All of the characters here really belong to Bioware and Electronic Arts, as I only articulate their own story. I am always amazed how much I can lose myself in these tales. Kudos to the Bioware writers who created such exceptional stories - you guys rock!

"You get rid of it, or I will, Lucian. I'll not stand for it." Karen faced her husband in dreadful rage. He watched her sadly. There were times he wondered if Sith nature ran stronger in her than himself and never mind his own family's history of Sith blood and tradition. His brother used to fly into similar rages before they carried him off to be trained, anyway.

"She carries my child, Karen. My child! You can not expect me …" But Karen cut him off, abruptly prodding him in the chest with her small, slender fingers pointed sharply. Lucian inhaled a ragged breath.

"I carry your child, your true child. That bastard will never take from me what's mine, damn you! Do you understand me?"

He glared at her, "That's what this is about, isn't it? It's not even care or concern for the child you're pregnant with. Not so long as you are bettered by its place, its birth!"

"Don't think to undermine me, Lucian! I'll do whatever I have to, to protect what I've worked so hard for!"

"You've worked for nothing, damn you! I've given you everything!"

"And now you've betrayed me! You lying cheat! Right here in our own home. You couldn't even manage it with someone worth having - just a lowborn immoral slut, a mere serving girl! Do what's required, see that that whore's pregnancy is destroyed; destroy her, too, even! I don't care!" Karen stomped her foot against the pretty tiles of the estate's floors with imperious exactitude. Like she was the Emperor himself, tossing out a decree! She sneered up at him, looking far less beautiful than he had ever imagined she could look, "I swear to you, Lucian. If you don't do as I say, I'll bury your name in so much awful scandal, drag it through so much filth and muck that you will never again be able to wear that damn uniform of yours! And that's only if you manage to live through my family's retribution!"

Lucian suddenly hated her. It filled him, burned through him wholly and completely. Like a leaden thing, the hate settled into the warmth of his belly and it stayed.

"I'll never forgive you for this, Karen. I mean it!" He stared at her, his nostrils flaring with his anger. She felt a thrill at the way his dark brown eyes gleamed in his anger, felt the tingling pulse of desire between her legs. But only because she knew she'd won. He would do it. Just as she demanded. The threats to his career and his life had worked. She wondered for a moment which one of those things had been the tipping point.

"You say it like I care, Lucian! Just do it!"

Lucian growled. But he spun around to leave the room, his hands clenched into fists against his sides. His wife's maniacal laughter followed him. Gods, he thought. Don't let my child with that damn woman ever sound like that. Her shrill madness appalled him, the weakness and lack of control it displayed. He wondered if he would ever be able to look at her again without remembering this moment, seeing her like that - her blonde tresses pulled tight into a coifed style and her silver-blue eyes blazing with craziness up at him. Would he ever be able to see her and forget, or gods ... could he ever touch her again, without wanting to strangle her? He would have to try, at the least. He wouldn't lose his child to her, nor her blasted sister, either. Bitches! They wouldn't win either of his children, damn them!

He stalked through the apartments, towards the kitchen where Karen had thrust Tamerie hours earlier. He could hear the bangs she was making against the locked pantry door's surface as he neared the room, and he stopped in place to listen to her, breathing hard.

Tamerie was too young for this fight, this deception they would have to make. She was too sweet and precious, always smiling and laughing through whatever challenge life threw at her. She never despised him for owning her, buying her - only laughed as she told him how much she loved him, regardless. He should send her far-off, somewhere she would be safe. Maybe the Core Worlds, even. But his every sense twisted with pain at the thought of losing her.

He hated himself just then. Because he wasn't strong enough, not to resist the temptation of her love and attention. For being unable to turn away and forget the shine of her blue eyes. If only he'd never given in to the pull, the desperate want of her, not allowed himself the glory and wonder of their passion – then, he might have saved her for something better and more whole than the sad future which was all he could promise her, now.

Eventually it would destroy them both, he knew.

So he hugged her close to him, when she tumbled out of the pantry into his arms, gasping in fear and terror. He hugged her and caressed her only slightly rounding tummy, leaning down to whisper in her ear how dreadfully sorry he was she was so afraid for just that long a time. Then he set her away from him, gazed seriously into her flower-blue eyes, and he told her what they were going to do to keep their baby safe.