Nobody knows when the seme/uke dynamic started at St. Catherine’s but there has been much conjecture as to why it came about. Some believed it started from the top with physical abuse of the students and, very rarely, the sexual abuse of students. This in turn caused the victims to lash out at other weaker, and more vulnerable students. Others believed it was simply the sexual repression of teenage boys in an all-boys school coupled with the lack of sexual education that was the root cause. Unfortunately, this debate had little impact as it, too, was swept under the rug with all of St. Catherine’s other little problems.
—Book Report on Student-Administrated Hierarchies of Private Schools by Julian Smith
“Now, get the fuck out of my seat.” While holding his tray in one hand, Takahashi reached down and grabbed Kato under an arm and yanked him up and off the chair. Kato was beyond panic as he thought that, surely, he’s done for. He didn’t know how to fight but he was pretty sure Takahashi did. He was pulled hard behind Takahashi to a chair that was two tables over. Takahashi plopped the tray down and pushed Kato down into the chair. Takahashi glared at the other three students at the table and they all looked down at their meals. Then he turned around and walk back to his seat.
Kato felt very dizzy and nauseous, and feared he was going to pass out. A murmur started among the students and Kato was snapped back to reality by the familiar crack of the rod hitting the table. All the students became deathly silent.
“Let us pray to Our Lord and Savior.” Kato couldn’t understand anything the man was talking about but when he said “Amen,” all the students repeated it, then started eating with gusto. Kato looked down at his tray and realized that it wasn’t his but belonged to Takahashi. He thought about looking back over his shoulder to see if Takahashi was coming back to get his tray but thought better of it and began to eat, despite his lack of appetite and nausea from his near-death experience.
The other three students looked at Kato and one boldly spoke up, “So, you’re Takahashi-san’s new uke?” There was that unfamiliar word again. It’s what Takahashi called him, but Kato had no idea how to respond except to say, “Yes.” The other boy solemnly remarked, “Sorry.” The other two boys looked back to their food and started to badmouth Takahashi about always being late to chow, causing trouble in class, getting into fights with other students, and all the while they did not make eye contact with Kato. This gossip made Takahashi sound like a monster.
Occasionally, the noise of chatter from the students would get to some undefined level and the crack of the rod against the table would be heard, knocking the noise down a few decibels. The tables were close enough that Kato could catch snippets of conversations from other students. “I wish the headmaster would sit and spin on that rod of his.” “Is that kid Takahashi-san’s new uke?” “What ever happened to the old one?” “Sister Mary is on a rampage again.” The rest he couldn’t make out because he was so weary from the day’s events that he couldn’t pay attention anymore. The one thing he didn’t do was look back toward Takahashi. He was fearful of what he might see. At least he was able to figure out that the man with the rod was the headmaster.
Without much ado, the headmaster slammed the rod against the table one final time and exclaimed, “Trays up!” Almost in unison, all the students rose with trays in hand and started to make their way to deposit them in neat stacks on the serving counter and exit the chow hall. Kato was very glad that ample time was given to eat. He followed the boys from his table and left the chow hall.
The orientation earlier had explained that he would be given his school uniform later that day and would be expected to remain in his room. He was forbidden to attend any classes while he still wearing street clothes. This suited Kato just fine. He was really hoping for no more surprises today and to sit in his room in solitude.
When he entered the room, that’s exactly what he found: solitude. Empty solitude. Silent solitude. Lonely solitude. Kato crumpled down to the floor and started bawling. What was he crying about? He did not know. It was a pain that could not be defined by any words and it forced its way out of him through his tears.
Kato didn’t even hear the door open when he felt a hand placed on his back. He heard a voice calmly speak, “Stop crying. You’ll live.” Despite the harshness of the words, it really sounded like the voice was trying to comfort him. He obeyed and did his best to stop up his tears. What’s a 16-year-old boy doing crying anyway? he thought.
He looked up and saw that it was his roommate, Tachibana, who then reached down to help Kato up off the floor and into a chair. Tachibana looked at this pitiful sight in front of him and softly and sadly spoke one word, “Uke.”