Part the Fifth—

“Keep my head under water / Pride buried in my chest / Not counting the minutes, the seconds / Not holding my breath / Now sinking from the surface / Swimming in my lungs / Losing my vision, religion / I’m holding my tongue”

—“High,” Whethan & Dua Lipa

Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido had sent a note through the Embassy.  Hopefully, Juliana had received it.  It had been in a box of roses.  He had, of course, received notice when she had become a citizen of the Greater Nazi Reich.  His heart broke, but he was not without hope.  His wife was ill, so ill that their son had been sent to his sister. 

It would be soon.

Very soon.

He had a routine meeting at Nazi Headquarters, but he went up to the aide de camp and cancelled it.  Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido spoke precisely, coolly, and turned, knowing that this had to be exactly timed.  A moment later the elevator doors opened and Juliana stepped out of them.

She was as beautiful as he remembered her. 

Her lush hair had been braided on both sides of her head and then put up somehow.  There were hair ornaments in it.  A chain of gold hugged her neck tightly with a swastika on it.  She was wearing a simple but elegant dress in peacock blue, white gloves on her hands, a deep green coat making up the ensemble.

Juliana smiled at him and approached before she bowed.  “Takeshi-san.  I did not know you would be in the Reich.  I hope your flight was uneventful.”

“Just so, Misa-chan,” he agreed.  “I understand I am to congratulate you on completing your examinations.”

A shadow was cast over her blue eyes for a moment before they brightened again. 

“I am sorry, but I no longer know your name.”

A smile quirked her lips.  “I am Alexa Smith—the ward of Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith,” she clarified, perhaps seeing the worry in his eyes.  “It is better than ‘Jordis’, Takeshi-san.  Perhaps you should not be in charge of naming anyone in the future.”  She was clearly teasing him.

“You will always be ‘Misaki-chan’ to me,” he told her plainly.  “I was not wrong when I gave you that name.”

There was a pause.  “How is your wife?  Is she feeling better?”  The worry on her face seemed genuine, and perhaps it was, but Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido knew why she was asking. 

“She has declined in health, Misa-chan,” he told her.  “It will not be long now.  However, I have two years longer on my tour.”

Her eyebrows furrowed as she tried to make the connections.  It would be difficult to marry while he was still in San Francisco given that she was a ‘race traitor’.  He needed to take her back to Japan immediately.  However, he simply didn’t have the power to do that.  The longer he left her in the American Reich, the more likely it was that he would lose her.

“Perhaps we can discuss this over tea unless you have business in this building?”

She took a deep breath.  “It can wait, Takeshi-san.  It has been many months since I’ve seen a familiar face from the Pacific States.”  Juliana turned and he followed her to the elevator.

They were alone and he reached for her but she shook her head.  Her eyes focused on the corner and he followed her gaze to what seemed to be a black spot, which was perhaps a camera. 

Scita,” she whispered when the elevator doors opened and he followed her out. 

They only had to walk for five minutes before she took him to a diner.  He had never liked such places, but he would trust her judgment.  He supposed there were no tea houses.  Juliana ordered two coffees and he took off his hat.

After they were served, he calmly explained, “A General’s niece was assassinated just last week.  She was Japanese.”

Juliana shivered although it was warm in the diner.  “It’s not safe then—even if—”

“No,” he agreed. 

“There are signs,” she told him carefully, “that Obergruppenfuhrer Smith may want to marry me.  I am pretending to be ignorant right now, but I don’t know how long I can be.  My entire life, my security, depends on him.  Takeshi-san,” she begged. 

“I do not see a solution at the present time,” he admitted coldly, “unless you can somehow get a visa to the Pacific States where we can be privately married, and then you return here for the rest of my tour.  That, however, leaves my son without a mother.”

She took a deep breath.  “He probably will not like me.  I will be immediately replacing his mother and I am American, not Japanese, Takeshi-san.”

“You are my choice,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido argued.  “He will see reason.”

It was clear that Juliana did not believe him, but she simply took another sip of her coffee. 

He carefully angled it so that his foot touched hers and she smiled at him over her own cup.  He looked at her wrist and saw she was still wearing his bracelet.  It pleased him that she hadn’t removed it during these many months away from him.

“Is there somewhere we can go?” she breathed and he nodded.

He had already found a luxurious hotel for the night.  Of course, he could go to the Embassy, but he would not mark Alexa Smith as a race traitor by having her walk through the front doors.  It was dangerous with the Resistance.  Already if they were seen together connections could be made.  Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido could also easily afford a hotel and he wanted to give Juliana the comforts of life.  He could not yet give her a home, but he could give her this.  And he would. 

He seduced her slowly, first pouring out glasses of champagne and exchanging drugging kisses.  Then undoing her hair meticulously, she clasped herself to him before unzipping the dress, which puddled to the floor. 

She sighed as he picked her up and lay her on the bed, unhooking her garters and rolling down her stockings.  He kissed every inch of her exposed skin, making certain to worship her body.  He had dreamt about it nearly every day of his almost sleepless nights, never satisfying himself, but always dreaming and yearning for her.  Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido had not held her in his arms for so long, that he was almost shaking in anticipation and when his bare arms cradled her ass and angled her up against his exposed member, he kissed her deeply, swallowing up her gasps and her sighs, until he had entered her.

This was not the heated frenzy of two people who could not control themselves, but the gentle joining of two lovers who knew the other so well that neither had to speak.  “Scita,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido whispered in her ear again and again with each small thrust, rubbing against her nub and causing her to whimper in pleasure.  “Scita, Scita.” 

Love had not existed before he had met Juliana Crain.  He had felt respect, honor, admiration, and pride, but not love.  For her he thought and planned, for her he killed and plotted.

Juliana did not like the sensation of leaving the arms of her lover while he was sleeping.  Tying up her hair so it wouldn’t get wet, she quickly took a shower and then wrote a note in Japanese, which she left on the pillow.  She kissed Takeshi on the temple, marveling at how soft his face looked without his spectacles, and then slipped out the door. 

She was going to be late.

She knew she would miss dinner and Thomas might already be in bed by the time she got home.  Thinking quickly, she went to the lobby and went to the public telephone.  She dialed the house but found that only Thomas was there.  After telling him not to wait up, she left the hotel to walk to the subway.

However, John was leaning against a government car directly in front of the hotel, dressed in his uniform and leather military trench coat, clearly waiting for her.

“I was afraid that the Chief Inspector’s visit was only a façade for his true purpose,” he greeted as she came up to him.  “Is this what you want, Alexa?  To be at the beck and call of some man who will see you two or three times a year before he returns to Japan?  Who has a wife and child back at home no matter how sick this wife is?  You know he’ll never marry you.  They consider you a ‘race traitor’.”

“He will marry me,” she argued. 

“No, Alexa, he won’t,” he stated calmly and firmly.  “Chief Inspector Kido will never marry you.  He cannot marry you even if he wants to.  The Reich won’t allow it.”  Taking a deep breath, John looked at her.  “You have a home here.  You have a boy who can be your child if you want.  You could have a husband if you choose if you can only embrace the Reich’s view on eugenics.”

“Perhaps I don’t want to,” she argued petulantly.  “Perhaps I liked my life the way it was before people started trying to kill me.”

After looking at her for a long moment, he signaled to a low-ranking officer.  The door was opened for her and she fluidly got in.  She looked through the window up at the hotel, wondering if Takeshi was still sleeping, if he was dreaming of her, if he was imagining their future together.

“You’re throwing away a family,” John told her again, “an unparalleled place in society.  Everything that happened in the Pacific States can be forgiven due to your ignorance.”

Angrily, she turned to him.  “John, be honest.  What you want is a pretty young wife whom you can show off.  The fact that I speak Japanese fluently and know their customs means that you can bring me to almost any social function in the world.  A defector just makes me interesting and perhaps even desirable.”

“What I want is your name,” he argued back, “but I can never have that.  I can never hold you in my arms and whisper your name, Alexa.  Instead, I’m calling you by the name of your cat!  Do you know how horrifying that is to a man who desires you above all else?”

Juliana sat back and looked at him.  “What about Thomas?  He thinks he’s in love with me.”

“I’ll speak with Thomas,” John promised.  “I’m not asking you to forget your entire life in just a few months.  I’m not heartless.  I’m asking for a chance, Alexa, a chance.”

She looked at him and swallowed.  Then she realized something.  They hadn’t used a condom.  How could they have been so stupid?  Closing her eyes for a moment, she looked over at John.  “I don’t want anything to change,” she admitted.  “I want to be Thomas’s close friend, the one he comes to when he wants to talk about his friends or doesn’t quite know how to tell you something.  I want to explore this world—and you’ve been my guide so far.”

“You need more friends,” he admitted, taking her hand and kissing it.  “But first there must be dancing and steak.  You’re not dressed for Sullivan’s, but we’re going to get that slanted eyed bastard out of your mind.”

Full of indignation, she reminded him, “The Japanese Empire is your closest ally, Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith!”

“That they may be,” he agreed.  “That doesn’t mean that every Aryan in North America wouldn’t believe that you would be a race traitor if you got out of this car and walked back into that hotel.”

Their blue eyes caught and a silent message passed between them.  Nothing further would be said on the matter, but he expected it to not happen again. 

Arnold Walker pretended to work for the post office.  His wife Anne believed it, but she had been willfully blind since her first husband had died and the Japanese had invaded. 

He wasn’t blind.  He knew that Trudy had been a member of the Resistance.  Arnold was also aware that she was most likely dead.  He had been promised that she would be shipped off to the Neutral Zone, but a Prawn’s word was as yellow as his skin. 

Over the past few years he had caught sight of the man who was keeping Juliana, a girl whom he had raised as his own flesh and blood.  It had been so strange.  She had been content in her life, had met Frank, had dated him, and then one evening had gone to spend the night.

The next day he got a call at work saying she was in the hospital and would probably die.  He and Anne had rushed to her side and found that a bus had somehow hit her.  The driver swore she had walked out in front of it and, facing away, had spread out her arms and waited for it to just hit her.  It was a miracle that she survived the night, the week, that she was ever able to walk again let alone participate in aikido.

Frank had promised to take care of her, but that didn’t last.  As soon as she was able to walk, she was back home.  Arnold was happy to welcome her to his house, but she didn’t offer any explanation.

Anne tried to set the two back up.  Frank was eager.  It was clear he was besotted with Juliana, but she politely ignored him.

Then the small gifts began to appear.  It started with the tea the day Juliana returned home.

Next was a tube of lipstick, a dark red that usually the Japanese instead of Americans favored.  Still, it looked enchanting on Juliana and she wore it every day.  When she got her job at the Nippon Building, which was surprising, she brought it to work in her pocket and undoubtedly refreshed it during the day as it looked clean and fresh when she returned home.

Although Arnold mainly listened to code words on the wires, he kept his ear to the ground.

Juliana had been recommended by someone in the kempeitai to the Trade Minister.  She was the Aryan face to the Trade Minister’s office, greeting officials from the Reich and serving them.  Then she found an apartment she would not be able to afford, as far as Arnold could tell, but she would not give anyone the exact address or allow them to visit.  Soon she was wearing imported Japanese dresses with her lipstick when she wasn’t working—until the bombing. 

Arnold had been brought into questioning after that.  There had been no chatter on the wires except about a ‘race traitor’ who clearly turned out to be Juliana—who had been targeted because of the Chief Inspector of the kempeitai.  It appeared he was also the intended target.  The Resistance had meant to send a message, a very clear one.

Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido was a ruthless man.  He killed without hesitation, delighted in ordering torture, and it seemed took Juliana to his bed.  As Arnold sat directly opposite him, knowing that he was being recorded, he whispered, “They almost killed my little girl.”

“Juliana Crain,” he agreed, his voice cold and clinical.  “She was one of the intended targets, myself being the other.”

“We knew there was a race traitor.  Her mother and I suspected—how could we not?  All those gifts—the apartment no one can find—the dresses.  Anne throws her at eligible men.  We’ve completely given up on Frank, especially since she got her job at the Nippon Building, and I’ve been trying to find her more cultured men who would be kind to her.  She deserves kindness—but all this time I’ve suspected,” (his eyes flashed up) “and it’s true.”

“Yes,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido agreed.  “It is true.  You will cease with these meaningless matchmaking endeavors.  They are beneath Miss Crain.”

Arnold twisted his hands.  “Beneath her,” he repeated because he needed to say something.  “Her association with—” he swallowed, glancing at the recording device “—almost got her killed—because she is a race traitor.”

“Are you yourself not a race traitor, Mr. Walker?” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido asked, the light glinting off of his spectacles.  “You work for the kempeitai.”

“I am not a young lady who warms the bed of,” he spat, standing in his anger until he saw Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido’s impassive face.  How could Juliana associate with such a heartless creature?  Arnold was certain he must be forcing her in some way.  He liked to believe Juliana above bribery, although he couldn’t completely disregard the idea.

“Mr. Walker,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido stated calmly.  “Control yourself.”

Now, over a year later, Arnold was struggling to control himself again.  He had scheduled an appointment with the Chief Inspector.  He didn’t think he’d be able to see the important man given the assassination attempt of the Crown Prince of the Imperial Family, but he surprisingly was given a date over two months later.

He came into the room and saw the man sitting there, as calm as always, his desk clear of all photographs.  It was unnatural.  Surely the man must have a mother, a father, a wife even. 

Arnold bowed and then took a seat.  “Juliana has been missing for months,” he opened.  “I was wondering if perhaps you knew where she was—”

“Miss Crain,” he answered carefully, “last I knew was heading into the Neutral Zone.  I could not speculate as to her reasons, Mr. Walker.  I have been well informed that she is not returning.”  Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido looked down and it was then that there was a small photograph, barely larger than a thumbnail.  It was Juliana’s passport photograph.

With a large intake of breath, Arnold looked at the Chief Inspector.  “I see.  Can you get messages to her?”

“Not as such,” he responded, looking up at him with his stern gaze.  “You must understand that even in the Neutral Zone the Resistance despises race traitors.”

Moving forward, Arnold whispered—“If you married her—”

The light flashing on his spectacles once again, an unholy anger was burning behind Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido’s eyes.  “Good day, Mr. Walker.  I do not suggest you seek a second appointment on this subject.”

It was a sunny summer day.  John waited in his swim shorts and t-shirt for the rest of his family.  He had fallen into a comfortable rhythm with Alexa.  She would go out with him when he asked her, dressed in one of her two cocktail dresses, looking beautiful with her Aryan blue eyes.  He would dance with her, delighting in the jealous gazes of other officers as he showed off Alexa, and he smiled just when he caught her eye.

“Dad!” Thomas called.  “Alexa has locked herself in the bathroom.  I think she’s crying.”

His brows furrowing in worry, John ran up the stairs and saw Thomas waiting next to the bathroom door.  He gently moved him out of the way and pressed his ear against the door.  There was definitely the sound of sniffling on the other side.  He knocked on the door three times.  “Alexa?  Are you all right?  We’re ready to head to the pool.”

“Go without me!” she shouted through the door.  “I’m quite fine here.”

Looking at his son, John turned back to the door.  “Thomas has been so looking forward to introducing you to some of his friends.  You might meet some of their older siblings—some young couples, perhaps.”

There was the sound of more sniffling.

He knocked again.  “Alexa.  Talk to me.  It can’t be that bad.”

“It can be that bad,” she responded.  “My first child was killed by a bomb that targeted me as a race traitor.  My next child was lost on an operating table for family honor—and what of my third?  It’s been six weeks and nothing!  I missed—I missed my second—It should have come yesterday.  I’m going to be put back on an operating table and my child is going to be taken from me in the name of race purity.”  She broke down into sobs again on the other side of the door.

“Thomas,” John explained carefully.  “You will not repeat a word of what you heard.  Women are unusually emotional about such subjects, you must understand.  Alexa is not thinking rationally.  Go downstairs and wait for me.”

His son was looking at the door in shock.

“Thomas,” John stated a little more harshly, “there is much of the Pacific States you do not know and cannot understand.  Men—force women.  The Japanese force Aryans because they are desirable.  Go downstairs.”

“She’s been here nearly four months—she can’t—”  Thomas breathed.  “How would—?”

Sometimes John wished that Thomas hadn’t taken sexual education.  That course, although mandatory, was more trouble than it was worth.  “Go downstairs, Thomas.”

Finally, he did what he was told.

John looked at the hall clock.  It was six in the morning in the Pacific States.  He knocked again.  “We’re going to go back to Dr. Adler, Alexa,” he explained carefully, “and we’re going to explain that you were imposed on.”

Finally the door was unlocked and he saw her tearstained face.  Her eyes, although watery, were just as brilliantly blue.  “You want to take away my baby,” she accused.  “Not this one.  I won’t let you take this one.”

John tried not to notice that she was in a terribly flattering bikini.  Now was not the time to wonder what it would be like to run his hand down the curve of her breast or what the skin along her stomach tasted like.

“The child will be Japanese.  You can’t give birth to it in the Greater Nazi Reich, Alexa.  I cannot have you give birth to a Japanese child in my house.”

Tears ran down her face and she looked away. 

“I’ll call Dr. Adler now.”

“No one’s going to believe that Takeshi forced himself on me.”

“Of course, they will,” he responded, brushing away a tear with his thumb.  “He’s Japanese.  He’s an animal as far as we’re concerned.”

After the call was made, he convinced Alexa to go to the pool with them.  Sometime during the afternoon, he fell asleep reading a book.  His wallet was gone when he woke up.  Thomas hadn’t seen Alexa for several hours when she had gone to buy ice cream.  She had simply disappeared.

It was eleven o’clock when there was a knock on the door.  Joe looked up from the tv, a beer in his hand, and Rita got up to go see who it was.

“Hi,” Joe heard and he was immediately on his feet.  “You must be Rita.”

There, standing at his door, was Alexa.  Her hair was in a loose braid to the side, and she was wearing a t shirt over what was clearly a bathing suit.  She had sandals on her feet and a beach bag that seemed to have a towel in it on her shoulder.

“Alexa,” he greeted, coming up behind Rita.  “You must be cold.  Come in.”

He led her into the den and offered her a beer, but she took a glass of water instead.  Rita was looking at her suspiciously, not that Joe blamed her.

“I’m sorry,” Alexa apologized as her eyes started to tear up.  She sniffed, clearly trying not to cry.  “It’s just—John—Obergruppenfuhrer Smith—wants to kill my baby.  I’m almost certain I’m pregnant and I can’t—I won’t—”  She pressed her hands to her stomach and she sniffled.  “Joe, I’ve lost two babies.  One was a miscarriage because I was the target of a bombing and the second—I was made to get an abortion.  I won’t do that again.  I have nowhere else to go except perhaps the Imperial Embassy.”

“Why would he want to kill his own baby?” Rita asked in confusion.  “I know that he probably has a wife and a family, but Aryan children are prized and he can marry you to a Sturmbannfuhrer, surely.”

Looking into Alexa’s eyes, Joe suddenly realized, “It’s the Japanese official’s child.  The one who sent you that wine on V-A Day.  They want you to abort it because the child is not Aryan.”

Silent tears ran down her face.  Alexa didn’t answer.  She didn’t have to.  The truth was all too plain.

“Did he come to the American Reich?” Joe asked softly, coming over to her and taking her hand gently.  “Alexa, what happened?”

Her blue eyes sought his.  “Takeshi is the love of my life.  His wife is dying and we’re going to try to somehow be together once she’s gone.  I know it’s heartless, but happiness is within our grasp, Joe.  I have to either stay in the Greater Nazi Reich, however, or go to Japan and he has two years left in his tour with the Japanese Imperial Navy.  I’m not safe in the Pacific States.  He smuggled me here personally and John—Obergruppenfuhrer Smith—sponsored me as a personal favor.  I suppose it was some kind of professional courtesy.”

“I don’t think it was professional courtesy,” Joe murmured, thinking of how beautiful Alexa was and how Obergruppenfuhrer Smith clearly had eyes.  He could have put her in a ladies’ dormitory and been done with her.  “You’ll stay the night, of course, Alexa, and tomorrow we’ll decide what to do.”

“Joe,” Rita whispered harshly.  “This Obergruppenfuhrer must be looking for her.”

“Well, if he looks here, we’ll turn her over,” he answered sharply.  “If not, then no harm.”

He got Alexa settled on the couch in one of Rita’s nightgowns and a blanket or two, but he wasn’t surprised when he heard Rita on the telephone.  Not fifteen minutes later, there was a knock on the door, and he opened it to find John Smith on the other side in his full military regalia.

Joe put his finger up to his lips and nodded over to the living room. 

Taking off his hat, Obergruppenfuhrer Smith came in and went over and looked down at Alexa.  With gloved fingers he traced the line of her brow and she shifted in her sleep.  With a sigh, he sat down in a chair, his eyes never leaving her sleeping form, and the night continued in silence.

Joe had no doubt that the Obergruppenfuhrer would be marrying her as quickly as possible to stake a claim on her so that this Japanese man—this phantom—could never touch her again.


Published by excentrykemuse

Fanfiction artist and self critic.

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