Figments of Imagination


(Chapter 3)


*        *        *


~As fear grows, please hold me in your arms.

Won’t you help me, if you can, to shake this anger?

I need your gentle hands to keep me calm.~


Elton John “I don’t not remember the name of the song-_-0”


-        -        -


“Let’s see...where to start.” Umi sipped her tea before turning back her papers. After hanging around with her girlfriends all afternoon, she was too tired to clean the house. However, that didn’t mean she was going to spend the rest of the day without writing something.  According to a lot of the magazines she read, good authors made a habit of writing everyday.  If Umi wanted to be as good as them, she had to do the same.


But it would be easier if she had something to write about. All her storylines seemed cliché and silly. She had hoped that opening the brand pen would have sparked some inspiration but, to her disappointment, nothing happened. Sora, Ai, and Kiku had seen her open it. They also thought she was odd for thinking something would happen with the pen. It wrote like any ordinary pen. However, it didn’t produce anything worthwhile. She wrote so many paragraphs and they all came out horrible. Over and over again, she scratched through them.


What’s wrong with me? She asked herself. I’m doing what I love. No one has bothered me. So why don’t I have anything written on this page?


Then Umi’s mind went back to a couple of nights ago when she went home. Tatsuha had asked her to revise something he was going to turn in and Umi agreed to it. However, as she corrected his grammar errors, she decided to change the story a little bit. Tatsuha was following another author’s style but Umi didn’t want him to do that. So she added some elements to make the story better. However, Tatsuha wasn’t too pleased with it. As she dug deeper into her memory, she got was pelted with the words that would wound her. It was the first time someone had told her to give up her dreams and that she was worthless. It was the first time anyone chose to wound, not her mind or body, but her soul. Those words alone damaged her and left her in doubt for a long time. 


And if that wasn’t bad enough, they came from her brother.  


*        *        *


“UMI! You ruined my paper!” Tatsuha whined as he read Umi’s revisions. He scanned through the whole thing, a look of horror frozen on his face, and then threw it across the room. He glared at his sister who was now wishing there was a hole below her. Tatsuha was getting ready to incite mayhem.


“What do you mean?” She squeaked. Tatsuha may have been younger than her but he was the smarter of the two. Umi knew he wouldn’t like it if she screwed up the paper. That’s why she worked hard to fix his errors and strengthen that paper. She added more details, comparisons, irony, and foreshadowing to the story.  She knew these types of things would not only make Tatsuha’s story enjoyable but it would impress his teacher.


Tatsuha, however, was anything but pleased with the revision. He pressed his hands against his hips before raining hell down on his poor sister.


“It was crap, Umi!” He complained. “My friends were making fun of it! You made it too...too...too much like you!”


“And what’s wrong with that?” Umi asked. “You wanted my help. I helped. I added stuff in it...”


“I *didn’t* want more stuff in it!” Tatsuha exploded. He crossed the room and picked the paper up. He flipped through the pages. “You suck at this! You can’t write to save your life!”


“That’s not true!” Umi shot back. “I can write better than you in my sleep, Tatsuha. You’re just jealous because you didn’t think of doing this first.”


“Jealous? Jealous of your shitty writing?” Tatsuha used the wrong choice of words when he said that. He smirked as he read on. “You obviously have no idea what you were doing. I was trying to imitate another author’s style.”


“Well, that’s your first mistake!” Umi snapped. “Instead of imitating another person’s style, use your own!”


“You’re one to talk.” Tatsuha refused to slow down. The fury in his dark eyes burned a hole into Umi‘s soul as he went on with his rude remarks. “My friends even think you’re a crappy writer. I don’t want ‘like’ or ‘as’ comparisons in this story! They laughed at me! You’re glad I didn’t turn this in.”


“Your friends are assholes!” Umi wanted a better comeback but this was the best she had come up with.


“Hey, watch it!” Tatsuha warned. “At least, I *have* friends. I can’t say the same about you...”


“Leave them out of this!”


“Oh yeah, you have that band of freaks you call ‘friends’.  They have to be crazy if they want to spend time with a loser like you.”


Umi clenched her teeth. “My friends like me for me, Tatsuha. At least they know a little something called ‘respect’. You could learn from them, baby brother.”


“Forget it.” Tatsuha sneered and threw the paper on the bed. “The point is you’re not a good writer. You never were and you’ll never be. When was the last book you read, huh? Nothing! And good writers read books by other people, Umi. No one’s going to want your crap. I know I won’t. This is the last time I ask you for help on anything.” He smoothed the paper up. “I won’t let anyone insult my work.”


“If you don’t want insults, do the world a favor... crawl up in a corner and die!” Umi shouted, bolting out of the room and slamming the door behind her. Tatsuha was behind that closed door but she didn’t give a damn. She jogged out of the room as her mother was heading towards it. Yanagisawa Miaka realized that her two children had another argument. The tears in Umi’s blue eyes and the way she was running told her that Tatsuha was the one responsible for this argument.


Umi?” Miaka asked as Umi took off her slippers and put on her shoes. “Umi, what did Tatsuha do?”


“He’s alive! That’s the problem!” Umi grabbed her purse, which had been sitting on the kitchen counter, and put on her coat. Miaka sighed. Once again, her daughter was going to be difficult. This wouldn’t be the first time she had a problem talking to Umi. She was the one who kept the emotions bottled and locked away. Umi wasn’t Tatsuha, who spent hours talking to his mother about the things going on his life.  For Umi preferred to express herself through written word, not spoken. But Miaka was never thrilled of Umi’s inability and unwillingness to communicate with anyone. She was secretly happy to see her daughter talented in something  but wished it wasn’t in writing stories. She let Umi do her own thing and kept hoping that her daughter would come back down the ‘right path’.


Umi, what did Tatsuha do?” Miaka asked once again.


“It’s your fault too!” Umi shot back, not answering the question. “I was *happy* as an only child! You and Dad just had to get back in bed again, didn’t you?! You wanted to give me a playmate, didn’t you? Well, your bundle of joy turned out to be hell for me! It’s all your fault. You and your stupid sexual desires...”


“Yanagisawa Umi!” Miaka scolded.  Umi turned around and fell quiet right away. She may be nineteen and living on her own but, like all children, she had to obey her mother. She calmed down and leaned against the door as her mother began to talk.


“Do not address me in that manner again!”  Miaka folded her arms across her flat chest. “I cannot believe you would think of your brother in that way.”


“Well, tell him to stop insulting me!”


“Insulting you? When did Tatsuha ever insult you?”


Umi narrowed her eyes, the tears sucking back into them. “You don’t know anything, do you? You love Tatsuha cause he’s your baby and he’d never do anything wrong. If he was standing in my place, you wouldn’t bother to ask ‘When did Umi ever insult you?’ You’d go straight into the room and start yelling at me. Why? Cause I hurt Tatsuha, that’s why!”


Umi, I love you both equally.” Miaka was trying to sound like she was defending her children but she appeared to be defending herself. “Now will you tell me what Tatsuha did?”


Umi laughed bitterly. “That’s just like you, Mom. You say you love us both but it’s clear you care about Tatsuha more. He was always your perfect child, wasn’t he? Good grades, friendly kid...yeah, he‘s still perfect. But I‘m the drifter, the weird one...the one that will never be anything. ” The last comment was the one Umi hated most. She had heard a lot other people call her that behind her back. They probably thought she never knew. Unfortunately, she did and those words cut through her.


Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Umi smirked, remembering that silly cliché. Obviously, whoever wrote it either had no emotions or didn’t know what it was like to be broken inside. He or she may have spent too much time in hospitals, thanks to the sticks and stones hitting him/her, that never took got the chance to have their emotions messed with or their hearts broken. It made sense to Umi.


Umi...” Miaka began but Umi already had her hand on the doorknob and had opened the door.


“Forget it, Mom. You never understood me back then and you never will understand me. Just talk to Tatsuha if you want to know what happened. He’ll be glad to tell you all of my bad points. And together, you both can have a wonderful laugh afterwards.”


With that, Umi left her mother’s apartment and went back to her own home. She stayed quiet through the whole ride because she wasn’t willing to share her feelings. Not right then anyway. Tatsuha’s horrible words haunted her as she reached her apartment building and got inside the elevator. Her brother hated her. Her mother hated her. The truth was finally out in the open. They hated her and they hated her stories.


Umi found her apartment, opened the door, and stepped inside. She threw the purse on the counter, dropped her coat to the floor, and threw herself on the couch. Her papers were on the table, which she picked up and looked through. Minutes later, she ripped them apart and began to cry the tears she carried from home.


*        *        *


Umi felt like crying once again. At the rate she was going, there was no way in hell she’d have a novel published before the year was over. She had drawn lines across her papers, through the paragraphs she started writing but never could finish. Tatsuha’s hateful words still hurt her ears even though the argument was far behind. She didn’t hate her brother and he didn’t hate her. But Tatsuha, though he was sixteen, was still too young to realize that words had the power to hurt people. He was too young to know that Umi, strong and silent as she was, wasn’t made of stone.  He thought she could withstand anything.


I would have fought back if it were someone else hating the way I wrote. But it’s Tatsuha. It’s my own brother. It’s ironic that my brother, who knows me better than Mom does, thinks I’m a horrible writer.


Every five minutes, Umi would take a sip of her tea and then go back to the paper. Anytime she tried to write something down, she kept hearing Tatsuha.


You ruined my paper!


It was crap, Umi!


I didn’t want *more* stuff in it!


“Damn you, Tatsuha!” She snapped. No, she shouldn’t be saying such horrible things when her brother wasn’t around. She had to get used to criticism. But Tatsuha had taken criticizing her to an extreme. Rather than being glad for the help, he mocked her. But what made Umi angry was what he called her friends. Sora, Ai, Kiku, Kouji, and Junpei were not freaks. They cared about her and respected the people around her. To have Tatsuha talk about them like that wasn’t just wrong, it was rude. 


Her mother had been no help either. She had good feeling that the two of them were talking about her behind her back. She also had a feeling that her mother took Tatsuha’s side. That would be no surprise to Umi.


Maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m not good enough. She told herself, still staring at those scribbles. Look at me. I haven’t gotten far in anything. And I call myself a writer!


But she wasn’t going to give up. If she did, that would only prove her mother and brother right. Her happiness and purpose in life would be gone. She would be worthless. She would be nothing if she gave up writing.


To hell with what anyone else thinks! I’ll come up with an idea and I’ll sell my first book! Tatsuha is going to be so damn sorry he ever said that about me! I’ll teach that little brat some respect!


So Umi began to write. She would write paragraphs and stanzas to poems. She was moving faster than one of those bullet trains she had taken a ride on. Every now and then, she’d stop to do something else. The phone would ring so she had to answer that. Sometimes she had to stop because she needed to go to the bathroom. When she came back, she always had something different to write so she’d stop working on her current project and begin a new one. Ultimately, she was growing tired so she put the cap on the pen and let out a yawn.


“So far, I still have nothing good.” She said drowsily. She had been writing for so long that she didn’t realize it was two in the morning. It was too bad that she still didn’t have an idea to work with. 


“But maybe tomorrow…” She murmured, putting her head down on the desk and shutting her eyes. “Tomorrow…I’ll have something tomorrow…”


She drifted away into sleep with that promise.


*        *        *


Wake up, Yanagisawa. Wake up.




Wake up and meet your destiny, Yanagisawa.




You picked this path. Your life will never be the same.


“Destiny?” Umi opened her eyes the moment she said those words. She expected to find herself still at her desk with her papers around her. She expected to find herself in her messy apartment. She expected to find herself in a place she recognized.


But when she opened her eyes, she was not in a familiar setting.


She found herself lying on soft green grass, her hair spread out around her head like a fan. Pink cherry blossoms would blow past her and land in her hair to contrast with her crystal blue locks. Then there were also the blades of grass tickling her bare ankles. Everything was painted in soft pastel colors just like tissue paper. It was a warm day, perhaps in the spring, and sunlight bounced off her smooth white legs. There were clouds in the sky but not one of them seemed threatening enough to bring rain. And there was no sound whatsoever. It didn’t make sense. Winter was approaching, not spring. Why was everything so bright and beautiful?


More importantly, where am I?  She asked herself. She had been writing only three minutes ago. She had been sitting at her desk, finally inspired to get something down, and now she was here. Why did she stop?


Umi rolled over on her side, a bunch of cherry blossoms still tangled in her hair, and was surprised by what she saw. Not far from her, sitting underneath an oak tree and looking lost in his thoughts, was a man. He was a few feet away from her but he was the most beautiful man she had ever laid eyes on. Not even Watabe Kouji, whom she had the lifelong crush on, looked half as good as this man. The stranger had physical features that belonged on covers of fashion magazines. His blond hair was short but wavy. Strands fell over his eyes and the wind shifted through those golden waves. Umi didn’t know what color his eyes were but she could bet they were soft and warm, perhaps blue or green. His face was smooth and his skin was the same color as buttermilk. He didn’t look sickly white like some pale people did. And his body was sturdy like a marble sculpture, good enough to put Michelangelo’s David to shame.


My God, who is he? He’s gorgeous! Was the first thought that entered Umi’s mind. He didn’t look that much older than her, probably twenty-one or twenty-two. He also looked like he could use her company. Using her arms to support herself, Umi sat up and looked at the stranger.


I could write a book of poetry about him. She thought jokingly.  She couldn’t help it. The man bought out a lot of inspiration in her. Suddenly rejuvenated, Umi decided to find out more about him. Perhaps talking to him would create so many different types of poems. 


“Hey!” She called to him. Her voice sounded different now. It was faint like a whisper. She tried raising it but it still came out soft. Why was her voice being carried away?


The handsome stranger refused to turn around. It had to be because he couldn’t hear Umi at all. Even if he did, he ignored her. He was too busy looking down at the book on his lap. The pages were rough and turning yellow. There were several words, all in his lovely handwriting, scribbled on those pages. These words reflected his feelings, his dreams, and his life. The book was bound with leather and the name “KELLAN” had been sewn on the front cover. It was his book of poetry, the one he had carried with him when he died. It contained all his best poems and he never got tired of reading it.


Kellan had been sitting under the oak tree and thinking up another love poem to be written. He had found a blank page in that book and had the urge to capture his feelings once again. Now these were the days he remembered before the war. God, everything was alive and blooming! This was where inspiration was drawn. This was where poetry was born. This was where imagination would never die.


If only others would come visit this place… He thought wistfully. He knew no one would come. After all, this was happy and untouched. Reality was tainted with pain and anger. Fantasy was sweet, growing bitter every now and then.


~Bitter, bitter life all around me.

If only the world opened its eyes to see~


And then he stopped. Once again, he had reached the point where his mind drew that horrible blank. Trying to rhyme poetry was never easy. Keeping everything in a perfect meter was much harder. But the worst part of all was not having anyone to write about.


I’ve written so many love poems but who are they for?


He flipped through the pages of his book, looking through the poems of love and beauty for women he did not know. Everything had been written from the thoughts in his mind, not from experience. Good writing did incorporate thoughts but experience was what made the poem a masterpiece. And Kellan, in the twenty- two years that he had lived, had not experienced true love. He never held a woman in his arms or inhaled the sweet perfumed dabbed around her neck. He had never kissed her and told her that he’d always be there for her. 


I don’t have anyone who inspires me. He realized. So there he sat with the truth, hurt and disappointed, trying hard to push everything away.


Then there was Yanagisawa Umi, still watching the cherry blossoms blow by her. She was wearing her blue slip but felt naked for some odd reason. Was this what she had been writing earlier? It didn’t feel that way. Her story had been a thriller, involving a wild goose chase between the good and bad guy, and the setting was dark. There was no sunshine, no cherry blossoms, and certainly no happy feelings surrounding it.


“Am I dreaming? Doesn’t feel that way but what the hell do I know?” Her gaze turned back to Kellan. He seemed to get more handsome every time she looked at him. “I sure hope *he* isn’t a dream.”


She called out to him again and her voice blended with the wind. He didn’t look up at her or even in her direction. Finally, Umi decided to suck her gut in and talk to this guy herself. She didn’t like meeting new people but she wanted to meet him. He could help her understand what was going on. Getting up on her feet and brushing herself off, she walked over to him. It felt strange though as if she was just learning how to walk. Her feet seemed to have no feeling in them.


Somehow, as she got used to walking, she made it to him. “Hey!”


The young man didn’t look at her so she sat down next to him and tried greeting him again. Still no answer.


“You know, you could at least answer back.” Umi was growing frustrated with the young man. If he wasn’t so good looking, she’d have punched him right then and there. The stranger finally turned around and looked at Umi. Now she had a better look of his face. It was smooth and clean like the rest of his body. The shirt he wore was half-opened to reveal a nicely-shaped chest. Umi wanted to put her hands against it. She had a hard time keeping them to herself. The stranger seemed to sense what she was going to do and his look hardened.


“My name isn’t *you*.” He began. His voice had a nice flow to it, not too deep and not too high.  “It’s Kellan.”


Kellan, huh? What’s your last name?” Umi asked, suddenly intrigued. She liked his name. It was unique and interesting just like him. She giggled and sat down next to him, pulling her legs up close to her own chest and hugging them. Kellan ignored her and flipped a page in his book. All the while he wondered what this silly girl was doing here.


“My name is Kellan. I don’t have any other names.” He said. Umi felt her shyness slipping over her again. She always had trouble when it came to meeting new people and he was no exception. His cold exterior was making it even harder for her to open up. But she forced herself to stay and keep trying. On any other occasion, she wouldn’t do so. But Kellan...there was something about Kellan that made her hang around. He was a mystery and Yanagisawa Umi loved mysteries.


“I’m Umi. Yanagisawa Umi.” She introduced herself, hoping that a new start would make Kellan lighten up. Instead, he seemed to grow colder as she approached him. She was offended but stayed. She may be shy but she wasn’t a quitter. When she noticed the leather-bound book in his hands, she came up with another subject to talk about.   


“Is that your book?” She asked. Kellan lowered his gaze when she did. He immediately put his hands over the pages and covered up his writing. He wasn’t ready to show her his horrible poetry.


“So what if it is?” Was his reply.


“Can I...can I read it?” Umi held out her hands and he closed the book, letting a cloud of dust fly up and hit Umi in the face. She coughed and backed away.  Obviously, looks were only skin deep. He ignored her and treated her like she wasn’t human. However, his attitude would not keep Umi away. The more he resisted, the more she would pester him until he opened up. Or at least let her read the book.


“I’ll take that as a no.” She muttered. Kellan glared at her and put the book aside. No wonder he didn’t have a woman in twenty-two years. Most of the ones he met were all like this Yanagisawa Umi! Clearly, she wasn’t going to go away or give up until he said something.


“Look.” Kellan began. “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know why you are bothering me. I just want to be left in peace so I can write my poetry. You being here is only preventing me from writing the verses.”


Umi could only stare at the handsome stranger.


“Are you a writer?” She asked as if she had never expected this out of him.


“Let’s see...I told you I was writing verses. I told you I wanted peace to think. I showed you that this is a book of poetry, to be specific.” Kellan’s eyes burned right into Umi’s icy blue ones. “Of course I’m a writer, you stupid girl.”


“Hey!” Umi exclaimed indignantly, putting her hands on her hips. “I was only asking a question.”


“A stupid question.” Kellan corrected. “And I am not fond of stupid questions. Now here’s an intelligent one: why are you so curious about me?”


A line of red appeared across Umi’s nose and she thought about what he said. She couldn’t tell him the truth! She couldn’t tell him that the only reason she approached him was because she thought he was hot! Then again, she didn’t have another good reason for him. So she came up with another strategy.


“Oh, look over there!” She said pointing to the left. Kellan turned around just as she expected and loosened his grip on the book. Umi snatched it from him before he could do anything.


“Give that back!” He snapped.


“In a minute…” Umi said, flipping through the pages and avoided the angry poet trying to get his book back. Mmmmm…nice stuff here, Kellan! You got nice handwriting!”


“Give that back!”


“I will, I will. But let me read something in here…ah yes! This one!” Umi finally found a poem that was short. She began reading it to herself, her eyes widening as they scanned each verse. She had seen some really good poets in the past but no one like him. As he tried to take the book from her, she went on reading another one of his poems. This one she liked even better. He knew how to write romantic stuff without making them overly sappy or superfluous.


“You’re amazing.” She whispered. “You’re the sweetest person I’ve ever met.”


Kellan looked puzzled. “Sweet?”


“Yes. You’re romantic.” She said. “I don’t know very many people who think, much less write, the way you do.”


Kellan let out a sigh. “That’s because not very many people like thinking...or writing...about love. They all want to know about reality...about war...about grief and suffering. They probably thought love was a waste of time. They think love doesn’t exist anymore.”


“They? Who are ‘they’?” Umi asked.


“People you don’t know.” Was his response.  Umi decided to drop the conversation at that moment. She had clearly stumbled onto something that Kellan would not tell her regardless how hard she begged. Besides, her eyelids were starting to droop and sleep was coming over her again. So she curled up in the grass and put her head on the ground. Letting out a yawn, she hugged her small body and took one more look at Kellan. Even though her vision was starting to blur due to drowsiness, he was still gorgeous. He looked upset but he was gorgeous just like the hero of a classic romance novel. She smiled at him though he didn’t see her.


Meanwhile, Kellan flipped through his book and felt worse as he read all his poetry. They *were* too happy and filled with unnecessary images. They didn’t make sense sometimes. Worst of all, they were about no one. They had no inspiration behind them.


“Soul mates, living as one…what was I thinking when I wrote these poems?” He asked himself. Now he was bitter. Maybe society was right. It was time to stop thinking like everything would all right in the end. Umi lay back down next to him and closed her eyes. Crazy girl. Just looking at her made him want to write. So he flipped to a page in his book and came across a poem he never finished writing. It was the one Umi had been reading she handed the book back. This one was bitter and the last word in it was something he normally didn’t put in poetry. But it fit from some strange reason.


~It doesn't matter if we are living in one body or not.

You look at me in a way I don't want to be looked at.

You treat me in ways I don't deserve to be treated.

Most importantly, you love me...

You love me and I can't love back.

I'm just another uncaring bastard~


Next to him, Yanagisawa Umi had fallen asleep.


*        *        *


Ring! Riiiing!


“Aw, damn!” Umi swore as she woke up. Goddamn phone kept her from staying with that handsome stranger in her dreams.


But his words seemed to haunt her. Meeting Kellan was the inspiration she needed to write her first novel. Yes, he had been a jerk but he was an interesting jerk. He was also a romantic and handsome jerk who bought out a feeling in her that she didn’t know existed. And the poem he had written also stuck in her head.


~It doesn't matter if we are living in one body or not.

You look at me in a way I don't want to be looked at.

You treat me in ways I don't deserve to be treated.

Most importantly, you love me...

You love me and I can't love back.

I'm just another uncaring bastard~


I wonder if we’ll ever meet again.  She thought before picking up the phone and answering it.


*        *        *



I’m so sorry to take so long with this story! The holidays backed everything up. (I know, it’s the same excuse I’m using with all my fics but it’s true.) I hope I didn’t disappoint you all too much. As I said, I wasn’t quite as happy when I wrote this.


*blink* I just realized Umi and Kellan are the same age as Shuichi and Yuki from “Gravitation!” But the plot to my story and that anime are very different. One, this is not yaoi like Gravi. Two, Umi and Kellan have more in common with each other than Shu and Yuki do. There’s more that differentiates them from Shu and Yuki too. And don’t get grossed out with the romance that’s kinda blooming between them. I’ve seen people write Daisuke/Dark yaoi as well as Yugi/Yami Yugi romances before. It’s nothing new.


BTW, don’t hate Tatsuha. I know I made him look bad in this chapter but he’s a nice guy. He’s like his mom; not thrilled with Umi’s decision but cares about her.


Copyright 2002: CT


Go to Chapter 4


Go back to Chapter 2


Go back to Originals


Email me: