There's a misconception about the origin of the demons. The seven harbingers of damnation were not summoned from some hellish void beyond the mortal plane, they were not a creation of an evil god to lay waste to the mortals. They were formed from the minds of men and women. Ideas conceptualized in the dark recesses, the ones never seen by the light of day or spoken of in good company. Their very essence formed by jealousy, bitterness, and horror. Concepts twisted into the worst aspects of the very words they were given as names.
The war that raged between mortal and demon was unlike any war ever seen, or seen since. There were no allies, no united force. Just fear, and isolation, because no one ever knew who would be claimed next. Humanity, as it now knows, had been spared complete annihilation when the demons got bored, and decided to make a deal.
Jungkook awoke in a state of detachment. He knew who he was. He knew his name, his birthdate, and his parents names. He knew every detail about himself, and who he was, right down to the freckle under his bottom lip.
It was the other thing in his head that was making his insides vibrate and his mind confused as to what was going on. It felt… wrong. But not at the same time. Like it was a piece of himself he hadn't known he was missing had fit inside and made itself comfortable. Like it had always been there. And maybe it had always been there, and now it was just waking up.
Preposterous. You humans never fail to amaze me with the mental gymnastics you do to find comfort in being possessed.
The voice wasn't a surprise, he already knew what it was, but he did frown at being admonished from inside his own head. This wasn't a real possession.
Yes, yes, it's cohabitation. I have done this before, you know.
Of course Jungkook knew that. He knew everything the demon did. He could see and feel the demon's entire life stretching back thousands of years. He knew every name and face that the demon had seen through the eyes of.
Not every face, but close enough.
Scowling, Jungkook finally sat up, running his hand over his eyes and looking around. This room, with it's bookshelves and couches and all the comforts of a real home. Jungkook had only arrived two days ago, but at the same time, he'd spent hundreds of years prowling around the space. His memories were sliding in so comfortably with the demon's now, he didn't think it would take much longer for him to be unable to tell the difference between their thoughts.
Ah, that's where you're wrong Jungkook. I will always keep my true thoughts from you.
Jungkook nodded slowly, a useless act when he was mentally acknowledging the demon's words. He had been told the demon's true thoughts could drive him mad. A demon's force burned into the hearts of mortals, and a slip of the demon's true thoughts into a human consciousness would kill them. At least, that's what the demons said.
Only a few hours and you're already learning the most important lesson. A demon lies.
Wrinkling his nose, Jungkook threw off the blankets and swung his legs off the edge of the bed. He ached, nicely, all over. The thoughts of the previous night he didn't think he was ready to relive yet. It was too much to see and feel it from both ends, at the same time.
He lifted his head when he heard the shower turn off in the bathroom nearby, and sat up straight when someone walked out, drying their hair with a towel.
"Yoongi," Jungkook said, though he didn't have anything left he could say. It was like he was so, so sad all of a sudden.
"Oh, hey, you're up," Yoongi said, smirking a little. "How's your head?"
Jungkook grimaced, unable to put into words how distorted and odd his head felt at the moment. But Yoongi just chuckled. Of course he'd know how Jungkook felt.
"Yeah, your head's gonna swim for a few days," Yoongi said. "But you should know that already. I knew that the first day as well. I thought about what kind of advice I could give you, but there's nothing you don't really already know, is there?"
"Do you remember?" Jungkook asked. "Do you remember all the things about the demon? Their different lives?"
Yoongi blinked at him, and even the demon was unsure of this answer. How had no one ever asked a former host before?
"I… not really," Yoongi shook his head. "I remember some of the bigger things, the important things. But not as much as the demon actually remembers about their life. I… I didn't even notice that I didn't have those memories anymore."
"It's probably better you don't remember," Jungkook said. "I can't imagine any of this would help you now that you're leaving. At least you'll remember the important parts. Jimin."
Yoongi nodded, and his smile was small but warm. Jungkook avoided thinking about Jimin, knowing that Yoongi had felt something for the former host prospect. It felt like a violation to go through those memories.
They're my memories as well.
Jungkook ignored that. Not even a demon inside his head was going to make him a secret voyeur.
You have no idea the pleasures you are going to miss out on if you ignore those kinds of memories. The demon was laughing at him but Jungkook held fast. He wasn't going to do that.
"So, I'll be going now," Yoongi said. He tucked a book under his arm and looked around the room where he'd called home for the last year. Jungkook wondered how he'd look in a year's time. Would Yoongi remember this place fondly? Would Jungkook? "Good luck to you, the time goes by quicker than you think."
"I hope so," Jungkook nodded. He wasn't sure what to do to send him off. They had, in fact, been quite intimate just a few hours ago for the transfer of the lust demon from Yoongi into Jungkook, but it was different now. Yoongi wasn't a stranger, but they weren't friends.
"Well, bye then," Yoongi nodded, and headed out the door. Jungkook sat back down, looking down at himself and remembering now that he was still naked.
Probably why he left in such a hurry.
"You know you don't have to comment on everything," Jungkook said, ignoring the amusement the demon felt and how it curled around his brainstem.
I have so little else to keep me amused, Jungkook. You'll learn to adapt, as all the others have.
A number of faces and names scrolled through his mind, all the way back to the beginning. Except, not quite the beginning. The last was a woman, but Jungkook knew the hosts stretched further beyond that woman, but it was her face that demon stayed stuck on and wouldn't show Jungkook any further. And no prompting or asking made the demon answer.
"Well, at least I know how to shut you up," Jungkook muttered, finally getting up to take a shower and get something to eat.
The demon stayed quiet for a while as Jungkook adjusted. He could feel it slithering inside him, making itself comfortable and latching onto parts of Jungkook it hadn't reached yet. Yoongi had warned him of the ravenous appetite of the lust demon's sexual appetite, but it was another thing to start feeling it seep through him.
It was like a hunger, an ache in his belly that he tried to ignore at first as he took his shower. But the feel of warm water against his skin and the smoothness of the soap and his hands slipping and sliding from the suds made it hard for him to concentrate. He didn't even realize he was jerking off until he was coming on the shower curtain.
The demon laughed darkly, a promise of worse to come.
The next few days were a haze for Jungkook. The demon kept him awake to eat and drink water and all the things the host needed to survive, but Jungkook's mind was falling further and further into the depths of the unadulterated and unfiltered feeling of lust. Was this the new normal for him? Would his year be spent with his hand on his cock and wishing he had something to bury it into?
Of course not, this isn't my doing.
Jungkook laughed bitterly. Of course a demon would say that. But Jungkook knew in the back of his mind that was true. Mostly true. The demon had a voracious sexual appetite of course, that was it's very nature. But Jungkook didn't, at least not until he'd stepped into this room. It was causing a war within him to get used to these feelings.
Some take longer than others to get used to this. You possibly need longer than most.
A week had turned into two when Jungkook woke up one morning, naked from head to toe and sticky. The sheets were stained and disgusting and Jungkook felt like he'd been dropped off a cliff and hit every bump on the way down. But he felt more like himself, and less like he wanted to hump his pillows again.
"Is it over?" he feebly asked the ceiling.
It better be, we've got people to see.
Jungkook knew without asking who he meant. Because the demons didn't see anyone, ever. Unless it was transition time, the demons only saw government officials if there was a problem. And problems didn't happen every decade.
But besides that, the demons did see each other. And as it was transfer time, the lust demon hadn't seen any of the others in well over a month and a half. And it was itching to meet the new hosts.
Jungkook knew he didn't have anything to fear, it wasn't like he couldn't think back into the demon's memories and listen to the conversations it had had with all the others. Knew each other intimately with different faces on. They only had each other, after all.
Jungkook showered, ate, and dug through the boxes of clothing that had been dropped off. Everything was in his size in various shades of all the colors of the rainbow. Everything from blacks and blues to creams and grays. It was a lot to choose from, but there wasn't a thing that Jungkook wouldn't wear. Or maybe it was the demon's influence as it liked the reds and violets more than Jungkook usually would.
The fabrics were sheer or silky and easy on Jungkook's sensitive fingers. They felt good against his skin, and not for the first time he noticed that it didn't matter what he wore, he never felt a chill in the air despite it being the dead of winter.
It was odd, walking through halls you've never been down but knew the maze of the warren like the back of your hand. He knew which room was intended for which demon but his feet carried him further without his knowing where they were going. Was muscle memory a thing when it wasn't your own muscles that had taken you where you wanted to go?
More like homing pigeons, coming home to roost.
Jungkook supposed that was more accurate, but he was doing his best to ignore the demon's constant chatter. It was getting easier, much to the annoyance of the demon.
The door Jungkook stepped through was a rather nondescript door, but it led him into a large sitting room with couches and tables and all manner of things to keep people occupied. Modern conveniences like video games and televisions. But no computers, just in case someone thought of contacting the outside world while inside. Jungkook knew the laws, knew keeping the hosts identity was a huge secret. Why, he didn't understand. The demon wasn't very helpful either, and just brushed off the questions floating in Jungkook's mind.
But he wasn't that focused on those things anyway, seeing two people were already seated at one of the tables. Their host bodies were unfamiliar, but Jungkook could taste something on the back of his tongue, like a memory dredging itself up from in his belly.
"Justice," Jungkook said, without thought. The one who tasted like steel and smoke turned his head and sat up. The host was kind looking, had a smile that could charm the pants off of anyway and cheeks that dimpled when he smiled. When he stood up, he towered over Jungkook though he had the intimidation factor of a teddy bear
"Lust, you've done well for yourself this time," Justice said, his eyes raking up and down Jungkook's body. Jungkook wasn't even bothered, knowing it was the demon assessing the meat suit as a covering, and not Jungkook's appearance. "He's very pretty. Once upon a time you would have eaten him up."
"Once upon a time," Jungkook nodded, though the feel of the demon in his mind had crowded forward to help make his tongue move. It was, in fact, the weirdest sensation so far. It wasn't like the demon took control, but if it had hands, it would have laid them over Jungkook's on the steering wheel. "My name is Jungkook."
"And I'm Namjoon, Justice said. "I heard there were issues with the first host selected. You rejected it? You don't do that often."
"There were circumstances," Jungkook shrugged. The demon didn't seem inclined to tell the tale, and neither did Jungkook. "No matter now, I'm here. I thought there would be more of us ready, have the transfers not gone well?"
Namjoon grimaced, motioning for Jungkook to sit at the table. "Time and I are the only ones out right now, though Fantasy made an appearance yesterday. Joy and Chaos are still recovering and Strife…"
"Strife may not join us for a long while," Time said, breaking his silence. Jungkook regarded the new Time hose, an the demon chuckled at the older host. Of all of them, Time liked taking hosts who had more experience in life. Some close to death themselves. Time liked seeing their whole history, all of their individual moments that made them who they were. Time was a meticulous demon, and largely a mystery to someone like Lust.
"Time, you are looking much younger than usual," Jungkook said. "Why, you're barely close to forty year old."
"My name is Zhou Mi, and I am just over thirty, thank you," Zhou Mi said, eyeing Jungkook over the game. "Unfortunately the oldest of my Marked died early. I am sure he had a lovely life, and it's not like I haven't lived a very full life even if I am young."
"Zhou Mi was telling me about how he was a singer in opera," Namjoon said. "Fascinating life to live."
"But it's not all I want to do," Zhou Mi said. "Being a host will give me better opportunities when I leave."
"That is a selling point," Namjoon nodded. "What is it you did on the outside, Jungkook?"
Jungkook pursed his lips and looked down at his hands. The demon was nudging at him to speak but Jungkook was embarrassed.
"I'm an artist," Jungkook said finally. "Not a successful one or anything. Kind of why I agreed to do this. I needed the money and… I had a mental block. Have a mental block. I haven't been able to create anything in months."
"Interesting, you'll have something in common with the new Fantasy host," Namjoon said. "He says he's an artist as well."
"He said was a neo-renaissance man," Zhou Mi said, drawing Namjoon's attention back to the game. "Whatever that's supposed to mean."
Jungkook hadn't heard the term either and the demon was amused by it.
"How are you adjusting, Jungkook?" Zhou Mi asked him directly. "Of all of us, Lust and Strife are the hardest to get accustomed to. Or so I've been told."
Jungkook fidgeted, his hands clenched into fists in his lap. The demon seemed to draw away from the front of his mind, settling into the dark corners to watch. It gave Jungkook room to breathe, and to think. Yoongi didn't have this much trouble, he recalled.
"It's been… a challenge," Jungkook said. "The first few days it-it overpowered me."
The eyes of the other two demons were back on him, concern flitting through their mirrored expressions. Jungkook knew it was the demons, and not the hosts who were concerned, and that didn't help him feel more comfortable at all.
"You must be stronger than you realize, Jungkook," Namjoon said. "Lust is the most feared for a reason. It's pervasiveness in temptation to indulge can lead you down a dark path. Lust can consume without being aware of the damage it creates. I can hear you rattling around in there Lust, you know I'm right. You lose control."
There was a hiss in the back of Jungkook's mind, Lust receding even further in annoyance at being so accurately called out.
"Maybe so, but I got used to it," Jungkook said. "I'm okay, I'll be okay."
"Demons are like puppies," Namjoon said. "Sometimes you just need to tap it on the nose before it chases after a squirrel. This is a hideous and repugnant metaphor."
Jungkook couldn't help cracking a smile, watching Namjoon battle with his own demon over a metaphor that Jungkook thought was pretty apt.
You're the one who's going to need a leash, human.
Jungkook was not usually one to sit and talk. He was an active person, who liked to be up and moving around. Playing games, working out, doing anything that required him to burn off energy. Combined that with the raging labido that he couldn't find the off switch for, he was itching to get up and do something. The other two demons hosts, the only two he'd met so far, seemed too content to read or having heady discussions on complex topics like game theory and the philosophical implications of avocados. Or, whatever. Jungkook, and the demon, had long since checked out of the conversation happening around them.
So Jungkook went on a walk. It was a walk around the building, which he'd seen in his memories a hundred times over, but it was still new to him to really see it first hand. His travels took him to the courtyard. A large, open space of trees and rolling hills and rivers. So large the other side of the building couldn't be seen but you could walk around the whole courtyard from inside. It just took a while.
It was winter now, more than a couple of snowfalls had left the trees bare and the hills covered. The rivers were frozen over and only the bravest of animals were out foraging in the cold. But they weren't alone out there. Jungkook stopped when he saw someone standing in the center of the courtyard. His hair was blond, a little messy, and wasn't wearing much beyond a shirt and loose fitting pants. He was building something out of snow, though it had little definition to it so Jungkook wasn't sure what it could be.
Nor did he know who the man was. This area was off limits to anyone but the demons. Perhaps it was someone who believed the demons were still locked away in their separate rooms?
His hand touched the handle on the nearby door and he slid it open. The wind and snow looked cold, but he barely felt it. As soon as he stepped out, the demon was tasting the air by lifting his head up slightly and letting it touch his tongue.
Like a sweet candy, it dissipated almost instantly and the demon inside him was satisfied. Of all the other demons, there was one who seemed to understand Lust the best. The one who when they worked in tandem had been unstoppable.
"Fantasy," Jungkook called and the blond slowly turned his head, a smile already on his-
Jungkook stopped, heart stuttering in his chest. He was beautiful. The demon grunted in annoyance and got him moving again, holding out his hands to the beautiful, whimsical, and the wondrous demon of Fantasy.
"My my, you picked better than your usual fare this time," Fantasy hummed, his smile wide and it just made him look even prettier. "Less grumpy than the last one, what's your name?"
"His name is Jungkook, and he's having trouble speaking," the demon replied for him and Jungkook would argue but it was pretty accurate. Jungkook was enamored.
"Well, hello Jungkook, my name's Taehyung," Fantasy said. "I really think we're going to get along well."
"Yeah," Jungkook nodded slowly, finally feeling up to communicating. "Um, what are you doing?"
"I was building a snow monument to the rabbit in the moon," Taehyung said, giving a flourish of his arms to present the pillar of snow he'd made. "It's only ten percent done though. I need carrots, and diamonds for his eyes. But I'm not sure where to get diamonds. Maybe Joy has some. Joy likes to keep pretty things."
"Time might," Jungkook said. Time had a habit of keeping mementos from their hosts. Maybe one of those mementos had diamonds. "But, he might not be willing to give up diamonds for a snow monument… bunny."
"Maybe if I ask him nicely," Taehyung shrugged. "He's always had a soft spot for me."
"Everyone has a soft spot for you," Jungkook said. That was more the demon than him, but Jungkook could believe it.
Fantasy had an innocent wonder to them that it made it difficult to fault them for any harm they caused. Many had questioned if Fantasy was even a demon, but a wayward god. But the demons knew better. They knew one of their own by taste. And though Fantasy tasted sweet, it was unsatisfying because it never lingered. Fantasy, after all, wasn't something tangible. By very definition it was something that could never be achieved, and pursuing a fantasy could drive even the most stalwart man insane.
"Even you?" Taehyung mused. His eyes were so captivating, so intense that it took Jungkook's breath away.
"Especially me," Jungkook answered, and the demon was humming in amusement at him.
"Want to help me finish?" Taehyung asked, pointing with his thumb towards the pillar of snow. "I could do it myself, but seems more fun to do it together."
How could Jungkook possibly say no to that smile?
The problem for Jungkook, was one he had known would happen, but hoped wouldn't. Being so close to Taehyung, breathing him in and being so close to his heat. He could feel his desire building, and his hands itched to touch. He wanted to run his hands over Taehyung's skin and devour him whole.
Taehyung was either oblivious to the pain Jungkook was in, or he was ignoring it. He was focused on piling and packing snow onto his pillar and shaping it into a bunny on it's hind legs and not paying any attention to Jungkook. The few times he looked toward Jungkook, he'd just grin and toss a little snow at him.
It was cute, it was innocent, and Jungkook felt disgusting that he was lusting after him. He hated that the demon was influencing him in this way.
You need to stop blaming me for your dirty thoughts, this has nothing to do with me.
"Of course it is, you're influencing me," Jungkook argued. He'd retreated to his room after a few hours of being alone with Taehyung, promising they would have dinner later. He needed time to himself, to shake off this lingering desire. Maybe he just needed to masturate to take the edge off.
You do know that sexual desire is a normal, human emotion and your feelings towards Fantasy's host are entirely on you. I wouldn't make you lust over my brethren's host.
"You've never had a host interested in another host? I find that completely unlikely," Jungkook huffed, throwing himself down on the bed. The sheets had been changed, and the feel of clean satin under his skin was making it that much worse. He felt like he was going through puberty all over again, getting a hard on at the most inappropriate times.
I didn't say that, what I said is it isn't because of my influence.
"I don't believe you," Jungkook said, clearly he knew that was a lie. He could see the demon's entire history of hosts. There had been dalliances between the demons before, but it had nothing to do with the hosts own attraction. And the hosts themselves? Well, that had happened. Many times.
But Jungkook wasn't like that. He'd never had sexual attraction to anyone before. Why would he start now? Clearly, the demon was influencing him. Which means he had to keep his wits about him, and not let himself give in.