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Ruling Child

Chapter Text

This marks the day my life went to Hell. No, literally. Buckle your seatbelts, because if you plan on staying to keep reading, you’re in for one hell of a ride.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is—or, well, was —Sienna Mason. I was twelve when the following events came to pass, which more or less destroyed my mind and mentality. Now, note that I don’t mean to be dramatic—I’m only saying it as it is.

Without further ado, I’ll begin.

I’d start off by saying it was a normal day, but doesn’t every awful day start normally? Anyhow, I digress.

I’d been waiting to cross the street, following the rules and everything—heck, I wasn’t even on my phone— when I heard my name being called. “Hey, Sienna!”

Naturally, I turned. And, naturally, it was exactly the wrong thing to do. Why? Because, of course, at that moment, someone—who’d been on the news the previous night for robbing a bank was making a break from the police behind him on a motorbike—was speeding in my direction.

Of course, I was terrified, and I’m embarrassed to admit that, yeah, I froze up.

Panicking, the robber tried to swerve out of the way, when his entire body stiffened, lifted, and he keeled over. Right in my direction, before my brain could even comprehend that I had to move.

I don’t remember feeling the impact of the bike at first. The first thing I remember having seen was the sky. And then the pain kicked in. My side burned, ached, and I was fairly sure something—or, well, a lot of somethings—had been shattered in my ribs.

I wanted to scream. I think I tried to, too. “Ngh—” I managed to get out, before my vision began to blur, the sheer combination of pain and disorientation making me nauseous and dizzy.

I definitely don’t remember blacking out, though that must have been the case, since I regained consciousness lying upwards in a bed.

Hey . . . the pain’s all gone. It took me a moment, but then I remembered what had happened: I’d obviously been injured by being hit by that motorbike. Which meant I was on some sort of painkiller—what were they called, again? Anesthesia? Analgesia?

Wait a second. I’m alive. Relief flooded through me as I—albeit belatedly—realised that I was lucky to have been so.

Now . . . to open my eyes. I honestly didn’t want to, considering how sleepy and lethargic I felt. I sighed internally, forcing the lethargy away for a moment—

Only to find I couldn’t open my eyes. Okay, I thought. Okay, the medicines are probably just keeping me from moving. Don’t panic.

I heard something akin to a door opening, as an unfamiliar voice spoke. “. . . still comatose, ma’am.”


Wait. Wait, wait, wait.


No. No, no, no, nononononononono. There was no way I was in a coma.

. . . Of course, reality had other opinions. And, of course, I had no choice but to accept the facts for what they were.

“Oh, Sienna . . . oh, my baby . . .” That was Mom’s voice. “Why . . . why did this have to happen to you?”—a hiccup; she was probably crying—“Oh, God, it’s my fault . . .”

I wanted to say that it wasn’t—how could anyone possibly be blamed for a freak road accident?—but I was rendered unable to even comfort her.

I hated it.

“Don’t cry, love, she’ll be alright . . . Sienna’s strong. She’ll make it past this,” Dad said, but there was a severe undertone of grief to it. Like they’ve already lost me.

I didn’t feel like listening any longer. Even when my friends—Anna, Louis, and Christie—came to visit, all they did was apologise. I couldn’t stand the apologies. I couldn’t stand to hear Mom and Anna break into sobs whenever they entered the room, or to hear Dad whisper apologies and regrets softly enough that he’d think I couldn’t here, or to hear Christie curse and berate herself for not being there sooner, or to not hear Louis speak at all, sans quiet questions to the nurses.

I hated every single moment of it.

Or, at least, I thought so, until a month later, when everyone was gathered over. I could hear the soft clack of the nurse’s shoes against the floor when she entered. “I’m sorry, sir, ma’am,” she said, not addressing my friends. “But she will be unable to survive without life support. It is . . . inadvisable for you to continue keeping her on life support, as the costs are extremely high and there is almost no chance of her waking up.”

Oh my God. I’m going to die.

And yet my body refused to comply with the shock my mind was dealing with. No racing heart, no sweaty palms, no fast breathing. I’m . . . I’m scared. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to keep going like this, either.

Surprisingly, Louis, who’d been silent this whole time, spoke up first. “Is there . . . really no chance? None at all? I’ve heard of people being shocked back into waking up before; wouldn’t that be possible?”

The nurse must have shaken her head, because the only following sounds were a loud “DAMMIT” from Christie, and a choked sob from Anna.

I wanted to scream. I didn’t know why, but I did. I knew from a school project that the costs of keeping me on life support were more than my parents could afford.

And there was no way in Hell I wanted to stay like this.

But the words I’m sorry, sweetie had never hurt so much.

If I’m to look back now, perhaps I would think that back then, I was steeling my resolve for the inevitable. I still do miss that life, and I won’t deny it. There are days I still wish I can wake up and find myself in the same place as back then, but, of course, wishes can only remain wishes. The story of Sienna Mason ended painfully, cruelly, and all too quickly, but perhaps you can find yourself more invested in the story of Kimiko Yamada.

The day finally came when I had to make my peace with the world, or whatever, and it was time for me to actually die . I’d read my fair share of teen fiction, and I didn’t really know whether or not all that overload of death helped me come to terms with it easier or not, but I supposed it did allow for the reasoning that everyone died, some sooner than others, and that it wasn’t always fair, but was inevitable.

Or something like that.

But if I had to say, the one thing that really struck a chord with me was that one manga, Death Note . Sure, it was dark and edgy, but if I was being honest, the use of something that dark in such a casual yet abrupt and serious manner was definitely something I could latch onto.

And its end message was unironically what kept me calm for the next few hours while the life support was released:

All humans will, without exception, eventually die. After they die, the place they go is MU (nothingness).

It’ll be like falling asleep, I told myself. A nice nap, I told myself as my mind slowly started losing focus. Goodnight, Mom, Dad, I bade.

. . .

Hang on.

I’m still awake? Thinking? Something doesn’t add up.

I tried, but I still couldn’t open my eyes. Something . . . feels wrong here. I couldn’t describe it—it was like I’d lost all my capacity to think anything other than the simplest thoughts.

I wasn’t sure how much time passed before I could open my eyes to see a bleary white hospital room. Honestly? I felt like I’d forgotten how to count.

. . . which was embarrassing, to say the least. Moreso when I felt myself starting to cry.

In a voice that wasn’t mine. Two unfamiliar voices saying something I couldn’t understand filled the room. Something was obscenely wrong here; this didn’t make sense, and my brain couldn’t comprehend what it was due to my limited brainpower capacity.

But those thoughts all turned to dust when I fell asleep again.

Hours turned to days, which turned to weeks and then months, but my brain still hadn’t come to comprehend what exactly was going on around me. Somewhere, I had subconsciously realised that I wasn’t Sienna Mason anymore, that I was a new person, one named Kimiko, that I now had different parents.

But I still couldn’t think all that clearly, so I couldn’t understand. I’m not quite sure what had happened during this time, or whether or not I had encountered the one person who was destined to change my life—or rather, the person whose life I was destined to change, but by the time I was one, I’d picked up basic sounds and speech, crawled around and started growing more.

And, incidentally, it was also around the time things started coming back to me. Little bits of knowledge here and there, vague memories from somewhere my mind couldn’t quite reach. The language I heard around me and understood seemed different, the people and places odd and new.

Other facts, too, such as that the woman and man who were there must have been my mother and father. At the time, I never knew why that sense of confusing familiarity made me feel guilty everytime I felt it. But, I digress.

I was a little over one when it happened. My mom had taken me next door, to our neighbours’ house, where they’d supposedly had a kid my age—whom I was currently looking at. I didn’t quite recognise him, but there was something there that tugged on the strings of my memories.

“Micchan, why not tell him your name?” My mum suggested softly.

“I’m Kimo— Kimiko Yamada,” I managed to say.

He smiled, and I could just about see a few teeth peeking out. “Nice to meet, you, Kii—Kimi—” he cut himself off, before declaring, “Mikko!” He looked satisfied with the nickname he’d given me. “I’m— Light-o Ya— Yagami,” he said.

And whatever had been sealing my memories had been ripped away, leaving me flooded with a whole twelve years’ worth of thoughts, memories, and facts, all at once, stunning me into sitting down. Thankfully, I’d been in Light’s crib at the time.

I wasn’t Kimiko Yamada, I was Sienna Mason. I wasn’t one, I was twelve. These people weren’t my mum and dad. The language I’d been learning felt strange because it was Japanese, not English . I felt like things were missing because there was no technology that I was used to, since the year wasn’t 2016, it was 1987.

Or maybe not.

If I died, that meant that I couldn’t go back. It meant that this was my new life.

And, if the boy in front of me was the same Light Yagami he may have been, it meant I was in the story Death Note .

I panicked.

Like I said, this is the story of how my life went to Hell.

As I discovered over time, I was, in fact, in the universe that Death Note was set in, as far as I knew. Light’s parents were Soichiro and Sachiko Yagami, both of whom looked just as I remembered (albeit fairly younger, if anything).

And, as it turned out, my mother, Chiyoko (that wasn’t her birth name, though, since she wasn’t Japanese), and Aunt Sachiko had met at around the age of fifteen, and had been best friends since. Thanks to that friendship, Light and I spent a lot of time together, and ended up becoming fast friends.

One would think I should have had some sense of self preservation.

Of course, if the canon storyline was anything to go by, being Light’s friend could go two ways: either it wouldn’t concern me at all, considering his family never ended up getting involved, sans Uncle Soichiro’s involvement with the police and Light’s sister’s (whose name I’d forgotten) kidnapping in the third arc, or I ended up getting roped into the Kira business one way or the other.

I tugged at my hair. I was terrified of the latter option, obviously, but I knew that the former would be the most likely one to occur. After all, it would mean a higher chance of Light getting caught, no matter how small.

“Mikko!” Light was sitting in front of me, pulling me out of any thoughts going through my head. “We have our reading practice now,” he said, lifting up a book for the two of us to read through. “Uncle Hayato said he would help us!”

I looked at the door, and, sure enough, my father was there, about to come in and sit next to us. “Hey, kids,” he said, plopping himself down opposite us, then handed another book to me. This one was in English, titled Lewis the Cat .

“That’s not Japanese,” Light said, clearly not used to the English font.

“Mum isn’t Japanese, so sometimes we speak English at home instead,” I responded, secretly relieved since I tended to skip my hiragana practice a lot.

“I see . . .” Light said, opening his book, then started reading out loud, in fluent Japanese, before stuttering once he got to a certain point. “I forgot that one,” he frowned, pointing to a .

“That one is ‘no’,” my dad said, sounding out the syllable.

“It looks like an e on its side,” I commented.

“You know,” Dad lowered his voice to a whisper, “I’ve always thought that no looks like norimaki, so it became easier to remember, since they start the same way.”

“What’s norimaki?”

“Norimaki are those sushi rolls you like, with tofu and mushrooms,” Dad explained.

“Avocado’s better than tofu,” Light said decidedly. “It’s softer.”

“Blegh,” I made a face. “Avocado’s all mushy. Tofu’s fun and bouncy.”

Dad ruffled my hair and Light’s at the same time. “We’ll have to agree to disagree then, because I like my norimaki with cucumber,” he chuckled, making Light and I fake-gag simultaneously.

“Shouldn’t you be reading, kids?” Mum asked, having just stepped into the room.

“Muuuum,” I whined, really not wanting to read that book again. “I’ve already memorised the book!”

“Oh, really? Then, go on, tell me what it says.”

Lewis the Cat of West Halibut Street was the fussiest eater you could ever meet,” I said in English, reciting each word, and continued to do so for the rest of the contents of the book.

Mum beamed, patting my head. “That’s great, Micchan! What about you, Light? How’s your book?”

“I finished it!” Light smiled earnestly at Mum. “It was sad that the crane had to leave the farmer, though. He shouldn’t have been so greedy,” Light said firmly. “It wasn’t fair that she had to be sad because he wanted money.”

“Hey, I want to read that! Light, let’s swap!” I’d never heard that story before, considering it was probably a Japanese folktale.

“But I can’t read English . . .” Light looked down, ashamed.

“That’s fine; I can’t read hiragana either!” I said in an effort to reassure him, only realising that my sorry butt would end up getting grounded for that when I caught a glimpse of Dad’s disappointed expression.

“While that should not be the case,” Mum reprimanded lightly, “I’m sure it would do both of you some good to practice the other language. So, Light, how about I teach you some English, while you, Kimiko, practice Japanese with Dad?”

“Yes please, Auntie Chiyoko!” Light cheered, smiling eagerly. I know this Light’s still a toddler, but I hope he can stay this way, I mused. I really don’t want the Death Note ruining this for us.

I was jolted out of my thoughts by the phone ringing, and Dad went to answer it, while Mum helped Light out with reading English letters. I watched as Dad answered, then his face paled, his eyes grew concerned, and he bit his lip. Something’s wrong.

“What’s wrong, love?” Mum asked Dad, resting an hand on his shoulder. “Does it have something to do with . . . them ?” she asked softly, switching to English.

Dad shook his head, giving me no clue who Mum meant by ‘them’. “It’s not that,” he said, voice low, then quieted a little more, just enough so I could tell he’d switched back to Japanese, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying.

Mom’s eyebrows creased in a frown, and she glanced worriedly at Light. So it concerns Light? I wanted to tap Light on the shoulder to ask him if he knew what was going on, but he was so entirely engrossed in trying to sound out the alphabet that I really didn’t want to disturb him.

So I just scowled at the hiragana in the book, just looking at every and read “ no ”, considering it was the only one I could remember now, until Mum kneeled in front of the two of us, an obviously forced smile on her face. “Light,” she said, voice uncharacteristically strained, “how would you like to stay over for a sleepover today?”

Light beamed, not having noticed. Of course, I was sure all he saw was the smile and not the terseness behind it, simply because he couldn’t pick up on it. “Yes, please!”

“Are you okay with that, Micchan?” Mum asked, turning to me.

No matter how much I wanted to know why, I didn’t want to stress her out, so all I said was, “Of course!”

“Auntie Chiyoko,” Light then asked, tugging on Mum’s jumper, “why do you look sad?”

I decided to eat my words.

Mum shook her head lightly. “Your dad is feeling a little sick today, so it would be good if you stay here so you don’t get sick, too,” she explained.

Light nodded sagely. “That’s a good idea,” he agreed. “You’re sad because Dad’s sick, but that’s silly, because he always brushes his teeth and eats his vegetables, so he’ll get better very fast! So don’t be sad, Auntie!”

C-cute, I thought.

“That’s right,” Dad agreed, resting a hand on Mum’s shoulder. “He’ll be fine.”

There’s no way he’s just caught a cold if they’re that worried. Of course, I couldn’t say anything, or I’d quickly end up blowing my cover—or, at the very least, it would be extremely suspicious for me to have picked that up. Of course, I wanted to know what the truth was, but there wasn’t really anything I could do about it. Internally, I growled in frustration. I couldn’t keep up this act for long—I couldn’t wait to get older.

But the older you get, the closer Light comes to being Kira, whispered a nagging part of my subconscious. I tried to ignore it, but it had already planted a seed of anxiety.

Surely . . . surely I can try and change Light’s mindset before then? Maybe then . . . he won’t feel the need to use the Death Note at all. That is, if it existed in the first place.

That night, even though Light was beside me on my bed, I couldn’t sleep. We’d both gotten our own rooms, having become too old for the cribs now that we were both two.

I rolled to my side to look at Light, who was fast asleep, barely making a sound. No, I can’t wake him like this. I sighed slowly, making my way to my parents’ room. I was about to open the door when I heard snippets of their conversation.

“. . . not going to happen for years, Ann.” Dad was saying. ‘Ann’? Is he talking to Mum? Is that her real name? If it is . . . why doesn’t he ever call her that in front of me?

“I know, love, but if what you’re telling me about is real . . .” Mum’s voice lowered, leading into muffled conversation that I couldn’t pick up, then, “. . . can Kimiko really end up . . .” Why are they talking about me? What’s going on? I pressed my ear to the door, eager to hear more.

“I’m not sure yet,” Dad was saying, “but if she is, I hope she’ll at least give me a big enough hint to make it seem like I picked up on it.”

A sigh. “I just hope . . . she never has to meet . . . him .”

“‘Him’ as in One or Three?”

“The first one, Hayato. I’m still not sure about Three, but I’d be worried about him if Two ends up being unable to cope. Three’s already impressionable and impulsive as he is. I don’t want Kimiko to ever encounter anyone from there .”

“But that can’t happen for at least another twelve years,” Dad interjects. “And after that, it can’t happen . . . not with Three, at least.”

I was getting more confused than informed, so I decided to just go in. “Mum, Dad, I can’t sleep,” I announced loudly, opening the door. Dad had his hand on Mum’s shoulder, and Mum’s head was buried in her hands. I felt a little like an intruder now, but I did my best to ignore the guilt pooling in my stomach. I hadn’t technically done anything wrong.

Mum just smiled, swiftly lifting me up, and carried me back to my room, gently laid me down next to Light, and lay down next to me, until I finally fell asleep. By the next day, I’d forgotten most of the details about my parents conversation that night.

After all, I had a bigger issue on my hands: Light Yagami.