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    Standing in front of the office building, Seo-oh looked down at the shopping bag in his hand.

    A baseball player puzzle.

    He remembered Nam-woon, who once played with Se-han while putting together a puzzle. And the voice that playfully answered,

    “Even adults have something they are bad at.”

    Then, other images of Seok Nam-woon came to mind. The one that came to mind the most was the image of him covered in blood, collapsed on the asphalt.

    Let’s stop thinking about it.

    Seo-oh tried to erase Nam-woon’s face, which had dominated his thoughts for days, and looked up. The office windows were dark, suggesting everyone had left for the day. Nam-woon was probably resting at home by now. It would be fine to just leave it at the door. Seo-oh climbed the stairs.

    Creak.

    The office interior was pitch dark, as all the lights were off. It seemed like no one was here but the door wasn’t locked. A few steps inside, he saw a figure huddled on the sofa. A man’s feet were sticking out from under a blanket. After a moment’s hesitation, Seo-oh quietly approached the sofa.

    “.…..”

    The man lying on his side with a thin gauze on his forehead was sleeping deeply. The gauze was soaked with blood, as if the wound hadn’t been properly disinfected. His complexion seemed a bit better than at the hospital, but he still didn’t look healthy. The blanket covering him was very thin and too small to cover his long body.

    It was pitiful to see him sleeping like this. It was unclear why he would choose to sleep in a stuffy office rather than in the comfort of his own home.

    But this gave Seo-oh a chance to check on something that had been bothering him. He bent over close to Nam-woon’s face to examine the wound on his forehead.

    Just before his fingers touched Nam-woon’s hair, Seo-oh suddenly stopped.

    Have I ever seen Nam-woon’s face this close?’

    He was usually cold-looking but had playful eyes when he smiled, a straight nose, and slightly parted lips. Seo-oh could understand why President Park had wanted to contact him separately. The man did look quite decent up close.

    But contrary to his thoughts, Seo-oh blurted out,

    “You look like a fool.”

    Without touching him, Seo-oh straightened up again. The wound would heal on its own, why should he bother checking on this man’s injury? He tossed the shopping bag onto the table in front of the sofa and turned to leave.

    Thud.

    But then he stumbled over a heavy object. Seo-oh bent down to pick it up.

    It was an axe.

    Seo-oh’s brow furrowed. It was like showing everyone that it was a gangster’s office. Leaving such an item on the floor could cause Nam-woon to trip and fall when he woke up, especially since he was already injured. Seo-oh turned to place the axe on the table.

    That’s when their eyes met in the darkness.

    “.…..”

    “.…..”

    Nam-woon was wide-eyed, looking at Seo-oh. He must have woken up from the sound of Seo-oh bumping into the axe. Nam-woon blinked and slowly sat up. Then, wrapping the old blanket around himself as if it were a shield, he curled up and said,

    “…Who are you?”

    “.…..”

    It must have been too dark for him to see Seo-oh’s face. As Seo-oh pondered how to explain, Nam-woon spoke again.

    “Please, spare me.”

    “.…..”

    “If you spare me, I’ll do anything you ask.”

    Seo-oh couldn’t believe it. Was this guy crazy? What made him think he could say such things to a stranger? Seo-oh chuckled and replied,

    “You’ll do anything I ask?”

    “…Yes.”

    “Then take it off.”

    “Huh?”

    Nam-woon’s eyes widened. Seo-oh, holding the axe, said quietly,

    “Take it off.”

    “Take, take it off?”

    Who is this, some kind of pervert?

    Nam-woon’s pupils shook. He swallowed hard, then cautiously observed the intruder. Even just by his silhouette, he could tell the figure was large and tall. Moreover, the other person was holding an axe, and he was injured. It was a disadvantageous situation for him.

    He had no choice.

    First, he would comply with the intruder’s demands to get through the crisis, then look for a chance to call Yong-deuk for help. Nam-woon believed Yong-deuk would be faster than the police. With a determined expression, Nam-woon reached for the top of his shirt.

    Click.

    Even in the dark, he could see the intruder flinched slightly as he unbuttoned his shirt one by one. This guy is completely insane.

    Click, click.

    Nam-woon paused his hand halfway down his shirt and asked in a trembling voice,

    “But do I have to take off my pants too?”

    “.…..”

    After being silent for a moment, the stranger said

    “Do you feel confident?”

    The man’s voice asking that seemed familiar to Nam-woon, but he was too overwhelmed with fear to pay attention to such things. Nam-woon murmured in a small voice like an ant crawling,

    “It’s not that I’m not confident, but it’s not like I can just take off my pants in front of someone I’ve never met.”

    “What are you saying?”

    Perhaps because Nam-woon’s voice was too soft, the stranger let out an annoyed voice and threw the axe to the ground.

    Thunk, clang.

    Then he started to approach slowly.

    He seems really excited.

    As Nam-woon, terrified, jerked in panic on the sofa, the white shirt hanging over his shoulder slipped down his arm. Nam-woon’s shoulders were revealed, and the stranger reached out his hand.

    “Uh, wait a minute…!”

    Before he had time to escape, the stranger approached him and began to gently touch his shoulder. Unfortunately, it was the area where he had been hit by Chairman Seok. As a sharp pain surged, Nam-woon panicked, tightly closed his eyes, and cried out.

    “I-I have a wife and son! Please don’t do this!”

    The stranger stopped his hand, surprised by those words. Nam-woon continued speaking. With his eyes closed,

    “I have a wife and son waiting for me at home!

    “…Really?”

    “Yes? Yes. My son is in elementary school and he’s good at puzzles and baseball.

    It was a hasty story he made up because he was afraid. Nam-woon thought that if he mentioned he had a family, maybe the guy with some conscience would stop. It seemed to have an effect judging by the response. The only face that came to Nam-woon’s mind right now was Se-han’s. Naturally, the face of another person also came to mind.

    “And, uh, my wife is pretty, but she curses a lot.”

    “Fuck.”

    Yeah, she’s really good at cursing like that. wait what’s?

    Nam-woon, hearing the very familiar tone, slowly opened one eye that he had been squinting. Recognizing the man’s face, Nam-woon’s eyes widened as he pointed his finger.

    “What! Why are you here, huh?”

    “Who were you talking about earlier?”

    “What are you talking about?”

    Nam-woon deflected, looking down. Now he had to be more cautious of the man in front of him than the unknown assailant. If he got caught, it would be another mess. There was even an axe on the table.

    Seo-oh growled with a suppressed voice at a certain word.

    “That thing earlier, with Se-han… It wasn’t about me, was it?”

    “Haha, you’re something else. It’s my forehead that’s hurt, not like I’ve been shot in the head.”

    “.…..”

    “You don’t have to be shot in the head to say such nonsense.”

    That guy… as expected, is sharp. To improvise, I could even make Seo-oh out to be my wife.

    “Then who were you talking about?”

    It seemed too obvious for it to just be a made-up story about Se-han’s characteristics. After a moment of contemplation, Nam-woon chose to answer half truthfully and half falsely. All this was a choice for his own survival.

    “The part about the son is true, it’s about Se-han, but the wife part is about someone else, not you.”

    “So if it’s not me, then who is it?”

    “Would you know if I told you? Why are you asking anyway?”

    Nam-woon added nonchalantly.

    “It’s not like you’re curious.”

    Seo-oh was about to say something but didn’t reply to Nam-woon’s words. Then, without removing his hand from Nam-woon’s shoulder, he spoke in a low voice.

    “But you take off your clothes in front of people you don’t know?

    “What… sometimes.”

    He was in danger of being killed by an axe so taking off his shirt was nothing. Seo-oh let out a low sigh and then threw out a nonsensical remark.

    “Seems like you’re used to taking off your clothes?”

    “Of course. It’s a daily routine to put on and take off clothes, how could I not be used to it?”

    At that, Seo-oh’s expression tightened.

    Nam-woon was dumbfounded. It’s natural for people to change clothes, so why did he have to make a good reason? Wasn’t it all because Seo-oh had sneaked into the office at night, wielding an axe?

    Even though all misunderstandings should have been cleared up, Kwon Seo-oh still stood still in front of Nam-woon. Then he bent down and placed his hand back on Nam-woon’s injured shoulder. His fingers gently touching the wound felt ticklish. Nam-woon, flustered, pulled back.

    “Why have you been doing this since earlier?”

    “Gauze.”

    “Gauze?”

    “There was cotton and gauze attached here, why did you remove it?”

    “Oh. It was too uncomfortable to sleep with.”

    “And the bandage?”

    “That was also hot and uncomfortable.”

    Seo-oh sighed at Nam-woon’s explanation as he fumbled with his forehead. Nam-woon slowly lifted the shirt that had slipped down his arm as soon as Seo-oh moved away.

    Come to think of it, I heard that Seo-oh took me to the hospital when I collapsed. I don’t remember well, but I vaguely recall a broad, swaying back. Nam-woon scratched one eyebrow and spoke.

    “You were the one who took me to the hospital, right?”

    “.…..”

    “Thanks.”

    Seo-oh chuckled sarcastically and said,

    “Hyung, you have a lot of things to be thankful and sorry for.”

    “Well…”

    It was true, so there wasn’t much to say. Then Kwon Seo-oh looked down at him with a blank expression.

    “I’m neither thankful nor sorry for you, Hyung.”

    “That’s not surprising. I know.”

    After hesitating for a moment, Kwon Seo-oh turned as if to leave.

    What is he doing here at this hour? Looking for trouble?

    Nam-woon, bewildered, buttoned up his shirt and lay back on the sofa. Suddenly, something flew into his abdomen. He sat up to check and found a shopping bag containing the puzzle he had bought. Nam-woon was delighted and asked Seo-oh.

    “Oh? Where did you find this? I thought I lost it.”

    Seo-oh didn’t answer Nam-woon’s question and instead said something out of the blue.

    “You said you’d do everything I told you to, right?”

    “That was…”

    When you were an intruder, As his words trailed off, Seo-oh suddenly said,

    “Pack your things.”

    Nam-woon looked at Seo-oh’s face in confusion, and he spoke again.

    “Pack your things and let’s go.”

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