saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 27 (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.

“So what are you going to name her?” Sahar asked, for the millionth time.

Jack rested her hands on her immense belly and sighed. “You’re absolutely positive it’s a girl?”

“As always,” Sahar confirmed. “I have been telling you this for months.”

“Rick says he would like to call her Sharon, you know, Shazza. He says you and Imam have already used four of the crash survivors’ names, so it’s our turn.”

Her “mother” shook her dark head in long-held puzzlement. “I will never understand why the three of you are so fixated on that planet and those people. You can use the name if you want. I’m not even pregnant right now.”

“Don’t rub it in,” Jack warned, as Sahar proudly patted her flat stomach.

However, she didn’t really begrudge Sahar her non-pregnant state. This was the first year since Sahar had married that she had not been pregnant. Not all of those pregnancies had produced a child, but she had been pregnant every year until this one.

“I’m having a period again,” Sahar marveled. “I’ve actually started to expect it to come every month.”

Jack chuckled at their change in circumstances. “That’s the one thing I don’t miss.”

“You will,” Sahar predicted.

“I don’t know about that. Rick really doesn’t want us to have so many kids so quickly. He’s got more willpower than you think.”

Her “mother” rolled her eyes, clearly embarrassed. “Our willpower issue was not Abu’s. You cannot be an Imam and not be able to deny yourself.” Holy men went through regular bouts of denial of some kind. Fasts were common, but celibacy was sometimes practiced, too. “I like being pregnant. He can deny himself, but he has a hard time denying me.”

“Well, I’m glad it’s me and not you this time,” Jack opined. “You almost died last year. Your body needs a rest. I don’t want to ever go through that again.”

Jack thought to ask Sahar if she had found a female friend, as Dr. el-Sherbini had recommended, but found she didn’t really want to know. It was not that the idea of another woman bothered her in and of itself. She knew such relationships were tacitly condoned here, were widespread and were not considered a violation of the marriage vows. However, her intimacy with Riddick was so precious to her that she couldn’t envision sharing that kind of intimacy with anyone else, male or female. Jack knew she would feel that Sahar was somehow betraying Imam if she knew that Sahar had taken such a friend, even though she was sure Imam would not object.

“I don’t think I’ll be getting pregnant as often,” Sahar offered, cryptically, her eyes challenging Jack to ask the very question Jack had decided against asking.

There was an awkward silence that Jack finally broke. “I hope you’re right, and this baby isn’t a boy.”

Sahar blinked at her, caught off guard by the change in subject. Disappointment flickered across her face, replaced almost immediately by the expected curiosity. “Why?’

“Rick wants to name it after Johns,” Jack said, face twisting as if she had just smelled something vile. What was that about? she wondered, part of her mind still on Sahar’s odd reaction.

“Johns?!” Sahar exploded. “The man who wanted Rick to kill you? Whatever for?”

“That’s what I said!” Jack laughed. “I think I understand his reasoning, though. I chose to get on the Hunter-Gratzner when I ran away. Imam chose to bring the sheik’s boys here on the Hunter-Gratzner. Everybody else who was on that ship made the choice to be there, except for Rick. He was there because Johns forced him to be there. He says if not for Johns, we would never have met. He also seems to get a kick out of the idea of naming one of his children after a man who thought he had Rick beat.”

Sahar’s pretty face frowned distastefully. “Johns is an ugly name.”

“No, his first name: William.”

Unexpectedly, she giggled. “Oh my, yes! You could call him Will. The both of you have plenty of that!”

Jack was incredulous. “You think I should agree?”

“They are as much Rick’s children as yours. Abu insisted we name our children after the crash survivors. The boys have good, strong Arabic names, but what kind of a name is Carolyn? She sounds like she should be infidel. At least your firstborn daughter will have a name that sounds like it could be Arabic.”

“I never thought of it that way. Well, there aren’t too many survivor names left now. Shazza’s husband, Zeke. And Paris, but what kind of a name is Paris? Besides, I don’t think that was his real name. He had this fascination with France on Old Earth.”

Sahar seemed bemused. “Who would want to name a child after a city? So, if my next child is a girl, I’m free to choose a lovely Arabic name this time. As far as I’m concerned, you can have the rest of the survivors’ names. As Rick said, it’s your turn.”

“You could be right,” Jack agreed, frowning down at her lap. “I’m sitting in a puddle of water."

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