Title: "Atashi wo Shinjite!", "Believe in Me!"Summary:
Tsukushi is at home, thinking about her visit to Sakurako's place. She can't believe that Sakurako was behind the indecent pictures of Tsukushi that were spread around the school. Tsukushi is worried about Doumyouji's reaction to them. The next morning, Tsukushi heads to school, wearing a sweater over her school shirt because her uniform jacket had been trashed. When she gets to school, the halls are mysteriously vacant. At her locker, Tsukushi pauses to think, when suddenly the sound of footsteps behind her alerts her. It is a guy with a baseball bat. He slams the bat into Tsukushi's side before she can react. Tsukushi is slammed against the lockers. A huge crowd has formed around Tsukushi, throwing stuff at her and hitting her. Tsukushi runs, with 6 or so guys chasing after her. She manages to get outside of the school and across the campus (losing a shoe along the way) before they catch up with her.She fights them off briefly, punching and kicking, but there are too many of them. The guys grab Tsukushi and begin hitting her hard. Tsukushi looks very battered. Just then Doumyouji appears and asks what is going on. His expression is curiously calm.
Tsukushi looks up at Doumyouji through her tangled, dirty hair. Doumyouji looks at her, and then seems like he is about to help her escape from her tormentors when Sakurako appears. She jumps between Tsukushi and Doumyouji. Sakurako tries to convince Doumyouji not to help Tsukushi, who is a tramp. Sakurako whips out of nowhere dozens of photos of Tsukushi in a disheveled state, in her nightdress, in bed with Thomas leaning over her, etc. The pictures float through the air, landing scattered all over the ground in front of Doumyouji. Doumyouji looks at the pictures and his mind sort of goes into a daze. He stares at the pictures for a long time, while Tsukushi yells at him, telling him to believe in her, not to go, etc. Doumyouji finally turns around and walks away, Sakurako following him and glancing over her shoulder at Tsukushi.
Tsukushi screams and yells some more at Doumyouji to come back, calling him a fool and an idiot, and telling him he should have some faith, but Doumyouji keeps walking. The crowds close in around Tsukushi, beating her up more.
Doumyouji is now at Sakurako's mansion, though he is in such a daze that he does not remember how he got there. His expression is that of numbness. Sakurako serves him tea. They go out into her backyard, where Sakurako talks about her family, and Doumyouji does the same. Sakurako also talks about the large Sakura tree in the backyard. Meanwhile, Tsukushi is still being beaten up. The guys have tied a bunch of handkerchiefs together to form a rope. They bind Tsukushi's wrists, and then tie the other end to a car. They get in the car and start to pull Tsukushi along, forcing her to run to keep up. Tsukushi runs along after the car, straining to keep pace. Kazuya has arrived at the scene and tries frantically to get them to let Tsukushi go, but the crowd grabs him and ties him to a tree. Makiko-chan also yells at the crowd to let Tsukushi go, but she is held back by Asai and her friends.
Sakurako tells Doumyouji she loves him, but he has no response. Sakurako gets angry, and wonders why he likes someone like Tsukushi. At the mention of Tsukushi's name, Doumyouji's mind begins to clear, and he realizes that he should go back to rescue her. Sakurako is upset and doesn't want him to go, begging him not to. Seeing Sakurako beg him not to go reminds Doumyouji of Tsukushi's pleas earlier not to go and to believe in her. Sakurako, really desperate now, tries to kiss Doumyouji, but he pushes her away and heads for the school.
Tsukushi has been running for a long time, battered and bruised. Her legs eventually give out, and she is dragged along the ground behind the car. Suddenly from nowhere, Doumyouji appears. The car stops, and Tsukushi lies there staring up in mute shock. Doumyouji beats up the driver of the car, causing him, and the rest of the large crowd, to scatter. Alone in the school grounds, Doumyouji breaks the rope off of the car and kneels down beside Tsukushi. Tsukushi stares up at him in silence. Doumyouji stares down at the battered Tsukushi in silence for a long time. Then he speaks: "I'm sorry". Tsukushi is shocked. Doumyouji then gathers Tsukushi into his arms and holds her tight, saying that he knows she isn't like that (what the pictures would suggest), and that he believes in her.
Toys used in the episode:
Tsukushi uses the orange decision maker that morning before heading to school, when trying to gather the courage to go.