A warning to any younger readers, there is suggestive material in this chapter.
Kukai and Ikuto reunited with each other late that night. To Kukai's annoyance, Ikuto had been "frolicking with some hussy", as the irritated brunet put it.
"Just a girl and her sister. I didn't understand a third of the things they said but we managed to communicate pretty well." Ikuto left out the part about meeting up with the girls again tomorrow. Not because he wanted to be deceitful, but only because he didn't want to worry Kukai. "And besides, it's not like you caught the murderer."
"No, I didn't, but I did do the next best thing," Kukai said contemptuously. "There might be a way we can save her. But… you might not like it." Ikuto raised his eyebrows. How could anything beneficial to Utau offend him? He was suspicious and confused, but more than anything, intrigued.
"You don't know what I'd do to save her," he countered. Kukai nodded and began to voice his plan. For the most part, it was simple and easy to follow. England wouldn't execute a pregnant woman so the solution was to claim Utau was pregnant. But, when the details were involved, it became tricky. Kukai hadn't worked out how they would say Utau was pregnant and just wasn't showing. She had been in prison for months. And even if they did believe her, it wouldn't take long to see that she wasn't really. Kukai's solution was not favored by Ikuto in any way.
"So… what you're saying… is that you want to get my sister pregnant," Ikuto concluded venomously.
"If she isn't legitimately pregnant, there's no way we can save her." Kukai's cheeks flustered at the thought of it. He loved Utau, in fact he cared for her deeply, but fathering a child with her was beyond their relationship. He hadn't even revealed his feelings for her yet.
"I don't even know how to respond to that, Kukai! You're insane! Get your hormones in check because my sister is not your toy!" Ikuto was manic at the mere suggestion. His loving, sweet, precious little sister and Kukai would… no! He couldn't even imagine it!
Although Ikuto was not even considering the idea, his mind still told him Kukai was right. He calculated it all out and realized that, if done properly, Utau would escape execution. But the ends did not justify the means.
"Ikuto, we have a few days to play detective and search all of England for a murderer. We have no clues, no idea what he looks like, and we aren't even sure if he's still in England! This plan, while inappropriate, is our best chance." Kukai reasoned in a calmer voice. His blue-haired companion shut his eyes tightly and considered his options. Finally he took a deep breath and scowled.
"Okay, we can try it." And although he might have just saved his sister, he couldn't help but feel he had sold her virginity to his best friend.
The following morning, the duo marched down to the prison and demanded to see the warden. Father accompanied them into his office so he could report back to Utau who was dying to see them.
"How many months has she been in this prison? And you honestly expect me to believe she's pregnant? That's ridiculous." The man scoffed as he eyed Ikuto challengingly. It was clear that he was beseeching them for any kind of a contradiction. Perhaps he wasn't so evil that he wanted to execute a teenage girl.
"Actually, it's not," Father interjected firmly. "Utau has confided in me that several of the inmates take advantage of her at every opportunity." The warden silently mulled this over for a few moments.
"I see," he murmured to himself. "Well, standard procedure must be put into play. Utau will be discharged from prison and put up in an inn until her pregnancy can be confirmed… two months from now. So mid-June. However, should a formal investigation find that she is not pregnant, the consequences will be severe." The group nodded grimly, understanding what he was implying. The warden reached under his desk, pulled a rusted brass key out, and handed it to a guard who waited idly by the door. He instructed the guard to free Utau and deliver her to the Wellsbourne Inn, where she was to be on house-arrest until the confirmation of her pregnancy. Ikuto and Kukai rushed to her and wept when she was let out of the cell. She was delirious at the moment but comprehension gradually displayed itself in her eyes.
The Wellsbourne Inn was hardly more than a rat-trap. Decaying furniture, a decrepit structure that could collapse at any moment; disease and starvation were no doubt the end of any previous occupants. Kukai was hesitant to allow her in, but in reality, he had no say. Her home for the next few months consisted of a bedroom, a 'bath' room, and a kitchen. Although she could not leave the inn, she was expected to collect and cook her own food and live completely independently. Because of this, Ikuto and Kukai resigned to get jobs and live as close to Utau as possible.
It was ordered that Utau have a week of solitude before anyone might visit. She later divulged that she honestly felt as though she had gone to hell during that week, as the torturous cold and vicious nightmares plagued her unceasingly. Kukai held her in his arms consolingly as Ikuto silently slipped away to give them privacy. Kukai had pledged to tell his love the plan that day, as each passing day that she was not pregnant was a risk. It was only a matter of explaining it cautiously and not alarming her.
"Utau… I'm sure you're wondering what our plot is. After all, you may not be in jail, but you're locked in this 'prison' with guards at every exit and have been told that you're pregnant." Utau nodded and gestured for him to continue. "I'll be frank. Ikuto and I have been scheming, and we've concluded that if you are pregnant they won't hang you. So… I, er… the task falls to me, if you understand," he stuttered. All his confidence and preparation were for naught as he detected her shocked and mortified expression.
"You don't mean to imply…" she needed a few moments to grasp the concept and collect her wits. "No… oh no, no, no, no! Kukai, no!"
"Don't be like that! I don't like the idea any more than you, but we need to save you-"
"And if I refuse?" She cried, indignation overwhelmingly clear in her tone.
"For lying, your execution will go from being hanged to being drawn-and-quartered." Utau shuddered at the thought of such a medieval punishment.
"So you and my brother have decided my fate! You have backed me against a wall, one that I cannot escape from! How dare you!" Utau was clearly baffled beyond anything but anger. She could not be calm, she could not see reason. Kukai took his verbal punishment with great humility as this was precisely the response he had expected. After she had finished her tirade she gradually found reason.
"The plan, then, is for me to become a mother. And once I'm a mother, I'll be free from England's wrath?" She concluded.
"It's the best we could come up with. Ikuto and I thought you'd be the most comfortable with… with me, rather than some stranger." Neither of them could extinguish the burning blush on their cheeks.
"And I could always give the child up to some family who could not conceive," she said decidedly. Kukai did not agree but nodded and slowly reached for her hand.
"I do love you, Utau. Really and truly. I'm sorry that this has to be done, but I can think of no one else who I'd want to have my children." Utau began to tear up.
"All right, we'll do this. But first I want to talk to Father Robert. He has some strong views on relations outside of marriage and I want his blessing." Kukai agreed to the terms and went to retrieve him. "No, please! Please stay," Utau whispered with an innocence about her. She urged him to have Ikuto bring Father instead, but Ikuto was nowhere to be found. Kukai decided to scold his companion for disappearing later and caressed Utau, assuring her that he'd return quickly.
Father's first reaction was the same as Utau's. He absolutely forbade it. The thought of Utau doing such things for the purpose of escaping execution was repugnant.
"Please, Father Robert. You've always told me it was sinful to have children out of wedlock, and now I am asking you to marry me and Kukai. Marry me in your Catholic faith so that I do no offend your god!" She pleaded, her heart full of sorrow. Of all her friends back in Japan, none of them compared to him. She wanted to make him happy and satisfy his moral-beliefs.
"But…" he began. He honestly wished to talk her out of this plan, but it could work. He wanted to see his little friend live another day. He let out a lengthy sigh and reached out for her hand. "Utau, you know I love you like my own child, but I cannot marry you two in the Church. Neither of you are Catholic." Utau's face fell at this revelation and began to tear up.
"I cannot be baptized into your faith, nor can Kukai. Our country would surely hate us for it. However, I make you this deal. When my child is born and a few years old, I will return to England so that you might baptize him, and no one will be the wiser," she promised fervently. Father smiled and left them.
"So then, are we going to do this?" Kukai asked uncomfortably as he tried to clear his throat.
"I suppose we are."
"I truly love you Utau. And when we return to Japan, I hope we can be married in our own right, the way our parents were." Utau smiled and kissed his cheek solemnly. Those were the last words of the night.