Part the Fifteenth—
“I don’t wanna know, know, know, know / Who’s taking you home, home, home, home / I’m loving you so, so, so, so / The way I used to love you, no”
—“I Don’t Wanna Know,” Maroon 5
There was a call from Berlin. Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith was not unused to them, of course, given his position. He immediately took the call and answered.
It was Reichsminister Martin Heusmann. He hadn’t quite expected the call since he had delivered Joe to his father, as promised, and had confirmation that he had arrived in Berlin.
“Is there a particular reason,” the Reichsminister asked, “that my son is enamored with a particular agent of the Imperial Empire—an agent who is Aryan but does everything to portray herself as Japanese? Whose child is she even carrying?”
Looking around the office, although he knew it was empty, John answered concisely, “I understand the child to be her husband’s. Why would you ask, Reichsminister?” John looked down at his desk and all the files he had to go through, determining that this day had certainly had a bad start.
The undoubted German accent replied. “Perhaps it is only that my son will go nowhere without her.”
“They are rather emotionally attached. Agent Kido celebrated her engagement with Joe and went to him at one point when she was distressed. He even asked for permission to court her before she was married. I was her guardian at the time, Reichsminister. I remember the conversation quite clearly.”
There was a long pause. “That is not in the file I requested.”
“Undoubtedly you have the redacted Japanese file on Agent Kido. All files concerning her defection to the American Reich were destroyed per our treaty with the Japanese Empire. There is only one copy left in existence, to my knowledge, and it is in my personal vault in my home.”
“Indeed,” (there was a long pause) “You will send it by diplomatic pouch.”
“Of course, Reichsminister,” John answered. “If that is all?”
“Sieg Hile.” The Riechsminister didn’t even wait for a response. He just hung up and John Smith was left holding the receiver for a long moment before he hung up himself.
He would be expected to send out the file that very day. Leaving the room and grabbing his coat, he called for Erich. “I need to go back to Long Island on an important errand for Reichsminister Heusmann. Hold my calls for the day. I will return by the afternoon. If you would be good enough to call my car.” He then swept out of the entryway, back toward the elevator, annoyed at the situation.
Taking a deep breath, he let himself think about Alexa for a brief moment. He had imagined being trapped with her in this very elevator, of ignoring the camera and pushing her up against the wall before unbuttoning a little jacket she would surely be wearing with her suit as he sank to his knees, his hand slipping to the silk slip underneath. She would sigh and throw her head back, her mouth open as he dipped his hand beneath the waist of her skirt and then the elevator would start up again and he would fluidly stand. Alexa would quickly begin to button up her jacket, breathing heavily, trying to calm her excitement, forgetting that her hair was disheveled. He would lean to the side and run his fingers through the strands before the doors opened and they would walk out, the perfect American couple, his hand at the small of her back, as if nothing had happened.
And nothing would ever happen—because she was gone from him forever.
Something was happening. Juliana knew it. She and Joe had been sequestered at the Reichsminister’s house. The day before they had been taken on a tour of Berlin and now—now something was wrong.
“I should go in,” Joe stated at lunch after throwing his napkin on the table.
“If you think that’s best,” Juliana returned. “I can always go to the embassy, if Hilda doesn’t lock me out.”
Joe tried to hold in a laugh. “You really shouldn’t have babbled Japanese at her.”
“She thought I was your mistress!”
He tilted his head to the side. “Japanese, Alexa? Really?”
“Family honor is very important to Takeshi,” she stated back haughtily, but she knew that Joe was perfectly aware she was just playacting. “Besides, you thought it was funny at the time.”
“That,” he stated, pointing a finger at her, “is not the point.”
Sighing, she leaned her head back. “At least I am learning a bit of German, what with your father trying to get a few private words in with you when I’m sitting right here. He didn’t seem to take it to heart when I said I understood a few words.”
“Why do you think he’s using the most complicated words he can think of?” Joe asked, grinning. “Even I am having difficulty keeping up!”
“Of course you are,” she joked. “The great Joe Blake—or should I say ‘Joseph Heusmann’?”
“That’s it!” he stated, throwing up his hands. “I’m going to order Hilda to lock you out. Joseph Heusmann. You are quite mischievous when you want to be, Alexa.”
“Aren’t I just?” she asked.
The sound of several cars pulling up startled Juliana, which she could make out even though she was at the back of the house. She turned to Joe who had also gone quiet. They waited while the doorbell rang and then it was slammed open. Immediately, Juliana pushed herself up onto her feet and Joe placed a hand around her as they moved into the gardens, looking for a place to hide.
Juliana desperately wondered what was happening when she heard decidedly Japanese voices. For a moment she was terrified—had something happened to Takeshi, and then she pulled away from Joe and shouted, “I’m out here!” in perfect Japanese.
A man in military regalia came out onto the back patio and Joe stepped in front of her.
“Agent Misaki Kido,” he greeted, bowing. “Your immediate extraction has been requested by Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido. Threats have been made against your life.”
Although she knew that Joe couldn’t understand a word that she was saying, she put a hand against his arm and walked up past him toward the man. She knew Hilda, who was pushed up against the doorway by another man, couldn’t understand or Joe who now had a gun pointed to her head—but still she whispered toward the man, “Who’s threatening me?”
“The Man in the High Castle.”
She looked at him in horror. “Let me get my bag.”
The man looked at her with cold Japanese eyes. “There is no time, race traitor.”
Laughing in his face, she argued, “There’s plenty of time. The Man in the High Castle is in the Neutral Zone. I haven’t heard of any Resistance movements in Berlin!”
Walking past him, she moved as quickly as she could toward the stairs and then took a deep breath when she reached the top of them. It was easy enough to pack. Two sets of trousers, four shirts, her undergarments, cosmetics, perfume, her dress and stoll. She was done in less than five minutes. When she turned back toward the door she saw the man in uniform waiting for her, and he took the suitcase. “The bearer of a Japanese son should not have to carry her own suitcase.”
This was certainly surprising. She bowed to him low in respect and then moved back down the staircase.
Joe and Hilda were in the entryway, sequestered by the three men who had come with the leader who barked out orders and handed off the suitcase.
Juliana smiled at Joe. “I’m safe,” she promised him. “There have just been threats back in the Pacific States. They’re not being taken lightly.”
He made to move toward her, but a gun was pressed against his chest and he moved back. “You’ll call?”
“If I can,” she promised. “Good luck with your father, Joe. Hopefully I’ll see you back in New York.”
Then she turned and left the expansive house and got into a military jeep, her cloak wrapped around her. Breathing out as she looked back, she saw Joe at the window and she lifted up her hand in farewell.
“Aryans are not the best of company for a Japanese wife,” the squadron leader stated firmly.
“Joe’s a dear friend,” she responded. “Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido knew I was here.”
“An error in judgment, surely.”
Refraining from shrugging, she instead looked at the man. “I’m sorry you’re so far from home. I know what that’s like. First I was in New York and now I’m here. Soon I’ll be in Japan. I may never see San Francisco again.”
The man turned to her and his gaze had turned soft. “Japan is truly beautiful.”
She smiled at him. “I hope so,” she agreed. “This one,” she stated, caressing her stomach, “will grow up there, and I would like him to have a beautiful home. A safe home. One without the Resistance. Without the distinction of race traitors and the white man. A world like that.”
“A world like that,” her escort told her plainly, “does not exist.”
This film was peculiar, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido thought. They were once again viewing them. There were so many to get through, and all of them possessed Juliana.
If there had been any doubt in the generals’ minds, they now knew that they must be propaganda and that Agent Kido could not have been involved in all of them. Sometimes her hair was different, sometimes she possessed scars that simple cosmetics could not create. Often the films showed that first soldier who was escorting her to her death in the death chamber. Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido did not know who he was, but he would find out. No doubt he was a citizen of the Greater Nazi Reich, so it would take time. But Takeshi Kido had time. He had plenty of it.
Juliana was standing at a podium next to the man who had been in the original film that she had tried to smuggle to the Neutral Zone. She was in a beautiful white dress, eyelet, he thought it was called, with little sleeves that showed her beautiful arms. He could run his hands up those arms, even now, and lean down and kiss her, but this was only an image of her. Her hair was cut short. A medal was being pinned to her dress and she was smiling.
A moment later she was holding a child that was clearly of Japanese descent. A man Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido did not recognize, wearing a polo shirt and khaki shorts came into the picture and took the child’s hand and waved it about. Juliana smiled at him before placing a kiss on his lips.
The sight undoubtedly disturbed Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido.
Juliana’s hair was once again long and flowing, but placed in a braid over one shoulder.
A moment later and the film cut again and there was a parade with flags waving. Hundreds if not thousands of people lined the streets and Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido looked at the spectacle in obvious confusion.
Then Juliana was back with the child, the man gone. A figure appeared, only the back of his head appearing. The figure took the child into his arms and Juliana smiled. Juliana waved and skipped down the steps, it seemed she had been standing at the top of them, and then the man turned.
Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido stared in shock. There, standing in a suit with a lapel button of the American flag pressed to his chest, was Trade Minister Tagomi.
The film wavered and then it was over.
A sense of dread filled Takeshi Kido’s stomach. He could hear the other generals murmur around him and he just took a deep breath and wished that he could fly to Berlin this very moment so he could be with Juliana, so he could run his hand up and down her stomach and reassure himself that the child growing inside it was his.
Walking down a street in New York was a man. He was a member of the Resistance. He was seemingly unimportant except that he was a former member of the U.S. Military, the best friend of Lieutenant Crain, and the father of Trudy Walker.
He worked in electrical wires and had caught, on tape, a young boy—Thomas Smith—speaking to Alexa Smith about how he knew he was sick but his father wasn’t telling him the truth. It was a strange conversation. A hurried one. A quiet one. But Alexa—this young woman who appeared to be a sister and a mother at the same time—seemed to be just as confused as Thomas was.
Well, he’d be turning it over to the authorities. Obergruppenfuhrer Smith was finished. One more piece of the puzzle was about to be removed. This was a win for the Resistance.
Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith had a name. Heusmann. It was all he needed. It was imperative that he get to Berlin. However, then the gestapo came to his door and took Thomas away. And he was arrested.
The file he had prepared on the conspiracy, which he intended to show Himmler, was left on his desk, to be read several weeks later by some other government official when it was too late.
Joe stood was wearing a band with the swastika on it, red like the blood of all the innocents who would die, around his arm. It had been two days since Alexa had been taken and he had no word. Now his father was planning on blowing San Francisco off the map.
He couldn’t even think about it. Joe knew San Francisco was her home—that the phantom husband he had never seen lived there. Tak something. Kido. Right. Alexa was now Agent Kido. It would have to be enough.
Whatever happened, he couldn’t allow Alexa’s husband to die, the father of her child. The Japanese might be yellow skinned monkeys, but Joe loved Alexa and he wouldn’t be able to see her in pain.
When the Reichsminister was called away, Joe picked up the telephone. “This is Joe Blake,” he stated firmly. “I need an outside line to the Pacific States.”
“Of course, Herr Blake,” the voice answered smoothly and he was transferred to—wait.
He looked up and saw his father standing over him with his hand pressing down to end the call. He tutted. “The Pacific States, Joseph? Who could you possibly know there? Who would you want to warn?”
The Reichsminister took the receiver and put it down.
“Joseph, I am surprised at you.” He went to the door and barked out orders in German. Immediately two stormtroopers came in and Joe knew it was over. Without any hesitation he went over to his father and looked into his eyes. “I would do anything for the woman I love,” he stated clearly. “Perhaps that’s what makes us different, Father.” Then he walked out, knowing he’d be under house arrest if he were lucky, or in a cell if he weren’t.
There was no warning but a whining sound. Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido was looking out the window when he heard it and he recognized it. He didn’t know how, but it was as if he had heard it before. Closing his eyes, he thought of Juliana. It was as if he could see her face, looking back at him, smiling. She reached out her hand for his, so unlike her, and he found himself reaching back.
Pause. Movement. He was no longer in his office and there was no longer that whining sound. He was in a park he recognized here in San Francisco. His hand rested in Juliana’s and she smiled at it. “What is it, Takeshi-san?” she asked as they stood under the cherry blossom tree. “Are you well?”
For a moment, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido wasn’t quite certain how to answer. “Yes,” he finally replied. “I am quite well.”
“The children are waiting,” she told him as she pulled him forward. “Akihito, Itsuki, and the others—come.” And he found himself being pulled forward toward a picnic basket where there were four small children, all beautiful and wearing Western clothing, and Akihito several years older than Takeshi Kido remembered him, sitting a little ways away from them.
For a moment he thought he was in the film that he had seen.
Juliana was laughing at something one of the children had said and Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido wondered what all their names were. He was passed a Tupperware container which, it turned out, contained rice, and then chopsticks and, after a moment, he helped the younger children with their own rice with spoons. He didn’t smile. Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido rarely smiled, and Juliana looked at him worriedly.
Still, he breathed out in contentment when a little girl wandered over and sat in his lap. It was so unlike strict Japanese behavior, but she clapped her hands and begged, “Daddy.”
Uncertain what to do, he looked at Juliana.
His wife laughed, the same wedding band he had placed on her hand back in New York on her finger. “She wants you to pick her up, Takeshi-san. Are you sure you are feeling okay?”
“Quite well, Misa-chan,” he assured her, and she looked at him a little oddly.
After a moment, he picked up the three-year-old as if she were an infant and she hugged him close. She laid a kiss on his cheek and whispered, “I love you, Daddy.” Tears filled his eyes at the thought that this girl had been lost—was lost although somehow he was holding her—and he admitted, “I love you, little one.”
“Aiko-chan,” Juliana called and the little girl looked up. “Eat your rice. Makoto will eat it if you don’t.”
A boy, the oldest of the four, looked up when his name was mentioned. He had slightly puffy cheeks but held an undoubted resemblance to Takeshi Kido.
“Akihito,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido stated, turning to his eldest son who had removed himself from them, “come join your brothers and sisters.” His voice was uncompromising and the sun shone off his spectacles, hiding his eyes.
The boy looked up from his rice and appraised his father for a long moment. “I do not care to associate with race traitors.”
“You will not speak to your father in such a way, Akihito,” Juliana admonished and Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido was surprised to realize that the term was used to refer to him. Race traitor. He was the one who was considered a race traitor. “Or your siblings.”
Carefully, he put his rice down and walked off further into the park.
Juliana sighed. “He knows his way home.”
“It is not safe,” Takeshi Kido worried despite himself, looking down at his other children.
“Perhaps not,” Juliana agreed. “But if we don’t let him walk it off, he’ll throw another tantrum and scare Itsuki and Yoshi. It’s unfair to them. He’s made it home all right before.” She reached out to Takeshi Kido. “Please don’t worry.”
He let his fingers entwine with hers, sensing that here, in this place, he was allowed to show his affection for her. “You are wise, wife.”
“I like to think so,” she agreed with a smile, turning back to her rice. “Now, let’s enjoy our day. We have four little munchkins, some of whom need to learn how to use chopsticks.”
Suddenly the two younger ones—Yoshi and Itsuki, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido thought they had been called—clambered up, calling out to their mother. She threw back her head and laughed happily, and Takeshi Kido basked in her happiness. Yes, he would stay in this dream for as long as he could, no matter how strange it was.
Yes, he would stay here with Juliana and the children.
He wouldn’t leave by choice.
Takeshi was dead and the world was at war. Juliana and Joe were held up in a dark apartment in Dresden, where Joe worked manual labor to support them.
Today, though, he had stayed home. Juliana was screaming as she was giving birth to her first child. They didn’t know how they were going to hide that the child was Japanese, but Joe promised they would deal with that particular problem later. “Later,” he always said distractedly. That had always been his answer until he had somehow threatened someone into getting her papers that said her name was ‘Alexa Blake’ and she was a Nazi citizen.
Juliana suspected that he had gone to his father. She still wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be his wife or his sister—they had never discussed it—but really, this was not the time or place.
“I can see it! I can see the head!” Joe called out happily as he looked between the legs, and wasn’t Juliana just embarrassed? This was absolutely humiliating, but right now she was screaming and pushing. “That’s right, Alexa. Just keep going. This little guy is coming.”
Part of her brain that hadn’t completely shut off wondered how they were supposed to register the birth if the child was Japanese.
“It’s coming!” Joe called, a smile on his face. “It’s coming!”
With one last groan, she pushed and collapsed back onto the mattress that she and Joe shared. There really wasn’t much room for anything more than that in the room. They had the one room and the kitchenette. They had to eat standing up or on the bed, which was rather funny if it weren’t so depressing.
She breathed out and then there was a cry. Joe was silent and just staring at the baby.
“Alexa—” he whispered, but she couldn’t even open her eyes.
“What?” she whispered. “Is he a girl? Do I need a new name?”
“No,” he answered carefully, putting the baby down into the waiting blankets and, well, there was a snip so he must have been cutting the cord. They had done a bit of research on how to do this since they couldn’t afford a midwife and they knew the baby could come at any time. “This baby’s Aryan.”
Her eyes flew open and she pushed herself up on her hands, looking over at the baby, and Joe passed him to her. He was covered in blood, but she could make out two startling blue eyes and blacker than black hair.
“It wasn’t a dream,” she whispered in desperation. “I—I thought it was a dream.”
Joe came up and looked at her. “What wasn’t a dream?”
“The nightmare. The night I told John I was married to Takeshi, Rose brought up a tray with wine, and the wine made me drowsy, and I dreamt that John came into the room—and—” She looked up with tears in her eyes. “I—I thought it was a nightmare. I woke up fine the next morning. It was a dream, wasn’t it?”
Looking lost for words, Joe pulled her toward him as she silently began to cry. The baby began to wail and he whispered, “Hey, the little guy needs to eat. Are you up for that, Alexa?”
“Oh,” she sighed, sniffling. “Yeah.”
“Hey,” he murmured, taking her face in between her hands. “We’ll go and get married—” (she made to object but he kept going as he stroked her hair away from her face) “—I love you. I’m in love with you and I know you care for me. This little guy needs a dad. We’ll tell my father that he’s mine and he’s going to have everything the Reich can give him. Okay? I’ll keep you safe.”
He pulled her to him again but when the child continued to wail, she pulled away and began to pull at her shirt until her breast was revealed and she began to try to suckle the child.
Joe looked away out of politeness and Juliana sighed, thinking about it. “You’ll leave me alone?” she asked quietly, knowing she was being partially unfair. “Until I’m ready? Frank forced me in San Francisco—and now it seems John forced me in New York—I don’t want—”
Turning back to her although she was still breast feeding, Joe promised, “I’ll never force you, Alexa.” He reached for her again and brushed away an errant tear. “I would never do that. I would hope I’m a better man than that.”
“Well, I guess I’m Alexa after my cat for the rest of my days. My cat!”
He frowned. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Juliana grimaced and looked back down at the baby. “I guess he needs a name. Do you have any ideas? Something German maybe although we’re both American?”
He looked at him for a long moment. “Julian.” It was pronounced Yoo-lyan, but it was undoubtedly her name. Juliana couldn’t help but laugh at it.
“It’s perfect,” she declared. “Julian Blake—Julian Heusmann perhaps.”
Joe leaned forward and kissed her forehead. “Yes,” he agreed. “It’s perfect.”
No longer Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith was in a cell. He had been tortured, humiliated, and he knew that by now his son Thomas was dead. However, he thought with a slight smile, he might have a son or a daughter in the world. He knew he couldn’t be certain, of course he couldn’t be certain. That yellow monkey had gotten there first.
However, he had had that night with Alexa. He wasn’t proud that he had had to drug her, but he had held her in his arms, had forced her to submit to his will even if for just a few hours. He kept those memories in a place where they would be safe.
Yes, perhaps he had another son somewhere in the world.
John couldn’t be certain.