Life Lessons at the Sith Academy, Part XI
[Read Siubhan's author bio]
Once again, thanks to Katherine the Art chick for the beta.
Maul woke up to the usual assault on his feet by My Apprentice and kicked her off the bed. This of course only deterred her for about ten seconds, and she promptly leapt back on the bed and started going to town on his left foot again. Maul ignored her and reached up to scratch his head... Hmmm, he was one horn short. Looking at his Darth Lara Croft pinup wall calendar, he nodded as his suspicions were confirmed. It was spring on Hoth, and it was antler-shedding time for the Tauntauns. After rooting around the covers for a few minutes, he found his errant horn, scooped it up, walked to the hutch in the living room, and crammed it on a shelf with all the other horns he'd shed over the years.
After pulling on a pair of reasonably clean boxers, Maul yawned and staggered out to the hallway to pick up his morning paper. As usual, Obi-Wan was out there getting his paper at exactly the same time. "Hello neighbor!" he said, the very picture of chipperness. "Say, what happened to your horn?"
"I shed them annually," Maul noted as he reached up to scratch at the base of another loose horn. "I think this one's next."
"Gee, I didn't know that," Obi-Wan replied thoughtfully. "Is that normal for your species?"
Maul shrugged. "Beats me. No one knows what my species is, but I seem to be on the same horn-shedding schedule as the Tauntauns."
"Right, you were raised by them. But I thought you were Zabrakian?"
"Naw, that's just what the staff at the orphanage put on my intake forms because I had horns. It was either that or 'Hutt,' but they figured I was just going through a chubby stage."
"Oh, how interesting. Does it hurt when your horns come off?"
"Not a bit."
"Actually, if you shed them, shouldn't they technically be called 'antlers'?"
"Yeah, I guess." Maul scratched more vigorously at his loose horn, and it plunked to the floor and rolled to Obi-Wan's feet.
He bent over and picked it up. "Ooh, it's still warm. Um, mind if I keep this?"
"Yes," Maul snarled as he grabbed it from his hand. "I collect them."
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I had no idea."
"Of course you didn't."
The sound of two throats clearing startled both apprentices to attention. They both turned to see their respective masters glaring at them, and they both turned on their heels and headed back into their respective apartments for their respective lectures.
As the door closed behind them, Sidious turned to Maul and said, "I don't want you seeing that Obi-Wan anymore."
"Why not?" Maul countered as he put his horn in the hutch. "You're the perv who keeps saying that I should get laid more often, and you seem to enjoy picturing us together."
"He's making you soft! Look at you! You're practically friends with that Jedi. I was watching for a while, you know. You appeared to be having a civilized conversation with that boy."
"I haven't had my morning coffee," Maul mumbled. "I'm not myself yet."
"Maul, that's no excuse. If nothing else, you should be more surly before your morning coffee. When's the last time you engaged in mindless violence? Every time you get pissed lately, you just grab some ice cream."
"That's your fault! If you hadn't given me Mary Sue's PMS..."
Sidious held up his hand and said, "That's besides the point. Maul, he's a Jedi. He owns hamsters. He sleeps with someone who listens to John Tesh. How can you stand to even speak to him? When was the last time you tried to defy me, Maul?"
"See! Before he became your neighbor, you tried to defy me at least every four minutes! I'm beginning to wonder if you're really cut out to be a Sith after all."
Maul gasped and dropped to his knees, the very picture of Sithly obedience. "Surely you don't mean that, my Master! I can do better! I promise!"
Palpatine sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "I hope I'm wrong about this, Maul, but I'm going to need some proof." He walked over, took his apprentice's chin in his hand, lifted his head up and said, "I liked it better when you hated him, Maul, and by Jove, I shall make you loathe him again! Besides, at my age, I don't have the time to train a new apprentice, and I'd hate to drop dead and leave the fate of the Sith to you while you were under the spell of this pathetic Jedi swain."
Maul pondered this for a moment, then asked, "Can I still have sex with him?"
"Of course you can. Silly boy. And trust me, the sex will be much better." Sidious looked down as My Apprentice started savaging his ankles. "Oh, and feed this darling kitty, Maul. She must be starving. What a sweet kitty." He reached down to pet her, and chuckled indulgently as she tore his hand to shreds. "She's just like you used to be when you were little."
Maul rolled his eyes and headed for the bag of kibbles.
"I don't want you seeing that Maul anymore. He's a bad influence on you," Qui-Gon intoned, finger wagging sternly.
Obi-Wan gasped and staggered back a pace. "What on Coruscant do you mean?"
"He's making you uppity, and I think you're starting to flirt with the Dark Side."
"You make it sound like he's a Sith," Obi-Wan countered petulantly.
"Of course not," Qui-Gon hastily replied. "They've been extinct for a thousand years. But he's bad seed."
Obi-Wan put on his best pout and said, "If you didn't spend so much time screwing Mace Windu and Senator Palpatine, I wouldn't need to spend time with Maul."
"See! You're mouthing off to me! You sound just like him, Padawan."
"I do not!"
"There you go again! You are my padawan, and you are supposed to obey me in all things. Defiance is not part of the Jedi code. You weren't like this before you moved next door to that...that...that feral tattooed well-muscled creature with poor dental hygiene!"
Obi-Wan set his lower lip to quivering. "I'm sorry, Master. I just get so lonely when you spend all your time away from me with the other Jedi masters. I just get so jealous, and he's always home..." He broke off with a pathetic sniffle.
Qui-Gon's eyes filled with tears. "Oh Obi, I'm sorry. I have been neglecting you lately, haven't I? Let me give you a hug."
An hour later, the two masters exited their apprentices' apartments. Qui-Gon turned to Sidious and courteously asked, "Senator Palpatine, could I have a word with you?"
"Certainly, Master Qui-Gon," he replied, the very picture of kindliness.
"I'd like your boy to stop seeing my boy. No offense to you, but I think he's a bad influence on my padawan."
"Do you really?" Sidious replied, skillfully hiding his glee.
"I'm sure you've done the best job you can to raise him, but as that wonderful Naboo News Network special on you noted, he did spend his formative years with Tauntauns, and I'm sure that's scarred him for life."
"Yes, Tauntauns are particularly cruel parents. I'm afraid you're right. I've done everything I could for that boy, but somehow, it's just not enough."
"Oh Senator, don't cry."
"Hold me...no, lower..."
Obi-Wan and Maul both strode onto their balconies, beers in hand. "So," Obi-Wan sighed, "Qui-Gon doesn't want me seeing you anymore."
"Yeah, Sidi...um, Palpatine isn't too keen on me being chummy with you. Well, he doesn't mind the sex part, actually."
"Strangely enough, I don't think Qui-Gon minds that either. Here's to annoying masters," Obi-Wan said, holding his Guinness aloft.
"I'll drink to that," Maul replied, raising his Pete's Wicked Ale in return.
After they each downed a deep gulp, Obi-Wan turned to Maul and said, "So, what are we going to do about it?"
Maul leered to the universe in general and said, "The only thing we can do."
"You have reached the Dark Side. Leave a message at the beep, or call me at my new phone number: 945-7761-00982, the home of Obi-Wan Kenobi."
"MAUL!!!!!!!!!!!! Damn you. I'll be there in ten minutes to smack some sense into you. I should have had that orphanage return you to the Tauntauns when I had the chance..."
Maul opened the door and grinned maliciously at the shocked Jedi Master standing in the hallway.
"What are you doing here?" Qui-Gon barked. The unhappy Force tremors radiating from him caused the bouquet of daisies in his hand to start wilting.
"I'm Obi-Wan's new apartment mate. Good to meet you," Maul replied, grin threatening to split his face in two.
"What happened to your horns?"
"It's shedding season," Maul replied, scratching at the base of one of the three remaining horns on his head. "It's perfectly natural. Shall I tell Obi-Wan that you're here?"
Qui-Gon barged past Maul and said, "I'll tell him myself."
My Apprentice leapt at him with a mighty yowl and started chewing on his hair.
"Bad kitty!" Obi-Wan chided as he walked into the room with a fully-loaded Super Soaker in hand. The cat took one look at it and zipped under the sofa. Fluffi-Wan looked on serenely from his waterproof Habitrail.
Cuddles, however, was on the verge of another breakdown. He hadn't ever felt jealous of Maul before, but then again, he'd only ever been Obi-Wan's casual sex partner. Having him move in was almost more than his little hamster brain could handle. Fluffi-Wan, sensing the impending pandemonium, waddled over to Cuddles and started leading him through some Jedi calming exercises while pointing out that playing Obi-Wan's two main squeezes off of each other would probably result in all of them leaving, which would mean more quality Obi-time for Cuddles. Cuddles, realizing the logic of this argument, quickly calmed down, and disaster was once again averted.
However, this entire scene was lost on the humanoids.
"Obi-Wan, what is the meaning of this?" Qui-Gon demanded.
"Simple," Obi-Wan replied. "You said you thought Maul was a bad influence on me."
"So you had him move in?" Qui-Gon yelled, the antithesis of Jedi calm.
Crossing his arms, Obi-Wan countered, "Oh, don't worry, we won't be living in sin for long. Tell him, Maul."
Maul walked over, wrapped his arm around Obi-Wan's shoulders, and with a shit-eating grin said, "I intend to make an honest man out of him. We're getting married."
Qui-Gon fainted dead away just as Sidious barged through the front door. "Did I hear what I thought I heard?" he asked.
Obi-Wan smiled and held out his left hand, proudly showing off his glittering engagement ring.
Maul reveled in the waves of anger and revulsion pouring off his master. Ah, so delicious! He didn't think he'd ever seen the man so angry in all his life. He could feel Sidious's thickened arteries choking, slowly squeezing off precious oxygen. Just one more minute and the old bastard would have a full fledged coronary...
Another one of Maul's horns popped off, rolling across the floor and catching his cat's attention. She promptly dashed out from under the sofa and batted the horn into the kitchen where it skittered across the linoleum floor most amusingly.
Unfortunately, that was just the distraction Sidious needed to lower his blood pressure back to acceptable levels. He used the Force to mentally bitch slap Obi-Wan into unconsciousness then grabbed Maul in a Force chokehold and led him back to his apartment. My Apprentice dutifully followed along with Maul's horn in her teeth. She wasn't going to miss this show for anything short of tuna.
Sidious released Maul and slammed the door closed behind them. "What is the meaning of this, Maul?"
"I thought it was obvious," Maul replied as he retrieved his horn from the cat and put it in the hutch. "I'm blatantly defying you in an attempt to piss you off and have you drop dead of a coronary."
"Ah. Well, I suppose I can't fault you for that. It's very Sithly, after all."
In the corner, the Sith Handbook flapped its pages in agreement.
"However," Sidious continued, "I have to question what you intended to do after my untimely demise. Would you have slaughtered Obi-Wan, or continued living with him in domestic bliss?"
Maul shrugged. "It really all depended on how many Jedis I could piss off in the process."
"I must say, I was impressed at the number you did on Qui-Gon," Sidious cackled. "However, I must put an end to your plan. While it was admirable, the fact of the matter still remains that I commanded you to start hating Obi-Wan again, and you defied me. While yes, this is very Sithly, it is equally Sithly for me to punish you in retribution."
Maul nodded stoically. "I expected no less, my Master. What shall it be this time? Will I have to give you another bikini wax? Go butt-up on the bearskin rug for Yanni? Tattoo my uvula? Eat ludefisk? Sell Mary Kay products?"
"No, this time your punishment shall be more targeted. I intend to eradicate that soft spot you have for a particular padawan."
"I do not have... YEOUCH!" Maul let loose an uncharacteristic shriek as Sidious applied a purple thunderbolt to his Sith Saber.
"Come, Maul. Before I came here, I spoke to Mrs. Kenobi. Lovely lady. She remembers you fondly from last winter break. It seems that you and her son got along smashingly, and she'd dearly love to entertain us tonight with tales of her son's squeaky clean childhood, complete with slides, family photo albums, and home movies."
"I'll bet he was an Eagle Scout," Maul grumbled.
"Curiously, she's reluctant to talk about his teen years," Sidious commented. "No matter. You and I shall go over and watch home movies of young Obi-Wan and we shall listen politely, and I shall ask many leading questions that will provoke her to go on at great lengths about her darling angel. And you shall sit quietly by my side and listen to everything. No tuning out, Maul. There will be a test."
"And if I fail?" Maul challenged.
"Then we'll visit his incontinent grandparents!" Sidious exclaimed gleefully. "And neither of them has a tooth in their wrinkled old heads. You'll just love them, Maul. Trust me, it's in your best interests to pay attention tonight. If you don't hate your twit neighbor by the end of the week, then it's back to the Tauntauns for you."
Maul gulped. "Springtime on Hoth..."
"Yes, it's very cold there right now, Maul, and thanks to electrolysis, you no longer have that downy coating of fur which kept you so warm as a child."
In a timid whisper, Maul said, "I shall listen to Mrs. Kenobi very attentively, my Master."
"That's a good apprentice. We'll have you hating your neighbor again in no time."
When Obi-Wan finally came to, he was surrounded by a posse of white-coated Jedi. Qui-Gon, leaning heavily on Mace Windu, said, "It's for your own good, Obi-Wan." Mace patted Qui-Gon supportively on the butt.
"What's going on?" Obi-Wan gasped.
"You require intensive rehabilitation, my Padawan," Qui-Gon replied sadly.
"But it was just a joke! Look, it's just cubic zircona! We got it at Service Merchanside!" Obi-Wan cried, holding out his glittering engagement ring. "I was just trying to pull your leg and make you jealous!"
"You defied me, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon sighed. "That only proves what a bad influence your neighbor is on you."
"I can change! Really I can! I'm sorry! It was just a joke!" Obi-Wan begged as the white coated men deftly wrapped him in a straight jacket.
"No, Obi-Wan, I'm afraid you're off to the Jedi Happy Farm."
"What will happen to me there?"
Qui-Gon turned to Mace and sobbed, "I can't tell him! You tell him for me!" before collapsing on his shoulder.
Tightening his hold on Qui-Gon's butt, Mace said, "You're in for a heavy regimen of Prozac and The Andy Griffith Show until you're your chipper Jedi self again."
"The Andy Griffith Show?!? Qui-Gon, save me!" Obi-Wan cried as the men in white bundled him out the door.
"I'm sorry, my Padawan!" Qui-Gon sobbed helplessly. "I'll feed your hamsters while you're away!"
"He's gone. You can stop now," Mace noted.
"Oh good," Qui-Gon groaned as he straightened up and wiped his eyes off on his robe. "He's such a little wanker sometimes. This'll give us a few days alone, at least. You fill the bong, I'll make the munchie run."
"Get Chips Ahoy and some lube!" Mace called out.
From the habitrail, two very angry hamsters plotted their revenge...
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