I didn't want to let go of the Devil's hand
Too bad, but it's too sweet
It's too sweet, it's too sweet.
From the outside, the bar was a simple affair. It was a small building with few distinct sections. The shutters kept the worst of the sun out from the interior while adding to the rustic charm. It didn’t have many reviews on social media, as tourists didn’t usually stop by unless they happened to pass by on the highway.
The door was a bright red, often painted and well cared for despite the rest of the exterior.
It was this door that Kim Seokjin and Kim Taehyung passed through and found their two friends squabbling over something stupid again.
The taller of the two pinched the bridge of his nose. He was filthy and he was in desperate need of a shower. They only stopped by the damn place first instead of the local motel was because one of his oldest friends called and said that it was urgent.
“I still say that the chicken came before the egg,” the youngest of their friends said, crossing his sizable arms across his broad chest.
“But the egg had to have come first in order for the chicken to hatch from it and grow up,” the short man known as Jimin argued in response.
Seokjin made eye contact with his younger friend. Taehyung rolled his eyes.
“Hey, can you guys stop arguing like an old married couple for two minutes and say hi?” Taehyung grumbled in his smooth baritone.
The younger of the two owners fairly dashed across the room and hugged Taehyung tightly. Taehyung, bird boned and willowy rather than broad and brawny like his friend, wheezed at the hard squeeze. “Hi, Jungkook,” he choked out. “Can you let me go?”
Jimin walked over, grumbling at the younger’s behavior. The two of them had taken over the Tavern after the original owners retired nearly seven years ago. It served as a safe gathering spot for various hunters of different ages and backgrounds. They were young, but they managed the bar with quiet efficiency.
Jeon Jungkook served as the de facto bouncer and bartender. He was the last surviving blood member of the legendary hunting family. They were wiped out nine years ago, save for Jungkook who had been out on a solo training trip. Between his dark glare, darker reputation and height, the hunters who frequented the Tavern didn't cause any problems.
Park Jimin was his childhood best friend and ignorant of the supernatural life until Jungkook knocked on his door with Taehyung in tow, sobbing over his family nine years ago. Since taking over the Tavern, Jimin was the peacekeeper and the face of the Tavern when civilians came in. He didn’t have actual hunting experience, but he was Yoongi’s primary assistant and a crack shot with a rifle.
During the day time, they helped the grumpy man known as Min Yoongi manage the phones. The fielded the calls and only passed them on when they needed a more authoritative voice. Yoongi was normally holed up in the large library that had been built into the basement of the Tavern.
No one asked about Yoongi’s history. Seokjin only knew because they had known each other since Seokjin started hunting.
They liked passing through when they could. Seokjin had a certain level of gruff fondness for Yoongi whereas Taehyung had a deep bond with the bar owners.
“You two assholes are a sight for sore eyes. How long has it been since you two passed by last time?”
Taehyung shrugged off his canvas jacket and tossed it onto the back of a chair while Seokjin did the same with the thigh length black leather duster he favored. “I think the last time we passed through was when we were flushing out that vampire nest just west of here,” Seokjin said as he accepted a beer that Jungkook handed to him. “Sorry it took us so long to get here, but we got stuck taking care of a shifter.”
Jimin waved it off. “It’s fine. Where’s Yoongi?”
“Sleeping,” Jungkook said with a lazy drawl. “New pair of hunters kept him up all night with questions.”
“I’m surprised that he answered the phone calls,” Seokjin commented idly.
“It was his shift last night, finally,” Jimin said.
Taehyung chuckled. Yoongi was notorious for not taking the graveyard shift. Seokjin had gotten a number of phone calls in the middle of the night when Jungkook didn’t want to or Jimin couldn’t answer the question and needed the eldest man’s expertise. At the age of thirty, Seokjin had been hunting for twelve years after his boyfriend died at the hands of a demon.
Somewhere along the way, and a few partners later, he finally found a solid one in Kim Taehyung. They may have the same last name, but they weren’t related at all. They had been traveling together the last five years or so. The younger man was slender in build and had a face that would have done well in a visual based industry. When Seokjin asked him the story about a year or two into their partnership, Taehyung’s eyes went flat and his mouth was pressed into a thin line. Seokjin never asked him again. He knew bits and pieces from Jungkook, but not the whole story.
Seokjin watched Taehyung as he joked with Jimin and Jungkook. There were moments where he worried about his younger friend. Taehyung was a good three years younger than him. When they first met when Seokjin was twenty-four, he thought that Taehyung was too young to be in the life and maybe had a chance to get out.
It didn’t take him long to change his mind, though. During their first hunt together as accidental partners – they had answered the same call and it was a two person job – Seokjin realized that the pretty boy with a sly smile was a borderline psychopath when it came to the ghosts and ghoulies. He had taken out the vamp nest with deadly efficiency.
Then he found out that he was the foster brother and old partner of Jeon Jungkook. Then it made sense. Jimin had made Jungkook retire after he burned out at the age of nineteen and nearly got himself killed trying to avenge his family. The same year Jungkook retired was the same year Seokjin met Taehyung on accident.
“So,” Seokjin started, after he finished off most of his beer and smooth swallows. “What was so urgent that I had to skip a shower.”
Jungkook shrugged. “I dunno. Yoongi was the one who insisted that you guys get here as quickly as you could.”
Seokjin resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose again.
“I can go wake him up,” Jimin said as he collected the empty glasses.
“No. It’s fine. I’m going to go grab a shower first and then come back when he’s awake,” Seokjin said as he slid the chair out. “If he passed out, I don’t think it’s that urgent.”
Yoongi had a notoriously bad temper when woken up by anyone. It wasn’t that he slept a lot. It was more that he slept at odd hours because of the research requests. Seokjin had known Yoongi long enough that it was better to let the sleeping dog lie rather than poking it.
Taehyung gave Jimin and Jungkook a hug farewell before they went back to their 4Runner to get into town. Seokjin made a mental note to get the bullet holes on the driver side door panel repaired. It was a souvenir from where Taehyung shot at a werewolf that was running towards theor car. He wasn’t pleased that their (new to them) vehicle already had bullet holes.
It was better than the machete marks on the hood and the shattered windshield that forced them to give up the practical and gas efficient Avalon Seokjin got years ago. It was already on its last legs, but Seokjin still wasn’t pleased.
Taehyung didn’t even look apologetic.
“Which motel do you want to go to?” Taehyung asked as he navigated his way to the highway smoothly.
Seokjin grunted. He felt disgusting and all he wanted was a shower. “Don’t care. You pick.”
For as often as the visited the moderate-sized town that the Tavern was situated outside of, the motel staff never recognized the two of them. It probably had something to do with the surprisingly high turnover of the staff. It felt like there was a different person every time they pulled up.
This time was no exception. There was a blandly pretty young woman at the desk who was more interested in her phone than the two who were checking in.
“One bed or two?”
“Two, queens,” Seokjin said as he handed over the cash.
Taehyung had gotten a good amount of cash hustling pool the night before they had that last-minute shapeshifter job, but they often roomed together to save on cash. They had enough time to hit up three different bars in Chicago before Seokjin got the text message from Yoongi.
Get your asses out here.
Something big is happening
Oh btw Jackson called in a Shifter in St. Louis and you assholes are the closest.
Can you guys take care of it?
“Enjoy your stay,” the girl mumbled as she handed over the key.
“Thanks,” Taehyung said almost sarcastically.
Seokjin elbowed his friend. They didn’t need to catch any attention.
When they opened the door of their room, Seokjin noticed the reek of sulfur in the air. Instincts kicked in for both of them as they yanked their preferred firearms from their side holsters. Seokjin carefully reached into the pocket of his duster for the small silver flask of holy water as well. He knew that Taehyung had a hand on the rosary at his belt without even checking.
“Demon,” Taehyung said flatly in a quiet voice. “I fucking hate demons.”
“Preaching to the choir,” Seokjin whispered back as they edged into the room slowly.
Despite their precautions, the guns flew out of their hands and clattered against the walls. Seokjin threw water in the direction that he thought the demon was standing in and nothing. He heard Taehyung curse and then grunt when the two of them flew backwards and hit the wall. Hard.
They hated demons because they always felt like helpless ragdolls. What was the point in trying when the demon literally could just wave its hand and guns would go flying?
The door slammed shut and the scent of sulfur was even stronger as a figure materialized in front of him.
The copper haired young man standing in front of them was wearing a posh suit made of… velvet? The choker around his neck only emphasized the delicate prettiness of his features and the smooth creaminess of his skin. He was studying his elegant hands with an air of affected boredom, but Seokjin could see the glint of amusement in his dark, dark eyes.
“Hello!” he said cheerfully.
Seokjin nearly did a double take. The tone was just such a sharp contrast to how the young man looked that it didn’t make sense to him. Not at all.
“I’m sure Yoongi has told you about me already.”
“Who are you,” Taehyung said bluntly. It wasn’t even a question with his tone.
The young man looked absolutely crushed. Seokjin couldn’t believe that a grown man would wilt. He regained his composure, flicking off an invisible speck of dust off the satin lapels.
“My name is Hoseok,” he said, his tone entirely too bright for a fucking demon. “And I’m the King of Hell.”