“I wanted Kou Chen here to join us last semester,” The coach said, “But he said he wanted to focus on his studies…”
Focus on his studies?
Huo Ran was so shocked he thought he was hearing things.
The Kou Chen who sleeps when class starts and gets up at the bell, could actually say the four words ‘focus on my studies’?
He’s probably more concerned that practice would interfere with his sleeping schedule!
“But he still came this semester,” The coach patted Kou Chen on the back happily.
He looked at Huo Ran, “Good thing you two are in the same class, it’ll be easier for you two to get along.”
“Mhm.” Huo Ran nodded gloomily.
As to not make the other members think there was something up with their captain, he forced himself to smile and said: “Welcome.”
The coach introduced Kou Chen to everyone, and then left for the equipment room.
Everyone else talked a bit before going off to do their own thing.
But Kou Chen was quite famous amongst everyone, with all of the rumours surrounding him, so a couple people were still glancing over.
“Come on, let’s go eat.” Kou Chen walked to Huo Ran, still smiling.
Huo Ran didn’t say anything, walking out of the gym.
“Angry?” Kou Chen followed him.
“I’m not.” Huo Ran sighed.
“Do you actually want to play basketball or did you just do that to prove me wrong?”
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Kou Chen said.
“The teacher begged me to play for them before too…”
“It’s only me and you here,” Huo Ran cut him off, “You don’t have to keep bragging like that.”
“I played in middle school too,” Kou Chen wasn’t affected at all, “I only agreed after the teacher begged me for a whole semester.”
“…You’re the hope of the national team.” Huo Ran said.
“Old Geng really wanted me, right?” Kou Chen said.
“He came to find me after my first gym class here, right?”
The coach’s last name is Geng, and he was their gym teacher.
He was extremely passionate about everything basketball related.
Huo Ran felt like he wanted to become a basketball in his next life.
The coach was good at discovering promising new players.
Kou Chen was pretty decent at basketball, but Huo Ran had only played one match with him, so he didn’t have a grasp on his true skill.
“How would I know?” Huo Ran said.
“I don’t even know when you transferred here!”
“No way.” Kou Chen didn’t believe him.
“The first time I heard of you was when we had to play against your class.” Huo Ran said.
“The time you wanted to hit me?” Kou Chen asked.
“…Weren’t you the one that started it?” Huo Ran looked at him.
“Was I?” Kou Chen pretended to think about it.
“You were the one that fucking insulted me first.”
“Did I insult you?” Huo Ran asked.
“You insulted our class!” Kou Chen said.
“I was insulting my own class!” Huo Ran glared at him, “Who cares about you guys?”
“Damn, insulting your own people when you were about to lose,” Kou Chen laughed.
He stopped abruptly, putting on a menacing expression, “We’re on the same team now, if you dare insult me when we’re losing…”
“We’ve never lost a match since I became captain.” Huo Ran cut him off.
“…Impressive, Captain Huo.” Kou Chen exclaimed sincerely.
They played three tournaments in total, Huo Ran didn’t remember the exact number of matches, it wasn’t too many.
But for a team that he’d only been in charge of for half a semester, it was pretty good.
But he had never said that out loud before, he wasn’t the type to brag about everything like Kou Chen.
How long has he been spending with Kou Chen? He’s actually starting to act like him.
Maybe it was in rebellion, fight fire with fire and all.
Huo Ran, you have to do some self-reflection.
Walking a while in silence, Kou Chen suddenly nudged him with his arm.
“Hm?” Huo Ran turned to him in alarm, who knows if he was gonna try and choke him again.
Put your arm around me and I’ll beat you up!
“Here.” Kou Chen gave him a piece of chocolate.
“…Didn’t you say that was the last one?” Huo Ran asked.
Although he was unwilling, he still took it.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
“P pera rjlv atja obg ws rlrafg,” Bbe Jtfc rjlv.
“Ktja kbwjc, rtf’r yffc rafjilcu ws atlcur fnfg rlcmf kf kfgf sbecu.”
“P atbeuta sbe kfgf qgfaas lwqgfrrlnf?” Leb Ejc eckgjqqfv atf mtbmbijaf jcv qea la lc tlr wbeat, “Tbe mjc’a yfja tfg?”
“Vtf’r rfnfc sfjgr bivfg atjc wf!” Bbe Jtfc mglfv, “Vtf mjc xlmx wf ogbw atf yfv ab atf vbbg, ktja vb sbe wfjc yfja tfg… Dfrlvfr, P vbc’a tla kbwfc.”
Huo Ran laughed: “She’s that fierce? I couldn’t tell.”
“That’s only in front of Old Yang, whatever cutesy act she has going on.” Kou Chen said.
“But she’s actually a demon, when I was little she was like ‘let me tell you a secret Kou Chen, you’re actually adopted, the whole family’s been keeping it from you!’ And I fucking believed her.”
Huo Ran couldn’t hold back his laughter, almost choking on the chocolate.
“It’s okay, you can laugh.
Life just isn’t fair like that.” Kou Chen said seriously, before bursting out laughing after looking at him.
A hand shot out and pinched his chin quickly.
“Huo Ran, you look so funny when you’re laughing, like a Shiba Inu.”
“Fuck off——” Huo Ran yelled, punching Kou Chen in the arm.
Kou Chen froze for a moment, before cradling his arm and yelling out as well “AH——”
He sounded pretty pitiful, rivaling the time he dislocated his finger.
Huo Ran was at a loss, looking at his hand.
I didn’t fucking punch him that hard!”
Is he made out of tofu?!
‘Fly for me’ my ass!
“Holy shit,” Kou Chen rubbed his arm.
“I thought you didn’t know how to fight? Didn’t you fall over just from a bump?”
“It’s that I don’t fight, not that I don’t know how.” Huo Ran said.
“If it weren’t for Xu Zhifan holding me back, I would’ve crippled you ten times over.”
Kou Chen looked at him, narrowing his eyes.
He suddenly got out his phone and called someone: “Hello? Xu Zhifan?”
“What are you doing?” Huo Ran was confused.
“I’ll treat you to a meal tomorrow.” Kou Chen hung up the phone.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“If it weren’t for him I would’ve been crippled ten times over.” Kou Chen shook his arm, “I gotta thank him.”
“…Okay then.” Huo Ran looked at his arm.
Kou Chen kept rubbing and shaking his arm, and he couldn’t help but ask: “Does it really hurt that much? You’d think I broke your arm or something, why don’t you start rolling around on the floor?”
“It really does hurt.” Kou Chen finally stopped, putting his arm around his shoulders.
“Mostly just unexpected.”
Huo Ran raised his hand, but put it back down after a thought.
“Is it because you think Shiba Inus aren’t cute?” Kou Chen asked.
“…No.” Huo Ran sighed.
“They’re so cute,” Kou Chen said.
“Of course, you’re better looking than a Shiba Inu.
I just meant that you look cute when you smile.”
“It’s not because of that!” Huo Ran couldn’t stay silent anymore.
“Can’t you talk properly without touching me?”
Kou Chen looked at him in shock, speaking after a long pause, “Damn, it’s because of that?”
“I…” Huo Ran didn’t know how to reply.
If felt a bit too overkill to say yes, but what else could he say?
“Do you have haphephobia or something?” Kou Chen asked.
“What?” Huo Ran continued towards the school gates.
“You don’t like people touching you.” Kou Chen said.
“I’m always like this with Xu Chuan and Chaoren.
What’s wrong with putting your arm around a friend? I’ve never seen anyone like you.”
“I don’t.” Huo Ran glanced at the arm that was still around his shoulders.
“I wouldn’t care if it were Xu Zhifan or the others.”
“…I understand.” Kou Chen took his arm back, putting his hands in his pockets.
“Understand what?” Huo Ran asked.
“We’re not good enough friends yet.” Kou Chen didn’t turn around, yelling quite loudly, “Still just acquaintances!”
Huo Ran opened his mouth, but didn’t say anything.
They agreed to go eat noodles, so Kou Chen headed towards the noodle place opposite the school.
He walked pretty fast, and Huo Ran kept getting left behind when he tried to catch up.
In the end, Huo Ran gave up trying to catch up, following behind him instead, and Kou Chen stopped speeding up.
“What do you want?” At the restaurant, Kou Chen paused and took out his phone to pay.
Are you a kid?
I’m mad! I don’t want your treat anymore!
“I thought I was gonna pay?” Huo Ran said.
“Ah, fuck.” Kou Chen paused, putting his phone back in his pocket.
“Force of habit.”
“What do you want?” Huo Ran asked.
“A big bowl of gravy noodles..” Kou Chen said.
“I heard they make good gravy noodles.”
“Mhm.” Huo Ran nodded, relaying to the cashier, “One bowl of gravy noodles, large, and…”
He looked up at the menu sign, and Kou Chen repeated: “They make good gravy noodles.”
“I know.” Huo Ran surveyed the menu.
“Gravy noodles!” Kou Chen glared at him, putting on the usual demon expression, even deepening his voice.
“They make good gravy noodles!”
“…Two bowls of gravy noodles.” Huo Ran could only say.
After paying, they found a table to sit at, and Kou Chen suddenly looked past Huo Ran.
Huo Ran turned around too, and saw that a couple girls sat at the table behind them.
One of the girls had her head down.
Although he hasn’t seen He Hua much, but at this point, Huo Ran could recognize her just from the her head.
He didn’t really remember what she looked like, all he knew of He Hua was the top of her head.
“The third years have class today.” Kou Chen said.
“Why is she still with Li Jiaying and them?” Huo Ran whispered.
“What else?” Kou Chen spun a pair of chopsticks around his fingers.
“She’s not planning to fight back.”
Huo Ran didn’t say anything.
“Those two are on the basketball team, right?” Kou Chen asked.
“Mhm.” Huo Ran didn’t turn back around.
He’d already seen them.
It was Li Jiaying with two other girls and He Hua, and beside them, there were two other guys.
Not the one that flew the other day.
It was Liu Yu and Zhou Haichao, both on the school team.
The only third years on the team.
Those two were really prickly, and they looked down on Huo Ran.
When he turned around just now, they didn’t even nod in acknowledgment.
They held a lit cigarette between their lips.
But Kou Chen said that He Hua didn’t want anyone to be concerned, so he ignored them and turned back around.
“Doesn’t look like you’re a very respected captain.” Kou Chen said.
“If I were the captain…”
“What? It hasn’t even been half an hour since you joined the team and you’re already planning to dethrone me?” Huo Ran cut him off.
“Do I look like I care about your captaincy?” Kou Chen said.
“I’d have to think about it even if Coach Geng offered me the position.”
“If they call me daddy,” Huo Ran said.
“I’ll go and show them respect.
They want me to pay attention to them just after a ‘Captain’? In their dreams.”
Kou Chen leaned back onto his chair and started laughing: “Damn, what about me then? I even called you grandpa.”
“Why do you think I’m taking you camping?” Huo Ran said.
“I find that you are…” Kou Chen pointed at him, “Quite likeable.”
“I’ll take you even without your flattery.” Huo Ran said.
“I already agreed, I’m not gonna change my mind just days before.”
Kou Chen laughed and stopped looking towards He Hua’s table.
It wasn’t very fun to watch someone continue getting bullied after they refused your help.
Although that level of bullying wasn’t much to him.
In his old school, He Hua would be way worse off than just starving and getting shoved around a bit.
Kou Chen has seen a lot of this sort of bullying, and he never did anything about it.
But seeing He Hua now, he felt helpless.
Maybe it was because it wasn’t common here, making someone like Li Jiaying stand out amongst the crowd of students that were too scared to even skip class.
He snapped back to reality as Huo Ran put his bowl down in front of him.
“What, we have to get it ourselves?”
“There’s only three people working here.” Huo Ran walked over to the pick-up counter.
“What are you expecting?”
“Thanks.” Kou Chen said.
“Hurry up.” Li Jiaying’s impatient voice travelled over, “Cash, card, anything.
It’s just a few bowls of noodles.”
He Hua had her head down, seemingly silent.
They didn’t know if she was too scared to speak or if they just didn’t hear.
As Kou Chen turned over, Li Jiaying smacked her on the back: “Did you hear me? You still think someone’s gonna come stand up for you?”
Huo Ran just passed by with his noodles, and he glanced at them: “You talk like people would want to stand up for you.”
“Yo, Captain Huo.” Li Jiaying looked at him.
“What a coincidence, why do I run into you everywhere?”
Huo Ran didn’t say anything, debating between going back to his table or dumping his noodles on Li Jianying’s.
A black thing flew over from Kou Chen’s direction, landing on their table.
It was a wallet.
An alligator leather wallet.
They all looked over, including Huo Ran.
He could feel Kou Chen’s annoyance from two meters away.
The atmosphere changed immediately as he walked over.
It wasn’t his usual putting on airs kind of fierceness, he was actually serious.
Huo Ran felt the hairs on his arm stand on end.
“Can’t afford your food, right?” Kou Chen put a hand on the table, and picked up his wallet.
He shook it and a bunch of red bills fell from it.
“I’ll pay for all your food this whole semester.
If it’s not enough you can come ask for more.”
Although carrying cash around these days was kinda tacky, you really can’t deny the effect of throwing around a stack of hundred dollar bills.
That was the downside of mobile payment.
If you wanted to throw a bunch of money at someone you had to add them as a friend first, and if they don’t accept, then that’s just embarrassing.
Remembering that Kou Chen also did take out his phone to pay just then, Huo Ran couldn’t help but suspect that Kou Chen carried around all that cash just to do that…
“What’s your problem?” Li Jiaying stood up.
“My problem is that I have too much money.” Kou Chen looked at her.
“You better sit down, gather up the money and pay for your noodles.
I better not hear a word out of you before I’m done eating.”
“You think you’re hot shit, huh?” Liu Yu smacked the table and stood up, glaring at Kou Chen.
“Speak for yourself.” Huo Ran said.
“You’re the exact same, what right do you have to say that?”
“Get off your high horse, I called you captain once but that doesn’t mean anything.” Liu Yu turned around.
“The fuck are you doing here? You really think you can scare me?”
“Nope.” Huo Ran moved closer, spitting out every word.
“But I can make it so that you can’t even set foot into the gym.
I can also make you warm the bench for the entire match, or I can kick you out of the team next week, so you can study for your university entrance exams.”
Liu Yu looked at him.
If looks could kill, he would be dead right now.
“What about you?” Huo Ran asked.
“What can you do to me?”
Kou Chen turned to look at him.
“Fuck!” Zhou Haichao’s temper was shit.
He stood up and aimed a punch at his chest.
Huo Ran went to push him without thinking, and Zhou Haichao fell back into his chair.
As he jumped back up, the owner yelled at them: “Stop fighting! We’re right in front of your school, are you going to start a fight here?! I can call your teacher here in a second!”
Kou Chen grabbed Huo Ran’s arm and tugged him back.
He pointed at the money on the table.
“Who wants your money? What are you showing off for?” Li Jiaying held Zhou Haichao back.
“Nobody’s leaving until you take it.” Kou Chen took out his phone and called a number: “Bring some people and come to the noodle place outside the school.”
“You’re calling backup over this? Aren’t you embarrassed?” Li Jiaying sneered.
“Tell that to yourself.
Did you come find me yourself last time?” Kou Chen said.
“Does anyone want to fight me one on one? If not, then shut up.”
There weren’t many people in the restaurant, and after the table beside them left, they were the only ones left inside.
In the midst of the tense atmosphere, Huo Ran took a few bites of his noodles.
He looked at Kou Chen, and asked a couple seconds later: “How much money was that?”
“Didn’t count.” Kou Chen looked like he couldn’t care less.
“You don’t have to brag like that in front of me, okay?” Huo Ran said.
“I really didn’t count.” Kou Chen slurped his noodles.
“My dad just gave it to me like that.”
“What for?” Huo Ran kept asking quietly.
“For food.” Kou Chen replied quietly as well.
“Damn,” Huo Ran started, “Then how are you supposed to fucking eat now?”
“I still have money in my student card from last semester.” Kou Chen was completely unfazed.
“If I run out I can use yours.”
“…Say that again?” Huo Ran was shocked.
He felt like Kou Chen had said something that shocked him every day.
It’s like he was made for it.
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