Pride and Prejudice:
A Hana Yori Dango Site

Chapter 2: Finding the Real You

Makino Tsukushi is still talking with her old school friend Yuuki at the mall sweet shop where they both work. Their discussion of the '4 Flowers' group has taken a melancholy turn as Tsukushi remembers the handsome, enigmatic Hanazawa Rui and his apparent concern for others. Yuuki is also a little dreamy. She solemnly declares that her friend's stories of life at Eitoku Academy, however difficult, adds interest to her own life, which is ordinary by comparison. She also brings up their shared junior high school years, and Tsukushi's change in attitude and mood since that time. Tsukushi reflects on these things as she ponders her own restrained behavior at Eitoku.

The introspective mood continues to the next day when Makiko quietly confesses her friendly love for Tsukushi. Tsukushi is surprised, but pleased, and admits that she in turn regards Makiko as a good friend. Bubbly with happiness, the two girls walk to their next class, but a misstep on the stairs lands Makiko squarely in the lap of a tall, curly-haired boy. Horror spreads across Tsukushi's face as she looks beyond Makiko's foot to see the bemused face of Doumyouji. Upon realizing her dire situation, Makiko begins a fit of apologizing, to no avail. Doumyouji is about to pronounce sentence when Tsukushi intercedes to protect her newly-declared friend.

Facing down the towering, grim figure of Doumyouji, Tsukushi unleashes an insulting tirade. At first she protests that the fall was purely accidental and undeserving of punishment in any case. Then she attacks his way of living off the fruits of his dad's labors without having any accomplishments of his own. (lit. sleeping while another works-ed.). Their one-sided argument draws a crowd, but the only witness Tsukushi cares about, Hanazawa Rui, looks away in apparent boredom and annoyance. Dismayed, Tsukushi quietly completes her day and finally goes to her locker preceded by excited whispers. Within her locker, hanging above her books and hair mousse is a 'red ticket'.

Turning for guidance to her only friend in this strange place, she is abandoned to her fate as Makiko flees the scene. The mocking laughter of the 'F4' draws her attention, but they only taunt her further and take bets as to how long she'll last (FYI- Doumyouji guesses a week and Nishikado Soujiro guesses 5 days). Even Rui, who might show some concern for her, only shrugs off the matter and says "Whatever" (lit. dou de mo). Overcome by a slow-burning rage, Tsukushi leaves the scene, only to return amidst gasps and startled looks. In rapid-fire mode, she slaps a 'red ticket' on the head of each member of the 'F4', including Hanazawa Rui. Invigorated by their gaping mouths and dull expressions, she triumphantly makes her own declaration of war, against the four of them.

The morning meal is tense as Tsukushi's family watches her demolish bowl after bowl of food. Worried, her brother remarks that she has been under a lot of stress as a result of entering such a prestigious school. Even her mother expresses concern, but Tsukushi turns them both away with talk of her resilience and perserverance. Walking to school, the horror of what she has done finally kicks in. The 'F4' did not seem very worried about her counter-declaration at all. In fact, they seemed more amused and intrigued than before. At the gate, people run in terror from Tsukushi, but she ignores them and focuses on two of her enemies, Doumyouji Tsukasa and Nishikado Soujirou. Hunkered down and prepared for a fight, Tsukushi is perplexed when the two boys drift past her without comment.

The odd atmosphere permeates her classroom as well. Upon discovering that her desk has been removed, Tsukushi is assulted with an egg and taunted by her classmates. The teacher blandly dismisses her to request a new desk and proceeds with the day's lessons. Distraught by the sudden betrayal by her fellow students, Tsukushi runs from the classroom in tears and seeks her sanctuary, the emergency staircase. Nearly broken down by despair, she is startled by a familiar voice asking about her strange hair treatment. Changing her grief to rage, Tsukushi tears into Hanazawa Rui, explaining the egg-assault and placing the blame squarely on Rui, Doumyouji and their friends. Rui does not take her seriously, but is utterly pleased by the humorous story and the story-teller.

For her part, Tsukushi is both confused and captivated by the bizarre laughter of Hanazawa Rui, even though the 'F4' problem is still very real for her. In a not so subtle way, Tsukushi covers her confusion by seeking information about her adversaries. She doesn't find any weaknesses, but she does learn that the four boys have been together since their early school years and that they go everywhere together. She cannot understand how this explains their juvenile delinquent (ed.) behavior, much less why Rui continues to stay with the group. Tsukushi shares some of her confusion with Rui, but the brief personal conversation has left him quiet once more.

Confused still, but not quite as hopeless as before, Tsukushi roams the empty corridors and classrooms in search of her desk. Hanazawa Rui looms large in her mind, and she wonders if perhaps she is growing to like him, despite his membership in the 'F4'. Dismissing herself as a fool (lit. baka), she nearly stumbles over her friend Makiko. Makiko explains that she has found and replaced the missing desk by way of apologizing for her somewhat disloyal behavior earlier. Tsukushi is touched and renewed by the gesture, and tries to cheer up her downhearted friend. Reasserting her own resilience and declaring that she is all right (lit. daijoubu), she sends Makiko away to save her from their classmates' cruel treatment. Tsukushi reflects on her change in attitude and behavior and decides that in fact, she likes herself better in this mode, rather than the shy, repressed stance she had been taking. She resolves to stop being pushed around and see the matter through in her own way.

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