Gu Yang woke up early, not having slept soundly due to some concerns on his mind and worries about Fan Yuan.
When he woke up, Fan Yuan, who was holding him from behind, was still fast asleep. The sky had already brightened completely. As Gu Yang lowered his head, he saw Fan Yuan’s arm resting on his waist, and the bandages wrapped around it had already loosened and fallen off, revealing the undamaged skin underneath.
Looking at Fan Yuan’s arm, Gu Yang was a bit absent-minded. After the events of the previous day and night, Gu Yang’s mind had become much clearer. The details that he had overlooked due to excessive worry and guilt came to mind one by one. He now knew that Fan Yuan had deceived him.
He couldn’t pretend not to be angry, but he also realized that he was the reason for Fan Yuan’s current complicated situation. Gu Yang turned over and looked at the still sleeping Fan Yuan. He lowered his head and gently kissed Fan Yuan’s brow, but he didn’t wake him up. Instead, he got up himself and went to the bathroom.
He needed to figure out a way to get through this “The Marriage of Mrs. Fox.” If he continued to indulge Fan Yuan like this, something would go wrong sooner or later. Besides, both of them couldn’t handle the emotional toll.
Gu Yang splashed cold water on his face, sighing heavily as he bent over.
He decided to keep his distance from Fan Yuan starting today. No matter what, he couldn’t soften his heart. He had to make Fan Yuan compromise today. He didn’t want to see Fan Yuan harm himself again.
As the old fox version of Fan Yuan logged out, the young fox version of Fan Yuan opened his eyes to find an empty bed in front of him.
Fan Yuan was only affected by the “The Marriage of Mrs. Fox” scenario, which resulted in the appearance of two different personalities during the day and night. Initially, they struggled to adapt, jealous and vying for affection, but it didn’t mean he had no memory.
It was the fourth day since the start of the “The Marriage of Mrs. Fox,” and the influence was gradually diminishing.
Fan Yuan reached out and touched the empty bed, closing his eyes. He sensed through the Daoist mark on his chest that Gu Yang was on his way to school.
Despite being the young fox version who usually smiled, Fan Yuan’s face showed no expression. He got up with a stern face, walked into the bathroom, and splashed several handfuls of cold water on his face.
Fan Yuan didn’t know that Gu Yang had done the exact same thing in the same spot.
Unbeknownst to them, they had been influencing each other all along.
Fan Yuan splashed the water vigorously, wetting his clothes. He raised his hand and pressed the water-drenched palm against the mirror.
In the mirror, the reflection was indeed the old fox version of Fan Yuan.
They stared at each other through the mirror, and the deep black eyes seemed to have made a decision.
Gradually, a gentle breeze rose in the bathroom.
When the breeze dissipated, the old fox version of Fan Yuan had disappeared from the mirror. Standing in front of the mirror was the young fox version of Fan Yuan, but behind him, there remained a single large and thick fox tail.
The thoughts of possessiveness surged in Fan Yuan’s heart: He wanted to kiss Gu Yang, wanted Gu Yang to stay away from the old fox version of Fan Yuan, wanted to have Gu Yang all to himself…
The fusion between the two immature personalities was still unstable. The young fox version of Fan Yuan nodded, but as soon as these thoughts emerged, Fan Yuan lowered his head and splashed several handfuls of cold water on his face.
Until his black hair around his temples was completely soaked, Fan Yuan lifted his head and pressed his palm firmly against the mirror.
“Gu Yang has always belonged to me, from beginning to end.”
The fleeting jealousy and confusion gradually disappeared.
Gu Yang sat alone in a taxi on his way to Shangshu High School. It had been a long time since he had gone to school alone. To intentionally show his indifference towards Fan Yuan, he didn’t even have breakfast.
Sitting in the taxi, Gu Yang watched the greenery passing by the window as it receded. His stomach growled with hunger, but he couldn’t focus on his hunger. His mind was filled with thoughts of Fan Yuan.
He had come to school early, and when he arrived, there were hardly any people around. He saw the head teacher standing in the middle of the school playground, pretending to embrace the air with his hands, looking quite ridiculous. Gu Yang was a bit stunned. He didn’t expect the head teacher to arrive at school so early and make such strange gestures.
Apparently, the headmaster didn’t expect a student to arrive so early. He immediately put the wig he was holding back on his head, turned around to face Gu Yang, and nervously clasped his hands by the side of his pants, resembling a student in military training being asked to adjust his posture.
“Cough cough… You came so early.”
The headmaster knew Gu Yang because when he first started working at this school, he had heard about Gu Yang’s reputation. Gu Yang was the only student who got into Class 1 through his family’s donation of a building. The headmaster even punished Gu Yang once.
Initially, the headmaster had a very bad impression of Gu Yang, but later, as Gu Yang’s progress improved, the headmaster hadn’t bothered him for a long time.
As long as the students studied well, they were considered good children in the headmaster’s eyes.
Gu Yang was in a bad mood and had many concerns, but seeing the comical headmaster so early in the morning lightened his mood a bit.
“Hello, Headmaster.” Gu Yang politely greeted the headmaster.
The headmaster immediately waved his hand to ask Gu Yang to leave. Normally, he would have enjoyed being respectfully called “Headmaster” by the students, but after being caught doing a hugging pose just now, he just wanted Gu Yang to leave as soon as possible!
Gu Yang understood and quickly passed by the headmaster, planning to enter the teaching building. However, just as he took his first step, the headmaster stopped him.
The head teacher, with his slightly askew wig, walked behind Gu Yang. His short and chubby stature made him look even shorter and plumper in front of Gu Yang.
“You young one, why are you frowning so early in the morning?”
Gu Yang thought the head teacher wanted to reprimand him, but he didn’t expect him to ask such a question.
He didn’t know how to respond for a moment and stood in front of the head teacher with his head down, appearing as if he was waiting for a scolding.
The head teacher, with his bald head and thick, dark eyebrows, walked up to Gu Yang and patted his shoulder forcefully with raised hands.
“You are now in the critical final sprint stage of senior year. No matter what happens, studying is the most important thing, do you understand? If you really have any problems, talk to your homeroom teacher. Although your homeroom teacher is young, she is capable.”
Gu Yang hadn’t expected the head teacher, who usually enjoyed watching surveillance cameras and scolding students over the loudspeaker for minor infractions, to say such words to him. A sense of relief suddenly washed over him.
He forced a relaxed smile towards the head teacher.
“What problem could there be? Besides, I’m already eighteen. How could I bother Teacher Zhuo? She’s busy enough.”
The head teacher’s face immediately wrinkled, displaying the fierce expression he often used to scold students.
“You’re only eighteen. Are you older than me? Little brat, acting mature at such a young age. Alright, alright, hurry back to the classroom!”
Gu Yang nodded and, despite being scolded, he didn’t feel the least bit angry. He turned around and headed back towards the teaching building. After a few steps, he suddenly turned back and happened to see the head teacher striking the same pose of embracing the campus.
The head teacher’s hands froze in mid-air when he realized Gu Yang had turned back.
Gu Yang pointed at the top of his own head, revealing a slightly relaxed smile for the first time in the past few days.
“Head teacher, your wig is on backwards.”
The head teacher glared fiercely at Gu Yang, no longer embracing the campus, and turned around to leave with hurried steps, appearing a bit disheveled.
Inside the teaching building, it was still quiet. Gu Yang walked alone in the empty corridor, and each of his steps seemed to echo.
The faint echo made Gu Yang’s temporarily relaxed mood empty again. At this time, he should have been having breakfast with Fan Yuan, right?
Gu Yang was usually lazy in the morning, lingering in bed, forgetful, even fastening the buttons wrong. Fan Yuan would always help him with everything and criticize him in a seemingly serious tone. But as soon as Gu Yang leaned in, Fan Yuan couldn’t help but lightly kiss his eyelids…
The memories abruptly halted at this point. Gu Yang tightened the straps of his backpack and pushed open the door of the empty classroom alone.
He walked to his seat, took out some exercises from his backpack, and began to work on them. Only by keeping busy could Gu Yang temporarily stop thinking.
As time passed, students from Senior 3 Class 1 started arriving in pairs, and every student who entered the classroom was surprised to see Gu Yang sitting alone at the back of the classroom, head down, working on exercises.
In the hearts of the students of Senior 3 Class 1, Fan Yuan and Gu Yang were already linked. If one of them was seen, the other would surely be nearby.
But now, the students of Senior 3 Class 1 were perplexed, confirming that Fan Yuan was indeed not in the classroom and Gu Yang came alone.
Did Fan Yuan take a leave of absence?
That was their first guess.
It wasn’t until Zhuo Wan also arrived in the classroom, and the bell for morning self-study was about to ring, that Fan Yuan still hadn’t arrived, the students of Senior 3 Class 1 became even more certain. Of course, how could Gu Yang separate from Fan Yuan? It turned out that Fan Yuan had taken a leave of absence.
They wondered what happened to their Class Leader Fan, suddenly, he took a leave of absence.
When the bell for morning self-study rang, Fan Yuan walked into the classroom, a little late.
The previously somewhat noisy classroom quieted down in an instant, and everyone looked at Fan Yuan in surprise, including Zhuo Wan.
Fan Yuan nodded at Zhuo Wan and walked past rows of occupied seats, sitting down next to Gu Yang.
Gu Yang didn’t lift his head throughout, and he held his pen, brushing it against the paper, seemingly unaffected by Fan Yuan’s arrival.
Fan Yuan hadn’t taken a leave of absence; Gu Yang really came to school alone.
This fact sparked numerous discussions among the students of Senior 3 Class 1. Groups discussing the matter instantly turned into a cascade of unread messages.
But all of this had nothing to do with Gu Yang. He stacked two piles of books in front of his desk, moving one of the piles to create a separation between him and Fan Yuan.
Gu Yang knew it was childish to do this, but their seats were too close. With just a slight turn of his head, he could see Fan Yuan. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to control himself from staring at Fan Yuan.
Usually, it was Fan Yuan who diligently worked on exercises while Gu Yang occasionally daydreamed or got distracted. However, today’s situation has been reversed.
With his tall figure, Fan Yuan could still see Gu Yang’s head even when sitting upright.
Gu Yang remained expressionless while Fan Yuan simply raised one arm and rested it on the stack of books, his dark eyes silently staring at Gu Yang without saying a word.
Gu Yang continued writing, until a fluffy fox tail gently emerged from under Fan Yuan’s coat and lightly rested on Gu Yang’s thigh, patting it.
Normally, Gu Yang would complain helplessly but go along with Fan Yuan if this happened, but today was different.
This time, Gu Yang immediately put down his pen and firmly grasped the tip of Fan Yuan’s fox tail, throwing it back onto Fan Yuan.
After doing so, Gu Yang picked up his pen again and resumed working on the exercises.
Fan Yuan’s fox tail tip stiffened for a moment, and a rare hint of frustration appeared on his face.
But in the next moment, the tail tip that was tossed away by Gu Yang carefully came back and settled on Gu Yang’s leg, gently patting it, trying to please him.
The grating sound of the chair legs rubbing against the floor came as Gu Yang forcefully pushed his chair closer to the window.
Once again, Fan Yuan’s fox tail missed its mark, leaving it dangling in the air, lonely.
“Gu Yang…” Finally, Fan Yuan was the first to speak, his voice carrying a hint of helplessness as he called out Gu Yang’s name.
That slightly weary voice made Gu Yang’s heart skip a beat heavily. He almost wanted to turn around and throw himself into Fan Yuan’s embrace with just that greeting.
Gu Yang tightened his grip on the pen, his lips almost forming a cold, straight line. He still didn’t respond to Fan Yuan.
Although it was Gu Yang who didn’t respond, his own unease was no less than Fan Yuan’s.
After Fan Yuan greeted Gu Yang, and Gu Yang didn’t respond, there was silence from Fan Yuan’s side as well.
No one understood what kind of person Fan Yuan truly was better than Gu Yang. He even put down his pen and stared fixedly at the 67% fondness level in his left palm.
He was afraid that in the next second, the fondness level that had grown over the past few months, bit by bit, in their interactions would slowly decrease.
Gu Yang’s fears didn’t materialize, but instead, Fan Yuan’s fox tail tip landed on his leg again.
This time, it wasn’t just one tail but three fox tails that settled on his leg.
Fan Yuan only had one tail during the day, while the nine tails were a characteristic of the old fox, Fan Yuan, at night.
Gu Yang was well aware of this, so he finally couldn’t resist looking at Fan Yuan.
Their gazes met, and in that moment, everything fell quiet.
They stared at each other, their eyes seemingly filled with a thousand words, yet not a single word was spoken.
Finally breaking the silence, Fan Yuan pushed aside the stack of books that separated them and rearranged them in front. He slowly relaxed his broad shoulders and leaned over the table in front of Gu Yang.
“You finally acknowledge me.”
Gu Yang anxiously averted his gaze, reaching out to grab the pen, but in his haste, the round pen rolled off the table, falling through the air until it was caught by another one of Fan Yuan’s fox tails.
Fan Yuan placed the pen back in front of Gu Yang, and as he withdrew his hand, it seemed like he wanted to pinch Gu Yang’s earlobe. But Gu Yang turned his head to avoid it, and Fan Yuan’s open fingers found only empty air.
Throughout this, Gu Yang’s gaze remained fixed on his left palm.
Fan Yuan also glanced at Gu Yang’s left hand, then leaned back in front of Gu Yang.
He took the initiative to push his hat upward, revealing a pair of trembling, furry fox ears.
Fan Yuan called out to Gu Yang, leaning a bit closer to him. His furry ears were right in front of Gu Yang’s eyes, quivering enticingly with every movement, tempting Gu Yang to reach out and touch the soft, velvety fox ears.
Gu Yang placed both hands on the table, his fingers curling and tightening. He turned his gaze away.
Fan Yuan rested his chin on Gu Yang’s hand, finally leaning fully on the table in front of him.
“Gu Yang, look at me.”
Gu Yang’s eyelashes on the side of his face trembled slightly, but he still didn’t turn to look at Fan Yuan.
Fan Yuan lowered his head, and his cool lips gently brushed against Gu Yang’s hand.
Gu Yang pulled his hand back, tucking it into the sleeve of his school uniform, took a deep breath, and finally turned his head to look at Fan Yuan.
“Who are you? An old fox? Or a young fox? What tricks are you trying to play this time? How are you going to hurt yourself?”
Gu Yang questioned as soon as he spoke, but Fan Yuan didn’t show any sign of anger.
He reached out and took hold of Gu Yang’s hand again. Gu Yang struggled for a moment but eventually allowed Fan Yuan to firmly grasp his hand.
Fan Yuan held Gu Yang’s right hand in his palm, placing their hands over his heart.
Gu Yang’s palm was directly above Fan Yuan’s heart. This way of sensing Fan Yuan’s heartbeat was clearer and more direct than the Daoist companion mark.
Accompanied by the steady and powerful heartbeat, Fan Yuan blinked his eyes, staring at Gu Yang intently, and answered Gu Yang solemnly, “Gu Yang, I am Fan Yuan, not some fox. Just Fan Yuan.”
Gu Yang’s eyes widened slightly as he looked at Fan Yuan, who was gradually getting closer.
Fan Yuan finally closed the distance and managed to kiss the corner of Gu Yang’s lips.
“I am your Fan Yuan.”
Gu Yang immediately looked at the palm of his left hand. He saw with his own eyes that the fondness level on the virtual book jumped from 67 to 68, then from 68 to 69, and it didn’t stop there. It continued to climb until it reached 70, at which point the score finally stopped changing.
Tears welled up unexpectedly in Gu Yang’s eyes. Fan Yuan was also taken aback by how suddenly Gu Yang started crying, and a rare sense of panic and guilt appeared on his face.
Gu Yang lowered his head and vigorously wiped the tears from his face, rubbing so hard that the area around his eye sockets turned red, until Fan Yuan took hold of his hands.
Zhuo Wan, who was at the podium, had already noticed something unusual between the two of them. Fan Yuan leaned his body even lower, trying to conceal their interaction.
He didn’t ask Gu Yang why he was crying but gently wiped away the tears from Gu Yang’s face with his fingertips and apologized.
“Gu Yang, I’m sorry.”
Gu Yang’s breathing hitched, and with red eyes, he looked at Fan Yuan. It was the first time that Fan Yuan had apologized to him in such a formal manner.
Then Fan Yuan continued, “Gu Yang, I like you.”
Those two words that Fan Yuan had been hesitant to say, the ones he would rather write on Gu Yang’s body than speak out loud, finally escaped his lips.
Once the floodgates were opened, it couldn’t be stopped.
“Gu Yang, I like you.”
“I like you.”
Gu Yang’s tears, which had just stopped, began flowing again. The turmoil he had been enduring for the past few days finally cleared up in that moment.
Fan Yuan tore off a piece of white paper, took Gu Yang’s pen, and wrote earnestly on it:
“I will no longer be influenced by anything else.”
Fan Yuan’s handwriting was usually arrogant and unrestrained, a stark contrast to his polite appearance. But when he wrote those words, the end of each stroke carried a touch of caution.
Every restrained brushstroke represented his care for Gu Yang.
Gu Yang wiped his face and, without expression, grabbed the pen from Fan Yuan’s hand. Under Fan Yuan’s sentence, he wrote another line:
“The cause was me, I’m sorry.”
Fan Yuan remained silent, raising his hand to rub Gu Yang’s head, then running his fingers down Gu Yang’s cheek and pinching his earlobe.
This was their usual intimate gesture. This time, Gu Yang didn’t dodge.
The lonely fox tail, which had been deprived for so long, gently settled on Gu Yang’s leg once again, and this time, Gu Yang didn’t push them away.
He took out a brand-new notebook from the desk, opened the first page, and wrote two large characters with great seriousness:
Then, below “Countdown,” he wrote the number 100 in Arabic numerals. Finally, he bolded and darkened these words, and placed the notebook upright next to the timer book that Fan Yuan had prepared.
Fan Yuan looked at the notebook, and the fox tails slowly crept into Gu Yang’s school uniform.
“What is this?”
Gu Yang, looking earnestly at the two books side by side, reached out, accurately grasping one of Fan Yuan’s fox tails that had emerged from his clothes, and threw it away.
“This is the time you’re not allowed to touch me,” Gu Yang said firmly.
“If you…don’t take care of your body again, I will add extra time.”
Fan Yuan didn’t express any dissatisfaction with Gu Yang’s book. Setting aside whether the book could actually be implemented or not, just seeing Gu Yang’s serious demeanor was enough to appeal to him.
While Fan Yuan stared at Gu Yang, he suddenly propped his cheek on his hand, turning his face to the side, with his slender fingers partially covering it. A rare faint blush appeared on his cheeks.
This kind of Gu Yang accelerated his heartbeat.
Regardless of what Fan Yuan was thinking, Gu Yang was quite satisfied. In addition to being satisfied, he started to worry about the two fox personas of Fan Yuan influenced by the golden finger.
He finally started talking to Fan Yuan normally and immediately asked about this matter.
“Will you… still have different personalities during the day and night?”
Fan Yuan’s nine tails merged into one, though only a single tail remained, it was still trying to slip into Gu Yang’s clothes.
“No, there will only be minor aftereffects,” Fan Yuan replied.
Gu Yang leaned closer in worry. He had deliberately distanced himself from Fan Yuan earlier in the morning but now, he finally mustered the courage to approach Fan Yuan like before.
“What kind of aftereffects?”
Fan Yuan also lowered his head, whispering softly against Gu Yang’s ear:
“It will hurt if I don’t touch you.”
Gu Yang: “…”
He wiped his face, pushed Fan Yuan away with an expressionless face, and suddenly raised his hand.
Zhuo Wan had been keeping an eye on them since the start of self-study in the morning. The peculiar behaviors of the two students had already caught her attention. Moreover, when she came out of the office, the head teacher intercepted her and asked her to pay special attention to Gu Yang.
She thought something had happened to Gu Yang, but throughout the morning, she was torn between whether to remind the two of them to study or to observe quietly. Both students had their own ideas and wouldn’t neglect their studies.
When she saw them snuggling together later, Zhuo Wan finally breathed a sigh of relief, thinking they had a small disagreement but had already made up.
By this time, self-study was coming to an end, and the first class was Chinese. Zhuo Wan had already taken out the teaching materials for the lesson when Gu Yang suddenly raised his hand.
Following Zhuo Wan’s gesture, Gu Yang stood up and spoke with an official tone:
“Teacher Zhuo, Fan Yuan was not paying attention in class and disturbed my study!”
Zhuo Wan: “…Fan Yuan, come to the front… no, stand next to the blackboard and listen to class.”
Fan Yuan stood up expressionlessly, and as he got up, his fingertips lightly brushed against Gu Yang’s collarbone, using the stack of books as cover.
“I’ll take care of you later.”
As Fan Yuan spoke, he took a book and walked to stand next to the blackboard. The students of Class 1 looked at each other, their faces full of question marks.
The crisis that Gu Yang had been worrying about the whole morning had disappeared, and the fondness level had skyrocketed to 70. Gu Yang’s mood had already improved.
He proudly smirked at Fan Yuan, who was standing next to the blackboard. Fan Yuan’s dark eyes met Gu Yang’s gaze, and suddenly, just like Gu Yang had done before, he reached out his hand, intertwining his thumb and index finger, and made a small heart shape gesture towards Gu Yang.
Gu Yang’s eyes immediately widened, and he quickly lowered his head, hiding himself completely behind the stack of books.
However, less than a minute later, a similarly shaped little heart was lifted up from behind the pile of books, swaying slightly.
Zhuo Wan’s mouth twitched. She felt like she had worried for nothing in the morning.
At that moment, the bell rang, and the first class began.
Zhuo Wan stood up from behind the podium and tapped the blackboard forcefully.
“Gu Yang, comparing hearts with the teacher?”
Startled, Gu Yang immediately sat up straight, his smug smile not completely fading.
Zhuo Wan sneered and pointed to the back of the classroom.
“You, go to the back and stand there!”
Gu Yang immediately looked at Fan Yuan, and Fan Yuan’s mouth curled up slightly before flattening again.
As a result, during the first class, Fan Yuan stood at the front of the classroom, and Gu Yang stood at the back, enduring a whole class.
Zhuo Wan swiftly moved through the rows of seats in her high heels, her clacking footsteps accompanying her non-stop lecture, becoming a part of their youthful composition.
Everything was moving towards the best direction.
Everything in the world, including Fan Yuan and Gu Yang.
From autumn to winter, from winter to spring, followed by countless cycles of seasons, countless days that belonged to Fan Yuan and Gu Yang.
Author’s note: Gu Yang takes out the “No Touching Countdown” book and keeps adding: +10, +10, +10…
Fan Yuan reveals his nine tails and asks, “Touch me?”
Gu Yang replies, “No touching, no touching. I must endure… endure your watermelon! They’re all mine!”
He pounces on the ocean of fox tails, engulfed in their embrace.