Spring 1944

Kate looked out the tiny window that overlooked what passed for the commons. It was really just a dusty strip of a road, but the children made due. She could see Grace playing with her little friend Lorraine. It was lucky that spring was here because Grace had outgrown her shoes again and the only pair that they had were two sizes too big. Maybe she'd be a closer fit this fall, until then she could go barefoot.

Seeing that Grace was happily occupied, Kate continued with dinner preparations. Not that there had ever been much variety in their diets over the last two years, but yesterday Danny had brought home a chicken, so tonight it was chicken and rice soup with some early carrots and onions. Not exactly gourmet, but atleast it was different. Whenever they got out of here, Kate vowed that she would never eat rice again. She had gotten tired of the staple while living at the embassy, but a constant diet of it for the past two years had really turned her off. Atleast Danny was able to supplement the usual rations with an occasional chicken or some eggs from his job. It definitly paid to have connections in the camp.

"Dandy!" Grace screamed as she ran accross the commons, jumping into Danny's outstreched arms. Kate smiled as Danny hoisted her up onto his shoulders. Grace's arms immediatly stretched out as she 'flew' the rest of the way home. He was so good with her and Grace loved him so much. He was the only father she had ever known, thank God. Kate realized daily how lucky they were to have him in their lives. If not for Danny they would have spent the last 2 years living in the women's dormatory, eating little more than rice. As Danny's 'family' they were entitled to a house of their own and a small garden plot that they shared with the other families.

Even though it was almost two years ago, Kate could still vividly remember the day they had been brought to the camp.

It had been a hot day in June. They had made it to the embassy, but Micheal's warning had come too late. It was already empty. There was no place to hide so they had been immediately picked up by the army and transported by train hours outside of Shanghai. Sometimes Kate could still smell the stench of fear and unwashed bodies as they traveled along in the dark, enclosed car. Danny had done surprisingly well on their journey overland, but it had taken it's toll on his healing body. He slept most of the way, leaving Kate alone to worry about what was in store for them.

Once they had arrived they were quickly ushered into the barbed wire encampment. There were row, upon row of tiny shacks and some barracks style housing, guards with guns and lots of blowing dirt. Once inside the gates an officer with some knowledge of english began issuing orders. Men were ordered to line up to the left, women and children to the right. Kate's heart was pounding. She didn't want to leave Danny and by the grip of his hand on hers he wasn't going to let her go anytime soon. But as they watched as a husband and wife were physically torn apart, the man hit several times with the butt of a rifle, Danny made a decision.

He turned to Kate, looking down at her, his eyes serious. "I don't want you to be scared."

Kate gave a small humorless laugh. "Fat chance."

Danny's lip lifted in a small smile. "We're going to have to seperate."

"But.." Kate tried to say, but Danny reached up and put his finger over her lips, silencing her.

"No buts," he told her. "There's nothing else we can do right now. You take care of Grace and I will find some way to get us back together." He looked around briefly and then back down at her. "If anyone asks, you're married, okay? To me," he clarified. "They took away your's and Graces' identification cards. No one will know the difference." He looked at her seriously. "What's your name?" he asked.

Kate swallowed. "Kate Williams....Walker."

Danny smiled slightly. "That's my girl," he said as he leaned in a gave her a brief kiss, surprising her. Grace began to fidget, leaning towards Danny so that he would pick her up, which of course he did. "You be good for your mama, Miss Grace," he whispered, burying his nose in the soft part of her neck and making her laugh. All too soon Danny was pulled away from them.

"Danny!" Kate couldn't help crying out, tears already filling her eyes. Even Grace started crying, whether because Danny was leaving or Kate was squeezing her too hard, Kate didn't know, but it only added to her anxiety. For the first time in a long time she was afraid to be alone. Before she had been self sufficient, but she had become used to Danny in the short time she had known him. She needed him. She knew it made sense to follow orders right now, but she was so scared.

Danny turned back towards her, walking backwards as the two army men escorted him into line. "It's going to be alright, Kate," he tried to reassure her. "We're in this together." And then he winked at her, causing her to laugh despite her tears. Taking a shuddering breath she joined the other women in line.

The week she and Grace lived in the dormatory was sheer hell. She was alotted one bed and a small night table. There was no privacy, few toilets, and they were watched constantly. There was literally nothing to do except line up 3 times a day for meals. Everyone was silent and scared.

Some days an officer came in and what little noise there was would cease. The women dreaded him. Each time he called out a name and a woman or family would leave. It was hoped that they were rejoining their husbands, but no one was sure. Only a few had been called so far and there were dozens of families.

"Walker," he called out this time, though it was difficult to understand him with his strong accent. "Walker Kate, Grace."

Kate's stomach knotted as she stood up. "Here," she said, her voice shaking, as she began to gather the few things she had.

The man nodded. "Come." Kate followed him out of the dorm and into the bright sunlight. She flinched and blinked at the sudden brightness, her eyes unused to it after so long inside. Grace burried her face against Kate's neck in protest.

Danny was the first person she saw when she finally managed to open her eyes. She watered up even further at the sight of him. He bounded up the steps and hugged her. Leaving one arm around her shoulder, he transfered Grace into his other arm. Kate finally felt secure again. She leaned into him gratefully

"Are you alright?" he asked, his concern evident. "You've lost weight," he frowned.

Kate managed a wobbly smile. "Well, you don't look that good yourself, Walker."

Danny smiled, leaning in to kiss her hair he whispered, "I missed you."

Unable to say anything due to the lump in her throat, Kate only nodded. Danny started leading her away from the dorm and down a dusty path between the small cabins that she had seen upon their arrival. He stopped in front of one of them. Looking down at her, he said apologetically, "It ain't much, but this is home."

Looking at it, it was even tinier than the cabin that they had stayed in while Danny was injured. There was only one room, but it was private, so Kate didn't mind. Walking inside she looked around some more. There was a worn out mattress with some bedding, a smaller mattress next to it. Another nightstand, some hooks on the wall, and a rickety table with 4 chairs. There was a small wood burning stove and wash stand, but no running water. A small cupboard held a few battered plates, glasses and pans.

Danny was studying her intently. "There's a well two houses down, and a place for wood. The dispensary is at the other side of this row, about 10 houses down. We'll be given weekly ration chips. Behind us is a good place for a small garden - we can buy or trade for some seeds. I might be able to get some extra food from my job, occasionally. We'll need more blankets and such before too long, but I think we can get by for awhile."

Kate turned to look at him. "How...?" She waved her hand around the room, wanting to know how this was possible.

Danny understood. "They want this camp to be as self sustaining as possible. It's not exactly a prison camp, but we don't get much. Just perks. They interviewed everyone to see what their skills were. Those who had usable skills were offered positions, they were offered a cabin and a chance to be reunited with their families. Those without the necessary skills, or who refused to work are still in the men's dorm. As far as I can tell, they're going to let us live our lives as normally as possible. So long as we stay in the camp and don't cause any problems," he added.

"What are you doing? What's your job," Kate asked.

Danny nodded toward the only window. "There's a small mechanic runway about 10 minutes from here." Kate nodded in understanding.

"So....." Danny said, exhaling heavily. "Welcome to our new life togther."

Kate smiled slightly. "It's definitly been an adventure knowing you, that's for sure, Flyboy."