saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 23 (Pitch Black/Riddick)

author: Shalimar

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 first thing that struck Jack about Riddick’s house was the quiet. Having spent her entire time on New Mecca in Imam’s home, with its myriad of visiting relatives and increasing number of children as the years went by, she was accustomed to a steady level of activity and noise. It seemed barren and lifeless here, and her heart was heavy with a sudden longing for the familiar.

“Who has been taking care of the house?” she wondered, noticing the echo her words produced.

Riddick stiffened as if offended. “I’ve been taking care of it.”

She ran a critical finger over the nearest piece of furniture, making the layer of dust on it fly. “I see,” she managed, hoping not to sound too undiplomatic. “You cooked, too?”

“Not nearly as well as you will, I’m sure,” he said, graciously, at they watched the dust settle.

Well, at least I’ll be too busy for awhile to remember that I miss everyone, Jack rationalized, trying to put a positive spin on it.

She and Riddick had spent the traditional languid, newlywed week at Imam’s, where neither had been expected to do anything more taxing than show up for meals marginally on time. The point of the week was ostensibly to let the newlyweds get to know each other but, in truth, was more about ensuring that the first baby would come within nine months of the wedding. The two of them had enjoyed a lot of sex, but had talked very little over the course of the last week.

Once that week was over, it was time for Jack to move into Riddick’s house and begin to make it into their home. From the looks of the place, she had her work cut out for her. Not only did it look as if it hadn’t been dusted in the half a year he had owned it, but there was clutter everywhere. Clothes and dishes that needed to be washed, and trash that needed to be thrown away. It looked as if he had probably kept up with those pretty well until he was courting her in earnest, at which point, he had ceased to care.

“You don’t need to clean all that up,” he said, guiltily, sensing her dismay. “We can do it when I get home tonight.”

Jack shook her head in disapproval. “You are going to your job. The house is my job. Besides, it will give me something to do.”

“Look, I’m not asking you to keep an immaculate house,” he insisted. “Women work like dogs here. I don’t want you to do that.”

If he would not let her stay busy, Jack knew she would go insane. “If you so wish, but what am I to do if I don’t keep up this house? I’m not used to being idle.”

Riddick chuckled. “I think it’d be great if you sit on your pretty ass and do whatever you want all day. If you cook, that would be enough for me.”

Tears of frustration suddenly fought their way out of her eyes. “I didn’t expect to be useless when I married.”

“Useless?” he exclaimed, but then he must have seen the glint of her tears. “You want to do all the work around here?” When she nodded, stifling a sob, he said. “If it’s really what you want, go ahead. Just remember, I never expected it of you.”

That means don’t complain about the workload, Jack translated, wryly. Once this place is cleaned up, there won’t be much of a workload to complain about until babies come.

“I won’t forget,” she managed, feeling a little better.

He drew her to him and kissed her forehead, then let her go quickly before anything else happened. “I’m sure you’ll need to buy food. Let me show you where the money is.”

He took her upstairs to their bedroom, Jack mentally cataloging the tasks she saw that needed to be attended to as they went.

Bed is a shambled mess, she noted, fighting hard to contain her self-satisfied expression as she added, and likely to stay that way.

He opened the top drawer in a chest of drawers nearly as tall as she was. She had to rise on tiptoes to get a good look inside. There, she beheld the largest sum of money she had ever seen in her life.

“That’s enough, isn’t it?” he wondered, seeing how startled she was.

“For food? Rick, I could redecorate the whole house and feed us for a year on this amount,” she exclaimed.

The brightening of his expression foretold how agreeable he found that notion. “Yeah! You can redecorate. I haven’t done anything but move in. This furniture isn’t even mine.”

Jack felt a momentary euphoria as she envisioned how much fun she, Sahar and Fatima would have decorating Riddick and Jack’s house until reality slammed her back down to earth. Sahar and Fatima are responsible for Baba’s house. They won’t have much time to help me.

“I think I can do that,” she determined, trying valiantly to sound chipper.

Riddick was not fooled. He studied her quizzically, but decided it was best not to pursue it at the moment. “I need to go make sure Ahmed hasn’t run my business into the ground in the last week,” he said. “I’ll be back for lunch.”

He kissed her briefly on the lips and was gone, before he could lose his resolve and take her to bed for the morning. “Bye,” she whispered forlornly to his retreating back.

When Jack heard the door downstairs slam, she sat on the edge of the rumpled bed. She knew she needed to attack the messy kitchen. She knew she needed to go buy food for lunch. But before she could do any of that, she needed to get feeling sorry for herself out of the way. She threw herself down on the Riddick-scented pillow and burst into miserable sobs.

By the time Jack finally ran out of tears, her eyelids were swollen and her sinuses ached. She made herself get up, splash some water on her face out of a sink she deliberately refused to look at, and go downstairs to the kitchen. She regarded the disaster she found glumly, feeling near tears again.

“Enough,” she scolded herself, sternly. “You have work to do.”

Jack knew she didn’t have enough time to do more than a cursory job before she would have to go to buy food, but she had to have one area that she felt was sanitary enough to prepare food in. She threw out all the used paper and old food, washed and set out to dry every dirty dish she found in the kitchen and on the dinning room table, and scrubbed the counters, the sinks and the table. Satisfied that she now had a surface to work on, clean tools to use and a space to eat the result in, Jack went to check on the foodstuffs.

As it turned out, there were just enough supplies available that Jack thought she could make a decent lunch for both of them. That would mean she could go to the market at her leisure in the afternoon and fully stock up. She decided to spend the time that remained until she would need to actually fix lunch on further cleaning the kitchen. She washed out the mostly empty refrigerator and scrubbed the stove, plus every other surface she had yet to touch. Finally, she scrubbed the floor. Sweating from the exertion, Jack felt pleased as she surveyed the marked improvement. She would not be ashamed for even Fatima to see her kitchen now.

Taking a towel, she slid across the still wet floor and began working on the sandwiches. She had just finished setting out everything for lunch when Riddick came in. Silently, she cursed the time, having wanted to shower and change into fresh robes before he got home.

He came into the dining room and seemed stunned, staring long minutes at a table he hadn’t seen look like this since he had moved in.

“What’s wrong?” Jack finally ventured, after a prolonged silence.

“Nothing,” he purred, as he walked over to her and picked her right up off the floor.

“What are you doing?” she gasped, suddenly breathless, as he laid her down on the opposite end of the table from the food, having learned in the last week that something good invariably happened anytime he laid her down anywhere.

He put her legs on either side of the chair, then pulled it out and sat in it, smiling at her wickedly. “You know what they say,” he smirked, as he pushed up her robes to bear her nakedness. “Eat dessert first.”

home          prior chapter          next chapter          fiction gateway