All the great monasteries have had their ghost stories, and St. Catherine’s was no exception. Students speak of a great and terrible ritual that was held many decades ago in the deepest bowels of the monastery that went horribly wrong. The ghosts of the poor sacrifices now roam the halls and haunt the unused buildings. Some claim to hear the wailing of these souls in the wee hours of the morning. Others claim to have seen images of dead ones in reflective surfaces. One poor boy, one evening, was so scared by what he saw that he was found alone, curled up in a ball, in an empty hallway babbling to himself.
—Diary of Genko Sato, former Class President.
“After dinner,” Tachibana lectured, “shower time is at 6:00. Semes always shower from 6:00 to 6:30. Ukes shower from 6:30 to 7:00. You will shower every day. I will not live with somebody else’s smelly uke, even if it is Takahashi-san’s.”
Kato, with a concerned look on his face, “Shower with other boys? Together?” All sorts of crazy imagery cropped up in his mind.
Tachibana sighed again. “Haven’t you ever been to an onsen*?” Kato shook his head. “Showered with the fellas after P.E.?” Kato shook his head again. With a big, exasperated sigh, he said “Oh my god you’re new! Takahashi-san’s got no clue as to what he’s signed up for.”
[* Japanese hot springs where bathers are not normally allowed to wear swimwear]
Kato just sat there with that stupid, wordless look again, fiddling with his tie.
“Okay, okay, listen. You will be showering with fellow ukes. Some might take a peek, cause you’re the new boy, but nobody would seriously be interested. Ukes don’t routinely ‘get together’—if you know what I mean—with other ukes. It’s not unheard of but definitely frowned upon. I’ve even seen a seme once make a uke out of another seme. It wasn’t pretty.” Tachibana looked lost in thought for a minute then added, “Besides, word is getting around that you’re Takahashi-san’s newest uke. That itself offers a little protection for you.”
Kato, the King of asking stupid questions lately, couldn’t resist: “Why don’t semes and ukes shower together?”
Tachibana chuckled, “Well, let’s just say that any sexual involvement between two students is a serious violation of St. Catherine’s cherished laws and warrants some severe punishment. If semes and ukes showered together and it turned ‘obscene’—and you damn well know that it would—it’d be trouble for them and probably all of us if it were discovered. Also, the fact that I don’t want to see two dudes getting freaky with each other while I’m trying to shower.” Tachibana shuddered with disgust.
Yet another question popped into Kato’s little mind. “Is it a requirement that a uke have sex with his seme?”
Tachibana laughed. “Boy, you are bold as brass, asking these questions. A requirement? Well, that depends on the seme. That is a dark part of the seme/uke system. I’ve heard of a few occasions of ukes who were forced against their will until they capitulated or ended up in the infirmary and mysteriously transferred out of this school.”
Kato’s stomach turned. Is this what will happen when he refuses Takahashi? Is this why he needs a new uke? Kato started to think maybe death would be a better alternative to this life of his.
“I, for one, don’t subscribe to such notions. But I know of some here at this school who do,” noted Tachibana.
Kato couldn’t resist asking, “Do you think Takahashi-san’s like that? The use of force?”
Tachibana thought of it for a moment and replied, “Yes.”