Part the Third—

“Is it cool that I said all that? / Is it chill that you’re in my head? / Cus I know that it’s delicate”

—“Delicate,” Taylor Swift

Joe Blake had come back from the Neutral Zone with a film and no contact.  It was late at night when he arrived back in the American Reich and he decided to call Obergruppenfuhrer Smith at home.  There was only one ring when it was picked up.

Hello?” a decidedly feminine voice answered.  From what he knew, Obergruppenfuhrer Smith was a widower, so Joe had no idea who this woman was.

Clearing his throat, he stated, “Is the Obergruppenfuhrer there?  I assure you he will want to speak to me.  I’m one of his agents.”

The woman on the other end of the line paused.  “I’m sorry, but I must ask you to call his office.  I have not been informed of the possibility of any—agent—calling this number.  You do realize this is his private residence?”  Her voice was calm but there was a pinch of some other emotion there.  It wasn’t annoyance.  It was wariness perhaps, almost fear, which surprised Joe.

“I assure you—”

Someone else picked up.  “Is someone on the line?” the undeniable voice of Obergruppenfuhrer Smith asked.

John,” the female voice greeted in relief.  “The man on the line claims to be an agent.”  Yes, it was definitely a hint of fear.

I am sorry to have startled you, Misaki.  Now, it’s late.  Perhaps you should go to bed.  You have a big day tomorrow.  You are buying Western clothing as, you are, in fact, Aryan and not Japanese.  I’ll come speak to you when I’m finished with my phone call.”  Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith could be called many things.  Kind was not one of them.  However, when speaking to this ‘Misaki’, he certainly sounded kind.  Indulgent, perhaps.  It was baffling to Joe.

There was a pause, and then she answered.  “Of course.  Goodnight.  I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused.

No inconvenience,” Obergruppenfuhrer Smith promised and then there was a click.  “Now, is there an agent on this line?

“It’s Joe Blake,” Joe stated.  “I think I can call myself an agent.”

Joe,” he greeted, his voice suddenly with a skip to it, a near jubilance.  “It’s good to hear from you.  Are you still on the road or have you made it back to New York?

“New York.  Brooklyn,” he elaborated.  “I still have the film in my possession.  I’m afraid of arranging a drop because of my cover.”

There was a pause as if Smith were thinking.  “I’m certain something could be arranged.  I know they’re always watching, and I have Misaki to think about.  She’s a high-ranking political refugee from the Pacific States.  The poor girl had to leave her American name behind for fear of it being recognized and has only Japanese clothing.

Joe raised his eyebrows although he was on a dark street at a public telephone.  No one would be able to see him, but Misaki certainly sounded interesting.  He doubted he would ever meet her, however. 

A moment later and he was being told to keep the film on him all of the next day, and he knew that he would probably be grabbed from the street.  It would certainly be unpleasant but it would keep his cover with the Resistance.

He hung up a moment later and took a deep breath.  It was time to go home to Rita and her son.

John Smith hung up the phone in his room and took a deep breath.  He hadn’t quite heard the one ring because he had been brushing his teeth and thought he had imagined it.  It was lucky that Misaki had picked it up.  He wished it hadn’t happened, but he needed to catch that telephone call.  Putting on his robe, he went to Misaki’s room and rapped on the door.  A moment later it opened to show Misaki in a silk robe that was obviously Japanese.  He supposed she was wearing some sort of nightgown beneath it.

“Misaki,” he greeted.  “I’m sorry you were confused.”

She shook her head, the braid of her hair swishing from side to side.  “Of course, you have work, John.  I know that.  I just didn’t realize that some sort of agent would be calling.  I thought it was the Resistance.  I know from Mom that—there was someone close to me that got calls in the middle of the night.  It scared me a little.”

Hesitantly reaching out, John took her by the shoulders and squeezed them reassuringly.  “I know this might not make sense, but you are safe.  The Resistance would never call here.  They don’t know who you are.  Now—you remember what we talked about?  A name?  Susan is taking you tomorrow and it might be better if she not call you ‘Misaki’ in public.”

Misaki took a deep breath.  “I was thinking about empires.  The first empire was forged by Alexander the Great.  He conquered the known world at the time, getting as far as India.”

“He did,” John agreed, seeing where this was going.

“I don’t like the name ‘Alexandra,’” Misaki admitted, “I never did, but ‘Alexa.’  What do you think?”  Her Aryan eyes looked at him with such fear that he wanted to draw her to him and comfort her as he had when Thomas was a small child.

“Alexa,” he agreed with a smile.  “Alexa Smith.  I quite agree with it.  I will alter your file in the morning and we shall inform Thomas.”

She nodded and then whispered, “goodnight,” before closing the door.

John stood there a moment before returning to his own.  It felt terribly empty, but for once he wasn’t thinking of Helen.  Instead, he imagined Misaki—Alexa—a warm young woman, so lost in the world who needed him more than he had ever been needed.  He knew the look of a young woman who wanted to be loved.  She was probably dreaming of her lover, who was most likely Chief Inspector Kido, but that was only because she had been deceived about Aryan supremacy.  She had been downtrodden and hadn’t realized the inferiority of the Japanese race.  She would soon learn.

It was best that her children—whether they had been aborted (a crime in the Greater Nazi Reich except in cases of fetuses being defective) or left behind—were not here.  She would have strong Aryan children, and perhaps, John thought, he would be the one to give them to her with her piercing blue eyes.

He was picked up off the streets.  Two Stormtroopers had thrown a hood over his head and forced him into a car, then driven off with him without so much as a word.  Joe had struggled to make it look believable and he knew there would be bruises later, but it was all in a good day’s work. 

They left him in a large office and took the hood off his head.  He was seated in a comfortable chair and he didn’t have long to wait.  He turned over the cannister and was about to leave when Obergruppenfuhrer Smith’s aide entered and told them that “Miss Smith is here.”

A smile showed on the Obergruppenfuhrer’s face and a young woman walked in.  She was slim and barely in her twenties, Joe would have to guess, and simply the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.  She was dressed in a black dress with a jacket with symmetrical shapes on it.  A swastika was pinned into her hair, her lips painted red, and bright blue eyes shone out of her face.

“Well, John?” she asked a little tremulously.  “Do I look Aryan enough now?”

“You do,” he answered, coming up to her and taking her hands.  He held them out to get a better look at her.  “I trust you bought more than this one dress.”

She laughed a little.  “Susan was very insistent.  I have ten including two evening dresses.  I told her that was excessive, but she said I was a woman of consequence now.”

“Quite right,” Obergruppenfuhrer Smith agreed.  “Joe Blake, meet my ward, Alexa Smith.  I referred to her as Misaki on the telephone last night.”

“Miss Smith,” Joe greeted.  “Welcome to the Reich.”

Her smile dimmed a little but then, in a fraction of a moment, it was back on her face.  “Thank you, Mr. Blake.”

Then, Obergruppenfuhrer forgot him in favor of his ward again.  “I insist on taking you to Sullivan’s tomorrow after you see Dr. Adler.  You’ll need a treat.”

“Sullivan’s?” Alexa asked, confused.

“It’s the most exclusive restaurant in New York,” Joe told her kindly.  “You’ll have the best food the American Reich can offer.”

Her eyes widened and she nodded.  “I’m still not used to American food,” she admitted.

“They don’t have American food in the Pacific States?” Joe asked and he was surprised at the look of warning that Obergruppenfuhrer Smith gave him.

After a moment, she answered, “They do.  However, I didn’t eat much of it.”

Joe glanced between her and the Obergruppenfuhrer, but didn’t ask any more questions.

“You should come for V-A Day,” Obergruppenfuhrer Smith finally stated, looking at Joe again.  “I’m sure Alexa would like the company of someone other than a school boy, however well they get on, and a hardened officer.  The more people around her the better, I imagine.”

“Sir, that really isn’t necessary—” Joe tried to demure, but his eyes searched out Alexa again.

“I insist.”  He clapped Joe on the back.  “Now, be off with you.  I’ll have my men throw you from a moving car to keep your cover.”  That seemed to be that, then.  Joe took one last look at Alexa, nodding to her, before leaving the office, wishing he didn’t have to leave Alexa behind.  Rita suddenly seemed to be a poor comparison.

Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido looked at Frank Frink’s bloodied body and derived no pleasure from it.  He made a signal with his head and the body was carried out of the cell to where the traitor would be executed.

He remembered, all those years ago, that kiss in the rain.  Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido had been unable to visit Juliana Crain in her home again as she had left her shared apartment with Frank Frink a mere hour after Kido had visited her there.  She had returned to her mother’s home, and the insufferable woman never left the apartment.

While her husband was valuable to the kempeitai, his wife was certainly proving to be more than a simple annoyance.

He set an agent on Juliana Crain confidentially and soon learned that she attended an aikido studio nearly every day and always at the same time.  It pleased him that she took such an interest in the Japanese culture.  One day he went and watched her and saw how she had mastered the art.  He had meant to leave her to herself and return to work, but instead he had approached her and bowed to her in front of her entire class.

Juliana had looked at him in astonishment before bowing in return. 

“Will you take tea with me?” he asked as he led her off of the floor.  “I have been informed that you have changed residences and I do not wish for the presence of your esteemed mother.”

She turned to him and smiled.  “Yes, Chief Inspector.  If you would allow me to change?”

He made a signal with his hand, and she turned away from him.

It was clear that she was efficient as she returned just twenty minutes later with damp hair in a braid and in a clean dress.  Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido thought absently to himself how flattering she would look in Japanese styles. 

“You are very beautiful today, Miss Crain,” he told her carefully over tea.

She blushed and took a sip of her tea.  “You are too kind.  I don’t think many Japanese find us Americans beautiful.”

“Then they are blind,” he answered simply. 

They then sat in silence for several minutes.  Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido was content with that.  There was a beauty and simplicity to taking tea with a woman.  If she were Japanese and this were the appropriate venue, he would ask her to sing for him, but unfortunately that was not possible.  He doubted she could sing in the acceptable style.  Still, he wondered how she would sing.

When she placed her hand on the teapot, quietly asking him if he would like a second cup, he nodded.  As she was pouring, he inquired, “Why did you change your address, Miss Crain?”

“Frank and I had a difference of opinion on Japanese culture,” she answered after considering for a moment.  “He is also not a kind man.  He pretends otherwise, but when it matters he is not kind.”

“I see,” he replied.  “I am sorry, Miss Crain.”

She shrugged her shoulders elegantly.  “I just needed the courage.  You gave it to me, Chief Inspector.  For that I will always be grateful.”  Her eyes caught his and their gazes held, and he saw a message hidden in them.

Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido nodded once and then took another sip of his tea.  “I have a wife,” he stated carefully, looking down, “a son who will bring honor to my family name.  You should know this, Miss Crain.”

He heard her put down her teacup and then stand from her kneeling position at the table, and he looked up to see her leave through the door.  Placing several yen on the table, he followed her at a sedate pace and when he caught up to her, Chief Inspector Kido led her into an alleyway where they wouldn’t be seen.  He stood there, looking at her through his spectacles, and breathed in deeply, “Miss Crain, I did not mean to insult you.”

“You did not insult me,” she replied.  “You merely informed me that you had a wife—”

She stilled when he reached up and touched her cheek with his hand.  Her blue eyes went wide and she swallowed.  Then, hesitantly, a moment later she reached up and touched his cheek. 

The pads of her fingers were soft and it had been years since Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido had been touched so intimately.  He almost quivered under the feeling of gentle skin on his face, but instead he cradled her face between his two hands and brushed his thumbs against her cheeks.  “I have said it before, but you are beautiful, Juliana Crain.”

The next day, he sent flowers for her without signing the card.  However, in them he had included details of a position with the Trade Minister at the Nippon Building.  He had already put in a good word, stating that she was a young lady of upstanding character whose stepfather worked for the kempeitai and who studied aikido and the Japanese way of life herself.  If the Trade Minister suspected anything, he didn’t say.

He received a phone call from the Trade Minister’s aide that Miss Juliana Crain had received the position and would be starting the day after tomorrow. 

When, over two years later, he watched Frank Frink get shot, he thought that this was insupportable.  It had been nearly three weeks since he had seen Juliana.  Even if it was to simply take tea with her, he attempted to see her twice a week.  Anything less would be unacceptable.  He had already been considering how to extend his tour in the Pacific States.  It would mean being away from his son longer, but he would remain with Juliana. 

Something must be done. 

He was Chief Inspector of the kempeitai.  He could suspect his own wife of being a traitor to the Empire and have her be quietly assassinated.  It would be suspect if he married his Aryan mistress, but he had a high enough station in society that people would not challenge him to his face.  Juliana would be a good mother to his son, he was sure of it.  She would have been a good mother to their two children if they had not been terminated for the honor of his house. 

He still regretted their deaths and often dreamt that he had their blood on his hands.  It had been his decision.  Juliana had begged him when she was pregnant with the second child, saying she would give the child her name, that although people would suspect, they could say nothing.  However, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido would never leave a child of his to the cruel ways of the world.  A child of his would not be born a bastard.  Would not be of mixed race to be looked down upon by the Japanese.

How then was he considering it now?

All of this would not necessarily be the case if there was a third child or any others.  That child would be wanted.  Another child of theirs, if they were blessed, would bring his house honor. 

Yes, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido would make the telephone call and he would get in touch with Juliana.  He would ensure she not marry before he could claim her for his own.

V-A Day was bright and sunny.  Juliana smiled when she woke up, the name ‘Takeshi’ on her lips. 

She breathed out and then got up for the day.  She knew she was expected to embody the Reich and so chose the one red dress she had, putting her hair up simply with decorative pins, swastikas as earrings, and the lipstick from Takeshi on her lips.

Skipping down the stairs, she greeted Thomas at the table and took her place.  John was already gone as he was in a parade in New York, but he would be back later. 

“So what do we do on V-A day?” she asked. 

“Well,” he responded, pouring himself some orange juice, “don’t you have it in the Pacific States?”

“No,” she answered.  “We don’t celebrate it.  You see why I’m a little confused.”

“We have a turkey, and we celebrate the Reich,” Thomas answered simply.  “There is nothing to really know about it.  We watch the Fuhrer on tv, of course.”

“Of course,” she agreed and then paused.  “I don’t know German.”

“It’s dubbed,” he informed her.  “It’s rather annoying hearing both languages at once.”

She nodded.  “I imagine.”  Juliana thought back to the Pacific States to how nothing was dubbed.  When there was an announcement in Japanese, there would be subtitles.  Of course, television in general was in English for the American population.

When John returned home, Juliana pasted on a fake smile, remembering their night at Sullivan’s.  He had wanted to dance with her and she had felt rather awkward.  It had been a waltz, which had been common enough in the Pacific States.  The Japanese did not dance—they had other cultural ways of spending time with women—but she and Takeshi had danced in her apartment. 

It was strange being held by another man. 

She felt like she was being untrue to Takeshi.

“I’ll just go upstairs and get changed,” John was now saying to them both.  “It’s your first occasion as hostess, Alexa.  I know it may be a little daunting, but we’ll be there every step of the way.”

“You think I cannot serve as a hostess?” she teased.

“I imagine there are different social norms in the Pacific States, Alexa,” John stated seriously.  “Don’t you drink tea?”

Juliana’s mind flashed back to that first time she had taken tea with Takeshi, back in Frank’s apartment.  How they had sat and looked quite openly at each other, the roses on the table between them.

“Quite,” she answered with a small smile.  “It can be quite elegant.  I miss the manners of it.”

John took her in for a long moment and then decided, “Well, Alexa, we’re just going to have to change that.”

It was then that the phone rang and all their attention focused on it.  John murmured, “I wonder who that can be?” before picking it up.  “Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith,” he greeted.  “Is that wise?” John asked, looking over his shoulder at Alexa.  “I trust this is a secure line.”

After a moment he removed the telephone from his ear and held it out to Juliana.  “It’s for you—about a state execution in the Pacific States.”

She stepped forward carefully and said, “Hello?  This is Alexa Smith,” into the receiver.

The cool, calm voice of Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido came over the line and it was a balm to her soul.  “You will be pleased to know, Miss Crain,” he stated, “that after Mr. Frank Frink admitted to violating the property of the kempeitai physically no less than twice and being found responsible for this property’s disappearance, he has been summarily executed.

She smirked.  “Property?  How prettily you put it, Chief Inspector.” 

I find, Miss Crain,” he continued as if she hadn’t said anything, “that I will soon find myself without a wife.  I would be most gratified if you would find yourself to be still without a husband.

Juliana’s breath caught at the implications.  “Is this a state execution as well?”

I couldn’t possibly comment, Miss Crain,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido stated, his voice crisp with his clipped words.  “I would remind you that the workings of the kempeitai are strictly confidential.”

She looked away from the wall toward John who was waiting patiently along with Thomas.  “May she rest with her ancestors.  How’s Alexa?  Was she given to my parents?”

Thomas visibly startled and she saw John’s hand clench at his side. 

I have the great honor of keeping her as a companion,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido answered solemnly, which almost made her laugh.

“Well, she always did like you,” she agreed, remembering how her cat used to try to sleep on his head on more than one occasion.  “Goodbye, Chief Inspector.”

Scita,” he responded—and she promptly dropped the phone.

Grasping for it, Juliana put it back to her ear and desperately whispered, “Takeshi-san?  Are you still there?”

There was a long pause and she thought that he had disconnected the line.  “Misa-chan,” he stated quietly.

Looking up desperately, her eyes filling with tears, she murmured, “Scita, Takeshi-san.  Scita.”  Then she carefully hung up and tried to collect herself.  “Thank you, John,” she stated as she continued to stare at the telephone.  “I am glad to know that Frank Frink has been executed.  I never thought I would want another person dead—but—”  She sighed.

“I understood he was an enemy of the state,” he commented and she looked up at him, tears still in her eyes.

“He is—was,” she agreed.  “I believe you would call him a Semite.”

“Quite.”  He turned to go up the stairs and then, just before he was to go up the first step, he asked, “What was that Japanese word you used, Alexa?”

San,” she said, willfully misunderstanding with a small smile.  “You attach it to a name to show respect.  If we were in the Pacific States, you would be John-san.  You would call your son, Thomas-chan, as a term of affection and because he is still a child.”

“No,” he argued, his voice light and airy.  “The other word: scita.”  His pronunciation was clumsy, and Juliana hated hearing him say it, and she swallowed just at the sound of it.  However, she pulled herself together and pasted another innocent smile on her face.

“I don’t know what you mean,” she responded. 

“I can call the Japanese Embassy, Alexa,” he warned.  “Thomas, go into the Living Room.  This is perhaps a conversation for adults.”

Thomas dutifully left, and Alexa stared at John, daring him to do just that.

“You see,” he stated, as he came toward her.  “I was informed when you were smuggled into the American Reich that you were the mistress of a high-level Japanese official.  You even had two viable pregnancies while you were his lover.”  John stalked toward her, an undeniable predator.  “It’s clear that he liked to keep you in style, with your expensive make up, those six tubes of lipstick, silk dresses.  I had deduced that it was Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido and that he was not simply your contact.  Are you passing messages to each other even though you have defected, Alexa?  The last thing I want to do is put you in detention.—Is even the name ‘Alexa’ a message?”

“Alexa is my cat,” she returned.  “She was a birthday present.”  Juliana looked into his eyes and they shone with a dangerous honesty.

John just looked back at her dispassionately, clearly unimpressed.

“It meant,” she admitted after a moment, “’I love you.’  We’d never said the words before.  It’s why I dropped the phone in surprise.  He really did call to tell me that Frank had been executed.”

“You do realize you sully your blood by having children with a man such as him,” John told her sternly.

“Or I purify his,” she suggested glibly.  “Even before I met Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido, I garnered attention from the Japanese.  My blue eyes were considered Aryan and women who have Aryan characteristics but do not fully resemble the ‘Master Race’ as you call it are desirable.”

John looked pensive for a moment.  “I did not realize that about Japanese culture.  He should have taken you home to Japan instead of sending you to us if you are so prized.”

She turned her face away in pain.  “A man has his wife and children in Japan while he is on tour in the Pacific States.  His mistress remains on this side of the ocean.”

“I see,” he answered quietly.  “No wonder he wanted better for you, a husband, children.  If he loves you, he would want you to have what he could not give you.  The trouble is whether a man of the Reich would want a Jap’s cast offs.” 

It was said gently, with no malice, and Juliana thought how to answer.  In the end, she didn’t respond at all as the doorbell rang.  It seemed like Joe Blake had arrived.


Published by excentrykemuse

Fanfiction artist and self critic.

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