what you deserve

all we need of hell

a crowd gathers in the first circle where the angel has presumably landed. the presence of celestials never fails to instil a sense of uneasiness amongst the chthonic residents, after all, angels are the only ones actively trying to kill them. with jagged horns appearing from her temples, the devil makes her way through the crowd with slow strides, making sure that everyone knows that lucifer will not go down without a fight.


with wings as dark as oblivion and skin dotted with glittering stars like the night sky, the angel towers above the sea of demons. a thin black veil shrouds her face but one can faintly make out that she has an extra pair of eyes. golden bracelets adorn each of her four wrists, crafted to help restrain her powers. the seraphims took it upon themselves to restrict their powers after lucifer's departure, afraid that another amongst them will turn their back on the heavens. seungwan thinks they’re shooting themselves in the foot but it keeps heaven at ease and hell satisfied. and perhaps the final feature that sets her apart from the demons, instead of jagged horns, the angel's horns are grown to form a complete circle that radiates a blinding, heavenly light. 


it's been a long time since she's seen an angel of the seraphim reveal their form like this, it almost makes her miss being in heaven.


"i thought we were cool, leliel." seungwan calls out as she cranes her neck to look at the colossal celestial, squinting slightly as she stares into the blinding glow of her halo. "we can talk, or we can fight. what's your choice?"


clasping her hands together, the angel bows her head and begins shrinking into her human-sized form. seungwan scans the crowd with a glare, causing them to dissipate almost immediately. byulyi steps towards her with a low bow.


"my apologies, lucifer." she murmurs, "it was not my intention to come off as a threat. i was having trouble locating you, and this is a matter of importance."


seungwan waves her off easily and allows herself to relax, the angel isn't looking for a fight, which is a relief in some ways.


"you were looking for me? why?"


the angel bobs her head, "i wanted to talk about what happened in the mortal realm."


"okay, but quit talking like you've got a stick up your ." seungwan grimaces, "i need you to sound like human byulyi again, or at least how you sound when you sneak down here to drink." 


byulyi clamps her lips into a thin line and leans in close to whisper into the devil's ear, "i will, however,  not around hundreds of demons. i cannot tarnish the seraphim's reputation by acting like a fool."


seungwan snorts and slaps her on the back roughly, "let's drink."



a full week has gone by since joohyun has seen the devil. 


yongsun was discharged a couple of days ago with the doctors remarking that she's healing much faster than most, which is a small reprieve from this nightmare of a situation. it's hard to put things behind her when there is still traces of the devil lingering and yongsun is still sporting multiple bruises.


but she tries to move on anyway.


to keep herself and sooyoung safe, joohyun figured if salt kept seungwan out once, it could keep her out again. everything that could have the devil's magic in it is tossed into the garbage, especially the ring she's been wearing around her neck. her sister raises questions about the absence of the devil, and joohyun is reluctant to talk about it, only warning her that seungwan is more dangerous than they think.


life returns to what it was like before she got caught up in this demon business, and for the most part, the quietness without the devil by her side takes some getting used to. she throws herself into school, taking up extra shifts at work, anything to remind herself that seungwan's presence in her life is temporary, a fluke of sorts. she should've known better than to grow attached to this demonic entity.


things are better like this — normal, human.


coming back to a darkened house is nothing out of the ordinary, sooyoung's probably out with her friends since it's a friday night. it'll be nice to have the house to herself, maybe she could—


joohyun freezes in the living room as her eyes land on a dim glow coming from the crack under her bedroom door. the sudden realisation that she could be in danger makes her blood run cold and she stops to think. call the cops? no, what if she just forgot to switch the lights off? it could be nothing, she tries to convince herself as she fumbles around her purse for her trusty pepper spray. mustering up her courage, joohyun takes tiny steps towards her room. her heart pounds wildly in her chest and her hands shake in fear but she tries to reassure herself that it's probably nothing.


reaching for the knob, joohyun turns it tentatively before using her foot to nudge the door ajar.




someone jumps from behind the door and a shrill cry rips from before joohyun mercilessly presses down on the nozzle, unleashing a powerful blast of pepper spray in the stranger's face. the person stumbles back and brings their hands up to shield their face but joohyun continues her assault until they crumble on the ground, shouting and groaning in agony. the potent residue of pepper spray threatens to make her eyes sting so she takes a step back. joohyun draws a deep breath to quell the intense palpitating of her heart, but a sinking feeling begins to overwhelm her when she recognises the familiar black leather jacket.


"i-it's just me..." the devil moans as she scrambles to her feet.


instead of a response, joohyun sprays her in the face again, sending her right back to the floor.


"yah! stop!" seungwan cries, "it's me! seungwan!"


joohyun knows, yet a part of her just wants to hurt seungwan to avenge yongsun. watching the demon writhe on the ground feels nowhere near enough but she's limited — human and afraid, what else could she possibly do? the empty spray drops from her hand with a thunk and joohyun has never felt more powerless.


she lifts her gaze from the demon and takes a look around her room, seungwan has clearly done some decorating. an assortment of red and pink balloons float close to the ceiling and taped to the wall above her desk are golden alphabet balloons spelling out 'PLEASE FORGIVE ME'. the dim glow she noticed earlier comes from the strings of fairy lights hanging from the walls. pink rose petals are scattered across her bed and in the middle rests a large bouquet of pink roses.


joohyun exhales slowly and looks down at the demon — what on earth does she think she's doing?


seungwan struggles to stand, incapacitated by pepper spray once again, she opts to sit on the ground and attempt to wipe the spray off her face. maybe she would consider pepper spraying the souls in the seventh circle, this is the perfect kind of agony for the less terrible people.


"i told you i don't ever want to see you again."


hostility seeps through the mortal's words and it sends seungwan's heart slamming against her ribs — right, joohyun is still upset. the burning sensation forces her eyes shut so she can't even look at joohyun, but she stops rubbing her face and murmurs quietly.


"i can't live with myself knowing that you hate me."


joohyun scoffs softly, "so this is for you? you want to assuage your guilt? 


the demon shakes her head vehemently, the whole world could misunderstand her, but not joohyun. never her. grimacing, seungwan disregards the searing pain so she can look at joohyun. it brings tears to her eyes but she blinks them away quickly.


seungwan murmurs with a heavy sigh, "i want to make it up to you, please."


make it up to her? a mirthless laugh grates as her fear of the demon is slowly being overridden by rage. her anger bubbles intensely in her chest and she lets it escape through her words.


"this is a ty ing way to go about it. you can't just come back and pretend like everything is fine because it isn't!" joohyun seethes, voice increasing as her fury ripples through her entire body, "your flashy ing apology, if it's even an apology at all, has no weight to it! is this just a joke to you? you wanted to meet my friends so you could beat them up? do you want to ruin my life? is that it? was this just an elaborate prank? tell me, seungwan!" her lips quiver as she screams at the demon relentlessly, ridding herself of everything she's been bottling in.


the demon drops her jaw, surprised that her charge could be capable of such anger. she watches joohyun draw in deep breaths as if it'll help quell her outrage, but seungwan has a feeling that this is merely the tip of the iceberg. spending a week apart probably gave the mortal plenty of time to think and dissect everything that went wrong. the pain in her eyes becomes a secondary concern when the harsh reality of how much trouble she is in finally sets in. even with byulyi's help, she wants to try to mend things without revealing the angels' true identity, but at this rate, she will have no choice but to expose them.


"i can explain everything, joohyun."


"this isn't how you ing explain !" joohyun gestures to all the fancy decorations in the room with tears welling up in her eyes, "i gave you a chance, i trusted you! you waltz into my life, begging me to enter a stupid pact with you and then what? you treat me like a plaything, like my life is just a game to you. you're not the one who has to bear the consequences, seungwan! i don't ing care if you're the devil but you don't get to mess up my life, hurt my friends and get away with it!"


seungwan bites the inside of her cheek and nods, "i know, i'm an ."


an ? that's it?


balling her hands into fists, joohyun trembles in rage. she could give two s about dying now, if the devil wants to take her soul at the end of their pact, so be it. maybe this is karma for whatever unforgivable crimes she might've committed in her past lives, or it's just her luck to cross paths with the devil.


the words slither through and out as she glares at seungwan, "you're more than that! you're selfish, immature and on top of all of that, unapologetic! have you ever considered that instead of an explanation i'd want a ing apology first? have you ever tried saying 'i'm sorry'? no, you haven't, because that's how little regard you have for humans!"


there's an ache in her chest that she's certain is gnawing at her soul, what joohyun said isn't untrue — she's not remorseful. she regrets her actions, yes, because it ed things up between them, but beating up sahaquiel felt so good that she barely feels any guilt for it. if she said that, there's no way joohyun would ever forgive her, so she lies.


"i'm sorry."


"i don't need your apology now, certainly not one that has to be forced out of you!" joohyun snaps, the first of her tears beginning to slide down her cheek, "beating up my friend was one thing, but it's another to go against your words. do you think i go around trusting demons every ing day? i don't even trust humans that much! you don't even have the slightest clue about how i felt when i saw you landing hit after hit on yongsun!"


seungwan swallows the lump forming in and averts her gaze to the ground, she can't bring herself to look at joohyun anymore. the sight of her devastated expression is too much to bear. the redacted file tucked away in her office in hell comes to mind and a harrowing feeling washes over her — just how badly did she up?


"you're just here to have a good ing time, aren't you?" the mortal wipes her cheeks with the back of her hand, "was the contract a lie? just an excuse to with a stupid little human?"


"no, it wasn't. i know my words mean absolutely nothing right now but i promise, that was not a lie." seungwan says quietly. 


"then why do you go around ruining things?" joohyun croaks helplessly, shoulders sagging as she speaks, "this is the only life i get. my lifespan is insignificant to the eternity that you have, and i don't care. but you don't get to treat my life like dirt, i won't let you continue to disrespect me like that."


disrespect; that's what joohyun thinks this is? seungwan inhales shakily to suppress the urge to cry and she mutters pleadingly, "i won't do it again, i won't mess with you anymore. please, joohyun... i just..."


it's a simple request, but a selfish one at that. she can't bring herself to say it — i just want to be by your side.


"you've never lived, have you? you were cast out from heaven and sent straight to the depths of hell. you went from serving some almighty god to ruling your own kingdom, you have no idea what it's like to be human." joohyun chokes back a sob, her words edged with an intention to hurt. she's exhausted — seungwan, despite proclaiming to be a wish-granting demon, has done more to ruin her life than to make it better. "all your life you've been blessed with powers to get you anything you could ever dream of, and you're free to do as you please because who could punish the devil, right? i hope this teaches you something, i hope you regret ing my life up, i hope you never find peace because you don't deserve that."


listen closely and you might hear the devil's heart shatter.


seungwan lets her hands fall limply to her sides as she brings herself to look at joohyun, face rife with sorrow. out of so many lifetimes seungwan spent with her soul, not once has she ever resented her to this extent. she clutches her chest with a shaky hand as if it'll stop the indescribable ache. she has seen her love another, she has seen the angels take her, she's been through what she thinks is much worse than joohyun being mad at her, but joohyun hating her brings about a different kind of heartbreak.


i hope you never find peace because you don't deserve that.


suddenly, all the lifetimes she's spent pouring her love into this soul feels like it's for nought. joohyun will never be the same person, so how could she ever begin to comprehend just how much seungwan loves her when she can never remember their lives together? she crumbles, letting her anguish burn through her soul. maybe the higher powers knew that rending her soul from her chest is too light of a punishment for her sins, so they allowed her to chase after a mortal across eternity because she will ultimately hurt her more than they ever could.  


is this what joohyun felt when she saw her beating up yongsun? if it is, seungwan has an understanding of joohyun's agony now.


"you don't mean that..." her voice cracks as she mumbles weakly. she wants to believe that joohyun said it in a moment of impulse, that her anger is clouding her ability to be rational, that maybe, joohyun has developed the slightest bit of fondness for her and wouldn't torment her like this. it's silly to cling to a sliver of hope, but she has nothing more to lose.


they lapse into a heavy silence with teary eyes locked on each other, neither one pulling their gaze away. the sound of their ragged breathing is the only thing that fills the air, and then the words spill from the mortal's mouth as if they are laced with a deadly poison.


"i do," she whispers, "don't ever come back, seungwan."


end notes:

fight!!! lengthy ramble ahead, i have lots to say!
i outlined this fight back in august. this could be the worst of it, but definitely not the end of all the angst in this fic. i'm actually kinda happy with how this conflict turned out : )

i always make playlists for my fics but really it's just a collection of songs with very fitting lyrics, so here's my spotify playlist if anyone's interested.

i shared this on my priv twt but here are sources for inspiration for my worldbuilding, the version of leliel i have in my head differs from the one on angelarium, but it's a super cool site though the artist is into nfts :/

about angels/demons in general, demon horns being broken halosangelarium (visual refs)

i haven't updated in like 3 days (gasp) took a mini break but honestly, i got into the world of cookie run kingdom (anyone got tips plz lmk i'm running out of jellies to level up my cookies and they feel so weak t.t, i'm at like 8-3 now)

will be trying to go back to daily updates, my initial goal was to finish this and off by the end of october but i procrastinated so i guess i'm staying for a little longer.

anyway, sorry i haven't been responding to comments either, i'm just so... out of it. i do read everything though, so yasss share thoughts, i will try my best to respond t.t

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