It had been to
Doctor Bailo's pleasant surprise when she received a
call from Lady Sierra. The call did not relate to
anyone being injured, or any bad news in general.
Since she and Pilaq were already on Delaya for
Zara's prenatal appointment, Sierra thought it would
be best to pair the appointments so the Ithorians
didn't have to travel so much. Admittedly, Sierra
still seemed to feel guilty for all the stress she
had put Pilaq and Claudius through with Bruce's
early arrival. For the first time in so long, it
seemed like the House of Rodney was on top of its
game. Zara's appointment had gone very well, as had
Sierra's. Alessandra had grown connected to the
family since she met Zara and Marcus on Jubilee. It
was much more rewarding to see their babies doing
well since she had come to love the family so much.
After they had finished, Sierra and Claudius had
invited them to tea.
That brings us
to now. Alessandra sat at a table just big enough to
seat the four of them. Light drew in from a nearby
window. She held a tea cup in her hand, carefully
sipping it. She seemed to be seated slightly closer
to Pilaq than normal. Either she had grown
comfortable with showing off their relationship, or
she realized she was too old to really care. The
elderly Ithorian set her cup down softly. She was
smiling with both of her mouths. "Lady Sierra, Lord
Claudius, you're nearly halfway through again. Have
you two come up with any names for the infants?"
Zara had talked endlessly about 'Fiona' during their
appointment. Sierra seemed to experience a more
quiet, reserved happiness. Alessandra hoped it
lasted. She prayed their family would remain safe.
Marcus had wasted no time in complicating the
venerable Doctor Pilaq Tohan's life. "I cannot
believe we are still going to them," he complained
to his companion, Doctor Bailo, as they navigated
Castle Rodney until he reached the table where
Claudius and Sierra were waiting. He looked to
Alessandra who was giving a rather formal and
professional greeting to the couple, whereas he
would have had no difficulty referring to them by
their common names. "Infant*s*..." he said,
repeating Doctor Bailo's word, still a bit shocked
by the fact that they were having twins so shortly
after the birth of Sia and Darrus. "You would think
this family might be out of names with the number of
pregnancies they have had out of late," he
commented, before banging the base of his walking
stick down on the tile floor.
had a theory that Auntie Mae had, in some way or
another, a hand in Sierra and Zara's fertility. It
had to be the ice cream *somehow*! Beside Pilaq, she
chuckled. His ability to speak the unfiltered truth
was something she envied about him, and enjoyed.
laughed. "Ah, it's good to see you too, my friend."
She greeted Pilaq by rising to her feet and hugging
the old Ithorian. "Oh, don't be like that. As I
recall, it wasn't that long ago that everyone was
scurrying for a male heir. Now there are plenty."
She settled back into her seat beside Claudius. One
of her hand rested in his. They had plans for the
day, plans she could hardly wait to get to. First,
they wanted to find out more about Ithorian
ceremonies so they could begin planning what came
next. "Doctor Bailo, we have thought about names.
We're leaning toward Olivia for our daughter and
Noah for our son. Noah is a family name from my
house. Olivia's roots are obvious." She offered both
doctors a kind smile. She secretly wondered if Pilaq
would retire after the children arrived. They were
working the Ithorian to death.
watched the old Ithoian labor towards the table he
wished he was wearing a blast helmet, because he
fully expected a knock on the head to follow. He
flinched, nearly bracing himself, as he drew near.
Fortunately, his old doctor was unleashing more of a
verbal attack than a physical one. "Not quite out of
names yet," he said, as he squeezed Sierra's hand
reassuringly. He was very confident in the names
they had chosen and it was hard not to get emotional
when he heard his wife speak them aloud.
"Where is this
tea? I am too old to wait," Doctor Tohan asked, as
he looked over the table hungrily. He reached to the
antique tea kettle, pouring himself a cup of the
herbal tea with a shaky hand. As the warm liquid
filled his cup his large, bulbous eyes went wide as
he began to inhale the pleasant aroma. He leaned
over to pour Doctor Bailo a cup, but made a
deliberate point of not serving Claudius and Sierra.
He had agreed to a house call, but he would be
damned if he would serve the table.
Olivia," Alessandra repeated. "Good, strong names.
Just like the babies you two make." She could hardly
believe that the House of Rodney had been blessed so
many times. Silently, she wondered if she needed to
intervene and give both girls the talk about
contraceptives. Maybe she could convince Pilaq to
take the lead there. "Thank you, Pilaq," she smiled
at him then picked up her cup of tea. She gently
blew on the warm liquid before taking a drink.
Despite what Claudius and Marcus' procreation did to
Pilaq, the two men seemed legitimately happy. She
wondered if it was the first time for that as well.
up the tea kettle and poured Claudius a drink, then
herself. As she rested the kettle back on the table,
she decided to make way towards the question she
wanted to ask both doctors. "Thank you, Doctor Bailo.
We're both excited for their arrival." That much was
obvious. Sierra had some natural worries when it
came to twins, but, if Zara could do it, then she
probably could too. She peered over at her husband,
offering him a wide smile. "Claudius and I were
curious as to what an Ithorian marriage ceremony is
like. Can you fill us in?" She looked at Pilaq, then
Doctor Bailo, who was currently choking on her tea
and turning bright red. She fully suspected Claudius
to get hit in the head for her asking such a
question. They could all be grateful that Zara
wasn't there. She was such a little matchmaker.
watched Pilaq pour Alessandra her tea, speculating
on the nature of their relationship, and turning
beet red. In all the years he had known Pilaq he had
never seen him with a female of his species. After a
while he came to take it for granted that the doctor
was so old that it simply was not something he was
interested in. When Sierra mentioned the Ithorian
wedding ceremony almost immediately he was shocked,
and almost instantly placed his cup of tea back down
on the saucer. He said nothing, but he slowly turned
his head to look at Sierra, and then turned to Pilaq
for the inevitable response.
blinked slowly as he listened to Sierra's question,
slowly putting his own cup of tea down in the
saucer. He said nothing, but instead slowly blinked
his eyes, before turning to look at Alessandra. "So
a human ceremony, a Squib ceremony, and now an
Ithorian ceremony ... are you going for some sort of
trifecta?" he asked, before reaching across for a
piece of fruit. He picked it up and ate it slowly,
before turning his attention to Alessandra. He used
the excuse of eating to avoid saying something
"Did Zara put
you up to this?" Alessandra asked Sierra
defensively. In her mind, this was the beginning of
both woman harassing her and Pilaq until they took
things to 'the next level'. Frankly, she was very
happy. She didn't need a ceremony to have given him
her heart. After all, they already acted like a
married couple. That was especially true when Pilaq
occupied himself with eating fruit while turning the
spotlight on her. She gulped. "Ithorian marriage
ceremonies are very beautiful. Many Ithorians choose
to get married on the homeship now, but some follow
the original tradition of marrying on the surface of
Ithor in a sacred jungle called M'lere komo mojo,"
she spoke in Ithorese. "It roughly means 'an
eternity as one'. Deep in this forest, there is a
tree called n'hili. For many generations, Ithorians
married under this tree. It is said those who marry
when the n'hili is in bloom will be happy forever."
Alessandra smiled at the pure sweetness of the tale.
"Nature is very prominent in the ceremony. The
bride's dress is made of flowers. The bride and
groom also trade flowers. They don't just promise
themselves to each other, but they promise
themselves to nature as well." Alessandra was ready
to excuse herself. She felt embarrassed. Many moons
ago, she had been young. She could recall seeing an
aunt married under the n'hili when it was in bloom.
It held an indescribable beauty.
described the Ithorian ceremony, Claudius listened
intently while simultaneously reaching across to
grab Sierra's hand and affectionately caress it. "It
sounds wonderful," he said, with a kind smile
towards Alessandra and Pilaq, before turning his
attention to Sierra. Without asking he knew his wife
well enough to know she would want to be part of the
ceremony. "We would like to have the ceremony
performed for us," he said, directly, to Alessandra
and Pilaq, uncertain of how they would react. There
was always the chance that a whack on the head would
be coming. He was quite confident in his decision
and hoped it would be received in the respectful
manner that he intended.
began painting a picture for Sierra. She had never
been on the surface of Ithor, yet she had heard that
it was very beautiful. The whole ceremony reflected
the love that Ithorians had for nature. She wondered
what the tree looked like that she spoke of. She
wondered if it would be blooming when they had a
ceremony specially for them. She knew they were both
on board with the idea by the way he caressed her
small hand. Her own squeezed his before the tips of
her fingers brushed over his knuckles. Just like
that, she couldn't wait. She felt excited thinking
about standing before the love of her life and
pledging herself to him again. She squeezed his
hand. She wanted to do more, but that hardly seemed
appropriate with Pilaq and Alessandra there.
realized that this wasn't the girls teaming up on
Alessandra and Pilaq, she let out a long sigh from
both of her mouths. As conflicted as she felt about
Claudius and Sierra sharing in the Ithorian
ceremony, she also didn't stand in a place to tell
them 'no'. From afar, Alessandra could tell the two
were inseparable. It didn't matter if they married
when the n'hili was in bloom or not; they'd be happy
forever. Slowly, she nodded her hammerhead. This was
the chance for her and Pilaq to be present at
Claudius' wedding. They had not been present for the
first two. "I will put you in connection with
someone who can arrange the ceremony. If you need
any assistance, or have questions about Ithorian
customs, you can always ask us." She glanced towards
Pilaq. She was expecting some sass from her old
Pilaq was very
surprised by Claudius' request, but despite his
friendship with Claudius he was not entirely sure it
was appropriate for an offworlder to participate in
their sacred ceremonies. Particularly one who was
directly connected to the Galactic Empire that had
oppressed the people of Ithor. However, Alessandra
seemed content for the couple to have the ceremony
performed, so he would not speak his concerns about
it. He simply nodded his head in silent agreement to
Alessandra's decision, while moving to eat another
piece of fruit so it would not go to waste.
"Oh thank you,
Doctor Bailo," Claudius hurriedly replaced to
Alessandra, before shifting his body to move closer
to his beloved wife. He was so happy that their
desire to be married in the Ithorian custom was on
the verge of becoming a reality. Instinctively he
moved towards her, placing a kiss upon her cheek so
that not to be heavy on public displays of affection
in front of the Ithorians. "This is wonderful," he
told her, and them, as he smiled contently from ear
to ear. From the way Alessandra described the
ceremony it sounded even more wonderful than their
recent Squib ceremony.
very pleased that Doctor Bailo had agreed to help
them with setting up the ceremony. This ceremony
would not include Auntie Mae, thankfully. It would
be private and, undoubtedly, perfect. A large smile
burst out over her face. "Thank you, Doctor." She
reach across the table, squeezing Alessandra's hand
softly. Her attention turned to Claudius. She kissed
him on the cheek back. She still felt a little shy
about showing her affectionate side around the
doctors. Surely they understood. "I can't wait," she
told him happily. The very first thing that she was
going to do when she had free time was research
Ithorian customs, flowers, and so on. She slid her
hand in Claudius' quickly. Sierra wanted to move
forward with their plans for the day. More
importantly, she wanted to *really* kiss him. "Thank
you for meeting with us, Doctor Tohan, Doctor Bailo."
She smiled to each of them. "We'll be in touch.
Claudius is supposed to show me around the city."
Once she was back on her feet, she paused to give
both Ithorians a gentle hug. As a peace offering,
she placed a bowl of ioaa in front of him before
whisking her husband off.
They made it
as far as around a corner, away from the line of
vision of either Ithorians. Sierra leaned up on her
tippy toes and promptly kissed him on the lips. They
were to be married *again*. It was still exciting!
"Take me away," she whispered to him when the kiss
reached its natural end.
nodded to the Ithorian doctors before he was whisked
away by his wife. As soon as they were out of the
line of sight the kiss came, which was unexpected
and caused his eyes to widen dramatically. When the
kiss broke he struggled to catch his breath and
cheeks had flushed red from the rapidness of his
heart rate. "Uh. Okay..." he said to her request,
blinking slowly, as he attempted to come to terms
with the shocking nature of the kiss. Their speeder
was waiting and this time it was he who was going to
be doing the driving. "Hop in!" he shouted to her
cheerfully as he settled into the driver's seat. As
soon as she was settled and strapped in he
accelerated the speeder down from the castle along
the winding mountain road until arriving at the city
of Leiliani. Unfortunately, many of the locations he
remembered had either been destroyed by the battle
of closed due to the owners fleeing the planet. This
new Leiliani was as new to him as it was to her.
Finally they arrived at Germanicus Rodney Square,
which Marcus and Zara had rebuilt with a large
portion of the family treasury. "Here we are," he
told her, as he stopped the speeder in front of the
massive statue of Germanicus Rodney, first Duke of
through the passenger's side and sat. She glanced
out the window, recalling Delaya the first times she
came to visit. A tinge of pain ran through her. She
still missed Livia, who had made her feel nothing
but welcome during her visits. The galaxy was a lot
less without her. Brushing the sadness aside, she
rested a hand on her husband's leg to remain
affectionate while not causing too much of a
they came to stop in front of was familiar.
Germanicus Rodney had made an appearance at the lake
before the gigantic sea monster stole their son and
took away several decades of life from both of his
parents. Germanicus Rodney Square looked like it had
never been affected by the battle of Leiliani. There
were blooming flowers planted around the statue. It
was beautiful. She smiled at Claudius. "Ah,
Germanicus Rodney, we meet again." Widening her
smile, Sierra's fingers played across his leg. "I
knew of its existence, but I've never come to see
the statue up close before." She idly wondered what
life was like on Delaya back in Germanicus and
looked at the statue, but was displeased to see that
it still showed signs of the damage incurred when it
was toppled during the Battle of Delaya. Unbeknownst
to him, Marcus and Zara chose not to repair the
statue as a subversive reminder of the damage caused
by the Empire. "As a child I used to come here and
sit in the shadow of the great Duke while my father
and grandfather lectured me on the history of the
family and what was expected of me," he told Sierra,
as his eyes angled skyward while he remembered.
"Marcus never went through that, and now he's Duke,"
he said, snickering, before lowering his head and
shaking it. He moved to stand next to his wife,
moving his hand to the small of her back and
allowing it to rest there, as they stood in the
shadow of the statue.
imagine Julius and a significantly younger Claudius
beneath the statue while Julius told tales of the
family. "Your grandfather too? What was he like?"
She asked curiously. Sierra also wondered if he
regretted leaving the throne behind. She searched
for the answer between his words but was unable to
find it. "No one ever expected much for Marcus. I
recall the first time I met him. I didn't know
someone was capable of being so drunk." She
snickered, nudging him gently with her hip. "Do you
miss it, love?" She asked him, referring to the
Duchy above all else.
grandfather? Oh," Claudius said, as he returned to
reality from his brief moments of reminiscing. "He
died when I was still young. He was happier than my
father ever was, and without the drinking too," he
explained to her, as he did his best to try and
remember. "History recorded him as a competent
leader, but that was before the Clone Wars in a time
of relative calm," he reminded her, as that was
ancient history to someone as young as her. "I guess
that's true," he said, as he leaned over towards her
and placed a kiss upon her cheek. "When the bar is
set so low it's easy to exceed expectations," he
said, in reference to his younger brother. "No. I
don't miss it. Dru misses it more than I ever did,"
he said, with a soft chuckle, as he wondered what
trouble his daughter was getting into.
she'd had the opportunity to meet his grandfather.
Inside, she had often pondered if Julius' life would
have lasted longer without the influence of drink.
Maybe he would have caught onto Gaius' evil plots
and schemes sooner. Though Sierra had not been
making memories at the time of the Clone Wars, she
had studied it enough to understand. Times were hard
for everyone. She nodded her head, all the while
pondering if Zara and Marcus would find relics from
other Dukes inside of the castle. Her blue eyes
flickered away from the statue and towards her
husband. She looked at him thoughtfully, then
laughed softly. "That's very true. She never learned
the weight of the responsibility. Ultimately, even
she is better off. How could we have given time to
our children with the weight of Delaya and the
Empire on our shoulders?" She imagined Drusilla
begging Zara to take her shopping. Zara would do it,
simply not knowing what she was getting herself
into. "Where do you want to go next?" She asked him.
She hoped he was still having a good time. With
memories came emotions...and sometimes those
emotions weren't entirely good.
"By letting an
ancient nanny droid do all the work?" Claudius
teased, with a smirk, before bursting into laughter.
"I'll show you," he said to her, as he took her by
the arm and led her away from the massive statue and
back towards their luxury speeder. Getting back into
the driver's seat, he accelerated away from the
public square and outside the city of Leiliani
itself. As they left the buildings and industry in
the rearview they moved into more natural
surroundings. Before long they found themselves at
the Delayan hot springs, a beautiful undeveloped
area where people had come for generations to enjoy
the heated spring, which was believed to hold
healing powers. "It's been a long time since I've
been here," he said to her, as he exited the speeder
and hurried around to open her door.
with him. It was fun having him show her around the
city, and so, she anticipated where they were headed
next. Back in the car, the confusion played clearly
across her face. They were *leaving* the city? Her
trust for him was blind, so she knew he was taking
them somewhere good. She sat back, relaxed, and let
the twins contently kick her in the bladder. When
they reached their destination, Sierra let out a
happy, "*Hot springs*?!" Hot springs were like the
ultimate bath tub ... except better. She stepped out
of the speeder as he opened her door. "Thanks,
honey." Sierra quickly kissed his cheek. Together,
they headed into building where they were given
robes and assigned a private portion of the hot
springs. There were fences dividing the various
sections, so they didn't have to endure the general
public or any paparazzi who were bored of Marcus and
Zara. Sierra winked at her husband, then quickly
undressed and stepped into the water. It was
delightfully warm. "Oooh. I love your tours."
springs. Marcus and Zara are welcome to the monopoly
on arctic lakes," Claudiu teased, as he looked down
at her affectionately. "I figured you could use some
relaxation. Particularly after crossing paths with
Governor Arundel again," he informed her, with a
firm nod of his head. He hated that Governor and the
thought of her having to deal with privately
incensed him. "You're welcome," he said, accepting
the kiss and moving inside to change into more
suitable spring clothing. It did not take much
encouragement on her part to get him to change out
of his stuffy clothing and into his swimming trunks.
"Well, I used to live here you know," he said, with
a bit of longing, as he slid into the tranquil
waters of the springs.
"You forgot about the beast in the lake. They can
have that too." All of their animals were generally
tame compared to that beast. Even Sorbet looked like
a model citizen next to that tentacled beast. "Ugh.
That guy. Just looking at him gives me a headache...
I'm so sick of him acting all pompous and shitty
with our family. It was time to dose him with
reality. I'm tempted to leak his little secret to
Praji just to see what happens." She found it easy
to relax when the delightfully warm water surrounded
her. Claudius' presence helped too. She opened her
eyes, smiling wide at him. Suddenly, she sank deep
into the water and began 'sneaking' up on him,
though he was fully aware that she was coming to get
him. Sierra attacked, wrapping her arms around his
waist from behind. Her teeth playfully scraped over
his back. "You could still live here. I did force
you to build me a home here too." She loosely used
the word 'force'. The bites turned to kisses. She
knew there was a feeling of melancholy that was
associated with being on Delaya for her husband. It
was her business to chase away that feeling.
"I will never
forget the beast in the lake for as long as I live,"
Claudius remembered, as he briefly visualized the
creature in the lake dragging Bruce beneath the
waves. He shuddered just to think about it. "Yes. He
is one big headache," he agreed, as he got about
waist deep in the wonderful and relaxing warm spring
waters. "Ah," he moaned, sounding very much like an
old man that he was in danger of becoming. He closed
his eyes and splashed water in his face, which gave
her the perfect opportunity to grapple him from
behind. "Eeee," he squealed, in a manner similar to
Melickielickie. "Another home? So the estate on
Esseles, the retreat in the sea islands, and the
house at the lake aren't enough?" he teased, as he
looked over his shoulder. "You're beginning to take
after Drusilla!" he said, before bracing himself, as
he knew he was surely in for it.
I..." The very same memory came back to the surface
of her mind. The moment had been filled with
absolute terror and grief beyond anything she could
comprehend. They were lucky that their son had
survived the ordeal. For that very reason, Sierra
would never take Bruce back to northern Delaya.
Behind him, Sierra laughed hard. "I want a yacht
too!" She demanded in her best whiny, Drusilla
voice. "With all the time I spend around her, it was
bound to happen. Ewwiekewwieikkie's love for sweets
wore off on me too." She certainly hadn't been the
pudding junkie she was now before she moved into the
estate. She squeezed him, then released so he could
relax without her on top of him (for once). "Imagine
we live in a perfect world where the war is over.
What does you live look like? Where would make you
happiest to live? If you pick Hoth, you're going to
need to do some serious smooth talking ... and
accept the fact that I'll be stealing your warmth
for the rest of forever." Sierra was still hopeful
that the war would end rapidly. With the twins on
the way and Bruce already there, she wanted to
settle in their nest and fortify it.
"You want a
yacht? Then you should have married a Prince!"
Claudius teased back, referencing that awful Prince
Pollix. However, as he said it he considered that
perhaps the most suitable punishment for the boy who
moved in on his daughter would be to endure a
lifetime of her expenses. The thought was imprinted
in the back of his mind, but in the warm water with
her body near his there was only one thing he could
think about. "I was told the questions would be
multiple choice..." he replied, staring blankly back
at her as he considered her question. It was an
overwhelming one ... nearly staggering given the
magnitude of it. His hands fell to his sides,
dropping below the waterline, where he began to move
his hands around to create ripples and whirlpools.
"I would have said Delaya, but my brief moment as
Duke was not a joyous one. I realized how much I
grew apart from the planet and the people," he said,
nodding his head repeatedly. "I actually have come
to enjoy Esseles. I suppose that's home now," he
said, as he looked down into the clear waters of the
spring. Such a thought was hard to consider. So much
had changed so quickly.
"A Prince? Oh,
come on. I can do better than that. Remember? King
Ebareebaveebeedee left me his personal comm!" Sierra
teased him back. Prince Pollix didn't know what he
was in for. He continued to hound Sierra to allow
him to marry Dru, but she had not been swayed.
Ultimately, Sierra found a carved in part of the hot
tub meant for people to sit. She sat there, one hand
running over her growing stomach. Sixteen weeks
along already. It seemed like each time she blinked,
another week went by. She looked at him seriously,
calling to mind what that time had been like;
extremely difficult. Gaius had stacked up impossible
odds against them and, ultimately, he'd won in other
ways than the one he'd been hoping to accomplish.
She reached her hand outward, her fingers gently
brushing over his. "I enjoy Esseles too. It's only
been about a year since I moved it, but it really
feels like home. That's probably attributed to you
and the children." Her fingers slid in between his.
"I'm sorry it was such chaos when you were Duke. You
came in with the best intentions, and I believe that
matters for something. If your cousin hadn't been
trying to murder both of us, the situation would
have turned out very different. You make for a great
leader, my love. If you want me to murder Pollix so
you can rule over Onderon, I will. Two birds with
one stone, eh?!"
gasped in a melodramatic degree of overacting at the
mention of the Squib King in relation to his wife.
"Oh a seat? You do not have to ask me twice," he
said, as he waded through the water until he was
able to sit down beside her. He listened to her
recount the horrific ordeal with his cousin and how
he so adeptly ruined the planet as he knew it. "It
is not your fault. No need to apologize," he told
her, as he wrapped his arm around her, and drew her
against him. "No. I do not wish to rule Onderon. I
know now that I wish to rule nothing. I simply wish
to complete my duties and retire with the Emperor's
blessing," he said, as he stared off into the
distance, attempting to imagine a world where
victory had been declared.
naturally settled into his side. Now *this* was the
most relaxing place for her to be. "Claudius..." She
sighed blissfully. "I like that plan. As soon as we
get back on the Retributor, I'm going to find some
Rebel cells for us to wreck." The Emperor wanted
Claudius to win Chandrila, and so, Sierra would help
him do just that. In many ways, it was time to
embrace being an ISB officer. No matter what her
comrades thought, she could become a vital tool to
her husband's victories. She sighed, stopping
herself from further immersing herself in thoughts
of war. They had to take moments like these and
enjoy them. The war would, unfortunately, still be
there when they returned. "You can rule over all of
the pets." She suggested, leaning in to playfully
kiss his cheek. "We can all be together again once
the war ends. We'll have to shop for an apartment in
the city for Jelena. I doubt she'll want to share
rooms with Bruce or the Squibs at home." She was
feeling positive and so, she only thought of a
victorious ending. "Of course, I'll have to keep you
busy once you've retired. I can't let you have a
moment of peace."
"That would be
enjoyable. It has been some time since we've wrecked
anything," Claudius said, as his head continued to
rest on her shoulder. The warm waters of the spring
combined with the comfort of her body were combining
to make him in danger of falling asleep. "I thought
Ewwiekewwieikkie was in charge of all of the pets
... which coincidentally is probably why they're
giving us so many problems," he said, before
chuckling softly. Hopefully there was nothing alive
in the springs or his wife would surely make an
effort to adopt it. "Does that mean you think she'll
come back when the war ends?" he asked, lifting his
head up, and sounding quite optimistic. He had begun
to accept that she would be gone forever. "Not even
a single moment?" he asked her, before performing
... you guessed it ... the family's hereditary pout.
She rested her
head against his. Sierra, too, felt the draw to fall
asleep. She hadn't realized that they were going to
need a designated driver when they came here. Now
she wasn't sure. She chuckled. "Wait until Bruce is
older. He'll reign over the pets, and whether that's
a good thing or not... Well, we'll have to find
out." She was waiting for the day she woke and Bruce
was capable of climbing on top of the miniature
bantha and riding it around the house. "I think so.
I always wondered how much of Jelena joining the
Rebellion was actual passion for what they do and
how much of it was being a teenager. She wanted to
show her defiance in an way that would catch your
attention. It worked, didn't it?" The pout. Sierra
bit her lower lip. She couldn't believe that they
would soon have two *more* members of their family
to perform said pout. "Gah!" She quickly kissed his
lips. "A single moment! Just *one*!" Luckily,
Drusilla had yet to realize that Sierra was weak to
the pout. "You Rodneys..." She grumbled with a smile
on her face. "Do you think I should take you back to
the castle before we both fall asleep?" She asked
him. "We can sneak in and nap."
"What if he
turns them against us to get out of his chores?"
Claudius asked, as he thought about Bruce growing
and learning to use his powers ... but then he was
reminded of their son's unbreakable appointment with
Lord Vader. "It certainly caught my attention," he
said, slowly, as he reflected on his daughter's
treason. There was little more he could say on the
subject without being completely overcome by it. The
kiss, fortunately, took his mind off the troubles
with his children that weighed him down and he began
to smile again. "Yes. That's best. Or else our life
will end with one of those HoloNet stories about
people drowning in one meter of water," he teased
her, but although his mouth open and spoke the words
he found it very difficult to stand up given how
relaxed he had already become.
It was true.
Before Bruce was old enough to even have real
chores, he'd be training with Lord Vader. Sierra had
sporadic moments where she felt extremely distraught
by it. She hoped...she prayed...that somehow,
someway, everything would be different and she
wouldn't have to abandon her baby boy. It was
foolish and selfish, but the motherly love she had
for Bruce knew no limits. "Drowning in a meter of
water? Somehow I'm sure Auntie Mae could twist that
into a new flavor." Slowly, Sierra rose to her feet.
She didn't shy away from helping her husband up. She
linked her hands with his, helping him up as much as
she could. "Come on, love," she helped him toward
his clothing, then aided in dressing him as much as
possible. When he was dressed, she kissed him again.
"One moment," she promised. Sierra was dressed much
more quickly. Her damp hair hung over her shoulders.
"I'll drive, 'kay?" She nuzzled close to him to
provide support and affection.
As they made
their way towards the luxury speeder, Sierra heard
weird noises. She noticed a box carelessly shoved
near their speeder. She first deposited Claudius in
the passenger's seat. "Did you hear that?" She asked
him. It probably wasn't the best idea for her to
hazardously grab the box without thinking twice.
After pissing off Governor Arundel, Sierra had some
concern to be had for her safety. Instead, she
dragged the box out. The noises sounded louder. Was
that ... mewing? She gently fingered the folded top
of the box when a fluffy, tiny calico felinx popped
its head out of the top of the box. Sierra let out a
scream. She had hardly been expecting a tiny baby
felinx. "Oh my Germanicus." She said slowly.
"Claudius!" She lifted the box so he could see the
ity bity feline inside of it. The felinx's colors
were hardly normal. There was a trio of brown, pink,
and a minty green. She had to wonder if the felinx
was genetically altered or what. Regardless, it was
so *fluffy*! "Are we hallucinating the same felinx?"
needed his wife's help emerging from the idyllic
waters of the hot springs. When she volunteered to
drive the speeder back he offered no protest.
However, when they arrived there was a box lurking
near their speeder and he worried it might be some
kind of trap. "Wait!" he said, but she was upon it
before he could possibly stop her. "What?!" he said
when he heard her cry out, fearing the worst.
However, when he looked into the box and saw that it
was *another* felinx he almost wished that it was a
trap. He knew immediately that Sierra would insist
upon taking it home, so he simply moved into the
passenger seat of the speeder. "I'm sure the girls
will love it," he said, before bringing his hand up
to his temple and lowering his head into it. There
was simply nothing he could do at this point ...
they lived in a zoo.
the felinx without her even having to ask. Yeah,
Claudius knew his wife well. The same big heart that
repeatedly brought home animals was one of the
reasons he'd fallen in love with her. Hopefully he
remembered that while Sierra continued to turn the
house into a zoo. She smiled brightly. "Really?! We
can take it with us?!" She picked up the felinx from
the box. Instead of cuddling it and prolonging their
return to the castle, she placed it in Claudius'
lap. The animals were attracted to him in a way
alike to Bruce. She thought that the tiny felinx
would like him. . . and it did. She watched it curl
up in his lap and purr loudly before she was seated
behind the wheel. Shaking her head in disbelief, she
began driving them back towards the castle. She
still intended to have cuddle nap time with her
husband...and possibly the new felinx as well.
"Spumoni... The felinx looks like that ice cream
flavor." She commented, suddenly feeling an
overwhelming craving for spumoni ice cream *and* bbq
sauce. Notice the lack of an 'or'. "I'm suddenly
hungry..." She mused.