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    Deep Pivot, Episode 50

    “At least there’s a good selection of DVDs.”

    Yeon-woo remarked.

    Seo-joon thought to himself, He’s such a kind and positive person. For someone who was dragged into this mess just because he was Seo-joon’s dedicated guide, Yeon-woo could have been justifiably annoyed, but instead, he seemed unfazed.

    “There are also some books. They could be nice to read if we have trouble sleeping.”

    Watching Yeon-woo, Seo-joon spoke up.

    “If I’d known things would turn out like this, maybe I shouldn’t have signed an exclusive contract.”

    Yeon-woo, scanning the bookshelf, turned to look at him. Seo-joon gave a rueful smile and added.

    “I don’t mean it in a bad way. I just feel bad because this happened right after you signed with me.”

    “I’m actually glad.”

    Yeon-woo replied, smiling gently. His soft eyes curved into a warm arc.

    “If we didn’t have an exclusive contract, you might have had to be here alone.”

    He chose not to mention that Seo-joon could have been in even greater danger without him.

    “I’m glad I can be here with you.”

    He felt a little guilty about not seeing Jung-woo for a while, but he glanced back at the bookshelf.

    Yeon-woo had this way of leaving Seo-joon speechless.

    He always said things so kindly, just like he looked.

    “Yeon-woo, I bet you’re loved by everyone.”

    At that, Yeon-woo turned back again, his eyes darting around in embarrassment. Um, hmm… He seemed unsure how to respond to the unexpected compliment.

    “…You too, Lieutenant.”

    Seo-joon let out a chuckle.

    ✽✽✽

    After showering, Yeon-woo stepped out of the bathroom and looked at Seo-joon, who was drying his wet hair. As Yeon-woo approached him, the warm breeze carried the scent of shampoo.

    The two stood side by side in the mirror, wearing matching tracksuits differing only in size. Seo-joon caught Yeon-woo’s gaze in the mirror and raised an eyebrow before switching off the hair dryer.

    “What’s up?”

    “Well… there’s only one bed. If you’re uncomfortable, I can sleep on the sofa.”

    With a whir, Seo-joon turned the hair dryer back on, drying his hair without saying a word. Once his hair was mostly dry, he put down the dryer and asked, “Do you have restless sleeping habits?”

    “No.”

    “Then let’s just share the bed. It’s king-sized.”

    Seo-joon walked past Yeon-woo toward the bedroom, adding, “Sleeping on the sofa will ruin your back. And isn’t a man’s back his lifeline?”

    “Ah… thank you.”

    Yeon-woo smiled as he drank a glass of water in the kitchen.

    “Of course, if you were a woman, I’d let you have the bed while I slept on the sofa. But since it’s just us guys, let’s not worry about it.”

    He meant that as men, they shouldn’t be overly concerned about sharing. Yeon-woo’s soft “okay” and the hum of the hair dryer soon followed.

    In the bedroom, Seo-joon switched on the bedside lamp and sat at the edge of the bed. As he rearranged the pillows to prepare for sleep, Yeon-woo walked in.

    His freshly dried hair was tousled across his forehead, making him appear younger than usual.

    “Come on in so we can turn off the light.”

    Seo-joon said as he lay down. He could feel Yeon-woo settling into the spot next to him. Seo-joon then turned off the lamp, pulling the blanket over them.

    In the sudden darkness, Yeon-woo spoke.

    “Do you need any more guiding?”

    Seo-joon slowly opened his eyes.

    “I’m okay for now. The immediate crisis has been dealt with.”

    He recalled Yeon-woo’s flushed face, struggling to keep up with their kisses yet never once pushing him away.

    He remembered the redness at the corners of his eyes, the obediently parted lips, and the shaky breathing.

    “…I think I made you work too hard today.”

    It was fortunate they had stopped midway. He was still far from fully satisfied, but…

    “Give me some time to regain my conscience.”

    If he had pushed further, would Yeon-woo have ended up crying?

    That thought cleared away some of his earlier fatigue.

    “Good night, Yeon-woo.”

    Seo-joon spoke softly, turning to face away. He could hear movement behind him.

    “Sleep well, Lieutenant.”

    ✽✽✽

    Beep, beep. The signal tone from the radio announced the morning to the two. The blackout curtains made it difficult to discern whether it was day or night, leaving the room shrouded in darkness.

    “Yes, it’s ‘baby,'”

    Yeon-woo replied to the radio call in a groggy voice. He turned to check on Seo-joon. Half-lying on his stomach, Seo-joon was sleeping deeply, unaffected by Yeon-woo’s stirring.

    —You can open the curtains until 1 p.m. Avoid touching the blinds, and don’t get too close to the windows.

    “Understood.”

    Rising from bed, Yeon-woo headed to the living room and pulled back the blackout curtains. Sunlight filtered through the thin blinds, signaling morning.

    No matter how tired he was, Yeon-woo’s school schedule had conditioned him to wake up at a set time each morning.

    “…”

    But Seo-joon seemed to be different.

    “Lieutenant.”

    Yeon-woo called softly, gently shaking Seo-joon’s shoulder. Annoyed at being disturbed in his sleep, Seo-joon turned his head away.

    “…”

    ‘Let’s let him sleep a little longer.’

    After checking the time, Yeon-woo quietly closed the blackout curtains again and lay down beside him. Seo-joon’s closed eyes, gently breathing nose, and softly shut lips made his face appear more relaxed than usual.

    When Yeon-woo had guided him at his house before, he got a good look at this face. Usually hidden from others, seeing Seo-joon’s sleeping face gave Yeon-woo a sense of fulfillment.

    Just like then, he wanted to touch him, to wipe his cheeks, brush his hair, and hold him close. He wanted to kiss those lips that sometimes let out soft sighs and fill Seo-joon with his warmth.

    But things were different now. Unable to bring himself to touch Seo-joon, Yeon-woo simply watched in silence.

    In the quiet bedroom, only their breaths filled the air. Closing his eyes, Yeon-woo matched his breathing to Seo-joon’s, soothing his restless heart.

    Time passed, though Yeon-woo couldn’t tell how long. Eventually, the peaceful night settled back over both of them in the bedroom.

    ✽✽✽

    “…”

    What time is it?

    Seo-joon checked the clock and, shocked by the time, jumped up. It was already past noon. These damn blackout curtains must have thrown off my sense of time.

    “Yeon-woo.”

    He frantically shook Yeon-woo, who was still fast asleep beside him.

    “Yeon-woo, wake up. Do you know what time it is?”

    “…Lieutenant?”

    Yeon-woo slowly opened his eyes, his face groggy. Unbelievable. How did both of us manage to sleep in? He thought, One’s a soldier, the other’s a student!

    “You can sleep again at night. Sleeping this late will mess up your daily schedule.”

    Seo-joon hurried around the room, opening the bedroom curtains. They only had a limited window of time to enjoy the sunlight, and they’d wasted it by oversleeping.

    Turning around, Seo-joon locked eyes with Yeon-woo, who sat on the bed, blankly staring at him. Seo-joon let out a bemused chuckle.

    “How can someone your age sleep in so much?”

    “…I’m sorry.”

    Yeon-woo murmured his apology in a drowsy voice.

    “It’s a miracle you make it to school on time.”

    “…True.”

    He struggled to shake off the sleepiness, answering a beat too late each time. He’s not a baby. Why does he sleep so much? Seo-joon shook his head as he picked up the radio.

    “This is ‘Agnes.’ Please bring up our meal.”

    —”Understood.”

    As he put the radio down, Seo-joon heard soft laughter from the side. He turned quickly to face Yeon-woo.

    “Why are you laughing?”

    Still looking half-asleep, Yeon-woo had a wide, relaxed smile on his face.

    “I’m just happy…”

    Rubbing his eyes with one hand, he couldn’t stop smiling. Seo-joon raised an eyebrow.

    “…You woke up early, Lieutenant.”

    “I’m just not a heavy sleeper.”

    Seo-joon briskly tidied the bedding before heading out of the bedroom. Behind him, he heard Yeon-woo’s laughter like air leaking from a balloon.

    What a peculiar sleep habit. Seo-joon found it quite endearing, but if he’d have to wake Yeon-woo every morning while living together, it could be a hassle.

    He clicked his tongue silently. It was the morning of their first day in the safe house.

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