down bad

all we need of hell

just as joohyun has her yearly traditions, so does the devil. as they approach the end of winter, the upper ranks in the various realms gather for an annual meeting.

 

it's a chore but the seraphim deem that it's necessary to ensure fairness amongst the realms, and the fates agree.

 

but joohyun has no idea, so laughing at seungwan dressing up as a sacrifice is almost instinctive.

 

"yah, what are you doing, my fair maiden?" the mortal snorts loudly upon spotting the devil in front of the mirror in her room. she knows seungwan loves her leather jacket more than anything, so to see her willingly changing out of it is a rare sight.

 

and seungwan should've known this was coming, she should've gotten dressed up in hell instead, but here she is, letting her charge laugh at her. the melodic sound of joohyun’s laugh reminds her that she’s just a fool in love, and there’s no harm in wanting to create moments out of nothing.

 

your fair maiden?” seungwan smirks, twirling around to face the mortal, “knew you’d call me yours one day.”

 

the mortal scoffs as she steps into the room to take a better look; for someone who only wears black clothes, seungwan feels like a completely different person when she’s dressed in a long-sleeved white dress that extends all the way to her ankles.

 

“not even your ankles are exposed?”

 

the devil brings her hands up to and gasps loudly, “how dare you even suggest that i commit such a scandalous act?”

 

“shut up,” joohyun retorts with a smile on her lips, “what are you dressing up for anyway?”

 

seungwan winks while smoothing out the wrinkles on her dress, “i have some business to attend to.”

 

"but a dress? that’s really unlike you.” the mortal questions skeptically, seungwan has never once changed her outfit before returning to hell, seems like this is a different occasion entirely.

 

seungwan sighs, "the fates like it and it's good to have them on my side."

 

"have them on your side?" joohyun quirks a brow. seungwan has seemingly forgotten that despite knowing the truth about her identity, there’s still a lot she doesn’t know about the matters of the divine.

 

"yeah, it's just this dumb annual meeting that they hold with heaven and hell. we go over a bunch of things and make important decisions like how many souls can be reincarnated in the next year." she responds whilst motioning casually as if this isn’t the most important meeting that concerns the celestials.

 

"why do you need to decide that?"

 

"sometimes the fates get really into their work and they reincarnate a bunch of people at once, leaving hell a little empty and earth a little too populated. it's good to have balance between the realms."

 

"sounds like you're going to hate it."

 

the devil’s shoulders sag with a sigh, "i am, do you wanna come with me?"

 

"no, thank you,” joohyun grimaces, “i will not willingly involve myself in your hellish business. will you be back for dinner?"

 

fair, it’s not like joohyun wanted to know any of this in the first place. seungwan furrows her brows as she tries to recall just how long last year’s meeting took but all she remembers was that she fell asleep and woke up to the seraphim glaring at her — not a fun sight to wake up to. besides, time doesn’t exactly run the same way when the fates are present.

 

"it could take a while,” the devil shrugs, “what do you want?"

 

“can you pick up some tteokbboki on the way home?”

 

seungwan nods, however, a retort is perched on her tongue. “you know delivery apps exist, right?”

 

“they’re not as fresh and warm as when you bring them back,” joohyun pouts. she can’t pinpoint the exact moment when seungwan stopped pestering her to make wishes, but the gradual decline happened just a little after the mess with yongsun. nowadays, seungwan can pretty much read her mind, so joohyun no longer needs to make mundane wishes just to satisfy her.

 

“fine,” the devil beams, “if the meeting ends up being a little too long then i’ll get burger to bring it back.”

 

joohyun nods, “okay, have fun at the meeting.”

 

“i will not.”

 

“you can try to text me.” the mortal suggests in an attempt to cheer up the grouchy demon, and it works because seungwan’s face lights up instantly — no more dreary meetings for the devil.

 

“i will!”

 

with that, seungwan prepares to teleport herself to the realm of the fates, but joohyun stops her by tugging at her wrist. running her fingers through her hair, the mortal combs through her messy locks, making the devil look a little more presentable.

 

and seungwan is once again reminded how just how much she is in love with this soul, her heart flutters at the action that is seemingly second nature to joohyun. biting down on her lip, the devil suppresses a grin.

 

“good to go,” joohyun bobs her head in a satisfied nod, “tell me how it goes later.”

 

“oh, i’ll tell you all about it while it happens.”

 

“yah, pay attention. you still have your obligations to fulfil.” the mortal chides with a roll of her eyes, “we’ll have plenty of time later.”

 

“if you say so. i’ll be back soon, don’t miss me.”

 

“i won’t.”

 

“you will.”

 

“fine, i will.”

 

joohyun relents with a sigh, though the corners of her lips are threatening to lift into a smile. she urges seungwan to leave with a wave of her hand and the devil throws one last wink before disappearing before her eyes. 

 

the sudden wave of emptiness that washes over her is a familiar feeling and joohyun is gradually learning how to ignore it. sometimes, she’s grateful that they can spend some time apart, but there’s just something about having the devil’s presence constantly by her side. perhaps it is selfish, but it comforts her to know that seungwan will always be there.

 

even if she’s not, she’ll find her way back eventually.

 


 

a gentle breeze greets the devil when she lands in the far shore, a heavy fog shrouds her vision as always but seungwan has the directions to the meeting venue etched in her brain. she learnt pretty early on that if she wants to make it to the meeting in one piece, getting lost is a huge no.

 

the annual meeting is always on a fixed date, the third sunday of december, just before the year draws to a close. everything required for it is handled by her kings or lesser demons, so all she has to do is show up in a dress to please the fates. it used to be fun but as the years go by, seungwan thinks it's more of a chore — unless something catastrophic happens during the year. perhaps the most significant event of this year is her recent clash with sahaquiel, that'll definitely be discussed and she's looking forward to not having heaven breath down on every demon's neck for a while. 

 

on top of that, she wonders if her pact with joohyun would be brought up. maybe the angels will force them to part once their time is up, but seungwan has readied a defence for that scenario. it's easy to prove how the only person that joohyun would attempt to kill is her, and that this version of lilith is as harmless as a fly.

 

plus, she put on her best dress for this, she's prepared to sway the minds of the fates with her charms if necessary.

 

the meeting room lies in a colossal building somewhere in the north of the far shore. thankfully, there are no monstrous creatures in this region — the fates made sure they stayed away for the sake of the angels but the demons are grateful to not have to run into them as well.

 

a large marble building comes into view after a couple of minutes of strolling, pillars that extend high above line the outer walls, resembling a greek temple. the sheer size of it makes the place exude grandeur despite it being in the middle of nowhere. it’s odd really, while the fates are creative, they aren’t exactly the best planners.

 

the tranquillity of the far shore is left behind when seungwan steps into the bustling building, celestials of all kinds fill the corridor with their chatter but there is a distinct distance between angelkind and demonkind. nothing out of the ordinary, it would be weird if there isn’t any animosity between them.

 

she acknowledges some of the friendly faces as she struts into the meeting hall to meet up with the rest of her kings who have promptly arrived. as always, the devil sticks out like a sore thumb because she’s the only one dressed in white. the other kings are all dressed in black, donning classy coats and sharp suits — talk about taking one for the team.

 

"what are we talking about?" seungwan chimes into a hushed conversation amongst the kings.

 

yerim nods towards where the seraphim are usually gathered and the devil follows her gaze with ease. the seraphs are promptly seated well before the start and amongst them are sahaquiel and leliel. the atmosphere around the angels feels tense and seungwan narrows her eyes slightly in an attempt to pinpoint the reason.

 

"what about them?"

 

"leliel has extra bracelets but sahaquiel has none, even the one that used to be around her neck is gone." yerim explains, "she's weak now."

 

witnessing the extent of her damage elicits a twinge of regret, maybe she went too far. despite everything that has happened and how she almost got killed, seungwan can't find a trace of hatred in her heart. she does, however, feel the guilt threatening to eat at her.

 

angels are much like demons, their strength determines their worth and seungwan has robbed sahaquiel of it.

 

with the leader of the seraphim now disgraced, another celestial takes up the mantle of guiding the angels. uriel, the angel of truth, clears loudly to gather the various realms to their respective seats in the room.

 

in the curved conference room, seats are positioned behind and above the main council. where one sits would depend on their rank in their respective realms, the higher ranking celestials would get to be behind the main council while the lower ranking ones would be seated above. 

 

the demons are seated on the left side of the large hall while the angels of heaven gather across them on the right. the angels of the far shore are seated in the middle, behind yves as always. they gather as if to watch an opera instead of attending a meeting, however archaic this seating plan may be, it works well to house the celestials. the angels insist that every being should be allowed to know the contents of their meetings if they choose to. most demons used to be absent until the seraphim pointed out that hell’s side of the room was a little empty, seungwan makes sure that the seats are always filled with her most disruptive demons after that.

 

the devil promptly takes her seat in the middle of the large desk meant for the demons, yerim and seulgi take their place by her side while the others settle in seats beside them or behind them. once everyone in the room has stilled, the fates make their appearance with a blinding flash of light.

 

three old women appear in the center of the room, identical in all ways, from their hair to their clothes to their accessories, it’s impossible to tell them apart until they speak. greyed hair tied up in a loose bun, their skin sags with age, and wrinkled arms are locked behind their backs as they acknowledge the audience with a small nod. dressed in white chitons, the fates have black blindfolds across their eyes for reasons unknown. seungwan loves to joke that it’s a bad fashion choice but sometimes they would react in a way that makes the devil fear the consequences of them removing it.

 

they address the celestials in unison, their voices echoing through the hall in sync.

 

“so what have you losers been up to?”

 

it’s quiet until seungwan scoffs loudly to acknowledge their ty attempt at humour — it’s a pointless question considering the fact that they practically dictate the actions of every being. her disrespectful behaviour earns glares and tuts of disapproval from the angels. while the angels had a more professional relationship with the fates, seungwan and the demons prefer things to be a little more casual.

 

though the fates may come off as a single entity, each one of them have their own personalities, and only when it comes to dictating destiny are they united. the fate standing in the middle snorts loudly — clotho, she’s the one that convinced seungwan to always show up for these things in a damn dress.

 

“always lovely to see you in a dress, lucifer.” she hums mockingly, “let us get this over with, shall we?”

 

the fates settle into their seats and the angels kick off the meeting by going over some pointless statistics like how many souls made it into heaven compared to hell. it takes less than half an hour for seungwan to take up joohyun’s offer of texting her.

 

with a little magic, her phone appears in her hand and the demon shoots her charge a text. to her surprise, it actually goes through. considering that interdimensional texting doesn’t work in hell, it’s a pleasant surprise to find that it works in the far shore — the fates must’ve held steve jobs, or some other tech guru, hostage until they had a stable connection between realms.

 

her glee lasts for a brief moment until joohyun’s reply causes a loud ding to echo through the hall, interrupting the presentation by the seraphim. all eyes turn in her direction and there’s no escaping the embarrassment. grimacing, the devil chuckles nervously. 

 

before she can muster up an excuse, lachesis, the sternest of the fates, pulls the device out of the devil’s hands with an unseen force.

 

“it has not even been an hour, lucifer.” lachesis sighs, “we would have let it slide if you were a little more discreet but alas, no phones allowed.”

 

so this is why the mortals always have their phones on silent mode.

 

the devil raises her hands in surrender, “my bad.” 

 

if the angels didn’t already detest her, surely their hatred would have ascended to a new level by now. the meeting carries on and seungwan couldn’t be more miserable; joohyun has a free day today and she’s stuck in a damn meeting. she would much prefer to hang out around her boring charge than to listen to the seraphim drawl on about how much better humanity would be if demon pacts have a limit.

 

her kings are no different from her either. to her left, seulgi is doodling on a piece of paper with hell’s statistics and to her right, yerim is attempting to fold origami with the exact same document. turning around, the rest of her kings have figured out something to do with the pieces of paper holding information regarding this meeting.

 

her copy of this year’s report sits untouched in front of her. seulgi has been in charge of ensuring that the contents are up to standard and she always does a good job. flicking through the report with disinterest, there’s nothing noteworthy except for the list of ridiculous demands that are likely to be rejected. as always, at the top of the list is to remove the hellfire barrier, which seungwan herself would reject without hearing the reasons. feeling the boredom creep into her soul, the devil reclines in her chair and studies the angels.

 

all of the seraphim are dressed in their signature white robes with their hoods pulled back. it’s almost ironic that while her own robes got burnt up in her fall from grace, the fates decided it was a good idea to put her back in a white dress — as if she could ever be one of them again. maybe it would be a good idea to attempt a reconciliation at some point, but not within the next millennium or more. some wounds will still feel too raw despite how long it has been.

 

the angels finish their presentation just short of the first-hour mark and to be honest, the only demon that’s paying attention is their dedicated scribe. on hell’s side, yerim used to be the one presenting but she decided to delegate that duty to ryujin instead. as disgruntled as she may be, the young demon still does it anyway.

 

when ryujin begins sharing some of the good things that were a result of demon pacts this year, seungwan notices the angels frantically scribbling notes. she can’t help but snort as if they needed help on how to be better guardian angels. at the same time, a brilliant idea pops into her mind. stealing a pen from yerim, she pretends to jot down notes but in reality, she’s writing notes to send to joohyun.

 

using a little apparition magic, she sends the note back to earth, hoping that joohyun would respond.

 


 

without seungwan around, joohyun had expectations that today would be a calm day. though, the magically appearing piece of paper that makes her jump after she finished putting fresh laundry into the dryer would prove her wrong. cursing under her breath, joohyun collects herself before picking up the loose sheet of paper. from afar, it looked like someone left a part of their essay lying around. upon closer inspection, the contents of said essay used words that mortals wouldn’t normally use.

 

sighing, she flips it around to find a note scrawled on the back.

 

‘PHONE GOT CONFISCATED, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO’

 

this is definitely seungwan’s doing, and it explains why joohyun didn’t receive a reply after her first text.

 

grabbing the nearest pen, the mortal writes a swift reply. 

 

‘laundry. maybe you should pay attention then’

 

before she can even think about how to get it back to seungwan, the paper disappears from her hands. chuckling quietly, joohyun can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of this situation. her demon tried to text her and got her phone confiscated, now they’re passing notes through realms as if it was elementary school.

 

the same piece of paper appears moments later, carrying the complaints of the devil.

 

‘IT’S BORING, THEY ALWAYS BRING UP THE SAME PROBLEMS :(‘

 

scoffing, joohyun can almost hear seungwan whinging in real-time. she responds with sarcasm inked into the sheet of paper.

 

‘must to be the king of hell huh?’

 

it takes a while for the note to disappear this time as if seungwan is waiting for her to finish writing before whisking the note back into her realm.

 

joohyun settles onto the sofa, mindlessly clicking the pen in her hand as she waits for the magic paper to reappear. this is hardly how she imagined her off day to go but she doesn’t mind in the slightest. the paper glides into her lap mere seconds later and joohyun feels her cheeks redden after reading the words on it.

 

‘IT WOULD LESS IF YOU WERE THE QUEEN OF HELL. WE’RE STILL ACCEPTING APPLICANTS YOU KNOW ;)’

 

if this is how the devil wants to play, then it wouldn’t hurt to play along.

 

‘where do i sign up, your majesty?’

 


 

one could consider flirting with the love of her life a favourite hobby of the devil, but it’s different when joohyun flirts back. in a single sentence, seungwan’s cheeks face an unfamiliar flush. a small, excited squeak slips from and thankfully it’s only heard by her two closest kings who instantly quirk their brows at her.

 

before she can apparate the note away, yerim snatches it out of her hands to read her messages with joohyun. the demon rolls her eyes before handing it to seulgi who struggles to suppress a snort.

 

“you are what the mortals would call down bad , wannie.” seulgi pats her best friend on the back while returning the paper to her.

 

seungwan presses her lips into a thin line and shoots a retort easily, “at least i’m not sketching her out from memory with extreme detail.”

 

littered all over seulgi’s reports are sketches of sooyoung — looks like seungwan isn’t the only one who’s down bad. the demon tries to defend herself but gives up after seungwan shoots her a pointed look. 

 

the meeting drags on much to the dismay of the demons. at the rate they’re going, they would run out of paper before the meeting comes to an end. seungwan would normally take a nap by the time it hits the two-hour mark but joohyun keeps her occupied; her charge apparently enjoys her flirtatious remarks alongside divine politics more than she thought. 

 

an intermission happens somewhere near the three-hour mark, seems like a lot more happened in the various realms than seungwan bothered to find out. in her defence, she’s been pretty occupied with all things concerning joohyun for the past few months. 

 

yerim pulls her aside during the break, away from prying eyes and ears. an archival folder appears in her hands as she looks at seungwan with a tightened jaw. naturally, after going to great lengths to obtain these forbidden files, yerim would satiate her curiosity by taking a peek. she already knows what lies in joohyun’s redacted files, so she has an idea of what to expect in the files of this man. all she can say is she didn’t like what she read, so she fears how badly seungwan would react to it.

 

“as your friend, i need you to know that this is a bad idea.” the demon drops her voice low in warning, “don’t read unless you have to.”

 

folding her arms across her chest, the devil frowns. “come on, how bad can it be?”

 

“i know you well enough, seungwan. sometimes you can’t see past your anger and you end up doing things that you regret.” 

 

silence washes over the two as the devil purses her lips — she knows yerim is right, but at the same time, she’s learnt a valuable lesson from pummeling yongsun in front of joohyun.

 

“i promise i will keep my cool this time.”

 

despite eyeing her with suspicion, yerim s the file into the devil’s hands. she doesn’t doubt that seungwan is capable of change but she can only hope her trust won't be misplaced. seungwan wastes no time in apparating it to a safe place where, hopefully, she will return it before yves and olivia find it missing.

 

“remember to return it before they find out. i would hate to fight azrael.” yerim grumbles, she worries for seungwan should the angel of death actually make an attempt for her life. it’s a miracle that she managed to survive sahaquiel but azrael will not show mercy.

 

seungwan bobs her head with a smile, “won’t make the same mistake twice, thanks yerim-ah.”

 

yerim stitches her brows and mutters, “i’m serious, seungwan. sahaquiel went easy on you and yves was forgiving. the next time azrael goes after you, she will not care who gets hurt in the process.” 

 

slinging an arm around yerim’s shoulders, the devil guides them back into the meeting hall. “i hear you loud and clear, but just in case i up, you will save me, right?”

 

a fist meets her gut and seungwan coughs at the impact but she responds with a chuckle instead.

 

“you’re lucky i decided to betray god.”

 

“oh whatever would i do without you, baal?”

 


 

the meeting drags on for an ungodly amount of time, to a point where joohyun decides to abandon her to take a nap. and as expected, the fates do bring up the topic of sahaquiel and leliel overstepping their boundaries as seraphs. while the seraphim bow their heads in apology, seungwan jumps at the opportunity to clear smugly, prompting the fates to allow the demons some extra perks for the decades to come. said perks include granting certain wishes that the angels would usually make a big fuss over and allowing vampires to exist alongside humanity. vampires might sound like a weird request but there seems to be a rise in mortals who want to be turned into those ers.

 

and perhaps because of sahaquiel’s mistakes, nobody dares to bring up her harmless pact with joohyun.

 

with a brief conclusion from the fates, the annual meeting comes to a close. seungwan considers it better than most years, in fact, all the demons do since they’re given a little more leeway when it comes to granting the desires of mortals.

 

they celebrate with drinks in hell; while seungwan desperately wants to return to joohyun, yerim mumbling something along the lines of her being too clingy makes her stay out of spite.

 

seungwan stumbles back to earth after a few glasses, thinking she can hide her tipsiness until she bumps into a wall. maybe she’s drunker than she thought.

 

“seungwan?”

 

blinking rapidly, the devil turns to the sound of joohyun’s voice. her charge is waiting for her on the couch, the dinner that she entrusted burger to deliver lies untouched on the coffee table.

 

“you haven’t eaten.” she points out while crossing over to joohyun, “it’s not warm anymore.”

 

the mortal raises her shoulders as she pats the seat next to her invitingly, “i thought you would be back earlier.”

 

lifting her lips into a dumb smile, seungwan apologizes and falls beside her charge, “sorry, the meeting dragged on way longer than i thought it would and i went for a couple of celebratory drinks.”

 

“did something good happen?” joohyun asks curiously as she pulls out dinner from the paper bag.

 

the devil makes a noise that sounds like an uncertain yes, “i guess, the demons have a little more freedom when it comes to wishes now but we drink for no good reason either.”

 

“so can you make me the pope for free now?”

 

a loud bark of laughter escapes seungwan’s throat, “no, but i will do it for a quarter of the original price.”

 

“bummer,” joohyun curves her lips into a smile, “can you reheat my tteokbboki instead?”

 

“you have a microwave, hyun.”

 

“please?”

 

the devil grumbles, but her charge still gets warm tteokbboki for dinner as promised. though joohyun doesn’t outrightly say it, the act of waiting for seungwan to return to eat dinner together is enough to warm the devil’s heart. plus, she knows that seungwan doesn’t need sustenance like mortals do. yet with every bite, she offers the other half to her.

 

maybe joohyun is still afraid to acknowledge it, but seungwan sees it all too clearly. even an idiot wouldn’t need a confession to know this.

 

bae joohyun might actually be in love with the devil.

 


end notes:

happy priDE MONth!!! literally feels illegal if i don’t update. originally chapter was much longer but i decided to split it into two so i can pretend like i’m treating y’all good by updating twice a month. next update will probably be in a few days. joohyun’s backstory in the next chapter and i’m excited about it!!

anyway, kinda feels like a filler chapter, idk what was the point of this chapter either. silly goofy demons and joohyun with a fat crush ig. also a side note, i pictured taeyeon as uriel. 

anw, life updates? i guess? i’ve been taking driving lessons for the past month and i’m pretty close to finishing them. kinda excited about it, i just wanna be able to drive out to get mcdonalds at night. and maybe the only update you guys wanna read in these notes… i haven’t asked The Girl out yet… we are not officially together but i am going to ask her out soon…!!! things were kinda messy in the earlier weeks like we fought a few times in a span of two weeks and i kinda wanted to give up. but we sorted things out and everything’s good now, she treats me with more patience than i think i deserve honestly. idk what else u guys wanna know tbh… talking bout the nosy folks in my cc :/

that’s all i got for now, thanks for reading :)))))!!!!! wrote this to ‘you’ by nkei and ‘yours’ by conan gray, not exactly happy songs but i love the vibes.

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