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Hope (希望 Kibō) is the 234th chapter of manga, Baby Steps.
Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit
- Ryuhei Aoi
- Eiichiro Maruo
- Kazuya Maruo (flashback)
- Sanae Maruo (flashback)
- Hiroshi Araya (flashback)
- Yu Nabae (flashback)
- Hisashi Kanda (flashback)
- Natsu Takasaki (flashback)
- Natsu Takasaki
- Haruka Momoyama (flashback)
- Aki Shimizu (flashback)
- Natsu Takasaki's Mother
- Sanae Maruo
- Natsu Takasaki's Father
- Kazuya Maruo
Natsu avoids seeing Eiichiro as she does not want Eiichiro to get affected by her anxiety. As Eiichiro reassures her that he wishes to stay together with her, Natsu kisses Eiichiro.
After their strategy meeting, Coach Aoi and Eiichiro talk about Eiichiro's parents' reaction to Eiichiro's match and Kanda's description of Eiichiro - that he is a genius. Coach Aoi thinks that while being called a 'genius' creates an impact, Eiichiro should try not to let it influence him. After Coach Aoi leaves, Eiichiro waits for Natsu's call as she usually calls around this time. He finds it weird that she has not called so he tries to call her but no answer. He goes out to get some water and finds Natsu outside. He calls out her but she tries to avoid him by leaving quickly.
Eiichiro, thinking that Natsu is acting strange, follows her outside the hotel. Feeling that Eiichiro is acting like a stalker, Eiichiro calls out to Natsu as he approaches her but she still tries to avoid him. As it turns out, she feels anxious and does not want him to get affected by her anxiety. Learning that, he wants to make her feel at ease, thus she tells him about her feelings of anxiety towards her next opponent. But it seems her anxiety is directed more towards Shimizu, rather than her opponent. Knowing the cause, he gives her some advice on how to overcome her anxiety.
Later, Natsu tells Eiichiro that she feels as though she is being left behind by him. She wants both of them to win because she wishes to be together with him more than anyone else. Initially, he feels flustered but he later reassures her that he feels the same about her - that he wishes to stay together with her. As he extends his hand, she comes closer to him - and kisses him on the lips.