saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 28 (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.
Jack was many hours in labor, Fatima and Sahar attending her, before the birth was finally imminent. When she got to the screaming end, Riddick was suddenly in the room with them. Although this was not generally permitted, Jack was almost irrationally pleased to see him and didn’t want him to leave. Sahar, who was positioned between Jack’s legs, studied each of their faces in turn and made no argument.
“Sit down on her other side and stroke her face and hair,” she instructed Riddick in a quiet voice. “It won’t be long now.”
“She’s okay, isn’t she?” he asked, tensely.
Sahar smiled at his concern. “I know it sounds rough, but everything looks good. We can see its head.”
“Tell me when I can push,” Jack panted, fighting to maintain control.
“Now,” Sahar said.
Jack grabbed Fatima’s and Riddick’s forearms hard as she bore down, groaning mightily. This was worse than the worst cramps she had ever had. Dimly, she heard Sahar exhorting her to push harder. It felt as if her innards were struggling to pass between her legs in one awful lump. Indeed, something huge did pass, momentarily making her feel as if she would split up the middle.
“The hard part is over,” Fatima confirmed. “The head is out. The next contraction that comes should do it.”
“Wow,” Riddick gasped, obviously in awe.
“What?” Jack gritted out.
Sahar chuckled. “He’s looking at the baby’s head.”
The next contraction squeezed her, and Jack bore down without being told. She felt some resistance to her pushing that seemed to suddenly give way. Something large and slick slid out from between her thighs into Sahar’s waiting hands.
“It must be a girl,” Fatima announced, interpreting Sahar’s triumphant smile.
“It is a girl … now where is that knife?” she demanded, hunting around.
Riddick reached across Jack and handed Sahar his. “Use this one.”
“Thank you,” she said, solemnly.
Jack knew Sahar was one of the only people who realized how much Riddick’s knives meant to him, and she could hear how honored Sahar felt that he had offered one to her. Sahar returned it after only a moment. As sharp as he kept them, she wouldn’t have needed it for any longer to slice through an umbilical cord.
After a moment’s worth of tying what remained of the cord, Sahar wrapped the slippery, wriggling creature in a towel. She stood up and handed her up to Jack. Although Jack was used to handling babies, this one was different. She took the child with a bit of trepidation, marveling that this little scrap of a person had just come out of her. She was amazed that the child hadn’t cried yet.
“Hi Shazza,” she said, inanely. As if you have any idea what I’m saying. But the baby’s unfocused eyes turned unerringly towards her mother’s face, intent.
“She knows who you are,” Riddick said, softly, prompting those new eyes to seek the source of the other voice she knew.
“I’m not the only one she knows,” Jack whispered, feeling suddenly teary. “You take her,” Jack offered, impulsively, holding the newborn out to him.
She had never seen big, bad Richard B. Riddick be afraid of anything, but something akin to fear seemed to seize him at the thought of touching his own daughter. He didn’t seem to know what to do. “Are you sure?” he asked, dubiously.
“She won’t bite you,” Jack chided, gently.
He bit his lip, still reluctant. “You’re sure I won’t hurt her?”
She smiled encouragement at him. “I know you know how to be gentle.”
Finally, he extended his hands to take the baby from her. Jack found the fact that they were shaking very endearing. If he’s this concerned at this stage, he’s going to be fine. Carefully, she handed Shazza to him. The baby was barely bigger than his two hands.
“Hold her up against you, so she feels safe,” she told him.
“She won’t get much safer,” Riddick remarked, suddenly smiling like an idiot, as he cradled the baby against his chest.
Immediately, Shazza’s attention was riveted on his face. She stared at him as well as her newborn eyes would allow, and then cooed, as if trying to enter the conversation.
“I think she likes your deep voice, Rick,” Sahar said. “Not too many men around here sound like you.”
“And still, she has not cried,” Fatima marveled. “Perhaps it is an omen that she will be an easy child.”
Jack and Riddick both fixed her with disbelieving faces, while Sahar snickered. “If they have an easy baby, then it would not be both of theirs.”
“That’s not ever going to be in question,” Riddick vowed, smiling wolfishly.
“It’s not going to be anything for awhile,” Sahar admonished him. “Akila has to wait six weeks.”
“Guess it’s a good thing you’re here,” he addressed the baby, ruefully, carefully stroking her little thatch of dark hair. “I’m going to need a new hobby to occupy my free time.”
All of the women laughed at his inexperience. “There won’t be as much free time as you think,” Sahar warned him. “Newborns need something about all the time. Since she will be with you at night, and Akila must sleep sometime, you will have to help.”
“I don’t know anything about babies. Haven’t ever held a little one like this before today.” One of Riddick’s fingers brushed the baby’s cheek. Immediately, she turned towards it, instinctively looking for a nipple to suckle. She made aggravated, fussing sounds when she was unable to locate it. Watching her, he added. “I think she wants something I don’t have.”
“That is always my job,” Jack agreed, taking the baby back from him.
As she had seen Sahar do through four babies, she bared one of her breasts and offered its nipple to Shazza. The child immediately latched on with a remarkable amount of force, bringing tears of pain to her eyes.
“Owww,” she whined, as Sahar giggled with mock malice.
“Now you understand,” her “mother” said, knowingly. “Don’t leave her on that side very long.”
“Equal opportunity torture,” Jack gasped, not exactly looking forward to transferring this bracing pain to an alternate location.
“You get used to it,” Sahar assured her. “After awhile, you hardly feel it.”
From Riddick’s perspective, that did not appear to be reassuring. “I hope not,” he expressed, glumly.
Sahar and Fatima burst out laughing as it dawned on them where his concern lay, while Jack blushed in embarrassment. “Men are different than babies,” Fatima explained. “Put her on the other side now, Akila.”
Jack barely noticed the pain in her second breast as her innards twisted with cramps. “I think the afterbirth is coming,” she ground out.
“You will want to sleep after you get done with this,” Fatima advised. “The baby will sleep once she is full.”
Jack barely managed a nod, gritting her teeth as she bore down. Fifteen minutes and a handful of contractions later, the birth process was complete. “Is she okay?” Riddick asked, alarmed at the amount of blood that had just come out of Jack.
Sahar smiled charitably at him, and again handed him his new daughter. “She’s fine. You can help by holding the baby over there while we clean up.”
The women efficiently sponge bathed Jack and changed her clothes and the bed linens.
“Do you feel better now, habibti?” Fatima inquired, kissing Jack gently on the forehead.
“Yes, but it would be nice to eat,” she commented, suddenly famished.
“We’ll go fix something,” Sahar decided, taking Fatima with her and closing the door behind them, so the new parents could have some privacy.
Riddick took up residence in the chair beside Jack again, giving her back Shazza, who appeared to be asleep. He took her near hand in his.
“I don’t know if I could do that,” he complimented, sounding awed by the whole experience.
Jack squeezed his hand. “I didn’t know if I could do it until I did. It went fine. I feel pretty good, considering. And look what we made.” She could feel her smile clear through to her cheekbones as she contemplated the quiet little face in her lap.
“Yeah,” Riddick chuckled. “We done good.”
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