saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 9 (Pitch Black/Riddick)
rating/genre: (NC-17) - het, angst, drama
warnings: het, sexual content, adult content, drug use, criminal activity, religious fusion
summary: What if Jack had stayed on New Mecca with Imam? What if Riddick had come back for her? (Riddick/Jack, Imam/OFC)
comments/disclaimers: General disclaimers apply.
Jack stared at Riddick, dumbfounded. He had just offered her her heart’s desire—when she was thirteen. At twenty, it was the last thing she wanted. She had no desire to leave a place and people she had grown to cherish as her own. For the first time since she had been a small child, she lived among people who loved her, cared about her and wanted the best for her. The idea of leaving all that for deep space, and a life on the margins, held no appeal.
"You’re too late,” she said softly, absently fondling Carolyn’s dark head.
Riddick’s brow knit in puzzlement. “Too late for what?”
Jack took a deep breath, because she knew this was not going to be easy. “If you had made me this offer at thirteen, I would have left with you. No question. If you had come back and made it again at fifteen, there was still a pretty good possibility I would have left with you. But now, Riddick, it’s been seven years. Seven.
“Do you realize that when I turned sixteen, I came to terms with the fact that I would never see you again? I mourned your passing from my life as if you had actually died. And I moved on. You might as well be Owen Richardson because Richard Riddick is dead to me. Do you understand?”
Jack made herself look directly at his face, ready to brave any protest or disappointment she had unleashed but, curiously, Riddick was showing no tendency towards either. Instead, he seemed disconcerted and not particularly unhappy.
“Richard Riddick is dead to me, too,” he concurred at last. “And, so, maybe is Jack.”
Guess he’ll be taking his leave, she interpreted, feeling a vague regret at what would be the end of her most interesting courtship to date.
“Jack was all for heading out to the stars. She thought there were some great adventures in store if she traveled around the universe with a silver-eyed escaped convict. She had no desire to be stuck on a boring backwater like New Mecca. Akila’s different, huh?” he seemed to be challenging her to explain where the Jack he knew had gone.
“Akila’s an adult, Rick. She wants a home and a-a—,” she felt acutely embarrassed to be talking to him like this, “—a family. She wants a life here, among the people she loves.”
Her face burned pink at revealing her wants and dreams to a man she knew would want no part in them. She dropped her eyes, willing her flesh to resume its normal hue. She was startled when his finger hooked under her chin and gently pulled her face back up.
“Rick doesn’t exactly want to go gallivanting around the universe,” his voice was a soft purr that seemed to resonate deep inside her. ”Not a wise idea. Now that Riddick’s dead in the database and according to the law, he’s more likely to stay that way if Rick stays in a little backwater like this one, where some merc who knows him by sight isn’t likely to visit.
“There’s not too much to do here, other than the trading I’ve been doing, besides get married and have a bunch of kids. You know, Rick isn’t Riddick anymore than Akila is Jack.”
Jack turned away from him, afraid of what she felt. He’s just offered you everything you want. He’s offered to stay here with you.
“You’re saying what I want to hear,” she accused, but her tone didn’t match her words.
Rick grew amused, rather than affronted. “How do you know I don’t mean it? How much do you really know about me, and what I might want? Two weeks with me seven years ago made you an expert, did it?”
He’s right, Jack realized. We’re both operating under expectations that are seven years old.
“No,” she demurred. “I don’t know what it made me.”
Her consternation seemed to embolden him. “Why don’t we sit down and get comfortable? I can tell you everything you want to know.”
He sank into one of the wicker chairs and gestured to Jack to do the same. Not sure what else to do, Jack sat down. She blinked at him uncertainly, not sure how they had gotten to this point or where they might go next.
“We’re not going anywhere?” Carolyn asked, disappointment coloring her little voice.
Amazingly, Riddick actually smiled at the child. Jack would never have guessed that he could be capable of such a genuine expression. “Not today,” he said carefully.
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