saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 16 (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.
Fatima was in her glory, planning the wedding she had thought would never come. She clucked and fussed over Jack as if she was her own daughter, helping her to decide what dress to wear, what food to eat, what decorations to have. There was a seemingly endless list of preparations that needed to be made. Jack contributed her input when asked, but otherwise ignored the process, preferring to help Sahar with the children and take care of the house now that Fatima was so occupied.
Because Riddick was taking religious instruction from Imam in order for the Mullah to consent to marry them, Jack saw him every day. She would help him to review what he had been taught. She also helped him to expand his knowledge of Arabic. He knew the trade dialect, but many of the finer nuances of the language were beyond him. Jack would take a problematic situation in English and help him to figure out what the appropriate responses would be in Arabic, often to their mutual amusement.
Other than that one kiss, Riddick did nothing to make her feel threatened or even uncomfortable. He seldom touched her, which made her hyperaware when he did. He seemed to be doing everything in his power to set her at her ease, to foster her trust in him. Jack wondered who had taught him such restraint. She even asked him once how he was managing this. All he did was smile knowingly, and allow that if his time in Slam had taught him nothing else, it had taught him patience. Jack had to admit that his approach seemed to be working. She started to look forward to seeing him at the conclusion of his lesson each day. And seeing if she could get him to touch her.
While Jack gradually began to feel better about her decision, Sahar seemed to grow apprehensive about it. She became subdued when Jack talked about her impending wedding, her normal exuberance quite absent. At first, Jack could cajole her back to a semblance of her normal self by changing the subject, but as the wedding drew nearer, Sahar could no longer hide her distress.
“Sahar, what is it?” she finally demanded. “You must tell me. You seemed so pleased that I was finally going to marry but now you can barely speak to me about it. Do you have misgivings about Rick?”
Her face was a stark mask of misery. “No. The more time you spend with him, the more I think it will work out. You are coming to accept your choice, maybe even like it. I can see it in how you look at him, how you talk to him. That’s not it.”
Sahar dropped her eyes, uncharacteristically shy. “I don’t want you to leave me.”
“But I’m going to be in the same village,” Jack protested, stunned.
“It’s not the same,” her “mother” snapped with unexpected ferocity. “You have been here through all of it. When I got married to a man I just met when I was seventeen. When I learned to run a house and keep everything working and moving. When I got pregnant and had my first child, it was you there who learned how to midwife right along with me, as I became a mother. We learned together what to do with a baby. You have been my dearest friend and confidante, my sister, for the past seven years. He will marry you soon and take you from me.”
For one crazy moment, Jack felt as if she was abandoning one lover in favor of another. She shook her head, wondering where that notion had come from. “I will see you every day, Sahar. I promise. I know nothing about men. I know I will need your advice and counsel to please my husband. That was one bit of experience you have not shared. I will not know what to do all day in a big house by myself, especially before children come. I have only cooked for an army; how do you cook for just two? I still need you, very much.”
Sahar smiled at her, encouraged. “Maybe I will be able to come and help you sometimes. Tahirah needs the practice with children. Besides, Dr. el-Sherbini said I should not get pregnant so often. Being out of my house some of the time might help that.”
Jack didn’t have the heart to remind her that Riddick was likely to lay claim to her evenings, the time Sahar really needed to be out of her house for it to be an effective means of birth control, for quite awhile after the wedding. “Perhaps we can work something out,” she hedged. “But you must help me with my wedding now, Sahar. This is supposed to be a happy time, but it’s hard for me to be happy when my “mother” is sad.”
She watched as Sahar seemed to come to some kind of decision. “You are right. You’ve been happy for all the big events in my life. I should be happy for all the big events in yours. What would you like my help with?”
“This is something I don’t feel comfortable asking Fatima about,” she began, uncomfortable.
“Ahh, sex!” Sahar guessed immediately, in her element. “What do you wish to know?”
“What do you wear for the occasion?”
She laughed, seeming more like her usual self by the minute. “You don’t. That is the point.”
Except when bathing and under very limited conditions with women in her family, Jack had not been less than dressed from head to toe since her arrival on New Mecca. The thought of being naked in front of a man seemed somehow scandalous, perhaps even sinful.
Her expression must have conveyed her dismay, because Sahar’s laughter increased. “However, if you show up dressed, he’ll be all too happy to help you change that. He will want to touch you, all your skin, everywhere. Men always do.”
“What if I don’t like it?” Jack asked.
“Then you tell him what you don’t like. But if you like something, you tell him that, too. He will want to please you so that you want him, so that you beg for it,” Sahar explained, warming to the subject.
“Oh,” her “mother” concurred, smiling devilishly, “if he’s any good at it, oh yes, it does.”
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