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In retrospect, Jaemin should’ve had a hunch that the letter announcing that he inherited a lakeside house from a distant and unknown relative was not good news whatsoever. Nothing ever came easy in his life, not without at least one mildly embarrassing story being attached to it, which Renjun and Donghyuck would gladly bring up at every possible time. But the euphoria he felt for the imagined weekend parties and chill summer vacations clouded his common sense into believing that he deserved happiness after 20 years of gruelling bad luck. 

 

And now, standing in front of the beaten-down two-storey house that looked like every single one of Jaemin’s nightmares was a violent wake-up call.

 

He dropped all his luggage on the dry, yellowish grass that seemed only to grow on this site and stopped exactly at the fence to bloom into a dazzling green outside. He walked up on the creaky stairs of the porch and peeked in through one of the broken windows. He couldn’t see much because of the loose film taped on the window to block the wind but the general untidiness that was suggested through it was more than enough. 

 

“I would like to give the keys back. I don’t need it anymore,” Jaemin says, dangling the silver keychain in front of the very unimpressed realtor, Johnny.

 

“That’s not possible.”

 

“What if I want to give it to you?” He tried – because the last thing he wanted in life is a dingy house which looked like a set from a low-budget haunted house movie to his name. “Look, man, I mean – you can sell it for a pretty penny if you put some work in it. You see, I’m quite busy with college and all to always travel here but you, you are already here. I’ll give it to you for free, no catch – I just want to see you smile.” 

 

Johnny pointedly looked at his expensive-looking Rolex, clearly indicating that he had no time for Jaemin’s bullshit. But Jaemin pointedly didn’t care because he could already hear Donghyuck’s stupid high-pitched laughter from hundreds of kilometres away, having the time of his life to see Jaemin suffer once again when he boldly proclaimed just before he left, 'suck my ass, losers, I'm finally getting it together.'

 

“It is legally yours,” Johnny slowly explained like he was talking to a child. In one way or another, he felt like he really was. “I cannot lift it off your hands but I do advise you to do some deep-cleaning and some renovations. I can point you to a few trustworthy craftsmen if you need, just give me a call. But otherwise, goodbye .”

 

Jaemin wondered as he watched Johnny stole off on the yellow lawn if luck, just like Johnny himself, was repulsed by him on first instinct or it was just the general law of the universe to have him look like a clown.

 

Having no other place to stay for the night, Jaemin picked up his stuff from the dirt and with a sigh, he turned the key in the lock. The front door opened with a loud creak. Shivers ran down on Jaemin’s spine as he treaded in, walking into all the spiderwebs on his way. The smell of dust and animal carcasses penetrated his nose, making him feel nauseated. He wanted nothing more than to turn around and bolt to the nearest roadside motel. 

 

But he was also a broke college student and the fare to here alone put a big strain on his monthly budget. So he stayed, carefully stepping around boxes that he really didn’t wish to open now, afraid of what they might hide. He threw his bags on the floor and dust flew up in huge clouds. 

 

"Welcome home," he said to himself. 

 

He decided to look around the house, hoping to find something priceless so he would come off this mess at least half-winning. While outside the sun relentlessly had been beating down on him, the darkness of the house struck him odd. Thick velvet drapes hid most of the windows, only letting a small tinkle of light in. 

 

Not liking the atmosphere the grim house was giving him, Jaemin pulled the drapes open, letting the living room swim in the golden rays of the sun. When sunshine filled the room, he heard a low hiss and he snapped his head around to the source of the noise. 

 

There was nothing. 

 

Jaemin pursed his lips together into a thin line, eyes searching for anything that could give any noise. But no, he stood alone in the empty living room, only a dusty couch and a mountain of boxes with him. As he turned the sun hit his body in an odd angle, making his shadow turn long, making a Jaemin shaped black figure appear on the wall in front of him. 

 

He tentatively reached up and gave himself a wave and his shadow reciprocated at the same time. 

 

He scoffed. 

 

"I'm going crazy," he murmured to himself. He fished his phone out of his pocket, still keeping an eye on the room. He dialled Renjun, deciding on him being the more emphatic between his two best friends. 

 

While he waited for him to pick up, the dusty air of the house made him sneeze through his way to find a duster or a vacuum to at least make the living room liveable for the next week he'd planned to stay. He still had time before sunset to get his shit together.

 

“Renjun, I want to cry,” Jaemin announced at the very moment his best friend picked up the call. He began his search for any kind of cleaning supply, wondering if Mr Kim used any on this house. He doubted it.

 

“When do you not want to?” Renjun asked, already bored. Jaemin could hear Donghyuck in the background, spitting questions at Renjun at the speed of light. "What happened to your sudden good luck, though?" 

 

"It's nonexistent. I was a fool to think I deserve good things in life,” Jaemin concluded promptly. He felt a headache brewing behind his eyes just because of thinking about his own misery. 

 

"That's the spirit." Renjun fake cheered. 

 

Jaemin chuckled and mindlessly began to open one of the cardboard boxes. Secretly expecting to find something that would cause his tipping point where he'd dart from the house and would never look back, he was almost disappointed by the heavy books sitting there. He shifted his phone between his ear and shoulder to take one out. 

 

"I'm thinking of going home early." 

 

It was a poison green leather-bound book, something straight out of a pawn shop. He dusted it off, discovering curvy golden letters forming the title ‘How To Speak With The Dead’. Curiously, he hit it up – it was all Latin nonsense.

 

Peeking inside the box, he saw a few other Latin books. With a deep sigh, he placed the book back, wondering if they were worth good money.

 

Probably not.

 

"Uh. Well, that's awkward,” Renjun said as Jaemin straightened up. He heard Renjun hiss ' you tell him' and a short tousle from the other side of the phone. 

 

"Hey, Jaemin. It’s me,” Donghyuck greeted, replacing Renjun. He sounded winded and nervous and Jaemin just didn’t want to imagine what kind of torturous pressure he was, under Renjun’s hands right now. Jaemin began pacing in the house, unconsciously following the white line painted on the hardwood floor. “We'd love to see you again but the funny thing is – we rented out your room for the week."

 

He halted.

 

"You did what ?" 

 

"We planned to tell you when you arrived and split the money. Uh, surprise? It was Renjun's idea."

 

"It was not!" 

 

“I can’t believe you evicted me just like that!” Jaemin groaned. He began walking on the line again, realising that it was a circle drawn around the four rooms opening from each other. “Five years of friendship be damned for quick money.”

 

“We didn’t evict you, technically. Your stuff is still there,” Donghyuck reasoned. “And you can return in uh, a week.”

 

He squatted down to see what the white line was painted with. As his fingers ran on the surface, he felt small bumps carved to the floor. It was hard to see from the thick layer of dust and sawdust that was sitting in the indentations but he guessed those were words carved deeply into the hardwood.

 

Just what was Mr Kim doing? 

 

Ruining good estate prices, that was what he was doing.

 

“I want half of what you’ve got.”

 

“No—”

 

“Donghyuck, I swear to god. I have dirt on you. Do you remember the party when Renjun was sick and you wanted to kiss—”

 

“Okay! Half of the money is yours.” Donghyuck quickly agreed. Jaemin already heard Renjun’s voice grow interrogative and a sudden yelp of pain. “Just – stop, please.”

 

His mind was too preoccupied with the search for at least one rug to use and the treachery of his best friends that he failed to notice his shadow swelling bigger and bigger. As he walked from room to room, the darkness slowly filled each more and more until it was pitch black, not even the sunlight pouring in could penetrate this darkness. 

 

Quickly, in a blink of an eye, the shadows gathered and solidified, moving and forming a figure. Jaemin watched it, frozen, blanching at the sight unfold in front of him.

 

The phone scatters on the floor and Jaemin can still hear Renjun annoyed grumble and Donghyuck manic laugh, calling after him then the heavy silence of the room is filled with the sharp beeping, indicating that Renjun broke the line. 

 

A man stood before him, made up by the shadows and the drained fear Jaemin had felt. He was now empty; he ought to be frightened, he ought to feel the horror weighing down his limbs – but he felt neither. Shivers ran through his body. The room grew cold and muted, almost lifeless as the shadow figure swelled into his final form. Goosebumps formed on Jaemin’s skin as he stood rooted to the ground, inside the pentagram. He could see his breath. His body felt hot and feverish as he watched the shadows morph into a man, features crystal clear.

 

“Who are you?” Jaemin’s voice sounded strangled and echoed back to him.

 

The shadow man was tall, all lean muscles and long limbs. Horns sprouted from his dark mop of hair; his eyes were glassy and fully black like the vast night sky as he stared down at Jaemin. He stood high and imposing, asking for devotion even with his stance and poise alone, making Jaemin feel like he was ought to fall into his knees before him. His ashy white skin gradually turned black from his elbows to his fingertips, like raven flames licking up on his arms. 

 

Jaemin couldn't help but press himself to the wall, hoping to disappear before the monster in front of him moved. Every fibre of his screamed to run, but his fight or flight instinct was almost nonexistent, in contrast to his absurd curiosity. He was intrigued. He pulled back from the wall, his feet taking him closer to the monster in front of him. With a shaking hand, he reached out, to see if he was real. But he quickly pulled away, not ready for it to be a hallucination. 

 

The monster took a deep breath, his bare alabaster chest rising and falling. From his blackened fingertips, a fire ignited and lit the room. Oddly shaped shadows were rushing on the walls and Jaemin heard hollow screams from them. The shadows watched them, the monster and him, with their white eyes and wicked smiles.

 

“Who are you?” Jaemin repeated with more courage he didn’t feel. “And what are you doing here?”

 

The monster seemed to focus on him, although he couldn’t be so sure – his eyes swallowed him with their infinite state, fully black, yet glinting smartly. The impossible race of the phantoms ceased, the screams faded into a static noise and life sprouted like an unyielding weed to spread around the room. The impenetrable wall of shadows disappeared and light took their place.

 

The monster held his chin high as he regarded Jaemin, his twisting horns reached up high, making Jaemin feel even smaller. 

 

“I’m Jeno, prince of the underworld,” he announced without opening his mouth. Voices rang through Jaemin’s mind, shaping into words. “A demon, if you like. I was summoned.”

 

Jaemin stared at him. He stared at the sharp lines of his face, regal and dangerous; he stared at his bulking chest and the immaculate ashy skin; he stared at his blackened veins running under the paper-like skin. His gaze slid down, almost expecting goat-shaped legs or mist but no – Jeno was entirely human-shaped, bare and goading. Jaemin had a hard time tearing his gaze away from him when his cheeks were alight with the shameful needs of touching and tasting the demon in front of him. 

 

He shifted from one leg to another, feeling awkward basking in the attention of one princeling of the underworld. Not mentioning the tightness of his jeans that horrified him inside.

 

“By whom?”

 

“The old man summoned me,” the voices whispered into his ears and Jaemin shivered. 

 

So that was what Mr Kim was up to.

 

Jaemin ran his hands through his tangled silver locks, willing himself to calm down. 

 

“Uh. Then, no need for you anymore. Thanks. I’ve got it under my control.”

 

Clearly, he wasn't in control, not when he felt barely able to stop himself from jumping on this beautifully terrifying creature. 

 

“You do not understand, mortal ,” the voices hissed into his ears. The demon, Jeno, bent down to his eye level and Jaemin could see his own pale complexion reflecting in those whiteless eyes. “I am here for an exchange. My deeds for a soul – I cannot return to the underworld until the exchange is done.”

 

“Oh. That sucks,” Jaemin said and straightened his back. “But I don’t really fancy giving up my soul.”

 

Jaemin watched the demon shrink in front of his eyes, no longer the redoubtable body, inhuman and monstrous – Jeno deflated into an almost human-like shape, shoulder hunched and lower lip jutted out in discontentment. Jaemin blinked, trying to comprehend what just happened as he took the smaller, more compact version of the demon in. They were now the same size, minus the horns, and maybe Jaemin had serious problems with his head because he thought him almost cute.

 

“What happened?” Jaemin inquired.

 

Jeno stared at his face, furrowing his eyebrows. Looking at him more closely, he was shaped like someone born for bringing ruin and disaster on mere mortals. He reached up and ran his blackened fingertips on Jaemin’s cheek, icy yet soft. 

 

“You don’t fear me,” Jeno claimed, instead of asking. Jaemin bit his lips to stop himself from doing anything remotely stupid like leaning in to kiss a demon who was after his soul – but it was just so tempting when he was so close like that. Jaemin felt the coldness radiating from Jeno’s bare body through his own clothes, a remedy for his own heated skin. 

 

“In this form? No, not anymore.” Jaemin shook his head, to also shake off the touch. Yet, Jeno was still close, too close, his chilly fingertips detouring on his face – a caress of thumb under his eyes, a nimble finger on his lips. He touched Jaemin like it was his first time, with awe on his face at the fragile bones of humans, the life that bloomed in them so stubbornly warming their flesh and colouring their cheeks. 

 

“You’re not afraid yet you’re so easy to destroy.”

 

Jaemin felt that – the underlying strength in Jeno’s touch. He felt it in the air, looming and paralyzing and still so desirable. He felt the decadence in his touch, surging under his made-up body, ready to pull Jaemin with him and Jaemin oh so wished to give in. 

 

“It’s normal to feel like this,” Jeno said softly, lips finally moving, revealing a row of sharp teeth. He leant dangerously close to Jaemin’s pulse point, his teeth scratching the sensitive skin there. “Humans are so easy to tempt. They are so easily drawn to sin.”

 

“I’m—”

 

He was not , he wanted to say. But that was a blatant lie, ready to spill from his lips if not for the last remnants of his defiance. He backed away, stepping out of the pentagram painted on the floor, prisoning Jeno there. There was an urgent touch, scratches of claws on supple skin to stop him from fleeing but the realisation came late for Jeno and he recoiled like he was burned the moment his fingers followed Jaemin outside the circle.

 

“Very well,” Jeno whispered and stuck out his chin. He cradled his injured hand for a moment. “You will find your way back here.”

 

***

 

 

In retrospect, once again, Jaemin should’ve seen the signs. The books that advertised talking to the dead, to the pentagram painted on the floor and the bled out animal carcasses he later on found in the garage. It didn’t take a genius to just realise what Mr Kim was doing in his free time – summoning demons. For what, was still a mystery for Jaemin but he had his priorities all over the place now to focus on that. 

 

Now, having stepped out of the pentagram that pinned Jeno to his place, he at least wasn't lusting after him that much, magic broken. His body still betrayed him, the itching feeling in his fingertips to touch the cold skin of the demon, to feel the shadows that made him was still there, still rushing through his veins – but then the realistic part of his mind awakened to help him out by a shameful discovery that he was fantasizing about a demon.

 

Surprisingly, the demon was almost like an obedient oversized puppy when he had no source of fear to feed on. Jaemin noticed the slight blurriness of his complexion now, the sharpness from before long gone. He stayed in his smaller built body, for now, reminding Jaemin more of a human than a supernatural entity and it was messing with his mind. He looked like he would sublimate any moment – maybe he would after some time, dissolving into the shadows he had come together from. But he’d still be there, as he said, stuck in this ruin, haunting the decaying walls.

 

Jaemin came back to the room, careful not to step into the threshold of the pentagram, with an old oversized shirt and a spare pair of underwear. He threw them at Jeno, who was sitting in the middle of the star cross-legged and bored out of his mind, both clothing accidentally catching at his horns.

 

“Put these on,” Jaemin said, looking away from the naked glory of the demon. 

 

“I do not follow the orders of mortals.” Jeno got the clothing articles off his horns with a frown directed at Jaemin. His sharp teeth flashed but threatening no more than a small dog.

 

“You can do that,” Jaemin agreed, plopping down on an armchair, wincing at the amount of dust that flew up. “ Or you can put those on and I’ll help you figure out how to get you back to the underworld.”

 

“Why would you do that?” Jeno asked, already carefully manoeuvring his horns through the neckline of the shirt. It was big on him, a band T-shirt Jaemin had since he was thirteen and overly emotional – and Jeno, so tall and broad, was still muffled in the sea of material. He looked almost boyish with his eager expression.

 

Jaemin cocked his head to the side, admiring the decaying house – the peeling paint, the broken windows, the carved Satanic texts on the hardboard. It was just his luck to inherit a house barely containing a hungry demon prince – he could’ve put up with a poltergeist but this was almost comic.

 

“Your presence alone plummets the price of the house. No offence, but people are not really fond of demonic princelings in their homes.” Jaemin sighed. “And also, you want to go home, right? It must be hard being stuck in another world.”

 

Jeno watched him with his full, black eyes, so unnervingly still, until he cracked a smile, eyes disappearing into beautiful crescents and revealing his knife-point like teeth, designed to draw blood. Jaemin repressed the insane feeling to pat his head.

 

“You are kind. I like you,” Jeno chimed. 

 

“Is that allowed?” Jaemin sputtered. His idea of the underworld had mostly contained cruelty and disgust with anything nice. But despite his arrogance that was expected from a royal, and his demonic upbringing that should’ve demanded death and corruption wherever he went – he didn’t hurt Jaemin, not even when he had a chance. His trade was fair and early stated: a granted wish for a soul.

 

Jeno shrugged, not desiring to elaborate his stance. But when he looked back up at Jaemin, he was expecting and open and maybe Jaemin shouldn’t find the literal devil adorable but here he was. He wasn’t sure if he was being tricked, though.

 

“Are you trying to tempt me again?” He narrowed his eyes, watching for any sign that would give away. He pulled his legs under him, for not even a toe to invade the magical pentagram.

 

Jeno’s soft raven hair flew from side to side when he shook his head. 

 

“No,” he said. “Why? Are you ready to succumb to sin?”

 

“Not really,” Jaemin mumbled. He watched as Jeno stood up and began circling around the edge of the pentagram. For a moment, Jaemin thought the demon couldn’t be contained with mere white paint and a few scribbles but he was cautious to come too close to the edge. It gave Jaemin a bit of reassurance that even if Jeno was tricking him, he still had a small place to cower. “What happened to Mr Kim, anyway?”

 

Jeno strolled around, lighting blue flames from his fingertips then blowing them away. It was clear that he was bored, that he was expecting something more upon meeting a new human being but the best Jaemin could offer was a shameful hardon that he was trying to hide from the prior proximity. Thankfully, he was cooperative with the topic change.

 

“He summoned me but before the exchange could happen, he had a heart attack. He got what he wanted even if it was for only a few seconds but I ended up with nothing,” he said.

 

“Didn’t you get his soul then?”

 

“It happened so fast and I failed to reclaim it.” Jeno shrugged.

 

“That’s very undemon-like of you.”

 

Something like hurt flashed through Jeno’s face but Jaemin tried not to interpret human feelings on a demon. With a huff, Jeno dissolved into several screaming shadows that screeched in Jaemin’s ears and with a booming voice that reverberated from the walls Jeno said, “Generations of mortals kneeled in front of me, begging for my greatness and you dare to question my very being?”

 

“No need to get angry,” Jaemin answered, putting his palms on his ears to filter out the screams. Maybe his unimpressed state angered Jeno more, judging from the growing number of summoned shadows but it was easy to avert his attention. “Now what would you offer me for my soul?”

 

The screaming ceased into an annoying buzz and Jeno stood there again, surrounded with his shadows, regal yet childish, dangerous yet inviting.

 

“What about fame? Mortals like to pretend they leave an imperishable print on the oncoming of generations.” 

 

“I’m not really keen on being famous,” Jaemin mused, pulling his mouth aside. “That’s too much responsibility.”

 

“Then money? Endless amount of cash. I see humans volunteering to die for it.”

 

Jaemin thought for a moment. Having enough money so that he didn’t have to spend agonising hours of the night counting if he went out and socialized one night would he be able to pay rent later that month? But then again, he was on the verge of scoring a well-paying internship and he had supporting parents so he counted himself lucky and privileged.

 

“No.” Jaemin shook his head.

 

“Undying beauty?” Jeno tried, his patience running low. The shadows around him began to swarm again. “Lethal powers? All-consuming knowledge?”

 

“I don’t think I want either of those,” Jaemin said, pursing his lips. The temptation was there, to wish for something that made him better than a normal human – but he thought better than to make a deal with the devil. He scrunched his nose. “And you’re quite terrible at trying to sell those to me. Try to convince me at least.”

 

“What do you want, then?” Jeno asked, standing in front of him, inside his prison. Like a caged lion, Jaemin thought. The invisible walls rooted him there, cutting him away from his world. As he paced around, walking smoothly like the sea ripples on the shore, he looked like a carnivore ready to hunt down its prey. And Jaemin was there, just outside of his cage. 

 

Tempting the tempter.

 

“Are there no other ways to get you back?” Jaemin asked. Jeno rolled his shoulders back, a wretched smile spreading on his lips. 

 

“You know there is.”

 

Jaemin wanted to answer that no he didn't know. How could he, having no experience with the dark arts before. Yet, his mind was crowded with images of sacrificing himself, of being marked by Jeno, to forever bear the mark of accepting the devil into his bed and of giving up his all for him. He couldn’t help the whimper slipping through his pursed lips, for the idea of being touched, being burned by those hands, of him biting and kissing him, of being used as a satisfaction for the demon. For being a portal to the underworld.

 

“You can lay with me but you’ll bear the mark of the devil for the rest of your life,” Jeno warned, despite his interest in it. He didn’t pull tricks, he laid out everything finely to see, to torment Jaemin with the truth.

 

Jaemin, still trembling from the haunting pictures, hot desire coiling in his stomach for the inhumane creature in front of him, did what he was best in – he ran away.

 

***

 

Jaemin slept in the armchair, successfully going out to buy some cleaning supplies and food. Deep down, he was anticipating upon his return to find no demons there, only the remnants of the ravaged house and his overactive imagination. And he wasn’t there, Jeno wasn’t there physically but Jaemin noticed the imminent darkness inside the circle, unnatural shadows lying on the floor. Jaemin paid him no mind and began cleaning someplace where he could sleep for the night.

 

It was better, after his return, having been exposed to human contact and fresh air filling his lungs and clearing his mind – he had a better grasp on his unmistakable craving. 

 

He wanted to keep an eye on the demon. He wanted to be sure he couldn’t escape or if he was telling the truth. But the presence was there, icy cold and fear evoking. Sometimes Jeno materialized to look at him, an odd expression on his face then disappeared.

 

“Do you need anything to eat?” Jaemin asked in the morning, finishing washing the dishes so he could get the coffee ready. He sat back in the safe haven that was the armchair, not too far from Jeno but in a safe distance. 

 

“Yes.” Jeno nodded eagerly. “Blood sacrifice.”

 

Jaemin almost spat his coffee out. He didn’t know what to expect but not this. 

 

“Sorry, I can’t get you that. I can offer you bacon, though?”

 

Jaemin watched him, scrunching his nose in disgust and lying back down on the floor. His long bare legs tantalised Jaemin. He imagined himself kissing them from his ankles, slow to make Jeno desperate, moving up to nibble at the skin inside of his thighs. His gaze slid up a little bit, at the boxer straining on Jeno, and tried not to think about having him in his mouth.

 

Would the devil taste like ruin and sin? Or would he be sweet like a stolen forbidden kiss?

 

Jeno pushed himself up on his elbows, pushing his knees wider apart. Jaemin gulped and tore his eyes away.

 

Jeno smiled, too alluringly dangerous for Jaemin, so wretchedly beautiful. “You can get inside anytime.”

 

Jaemin stood suddenly, too conscious of the way too confining material of his jeans. He willed himself to calm him breathing, to count from one to ten – but Jeno was still a walking bait, despite how Jaemin wanted to imagine otherwise. He nested his place in Jaemin’s oh-so-weak mind, so easily swayed by pretty things and so stupidly daring to go for the danger – and Jaemin was never religious but he murmured a prayer for a stronger will. 

 

“That would not help you,” Jeno laughed. “He does not listen.”

 

Jaemin bit his lip, then forced a smile on his face. Too wide and too toothy to be true, but at least a smile.

 

“Blood sacrifice then.”

 

 

***

 

The blood sacrifice didn’t happen because Jaemin didn’t have the heart to hurt anything that looked at him with stupid, wide eyes. But it was good to be out of the house, to forget about Jeno’s existence. At least, try to.

 

Those tempting thoughts chased him through his outing – from the local diner to the store. He even took a stroll around the lake, wanting nothing more than to dip his feverish body into the cold water. But he knew better – cold showers didn’t help this desire. It was raging inside him the moment he glanced upon the demon, the inhumanity that he brought with him was intoxicating. Jaemin tried to keep it bottled but one glance at him and he was a goner. 

 

He thought it was only being near him. That he was seducing him, the lust burning his body was a sign Jeno was making him submit to the deadly sins but out there, so far from him, they were still there, still smouldering in his chest. Lust, greed, pride – it was all there, all ready to burst. 

 

And he was only human. So easy to sway. So easy to destroy.

 

A mark for shame just couldn’t compare the relief of the disappearance of his demon, of not being continuously broadcasted to the sweet-tasting temptation. 

 

Jaemin thought for a moment, watched Jeno fiddling with the hem of his band T-shirt.

 

“Will you hurt me if I go inside?” Jaemin asked, edging on the circle, edging on the impulse of giving himself up. Jeno looked up at him with interest glinting in his black eyes, so strange and yet bewitching – Jaemin let himself be charmed by the devil.

 

“No,” Jeno replied and Jaemin somehow didn’t feel like it was a lie. 

 

As he nodded, he tried to reason that he was doing this to get rid of the demon residing in his house, to save people whatever chaos Jeno would pour on them if he got out of the circle, to be finally responsible once in his life and do something for the greater good.

 

But those – those were lies. He was doing this because he wanted to. The only thing he wanted to get rid of was the molten lust pumping through his veins and the hot coiling of desire in his stomach that never seemed to dim or to cool down. In less than 24 hours, he was consumed by this odd game of push and pull, his body wanting to succumb and his mind rationalising not to. 

 

He was done playing.

 

He halted right before the circle and reached out his hand. It was stupid but Jaemin wanted the demon to lead him through the invisible wall that separated them, giving Jeno the benefit of the doubt. Jeno took his hand and slowly pulled him inside. Jaemin didn’t second guess his decision, not when he felt strong arms wrap around him, claws tickling his neck down on his spine – the touches butterfly soft.

 

Jeno’s words rang in his mind, ‘ you are so easy to destroy ’. His touches reflected this sentiment. And he tried to hold back, judging from the taut muscles under Jaemin’s fingertips, pulled and stiff like a drawn bow. He wondered just how much strength and havoc were hidden into pretty curves and soft touches, just how easy it would be for Jeno to get what he wanted. Still, he held himself back, touching Jaemin like he was holding a small bird.

 

“No one let me so close to them,” Jeno murmured. That explained the delicateness of what he was handling him.

 

“I’m here now.”

 

Jaemin leaned in to kiss him. Jeno’s lips parted immediately, hungry for the desire that was flowing out of Jaemin so easily, gulping down like a famished man taking his first bite in days. Jaemin wasn’t sure how this worked for Jeno – he understood that he was feeding on fear or taken souls but lust, that wasn’t on the list. At least, he didn’t know. Yet, Jeno was growing taller and boarder – Jaemin had to crane his neck to meet his lips. Still, he cradled Jaemin’s cheeks in his hands, sharp claws pushing into the sensitive skin.

 

Jeno bit his lips with his impossibly sharp teeth, drawing blood. Desire shot through Jaemin like a bullet, diving into the kiss harder, smearing both of their tongues with the metallic taste of blood. He had tried to push it away, reason with himself what he was doing was reckless and dangerous but his screaming mind couldn’t seem to move a muscle. He was there, in the embrace of a demon and he was wanting more.

 

As he was growing, filling into the monster he was, the T-shirt on Jeno’s body tightened then ripped open, giving way to the freezing bare flesh, haunting and draining Jaemin with every touch, suckling his passion and still igniting it with his own cold flames. The material gave away under the strain, and Jaemin had half a mind to pity his T-shirt but then, the naked skin was intoxicating in front of him.

 

Jaemin stood on his tiptoes to run his nose in the hollow of Jeno’s neck. He smelled like sweet nectar on the verge of spoiling and Jaemin couldn’t help but to taste him, kiss him on the column of his neck. Jeno’s arms tightened around his torso, seeking the warmth that Jaemin’s body was radiating. He was growing restless. With fingers guiding Jaemin’s face up to him, Jeno kissed him again, bruising and hungry, his hands slipping under the hem of his shirt. As cold fingertips touched his heated skin, he felt the familiar twist in his stomach.

 

Jaemin let go of Jeno and quickly got rid of his shirt. He was proud of his body, he knew he was well-built and beautiful. But he never felt so small, so dainty in the hands of another man – he never felt so exposed. But he loved the feeling, of being submitted to the darker forces, to the danger that Jeno meant. To being overpowered.

 

“Where do you want me to mark you as mine?” Jeno whispered against his lips. 

 

Everywhere , Jaemin wanted to say. 

 

The hands from his chin slowly travelled down on his neck, long, clawed fingers closing around his throat, making it hard for him to breathe. Jaemin gasped, his lungs burning and he felt himself grow hard the more he struggled for oxygen. 

 

Jeno leaned down, his lips stretching into a sharp smile and asked, “Here?”

 

His other hand buried into the soft silver locks and tilted Jaemin’s head to the side. With a sinfully long tongue, he lapped at the exposed neck, at the whole length of his artery where he felt the beating of his heart. Jaemin wanted to cry, to beg him to mark him there, begging for the pain and the sin – he wanted to be ashamed, he wanted to bear the mark of this monster in front of him for everyone to see, for everyone to judge. He wanted people to see that he was marked by the devil. 

 

He knew he was feeding Jeno, with his lust and with his sins. He felt the power surging through the demon, growing stronger and less careful with each passing second but he wanted that. He wanted to be destroyed by him, ruined and spoiled like the house he inherited.

 

Jaemin nodded. 

 

“Good boy,” Jeno breathed, cold flames licking up on Jaemin’s skin. Surprisingly the flames didn’t hurt him, not when his vision was closing on him, when his mouth gaped uselessly. His knees were buckling under him, and upon noticing that, Jeno carefully laid him down on the middle of the pentagram and removed his fingers from his neck.

 

He gasped for the air and it rushed into his body, flaring up the burn in his lungs. While his mind was fighting off unconsciousness, Jeno settled himself between Jaemin’s legs, caging him with his strong arms. Jaemin reached up, trembling, to pull Jeno down, urging him to mark him. He heard a low chuckle.

 

“You are so eager,” Jeno said, biting down on his neck, drawing a small dribble of blood. “But not yet.”

 

Jaemin shuddered. He took Jeno’s face in his hands, admiring the black veins that ran under his skin. The demon faltered, his expression stuck and searching. It took Jaemin a moment to understand that it was an opening for him to change his mind – Jeno was showing himself to Jaemin, his monstrous state and he gave Jaemin time to decide if he wanted this.

 

“You are beautiful,” Jaemin said, running his thumb under Jeno’s eyes. “You don’t know what effect you have on me.”

 

Jeno watched him with his glinting dark eyes, and Jaemin knew he looked like a mess – blood smearing on his lips, on his neck, veins popping at his temples from the lack of air entering his body. But still, the hungry look Jeno gave him was like an ember igniting a wildfire. Jaemin reached up and pushed the demon’s raven locks out of his eyes, feeling his own moves oddly tender.

 

Jeno leaned into his cupped hand, burying his face into the touch. “Believe me if I tell you the same.”

 

Jaemin shook his head, refusing to accept. The devil was a liar and he was giving already too much. 

 

“Forgive me if I don’t.”

 

“Then let me show you.”

 

Jeno took a deep breath, taking in Jaemin’s scent from his wrist – the surging blood, lively and sweet. He broke away from the touch and kissed Jaemin once again, licking his lips and pushing into him with his obscenely long tongue. Jaemin kissed back feverishly, biting with his own dull teeth on the demon’s lower lip. 

 

Jeno broke the kiss and pulled back. One clawed finger, so sharp it could easily cut Jaemin, ran from the hollow of his neck down to the button of his jeans. Jaemin let out a shuddering breathe at the thought of finally getting out of the confining material, his cock straining against it painfully. Jeno worked quickly on the button, pulling the jeans off Jaemin. 

 

He laid bare on the floor, knees wide apart, cock springing to life. His chest rose and sank rapidly as he watched Jeno taking him in, a half-smile pulling on his lips. Not breaking eye contact, Jaemin reached down and began pumping his cock, enjoying the attention on him. He began withering, letting sinful moans out of his lips, not even trying to be subtle.

 

“I want you,” Jaemin hissed when his gaze travelled on the well-defined abdomen of the demon and lower, to his proudly standing cock. He took his time admiring it, not having the courage before to stare – but now, his mouth watered looking at how big Jeno was, how his cock arched perfectly against his stomach. He bit down on his lips and looked up at Jeno through his dark row of lashes. 

 

“Then take what you want,” Jeno rumbled. Jaemin pushed himself off the floor, to kneel in front of Jeno. He lowered himself until his face came close to Jeno’s cock, arching his back prettily, putting on a show for him.

 

Jaemin took Jeno into his hand and he licked his lips. His cock was just as cold as he was everywhere else, causing a trail of goosebumps to form on Jaemin’s heated skin wherever he touched. Having been brought to full hardness, Jaemin looked up at Jeno and maddeningly slowly he traced the vein on his cock with his tongue. Jeno growled, fisting Jaemin’s hair as he watched him swallowing him. 

 

Jeno was too big and however Jaemin flattened his tongue and willed his gag reflex away, he couldn’t take him all. He forced himself lower as he could, tears collecting in the corner of his eyes. He could hardly breathe, his nostrils filling with the strong scent of sweet decay. The tip of Jeno’s cock hit the back of his throat and he hollowed his cheeks as he bobbed his head up and down.

 

“You little devil,” Jeno hissed.

 

Jaemin let go off his cock with a pop and with a laugh he said, “That’s a compliment, coming from you.”

 

“Lay down,” Jeno ordered. Jaemin had half a mind to disobey, a desire to play with the fire. He wanted to see Jeno explode, putting him into his place, force him into submission. But he was getting what he wanted and he wasn’t about to lose it because he was an annoying brat.

 

Jaemin slowly laid down on his back, pushing his knees apart wide. He was giving his all to show how he craved for his sinful touches and to sacrifice his own innocence. 

 

Jaemin laid bare in front of Jeno to destroy.

 

With his long tongue, Jeno slowly teased him, running it from his abdomen to his jaw. Jaemin jutted his chin out, leaving space for Jeno to mark, to bite the sensitive skin of his throat. With closed eyes, he revelled the ministration until two sharp claws were pushed to the plush of his lips. Jaemin opened his mouth wide, letting the fingers enter the hot cave of his mouth, coating the long digits with saliva.

 

When Jeno deemed it wet enough, he pulled his fingers out. 

 

“Are you sure? Are you sure to give up your body to the devil and—” Jeno began, murmuring against his neck while reaching down and circling Jaemin’s hole with his wet finger.

 

“Just start already,” Jaemin demanded, rolling his hips against the finger. 

 

Jeno chuckled and pushed into him. It burned, the saliva not replacing lube well, and the sharp claws were giving him trouble. But he was too gone, too hungry for the pain to raise a complaint – he was ready to be stretched by Jeno’s cock and be tainted forever. 

 

Jeno licked at his nipple, pinching the bud and he worked Jaemin open. But Jaemin was too impatient for further foreplay, he pushed himself down on the finger, signalling his readiness for more. Jeno sent him a playful look from his chest and watched his face as he added another finger. Breath hitched in his throat but it was still not enough.

 

“Give me all of you,” Jaemin said, running his fingertips on Jeno’s horns, down to his soft raven hair and his face.

 

Jaemin pressed closer to him, feeling the cold skin under his touch. It felt odd, it felt bizarre, having those blackened fingertips touch him, leaving cold flames all over his flesh. Those cold fingers opened him wide, scissoring him. There was one last kiss, a lover’s kiss, sweet and sorrowful as Jeno took out his fingers. He began rubbing his cock against Jaemin’s gaping hole, teasing him with a wicked smile. Jaemin whined into the kiss, caching Jeno’s lower lip between his teeth and pulling on it. 

 

“You’re mine,” Jeno said as he pushed into Jaemin insanely slowly. Jaemin felt like he was ripping apart under Jeno, his wide cock tearing at him but he didn’t want it to stop. The pain was worth it, with Jeno’s entire length throbbing in him, filling him up like no one ever did before.

 

With the thought alone, Jaemin could’ve come. 

 

“You’re mine,” Jeno repeated. He didn’t leave any time for Jaemin to get used to his girth or length, he bottomed out and pushed into him again. Jaemin felt it – he was tainted, with the thought of the demon always haunting him, always reminding him of his failure. He gave in to the temptation so easily – no prayers could help his soul now.

 

But he didn’t care because the friction was so sweet and so rotten at the same time, pain and joy bleeding into each other and making him moan Jeno’s name. His name was fixed in his mouth, a broken prayer for the devil. 

 

Jaemin locked his legs around Jeno’s waist, making him thrust even deeper, wanting nothing more than to feel this sinful encounter for days. Jeno moved a little and he was hitting Jaemin’s prostate with full force.

 

Jeno was murmuring something into his ears but Jaemin was too gone to understand. It seemed like an enchantment, Latin rolling off his tongue and pinning Jaemin to the ground. His hand was back on Jaemin’s throat, pushing down, robbing him from breathing as he drilled into him.

 

Flames licked at his skin, spreading over his whole chest as the mark burned into him. Jaemin screamed the oversensitivity mixed with the pain of the burn was getting into him. He screwed his eyes shut and fought for air to fill his lungs. Jeno thrust into him rapidly, his whole body moving with each push and the obscene sound of skin slapping skin filled the room. 

 

Jaemin felt the familiar heat growing in his stomach, ready to spill over. He was losing consciousness, his broken breathing shallowing, his vision closing. Shadows began to rise around them, watching and laughing as Jaemin struggled to stay awake, and danced around them. With a good situated last thrust, Jaemin came, spilling over the demon’s stomach, dirtying him furthermore. 

 

Jaemin was tired and he let go of the remainder of his fighting spirit.

 

The last thing he heard before he slipped into unconsciousness was you’re mine .

 

***

 

 

 

It was funny and kind of ironic. He remembered asking his mother every night through the tender years of his childhood to look for the monsters under his bed or in the wardrobe. Now, when a true monster laid beside him there was no fear, nor repulse – only contentment and desire. He slipped in and out of sleep, gasping for air for his burning lungs, each move sending a spasm of pain through his body.

 

Jeno didn’t sleep. He sometimes dematerialized, having a solid form for too long straining him, but Jaemin could still feel his presence then. Oddly, he didn’t mind the hovering shadows over him because he knew they wouldn’t hurt him – not when Jeno was still around, physically or not. 

 

But when Jaemin woke, Jeno wasn’t there. He wasn’t there anymore in the shadows, neither was the looming presence in the air. He was accepted back to the underworld, after all. 

 

Jaemin pulled himself off the floor, every movement almost bringing him to tears. He was still lightheaded but it was okay – it was easier to accept what he did while he wasn’t completely himself. He dragged himself to the bathroom, where he stared at his reflection on the dirty mirror.

 

He stared at the mirror but he barely recognized himself. His eyes were puffy and red-rimmed, his lips cracked, hair dishevelled. His neck held the bruises of a hand. Deep angry purple, a reminder of pain when touched. His fingertips slowly slid lower, taking in the mark that was left on where his heart laid, safe between his ribcage. A pentagram was burned into his skin, still red and hot, with runes he couldn’t recognize. 

 

He was tagged, the property of a demon – tainted and ruined, up to decay.

 

You’re mine.