Rodney was in a better mood than he had been in some
time. Colonel Zevrin was out of their lives, he had
the Emperor's favor, and he felt as if he were on
the verge of a great victory that would allow him
more time to spend with his wife and children.
Retreating to his wife's lakehouse on Esseles he was
content to let the inept Ensign Sheppard deal with
the house full of young women, as he felt his wife
deserved a night off following how adeptly she
organized the conference with the sector command. He
had removed his uniform and put on comfortable close
to blend in with the other vacationers at Larius
Lacus. As he sat down at the dinner table the food
he had ordered for them was already on the plates,
as he did not want her to have to cook either. He
smiled across at her proudly. He looked and felt
was grateful for the break. Her stress level had
been through the roof since meeting with the
Emperor. There had been a great internal conflict
building inside of her, one which Kerrie had shone
light on. It was impossible for her to miss.
Combined with the drama concerning Drusilla this
morning, Sierra wasn't feeling like Lady Incredible.
She had been soaking her swollen feet in cold water
inside of the bathroom when dinner arrived. Her
stomach groaned, but not because she was hungry.
Drying her feet off, Sierra made her way out of the
bathroom. Abandoned was her uniform for a much more
comfortable knee-length dress. She sat down at the
small dinner table in front of him. She wore a
smile. This was going to be the most difficult night
of her life. She didn't want to deflate his newfound
happiness. Her eyes flickered over the food. She
chuckled. "Thank you. We won't have to fight to keep
our dinners here." She briefly reached across the
table. Her hand brushed over the top of his before
returning to her side.
"Our estate is
positively overflowing!" Claudius said, as he smiled
lovingly across the table at her. "I still don't
know how Callista ended up back at the estate," he
said, with a laugh, but he never minded her
presence. "Is Ewwiekewwieikkie getting along with
Melickielickie? I worry it might bring back some
unpleasant memories for her, and she's never had to
compete for 'treasure'," before, he reminded his
wife, with a concerned nod of his head. He had not
picked up on how Sierra had responded to his renewed
Imperialization following the meeting with the
Emperor, nor was he aware of what had happened with
Drusilla. He had become so focused on the Chandrila
operation that he had lost sight of what was truly
important, which was all the more ironic as he was
throwing himself into his work now to make time for
secretly grateful that they weren't about to have a
daughter. Claudius would need another male in the
house now that Melickielickie was living with them.
She smiled and laughed. "I know. She just kind of
appeared. Ewwiekewwieikkie has actually been
surprising me as of late. I haven't seen her fight
with Melickielickie yet ... and, really, it seems to
be bringing out some sense of responsibility in her.
Before I left this morning, Melickielickie fell down
and started crying. Ewwie was *really* worried about
her. It was adorable..." Sierra was reminded of
Drusilla. She picked up her fork but fiddled with
her food instead of actually eating it. "Ah... I, er,
grounded Drusilla this morning. I busted her
sneaking in through the back door after a night out
with Pollix." There was venom in Sierra's voice.
"I'm going to travel to Onderon and skin that boy. I
want to know *exactly* what happened."
merciful bloodstained gods!" Claudius exclaimed,
before slamming his fist down onto the table, which
caused his plate to rattle. "I knew that *boy* was
too old. He's a bad influence," he said, as he
looked down at the table and shook his plate. "No,
no. *I* will talk to him," he said, as he matched
her venom with his own toxicity. "She needs to have
respect for you and your rules. You are her mother
now," he said, decisively, before picking up his
knife and cutting into his meat. He imagined it was
Pollix as he sliced into it, before chewing on it
deliberately. "I am glad things are working out
between the Squibs," he said, as he placed his
silverware back down upon the table to continue the
dinner conversation. "I think the meeting went well,
though I did worry that Commander Howe might blow a
gasket. It seems every time I rid us of an ISB agent
another just shows up," he said, with a smirk,
before taking a sip from his glass of water.
"He is a bad
influence!" Sierra agreed. "She never was sneaking
around like that *before* he came around." She was
massively relieved that he sided with her. Sierra
loved Dru, and so she wanted the best for her. The
idea of letting Pollix trample all over her daughter
didn't sit well with her. "I've taken away her
allowance for the next month. We can talk over other
punishments. I think an empty wallet will speak for
itself." Sierra had hit Dru where it hurt. She had a
feeling that they would both be going to see Pollix
very soon. Her fingers rubbed at her temples. "She
said she hated me... I'm beginning to fear what
Melickielickie will be like in another decade. Food
*always* works with Squibs, doesn't it?" She sat
back. The way he mutilated the meat on his plate
made it simple to know what Claudius was thinking
about. She had made herself quite angry on the way
to the Retributor this morning. Everything focused
back on the meeting and Sierra's bad feelings came
back quadrupled. "Oh, I wouldn't worry about him.
He's the new guy on the block and he's got to prove
himself. He simply got offended by General Glin.
Perhaps Commander Howe needs to wear his big boy
pants to the next meeting." Sierra remarked.
"No. She never
was," Claudius said in agreement with his wife ...
not that he knew, as he was hardly ever there.
"Good. Sometimes I think credits are the only things
she understand, but I fear if she gains access to
his money we'll lose what little control over her
that we have," he said to her, as he took another
bite of his meat. "Yeah. You ISB types," he said,
before bringing his hands up in front of himself in
a defensive position. "Kidding! Kidding!" he said,
playfully, before lowering his defenses. "What did
Kerrie want?" he pressed her, as his facial
expression changed. It had been on the back of his
mind ever since he saw them together, but he did not
want to press her on the subject right away. "Is it
about my birthday?" he asked, as he leaned forward
to get closer to her.
her eyes and laughed. "I know. Damn us ISB types."
She winked, forcing herself to begin picking at her
food. "If you don't be nice to me, I'll record
everything you do!" It was an empty threat. She had
already found Arden's device in his office and had
it removed. While that didn't assure privacy, it was
better than letting the device keep filming their
lives. His question caused the room to become cold
and uncomfortable. She should have known he would
pry! Her cheeks turned red while he pressed on. "I'm
not telling you! It won't be a surprise then! You'll
just have to be patient until your birthday." She
leaned forward just enough for her nose to brushed
against his in a teasing gesture. "When will you
have Kerrie reassigned to the family? I like having
her close. I trust her ... and, let's face it, she's
a better body guard than El-Nay." She played to her
husband's hate for the Mandalorian in hopes that
he'd allow her to have what she wanted.
"*Everything*?" Claudius nervously asked her, as he
took another much needed sip of water. "I don't want
to end up like my brother," he teased her, before
the conversation changed to his birthday. He was as
impatient and curious about surprises as Drusilla,
but he decided not to ruin the evening by begging to
know more. "Reassigned, why? I hear she's doing an
excellent job with the Commandos," he said,
revealing just how disconnected from the Clawdite he
had become since she was replaced by his wife. "Hey!
You were the one who pressed me to let El-Nay have
the position," he said, as he slid his foot under
the table and teased her with a short game of
her hand up to her face and laughed. "Neither do I.
As I recall, I wasn't the one getting handsy in the
lake last time... That was you, good sir!" Sierra
was hardly innocent. She had instigated sex in his
office, where both of them knew it was being
recorded. Underneath the table, she engaged his feet
in a battle of their own. If only she could stop
time here, then Claudius would remain so happy. She
was going to have a sensitive conversation with him
tonight. How she brought it about was key. Sierra
was *never* his enemy. "Really? El-Nay and her both
seemed pretty unhappy being with the Commandos. I
know Kerrie would be much happier with us. It would
be good for the girls to have her around. It'll
bring us peace of mind too, knowing that someone we
trust is keeping an eye on them while we're away."
"You know she
covered up Jelena's initial involvement in the
Rebellion. She felt it would keep her *safe* from
the Empire. Twisted logic if I ever heard it,"
Claudius said, before taking a drink of his water to
cool off. "She should have told me. Maybe things
would have been different," he said, frowning as he
thought back upon those days. There were things he
should have done differently too, but he was too
high on his horse to admit that right now. "Alright,
Sierra. Alright," he said, as he lowered his hands
to the table to indicate submission. "After the
Chandrila operation I'll have Kerrie reassigned to
the estate," he said, as he moved his hand over to
hers, coming to a rest upon it as he shared an
affectionate embrace. "Now, is there anything else
you want?" he asked her, as his finger slowly traced
along the features of her hand. He wanted to grow
old memorizing every millimeter of her flesh.
Claudius had given her a slab of new news. It had
been so long since they had seen Jelena. She missed
her. Sierra's head hung. Now she was concerned that
she was making the wrong decisions for her family.
Nonetheless, Claudius let her have what she wanted.
Sierra had taken two wins home tonight, but she
didn't know if she could triumph a third time. She
looked down at their hands. "Thank you, Claudius."
In her mind, this was the right choice. She had to
remain confident otherwise she would fall apart. She
watched the movement of his finger while goosebumps
began erupting over the exposed flesh of her
forearm. Every little beat of her heart was for
*him*. Her eyes looked into his. "Yes." She said. "I
want you to love me forever. I want nothing to ever
take us away from each other." She was ready.
takes her oath to our family more serious than her
oath to His Majesty, so rather than tell me what
Jelena was up to, she attempted to cover it up
rather than tell me. She thought she could keep
control of the situation, and keep her safe from
Zevrin and the ISB. But, all that ended up happening
was Jelena shooting her..." Claudius remembered,
bitterly, as he looked down at his glass and wished
he had something stronger than water. "You're
welcome," he said to her, as he did feel better
about his family when Kerrie was around. She would
surely put a stop to late night entry and exit by
Drusilla and Pollix at the very least. "I will love
you forever, Sierra. How could I ever do anything
but that? *Nothing* will ever take me from you. When
this battle is over it's my hope that I can settle
down and devote myself to you and the girls
entirely," he naively told her, as his optimism
reached record highs.
relayed to her disturbing information. She would
seek out to learn more from Kerrie herself. It
hadn't been right to keep the information away from
Claudius, and it sounded like the situation had
gotten out of hand. She hoped not to lose anymore of
their family to the Rebellion. His words were
reassuring when she was feeling down on herself.
When Claudius was like this, when he was so
positive, it rubbed off on Sierra. She briefly
smiled, imagining him home with her and their
growing family. It was something she wanted to, even
though she understood how demanding his job could
be. Slowly, Sierra stood. She grasped one of her
husband's hands tightly. "Thank you," her lower lip
quivered. She looked like she was going to cry. The
young woman led him back to the bedroom, for her
appetite had gone to a place where it wasn't coming
back from. She sat on the bed, persuading him to sit
in front of her. She wrapped her legs and arms
around him as much as she could with her always
growing belly getting in the way. She pressed her
forehead against his back and began to talk.
"Claudius, I'm worried about you." She could feel
the bite of food she'd eaten at her throat. Blerg.
The terrible feelings hadn't stopped in days.
easily allowed himself to be led to the bedroom, as
sharing his nights with her were the parts of his
day that he cherished the most. "Worried about me?"
he asked, with some difficulty, between moans from
the pleasure of her rubbing him. "There's nothing to
worry about. Things have never been better," he
tried to reassure her. His eyes closed and he
continued to moan as she clung to him, bringing a
physical closeness to the emotional bond he felt
with her. "What's on your mind?" he asked her,
pressing somewhat, as he could tell something was
wrong, even if he was not entirely sure what. He had
been so preoccupied with his own happiness that he
had taken Sierra's emotions for granted, but he
decided that needed to change ... now.
made their way up and down his back. Sierra had
shifted his attention. Now Claudius realized that
something was up with her. He wasn't going to give
up until she knew. "It's complicated." She began
reluctantly. "I'm worried about what's going to
happen on Chandrila. It isn't like you to sign death
warrants like this, Claudius. You're a good man."
She reminded him. "I'm going to support you until
the end of forever, but I also don't want you to do
anything you might regret down the line. Innocent
people are going to die. If you succeed and please
the Emperor, is that going to be enough for your
conscious?" She came at him as what she was: one
very concerned wife. Instead of talking to him about
it and raining on his parade, she had internalized
until she could take no more. She clung to him
sighed when she mentioned Chandrila, as he knew that
there was a moral ambiguity to what they were about
to do. However, to him, and apparently the Emperor,
the ends did justify the means. "Sierra the entire
galaxy is being torn apart by these Rebels. Even our
family has been divided over it," he said to her,
sorrowfully, as he leaned back into her. "I know
it's awful to think about, but if a few on Chandrila
have to suffer so that the Rebellion can be brought
to a swift end isn't it worth it?" he asked her,
apparently revealing that to him it was worth it.
"It's not *just* about pleasing the Emperor. It's
about ending the war and getting back to living. The
Emperor ended the last war, and I believe he can end
this one too," he said, as he moved his hand down to
her legs that were wrapped around him. He placed a
hand on her foot, which seemed swollen, and began to
gently rub it. He hoped she understood ... he needed
her to understand.
impossible to place a value on life, wasn't it? She
quietly thought back to how many people had lost
their lives so just her unborn son could survive.
Sierra could understand his justification. She
wanted the war to end so they could all be together
again. The war had spread throughout a majority of
her life. She, too, wanted to see better days for
the galaxy. Behind him, she let out a sigh. The foot
rub was much needed after a lengthy day in the most
uncomfortable kind of boots. Slowly, she let out
some of that pent up tension and began to relax into
him. "Yes, I think it's worth it. The longer the war
goes on, the more lives that are lost, not spared. I
want the war to end every bit as much as you do.
When it does end, when everything begins to settle
down, I want to make sure you'll be okay." She
cuddled him lovingly. She understood...and she hoped
he understood her too.
"Sierra ... as
long as I have you and our children I'll be always
okay," Claudius told her, reassuringly, as he
continued to rub her swollen feet. "I want our son
to be born into a galaxy free of war," he told her,
as he contorted his body so that he could turn and
look at her. "Please don't worry, my love. It is but
a necessary evil to do a greater good," he told her,
before moving his head forward, somewhat
uncomfortably due to the position of his body, to
place his lips upon hers. He knew that as long as he
had her at his side all would be right with his
world, but he wanted to make all right with the
galaxy as well.
Those were the
words she needed to hear most tonight. She hadn't
realized that their family had such a profound
effect on her husband, but she could honestly say
she felt the same. Through all the trials and
tribulations they had gone through in the five
months they'd been married, Sierra had continued to
be happy. She knew why. It was her family and her
wonderful husband that made everything okay at the
end of the day. Her legs released from his waist to
make it more comfortable for her to turn towards
her. It was only her belly getting in the way now.
She looked at him and felt the ease of realizing
everything was going to be okay. Her hands cupped
his face. She began to kiss him lovingly. Her hands
persuaded him up her body as she laid back on the
bed. Only then could she lock her arms around his
neck to keep him close. "I believe you. I believe
*in* you. I know you can help end the war, my
Claudius. It'll be so wonderful when you do." She
smiled brightly. "Because we're going to have way
too many children in the house for us to do anything
other than raise them." She laughed. "And you
thought you were done."
Each kiss she
placed upon him warmed his heart and his soul. There
was never a more perfect moment in his life than
these moments with her. "I'm just getting started,"
he told her, as he moved to shower her in a few
kisses of his own. He placed his hand upon her
stomach where he could feel their son slowly
developing within her. "I want him to grow up in a
galaxy that has forgotten war. I know that it will
be hard for the Chandrilans, but if it makes life
easier for the rest of the galaxy..." he said, his
voice wavering, as a tear began to well up in the
corner of his eye. "No more. Let the Emperor's Will
be done," he declared, before pushing her gently
down upon the bed and coming down upon her. He began
to undress her when his comlink began to beep,
indicating the orbital bombardment of Chandrila had
commenced. He tried to ignore it, and instead
focused on his wife. He did not just want to escape
the chaos of the estate tonight, but the chaos of
the war as well.
going to be okay. Claudius had given her the cure to
the sickness that had been plaguing her as of late.
Suddenly, Sierra felt so much better. A weight
dropped off of her chest thanks to a combination of
words. A wide smile broke out over her face. She
giggled when his kisses tickled her lightly. "Damn
straight you are," Sierra teased him. She was
committed to the idea of having a large family with
her love. Nothing sounded better, in her opinion.
She looked down at his hand. Their son was feeding
off of his mother's newfound happiness and was
content to kick and punch to ensure his parents that
he was developing just fine. "Let the Emperor's Will
be done." She repeated confidently. Claudius was
making the right decision...the decision that *had*
to be made.
Her back met
with the bed. She brought her arms over her head so
he could easily remove her dress...a wonderful perk
of not being in uniform. The comlink beeped in the
back of Sierra's mind, but she was too busy
progressing forward with her husband. Her hands
began to rapidly undress him until he was as naked
as she. "I love you," she told him passionately. "I
love you truly, madly, deeply." Again, her lips
locked with his. Her soft legs spread to accommodate
him then her hips pressed forward to inspire him on.
Right now, what mattered was the wonderful man she
shared her mind, heart, and body with.
had succeeded in removing her dress he shifted to
the business of getting his pants off. "If only we
could get you pregnant with the next one while you
were pregnant with the first one," he suggested,
before allowing his body to slowly come down on
That thought was rather pleasant. Sierra chuckled.
"That would be wonderful." It was their joint
impatience talking. She did wonder, realistically,
how long after their son's arrival would she be
pregnant again. She didn't know...but she sure
looked forward to all parts of the process!
"I swear if that Pollix ever does anything remotely
like this to Dru I'll have him castrated," Claudius
joked, as he smirked down at his beautiful young
Sierra tried to hold back her laughter but she
couldn't stop it. She laughed, "I was under the
impression that we were going to castrate him
anyway. I think we should lock him up in an Imperial
cell for a few days for keeping our daughter out all
night." The longer Pollix stayed away, the more
elaborate Sierra's punishment for him would be. She
didn't care if he was a Prince! She felt no
bloodlust for the boy right now, but lust for the
man who held her heart. She looked up at Claudius in
awe and disbelief. All these years the perfect man
for her had been directly under her nose. It took a
force of evil in her life for her to realize that,
but now that they were together, there was no one in
the galaxy who could pull them apart. Her soft body
seemed to mold with his until it was impossible to
tell where she ended and he began. Sierra's hands
pressed into his back. Her fingernails lightly
grazed his skin. "I love you, I love you *so* much."
"I'm sorry I
left you alone with the kids this morning," he told
her, as he began to speed up his assault upon her.
His old body was moving so quickly now that it was a
blur. Sweat began to pour off him, causing his hair
to stick to her younger, slender frame. Each time he
lifted up his hair pulled, causing him equal amounts
of pain to the pleasure he felt, which made it all
the more sensational. When it was over his face
found the pillow next to her, as he continued to
utter weak noises and he struggled to catch his
His apology made her melt. He was the sweetest man,
simple as that. "It's okay, my love... I am going to
need you to bargain for my rank insignia back from
Ewwiekewwieikkie though." If Ensign Sheppard had
failed to get it back while the girls dined on ribs.
Her nails dug into his skin a little more. Her head
pressed into her pillow. "C-Claudius!" She moaned.
There was no stopping it. "Mmmm!!" Her body shook
beneath his. She came down from her orgasm slowly.
"Oh my..." Her body felt so fulfilled. She was glad
they had come to the lake house, for she felt that
much closer to him now. With her arms around him,
Sierra snuggled her husband. In the other room, her
comlink began beeping.
keepers," Claudius said to Sierra, referring to the
Squib's policy on keeping what they found, even if
the way they found it constituted theft by their
standards. He rolled over onto his back beside her,
desperate to catch his breath. He began to close his
eyes as he entered into a deep sense of relaxation.
A sector away his forces were continuing to attack
Chandrila while under the attack of three Rebel
starfighter squadrons, but nothing could get him out
of that bed, despite the incessant *buzz* of their
comlinks. "I don't feel bad for Ensign Sheppard at
all," he said, as he rolled over onto his side and
savored his night alone with his wife.
keepers doesn't work when she took it off of my
tunic." She chuckled. She'd have to tell him the
story of her boots someday. . . and why one of them
smelt of fruity cereal. Sierra rolled onto her side
and made herself comfortable close to him. Tonight,
they were celebrating a victory. Nothing was going
to get her out of the bed. It didn't matter how
annoying their comlinks were. She wrapped him up in
her arms once he had adjusted onto his side. Her
body pressed right in against his. "I don't either."
She was having a wonderful night with her love.
Everyone else could be damned. She leaned forward
and snagged a kiss. Her body cuddled up with his
until she was comfortable enough to simply close her
eyes and fall asleep. The night had been