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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:33) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Callista Nilar, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Lady Jelena Rodney, and Commander Sierra Rodney.

The Rodney estate was filled with females. Poor Claudius had to be getting overwhelmed at this point between a pregnant Sierra, Ewwiekewwieikkie, Callista, Drusilla, and Jelena. Jelena had been left alone for the remainder of the evening as Sierra and her husband spent time behind closed doors. Eventually, the teenager fell asleep with hopes of a better tomorrow. She couldn't move backwards and fix the problems between her and her best friend. She hoped they could, instead, move forward. It was with that in mind that she stood in the kitchen making a breakfast for everyone. It was time to join in together and leave behind all the bull shit. It had been too long since this family was together. She was feeling infinitely better after a good rest, and a small bacta patch over her healing nose. Sierra hummed a happy song to the infant growing in her womb. It would be interesting to see how long her good mood stayed.

"*Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee*!" The first sounds of other life forms sounded across the whole second floor. Ewwiekewwieikkie came bounding out of her bedroom with the little child on her back. Callista's arms were wrapped around her best friend's neck for dear life. Her giggles and excited shrieks said that she was happy. . . and oblivious to the fact that she was a hostage. "To the kitchen!!" Sierra could hear Callista shout before the sounds of them crashing down the stairs together. "*Yay*! *Ewwie*!" Sierra looked towards the staircase. At the very base, the girls' limbs were entangled. Callista had moved on to tickling Ewwie's belly.

Claudius' eyes opened slowly, but the pounding in the sides of his head dominated everything he felt in the early morning. "Ugh," he groaned, as he rolled over onto his side to look at Sierra. "My dear, I don't mean to be sexist, but..." he said, offering her a sympathetic smile. "Could you make sure they're both still alive?" he asked, shirking his duty, as he placed the pillow back over his head. He was retreating from his duty and delegating his authority much as he did as Grand Moff of the Ringali Shell Oversector. The absentee father that Jelena often spoke about was beginning to rear its ugly head. He needed just a little more sleep he had decided, and since Sierra was younger, he assumed she could get by on less.

Sierra lay on her side, comfortably nuzzling her pillow against the front of her body. She was awake, but reluctant to actually rise from bed until she heard the girls outside in the hallway. "Mmrrrmmmm.." She mumbled incoherently, rolling over to her opposite side. She snatched the pillow from on top of his head. "Nooo. You can't send me out there alone. I'll become a casualty to the war." She stated dramatically while attempting to wiggle her way on top of her husband. From there, she continued to wiggle to rouse him fully. "Okay. *Fine*." He didn't even have to verbally debate with her. "I'll get up, however..." She said, making her meanest face whilst poking him in the nose. "In six months when I'm round with our baby, I'm going to pull the pregnancy card on you all the time." He could sleep in for now. She would *not* be abandoned with so many females for the entire morning. Sierra slid off of him. She lazily made herself semi-decent, then slipped into his blue robe so she needn't try any harder to get dressed.

Ewwiekewwieikkie was letting out a loud series of giggles as she and Callista rolled around at the bottom of the stairs. "Yay!" she said, as she saw Sierra at the top of the stairs. "We need food! We need candy! We need pie! We need ice cream! We need cake! We need cookies!" she demanded in rapid succession before running into the kitchen. When she was alone in the kitchen she ran back out towards the stairs. "Hurry, Sierra!" she said, before running back into the kitchen. Another moment went by and she ran back out to the stairs. "I said hurry!" she said, frantically, stomping her feet excessively, before starting to shake. With that, she ran back into the kitchen, before moving into the cabinets to try and find something to eat herself. "Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!" she chanted, as she began making an awful mess of things.

Still rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Sierra paused at the top of the stairs to watch Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista. The small human girl went darting back and forth after her friend, all the while chanting. "We need food! We need candy! We need pie! We need ice cream!" A very tired Sierra realized that she had gotten her wish: they now had *two* Ewwiekewwieikkies living under their roof. She began darting down the stairs. She wondered if Ewwiekewwieikkie would take to her son as well as she did with Callista. The matter of Drusilla was beyond her right now. Even the children couldn't know at this point. "I'm coming!" She said, appearing in a kitchen that looked as messy as if five human children had gone through it, each their own mini-tornado. She didn't seem aggravated or anything, she simply began collecting things to make pancake, bacon, and eggs for the whole family. To keep Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista at bay, she handed each an open jar of fruit. "A better breakfast will be ready soon. You like pancakes, dont'cha girls?"

Callista had seated herself on the floor. She held a large pot in her hand and a spoon in the other. "Ewwie! Let's be in a band together!" The ruckus that followed was *more* than enough to wake the rest of the house.

Drusilla Rodney slowly descended the stairs, wondering who the little brat that had occupied the Squib was. She could not be bothered with such a house guest, but at least she allowed for her to get some peace and quiet. "Oh no! Oh no, no, no!" she said, as she saw Sierra get to work on preparing breakfast. "You must *never* do menial labor," she said, as she took her seat at the breakfast table. "You must bring back the servants. Or better yet, have papa arrange for some slaves ... you don't have to pay those you know," she observed, with a happy smile, as she set to the task of finding some juice to drink. "No aliens that are too ghastly, though. We must have handsome slaves," she instructed Sierra, as she waited for whatever awful culinary creations would be delivered to her. She was determined to never, ever, get her hands dirty for the remainder of her life.

Sierra turned away from the cooking food briefly. While there had been servants in her home growing up, it was strictly for appearances. Coming from what she did, it was no surprise that Sierra had worked hard her whole life. Cooking was a task she enjoyed. It was always rewarding...because who didn't love breakfast foods? "Good morning, Drusilla." She was laughing, "On your eighteenth birthday, I may allow you to hire one handsome *servant*. We're above slaves. Or... I could gift you with some cooking classes," she winked, prodding at the food briefly. She crouched down to level with Callista. "Why don't you go sit at the table with Ewwie? I'll set you both up with something to color." She saw the little, brown headed girl grin, then dart over toward the table and seat herself extremely close to Drusilla.

"Hi 'Silla!" Her legs swung back and forth beneath the table. She was presented with a basket of crayons and some paper to color on. Thankfully, the crayons would only work on *that* paper. The walls wouldn't become a canvas for beautiful artwork. Sierra moved back to her task, looking to Drusilla. "Where's your sister? Breakfast is almost ready. Can you go wake her, please?"

"Cooking classes? Ick. No," Drusilla said, as she rolled her eyes at Sierra dramatically. "If you don't wish a slave then perhaps a droid can do the work. You are Countess of Leiliani ... you should *not* be cooking. You should not be doing anything, frankly," she said, as she took a gentle nibble of the toast. "Ah. Full," she declared, as she ate very little, to preserve her figure to ensure she would attract the finest suitors when she came of age. "Can I go wake her?" she asked, as she looked to Sierra incredulously. "See. You need a servant already. They actually do the things you ask them to do ... instead of ignore you," she said, with a smirk, before she pursed her lips, turning to the HoloNet instead. She did not move a centimeter ... she was *not* Sierra's messenger.

She shrugged her shoulders. Countess or not, Sierra liked to remain useful. She would continue to work, cook, and whatever else even once the baby arrived. "Thank you for that tidbit of advice, dear." Was she *really* done? The piece of toast looked virtually untouched. A small bird would have eaten more. Sierra started turning off burners now that breakfast was finished. She moved towards the table. "Drusilla, you are a gorgeous young lady and any man will find you to be a trophy worth limitless credits..." She tapped on the plate containing the toast. "But please, for all that is good and holy, eat a little more? You don't need to starve yourself. One more bite?" At that point she was already begin ignored by the HoloNet. She realized that Drusilla was not going to help her, or even care that she tried to comfort her into eating like a teenager should.

With great reluctance, Sierra made her way back to the second floor. Jelena's room *had* been untouched. She had made the mistake of entering it at one point when she meant to go to Ewwiekewwieikkie's room. She stood at the closed door. This was going to bring about Round Two of the Jelena vs. Sierra fight ... or was it Round Three? She sighed, knocking on the door loudly enough to be noticed. Claudius owed her *big time*! "Jelena?"

"Hi mom!" Jelena called out, mockingly, as she sat on the edge of the bed, looking at the similarly aged girl who was moving into her room. She gasped suddenly as she noted some of the bruising on her face, unaware of the extent of her injuries following the accident. "Well, I must say. You certainly are starting to look closer to my father's age at least," she said, in full catty mode, before raising from the bed and moving towards the vanity. "Would you like to borrow some of my makeup to cover your face up?" she said, before spinning around to look at her. "Or maybe you would be better off going down to the guard house, finding one of the Stormtroopers, and getting whatever paint they slap onto their walkers ... maybe *that* will cover up your ugliness," she said, before shaking her head at the woman. "What do *you* want?" she demanded, folding her arms in front of her chest in a defiant huff. She was nineteen alright.

Her eyes rolled so hard that it seemed like they'd get stuck in place. Sierra lingered in her friend's room, having only ever accompanied her to Delaya, not Esseles. "Good morning, sweetie." Two could play this game. Without a speeding vehicle involved, they could verbally attack each other without any serious injuries. "I appreciate your willingness to help. I'm not worried about my face. It certainly didn't stop your father last night either. Though, I suppose you know that. Sharing a wall with us..." She looked towards that very wall, clicking her tongue against the top of her mouth. Tsk tsk. "It must *suck*." Sierra couldn't help it. Jelena made her feel immature, like she was *actually* a nineteen year old. "I made breakfast. You will come down and eat with your sisters. Don't make me drag you, okay?"

"You'd stoop at nothing to enrich yourself and increase your station," Jelena said, as she rose from her chair, and moved towards Sierra in a flurry. "You were my friend. You thought I was dead, and how do you respond ... by taking my father's bed?" she said, getting her face right in Sierra's, her cheeks flushing red as the anger consumed her. "If my father saw you for what you really are he never would have made such a mistake. But he is a dirty old man who has *always* preferred younger women. I suppose the fact that Htaere was approaching her mid-20s meant it was time to find a *girl* whose age still ended in teen. Enjoy your time next door. It won't last," she said, before moving past her to exit the bedroom. As she did, she slammed her shoulder roughly into the woman, before moving towards the stairs to join the others for breakfast.

Ooooh. The hair on the back of Sierra's neck was standing upright. She was angry and deeply hurt all at the same time. After enduring several more low blows, Sierra felt so furious that she didn't want to join the rest of the family for breakfast. As badly as she wanted to mend her friendship, it seemed that Jelena inspired a monster to rise inside of her. Not only that, but Jelena successfully knocked her confidence on its ass. She had only just proven herself to what? Sierra seriously considered if she should spend some time in Delaya to defuse her anger. Instead, she leaned on old reliable: her violin. She made a brief appearance in her bedroom, unaware if her husband had awoken to his wife and his daughter yelling at each other. She plucked her black violin from its spot on the wall, then disappeared out of the house entirely. She hide herself in the garden. Seated on a cool bench, she let herself cry while she placed a sad, sad song. Losing Jelena like this was like her dying again. At this point, she'd prefer they didn't utter a word to each other to stop the turmoil between them from growing.

Claudius took a brief shower to rouse him from his slumber while Sierra stormed the bedroom to retrieve her violin. When he was finished he dressed himself, descended the stairs, and spent a few moments with his three daughters and his niece. He wondered where Sierra was, as he was blissfully ignorant to the fact that there was any animosity in the house. He thought everything was *perfect*, because to him it was. After eating a meager portion of food, but decidedly more than Drusilla, he moved out of the estate where he saw Sierra. He moved down the path towards the bench, and coming up behind her he wrapped both of his arms around her. It was only then that he noticed she was crying, and he released his grasp in a panic. "What is wrong?" he asked, genuinely concerned for his young wife. He was arguably the least perceptive man in the galaxy.

It was relieving to release her emotions. She had been clinging to this since the very moment Jelena had slapped her. The sound of her crying violin was a dead give away in the garden. She was only alone for so long before the warmest arms wrapped around her. The music stopped abruptly. *Claudius*. What the hell did she tell him? He hadn't even had a chance to bask in the happiness for a full twenty-four hours. Her sad eyes met with his. She debated unloading on him. She even thought about suggesting distance from Jelena and the rest of the family, so that they could be happy *without* an outsider. She frowned deeply, blinking away new tears. Her hormones were so far out of whack. Try as she might to blame them, her sadness was the underlying cause. She sniffled. "Jelena hates me..." The words dripped in drama. As her violin met with the bench, she failed to fill him into the various fights they had. "And I don't..." Her hands touched with his. "..I don't want to ruin the family's happiness. I would sacrifice our friendship again and again for this. I can leave, if you think it best. Briefly enough that she can get comfortable here." Tears continued to run down her cheeks. She hated burdening him.

Jelena hates me ... those three words shattered Claudius to the core, causing him to stumble backwards slowly. By the time he managed to sit down almost all of the color had left his face, leaving him a terrible shell of a man. He thought he had everything, but it turned out he had *nothing*. Just like his failed administration of the Ringali Shell, his lack of attention to detail had caused him to mismanage his family as well. "No. No ... you must not leave me. You must not leave *us*," he stressed, as he reached for her desperately. The entire planet suddenly felt like it was spinning off its axis. He felt lightheaded and immediately regretted not eating more. "Why?!" he asked, raising his voice, as he desperately searched for answers. "Why does she hate you?" he asked again, exasperated, as he raised his hands dramatically and then dropped them back down on his lap. "You two were always so close..." he said, trying to make sense of it, but of course he was just guessing. In a decade he only saw them together a handful of times, but what he remembered was happy. He had a terrible case of rose colored lenses when looking upon the days before the destruction of Alderaan.

This was *not* what Sierra wanted to happen. She was conflicted when it came to not telling him the truth. It felt like lying by omission when she hadn't mentioned the 'cunt' incident of the previous day. She grasped his hands, notating how the color had sunk from his face. Sierra couldn't leave him, not even for a day. The man needed someone to take care of him. She instantly caught on that he had avoided eating. She would shove food in his mouth until he vomited if he kept this up. She was no longer just taking care of Drusilla and Ewwiekewwieikkie, she was caretaker to her husband as well. Sierra sat close to him. Her hands touched his. Leaving them would hurt her infinitely more than remaining standing in the middle of the storm that her and Jelena had created.

"We *were*," she admitted, resting her head on his shoulder. "I married you. That's the over simplification of why she hates me. She sees this as the ultimately betrayal. The first time I saw her on Delaya, she slapped me and called a cunt." She rolled her head against his shoulder. "She claims that I'm *fucking* you for nobility, title, money, *whatever*. We just fought." She admitted to him. "Claiming I have an expiration'll bore of me once I'm older." She tilted her head upwards. It was the fact that *Jelena* said those words that hurt the most. "I don't know how to patch things up with her, because every time we see each other, I lose my composure." She didn't want their happiness to sink. She was determined to keep it going. Her hands clutched his. "Don't be unhappy." She pressed her forehead against his. "I'm happy she's here, I am. You should be too. Everything else will smooth out." She tried to comfort her own husband while she ached. Maybe he really should replace her. It wasn't the first time she'd caused unhappy times.

"She called you a what?" Claudius asked, unable to believe his innocent little girl could have used such a word. He was horrified, but in every problem he saw the need to cast blame. "The Rebellion. It must have been the Rebellion. I always knew they must have brainwashed her," he complained, bitterly, clenching his hand into fists at the thought of them. "You must use your skills as a psychologist to fix here, Sierra. Your talents will prove to be a blessing in this difficult time. You can save this family," he told her, as he moved to wrap his arms back around her. He could not accept any of what she was saying. In his mind the Rebels were to blame. They were *always* to blame.

Sierra was not on board with blaming the Rebellion. She had spent a lot more time with Jelena when she was growing up. This was about years of complaining to each other about their parents. Sierra would have felt the same way if Jelena had gone off and married her father...or worse: her mother. She couldn't very well tell Claudius that his daughter hated him, so she was forced to go along with him. He embraced her once more, spouting nonsense about saving the family and fixing Jelena. Her face grew more and more pale as she felt she was setting herself up for more failure. She wanted to cry because Claudius wasn't the only one losing things. Jelena was no longer her friend. Letting her husband down... Sierra didn't want that. Her hands touched with his arms. "You can't put all of this on me..." She told him nervously. "I love you. I love Jelena. I will *try*. I can't make any promises and you can't hold me accountable if I can't do it..." She looked sad again, *really* sad. Usually, Sierra could think of a pretty solid plan of attack when it came to 'fixing' people. None of her other clients had the same personal ties that Jelena did, which threw the game off entirely. Horrible feelings had taken root inside of her.

Ewwiekewwieikkie came bounding down the hillside towards Claudius and Sierra with Callista in tow. On her plate she had a piece of cake, topped with ice cream, candy, and whipped cream. "You left without eating, Sierra!" she said, before offering her the plate of overloaded sweets. "We make this! Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!" she exclaimed, excitedly, as she practically shoved it at her. More of the ingredients found their way into her blue fur than it did the plate. She was a mess and so was Callista. The happy young Squib was glad to be of help, sensing that everyone was sad. "Smile!" she demanded, before giving a salute, mocking the actions of the Imperial stormtroopers that surrounded the estate. If only everyone had her positive attitude.

"*Weeeee*!! *Weeeeeeeeeeee*!!!" Callista was having the time of her life at Uncle and Auntie's house. The kitchen was a wreck, as Sierra would soon see and give in to hiring some cleaning droids instead of trying to play catch up by herself. The girls bore something that only could be explained as a diabetic's dream. All those sweets involved in the concoction were delicious alone, but all together, Sierra wasn't so sure. The sweet gesture from Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista was a thing of beauty. She looked at Callista, who had whipped cream in her hair, then over to Ewwiekewwieikkie, who wore almost as much of the food as she offered. Finally, she looked up at her husband. She was teary, but now for a totally different reason. Ewwiekewwieikkie turned her frown upside down. Sierra took the plate. "Mmmm. Whipped ice cake candy, my favorite!" She plucked up a gigantic spoon and began to eat it. It caused an instant sugar rush ... and it wasn't all that bad either. If Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista put their heads together, they could have one hell of a sweets shop together. "Mmmmm! It's so yummy!" She scooped up a little, offering to her husband. "C'mon, try some." She persuaded.

Claudius looked at the girls and the food they had brought for them. He could not believe that Sierra was brave enough to eat it. "Oh. Thanks," he said to Sierra, as he looked at the scoop of sugar she had offered him. He never would have eaten it, but Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista were looking at him so excitedly that he felt as if he had no choice. He closed is eyes and moved his mouth forward, taking the spoon into his mouth. It was the sweetest thing he had ever tasted, and the most vile. His blood sugar spiked almost instantly, but for the sake of everyone, the smile never left his face. "Mmm," he said to them all, before extending his arms wide to embrace them all in a loving, but messy hug. At least part of this family was doing well.

Sierra didn't know how much she could eat of this before she suffered from gestational diabetes. Good god, it was like eating sugar straight! If she had to suffer, then it only made sense her husband had to as well. It was in their vows, right? Whatever special ingredient that was inside of the concoction had helped Sierra to feel better. As with everything else, they would all get through this mess together. Mind you, she thought that *before* she saw the kitchen. She did her best to sweep everyone into her arms, squeezing the girls and the love of her life. At least a fraction of the family was happy. She wasn't sure if Drusilla was ever happy when she wasn't shopping. Jelena certainly wasn't going to be pleased any time soon. She allowed the sweetness from the girls to transfer onto her clothing. "Okay, okay. Let's head inside and check out the damage." She stood, heading up the group towards the house. She didn't eat any more of the food. She didn't think she could without keeling over. She remembered to glance around the garden for the orange armor of El-Nay, as she had failed to report her position to Kerrie. Hopefully she was gone. Sierra cringed as she stepped back inside. Her foot met with a pile of whipped cream. Well, today was awesome!

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