Moving Day -- Darth Maul Gets a New Neighbor
by That Strange Becca Person

Disclaimer: The Star Wars universe and its inhabitants all come from the brains of George Lucas and his team, and I would never dream of taking credit for them. The Sith Academy and its attendant weirdnesses come from the brains of Siubhan and those writers who have contributed before me, and I'm not taking credit for them either. This story and the character of Cynthia alone are mine and are copyrighted to me. However, if anyone wants to use Cyn in an upcoming story, please let me know and I'll send you a copy of her character notes. :)

The lyrics Cynthia hums right before Maul makes his Grand Entrance are from "Asshole", off of Denis Leary's No Cure for Cancer CD, copyright 1992, no infringement intended, blah de blah etc.

Darth Maul had always thought of himself as being in exceptional shape, well beyond the standard even for a Sith Apprentice in his (extremely studly) prime. But by the time he reached the forty-second floor landing of his apartment building, he was shaking and wheezing like an old man. His lungs burned, his arms were numb from the weight of the six shopping bags he was lugging, his "Sith Lords Kick Ass!" T-shirt was soaked through with sweat, and his leather pants (the only trousers he'd found that morning that had been clean enough not to run away from him when he'd tried to put them on) were chafing him in all sorts of unmentionable places. He was so tired, in fact, that any hatred his Master (may he be nibbled to death by cats) had hoped to hone in Maul by sending him on this ridiculous errand had apparently decided to hold off on making an appearance -- at least until Maul had showered, eaten, sucked down a gallon or so of Pete's Wicked Ale and then slept for twenty hours. Of course, once that was done, he fully intended to take up, once again, his usual fantasies of jamming his lightsaber crosswise up someplace where even Sidious wouldn't enjoy it.

He paused just inside the hall and set the groceries down, glaring halfheartedly at the elevator at the other end of the floor while he tried to shake the circulation back into his hands. It wasn't the errand itself that had caused him so much trouble. Granted, it was a Saturday, arguably the hottest day of summer thus far, and he'd been happily ensconced on his couch playing Jedi Roadkill VII before Sidious had come breezing in two hours ago. And yes, he'd grumbled mightily over the idea of wasting his afternoon and dinner hours creating 'party favors' for yet another of his Master's bizarre Senatorial soirees. But despite the lengthy shopping list and the bizarre instructions that had been included with it, the usual perils of Coruscant traffic, and the sort of itching that can only be inspired by wearing cowhide in hundred degree weather, this particular Menial Sith Exercise To Hone His Hatred and Rage had seemed, comparatively speaking, like a cakewalk.

Until, of course, he had gotten home, and found his parking space blocked by the most enormous U-Haul hovervan he had seen since Sidious had moved his personal dungeon into its own building downtown three months ago. Unable to find the driver, Maul had driven around the block for a few kilometers looking for a free space. Finally, after a good twenty minutes of searching, he had given up and gone back to the front of the building, where he'd eyed the truck and fingered his lightsaber. Eventually deciding that cutting all the hoverpads from under the damned thing would take too long, he had done the second best thing and turned to the oddly familiar-looking little beige subcompact in the space next to it. Two quick swipes and the wussmobile had tumbled into the abyss, and Maul had pulled into the newly freed-up space, grabbed his groceries and headed inside.

Only to discover that the elevator, normally one of the few things in the complex that actually worked on a more or less regular basis, had just finished being stuffed so full of furniture and boxes that he couldn't see its ceiling anymore, let alone its back wall. He'd caught sight of a dumpy young girl putting a last box in place and lunged forward, blood pressure rising as he'd contemplated actually having to wait for her to unpack the cursed thing before sending the lift back down. But she'd stepped in and cycled the doors closed before he'd gotten two steps into the lobby. Snarling in frustration, Maul had paced back and forth for all of ten seconds before finally resigning himself to the climb up the stairs, convinced that she'd be nowhere near done unloading by the time he got up to his level.

Irony of ironies, he noticed that the elevator had stopped on his floor; it yawned, half-empty now, while a couple of spindly labor droids worked to scoop out its contents and pile them up to be carted to their destination. This confused him for a moment; he didn't remember anyone on his floor having moved out lately, except for -- ah yes. That overly friendly Jabba's Witness who had lived across the hall until about a week ago. The one who had tried to convert Maul to his insipid little religion -- for about three seconds. Maul didn't know whether it had been his incessant menacing looks, his vaguely (and less then vaguely) threatening comments, the endless loud music pouring from his apartment, or the change of address form Maul had filed that had gotten all the man's mail forwarded to Gunga City that had finally sent the Jabban scrambling to find other accommodations. (Alternatively, it might have been the sight of their neighbor Obi-Wan wandering the halls in a brown-and-beige gingham dress). Whatever the case, he was out, and whoever this new person was who was moving into his apartment, Maul suspected that he would dislike her. Intensely. Not that that was anything personal; he disliked most people intensely. But she had stolen his parking space and co-opted his ride up the lift, though granted she probably had no idea she'd done either. Whatever the case, that meant war.

Once, of course, he was rested enough to feel properly pissed-off, and once he was finished with this idiotic task of Sidious's. Muttering in exasperation, Maul scooped up the groceries again and lumbered the rest of the way down the hall to his apartment, not even sparing a glance at the open door across the way. He'd deal with her later. He did, however, slow up as he reached a certain pink, solid-core door next to his own, and took great pains to move silently on his way past it.

The door opened anyway; the putz must have been watching at the spyhole for him again. "Hi, neighbor!" Obi-Wan chirped, his voice so cheery that it made Maul grind his pitted teeth. The blast of cool, flowery-scented air from inside the padawan's apartment confirmed his suspicion that his next-door neighbor had probably spent most of the day in air-conditioned comfort while Maul himself was out doing crap work for his demented Master. At least the little twit was wearing his Jedi robes today instead of one of those stomach-turning 'special' outfits that Qui-Gon was always having him wear. Maul, in absolutely no mood to deal with Obi-Wan no matter what he was wearing, growled as forebodingly as his exhaustion would allow and took a step towards his own door.

"Hey, let me help you with that." Before he could protest, the Twit had scooped up half the grocery bags, brushing a little too close to him in the process. "You look so worn out -- did you walk up the stairs?" his voice absolutely dripped with far-too-affectionate concern.

Maul grumbled something noncommittal and vaguely obscene as he fumbled with his keys. When Obi-Wan kept hovering, he gave up, turned around, and snapped, "Yes, yes, damn it! I just had to walk up forty-two flights of stairs because whoever that bitch is who is moving in across the hall -- "

"Oh, you mean Cynthia? Have you met her yet? She's wonderful!" Obi-Wan beamed. "I was just going to go over and help her get moved in. Would you like to join us?"

It figured. "I have to put my groceries away," he muttered in response, finally getting the door open and grabbing the bags from the padawan's hands. Chucking them into the gloom within, he stepped in after them and slammed the door in Obi-Wan's face before he could make any more cheery conversation.

"Well, maybe later then!" Obi-Wan called through the door, his mood not one whit diminished. Maul turned away from the door, still grinding his teeth.

The entropic forces that constantly surround the Sith tend to manifest in various forms of personal or environmental decay. Sidious for instance was sunken-eyed and white as a ghost, though Maul suspected that the pound or so of concealer, blush and lipstick that the man slapped on to disguise himself as Palpatine would have been worn just as often either way. In Maul's case, this entropy currently manifested itself in his surroundings, which remained constantly cluttered with evil-smelling refuse despite the incessant efforts of his cleanup droid. Grabbing the groceries, he threaded his way through piles of pizza boxes, cigarette butts and empty beer bottles on his way to the kitchen, pausing only to levitate into the toilet some unmentionable item that the cat had kicked out of her sandbox. He had three or so hours before Sidious returned for his 'care packages', as the cackling pervert had termed them, and he wanted to get the preparations out of the way before he crashed for the day.

The smell from My Apprentice's little hockey game still pervaded the apartment; Maul muttered and used the Force to flush the toilet without looking. There was a yowl and a splash; then a stripy gray and white blur zipped out of the bathroom, trailing drips of water, and wrapped around Maul's ankle, where she sank in teeth and foreclaws and started raking him with her back feet for all she was worth. "Serves you right," Maul muttered, limping the rest of the way into the kitchen with the cat still attached. "Sith cats do not drink out of toilets. That's for dogs and Padawans." My Apprentice glared up at him, then recommenced her attack; he ignored her. Leather pants occasionally came in handy.

The kitchen was marginally cleaner than the rest of Maul's apartment, probably because most of the entropic energy that resided there was wrapped up in his current plot to destroy Sidious by means of a gourmet-food-induced coronary. He cleared off the black tile counter by shoving all the dirty dishes into the sink, then started dumping out the grocery bags onto the (relatively) gleaming surface. Sidious had supplied him with a two-page set of preparation instructions and a large stack of embarrassingly frilly fuchsia and pink gift bags to pack things in. He pulled the former from his pocket and unfolded it, looking it over as he picked through the groceries. The instructions involved gathering together a bewildering array of fruits and vegetables, peeling some, washing others, wrapping them in Saran Wrap and tucking them into the bags along with some other items he had picked up at either the grocery or the hardware store. Hmp. Maul suspected that he didn't want to know what use they would all be put to, so he simply concentrated on getting putting the damn bags together out of the way.

Twenty small cucumbers, peeled and wrapped -- check. Twenty gooseneck squash. Twenty bananas -- he was starting to see a pattern here, one that he didn't particularly feel like seeing. Twenty rather frighteningly large zucchini. Twenty small basting brushes taped to twenty jars of clarified butter. Twenty small palette knives taped to twenty jars of whipped honey. Twenty cans of WD-40. Twenty prickly pear -- OK, now he knew he didn't want to know. My Apprentice was still attached to his ankle; she seemed to have fallen asleep in midswipe from the heat. Maul sighed and limped over to turn the air conditioner up a notch. Then he ripped open a couple of packages of white lace-patterned packing tissue and stuffed them into the tops of the filled bags, cringing slightly as his hands came into contact with the contents.

Outside in the hall he could hear people tromping back and forth as they carted things from the elevator. Obi-Wan was among them, chattering endlessly with someone as he worked. The very sound of his voice made Maul's temples start to ache; it certainly didn't help that whoever was with him was responding just as cheerfully. Maul could make out at least three distinct female voices, plus the electronic rasp of the droids, who apparently were just as talkative as everyone else. Grinding his teeth even harder than before, he limped into the living room, attempting to scrape the cat off on the edge of his couch, a chair leg, and a pile of pizza boxes as he went, popped a Rob Zombie CD into his player and cranked up the volume as high as his aching head could stand.

"Holy shit, I love that song!" crowed a female voice, amazingly rising above the roaring chant and screeching guitar of "Superbeast." "Guys, shut up a minute!" Well, at least one of them had taste - wait, what was he thinking? These people had screwed up part of his afternoon -- a Saturday afternoon at that! They were The Enemy! Grumbling, he stomped into the bathroom to wash off a layer or two of sweat.

He managed to finally peel off the cat with his pants; his shirt however was so plastered to him that it ripped almost completely in half coming off. Cursing in ten languages and five or six dialects, Maul flung the now completely unwearable rag against the wall, where it promptly stuck. Oh, but this was just getting better and better. First his afternoon, then his parking space, then his dignity from packing those 'party gifts' of his Master's -- and now his favorite shirt! And, rational or not, he placed all the blame on this new neighbor -- this Cynthia. Whoever this girl was, he wanted her out. Not in pieces -- that would be gratifying for about ten seconds, but the superintendent was notoriously slow to clean messes like that up, and in this heat -- urk. Don't go there. No, he'd settle for scaring the wits out of her and sending her scuttling off to some nice, safe neighborhood somewhere far away from him. Maybe on Hoth.

It couldn't be all that hard. From the glimpse he'd gotten of her in the elevator she looked like your typical soft, spineless Coruscant pink-collar proletarian -- probably complete with a mindless desk job, a cute little subcompact speeder like the one he'd killed earlier, and an array of annoyingly trite, homey little hobbies. The fact that she clearly got on so well with Obi-Wan, right from the start, was evidence enough that she belonged quite solidly to the pathetic, insipidly vanilla, Light-Side kissing Good Citizen Crowd. Well. He had sent many a neighbor of that sort crawling sobbing back to their parents in the suburbs in the last three years, and he would have no trouble doing the same to her. It was all just a matter of finding her weaknesses -- and then exploiting them mercilessly.

Maul grinned as he stepped into the shower and flipped on the spray. He gave her a week before she ran out of here screaming.


He scrubbed down, then toweled off and found a relatively clean pair of boxers to step into while he formulated his plan. Step one: gather intelligence about the enemy. He headed into the living room (pausing in midstep to turn back to the kitchen for a can of tunafish for the now awake and indignantly washing My Apprentice), then slipped over to the front door and pressed his eye to the spyhole. The Enemy were currently finishing with the first elevator-load; he saw the short round one, presumably Cynthia, trundle by with a large box of what looked like potted herbs.

Maul's mouth twisted in disdain at the sight of her. It wasn't that she was unattractive, although his taste of course ran towards Darth Lara Croft clones --

** And Obi-Wan.**

He grabbed a beer bottle to hurl at the cat, who was innocently licking her butt; she glanced up and the bottle veered in midflight to land on the couch. Muttering, he went back to watching. As he had been thinking before being so rudely -- and inaccurately, dammit -- interrupted, it wasn't that she was hard to look at. He couldn't see her face at this angle, but she had a lot of shiny wavy red hair of the sort that would have looked quite sexy topping a six-foot underwear model, that nice porcelain pale redhead's skin, and apparently a taste for black clothing -- currently a float dress and tights, too fliffy for him, but he could consider forgiving it in this heat. No, none of this was the problem. It was just that she was


The aura of...huggableness around her was almost palpable; it was worse than that of an Ewok. She was obviously one of those pudgy, cuddly, round-faced little women who was always smiling, always offering to help, always coming over with cookies when you were feeling sick or offering to take care of your cat or whatever else they could do to be helpful. She probably had plump cheeks and a pert little upturned nose -- and freckles, too. She probably cried during sentimental movies and gave monthly to the Jedi Fund for Underprivileged Hamsters. She looked like the sort of person who in thirty years would move into a little frame house somewhere on Naboo where she would live with twenty cats, garden, make preserves and write romance novels wherein the love scenes were described in the most flowery of terms and faded to black before anything interesting happened. Bile rose in Maul's throat just thinking about it. Even as he watched, Obi-Wan emerged from her apartment, took the enormous box of herbs she'd been struggling with in one arm, and hugged her impulsively with the other, all smiles.

Oh yes, Maul thought as he ground his teeth some more. She has to go.


Shut up. Go eat your tuna.

He pressed his ear to the door as they started talking, using the Force to turn down the stereo. Amazingly, it was her voice that he had heard complimenting his taste in music. He blinked, then shrugged that off as a fluke and just listened.

"...asked my next door neighbor if he could come over later and give us a hand. He has to unpack his groceries first."

"That was nice of you. So, is he as cool as you?" She toyed idly with Obi-Wan's effeminate little padawan braid as they stood in the doorway; his smile grew a trifle uncomfortable but then steadied. Maul tried not to hurl. She was flirting with the Twit!

"Cooler." Maul blinked. "He's a Zabrak, you know. Or at least, I think he is. He's never really out and said so as far as I can remember. He looks like one, anyway. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe."

"A Zabrak?" Her voice sounded surprised. "Oooh, I heard that they're ferocious!"

"Well, he is kind of...intense." Maul's bile rose again at the dreamy look that flashed across Obi-Wan's face. "That's part of what I like about him. You know that he's got a full body tattoo?"

"You're shitting me."

"Yup. All...over." If the Twit licked his lips one more time, he was going to hurl. Then he would go kill them both, and to hell with the way the hallway would smell for weeks afterwards.

"Wow. Now that is a serious commitment. I can't wait to meet this guy."

Maul smiled cruelly. Be careful what you wish for, girl.

The girl in question heaved a sigh and smoothed the front of her dress over her round little belly. "OK, well anyway, let's start in on bringing up the next load."

Obi-Wan held up his hands. "No you don't. You've been out in the heat all day, while I've been in my nice cool apartment. Let me go direct the droids for a while. You just work on unpacking boxes and such."

"Ben, you are a prince among men." Obi-Wan grinned rather shyly, brought the herbs inside and came out rubbing his palms on his robe; she turned to watch him go, revealing a predictably pretty, soft-featured face and eyes still covered by a surprisingly hard-core pair of Gargoyles. No freckles, though. She watched him head back down the hall; when he was out of earshot she sighed and muttered to herself. "...and you're also as gay as a picnic basket. Damn. Oh well..." shaking her head, she turned around and went back inside, leaving the door open behind her.

Maul stepped away from his own door, considering. Slowly, an idea dawned on him, and a grin spread across his face. He hurried over to his closet and yanked the door open. Every article of clothing he owned was sitting in more or less crispy piles on the closet floor, most of them giving off a positively eyewatering aroma. All except for one clean, pressed, perfectly stink-free set: his full-length, full-regalia winter-weight Sith robes with the extra-voluminous, creepy-shadow-throwing hood. He ran his fingers down one of its sleeves and grinned wider. The wool would make him sweat like a Hutt in this weather, but he wouldn't have to wear it long. Just long enough to make his new neighbor's acquaintance -- while she sat, alone, unsuspecting and defenseless, in her apartment waiting for Obi-Wan and the others to come back up. By the time that they did come back with the new load of furniture, Maul would be gone -- and she'd probably be passed out in terror on the floor. It was perfect. He chuckled his best Evil Chuckle and reached to take the outfit down.

A few minutes later, he finished stomping his feet down into his boots and checked his reflection in his full length mirror. Robes smooth and wrinkle-free, boots and gauntlets shined, hood straight and casting the proper amount of mysterious shadows without obscuring his vision...hmmm -- yes, that would do quite nicely. He looked just as intimidating as his Master at his darkest -- more so, in fact, since after all he had better shoulders. Not to mention a much nicer ass, though you couldn't really see it under all the layers. "Eat your heart out, Sidious," he snarled happily, and poked his lightsaber through its loop on his belt. He turned on his heel and strode out into the living room, picking up the skirts of his robe to keep from catching any tobacco ashes or bits of rotting food on the hem. My Apprentice glanced up from where she was lounging on the couch and flipped her tail idly.

Maul stopped by the door and spread his arms. "Well?"

She sneezed and went back to washing her butt. Maul rolled his eyes and headed out.


Across the hall, he could hear Cynthia walking around, opening boxes and putting things into cupboards, all the while whistling and humming to herself. "I'm just a regular Joe with a regular job, I'm your average white suburbanite slob..." He heard her pop what sounded like a cooler open, clink around some bottles and then crack one of them open. "*slurp* I like football and porno and books about war..." Weird. Well, at least she could carry a tune. "I've got an average house with a *stomp stomp* nice hardwood floor..."

He stepped into the doorway. There were boxes everywhere, of course; shelves, an easy chair, and an overstuffed couch, all with brown mover's paper still covering them. He noticed with a twinge of jealousy that her unit, from what he could see of it, was about twice the size of his own, and the floor was hardwood -- hand-rubbed parquet, to be exact, entirely incongruous with the improbable beige carpeting found in just about every other apartment in the complex. He decided to see about moving his stuff over here as soon as he sent her packing; after all, he could argue to Sidious that he needed the extra room for training. Besides, he was getting tired of sharing a wall with Obi-Wan; the walls of the complex were paper-thin and his neighbor's morning 'meditations' with Qui-Gon were hell to try and sleep through.

The girl was puttering around in the kitchen, still humming to herself and occasionally spouting snippets of highly improbable lyrics. Maul took his stance: feet apart, arms folded, head up with his chin tucked slightly to bring his eyes just a little out of shadow. He reached over and tapped the doorframe very lightly.

"Hello?" She leaned backwards out of the kitchen door, bottle in hand. As she caught sight of him, he scowled just slightly and gave her The Glare.

Maul had been perfecting his Sith Glare since his early teens. It was a tricky ability to master; it essentially involved using the Force and the strength of one's will to focus and concentrate all the rage, hatred, bitterness and aggression inside of one into the pit of one's stomach, and then bring this energy up to shine out of one's eyes without accidentally bringing up one's lunch all over one's boots in the process. The Glare was an essential part of being a Sith, and he'd perfected it more quickly than anyone else in their ancient and illustrious lineage. (Part of that was probably due to the fact that his eyes were bright yellow ringed with crimson, naturally bloodshot, glowed, and normally had pupils as tiny as a crazed crack addict's, but Maul would never have admitted to that particular bit of genetic deck-stacking publicly). Capable of boring a hole through hull metal at its full intensity (he'd started with half-melted butter at eleven and worked his way up), The Glare was menacing enough to send drunken Dug space pirates scrambling for cover. Maul stared deep into Cynthia's eyes and cranked The Glare up to its highest setting; the ends of her curls frizzled slightly, sending up tiny puffs of smoke.

Her jaw dropped. So did her drink, shattering and spitting foamy brew and bits of glass all over her nice hardwood floor. She pinwheeled her arms a moment from leaning over too far, then got her feet under her and just stood there staring at him in openmouthed awe. Maul fought to keep his scowl in place as he waited for the first shrieks of terror. He hadn't gotten a reaction this good since Sidious had forced him to go Christmas caroling!

She reached up slowly and pulled off her sunglasses. Her eyes, he noticed, were anything but cute -- they had a sly, tilted, sewn-together-at-the-ends look to them, like a cat's, and indeed were so light a green as to be almost...yellow. Interesting. But the expression in them sent a sudden flash of worry through him. They were wide, yes, very much so, but instead of naked terror there was a look in them almost of...delighted surprise?

"Wow," she breathed. "You, sir, are hot shit!"

Wait a minute...

"Please," she begged, stepping over the spilled beer, "please tell me that you're that other across the hall neighbor that Obi-Wan was telling me about." Her hands knotted together; she in fact looked quite ready to pounce down onto her knees in abject supplication.

The Glare flickered uncertainly and died, Maul's inner rage and aggression falling back into his belly with a thud. "Uh," he said articulately.

"Uh. I -- I'm the other across the hall neighbor Obi-Wan was talking about," he continued after a moment, completely at a loss for how to deal with the incongruousness of her reaction.

"Yes!" she crowed, knees bent, fists clenched gleefully as she looked ceilingward with an 'I must have done something right!' expression.

Wait a minute...

"Thank you," she continued happily, "thank you so much! Come in! Want a beer?" She gestured to the cooler behind her.

Not knowing what else to do, he numbly stepped into the room and stood there awkwardly. "Uh," again. "Got any Pete's -- ?"

She blinked at him, as if that would be self-evident. "There is no other beer."


She turned away, digging through the cooler again. He glanced back at his apartment door longingly. Things were not at all going as he'd expected! Where was the fear? The terror? The panicked begging for her life? What was wrong with this woman?!? Despite his alarm, though, he was stuck. Sith did not run from a challenge. It was right there in the Handbook, page 43, right under "Sith do not wear beige" and "Sith do not go on liquid diets". No -- he had to stay here until he figured out a way to scare her off.

When he turned back around, she was standing before him, holding out a bottle of Pete's with slush clinging to it. "Here you go." She grinned. He took the bottle hesitantly. "Serious gauntlets, hot stuff. And that tattoo! Where did you get that done?"

"You don't want to know." Up close he could see that she was wearing a black button on her dress which stated in dripping crimson type, FUCK THE NOSE RING, I'M STICKING A MEATHOOK IN MY FOREHEAD! Yep, things were definitely getting weirder by the moment. He busied himself popping the bottle open on one of his horns and tried not to let that worry him.

"Oh well. Anyway, hi, I'm Cynthia. Everyone calls me Cyn. You got a name?"

"Maul." His attempt at a menacing leer trembled and died in the face of her unblinking stare, and he covered his consternation with a gulp from his beer.

She grinned -- not a nice little smile but a slightly predatory-looking show of teeth. "That has a nice ring of hostility to it. I like it. Listen, lemme just hunt up a towel for this mess and I'll be right with you." She started rummaging through boxes for the towel in question, giving him a moment's respite in which to fidget awkwardly and wonder what exactly the hell he'd done wrong.

Had he gotten the Glare wrong and not realized it? It could have some strange side effects if you flubbed it -- in certain cultures that expression was not far off from either a declaration of undying love or a request for a random body piercing. But even then he couldn't ever recall getting this sort of reaction before. He thought briefly of asking Sidious about it when he came by to pick up his 'care packages', but was rather worried that the old bastard would laugh at him. Finally, as he watched her tear open boxes, he ventured, "For what?"

She fished out a dishtowel from one of them -- black terrycloth, he noted. "Huh?"

"Thank you for what?"

"Oh." She flashed that strange grin again and knelt down next to the puddle, using the towel to sop the beer up and push the bits of glass into a pile. "For existing, basically. I'd been thinking I'd ended up in the Land of the Vanilla People out here."

"I'm...not sure I follow."

She chuckled and shook her head. "You ever met any of your neighbors? These kids must have come from every candy-ass old-money manicured-lawn suburb planet in the galaxy! The entire eighteenth floor is wearing fuckin' polo shirts! White polo shirts. It looks like a goddamn country club down there!" She peered up at him through her curls. "You ever seen a Wookiee in a white polo shirt?" She shuddered theatrically. "And anyway, yeah, granted this floor looks a little better, but still. I mean, we got Sir Obi-Wan of the Sweet Cheeks -- damn shame he's not bi -- but -- well, look at him! I bet he's got his whole apartment tricked out in beige and brown, right down to a beige and brown poodle named Fluffy!"

"Fluffi-Wan," he corrected absently. "And it's not a poodle, it's a beige and brown teddy bear hamster."

She eyed him. "You're shitting me."

"In a deluxe Habitrail with all the accessories."

"Maybe it's good that he is gay then," she mused. "Otherwise I might have to kill him on general principle. Don't want those sort of tastes spreading any further into the gene pool."

He was starting to like this woman. No -- wait -- that wasn't right, she was The Enemy! She'd stolen his parking space! He was honor bound to scare her off and seize her unit for his own nefarious uses! What was he thinking?

"So," she said, bundling the soaked towel around the pile of glass and depositing the mess into the kitchen sink to deal with later, "There any more like you back home?"

"No," he said matter-of-factly, taking another sip of his beer. After all he'd been through that day, he had to admit that the ice-cold Pete's she'd handed him tasted especially good.

"Damn, I was hoping for a threesome," she mused. Maul spit his beer across the room.

Fortunately at that moment a wail of anguish trickled in from down the hall; she turned, missing Maul's expression as he stared wide-eyed at her back. A moment later, Obi-Wan stumbled in, his eyes brimming with tears and his lips trembling.

Cynthia caught the Jedi by the shoulders. "Hey, whoa whoa whoa, Ben, sweetie, what's wrong?"

He sniffled. "My c-car..."

Maul blinked, then thought back to the cute little beige subcompact downstairs and fought a grin with all his strength.

"OK, yeah, what about your car...?"

"The hoverpads failed. It's down on the ground level, the doors are buckled, all the w-windows are smashed..." His eyes spilled over. "I don't know how it could have happened, I just took it in for a tune-up last w-week..."

Maul idly let the edge of his cloak fall over his lightsaber, lost the fight with his grin and hid it behind another swig of beer.

"Okay, okay, okay, baby, you just come in, have a drink, let the droids and my sisters handle the rest of getting stuff upstairs." Cynthia led him inside, ripped the paper off the easy chair -- black leather, Maul noted with a strange twinge of apprehension -- sat Obi-Wan down in it, and pressed a beer into his hand. "Tomorrow morning we'll pile that badboy up onto my hoverdock and I'll grab my tools and see if it can't be salvaged." Obi-wan sniffled again and brightened.

Maul blinked. "You're a mechanic?"

"Galactic board certified Master status, as of two years ago, yup." She shot him a smile and then turned to hand Obi-Wan a handkerchief from her pocket.

A black handkerchief, which he dabbed his eyes with and then blew on mightily. "Thanks Cyn." He smiled at Maul. ", glad you made it..."

Maul ignored him. Pointedly, since the sight of Obi-Wan in tears tended to cause disturbing reactions in his nether regions. "But wait a minute -- how old are you?" He had automatically assumed that she was college-age, like himself and the Twit and just about everyone else in the complex.

"Twenty-nine. Why?"

"No reason. But why are you here? This is practically a college dormitory."

"Rent's cheap, I can play my music loud because everybody else is, and nobody asks any questions. Besides, my uncle agreed to cover my deposit. Payin' for the hoverdock kind of left me cash-poor. Mind your braid, Ben."

Obi-Wan, who in the interim had finally stopped crying, had been sitting listening while his padawan braid slithered into the mouth of his bottle for a drink. He blushed and pulled it out, sucking the Pete's out of it in a way that made Maul's mouth go dry. Maul quickly looked away. This whole situation was getting more and more uncomfortable. "Anyway," the girl continued, "that's at least part of my story, and I know Ben here's studying to become a Jedi -- what about you, Maul?"

He shifted uncomfortably, partly because despite the air conditioner blasting away on the far side of the room he was slowly roasting in his woolens. "I'm in an...apprenticeship program," he said evasively.

"Cool. What trade?"

"It's more of a...spiritual pursuit." He really wished that she would stop staring at him so...hungrily.

Cyn's face fell. "Please tell me you're not gonna go off and become a celibate monk or something."

Maul briefly entertained the idea of saying yes, just to discourage any more of her openly lustful looks or comments. Not that he thought that that would actually discourage her, but it seemed worth a try. Still...he doubted he would be able to pull the ruse off for any appreciable length of time, even if he did sometimes feel like the most sexually frustrated Sith in existence. (Though, he mused, compared to his hedonistic Master that didn't take much). Finally he just shrugged noncommittally and said, "Not exactly."

Her smile reasserted itself. "Fair enough. Hey, it was really bitchin' of you to get all dressed up to come say hello, but aren't you roasting in that thing? You want to hang part of that up somewhere?"

"I'll go change," he said, turning quickly for the door. The fact that he had nothing to change into would give him an excuse not to come back. Screw the Handbook -- he'd figure out how to scare her off later. For now he'd go grab some food, play Jedi Roadkill for a while, give Sidious his perverse little party gifts, and then fall into bed for about three days. Then maybe he would think about doing laundry.

Except that...damn. Damn! He'd drunk the last of his bottles of Pete's last night, and had forgotten to pick any up at the store!

Sigh. "On second thought, maybe I'll just take my outer robe off." He did so, throwing it onto the couch and doing his best to ignore the disappointment in Cynthia's face when she realized he wasn't going to peel off any more layers. The girl was clearly as horny as all getout, and she'd just as clearly chosen to focus a large portion of that lust on him. He would have found this turn of events very pleasing indeed, if only she'd been about six inches taller and built like a supermodel -- and if she'd found some way to get rid of that whole cuddliness thing. As it was, however, the heat in her eyes just made him... uncomfortable. Oh well. He'd make conversation for a while, avoid too much eye contact with either of them, use the Force to sneak a few beers out the door while no one was looking, and be gone before the next load of furniture came up for unpacking --

Down the hall he heard the elevator door grind open. Damn.

Oddly, though, he heard only one set of feet coming down the hall -- and even more oddly, those footsteps were the distinct click-click of high heels. He blinked and turned -- and stared as the newcomer stepped into the doorway. He forgot Cynthia's lascivious gaze, the heat, Obi-Wan's simpering and braid-sucking, and even the impending arrival of Darth Sidious, Pervert from Hell. For a moment there, he even forgot his own name.

Now that, his brain managed to stammer through a haze of growing lust, is a woman.

She was perhaps five foot ten, plus another few inches from those candy-apple-red spike heels that for some bizarre reason she had decided were appropriate footwear for carting heavy boxes around. Not that Maul was complaining; they nicely set off the longest and most shapely set of tanned, hairless, gleaming-smooth legs he had ever seen in his life. Their last few inches, if that, of those legs disappeared under the hem of a sleeveless Grecian-style wrap-waisted minidress of white cotton eyelet lace. The rest of her was equally tanned and shapely, slim-hipped and flat-stomached, with the most amazingly bodacious breasts he had ever seen in his life struggling to get free of both the dress and the bright red pushup bra that he could glimpse underneath it. He didn't think it was possible for a living woman to possess a rack that actually outdid Darth Lara Croft's in both size and perkiness, but this one had managed it with size and perkiness to spare. Probably not natural, but who the hell cared? As he downed more beer to hide the drool collecting at the corners of his mouth, it dawned on Maul that he might be forgetting something. Oh -- yeah, face. She did have one, a rather pretty one in fact, he noted once he finally dragged his gaze above the level of her collarbones. Big blue eyes, several feet of teased strawberry blonde hair -- human, but he could forgive her that. He could probably have forgiven her screaming out another guy's name during sex, to be frank about it. Her lipstick matched her bra and shoes; some still-rational part of him wondered how she had managed not to sweat off her makeup in the heat, but a few really nasty threats turned its attention back to figuring out whether it would be best to get her in the sack before or after Sidious showed up. Before, he decided. There were two hours to go before his Master's arrival, and he really didn't want to wait that long.

"Hey sis, what's up?" Cynthia strolled over to the door, partially blocking his view. Irritated, he paused to surreptitiously tuck his eyes back into their sockets before trying to lean around her and get a better look at the babe in the doorway. As a result it took a moment for his new neighbor's words to sink in.


As in sister?!?

Holy shit. Maybe there was a reason to keep this overly-friendly fat little pain in the ass horny neighbor around after all. Visions of holophone numbers and nights of hot sex started dancing in Maul's horned head. He could probably get a lot of information on said sister from Cynthia if he played his cards right. A hello every once in a while, maybe a cookie or two, and she'd fall all over herself helping him in any way that he wanted in the crush-driven hope that he'd become interested in her. He wouldn't even need to use the Mind Trick. Not on Cynthia, anyway. Sister, though, might take some more convincing...

"Hi Cyn!" the vision of pure, unadulterated sex appeal replied cheerily. "Listen, we're having trouble lifting your dining set out of the truck, and the portable hover units have overheated. Could you give us a hand?"

Cynthia frowned. "Ah, damn. You know, I'm halfway inclined to just park the fucking truck up here and bring everything in over the balcony -- but I can't afford the fine. Damn traffic laws. Anyway, yeah, sure thing, Cherry, lemme just stick my beer in the fridge here -- "

Epiphany hit, along with the compelling image of a forty-two story elevator ride alone with Cherry. "No!" he heard himself say quickly. A moment later he figured out why he'd said that and smiled. "You've been out in the sun all day, Cynthia. You two finish your beers, and I'll see to this dining set problem." Sith, of course, never did anyone a favor -- unless, of course, they had an ulterior motive.

"Wow, you're mannerly as well as hot. You want me to order us up some pizza while you're down there? My treat."

"Wait until we come back up with the load. I might be busy after that." Hopefully very busy.

"OK, but the offer stands. So, Ben, want to help me unpack my glasses instead?" Obi-Wan nodded, his usual annoying perkiness having reassembled itself. Yet another reason to get the hell out of there. Maul headed for the door, pausing to strip off his tunic and toss it onto the couch behind him. Both Obi-Wan and Cynthia let out little squeaks of appreciation. Maul grinned as he stepped out beside Cherry, who turned to follow him with a vacant little smile; he wondered idly if the other two would get into a bitch fight over who got to rub their face in the sweaty wool. That could almost be amusing to watch -- but he had other things on his mind.

Other Things tripped along beside him perkily, smile frozen on her face. She seemed about as smart as your average eggplant. That was fine with Maul -- he wasn't interested in her mind, after all. Still, he tried to make some conversation as they went -- most women didn't like it if you broke the ice by shoving them against a wall and trying to stick your tongue down their throat (though he suspected that Cynthia wouldn't have minded much). "So," he ventured, once he was sure Cynthia and Obi-Wan couldn't hear him above their own chattering, "Cherry, are you and Cynthia roommates?"

"Oh no," she chirped. "We live with Uncle on his estate."


"Yes, me and Grape do." She smiled even more dazzlingly. The glare from her teeth could have blinded a lesser man.

He paused. Grape? Oh yeah, there was another sister apparently waiting for them down there. But...hold on a minute. "Your sister's name is...Grape."

She nodded several times in succession and beamed even wider. Seemed he'd been insulting eggplants. Dumb as a Gungan holovision evangelist, more like. And...well...Grape, Cherry, and...Cynthia. Something doesn't fit, his rational mind piped up. You really should reexamine this before you do something that might end up making you look stupid. Shut up, you idiot, the rest of him replied; I'm trying to get laid. "Can't wait to meet her," he breezed, wondering idly if Grape came from the Cute or the Bodacious side of the family.

Once they were safely ensconced in the elevator, Maul considered his prospect again. Perky, sexy, great rack, dumb as a bag of hammers, friendly enough -- and no suspicious bulges in the nether regions, something he'd learned to be wary of after a few disastrous pickups over at The Gray Side. OK, well, enough with breaking the ice, he decided. "So, Cherry, wanna fuck?"

She blinked her big blue eyes at him, then perked up again. "Sure!"

Hot damn! Well, that was easy. He grinned and reached for her -- and she frowned suddenly.

"Um," Cherry said, face screwed up as if trying to remember something.

"What?!?" Maul stopped his hand in the midst of a grab for some of her fleshier portions, his libido making an audible "Gaaack!" sound as he yanked it back by the leash.

"Uh oh. Sorry. Forgot. Have to unload the truck."

He waved a hand in front of her face. "No you don't."

She blinked a few times, then pouted apologetically. "Um, yes I do. I have to unload the truck."

He tried the Whammy on her again. "You can take a break first."

Another blink, another pout. "Um, no I can't. I have to unload the truck."

Was it possible that she was actually too stupid for the Mind Trick to work on her? Maul was at a loss; he dropped his hand. "Can't it wait?!?" The aforementioned libido sat down at the very end of its leash, gave him the Limpid Yellow Eyes look and whined.

She smiled and fluttered her eyelashes prettily. "Um, no. Sorry. Must unload the truck first for Cyn, then we can fuck. Unload, then fuck. OK?"

"OK," he grumbled, vowing to both himself and his libido that this would be the fastest unloading job done on a U-Haul hovervan since the damn things had been invented.

Grape turned out to be from the bodacious side of the family; in fact, she was a twin to Cherry except for her black cotton eyelet lace minidress, bright purple pumps, bra, and lipstick, and several feet of grape blonde hair -- a color that Maul hadn't thought existed, but as her tresses were purple when viewed from one angle and gold when viewed from another he didn't know what else to call them. She was carting an enormous cardboard box over to the lift as they stepped out; at the sight of her sister she bounced a few times and beamed. Cherry beamed back. Grape beamed wider. Maul idly wondered if they would continue escalating their smile-to-face ratios until the top of one or the other of their heads popped off. Finally Grape turned, slid past them and bent down to set the box in one corner of the elevator. She was wearing a g-string -- bright purple, of course. Maul felt his boxers get about two sizes too tight and swallowed, visions of semi-incestuous threesomes dancing in his head.

"Time to get the dining set now!" they said in unison, voices identically perky yet somehow still sexy. They probably were twins. Hm -- maybe they and Cynthia had different fathers or something. Either that or genetics had simply decided to skew things unfairly on the side of the Fruit Sisters. Shrugging, he flipped the Stop toggle on the elevator and followed them out to the truck, where the two brass-finished labor droids were struggling with a set of enormous cartons. Maul smiled again. With the Force at his disposal, getting the rest of the packages into the lift would be a snap. And after that...


Forty-five minutes later, Maul was bathed in sweat yet again, streaked head to boot-tops with cardboard lint, and aching from pulled muscles, mashed fingers, several spike-heel stabs to the feet (he'd already made a mental note to buy a set of steeltoes next time he went boot shopping), random bruises from the corners of falling boxes, and a great deal of general exhaustion. The carton containing the disassembled dining room table (the pieces of which he swore must have been cast from solid lead) leaned against the wall next to the lift with a small smear of blood on one corner, while Maul leaned next to it , pressing the back of his hand against his throbbing, dripping nose.

The Fruit Sisters, still amazingly cool and unflushed, stood next to him, rubbing his shoulders, faces collapsed into identical sympathetic pouts. That was all that kept him from murdering them both and dropping their bodies next to Obi-Wan's speeder. In his whole life, he had never met stupider, slower-reflexed, more literal-minded people than these. He had had to direct them point by point through every step of the unloading process, from which boxes to take out of the truck to what to do with them afterwards -- every single time. Then they would stand there until he told them to go back for another load. Maul was amazed that Cynthia had trusted them to unpack the truck without direction. Perhaps there was some special dialect of Galactic Standard that needed to be used to properly instruct them. Whatever the case, they were idiots, and even using the Mind Trick on them -- if it had worked! -- couldn't change that.

"Your poor nose," Cherry crooned. Pat pat pat. Maul growled in irritation.

"Pack the table into the elevator and bring it up to Cynthia's apartment," he muttered to them, pointing in the proper direction so they wouldn't wander off the edge of the unloading ramp. The two of them nodded obediently and started muscling the long heavy package into the lift, aided by the labor droids, whom Maul suspected were each smarter than both of the twins combined. Maul watched the girls load the dining set, and sighed when he realized that even the repeated flashes of buns and cleavage he saw as they stretched and bent weren't doing anything for him anymore. His libido seemed to have collapsed from heat exhaustion, or possibly from repeated pummeling by cardboard boxes. Oh well. He'd grab a box or two more so the girls wouldn't think he was lazy, make a beer run while they were unloading, haul ass back upstairs, charm Cherry and Grape both into a rain check, give Sidious his unmentionables and then collapse into bed and sleep for six days. No problem.

He turned and trudged back to the truck, which despite all his bruises was still about half full. How much crap did that crazy woman have in her possession, anyway? There just seemed to be no end to the boxes. He scooped up two of them, tried to levitate a third, dropped it promptly on his foot, cursed at top volume for three minutes straight, switched it (what the hell was in there, bowling balls?) with a lighter box, levitated that instead, and headed back towards the elevator - only to discover it standing open, the dining table loaded and the Fruit Sisters standing inside blinking at each other in confusion. "Oh, for fuck's sake," Maul muttered, stomped over, handed them the boxes and toggled the stop switch, snatching his hand away before the damn doors could close on it. The doors opened again after a moment; the twins turned and blinked at him. He rolled his eyes. They'd forgotten to hit the floor button, and he couldn't activate it with the doors open. "Just stay there a minute, okay? Just...stand there." They blinked yet again and nodded perkily, smiling. He headed back to the truck, yanked the back hatch of the hovervan closed, and stomped back inside -- only to discover the elevator doors closed and the floor indicator ticking upwards rapidly.

He cursed for another three minutes as he stabbed his thumb against the call button, watching as the indicator crept up to eighteen -- and stayed there. "Ah Hell..." he spun around and ran (limped) the length of the lobby, kicked in the stairwell door and bounded up the stairs as fast as he could manage.

Eighteen floors later, he emerged puffing and soaked with a fresh layer of sweat to discover a large crowd of freshmen in white polo shirts clustered at the far end of the lobby. Over their heads he could glimpse the open doors of the elevator; he heard a perky, but still sexy, female giggle.

"So," he overheard one of the crowd say, "what's your phone number?"

Maul didn't know where the burst of extra energy he suddenly felt came from -- his frustrated libido, his bruised toes, his bleeding, slightly dislocated schnoz or his intense hatred for white double-knit. Whatever the case, the next thing he knew he was barreling at top speed down the hallway, lightsaber taking out light fixtures as he brandished it above his head, screaming psychotically the whole way. The neoyuppies -- including one Wookiee who had apparently chlorine bleached his fur to match his shirt -- turned as one and stared at him wide-eyed. Then he dove into the middle of them and proceeded to guarantee that the maintenance crew, not to mention the local coroner's office, would have their hands full for at least the next month and a half.

Perhaps ten seconds later he came to a stop, crouched with the lightsaber held before him, panting and glaring around for a fresh target. Not seeing one, he straightened and switched off the beam. Cherry and Grape stood in the maw of the elevator blinking at the mess he'd made. "Ewwwww," Grape said.

"Don't worry, the smell won't travel any higher than thirty." Maul tucked his lightsaber back into its loop, stepped in beside them, hit 42 and heaved a great sigh as the doors closed. OK, that was it. That was it. He was going upstairs and Mind Whammying Cynthia into giving him all her beer, ordering him pizza, moving down to one of the newly vacant eighteenth-floor units and giving him Cherry and Grape's phone numbers (he doubted that they had the brains to remember them on their own). Then he was dumping Sidious's precious party favors into the hall outside his door and then locking himself inside his apartment, barricading the door and going to sleep for ten days. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred credits --

Two pairs' worth of something very soft and warm and springy squished up against each of his shoulderblades, making his libido, which always got a little perkier after a fight, look up from an extended ball-licking session and thump its tail. The Fruit Sisters purred in his ears and started petting around his horns. Maul grinned, then reached back to run his hand over a random, and entirely unresisting, curvy hip. Then again...maybe he could stay semi-social for a while longer.


Finally they made it up to the forty second floor and piled out, one of the labor droids rolling over his much-abused foot in the process. His howl of pain and outrage was entirely drowned in the Iggy Pop blasting from the open door of Cynthia's apartment. Apparently they'd finished unpacking the stereo. Snarling, Maul tucked a box under each arm and limped his way back down the hall, making sure he toggled the stop switch first. Change of plans: kill Cynthia with a carton of her own stuff, lock Obi-Wan in a closet for the hell of it, fuck what passed for the brains out of both of the Fruit Sisters, then take all the beer, throw the party favors out into the hall and barricade himself into his apartment. And then sleep. Maybe for a month straight.

Cynthia appeared in the doorway; her jaw dropped. "Holy shit! Ben, getcher sweet butt out here!" Obi-Wan appeared next to her; his jaw also dropped and he scurried forward to grab the boxes. Cynthia for her part herded a startled Maul inside and pointed him at the couch, which under the now stripped away packing paper was, again, black leather, with oddly familiar-looking chrome studs on the sides. "What the hell happened?"

Maul opened his mouth to explain how her dining set had tried to kill him in transit, then gave up and simply reached for her throat. She'd turned back around to bend over the cooler; when she straightened and turned she saw his outstretched hands and without a pause shoved a fresh beer into each of them. "Hold the other one against your nose," she instructed. "Now plant your butt on that couch; we'll take it from here till we can get some pizza in you." Caught off guard again, Maul complied, holding the other beer bottle against the side of his sore nose while he cracked open the first one.

Six sets of hands proved better than five when it came to lugging the dining set and its attendant crap in from the elevator; they also seemed better at working together than Maul and the twins and the droids had been. Makes sense, he thought absently as he nursed his beer: they're all fucking idiots. Anyway, before he new it the elevator was empty again and Cynthia came in to check on him.

"I'm fine," he growled as she pried the beer away from his nose to look him over. "Piss off."

"Don't be a baby, hot stuff, lemme just check you out." Her eyes stole down to his naked chest and belly for what was more than just a lingering moment, then she yanked them with obvious effort back up to his face. Very lightly, and completely ignoring his touch-me-and-lose-a-hand scowl, she ran two fingers down the side of his nose. He grunted and his eyes watered a little, but the pain had subsided enough not to prompt him to kill her outright. "OK, doesn't look broken, but it's gonna be tender for a few days."

He sneered. "What, are you a doctor on top of everything else?"

"Paramedic training's kind of important in my...other profession." She licked her lips rather lewdly and he decided not to ask what exactly she did when she wasn't a mechanic. Then her eyes widened and she glanced at her chronometer. "Oh hell. My uncle's gonna be here to pick up his droids in just under forty five minutes."

"Can you keep the truck overnight?" Obi-Wan poked his head out of the kitchen, a pile of black dishcloths in his hands.

"Not a chance -- he was only willing to pay for a day's rental. Shit!" She scowled (cutely); Maul sat back, reveling in her consternation. At least he wasn't the only person who was going to end the day pissed off and aching -- with only Obi-Wan to help her the little butterball was going to be plenty bruised by the time they got the truck unloaded and taken back.

But Cynthia finally just shrugged. "OK, fuck it, and fuck the traffic laws too. Ben, I need a favor."

The padawan smiled winsomely, ratcheting Maul's discomfort up another notch. "Name it!"

Cynthia turned to the Fruit Sisters and the droids, all four of whom were just sort of standing in a knot in one corner. "Guys, you stay up here and be ready to do a lot of unloading really quickly." Then she looked back at Obi-Wan. "I'm gonna go grab the van and park it up next to the balcony so we can unload it from there. I need you to come along to do that Jedi Mind Whammy thing on any traffic cops who show up."

He gave her a shocked look, while Maul cocked an eyebrow in (pleased, though he would never have admitted it) surprise at her lack of ethics. "Oh no, but I couldn't! That's illegal!"

"Aw, c'mon! I'll fix your car for free. The illegal-altitude fine's twice what it would cost anyway, even if the speeder's totaled. Help me out here!"

"I don't know..."

Maul blinked, and then his libido suddenly did the math for him. Hopping up from the couch, he lunged up behind Obi-Wan, grabbed the insipid little braid in one fist and yanked his head back. The padawan stumbled back against him and gave a little squeak of what sounded suspiciously like delight. Maul ground his teeth again -- his jaw was really started to hurt -- but then just rumbled in the Twit's ear, "Go help our new neighbor out, Obi-Wan."

"Sure, Maste -- er, sure, Maul, but I just don't think it's ri -- "

Another yank. Obi-Wan started breathing harder and shaking disconcertingly. "I don't want excuses, boy, just go down and do it." He let the padawan go and gave him a shove towards the door. The Twit shuffled out meekly, pausing only to peek longingly back over his shoulder. Maul tried his best to ignore him, though his libido was now pulling at its leash again. Grumbling, he looked away -- and caught sight of Cynthia staring at him wide-eyed again.

She wiped a bit of drool from the corner of the mouth. "Holy shit, I gotta start wearing my hair in braids..."

Maul stifled a groan of absolute exasperation and let his head fall back against the couch, leaving pockmarks in the leather, then closed his eyes. She turned and walked out, catching up with Obi-Wan; on their way to the elevator he heard through a break in the music, "Do you have any idea how lucky you are, Ben baby?"

Maul ground his teeth so hard that one of them gave up, popped out of his mouth, flew across the room and embedded itself two inches deep into the far wall.

When they were gone, however, he opened an eye and rolled it over towards the corner. The Fruit Sisters were still standing there, staring at something very interesting on the wall in front of them. He considered coaxing them back to his apartment -- but no, the last thing he needed was a pissed-off Cynthia banging on his door while he was in the middle of a frenzied screw session. Besides, knowing Grape and Cherry, they weren't going to leave until they had some boxes to unpack. So...time to make sure that they would have this apartment to themselves for a while. He switched the stereo off temporarily, willed the front door shut, then pulled out his cell phone and dialed the local Coruscant Airway Patrol station. Struggling to keep his voice cheery, he rumbled into the receiver, "Hi, can you connect me with dispatch? Thanks. Dispatch? Yes, I'll hold." He drummed his fingers on the arm of the couch and tried to ignore the hold music, which seemed to be a slowed-down fake-horns muzak version of Billy Idol's "White Wedding". Finally the line clicked over and he found himself talking to the local dispatcher. Kicking in the Mind Whammy as subtly as possible, he said, "Hi there. I have an altitude violation in front of my apartment building...could you send Officer Watto over here to take care of it? Thanks, so much. Sure, here's my far away is he? Oh good. Tell him thank you as well. Yes, you have a nice day too." He flipped the phone closed and tucked it away, taking the opportunity to practice his Evil Chuckle again as he used the Force to turn Iggy Pop back up.

"Ladies!" he raised his voice above the music. They turned their eyes to him, smiled perkily and waved, wiggling their hips more than their fingers. He smiled back despite his aching teeth. "I'm really hurting here. I don't suppose I could convince the two of you to come nurse me back to health?"

They both blinked for a few moments, then beamed as one and lithed over. Maul sighed happily and settled back, doing his best to prop his hands behind his head without spearing either of his palms. Things, he thought as each of them settled onto a thigh and slipped their arms around his shoulders, were definitely looking up...

A rather extended session of nibbles, nuzzles, licks, bites and horn-sucking later, Maul finally came up for air and suddenly realized that the sun was starting to set. Shit! He looked at his watch and let out a small 'erk' noise. He had fifteen minutes before Cynthia's uncle was due to take the droids -- and probably the Fruit Sisters, since they lived at his estate -- back home. And Maul didn't feel at all like cutting the evening short -- which he would soon have to do, even if Cynthia's mouth had gotten her and Obi-Wan hauled down to the police station for the rest of the night.


"Whoa -- hold it, girls -- mmph -- yes, that's very nice, but I gotta *gasp -- stop that!* I gotta go do somet -- *mph* something..." They sat back, identical pouts written across their pretty faces. Oddly enough, despite what they had been doing to him their lipstick wasn't even smeared. He extricated himself with difficulty (and a great deal of reluctance), grabbed his lightsaber, and jumped to his feet. "Be right back..." He yanked the door open and headed down to the elevator at a dead run.

Reaching it, he shoved his lightsaber into his belt, jammed his fingers in between the doors and forced them open with all his strength. Bracing his back against one side of the door to keep it from closing, he checked the floor indicator -- second floor and rising slowly -- whipped out his lightsaber and slashed the cables. There was an extended screech of metal on metal far down the shaft, and then a rather final-sounding crash. "Oooops," Maul snorted, switching off his lightsaber and turning to head back to the apartment where guaranteed nookie waited. The elevator doors slid closed behind him.

When he headed back, however, his heart sank as he heard someone cut off the music. He could hear footsteps, and the thump of boxes being piled up, and beyond that the unmistakable whir of hoverjets. Next, some snatches of conversation:

" -- could have really gotten in trouble! I'm not comfortable taking that sort of risk -- "

"Aw, c'mon, cut me some slack, cutie! How was I to know the local beat cop's a Toydarian? I didn't know that any individual existed that could beat the Mind Whammy, let alone a whole race! Besides, I got you off the hook, didn't I?"

"Well...yes...but don't you think that braining him with a gravwrench, boxing him up and Federation Expressing him to Tatooine was a little drastic?"

"YOU didn't see the size of the ticket he was writing us!"



Oh well. With Uncle forced to climb the stairs or at least call up to get his droids back, Maul had bought them all some time. And the sooner those boxes were off loaded, the more time he could get in finishing what he'd started with those delightfully pneumatic twins. Squaring his slightly battered shoulders, he strode the rest of the way down the hall and back into the room.

"Hey, hot stuff. Where'd you get off to?" Cynthia walked past, carrying another box of sprouted herbs. She vanished into the kitchen, then came out empty handed, wiping her palms on her tights. "How's your nose?"

"Better." Compared to the ache in his nethers, in fact, he could barely feel it anymore. As much as Maul hated puns, he had to admit that he was so horny by now that he felt like he'd sprouted a few more of them. "Need some help off loading?"

"Always." She grinned, then blinked and peered at him. "You sure you okay?"

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"I dunno." She turned and headed out to the balcony off the dining room, Maul following at a discreet distance. The thud of boxes was coming from in there. Stopping in the doorway, she tossed another wicked grin over her shoulder. "You just look like somebody who badly needs to get laid. Then again, I might just be projecting."

Oh brother.

The glass doors leading out onto the balcony were yanked completely open and the curtains tied back. The hovervan was parked with its back end almost dangerously close to the top of the balcony railing; the droids and the twins labored on the balcony, catching the boxes that Obi-Wan handed or levitated out to them, and then bringing them in to stack inside the room. The mound of boxes already nearly reached the ceiling. "How much shit do you have, Cynthia?" Maul asked in disbelief.

"Lots. I'm renting the unit next door to this one too. We're knocking out the wall tomorrow."

"Why don't you just get a house, like a normal person?"

She grinned. "Cause I'm a freak." No arguing there. "Besides, like I said, the place is cheap, my uncle covered the down payment, and the neighbors are...really...interesting," She gave him one of those hot-eyed looks again and he all but flew into the moving van just to get away from her.

Of course, that presented its own discomforts. Obi-Wan had stripped to the waist as well, and watching his back and arms stretch and flex as he worked was uncomfortably distracting. So were the surreptitious ways he kept scoping Maul as he lifted and turned. And -- damn it, did they deliberately cut those Jedi pants to set off the wearer's ass as nicely as possible, or what? (Frankly Maul wouldn't put it past them, just from what he knew about the Jedi Council's tastes).

None of this was lost on Cynthia, of course, who planted herself next to the balcony railing and grabbed boxes to hand off to the others, somehow managing to do it without taking her eyes off either of them. "Woohoo! I should dig out my video camera. I wondered where all the hot men on this planet were hiding, and now look, I'm living across the hall from two of 'em!" Next to him, Obi-Wan blushed all the way down to his beltline.

Oh brother.

The situation was, however, helped immensely by the fact that the Fruit Sisters had a rather unique way of carting boxes. They would wiggle out onto the balcony, take a box into their arms with a little knock-kneed bounce that showed most of their cleavage, wiggle back into the dining room, turn their backs completely to the maw of the moving van, bend over to put the box down and then stay bent over for a few tasty seconds. Maul's response to this, as he imagined some rich fat patriarch pulling up outside even as they continued unloading, was to start pitching out boxes as quickly as he could. They started piling up on the balcony so fast, in fact, that Obi-Wan eyed him worriedly. "Uh, Maul?"

"Shaddap and keep working," Maul growled back at him, yanking boxes out of the back of the van so fast his fingers started bleeding again from being jammed in between them.

"But uh, maybe you should -- "

"Shaddap!" He could actually see the front wall of the van now, through a gap in the boxes. Five more minutes, ten at most --

"But -- "

"What?!?" Maul finally rounded on him, completely out of patience.

Obi-Wan pointed hesitantly at the remaining boxes and then edged quickly away from him. Maul turned, looked, and his eyes widened. "Oh shi -- "

What happened next wasn't entirely unexpected, considering how his day had been going. In his haste to get the van unpacked, he had taken most of the boxes from the bottom of the remaining stack, thus disregarding one of the basic laws of the universe: gravity. As a result, gravity, in short, decided at that moment to exact its vengeance for the slight.


The next thing Maul knew, it was very dark, he was in more pain than he had been since his last trip to the dentist's, and he couldn't move. At all. Shit, he thought to himself, I should have known that keeping company with the Twit would get me killed eventually.

He felt a flash of regret as he looked back over his rather short all the missed opportunities and embarrassing mistakes. All the Jedi he would never get to slaughter, all the pizza he would never get to scarf, all the beer he would never get to swill.... And then there was that stuffing and mounting job he'd been planning to do to Sidious's corpse when he finally rose up and slew the old bastard and took over his Master's title, his powers, his cash and of course his cool-ass digs on Midichlorian Way. Now he would never know what it was like to use Sidious's flapping mouth as an ashtray, nor get the opportunity to sample the quantity of eminently shaggable women that could only be attracted by really deep pockets. Women like, say, the Fruit Sisters. If only he'd had fifteen damned more minutes, he could have at least christened Cynthia's apartment for her -- wasn't like she'd ever get laid herself -- with some time left over to lick a celebratory beer out of Cherry's cleavage. Maul felt his eyes start to sting and let out a very un-Sithly self-pitying sniffle. If only...

Grunts of effort came from somewhere above him. What the fuck? He felt the crushing weight pinning his body shift slightly and something blocky and only minimally padded dig into his ribs. Almost like...the corner of a packing box.

Shit, he thought, with only a slight amount of relief. I'm not dead. I'm still unloading this crazy bitch's stuff in the hopes of getting her sisters into bed!

Pinned under a few metric tons of Cynthia's belongings, he lay there fuming while the six of them labored frantically to free him. He could hear Cynthia barking orders at various people, interspersed with Obi-Wan's intermittent whimpering and fretting. Maul rolled his eyes. Hurry up, people, hurry up, I've still got time to get in a quickie before that old fart shows up --

Finally Obi-Wan yanked the last box free of Maul's horns -- letting loose onto his face a spill from the impaled box of what tasted suspiciously like banana flavored KY jelly -- and knelt down beside him, big limpid gray eyes brimming with tears. "Oh, Maulie, I thought we'd lost you!" he whimpered, lips trembling. "Are you okay?"

"I told you never to fucking call me that, you simpering twit." Maul levered himself into a sitting position, feeling like one big bruise.

More tears gushed down Obi-Wan's cheeks as he turned to beam at the others. "He swore at me! He's okay!" The twins, leaning forward fetchingly at the railing, beamed back and nodded, eyes even bigger and more limpid (and more empty, if that was possible) than Obi-Wan's.

Cynthia, however, frowned dubiously, and with some effort levered her round little body over the railing and climbed in beside them. "You sure he's not just in shock? I better check him out."

"Go away," Maul groaned. He was starting to be able to feel his legs again, along with his balls, which were apparently still wondering why the hell he wasn't in bed with the Fruit Sisters yet.

"Bitch, bitch, bitch. Listen, I don't care how tough you are, you shouldn't even have sat up until I checked your vertebrae. Now hold still." She knelt down next to his legs and reached behind him, poking at his neck and spine with what he had to admit was a fairly competent and impersonal touch. The way she trailed her fingers across his shoulders when she was done, however, was anything but impersonal. Long pause. Swallow. "OK, can you feel your toes?"

Maul glared. "I'm going to feel my fingers around your neck if you don't get your hands off of me."

She shivered. "Oo! Stop that, you're turning me on." Obi-Wan blinked and then pouted jealously.

Maul ignored him. "You're a sick woman, Cynthia."

She perked up. "Thank you!" Then she grinned another of her predatory grins, nose wrinkling impishly, the tip of her tongue caught between her teeth in a way that, despite all his determination to the contrary, made his libido sit up and yip for a dog yummie.

"That's IT!" He darted a hand out, grabbed her by the throat, waved a hand in front of her face, and bellowed out in his best Sith Whammy Voice, "You are NOT turned on by me! You're afraid of me, like any NORMAL person should be! In fact, you're terrified of me! One look at me and you feel the sudden impulse to hide under your sofa!"

She blinked at him a moment, then smiled ruefully and shrugged. "Sorry, hot stuff. Guess your sex appeal's stronger than your Mind Whammy."

"I'd tend to agree," Obi-Wan ventured.

"Wait -- no it isn't -- I mean, yes it -- buh -- GAAAAAAAAH!!!" He let go of her, scrambled to his feet, lunged past them both, leaped the railing and grabbed a twin's arm in each hand. "You two are coming with me!"

"But the boxes -- " Cherry started to protest, pouting in confusion.

"FUCK the boxes!"

"OK!" She started to turn around.

He spun her back towards him. "This way."

The twins dragged their feet. "But Cynthia said we couldn't go till all the boxes were unloaded!"

"AAAARGH!" Maul turned back around, gathered up all the day's rage, irritation, hatred and pent-up sexual frustration and threw it from his fingertips at the six or seven big, heavy boxes still remaining in the trailer. The boxes trembled. Then they lifted. Then they lunged four feet into the air and sailed neatly onto the balcony, carrying a hapless Obi-Wan (who was somehow standing right in the way...) with them. He tumbled over the railing in a tangle of windmilling limbs, and the boxes landed on top of him with a thud.

Maul stared a moment at his outstretched hand. Wow. When he was done screwing the twins unconscious (and catching up on his sleep), he'd have to figure out how he'd done that.

For now, though, he had more important things to think about. Grabbing Cherry's arm again, he said, "The van's unloaded. Shall we?"

"Um, uhkay," the twins said in unison.

"Ben?" Cynthia was digging through the piled boxes as best she could with only the two small labor droids to help her. "You alive under there?" A small moan answered her. "Phew." Then she called after Maul, "Hey! Where are you taking my sisters?"

"Where do you think?" he snarled, striding quickly towards her door, preparing to vent the full measure of his Sithly lust on the nubile twins. "When he gets up the stairs, tell your uncle that I'll have them back to him in about a week. Maybe."

"Wait, want to make it a fourso -- ah shit. OK, whatever..."

Maul reached his door finally. Chuckling evilly, he rummaged for his keys, while behind him the Twit and his new best buddy took up chattering again.

"Ohhhh, my head..."

"Your boyfriend's kind of a bastard, isn't he? Sexy as all hell, though."

Maul started grinding his teeth again as he searched for the right key.

"He can be a little opinionated. But he means well, really. I'm sure we can sort things out..."

"Hope so. Why do you think he thought that my uncle would be taking the stairs?"

"Beats me. Speaking of which...I don't suppose you have any painkillers?"

"Oh, you poor baby..."

Maul ground another tooth to powder before he finally got the door open and ushered the girls inside. He slammed the door behind them, locked it, locked the other lock, locked the lock he'd installed after Sidious had last broken through the last two locks last time, set three deadbolts and five chains, then pushed two chairs, his couch and both coffee tables up against the door and turned to the girls, rubbing his hands together.

"So," he rasped as seductively as he could manage through a throbbing mouth and bruised-feeling lungs, "Who wants to go first?"

They blinked at him innocently, then beamed identical beams and wigglewaved their hands.

Three extremely eventful minutes later, Maul was busy trying to figure out how to tear off Cherry's panties with his teeth without goring her in the belly when My Apprentice jumped up on the dining room table beside them, flipped her tail and stared at him. "Go away," he panted, trying to stretch far enough to shove the cat over the edge without spearing Cherry's navel.

He could swear that she smirked. **Aren't you forgetting something?**

Maul blinked...then suddenly felt his stomach start to drop. His libido, sensing the change, whined and skulked shivering back into its little clapboard libido-house with its tail between its legs. Oh...shit.


He looked at his watch. The old bastard had been due over half an hour ago to pick up his disgusting little pink-bagged party favors, and he was never late. As a matter of fact, he was usually somewhat early, to make sure that he would get in as much time making Maul's life miserable as possible. Which meant that he had probably been on his way up when...Maul had...slashed the...elevator cables.

"Oh, fuck me," Maul mumbled despairingly.

"OK!" Cherry reached for him. He scrambled backwards out of her grasp, mind racing. Maybe the fall down the shaft into the unused levels had killed Sidious. Maybe his worries were actually over. But...somehow he didn't think so. And if his Master found lightsaber-marks on the severed cable...and then came in to find Maul entangled with the Fruit Sisters when he should be lining up those prissy little bags for Sidious to take back with him...

Visions of purple-lightning enemas dancing in his head, Maul dashed for the kitchen -- and almost ran into Grape, who was walking out of the kitchen with the handles of the gift bags looped over her arms and an even blanker look than usual on her perfect face. And a tiny little receiver dish sprouting from her scalp, which was folded outward to either side in two neat sections, a bit like an eviscerated purple-blonde Furby.

"Uncle says we need to come downstairs now," she pouted regretfully. The little dish whirled around a few times and then pointed towards the door.

"EEEYAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!" Maul replied, with what he considered admirable calm under the circumstances.

**Told you,** My Apprentice sent smugly. Out in the living room he could hear Grape's sister clearing aside all the piled-up furniture.

"Buh -- buh -- wai -- what the fu -- " he hurried into the living room after her, only to be confronted by the sight of Cherry, her scalp similarly split open and sprouting an array of antennae, already flipping open all the locks.

"Sorry," the twins pouted in unison. "Uncle says take the pink bags and come downstairs. Can't stay. Bye-bye!" Then Cherry opened the door and they turned and wiggled out. He stared after their retreating bouncing buns -- then sat down on the floor heavily. Hidden inside its little clapboard house, his libido whimpered and hid its nose under its paws.

My Apprentice padded over and flopped down into his aching lap, butting her head against his hand. He petted her numbly, brain starting to pick up speed again. OK, class, for those of us who weren't paying attention the first time around...what do you call a woman with a perfect body, perfect hair, and perfect taste in clothes, who is dumb as a rock, totally and literally obedient, completely identical to the only other perfect-dumb-obedient woman you've ever met, who is immune to the Mind Whammy, never smears her makeup and...(he realized suddenly)...never...sweats? Not even on the hottest afternoon in recent Coruscant history? And who pops antennae and radar dishes out of the top of her head at inopportune moments?

He jumped to his feet suddenly, making My Apprentice leap clear with an irritated yowl. Cynthia had some explaining to do.

When he stomped into her apartment, his nostrils were assailed suddenly by the unmistakable smell of large quantities of steaming hot pizza. A stack of Pizza the Hutt boxes that rivaled the mound of moving cartons in Cynthia's dining room in size was sitting in the middle of the living room next to two fresh coolers brimming with crushed ice and bottles of Pete's. He blinked. "How the fuck did this get here so fast?"

Cynthia looked up from the couch, where she was simultaneously cleaning a cut over Obi-Wan's left nipple and hand feeding him a slice of pepperoni. (Obi-Wan was at this point too stunned by repeated box-blows to the head to look uncomfortable with how much she was clearly enjoying this exercise). "Hi, you're back! Oh, this. My uncle brought it. Little apartment-warming present."

"But how'd he get it up here with the -- " uh. "Never mind. Uh, Cynthia? Is there something you'd like to tell me about your...sisters?"

"You mean Cherry and Grape?" Cynthia blinked at him ooooh so innocently. Obi-Wan looked between the two of them and a question mark almost literally appeared above his head.

"Yes." Maul remembered not to grind what was left of his teeth. "About Cherry and Grape."

"Besides the fact that they're not really my sisters?"

Obi-Wan blinked. "They're not?"

"They're...machines, aren't they?" Maul inquired, keeping his tone even with a great deal of effort.

"Yup." She nodded.

"Some sort of...droids?"

"Yup. Top of the line love droids from my uncle's personal collection. Synthskin, internal heaters, lots of padding. I do the repair and upgrade work on them, actually -- "

Maul waved his hands. "Never mind that.'re meaning to tell me that...I just spent the majority of the afternoon..."

Cynthia blinked, then fought a smile.

"...getting battered, bruised, my fingers mashed, my toes speared, my nose out of joint and my ego squished in a futile attempt to coax a couple of...of...of...robots into my bed?"

Cynthia stifled a giggle and nodded.

"This is serious! Do you have any idea what this could do to my reputation?!?"

She shrugged. "Hey, I won't tell if you won't -- "

"Sith -- I mean I -- I do not sleep with appliances!"

She shrugged again. "Hey, don't knock it till you try it."

"Now, that isn't technically true," Obi-Wan piped up. "Remember that little experiment we did with the Mixmaster and the handcrank pasta machi -- "

"Shaddap!" Maul snapped, stabbing a finger at him. The padawan eeped and quieted. Then he turned to Cynthia and gave her his best glower -- then saw her start to salivate and rub her thighs together and hastily exchanged it for his fourth-best instead. "Then why in the Sith Hells did you tell me that they were your sisters?!?"

"Uh, well, to be honest, my uncle would only let me borrow some droids for unloading help if I took a couple of his Stepford-2000s along and called them my sisters. I got no idea why -- he said something about 'honing his student's rage' but that didn't make any sense to me."

Maul's heart froze. Oh...shit. "And this is the same uncle who...told you about this place, arranged for you to move in across the hall without paying a deposit, is helping you remodel both units, paid your mover's fees and generally helped make sure you would become my across the hall neighbor?"

"Looks like. For which..." another hungry look, "it looks like I'm gonna owe him even more than I thought I would..."

Shit, shit, shit...."Uh...Cynthia? I'm just curious. What's your uncle's name?"

She fed Obi-Wan another bite of pizza. "Palpatine. Why?"

His heart finished freezing and dropped into his shoes with a clink. "No reason," he squeaked. Oh, that bastard. That sick, sadistic, scheming, arrogant piece of bantha poodoo. He'd set this up. He'd sent his crazy niece to live across the hall, knowing she'd fall madly in lust with Maul for whatever unknown reason, that she'd ingratiate herself with the Twit and probably everyone else she came into contact with, and that she'd keep flirting with him until he wanted to barricade himself into his apartment, tired or not. Then he'd conned Maul into looking like a 'good neighbor' by helping to unload Cynthia's junk (as well as into getting the crap pounded out of him by killer packing cartons) by dangling a couple of fuck toys in front of him as bait. And then, he had added the finishing touch -- the humiliating public revelation of exactly who and what Maul had been hitting on -- not to mention then yanking them away before Maul could finish what he started...

"Whoa! Whoa! Not the pizza!" Cynthia yelled as Maul whipped out his lightsaber and ignited it with a howl of purest Sithly rage. Too late -- a single slash sent the two halves of the stack toppling in different directions. Melted cheese and substandard sauce flew in all directions as he whirled away and dashed down the hall towards the elevator, thinking only of getting to the lobby in time to catch Sidious/Palpatine's sextoy-pink hoverlimo and avenging himself once and for all --

-- except that, thanks to him, the elevator was --

"AUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGH!!!!!!!" Maul slashed straight through the plate steel doors in a futile attempt to vent his frustration. Then he put out the lightsaber, leaned against the wall and let out a long, incoherent whimper. He was suddenly finding himself thinking longingly of Hoth in the summertime...

A good while later he felt a touch on his shoulder. It was a surprisingly chaste touch, especially since he guessed that the hand's owner would much rather be using her tongue. "Hey," Cynthia said. "You still pissed at me in a bad way?"

"Is there a good way to be pissed off at you?" he muttered tiredly.

She chuckled. "Yup. Hopefully I'll get to show you that sometime."

"Keep hoping," he rasped darkly.

"Damn. Oh well, never mind. C'mon, you've had a really hard day -- "

"Leave me alone," he all but pleaded, embarrassing himself. Sith did not plead.

"...which is why we packed up most of the pizza for you and stuck it in your apartment along with a case of beer, seeing as you left the door open and all. Figured you'd need a night or two alone ta detox. Cute cat, by the way..."

He turned his head to look at her blearily as she chattered on, unable to believe what he was hearing.

"...although I gotta tell you, Maul baby, you really fuckin' gotta clean that place up. When we end up in bed, we better do it over in my unit instead."

He rolled his eyes, but was too damn exhausted to contradict her.

"Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks again, and I'm sorry about the whole love droid thing. I really would have told you, but I can't go back on a promise to my favorite uncle. He's kinda eccentric, but he's a really great guy."

"I'm sure he is," Maul deadpanned.

She stepped back, smiling. "So, uh, see you around?" Her eyes were just too damn hopeful.

"...maybe." If she kept supplying free beer and pizza -- and if he didn't slaughter her from sheer annoyance.

"Cool!" Whistling happily, she trundled back into her apartment. A few moments later, he heard two fresh beers crack open -- and then Rob Zombie started pounding out into the hallway. Oh shit, he realized after a moment. I left over half of my winter-weight robes in there. Oh well...barring the return to Hoth that he'd been daydreaming about, he had at least three months before he'd have to come over and get them back, and as a bonus she would probably wash them for him. Eventually, anyway. He didn't want to think what she would do with them in the meantime.

As he limped back to his room, Maul considered these new developments. In the end, it wasn't all bad. He'd survived the day more or less intact, and he had more beer and pizza at his disposal now than even he knew what to do with. Sure, Sidious would do something creatively horrible to him if he actually killed Cynthia to get rid of her -- and his Master would probably use her over and over in his endless schemes to hone Maul's Sithly rage and hatred. But this crush of hers could just as probably be turned to Maul's own advantage...perhaps even to advance the day when he would have the power to destroy his Master for good.

"One day soon, Sidious," he rasped in his best Menacing Sith Rasp, "you will meet your end at my hands. And then the title of Master will be at last be mine..." he paused, and a grin spread across his face. "...along with all of your sex toys!"



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