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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:8:27) in the Essesia system: Esseles (Larius Lacus: Sierra Rodney's lakehouse).
Grand Moff Claudius Rodney and Major Sierra Rodney.

Night time had settled over the lakehouse. Sierra Rodney was making trips from the refresher to the bedroom as she prepared a bath. Nea was running at her ankles, nearly tripping her repeatedly. "Gah! Aren't felinx supposed to be afraid of water?!" She said. Nea fearlessly hopped up onto the edge of the bathtub. The black and white felinx carefully balanced himself there. "You're going to watch, aren't you?" She frowned, rubbing underneath the felinx's chin. Her other hand threw in far too much bubble solution. Sierra had received the official sweepstakes information from Auntie Mae's on her datapad. She figured that she and Claudius could laugh at all the silly Gungan ceremony options they'd been given while enjoying a bath. Apparently Nea was going to be involved in it too. When Sierra left the bathroom again, Nea jumped from the bath and followed her again. She assumed the felinx would be back on top of Claudius at its first opportunity. "Did you rub some felinx nip on my ankles?" She asked Claudius, glancing down at their new family pet.

"No, but now that you mention it, that could be an effective strategy to employ to rid myself of Nea when she's pinned to my chest. As my aide it's your job to see that my wife does not learn of this felinx nip plot," Claudius informed her, with a wink, as he continued undressing himself in preparation for the bubble bath. "You're the one that let him in," he reminded her, as he knew that Bruce had become an animal magnet. Fortunately, the sea monster on Delaya, nor the sea cow or otters had made their way into their indoors yet. "Don't get him wet," he said, as he finished undressing and brushed past her into the bathroom. He sat on the rim of the tub and allowed his arm to fall into the water, testing the temperature before submerging his entire body. "I don't like that he sees me naked..." he said to Sierra, but his eyes were fixated on the felinx.

Sierra laughed while shaking her head. "That's playing dirty, *Governor*." She reached down to pet Nea. "I let him in, but I know you enjoyed petting him the other day!" She straightened up. Turning on her heel, she headed into the bathroom. She could feel Nea's absurdly fluffy tail rubbing against her legs as she started to undress. "I don't like it either... I think he's judging us.." Before Sierra finished undressing, she collected Nea in her arms. She set him on the bed and quickly escaped into the refresher behind a closed door. She grabbed her datapad from near the sink only to hazardously set it on the rim of the tub. She stripped herself of her final pieces of clothing then sunk into the warm waters. Her shoulders fell, as did her head. It was so relaxing.

"Meeoooooowwwww! Meow! Meow! Meooowww!" The sounds of scratching at the door were audible in the refresher. Sierra looked towards the door. "We're not going to get a single moment of privacy anymore, are we?" At least the bantha is at the estate and not trying to join us..."

"I wish the bantha would get a bath, honestly," Claudius said, as he looked at her burgeoning baby bump as she disrobed. There was nothing as attractive as his wife when she was glowing from pregnancy. "No. Privacy is for those without children and pets," he explained to her, as he adjusted his leg over the rim and slid into the bath water himself. He gasped suddenly as the warm water enveloped his old frame, still featuring bruised, discolored ribs. The hot water did much to sooth him, but the incessant scratching at the door was distracting. "If only we had some jizz," he said, referring to the loud music, which he hoped could drown out the sound of the desperate felinx.

The bantha did smell. Sorbet smelled *all* the time though. "Aahhh. I see. It all makes sense now. Well, I'd say they are worth the sacrifice." She smiled brightly at him. "Does the water feel okay?" She asked him. She was aware that he was still healing. So far, she had kept him from exerting himself. Everything seemed to be healing properly. The scratching persisted, but it slowly began less insistent. "I should have borrowed a record from Dru. Maybe he'll stop scratching if he thinks we aren't doing anything exciting in here." There was a good chance Sierra would give up and let the felinx in. For now, she reached towards her datapad and scooted closer to her husband. "I received all the information regarding our destination wedding." She snickered at him. "I thought you might get a kick out of looking at some of these options with me. Did you know there's a Gunganese candy called 'nommi'?"

"It feels invigorating," Claudius shared with her, as he allowed his head to briefly sink beneath the warm water. A moment later he emerged from the surface of the water, with streams running down over his face and causing his hair to matte. "Dru is not the lending kind. She would have charged you a rental fee," he said, with a soft chuckle at his family's quirks. "Unfortunately, this *is* where the excitement is," he said, as he outstretched his leg and let his foot tease at her submerged thigh. "Gunganese candy? Oh my. I suppose it's now mass produced by Auntie Mae," he added, with a smirk, as he allowed her to tell her more about their 'prize'.

That was the response she was looking for. Sierra would do anything to make him feel better. "I don't think I can afford her fees. Imagine if I returned it to her late..." She laughed softly. Claudius was trying to start trouble. Her cheeks reddened. As attracted as she was to him, ever resisting him was difficult. One of her hands dipped beneath the water to grab his foot and begin massaging it slowly. "Claudius Rodney, you initiator! You're my patient. You need to behave." Sierra stuck her tongue out at him. They both knew it wouldn't take much persuasion for Sierra to become a bad nurse. "Isn't everything mass produced by Auntie Mae now? I never imagined to use a pregnancy test that looked like ice cream." She rolled her eyes. Her grin grew. "Well, there are three 'sceneries' we can pick from. There's a Naboo Abyss setting. Apparently it features a real opee sea killer... Out of all the animals I'll gladly take home, opee sea killer is on the no-no list. There's a Otoh Gunga setting in which a Rugor Nass impersonator will marry us.. In fine print, the brochure comments to bring umbrellas. Apparently he's a wet talker.. Finally, there's a Lake Paonga setting. Frankly, it looks the safest. Wow. The Gungan basic language in this brochure is intense. 'Disa placea isa berry good'."

"There's something wild about you child that's so contagious. Let's be outrageous. Let's misbehave," Claudius replied, before moving his foot away from her so they could discuss their impending Gungan adventure. "Well if there's going to be an opee sea killer we can't allow Bruce anywhere near it. One violent sea monster is enough for one child," he said, as he listened to all of the options. "I think we can both deal without the Gungan spit," he said, before reaching into the water and pulled on one of her legs. He began rubbing her foot intensely as he continued running through the brochure for him. "Lake Paonga? Sounds lov-er-ly," he said, before moving over towards her other foot to continue the rub.

"I feel quite sure un peu d'amour would be attractive. While we're still active. Let's misbehave," Sierra snickered wide at her love as they recounted the classic together. The noise Sierra made when Claudius began massaging her foot was alike to the purr of their felinx. Her eyes closed briefly. "Oh my gosh," she sighed. "Lake Paonga it is.." She looked at him. Seeing him doing so much better took a weight off of her shoulder. She was extremely overprotective with him...yet there had been nothing she could do to protect him in the crash. "Yousas gonna luv it." She inflicted a Gungan accent on her voice. "Oh my. You'll like this. Apparently all the food is catered by someone named 'Doo Doo Fast'. I'm not joking." She began giggling like she was half her age. She turned the datapad towards him, pointing out the name and the picture of Doo Doo Fast. "I'll take note of that harbinger. We're going to bring our own picnic. I don't want to have a repeat of our wedding night sickness." Especially not since she had to deal with the occasional morning sickness. She set the datapad aside. "This is going to be pure insanity, you know. I think we should just embrace it. There's a Gungan Jug Band we can select to perform at the wedding. Can you imagine?"

When Sierra informed him of the name of the caterer he released his grip on her leg and dropped it back into the bath water. "Doo-Doo Fast? You can't be serious..." he said, as now he was sure that she was teasing him and taking the Gungan thing a bit too far. But when she showed him the name and the picture he was astonished, but he supposed it meant something different in the Gungan language. "Yes. A picnic. I don't want to get food poisoning," he said, as he considered what they were in store for. "We need to embrace it. We both need to unwind after our last vacation," he informed her, before reaching into the water and moving his hand up from her foot to begin massaging her calf this time.

"Vacation? What last vacation?" She winked. "I'm sorry that didn't all work out according to plan and that you ended up getting hurt. This is going to be an injury-free trip." She was sinking further into the water. Her calf felt just as wondrous as her foot did. Her body began releasing all the tension she'd been holding onto. "Mmmm. That feels so good, Claudius." She purred. Speaking of purring...she could no longer hear the felinx scratching at the door. Instead, Nea had curled himself up in Claudius' uniform on the floor outside of the refresher. "If anyone tries to dry hump me again, you better punch them in the face..."

"It went well until the Rebel attack," Claudius shot back, with a wink, as he still had not gotten over it. "Yes. It has to be. I'm too old for injuries," he reminded her, as his hand worked its way up to the area behind her knee. He began rubbing deeper, doing his best to make her comfortable and relaxed, as he knew taking care of him had been a difficult task. "If anyone tries to do *that* again I'll punch them someplace else," he said, with a bit of a sneer. "When do you want to make this little trip?" he asked her, as he leaned back into the soaking tub.

She groaned. "I intend to hunt down those damn Rebels. I don't trust Governor Arundel to do anything either than soak up the fact that you got hurt." She wouldn't let him get hurt again. His chest was still healing, still visibly showing all of his efforts to keep her and their unborn twins safe. She didn't mind taking care of him. She loved him so deeply. The only difficult part was watching him suffer. She shook away the unpleasant thoughts of the King of Skor II. Sierra had learned a lesson: never go to Skor II without her husband. Also, never agree to anything Squibbish until one understands all the terms and conditions. "Um," she reached towards the datapad again. She brought it to life then quickly scrolled through at the details. "Doo Doo Fast," she mumbled to herself with a shake of her head. She checked the eligible dates, then lazily dropped the datapad beside the tub. She departed from her side of the tub. "Let's give you a few more days to rest and then we'll go." Sierra gently sat in his lap. She kept her weight off of his chest. Her bare hands ran over it with the most gentle of caresses. "You're certainly beginning to look better. You worried me, you butt." She looked up at him. "I'm purchasing you a protective bubble."

"Careful, my love. Keep saying things like that and you'll be accused of being an ISB agent," Claudius teased her, as she showed a bit of menace in her comment about the Rebels on Delaya. "Speaking of shields I understand that the Gungans have quite an interesting bit of shielding technology. There was a battle on Naboo about a decade before the Clone Wars we studied to learn about Separatist battle droids. Maybe you can get me one of those," he suggested, as he wrapped his arms around her. He leaned forward into her, brushing away her hair, and placing gentle kisses upon her neck and shoulders. "I love you," he whispered into her ear, between hot breaths, as the kiss broke. Fortunately the felinx was not here to see this.

"Nooo. Not that! Anything but *that*!" Sierra was the worst ISB officer aboard the ship. She was lucky to have Claudius to hide behind, least someone attempt to bring her down from her branch. His comment about the Gungan shields made her chuckle. "I wonder if they'll give me a better deal if I buy some in bulk. Given Bruce's genetics, I think he might need a shield too." It was her turn to tease him. Sierra remained mindful of her position. Her hands ran up his arms to settle at his shoulder. She was gently pressed against him. The first sign of pain that she saw would send her away. For the moment, she basked in the loving affection of her husband. Her heart skipped a beat between his kisses, hot breaths, and his profession of love for her. Her hand moved up into his wet hair. "I love you," she whispered in response. "I missed you like crazy when I was on Skor the other day. I couldn't stop thinking of you." The happenings on Delaya had made an impact on her love for him. "We've nearly been together for eight months already. Eight months, and we've still got so many more to look forward to."

"To think you could have been Queen of Skor II if you had played your cards right," Claudius teased her, before moving his face down to bite at her playfully. The closeness they shared was like nothing he had ever felt before. "Eight months and how many pets?" he teased her, as he listened to the sound of the felinx, but blissfully heard none. "It feels like these have been the most eventful eight months of my life," he confessed to her, as he looked back on everything that had happened during that time. "My brother could benefit from one of those shields as well. Perhaps a bulk purchase is in order," he suggested, as it seemed the male members of the family were injury prone.

"Gah!" She squeaked as he bit her. "A real missed opportunity, huh?" Sierra rolled her eyes. She did *not* want to be the Queen of Skor II. "One bantha, one felinx, countless ducks and various birds, a Delayan sea cow, a family of otters..." Sierra began to count on her fingers. She lowered her hand back into his hair to massage his scalp. "I'm not sure if I improved your life or made it a hundred times more difficult." She giggled as she leaned forward to kiss his forehead. "Do you think they can make youth sized shields? Last year the family had no male children, after the twins are born there will be *three*." Sierra snickered at the mental image of the male members of the family all having Gungan shields to keep them safe. Doctor Tohan would be so happy.

"Improvement can be difficult. That's what makes it worthwhile," Claudius reassured her, as he smiled across the bath at her. "Mesa tinkin dey can do neting," he said, mocking the Gungan accent, before giving her a playful splash. He could not believe this destination wedding was actually happening. Someone at the Auntie Mae's marketing department was surely having a laugh at this. "Are we bringing anyone with us?" he asked, as he was not sure whether he should subject anyone else to the Gungans and their idea of what a wedding was. In his mind he could imagine no more toxic combination than Gungans and Squibs.

The Gungan accent made Sierra laugh hard every time. She brought her hands up to her face to defend herself while he splashed her. She glared at him. "Mesa tink yousa do dat a wittle too well..." She splashed him back. The destination wedding was sure to bring stories that they could tell their grandchildren...not that they would ever allow any of their children to procreate. "Should we bring anyone with us? I'm not supposed to be lifting heavy weights, so you will need to carry Drusilla onto the ship. As for the Squibs... I read in the brochure that they serve a dessert that's so sweet, a single bite is said to give you a sugar rush. I don't know if we should expose Melickielickie and Ewwiekewwieikkie to that... We should bring everyone." She decided with a grin.

"Everyone?!" Claudius repeated, before dramatically raising his forearm to his forehead and sighing. "Well. It's your funer- err ... wedding," he replied, knowing he was in trouble the moment he said it. "We're going to really do a number on those poor Gungans with our entourage, but I can't say I'm not looking forward to it. After all, it is our win. We might as well take full advantage," he said, as he leaned forward, across the soapy water that separated, and placed a kiss upon his wife. "But I'm not sure if we bring the pets," he said, almost as soon as the kiss broke.

"Hey!" She poked his knee. "At least someone else will clean up after we're done having our *funeral*." Sierra stuck her tongue out at him. She really hoped they had the chance to meet the Gungan named Doo Doo Fast. If they did, she was going to get his autograph. No one would believe her otherwise. "There you go! That's the spirit." Her soapy hands cupped his face while they kissed. During their kiss, the meowing began again at the door. Nea was done with giving them privacy. "Nope. Sea Betsy's coming. Arrange her transportation!" She spoke in a bridezilla-like fashion. Sierra began rising from the bath. The water wasn't as warm as it once was. Nea had won the battle. She tossed a smile towards her husband. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding. All the animals will stay at home. Our son is bound to attract the natives while we're there anyway." She offered him her hands to help him out of the tub. "Nea is waiting for you."

"Don't worry. Doo Doo can't afford to upset the Auntie Mae's sweepstakes winner," Claudius said, as he stepped out of the bath tub and began the process of drying himself. "Sea Betsy ... coming?" he said, so shocked and concerned that he dropped the towel. Fortunately she was joking, which prompted him to resume drying himself. "Nea can keep waiting," he insisted, as he placed an extra hand down in front of his crotch just in case the felinx attempted to jump. "You must protect me," he begged of her, as he slipped into his bathrobe and began moving past the felinx towards the bed.

Sierra dried herself off as the felinx' meows grew louder. She hung up her towel then slid into her robe. "Don't worry, I will." Sierra shooed Nea off. No one wanted an incident with one's crotch and sharp felinx claws. When she arrived at the bed, she stripped out of her robe and crawled beneath the sheets. No sooner had she gotten comfortable did she feel a gentle weight on the bed. She glanced down. Nea had already joined them and was looking expectantly at Claudius. "I will never have you to myself ever again, love." The felinx was already beginning to creep up the bed with a smile on its silly, cute face.

Claudius was moving towards the bed when Nea predicted his movements and preoccupied his indentation in the bed. "Blast," he cursed, as he stood at the edge of the bed, separated from his wife by the felinx. He folded his arms in front of his chest and glared at the felinx, but of course it did not move. "Sierra..." he whined, sounding like one of the children. He moved cautiously towards the bed, placing his palms on the mattress and slowly climbing on it. Instantly Nea moved towards him, rubbing its face in his, and preventing him from getting comfortable. "Sierra..." he whined again, making it clear that Drusilla learned more from him than one might have thought.

She had to laugh at the situation. The felinx had chosen his person, and that person was Claudius. She could hear the rumble of its purr, thus displaying how pleased Nea was that his owners had returned. "This is going to be a nightly fight, isn't it? Thank goodness the bantha didn't take to you as much as this one did." She reached across the bed and picked up Nea. The felinx resisted for a moment but once Sierra began petting Nea behind the ears, he embraced it. "Hurry! Get in bed!" She placed Nea at the end of the bed. "Stay here," she said, petting the felinx until it laid down. She thought, for a single moment, that Nea would stay. As soon as Claudius was on his side of the bed, Sierra leaned forward to kiss him deeply. Her body nudged up closely with his.

As soon as Sierra moved Nea, Claudius dove into bed like a pilot trying to get through a shield. "Phew," he said, as he climbed under the sheets and settled into bed. He was glad that Sierra was kissing him, but then suddenly he felt something. Of course it was Nea moving up the bed, walking up his body, until moving its face into their kiss for some threeway action. "Oh Nea!" he cried, as their kiss broke, but unfortunately *any* conversation was good conversation to the felinx. Instead of setting down for the night, it simply sat down, and began staring intently into his face, with its tail occasionally flicking back and forth.

There he was. Nea's dark eyes were *staring* at them as if he was looking into their very souls. "Oh gez!" He had moved up the bed so gently that she didn't feel it. Now he wanted kisses too. "Nea.." She ran her hand down the length of the felinx's body. "Okay, okay, I'll behave and go to bed. I don't want you to watch." She leaned forward to place a single kiss on the top of Nea's head. She wondered if Claudius would bring Nea aboard the ship...or if Nea would simply make his way aboard the Retributor and that would be that. "You need to get your sleep anyway," she said, now referring to her husband. "You're going to need all your energy for our insane Gungan wedding." Her head turned towards his. Her nose nuzzled against his. "Mesa luv you berry much!"

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