saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 30 (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.
As the weeks went by, and Shazza began to smile and laugh, it became clear that she had captivated her father. Jack was amazed by how patient Riddick was with the baby, much more so than she was, and how indulgent. She was glad that he was gone during the days most of the time, because when he was home, he wanted to pick the child up every time she cried. Jack had to make truly dire threats to get him to understand that sometimes Shazza needed to be allowed to cry, so that she would learn how to comfort herself.
Shazza was obviously as smitten with Riddick as he was with her. Although she loved her mother and her other female caregivers, Fatima and Nahlah, the appearance of her father produced shrieks of joy she emitted for no one else.
“You are in trouble,” Sahar stated, the first time she watched father and daughter reunite once Shazza had grown big enough to express her pleasure.
“Don’t I know it,” Jack sighed.
Sahar cast a sympathetic eye towards her. “She will break his heart one day. That is the good thing about being a second wife. Abu has reared both sons and daughters before ours. He is much more practical about them. He is especially wary of Carolyn. He knows how little girls like to wrap fathers around their small fingers.”
“I would never have thought he could love anything so much.”
“Why not?” her “mother” scoffed. “He loves you that much. And she has those big, green eyes of yours. You don’t think he sees you every time he looks at her?”
Jack could feel a silly smile spread across her face. “I never thought about it that way. I mean, it’s not like he tells me all the time—“
Sahar’s peal of laughter interrupted her. “You think because he doesn’t say the words, he does not love you? I wish you could see him as I do. The way he touches you, the way he looks at you, even the way his voice sounds when he talks about you. The man adores you. And you are just as bad as he is. Everyone should have a love like yours.”
“What are you on about, Sahar?” Riddick teased as he approached them, Shazza bouncing enthusiastically in his arms.
Her dark hair had grown long enough that it was evident it was going to fall into loose curls when she was older. Her mother’s green eyes sparkled out of her chubby face. She burbled cheerfully at them, all things right with her little world, and leaned affectionately against her father’s big arm.
“Just mama stuff,” Sahar replied, smoothly.
When Shazza had grown old enough to take a solid nap every afternoon, Riddick started coming home to begin the self-defense lessons he had promised them when Jack was pregnant.
News of the marauders came more frequently now. Although the attacks were still far off, they were sometimes in villages they recognized the names of. Fatima’s resistance to Riddick’s teaching Nahlah how to use a knife had dissolved as the reports continued to come in. Fatima herself, however, had no interest in such training.
“If they come here looking for a woman, I’m not likely to be at the top of their list, not with the two of them in the house,” she insisted, cocking her head towards Jack and Nahlah.
Pregnancy had made Jack look less girlish and more womanly. Although she had lost her baby weight, her hips had broadened and her nursing breasts were full and round. Even her middle was thicker, although if Riddick’s reaction to her was any indication, pleasingly so. Her exotic, infidel coloring remained as attractive as ever.
Adolescence was molding Nahlah into a beauty. A year’s worth of hormones had added enough inches to make her as tall as diminutive Sahar. While New Meccan robes promoted modesty, at a certain point it became impossible to miss which girls had graduated from tubular childhood to the curves of young womanhood. Nahlah had evidently graduated near the top of her class. Her complexion was a flawless caramel, her lips, a lush rose. Her golden eyes were set wide above high cheekbones. She had become an arresting sight for much of the young male population in the village. Riddick had already warned boys away from her a few times. Jack was surprised that no considerations for betrothal had been forthcoming so far.
Women, who Jack was sure thought of themselves as well-meaning, had stopped her in the street a few times and asked her why she kept Nahlah in her house. The first time, she had drawn a complete blank until the woman had whispered, so Nahlah couldn’t hear, “I wouldn’t want her around my husband.” The suggestion had made her uneasy, but not because she had any doubts about Riddick. He teased Nahlah and seemed fond of her, but he treated her no differently now than he had last year, prior to her transformation. What made Jack uncomfortable was the thought that Sahar might have received such helpful advice regarding her.
“No offense, Fatima, but I agree with you,” Riddick concurred. “The two of them need what I’m about to teach them.”
Every afternoon, while Shazza slept, he taught the two young women what years in slam had taught him. They went slowly, beginning with how to move, then how to block. Nahlah was disappointed that it would be ages before they actually got to use knives, but Jack realized what Riddick was doing. He was teaching them respect for the skill he was sharing with them. He wanted Nahlah, especially, to feel honored that he would entrust her with a blade. Jack hoped neither of them would disappoint him.
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