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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:7:12) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).
Doctor Alessandra Bailo, El-Nay Darr, Duke Marcus Rodney, and Duchess Zara Rodney.

El-Nay Darr was standing over the bassinet containing the young Darrus Rodney. Her orange helmet had been placed aside, revealing her young face with her artificial platinum dye job that was betrayed by her visible roots from the close shave on either side of her head. She knew that somewhere Marcus and Zara were throwing down, but she was left to babysit. Shortly after they left the baby woke up, and since the nanny droid was in a state of disrepair, it was left to her to deal with the situation. Raising her wrist gauntlet she was able to project a holographic image of a basilisk, an ancient beast her people once rode into battle. With the aid of holographic representations she was able to tell tales of her people and her clan going back to the days of the Old Republic that, while suitable for Mandalorian children, were much too violent for humans. Still, they were the stories that she had grown up on, which made her want to become a great warrior like her ancestors, despite the misgivings of her father. While Mandalore suffered under the yoke of the Empire she was forced to travel the galaxy finding work as a mercenary. This, too, she detailed to young Darrus, telling him about all life's troubles, including her complicated history with Kerrie. He was too young to understand and had yet to utter a word so he could not reveal her secrets, nor could he offer advice ... in a sense he was the perfect person to talk to. "When are your parents coming home?" she asked the boy, as she replayed a holographic image of a battle with her parents during the Mandalorian civil war. "That's my 'buir'," she said to Darrus, as she showed him Odell Darr in his red super commando armor.

Though Darrus was only two months old, El-Nay was able to hold his interest. He lay within his bassinet, focusing on the holographic images that she presented to him. He made for the perfect listener despite the fact that he didn't understand a lick of what she told him. He offered the occasional smile, otherwise, El-Nay made the time since his parents had disappeared pass. The Nerf Herder was just settled on a landing pad at the castle. From the cockpit, Zara felt relief. They were home. Sia was home. Her daughter was already looking to be much happier after a feeding, a changing, and a whole lot of cuddle time between Zara and Marcus. After seeing Sia in such a distressed state, Zara swore she'd never let their daughter feel like that again. There was no reason to believe that anything had happened to Darrus. She had received no contact from El-Nay. Maybe the Mandalorian had done a good job after all. Zara collected Sia, then bent down and wrapped her arm around Marcus to help him. "Sia and I are going to make you feel all better once we get inside." She promised. It seemed Marcus needed some help from his private nurse and some snuggles from his baby girl.

Marcus spent the entire flight recuperating on one of the racks in the rear of the Nerf Herder. He was doing well until Zara landed the ship, which caused the ship to momentarily jostle, stirring his insides one more time. As he lay there he considered whether or not to call the guard for assistance or perhaps a droid. No, he thought to himself, as he began to sit up ... he had gotten this far on his own and he would make it the rest of the way as a matter of pride. "You had better, because right now I feel *awful*," he said, as he reached up for to grasp the bulkhead for support as he pulled himself up. "The children are never leaving the castle again. That's final," he informed Zara, as he moved down from the ship to the landing pad with his family.

Marcus had proven himself to be the hero of her heart for the millionth time inside of the bar. Now it was time for Zara to do what she did best and help him recover. The gritty fight with Luna was a reminder that her old life was over. If Luna had killed her, then Marcus wouldn't have a wife and their twins would be motherless. "I'm not arguing. We have a garden. They can enjoy natural sunlight there." The overprotective nature of both parents would be in overdrive for who knew how long. She did what she could to help Marcus as they crept up the spire and returned to their quarters. It was to Zara's greatest relief that she saw El-Nay and Darrus *safe*. "Darrus!" She darted towards the bassinet, showing her son Sia. "Look who mommy and daddy got back!" Instead of letting Sia and her brother reunite inside of the bassinet, she picked Darrus up and held both children. There was a big, happy grin on her face. "My babies!" She kissed each one on their forehead. Her eyes diverted to Marcus, pointing at him. "You! Go sit on the bed! You're injured!" Then, Zara paid attention to El-Nay for the second time in her life. "We got her." She reported, grin widening. "Thank you for protecting Darrus. I missed him so much." The pieces of her heart reconnected. She had her family back.

"I never said they could go outside," Marcus quickly said to Zara, as they made their way up the endless spiral staircase that led to their quarters. Each step was laborious and he suddenly felt like Pilaq Tohan the last time he had to ascend the stairs. When they got to the bedroom and Zara darted off towards Darrus he was suddenly left alone and nearly fell. "Hey!" he said, before pouting in her direction as she chose to leave him there to his own devices. "Yes, dear," he muttered, as she instructed him to have a seat on the bed. When he sat down he thought he could fall asleep right then and there. He looked towards Zara, who was now holding Darrus and Sia, and smiled over towards her. "Now help me out of this armor," he pleaded with her, as he allowed himself to lay down on the bed. It never felt as comfortable as it did now.

El-Nay momentarily panicked when Marcus and Zara arrived, and as Zara moved towards the baby she used it as an opportunity to fetch her helmet and place it back upon her head. She bowed obediently to Zara now that she had regained some confidence thanks to the addition of her helmet. "Is there any message you would like me to relay to your in-laws?" she asked Zara, as she looked towards the battered Marcus on the bed. "Looks like I missed one heck of a fight," she said, sounding a little jealous. "I trust that's the last we'll see of those two?" she asked, perhaps a tad indelicately, because Luna *was* Zara's sister after all. She could sense the two needed to be alone, so she intended to leave as soon as she had her answer.

She continued to cuddle both of her twins. The castle was big enough. They could spend the rest of their lives within its walls. Maybe Sia and Darrus would discover more hidden passages. She lingered in front of El-Nay. There was dried blood visible on her armor. She briefly thought of Luna who she was convinced she had killed. At the moment, holding Darrus and Sia, she felt *no* regrets. It was the proper punishment for kidnapping their baby. "Yeah, I'd be surprised if we *ever* saw them again. Tell Sierra and Claudius thanks, okay? I owe them one. Make sure you tell them Sia is back too." She turned her head, kissing Sia for the millionth time since recovering her. She felt a tinge of guilt for being a jerk to El-Nay in the past. She wasn't so bad ... but Zara would never say it!

She approached the bed where her husband laid. She bent over, settling each twin on the mattress beside him. They were far from the edge of the bed and more than content to rest with their father. Poor Sia looked exhausted. It was assumed that she hadn't slept just like her parents. Zara waited for El-Nay to leave before she began working off Marcus' armor from the bottom up. When she made it to his chest piece, she was extra careful. "Broken ribs, huh?" She said as she continued to work him down to just his boxers. "Is anywhere else hurting? I was a little preoccupied and didn't get to see much of your fight." She said. She sat down beside him with her back facing him. "Unzip me please? Don't ask how I used to zip myself alone." She was beaming with pride for her husband. He had recovered from the Imperial garrison incident so much that he'd been able to fight against Petrus and help get Sia back. Because of him, Sia was safe.

El-Nay nodded once to Zara, before turning to walk towards the balcony. "Feel better," she said, politely, before stepping out onto the balcony. She was not going to go back through the castle with the way the Alderaan Guard had treated her. Instead she activated her jetpack and blasted off the balcony to return to her ship and eventually to Esseles. She was glad they were able to recover their daughter, even if she did not get to break any skulls to make it happen.

Marcus nodded to El-Nay as she left, but remained fixated on Zara and the twins. "Broken ribs," he repeated, followed by a groan as she pulled at the armor plates and began to strip him. "Easy. Easy," he told her, as she revealed black and blue bruises on his side and chest. "Hopefully it doesn't end up on the HoloNet," he told her, as he reached towards the zipper at the back of her suit. He gave it a weak tug, but it did not budge. "Ugh," he groaned, as he yanked, which finally caused it to budge and slowly it ran down her back. "We need to hire more guards," he told her, once he completed unzipping her. He then shifted his position in the bed so he could lay more comfortably. "Are you sure she's alright? Should we summon Doctor Tohan or Doctor Bailo?" he asked her, as he was very much still an overprotective father.

She was doing her best. Zara worried as she exposed his fresh bruises. "Gosh, Marcus..." Her eyes fell. He was right. No one was allowed to leave the castle anymore. "I hope so too. Luna ripped off my helmet while we were fighting." She gulped. If they were exposed on the HoloNet, then all of their old enemies could come out of the cracks. There would be more to worry about than Luna and Petrus. Zara wanted to be out of her armor. The smell of her sister's blood on it had been bothering her since she sat down in the cockpit of their ship. She wanted to distance herself from that part of Sia's rescue. "Thanks, love." She said, rising from the bed to begin working off her skin tight apparel. "Agreed. We should do that tomorrow. I've thought of some upgrades to make to Nana when I fix her too." She pulled one arm out of her suit, then the other. She looked down at Marcus and the twins. She, too, felt worried about Sia.

Sia looked better, but you could never be too careful. "Let's call for Doctor Bailo. I don't want to kill Doctor Tohan asking him to climb up all those stairs. I'm worried about her. I've never seen Sia so worked up as she was." Now she was cuddling with her brother just as they had inside of Zara's womb. She stepped away from her family to use her comm to summon Doctor Bailo. It was a quick call in which Doctor Bailo confirmed that she'd be there immediately. "I'll be back... No moving!" She threatened. Zara headed into the bathroom. She paused at the mirror to look at the state of disarray that she was in. The back of her silver hair was stained with her own blood. Her armor was ruined by Luna's. Discomfort started to form inside of her gut. She forced herself to look away and rapidly undress. She opted to only wear a robe for the time being. When she felt like she had recollected herself, she grabbed a box from underneath the sink with medical supplies in it. She returned to the bedroom just as happiness began to spread inside of her again. She had everyone she needed. Luna was a vile weed that had been in her life for far too long. She bent down and began tending to Marcus' wounds gently. "I love you."

Marcus lay on the bed unwilling to move ... unable to move. "Maybe ... maybe she should look at me too," he suggested, as she was coming all this way anyway. With Zara gone he did his best to extend his arms and legs, spreading out on the bed and trying to become as comfortable as possible. "I love you too," he said, as soon as she returned to him. "I'm sorry for what you went through," he said, as he smiled over at her. To fight to the death with one's sibling was something he could not possibly imagine going through. He had his feuds with Claudius over the years, but everything between them paled in comparison to what Luna and Zara had just went through. "As soon as the doctor says Sia is okay we should return to the sea islands or the chalet," he suggested, as he needed a vacation to mentally and physically recover from the war he had just been put through.

"I planned on it. She's a professional, I'm not." Zara perched herself on the bed beside him. She sighed, "Marcus, it had to be done. Luna showed me that she wasn't going to stop any other way." The confidence in her decision eventually would fall apart. For now, that decision meant that Darrus and Sia would never be kidnapped by their aunt again. "I'm sorry Petrus messed you up. What a...jerkface." Zara said, being mindful of the presence of their sweet, innocent babies. "Let's go back to the sea islands. Sia never got to see the fish. She was busy being a cutie sleepy butt." She reached over, running her fingers through Marcus' hair. "Well, we got the taste of bounty hunter life again. Do you miss it?" She asked him.

Marcus listened silently as Zara discussed her sister, not really knowing what to say. "It's over now," he told her, trying to sound optimistic and encouraging. "I'll heal up," he reassured her, as he grabbed hold of the mattress and began pulling himself up into a seated position. Once he was upright he found it slightly more difficult to breath, but at least he could look across the room towards where the twins were cuddling. "Aww. Well, she needs to see them," he told her, as he brought his hand up to gently caress her face. The last question she asked him gave him pause, as he was not sure how to best answer it. "It is good to know that I could still do it, but that chapter of my life is over. I am a husband and a father now," he told her, though there was some remorse in his voice. Perhaps he missed it a little.

She sighed. She'd heal up too...emotionally. Being in the field again had been overwhelming for her. Of course, Zara was more about stealth, stealing, and being sneaky. She wasn't physically capable, or good enough with weapons, to have ever bounty hunted for a living. She did, however, fear that she had taken him away from something. He was bored of being an idle noble, which had brought him to become the Nerf Herder...but he'd become an idle noble again, with an Imperial Governor hovering over him. Zara rose from the bed. She rubbed at her aching head. Maybe she'd have Doctor Bailo look at her too. She could hear what remorse was in his voice. It fueled her belief that she had driven him away from a life he wanted. She placed distance between them with the knowledge that he was too hurt to chase her. "I... I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to go back out there on a regular basis. It wasn't like you got much of a choice in hanging up your armor. Life changed quickly." She stood over the twins. She was sure the Doctor would arrive soon to check on her baby girl.

Even if Marcus had to crawl he would not let Zara get away. When she moved away he attempted to follow her, despite the pain in his side where he was sure Petrus had broken a rib or three. The first step he took was nearly the last, but as he stumbled he managed to secure his footing. "That part of my life is over. You're my life now. You and Darrus and Sia," he reassured her, as he came up behind her and delicately wrapped an arm around her. "I have a family to take care of and, if possible, a planet to save," he reminded her, as their meeting with Commander Xergo had been cut short. As he stood there behind her he hoped the doctor would arrive soon. The sooner they were sure that Sia was alright the better they would both feel.

He surprised her. Not only did he chase her, he *captured* her. The stress of the last 24 hours was wearing on her. She *needed* Doctor Bailo to tell her Sia and Marcus were okay in order to feel better. Her hand ran over his, fingers locking with his briefly. She turned her head to look at him. There were tears in her eyes. It had been the hardest day in her life so far. She needed his reassurance, and his love, to see the day through to the end. "Marcus..." She sniffed. As she slowly turned around, there was a knock on the door. Doctor Bailo had arrived. Zara slipped an arm around the upper part of Marcus' chest to avoid hurting him any further. "Come in!" She called, helping him back to the bed. She was relieved just to see Alessandra. "Doctor Bailo, *please* check on Sia. She was kidnapped..." Zara choked on the word.

Doctor Bailo felt out of breath by the time she reached the top of the castle spire. She felt for Pilaq, who had made the same unfortunate trip up the stairs the day the twins had been born. She had a medical droid with her, along with her own bag of supplies. She made her way into the Duke and Duchess' quarters. She had heard of Lady Sia's kidnapping. The curse of the House of Rodney seemed never ending. "Lady Zara, Lord Marcus. I heard of Lady Sia. I'm so sorry." Only a truly evil person would kidnap a child. She could see that both parents were looking battered and on edge. The Ithorian directed her attention over to the silver-haired child. Her droid conducted a full scan of Sia's body while Doctor Bailo did a check up of her own. "Lady Sia is well." She confirmed after far too long. "See that she rests well tonight. She looks to need it." Her parents looked like they needed it too. Alessandra left Sia and turned her attention on Marcus. "Milord." She said, shocked that he was so injured. Alessandra didn't need the two of them to put the pieces together. The Duke and Duchess were not idle parents.

Marcus was relieved to see that Doctor Bailo had arrived to check on Sia. He inhaled when she arrived, but did not exhale until she informed him that his daughter was alright. "Oh thank goodness," he said, as he gave his wife a reassuring squeeze and then a kiss upon her cheek. "Did you hear that, my love? She's okay!" he said, as he shed a tear of joy at the realization that his baby was fine. "We'll be sure and see that she gets a lot of rest, doctor," he said, as his look alternated between the Ithorian and his wife. It seemed that the doctor's attention was now focused on him, which caused him to backpedal until he was able to sit down on the bed. "I think I might have some damage to my ribs," he said, as he lifted his left arm to reveal the bruising. As he lifted the arm he gasped from the sharpness of the pain. He grimaced, finding it a difficult process to keep the arm elevated. That Petrus could really throw a punch.

Doctor Bailo had delivered the news everyone needed to hear. Zara began to cry. Her sister hadn't hurt their daughter. Sia was okay! "She's okay!" Zara repeated, kissing his cheek. She didn't squeeze him in fear of hurting him. The weight of worry had mostly been taken off of her. She had been terrified that there would be long term damage to Sia. That was a thought she couldn't even mentally handle. She sat on the bed beside Marcus. She held his other hand. "She's okay..." Zara reminded herself, glancing towards her baby girl. She could tell that Sia was happy to be home too. This was right where she belonged.

The female Ithorian 'hmmed' through both of her mouth as she put her medical droid to work. From her bag, she collected a bacta patch to help him with the pain, as well as compression wraps. She waited for the medical droid to beep, then she looked over the scan. Her finger prodded at the image. "It appears there are three broken ribs. Did you get into a fight with a wrecking ball, milord?" She gently placed the bacta patch to the darkest of his bruises, then she began the careful, uncomfortable, task of wrapping the compression wraps around his midsection. "You will also need rest. I recommend you get yourself into a bacta tank soon. It'll take six weeks for your ribs to heal naturally, and you won't be able to perform any... *acrobatics* until you're fully healed. The bacta tank will have you healed in hours." She looked at Zara while she was still working. "You too, milady?"

"No, doctor. The wrecking ball appears to be on our side," Marcus replied, referring to El-Nay. "I did battle with a demon ... of a sort," he informed her, as the bacta batch was applied, causing him to *yelp* and flinch for a moment. As the wrap was completed he lowered his arm, which allowed him to breath more easily. "I will do so, doctor ... now please, look to my wife," he said, as he raised his eyes to look across at Zara. He hoped neither of them would ever have to go through what just happened again. The temporarily loss of Sia had broken his heart, and he had broken his body to bring her back ... but he would do it again in a heartbeat. His family meant everything to him and no physical pain he felt compared to the pain he felt when Sia was gone.

Zara had been ousted, and now Doctor Bailo was headed towards her with her droid. "A demon, hmm?" She was very curious what these two had gone through to get their child back. All in all, Alessandra didn't blame them for taking matters into their own hands. She stood behind Zara, looking at her head. It looked like she had taken blow after blow. "Scan her." She commanded the droid. "Both of you *need* to rest." She warned sternly as she stared down at the information the droid gave her. "Milady, it is good you called me and not Doctor Tohan." She could only imagine the kind of sass he'd lay down. Unknown to Alessandra, that sass was starting to wear off on her. "You have suffered a concussion from all the blows to your head." She reached into her kit and began cleaning Zara's wound. "You'll experience headaches for the next couple of days. I will leave you with some medication to help. If the symptoms get worse, you *need* to contact me." She looked at Marcus. "Don't let her do anything until she feels better." She threatened, grasping a bottle of pills which she gave Zara. Alessandra then closed up her bag. "I will visit again in a few days to check up on everyone. I expect you two to not be worse." She would bring Pilaq with her next time. They tended to listen to him.

"A concussion?!" Marcus exclaimed, with growing concern, as he wondered just what happened between Zara and Luna while he was preoccupied with his own life and death struggle. "Come sit down," he pleaded with Zara, as he patted the bed next to him. He had no idea she had been hurt so badly, and suddenly he felt embarrassed that he had been seen to first. "Thank you for coming, doctor," he told the Ithorian, but his eyes never left Zara. "Does it hurt?" he asked her, growing with concern, as he watched his wife's every move. If he had his way she would never leave the castle again either.

She would take the concussion over what would have happened had she not defended herself against her sister's swords. As Zara settled on the bed beside Marcus, Doctor Bailo nodded and left them to be alone. The family had endured a lot and needed time to be alone. "It's okay, don't worry." She ran her fingers through her silver hair. "I have a headache but it's okay. I promise." Zara was concerned about him too. She wanted to get him in a bacta tank so he wouldn't have to hurt anymore. "Luna removed my helmet while we were fighting and hit my head on the ground a few times. Ugh." She slowly laid back on the bed. She opened her arms up to him so he could cuddle with her.

Marcus listened to her describe the battle with her sister, which caused a concerned look to form upon his weary face. He lay down beside her, wrapping his arm gently around her to avoid aggravating his injury. "I love you," he told his wife, before moving his face closer towards hers so he could press his lips against hers. "We're going to be okay," he promised her, as he raised his arm to brush some hair out of her face. She was as beautiful as the first day he saw her when she infiltrated the castle to steal his chrono. As he looked across at her he smiled, before exhaling in a content sigh with the knowledge that his family ... his entire family ... was safe and sound and under the same roof.

She did what she could to keep her husband comfortable while still keeping him close. "I love you too." She leaned over him to kiss him. It was what she needed to unleash the last of the stress she was still holding in. Sia, Darrus, and Marcus formed her world. She needed all three of them...and now she had them again. Zara settled into the bed. "We always are." Since that fateful day, they had endured so much and continued to stay together. Zara was so happy to have Marcus. "Thank you." She whispered, closing her eyes with a large smile on her face. Her heart was complete again.

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