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
"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
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
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
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.