estate on Esseles stood in the mountains outside of
the city of New Calamar. After attacks on the
family, the estate had been increasingly
militarized. There was a large perimeter wall around
the grounds, a large Imperial military presence
including walkers, and low altitude TIE patrols. It
was more a small military base than a home these
days, although the Storm commandos had been
transferred away limiting the defenses somewhat.
From the edge of the grounds the distant city could
be seen with its bustling Terril Naval Base.
Claudius Rodney had not spent much time at the
estate, but he was eager to see Drusilla and
Ewwiekewwieikkie who he had felt best not to keep
aboard the Dreadnaught. This was the first time
Sierra would be seeing what was now her house, but
rather than repeat the misfortune of what had
happened aboard the Retributor, he had made sure to
have all of his ex-wife's belongings removed. It was
a clean slate for a fresh start.
To ensure a
repeat of Jelena's death didn't happen, it was
important to keep Drusilla and Ewwiekewwieikkie away
from the Retributor. They were, in at least some
ways, untouchable to Arden on Esseles. Sierra Rodney
was relieved to be going *home*. A home she had yet
to see, but one which offered privacy away from the
ISB hidden cameras. There was no where safe on the
Retributor. She felt excited to see the girls,
having not spent any time with them since after the
wedding. She also anticipated what this home would
look like. The military that covered the grounds was
necessary. After landing the small ship, Sierra
collected a bag and a distinct, hard violin case. It
wasn't much of a move in, given that she had limited
her personal belongings since she began to call the
Retributor home. Her free hand took hold of her
husband's, offering him a smile as they moved down
the ship's ramp. "Home, sweet home?" No one had ever
been considered sweet to her. Though she loved
Alderaan, her home had never really been a *home*.
The Dreadnaught also had not provided for a positive
environment. Claudius' estate was the last
turned to face Sierra, but before he could speak the
distinct screech of a TIE fighter soaring overhead
drowned out all of the sound. He squirmed
uncomfortably, waiting for the noise to pass before
addressing her. "It's home. I don't know how sweet
it is," he said, before taking her by the arm, and
leading her from the shuttle landing pad towards the
double doors that would lead inside of the
extravagant three story estate. The ground level
consisted of a living area with an open kitchen, and
a modest office. The second floor was the living
area with rooms for Claudius and Sierra, and a
separate room for each of the children. The third
room was dedicated to an observatory, which had been
a passion of his since youth. "It seems the children
are upstairs, so we have some peace ... for the time
being," he said to her, with a half smile, as he
moved towards the kitchen to see if there was
anything cold to drink. As Regional Governor he
rarely had time to go to the market, so he never
knew what to expect in storage.
screech from above quickly solved the question as to
why he seemed to rarely visit his estate. How did
one sleep with the noise of TIE fighters? Together,
they entered *their* home. Sierra didn't know what
to expect. She hadn't thought of decor in ages, much
less what Claudius' taste might be like. "Why do you
say that? I thought you loved the sound of screaming
TIE fighters early in the morning." She rested what
little belongings she'd brought on the couch. Like
the curious girl that she was, she drifted away from
him to scope out her new home before joining with
him in the kitchen. "Ah, the joys of parenthood,"
she winked. "Speaking of. What are the chances I can
take the girls out tomorrow? I will attempt to limit
Drusilla, but no promises there. I'm still
attempting to buy her love." Joking! She eyed the
refrigerator, wondering when it was last opened.
She'd need to round up all the liquor in the house
to keep her husband from slipping. He seemed to be
doing well. Her fingers danced over the countertop.
"It's nice to be in an actual kitchen. I'd offer to
cook for you, though it'll probably make you want to
marry me again." Sierra grinned. Maybe she could
help make this more of a home for him.
"I love the
sound of knowing my family is safe from Rebel
agents," Claudius said, as his eyes moved skyward at
the ever present patrols that safeguarded his home.
"You can take them, but I'd want to send at least a
platoon of Stormtroopers with you. This isn't
Leiliani. New Calamar is a warzone. There was
recently a bombing there that killed several
officers and local officials," he lamented, as he
struggled to open a jar. He let out a loud groan,
his teeth grinding against one another, as his
cheeks reddened. "Blast," he cursed, as he let go of
the jar and put it down on the counter. It seemed to
him that the kitchen was as daunting as the war
against the Rebels. "You certainly could not do
worse than I," he said, with a laugh, as he moved
towards her swiftly. His hands connected with her
hips, lifting her off the ground, and spinning her
in a dramatic flourish. As he let her feet touch the
ground again his lips connected with hers in a
have it any other way. I don't want to put the girls
in a dangerous situation. I'm sure they would
appreciate some fresh air. I'll find some quieter
places for us to shop." She would also wear a weapon
when she went out. Ewwie and Drusilla were part of
her family long before she became their stepmother.
She, personally, wouldn't allow harm to come upon
them during her watch. She watched him attempt to
open the jar. Before she could help him, because
Sierra was a problem solver like that, he whisked
her off of her feet. She laughed. "Au contraire,"
she objected with a growing smile on her face she
spun her. *Swoon*. He was so far out of her league.
She would always be pleased that he picked her over
anyone else. Her lips touched with his. He drew her
into that sweet, passionate kiss. Thin arms wrapped
around his waist tightly. Mindful of the presence of
children, Sierra kept things fairly modest. She
ended the kiss long before she actually wanted to.
She reached across the counter, grasping the jar he
had attempted to open. She untucked her tunic, using
it to help her open the jar. With a loud *pop*, the
lid came off. She offered him the open jar. "You
made it easy for me," she teased, turning around so
he could view her wiggling backside as she moved to
investigate the contents of the fridge. She opened
up the freezer side. Empty. She opened up the fridge
side, her nose twitching. There were beverages, but
there was also something that looked black and
demonic in the corner of the fridge. "Claudius ...
did you bring home a doggy bag from our meal with
the Emperor?" She pointed to *it*.
The sound of a
disturbance in the kitchen was enough to make
Ewwiekewwieikkie's ears perk in the upper level of
the estate. She made a loud gasp before she ran out
of her room and moved towards the stairs.
Unfortunately, she was so excited that she tumbled
down the stairs in a large ball of blue fur that
landed awkwardly at the bottom. This only deterred
her for a moment before she scampered back onto her
feet and moved towards the kitchen. Seeing the jar
in her adoptive father's hand she leapt on him like
a domesticated animal, pouncing him to the ground
and moving to stick her nose in the jar. "Om nom
nom," she groaned, as she inhaled the contents
before Claudius could even have one. When she was
finished, she looked up towards Sierra with wide,
yellow eyes. "More! More! More!" she demanded,
before diving headlong into the still open
Ah ... the
pitter patter of little feet. Correction: the crash,
banging noises of Ewwiekewwieikkie tumbling down the
stairs like a hurricane. Sierra looked towards the
stairs, seriously thinking the little Squib had been
hurt on her way downstairs. Instead, the girl was up
and at it like nothing had ever happened. Sierra
laughed, watching her pounce her adoptive father and
consume the contents of the jar at a record breaking
speed. "Wait...no! Ewwiekewwieikkie!" The horrible
old food in the corner of the fridge needed to be
quietly outed before Ewwie accidently ate it. She
wiggled beside Ewwie, reaching out to snatch up
another jar of fruit pieces. This jar popped open
easily. She offered it to her step-daughter, closing
the refrigerator in the process. While Ewwie ate,
Sierra offered Claudius a hand so she could help him
back to his feet. "Looks like we need to stock up on
some food. That was the last jar of fruit." She
looked towards Ewwiekewwieikkie with a loving smile
on her face. She instantly decided that they needed
to return home more frequently for this family was
on the ground in great discomfort, as his last
escapade with Sierra aboard the command ship had
seen him smashed through a coffee table in his
office. He looked up at her helplessly, not wanting
to reveal just how much Ewwiekewwieikkie's pounce
had injured him. Instead he just lay there with a
dumb grin on his face, trying not to grimace and
reveal that he was in pain. He tried to sit up
suddenly, but failed, and soon found himself flat on
his back again. He placed his hands on either side
of him, pressed down, and boosted himself up again
with a loud groan of pain. He quickly extended his
hand to lean against the wall to support himself. He
was getting old, but he did not want to admit it to
either his wife or daughter.
Ewwiekewwieikkie repeated, with her head still
plunged deep inside the refrigerator. The words were
agony to the young Squib, who quickly removed her
head, now partially covered in frost, to look at
Sierra. "No! No last jar!" she said, as her lower
lip began to quiver. Tears began to well up in each
of her large yellow eyes, followed by the desperate
sound of sniffles. She wrapped each of her blue fur
covered arms around Sierra's lower legs as she began
to cry hysterically at the fact that she was now
nom-less. She buried her face against the black
pants of Sierra's uniform, blowing her nose
obnoxiously loud and coating her mother-in-law with
a mixture of tears and mucus. "Noooooooooooooo!" she
cried out as she pulled her head up, before taking a
dramatic gasp of air, and burying her head once
more. It was all too much for the poor thing to
only imagine how her husband was feeling at the
moment. Just the other day, she'd had to pick the
remains of his glass coffee table from his back, all
the while apologizing that he got hurt during their
heated session. As much as she wanted to help him,
the little blue Squib with eyes so sad that it broke
her heart had snatched up every ounce of Sierra's
attention. Her quivering lip was almost too much to
handle...and then came the dramatic water works. The
young girl played Sierra like a harp. She crouched
down, wrapping her arms around Ewwiekewwieikkie
after she coated her trousers with mucus and blue
fur. She squeezed the poor dear. "Ewwiekewwieikkie,
don't cry! I... I'll get you more food, right now!
I'll swim you down a river of jarred fruits and
other yummy stuff." She rocked the Squib from side
to side. If Claudius was truly only going to have
daughters, Sierra was screwed. Ewwie was *too*
adorable. Her hand ran over Ewwie's back. She eyed
Claudius. For all of his suffering, she was going to
make sure he had the chance to actually relax
tonight while not pointing out that he needed to
'take it easy'.
Ewwiekewwieikkie murmured, thinking to herself, as
she listened to Sierra's promise of more food.
However, before the food could be delivered she
moved her mouth forward and took part of Sierra's
pant leg into her mouth and began to chew on the
fabric. "Blech!" she groaned, as she spit out the
pants, and began to run around the kitchen again.
She grabbed the largest pot she could find and
quickly placed it upon her head like a helmet. She
then grabbed a large, wooden spoon and began to hit
the side of the pot repeatedly. "Food! Food! Food!"
she began to chant as she banged on the pot, unaware
of the damage she was doing to her own head. "Ugh,"
she groaned after a while, as she began to feel
dizzy. She collapsed suddenly, landing on her butt,
as her head spun around in a circle. She was
literally seeing stars underneath her pot helmet, as
she sat there, impatiently expecting her next meal.
Oh, no, no,
no! Sierra's pants couldn't possibly taste
delicious. That was a lesson Ewwiekewwieikkie
learned before her stepmother could relay the
information. She stood upright, watching the little
Squib move at a speed quicker than light. The girl
bore her pot-like helmet as if she was prepared to
go to war with food itself. Her requests for food
could not be met quickly enough. Instead of fumbling
through the process of getting food from the store
and then feeding Ewwie, Sierra choice the instant
gratification route. Standing, she made a bee-line
for her bag. She produced her handy dandy holopad
from it, which she then used to order ten pizzas.
Yes. *Ten*. Sierra had no idea how much
Ewwiekewwieikkie could pack away by herself, not to
mention that she still had to feed Drusilla,
Claudius, herself, and Bruce! She added an extra
amount for quick delivery, fearing that
Ewwiekewwieikkie might attempt to eat the pot next.
She returned to the kitchen. "Food is on the way!"
She proclaimed like it was the holy word.
After the food
arrived, the evening went by smoothly. The first
family meal was enjoyable. Sierra only had to advise
Ewwiekewwieikkie not to eat the plates three times!
She tried to breach the gap with Drusilla, but she
simply wasn't sure how the girl felt about her.
Ultimately, everyone retired to the second floor.
Sierra instructed Claudius to relax in the bedroom
while she took care of tucking in Ewwie and reading
to her. It really was like having a young one of her
own already. When all was said and done, she brought
her belongings into their bedroom. "Ewwiekewwieikkie
is tucked and Drusilla is ... doing something in her
closet." She reported. "You're going to get spoiled
for the rest of the evening. Undress yourself and
meet me in the bathroom." Sierra smiled. She was
having such a good night. Her heart was full of
happiness even though her pants were cold with
pleased that Sierra had solved the food crisis ...
*again*. This was not as severe as the Delayan
refugee crisis, but feeding Ewwiekewwieikkie was
always important. As he looked into the bathroom he
smiled towards his Sierra and began to strip himself
from his uniform. His undershirt had drops of blood
from the earlier collision with Ewwiekewwieikkie
that had reopened the wounds on his back. He
grimaced as he pulled his shirt from his body, and
then began the process of unbuckling his belt and
allowing his pants to fall to the ground. He stepped
forward onto the cold tile of the bathroom, letting
out a small yelp as the sensation shot up his spine.
He moved quickly across the floor before joining her
near the bath. "Are you *sure* they're occupied? I'd
hate to traumatize them," he joked, as he let his
hand enter the water, and swept it back side to side
to circulate the water.
the bath for them to share. It seemed like the right
note to end the evening on. Relaxation, followed by
cuddling and sleeping. She'd solve the at home food
crisis long term tomorrow. For now, her attention
was only for her husband. She was bent over the tub,
monitoring the temperature of the water when he
joined her in the bathroom. She had already
abandoned her uncomfortable boots. Even through her
stockings, the ground was *so* cold! His yelp sent
her attention backwards to him. Sierra was already
thinking about the status of his back. In one hand,
she held a damp wash cloth. His joke made her
laugh...and worry. "You know, I'm going to check the
lock on the door one more time. There are some
things I never want to explain to Ewwiekewwieikkie."
She jogged out of the bathroom. She checked the door
once, twice, three times. No one was going to
stumble in on them.
the bathroom for a second time. "Okay, we're safe."
As safe as they were getting. Her hand touched with
his shoulder blade. Her other hand brought the cloth
to his bleeding skin, gently cleaning his wounds.
"I'll preoccupy the girls tomorrow. You can enjoy a
real day off, okay? Oh..! Bath's full." She stepped
out behind him to turn off the water. "Get in. Leave
enough room for me to slip in behind you." She
squeezed his bare body against her clothed one. Eee!
She loved him! Sierra happily began to undress
afterward. One by one, each article of her clothing
fell to the floor until she was naked. It seemed her
happiness had spread all over. She looked beautiful.
one foot into the hot bath water, gasping suddenly
at the change in temperature from cold to hot. He
soon allowed the rest of his body to slide into the
tub, but when it made contact with his genitals, he
lifted back up quickly as he was extra sensitive
there. Eventually he settled into the water, and
then scooched forward to allow her room to enter
behind him. "You know I never really used this," he
said to her, as he turned to look over his shoulder
at her. As the water brushed against his cuts and
bruises he let out little gasps of minor pain and
discomfort. He needed a spa treatment desperately.
not? I love baths. I'm not sure you get much better
than a bath for two." She stepped in once he had
adjusted to the temperature of the water. She
shivered, having gotten cold sometime in the
evening. Slowly, she, too, sat in the bath. Her legs
rested on either side of his. Her chest was very
close to his back. She kept a little bit of distance
between them. Resuming cleaning his wounds, Sierra's
legs squeezed him lovingly. "I'm sorry your wounds
got reopened, my love. For the sake of our furniture
and your abused body, we should probably take it
easy on each other," she chuckled. "I have a lotion
I'll use on your back when we get out. It'll help
with the pain and healing." Her free hand brushed
down the side of his body slowly.
Sierra. You should have seen her when she was a
child. I'm surprised the bite marks healed,"
Claudius said, remembering the happy times with her
when he first rescued her from Skor II. "She did not
mean anything by it. It's her nature," he said to
her, before leaning back, against her chest, and
allowing his head to rest on her shoulder. He let
out a contented sigh as the hot water rose over his
body, soothing his tired old muscles, and allowing
him to relax for the first time since the events
with Jelena began months ago. "I am thankful for
these times with you, Sierra," he told her, before
turning his head, and placing tender kisses upon the
side of her neck. The water was not the only thing
in the tub that was hot.
Ewwiekewwieikkie as a child..." She tried to imagine
her as an infant Squib. All that blue hair and those
eyes! Sierra wanted to squee like a little girl. "If
you have any pictures of that, I *have* to see
them." She wished she could have seen Ewwie's
younger days. That included experiencing Ewwie's
bites. Together, they settled in the tub. Sierra's
arms wrapped around her husband's waist. "She's so
sweet. Ever think of adopting another squib?" She
snickered. The bath's effects were working on her.
All the tension faded from her body. The teenager
was massively enjoying herself. His comment cause a
disruption in the beating of her heart. The kisses
that followed were the kind that riled her up and
caused things like the end of the glass coffee
table. She purred, her eyes rolling in delight. "I
am too, Claudius. I've had such a lovely night with
you and the girls. You've made me happy in a way I
never thought I would be." She confessed to him. All
those years living out heavy abuse had lasting
effects on her. The idea of someone loving her like
Claudius did had been foreign. And then there was
*him*. One of her hands released his waist so her
fingers could work through his curly hair.
"I do not
think any human family can survive more than one
Squib. I still remember finding her on Skor II after
the Republic liberated her world. Her home was in
ruins. Her parents ... my friends ... dead for some
time. She was all alone. I could not leave her to
that," Claudius said, becoming overly emotional as
he sat there in the tub with his wife. "There were
some in the family, and many in the Empire, who
scoff at her presence, but she is very much an equal
part of this family," he said to her, as he let his
body slide all the way down until his head
momentarily dipped beneath the water. A moment
letter he emerged from the water, spitting out a jet
of water from his mouth as he allowed himself to let
go completely and relax. "Are you sure you can
handle another shopping excursion with them?" he
asked, somewhat apprehensively, as he closed his
eyes and tried to forget the war and all that
threatened them outside of their reinforced
The origin of
Ewwiekewwieikkie had never been told to her. She had
always enjoyed playing with the Squib.
Ewwiekewwieikkie was carefree in a way that she
could never be. Her childlike innocence was a
beautiful thing that Sierra wanted to help protect.
She listened, sadly, to the abridged version of how
he came across her. She held him tighter. "You're a
good man. Anyone other than you would have left her
for dead. She's wonderful. You can feel free to make
me a list of the idiots who scoff at her. I will
punch them in the face," just like Arden! Sierra
smiled. She'd come equipped with love for both of
his daughters; her family. It was nice to see him
relaxing. Her hands tucked behind her head while she
did the same. "Yes, I'm sure. We had a good time in
Leiliani. Don't worry." She sounded confident. She
wanted to make a point to spend more time with the
girls and attempt to form good bonds. Sierra wasn't
going anywhere any time soon, after all. She sunk
deeper into the water, watching him. "Stop worrying!
I can see you worrying!" She playfully splashed him!
try out for the fleet's next shockboxing
tournament," Claudius joked at her, as she suggested
simply beating up all of their enemies. If only life
were that simple. "Yes. I am worrying, my love. They
are quite a handful, and I worry about the potential
of a Rebel attack. They killed Jelena, nearly killed
my father, and nearly killed you and Gaius," he
continued, listing a list of false allegations
against them. Although he did not care about Gaius.
"It is so kind of you to reach out and spend time
with them. Drusilla's mother died during childbirth.
And Ewwiekewwieikkie's mother died when she was very
young. Neither of them has ever really known a
mother..." he said, sadly, as he considered their
plight. "And I ... I was always absent," he said to
her sadly, wanting to put himself under the water
again and hide from his guilty conscious.
laughed, "Thank you, Claudius. I appreciate your
support." If only life were that simple. The
Rebellion would be a lot easier to beat down if they
could do it one punch at a time. She heard his
worries. Times had been hard lately. All it would
take was someone killing her, Ewwiekewwieikkie, and
Drusilla to push him off the cliff. Her fingers
stroked through his hair once more. As he began to
unload his guilty conscious on her, Sierra found
that she didn't feel the same way towards him as she
did in her school girl days. The days when her and
Jelena would curse their families for abandoning
them in different ways. Now, she felt more
understanding of his situation. "I hope that they
can see me in a better light eventually. I may not
be either of their mothers, but I love them
endlessly. I want to make them both happy, even if
it means shopping with Drusilla." She inched towards
him. He couldn't hide from his wifey! Sierra latched
onto him, wrapping both arms around his neck. She
placed a kiss on his cheek. "I can understand your
guilt, but you can't stew on it forever. Everyday is
precious. Everyday is a chance to change *anything*.
You can become a more attentive father. You already
spend more time with them now than before. I know
the war is raging and we get busy, but we both need
to come home more often. I see how much you care.
You *are* an amazing father."
me you won't try to purchase Drusilla's affections.
I do not think the treasury can withstand it. She is
quite effective at manipulating situations like this
to her advantage," Claudius said, laughing slightly,
but with keen remembrance of the expense reports
that routinely crossed his desk. She thought he did
not know, but he knew ... he just did not know how
to say 'no' to her. He was an absentee father for
most of her life who swept in with presents and a
line of credit at every major store on the planet.
While refugees starved Drusilla added more shoes and
jewels to her personal collection. If she succeeded
him as Duchess there would likely be a coup. "I want
to spend more time with the children before they
grow up and leave me," he revealed to Sierra in a
vulnerable state. He was overcompensating now for
hard. "Boy, I've seen that first hand. I'll never
forget the year Julius forgot to purchase her a
birthday present. I won't try to purchase her
affections, I swear to you that. Not simply because
we cannot afford it, but also because I don't want
our relationship to work that way." She said this,
as he had just seen Ewwie work her like no other.
Those big, yellow eyes and quivering lip had been
too much for Sierra. Claudius' worries did not fall
on deaf ears. Sierra held him. In a such a
vulnerable state, she would be his shield and
protection. "Then you shall, my love. Even if I have
to drag you away from your work, we'll come home as
often as we can. Every night, if possible." She felt
that the family was important, especially the
children. Drusilla would be eligible for marriage
within a few years ... as scary as that was to
consider. She didn't want her to leave the nest with
Claudius feeling like a neglectful father.
"Do you think
it is safe here?" Claudius asked her, as he took
hold of the sponge and began to wash his chest. "Or
do you think I should have them moved back to the
Retributor?" he asked, riddled with self doubt, and
no longer trusting his own judgment. "If they're
aboard the ship it would be easier to see them. If
they're here on Esseles they at least would be able
to go outdoors and have something more akin to a
home," he explained, as he wrestled with the idea
intensely. "I just do not know what is right for
them. You're closer to their age. What would you
prefer?" he asked her, as he turned his head around
to get a better view of her. "There is at least a
larger tub here," he said, before playfully
splashing her with some of the soapy water like
someone half his age might have done.
He asked a
difficult question: was it safer here? Sierra began
instantly weighing pros and cons. The Retributor's
greatest pro was that they could see the girls every
day. They had already decided additional time with
them was important. Esseles, however, gave them a
semi-normal life. She couldn't imagine Drusilla
being happier on the Retributor. "Hmm..." She was
still thinking when he splashed her. Not expecting
it, Sierra was hit! Her blonde hair fell in her
face. "Hey!" She swept it away, promptly splashing
him back. "This isn't a war you want to start!" She
threatened him. Empty threats, of course. "It's a
difficult situation. Is it safe here? I think so. If
nothing else, there's no Arden here. In my opinion,
I do think the girls are better off here, on Esseles.
They can have a semi-normal life here. Like you
said, they are able to go outdoors and achieve some
semblance of normalcy. I feel like Ewwiekewwieikkie
and Drusilla would be a lot less happy there... And
the tub is a plus." She offered him a smile. "How
often can we come here?"
we shall keep them here," Claudius said, as he
dodged her efforts to splash him. Their rapid
movements caused the bath water to splash back and
forth, occasionally spilling over the rim of the tub
onto the floor. "We can come as much as the Rebels
will let us. When I purchased this estate my desire
was to commute to work, but by the time I was done
with meetings and briefings the children were
already asleep and I decided to simply sleep here,"
he said, lamenting how his career had interfered
with his being a father. "You'll have to ask my new
adjutant. If she can keep my schedule manageable
then perhaps I'll be more available to come here,"
he again teased her, before attempting to reposition
himself in the tub. As he attempted to turn to face
her, he slipped, and crashed down upon her roughly.
"Oof," he groaned, uncomfortably, until he was
finally facing her, with his back to the other side
of the tub. He smiled across at her, his soap body
occasionally becoming visible as the ebb and flow of
the water rose up and down over him.
"You know, I'm
pretty close to your new adjutant. She's pretty
nice. I'm sure she can properly arrange your
schedule so you can spend nights at home, *before*
the children are asleep." She grinned widely while
he began to reposition himself. She didn't expect
him to fall down on her. "Eek!" She squeaked. A big
wave of water spilled from the tub and hit the
ground with a splash. They were making an absolute
mess! At least this time he fell down on her,
instead of her falling down on top of him like
seemed to be their norm. She squirmed until they had
corrected their position. Sierra; seated with half
of her body lingering outside of the soapy water and
the other half hidden beneath. As if she hadn't
learned from Claudius' position change, Sierra moved
closer to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck
while kissing both of his cheeks. "I'll do
everything I can to make you feel better, my
Claudius. I think it would do you good to come home
every night. You've got Drusilla, Ewwiekewwieikkie,
and all the daughters we're going to make to take
care of." Her fingertips gently rubbed over the back
of his neck.
daughters?" Claudius exclaimed, with mock horror, as
he playfully covered his eyes in fear. "Do you want
to have children?" he asked her, as he peaked out
from behind his clasped hands. "You are young yet. I
would hate to burden you with motherhood before
you've even reached the prime of your existence," he
said to her, with genuine concern for her well
being. "Tell me. Before all this what did you want
to be?" he asked her, as he moved forward through
the water until his face was nearly in front of
hers. "Tell me about the life I plucked you from,"
he asked her, determined to get to know more about
this teenage he had so unexpectedly wed. He placed a
soft kiss upon her cheek, blowing some bubbles into
her ear, before repositioning himself for what he
intended to be a serious discussion.
If all she gave him was daughters, then he'd likely
drown in estrogen! That, or feel a lot less inclined
to come home. "Yes, I want children. Don't you? I,
er... I'm not on birth control. It is the way I was
brought up. Mother was very strict." He knew about
that. "That can change!" She added just in case she
caused his blood pressure to raise with her
confession. "Motherhood is no burden in my eyes. I
look forward to it, whenever it happens. *If* it
happens." She understood that Claudius was much
older than her. If he didn't want more children,
then she would accept it. Her nose nuzzled against
his. He was so kind to her. He worried about her.
Sierra was excited to tell him about her life. She
knew so much about him from Jelena, and was learning
every day. But what did he know about her? She
cuddled him in the water. "I wanted to be a
musician." Sierra laughed. "Mother had always pushed
me in that direction, so, of course I had to be as
rebellious as possible. Helping people has always
been a passion of mine. I wasn't upset with going
into psychology. My life before you wasn't all that
special. I've actually had a hard time since I moved
to the Retributor. Schooling seemed like it passed
in a flash. I felt like I was ill-prepared to fix
some of the people who came to me. I never meshed
with the other ISB officers either. Then there was
Alderaan, of which I have many mixed feelings about.
You know my story before the Retributor. Schooling,
that terrible academy, and a whole heck of a lot of
abuse at home. A man who tore out my heart and
skewered it was my reason for joining the Empire.
You asked me before, and I was too embarrassed to
admit it. I was running away from my problems." Her
eyes darted away from his. Now she was exposed.
"Every time I think about my childhood, it
solidifies why I want to be a mother. I want to do
all the things Mother never did for me to a child of
my own. I have that unconditional love inside of me.
I could empower our child, instead of ripping them
"You will have
to play for me some time," Claudius encouraged her,
as he listened to more of her life story. "Yes. You
are not the typical ISB agent," he said to her, with
a reassuring smile, as he reflected on his past
experiences with the bureau. "Is that something you
wish to continue? Helping people with your
psychology background?" he asked her, as he turned
to adjust the temperature of the bath water as it
was beginning to get cold. "I am sorry about your
past history, Sierra. Did her perish on Alderaan, or
should I have him tracked down and flogged?" he
asked her, with a joke that was in very poor taste.
"What is it you wish to do with your life? You don't
have to give it *all* up for me, you know," he said,
as he activated the jets that turned the bath into a
whirlpool. "My first wife worked. She was a
teacher," he said, but almost immediately regretted
bringing up his past history to her.
"Of course. I
brought a violin with me. I'll subject you to my
music. Hopefully you'll like it." Because he was
going to have to deal with it for a *long* time.
Claudius was asking good questions. She had been
taking the future one step at a time lately.
Depression had hit her hard after Alderaan, causing
her to lose control of her life. "I don't know yet.
Maybe. It's difficult to be a psychologist. The
things that other people have gone through make my
problems look insignificant. It's depressing and
limiting. You can't reach inside a person, pick out
the bad part, and replace it with something new. You
have to work with the remains that are there.
Sometimes you can't even tell what part goes where."
She knew she didn't have to give up her life because
of him. The sky was the limit, mostly. She
snickered, "I'm sure he perished on Alderaan.
There's some comfort in that, right?" It was a
terrible joke, but the man had been a horrible
person. "I worry that Mother did not perish,
however. I had night terrors for weeks after all of
that. I even tried to find her in the refugee camp.
I fear her coming back and..." She shivered, her
hand reaching behind her to touch a back that should
have been badly scarred. The jets turned her
attention away from the invisible scars and the make
believe pain. Sierra understood that he had lived
longer than she. He had a past, like it or not.
"That sounds pleasant," she commented. "I know I
don't have to give it all up for you. The problem is
that I don't know right now. We've had so many rapid
changes lately. What I really want is to be *happy*.
So much of my life has been unpleasant. I want to
enjoy myself for once, and I am."
forward to hearing you play. It would be a welcome
break from the jizz that Drusilla and
Ewwiekewwieikkie are always listening to," Claudius
said to her, as he positioned his injured back in
front of one of the jets. He let out a pleasing
groan as it blasted the aching small of his back.
"We have all complicated relationships with our
mothers," he said to her, thinking of his own, who
still loomed over them. "I am sorry you did not get
a chance to resolve things with her before the end,"
he said, as he reached out with his arm, and drew
her in close to him. "I think everyone in the
service could use a good psychologist. I'm sure I
could benefit most of all," he said, with a soft
laugh, before moving to place a soapy kiss upon her
cheek once more. "I want you to be happy. More than
anything your happiness is my greatest concern," he
said to her, as he reached under the water and took
hold of her hand with his, squeezing it
reassuringly. "About what you said earlier..." he
said, breaking eye contact, and instead focused on
the bubbles as they rose from the surface of the
water and then burst. "I do want more children. I
would like a chance to do it *right* this time and
... not to sound *too* much like my father, I would
like a son, if only to spare Drusilla the burden,"
he said, but in reality he wanted to spare the
people from her.
would get a change of pace with Sierra's playing.
Contrary to what she would say, she had been playing
since she was four. She knew her way around her
instrument as she would show him soon. His affection
was sweet and necessary after becoming so raw in
front of her husband. Both of her arms wrapped
around his waist. Livia was complicated as well, she
knew that much from witnessing her for years. She
was happy to be on the woman's good side, for she
couldn't imagine that it was like to be in Zara's
shoes. "It's okay. I'm not sure there was ever going
to be a resolution. As cold as it sounds, I'm
relieved it ended the way it did." She looked up at
him. He pumped confidence into her and even made her
laugh. "Thank you, Claudius. I love you. I'm
astonished how you can make me feel better about
everything. Have *you* ever considered a career in
psychology?" She teased. Her hand squeezed his back.
Her heart was filled with love and happiness. Things
in her life had balanced out thanks to him. She
stared down at their soapy hands, smiling quietly.
He made up the perfect husband for her. Giggling,
Sierra placed a kiss on his forehead. "I understand.
You'll get your second chance, I can promise you
that." For she had no reason to believe she couldn't
have children, contrary to what she told Doctor
Tohan. "As for a son. . . I'll put in a request."
She winked. "Statistically speaking, if we go at it
like senseless animals for the rest of my child
bearing years, we'll eventually have a baby boy."
She didn't want to see Duchess Drusilla happen
either. How horrifying. Delaya would be deemed
bankrupt within days.
psychologist? Never!" Claudius said with a laugh, as
he snuggled up against her under the constant
pounding of the jets of the tub. "I am a diplomat.
Psychology is the art of listening, but diplomacy is
the art of talking," he explained in rather succinct
fashion. He was hesitant to touch too much on the
subject of her mother, as he knew it was still a raw
nerve, but he expected in time she would come to
mourn in her own way. "Well it will certainly be a
pleasure trying," he said, as his hand moved down
beneath the water, and clutched her inner thigh. "If
Marcus can get a son on the first try, I figure I
can produce one eventually," he said, sounding
somewhat jealous of his younger brother. The desire
to produce a male heir had never mattered to him as
he always believed Jelena would make an excellent
Duchess, but Drusilla on the other hand... He
stopped himself before he had any more negative
thoughts about his youngest daughter.
Aahh. The bath
had intended to be relaxing for only him, yet Sierra
had begun to melt. She enjoyed that they were
getting to know each other better. She laughed,
imagining Claudius playing the role of a
psychologist. "Oye, and you're very good at that art
form, aren't you?" She prodded his side with her
little elbow, laughing. The water seemed to get a
teeny, tiny bit hotter when his hand collided with
her inner thigh and he made a remark like that. "I
agree with that. I considered writing you a thank
you note after the first night. It was *that* good."
Sierra was beaming again. She leaned in, nipping him
on the neck to distract his jealousy. "I think so
too. We have a lot of time to try. You never know.
That whole coffee table escapade may have resulted
in a son." She nuzzled her hips towards his hand.
She wanted him to touch her and enjoy her. "I have a
theory. We're *only* going to have sons."
"Yes. I am an
excellent talker, or so I tell myself before every
speech," Claudius said, in jest, as his hand moved
up her thigh towards parts unknown. The nip to his
neck caused more than the water to boil, as their
two bodies combined to make more heat than the
artificial heater in the tub. "Well that would be
excellent news. The table was a gift from the
Governor of Rhinnal. It would be good if it died for
a good cause," he said, as he continued teasing her
beneath the water line. He knew *exactly* what he
was doing when he poked and prodded her that way.
"Only sons, eh? Well, at least an heir and a spare,
like me and Marcus," he said, mocking his younger
brother. "It'll break Drusilla's heart to come this
close to the throne and then lose it. Perhaps I'll
make her a Countess," he said, with a snort of
laughter as he considered all of their futures.
"I feel like I
should start carrying around something to jot down
all your inspirational quotes, Claudius." She had
moved into a playful mood. As much as she teased
him, she loved him very dearly. She sucked in a
sudden breath when his hand continued wandering up
her thigh. She wondered if she should remove them
from the bathtub before they attempted to conceive
for the umpteenth time, or if they were less
accident prone inside of the bathroom. Her hips
wiggled from side to side. He knew full well that he
was invoking her! "We'll just have to wait and see."
Only time would tell if they would have a son.
Though Sierra didn't voice her wants she, too,
wanted a boy. Every woman wants a son, that's a
fact. Sierra shifted. She carefully climbed into his
lap where she could settle herself and keep her
husband from harm. Her hands planted themselves on
his shoulders so she could slowly rub herself
against him. "You should. You should also wear a
full suit of armor when you have to tell her she has
a little brother on the way. Anddd... Not it!" The
last thing he'd seem was her smile before she kissed
him on the lips.
"You need not
concern yourself, Sierra. You can simply have your
boss, Major Zevrin, play you recordings of
everything I've said," Claudius said, as he looked
about the room cautiously. "I can only hope she
never got a recording device in the house," he said,
continuing to look at every corner of the room. He
let out a soft groan of pleasure as she climbed onto
his lap, his hands moving around her to hold her in
place. "Maybe we can just release the news to the
HoloNet and let her learn that way, with us
conveniently off planet," he thought, smiling at his
beautiful young wife as she moved upon him. For the
first time, in a long time, he had everything he
wanted. He wondered how long it could last before
misfortune found it again, because he knew that as
soon as he found something, or someone, that he
loved he had to worry about losing them.
talk about her. I already punched her in the face
once this week.." Though, his words had lit paranoia
inside of her. Was the house safe? She decided she'd
spend some time in the morning searching around. She
needed to see if the house was a safe haven or not.
Not just for her and Claudius, but for the girls as
well. Thinking about that woman made her so mad! She
needed to figure out a way to knock her from her
post...but not now. Intimate time with her husband
was hardly the time to fight their enemies. She
teased him with her hips. His idea about the Holonet
was amazing. She laughed. Drusilla would be furious.
They'd be safe, hiding out on the dreadnaught. "My,
my. That's a damn good idea. I'm sure she prefers
that news than us going the route of Marcus and
Zara." There would *never* be a sex tape of them.
he seemed to naturally find his place between her
thighs. As soon as she felt his cock at her
entrance, she sunk herself down on him. Sweet
sensations flowed through her. Everything had
happened for her too. She was glad that Claudius had
married her. Her future existed with him. She
settled in his lap. She didn't move, instead, she
savored being close together. "You are the greatest
thing since sliced bread, Claudius. I love you so