There was nothing grand about saving Marcus and
Zara Rodney. It didn't feel good to see them again.
Triumph was the last thing that Sierra Rodney felt.
Her sanity was clinging to Claudius. She needed her
husband very badly, for she had been deeply injured.
Everything that had happened throughout the day
looked like nothing compared to what Papius had done
to her. She was a mess by the time she landed the
shuttle at the medcenter. Her hands were shaking on
the controls. She hadn't been able to stop crying
since saying goodbye to her in-laws. At least Gaius
wasn't at the medcenter to gloat over how sad she
was. No, instead he was busy staining the bedsheets
of her old bed while plotting to kill her husband.
Sierra's tears were nearly blinding by the time she
moved through the door and into her husband's suite.
She tried to use the sleeve of her uniform to sweep
them away, yet her eyes insisted they were not done.
"C-Claudius!" She cried. Sierra had never cried like
this in front of him. It was obvious that something
had gone horribly wrong.
Claudius was up and about in his suite in the
medcenter. He was feeling himself and dressed in his
Imperial uniform with the hope it would inspire his
nurses to move his discharge faster. Sierra would
soon be here to pick him up and return him back to
the sea islands, but when she arrived she was in
tears and he knew something was wrong. "What's
wrong?" he cried out to her, moving swiftly across
the room until he arrived in front of her. He
wrapped his arms around her tightly, bringing her in
against him tightly. His lower hand was pressed
against the small of her back, while his upper hand
moved through her hair affectionately. "Please tell
me..." he said quietly, fearing the worst. Whenever
they got good news, bad news surely followed.
Her arms locked around him as tightly as she could
manage. That was it. She wasn't going to let go of
him. Claudius provided her with protection. Papius
wouldn't have been able to do what he had done if
her husband had been there. She couldn't let go of
him. She was so scared that she was trembling. Her
face was hidden away against his neck. "Claudius..."
She choked. "Governor Arundel..." It was hard to put
the experience into words when she hurt so bad. She
pressed her face back into his neck. There, she
cried hard. As she breathed in his scent and felt
his warm, loving embrace, she was reminded that this
was safety. She could tell him anything. Suddenly,
she pulled her head back to look at him. "I went to
see Papius," She sucked in a deep breath. "I had all
the information on the Rebel group I discovered. I
intended to use it to bargain for Zara and Marcus to
be released." She told him all the things he already
knew. Now she was into the part he *didn't* know.
"He ... he..." She was trying to catch hold of her
"He demanded I take off my clothes to prove I wasn't
recording him." She whimpered. "He cut away my
underwear. He saw my... My..." Sierra grasped him by
the shoulders. Her expression turned to sickness as
she pushed him away quickly enough to vomit in a
nearby garbage can. The tears came harder after that
as she withdrew right back into his arms.
When Claudius first heard Sierra invoke the name of
Governor Arundel he expected it to be bad, but when
she went into detail his heart suddenly stopped
beating. All of this color left his face, and his
hands tightened around her, clinging to her for dear
life. Before he could speak she was over the garbage
can, causing him to rush to her side to hold her
hair so it did not get soiled. "He did what?!" he
asked her, completely enraged, as he welcomed her
back into his arms. For years he had heard stories
about Imperial officers doing things like this, but
he never believed them. He wanted revenge, and as he
held her dearly his mind began to focus on ways to
deal with him. Surely something like this could not
go on without him taking action, but he did not want
Sierra to know this. Right now he wanted to focus on
Sierra had retreated into her hiding place. Inside
Claudius' arms was the only place where she was
capable of coming undone...and then being pieced
back together. She wasn't thinking of how to get
back at Papius. She was thinking about how she
*never* wanted to see him again. It was disturbing
to think that she had left her shredded
undergarments in his office. Now, he could always
remember their *special* moment. She cried and cried
and cried. Somewhere in all of her despair, she
remembered what she had witnessed earlier in Gaius'
suite. She lifted her head. "We can't talk anymore
here." She stuttered. "We have to return to the sea
islands where no one can find us." Sierra wanted to
tell her husband everything. Her thoughts were so
far scattered. First she needed to secure her love.
Then they could fix her. Then they could talk about
everything. The only problem with leaving meant that
she wouldn't be able to stay in his embrace. Right
now, she needed it. She didn't think she could even
stand without him.
"The sea islands?" Claudius repeated, hesitating, as
he wanted to head directly to the garrison to
assault the Governor. "Um..." he paused, as he was
torn between comforting his wife and exacting
revenge. He let out a sigh as he released his grasp
on her, realizing that revenge could wait, and his
comfort was needed now. "You're right. Let's get out
of here. Paperwork be damned. They know where to
find me," he smirked, as he led his wife from the
medical suite. He hoped he would never return here.
He brushed past the doctors and nurses, having no
time for any of them at this moment. He slowly moved
up the stairs that would lead to the landing
platform on top of the medcenter. The stairs were a
little more difficult than he anticipated, but with
some patience he eventually made his way towards the
top. As he opened the door he was presented with the
sight of the Imperial Garrison in the distance. He
glared across through the smog filled skies at the
observation tower where the governor surely was. He
was furious, but what sent him over the edge was the
sound of mechanized AT-STs marching through the
streets and TIE strikers soaring overhead. What had
happened to his homeworld?
Relief washed over her tired, hysterical mind. If
they left the medcenter, she didn't need to worry
about Gaius and his spawn hurting them. Likewise,
Papius wouldn't dare initiate contact with Claudius
after putting his wife through such trauma. It was a
group effort to actually get out of the medcenter.
Sierra helping him with each step, Claudius aiding
each step of hers. She hoped not to see the
medcenter until happier times fell over the family.
She wanted the next time they came back to be to
celebrate life, not death.
At the top of the medcenter, the sight of the
Garrison was enough to make Sierra whimper. She
imagined Papius, smug and evil. For now, she turned
her back on all the Imperial dwellings on their
planet. She held Claudius' hand while they made
their way up the ramp and into the shuttle Sierra
sat down at the controls. She wiped away the tears
that clouded her vision. "I couldn't live without
you, Claudius." She looked behind her shoulder. He
had brought back the smallest sense of sanity. He
was husband of the century for so many reasons.
After taking off, Sierra purposely took a different
route so she wouldn't have to stare at the Imperial
Garrison. She never wanted to see that terrible man
ever again. She was going to burn her uniform and
her boots to eliminate the articles of clothing
she'd associate with that horrible occurrence.
Sierra had yet to realize the worst part of it all.
Sierra hadn't been recording. Papius *had*.
The trip to the sea islands was a quiet one, with
Claudius barely able to think about anything but
exacting revenge upon the Imperial Governor who had
tortured his wife and militarized his planet. As he
watched Sierra pilot their shuttle he admired how
she was able to focus enough to operate the craft
given all that had transpired. She was remarkable.
As the sea islands came into view he reached across
the control panel to place his hand reassuringly
upon her. As they circled above on their landing
approach a terrible sight came into view. Imperial
Shoretroopers were on patrol, investigating the area
near the build site. The reach of Governor Arundel
extended even here.
Thoughts rolled through Sierra's head continuously.
She, too, wanted revenge. She also never wanted to
see Papius' face ever again. Claudius was her
anchor. He kept her from being swept up in the storm
that surrounded her. His hand truly was reassuring.
Sierra managed a smile for him. No sooner had she
begun to feel better did she start to feel a lot
worse. Seeing the Imperial Shoretroopers was enough
to give Sierra pause. Her hands lingered on the
controls as she tried to decide between landing or
flying away. "Damn that man," Sierra muttered under
her breath. "They cannot be here." Sadness flipped
to rage. She opted to land the ship smoothly into
the sand. Upon landing, she rose and looked to
Claudius. "We can make them go away, can't we?" Her
hand clawed at her top. Her clothing was bothering
her. She could smell Papius all over her like he was
Claudius rose from his seat when the shuttle touched
down, planning to confront the Shoretrooper Captain
in a heated rage. It had been a long time since he
had been under the thumb of another Imperial officer
and he did not like it. "Perhaps ... perhaps you
should wait here," he said, before moving towards
the rear compartment of the shuttle. He took a
moment to adjust his uniform to make sure everything
was perfect before marching down the ramp onto the
shoreline. In the distance he could see two of the
Shoretroopers trying to drive off the sea cow, which
only served to further enrage him. "You men there.
Stop that!" he ordered, in his most proper and
commanding tone, saved only for occasions like this.
"Who is in charge?" he asked, as he looked over what
seemed to be a platoon level deployment. Their large
landing craft had crushed some of the shrubbery and
their footprints were everywhere. Some were even on
the construction site further delaying the droids.
It was most unwelcome.
She could see how angry he was. Sierra couldn't
imagine how unhappy and furious Claudius was over
what Papius had done. Seeing the Shoretroopers
served to make Sierra worry that her new worst enemy
would show up on their islands. She was ready to
make her way down the ramp and bleed her spleen all
over the Shoretroopers when Claudius suggested
another route. She sighed, nodding her head.
"Perhaps I will. I've had enough Imperial dealings
for one day." Instead, she watched him leave
anxiously. It was terrible being under Papius'
thumb. Despite what had happened, Sierra suspected
that there was no way to retaliate. The best course
would be to get Papius off of Delaya as soon as
possible. He couldn't hurt her again if he wasn't
there. The young Duchess lingered at the top of the
ramp, becoming increasingly more angry at the
Shoretroopers who were pestering the family pet and
destroying the precious island's life. She noted
that their future home wasn't free of Shoretroopers
either. It seemed Papius was trying to invade every
part of their lives...but not for long. She watched
Claudius eagerly. He would deal with it. He would
make them go away.
Claudius began screaming at the Shoretrooper
Captain, throwing his hands about hysterically as he
berated them and ordered them off the property.
After a few tense moments the Shoretroopers
assembled on the shoreline, bordered their
transport, and headed away from the sea islands. A
red faced Claudius began moving back towards the
shuttle, doing his best to use breathing techniques
to calm himself down. "There. That's taken care of,"
he said to Sierra, before offering his hand to help
her down the ramp. "At last we are alone," he said
to her, as he basked in the sunlight of what he
planned to be their private abode and retreat from
the world. In the distance a Viper probe droid
briefly emerged from the water to transmit, before
submerging back below the water. The privacy he felt
they had was only an illusion.
Sierra watched it all while her heart swelled with
pride for her love. Whatever magical combination of
words (and actions) he had used instigated the
desired effect. Seeing the Shoretroopers turn their
backs to the islands gave Sierra a false sense of
security and privacy. She was teary-eyed and smiling
when he returned back to her. Upon taking his hand,
she squeezed it. "Thank you, Claudius. You're my
hero." She sniffled. While she wanted to suck in the
sun, she had to deal with other things first.
She led them towards their tent. "I have to get out
of these clothes," she sounded desperate. All
essence of Papius needed to be washed away forever.
She took Claudius with her into the bathroom where
she began to quickly undress, shoving her clothing
into the nearby garbage can. She had other uniforms
and other boots which were not associated with
Papius. Nude, Sierra crept back into her husband's
arms. She embraced him tightly. She was okay.
Everything was going to be okay...after she showered
and stopped smelling like a certain lecherous
Governor. "I... I don't think I can let go of you."
"Then don't," Claudius said, as he too began the
process of removing his Imperial uniform. He was not
careful with it at all, simply discarding it in
favor of swimwear. He hoped another round of
hydrotherapy in the sea followed by relaxation would
calm him enough to think more clearly about Governor
Arundel and his actions against his wife and his
people. He moved his arms behind her, sweeping up
her off the ground and into his arms. He let out a
soft groan as her added weight gain from the
pregnancy caused a tinge of pain in his lower back.
Nevertheless, he staggered forward with her until
they were in the ocean. As he looked around he
noticed the sea cow was nowhere to be scene. "I
guess the Shoretroopers scared it away," he
speculated, unaware the sea cow was investigating
the Viper probe droid. "Probably for the best with
all the construction," he said, before submerging
himself in the water to cool off.
He was giving her exactly what she needed: him. The
continuous closeness was so wonderful. She kissed
along his jaw sweetly. She appreciated all of his
efforts, knowing full well that she had begun to put
on some additional weight thanks to their baby boy.
The ocean water swept over them. It caused Sierra to
feel instantly relieved. With it, the last physical
reminders of Papius were gone. Sierra sighed. "It'll
be back, I'm sure. That sea cow likes us too much to
stay away." She couldn't see Betsy anywhere. She
hoped that the sea cow had not been injured. If it
had then someone would pay. Instead of obsessing
over the cow, she dunked her head backwards into the
water to soak her hair.
Sierra loved it here. The rest of the world seemed
to be a million miles away. "I have so much to tell
you," she started, continuing to remain close to
him. "But not now...soon, later." When he
resurfaced, she pressed her lips against his and
kissed him hard. When she had finished, she nuzzled
her nose against his. "You know that I love you more
than anything in the galaxy, right? Even if it was
that horrible woman that brought us together, I want
you to know that I never considered manipulating you
myself. Your rank, your family, it has never
mattered to me. You could have been the lowest man
on the totem pole and I'd still love you like I do
now." She kissed the tip of his nose. "That man got
under my skin today. He assumes things about us that
The fact that Sierra was concealing information from
him caused him to develop a Drusilla-like compulsion
to know what was going on. Even if it was something
as simple as a starfruit tort he felt like he *had*
to know and he *had* to know now. As her lips
connected with his he got a glint in his eye,
looking towards her with wonderment and curiosity.
"Yes. I know this, and I feel the same way," he
said, as the conversation took a more serious tone
after the kiss. "Well, when you assume you make an
ass out of you and me," he said, speaking of the
imbecilic Governor. "Perhaps I can make an
appeal..." he said, but before he could take such a
bold step he would have to reconnect with his
command to develop some sense of what was going on
under his authority. "Is that ... is that what you
wanted to tell me?" he asked, as she kissed his
nose, unable to contain his curiosity over her
earlier knowledge tease.
Sierra laughed. Ah yes, she had many choice words to
use to refer to the Governor as. She hated the man
so much. It was becoming necessary that they get him
to leave as soon as possible. If Sierra had to meet
with him *alone* again, there was no telling what
would happen. "I don't know. I want to kick him in
... many, many places for what he did. I also don't
want our planet to suffer more while we try to get
revenge. It's a sticky situation." At least Zara had
broken the man's nose and she had been there to
Her husband's curiosity caused her to laugh.
"Goodness, no. You know how the day ended, with
Governor Pervert. Marcus and Zara were freed, by the
way. You don't know about the beginning part of the
day. I decided to bug Gaius' living quarters." Her
mind rolled back to a thousand years ago. At that
time, she witnessed Gaius and his *daughter*
plotting her husband's death, kissing each other
like lovers. A sickened expression appeared on her
face. "Let's get out of the water. You should be
seated and far away from danger when I tell you what
I'm about to tell you. Prepare yourself for the
worse...because it's even worse than that." Grasping
his hands, Sierra made her way back towards the
beach. Where did she start? "Has Gaius ever
mentioned having a daughter?" Square one.
Claudius allowed Sierra to lead him out of the water
onto the sand that threatened to burn the soles of
his feet. "Hot!" he cried out before coming to a
rest on the beach blanket. "Gaius?" he asked,
confused about why they were talking about him of
all people. "A daughter? No. I don't think so," he
said, as he moved to sit down on the blanket and
catch his breath after exerting himself. "He only
just married a short time ago," he commented,
bringing his hand up to the back of his head to rub
it forcefully. "Why? Why do you ask?" he pressed
her, wondering where this all was going. For an
important man he certainly enjoyed his fair share of
Eee! The sand was so hot! Sierra quickly made it to
the blanket where she sat cross-legged. Boy, did she
ever have a juicy scoop of gossip for him! "He must
not be happily married.." She commented, wishing she
could erase the image of them kissing from her mind.
"Remember when I told you about the girl attacking
you and how I was able to yank out some of her hair?
DNA confirmed her to be a Rodney. She was there with
Gaius in his room. She is *his* daughter. There was
no sign of his wife. They returned home after I had
placed the device. I heard them scheming against us.
It was Gaius' daughter who shot the Emperor's
advisor. I'm certain it was she who killed your
father. They had a knife. They spoke of attempting
to kill you again soon." Her eyebrows remained
furrowed. There was more.
Claudius' face froze as he processed the
information. The information that Sierra had just
revealed was worthy of a HoloNet drama. "Gaius has a
daughter? And she was the one who poisoned your
shampoo?" he asked her, as he lowered his head
between his knees and tried desperately to calculate
his next move. "He is responsible for our security.
If he is truly behind it that who can we turn to?"
he asked, looking up at her with his brown eyes for
any source of support. "I would have him arrested,
but he is the person who arrests people!" he said,
nearly laughing at the absurdity of it all. "And we
cannot reveal this to the Governor, because he would
only use it as further justification to take control
of even palace security," he said, before rolling
over onto his side. Nowhere seemed safe right now.
She nodded, "I'm sure. They were responsible for the
bomb at Jelena's funeral." The list of the crimes
Gaius and his daughter had committed was lengthy.
Sierra, once again, felt the need for revenge. She
inched closer to him. Her hands ran through his hair
softly. She had to laugh with him. It really was
insanity, wasn't it? It all made perfect sense at
the same time. The medcenter surveillance showed no
proof of the girl ever being there, despite Sierra
seeing her with her own two eyes. "I've been
thinking about what the next best step is. The
evidence against Gaius and his daughter will grow by
the day. You could strip him of his post for
sedating me in the medcenter. Take his power away,
make him furious, and catch him in the act while
he's too stupid to be careful. The Governor may be
here, but you are still the Duke." Sierra scooted
close to him from behind. Her small hands started to
massage his back. "We need to head back to the
castle briefly to bug our old room. There's more
than the appropriate amount of affection happening
between those two. When I escaped, they were headed
to utilize our bed." And there was the second scoop
of family gossip for the day!
"Our bed? We'll have to burn it," Claudius said, as
horrible images danced through his brain, forever
traumatizing him. "Bugging rooms, eh? Spoken like a
true ISB Commander," he said, with a teasing wink,
but he had to admit it was a very sound strategy.
"And you know how to do this?" he asked her, not
entirely sure if he wanted the answer. There was
nothing he hated more than the ISB, other than the
new Governor of course. The massage was much needed,
particularly at a time like this, and every motion
of her hands served to wipe away the difficulties of
life. "I never thought the day would com when we'd
be safer and have more privacy aboard the
Dreadnaught," he mused, rolling his eyes as he
further considered their plight.
"And spread the ashes over the sea." Her nose
twitched behind him. It was odd at a level she had
never seen before. She scooted closer to him. Her
swollen stomach pressed against his lower back while
she paid specific attention to every knot in his
back. Every day was more complicated than the last.
If she could give him five minutes of peace and
relaxation, she'd do anything. "Heyyy! You knew what
you were in for when you married me!" She laughed.
"Ah, you know how it is. I was forced to record all
of my patients therapy sessions. If someone was too
far gone then they simply disappeared." She sighed,
hating to think of the things she had a hand in.
"Bugging Gaius' room was the first time I'd done it
since then. I don't like being tricky like that. I
feel like there's no other choice at this point. I
want to keep you safe."
It was odd: Claudius was *right*. Arden Zevrin
seemed like a small enemy now. She wondered what
they should do. Running away had never seemed
better. "Should we... Should we go back? If Gaius
strives to be Duke so much, you could appoint him
Regent and allow him to deal with the Governor." She
looked towards the construction of their home. "It's
hard to decide what's best for our family. If we
could get Papius to leave, everything would be
better. Instead, he's making our people feel hostile
towards the Empire. We were working to make this a
smooth transition..." Sierra suddenly remembered the
bomb that Papius had dropped while tormenting her.
Her hands stopped for a brief moment. "There's one
Claudius arched an eyebrow silently as she discussed
her controversial patients disappearing ... such was
the nature of the ISB. The decision to go back would
not be an easy one. The Emperor had made it clear he
preferred Arden Zevrin's strategy for dealing with
the Rebellion, which was counterintuitive to
everything he believed as a diplomat. "Truthfully I
never intended to stay this long," he shared with
her, as he broke eye contact, lost in contemplative
thought. "...but spending time with you here
prevented me from ever wanting to go back," he
continued, feeling quite guilty that he had
abandoned his duties. "I would love nothing more
than to rid this planet of Governor Arundel. The
question is whether to undermine him and cause him
to fail, or aide him and cause him to get
promoted..." he wondered, bringing his hand up to
stroke his jowls. "What? What more?" he asked her,
tilting his head to look her in the eyes again. He
could not imagine what more there was to come.
Sierra clutched him close. "You're not the only one
feeling like that. While my allegiance towards the
Empire still exists, I was ignorant to the true
workings of the ISB when I joined them. It's been
relieving to space myself from all of that. I've
been *happy* here with you." She didn't want to
abandon their new home and the life they were
created on Delaya. "Let's undermine him." Sierra
nearly growled. She wanted to see Papius suffer for
stripping her nude. No one had ever humiliated her
so badly in her life. Retribution could make it
right. Sierra lifted her head to look at him. Her
hands guided him to roll over and face her. She
closed her eyes, shaking while recalling the
terrible moment. When she opened them, she began to
speak. "Once he had me undressed ... he said... 'If
all women from Alderaan looked like you, it was a
pity *we* destroyed it.'" Sierra's lower lip
quivered. All the details of that meeting with
Papius would haunt her until she numbed herself to
it. She wiped tears from her eyes. "H-He said no
more about it. It seemed like an accidental slip."
"All right. Then we shall stay and be a thorn in
this Governor's side," Claudius vowed, as he took
her hand into his own and clenched it. However, the
conversation soon took a decidedly darker turn that
he could not have possibly imagined. "No! That's not
true! That's impossible!" he said, as he looked at
her in disbelief. "The Rebels were responsible.
Clearly he was saying that simply to provoke you and
get an emotional response," he said to her, as he
lowered his head in shame. Jelena believed the
Empire was responsible, as did a number of his
people, but he refused to believe the Emperor was
capable of such an action. After that he grew
silent, cold, and withdrawn. So much had happened
... more than he was prepared for.
It made sense. Papius had exposed her both
physically and emotionally. He made her feel
terrible, then he used his words as the most
effective kind of weapon. It had worked. It really,
really had. She watched him lower his head and
withdraw into his shell...and she didn't like it.
Times had been hard, but they had survived every day
as a joint effort. It was her turn to swoop in and
take him away from the darkness. Her hands cupped
his cheeks. She looked at him, treasuring the man
she had almost lost a week ago. "Claudius," she
spoke softly. "Come with me." In her bright, blue
eyes there was determination. Papius couldn't drown
out the flame that burned within her.
She gave him no choices. The blonde haired teenager
rose. She took both of his hands and pulled until he
was on his feet. Sierra led him back to the tent,
where their privacy was undeniable. Finally, she
stopped dragging him around once she had made it to
the bathroom. Why? Because baths did wonders for
them. Refusing to take no for an answer, she
undressed him, then herself, and when the bath was
full with a combination of water and bubbles, she
led him into the sudsy water. Sierra trapped him by
settling in his lap as opposed to all the other
space in the tub. She stared at him with admiration
and love. "You, sir, are going to spend the rest of
the day *relaxing*. Just turn it off. All of our
worries can be saved for tomorrow. No one will
bother us here." And if they did, it would be Sierra
who screamed at whoever this time around. She took
his hands, placing them upon her curved hips. "I'm
sorry I even suggested going back. Despite all
that's happened...that's happening...I still love
our life here. I appreciate everything you've built
up for us. Think about it, our home is already over
halfway complete. In a few months time, we will be
*living* there. I guarantee that everything will be
taken care of before then. We'll get rid of Papius
one way or another. Delaya will recover. While there
were so many bad parts about today, there were good
ones too. I met with some people to discuss options
for cleaning up the city's pollution. You left the
hospital. You *recovered*." She touched his hair
softly. "We're unstoppable when we're together. You
should hold your head high, my love. You are an
Claudius was still shocked by Sierra's information
concerning Papius and the destruction of Alderaan
when she began to lead him away from the beach
blanket. He was in no condition to resist and
dutifully followed her, as if he was a pet being
guided by a leash. Much to the delight and confusion
of the Delayan sea cow the Viper probe droid briefly
raised out of the water to monitor them again,
transmit the data, and disappear beneath the waves.
"Is that an official directive from the ISB? Will I
disappear if I don't relax?" he asked, playfully,
"Don't apologize," he said to her, as his hand moved
to brush the side of her face. "Thank you for all of
your support," he said to her, as he settled into
the tent, with her hands running over him. "You're
not so bad yourself," he told her, as he raised his
head up and placed a tender, loving kiss upon her
face. "I love you," he pledged to her, as the kiss
broke. The sea islands were a wonderful destination,
but Sierra's presence made it paradise.
Sierra's nose twitched as she began to laugh. "As a
matter of fact, you will! I will see to it that you
are held captive here until you behave." A smile
crept up her lips. Her heart ached so much for him.
The rollercoaster that they rode together only made
her appreciate and love him more. He was always
there, *always* standing at her side. "Thank you for
all of your support," she repeated, knowing full
well that she would be a weak, sad nothing without
him. They shared a kiss that made everything seem a
lot better. "I love you. For now. For forever." She
cupped his head in her hands. After an impossible
day, Sierra found herself feeling good. Claudius
made that possible. She would *never* let him fall
into depression or become entirely overwhelmed by
the day to day happenings.