Darth Maul Can't Get There from Here
[Read jedimom's author bio]
Explanation and disclaimers:
This story is based on the Sith Academy stories invented by Siubhan. It won't make any sense unless you first read a selection of the stories. Numbers 28, 29, 70, 71, 82 and 83 are particularly relevant. You should also know that this story does NOT fit several important criteria established by Siubhan--in other words, this is not a Sith Academy story; it's more in the nature of a spinoff, or a bridge between the Sith Academy and The Phantom Menace.
The Jedi and the Sith belong to George Lucas. Darth Mary Sue belongs to Katherine the Art Chick. The Sith Academy belongs to Siubhan. Thanks to all of the above for letting me play too.
"I have an assignment for you, my slovenly apprentice."
Maul sighed heavily. "What is it this time, my Master?"
"You are getting in a rut. Every Friday night you go down to the Grey Side of the Force and end up in bed with your undeniably attractive neighbor. It's time you did something a little...different."
Maul struggled not to grind his teeth. "And what might that be, Master?"
"I want you to go to the Grey Side as usual, come home with Kenobi, do whatever the two of you find appealing...and kill him."
Maul sat stunned. "Unfortunately the Senate will be in special session until late, so I won't be able to watch you, but I've installed recording devices throughout Kenobi's apartment. So do make it a night worth replaying, won't you, Maul?"
Maul didn't even move as his master swished out the door.
Obi-Wan Kenobi hummed to himself as he pulled out his keys. Classes were finally over and the weekend stretched invitingly ahead. He smiled as he unlocked his door--a more wicked smile than the bland expression he wore at the Jedi Academy.
"Obi-Wan!" The padawan looked up, startled. His neighbor Maul was leaning out into the corridor. I hadn't noticed until now, thought Obi-Wan, but he hardly ever calls me by my first name.
"Are you planning to go out to the Grey Side tonight?" Maul continued.
"Yeah, sure. Why, aren't you?"
"I had something... different in mind," said Maul. A wealth of meaning insinuated itself into the pause. Obi-Wan flushed slightly.
"Well, I suppose I could stand a change of pace," said the padawan coyly. "What had you planned?"
Maul pulled his lightsaber out from behind his back. "Let's go down to the Academy gym and try a few rounds. We've never actually sparred with each other, you know? I'd like to see what you've got."
"That's what you wanted to do instead of go to the Grey Side?" pouted Obi-Wan. "It's not like I don't spend all week on lightsaber training. Besides, the gym's not even open on Friday nights. Most of us have better things to do."
"You've never done any lightsaber training with me, said Maul persuasively, with a subtle nudge from the Force. "And I know someone who's very good with locks...."
Images of sweaty bodies locked in combat...or something...stealthily entered Obi-Wan's mind. He swallowed. "Um...I am sort of tired of the Grey Side..."
Maul grinned like an Opee sea killer. "Wear your uniform," he suggested.
It was early spring and evening brought a pleasant chill to the air. Maul and Obi-Wan took Maul's new glossy-black speeder to the Academy campus, leaving the top down. As they parked in the nearly-vacant deck nearest the gym, the last flush of sunset faded from the tower of the Temple, giving way to the perpetual twilight of Coruscant's night.
Obi-Wan made short work of the lock. The gym was eerily silent and dark. A high clerestory transmitted a dim glow from the haze above the city, reflecting off the mats on the floor as a faint gleam, but leaving the walls and ceiling invisible. Obi-Wan moved to turn on the lights. "Don't," said Maul quickly. "We'll have enough light from the lightsabers." His silky voice echoed in the vast, empty room. Obi-Wan felt a pleasant shiver.
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather use practice sabers?" he suggested halfheartedly. "Of course, none of them are two-sided..."
"What, are you getting wussy on me?" snorted Maul. "Practice sabers? Why not just have a pillowfight? Come on, Obi-Wan, we're good enough to use the real thing without killing each other."
"How will we keep score then?"
"Fight to disarm. Loser buys the drinks afterwards." Maul stepped back a few paces and began limbering up. Obi-Wan sighed, regretting for a moment that Maul had worn his Sith uniform rather than his more usual--and more revealing--Friday night garb, but reflected that the leather pants would hardly be suitable for fighting. He did some stretches and unclipped his lightsaber from his belt.
Maul's lightsaber ignited, lighting up an unholy smirk.
Within a minute and a half, both combatants had gained new respect for each other's prowess.
Within five minutes, they were both beginning to sweat and grinning like maniacs.
Within ten minutes they were laughing out loud.
Finally, after fifteen minutes of high-speed gymnastics and hair's-breadth escapes from sizzling death, Obi-Wan's blade lightly tapped the hilt of Maul's saber between his hands. Sparks exploded from the metal; Maul's gloves began to smoke and he dropped his saber with a muffled "Fuck!" The two-sided saber deactivated automatically.
"You buy the drinks," panted Obi-Wan as he switched off his saber.
Barely visible in the sudden blackness, Maul lunged for him. "After we try a little hand-to-hand," he grunted.
The two of them lay atop a tangle of sweaty robes on the floor of the gym. Obi-Wan, lying across Maul's chest and tracing his biceps with one finger, smiled into the darkness. "You're right. This was better than the Grey Side," he said softly.
Maul growled deep in his chest. Obi-Wan snuggled closer, enjoying the resonance. With uncharacteristic gentleness, Maul cupped his hand around the back of the padawan's head and drew him closer for a long kiss. Obi-Wan turned to nip the palm of Maul's hand, drawing a hiss of pain from him.
"Oh, shit, Maul, I'm sorry. I forgot," said Obi-Wan, rising to his knees and taking Maul's singed hand in both of his. "Let me see what I can do for that." Much to Obi-Wan's surprise, Maul didn't resist as he used the Force first to ease the pain in the scorched hands and then to speed the healing of the blisters that had begun to appear. Damn, he certainly is mellow tonight, Obi-Wan mused. Has he been dipping into the Ecstasy again? No, he couldn't fight like that if he were high...which reminds me.
"Don't forget, you still have to buy the drinks," he said.
"Why don't we get a couple of six-packs and go back to your place," leered Maul. "I have another idea." Obi-Wan chuckled and began sorting through the pile of damp clothing, trying to separate his garments from Maul's by touch alone.
Back at Obi-Wan's apartment, Maul excused himself briefly to change clothes while Obi-Wan put away the beer and then headed for the shower. Once in his own apartment, he picked up the vidphone and dialed rapidly.
"You have reached Mary Sue. I screen my calls. If I don't want to talk to you you will never reach me. Leave your name and number, unless I hate your face, in which case, bite me." *Beep!* , said the familiar recording.
"Mary Sue. It's Maul. I have something you may be interested in."
"If you're talking about screwing, I'm not interested," Darth Mary Sue scowled as she activated the viewscreen. "Besides, I have to be at work in an hour."
"How about ruining your mother's reputation?"
"Now you have my attention. Go on."
"First things first. If I give you information you can use to disillusion your mother's faithful followers, will you do a favor for me?"
"That depends. What kind of favor?"
"I need you to come over to your brother's apartment and keep him out of my way for a very short time."
"First let's have the information."
"All right." Maul proceeded to inform Mary Sue of the interesting condition of Dartha Stewart's kitchen. She grinned a slow, evil grin as she considered the uses to which this knowledge could be put.
"You've got yourself a deal, Maul."
"Good. Here's what I want you to do..."
Obi-Wan was just getting out of the shower when the doorbell rang. Maul, freshly attired in jeans and a plain black t-shirt, took his Pete's Wicked Ale out onto the balcony as Obi-Wan wrapped a beige towel around his hips and went to answer the door.
"Mary Sue! What a surprise! Come in!"
Maul slammed the last half of his beer and shut the sliding glass door.
"What brings you over here at this hour of the night?"
Maul stretched luxuriously and reached out with the Force to Darth Mary Sue's mind. NOW!
Mary Sue tripped Obi-Wan, twisted his arm behind him and knelt on his back.
Maul executed a perfect backflip off the balcony. Five... four... three... two...
"What the hell are you---MAUL!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Qui-Gon Jinn sat in the bleachers of the Jedi Academy arena and watched worriedly as his padawan went through a series of lightsaber exercises. Obi-Wan moved as if he were sleepwalking. As well he might be; Qui-Gon suspected that his apprentice hadn't been getting much sleep. And not for the usual reasons. Since the death of his tattooed boyfriend, Obi-Wan hadn't set foot in the Grey Side of the Force. Nor had he been interested in his Master's attempts at comforting him. Not that Obi-Wan had rejected Qui-Gon's advances; he'd simply...endured. Qui-Gon winced.
Down in the arena, Obi-Wan went through his exercises mechanically. His face was expressionless, but inside the mental shields that were becoming second nature to him, he was screaming.
Damn you, Maul! How could you do this to me?
Obi-Wan set his teeth as the training remote kicked up to its highest speed. He dodged, ducked, leaped and parried the low-energy plasma bolts the device was firing at him. He hardly seemed to notice them.
Damn you, if you were still alive I'd kill you myself!
Drenched with sweat, the padawan executed a blurringly fast sequence of moves culminating in an attack that left the remote in four smoking pieces on the sand of the arena. He switched off his lightsaber and stood panting, head down.
A deep, menacing chuckle echoed through his mind. Inside his shields. Obi-Wan froze.
Obi-Wan, you are hot shit, purred a familiar silky voice.
Qui-Gon sighed as he watched his padawan head for the showers with an even blanker expression than usual.
"Good for training, adversity is. Make a Jedi stronger it does," Master Yoda said. Qui-Gon rolled his eyes.
"It's true, I've never seen your padawan fight like this before," Mace Windu commented.
Down in the arena, in front of a packed and wildly enthusiastic crowd, Obi-Wan was facing three other padawans in the final round of the end-of-year Jedi Intramurals. His blue eyes blazed to match his lightsaber. Far from the lifeless, automatic demeanor he had showed only a week ago, Kenobi's feral grace was breathtaking. A dimple showed in his right cheek as he threw each of his opponents off-balance and effortlessly parried their bewildered attacks. By the time he had disarmed them all he was grinning broadly. Yess! two voices said together in the privacy of his inmost thoughts.
Darth Sidious was snarling as he took the hidden lift down to the secret installation buried beneath his vacation home on Naboo. All that time and trouble and the little bastard had betrayed him. And not even rising up and trying to slay him like a proper Sith, which would have been SOME consolation.
Ah, well. A Sith always has a backup plan, Sidious thought smugly. The door slid open silently before him. The underground room, illuminated only by the lights from the bacta tanks along the walls, was soothingly quiet. Sidious paused to admire the dark muscular forms of his former apprentice's four clones. Two floated passively, asleep; two made swimming motions as the life-support software put them through a conditioning program. Their eyes and ears were hidden by the input devices that were constantly feeding them visual and auditory stimuli; a mesh of fine wires and electrodes covered them from head to foot, supplying tactile sensations. The clones experienced a synthetic reality carefully designed by Sidious to train them, waking and sleeping, in the skills and attitudes appropriate to a Sith apprentice. Sidious walked over to the nearest tank and triggered the controls to awaken the clone within. As the fluid drained off, the clone stood and began to remove the visual and auditory inputs. The tank's door opened automatically as the last of the bacta drained out. The clone opened blazing eyes, unknowingly looking on the real world for the first time.
"What is thy bidding, my Master?"
"Maul, it is time we took a trip together. I have several tasks for you which I think you will enjoy. Oh, and you'll be getting a tattoo..."
"As you wish, my Master."
Sidious smiled at the thought that someday, perhaps not too far in the future, Kenobi would find himself looking into his former lover's face. A few seconds' hesitation could well decide a lightsaber battle. This might work out even better than his original plan.
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