Mohammad and the Mountain: Mean Girls
By Dragon's Daughter
Warnings: Naru/Mai, Spoilers for the light novels, and Naru's not so SECRET IDENTITY. Un-betaed. Mohammad and the Mountain verse.
Summary: Mai's never had to deal with bullies before, but that doesn't mean she's a pushover.
"A moment of your time, Taniyama?"
Mai glanced up from her shoe locker to find that she'd been surrounded by a loose group of girls. They were mostly from her year, but there were also a batch of first years and… wow… even seniors.
Oh, good lord.
"Sure, but you'll need to make it quick. I need to get to my part time."
The pack leader (Mai tried to remember her name. Maaa… Matsu? Matsu-something. Not Matsuyama. Matsumoto, maybe?) was one of the popular girls, Mai supposed. She was at the very least one of the terminally tanned girls who routinely got in trouble with the Student Guidance officer for wearing too much make-up, nail art, and non-regulation hemlines. What was the name for them? Ganguro*? Kogal**? Something.
Matsumoto (Matsuo? Matsuda?) flipped a tendril of pale blonde hair over her shoulder with the tip of one long crystal-studded nail. "That is what we'd like to discuss. Come with us." She said wit narrowed eyes.
"Sorry, I don't have time to go anywhere with you." Mai didn't have a lot of patience with drama; even less now than she'd had before taking a job with SPR. Naru's inability to tolerate fools had probably rubbed off on her. "You'll need to say it here."
A muscle jumped in Matsuya's cheek and she didn't quite slam her hand into the lockers next to Mai's head. "Don't get cocky just because Shibuya-kun pays a little attention to you. You're not special."
The dots connected in Mai's head just then and she opened her mouth before thinking better of it. "Are you seriously shaking me down over a boy? I thought that only happened in comics."
Some of the girls in the group shifted nervously and glanced at one another out of the corners of their eyes. Apparently they hadn't considered their plan of action in that particular light before. One or two broke away and vanished into the stream of students exiting the building.
"We came to tell you to quit your job." Matsushina leaned in and spoke in a dangerous whisper. "School could get very unpleasant for you if you cross us."
"I'm surprised the seniors are risking getting involved in ijime*** this close to graduation." Mai glanced over Matsu's head at the remaining seniors. "Weren't some of you just accepted into College?" More unease at that loaded word 'ijime' and several faces vanished.
The Ganguro girl (Matsushida, maybe?) didn't seem to notice that her allies were vanishing in a steady stream. Or perhaps she was too focused on her prey. Mai wasn't sure which, either way her tanned cheeks were turning pink as she tried and failed to intimidate her prey.
"Cute, Taniyama. Does that smart mouth work on Shibuya-kun? Or do you use it for something other than talking with him?"
For the first time, Mai felt a twinge of temper. She really hated it when people resorted to sexual innuendo when they'd run out of other things to say. "I suppose you would know more about that sort of thing than me."
Matsuzawa's eye opened wide, she lifted a hand, and slapped Mai in the face just as hard as she count. Mai didn't think, she just reacted and slapped the other girl right back. More girls vanished as the students passing by started to stop and whisper. It was the whispers that got Matsumara's attention and she looked about in surprise, cradling her smarting cheek, as she realized that she had only two nervous-looking second years remaining with at her side.
"The student guidance officer is coming!" Someone called out in the crowd and whatever courage that Matsumura's cronies had left broke. They too vanished leaving their leader alone with Mai. She turned a burning glare on Mai and hissed "This isn't over yet!"
Mai shrugged as the girl turned to go and then called out as something occurred to her. "Hey, what's your name?"
The girl stopped and looked over her shoulder at Mai. "Motoko Senmatsu." She spat and marched off.
"Well, I was completely wrong." Mai mused outloud and went back to changing out her shoes. She was going to be late again, but for once Naru was just going to have to deal with it.
* Ganguro: If you watch a lot of anime, you've probably seen a Ganguro girl even if you don't know the term. A Ganguro girl is heavily tanned with bleached hair that can range anywhere from blonde, to orange, to a really pale silver-grey. They also are known for wearing very heavy makeup, using black eyeliner and mascara along with pale concealer for eye shadow and lipstick. Ganguro girls fall under the umbrella of 'Gyaru' (Gals) culture in Japan, which generally refers to childish or rebellious girls. Despite the fact that Ganguro girls tend to get represented as also being Kogals (more on that later) you'll more often find them dressing with a Hawaiian theme that often involves hibiscus flowers, leis, and sarongs in bright almost day-glo color palettes.
** Kogal: Ganguro girls and Kogals tend to get mushed together in Anime and Manga. If you see a Ganguro girl represented in a story, then she's usually dressed as a Kogal. This is not without cause. There are plenty of Kogals with dark tans and that signature makeup, but while the two subcultures overlap in some places they're still very different. The term 'Kogal' refers to a particular fashion trend where young women (who aren't necessarily students, but often are) dress like what we westerners tend to think of as Japanese school girls: dyed hair, short pleated skirt, loose socks, sleeveless v-necked sweaters over dress shirts, and loafers. Kogals will often opt for Burberry scarves or have a sweater tied around their waist to look even more casual.
*** Ijime: Basically bullying. Ijime is a problem in Japanese Schools where the entire class will pick on a designated victim. Ijime can involve verbal abuse, physical assault, shunning, and occasionally even blackmail. A very good example of Ijime and the impact it can have on the bullies and the bullied is a manga called 'Vitamin' by Suenobu Keiko. A school's response to Ijime can vary wildly. Some school officials will put it down viciously, while others adopt a sort of 'blame the victim' approach and passive-aggressively focus on the student being bullied for not getting along with their fellow classmates. Others will deliberately cover up Ijime so that it won't affect the reputation of his or her class. There's a very good example of this in Fruits Basket, where Kisa Sohma suffers from Ijime and is ostracized by her class because of her hair color. Eventually, she stops speaking and doesn't return to class at all. She receives a letter from her teacher trying to urge her to return that is liberally salted with heavy handed advice such as 'People who do not like themselves cannot be liked by others'. Conversely, should a parent or school official decide to pursue a case of Ijime the consequences are dire for the bullies. Very few colleges will accept a student who has been connected with Ijime. Colleges that were previously pleased to admit them as a student won't be able to disown them fast enough.