Chapter 1: Into Oblivion
Maul had felt pain before. What Sith hadn't? His Master had used lightning to punish him, had locked him in harsh cages for weeks on end and expected him to get ready to fight, had pushed him past the breaking point and then made the real training being at that point. His Master had tested lightning on him, had sent him away to a death ship known as Corg Hive Seven, anything to test his strength and see how he could turn his pain into anger. Maul had passed all those tests with flying colors. The Zabrak knew he was strong. He knew he could take whatever his Master threw at him and come out the other side... He had done it. Had done it so many times before, had fought and screamed and kicked and clawed...
But why did this hurt so much?
He landed on a bale of something disgusting that broke his fall and sent a wave of disgusting black goo covering his sides. Maul screamed. He arched up, clawing at his sides. The burning blood wound in his stomach really appreciated what had just happened and stabbed him with more pain. The Zabrak gasped for breath. His eyes were wild as he tried to claw his way out of the disgusting black goo. But it was thick and stinking, clinging to his body like syrup and pulling him down. The Zabrak shuddered. He tried to breathe through his mouth, but then he could taste the filth he had fallen into! He kept struggling, fighting and trying to get out of the mess he was in. He found a few chunks of duracrete that had to have been part of a building project. He struggled through them and climbed to the top of one of the chunks. Maul collapsed there in exhaustion, the wound on his side bleeding like mad.
The red Zabrak had no idea how it had all happened. He had trained for this day! Had fought and scratched and clawed to prove that he was worthy of his Master's precious time and attention. Maul closed his eyes, one clawed hand going to his side. It hurt too much to think. Maul swallowed. The foul goo hadn't gone down his nostrils or his throat, but it was all over his bloodied robes and the massive gash that stretched across his side. Maul rolled over and pulled the clothe back. His lips drew back, exposing his long fangs, as he looked at the bloodied wound. Hot golden eyes scanned over it. What could he do? He had no way of cauterizing the wound, no lightsaber to sear away the dirt and infection.
Images flashed behind his eyes, making him double over and claw at his stomach. The Jedi Master, Qui-Gon, beating him back as easy as one might defeat a child. The young boy, watching with eyes like shards of blue eyes. That boy knew rage and pain, Maul was sure of it! And the padawan, driving him back effortlessly and toying with him the way a lothcat might toy with a mouse. Maul's eyes fluttered shut as he understood what would happen. His Master no longer wanted him. What good was a weapon if that weapon no longer had a purpose? If Maul could no defeat the one his Master wanted him to defeat, then he was worthless. And his Master had every right to discard a worthless weapon and start all over again with something that would be better served to the purpose.
He wasn't sure how long he had been lying on his broken slab. Maul just knew that he was in pain and his entire body just wanted to shut down from it. The Zabrak almost sobbed from the hurt of it. He would have, except that this was a test and his Master could have been watching to make sure he suffered this defeat like a Sith. Maul swallowed and bit his bottom lip. There was no way out of this. He was lying at the bottom of a reactor shaft, his body covered in filth and mangled. Even if he could escape, who would want a damaged Sith? He was too strong to keep as a slave...
Rough hands shook his body. Maul cracked his eyes open and moaned. A pair of men were looking at him with a weird sort of hunger in their eyes. Maul's eyes fluttered shut and his head dropped back. He hurt too much to fight. He was finished. These two could do whatever they wanted with his body. If Maul had been able to think straight, though, he would have seen that the pair were not native Naboo and not as gentle as that race was seen to be. Instead, they looked cold and hard. One of the men grabbed Maul with sharp hands and slung the Zabrak over his shoulders like a sack of root tubers. Maul put up a fuss, mostly because it hurt his injuries even more. He was too far gone to care.
Blondie slapped his arse. "He's a pretty one!"
"I know," Red replied. He pinched a part of Maul's body that made him whine in pain. He struggled weakly, but was far too weak to put up a fight and keep the others away from him. But such was the fate of the weak. They got what they deserved. "It's a shame we have to sell what we find down here to those red eyed bastards, though. You think they would know if we kept this one for a few days?"
His friend shrugged. "Well...there's only one way to find out."
That, thankfully, was when Maul passed out for good. He had no way of knowing what was about to happen or who they were selling him too. But the Zabrak was simply too injured to care. Something had been broken inside of him. Maul didn't know what, per say. but he knew it was bad and he knew it caused him no small amount of pain to claw around like he had. But the Zabrak was out of it. He had no way of knowing what was about to happen to him, though, no way of knowing that his life was about to be changed forever. Sadly, it was not for the better.
Chapter 2: A Bound Soul
Maul hated kneeling. He had done that all too much as a slave to his Master. He couldn't get away from these, though, not because of the massive collar around his throat. The thing seemed to choke him! Maul felt the heavy piece of leather and steel on his collar bone. It choked him and made it hard for him to breathe. These slavers seemed to not care, though, and were training the young Zabraks in the way they thought he needed to be. That meant that Maul was a submissive little slave. He wouldn't fight back and he wouldn't bite them. Maul had heavy jaws and he was more than capable of ripping a man's pride and joy off. Maul had done that before and they now made him wear an o-ring gag if they wanted pleasure from him.
As it was, Maul was kneeling at the feet of the Captain. The Zyggerian looked at him with cold eyes, trailing over the Zabrak's muscular frame. Two of the human men had already had a go with him and Maul reeked of their stench. They had came inside of him. Maul could feel their release trickling down his legs. It made him burn with shame. If Maul shifted from the way he was crouched, the Zyggerian would slap his flanks with the crop. Already, his flanks burned. It was a good thing that Zyggerians and Zabraks couldn't hybridize. Otherwise, Maul wondered if there would be offspring. Already, he had been used by this male more than once. It hurt him. Every time, he bled and screamed from the force of the fur on his delicate skin.
The Zyggerian looked at him with cold eyes. "Don't you dare get up," he muttered softly. "All you are is a slave. I don't know why your Master threw you away, but he was wasting a treasure." The Zyggerian gave him a smile and reached down to rub over his horns. Maul gritted his teeth. He hated his horns and hated his body. His middle was very interested by action and responded. Maul felt his hardness brush against his legs. The Zyggerian nodded and gently tapped over his flanks. Maul flinched. He looked up and was slapped across the face. "Don't you dare! You are not a person! You can't look at me!" The Zyggerian slashed him across the face and made Maul yelp in pain. "You little pain slut..."
Maul snarled and struggled against the collar. The Zyggerian slapped him with the crop. Maul reared his head back and screamed. He managed to get to his feet and clawed at his face. The Zyggeriand snarled and moved to claw him. Maul saw it coming and dodged, easily getting away from the big alien. Of of the humans started forward. He wanted to help, if only for a shot at Maul's ass. Maul whirled on his legs and clawed the man across the face. The human fell, screaming. Maul turned back to the Zyggerian. A shock stick caught him in the side, making Maul grunt in pain. He took a running start and tried to bull charge the Zyggerian. The male was waiting, though, and allowed Maul to crash into him. Instead of going down, he sank his long teeth into Maul's shoulder and slashed him across the face with his claws.
The Zabrak yowled in pain. The Zyggerian grabbed him up, using pressure on that damned collar to make him obey. Maul started choking and clawing at the thing. He needed to get out of this! But the cat alien was too strong and he simply dragged Maul over to a set of shackles. Maul fought him every step of the way. He knew what would happen once he was restrained. The slavers would use his body like he was a Twi'lek slave. He twisted around in the male's hands, his golden eyes wild. The Zyggerian simply did not care. He drug Maul over and fastened his wrists in the cold, cruel metal cuffs. Maul was hauled up to his toes by the hydraulic system and forced to balance, even as his muscles screamed in agony.
"This is what bad bitches get," the Zyggerian softly said. He touched his chin spurs and looked over Maul. Maul started shivering. This was the man who had the audacity to complain about the bloodstains Maul had left in his leather bench, the bench that he was tied over, as he was mounted by the slavers. Was it Maul's fault that his stitches had torn or that he had been rutted into like they were dogs in heat? The Zabrak hadn't even tried to plead. He knew what would have happened if he did. His new "master" would have whipped him. Just like he was going to now. The Zyggerian didn't start hitting him, though. He just started rubbing over Maul's horns. "That's right. I know all about Zabraks. I know just what your species likes and what they don't. You have the Force and I can't breed you back to my own studs. That's why you're about to go far, far away..."
Thank the Force!
Maul rarely said things like that. He struggled against the bonds and his jaw worked the gag quickly. He needed to get out of this thing! The Zabrak twisted his head around and tried to see if there was some way that he could use the Force. But the Zyggerian's soft touches were made to give pleasure and he knew what he was doing. Before long, his eyes were rolling back and he was moaning around the gag. The Zyggerian could play his body like a fiddle. He knew just which horns to stroke and how to use the pressure of his paws. Maul felt his cheeks burn in shame when he looked down. The thing that made him a man was standing tall and proud. He had the idea that the Zyggerian wanted this to happen.
"You're going to make the Chiss so proud," the Zyggerian softly said, just as he brought Maul to completion. The Zabrak was almost too far gone to really focus on him, but he could sort of remember it. "Who knows...they just might put a few kittens in you. Just because they can."
Chapter 3: The First Round
It took the Chiss about four days before they came to get him. Maul could feel them through the Force. His connection to it was shaky at best now and he wasn't able to use it. He hated this! Maul wanted to get out of here and go running back to his Master. He needed them! His Master would take care of him and make sure his body was stuffed with a kitten. Maul shuddered a little bit as he paced in the too small cage. He know knew what it felt like to be a Tw'lek slave packed for transport. The cell he was in only allowed him a few steps in either direction. All he had to curl up in was a few ragged blankets. The Zabrak was getting too cold now. He needed to get out of here! These slavers were going to kill him! He was going to freeze to death if he stayed there much longer.
The first Chiss walked through the tiny transport area. A few feet beside him, a pretty Twi'lek girl lay curled up on her own bed. Like Maul, she reeked of sex and pain. Maul understood her fear, but he didn't care right now. He growled a little bit as the red eyed man stopped in front of the cell. The Twi'lek girl looked up. She was completely naked, her arms moving to cover up her nakedness. Maul drew back. He at least had his trousers, but the rest of his body was bare to the cold air. The Chiss looked over him, his eyes cold and hard. Maul growled softly. The Twi'lek whimpered. Maul just wished that she would shut up. He really did not care about her. He just wished that she would shut up and die. Or go back to keeping the guards off of him. It didn't matter.
'This one looks strong.' The Chiss was saying something. Maul knew he was saying something, but he couldn't understand it. He growled a little bit and dropped back. This wasn't going to go good. 'Take the Twi'lek slut too. We'll want to study her lekku--they're supposed to have the Force.' Maul watched the way he looked at the Twi'lek. He wanted her for more than one reason. Maul had another idea about that. If the guards took her, they wouldn't mess with him. And he liked that. He just wanted to be left alone and go back to his Master. "I'll take them both. I think what you said was two hundred and eighty credits for both of them?"
The Zyggerian nodded. He stroked the Twi'lek one last time before he shoved her towards the other Chiss. Her hands were wrenched behind her back and she was dragged away. They approached Maul a little more delicately, at least having a shock stick ready. Maul was known to fight. He was known to lash out and slash at them with his claws. His arms were quickly wrenched behind his back and he was sent after the Twi'lek. Maul walked slowly. At least the cage he was placed in was a bit larger than the one he had been housed in before. And the stupid Twi'lek held them up! She was limping and moving stiffly. Maul actually snarled at her and slashed at her with his claws. He cut her arm pretty good. All the Chiss with them gave each other a long look. Maul found himself yanked out of the cell and was quickly sent to what looked like a medical bay.
The head Chiss grabbed his wrists. Maul snarled and struggled. They clamped heavy metal shackles over his wrists and forced him to lay backwards, splayed over the table. Images started flashing over his eyes. Maul would feel the needles on Corg Hive Seven pierce his skin and put the bombs in his heart. He arched his back the best he could and he yowled. The Chiss ignored him. Instead, they grabbed his arms and put them in some sort of lock. Maul let out a scream. He tried jerking his hands back, but he couldn't. They dragged something that looked like shears over and snipped the first of his long claws off. Maul let out a terrorized scream. He twisted his head around, wailing about how his hands were on fire. His claws were alive. The Chiss started cutting through his ten long claws and took all of them off.
Blood ran down Maul's hands and started pooling on the table. Maul faintly heard himself whimpering. He could see them start to do something, could see them start to get a few things ready. But a strange tool was pushed up his anus and rotated. Maul let out another wail of pain. Something flashed up on the screen. Maul wasn't aware enough to look at it, too overcome by the pain and shame of what they had just done to him. His Masters and other men he could take. But some strange medical tool? He couldn't take that! But even if Maul could have looked at the screen, he wouldn't have been able to read it. It was in the Chiss language, not Standard. Maul could only read Standard.
They were saying something about his body and started poking his stomach. Maul twisted around in his restraints. He wanted to get out of here! He would rather the Chiss were after that stupid Twi'lek girl than doing this to him! But they rolled Maul over on his stomach and started tracing something over his back. Maul started shivering. One of the Chiss slapped him on the ass and went back to marking on his skin. He turned his head the best he could. His poor hands were still bleeding. Another Chiss ran something over his hands. Maul watched the blue light scanner go over his hands. This was going to hurt him. Maul needed to get out of here! He was going to have to get out of here!
In the next five minutes, something sliced down his back. Maul screamed. He tried to arch up and trash around, but they injected him with some sort of muscle paralyzing agent. It did nothing to dull the pain, though. Maul closed his eyes, trying to fight off the tears. This hurt so much worse than anything his Master had ever done to him. Maul closed his eyes and tried to ignore the pain, but he couldn't. He couldn't even pass out. Maul was forced to stay away as the Chiss started working on his spine. He just wished they could hit a nerve and his entire body would go numb. It felt like he was on fire! Maul could hear himself sob. He twisted around a little, but that just made the pain worse.
Maul was vaguely aware that they were doing something to his spine. Adding something in, it felt like. He cursed his Master and his Zabrak heritage that he was so strong! The Zabrak wished to get out of here! He was able to look up after a minute. He was able to see the blue Twi'lek girl. She was still naked, but Maul was naked too. She saw the mess that he was now and her hand flew to her mouth. It took her maybe a minute before she doubled over and vomited on the floor. Maul's throat was too sore to scream anymore. He just wanted to die. The Twi'lek was dragged over to her own table. They didn't bother tying her down. Maul understood. She was just a stupid Twi'lek slave who was literally raised by humans for humans. She gave pleasure, not smart answers.
Maul had growled at her and slashed at her. He had done nothing to her but be vicious. She still tried to take his hand when his broken voice tried to scream as something was added to his spine. It hurt! And he just wanted it to be over... He could die. He could die. He could die and he would welcome it with open arms. The Twi'lek girl, though...she didn't have an ounce of malice in her eyes as she held his tortured gaze with his own.
Chapter 4: Arion
Maul huddled up in the far corner of his cell. His head sagged to his chest and he wondered why he kept fighting. It hurt...it hurt too much. Every time he snapped at them, he lost a piece of himself. Chips to make him obey. A shock collar that was hooked to the main scientist's tablet. Reduced meal time. Poking a needle into sensitive parts of his body and removing fluids from him. Maul stopped fighting after they didn't feed him for a week. But after that, they knocked his cell down to about fifty degrees. Not cold enough to kill him, but cold enough to make his bones hurt. Maul didn't have the Force. They still kept that damned collar around his neck and forced his head away when they checked his healing wounds. His entire body was a nightmare of sutures and oozing wounds. Strange metal things poked just under his skin and made twisting different than it should have been.
He'd lost track of time. All Maul knew was that he was far rounder than he should have been, given the reduced rations, and it all went to his gut. The Zabrak growled a little to himself. When his Master found him... Oh, it was going to be hell to pay! Maul would be right there beside Sidious, trying to kill all of them and using his lightsaber to impale them. Or he'd choke them out. Just kill them in some way! He wasn't going to let those bar'ves hurt him like that! Maul was going to lock them all in the freezer so they could see what it was like to be cold! The Zabrak shivered a little bit. He was close enough that he could hear a few of the others talking. He knew there was another Zabrak, a Chiss, three Twi'leks (at least), several Togrutas, a human male, and a Pau'an. They could talk to each other.
Maul, for his "behavior issues", was locked up all by his lonesome.
One of the Chiss came to get him. Maul looked up with dulled eyes before he growled. The man ignored him. He just grabbed Maul up and started yanking him back to the operating room. Maul's blood ran cold the second they turned the corner. He yowled in pain, dug his heels in. The guard just tapped the button on the tablet and Maul's knees buckled. The burly human signaled to another. One of them grabbed Maul under the knees and the other dragged his arms. Once again, they spoke in the Chiss language. Maul thought he saw the Twi'lek girl, Akita, but he wasn't sure. He did see a massive albino Twi'lek trailing after him with a mop bucket. Maul knew from the few Standard conversations he had heard, the albino male had a midi-chlorian count of about six hundred. However, he was useful because of his size.
The human dropped Maul upon the steel table. Maul let out a soft cry, locking eyes with the human. He wasn't good at pleading. He never had been. He just wanted to get out of here and never look back. But the human didn't care and simply doused Maul with a blast of white hot sanitize water. A good bit of it went down Maul's mouth and he gagged, retching at the disgusting taste. The human kept on hosing him off and simply didn't care. Maul shivered. At least the water was warm and not as cold as ice... But who was he fooling? Maul knew they didn't care. They were just going to use him up and spit him out. After the human was done, one of the Chiss came in. His red eyes looked evil as he scanned Maul's body with an almost hungry look.
"If you obeyed, we wouldn't have to do this to you," the man murmured. He snapped gloves on his cold, blue hands and rubbed over Maul's belly. For some reason, the Zabrak growled. He had no idea why this Chiss was talking to him, nor did he care. He didn't trust them. Not at all. The man took a marker and pulled Maul's head up. The Zabrak went cold. Why were they touching his horns? Even his Master had realized that horns were forbidden territory! The Chiss, though, didn't care and he marked one at the base of Maul's skull and the other over his ear. Next, he checked the restraints and he finally grabbed a scalpel from the sterilizer. Maul tried to twist away, but he couldn't. All he could do was yowl and scream his pain as two of his delicate and sensitive horns dropped from his head onto the table.
"There." The Chiss started mopping up the blood and packed the wounds with bacta soaked cotton. Maul whimpered softly. He wanted to curl up and hide, but there was no where for him to go. The Chiss shrugged and looked at the Zabrak's stomach. "I suppose I should tell you, now that I think about it. Congratulations. You're going to be a mother."
"But I'm a man!" Maul managed to rasp out. True, he knew how Zabrak biology was supposed to work. He was, after all, a young man and he had read his share of erotic novels and he had visited shady HoloNet sites. But this? This happened to other Zabraks! This happened to Zabraks on Nar Shadda or Zyggeria! This didn't happen to him! He was Lord Maul, Darth Maul. He was the second most powerful man in the galaxy! He did not want a kitten, nor did he need a kitten. How...how was one supposed to destroy the Jedi with a mewling kit on their hip? Maul had no idea and he didn't want to find out. He just wanted to get out of here! He would find his Master and he would find a way to rid his body of this parasite. "I'm not supposed to do this!"
The Chiss just shrugged and released the stunned Zabrak from his restraints. "Your species is very curious, you know. You technically are intersex, but dominate male." The Chiss recuffed Maul's arms and started making him walk. The Zabrak was too tired to care. He would do what he had to do, but nothing more. He was so tired now. But his body was making another being, too. "Females come from hybridization with humans. Technically, they are harmful mutations." He gave Maul a sly smile. "I'm pretty sure the father is a human, you know. Unless they put you with a stud."
Maul shuddered as he was forced inside the cell. He couldn't imagine what that would have been like... The pain in his head made him stumble and he almost missed the warm brown figure that was beside him. Strong, powerful arms helped him down. Maul mewed a lot like Akita did on the nights he was allowed to be with her. But unlike their fevered nights of kissing and holding each other, this one, a male by the smell of it, pressed him close. Maul buried his face in the tattered robes. The male just leaned back. He seemed to understand that Maul was terrified. He was terrified for himself and he was terrified for the life inside him. As much as he tried to pretend otherwise, he would never hurt a child. He couldn't and he didn't see how you could and still live with yourself.
"Hey," the male softly said. He tipped Maul's head up and looked at him. "I'm not gonna hurt you, okay? I'm not like them. I don't have those screws loose."
Maul just didn't care as he pressed into his new friend. He just needed to be held. Other than that...he wasn't sure what he wanted. Other than to just get out of here. "I'm Maul. Darth Maul. You are?"
"Arion." The male settled back, his lekku draping over Maul's back. "I'm a slave here, just like you are."
Chapter 5: Water Quenches Fire
Maul pressed his shaking body into Arion. The big Togruta started singing softly, holsing Maul close. He seemed to understand what Maul needed and wanted to keep him close. Maul was actually okay with this. None of the guards or Chiss had touched him sexually, just the slavers had done that. They seemed to be more interested in his changing body than they were trying to get him bred again. He knew it from Arion's conversations that they had purchased a trio of Force sensitive Zabraks from the meat ships of Nar Shadda. Those Zabraks had been destined for the dog food factory, as breeding from Force sensitive stock was very, very rare. Most men didn't want their pretty little slaves able to kill them just before they were all bred up again. Maul had seen the stud they had brought in. The green beast, there was no other way to describe him, had been outfitted with a nasty pair of shockles and a Force deadening collar.
If looks could kill, the guards would have been dead the second they had brought him in. Arion hugged Maul close. The Togruta was very warm, but he was a far cry from the warmth that Maul needed. He needed to be kept close to all sources of warmth and really needed to just curl up in front of a roaring fire with a hot drink, but he wouldn't be getting that here. Instead, all he was going to get was a slap in the face and a few chunks of raw meat to eat. Maul happened to glance down at his toe claws. They weren't as live as his fingernails had been, but they still hurt if he stubbed his toe or something. And they were longer than they needed to be, too. Maul just sighed and rested his head against his friend. What good was it, anyways?
One of the human workers came in and grabbed Maul by his collar. All the Zabrak could do was follow him. He had long since given up on talking to these people. All they would do was hurt him. He shivered slightly. His chest had started aching recently and, when he rubbed it, milk had came out. At least, Maul thought it was milk. It certainly smelled like the stuff! Maul winced as his too long tarsals scraped over the cold, flagstone floors. He gritted his teeth a little bit. The guard just hauled him on, not caring about Maul's pain. After all, the guard wasn't paid to care. He was just paid to make Maul walk and keep going. The Zabrak sighed softly. he was getting very tired and he almost missed it when he was dragged in front of the main scientist.
Cold dread filled his veins. Maul jerked his head back, whimpering softly. The guard just snickered and gestured to Maul's feet. Yes, his toe claws were a little long and they did make him stumble, but Maul needed those claws! They helped him grip the ground when he ran. He had a faint idea of what was about to happen as the human rattled off a question in the Chiss language. To make matters worse, the guard yanked Maul's hands behind him and pulled the Zabrak so tight that he couldn't move. Maul let out a whine of fear. He twisted his head a little bit, but there was nothing he could do about the silver scalpels that cut away the claws he used for balance when he was barefoot. Maul screamed in pain. He bucked back, but the guard just grabbed his ass and squeezed. The threat was clear and Maul forced himself to stop bucking, at least.
'We need to test his resistance to drowning.' One of the few female Chiss walked through the door, holding a bucket of water and a pair of knee restraints. Maul shuddered as he looked at them. 'It could help when we decide to perfect our weapon--you know as well as I do that those damned Jedi will drown a man!'
The elder Chiss nodded and had the guard force Maul to his knees. The Zabrak tried to get his head away, but a cold hand was applied to the back of his head and the scar tissue there really appreciated getting manhandled. Maul gritted his teeth and just tried to take it. The heavy shackles, so very strange and hard, were clipped around his legs. He twisted his head a little bit in fear. The elder Chiss motioned to the guard and the man shoved Maul's body into the water. The Zabrak let out an underwater shriek and started flailing around. Forget the pain in his feet! This was going to kill him! Maul screamed underwater, but all it did was get water in his lungs where it burned and made a long buried memory play.
A young boy walks beside a frozen lake. He is shivering, cold despite the many layers that cover his body. His Master walks beside him, but the boy knows better than to trust him. The boy walks on the ice. He takes careful steps, using the Force to keep from falling in and drowning. Maybe Master will be proud of me , the boy hopes. He thrives on what little scraps of kindness his Master gives him.
The old man looks over and gives him a cool grin. "Why would I ever be proud of a worm like you ?" he hisses. Then he hold out his hand and the ice suddenly breaks under his apprentice. The boy is underwater before he can even scream. He flails around like a man animal, the many layers that his species needs to survive in the snow dragging him down. The boy looks up at the surface of the lake and is stunned to see ice already growing over it. He hears a sharp cry from somewhere and a cold, blue arm snakes around him. A naked Nautolan male grabs the boy and almost throws him to the surface.
His Master just grabs the shivering boy and forces him to walk, in his wet clothes, for several more miles until they are home.
Breath in his lungs forced Maul to consciousness. He was lying with his back on the floor, his vulnerable body exposed to the cruel creatures that ran this little slice of hell. Maul shuddered. He looked up, straight into the red eyes of the female Sith. She brushed over his horns with a knowing smile. Maul forced his battered lungs to obey and he managed a watery whimper as she started to play his body like a fiddle. His drenched pants started to tent a little and she said something about Zabraks being all too submissive. Maul turned his head from the shame of it all. He managed to cry out when he came, the sound burning his sore throat. Even the Chiss looked a little subdued as they dragged him back to his cell.
Maul just curled up in his corner, wrapped in the straw sleeping mat he had and all of his paltry blankets. His mind thought he was still on that frozen planet and he could feel the cold biting at his bones.
Chapter 6: Looped
They had taken Arion out to do something with him. Maul didn't know what. He just knew that he wasn't allowed to be with the big Togruta anymore because They said so. And if They said something, Maul was to obey their word. Just like with his Master. If They said to eat, Maul ate. It didn't matter if the food made his belly churn and his body expelled it a few hours later, he was still supposed to eat it. After all, the food that Master had given him had made him sick. Maul didn't think he had a choice anymore. Either he obeyed or he was whipped. Or he lost his food. Or he lost the one thing that kept him warm and sane. Arion had been sent from above, but now they had taken the Togruta out. Why, Maul didn't know. He was just a slave. That was all he was and all he would ever be.
Maul huddled up in his corner. He stared at the wall now, mumbling. Counting. He had started counting a few hours after Arion had left. There didn't seem to be a world outside of this sterile lab. On Coruscant, he had gotten to smell the wind and rain as he trained. On Mustafar, he had been allowed to look at holos of worlds made from green and blue. As a child, Maul had wanted to go to those worlds. He hoped that Master had never known. Was this his punishment? That he would be locked up here, far from the clouds and the stars and the worlds that he had loved to dream about? Master must have known. Otherwise, why would He go and imprison Maul here? All he was was just a slave. A broken slave.
"Nine hundred ninety three... Nine hundred eighty six... Nine hundred seventy nine..." He had been mumbling for hours. The red Zabrak had put his hands over his belly, wondering why the kitten inside kicked. One of the Chiss had taken great pleasure in explaining just how Zabraks had kittens and why his race was so disgusting. They were just like the Dravaain Twi'leks, the Chiss had said. Not one or the other, but some aberration stuck in both. That was why the Zabraks like him were bred. That was why Maul would never truly be sure of his baby's father. Not that Maul would be allowed to keep it. They said that They had far better plans for Maul than to keep him popping out kittens. They had the other Zabraks and They would use Maul for stud service if they wanted too.
'What exactly are you trying to accomplish with that?'
If Maul heard her the first time, he gave no heed to it. He saw things and felt them. Sometimes the visions hurt and Maul felt his body spike with agony as he was brought back to Corg Hive Seven.
There is water everywhere. He can't breathe. Can't think. The ties cut into his wrists and ankles, keeping him under the freezing water. Maul's lungs burn. He opens his mouth, panicking as he tries to get out of the water. But he can't. Nothing happens as he struggles. Bubbles of precious air leave his mouth and congregate on top of the ceiling. This is a metal cube of death. A fish tank. He has been brought here to die. The Zabrak gets his fist free and is just about to get the other one free when blazing agony strikes his side. Maul screams and loses more air. Water floods his mouth and nose. It burns. He wants to scream, wants to fight, but the tail thing comes again and he's choking...
Maul screamed. He bounded up as best he could, grabbing at his arms and crying. Where was he? Was he drowning in that cell or was he in another, cold and alone? The Zabrak didn't know where he was. He just whimpered, his body shaking. He didn't know what to do. What would They want him to do? Maul didn't know. They never told him anything, they just dragged him over and did things that made him scream. The Zabrak whined softly. He burrowed his head into his arms and tried to think. His twin hearts still pounded from the fear, though, and he could still taste the grey water as it poured down his throat. If Maul had been able to stay in that memory, he would have awoken with Zero.
Sadly, though, the fates didn't like him that much.
The red Zabrak shook his head and looked. The harsh, white lights hurt his eyes and he tried to keep them closed as much as he could. He hated this place. But there was something...strange. The part of him that didn't burn like fire focused on a bright spot in the Force. Lately, they had been giving him shots that burned like liquid flame on his hip and ass. Maul couldn't sit down, but he couldn't stand, either. If he refused to do as They said, either he would be whipped or Arion would. He hoped that the Togruta didn't blame him. A part of Maul wanted to see Akeela or one of the other Twi'leks, but he couldn't. He was locked in this featureless, white cell. Imprisoned forever.
There was a woman. A human woman. She had a strange sort of blue glow to her and her short dark hair was in two braided queues down the side of her face. It looked soft. Maul reached out to touch it, but he stopped with a whine once he saw how ruined his fingers were. He looked up at her with frightened eyes. What did she want of him? Had They sent her? The woman sighed softly and something like...concern?...flashed over her features. Her skin was darker, but not Kiffar dark, but not as pale as Master's was. Maul didn't know how to describe her. Other than the fact that she looked scary and he didn't know what she wanted of him. That was why he didn't like her very much.
'Now you see me.' The woman waved an arm in front of his face. 'I was wondered if you would ever wake up!' She seemed frustrated and Maul wondered if he had been bad and she was going to punish him. 'Counting and looking at the corner is gonna get you nowhere, buddy. What you need to do is knock these bar'ves into next week before they kill you!'
"Can't." Maul shrugged. "Can't get out. Don't have the key. They won't give me the key cause They know I would kill them if I could." He shrugged again. If he truly was going mad, then it was fair that he could talk to himself. "I don't care. I'm still gonna kill them. I think Arion likes blood. He licks himself if he's bloody, you know."
The woman sighed and shook her head. 'Listen here, buddy. You got one shot at this. And you better run when I say run or even the Force of the Light Side can't save you.'
"I'm listening." After all, what did Maul have to lose?
Chapter 7: To Dream of Freedom
Cold. He was so cold. His body ached from where they had beat him. Mail snapped and bit and kicked. Even without his claws, he still fought. Master had trained him to be a killing machine. Who was Maul, a mere Zabrak, to go against his Master and do something that he wouldn't want? Maul knew that he had to obey. That was just a given. The Zabrak whined a little as he curled up. He didn't see the Blue Lady, but they had given him a drug and he got to see Akeela. His friend was out of it, though. The light in her amber eyes had been dimmed, replaced by a dull fog. But what did it matter? Maul was too heavy to breed her. And he was just a Zabrak bitch. That was all they ever said he would be.
They had caned his back. Maul bit one of the Chiss, taking chunks out of the man's flesh. He had reacted accordingly, striking Maul in the mouth and making him swallow one of his canine teeth. Even now, his mouth throbbed and he could taste the iron in his mouth. The Zabrak whimpered softly and curled into a ball. His bely had started cramping a little and he twisted to alleviate the pain. It didn't work, though, and he whimpered from it. Maul could feel the pain he was in and smell the blood that dripped from his sore body. He had to get out of here. The Blue Lady sometimes let him touch the Force, but she wasn't there. She had only came to him a few times before and said that he had to escape. She said that this was a very dangerous place and he had to escape if he wanted his kitten to live.
"Maul..." Strong arms encircled his body and Maul whimpered. He struggled up as beside he could and nuzzled Arion's scent. The Togruta male was shaking, his bronzed skin dulled from constant deprivation of sunlight. The man just whimpered, though, and wrapped Maul up close. Maul didn't fight him. One small hand reached over and stroked the swollen belly the red Zabrak now carried. "We gotta get you outta here. I don't think you can have that kitten here and not go crazy..."
"Warm?" Maul softly asked. There was nothing he wanted more than to just be warm and safe. That was what the blue Lady said would happen if he escaped with Arion. She called herself Satele and there was just something about her that made Maul like the woman.
"Yeah, warm," Arion agreed. He got to his feet and pulled Maul into his arms. The Zabrak's fingers felt dead as he scrambled for purchase on Arion's rough shirt. The Togruta didn't seem to mind. He hummed softly as he stood and nodded to Maul. "How about you use that space magic of yours to unlock the door, Maulie?" The Zabrak nodded and made a weak purr. Arion chuckled back. He placed Maul's hands over the electronic lock. Maul forced his powers past the barrier, even though it felt like shards of ice were stabbing him alongside the cramps. Arion smiled warmly as the lock clicked open. They started moving after that, heading towards freedom. Maul whimpered, though, as they passed a cage with a battered looking Zeltron and an exhausted human male.
"You want them out, too?" Arion hissed a curse as one of the guards yelled about an escape. Maul nodded, just before he wailed as the contractions hit worse. He struggled as best he could, almost biting Arion in the neck. Arion screamed a curse, just as the stunner bolts went flying over his head. The Togruta started running. He shielded Maul's body with his own, grunting as the bolts struck his side. Arion never slowed, not even when the stench of burnt flesh flooded Maul's nostrils. He let out a terrified scream and begged for the Blue Lady to come and help them. But if she heard, she did nothing. Arion stumbled, almost dropping Maul. Pain flooded the Zabrak's abdomen and he wailed, arching his back. It felt like he was being torn apart!
"Get them!" One of the Chiss darted around the corner. Arion shuddered to a stop, looking around. He darted back into a corridor. Maul heard a scream as the Zeltron was taken down, but he hoped the human made it. The Force told him that the human had to make it, otherwise bad things were going to happen. Arion didn't know what was going on. He was sweating, his flanks heaving. Maul was nearly skin and bones, despite the size of his belly. He had no idea what to do. He couldn't do anything, beyond try to trip up the guards as they ran. But the guards were able to evade his weak, clumsy bursts. He couldn't do anything! The helplessness and the pain made Maul wail even more.
Someone grabbed Arion by the lekku. The Togruta screamed in pain. He came to a full stop and hissed, his eyes almost fully bloody red and yellow. Maul found himself on the ground. His abused head, still sore from where he'd lost a horn, struck the duracrete with a sickening crack. Beside him, Arion raced at the man who had grabbed his lekku, his claws fully extended. Maul arched his back up and grunted. Something warm and wet suddenly soaked his trousers. Maul had the sense to yank them up and he watched as a red stain crept down the floor. Pain stabbed him. It felt like his entire lower body was on fire. He grunted and twisted, tried to push and get the kitten out. Instinct told him that the kitten was coming now.
His chest, though, was still flat and dry. If you looked closely, you could see the scars where the Chiss had taken out the tissue that made milk so they could see what it looked like.
Arion fell beside him, his face bloody. Maul made a quiet whimper and reached over to touch his friend. Arion did nothing, though. His eyes were as blank as Akeela's had been the last time he got to see her. Maul let out a wail, right before there was a pop and a newborn's cry filled the hall. Maul ran completely on instinct. He reached down and grabbed the kitten, cleaning off her face by licking and sucking. Her cord, too, was nipped with his sharp teeth. The kitten seemed to want milk and her eyes were screwed shut. Even though Maul no milk, he placed her against his dry nipples and watched her try to suck. Nothing came, though, and she cried louder.
"Ashya..." Maul didn't know what that word meant, but he knew it was a name. Ashya. That was his daughter, his kitten. His Ashya.
"You can't keep her, you know that." One of the other Chiss, the one in charge, leaned over and grabbed Maul's shoulder. He whimpered and drew back. "You can't make milk. She'll starve if you keep her!"
Maul found himself giving the newborn to the male. "Her name is Ashya," he mumbled as she was taken away. "Ashya."
He didn't even fight when he was forced to his feet alongside Arion.
Chapter 8: You've Been a Bad Boy
His entire body ached. His hindquarters still felt like they were ablaze and all he wanted to do was hide. Forever. They had just hurt him and he'd lost his kitten... Maul trembled as he tried to walk. His legs shook underneath his body and he turned his head in shame. What sort of man could hardly walk? What sort of man gave birth and what mother gave up their child moments after the birth? Maul knew that he was neither a man nor a mother. He was just another Zabrak bitch and that was all he would ever be. He whined softly as he walked. This... This wasn't what he wanted. He just wanted to have his daughter, to have milk for her, to be able to be close to Akeela and Arion. But that wasn't to be, he knew.
Half-way through the walk, Maul doubled over in pain. Something slimy and nasty fell from his legs and landed on the floor with a wet plop. One of the Chiss turned around and looked at it. Red eyes widened and a slow smile spread over the male's face. Maul turned away, shaking slightly. He was completely naked and worried that they would take his manhood next. After all, they had taken his claws, a horn, his daughter, his pride, and his freedom. Maul whimpered slightly. His left hand twitched a little and he wanted to kick the foul mess away. It was red and pulpy, something that looked like a bleeding sack of meat. Maul's belly turned at the thought. He didn't like it at all. It made him feel sick just looking at it.
"The placenta." The Chiss spoke decent Standard and looked Maul over like he was some sort of interesting animal. "Yes, you. It's yours, you know. Your kitten was protected by that when it grew inside you. That should have some things we can use." He nodded to a guard. "Go get a bag and collect that. I'll go deliver these two to the authority. We won't be needing the Togruta, after all. He's too close to a Force Null to really be a use to us."
Arion growled. He had just recovered enough to know what was going on. The male gave a low snarl and struggled against his own guard. "Leave him alone!" Arion screamed. "Can't you see you've done enough? He's lost his baby, for kark's sake! You've done enough!"
"You should have thought of that before you tried to escape," The Chiss calmly said. "And let me assure you, we have no more use for you here. I'm going to be more than happy to leave your carcass to the wolves."
"Kark you!" Arion screamed. Maul barely heard him, the blood trickling down his legs and pooling whenever he tried to move. Was he supposed to bleed this much? Was his body supposed to feel like a gaping hold had been ripped inside of him? It had felt like his insides were coming apart as he delivered Ashya. Was he supposed to be in this much pain? Maul turned his head softly and limped. He truly felt miserable. Something had broken inside of him, he knew. The Zabrak whimpered softly as they were taken inside a sterile room. Arion struggled. He locked his legs and threw back his head, tried to scratch and bite the guards. They only slapped him, though, and slammed him into a pair of stocks. Maul couldn't watch. Master had used stocks to hold him in place for a beating. He knew that Arion was about to get such a beating now.
"You thought you could get away." The man who was going to beat his friend, a Zyggerian, pulled the electro-whip's hilt from where it had been stored. Maul just whimpered. He wanted to be free from here very much. He was so tired... his entire body just wanted to collapse so he could be no more. The young Zabrak was so close to giving up... He turned his head, or tried too, as the whip came slashing down over Arion. His screamed joined his friend's screams and he could hardly keep on his feet. Maul arched his back up and wailed. It was like he could feel every blow that rained down on his friend's back. Maul screamed. He tried to jerk away and call for the Blue Lady again. Or one of the other voices that he heard. Anyone...anyone would do.
Maul was forced to look after a few moments. Arion hung limp, his body not even jerking. He was hardly breathing and blood sprayed from his back with every stripe. Maul whimpered and tried to turn away. The guard, though, forced his head to hold still with an iron grip. Maul found himself crying out, trying to reach his friend. He tried to shove past the force block, but it was to no avail. He was useless. Powerless. Helpless.
Arion breathed his final breath in a matter of minutes. His amber-gold eyes lost their spark and glazed over. He just sagged down, mouth lolled open. Maul screamed. He lunged for the Togruta, only to be snatched back and slashed across the face with the whip. Maul could have cared less. He tried to grab for the Togruta again. This time he was hauled back and dragged back to the cell. Maul didn't know what was going on. He was hysterical, screaming and trying to get out. He had to save Arion. Had to save him! What if the wolves ate him and he was still alive? Maul didn't know what he'd do. He just had to save Arion before something horrible happened to his body.
Maul turned his head and shrank back. He didn't like this! There was another Blue Person, this one a man. He wore very strange clothes and his hair was slicked back from his face. There was a strange scar on the left side of his cheek and his nose was a little crooked. He looked...not mean? Maul was still scared, though. "Please!" he begged. "Please, no more! Please just leave me alone...!"
The man shook his head and leaned down. "My name is Revan," he softly said. "Satele and Bastilla sent me to help you."
Chapter 9: Interlude: At the Temple
Caleb was ten years old and he had seen two people die in front of him. He'd seen the Zabrak go down, the one that was so thin but swollen around the belly like he was sick. He'd seen his Zeltron friend, Tirau, be shot in the back. She had fallen in a heap and hadn't gotten up again. Caleb ran, ran as hard as he could, and called on the Force to save him. The Force had lead him to a shivering Keshiri slave, a man called Dirt by the slavers, and they had escaped. Dirt had been very strange and it took Caleb a few days in hyperspace to realize that Dirt was blind. He was very sick, too, and clinging to life as they finally landed at the Temple. All Caleb had wanted was to save his new friend, but the man had died a few days after reaching freedom. Master Che said he was only twenty seven years old, but he'd likely been sick his entire life.
After that, Caleb stopped trying. He didn't want to talk with his Clawmates or with the other Clans. He hid. He screamed at the healers, cursed them with the words he had learned from the Chiss. There had been one of the Chiss in the cells with him, a man who had lost most of his name because he was born with the Force. He said his name was Braka now and the other Chiss treated him even worse than they did the others. But unlike Dirt, Braka was valuable to the Chiss. They would keep him alive, but they had let one of the kindest people Caleb knew die. He overheard Master Luminara saying that Dirt could have been saved with a simple vaccination when he was young and rest and good food when he got sick.
But now he was dead and Caleb couldn't even see his Force ghost. Wherever he was, Caleb hoped that Dirt was happy and he wasn't coughing all the time.
Everything hurt. He hadn't been beaten like the others had been, but he had been hit and kicked. They touched him in places, too, that Caleb didn't like. He thought of the sick Zabrak, the one that felt like fire and ice through the Force, and wondered about him. Sometimes, if Caleb tried hard enough, he could feel the pain and suffering from them. He tried to take it from them, but there was so much and he always felt like he was choking in the Dark Side afterwards. Caleb didn't know what to do. Why hadn't the Jedi helped those people like they had helped him? Caleb hadn't been born a slave, but he had been left to die on a street corner. He wasn't like the other younglings who had parents come and visit them at times. He was all alone in the world.
Caleb curled up in the bed and wouldn't look Anakin Skywalker in the eye. He wasn't sure how long he had been back in the Temple, only that it had been a very long time and he still hurt from losing Dirt. Was this why the Jedi weren't supposed to form attachments? Did the other person always have to die in the end? Tirau said they did horrible things with older girls and with the weird Twi'leks and the Zabraks. They bought the Zabraks from the Zyggerians. One of the Zabraks, a shy slip of a thing named Feral, said that the breeders wouldn't breed from stock that had the Force. They were lucky, Feral said, that the Chiss wanted them and didn't just toss their body on a meat ship to feed pigs or something like that.
If the Jedi were supposed to protect other beings, why had they let Zabraks with the Force be slaughtered or sold as slaves? Why did they let breeders hurt the Zabraks? Why didn't they stop slavery, even though they all knew it was illegal? Caleb didn't know why and it had made him ashamed to be a Jedi. He was supposed to help them, but he couldn't. He was just one youngling from Clan Katarn. He couldn't stop the slavers if he tried!
"Do you feel them, too?" The Chosen One hunched over on the bed, shaking like a leaf. Caleb whined and tried to get away from him. He was with Ferus on this... The Chosen One was scary and he needed to stay with Master Qui-Gon and the others so he could go do important things. "I know you feel them. You have too! All the time, I'm hearing screaming and I think I'm going mad. All the damn time!" He hunched over and Caleb did, too. A wail echoed through the Force, like a parent had lost a child. Skywalker looked up. His blue eyes were very wide. Dirt had called this shock and said that you needed to hug other people who had it, it made them feel better. So Caleb hugged Skywalker and the other one shuddered into his arms.
"They're really sad." His voice was raspy from not using it, but Caleb didn't care. He turned his head away, wiping off the tears. "I miss Dirt. He didn't hurt anyone!"
"I miss my mother," Skywalker softly said. He was a few years older than Caleb, about fourteen to his ten, and he curled his legs under his belly. Caleb leaned on him. He didn't know what to say. "I told Master Yoda. He said that this black spot had been there for several years and... and your Keshiri told them where it was. But they don't know if it's slavers--"
"Dirt was a slave!" Caleb wailed. He grabbed the blankets, shuddering. "The Zabrak was a slave!"
"The Zabrak that felt like fire and ice," Caleb whispered. He gestured around his tummy. "He was real big around there, like he had cancer, and he couldn't walk. So a Togruta carried him."
Skywalker nodded. "If he had stomach cancer that bad, he'd probably dead." He looked down and worried the blanket a little bit. Caleb watched him. He wasn't sure if this was going to go good or bad. He just wanted Dirt back. "And Keshiri were slaves to the Sith. Master Windu said that. He said that the Keshiri was probably lying and he was going to get all the Jedi who went there killed."
Caleb shook his head. "He said he was sold there several years ago..."
"I believe you," Anakin whispered. He took the other boy's hand. "I believe you, even if the others don't. And who knows? You might get to see Dirt again when you go to Illum for your lightsaber crystals."
Caleb nodded, more to get Anakin to shut up than anything. He wrapped his arms around his legs and tried to curl up. He didn't think that the Jedi understood. The dark spot was caused by slavery. There was no other excuse for it. Caleb just wished he could go back in time and save Dirt from dying.
Chapter 10: A World Made of Dreams
They moved Maul in a cell with other slaves. At first, the Zabrak didn't do much more than just cuddle in a heap and count. It was all he could do. The Blue Lady wouldn't leave him alone and she screamed at him to get out of here. But how could he? He was skin and bones, barely able to move. The Zabrak didn't even look at her after a little bit. He found that he could escape this hell hole into his own mind and spent days at a time exploring a world that he created inside of his head. The others didn't seem to mind. There was a Chiss that was a slave, too. They called him "Braka". That meant "unworthy"? Maul didn't see why. The Chiss was brave and strong. Was it because he had the Force?
When he was in his dream world, nothing could touch him. They couldn't hurt him, they couldn't beat him, he wasn't hungry, and he wasn't in pain. He wasn't still bleeding from the loss of his Ashya, nor did he know how dulled his skin was getting. Not that the Chiss cared, they still dragged him out to do their experiments on him. Maul just retreated into his mind every time he saw them. It always worked. He would be soaring on wings like an eagle or running like the wind when they were doing their experiments on him. When they bothered to feed him, it was through a tube. Another tube went through his manhood for urine and another to collect his feces. Maul was dimly aware they had him in some sort of solution and things were shocking him. It hurt too much to think, so he slipped inside his mind again.
They tried shocking him. That didn't work. Maul cared nothing for food and water. No matter how thirsty he was, he had water in his dream world. Entire oceans of the stuff and mountains of food that never ran low. He could be running across the fields or killing his Master as they used his body and abused it. Maul didn't care. His entire reason for caring had been Ashya and Arion. And now... now they were gone. Sometimes the Blue Lady invaded his dreams, but he ignored her. He told her to go away or he spent days exploring underwater caves where he flew underwater and breathed without ever coming to the surface. Sometimes, he was very cold and trapped in a winter castle, but he always escaped.
Maul didn't know that the other slaves cared for him. That Braka offered him food and Akeela cleaned his body. He never heard her soft voice when she sang to him in Ryl or bandaged his wounds. He never knew when she put his hands over her belly and told him what his children were doing. The others thought she and Braka mad, but Akeela promised to name one of the children Arion if he would just wake up, please wake up. We need you, Maul. We need you. You're strong enough to fight them. Please save us! He ignored all of their wails and instead rode a magnificent lion to kill an evil wizard that looked like his old Master. For once, he was free. He didn't know what was going on or that they would try to jolt him from his mind.
They left the door open.
Somehow, Maul was jolted from his dream world. He lay awake on the metal slab, pinned like he was about to be vivisected. The Zabrak yowled in fear and pain, his voice rusty to his own ears. There was blood trickling from the back of his head, but there was nothing he could do about that. He whimpered some. Why did it have to be like this? Why couldn't he do what the voices wanted and kill all of these evil people? He looked around, almost expecting to see a lion, but he saw no one. All he saw was his fragile, naked body lying across a cold steel slab. He whimpered softly and forced himself to get up. His knees wobbled underneath him, though, and he forced himself to stay upright. He had to do this for the voices.
The first step seemed like it was stabbing him. He almost let out a wail of pain, but he forced himself to walk anyways. It hurt so much. It just hurt him so much, but he had to keep going. The voices where cheering him on, telling him how good he was and how strong he was. Maul felt himself fill with pride as he started to walk. The Zabrak whimpered softly. His legs seemed to wobble as he walked, but he limped through the halls. He was looking for a way out. He thought he could see the Blue Lady, but he wasn't sure. She said that she would go and make sure he did it right this time or something like that. Maul didn't care. He hated the Blue Lady and thought she could go die in a hole for all he cared.
Was she already dead? What was it like to die? Did it feel nice?
Someone yelled. Maul couldn't run, but he could weakly push the man with the Force. The man rode through it, forcing his way through what weak shields he was able to put up and smashed Maul's head into the tiles. Maul didn't even protest. The voices were screaming at him, telling him that he had to get away. But Maul didn't move. He was so tired and his body ached all over. Besides, he would die if they beat him again. He was so ready to die. Maul offered the man a little bit of a smile, just before something white hot and blinding hit his eyes.
Maul screamed. His useless, twisted fingers scratched at his eyes and his broken voice wailed along with the voices. He couldn't see! He couldn't see! He just bucked his head some and he looked around. All he saw was darkness. Total darkness. He could feel his body being manhandled back into his room and hear the sharp cry of anguish. Someone who smelled if milk and Twi'lek picked him up, cradling him against her. Maul was limp. He wanted to escape back into his mind, but he couldn't. The pain was too fresh for that. The Zabrak whimpered some in her arms. He could feel something else in the Force, though. Someone the Force liked. He ignored her, though.
Well, he ignored her until he was wrapped in two sets of lekku instead of one.
He reached out one blind hand and brushed the face of someone new. "Who are you?" he whispered. And why did he care?
"Kilindi." She took him away from Akeela and settled him against his wall. "You need to shut up and get stronger, okay? Otherwise, your pet Force ghost will haunt me forever if you die."
"Okay." And that was Maul's last conscious thought as he slid into a world made of dreams.
Chapter 11: Helping Hands
Maul shivered some as he waited for Kilindi to come back. He didn't know why she was so kind to him, nor did he dare to ask her. There were some times that he feared she was just a figment of his imagination, like some half remembered dream of his. Maul had so many dreams that he didn't know which ones were real and which ones were fake. There were days that he swore his daughter Ashya was just wishful thinking or that he had never known a man named Arion. He blinked a little bit in the cell, wishing that he could see more than darkness. When he had his eyes, it was easier to drown out the screaming in his head. It was strange that he could still see the Blue Lady. These days, she was often joined by a Blue Man.
He ignored them both, turning over on to his side. The last thing he needed was another ghost. He had so many of them that he wouldn't know what to do if he was cured of this madness this day. Was he ever so strong and sure that he could take on a Jedi Knight? Was he brave? Was he as strong as the voices said he was? He blinked a few times as he shivered. Judging by the smell of things, he was currently beside Akeela and Braka. Maul turned his battered head around, trying to find the source of the warm smell. He couldn't exactly tell what it was, but he knew it was there. Maul huffed in frustration and dug what was left of his claws into his palm. It was frustrating him!
"Maul." Akeela draped his hand over her belly and he could feel something kicking. He made a soft sound, not entirely sure of what he was feeling. It kind of felt like when Ashya was inside of him, but...different. And not bad different, good different. He could feel enough of the Force to know whatever it was wasn't hurting Akeela. "Those are yours."
"Mine?" Maul rasped. He sighed in frustration and rubbed his throat. He needed to be able to speak, but it was hard for him. Someone else entered the cell. From the smell of things, it was Kilindi. Akeela tensed some under his hand and he whined some. "Mine like Ashya was mine?" Even though he had only held his daughter for a few minutes, he longed for her. She would have saved him, given him the motivation to get out of here. But without her... life felt flat. Dull. Like he had nothing left to live for. A horrible thought struck the Zabrak and tears gathered at the corners of his ruined eyes. "Will... will they take them away?"
Just like they took my Ashya?
"Yes." Akeela swallowed some and one of her lek draped over his shoulder. "I don't wanna lose my kids, Maul. We have to get out of here!"
"The last time he tried to escape, he lost his eyes." Kilindi knelt beside him and offered him a bowl of soup. Maul turned his head, shriveled belly protesting. He didn't have a kitten to nourish. He had no reason to eat. Kilindi needed to eat. Or Akeela did. The Nautolan (?) woman sighed some and sat beside him. "Maul. Either you eat or I'm forcing this down your throat. You can't sit around moping! If you get too thin, they'll cull you!" She did sound upset and Maul allowed her to feed him. It tasted bad, just meat broth, but he swallowed. Bad things happened to slaves who didn't obey. Maul had learned that from both his Master and his time at these labs. The last thing he needed was to be punished again.
"You can't make him do that," Braka murmured. He was doing something from the sound of it, but Maul didn't know what. He sighed some and leaned back. He liked Kilindi. She was kind and she never hurt him. "I know you want those kids, Akeela, but he's as weak as water. Besides, Zabraks have better maternal instincts than paternal. They would be doing better to breed Zabraks rather than torture us."
"You don't breed from Force sensitive stock," Kilindi retorted. "I was born on Zyggeria, I would know. They cull those kittens and sell them to a meat ship."
"Meat ship?" Braka sounded curious. And too much like the other Chiss for Maul's liking.
"It's where you sell dead bodies. Fertilizer, dog food, pig food, things like that," Kilindi explained. "Trust me when I tell you that they don't keep Force sensitive Zabraks. It's just a bad idea. The bitches would be too hard to deal with and the studs would kill people!"
Braka shook his head some. "You take care of Big Red there. See if you can get some meat on those bones. He might be crazy, but I don't want him dead."
Maul batted away a bit of soup. "The voices say I'm perfectly sane."
"Hearing voices means you're crazy," Braka muttered. He turned away, though, and tried to get some sleep. Maul huffed a sigh. His belly was protesting now, but he had to eat. So he opened his mouth like a good boy and swallowed. If the Chiss sent her, they messed up. Kilindi was kind, not cruel. She wasn't hurting him at all. All the same, though, Maul wished he knew why. It would make him feel better when she ultimately turned on him.
He felt horrible. His entire body was about to give out and the chips in his hearts weren't helping. Maul felt light headed and horrible. He could barely mumble out the numbers and he shivered, his entire body shutting down. Kilindi was with him. So was Akeela. They talked to him some, but he was so far out of it that he didn't know what they were saying. He didn't care, either. Maul trembled like a leaf in a storm. His entire body ached. It felt like he was being ripped apart inside, but there was nothing he could do. His entire body was about to go. Honestly, Maul was okay with that. He didn't mind that he would die and he'd be scattered to the four winds. The Blue Lady was dead. His Master wanted him dead. No one wanted him and Maul was pretty sure that no one ever would.
"Nine eighty three...nine seventy six...nine sixty nine..." Even the numbers didn't help him now. There was an odd feeling of nothingness in his arms and he just hung there, floating in space. Maul didn't mind it. He could hear yelling, something like the Chiss were fighting. Maul didn't care. He just lolled his head back and mumbled the numbers. When he hit zero, he could die. Maul just sat there and looked towards the ceiling. There were voices screaming at him, but he didn't mind. He just shuddered a little bit. "Nine sixty two..." Meaningless. Nothing. He was going to die and there was nothing that he could do about it. Maul didn't mind all that much. He just stayed there, still. You couldn't torture the dead, after all.
"Maul!" Kilindi screamed. There was breaking glass, the scream of the wounded, the smell of smoke. Maul may have smiled. He just lolled there, not a care in the galaxy. He was going to die. He was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it. "Maul! Something's happening! Use the Force! Do whatever little trick it is that lets you use the Force! Do something, dammit!"
"Nine fifty five..." He didn't care. He could hear Braka, looking for a way out. There were the cries of the wounded and those trapped in burning sections of the lab. Maul didn't care. He could taste the burning ash, smell the smoke. But what could he do? He was just a broken Zabrak. There were other people, smarter and stronger than him, that could do it. "Nine forty eight..."
"It's no use. Wonder Boy is stark, raving mad!" Braka kicked something and whatever it was crashed to the ground. "We have to get out of here, Kili. Alex, Kili, Akeela.. we gotta be able to break this door or we'll bake in here!"
"It's no use, Braka." The Pau'an moved and Maul could sense the sorrow in him. He'd been sold here by his own family, just like Braka had. "The doors can't be broken, not by us. They're reinforced with beskar. It would take a miracle to get us out of here and now...now, I don't think that we have miracles left." The Pau'an sighed some and he rested one cool hand on Maul's shoulder. Maul gave him a ragged purr. He liked Alex. "And Maul is broken, Braka. He lost his daughter and he lost his best friend. It would be better that he die."
"No." Akeela walked over. "I'm not letting you kill him, Alex. He knows me, he knows Kili, and he knows the babies. Either we all get out of here or no one gets out of here. Ne laissez personne derrière."
"I don't speak Ryl," Alex snapped. "And I'm pretty sure that you're the only one that does!"
"She said not to leave anyone behind," Kilindi whispered. It was getting hotter in the room and Maul fell silent. He wondered what his babies would look like. The babies Akeela told him about and the way she dreamed of a life with him. Maul didn't care, though. He was going to die. But the babies, the babies didn't deserve to die. The babies would never get a chance at life. And all because of him. The Nautolan woman placed her hands on the door. "Something's happening. I can feel it. I think we're going to get out of this one."
Not five minutes later, the glass crashed open. Maul turned his head some, able to feel the ones that felt like those he'd fought on Naboo. So long ago, Naboo. Almost a year... He didn't move as voices started sounding and strong hands picked him up. He couldn't warn them. He had no voice to do so, they had already taken that. He let out a soft whine, but there was nothing else he could do. They would have no way of knowing what he was and what he was capable of doing. They were carrying him. The gestures jostled his broken collarbone, but he couldn't cry out from the pain. He could feel three of them, two that he didn't know and one that he did. He knew the one that was holding him.
He kicked. They took control and the machine took over. There was a scream as the collar fell off and his body flared to life. Maul could see, but in grey and whie. One of the men in white armor screamed as his neck was broken, another was tossed alive into a raging fire. He reached into the Force, grabbed a lightsaber, and ran a Jedi through. The man died choking on his own blood. Master Qui-Gon yelled a warning. He drew his lightsaber, but Maul crushed it in his hands. A clone charged him. The man was dead in seconds, his head rolling at their feet. The monsters made him dance around the Jedi, made the Force sing around him. It was all so easy. The implants made him faster, made him stronger. He lunged at another group of clones, making them fall back. Within seconds, he had dropped a section of ceiling on them and buried them in flames.
"Maul!" Qui-Gon yelled at him, tried to calm him. "You don't have to do this! Drop the lightsaber! Drop it! It's gonna be okay! I know you're scared, I know you'ee hurt, but just drop the lightsaber and trust me!"
Maul grabbed him in the Force. Rain poured in from the broken ceiling and drenched the two men. Maul held him by the neck, his ruined body trembling with the effort. "How do you like my weapon, Master Jedi?"
"W-weapon?" Qui-Gon clawed at the hands, twitching as he ran out of air.
"Yes. Our weapon. A pity that it's about to run out of steam. You should hear how he's begging to let you go." Maul's face twisted into something like a smile, but his terrified eyes told the real story. "Control chips equipped with an omni-sensor. Also exactly what's implanted in your own clones. I shouldn't be telling you this, but you're about to die anyways..." Something happened. A sudden blitz of pain and everything went dark. Maul was crumpling to his knees. Pain clawed at his chest, but he couldn't whine. There was nothing there. Just...just a light.
"No! No! Maul!" Qui-Gon grabbed his body and shot him with a low level pulse. He twitched. "C'mon! Maul! You have to get up! You have to get up!" Maul didn't move. His body was limp, his heart only beating from the pulse. "C'mon. C'mon, Maul. Please. I know you're tough, you gotta be tough. You survived that reactor shaft and how the hell could I be so stupid?! You gotta get up. C'mon. Please, Maul. Please."
The light. It was so soft, so warm, so inviting...
"Mister?" He was barely aware of the small hands in his or the way they were opening him up. He could feel something like the young boy he had saved. "Mister, please don't die. Please don't die like Dirt died. Cause I told Dirt that I would save you, too. Cause I'm gonna be a Jedi Master and I'm gonna kill all those creeps!"
Maul felt the light bathing his entire body. How warm it was. How it promised to take care of him and love him... He raised his head and felt how weak his hearts were. The kid was there. The boy he had saved. Maul sagged back some. "Zero..."
And he let go.
Caleb didn't want to go back to the scary planet. This was where Dirt had been tortured, where his first non Jedi friend had been killed. If it wasn't for this place, Dirt would still be free. He should have had a real name and lived a happy life on Kesh. Dirt could have taken a proper Keshiri name. He could have had a wife, a family, children. But instead, his life had been cut short. He had died in Caleb's arms. Even though this had happened several years ago, Caleb still felt the sting of the man's loss. He wondered if the attachment he had towards Dirt would keep him from being a Jedi Knight. If it did, he was going to build his own lightsaber and take up the mantel of protector. The Jedi weren't doing a good job of it.
Master Qui-Gon came racing back into the command ship, streaked with rain, dust, and blood. There was an emaciated red Zabrak in his arms, verysick and clinging to life as it was. Caleb felt his heart break. There were others being herded into the ship, but Caleb only had eyes of the Zabrak in Master Jinn's arms. He was hardly moving and streaked with blood. Caleb darted forwards, looking over the Zabrak. The fire and ice he always felt from him was muted now. The fire was a dull ember and the ice was melting snow. Caleb looked at the Zabrak quickly. Most of the blood wasn't his own, which begged the question of how he'd been spattered with it. Caleb, though, didn't ask any questions. He just ran to get the medics.
Kix looked very drawn as he came out, but there wasn't much he could say. The lowered the Zabrak on to the operating table. First up were all the implants..and he had close to fifty of them. Things seared into his spine, his arms, in the sides of his heads, his legs, every where they could stick a piece of metal and wire. Caleb felt sick. How had they done this to him?! He didn't even know the Zabrak's name, but he knew that the man deserved better. He must have been in agony. Kix had the Zabrak set up to full life support. He was weak, so weak, so they decided to take the implants out near his heart. That would make him better. Really, he was in no shape to be cut open, but they had to do it anyways. The man was far too gone for them not to do anything.
It turned out to be a huge mistake. There much have been a dead man's switch involved with the entire process, because Maul's hearts stopped. They didn't even crack all of his chest open. They were just going for the stuff near him, but it was all going haywire. Caleb didn't know that much about the machines used to keep the Zabrak going, but he was pretty sure that they weren't supposed to be bleeding. Kix started CPR quickly, taking off the mask and pumping his chest. The Zabrak didn't move. The only heartbeats registering came from what the clone was doing. Qui-Gon actually used his lightsaber to cut a whole in his chest and start to bathe the Zabrak's hearts with a gentle current. He didn't move.
Caleb let out a terrified cry. No! This couldn't be happening! He grabbed the Zabrak's slack hand and cling to him, marveling at how papery smooth his hands were and how weak he seemed. "He's gonna make it, Kix? Right? Right? He's just gotta make it? Hasn't he?"
"I don't know, kid." Kix looked down some. "He's a fighter, I'll give him that, but the odds might be a little bit stacked against him this time." The clone rubbed his face and kept on working. It was clear that he knew what he was supposed to be doing. But what could the clone medic do? The Zabrak was in horrible shape. His body was failing around him and it looked like he wasn't even trying. Caleb grabbed his hand, silently pleading with him to just get better and get stronger. There was the Rutian Twi'lek, Akeela. She needed him. He needed to get better for her and the babies. There was Kilindi, the Nautolan that seemed to like him. He had to keep going, for her at least.
"His name is Maul." Qui-Gon gave Caleb a truly devastated look. "I...met him. Once before all of this. He was sent to attack Queen Amidala, myself, and Obi-Wan. It... didn't go well for him. He survived and..he ended up here."
"Maul." Caleb stroked his arm some, rolling the name over in his mouth. There was nothing he could do. Maul had to get stronger on his own. They could only support him so much. But the man was strong, so much stronger than all the others gave him credit for. Caleb told the man how strong he was and how brave he had to be so he could get better. And it seemed to be working. After a few minutes, his hearts started beating on their own. Labored, but still there. Kix looked down at all three implants in disgust.
"There's a dead man's switch in there," the older clone growled. He drew on bloodied hand across his face and started patching the wounds up. Maul was left on life support again. It was so very clear that he was sick now, that he needed help. But still Caleb stayed with him and pressed his very own quartz necklace into the Zabrak's palm. It was for him when he got better. A focal point. And it was very strange, but Caleb thought that something was whispering around him. He could just barely see them on the edges of his vision. He shrugged it off as stress, though, and he slipped out of the medical bay. He needed to find Anakin or Ferus. They would know what to do.
Anakin was sitting on the couch, pain washing over his face. "Do you hear them?"
"Yeah." Caleb sat down beside the older boy. "They want someone named Seris Madreth."
Anakin nodded. "Glad I heard that too." He looked down some and played with the cushions. "There's just something about the Zabrak. I just can't put my finger on it..."
Ahsoka rubbed her right lek some, trying to figure out what she was supposed to do with all of this. They had just gotten back from that horrible castle on that ice planet and now they had all of the prisoners. At final count, there was over a thousand of them. Only a few Chiss, though. Most were Zabrak. Ahsoka had heard that you could easily purchase a Zabrak kitten from a meat ship and it was looking to be true. The young Togruta felt sick to her stomach. She sighed some and looked down at her booted feet. What was she supposed to do? The prisoners needed help as a whole, but it was the red Zabrak that had them all worried. He felt like fire and ice, some said, and it was even whispered that he might be the Sword of the Jedi.
Ahsoka highly doubted it. The Force wouldn't allow such a defeated person to be so special and so powerful.
She sat beside him, slowly touching his face. The Zabrak whimpered beneath her touch, but it was far different from the wails of pain he used to let out. They had him on morphine, but there was only so much you could give him before he would die. He was almost at that limit now. The Togruta just sat there with him, not wanting to look at the Twi'lek or the Nautolan. Akeela had her children with her. Twins. One boy, one girl. They were something very rare and special: a Zabrak-Twi'lek hybrid. Very few of those ever came into existence without the help of Kamino or another lab. The Nautolan, Kilindi, was sitting there, clawing at her arms. She seemed very upset for some reason. Ahsoka feared she knew the answer. The broken Zabrak she now held would never wake up.
The little girl, Caraboo, settled beside her father on the bed and looked at him with big eyes. "He's gonna get up, right?" She had such haunted eyes for a five year old girl. She was a girl who had seen to much and knew too much about life. "He's gotta wake up, 'Soka. He's just gotta."
"I know," Ahsoka murmured. She looked over at one of the clones in the group and got him to sit with her. Maul needed all the gentle touches he could get. Ahsoka stroked the markings on his face and sent a tendril of Force into his mind. She withdrew it quickly, afraid of the growing maelstrom of darkness and pain. He didn't feel like Alek, all dark and icy inside. There was a white hot, burning fire in there, too. She glanced over at Kili and got the other female to touch him, too. He seemed to react better to her touches than anyone else. Maybe he could feel her. Maybe he was just broken inside and her touch felt the best out of all of them. Ahsoka had no way of knowing the answer and she figured that she didn't want too, either.
The Zabrak beneath her stirred some and he whined from a sudden pain. Ahsoka quickly drew her hand back. She and the others had learned all too well about how strong this Zabrak was when he needed to be. He had killed several clones and Jedi already. The last thing she needed to do was add to his victim count. Akeela pulled her children back close to her and looked around wildly. Ahsoka mentioned for her to go. The Zabrak was dangerous. He had killed three Jedi and a score of clones already. The last thing that needed to happen was for children to be killed, too. Ahsoka reached for her lightsaber just in case she needed to put him down. He was dangerous. Very dangerous.
Maybe the Council was right when it came to keeping the former prisoners housed in the Temple. They had already had one suicide from a Twi'lek woman who just couldn't take it anymore.
Sightless golden eyes blinked open and Ahsoka handed him a glass of water. He drank slowly but rested his head back on the pillow. Ahsoka was still wary of him. The last thing that needed to happen was him fighting.Even so, he was so weak that he could hardly raise his head. The Togruta woman stroked his horns some and was rewarded with a soft purr. He whined a bit after a moment and mumbled a response to a question only he could hear. Ahsoka's heart broke even more. He was mad. The Zabrak had survived so much only to lose his mind from the horror of it. She sighed a little bit and looked up at Tup. The long haired clone wanted to start treating mental health and this was as good a place to start as any.
"Hey there." Tup was careful to speak in soft tones and he leaned in to nuzzle Maul. The Zabrak seemed to melt at that and returned the gesture. "My name's Tup. Ahsoka, Kili, and I have been taking care of you while you were asleep." He took one of Maul's bony hands and stroked it. "You gave us all quite a scare when you came in. We thought we had lost you for the longest time."
The Zabrak looked away and hunched up. He was broken. So broken. "Why?" he rasped. He reached up one shaking hand and Tup moved so Maul's could touch his face. Ahsoka realized that he had no claws and her heart almost shattered. Maul needed those claws. They were part of his fingers! And judging from the scars... they must have hurt. Really, really hurt him. "I... I don't deserve this. I killed clones. I killed Jedi. Why didn't you just let me die?"
"Qui-Gon saved you," Ahsoka supplied. "He likes taking in strays and I like to think that you're one of his strays now."
Maul nodded and curled up under the blankets. He refused to sip the meat broth, even though he was skin and bones. "I don't wanna be a stray," he mumbled. "I just want Ashya and Arion back."
"We'll look for them." Tup gave Ahsoka a quick look. Ahsoka shrugged. Ashya and Arion hadn't been on the lists of freed prisoners, but it was possible that those were preferred names. "I promise you'll get to see them again, okay?"
The red Zabrak shook his head some. "Can't," he mumbled. He sighed before passing out again. "You can't bring them back to me because they're dead."
It was so disorienting. He couldn't see. He had no real way of knowing what was going on around him. His hearing was sharp, but it was like he was going insane from the lack of vision. He felt like the furniture in his cell was moved every morning, just to disorient him. Maul figured that it was a cell. It had to be a cell. Where else would you put someone like him? Someone who was dangerous. Someone who had killed Jedi and clones before. That meant that they didn't need or want him. Not when he had killed their people. Not when he had done so many bad things. The voices weren't all that nice. The Blue Lady was sometimes nice, but she often yelled at him for not escaping when he could have. She said that he had gotten Arion killed.
Maul didn't want to think that he had gotten Arion killed. It was the last thing he wanted to think. He liked to think that he had done the right thing. GThat he had followed the Blue Lady to a tee and he was the one to be punished for it. That was just the way the world worked, he supposed. He tried to do what he was supposed to do, tried to be a good boy, and he was punished for it. The Zabrak sighed softly and curled up on the blankets. Maybe the cell had a window, because there was a patch of warm sunlight that he loved to curl up on, much like a contented cat. He closed his eyes some, even though he knew it was useless, and napped some. They seemed to be leaving him alone. Probably so he would gain more strength before they tortured him.
Someone entered the room and the clean smell of herbs filled the place. Maul raised his head some, sniffing the air. From the smell of things, it was Qui-Gon, and he was lighting a candle. Maul didn't know why. But he liked the smell of it and it was making him feel better. If that was the purpose, the it nailed it. Maul curled up some on the bed, but he allowed Qui-Gon to touch him and place a cool hand on his head. The hand didn't move. It just stayed there, providing a little bit of comfort. Maul closed his eyes and basked in it as much as he basked in the golden sunlight. He liked being loved. Liked knowing that he was cared about and for. Kili cared for him. So did Akeela. So did Milo and Caraboo, though he'd been gone for most of their lives. He wasn't sure about Qui-Gon.
The man sighed some and swallowed. Maul could smell the salty tang of tears and he whined, not knowing why the man was crying. Qui-Gon must have lowered his head, because a tear dripped down and hit him. Qui-Gon took a shuddering breath. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "Sorry that the Jedi failed you. Sorry that we didn't let you come with us. You remember that day, don't you? The day you were with my Obi-Wan and I told him not to let you come into the Temple with us. If I had known..." The man trailed off and took a shuddering breath. He gripped Maul's free hand with his and squeezed it. "If I had known, I would have brought you back. And I don't know how I didn't see it. It's like I was blind."
"Don't be sad." Maul managed to surprise himself by speaking. It was a faint, raspy voice, but a voice nonetheless. He offered up a ragged purr to the man. Once, purring had been forbidden by his Master. But now he could purr as he pleased and he really did enjoy doing it. The old commercial that he had once heard came bubbling to the front of his mind. Maul was on too much morphine to really resist using it. He let out a little bit of a giggle. He and...someone, he didn't know her name, was it Daleen? used to do this with each other on Orisis. It had been a joke between them. A way of knowing that they were okay without words. "Don't be sad. Be glad."
"Okay?" Qui-Gon sounded confused and Maul laughed again. He hadn't laughed in years, and here he was, laughing with a man that he had tried to kill. "Do I need to reduce your medication? Because I don't think that you're alright." He sounded quite concerned, but Maul couldn't stop laughing.
He waved one clawed hand, a crazy grin on the face. "The commercial. We said it a lot to each other, Daleen. After we had missions and stuff. Don't you remember? It was your idea because you thought it was so funny." Maul smiled softly. He could feel the actual Daleen in the room, smell her sweet cinnamon perfume, and hear her laughter. She didn't have a form, but she did have a voice, and she was laughing her head off. "You do remember! You remember! And I thought that you had forgotten all about me!"
Cool hands touched his head and he could almost see a sad eyed girl with large hazel eyes looking at him. 'How could I forget you?' Daleen softly said. Her hands traced his tattoos and it was like she'd never gotten any older than she had when she had died. When Master had forced Maul to kill her along with the rest of them. But her hazel eyes bore no malice. Just the simple kindness that had been like a siren's song to the young Sith. 'How could I ever forget the only one to finish the Champion's Trail without getting hit? Master Vo'keera never could figure that one out. He had no idea what you were. And... I know who called the Mandalorians, now. I know why you did it and I'm not angry.'
"Thank you." It was so odd that he could see her in the darkness that was his vision, but he didn't care. He reached up a hand and touched her, trying to feel her soft skin. But his hand just touched air and Daleen started to fade away. She was replaced by someone else. Another human, but this one with a calm air about her. She looked dangerous. Like a saw-toothed gank. It might look like a clumsy beast, but it was one of the fiercest predators in the known galaxy. He ignored Qui-Gon and instead focused on this strange woman looking at him. "Hello? Who...who are you?" He didn't know her. He hadn't ever seen her before. "I've never seen you before. Why did you come here?"
"The name's Kerra Holt." Kerra touched his head some and gave him a crooked smile. "Satele said that I might be able to help you because I know something about the Dark Side. I used to be with a Sith Lord, Lord Jarrow Rusher. I chose him over the entire Jedi Order, mind you. But you need to go back now. You're starting to scare him and I think that he would be a good ally for you to have."
Maul nodded and she faded away from him. He touched Qui-Gon's hand and whined some. "Did I miss anything?" he quietly asked. "And who... who is Satele?"
Maul curled up some, not wanting to talk. He didn't even want to look at the others, not that he could see them. He could hear Caleb talking to some of the others. A Master Luminara was there. She was taking his temperature and trying to make sure that he was okay, but he just blew her off. The Zabrak wanted nothing to do with the others. He didn't want to talk to the young Togruta. Or the clones. Or even Akeela and his children. His two little ones were of no concern to him. They weren't anything to him right now. He had no energy to get up and move. The broths they gave him tasted like ash. So were the energy drinks. He thought they might be vanilla, which was once his favorite treat, but he had no interest right now. He wouldn't mind it if they just let him starve.
Kix sat with him and stroked his horns. The Zabrak growled softly at him. He figured that he might want to take a chunk out of the clone if he wanted too, but he figured that if he dared, he'd get punished. It would have been what his Master would have done to him. And the Chiss. He'd only bitten them a few times before they learned to slap him. Maul didn't think that he would ever get free from there, but here he was. Holed up in a sick bay. Mounded over in blankets and pillows. Spoon fed broth and an IV taped into his arm. He whimpered a few times and tried to pull it out, but it was no use. He didn't want the blood. He could smell it and feel it. That was bad enough for him.
All he could see were the ghost. There was the Blue Lady, Satele. Then there was one that was sometimes a woman and sometimes a man. That was Revan. Maul didn't know what Revan was. Did the Chiss make him hurt, too? There was a Sith man, with kind golden eyes and a scar across his brow. That was Lord Jarrow Rusher. He had his Jedi with him, too. She was Kerra Holt. Jarrow said that he wanted to help Maul, but he didn't quite know how to go about it. Jarrow had never taken an apprentice, much less one who was blind and bedridden. Satele didn't like it when Jarrow or Revan showed up. Maul didn't know why, but he wasn't going to ask. There was a story there and he wasn't sure that he wanted to know it yet. Maybe there was a good reason for that.
Maul curled up on the bed and shoved Kix away. He didn't deserve this. He didn't deserve to be with these good people, not when others had died and he'd been rendered helpless. He needed to just roll over before it was all too late. If he rolled over and died, well, who did he think would care about him? Maul had never really had a family. He didn't even know who his mother was. For all he knew, she had given him to Sidious and never cared about him. Not again. The poor Zabrak shivered some and tried to control the tears dripping off of his face. He wanted Kili or Akeela, but he knew better than to call them. Why would they care about a broken down Zabrak like him? He was nothing to them. Nothing. Never would be, either.
It hurt, thinking like that, but it was the truth. He was unwanted and alone. Just another Zabrak cast adrift in this world. Maybe they would throw him in the cells that the Jedi loved to pretend didn't exist. At least he could rot there in peace.
"Is he doing better?" From the sound of the voice, Maul guessed it was Qui-Gon Jinn. He didn't want to talk to the other man, but he guessed that he had no choice. He pulled the blanket over his head and then cried out when that clipped a horn they had had to amputate. He wailed softly, not wanting to even look at the other man. For all he cared, Qui-Gon was here to kill him.
"Not really." Thankfully, Kix moved and he stopped stimulating Maul. It just insulted him that he could no longer get it up. Not when he was so sick and injured. All the Zabrak wanted to do was die. Couldn't they let him do that? Couldn't they just given a shot where he went to sleep and never woke up again? He would love that so much... The clone sighed a little bit and probably shook his head. "I don't know what to do, to be honest. If this was a brother, I'd get him shunted to supplies and have him rest for a few weeks. But since he's not..."
"I know," Qui-Gon murmured. Gentle hands ghosted over his face and Maul tried to jerk away. He. Did. Not. Deserve. This. Why couldn't those stupid Jedi use the Force and see?! There were a hundred other prisoners that needed the care more than he did! Sith hells, he knew that Alek was going to Fall unless they helped him! Why were they wasting things on him? He was nothing special... Qui-Gon moved some and cleared his throat. "He's strong, though. Possibly too strong. He sings brighter in the Force than all the rest. I have no idea when the results for the test are going to be back, but I'm expecting them to be pretty high. I have no idea what we're going to do with him, though?"
"Hopefully, help him out," Kix replied. The clone did something that made him seem warm in the Force. "It's been an honor helping you out in the Temple, might I add. Never did thing that I might get to work in a place that didn't have bombs raining down on my head every twenty minutes!"
"I enjoy your company." Qui-Gon lay something beside Maul's head. "Let him listen to that when he wakes up. It has information on Satele, Reven, Lord Rusher, and even Kerra Holt. He might be interested in it. After all, he's asked me about them several times before. I hope this will go a long way in helping him out some." The Jedi Master sighed some and probably rubbed his head. "Kix... what are we going to do? Caleb is asking to see him and the last thing I want to do is upset him. The Force only knows how hard he took it after Stance died. I don't want him to have to deal with another death all over again. Not after Stance, not after that Keshiri of his, not after Depa almost took a mortar round... I don't think he can take much more."
Kix nodded gravely. "He'll get better. Soon. He's a strong fighter and that is sometimes all you can be."
"You're a good man, Kix." The receding footfalls let Maul know that Qui-Gon was walking away. As much as he wanted to grab the data-pad, he knew he couldn't. Not until Kix left him alone. Or better yet, he'd never touch it. What place did a failure like him have with touching Jedi secrets?
Maul needed to get out of this bed before he went insane. Lady Kerra was talking to him again, asking him where he was from and what he liked to do. She offered to show him how to walk in the dreams so he could see again, but he'd just bared his teeth at her and snarled. To the others, of course, it looked like he was snarling at thin air. They had no idea why he was doing it, but it scared them. And that, Maul decided, was a good thing. If he wanted to scared them, he scared them. It was no-one's fault but their own if he did something and it made them run. He was just a broken slave. Toothless. Unable to see. Trapped under mounds of blankets. Forced to curl up all day and just mourn what could have been.
Master would have had a use for him. Maybe he could have ruled the galaxy at Master's side, being the weapon he was always intended to be. He could have already struck down the Jedi and found the Chosen One, delivering to the man who had been Maul's everything. He dreamed of nothing more than Master's love and affection in those days. Just a simple pat on the head and a "Well done, My Apprentice" would have been reward beyond all understanding. When the Jedi murmured praise to him, it didn't mean the same as when his Master did it. When he was working for Master, a reward was a lack of punishment and very rarely was any praise given. Maul would have done anything to be worthy of Master's praise and respect. Anything at all.
"Seris." The words were soft, little more than a whisper upon the wind. Maul didn't bother looking around. He just curled up and tried to ignore it all. He didn't want to get in trouble. If there was any chance Master could find him... If there was any chance he could get his sight back... He would take it. "Seris. Please listen to me. They're going to offer to give you back your sight. Please take it."
"Kriff off." Maul curled up. He didn't want to look at this Lady, but she was different from Satele. She looked very...wise. And she was almost faded away. Her long hair was braided, though, and kind blue eyes swept over his form. Maul growled low. He didn't care that Yoda and Anakin were in this room, didn't care that they could hear him talking to thin air. "So what? Why should I? I'll just get broken again anyways. I'm just a kriffing failure, just like my Master said!" When he said it, shards of pain pierced his twin hearts. Maul knew, in his heart of hearts, that he would never be what Master always wanted. But that didn't mean that he couldn't try and try he must. "It's better for me to die!"
"Seris Maderth!" The woman put her hands on her hips and glared at him. Maul glared right back. Hissed, too. He could hear Caleb jump a little bit and the idea filled him with a vicious pleasure. He'd been raised to kill the Jedi. Maybe his animal sounds could give one a heart attack and they could all die. Then Master could see how good Maul was. Even after the Chiss had tortured him and taken his daughter, he was still loyal to his Master. He would resist every effort these Jedi rats put out to ensnare him in their foul plans. He would not be a simpering little fool like that Qui-Gon Jinn, taking in strays that he didn't know the history of. If Jinn was a real man, he would have killed Maul during that battle.
No one would have cared, though. Least of all Master. Maul just shoved that thought away before it hurt him even more than it already did. He would have to prove Master wrong. He was worthy of the Sith plan, he just knew it.
"Who's Seris Maderth?" he asked. Maul cracked open one hazy eye and tried to ignore the lady. "If I wave my hands and say "abracadabra!" will you vanish in a puff of purple smoke? Or will I have to call for a smoke cleansing to make all of your Force ghosts leave me alone?!" That was all he wanted. Just to be left so he could drown in his misery. That was all he asked. There was nothing better for him left anyways. If Master didn't want him, who did? No one wanted a used Apprentice, least of all a Zabrak who couldn't do his own missions. He sighed softly and worried at the soft, warm blankets with a clawed hand. He didn't want to be here. He wanted to serve his Master, but he knew that he'd proven himself unworthy to be a part of the Great Plan.
"That's your name." The woman reached down and touched his face gently. Her hand felt oddly pleasant, so Maul leaned into it. He...liked that? Liked it when he was touched from kindness? Even when he was with Akeela, there hadn't been anything like this. He couldn't remember the last time that he'd been touched by someone who didn't have too. "That's your name, little Zabrak. Seris Maderth. Named for your father. Your mother, Kycina, wanted to take you away from your Clan, but she couldn't. So she gave you to Lord Sidious, not knowing that you would be exchanging one set of chains for another, far worse, one. She died for what she did not long after your youngest brother was born."
"I have a brother?" he softly asked. Maul let out a quiet whimper. Someone took his hand and the scent informed him that it was Caleb. He whined softly before squeezing it back, not knowing why he was doing that. "But he always said..."
"Their names are Savage and Feral," the Lady replied. "When you get better, you can go and see them. Consider it a reward for not dying."
"I have brothers!" Maul all but yelled the words and it felt like some of the pain had lifted from him. The Lady laughed a little bit before she slipped away into nothing. But Maul didn't care. He was already asking his talking datapad to tell him all the information he had on his new brothers. If he could work things with the nurse, as well as sign up for the surgery... he was going to visit those two brothers of his. And soon.
Maul didn't know why they wanted him. He couldn't walk, could hardly feed himself, and he had to be helped to go to the bathroom. Kix was good to him and Maul really appreciated that, but he didn't know what he could do to pay it back. Master had made him pay back every good thing he got. If that meant training hours later than he usually did, he did that. If it meant killing someone, he would do it with a smile on his face. Maul had learned how to fight on broken bones, all for the promise of a few scraps of food or a smile from his Master. His rare praise had become treasured memories for the young Zabrak and even sustained him during all of the torment he'd gone through. He was at least comforted by the fact that he had gone through worse with his Master.
Master Sidious would have never let him lie in bed like this. He would have forced the young Zabrak up, shocked him with lightning if he dared disobey, or even starved him if he couldn't get up and train. The slavers had simply used him as their bitch. Maul took a shuddering breath as he got up. His legs, frail things that they were, almost folded under his body. He couldn't call upon the Force, not here, so he grabbed as best he could and closed his eyes. It... hurt. He needed to get up, to get moving, and to start paying his rent. Maul's legs wobbled under him. He struggled as best he could, dragging himself along the bed. It... hurt. Hurt so bad. Maul gritted his teeth and forced himself to walk just a little bit more.
Pain shot up his side. Maul let out a sharp cry and almost collapsed on the floor. His entire body shook as he tried to climb to his feet again. He had to do this. He had to start walking again. If he didn't, he would be worth nothing and it would be better for him to be on the meat ship rather than consuming air. Maul took a deep breath. He slowly let the rage flow through his veins and start to heal the torn muscles. It felt like they'd removed most of his implants and been none too gentle about it. Well then. He'd have to show those thrice damned Jedi what it felt like to have things ripped out of him! He growled softly. When Maul opened his eyes, they were a sickly yellow, shot through with blood red.
He managed to climb to his feet. It felt like he'd just run barefoot up another mountain slope, but he climbed to his feet. Maul growled softly, trying to channel his rage into getting up and walking. He never liked holding rage within himself like this. It always made him feel sickly inside, like he was something less than human, but he had to do it. Maul forced himself to take another step. He imagined his Master in the corner, a hood covering his sickly face, and watching Maul with sharp yellow eyes. Sidious would have teased Maul, shocked him with lightning, if he couldn't take another few steps. Maul struggled to obey. The sweat slicked his body as he tried. His damaged feet had a hard time gripping the floor and for the first time, Maul wished he had his toe claws.
If he had those, he could use them to dig into the soft linoleum floor.
Master would have been shocking him with lightning now, or sending the droids into hurt him. Maul growled under his breath. The rage flared up in his body again, allowing him to see things in sharper detail. If the Blue Lady was there, he was going to ignore her. Or the one called Revan, who was sometimes a woman and sometimes a man. He growled under his breath. Maul took a few shaky steps forward. He almost collapsed, gasping for breath. He forced himself up again. Master would have already kicked him and forced him down. He had to get up. He had to get up and keep moving. Master would have been so angry with him if he stopped now. Maybe he'd be given a few scraps of raw meat for his efforts.
'Keep going!' Dream Sidious hissed in his ear. 'You still need to get in shape! If you fold like this, just think of what you'll do if the Jedi get a hold of you! If you thought that the pirates breeding you was bad, you don't know what I have planned for you for failing me!"
"I tried." Maul managed to get up again. He had to. He just had too. It was all he could do to get his legs under him, but he had to please his Master. He gritted his teeth and took another shaky step forwards. He started to walk more and he needed to start doing this every day. He would have to do it until he was strong again. He had to walk. Had to start running and he had to start training again. What if his Master got him back? What would he do if he saw that Maul had been lax? He would he shocked, if he was lucky! If he wasn't, he'd be tortured for daring to lie around and be a lazy slugabed. He had to get up, had to get strong again, so he could destroy the Jedi from the inside out.
Maul jerked his head up. He squeaked when Qui-Gon forced his way inside and tried to drag him back to bed. Maul let out a wild yelp and sunk his teeth into Qui-Gon's shoulder out of fear. The human cursed softly. He simply wrestled Maul back to the bed and looked at him. Maul looked at him right back. He let a low growl rumbled through the air. He needed to scare the Jedi off so he could get back to training. He hissed softly, wanting to scare the Jedi off. Weren't Jedi supposed to be scared of Sith? Maul tried to drag himself out of the bed. Qui-Gon wrestled him right back down. Maul let out a shriek of rage at that and headbutted the Jedi. Or, rather, he tried to.
"Let me go!" Maul screamed. He thrashed as best he could, but all he had was his weak body and his weak body was failing him. Qui-Gon cursed under his breath and forced him right back down. "Let me go! You're hurting me!"
"Then settle down!" Qui-Gon snarled. "I don't want to hurt you, but you can't be getting up like that! You'll hurt yourself!"
"Frip you!" Maul looked up at him with wild golden eyes. "I'm a Sith, okay?! I'm a Sith and I'm wild and I'm crazy and I'll burn your face off if you don't let me go!"
Qui-Gon shook his head. "If you could do that, you would have tried it already." He settled beside Maul on the bed and placed the blankets back around him. Maul gave him a dark glare, but he settled back into the warmth. Qui-Gon sighed softly and stroked his battered horns. "Oh, Maul. I'm so sorry for what happened to you. We failed and you... you suffered for it."
"I hate you," Maul muttered. His voice, though, had lost all it's fire and he simply curled up. His eyes were hazy again. The young Zabrak sighed as he resigned himself to being tortured by his Master once he got back. As he always did, Maul had failed. Master Sidious had never tolerated failure. He never would. Maul was a failure, so why should his Master tolerate him?
Maul hurt all over. He had gone through a lot, but physical therapy was a whole new level of torture. And it was the swimming that he hated the most. Why did Master Vokara Che think that he needed to go swimming? And be pushed around by water jets? It wasn't just because he needed to build up muscle mass, he knew! Maul knew that he'd been bad. He knew that he shouldn't have tried to get up and walk like he did. Maul sighed some and wrapped the blankets around him. For a punishment, this really was light. The last time Master had punished him, he had been chained outside during a snowstorm. Zabraks needed to be warm. Maul had almost died during that and he still had an issue using his left hand.
He'd used the Force to heal himself from his frostbite. Master hadn't been too happy about that, but he'd at least recognized that Maul would be of no use to him of he couldn't use his hands.
Caleb sat beside him and looked at the book. "You want to go outside with me?" he quietly asked. The young Jedi gave him a pitiful look. Maul bit his bottom lip. The swimming made clear that he wasn't allowed to get up and walk. He needed to exercise his legs! Caleb seemed to see that he was upset, so the young human touched his hand. "It's going to be okay, Maul. I'll get you a wheelchair and we can go sit in the gardens! I promise it'll be fun and we won't get in trouble. Please, Maul? Please? I think you'll really like it!"
"Where's a wheelchair?" Maul managed a weak little purr and tried to sit up. He was broken, he knew. Qui-Gon was not going to be happy and then he might make Maul see the mind healer again. He tried to stop the growl as he thought of the Pantoran female he'd been forced to speak too for an hour. Maul sighed a little bit. He struggled up as best he could and finally used the Force to drag a few pillows over. He loved sleeping on pillows. It was so soft and it felt so much better than just draping himself over a few rocks or cold duracrete. Maul had done that before. He had shivered for years on Mustafar. Almost starved to death there, too. Maul struggled to sit up and helped Caleb get him into the wheelchair.
The young Jedi was oddly strong. He helped Maul out and even soothed his sore and aching muscles with the Force. Maul arched his back, whining softly. As an afterthought, he grabbed a blanket and draped that over his lap. Caleb started pushing him and they went through the Temple. If Maul was truly going to be a good Apprentice, he would have memorized the hallways and the elevators they went through. He would have tried to escaped. He would have lulled Caleb into a false sense of security and then turned around to bite his face off. Or do something like that. Maul took a deep breath. He had never thought that this could happen to him. Maul had never thought that he would get to go outside again. The Zabrak thought that he would have been tossed under the Jedi Temple for being captured.
Celeb hummed softly as they went through the Temple. Maul could smell a few good things that made his mouth water. He really wanted to eat something other than the shakes and broth he was given now. It didn't take them long to get into the gardens and Caleb wheeled them into a small, partially secluded area. The next thing Maul knew, Caleb was helping him out and getting him to sit on the grass. Maul gasped some. He stroked over the soft grass and almost cried. After months of being inside and years of torture by the Sith, he had never thought that he would get to do this again. The grass was so soft against his skin. He stroked over it, trying to understand what he was seeing now.
It was so... big. Maul looked around after a few minutes, looked at the warmth that spread over his skin. The red Zabrak took a deep breath. He tried to keep the panic from getting through to him. It had been so long since he'd gotten to get out like this. Maul bit his bottom look and tried not to curl into a tiny ball. This was supposed to be fun. This was supposed to help him out. This was supposed to be good for Caleb. Caleb who had helped him and almost saved his life. Caleb who had escaped from that horrible planet and told the Jedi what had happened. Maul tried to remind himself that he sometimes saw Caleb as his kitten, but he didn't think that he could.
Fear, white hot and acrid, seized his hearts. He cried out after a few minutes, curling into a ball. There was nothing he could do and the fear started to grab at his twin hearts. It was all too much. Maul grabbed at his chest. The light which had once been warm was now glaring down at him, as if it wanted to rip the skin off of his body. Maul gritted his teeth. He didn't know what to do. Maul gasped softly and he tried to shove the images back from his mind. The Zabrak snarled low. It was like his old Master was here, just beyond what he could sense, and clawing at him. Maul arched his back. He couldn't stop the wail that left his throat or the way his clawed hands lashed out.
Caleb screamed, but that was far away. His Master loomed just above him, taunting him with how bad he was and how he would be tortured for not taking out the Jedi from within. The man threatened to rip what was left of his claws out, to take his horns, to kill his daughter. He thought he saw the little girl, his little Ashya, but it was so far away from him that he wasn't sure. Maul would do anything to get her back. He knew it. So did his Master. It was like Sidious was right beside him, raking down his skin with claws and lighting and watching as the blood dripped down his arms. He was dimly aware that he'd clawed himself. Maul wailed and clawed at his head. He just couldn't get the monster out!
"Maul!" Some grabbed him and wrapped something around his chest. Maul burrowed into it. The Zabrak took a ragged breath, trying to calm his hearts. It was so hard. He couldn't. He just couldn't. The red Zabrak wailed a second time. He arched his back up as it felt like he was stabbed with a lightsaber. That had happened once. Sidious had stabbed him. Just to teach him to never trust anyone. Maul gasped softly. He tried to keep from crying out, knowing that his Master would never forgive him for crying out like this. He would have Maul tortured and broken. Lock him into another room full of dinkos. Starve him to death this time or modify his body so he no longer needed to eat. Turn him into a droid and keep him so could never get free again.
"I got you," the man whispered. "I got you. I'm not gonna let you go. I got you. I got you. I got you."
Maul surrendered to him. There was nothing else he could do but give way to the screaming in his mind.
Kix was tired. He'd been up since three am the previous morning. There had been a fight on one of the CIS held worlds and well over fifty Jedi had been wounded. That meant that all of the medics were working overtime to get all the Jedi better.The clones might have to make do with plain bandages and bacta, but the Jedi got the very best of the best. It might not have been fair, but that was just the way things worked. Kix might have hated it, but there wasn't much he could do about it. He was just a clone trooper and they were the ones of him. He sighed and gathered all of his supplies. Blood spattered his scrubs and exhaustion ringed his eyes. He just looked tired, and he was. He'd jacked more stims last night than he had since he was a young cadet trying to learn from the holonet.
He walked back to his quarters. The last thing he needed was to have deal with yet another patient. He needed a shower, he needed some food, and he needed to sleep. He sighed some as he slumped on the couch. At least he had a room in the Jedi Temple. Now, he wasn't allowed to bring anyone up to his rooms, so if he wanted to get with Rex and Ahsoka again he needed to go to their rooms, but it was better than sleeping in a rack. He stripped off his clothes and started getting in the shower. The water sluiced over him, taking away the pain and blood of the last twenty four hours. This war needed to be over and soon. He sighed softly. Maybe it would be over before he was killed but he didn't think so.
Someone knocked on his door. Kix hung his head. He really didn't want to go and deal with whoever it was, but he figured that being exhausted wasn't going to cut it with the Jedi. Kix cursed under his breath as he stalked over. He wrapped a towel around his body and jerked the door open. There was a frightened yelp and a young Jedi looked up at him with frightened eyes. Kix rocked back on his heels. He hiked the towel up around his body. The last thing he needed was to be imprisoned under the Jedi Temple in the cells that the Jedi loved to pretend didn't exist. He shook his head some and let the young Jedi come in. Kix darted around, back to his bedroom, and grabbed his pants. The last thing he needed to do was scare the young padawan with his naked shebs.
"Master Vokara Che wanted me to see if you could help Maul." The young Jedi took a deep breath. "I know you're really tired, but he collapsed. We don't think he's been eating. He just... collapsed. And then he had a panic attack and we had to help him out."
Kix rested back on the couch. "I just pulled twenty four hours, kid. What's going on? What's going on that's so bad that Master Che can't take care of it herself?" He was just so tired and he wanted to take a nap. Or sleep for a good twenty four hours. And he could do that, because he was on Coruscant. And because he was on Coruscant, he didn't have to deal with being shot at all the time. "Look, kid, I want to help him out, but I need to rest, too. I don't want to hurt him by mistake." And yes, medical errors killed far more than everyone else thought of it.
"I think he's going to die," Caleb whispered. He screwed his face up and took a shuddering breath. "I don't want to lose him. He's like my brother. He saved my life more than once and I don't want to lose him."
Kix understood. He sighed some and started to get up. He really was tired and he just wanted to go to sleep. But it was like he was going to save this kid's brother. This really wasn't the time to lecture the kid, not when someone was about to die, so he got up and grabbed another drink. This time, he was downing an energy drink. It wasn't good for him, but it was better for him than jacking a stim in himself. The last thing he needed was to get killed from all of that. Kix walked down the hallways, sighing softly. He really needed to sleep, but he figured that he needed to help this kid out. So he just walked into that medical bay and looked at the frightened Zabrak on the bed.
Maul whined softly. He started pulling at the IV line, but Kix stopped that with a gentle touch. He placed a breathing mask on Maul's face and started to give him a good dose of sedative. The next thing he gave Maul was a feeding tube down to his throat. He needed that. He needed it more than he would care to admit. Maul was going slightly crazy, but Kix hoped that he could get him better. Maybe they should give him a complete mental detox. That was hard to do and it would require a good Jedi, but he thought it would work. Kix sighed softly and settled the young Sith on the bed. He was so tiny in his arms, so fragile. The last thing he needed was to be hurt even more.
The Zabrak just looked bad. His bones told the story of a life filled with abuse and torture. His pelvis had been broken by giving birth. It hadn't ever been healed right. The implants had been wired directly into his nervous system. Taking those out had been a nightmare. Kix squeezed one fragile hand. He didn't want to think of what had happened to Maul. It just spoke of secrets that needed to stay buried. He loved being a medic, but there were times that he didn't want to be one. This was one of those times. He tucked the young Zabrak in bed and gently kissed his cheek. He needed to be healed up, but Kix didn't know if Maul would really be able to do it. Not without help.
Kix settled beside Maul. He didn't intend to go to sleep, nor did he intend to have Maul curl up around him. But that was what happened and Kix wrapped him up close when they slept. It just felt natural.
After the disastrous trip outside, it was widely ruled that not only was it a bad idea for Maul to go outside, they were going to need to watch him just a little more closely. After all, you know, he had gone outside and he'd had a panic attack. He'd attacked someone. He didn't remember who, but someone who wanted to help him had gotten clawed across the face. Maul would be lying if he said he felt any remorse. That was what happened when you grabbed a dangerous Sith Lord in unawares. They needed to stop treating him like an injured child and realize that he was much stronger than he looked. Maul huffed a small sigh as he sat up on the bed. All the fluffy blankets and pillows really weren't helping his case here, either.
He trailed his fingertips over the Braille, trying to make sense of the lettering. Master Sidious had never taught him to read. The droids did. Dee-9 had been the only one he really trusted, mostly because that droid hadn't shocked him as much as the others did. With the others, he had to have it right the first time. With Dee-9, if he corrected himself within five seconds, he wasn't punished for a wrong answer. There were days when he wondered if his Master knew about that policy. Would the older Sith have let Dee-9 last as long as he did if he knew? Or would the droid have become just like Hack and Slash--worthless piles of scrap sparking on the floor as he was punished for doing something forbidden?
Maul shuddered softly. That threw him off again and he scrambled to find his place. Who knew when he was going to be tested again? Who knew when the clone Kix would start shocking him for not knowing the right answers? Though Maul wasn't sure what he could get from reading "The Report Card". It seemed like the young girl involved would have been much better off dominating the others with her superior intelligence, but instead she wanted to be just like everyone else and she failed a few classes just to see what would happen if she brought home bad grades. Why anyone would want to be punished like that, Maul would never understand, but he did admit to himself that the author had a nice style and he or she could tell a good story.
Without his sight, one of the few ways he knew someone was entering the room was his sense of smell or his hearing. Even with his cat sharp hearing, he could still hardly hear the footfalls of one Kilindi Makato entering the room. It was then he could smell her. Maul would never admit this to anyone, but he liked the way she smelled. She smelled like the sea, like the wind, like all of the wild things that he loved and he missed. Maul tried not to whine softly. What did she see in him? He was blind and bedridden, forced to stay where he was so he could recover. Kix all but forced him to eat and the heavy meat hash he'd eaten hadn't settled well in his belly. He was supposed to be snacking on carrots, but Maul wanted to feed them to a pair of Force sensitive turtles from Felucia.
She cleared her throat and looked at the book. "Do you remember him?"
"Remember who?" Maul didn't look up. He wasn't going to admit it, but he was starting to get engrossed in his book. It might not be his typical fare (usually those were massive volumes on swordplay and battle tactics), but it was still a good story and he liked it. He was going to have to ask if Kix had the other ones. Maybe he was going to get lucky for once and there was a series. The Zabrak thumbed through the pages as he tried to imagine a little human girl backtalking her parents. That, of course, would never have happened with his Master, but he felt a small thrill of pride when the girl didn't back down. He wished he had her courage. Maybe then he wouldn't be lying half dead in a hospital bed.
Nope. He would have been tossed into the lava on Mustafar and no one would have been any the wiser.
"My brother." From the sound of things, Kilindi was crossing her arms. Maul sighed softly. He didn't know there was another one, but he really didn't care. What was he supposed to do? Say that he was sorry the brother was dead? Master had never taught him about such things, so he was only guessing here. Maybe she knew something he didn't...? The young Nautolan woman rubbed her lekku. "His name was Kilu. You killed him."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Maul softly said. He lifted his sightless golden eyes towards her and sighed softly. It was true, he didn't. He'd never heard of this Kilu before. And while he did try to remember all those he had killed, it was hard. There was a lot of blood on his hands. Maybe he'd killed this young alien back when he was a Sith apprentice. That had happened. Master had brought him prey, usually young aliens that no one would miss, so he could get used to killing other sentients. The first few times, Maul had cried and vomited for days. Not even Master and his lighting could get him out of his self imposed sadness and fear. The Zabrak shook his head softly and shrugged. "I don't know him."
"But you killed him," Kilindi whispered. "I remember it. You attacked him with the Force and killed him before he could even do a thing." She swallowed and looked away. "That was how I knew you could defeat the slavers. But... but you never did it. You were like a doll, sitting there."
"I'm broken." It was the truth. Yet, he didn't send her away, nor did she move away like she had every right to. Instead, she just sat there and shared her warmth with him. And for that, Maul was very grateful. Yet, he still didn't know what to do with the revelation about her brother. Kilu had been a person and he deserved so much more than to be just another killed. Maul rolled over some. He couldn't read any more of his book. It was just too much now. He was a killer and that was all he would ever be. Killers didn't deserve nice books or a warm bed.
They deserved death.
Maul doubled over the basin and vomited. It hurt so much. His entire body felt like it was trying to come out through his mouth and if it had been. Maul wouldn't have fought it. He could hear Kix beside him, murmuring softly and helping to keep the robes out of his vomit. They were trying to remove some of his implants. The ones in his shoulder and the back of his knee were first. Then they needed to get the ones out of his insides. One of the places that they had tried to target was his stomach. Maul didn't know if it was to make him more efficient or if they just wanted to cause him pain. Either way, it had hurt like hell. The implants there were still online, unlike the other ones, and sometimes they kicked in. Just to let him know who he really belonged too.
Kix murmured something kind sounding and swabbed a cool cloth against his head. The Zabrak tried to push into it as best he could. Then he doubled over again. Nothing came out this time. Just dry heaves. And he almost hurled naturally from the smell of the basin. Maul actually preferred the vomiting to the time he'd woken up in a pool of his own feces. That time, they had been forced to clear the entire area so he could be cleaned and settled. It was then that they had learned of his internal implants. The only thing that was stopping him from getting them out was the fact he was still half starved. Maul had started to develop something called Second Sight, though. It made being blind easier.
Maul could actually see, just a little. It might have only been in grey scale and the vague outlines of objects, but it was still real and it still worked enough for him. Maul didn't like being locked in enteral darkness. He would much rather take the strange, twilight world of second sight over being blind. His belly hurt a few more times before he finally slumped back. Kix, being the good man that he was, pressed a bottle of cool, clear water to his lips. He wasn't supposed to drink, he was supposed to wash his mouth out, but the temptation was too strong and the water was too sweet. Besides, it wasn't like Kix would make him sick for drinking when he wasn't allowed too. Only Master did that.
Master only had to do it once, too. Maul had drank a bottle of water with something in it that made him have cramps and diarrhea for days. It would have killed him, if Master didn't want to lose his investment and have a medical droid cure him. After that, Maul never did drink unless he was sure that the water wasn't dosed.
He forced himself to spit and rinse several times before he gulped the rest of the water. Kix sighed and helped him get up. Maul was forced to rely upon him fully. Unable to even walk on his own. What was he coming too? A helpless slave who would be better suited as the pet of some prince rather than the Sith he was supposed to be? Maul tried not to think on those terms as he forced himself up and over. His legs wobbled some as he tried to sit into the chair. Even though the room was warm, it still bit into his arms, and he shivered some. Kix glanced back at him and something akin to pity passed in his eyes. He tapped his comm and murmured a few words.
Seconds later, another clone medic entered the room. "Whatcha want, Kix?" This one was a little taller than Kix was and his face was more angled, more lean. But he still had those same hazel eyes. His hair, though, was much longer and actually curled some. "I don't have all day."
"Diyya, I need you to take Maul outside for a few minutes." Something passed between the two clone troopers. "Be kind, Diyya. He's been through a lot and he's much less stable than he looks."
Diyya, the new trooper, snorted some as he fetched the wheelchair. "The second I see a stable Force user is the second I find a blue Wookiee. You know it ain't gonna happen."
"With enough Life Day drinking, anything can happen," Kix teased. Diyya just rolled his eyes and helped Maul into the chair. The Zabrak took a deep breath as he struggled not to fight. Diyya didn't want to help him. He just wanted to take Maul outside so he could get a little fresh air while the droids cleaned the place. Maul understood. These people seemed very concerned with him. It just... felt weird. He didn't like it. Maul tried not to shudder as he was wheeled outside and helped under a tree. Maul waved Diyya off and sprawled his broken body out on the cool grass. He felt safe in this grove of trees. Peaceful. Like no one could hurt him. It was closed in enough that he wasn't scared, but there was still enough sun that he was warm.
Diyya flopped beside him. "So. You're the famous Zabrak that Dume felt all the way from the Far Rim."
"I think so?" Maul wasn't quite sure how to speak to the trooper. Diyya seemed rough, but he wasn't mean. He just shook his head some and worried at a blade of grass. Maul followed him with eyes that were still cloudy and dull. He wondered if they would ever be the rich gold they used to be or if they would always be this washed out now. He turned his head some. He didn't want to think about it. Out of all the things he had lost, eye color was the least of it. He would have gladly traded his eyes for Ashya. He would have traded just about anything for his daughter. There was a part of him that wondered if he would ever see her again. She wouldn't even remember him.
"I don't get it." Diyya rested his back against the tree. "They move heaven and earth to get a wreck of a Zabrak. Now, if you were the Chosen One's brother, I'd get it. But you're not. They swear up and down that you're strong in the Force, but all I'm seeing is another stray. What's your take on the matter?"
"I don't know," Maul admitted. He looked up again, wondering about a time when he was strong and didn't have to deal with metal implants that had been welded to his bones and nerves. Just to think, he'd been as whole and healthy as Diyya was now. But that was a long time ago and almost like a distant memory. He didn't want to think about it. "All I know is that they came for me. I... I helped the Dume boy escape."
"And that would do it." Diyya pressed against him. Maul started, but he found that he liked the touch better than he thought he would. "The Jedi are good for one thing and that's not leaving behind those they care about. Just wish that they felt that way about my brothers."
Maul nodded and curled into his side. Maybe things would get better. He hoped.
Maul was surprised that one of the Jedi wanted to train with him. The GrandMaster of the Order, no less. It was as if his old master had decided to train with him one day and not just left him to spar with droids and wild animals. The first person he had fought had been Eldra Kaitis. And even that, he had narrowly won. Maul squared his shoulders and called to the Force as he got ready. He bothered to wash and wash well. He applied fresh oil to his horns and wrapped his arms so the training sabers wouldn't burn him. He didn't need to use one. He could have used a real lightsaber, but the Jedi didn't want to injure their young like that. So Maul would respect that and he would wrap his forearms in the beskar cloth Diyya gave him.
Diyya was very kind to him and Maul didn't know why. He had turned bright red when Maul called him buir, though. Diyya might have been grumpy, but he was far closer to a buir than anyone Maul had ever had before. He stood up and stretched his limbs. His body twisted and turned, moving like flowing water, as he went through the stretches. It had been so long since he had trained that his muscles were stiff, though. He found the training staff and he braced against that as he lowered into squats. His core, where his child had once rested, was sore and painful. Maul forced that thought away from him as he worked the pain and kinks from his muscles. It just felt good to exercise like this. He turned in a slow circle, stretching the stiff muscles in his legs.
He wasn't going to pass the Initiate Trials. Maul was already tainted by the Darkness and no Master would want to touch him. Maul moved through the dojo and picked up one of the smaller saber hilts. It fit well in his hands, like it was made for him. He flicked the weapon on. A blue beam shot out from it and hummed in the air. Maul twirled it in his hands and launched into an advanced for of Ataru. He danced around and twisted, leapt through the air and slashed at the invisible enemy. He twisted and jumped, use the Force to hurl his body around. It was like dancing, moving through the air like it was water and he some exotic beast. Maul was a little off from the single bladed lightsaber, but he was still good and he could still dance.
Maul knelt on the mat once he was done, breathing heavily. His body was covered in sweat and he pulled off the top layer of robes he wore. Then he tossed off his shirt and removed everything except his pants. He waited for Master Yoda, just trying to keep himself calm. He could do this. He didn't need the Jedi's pity. The lightsaber almost seemed alive in his hands. He couldn't wait to get started. Maul paced around for a few minutes, watching life outside the Temple. He could see some of the padawans outside. Some practiced in the gardens. Others were resting in the grass and watching some clouds. Maul huffed out a sigh. Those Jedi would never know what it was like to train harder.
Yoda took his sweet time in getting there. The old green alien took his own lightsaber once he reached the dojo and activated it. Maul grinned. He lunged at the little alien and tried to knock him off his feet. Yoda swiped at him, making the young Zabrak jump back. He parried a blow, driving him back. Yoda lunged at him. He suddenly leapt and the Force carried him high. Maul dodged. He rolled, tucked, and blocked a blow. The Force seemed to sing around him. He twisted and danced, parrying blows and taking the Force into him. Yoda tried to push him over. It was a weak blow, though, and he rode it out. He twisted around and yanked something off the wall.
Yoda stopped it with his hand. Maul jumped away from it. He twisted his body and snapped the Force back at Yoda. The alien stumbled. He picked himself up quickly and scored Maul's arm. He yelled in surprise rather than pain. Maul twisted away from that. He danced and darted, both moving around like they were dancers. Yoda was moving a little slower than him. Maul didn't wonder why. He tried to yank the other's weapon away, only to be almost pulled over. Maul twisted his weapon away. He tried to catch Yoda's blade, but he was just a little too slow. Yoda almost backed him into a corner. Maul twisted around. And then he saw his on. He lunged at Yoda and knocked the alien over.
The alien stopped him with a flick of the wrist. Maul would have yelled, but he cursed under his breath. What was going on? What would happen? Had the Jedi let him win? What would he do if the Jedi thought he couldn't win a fight with the oldest member of the Order? Maul doused his blade and watched the alien as he picked himself up. He dusted his pants off and eyed Maul with a sort of approval. Maul tried to draw back. He didn't like this. He didn't know how to deal with the shame and fear that spread across his chest. Yoda had thrown the fight. Yoda. The oldest member of the Order had thrown the fight. Why? Did he think that Maul wasn't worthy? Was he trying to ease the sting of rejection?
"Fight well, you do," Yoda replied. He doused his blade and took Maul's with the Force. Maul didn't even look at him. The sunlight rippled across his sweaty skin, showing how thin he was and how much muscle he had lost. He didn't know what to say. Maul turned his head in shame. He didn't even whine. He just failed at everything, didn't he?
"You threw that fight," Maul snapped. He rubbed a little cream on his scraped knees. He didn't want to look at the man. He just barely stopped himself from hissing. He hated this! He hated it when people thought he was weak and treated him as such. Maul couldn't stand it. He murmured curses under his breath and forced himself to follow Yoda. Maul didn't want to say much of anything to him.
"Assessing your abilities, I was. A common Jedi training technique it is. If one does not know your level of training, one cannot meet you where you are. Shameful, it is not. Fought well, you did. Sick and injured you are." Yoda gave him and all knowing smile. Maul actually did growl at him. It was better to lose than to win a thrown fight.
"I'm fine," Maul snapped. He'd dealt with worse. He had fought when he was far sicker and injured than this. He growled a curse and stalked off. Maul didn't know what he needed to do right now. He could hide in the library, but Master Nu was still angry that he stole a holocron. No, check that. She didn't mind that he stole the thing. She just minded that he lost it. They finally found the thing in the Temple laundry. Maul must have forgotten it after he tried to unlock it. It needed something he didn't have: a piece of the Light. Maul hated to say it, but he was wrapped in Darkness and it wouldn't ever change. Maul just growled softly and decided to hide from everyone.
The Room of a Thousand Fountains was looking good right now.