to stray from fate

all we need of hell

"take your pick."

 

the mortal wordlessly stares into the abyss that is the devil's closet — black shirts, black pants, black everything. does she not know colors exist? or at the very least, white?

 

joohyun would've never thought she'd be in the devil's home, let alone judge her unremarkable taste in fashion. not that she wore the nicest clothes, but at least she has more than one color in her closet. if anyone wants to cosplay as the devil, all they'd have to do is throw on a grunge t-shirt, leather jacket and some ripped shorts. fishnet leggings for bonus points. 

 

"let's see..." joohyun hums sarcastically while she browses the wonderful assortment of black shirts, "do i pick this black shirt? or this?"

 

seungwan, who had been watching her charge pick a shirt for five minutes now, retorts loudly, "just pick one if they're all the same!"

 

"what if i don't like the shade of black?"

 

"then pick another one!"

 

she snickers quietly at seungwan's frustration and chooses a shirt much too big for her, but it's the plainest one out of the bunch with a small print on the left. the devil tosses her a pair of sweats before ushering her into a bathroom.

 

being able to wash off all the dirt and grime on her skin feels nice, but at the same time, the exhaustion is beginning to settle in. joohyun shuts her eyes and allows the sound of the shower to drown out the rest of the world. it can't be more than a few hours since she started her day but given the events, she would love to take a nice, long nap. 

 

but she can't rest until she knows the truth. she thinks about the questions she would ask seungwan, where does she even start?

 

her soul, maybe? she has her own theories but what exactly is a soul?

 

there's so many things she's yet to know. from what yongsun told her, this isn't the first time she's come after her. does that mean she's spent multiple lives with seungwan? and what the hell did they do to warrant the wrath of an angel across lifetimes?

 

and does seungwan know about what happened to her when she was a kid? does she know that yongsun saved her? is she aware that yongsun and byulyi are angels from the start? 

 

taking a moment to consider it, joohyun decides that she definitely has to know, it explains her distaste towards them. joohyun always brushed off their first meeting as the demon being a demon, but now that she connects the dots, everything makes a lot more sense. despite their animosity, seungwan still wanted to try to befriend them, for her sake?

 

she wants to know what happened that night — if yongsun really lied to her.

 

on top of that, what happens next? will she and sooyoung have to stay in hell for the rest of their lives? will the angels come after them again?

 

ruminating in the bathroom won't get her any answers. snapping her eyes open, she finishes her shower in record time before seeking out the devil in her large mansion.

 


 

seungwan has also changed out of her tattered clothes into a comfortable black hoodie and she floats in the kitchen whilst humming notes to a song that joohyun doesn't know. she settles into a seat at the island as she watches the devil prance around with amusement on her lips.

 

resting her head in her hand, joohyun inquires softly, "what are you making?"

 

"chamomile tea," she responds easily, "i think we can both use a nice cup of tea."

 

seungwan pours her a small cup and nudges it towards her with an encouraging smile. being served a warm cup of tea catches her by surprise but joohyun gratefully takes a sip. the sweet, warm liquid runs down and she lets out a contented exhale. it hits in all the right spots, but at the same time, she feels undeserving of such kindness.

 

she stares at seungwan before snapping her gaze down to her cup, "i want to apologize for what i said, it was overboard." she starts, the words flowing easily since she's practised multiple times in the shower, "if there's anything i've learnt after that, it's that i know nothing about you and this universe."

 

seungwan lands onto a stool across her and exhales through her nose, "but you weren't wrong, you reacted in the only way that you knew. you shouldn't even be involved in my world. the only reason you're in this mess now was that i beat yongsun up when i shouldn't have."

 

"i think i'd rather know the truth than have them lie to me for the rest of my life."

 

lingering bitterness stemming from a hurtful betrayal is tinted in her voice, while she's still trying to adjust to her new reality, it doesn't mean that all the hurt automatically goes away. seungwan reaches over and places her hand over hers, she coos gently.

 

"i'll tell you everything you want to know and nothing more, there are certain things that you're better off not knowing."

 

pressing her lips into a tight-lipped smile, joohyun bobs her head. 

 


 

seungwan teleports them to her large couch where she'd been crying hours prior, thankfully the tear stains she'd left earlier have long disappeared. they get comfortable with large fluffy blankets draped over them, if she's going to tell joohyun everything, they might as well be cosy while they're at it.

 

there is a small gap between them, joohyun rests her side against the couch so that she can look at seungwan while the devil sits with her legs extended on the coffee table but her head is angled towards her charge. it's comfortable enough, they're neither too close nor too far apart.

 

"so where do we start?" seungwan asks, "what would you like to know first?"

 

joohyun considers all the questions in her head and settles on what might be the easiest one, "what is a soul?"

 

"that's a terrible question, next."

 

"yah! you said you'd tell me everything i wanna know!" a hand smacks her arm lightly and seungwan winces loudly in pain but seeing the horror on joohyun's face makes her snicker. collecting herself, she begins answering joohyun's question.

 

"a soul is the core of our existence, without it, you can't exist. it doesn't matter what you are, human, demon, angel, an ant — no soul, no existence." seungwan explains, "getting your soul destroyed results in permanent death, it's irreversible. fortunately, apart from god, the combined powers of the seraphim are capable of creating a single soul every century, so life will never die out before angels do."

 

"but humans still die..?"

 

"dying is not the same as ceasing to exist." seungwan clarifies, "for humans, death usually means a new life. the human soul isn't as resilient as a celestial's or a demon's, if they stay in any single realm for too long, their souls begin to decay which results in a permanent death after some time. hence, souls have to traverse from realm to realm every once in a while, earth to hell to the far shore then back to earth."

 

joohyun nods slowly as she takes in this new information, "nobody goes to heaven?"

 

"well... you're judged by the fates, they dictate where you'll end up." seungwan rubs the nape of her neck, "and in recent years, humans have only gotten more rotten, so it's easier to assume that you'll probably end up here one day."

 

the mortal hums softly in acknowledgement as she pulls the blankets up to her chin, seungwan talking about the fates brings back an unsettling feeling, one that is usually accompanied by questioning one's mortality.

 

"who are the fates? why do they get all the power to decide everything?"

 

seungwan runs a tongue over her lips and shrugs, "physically, they look like three old crones and they've been there since i was created, and they're always there. they've never given me a straightforward answer, but my guess is that they're more powerful than god. they worked together but i always get the feeling that they can destroy god if they want to."

 

"so they're the higher powers above god."

 

the devil bobs her head, "that's my assumption, but they rarely interfere in the businesses of heaven and hell, unless there's a major dispute." 

 

"then... why did they change my fate?" joohyun croaks, "i was supposed to die a long time ago."

 

as much as seungwan wishes she has the answers, questions like these are better left unanswered. she's questioned the fates so many times over the course of history, and more often than not, their answers, if they even respond, tend to be disappointing at best.

 

"it's easier to not know, hyun." seungwan reaches a hand out to pat her arm lightly, "you can defy fate but you can't change it."

 

the mortal speaks in a strangled whisper, "i... i just... it feels like i'm only alive because they took pity on me..." 

 

shifting a little closer, seungwan looks into the mortal's eyes and confesses, "maybe they did, but i don't think it's a bad thing because you're here."

 

and you make me happier than you'd ever know.

 

"i know you want answers but would you be happy if you know why?" the devil asks gently, "ever since i met you, i've been questioning why the fates would allow me to enter a pact with you given our history. then for the first time in a long time, i felt peace. i thought, maybe they're being kind. shortly after, that whole thing happened with yongsun and i wondered if they wanted to punish me. but now, who knows? there's no point in questioning their intentions, it won't change things either way. i'm not saying i trust them to not me over again, they probably will. that's why i still question them sometimes, but it's easier if you don't think about three old ladies writing out your entire life on google docs."

 

joohyun lets a giggle slip at her last sentence and she arches a brow at the incredulous remark, "they use google docs?"

 

"their version of it at least, universe docs, they'll claim that google plagiarized them."

 

"mhm... so it's their fault that we're in this pact now?"

 

seungwan lets out a whine and a pout appears on her face, "don't say it like it's a bad thing!"

 

joohyun caves with a laugh, "fine... it isn't."

 

it's wonderful how easily seungwan is able to get rid of her existential dread with some silly words, and she's grateful for it. who needs a guardian angel when you can have a goofy guardian devil? 

 

her gaze lands drifts and lands on the large portrait hanging in front of them, it sits just above the fireplace and takes up a considerable amount of space on the wall so it's hard to not notice it. a raven-haired woman in a white dress reclines sideways on a grecian couch and stares wistfully into the distance. a gigantic portrait of a woman in the devil's home, she must have some importance — an ex? 

 

joohyun traces her features and the realisation dawns upon her. she looks like her, except the woman in the portrait is a little older.

 

"who is that?" she chances a nervous question, though she forms her own assumptions before seungwan can reply.

 

"lilith."

 

lilith. joohyun vaguely recalls that byulyi mentioned her name as well.

 

who is she? and why does she resemble her?

 

she murmurs softly, "byul told me to ask you about her."

 

seungwan puckers her lips and a small groan escapes , it's always one hurdle after another when the angels are involved. she supposes that there's no better time to talk about her than now.

 

"she was my first love—" seungwan pauses to correct herself, "she still is, even if she isn't around anymore. i don't think i'm capable of loving anyone else."

 

so the devil loves.

 

"why would byul want me to know this?"

 

why? seungwan chuckles under her breath and flits her gaze to the portrait, it's a tricky question to answer. to learn about lilith is as close as joohyun will ever get to the truth, along with the origin of demons and sin. if only she knew that all demons know about lilith and many still pay homage to her.

 

"her existence is the reason we're all here, tangled in this mess." she whispers, "she is the reason why i left heaven."

 

"then... where is she?" joohyun purses her lips as she asks.

 

seungwan glances at her longingly and in that wordless silence, everything clicks into place. she brings up a hand and jabs a finger to her sternum and the devil nods with a small, anguished smile.

 

"she was mortal at the end of the day, and i'd choose to chase her soul across time than to lose her entirely." a tinge of sorrow is edged into her words and seungwan hopes that joohyun doesn't notice the way her lips are trembling, "but you're not her, even if you do have the same soul. you're a different person entirely."

 

you could never be her, she wants to say.

 

but she can't bring herself to let the words leave her tongue because it's not entirely true. instead, she fiddles with the blanket because it's easier than looking at joohyun and seeing lilith in her eyes.

 

meanwhile, joohyun struggles to take it all in. it's one surprise after another when it comes to these otherworldly matters. she doesn't know what to say, so she apologizes.

 

"i'm sorry."

 

for her loss, or maybe for the fact that joohyun thinks she isn't capable of returning the affection that seungwan has for her soul.

 

"it's not your fault," the devil reassures almost instantly, "normalize blaming the fates for everything that goes wrong with your life."

 

joohyun laughs softly and nods, "it's their fault that i have your lover's soul?"

 

"exactly."

 

she hums in amusement and nudges seungwan lightly, hoping that it would lighten up the atmosphere, "so what was she like?"

 

seungwan lifts her gaze and she cracks a grin, she loves talking about lilith — about her life, their adventures, everything except the fact that she's no longer here. despite all the pain she has to endure with her reincarnations, her memories with lilith remain unsullied, and it's possibly the best thing she has.

 

"she was wonderful, brilliant, free-spirited, i could go on but usually yerim tells me to shut up." she speaks with a growing smile on her cheeks, "i met her when the fates sent me to watch over her, and it took a week before i understood why. you see, while the fates have seemingly charted the entirety of our lives, sometimes, things don't end up the way they planned. there are always minor instances of irregularities, like when a soul chooses coffee instead of tea. but lilith? she deviated from their path entirely, and she was the first soul to ever do that. she made living a life free from anyone's will but her own so... mesmerising, and i adored her."

 

joohyun can't help but feel more conscious of her own soul, like she's holding an intangible treasure in her body. one thing's for sure, seungwan definitely won't let anything happen to it.

 

"what happened next?" she probes curiously.

 

"i showed myself to her without heaven's knowledge, and somewhere along the way, i realised i loved her." seungwan continues with a waning smile, "i swore fealty to her, wherever her soul goes, i would follow. there was no contract, no pact, nothing to bind us, but i knew that i could never return to god's side."

 

the air fills up with tension as seungwan's smile completely fades, and joohyun has an inkling of what happens after.

 

"i-is that why you left heaven?" she asks quietly and the devil bobs her head gingerly.

 

"god saw that as an act of betrayal, a sin. he punished me by banishing her soul under the realm of mortals, thinking it would teach me a lesson, but i was enraged. in the name of vengeance, i started a war."

 

joohyun purses her lips, "how did that end?"

 

with her lips twisting into a smug smile, the devil mutters almost inaudibly.

 

"i killed god."

 


end notes:

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
i drafted their past at the start of october before i even knew how i was going to insert this into the story, what a ing ride it has been my dudes. i remember thinking about how god and the fates would work and it genuinely gave me a headache. there's more about seungwan in the next chapter, i didn't torment myself for five hours to give you one tiny chapter of lore.

since this fic ties in a little with religion and faith, i have to put it out there that my views are mostly agnostic so pls don't come at me for dissing god. and there's a low chance of any men appearing in this fic because i don't care for any male kpop idols, or any (cis) men in general. sorry to any men reading this fic, this one's for the non-religious lesbians.

also! the portrait of lilith is perfect 10 irene, god spoke to me at 4 am.

anyway, if you want more of this au, i try to drop stupid headcanons @enciouds on days i don't update. i hope this lives up to the buildup, feel free to share thoughts!

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