Darth Maul Versus the Fireworks
--Inspired by a true fireworks experience
By Kaelia and Teza
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Disclaimer: Lucasfilms owns them, we just play with them...
With a hiss of pain Maul snatched his hand away from My Apprentice, yellow eyes flashing briefly before he turned for the kitchen. "Tuna, of course. No feline has ever needed a flea collar."
With a purr, My Apprentice wound about Maul's feet as he threaded through the trashed apartment, one paw placed just so as the door opened. Maul tripped over the cat, which lashed out with another swat of her paw to add a line of scratches to parallel the first.
"Maul," Sidious said as he stepped over his apprentice's prone form. "It is nearly time for us to make an Appearance."
Blank eyes stared up at Sidious for only a moment before Maul replied, "An Appearance, my Master? At last, we will reveal ourselves to the--"
"--Jedi?" Sidious chortled. "I think not. No, we will be going as the patriotic Palpatine and his dutiful ward." A broad flourish of the double-sided cloak--answering the question 'What do Sith Lords wear under their robes?'--turned the black outfit into garishly colored festival garb in the colors of Coruscant.
"NOOOOO!!!" Maul cried, a glance going to his calendar on the wall. Yes, it was that time: The Rough Estimate of Our Planets Formation into A City, or Dependence Day.
With suitably sadistic chuckle, Sidious--now Palpatine, scourge of wardrobes, flourished a handful of primitive fire devices, sparklers. "Bring your lightsaber, my ward, and find a clean, not un-crunchy, clean, robe to wear. We shall attend the primitive fire party."
Casting a wary glance across the pseudo-grass, Maul trailed after his Master as they made their agonizing way forward. Palpatine paused often to hand out "Vote for Palpatine. Palpatine Pleases" buttons, occasionally just handing out a "Palpatine Pleases" button and his number.
"Why have we never made an Appearance here before, my Master?" Maul asked as he fingered his Downy-soft robe. Damn that twit, Obi-Wan. He put in too much fabric softener; Maul would probably get a rash somewhere unmentionable.
"Simple, My Apprentice, you were never ready for this." Palpatine nodded to another group of wealthy benefactors near the front as Maul eyed the rest of the crowd. Amidst the rich and influential were the citizens of Coruscant. It seemed everyone had turned out for this event.
Maul felt the stirrings of curiosity and resentment well up in his black heart. If they could handle it, these pampered mortals, a Sith Lord could. "Master, these mortals have no special powers, no swellings of the Dark Side in them. Why, then would I not be ready for this?"
Palpatine only chuckled as they finally arrived at their spot. A vibrant blue satin spread covered a patch of the pseudo-grass, a cushioned chair sitting on it with the words "Vote for Me" emblazoned across the back. "Here we are," Palpatine said, pulling the sparklers out of his sleeves. "Now, Maul. Light it."
They were strong in the Dark Side, that much was obvious. Many attempts to light the damnable things had been made, but not one had succeeded.
Initially, Maul had pulled out his new Zippo, subtly casting a glance for any babes as he flipped the top. A flame roared forth at the touch of a talon. I am hot shit, he thought to himself as he coolly set the fire to the sparkler, ready for ignition.
A frown creased his horned brow, as he tried again. Once again, nothing happened. A soft growl escape Maul's lips as he thumbed the Zippo yet again, the flames roaring to a new height.
With a howl, Maul tossed his lighter away, somewhat mollified by the cries of "Ow! Qui-Gon, something hurt me?" That was followed by, "Do you want me to kiss it for you? Perhaps you are in need of being held in my arms and comforted."
Planting his feet, Maul held the sparkler in front of him and to the side in one hand, keeping the other hand carefully out of site. He then reached behind for his lightsaber, swiftly igniting it and swinging it over his head to meet the sparkler dead on.
Maul tossed the sparkler away with a hiss, not even listening to the cries of "Ow! My eye!" that followed.
The last sparkler now lay in Maul's hands. As he eyed the thing, pondering whether a Sith could take on inanimate objects as apprentices, he felt a prodding in his side.
"Did you lose these, neighbor?" came a cheerful voice.
Maul didn't turn, although the gentle prodding slowly became more insistent.
"I'm not sure if they are yours, but the lighter does say Darth Maul on the case, and the sparkler seems to have been melted in half."
Maul turned to snatch the Zippo from the twit's hand, and was greeted by the site of Obi-Wan with a lit sparkler. "Oh," his neighbor added with a certain inflection in his voice. "You can light yours off mine too, if you want."
Maul blinked once, then shrugged it off as he took Obi-Wan's sparkler, lit his off of it, and then crushed his neighbors beneath his boot. "Oops, it fell," he chuckled evilly, returning to his Master with the last sparkler, now brightly lit.
The thing attacked him! Maul suddenly felt a burning sensation on his hand, and threw the sparkler to the ground. A flurry of kicks and stomps reduced it so smoldering metal, and he heard his Masters cackle.
"Good, good! Feel the hate flow through you. Give in to your anger, only then will your hatred be enough to strike me down with!" Palpatine crowed.
"Not tonight," Maul roared, pushing the twit at Qui-Gon. "And take your sparklers with you!"
Obi-Wan sulkily complied, casting a lingering glance back at Maul over his shoulder that prompted part of Maul's brain to consider things that Maul didn't want. He ignored it.
Hordes of insects descended upon the festivities, flying and biting their way. For every insect that buzzed near him, Maul felt his hatred rise. For every insect that dared to take a bite out of him, Maul felt his hatred soar.
Many bugs died that night, but it was not enough. For every bug that bit him, Maul stomped two. They buzzed about Maul, annoying whining unceasing. For some reason, that prompted Maul to wonder about Obi-Wan and how they were dealing with the creatures. He glanced over.
Qui-Gon sat calmly on the pseudo-grass, eyes lightly shut as he bribed the Living Force into keeping them off of him. Obi-Wan, less in tune with the Living Force, was having a harder time. The Padawan thrashed to keep the biting insects away, his movements causing a part of Maul's brain to remember the previous ni--Maul pummeled that section into silence.
"Master," Maul growled as he glanced at his Sith Lords Kick Ass watch. "We have been here for over four hours, enduring sparklers, bugs, and that twit Padawan. What is this all for, and why is it taking so long?"
Glancing up from where he was involved in a debate about topics Maul really didn't care to know, Palpatine flashed a smooth smile that cause Maul's skin to crawl. "See those men over there, Maul?" his Master asked, pointing a finger. "They are the ones responsible for this all. We will just have to wait."
Palpatine paused, then added, "The fun really begins in the dark."
Maul flushed as Palpatine chuckled, forcing down his nausea at the not-so-subtle innuendo. "It is nearly dark already," he pointed out instead, containing his anger for later use.
"Ah, but it is much better when it is pitch black," Palpatine replied as he eyed Maul. "You must wait, an excellent way to hone your hatred."
Maul crossed his arms over his chest, and took up the Un-Sithly task of waiting.
The hours stretched into the night; full dark descended and the wait continued. Maul hatred simmered, boiled, and finally, bubbled over.
Eight hours after they had arrived, Maul ignited his lightsaber, unable to take the bugs any longer. With a howl of rage his vision focused to his victims, and he swung his lightsaber down in a wide arc as he attacked the men positioned in front of ancient projectiles.
Swiftly cutting down a swath of the men, Maul turned to the last victim, cowering near a long string. With a casual snap of his wrist, Maul decapitated the man and brought his lightsaber to the guard position, only to find no one left. He allowed himself a small smile.
In front of Maul, the string flared and finally caught fire where he had hit it in his rampage. The flame traveled along the thread to bank of projectiles as Maul watched amusedly.
It was pitch black--except, of course, for the Exploding Missiles of Death above--and though Maul tried he could not find his Master. He cast one last, fruitless glare out over the crowd as he jogged away from the bank of Missiles, then turned to end up face to face with his neighbor.
"You lost your Master too?" Obi-Wan said innocently, coyly toying with his braid. "I lost Qui-Gon sometime around when we ran into Yoda and Mace," he added with a fetching pout. "I was wondering if you would want to--"
Maul jumped, slightly startled. How on Coruscant did that twit's voice manage to continue over the Missiles, and besides that sound louder than them?
"--watch the fireworks with me?" Obi-Wan finished, casting a (com)passion-filled glance at Maul before it turned consoling. "Aww, are you scared, Maul?"
Before Maul could deny the Un-Sithly accusation, he was surrounded by a swirl of earth-toned robes. Strong arms slid about him in a way that was (intimately) familiar with.
"It's allright, Maulie," Obi-Wan cooed as Maul found his head resting on the Padawan's shoulder. "I'll protect you."
Maulie? Protect me?
With a growl into the dun-colored fabric, Maul pushed the arms away, slaughtering the portion of his brain that complained at the removal of the strong hold. "Never call me that in public," he hissed in reference to his pet name. "Or better yet, never call me that at all.
"What would posses you to think that I am scared?" he continued, snarling. The Sith's gaze bore holes into the Jedi's head, one hand waved vaguely upwards as he continued the intimidation. "You see those up there?"
Maul stepped forward, forcing the Jedi to step backward or be run over. "The violent explosions, blinding light; it's Sith." Maul bared his teeth in a horrible mockery of a smile. "Think about it, you little twit."
"Hear that? The very sound is very Dark Side-ish. I am not scared," Maul sneered. "It's a glorious display of violence unmatched by anything--except, of course, that slaughter of mine up there."
Obi-Wan's lower lip trembled slightly as he was forced to break away from Maul's glare. Looking at the sky, raised a hand in horror. "The Temple!" the Padawan cried.
Knocked onto a new course by Maul's attack, the Missiles rained down upon the Jedi Temple. A stream of the Missiles impacted the roof repeatedly as Maul's eyes widened in appreciation. Blinding light and deafening explosions followed one after the other, the flow of Missiles slow trickling off.
One of the very last Missiles exploded, casting the destruction to the temple into sharp relief. A quarter of the roof was knocked in, and a giant pillar lay across the area. Rubble and debris were scattered all over, and Maul allowed himself a moment to gloat.
He did that. He was hot shit.
Behind Maul's back, the very last firework took to the sky.
Maul jumped and whirled defensively, ready to disembowel Obi-Wan as he felt his neighbor step forward in his moment of glory. He turned--right into Obi-Wan's Downy-soft robes.
"Maulie, I think you are scared," Obi-Wan murmured, one hand running "soothingly" over the horned head. "Even if you can be rude, it's up to me to help."
Damn him, damn him and his master, and damn him and his robes! Maul fumed as he gathered his clothes from Obi-Wan's apartment. And damn Sidious! Somewhere, somehow, Maul heard his Master chuckle.
Last night, now that Maul looked back on it, had been one string after another of horrid coincidences, centering on Obi-Wan. A flicker of annoyance bloomed fully into anger. The little twit must have used the Force!
How else could the twit's voice, pleasant as it may have seemed, sounded so loud, even over the explosions, and how else things have been timed so accurately--and so conveniently, to lead Obi-Wan to think him scared?
A low growl escaped Maul's lips, and Obi-Wan stirred in bed. Casting a glare at Obi-Wan's form, Maul could only come to one conclusion: that twit of an apprentice would make a very good Sith.
Double damn him.
When the fireworks had ended, Obi-Wan had innocently offered Maul a ride home, since their Masters had left them both. Maul accepted, having no other alternative. The other side of Obi-Wan's personality didn't surface until after the doors locked.
Pausing with robe in hand, Maul contemplated that facet of his neighbor's personality for only a moment before shutting down the thought--because he didn't want to think of his neighbor any more today, not because analyzing it would cause it to disappear.
Grumpily, Maul had complained about how much fabric softener Obi-Wan used, and had let it slip that he feared a rash. The last thing he cared to remember right now was Obi-Wan softly suggesting remedies.
Maul cast one last glance about the apartment, then left, shutting the door gently behind him--because he didn't want to have to explain to anyone, not because he didn't want to disturb the twit's sleep. He headed for his apartment, but stopped as he caught sight of the stream of workers and construction vehicles heading for the Temple.
A large portion of it was in ruins, and as Maul turned to open the door to his apartment he allowed himself a small smile.
He may have slept with Obi-Wan again--and learned some interesting rash remedies, but he had also destroyed part of the Jedi Temple, something not even Sidious could claim.
I am hot shit.
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