I find myself reflecting on what Sumomo said earlier. What is Hitomi to me? She's an annoying brat, she's mischievous and diabolical, she constantly takes advantage of me and never misses a chance to tease me.
She drives me mad, she frustrates me, she bothers me, she humiliates me, she shocks me, occasionally she makes me laugh. There's no way I really like all that, but I guess I developed a sort of addiction to it. What if the daily vexation was to end all of a sudden? I think my life would suddenly feel empty and boring.
It's funny. I can think about my life without Sumomo, but I can't think about my life without Hitomi. In the end we've always been together, my world wouldn't be the same without her.
Lost in these thoughts, I almost fail to notice that Sumomo has taken her cell phone out of her pocket. It's a Sonic C406s, I need to take note of that and add it to my Sumomo's facts list. As for the cell strap...
Meito: "Uh... Sumomo... what's that?"
Sumomo: "Uh, this? It's Alpaca-kun! Isn't it cute?"
Super cute... The hell with you, Hitomi! You tried to rip me off! How is that thing even remotely cute?! I don't know which is worse, the alien cat thing or the camelid with a middle-aged man face. Is this what girls like these days? I don't understand...
Talking about the alien cat thing, it seems that Sumomo is having problems at removing it from Hitomi's cell phone. Her perfectly polished nails aren't really apt for the job. I don't want to let her risk breaking one, so I stop her.
Meito: "Leave it to me, I'll do it."
Sumomo: "Oh, thanks, that would really help me."
I take the two phones and with the care and seriousness of a surgeon I begin working on the cell strap transplant. I can't see Hitomi's face, but I'm pretty sure she's even more displeased now. Maybe causing Sumomo to ruin her prided nails was part of her little vengeance, and I just busted it.
It might be a reckless move, but I decide to probe her mood by making her a question.
Meito: "By the way, Hitomi, what's this alien cat thing supposed to be?"
Hitomi: "Uh? You mean you don't know?"
Meito: "I have absolutely no clue."
Hitomi: "How could you forget? He's a character of a show we used to enjoy when we were kids."
Meito: "I don't remember any anime like that..."
Hitomi: "It wasn't an anime! It was a puppet show!"
Meito: "Oooh? Really? It's funny how easily one can forget these things. Sumomo, do you remember it?"
Sumomo: "I'm not really sure... I think I remember the show though. I have vague memories of it."
Meito: "Here, done."
Sumomo: "Ah, thank you!"
Meito: "And here's your cell phone, Hitomi."
She grabs it brusquely from my hand. I think that by talking I made her even angrier.
I'm wondering whether it's the case to smooth things over or let her be until things fix by themselves, but then a girl yelling not far from us catches my attention."
Girl: "Hey you! Don't think I haven't noticed what you just did!"
I don't think I've ever seen her before, she must be a first year student, however I know the person she's yelling to quite well.
Girl: "You just took a picture with that camera, didn't you? Don't deny it, I clearly heard the sound!"
Baba: "So what if I did? Do you have a problem with that? Get lost!"
Girl: "What did you take a picture of, you shameless pervert?! You don't normally use a camera at ground level, you don't point the shutter up!"
Baba: "I use my camera however I want! Fuck off, slut!"
Girl: "You're scum! You're a filthy low angler! You'll give me your camera now and I'll cancel your indecent pictures myself!"
That girl doesn't know who she's talking to. There's no doubt now, she's a new student, and unfortunately she hasn't learned yet that there are people in this school you shouldn't mess with.
I'm sure everyone around here noticed what's happening, but they're looking the other way, some even ran away. There's a few that are curious enough to watch from afar, but no one has any intention to interfere.
I have more or less understood what just happened. Baba sat on that bench over there near the back entrance of the school. He chose that spot because there's a constant flow of students walking back and forth. Naturally what he's interested to are the female students.
From that strategic position he can place his camera at low angle so to get all the panty shots he wants. This is not the first time he's done that, but usually the girls just say nothing and walk away in shame. Those who know him take care to walk as far as possible from him, some started wearing shorts or bloomers under their skirts. That's why Baba hadn't done this in a while, but with the new year, new unaware students came and that means he can resume the hunt.
As for what he does with those pictures... well, he masturbates to them, that's the kind of person he is. I can only imagine the disgust his victims feel at the thought. Baba is a well known otaku, but not the kind of otaku that simply immerses himself in his favorite hobby. Those are respectable persons in comparison. He doesn't like anime, manga, games in general, he only likes those that specifically stimulate his fetishism, and he's on a pathological level. He's one of those disgusting guys that buy schoolgirl's used panties, saliva and urine.
That being said, don't make the mistake to think he's a weakling. Baba is a towering, walking mound, 1.93 cm. of pure fat and sweat.
And now this huge mass of filth is standing in front of a girl that failed to realize how huge and threatening he is. There are indeed some girls that show no fear insulting guys twice their sizes in spite of the great disparity in strength. That's because they know they are protected by the unwritten rule that forbids raising hands against them. There's no doubt that that one who dared facing Baba belongs to this group, but she's bound to learn a harsh lesson if things get ugly. You can't expect a guy that knows no morality nor shame to be bound by such rules.
Baba: "What did you just say?! Say it again, if you dare!"
Girl: "I said that you're scum... you're a pervert..."
She's beginning to understand that she's in trouble, and yet she doesn't feel like backing off. She's looking around, probably wishing for someone to step up and help her. Damn it... I can't stay here and watch any longer!
I make up my mind and stand up. I will face that damn Baba again, there's no other choice.
But before I can move I realize something is blocking me. When I turn my head I see Hitomi's hand grabbing me by my shirt.
Hitomi: "Don't. You'll get in trouble again."
Sumomo: "Meito-kun, I know how you feel, but considering your past you can't take such risk."
Damn! I know where they're coming from, I know! But still, how am I supposed to pretend I'm not seeing what's happening?! How can all these guys around me do it? Doesn't this injustice make their blood boil? How can they stand it?!
Baba: "You pissed me off! You really pissed me off! If you want me to take a picture of your panties that badly, then I'll take your skirt off and I'll take a lot! I'll take a lot of them!"
Girl: "You... you wouldn't dare! That would be a crime! A crime!"
Baba: "Mu he he he! There's no crime, if no one talks."
Girl: "Are you insane?! You can't do this! And there's a lot of witnesses!"
Baba: "Then, why don't they help you?"
Girl: "That's... that's... help! Help me! Somebody help me!"
Baba: "It's useless, they are all chickens! Now be a good girl. If you raise your skirt by yourself and let me take a few pictures, I'll forgive you."
Girl: "There's no way I'll do that!"
Baba: "He he he! I like it when the gals are so shy."
Girl: "Stay away! Don't come closer! Kyaah!"
Baba just grabbed her arm. That huge and sweaty hand is so massive that it could break it at any moment.
Baba: "I'll do a lot worse if you don't comply! You'd better do it quickly!"
Girl: "No... no! I'm sorry! It was my mistake! Just let me go!"
Baba: "Too late! You really pissed me off! You need to apologize properly!"
Girl: "Stop! You're hurting me! Aaah... it hurts! Stop it!"
Baba: "Raise your skirt."
She's about to cry, her face is completely red. She doesn't want to do it, but she's scared.
I have no doubt, she will yield! Crushed by feelings of shame and humiliation, with tears flowing from her closed eyes, she will raise her skirt in front of that disgusting Baba.
Screw it! Forgive me, Hitomi! Forgive me, Sumomo! I don't give a damn about the consequences! I'm going there now and I'm going to kick Baba's gigantic ass into the next week.
I remember Principal Wakamatsu's warning, if she hears we fought again, she will suspend us both from school for two months. If that were to happen, I might even have to repeat the year. But Baba would be suspended too, and the school would be at peace for a long while. In the end it wouldn't be such a bad trade off.
That of course means that I need to sacrifice myself, but I always thought there's no greater accomplishment for a man but to sacrifice himself for the sake of a woman. You may think that I have an anachronistic view on the world, but since I was a kid I always admired those western knights from the tales of King Arthur. This is the way of a true man. I won't show my shoulders to my dreams and ideals! I am Meito Oda, and this is what I am! Denying this would be the same as denying my very self!