by the Intrepid Housemate Melissa TM
[Read Melissa's author bio]
Note: This is sort of a follow-up to "Getting Physical."
Maul stood in front of the floor-length mirror, snarling at the little curve of stomach that was poking out above the waistline of his shorts. "Damn Sidious and his re-election campaign, damn Mary Sue and her PMS, and damn Ben and Jerry's!" he cursed, knowing that it was his phantom-PMS-induced ice cream fits that had led him to this sorry state. In a fit of rage he summoned his lightsaber to his hand, lit it, and wreaked mighty vengeance upon the offending mirror.
The exercise left him breathing a bit heavily.
I am in deep poodoo, Maul realized. His master, Darth Sidious, a.k.a. The Kindly Senator Palpatine, might be able to get away with a little extra padding around the waist, but he was so powerful with the Force that it hardly mattered. The man could knock people down with one electric zap from his delicately manicured fingers. Maul, on the other hand, depended on his physical prowess in order to keep up with his master's daily and unpredictable demands.
My Apprentice looked up from her napping place in the semi-clean laundry basket. Oh, and breaking the mirror is your solution? she telepathed with a disdainful tone.
Maul waved his hand, using the Force to sweep the shattered glass under a pizza box in the corner (much to the delight of the fungal colony living inside, which immediately took the pieces and began to build Mirrorhenge). "No, breaking the mirror was my entertainment," he sneered, reaching for the laundry basket. "Move it. I need my jogging shorts."
My Apprentice looked up at him, startled. You aren't thinking about... EXERCISE, are you? The cat shuddered distastefully.
"That is exactly what I am thinking about. You could do with some yourself, My Apprentice," Maul said, poking a finger into his cat's soft tummy. "Maybe then you'd manage to catch that hamster next door."
Fuck you and the Tauntaun you rode in , she thought, sinking her teeth deep into Maul's hand.
Two weeks later, Maul was still putting himself through a vigorous exercise program. The things that kept him going were the stubborn bit of stomach that refused to lie flat, and the fact that Sidious had not put in one of his surprise visits since before Maul destroyed the mirror. From experience, Maul knew that the more time that passed between visits, the more "creative" were the requests made of him when his master finally did appear.
After a round of sit-ups and arm curls (using the Sith Handbook as his dumbbell), Maul ran a grueling race up the flights of stairs in the apartment building to the roof. The ancient student housing complex was actually fairly short for Coruscant, and the building was permanently shadowed by the hulking spacescrapers that surrounded it. The roof was covered in years of debris that had been abandoned by previous tenants or carelessly dropped from the ships and speeders that raced high above. No one ever came up here. Maul loved it.
Maul lit his lightsaber. Slowly he spun it around his body and above his head. A flock of grimy pigeons scattered out of his way, annoyed at being disturbed. With increasing speed, Maul began to run, leap, and twirl across the junk-strewn landscape of the roof, striking out at the objects around him with deadly accuracy. He skewered a moth-eaten dressmaker's dummy right through the middle. He sliced an old droid in half and used the Force to fling its head to the far side of the roof. He deflected a landslide of ancient Universal Geographic magazines, abandoned by previous tenants years ago. Maul felt at one with the Force, felt it coursing through him, making him strong, fast, and agile. This was the sort of exercise he needed. He was hot shit.
In the sky far overhead, Gustav Solo, the greatest pirate and smuggler on Coruscant, jettisoned his cargo of bootleg Viagra pills just before the Customs Patrol caught up with him and boarded his ship. The boxes tumbled in a free-fall, heading straight for the roof of the apartment building below.
Intuitively, Maul backflipped out of the way of one box, dodged another, and sliced a third with his lightsaber. Little blue pills scattered everywhere. As Maul twisted to dodge the fourth and final box, he stepped squarely on a carpet of pills, causing his feet to roll out from under him. Unable to keep his balance, Maul fell face-down. A searing pain burned across his midsection. The box landed not a foot away from him, bursting open in a shower of little blue medical miracles.
Peeling his face out from the pile of used lipstick tubes in which he'd landed, Maul growled with disgust. Stupid! Oh, he was glad that Sidious hadn't been there to see this fuckup. He'd never have heard the end of it. What the hell had he just done to his stomach? He must have pulled several muscles, the way it ached.
Maul flipped himself over gingerly, dislodging a small avalanche of pills that had pooled between his shoulders. He looked down at his abdomen to see what was wrong.
He saw his lit lightsaber where his stomach should be.
By ChibiMaul [no valid email address]. Click to see larger image.
"Oh, shit," he whispered. "I've just killed myself!"
Unexpectedly, Maul threw his head back and began to laugh. "This is ridiculous!" he said to the pigeons, who had gathered on a nearby pipe to watch the scene. A hysterical edge tinged his voice. "I'm a trained Sith lord, and I'm going to die up here on this roof with only you guys for company because of some stupid training accident! Isn't that crazy?" The birds cooed at him quizzically. Maul laughed again. "And I even had warning! Yes, I did," he insisted to the pigeons, who were now beginning to back away from the crazy man. "I had a vision of cutting myself in half in that crazy Jedi-Force grove of trees in the arboretum, while Sidious was snarfing all of Obi-Wan's Jedi Scout cookies! This must be what it meant!" Maul lay back on the cosmetics pile and allowed the hysterical laughter to take over.
After a few moments, Maul noticed something. He wasn't dead yet. He raised his head and looked at his lower body. His legs were still twitching. In fact, despite the damage, he didn't appear to be dying with any great speed at all. He wasn't even bleeding all that much. And what had started as a sharp pain was now becoming an itch. A severe and persistent itch, all across the edge where the lightsaber had cut through him.
"Do you suppose," he said to the watching pigeons, "that it's remotely possible that this isn't a fatal injury?" The pigeons offered no opinion, choosing to preen their feathers instead. "I mean, no one knows what species I am," Maul continued, staring intently at the edge where his body had been sliced in two, feeling the hysteria rising again. "Maybe my legs will grow back. Maybe my legs will grow a new head! Maybe there will be two of me!!"
A pigeon fluttered down, perched on the back of his knee, and pooped white crud on his jeans.
Instantly, rage replaced hysteria. "Get off my legs, you damned flying rat!" Without thinking, Maul yanked his lightsaber out from his midsection and waved it as threateningly as he could. "Shit on my jeans, will you?" he howled. "I'll wipe out the lot of you and use your feathers as cat toys!" Indignant, the whole flock arose and resettled on the far side of the roof.
The familiar and welcome rush of hatred brought Maul back to his senses. "OK," Maul muttered to himself, trying to calm down and concentrate. "Keep your head straight and think! What now?"
The first order of business was to shut off his lightsaber and get it out of the way. He wedged it between two abandoned economics textbooks so that it couldn't roll away.
The itching was becoming intolerable! He could almost feel it in both halves of his body, as if there were still some communication between his brain and his legs. Carefully, Maul maneuvered himself to where he could reach out and flip his legs over, so that they faced up like the rest of him. Some ancient instinct, wired into his brain by whatever misbegotten ancestors had left him to his fate with the Tauntauns, told him to line up the upper and lower halves of his body and push them together.
With a disgusting slurping sound, the two parts of his body began to meld back together. Maul lay back, nauseated by the sensation. This was worse than the itching -- he could actually feel his organs moving into position, his spine realigning itself, and his muscles shifting of their own accord. It didn't hurt, exactly, but the bizarre sensation of his body moving in ways that his brain had never commanded squicked him even worse than Palpatine's shopping list from Divine Oscillations.
Ugh, he didn't need that image in his head at a time like this. Maul resorted to a Sith form of meditation, in which the Sith lord mentally reviews his list of enemies and imagines ways of killing them. He usually found it to be a relaxing and satisfying experience, and it would occupy his mind while his body was healing. Yoda he would burn on a pyre built from all the second-rate retail goods that the little green runt had ever tried to sell him. There were several good possibilities for doing in Qui-Gon Jinn; Maul couldn't decide between leaving him tied up and covered in honey for a nest of Neimoidian Fire Ants to devour, serving him up as the main dish at the next Jedi Temple fundraising banquet, or just going for a simple, old-fashioned airlock dump. And then there was his own master, Darth Sidious. Oh yes, there were so many lovely ways one could kill him. So many ways...
After a couple of hours, Maul's body seemed to have settled down. The sun was starting to set, not that it made much difference when the roof was in permanent shadow anyway. Gingerly, Maul rolled over on his side. His legs rolled with him! So far, so good. Slowly and with great care, Maul maneuvered himself onto his knees, snagged his lightsaber, braced himself against a convenient junk pile, and stood up. His knees wavered shakily, but he was standing, and nothing was falling off!
One step at a time, Maul made his way down from the roof. He felt a little uncoordinated, but he hoped that would pass. Once he reached the top floor, he went to the elevator to catch a ride down to his own apartment.
As he waited, Maul thought about the miracle that had just occurred. Whatever species he came from, he could be cut in half and glue himself back together! Maul wondered just what else he could cut off and put back on, but he wasn't about to experiment. How far could this go? What long-range price would this ability extract? One thing was absolutely sure -- Maul would never, ever tell anyone about this. Especially not Sidious.
Only the pigeons would know.
Obi-Wan Kenobi came up the stairs from his latest excursion to the pet store and saw his next-door casual sex partner leaning heavily against the wall outside his apartment. He's tired, poor guy, the padawan thought. Maybe I can help him... relax! Quietly, Obi-Wan snuck up behind Maul, wrapped his arms around him, and hugged him lasciviously.
Obi-Wan stepped back and looked in horror at where his neighbor lay on the floor. What had he done? It looked as if... if... oh, the idea was too awful to contemplate!
"Dammit! That itches!" Maul's upper half yelled angrily. "You idiot, don't ever do that again!" His lower half kicked Obi-Wan in the ankle.
Drugs. It had to be the drugs. All those hallucinogens he'd done during his misspent teenage years. He was having a flashback. Yes, that was it, a flashback. You can't just hug someone in half, you know. Had to be a flashback.
"Ummm... sorry. Gotta go." With Force-enhanced speed, the blurred figure of Obi-Wan sped into his own apartment and headed straight for the bathroom, where he downed a double dose of Jedi Happy Farms pills. As the familiar happy haze fogged his mind, Obi-Wan settled down for a long, soothing evening watching the "TV Land" channel.
"Damn Jedi twit!" Maul spat, literally dragging his sorry ass into the apartment. He shut the door behind him, lay down on the cleanest spot of floor he could find, lined up his halves, and let the healing process start all over again. He sure as hell hoped that after a good night's sleep the connections would be permanent! He lay back and closed his eyes, listening again to the disgusting slurping noises of his body's repair system and trying not to cringe.
Well, at least he'd been able to Mind Whammy Obi-Wan into believing it was all a drug flashback. And, Maul had to admit, the horrified and guilty expression on the padawan's face had been absolutely priceless.
The weight of four furry feet settled on his chest. Maul opened his eyes and looked into the face of My Apprentice, who was exuding an air of smugness. See? the cat thought to him with a self-satisfied purr. I TOLD you exercise was bad for you!
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