saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 31 (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.

“I’ll go get her,” Jack said, wearily, barely suppressing her annoyance.

Nahlah had gone to visit her family earlier in the afternoon and had been caught out after dark. A call to their house had gone unanswered, likely because they were trying to get all the children into bed. Because of the reports of marauder raids, it wasn’t considered safe to be out at night or she would have let errant Nahlah walk home. Rick, of course, was still out, but woe to any marauder who had the ill fortune to encounter him in the desert.

“You should wait for Rick,” Fatima opined, sternly. “It’s not safe, with the marauders out there.”

“I’m taking the air car, and she’s just on the far side of town. The nearest reports have been many miles away from us. I’ll be gone maybe twenty minutes.”

Fatima clucked disapprovingly at her, but said no more. Now that Jack was wife of her own house, she was a force to be reckoned with, every bit as tenacious as Imam’s wife. Fatima had learned that there was no telling either one of them anything and had made no bones about saying as much.

Jack was in a foul temper and actually relished the idea of a few minutes away from her house. Fifteen-month-old Shazza had been fussy all day, and Fatima was nearly driven to distraction. Both of them had done their level best to work Jack’s nerves. She had been incensed when she realized Fatima had given Nahlah, who was exceptionally good with the baby now that Shazza could walk, leave to go with Rick after lunch. He was to drop her off at her family home for the afternoon.

The cinnamon wind blew up fondly to greet her scowling face, immediately lending her its calm, as she climbed into the air car. She loved the early evening air, when darkness felt like a soothing balm sent to comfort the sunburned land. She started up the air car, savoring that wind on her cheeks, as she went across town and out into the outskirts on the far side.

When she reached Nahlah’s family home, it seemed curiously quiet and dark. Perhaps they were in the garden for some reason? Parking the air car close to the entrance, she climbed out of it and made her way to the front door. A few solid rounds of knocking brought no answer. Curious now, and wondering if perhaps somebody was injured or ill, Jack cautiously turned the knob. The door appeared to be unlocked. As it opened a crack, she heard an agonized moan, but before she could identify where she had heard such a tortured sound before, the door was jerked suddenly inward. Jack found herself face to face with a roomful of very dangerous men.

Marauders, she realized, at the same time recalling the last time she had heard that kind of moan. Oh my God, they’re raping one of the girls in here.

Nahlah appeared from nowhere and attached herself to Jack’s side, setting Jack’s fears to rest that it might be her beautiful helper who was being victimized. “I couldn’t leave here,” she choked out, face swollen from crying.

“I know,” Jack acknowledged, stroking her head. “Did they hurt you?”

“No,” Nahlah sobbed, “but two of my sisters … “

Jack was surprised, when the head of the marauders came forward, that he was actually an infidel. She had seen so many like him in her other life, men who were out for what they could take. That, however, explained a great many things about how these marauders behaved. The kind of disrespect they had shown towards people, especially towards women, was anathema to everything Chrislam taught. It only made sense that their leader was not Chrislam.

“Why are you here?” she challenged in a low voice. I’ve been faced with winged, toothy monsters much worse than you.

His blue eyes, so uncommon here, reminded her of Johns’ as they raked her body speculatively. “For plunder, of course, in all its splendid varieties.”

“Being a merc not work out for you?” she tested.

For some reason, he found her insolence amusing. “Got a little spirit, don’tcha? How’d that happen? Most of the women on this rock simply cry when we come around. That little girl there is the only one who put up any kind of fight.” He pointed a grubby finger at Nahlah, leering. “Thought we’d just take her with us when we left.”

This is not going to happen, Jack vowed, as Nahlah hugged her tightly. They’re not taking a thirteen-year-old virgin with them as a sex toy. I guess I need to offer them a better option.

“These are peaceful people,” Jack chided. “They aren’t used to the likes of you.”

“And you are?” he scoffed.

“I was, once.”

Abruptly, he was shining a light in her face. Those who were not otherwise occupied broke into excited whispering. “Infidel, like me,” their leader smiled.

“And not a baby, like the girls in this house,” Jack added, with a ghastly, come hither smile. “Don’t you ever get tired of screaming virgins? I know I would.”

The ex-merc seemed to be sizing her up. “You got a point. So what’s your offer?”

“Take me, and leave these people alone,” Jack offered.

“And why should I do that?” he challenged, sure he already held all the cards.

“I have a new air car outside that would fetch you a fine price, but I have to give you the code to start it. And I won’t, if you take any of them with us.”

He looked over his shoulder into the far corners of the room, where two forms huddled sobbing. “Looks like the boys are about done with them anyway. We already got everything of value. I think you got yourself a deal, lady.” He turned away from her, raising his voice so the rest of them could hear. “Tie ‘em up and let’s go.”

Forgive me, Allah, Jack prayed, knowing that she had just consigned all the marauders to certain death. I couldn’t let them do to Nahlah what was done to me.

Nahlah, for her part, was staring up at Jack as if she had gone insane. “Rick,” Jack whispered to her, and watched a gleeful understanding come into the girl’s eyes. Rick had spent the last several months teaching her and Jack how to handle a knife. “Go,” Jack hissed at Nahlah, who disappeared out the door like a shadow.

Jack only hoped she could hold the marauders off long enough for Riddick to find her.

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