There is a double-standard outside of seme/uke. Specifically, while uke/uke was considered obscene, nobody really mentioned seme/seme because it practically didn’t exist, and even when it did happen, people explained it away as seme/uke anyways. Why? Perhaps because they were uncomfortable with the idea of seme/seme. And who would want to fight the two semes over it?
Some said it was actually seme/riba but most everyone hated that idea because most everyone dislikes ribas. If people thought uke/uke was obscene, riba/riba was the spawn of hell itself.
[riba (reversable) means someone who can be a seme or a uke depending on the situation. See Special Property, Book 1, Chapter 42: Reversible]
This does bring up some very interesting questions: Who determines what role a boy is assigned? How is it enforced? What if they are wrong?
The day was sunny and warm enough with a slight, cool breeze. Kato waited for quite a few minutes before Takahashi walked up with a guitar bag slung around his shoulder and a smile.
“Can you sing today?” asked Kato.
“Nah, still gonna just play backup guitar,” Takahashi said.
“Bummer.” Kato looked about and didn’t see any of the other boys. “Let’s go before the others show up.”
“Yeah, I agree. I wouldn’t mind one afternoon without the others.”
As they walked off, Takahashi explained that there would be several bands, each with about 30 minutes of playtime on the stage for the afternoon. He was in the group that played at 1 o’clock. That gave them a little time before the show, so they wandered around the little booths that were set up with various cultural information on display with activities and demonstrations. There were even booths about the history of St. Catherine’s and the local community, so Kato picked up some literature to read later.
At 12:30, Takahashi lead Kato to the same place that held the kyūdō exhibition yesterday, but now it had been replaced with a stage with speakers all about and boys setting up instruments.
Takahashi smiled at Kato and said, “I need to get set up so find a place to sit, enjoy the show, and find me afterwards.”
“Okay,” Kato said as Takahashi headed toward the stage.
Kato found a nice patch of grass on the hill as he had before. It was some distance from the stage, but Kato didn’t mind too much. He wasn’t very fond of sitting right in front of the crazy-loud speakers. He watched Takahashi for a bit then noticed out of the corner of his eye that the boys he was hoping that wouldn’t show up, showed up.
“Kato-san!” Xan said with a big, bright smile. Kato noticed Handa was following behind.
“Hello,” Kato said.
“Why didn’t you wait for us?”
“Takahashi-san wanted to set up early,” Kato said.
“Ah,” Xan said and then sat down in the grass next to Kato. Handa sat next to Xan.
“I’ve been looking forward to this. I love live music,” Xan said.
Kato smiled and wondered what Xan was always so cheerful about.
“Murata-san and Nakamura-san said they would be here shortly. There was some fuss over their origami. Apparently, a few students liked them so much that some went missing.” Xan started laughing.
Kato laughed. “They did a nice job on those. I was hoping to get a couple pieces as souvenirs myself.”
Xan smiled then turned to Handa and said, “I still think you should have sung today.”
“All the spots were taken,” Handa said.
“That’s not true. You could have sung with Takahashi-san. They had to scramble last-minute to find a replacement singer.”
Handa looked at Xan for a moment then looked back to the stage. “No thanks. I’d rather jump in front of a bus. Or push him into one.”
Xan laughed but Kato was annoyed. “I like the first option,” Kato said.
“Nobody asked you,” Handa said.
Xan was still laughing as he said, “Boys, boys, stop it.” Kato looked down and began to fiddle with the grass.
“Kato-san,” Xan spoke up after a minute. “Did Handa-san apologize to you?”
Kato looked up. What the fuck? he asked himself. He looked at Handa who was glaring back and then looked back to Xan and stammered, “U—uh, y—yes.”
“Did he mean it?” Xan asked.
Kato paused. He didn’t know what to say. Kato was a bad liar and he knew it, and he was also easy to read. He figured if he lied right now, Xan would instantly see through it.
Apparently, he paused a moment too long as Xan turned and smacked Handa on the arm, “I told you to mean it!”
“There is no fucking way I could mean it to a little shit like him,” Handa barked.
“But you started it all with that seme nonsense of yours,” Xan said.
“Yeah and now I’m fucking glad I didn’t make him my uke or I would have really thrown myself in front of a bus by now.”
Kato was angry. “I would feel sorry for the bus,” he said.
“Fuck off,” Handa said.
“Handa-san,” Xan warned.
“You see how fucking condescending he is!” Handa protested. “I’m glad he’s Takahashi’s fucking uke. They deserve each other.”
Kato barked, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Takahashi’s a miserable, ungrateful fuck and he’s stuck with a dick like you that makes his life miserable and shouts out to everyone how you won’t let him fuck you. Seriously, it’s a match made in heaven.”
Kato was even more upset, but he was not going to correct that misconception about them having sex. “Yeah, well at least he doesn’t have to fucking force people to be his uke. What’s that all about? You that bad in bed?”
Handa was quite red in the face and Kato was quite sure he was ready to pounce but Xan yelled out, “Stop it, both of you!”
“I’m fucking out of here,” Handa said in a huff as he got up and walked away.
Kato looked away to the stage. He wanted to get up and walk away too but he figured this was his spot first. He hoped Xan would get up and leave too.
After a minute, Xan sighed. “I asked for help, not this,” Xan said.
Kato looked at Xan for a moment then looked away. He was still irritated. “There’s no way we’ll ever like a guy like him.”
“I didn’t say you had to like him. But it would help if you understood him a little.”
Kato looked back at Xan. “What’s to understand? He tries to force people to be his uke. I still don’t understand why you didn’t turn him down.”
“I’m not his uke,” Xan said.
“Huh?” Kato asked.
Xan sighed and looked around. This made Kato look around but there wasn’t anyone near. “Do you know why he hates Takahashi-san so much?” Xan asked.
“Yeah, cause he refused to be Handa-san’s uke.”
“No,” Xan said.
“Huh?” Kato asked again.
Xan looked down at the grass and spoke sadly, “It had something to do with an abusive music teacher last year. I can’t tell you more than that. Please keep this between you and me.”
“Yeah, well it still doesn’t excuse his behavior,” Kato said.
Xan looked at Kato and said, “You really could be less condescending, you know. Handa-san is right about that.”
Kato was annoyed with that. He never felt that he was.
“He’s lonely, angry, and hurt. He tried to make me his uke, but I saw right through that misguided cry for help. I am doing what I can to help.”
“Listening to him, spending time with him, get him to socialize a bit more.”
“Yeah, but why socialize with me and Takahashi?” Kato asked.
“Mostly because you’re his roommate now. If you want to change things or fix things, gotta start from home.”
Kato really wished he could have moved in with Takahashi when they had the chance. “I still don’t know what I can do about it. He hates me and always talks to me disrespectfully.”
“Hello,” Murata said as he and Nakamura walked up.
“Hello!” Xan said.
“I see we didn’t miss the show,” Murata said. “I thought we would be late.” He sat down next to Kato and Nakamura sat next to Murata.
“Nope, missed nothing,” Kato said with a smile. It was a half-truth as Murata surely missed the earlier fight.
There was an announcement from the stage that the show was about to begin. Kato was too busy arguing earlier that he hadn’t noticed that there was a large audience now with more students coming in and filling up the hill they were seated on now that the bleachers brought in for the show were full. Kato wasn’t too sure, but he imagined probably every boy at this school was currently attending the show.
The band that Takahashi played in was pretty good and just before their time was up, Kato excused himself so that he could go meet up with Takahashi.
He went to the side of the stage and Takahashi waved to the other boys and came down the steps with his guitar slung back over his shoulder.
“You were great,” Kato said with a big smile.
“Thank you,” Takahashi returned a big smile. “It felt good to play with others.”
Kato looked down. “Um,” he hesitated.
“What is it?” Takahashi asked.
“Can we just go somewhere alone? And listen to the music there?”
“Sure. Let’s go find a spot away from the crowd.” Takahashi lead Kato away. The boys walked quite a distance and found a shady tree to sit by.
The boys sat down next to each other, both leaning against the tree. They could still hear the music far off in the distance but not the vocals.
“You alright?” Takahashi asked.
“Yeah, I just wanna be alone with you.”
Takahashi pulled out his guitar and was humming and plucking the strings along with the songs from the concert, giving Kato his own private show. The pleasant afternoon passed by and it was time to go back.
Back at the dorm entrance, the boys parted. Kato was not looking forward to returning to his room. He entered and Handa was lying on his bed. Kato decided to just ignore him, and he grabbed a piece of paper and some pencils and spent the time before dinner sketching out the picture of the two boys.
Murata looked up as Kato sat down with his tray. “Where’d you go?”
“I went to be alone with Takahashi-san.”
“I see. Well, you missed Handa-san apologizing to me.”
“What the fuck!” Kato exclaimed in irritation.
“Huh?” Murata asked.
“Sorry,” Kato replied. He was super annoyed. “What a two-faced bastard.”
“Um, okay, well, I think he meant it. He seemed sorry about it, without Xan-san even prodding him to do so.”
This made Kato even more upset, but he didn’t walk to talk about it any further. Murata looked at him then went back to eating his food.
Kato looked up and met eyes with the boys at the table and they were quietly eating their food. Kato felt bad that it was probably frequently uncomfortable for them to sit at this table and eat. He wondered why they never moved elsewhere.
“Matsuoka-san, I started the picture. It’s going well and I may be able to get it done before schedule.”
Matsuoka smiled back, “I appreciate it.”
As they were leaving dinner, Takahashi came up to Kato and told him to meet outside at 8 because the fireworks should be starting at 9 and he wanted to get a nice spot.