five metres away from hell

all we need of hell

"are you ever going to take that jacket off?"

 

it's a question that's been sitting at the back of her head for a while now, and joohyun always assumed that seungwan has some demon magic to keep her clothes clean. but the chocolate ice cream stain from last week that has clearly made itself comfortable on her leather jacket proves her otherwise. at this point, that jacket feels more like a second skin than anything and joohyun can't think of a moment where she's seen the devil's bare arms.

 

"why?" seungwan asks while she floats with her hands tucked behind her head. 

 

"the chocolate stain is still there and it's gross, take it off."

 

she looks down at her jacket, searching for the stain that joohyun is fussing over. she spots it at the lower end with a little difficulty, the faint brown marks are barely noticeable. thumbing the stains lightly, seungwan hopes it would come off, but it doesn't. well, it's not a big deal, and it's not hindering her in any way, so there's no harm in leaving it. "it doesn't bother me." seungwan decides with a nonchalant raise of her shoulders.

 

joohyun scrunches her face in disgust, she's not even going to try to use magic to clean it? one way or another, she's getting that jacket off.

 

"it bothers me!" joohyun exclaims, "hand it over!" 

 

she jumps in an attempt to pull seungwan down but the devil dodges her grubby hands with ease. cackling loudly, she floats a little higher to avoid being in joohyun's reach entirely. she sticks her tongue out and mocks her charge, "you're too short to reach me."

 

stupid demon. if looks could kill, joohyun has just murdered her a hundred times over. folding her arms across her chest, she stands under the demon with a deadly glare.

 

"yah! i'm offering to wash it for you!"

 

"you're going to ruin it," seungwan whines and pulls her jacket tighter around her body, "it's not any kind of leather! you can't even get it in hell anymore!"

 

joohyun clicks her teeth sharply, "i'm not, now come down and take it off."

 

"it's perfectly fine," she tries to downplay it, "it's just a little stain." she doesn't know why the mortal is making such a big fuss over a tiny stain. it's a brown stain on a black jacket, and she only shows herself to joohyun and sooyoung, there's literally no way anyone else could see it.

 

"when was the last time you washed it?" she demands.

 

seungwan casts her eyes skyward as she ponders but she comes up blank. when was the last time she washed it? "i dunno, it's been a while." she mumbles.

 

"you're so nasty... take it off before i wish it off."

 

seungwan presses her lips into a thin line and lowers herself to the ground. the faintest hint of a smile appears before it transforms into a wicked grin. dropping her voice by a pitch, she leans in to whisper into joohyun's ear. "demanding, i like it," the devil mutters with a sultry tone, "if you wanted my clothes off you should just wish for it, i'll gladly grant it."

 

SMACK!

 

a hand collides with her jaw and leaves a sharp burst of pain against her flesh, the devil stumbles back in surprise as she stares at the mortal in shock. unexpected? yes. unwelcomed? no. this turned out better than she could've ever imagined. she should've known joohyun would react like this after the pepper spray incident, oh well, all the better to be caught off guard. cradling her cheek, she rubs the ache away while faking a small pout.

 

"take off your stupid jacket."

 

"okay..."

 

sliding her arms out of the sleeves, seungwan pries her beloved jacket off and hands it to joohyun. the cool air feels nice against her bare skin but what's even nicer is her charge shamelessly gawking at her. oh, joohyun is going to regret griping about the stain on her jacket.

 

seungwan's mouth is twisted in a smug smile, "and you slapped me? not that i mind but, you know, you could be a little discreet with the staring."

 

snatching the jacket from her hands, the heat rushes to her face and she swivels to avoid the demon. joohyun quickly busies herself with the task at hand — getting the stain off seungwan's jacket, not ogle at the demon's incredibly lean and impressively tattooed arms.

 


 

seungwan dries her jacket with magic once joohyun is done ridding it of all the revolting food stains that have accumulated over however many years, but she doesn't put it back on. instead, she sits across joohyun at the dining table and watches her charge struggle to concentrate on her work. the mortal doesn't even need to look up to know that seungwan is watching her with a cocky smirk on her face, the vivid image is seared into her mind from how constant she sees it. it's hard to focus on her work when the devil is trying to flex her muscles every time she shifts. she gives up on her essay after seungwan crosses her arms over her chest for the third time in five minutes.

 

pushing her laptop away, joohyun asks with a tired sigh. "what do you want?" 

 

"nothing." the devil lies with a shrug, "i just feel weird without my jacket."

 

"then put it back on, i'm busy." joohyun scolds.

 

"busy staring at... these?" seungwan clears and stretches her arms, tensing them ever so slightly. 

 

steepling her fingers, joohyun exhales slowly and eyes her demonic nuisance with a half-lidded gaze. she may be annoying, and she may only own one outfit, but under that grunge sleeveless t-shirt lies a potential set of well-toned abs that she kinda wants to see.

 

, she's definitely going to hell. 

 

there's no way god is real, or at least she'll never pray to the guy — why would he let her be tormented like this? it, seungwan is already being annoying about it, what's the harm in taking a better look?

 

she traces her gaze over the art inked into her skin, taking them in with a deliberately slow pace. tattoos cover every inch of her right arm while her left remains empty. most of them are fine lined and medium-sized with a few small ones slotted in between the gaps. she spots a small snake winding around her forearm, a skull with a dagger pierced through it's eye socket just a little above it, and a little janky line art of a red dog that looks out of place.

 

but the most eyecatching one lies on her upper arm. a portrait of a woman, with hands clasped together and her chin tilted upwards. she's surrounded by beautiful red spider lillies that trail all the way from seungwan's shoulder to elbow. if joohyun hadn't taken the time to look at it carefully, she would've assumed it's the same as the mural in the devil's office. the only difference being the lack of horns and wings, and this woman has long black hair instead of blonde.

 

"who is that?" joohyun points at her arm with a curious tilt of her head.

 

a small smile tugs at her lips, and the devil opens to speak. but something stirs in her chest, an ache that reminds her of heartbreak from a lifetime ago. a name hangs at the tip of her tongue but seungwan decides against saying it, her past should be left as a memory to be kept to herself. 

 

"someone important." the devil replies, her tone soft and reverent.

 

it's unusual for seungwan to be this quiet, usually she babbles a lot more about pointless things that joohyun never asked about. something about her tone is forlorn and she holds back on probing. so the mortal accepts her answer with a soft hum, "what about your left arm?"

 

raising her left arm, seungwan turns and scans her skin before shaking her head. "thought about it but it's all about balance you see," she says, "having two fully tattooed arms is too intimidating, one arm draws the line between cool and fierce."

 

there's no way she's being serious right now. joohyun rolls her eyes and drawls, "yeah, sure... with that dog tattoo? i don't think so."

 

"still got you salivating over my arms." seungwan counters with a triumphant smirk. 

 

she picks up the nearest object — a heavy three-hundred paged textbook and sends it flying towards the stupid demon. seungwan stops it midair with a finger and some magic and gently guides it back to the table.

 

"you were the one who wanted my jacket off."

 

"put it back on," joohyun grumbles, "you're distracting me."

 

"so you admit that my arms are distracting?"

 

joohyun clenches her eyes shut with a quiet exhale — dear god, i'm sorry.

 


 

"do you always have to meet them?"

 

the devil begrudgingly trudges alongside her charge as they make their way to a meeting with her fake human friends. she never likes it when joohyun hangs out with the angels, it always makes her restless to a point that joohyun has to force her to stand at least five metres away from them. though she hasn't gotten yerim to investigate, she's been very cautious of them and so far, nothing seems out of place — nothing that points to a divine intervention at least.

 

"they're my friends," the mortal sighs, "what do you have against them anyway?"

 

tucking her arms across her chest, she struggles to find an answer without revealing the entire truth. "they have bad vibes." she utters a short, clipped reply.

 

"you have bad vibes too." joohyun counters with a soft laugh.

 

"don't put me on the same level as them!" seungwan gasps loudly, "we're not the same!"

 

"why?" joohyun ticks an eyebrow up, "don't wanna be compared to a frail little human?"

 

being compared to an angel after everything she's been through has to be the biggest insult ever; all those years she's spent trying to distance herself from divinity only to be judged as equals by a stupid mortal.

 

"no, it's worse than that!"

 

sometimes, it's hard to grasp what goes on in the mind of the devil and joohyun thinks it's pointless to try to understand either.

 

"right... just don't pull any demon magic on them, alright?"

 

"that'll depend on them." seungwan sneers.

 

the study session with the angels goes fine until sahaquiel— no, yongsun, starts talking about bad energies surrounding them, and seungwan teleports behind her in the blink of an eye. the angel is taunting her; she can feel it in her soul. one punch and the devil can reach into her fragile flesh sack of a body to yank her soul out.

 

except, she would have to answer to joohyun, whose glare is digging into every fiber of her body to get her to back down. she isn't afraid of a mortal, but she'd have to answer to the fates, and leliel would probably kill her to avenge sahaquiel — it's more trouble than it's worth. so she unwillingly backs down and raises her hands in surrender.

 

joohyun scribbles something on a post-it note and slyly lets it fall to the ground. without picking it up, seungwan doubles over to read her handwriting.

 

'FIVE METRES AWAY'

 

"yah! they provoked me first!" she protests indignantly.

 

another yellow post-it note slips from her hand and casually glides to the ground.

 

'I DON'T CARE'

 

stupid human and stupid angels, she grumbles and moves away to stand in a corner where she glares at the celestial beings with a murderous intent for two whole hours. any more encounters with them and she really might wage another war.

 


 

with a bounce in her step, the devil skips into hell's best bar — piss water, shouldn't have granted yerim naming rights but hey, she's the one who brought in the best bartender in the underworld. a visit to hell is long overdue, she hasn't been back here since she signed the pact with joohyun and that was a couple of weeks ago. 

 

the sisters are having a movie night and her charge didn't want her disrupting their bonding time, so she politely requests that seungwan takes a night off. the devil agrees on the condition that joohyun would invoke her name at the sight of any angels, and joohyun scoffs in response, how would i know what an angel looks like? she isn't worried though, sooyoung is her failsafe for tonight. if anything goes wrong, the little human with a penchant for summoning strong demons would definitely pull her back to the mortal realm.

 

on the other hand, hell runs fine without her; the bustling cities of the underworld are built to withstand her absence. she's been constantly improving things over the centuries so that it doesn't fall apart in the event of her death. it's hard to say if she'll ever die, but she's certainly not going to rule out that possibility. 

 

besides, it's an added bonus that she's able to leave as and when she pleases, after all, there's nothing that demons love more than freedom.

 

"look who finally decided to show up," yerim greets her with a snarky comment the moment she enters the dingy bar, "with a grin too."

 

the devil rolls her eyes and slides into a seat in front of her. yerim bartends on the weekends when it's a little emptier, most demons would be out in the mortal realm, signing contracts and possessing humans — fun stuff. she wastes no time in serving her a mysterious concoction, and seungwan knows better than to ask. it's much harder to stomach when you know what ingredients yerim puts into her drinks.

 

swallowing it in one gulp, seungwan is pleasantly surprised when it leaves a sweet aftertaste. another one, she demands with a slam of her glass against the tabletop. yerim busies herself behind the bar and seungwan rests her chin in her hands, watching her for a moment before starting up a conversation.

 

"did you miss me?" she asks.

 

the demon gags violently as she mixes up a new drink for seungwan. without turning, she shrugs, "didn't even notice you were gone."

 

"ouch," the devil chuckles softly, "so what's up lately?"

 

"nothing much, things have been slow. paimon and byleth took on ty souls to see who could end up with a more infamous charge, pai's leading with a serial baby murderer."

 

seungwan grimaces, guess her fellow kings aren't so keen on relinquishing their depraved behaviours yet. maybe they'll come around in another millennia or two.

 

"so how are things with your charge?" yerim starts as she hands seungwan another glass, curious to know of the devil's recent ascent into the mortal realm.

 

"it's fun," a small smile forms on seungwan's lips at the thought of her recent adventures, "she hates me."

 

propping her elbows on the table, yerim leans in close with a slight smirk, "and you love her."

 

she takes a sip of her drink without responding, the bitter liquid running down makes for a good excuse to avoid answering. but there's no excuse for a familiar pain that sparks in her chest; this fate that she's resigned herself to will only end with death.

 

she conjures up a small smile and changes the topic with ease. "sahaquiel and leliel are acting as her mortal friends, it's weird and i want you to find out why."

 

yerim lets out a loud gasp and brings her hands up to dramatically, "did you guys fight? please say you didn't, not when seul and i aren't there to watch."

 

"first of all, you." seungwan lifts her middle finger up easily, "second, they're still mortals to joohyun and she'll get mad at me if i hurt them."

 

"wow look at you, a couple weeks on earth and you've become her little puppy?" yerim waggles her eyebrows teasingly.

 

their gazes catch, and the mischievious glint in yerim's eyes show no clear signs of remorse. seungwan materalizes a dagger in her hand and sends it flying towards the demon, it comes close to nicking a bit of her ear but she escapes unscathed. a bottle of hell's version of tequila isn't quite as lucky though, the knife pierces through and shatters it, sending its contents splashing in all directions before pinning itself to the wooden shelf backing. a faint wisp of smoke hints that a bit of hellfire was mixed into that throw, just enough to get yerim to watch her words.

 

"yeesh," yerim winces, "point taken."

 

"sahaquiel and leliel, alright? i wanna know why they're hanging around joohyun."

 

"mhmm, i'll summon you if i learn anything."

 

"thanks yerim-ah," seungwan nods and finishes her drink with one gulp. she would've stayed a little longer to chat but it feels odd without a mortal by her side.

 

hopping off her seat, she takes her leave with a two- salute. she'll hang around for a little longer, maybe take a quick stroll around the seventh circle and return to joohyun before the loneliness seeps into her soul.

 


end notes:

my desktop is back! but i haven't returned to my ty gamer lifestyle yet. this just took a longer time to write (i was breaking down at the thought of a tattooed seungwan)
i don't really know what to say abt this chap but i guess it's starting to show seungwan in a different light, and i think i kinda like it.
anyway, here are some visuals for seungwan's tattoos, hope they'll give a rough idea in case it's hard to visualize. here! and here!
thanks for reading!

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ILJIDO
it's been 30 chapters and they haven't kissed, is this counted as slowburn?
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