saga/title/fandom: The Past Never Dies chapter 36 (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 studied Riddick’s tense face in puzzlement, searching for clues to his mood. “I’m fine,” she declared at last. “It turned out my nose wasn’t broken after all.”
His brows rose at that. “You thought it was?”
“The leader belted me in the face pretty hard. My nose bled a lot. My face bruised up, but you can’t tell anymore.”
“And that’s all?” he probed.
He thinks I got raped, Jack guessed. “Yes, that’s all.”
Riddick still didn’t relax. “You’re telling me you were their captive all that time and that was all that happened?”
“He … touched me on the way to their hideout. All I could think about was how much I wanted you to kill him; I got my wish,” Jack related with grim satisfaction. “But he didn’t rape me. He was trying to put it up my ass when you arrived.”
“That would’ve hurt,” Riddick intoned with a certainty born of terrible experience.
“The guy wasn’t in any hurry. He and a bunch of the others had just finished with Nahlah’s sisters. He was saving me for later on that night, but you got there first.”
Riddick remained skeptical. “You’re sure about this? If there’s a baby nine months from now …”
… you’ll kill it if it’s not yours. “You’ll be killing your own child,” she warned.
“You were pregnant before they took you?” he asked, reflexively sniffing her hair.
Jack was incredulous. “You really don’t remember, do you? You had me when you got back last night. You nearly broke all my ribs.”
Riddick looked appalled at the news. She thought it was because he had hurt her until he spoke. “Damn, now I won’t know,” he muttered in consternation.
Jack exploded. “Why would I lie about what happened? Do you honestly believe I would want to have that bastard’s child?”
“No,” he agreed, but some doubt still lingered. “I just have a hard time believing he didn’t— “
“He didn’t have time!” Jack interrupted him angrily. “He didn’t know the end of his world was coming. He thought he had time to spare.”
“Well, if it had been me—“
“ –you’d have raped me right off?” she charged.
Riddick actually blushed, a rarity Jack might have appreciated had she not been so incensed. “Well, yeah, if I did that kind of thing. You’re too pretty to save till later.”
“So let me get this straight,” she began, jumping up off the bed and rounding on him, her voice growing louder as she spoke, “because you would’ve raped me right away, I must be lying about what happened that night. Is that right?”
“I didn’t say that!” Riddick protested.
“Yes,” Jack said, coldly. “Yes, you did.”
“Jack,” he implored, reaching toward her.
“Don’t you touch me!” she hissed, seething with a vicious hatred only anger could provoke.
Riddick stopped dead, as if she had landed a physical blow. Slowly, he edged back on the bed, seeming almost to shrink into himself. His face blanked, his eyes becoming unreadable. Jack was beyond caring how he felt. She whirled on heel and stalked out of their bedroom.
Jack had never been this angry with Riddick before, so angry that she had actually rebuffed his touch and refused to share his bed. In fact, she studiously avoided him all the next day but was forced by circumstances to interact with him that evening.
Sahar, Fatima and Nahlah had decided to throw a celebratory dinner in Riddick’s honor so she felt obligated to attend. Normally, she would have helped prepare and serve the meal, but her role this night was to sit by Riddick’s side. She tried her level best to look the part of the adoring wife, but her heart wasn’t in it. Her efforts were further hampered by Nahlah’s behavior. She was clearly enamored of Riddick now. Everything in her movements around him and her eyes on him telegraphed it. By the frowns she caught on Sahar’s and Fatima’s faces from time to time, she knew she wasn’t the only person aware of it. Even Imam once rebuked Nahlah for her failure to pay attention to the needs of some of the others at the table. Nothing seemed to faze the girl, who was in the throes of an adoration so deep it bordered on reckless.
What added insult to injury for Jack was Riddick’s reaction to Nahlah. While he didn’t encourage her, he didn’t discourage her either. She got the impression he was studying Nahlah intently, when Shazza wasn’t demanding his attention. As the dinner wore on, doubts assailed Jack. Was Rick perhaps bored with her? Would he seriously contemplate taking a second wife, so soon into his first marriage? She knew he had both the money and the stamina to satisfy two women, even two young women. Was she not enough for him?
When the dishes were cleared from the table, and Shazza began to make it plain she was tired of sitting still, Riddick rose from his chair, his daughter in one arm.
“Hassan,” he called, wanting Imam’s four-year-old to go with them. Nahlah entered the room as they were leaving. “I need to talk to you,” he intoned, and Nahlah fell in step with them without a word.
“He will put Nahlah in her place,” Sahar predicted, confidently. “Her behavior was deplorable.”
“He killed her sisters’ rapists. He is her hero now,” Jack said, careful to be casual.
Her “mother” was not fooled. “You worry he wants her? You must be joking, habibti!”
Jack sensed a sheen of tears collecting on her lower lashes. “I’m not. She is a beautiful woman who would worship the ground he walks on. I got over that.”
Sahar shrugged. “So the two of you are fighting? It happens in every marriage. Unless it is constant, most men won’t consider a second wife. You must be quite angry at Rick right now, to think him so shallow.”
Jack tried to comment further, but barely caught the sob before it escaped her mouth.
“Oh, Akila, it will be alright,” Sahar comforted, enfolding her in a motherly embrace. “You went through a terrible ordeal in the last week. Don’t let it addle your thinking. Rick didn’t kill the marauders for Nahlah or even Nahlah’s sisters. He did it because they dared to threaten you. Unless he fails to tell you what he said to her, you have nothing to worry about.”
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