by Canterling’s kids. We need to come up with a strategy that will level the playing field and award kids based upon their merit, not what school they come from or how much money they have.
—Opinion piece in the sports section of a local newspaper
In the locker room, while Kato put on his swim trunks, a comment full of sarcasm came from behind Kato. “Well, if it isn’t little Takahashi-kun.” Kato looked around and saw a taller boy standing toe-to-toe with Takahashi.
“Kineda-kun. Missed ya,” Takahashi said back in Kineda’s face. Takahashi was not smiling, nor sincere.
“You should have been in seg with the rest of us, you little shit,” Kineda said as he pushed back Takahashi.
Takahashi moved back, putting his face in Kineda’s again. “Listen, you fuck. I can take you back there right now if you want.”
Kineda broke eye contact and glanced at Kato for a moment then looked back. “Fuck off. I wouldn’t want to punk you off in front of your precious uke.” He pushed Takahashi away with one hand and started walking away. “This ain’t over,” he said before leaving the locker room.
Kato looked around and some boys were watching what was going on, some had their heads down changing into their swimming trunks. Nobody said anything.
Takahashi turned around and grabbed his towel out of his locker and slammed the door shut, startling Kato. “I hate this fucking place,” he said as he walked away.
Kato quickly grabbed his towel and shut the locker and followed.
After warm-up laps, they were split up into two teams for water polo. Again, Kato was on the opposite team. After about 10 minutes of playing, Takahashi and Kineda got into a shouting match and started shoving each other around. A couple more boys got involved. Kato couldn’t figure out if they were trying to stop the fight or make it worse.
“Hey, break it up!” yelled the swim coach. “If you have that much energy, all of you can swim laps for the duration of class.”
Many students started groaning and Takahashi and Kineda got more than a few angry looks. The coach took the ball and had them all swim laps. Kato wanted to swim over and talk with Takahashi, but the coach made it clear that they were to swim laps and nothing else.
This was a grueling ordeal and Kato was becoming weary and a bit irritated. After a solid 30 minutes, he was all but spent and was glad that the instructor told everyone to get out of the pool and sit on the bleachers.
As he sat down, he looked about as the other boys were taking their seats. Most looked weary too. Of course, Takahashi and Kineda were breathing hard, but they didn’t look weary, which annoyed Kato a little.
The swim coach gave them a lecture about teamwork and sportsmanship that Kato could hardly pay attention to as he still heard his heart pounding in his ears as he was resting. Afterwards, the students were dismissed. The boys went back to the locker room.
Kato rinsed off and went to his locker. Takahashi was already getting dressed when Kineda walked by with a glare. He was glad no words were spoken between the two.
In a low voice, Kato asked Takahashi, “I thought you said they all got 30 days in seg. Why are they coming back now?”
Takahashi growled a bit as he said, “Fuck if I know. It’s just what I was told.”
“Well, sorry!” Kato said. “I thought that this was all resolved,” Kato said.
“Hurry up and change. Let’s get out of here,” was all that Takahashi had said.
On their walk back to the monastery, Takahashi spoke up. “I think it was a mistake walking away from that fight.”
“Huh? With Kineda-san?” Kato asked.
“No.” Takahashi shook his head. “The war with the semes.”
Kato became quite annoyed with this. “Yeah, if you didn’t walk away, you’d still be in seg and we would have never gotten together.”
“I know that,” Takahashi said. The irritation in his voice came through loud and clear. He was definitely in wolf-mode again.
Kato wanted to experiment. “I’m glad you are here with me.”
Takahashi didn’t react. He kept walking with that same unreadable look.
Kato continued, “Without you, this school would be a pretty terrible place.”
Takahashi glanced at Kato for a moment, then continued looking down the road.
“I mean it. My life pretty much sucked until I met you.”
Takahashi looked over and his features softened a bit with a smile. “Man, you’re being awfully sappy for some reason.”
“No reason. Just happy to be spending time with you.”
“Uh huh.” Takahashi looked ahead as he didn’t sound convinced.
“Ken,” Kato said. “I have some money now, and I wanted to buy you something for our one-month anniversary tomorrow, but there isn’t enough time.”
Takahashi quickly looked over at Kato. “Huh? Where’d you get the money?”
“I did a portrait.” Kato stopped short of saying who the portrait was of. He didn’t want to bring up the two ukes again.
“Oh. Don’t worry about it. I’m only interested in one thing anyways.”
“Oh? What’s that?” Kato was curious.
“You.” Takahashi said.
Kato’s heart glowed. “Wah. Look who’s being sappy now.”
Takahashi chuckled. “Two can play that game.”
Kato suddenly wondered if Takahashi saw through his attempt to turn off the wolf-mode switch. He realized that maybe Takahashi is a lot more perceptive than he gave him credit for.
“No ‘but still’,” Takahashi said as he interrupted Kato. “All I want tomorrow night is you to bring yourself.”
“All right,” Kato reluctantly agreed.
“And maybe let me have my way with you.” Takahashi said with a smile.
Kato could feel a blush coming on at the openness of Takahashi’s suggestion. He was still not used to hearing such expressions stated so openly.
They boys walked for another minute before Takahashi spoke again. “I hate to ask, but since I wonder how long you will keep things from me, but what did Xan-san want earlier?”
“Oh,” Kato responded. He didn’t miss the obvious guilt trip that was being laid upon him. “Well, I wasn’t going to keep anything from you. It just forgot about it.”
Takahashi glanced at Kato then back to the road.
“I gave some strawberry mochi to Handa-san and Xan-san thinks it might have smoothed things over a bit between us.”
“You gave him some of my strawberry mochi?” Takahashi sounded irritated.
“No, I gave him some of my strawberry mochi. It’s mine now. I can do whatever I want with it.”
“I guess,” Takahashi said, still sounding irritated.
“Besides, he doesn’t have any food, and I didn’t want to be rude and eat in front of him. I just can’t do that, Ken.”
“Fine, fine. I’m happy that at least you enjoyed it.”
“Oh, I did. I really do love strawberries. In fact, I love anything sour or tangy.”
Takahashi smiled. “Anything with sugar, you mean.”
“Pfft.” Kato looked over at Takahashi. “Hey, what are we going to do tomorrow night anyways?”
Takahashi put on a big grin. “Besides sex you mean?”
Kato gave Takahashi a small shove and blushed slightly. “Yes, yes, besides that.”
“Well, I’m making dinner, so don’t bother going. I’m making enough for Xan-san and Handa-san.”
“Really?” Kato was kind of surprised.
“Well, if I cook for a swap, I always cook enough for swaps. Like last time I made food for Tachibana-san and Aizawa-san.”
“Yeah, I remember.” Kato suddenly missed Tachibana.
Takahashi suddenly became really quiet. Kato looked at him and he could see Takahashi starting to blush. It was a curious sight. “What’s wrong?” Kato asked.
Takahashi’s face got a little redder even still. “Bring your drawing supplies.”
“I want you to draw me.”
Kato’s mind exploded. “Really?!” he exclaimed.
“Yes, yes, you pervy little rabbit. You can.”
Kato was extremely happy. Finally, he gets to have the moment he’s been waiting for, to simply worship the naked body of his wolf without interference or interruption. His mind started to race and so did his heart.
“But—” Takahashi said.
“But what?” Kato was hoping not to be disappointed.
“You promised to blur the naughty bits.”
Kato grinned. “I will.”
金田幸広Kineda Yukihiro (kih-nay-dah yoo-kee-hee-roh)