Currently: mentally preparing myself to defend aromanticism and asexuality tomorrow on a day the internal need for sexual and romantic relationships in our society is at its most obvious. You are all real and valid no matter what anyone tries to tell you!
Thank you for the prompt- sorry it took a while! This is also in Nice Good Stuff universe- Obi-Wan is still a padawan. Takes place sequentially after last weeks prompt .
Obi-Wan tried to move but only felt Maul push him back harder against the wall- it wasn’t totally unpleasant.
At some point they had actually been arguing, though Obi-Wan couldn’t even remember what about. But it all went wrong when Maul had shoved him into the library wall, what had started as a physical altercation had evolved into something else…
Obi-Wan was supposed to be helping reshelve data cards and Maul wasn’t supposed to be in the library at all. In fact he had complained when Obi-Wan dragged him along, but now that the data cards were all but forgotten, neither was complaining.
Well, Obi-Wan was complaining a little. While Maul’s mouth moving along his neck and collarbone was pleasant, it wasn’t painless. Everywhere his mouth dragged he left a trail of bites and bruises, his teeth raking Obi-Wan’s skin as he went. Maul wasn’t gentle with the rest of his body either, where Maul pinned Obi-Wan’s wrists against the wall, he could feel Maul’s nails digging against his skin. And amidst the tangle that was the lower halves of their bodies, Obi-Wan felt at least one of Maul’s knees pressing against him uncomfortably, using it as leverage to hold him steady.
Not for the first time, Obi-Wan worried he was breaking the code. Jedi had been chastised for less, tender hugs and gentle kisses that the masters had deemed too affectionate for proper Jedi. However Maul was anything but affectionate, there was nothing soft or gentle about what they were doing.
Still, between the winces of pain, Obi-Wan felt other more pleasant sensations.
Abruptly, Obi-Wan looked up. He could hear the doors to the library being opened and Master Nu’s unmistakable presence fill the library.
“Maul!” Obi-Wan hissed, pushing at him. But Maul only pushed back harder, using his better leverage to hoist Obi-Wan further up and against the wall. “Maul- stop!”
With a much harder push, and a little bit of the Force, Obi-Wan wrenched himself from Maul’s grasp. The movement startled Maul, and reflexively he bit down significantly deeper than he had intended.
“Force!” Obi-Wan hissed, his hand clamping against the now bleeding bite mark. Maul seemed unconcerned, licking the blood away from the edges of his mouth. The sight made Obi-Wan’s stomach turn, but Maul’s total lack of concern for blood borne illness wasn’t his biggest problem at the moment. Jocasta Nu’s growing footsteps where.
By now Maul could hear them too, and had dropped his body into a fight crouch.
“No- no,” Obi-Wan whispered harshly, grabbing at Maul’s arm. He wasn’t about to allow Maul to fight the Temple librarian, she was a formidable Jedi Master in her own right- and Maul would walk away the worse in that fight. “We’ve got to hide!”
Maul curled his lip at Obi-Wan, running from a problem was never his ideal solution.
“The vent-” Obi-Wan pulled Maul again, there was a large air vent nearby, “Come on!”
Maul didn’t argue further as Obi-Wan undid the bolts and pulled the cover away. With a fair amount of undignified scrambling, they both found their way inside as Obi-Wan replaced the cover to hide their presence.
“Kenobi-” Maul started to hiss, but Obi-Wan shushed him, pushing them along further into the air shaft. “Kenobi, wait-”
But Maul’s warning was cut off. In their haste, Obi-Wan hadn’t sensed the upcoming drop- and had ignored Maul as he tried to warn him.
In a tangle of limbs, they both fell down the sheer drop.Luckily, the shaft narrowed quickly, and their descent came to an uncomfortable halt not many feet down.
Obi-Wan could hear Maul swearing in Outer Rim languages he couldn’t even recognize. Their bodies more intertwined than before, and significantly more uncomfortable.
“Maul- you’re crushing my leg!” Obi-Wan squirmed trying to free his leg from between Maul and the vent wall.
“Your leg?” Maul hissed vehemently, “another inch and your elbow will be puncturing my lung!”
“Okay- okay, hold on.”Obi-Wan tried to lift himself, his palms grasping at the sheer walls for traction as he attempted to alleviate his weight from Maul. “Maul, behind you in an emergency lever. Can you reach it?”
Maul tried to twist, but even with some of Obi-Wan’s weight gone, he still couldn’t move much in the confined space.
“I’m not that flexible, Kenobi!” Maul growled.
“I saw you slip durasteel binders on your first day here!” Obi-Wan said accusingly, stress getting the better of him.
“Because I was taught to dislocate my shoulders you idiot, I can’t just break my spine as easily!”
There was an uncomfortable silence, Obi-Wan’s breath was coming loud now as he struggled to maintain his hold on the sides of the vent.
“Maul, please, just try again. It’s the only way out.”
With an irritated huff, Maul began to fidget around in the vent again. Obi-Wan put all his strength into pulling himself up, allowing Maul to brace himself against him as he tried to contort his body further.
Maul made a pained grunting noise as he finally twisted his torso far enough that his hand found purchase against the emergency lever. The panel opposite it slid open to reveal a service hacht.
Maul reached that with much greater ease, and was soon helping to pull Obi-Wan onto the small outcropping. With a combined effort, they pushed the ancient service hatch open and tumbled out into what must have been a storage room a few floors down from the library.
And into Qui-Gon’s disapproving gaze.
“Master!” Obi-Wan floundered, pulling himself up off the floor and self consciously tightening the neck of his robes. It didn’t hid everything, but it at least hid how far the marks went. “How did-”
Qui-Gon simply tapped his wrist, indicating his own communicator. Obi-Wan looked helplessly down at his own, in the fall he had activated it. He supposed he was lucky the call had gone to his master and not the entire council.
Obi-Wan managed to stand straight, Qui-Gon had infrequent opportunities to chastise him, but when the occasion did arise, Obi-Wan always faced it with humility and composure. Maul on the other hand was crouched somewhere behind Obi-Wan. His back arched and legs bent, ready to run or fight depending on the situation.
Finally Qui-Gon shook his head. “Are you two both alright?”
“Yes, master- I mean…” Obi-Wan felt Qui-Gon’s gaze drift to the bloody mark on his neck. “It was an-”
“I bit him,” Maul said defiantly, standing a little taller to catch Qui-Gon in a brittle glare. Obi-Wan cursed silently as Maul kept talking. “I attacked him and then tried to escape through the vents, he went after me- as per your orders I assume.” Maul all but spat the words.
Obi-Wan saw the small frown that so often creased his master’s face when he spoke to Maul. Caught somewhere between pity and repulsion, though Obi-Wan thought it had been growing steadily softer as the years passed.
“He’s done your bidding,” Maul growled, pushing his way past Obi-Wan to confront Qui-Gon, “He’s brought me to you- what more do you want from him? Will you punish him for simply following your cursed Jedi teachings?”
Obi-Wan had to fight the urge to grab Maul and pull him back from this unwise confrontation.
“The Jedi,” Qui-Gon said measuredly, “don’t punish padawan learners.”
“Well, I suppose you’re glad I’m not one of your padawans then.” Maul’s gaze was unblinking.
“Jedi don’t seek retribution, Maul-”
“Maybe you don’t-” Maul’s barely controlled temper slipped, “But your kind has chained me in cells beneath this wretched temple. Maybe you won’t punish me- but I can sense it. There are plenty who walk amongst you who will!”
Finally Obi-Wan couldn’t stop himself. He grabbed Maul on the shoulder, the touch causing him to jerk around- ready to fight. But Obi-Wan caught his wrists and stopped him from throwing the first punch.
“Maul,” Obi-Wan said emphatically, “enough…”
The fire in Maul’s eyes died a little, his shoulder slumping. Obi-Wan let go of his wrists, and Maul turned back to Qui-Gon. With a final dagger like glare, Maul held out his hands.
Qui-Gon tilted his head, confused by the action.
“The way you’re standing,” Maul offered, “its to balance the set of binders you have on your left hip.”
Understanding dawned on Qui-Gon’s face, but quickly it was replaced with his typical serene gaze.
“Master,” Obi-Wan interrupted for the first time, but when Qui-Gon gave him his attention, Obi-Wan found he didn’t know what to say. “Master, please…” was all that ended up escaping his lips. Anything else and he feared he would divulge too much- if he hadn’t already.
Qui-gon sighed, his gaze going back and forth between Obi-Wan and Maul. For the first time, he let his cool demeanor drop, he looked tired.
“Are you going to try and escape again?” Qui-Gon asked Maul.
“How can I with your padawan dog always at my heels.” Maul’s voice was begrudging, his posture more defeated than before.
“Maul- an answer please.” Qui-Gon pressed.
“No,” Maul said through gritted teeth, some of his rage illuminating his eyes again, “I won’t try to escape…”
Qui-gon nodded, glancing back to Obi-Wan.
“Alright. Obi-Wan go to the medcenter for the bite- and take Maul with you.”
It was Maul’s turn to look quizzical.
“You’re stance,” Qui-Gon said smiling faintly, “you’re favoring your right side- you hurt your back trying to get out of the vent. Have it looked at.”
Before Maul could protest, Obi-Wan cut in.
“Yes, Master- Thank you, master.”
Obi-Wan hurried Maul out of the room. He was amazed, and more than a little worried, that the conversation had gone so smoothly. His master was no fool… no doubt Qui-Gon suspected more than he let on…
A few months after college graduation, I moved to a tiny studio apartment in Manayunk, a neighborhood in northwest Philadelphia. My apartment was on top of a bar tending school and was large enough for a bed and a coffee table, nothing more. To give you perspective, the kitchen stove was about four feet away from where I slept. I found a picture of my empty apartment below and the photo was taken in the “kitchen”. It was here where I remember first listening to jazz….on purpose.
My short-lived love affair with jazz started one night after I watched Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. I always have romanticized the 1920s but the movie triggered a night’s worth of appreciation. I poured myself a glass a wine, sat on the stool near my window, lit a cigarette, and listened to the sounds of Louie Armstrong while watching the night life below me. That evening was so pleasurable that I made it a weekly habit that lasted about six months…
I later moved in with one of my best friends (shout out to Erika) to a new neighborhood in Philly. Living with a roommate has a lot more pluses than negatives but you do have less time (and freedom) to enjoy nights alone. It was here where I stopped listening to jazz.
Flash forward to the present, where I am being seduced by jazz for a second time, and again it was triggered by a movie. Although the film is set in modern times rather than the Jazz Age, La La Land’s one protagonist is a passionate jazz musician (played by Ryan Gosling) who’s dream is to open his own jazz club. This resurfaced memories of my time in Manayunk and the nights where I suppressed the habit of watching TV, playing video games, or being on my phone but rather indulged in a slight buzz and jazz music.
The reasons I find jazz so alluring is because:
Jazz was the soundtrack to the Roaring Twenties, a decade that was progressive and rebellious. Women’s suffrage was at its peak at the turn of the decade and women wanted a new standard for themselves. Women danced, smoked, drank, and talked freely about sex. African American culture had a big impact on the 20s and females like Bessie Smith took over the radio. The youth took to night clubs and speakeasies to enjoy different styles of jazz. People were using automobiles and telephones at large scale and motion pictures grew in popularity and accessibility. Those in their teens and twenties rebelled against the cultural norms of the older generations and progressive cities like London, Paris, and New York experienced a new “cultural edge”. In France, the Roaring Twenties are known as the Crazy Years which speaks to the chaotic nature of this decade.
Jazz is ever-changing. Ryan Gosling’s character touches on this during a scene in La La Land –> jazz has a improvisational component to it which allows the artist to change up a song every time he/she plays it. This means that if you are listening to a live jazz band/artist, you may never hear that unique version of the song they are playing ever again. The same artist can play the same song over and over but the piece, to those that really listen, is always new. Jazz also, on a larger scale, has evolved over time, as most genres do. I encourage you to check out reddit user johno456′s answer to the thread below (also earning him reddit gold) to better understand the changes in jazz throughout the last few decades: https://www.reddit.com/r/Jazz/comments/4mjc13/a_challenge_for_you_jazzheads_name_ten_tracks/
Jazz gives me the feels. Jazz makes me feel optimistic, sexy, and inspired. I feel mature, yet youthful. I find the whole experience of listening to jazz very pleasurable.
If you want to dabble, here are some of my recos:
Dream a Little Dream of Me - Ella Fitzgerald
Let’s Get Lost - Chet Baker
Heebie Jeebies - Chick Webb & His Orchestra
The Girl From Ipanema - Amy Winehouse (+ the original version from Gets/Gilberto)