you what?

all we need of hell

"i killed god."

 

the words don't register at first. like seungwan is speaking in another tongue — that's how absurd it sounds. until her gaze lock onto the glowing red orbs of seungwan does she remind herself that this is the devil she's talking to.

 

still, disbelief tints her words as she stares at the devil with bewilderment. "you what?"

 

this is a part of her past that mortals have spent centuries spinning tales about — why lucifer was cast out of heaven. the war of heaven; the grandest battle known to all of angelkind and also the beginning of a new era.

 

seungwan lifts her shoulders in a shrug, “he's not dead dead. he's just… split into many fragments across the entire universe and there’s no holy superglue to piece him back together. his energy still lingers, that's why the halos of angels still shine, but his voice is gone, so he's as good as dead."

 

joohyun frowns in confusion and reaches for her cup of tea on the coffee table and takes a sip, god is dead but also not dead? she mutters under her breath, "what the actual ?"

 

she's never been religious, but it's hard to wrap her head around the fact that this supposedly undying supreme being has been killed by a demon that she's been harbouring in her home. she takes a good long look at seungwan, trying to see her in a different light — as god's killer. she has no doubt that whatever she witnessed on the night seungwan knocked the living daylights out of a human yongsun was barely a fraction of her strength. horrifying, but also relieving because seungwan is on her side. 

 

sensing her unease, the devil shoots her a smile, "don't worry, i can't pull that off again. if i could i wouldn't have let yongsun mess me up this badly."

 

her greatest achievement also came at a great cost, nothing in this world comes without consequence. it's the reason why her demon form is more banged up than others, and why her arms are practically unusable. in her rage-induced haze, she sacrificed bits of her soul to divide her creator into pieces and had them scattered across realms. it was a satisfying end to her time in heaven, even if her soul isn't whole anymore.

 

"why not? is it because you aged?" joohyun guesses as she finishes the last of her tea and sets the cup down.

 

"yah, my age doesn't matter, it's my soul!" seungwan cries out in offence before explaining, "how much magic you're capable of wielding depends on the size of your soul, and i used half of it to break god apart."

 

joohyun furrows her brows as she tries to picture what seungwan is saying but she has trouble understanding — demons could use their souls like that while mortals have to die?

 

"seems unfair that mortals have to die while you get to use your soul to kill god..." she hums, "how'd you do it anyway?"

 

seungwan relaxes back into her spot with a hum, "souls allow us to absorb the energy from our surroundings, and then with our bodies, we turn it into fire or light. i channelled that energy directly to my arms without turning it into anything, and with my inexperience, i ended up channelling bits of my soul with it. i surpassed limits that no one ever thought was possible, but at the end of it all, i realised i lost half my soul."

 

she must've been ing insane to pull something like that off, joohyun notes. "does that mean you could've died?" she inquires.

 

"yeah, i came real close, thank god he splintered apart before anything happened to me. not gonna lie, i think he went easy on me." seungwan hums and presses her head against the couch as memories of the fight with god replays in her head. to this day, she isn't sure how she pulled it off, she doesn't remember much of it. there is a gap in her memories where she lays on the brink of death in the throne room of god and when she is blown back by a powerful explosion that broke her halo and sent her flying down to hell. she remembers vividly how freeing it had been to no longer hear his will in her head, and thinking about how nobody would stand in the way of her and lilith any longer — how wrong she had been.

 

joohyun nods as her expression twist into one mixed with awe and horror, it's an impressively terrifying feat. she wonders how god must've felt when seungwan killed him, betrayed probably wouldn't even cut close.

 

"wait..." joohyun gasps quietly, the sudden realisation rising from the depths of her confusion, "if god is as good as dead... then who is in charge of everything?"

 

"the seraphim, that's why most of them hate me. without someone to give orders, heaven fell apart."

 

"how did god work?" the mortal probes as her confusion shifts into curiosity, "did he give you instructions and you had to obey?"

 

seungwan chuckles at her eagerness and shakes her head, "like the fates, god watches and interferes with the help of angels, though his orders are directed towards all of humanity instead of just a single soul. we were created under the guise of aiding humanity, as protectors or guides, but really, we exist to enact god’s will upon them. we weren't forced per se, but the only purpose the seraphim had was to serve him, the idea of disobeying him never came to mind. we interpreted his will in our own way. say he wanted humans to flourish, angels would bless humanity with enough rain to grow their crops. or we would guide them to discover or invent something new. there were no direct orders, only what we make of his will."

 

"so you had free will?"

 

the devil nods, "but we weren't aware of it, we had no use for it either. whatever he willed, we did."

 

"lilith changed that?"

 

a smile touches her lips and she nods again, "in some ways, she helped me to see that it's a wonderful thing to be able to live on your own terms. the angels still think i rebelled for love and free will, but the truth is, we've always had it, they're just afraid to live without purpose, and i wasn't."

 

joohyun feels her heart swell with pride, the devil is hardly what humanity has made her out to be, she's more than a menacing creature. it must've taken courage to do what she did, especially when everyone around her was compliant.

 

"you were cooler in the past." the mortal teases, knowing seungwan will react.

 

and she does, with a loud scoff as she snatches all the blankets away with one solid yank. joohyun tries to fight back but even with her injuries, seungwan is still stronger than her, so the mortal is tugged towards the devil and she falls into her chest with a yelp. seungwan grunts at the way she lands on one of her stitches, sitting up a little to ease the pressure off her wound, she finds herself face to face with her charge.

 

heat grows in her cheeks and the two freezes at their proximity with the air turning surprisingly tense but joohyun breaks it with a small laugh. she moves off seungwan and instead, settles comfortably beside her. despite being a little flustered, seungwan has no qualms about slipping her arm around her charge's shoulder as joohyun sinks further into her side. she drapes the blanket over them once again and they enjoy each other's company without the large awkward gap between them.

 

they fall into an easy silence, seungwan's gaze drifting to lilith's portrait. she feels like it's alright if she lets her facade slip, it's always okay to be vulnerable around her.

 

"lilith wasn't the only reason i rebelled," the devil starts in a whisper, this is something she's never told anyone except lilith. a strong feeling of déjà vu washes over her now that she's telling it to joohyun as well, everything comes full circle she supposes. "i was beginning to question god even before i met lilith."

 

joohyun hums softly, encouraging her to continue with a small nod, "why?"

 

"god believed in balance amongst all things, that there is an equal amount of good and evil in this world. but the fates do not, they merely watch as events happen, there is no reward or consequence at the end of the day. all souls would be reincarnated regardless of what they’ve done." seungwan murmurs, "i thought the fates were wrong, that there should be a distinction between good and evil. for the longest time, i trusted god, i trusted in his ways. i believed that there was this scale of good and evil that must not be tipped, that he was just in all ways.”

 

she sounds as vulnerable as she once had when she was still lucifer and she laid her head in lilith's lap, spilling her woes with a heavy heart.

 

“but then the wars started, then the plagues and all i saw was suffering. not a single good thing came out of fighting, where was the balance in one nation conquering another? what good comes out of slaughtering innocents? what good is there in depravity and death? so i tried asking, i questioned god. he never answered, but lilith did."

 

"what did she say?"

 

with a heavy sigh, seungwan mutters grimly. "that god created humans to be innately wicked because he wanted suffering to exist. that way, angels could be the ones to insert goodness into this world."

 

"was she right?"

 

"i like to think she was, but nobody knows for sure." a smile appears and fades just as quickly and seungwan continues to share her past, "angels were allowed to meddle to some extent, as long as it was just. but most didn't, because many believed that they were made in the likeness of god, so they aspired to be like him in all ways too, passive and unresponsive. i tried as best as i could to stop the wars and death, but it's evident that my efforts alone were futile. the root problem was that heaven was flawed, from creator to angels, and that solidified my decision to tear myself away from them. with lilith by my side, we tried to make the world a better place."

 

"that didn't turn out too well i suppose."

 

the devil sighs and nods, "yeah, you know what happened next. when he banished lilith, i realised that if he could punish me for my mistakes, who would punish him for his? or all the other passive angels? the fates certainly weren't going to do anything, why should he get to decide why humanity suffers?"

 

joohyun turns to look at her, "so you started a coup?"

 

"yeah, but to this day, the demons still think it was for lilith." seungwan shrugs, "it's easier to say i did it for love than to punish our creator along with heaven."

 

the mortal exhales quietly, "wow... i wasn't expecting all of this."

 

"am i trauma dumping?"

 

"i don't mind, it's... i'm a little speechless, to be honest. first, you tell me i have your lover's soul, then you tell me you killed god, but he's not really dead just not talking? and then you tell me you became a demon to fix a problem in heaven, it's just... wow..." joohyun shakes her head incredulously because of everything she's learnt so far, "i thought humans were complicated enough."

 

"surprise, surprise." seungwan laughs as her charge rests against her ribs, "on the bright side, it's all in the past now. every realm is in a much better place. the seraphim run a tight ship in heaven, and thanks to the anarchy caused by demons, they learnt to be proactive. sometimes a little too much, exhibit a, yongsun."

 

joohyun laughs and they slip into another pocket of silence and the mortal asks in a quiet voice.

 

"do you regret any of it?"

 

regret? seungwan has plenty of it, but her destiny has already been determined by the fates, no matter what she chooses, she's meant to end up here. freedom is a mere illusion with the only exception being the soul of lilith.

 

"i would do it all over again, maybe with a little more sass."

 

a soft giggle escapes joohyun and a gentle melody touches seungwan's ears, her gaze lands on the portrait of lilith. she was wrong about one thing — the world didn't need angels for goodness to exist. she was everything magnificent about humanity, and she still is. seungwan casts her gaze at the figure in her arms and she leans in to place a feathered kiss on the crown of her head, regretting it almost instantly. thankfully, joohyun doesn't feel it, ot at least, she doesn't react.

 

"so... now that your origin is out of the way," joohyun starts while stifling a yawn, "what crimes did we commit over the years to get yongsun so mad?"

 

"we can save it for another day, you might not be able to take how dangerously hot you were in your past lives."

 

joohyun rolls her eyes, "tell me about one life, apart from lilith."

 

seungwan thinks hard for a moment, does she have favourites? of course, but none of them was as significant as lilith. a few stand out from the rest however, the most exciting ones usually ended in the most tragic of manners and those are the ones that stick.

 

"you were a drug lord in one life, i didn't even know your real name till you died, but you went by irene. you were filthy rich without any morals whatsoever and you summoned me to take over the drug world." the memory of irene summoning her in a stunning red dress comes to mind. palms dripping with blood and her smudged lipstick running across her cheek, seungwan entered a contract with her without hesitation. "i created a new drug that allowed mortals to see into the realms beyond earth and it had vicious side effects but the humans loved it. it was a hit, and you ruled the underworld for a little until the angels caught wind of it. they struck when you sent me on an assassination, i came back to find your soulless body slumped over your desk and then that was it."

 

there's a tinge of sadness edged in her tone, but nothing close to the anguish caused by lilith. irene was just another version of her, and so is joohyun, though seungwan doubts she'll remember her in like another version of lilith.

 

it's hard to imagine herself in a different life, it's her, yet not her. joohyun can't deny that she enjoys listening to seungwan talk about her past — their past, if she can even claim it as her own. as intriguing as everything sounds, she's unable to hold back the fatigue. she'll save the rest of her questions for later, the biggest one being how seungwan turned from a godkiller to a demon who made her smell like fart on their first day together.

 

"seems like we were both cooler in the past." joohyun hums softly as her eyelids begin to grow heavy.

 

"i'm still cool now!" seungwan protests, "it's a shame you couldn't see my fight with yongsun, maybe you would fawn over me instead of making fun of me."

 

"it's not really a flex when you return looking like a pair of crocs. if i didn't go blind from her halo, i would've gone blind from your terrible fighting skills."

 

the devil presses her lips into a thin line, lilith always knew how to keep her in line, maybe it's something about her soul.

 

"that's enough insults for one day, goodnight."

 

with a snap of her fingers, joohyun falls asleep in the middle of another retort, leaving hanging open. it's a hilarious sight and seungwan can't help but snort. she then adjusts her so that joohyun's head is resting on her lap. running a hand through her hair tenderly, the world stills except for the gentle rise and fall of joohyun's chest, and seungwan accompanies her to the realm of sleep.

 


end notes:

this was a ing tough chapter to write, i had to use my brain and i do not like that. really thought i had seungwan's past all ironed out but i spent another 5 hours thinking about it today and i almost cried. like, it probably doesn't matter because y'all just want them to kiss but i'm doing this for the 14 year old me who created multiple OCs with incoherent backstories. still, i can't help but feel like i'm missing out on a lot of tiny details like god is just a big glowing ball of light, and souls were technically created in his likeliness. it's kinda hard to fit it all in like damn joohyun doesn't have THAT many questions. honestly, if there are any questions just shoot them, i'd be more than happy to answer them in comments than to figure out how to insert answers into the fic.

things i do wanna write about includes seungwan's time with lilith after the fall, how the seraphim actually work and maybe clearing up some things with the fates. that's all i can think of for now.

ty midnight mass for making me question god, i didn't get any answers but i brought a 50k word fanfic to life because of it.

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