Chapter 31 Waking Up
The Darkveil had reached the commercial route N-340 a few hours ago and Riddick had made sure that there weren’t any obstacles on their trip to Scorpion system. He anticipated that they would have two weeks worth of travel ahead of them. Riddick wanted to spend as much time as possible with Jack, even if her mind wasn’t exactly there to realize he was with her. His wound was hurting him like a bitch, but it was nothing compared to what Riddick supposed she was feeling right now. He still refused to use any painkillers, he wanted the pain as a reminder of his mistake; his unforgivable mistake in letting Jack go outside the ship to help him get rid off the mercs. He, better than anyone else, should have known that she wasn’t ready yet to face that kind of danger and probably never would be. Not everyone was able to kill another human being, even if their lives depended on it. Riddick grunted, annoyed with himself as his wound screamed in pain. He gritted his teeth and his hands closed into fists with such force that his knuckles turned white. This caused his inner beast to growl and rumble agitatedly while locked inside its cage.
Riddick checked his route to planet Onix one more time. He kept thinking about The Firm and the information that Alain Morris had given them. His eyes narrowed in suspicion, if the old man was right, that would explain why The Board had ordered him to kill Jack. Riddick let out a deep growl as he tried to remember his meeting with The Firm’s president. It had been five years ago and at the time, he had been trying to get Jack out his head. Unfortunately, he wasn’t exactly paying too much attention. He frowned deeply, still thinking. Riddick was sure that he had said he wouldn’t kill women or kids. And if his memory was still as good as it’d always been, he was also sure that Alexander Koemborn had nodded in agreement. Riddick rubbed his chin completely absorbed by his memories for a long moment. Why the fuck had The Board sent him a woman as his last target? The question kept rolling around in his head, nagging at him.
As soon as he had laid eyes on twenty year old Jack, he had forgotten that fact. At the time, he had been consumed by the necessity of keeping Jack safe from any danger, and at the same time, trying to deal with the unfamiliar sensations that started to torture him. Riddick shook his head, completely lost for a second. Interesting he thought, as an idea popped into his busy mind. The Firm wasn’t going to let him free after all, like he had always suspected. They were sure that Riddick wasn’t going to kill Jack, so as a direct consequence, they wouldn’t let him free. Fucking interesting Rick. Riddick remembered that Alexander Koemborn had said that the bounty on his head would be kept in force as an insurance policy. From that moment, he would be hunted more than ever before, and with out doubt, his bounty would increase greatly. Great, Rick. Just fucking great, he scolded silently, grunting.
Riddick then went back to his first idea about The Firm and its interest in killing Jack. It wasn’t that Riddick was exactly surprised by that, but he had to admit to himself, there still seemed to be something missing from the picture. If The Board was helping the fucking doc, it would have been easier for them to just kill Jack directly, while she was on Thalion. Back then, she had no memory of them and she was also an easy target. Jack was living alone with her roommate. The security on North Hill was a fucking joke, it would have been kids play to find her and kill her faster than a blink of her beautiful, green eyes. Hmmmm. Why the hell were they bothering with so many fucking complications? Why use an infamous killer, Richard B. Riddick, for such an easy task?
He was sure that The Board must have kept an eye on her during all those years. Nothing escaped its close control and supervision, especially if it was something important to them. If Jack was so dangerous to The Firm’s interests, why in hell had they waited five years to kill her? Why were they assuming any kind of risk? Riddick shook his head and focused his thoughts on Dr. Morris. Even he would have been able to use another subject for his experiments. Riddick suspected that The Board would have provided him with an endless supply of convicts to test the red serum. Unless… He narrowed his eyes. Unless The Firm had other plans for Audrey Jacqueline Travis….
But, in spite of all these options, there was something even more strange. Alain Morris was The Hacker, which meant that he was the only one capable of hacking the top classified files of The Firm. So, according to that hypothesis, he would be the first to know about their plans. But, Alain had told them that The Firm was oblivious to his and Jack’s relationship. Riddick licked his lips when a bizarre idea popped into his head. What if…? Yeah, sure, Rick. Like that possibility wouldn’t be a fucking irony. Riddick narrowed his eyes even more. Alexander Koemborn was famous, apart from the obvious reasons, because he used to be a great strategist, with a twisted mind, that was on a level with Richard B. Riddick himself, if not more so. What if…? What if The Board wanted quite the opposite? What if what they actually really wanted was….. to keep Jack….. safe? Yeah, Rick and you’re fucking stupid, just wasting your precious time daydreaming. The beast within Riddick lifted its head and snarled at that. Get a fucking grip, asshole, he scolded silently as he suddenly became aware of the absurdity of his own thoughts. He was still unwilling, however, to let the idea go so easily without a second and deep reflection.
Riddick blinked furiously and shook his head. He then glanced at his chrono and stood. Frowning deeply he headed toward the bedroom and entered the room. He stood there for a long moment, just watching Jack sleep. After a moment of hesitation, he climbed on the bed and pulled Jack to him. Encircling her body, he closed his eyes. Jack let out a whimper in her sleep as she made herself comfortable between his arms.
Maybe it was because they were heading to Onix, or because Alain had rekindled his past memories with his question; or maybe Riddick was just so exhausted and angry that his guard had dropped down at that moment. But the consequence was that Riddick found himself thinking about Theresa Hawkins. He frowned and grunted as he started to caress Jack’s back with the tips of his fingers, lost in the memory of the first time he had laid eyes on Tess. He had been a sixteen year old kid. Riddick was, even at that young age, dangerous. He had been taking care of himself just fine, but at the same time, he was still naïve enough to fall into Tess’ web. Riddick narrowed his tired, silver eyes as the memories washed over him.
Flash Back – Tess
The Selecta Club was one of the most expensive brothels in the Scorpion system. Its customers were all rich and powerful men. Even The Firm’s Board members were patrons. Theresa’s mother had made a lot of credits selling her body there, when she was younger, and after all those years she had amassed a small fortune.
Theresa Hawkins was born in that brothel twenty five years ago, where her mother was the manager. She had been raised by the women who offered their services there. From the day she was born it had been clear what her destiny was going to be. Since Theresa had turned fifteen, her mother and the rest of the Lady’s spent their free time teaching her all the secrets that a woman should know to “comfort” a man, whether in bed or out. It wasn’t that Theresa would not have any other options available to her, but to be a courtesan in the Selecta Club, it wasn’t the worst career choice she could have made.
Theresa was always taught that a courtesan with brains, balls, and a body that was sexy as Hell, could reach places that other respectable women would never be able to dream of. Her mother used to say that to be a courtesan was something completely different from being a whore or a slut. Of course, all of them sold their bodies in exchange of credits, but a courtesan would always be treated with respect by powerful men. It wasn’t just a question of “spread your legs and fuck with their bodies”; it was more a question of “spread your legs, but fuck with their minds”. Theresa listened and learned well what the other Lady’s had to tell her. She knew that it wasn’t just laying with a man. She knew that she would need to be able to make the dreams, the darkest fantasies, of those rich and powerful men come true, while also making sure that they felt safe and secure while they were between her legs and in her care. She knew that if she would be able to do this, for those reasons, and those reasons alone, she would be able to have power over all of them. That she would be able to gain more power, and credits, then she would know what to do with in a life time. So, following their advice, Theresa became one of the most sought after courtesans the Selecta Club had ever had.
Flash Back – Riddick
A sixteen year old Riddick was walking down the street. It wasn’t the first time that he had come to this part of the city, but tonight he had chosen a different part of the area. Here all the “richies” had their country homes to spend their long weekends. Riddick had learnt that a boy with enough balls and brains could spend his time living quite well. The alarm system that most of the mansions had was really easy to circumvent. It was all a question of Math. During the week, the rich bastards would spend their sorry excuse for a life in the center of the city, so Riddick would come here. A few weeks ago, he had run away from the last juvie he had been confined to after a fight, and he felt for the first time in years that he was enjoying the closest thing to what it would be like to be free.
Riddick had discovered he could pass the week sleeping between silk sheets, reading old books, surfing on the Web, eating the most delicious meals, training with expensive equipment, and having long, relaxing baths. A style of life that was quite far from the kind of life he had been living up till then. It wasn’t that he really needed those things to be happy, but it wasn’t bad at all. He only had to sneak around until he found an empty house. Then Riddick would disconnect the alarm system using a code to that would make the house think it was still connected, and voila, a mansion all to himself. At least for a few days, or in the worst cases, for a night. Of course he wasn’t a genius, and sometimes his math wasn’t enough and The Firm’s men would make an appearance. On those occasions he had to run away as fast as he was able in order to not let the soldiers catch him. Riddick wasn’t stupid, he knew full well where he would end up if they caught him.
Tonight however, Riddick felt that something wasn’t right. He couldn’t place it, but for some strange reason, he knew that today his damned life was going to suffer a change. And that the change wouldn’t be for the better. He frowned as he walked along the street when suddenly, he saw her. She was walking straight towards him. Riddick went motionless and stared at the woman. She was of average size and her hair was reddish. She had on a silky black dress, that clutched her body like a second skin, revealing every curve in the right place, it looked expensive. She had a body to die for and Riddick found himself getting hard just looking at her. She was wearing high heels and had a little purse. It seemed as if she was walking slower than would have been natural in a woman and her face showed tears.
Riddick frowned slightly as a low growl escaped his lips. He had always hated to see a woman crying, and for some reason he couldn’t explain, he always felt inclined to offer them his support. Since Riddick had been a little child, he had seen many girls cry. Mostly because they had been abused in the foster homes he had shared with them. Most of his problems had been direct results of his need to comfort and help them. Riddick had seen himself involved in many fights just because he had crossed paths with those fuckers on more than one occasion, leading to either his beating the shit out of them or vice versa. Making a snap decision, he moved quickly to one side and hid his presence behind a row of trees.
Theresa Hawkins was walking down the street in her high heels. Her body was screaming in pain and she was concentrating very hard to walk straight. Her steps were slower than usual as her lips let out a whimper and unnoticed tears were on her checks. She took a deep breath and forced her breath to become almost normal. It wasn’t any different from other times, but she was definitely starting to feel overwhelmed by the implications and consequences of her client’s behaviour. Theresa knew she couldn’t do anything to change that fact. This client wasn’t just anyone.
As she walked, Theresa thought about how her life had turned into a living hell, well that was if could call what she had before, a life. She had never accepted a private service out of the club before, but this costumer was different. He was Maximiliam Van Koemborn, no less than The Firm’s president. He currently paid an indecent amount of credits, over and above the expensive rate at the club, just to make sure that Theresa would come to his home. He had always told Theresa that he loved his courtesans to be for him and him alone. Maximiliam had demanded on more than one occasion to be her only client. Of course, in the end, it was all just a question of money, so Theresa had obliged and at that moment, The Firm’s president was almost her only client. Practically every night she was forced to make the twisted fantasies of that bastard come to life.
Suddenly, a noise pulled Theresa out of her own little world. She shook her head as she blinked. Theresa stood still and looked around. It was late and as far she could tell, there was no one around. Even though she knew that this area was highly populated by The Firm’s men, and therefore had a very low crime rate, she cursed herself for not calling for a car to take her back home. Her home wasn’t far and she had wanted to breath pure air and walk, even if she was sore all over. It was something that Theresa desperately needed so that she could clear her thoughts and figure out how she was going to deal with the situation. It had grown worse and worse with every new appointment she had with Maximiliam.
Theresa turned around and found a young boy standing at the entrance of a big mansion, he was behind a few trees on her left side. Usually, she would have just shrugged her shoulders and hurried her steps, but for some reason, the boy caught her attention. Maybe it was the way he was staring at her and the sadness and understanding that his chocolate eyes showed, or maybe it was the air of danger that was floating around him. What ever it was, Theresa found herself staring back at the boy.
He was really tall and slim, but well toned, he had muscles but not too much. His hair was curly black and really short. He was dressed in blue jeans and a black t-shirt. The clothes weren’t expensive, but they looked clean. Theresa frowned slightly. The boy didn’t fit here, he definitely wasn’t one of the little, riches wannabe bastards that are usually around this area at that time of night. She fixed her gaze on him. His skin was a caramel colour, his nose was maybe slightly out of the ordinary, but his lips were definitely sensual. Theresa gave him a look over and noticed the bulge in his jeans. For a second she couldn’t help but think about what one of the girls at the club used to say, something like “…..If they have a big nose, then I assure you that their dick’ll be too….” Theresa grinned at the thought, and after a moment, she forced herself to refocus her attention on the boy’s face. No, that boy definitely didn’t fit here.
Theresa didn’t know what exactly pushed her to talk with him, but she found herself speaking. “You should know that The Firm’s men usually patrol this side of the city.” She said, then she turned again to leave.
“Why are you crying?” was his answer. Theresa felt herself shiver at the sultry, deep voice of the boy. It caused her to freeze in place and roll her eyes, she turned again to look at him.
“Listen, kid. That’s none of your business.” She retorted coldly. “Now go back to wherever you live and leave me in peace.” She added while she looked him over from head to toe. Theresa couldn’t believe she was standing there, wasting her precious time with a kid who could be a killer and that without a doubt, wouldn’t be able to pay for even ten minutes of her company.
Riddick grinned. “I live here.” He chuckled at his own words and moved forward until he was almost at her side. Well, that wasn’t a lie, after all, Riddick lived there, in some bizarre way, at least during the week. Theresa moved back, suddenly very aware of the boys size. “Now answer my question.” He added as he looked at her, mimicking her gaze. In response, Theresa gasped, shocked for a second. Who was this little asshole to speak to her using that tone of voice, for God’s sake! She was one of the most powerful courtesans in the universe; Fuck it, she was fucking The Firm’s president no less!
“Listen to me, kid. You look smart, so why don’t you move your ass along and go back to whatever you were doing. I can’t believe that I’m here wasting my time with you.” She said annoyed, frowning. Riddick’s grin widened and he took a once over look at her through narrowed eyes. In response Theresa gasped, shocked once again. Nobody dared look at her that way, at least not without having paid first. She grunted in frustration and raised her voice. “What do you want? Money?” She asked as she grabbed her purse, searching for some credits. Riddick’s grin died on his lips.
He growled deeply and Theresa snapped her head up to look at him, narrowing her green eyes. “I don’t want your money, princess.” He said coldly as he moved forward. After he cleared his throat he continued to speak in that deep and sexy low rumble. “I’m gonna make your dreams come true.” Riddick’s tone sent shivers through her body. In response Theresa let out the breath she had been holding without being aware of it, and she couldn’t help but wonder why in the hell she couldn’t move from this damned kid’s side. She swallowed hard and spoke, her voice almost a whisper.
“And how are you planning to do that, kid?” She asked as she found herself staring at Riddick’s chocolate eyes.
End Flash Back
Riddick opened his eyes as a deep growl escaped his lips, he held Jack’s body pressed to his. She seemed to be deeply asleep and relaxed. Riddick kissed her forehead as he made himself comfortable. Closing his eyes he relaxed completely holding Jack within his arms.
“How old are you?”
“Is it your first time?”
“Never had a petite red-haired underneath me.”
“Who says I’m gonna let you lead?”
“What’s your name kid?”
“Theresa, but you can call me Tess.”
Riddick snapped his eyes open. For a second he didn’t know where he was or who he was with, that was of course, until he heard Jack breathing evenly and smelled her essence. Riddick blinked and raised his head slightly. Jack was asleep clasped to him. They were both on top of the blanket and still dressed in their dirty clothes. Riddick glanced at his chrono and realized that four hours had passed. He rubbed his eyes, grunting as he let out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. For a minute there, Riddick had thought that the last couple of weeks had been just a dream, and that all the things he had shared with Jack had been just an illusion. He hadn’t thought about that damned night in almost fifteen years. He’d always tried to forget it, even though that was an impossible task. That night, his life had changed forever. He’d been in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person.
He hadn’t thought about Tess since then, and suddenly, he was fucking dreaming about her? Riddick rolled his eyes as he cursed himself silently. Why in hell was he thinking about that bitch when Jack was in this state? For some unthinkable reason, he felt as if he was cheating on Jack, even though Theresa Hawkins had died fifteen years before. He was definitely a fucking shit. Here he was with his Jack, the most beautiful woman in the galaxy, between his arms; and he was dreaming about a whore that had used him. She had pretended to be in love with him, just to get rid off her famous and insane client; Maximiliam Koemborn, who just happened to be The Firm’s president, when he was sixteen. All of sudden Riddick felt guilty and couldn’t stand being near Jack’s body.
Not thinking twice about it, in one fast move he climbed off the bed and winced as he went to the closet. On the bed, Jack immediately winced and frowned in her sleep, and then she mumbled something. Riddick froze and turned around, staring at her, concern written on his face. Jack rolled to one side, grabbing his pillow. A slight change in her breathing told Riddick that she was no longer sleeping. Riddick headed toward the bed and stood there for quite a long time, just watching her. It seemed as if she was oblivious to his presence, and for some unthinkable reason, Riddick gave thanks to Imam’s God that Jack couldn’t look at his silver eyes right now. Otherwise, he was sure that she would be mad. Because Riddick couldn’t stop the feeling of guilt and was sure that she would be able to see it flashing in his eyes. She probably would have asked him the reason and he wasn’t sure if he would have been able to fool her.
Riddick heaved a hard sigh, frustrated and annoyed with himself. He should have known that something like this was going to happen. He knew full well that Jack wasn’t like him. She couldn’t kill someone and expect to feel as if nothing had happened. Riddick figured that killing those bastards had been a strong shock for her. He shut his eyes, rubbing his head. Fuck, Jack. You’re not like me, kid. You can’t live in peace with a death on your conscience. Jack opened her eyes in one soft move and stared at the ceiling.
“Hey, beautiful.” Riddick growled gently as he sat behind her. He then grabbed her chin gently and turned her head to make eye contact with him. Jack let him move her, but didn’t say anything. “How about we take a shower together and eat something. I don’t know about you, but I’m starved.” He whispered softly, chuckling. Here he was, talking with her as if she really was able to hear him. Jack just closed her eyes as silent tears rolled down her cheeks. Great, just fucking great, Rick. Its gonna be a long ride ahead, Jack, he added silently, shaking his head.
Jack was walking along an endless hall way. She could feel her feet, and it was as if they weighed ten times more than usual. The place was almost in shadows and no sound at all could be heard. She felt cold and scared, but for some strange reason, she was sure that someone was watching her. Like someone else was aware that she was in this place. Suddenly, Jack heard someone calling her name as if from far away, but she couldn’t place who the voice belonged to. It seemed as if the voice came from the far end of the hall way. Jack stopped in her tracks, she was exhausted. She tried to take a deep breath but it seemed as if her lungs didn’t remember how to do that simple action. Slowly, she leaned against the wall and slid down to the floor. The voice sounded louder, calling to her, but she felt too tired to go on walking. So she closed her eyes and concentrated just on breathing.
Riddick let out a hard sigh as he thought about the events of the last weeks. Jack had started to guide him through a path that was new territory for him. The vast land of feelings and emotions, and now she had left him alone in the middle of nowhere. Riddick cursed himself silently. If it was a question of killing people, he wouldn’t have any problem. But when it concerned feelings, he didn’t know shit about it, and how to deal with them. Why is everything so fucking hard for us, Jackie girl? He wondered half conscious of Jack’s intense gaze on him. Riddick was starting to feel overwhelmed again by a sensation he wasn’t very good at dealing with; loss of control. He was starting to loose control one more time over his world, and that was a luxury he couldn’t allow himself; much less that right now they were heading right straight to The Firm’s forces. Fuck, Rick. You’ve been in worse, he scolded silently. Stop acting like a fucking pussy and move on. He then bent over and kissed her lips softly.
Jack felt a rush of warmth against her body and snapped her head up, opening her eyes wide. She looked around herself and found that she was now in a room. The place was small and dirty. Its walls were almost beginning to fall to pieces. It was a darker place. She shivered when a cold breeze wrapped around her, causing her short hairs to stand on end. Jack blinked a few times, trying to focus her line of vision. She looked up and found a small window. She took a deep breath and forced her legs to stand. With a lot of effort she got to her feet and started to walk to the window. It was located at the highest place. Jack frowned deep; it was too high for her to reach.
Riddick carried her to the bathroom and left her on her feet. Jack stood there just looking down at the floor while he pulled up her top. As soon as Riddick made her raise her arms, she winced. It was only then that he saw the bruises already starting to form along her right side under a large scratch that almost covered all of her torso, It started down her right breast and ended on her waist. A deep groan escaped his lips as his eyes narrowed, flashing a gaze full of rage.
“Fuck, Jack. That motherfucker really crashed you, kid.” He muttered through clenched teeth as he checked her ribs, looking for any internal fractures. Jack hissed in pain, but she didn’t move back; quite the opposite, she just stood there looking down at his hands. Riddick shook his head and continued with his task.
Jack was still trying to reach the small window when a ray of pain stabbed her right side. She let out a scream as she grabbed herself. It felt as if the air had been knocked out of her. Jack shut her eyes tightly as tears rolled down her cheeks.
After a moment, Riddick released the air he had been holding, for quite a long time, when realized that there weren’t any breaks. “You’re a lucky girl, Jack.” He chuckled, sighing. “There’s nothing broke in there, kid. A couple of days more and you’ll be ok. I’ll make sure of that, babe.” Riddick growled as he rubbed the bruises lightly with the tips of his fingers. Jack let out a whimper of pain and frowned deeply. “Sorry, beautiful.” He murmured as he kissed the large bruise with extreme gentleness.
Jack’s breathing was ragged as she opened her eyes again. She felt as if suddenly the temperature had been raised. She was still cold, but somehow the air around her felt a little warmer. Jack straightened herself and saw the window in front of her at her eye level. She tiptoed on her feet and looked outside. It was all pitch black. She tried to adjust her vision, but it was of no use, she could see nothing at all.
Riddick undressed her completely and helped her enter the shower. She just let him guide her, not making a sound, but her breathing was a bit forced. He pulled off his clothes and also stepped in the shower, adjusting the temperature. He washed her slowly, with extreme tenderness, while all the time she was sobbing quietly. Riddick sighed hard and cursed to himself. He shook his head and stared at Jack. She was now looking at him, with her back pressed against the wall of the shower. Her eyes were sparkling like never before. Riddick felt his wound burning and winced slightly, but didn’t let go of Jack’s gaze.
Slowly, as if she was moving in molasses, she raised her head completely. Her eyes were wide at the vision in front of her. It was the open sky, like deep space, but there was something else. Jack’s mouth opened in amusement and she gasped. Two silver pools, sparkling in the middle of the darkness. Jack narrowed her eyes suspiciously, she would have sworn that those mercurial moons were piercing her soul, staring back at her, and she couldn’t help but feel her heart skip its beat. Jack felt it aching with pain; those moons were radiating pain and anger at the same time. Riddick. She shivered at their presence, but continued staring at them.
Riddick pulled her to him. She let him move her and Riddick shut his eyes tightly. Fuck, Rick. That whore Tess was right, asshole. Look what fucking love made of Jack, she’s where the fuck God knows now, and it’s all because of fucking love. He thought as he started to rub slowly up and down Jack’s back.
In seconds, the moons disappeared from in front of her eyes and Jack found herself immediately missing them. Without warning a memory came floating through her mind and she remembered that she had seen those beautiful moons before. She shut her eyes tightly, trying to place where it had been until realization dawned. Thalion. Jack conjured a vision of those silver moons looking at her through her bedroom’s window. She saw herself, lying on her bed, looking for those moons every time she felt scared or lost, feeling somehow better just looking at them. And then, she saw herself in the vision grabbing her pillow and closing her eyes, exhausted and trembling, but somehow comforted with the smell of her pillow.
Riddick’s heart skipped its rhythm when he felt Jack’s arms circling his waist. he tightened his own embrace around her as he heard her crying softly while her face pressed against his chest. “It’s ok, Jack. I’ll take care of you, baby. Shhh, don’t cry, beautiful.” He growled gently as he stroked her bare back and her hair, still standing under the stream of warm water.
Jack recognized that essence, she had been smelling it for quite a long time. It was a mix of spices, sandalwood and sweat. It was a man’s essence. A familiar one though. Jack let out a hard sigh and she made herself comfortable on her bed, with her pillow held tightly against her chest. Almost immediately tears fell without restraint. Riddick…
They were like that for a long moment, until the water started to run cold, so he closed the tap and stepped out of the shower. Riddick grabbed a big towel and wrapped Jack’s body with it, then he grabbed another one for him. Once again he lifted her from the floor and headed back to the bedroom. He laid her gently on the bed. He then turned again and went to the closet, pulling out fresh clothes for her. Jack let out a whimper and closed her eyes. In response, Riddick let out a deep growl from his chest.
Now it would have been a great time to punch and kick the punching bag for a few hours, but he knew too well that it wouldn’t do him any good. His wound may be closed but it was still healing inside, so he would only end up bleeding internally. Riddick cursed silently as he punched the closet with his fist, causing his knuckles to mark its surface.
“Fuck!” He growled as he sighed, he winced at the sudden pain in his torso.
Riddick then narrowed his eyes and went again to Jack’s side. He dressed her and then himself. Afterward he climbed onto the bed and pulled her to him, making her head rest on his shoulder. Suddenly he wasn’t hungry anymore. Riddick frowned deeply, he hadn’t realized until now that he had seen her naked, had washed her and had dressed her, and all of it without feeling any kind of lust or desire at the sight of Jack’s naked body. He couldn’t help but chuckle at that. If he was looking for any kind of evidence about how lost he was right now, here it was. His sex drive had blown away, his body’s necessities had disappeared completely at the sight of Jack in that state. Now look at you, Rick. He scolded, where’s the heartless, cold killer? Where’s the old Riddick? He asked himself, shaking his head. Riddick couldn’t understand what was happening to him right now. He definitely felt different, but at the same time, he couldn’t place what he was feeling at that while looking at Jack. Surely, it wasn’t that he didn’t still want her so badly that it was painful, but right now sex was the last thing on his mind.
Jack snapped her eyes open and found herself in the middle of a desert. She shut them again tightly at the pain in her optic nerves at the sudden brightness. It was hot, and she slowly opened her eyes again, narrowing them in order to adjust her pupils to see around her. She was dressed in the outfit that Danielle would lend her when they were going to the Eclipse club. Jack looked down at herself, arching her brows. These definitely were the best kind of clothes to be walking through a desert. Frowning, she looked up and found someone else. It was another person, but it was difficult to know if it was a man or a woman. Jack opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. She swallowed dryly and tried again. Nothing.
Riddick stared at her in complete silence, frowning slightly. For a moment he was lost in thought about the events of the last days. His inner beast paced its cage back and forth, grumbling. Then a vision of Jack popped into his mind. Jack was dressed in the clothes she wore at that club on Thalion.
Jack lifted a hand and placed it on her forehead to block the sun from her eyes. The figure seemed as if it had turned and was now looking in her direction. She lifted her other hand and began to wave to catch its attention. The figure started to walk to her side and suddenly it stopped a few metres from her.
Riddick saw how her eyes sparkled under the lights of the club, her hips moving in time with the notes of the music; her lips curved in a big smile. “…I love you, Riddick…” He heard her say; her voice gentle as she beckoned to him. Riddick grinned at his vision and found himself walking to her side.
Jack’s eyes were wide open. The figure was a man, and one who she knew well. Riddick. She tried to move but her feet seemed to be glued to the sand under them. Jack swallowed and forced her throat to make a sound. With a lot of effort she managed to find her own voice. “I love you, Riddick.” Riddick was just looking at her with his goggles covering his eyes, his face cold, unreadable. Jack frowned deeply. Riddick?
Suddenly, Riddick’s thoughts turned in another direction and without warning, the words that Alain had said to him echoed faintly in his mind. “…She’s out of this world right now because she’s sure that you’re fucking dead……You’re not alone anymore, Riddick……Jack loves you, and fuck it all if I understand the reason why……” Riddick’s mind was racing at this point. He shut his eyes tightly and shook his head wildly, in a lame effort to get rid of Alain’s words. His mind was busy trying to put some order to his thoughts, that were all right now a bizarre mix. His beast started to pace its cage extremely agitated.
Suddenly, the vision in front of Jack’s eyes vanished and she found herself in the middle of a forest. Jack frowned deeply. She never, in all her life, had been in one before, but she had seen them on the Web. It was starting to get dark around her and in spite of being there, the only sound she could hear was her breathing. It was ragged. Her heart was beating fast and she noticed that she was starting to feel cold. Jack looked around and saw a path between two trees. She bit her lower lip and started to walk along it. Her steps were hurried and she was looking around herself all the time. She couldn’t help feeling the same sensation that someone was watching her, it was growing more and more with every step she took. A moment later, she heard a voice calling her; closer and closer with every minute that passed. “… Jack, come back to me… Jack, I need you… Jack… Jack… Jack…” the voice was getting louder and louder. Jack found herself running along the path, in the direction where she supposed the voice was coming, her breath was heavy and drops of perspiration were forming on her back, arms and forehead.
Riddick growled, frustrated. No matter what he did, he couldn’t get rid of Alain’s words. They were torturing him. He closed his hands into fists and grunted, annoyed. He didn’t want to think about the words of an old man who had spent all his life locked in slam. He didn’t need these feelings. He didn’t need to think about that, much less in this exact moment. Riddick was sure that these feelings weren’t going to do him, or her, any good at all. Suddenly, he realized how soft he had become thinking about such fucking shit as love. In seconds, Riddick stormed out of the bedroom and ran to the gym.
Without a second thought, Riddick started to punch the punching bag with all his strength, clenching his teeth to block the pain of his wound as he growled full of rage with every new punch. “……You are Richard B. Riddick, escaped convict, murderer and scared shitless of Jack and her feelings for you…” Riddick was punching and kicking the bag as if his life depended on it. “… It’s time to face your fears, Rick……” Suddenly the beast within him let out a pained roar and raised to its legs. The pain was suddenly unbearable. Riddick started to pant in time with its beats, but that only served to make him punch the bag stronger than before. Riddick’s lips let out a roar that resounded throughout the gym. He wasn’t going to loose control again, he wasn’t going to let anyone tell him what to do, and how to do it, anymore. He was going to be in control again, and fuck it all if he was going to give up. The words of Tess echoed in his mind. “…Love is weakness and loneliness…Love doesn’t exist, Rick. It’s just an illusion for poor kids like you…Love means nothing… The words ‘I love you’ mean nothing…… The last thing that will help you to survive will be love…” Riddick was determined to die if it was necessary, but he wasn’t going to let Jack’s feelings destroy him. He was a survivor born, he was a fucking survivor born. He had turned weak; Jack’s love had turned him soft and was making him act like a fucking pussy. He was a fucking killer; he was a heartless monster. Richard B. Riddick was a survivor born. He was going to get over this new shit called love like he had done hundred times before with everything else. Shutting his eyes, he kicked the bag so hard that it fell to the floor. A ray of pain stabbed his wound and Riddick collapsed onto the floor, covered in sweat, shaking and mad as hell. His inner beast roared inside of its cage.
Jack came to a stop as soon as she wasn’t able to hear the voice anymore. She leaned over and rested her hands on her knees. She was panting heavily and her lungs felt like they were on fire. Jack tried to take a deep breath, but it felt painful. She carried a hand to her heart and rubbed slightly. She grabbed the necklace that Alain had given her and closed her eyes. After a long moment, she raised them again and looked around herself. She wasn’t in the forest anymore. She was now in a house. Her house. Their home on New Mecca. Jack frowned as she headed toward their bedroom. “Riddick?” she called him. No answer came. “Riddick?” she repeated, raising her voice. “Where are you, big guy?”
After a moment, Riddick snapped his head up and punched the floor. Immediately, the voice of Tess turned gentle and soft, full of passion and desire, just to change into Jack’s sweet voice “… I love you, Richard B. Riddick…” Jack’s voice echoed inside of his mind, turning his world outside down. No mercy for him after all. Jack’s love was killing him. He could feel how he was being slowly consumed. His heart was racing and his breath became ragged. Riddick thought that maybe the sudden pain in his chest was caused by his wound, that was still healing. With his actions it had probably started to bleed internally. He took a deep breath, but that move only caused the pain to increase. “…I love you, big evil…” Jack’s voice was filling all his soul and his heart suddenly ached as if it had been stabbed with one of his favourite shivs. Riddick lifted one hand and rubbed his chest, shutting his eyes.
“Why, Jack? Love is nothing, kid.” He muttered through clenched teeth. “You can’t love someone like me. You’re nowhere because of me and your love. You can’t love me, Jack.” He hissed. As soon as the words left his mouth, Riddick felt how his pain was intensified. For fuck’s sake, Jack! What are you doing to me? His inner beast roared.
Jack was searching for him inside the house, opening and closing each door, looking for Riddick. She didn’t remember that their house was so big. It seemed as if suddenly the number of rooms had increased over the years. Jack was starting to feel overwhelmed by that fact when behind the last door she opened, she found him. Riddick was lying on the floor, covered in his own blood, motionless. Jack let out a scream and rushed to his side. She leaned onto his chest and pressed her ear against his heart. She couldn’t hear it beating.
The words of Alain still echoed inside of his brain, like a painful buzz. “…Love is when you think about your life and realize that it didn’t make sense until she arrived in it, and you are sure that you’ll die if she leaves you…” Riddick’s breath was ragged. He closed his hands into fists as he stood, wincing. “…Love is when the only thing that pushes you to live is her smile, and her beautiful green eyes…Love is when you realize that you would be dead if it wasn’t for her…” He punched the wall one, two, three times, and continued punching it until he could no longer feel the pain on his knuckles, that were now bleeding. “…Love is when you leave the only thing that matters to you in your life, for her own good… Love is when you’re ready to sacrifice your own life just for her…” Riddick tried with all his will to get rid of Alain’s voice, and his words, but the more he tried, the more his chest ached.
“Oh, shit, no! Riddick? Please come with me, big guy! You can’t let me now. I need you, Riddick!” Jack cried as her vision blurred with tears. She let them run free along her cheeks as she shook him violently to make him move. He didn’t react to the sound of her voice. “Fuck, Riddick. You promised me! You fucking promised!” She hissed through clenched teeth as she collapsed on top of him, punching his heart with all her might.
Riddick leaned his forehead against the wall, welcoming the immediate coldness of the surface. He took a deep breath, trying to recover from the sudden rage that had filled him. A moment later, his breath had started to become almost even and he lifted his head in silent alert. Riddick would have sworn that he had heard Jack. Clenching his teeth, he headed toward the bedroom and found Jack with her eyes wide open and tears falling down her cheeks. She was sitting on the mattress with her legs on her chest and her arms encircling them.
“I need you, Riddick. I can’t live without you.” Jack murmured to herself, staring at a spot only she could see. The sound of her voice was weak and almost inaudible. She didn’t know that Riddick was there, watching her. Her mind was in another place right now.
Riddick’s eyes went wide and his beast let out a growl. “I’m here, Jack. I’m with you, baby.” He told her as he climbed onto the mattress and encircled her body. “All you have to do is look at me. Come back with me, Jackie girl.” Jack continued crying, louder and louder. Riddick felt his heart being squeezed by an invisible hand with such strength that for a second, he thought that it would explode inside of his chest.
Jack was crying on top of him, punching his chest, but he didn’t move a muscle. She let out a whimper of pain and frustration and froze. Her breath was ragged and her own heart was beating fast. She then grabbed his head with her hands, gently, and turned it to one side to look at him. Riddick had his eyes closed. She then bent over slowly and kissed his lips softly. “I haven’t gone this far just to loose you now, you know?” she told him almost in a whisper. “I don’t care what the rest of the galaxy thinks about you, big guy, or what you think you are to me. I know what my feelings are. I’ve always loved you, since I was a kid.” Jack said to him as she stroked his cheek with trembling hands; tears rolling down her cheeks. “I need you with me, Riddick. I can’t live without you. I love you. Please, Riddick help me. I can’t do this alone.” She whispered against his lips as she kissed him.
Riddick had kneeled beside her. Without being aware of it, he started to rock her back and forth, as if Jack was a little child. He continued to murmur soothing words against her hair. It was clear to him that she couldn’t hear or see him, so why in hell was he telling her such things? Riddick wondered, lost in thoughts, until the voice of Jack pulled him abruptly out of them.
“I love you, Riddick. Please, please, Riddick. Help me.” She murmured between sobs.
Aw, fuck, Jack. I don’t know how to help you, kid, he told her silently as he continued stroking her back, trying to calm her sobs. Riddick closed his eyes, shaking his head. He thought that maybe this was for the best, at least now she wouldn’t be aware of the danger that they were about to face. His mind started to race again when Alain’s words came to continue torturing him. Riddick frowned deeply as a heavy sigh left his lips. He was exhausted, frustrated, and pissed off, but in spite of that, he allowed the words of the old man to echo faintly inside of his brain, and for the first time, Riddick didn’t fight them back and he didn’t even know why. “…All you love is here, waiting for you. So you better come back, Jack, Cause you’re the only one who can save Riddick from himself…” He let out a deep growl, that resounded in his chest, causing Jack to stop her sobs and raise her head to lock eyes with him.
Jack was crying soundly into his chest when she sensed a slight change in Riddick’s breathing. She snapped her head up and found his silver eyes looking at her. Jack managed a smile while staring at his mercurial gaze. She had been so lost crying that she hadn’t realized that He had started to breath a few minutes ago. Riddick rolled to one side and trapped Jack underneath him, setting himself between her legs. Jack laughed as she encircled his neck, pulling him closer to her. Riddick grinned a devilish smile and fixed her with his silver eyes, shinning like never before. Jack locked eyes with him and narrowed slightly her own eyes. Riddick was looking at her with his eyes full, of lust, desire… and love? Jack’s eyes went wide open and she gasped. Riddick actually was showing love through his shined eyes. “I love you, Riddick.” She whispered as she raised her head, caressing her lips against his.
Riddick locked eyes with Jack and they were like that for a long moment, staring at each other. Time seemed to stop around them one more time. Riddick’s eyes stared at Jack’s eyes. Those beautiful, green eyes didn’t show any trace of life now; the brightness had gone from them, leaving only an empty space that only showed sadness. Those green eyes that once looked at him full of love, were now killing him slowly.
“You’re the only one who can save me from myself.” He thought to himself, but didn’t realize that he had spoken aloud until Jack smiled weakly. Riddick had no idea about why he had said those last words to her, but now she was smiling back at him, even though Riddick knew she wasn’t seeing him.
Riddick grinned back and then heaved a deep sigh. They had shared many moments in which Jack had been happy with him, but from all of them, one in particular should have been the happiest for her. But it turned to be a mix of pain and happiness because of his unexpected reaction. And it was then and there, when realization hit Riddick directly in his heart.
Slowly, with extreme tenderness, he carried one hand to the back of Jack’s head and grabbed a bunch of her hair gently. With his other arm, Riddick encircled her body and leaned her back down onto her back. Jack didn’t complain, nor move a muscle of her body. All the time, Riddick was staring at her eyes, without letting go of her gaze. She was now lying on her back with her legs still bent over by her knees. Riddick closed his eyes as he deeply inhaled her essence. Vanilla. He grinned. Afterward, he rested his hands on her knees and gently he spread her thighs, stroking slowly all the way up, until his hand reached Jacks’ hip. Sighing, with extreme care, Riddick supported his weight on his elbows as he settled himself in the vee of her legs, swallowing hard. He didn’t know why he was doing this, but in some part of his tortured mind, Jack’s words were echoing faintly, mercilessly, and it was driving him crazy with every second that passed.
The woman underneath him had been the only woman who had loved him from the very first time she had laid eyes on him, without expecting his love in return. His little Jack. His kid. His woman. “…I love you, Riddick…” Riddick felt his soul dying as he looked into those eyes and his world broke into millions of pieces. His vision blurred slightly. Jack was the only woman he had …..what? Jack was the only woman he had …… loved?
He was Richard B. Riddick, escaped convict and murderer. He had spent half of his life locked in slam. He had faced all kinds of dangerous situations and had left all of them victorious. This couldn’t be so difficult. It wasn’t as if saying the words would kill him, would it? Riddick swallowed hard as he cleared his throat. Come on, Rick. It can’t be that fucking difficult, asshole. She’s doing it all the time. Riddick shut his eyes and shook his head, swallowing dryly. Fuck, Rick. They are three words. Just three fucking words. Riddick swallowed again and heaved a hard sigh. After a moment of hesitation, he cleared his throat for the ninth time and dropped the tone of his voice to a sensually deep rumble. Taking one last deep breath while staring at Jack’s eyes, Riddick plunged ahead.
“I love you, Jack.”
Jack stared at his eyes, waiting for him so say those exact words in return, when she saw how his lips were moving. He was saying something, but she suddenly couldn’t hear him. Jack swallowed hard as she cleared her throat. “Come again?” She murmured to him. Riddick raised a brow slowly, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. “I said that… I…I love you, Jack.” He muttered almost to himself.
Jack blinked furiously and struggled to release herself from his embrace. When Riddick tightened his hold around her, Jack snapped her head. Her eyes were wide open as her vision focused. Riddick stared down at her eyes, waiting. A moment later, she started to get a hold of herself and found Riddick’s concerned face staring at her. Jack blinked as if she had just awoken and swallowed hard. Suddenly she couldn’t breathe at all, her right side felt as if it had been ripped apart. But somehow, she managed to concentrate on the man between her legs, who was currently pressing against her body with such force that for a second, she thought that she was going to disappear through the mattress.
“Riddick?” Jack asked almost to herself.
“Yeah, beautiful. Alive and kicking.” He growled as he fixed her with his mercurial gaze. Jack narrowed her eyes in suspicion, looking at him as if he was just an illusion and not real. It’s just a painful vision, Jack. He’s dead. Riddick’s dead, kid, her mind echoed. Jack was looking at him, but Riddick wasn’t sure if she was really seeing him. “I’m here, baby. I’m with you, Jack.” He added while frowning deeply.
Jack lifted a trembling hand, and hesitantly, as if she was sure that he was going to vanish at any time, she lifted it to his cheek and stroked softly, just to test if he was really there in front of her. She wasn’t sure that she would wake up at the cargo hold at any time, crying because he was dead. Riddick tilted his head against her palm, and enjoyed her touch as he closed his eyes. Suddenly, all the events crashed through Jack at the same time, like a big wave; suddenly she felt angry as hell. Her next move left Riddick amused beyond belief. Jack slapped him hard. Riddick blinked, then grinned as his eyes flashed her with a questioning look. Yeah, Rick., She can definitely see you now.
“Don’t you fucking dare leave me alone again, got it?” Jack told him, her voice held a hint of reproach. She felt angry, but right now she wasn’t sure if it was with herself or with him. She only knew that her right side was hurting like a bitch and that Riddick was crushing her.
Riddick knit a brow at the tone of her voice, grinning. “Not going anywhere, kid,” he growled as pressed his forehead to hers, sighing. “At least, not without my woman.” He murmured as he captured her lips in a gentle kiss.
Jack’s eyes were wide as she broke the kiss. “You can be fucking sure of that, big evil.” Her voice sounded hoarse, yet angry. She then pushed him back hard and captured his lips in a demanding kiss, but released him as soon as a ray of pain crossed her body from head to toe. “Jesus, Riddick!” She cried out. “Fuck, what’ve you done to me, man?” she scolded him as she sat on her heels.
Riddick’s grin widened as he raised slightly onto his elbows. “That’s what I would like to know, kid.” He growled, teasing her as he grabbed one of her wrists, pulling her to him. Jack let out a yelp in surprise and laughed. “What’ve you done to me, Jackie girl?” He murmured in a low deep rumble that sent shivers through Jack’s spine as he captured her lips.