Chapter 7 – Day of the Deadman:
It had been 4 months in total ever since Sakuma made the deal with the Seven Deadly Sins, the Queens of Inferno.
His so awaited day of vacation had finally come: 6th of June of 2023. Why did he choose such a specific day? Well...
Sakuma looked at himself in the bathroom mirror, carefully observing his reflection. He suddenly sighed, giving up on what he was attempting to do. "No difference... I know that it is hard to spot differences as you age, but still... Am I really stuck in '16 years and 8 months old' appearance forever? ...Might as well get used to it. I won't change in face... nor grow any taller." He spoke his thoughts aloud as he scratched the back of his head. But Sakuma put on a smile nonetheless. "Well, it doesn't matter. Maybe being a teen forever isn't as bad as I'm thinking it might be. And this is my first birthday as a Deadman. I'll enjoy it no matter what!" Sakuma brushed his hair in less than 20 seconds during his self-conversation. "I'll even celebrate it on Earth so I won't bother the Sins and everything. There are tons of opportunities for me today." He put down the brush and looked at his reflection once more in order to check his hair and smile. "All ready. Let's go."
Sakuma left the bathroom, only to find Leviathan standing by the exit on the other side of the door.
"Good morning, Leviathan." Sakuma replied. He noticed that Leviathan appeared to be much more calm than usual. She was definitely different in some way. She had a calm smile, which was somewhat forced, but still soothing.
"I... I wanted to apologize."
"Hm? For what?"
"For being a pest in the last few months. I understand now that I was being... inconvenient. I hope you can forgive me."
The Deadman was stunned for a moment, but he couldn't help but to chuckle afterwards, much to the surprise of the embodiment of Envy.
"You weren't being an inconvenience. I actually kind of liked it a bit. But, the point is, you don't have to apologize for it."
Leviathan smiled brightly. "Sakuma!" She lunged herself forward and embraced him, much to the boy's surprise.
Leviathan realized what she was doing and immediately back off. "Oops... Sorry, Sakuma, I didn't-?"
The young man placed his arms around her shoulders and placed his head next to hers. Leviathan's cheeks became so red that one could swear she had all of her blood on her cheeks. "I'm the one who's sorry. You can hug me whenever you want." He expected a stuttering reply, but something else happened. He felt her body becoming limp. Curious, he broke the hug and was shocked to find out that she had passed out with dizzy eyes and smile of bliss. "L-Leviathan?!"
"I-I-I c-can hug S-Sakuma-kun... wh-whene-never I want..."
"Crap, what do I do now?!" Sakuma thought it would be best not to let the other Sins find out. Otherwise, they would probably misinterpret the situation at hands. He looked around and thought of what he thought was both the best and most ridiculous solution for the problem: he sat her down in front of her door and left, hoping everyone who passed by her assumed she was asleep. He himself thought that it was a stupid resolution to the problem, but he didn't have much of a choice.
He approached the entrance to the living room and took a deep breath. He knew what was going to happen as soon as he opened the door, but he gathered his courage and stepped in.
It happened before he could even blink: Satan punched his stomach with one of her infamous fists. Sakuma did his best to withstand the pain he had felt many times now, but he couldn't overcome it. He still held his abdomen in pain and looked up, finding Satan glaring down at him.
"When will you stop punching me?"
Sakuma sighed, thinking 'If you can't fight it, why bother?'. "Good morning, everyone."
In the living room were Satan, Beelzebub, and Belphegor, doing what they did every morning: Beelzebub ate her second breakfast, Belphegor slept on the couch and Satan drank her coffee.
"Morning." Beelzebub replied in unison, while Satan ignored him. He was already expecting such a reaction though.
Afterwards, Mammon walked in as Sakuma drank a glass of milk. "Does anyone know why Leviathan is passed out in the middle of the hall?"
Sakuma coughed, almost choking on the milk, but quickly recovered. He turned around, cleaning his mouth with the back of his hand, since he had dropped the hoodie and jackets ever since the temperatures began to rise. But due to being distracted and not aware of his surroundings, upon turning around he bumped into Asmodeus. Most specifically, her thorax.
"Eh?" she looked down, finding boy's blushing face in between her breasts, and she held his head close to it before he could jump back. "Good morning, Sakuma-kun!"
"Mrmph mmmrpph mmmrrrmph!" (Asmodeus, let me go!) The two large flesh pillows were suffocating Sakuma. "Mmmrrphh mmrrrpphhh mmmmrph!?" (When did you get here anyway?!)
Lucifer stepped in, out of nowhere just like Asmodeus, and Sakuma thanked her for what she did next.
"Asmodeus, let him breathe." Lucifer pulled his head out of Asmodeus' chest, finally letting him inhale once again.
"He might not need to, but he still likes to breathe."
"Awww…" Asmodeus pouted. "But I love when Sakuma-kun is struggling for his life! He gets so wild and-"
"I-I'm on my way to the human world." Sakuma interrupted, predicting that Asmodeus would take the conversation into a direction he thought would be better not to be present at. It could be seen that he was blushing intensely before he teleported between worlds.
"Is it just me, or ever since that talk with Amdusias, Sakuma has been… blushing even more than usual?" Lucifer asked to the rest of the demonesses in the room. After the question was made, they realized that what their leader said was, in fact, true.
But other doubts hovered around Mammon's mind. "Hmm… I wonder what Sakuma's going to do… And why did he choose this day specifically?"
"So they actually listened when I said I wanted to be buried and not cremated."
There was place Sakuma had wanted to visit, but never had the chance because he would only be on Earth for either a demon hunt or a pseudo-date (the word pseudo being used very loosely) with one of the embodiments of sin.
He was at a cemetery. More specifically, in front of his own grave. It was somewhat easy to find, since there weren't many cemeteries around the area he lived in when alive.
It was rather small, without many graves, and it was actually a nice place, with trees and green grass instead of cold stone.
"But who left these…?"
Sakuma was curious about the bouquet of black roses and who would've left them. He doubted that it was his parents or any of his school colleagues, for personal reasons. He took the bouquet into his hands and smiled. After all, someone actually bothered to leave him a bouquet of his favorite flower. Sakuma decided to leave a note. With use of a piece of paper and a mechanical pencil, he wrote down a message to the sender of the gift, folding it and putting a little rock over it so it wouldn't fly away.
He decided to leave the bouquet instead of taking it as his original intent. After all, it would be rather confusing for such a thing to happen and he thought would be best to not raise suspicion beyond the note.
"Let's go, Chika-san!"
"Calm down, Fumiko. You really are excited, aren't you?"
Sakuma froze for a moment, with his eyes widened. "Fumiko and Chika!? What are they…?"
He ran as fast as he could and hid on top of one of the trees nearby. He looked through the leaves with curious eyes, which began to water upon seeing two familiar faces.
Chika was Sakuma's only friend from when he was alive, and he would've killed himself far earlier if it wasn't for her, and Fumiko for that matter. She wore a rather pretty white summer dress, which made her look beautiful in the eyes of his dead friend. She also had a white hat with a purple ribbon around it over her wavy brown hair, casting a shadow over her radiant brown eyes.
Fumiko was Sakuma's little sister, only being 8 years old. She hadn't grown a lot since the last time he saw her. He thought her to look as cute as she ever was. Sakuma's little sister possessed lilac hair with a side pony tail and childish clothes that matched her purplish eyes.
The two for them approached the grave, carrying yet another bouquet of black roses, and they noticed the piece of paper Sakuma had left behind.
"Eh? Chika-san, what's this?"
"Hm? A letter?"
"Crap!" Sakuma began reconsidering his decision of leaving a note. "Should they really read the letter? I mean… I wanted at first to thank them, but I didn't want my classmate and my little sister to know I'm still alive. I mean, from all people… I was important to them and they were important to me. And if it was somebody else, they would just laugh it off and think it was a prank, but those two… they would actually think I was still alive. Well, I'm not technically alive anymore anyway… But who the hell else would it be? Think, Sakuma, think!"
"Eh?! Onii-chan is… alive?!"
"This… this is his handwriting." Chika confirmed.
'Thanks for the bouquet. Don't tell anyone about the letter, ok? Oh, umm, by the way, I changed my name. I'm now called Sakuma. Don't mention my real name anymore, ok? Again… thank you.'
Chika read the letter and Sakuma couldn't help but notice Fumiko's look of confusion. Repent began spreading across his face.
"Eto… onii-chan… isn't dead?"
"No, no… he is dead. You saw it yourself when you found him."
Panic rushed through the Deadman's brain in a single second. "FUMIKO WAS THE ONE WHO FOUND ME?!"
"But he can't be dead if he wrote that, can he…"
"Maybe it was his spirit." Chika's suggestion was not wrong in Sakuma's opinion. "Maybe he came down from Heaven, and when he found the bouquet we left the other day, he wrote down a note thanking us, despite not being able to take it with him."
"Actually, it was the other way around…" Sakuma whispered to himself.
"But… why did he change his name?"
"Hmm… I don't know. But I like it. Sakuma, huh…?"
Sakuma climbed down the tree, hiding behind it, so the girls would not see him. He wrote down a message on another piece of paper and threw it at them, which, with the help of the wind, landed on Fumiko's face.
"Ahh!" She removed the paper off her face and attempted to read it. "Eto… Thanks for everything. And thanks for calling me 'Sakuma'. I love both of you. Sayounara."
Tears began to fall off their eyes soon after, and Sakuma could see them trying not to. Guilt overwhelmed his mind and decided to do something the sins would kill him for if they ever found out: he stepped out of his little hideout and called them.
"Fumiko. Chika." They turned to the boy and the tears on the corners of their eyes rolled down their faces. The three of them smiled. "I'm Sakuma. Nice to see you two again."
"Onii-chan!" Fumiko ran up to her brother and jumped, hugging him. Chika did the same, but she didn't have the need to jump.
After a moment, the three broke the hug. "H-How are you alive?" Chika asked, never breaking her smile. It was obvious that she was really happy to see her friend.
"I… made a deal, so to say."
"Eh?" Chika and Fumiko backed off, both confused. Sakuma knew he shouldn't have answered the question in such a way. "Wait, does this mean that there is an after-life?!"
"Umm… Look, Fumiko, Chika… I can't be with you two any longer."
"Eh? W-Why?" Fumiko asked, putting on her sad puppy eyes.
Sakuma flinched. "If I wasn't dead already, those eyes would kill me…"
"I… got myself involved in some… business… dangerous business, if you know what I mean. And I don't want you two to get into it as well."
"You sound like you're in the mafia business."
Chika's remark made Sakuma chuckle. "Are you calling me 'bosozoku'?" his question, in return, made Chika giggle. It was an old joke the two of them had. "I wasn't planning to see you, but… Well, I couldn't hold myself back. So, please, don't tell anyone I'm still alive. Well, I'm not technically… it's a long story."
After a moment of silence with somewhat blank expressions, Fumiko approached Sakuma, looking down towards the floor, which her brother found weird.
"Can't you come home again…?" Her words stunned both of the teenagers. She suddenly looked up, with tears at the corners of his eyes, grasping his shirt tightly, showing despair to the Deadman. "Please come home, Onii-chan! Mom and Dad aren't mean to each other and me anymore! And Chika-san makes us a lot of visits! We're happy and nice, like you wanted us to be! So please…"
Sakuma, for the first time in his life, felt his heart break.
"Fumiko… I can't." His eyes began to water a bit as well. "I would like to, I really would, but I can't…"
"Why?" Chika wondered, making her best not to cry too.
"Because my true body is buried over there." Sakuma pointed at the grave which bestowed his true name. "I can't really explain it, but I will guarantee you this…" the young man hugged the two of them simultaneously once again. "I'll protect and watch over you, to make sure nothing bad happens to you. Maybe I'll make a visit or two. Even if it breaks my heart, I can't stay." He then stood up properly, finding the two girls wearing smiles, much to his surprise. But he knew what kind of smiles they were… they were the 'I'm going to mess with him'-looks that he always feared during his human life. "W-What…?"
"Today's your birthday, isn't it?"
"Why do you think I'm here?"
"Then… ATACK!" Fumiko jumped at me with a black marker she took out of her pocket and Chika held me down from behind. Out of respect and somewhat fear of hurting them, Sakuma didn't make any sort of effort to get free, but in return he got weird drawings on his face, making him resemble a panda.
"I must admit that I missed this." Sakuma laughed, as he patted Fumiko's head lightly. He took out a handkerchief and cleaned the ink off his face.
"Well… have a nice life." Chika spoke, much to the surprise of the siblings. "You have to go, don't you?"
"…Yes. By the way, again, don't tell anyone." He turned to Fumiko. "Not even Mom and Dad."
"One more thing before I go though…" Sakuma added, making the curiosities of the girls trigger once more.
"I really want to be with them… But I can't. Besides, sooner or later, they'll be gone and I'll stick around. But I guess it's for the best. But They'll always be with me…"
Sakuma spoke to himself as he stared at a photo. It was a photo of Chika, Fumiko, and himself, all smiling brightly. After the three of them took the photo, Sakuma asked Chika to look over Fumiko for him, which she gladly accepted. The girls held hands as they left the cemetery, and Sakuma waved goodbye at them one more time. And he hoped it wouldn't be the last.
He was staring at the picture at the top of the Tokyo Tower, the very first place he went to in his after-life, and the light of the sunset was soon to fade.
But then something made him almost fall off the 333 meter high tower, in front of several boxes of various sizes. His cellphone rang. "Whaa!" surprised by the sudden sound, he lost balance, but quickly regained it before falling. "What the…?" he saved the picture and swapped it for his phone, finding out that Mammon was the one phoning him. Obviously, he picked up. "Hello?"
"Sakuma, it's almost night-time. Where have you gone?"
"Oh, don't worry, I was on my way back anyway."
The Deadman was taken aback by the sight of seven pairs of curious eyes staring at him.
"Sakuma… how come… you've spent… the whole day… alone…? Ba~~~…"
"Oh… Umm…" Sakuma scratched the back of his head, trying to come up with a way of explaining the reason behind his actions without giving away that he had revealed his secret to people. "How should I say this…?" He couldn't help but to put on a silly smile. In return, it ticked Satan off, earning him another punch in the stomach. "Ouch! Satan, what the-?!"
"Don't be a chicken and answer already."
"Hey, hey, no need to be violent…" he whispered to himself. The boy sighed and decided to simply tell them, while concealing the details that would get him punished. "I went to the human world to… celebrate my birthday." The seven demons were somewhat surprised. "I didn't tell you anything because I didn't really want to bother any of you. Sorry if I made it seem like something was wrong."
"Why would that bother us?" Leviathan asked, not understanding the premise the Deadman presented.
"Because I can only summon one of you at a time. If I were to celebrate it with you in the human world, it would be a bother for all of us if I just kept on switching you around, and I have to be fair between you seven, don't I? After all, you ARE the seven deadly sins. And choosing only one of you wouldn't be fair at all. So, in order to solve the dilemma,
I decided to gather up some things."
"What do you mean?" Lucifer wondered.
"You see, since I didn't tell anyone about my birthday, instead of receiving presents… I decided to get you some gifts."
"Wait, what?" Belphegor snapped awake. The others looked just as surprised.
"Give me a second." Sakuma quickly teleported back to the top of the Tokyo Tower and returned, this time holding the seven boxes that concealed the contents he intended to give to the embodiments of the seven sins.
Mammon's curiosity flourished. "But how did you…?"
"We still got all that money from some months ago. I think Japan's economy will go on a downfall someday because of me, but that will take its time." He explained, as he laid out the presents to them.
"But why would you buy us presents in the first place?" Beelzebub interfered.
"Well, you've done so much for me up until now, so I thought I should thank you in a better way than words." Sakuma turned his back to them, checking on the presents and making sure everything was in order. "You might not realize it, but it's thanks to the seven of you I can be myself, and have a clean conscious about my opinion on the world."
"Sakuma…" Lucifer muttered, being just as surprised as the others by his words.
"You know, I don't really care for the fact that demons can kill people or destroy the world, but I fight them off because you seven want me to." He turned, wearing a smile. "And that's reason enough for me." The sins were simply speechless at his remark. Somewhat… moved. Had someone ever said such words to any of them in their entire lives? "Well, enough of that. Satan."
"This one is for you." Sakuma took the largest of the boxes and handed it over to the Sin of Wrath. She was somewhat amazed by its size, but she the returned to her own reality.
"Don't think I'm going to thank you…" Satan began to tear off the wrapping paper and trying to find a way to open the box. "Why did you get ME a present to begin with? After all, I'm constantly hitting you and insulting you. It makes no sense."
"That's no excuse to leave you out of the picture, now is it? Besides, just because you hit me and call me names isn't reason enough to not like you."
Much to her own disbelief, his remark made her blush, even if only for a second. Satan finally managed to open the box and was somewhat confused by seeing what was inside it.
"What is this?"
"It's a punching bag and boxing gloves. I thought maybe it would help you train your punching skills." Sakuma quickly performed some punches with no target and finished with an uppercut while wearing a grin. "I've noticed that they're getting rather soft recently."
"Eh? W-What did you just say?! My punches aren't getting softer!" She punched the bag, and was surprised by the feeling. She stared at it for a moment and then decided to try it out with the gloves. She performed a barrage of punches and sent the bag flying across the room.
"It's made of the strongest material there is, so I think as long as you don't put your whole strength into it, it might last a couple of years."
Satan stared at the gloves and bag in disbelief. She appeared to be struggling to do something, which was surprising to everyone. "…Thank you." Everybody heard it despite being said in a rush, and everyone was surprised enough to jump back.
"Whoa…" Sakuma decided maybe it was a good idea to change the focus of the events. "B-Belphegor! This one is for you."
"Hm?" She approached the Deadman, who held a medium sized box in his hands. She took it into her own hands and opened it.
Her reaction was different from Satan's. She knew perfectly well, what the content inside was. Or at least what the general concept was. "This is…"
"The best blanket there is at the moment." It was a soft white blanket that appeared to be able to make anyone fall asleep with a single touch of it. "I thought you would feel much more comfortable and warm while sleeping if you used it. Falling asleep on the cold floor can't be as comfortable as you make it out to be."
Belphegor blushed and smiled, looking up at Sakuma with as much happiness her face could conjure up. "Thank you. I… like it a lot."
"You're welcome. The next one is yours, Mammon."
Sakuma handed the Sin of Greed a rather small box, at least when compared to the others. "Hmm… I wonder what kind of present you got me. My taste is rather unique. I wouldn't accept just anything, you know?"
"I know. You might be the embodiment of Greed, but excessive goods, gold and diamonds don't seem to be what you really want."
Mammon opened up her present and was somewhat surprised.
"More of a journal than anything else." Sakuma explained. "You like information, don't you? I didn't really know what to give you solely based on that, but I ended up thinking that since you don't really share your own information that it would be fun to write it down. And it has a lock, so you don't need to worry about other people reading it."
Mammon didn't know what to say. Except, of course, the words one usually says when thankful for a gift. "Thank you, Sakuma-kun."
"Next one is for Asmodeus."
"Me?" She flew towards the Deadman and he handed her the present into her hands. She carefully opened the box and was confused as to what exactly she had received. "What is this?"
"It's called a 'video camera'. It is used to record videos, like those you see on TV." Asmodeus was still somewhat confused. Her childish nature gave it right away, so Sakuma leaned in a whispered an explanation into her ears.
"Eh?! I can really use it for that?"
"If you'd like to, sure. I mean, it can help you out, can't it?"
"Yay! I love you, Sakuma!" Asmodeus said cheerfully as she pecked his cheek, much to his surprise, but he couldn't help but to chuckle as he rubbed the kissed area.
"I know, I know. Leviathan, this one is for you."
The Sin of Envy nearly ripped his hands off when fetching what Sakuma had in his hands.
"I guess I should have started with her instead of building up her jealousy."
Leviathan opened up the box and was rather surprised by what she received. "A hand mirror?"
"Well, it might be cheesy, but… since you get jealous rather easily over the appearance of others, I thought maybe you could look at it to see that you don't need to be."
She blushed intensely and looked at it, finding her expression of awe in the reflection. She then smiled and looked back up to Sakuma. "Thank you. I'll definitely make use of it!"
"Good to know. Yours next, Beelzebub."
The slender girl approached and the Deadman handed her a rather heavy box. Luckily, she didn't drop it.
Following the pattern, she opened the box, but was confused as to what it was. "What is this?"
"It's a portable microwave. It's to heat up food when it gets cold. I sometimes hear you complain something is far too cold, so I thought you would like this. Just be sure not to put any metal in it."
She stared at the device whose function seemed almost too good to be true. She was fascinated by the appliance to say the least. "T-Thanks…"
Lucifer stepped in right after. "I believe my present is next."
"Hai, hai." Sakuma took the last box and extended his arms so Lucifer would be able to reach it. "To be honest, yours was the hardest to find."
"Hmph. Why so?"
"Since you're so proud of yourself, I wanted to give something you would really like, maybe something beautiful. I was about to give up, but then I came across this. I hope you like it."
Lucifer opened the box carefully, which, much to her surprise, possessed yet another box inside. Her eyes widened in surprise upon realizing what it was.
Lucifer opened the box, which showed the doll of a female angel that spun according to the song it let out. It was a music box.
The Sin of Pride was speechless. Words of compassion were something she never really liked using, but she spoke them nonetheless. "…Thank you, Sakuma. I really like it. Let's celebrate this how it should be!"
"Eh? What do you mean…?"
"Beelzebub, go fetch the largest cake you can find! Everyone will get a slice!"
"I'll put my video camera to the test tonight then!"
"My, my, this certainly will be a great first entry for my journal."
"I'm about to… fall asleep… It's so soft… Ba~~!"
"Mou… I'm getting jealous now… But I still would rather have my hand mirror than any of your presents."
"I-I don't care for my present… I'll beat the crap out of it! And the cake will help me to do so!"
After the cake was delivered to the living room, the seven of them sang Sakuma 'Happy Birthday', much to his surprise. But he found the song rather beautiful when sung by them. They each took a slice. Beelzebub's was the biggest. She basically waited until everyone had taken a piece of cake before attacking the poor desert.
They used their presents after the small party was over, and Sakuma went immediately to his bed. He stared at the ceiling and smiled.
"My name is Sakuma. I made a deal with the Seven Deadly Sins. And I'm going to have the best life ever."
"You are now in possession of what truly defines a higher being. Please acknowledge it with all of your soul."
"I certainly do. After all, I did my best to obtain these. I wouldn't go as far as disrespect the ones who gave them to me."
"Need I remind you who those originally belonged to?"
"Not at all. After all, we both know I have a unique hatred for her."
IMPORTANT WARNING: to those who want to read the continuation of this story, the following chapters will be published in another story! So be sure to stay alert!
And who were these two mysterious characters talking about? Will Sakuma's next challenge be far greater than he expected? Find out in "S.I.N.s. – Wings of the Fallen", whose first chapter will be uploaded as soon as possible.
I hope you all enjoyed the chapter, despite being rather rushed. I apologize. But if you have any questions, just ask. And I hope you read my following stories. Until then…
KEEP IT ALIVE!