“Spare the rod, spoil the child” was a common proverb that many in the upper echelon of St. Catherine’s subscribed to. It was what they used to justify corporal punishment.
While it was thought to be soundly based on the King James Version of the Bible, specifically Proverbs 13:24, the concept of “spoil” was not present there.
The phrase has been generally accredited to a 17th century poem by Samuel Butler called Hudibras that had nothing to do with childhood discipline.
—An Exposé on St. Catherine’s Child-Rearing Practices by Handford Lingenstein
Takahashi didn’t have much to say on the return journey from the Sport’s Complex. Kato kept about a half step behind. He wasn’t sure why, but something seemed to be troubling Takahashi.
When they arrived at the dorm, Takahashi turned and looked at Kato. He had a complex expression that Kato couldn’t read. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” was all he said as he turned and walked off to this room.
Kato stood there. He felt that loneliness creep back in. He was a little saddened when he thought about not seeing Takahashi until tomorrow. He returned to his room.
Tachibana was lying on his bunk. He looked up from his book and said, “Hi.”
Kato replied somewhat somberly, “Hello.”
Tachibana looked at him for a minute, then went back to reading his book. Kato felt lonely. There was an emptiness gnawing at him. He decided to get up on his bunk and take a nap before dinner.
Kato woke up to the sound of the door closing. Tachibana had left. It must be dinner time, Kato thought. He got up and went to the chow hall. He held on to a tiny hope that Takahashi would be there at dinner. He wasn’t.
Murata sat down. He looked at Kato. “Why so glum?”
Kato looked over to Takahashi’s empty seat. “I dunno.”
“You and hubby have a fight again?” Murata smiled, asking with a musical tone in his voice.
Kato glared at Murata. “Stop it. We did not have a fight.”
Murata laughed. “But it is about Takahashi-san.”
Kato sighed. “I dunno what it is. It’s like one minute he’s hot, the next cold. I never seem to know where I stand with him.”
Murata gently smiled. “These things take time. You’ve been dating, what, a week?”
Kato growled, “Murata-san.”
Murata snickered. “Look, both of you are complicated human beings. Although I think you are the simpler of the two.”
Kato rolled his eyes. “Whatever.”
“Hey,” Murata spoke up. “What are you doing tonight?”
“I’ve got homework. World Lit is tomorrow and I’m still behind,” Kato responded.
“Ah. Okay. Well, let’s try to get together some night and play some games.”
Kato entered the bathroom for showers. It was much quieter than usual. Some boys were gathered around another boy who looked like he was crying. Kato went over to the hooks.
Another boy entered the bathroom, just after Kato. “What happened?” the boy asked the other boys.
One spoke up, “His seme cheated on him with another seme.”
“What the fuck?” the first boy asked.
“Yeah, I know, right?” another boy opined.
The boy began sobbing anew.
Another boy was rubbing his back. “There, there, Yamamoto-kun.”
[山本 立, Yamamoto Ritsu, (yah-mah-moh-toh reet-soo)]
Kato wondered how seme/uke worked with two semes. He figured he would keep to himself and not ask questions. He pretended to be doing something with his bag.
“Fucking hell. That’s the problem wifth a riba,* though,” one boy remarked.
[* リバ, literally “reversable” (ree-bah)]
Kato had no idea what a riba was. The boys spoke consolingly to Yamamoto. Kato undressed and entered the showers. He went up to an unoccupied shower head and started lathering up. Higashihara took the one next to him.
“Hey Kato-san. How’s it going?”
“Fine.” Higashihara replied with a smile.
Kato just couldn’t resist. “What’s a riba?”
“Ah, you overheard eh?” Higashihara paused. “Well, it means reversable. Someone who can be a seme or an uke.”
“At the same time?” Kato asked.
“Not precisely. It more or less means that a guy will switch based on his partner’s preferences.”
Kato looked at Higashihara with confusion written all over his face.
Higashihara chuckled. “If you have a strong seme, and a riba, then the riba would be an uke for the seme.”
“I see. Is this wrong?”
“No. But most people think a riba will cheat on you.”
“Why?” Kato was still puzzled.
“Forgive me for being crude, but if your seme is a riba and likes it up the ass once in a while and you won’t do it for him, he may find someone who will; another seme.”
Kato was repulsed at the sheer crudeness of that explanation. “I see,” he said simply.
Higashihara added, “I’m not saying all ribas are like this. Sometimes they want to be a seme and take care of an uke, other times they might want a seme to take care of them. But it only takes one bad example for everyone to get riled up. No uke wants their seme to become someone else’s uke.”
Kato nodded. He suddenly hoped that Takahashi was not a riba. He didn’t want to hear any more, so he went back to showering. The water was nice and hot.
Back in the room, Tachibana was humming to himself, making himself a snack. “Want some?”
“Ah, no thanks,” Kato replied. “Still full from dinner.”
“Gonna do another swap tomorrow night, by the way.”
“Huh?” Kato was surprised. “I thought you weren’t going to pick up another uke right now.”
“I not,” Tachibana grinned. “I wanna hang out with a friend for the evening. Swaps aren’t only for sex, you naughty bunny.” Tachibana laughed.
Kato blushed. “Oh, I see.”
Tachibana sat on his bed and started reading his book again. That reminded Kato that he needed to read his World Lit book also. He read for a while and then decided to lay down to sleep. Before he dozed off, he snidely thought to himself, I can hardly wait to see what fucking surprises are in store for me tomorrow.