When KJ descended from the stage, he was surrounded by hundreds of people. The first ones to reach out to him were Dasom and Hyun Jung.
"You did it!" Dasom roared as he gave KJ a large hug. He was holding him so tightly that KJ almost choked.
"Dasom, you're hurting me!" he wheezed. Dasom let him go and laughed loudly while Hyun Jung whacked the back of KJ's head.
"You sly dog!" he exclaimed. "I can't believe your trick worked!"
KJ was about to respond but some of his fans had gathered around to congratulate him. They wanted to take pictures and made him sign autographs. Even though he was overwhelmed by their enthusiasm, after a while, he was beginning to tire of it. His eyes were searching for Mirae who was standing at a corner, trying to hide her tears as she happily waved at him.
He was about to walk towards her but his security team came up and chased the crowd away, making way for KJ to walk through. He tried to glance at Mirae who assured him to follow the guards. KJ wanted to protest but there was so much crowd around him that he had little choice and was led back to his vanity room by the guards.
"Sir, for your safety, you have to stay here until the show ends," one of the guards said.
"What happened out there?" KJ asked. "Was there any assailant?"
The guard quickly briefed him on what had happened and how the hitman was caught. KJ listened to it intently and was not surprised at all. He had counted on his fans and they did not disappoint him at all.
"What about 7A?"
"All of them left as soon as your performance ended," the guard said. "But the CEO told us to take all the CCTV footage and trace their movements. If the hitman confesses, we can nab them. Also, we managed to unearth all the secret fan passages of this building. Moreover, the fansites have agreed to aid us in our upcoming security details as well. They will provide the secret areas of all the major studios and stadiums of the city. It will help us protect you even better."
The guard was truly feeling guilty. Had it not been for the fans, their whole planning would have failed. KJ sensed his guilt.
"Don't feel bad," KJ reassured him. "Your team did the best they could. I'm truly grateful for your help."
The guard was astonished at his humble words. He bowed and said, "We will protect you and our CEO with our lives!"
"Can you also summon the fans who have aided you," KJ requested. "I want to personally thank them."
"Yes sir!" the guard agreed. He went outside to carry out his orders. Within a few minutes, Sua and Mina's teams were called into KJ's room.
As soon as they entered, they squealed in delight to see their idol in person. KJ stood there, smiling at them.
"Oppa!" Sua breathed. She could not even believe it. Her KJ oppa was standing in front of her. The others were equally flabbergasted. He was even more handsome up close. Some of them had to pinch themselves to ensure it was all real.
"I want to thank all of you," KJ said. "I relied on my fans tonight to protect me. I knew that all of you will never let anyone harm me. So thank you for keeping my faith."
"Oppa, we will protect you with our lives!" Jinri piped up at once. "After all, your words and music changed our lives! How could we let that asshole harm you?"
"We would fight any battle for you oppa!" Mina claimed proudly. "We've been with EXOTIC for many years and you always lit up our lives whenever we needed hope. So it was nothing really."
"We'd be glad to help you more!" Sua said. "After all, you're our precious person."
The other fans murmured in agreement. KJ was touched by their enthusiasm.
"As a small token of gratitude," he said. "I would like to personally invite all of you for Mystic Entertainment's trainee program. If any of you have aspirations to be idols, I'll open up our scholarship programs for you. You'll be trained, free of cost and will debut as soon as you will be ready."
The fans exclaimed loudly in happiness. Many of them only dreamed to be idols but were almost always disheartened. And now the country's biggest idol was offering them their dream job.
"And those of you who are not interested in being idols," KJ went on. "Will receive my personal recommendation for any college you'd like to join. I'll make sure you guys will get good jobs after you graduate."
"Oppa" Sua whispered. She was overjoyed. Her parents always berated her love for her idol and complained that she would never get into a good college. But her love for her idol was now ensuring her a good future.
"Oppa, can we all take selfies with you too?" Jinri chimed in.
"Of course!" KJ replied. All the fans began to gather around him for a long selfie session. Everyone wanted to take personal photos with him as well. Even though it was exhausting, KJ did not mind. He owed his life to them so shedding a little sweat for this task was nothing.
Sometime during the selfie session, Mirae came to stand at the door. She was smiling as she saw her husband smiling widely with his fans. He was alive and safe all thanks to his fans. Words could not describe the feelings of gratitude she felt towards them. They had given the biggest gift of her life to her by protecting KJ. They were now her family as well.
It was a while before the fans dispersed. Mirae hid behind the wall as they came out, chattering excitedly. KJ slumped on his couch, exhausted by the day's events. The sound of the door closing caused him to look up. Mirae entered the room, looking relieved.
Her warm eyes full of love were enough to remove his tiredness. Without a word, he got up and pulled her into a tight embrace. They did not say anything for a while but stood there, holding each other.
It was as if time had stopped for them. She was holding on to him, listening to his heartbeat.
"I thought I would lose you today," she said softly. She looked up to face him. "You did well today."
"I think I have a new fan," KJ teased. "My wife!"
Mirae stuck out her tongue. "You were okay, I guess," she teased back.
"I was the best," he proclaimed proudly. "And you were totally into me."
"Pft! How do you know? You were more focused on those girls than on me!"
"Do I smell jealousy?" KJ smiled.
"Jealous?" Mirae scoffed in a joking manner. "You looked as if you would have hooked up with any of them had I not been around."
"Ahh...that's what my wife thinks?" KJ remarked. "For your kind information, I've never hooked up with a fan. But"
He pulled her closer, grinding their bodies together. "There's always a first time for everything."
"The guards are outside," Mirae whispered. "They'll hear us."
"Then let's go somewhere where they won't hear us," KJ grinned mischievously. Puzzled by his suggestion, he took her hand and pulled her outside.