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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:25) in the New Alderaan system: New Alderaan (New Aldera: Mug Zoran's homestead).
Commander Iyah Xergo and Mug Zoran.

Mug Zoran's home on New Alderaan was more full than it had ever been. Iyah's return had lead right into an insane night. While she and Mug spend time in the medical tent, Major Passik and her crew drew the other Rebels into a night of wild partying and drinking wayyyy more than anyone was willing to admit. Elayne herself had passed out sometime during the wee hours on the floor in front of Mug's couch. Even now, some ridiculous amount of hours later, she was still sleeping off a night of drinking. Her snores could be heard throughout the otherwise quiet adobe.

Iyah had been shocked when she finally returned home, for Mug had built it up so much. She had been gone for *weeks*. There was furniture now. Their belongings had been moved in from the Blue Haven. The house simply looked lived in, though she questioned how blue fur had gotten *everywhere*. The Commander took part in none of the celebrations, for the catastrophe in her head was beginning to unfold. Callista wasn't there. At the moment, Iyah wasn't sure she was ready to bring her daughter back home. She feared letting Callista see her like this.

And so, she had slept and slept and slept. Sleeping made it semi-possible to escape Governor Arundel's slow torture. She had avoided seeing anyone except the medics and Mug, maintaining this raw emotional feeling which she only felt comfortable exposing Mug to. Even now, she lay in her bed, listening to the sound of Elayne Passik snoring. Her hazel eyes looked tired despite all the sleep she had gotten. She was having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it was *over*. Papius no longer had her. Her head fell in her hands. "Callista is safe with them ... isn't she?"

Mug Zoran did not know how to react to this *new* Iyah. He loved her, and he wanted to help her, but that did not necessarily mean he knew how to help her. And so, he did his best to support her, and not force her to go further than she was willing to go in these early stages. He knew it was going to be a process to bring her back to the world. He did not try to wake her, instead letting her get the rest she needed. In his naive mind he imagined her just being able to sleep away her problems, but he knew it would take more than that. When she finally did speak of course it was about the most important thing in their lives. The little girl they held more dear than even themselves. "Yes. She's safe. She was even on the HoloNet for the coronation of my brother," he explained, trying his best to calm her nerves. His arm wrapped around her, holding her, but not too tight. "As soon as you're ready I'll get her," he promised, before kissing her on the back of her neck.

Her mentality had been crushed into a million tiny pieces. It seemed like an impossible task to fix it all. Iyah didn't know how to begin to talk about everything. She knew she loved Mug very much...and she knew she didn't want to hurt him, like Callista, like everyone else. She sat up slowly as her hands fell to the bed. Iyah felt pain in her chest. She was suddenly reminded of how Papius had taunted her with Callista. She leaned into him for support. Without him, she wouldn't be able to make it through this process. "I...I saw her after the coronation." She began, staring into his face. "There was a wall I could see through in my cell. Papius brought her...he brought your other nieces too. He tormented me with our daughter..." Her eyes felt hot. Several tears slipped out before she could stop them. "He has some.. Some sort of recording device in your brother's home. I watched her playing there. Sierra." She said, seemingly visibly hurt by the name. "Sierra being a mother to her." More tears came from Iyah's eyes. "She's a better mother than I can ever be." She admitted to Mug one of the reasons why she was so broken. Her love for Callista had been played against her. Now she wasn't sure of her abilities as a mother...what about as a wife? She had been absent for what felt like centuries. She closed her eyes but the tears wouldn't stop.

"You saw her?!" Mug exclaimed, as she had yet to open up about the true nature of the horrors she had sustained during her captivity. When he heard what Papius did with Callista for the first time in his life he was angry to the point where he wished to do violence. He was such a sweet man, who had never wanted to hurt anyone, but when his fiancé and daughter were concerned he wanted blood. "I'll warn them when I pick her up. It's the least I can do," he said, as his hands moved a little tighter around her. "No. That's not true, Iyah. You're the only mother for Callista," he said to her, as he brought his hands up to wipe away the tears. "I love you. Callista loves you. You're her mother," he reiterated, trying his best to reassure her. It pained him to see her like this, but he could not let her know how it affected him.

Iyah nodded her head slowly. She thought of how Papius had made a show of it, asking Callista to wave, stealing hugs from her sweet daughter. It brought life back into her weak body. She wanted Papius gone forever. He had taken things too far by using Callista. She was unraveling in his arms now. As great as the love for her daughter was, ultimately, she wanted the best for a little girl who had already endured so much. She didn't realize that between Mug and Callista, she had the means to coming back from this. Iyah cuddled close to him. The tears continued to escape her eyes. She thought back to the very first time that they had met Callista. She clung onto the feeling that had formed inside of her; the one that had made her want to welcome Callista into their little family. "I missed you both so much." She cried. She tried to open herself to Mug's words. He was her fiancé. She trusted him to let her know if she was doing anything wrong. Her head lifted. "H-how did you even manage to save me?" She asked suddenly, recalling hearing Papius talk about how difficult it would be for anyone to reach her in the cellblock. "I was so scared you died trying to get to me. I thought you were gone."

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Mug responded, as he decided how to best explain to her what had happened. "Jelena convinced Sierra to help, who in turn convinced Marcus to help," he began, explaining the overly complicated series of events that led to this. "They failed, obviously, and Marcus was badly hurt, but they did manage to hack their system and get a map of the garrison," he continued, as his hand moved more tightly around her. He was so glad to have her back. "Then Major Passik had the idea to attack the garrison while myself, Kat, Ash, and other Rebels from New Alderaan infiltrated the base and rescued you," he said, as he again started kissing at the back of her neck to calm her. "Jelena wanted to come, but we all agreed it was not safe," he added, as he listened to her talk about the fear of his death. "I'm fine. You're fine. Callista is fine. We're all fine," he said, trying to reassure her.

It was a hard pill to swallow. It was wild to think that Sierra, an ISB officer, had any part in her eventual rescue...and Marcus Rodney too? He was now the Duke. She hadn't seen the coronation, but immediately felt bad that he had been seriously hurt. Iyah closed her eyes to process everything. Mug was beginning to draw her back to reality with his affection and his kind words. Her heart slowly fell back into her chest where it belonged. She *did* want her daughter back. Her eyes opened once more so she could continue to embrace him. She looked upwards at him with red, puffy eyes. "You were amazing out there." She brought her hand up, running it down the side of his face. "I'm going to have you promoted, Mug. What you did to save me, what you did once we were're a true leader." She was so proud of him for staying strong and never giving up on her throughout everything. Even now, he was ready to navigate through her shell-shocked mind to bring her back. Her hands took his, squeezing them. "I believe you. I... I feel bad that your brother was injured badly... " She wondered to what extent Marcus had been injured. It was widely known that his wife was pregnant. She felt bad for the sacrifices their family had made for her. "I...I want to go back and see him." Iyah stated, sounding insane.

"I didn't think I had it in me, but I just couldn't bare to see you locked up any longer. I couldn't just let you stay there. I would have come by myself if it came to it," Mug told her, as he slowly turned her so that he could look her in the eyes. "Me? Promoted? I'm no leader, Iyah," he told her, embarrassed by the compliments she was raining down upon him. "All I wanted was you back," he told her, as his hand moved towards her dark hair, brushing it away from her face. "He seemed alright at the coronation footage I saw. He must be better," he informed her, as he, like all, fell for Zara's exoskeleton ruse. "You want to go back?!" he shouted, his jaw dropping, and his eyes going wide. "We don't have a very good luck on that planet," he said, with a smirk, before moving his face forward to place a kiss upon her lips for the first time that evening.

Her body moved with him. Something inside of her sparked happiness. All she wanted was to be back. She had often thought of Mug, terrified that they would never be reunited again. Her tears had stopped. For the moment, her head began to clear. The torture really was over. Iyah knew, firsthand, that Claudius and his wife were not mistreating Callista. Everything was *okay*. A smile lit up her face for the first time since being reunited. She kissed him, naturally capable of being passionate with him in a way she'd never share with anyone else. She loved him so much. Her arms moved around his neck. Tonight, all she wanted to do was rekindle what had been briefly put on hold by the Imperial Governor. When the kiss ended, Iyah chuckled. "Au contraire. I have the *best* luck on Delaya because that's where I found you. It's where we found our baby girl." She pressed her nose against his, affectionately giving him Eskimo kisses. "Those things outweigh everything bad that's ever happened on Delaya. I can't imagine life without either one of you. I want to go back, formally thank Marcus and offer him the Rebel's assistance... After that, I want us to go get our girl back. You've made the house so lovely for all of us..." She said, becoming teary eyed once more out of happiness. "...It's time for us to live in it *together*."

Mug buried his face in her bosom when she revealed her plan to go back to Delaya. He did not want her to see his face, which betrayed how fearful he was about the idea. He had changed too, becoming increasingly overprotective since getting her back. "Alright. Alright," he said, realizing that at the end of the day she outranked him and there was nothing he could do to dissuade her. All he could do was accompany her, and do the best job he could to protect her. "I'm coming too. I'll protect you," he vowed, as he raised his head and locked his eyes on her in a serious stare. "I won't let anything happen to you again," he added, holding onto her for dear life. The time separated from her was anguished ... he could not go through it again.

Her hand ran through his hair slowly. There was no going alone. After what she had endured, he'd need to get used to her being incredibly clingy. Even the prior evening, when she was exhausted and only want to sleep, she could only find peace when he was near. Her eyes stared into his. She believed him. Mug wouldn't let her endure a third time in captivity. Her arms locked around him tightly. "I know.." She whispered, placing a kiss on the top of his head. "This isn't going to be an extended stay. I don't want to be there for very long. I want to reunite our family and live *our* life." She sighed, laughing softly. "I still have to marry you, Mug. When Callista is home, we'll do it. I can't wait anymore." No. Mug was the only man in the world she wanted to spend her life with. All the trials of their recent lives only confirmed it all over again. She wondered if she could ask Jelena to help throw together a ceremony for them. She wanted it to be small, but she wanted it done right. She was only going to marry the man of her dreams once.

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