"Not Who You Think I Am"
My name is Yukimura Keiko—but that has not always been my name.
My old name doesn't matter. Where I'm from doesn't matter, and what I looked like doesn't matter. What matters is that my name is Yukimura Keiko. A common Japanese name for a common Japanese girl.
Despite my common name, however, it's entirely possible you might've heard of me.
I'd heard of me, before I became me.
If you are one of the ones who knows my name—
If you are one of the ones who thinks they know me—
I need you to remember one important thing:
I am not who you think I am.
The last thing I remember is driving. Warm night, bright stars, highway slicking smooth beneath the wheels of my car, dark water under the hull of a boat. I played music, loud. Something with a beat, to keep me awake. I remember the moon looming bright and big above me. A supermoon, that night. They'd talked about it on the radio during my commute to work. I glanced at the moon when I could. Seemed like something I should try to see, commit to memory and savor sometime later.
And then there came that shuddering impact. That screech of metal on metal. A quick flash of dashboard illumination, sparks on the pavement lighting up my hands, world turning over and over again, the barest glimpse of my terrified face in the rearview mirror, features pale and glowing like that bloated moon—
Then a blinding light.
Then warm arms, and words I didn't understand.
Took me a long time to figure out what happened. Might seem obvious to you that I'd somehow been reincarnated into a new body with memories of my old life intact, but when you're caught in that situation yourself, reality takes a while to sink in. Not just because the situation is so utterly impossible as to be unbelievable—though of course that's part of it.
It took me a while to figure out what was happening simply because the brain of an infant doesn't possess the same processing power as an adult brain.
Infant brains don't hold memory very well. They don't know how to interpret patterns or analyze events. Connections between neurons haven't formed, I guess. And infant eyes don't learn to see very well for a good long while, too. Shapes are hazy, colors muted. It's like seeing underwater, and the water is brackish with unaccustomed life.
Point is, for the first few months I struggled to so much as remember what had happened a few minutes prior, let alone analyze the car accident that killed me or my subsequent rebirth. When my brain finally reached a point of development where critical thought became possible, said thought wasn't without error. I couldn't hold my train of thought for very long. I acted impulsively, like a child, even while my 26-year-old consciousness told me I was acting like a (literal) baby and needed to cut that shit out.
I was a well-behaved child, once I moved past infancy and finished mourning the loss of my old life. My parents liked to joke they picked my name well.
'Keiko,' they called me.
A normal name for a normal girl.
A common Japanese name for a common Japanese infant.
It meant 'lucky child.'
That was a meaning I only understood when I got a bit older, and I soaked up enough Japanese to start understanding their speech.
I had been terrible at learning languages in my old life. I was lucky child brains were such sponges…
Not that I forgot English. I didn't let myself. I refused. When I realized I was living in Japan, and that I'd unwittingly been learning to speak Japanese (again, baby brains aren't that smart), I panicked. Even as I learned Japanese, I repeated every word in English in my head, desperate to retain some small semblance of my past. I replayed all my memories one by one, a constant movie reel of personal recollection, ensuring that my forgetful, infant brain could not forget my old life.
Despite these efforts, though…somehow, in the confusion of my rebirth, I forgot my old name.
I remembered many other things. I remembered the face of my past best friend. My past mother. My past education. My past job. My boyfriend. It was just my name that escaped me—a wisp of fog fading in the light of the hot sun that was this new existence. I don't know why I forgot my name, and not the other things. I guess I took my name for granted. Thinking it immortal, I didn't take the time to painstakingly safeguard its permanence it the way I safeguarded everything else.
That said, as soon as I learned it was mine, I clung to my new name with ferocity. I always looked when my new mother or father called. I smiled on reflex. Mother called me the happiest baby in the world, not knowing that when I cried at night, it wasn't because I wanted to be held. It was because I missed some small facet of my old life, or remembered I'd forgotten my old name.
I took comfort in being called 'Keiko.' That name gave me the identity I longed for. Common as 'Keiko' was in Japan, it was mine.
In some ways, I took comfort in its commonality. What had happened to me was not normal, after all. But here I was, born to owners of a ramen shop, normal in every way—a lucky child pulled from death and into something different.
Different, but normal.
I had no explanation for what happened to me, other than the luck I had been named for.
Perhaps this was just a quirk of fate.
Perhaps I just got lucky.
Perhaps I was destined for normalcy, just like my name suggested.
I'm sorry to say that perception only lasted until I entered kindergarten.
That was the day I learned my last name. My family name. The name that put 'Keiko' into context.
That was the day I learned my normal name had been given to a not-so-normal girl, after all.
My surname, I learned that day, is Yukimura.
If you are one of the ones who has heard my name before—
If you are one of the ones who has heard of this lucky little child—
I need you to remember one important thing:
My name is Yukimura Keiko.
And I am not who you think I am.
[[Have always toyed with writing a self -insert story for this fandom, but there are SO MANY good ones already (and it seems like dozens have popped up in the last few months alone). I felt I couldn't add anything to the fandom that didn't exist already. So I never wrote one. But then this idea hit me. An OC/my persona-thing reincarnated…into the body of Keiko.
We'll see how it goes.
Pairings are going to be weird and this thing WILL diverge from canon. Keiko/my-persona-thing will be quite different from the Keiko in the anime…sort of. You'll see. This shit will get philosophical and dark. Thanks for reading.]]