Ko's training continues on as Akaishi wants to utilize him as a secret weapon for when they hit high school and Ko is going along with it fairly well. He's still not sure about his own abilities and is questioning it somewhat regularly but as he sees that Nakanishi is also standing behind Akaishi on this, he's starting to get the picture. The push to put together Koshien-level teams starts early and Akaishi sees Ko as a big part of it as he starts figuring out who they'll end up with come high school. There's an amusing piece where the trio head to a high school field during New Years break to try it out and they're spotted by the actual coach, who treats it as a bit of a dream to see such a practice. A nice hint of things to come.
Cross Game plays up the domestic side nicely as well as New Years Eve is off to a bad start as Aoba's grandmother has a fever, so her older sister and her father head off to help out there. At the same time. Momiji isn't feeling well either so Aoba is staying there to help take care of her. Ko's long history with the family has him all too aware of the grandmother since he used to go with them to see her and he's certainly sympathetic. Amusingly, he's asked to check in on Aoba and Momiji and that eventually turns into Momiji insisting he spend the night there. Ko and Aoba are very cute to watch together as she's got that simmering anger going on and can't even do the most basic of things with him around without going that route. The two are still so young that watching their most basic emotions and uncertainties worn on their sleeves like this is very charming.
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