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He wasn't surprised when the letter arrived. Cheon had stopped by at the window counter the day before. He'd lingered after paying, the box dangling from his hand, until another customer had left.

'They're looking to close the case,' he'd said quietly, leaning in. 'It's been open longer then they'd like on their records already. Now they know the kidnapper's gone...' He shrugged and Jin Hyeok kept his face carefully neutral. 'They'll probably contact you soon, for one last statement.' With that he turned and left.

When he saw it on his door mat, he knew what it was at once.

---

Antique was closed that day but, when he swung by on the way, Seon Woo was there in the kitchen, his hands covered in flour and hair neatly tied back. Jin Hyeok waved through the glass in the window but turned to the glass display case rather than enter.

He selected several cakes from the day before, boxed them quickly and left before Seon Woo could clean up and come greet him. He wasn't sure he wanted to talk right then. Seeing another person did him good, though, and the familiarity of the bakery eased the knot in his stomach.

At the station, Leader Huh's eyes lit up as soon as he saw the cake box. The result was chaos as officers were sent for plates and spoons. Then sent off again to replace the spoons with forks and to bring tea. While Huh was distracted, he excused himself and ducked out of the room.

They were were questioning the boy in a room down the hall. He stood outside, but could only hear garbled noise from within. Instead he slipped outside, past the empty front desk. The officer manning it had followed the cake into the questioning room. There was a narrow gap between the building and the wall around the station. Crouching under the window he lit a cigarette.

The window was slightly open and he could hear the officers clearly, though he had to strain his ears to catch the boy's replies. The questions were familiar, they must have asked him the same ones time and again. Unlike him though, the boy was able to give them the answers they wanted.

'And what did you do together?' His ears pricked up, but the noise of a passing car droned out the boy's reply. He straightened up slightly so he was closer to the window.

'Not much, it was boring. The lady would come and play with me sometimes.'

'And the man?' He snuck a look in the window just in time to catch the boy's bored shrug. The kid was fed up. The terror of the kidnapping had been worn thin through the endless rounds of questioning. He could sympathise with that.

'Nothing really, he kept trying to get me to read these old books or paint a picture. Or eat cake.'

'That was it?'

'Um, sometimes he would act like I was his son. Like I should like stuff I didn't? um... I guess that's it?'

'Did,' The officer paused and looked down at the sheet of notes it his hand, then at the other officer. The other officer nodded slightly. 'did he hurt you? Or touch you?' Jin Hyeok held his breath.

'No?' The boy was confused by the question. 'Umm, he grabbed my arm once when I tried to run out of the room. That hurt. He ruffled my hair sometimes?'

He sunk back down below the window on onto the grass, heart racing. And that's it. That's what I wanted to know. It should have been a relief. It was, just not the cathartic world changing one he'd expected.

Something burnt his fingers and he swore and dropped the cigarette, shoving his burnt fingers into his mouth. The was an exclamation from inside the room and footsteps approached the window. He just managed to scramble over the wall before the officer leant out of the window. He landed heavily on his knees on the other side, wincing as he tried to brush the dirt off his trousers. At least the café's apron would hide it.

Sneaking back into the station wasn't hard. The officer on the desk was back, but a wave of the cigarette pack was sufficient explanation. The questions they asked him were formalities. They'd asked them before, and he answered them by rote. They didn't make many notes.

---

He detoured on the way back, stopping in front of the house where the kidnapper had lived. It had been sold a while ago. Several well polished cars were parked in the drive.

It should have felt like a huge weight off his shoulders, but it didn't. It wasn't that he doubted the kid's word. It could have been that his experience was different, but there was no kick of fear at the thought. It's over he told him self as he turned and started down the street. My life changed today . But it still didn't feel like it.

They never caught the guy. He felt some anger at that, but it was dull compared to how it used to be. There was no ache from a lack of resolution. He actually didn't care as much as he once had.

And that's it.

 

He stopped just short of the corner and turned to look back. From where he stood the house wasn't visible, just the posts of the gate.

It had been over months ago, he just hadn't noticed. Between the police investigation and his family's frantic fussing he'd spent so much time being treated like a victim he hadn't noticed when he'd stopped feeling like one.

It still didn't feel like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. After all, there hadn't been one there for a while. Still, the whole thing was too funny not to laugh. He was still smiling as he turned the corner, nearly bumping into a young man walking the other way. He probably left him very confused since he was grinning like an idiot while he apologised.

A bag dangled from the man's hands. It was from some fancy store nearby. Chocolates he thought and considered stopping by to get something. Maybe bring it back to Antique. Seon Woo should still be there preparing for tomorrow. But it seemed stupid to bring sweets to a cake shop. He considered buying meat instead, but Seon Woo would probably throw a fit if he put it in the fridge with all the cream and butter. He could almost hear the lecture on how easily butter takes on other flavours. He could take it home, but he didn't really feel like heading home yet. Now he'd thought of it, pestering Seon Woo seemed like an excellent idea.

In the end he didn't bother buying anything. After all it wasn't like there was anything new to celebrate.

---

Seon Woo was still in the kitchen. There were bowls piled up to be washed on one of the side counters and he could smell the morning's work cooling on the racks. He lifted a spoon out of one bowl and sniffed it. Oranges and vanilla, some kind of alcohol, probably a mousse.

'I suppose I have to wash this lot up?' He grumbled, but turned the taps on. Two bowls stacked inside each other followed the mousse bowl into the sink. One was plastered with sticky dough, the other was smaller and half full of flour. He pulled it out and set it aside before it could form a sludgy mess and block the sink. He remembered Seon Woo's flour covered hands from earlier. Brioche dough maybe. 'My day off and I'm still working.'

'Well, you're the one who's in charge of hiring. How long has it been now? Besides, you didn't have to come in.' Seon Woo smiled at him sweetly from across the room. 'Unless you missed me that much?'

'Hah.'

'I bet you were lonely, that big quiet house... Want some company?' Arms snuck round his neck from behind. Seon Woo was still carrying a whisk and a large drop of something, egg white probably, dripped from it and landed on his shirt.

'Argh, dammit.' Grabbing a dish rag, he span round and tried to flick Seon Woo with it. He just laughed, dodging back to the other side of the room,the rag barely catching his legs. 'Get back to work.'

There was silence for a while, and he could hear the sound of the whisk against the bowl.

'It really has been a while since you last interviewed anyone. I know you want me all to yourself but...' He span round and threatened him with the rag again and Seon Woo held up a hand in defence. 'but it really is a bit too much for just two people.'

'Soo Yeong'll wander back soon enough.' He mopped at the blob of egg white with the dish rag.

'And then you can spend the day sorting things out after him, as well as everything you do now. Though at least it won't be so quiet any more.'

'It's not that quiet. Besides, the last guy I interviewed turned out to be one of your flings. He took one look at you and burst into tears.' It had been quite a scene, since it had been just before opening time. Several customers had been waiting outside when the guy had run out of the doors. It hadn't been the first such mess either. He'd made several attempts at hiring and the results had been similar. He'd considered advertising on the other side of the city, but it was so much easier to just wait for Soo Yeong to show up again.

'I can't help it! And nothing's happened for ages.' The egg white had mostly gone, but the shirt would need washing. He looked down at the stains on his knees. Might as well do the whole lot. He turned back to the dishes. Behind him he could hear the gentle clink of a spoon against a bowl. The dirt on his knees had reminded him of the police station. For a few minutes he dithered, undecided on whether to say anything. But now that he'd started thinking about it he couldn't stop.

'I broke into the police station today,' he blurted into the quiet of the room.

'Weren't you going in for questioning anyway?'

'Well, technically I broke out of the station.'

'Oh, I see,' Seon Woo replied calmly.

'Shouldn't you be more surprised?'

'A suspicious person like you? No, not really.'

He didn't really know what kind of response he'd been expecting, but this wasn't it. He scowled at the wall for a minute, unsatisfied, then tried again.

'I heard the boy's questioning.'

'... wait, what?'

'Now you're shocked.' That was more like it. He turned and leant against the counter. Seon Woo was staring at him as he worked, an incredulous expression on his face.

'Isn't that a breach of privacy?' He shrugged and held his tongue, enjoying leaving him hanging. It worked. 'So what did you hear?'

'See, now you're interested.'

'So tell me!' Seon Woo demanded, as he looked down to add in another ingredient.

He hadn't really thought this far. There was a huge gap between wanting someone to acknowledge what he'd discovered, and stating the fears he'd had all these years. Hesitating, he put several of the bowls away as he tried to decide what to say. He could feel Seon Woo glance up at him from time-to-time.

'They just ate cake and put together jigsaws. Sounds like it was pretty boring.'

'Boring? What were you expecting?'

He shifted uncomfortably.'I don't know.' He was glad his back was towards him so he couldn't see his face . 'I just thought... well... never mind.' He wanted to kick himself for bringing it up at all then.

Behind him, Seon Woo sighed in exasperation and started whisking again. Jin Hyeok set about the next round of bowls. Slowly the whisking stopped, and in the quiet of the room he heard his soft exclamation.

'Oh.'

And that was it, someone else got it. They knew the unspoken fear that had hung over him and his mother for so long. Seon Woo got it. The atmosphere in the room hung tense, and he listened as Seon Woo finished preparing the cake and put it in the oven. He pretended not to notice the approaching footsteps.

A bottle was set down with a clink on the counter top next to him. Seon Woo's hand lingered on the top, pushing it slightly towards him. He wiped his hands dry on his trousers and picked it up to inspect the label.

Blinking, he inspected it again. Calvados; There was only a small amount left. Turning it to read the label, his eyes scanned the detailed listing of its heritage.

'Bloody hell! We have this? Since when?'

'About a month ago.' He remembers it then, an apple and pear tart. They ran it for two weeks.

'But this costs a fortune.'

'Good cake requires good ingredients.'

'You waste something like this on cake!' he exclaimed, setting the bottle down and looking for some glasses. There were only plain tumblers in the kitchen. Eventually he found some of the wine glasses they used to serve customers water.

He handed them to Seon Woo and began struggling with the cork. 'How the hell did you get this back in this tight? Ow.' He put the bottle down and began searching for a corkscrew.

'Practice.' The tone of Seon Woo's voice told him he was missing some innuendo, but he ignored it in favour of digging around in a drawer. 'These are the wrong kind of glasses.'

'They'll have to do.' He found a corkscrew at the back and dug it out.

'Aren't you supposed to be a perfectionist?' A beeping sound started and Seon Woo put the glasses down and headed over to open the oven. He peered inside for a moment before pulling on oven gloves to move the cake to the cooling racks.

'Only for customers and hotties.' The bottle finally relinquished its hold on the cork and he carefully poured some of the brandy into each glass.

'I'm not a hottie?' Seon Woo pouted, leaning on the counter towards him, hands brushing his as he took the glass Jin Hyeok offered him.

'Hmm, let me check.' He leaned forwards, raising one hand towards his face. Seon Woo's eyes drifted closed.

Jin Hyeok flicked him on the nose.

'Oww! What was that for?'

'Being an idiot. Yuck, I think I just managed to put my finger up your nose.'

'What!'

'Hold on, is this your snot?' He pretended to inspect the finger closely, then waved it in Seon Woo's face.

The baker backed away, trying to fend him off. 'That's disgusting. Go wash your hands, we're in a kitchen.'

'I thought you wanted to get closer to me?' He taunted, lunging forwards. 'Here, let me caress your face tenderly!'.

Seon Woo tried to push him away, but only succeeded in putting him off balance. He tried to grab the counter for support, but with Seon Woo in the way he only succeeded in bumping several of the bowls there. In horror he watched as one knocked one of the glasses and it fell with them.

He opened his eyes, having instinctively closed them as they fell. The glass was shattered next to them. Its expensive contents were dribbling over the floor and being steadily soaked up by the cuff of his trousers. Something else dripped on to his shoulder, and he looked at Seon Woo who had landed against him.

Seon Woo stared back at him, a gloopy mess slowly dripping from his hair and onto his white overalls. Next to him Jin Hyeok recognised the bowl full of flour and washing up water from earlier. Only now it was significantly emptier.

'Whoops.'

Wincing, Seon Woo slowly pulled the band from his hair, trying to avoid working in the mess any further.

'Maybe we don't need Soo Yeong after all. Looks like we've managed fine here.' They looked at the surrounding carnage. Jin Hyeok reached up and picked up the surviving glass of brandy. He sipped it and handed the rest to Soo Yeong.

Standing up, he sighed. 'I'll clear up here. Go take a shower, you can use the one in the kid's room.' Nodding, the other stood and headed upstairs.

---

By the time he had finished clearing up, he was more than ready for a shower himself. Heading upstairs he sat at the low table and waited, listening to the sounds of running water. The room hadn't changed much since Ki Beom had left; most of his stuff was still there. He had threatened to turn it into storage, but every time he'd thought about dumping something there he'd hesitated. It was still the kid's room, and anything put there would be in the way once he came back.

He was sure he *would* be back, sooner or later. After all, Seon Woo was his master, and the kid adored him. Soo Yeong would come back too, because he always did, and Antique would be back to its old noisy self.

Then he could avoid hiring anyone else, at least for a bit longer. It could go on being how it always had been. Because that was what he wanted, didn't he?

The sounds of water stopped and shortly afterwards Seon Woo emerged, wet hair dripping onto the towel around his neck. He dumped the bundle he was carrying, his overalls Jin Hyeok realised, on the floor and sat down beside him at the table. The half drunk glass of brandy was still on the table. They took turns sipping it, as Seon Woo worked the knots out of his hair.

'It really is too quiet.' Seon Woo broke the silence. Jin Hyeok looked over to see him staring at the punch bag. There was a fine layer of dust on the top of it, evidence that it hadn't been used in a while.

'They'll be back, both of them.' Seon Woo made a small noise of agreement, picking up the glass and inspecting the pattern on the side. 'You miss them?'

'It's not the same. I miss being surrounded by beautiful men.'

'Hey! I'm not enough for you?' He exclaimed, feigning indignation. Seon Woo smiled sweetly and leant in.

'One doesn't count as being surrounded.' Jin Hyeok elbowed him gently and he leaned back. 'Maybe I should go visit Ki Beom. It'd be nice to see France again.' He eyed the baker carefully.

'It'd mean seeing that French bastard again.' The thought made him tense, but Seon Woo just shrugged.

'I'm sure Ki Beom will keep me safe.'

'Are you seriously thinking about going?' he asked.

Seon Woo looked up to the ceiling, thinking. 'I'm not sure. Maybe? It's been a while since I've been back.'

'I wouldn't mind seeing Paris.' Seon Woo turned to him, and Jin Hyeok could see a hopeful expression on his face.

'Really?'

'Well. Someone's got to keep an eye on you. I can't have you running off with some French pretty boy. I'll just have to make sure you have eyes for no one else.' He started calculating ticket prices. It should be fine. It wasn't like he could keep the shop running without a chef anyway. Soo Yeong might be interested too, though he winced at the idea of the man on a plane for an extended length of time.

'Promises, promises. You still owe me from last time.'

He rolled his eyes at him. 'Still? I said what if. What if! It wasn't an offer.'

'And this time?' Seon Woo was leaning in close to him, not that he didn't do that on a regular basis anyway. But this time there was a genuine question in his eyes rather than the normal playful gleam. Jin Hyeok shifted uncomfortably under the scrutiny.

Somewhere along the line he'd assumed Seon Woo's attraction to him had faded into friendship and playful flirting. It had been a long time since he'd been confronted with a genuine question, and a lot had changed since then. Seon Woo seemed to pick up on his nervousness, because he leaned back and his tone became jovial again. 'Well, if you want to keep my attention, there's a new underwear line out by...' But there was something in his manner, failing to quite look at him, that confirmed it had been a genuine question.

It seemed to Jin Hyeok that the least he could do was give him an honest answer. Which should have been easy.

It wasn't. All he had to do was open his mouth and say he really wasn't interested. Yet he was reluctant to do so. It seemed a bit too much like burning a bridge he might need later.

'Or, there's a pair of shoes you could buy me, by...' Seon Woo was still talking when Jin Hyeok's tug on his hair interrupted him, pulling him forward. 'Hey, what was...' And then Jin Hyeok kissed him.

It was a brief kiss. His lips were closed and, while Seon Woo's were slightly parted from being interrupted mid sentence, he was too surprised to push further before Jin Hyeok pulled back.

'What?' Seon Woo asked shakily. Jin Hyeok shrugged, licking his lower lip. The taste of brandy lingered on it slightly.

'It was cheaper than shoes.' It wasn't the real reason, though he wasn't entirely sure what the real reason was. Seon Woo stared at him, dumbfounded for several minutes, before his surprise slowly melted into a mischievous smirk. He settled his chin onto his hands.

'So, how was it?'

'What? Do you always ask people that?'

'This is your first time kissing a guy, right? So how was it?'

It had felt good. There had been none of the fearful tension of so many of his other kisses. No wondering if he was doing it right. No worrying she would turn around and reject him, as he already knew Seon Woo wanted him. Something twitched unexpectedly in his groin, like his mind hadn't expected to feel anything, but his body had. Seon Woo was still watching him closely, and Jin Hyeok could see an undercurrent of nervousness behind his normal easy confidence.

'You taste like brandy.'

'.. that's it?' Seon Woo's face fell.

'What did you expect?' What had he himself expected? To feel dirty perhaps. He shifted slightly, edging further under the table, aware that he was slowly growing hard. He would have expected that to make him feel ashamed. Instead it just felt good.

'I'm just surprised. A kiss from the guy who flinched away from me in that car. Even when you offered yourself to me.'

'I did not!' He didn't trust his expression any more, and tried to hide by taking another sip of brandy. When he raised the glass it was empty. He looked at in annoyance, remembering that he'd left the bottle downstairs.

'So what changed?' Seon Woo asked. He paused and looked between him and the glass. 'You're not drunk, are you? You've gone red.'

'What! Hell no, I've had half a glass.' He leant back. 'The old man was just a crazy old man who lost his son.'

'Just? He's a murderer.'

'I know! I know, that's not what I meant.' He lay back on the floor and stared at the ceiling. 'It's just, for a long time I thought...' Seon Woo shifted so he was laying on his stomach next to him. Propped up on his elbows so he could still see Jin Hyeok's face.

'I get it. And today you found out that he didn't.'

'No, I think I'd known for a while.' He reached out and shoved Seon Woo's shoulder gently. 'Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to put up with your groping. I just hadn't thought about it for a long time.'

'So does that mean I can grope you whenever I want?' Some of Seon Woo's hair was brushing his shoulder. He was so close now that he could smell both the brandy and the shampoo. He reached up to tug on one of the strands. Seon Woo took that as an invitation. Moving so he was straddling him. As he did, one of his knees brushed the fabric of Jin Hyeok's trousers, pulling them tighter against his groin. Jin Hyeok inhaled sharply and the grin on Seon Woo's face indicated that it may not have been an accident.

He tightened his grip on his hair, pulling harder that he'd meant to, though Seon Woo didn't complain. Instead he leant down to kiss him. This kiss was far more demanding, since neither of them was surprised. Their mouths were already open when they touched, and Seon Woo's tongue darted out to lick along the line where their lower lips met. Slowly he lowered his weight down until he was lying on top of him. Jin Hyeok's hands were free. He cupped the back of Seon Woo's head briefly, before raking his fingers through his hair, scratching his scalp.

He could feel Seon Woo's shiver along the whole length of his body, so he did it again. The kiss paused, mouths still touching, as Seon Woo gasped. When he breathed out, his hot breath turned cool against the dampness on Jin Hyeoks lips.

He tucked a few disarrayed strands of hair behind Seon Woo's ears, thumbs lingering to stroke his cheek bones before his hands moved to tug at buttons of his shirt. 'So, are we doing this in our clothes?'

Seon Woo pulled back, his slightly dazed expression turning to an eager smile as he realised Jin Hyeok meant it. His quick fingers seemed to fly over the buttons of Jin Hyeok's shirt. Jin Hyeok couldn't keep up, his fingers don't want to cooperate and he wasn't sure if they were shaking from nervousness or excitement. He was only halfway through the buttons when Seon Woo sat back and pulled the shirt off over his head.

When he re-emerged, his hair was in messy strands, still damp from the shower, and stuck to his skin. His glasses were askew, and he reached up to correct them. Jin Hyeok watched his hands as they lowered towards where he was straddling Jin Hyeok's thighs, unfastened his own fly then his.

His fingers slid under the waistband of Jin Hyeok's trousers, and Jin Hyeok felt them running briefly over his stomach before they slipped under the elastic of his boxers. He lifted his hips off the floor so that Seon Woo could slide his trousers off. Then he was laying there naked. Seon Woo was standing at his feet, holding his underwear, his own trousers barely staying up as they hung off his hips. Where they had slipped down, he could just see the tip of his erection under his designer underwear. Above it was the bare skin of Seon Woo's stomach and chest.

It was incredibly hard to look away, and he could feel Seon Woo's eyes running over him in the same way. 'Do you have any idea how long I've wanted to get you in this position?'

The tension broke and Jin Hyeok laughed. He sat up and grabbed the fabric of Seon Woo's trousers, pulling him towards him, 'Get back down here.' They slid down his legs, taking his underwear with them. Jin Hyeok got a brief glimpse of his cock as he stumbled forwards, landing back on top of him. Seon Woo struggled out of his trousers, and Jin Hyeok leant back enjoying the friction of the movement against him.

Finally, Seon Woo kicked them free and settled down against him. He could feel Seon Woo's cock pressed against his belly, the warmth of his skin against his own, and the pleasurable weight of the other against his chest as he breathed. One of Seon Woo's thighs rested between his legs, providing a gentle friction against his own cock.

Seon Woo began to move, gently rubbing them against each other. He leaned his head back, closing his eyes and for a moment thought of nothing but rocking back into the motion. His hands found Seon Woo's hair, and slid through it. Seon Woo pushed against his fingers and he pulled him down towards his exposed neck. Lips brush against his collar bone and the baker's hair, still slightly damp, was cool against Jin Hyeok's skin. From this angle he could reach right to the back of his head and he ran his hands up the length of Seon Woo's neck, feeling the change from soft skin to smooth hair.

At some point Seon Woo's glasses must have fallen of because he could feel them pressed between them. He managed to focus just enough to shift one arm and drag them out before they were crushed. Seon Woo took advantage of the movement to shift up slightly. He bit down gently on Jin Hyeok's ear, and Jin Hyeok closed his eyes. Seon Woo's hair fanned out across his face and its scent filled his nose as he came.

As the the world came back into focus, he brushed the strands from his face. Seon Woo's movements had become smaller and more frantic, his face pressed into Jin Hyeok's shoulder. Jin Hyeok reached his arms around him, one hand cupping the back of his head. The other ran down his spine, then lingered on the small of his back, massaging gently. Seon Woo moaned gently, pushing closer into his shoulder. Jin Hyeok could feel the slide of liquid against his stomach and Seon Woo's movements slowly stilled. He relaxed, enjoying the feeling of Seon Woo's breath against his neck.

It would have been so easy to stay like that, except he was vaguely aware of being sticky. It was getting colder now that they weren't moving, and the floor was hard under them. He ruffled Seon Woo's hair gently and looked up. His was flushed and sweaty. It reminded Jin Hyeok of how he looked when he'd been dancing in the club. Seon Woo smiled at him, then went to lay down again. Jin Hyeok shoved him more firmly and scrambled out from under him.

'Get off, I need a shower.' He grabbed the towel that Seon Woo had been using earlier and walked into the bathroom. He locked the door behind him and leant against it, smiling as Seon Woo tried the door, then pounded on it.

'Hey, let me in. I need a shower too!'

'Nope, you've had one. This is the shop's hot water, can't afford to waste money.'

'What, Jin Hyeok!'

He bent over the sink to splash some water on his face and caught sight of his reflection in the mirror. It was still the same old face. There was no magic glow, he just looked sweaty and flushed. But he was relaxed in a way he hadn't felt in a long time. The pounding on the door continued and he gave himself a quick smile before he turned to open it.

Nothing had changed, it had just settled into place.