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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:27) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).
Duke Marcus Rodney, Major Sierra Rodney, and Duchess Zara Rodney.

Marcus Rodney's first full day as a father had been the longest day of his life, but also the most joyous. He sat there in a chair next to Zara's bed, watching their every movement. Each time they did something for the first time he became overexcited, pointed it out to Zara, and then informed everyone in the castle. The staff was less than overjoyed to hear about every yawn, stretch, and eye movement, but he was a proud papa who would brag to the end of days. The doctors and medical droids had left to give the new family time alone to rest, but everyone was too wired to sleep. He imagined it would take an hour for Doctor Tohan to get down the stairs, which caused him no end of worry. At least Doctor Bailo was there to help him, although he fully expected her presence to cause his heart more excitement than perhaps it should take. "Look, Zara! Darrus moved his hand!" he shouted, as if the boy had just won a shockball match. Everything they did, no matter how ordinary, was a major milestone. He was basking in the glow of newfound fatherhood and nothing could tear the smile from his face.

Nothing could extinguish Zara Rodney's happiness. She was in complete awe of their children. Zara felt the same amount of over excited each time the twins did something new. More than anything else, it was absolutely mind blowing to have them join the world at last. Zara felt such pride in their offspring. She would be obnoxious with picture taking as soon as she was more healed. "Awww!" She was sitting up in bed holding both of the children. Sia had passed out at her breast, while Darrus continued to look at the world around him. Zara placed a gentle kiss on the boy's forehead. "I know this is stupid to say...but look at how *small* his hands are. And his feet! Ohmygosh! All of him is so cute!" She lifted her head to look at her husband. "I'm so happy." She reported to him. "I love our family so much."

Sierra Rodney had been on her way to Delaya when news struck: the Rodney twins had arrived. House of Rodney welcomed a new heir and his sister. The only image Sierra had seen of the children was that of Pilaq holding Darrus up for the world to see. It had been enough to draw a youthful squeal from the woman ... it also made it that much harder to wait for her own son to arrive. In an attempt to not draw attention from the Imperials, she landed at the castle where she kindly asked to see her brother-in-law and her sister-in-law. She stood at the base of the spiral staircase, awaiting for the Alderaan guard who headed up the stairs to tell her if she was allowed to see them or not. She felt excited for Marcus (and maybe a little bit of excitement for Zara).

There was a knock at the door into the Duke and Duchess' chambers. A deep voice spoke, "Lady Sierra Rodney is here to see you. Shall I tell her to leave?"

"They'll get bigger right?" an overanxious and naive Marcus asked her, with a look of panic in his eyes. "I have never felt more joy than I do at this moment," he shared with her, before being disturbed by the knock at the door. He wondered who would are intrude at this moment, and he wondered if perhaps it might be the loathsome Governor trying to take advantage of the HoloNet coverage. But when the Guard announced the presence of his sister-in-law he felt a mix of emotions. He always expected his family to rally around him when his children were born, but after what happened between Sierra and Zara he now thought that impossible. "I wonder what she wants..." he said quietly, speculating, as he turned his head to look at his wife. "What should we do?" he asked her, apprehensively, knowing that she was exhausted and still blamed Sierra for what happened to him.

She giggled. "Of course they'll get bigger!" There was nothing that could derail Zara's happiness. Even as the guard announced that Sierra had come to see them, she didn't think of how she had shot the woman during a fit of rage. After she'd come down from her fit, she simply felt *guilty* for hurting her. Her eyes flickered up towards Marcus. "Let her in. I feel so bad about what I did to her. Besides... She hasn't seen our beautiful babies yet!" Zara grinned. "Maybe we can go see your brother soon too...and Ewwie..." She idly wondered what a baby Squib looked like and if Sierra and Claudius were still taking care of Callista. Zara peered up to the door. "Please, bring her to us." She said softly, but loud enough to be heard. Darrus had started creeping towards his father. He reached out his little hand, grasping for Marcus. "Awww!!"

The stairs seemed to have multiplied since the last time Sierra had climbed them. By the time she reached the top, she was slightly out of breath. She noted to herself that she would *not* be making visits to Marcus and Zara's chambers in a few months. The guard allowed her into the room, which Sierra slowly stepped into. In one hand, she clasped the handle of a little gift bag which had something for each baby. She felt so awkward. The babies provided a great ice breaker. Her eyes met with the twins within Zara's arms. A wide smile instantly appeared on her face. "Wow, Marcus, Zara, they are gorgeous! Congratulations!" She approached them slowly. She wasn't sure what grounds she was standing on. "Claudius and I saw that Delaya had been attacked. We were both worried for your well being." She expressed sympathetically. "I'm relieved to see you're both doing well, and *them* too."

"Do you think Ewwiekewwieikkie will be too rough with the children?" Marcus asked, throwing his sweet, innocent Squib niece under the proverbial speeder bus. "No. If anything, we make him come here. You're in a delicate condition and you should not travel yet," he insisted, but before he could continue Sierra arrived. As a gentleman, he thought it appropriate to rise when she entered, and as he took a step towards her to greet her the sound of a gear seizing filled the room. A moment later he dropped to one knee, letting out a groan of pain as he hit. Zara's device functioned perfectly, but because of the amount of power it utilized it needed to be recharged to avoid a large power supply that could not easily be concealed. "I'm alright!" he said, preemptively to both of them, but with no power to the unit he found himself situated on the floor, unable to move. Although he acted as if everything was fine.

Zara quietly remembered Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista rough housing together around the castle at the coronation. "Ummm..." She didn't answer because of Sierra's arrival. She knew Marcus was right. Neither her nor the twins would be ready for travel for some time. Zara settled back into her pillows as she looked towards her sister-in-law. "Sierra..." She started, only to stop when Marcus fell to one knee. Oh no! The exoskeleton needed to be charged. He'd spent so much time on his feet over the last twenty-four hours. Before she could even ask, he let her know that he was okay. Zara started wiggling her way out of bed with the intent to help him. Apparently she had forgotten about her whole delicate condition.

Marcus had risen, yet Sierra wasn't sure how he was doing it yet. She took a step towards her brother to greet him. When he fell to the ground and remained there, Sierra understood that he really had been seriously injured at the garrison. She offered him her hand. "Let me help you." Sierra offered kindly.

"Sierra, I'm really sorry about what happened before." Zara spat out. "I don't want to drive our family apart. I got overwhelmed and I just kinda snapped ... on you." Her cheeks turned red. "I wanted to apologize sooner, but, you know." Her eyes flickered downward towards the babies. Slowly, Zara rose from the bed. She winced. Her body was now on the road to recovery. She had strict orders from *both* Ithorian doctors not overdo it. She placed a sleeping Sia in the bassinet, covering her with a warm blanket. "Sleep well, my little princess." Zara whispered.

As Marcus sat on the ground, unable to move, he watched with cautious optimism as the two ladies began speaking to one another. The family had nearly been torn apart, but it seemed as if the road to mending the family tree was being paved. With Sierra's help he was able to rise up, but his legs could not support his own weight, and so he relied heavily on Sierra until he was able to sit down. "Is everything alright?" he asked Sierra, with some hesitation, as he was not sure if this was a visit to see the children, or something else entirely. As he sat there his cheeks were still flushed red from the crash, and he began attempting to catch his breath. He still had a long way to go in his physical therapy, but he was determined to be walking before his children.

Suddenly, Sierra was supporting Marcus' weight. She was able to bring him to the edge of the bed where she attempted to gently sit him down. Seeing him like this made her wish she had never asked him for help. In that moment, she could understand Zara's fury. She had thought Claudius would be furious with her over his brother's injuries. It was quite a surprise when things went differently with him. "Everything is fine." She reassured her brother. "We saw the HoloNet broadcast of the Rebel attack. Claudius and I were worried about you both. I came to see you...but then I heard the news of the twins." Sierra explained. Zara's apology sent her back to that day. The garrison had been a mess. It had hurt so bad when she was shot. Instead of holding Zara's outburst over her head, Sierra decided to accept her apology. She moved towards her sister, giving her a gentle, one-armed hug. "All is well, sister. I understand. Let us not dwell on that. Today is a happy day."

Zara smiled. Sierra had good timing, for she still wouldn't have been able to help Marcus off the ground. She was glad to mend their familial bonds, especially right now. She looked down at Darrus, then back to Sierra. "Do you want to hold him?" She asked, carefully offering her son to her.

Carefully, Sierra reached out her hands to accept the small newborn. She cradled him in her arms comfortably. Sierra snickered. "He's the spitting image of you, Marcus. Good luck with that Rodney pout. It'll get him *anything* he wants."

Marcus nervously watched as Darrus was transported through the air from Zara to Sierra, ready to channel some superhuman effort if he witnessed even the slightest tremor. "He does. Doesn't he?" he said, smiling at Sierra's suggestion, before his head tilted towards Zara for confirmation. "...and how are your children?" he asked, being polite, unaware of the tragedy that had befallen Ewwiekewwie and Callista. "Do you know if Iyah was rescued in the attack? Do you still have Callista?" he asked, feeling quite out of the loop on the family gossip. His eyes never left Darrus, watching his sister-in-law holding him. "Soon you'll be holding your own son," he said, with a nod of his head, trying to make peace with the happy thoughts.

She slowly rocked back and forth. Her attention was on Darrus now. He was the most newborn child she had ever held. It seemed natural to fear that she'd break him or something. Seeing the boy really did make her think of her own son. Would he look like his father too? The pout seemed to be genetic, so Sierra committed herself to continuing to be a sucker for it. "Oh, you know, Dru's still finding gemstones that she forced Ewwiekewwieikkie to eat. Callista and Ewwiekewwieikkie are better now." Her eyebrows furrowed, "Apparently Papius fed them some laxative-filled foods while they were here for the coronation. Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista were very sick. I had to call for Doctor Bailo." She explained, feeling the rage swell deep inside of her. "I've had no communications with Mug since he asked me to take care of Callista. The little one is still with us. I hope that they managed to save that woman. I gave Mug the information your droids collected on the garrison. I knew it would only be a matter of time before they went back for Iyah." Her smile reappeared as he spoke of her son. "Yes. Four more months." She reported. "There will be so many young children at the next family reunion." Her and Claudius were more than happy to start planning out the extensions of their family.

Zara was watching Sierra like a hawk. So far, only the Ithorian doctors, her, and Marcus had held the babies. She trusted all of them. Darrus seemed as happy as a clam as he reached out, attempting to grab Sierra's hair. She listened to Sierra catch them up on the family gossip. For Callista's sake, she hoped her mother was home. Zara had always thought Mug and Iyah were nice people. There was something Sierra said that bothered her. "Governor Arundel *poisoned* the girls?!" The coronation had been a crazy day. She hadn't been watching over the girls as much as she would have liked. It really was a happy thought to think of a family reunion. Bruce wouldn't be that much younger than the twins. Who'd have thought it? The last year had brought on such massive changes in House of Rodney.

"The Governor poisoned Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista?!" Marcus replied, so angry that he wished he could stand just to let the anger out. "I am sorry. We should have kept a closer watch on them during the coronation, but with my injury I just wanted to rest after that hectic day. We did not even attend the formal reception," he explained, as the guilt of what happened to his nieces overcame him. "But they're okay?" he asked, in a quick follow up, as he tried to assuage his guilt over what had happened. "That Governor is a monster, but I fear to move against him now that I have a family he could threaten," he explained, lowering his head in shame. "I do not want him to harm my beautiful children," he explained, choking up, and swallowing deeply.

Sierra shook her head. "It's okay, there's nothing to feel guilty about, brother. He bribed Drusilla into going to his garrison. I wondered if he had used Callista to torture Iyah. That's the kind of game he plays." She understood that Zara and Marcus had enough going on at the time. She didn't blame them. "They're okay. It seems to have all cleared up." She reassured Marcus as his son began to fuss in her arms. She saw Zara move to get a bottle of pre-pumped milk. Sierra felt for the new father before her. She took the small bottle from Zara, slowly sitting down on the bed. She made herself comfortable with Darrus before she began to feed him. "No. Don't move against him, Marcus. Nothing is beneath that man. All hope isn't lost. This is one time where I'm hoping the Rebels succeed and wipe him out one way or another. I haven't the time to figure out a way to rid the planet of him. I've got my hands full with Arden Zevrin and my series of hell concerts." Arden Zevrin held her strings. She understood her brother. You did everything you could to keep your family safe. Sierra sighed, "Claudius and I were just talking about how we wished we could lock the girls up to keep them safe. Too bad that would only make them hate us."

"You don't sound like any other ISB agent I've ever encountered," Marcus replied, to Sierra's wish that the Rebellion would be successful. "I saw something about the attack on Corulag, but it seemed you were unharmed," he said, as he had no idea of the complex relationship between his brother, sister-in-law, and Colonel Zevrin. He wanted to inquire after El-Nay, but he knew his past with her caused Zara consternation, so he decided against it. "Well if the bars were made of gold perhaps Drusilla would be alright with it," he said, with a snicker, as he watched Darrus being fed. He would be big and strong in no time, he imagined. Already he was planning the sports they would play and the father-son activities they would engage in, the number one being running off any boy foolish another to pursue Sia. "The family is so scattered because of this war. I hope that when it ends we can all be reunited," he said, wishing, as he lamented how far they all were. Claudius, Sierra, Ewwiekewwieikkie, and Drusilla were on Esseles, Jelena, Mug, Iyah, and Callista were on New Alderaan, unbeknownst to him, and he, Zara, Darrus, and Sia were on Delaya. He longed for the days when they were all together.

Sierra laughed softly. "I try not to be as evil as my other coworkers." She wasn't an ISB agent at all. However, ridding her life of Arden Zevrin was going to take some serious skills. As for the attack on Corulag, Sierra nodded, "Yes, I was unharmed, however, El-Nay was seriously injured. Even she has recovered now." She had no idea about his past regarding the Mandalorian. All she knew was that she didn't want El-Nay to get hurt on her behalf again. "Claudius came to Corulag to save me. He was nearly assassinated. I suppose I'll have to lock him up inside of the girls." She had been so relieved to see him. She feared for his life too. There were so many people to protect. All of them were scattered across the universe. Sierra laughed again. "You know, I think you're onto something. Golden bars for Drusilla, something shiny and inedible for Ewwiekewwieikkie..." She winked.

After the boy had eaten an ounce, she pulled the bottle from between his lips and carefully brought him to her shoulder to burp him. She had some experience with infants, though not as young as Darrus. She gently patted his back until he let out a boisterous burp that shook his whole body. Sierra giggled. "Goodness, that was a big one!" She brought him back into feeding position. "I agree with you. Jelena is so far away. She's attempting to lead the settlement where the Rebels took the refugees. It's a place they are calling 'New Alderaan'. Mug and his family live there as well. It's so hard to protect Jelena when she's far, far away. I wish she would just come home." That was never going to happen.

Zara came to settle on the bed beside her husband. She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed. She was becoming more comfortable with her sister holding Darrus. It seemed like Sierra understood how to handle him. She smirked when the boy burped. "That's from your side of the family." Zara teased. "Our door is always open for you, sister. Even though we can't all be together, we can still visit. You'll have to bring Claudius next time to meet his new niece and nephew." Zara looked like one hell of a proud peacock.

Marcus cringed when he heard that El-Nay had been badly injured, but before he could react to that the news came that there had been an attempt on his brother's life once again. "So much violence..." he commented, his voice trailing off as he commented. "Just lock her in the kitchen. With all the silverware and cakes she'll never complain," he suggested, as to what to do to Ewwiekewwieikkie. He laughed as he watched Darrus burp, causing Sierra to shake. "He has quite the appetite," he warned her, perhaps a bit too late. "New Alderaan, huh? Well, I hope they find a peace that eluded the original," he said, before grabbing hold of his legs and extending them. "I think Jelena should stay as well hidden as possible. The Empire will stop at nothing to hurt her," he realized, as it seemed most of his family was in danger from the government that his brother had devoted his life to.

Talking about all the recent going-ons of their lives made Sierra wish that *they* could hide from the Empire. It was impossible and it put her family as most risk. When the Emperor couldn't find Claudius, he would strike down innocent people like Marcus and his family. She thought that locking Ewwiekewwieikkie up in the kitchen was viable given she removed every sharp object first. She looked back down at Darrus, who was sucking viciously on his bottle. "I see that!" She agreed that Jelena needed to stay as hidden as possibly. Her 'death' had caused the beginning to Sierra and Claudius' relationship. "What a mess," she said, sighing. "Nevertheless, enjoy parenthood. Today is *your* day." She said, referring to both Marcus and Zara. "Everything else will fall into place in time." It seemed Darrus had his fill as he stopped drinking. Sierra moved to bring him back up to her shoulder, but he burped again before she could get him into position. Deciding that she should leave the parents to enjoy their children alone, she, ever so carefully, returned Darrus to his father. "Your children are so wonderful." She said in awe.

Marcus breathed a sigh of relief when Darrus was returned to his arms, carefully cradling him in his arms and supporting the head. "Yes. Yes they are," he said, as he looked down at the beautiful face of his son in his arms. As Sierra departed, his attention turned back towards his wife. "Thank you for making the effort, my love," he said, as he looked towards her with an affectionate smile. "In these troubling times we need our family, as complicated as they can be at times," he said, as he leaned down to place a kiss upon his son's forehead. One bridge had been rebuilt, but there were still distant relatives they needed to reunite with. For the family to be truly safe the Empire must be defeated, and that meant reaching out to Jelena and Iyah next.

Zara watched her sister leave quietly. Again, they were left alone to bond over their new family. She cuddled into his side affectionately. "I know. I don't like us all being split up. I wanted to fix it sooner." She confessed, having felt guilty within twenty-four hours of shooting Sierra. She was glad that her sister had been willing to accept her back. Sierra made for a better sibling than her own blood sister. It was nice to have her back again. As Darrus laid in his father's arms, he let out another burp. Zara grinned. "Eeee! Even his burps are cute!" Looking down upon their son, she realized all over again how much she loved him, his sister, and his father. Her heart seemed to be overflowing with love. She had never truly noticed how wonderful motherhood was. She felt even more elated than ever for becoming a mother. Her life was complete.

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