There is another tale among the staff and students of St. Catherine’s that claims the old monastery was built upon an ancient battlefield between two warring kingdoms. Both kings wanted to lay claim to the mountain for strategic purposes, giving the victor a sizable upper hand in the war. The horrific battle ended in an eternal draw as the wholesale slaughter destroyed both armies, down to the last man, covering the mountain in blood.
Many say that because there was no victor, the war rages on in the realm between the light and the shadows. Each Halloween, a rift between their realm and ours develops allowing the armies to briefly cross over and continue the war on the mountain.
This favorite tale of the monastery was incorporated into the Halloween festivities each year as students were allowed to dress up as warriors in costumes.
—Life at St. Catherine’s, vol 2, pp. 74-6.
Kato woke sometime early in the morning. He had no idea what time it was because the clock was covered with Takahashi’s sheet music. He realized that he was laying on his back and Takahashi was still on his side. Takahashi was not only spooned up against Kato, but his leg was over Kato’s groin and his arm was draped over Kato’s chest. He amusingly imagined himself as nothing more than Takahashi’s body pillow. I don’t think it’s possible for him to get any closer to me, Kato snidely thought. Takahashi’s nose was up against the top of Kato’s shoulder and he could feel his breath.
For a moment, he felt that he should be uncomfortable with this, but he was altogether too tired to bother feeling embarrassed. He was reasonable and wouldn’t hold it against Takahashi who was simply sleeping.
He had a hard time sorting out the knot of feelings inside his heart. On the one hand, he admitted to himself that what he felt for Takahashi, lately, went a bit beyond a simple friendship, which was a little worrisome. On the other hand, he didn’t feel a desire to kiss Takahashi or have sex with him. Granted, seeing Takahashi naked was still interesting but he didn’t have a desire to do more than that.
It concerned him that he might be leading Takahashi on. He remembered what Murata said about Kato sending signals. He didn’t want to see that look in Takahashi’s eyes, that same look of rejection that was in the seme’s eyes that he rejected at the ping pong table. He didn’t want to be another source of sadness for Takahashi.
It all boiled down to one question for Kato: how far could he go for Takahashi? Still, he wasn’t entirely sure Takahashi was even interested in other boys to begin with. With only negative experiences, Kato concluded that Takahashi couldn’t possibly be interested.
His musings were interrupted by the alarm. He reached over and shoved off some paper and found the button to turn it off.
“Six already?” Takahashi sleepily complained.
“Yeah,” Kato replied.
Takahashi lifted his knee up off Kato and pulled his leg away from Kato. “Sorry,” he said as he pulled his hand off Kato too.
“Don’t be. You were simply sleeping. I don’t mind,” Kato said.
“Ken-san. I meant it when I said that I didn’t mind,” Kato said gently, but firmly.
Kato felt Takahashi tentatively put his big, warm hand back on Kato’s tummy. Kato liked the sensation. It was comforting, in a way. Kato would never let any other boy ever do this, though.
“Ken-san, we swimming this morning?”
“No,” Takahashi replied.
“We have work duty, remember?”
“Crap,” Kato blurted out. Kato felt Takahashi move his hand, gently rubbing his belly. It felt pleasant and slightly ticklish.
“It won’t be that bad. Even though we are assigned eight hours, we usually only ever put in six. They are very generous in the maintenance department.”
Takahashi removed his hand and stretched. Kato suddenly missed that hand for some unknown reason. “I don’t wanna get up, but we probably should. Big breakfast today.”
Kato didn’t really want to get up. He was enjoying the intimacy with Takahashi who suddenly made a motion to rise. “Don’t go yet,” Kato whined.
Takahashi looked at him then rested his head again. He put his hand back on Kato’s tummy.
Kato, with that inquisitive-at-the-wrong-time mind of his suddenly asked, “Ken-san. Am I sending you signals?”
“Huh?” Takahashi asked.
“Murata-san said I send signals.”
“What kind of signals?”
“He said I flirt.”
Takahashi chuckled softly. “So, you think you’ve been flirting with me?”
“I dunno, am I?” Kato replied.
Takahashi laughed. “Ren-san, I don’t think you have been. And even if you have, I wouldn’t have minded it.”
“Huh?” Kato inquired.
“I would have taken it as a compliment,” Takahashi said with a smile.
“I see,” Kato lied again. “Then, can I ask another question?”
“Why do you like to touch me?” Kato asked quietly.
Takahashi was quiet for a few moments. “I dunno. You’re warm and soft and it comforts me somehow. I feel a connection between us.” He removed his hand again.
“I didn’t say stop,” Kato complained.
“Fine,” Takahashi said with a grin. He then put his hand back on Kato’s tummy.
“That’s right,” Kato remarked.
Kato felt Takahashi begin tracing his belly button with his finger. Then he became alarmed as he suddenly realized it was oddly arousing, erotic, and turning him on. “Oh, we should hurry and get up, we’ve wasted so much time.”
“Huh?” Takahashi questioned.
“Yeah, let’s get some breakfast.” Kato was really hoping to break free before his body started to react in a totally inappropriate way.
“Okay, but I’m pinned between you and the wall. You gotta get up first.”
Kato got out of bed and got into Takahashi’s bathrobe. He took a few items and headed to the bathroom. What the fuck was that? Kato screamed in his head. Get a hold of yourself.
When he returned to the room, he gave Takahashi the robe and started dressing while Takahashi went to the bathroom.
When Takahashi returned, he spoke up. “About last night, I have never told that story to anyone else, and I hope you will keep it between us.”
“I would never betray such a trust,” Kato said with confidence.
“I believe you,” Takahashi said.
Breakfast was the huge affair that it was every Saturday morning. Kato sat down with a mound of food in front of him and had made a huge dent by the time Murata sat down.
“Good morning,” Kato cheerfully greeted between bites.
“Good morning,” Murata said, rather sleepily.
“Yeah. Another long night of talking with Nakamura-san. He’s got so many stories to tell.”
“Like?” Kato was curious.
“He’s only sixteen but he’s travelled the world. His parents were globetrotters before they settled back in Japan.”
“Wow,” Kato said.
“Yeah, after school, he wants to continue his travels and take me with him. His family is wealthy, it seems.”
Kato was a bit envious. He had no idea what his plans would be after school, assuming he survived this place. Now it seemed that he wouldn’t be a part of either Takahashi’s future, or Murata’s. That thought made him slow down his eating a bit.
Kato waited outside the dorm for Takahashi since he didn’t know where the maintenance department was. When Takahashi arrived, he followed.
There were about thirty boys that showed up at the maintenance department at 8 o’clock. Today’s task was to winterize the old monastery. They paired off and then were handed supplies. The first task was to seal all the single pane windows throughout. It was a huge chore as this place was massive and it had many windows that were decorative, stained glass. Other boys were handed caulk, weather-stripping, and other items to seal up the drafty building.
They took a thirty-minute lunch as it was provided so that they would not have to go to the chow hall. True to what Takahashi said, after six hours, the project was completed, and the boys were sent home.
It was a lot of work, but Kato rather enjoyed every minute as he was spending time with Takahashi, doing something constructive. They kept their conversation light and joked and laughed.
At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Takahashi suggested they go to the Sports Complex. He still wanted to swim today.
There were no other boys swimming today. Kato was pretty sure it was because the weather was a bit cold. It was just Kato and Takahashi, again, in the locker room.
They changed into their swim shorts. Kato didn’t feel uncomfortable, but he didn’t look either. He simply tried to pretend that he was simply changing.
They swam and played for two hours before the alarm signaled for them to return. Back in the locker room, as Kato dropped his swim shorts, Takahashi spoke up. “Can you put some ointment on my back? It aches a little from the swim.”
Kato looked over and saw that Takahashi was completely naked. He quickly averted his eyes. “Yeah,” he said.
Takahashi chuckled. “I said you could look.”
Kato looked at Takahashi. He didn’t understand why, still, but it was so intriguing. A strong urge came over Kato to want to closely examine Takahashi’s body.
“Kato-san?” Takahashi spoke, knocking Kato out of his daze. He was offering the ointment jar to Kato.
“Oh.” Kato smiled. He was pretty sure he had a deeper blush than the one he currently saw in Takahashi’s face.
Takahashi turned around. Now Kato got a good look at Takahashi’s backside. He simply wanted to admire Takahashi’s perfect butt. He instantly knew that someday he was going to have to have Takahashi pose as a nude model; he had an insanely strong urge to draw him. He also figured that he was probably going to pay for this too, in the afterlife.
Kato looked up at Takahashi’s back and was a bit sad. Those five marks were still there, and the cold water made them look angry. He moved close and started applying the cream. Something in his mind reminded him that they were both standing here naked together. And, he realized that he was okay with it.
“Thanks,” Takahashi said as he turned around. He took the bottle and put it in his locker. Kato simply stared.
“Kato-san?” Takahashi was still blushing faintly.
“Can I draw you?” Kato asked quietly.
“Huh?” Takahashi asked.
Kato felt his head get light as he flushed. “I want to draw you.”
“Okay, I guess.”
“Naked,” Kato said firmly.
Takahashi’s blush deepened. He did that nervous thing he does by scratching the back of his head. “I didn’t know you could draw like that.”
“Well, I’ve done a bit of drawing but never a live model,” Kato admitted. He couldn’t believe he was having this conversation right now.
“I’m not saying yes, and I’m not say no. Let me think about it a bit, okay?”
Kato nodded then said, “Yes.”
“If you’re done staring, can I get dressed?” Takahashi smirked.
“Y-yes, sorry,” Kato stammered. He was thoroughly embarrassed and the blush he had extended down to lightly dust the tops of his shoulders.
“By the way, you have a nice body too,” Takahashi said with a grin and he started getting dressed.
Kato’s mind just about exploded. It simply stopped working. He was far beyond embarrassed. He mechanically got dressed, trying not to faint in the process.
The boys started the walk back. Kato was completely lost in thought trying to process that crazy conversation a few minutes ago.
Takahashi broke the silence. “Will you swap with me again tonight?”
“You want me to stay over again?” Kato asked.
“Is there a problem?” Takahashi looked Kato in the eyes.
“No, no, no problem. As long as you aren’t tired of me, sure.” Kato liked swapping with Takahashi, but he thought it would be a once-in-a-while affair.
Takahashi looked at the road ahead. “Good. It’s super lonely now.”
Kato was a tiny bit hurt at the idea that perhaps he was just there to relieve Takahashi of his loneliness.
“Tonight, they’re showing Spirited Away. It’s one of my favorites,” Takahashi said.
“Oh, wow. I saw that years ago, but I was like 8 years old then. Mom and her boyfriend-of-the-week went to see it and took me along. He was one of the nice ones. I don’t know why she ended it with him though.” Kato reminisced.
“What were the bad ones like?” Takahashi asked.
“Well, there were some who argued with my mom, I knew of one that hit her, and there was one that hit me too. I think I deserved it. I was acting up and said some mean words and he slapped me.” Kato frowned.
Takahashi grabbed Kato’s hand and stopped Kato. Kato looked up. Takahashi took Kato’s hand in his two hands and said, “I’m really sorry that I hit you. I’ve felt bad about it ever since.”
Kato simply looked at Takahashi. He noted a bit of pain there and wondered if Takahashi had been torturing himself over this. “Let it go,” Kato said softly.
Takahashi dropped Kato’s hand immediately.
Kato chuckled. “I didn’t mean my hand.”
“Oh,” Takahashi replied.
“Silly, I meant l already forgave you of that long ago. Besides, I’m sure I deserved it.”
Takahashi looked back to the road and started walking. This surprised Kato, so he followed.
They walked the rest of the way and parted at the dorm. Kato wondered why Takahashi would just change moods like flipping a light switch. He tried to shrug it off as he went to get ready for dinner.