Many have used religion and its various holy texts and writings to defend their bigotry. Others have used long-standing traditions and social norms to express their abhorrence. And yet more will use biology or natural selection to argue against. Then there are well-meaning parents and relatives that want the family line and name to continue through children and grandchildren, putting untold pressure on their offspring to give up their happiness for that of the parent’s.
In all these cases, the wishes of the individual are utterly ignored at best, or violently stamped out at worst—and for who, or what? God? The greater good? Charles Darwin? Filial piety?
I think people should mind their own business and not dictate who we can and can’t love.
—Excerpt from Boy’s Love, the diary of Sister Angela, Mother Superior, St. Catherine’s Boarding School.
The alarm announced that it was 5:30 am and it was promptly switched off by Handa. Kato got up and left to the bathroom to start his morning. He hoped to keep the interaction with everyone to a minimum, especially with his roommate. He simply felt wore out. Thankfully nobody else liked Monday mornings either and were all subdued, quietly handling their business, so Kato went to breakfast without incident.
He came to the table with his tray. The two ukes were already there. As he sat down, he noticed that Matsuoka had a cut lip and Ikeda had a dark bruise on his cheek. Kato became instantly furious and yelled out an explicative and slammed down his tray. The two boys glanced at each other and shrunk back. They looked like scared kittens.
“Sorry, sorry,” Kato said quickly, trying to speak soothingly, holding his hands out while calm them down. “I didn’t mean that. It was just upset seeing you mistreated like this.”
The boys didn’t say a word. They simply stared down at their food. Kato’s heart was bleeding but he didn’t know how to help. He felt a sudden urge to stab the fuckers who did this.
Kato looked up as Murata put his tray down and sat. He looked at the boys, then back to Kato, then back to the boys.
“Matsuoka-san, I will have that portrait done by tomorrow,” Kato said. He was really hoping to break the ice a bit. “I decided not to charge you. It’s a gift.”
Matsuoka immediately looked up and said, “You can’t do that!”
“Huh?” Kato responded.
Matsuoka quickly looked at Ikeda and then back and said, “I’m buying this as a gift for Ikeda-kun. This is our thing.”
Ikeda spoke up, “Yes, please don’t interfere. It wouldn’t be the same if you gave it to him and he regifted it to me.”
Kato glanced at Murata who simply shrugged, then glanced back to the two boys. “How about a discount?”
“No, thank you,” Matsuoka replied. “Please honor the original terms of the agreement.”
“But—” Kato said.
“Please, Kato-san. I know what you’re trying to do,” Ikeda said. “Don’t,” he firmly added.
Kato was frustrated. He wanted to help somehow but kept getting shut down. “Fine,” he said, acquiescing to their wishes. Both boys said “Thank You” simultaneously.
After morning prayer, Kato sat there eating for a minute, watching the two boys. As usual, they were quietly eating. He would have loved some input from Murata but when he glanced over, Murata too was quietly eating without looking up. The thought struck him that this might be making Murata uncomfortable because now all three boys have been victims of the predatory semes. Kato reached over and gently clasped his hand onto Murata’s shoulder and squeezed a little, with a smile. Murata looked up and smiled back and then continued eating.
Kato decided to try to lighten the mood. “So, what did you guys do this past weekend?”
Ikeda spoke up, “Culinary Arts.”
“Neat,” Kato said with a smile. “I wanted to try that but my seme said to not bother since he’ll be the one doing all the cooking.”
Ikeda looked at Matsuoka then back to Kato. “Kato-san. You don’t have to treat us any differently just because we were attacked.”
“Who said I’m trying to do that?” Kato asked.
Matsuoka smirked and said, “We’ve been eating with you almost a month and you hardly ever talk to us.”
“Yeah,” Ikeda said. “Usually you only talk about yourself. Why talk to us now?”
Kato was speechless. He simply didn’t know how to defend himself.
Murata started snickering. Kato looked at him and asked, “What’s so funny?”
“They’re right,” Murata kept snickering.
Kato mentally cursed at this situation. He couldn’t figure out how he was always the bad guy in situations like this. “Fine, fine,” he admitted. “I’m just trying to be friendly.”
“I never thought you weren’t friendly,” Matsuoka said with a smile. “Just a little self-absorbed.”
“And conceited,” Ikeda added, with a smile.
“And dense,” Murata added, with a snicker.
“Oh my god, what is this? National Pick-on-Kato Day?” Kato asked, feigning indignation with a grin. While he, internally, was a bit annoyed at what they thought of him, he would rather the boys have fun at his expense so that, at least, they were having fun.
“Anyway,” Ikeda continued. “They were showing how to make holiday cookies. They were super delicious.”
“Whaaaaat?” Kato drug out the word. “Dammit! I missed out on cookies!” He glanced over at Takahashi then looked back. “I’ll make him pay,” he vowed.
The four boys discussed other fun things they did over the weekend. The whole time, Kato tried to discern who was the seme and who was the uke because he simply couldn’t believe that they were both ukes. There was some undefined necessity inside that insisted to categorize these boys, fitting them into the seme/uke mold. But, by the end of breakfast, he gave up and let it go.
Monday morning Pre-calc class went along smoothly. It was slow going at first but after a bit he started to enjoy it. At break, even though he wasn’t worried about Handa and the bathroom of doom, he still wanted an excuse to talk with Takahashi for a bit. So, he got up and stood next to Takahashi’s desk, leaning back against the wall with his hands in his pockets.
Takahashi had watched the whole act. He put his pencil down and asked, “Aren’t you old enough to go potty by yourself?”
Takahashi shook his head as he got up, and Kato led the way. After the boys did their business, Takahashi looked in the mirror and started messing with that cowlick he often had.
Some boys had come and gone, and now they were alone. Kato figured it was a good time to get off what was on his mind. “Did you hear about the two ukes on B Wing?” Kato asked.
“Who hasn’t?” Takahashi replied.
“Do you know the semes who did it?” Kato asked. He was curious now.
“I know of them, but I don’t know them personally.”
“Do you wanna hang out with them sometime?” Kato asked.
“The semes? What the fuck for?” Takahashi asked while looked at Kato in the mirror.
“I meant the ukes,” Kato said.
“Hell no,” Takahashi said.
“What? Why not?”
“I’m already a fucking pariah here at this school. You trying to make things worse by hanging out with those two ukes?”
Kato crossed his arms and became severely irritated. “Hey! They’re nice boys. I’ve eaten with them the past month.”
“I don’t care. Even if they are the goddamned children of Mother Superior herself, there’s no fucking way I’m hanging out with them.”
Kato was hot now. “Why the fuck not?” He simply couldn’t believe that Takahashi would be so closed-minded.
Takahashi turned and started ranting, “I don’t need that fucking kind of heat! Suppose we do hang out with them and some semes try to cause trouble, I know exactly what the fuck you’d want me to do. I can’t protect you and them. I’ve told you this before.”
Kato screamed, “I hate this fucking school and its seme/uke shit!”
Takahashi yelled back, “Hey! Do you know how that makes me feel when you say shit like that, when I’m your seme and you’re my uke?”
Kato crossed his arms and complained loudly, “It’s just so fucking unfair. Murata got beat up twice, but he found a seme and all is fine now. But those two boys will never find a seme and will spend the next two years getting fucked up by piece-of-shit semes.”
“I don’t make up the damn rules,” Takahashi stated. “Fair or not, it’s fucking reality. They chose to do what they did, and they have to pay the price. How the fuck is that our problem?”
Kato threw up his arms. “Dammit Ken! Can’t you just care for someone else besides us for a minute! We aren’t the only two people in this school!”
Takahashi growled. “We are the only two that matter.”
“Did you feel that way before or after Aizawa-san was expelled?” Kato asked acidly.
“What the fuck is your problem, Ren?”
Kato was upset. He really didn’t know how to answer that question, so he simply glared.
Takahashi turned and put his hands on the sink, leaning against it, his head hanging down. “I’m really starting to hate this fucking bathroom,” Takahashi said.
Kato’s anger lessoned quickly simply by knowing that he and Takahashi shared similar feelings about this bathroom. “Maybe we should find a different one to argue in,” Kato said.
Takahashi snorted. “That’s enough. We need to get back to class.”
“Yeah,” Kato said. He tried not to show his extreme irritation at what he perceived as Takahashi’s continued avoidance of dealing with issues. He felt that every time they argued, it always seemed to end with nothing ever being resolved, and it was eating at him.
At lunch, Kato paused for a minute, looked at Murata and asked, do you and Nakamura ever fight?”
Murata stopped eating and looked back. “Yes.”
“Once in a while. You two still fighting?”
Kato sighed. “We’ve never stopped.” Then he looked at the boys and asked, “Do you?”
“Not really,” Ikeda replied.
Kato felt alone here. He harrumphed. The two boys and Murata went back to eating without elaborating. Kato was a little disappointed but said nothing.