saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 35 (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.
It was a week before Riddick came home. He arrived at 3:00 in the morning, and it was instantly clear that Rick was not in charge. Jack was relieved she had taken the precaution of sending everybody, including Shazza, to Imam’s every night since she had returned from being held captive. After seeing Riddick in the marauders’ den, she was uncertain how he would react to a houseful of people.
He stood in the doorway to their bedroom, swaying slightly, as feral as he had been the last time she had seen him. His silver eyes flicked over his surroundings warily, as if he feared someone or some thing might be lying in wait for him. He was a mess; robes torn and bloodied, flesh bruised and bloodied, rank with the smell of sweat and sand. She had never seen him with so much hair on his head, a dark shadow on his scalp, and a full beard that made him seem like a different person. She wondered when he had eaten last, if he had slept. Tiredness etched every line of him, yet he twitched as if possessed by a restless spirit that would allow him no peace.
Jack recognized the beast when she saw it, knew what it needed from her. For perhaps the first time since his return to her life, she could summon no arousal at his presence. She felt tight and dry and afraid. He would very likely hurt her, but there was no help for it. She wanted Rick back, and she would have to put the beast to rest to get him. She was barely able to register all of this before he was across the room and on her. She put up no resistance as he tore off the covers. She had known better than to wear any bedclothes, predicting they would not survive his return. Riddick stopped in his forward motion only long enough to shed his ravaged robes.
The moonlight on his taut muscles was all the foreplay Jack got before he entered her. As she had anticipated, it hurt to take him dry, but not as much as she had expected. What hurt more was the tight embrace he wrapped her in. He clung to her so fiercely that Jack could feel her ribcage creak, her flattened breasts howling inwardly at her in protest. She shimmied, trying to get him to loosen his grip. The beast had never behaved like this before.
To her surprise, he didn’t move within her, only held onto her with the desperate force of a drowning man. Suddenly, she knew what to do. “It’s okay now,” she indicated in a firm, sure voice. “It is done. They are all dead.”
This did not garner any response. Tentatively, she wrapped her arms around him and began to stroke his hot skin, trying a different approach. “Rick, you’re home now,” she added, softly.
His silver eyes were suddenly locked on her face. “Jack,” he rasped, his breath fetid.
“Yes,” she confirmed and was relieved to feel him relax his hold on her. I wonder how many ribs are cracked.
Gradually, he started to move in her, but slowly, as if it was almost too much effort to do so. Fortunately, she knew the bloodlust of the last week could be easily translated into the other kind of lust. He would not be long in coming. Indeed, in a handful of thrusts he was done. Jack knew, as if Allah had whispered in her ear, that she would be pregnant again shortly, and that it would be a boy. It was as certain as the sun.
Above her, Riddick let out a mighty sigh and settled. In another moment, Jack felt his breathing slow and she knew he had drifted off into much-needed sleep. She lay under him for a little while, savoring the feel of him inside her even though forgetting to breathe through her mouth brought a nearly suffocating assault upon her nostrils. Finally, she eased her way out from under him and stood next to the bed, contemplating him, not sure what to do next. At last, she showered, dressed and padded downstairs. There would be no more sleep for her this night.
Riddick slept a solid twelve hours. When Jack went in to check on him around the middle of the afternoon, he groaned at the small amount of light her entrance allowed into the room.
“Shit, what died in here?” he croaked, disgusted.
Jack could not suppress a rueful laugh. “You did.”
He sniffed experimentally at himself. “Ugh, yeah. What was I doing yesterday? And why did you let me go to bed like this?”
He doesn’t remember, she realized, and was not sure whether to be amazed or appalled. “Why don’t you take a shower and get cleaned up?” she suggested, mildly.
Riddick climbed out of bed as if every muscle in his body ached. “Hot water would feel good,” he said, wincing. Then he glanced down at his nakedness and saw the collection of cuts, scrapes, and bruises that now decorated his skin. “What was I doing?” he asked a second time, a note of alarm in his question.
“We can talk about it after you take your shower,” Jack demurred. “You’ll feel better when you’re clean.”
He nodded absently, doubtless digging through his foggy brain for answers, as he limped into the bathroom and closed the door. Jack stripped the bed, balling the filthy bed linens and dropping them on the floor to take downstairs when she went. She grabbed the clean sheets she had brought in earlier and proceeded to make the bed, trying not to let worry overcome her. Despite her best efforts, the question kept coming up, unbidden: How could he forget killing all those people?
Once she was done with the bed, there was nothing for her to do but sit on it and wait for him to finish. She was not surprised when the hot water ran for a long time, both because Riddick hurt and because he needed some time to think. Finally, the water shut off. After a few more minutes of banging around that she identified as him brushing his teeth, Riddick came out of the bathroom, comfortably naked. He had shaved his head while in the shower and trimmed up his beard, which he normally didn’t let get a bit longer than Chrislam custom demanded. While his appearance was much improved, his mien was solemn.
He remembers now, Jack surmised, barely stifling a sigh of relief.
Riddick sat next to her on the now clean bed, eyes troubled. “I killed them all, didn’t I?”
“You did,” she said, simply. “They found the bodies.”
“How many did they find?”
“Thirty-two,” she stated, and got his answering nod, as if that number matched the one in his head. “Some of them were miles away from where they took me.”
Jack could tell Riddick was struggling with his next question. “Were any of them not marauders?”
“There were two women captives, but they were found alive and unharmed. They claimed a beast with silver eyes tore the men to pieces in front of them. They don’t believe it was a man.”
Riddick gave a humorless snort, his face still haunted. “Do you?”
Jack didn’t know what to say to him. Watching him avert pained eyes from her when she hesitated, Jack wanted to kick herself. He had saved her from certain sexual torment and probable death. Who was she to judge his methods?
Only Allah can forgive all, Imam intoned in her brain. Who are you, child?
“You didn’t know who I was,” she explained in her defense. “I thought for a minute you were going to kill me.”
Riddick met her eyes again, looking lost. “I don’t remember much of what happened,” he admitted. “But I don’t think even the animal side of me would hurt you.”
“You were right,” she assured him, “but you had just sliced a man to shreds in front of me. Then you turned to me, and you didn’t know who I was at first.”
He acknowledged her reaction to his question by taking her hand in his. “I must not have seemed like a man to you, either.”
Jack squeezed his fingers, smiling grimly. “What is the last thing you remember clearly?”
His brow knit as he recalled the events of that night. “Fatima met me when I came home. She was almost hysterical. She told me you had taken the air car to go get Nahlah at her house and you had been gone over an hour. Nobody answered the phone there. I knew something was wrong.
“When I scoped out Nahlah’s house, I saw the two thugs in the garden. They didn’t see me. Once I had them subdued, Nahlah came out of her hiding place and told me what had happened. I made them tell me where you were. Then I killed them, because they had been two of the men Nahlah had been forced to watch rape her sisters.
“I took her family’s air car, got some explosives I keep in town and went to get you back. Blew a hole into their hideout and followed your scent. I came across a man trying to rape a woman on a table … that must have been you? That’s the last thing I remember till now.”
Jack filled in his blanks. “You’ve been gone for a week. The Mullah’s men have found bodies all over the desert. Number thirty-two was the farthest out from their hideout and the most recently killed. They found him yesterday.”
Riddick slumped, resigned. “I suppose they’ll arrest me now?”
“You haven’t been here long enough yet to understand us, have you?” Jack asked with amused tolerance. “This is a frontier world and we make the laws here. You routed out a menace that has plagued this region of our world on and off for years. Every last one of those men was already under a death edict. You simply carried out the executions. If you had killed their captives, then you would be under death edict as well, but you didn’t touch them. The Mullah has already told Imam you should be exonerated.”
His visage brightened. “You mean for once they’re not calling it murder?”
Jack laughed at his relief, telegraphing her own. “Not this time. Nahlah’s family thinks you’re an avenging angel.”
“How are Nahlah’s sisters?” Jack’s mention of their family served to remind him of what had happened to them.
Sadness etched Jack’s face. “They will both heal physically. Pray that neither is pregnant. The babies will not be allowed to live. And also pray that their minds will heal. In this culture, where chastity is prized, it won’t be easy for them, even if no one else holds it against them.”
His next question seemed as simple, but was fraught with treacherous undercurrents. “How are you?”
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