"Burdens of Heritage"

Author: Haruo Chikamori

E-mail: hhchikamori

Rating: M

Classification: Animal/Tracy Manetti,

Spoilers: N/A

Summary: A relationship borne of a close-working environment at the Pentagon is tested when Animal gets a call from relatives in Japan to come back to Japan to attend a soshiki of a much-loved uncle due to a motor vehicle accident involving a USN serviceman and a Japanese pedestrian.

DISCLAIMER: The characters Harm Rabb, Jr., Sarah "Mac" Mackenzie, Meg Austin, AJ Chegwidden, Bud Roberts, Harriet Sims-Roberts et al. belong (in concept if not name) to CBS/Bellisarius. Animal and all OC characters are the property of Heather and Hugo Chikamori. No profit is being made from this story, nor is any infringement intended.

Author's Note: I've always enjoyed Tamlyn Tomita's performances – yes, including Karate Kid Part II. She brought a certain wry humor to the role of Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti in JAG. God I ~bleeping~ hate ADHD plot bunnies!


JAG Headquarters, Falls Church, VA, March 2, 2002, 0700hrs

"Rabb, Mackenzie! In my office!" Rear Admiral (lower half) AJ Chegwidden strode through the bullpen enroute to his office. When the two officers made their way to the oak-lined office of the Judge Advocate General, his face was in the file that he was perusing. After seeing over the top of the file folder, that the two officers had come to a brace in front of his desk, he uttered. "I need to send you two to Kochi Prefecture in Japan. An enlisted man off the USS Mind Head has been arrested by Japanese police for running down a Japanese pedestrian, name of Hachirou Minoru Nakamura."

Harm's sudden intake of breath caused the admiral to look up. But Harm's face was not giving any clues to his equilibrium.

"You two will be investigating the incident and then reporting back to me with regards to the prosecution and defense of this enlisted man." The admiral continued. Joint Naval Base Maizuru in Kyoto, Japan was populated by both United States Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force members. "The man involved was Cryptologic Technician 2nd class Michael Mustafa Sabah El-Hashem; top marks on his 1st class examination, he wrote the exam one week before getting into the wreck. He's been a good sailor, and had great FITREPS, but ever since 9-11, he's had a drinking problem. The problem is that Japan's justice system considers drinking and driving very harshly and running down a pedestrian even more so. I want you to go to Kyoto and find out what went on over in Kochi and figure out what we can do to mitigate the political shit-storm that this is going to cause. Get on it!" the admiral growled.

Harm and Mac looked at each other. This wasn't going to be comfortable. As they exited the door, closing the door behind them, Mac asked. "Are you going to tell me exactly what the sharp intake of breath was about?" Harm nodded, but shook his head impatiently as he walked towards his office.

"Come inside my office, shut the door." Mac looked irritated, but did as complied. Harm sat down heavily in his chair as he raised his hand to his forehead and wiped his brow.

"What is it…" prompted Mac.

"I know the deceased. I referred to him as Uncle Hachirou, but my friend knows him way better. He was Vice-Admiral Toshio Nakamura's uncle." Mac's mouth dropped open. "When the Seahawk was in port, Animal and I would go visit, get to eat some Japanese food." Harm shook his head as Mac looked at him with an unspoken question. "Tempura, not sushi, I don't eat any red meat and very little fish. He was a quiet man, liked to walk long distances – I think that's how he stayed in shape. He would have been approaching 85." He looked up at Mac…and said softly. "I can't believe he's gone."

"Are you sure that this Hachirou Nakamura is the Hachirou Nakamura that you remember? Could it be the same person?"

"I don't think there's very many Nakamura's with that exact same name." Harm replied resting his chin on the palm of his hand, his elbow of the hand he rested his chin on, on the table.

"Are you going to be able to stay objective on the case? Because if not, you need to recuse yourself." Mac warned him.

"I can do the investigation, but I will recuse myself if I have to prosecute or defend."

Mac looked doubtful, "But you are going to have to objectively look for any evidence that both sides can use for the court case."

Commander, US 2nd Fleet, Naval Station Norfolk, 0700hrs

"Sir, mail for you." Vice-Admiral Toshio Nakamura's yeoman dropped off a stack of mail with an envelope resting on top, then departing his office. Animal silently surveyed the envelope at the top. Japanese stamps on the top. Taking the envelope in his hand, he used a naval sword letter opener to slice the envelope open at the top, Separating the two halfs of the envelope, he retrieved the contents, a piece of Japanese letter paper, much thinner than the usual correspondence pages from North America. A thin sheet of almost translucent paper with Japanese kanji and hiragana written on it: Upon it, he read the following from his almost 105 year old grandmother; her frail handwriting apparent in the almost birdlike strokes from her calligraphy pen.

私の孫; my grandson;

それはこの手紙あなたへの書き込みを深くつらい. It pains me deeply to write to you this letter

彼は突然と悲痛に車によって打たれたとき、あなたの叔父は、この一週間、彼の健康のために歩いていた.

Your uncle was walking for his health this past week when he was suddenly and grievously struck by a vehicle.

これは、車両の運転者がアメリカの船乗りにほかならなかった私たちの深い恐怖であった。

It was with deep horror, that we found out that the driver of the vehicle was an American sailor.

私たちは、損失を悲しむと謙虚にあなたがあなたの最愛の叔父の葬儀に参加するために日本に戻ることを要求するよりも、より多くの何もしたくない。それはあなたが参加することのために彼の魂を幸せにするだろう。

We wish nothing more than to grieve our loss and humbly request that you return to Japan to take part in the funeral of your beloved uncle. It would make his soul happy for you to attend.

私たちはあなたの米海軍はこの事件を調査するために、それがあるより以上であることが今回の事故をしないでください持っていることを知っている。私たちの傷はまだ新鮮であり、それはそれは癒すために私たちが必要とする時間です。我々は、それが元の痛みを伴う状態に再び開かれることを望むものではない。

We know that your US Navy has to investigate this incident, but please do not make this accident out to be more than it is. Our wound is still fresh and it is time that we will need for it to heal. We do not wish it to be re-opened to its original painful state.

船乗りで怒ってないでください。彼は間違っていたが、彼はまだ若いです。若者はミスをする。彼は彼の過ちから学ぶことが、うまくいけば、彼は結果として大きな男になります。

Please do not be angry at the sailor. He was in the wrong, but he is still young. Young people make mistakes. He will learn from his mistakes and hopefully he will become a greater man as a result.

あなたは葬儀に高知に飛ぶことができます時にお知らせするためにお電話ください。私たちは、それまで待つように葬儀場に伝えることができるようになります。

Please call us to let us know when you are able to fly to Kochi to the funeral. We will be able to tell the funeral home to wait until then.

私はあなたの到着、私の孫を待っています。

I await your arrival, my grandson

あなたの祖母、直子。

Your grandmother, Naoko.

Animal slumped in his seat for a moment, his right hand to his eyes. This wasn't news that he was expecting and it felt as though a knife had been stabbed through his heart. Picking up the telephone he dialled a number. Hearing her cheery voice answering the phone with a "Secnav's Office, Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti"…he asked, speaking through a lump in his throat. "Tracy?"

"What is it? Tosh…" she asked, picking up on his distress and noting the familiarity of his greeting instead of using his rank.

"Can you ask SECNAV Sheffield if I can put in a request for immediate family emergency. I have to go to Japan." Family emergency or not, he still was a United States Naval officer and had to go through proper channels to request leave, but SECNAV Edward Sheffield would be able to expedite it so that he could get on a plane this afternoon.

"Tosh…" the tone of Tracy's voice was sympathetic. "Do you want me to come with you?" she meant to Japan and almost suppressed a leap of joy when she heard him say with almost a puppy-dog-like tone of voice.

"Would you?" Tracy and Animal had been friends ever since he had worked in the office of the Naval Inspector General after getting yanked off active duty and they had a comfortable friendship, periodically meeting for dinner and lunch as well as the occasional out-of-Navy function like the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival in Virginia Beach, but considering Norfolk was a good three and a half hour drive from the Pentagon if driving rationally, it was quite the distance to be able to cover to be able to see each other regularly. So they kept their friendship alive by e-mail and the occasional platonic meet-ups. Harm used to tease the living daylights out of Animal after seeing some of the photos from Animal's outings with Tracy saying that it looked like Animal and Tracy were dating.

"Look, Tosh, I'll let the SECNAV know that you'll be faxing your request for leave directly to the office and I'll fill one out for myself too. And then you and I need to have a talk so that we can figure out how we're going to do this. You set up the tickets for the flight tonight."

"OK…" Animal was fine with her ordering him to do the things required to get them both on a plane by this evening, as his mind had pretty much gone blank after reading that epistle from his grandmother and he was gratified that Tracy had the presence of mind to be able to get all that done for him.

Calling in his Yeoman after he finished putting together the leave request form, he asked the yeoman to fax the form to the Secretary of the Navy's office then told him that he was going to be taking the rest of the day off as a personal day as soon as he made one more phone-call.

"Yes, sir, will get that done ASAP." The yeoman stated as he hastened to do exactly that.

He made the arrangements for the flight to Kansai International Airport then grabbed his briefcase and his cover. Animal knew that maybe he wasn't in the best frame of mind to be on the road, but he wanted to catch Tracy before she left the Pentagon for the afternoon. Walking out to the car he dialed Tracy's work number yet again.

"Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti, SECNAV's office?" her cheery voice sounded on the other end of the line.

"Hi…Tracy, got the tickets set up. I'm coming up to the Pentagon. Easier to take one car." Animal grinned; a little bit more cheerful now that he had managed to get the tickets ready. "I'm just going to head home and pack a bit before we have to leave.

"OK…SECNAV said that he got your leave request approved and faxed to BuPERS. Then you have to follow me home and let me get packed so we can get to Dulles in enough time for the flight. I requested an early secure too and got it. So I'm just waiting for you, flyboy."

"I requested a red-eye flight so that we could actually pack and get out to the airport before they closed the ticket counter and the TSA checking area." Animal informed her.

"Well, get your butt home…" Tracy's voice was cheerful. "throw your stuff in a seabag…and I'll see you up here at the Pentagon at 1200 hrs. Then we can have some lunch before I have to pack." Her throaty laughter on the other end of the line made Animal's mind think all sorts of inappropriate thoughts. "After all, you have to eat, y'know."

"Wakarimashita." Animal grinned as he walked up to his car and clicked the remote at it to unlock the door.

"anata ga nihongo o hanasu tokiniha watashi ni nani o suru ka wakaranai – (Oh, you don't know what that does to me when you speak Japanese…)" her husky voice murmured softly in his ear clearly through the reception on the cell-phone as Animal's eyes opened wide as he hastened to start his car and was determined to get home fast enough to pack his bag inside of ten minutes.

"Oh…yeah?" he grinned into the receiver of the phone as he started the engine…"Well…Trace…let me hang up so that I can get my butt up there and then…" he teased with a husky tone. "maybe you can show me…"

Her laughter rang through the phone as she let him have it with both barrels with her Virginia accent. "Oh, you are definitely not the gentleman, are you? Are you trying to seduce a good little Virginia girl like me?"

"See you up there, Tracy…Bye for now…" he turned on the husky tone to one hundred percent and hung up. Too bad there wasn't an aircraft that he could ferry up to Joint Base Andrews – Oh well…

Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti's desk, Office of the Secretary of the Navy, The Pentagon; 0745hrs

Lieutenant Commander Korina Spyridoula looked over at Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti when the latter put down her phone, smiled giddily and grinned. "Damned flyboy."

LCDR Spyridoula figured her office partner was in love said. "Romantic trip or something?"

Tracy looked at her shaking her head negative "Uh…no, I'm just accompanying a good friend over to Japan for emergency leave, had to request personal leave."

SECNAV Edward Sheffield came out of his office and both officers locked up in a brace. "Lieutenant Commander Manetti. I know you've requested for personal leave, but I'm going to have to utilize you while you are in Japan. This matter of an accident involving the death of a Japanese citizen in a motor vehicle crash driven by a United States sailor has made things rather problematic in the diplomatic sense. The nationalist elements in Japan have never liked Japan opening up its ports to the United States Navy and any place that has a Joint Naval base like Maizuru in Kyoto have been hit with demonstrations by those same Japanese Nationalist elements calling for removal of US Forces in Japan. You know the language."

"Is it something that I can do while I'm in Japan, sir?" LCDR Manetti asked the SECNAV…

…who nodded; suggesting "I would suggest that you take your uniform with you and be prepared to visit Maizuru naval base."

"Well, sir. It'll be a lot easier with a US Navy admiral to get members of the base to open up. Are you saying that the Secretary of the Navy's office is to liaison with US Consulate in Osaka to get to the bottom of this matter?"

Secretary Sheffield had deduced that the admiral that she was going with would be Vice-Admiral Toshio Nakamura. Frankly it didn't matter to him. They were both in separate commands.

Animal's house, 521 Fairfax Avenue, Ghent, VA. 0810 hrs

Animal entered the house at a run, dropping off his briefcase, while stripping his uniform – he was in a rush. He'd fix the uniform and throw it in at the dry-cleaners when he made it back from Japan. Right now he needed to get things packed and he didn't have to wear a uniform on personal leave, but he'd take his Navy ID with him. Sometimes it would make things easier to deal with if he could get onto a naval base. Besides, getting American things at a Navy PX would be cheaper than having to deal with the matters of trying to get American things at someplace over-priced like a Japanese store dealing in Western style products. Plus he needed to meet Tracy at the Pentagon. So the faster he could get turned around from getting packed the better. Throwing whatever clean clothes he had in his sea-bag, he made sure he had an extra pair of sneakers, then heading out the door and locking it behind him, he made his way to his car, and started it, pulling out of the driveway and onto Fairfax Avenue.

Knowing that the Starbucks was on Colley Avenue, he made his way there. Parking there, he had to make his way into the store as unlike some Starbucks, there was no drive-thru. Ordering a mocha frappucino with three shots of espresso, he sipped it casually as he headed back out to his car, then proceeded north bound on Colley Avenue to W. 26th where he made a right turn which turned into Lafayette Boulevard then a left turn onto Tidewater Drive which would take him up to the Hampton Roads Beltway interchange (I-64) which wound its way along the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

The Pentagon; Washington DC, 1145hrs

Animal pulled off South Washington Road into the Pentagon's South Rotary Road. This was designed to keep drivers along the periphery of the parking lot until one reached the gate, but it was also designed to infuriate anybody O-5 and above and as an O-9, Animal was getting there by the time he had circled the end of South Rotary road and came up to the gate at North Rotary Road. The Marine Gunnery Sergeant gate guard smiled, his M9 in holster on hip and walked up to the vehicle, hands hovering close to his side-arm. "Military ID only, please?"

Animal handed over his ID showing that he was a vice-admiral in the United States Navy and the Marine looked him over once, then twice.

"Civilian clothes today, sir?" The Gunny's smile was still on his face but he looked suspicious. He knew this was the US 2nd Fleet presenting his ID, but he still had to check on it. September 11th, 2001 was too fresh in his mind not to be suspicious of anything.

"Yes, Gunny. Picking up a friend at the Pentagon today – Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti, Secretary of the Navy's office. You can call up and see if she's expecting me."

"Yes, sir." The gunny went back to his hutch and picked up a phone to dial the number; after a moment, he came back. "You check out, sir. Go ahead, sorry about the grilling, but after 9/11, sir, we can't be cautious enough."

"Definitely, Gunny…I wouldn't expect anything less. You have a good day, now, Gunny." Animal nodded as he waited for the barrier to go up and then moved his car slowly forward.

"Ooh-rah, sir! You bet!"

After finding his parking spot in the Pentagon Parking lot which was labelled for the US Second Fleet – only because the US 2nd Fleet was there to meet up with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But it also made for a convenient place to park when one was meeting someone else at the Pentagon too. The name: US 2 FLT was emblazoned in yellow on the black asphalt in the parking spot assigned to him at the Pentagon. Unfortunately O-5s and O-6s had to use the regular parking spaces assigned outside. There was benefit to rank.

Getting out of his car, clipping his VISITOR's badge to his shirt pocket, he walked over to the Pentagon entrance, and entered the Pentagon building. Walking through the Pentagon in jeans and casual shirt was an eye-opener. Nobody even noticed him and it was amusing to see just how the rest of the uniformed staff reacted. Nobody considered him an admiral in civilian clothes though the military cut of his hair differed from the tailored appearance of the civilian workers at the Pentagon. And his satisfied expression didn't leave his face as he navigated the hamster hole that was the Pentagon drawing closer to Tracy's place of work. She was going to work until he showed up and it wasn't but another five minutes before he poked his head in the doorway. "Hi…" he said.

"Hi…" Tracy replied as her face lit up. "Just give me a couple of minutes and I'll be right with you…"

Tracy's Apartment, 3925 Davis Pl NW APT B7, Washington DC 1400hrs

Tracy casually started packing her things as Animal waited quietly on the couch in her living room gazing around her apartment.

"I got the tickets for an 11PM departure." He noted as he looked over at the tickets in his hand. Considering that airline tickets were essentially money, he figured that it was wiser to hang on to them in hand and brought them up to her apartment.

"OK…I think that's about that…" Tracy smiled as she came out of her room with valise in hand and another suitcase.

"Packed enough?" Animal inquired innocently as Tracy gave him an arch look.

"Oh, I'm sure I have…though come to think of it, I could perhaps consider bring another suitcase." She said with an evil smile then laughed as Animal's eyes widened in horror. "How many Starbucks have you had today?" Tracy asked when she saw him sipping his mocha frappuccino.

"Oh…just the one…"

"Really?"

Animal hemmed and hawed for a bit. "OK…two. One on the way up and one at the mall. The one I picked up at the mall is the one I'm finishing right now."

"Well, just warning you that if you drink too many of those, you won't be able to get any sleep on the plane over." Tracy warned then mentioned to Animal. "Tosh, SECNAV Sheffield mentioned that he needs me to do some NAVINSGEN stuff while I'm there, that's why I'm taking my uniform." She motioned to the uniform bag hanging over her large suitcase. "Something regarding a vehicle accident involving a Japanese civilian." The gasp from Animal alarmed her and she said. "What, Tosh, did I say something wrong?"

"No…" he managed to get out through the tight lump in his throat…"...it's just that…the deceased…is my uncle."

Tracy came over to the couch, sitting down beside him. "I'm so sorry…" she whispered, looking at him, wondering if there was really any way to comfort him.

"I just brought civilian clothes, but perhaps, maybe I should have brought some of my uniforms, just to be able to utilize them if necessary."

"If you do need them…" Tracy reassured him, "There's always the PX at Joint Base Maizuru."

"Yeah…there goes my budget for the next month…" Animal rolled his eyes.

They sat there quietly comforting in each other's presence until 1800hrs. Then they opted to head for the airport. Grabbing Tracy's luggage under protest from Tracy that he was going to wreck his back, Animal headed out to his car and they loaded Tracy's luggage into the back. Checking to make sure the main door was locked to the building; they got into the car and started on their way to Dulles.

Washington Dulles International Airport, 1830 hrs

"You did have to catch a red-eye flight, right?" Mac grumbled as she looked over at Harm.

"Mac, that's all there was; I couldn't find anything else." Harm winced as he remembered Bud was on the USS Seahawk; normally Bud would be able to scrounge up tickets with a better flight time than 2300hrs…so he picked the first flight that he could find, Singapore Airlines, Flight 276 direct from DC-Dulles to Kansai Airport. He peered around to see two black haired heads in the line-up ahead of them, both in civilian clothes as were Harm and Mac – US military rules were that if one was flying on civilian aircraft internationally, that they were to wear civilian clothes so as to not make themselves conspicuous. These orders came down after 9/11 as the Pentagon was paranoid that an international incident could potentially occur if terrorists were able to get hold of military personnel. "I picked the first flights that had two seats side-by-side. The rest were all full...hey, isn't that Animal…and who's he with. "Hey! Animal!" and then got the shock of his life when he found him with an Asian woman, pretty brown eyes, and a terrific smile which turned into a quizzical expression. "Hi, I'm Commander Rabb." He said extending his hand to the woman, while Animal looked over indulgently. "We finally meet. Your photos, I'm afraid, do not do you justice."

"Hey, Rabb, quit drooling." He growled.

Harm turned around. "Well…how are you? Uh…sir?"

"I'm not sir right now, Harm. I'm in civvies." Animal said, he gestured to the accompanying woman beside him, "This is Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti."

"Pleased to meet you. Commander Manetti." Harm said.

"Charmed, I sure…" Harm was really thrown off by the Virginia twang. "…sir." She finished as she extended her hand.

"Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Mackenzie. United States Marine Corps." Harm's partner extended her hand to shake "

"So what brings you to Dulles?" Animal inquired looking over at the suitcases beside Harm and Mac.

"Investigation." Harm replied briefly.

"Japan?"

"Yes…" Harm explained. "We've been requested to do an investigation involving a motor vehicle accident involving a US Sailor and a Japanese national." He then drew Animal over to one side, "Animal, I think it's your uncle."

"I know it is… Harm." Animal said. "I got a letter from Grandma saying that he was the one that got hit and killed."

"I'm sorry, Animal."

"Yeah…me too."