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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:10:16) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Marcus Rodney's chalet).
Lord Marcus Rodney and Lady Zara Rodney.

Marcus Rodney had locked himself in a second floor room of his chalet in the northernmost continent of his home planet of Delaya. The room was near the master suite where he and his wife resided, but was currently unoccupied. He was stripped of much of his clothing and was covered in a thick layer of perspiration, despite the intense cold of the surrounding area. He was exhausted, he was in great pain, and his head hurt tremendously. All around him were a bunch of pieces of wood that were somehow meant to intersect with one another. Unfortunately for Marcus the included instructions were only in Huttese. For the past hour a series of loud noises and curses had escaped the room, despite the locked door. He had asked Zara for privacy and to relax while he prepared his little surprise, but all he had to show for a day's work was bloody knuckles. The man who was one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy had failed at the simple task of assembling a crib.

Ooooh. What was he up to?! An array of various noises had come from the bedroom closest to theirs since Marcus had requested some privacy. Of course, his request put Zara on the edge of her seat. She wanted to know what he was up to! For the first few hours, she was content with laying in a big, comfy chair and reading. When she needed to busy her hands, she browsed the holonet. Eventually, she found herself way too deeply involved in an episode of *Desperate House Hutts*. There was something appealing about watching dolled up female Hutts shout in Huttese at each other. It was almost as good as a Spanish soap opera! She did a good job of staying out of her husband's hair. Eventually, she couldn't wait anymore. Zara rose to her bare feet. At home, she wore a comfortable, yet tight fitting, little dress. Her pregnancy was in full swing. Instead of 'glowing' green, she just glowed. There was cursing coming from the other bedroom. Zara played dumb in the beginning, but she was pretty sure she knew what he was up to.

*Knock, knock, knock*. Zara didn't try to open the door. She simply offered her words through the door. "Hi honey. Want some company? I promise I'll close my eyes and pretend I don't know what you're up to.." The smile was in her voice.

Marcus rose from the floor of the 'nursery' in a panic at her arrival. He reached for a nearby painter's cloth that had been brought in prior to the room being repainted, and tossed it carelessly over the pieces of the crab. The large blanket made a large, noticeable mound in the corner of the room, with pieces sticking out from underneath and causing the cloth at times to rise into the air. That looked good enough for him. He moved towards the door swiftly, and opened it just a crack so that he could see her. "Is everything alright?" he asked, sounding very much like a young boy that had just been caught with his hands in the cookie jar before dinner. His beleaguered, bloody appearance did little to convince anyone that things were 'alright' on his end.

Oooh. Busted. His voice made it much more obvious that Zara had walked in on something. She opted not to tease him when she saw how bloody he was. "Umm... I think I should be asking you that. What happened? You're bleeding... Like everywhere." Strike three for Marcus getting a helmet...or a Popemobile. Zara hadn't decided yet. "Hold on..." She turned her back on him, darting to the bathroom quickly. Though it wasn't for the obvious reason that her bladder was slowly being crushed. It was to grab the first aid kit that she had learned to keep stocked all the time. Marcus was prone to disaster more than anyone else she had never known. She arrived back at the door. "Let me in. I'll play nurse and keep you company. I'll even act like I don't know what you're up to." She winked, already prying at the door.

Marcus reluctantly backed away from the door, allowing it to completely open and her to enter. "It's really not *that* bad," he told her, as he raised his hands to reveal his scraped, bloody knuckles. The embarrassment was greater than the physical pain, and he hoped she would not let him have it too hard. "Have you been keeping yourself busy? Anything less scandalous on the HoloNet?" he joked, as he moved back towards the pile of debris. He shifted his foot to nudge some of the support beams beneath the painter's cloth, trying to be subtle, but was actually quite obvious about it.

She scurried into the room while she had the opportunity. It was hard not to be nosey. She kept her eyes on him and his poor, abused hands. Zara smiled, popping open the first aid kit. "Of course. That's the best part of humanity; they are always producing plenty of scandalous news. 'Nude Zara' is still in the top five most searched things. What I've learned is that if we ever needed money, I could begin stripping for a week and we'd be set for life." She laughed. She was over the whole paparazzi mayhem. Frankly, she had better things to think about. "I kept myself busy though. I did some work and I watched some horrible Huttese reality show. I was oh so productive." Except not really. While she talked to him, she began wiping his hands off with a cloth that had bacta healing liquids embedded in it. "What about you? You've been making such a ruckus in here. Can I hang around while you work?" She couldn't help it. She wanted to see what he was doing! She did her best to keep her eyes on his face, but ultimately ended up looking down at the floor. The covered heap in the corner was interesting... Hmmm...

"The Real Huttwives of Nal Hutta? That's my favorite show..." Marcus commented, sincerely, with a touch of disappointment in his voice as he had missed another episode. He stood there like a child while she nursed his aching hands, gasping sharply as it stung at times. "I ... uh ... um ... work better alone," Marcus stammered in a reply, trying his best, which was not very good, to get her away from his nursery room project. His cheeks flushed red with nervousness, and he found it difficult to maintain eye contact with her. Before he knew it, he was even subconsciously whistling a tune to further look less guilty.

"Welllll... I guess it's probably a good thing I recorded it then." She snickered. Psh, she was the missus now. It was her job to know that her husband enjoyed the same kind of ridiculous TV she did. "Wanna watch it later? I'm not going to spoil anything, but there was a drag queen Hutt. I kinda can't stop picturing it in my head." She laughed. She didn't want him to feel weird about anything. Her work was gentle, yet still painful. When she had cleaned him, she began to put little band-aids on his hands. "Awww. Why? I promise I'll be good." Famous last words. Zara couldn't be good ever. She leaned into him, pressing her lips into his neck. "C'mon. I'll take my top off if you let me stay." Breasts...what better bargaining chip? She really didn't want him huddled up inside their baby's room, injuring himself while Zara pointed and laughed at drag queen Hutts.

"It's too late for that, my dear. In fact, your breasts are the wallpaper on my comlink!" Marcus teased, playfully, as she showed a side of impishness. He placed a hand on each of her hips and leaned down to meet her gaze. He allowed his nose to connected with hers, and then rubbed it teasing against hers. "Besides ... it's a surprise," he said, as his hands squeezed against her hips, drawing her warm body closer against his. "I'll be finished ... eventually," he said, but he was not necessarily sure he believed his words, and he awkwardly shifted his weight from side to side as he considered his way out of this.

Zara laughed. She tried to act offended, but hey, if anyone had the right it was him! He could snap a fresh picture whenever he wanted. "You dirty old man." She inched closer to him. Her nose nuzzled back against his sweetly. It's little actions like that, that made Zara love him that much more. It was also things like that which made her want to haul him off to the bedroom where they could be unproductive together. Controlling herself, she made a smug look at him. "I'm summoning my almighty powers as your wifey. I get to stay *and* help. This is a dictatorship, Marcus. You get no choice!" As if to demonstrate how determined the petite woman was, she squirmed her way out of his arms. She found the first clear place on the floor and plopped down there. "You can't move me. I'm pregnant and *fragile*. So, I guess you better get to work." She made a motion with her hand like she was cracking the whip.

"Blast!" Marcus cursed, as she made her move, which was to say ... a lack of a move. He now had two options ... reveal to her exactly what he was up to or do something. A frown curled upon his middle-aged face as he considered his next course of action, realizing he had almost certainly been denied the satisfaction of surprising her. Eventually, like a defeated, sullen child he marched dutifully towards the poorly covered pile. "Tada!" he said, as he pulled the painter's cloth off the pile, revealing a partially and poorly constructed crib, with pieces fastened in the wrong position, countless 'extra' pieces ... and, what was worse, it was upside down. But he stood next to it, beaming from ear to ear, as if he had just constructed a skyscraper on Coruscant.

Her next step was to cling to his leg so he couldn't move anymore. Thankfully, he didn't let it go that far. She patiently watched him reveal what was underneath the painter's cloth. Zara knew what the object beneath the cloth was supposed to be, but what Marcus showed her didn't exactly look safe. She did give him an A for effort, and she found his actions so sweet that she got teary...damn hormones! She smiled brightly at him. Since she was proving a point by not getting up, she wrapped her arms around his knees. "Marcussss!" She squeaked, hiding her face away from him so he couldn't see her getting emotional. "I love it, I really do, but there's only three legs on it and I think there's supposed to be four." She giggled, finally peering up at him. "Can we fix it together? I wanted to talk to you about baby names anyway. I want to be prepared for when the little guy gets here."

Marcus squirmed as his pregnant wife grabbed at his legs, threatening to topple over. "Fine. Fine. Just let me go," he pleaded, as he did his best to move his legs from her tightened grasp. "I'm sure together we can figure it out. How hard could it be?" he said, as he moved away from her and towards the massive bay window that would allow for ample sunlight to penetrate the nursery. On the horizon he could see the clouds beginning to gray, and before too long a light rain began to fall upon the chalet. The winds slowly picked up, and as the temperature dropped the light rain turned into more snowfall. Typical weather for this time of year in the northern hemisphere of Delaya.

Zara released her grasp from his legs. It was probably for the better. If she toppled him, he'd probably hurt his head pretty bad. He may even take her out in the process. "If Pachee (a particularly idiotic Hutt on their favorite TV show) can do it, so can we!" She proclaimed, inching a little closer to the crib. She snagged the small novel that made up the directions to the crib. Her eyes glanced over the manual. "What?! This isn't even in basic? Oh no, no no..." She rose to her feet with the book in her hand. She pointed an accusing finger at Marcus. "If you lock the door when I leave, I'll make sure you never see that episode you missed." It was the best empty threat came to mind. Her eyes settled just outside the window, admiring how beautiful it was. She really loved it here. Zara went wandering off into their bedroom to gather a piece of technology so that she might find a translation of the manual. She came back, carrying what could only be described as a hand-sized laptop. She sat down back on the floor as holographic screens began to appear in front of her. She playfully nudged Marcus with her foot while she worked. "I love your face; you know that?"

There was a flash of light at the window as the thundersnow rolled past the chalet, followed shortly by a large *crackle* of thunder that very nearly shook the structure. While Zara tinkered with his masterpiece he exited the room, and moved towards the lower level where the kitchen lay. Once inside he began to work on the machine that produced hot chocolate, but after not placing the pod in correctly he found himself blasted with scalding hot water. "Argh," he groaned, as he began to painfully realize how much he had always depended on his domestic servants. It took some doing, but he eventually made two mugs full of the hot, chocolatey deliciousness. Carrying both mugs up the stair was another entirely difficult task, and a couple of times he very nearly stumbled. It was at this moment that he realized just how underpaid the staff always was. Finally, at long last, he returned to the room where he found that she was making more progress than he ever had hoped. He then placed one mug next to her on the floor, before taking a step back to admire the work. "Hmm. I did a pretty good job," he said, boastfully, as he leaned up against the wall to take a sip of his hot chocolate, leaving behind a brown mustache on his upper lip.

It was so nice to be far away from the city. Zara briefly watched the flashes of light coming from outside. Rain was one of her favorite gifts from mother nature. Snow followed as a close second, only because she hadn't really experienced snow until they lived here. It was still new and beautiful. To her relief, she found a translation of the crib manual and got to work with adding the extra pieces. Marcus really had done a good job. He'd done the labor intensive side of things so all Zara had to do was all the other stuff. Alone in the room, she quietly hummed to herself while she worked. Having spent so much time working as a mechanic, she had some skills that were worthwhile here. She hadn't had nearly enough time to tinker with the Nerf Herder so far. She was still seated with a list of instructions hanging in the air a few feet from her head. She could smell the hot chocolate before he set it down. "Mmm..." Hot chocolate was another wonderful part of cold weather. You didn't drink hot chocolate on Tatooine. "Thank you!" She happily picked the cup up from the floor. She didn't make a remark about the redness he had from burning himself with hot water. After all, if Zara had been tamer, they would still have servants.

She blew on the hot liquid before taking a little sip. "You really did! You took care of all the hard stuff too. I just came in all lazy-like and made it look like I did something. That kinda sounds like the story of how we conceived our son, huh?" Zara winked. As far as their sex life went, she was an overachiever who hoped to only put out A plus work. His new mustache made her giggle. Now she knew what he'd look like with some facial hair, not that she didn't massively enjoy his shaved face. Setting down the cup, she got back to work again. "So. What are we going to name this little booger. Julius the Second?" Zara wasn't able to keep a straight face when suggesting they name their baby after one of her least favorite people. She grinned wide.

"No!" Marcus hurriedly exclaimed at the suggestion of naming their son after his father ... that was the last thing he wanted, "Hmm," he murmured, as his eyes gazed out the window in deep contemplation. "It never occurred to me that we'd have to name him. I always assumed they just came with names..." he said, as he turned to look down at her with a content smile upon his face. He moved towards the datapad where he brought up the history of Alderaan's great houses, and began scanning the array of names that had been preferred by the nobility for a millennia. "Ouch. Some of these are terrible. I really dodged a slug," he said, as he knelt down on the floor next to her, which caused an audible strain in the muscles of his back. Although she was working on the crib, he offered her the other datapad with an assortment of names ... some awful and some passable.

She giggled. She had no doubt that he'd shoot down naming their baby after the good ol' Duke. "We could be like those hippie-folk who wait until their children are old enough to name himself. Maybe he'll be named 'Hot Chocolate'." Zara flashed a smile back at him. "Or Mug. Mug Rodney has a special ring to it.." The sad thing was that it was a growing trend these days. People just couldn't be happy with normal names. Look at Zara. A little known fact about Zara was that her father's name was *Starcaster*. Yeah, Ta'em were no good at naming each other. Too bad Zara was about to break the trend while browsing the list of Alderaan's great houses beside her husband. She had stopped working briefly, distracted by some of the godawful names appearing before her face. "Gez, you really did. After looking at this, I'm glad my parents went with Zara." Her eyes kept scanning down the list until she stopped on one belonging to House Alde. She pointed to the name with her finger, showing Marcus. "What about this one? *Darrus*? Darrus Alde was a good person." And the first king of Alderaan. "Is it too much?" Naming a human was difficult business. She'd thought about names before, but then she thought about how all those names could be twisted into horrible things. Darrus was a solid name.

Marcus came upon behind Zara, and wrapped his arms around her waist, placing his hands on top of her stomach, where there unborn child currently resided. He leaned forward, allowing his chest to rest on her shoulder, while he too scanned the list of names. "Darrus..?" he repeated, slowly, allowing the name to float in the air as he considered it. It was a name he did not recall the family had used before, which was good as it marked a break with tradition from the old family. On the other hand, its connection to the kingdom of Alderaan was a decided political statement with complicated overtones regarding the future of the Alderaan system. "Yes. We will call him Darrus..." he finally said, definitively, as he turned his head to place a tender kiss upon the side of her face.

Suddenly, she was wrapped up in a pleasant, warm embrace. She pressed her body back into his. One of her hands dropped from the data pad and settled on top of his. Her head tipped to the side to look him in the eyes. "Darrus Rodney." It certainly sounded good when she said it. The Rodney family history hadn't been painted out for her yet. No joke, she needed a family tree. She supposed that was one advantage of being with her. Whatever Ta'ems were left certainly weren't about to come out of the woodwork to embrace it. They both seemed to mull over the name for minutes until Marcus put the Daddy Seal of Approval on it. A grin had begun to form on her lips when he kissed her face, thus making her that much happier. They had seen the boy. Now they were working on his room together. He had a name! She took his head in her hands to kiss him on the lips. Ah yes, life in the chalet was good.

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