Sierra Rodney stood in the shallow water of ocean.
Her black trousers were cuffed up above her knees.
The water swayed back and forth beneath her. She was
staring at the completed home in the ocean; the very
same home she and Claudius had designed with the
intent of living there. With dark clouds surrounding
her head, she wondered if they would ever be able to
retire to their home...and if so...how much longer
would it be? The meeting at the garrison had been
overwhelming. Arden showed that she held a full
house...one capable of destroying the whole family.
"She's back." Sierra said quietly to her husband.
The Sea Islands was the only place private enough to
bring him. No one resided on those sacred islands.
Even the Shore Troopers had abandoned their efforts
to destroy the beautiful land. Sierra was still
facing the facts: Gaius was free, Arden was back,
and, worst of all, it was Livia and Julius who
changed Jelena. She wondered if Jelena would live
with them on Esseles if it wasn't for that meeting.
Sierra opened up her hand and reached out, sliding
her hand into Claudius'. As with everything else in
life, they were in it together.
The moment the ship had blasted off from Leiliani,
Claudius had stripped himself out of his armor and
changed into more comfortable clothes. As he
wandered into the water after Sierra he did not say
much. While he hated Arden Zevrin, the footage of
his parents was most troubling. Shortly after
Jelena's defection he had sent Kerrie and El-Nay to
look for her on Delaya, but not a trace of her had
been found. His parents had lied. His parents had
delivered his daughter to the Rebellion. The feel of
the cool, refreshing water upon her legs did much to
keep him from becoming too overwhelmed. He moved
behind his wife, wrapping his arms around her, and
allowing her to intertwine her hand with his own. As
he held her, his chin came to rest on her shoulder,
and he placed a gentle kiss beneath her ear. "I
know. I know," he said to her, but although he was
with her on Delaya he sounded as if he were a sector
Her body settled against his. After the ordeal, they
needed some time away from it all. As badly as she
wanted to rush back to the children, they also
needed time to process everything. Sierra let out a
long, deflating breath of air. Her head turned to
look him in the eyes. Her nose nuzzled against his
slowly. "Talk to me," she whispered softly. "Zevrin's
video..." She began. There were so many things she
could say about it. She wondered how the alliance
between Livia and Julius had come to be. There were
so many questions that could not be answered. "I'm
sorry... I'm sorry your parents played a part in
Jelena's association with the Rebellion." She kissed
"This goes so much deeper than I thought," Claudius
told her, as he lowered his head to look into the
water. "I had no idea," he said to her, as he let
out a tired, broken sigh. "I am sorry that Gaius did
not pay for his crimes. He cannot evade us forever,"
he said, as he loosened his grip on her so that he
could circle around in front of her. His hands moved
to the small of her back and drew her closer to him.
He lowered his head, placing a kiss upon her
forehead. "I've been told Marcus and Zara have been
using our house..." he said, sounding a bit jealous,
as he abruptly changed the subject to something more
selfish. It was bad enough to be driven away from
his home planet, but to lose his actual home as well
was something else entirely.
"Neither did I," Sierra admitted. At one point, she
and Jelena had been as close as close could be. She
recalled being disappointed when Jelena did not
decide to enter the Imperial Academy with her. Now
she knew why that had transpired. She knew it was a
much worse betrayal for her husband, and she worked
to give him all of her support. Her arms enclosed
around him. She held him tightly. She resented
losing Gaius, but there were bigger fish to fry.
"What? They took our house?!" She pouted in a
Rodney-like fashion. "I say we go spend the night
there! It is *our* home, after all." Sierra pointed
out. She leaned up onto her tippy toes to kiss him.
Her arms moved up to settle around his neck instead
of his waist. She continued to kiss him while a
large wave made its way behind Claudius. By the time
Sierra opened her eyes and noticed the wave, it was
upon them. It swept over the couple, knocking them
to the ocean floor and soaking them to the bone.
Ewwiekewwieikkie opened her eyes slowly, but
immediately became scared when she was shrouded in
darkness. "Ahh!" she squealed, as she found herself
trapped in the storage crate aboard the shuttle. She
raised her head, hitting into the top of the crate,
but it did have the desired effect of opening it. "Owwie,"
she said, as she rubbed her head, and took a look
around. She sniffed suddenly smelling salt water.
"Oh. Oh!" she said, as she climbed out of the crate,
silverware now embedded in her fur. "Melickielickie
wake up!" she said, as she reached into the crate
and gave her a big shake. When that was done she ran
down the ramp and landed on the hot sand, looking
around at the islands she remembered. "Wowie wow! We
at the beach!" she said, before trampling over
El-Nay and moving into the water to interrupt
Claudius and Sierra's private alone time.
El-Nay Darr did not understand everything going on
between Claudius, Sierra, and the Imperials on
Delaya, but she did understand enough to keep her
mouth shut and stay out of the way. She had stripped
out of her armor and changed into a bikini, orange
of course, and a pair of glare shades. She was
laying out upon the beach getting a tan and relaxing
herself when she felt something trample her. When
she opened her eyes she spied Ewwiekewwieikkie and
began to panic. "Oh no. How did she get here?" she
asked herself, figuring this had to be her fault. As
she sat up, she pulled her sunglasses down to look
at her with her own eyes. This could be bad.
Melickielickie had been having a wild ride inside of
the storage cargo. She was gnawing on a large
serving spoon while taking a midday nap. The
significantly smaller Squib girl began to wake up. "Uhhh???"
It was still dark inside of the crate. Her eyelids
felt so heavy. She began drifting off again when her
sister shook her. "I up! I up!" She squeaked, slowly
crawling out of her crate. She sniffed. "Bubble
nom?" The girl questioned, crawling towards the
chest armor that Claudius had been wearing. "Nom nom
nom.." She crept into the armor. She gnawed on it
once. "Ewww." She gnawed on it again. "Yucky. Bleh!"
It smelled like bubblegum, but it wasn't bubblegum
at all. "Yuck, yuck, yucky," she continued to
complain as she made her way down the ramp. The
beach outstretched before her was unlike anything
she had ever seen before. "Wowie wow..." She gasped.
Her big, bright eyes followed her sister towards
Claudius and Sierra. "Mommy? Daddy?" She questioned.
"Sissy? *Sissy careful*!" She screamed, watching
Ewwiekewwieikkie dive into the gigantic lake. "Oooh!
Oooh!!! I save you, sissy!" Melickielickie ran
forward. She rounded El-Nay and continued to the
shore. "Oh noes, oh noes." She thought that her
sister needed help. She paced at the shore until she
saw that nothing was hurting her. Melickielickie
decided to follow her sister into the water. "Mommeeeeee!
Dadddeeeeeee!" She screamed, grasping for them as
soon as she could reach them.
Sierra had been knocked to the shore. Her white
uniform clung to her body now that it was wet. She
remained on the ground, staring at the sandy beach.
"I think I'm hallucinating Ewwiekewwiekkie.. Do you
see her too?" Sierra made her way back to her feet
only to be tackled into the water once more by both
adopted Squibs. "Ewwiekewwiekkkie! Melickielickie!
How did you get there?!" She said, wrapping an arm
around both of the girls and squeezing them tight.
She was happy to see them. With a finger, she
pointed out the home to both girls. "What do you
think about spending the night there tonight?"
"Ugh," Claudius groaned, in a moment of brutal
honesty brought on by exhaustion. He wanted to be
alone with his wife, and even the usually slow
El-Nay had gotten the message and stayed far away on
the beach out of sight. When the girls dove into the
water and began heading towards him he wanted to
cry. After all that happened he wanted to be alone
with his wife. He wanted to make love to her. He
wanted to hide from the rest of the world ... the
rest of the galaxy. But now, for the sake of the two
innocents, he had to put on a big smile. He moved
through the water, doing his best to help
Melickielickie first, as she was so tiny that she
was sure to be under the water in no time. He looked
to Sierra, offering her a half-smile, before looking
towards El-Nay on the beach. Clearly she had *not*
inspected the ship prior to takeoff.
The feeling was mutual. Neither of them had the time
to finish processing what and happened, nor had they
the opportunity to recover from it. Now there
wouldn't be a moment of alone time for an
undetermined length of time. Still, Sierra loved the
girls. She made a mental note to ask Melickielickie
where her amazing hiding spot was aboard the
shuttle. As she reached out to Ewwiekewwieikkie, she
tagged the girl on her back. "Tag! You're it!" She
playfully declared before turning on her sole and
running in the opposite direction through the water,
towards the shore. At the moment, she wished that
they had decided to install professional grade blow
dryers in the Sea Islands home for their girls.
Ewwiekewwieikkie and Melickielickie would *never*
dry out. She looked beyond her shoulder and stuck
her tongue out. "You can't get me!" She teased.
"Woah..." Melickielickie was unsure of the giant
bath tub. The water moved back and forth. It was
hard for her to remain upright until her father came
to help her. "What's this?" She asked him, patting
the water with one of her small paws. "Bath tub no
good without soap." She told him, nodding her head
seriously. "Mommy says no clothes in bath." She
reached towards the bottom of her dress and began to
undress herself in preparation for the best bath of
"How did we get to the beach?" Ewwiekewwieikkie
asked Sierra, as the waves lapped over her fur
covered body, causing it to become a wet, matted
mess. She would be an awful mess to clean up later.
"It's dinner!" she said, as she saw all of the
fishes beginning to circle around her. Her tongue
came out of her mouth, swirling around her face
while her yellow eyes went wide. She reached down
into the water to snatch a fish, but it evaded her.
"Oops, I missed!" she said, before reaching down to
try again, but each time her paw penetrated the
water the fish scattered. "Oops, I missed!" she
said, before trying again, and achieving the same
result. "Oops, I missed!" she repeated, a third
time, before trying over and over to get the fish.
"El-Nay!" Claudius yelled, for the first time ever.
He was determined to get the Squibs situated so that
he could continue his conversation with Sierra
without interruption. "This is not a bath,
Melickielickie. This is the ocean," he said to her,
as he did his best to keep her from getting too far
out where the water would rise above her head. As he
turned he noticed that Ewwiekewwieikkie had
abandoned trying to get the fish in order to chase
Sierra onto the shore. "Look, Melickielickie, do you
think you can catch your mother and sister?" he
asked her, as he pointed at Sierra and
Ewwiekewwieikkie sprinting to the shore. Fortunately
his wife was adept at manipulating the Squibs into
doing what was right.
"We came to visit Aunt Zara and Uncle Marcus."
Sierra told Ewwiekewwieikkie a little white lie. It
didn't matter how old the Squib was, she felt the
need to protect her innocence as much as she could.
Ewwiekewwieikkie's distraction with the fish gave
Sierra a much needed head start up onto the beach.
"The 'ocean'?" Melickielickie repeated the foreign
word. She 'hmmed', paw scratching at her chin.
"Okay... Clothes stay on." She released her dress.
She didn't know what to think of this 'ocean', and
decided to keep a paw on her father at all times. He
pointed out Sierra and Ewwiekewwieikkie. "Oh! That
looks fun!" She doggy paddled in the water even
though her feet were able to reach the sand in the
shallow area. Once she hit the shore, the girl began
running much quicker that one with such little legs
would be expected to. "Sissy! Mommy! Sissy! Mommy!"
Sierra knew her time was limited. The Squibs lived
off of sugar power. She would tucker long, *long*
before they did. She came to a stop in front of
El-Nay. "C-Can you take the girls to Auntie Mae's?"
She asked. She was trying to catch her breath. "I'll
allow you to squeeze Ewwiekewwieikkie three times."
Sierra had left herself exposed in an epic game of
El-Nay Darr had waded into the water to help usher
Ewwiekewwieikkie and Melickielickie back onto the
shore. "I'm sorry. I don't know where they came
from," she said in a panic, as she began leading
them back towards the Kwai. "Don't worry, Milady.
I'll handle this," she said, as she nervously smiled
towards Sierra. "C'mon, girls. We're going back to
the city for some ice cream!" she said, loudly, with
an over exaggerated smile as she moved up the ramp
of the ship. How she was going to dry them was
another story, but at least she had gotten them away
from Claudius and Sierra.
Claudius watched from knee deep in the water as the
Kwai blasted away from the beach, taking El-Nay and
the Squibs away, along with stranding him and his
wife on the Sea Islands. No one knew they were here.
No one even knew Claudius was on the planet. "I
should be sad to see them go," he said, as he moved
through the water until he came up behind Sierra.
"...but I'm not," he said, as his hand came to a
rest on her ample booty. He allowed his wet hand to
rest upon it, squeezing it playfully, as they
finally had the privacy he had wanted since they
left on this journey.
El-Nay was a damn angel. Sierra adored her girls all
day and night, but the recent debacle made it
necessary for her and her husband to have some alone
time. "Thank you." She said to El-Nay. All she
needed to do was say 'ice cream' and suddenly the
Kwai was filled with Squib. What Sierra didn't know
was that Delaya would soon be filled with Squib too.
She stood, watching the Kwai head towards the city
where the girls would eat ice cream until comatose.
A smirk crossed over her lips. She felt every bit as
playful as he did, especially after her squeezed her
rear. "You're not..?" Sierra turned to face him. One
hand came to rest on his shoulder for added support
so she could move back up to her tippy toes and
begin placing love bites along his neck. "Now why's
that?" She was about to take his thoughts far, far
away from the events in the garrison. (D)
"Showing is better than telling," Claudius replied,
as he looked down upon her. He moved his hand down
to her chin, raising her face, before planting a
kiss upon her heavenly lips. As the kiss continued
he placed a hand upon her shoulder, pressing down
until she was falling down towards the sand, but
with his guidance and care. Their soaking wet bodies
came to a rest upon the pink sand of the sea
islands, which immediately began to cling to their
wetness. It would soon be *everywhere*. He began
peeling the wet clothes off her, and then himself,
as no one but the nesting thrantas and wandering sea
cows would disturb them now. He needed this. Perhaps
more than he ever had since they came together. (d)
All it took was a sentence to bring Sierra's blood
to a boil. She knew that things were headed right
into one of her favorite acts. Intimacy was
wonderful during the happy times, but it meant
something completely else during the harder times.
She would never, ever forget the trip to Mustafar
and how loved he had made her feel while they were
locked together, just as he was right now. Her lips
returned his kiss while she allowed him to guide her
down into the sand. The kiss continued on throughout
his removal of both of their clothing. As her cream
tunic was lifted over her head, she resumed kissing
him only to briefly pause when it came to remove his
top too. The wet clothes gathered on the shore until
there was nothing left. Sierra laid beneath her
husband, her arms wrapped loosely around him. The
bright sun left them entirely exposed. "I love you
so much," she told him. Her hips began to dance
beneath him. "Promise me you'll never leave my
side." She said, squeezing him. "I selfishly wanted
you to come here with me. In truth, I needed you. I
*need* you. I'm only half a person without you." (D)
"That's the easiest promise I've ever had to make in
my entire life, Sierra," Claudius told her, as he
finished removing his wet clothing. The sun was now
beating down on their wet, sand covered naked flesh
as they there alone on the shore. "It was not
selfish, my love. I wanted to come. I wanted to be
with you. I only ... I only wish I could have done
more," he confided in her, before breaking eye
contact to conceal his frown from her. It was a
great shortcoming on his part that he had lost all
influence on Delaya and that Colonel Zevrin and
Governor Arundel could conspire to torture his wife
as they had done. Even his wicked cousin Gaius, who
had been behind multiple attempts on his life, his
wife, and had killed his father was set free. (D)
Sierra smiled. After he'd endured the ill fitting
armor this morning, she was quite sure that he would
do anything for her. Vice versa was true as well.
She cuddled close into his bare body which was so
familiar to her. She was far too observant for him
to get away with hiding his frown. She leaned
forward, quickly kissing his lips. "You can't live
your life simply looking at what you could have
done, my sweet love. You have to give yourself some
credit sometimes. You came here with me, despite the
consequences which we both know. You stood beside
me. You kept me safe ... and sane." She admitted
shyly. "No one is perfect, but even *you* have to
admit that you've done a lot of good in your life."
Her hands began to rub up and down his back. (D)
"I am a fool. I was oblivious to Jelena's deceit,
and today I learned that I was also oblivious to my
parents' deceit as well," Claudius confessed to her,
as he could not shake what he had seen in the
courtroom. "Take me away from this," he begged her,
as her hands moved up and down his back, causing a
tingle to run up and down his spine. Each kiss
shared between them made him forget the ordeal they
had just been put through. Perhaps, in time, he
could send Kerrie or El-Nay to assassinate Gaius,
but for now all he wanted to do was experience his
wife on what was *supposed* to be *his* beach. "I
love you," he pledged to her, as he placed another
array of kisses upon her.
He positioned himself above her wet, naked, sandy
body. As he did so, his sweat and sea water dripped
down from his body onto hers. His breathing was
elevated, and he slowly lowered his head to place
pecks upon her.
Sierra wished she could wrap her husband up in her
arms and protect him from everything that they had
learned. "No, you're no fool. You had no grounds to
ever suspect something like that. You trusted them."
She objected. She refused to allow him to rip into
himself as he did. She saw his mind was troubled and
she was prepared to do her best to make it all
"I love you," she whispered.
"This was supposed to be our home. Bruce was
supposed to be splashing in these waves. Olivia..."
Claudius continued, as he turned his aggression into
sexual frenzy.As the pleasure flowed through his
body he began to forget his troubles. This was far
better than drinking, which was his vice when he was
alone. But now that he had Sierra, now that he had
true love, he was able to use their intimacy and
passion to sustain himself. "I keep thinking this
would never have happened if you were with me then,"
he told her, speaking of Jelena's defection and all
that followed. He had come to view her not just as
an adjutant, or a wife, or even a lover, but as an
equal who could guide him through the difficult
journey he was on both personally and
Sierra's hands fell into the sand. She gripped at
it, the small particles sliding through her fingers.
"It *will* be our home. We built that home dreaming
of what it would be like to live in it. I'm not
ready to let anyone take that dream away. When the
war ends... when we end it *together*, we will spend
the rest of our days here with our children." She
attempted to paint a picture of better days for him.
She wanted to play with their children on the beach
and return to their fortress at the end of the day.
Sierra wished she could have been there with him the
entire time. Both of their lives would have been
totally altered. She understood the special position
she had found herself in inside of his life...and
she loved it. She had the power to improve life for
him. "I would have done everything in my power to
stop it from happening. I will never let anything
like that happen ever again." She promised him. She
swiveled her hips to entice him further, then
resumed her thrusts.
When it was over he fell forward, his face crashing
into the pink sad, as he let out a contained moan
and desperate sighs. He was glad that El-Nay had
taken the Squibs far away, as this would have been a
terrible time for a pounce party.
She cuddled against his warm body. The girls were at
the ice cream shop. She figured it would be a long
while before they returned. Her arms weakly draped
around him as she settled in for a little nap under
the sun. "I love you," she told him for the
billionth time, kissing his ear before settling into
the sand with her eyes closed. Arden Zevrin had
returned. A grand betrayal had been revealed and
yet...and yet life was still *good*.