Kitsune no Megumi-gumi
by C.M. Lacey
"Whoever stoled the digital cameras from the Film Club has returned them." Megumi heard a girl in the bathroom say while she washed her hands.
"Oh, I didn't know they went missing." Another said.
"Yeah, last week someone broke into the club room and took three cameras. Over the weekend they showed back up."
"That's good, at least."
"But that's not the interesting part... it was what was recorded on them that has everyone talking." The first girl said. "Whoever the thief was forgot to erase the footage they took. What was recorded is unbelievable."
"Ohhhhh, tell me!" The second girl was interested.
"It was footage of the swim-team locker room. The girls were showering, so the theory is that some pervert took the cameras to spy on them. But what's interesting is the conversation Asakawa and her friends were having. They were telling the new girl that... OH!"
The first girl noticed Megumi standing there. She turned a shade of pink. Megumi pretended to act shocked.
"S-Someone recorded me showering?"
"It's okay!" The first girl reassured her. "We erased the footage."
"Thank God." Megumi pretended to be relieved, even though she knew they'd erase the recording. Having footage of underaged girls showering was dangerously illegal. Swallowing, she pressed the first girl on what they heard in the recording.
"Oh... well it was when those girls were bragging about how much they hated Koboyashi." She said. "You were there, it almost sounded like they were the ones who started the rumors in the first place."
Megumi nodded her head, trying to duplicate the gossiping mannerisms of her seat mate Naru. "That's what it sounded like to me. Ever since I met Reiko, I thought she was the sweetest thing ever. I couldn't believe the rumors I heard."
"Yeah well... a lot of us are questioning them too." The first girl said. "I thought Asakawa was her friend... but they way she talked about her..."
Megumi had killed Rei's gossip with more gossip. No doubt this story was being spread all over the school, just like it was in the bathroom she currently was in. This type of story was hard to ignore because it involved backstabbing and naked girls in a shower. Within the week, Rei would be cleared of everything.
The best part about all this was that no one would suspect her or even Rei of setting up those cameras, as they were also filmed along side the others in the shower. No blackmailer would be crazy enough to film themselves naked, afterall. Megumi had done some editing to the footage to remove herself setting up and taking up the cameras, but other than that left them unaltered.
Leaving the bathroom, she took only a few steps before running into swim-captain Yu. Spotting her, went over to her side, concerned. "Hey, are you okay?"
"It's just... I found out some pervert had hidden cameras in the shower room."
"I-I just heard. The girl who told me said the Film Club deleted the footage." Megumi said.
"Even still, I'm concerned. We might have deleted it, but that bastard might have copied the footage before they gave the cameras back. I'm just... I'm just apologizing to you right now in case that happens."
"You didn't have anything to do with it..." Megumi said, but tried to look shy. "Besides, there were prettier girls taking a shower with me at the time so... so I doubt anyone would notice me."
Yu smirked at that. "Well there's that. At least you have a good sense of humor about it. Look, if the footage shows up somewhere, we got investigators on alert. We'll catch the guy who did this."
Yu nodded, started to leave, then stopped. "Oh... I hope this doesn't put you off from joining the team. Normally people don't hide cameras in the showers..."
"I know." Megumi reassured her. "I still want to join."
"Good." Yu sighed. "Some of the others dropped out. I don't know why. If they got filmed, then whoever did it already saw them naked. Whatever... I had to hold a new set of try-outs. This thing is turning into a big mess."
Megumi placed a small hand on her shoulder. "You have my support, Captain."
Smiling at that, she took her leave. Meanwhile, Megumi returned to Class 3-B where she was having lunch with Rei. She seemed unaware of the camera-prank yet, but Megumi was sure the news of it would reach her before too long. When she returned to the table, she took up her chopsticks and placed some rice in her mouth.
"Whatever you said to Chieko-chan must have stuck with her." Rei told her, continuing the conversation they were having before Megumi had to go pee. "She's been super nice to me today."
"I didn't say much." Megumi told her.
"Well something's up." Rei said seriously. "And I'm pretty sure you know what it is."
"Maybe I do. Like I said before, don't ask me if you don't want to know."
Rei gave her a smile. "I really want to know, but I like that you're being all coy with me. I like it when you have a sense of humor."
"You're the funny one." Megumi pointed out. "Oh... Matsuoka-san said I was on the team."
"You already knew that." Rei laughed. "We saw the bulletin board together."
"Yes, but it was nice to hear it officially."
"I'm happy that you're in. I just hope you won't hate me after all the drills I put you through."
Megumi shook her head. "No. I want to get better."
There was a pause, then Rei leaned over her desk to ask her something quietly. "You can tell me... you joined the team for me, didn't you?"
Megumi gave her pouting face. "Not everything is about you."
"Oh come on, be honest."
"I joined because I wanted an athletic scholarship for University..." Megumi said stubbornly.
"Yeah right." Rei rolled her eyes, then giggled. "Admit it, you loooovvveeee me."
"Who would love a boob monster like you?"
Rei played hurt. "Ouch. Coming from a flat-chested midget, that hurts."
"Fuck you." Megumi blushed, but smirked at the same time.
"It's okay. I hear some guys like women that look like middle schoolers."
"I'm sure if we get some cute little lolita outfits you can nail yourself a hot Otaku or something."
Megumi threw a rice ball at her, scowling. "You're being mean."
Laughing, Rei cleaned the rice off of her, then gave Megumi a sweet grin. "Sorry. I like teasing you."
"I know." Megumi gave in. "It's what boob-monsters do."
By the end of the day, the story about Chieko and the others backstabbing Rei had reached the majority of the school. While the main topic of interests was the naked footage, no one was forgetting that two-faced nature of Rei's former friends. Once Rei found out about it, she finally stood her ground. Megumi hadn't been there when it happened, but at the end of her homeroom, she demanded the truth. Chieko wouldn't admit anything, but Sayako did. She came clean and told Rei, and everyone in 3-B, that they were the ones spreading rumors and that Chieko was jealous of Rei.
From what Rei told Megumi on their walk home that day, she forgave Sayako for coming clean, and when Houko apologized later she forgave her as well. But as for Chieko, the jury was still out. It was obvious that she felt bad and guilty, but she wouldn't apologize. When Sayako and Houko turned on her, she just stormed out the classroom leaving everything unresolved.
As far as Rei was concerned, rebuilding a relationship with Chieko would be difficult. Even if she apologized, she couldn't forget the previous school year and the hell she went through. Still, Megumi admired Rei for forgiving the others. They were just as guilty as Chieko, but at least they owned up too it. She knew Rei could never trust those three as she once did, but she still was willing to try.
"One thing I don't get is who had access to the school long enough to place cameras in the shower room?" Rei gave Megumi a knowing look.
"Some pervert..." Megumi answered.
"Oh c'mon, I know you had something to do with this." Rei shoved her.
"And if I did, what would you think of me?" Megumi asked, honestly wondering.
"I... I don't know. It's sweet but.. a little extreme."
Megumi stopped walking and gave Rei a guilty look. "I promised I'd never let that dark side of me come out again... but I had to use it one last time. I hope you can forgive me."
"So you've done something like this before?"
Megumi couldn't look her in the eye. "I was a different person before you met me. A bad one. I never wanted you to see that side of me. You're such a sweet girl, one that I wanted to be like. You made me believe I could change. But seeing what those girls were doing to you... I couldn't just let it slide."
"I promised I'd be honest with you, but I didn't want you to know this. That's why I hid what I was doing. Even still, I think you already knew I did it."
"Not really, but kinda.
"I can only hide the truth from you for so long. Not just the camera stuff but about the real me. Sooner or later you had to find out that I'm no good. I guess... I guess this is me coming clean."
"I'm a delinquent... a bully... a-"
"No you're not. That's not the Megumi I know."
"But I am."
"Not anymore you're not. I don't know everything bad you did in the past, but I know you're not like that anymore. You want to change. You only did all this out of kindness."
Rei pushed herself into a hug. It was one of those air sucking squeezes that she did that often popped the vertebrae on her back. In this instance, Megumi didn't mind. She wrapped her arms around Rei and hugged her back. In some odd sort of way, coming clean felt like a huge relief. She'd never go into the details of her past life with Manatsu, but it was enough that Rei knew that she wasn't aways this mild.
"Okay, enough of that. If we keep hugging along the sidewalk people might think we're lovers." Rei joked.
"We're not?" Megumi breathed in, getting out a joke.
"If you had a dick, then I'd say yes. Unfortunately you're going to have to settle on just being friends." Rei stuck her tongue out.
"Good. You're not my type anyway."
"Oh yeah, I forgot... you like the Otaku types." Rei giggled.
"No, I'm just not keen on being seen with a boob-monster."
Grinning that huge smile again, she grabbed Megumi's hand and squeezed it in-between her breasts. "My boobies are gonna eat you!"
Letting out a girlish laugh, Megumi squeaked and pulled away her arm. Rei looked shocked at the pure joy in that laugh. She wasn't the only one. The laugh that came from her mouth even surprised her. Still, Rei giggled and started chasing after Megumi.
"You are my next victim! I crave flat-chested lolis!"
Megumi laugh and ran. "Nooo! Get away you pervert!"
End of Part II.