There was an unwritten rule at this school among the students: “seme or uke,” predator or prey. It wasn’t about love or even sex. It was about coping and survival. Either you ruled, or you become someone else’s property.
Ren Kato has been living a nightmare for the past few months. Everything happened so fast. His mother died and left him in the care of her sister whom he couldn’t remember having met. He was not welcome in her home. She had brats of her own to care for and resented having to care for another. It was almost unbearable being ripped from his home to live in a strange house in a strange city with strangers who didn’t want him there.
Kato had known for a week that he would be attending a new school, a boarding school, in the mountains away from everything he had ever known or cared about. St. Catherine’s Boarding School was the name. Anxiety and worry had been eating at him for days and now this morning’s car ride was a sign that his fate was sealed. No words were exchanged between him and his aunt the entire trip. Kato stared out the car window in despair. He never felt so unwanted in his life. Life… Life can be incredibly cruel, he thought.
After what seemed to be an eternity since they entered the forest, they arrived at a clearing and a monastery, the high school, appeared. It looked as gloomy as Kato felt. His aunt parked in front and Kato got out. He opened the back door and grabbed a small, almost pitiful box of personal belongings and closed the doors. He stood off to the side and looked at the school. A man was standing there looking at him. His heart sank as he heard his aunt put the car in gear and drive off. The man escorted Kato into the monastery and to a room for a quick and simple orientation. Kato was then directed to report to the dorm to his assigned room, 501, there to leave his belongings and report to the chow hall for lunch.
He was bewildered but he followed a simple map that led him to the dorm and eventually to his room. Upon entering, he saw that there was a bunk bed attached to the wall, a writing desk, a set of cubicles also attached to the wall for personal items, two chairs, and a floor-length mirror on the far wall. Nobody was home, but his new roommate’s items were neat and orderly arranged. His bunk was obviously the top bunk, so he slung his bag up there. He looked in the mirror and saw a sad sight: a Japanese boy of 16 years, short for his age, and thin. He had jet black hair and dark brown eyes. He also wore square-framed glasses. He was still wearing his street clothes until he would be given a school uniform later that day. Kato’s vision became blurry as he bit back his tears.
Kato jumped when he heard the door to the room open. He made a quick motion to wipe his eyes before turning around to meet his roommate. Before him stood a boy his age, a bit taller but a lot lankier. He had black hair, dark brown eyes, a narrow face adorned with glasses, and he was dressed in the school’s bland uniform: a pair of dark slacks, a white shirt, black tie, and black dress shoes. He tossed his books on the desk and hurriedly spoke, “I’m Haruki Tachibana, your roommate. I’m here to escort you to the chow hall for lunch.”
“Ren Kato”, he hastily replied to Tachibana’s back as he had already turned and was rushing out of the room. Kato obediently followed.
The chow hall was a large dining area with many 4-seated tables in nice rows. A quick bit of math, he imagined it could seat 200 students. There was also a long table on a raised platform at one end where some adults lingered, talking among themselves. Behind them was a statue and various religious items. Kato wasn’t particularly religious and honestly didn’t understand western religion anyhow, so attempting to name and describe these foreign things was beyond him.
Tachibana explained: “Go through the line, get food, sit down, do not eat until after prayer. Lay low, stay out of trouble. Go back to the room after lunch.” He immediately departed and left Kato alone. He wasn’t sure why, but the despair in his heart deepened a little. He thought that perhaps a roommate might mean a friend, someone to stave off the loneliness. No such luck. He saw Tachibana cut in line way ahead of him and start chatting lively with a group of other students.
Kato’s tray of food wasn’t overflowing, but it wasn’t skimpy either. It would fill his stomach quite nicely as he had eaten very little in the past 24 hours. As he exited the line, he looked about for a place to sit. No chance of sitting with Tachibana, his table was full. Scanning the place further, he could see a handful of others who were in street clothes. Obviously, they were also new transfers today. Fear gripped his heart as he didn’t know where to sit among a sea of strangers. He spotted an empty table in one corner and made a bee line to it. He sat in the corner-most chair, so he could have his back to the wall and watch for any oncoming threats. He minded Tachibana’s words and did not eat a morsel. He noticed none of the other students did either as they noisily chattered among themselves.
As he waited for what seemed like an eternity, he noticed the serving line had dwindled down to the last three students. They received their food and looked over, making eye contact with Kato. All sorts of alarms went off in Kato’s head as these three, much taller, students walked his way. They plopped their trays on the table and two sat while the one still standing glared at Kato and spat out the words, “You had best move to another table before he gets here.” Kato shrunk back, absolutely petrified.
There was a loud smack of a rod hitting a table from the front of the room. All the students immediately quieted down and looked to the front. An aged and balding man bellowed, “For the love of God, why are you always late Takahashi-san!?” Everyone turned and saw had a student who had come sauntering in. He looked at the man and made a small bow. He then went the food server, got his tray, and then began walking towards Kato. Kato could hear some grumbling and some whispering among the students, which were immediately silenced by another loud smack of the rod against the table, causing Kato to jump.
Takahashi was certainly taller than Kato, with spiky reddish-brown hair and dark brown eyes. He wore a rather displeased look on his face as he approached. Suddenly, Kato realized who’s seat he was obviously sitting in.
Takahashi stood before Kato and looked him over once and asked, “Who’s your seme?” Kato had no idea what this meant and no idea how to respond so he stared back blankly.
The other fellow who was still standing complained by saying, “I told him to scram, but he just sits there with that dumb-ass look on his face.”
Takahashi bent over a little and looked Kato in the eyes and said, “Newbie, I’ve now chosen you to be my uke.”