Sierra Rodney had been busy over the last few days.
It became impossible for her to remain in the
medcenter at all times as she would have liked. She
functioned as Claudius would, taking in his
responsibilities while she searched Delaya for
Rebels. When she was in the medcenter, she spent a
majority of her time pouring over datapads and
following a lead on the HoloNet forums. Earlier that
day, Sierra had struck gold. By diving deeper and
deeper into the HoloNet, she had uncovered a group
of Rebels that indeed was working out of the city.
They were conspiring against the Emperor and
Governor Arundel. They were stupid enough to do it
where an ISB officer could exploit them. Her proof
against the group was growing. Using some less than
classy methods, Sierra had gained the trust of the
group. She had even been invited to a gathering the
following day. Finally, good news had arrived.
Considering all that had happened, Sierra decided to
take advantage of what day it was: the two month
anniversary since their wedding. While it may have
seemed irrational and silly, she opted to cast light
on it. Those two months had been hard. They had
weather storm after storm after storm. Besides,
Claudius needed an injection of good in his life.
She was going to administer it.
She had been gone since early that morning, first to
be a Duchess, and second to be a wife, and third, to
continue deceiving Rebels. As the sun began to set
over the city, the door to Claudius' suite opened.
She stood in the doorway holding a small square box
and a bottle of sparkling cider. "Honey, I'm home!"
She called out obnoxiously as she stepped into the
suite. The days were wearing on her. Still as
beautiful as ever, she looked exhausted. In all that
had happened with Claudius, Drusilla had missed her
concert, thus making the rift between them grow wide
again. As much as she apologized profusely, she knew
she was going to have to think of *another* way to
make it up to her stepdaughter.
When Sierra arrived in his medical suite, Claudius
Rodney was standing between two support railings,
doing his daily exercises. His hands held tightly to
the railings as he walked back and forth repeatedly,
slowing regaining his strength and conditioning.
"Sierra!" he cried out, almost too excitedly. He
nearly slipped from his grasp and fell to the
ground, but he caught himself at the last moment.
"What goes on in the world beyond this medcenter?"
he asked, before moving in the direction of his
favorite chair by the window. He sat down in it, or
rather collapsed down into it, with a thin layer of
sweat covering his fatigued frame. This was proving
to be an exhausting recovery process, but one he
hoped was nearly over. As long as he kept pushing
himself he felt like he could be 100-percent by the
end of the week. It was remarkable that he had come
as far as he had in such a short of time, but with
all that was happening, he was determined to become
Her eyes brightened. Sierra had watched him, day by
day, regain his strength. It was incredibly. It
seemed like he was coming back so quickly. Sierra
felt such pride for him, and awe at the strength
which he possessed. Eek! She thought he was going to
fall. Panicked, she raced closer to him but stopped.
He had it covered. "It's so good to see you on your
feet. You're doing amazing." She commented, staying
close incase he needed her...but he didn't. He was
able to make it to his chair all by himself. Sierra
sat sideways at the unoccupied one beside his.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" She teased as she sat
the box in his lap. Inside was a small circular
version of their wedding cake...including all of his
favorite flavors. It was blue fur free. Sierra had
worked hard to keep the cake away from Ewwie. "In
ridiculous news, Auntie Mae is trying to open a shop
directly beside Marcus' chalet. Our youngest is in
full pout-mode because we missed her concert anddd..."
She said, tapping the box in his lap. "It's our two
month anniversary. Given all that's happened, we
need a reason to celebrate."
Claudius was embarrassed that he had overlooked
their anniversary given their hospitalization. When
she planted the miniature version of their wedding
cake upon his lap he began to tear up, as everything
that had happened between them began to well up
inside of him. "Thank you. It's wonderful," he said
to her, before placing it aside so that he would not
drop it in his weakened condition. He found the news
about Auntie Mae's new location to be ridiculous,
and the news concerning Drusilla to be expected.
"Let us hope the next two months pass in peace and
tranquility," he said to her, wishing he could have
a glass of wine to celebrate, but it would react
badly with his medication. "I think this is the
perfect time to reveal to you the present from my
father," he said to her, having almost forgotten it
given his death that followed shortly thereafter.
Sierra wore a bright smile on her face. His reaction
was just *perfect*. It was the same reaction she'd
get after a year, five years, a decade, and so on.
"Things are looking up. I don't want to get too much
into it, but I've found a solid Rebel lead. I'm
confident that I'll have Marcus and Zara freed
before the sun sets tomorrow. Everything else will
fall into place." She set the bottle of sparkling
cider on a small table beside them. "Hmmm?" She,
too, had nearly forgotten about all of that. "Oh.
The statute of my uterus. Am I going to finally get
a uterus appreciation week?" She smiled... but then
she got impatient. "Show me!" She squeaked, sounding
more like her age.
"If he were alive he would cast your uterus in gold
and build a monument to it in the heart of the
city," Claudius said, remembering his father fondly
with an only slightly true joke. "I, of course, am a
more modest man and thus the monument will instead
be cast in bronze," he joked, needing a laugh at a
time like this. But when the laughter stopped he
became infinitely more serious as his attention
turned to the true nature of the gift. "My father's
last act before his death was to make our future son
a Count with all the rights and privileges
associated," he said, moving his hand to his right
eye to wipe away a tear. "I am certain Drusilla will
be *quite* devastated," he said to her, as he
thought both of the past in terms of his father, and
the future in terms of his son. It was a powerful
moment for him.
She laughed and laughed. "Gee golly, Claudius.
*Bronze*. My uterus is gold-rate." Sierra teased
him. It was quite relieving that there would *never*
be a golden uterus monument in the middle of the
city. She was also glad to be laughing again, and to
hear her husband laugh too. Soon, it died down and a
more serious tone took over. After all, she really
did want to know what Julius' gift was. When
Claudius revealed it to her, she, too, became teary.
It was kind of the old man, who she had come to view
as a father-figure, to name Bruce a Count. It felt
infinitely more special that Julius had done that in
his dying days. Like everyone else, he wanted to
ensure that the family continued to hold onto the
Duchy. Sierra hugged her husband tightly, crying
softly into his shoulder. "I-It's the best gift he
could have given us." She sniffled. Slowly, she
pulled her head back just enough to kiss him. It had
been *so* hard over the last few months. Losing
Jelena. Gaining Jelena. Losing Julius. Gaining
Bruce. The rollercoaster of their life was one
insane ride, yet they had each other to get through
it. While they shared an emotional moment, there was
an importune knock at the door. The kiss came to a
sudden end. "Ah, I thought you might like to see
Bruce, Count of Leiliani. Do you?" She teased him.
She was still teary eyed and touched. Julius had
left the world on a high note.
The range of emotions they had experienced were
enough to make them feel as if they suffered from
bi-polar disorder. One moment they were incredibly
happy, and the next they were desperately sad. Each
day brought either a wondrous or woeful development
to each of their lives, and he wondered what this
day would bring. The kiss was wonderful, and the
thought of being able to see their son was an
incredibly joyous one for him. When there was a
knock at the door he wondered what shoe was about to
drop next. It was a doctor, but not one of his.
"What's this?" he asked, arching an eyebrow, as he
looked between Sierra and the doctor, and back
again. "Yes. Yes I would very much," he said, as he
became very excited, which caused his heart rate
monitor to beep excessively.
It really did seem that way. Sierra's emotions
heightened at his excitement to see their son. She
wanted to make sure he had a new video to watch,
especially during the hard recovery. She smiled
brightly. "Then you shall." The young woman stood
from her seat. Each week put them one step closer to
Bruce. She was still only eleven weeks along. Her
swollen stomach was becoming more evident and would
only keep growing. She greeted the doctor happily.
"Thank you for seeing us on such short notice." The
doctor had her lay in Claudius' bed. The ultrasound
equipment was already in the room, simply hidden
away. While Sierra adjusted her top to expose her
bump, the doctor set everything up. She had already
explained the situation to the man; they simply
couldn't go see her prenatal doctor right now. The
man was happy to conduct her monthly exam himself,
including taking a peek at the little man to check
Sierra felt anxious as the doctor applied some
strange, warm goop to her stomach. Her worries moved
through her head at full speed: was Bruce okay? What
if something was wrong? She had been careless in the
way she went after the girl assassin. Her hand was
shaking. She was scared until the doctor pressed the
doppler against her stomach. First came the rapid
beating of the baby's heart. A second later, the
monitor was on. Bruce looked much more baby-like now
than last time. The definition in his legs and arms
had become clearer. He even had tiny ears! Sierra
was crying *again*. What a day! She looked towards
her love proudly, as if silently asking him *are you
seeing this?!* "Our baby..." Sniffle.
Claudius attempted to rise politely for the doctor,
but he got about an inch off his seat before he
decided this was a bad idea. As the doctor set to
work he anxiously watched, wondering what they would
find. He was equal parts excited and nervous before
the image of their son danced to life upon the
screen. He reached for his wife, clutching her with
all of his might, as he watched his son's heart
beat. The tears began to flow again as he could not
hold back, nor maintain the stiff upper lip his
people were known for. "Of course I'm seeing
this..." he said to her, before inhaling sharply in
a valiant, but ultimately futile, effort to suck the
tears back in. "We have a son!" he cried out for all
the room, all the planet, and indeed all the galaxy
She clung to him. The sight of Bruce always impacted
her strongly. Each time she blinked, she could
imagine cuddling their little boy in their new home.
She thought about teaching him how to walk and
introducing him to all the best parts of Delaya.
Claudius' reaction made her so happy. The heart
monitor was going crazy with his excitement. His
tears were so real and sweet. Best of all, his
exclamation of their son warranted a cheer from his
young wife. The doctor couldn't help but smile while
he checked measurements on the fetus. "Your son is
very healthy. He's right on track with his growth
and developments. You both should be very proud."
And they were. Sierra shamelessly kissed anywhere
she could reach on Claudius. "Twenty-nine more
weeks." She said with a grin. "That's all we have
left to wait until our boy arrives." Sierra was a
proud peacock! Their two month anniversary had lit
the fire inside of her once more. Watch out,
Governor! Sierra Rodney was coming!