Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:6) in the Esseisa system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate and Pet shop).
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, and Major Sierra Rodney.

Ewwiekewwieikkie moved into the living room of the Rodney estate on Esseles carrying the orange helmet that belonged to El-Nay Darr. She was holding it upside down, having filled it with ice cream and various toppings. As she plopped down she turned on the HoloNet and began to watch her favorite animation about a baby rancor. "Yum yum yum," she declared, as she stuck the spoon into the helmet and began eating her sundae. She watched the same HoloNet programs over and over to the consternation of Drusilla, who hardly ever got to use the main receiver. The poor Mandalorian had fallen asleep and the Squib took advantage to use her helmet for the largest sundae bowl in the house. She took a brief break to burp, rubbing her belly, before diving back in. "Sierra, you're missing it!" she cried, although she had shown her this particular holovid roughly 37 times.

Simply going baby shopping at only ignited Sierra Rodney's need to get everything *ready*. Since she had El-Nay around to amuse Ewwiekewwieikkie while she got some much needed prep work done, she decided to utilize the Mandalorian. Sierra was on her knees in what was slowly becoming Bruce's nursery. She had purchased the paint for his room weeks ago, yet never seemed to have the time to commit to the project without having to worry about her Squib adoptive daughter making a mess. One of the walls was nearly complete. She had decided to work until Rainbow Rancor came on. Ewwiekewwieikkie would remind her to take a break at that point.

It had been quiet downstairs ... a little *too* quiet. When, at last, she heard Ewwiekewwieikkie call for her, Sierra had to wonder what she was about to see. The young woman rose, closing the door as she made her way downstairs. "I'm coming, I'm coming!" She called out, turning into the living room. She first spotted El-Nay asleep on the ground, then Ewwiekewwieikkie. Wait...what was that orange thing she was eating out from?! El-Nay's helmet! Sierra plopped down on the couch beside her. She looked up towards the screen, deciding that she would spend time cleaning out El-Nay's helmet later. "Awww. It's the one with the baby tauntaun. So cute!" Compared to the other shows Ewwiekewwieikkie watched, this was the least annoying. "Did El-Nay say it was okay to use her helmet like that, Ewwiekewwieikkie?" Probably not.

When Sierra asked her if it was 'okay' to use El-Nay's helmet the Squib momentarily paused, staring at her as if she were speaking in a foreign language. "I found it. Mine!" she said, before wrapping her arms around the helmet and giving it a hug. In Squib society they routinely traveled the galaxy collecting discarded items and worshipping them as treasures based solely on their visual appeal rather than value. "Okay. I share," she said, before chewing in frustration. She stuck the spoon into the ice cream, pulling out a big spoon of ice cream, and offering it towards Sierra. "Have some," she said, as she slid her tongue from her mouth and licked the ice cream and toppings off her snout.

Eventually, Ewwiekewwieikkie would fall asleep. In theory, that would be the best time to get the helmet back. For now ... finders keepers? Sierra looked down at the big spoonful of ice cream. "Aw, thanks!" She took the spoon from her and accepted the ice cream. She handed the spoon, ice cream-free back to the Squib. "Mmm. Yummy!" She couldn't wait to take Ewwiekewwieikkie to Auntie Maeland. It would be like paradise for her. It was her hope that Callista would be able to accompany them on that trip. "After the show is over, do you want to come with me into the city? I need to get a couple more things for your baby brother's room. As long as you don't tell your father, I'll take you to Auntie Mae's too." Sierra winked.

Ewwiekewwieikkie started giggling hysterically, flailing her arms and legs wildly as she watched the baby rancor go down the waterfall. "Yay!" she cried, before turning to look at Sierra. "We need a pet!" she declared, before placing another spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. "The city? Auntie Mae's?! Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. We go ... now!" she announced, before placing the helmet down and scrambling up the stairs. Moments later she appeared at the top of the stairs with her traveling backpack, but she fell as she run down the stairs, tumbling in a blue ball that landed with a crash at the base of the stairs. "Ouch!" she said, before brushing herself off, leaving a pile of blue fur on the floor. She moved back towards the helmet before remembering what Sierra said. "Oh. Oh. I give back!" she announced, before taking the helmet, still partially filled with ice cream and moving towards the sleeping El-Nay. Without thinking she placed the helmet, and its contents, back on El-Nay's head. "There!" she said proudly, before moving towards Sierra and reporting for travel duty.

"A pet, huh..?" A pet wouldn't be so bad. Maybe they could get something that consumed hair, for as seasons changed, it seemed there was an increase in blue fur balls around the estate. Sierra made her way upstairs to change her top, for the one she wore was stained with paint. She gathered up her things quickly and managed to beat Ewwiekewwieikkie back downstairs. She was there to witness every painful part of the girl falling down the stairs. She cringed, waiting for her to cry. Instead, Ewwiekewwieikkie got over it. Sierra watched the Squib fix El-Nay's helmet on her head. As she stared, she could see ice cream running out of the helmet and onto her neck and armor. Deciding it was 'not her problem', Sierra took Ewwiekewwieikkie's hand. "Okay, let's get going." She decided not to take El-Nay today. Instead, she let Stormtroopers accompany them to the city. Sierra sat in the speeder behind the wheel. "Hey, Ewwiekewwieikkie ... do you want to go to the pet store?" Sierra drove smoothly into the city. She wondered if she should pick up some sexy lingerie while she was at it, because she'd need to butter her husband up after bringing home another mouth to feed.

Once in the speeder Ewwiekewwieikkie pulled her datapad out of her travel bag and began playing the baby rancor holovid again, from right where they left off thanks to the wonders of modern technology. "Here comes the best part," she said, and then raised the pad up in front of Sierra's face while she was driving. She thought she was being generous by letting her stepmother see the best part, unaware of the driving hazard she was causing. "Pet store?! Pet Store?! Yes! Pet store! Pet store!" she said, before bouncing up and down in her seat. She had decided she wanted a pet *very* badly, but she did not know the first thing about taking care of it.

Sierra didn't need to see the datapad's screen. The music from the video alone was enough to make the visuals play in her head. The speeder swerved when Ewwiekewwieikkie suddenly brought the pad up in her face. "Oh!" She steadied the speeder. "Thank you for sharing, my dear. When I'm done driving, I'll watch it with you again." The reaction that the Squib had to going to the pet store made her smile. "Okay, we'll go to the pet store first." It was going to be hard to teach Ewwiekewwieikkie how to care for a pet. Most of the responsibility would end up resting on Sierra, and, by extension, El-Nay. Sierra found herself humming the music to Ewwiekewwieikkie's show as she manuvered through the city to the first live pet store that she could think of. The building was large and spacious. She had seen several HoloNet commercials for this place before. New Calamar's largest selection of pets, they claimed. As she parked the speeder, Sierra got out of it. She rapidly moved to collect Ewwiekewwieikkie, grabbing her hand. "Alright, you've got to stay with me in here. I want to look at all the pets with you."

The shop truly was huge. There were all kinds of sections within it. There were aquatic animals, sand dwellers, popular house pets, exotic creatures, and more. Sierra gripped the Squib's hand a little tighter. She was expecting to get dragged through the store.

Ewwiekewwieikkie stayed with Sierra alright, for about half a minute. Her eyes lit up the moment she entered the pet shop, growing incredibly wide as she looked at all of the creatures in front of the store. But then her nose began twitching as she inhaled all of the various scents that were wafting through the shop. "Pet? Food? Pet? Food? Pet food?!" she asked Sierra excitedly, almost tapping her foot as she hungrily licked her lips. At this moment she was not sure whether she wanted to adopt one of the creatures or eat it. She began dragging Sierra up and down the aisles so quickly that there was hardly a moment to examine anything in great detail. "How many can have?" she asked Sierra, as she brought her free hand up to her chin to prepare for the grand bargain. She wanted them *all*. She had become Drusilla.

Oh no. Sierra recalled the poo incident from the other day. Did Ewwiekewwieikkie understand that this wasn't a buffet? "No, no. Food *later*. We'll get ice cream after we're done." Sierra reminded her. Soon, Sierra was being dragged by the girl like a doll. Anyone who saw them would be reminded of someone trying to walk a rancor. Sierra stood no chance. The animals went by in a blur. She couldn't tell one from the other...expect the lizard she saw with roughly size-dozen eyes on its head. "Just *one*. I'm going to have trouble convincing your father of that much..." She mumbled nervously. Sierra took the lead, if only to be able to control how fast they were going. "Woah. Look at that one, Ewwiekewwieikkie." She said, pointing to a large tank with a salamander-like creature. It was roughly as long as Sierra's arm. "Slimy!"

"One? One? One?" Ewwiekewwieikkie said, as she began stroking her chin and tapping her foot. "You tough bargain, lady," she declared, as she began to frantically look around to ensure she had made the right decision. "Eww! Sticky! Sticky!" she declared, before scanning her eyes skyward at a sign that read Livestock. "This way!" she said, as she dragged Sierra through a set of double doors that led to an external area behind the shop that looked something like a barn. "Oh! Oh! Oh!" she said, as she spotted a herd of banthas in a corral. Despite the large sign that read Do Not Enter she was quickly over the railing and into the enclosure with the family of banthas. She spotted a baby bantha, which was already bigger than her, and moved her arms around one of its legs in a tight hug. "This one! This one! This one!" she squealed, as she closed her eyes and hung on for dear life.

The girl moved *so* fast. Laughing, Sierra happily allowed Ewwie to drag her around the store all the way to the Livestock section. She imagined Ewwiekewwieikkie bonding over a cow or something completely random...but hopefully not a baby rancor. There was nothing that Sierra could do to stop Ewwiekewwieikkie from climbing into the enclosure. "Waitno...!!" She grabbed her ankle but she moved through Sierra's fingers. From the sidelines, she watched the Squib join the herd of banthas. "Crap... Ewwiekewwieikkie, come back!" Sierra had never been an avid climber. She was short and didn't adore heights, therefore, the ground was her happy place. She put a boot up on the first rung of boarded fence that closed off the bantha's enclosure. It creaked.

Sierra decided it best not to climb the fence. "Um, er... Um..." She reached into her purse and pulled out a bag of Wookie Cookies. All she did was hold it out and begin to open it. She knew her adoptive daughter would hear the sound and that would be that. There was *no* way she could take a bantha home. It would be gigantic by the end of the year. If Sierra had a difficult time keeping Ewwiekewwieikkie away from human poo, then how on earth would she keep the girl away from bantha poo? She noticed a smaller barn and another enclose spaced where banthas of significantly smaller size were corralled. "Look at those ones." Sierra said, pointing towards them in hopes that the girl would be swayed.

Unfortunately the only creature that liked Wookiee cookies more than Ewwiekewwieikkie was the young bantha she was embracing. The bantha let out a grumble and lurched its head forward, eating the cookies in Sierra's hand in one bite. Its large mouth began chewing the cookies, allowing the crumbs to fall forward, before its giant tongue moved across its mouth. "No! My cookies! No!" she screamed, before collapsing to the ground in the dirty hay in a huff. "No! No! Mine! No!" she said, before crying, but unexpecting the bantha allowed its tongue to slide from its mouth and lick Ewwiekewwieikkie across the face, causing her to start giggling. "Yay! We take this one! Go get a good bargain! Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Four spoons. Two forks," she suggested, before moving to hug the ragged hair of the young bantha again. "You're mine now!" she told it, before burying her face in its fur.

Sierra quickly realized that she wasn't leaving the pet store without the bantha. She witnessed how happy Ewwiekewwieikkie was. In all seriousness, the bantha reminded her of the Squib as it ate the cookies directly from her hand, slobbering it in the process. She bit her lower lip, debating how all of this was going to work out when Claudius returned home. Sierra knew she was a sucker for the girls. "Okay, alright. We'll take him home. You'll have to think of a name for him, Ewwiekewwieikkie. I'm going to talk to the shop owner. Four spoons, two forks." She grinned, quickly heading off to gather what beginner necessities they'd need for the bantha, as well as pay. Fifteen minutes later, Sierra approached the enclosure with the shopkeeper who unlocked the gate. "Come on, Ewwiekewwiekkie. It's a done deal. We're taking this bantha home." The owner had swore, up and down, that this was a miniature bantha. It wasn't going to get very big. Sierra liked it because she thought it'd make for a good companion for Ewwiekewwieikkie, and perhaps a guard animal as well. She mentally noted these points for the presentation she'd have to sell her love on the idea of having *another* furry creature in the house. "Did you decide on a name?"

"Good! Good!" Ewwiekewwieikkie said to Sierra when she declared that she had completed the deal for the bantha. She then turned her attention entirely towards her new pet and grabbed hold of its back and started to pull herself up. Her little legs hung in the air, flailing wildly as she scurred onto the young bantha's back. She placed her legs on either side of the creature as she stradled it, and used her hands to grip its fur to hold on for dear life. "Go! Go! Go!" she said to the creature, instructing it to move and carry her towards Auntie Mae's, but it did not move an inch. "Ut oh. Is broken?" she asked, before leaning over the side of the bantha to look beneath it. And when she was hanging that was when the bantha began moving, nearly dropping her to the ground. "Oh. No. Go slow!" she cried, as it broke free of the enclosure and started moving down the street with the Squib hanging helplessly off the side. But then something even worse it happened ... it went right past Auntie Mae's. "No! Stop! No! Stop! No! Stop!" she squealed, as she reached out with both hands towards the ice cream parlor, but unfortunately she was not gifted with the force. "Sierra!" she squealed, as the ice cream parlor grew further and further away.

Sierra anxiously watched Ewwiekewwieikkie climb aboard the bantha. She could understand the temptation, but things went from bad to worse rapidly once the Squib was on top of it. All of a sudden, the bantha began to move. Sierra sprinted forward with her arms out before her in attempt to catch Ewwiekewwieikkie. "Ewwie! Hold on!" She cried out, but now they were both moving forward into the city. There was no time to think. She needed to catch the bantha. Sierra ran after them. "Stop!" She cried out, reaching into a baggy holding bantha supplies. She gathered up a collar and a leash, quickly snapping them together. They all passed by the multi-colored front of Auntie's Mae, but it seemed that Ewwiekewwieikkie was the only one heart broken by that. "I'm coming!" She ran quicker after them. She suddenly regretted letting her workout regimen go on the wayside as she moved further into her pregnancy. Huffing and puffing, Sierra managed to cut off the bantha. "Stop!" She jumped up, sliding the collar over the bantha's head. Sadly, this wasn't enough to stop it. The creature moved forward, now dragging Sierra along too. At least they were headed back in the way of home... Sigh!

Ewwiekewwieikkie's eyes went wide as she hung upside down on the side of the bantha as she caught sight of the latest Auntie Mae's display. "Sorbet? Stop! Sorbet? Stop! Sorbet? Stop!" she repeated in a panic, as she was in danger of missing out on Sia's Supreme Sorbet, which would only be available for a little time. She *needed* it. To her surprise the bantha finally stopped, apparently taking to the word 'Sorbet'. "Yay! Sorbet!" she cheered, as she attempted to free herself from the bantha, but ultimately fell to the street below in a loud crash. "Ow! Ow! Ow!" she said, as she clutched her knee and began to rock back and forth. But then she remembered the sorbet and the tears stopped and her face excitedly lit up. "Sorbet!" she said to Sierra and the bantha, before leaving them both behind to move towards Auntie Mae's. The bantha, now acknowledging Sorbet as its name, began to follow after Ewwiekewwieikkie ... even going as far as to enter Auntie Mae's. All of the children began to squeal with delight while the adults groaned. "Sorbet!" she screamed, as she moved right towards the sneeze guard where she could look at all of the flavors.

The bantha was *so* strong. It could have led them throughout the city all day and night, if not for responding to the quick name Ewwiekewwieikkie graned the animal. 'Sorbet'. It was cute, and fitting for the girl's absolute love for all sweets. When it finally stopped, Sierra was finally able to breath again. "Oh thank goodness..." The bantha even behaved, though she probably shouldn't have allowed it into the ice cream store where it became a hazard for people and edibles a like. Sierra stood beside her Squib adoptive step-daughter, looking down on her. A smile slipped over her lips and a warmness came over her heart. She looked over the ice cream flavors, in complete disbelief of how her life had changed over the last year. Some of her lowest lows had been marked by her highest highs. She loved having a family she belonged to. "What flavor would you like?" She asked, ordering a pudding pop for herself.

"Um. Um. Um. One of each. No. Wait. Two. Two of each," Ewwieikkie informed her, before holding up three fingers on her right paw. "We need helmet to put it in," she said, with a pout, as she immediately regretted giving the helmet back. It made for the best ice cream bowl ever. "Can Callista see the bantha?" she asked, while she waited impatiently for her sorbet. As other children gathered to see the bantha Ewwiekewwikkie got suddenly defensive, attempting to come between them and her new pet. "No. Is mine!" she said, as she came from a culture where unattended property could easily be taken and possession was more than nine-tenths of the law. The bantha began to make a noise, pressing its nostrils against the thin sheet of glass that separated them from the desserts. Its nostrils flared, causing the glass to fog up. They really should not have a bantha in there!

She laughed. "I'm sure El-Nay will let you borrow the helmet again. For now, I'm sure they have a nice, big bowl." Sierra turned to order. The sooner they had their ice cream, the sooner they could go sit in one of the tables outside. Her head turned back to Ewwiekewwieikkie. "That's a good idea. I'll invite her over so she can come meet Sorbet." Callista's presence was always enjoyable. Sierra stepped in when she became defensive over the bantha, running a hand on her back. "Ewwie, it's okay. No one is going to take your bantha. They just want to pet it. Sorbet is *yours*." She had begun doing research on Squib culture to understand Ewwiekewwieikkie better. It was actually very interesting, especially the city made of trash. The woman behind the counter gave her a look as soon as their food was prepared, as if silently telling her to get out. Sierra paid, grabbed their ice cream, and began leading everyone outside. "Ewwiekewwieikkie! Sorbet! It's a nice day. Let's eat out there." She pointed to a table where she soon came to sit and decompress. Her feet were *killing* her.

"Big feet! Big feet! Big feet!" Ewwiekewwieikkie declared as she looked down at Sierra's swollen feet, but only for a moment as the attention focused on her ice cream. "No let them take," she pleaded with Sierra, but before she knew it she felt the bantha siding up to her. However, the beast was not being affectionate, but rather attempting to muscle in and get some of the ice cream. "Oh no!" she cried, as she held up the bowl of sorbet so that Sorbet the banth could not get it. The bantha began tonguing her, causing her to giggle, and lower the bowl so that it could get into the dessert. "Oh no!" she squealed, as she began eating the sorbet as quickly as she could before the bantha got anymore. "Oh no!" she declared, a third time, as she got an ice cream headache.

Sierra blushed. She couldn't really help that her feet were swollen today. She had been on her feet a lot, and apparently her body didn't agree with that anymore. "I promise, no one will take him." She tried to reassure Ewwiekewwieikkie. The young woman began eating her pudding pop, watching girl and bantha wrestle for ice cream. Sierra shook her head and laughed. "Touch your tongue to the top of your mouth. It makes the head hurt go away." It seemed like a dumb wives tale, but try it next time you get a brain freeze. It works! While Sierra was paying attention to Ewwiekewwieikkie, Sorbet took advantage of the situation and ate up her pudding pop in one big gulp. "Hey..! *Ohstop*!" The bantha licked at her face, making her giggle and covered her face. She needed a shower. *Bad*.

Shopping at the baby store with a bantha in tow was not the wisest of ideas, so the convoy had made their way back to the Rodney estate after requisitioning a special transport that could handle the bantha. Any hopes of keeping the creature in the yard were quickly dashed when Ewwiekewwieikkie led the bantha triumphantly into the house. While Sierra was preparing to shower, Ewwiekewwieikkie was set to give a tour of the house to her new pet. "This the refresher. You need to go. You go here," she told Sorbet the bantha, who had no idea what she was talking about. "This is the kitchen. My food here. Not your food. My food. Your food is..." she continued, as she led the bantha into the kitchen. "Uh," she murmured, as she opened the fridge finding a few boxes marked Sierra with healthy food designed to help with the pregnancy. "Oh I found your food," she said, heroically, before moving towards the living room to watch the holovid about the baby rancor again. She got behind the bantha and pushed with all her might until she forced it up on the couch to sit with her while she watched. "Ooh. The best part," she told Sorbet, as she snuggled with it.

The trip into the city had not been an easy one, but it had been very joyous. Despite difficulties in the baby store, Sierra was able to get the baby proofing items that she wanted for Bruce's room and would be able to continue working on it tomorrow when her feet felt better. She had entered the bathroom intending to shower, but was quickly seduced by the bath tub. Mentally, she calculated how much potential trouble Ewwiekewwieikkie and her bantha could get in while she was in the bath. "Ten minutes." She told herself, starting the warm water. While the bath filled, she worried more and more about Ewwiekewwieikkie and her new pet. Before it had filled, she tiptoed out of her room and down a flight of stairs. She peeked into the living room, spotting the Squib and her bantha on the couch watching that same holovid of the baby rancor. Sierra smiled brightly, her heart melting in her chest. She snuck back upstairs to have a moment of relaxation in the tub before playing mother again. She undressed and sunk into the tub. Her feet were propped up on the edge of the tub underneath an ice pack. She quietly cursed herself for having spent too much time on her feet. Sierra bent her head back and closed her eyes. For a brief moment, there was peace in the Rodney estate.

Drusilla Rodney had opened her door, briefly filling the Rodney estate with the pulsating sound of jizz music. She made her way down the stairs towards the kitchen where she was going to fix herself a few vegetables for dinner. On the way down she thought nothing of Ewwiekewwieikkie watching the obnoxious animation, which had been made for someone 20 years younger than her, but as she began walking back up to her room she saw and smelled the bantha. "What the..." she said, as she looked upon it speechless. She marched up the stairs like a Stormtrooper and, without knocking, opened the door to Sierra's bathroom. "There are two creatures on our couch. One I tolerate. Two I do not. Either the Squib or the bantha *must* go," she informed her stepmother, before taking an obnoxious bite of a vegetable. Full already.

The brief sounds of jizz music only lifted Sierra from her relaxation for a second. She thought nothing of it. Leaving the door unlocked was likely a bad decision on her part. Sierra wanted the girls to be able to reach her in case of emergency. Still, Sierra was caught totally defenseless when Drusilla burst in. "Drusilla!" She cried, crossing her arms over her chest. The bubbles in the water helped to hid the rest of her body. She felt massively uncomfortable. The silver lining was that Claudius was not in the bath with her, for she would never stop feeling embarrassed about the time Jelena walked in on them. "Drusilla, neither of them are going. Your sister needs a pet. She has no one to play with now that Callista is back with her family. Would you prefer she bother you to play with her? The bantha is staying." Oye, motherhood. Please one child, piss off another.

"My *sister* is a pet!" Drusilla immediately shot back, before taking a rare second bite of her vegetable medley. "No. I don't wish her to bother me, but at her age it's unseemly for her to live at home. Get her an apartment. Find her a husband. Just do *something*," she implored, before throwing her hands up in the air, and turning on her heels to return to the confines of her jizz-filled room. She was having just about enough of her living situation on Esseles and welcomed the day when she would become old enough to leave herself. When she eventually had her own house, which would of course be much better than this, she would never allow an animal inside.

It was probably for the best that Drusilla walked out when she did. It gave Sierra the chance to not say something stupid. She watched the girl leave, her bathroom door wide open now. She thought on Drusilla's words...was it time to marry off the girls? Her and Claudius had talked about it. If they started looking for a suitor for Drusilla now, they'd be lucky to find one in the next twenty years. Sierra sunk back down into the warm bath water and closed her eyes. Was it time to empty the nest while preparing to refill it again? All she could see behind her eyelids was Ewwiekewwieikkie watching that holovid with the bantha. It was *adorable*. With the Squib, it was so easy to forget her age. Her child-like mentality made her so youthful. Ultimately, Sierra didn't know what to do. Jelena, Dru, and Ewwiekewwieikkie were all so different. It was hard to make them all happy.

The door to the estate opened revealing a weary Claudius Rodney. He did not have to look at the screen to know what was playing on the HoloNet. "Hello, Ewwiekewwieikkie," he said, as he looked over towards her briefly. "Hello, batha," he said, as he spotted it out of the corner of his eye, but continued walking into the estate. "...bantha?" he asked himself, after getting a few feet away. There was a bantha in his estate, and on his sofa! "Sierra!" he called out, hoping to get to the bottom of this. Surely there had to be a reasonable explanation for this, he thought, as he began bounding up the stairs to look for his wife. "Sierra?" he called, looking around for her, before finally arriving in their en suite. He looked at her before sitting down on the toilet, looking across to her. There were no words.

Time had slipped her mind. Sierra didn't realize that Claudius was arriving home and would see the bantha the instant he walked in. The first time she heard him call her, she stirred. The second time, he was so close that there was no use in getting out of the tub. Her mind was troubled again when he entered the bathroom and sat on the toilet. Sierra's cheeks flushed red. Any speech she had about why it was good to have a bantha had gone away during the time in the city. She smiled shyly. "Hi honey... I take it you saw the bantha." She'd need to take him to an optometrist if he hadn't. It was impossible to miss. She began getting out of the tub. Her relaxation had been derailed by Drusilla, and now she had a lot of explaining to do to her husband. "Ewwiekewwieikkie's never had a pet. Don't you think it's good for her to have a companion? We might be able to teach her about responsibilities too." Sierra grasped a towel and slowly began drying herself off.

"Saw the bantha. Smelled the bantha," Claudius said, repeating her words, and adding a few of his own. "Of course I want Ewwiekewwieikkie to have a companion, but I was hoping she would have one you know ... like Callista," he said, as he continued to sit on the toilet. "...but why on the sofa?" he asked, as he lowered his head and brought his hands up to the side of his head to massage his aching head. "Do ... do what you think is best. Just ... air freshener," he told her, as he rose from his preferred eat and began toweling her off. It was one of the perks of husbandry, but unfortunately the topic of the day seemed to be animal husbandry.

A terrible image of having to wash the bantha flashed by Sierra's eyes. She'd need to put on a bathing suit because she was going to get completely soaked anyway. It was going to need bathed frequently in order to not stink up the house. Sierra's eyes sunk for a moment. Perhaps she had been bothered by what Drusilla said. Teenagers excel at getting under people's skin. "I... I don't know what's best." Sierra said, laughing while shaking her head. "Drusilla made a point to come in here and tell me her opinion." She surrendered the towel to her husband. He did a better job of drying her than she did. "I really don't know what I'm doing, Claudius. I'm not even a real mother. I'm their *stepmother*, and I'm stumbling through every step."

"I can't imagine what pearls of wisdom Drusilla deemed to bestow upon you, my love," Claudius said as he continued toweling her, drying some areas much more effectively than others. "Don't worry. No mother knows what they're doing when they start. It's all about on the job training," he explained to her, as he knelt down in front of her to make sure he dried *everywhere*. "The trick is to make them think you know what you're doing, because they don't have any idea either," he said, as he smirked up at her. "Remember. You're the adult. You're the one in the charge. Don't let the inmates run the asylum," he said, before rising back up over her dried body to face her directly. He leaned forward, placing a kiss upon her lips to boost her morale. It seemed she had a very long day.

Her eyes followed him down her body. She wasn't going to share Drusilla's solution to the 'problem'. It seemed like the combination of a long day, never excelling at motherhood, and the fact that every day brought her closer to Bruce had caught up with her. Sierra's self esteem was a new thing. It was still growing. "I suppose you're right. I tend to hold myself to high expectations. I feel like I can never reach those with the girls. No matter what I do, Drusilla will never come to respect me. Ewwiekewwieikkie is.. Well, Ewwiekewwieikkie." And Jelena was her best friend...well, *second* best friend. She let out a sigh then kissed him. She had missed him today and wanted nothing more than to spend the night close. As the kiss ended, she turned away from him and slipped into her robe. She tied in closed and took his hand. "I want to show you what I've been working on today." Sierra wasn't a fan of showing him her insecurities. With the girls, there were days when she felt like a hamster running on a wheel. She brought Claudius to their son's future bedroom and pushed open the door. Only a single wall was completely painted with scene he might see from the viewport in his office. On another wall, Sierra had begun to draw the planets of the Ringali Shell.

"Fear not, my love. Drusilla is actually behaving much better than before you got here, and Ewwiekewwieikkie is as happy as I can ever remember," Claudius told her, as he was led by her from the refresher and down the corridor to the room that had been earmarked for their son. He was not aware she had done anything to it yet, so when she opened the door and showed him the changes it was a revelation. "Oh my," he said, as he reached out and took her hand, clutching it. "When did you find the time to do this?" he asked, as he turned his head, smiling at her affectionately. What she had managed to complete so far was wonderful. "Hopefully he can grow up into a peaceful galaxy where he can explore the stars of the Unknown Regions without fear of war," he said to her, as he looked at the starmap she had already begun placing on the wall. It was everything he hoped.

"Really?" That was news to her. It made her feel better. The only parenting Sierra had really witnessed in her life was Rikka. Her methods were inhumane and terrible. The nursery had begun coming together as Sierra had imagined it. She had very specific plans, and thus worked until it was all perfect. She stood beside her husband, holding onto his hand tightly. "I made El-Nay watch Ewwiekewwieikkie while I worked." Sierra explained, leaving out the fact that Ewwiekewwieikkie had eaten ice cream out of the Mandalorian's helmet. Sierra recovered from her hormonal moment. She smiled. She was happy that he liked it so much. "I hope so as well, my love. Until that time, we'll teach him everything we know about the stars and planets." She glanced at the starmap. By the time Bruce was born, he'd have visited every planet of the Ringali Shell from within his mother's womb.

"Good. Finally a use for that nitwit," Claudius joked, as he moved towards the wall for a closer examination of the work. "Anything I can do to help?" he asked, feeling a bit left out of the preparations for his son's arrival with how busy he had been with work. "I hope it doesn't bore him. Maybe he won't want to follow me to the stars. Maybe he'll want to be an artist like you," he said, as his head slowly turned from the map to her face. The truth was each of his children had taken after him in some way, but not in the ways he had hoped, or even noticed.

She snickered. Sierra felt bad about the ice cream incident. El-Nay's hair would be an absolute mess. Slowly, she stepped back and lowered herself into a foldout chair that she'd brought into the room to entice herself to relax occasionally. Her eyes followed her husband. "Do you want to help me paint the other walls? There's still much to do." Sierra was nesting badly. Despite having a shedding Squib, the house was extremely clean because *she* needed a way to work out all these nesting urges. "Maybe he'll want both. I wonder who he'll take after more. What will he look like? Will he have dark hair like yours, or be a blonde like me?" She sat back. "I feel like I'm still far behind with all of this. Rikka had me when she was 29 weeks pregnant. Granted, she also drank and smoked a lot, which probably attributed to that happening. If that happened to me, we'd only be eight weeks away from Bruce being here."

"Yes. I want to help you," Claudius said, as he slowly turned to smile at her. He had not done enough with his daughters and he wanted to make sure to do right by his future children with Sierra. "We'll know soon enough. I'm sure he'll have all of our best qualities," he said, as he turned closer towards her until he was directly against her. "Well don't start drinking or smoking," he instructed her, as he wrapped his arms around her tightly. As he held her close he looked around the room that would one day house their son and first child together. Their future was drawing increasingly near.

She looked forward to working on the room with her love. Her heart warmed. Her anxieties started to move towards the back of her head. Sierra's arms wrapped around his waist. "As long as he doesn't have my ass." She couldn't help joking. She peeked up at him with a glimmer in her eyes. Claudius was such a wonderful man. She hoped Bruce would take after his father. She laughed, nuzzling her head into his shoulder. "Stop ruining my weekend plans.." She looked over his shoulder. It was easy to imagine the room completed. It was even easier to imagine holding her son close to her. A wave of happiness overcame her. A year ago she was so sad and so this? Sierra lifted her head to press her lips against his. Now her life wouldn't be complete without Claudius.

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