A/N: to the readers, I hope you've enjoyed this. This is the last chapter. I can't write from Maul's POV for too long without getting angsty, you know? lol

There is moral in this ending if you wish to find it, or so I have tried to make. Couldn't just have the story be about sw33t Sith, could I.--hmm...But the moral is that the dark side isn't worth it, I think.

XIX

You fling the Force up at me. I deflect the push with a gesture from my tight fist, pointing behind me. Balance still perfect. Anger so perfect! Your soldiers and equipment shatter on the desk.

When I but touch the platform you stand on, we've obliterated striking distance. Your breathing and the sounds of the lightsabers almost cover the clatter from beyond the duel. Fencing, raging, giving no ground!

You do not have reason enough to hate (only to defend) and you stand tall, comfortably immobile in your metal body.

I angle and whip the lower of my lightsabers' blades into your side. With the resistance I want to smell the circuitry--no. You've blocked. You lift and cut for my core. I've got my other blade over to catch it and I kicked out into your control panel in before you think to retreat. Now there is a satisfying crunch. At the apex of the snap you shuffle backwards, laser blade held across your chest, steam rising from your side. You limp, Darth Vader.

I leap toward you. I smile.

Red blades clash. None of my spinning attacks get through, but I'm pushing you back into and through a hallway. The Force under propulsion by my raving powerful emotions worms into what you're going to do next--nownownow--

Your voice booms, "You are dead!"

Your saber slams down and I've already slipped aside. Your mask-lens eyes track. "He killed you."

And suddenly you're angry enough. Loss--whatever you missed in that memory--stampedes through you as danger and intensity and ferocity.

Your blade slides across my neck and shoulder as I. I handspring, lightsaber always whirling, a few meters down the corridor and come for you again. Force energy smashes around me like dragon's wings beating at my head. I crouch and snarl, driven to the edge of the hanger. The soldiers are wary now, but ready. The juggernaut Vader bares toward me. Steam twists.

The dark side leads me to rise and stab through your defense. Your saber pushes mine against the wall. I jump to kick your face.

Again you push. I am concentrating on the physical, my hands and legs--so the Force grips and hurls me out into the hanger. I tuck into a roll and hit the floor smooth. No, falter--my back crashes against the tile. I recover on hands and feet.

Crouching there in the uniform of your enemy I stare up and hate you. You're impressively derelict, Vader. The stormtroopers are focused against and I don't care. Too awash in wrath! I stand and push my lightsaber active. I jog into an angle to trap you against the wall. Everything looks so alive in the fight! Your breathing sweeps over us. Red flares in the back of my mind, and it is only the dark side. Intent! I lunge into a flawless, Force-timed stab to feed plasma to your heart, traitor-!

A white-hot finger, a blaster bolt, tucks itself under my ribs. Another, from the far corner, into my shoulder. Sniper?!

I turn a stumble into a step toward him with the fuel of the dark side. Block the next step and explode it back --

and there are pinpricks at my back, thousands of bites.

I am falling.

I am looking at you from the floor and you have turned away, impressed and uncaring.

Before I...

The Emperor Palpatine peered through the gray and blue smoke at the tattered body clothed in unfamiliar orange and eternally familiar shrouding black spread on the Star Destroyer's parade ground. Blasters from pilots, stormtroopers, and antiaircraft emplacements had shredded through it.

Without the apprentice (caring for) turning to the Force's prescience, beforehand.

Sidious wondered, It took all that to kill him. Excellent.

But whatever did he think he was fighting for?