to bribe a mortal

all we need of hell

the sisters haven't had a proper talk for the past three days and considering it's the eve of christmas, seungwan decided that it's time to resolve things. she forces the two to sit on the couch while she paces around in front of them with her hands behind her back.

 

"your sister and i have talked about this, and we have decided to give you a reward if you choose to show up." 

 

stitching her brows into a frown, joohyun looks at the devil with confusion. that is a blatant lie — they did not talk about anything. all she recalls is seungwan briefly saying she has a way to get sooyoung to go to the dinner. 

 

mention of a reward naturally intrigues the younger mortal, she beckons seungwan to elaborate with a nod. "continue, demon."

 

"if you show up, we'll give you a brand new phone." seungwan smirks, materializing the latest iPhone model in her hands, "has the best specs too."

 

a nonchalant hum escapes from sooyoung as she raises her phone, "i already have the latest one."

 

damn, she should've done her research. seungwan thinks hard about what a young adult like sooyoung could possibly need and pulls her next bribe into existence.

 

"a brand new macbook! you can study in style!" the devil exclaims while throwing out jazz hands. a shiny new laptop floats in the air to her right, in hopes of enticing the grumpy human.

 

sooyoung narrows her eyes, it's not even a macbook pro, who the hell does she think she's dealing with?

 

“bold of you to assume i study.”

 

pursing her lips, seungwan removes the laptop from existence. bribing sooyoung is much harder than she expected but she refuses to give up.

 

“how about a brand new pair of headphones? everyone has been talking about it on tiktok.” seungwan beams as she slips on a comfy pair of noise-cancelling headphones, “oh wow, this is great, you can probably block out joohyun when she nags at you.”

 

the sisters mouth words but seungwan merely taps the headphones to prove how good they are. the muffled protests of her charge hardly bother her as she yanks the headphones off her ears, casting expectant glances at the younger mortal.

 

“what do you say?”

 

"jesus..." she mutters, "i said why are you on tiktok and do you really think i'm that materialistic?"

 

seungwan shrugs, "tiktok’s fun. and have you seen the clutter in your room? it looks like an aliexpress warehouse."

 

her retort draws a wild laugh from joohyun and elicits a sharp click of her teeth from sooyoung. 

 

"yah!"

 

"she's not wrong, sooyoung-ah."

 

"i thought the whole point of this was to bribe me, not roast me!"

 

the devil and her charge raise their shoulders in sync, seungwan's plan might have failed spectacularly but on the bright side, the sisters are able to exchange a sentence without hostility.

 

"seriously, what will it take for you to go?" seungwan asks curiously, "and why this year of all years?"

 

it's a valid question albeit a difficult one to answer. releasing a slow exhale, the young mortal casts her eyes to the ground. 

 

"i don't see a point, it's not like he ever acknowledges us. you might not know this, seungwan, but the sole reason he even reached out to us was that his new wife convinced him to." resentment clings to sooyoung's voice, she croaks through clenched teeth, "he has never been a father to us but once a year, he deems it necessary to show off how perfect his current family is like we weren't good enough for him."

 

sheesh, this man is a lot worse than seungwan could've anticipated, she makes a mental note to actually look at his file later. a new family explains a lot, and she can empathize with sooyoung's reluctance. 

 

joohyun chimes in quietly, "he's trying, sooyoung."

 

"is he really?" she bristles, "he has never once apologized for what he did to the both of us. we're better off without him and you know that too. i don't get why you're always trying to defend him."

 

"i think he deserves a second chance."

 

"he's had seven years' worth of chances, seven years to utter a single 'i'm sorry' but he hasn't. we're not obliged to reconnect with him just because he's our father."

 

joohyun nods her head slowly, "i know, but i want to, sooyoung. i still want him in my life despite everything. he talks more now compared to when we first started going over, maybe we just need to give him a little more time."

 

"but i don't want to, unnie. i don't think he deserves our kindness."

 

the older girl presses her lips into a thin line as her gaze shifts to the devil to plead for help. sooyoung can be stubborn at times and joohyun knows she won't win this argument.

 

seungwan’s previous attempts at mediation have gone terribly but now she’s a little more experienced and knowledgeable. and perhaps a very important factor — she's on sooyoung’s side now.

 

“now, now, ladies. i have the perfect solution to this problem.” 

 

the glares that she receives make her purse her lips and get to the point. 

 

"how about you guys give him one more chance? show up once more and we'll see if he deserves another year of kindness. if he doesn't then... joohyun, you have to acknowledge that he is a terrible person and move on."

 

as much as she wishes to side with joohyun, with everything she’s learnt about their father, seungwan can safely say she detests the man and wants her to stay away from him. she has other means of making that a reality but it would very likely upset joohyun if she finds out. nothing beats some good old fashioned tactics like convincing her charge that her father is hot garbage.

 

the sisters take a moment to ponder over the devil’s words, shooting each other a glance when they’ve thought it through.

 

“sounds fair to me," sooyoung extends a hand towards her sister, "do we have a deal?"

 

there's a trace of hesitation in joohyun's eyes but still, she accepts her hand with a firm grasp. 

 

"you really think i'd want to shake hands?" she scoffs, "come here." 

 

sooyoung pulls her in for a hug instead, causing the older girl to fall into her sister's chest with a surprised yelp.

 

"you're not going to send me an email with a contract later?"

 

"if that's what you want, director bae." sooyoung retorts.

 

joohyun groans, in spite of that, there's still a bright smile on her cheeks. the past few days have been horrible and she's glad that it's over. hopefully, they'll never fight over this again. 

 

"so do i still get a reward?"

 

joohyun shrugs, she's not the wish-granting demon here, seungwan can handle this. the devil hums, "since you're not materialistic, then i have just the thing for you."

 

a stick of chalk appears in her hand and sooyoung is quick to comment on it. "chalk? i guess i'm staying home then."

 

seungwan shushes her as she crouches on the ground, gliding the chalk over the floor with precision. thanks to that one dark arts professor in the 16th century, the devil has become adept at the art of drawing summoning runes. 

 

with a little magic, she calls forth the demon king, beelzebub.

 

seulgi appears sprawled out on top of the rune, dressed in pink pajamas and a bear eyemask obscuring her eyes. there is silence amongst the original trio, eyes flitting from one another to the demon king who is still soundly asleep.

 

"your reward for going is you get a blood contract with seulgi, how about that?" seungwan whispers as she lifts both her thumbs with a wide grin.

 

sooyoung frowns, keeping her voice low, she hisses, "she's not even awake to agree."

 

"wait, what about her soul?" joohyun adds, knowing her contract with seungwan is different than the normal ones.

 

seulgi stirs in her sleep, a snore interrupts their conversation but she doesn't wake. the poor demon turns and chalk finds its way onto her clothes. after checking that she's still asleep, the devil returns her attention to the sisters.

 

"you think someone who can summon a demon king is going to heaven?" seungwan quips, "the angels wouldn't risk having someone capable of summoning us back there and the fates know that."

 

"hold on... you're saying i'm definitely going to hell?"

 

seungwan grimaces, "there's a very high chance, but don't sweat it, maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones."

 

"she's not going to be a lucky one if she signs a contract with a demon." joohyun jabs a finger at seulgi; as innocent as she may seem, she fears the wishes her sister will make.

 

the demon stirs from her spot on the ground, groggily forcing herself up and pulling the mask off her eyes. dishevelled hair and bleary-eyed, seulgi blinks slowly awake. 

 

voice raspy with sleep, the demon demands an answer. "why am i here?"

 

"we had a discussion," seungwan grins, "how would you like sooyoung's soul?"

 

joohyun hisses, "we did not have a discussion!"

 

"you know, if i'm not gonna make it to heaven, then there's nothing for me to lose." sooyoung muses with a nonchalant shrug.

 

"sooyoung!"

 

the demon king looks at her potential charge, "if you're cool, then i'm cool, but let's settle the contract later." she yawns, "i just had a scuffle with some vampires and apparently, byleth raised a dangerous new generation. these ers do a lot more damage than normal."

 

pulling back the sleeve of her shirt, seulgi reveals a deep, jagged cut along her forearm, earning cries of disgust from the mortals.

 

seungwan looks away from the nasty wound and mutters, "we have a hospital, at least get some stitches." 

 

"and that would mean needles, no thanks." seulgi shakes her head firmly and pulls her sleeve down once again, "can i get a ride back?"

 

a sharp whistle summons the devil's hound, taking the demon king back to the underworld within mere seconds. clapping her hands together, seungwan looks at the two mortals with a beaming smile.

 

"well, that worked out well."

 


 

most nights, seungwan would've been content to be snuggled up next to her charge. there's no better feeling than falling asleep to the sound of her breathing. not tonight, however, she has let a certain file sit for too long. yerim's warning unnerved her slightly and there are some questions that she would prefer joohyun to not answer. slinking out of the comfort of joohyun's arms, seungwan quietly exits their bedroom.

 

bae hyungwon's archival file sits in a dusty corner of joohyun's apartment — her office in hell might be the first place anyone attempts to look for this file when the angels do find it missing, but who would think to check the bottommost drawer in joohyun's kitchen?

 

absolutely no one, not even joohyun herself checks it.

 

anywhere is a good place to read when you have powers of flight and the ability to see in the dark. seungwan hovers around the tiny apartment as she flicks through the pages until she finds the current records of bae hyungwon.

 

#274

first name: hyungwon

last name: bae

date of reincarnation: 3 july 1969

 

standard stuff, seungwan wants to know more than the basics. she wants to know how this man could live with almost letting his daughter die in an accident that he caused. 

 

the earlier parts of his life sound like any other mortal's, starting off with a good education and then meeting the woman of his dreams in university. a well-paying job and marriage came after, followed by the arrival of bae joohyun. a picturesque life that many would be envious of. everything in his life has proceeded smoothly — until it doesn't. 

 

perhaps the fates deemed his life too mundane, substance abuse after being retrenched from his job seemed like a good way to spice things up. two years after joohyun's birth, he cheated with his wife's best friend. scumbag, seungwan grumbles mentally as she continues to skim through the lengthy document. 

 

the guilt changed him, turning him into a better man. he tried to get back on his feet by starting a business, and it worked out well enough for him to support his small family. yet, the fates never seemed satisfied with the obstacles they've put in his way. his wife fell ill within a couple of years, and seungwan knows the rest. 

 

what she didn't know was he managed to get his sick wife into multiple experimental clinical trials. he could afford one at best, so he had to take out loans for a chance to keep her alive. seungwan feels her heart sink; she knows the feeling of wanting to hold on to someone all too well. the medicine worked for a little until her condition took a devastating turn. 

 

slipping back into old habits was the only way he could cope, but the insurmountable debt would overwhelm him eventually. putting food on the table became a struggle, and his daughter turned into a liability. seungwan is glad that the files don't explicitly state the feelings of mortals as they made their choices, it's easier to keep her temper in check.

 

the accident comes shortly after. though seungwan has heard all about it from joohyun, there is a curiosity that needs to be satiated. 

 

before picking up his sick daughter from school, the man drove over to a nearby convenience store and picked up a six-pack. the more she reads, the more annoyed she feels. her anger is bubbling in her chest at this point but what comes next infuriates her to no end. 

 

he was completely sober when he crashed the car, not a single drop of alcohol was in his system. 

 

he knew exactly what he was doing.

 

the devil's fist collides with the nearest surface, creating a crack that runs in all directions along the living room wall. grinding her teeth, seungwan forces herself to inhale a deep breath, holding it until she can contain her rage. she trembles, releasing a frustrated grunt and throwing another punch at the wall. bits of the ceiling cascade down on her and she snaps her fingers to fix the damage. her wrath once wreaked havoc in the heavens, a tiny apartment complex will crumble if she continues. plus, she doubts joohyun would be happy about a big hole in her wall. 

 

tagging along tomorrow sounds like a bad idea, if this man even pisses her off in the slightest, seungwan might just drag him to hell right in front of everyone. a couple of deep breaths help to calm her down marginally, just enough for her to continue reading. 

 

bae hyungwon was sentenced to five years in prison, too little for the crimes he committed, seungwan thinks. he spent a year trying to get his life together and failed miserably. in a moment of desperation, he entered a blood contract with a demon. 

 

a contract?

 

he certainly fits the criteria for most demons, the chthonic residents tend to like their charges a little morally unethical.

 

seungwan's eyes instantly return to the top of the page; she had ignored a particular section for the sole fact that the chances of a human being contracting a demon are almost one in a ten thousand. not many humans enjoy dabbling in the occult and she assumed he would’ve been the same.

 

yet, the demon contracted by bae hyungwon is one she would never expect.

 

contracted with: beelzebub

 

seems like her best friend has some explaining to do.

 


end notes:

could've posted this yesterday but i had a really bad headache. not sure if i'll return to that really cracked phase of writing every day but we'll see, i kinda miss it. a shorter and light-hearted chapter i guess, haven't written some silly scenes in a hot minute.

also a headcanon but if seungwan did tiktoks, she would do the guy.exe one.

thanks for reading!

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