Title: Habitual

Author: Jedi Buttercup

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

Rating: T

Summary: B:tVS, Pitch Black. Riddick gets to know his unexpected passenger a little better. 300 words.

Spoilers: Post-"Chosen" and "Pitch Black" (2000); pre-"Chronicles of Riddick" (2004)

Notes: Follows "Beautiful" and "Instinctual".

It's an acrid stench, human fear. Unpleasant to the nose detecting it as the emotion is to the one who feels it-- or so Riddick has heard. He can't remember the last time he quailed in the face of any challenge, and the anxiety of the sheep around him is like a fine wine on his tongue.

It's more satisfying than sex, more energizing than the coppery taste of fresh blood, and since the day he made his first kill he hasn't met anyone who didn't exude it around him. Even Jack, all hero worship and makeshift goggles, still feared him underneath-- even when they'd said their goodbyes on Helion Prime.

Finally meeting an exception to the rule has thrown him more than he'd like to admit. This tiny slip of a woman with more grace in her walk than the broken pattern of her speech is more like him than anyone else he's ever met, predatory and powerful and the last of her kind. She follows him around his ship like a half-wild, starving kitten, gradually gentling to his touch but always ready with her claws. She hasn't given him her name yet, but he knows it's only a matter of time; when she cries out quietly in her sleep, the shadows in her eyes following her into dream, she turns in his direction.

It's dangerous to let people close to him-- dangerous to them-- but she has nowhere else to go. And truth be told, Riddick's starting to get used to her company. Maybe he's slipping, but he's starting to look beyond the next meal again, the next free moment; he can think of worse things to do in his self-imposed exile than getting to know a beautiful woman.

Especially one who'd come with her own warning label.