"is this really necessary, hyun?" seungwan whines as she struggles with her restraints.
the devil's arms are twisted behind her back, bound with a rope and a little magic — joohyun got tired of seungwan trying to dodge her questions. it turns out that joohyun knows that it's impossible for seungwan to get a stomachache, so every attempt of her trying to avoid telling joohyun what those files contain has been a failure.
with a little wish, joohyun has the devil tied to a chair with her hands behind her back. seungwan tries to make a joke about how she didn't think joohyun would be into but quickly gets gagged with a sock before the words even leave her lips. there is a right place and right time for jokes, but reading the room isn't one of the devil's skills. the atmosphere quickly shifts when the mortal's gaze digs into her soul.
"what happened to telling me everything i want to know?" joohyun eyes her with a sharp glare and seungwan can't bring herself to meet her gaze.
she focuses on the ground and squirms uncomfortably, the archival files aren't meant to be exposed to mortals, not that the fates mind but because it's a little weird to declare that there's a magic file jotting down everything that's ever happened to them up to the present moment. the mortal pushes her face up close to the devil's and her next wish spills from her lips in an easy sentence.
"i wish to know what is in that file."
it's a wish that seungwan is unable to grant, she doesn't know what is inside either. shoulders sagging, she looks up at her charge with a small sigh. signalling to the sock in , her captor quickly yanks it out and looks at her expectantly.
here goes nothing.
"you already know, hyun." seungwan murmurs, "it's a record of everything that's happened in your life, the redacted files are merely a compilation of all the bad things, traumas and fears typically."
joohyun stiffens, pulling back with a slight furrow of her brows. "did... did you read it?" she whispers weakly.
"fear of fire, that's all i know. i have a different copy of your files, it contains information about you but nothing in-depth, just things like your likes and dislikes. the redacted files really get into the details but i promise, i haven't read it." seungwan says softly, words laced with a sincerity that she hopes joohyun is able to feel.
perhaps she does, any trace of anger melts away and the mortal backs away from seungwan. drawing a shaky breath, joohyun mumbles, "why are you guys so... invasive?"
seungwan can't help but feel like she's committed a crime far worse than stealing a redacted file from the archives. her eyes follow joohyun as she plops down on the couch with her eyes pinched shut. as much as she wishes to tell seungwan the truth, there are some things she would prefer to leave in the past.
"i'm sorry, it's easier for us to work if we know our charges better."
exhaling slowly, joohyun turns to the devil. "why didn’t you read it?”
“first things first, you only ever wish for food so i don’t have to do much research,” seungwan points out, “secondly, i know better than to break your trust again. i rather find out from you than to read it off some file.”
there’s a third and final point that doesn’t leave seungwan’s lips — that is she might act on her rage once again. she’s never going to let joohyun see that side of her again, she could be a monster in the eyes of every other being but not joohyun. sensing her stiffness, seungwan continues to reassure her.
"the fates offered me a chance to read it as i was returning it and i turned them down, joohyun. you don't have to tell me anything you don't want to. but if you do, even if it's fifty years from now, i'd still be willing to listen. i swear it on my soul, whatever remains of it."
the mortal wonders if the way her heart swells is because of how safe seungwan makes her feel, and how she just knows seungwan will stick to her promise. the gentle revelation causes her to look at the demon bound in her living room — she trusts seungwan. somewhere along the lines of entering a pact to learning that god is dead, joohyun learnt how to trust her wholeheartedly. she knows for a fact that seungwan will keep her safe, and she knows that seungwan would never hurt her.
trusting someone, especially the devil herself, would normally sound terrifying, but joohyun isn't afraid in the slightest. vulnerability isn't something she's used to for now, but one day, perhaps. swallowing the lump in with a slow nod, joohyun stands up to approach seungwan once again.
"one day." she murmurs, untying the magic knot that keeps seungwan bound to the chair.
seungwan bobs her head with a grin, "one day."
with the archival crisis averted, seungwan is certain that nothing else could get in their way. joohyun still refuses to kiss her but she's already chased her soul across lifetimes, waiting a little longer isn't a big deal. most days, she falls asleep within minutes. on rare occasions, if she's moving about, it means something is bothering her. the devil isn't that hard to read.
sharing a bed means the mortal notices. not willingly, however, but rather due to the fact that the demon won't stop tossing and turning.
"what?" she huffs, finally turning over to face seungwan who hasn't stopped shifting for the past ten minutes.
"nothing." the demon blurts, "why aren't you asleep?"
"because you won't stop shifting." joohyun mutters as she pushes herself up to assess why seungwan is acting like this. "nightmare?" she asks softly, voice tender and laced with concern, and joohyun reaches over to intertwine their fingers.
the comforting gesture fills the devil with guilt, she hadn't noticed her fidgeting has been affecting joohyun. while she doesn't need sleep, her charge does. seungwan shifts to lie on her side and expels a quiet sigh, "it's nothing, go back to sleep."
but joohyun isn't one to give up that easily, with her brows stitched into a slight frown, she murmurs.
"you can tell me." she nudges seungwan lightly, "you trust me, don't you?"
there's only one answer to this question and it will always be yes. across time and space, seungwan always seems to find herself the most vulnerable in the presence of her soul. still, there are moments where she holds back as well.
the devil raises her shoulders slightly, "it's kinda stupid, don't worry about it."
"all the more i want to hear it."
"you have an early morning, hyun."
"i'm not going to get any sleep if you keep causing an earthquake in bed," joohyun mutters while jabbing a finger into seungwan's arm over and over again as if it'll get the devil to spill. perhaps not, but her persistence does eventually convince seungwan to relent. feeling the heat creep up her cheeks, the demon decides it's easier if she doesn't look at joohyun while talking.
she murmurs in a barely audible whisper, reminding joohyun of a shy child rather than a demon.
"i really want to cuddle with you."
neither one speaks for a distinct beat of silence until joohyun snorts and a wild laugh rips from . of all the things she had been worrying about, cuddling is definitely not on the list. wiping a stray tear from her eyes, she collects herself.
she suppresses her snicker while speaking, "that's it?"
maybe she'll rip her own soul out because of the embarrassment that threatens to suffocate her, seungwan pulls the sheets up to her nose and turns her back to joohyun.
"you think it's dumb, don't you!" she whines with a small huff.
"it's not..." joohyun is quick to reassure her with a stifled laugh but seungwan clearly doesn't believe her, "i'm laughing because i thought you did something terrible. a cuddle is far from what i've been expecting."
half a lie, joohyun thinks it's hilarious that the devil is embarrassed to ask for cuddles.
seungwan doesn't budge from her position, even after joohyun apologizes. the mortal comes up with a better way to make up for things. closing the gap between them, joohyun presses her body against the back of the devil and her arms wrap themselves around seungwan, enveloping her in a warm cuddle.
"dibs on being the small spoon tomorrow." is all she says in response to hearing seungwan's breathing hitch.
the mortal falls asleep before she can even see the wide grin on seungwan's lips when she turns to bury her face in joohyun's chest, a light citrus scent wafts into her nose as she too succumbs to sleep.
they wake up the next morning as they always do, with limbs entangled but this time, joohyun is in no rush to let go.
"did you get the email?"
sooyoung's voice cuts through the silence that seungwan and joohyun have settled into. the older girl is busy writing her final paper of the semester while her devilish companion lies across her bed with playing cards spread out in front of her. the devil has picked up solitaire because joohyun finds her laughter distracting when she watches netflix — solitaire is a much quieter and equally entertaining option, joohyun reasons. between solitaire or nothing, seungwan clearly knows which is the better option.
with a strained exhale, joohyun turns to her sister while pushing her glasses to the top of her head.
"email?" she asks with a puzzled frown.
"it's that time of the year, unnie." sooyoung waves her phone in the air, "you know who always sends an email instead of calling."
hearing her words causes joohyun to tighten her jaw. right, it's that time of the year again. with the arrival of winter, snow isn't the only thing to make an appearance.
"who are we talking about?" the devil chimes in, clearly intrigued by the conversation between the sisters. while joohyun has her secrets, sooyoung has no qualms about sharing everything.
"christmas dinner at our of a father's place. i've been meaning to stop showing up but unnie always insists on going," sooyoung mutters with a shrug.
seungwan perks up at the sound of potential family drama. she's seen her fair share over the years, family feuds are entertaining, especially when she gets to watch from the sidelines. this is no mafia family with generations of pent up anger, but it is free drama. sooyoung is on the verge of revealing everything when joohyun shoots her a warning glare — no need to go about airing their dirty laundry to the devil.
thinking that their family secrets are safe, joohyun picks up her phone to look at the latest email in her inbox without noticing the subtle wink that her sister shoots to seungwan. the older mortal has her brows stitched into a frown when she reads the contents of the email. it sounds more like a corporate holiday greeting than an invitation for a family dinner. if she can even use the word family. it's straightforward as always, written by his secretary probably. joohyun grinds down on her teeth when she reaches the end.
regards from director bae.
every year she receives the same email, and every year, joohyun finds herself hoping for something written by her father instead of his damn secretary. asking for a tinge of affection is practically impossible, the act alone would probably split the earth in two, but it doesn't keep her from hoping though.
maybe next year.
joohyun looks up from her screen to find two pairs of eyes staring intently at her, her sister waits in anticipation for a response while seungwan has the slightest hint of worry plastered across her expression. they're waiting for her to say something.
releasing a small sigh, she addresses the two. "we're going," she declares before turning to the devil with a stern warning, "you can come, but no demon magic at all."
a large, beaming smile appears on the devil's cheeks, "as your girlfriend?"
"girlfriend?" sooyoung widens her eyes at the two. she's been aware that there's something going on between the two, for god's sake they share a bed, but seungwan has neglected to update her that they've started using official labels. they will need to have a good, long talk later.
joohyun clicks her teeth sharply, "no, we're not."
"you called me babe!"
"to get you to leave ryujin alone!"
"fact still stands," seungwan folds her arms across her chest, "admit it, you just want to call me babe."
"i do not."
hearing them bicker is nothing new to sooyoung, the apartment is usually filled with the sound of these two quarrelling over the dumbest things. leaving them to it, the young mortal hurriedly escapes from the room lest she's caught in the crossfire. a small smile lingers on her lips, perhaps the holidays will be less draining this time with seungwan around.
um. it's been a hot minute.
i've been really anxious about applying for school and also i went back to playing valorant. just a bunch of things distracting me from writing and also i've been spending more time with friends and family.
i don't think i can return to regular updates like before but trust me i won't abandon this.
anyway, happy holidays and happy new year! thank you for sticking around and reading, i really really appreciate it. wishing you guys nothing but a year filled with wonderful moments and opportunities! stay safe and remember to drink water!
also, listen to moonbyul's new song 'shutdown'!!! it's THE lesbian anthem ok!!!