Life Lessons at the Sith Academy, Part IX
by Siubhan, with Katherine the Art Chick
[Read Siubhan's author bio]
"My apprentice, I have a new task... I don't believe it." Sidious stopped in his tracks and stared incredulously at the sight before him.
Maul put down his lightsaber and asked, "Don't believe what?"
"You're actually training!" Sidious gasped. "You're not watching television, or playing that infernal PlayStation, or eating horrible breakfast cereal, or spying on your neighbor. You're actually training. I never thought I'd live to see the day when this happened. You may actually rise up and strike me down yet!" he cackled, rubbing his hands together in glee.
Maul rolled his eyes and grabbed a towel to pat his sweaty horns dry. "So what is this new task you have for me, my Master?"
"Come in, my dear," Sidious gestured, and Darth Mary Sue walked in.
"Yo Maul," she grinned, clearly enjoying the sight of his bare torso and workout shorts.
Maul eyed her warily. Their last encounter, while ultimately enjoyable, had been fairly vexing as well. "What does she have to do with this?" he asked.
"Ah, you see, I have need of her services," Sidious explained. "There's a group of visiting Hutt dignitaries coming to Coruscant and I'm trying to get them to donate generously to my reelection fund."
"But there are no Hutts on Naboo," Maul noted.
"Maul, this is politics. It doesn't matter that there are no Hutts on Naboo. So long as I promise to put Hutt-friendly loopholes in all legislation pertaining to gambling or slaving or piracy, they don't care if I'm the senator from the forest moon of Endor. So, as I was saying, I'm trying to get them to donate obscene sums of money to my reelection fund, and I thought, who better to help me with that than Darth Mary Sue here? I'm going to need her services for a week to help keep the Hutts entertained. They rather like dancing girls in metal bikinis."
Mary Sue shuddered visibly at that. "Remember, no physical contact," she snapped.
"Of course," Sidious replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. "However, as you can see, her rage is quite highly honed when it comes to dealing with her clients, and since it's nearly that time of the month for her, her progesterone levels are spiking alarmingly. It wouldn't do for her to go on a hormone-induced rampage and strangle them with their own tongues before they write their checks, so I need a small favor from you."
Maul asked, "You need me to be her bouncer? Her prop guy? Her mean boyfriend?"
"No," Sidious grinned. "Nothing so mundane. I need you to take her PMS."
Before Maul could open his mouth to protest, Sidious took Mary Sue's hand and zotted Maul with a flash of purple lightning.
Turning to Mary Sue, Sidious asked, "How do you feel, my pretty?"
A huge smile spread across her face. "Wow! I feel pretty damn good!"
"And you Maul?"
Maul stood there in a daze.
"Maul?" Sidious prompted. "Come on now. Don't be shy."
"I feel like I need a pint of Ben and Jerry's, a quilt, and a bad romance novel."
"Excellent. This should help you hone your rage. Well, see you in a week!"
This had to be the worst trial he'd faced yet.
Maul stood in front of the bathroom mirror, poking gingerly at his stomach. He was bloated. Sith lords weren't supposed to bloat, but there it was, plain as day. How the hell was he supposed to go to the corner store to stock up on Ben & Jerry's if he couldn't even zip up his damn jeans? Normally, he wouldn't give a rat's ass how well groomed he was, but somehow today, he did.
Right, he had an old pair of Miskatonic University sweats around here somewhere... Ah, there they were. Ooh, the fleece felt so nice and cozy against his skin.
He blinked. Where the hell did that come from?
Plodding out of the bedroom in his ratty sweats, he turned to his cat and asked, "Do these make me look fat?"
She looked up from licking her butt, tongue still sticking out of her mouth, and Maul stifled a sudden urge to scoop her up and cuddle her. She was so cute!
Argh! This PMS business was intolerable. Somehow, he knew that the only solution was Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. Or maybe their Low Fat Fudge Brownie Frozen Yogurt. Or both. Yes, both.
And maybe some Chubby Hubby.
Maul grabbed his wallet, making sure Kenobi's American Express card was still in there, and stepped out of his apartment to go raid the nearby Store 24.
"Hi neighbor!" Obi-Wan said as he passed Maul in the hallway.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Maul snarled.
"I know that comment meant something," Maul frothed. "You're implying that I spend too much time at home alone, aren't you? Or is this a comment about how I never called you back for a second date? Well, you asked me out, pal, you should call me back!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, Maul. I didn't mean to hurt you..."
"ARGH!!!!!! WHERE IS MY ICE CREAM!?!?!?!" Maul bellowed as he shoved the annoying padawan out of the way and stalked to the elevators. This was all some Jedi trick to keep him from his ice cream. Yes, that was it. And Obi-Wan probably thought he was too fat to ask out on a second date. The bastard!
Maul stepped into the elevator and went back over that last train of thought. "I am going to kill Sidious!" he chanted as he banged his head repeatedly against the elevator wall.
Half an hour later, Maul came back carrying two huge Store 24 shopping bags. One was laden with Ben & Jerry's, one with tortilla chips, salsa, and noxious yellow jalapeño cheese dip. He'd also gone by the video rental place and gotten copies of Casablanca and something called Woman Warriors at the River of Blood. The title sounded good, even if he'd never heard of Klingons before. For something from the "romance" section, there was an awful lot of gore on the cover.
As he sidled up to his apartment, he saw Obi-Wan standing there holding a dozen roses, a box of chocolates, and a teddy bear with a crown of little horns sticking out of its head. "I'm sorry for hurting your feelings," he said, big puppy-dog eyes flashing dangerously.
Maul took one look at the peace offering and felt the strangest sensation. His lower lip was quivering. He stopped to try and figure out what had gone wrong with his lip muscle, and realized that his nose had gotten runny. How strange. Was he developing allergies? That must be it, because his eyes were getting watery too.
Maul closed his eyes and mustered every evil thought in his arsenal in a desperate attempt to keep from crying in front of the padawan. But the teddy bear was so cute, and it was so sweet of him to...
He was going to kill Sidious for this.
Clearing his throat, Maul said, "You shouldn't have done this."
"But you were right. I should have asked you on a second date."
"It's because I'm fat, isn't it?"
"No, you're not fat! I mean, sure, you've put on a little weight, but it looks good on you."
"I knew it!" Maul roared. "Die!!!!!" He dropped the bags and reached out to throttle his twit neighbor, but a sharp pain in his lower back stopped him, and he hissed and grabbed his back reflexively.
"Ooh, does your back hurt? I give good backrubs," Obi-Wan offered.
Maul looked at him through pain-slitted eyes, swallowed his pride, and hissed. "That would be lovely."
Obi-Wan scooped up Maul's bags and followed him into the apartment. "Gee, looks like you're a big fan of Ben & Jerry's!" he gushed. "I'll just stick these in your freezer for you."
"You do that," Maul groaned as he grabbed a bottle of whiskey off the kitchen table and started guzzling. Maybe this would make him feel better. Alcohol was a muscle-relaxant, right?
"So, shall I give you your backrub on the sofa?" Obi-Wan asked helpfully.
"Sure, what the hell?" Maul replied, carrying the whisky with him into the living room and plunking down on the sofa with an audible "oof."
"I couldn't help noticing the videos you'd rented. I love Casablanca! Can I watch it with you?"
Maul grunted noncommittally, took another huge swig of whiskey, then looked over at the box of chocolates and was hit by a massive wave of longing. Every cell in his body cried out as one for chocolate, so he upended the entire box into his mouth and started chewing happily. Ah, this was good. This hit the spot. Ooh, coconut creme!
Obi-Wan sat down on the sofa behind Maul and said, "I'm glad you like the chocolates."
Maul grunted again and finished chewing, then washed them down with some more whiskey.
"So, are you going to take off your sweatshirt so I can rub your back?" Obi-Wan asked innocently.
"Okay, but no comments about my stomach being bloated!" Maul groused.
"I'm sure your tummy isn't bloated..."
"I'm not taking this sweatshirt off until you promise not to say anything!"
"Maul, I'm sure..."
"I promise...." Maul yanked his sweatshirt over his head, and Obi-Wan gushed, "Gee, you're... Have I mentioned what a great chest you have?"
Maul felt his lower lip lose control again. "No."
"Well, you do. And you have a great butt, too."
His tear ducts started misfiring once more. "You think so?" he heard himself saying. Argh! Shoot me now! Sidious must die!!!
"Yeah! But you're not feeling so good right now, so I guess I shouldn't take advantage of your vulnerable state."
Maul's brain was suddenly awash with images of the previous times he and Obi-Wan had been in a "vulnerable state" together, and he downed another brisk swig of whiskey in an attempt to drown them out. Argh! Why was he suddenly so horny all of the sudden? If Mary Sue goes through this every month and still maintains a grip on her sanity, he thought, then my respect for her has just increased one hundred fold.
"Just rub my back," he snapped.
"Right-e-o neighbor!" Obi-Wan chirped, and suddenly Maul found himself on the receiving end of the best damn backrub he'd ever experienced. This was better than sex. This was better than the Dark Side. Hell, this was probably better than striking down his master and taking his place. As Maul started melting into a pile of goo, he let out a series of heartfelt groans.
"I take it I found the right spot?" Obi-Wan asked.
Maul simply moaned in reply. Hell, even his horns felt limp.
"Wow, you know, when you make that noise, it reminds me of...well, you know."
For once, Maul didn't care.
"So, how do you feel now?" Obi-Wan asked as he smoothed his hands over Maul's naked back.
Maul babbled something in reply.
"Well, you get some rest, and I'll check up on you tomorrow." Obi-Wan let himself out of the apartment, and Maul melted into the sofa.
His cat leapt up onto his stomach and hissed her displeasure.
"Piss off," Maul grumbled. "I'm relaxed. For once in my miserable Sith life, I'm relaxed."
She hissed again.
"I don't give a rat's ass that relaxation is the path to the Light Side right now. Go away."
She raised a paw and meowed.
Indignantly, she raced into the kitchen and started kicking shit out of her litterbox in protest.
Maul didn't care. He was snoring happily on the sofa.
Maul's happiness was short-lived.
He woke up at 3 in the morning, hungrier than he'd ever been in his life. He ate the tortilla chips and the jalapeño dip, he ate three packages of ramen noodles, he ate the flowers that Obi-Wan gave him. And he ate the Chubby Hubby Ben & Jerry's.
Still, he hungered, but he'd finished all his Count Chocola at breakfast this morning. Casting hungry eyes around his kitchen, he noticed the gleaming stack of his apprentice's tuna cans. He opened one, thinking he would make a sandwich, but for some reason it smelled like a combination of swamp, fish, and old gym socks. Eeugh! No, suddenly he knew what he wanted. A Smixicle. But they quit making those when he was nine, he remembered, and almost burst into tears.
Turning to the empty Count Chocola box, Maul felt his blood pressure shoot through the roof. "You mock me with your emptiness!" he howled, and then set upon it with a kitchen knife. Cardboard flew everywhere, but still he remained unsatisfied. His lightsaber flew into his hand, and with a mighty swing, he smote the box, which disintegrated into a flurry of cardboard dust.
Unfortunately, he also smote a chunk of the kitchen wall in the process. Obi-Wan stuck his head through and asked, "Is everything all right?"
Maul snarled, grabbed him by the nose, and yanked his head through the wall. "Do you have any Count Chocula?"
"Then no! Everything is not all right!" Maul frothed as he shoved Obi-Wan's head back into his own apartment. Using the Force, he plugged up the hole with empty food containers and then stalked back to the sofa.
Great, now his backache was back. Thinking back to earlier that evening, he groaned as he realized how weak he'd looked in front of his miserable Jedi neighbor. That was inexcusable. That was not behavior befitting a Sith Lord. He'd come this close to embracing the Light Side, and he would have to be more careful from now on.
And in the meantime, he had to be sure to avoid Kenobi at all costs. That pesky brat was too damn "helpful" for his own good, and Maul had never felt so vulnerable to the Light Side in all his life as he did now.
There was only one thing to do.
He peered out the peephole on his apartment door to see if it was safe to leave, but for some reason, Obi-Wan seemed to be loitering in the hallway juggling kumquats.
Right, that called for plan two.
Maul put on his harness, grabbed his rappelling gear, climbed on to his balcony, and rappelled down the side of the building. Dashing to Store 24, he loaded up on chips, dip, ramen, Chef Boyardee, Count Chocula, and Midol, then climbed back up to his balcony, ducking back into his apartment seconds before Kenobi headed out to his own balcony with a pogo stick.
Right. He would stay locked in this apartment until he was back to normal.
Then he would kill his master.
By Larkzen. Click to see larger image.
Four days later, Maul was slumped in front of the television, chomping down fistfuls of Midol like popcorn as he watched Casablanca for the fiftieth time. He hadn't changed his clothes in days, and his cat was in stink heaven. Not even tuna fish could dislodge her from her perch on his bloated belly, which she was suckling and kneading with glassy-eyed abandon. The final scene was playing out, and Maul found himself weeping copiously as Bogie said, "We'll always have Paris."
The fifteenth time he'd finished watching this movie, he'd felt strangely compelled to call up Darth Mary Sue and leave her a voice mail message declaring his undying love for her and exclaiming "We'll always have Coruscant!" He'd done it again the twenty first time, and the twenty seventh time, and probably a few times after that. Tears streaking down his cheeks, he picked up the phone to call her again, only to get a recorded message saying that her voice mail was full and he should call back later.
Maul heard a rustling sound from the kitchen, and looked up to see the food containers shaking loose from the hole in the wall. Great. Obi-Wan was back. He plopped his head back down on the sofa, ground his teeth, and decided to pretend it wasn't happening.
"Maul?" Obi-Wan tried see his neighbor through the hole in the wall, but from his vantage point, all he could see were Maul's feet hanging off the end of the sofa. "Maul? Are you all right? I'm going to fix the hole in the wall from my side, and was wondering if you wanted me to come over and fix up your side as well. I have some drywall and spackle!" he chirped helpfully. There was no answer; simply the sound of the ending credits of Casablanca. The feet on the sofa didn't move. "Maul? Do you need an ambulance?"
Maul realized that the twit wasn't about to shut up unless he answered him. "Go away," he groaned.
"Maul, I'm worried about you."
"I said GO AWAY!" he howled as he Force-propelled one of the sofa cushions to block the hole.
Suddenly, Maul felt a sharp pain below his bellybutton.
"Quit it!" he griped at his cat.
The pain came again, and he snatched her off his belly and plopped her on the floor. "I said quit it!"
He felt it again. Then he felt a strange sticky feeling between his legs. He stood up and peeled down his sweat pants, only to see a dark, sticky fluid.
In a blind rage, he bellowed, "But I don't even have the correct orifice!!!!!!!!!"
Maul peeled a bloodshot eye open and peered at the door, but didn't budge from the sofa. He was curled in a fetal ball, and had managed to Mind Whammy the cat into serving as a hot water bottle. A growing stack of used Kotex filled the trash basket by the sofa, and it was starting to attract flies.
Knock knock! "Hello, neighbor? Are you in there?"
"No!" Maul croaked.
"Are you okay? There's an awfully odd smell coming from your apartment, and I thought I'd check up on you to make sure you're all right. After all, last time I saw you, you were looking very unwell."
"I'm dead, now go away!" Maul groaned as another cramp seized him.
"Yes, and decomposing. That's the smell. It's a perfectly normal part of death, now piss off!"
"Would you like some hot soup?"
Soup? Damn, he was hungry! He'd eaten everything in the apartment last night and hadn't had the energy to go out for more. But suddenly, the thought of food standing just on the other side of the door gave him just the burst of energy he needed.
Flinging the cat aside, Maul raced to the door, ripped it open, and snatched the soup from Obi-Wan's hands. Guzzling it down in mere milliseconds, Maul smacked his lips in satisfaction and turned his eye to his neighbor's open apartment door.
There was sure to be food in there.
Maul made a beeline for the open door and raced for the kitchen. First he tried the air-freshener covered fridge, but the refugees inside politely asked him to close the door, so he turned his attention to the meal currently cooling on the stove top. "Turkey, stuffing, corn, soup, apple pie..." he catalogued, drool forming on his chin in anticipation.
"Oh, that's the dinner I cooked for Qui-Gon," Obi-Wan grinned. "He'll be here any minute."
"Then you'd better call the pizza boy," Maul growled happily as he advanced on the spread with a predatory gleam in his eye.
"Maul! We're back!" Sidious said breezily as he and Mary Sue strode into his apartment. Sidious looked about in horror at empty Ben & Jerry's containers scattered all over the apartment, then chuckled as he saw the quivering stack of used Kotex with a swarm of flies hovering around it. "Oh my, Maul must have really honed his rage on this one."
Maul stepped out from the kitchen, lightsaber activated. "You did this to me," he snarled, advancing menacingly on Sidious.
"Yes, I did," Sidious grinned. "And it worked like a charm too. Those Hutts couldn't fork money at Mary Sue fast enough!
Mary Sue, still looking shell-shocked, hissed, "You agreed, no touching!"
"I lied!" Sidious cried, glowing with evil glee. "You have no idea how enjoyable it is to have two of you to torture."
"My hatred is now complete!!!!!!" Maul bellowed, veins throbbing dangerously at his temples. "I will strike you down and take your place!!!!" With that, Maul launched himself at Sidious, who shrieked and started running off at full speed, Maul in hot pursuit.
Mary Sue sighed and sat down on the sofa next to the kitty. Scritching her between the ears, she smiled and said, "You know, I hope Maul wins. Then he'll have to keep my period forever. I'll bet he'll be really cranky when he goes through menopause."
The cat shivered nervously and hid under the sofa.
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