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    “Ah, my head…”

    Nam-woon felt a stabbing headache and writhed in discomfort. He seemed to have dreamt all night about selling Taiyaki, but he couldn’t quite remember the details. He felt as if someone had been comforting him next to him.

    He tried to move, but something felt suffocating. It was as if a large rock was squeezing him, making him feel trapped. Nam-woon’s face was buried in something in front of him, and a pleasant scent wafted to his nose.

    Huh? This smell… I think I’ve smelled it before.

    Driven by the desire to smell the fragrance more intensely, Nam-woon unknowingly burrowed into the object in front of him. But his body kept twitching. Nam-woon rubbed himself against the thing in front of him.

    Ah, just a little more… If I get closer, it might feel good.

    Nam-woon’s nose touched something soft. Ah… He gently rubbed his nose and lips against it. It felt like his breath would escape from his mouth. Then, a soft but firm voice came from above.

    “Don’t move.”

    Startled by the voice, Nam-woon’s eyes snapped open.

    All he could see was flesh. A broad and firm chest, thick forearms, and a neck that emitted a faintly pleasant scent. And a protruding Adam’s apple.

    Nam-woon came to his senses.

    Did I drink and cause an accident?

    This was definitely a first for him. Moreover, the voice he just heard and the body in front of him… It was unmistakably a man.

    How could I be hugging a man so closely after drinking?

    Nam-woon’s heart pounded with anxiety, but he cautiously lifted his gaze.


    Kwon Seo-oh’s beauty always shone, but now it captivates him in a different way. Usually, Nam-woon faced a fierce expression and cold eyes, but the closed-eyed Kwon Seo-oh looked purely innocent. Flawless skin without a single pore, well-textured hair, long eyelashes, and slightly parted lips captured his gaze.

    Nam-woon, who had been staring blankly at the sight for a moment, soon came to his senses. This was not the time to do this, he needed to escape. He was almost bewitched. Beauty is dangerous.

    It was when Nam-woon was cautiously trying to wriggle out of his embrace. Seo-oh turned over and hugged Nam-woon tightly.

    “Why did you wake up so early?”

    His voice was a bit lower than usual, perhaps because he was still sleepy. Nam-woon’s body stiffened at the tender tone he had never heard before.

    “Let’s sleep a bit more, okay?”

    Seo-oh affectionately rubbed his chin area against the top of Nam-woon’s head. Seo-oh’s prominent Adam’s apple was right in front of Nam-woon’s nose. Nam-woon expanded all the holes in his face. Even though his breath was surely a gas, it felt like it could physically touch Kwon Seo-oh’s neck.

    He was frozen like a log, not knowing what to do, when the door suddenly opened with a creak.

    “Hyung, Mister! I caught a beetle!”

    Nam-woon held his breath at the booming voice that seemed to wake up the entire neighborhood. The body embracing him felt strangely stiff. Nam-woon raised his gaze again without realizing it. The well-sculpted face and long eyelashes fluttered upwards, revealing calm black eyes beneath them.



    It was Se-han who broke the silence.

    “Hyung, were you hugging Mister and sleeping? It must have been really hot!”

    As soon as he finished speaking, Nam-woon’s body was pushed back with a thud.


    Nam-woon let out a silent scream as his back hit the corner of a drawer behind him. It hurt like hell! Tears welled up in his eyes. A fresh morning curse came from above.

    “Swearing first thing in the morning…”

    No matter how angry one might be, it’s not right to swear in front of Se-han, who was watching right in front of him. Nam-woon rubbed his waist and opened his mouth.

    “Uh, don’t swear. And I wasn’t the one who hugged you first, okay?”

    “Are you crazy? Why would I sleep next to you?”

    “I don’t know. When I woke up, you were the one hugging me.”

    “That doesn’t make sense. I clearly slept hugging Se-han.”

    “What do you want me to do about it? Why are you sleeping half-naked anyway?”

    That’s when Se-han interjected.

    “Don’t fight! I was sleeping between Hyung and Mister, and when I woke up, I went outside and caught a beetle. I’m hungry.”

    Se-han clung to Seo-oh’s waist and hugged him tightly. Then he lifted the beetle, giggling with delight.

    However, the insect Se-han had caught was not a beetle but some unidentified kind of bug, and upon seeing it properly in the light for the first time, Se-han screamed and released it outside.

    While Se-han was washing his hands, Nam-woon glanced at Seo-oh.

    What happened yesterday?

    Based on experience, in such cases, the person whose memory fades first usually has the responsibility.

    “Hey, how did I get here?”

    “Our Hyung carried you here last night!”

    Se-han said while wiping his hands on his pants. Nam-woon’s face turned pale. It seemed he had gotten drunk quickly and passed out at the pork belly restaurant. And to think that Kwon Seo-oh had carried him up this uphill road.

    “Who paid yesterday?”

    “If you’re awake, just go.”

    He regretted it. He had made someone without money pay. Normally, he wouldn’t pass out after drinking that much; something was off.

    “I wasn’t feeling well yesterday, so I caused you trouble for no reason. Sorry. Was I heavy?”

    Then Seo-oh looked Nam-woon up and down and scoffed.


    Nam-woon wasn’t sure what “nonsense” meant in this context, but something about Kwon Seo-oh’s gaze wounded his pride. Regardless, he had made a fool of himself, so he needed to pay up. Rolling his eyes, he quickly scanned the room and spotted his wallet in a corner.

    “Shoot, there’s only five thousand won in here.”

    He decided to give the five thousand won to Se-han as pocket money and would have to pay back the pork belly meal later. Nam-woon handed the money to Se-han, saying,


    “Thank you.”

    Se-han naturally reached out his hand and nodded, perhaps because Nam-woon had given him money the last time they met. But a stern voice stopped Se-han.

    “Kwon Se-han.”

    Seo-oh was looking at Se-han with a firm expression.

    “Who told you to take that money?”

    “Ah, um…”

    Se-han withdrew his hand and closed his mouth with a downcast face.

    “Play over there until the meal is ready.”

    Although Seo-oh’s tone was softer, Se-han retreated to a corner with a noticeably subdued face and posture.

    What’s with this atmosphere?

    Nam-woon, sensing the suddenly chilled air, checked Se-han’s face and then noticed a small plastic drawer in the back. Glancing at Seo-oh’s back as he moved towards the sink, Nam-woon cautiously approached Se-han.

    “What’s this?”

    Nam-woon pointed to a blue box sticking out from between the drawers, and Se-han, also wary of his brother’s reaction, opened the drawer Nam-woon was pointing to. The drawer had three compartments, and all the edges were broken.

    Se-han opened the bottom compartment of the colorful plastic drawer, took out a square box, and came to Nam-woon on his knees, whispering quietly,

    “Mister… let’s do this together.”

    “…What is it?”

    They both spoke in hushed voices. What Se-han brought was a puzzle. When Se-han turned the box upside down in front of Nam-woon, small pieces poured out.

    “You look at the picture here and match them.”

    “But they’re all blue?”


    “They all look the same?”

    “No, they’re different if you look here.”

    Se-han pointed to the corner of one piece.

    How am I supposed to match these?

    Nam-woon didn’t have a clue, but he wanted to indulge Se-han’s mood. He scratched his neck and picked up a small piece.

    Seo-oh turned his head to look at them once and then sighed, taking out a bowl.

    “That’s not where it goes.”

    “Oh, it’s not? Then where does it go?”

    Se-han took the puzzle piece from Nam-woon’s hand and placed it right on the puzzle board. It fit perfectly. Nam-woon muttered,

    “This is hard.”

    “This one is easy, though?”

    As Se-han placed another puzzle piece that Nam-woon had matched in the correct spot, he asked a question that was cruel yet innocent.

    “Why are you worse at this than a grade schooler, Mister Wooni?”

    “Even adults have something they are bad at.”

    “That’s true.”

    Seo-oh frowned upon hearing their conversation. Nam-woon’s response was quite something. While the two were focused on the puzzle, Seo-oh interrupted them.

    “Se-han, stop that and come wash up.”

    “Just a minute, I’ll finish this.”

    “Dinner’s almost ready. Hurry up.”


    Se-han, who had stretched his shirt to make a pocket and filled it with his share of puzzle pieces, suddenly stood up, and the pieces scattered across the floor.

    After Se-han went into the bathroom, Nam-woon gathered the scattered puzzle pieces with both hands. At that moment, Seo-oh threw something.


    It was a new toothbrush.

    “Go in after Se-han is done washing up.”


    Nam-woon obediently answered but headed straight for the bathroom instead.

    “That guy should go in after Se-han comes out.”

    Seo-oh’s hand, which had been adjusting the gas flame with a grimace, stopped abruptly at the sound coming from the bathroom.


    Se-han’s scream was followed by a burst of laughter filling the house. Whatever Nam-woon was doing in the bathroom, Se-han was screaming and laughing so hard that it seemed the house would lift off. Se-han’s cheerful voice continued without end.

    Seo-oh’s expression hardened as he listened to that sound. It had been a while since he heard Se-han laugh like that. He tried to make things fun in his own way, but living with just the two of them, he couldn’t always make Se-han happy. Sometimes he had to be strict, say things Se-han didn’t like, and even make him cry.

    Taking care of Se-han was Seo-oh’s responsibility, whether their father was there or not. Yet, even when it was just Se-han and Seo-oh, Seo-oh couldn’t take care of Se-han’s emotions, and Se-han became more and more concerned about his brother’s feelings.

    “Ah, stop it, please!”

    Seo-oh stood still, not even hearing the rattling sound of the pressure cooker. Suddenly, his mood sank.

    ‘Am I taking good care of Se-han?’

    Seo-oh suddenly remembered the time before their father disappeared. Se-han used to laugh like that back then too. Listening to his brother’s laughter, Seo-oh had doubts about himself and longed for the harmonious family they once had.

    The sound of the rice cooker grew louder. He just stood there motionless, lost in thought.

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