not that serious

all we need of hell

joohyun and sooyoung end up staying in hell for an extra day since everyone except joohyun and yerim was completely wasted. 

 

her sister did not sell her soul, thankfully, but joohyun did find out that she took a watered down shot of hell's vodka and got absolutely hammered. everyone in hell seemed to welcome the commotion she created except joohyun, the older girl wasn't impressed in the slightest.

 

ryujin is back at work by the time the sisters prepare to take their leave, healing faster than most demons thanks to her unique physique. they try to thank her for saving their lives by forcing the trio of demon kings to give her a mansion in the third circle where the devil resides as well but seungwan vehemently denies and offers up something better.

 

bright blue flames erupt from her palm and with a pained grunt, an odd mass begins to form in seungwan's hand. it glows as bright as her flame but is malleable, almost resembling some sort of goo. the mass grows and eventually begins to take shape until it walks out from seungwan's flames. the end product meows at the group as it stands on the countertop.

 

a visible sheen of sweat rolls down seungwan's forehead as she nudges the cat towards the stunned bartender. ryujin eyes it tentatively before she accepts the fluffy white feline into her arms. opens and closes without so much as a word being spoken.

 

"yah, we followed you from heaven to hell and ryujin gets a familiar first?" yerim shoots seungwan a glare while seulgi backs her up with an aggressive nod.

 

"what's the big deal with familiars?" sooyoung asks.

 

"it's the highest of privileges because that means you, along with whoever that travels with your familiar, can freely traverse from hell to earth without getting burnt up." seulgi explains as she nudges seungwan, "yerim and i can share a dog."

 

seungwan huffs and shakes her head, "you guys are acting as if you don't borrow burger from time to time." 

 

she's more than aware that while she's been away, many demons try to earn the favour of her hound by offering him treats and whatnot — ten jumbo burgers from mchell and you've got a ride to the surface. disappointing on burger's end, he could've at least raised his standards, mchell is garbage. she figured that out after she realised burger isn't all that excited by burgers anymore, maybe she'll find him a new favourite food and rename him again.

 

"you could just teach us how to make our own." yerim shrugs.

 

"and then the entirety of hell will have their own pets," seungwan mutters, "we might as well get rid of the hellfire barrier then."

 

"sounds great!"

 

seungwan snaps her head to look at seulgi, "do you really want the likes of purson roaming around earth?"

 

pursing her lips, seulgi mumbles, "on second thought, we'll stick to borrowing burger."

 

the devil nods cockily before deciding that they should probably wrap things up now. materialising a pair of keys in hand, she sets it on the countertop with a small smile.

 

"mansion in the third circle is all yours, you did a good job of protecting them. thank you."

 

ryujin's surprise slips away as she cracks into a slight grin and nods, "anytime, your majesty."

 

with everything she needs to do done, seungwan deems that it's time to take the sisters home. they say their goodbyes before soaring to the mortal realm on everybody's favourite hound.

 


 

with the cosmic disaster that plagued her poor soul resolved, joohyun returns to her regular, boring life with sooyoung in tow. things essentially return to what it was like before the fallout — seungwan following joohyun around while she lives out her day-to-day schedules.

 

the devil pesters her to make wishes on days that seem a little slow, but joohyun never wishes for anything more than a meal or an occasional cup of boba. for the most part, even though she's now aware of the existence of heaven and angels, along with god being dead, joohyun isn't bothered by it since it's very likely she'll end up in hell after her death.

 

she trusts seungwan to keep her safe, and the devil does, by watching her sleep every night. it's been slightly over a week of seungwan sitting by her bed on the floor and every night, she falls asleep before seungwan and wakes up after her. 

 

"don't you need to sleep?" joohyun finally asks one night when she gets ready for bed, wondering if there's some kind of demonic explanation.

 

"nope," the devil shakes her head, "i rarely get tired." it's not exactly a lie, but she doesn't need to stay awake for the entire night either, seungwan is just a little apprehensive on revealing the actual reason why. 

 

"so what do you do while i'm asleep?"

 

seungwan rubs the nape of her neck with a grimace, "i... sit there... and watch you."

 

"creep," joohyun remarks with a small smile as she lathers various moisturizing lotions on her skin, "why don't you sleep?"

 

"i don't need to."

 

"it'll help pass time, won't it?"

 

"i like watching you sleep."

 

"never say that out loud again."

 

laughter erupts from the pair and joohyun plops into her bed with a soft exhale, she lies on her belly with her head angled towards seungwan who's spinning around on her chair at her desk.

 

"you can sleep with me, my bed is big enough for the both of us." she hums while patting the sheets invitingly, scooting over to make space for the devil. the offer is almost natural at this point, seungwan still gets on her nerves some days, but she's beginning to see her as more of a friend than an entity that's bound to her.

 

"i'm good." seungwan swallows. centuries ago, she would've jumped at the chance, but this lifetime with her feels different — fragile. one wrong move and she fears that this relationship between them will crumble, it's already happened once and she won't let it happen again.

 

joohyun frowns, "you're not going to watch me sleep every night for nine more months."

 

"but i like it."

 

"why do you sound so adamant about not sleeping?" 

 

narrowed eyes pierce the devil and seungwan stammers a weak lie, "i... don't like to sleep."

 

"liar, you slept in hell." joohyun snaps as her suspicion builds, "why don't you sleep here?"

 

seungwan raises her shoulders and turns away from her charge, why is she so persistent about her not sleeping?

 

"sleeping in hell is different, it's more relaxed." she murmurs.

 

"you can't relax around me?"

 

"no..."

 

"then why?" the question threatens to dig into her soul, joohyun is on the precipice of forcing an answer out.

 

seungwan swivels around on the chair and pulls her knees up to her chest, making herself smaller than she already is. she weighs the pros and cons in her head, the only pro being that joohyun would stop pressing her for an answer while the cons exist as a long list of potentially worrying outcomes.

 

she lifts her gaze and caves with a small sigh.

 

"remember i told you about irene?" seungwan starts in a whisper, searching joohyun's eyes for a hint of recognition before continuing, "i'm afraid that the angels will come again..."

 

her last line is barely audible, trailing off like she's afraid that if she voices her fears out loud, the more likely they'll come true. it happened once with irene, it almost happened again with joohyun, she definitely doesn't trust the angels to stick to their words despite receiving an official letter from heaven. they could go back on their words, break a rule or two and suffer the consequences after but seungwan will have to live with losing joohyun, and it's not a risk that she's willing to take.

 

"they won't." joohyun's firm words cut through her anxieties as she reaches over to pull seungwan closer, "and even if they do come, you'll fend them off."

 

her charge tugs at her hand gently and manages to coax her into taking off her leather jacket before guiding her to join her in bed. seungwan lies stiffly on her back while joohyun lays on her side, watching her intently.

 

"you're watching me sleep now." seungwan comments to ease the rapid pounding in her chest, her heart is threatening to jump out of with how close joohyun's face is.

 

the mortal nods slowly, "i won't sleep until you do."

 

even if it's not lilith, it seems like her other past lives have left an impact on seungwan as well. joohyun can't fathom a reality of coming home to a lifeless body of someone she loves while knowing that she could've prevented it, the guilt must be immeasurable.

 

seungwan plucks up her courage and turns to her side, forcing the two to face each other. she can feel joohyun's breath on her skin with their proximity and for once, she's grateful that joohyun is a mortal. she might have to hide in a corner if joohyun can see in the dark, she'll probably make fun of how flushed her ears are.

 

there's no way she can fall asleep now, not with joohyun staring at her like lilith once had under a sea of stars.

 

"i don't want to sleep." she says, but behind her words lies a desperate i don't want to lose you again.

 

"i wish that you will sleep."

 

ah, of course, she would abuse their pact like this. the only time joohyun doesn't wish for food is to make the devil do something she doesn't want to do.

 

"you can't do that."

 

"you're supposed to grant my every wish, aren't you?" joohyun retorts with a small yawn, "close your eyes."

 

with a grumble, seungwan obliges and shuts her eyes. the darkness she's in makes her feel uneasy, she fears that when she wakes up, she'll see an angel standing above her and joohyun will be left as a soulless corpse. she tries for a solid ten seconds before giving up and snapping her eyes open.

 

"i can't."

 

shifting her arms, joohyun brings it between them and laces her fingers with seungwan's. 

 

"does this help?" 

 

it's in these moments where seungwan finds joohyun so inherently gentle, perhaps it has something to do with her soul, but it never fails to make her swoon. the mortal pats her gently with her other hand, guiding her to relax her muscles that she had been unconsciously tensing. her actions are an unspoken reassurance — i will still be here when you wake.

 

"sleep."

 

she urges softly with a slight squeeze of their intertwined hands and seungwan shuts her eyes once again, focusing on her slowing breaths as it lulls her into slumber. on the verge of surrendering to erebus, seungwan cracks an eye open to check on joohyun only to see her staring back at her with heavy-lidded eyes. 

 

the last thing she feels is a small nudge before she drifts off with a light snore.

 


 

seungwan blips into existence as a mortal sometimes, mostly so joohyun doesn't look like a nutjob talking to herself during lunch and whatnot. the devil got starbucks for the second time of the day and has been griping about the barista misspelling her name ever since she got her latte — how do you mishear seungwan as sungwon? joohyun remarks that it's probably because she paid for her drink in coins when there was a long queue behind her, humans are allowed to be spiteful.

 

a question pops into her head as they depart from the warm cafe, one that has been in the back of her mind for a while now.

 

"why do you go by seungwan anyway? yongsun still referred to you as lucifer."

 

joohyun inquires when she hooks her arm with seungwan's and they stroll towards her next class. despite the warm afternoon sun hanging high above them, an autumn breeze catches her by surprise, causing her to lean closer to the devil for warmth. the mortal had connected the dots a while ago, if she managed to get burnt by seungwan's demon form, that would mean that her body is capable of generating warmth beyond a human's limits.

 

needless to say, seungwan turned into her personal heater on colder days. today happens to be one of those days.

 

"lucifer was my angel name while seungwan is my own name, it's easy to tell why i prefer it more." the devil responds while making herself a little warmer, "should've wore warmer clothes if you knew it was going to be cold."

 

"i have you as my walking heat pack." joohyun retorts with a bright smile.

 

seungwan quips as she takes a sip of her latte, "from a godkiller to a portable heater, probably should have held back on breaking my halo if i knew how things were going to be like."

 

joohyun rolls her eyes, "can't escape fate, can you?" she quips.

 

"i suppose not until winter is over."

 

the mortal scoffs as they continue to amble through campus, dodging people as they go.

 

"how did you come up with your name?"

 

seungwan tosses a quick glance at joohyun before speaking, "one of your past lives gave it to me, i didn't like being called lucifer since it reminds me of god."

 

"i see," she nods, "is that why all the other demons have modern names too?"

 

"mhm, many saw it as an act of rebellion to forsake your god-given name. besides, some of them have really unfortunate names like william."

 

"what's wrong with william?" joohyun snorts.

 

seungwan casts her eyes skyward as she searches for a reason but quickly comes up empty, "i don't like it. it sounds like a wet fart, unpleasant and gross."

 

joohyun grimaces at the unwanted visual in her head and decides that their conversation is over. they enter the building where her class is held and seungwan slowly slips back into her semi-demon form where joohyun is the only one that can see her.

 

the devil no longer makes her smell like poo to prevent people from sitting next to her, her charge could use some actual human friends, or at least fleeting interactions to make her a little more normal. naturally, without being able to disturb her, seungwan would bore so joohyun keeps her occupied by letting her use her netflix account. apparently, there's no netflix in hell; something about steve jobs reincarnating before he could finish creating a stable network between realms and the demons being unable to figure out how to continue his work prevents them from accessing it. nobody wants to be the one to pirate the entirety of netflix, that's too much effort, even for demons. 

 

some reality dating show that resembles hot garbage keeps seungwan quiet during most of joohyun's lectures, sometimes she opts to pester joohyun if she notices her dozing off. it's an arrangement that joohyun is perfectly fine with, though she has trouble finding the right words to define their relationship.

 

she has no need to, for now. occasionally, the invisible line between friends and more blur, but it's not the worst thing that could happen.

 


 

weeks fly by and they approach the end of their third month together. seungwan has gotten more comfortable with sleeping with joohyun's help, the mortal always waits for her to start snoring before she allows sleep to take her. however, joohyun soon discovers an odd habit.

 

seungwan sleep talks. 

 

joohyun thought it was adorable at the start, the devil blabbering nonsense in her sleep with a smile on her cheeks, but she's quickly proven wrong when seungwan starts arguing about the ethics of torturing souls in the ninth circle. her mumbles are mostly incoherent but some crude threats slip through like i want to flay his ball sacks!

 

unwilling to listen to her mumble about torture for an entire night, joohyun takes to gagging her with a sock — it's a good thing the devil has no need for breathing.

 

it's a worthwhile trade in seungwan's opinion, she isn't bothered to wake up with a sock in , she's been sleeping better than she ever has in centuries. what's even better is that some mornings, she wakes up with joohyun's limbs splayed across her body and she snuggles a little closer to bury herself in her chest.

 

the world feels right on mornings like those, like the fates has allowed them a modicum of love.

 


 

"what's that?"

 

"it's a robot vacuum." joohyun replies, "you haven't seen one before?"

 

sooyoung's latest purchase is roaming around the house while emitting a whirring sound and it's because joohyun wouldn't stop nagging at her to clean her room every once in a while. not that it would get joohyun off her back entirely, but it's enough to counter her sister's insinuations that she doesn't help with the chores.

 

the devil shakes her head as she stares at the strange circular object on the ground, "we're not advanced in cleaning since we have imps."

 

guess some things are different in hell after all. 

 

the robot wanders around the apartment while seungwan hovers over it, watching it like it's some sort of alien organism instead of a cleaning machine. she sprinkles cookie crumbs in front of it just to watch it sweep it up and keeps repeating it until joohyun yells at her to stop intentionally making a mess. the devil moves on to put obstacles in its way instead, watching it bump into walls and chairs repeatedly with an amused smile.

 

"yah, joohyun! this thing's an idiot!" she remarks while moving a book into its path, which the robot inevitably collides with moments later.

 

the mortal looks up from her laptop and sighs, she's been watching everything unfold but she hardly thinks the new robot vacuum is as much of an idiot as seungwan.

 

"stop getting in its way then..." she mutters while returning her attention to her screen.

 

seungwan tuts loudly before criticizing the poor robot again, "sooyoung wasted her money, this thing can't even get to the corners." 

 

"then do something about it," joohyun clicks her teeth sharply, "now stop talking, i have to finish this paper by tomorrow."

 

by do something about it, joohyun really should've expected seungwan to take her words seriously. the devil summons a cleaning imp and orders it to sit on top of the robot with a rag in hand. it's an odd, almost comical sight to behold — the ultimate cleaning tool, courtesy of both realms.

 

the imp mounted on a robot vacuum keeps the apartment spick and span, and seungwan refuses to let sooyoung leave a five-star rating on the website where she got it from.

 


 

"yah, is something burning?" joohyun sniffs the air as she walks into the kitchen where sooyoung is currently cooking some instant ramen.

 

"i just got the water boiling, unless you're telling me i can burn water, it can't be me." sooyoung shrugs, "burger is around though, maybe he's burning something."

 

with a frown, joohyun tracks the burning scent to the living room where seungwan is lying across the couch with puppy-sized burger asleep on her chest.

 

"what's up?" seungwan cranes her neck as she whispers softly, her hands never ceasing the pats on burger's head.

 

"something's burning." joohyun states and notices a wisp of smoke coming from seungwan's shirt, "he's burning your shirt."

 

the devil sits up to verify joohyun's words and realises her shirt has pretty much become a crop top, this is what she gets for wearing shirts made in the mortal realm, none of them are fireproof. pulling it over her head, she burns the rest of the shirt into oblivion before resuming her previous position with burger on her bare chest.

 

"yah!" joohyun shrieks, causing the devil and her beloved hound to startle.

 

seungwan cradles her dog protectively as she hisses, "what?"

 

"put a shirt on!"

 

"i thought you'd like to stare at my abs." seungwan smirks when she notices just how red joohyun's cheeks have gotten, "hmmm? you're looking a little flushed now."

 

joohyun stutters incoherently before giving up and storming back to her room, stupid demon. seungwan turns to her hound with a smug grin.

 

"good job, bud."

 

burger lingers around even after seungwan manages to get joohyun to admit that she has a nice set of abs. the demon carries him around in the pocket of her leather jacket saying it's because he misses her, though joohyun assumes it's probably the other way around.

 

seungwan cuddles him to sleep despite joohyun's protests, she's afraid that he would burn her sheets but seungwan merely retorts with a simple are you jealous of him? we can cuddle too. joohyun kicks her out of bed for three nights until burger returns to hell and they slip back into their usual routine, falling asleep side by side but miraculously waking up with their limbs tangled.

 


 

the mortal's first thought when her room plunges into darkness is that seungwan must be up to something again. sighing, joohyun reaches for a nearby lamp and finds that it doesn't work either.

 

"seungwan! if this is your fault, i'm going to ignore you for a week!"

 

the devil appears in her room with a woosh, floating midair while lying on her side with her head propped up by her arm. the light from the windows is enough to illuminate her features and she looks equally as annoyed by the sudden darkness.

 

"wasn't me, i was watching netflix." she informs with a grumble, "probably a power outage or something."

 

a sudden clap of thunder catches the two by surprise and joohyun crosses the room to peer out the window. the rains from before have steadily grown into a heavy thunderstorm, the winds howl threateningly and she's never been more grateful to be indoors.

 

a shiver runs through her and she puts on a soft white sweatshirt hanging off her chair, no electricity means no heating, and no heating when winter is almost upon them means it's going to be terribly cold. the temperature is already beginning to drop and there's no way she'll survive a night without warmth.

 

"can you fix it?" joohyun asks as she rubs her hands against her arms to warm herself up.

 

seungwan raises her hand to snap her fingers but pauses, there's a mischievous glint in her eyes as she sticks her fingers in and whistles instead. by now, the mortal isn't surprised to see burger pop up from the ground anymore. in fact, he appeared hours before with seulgi so sooyoung could go party in the underworld. the hound greets them with an excited bark, his size resembling an actual doberman for once since he can't fit in joohyun's room with his regular size.

 

"how is your hound going to fix anything?" she sighs while seungwan crouches down to scratch his head adoringly.

 

"he's a walking campfire," seungwan points out, "and you know what campfires provide? heat and light."

 

joohyun blinks then her teeth with a small sigh. "i'm not a neanderthal, seungwan. i need wifi."

 

the devil rushes to cover her hound's ears with an offended gasp, she snaps her head to joohyun and hisses, "if you're going to be so ungrateful, you could at least whisper."

 

"sorry," the mortal whispers with a tinge of sarcasm, "i need more than just heat and light."

 

seungwan rises and places her hands on joohyun's shoulders, "it's two in the morning, you've writing papers for the entire day, let's call it a night."

 

"but—"

 

"no buts, i have a great idea." seungwan interrupts sharply, "come out in a minute."

 

the devil and her hound disappears from her room and joohyun decides that seungwan has a point, her eyes are feeling the strain from continuously staring at a screen and her brain feels a little sluggish. she supposes she can continue tomorrow. she reaches to close her laptop before heading out to find seungwan.

 

what she finds is a pleasant surprise, joohyun takes it all in while she slowly steps into the new space. the living room has been transformed into a cosy blanket fort with pillows and fluffy blankets covering every inch of the floor, and seungwan stands proudly over her creation with her hands over her hips. burger, in his regular size, has made himself comfortable in the fort, his flames light the area with a faint orange glow.

 

clapping slowly, joohyun approaches seungwan while shaking her head in awe. "how are you thousands of years old but still have the heart of a child?"

 

"what can i say? i have a youthful soul." seungwan beams as she ushers joohyun into the welcoming little fort.

 

with burger lying all the way in the back, seungwan makes herself comfortable by resting on him but joohyun is a little apprehensive. she's never gotten too close because of his flames, but seungwan reassures her that there's no way he would burn her. she picks the safest and warmest spot in the whole fort — seungwan's lap.

 

the mortal has no qualms about plopping herself in front of seungwan, sinking into the devil's chest with a contented sigh slipping from . seungwan slides her arms around joohyun's waist and a comfortable silence envelopes them until seungwan pulls out a phone to resume watching an episode of rupaul's drag race.

 

"seriously?" joohyun mutters.

 

seungwan whines, "it's the last couple of minutes, i need to know who wins or i can't sleep tonight." 

 

the mortal sighs loudly but watches along to the performances regardless, violet chachki wins and seungwan tosses the phone aside, finally satisfied with her latest binge.

 

"now what?" joohyun murmurs when silence threatens to wash over them once again.

 

seungwan shrugs from behind and materializes a bag of marshmallows in one hand. "i didn't think past a blanket fort." she mumbles while grabbing a handful of marshmallows and tossing them towards burger. she misses her mark and they scatter messily across the ground in front of him but the hound still eats them regardless.

 

a long wooden skewer appears in her hand and she begins assembling a long stick of roughly eight marshmallows. joohyun watches her in confusion until she angles the skewer backwards to roast the marshmallows with burger's flames. it takes a couple of seconds and seungwan offers the entire stick to joohyun who takes a bite of the top one.

 

who would've thought that one day she would be eating freshly roasted marshmallows in a blanket fort while sitting in the devil's lap? joohyun smiles slightly at the absurdity of the situation and tilts her head to look at seungwan. a seemingly harmless question wanders into her mind — what happens at the end of their pact?

 

seungwan catches her gaze while she shoves two marshmallows into , "hm?"

 

shaking her head, joohyun turns her head to the front. "i was just thinking." 

 

"about?"

 

"what happens after our pact is over," the mortal murmurs, her voice quieting to an inaudible whisper, "do you just vanish? leave without a trace?"

 

seungwan puts the skewer aside and her arms tighten around joohyun's waist. inhaling a deep breath, she breaths in the comforting scent of her charge and shakes her head. 

 

"i don't have to if you don't want me to." 

 

they fall into an apprehensive silence, the air around them winds with unsaid words and emotions that they've been trying to avoid defining. they've been tiptoeing around an invisible line, keeping their thoughts bottled up and tucked away in the deepest corners of their heart so nothing changes between them. but now, this conversation threatens to unravel it all.

 

seungwan clenches her jaw and presses her head to joohyun's back, praying for an answer that she wants to hear to escape joohyun's lips. she wants to declare that she's been fine with the way things have been but she can't. joohyun treats her with so much kindness and affection that it makes her crave for more. 

 

she has never asked for love, it's rare that a reincarnation would even reciprocate her affection. most of them would use her and throw her aside once they got what they needed but joohyun is different. the tenderness she offers to the devil is nothing like what she's experienced before, it's different from what she felt with lilith, and it makes her want to cling to it for as long as the fates will allow.

 

at the same time, her yearning for joohyun scares her a little. she's always allowed lilith's reincarnations to break her heart, that's nothing new, but there's a fear that hangs at the back of her mind — one day, one of them would resemble lilith so much that their death would end up shattering her like it did before.

 

joohyun, a modern day university student who hates coffee is anything but similar to lilith, a vicious huntress who was exiled from her home from eons ago. yet, seungwan thinks she could be the one.

 

she knows she shouldn't get close, but like a moth to a flame, there is an inexplicable allure that joohyun holds and seungwan is willing to bear the consequences.

 

swallowing to soothe the tightness in , seungwan murmurs, "you don't have to give me an answer now, i'm just letting you know that it's an option."

 

in certain lifetimes, when lilith's reincarnation doesn't summon her or make contact officially, seungwan keeps tabs on her from afar, only interfering when she's in danger. it's likely that she'll do the same for joohyun should she choose to be rid of her presence, it'll sting but she supposes it's better than the inevitable heartbreak she'll face at the end of joohyun's life.

 

she looks up upon hearing a shaky exhale slip and joohyun taps her arms lightly before breaking out of her hold. twisting herself, she faces the devil with a nervous smile. the rest of the world narrows around them when joohyun raises a hand tentatively, her fingers reach for seungwan's jaw as she thumbs her cheek with a feathered touch.

 

she hears it in the devil's words — they've reached a turning point, and she knows if their gazes meet, she might end up doing something she'll regret. with her eyes averted from the devil's face, joohyun contemplates her answer while grinding her teeth. she knows she isn't ready, but maybe, with a little more time, she will be.

 

"i think i'd like you to stay..." she breathes, "as a friend or..."

 

the rest of the sentence is perched at the tip of her tongue but joohyun can't bring herself to say it, it would be setting the both of them up for disappointment should it fall through. there can be no definite answers when two people find themselves in this position, more often than not, those answers turn into broken promises and sweet nothings.

 

but it is neither to seungwan, it's merely a verbal confirmation that she's allowed to annoy joohyun for the rest of her life. the devil's slender fingers wrap around joohyun's wrist and pulls her hand away from her cheek. in spite of the tension rippling through the room, seungwan still manages a joke.

 

"as your ex-wife?" 

 

one single, stupid quip is enough to ruin the moment but joohyun lets it slide with an exasperated sigh. seungwan's laughter saps the rest of the discomfort away and she moves her face into joohyun's line of sight.

 

"you don't owe me a label, nor should you feel pressured to feel anything for me." seungwan says gently, "it's more than enough to know that you still want me around regardless of everything."

 

joohyun bites the inside of her cheek, "really?"

 

"mhm," seungwan reaffirms with a nod, "though, it'll make me happy if you hold my hand once in a while."

 

"but your palms get sweaty."

 

"seriously?" seungwan gasps while wiping her hands on her shirt, "no one's told me that before. wow, that's more embarrassing than i thought."

 

a giggle escapes joohyun and she intertwines their fingers tightly, "i was joking, i wasn't even sure if you can sweat since you don't breathe."

 

"that wasn't very nice, and yes, i can sweat." seungwan lips dip with a light frown.

 

shrugging, joohyun climbs back into seungwan's lap and the devil's arms naturally fall over her shoulders. "you're not the only one who gets to joke around during a serious conversation." the mortal hums softly.

 

"so this was a serious conversation?"

 

"wasn't it?"

 

"we had a total of three serious lines, joohyun." seungwan drawls, "we've had more serious conversations about fabric softeners."

 

joohyun purses her lips and acknowledges that she's made a good point, she rambled about the importance of fabric softeners in the laundry aisle of a grocery store last week, seems like it's haunting the devil now. it's not that serious, nothing definitive came out of their conversation except the fact that there's no foreseeable end to seungwan's presence in her life anymore. maybe they'll call it serious when she makes sense of her feelings, or if either one outrightly confesses.

 

they lapse into another pocket of silence and seungwan resumes roasting marshmallows with joohyun relaxing against her sternum.

 

"you know," seungwan starts with a mouthful of melted marshmallows, "i'm curious about your first impression of me."

 

"i had nightmares for two whole weeks after the ritual. when you appeared at the train station, i thought you were some psycho. put it simply, you terrified me." joohyun responds while remembering the weeks after sooyoung's silly ritual, she never wants to go through that paranoia ever again.

 

seungwan gasps so loudly that it causes both joohyun and burger to jolt in shock, the two eye the devil with a panicked gaze until she speaks.

 

"you dreamt of me for two whole weeks?"  

 

a smack echos around the fort and joohyun snatches her marshmallow skewer and feeds it to burger who devours the whole thing in one bite.

 

"you're missing the point." she hisses sharply.

 

"nightmares are still dreams." seungwan points out as she creates another marshmallow skewer, "i thought it was funny how you tried to fight me off with a mug."

 

joohyun rolls her eyes and grumbles, "anything can be a weapon if you're desperate enough."

 

"lilith would be proud to hear that, she was adept at fighting with whatever she could find."

 

joohyun hums softly at the mention of lilith; they are two different people who exist in different periods of time but she can't shake the feeling that she knows the woman, like the memory of her sits just out of reach. it's strange but joohyun could never bring herself to be jealous of lilith since it feels like they're cut from the same cloth.

 

"did you know i had her soul when you talked to me?"

 

"the pact isn't a ruse, i promise. it was a genuine mistake, i was dumb." seungwan sighs, "i didn't recognise you until you responded, in fact, i had no idea that you'd been reincarnated already." 

 

"would you still have spoken to me if you knew?"

 

the demon lets out a long hum as she ponders, she answers after pushing another marshmallow into , "probably not."

 

her answer surprises joohyun whose eyes pop open, "really? why not?"

 

"there are periods where i think it's time to let go, y'know, stop the pining. so i try my best to stay away unless you find me." seungwan's shoulders rise slightly, her voice dropping into a low murmur, "but also... our fight before you knew the truth stung a little. it made me question if lilith ever loved me and occasionally, i feel like i've wronged her, i never want to doubt her again."

 

joohyun's heart wrenches with regret and she wastes no time in wrapping seungwan in a tight embrace. with her face buried in the crook of her neck, joohyun apologizes, "i'm sorry, i would take it all back if i could."

 

no amount of apologies seem enough to make up for her harsh words, they were laced with an intention to hurt. she can only hope that with time, she can find other ways to make it up to seungwan.

 

a hand runs down her back and seungwan pats her softly, "i know, and it's okay. regardless of my history with yongsun, i made a promise and broke it, your anger was justified. all you need to know is that i don't regret any of this, you've given me things that lilith couldn't." she reassures gently.

 

"like what?"

 

"top of the list is gagging me with a sock in my sleep," seungwan deadpans, "socks didn't exist back in her time."

 

joohyun snickers sheepishly but it quickly dies to a silence. tightening her hold around the devil, she swallows, "is hurting you on the list too?"

 

hearing the guilt in her voice makes a sharp pang of pain run through her chest, seungwan eyes her charge hesitantly before daring to press small kiss to her head.

 

"i don't blame you, joohyun." she says firmly, "my trust in lilith wavered and that's on me."

 

"but…" joohyun's voice quivers, "i am an extension of lilith, aren't i? what i said must've felt like she was saying it too…"

 

seungwan nudges her lightly, guiding the mortal to look at her before speaking. "you are bae joohyun, you are not lilith.you hold parts of her, but you aren't her. if i could see you as lilith, then she would be the one hurting me, not you." she reaffirms, "now let's put this behind us, okay? we both ed up, but the real up is that god made you an ugly crier, so it's best if we avoid a teary situation. i can't be held responsible if i can't hold back the urge to tease you."

 

joohyun groans loudly and drops her head back into seungwan's chest, it must be a wonderful skill to be able to navigate your way through a conversation that's heavy on the soul with such ease. "i would strangle you if i was a demon."

 

"oh, i'm totally open to choking. you had a multitude of kinks in your past lives. in one life, you summoned me for hot demon  and—"

 

her rambling is interrupted by joohyun forcing a handful of marshmallows into — it's a different kind of choking, the devil muses. she would've said it out loud if not for the sweet confections getting in the way of audible speech.

 

"please stop talking and just..." the mortal trails off slowly and despite an orange glow being casted on her face because of burger, seungwan notices the visible flush on her cheeks, "can we cuddle...?"

 

a wide smile blasts across the devil's lips and she nods, pulling joohyun back into the safety of her arms. it takes a little adjusting but they quickly find themselves relishing in the calming presence of the other. seungwan doesn't make any witty remarks, instead she traces circles on joohyun's arm while the latter has her head pressed against the devil's chest.

 

while her life has been turned upside down since seungwan's arrival, joohyun can't say for sure that she'd pass up on the pact if she knew that it would lead to this. good days wouldn't be good if you've never had a taste of a bad one. for the first time ever, joohyun considers putting her feelings into words. the intangible flutters she feels in the depths of her stomach transforms into terms like happiness, embarrassment and most importantly, solace. she tries to string them into sentences until sleep comes knocking, and that results in one simple line.

 

seungwan makes it easier to get through the bad days. 

 

she surrenders to the heaviness of her eyelids and on the precipice of sleep, a japanese pop song abruptly shatters the tranquillity in the room. joohyun jerks awake as seungwan rushes to turn down the volume of the portable speaker she just materialized with a nervous chuckle.

 

gentle beats of an unnamed lo-fi song begin to fill the silence and seungwan runs her hands down joohyun's back in a soothing motion, coaxing her into a deep slumber. joohyun hasn't slept before her in weeks, so maybe, just for tonight, she'll stay awake so she can savour in this bliss.

 


 

joohyun wakes as the sun begins to rise the next morning, she's surprisingly well rested if she can ignore the stiffness in her neck from sleeping on seungwan instead of her bed. looking around, seungwan is still asleep against burger but her arms are still wrapped around joohyun, shielding her from the cold morning temperatures.

 

the mortal spares a moment to trace her features, capturing her relaxed expression with a small smile. sitting up slightly, she whispers softly.

 

"seungwan?" 

 

the devil, on top of being a sleep talker, also happens to be a heavy sleeper. she doesn't rouse from joohyun's movements nor her words, maybe she's still dreaming about flaying mortals in hell or something. joohyun considers her decision for a moment, staring intently at seungwan's soft lips until she decides that she can probably get away with a small kiss.

 

closing the distance between them, joohyun tilts her head slightly with every intention of leaving a gentle peck on her lips, but seungwan cracks an eye open when their mouths are a hair's breadth apart.

 

"you know, your heartbeat sounds like a jackhammer." 

 

joohyun freezes at the sound of her voice, how does she always manage to ruin a moment? embarrassed, joohyun tries to back away but it's pointless to fight against a demon, seungwan pulls her back in easily with a loud bark of laughter escaping her. to further charge, the devil makes incessant kissing noises while trying to revive their ruined kiss, but joohyun pushes her face away and eventually breaks out of her grasp.

 

running a hand through her hair, she makes a mental apology to god as she scrambles out of the blanket fort. avoiding all eye contact, joohyun escapes to her bedroom.

 

"i can pretend to be asleep again if it helps!" 

 

seungwan's voice echos from the living room but joohyun's response comes in the form of a harsh slam of her door. snorting softly, she turns her head over to her hound.

 

"she won't kiss me, so i guess i will kiss you."

 

sliding herself over to press kisses on burger's head, her hound whines at the affection, accepting her kisses with a wag of his tail. seungwan is sure she'll get her kiss one day, all she probably has to do is to shut up, but teasing joohyun comes first for now.

 


end notes:

my hand slipped, welcome to the idiot phase.

this chapter is actually just a bunch of headcanons i tweeted last month, so it might not sound very Smooth. i think i replied to some comments like they're not going to chu chu for 20 chapters and i'm starting to feel like it's becoming less of a joke now. like what if they don't kiss until the last chapter..?

also, i've been meaning to make an excel sheet with visual references and like worldbuilding notes but mmm... i got kinda lazy... if it's something that you'd like to see pls lmk so i can find the willpower to finish it.

anyway, thanks for reading, hope this is enough fluff to make up for the angst monstrosity back in chapter 16.

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