Slightly Damned: Wind of Redemption and Rebirth
"I see. So it really did end up this way…" I thought as I desperately struggled against the demon that held me back. "So be it…" was my last thoughts as I made my choice. I knew I wouldn't survive, but… as long as they… he… would live, then that would be enough for me.
Giving into my rage, I let loose the final ability of my kind as my mind went blank and I began tearing through the demons that stood in our way.
Perhaps a few moments passed, and for a moment, I felt my sanity return as I had both of them in my arms. "The star… it must be because of the star!" I thought before I quickly carried them both towards the light that led out of Hell, even though I knew I'd be dead shortly. As we got close to the light, I felt a sharp pain in my back, before that pain turned into a burning sensation more painful than anything I had ever experienced before. "A holy arrow…" I though fuzzily, just as we entered the light.
Cold. That was the first thought that came to mind as we landed in a place covered in cold white stuff, which I guessed was what the Medians referred to as 'snow', as next to me, Buwaro and Rhea laid unconscious. Feeling the last of my strength disappear, I laid there on my belly, knowing I was going to die. "Buwaro… I'm so sorry…" were my thoughts as I looked at my adoptive sibling's unconscious form. I had done it. I managed to get us out of Hell, and now… now they had a chance for something better than Hell.
"I guess… I've finally gotten what I deserved…" were my last thoughts as my life flashed before my eyes, yet even now I regretted. Regretted that the last thing I said to my father was that I hated him, even when he said that he loved us, and always would. Regretted that I blamed my brother for something he didn't do. Regretted… Regretted that I had let my own anger cloud me so much that I had spat at my father's last wish and left my brother to die. "Heh… If they say Buwaro was a failure of a demon for feeling compassion… Then I'm a failure for feeling remorse…" I mentally chuckled at the irony of my last moments before I closed my eyes for the last time.
Demons don't have an afterlife. At least, that's what everyone believes. Yet…why do I still feel like I exist. Opening my eyes, I saw myself in a white plane, completely devoid of color and in front of me, Buwaro sat, his head held down. Perhaps I was being allowed one last dream before I disappear from this world.
"I miss you…" he said sadly, and I couldn't help but smile gently.
"I know… Please don't cry," I said soothingly, just as I took notice of the small white creature he had in his arms. "What is that in your arms?" I asked curiously as I took a closer look.
"Huh? Oh, this is a bunny I found with Rhea," he said, giving me a better look.
"I see. She's very cute. You should take good care of her," I smiled as somehow I knew this bunny would help Buwaro, even if it was simply to cheer him up. It was at this point I decided that maybe this was more than a dream, and if it really was, then I had to tell him something important. "Listen Buwaro, this is very important. That necklace of mine… Always keep it close to you. It is very precious, and very powerful. Please don't forget," I told him as my vision started to fade.
"I guess my time is up…" I thought as my vision went black.
When my vision went black, I expected to simply disappear since my kind is not supposed to have an afterlife, yet to my surprise, that didn't happen. I still felt like I existed, and to my surprise, I could open my eyes. "Where am I?" was the first thought that crossed my mind, just as I realized that I was inside some kind of crystal pillar on top of what looked like a large white tower/pillar. At that realization, I suddenly panicked. Where was I? How did I get here? And what was going to happen to me? Those thoughts raced inside my head as I started banging my fist against the crystal in hopes of results, and to my surprise, it broke like fragile glass, causing me to tumble forward and hit the ground.
Groaning slightly, I shakily got up, my body feeling strangely weak as though I were a newborn. Remembering what had just happened, my hand immediately went to my back (specifically where I had been struck by the holy arrow), only to find undamaged skin (there was a hole on my clothes left over from where the arrow struck me) instead of a gaping wound or a horrible scar, much to my surprise.
"How...? How can I still be alive…?" I murmured to myself in disbelief. This… This shouldn't have been possible. I knew I was shot with a Holy Arrow, something that would ensure death to any demon, yet here I was. "Is…Is this just another dream? Something before I disappear?" I wondered. Yes, this had to be a dream. It was the only conclusion that could have possibly made sense, yet somehow I knew…maybe instinctively, that I was still alive, but that was…it should have been impossible. My thoughts were halted when I suddenly heard the sound of footsteps approaching me.
"So you're the new recruit?" came a voice. The voice seemed rather calm and somewhat indifferent, yet still seemed to hold an underlying felling of friendliness, and judging by the sound, came from a young man.
"Who's there?!" I demanded as my eyes started glowing and lightning started crackling around my right hand, which I pointed towards the source of the voice, only for me to nearly fall over as I still felt very weak for some reason.
"Hey, take it easy!" the voice said, worry now present in his voice as he stepped into view.
The first thought I had was that he was a Median, specifically a human, but he didn't look like any human I had ever seen. He had hair that was white as snow, which he kept in a rather wild, yet short style. His skin was darker in color then any Median I had ever seen when I was in Hell, as his skin was colored a deep bronze color. Strangest of all was his eyes, which were colored a deep amber color, yet were sharper in shape, much like the eyes of a Demon or a predator. He was dressed in a dark blue shirt with black long pants and a strange jacket over it. On top of his outfit, he wore a brown traveling cloak that had a hood on it, and his forehead was wrapped in bandages that were fashioned in such a way that they looked like a headband rather than bandages. The most noticeable thing I saw was his left arm. It looked like it was covered in some kind of black gauntlet that covered even his hand and had 5 claws where the fingers were supposed to go, making his arm look more like the arm of a skeleton/demon rather than the arm of a human.
"Easy there. Your body is still weak from being re-constructed. Here, let me help you," he said in a pleasant tone whilst offering me a hand, much to my surprise.
"What? Why would you-?" I asked in shock at his casual tone. My belief that this may have just been a dream was growing even more. Here was a Median, a human, who wasn't the least bit afraid, and was actually talking to me like it was no big deal.
"Why would I not help you? I see no reason why I shouldn't," he simply stated.
"But I'm a Demon. I thought Medians were afraid of us," I said as my confusion continued to grow. This person couldn't have possibly been serious. I knew how things were in Medius. Demons like myself were viewed as monsters that should either be feared or killed, yet this person…he acted like he didn't know (or maybe he didn't care) about any of that, as he continued to casually talk to me like he would any other person.
"That may be the case on your world, but here that means nothing. Besides, you're here, so that means you can't be all that bad even if you are a Demon. Now come on, last I checked the floor isn't that comfortable," he chuckled, as though he had heard that question a million times, whilst offering his hand again.
I gave him an incredulous look, before I eyed the limb cautiously and with a bit of suspicion. This man (was he even a man?) seemed far too friendly and trusting in my opinion. And what did he mean by "This world"? Even if you could technically consider Medius and the afterlife to be separate worlds, I knew this wasn't Hell, neither was it Heaven nor Medius. "Where am I? Why am I here? And what the hell did you mean by 'this world'? There is no such thing!" I asked cautiously. This person had to be insane, or at least not well in the head.
"Huh? You don't even know that?" he blinked. "Did you by any chance break out of the crystal, or did it break by itself?"
"That crystal? I broke out of it," I answered, seeing no reason to lie. I was surprised however, as his face gained a knowing look at my answer.
"That would explain a lot. Here, hold my hand and I'll explain," he said.
I looked at him suspiciously, but decided to listen to him as I grabbed the hand he had been offering, before he quickly pulled me up, showing a surprising amount of strength for a human. Still holding on to my hand, he undid the bandages on his head with his left hand (somehow not clawing himself in the process) to reveal what looked like a crown shaped mark on the left side of his head.
"This'll only take a moment," he said before lightly touching the mark with his left pointer finger, causing it to glow. Suddenly, I felt a rush of information enter my mind, causing me to let go of his hand and recoil, but by the time I did that, all the information he had intended for me to see had already entered my mind. At first I was incredulous at what I had just seen. Other worlds? An entire universe/multi-verse? This HAD to be a dream. There was no way it could have been anything else, yet something at the back of my mind kept telling me that this wasn't a dream, and that it was all real.
"Why am I having these thoughts? This isn't how things are! This is…" I thought, desperately trying to hold on to my quickly shattering perception of reality (or at least how I thought reality was supposed to be), just as one particular piece of information came to mind, which made my blood boil.
"Is that it? That's why I'm here? Why I was brought back to life? Just to be another of this 'Master's' puppets?!" I demanded as I grabbed him by the front of his cloak and hoisted him up into the air, my eyes glowing in rage as I looked him in the face. I was furious! I could deal with the idea that maybe this wasn't a dream, and that maybe I actually was in another world. But this…I am no one's puppet! I refuse to serve someone against my will! And admittedly, I was taking out that anger on the closest thing I could find. However, instead of being afraid, or even intimidated, his face remained perfectly neutral.
"That's…one way to look at it," he admitted. "But for me…I prefer the term Servant, since I'm sure you saw the part about us having our free will most of the time. Now then, would you kindly…put me down," he said, before grabbing my arm with the thing he had for a left arm and began squeezing.
I winced as I actually felt my arm crack slightly from the pressure he was putting on it and let go. "Guh! What the hell are you?!" I demanded in shock, as it should have been impossible for a human to overpower a Demon. Another thing I noticed was how cold that arm felt. Even if it was covered in a gauntlet, I should have felt something, but this…it felt as though it weren't even alive, completely devoid of any warmth or life! This…thing in front of me couldn't possibly be human!
"Oh, I'm human. Or at least I used to be human, but that's a story for another time. Either way, you can get as angry as you want, but it doesn't change anything. The Master chose you to become one of us, a Rebirth, and nothing can change that now. You can either keep being angry, which won't do you any good, or you can make the best out of this new life you have been given. Your choice," he stated his voice neutral as if he was saying that he didn't care what my answer was.
"Another…chance? Why? Why would I be given something like this? Someone like me…after everything I did…disappearing should be everything I deserve," I said uncertainly, as I unconsciously placed my hand against my chest, where my Sun Pendant used to be. It didn't make any sense to me. Why would I of all people be given another chance? I'm a demon from Hell. I told my Father who did so much for me that I hated him. I blamed my brother for something that he had nothing to do with, and left him to die. I even let my anger cloud me so much that I harmed him, when he was barely a year old. Not to mention all those horrible, unforgivable things I did in Hell. Yet…why? Why was I being given a chance? Someone as unforgivable as me…
"But you regretted it, didn't you?" he asked, causing me to look at him in surprise. "I can see it in your eyes. You've made some horrible mistakes, done some terrible things, and you regret that," he continued, before he began walking slowly in a circle around me. "Let me put it this way. Who in the world has never had regrets or made mistakes in life? No one, that's the answer. We've all made mistakes and have regrets. I myself have done things that I always wish I had not done. I even know some of our fellow Rebirths who have taken more lives than they can count in their lives, yet the Master still saw fit to turn them into Rebirths instead of leaving them to the damnation their actions had earned them. I'm sure you're wondering why," he said, to which I just silently nodded. I couldn't believe my ears. He was telling me that the reason why I was being given a second chance was BECAUSE I did all those things? That didn't make any sense. Why was I being rewarded for my mistakes that brought me nothing but guilt and shame? Did the Master find it amusing that I be rewarded for my shame? Was this all just some sick joke to him/her/it? Any further pondering was halted when Shun continued to talk.
"It's simple really. They regretted it. Some people kill only a few people, yet they couldn't care less about that. Some have ruined the lives of others solely in the name of their own gain and never batted an eye, nor felt guilty. Our fellow Rebirths, on the other hand, many of them did what had to be done, some not by choice, yet they all regretted it and were truly sorry for what they did. They didn't let the knowledge that 'it was for the greater good' keep their conscience clean, they truly wept and regretted everything they had done. I can tell that you are the same. I don't know what you've done in life that made you think that you deserved to disappear, but the fact remains that you acknowledged your mistake, regretted it, and I'll bet, tried to make up for it. Am I wrong?" he said, shocking me as to how easily he was reading me, so much so that all I could do was shake my head to confirm that he wasn't wrong. That was why? I regretted? I was sorry? Was I actually being given a second chance because I was sorry? This was just too good to be true. How could something as simple as regret earn me this chance? It just couldn't be true, yet somehow I felt…I knew that he wasn't lying to me.
"And there you have it. Even despite whatever you've done, the fact that you truly were sorry and truly regretted your actions, deemed you worthy of a chance at redemption in the Master's 'eyes'. Now it's your choice. Are you going to take advantage of the chance the Master has given you, or are you going to do nothing and really become a puppet since like all of us, you too will receive Orders when it is truly necessary?" he finished, leaving me stunned. "I'll let you mull it over for a bit. The way out is this way, so I'll be waiting for your answer. One more thing, it doesn't really matter if you believe me or not, since it's really up to you. The world is as you perceive it, and neither I nor even the Master have the right dictate otherwise," he said as he walked over the edge of the tower we were on, only for steps that looked like they were made out of stained glass to appear, forming a stair case before he disappeared from my sight.
I stood there for a while, thinking over what I had just heard. "Another chance… Do I really deserve this?" I thought uncertainly. "Is this even real? How can everything I've seen be real? This is all just a dream…right?" I thought, feeling more helpless and afraid than I had ever been. Everything I thought I knew had been turned over by this, and now… now I wasn't even sure what I was supposed to do as my mind kept going over and over about what just happened. The biggest thing that I had a hard time believing (so much so that I wondered if I was simply refusing to believe) was the fact that the reason why I was even here was BECAUSE I regretted my mistakes. The very thing that had tormented me for years.
"But he IS right, though. Everyone does make mistakes, and even in Hell, I never actually enjoyed those awful things I did…" I continued to think, as my mind drifted back to my life before this as I considered the offer I had before me. Even if I didn't agree, the fact remained that I had already been chosen as a Rebirth and that wasn't going to change, and even if I didn't want it, I already had no control over this anymore, so assuming this wasn't a dream, I wondered what I should do. "Maybe… Maybe I should take this chance. Even if I don't deserve it, a second chance would be nice…" I thought uncertainly before I followed the same path that man had taken, which led me to another pillar/tower, this one looking like it was made from more stained glass, along with an intricate design on the top which looked like some kind of picture, even if I couldn't make it out clearly as it was too big (I decided that I could fly over it another time). Along the way, I continued to wonder if I was making the right choice. Looking towards the center of the tower, I saw the man from earlier standing in front of a gate of some kind, which strangely enough, looked like it was just a door that seemed to lead to nowhere.
"So have you decided?" he asked without even turning around.
I looked down uncertainly, doubts still heavy in my mind. However, in the end I made my decision. "Yes. Even if I'm not certain if I really deserve this or not, I shouldn't waste this new life I was given," I nodded, and to my surprise, he had a smile on his face as he turned around.
"Good answer. Even when you are uncertain, sometimes it's best to just keep moving forward, since nothing will change if you do nothing," he nodded, before holding out his hand to me in a gesture I recognized as a handshake. "By the way, I don't believe I introduced myself. The name's Shun Hayami," Shun introduced himself, before he bowed slightly and said, "Might I have the pleasure of knowing the fair lady's name?" he said in a joking tone.
I nearly burst out laughing at that. Strange person or not, I had to admit he seemed to know how to make a joke, since I could tell he meant for that to be ironic, as I was quite sure that a Demon like myself was easily the farthest thing from 'fair lady', but I managed to keep it down as stifled giggles. "My name is Sakido," I answered simply.
"Alright then, Sakido, allow me to welcome you to the world that we, the Rebirths, live in and protect," Shun said as he opened the gate, bathing us both in a blinding light, and when the light subsided, I was left gaping at the sight before me. We were on what I recognized as an island, but unlike the islands in Hell that were made of rock and surrounded by lava, this island was covered in a mixture of some rock, white sand, many lush green trees, and surrounding the island was water of the clearest blue I had ever seen (which is not much considering the landscape of Hell). "This…this can't be real…" I thought as I stood there gaping. This was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. The water, the plants, the island itself. It couldn't have been real. Nothing could possibly be this beautiful. My thoughts were cut short again when I felt a sharp pinch on my arm, causing my head to snap towards the direction to see Shun pinching my arm.
"The look on your face said it all. Besides, I've been saying it from just now, this is all real. It isn't a dream, and besides, you can't feel pain in a dream," he said flatly, clearly a little annoyed that I still thought everything I was seeing was a dream. While I could understand the feeling, it didn't stop me from glaring at him with a look that clearly said 'do that again and you die'.
"Alright – alright, I get it already. I just thought I'd make sure you accepted that this is real before you piss off someone, considering most people wouldn't take too kindly to being considered not real," Shun explained, defending himself. "Besides, this place…The Destiny Islands. It's almost fitting…" Shun idly commented, as I turned towards him in confusion. "They say that this island earned its name from being a starting point in many stories of people who have achieved great destinies. Maybe us appearing here is a sign. A sign that maybe you aren't as beyond redemption as you think," he clarified, before continuing. "Well then, Sakido. If you'd like, I suppose I could show you the ropes for now. Think of me as your supervisor if you will," he said with a smile, and for some reason I found myself smiling back, as something about him made feel like I could trust him. Of course, I wasn't about to let my guard down around him, as I had no reason to fully trust him.
"I'd…like that," I said, as I did appreciate his offer, but just to make a point, I grabbed him by his shirt again and looked him in the eye. "Just don't get any ideas. You may have told me that what might have been the norm back where I came from doesn't apply here, but I'll have you know that I don't trust you, and just because I don't mind you showing me the ropes, doesn't mean I trust you. Understand?"
"Very much so. Couldn't understand it better if I tried," Shun laughed nervously, causing me to let him go.
"Good. Now then, lead the way. After all, you did say you were going to 'show me the ropes'," I chuckled slightly, earning a raised eyebrow from him, before he shrugged.
"Alright then, follow me," he said before walking towards the beach, before I followed him from behind. I didn't know what this new life...this second chance had in store for me, neither was I fully convinced that all this was real, but whatever happens next, I would be ready to embrace this new life.
And done. This is just an idea I had in my head for a while ever since I read Chu's Slightly Damned webcomic. I got this idea since I couldn't help but feel sorry for Sakido and her ultimate fate in the comic. While I did find it appalling how she treated Buwaro when he was little, what really made me feel sympathetic towards her was the last message she wrote, and her interactions early in the comic. To me, Sakido truly regretted what she had done and had tried to atone for it, even when she felt that she could never truly make up for it, making her a very tragic character. This one-shot is really my own take on how things would have gone if the setting was in my fandom universe.
In my world, there exists a race known as the Rebirths, who are actually souls that have met a premature end, and were deemed worthy by a benevolent entity simply referred to as 'The Master' to gaining a second chance in life, and are revived as Rebirths. In order to become a Rebirth, the soul in question must fulfill certain prerequisites in order to be deemed worthy. The most common trait is having a noble, pure, or good heart/soul, which is why many Rebirths are heroic in personality as many died to protect that which they loved. Another possible prerequisite is reserved for Rebirths that committed heinous crimes or terrible acts in life (Sakido falls under this category). This type of Rebirth which are often considered 'Anti-Heroes' are deemed worthy of becoming Rebirths because of their regret and remorse. They genuinely regret and are sorry for their actions, with many of them having tried to make up for it in life, yet many died with that regret, which in itself earns them a chance at redemption in the 'eyes' of The Master. As such, many Rebirths look at this chance as a blessing and often try to take advantage of this chance to tie up loose ends, make peace with their loved ones, and in some cases, continue with their lives (provided they can find their home world, as Rebirths when they are first reborn, never appear in their home world, and instead must go on a journey to find their home worlds).
Despite that, like everything in life, there is a catch to being a Rebirth. First of all, The Master itself is an entity that is concerned with the survival of the entire universe (multiverses included), and as such requires the Rebirths to carry out its will, which often includes maintaining the delicate balance of Light and Darkness, or eliminating threats that could endanger the entire universe if left alone long enough (this makes Rebirths somewhat similar to the Counter Guardians of the Nasuverse). However, as The Master itself embodies the inherent goodness of the universe, it does not give orders to its Rebirths unless completely necessary, and it will only give orders to do the actions that will lead to the best possible outcome as a whole. Even then, unless the orders of elimination are absolutely necessary, The Master rarely issues orders to its Rebirth, as The Master also values the many lives that can potentially be lost (simply put, The Master possesses the logic to see when sacrifices are needed, yet is guided by the goodness of the universe and its desire for the happiness of its people).
In short, this one-shot can function as a few things. The first is essentially a 'fix fic' for Sakido's tragic death (If you are reading this, Chu, then I mean no offence to your story. I simply added my own twist to make a happier story). The second is a sort of fuel for the imagination as I have left Sakido's ultimate fate up in the air. And third, this fic may or may not become a full fic, and if it does, then it will become an AU to the canon story. Either way, enjoy.