“May I tempt you”
Jaehwan lifted his head, looking into the startling green eyes of the beautiful man before him.
“No, thank you. Are you Mr. Han? I had a four o’clock appointment,” Jaehwan asked, ignoring the silver tray of sweets in the man’s hand and getting to his feet. The waiting room he had been sitting in was completely empty, he hadn’t even heard the man come in.
“In the flesh, you must be Jaehwan. Right this way,” the man replied, smiling a brilliant smile and gesturing the young angel towards the door. Jaehwan was sure it hadn’t been open a minute ago.
This Han man perfectly fit the description of the demon Jaehwan was looking for. Sanghyuk. Much taller than most human males, indigo black hair, sharp facial features and deep green eyes. The words written in his file didn’t do the demon justice, Jaehwan thought, trailing after his target. He was much bigger in person.
“So,” the demon said, pulling a chair out and pushing it in when Jaehwan sat, “You’re here for a talent audition?”
The young angel nodded. This demon cultivated gifted humans and corrupted them. He used them for his own gain, financial, emotional, Jaehwan wasn’t sure. But he knew whatever it was must be terrible. Demons always did terrible things.
“I’m here to sing,” Jaehwan replied, folding his hands primly in his lap and trying not to shake.
He had been chosen for this job because of his voice. Jaehwan may not be the strongest or most powerful angel, he skewed toward the weak side of that scale actually. But he was the best singer in heaven. Aside from Taekwoon of course, but he and the archangel where the two best. Not that it was a competition, just a fact.
“Sing?” the demon repeated, leaning back in his large leather chair. There was an oak desk between them, but Jaehwan would still have preferred a bit more distance.
“Yes, I sing in my local church choir and my pastor suggested I try professional, so now I’m here.” Jaehwan really was doing his best not to stutter or ramble, but the demons gaze was too focused on his face for his taste.
“Your paperwork said as much. Tell me something I don’t know.”
Jaehwan hesitated a beat, searching the room for something to say. He settled on the truth. “I enjoy singing more than anything else. It brings me immeasurable contentment.”
“Yes,” Jaehwan replied, nodding and accidentally meeting those emerald eyes. He hastily averted his gaze.
“Well then,” Sanghyuk said, folding his hands behind his head and flashing that sharp white smile, “Sing.”
So Jaehwan sang. He had been practicing this human hymn for weeks, wanting to make sure it was absolutely perfect. As first soloist in the heavenly choir, Jaehwan knew how much work proper singing required. The young angel needed to impress his target.
The demon’s jade eyes narrowed, just barely, but Jaehwan didn’t notice. He was too lost in the hymn. And by the time he finished his last note, the demon was smiling wider.
“Divine,” Sanghyuk murmured, smacking his lips like he had tasted something unpleasant. And no wonder, with a word of the almighty on his demonic tongue. Jaehwan smiled for the first time since he walked into this office. The demon stared at him for a moment, unwrapping one of the sweets from his little tray and popping it into his mouth. “Can you sing anything more... secular?”
Jaehwan hesitated again, looking down at his knees. He did... on very rare occasion when he was on the surface, sit and listen to the human music in parks or cafes. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything, obviously, just sit and listen.
“There is... there is one thing. But I would be better with instrumental accompaniment and I do not have one of those player things,” he replied, still staring resolutely at his knees. He needed this demon to want to collect him, and if singing a non-religious human song would achieve that then he would do it.
Sanghyuk pulled out one of those funny little cellphones, it looked so small in the palm of his hand. Jaehwan caught himself looking at it and focused back on his lap. “And which song would this be?” the demon asked, an unmistakable lilt in his tone. “Hurry up were dreaming, the outro, by an artist called M83.”
The demon’s eyebrow raised almost imperceptibly. “That’s an interesting choice…” he glanced at the young angel’s paperwork with a bit too much exaggeration, “Jaehwan. I’ll find it for you, in the meantime why don’t you have a treat.”
“I couldn’t p-possibly,” the young angel replied, frustrated with his stutter as soon as the word left his mouth. Sanghyuk glanced at him but tactfully chose not to comment.
“Ready when you are.”
Jaehwan hastily nodded, correcting his posture and taking a breath as the music began to play.
He did not only sing the words, harmonizing with the instruments as well. Following the swells and dips of the music as easily as a wave cresting and breaking on the shore. Jaehwan felt content as each note left his mouth, all present and correct. No stuttering, no faltering, simply pure song.
“Extraordinary,” the demon murmured, cocking his head and turning off the music. Jaehwan heart began to beat a touch faster in the heat of that smile. “But if you want to be a realperformer, you have to know how to carry yourself. Stand up.”
Jaehwan saw Sanghyuk start getting to his feet and hastily stood, but the demon was already behind him when he turned around, like he had teleported there. The young angel jumped, his hand fluttering up to his heavenly choker for a sense of reassurance.
“Of course, I am at an audition.”
Sanghyuk grinned, taking Jaehwan’s hand in his own and twirling the young angel around in a slow circle. Jaehwan felt himself getting warm. He was never touched, not even on the hand. Ever. It was an unfamiliar sensation.
“You’re certainly beautiful enough, a face like that could make me lotsof money, but I have something else in mind for you little angel.”
Jaehwan froze. “Wh-Wh-What did you call me?” he asked, mentally cursing the sticky word as rudely as his angelic vocabulary would allow.
Sanghyuk laced his fingers through Jaehwan’s, pulling him a few feet into the middle of the room. “The collar really is a dead giveaway, even paired with human street clothes.”
Jaehwan had begun to panic. Panicking was bad for him; it twisted his tongue up in knots. “You cah-cah-can’t be s-serious,” he tried, flinching when the demons other hand came to rest on his hip.
“Tell me, how does a little Dove like you develop a stutter upstairs? Don’t they normally beat the flaws out of you before you can walk? Or was that just in the old days?”
“I only stuh-stutter when I’m neh-neh-nervous,” Jaehwan squeaked, pinching his leg to force the sticky words out.
“It’s actually quite endearing,” Sanghyuk replied, his thumb pressing lightly into Jaehwan’s hipbone.
This needed to end as quickly as possible. Words of power were always the hardest for him to get out, but the demon clearly decided to try and collect him. It was now or never.
“Shh, Dove, don’t waste your energy.”
Jaehwan started down at the demon’s fingertip touching his mouth. If he had the capacity to use profanity, he would be cursing his treacherous tongue and cursing Taekwoon for thinking the young angel was strong enough to take on a Fallen.
“Is your name really Jaehwan? Any extra titles? Feel free to nod or shake your head if the word is too difficult.”
Oddly considerate for a demon. Jaehwan shook his head. He was just Jaehwan, a low-ranking angel with claim to nothing but a pleasing voice.
“Well, Jaehwan, my name is Sanghyuk, Prince of Greed and Duke of Hell. And I would like to keep you.”
“Are you sure you’re not a cherub?” Sanghyuk asked, sliding his palm up the young angel’s torso to cup his face in a way that made Jaehwan start to squirm. “No! I’m not a che-che-cherub! I am an angel and I am not tuh-touched this way!”
The demon cooed, running his thumb across Jaehwan’s cheekbone. “You never explained how you came by that stutter.”
“Individ-di-di- individuality initiative. The almighty wished their creations to have a tr-trait of their own.”
“Well that’s verynew! How old are you?”
“126, please let guh-guh-go of me,” Jaehwan squeaked, pulling away and trying to force some distance between them. The demon just yanked him back by the hand. “They sent a child to me? Do you know how old I am?” Sanghyuk asked, a look of genuine surprise of his deceptively youthful face.
“Yes, you’re quh-quite old,” the young angel replied, attempting to say the word of power again and failing spectacularly. “I’m over five thousand years old, Dove, you didn’t have a chance, they must have known.”
“The archangel Gabriel is my close friend. He ch-ch-chose me for my voice.”
“And what a beautiful voice it is.”
“Thank you,” Jaehwan said, ducking his head. How could he get out of this? He couldn’t let this demon corrupt his eternal soul, he had to get out. And he needed to get back upstairs so he could give Taekwoon a stern telling off. This had been an ill-conceived plan from the start!
“So, I make you nervous? You spoke perfectly fine at the begging of your audition.”
Jaehwan’s anxiety, already sparking dangerously high, gave a very unwelcome spike at the amused tone in Sanghyuk’s voice. “My eternal soul was not as much in peril as it is nuh-nuh-now.”
“Do you know what venom is, Dove?”
“Yeh-yes, but I do not wish to feel it’s effects,” the young angel replied shakily, turning his face away and doing his utmost to ignore the weight of the demon’s hands on his waist. “It’s very tasty, I promise.”
Jaehwan felt himself start to tremble. Just a little but it was enough to be noticeable. “Speaking of which, have a treat. Someone as sweet looking as you should be fed delectables regularly.”
“No, thank you,” Jaehwan exclaimed, powerless to escape the demon dragging him back around the desk. “Indulging in sins of the f-flesh is frowned- hey!”
Sanghyuk sat on his leather chair and pulled the young angel onto his lap. Jaehwan had never been touched this much and it was extremely disconcerting, helped none by the demon’s arm winding around his middle.
“Here Dove, try this,” Sanghyuk said, unwrapping one of the candies. “I am an angel; I do not eat!”
“Not for much longer.” The words were spoken with a smile that gave the young angel chills. Sanghyuk lifted his thumb and pressed it to Jaehwan’s lower lip, opening his mouth and popping the candy onto Jaehwan’s tongue without giving the angel time to protest.
Flavors exploded across his pallet, sweet and sour like a ripe green apple. It melted in his mouth, soft spun sugar. Jaehwan blinked, overwhelmed by taste where there was usually no taste all. Where there had never been any taste before.
“So, here’s what I propose. You let me keep you for the rest of eternity, come home with me, sing for me, and in return I will grant your every wish. Anything your immortal heart desires, Dove, it’s yours.”
“I cludnt pawsbne,” Jaehwan tried. The mouthful of candy made speaking even harder for the young angel than it already was. The demon just grinned, watching Jaehwan finish chewing. He swallowed hard, harder than he had been expecting. It was so difficult not to look into those jade eyes.
“You couldn’t possibly? But I want you, Dove. And I always get what I want.”
“Please let g-g-go of me.”
“How did that taste?” Sanghyuk asked, entirely ignoring Jaehwan’s plea as if the young angel hadn’t spoken.
“Would you like to taste something else sweet? It’s a bit different than that.”
Against his better judgment, the young angel nodded. Before he realized what was happening, the demon unhooked he back of his collar and hissed under his breath, tossing it to the other side of the room. “Wait!” Jaehwan squeaked. He felt naked without his collar, the conspicuous lack of heaven’s influence sending his mind reeling. It was much more of a challenge to avoid meeting the demon’s gaze without it.
His body started to feel uncomfortably warm, like he had one of those human fevers. This should not be happening, he needed to put his collar back on right away. Taekwoon and Hongbin would be furious if he got himself corrupted, he couldn’t let that-
“Close your eyes, Dove.”
Jaehwan did, mostly because he didn’t want to make this demon angry, but also because shutting his eyes seemed safer than meeting the demon’s emerald eyes.
“Open your mouth.”
And again, Jaehwan did. He felt something brush his lip and tentatively licked at it, craving more of that sugary candy. But this taste was different. It was almost effervescent. Mint, a hint of raspberry. Saccharine undertones. Even with his lack of experience in the flavor department, it was possibly the most delicious thing Jaehwan could imagine.
The tantalizing taste was taken away and he whined, a sound that had never left his mouth in the entirety of his one hundred and twenty-six-year long life. Jaehwan opened his eyes and found the demon watching him, gaze a touch darker than it had been before. The young angel was so transfixed, he didn’t notice the hint of red creeping into his field of vision.
“And how did that taste?”
Jaehwan smacked his lips, feeling a bit dizzy. “Wonderful, may I please have some more?”
“Of course, Dove. Anything you’d like,” Sanghyuk replied, lifting his finger and sliding it into his own mouth. The young angel stared back into the demon’s jade eyes. It was venom. He had just tasted venom. Imbibed it. The red stain was growing opaquer, but Jaehwan couldn’t bring himself to care. He wanted that taste, needed more of it.
The demon held his now saliva-slick index finger out and Jaehwan licked it eagerly. He understood what it was and knew what it was doing to him, but that knowledge didn’t make it any less delicious. “You’re a rather indulgent angel, aren’t you Dove?”
“Neremmner,” Jaehwan replied, not realizing how garbled the words ‘no I’m not’ sounded. He was entirely focused on trying to suck every last drop of venom off the demon’s finger. Sanghyuk laughed softly, running his palm up and down the young angel’s side. “I think you are. Not a complaint, merely and observation.”
Once all trace of venom was gone, Jaehwan pulled away and licked his lips. It really was the most extraordinary flavor; the young angel couldn’t think about anything else. His vision was almost entirely red, but all Jaehwan wanted was more sweet.
“More, please,” he asked, waiting expectantly for the demon to let him have another taste. But the Sanghyuk didn’t move. “Come get some,” he replied, catching Jaehwan’s wrist when the young angel tried to simply stick his finger in the demon’s mouth. “I don’t understand.”
The demon smiled, but still didn’t move. He thought for a moment, utterly confused, until it clicked. “That’s a sin of the flesh!” Jaehwan exclaimed, watching as Sanghyuk moistened his lips with his tongue. “I thought you wanted more.”
Jaehwan did, he did want more of that mint and raspberry taste. He wanted it so badly. The angel’s mind was swirling with confusion, momentarily losing track of what he was doing there as he stared unblinkingly at the demon’s mouth.
The angel had been warned about the horrible consequences of being corrupted by a Fallen, how his wings would shrivel up and fall off, how his virtue would be forever tainted, how the clear-cut line between good and evil would blur for him. But in the back of his head, Jaehwan knew it was too late to stop. He was too far gone. And he didn’t care.
“You’re blushing, Dove,” Sanghyuk murmured, toying with the soft wool of Jaehwan’s white human sweater. The young angel knew he was flushed, the temperature of his boiling insides manifesting on his cheeks and the tips of his ears. He squirmed impatiently, hesitantly allowing his free hand to poke the demon’s stomach.
“Why do you keep calling me Dove?” he asked, attempting to distract Sanghyuk long enough to let him get more venom without having to sin.
“Have you looked in a mirror? Or wait, of course you wouldn’t have. Your hair is almost as fair as your skin, and your dark eyes and white outfit remind me of a little dove. And I assume you have white wings, so that just strengthens the resemblance.”
Jaehwan hummed, inching closer and shifting himself on the demon’s lap. “Oh, and your stutter is gone, have you noticed?” No, he hadn’t noticed actually. The angel was much too preoccupied with the faint sheen he could see glistening on Sanghyuk’s bottom lip. He leaned in even closer without making a conscious decision to do so, feeling those dark jade eyes on him as he tentatively licked at that shiny spot.
The flavor of the venom spread over his taste buds immediately and he sighed with relief. The demon was gracious enough to open his mouth and, choosing to be brave, Jaehwan let his tongue wander along the edge of his sharp teeth. Sanghyuk tasted so good, the sweetness didn’t seem to end no matter how far he explored. It was all so breathlessly bewitching that the angel finally gave in and surrendered to the demon’s kiss.
All the air that had been comfortably residing in Jaehwan’s lungs promptly vanished. He gripped the front of Sanghyuk’s dress shirt, the demon’s hand on his cheek and on his thigh not seeming all that strange anymore. Venom bloomed inside the angel, coating his tongue, his senses, his brain, when Sanghyuk licked into his mouth.
Jaehwan pressed himself as close to the demon as possible, delighting in the delectable flavor. And then his vision blurred entirely white and then blood red, leaving him momentarily blind. The angel pulled away enough that he could catch his breath, staring unseeingly at nothing. He didn’t know what was happening around him, he couldn’t see, but it slowly began to fade.
“You’re okay, Dove, trust me. You’re alright.”
Once it melted away completely, the angel saw things in much sharper relief. Outlines of objects he hadn’t noticed before became prominent, as if someone had traced them in magic marker. He glanced up at the demon’s face and was now able to easily pick out all the tiny blue veins hidden just under his skin. Everything was vibrant.
“What’s ha-ha-happening to muh-me?” Jaehwan panted, clinging to Sanghyuk for all he was worth. He wasn’t worth much now, considering how tarnished his eternal soul undoubtably was, but he still held on tight. “My venom is taking effect; I know it’s a little frightening at first,” Sanghyuk replied softly, stroking Jaehwan’s cheek. Rubbing his back.
“Take deep breaths, Dove, don’t be scared,” the demon murmured, peering into Jaehwan’s wide eyes with something akin to genuine affection. “Im right here, I’ll take care of you. It’s going to be so good once you’re used to it Dove, I promise.”
Jaehwan swallowed thickly, trying to block out the external stimuli that was now threatening to overwhelm him. “I can taste-“ he whispered, snapping his mouth shut before he finished the sentence. Jaehwan could taste things in the air around him. He certainly hadn’t been able to do that before. “You had one of th-those,” Jaehwan stuttered, letting his tongue dart out to taste the air around the other, “One of those human cigarettes, tuh-tuh-two hours ago.”
Sanghyuk raised his eyebrows, blinking in surprise. “And there- there was someone in h-here with floral puh-perfume. Gardenia?”
“My secretary…” the demon replied, trailing off when Jaehwan hiccupped.
The new demon watched Sanghyuk’s mouth form the words, and he was struck with an urge to taste his venom again that left room for no other thought in his head. “Sweets,” Jaehwan breathed. He threw his arms around Sanghyuk’s neck with so much unexpected force that it knocked the chair they were seated in backwards onto the floor. But Jaehwan barely noticed, sitting on the demon’s chest and doing everything in his power to shove his tongue down Sanghyuk’s throat.
As before, the mint and raspberry taste ignited his senses, but it was now magnified tenfold. Jaehwan lapped it up, and Sanghyuk let him do it for a few moments before gently pushing the young demon away. “Easy, Dove,” he murmured, petting Jaehwan’s hair to sooth him, but Jaehwan was having none of it. He snatched at Sanghyuk’s wrists and pinned them to the floor above his head before sealing their mouths together once more.
Jaehwan kissed the demon hungrily, desperately, trying to taste as much venom as he possible could. Sanghyuk’s lips were soft against his, body warm under his, but Jaehwan couldn’t pay attention to those things. Venom. Venom venom venom sweet venom that’s all he wanted. That’s all he craved. He couldn’t breathe, his heart drenched in Sanghyuk’s sweet venom. Jaehwan began to feel dizzy, woozy, muddled.
“That’s enough for now,” Sanghyuk said, easily extricating himself from Jaehwan’s grip and sitting up. Jaehwan swayed a little, reaching for the buttons on the demon’s shirt. “What does the rest of you taste like?” he mumbled, licking Sanghyuk’s cheek. His skin was just was the tiniest bit salty, yummy. Jaehwan tasted the air again. Bergamot, rosemary, lavender, cardamom…
“Are you wearing cologne?” he asked, picking up on vetiver and cedar that he had missed the first time. “Yes, Drakkar Noir, the humans like it. But we are going to go register you before we do anything else.”
“But I want to taste you some more.”
“Later, Dove. I’d rather not give the angels an excuse to smite my new Bound.”
Jaehwan pouted at the grinning demon. “So, I’m your Bound now? What do I call you then?”
“Mm, creator, maker, master, lover, anything you’d like,” Sanghyuk hummed, lifting the young demon off him and standing up. “Maker,” Jaehwan repeated, rolling the ‘R’ and using Sanghyuk’s leg to help pull himself to his feet. He latched onto his maker’s side, going on tiptoe so he could steal a bit more venom from Sanghyuk’s smiling mouth.
Hi there, My name is Clytemnestrasrevenge and I don't know how to let stories go. It's 2am and I'm feeling self-indulgent again.
“Jaehwan isn’t coming back from your stupid mission!” a very deep and frustrated voice exclaimed. The owner of said voice glided in Taekwoon’s office, ivory wings shifting with each smooth step.
“Why do you say this?” the archangel officially called Gabriel asked, turning away from the window. He had been looking down on one of his favorite human families, lots of children and even more grandchildren, all so happy together. It warmed Taekwoon’s heart. This was what the almighty intended when they created the humans. Peace and joy.
Hongbin scoffed, flaming sword bright at his side and a manila file folder in his hand. “I’ve been keeping an eye on the registry since he went to the surface this morning, just in case, and look what came through?”
He didn’t hold out the folder for Taekwoon to see, merely flipped it open and began to read aloud. “Name, Jaehwan. Age, 126. Gender identity, male. Height, 181 centimeters. Rank, Fallen. Distinguishing characteristic, acute sense of taste.” Hongbin paused, shooting the other archangel a disgruntled look. “Hair, blonde. Skin, fair. Eyes… green.”
Taekwoon swallowed, folding his hands behind his back as staring up at his cloudy ceiling. “It would seem that my trust in his abilities was misplaced.”
“No, your delusions of his strength were misguided,” Hongbin snapped, shutting the folder and glaring at the elder. “You sent a child to deal with an archdemon, with no backup, simply because he has a pretty voice. This was a mistake from the beginning, he didn’t have a chance.”
Downstairs… wasn’t actually all that bad!
Jaehwan had never been here before, but it was mostly just rich black fabric and dim lights. He and Sanghyuk were in an elevator, on their way to meet Jaehwan’s new brother and the antichrist. That fact was giving the young demon jitters. He never ever dreamed he would actually meet the Lord of the Void face to face!
“How are you feeling now, Dove? Is it getting easier?” Sanghyuk asked, one of his strong arms wrapped snuggly around the young demon’s shoulders. “Yeah, it’s okay. I’m getting used to the tastes,” Jaehwan replied, looking up at his maker. Sanghyuk was smiling and it made the young demon smile too. His maker really was handsome, Jaehwan’s heartrate picked up a little just from the glint in his emerald eyes.
Jaehwan had learned about demonic bonds, all angels had. It was part of mandatory training upstairs. His teacher had described being a Bound like being a slave, not having the ability to make choices or think for one’s self. It had sounded terrible when they talked about it, but Jaehwan had decided his teachers were wrong. Being a Bound felt more like having a best friend than having a master.
The elevator dinged and the door slid open, Sanghyuk leading Jaehwan out into a hallway decorated in black and accented with crimson. “Now, Hakyeon can be a bit… overbearing, but don’t let that put you off. Nothing will happen to you when I’m there,” he said quietly, stopping before a wide set of scarlet double doors and knocking.
“Enter,” a voice called, and they did, Jaehwan staring around at the black and grey and purple room in slight amazement.
“Who might this be?” an astonishingly beautiful man asked, appearing in front of Jaehwan out of nowhere. He had honeyed skin and glowing red eyes, smiling like a cat that had spotted a very tasty mouse.
A soft growl escaped the young demon’s throat, both surprise and this man’s threatening aura setting him immediately on edge. He side-stepped, putting himself directly between Sanghyuk and the man. The urge to protect his maker was clearly deeply ingrained in his new demonic programing.
“Easy, Dove,” Sanghyuk murmured, hugging Jaehwan against his front, before addressing the frightening man a bit more sharply. “Back up, he’s new.”
“I can see he’s new, Hyoggi, and I can see he’s one of yours. But you usually aren’t one for taking Bound, was Wonshik getting boring?” the man replied, taking another step towards Jaehwan and cocking his head.
The young demon growled louder at the man’s proximity. He was in Jaehwan’s space, Sanghyuk’s space, and he didn’t stop growling until he heard his maker’s quiet whisper in his ear. “This is Hakyeon, Dove, Prince of Hell and Lord of the Void. He won’t hurt us.”
Jaehwan’s eyes widened and he shrank back, trying to make himself as small as possible. This was the antichrist! No wonder he was so scary! He let his tongue dart out, tasting the air around Hakyeon as surreptitiously as possible. Black pepper, cinnamon, artemisia. “He’s sp-sp-spicy,” the young demon muttered, eyeing the Prince of the Void with undisguised suspicion.
“Pardon?” Hakyeon asked, raising an eyebrow and looking from Jaehwan to Sanghyuk. “He can taste things on the air, it’s his special ability. And where is my other Bound? I just assume he’s hiding somewhere?”
The young demon kept his eyes locked on the false prince, not liking the way his smile widened. “Shikkie is around, probably with the hounds, but I’m very interested in this little one,” Hakyeon replied, inching further and further into Jaehwan’s space.
“Back off, or I will make you back off, false prince or not,” Sanghyuk said, voice full of menace as he hugged Jaehwan a little tighter. The Prince of the Void paid him no attention at all, reaching out to stroke the young demon’s hair.
In a flash, Sanghyuk grabbed Hakyeon’s arm and shoved him so hard he ended up sliding across the floor on his back, laughing the entire time. “You’ve never been good at sharing, Hyoggi,” the false prince said through his giggles, earning a hiss from Jaehwan. He wasn’t a possession to be shared. “Yeah, no shit, I’m the Prince of fucking Greed!” Sanghyuk snapped, looking around and calling, “Wonshik! Come here!”
Another man materialized from thin air right beside them. He had cherry red hair and was a lot less threatening, but it still startled another hiss from the young demon. “Shh, Dove, this is Wonshik. He’s your new brother,” his maker murmured, all trace of his sinister tone gone.
Jaehwan had had just about enough of other demons, but he managed to stop hissing long enough to whisper, “S-s-sweets?”
He felt Sanghyuk nod rather than saw it, filled with an anxious sort of curiosity as he peered at his new brother through distrustful eyes. Jaehwan flicked his tongue, licking at the air wafting off the redhead’s skin. Sandalwood and ambergris and… something aromatic. It put the young demon in mind of a forest trail. Cool blue sky. “Earthy,” he mumbled, gaze locked on the newcomer as he licked kittenishly at the finger his maker was holding in front of his mouth.
Sweet raspberry, sweet mint. Delightful effervescence that sent his heightened senses buzzing. Jaehwan all but purred.
“Good boy,” Sanghyuk murmured, the angular plane of his cheek resting against Jaehwan’s temple. “This is Jaehwan. Why don’t you introduce yourself, Shik?”
The redhead started, looking back at Jaehwan a bit warily. “Hi,” he said, voice baritone, velvet smooth. “I’m Wonshik, Prince of Envy, Duke of Hell.”
Wonshik. His brother was named Wonshik. His brother spoke in a way that put Jaehwan in mind of Hongbin. His best friend who would no doubt despise him now, would look upon him with shame and disgust.
“Hah-hah-how old are yuh-you?” Jaehwan asked, pinching the soft part of his arm to force out the sticky words. All traces of delicious venom were gone, to the young demon’s chagrin, so he began nibbling on the tip of his makers finger instead. Salty. Smoke.
“Three thousand and seventy-four,” his brother replied, gracing him with an easy grin. It lessened Jaehwan’s nerves, lulled him. “How old are you?”
“One hundred and twenty-six.”
His brothers’ eyes widened just the slightest bit. “You corrupted a baby?” he asked, gaze flicking up to Sanghyuk. “I know, the young ones are usually so insufferable. But look at him, he’s so cute and he sings like magic, how could I not?”
Something twinged beneath Jaehwan’s ribs. Something ugly. They were talking to each other, talking over him, talking around him. The false prince was talking too, now siting cross legged on the floor where Sanghyuk had thrown him and petting an enormous black dog. They weren’t paying attention to him, weren’t even looking at him, and all the sweet was gone now and he wanted it. Wanted sweets and wanted attention. That want called to him from somewhere deep in his mind. Something-
“Do you have ve-venom, new brother?” Jaehwan asked, trying to think of a way to kill two birds with one stone. Wonshik glanced at him, emerald eyes intent as he nodded. Sanghyuk and the false prince were still talking to one another but at least someone was paying attention to him.
Jaehwan nipped his maker a little and moved, slowly, hesitantly, in his brother’s direction. That red hair was so beautiful, strands glimmering in the light from the alchemical bulbs overhead. Jaehwan would quite like to have red hair, he thought, slinking a bit closer. And muscles, he wanted muscles like his brother, not these pipe cleaners he called arms. It wasn’t fair.
“Can I have sweets please?” he asked, breathing in a lung full of that earthy taste. Jaehwan had to look up, physically tilt his chin up to meet Wonshik’s gaze. He was almost as tall as Sanghyuk. Jaehwan wanted to be as tall as them, he thought peevishly, that ugly thing beneath his ribs pulsing more incessantly. His brother nodded again, his finger slipping into his own mouth.
Wonshik’s venom was different. Not as delicious as Sanghyuk, Jaehwan thought, humming as he sucked on the digit resting on his tongue. It was still tasty though, like rose petals and white chocolate.
“Aww, look how adorable! They’re getting along!” Hakyeon cooed from his spot on the floor. He clapped excitedly, Jaehwan’s irritation lessening a bit. He had more attention, and he had sweets, it was a good start. “Yes, yes, brotherly love and brotherly bond, absolutely precious. Now, as I was saying...”
Sanghyuk’s words slid out of focus. His maker still wasn’t paying attention! Was Hakyeon more interesting than him?! Sure, he was the lord of the void, but still! Jaehwan was Sanghyuk’s Bound now! The young demon was so suddenly and so violently flooded with jealousy that he didn’t even notice-
“Wah awe you do-ngh?” Jaehwan asked, going a little cross eyed as he tried to look down. His brothers’ finger was deeper in his mouth, and then less, and then more, and then less, that tasty sweetness almost gone.
“Shh,” his brother said, flashing that easy grin. Jaehwan didn’t know what exactly to do. He grumbled a little as his treat was taken away, pouting, but very happily opened his mouth when presented with two more venom-slick fingers. Sweetness bloomed, somewhat assuaging the ugly thing burning in his chest, if only a little.
Jaehwan wanted a nose like that, he thought, staring at Wonshik as he pressed down on the young demon’s tongue, fingers sliding easily in and out of Jaehwan’s mouth. Jaehwan wanted to have venom of his own! Why could everyone else have it but not him?! His brother was so lucky, he was so perfect with his muscles and hair and sharp jaw. Jaehwan’s eyes narrowed, tasting more rose and chocolate as his brothers’ fingers pushed further passed his lips.
He wanted all of that. Wanted to be Wonshik, wanted to see through his eyes. Live inside his skin so he could be just as perfect. Not so lacking, not so small and scrawny and venom-less, it wasn’t fair!
Jaehwan gagged a little, his jaw starting to ache from being held open and staring at Wonshik’s lower lip, caught between his teeth. It was perfect, not to thin and not too thick, and the young demon wanted his own lips to be shaped like-
“Turn your mojo down, both of you. That’s enough brotherly love for today,” Sanghyuk voice snapped, giant hand closing around Jaehwan’s wrist and tugging him backwards. That effectively broke whatever spell had fallen over them, Jaehwan shaking his head to try and clear it, Wonshik wiping his fingers on the hem of his shirt.
“Lucifer! That was starting to make even me envious!” Hakyeon exclaimed, eyeing Wonshik before turning his scarlet gaze on Jaehwan. The young demon shrank away, hiding himself against his makers chest as best he could. “But you… what were you doing, little one?”
“I genuinely don’t know what just happened,” his brother mumbled, blinking very fast.
“You,” Sanghyuk replied, pointing an accusing finger at Wonshik, “Spiked your energy up to eleven, my dear Prince of Envy. And you,” he continued, stroking Jaehwan’s hair, “Were egging him on. I don’t know how exactly you were doing that Dove, but what ever your gift is, it is extremely strong.”
Welcome back to the circus of madness!
I may have thought of a bigger plot for this...........
“Come with me, little dove. This way.”
Jaehwan held tight to his makers hands, letting himself be pulled from room to room of a lavish, contemporary home. The furniture in Sanghyuks apartment was similar to that of Jaehwans room in heaven, although it was all black. Elegant as opposed to basic.
“Your house is very... aromatic,” the young demon murmured. He let his tongue dart out to taste the air. Pine and... “Alcohol? But not the drinking kind?”
His maker hummed, stopping when they reached a bedroom with a wide, low mattress. Black comforter and silver pillows. Lots of pillows. If there were other things in the room, Jaehwan didn’t notice, too busy catapulting himself into the center of the bed.
“I like a clean house,” his maker replied, smiling affectionately as he watched Jaehwan roll around.
Jaehwan smacked his lips, the pillows tasted like clean cotton and underneath... “Sweets please!”
“In a moment, Dove. I’d like you to try something for me first.”
There was a gleam in his makers eyes, peaking Jaehwans interest immediately. He sat up, waiting expectantly as his maker came to sit on the edge of the bed. “Did you understand what I meant when I said you needed to turn your mojo down?”
“Not really,” the young demon hummed, crawling over and plopping down on Sanghyuks lap. He leaned into lick at his makers mouth but Sanghyuk easily held him back.
“Close your eyes, Dove.”
Jaehwan closed his eyes.
“Now, think about how much you want sweets, focus on that sense of want.”
Jaehwan focused hard. Sanghyuks thighs were firm beneath him and that only increased the young demons ‘sense of want’. He wanted his maker so badly, wanted to taste his yummy venom, wanted to taste his skin, wanted to rub himself against Sanghyuk like a cat and swallow down the warmth from his body.
A sweep of soft fingertips on the nape of his neck brought Jaehwan back to himself. Maybe he wasn’t focusing very hard after all. Want. His sense of want. Jaehwan let his hands wander innocently up his maker’s sides, pretending it was an unconscious movement, pretending that he was being thoughtful and not just looking for any excuse to touch Sanghyuk that he could find.
“What’s interesting?” Jaehwan asked, nibbling on his bottom lip. That need was coming back in full force now that he was thinking about it. Need for venom. He craved it, yearned for it, was getting impatient for it. “I can feel it,” Sanghyuk replied. “You’re making me hungry.”
Jaehwan opened his eyes and peered into his makers green ones. Such a pretty shade of emerald. “I’m hungry too.”
He leaned in for a kiss, but his maker returned it with closed lips. Frustrating...
Jaehwan cupped his cheeks, trying to pry Sanghyuk’s mouth open with sheer force of will but his maker didn’t relent.
“Not yet,” Sanghyuk replied, leaning back and dodging Jaehwans fingers. He’d had to open his mouth to talk and Jaehwan was quick, but his maker was quicker. Jaehwan whined at a volume he considered unnecessarily loud, but maybe if he irritated his maker enough, Sanghyuk would give in.
Sanghyuk jostled him a little, the heat between their bodies and hunger roiling in Jaehwan’s stomach nearing the border of unbearable. “What was it you said I could call you? Creator... maker... lover... master? Do you want me to call you master?”
Jaehwan grinned. Sanghyuk wasn’t his master, but from his lessons, Jaehwan knew that demons liked that sort of thing. Liked being made to feel powerful and in control. And by the tightening of his muscles beneath Jaehwan’s hands, the young demon guessed he’d found a good new tactic. He pressed up against Sanghyuk’s front and licked at his cheek. That same smokey saltiness as the tips of his fingers. And something else. This new something was a smell though, not a taste, Jaehwan realized. He was starting to have trouble sorting out which sensation went with which sense. Oregano maybe?
“Do you want to call me that?”
“Yes master,” Jaehwan sighed, burying his face in the crook of Sanghyuk’s neck. The smell was stronger there, hotter as well. Under the metallic tang of cologne, Jaehwan could inhale the individual particles that made up his maker’s scent. Bergamot and rosemary, a bit of vetiver, the smallest hint of lemon. And this new thing. Spicy and appetising and tantalizing and Jaehwan wanted to drink the air. Drink it down and absorb it into his pores and roll around in it until it coated his entire being.
The scent was making him almost lightheaded.
The tune of their breathing in the silent room was starting to fog up Jaehwan’s hearing. He wanted to listen to something else. Wanted Sanghyuk to talk to him, listen to that delicious voice calling him pretty things. Calling him Dove. Jaehwan put his hands on his makers shoulders and shoved him backwards. Scooting up and sitting on his stomach, pinning him to the bed. Sanghyuk, annoyingly, didn’t seem fazed.
“This white, hm... you can’t wear this white anymore, Dove, it’s not allowed.”
“Such a luh-law abiding citizen. I wonder why they s-sent me after you...”
Jaehwan squinted at his maker for another moment, trying to think of what he could do. How he could get Sanghyuk to give him venom... he couldn’t focus anymore. Couldn’t think straight, or sideways for that matter. Couldn't think at all, just venom, venom, venomvenom venom...
“Why did your stutter come back?” Sanghyuk asked, hands circling Jaehwans waist in a grip that was much too slack. “Duh-d-don’t know,” the young demon replied quietly. How could he- oh.
Sanghyuk could feel his hunger if Jaehwan wanted him too. Jaehwan just needed to turn his mojo, or whatever it was actually called, back on. The young demon felt around inside himself, trying to find the source of his craving. It only took a few seconds at most. The hunger was a burning core of flame in the center of his chest and Jaehwan poked it, prodded it, trying to stoke the fire. Make it burn brighter. Send it outwards-
His makers grip on him tightened considerably, fingers digging into Jaehwan’s sides. “Stop it.”
“Stop what, m-master?” Jaehwan hummed, running his hands through Sanghyuk’s dark hair. The movement dislodged another smell, eucalyptus, and the young demon leaned down to press his nose against his maker’s temple. It smelled delicious.
“Turn your mojo down.”
“I’m not duh-doing anyth-theh-thing.”
Jaehwan felt a muscle twitch in Sanghyuks jaw but he continued to push his craving outwards. It was working, he knew it. Could smell it. Taste it on the air. There had to be something else he could do, Sanghyuk was still keeping his mouth shut infuriatingly tight and-
With a huff of annoyance Jaehwan sat up straight. He pushed his makers hands away and scooted off him, then off the bed, backing up until he stood against the wall. The space between them, lack of warmth, only served to make his craving stronger but he stopped himself from moving. Didn’t let himself run back to the bed. He needed Sanghyuk to come to him.
“Why d-did they seh-send me to you?” the young demon asked, stalling for time and trying to keep his energy inside. Letting it build up.
Sanghyuk heaved a breath, face smoothing over, the tight line of his mouth relaxing. Good. He thought Jaehwan had stopped. “You said you were friends with the archangel? Taekwoon?” he asked, slowly getting up and stretching his arms above his head. Jaehwan nodded. “Well, I stole something from him.”
The craving was sloshing around inside his chest like water in the bottom of a boat but Jaehwan held it in. “What did yuh-you s-t-teal?”
Jaehwan gasped, almost losing control of his hunger but managing to hold on to it. “His sword?! B-but you can’t touch it! You’d die! Like, really die!”
With a flourish, Sanghyuk snapped his fingers, and a sword appeared in his hand. It- it looked like Taekwoons, sort of, the scroll and open eye were engraved on the hilt, making it as his. But where it used to be gold, it was now a silver so dark it was almost smoke, the holy fire licking the blade now black instead of white. “I turned it infernal, and he isn’t too pleased as I’m sure you can imagine.”
“I imagine not...” Jaehwan replied, watching his maker cut the air a few times before the sword vanished. Now he could understand why Taekwoon had sacrificed him. He didn’t like it, but the corruption of a divine relic was not something to be taken lightly.
Satisfied that his maker was lulled into distraction, Jaehwan exhaled a breath, releasing control of his energy and letting it spill out of him. The relief sent him shaking, knees noticeably weak, but the effect it had on his maker was more dramatic. Sanghyuks whole body went rigid, the emerald in his irises flecking silver they were so bright. His head snapped up in Jaehwans direction, eyes so focused they were almost menacing. Jaehwan caught his breath.
“Dove,” he whispered, apparently rooted to the spot.
“Sw-sweets please, master.”
Faster than sin, Sanghyuk had crossed the room and caught Jaehwan’s face in his large hands, sealing their mouths together. The young demon went limp. Sweet raspberry, sweet mint. Venom. The tiny monsters in his brain stopped screaming, Sanghyuk’s venom running through him like tendrils of electricity. He licked into his makers mouth, gasping, panting, getting as much delicious relief as he could.
“Lucifer, you have to stop that,” Sanghyuk hissed, forming the words against Jaehwan’s lips. But the young demon didn’t stop. The taste was blinding him. “Every resident... of hell... can probably... feel that.”
“So wh-what?” Jaehwan breathed, tugging at his makers shirt with frantic fingers. He wanted to feel his makers skin. Absorb more of his warmth. “You have wards, d-don’t you?”
His makers mouth had moved downward, hot against his neck, teeth scraping flesh. ”That’s not the point... and my wards don’t... keep out... everyone-“
A whole new feeling surged through Jaehwans insides and he managed to turn his head, just a little. Cherry red hair and deep jade eyes... Sanghyuk nipped at his throat. “Not now, Shik.”
“Saints below! Is that him doing that?” the other demon asked, stepping slowly into the room. Jaehwan could see how dilated his pupils were. “Go away... don’t make me order you,” Sanghyuk snapped, nosing at the underside of Jaehwans jaw.
Attention... Sanghyuk was distracted. Jaehwan didn’t have his full attention anymore. His heart flared black with jealousy as he dialed up his own energy, harder, stronger, so it would be impossible for his maker to ignore. He heard both demons sharply inhale.
“Stop it, both of you,” Sanghyuk growled, but Jaehwan couldn’t. His hunger had seemingly taken on a life of its own, or a mind of its own, or- Jaehwan couldn’t think of the expression. Not when his makers mouth was working wonders on his throat.
He remembered a bit from lessons about human breeding. The ones he used to find so earth-shatteringly boring. Maybe that information could be of use to him now. “How is he so strong already?” Wonshik asked from by the door, Sanghyuk hissing as Jaehwan palmed his crotch through the front of his slacks.
“Stop talking, guh-go away,” Jaehwan snarled, throwing his new brother a furious glare. He was just being distracting and Jaehwan wanted him to leave. Didn’t want anything taking his makers focus off him, not a drop of his attention to waver. Sanghyuk pressed him against the wall with a growl. “I’m going to lock you both... in the deepest fucking circle of the void.”
Desperate now, Jaehwan began flicking the buttons on Sanghyuks shirt open. His fingers stumbled, movements jerky, interrupted by his maker dragging the sweater off over his head. Jaehwan had never been this bare in front of another person before, let alone two, but for some reason he didn’t care. New demonic brain, probably.
His maker was hard, Jaehwan could feel it, pressed against his thigh. He wanted to feel that hardness in his hand, in his mouth. Taste it- Sanghyuk pulled him away from the wall and back to the bed, Jaehwan tripping over his own feet in his haste to follow. “Don’t look at him, he just likes to watch.”
Jaehwan did look though, stared at the shiny spot of saliva on Wonshiks lip. Venom. He’d done that on purpose. The young demon tore his eyes away as his maker shoved him down onto the bed, crawling on top of him. Hands on his midriff. Teeth on his earlobe. Breath burning his skin. There were too many smells in the room now, his brother’s sandalwood mixing with his maker’s spice. It was too overwhelming, too distracting.
“Go away,” he grit out, feeling rather than hearing the fabric of his pants rip. Venomvenomvenom...
Jaehwan tangled his hands in his makers hair and found his mouth, tasting raspberry and mint and trying to breathe through his nose. Getting high off all the intoxicating aromas floating around the dimly lit room. The young demon whined as he felt the comforting press of denim vanish from his lower half. He felt the mattress by his head dip, Sanghyuk pulling away from him and prying his thighs apart.
“Do you want this, little Dove? Because your behavior is telling me you do,” Sanghyuk murmured, lifting one of Jaehwans legs and pressing a kiss to the inside of his ankle. Jaehwan nodded furiously. He didn’t even know what exactly it was that he wanted, he just wanted Sanghyuk to envelope him completely and-
Sanghyuk reached over Jaehwans head and there was a slapping noise. “He’s mine, don’t even think about it,” he hissed, Wonshik laughing quietly in response. “No touching, none, do you understand?”
“Mine. I don’t share, you know that.”
Wonshik chuckled some more, that infuriatingly rich laugh that Jaehwan now envied so deeply. He wanted to tear out his new brothers voice box and swallow it so he could sound like that, wanted to sound baritone instead of his own boring tenor-
Sanghyuk was glaring over his head, still nipping at Jaehwans ankle but not in a deliberate way. More just because it was there. That awful jealousy surged up in him, souring his stomach, even as a hand caressed his temple.
“I will break your fucking wrist,” his maker snarled, squeezing Jaehwans foot uncomfortably tight.
“It’ll just heal.”
“Stop looking at him!” Jaehwan squeaked, his own energy expanding to counter Wonshiks. His new brother laughed again, even as his breath hitched. “Sibling rivalry is fun, I’ve always wanted one.”
“I knew this was a mistake,” Sanghyuk groaned, even as he pulled Jaehwan further down the mattress. Jaehwan couldn’t help feeling wounded by those words. He pawed at his makers bare stomach and let his tongue dart out. Tasting the air. Making sure that hungry smell was still there. “I think you hurt his feelings.”
“Oh,” the young demon gasped, the jealous anger pulsing in his heart simmering down as Sanghyuks thumb brushed the head of his cock. An appendage he hadn’t ever paid much attention too before, something Jaehwan now realized had been a mistake. Pleasure and anticipation tightening inside him out of nowhere.
“Don’t move, Dove, I don’t want to hurt you.”
His makers voice soothed Jaehwan enough that he could almost ignore the fingers brushing back and forth on the shell of his ear. “Ready Dove?”
A wave of nerves hits the young demon too suddenly for him to control. He felt too exposed, too open, wanted to grab the comforter and cover himself up to his nose and just hide. He watched through wide eyes as his maker leaned down to kiss him, the venom taking the edge of Jaehwans anxiety for the briefest of moments.
It all rushed back when Sanghyuk pushed inside him. A moan escaped, clawing up Jaehwans throat. He didn’t know if it felt good or bad but he arched off the bed regardless.
Oh and that hunger was back as well, a living thing screaming in his head, and Sanghyuk groaned into the young demons open mouth. Jaehwan was completely lit up inside, pinpricks of blinding fire so bright they should be piercing through his skin.
“Well, we know he likes that...”
Sanghyuk reached out and smacked Wonshik with the back of his hand. “Are you ready for more, Dove?”
“More?!” Jaehwan squeaked, unable to comprehend how more was possible with all this already happening. He squirmed a little in Sanghyuks grip. “You’re going to ruh-ruh-rip me in half!”
His maker smiled down at him and Jaehwan noted the glazed look in his glassy green eyes. “Just a little more.”
It was with great hesitancy that Jaehwan nodded. He hadn’t realized his body could feel this full or this warm. Hot, even. And when Sanghyuk rolled his hips, no matter how slowly or gently he did so, Jaehwan still felt tears prick in his eyes. They didn’t come, angels didn’t cry and neither could demons, apparently, but he felt himself sob anyway. Dry sobs that wrenched themselves from the furthest depths of his being.
This didn’t feel bad, it didn’t hurt, really, it felt strangely good. But it was a lot of good. Too much good. So much good that it blocked out the distracting stimuli floating around in the air. He couldn’t smell anything. Could only feel. Just Sanghyuk’s soft skin against his own, that aching hardness inside him.
His makers face was hidden in the crook of his neck, sucking gently at his throat, a large hand wrapped around the back of Jaehwans thigh and Jaehwan blinked up at the ceiling. He was having sex. Actually having sex with someone, the worst sin of the flesh in the books and he tried to get it into his head that it was genuinely happening but he couldn’t. There was some sort of disconnect. He had gone from being an angel to being a demon, gone from being free (or relatively free, since all the rules angels had to follow could start to feel like shackles after a while they were so strict) to being bound to another person, it was so much change in so little time that-
Something tapped Jaehwans bottom lip and he automatically opened his mouth. An entirely instinctual reaction. Rose petals and white chocolate burst on the tip of his tongue and the young demon positively purred with satisfaction. Venom. Not as good as his makers but still enough to help him relax.
“Such a good boy, little Dove, it’s not so- what the fuck did I say about touching?!” Sanghyuk asked, lifting his head to look at Jaehwan. His voice had started out tender and immediately switched to harshness when he noticed that the young demon was nibbling on Wonshiks finger. “He was starting to panic, I’m being helpful.”
Abruptly, Sanghyuk pulled away from him and the emptiness he left behind sent Jaehwan sobbing again. He wanted that full feeling back, wanted more of it, as much as he could get, and not knowing what else to do, Jaehwan jacked up his energy in hopes it would lure his maker back to him.
It seemed to have worked because Sanghyuk’s hands were on him again, lifting Jaehwan up and turning him around. He could feel his makers chest against his back, an arm around his middle and a hand on his throat but applying no pressure. Jaehwan mewled quietly as Sanghyuk thrust into him again, the sound sticking before it fully reached his mouth. He let himself go pliant, let Sanghyuk hold him up in that kneeling position, pleasure pooling in his stomach and hatred tangling up his brain.
He was staring at Wonshik, it would be pretty much impossible not too what with him sitting cross legged on the bed roughly three feet away. Prefect, gorgeous Wonshik, with his perfect red hair and perfect caramel skin and perfect green eyes and perfect voice and Jaehwan absolutely hated him for it. He was so jealous it almost made him physically sick.
“I wanna cut you open... and wear you like a suit,” Jaehwan panted, glowering at Wonshik even as he moaned. He had no clue what made him say that out loud, maybe whatever Sanghyuk was doing to him had loosened the young demon’s tongue. There was so much pressure, so much pleasure every time his maker thrust into him and then pulled back out. Jaehwan had never felt so many things in his entire life.
“That's normal. It's how most people feel about me,” Wonshik replied, a smirk on that indecently handsome face, and Jaehwan wished he could punch him. He’d never wanted to punch anyone or anything before. More demon stuff, he guessed. Violent impulses. Jaehwan was also discovering that he didn’t mind being watched in that position. He thought he should mind, sex was supposed to be an intimate thing only shared by two people who loved each other. Or thats what his angel teacher had told his class, but really, what did angels know about sex? Nothing.
The young demon turned his head trying to find Sanghyuk’s mouth. “Sweets,” he murmured, giggling with delight when his maker indulged him, licking at the corner of his mouth. Raspberry... mint... Jaehwan experimentally rocked back to meet Sanghyuks thrust and almost collapsed from the sensation that jolted through his body. It left him tingling from his toes to the top of his head.
He tried again, the same explosion of euphoria igniting every particle of his being. He swore black, enjoying his new cursing ability and seeking Sanghyuk’s mouth once more. Jaehwan kissed his maker hard. Savoring the sweetness dancing on his tongue. An idea struck him.
“Come here... Wonshik,” he breathed, sinking back on Sanghyuk’s length and hoping he could get his maker to moan. It worked beautifully. The other demon scooted over so he knelt in front of Jaehwan. Still able to look down at him. The list of traits Jaehwan hated now included his height. “How can I help you?”
Jaehwan kissed his maker one more time, making sure the inside of his own mouth was completely coated with venom before he yanked Wonshik over. Hoping the taste would last long enough that they would mix- oh they did mix. Rose petal and raspberry, white chocolate and mint. If heaven had a taste, that was what it tasted like. Or maybe hell. That was what hell tasted like.
“When I’m done fucking him, I’m going to kill you,” Sanghyuk hissed, gripping tight to Jaehwan’s hips and biting gently at the nape of his neck. Jaehwan felt Wonshik smile against his mouth. “No you won’t... you love me... and he started it,” he replied, words broken up between kisses.
The combined flavors began overwhelming Jaehwan’s sensorium. He could smell everything again, a fact that helped matters none, and the press of Sanghyuk’s cock inside him started to feel like too much. He only had time to exhale the word, “Master...” before all the heat in the pit of his stomach spilled from him. Black stars burned behind his eyelids, breath gone, ringing in his ears.
After Sanghyuk had very kindly magicked away the weird white stuff from his stomach, Jaehwan felt more tired than he’d ever felt in his entire life. He was warm and content, sated, no longer feeling the need to send his hunger outward. It had settled down like a dog curled up in front of a lit fireplace.
“I told you you wouldn’t kill me,” Wonshik said quietly, letting Jaehwan lick a little venom off his finger. The young demon was cuddled up under the covers with his maker, half dozing and half awake.
"I'm still tempted. And I'm never making another Bound again. The thought of what you two would do to the poor creature if you worked together... it'd be a bloodbath."
Wonshik snickered. “Anyway, I know what his name is.”
“I’ve guessed as well,” Sanghyuk replied. Jaehwan blinked an eye open, tucking himself more securely between his maker arms and giving Wonshiks finger what he hoped would be a painful nip. “Mine? My name is Jaehwan, remember?”
“Not that, little Dove. Your name.”
Every archangel and Fallen had a name. Not a name for themselves, they had those already, but when they came into their full power, the almighty would bestow the gift of a formal title upon them. A name for who they truly were. Jaehwan, being an unremarkable angel of relatively low rank, had never expected to be granted a name.
“What is it?” he asked, not entirely sure he wanted to know.
Wonshik smiled. “Prince of Gluttony.”
“But gluttony isn’t a very pretty word, is it?” Sanghyuk murmured, pressing a kiss to Jaehwan’s cheek. “I think your true name would be the Prince of Indulgence.”
Alright y'all, here it is:
So I've made a plot. It's a big, complicated, ridiculous plot that has a lot of moving parts, but it *is* still a plot. My current outline has 12 chapters, but we all know that I suck at following my own rules, so there may be more than that. Hang in there with me <3
Jaehwan woke with a start, the dark surroundings almost frighteningly unfamiliar. It took him a moment to remember where he was. What had happened. He’d fallen from grace and was in his makers home. Snug in his makers bed, comfortable between the cool cotton sheets.
He blinked for several seconds before he realized what had woken him. A small, shuddering breath beside him and Jaehwan looked around. Sanghyuk was lying on his stomach, hugging one of the numerous pillows, something dampening the fabric. Tears? His maker could cry? And the tears were a translucent, glittering gold?
“Sanghyuk? Sanghyukkie, wake up,” Jaehwan said, coming out of his surprise. He gently shook his makers shoulders, trying to rouse him. Sanghyuk made the noise once more. A sob, Jaehwan realized, and he shook Sanghyuk again. It didn’t work.
He gave up on the shaking, petting Sanghyuk’s hair instead. Jaehwan could smell it now, acrid fear. Like lime juice sizzling on on an open flame. He needed to wake his maker, save him from whatever was making him so scared.
“Sanghyuk,” Jaehwan repeated, louder this time. He put his mouth right beside his makers ear, fingers tangled in his makers inky hair, pressing kisses to his makers temples. A thin sheen of sweat had dampened Sanghyuks porcelain skin, but Jaehwan didn’t care.
The young demon was starting to feel frantic, the sight of his makers tears kindling a sickening fire in his belly.
Sanghyuks eyes flew open and he gasped. Trying to suck in air like he’d been on the edge of suffocation. He blinked up at Jaehwan for three, four heartbeats, broken glass glinting in his eyes, before grabbing the young demon around the middle and dragging him into a hug.
“Love, you’re alive!” It was more of a whisper than an exclamation, but Sanghyuks voice broke all the same.
Jaehwan started slightly but relaxed into the embrace almost at once. He looked down at the top of his makers head, continuing to pet his hair. But the nerves hadn’t gone away. Sanghyuk was crying against Jaehwan’s chest now, like he was trying to listen to the young demons heartbeat.
“What’s the matter?! Were you having a bad dream? You smell so scared,” Jaehwan murmured, his own fear ratcheting higher as his maker lifted his head. The gold streaking his death-pale face struck a chord somewhere in Jaehwan. It wasn’t right. Jaehwan didn’t know what exactly it was, but something was wrong.
Sanghyuk stared back at him, body entirely rigid, until the warmth of him was abruptly gone. Scrambling back across the bed so fast that Jaehwan didn’t have time to react. Eyes glowing with a sinister ruby glint and feathered black wings spreading out from his his shoulder blades. Sanghyuks nails grew, sharpening almost imperceptibly, and he dug them into his forearm.
Red flared in Jaehwans vision, his own forearm burning with phantom pain and he hissed under his breath. Could he feel when his maker was hurt? All the lessons about the demonic bond had flown right out of his head. Wonshik was in the room before Jaehwan even smelled him coming.
“Oh, Hyukah,” Wonshik breathed, hurrying to their makers side and kneeling slowly beside him. Sanghyuk fell into his waiting arms, allowing Wonshik to hold him and murmur to him and wipe the golden tears from his face.
Jaehwan looked on in confusion and slight envy. He didn’t think his brother was turning up his mojo, no, this jealousy was something Jaehwan had created within himself. Was he not comforting enough? It was true, Wonshik had been Sanghyuks Bound for longer, but Wonshik hadn’t been the one to sleep at Sanghyuks side. In Sanghyuks bed.
Without meaning too, Jaehwan spiked his own energy. Just a little. Just to try and get Sanghyuk to notice that he was still in the room. But his maker continued to cry.
“Stop that and give him some space,” Wonshik snapped, shooting Jaehwan a glare so icy that the young demon instinctively shrank away. Jaehwan wanted to snap back, wanted to argue, but he was so undone by the image of his strong and unyielding maker huddled sobbing on the bed like a human child that Jaehwan flitted away instead.
He employed his new demonic speed and left Sanghyuks bedroom through the nearest unlocked door. With the sound of his makers shuddering breaths still echoing inside his skull, Jaehwan looked around. He found himself in a hallway, whether it was the one his maker had shown him last night or an entirely new one, Jaehwan didn’t know. Everything in Sanghyuks apartment was dark. Minimalist.
Jaehwan let his eyes sweep the hallway, trying to pinpoint any identifying features, but there were none. So, he walked. Slow, measured steps as though he’d entered the den of a sleeping monster. He walked and walked and walked until he reached what looked to be a parlor. The ceilings of the apartment loomed higher, sharp angles of the furniture casting longer shadows on the walls now that he was alone.
The alchemical bulbs floating around the ceiling burbled to life with a series of soft pops, reacting to the currents of energy radiating from his own body, no doubt. They cast the parlor in a dim glow and Jaehwan realized it wasn’t a parlor at all, but rather a study.
Unlike the other rooms Jaehwan had seen, this room actually contained artwork. There was a desk, a varnished slab of black wood which Jaehwan surreptitiously sniffed at. Oak. And a high backed chair that both smelled and looked like leather, as well as two smaller chairs of the same material. But the art...
It was a painting, Jaehwan guessed, not having much personal experience in the art department. No form of art was allowed in heaven, but he’d seen a piece here and there on his brief excursions to the surface. And he could smell... lacquer? Titanium and resin and... linseed oil?
Jaehwan stepped lightly around the desk to inspect the picture more closely. It was neither large nor small, a two-foot by three-foot rectangle, if the young demon had to guess its dimensions. A woman looked back at him, painted in shades of green and brown and possibly cream. Maybe a little red as well, like burnt ochre. She wasn't a very pretty woman, but she had quite a mysterious smile. Just a little quirk at the corners of her mouth. And her eyes seemed to follow Jaehwan as he moved. How strange.
A memory tugged at the back of Jaehwans mind. Something about a priceless human relic that was stolen from the palace of Versailles some time around 1640 AD. A painting of a woman with strange eyes and a unique smile. This could be that relic, but Jaehwan didn’t have a clear memory of what the painting actually looked like, so he couldn’t be sure.
Quiet tapping had started inside Jaehwan’s head. So quiet he almost didn’t notice it. But then, his skin began to prickle and the tapping got louder. What could this new phenomenon be, he wondered, retracing his steps back toward his makers bedroom. He would ask Sanghyuk. He was going back to ask Sanghyuk, but also to make sure that Sanghyuk was still there, still breathing and whole. Make sure that he hadn’t abandoned Jaehwan to lose himself in the labyrinthine apartment for the rest of eternity. And, Jaehwan was going there to get a taste of his venom. But that was secondary.
“Sanghyuk? Can I come in?” he called, knocking quietly on his maker’s bedroom door.
The voice that responded was definitely Sanghyuk’s, but it lacked all trace of the sadness and fear he’d exhibited upon waking. That was a good thing, the young demon thought as he crossed the threshold. A happy maker meant a happy Jaehwan.
Now that they were in the same room, the tapping in Jaehwan’s head had completely died away. His skin had stopped itching as well. That was odd, but Jaehwan didn’t have much time to consider the matter. Sanghyuk drew the entirety of his attention at once. Standing on the opposite side of the room, fully dressed, face clean of tears. And no Wonshik in sight.
“Wonshik told me to go away...” the young demon said lamely, fidgeting in place. The corner of Sanghyuk’s mouth quirked up in something that was almost a smile. “Come here, little dove.”
Jaehwan flit across the room and tucked himself to Sanghyuk’s chest, between his strong arms, immediately comforted by the contact. By his makers scent. Bergamot, vetiver, and just a tiny bit of lemon. The aroma swirled around Jaehwan like a consoling breeze.
Sanghyuk’s smile grew and he lowered his head, catching Jaehwan’s mouth in a kiss that bordered on chaste. Every nerve in Jaehwan’s body came alive then, parting his own lips and feeling his maker reciprocate the gesture. The alchemical bulbs above them streaked the room in shadows as they moved.
Sweet raspberry, sweet mint. Tingles ran down from Jaehwan’s head to the tips of his toes. Liquid relief coursing through him. An addict getting his fix. He licked into Sanghyuk’s mouth just a little. Just enough.
Sanghyuk sighed into their kiss before pulling a few inches away. “I’m sorry you were kicked out of bed so unceremoniously,” he said, carding his hand through Jaehwans hair. The young demon wanted to smile but couldn’t make his mouth form one.
“Yes, I did. I get nightmares, little dove, it is nothing to be concerned about.”
“But,” Jaehwan replied, smacking his lips in thought. “But demon’s cannot cry.”
Sanghyuk regarded the young demon with those smoldering, beautiful green eyes. Jaehwan’s eyes now, too. And Wonshik’s. His family's eyes. “I can cry. The ability is rare, but not unheard of.”
Jaehwan looked up at his maker, dazzled, like he’d stared at the sun for too long. Watercolor impressions of Sanghyuk’s face had been seared into his retinas. Unforgettable. That tapping in his head when his maker wasn’t at his side... it must have been The Craving. Jaehwan had learned about The Craving in his classes. The intangible force that could drive a demon insane if they were kept from their creator for too long. ‘The curse of the bound’ his teachers had called it, and Jaehwan could understand why now. He didn’t want to feel it again, that prickling under his skin.
“Would you like to get dressed now, dove?”
“Yeh-yes,” Jaehwan stuttered, trying unsuccessfully to pull himself from his daze. He glanced down at his own body, surprised to find that he was clad in nothing but a pair of cotton shorts. The young demon didn’t remember putting them on, putting anything on, after the obscene events of the night before. A flash of memory, his makers fingers tangled in his hair, Wonshik’s mouth on his, almost made Jaehwan jump.
Sanghyuk gave him a knowing grin, like he could read Jaehwan’s mind. “Come, let us find you something to wear, hm?” he asked, tapping lightly under the young demon’s chin. Jaehwan nodded.
The two entered an antichamber just off the bedroom, a closet larger than Jaehwan thought possible. It certainly wasn’t a practical use of space, only two hanging rods and a shelf of shoes. So much open space, enough room for a couch!
“Why is there a couch in your closet?” Jaehwan asked, tugging on his makers hand. Sanghyuk released him and lowered himself onto the cushion, ankle crossed atop his knee, one arm stretched over the backrest. “It’s a divan, dove,” he corrected, “And I have it here so I can recline comfortably as I watch you dress.”
A flush crept its way up Jaehwan’s neck, heating his face and ears. Sanghyuk wanted to watch him dress. The young demon felt his breath quicken. “What sh-sh-should I wuh-wear?”
“That stutter is a blessing in disguise, dove. I can always tell when you’re nervous.”
Jaehwan turned away to peruse the racks. Most everything was black or some variation thereof. Mulberry and mahogany, charcoal and indigo. A juniper green velvet jacket caught Jaehwan’s eye, quilted lapels and a satin belt.
“In the garment bag.”
Sanghyuk chuckled softly, gesturing at a long black bag hanging on the end of the rack. “In the garment bag, I picked it specially for you.”
“When did you have the time to do that?” Jaehwan wondered aloud, padding to the bag in question and lowering the long zipper. He heard a snap, and then a light blanket settled over Jaehwan’s shoulders out of nowhere. “I can summon anything and everything I want. You can do so as well, with a little practise.”
A glimmer of sapphire peeked from inside the bag and Jaehwan opened it the rest of the way. It looked like a bathrobe, or more like a dressing gown, sapphire blue silk trimmed in shining silver thread, a matching silver cord knotted loosely through the belt loops.
“My favorite color.”
Jaehwan pursed his lips, eyeing the garment with mild suspicion. “I don’t know if blue suits me,” he replied. The young demon petulantly at plucked at the silver chord. In truth, he didn’t know what colors suited him best, having never worn anything other than white. But this blue was too bright, even a bit garish? “I think I’d prefer something emerald, like your eyes.”
“And your eyes,” Sanghyuk hummed. Jaehwan considered the robe a moment longer, adding as an afterthought, “And more casual. This looks like something a human count would wear on his way to the bath.”
His maker let out a snort of laughter, snapping his fingers for the second time. A pair of black sweatpants and sweater of jade cashmere appeared on the rack and Jaehwan squealed with delight.
Jaehwan stepped out of the shorts and already had one leg inside the sweatpants before he remembered to be embarrassed. Remembered that he was being watched. He stuffed his other foot down the second leg and jerked them up to his waist as fast as he could. But Sanghyuk wasn’t watching him when Jaehwan shot him a covert glance. His maker was staring at the blue robe, emerald eyes glazed, as if he were... disappointed?
“I can puh-put that on instead, if you w-want.”
“No, little dove, you may wear what you like. I simply want you to be comfortable.” Sanghyuk turned to the young demon with what was clearly a disingenuous smile.
A sharp, surprising pain jabbed behind Jaehwan’s ribs and he flinched.
“What ails you?” his maker asked, unfolding himself and standing to help Jaehwan pull the green sweater over his head. The wool was soft as angels wings against his skin and the young demon felt a twinge of regret. His own wings were gone now. Long gone and never to return. Lost in his fall. Taken as punishment.
“I think I’m... hungry?”
Sanghyuk pressed a kiss to Jaehwan’s forehead, dodging the fingers Jaehwan tried to stick in his mouth to get a bit of venom. “I know you are, little dove, I can feel it.”
Wonshik had changed into a pair of conspicuously tight pants and a shirt of blue silk when he walked into the dining room, and Jaehwan tried his best not to stare. His brother was, truly, unreasonably handsome. He flashed Jaehwan that easy-going smile as he took the seat opposite. Jaehwans hand crept to his makers thigh under the table without conscious thought.
Jaehwan watched his brother turn his smile on their maker and Sanghyuk return it, envy flaring instantly is the blackest part of the young demons heart. They looked at eachother with twin fire gleaming in their eyes, an affection that Jaehwan hadn’t earned yet. He sucked his lip and scowled.
“So, why did you steal Taekwoon’s sword?” he asked, voice an octave higher than he would have liked. The young demon didn’t actually care, he just wanted Sanghyuk to look at him like that. Like he was worth more than all the money in the world. An image of himself holding Wonshik’s severed head by the hair bloomed in Jaehwans mind. That’d solve the problem.
“Revenge,” Sanghyuk replied, drawing the word out as if savoring it. “Not that it could come close to what he deserves, but just knowing he’s displeased about it makes me immeasurably happy.”
“Revenge for what?” Finally, his maker turned his eyes to Jaehwan. The young demon basked in the warmth of his attention.
Murder? Taekwoon hadn't murdered anyone, he was an archangel!
“That’s not the only reason you took it,” Wonshik cut in, nudging Jaehwan’s shin under the table with the toe of his shoe. Sanghyuk sighed and Jaehwan kicked his brother in retaliation.
“Well, it’s also one of the relics we need to locate the temple. Would you have expected me not to take it?”
“What temple? What are you t-talking about?” Jaehwan asked, addressing Sanghyuk and trying not to flinch at the second kick to his shin. Wonshik’s grin had a malicious edge to it now. The young demon lifted a glass of juice to his mouth and gulped it down for something to do, the sweet orange taste sparkling on his tongue.
“Our maker has received the divine word of you-know-who,” Wonshik replied. He didn’t even blink when Jaehwans bare foot connected with his knee.
Sanghyuk cleared his throat. “On occasion, I am privy to their inane drivel.”
Jaehwan wasn’t even listening, not really, too focused on the battle taking place beneath the table. He gripped the underside of his chair to keep his upper body still as he kicked at Wonshik and was kicked in return. “That’s cool,” he replied, sniffing, glaring at his brother with all the hate he could muster. Wonshik just kept smiling.
Their maker speared a cube of pink melon on his fork and held it to Jaehwan’s mouth. The young demon nibbled mutinously at it, the vision of his brothers dead body growing more appealing by the moment. Wonshik knew more than Jaehwan did, of course he did. Being the odd one out again made Jaehwan absolutely breathless with jealousy.
“Just cool? I believe I am the only being in all creation that is able to hear the word of- Jaehwan!”
The last kick had been the final straw and the young demon let out a ferocious growl, springing to his feet and leaping over the table. His flailing limbs met their mark and he pinned Wonshik to the floor, sitting on his chest and clawing at his infuriatingly handsome face. He could smell his brothers anger, like cigarette smoke and pheromones leaking from his pores, and it only served to increase the young demons rage. Wonshik hissed and spat. He was older than Jaehwan and stronger to boot, their power disparity becoming apparent as his hands circled Jaehwan’s waist and he threw him clear across the room. The young demon was up in an instant, poised to rip Wonshiks spinal cord out with his bare hands, when he suddenly found a dagger buried to the hilt in the center of his chest.
He felt the blade slip into his lungs, warm silver ichor spilling down the front of his sweater like splatters of paint. It was all shock, then, barely any pain. But then the knife was pulled free and his flesh tore, vision going white and a cry ripped from his throat. Hoarse and broken, even as the wound knit itself back together. Jaehwan could taste his own pain, he realized, thoughts blurred in agony. Metallic salt, chlorine.
“Do not bicker like rabid hellspawn at the table, do you understand me?” Sanghyuk said, voice deathly quiet and as serious as stone. Jaehwan looked around, saw his brother still on the ground, silk shirt torn and stained with ichor, a knife wound healing in his chest as well. Their maker hadn’t moved from his chair but there were now two silver daggers on the table beside him.
Jaehwan felt a fresh wave of anger swell in his chest. “Did you just s-st-stab me?!” he shouted, dry tears stinging his eyes and hands curled into fists. Sanghyuk met his gaze, unflinching. “My creator used to say that mortal blades were an excellent disciplinary tool. They stung like a bitch, but the wounded would heal swiftly and almost never did whatever they were being punished for again.”
The anger abruptly choked off, replaced with regret. His maker was upset with him. Disappointed in him. Jaehwan could see it in Sanghyuk’s emerald eyes and he let his tongue dart out, tasting the air. He’d failed his maker, failed to meet his expectations for what a good Bound should be, and failure tasted like a mouthful of ash.
“He was kicking me! Under the table so you couldn’t see!” Jaehwan tried, attempting to defend himself, to justify his actions.
“Then use your words and tell him to stop! You are a civilized being, not violent human filth, and I expect you to behave as such. You bring shame on me and our family when you lose control of your impulses,” Sanghyuk snapped, words empty of pity and cold as a corpse.
Jaehwan whimpered as though he’d been kicked, falling to his knees beside his makers chair and pawing at his hand. Wanting forgiveness, needing it. Some part of his new demonic bond was deeply offended by Sanghyuk’s anger, rejecting it outright. Not being in his makers favor was intolerable. But Sanghyuk wasn’t paying attention to him any more.
“And you, Shik. You should know better. Do not antagonize him without cause.”
Sanghyuk shook his hair from his eyes and sighed. “You two have put me off my breakfast and I have a business to attend too,” he said, getting slowly to his feet. Their maker bent and dropped a peck on Wonshik’s cheek, then pressed a black kiss to Jaehwan’s forehead. He snapped his fingers, a slim cigarette appearing from thin air between his fingers, the tip already glowing a smouldering amber. Jaehwan watched him hold it to his lips, inhale deeply, and then vanish without giving his two Bound a backward glance.
“Your fault,” Jaehwan mumbled, pinching his leg to get the rest of the words out as he turned on Wonshik. “Th-th-that was your fault! You s-started it!”
His brother rubbed the spot where the blade had pierced him, getting to his feet with a soft groan. “I just wanted to play footsie! I didn’t expect you to keep kicking me like that. You can’t indulge in your anger the way you did just now. I know impulse control will probably be difficult, but it will only piss Sanghyuk off.”
The young demon snarled, but it came out weak. He felt too drained to be angry now. The craving for his maker already coming back. He felt itchy all over, Sanghyuk’s name repeating over and over and over as it beat out a ragged rhythm against the inside of his skull. He hugged his arms around his own torso, slick ichor staining more of the now ruined sweater.
Wonshik was looking at the young demon with concern. “Sanghyuk is always touchy on nightmare days, and his creator was cruel to him. Don’t be too upset with him,” he murmured, misreading Jaehwan’s panic for anger. The young demon shook his head as hard as he could.
“When is he c-coming back?”
“Probably not until later, if he really has work.”
“Can I go to him?”
“I wouldn’t advise it, he needs time to cool off after incidents like that. Why would you- oh...”
It must have clicked, then, and Wonshik approached the young demon, movements slow. “Are you craving?”
Jaehwan nodded frantically, allowing himself to be wrapped in his brothers hug. “I didn’t even consider... it is a bit soon to leave you like this. But don’t worry, little brother. I’ll take good care of you until he gets back.”
The words were nothing but soft and the young demon looked up, presented with a finger slicked with venom. He licked tentatively at it, the taste of rose petals and white chocolate blooming on his pallet. It didn’t entirely distract from the craving, Jaehwan didn’t think anything but Sanghyuk’s physical presence would be able to do that, but it did assuage his need a bit. Enough that he could stop his body from shaking.
“Come on, we can have a bath to get this ichor off and then I'll help you pick your bedroom.”
Jaehwan nodded again and he took Wonshik’s free hand, still nibbling on his finger as they left the dining room and made their way down the hall. His brother released him when they reached Sanghyuk’s closet and left him at the door. Jaehwan waited there, looking around at Sanghyuk’s perfectly made bed while his brother searched for clothing.
There was a bookshelf against the opposite wall that Jaehwan hadn’t noticed before, and he padded over to it, feet making barely a whisper of sound. A set of books was the only thing the shelf contained. Three volumes bound in black leather.
The young demon didn’t hesitate as he pulled the book on the far left from the shelf and flipped it open to the first page. Words written by hand in neat, emerald green cursive. His makers handwriting. Jaehwan began to read.
‘He was my everything. My entire world condensed down into the shape of a beautiful man. And I have lost him twice.
I have lived three lives here on this mortal coil. Bestowed with a power too great for my own comprehension, I have turned back time on two separate occasions. The first to save my love from his own insanity and the second to assuage my own heartbreak at his loss. And now, I have nothing of him left but a set of false memories and the phantom taste of peaches on my tongue.
In these three volumes, I will detail what I remember from each life. Not for anyone else to read, but simply as an attempt to keep my mind in some semblance of order. It is difficult, more difficult some days than others, to remember who I am, and I can only hope that writing things down will help.
So let us begin.’
Sorry for the long wait. I hope you like the chapter!
‘The first time around started off as an easy life. I remember Hakyeon as the angel Michael, austere and commanding in a way he isn’t now. He wielded his heavenly fire like a whip and brought divine justice down on many unlucky sinners. And I remember Wonshik, with his thunder and lightning bolts. My best friend in heaven, my constant companion. And then everything was eclipsed by Him. By my maker, my creator, my world.
He took over my consciousness entirely. Sapphire eyes and soft sweetness of venom that would linger on my tongue even after the kiss we’d shared was done. I remember his indefinable strength as well as his delicate fragility. The ferocity with which he loved my brothers and I.
And Hongbin, my best friend and elder brother. I remember him too. I remember...’
Jaehwan lowered the book for a moment, staring off into the middle distance. Sanghyuk had loved his maker a great deal, that much was clear. But the young demon didn’t think he’d had any siblings. And certainly not one with the same name as the Hongbin Jaehwan knew.
He looked back down at the book and flipped to the halfway point.
‘... there is a moment that sticks in my mind the most. I think of it often, even when I wish I could bar the image from my mind rather than suffer through experiencing it again.
I was having a tantrum. I don’t remember exactly what set it off, presumably a hellspawn being too close to my maker. They were always too close to him, always paying too much attention. Everyone was. But whatever the case, something set me off. I had a good amount of control over my power by that point but not enough to stop the furniture flying around the room. My maker had been there with me, petting my hair and holding my hand to his chest. Trying to calm me down.
A book had come hurtling out of the air and collided with his wrist. I felt the bone snap. Felt that tremor of pain spreading from the break as if it had actually hit me. It pulled me from the tantrum in an instant and I healed him with my power. Made sure no scratch or scar would remain.
My brothers came and then went, for they had felt the flare of our makers pain as well. But my maker had sent them away with a single look, remaining in my arms and repeating that everything was okay. That we were okay. Nothing ever brought me back to myself quite like my loves pain.’
Jaehwan raised his eyes to stare at the wall, head aching from the sudden onslaught of new information. The tapping wasn’t helping him think either.
He shut the book with a snap and set it back on the shelf, removing the second volume and opening it to a random page near the end. Sanghyuk’s beautiful cursive had slanted and blurred, more like chicken scratch than true penmanship. And the pages were stained with golden tears.
‘Red cords of fire burned where they bound my wrists to the floor, the false prince holding me there even from across the room. Just like he always did during our training sessions. Infuriatingly calm. I could think of nothing in that moment, nothing other than ‘why’.
Why had my maker done this, sided with the Prince of Vice in this stupid feud.? Why had my maker cut ties with the false prince, the false prince who was like a creator to him? Who took him in and gave him tea when he fell. Why did any of them believe they were actually strong enough to take the false prince in a fight? Such a thing was impossible, it was absurd to believe.
I struggled against my bonds, all of my careful training forgotten, screaming and crying. I could hear myself screaming. Pleading, begging the false prince for mercy as I watched him approach my maker, lying prone on the fine grey rug. He was wriggling and writhing, sending his void flame shooting out in every direction. Screaming my name. Shrieking it, high pitched and frantic.
My two eldest brothers were already dead. Hongbin had left us behind when the conflict began, refusing to choose sides, but I thought I saw an illusion of him flicker into view at several instances. No doubt summoned by my makers pain. But it was just us three in the room. This room, the wide dining room where I had spent so many happy hours with the false prince and my family. Just me, the antichrist, and my maker.
‘Puppy!’ he’d screamed, rolled onto his back by invisible hands as the false prince stood over him. Pitiless and cold, his two favorite hellhounds flanking him.
I’d struggled harder, as hard as I could, but the false prince always knew tricks that I didn’t. Knew magic that I didn’t. And the magic held me fast.
‘Love!’ I’d shouted back, but it was no use. He couldn’t see me, lying there on the floor. He couldn’t see me, probably couldn’t hear me either because my voice had become so hoarse from screaming that I could barely even hear myself anymore.
‘I warned you, child, I warned you so many times not to get yourself mixed up in this. But you couldn’t resist the promise of excitement, could you?’
My maker had begun to cry, I could hear it, could picture those silver tears spilling over the roses of his cheeks as if I were the one standing over him instead.
The spike of energy, I felt it lance through me all the way to my bones. My makers energy. That potent blend of seduction and hunger that always left me gasping. But the antichrist could handle it. He could handle anything. Everything.
‘You know I can resist you, child. This resistance is futile.’
My maker had spoken then, his lovely voice shaky and broken by sobs. The last words I ever heard him speak. I can still hear them, hear him, even now.
‘Let Sanghyuk go! You’ve taken all my other children from me, taken my whole life from me, but please let my youngest go free, I beg of you, highness, please!’
It had all happened at once, nearly too fast for me to comprehend. The antichrist had raised a hand. Two jaguar-shaped demons appeared from thin air and launched themselves at the hellhounds, all snarling and clapping of jaws. Hongbin had materialized from nowhere and thrown himself between them, dazzling face contorted with agony and rage.
‘Don’t do this, highness, you’re better than-‘
My favorite brother, my best friend. I watched him fly backward into the wall, thrown so hard that he collided with a sickening crunch. He’d fallen to the floor unconscious. The animals were still savaging each other, my makers beloved jaguars too preoccupied to come to his aid.
‘Love!’ I screamed again, but I knew it would do no good.
The false prince had bent over my maker, an expression of genuine upset turning his features to a grim mask. ‘I’ve loved you like my own child and always will. I wish you’d heeded my warnings. Rest with you-know-who in everlasting peace.’
I felt my makers neck snap.
I felt our bond break.
I felt him die.
I had broken the world for him, turned back time for him, but I knew in that moment that it had all been for nothing. Even the second time around. Nothing. I would always lose my maker. I couldn’t handle losing him again. I would never have to lose him again.
I screamed. Channeled all of my agony and despair into the scream. Imagining a world where I’d never walked into my maker's atelier. Never looked into those sapphire eyes. Never felt the warmth of his kiss on my lips.
Reality broke, snapped cleanly in two just like my makers neck. And I was falling. Falling, falling, falling until...’
“What’s that?” Wonshik asked, his earthy smell filling Jaehwan’s nose as he peered over the young demons shoulder.
Jaehwan frowned at the book. “A work of fiction, I believe. I think Sanghyuk is writing a novel.”
“How strange. He’s never mentioned doing such a thing before,” Wonshik replied, smoothly removing it from Jaehwan's hand and replacing it on the shelf. “Better that it stay exactly where you found it. Our maker has a keen eye and can be a bit touchy when it comes to intruding on his private life.”
“But- but we’re his Bound! He shouldn’t keep secrets from us.” Jaehwans frown deepened but he allowed himself to be led from the bedroom by the hand. Wonshik was a very confusing person in Jaehwan’s opinion. Much more likable when he wasn’t spiking his energy but still, there was something altogether incongruous about the way he treated the young demon.
“Are you jealous of me?” he asked, trying to think of any logical reason for Wonshik’s behavior. They entered the large bathroom and his brother snapped his fingers. Everything in Sanghyuk’s bathroom was dark. Onyx flooring that was cool against Jaehwan’s bare feet, fixtures that were made of what Jaehwan guessed to be matte steel, walls painted an emerald so deep it edged on black. Even the chandelier seemed to have been crafted from smoked crystal. Jaehwan stared at the bathtub his brother had began to fill with water, a black porcelain monstrosity that more closely resembled a human jacuzzi than an average bath.
“You are aware that I am the patron saint of jealousy, yes?”
The young demon blinked at the smile spreading across his brothers face, unperturbed. “Is that why you keep poking fun at me and trying to make me mad?”
Wonshik made a sound that could have possibly been a laugh, but Jaehwan wasn’t entirely sure. “How am I making you mad by drawing you a bath?”
“Not right now, I mean every other time we’ve been in the same room.”
“I’m not really ever actively trying,” Wonshik hummed, releasing Jaehwan for long enough that he could pull his ichor stained shirt off over his head. And wasn’t that just the cherry on top of Jaehwan’s sibling-hatred cake. His brother was beautiful. So beautiful that it almost hurt to look at him. Nothing like how Jaehwan’s own body looked when he accidentally caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Not scrawny and narrow and pale. Wonshik was the word handsome made flesh. “You’re just sensitive.”
“I’m not sensitive, you’re j-just irritating,” Jaehwan snapped, jabbing his brother in the stomach with his index finger. He’d hoped there’d be some give, at least a little bit of squishiness, but no such luck. Muscle as hard as rock. Jaehwan whined in frustration. “Anyway, I bet you’re just mad that you’re being replaced,” he snapped, slipping his finger into his mouth to try and soothe away the soreness.
Wonshik made a cooing noise and cupped Jaehwan’s cheeks, squishing them until it was almost painful. “Don’t be silly, little brother, I could never be replaced.”
He released Jaehwan’s poor cheeks, finding the hem of the young demons ruined sweater and helped him peel it off. The silver glittering on Wonshik’s skin where the blade had pierced him drew Jaehwan’s gaze and held it. His entire body seemed to glitter, faint shadows of sinew beneath his skin, glowing like ribbons of liquid caramel. The troughs and valleys of his abdomen, hollows above his collarbones, shallow at the base of his throat. Jaehwan let his eyes roam, shivering slightly.
“You’re staring, little dove.”
The mocking tone in his brother’s voice irritated him enough to snap, “Don’t call me that,” but not enough to actually make him stop staring. Only Sanghyuk could call him that.
“What do you want me to call you instead?”
Jaehwan huffed and kicked off his sweatpants, forgetting to be self conscious, as he watched Wonshik dribble some delicious smelling liquid into the water. Jasmine, rose, the smell of starlight being reflected off dew on a flower petal. Jaehwan didn’t know the proper name for that smell but he was trying his best.
“I don’t know.”
Wonshik, handsome and salacious and infuriating Wonshik, turned back to flash Jaehwan a smirk. “You like sweets, maybe I’ll call you sugar.”
They never made it in the bath.
Jaehwan lunged at him, knotting his hands in that cherry hair, tasting the delicious hint of arousal that pooled just under Wonshik’s skin. “You are so irritating,” he hissed, pinning the elder on the black tiled floor. He swiped his tongue across Wonshik’s bottom lip and growled. Demanding that he open his mouth. Demanding a taste of venom.
Wonshik didn’t throw him off this time. In fact, Wonshik was laughing at him. Arms winding smoothly around the young demon’s middle. “You’re this hard up? It’s only been what, a day?” he hummed, teasing, only opening his mouth enough to speak and denying Jaehwan’s request for the sweetness that would begin to assuage his craving.
“Stop talking,” Jaehwan mumbled, perfectly willing to pry his brothers jaws open with his bare hands if he had too. Oh, but there was an easier way, wasn’t there? How had he forgotten? Probably the tappings fault.
“What, you don’t like the sound of my voi- huh,” Wonshik coughed, the force of Jaehwan’s mojo hitting him like a two-ton truck. Jaehwan felt heat rising in his own face but he couldn’t care about it just then. Not when he could see Wonshik’s pupils dilate, iris’s dark and shiny with want. Not when he could hear Wonshik’s steady breathing increase until it was nothing but shallow panting. Not when that exquisite face of his had smoothed over and his mouth finally went slack.
His hands slid down to grip the back of Jaehwan’s thighs, squeezing, kneading those fingers into the young demon’s flesh and allowing Jaehwan to finally get a taste of venom. Rose petals and white chocolate. The way valentines day tasted to humans. Wonshik tasted like romance.
“Mm, sugar,” Wonshik groaned, his head lolling to one side as Jaehwan pressed his mouth to his throat. Licking at Wonshiks skin, running his tongue over Wonshiks Adam’s apple. It didn’t taste like apples, more like... almonds. Almonds and citrus musk. What a misnomer.
He nipped and bit and licked at Wonshik’s throat, yanking on that cherry hair with a bit more force than was strictly necessary as he spiked his energy higher. Pleased with the soft moans he was pulling from the elders mouth. “Hungry,” he murmured, somewhat lamenting the breakfast he’d lost the opportunity to eat. But now Wonshik was here and he could just eat Wonshik. Problem solved.
“I know,” Wonshik replied, releasing a breathy groan as Jaehwan nibbled at his earlobe.
“Hungry,” he repeated, mouthing the word against Wonshiks jaw. He arched his back, just a little, just enough that he could press himself against the larger man’s stomach. Craving friction, craving sensation, craving everything. Wonshik bucked underneath him, a tiny aborted movement. Automatic.
Their lips met again, Wonshik’s hands traveling up and then raking his nails down Jaehwans sides in the same movement. Pinpricks of pain flashed there but it was a good pain. The right kind of pain. “What are you... hungry for, sugar?”
Wonshik still had pants on and that was a problem. “You,” Jaehwan replied, the entire length of his body pressed up against Wonshiks, hips working a slow rhythm as he ground down against the elders lap. Wonshik twitched every time he moved. This was so easy.
“Our bath is getting cold,” the elder mumbled. Jaehwan barely heard him. Wonshik’s attempts at snarkiness were weaker when he was like this, Jaehwan realized. Good information to store for the next time Wonshik inevitably pissed him off.
“Fuck the bath.”
“And to think-“ Wonshik’s words cut off momentarily as Jaehwan let his energy rise further, but the silence didn’t last long. Jaehwan was being shoved away and ended up pinned on his stomach before he even knew what happened. “Just days ago you were a sweet little angel, weren't you?”
“Yes,” Jaehwan squeaked, caught off guard by the change in position. He realized he’d liked being the one on top, even if only for a few minutes.
“So,” came the murmur, hot breath fanning across the shell of Jaehwans ear. “You want to replace me?”
His voice was a cool song, uncaring. Tinged with icy humor. Jaehwan made an involuntary sound in his throat. “You think you’re good enough? So freshly fallen from the grace of you-know-who?”
And there it was, Wonshik’s mojo, poking and prodding at the inside of his skull. Jealousy. How could Jaehwan, inadequate and lacking and stupid, possibly be good enough to take the place of this beacon of perfection in their makers heart? What chance did he have? The answer was none. He had nothing to offer, nothing working in his favor when he was compared to Wonshik.
“No,” Jaehwan lamented forlornly, because of course he wasn’t. The onyx tiles were cold against his palms and chest and- other more sensitive areas but Jaehwan hardly cared anymore. So fraught with feelings of hopeless inadequacy that it was all he could do not to cry.
Wonshik shifted away, stroking Jaehwans hair in a way that was much too soothing. Jaehwan pressed his cheek to the cold floor. Dry tears that would never come pricking at his eyes.
“Do you want me to teach you?”
Jaehwans eyes flew open and he stared into the elders smiling face.
“Do you want me to teach you what to do so that our maker will want you without having to use a drop of your power?”
“W-wuh-why would you do that?”
Wonshik twirled a lock of Jaehwans hair around his finger. “You remind him of his master, has he told you?”
Jaehwan shook his head no.
“Well you do. I never met his master, obviously, but I know of him. Of what he used to be. He was one of the first archdemons to fall before the revolution. The prince of lust and father of incubi. I’ve heard that he was cold and detached, for all of his love of carnal pleasure. Barely left his home and kept Sanghyuk locked up in there with him. And despite his shortcomings, Sanghyuk loved him, still loves him, more than a drowning man loves to breathe. And for some reason, you remind him of all he’s lost,” Wonshik went on, now lying on his side with his chin in his hand.
“I don’t want to remind him of s-someone cruel,” Jaehwan replied, unsure what any of this had to do with the lessons Wonshik offered.
“You’re missing the point, little brother. This is the reason he corrupted you, I think. To recreate a life with the man he loves most. You can do that for him. You can give him a love that is true, rather than the casual brutality he was raised on. So I ask again, would you like me to teach you what to do?”
Jaehwan... well he didn’t entirely understand, but he got the basic gist.
“Yes please,” he replied, shimmying a bit forwards so that he could lick a drop of venom from Wonshiks mouth. Just to steady the nerves.
Wonshik indulged him for a few moments but eventually drew back, getting to his feet and leaning against the edge of the still steaming bathtub.
“Get on your knees.”
“What do we have here?”
Sanghyuk’s voice succeeded in drawing Wonshik from the light doze he’d fallen into, under the covers of their makers bed with Jaehwan tucked against his side. They’d had their lesson, then had their bath, and ended up sleeping most of the day away. But now Sanghyuk was home, and Jaehwan sat up so fast Wonshik was surprised he hadn’t cracked his neck.
“You’re here!” Jaehwan squeaked, making to leap from the bed, but Wonshik dropped a restraining hand on his thigh under the covers. Lesson One: Make him come to you.
Jaehwan bit his lip but stayed put. It was an admirable display what with the craving he was suffering from. Wonshik remembered that particular torture and was glad he hadn’t suffered under its cruel embrace for millennia.
“You missed me, little dove?” A small smile tugged at the corner of Sanghyuk’s mouth and he crossed to the bed. Taking a seat on the edge of the mattress and reaching out to cup Jaehwan’s cheek. He still had a suit on, black velvet detailing on his lapels and top few buttons of his emerald dress shirt undone. Tall and dark and beautiful, Sanghyuk always moved with an arrogant sort of grace. Strength evident in even the smallest twitch of muscle. Wonshik could watch his maker simply walk around for days.
“I think, my illustrious creator, you have gone so long without taking a Bound that you forgot about the craving,” Wonshik said quietly, the bit of mockery meant to set Sanghyuk at ease.
Their makers face went pale. He had forgotten then. It hadn’t been a part of Jaehwan’s punishment. Wonshik had guessed as much.
“Oh... oh dove, I am so sorry,” Sanghyuk said, large hands circling Jaehwan’s middle and lifting him on to his lap as if the fledgling weighed less than nothing. Still, even after three thousand years, that strength was astonishing.
And then, as Jaehwan hugged on to him, nuzzling his neck, Wonshik saw his maker sniff at the air. His face grew more pale, if such a thing was possible, and Wonshik understood why. “Jasmine... you used my oils?”
Sanghyuk rounded on him, a slightly feral glint in his eye. “Those were a gift from my master! I told you never to-”
“I know,” Wonshik replied, feigning disinterest. He knew, from Hakyeon’s stories, that Sanghyuk’s maker always smelled like jasmine and rose. It was a calculated move, placing those particular aromas on his little brothers skin. “Look at him. Smell him. Touch him.”
Sanghyuk looked baffled now but he turned back to the fledgling, raking Jaehwan’s body with his eyes. Sucking in deep lungfuls of air. Recognition replaced the frenzy in his emerald eyes now and Wonshik fought to suppress a smile of victory. “Sugar,” he prompted, leaning back on the mountain of pillows and folding an arm behind his head. Lesson Two: Take control.
Jaehwan had apparently been paying closer attention than Wonshik had expected. He dropped his hands on Sanghyuk’s shoulders and kissed their maker as deeply as he could. This time, Wonshik failed to suppress his smile. It went on for a while, the fledgeling tugging at Sanghyuk’s hair each time their maker got too greedy.
Wonshik almost drifted off again, unconcerned, knowing that his little experiment was working so far. But his maker let out a strangled little gasp and Wonshiks eyes opened. Jaehwan had wrapped a hand around Sanghyuk’s throat. Lesson Three: Learn his most sensitive spots and use them to your advantage.
Wonshik had learned that little trick from Hakyeon as well. Sanghyuk used to wear some kind of collar, and even though he had never worn it in all the time since Wonshik’s fall, their maker was always most receptive to caresses where it used to be.
Apparently satisfied, Jaehwan shot Wonshik a look over Sanghyuk’s shoulder and slid backwards to kneel on the floor. He was so pleased with himself. It was very hard for Wonshik not to laugh.
There were two more things left, Wonshik thought, watching Jaehwan unfasten their makers slacks and worry his lip between his teeth. Two more things to complete the perfect likeness. They’d gone over the timing and Wonshik hoped Jaehwan wouldn’t forget.
Wonshik watched as Jaehwan wrapped those slim fingers of his around Sanghyuk’s cock and begin to stroke slowly. A little clumsy, but admittedly better than the first time. He was a quick study. That was good.
“Dove, you don’t have to,” their maker breathed, looking first down at Jaehwan and then over at Wonshik, a look of mild bafflement on his beautiful face. Wonshik only smiled.
An expression of concentration had fallen over Jaehwan’s pretty features and he tentatively began to lick at Sanghyuk’s slit, their maker reflexively carding his fingers through the fledglings blonde hair. It advanced quickly from there, Jaehwan taking in as much of Sanghyuk’s length as he could without gagging and swallowing the way Wonshik had showed him earlier that day. Not gagging was key. Until he had a bit more experience, Wonshik had instructed Jaehwan to take it easy.
A look as close to tenderness as Wonshik had seen in a very long time bloomed on Sanghyuk’s face. Wonshik curled the fabric of Sanghyuk’s silk bed sheets between his fingers, watching the muscles in Jaehwan’s pretty throat work around the sizable intrusion. He waited. Noting the way Sanghyuk’s eyes had closed, how his chest was rising and falling unevenly. Fingers flexing convulsively at the back of Jaehwan’s head. Just a bit more, a bit longer now...
Jaehwan pulled off slowly, his plush lips swollen and eyes glassy, but he’d remembered what to do. Perfect. Wonshik snapped his fingers as quietly as he could, hand back under the covers to muffle the noise as much as possible. He’d seen a portrait of Sanghyuk’s master, the one Sanghyuk hid in the bottom drawer of his desk that he thought Wonshik couldn’t unlock. So when his fingers snapped, Jaehwan’s blonde hair shifted to a cool indigo black. Just like the man in the portrait. The resemblance really was hauntingly accurate. This was one of Wonshik’s special tricks, altering hair color. How he kept his cherry locks vibrant and bright.
“Puppy,” Jaehwan murmured, voice hoarse from overuse, and he licked a stripe from the base of Sanghyuk’s cock to the tip. “Puppy, you’re so good.”
Sanghyuk’s eyes flew open just as Jaehwan throated him in a single smooth motion. Back rigid, Wonshik was unsure whether their maker was angry or shocked. Wonshik held his breath.
Jaehwan pulled back again and stroked his length with the same slow gentleness he’d started with. “My puppy. My good pet.”
Their maker came with a strangled yelp, spilling himself across Jaehwan’s bare chest and throat. Wonshik knew it wasn’t from Jaehwan’s admittedly skillful amateur blowjob. It was the words. The pet names spoken in Jaehwan’s now raspy voice. And the looks. And the jasmine and rose perfume.
Wonshik closed his eyes, satisfied. He’d been correct.
“How did you do this?”
Sanghyuk was cupping Jaehwan’s face in his large hands, deep green gaze flicking back and forth from one of Jaehwan’s eyes to the other. The young demon couldn’t help but bask in the attention. The predatory focus with which Sanghyuk was assessing him making him shudder with pleasure.
At the edge of Jaehwan’s vision, Wonshik shifted. Propping himself up in the center of the mattress. “Do you really believe me so inept at magic that I cannot pick a simple locking ward?” he asked, bass tone slicked with satisfaction.
“Elaborate,” Sanghyuk murmured, peering at Jaehwan like he was a particularly mouthwatering piece of meat. Jaehwan preened a bit. Pressing his fingertips against the nape of his maker's neck. Sanghyuk had pulled him up from where he’d been kneeling and now cradled him on his lap. Refusing to let Jaehwan out of his encircling arms.
Wonshik sighed. “The portrait in your desk. Really, it wasn’t all that hard to figure out.” A pause, a small sniff. “And his highness gave me a few extra details.”
“Of course, he did,” Sanghyuk murmured, speaking like a man in a trance. He didn’t look like he was registering his own words. “Do you feel any different, love? Or is the transformation solely cosmetic?”
Jaehwan wrinkled his nose. “Love? I’m your pretty little dove, remember?” he asked, wiggling a bit and tugging on his maker's earlobe. Sanghyuk cocked his head to the side. A barely-there movement but Jaehwan still caught it. Like an inquisitive demonic dog.
“Of course, dove. Of course, you are.”
“Yes, I am,” Jaehwan hummed, combing his fingers through Sanghyuk’s raven hair. “And don’t leave me again,” he added, pouting, “It makes me very upset.”
Jaehwan’s lips pushed out. “You sound like a broken record.”
Abruptly, Sanghyuk whipped his head around to stare at Wonshik. “Why did you do this?” he asked, voice almost painfully young. Soft with a wound that Jaehwan didn’t understand.
Wonshik shifted again, face impassive. “I wanted to see what would happen. I’ve always envied that portrait.”
Something inside Jaehwan began to purr. He hadn’t seen the portrait in question but from what Wonshik had told him, he bore a strong resemblance to the portraits subject. That meant that, indirectly, Wonshik envied Jaehwan. He almost purred aloud at that thought but managed to keep it inside.
“Why would you envy a portrait of my master?” Sanghyuk asked. He sounded distant, like he genuinely did not understand. Jaehwan thought he understood though. For all Wonshik’s talk of being irreplaceable, the presence of a dead lover was still a heavy weight on his broad shoulders.
Wonshik blinked. Green eyes shining bright. “You’ve never looked at me the way you look at that portrait.”
Sanghyuk turned back, averting his gaze from them both even as he pulled Jaehwan closer against his chest. “You should be glad I don’t look at you the way I look at my master, Wonshik. Ours was a relationship that should never be replicated.”
That... was a tidbit of personal information Jaehwan hadn’t been expecting. Sanghyuk always seemed to keep things behind high walls, lashing out with anger rather than expressing a genuine emotion. Other than the crying. But that had only been once.
“Was you’re m-master cruel?” Jaehwan asked, noting the choice of titles with mild trepidation. Something about the way Sanghyuk said it, master, spoke of a mixture of deep pain and great respect. A confusing combination to be sure.
Sanghyuk’s emerald eyes flicked to Jaehwan’s and then away again. “My master was many things. Cruel. Kind. Both an angel and the devil incarnate. He was more complex than you could ever hope to fathom.”
His voice was so full of... of feeling that Jaehwan felt his own heart begin to ache. The warmth of tears that would never fall pricking in his eyes. Wonshik has gone silent on the bed, eyes out of focus and apparently thinking hard.
“I’m- I am sorry you lost him,” Jaehwan said quietly, speaking slow to make sure he would not stutter.
Sanghyuk blinked back at him, eyes not softening exactly but shifting to something Jaehwan had no name for. “It was my choice,” he replied in a death-quiet whisper, “It was my decision and I still can’t escape him, even his death wasn’t enough.”
Those words rang a bell in Jaehwan’s head that he’d momentarily forgotten. The books. Written in Sanghyuk’s handwriting and sitting on a shelf only fifteen feet away. He decided to keep quiet. Remembering Wonshik’s warning.
“Sweets?” Jaehwan asked, both because he wanted venom and because he hoped a kiss may cheer his maker up a bit. Sanghyuk indulged him, kissing Jaehwan rather sweetly on the mouth. Sweet raspberry and mint tingled on Jaehwan’s tongue. His maker's lips we soft and his hug was so warm, like being wrapped in velvet.
Jaehwan deepened the kiss a bit, licking into Sanghyuk’s mouth. Feeling the satin softness on the inside of Sanghyuk’s cheek. And Sanghyuk was kissing him back right up until the moment he wasn’t. Mouth slack, body going rigid. Green eyes glazed when Jaehwan pulled away to see what was wrong.
Jaehwan felt it a moment later. Rippling in the air, rolling over Jaehwan’s body like a shiver. The apartments wards being disturbed. Wonshik felt it too, if his sudden jolt was any indication. The sensation made Jaehwan’s nerves jangle uncomfortably.
“Wonshik, stay here with Jaehwan. I have a murder to commit,” Sanghyuk murmured, shifting the young demon off him and standing with the grace of a large jungle cat.
“Not a chance.” Wonshik was already up and out the door before Sanghyuk had completely risen. Jaehwan didn’t fully grasp the situation but he certainly wasn’t going to allow himself to be left behind again. He hooked a finger in Sanghyuk’s belt loop, trying to slow his maker down as Sanghyuk strode purposefully from the room.
“Behind me. Now.”
There was an order in those words, unable to be ignored. Jaehwan fell back and switched to the belt loop that lined up with his makers spine. Wonshik appeared at his side as well, apparently incapable of going against Sanghyuk’s words either.
“You did his hair, but can you change eyes as well?” Sanghyuk asked, rolling his shoulders as they walked down an unfamiliar hallway in a triangle formation. Wonshik frowned. “I suppose so. Not shape, color is what I’m good at.”
Jaehwan saw Sanghyuk nod. “Make Jaehwan’s eyes blue. The color of a pure sapphire.”
“Why!? I like my green eyes!” Jaehwan exclaimed, still being towed behind Sanghyuk like a waterskiing human tied to a boat.
Sanghyuk reached back and caught Jaehwan’s free hand but he didn’t slow down. “An experiment.”
“Don’t worry, little brother. The change is just a glamour. It’s not permanent,” Wonshik murmured, snapping his fingers once. Jaehwan didn’t know what he was expecting, some phantom pain or a blue tinged vale falling over his vision. But nothing happened as far as he could tell.
“Oh...” Wonshik sighed, peering into Jaehwan’s face like the young demon was a particularly interesting specimen. “You really do look like the portrait now. Genuinely... identical.” Wonshik shot a quick glance at their makers back. Sanghyuk didn’t turn around.
“Neither of you are to speak a word, do you understand me?”
“Yes,” the two younger demons chorused, Jaehwan secretly planning to disregard that request. He saw a glint in Wonshik’s bright eyes, indicating his brother was of a similar mind.
They reached a door and Sanghyuk pushed it open, striding into what turned out to be a wide, open concept living room of sorts. Dark and modern furnishings that matched the rest of Sanghyuk’s home with a ceiling at least fifteen feet high.
And there, standing before them like a rock outcropping in the midst of a roiling sea, stood Taekwoon. The calm eye at the center of a tornado. Strong and serine and absolutely immovable. And by his side, radiating health and fierce intelligence, was Hongbin.
The stolen sword was in Sanghyuk’s hand before Jaehwan had a chance to blink, fire of the void licking up and down the infernal blade like oil in water. Jaehwan saw Taekwoon’s dark golden eyes narrow.
“Why are you trespassing in my home, Gabriel? And why did you bring Raphael with you?” Sanghyuk asked, voice impassive despite his aura of undiluted fury. Jaehwan blinked. He didn’t know why his maker was addressing the archangel's by their official names, but it seemed to set them on edge. It set Jaehwan on edge as well, come to that.
“I am only here to inspect your newest acquisition, demon,” Taekwoon replied, crossing his arms and eyeing the sword. Displeasure written clearly in his granite features. Hongbin glowered at them all in turn but he stayed silent.
Jaehwan felt a little twinge of pain at that. Hearing that Taekwoon really had never cared about him. Thought of him as an acquisition rather than a friend. Hongbin clearly wasn’t loyal to their friendship anymore, not much of a surprise since he used to be annoyed with Jaehwan more often than not.
“And what have you done to him? He doesn’t match his registry documents,” Hongbin asked, visibly shifting as Jaehwan peeked around Sanghyuk’s shoulder.
“Experimented,” Wonshik replied, speaking up before Sanghyuk had the chance and flashing that easy, predators smile.
Jaehwan let his tongue dart out, tasting the air wafting off the angels, and then promptly gagged. The reek of purity was too strong, like bitter lime and black pepper. He pressed his face against his makers shoulder blade, breathing in his bergamot and vetiver aroma to clear the stench from his senses.
“Do you recognize my bound, Taekwoon?”
Sanghyuk stepped forward, Jaehwan sensing a broad vein of anxiety beneath his brothers smile as they watched their maker move. The young demon had no idea what was going on, he was just glad to see familiar faces. Even if those faces were looking back at him without any recognition.
“No, I do not. And even if I did, he is no longer the angel I once called a friend. He’s been tainted, you saw to that, Sanghyuk,” Taekwoon replied, not a drop of feeling in his voice. Jaehwan winced. “Always so greedy. How long did it take you to corrupt him, a full minute or was it only thirty seconds?”
The tone wasn’t mocking but the words certainly were, and Jaehwan began to growl under his breath. Wonshik’s hand circled his wrist and squeezed but Jaehwan ignored it.
“Why did you send a baby angel to me, Taekwoon? What hope did you think he’d have against an archdemon and duke of hell? It’s almost like you were trying to get rid of him,” Sanghyuk countered, eyes for no one and nothing but the archangel standing before him.
“Get rid of him? No,” Taekwoon replied, “Just a fortunate accident. A turn in the path of the almighty we failed to anticipate. Hongbin?”
Fortunate? How was Jaehwan being corrupted fortunate?
Hongbin gave a small grimace but he fixed his pale gold eyes on Jaehwan. Jaehwan blinked back, not understanding what they- the world around him melted and his head filled with screams.
Wonshik had a hand on Jaehwan’s wrist, but he yanked it back as his brother began to shriek. A high, bone chilling scream of pure agony that made Wonshik instinctively recoil.
Sanghyuk dropped his sword and whirled around, dragging Jaehwan to him and trying to speak but it was like Jaehwan couldn’t hear him. Tearing at his own hair and eyes squeezed shut, curling in on himself.
“Stop it!” Wonshik shouted, wings unfurling from his back and rounding on the archangels. Taekwoon looked like a statue, cold and unfeeling, but Hongbin... the angel Raphael, the angel of healing. The one who defeated Azazel in the revolution. Who took a personal interest in the health and safety of humanity. But he was also the angel of nightmares and Wonshik realized that must be what was happening. He’d trapped Jaehwan in a living nightmare.
Wonshik tried to shield his maker and brother with his wings, stepping between them and the angels to try and break Hongbin’s concentration but he was swept aside. Just a single flick of Taekwoon’s wrist. Brushed away like an errant piece of dust and slammed into the wall. Wonshik felt one of the bones in his left wing crack.
“Release him,” Sanghyuk growled, trying to subdue Jaehwan’s flailing. But it was no use.
“Tell us what we want to know, demon, and your new bond will be spared.”
Oh, and there it was. Why Jaehwan’s corruption, now of all times, was fortunate. Their bond was still fresh, fresh enough to be torn. Damaged. The demonic bond lived in the mind, the most primal part, and if the mind was broken then the bond would be as well.
The angels had accidentally found a new pressure point. Something to use against Sanghyuk so they could have their way.
Wonshik didn’t know what it would do to Sanghyuk if his new Bound was torn from him in that way, but he really didn’t want to find out.
Sanghyuk’s own wings had unfurled now and he was clutching Jaehwan against his chest. Murmuring things Wonshik couldn’t hear and emerald eyes sparkling with panic.
“I’ll tell you,” Wonshik said loudly, breath escaping him in a choked sort of rasp. “I’ll tell you whatever you want, just stop hurting him!”
Taekwoon’s golden eyes swiveled to him, like dishes of frozen honey, and Wonshik fought not to shrink away. He knew he wouldn’t be able to lie to Taekwoon, the angel of truth, he wouldn’t be able to speak a lie when he was held in that gaze. But Wonshik could still twist things a bit, he could dance around the truth for hours without even coming close to a flat out lie.
“What has your creator been told by the almighty?”
Wonshik blinked. Jaehwan’s screaming was making it hard to focus on anything but he managed a strangled “Not much.”
“Everything. Tell me everything you know.”
His brother was sobbing now, dry sobs wracking him as he escaped Sanghyuk’s grasp and tried to crush his body against the floor. “He was told to steal your sword,” Wonshik replied, assuming the angels already knew that. What else could he say that wouldn’t give the game away? How could he conceal the fact that they knew about the temple?
“It’s supposed to help him during Armageddon. The sword of an angel turned infernal, corruption made manifest,” Wonshik went on, skipping around the whole story like it wasn’t even there. He hadn’t lied, that was a true statement even if it was vague.
“What else,” Taekwoon murmured, somehow making his soft voice heard over the racket.
“That Armageddon is coming sooner than we thought.” That was also true, but not the whole truth, and Wonshik hoped it would be enough, darting frightened glances between Hongbin and Jaehwan. Bile rising in his throat.
Wonshik shook his head, anxiety tight in his throat. “You said you’d stop if I told you, so stop!”
Taekwoon tilted his head. “I said nothing of the sort.”
A wave of power rippled across the room, mixing with the anger and fear spinning in Wonshik’s gut. Furious hunger. The urge to devour, to absorb, to demolish the entire world. He was so hungry it made him nauseous, made the tips of his fingers shake.
It was Jaehwan. The dam holding back his energy had broken. His control had snapped. Wonshik knew he wasn’t the only one that felt it, Sanghyuk was hunched and breathing hard. Even the angels had taken a step back.
Hakyeon, Wonshik thought, trying to summon the false prince from wherever he may be. Hakyeon were in trouble. Help us.
A second ripple, the lord of the void stepping from a pool of shadow with his hellhounds at his side. Crimson shirt billowing in an unseen breeze and deep red gaze flashing dangerously. If he could feel Jaehwan’s energy, Hakyeon didn’t show it.
“You trespass in my realm and hurt my kin, angels?” he asked, beautiful and terrible as he strode forward. Wonshik drew back. Not wanting to get between Hakyeon and the angels.
Hakyeon waved a hand and drew up a wall of solid shadow around Sanghyuk and Jaehwan, Jaehwan’s screams muffled slightly.
The angels stepped back. They could probably take Hakyeon in a fight if they worked together but not individually. And especially not with Hongbin’s focus still pinned on Jaehwan. No one was a match for Hakyeon other than the archangel Michael and he rarely bothered to intercede in disagreements such as this. Especially when the angles started it.
“I have questions for you, false prince,” Taekwoon murmured, but Hakyeon clearly had no patience for it now. He held out his hands, wisps of jet spreading from him and shooting toward the angels. Tangling and curling in the air like insidious vines.
One brush from that darkness would mean corruption and the angels knew it, both blinking rapidly and vanishing on the spot.
Hakyeon shook off his shadows and turned, jogging over to kneel in front of Wonshik.
“I heard you, I would have come sooner but I was on the surface. Have you been hurt?” he asked, worry blooming in those scarlet irises. Wonshik shook his head, the emptiness in his stomach threatening to consume him from the inside out.
“Not me, help Jaehwan,” Wonshik gasped.
Hakyeon gave him another once over before standing. The wall of shadow fell away and the full force of Jaehwan’s shrieking hit Wonshik like a slap to the face. He wished he was deaf. Deaf or dead. Hearing the sound of his little brothers’ agony was breaking his black heart to pieces.
“Back up, Sanghyuk,” Hakyeon murmured, Wonshik stumbling up to the little huddle just as the false prince knelt. There was command in those words and a good thing too, because Sanghyuk would have never done so otherwise. He growled as it was, hands clawing at the floor where he crouched maybe two feet from his youngest.
The false prince pulled Jaehwan’s hands from his face and stroked his cheek with one hand, forming a complex series of wards in the air too fast for Wonshik to follow. He murmured something, a word of power Wonshik didn’t know, and pressed his fingers to Jaehwan’s mouth for an instant.
He pulled slowly away, drawing a blinding white fog from Jaehwan’s open mouth. Like sucking the poison from a snake bit. Hakyeon was purging the angelic venom from Jaehwan’s body.
Jaehwan coughed, fingers curling and uncurling at his sides as he stared up at nothing. Sapphire eyes glazed and empty. Wonshik banished his glamour with barely a thought, hoping it wasn’t too late. Hoping Hongbin hadn’t hurt him too badly.
Jaehwan’s blonde hair gleamed but his eyes still did not, even though they were back to the emerald of his family.
“Can you hear me, little one? No, don’t try and speak,” Hakyeon hummed, index finger pressed gently to Jaehwan’s lips when he opened his mouth. The young demon nodded slowly.
“Good, that’s good.” The false prince brushed Jaehwan’s hair off his face, ignoring the way Sanghyuk was snarling at him. Jaehwan was shaking but every spot Hakyeon touched calmed almost at once. First his trembling hands. Then his twitching legs. Then his stuttering heartbeat.
“Can you get him to stop projecting? I’m fighting it but it’s so difficult,” Wonshik gasped, trying to focus on his own hands. The hunger inside him was screaming for sustenance, to eat. Eat a human, eat his maker, eat an entire banquet, the hunger didn’t seem to care what. An indiscriminate predator.
Hakyeon glanced up. “No, but... Sanghyuk, where’s that old collar you used to wear?”
Sanghyuk flinched. “My desk.”
His maker was visibly resisting the order, Wonshik could see it, the way his shoulders shook. Not wanting to leave his youngest. Probably taking personal offense to Hakyeon’s touches, if Wonshik had to guess.
“Fetch it, Sanghyuk, now.”
Sanghyuk vanished with a growl, reappearing barely ten seconds later with a circle of leather and gold clenched in one fist. Wonshik recognized it from one of the ancient pictures Hakyeon had shown him. The one of a younger Sanghyuk, standing behind an armchair on which his master was sitting. Legs crossed at the knee and an expression of clear boredom on that face that looked so much like Jaehwan’s. Sanghyuk had this very collar around his neck and Wonshik always wondered why.
Hakyeon took the collar from him and secured it around Jaehwan’s neck, the energy spilling from the young demon abruptly drying up. Wonshik heaved a sigh of relief.
“He’ll be fine, he’s just had a fright, didn’t you little one?” Hakyeon asked, smiling softly when Jaehwan nodded. “Now, take him elsewhere Wonshik, I would like to speak to Sanghyuk privately.”
“Highness, no! I need to be with-“
“You will stay,” Hakyeon snapped, interrupting Sanghyuk’s retort. “It won’t take long and then I will leave you with your Bound.”
Wonshik looked too Sanghyuk, waiting for his maker's signal as to what he should do. Sanghyuk and Hakyeon stared at one another for almost a minute, engaging in a silent battle of wills, before his maker relented. “Bring him to my bedroom, I’ll be there in a moment,” he hissed, eyes narrowing as Wonshik scooped Jaehwan into his arms and stepped back into the shadows.
They reappeared in Sanghyuk’s bedroom as Wonshik intended. He hadn’t wanted to waste the time it would take to walk, and he was glad he’d done so, laying his brother on their maker's bed.
“How are you feeling sugar?” he asked quietly, anticipating Jaehwan’s question before the younger had to ask. He slipped his own finger into his mouth and then held it out. Knowing that his venom wouldn’t be as good as Sanghyuk’s but wanting to be helpful all the same.
“Better,” Jaehwan mumbled, licking kittenishly at Wonshik’s finger. His eyes had cleared considerably, and they inspected Wonshik’s face for a moment before drifting lower. Fixing on something behind Wonshik. The young demon went entirely still.
Wonshik whipped around and then stilled himself. Frozen with shock and a healthy dose of trepidation.
Two large jaguars were sitting by the foot of the bed. Long tails swishing back and forth, eyes the color of polished sapphire glinting with a startling intelligence. And they were staring directly at Jaehwan.
Hongbin was azazel in original tempt and the parallel between azazel bin and Raphael bin makes me happy lol
also if you're confused or feel like you're missing something, its because I haven't fully explained what's going on yet. that'll be next chapter
welcome to the plot lol
‘When I awoke the second time, my new life was already halfway done. It was as though I’d been born as a teenager. My youth was finished, a thing of the past, already lived and mourned and put to rest. A demon on the cusp of adulthood, which was a milestone I hadn’t managed to reach the first two times around. I had barely ever made it past being a fledgling.’
‘And my maker, my darling, my love, had already been taken away. I had memories of him, certainly, memories of a catastrophe that would have torn me apart, but I never had to experience it first-hand. That was the one kindness done to me by You Know Who. Well, that and my eyes. No longer my love’s glittering sapphire. This time around, my family’s eyes were a shade of green that instantly reminded me of untouched, murky pond water. The kind where moss and other lichen flourish. And my maker was no longer my maker, but my Master. Always adorned with a capital M.’
‘The memories I managed to retain of this childhood, this fall, bore almost no resemblance to those of my previous lives. No unwitting stumble into an archdemons atelier. No being unwittingly gifted away to pacify an ex-lover. This time around, I’d fallen the old fashion way. Succumbed to temptation.’
‘As an angel, I had been one of Raphael’s deputies. It was my job to travel amongst the pious humans and heal them, answer their prayers to You Know Who by curing their maladies, large or small. My Master had happened upon me during one of his rare ventures to the surface while I was working. Peering inside the dreams of a man slumbering on the steps of a temple in Cyprus to find the source of his illness. I’d been so absorbed in what I was doing that I failed to notice a slender, dark haired man slipping out of the temple door above.’
‘He had already stepped to me, almost close enough to touch, by the time I felt his energy. “Lovely,” he’d hummed, startling me so abruptly out of my trance that I’d almost tumbled down the stairs. “So lovely. Tell me your name.” And I’d told him. Told him that my name was Sanghyuk, and that if he didn’t leave me be, I would banish him to the void where he belonged. I remember being so frightened that my hands had trembled and my voice came out as nothing more than a squeak. My Master had simply laughed.’
‘I remember his energy hitting me, then, a sensation not unlike being hit in the face with a brick. “Lovely Sanghyuk, my pet, come along home with me. Everything your heart desires will be yours, pet, I can make you special. All you need do is come with me.” Of course, I’d been powerless to refuse. His mojo was irresistible to me, like siren song, and I’d gotten to my feet. Looking down on him, then, but still very much the lesser of the two of us. My Master had smirked, yanked me down so I was bent at the waist, down to his level, and kissed me on the mouth.’
‘He hadn’t waited for my fall to finish, hadn’t held me as the vale of heaven was torn from me, hadn’t been benevolent even during the first moments of my new life. He simply ripped the red collar from around my neck and led me into the night, the world I knew shattering as we stepped through the shadows together.’
Jaehwan frowned down at the book lying open on his lap. With each word he read, the young demon became more sure that Sanghyuk’s master had been a real grade-a dickhead. An absolutely monstrous individual who’d never deserved someone like Sanghyuk. Not one bit.
It was the first day in nearly three months that Sanghyuk had left Jaehwan by himself. Urgent business to attend to on the surface. Unavoidable. Nothing to be done about it, and would Jaehwan please stay there until he was done? He wouldn’t be alone, he would have Wonshik to keep him company, and Sanghyuk wouldn’t be gone too long. He could finally finish decorating his new bedroom, wouldn’t that be nice?
It wasn’t nice. The tapping in Jaehwan’s head bordered on maddening but it wasn’t like he could refuse. Or refuse anymore, after begging and pleading and dry sobs had failed to make Sanghyuk agree to take Jaehwan with him on this mysterious errand.
Jaehwan had decided against decorating his new room, though. In an effort to stave off madness, he’d put on Sanghyuk’s favorite dark green dressing gown and wrapped himself in Sanghyuk’s duvet, curling up in a nest at the center of Sanghyuk’s bed. Being able to smell his particular perfume was assuaging the worst of Jaehwan’s cravings, and the enormous bag of chewy raspberry flavored candies he was devouring helped make the tapping bearable.
Now, to keep his mind occupied. Jaehwan popped a sweet into his mouth and returned his attention to the book.
‘Our love was not the same either. He was neither a best friend nor a confidante. Not caring. Not visibly kind. He was possessive and jealous and as frigid as a glacier.’
‘Right from the start, my Master had found my energy off-putting. Unpleasant, he’d called it inelegant and crude. This time around, he hadn’t fastened the power-dampening collar around my neck to stop me from hurting myself or others, he’d done it simply so he wouldn’t have to feel my energy when I was in his presence. And he would always mention it, when he was irritated with me for some transgression or other, how I lacked finesse. How my ability was common, how having a Bound with such an unrefined ability embarrassed him. I had become the embodiment of ‘want’ and “Want is a feeling that should be inspired in lesser beings,” he always said, “Wanting is beneath ones such as ourselves. We should not need to want. Everything is already ours, and what isn’t should be given to us before we ever notice the lack of it.’
‘My transgressions, such as they were, usually stemmed from something trivial that I’d done accidentally. Spent too much time away on the surface, spoken with someone for too long at one of the few gatherings my Master brought me too, shown too much interest in a subject that didn’t relate to him. My Master would grow pouty and peevish. Sullen and juvenile in a way he usually wasn’t. He would cling to me, hang off me, not let me out of his sight, but refuse to speak unless it was to snap an occasional insult. It went on for days sometimes, until I finally managed to soothe him back to normalcy. Reassured him that I loved him and cared for him more than I cared for any other being in all the realms. I think, at the heart of it, my Master was unused to the feeling of my absence. Of the absence of my attention. Of missing me. And missing something, wanting something, was intolerable. I think it frightened him.’
‘Despite all of that, despite his little tantrums and outwardly cold demeanor, I loved him. I was his, mind, body, and soul. He was beautiful. He was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, possessed of a mind so fathomless that I never had any hope of truly understanding why he did what he did. A beautiful, complicated mind. He was always swirling in and out of rooms. Collapsing on well-placed pieces of furniture. Extemporizing wildly on subjects that I had no grasp of. The meaning of life, the meaning of death, what we were all doing here and why demons hadn’t been granted the same privileges as the angels even though we were vastly superior. Why we had been relegated to The Beneath when they could walk amongst the clouds. He was a walking, talking, existential crisis. And I loved him.’
‘Some things hadn’t changed. My Master was still dramatic, loud and theatrical for no reason. He still enjoyed it when I read aloud to him, still liked to play dress up with me, still ran his fingers through my hair and called me his puppy. But the dynamic of our intimacy had shifted somewhat. He no longer allowed me to take him apart, didn’t allow me to make him ‘feel’ things. This time around, he was the one who took me apart. Broke me down into my most basic components and then found slight amusement in the fact that I wanted him to do so. He was a being of lust and only lust. Pure carnal frenzy. The word pleasure made manifest. Not to say that I ever complained about that, because I did not. There was something liberating in it, letting go of complication and thought and simply drowning in the want I felt for him.’
‘But the madness, which had always been so cleverly concealed beneath bravado in my two previous lives, still lurked. My Master was prone to fits of melancholy. He would lash out at things around him (usually unlucky hellspawn), demolish entire rooms worth of furniture, or simply vanish for days (or sometimes even weeks) into the bowels of the apartment. Hide himself away from both me and the world and keep only his jaguars for company. Times such as those made me immeasurably sad. I’d call for him and search for him and try to soothe him back to reality, but he never returned until he was ready. Even if I actually managed to find him lurking in disused rooms on the lower floors, even if I held him in my arms and kissed his cheeks and spoke soft words, it was only his body left. His mind was somewhere else entirely. He was gone.’
‘Really, the fact that he had undergone such changes shouldn’t have surprised me. Like me, my Master’s fall had been very different from that of my previous lives. His origin story was still mostly the same. My Master had been sent to Eden to teach Adam the ways of love and then was dragged from the garden once his job was complete, just as he had in my previous lives, and was still christened Lilith by the humans. However, something must have gone wrong with the timeline of history, because the first wave had come after Eden’s creation, unlike the first time around when it had come centuries before.‘
‘And when my Master returned from Eden, he hadn’t been shunned or ridiculed like the first time around. He had gathered a sort of cult following among the angels. He and his friends had challenged the word of You Know Who, lost their fight, and then swiftly followed Lucifer into The Beneath as punishment.’
‘My Master had been alone until he happened upon me on those temple steps. The only Bound he ever took.’
‘Not being the false prince anymore, Taekwoon hadn’t been there to take my master in when he fell. Hakyeon was the false prince now, and Hakyeon had only come into being a few months before my master’s fall. They grew to be more like brothers than creator and adopted-bound. Because of this change, my Master had none of the innate familial instincts, none of the paternal or protective behavior he’d possessed in my first two lives. And most importantly, my Master hadn’t been in love with Wonshik this time around, so he had no understanding of the concept of want. No understanding of rejection or longing or broken hearts. The only time he felt rejected was when he fell. When he was kicked out of his home. Was kicked out for no other reason than deciding to speak his mind.’
‘The outcomes of his two falls were very different. They were easy enough for me to understand, and I should have expected as much. After all, I had wished for everything to be different. I don’t know why I thought my Master would have remained unchanged.’
Jaehwan huffed, raising his eyes to glare at Wonshik where he was snoring at the foot of the bed. Why would Sanghyuk’s master have been in love with Wonshik? Was everyone just in love with Wonshik? Was he thatirresistible, even to long-dead archdemons?! Jaehwan extended one leg and kicked his sleeping brother in the stomach.
“Ow! Saints below, Jaehwan, why?” Wonshik grumbled, in that grumbly rumbly voice of his, always a touch deeper and more gravely when he was tired. Jaehwan kicked him again.
Wonshik caught his ankle and pinned his foot to the mattress. “Stop it. Just because I’m babysitting you, that doesn’t mean I have to let you behave like a brat.”
“Why would Sanghyukkie’s master have been in love with you?” Jaehwan snapped, wiggling and trying to free his leg with little to no success.
Jaehwan growled softly in frustration, popping another raspberry candy into his mouth to stop himself biting Wonshik’s fingers off. “He wrote that his master hadn’t been in love with you, or that he used to be in love with you but wasn’t this time, something like that.”
One of Wonshik’s pretty emerald eyes opened. Peering at Jaehwan, brow furrowed, confused. “I never met his master, sugar, he was long gone by the time I came into the picture.”
“Sanghyukkie doesn’t think so.”
“Well, I don’t know what to tell you, Sanghyukkie is wrong.”
Unhelpful. Why was the infuriating man always so unhelpful?!
“Fine. Just go back to sleep,” Jaehwan mumbled, burying his face in the coverlet and breathing in his maker’s bergamot and rosemary and vetiver smell. He had the book concealed inside his nest so Wonshik couldn’t see it. Jaehwan really wished the tapping would stop.
‘I don’t know what exactly it was that finally pushed my Master over the edge, but I wonder about it often. It could have simply been the natural progression of his troubled mind, or it could have been the millennia of having his questions about the meaning of life go unresolved, or it could have been something small. A single thought, the straw that broke the camel’s back. But whatever the catalyst, my Master regressed into a state of madness from which he never emerged.’
‘I couldn’t bring him back, Hakyeon couldn’t bring him back, nothing could. He was determined to reduce upstairs to ruble. Not only to corrupt every angel still living, but take possession of upstairs, return himself to what he thought was his rightful place in the universe. To be king in Heaven and Hell, even if he would only be king of the ashes.’
‘It was the archangel Michael, I found out later, that decided my Master’s abilities were the problem. His frenzied lust and lack of self-control made him unpredictable and dangerous. Too dangerous to kill, lest they be passed on to another and the whole cycle would start again. It took some doing, and it wasn’t easy, but he and Hakyeon finally managed to trap my Master in the deepest circle of the void. A cage from which he couldn’t escape, the only living beings he would ever come into contact with again were his jaguars. And the jaguars are only permitted because everyone is too frightened of them to force them away.’
“Wait, what!?” Jaehwan shrieked, nearly throwing the book and startling Wonshik from his doze. His brother was up and crouching protectively over him an instant later.
“What?! What’s the matter?!”
Wonshik’s closeness sent a wave of his particular earthy aroma crashing over Jaehwan, invading the young demon’s nose and wiping away any trace of Sanghyuk. Jaehwan couldn’t bear the loss of it. He hid his face in the blankets once more and tried to breathe.
Those jaguars… The ones that had visited him after Taekwoon and Hongbin’s unwelcome appearance…
They had come with no warning or explanation, terrifying blue eyes boring into the depths of Jaehwan’s mind. And when Sanghyuk had come, he had screamed at them. Apparently unfazed by their aura of menace. Told them to get out and go back to the void, not to leave their prisoner alone.
“Is Sanghyuk’s master still alive?!” Jaehwan exclaimed, throwing the blankets away and accidentally pushing Wonshik off the edge of the bed in the process.
“No! How could he still be alive?! Bound do not take their own Bound until their makers are dead, and we are here! He can’t be.”
“This begs to differ,” Jaehwan replied, waving the book at Wonshik.
“I told you not to touch those!”
“And I ignored you! Listen to this!”
Jaehwan reread the paragraph about Michael and trapping Sanghyuk’s master aloud, Wonshik sitting in stunned silence. He didn’t say anything when Jaehwan finished. Didn’t say anything when Jaehwan demanded answers from him and shouted at him to explain it. It was like someone pointed a tv remote at him and pressed pause. He didn’t even move.
With an angry hiss, Jaehwan looked back down at the book and continued to read. There had to be answers hidden somewhere in the pages.
‘I remember it happening. I remember Hakyeon restraining me as the angels dragged my Master away in golden chains, kicking and screaming and sobbing, silver tears of pure anguish rolling down his face. I remember it all, everything I have detailed within the pages of this volume, but they are dull. Like looking at old photographs. The memory of the pain is there, but the pain is simply a fact. It doesn’t actually hurt me. Not like the memories of my first two lives that cut me like silver blades each time they surface.’
‘The first real memory of my third life is when I corrupted Wonshik. He had been my best friend in heaven, even now, and I couldn’t physically bear the thought of being alone. I’d sought him out on the surface and corrupted him with my venom before he even had a chance to speak, a power I hadn’t had before, and made him infernal. It was selfish, the action of a frightened child, I know, but I wanted a friend. And my memories told me I always got what I wanted. I was the Prince of Greed now. I wanted everything.’
‘Soon after that, I began to hear the whispers of You Know Who...’
“Give that to me. Now.”
Wonshik had apparently unfrozen, kneeling on the floor beside the bed with his hands curled in the sheets. Knuckles white. Jaehwan barely looked up long enough to snap a “No.”
“Now, Jaehwan, I’m not playing.”
It took the majority of the young demon’s willpower not to flinch at the growl in his brother’s voice. He couldn’t stop now. There was too much to discover.
‘I didn’t know that was what it was in the beginning. Intrusive thoughts perhaps, or some sort of madness inherited from my Master. But once they made their identity clear to me, given me my mission such as it was, I knew. It’s why I have spent the last two millennia looking for the...’
“Jaehwan, I’m not fucking kidding. Give it to me.”
A sighed, “Shut up,” was all Jaehwan had time to get out before his brother leapt at him. Snarling wordlessly and trying to tear the book from Jaehwan’s hand.
The young demon hissed and tried to kick him off, overwhelmed by the earthy sandalwood aroma oozing from Wonshik’s pores. Seeping into his lungs and choking him. And there was something else there, Jaehwan had smelled it before. An acrid tang... bitter citrus... heat... fear? Wonshik smelled absolutely terrified.
“Give it to me!”
“No!” Jaehwan clawed his brothers throat and cheeks and forehead, noticing somewhere in the back of his mind that his nails had elongated, silver ichor making his hands slippery even as Wonshik shoved him halfway off the bed.
“Let me see it!”
Jaehwan held the book over his head, stretching it as far as he could so Wonshik couldn’t get it. He didn’t even know why he was trying so hard to fight. He simply want it, wanted to keep it wanted to read it wanted to share whatever this insane story was with Sanghyuk and only Sanghyuk. If the books were so much of a secret that Wonshik had never so much as touched them, then it could be something for just him and Sanghyuk. Something just for the two of them. Something to make him special in his maker’s eyes-
“What is all this screaming?!”
The tapping in Jaehwan’s head went silent. Gone so abruptly it was as though it had never been there at all. The young demon froze.
Wonshik had frozen as well, giving Jaehwan just enough time to maneuver around and slide the book under the bed before Sanghyuk walked in. The scared smell was even stronger now.
“What in Lucifer’s unholy name are you two doing?!” Sanghyuk asked, striding over to where Jaehwan and Wonshik were still tangled together. Covered in ichor too, Jaehwan noticed belatedly. “I thought you were going to decorate your bedroom! Not cut each other bloody in mine!”
The young demon shoved his brother away and threw himself on Sanghyuk. He did smell a bit angry, like cracked red pepper, but the majority of it was simply Sanghyuk. Bergamot and rosemary and vetiver with a hint of lemon.
“I missed you,” Jaehwan mumbled, hugging his maker like a koala and trying to bury his face in his maker’s neatly styled hair. “Don’t go away again.”
Sanghyuk gave a reluctant chuckle, carrying Jaehwan back to the bed and perching on the edge of it. “You’re getting ichor all over me, dove. And you, Shik, would you care to explain what happened?”
“Nothing.” Wonshik was still crouched on the mattress like an overgrown bat, those lovely bright eyes narrowed and jaw set in a firm line. “He was being a brat, that’s all. It pissed me off.”
Their maker sighed reluctantly, reaching out to pet Wonshik’s hair even as Jaehwan licked lightly at his temple. He tasted like coffee and cigarettes and salt and that green tea face soap he favored. Delicious.
“Well, at least you two stopped employing your mojo, because it was getting exhausting. Not that this barbarism is much better, but... well.”
“Was your errand successful?” Wonshik asked. It was a clear attempt to divert the conversation, but Sanghyuk allowed it, gently prying Jaehwan’s mouth off his cheek and moving to sit more comfortably. “It was. Very successful, actually. I found it.”
“Found what?” the young demon hummed, too distracted by the hint of venom he managed to snag when Sanghyuk opened his mouth to notice that Wonshik’s face had drained of color.
“The temple, dove. I found it.”
Wonshik rapped his knuckles against the door to Hakyeon’s apartment for the third time. Starting to grow impatient when he still received no response.
“Highness?!” he called again, louder, attempting to inject a note of urgency into his tone.
This- Sanghyuk’s plan was going to result in disaster. An unqualified disaster for his family that would ripple outward from their cozy three-demon unit. Every living thing would be affected and Wonshik couldn’t think of a way to stop it. He needed Hakyeon’s advice and needed it badly.
Finally, after several more knocks and shouting that grew progressively louder as the moments passed, Wonshik heard footsteps approaching.
“What?!” the false prince exclaimed, flinging the door wide. He must have been in the middle of a bath or something because Hakyeon was shrouded in a fluffy maroon bathrobe, warm skin damp and shiny, hair slightly frizzy from humidity.
Wonshik stepped past him before Hakyeon had a chance to bar him entrance. “We have a problem. An extremely big problem.”
Thankfully sensing the younger’s anxiety, Hakyeon gave no protest. He trailed Wonshik over to the couch and sat when Wonshik did, placing a comforting hand on the young demon’s knee. “Tell me.”
And so, Wonshik told him.
Told him about the ruin of a building in the heart of Rome, located an ironically short distance from Vatican City.
How the building, what Sanghyuk called a temple, was covered in wards so ancient that Wonshik was barely able to make them out. How those very wards discouraged a person from noticing the building at all, tricked one’s eyes into sliding past it like there was nothing there at all.
How the voices in Sanghyuk’s head were telling him that he had to find the temple and rescue what was trapped within it. How Sanghyuk was entirely certain the thing hidden away was his long-lost maker. How Sanghyuk believed his maker would bring about Armageddon and the end of the world as they knew it.
“We’ve been casing the place out for a week now, or- Sanghyuk and I have been. Jaehwan mostly just sits in the cafe across the street and inhales gelato. But I tell you, Yeon, the surrounding area is swarming with angels,” Wonshik sighed, voice softening to a whisper as his word-vomit slowly trickled to a stop. He was so tired. Worry exhausted him.
Hakyeon rolled his shoulders and hummed in contemplation. He’d been uncharacteristically quite throughout Wonshik’s story, it was almost unsettling.
“Wonshik, I’m going to be honest with you, but you aren’t going to like it,” he replied after another moment.
Wonshik narrowed his eyes, an icy finger of dread trailing down his spine.
“Sanghyuk is correct. The temple is- was actually a temple, many years ago. But when his master went a bit-“ Hakyeon tapped his forehead, “- a bit wrong, the archangel Taekwoon and I devised a plan. We asked Sanghyuk’s master to renovate the temple, make it into the most secure prison he could imagine. Jyani was cunning that way, devilishly clever when it came to using his imagination. He followed instructions, formed a lock whose key was technically impossible to fabricate, and then we trapped him inside.”
“Why didn’t you simply execute him!? It would have saved a world of trouble,” Wonshik blurted, wits hanging by a thread.
The false prince shook his head. Very obviously lost in memories. “Too dangerous. By the end, Jyani was a contagion. He contaminated every demon he spoke too, infecting them with poisonous ideas that would have ended in civil war if we hadn’t stopped him when we did. It’s an effect of his gift, you understand? He made people want him so much that they’d do anything, think anything, believe anything to try and win his affection. If we’d simply killed him, his gift would have been transferred to a new demon, and a new demon would have been an unknown quantity. It wasn’t worth the risk.”
Wonshik shut his eyes and counted to five. The false prince didn’t understand. Wonshik hadn’t gone there looking for a history lesson, Sanghyuk had told him and Jaehwan that story already.
“And now, my maker has found the temple,” the young demon tried, grasping for words to express the pitch of his fear and failing. “Sanghyuk is going to release his master, Jyani, Jaehwan senior, whatever he’s called. All of your hard work will come to nothing.”
“He won’t be able to,” Hakyeon reached out to comb Wonshik’s cherry hair with his fingers, then gently rubbed his back. Trying for reassurance. “You have nothing to worry about. The magic sealing him in there is strong, even I couldn’t even break him out. The angels can’t either, that’s probably why their hovering around. Observing.”
Wonshik bit his lip. “Humor me. If Sanghyuk was going to break in, how would he go about it?”
“Not brute strength, that’s for certain. The only way to open the door is that key I mentioned.”
“And what kind of key is it?”
The false prince sniffed. “A blade foraged by you-know-who themself, imbued with the power of hell. No such item exists-“
“And-“ Wonshik interrupted, needing Hakyeon to understand. Hakyeon, who was the best friend he had other than his maker. Who Wonshik trusted implicitly. “And what did Sanghyuk recently steal from the archangel Taekwoon?”
Glancing up, the young demon watched all color drain from Hakyeon’s face. Horror descending over him like a blanket of fog. “The sword...”
“Exactly.” Wonshik looked at the door, then to Hakyeon, then down at his feet. “Sanghyuk has a key.”
“Saints bellow,” Hakyeon sighed, jumping to his feet and sweeping away to his desk. Rifling through papers like he was searching for something before rounding on the young demon. “I need to contact- Taekwoon will need to-“ a gulp, “If he goes through with this, we’re all fucked.”
Wonshik hung his head. “I know. And I also know I won’t be able to stop him. Lucifer knows I’ve tried already.”
The door creaked as Sanghyuk pushed it open, his stolen infernal sword still driven into the center. Jaehwan was firmly latched to his makers back, his nerves jumping, trying to taste the air in this unfamiliar place.
Today was the big day, and to Jaehwan and Wonshik’s chagrin, the rescue mission had gone off without a hitch.
“Relax, dove, everything is fine. All’s going exactly as it should,” Sanghyuk murmured softly, a valiant but incredibly distracted attempt to calm Jaehwan down.
The young demon was not at all ready to meet his... his grand-maker or whatever the term was. Jaehwan didn’t actually know. He didn’t think there was a term for the demon he was about to meet. Wonshik was shadowing them, close but entirely silent.
When Sanghyuk had explained that his master was being imprisoned in the deepest circle of the void, Jaehwan had expected darkness. Gloomy, damp, possibly full of fire... if not that then at least somewhat unpleasant. Like, try and picture the deepest circle of the void, the pit of doom, hell’s heart. the room they walked into was not that. Not even a little bit.
Opulent was really the only word to describe it. Jaehwan peered around his makers shoulder, trying to take in as many details as he could. Bookshelves lined one entire wall, crammed with books of all shapes and sizes. A cherrywood desk hulked in one corner, pens and quills and ink pots scattered across it in no discernible pattern. There was also an easel, what appeared to be a half-finished portrait displayed on it and a pallet covered in dried out oil paints abandoned on the floor nearby. The floor, Jaehwan guessed, was some sort of marble, an ivory so bright that it seemed to glow.
On the opposite side of the room -calling it a room really didn’t do the place justice because it was the size of a basketball court- was a huge canopy bed. Silver satin sheets and an emerald featherbed were tangled up at its foot like someone had kicked them off while sleeping and never bothered straightening up in the morning. A single wingback chair beside an ornate fireplace, damask curtains stretching from ceiling to floor over wood paneled walls, a guilt framed mirror. There was even a black porcelain claw foot tub that looked deep enough to drown several people in simultaneously.
Above the mantelpiece, though, there hung a life size portrait of two people. Jaehwan stared at it. Couldn’t take his eyes off it, in fact. One of the subjects was unmistakably Sanghyuk. His maker in an emerald green tunic-type shirt with mother of pearl buttons down the front, that weird leather choker around his neck, hair down so it framed his face. And he was standing behind a chair. A chair in which sat someone that looked strikingly like Jaehwan himself. It was almost like peering into a mirror and having an alternate reality reflected back.
The man’s base coding was Jaehwan’s carbon copy, only the details were different. Indigo black hair to Jaehwan’s platinum, soft curls to Jaehwan’s straight. And he was a bit older looking, Jaehwan thought, more like a human on the cusp of thirty to Jaehwan’s mid-twenties. Stronger as well, if the painting did Sanghyuk’s master justice. Not too built, not a straight up muscle boy like Wonshik, but what Jaehwan guessed he himself would look like if he worked out regularly. Their green eyes were the same though. Same pointy nose and full lips and sharp chin. Fucking uncanny.
The place didn’t even smell bad. Jasmine and rose and something that put the young demon in mind of nighttime. Like dew almost. Fresh condensation kissing the stars. And that smell was getting stronger the further they advanced into the room.
“Love?” Sanghyuk called, the tremor in his voice barely concealed as he turned slowly on the spot. This had the effect of turning Jaehwan as well, since he flat out refused to unglue himself from his maker's back. “Love, where are you? I know you’re here.”
A soft hiss and the sound of the cell door slamming shut had the three demons spinning around, Jaehwan growling under his breath from surprise. And then growling much louder at the sight of what had been hidden behind the door.
It wasn’t- the thing that stared at them was nothing like the man in the portrait.
It was barely a man at all. For one thing, its wings were at least six feet in span. Each. The black feathers were ruffled, and several were missing, their color subtly shifting like an oil slick. Its hands were talons, teeth much too sharp, the pupils of its eyes slit like a snake, Jade Irises glinting a hint of dangerous crimson. Green-tipped fire surrounded its body like a halo, licking across its skin without leaving any burn marks behind.
It was gigantic. Larger than life, like it took up all the remaining space in the room. Terrible and strangely beautiful at the same time. Jaehwan hid his face against Sanghyuk’s shoulder, only managing to suck in shallow breaths as he shook with panic.
“Love, Master, it’s me, it’s Sanghyuk. We’re here to take you home,” Sanghyuk said, unnaturally still between Jaehwan’s encircling arms. Like he was tensing for a fight. “You don’t have to-“
His words abruptly cut off as the thing snarled, deep in its throat and loud enough to shake the floor. It took a step forward and Sanghyuk stepped back, his own glossy black wings unfurling to shield Jaehwan and Wonshik from view.
“Jyani, stop this, I’m not going to hurt you!”
More snarling. Anxious shifting of wings.
“Jyani, Love, please.”
At his side, Jaehwan noticed that Wonshik had his wings out too. More charcoal grey than black, reminiscent of a bat. Jaehwan was the only one without them. Pitiful.
“Breathe for me, love. You’re alright, everything is alright. You’re safe. Just breathe.”
The note of tenderness in his makers voice made Jaehwan want to cry, suddenly and without warning. Sanghyuk’s love with this creature, this thing, was so all-encompassing that he’d corrupted Jaehwan simply because of their physical resemblance. That was the truth, no matter how hard Jaehwan tried to deny it. He was a placeholder and nothing more.
All at once, the creatures horrifying shadow that had been cast by the light of the alchemical bulbs on the ceiling vanished. Air returned, space returned, the feeling of being caged in by a wild predator ebbing away.
Lucifer, it even sounded like Jaehwan. Or how Jaehwan thought he sounded. It was always tricky to gage that sort of thing for one’s self.
“Stay,” Sanghyuk murmured, nudging Jaehwan backs few steps with his wing so the young demon could hug onto Wonshik instead. And Jaehwan did so. He needed an anchor just then, something stable to keep him grounded as a sense of unreality set in. Wonshik tucked the young demon under his arm, subtly raising a venom-slicked finger to the young demon’s mouth while still very clearly on alert. Jaehwan licked at it gratefully. Rose petals and white chocolate. The taste fortified him, if only the smallest bit.
With Sanghyuk’s wings no longer blocking Jaehwan’s line of sight, the young demon could take the creature in properly. Whatever transformation it had undergone had left it- left him, person shaped. The man from the portrait, but visibly diminished. Several millennia of solitary confinement had taken a toll on him. He was sitting on the floor now, curled up against the wall with his knees to his chest, feet bare. Clothing that must once have been elegant and beautiful now torn and dirty. Hanging off his bony frame in tatters. And his hair had grown almost past his shoulders, still those lovely dark curls, but now matted and greasy.
The eyes, though, those knife bright emerald eyes, they were wide and alert. Tracking Sanghyuk’s movements as he came to crouch before the man he called master.
“I’m going to touch your hand,” Sanghyuk said, the epitome of outward calm. And he did, reaching out with deliberate slowness and brushing his finger across his master’s knuckles. The man was looking up at Sanghyuk like he’d never seen anything more fascinating in his six thousand years of life. Jaehwan flinched.
“My pet... how?”
On second hearing, Jaehwan thought the man sounded like him if he was a very heavy smoker and spoke exclusively in shrill screams. Hoarse from disuse probably. The man wouldn’t have had anyone to speak to, locked away down here all by himself.
Sanghyuk attempted to retract his hand but the man snatched at it, clinging to Sanghyuk and lacing their fingers together. Tugging Sanghyuk down to kneel so he could look directly in Sanghyuk’s eyes. “How did you get in here? Are you another mirage? You can’t be real, pet, they wouldn’t have allowed such a thing.”
“No, love, it’s really me, we came to rescue you- huh.”
His words were cut off as the man pushed him, a rough little shove that ended with Sanghyuk flat on his back and the man sitting on his stomach. A snarl began building in the back of Jaehwan’s throat. He didn’t like this stranger who looked so like him touching his maker. The taste of Wonshik’s venom wasn’t as comforting anymore.
The man seemed to fold himself down so his and Sanghyuk’s noses were almost touching, those skeletal, malnourished fingers wrapping around the lapels of Sanghyuk’s jacket. Lank hair falling to pool on the floor like a curtain. “Have you come to ravish me, pet? Is it that kind of dream?”
“Not exactly, love, we came to bring you home. You are needed.”
The man cocked his head like a curious puppy. “Home?”
“Home.” Sanghyuk swallowed, shifting the man off him and then getting to his feet. Standing side by side, the man looked even scrawnier. “Fair warning, I have done a bit of redecorating in your absence.”
“Redecorating?!” the man shrieked, hands flexing and nails elongating so they looked very like the talons from a moment ago.
Sanghyuk made a cooing noise that was downright upsetting. He never did that to anyone other than Jaehwan. Not even Wonshik got a coo. “Don’t worry about it, love, I left your room exactly as it was,” he replied, tapping lightly under the man’s chin.
“This is absurd,” Jaehwan grumbled, nipping at Wonshik’s finger for something to do. He was feeling hungry again.
At the sound of Jaehwan’s voice, the man whipped around, piercing Jaehwan with those wild green eyes. He’d skittered over and climbed up on Sanghyuk’s back a heartbeat later, clinging to him piggyback style like a demonic koala.
“Pet,” the man hummed, arms wound tight around Sanghyuk’s neck. He nosed behind the shell of Sanghyuk’s ear while continuing to glare at the young demon. “Aren’t you going to introduce me? Or, in my absence, have you lost the social graces I tried so hard to impart upon you?”
“Oh course, love.”
Something like... white musk and patchouli, a dash of saffron. Jaehwan was slowly learning to interpret the smells and tastes he constantly took in from everyone and everything around him. If he had to guess now, he’d say that his maker smelled nervous.
Sanghyuk carried his master over to the two young demons, sneaking glances sideways at the strangers face every few seconds. “Jyani, love, these are my Bound. Wonshik,” he said, gesturing to Wonshik, “And my youngest, uh- Jaehwan.”
“What have I told you about uh?”
“Never hesitate, hesitation shows weakness,” Sanghyuk replied, like he was reciting a passage from a textbook.
The man smiled and stroked his hair. “My good puppy.” Those wild eyes swiveled back to the two younger demons, looking them over appraisingly. “My kittens have told me all about you two. This one, I like. Very much.”
That last was addressed to Wonshik. Because of course it was. Even this ancient monster was susceptible to his charms, such as they were.
“And this one,” the man clicked his tongue, feet kicking lazily in the air like a human child on a swing. “A poor substitute, pet. Scrawny little fledgling... not at all like the real thing.”
His manner was so staggeringly and unapologetically affected that Jaehwan didn’t actually know how to respond. But being insulted to his face didn’t endear the man to Jaehwan at all. For lack of anything better to say, Jaehwan settled on, “Watch who you’re calling scrawny, you look like a skeleton.”
“Jaehwan, that’s enough.”
The man’s full mouth curled into a sinister smirk and he leaned forwards, ignoring Sanghyuk’s rebuke and nearly throwing Sanghyuk off balance so he could peer into Jaehwan’s face. He didn’t say anything, probably storing further insults away for later use. Just stared. Those madly flashing eyes darting all over Jaehwan’s face.
“Tell me about yourselves, children,” he purred, raising a hand in Jaehwan’s face when he opened his mouth to reply, “Not you, the lovely one first.”
Jaehwan balled his hands into fists.
“My name is Wonshik, Prince of Envy and Duke of Hell. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Wonshik said, the soul of obsequiousness, even though his grip on Jaehwan’s wrist was as tight as a vice. He smelled nervous too, now that Jaehwan bothered to check.
“Envy,” the man hummed, “Well, at least your child has a sensible gift, pet. And how old?”
“Three thousand and seven.”
“Good. A wonderful age.” Hand now no longer blocking Jaehwan’s face, the man threaded his fingers through Sanghyuk’s hair and tugged. “And you, fledgling? What do you do?”
“I’m th-the Prince of Indulgence,” Jaehwan replied, aiming for a relaxed sort of dignity and slightly missing the mark. “And I’m a hundred and tw-twenty-six.”
“A bit young, don’t you think, pet?” the man asked, tugging Sanghyuk’s hair again and holding his head back, throat bared. “What, prey tell, is indulgence? I don’t remember there being any Prince of Indulgence.”
“Gluttony, officially, but we thought indulgence sounded a bit more elegant, Love.”
The man hummed again, running a casual hand down the column of Sanghyuk’s throat before dropping to the floor. Jaehwan saw Sanghyuk shiver.
And then something happened. Jaehwan didn’t know what to call it, and it certainly wasn’t happening to him, but Wonshik nearly fell over.
“What-“ Jaehwan tried, watching in horror as his brother and maker crowded the man in. Both breathless and flushed, hands wandering, Wonshik’s mouth on the man’s neck, Sanghyuk nipping at the man’s earlobe. The two snapping at each other like rabid dogs whenever they got too close.
Lust. The man was Prince of Lust. He was using his mojo on Wonshik and Sanghyuk, Jaehwan realized, watching the man preen under the attention. Did his cheeks look fuller? Skin less translucent? Lips a hint redder?
“Stop it!” Jaehwan squeaked, dialing up his own energy to try and break the spell. Why wasn’t the man lust-ifying Jaehwan? Why had his maker and brother fallen for it so easily?!
The man blinked his eyes half open, looking through his lashes at Jaehwan. Flashing a grin that was downright feral. Look how much they want me, that smile said, you are nothing compared to me.
“That’s enough now, puppies, save your energy for later,” the man purred, pressing a kiss first to Sanghyuk’s temple, then Wonshik’s cheek. He looked so fucking pleased with himself that Jaehwan wanted to scream. With a shrill little cackle, the man hopped up to cling on to a decidedly flustered looking Wonshik’s back. “This one will do nicely for recharging my energy. Pet, go tend to your pitiful little fledgling. He looks about ready to have a tantrum.”
“Dove,” Sanghyuk sighed, out of breath as he reluctantly walked over to where Jaehwan had crouched. The hungry smell, the nervous smell, they’d both been so strong and so overwhelming and those roses, the jasmine- Jaehwan had been able to taste the strange man then, and he tasted like vengeance. Like death.
daddy's home lol
than Jyan x Jyan saga continues lol
Sanghyuk is a bit of a masochist lol
Sanghyuk’s grip on Jaehwan’s hand tightened, but he didn’t answer.
Their retreat from the temple had been a hasty one. The infernal sword had still been slotted into the door, so it opened easily when they attempted to leave despite the fact it had been slammed shut. It wasn’t even a real door. More of a construct. A portal into the deepest circle of the void where Sanghyuk’s master had been trapped. The little party had only needed to go so far as the threshold before stepping through the shadows. It was the easiest way to travel when wanting to avoid angelic detection.
As soon as Sanghyuk’s master had stepped from the shadows into the apartment, he’d started screaming. Not from fear, as Jaehwan first thought, not because he hadn’t left the temple in almost five thousand years and so was frightened by an unfamiliar place.
He’d screamed about the decor. About ‘the state of his beloved home’. About how Sanghyuk had ‘ruined his sanctuary’ and ‘taken advantage of his absence to wipe away all trace of his memory, like Sanghyuk had actively tried to forget him’.
Jaehwan and Wonshik had instinctively retreated partway down the hall, hunched together as the ancient demon’s furious tirade reached a fever pitch. But his maker, to Jaehwan’s incredulous amazement, hadn’t risen. Sanghyuk hadn’t given his master the fight he was so clearly looking for. He’d simply listened for a minute or two before catching his master in a hug and sitting them both on the ground. Murmuring ceaselessly through his master’s shrieking until the man had finally calmed down. Subdued by Sanghyuk’s reassurances.
Once the tantrum -that was the only word for it- had ended, Sanghyuk had helped his master to his feet and guided him down the hall. The two younger demons had shadowed them all the way, silent as the dead, until they reached a door that was usually locked and sealed up tight. Jaehwan knew that, since he’d tried to break into it several times on his explorations. It turned out to be Sanghyuk’s master’s bedroom. Velvet and silk, silver and bronze, an ostentatiously comfortable room that Jaehwan personally found a bit vulgar. Preserved all these millennia by Sanghyuk so it wasn’t even dusty.
His master had cried, then. Whether from simple relief or from some more complicated emotion, Jaehwan had no clue. He’d collapsed face down on the enormous canopy bed and wept for what felt like a lifetime. Sanghyuk calmly stroking his long dark hair all the while.
It had been several hours since then.
Sanghyuk’s master had declared that he wanted to be left alone, other than Wonshik, whose ‘company was required’ for something Jaehwan didn’t want to think about. Sanghyuk had agreed, albeit reluctantly, leaving his eldest Bound in his master’s clutches and dragging Jaehwan away.
The two of them had been walking the apartment's perimeter, Sanghyuk only pausing for a moment every few feet to form fresh wards. He’d explained that they were extra protection to keep everyone out. Hakyeon included. That the false prince couldn’t find out his master was free until his master was in a better state of mind. That none of them, aside from himself, would be able to leave until he lifted the wards. It was for the good of everyone. For the safety of everyone.
Not being proficient in the arts arcane, Jaehwan hadn’t been able to contribute much to the effort. He was there for moral support. One hand in Sanghyuk’s back pocket and the other holding a strawberry lollipop, simply happy to be in his maker's company. The lollipops had been Wonshik’s suggestion, something to subdue what his brother called his oral fixation and help control his impulses. Jaehwan found them surprisingly effective.
“Sanghyukkie,” Jaehwan tried again, keeping the lollipop secure against the inside of his cheek so his hand was free to tug on Sanghyuk's sleeve. “What’s wrong?”
His maker had abruptly stopped walking, eyes out of focus and entirely still. He was listening for something Jaehwan couldn’t hear.
“Hush, dove, please,” Sanghyuk murmured, resting a gentle hand on the nape of Jaehwan’s neck. Idly fiddling with the collar of Jaehwan’s sweater as he continued to listen.
Jaehwan leaned into the touch, enjoying the comforting press of his maker's fingers. He gave the air around Sanghyuk a surreptitious sniff. Bergamot, vetiver, a dash of rosemary and a hint of lemon. But a bit of his master’s Jasmine lingered on Sanghyuk’s skin now, and Jaehwan wrinkled his nose. That smell didn’t belong. It threw Sanghyuk’s unique perfume off balance, tainted it almost. And there was something else... he let his tongue flick out around the lollipop stick to taste- dirty paper, leather, and something metallic. Jaehwan had never experienced that taste before, but if he had to name it, he’d say it was greed.
His maker had never actually spiked his mojo around Jaehwan. His greedy tendencies just sort of presented themselves. Small, physical outbursts that had no smell. No taste. Simply a part of Sanghyuk’s personality. But now... money. Lots of it. Possessions claimed for no other reason than he didn’t want others to have them. Sanghyuk smelled possessive, protective, but Jaehwan didn’t know what the object of his desire was. He didn’t think it was himself.
“Are you alright?” the young demon whispered, easily keeping pace as Sanghyuk began walking once more. It wasn’t the meandering stroll from before, though. His maker had a destination in mind.
Sanghyuk didn’t answer. His emerald eyes had a dangerous gleam and were fixed straight ahead. Mouth a tight line of displeasure.
And then Jaehwan heard it too. Quiet, some distance away, but definitely groaning. Or moaning, he wasn’t entirely clear on the difference between the two sounds. Sound didn’t matter to him all that much, other than enjoying Sanghyuk’s rich tenor speaking voice or Wonshik’s sonorous baritone. He couldn’t process that stimuli as well as scent and taste. They made more sense to him. Sounds could trick him, perfumes could not.
Sanghyuk’s pace quickened and Jaehwan matched him, the noise growing more and more intrusive as they reached the Prince of Lust’s bedroom. That’s what Jaehwan had decided to call Sanghyuk’s master from now on. Not by name, not grand-maker, only the Prince of Lust. Everything else felt either clunky or uncomfortably personal.
They hadn’t even bothered to shut the door.
Jaehwan peeked around the doorframe, trying to remain inconspicuous, unlike his maker who was standing stock still right on the threshold. The spicy smell of arousal and night blooming flowers hit Jaehwan like a smack in the face.
The Prince of Lust and Wonshik were tangled up together in the center of that monstrous bed. They were both still dressed, or partially dressed anyway, but it looked like their clothes had been removed and then sloppily put back on again. Wonshik’s shirt was missing and his slacks were wrinkled, the Prince of Lust now only in a bathrobe looking thing and pants of flowy black satin.
And they were kissing. Sort of. Wonshik was on top of the ancient demon, grinding against his thigh with quick, jerky movements. Lips parted and groaning as the Prince of Lust carded his cherry hair with those spidery fingers.
But something else was happening. Wonshik was glowing, a faint emerald glow that ringed his entire body. Tiny, almost colorless tendrils akin to heat haze were spilling from him. The Prince of Lust seemed to be drinking them in, looking more rejuvenated with each inhalation. Feeding, Jaehwan realized, the Prince of Lust was feeding.
Sanghyuk was there one instant, standing beside Jaehwan with hands clenched into fists, and then gone the next before the young demon had time to react.
“Stop it!” he growled, reaching the bed in a heartbeat and yanking Wonshik off his master, both arms around Wonshik’s middle and pulling so hard he damn near flung his eldest Bound across the room.
Wonshik gave a Yelp of surprise, stumbling back against the wall on unsteady legs. Concern for his brother pricked in the back of Jaehwan’s mind and he flit over to try and support him. A hand on his elbow to keep him upright. Wanting to do something useful for a change.
“Do not feed on my Bound, Jyani. I love you, but I love them too, and you could have easily killed him! I won’t allow it!”
The Prince of Lust was crouched on the foot of the bed, lips pulled back in a snarl, breathing hard and giving Sanghyuk a glare full of so much anger that Jaehwan had to look away. So, this was where the greedy smell had come from. Protective instinct for his Bound. That was sweet, in a twisted sort of way. But-
With absolutely no warning, the Prince of Lust pounced. He leapt forwards with the speed and grace of a panther. Nails elongated into talons and green eyes possessing that ruby gleam once again like they were reflecting firelight. He grabbed Sanghyuk by the throat and shoved him backward into the mirrored armoire standing in the corner.
Their difference in stature had less than no effect. Sanghyuk was tall and frightfully strong, but the Prince of Lust was old. Very old and very powerful, danger oozing from his pores. Bitter almond, a cyanide smell.
“You presume you have the right to dictate orders to me, puppy,” he hissed, a muscle twitching in his jaw, “That is incorrect.”
Sanghyuk had gone a bit pale, eyes fixed unwaveringly on his master, but he flicked a hand in the young demon’s direction when they’d begun to inch forward. Nudging them away and back to the safety of the wall. “I’m not a fledgling anymore, love. I look after what’s mine.”
Brave. Jaehwan could admire that bravery in the face of this monster. But the Prince of Lust didn’t seem to share the sentiment.
“What’s yours?” he replied, letting out a maniacal little giggle that made Jaehwan’s ichor freeze in his veins. “Nothing is yours puppy. You are mine. They-“ an arachnidian hand waved lazily into the young demon’s direction. “-are mine. Everything is mine, and I may do as I like.”
“No,” Sanghyuk snapped, a small hurt sound escaping him as the Prince of Lust’s hand tightened around his throat.
That was when Jaehwan realized the truth of the situation. That smell of greed wasn’t just for Wonshik. Wonshik was part of it, yes, but it was for his master as well. Jaehwan could see it clear as day in Sanghyuk’s eyes. The Prince of Lust valuing another person, even if it was simply for the life force they provided, was intolerable to Sanghyuk.
“Master, you’re mine too! I don’t want you to-“
The Prince of Lust’s free hand shot out, one of his nails swiping a deep gash across Sanghyuk’s cheek that Jaehwan felt burn in his own flesh. He made to dart forward but Sanghyuk’s invisible hand shoved the young demon back, even as he dropped to his knees. It looked like a gesture of supplication more than anything else, but the sight still struck a chord somewhere in Jaehwan’s heart. It wasn’t right.
The Prince of Lust growled deep in his throat, the growl of a furious animal. “Bring me your collar. Now.”
Sanghyuk vanished and reappeared in a heartbeat, the circle of leather and gold now clutched in one shaking hand. Unable to fight against the force of his master’s order. His master snatched it and secured it around Sanghyuk’s throat. It was easy, with Sanghyuk still kneeling at his feet.
“Always so stubborn, pet, always so wanting.” The Prince of Lust wrinkled his nose, tugging at the collar. “You have regressed in my absence, pet, and this must be remedied.”
“I’ll try harder, love, I’m sorry,” Sanghyuk replied, starting in a whisper, but his voice grew stronger as he got to his feet. “I’m sorry, but I won’t back down on this issue. If you need to feed, you feed off me. Not Wonshik, not Jaehwan, nobody else.”
The Prince of Lust’s eyes flashed. Instead of answering, he turned his head to stare at the young demons, Jaehwan only realizing he’d been snarling when the low sound choked off. There was something in those wild eyes, a casual brutality that Jaehwan couldn’t quantify. It sent a bolt of fear through him that was so strong he grabbed Wonshik’s wrist to stop himself from running out and down the hall as fast as he could.
“You value these children so highly, pet? Do you?” the Prince of Lust giggled, a shrill sound that made Jaehwan jump, and then refocused on Sanghyuk. “Or are you just greedy for my attention?”
Sanghyuk blinked once, twice, hands clasped behind his back as he looked down at his master. That metallic paper smell grew stronger and Jaehwan’s nose twitched. “Those statements aren’t mutually exclusive, love. I know that caring for one's Bound isn’t something you can understand, but-“
A second slap cracked across Sanghyuk’s bleeding cheek and the Prince of Lust snatched at the collar, tugging Sanghyuk down so their eyes were level. Jaehwan growled again but he went ignored. His maker made a noise, almost like a whimper, but his eyes were wrong. They didn’t match the sound at all, full to the brim with longing even as ichor dribbled down his face. Confusing... Jaehwan inhaled a breath, trying to find the truth of it, and nearly choked on the scent of poison longing that filled his lungs.
Sanghyuk wanted him, even now. Even with the harsh treatment, his desire for his master grew stronger. More overwhelming with each tug and slap. The smell was coming directly from Sanghyuk, his master didn’t smell like he was spiking his energy. No outside influence. That fact confused Jaehwan more than anything else so far.
“Do not speak about me this way, like I’m some callous, heartless creature you found in a gutter,” the Prince of Lust snapped, flicking his long hair over one shoulder. It wasn’t so dull anymore, Jaehwan noticed, distracted. The black strands gleamed with a luster they hadn’t possessed a few hours ago, curls bouncy and a bit more full. A result of his feeding, perhaps?
“You know that’s not what I meant, love. Don’t let your imagination carry you away, it will only bring you pointless hurt.”
Jaehwan liked to believe himself to be a kind and sympathetic person. And as he looked at the monster Sanghyuk called master, Jaehwan tried to come up with an excuse for the man’s behavior. He’d been in solitary confinement for longer than Jaehwan had been alive. Significantly longer. He was out of practice at interpersonal relations. He would calm down once he got used to having people around him again.
And yet, a phrase from Sanghyuk’s diary echoed in Jaehwan’s mind. ‘ He was neither a best friend nor a confidante. Not caring. Not visibly kind. He was possessive and jealous and as frigid as a glacier.’
“Easy, little dove,” Sanghyuk murmured, grunting under his breath as his master latched onto his front, climbing up his body and wrapping his legs around Sanghyuk’s middle so he could nuzzle the spot on his cheek where the scratch had been. Healed over now without leaving a single blemish.
Jaehwan switched the lollipop to his other cheek, focusing on the saccharine strawberry taste to keep himself grounded. He’d been growling again.
“Shik, take Jaehwan and have a nap, you’ll need it to regain your strength after- after Jyani’s treatment.”
Jaehwan heard a noise of protest from behind him but Sanghyuk silenced it with a look. He’d slipped his arms around his master and now moved to set the ancient demon back on the bed. “Both of you, go. Now.”
A hand closed around Jaehwan’s upper arm, pulling him gently from the room. The young demon wanted to fight, wanted to bury his teeth in that hand until his brother let him go and then run back into the room. Free his maker from the ancient demons’ sinister clutches and then kill the Prince of Lust for good measure. But he didn’t. Wonshik’s grip was weak already and something in Jaehwan couldn’t bring himself to cause his brother anymore pain.
The sound of the door closing rang like a gong, echoing around the inside of Jaehwan’s skull.
“What did it feel like,” he asked, placing a tentative hand on the small of Wonshik’s back. His brother looked dim. Cherry hair dull and skin sallow, eyes drooping with exhaustion. Even still, Wonshik managed a smile.
“It felt like heaven.”
“I know it’s your thing, sugar, but I still have trouble fathoming how you can eat so much and still be so little.”
Jaehwan blinked at Wonshik across the dinner table. “Shut up,” he grumbled, mouth stuffed full of macaroni. Wonshik snickered.
It had been two and a half days since the rescue mission. Sanghyuk had been locked away in that horrible bedroom almost the entire time. He’d come out every few hours or so, come to check on Jaehwan, give Jaehwan a few hasty kisses and a taste of venom so the craving wouldn’t get too bad. But inevitably, to Jaehwan’s chagrin, the Prince of Lust would flounce into the room and whine until Sanghyuk went back to him.
Instead of moping like he’d originally planned, Jaehwan had spent his free time annoying his brother. Following him around the apartment and squeaking every time Wonshik’s attention wandered. Wonshik had indulged him sweetly enough. He seemed to understand that Jaehwan was dealing with the intruder’s presence in his own way, so he’d put a temporary pause on poking fun at the young demon.
“I’m just hungry,” Jaehwan mumbled once he’d swallowed, jabbing Wonshik’s cheek. Wonshik caught the offending finger between his teeth and nibbled, giving the young demon an affectionate growl. “You’re always hungry.”
A giggle from down the hall drew Jaehwan’s attention. The tapping in his head went quiet, signaling his maker's approach, but the young demons eyes narrowed all the same. It seemed that their meal was about to be spoiled.
The Prince of Lust sauntered into the dining room, Sanghyuk close on his heels. Jaehwan stuffed another spoonful of cheesy pasta into his mouth and glared at his plate. The young demon had seen all he needed to see.
Sanghyuk’s master had pinned his hair up in a tight swirl on the back of his head, a few loose curls framing his face. He looked like a beacon of radiant vitality, nothing of the fragile broken thing they’d brought home remained. His ivory skin glowed, lips and cheeks were more lush, both dusted with pink, and his previously skeletal form had filled out. Somewhere between willowy and statuesque, lithe muscles more prominent and the curves of his body more pronounced. He looked perfect and Jaehwan hated him.
“Good evening, children,” he hummed, running a hand through Wonshik’s hair as he went past.
“Good evening, sir,” Wonshik replied. Patronizing to the last. The Prince of Lust sighed, pleased, tapping affectionately under Wonshik’s chin. “Such a good boy, this one. Just delightful.”
Jaehwan stayed silent.
The ancient demon paused behind Jaehwan’s chair, Jaehwan could feel him standing there. Like a reaper poised at his shoulder. “I said, good evening, fledgling.”
At the feeling of something brushing against his hair, Jaehwan whipped his head around. Snapping his jaws and growling. He’d nearly managed to get a bite of those horrible fingers.
The Prince of Lust drew back, eyes flashing as he stared down at Jaehwan. Those eyes that were identical to Jaehwan’s own. The young demon had spent several hours earlier in the day staring into a mirror. Cataloguing each feature that matched Sanghyuk’s master. Coloring aside, they were exactly the same. Jaehwan was simply a washed out, pastel version of the ancient demon’s deep jewel tones. It unnerved him, so he tried to push their similarities from his mind.
“Feral, this one,” he murmured, a hand shooting out in Jaehwan’s direction before Sanghyuk caught his wrist. “Love, don’t.”
“Discipline your child then, pet, and I won’t have too.”
The Prince of Lust moved away in a swirl of sapphire silk, and Jaehwan’s heart sank. That blue silk dressing gown, trimmed in bright silver thread, was the one Sanghyuk had wanted Jaehwan to wear that first day. The one Sanghyuk had made for him special.
Jaehwan had thought it looked garish, that the color wouldn’t suit him, and he saw now that he’d been correct. It wouldn’t have suited him, but it did suit Sanghyuk’s master. The color looked rich on the Prince of Lust, not garish at all, it brought out the indigo undertones in his hair and made his skin glimmer like fresh cream.
“That’s m-mine,” Jaehwan whispered, eying the hateful dressing gown like the garment itself had betrayed him.
The Prince of Lust silenced Sanghyuk with a flick of his wrist, propping a hand on his hip as he turned back to look at Jaehwan. “What is?”
“That. Tha-that robe. Sanghyukkie made it for me.”
Wonshik nudged him under the table but Jaehwan barely noticed. He felt pinned by that emerald gaze. Like he’d been backed into a corner even as his maker lifted him with gentle hands. Now sitting on Jaehwan’s chair and settling Jaehwan on his lap.
“Here, dove,” Sanghyuk murmured, spooning up some of the macaroni and holding it to Jaehwan’s mouth. The young demon nibbled at it, but only because his instincts made it impossible not to. It was clearly an attempt to stop him talking, Jaehwan didn’t actually know why he continued to speak when the ancient demon was liable to rip him to shreds at any moment, but he couldn’t stop. Once he’d swallowed, he added, “You shouldn’t be wearing it.”
The Prince of Lust grinned, a smile of pure sweetness so at odds with his hostile demeanor that it caught Jaehwan off guard. “Dress up!” he squeaked happily, “Let’s play dress up!”
“That’s a good idea, love,” Sanghyuk replied, smiling at his master and then smiling at Jaehwan.
The Prince of Lust bounded over to them in an instant and tugged Jaehwan to his feet. He formed several very fast wards in the air, snapped his fingers, and Jaehwan felt the fabric on his body rustle like he’d been caught in a breeze.
When he looked down at himself, he realized that the ancient demon had magicked him into new clothes. Gone were his cozy cotton shorts and the large black sweater he’d borrowed from Sanghyuk’s closet. In their place was a robe of identical sapphire silk and wide-legged black trousers. They were made from some sort of shiny material that slipped across his skin like Water and trailed onto the floor behind him. And the lack of a shirt was rather conspicuous. The outfit was absolutely identical to that being worn by the Prince of Lust.
“Precious,” the Prince of Lust said, plucking at the waistband of Jaehwan’s trousers so they settled in a perfect line across his hip bones. “Just precious! Look, puppy, we’re twins now!”
The ancient demon wrapped his arms around the younger and nuzzled Jaehwan’s cheek. He hadn’t stopped giggling. Jaehwan stiffened in the embrace, nearly choking on that rose and Jasmine perfume.
“Very cute,” replied Sanghyuk. He looked unnecessarily happy, Jaehwan thought, glaring from his maker to his brother still seated across the table. Wonshik hadn’t reacted, his expression had smoothed over and he was sitting very still, and for some reason that pricked at Jaehwan’s nerves. Like he’d scented danger.
“You know, little fledgling,” the Prince of Lust continued, poking the tip of Jaehwan’s nose, “This dressing gown was hanging in my armoire. I crafted it myself before they trapped me in that prison.”
Jaehwan was trying his best to hold his breath so the floral perfume wouldn’t overpower him, but it was still managing to slip into his lungs. Invading his senses like a stain. He didn’t understand what-
The Prince of Lust kept one arm around Jaehwan but turned his eyes to Sanghyuk. Glittering with cruel humor. “Is this what you wanted, puppy? Did you summon it from my room so you could dress the fledgling up like me while you played with him?”
Sanghyuk flushed. He had the decency to look a bit ashamed as the Prince of Lust began to chuckle. A deep, bedroom chuckle that sent unnatural tingles all the way to Jaehwan’s toes.
“He does look quite like me, doesn’t he? Even if he is a bit peeky. That can be easily remedied.” With a snap of his fingers, the ancient demon summoned a glass of red wine. Jaehwan could tell by the smell, current and blackberry and a bit of mahogany, all clouding over the top of its alcoholic sting. He dipped his index finger in the glass and then began dabbing it on Jaehwan’s bottom lip.
Jaehwan snarled, snapping at the Prince of Lust’s fingers and trying to pull away, but the arm around him was like iron. “I’m nothing like you,” he hissed, suddenly furious with Sanghyuk and furious with himself. Furious with himself for believing that he was special. Believing his maker loved him for who he was and not just because he had a familiar face.
The Prince of Lust shoved him away with a hiss of disgust, so hard that Jaehwan fell backward against the table. The force of it sent the dishes sliding, the glass of wine tipped over, staining the emerald tablecloth like blood splatter.
“Master, stop it!” Sanghyuk exclaimed, catching Jaehwan and pulling him back into his lap. Hugging him close. The young demon huddled against his maker, hiding his face in the crook of Sanghyuk’s neck and breathing him in. Bergamot and vetiver. The most comforting smell in the universe.
The ancient demon affected a pout as he straightened his hair. “What’s wrong with him? Wonshik is so well behaved and yet this one can’t even make it through a game of dress up without trying to attack me! It’s like you’ve adopted a rabid hellspawn!”
“He’s young, Jyani, and you were taunting him. You know you were. What were you expecting?”
“I was expecting,” the Prince of Lust replied, voice like a jagged shard of ice, “That your children would know how to behave themselves. I was expecting that you would have taught them not to overstep in the presence of their elders and betters. And I was expecting you to discipline them when they act out of turn.” He collapsed into the chair at the head of the dining table and summoned a fresh glass of wine.
“You’re too soft by half, pet. Give me an hour alone with him and he won’t try to attack anyone ever again. I promise you that.”
welcome to Jae/Jae bonding time lol
I guess the Neo starts now, although it doesn't ramp up for a little while. I didn't want to tag it until their interactions started.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Don’t be frightened, little dove, he just wants to talk to you.”
Jaehwan was frightened, although he’d never admit it to anyone. Least of all his maker. Sanghyuk was so nauseatingly in love with his master that Jaehwan didn’t think mentioning the ancient demon's tendency for monstrousness to be a prudent course of action. If he had said something, Sanghyuk would probably just snap at him. Or worse.
“Did he happen to mention what about?” Jaehwan asked, clinging to his maker's arm and dragging his feet.
Sanghyuk gave a half-hearted shrug. That horrid collar was still around his neck and Jaehwan glared at it. He pressed a kiss to Jaehwan’s temple, smoothing down the young demon's hair. “He simply wants to get to know you better, little dove. We’re a family, and my master is, above all else, a sensitive creature. He doesn’t like the thought of you hating him.”
A sensitive creature, my full and shapely ass, Jaehwan thought mutinously. “What if he hurts me?”
“But what if he does?”
“He won’t, dove.”
Jaehwan grumbled. “Why doesn’t Shik have to come for bonding time then?”
“Because Shik doesn’t try to bite him every two seconds, dove.”
“So, this is a punishment? For wanting to protect myself and protect you?” Jaehwan asked, unwrapping one of his strawberry lollipops and sticking it in his mouth. He was trying to calm down, to relax, he really was. But one-on-one time with the Prince of Lust was about the last thing he wanted to have.
His maker sighed, pulling Jaehwan gently to a stop before the Prince of Lust’s bedroom. “No, Jaehwan. This is not a punishment. I understand the urge to protect your creator, believe me, I do. And you haven’t done anything wrong. But he is my master and you are my Bound. I want you to at least, if not like each other, then at least be civil. Does that make sense?”
Jaehwan squinted, debating whether it would be worthwhile to continue the argument or not, but eventually he decided to relent and just nod.
“Thank you,” Sanghyuk murmured, bending slightly to kiss Jaehwan on the mouth. He even let the young demon get a taste of venom. Sweet raspberry and sweet mint, it spread across Jaehwan’s pallet. Obscured the flavor of his lollipop. Eliminated everything that wasn’t Sanghyuk. Fortifying him. “I’ll be nearby so your craving doesn’t get too bad, dove. Only a few rooms away. You have nothing to worry about.”
With that, his maker knocked twice and pulled the bedroom door open, nudging the young demon inside with a final kiss on the cheek.
Jaehwan blinked around at the room, instantly overwhelmed with the jasmine and lavender perfume that was the Prince of Lust's signature. He felt his hands curl, the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Trying to breathe as shallowly as possible. Absolutely sure in the knowledge that he was being watched.
“Hello, little fledgling.”
The Prince of Lust dropped to the floor with no warning, landing in a crouch and smiling with too many teeth.
Jaehwan hissed, an entirely instinctual response, skittering so his back was pressed to the door. A quick glance up showed Jaehwan where the demon had been hiding. There was a small loft up near the high ceiling, adjacent to the wall of bookshelves and only furnished with an armchair and little clump of alchemical bulbs. He must have been skulking up there waiting just to give Jaehwan a scare.
“Why don’t you ever use my name?” Jaehwan snapped, glaring as the Prince of Lust slowly rose to his full height.
“Why don’t you ever use mine?”
Jaehwan snarled wordlessly. In truth, the reason he didn’t address the Prince of Lust by name was simple. Jaehwan didn’t want to call this evil thing the same name he called himself. It felt like doing so would bring him bad luck. Like it was an omen of something terrible. He preferred the boundaries that formality provided.
“Exactly,” he replied, after Jaehwan’s reluctant silence stretched on a beat too long. A smirk curved the corner of the Prince of Lust’s mouth. “You know, I once killed a hellspawn for daring to have the same name as me. Have you killed a hellspawn yet, sweet little fledging?”
“No,” Jaehwan grumbled, going stiff as the Prince of Lust led him further into the room. He was almost holding his breath by that point. The perfume grew stronger the deeper in he went, it was like walking into a cave full of night-blooming flowers.
The Prince of Lust sat him down on the edge of the enormous bed. It had a new coverlet on it today, Jaehwan noticed, and the emerald damask enveloped him like a cloud.
“A little birdy told me,” the Prince of Lust continued, settling himself beside Jaehwan and artfully arranging his long limbs, “That you enjoy venom. Is that correct?”
Jaehwan narrowed his eyes, but he nodded. Hands clasped tightly in his lap.
Smile growing wider with each passing second, the Prince of Lust plucked the lollipop from Jaehwan’s mouth. Jaehwan’s first instinct was to growl, and growl he did, itching to pounce and snatch his candy away.
“Hush now, if you sit quietly, you can have it back.”
Jaehwan stared at the lollipop sick, protruding from between the Prince of Lust’s perfect scarlet lips. He didn’t like having his sweets taken away. As a general rule, it was something he didn’t allow. Wonshik had tried it once and Jaehwan had nearly torn his arm out of his socket.
But this wasn’t Wonshik. This demon was scarier than Wonshik. Infinitely more frightening and infinitely more likely to cause him physical pain, and Jaehwan had figured out relatively early on that he was a baby about pain.
So, he hushed. He sat completely still, there, on the foot of the bed. Suppressing every instinct telling him to tackle the demon beside him and take his sweets back by force. Counting the seconds and holding his breath. Thank Lucifer that Sanghyuk was close by, because if Jaehwan had had to deal with the tapping right then, he didn’t know what he would have done.
“That’s a good boy,” the Prince of Lust hummed, giving the lollipop one last lick before handing it back. “Those are delicious, by the way.”
Jaehwan snatched at it, sticking it back in his own mouth before he said something he’d regret. But the flavor that bloomed on his tongue wasn’t the sugary strawberry he’d been expecting. Peaches. It was definitely peaches, with only the barest hint of sweetness. The flavor was nearly effervescent, and it possessed that certain something that only venom had. The purest, most delectable taste of sin.
The Prince of Lust's particular venom wasn’t like any that Jaehwan had ever tasted. Not that he’d tasted many, only those of his maker and brother. But the young demon concluded in an instant that this was different. It didn’t have the comforting quality of Sanghyuk’s raspberry and mint. Neither was it the soft romantic sense of Wonshik’s rose petal and white chocolate. This venom was purer. He could almost taste the peach fuzz. Like the essence of the fruit had been distilled. Almost compelling.
“How’s that, fledgling?”
Jaehwan only realized he’d begun to purr when he’d stopped. The Prince of Lust was still smiling at him, lovely and full of bemused curiosity.
“Yummy,” the young demon mumbled around the candy, feeling the venom begin to coat his senses. It had an addicting- there was something new in this venom. Something new that made Jaehwan desperate for a second taste. It was almost like the day of his corruption. That first time he’d imbibed Sanghyuk’s venom with his angelic eyes shut tight against temptation. Like he’d never actually tasted anything up until this very moment. Jaehwan tried to riddle that fact out and failed.
“Good.” The Prince of Lust nodded, sitting up a bit straighter and crossing his legs. “Now, another little birdie told me that you think I’m beautiful.”
Jaehwan opened his mouth to protest but the elder spoke again before he had the chance. “You don’t need to deny it, sweet little fledgling, it’s written clearly in your eyes every time you look at me. You think I’m beautiful and you hate me for it.”
Again, Jaehwan tried to snap something rude in response -that the Prince of Lust was a narcissistic sociopath, that he was just a creepy old demon who was jealous of Jaehwan’s youth and status as the baby of the family- but it was like someone had tied his tongue in a knot. The majority of his brain was still focused on trying to absorb the venom lingering on his candy, down to the last drop.
“Would you like me to teach you how to be beautiful?” the Prince of Lust murmured, nearly radiant as he flounced onto the center of the bed and sprawled out with his feet on the pillows, “I can teach you, if you’d like.”
“You-you c-can?” Jaehwan managed, once the very last hint of venom had been salvaged. He wasn’t entirely sure that he wanted to hear the things this demon had to say but it was... tempting.
Jaehwan thought of his brother, Wonshik’s' perfect physical beauty. And the way Sanghyuk looked at Wonshik. As though Wonshik was the most valuable thing in this plane of existence or any other. And, in contrast, the way Sanghyuk looked at Jaehwan. A mixture of ancient grief and newborn affection. The way Sanghyuk looked at his master wasn’t something to be contemplated right then, or Jaehwan would inevitably find himself attempting to fillet the demon alive.
The Prince of Lust hummed his ascent.
“Is tha-that your spe-special ability? Like Wonshik’s glamour?”
“No, darling. Glamour is different. It’s an illusion cast over one's features or the features of another. Like a veil. What I speak of is no illusion, physical alterations that won’t go away if you lose focus. It is simply a skill one can learn with a bit of practice and determination.”
Jaehwan took the lollipop from his mouth and looked at it. Frowned. “What is your ability then?”
“You tell me yours; I’ll tell you mine.”
Jaehwan frowned harder. “I’m Prince of Indulge-gence. My ability is acute sense of ta-ta-taste. Yours is s-something sex related, I’m guessing?”
“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But no. I have been graced with the power of persuasion.”
“Oh.” The young demon hesitated, unsure of how nasty he wanted to be if there was still a possibility of getting another taste of venom. “Is that why Hyukkie fucks you even though you’re so mean to him? And how you got Wonshik to let you fe-feed off him?”
The Prince of Lust’s head lolled sideways and he met Jaehwan’s unfocused gaze. “No, darling. I don’t force anyone into bed. They always come of their own volition. And my puppy is a masochist.”
“Very simply, it means he enjoys pain, you understand? A bit of degradation never goes amiss with him either.”
“Oh,” Jaehwan repeated. He tentatively held out the lollipop, only half daring to hope. “Sweets please.”
“Sweets?” The Prince of Lust rolled over, propped on an elbow as he tied up his long hair with an emerald ribbon. Wonshik had offered to cut it for him, style it so it resembled the short crop of black curls depicted in the demon's various portraits, but the Prince of Lust had refused. Jaehwan idly wondered why. “You have the sweet right there in your hand, darling.”
“Venom,” Jaehwan corrected, “Sweet venom. That’s what I ca-call it. Sweets.”
The Prince of Lust watched Jaehwan for a moment, contemplative. Like he was trying to solve a puzzle that Jaehwan couldn’t see. Not that the young demon actually cared all that much, he was starting to squirm. Needing another taste of those delicious sugary peaches.
“Why don’t we make a deal, little fledgling?” the Prince of Lust replied, sitting up fully now so he could look Jaehwan in the eye. They were exactly level, Jaehwan staring blankly into those emerald irises he knew so resembled his own. He’d checked again that morning, though, in the mirror on the wall of Sanghyuk’s bathroom. Their eyes may be the same color and shape, but there was no wildfire burning behind Jaehwan’s own. None of the madness he could see in the eyes of the Prince of Lust. That was reassuring at least.
“A deal. You continue being such a good boy for me, nice and calm like you are now, and in return I’ll give you all the sweets you want.”
Jaehwan frowned again, thinking that proposition over. It seemed straightforward enough. He’d do his best to control his impulses, and he’d done okay at that so far. It wasn’t like he was about to sell his soul or anything. Jaehwan only wanted more venom. He’d manage. “Deal.”
“Good boy,” the Prince of Lust hummed, visibly pleased now as he took the candy from Jaehwan a second time, “I knew you could behave; it was only a matter of finding the proper incentive. Now, tell me your story.”
“We need to talk, Angel, get down here as fast as possible.”
A throat was cleared on the other end of the line and Hakyeon could practically hear Taekwoon’s frown. He got no response, not that he was expecting one, only the faint buzzing and then a noiseless blip that signaled the end of the call. Taekwoon had hung up on him.
The phone was a clever little thing that he and the angel had rigged up together several millennia ago. Not like those silly human telephones that worked with electricity or whatever it was. Taking the white phone off its receiver opened a minuscule portal so he could hear the angel's voice, and said portal closed again once the phone was back in its cradle. The arrangement worked both ways and the false prince had been grateful for the easy communication more times than he’d like to admit.
With a flash of white light that bordered on blinding, the archangel materialized just as Hakyeon was hanging up the phone.
“I didn’t expect you so quickly, Angel. Slow day at the office?” Hakyeon asked, a smile curving the corner of his mouth as he moved out from behind his desk.
Taekwoon gave a derisive little sniff. “You said to come as soon as possible. That happens to be now.”
“You come so obediently to my call, Angel.”
“No.” The archangel folded his hands behind his back, deep golden eyes narrowing the closer Hakyeon got. “Tell me what is so urgent.”
“Well,” Hakyeon hummed, sidling up so he stood directly before Taekwoon and trying not to snort as the angel took a step back, “It has to do with the sword you so carelessly misplaced.”
“I misplaced nothing. The sword was stolen, and you know that perfectly well.”
Hakyeon worried his lip between his teeth. It wouldn’t do to give the whole game away yet, considering how little of the situation he was actually sure of. But the depth and breadth of this colossal fuckup needed to be explained. How to do so that would leave the most lasting impression?
“Who is the last being you’d want running around free?” he asked, tentative, letting his gaze wander along the line of the angel’s broad shoulders. So delightfully broad.
“Other than Lucifer,” Hakyeon amended.
The archangel thought for a moment, those cats’ eyes sharp and brow creased in contemplation. A delightful mouth too, Hakyeon thought idly, eyeing Taekwoon’s lips that were currently pursed in annoyance. “I don’t have time for your riddles, false prince. If you aren’t going to tell me anything concrete, then I shall take my leave.”
Hakyeon clicked his tongue, extending a hand to grab the angel’s shoulder when he turned to go and then retracting it just as quickly. Not for his own benefit, obviously. He’d pondered on more than one occasion what it would be like to have this particular angel within arm’s reach. Specifically laid out beneath him in bed, those lanky limbs sprawling in every direction. But he knew that if he actually had tried to touch, Taekwoon would most definitely leave. And they still had business to attend too.
“Jaehwan, perhaps?” he promoted, hoping the angel would catch on quickly. That damned heavenly veil always made them so dull witted when it came to solving unpleasant problems. Angels didn’t solve problems so much as they smote them.
Taekwoon turned back around, eyeing the hand that Hakyeon still held half extended. Hovering in front of him like he was holding an imaginary drinks tray. The false prince let it fall to his side.
“Jaehwan has been ruined and is running around free. Sanghyuk saw to that. Sometimes I think that demon has a sixth sense, he so easily seeks out things I like and proceeds to ruin them.”
“Not that Jaehwan,” Hakyeon snapped, trying and failing to keep a note of impatience from his voice. “Although there’s a problem with him as well. I meant the other Jaehwan. The first one.”
The archangel’s frown deepened considerably. “You mean the Prince of Lust? He’s locked up in the void, and besides, that was Michael’s project, not mine. Go pester him about it.”
“Yes, he was Michael’s project. Michael, who recently retired from active duty, if that’s what you call it upstairs, to go work on one of you-know-who’s pet projects.”
“So,” Hakyeon replied, actively forcing himself not to appear anxious. “He’s out.”
“No, he isn’t.”
“Yes, he is actually.”
“I have scouts watching the temple day in and day out, false prince. If Jaehwan so much as breathes too close to the entrance, I’d be informed.”
“Listen, I know you don’t trust me-“ Hakyeon began, but he was interrupted by the angel’s quiet snort of laughter. “Of course, I don’t trust you. You are a demon and a liar.”
The false prince soldiered on, not allowing himself to imagine running his fingers through that lovely silver hair. Or pulling it. “And since Michael isn’t around at the moment, who would Jaehwan’s target be? Because he does have a target and he does want revenge. I haven’t even spoken to him yet, but I guarantee the truth of it.”
“I barely knew him before his fall, demon, so I say again, this isn’t my problem.”
The fucking infuriating little shit-
“Not you, which is a lucky thing since you’re already the main target for Sanghyuk’s hatred.” Hakyeon took a slow, deep breath. “You aren’t who I’m worried about. Your little deputy, the grumpy one who attacked baby Jaehwan on your orders.”
Taekwoon flicked the hair out of his eyes. “Why would you bestir yourself to care about the well-being of an angel? Please, for the love of the almighty, take care of your own and let me take care of mine.”
“Frankly, I don’t give a shit and you or yours, Angel! But I’m content with our current arrangement. You lot am staying upstairs and us staying down here. Separate but peaceful. It’s the best of a bad situation and if there is anyone capable of ruining that arrangement, it’s the Prince of Lust. And your deputy would be a powerful ally for him!” Hakyeon growled, finally losing hold of his temper at the blank expression on the angel's face.
“If you find this situation so upsetting, confront him. I don’t believe the Prince of Lust is free, but you seem pretty convinced. I don’t know what I can say to change your mind.”
“I cannot get in,” Hakyeon replied slowly, eyes falling shut on a sigh. “Sanghyuk knows wards that even I can't find a way to break. He’s locked up his home and locked both Jaehwan’s in with him. Not to mention Wonshik, although I don’t know what purpose his eldest Bound could serve in all this. But I know the Prince of Lust is back, Angel, I can sense him. I felt it the instant he arrived in my realm.”
The archangel shifted where he stood, rolling his shoulders and glancing around at the wide room. The grey paneled walls and black furniture. “You mentioned a problem with the other Jaehwan? Sanghyuk’s fledgling?” he asked in that soft voice. It was an obvious attempt to change the subject and Hakyeon allowed it for the moment. He clearly wouldn’t get anywhere until he could prove the Prince of Lust’s escape.
“Hongbin is not my deputy. We are of equal rank,” Taekwoon interrupted. Always so focused on semantics and minutiae. Fucking angels.
“Fine, Hongbin did something to the fledgling when you two broke into Sanghyuk’s home. I reversed it as much as I could, but his and Sanghyuk’s bond has been damaged, which was no doubt your intention. Not fully damaged, the bond itself still exists, but some small part has been lost.”
“And did you pause for a moment,” Hakyeon continued, smoothing down the front of his crimson blouse, “How that would affect the balance of Hell? What impact such a thing would have on Sanghyuk who, to reiterate, would love nothing more than to see you corrupted and rotting in the deepest circle of the void? Or, what it would mean to have an untrained, extremely powerful archdemon running around untethered? How vulnerable he would be to outside influences?”
Taekwoon blinked. Hesitated. “No.”
“Did you make this, then?” Jaehwan asked, running the silken belt of the Prince of Lust's silver dressing gown between his fingers.
They’d been talking for maybe an hour, Jaehwan explaining the mission he’d been sent on that ended with his corruption. That he'd been the best singer in Heavenly choir, that he was young, but everyone said his abilities were remarkably strong. And he’d listened to the few bits of personal information that the Prince of Lust let slip. How he used to enjoy crafting garments in his spare time. That he’d been best friends with the now deceased Prince of Vice, executed for crimes against the Almighty during his confinement. How he had no creator, had corrupted himself, just like every other demon who’d fallen during the first wave.
He was fascinating, truthfully, and so Jaehwan didn’t mind listening. The constant supply of venom didn’t hurt matters either. And he’d come up with a solution to their name issue. Jaehwan would call him Sir like Wonshik did, and he would call Jaehwan darling. Jaehwan was a duke of hell too, and so technically of equal rank, but he was still extremely junior to this ancient demon, so he didn’t protest the arrangement.
The Prince of Lust flexed his muscles with a deep, satisfied sigh. There was an elaborate casualness about him that Jaehwan didn’t quite believe. Like a facade. Even reclining on the bed as he was, legs crossed and eyes closed, the young demon could sense chaos lurking beneath. Tightly coiled energy that never went away. “I did, darling. Everything I wear is of my own design. Who made your outfit today?”
“Hyukkie,” Jaehwan mumbled, glancing down at the pink sweater and black jeans he was wearing.
“You always address your creator so casually, darling. You and Wonshik both. Not that it's much of a surprise, my puppy has never recognized any authority other than mine, certainly not his own.”
“He did once,” the young demon replied, finding himself squirming on the mattress. The venom was gone again, his lollipop had been finished ages ago and he’d begun licking it off the tip of the Prince of Lust’s finger. That didn’t make the taste last any longer though. “Hyukkie liked it when I called him master. I thought he was going to break me in half.”
“Did he now?” the Prince of Lust asked, smiling and cracking open one emerald eye. Jaehwan wanted to touch his hair but stopped himself. Touching the Prince of Lust’s hair would bring his hand too close to the source of that delicious venom, and Jaehwan didn’t want to test his impulse control.
The Prince of Lust rolled off the bed, flitting across the room in the time it took Jaehwan to blink. The movement was so startling that it startled a hiss from Jaehwan. A hiss he instantly regretted when a spark of black flame burned the exposed skin of his wrist.
“Watch yourself, darling, you were doing so well,” the Prince of Lust growled, so low and full of menace that Jaehwan nearly choked as he forced himself to quiet. He sat perfectly motionless and the slow breaths he’d been taking since he’d entered the room stopped all together. Eyes wide. Trying his utmost not to gasp at the pain. “Better.”
Jaehwan blinked hard. He squeezed his eyes shut and bit the inside of his cheek. The longing for venom combined with the burning was making it very hard for him to relax-
“Here little darling,” the Prince of Lust hummed, soft, right beside Jaehwan’s ear. Long fingers closed around his wrist, a cool breeze caressing his skin until all the pain had been soothed away.
A featherlight kiss was dropped on his cheek and Jaehwan opened his eyes once more. The Prince of Lust was watching him closely, tongue darting out and leaving a shiny patch of saliva on his bottom lip.
Jaehwan leaned forward before he could stop himself. Lapping up that tiny bit of venom with the tip of his own tongue. His whole body seemed to go slack as the flavor washed over him and the Prince of Lust didn’t protest right away. Hands curled around Jaehwan’s biceps and essentially holding the young demon upright. Peaches and a hint of sugar.
“See, darling?” he murmured, pulling back a few inches and leaving Jaehwan panting shallowly, “I didn’t forget our deal. Be good for me and you can have sweets.”
He giggled, a wild disconnected sound, and stood from where he’d crouched beside the bed. Taking the young demon’s hand and pulling him through a doorway on the opposite side of the room. It was a closet, apparently, nearly as big as the bedroom with racks of clothes lining all four walls. There was a wide diva in the center just as there was in Sanghyuk’s closet, but this one was covered in rich silver damask and emerald embroidery. And, unlike Sanghyuk’s closet, there was a gigantic gilt framed mirror before the divan, like the kind of tri-fold mirror humans had in those big department stores.
Jaehwan took all of it in, the range of colors and textures nearly assaulting his eyes, and then glanced down at his wrist. He hadn’t known what he was expecting. A ring of singed flesh marring his once smooth skin, black patches of char perhaps. But all he saw was a tiny scar. A perfect circle the size of his pinky nail, only a shade or two lighter than his normal skin tone.
“Let’s find you something better to wear, darling,” the Prince of Lust said, voice as soft as a lullaby. He flashed Jaehwan a full, ripe smile and it seemed to transform him. No longer so intimidating when he smiled like that. Simply beautiful. “My puppy is many things, but a designer isn’t one of them, and I can't have a member of my family walk around dressed like a fast-fashion manikin.”
He moved like poetry, first depositing Jaehwan on the divan and then swirling away. Perusing his racks of garments, fingers tripping over the fabrics, light from the alchemical bulbs reflecting off his silver silk like moonlight on open water. “I do think he was going in the right direction with pink.”
A few moments of restless shifting later, Jaehwan was instructed to stand. He lurched awkwardly to his feet, locking his knees, trying to quiet their trembling. Mind still muddled from that enchanting venom and the fresh memory of pain. The Prince of Lust damn near tore the clothing off Jaehwan, the sound of ripping cotton too loud in the otherwise quiet room.
In place of the sweater and jeans, Jaehwan was draped in satin. Only a simple tunic and trousers first, the slippery fabric such a light shade of pink it was almost creme. Other than the loosely laced V neck and the cinches on the cuffs, they reminded Jaehwan strongly of pajamas. But then over that went a robe of blush colored silk chiffon (or that’s what he was told the material was), more transparent than opaque, patterned in roses of the same hue. The flowers looked as though they’d been embroidered by hand and the bursts of emerald green of their leaves gave the thing a dazzling bit of contrast. All secured around his waist with an emerald chord. It was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful garments Jaehwan had ever seen.
“Pink is definitely your color, darling, what do you think?” the Prince of Lust asked, drawing Jaehwan back to the mirror once he was satisfied with the draping or whatever it was he was fussing about.
Jaehwan stared at his reflection in slight amazement. The color, a softer shade than his sweater, brought out a hint of pink in his cheeks. His skin was a bit brighter too, and the green of his eyes was more noticeable. But he was still a plain thing, and that reality only reaffirmed when he glanced to his left. The Prince of Lust was standing beside him, so darkly resplendent that the comparison made Jaehwan look almost sickly.
“It’s nice,” Jaehwan replied, plucking his sleeve and frowning at his feet.
The Prince of Lust crooked a finger and raised Jaehwan’s face. That calculating expression was back, like he couldn’t understand what Jaehwan was feeling but was trying to figure it out. Neither positive nor negative. A flat, base level curiosity. “You don’t like it?”
“I do like it, it’s lovely, but-” the young demon’s voice became a whisper, choked and tiny, “Even with the pretty clothes, you’re still so much prettier than me.”
“Close your eyes,” the Prince of Lust instructed, moving to stand behind Jaehwan and placing hands on his shoulders. Jaehwan complied.
“Now, take a deep breath.”
Again, Jaehwan complied, but slower that time. As soon as he inhaled, the intoxicating perfume of jasmine and rose overwhelmed his senses. He almost coughed. The sensation was akin to drowning.
Jaehwan did. It got easier with each lungful, his body beginning to adjust to the scent. Slowly relaxing. And there was a strange tingling feeling on his face, fingers running through his hair, electric current running across his skin. It made the young demon shiver.
When he opened his eyes and saw his reflection, Jaehwan accidentally gasped. The Prince of Lust had done something- his pallid skin was warmer like he’d gotten a light tan, cheeks fuller, lashes darker, lips a deeper shade of pink. His already sharp jawline was somehow more noticeable as well, and his hair... the previously monochrome platinum sparkled like someone had woven diamonds through the strands.
“What did you do?” Jaehwan asked, reaching up to touch his own face. Making sure it was real and not some kind of trick mirror. He still looked like himself, no mistake, but better.
“Magic, darling,” hummed the Prince of Lust, resting his chin on Jaehwan’s shoulder and eyeing his reflection, “Just a little demonstration of all that I can teach you.”
It occurred to the young demon that the prince of lust could be doing this for Sanghyuk’s sake. Being kind to keep his Bound happy. Sanghyuk could have asked him to do so, actually. But somehow, Jaehwan didn’t think so. That didn’t seem like the Prince of Lust’s style. He wouldn’t play nice for anyone’s sake if he didn’t want to, and he didn't really seem to care whether Sanghyuk was happy or not.
That was when Jaehwan realized he could feel it. Not the hand on his waist or the warm breath fanning out light across his cheek. Not the gaze dropping intimately down the length of his back a moment later. He felt all that, but he could also sense the Prince of Lust’s energy.
It was so subtle he could have easily missed it, as though the ancient demon wasn’t projecting on purpose. Soft heat settling in the pit of his stomach, fingers curling and uncurling at his side, an urge to touch and be touched in return.
A faint blush colored Jaehwan’s cheeks and the tips of his ears grew warm. There was uncertainty beneath the lust but not much of it. He could feel the prince of lust’s energy starting to feed his own, the careful control he’d been holding over his impulses beginning to crumble. Jaehwan was hungry.
He dropped his head back to try and get a bit of venom but suddenly found his chin held in a firm grip. Wild green eyes glaring at him. “Stop it. Now.”
Jaehwan tried, he really did. But even after all Sanghyuk’s instruction and Wonshik’s helpful tips, he could never get his mojo to settle when he wanted it to. He could increase it easily, more was never a problem, but the energy always had to burn itself out. “I c-can’t.”
Despite the growled command, Jaehwan was powerless to comply. He reached a hand up, the hunger inside him screaming for venom, but only succeeded in getting his arm pinned behind his back.
“I said, stop it.”
“I can’t! I don’t know how!” Jaehwan whined, wriggling to try and get free so he could pounce on the ancient demon. “I’m only a fledge still, I don’t know all the tricks you-”
Jaehwan’s attempted explanation cut off with a yelp. The Prince of Lust had momentarily released his chin and slapped him across the cheek. He could feel the skin their sting and he yelped again as the ancient demon held his face once more, fingers bruising hard. “Learn faster.”
The Prince of Lust’s own energy was getting stronger too and Jaehwan’s breath grew uneven. For lack of any other ideas, Jaehwan pulled his mojo inside himself. Letting it pool in his core rather than spill out. This wasn’t a solution so much as a delaying tactic, because the energy would have to go somewhere. He couldn’t hold it in for very long. But maybe he could distract the elder enough that he wouldn’t notice.
“Good boy,” the Prince of Lust murmured, letting Jaehwan go and carding a hand through the young demon’s hair.
As soon as he was free, Jaehwan basically threw himself on the elder, sealing his mouth to those crimson lips. He barely even noticed the giggles spilling from the Prince of Lust. Everything was obscured by that addicting flavor, peaches and a dash of sugar.
He purred as the ancient demon wrapped him in a tight embrace and pulled him closer. Jaehwan ran his hands over the hard muscle of his arms. Silver silk slipping against his fingertips. The Prince of Lust cradled the back of Jaehwan’s head in one hand, the other skimming smoothly up and down his side, caresses smoldered into Jaehwan.
In small, unobtrusive increments, the young demon began siphoning off the hunger still growing inside him. Releasing it in tiny blips that he hoped could go unnoticed as he explored the inside of the elder’s mouth with his tongue. Trying to drown himself in venom.
“You and my puppy really are two of a kind,” the Prince of Lust breathed, snapping his fingers behind Jaehwan’s back. The tunic and trousers abruptly vanished, leaving the young demon only covered by the transparent chiffon. Jaehwan couldn’t bring himself to care. “No control, and so needy.”
The Prince of Lust breathed warm kisses into Jaehwan’s neck, smoothed the slightly damp hair from Jaehwan’s face, softly caressing Jaehwan’s skin as he maneuvered them backward and collapsed onto the divan.
Jaehwan fell upon him like a starved animal. Ran his tongue up the Prince of Lust’s cheek so he could taste that perfect skin. Like almonds and shea butter. He yanked the ribbon from the elder’s hair and let it fall down around his shoulders, filling his hands with the indigo strands and smothering a groan.
Tiny random details became charged with overwhelming significance. The firm thighs beneath him. The sensation of the couch fabric rasping against his shins. The quiet tinkling of the alchemical bulbs bumping together above their heads.
“We really are identical, down to the last detail,” the Prince of Lust sighed, palming Jaehwan’s crotch over the fabric. A wicked little grin flit across his face at Jaehwan’s whimper. “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to fuck myself. Perhaps I’ll let you fuck me later, only if you’re a very, very good boy.”
Jaehwan made a low noise somewhere in the back of his throat, tugging at the prince of lust’s shirt. Wishing he could make the garment vanish as easily as his own clothes had disappeared. The Prince of Lust was no help at all. He just sat there, eyes half closed and an easy smirk curling his mouth as Jaehwan stood and yanked off his trousers.
Once his task was completed, Jaehwan stayed still for a moment. Staring at the ancient demon with breathless anticipation. Long dark hair draped about his face, swathed in nothing but perfume and a bit of fresh sweat, the Prince of Lust was a vision of absolute perfection. Jaehwan was so hungry he thought he might die.
“Come here, pretty little darling,” the Prince of Lust said, voice dipping to a husky purr. He took Jaehwan’s hands and helped guide the young demon. Situating Jaehwan so he was straddling him backwards. Legs spread and knees on the cushions. Back to the elder’s chest.
The Prince of Lust’s fingers were like molten iron against his skin. His hips. His abdomen. His thighs. Bunching the pink silk chiffon up around Jaehwan’s waist and crooning sweet words in his ear. Stroking Jaehwan’s cock, swift and smooth.
“Look how pretty you are,” he murmured, nudging Jaehwan’s cheek so the young demon had no choice but to stare at his reflection in the tri-fold mirror. He looked a mess, if he was honest, rumpled and flushed. But pretty too, he supposed. Nothing close to the darkly luxuriant being behind him, but still pretty.
Their eyes met in the mirror and Jaehwan bit his lip, watching as the elder easily pushed him up onto his knees. Watching as the Prince of Lust spit on his palm and slicked himself up, then did it again and ran those clever fingers over Jaehwan’s rim.
The young demon bit harder, tasting the salty tang of ichor as he was guided back. Sinking onto the elder’s cock with a low breathless whine.
“That’s a good boy,” the Prince of Lust purred, tilting Jaehwan’s head back and pressing a light kiss so his lips. He remained there, holding Jaehwan still. Hovering close so their identical pointy noses brushed against one another. “How do you feel, darling?”
“Full,” Jaehwan mumbled, pressing a hand to his sprinting heart. Lashes fluttering. “Warm.”
Time slowed to an almost painful crawl as he leaned in and they kissed again, soft and dizzying as venom coated his pallet. Heady effervescence mingling with the fissions of pleasure shooting through him as Jaehwan finally found the strength to move.
Jaehwan shivered as their tongues touched. Thigh muscles burning low as he lifted himself up and sank back down, then up, then down, then up again. The Prince of Lust had a hand in his hair, smoothing the blonde strands back off his forehead, the other hand flat across Jaehwan’s stomach with fingers splayed wide.
Opening his eyes, Jaehwan saw the Prince of Lust’s face just an inch from his. Lips still close enough to brush. But the ancient demon wasn’t looking at him, no, those wild green eyes were focused on the mirror.
The loss of attention had its usual effect on the young demon. Frustration surging inside him in an instant. Without even realizing what he was doing, Jaehwan let his internal dam break. Let the built-up energy pour from him like a tidal wave. Hunger and need sending him shaking.
“What did I tell you?” the Prince of Lust snarled, the hand in Jaehwan’s hair curling in a fist and yanking the young demon’s head back. He held Jaehwan completely motionless with the other, arm wrapping tight across Jaehwan middle. Still buried in Jaehwan to the hilt.
Jaehwan squirmed, or tried, dusky red creeping up his throat. He could feel the Prince of Lust’s unsteady breath against his neck. “Can’t he-help it,” he gasped, reaching back to touch the base of the ancient demon’s skull and bracing himself with a hand on the cushion. “Too full- lemme move!”
“No,” was the hissed replied, accompanied by another sharp yank of Jaehwan’s hair. “I am going to fuck you until you cry, pretty darling. I am going to keep you here until you’re too exhausted to come for me properly, let alone project, if that’s what it will take for you to learn to control yourself. Do you understand me?”
Jaehwan did understand, but at that moment he couldn’t find it in himself to care. A glance in the mirror showed the tiny patches of pink high on the Prince of Lust’s pale cheeks, a lock of dark hair across his forehead in rakish disarray. Charm personified, even then.
“Sir,” Jaehwan whined, face twisting as he tried to hold back his sobs. He rolled his hips as much as he could with his movements so restrained, which wasn’t much at all, but it was enough to give him the smallest sensation of the friction he craved. And, instead of trying to dampen his energy, the young demon let it grow stronger.
The Prince of Lust growled, too-sharp teeth piercing the flesh at the juncture of Jaehwan’s shoulder and neck. The young demon yelped at the pain but the elder didn't stop, thrusting up into him and leaving tiny silver crescents of ichor each time he bit into a fresh patch of skin.
Jaehwan cried out, fucking himself down on the elder’s length, eyes closed against the pleasure-pain of it. He lost himself to sensation, aching in the pit of his stomach, jasmine and rose perfume tangling up his sensorium, sharp fingernails digging into the skin of his soft tummy. The low groans spilling from the Prince of Lust’s scarlet lips. Indulging in a perfect, amorous frenzy.
Motionless and languid in the elder’s arms an immeasurable time later, Jaehwan tried to think. He couldn’t, not really, too oversensitive and the Prince of Lust's cock still hard inside him. Thoughts askew, like a row of toppled bookshelves. The books in disarray and detached pages lying helter skelter in every direction.
A new smell pricked in Jaehwan’s nose. Dirty paper, leather, metallic underneath. He blinked his eyes open just in time to see a blur of black and green cross the threshold before the Prince of Lust spoke.
There was an unmistakable note of command in the words and Sanghyuk froze. Halfway between standing and crouching maybe ten feet from the divan. He was still in his slacks and black button-down, just as he’d been when he left Jaehwan there that morning, but his jade green eyes were glazed with anger and some other emotion Jaehwan couldn’t name. And he smelled greedy.
“I could smell him bleeding, why is he bleeding,” his maker snarled, hands curled in fists at his sides.
The Prince of Lust giggled under his breath, thrusting sharply up into Jaehwan’s body, still heavy with exhaustion. The young demon whimpered around the venom-slicked fingers in his mouth.
“We are having a lesson, pet, and I’m not finished with him yet.” He stroked Jaehwan’s hair almost lovingly and nipped at Jaehwan’s cheek. “Either get out and come back when I call for you, or make yourself useful.”
“I don’t like to share, you know that-”
The word silenced Sanghyuk in an instant and Jaehwan blinked at his maker. A muscle twitching in his jaw and lips set in a firm line. The taste of peaches was almost gone and the young demon pawed weakly at the Prince of Lust’s arm, hand trembling with effort. Wanting more.
“Useful how?” Sanghyuk asked, nearly vibrating he was standing so still.
The Prince of Lust hummed, nibbling Jaehwan’s earlobe and thrusting up again. “Give him something to do with his mouth.”