Two seventh grade boys tried their best to sneak around the back of their school without being seen by other students, especially any prying eyes that would spot their contraband item, a disreputable gossip magazine that was always printed cheaply and in a hurry to cash in on whatever disgraces were happening most recently. This magazine had just been printed that morning on the same cut-price kind of paper found in junk mail and store catalogues. The sweat from the boy's fingers was enough to cause the print to smudge; it's only sign of having any value was the full colour layout.
The only place the boys could find where they could view the magazine without being spotted was the bottom of an empty loading dock that led into the school's auditorium. They crouched down low, hidden behind the concrete bollards, as the shorter of the two boys opened the magazine to a page he pre-selected earlier. It had cost him all his lunch money just to buy this publication and he was willing to go hungry for a day just to get his hands on this one article, an article written about a student in their school.
"Here it is," said Noguchi as he thumbed the magazine open, "Two young teens attending a notorious karaoke club were surreptitiously filmed having a make-out session in a private room. One of the teens was Anna Suehiro, a well known model working for the Denki modelling agency. The other teen, originally thought to be a girl, was actually a boy. Anna's boyfriend is a cross dresser, who for a brief while was also a model for the Denki agency. He reportedly modelled girl's clothes while he was there."
The boy who everyone referred to as Yama-P leaned over to look at the magazine's text under the photos and asked, "Does it mention his name?"
Noguchi held up the opposite page and said, "Here it is. Shuichi Nitori. A photographer working for the Kenji agency found the original pictures that were taken of Shuichi and sent them to the publisher after he recognized seeing Shuichi in the original story. This photographer was the one who broke the story that Shuichi was actually a boy, not a girl."
Yama-P looked at the photos in disbelief and said, "Cripes, he really does look like a girl, doesn't he?"
Noguchi shook his head and said, "The sleazy guy who filmed Shuichi and Anna kissing honestly thought he had a film of two girls making out, and he intended to sell it as yuri voyeurism to some porn website about two weeks ago. But when he recognized Anna, he thought he had a news scoop of an underage model having a torrid lesbian love affair, and the idiot tried to sell it to the papers."
"What's so dumb about that?" asked Yama-P.
"Well he kinda forgot he was breaking the law as he was filming secretly without permission," said Noguchi, "The papers called the cops and the guy got arrested. The film somehow got uploaded to the internet, and the story broke from there."
Yama-p scratched his head and asked, "If they arrested the pervert, how did the film get uploaded to the internet?"
Noguchi turned the page to look at grainy pictures that showed screen captures of the video.
"I overheard the teachers talking about this when I passed the faculty room this morning," said Noguchi, "They figured if that pervert sent the video to the papers, they probably leaked it to the internet themselves after they turned the guy into the police. That way they still have a story to report, and not have to actually pay anyone for it."
"But couldn't uploading the video be traced back to them?" asked Yama-P.
"No way," said Noguchi, "There's gotta be like a hundred ways to upload something to the internet without it being traced to you. Like say if you paid cash to use a computer at an internet cafe, or a library computer. There's no way anyone could prove the newspapers did it themselves."
"That's pretty disgraceful," said Yama-P as he looked a little lost in thought, "Has Nitori been back to school, yet?"
"Hell no. I haven't seen him for over a week," said Noguchi, "Boy that Nitori is one lucky bastard. My grandfather said if any kids back in his day were caught wearing dresses and making out with girls they would have been shipped off to reform school."
Yama-P suddenly perked up and said, "Hey! You don't think Shuichi isn't here because he's in trouble with Juvenile court?"
Noguchi just shrugged and went, "Why would he be? All they did was kiss. And cross dressing isn't illegal. If it was you would have to bust every cosplay convention from Nagasaki to Hokkaido Island."
Scuffing his feet on the asphalt, Yama-P looked bothered.
"I think what's happening to them is pretty unfair. They didn't really do anything wrong."
"Don't feel sorry for that rascal," said Noguchi as he held up the magazine.
The low quality colour picture showed Shuichi and Anna kissing, with Shuichi's hand clearly placed on Anna's chest.
Yama-P's eyes lit up as he said, "Holy moley, is he touching her boobs? That's second base!"
Noguchi quickly shushed Yama-P for fear he was drawing attention to them, and he quickly rolled up the magazine and stuck in the back of his pants.
"I got that Nitori figured out," said Noguchi, "All this time we thought he was some sort of girly-boy or fag. But he's had three girlfriends since he's come to this school, and all of them are hot."
"He's had three?" asked Yama-P.
Noguchi counted on his fingers and said, "Anna, and of course you know about Takatsuki, and there's Soari Chiba."
"Chiba?" Yama-P blurted out, "No way! Her too?"
"Word is she confessed to him, and he rejected her," said Noguchi.
"Dammit, that lucky creep!"
Noguchi pulled the magazine out again and pointed to a specific photo of Shuichi posing in a dress for the camera.
"He knows he's cute and he's using it," said Noguchi as he pointed out to some text printed under the photo, "According to a quote from the model Maico, Anna is obsessed with cute things. She has a real moe-fetish."
Noguchi repeatedly jabbed his finger at the photo in the magazine and said, "That's what Nitori was doing, he was exploiting Anna's obsession to get his hand up her shirt."
Yama-p was taken aback a little, and then he asked, "Are you telling me he dresses up as a girl to get himself girlfriends?"
"Yes!" Noguchi exasperated.
Looking away, Yama-P rubbed his chin in thought.
"Do you think we could do the same?"
"Well I don't think we can show up to school pulling off the same stunt Nitori did," said Noguchi, "But I think we have options."
"What do you mean?" asked Yama-P.
"You've seen the maid cafe's they do here every year?"
"Yes, the girls go ape over the guys dressed in maid outfits," said Yama-P.
"Instead of waiting for next year's school cultural festival, I say we prepare for one of the cosplay conventions. If given a month, we should be able to prepare something. Like a cat-maid, or a magic girl with bunny ears."
Yama-P kept thinking for a moment, and then he said, "Alright, if we're going to do this, let's not go about it half-assed. I'm not buying some off-the-rack piece of garbage. We go out in private. We find a seamstress, get measurements, we spend money on wigs and decent fabrics, the whole spiel. We're not going to stand out at all unless we do a good job."
"I think I can scrounge up about twenty-thousand yen or so," said Noguchi.
"Do you think it will be worth it?" asked Yama-P.
Noguchi shook his head and said, "Some of those girls at those cosplay conventions are really super-hot. If we lay on these costumes really thick with glasses and wigs, I'll bet we would be unrecognizable."
"And if the whole thing fails we keep it to ourselves," said Yama-P.
"Damn right," said Noguchi as he looked over the photo of Shuichi in the magazine, "I wonder if I'll look good with fishnet stockings?"