Title: Beautiful

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: PG

Summary: B:tVS, Pitch Black. Riddick finds an equal. 300 words.

Spoilers: Post-"Chosen" and "Pitch Black"

Notes: Challenge fic. Ended up a little darker than I'd planned. But then, that's Riddick for you.

They say your brain shuts down in cryo-sleep. All but the primitive side.

No wonder she's still awake.

Been a long time for her, by the look of it. Ship's 21st century, back from the dawn of interstellar travel; slow as hell, not built to last. No telling how much longer it would have kept going if I hadn't run into her, taking the back lanes away from New Mecca.

Lot of other bodies in here, too, all in advanced stages of decay. Cryo was still in development when she was launched; bad batches, limited supplies, chemical allergies, spacers still tell horror stories about the early death tolls. Only surprise here is that she didn't make a full set.

Don't know what she did to get herself locked in this flying graveyard, but I don't need the details to smell the killer in her blood. She's all muscle, lean and tough, and the shackles in her locker are twice as thick as all the others. I felt her stir, half-aware, the moment I stepped on board. Hell of a thing, finding a fellow predator in a girl her size.

Wonder if she's still sane. Centuries of loneliness, nightmares of the past the only thing to keep her company. Hard to tell her age; no wrinkles on her face, no baby-fat on her figure, and a road-map of scars that gleams dully against the bright warm back-drop of her body. Shine job took most of the colors away, but I doubt there's any gray in her hair. Our kind don't make it to old age.

"SUBJECT: BUFFY SUMMERS", the label says. "HANDLE WITH EXTREME CAUTION." All this trouble, government must have been saving her for a reason.

Think I'll find out what it was.

Been a long time since I smelled beautiful.