saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 18 (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.
The cinnamon breeze was starting to blow in off the desert as the last of the sun set, while the Mullah droned the marriage ritual in Arabic. For some reason, standing in Imam’s ornate garden, clasping Riddick’s forearms while he clasped hers, Jack was reminded of that terrible eclipse on T2. The sudden cessation of light had signaled that it was the creatures’ time. Fortunately, for her and Imam, it had been Riddick’s time, too.
If not for Rick, Imam and I would not be here. Imam would never have married Sahar, never had been so happy, never have had Suleiman, Carolyn, Hassan and Ali. I would never have known this wonderful life I’ve led since coming here. I would never even have finished growing up. I owe him everything, yet never once has he said such or even implied it.
She squeezed his arms in a sudden burst of gratitude, causing his serious mouth to curve into the barest grin. He had tried very hard to be encouraging, beginning with the dazzling smile she had received from him the first time he had seen her in her wedding finery. When they first came together, he had spoken to her even though it was not allowed. He had said one simple word, “Beautiful,” that had left her weak in the knees.
Jack studied his large, caramel-colored hands, which seemed to be taking up about half of her lower arm. She thought about what she had seen him do with them, then about what he would do to her with them, and found the latter less scary. She looked at her own pale, delicate hands, wrapped around his big forearms, and thought about what she wanted to do to him with them. She wondered what it would be like to touch the broad expanse of naked, muscled flesh under his wedding robes.
“Akila?” the Mullah prompted, gently.
Oh shit, she thought, eyes wide. I’m supposed to say something now. She stared at her white-bearded mentor beseechingly. He smiled knowingly at her, and started her response for her. Gratefully, she picked it up and completed it.
Her eyes went to Riddick’s face. She could actually see his silvered eyes, which rarely happened, especially outside. It was quite dark now. He had removed his sand goggles before the ceremony so that she could see that he meant what he said.
“You sure?” he whispered his uncertainty.
She smiled up at him and repeated the words again, directly to him. This time, he squeezed her arms. The Mullah radiated happiness at their interaction and continued the ceremony. Jack didn’t take her eyes off Riddick’s for the rest of the vows they spoke. It was as if only the two of them and the Mullah were there. When Riddick spoke, clearly and with no hesitation, the words seemed to resonate in the pit of her soul. When Jack spoke, she felt as if she sang; she had never expected to feel such joy.
Finally, the vows were over, and the Mullah pronounced them wed. Riddick unhooked the veil covering her lower face and kissed her. There was nothing chaste about it, or about her response to it. Jack was startled to remember that there was a crowd in the garden as a cheer of approval went up.
Weddings were one of the few times Chrislam codes of conduct relaxed. There was open physical affection between men and women. Everyone ate and drank too much. Chaperones were less vigilant, occasionally prompting additional weddings on the heels of the initial one. There was dancing, riotous, wild dancing, well into the night. Naturally, everyone loved weddings and the only people who missed them were those hapless girls who were saddled with babysitting the smallest of the children.
Since most of the villagers had not seen Riddick at night, they had been careful to let everyone know about his eyes before the wedding so that seeing them wouldn’t cause a panic. They circulated gossip that he had a condition that rendered his eyes sensitive to strong light, which was why he always wore sun protection during the day. They were also sure to stress that it was not hereditary. Jack noted that at first people started at the sight of his silver eyes shining in the light of the torches. However, when Riddick acted no different from any other new husband they had ever seen, his condition was soon forgotten, washed away by fine wine.
The two of them spent a dizzying three hours at the party that followed their wedding. They greeted well-wishers, ate plates of food, fed each other wine, and danced. Oh, how they danced! With everyone there, young and old alike. At last, however, Jack danced her final dance with Imam. She laid her woozy head on his shoulder and enjoyed the calm of his presence.
“Baba,” she sighed, happily.
“I am glad to see you at peace with this,” he said to her. “May Allah grant that you still feel so in the morning.”
With that, Imam handed her off to her husband, who put her up on one of his broad shoulders, as if she weighed nothing, for the traditional walk around the wedding celebration. To men, the gesture made it abundantly clear that a woman was no longer available. To women, it said that she would be exalted in her house, held above all others.
Jack, who was fairly tipsy, was glad that Riddick was not as drunk as she was and strong as an ox. He steadied her up on one shoulder with the arm on that side, yet she never felt him waver, not all the way around the garden. That was a good thing, since her abused stomach would not have tolerated much wavering before it would have emptied its load. Feeling secure on her perch, Jack smiled magnanimously at everyone, literally on top of the world.
At last, they reached the house. Carefully, Riddick lifted her down and set her on her unsteady feet. He gestured towards the door, holding out one of his hands for her to take.
“Come on,” he beckoned.
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