saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 15 (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.
Riddick gave her a few days to recover from the events in the Mullah’s office before asking if he could see her. Jack was incredibly grateful for this. She still had trouble believing she had actually declared her intention to marry him, but it seemed the only logical course of action open to her. She had no idea how it would feel to face him again as the man she would soon marry, instead of an unexpected phantom from her past. Nervously, she adjusted her scarf, studying her own green eyes in the mirror. She was not sure what she was looking for.
Finally, Sahar burst in. “What are you doing up here? He is waiting.” As soon as Jack turned to her, however, Sahar enfolded her in an embrace that almost made her burst into tears. “It will be all right,” she whispered, gently, into her ear.
Jack composed herself, straightened her robes and went downstairs to the sitting room. Now that there was a promise, they no longer had to have constant chaperones. The ability of anyone who passed by being able to peek into the room would be an effective deterrent to most impropriety. With the chaperones gone, it would be easier to talk about private matters.
She slid the door open and let herself into the room, trying not to betray any emotion. Since she had not seen or heard from him since she had gotten sick in the marketplace, Jack had no idea how he would react to her. Unlike previous visits, Riddick was sitting on the love seat and beckoned her to sit beside him. His guarded face, however, told her nothing.
Jack sat down next to him, every muscle tensed, not sure what to expect. When he moved over so that the sides of their thighs were touching, she nearly fled the room.
“Easy,” he urged, voice as gentle as she had ever heard it. “You act like I’m gonna jump you right here. Even I’m not that uncivilized.”
Absurdly, she laughed, and that seemed to make it a little better. “You never were,” she allowed, remembering what he could have done to her thirteen-year-old self—and hadn’t.
“You used to like to be near me,” he recalled.
A few times, when she had nightmares on the skiff, she had climbed into his lap and slept. He had radiated nothing more than warmth and safety then. He was still warm now. She was acutely aware of that heat, both where they touched and even in the air between them. What she had forgotten about was his scent, the maleness of it, with a distinct thread that was unique to him. She knew consciously now, as she hadn’t then, what primal messages it contained.
“I felt safe,” she explained, knowing she felt anything but safe now.
“If you don’t want me,” he asked, snaking an arm around her waist to draw her nearer to him, “why did you say you did?”
Jack stiffened momentarily, before forcing herself to lean against his chest and shoulder. Unexpectedly, she felt comfort in his nearness. “Part of me remembers when I did. You’re the only man who ever made me feel that way.”
“And you want to know what would’ve happened if I’d taken you with me back then? Awful big commitment to make for a fuck,” he barbed.
“Seven years is an awful big commitment to make to a woman who could’ve said no,” she shot back.
Riddick smiled at her with genuine fondness. “I think I missed your mouth the most.”
“And you never even got me to do anything with it,” she quipped, immediately thinking, Sahar would be so proud.
“Nah, you volunteered to do that yourself,” he reminded her, “and I still owe you for that.”
Before Jack realized what he meant, Riddick was kissing her. Not just any kiss, but the kiss she had tried to give him on that long ago day. Jack struggled, trying to pull away from him, but his arm around her waist was like a vise. His other hand held her skull, effectively keeping her from going anywhere.
Not knowing what else to do, Jack relaxed into his kiss. His full lips were soft on hers, savoring her, as if he had waited a long time for this. She was amazed that her body seemed to remember what it had wanted seven years ago. It kissed him back without any prompting from her. She tasted him, learning the curve of his lips, surprised to feel passion rise in her so easily. Just as she felt him trying to deepen the kiss, there was a sharp rap on the glass in the door.
They broke off, startled, to see an entire crowd, virtually everyone in the house at that moment, enjoying the spectacle. She caught Sahar giving her a thumb's up before she hid her burning face from the onlookers against his shoulder.
“Ohhhh,” Jack groaned, mortified.
“Like being in a fish bowl,” Riddick smirked, not a bit embarrassed.
She heard the door slide open and Imam ask, mildly, “Do I need to send the little ones in here with you again?”
“Nope. Just testing to see if it still works. I think I got my answer,” Riddick quipped, letting Jack continue to hide, for which she was desperately grateful.
The door slid closed and after several long moments of him rubbing her back, she finally whispered, “Are they gone?”
“Yeah, they’re gone. Nice to know Jack isn’t, though.”
Jack’s lips tingled at his comment, and she moved away from him, so she could look up at him. “How did you do that?”
“I didn’t do it; we did it,” he purred, pleased beyond measure. “Can’t wait till we can get some place private to do some more of it. Hell, I can’t even see your hair right now, let alone any skin. Is it long?”
“Yes,” she confirmed, fascinated by his interest in such a thing. “Down to the small of my back.”
Jack could just make out that he had closed his eyes behind his glasses, as if in pain. “Maybe God isn’t such a fucker.”
Riddick grew thoughtful. “I didn’t plan to commit seven years. It took me three years of hiding and investing before I could afford to get my identity fixed. It wasn’t safe for me to see a whole lot of anyone, not even women. I spent a lot of time holed up in lonely places. I used to think about you. I imagined you all grown up, with long hair like you have now. I used to think about taking it down and spreading it out on a pillow. Then I’d think about what I’d do to you after that. You kept me from going insane while I waited it out.
“Once I became Owen Richardson, I could move at will. I was with all kinds of women after that, from whores to rich widows. I even tried the hair fantasy with several of them, but it never worked right. After a few years, I knew there was no help for it. I had to come find you, but I didn’t think it would be safe till Riddick was declared legally dead.”
“The Hunter Gratzner crashed when I wasn’t much over thirteen,” Jack murmured, thinking it highly ironic that she had been a fantasy figure for him just as he had been for her. “Seven years to be declared legally dead. I never thought … “
Riddick hesitated before removing his glasses so she could see his silver eyes. “When I first got here, I didn’t expect you to want to stay in this place. Imam explained that you have a good, solid life here, one where people love you. I’ve never had that, but I don’t think it’s something you give up lightly.
“That’s why I started making a life here, because I didn’t think you would leave here with me. I thought fine, I can stay here. It kinda grows on you. The people have all kinds of crazy rules they live by, but they seem to be good people.
“I’m willing to give you the respectability you need. The children you want. I don’t even expect you to love me. If you let me be with you, it’s enough.”
Jack had seldom heard so many words come out of Riddick at a time, and they moved her to tears. “I think you might get more than that,” she sniffled. “When Jubair asked me if I love you, I told him yes. I didn’t lie to him. Part of me has always loved you.”
The past never dies, she realized, tears running down her face.
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