monster (stormborn) practice
monster (stormborn) practice
Eric: I didn't even need nine months to be born
Eric: I came out in seven!
Sangyeon: that's not a good thing
“So what did Sangyeon show you, before he left?”
You were currently at the coffee shop near your firm with Haknyeon, the two of you winding down from your lunch with some caffeine as a way to just relax, and sadly the amount of files in front of you was disappointing. Screen captures of what he was able to retrieve from the edited footage were sprawled in front of you and you let out a soft sigh when you looked between Haknyeon and the tampered camera that Kamila was not there for.
“It wasn’t Kamila…” He whispers quietly, and your stomach churns a bit as you wonder who the person in the identified pictures is, because they weren’t in any of the alibis that Sangyeon had mentioned before.
The person that was in the pictures was a male instead of Kamila, obviously being a professional at this if he was able to disable the cameras outside of Sangyeon’s office after doing damage. However, the question that lingered in your mind was who they were, because you could’ve sworn that you have seen them before, maybe once while passing by or a bump in the middle of the day on a busy street day.
They looked familiar, and you hated the empty feeling.
“He looks familiar, don’t you think, Hak?” You mumbled quietly, crossing your arms in front of your chest as you slightly tilted your head to look at the person, even if the new angle may not be beneficial as to figuring out who they were.
“Kwon Eunbi’s younger brother, the one that was in our class back in junior year of uni.” He replies, and your eyes widen at the name that he mentions as if a lightbulb had appeared on top of your head and gone off.
You had known Eunbi’s brother, from what you could recall from years ago, as someone that often kept to himself but was able to be part of small friend groups because of how sociable he was within those people he surrounded himself with. When he had found his way into yours though, it was like a lightning had struck on you because of how horrible he ended up being, and you started to think of how horrible circumstances might’ve been now if he was willing to go to Sangyeon’s office to trash it.
“Do you think he’s connected with Kamila in a way? Aren’t Sangyeon and Eunhyuck rivals though, because why would he have a reason to come all the way to the office and trash it, when he has his own company to run…” You trailed, looking back up to face Haknyeon, when you noticed that his eyes had gone a bit darker and somber at the same time.
He looks over and takes a double glance between you and the papers before pursing his lips, sipping out of his cup of coffee for a moment as he takes the picture into his hands once more before speaking up in the silence that was slowly becoming tension filled between you both. The reason for the silence: he knew why Eunhyuck might’ve had a reason to trash Sangyeon’s office, and if you were going to get involved with it… It wouldn’t end well for anyone.
“Only one way to find out. Let's visit him tomorrow.”
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: SPILLED LIPS
chapter five: old friends
summary: after a while of not being able to find any new clients for your small firm, an old friend calls for the help of you and a mutual friend that you remember from college. the case involved his own business that you remember hearing him taking over, but it seemed rather heated as you somehow managed to find love and new secrets while working on it.
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a touch of ruin (angels vs. demons collab) | teaser here
pairing: demon!juyeon x female soul!reader
word count: 14.5k
genre: angst, fluff if you really squint, very suggestive, smut (notified by 🌑🌕 so please, do not read this section if you are a minor), greek mythology
warnings: smut, major character death (that is the point of the story ofc), numerous mentions of death, mentions of food and alcohol, not too gory dw
summary: after being sentenced to work in the fields of punishment, you discover that there might be more to your eternity than you had imagined.
note: this story is based on the son of a certain god (I won’t spoil who) but all references to the mythology are used and adapted for fictional purpose.
A/N: hiiii !! this fic is looong in the making, as a part of The Boyz Angels vs Demons collab (will be linked when I find the original post) with other wonderful writers on this platform~ please do give the other stories a read, and thank you for coming here from other writers stories if you did! let me know what you thought in my asks! ✨
standing in rows of wandering souls, your shoes scuffed against the concrete. you tirelessly shuffled along awaiting your turn of judgement. the remaining change in your pocket jingled in rejection as Charon refused to accept anything except drachma. low moans weaved between those before you; judging by the appearance of many souls, you could make an accurate guess of exactly how they ended up here. hours might have passed by now and yet you had barely moved.
before you, three stone archways loomed over the wall-less room as pitch darkness looked in the shadows. the atmosphere surrounding the rooms was nothing like you had imagined; you only recalled glimpses of sketches from your classics class that must’ve been a complete figment of imagination. three names were carved into the keystone of the arch with archaic cursive: fields of punishment, asphodel meadows and elysium. a smoky haze flittered through the air complimenting the wafts of decay that lingered.
three lines led up to their respective gateway; souls placed themselves in line by their anticipated allocation. to your left, a child played with the frays on the bottom of the maroon cardigan that hung loosely over her shoulders in line for elysium -- her eyes lost their childlike wonder as she shuffled along with the other souls. even in line for the highest-ranked realm, the imminence of darkness that laid ahead was enough to drain the spirit of a child. on your right, you noticed a young man dressed in an entirely black outfit and holding a balaclava in his left hand and his hair dishevelled as if he had been in a fight -- his aura screamed thief. he was in line for the fields of punishment, but you couldn’t help but think he was being too harsh on himself. you could imagine him behind the driver’s seat of a beat-up truck, his hands shaking as they clenched at the wheel and eyes trained on the clock as he awaited the others to barge through the shop doors; his thoughts being clouded by the thought of his four-year-old daughter’s laugh. your heart ached for him.
you placed yourself under asphodel meadows. with a life far from exciting, you weren’t as pure as the faultless school girl yet you couldn’t count on one hand enough reasons for you to end up in the fields of punishment. unfulfilled would be the word you would use to describe the 23 years you had on earth. 23 years living in your siblings’ shadow and striving to make your grandma proud. that was all you cared about.
your mind wandered to the possibilities of a life in elysium. you could imagine your grandma pulling the weeds outside of the small cottage she always dreamed of… joined by your grandad a few years later to live through the rest of their days together. maybe one day you would get to see them again…
the way your mind wandered for what felt like an eternity, you could have been standing in line for days by the time you were only one soul away from judgement. from behind the soul in the spotlight, you could faintly make out a stone table with three shadows seated behind it. the soul swayed slightly at the news of their banishment; you caught a glimpse of piercing grey eyes that matched a mischievous smirk of a shadow, dark red locks that swept messily across one of the foreheads of another… but the jawline sharp enough to cut through ice perfectly caught your attention the most. the shadow in the middle exuded an aura that all humans feared… they’re a demon.
you hadn’t noticed that the wandering soul had moved on and was edging toward the gates of hell -- literally -- until the being you were staring at turned his head toward you.
“I think I want asphodel meadows.” you cringed at the sound of your shaking voice, countless words swirling around your head that could have replaced think and want.
the demon sat forward, bringing his elbows to rest against the table and his chin to his closed fists while scoffing at your plea. was it because you were so out of the ordinary of souls he had met? or did he want to see more of you? his free hand moved to pull at the side of his mesh shirt, the material becoming tighter by the moment. it was then that your eyes flickered to the tattoo that decorated his skin beneath the mesh, two faint outlines of snakes.
both of you, lost in a trance, had let moments go by in complete silence, it was when the demon to his right nudged him, it knocked his elbow off the table as he shrugged against the back of his chair, removing the tattoo from your vision once more.
“we don’t always get what we want, sweetheart.” the smirk slapped across his face was very on-brand. it was soon replaced with nonchalance as he swiped at his lip with his thumb, averting his gaze in disinterest. his arrogance made your fists clench -- even firmer when you noticed the chill that arose up your spine as his tongue ran against his bottom lip. sexy, arrogant asshole.
a low muttering could be heard from the panel of judges. eyes flickered toward you and back down to the pages in front of them -- your palms began to sweat slightly in anticipation.
it was then that the middle demon’s eyes snapped up to yours.
“fields of punishment,” a stamp of permanence bled across the page in front of him as the ink, so bloodlike, curved beside your name.
it felt like the air had been knocked out of your chest with one, solid punch - you didn’t care if it was visible or not. you didn’t care if it showed a sign of weakness. elysium was far out of your reach but you hadn’t expected asphodel meadows to be in the same realm. it meant you could never see your grandparents -- ever.
as the demon whose eyes felt like they could pierce into your soul began to light the tattered paper alight -- it was snatched from his hands.
the middle demon, barely able to take his eyes off you, scribbled something down with a flicker of his fingers. all the while the two beside him hesitated to stop him, it seemed he had some kind of overruling power. and there it was, the ever-present smirk that tweaked the corners of his lips - it was so alluring that you had to physically curl your toes to stay on the spotlit platform, to stop yourself from the desire to take a closer look.
and like that, the paper was lit and your fate sealed. dark swirls caught your peripheral vision, like a gust of wind had picked up soot from the pile in front of the dark-haired demon. headed toward you, it began to cloud your vision, the towering gates before you becoming a blurred sight that even the most concentration couldn’t set right. flickers of gold tainted your gruesome surrounding became almost suffocating, the powder-like attack swirled aggressively around your trembling body, itching at your skin in anticipation and fear. it had a way of releasing any tension that crept along the surface of what used to be your human body, the final transformation of becoming a soul happening before the eyes of numerous wandering ones awaiting their fate next.
the demons who sat behind the stone slab were already preparing the paperwork for the next judgment as you felt yourself descending into darkness. but the one in the middle was the only one who noticed how delicately you hit the floor as you vanished, a falter in his smirk as he watched you disappear. luckily he knew where you were going.
but you didn’t.
burning flames licked up the side of your legs. muffled screams persisted in the distance. but you were unmoving; you couldn’t move. it was like melted tar sealed the soles of your feet to the molten rocks. hell was exactly how you had pictured it, cliffs that folded over into nothingness.
the befouled smoke that flooded your senses, a dusty haze flittering over your vision. you were supposed to feel scared, you knew that. but you felt nothing. you were nothing. it felt as though spiders were crawling against your skin, from your fingertips, up the plains of your arms and scrapping at the side of your neck. it was suffocating. you could do nothing but watch as your worst nightmares came to life and fueled with the essence of fire and death.
it could have been hours, days, weeks that you were melded against the cliffs. ahead of you, blackened ash arose in the distance. it resembled the pictures you encountered in textbooks, a silhouette of horns piercing the sky. you couldn’t make out many features but you weren’t sure if it was the smoke or the lack of them - what was that? a roar ripping from what must have been its mouth confirmed it was something you should be utterly terrified of. it did not make a move toward you, but it was as though it was right beside you. as the figure reared its head back, rolling its neck to face you once more, you were pierced with blood-red eyes... looking directly at you.
a creature with only two eyes? were they a shapeshifter? were they human… a god? their aura exuded death… were they death themself? hades took many forms in numerous cultures. but first and foremost, they were the devil.
just then, another figure appeared below the creature. smaller, with more prominent features, and they weren’t clouded by smoke. they were rising in the flames, but the soot circled them fighting to penetrate their space. mesmerised, you tried to focus on their figure - they must have been human. with little luck, you noticed little of their features except for one, swirling black ink rising along their torso - a snake? who is that?
and then they looked up, and your feet slipped from the mould, crashing into the flames beneath you as your body set alight.
the sound of feet slapping against marble drew you from your unconsciousness, dusty boots echoing throughout the building like it was completely hollow. you noticed a shadow stop in the slight crack under the doorframe, an eerie silence contrasting the moments before. it was the first time you had opened your eyes in what felt like a lifetime, blood boiling on high alert as you tried to figure out where you were. a decently sized room, walls painted in aged gold, dimly lit with skillfully decorated light fixtures that were too bright to focus on for too long.
this is hell?
it felt like you had gone back in time to a period drama, a film set so false that everything felt like a dream. the room was decorated in expertly crafted furniture that seemed too expensive to touch, curves of mahogany that drew flashbacks of your grandfather’s carpentry to your mind, moments that felt like a distant memory, were a distant memory.
paper scratching against the cold floor pulled you from your wandering thoughts.
it was only when you sat up that you noticed the looming bed frame that rose above your head, delicate details carved into the corners of the four posts, with a sheer, white curtain that blew delicately as a breeze crept in through the cracked window. a small bay window stood to the right of the bed, you could barely make out the buildings outside as the sky continued its ripples of dark red and ash grey.
pulling away from the creased bedsheet, you tiptoed toward the set of double doors that you assumed led to nothingness. a small, folded piece of paper fluttered in the breeze, smudges of inked fingers smeared along its edges. reaching down to pick it up, your fingers shake with nerves, the feeling of the paper not seeming to bring any sense of comfort.
the surface was rough, like grains of sand crumbling between your fingertips. inhaling slowly, and almost absentmindedly, your fingers pried open the note to reveal cursive writing looking almost as if it was drawn with fresh blood, barely dried to the page.
a gasp escaped your throat, sounding almost choking as you read over the few words on the page. it wasn’t any revelation, it was more of a feeling of sealed fate as your fingers grazed against the ink, blood-red staining the page. your eyes read over the words once more as your heart hammered in your chest.
welcome to hell house
when you awoke the next day, your stomach was churning in its emptiness. who knew souls needed food to survive.
as you scuffled into the great hall after an hour of lost thoughts, murmurs of lost souls ceased to nothing. whatever piercing eye attempted to meet your gaze had failed, your head down as you trailed toward the space at the bottom of the room-length banquet table.
your head only raised for a moment, briefly making eye contact with the one you feared the most in this place. he was perched on the edge of the table beside yours, caught up in a conversation with the demon you recalled from your judgment - his hair was firelike, flickers of red and orange adorning his head. a name was at the tip of your tongue. you recognised the one with the blue tips added to his ice blonde hair, jaw so sharp it could slice your finger open. he often roams the halls with the man beside him, energy radiating from his gleaming skin in abundance. the one who seems as though he should never have stepped foot in hell.
beside them were many others that you had caught glimpses of but had never interacted with. but juyeon was easy to spot. the literal man in the middle, and he was difficult to shift your gaze from; the main reason being that his piercing glare was focused solely on you. you had never thought someone that appeared so recluse would have such a tight-knit group of friends. well… if you could call them friends. they all exuded the same bad boy energy that you vowed to steer clear of in your earlier years on earth.
they must be hell-bent in the underworld.
although his eyebrows still furrowed in angst, as they had been since the moment you met him, you noticed his eyes following your every move. from when you reached the counter to grab the liquid slush of your bowl, to the moment you sat down at the end of the unoccupied table, clear from any company or danger.
keep your distance. of course you were here for the rest of your “life”, your soul banished to this realm for eternity. but a dull ache filled the hollow of your stomach, a feeling your grandma once mentioned foreshadowed excitement in your life. but the feeling that was building up felt far from excitement… nothing but fear and loneliness settled inside.
tucking into the bowl of gruelling porridge that stuck like cement to the spoon, you felt burning searing into your temple. it took your entire concentration to focus on all but him. your eyes scanned the heads that chatted to those around them, or dipping automatedly down to spoon their breakfast into their mouths. some glimmered lowly without the need for golden hour, your best guess was their relation to a god or two.
it took you hours of contemplation to realise you weren’t actually in the field of punishment. you were just banished to work for the field of punishment. you were somewhere in between true hell and the place you longed for. considering you had heard of the horrible things that happened to those banished to hades, you were yet to figure out what exactly you were doing here, and why the one piercing holes into the side of your head had decided this was the best place for you to spend eternity.
your fingers clenched around the paper that had slid under your door as you walked through the halls of what could only be described as a palace. under the cursive note from “J”, there was a location.
west entrance, persephone tower. past narcissus’ hall of mirrors.
the windows that lined the walls were stained in an orange hue from the fire and burning that occured outside of the palace. it was no surprise that hell was exactly how you had imagined it… on the outside. the inside? flickers of gold and bronze painted every crevice of this palace. it was like olympus had been buried underground. literally.
for the first time since you entered hades, a chuckle escaped you - something so mundane as an arrow pointed in the direction of persephone tower was enough to draw out an amused breath. it was like one that pointed towards the long-awaited cafe at the end of a hike up the clifftop by the seaside. except this one had black liquid dripping down the side, you can only imagine the blood from some type of demon.
the hallway led toward a spiral staircase, gold lettering arching in the doorway in broken cursive. and leaning against the dusted brick wall was someone you least expected.
his feet were clothed in dusted leather boots, the rest of his clothing matching his dark demeanour. hair perfectly styled with a loose strand falling over his forehead, tickling his furrowed brows that etched as he played with the metallic rings on his slender fingers. not that that affected him, he was as cold as stone as per usual.
“you’re late,” he spoke, without lifting his head. you hadn’t even noticed him leave the great hall.
inhaling sharply through your nose, there was no way you would show him that you were weak. “I was finishing up with breakfast, you didn’t say a time?” you countered in response to his bluntness. this will be a long day.
you were met with a scoff, and he lifted his head to meet your eyes. black, bottomless pits; like a soul had never lived inside. you had a hard time reading him. it was something you did a lot back home to judge a person’s aura, to see whether they were a good match to be around. but this wasn’t home anymore, you rendered the thought useless.
until his eyes begun to swirl with maroon, ghosting any demon-like aura he had previously possessed. he still looked evil, the thought sending a chuckle through you.
“something funny?” pushing himself off the wall, his demeanour unchanging. you came to realise that you weren’t intimidated by him... you were absolutely terrified. his look could end you in an instant - not that he could now, you were already dead. you were met with newfound confidence.
“nothing, you’re just seeming your evil self as usual.”
a slight wash of disbelief took his features for a moment, but he was back within seconds, dirty scowl now aimed directly at the space between your eyes. the spot burned lightly.
“oh, baby. you don’t want to know how evil I can be.”
with that, leaving you stunned, he turned and headed toward the front gates.
“aren’t you coming?” he quipped, hand ready to turn the final notch of the iron doors.
snapping out of your trance, you rushed forward - you seemed eager, you knew. but you had little experience with adventure in your life. and you knew that he would be the perfect one to show it to you.
“let me get this right… I’m working for you?” the rope was rough to touch. juyeon had finally filled you in about what your punishment was. you were currently looking out at the endless pits of the fields of punishment. your supposed banishment.
“for me… and any other head demon in the realm,” his fist knocked against the panel at the foot of the bridge roughly, and then he turned abruptly to lay his eyes on you. “but think of yourself as my personal assistant.”
the smirk that tweaked at the corners of his mouth wasn’t cruel, it was deviant.
“how can I be your assistant if you’ve just told me I’m essentially a slave for all elders in this realm?” your eyebrows furrowed in confusion as his glare remained.
but then, for a single moment, you saw a hint of indifference in his eyes. and his thumb reached out to brush out your brow. “don’t worry, little one.”
just as quickly, he pulled his hand away and brushed past you, shoulder bumping yours; he made way across the wooden bridge that seemed as though it was hanging by a thread. it creaked as juyeon crossed the wooden slacks, and you were melded in place out of fear of falling. you saw the souls reaching up toward you from above, their disparity, their loss. a dull screech continued in your ears as you couldn’t take your eyes off them. because if you fell, you would become one of them.
“I can stand here all day if you’d like?” you snapped your head up from your spot, your body hung over the roped fence, one foot placed firmly on the ground and the other… slowly inching toward the first wooden slack.
“what if I fall?” your lip quivered slightly.
you were exuding damsel in distress, it was very uncharacteristic of you. but there was something more daunting about falling a thousand feet into nothingness than it was to climb the final steps of the empire state building.
“you won’t fall… I mean you might but just watch your step.” with that, he turned into the direction of what you could only assume was the building with his office. it was dingey, cold-looking… perfect for the demon who just left you to fend for yourself.
“asshole!” you shouted back, to which you were greeted with a middle finger by his retreating figure.
“you missed a spot,” he hummed, dipping the feathered quill into the neatly placed row of inkpots on his desk. he hadn’t even looked up at you for a moment; every so often, as you believed you had finally swept up the remaining remnants of ash in his fireplace, he made that comment.
“I think I got everything,” you forced a smile, purposefully not meeting your eyes. “but thanks for your input.”
weeks had passed like this. essentially following him around like a puppy, tending to his every beck and call. every so often, you recall the words he spoke by the bridge: “think of yourself as my personal assistant.”
you would have been more than happy to work with someone else for a day, even an hour, just to catch a break from his quick remarks about everything you did. for someone so soulless, he enjoyed the art of pestering.
even this morning, over your not-so-quiet breakfast for one, a demon-in-training, an intern if you will, asked you to help him order the files of the upcoming judgement day. haknyeon was one of the few people who showed you much mercy in this realm, likely as he was in your shoes not too long ago.
“it’s really easy once you get the hang of it - I promise!” the grin that met your eyes made you question how in hades someone so bubbly ended up in the fields of punishment. and a demon at that.
but just as you were ready to offer your services, you were whisked out of your seat and out of the towering great hall doors without a word. the pressure against your wrist caused you to feel your quicked pulse against his hand. him being the demon who kept you here.
you wondered what the excuse was this time. there are soulless rats in my bedroom. the accounts are missing 500 drachmae, help me find them. or a classic-
“my fireplace needs sweeping again.”
he could never say it with a straight face. and moments like that you saw a glimpse of humanity. and then it was gone again.
“who even writes with a quill anymore? who are you, albus dumbledore?” you shot, allowing the brush to clatter to the floor beside your dusty boots.
he looked up slowly in disbelief, “what was that?”
he did look intimidating, but you didn’t care. this was weeks of him teasing you about the silliest things - giving juyeon a taste of his own medicine fueled the fire that had caught alight in your chest.
for some reason, your veins were fuelled with anger toward the man, and more often than not - lust. now, lust… a feeling you longed for during your time on earth, was the only thing that felt remotely human here. and for you, it was easily sparked by any form of resistance to your character.
and juyeon? he was the perfect resistance.
“I asked if you were albus dumbledore - have demons never heard of harry potter?” you rolled your eyes in an exaggerated motion. but he was too quick.
before your eyes could focus back on him, he had pushed his chair back with a start and he was in front of you in less than a second; his hand raised, the tip of the quill brushing against the point between your eyes, the sharp end tickling your eyebrows.
“have you ever used the ink of the underworld before?” he muttered, eyes training on the slight vein that appeared beneath the delicate skin of your neck. the sweatshirt you wore every day had begun to wear, torn from hours of labour at the hands of himself.
he was mesmerised by the way the soft “I haven’t” that left your lips was met with a gulp, his eyes slowly inching toward your lips. he could feel you reacting to him, an alluring emotion washed over him, tempting him into things he swore he’d never do to a soul… with a soul.
and there it was.
the tip of the quill ran delicately across your skin, hovering just over your temple and down the side of your neck; this silence from him was unusual, and more terrifying than the rasped tone of his voice that haunts your nightmares. you felt a faint touch of ink caress the skin that licked your collarbone. his enamoured expression morphed into something much darker, a smirk washing over his lips.
“it’s permanent,” he spoke the words that swirled around his mind for the last few moments, thinking of all the ways he could tell the world exactly how he felt. a flick of his wrist could change everything.
“what are you gonna write...” you quipped, with immense pride in the way he licked his lips slowly, the way his body was reacting to you. “... property of lee juyeon?”
an unconscious growl erupted from his throat; he leant in closer, the delicate touch of his lips replacing the quill as he inhaled deeply. if your heart wasn’t racing before, the adrenaline of taunting the man before you had warned off; your hand fled to your chest to put pressure against the area that would give away everything.
he inhaled again, placing a whisper of a kiss in the dip of your skin, “don’t tempt me, sweetheart.”
and then he was back at his desk, quill in hand to continue the heinous process of sorting souls. like nothing had happened.
the contents of the bowl sludged around against the metal; if you didn’t know any better, you’d have thought you were in prison. weeks upon weeks of bland porridge shovelled into a bowl for every meal - no wonder everyone here lacked any real muscle or strength. except for the noisy crowd of demons that always felt as though if you touched them, you’d set alight. and him - the one who clouded your thoughts each day, and each night. avoiding juyeon’s stare at all costs was your main goal as you tried to get to the bottom of the bowl of sludge.
“you know, it won’t turn into a hawaiian pizza no matter how hard you stare at it,” someone interrupted your thought from beside you, amusement dripping from their voice.
he was slender from his place across the lengthy banquet tables, his knees brought to his chest with his chin resting against them, fingers clasped around each other. he looked small and delicate, but his personality excluded everything possibly grand; piercing eyes made stark by the jet black strands that fell over his eyes.
you, however, recognised him as one of the demons that huddled around the same table each day. juyeon’s table. a demon that would never pass as a demon.
nonchalantly, you pushed your hair behind your ear and go back to mixing the gunk that appeared to not go down no matter how hard you tried.
“I don’t like pineapple on pizza anyway,” you huffed, avoiding all eye contact in hopes that he’d disappear soon.
he let out a loud chuckle, something so unusual to be heard from a demon. the startling sound forced you to make eye contact again. “beggars can’t be choosers,” he quipped. “I’m chanhee, but they call me new.” he placed his hand out politely.
taking a moment to assess the situation, you hesitantly placed your hand in his, the firmness of his handshake was welcoming. “new?”
“I think it’s supposed to be funny… I was the latest demon to join the heads so I was the “new” guy? but there have been 5 guys since then…” he trailed off.
you couldn’t help it. the thought of a genius coming up with that arose a giggle from your throat, and a loud one at that, throwing your head back in glee. the complete change in mood put the biggest smile on chanhee’s face; truthfully, he’d seen you this way every day, sitting alone mixing the contents of your bowl. he knew how hard juyeon worked you, so it was time to intervene.
the smile that remained high on his cheekbones settled your unease, so you asked the question on the tip of your tongue.
“chanhee… can I ask you something?” he hummed in response. “who are the Heads?”
he giggled at your serious expression…
“we’re no one to be feared, I promise.” he tapped your shoulder. “and unclench your fists, I don’t have the energy to get you a new spoon if you break that one.”
he brought your attention back to your bowl, where your knuckles were turning white in anticipation. the moment you let go, they slowly faded back to their usual shade.
“the heads are the head demons who run this place; there are 10 of us - 7 heads and 3 in training. your friend Haknyeon is one of the trainees,” he started, pointing at the top table where they were chatting nonchalantly, suddenly not appearing as terrifying as they once had.
“that redhead, you know him already - sunwoo, he was part of your judgement. and the guy beside him, frosted tips - that’s eric, he’s our newest demon in training. something about street gangs - some aren’t born to wither away into souls…” he looked at you, “no offence.”
“none taken,” your eyes still trained on the group ahead of you. he continued to list off the names of the demons that seemed like ordinary beings, carefree and laughing together.
the mastermind behind the database and coding of souls, kevin. his right-hand man, jacob.
the one with the piercing grey eyes that sat at the judgement table, younghoon; his eyes flared as stark as his hair.
he pointed out haknyeon as “the one who appeared least like a demon and more like an excited child”. you giggled.
the energetic one who could fit more food in his stomach than the average demon, hyunjae.
the cold one who appeared as he would never crack a smile, changmin. chanhee explained he had only seen it once, and that was the day chanhee confessed.
“confessed?!” you bellowed. chanhee’s eyebrow rose, startled.
“you think demons can’t fall in love?” he tested. truthfully, you had only ever heard about evil demons that would have never considered love. only revenge.
“so you’re together?!” a bundle of hope whirled in your heart, you were unsure why. but chanhee’s smile dropped, “no, we aren’t.”
your heart hurt for him - in these short moments, you had seen more humanity in the pits of hell than you could ever imagine. “we’re best friends. he came in just after I did. I know he loves me and we’ll be together eventually. we have eternity after all.”
his eyes were warm but full of heartbreak. you had to fight the urge to bring your hand to his shoulder. although you were hidden in the corner of the great hall, you feared becoming the talk of the underworld by fraternising with a demon.
so you avoided the topic and moved on. “and juyeon?”
his smile came back. “juyeon - he takes care of us the most. I know he seems terrifying but he has a big heart … for a demon.”
your eyes wandered to the man who sent your mind whirling every second of the day. he was listening to eric and hyunjae bickering about something, a shy smile that you had never seen before graced his lips. even from a few tables over, you noticed how the very corners of his lips turned upward in elegance.
you averted your eyes as his head began to look around as if he noticed someone was staring at him - however, you didn’t know that when you weren’t looking, he was watching yours and chanhee’s every move.
“so, juyeon is your leader?” you asked chanhee, focusing back on the bowl laid out in front of you. its contents had gone cold.
but chanhee shifted slightly, fingers toying with the threads that had pulled away from the holes in his jeans - he was uncomfortable. your mind began to wonder at the possibilities of what he could answer. juyeon isn’t the leader?
chanhee exhaled after a moment. “sort of… he’s sort of our leader. like a stand-in that has become permanent.”
his eyes were desperate. don’t ask any more questions.
a stand-in? so there is another demon. your brain raced with the who, the how and the where.
but you knew not to question it further. I’m sure you’d find out eventually.
that night changed everything. the night you realised how much you craved his touch, for his eyes to solely be trained on yours.
after hours of sleepless turning in bed, you dragged yourself out for a walk, a pair of chanhee’s hand-me-down sandals strapped to your feet. as terrifying as the underworld was, the walk beside your residence was calming. as if the lost souls had gone to sleep and you were teleported back home, back by the cliffs near your grandmother’s house.
your feet scuffed against the gravel as you listened to the wind dance around you, the night eerily quiet in the early hours of the morning.
but the movement caught your eye from the far wall of the building, two shadows lurking. it was like being back in the heart of the city where young adults would sneak away to ravish each other behind the club. but seeing this wasn’t so amusing - especially when the flickering light caught the bare side of one of their chests, two serpents swirling around their torso. the wind fell quiet and you could hear grunting that could only have meant one thing.
you couldn’t avert your eyes, however, the moments of weakness as you thought you had seen the man who makes your mind whirl completely lost in someone else.
it was only then that his head turned, and what you expected to be a sharp nose and pointed jawline was met with a cheeky grin and dimples that could charm anyone. hyunjae.
your mind whirled in the breeze of dawn. what is he doing to me?
“where are you taking me? I don’t feel like sweeping gravel off the cliffs today.” his response surprised you, a low chuckle at your attitude in pout. your realisation last night left you on edge, trying your hardest to not think about how you secretly wished that was juyeon last night, and the soul he ravished was you.
“I’m not telling you,” he remarked, amused by the way your feet scuffed against the floor behind him. you noticed that you were heading in the opposite direction to the cliffs and his office. which meant you were doing something you hadn’t done yet.
and then you noticed the pools of fire beneath you, just north of the residence building - an area off-limits to most souls.
“we’re going to the pits?” you questioned, slightly concerned by the fact. truthfully, anywhere more than a short distance of the residence made you nervous. as much as hellhouse was terrifying to some, it was home now.
he halted abruptly, you collided headfirst into his toned back, the material of his jacket hotter than fire. the further away from the city buildings of the underworld you go, the more the air feels suffocating in sun-like wonder.
“what do you want if you’re right? a medal?” his signature smirk was back with a vengeance. “how about a kiss?” he taunted, the gleam of boyishness sent your heart into somersaults. something was different about him.
you couldn’t give him the satisfaction again - “how about a return ticket home?”
he playfully rolled his eyes, “you’re learning today - no chores, just learning. maybe one day you could take my position… or the equivalent of it, by my side, who knows.”
and with that, he wandered off again.
the pits burned like hellfire. pun unintended.
flames burned orange and red licked against the edges of each pit, numerous dotted against the plain ahead of you - miles of endless fire. something seemed familiar, one of the larger pits screamed at you silently in warning.
“what are they for?” you questioned, unable to take your eyes off the way each flicker threatened to spill over but never did.
“these pits lead to tartarus.” eyes bulging at the thought, you turned to juyeon to see his expression as serious as a stone. images of cronus rising from the ashes gave you chills.
and then his eyes creased humorously at your reaction, laughter shaking in his shoulders as he couldn’t keep it in much longer. the howls that erupted from him forced you to roll your eyes and begin to turn back.
your wrist was quickly snapped up, pulled back against his side, the skin burning either from the heat of your surroundings or his touch. either way, the feeling was overwhelming. “I’m messing with you.”
sending a look of annoyance his way, the landscape before you too attractive to take your eyes off; you awaited an explanation from him again.
“this is where the turning ceremony is held. those deserving of becoming a Head are turned into demons here, giving them the ultimate power, and immortality.” he rattled off, like a history teacher in a museum.
you turned to him again, the thought of his day of turning unimaginable. “so, what was your ceremony like?”
his eyes remained trained on the burning pits before him - not yet.
“I didn’t quite have a turning ceremony. not here anyway-” he started, then stopped, afraid to give too much away.
before you could question it, he jokingly pushed you toward the edge of the smaller pit in front of you. his attempt to lighten the serious mood turned sour as you almost fell. feet slipping against the edge of the pit, the soles of your shoes began to burn moments before you were pulled away.
heart racing, you were terrified to open your eyes, despite the feeling of safety that surrounded you. juyeon’s hands were placed delicately on your waist, holding you to his body that radiated more warmth than the endless pits around you. his body.
as you slowly pried your eyes open, you were welcomed by the sight of small hands clasped at his shoulders; your nails scraped against the nape of his neck, the sensation visibly sent shivers down his spine. afraid to look up, your eyes remained on the silver chain that felt rough against his surprisingly soft complexion.
“that didn’t go as planned, did it?” you encouraged the words to fall from your lips, despite stuttering in utter fear.
he exhaled the breath he had been holding since he first saw your life flash before his eyes… he tried to lighten the mood again.
“didn’t it? I thought you wanted to become a demon…” he trailed off, hands subconsciously tightening against your waist, fingers finding their way beneath the waistband of your trousers comfortably. as though the action was as mundane as breathing.
the silence that followed was comfortable, besides the chaos that had just occurred. your eyes rolled subtly before training on his own. and for the first time, you saw remanence of an emotion juyeon wasn’t capable of - or at least you thought he wasn’t. beside the swirling gold was fear.
“over my dead body,” you retorted after a moment, the emotions he showed making you uneasy. flashbacks of the other night coming back into your head, reminding you that he wasn’t yours - and likely never would be.
“I believe that’s already been arranged, little one,” he muttered, a small smile playing on his lips in humour. he was flirting, in his own little way.
his slender fingers left their spot beneath your waistband and reached up to push your hair behind your ear. but just as you saw in his eyes, his action faltered last minute; instead, he slowly twirled the loosened strand of your fringe between his fingers before stepping back.
“let's get you back, chanhee will be worried,” he announced and turned in hopes you’d follow behind him. the mention of your only friend brought you back down to earth… well, hell.
but his actions left you in shock, you stared as his figure retreated in the smog that lingered from the flaming pits. you were afraid of the voice in the back of your head. follow him, follow him forever.
little did you know, there was a voice whirling in his mind saying the same thing. and he couldn’t get it to go away.
he stopped again and peered over his shoulder at your still figure. “aren’t you coming, little one?”
for nights on end, you woke up sweat dripping down the sides of your temples, remnants of the liquid flooded cooly at the bottom of your back.
one night, the recurring dream was more vivid. and the realisation dawned on you that the two figures rising in the centre were hovering above the pits you had visited before; rugged circles of threatening flames licking against the soles of their feet. but this time, the figure behind the first was smaller, slightly muscular but essentially resembled anyone you could pass in these halls.
it took until this latest nightmare to recognise the figure in front - the swirls against his torso confirming the thought that you doubted for so long. it was juyeon, his once red piercing eyes now swirling blackening pools but somehow appeared deeper than you could ever imagine. both figures stared straight at you, gaze never wavering. juyeon’s lips moved like an enchantment like he was bewitched. it made you think back to what juyeon had said…
“I didn’t quite have a turning ceremony. not here anyway-”
just as the thought entered your mind, a chalk-like hand rested against his shoulder and his once delicate features turned menacing. and you dropped into the pits, just like before.
the next time you heard footsteps by the door, you knew it was him by the way his boots scuffed against the concrete flooring. he stood at the door with slight apprehension. you moved into hell house weeks ago and had completely changed the way your room and he hated the way it looked. not because he didn’t appreciate artwork or decoration - but because you made him appreciate it. catching you ruffling through old boxes of decoration was something that occurred often.
his chest clenched slightly at the grin that washed over your features as you hung up the tapestry behind your bed, attempting to keep your balance as your feet danced over the pillows. you didn’t know that it was him who left that tapestry lying in the closet for you to find. his heart stung with longing as he gently folded it to place in the wooden closet, careful not to tamper with its already frayed edges.
he hated knocking on your door because even one glimpse of the woven gold reminds him of that feeling.
how could his chest clench like that? he doesn’t even have a heart.
the great hall flooded with hushed voices as you wandered to your corner, as per usual.
is he really returning?
I have only heard things about him… awful things.
is it true that he is crueller than hades himself?
I thought he was hades himself…
what about juyeon...
the last whisper drew your attention to the souls’ eyes dotted aimlessly between each other, in hopes of figuring out what all the fuss was about. truth be told, you had no idea - but you knew it wasn’t good.
your spoon just about made its way to the bowl placed in front of you when a weight jerked the wooden bench from beneath you. haknyeon.
“good morning to you, too,” he responded to your kind, rolling eyes.
his eyes were brighter than usual like he was overdoing one emotion to hide another. you smiled softly, in hopes of his tense shoulders easing ever so slightly.
“morning, hak.” you reached up to ruffle his hair. his trainee status and apparent youth compared to your own in your pre-soul life meant that you treated him like a younger brother, and you, he treated like a sister. the frequent encounters with him were warm, often nostalgic of the life you once lived.
“how’s the sludge?” he asked, eyeing up the slightly grey-ish contents of your bowl as if it was a roast dinner made by the worlds most exquisite chef. earning another eye roll, you slid the bowl in front of him, holding out your unused spoon that he quickly snatched up.
like a bee to honey, you knew he wouldn’t hear a word you said any time soon. but the bustle that continued in the great hall made you anxious, especially constant mentions of juyeon, and another name… san? siyeon?
“hak?” he hummed in response, looking at you closely with attention, lips wrapped around the spoon. his eyes were big and bright… why did he want to become a demon so badly?
“have you not heard what people are saying?” you asked, in hopes he wasn’t going to act coy. he froze for a moment before placing the spoon gently back into the bowl, the remaining scoops going untouched.
“it’s not a big deal. just someone is returning to hellhouse tonight. you know what souls are like…” he trailed off, trying to de-dramatise the drama that you were sure would unfold eventually. “they exaggerate everything.”
after a moment of silence, you asked the question that burned the tip of your tongue. “and what does that have to do with juyeon?”
the moment those words left your lips, both your eyes turned to juyeon who sits at his table absentminded as the other Heads continued to chatter amongst themselves.
why does he look so worried?
haknyeon inhaled sharply and started to explain. “some time ago, before I decided I wanted to become a Head, we had a different leader.”
your eyes darted back to the man beside you as you nodded, waiting anxiously for him to continue.
“his name is sangyeon.” ah, that was the name the other souls were whispering about. “and he’s… interesting. he isn’t your conventional demon.”
“what does that mean?” your eyebrow raised in confusion - what exactly is a conventional demon?
he stared down at his lap for a moment then started to fiddle with a small crack in the table, nail sliding against it absentmindedly.
“we demons, I mean us Heads, we don’t fit the stereotype of pure evil wreaking havoc amongst the underworld. you can thank juyeon for that.” he smiled delicately. “younghoon once told me about how they were while under sangyeon’s rule… punishing souls to the pits of tartarus for the bare minimum.”
you gasped, his serious tone meant that he wasn’t kidding… a rarity for haknyeon.
“so… I’m guessing sangyeon doesn’t like juyeon very much?” you quizzed, eyes trailing back to juyeon for the umpteenth time.
juyeon’s head snapped up as though he knew you were staring, eyes catching one another for a moment before haknyeon drew your attention back.
“no, sangyeon adores juyeon. he turned him himself. but sangyeon is dark… and with that, he made juyeon dark, until he left to continue his torture elsewhere. I guess his time is up… and now he’s back.”
he barely paused for breath as his unspoken words the true reality of the situation. sangyeon was coming back for juyeon.
“haknyeon… will he hurt juyeon?” your voice was quiet; not because you didn’t want anyone to hear you, but because you started to worry for the man who made your life hell.
“he can’t hurt juyeon… at least not physically.”
his statement left you gnawing at your bottom lip anxiously.
and the thought didn’t leave your mind. it amplified significantly. while you followed juyeon around all day. while you roamed the halls, purposefully turning in the wrong directions in hopes that it will pass the time.
until you got to your door, with a small note attached. it sat softly blowing in the breeze as it perched just under the knocker.
excitedly, you rushed forward. but you caught yourself, noticing the way juyeon crossed your mind quickly. you couldn’t help yourself - the small notes he left on your door now and then, times where you’d hear a single, faint knock as he placed the note underneath and you had to count to 30 in your head before rushing to open it.
the paper felt smooth at your fingertips, not rough like the parchment that sat on juyeon’s desk.
your eyes scanned over the note, blocked letters contrasting the usual cursive.
I THINK YOU’D LOOK GOOD IN RED
I LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING YOU TONIGHT AT THE BANQUET
and with that, you turned the handle confused to find a glistening red dress laid carefully against your bedsheets; it shone glamorously against the candlelight.
S? … it was from sangyeon.
the great hall had changed since this morning; the hall-long banquet tables were covered beautifully in gold cloth and steel dinner sets that shone brightly under the several scones that decorated the walls of the room. rows upon rows of delicious cuisine made it hard to believe that you ate porridge three meals a day.
souls danced and laughed and ate and chatted together. it was like a banquet for the happiest beings that roamed the underworld; a stark contrast to the daily life that haunted these halls usually, the thought sending a chill down your spine. you could feel the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.
it was then that you noticed two pairs of eyes on you. standing side by side at the top table; each aura as powerful as the other. luckily for you, your bouncing best friends drew your attention away.
“you look incredible!” haknyeon’s voice melted like butter in your ears. he adorned a perfectly fitted navy tux, darker than his sunken irises. his hand came up to brush against the strap of your dress, each movement made the sequins dance like fire. “you’re lighting up the room!”
“I must say you are like a star walking in here, this evening,” changmin was followed by chanhee, the pair made their way toward you. chanhee looked at changmin surprised at his compliment, eyebrow raised as if changmin was moments away from receiving a smack. “what? I complimented her as you told me to.”
the honesty that laced his statement made you chuckle and chanhee roll his eyes. “thank you, changmin. you’re both looking great, too.” he nodded slightly, your interactions still mostly professional as you were a soul and he was a Head.
“guess what! you’ll never believe it!” haknyeon was like an excitable puppy in front of you, jumping for glee before he had even told you the news. “what?! what!” you joined in, the adorable smile on his face contagious.
“it’s finally happening! as of tomorrow, I am no longer a demon-in-training! with our leader back, I will finally have my turning ceremony!!” the joy he exuded washed away any anxiety that filled you all at the mention of his leader. despite everything, haknyeon was achieving his dream. and that is what mattered.
“congratulations, hak - you deserve it!” you brought your hand up to rub the nape of his neck affectionately. it truly was like having family in the depths of the underworld.
and finally, you turned toward your best friend and took in his appearance. his jet black hair slicked back contrasted the sleekness of his white collared shirt that sat beneath a velvet burgundy waistcoat. perching on his left pocket breast was a broach of a raven, flittered in rubies with initials in cursive. they read JCM.
the pointed look you offered was met with a dismissive one from chanhee. you noticed how his fingers reached to hold the cuff of changmin’s sleeve possessively, to which your eyes were drawn to the subtle smile on changmin’s lips. your heart almost burst; their happiness. finally.
haknyeon cleared his throat and placed his hand on your elbow. “um… I know you just got here, so don’t get nervous. but someone wants to meet you.”
usually, your mind would wander to the man who took hold of your thoughts often. but instead, you knew that haknyeon meant the man standing beside him, his grey hair flittered with specs of black and silver acting like pollen to bees. every soul’s eye wandered to him every other second. he was as alluring as he was handsome - his poised eyes outlined with charming wrinkles that made him look both mature and boyish.
our leader. sangyeon.
suddenly, it felt like the dress you adorned was burning into your skin, a reminder that you were here at his request. nerves ran through your veins like lightning as haknyeon steered you around the souls that enjoyed the banquet; your feet slightly tripping over one another in the barely-there heels that you were given by chanhee.
as you approached the head table, you noticed that there were 12 chairs. each head holding their position at the top table, with three untouched seats in the centre of the banquet table. each man radiated their true demon selves - not in a terrifying way as you’d expected, but their aura exuded like sparks from their glowing skin. poised, elegant, powerful.
chanhee and changmin continued ahead to reach their seats beside younghoon and hyunjae. haknyeon lead you to the centre where the empty seats were and gave your shoulder a slight pat in encouragement before returning to his own seat.
you pulled out the chair beside sunwoo, his fiery red hair appearing soft and fluffy compared to usual; for the first time, he offered you a small smile as he moved the napkin closer to his plate to give you room.
just as your knees hit the back of the hair, an unusual voice called your name.
“that’s not your place, sweetheart.” the nickname burned into your skin at the flirtatiousness that dripped from the man’s voice. for some reason, it felt like poison compared to when juyeon used the term of endearment, in what you always thought was sarcasm.
your head turned as you stood abruptly, greeted by the eyes of the man you were waiting to see all night. followed by an eerily familiar pair that danced evilly the closer you looked.
up close, his skin glowed as though he drank the nectar of the gods. and the way he carried himself, elegance and grace was inviting to anyone. his suit was painted in velveteen white contrasting his alluring complexion.
“good evening, I’m glad you got my invitation.” he grinned, lips pulling up exaggeratedly in what you thought was politeness. his features resembled that of a persian cat. beside him, juyeon swayed slightly, glossy eyes met your own and a smile that didn’t light up the room but your veins instead.
“I’m sangyeon, and of course, you know juyeon.” his voice snarled slightly at the mention of the other man's name. juyeon’s demeanour went rigid, shoulders tense at the wickedness that dripped from sangyeon’s tone.
sangyeon’s eyes flickered between the two of you with his eyebrow raised in a smirk. “why don’t you sit between us, sweetheart? I’d love to get to know you.”
your gaze went back to juyeon for a moment, and he gazed back intensely, eyes pleading with you to not do this. but sangyeon had already pulled your seat back, fingers curling against the carved wood of the chair as he waited for you to sit down.
by the time juyeon had taken his seat beside you, he leaned into your ear quietly whispering, his bottom lip grazing your ear lobe, and a faint smell of whiskey on his breath. “don’t do this. please- please just go, go sit elsewhere, please.”
his words were slurred ever so slightly. he wasn’t drunk, not quite, he was coping.
when you pulled away to look at him, there was pleading in his eyes. the swirls of gold that glistened from the orange hue of the banquet hall spoke wonders - don’t do this. run away, far away. far away from him.
you were just about to question his wordless pleas when a hand clasped yours from your left. you had left it perched on the silver fork in front of you when juyeon has drawn your attention, and now it was covered by something not human, not even soul-like.
sangyeon’s hand was bruised in grey like he was burnt from a fire. the sight brought flashes of dreams and fragments of nightmares. the same ash-covered fingers that were placed against juyeon’s shoulder, surrounded by pits of fire. this time, juyeon was replaced with haknyeon, his boyish smile like a light in the burnt and blackened soot-filled air, sangyeon’s hand gripped with permanent damage.
the thought had your mind whirling and chair screeching as you bolted with a mere “excuse me” to those around you.
without another word, you headed toward your room. your heart hammered against your chest in fright, the words not haknyeon like a mantra that pounded into your skull, overwhelmed at the pressure that flooded your body.
the halls were windy, windier than usual. easily lost, you stopped for a moment to take in your surroundings. and then you noticed a shadow appear beside you. and for some reason, you felt more at ease.
“is there a reason you’re following me, juyeon?” you asked, without looking back. you could tell by his footsteps who it was, the same footsteps that stopped outside your door every night just for a moment, then walked away without knocking.
“how did you know it was me?” he slurred slightly, moving to lean against the wall opposite where you were. he let out a breath of relief, you were further from sangyeon, at least.
you hummed in response, the alcohol you had consumed began to steam through your blood as you looked at him. the light of the banquet room lit the dark corridor perfectly to see the sharpness of his jawline, the outline of his waist, jeans hung loosely on his hips.
“a lucky guess,” you mumbled. your saddened aura drawing him to push off the wall, hand reaching up to hold your jaw in place, the fingertips of his left hand traced the crevice of your waist.
“what is it?” his voice was delicate, these fleeting moments rare but necessary. his touch was a comfort like no other. whoever said alcohol boosts confidence had clearly seen you two coming.
you exhaled, resting your head against the wall behind you, eyes turned to look back toward the dimly light corridor that led to the banquet hall. “haknyeon.”
his left hand, which held most of his weight as he leaned in closer, slowly slid down the wall brushing your shoulder in its wake.
“he knows what he’s doing… we were all trained for this.” he exhaled slightly and reached to turn your chin back to look at him. “I got through it, and don’t think I turned out too badly… eventually.”
for some reason, all he wanted was the corners of your lips to turn upward, and that was what he got. your time in hellhouse made him realise what caring for others meant; he wanted to learn from you… learn everything about being someone to be dependant on.
he wanted to distract you somehow. his fingers ran up your arm, from your fingertips that he played with delicately, to the innard of your elbow, feeling the goosebumps prickle against your skin.
the gasp that escaped your lips tickled juyeon’s ego a little too strongly. his signature smirk plastered across his face as it always had, but the moment he looked at you… it warped with the emotion that swirled in his eyes. lust and desire.
“I think the wine has gotten to you tonight,” your words escaped in shaky breaths as his fingers slipped further down your side, firmly pressing circles into your thigh. your back pressed completely against the wall, fingers feeling for some kind of leverage.
a low, chesty chuckle followed -- if you hadn’t known any better, it was as though you had never heard anything darker in your life. he had sobered up quickly, his grasp on you grew tighter by the second. he felt protective.
“no, sweetheart,” he gloated. “I just think it's about time I stopped holding back.”
“holding back?” your eyes were wide like a dear caught in headlights; his crinkled lightly at his success in taking your mind away from sangyeon.
“from what I really want,” he whispered. his words filled with endless promises that your mind couldn’t comprehend. “come on.”
he gripped your fingers tightly in his own and bolted down the hall, your heels slapped against the palace floor. you paused for a moment and ripped them from your feet as the dull ache kicked in, your giggles flooded the halls. it frightened you how you couldn’t hear anything behind you… no one was following you. it was just you and him.
with the size of hell house, you weren’t surprised when you took too many wrong turns, leaving you wandering through the halls, side by side. this part of the palace was darker than yours, instead of the walls being dripped in gold, your fingers brushed against the harsh ridges of the earthy wallpaper, like rough sand melting under your fingertips.
you both took in the silence for a moment. leant against the decorative wall, you rub your feet free from the torture of their five-inch traps. juyeon looked carefree for the first time since you first laid eyes on him - not a demon, not even a soul. he was just juyeon. and for the first time, you had hope for a future that you could finally grip onto.
wiggling your toes to relieve any kind of feeling back into them, you took a moment to take in your surroundings.
a familiar-looking symbol etched onto the door knocker, two snakes delicately carved in bronze around a single staff with wings decorating its tip. it reminded you of something you had seen before, wavered memories of harsh ink carved into the right side of a rib cage, flickers of mesh material hiding it from the world. the symbol was something you had remembered from a mythology class in college, moments that now felt like a distant memory.
“it’s the caduceus.” juyeon murmured from the shadows. the change in his familiar voice bringing you both comfort and fear… “it belongs to hermes.”
“hermes?” he tore his gaze away from the floor, his soft gaze flickering in the light made by the flame-lit sconces that decorated the walls. it was as though the final remnants of the banquet washed away as soon as you saw the curve of his lips.
“son of zeus.” he hadn’t moved an inch from where he stood, eyes still lingering on the symbol. “all of hermes children obtain the symbol in one way or another. some have it etched into rings, onto their doors, and others hide it better. such as a well-hidden tattoo.”
this time, his eyes poured into your own intensely.
and when you shifted your own from the symbol, they instantly melted into his -- they lit up quickly, the light disappearing in almost an instant. you noticed this happened when he spoke about a part of his life.
“I didn’t know that,” you admitted. “I don’t remember much about hermes.”
“do you remember any of his children?” he questioned, eyes squinting in scrutiny. he didn’t intend to push you, but he needed to know.
“only hermaphroditus. I remember because the name is a mixture of hermes and aphrodite…” you rattled off, vague memories of the family tree plastered across the projector in your classroom. “must’ve been really beautiful.”
“hermaphroditus?” a smirk decorated his lips as he had to look down, eyes tearing away from your own. “it seems you paid attention in classics.”
the mutter barely went unheard but you decided to ignore him. “so, which child of hermes does this room belong to… and why is it in hell?” your eyes flickered once more over the caduceus.
he moved closer to you, leaning over to reach for the door handle that felt too hot to touch, “why don’t we find out?”
and with that, the click sounded as the door unlocked, almost as if the touch of his fingers acted as a key.
the room sprang to life, more sconce lighting the grey-ish walls as the furnishing came into view. if you had imagined a god’s bedroom, this would be exactly what would come to mind… everything item of furniture perfectly fitted in its place, not a hair out of line. the room exuded elegance and power. there was something very juyeon about this space.
and with the way he wandered around so calm and collected the realisation dawned on you - it was his room.
his eyes, filled one more with desire and lust, swirled with a third emotion. one he vowed he would never show you, that he suppressed with his entire being. it was a feeling so overpowering he would stop at nothing until it was reciprocated; an emotion no demon is capable of until they find their person. it was love.
“I’ve been watching you,” not once did his eyes move from their transfixed gaze into your own. he stood by his bedside, the cufflinks on his sleeve loosened; the golden hue reflected against the left side of his face, every crevice eliminated by the little light this room had. it was as though every beam was meant to hit him, to enunciate every curve of his features just for you.
he waited for you to respond. he wasn’t going to elaborate until he knew he had you locked in place, right where he wanted you. he didn’t want to scare you - there was a burning in the pit of his stomach that told him he didn’t want this unless you did. you needed to want this, to need this. he couldn’t have you in any way unless you wanted him to.
the way his face morphed into all seriousness made you want to toy, just a little. you had come to realise that you were the only being in this entire realm that he allowed to push his buttons a little harder.
“I’ve noticed.” you purposefully tweaked the corner of your mouth to mimic the smirk he constantly wore, the glasses of banquet red wine bubbling gleefully through your veins.
any playful demeanour had disappeared the moment you stepped into this room. his room. the god turned demon that stood before you.
you hadn’t expected his reaction - the space between you minimised in seconds, his hands reaching out to bring you impossibly closer. your bodies flushed together, your heels dropped from your clutches to the ground with a clatter. you melded together perfectly, your skin becoming engraved with the buttons of his dress shirt, and his with the rough glitter that lined your dress.
“you have.” it wasn’t a question. and the way his fingers curved a little tighter on your waist told you he hadn’t intended to question your remark. it was all that he needed to confirm that you were the place that he needed. you were the safe space he had been searching for.
“I have to tell you something,” he began, eyes never wavering from your own. “the doors of this palace only open to their owners…”
you stared, pieces of the puzzle you hadn’t realised were laid in front of you were slowly worming their way into place. you recalled the story he had told you moments before entering this room. the caduceus on the door, the blurred memory of the ink that raised against his ribcage, the way his cheekbones glowed a golden hue in such a dimly lit room...
“...to a son of hermes.”
it was like the wind had been knocked out of him, hearing your confirmed thoughts fall from your lips.
moments of question, his eyes searched yours; the feeling of holding you so close was as though the air in the room had ceased to exist the moment the words dropped from your tongue.
the swirls of gold that glittered in the pools of your eyes were too intoxicating to ever look away. his true form, that escaped your lips in a whisper, made him want to meld your bodies together for eternity; searching, hoping, for a sign of acceptance… he prayed to any god who would listen that your eyes wouldn’t show a trace of fear, his one true fear.
and when he didn’t find it, he closed his eyes.
the day he turned was the day he vowed then that there would only ever be one reason to close his eyes and that would be the moment he gave in completely to the submission of someone he loved. your submission, to fit you two together in perfect melds. and he did just that.
eyes fluttering closed, the moment you had waited for since you scuttled onto the judgment plates; the moment his eyes met yours for the first time that began an eternity. the warmth of his breath against your cupid's bow solidified the reality. there was no turning back.
and when your lips finally attached in a moment of despair, it began the everlasting battle of your hearts. each of you fought for dominance over the other. his fingers pressed roughly into your sides, the curves of your waist firmly in his clutches. his touch was intoxicating; when he promised to turn your world upside down, you hadn’t expected this to be the reason. and you don’t think he did either.
juyeon had admitted his true self to you - he was the son of hermes.
a fallen angel, a god, that had become the very being that humans feared the most - a demon. but a slither of hope that sat in the hollow pit of his heart ignited the moment his lips touched yours. he couldn’t let you go now... and you wanted nothing more for him to hold on forever.
with a gentle push, he led you so that the back of your knees were grazing the edge of his bed. he detached from you to sweep your hair to one side, his eyes boring into yours while he reached for the nape of your neck. the zipper glided ever so slowly down to the small over your back, his slender fingers lingering for a moment in enjoyment.
for the first time that night, his signature smirk was replaced by a gentle but sure smile that tweaked the corners of his mouth so beautifully. and for the first time since you met him, your heart confirmed that you hadn’t fallen in love with a monster, but a lost soul.
with a flick of his wrist, your ankles were drowned in crimson red sparkles that flowed delicately against the cold, stone floor by the bed. there was barely a hint of excitement on his features as you gazed rested on his eyes; it was more admiration, the certainty of his emotions and love… a love that reflected so stark under the dim chandelier of molten wax candles. These emotions poured out of him overwhelmingly as his eyes cast over your naked body.
“I knew you weren’t wearing a bra,” he chuckled.
and just like that, his hands roamed your body, leaning to place your back on the bed with the utmost delicacy. you knew you were in for a night of unexpected gestures. lips racing across your skin in an attempt to taste every inch of you, light pecks grazed you every few inches as he trailed across the plain of your body. somewhere along the way, his clothes met with your own at the foot of the bed.
you paused for a moment, noticing a darkened mark on his right shoulder, itching over his collarbone like a permanent hand tattooed to his skin. but you knew it wasn’t a tattoo, it was a mark - sangyeon’s mark.
but as expected, his charming ways hadn’t gone far; juyeon drew your attention back to the way his fingers teased your breasts while his lips attached to your neck, flourishes of maroon decorated his path. a hint of possessiveness fueled his actions; but merely the thoughts of delicate flowers that formed against your skin were all his heart desired, petals from the touch of his lips alone.
light pinches at your buds left you moaning beneath him at the sensation. your hands flew to cover your mouth in an attempt to muffle your pleasure but to your disappointment, he ceased contact completely. instead, his hands lay flat beside your head as he hovered over you, tongue still eager to trace the sensitive spot of your neck.
“if you do that again, I’ll stop.”
sheer dread flooded through you, silently cursing your desperation. “do what?” your innocence shone through once again igniting the desire in his groin.
“I want to hear you. no one else can, just for me.”
his honey-dripped honesty had your cheeks lit in a dusty rose; he let out a low chuckle as his nose brushed against your own. your heart lept at how the crinkles lined his eyes whenever he smiled.
you nodded shyly in hopes that this intermission would be brief; your silent promise was enough for juyeon to continue his tauntingly slow touches.
once again, his lips attached to your neck with a purpose; but this time, he headed south. his upper lip languidly trailed down the valley between your breasts, his nose tickling every movement he made. finally, he met with the material of your underwear, the tip of his nose tracing the waistband as he inhaled slightly. his subtle groan at your scent drew a frustrated moan from your lips; your reaction brought a chuckle from him… so he finally gave in.
he helped you lift from the bed as he slid them down your legs and flung them like a slingshot to land next to your dress. as he knelt down to rest at the edge of the bed, he pulled you closer to him, arms wrapped around your thighs. his breath hot on your centre left you squirming in place. his grip acting as an anchor to keep you still as he softly blew against your core.
“no more, please,” you groaned, the sound heavenly to his ears as he had you trapped in place.
his eyebrow twitched at your pleads, overwhelmingly fascinated by the way your body, your mind… the way your soul reacted to him. “okay… then let me show you how demons play.”
from that moment on he brought you extreme pleasure. the moment his tongue met your core was only just the start, as your eyes rolled back in your head. the sight was addicting to him, he never wanted it to end. he lipped, nipped and sucked even in overstimulation as you writhed in his bedsheets. your fingers clasping tighter at the sheets the further he brought you to your high. the closer you got, on instinct, you reached down to bury your fingers in his hair, a feeling that urged him to taste more.
every fantasy you ever had rushed through your mind as your gaze met with his as his tongue worked expertly on your clit. every nerve stood on end as he teased at sweet ecstasy, his hair tickling your inner thighs. he brought his fingers closer to caress your entrance, the feeling almost brought you over the edge.
he chuckled at the frustrated moan that left your lips, followed by the rasped yell as his slender fingers entered you roughly, rubbing perfectly against that bundle of nerves inside you. his tactical movements made you see stars, not afraid to voice exactly how he made you feel - he was in pure bliss as he heard the way his name fell from your lips. he wanted more of it, so much more.
“fuck,” he whispered, leaning closer to lap aggressively at your sensitive spot to pull you over the edge.
as your eyes opened following the aftermath of his actions, you hadn’t felt him move to hover over you once more. lips reaching down to take you in desperation, the taste of yourself lingered on his tongue as it fought for dominance with your own.
he pulled back ever so slightly, eyes glistening in wonder. he rested his weight on one elbow by your ear, his other hand reached up to caress the side of your face delicately; his subconscious was ensuring that you were really there. you were truly here with him. his eyes said a thousand words.
“how was that?” he hummed, knowing the answer but your reactions to his teasing was something he looked forward to.
you exhaled sharply, the movement of his leg between yours rubbed sexily against your sensitive bud. an unexpected moan fell from your lips, to which juyeon responded with another aching kiss.
“I want you, juyeon.” the bluntness in your tone surprised him. it was rare for you to speak your mind toward him; but when you did, he was in heaven.
the smirk that took over his supple lips was addicting. “you can have me however you want, little one.”
with that he rolled you both over, your legs forced to straddle his hips, hands placed on his chest where he held them.
“I want you too,” the way his eyes glistened told you there was more to it. “not just now, but forever.” he pulled your bottom lip between his teeth quickly, a little nip, and repeated the same words. “I want you forever.”
overwhelmed with his confession, you closed the gap once again to touched your lips to his. you knew that the forever you had hoped for was reciprocated, it wouldn’t end any time soon.
juyeon raised his hand to brush away the hair that fell into your eyes; escaped strands whispered and danced in the breeze as you stood at the top of the cliff.
the sun begun to rise in the distance... the only concept of time you had; you stood in front of juyeon, dressed in nothing but one of his dress shirts, curled into him protectively, his fingers pressed into the curve of your waist.
the man in front of you brought you to his safe space without a second thought; the only place he could find some sort of peace.
behind the palace, looking out at the endless miles of silent souls living their hell for eternity. this was the man who had nobody to care for… the man who decided to make your life a living hell at the moment you stepped into the underworld.
but the way his eyes poured into your own spoke a thousand words. words he could never say out loud. words he had never considered saying to anyone. his gaze ran along your features as if to memorise every inch of your face; as always, his mind reminded him with a dull thud that you wouldn’t be with him for long. demons could not love -- they were created for the sheer opposite of love. his fingers grazed along the skin of your temple where the pad of his thumb ran along your collarbone. he hoped you could change that.
he was so concentrated on memorising the way your skin felt under his fingertips, he hadn’t noticed how your eyes gazed upon him in the same way. tears threatened to spill over; your focus faltered as you noticed the corner of his lips quirk upwards absentmindedly. the tears that pooled began to stream in small droplets down your cheeks hypnotically slow. you looked at the man who could make your life end with a click of a finger. yet, the way you looked at him was like nothing of the sort. he had seen the way humans were today -- nothing like the chivalry of betrothed he saw years ago. and he wanted that, he wanted these things every time you looked into his like he had just offered you the world on a silver platter. like he had just stepped through the front door late after a long day at the office and you were curled up on the sofa holding up two steaming cups of hot chocolate in front of your favourite movie that you made him watch every friday night. like he had just won you the biggest teddy you could find at a carnival.
but you would never have that. demons couldn’t do that.
but that didn’t stop the was his heart yearned. the way the yearning cried out of his chest every time you were so close... he just needed to reach out and run his knuckles against the delicacy of your jawline.
and last night… he had given in to temptation. he let his guard down and loved you more intensely than he could have ever imagined.
the sun that breached against the hollowed mountains in the distance meant that today haknyeon would turn. and you didn’t know what to expect… who to expect.
“he won’t hurt him,” his chin rested against your forehead as he held you close, your chests against his.
“but he hurt you…” you nestled in closer, any leverage to bring comfort to him and yourself; you looked up into his eyes so innocently, any resemblance of a heart in his chest was hurting. “I know you don’t want to talk about it and I will never make you do so. but I know, in some way or another, sangyeon hurt you.”
your fingers squeezed his back, more tears threatening to flow. “because sangyeon is hades.”
he didn’t flinch, he knew that you would have eventually figured it out. but your revelation hit too close to home and he closed any minute proximity between the two of you, not an inch of untouched skin as he held onto you. not to comfort you, but to comfort himself.
“and I’m a touch of ruin,” he muttered, deep in thought.
the truth is juyeon would never open up about the trauma he faced with sangyeon. there was a flittering difference in their relationship - from someone who picked him up from his fall from olympus to the massacred souls juyeon witnessed, and eventually participated in. sangyeon saw himself in juyeon - the loser of the battle, the most powerful who did not come out on top. the self-depreciation of juyeon’s fallen self sought out to ward off the endless battle between his true evil and his true self. sangyeon was a father he never had, but a father he should never have had.
in juyeon’s lost days, he wondered how a son of hermes could ever face such a fate. and when he discovered the Heads, juyeon saw hope - hope for a better world. at the time, there were four heads… jacob, younghoon, hyunjae, and of course, sangyeon. juyeon saw a world where he could fulfil his duties as a god, and as a demon. the burnt touch of sangyeon hung over his shoulder as a reminder him of his woes.
and as he grasped onto that hope, as his life depended on it, sangyeon wanted to leave. leave the underworld and sought out the time they once had torturing souls in the pits. and juyeon refused.
that was hundreds of years ago - and now that he was back, juyeon had one more part of his world in hades to protect. you.
your shoulders had stopped shaking by the time his thoughts were drawn to the present. the gentle caress of your hair was uncommon as a resident of hellhouse, but somehow, it was the softest thing he had ever touched.
juyeon exhale deeply, so deep you felt it in your own chest; it was as though he had been holding his breath for thousands of years. and something in the back of your mind told you that he had been doing just that.
his lips pressed firmly against your forehead as he pulled back, arms coming back to circle your waist. “I won’t let anything happen to haknyeon, or chanhee, or any of the souls here. sangyeon raised me to be strong. and I’ll show him exactly how strong I can be to protect those I love.”
his spoken promise filled you with a fire that burnt for all in the underworld. and with that, he let go of you and headed down the side of the cliff alone.
and as always, he turned his head slightly, his toned back facing completely away from you, covered in a black shirt that he had fished from his dresser - a familiar smirk etching across his features.
“aren’t you coming, little one?”
E/N: and thats it 🥺 of course, there is muuuuch room for a part 2 so please do let me know if you’re looking for one~ once again, thank you so much for reading my story, I put a lot of hard work and effort into this and would love to know what you think ✨ lots of love, bec x
Hiiii !!! Can I request a short imagine where Sunwoo is dating a very competitive volleyball player ? Who plays beach and indoor volleyball ! So specific Ik 😭 and just like what it would look like ? Or maybe where they go to the same school and he has a crush on the player and he goes to their games all the time and all that good stuff! I hope this makes sense and u can make it however u want !! I just never see volleyball imagines so I thought it would be fun :)
a/n: hihi sweetheart, sorry for the late reply T^T i’ve attempted your request and i hope you like it! i don’t know volleyball very well so i tried to make do with what google told me <3
“That’s my bae! That’s my bae!” Sunwoo pointed at the court excitedly. Eric, who was dragged into this by Sunwoo, shook his head and shielded his face. You were in the midst of having your volleyball practice and Sunwoo, being the supportive boyfriend he is, was there to see you train.
“LET’S GO BAE!” He waved at you as you stretched, smiling from ear to ear at his cute antics. You languidly raised your hand up, making a peace sign. Sunwoo had practically memorized your training schedule so he could free up his time to cheer you on. Inter-school competitions were right round the corner and Sunshine Sunwoo was determined to make sure you (and your team) brought glory for the school.
“Let’s switch sides. Team A on my right and B on my left.” The coach shouted, and everyone shuffled positions. Sunwoo gazed at you as you confidently held the ball in your hands, ready to set the ball to the opposing team. Silence filled the air as Sunwoo leaned forwards in his seat. Single-handedly tossing the ball upwards with your left hand, the satisfying sound of your right hand hitting the ball resounded in the sports hall.
Sunwoo excitedly pumped his fist in the air, a wide grin on his face. He knew that volleyball was your passion and you were darn good at it; your competitiveness was not to be tested for you had high standards especially when it came to the sport. “Seola! Here!” Sunwoo’s eyes were trained on you as you called for your teammate to pass you the ball. Easily catching the sailing ball, you faked a pass before setting it over to the opposing team, causing them to be caught off guard.
Just like that for the next one to two hours, Sunwoo intently watched your gameplay, impressed every single time. Noting that Eric had left (no doubt to support his boyfie Kevin), Sunwoo trekked to the front row of seats. “Hi Sunnie.” “Geez, even after such a long, arduous training, my girlfriend is still as gorgeous as ever.” Sunwoo grabbed the towel from your hands and dabbed at your forehead. You leaned in, relishing the warmth he provided.
“Tell me I did great.” You cheekily peered at him through half-lidded eyes. Sunwoo bent down and pressed a kiss to your temple, “My bae did her best today.” “And my Sunwoo did his best cheering me on today.” You tightly wrapped your arms around his waist, pulling him closer to you. Inclining your head upwards, Sunwoo just continued beaming at you. Although the gap between Sunwoo and you made your position weird, you didn’t care. All you wanted was Sunwoo’s praise.
“Ah, you’re making me so shy.” “Says the ultra competitive setter.” He paused before gushing about you, “When you did that spike, I could literally see the flames erupting from that ball! And OMG, that serve was AMAZING. You were literally dancing all over the court, I wish I had another set of eyes...oh!”
You tugged on his jersey (read: your volleyball jersey), locking lips with him. Pulling away, he tried and failed to hide his silly lop-sided grin. “Give me 15 minutes. No wait, make that 10 minutes to shower. Let’s grab dinner together.”
from basketball to jumping, is there anything he can’t pretend to do? 🤩
BONUS: movie magic
i don’t think he needs saving...
on today’s episode of yeeting eric on kingdom
hyunjae: *spots the camera* hyunjae: *finger gun the camera*
day 5: changmin + reveal era
⁘ for @jaemtens ⁘
[ 11:39 PM ] lee sangyeon
you curl up to the chest of you boyfriend and take a deep breath, before releasing the air. you feel tired, eyes drooping every so often throughout the movie.
sangyeon looks down into your eyes and gives you a soft smile. "do you want to sleep, sweetheart?" he whispers kindly.
you yawn before casually shaking your head. "no," you mutter. "i want to spend more time with you, sangyeon-ah..."
he chuckles, amusedly. "and you have me for the rest of the week," he smiles brighter than before. "you're cute you know that?"
you flush and lightly smack his chest. "oh, hush you!"
he tightens his hold around you, and slowly the movie becomes white noise as your eyes flutter shut. before completely knocking out, you feel a light pressure on your forehead, and a small whisper.
"sweet dreams, babe..."
Younghoon: i’m having one of those things... a headache with a picture...
Hyunjae: he's having an idea
i just made these to stare at his face. i’m sorry or... maybe i’m not sorry at all
the category was face but he showed up and all the contestants went home