Disclaimer: I do not own Riddick universe or anything from it.
Dedicated to Caz, my brilliant beta, who clearly needs some personal dedication. Cheer up, Caz.
Part 1 of a three part story. Note: I veered away from the actual plot line.
Jack sat huddled on one side of the small skiff that seemed to be growing smaller with every passing hour. She had her knees pulled up against her flat chest, hugging them against her as if they provided a float. Her eyes darted over to Imam's curled up form, peacefully sleeping. She didn't know how he could possibly manage to sleep in such a situation, but she figured that his gratefulness to his god, Allah, outweighed the danger of the present situation.
Cracking her neck, she glanced over at Riddick, who hadn't moved from the pilot's seat since they had taken off from that hell-planet. His goggles prevented her from seeing if he was awake or asleep and she bet that no matter what state he was in, his breathing pattern would stay the same. So that idea failed too.
She sighed and stretched out her legs, wincing at the soreness of her muscles. Walking from one end of the skiff to the other didn't quite provide the space she needed to really exercise her muscles. Breathing deeply, Jack stretched her legs into a straddle and breathed again as she lowered herself to the floor.
She had always been very flexible, which was beyond useful when she had to get out of tight situations. It took no effort for her to lay her upper body on the floor and let her arms rest out in front of her. Slowly shifting her position, she didn't notice the wince Riddick made as she went into a split, her legs completely parallel to the cold surface of the skiff's floor. After minutes of stretching, Jack huddled herself back into her corner and tried to fall asleep.
Jack jumped awake when she heard a sharp movement and glanced around to find what had done that. Imam stay lay asleep so she looked up to Riddick, who seemed to be…distressed? She didn't believe he could possibly be distressed or upset but she crawled towards him nonetheless and crouched at the side of the chair.
She instantly noticed that he was gripping the arms of the chair as if they were the neck of his opponent in a fight. She saw that his legs twitched and his feet moved around, but were locked in by the enclosed space of the control panel. Jack quickly glanced to his face and her eyes lingered on it longer then she had meant them to.
His jaw was clenched tightly and his breathing was labored. Bad signs. Droplets of sweat were forming and dripping down his face and around his black goggles.
Was he sick?
She looked back at Imam who was peacefully breathing and Jack guessed he was dreaming about their destination, New Mecca. She briefly smiled, glad to know that one of their three-person dysfunctional crew was going somewhere they wanted to be. Shaking her head violently, she knew that waking up Imam would result in worse conditions. Looking at Riddick again, she froze when a threatening growl left his mouth.
Then it hit her.
He was having a nightmare.
This didn't reassure her anymore, if anything, it made the demigod she worshipped human. She never would have thought that Riddick, of all people, would have a nightmare, much less fall in a deep enough sleep to even dream. She knew now that waking Imam was out of the question. He would be very worried if he knew that their savior was just as human as the next guy.
Another deep growl.
Well, maybe not completely human.
Jack was unsure of what to do, should she try to wake him? Calm him? Her mind swam with possibilities and finally she decided.
"Riddick," she whispered. She was surprised when he didn't move at her call. She had fully expected to be pinned against the wall with his shiv against her throat.
"Hey, Riddick," she tried again, louder this time, but still he didn't make any sign of hearing her.
"Riddick!" She hissed in his ear and he didn't even flinch. She worriedly glanced at Imam, who just shifted in his sleep. "C'mon, Riddick! Wake up!" She experimentally poked his arm and wondered if her subconscious had a death wish.
Suddenly he jerked and she stumbled back, falling onto the floor. Scrambling back up, she watched him closely and saw that he was in pain.
"Not good, not good, not good…" she repeatedly mumbled as he continued to twitch. "This isn't funny anymore, Riddick, you can't freak out on me…well, just because I freaked out on you back there doesn't give you the right to do it here, ok?"
No response, but by now she wasn't even expecting one. She looked at the control panel and was relieved to see that nothing seemed out of place or putting them in emergency mode. Jack was caught by the starry expanse before her and momentarily forgot her purpose for being awake. But another angered growl fixed that and she spun around, usually wide eyes narrowed in frustration.
She realized that touching him again might do it, but she wasn't eager to be touching this volatile design of nature on a bad day. Stepping to the side of the chair again, she lightly skimmed the pads of her fingers over his tense hand and almost smiled when she saw it relax. She did this a few more times before moving to the other side of the chair and soon his uneven breathing leveled out again.
"Riddick?" She questioned, but no response.
Jack saw how he was damp with sweat and knew that the cold air of the skiff would make him catch a chill, although some voice in the back of head reasoned that Richard B. Riddick, escaped convict and murderer, wouldn't ever catch a chill. She leaned down and ripped a strip of pants off, making sure Imam didn't wake up at the noise. Satisfied with his slumbering state, she neatly folded the strip and tentatively began to wipe his skin.
Her hand stilled as she neared his face, hoping that he wouldn't suddenly wake and bite her hand. Shaking her head, she realized that she wouldn't even put that past him. Jack gently continued her job and was so involved in it she didn't realize that two clouded silver eyes were now open to the world. Finishing up, she refolded the cloth and stuck it in her pocket, still totally unaware that he was now awake.
"G'night, Riddick," she softly said before settling herself on the floor. Laying down, she curled up to trap her body heat as much as she could. When she had finally fallen asleep, Riddick moved, barely keeping in a groan at how tense his muscles were. He lifted the goggles from his eyes and trained his gaze on the sleeping girl not two feet from him.
She awoke to the feeling of intense tension in the small skiff and stretched herself out, a few joints popping as she yawned herself awake. Jack glanced at Imam who was sitting awake in the back of skiff, but sending cold glares at Riddick. Shrugging it off, she turned to see Riddick, who seemed intent on the control panel, looking through systems. Opting for his company, she walked up behind his chair and glanced over the top.
"Morning." She said in greeting and he nodded in return, his black goggles over his eyes. "What's the plan?"
"Just got enough juice to make it New Mecca." He shortly replied and Jack wasn't quite satisfied. What was going to happen to her?
"About an hour."
With that she sat down on the floor next to him, her head just beneath his thigh. She stretched out a leg and leaned over it, groaning in appreciation at the feeling. She did that with the other and sat back up, freezing when she felt his large hand on her head. She shocked herself when she audibly purred at his touch, his thumb stroking the side of her scalp gently.
"You should cover this when we land. Then grow it out." He added and she nodded. A few more strokes and his hand disappeared, much to her disappointment.
She pulled her legs in to a crossed-legged position and looked up at Riddick's sculpted face. To her he looked like the hundred feet tall warriors carved in stone in the ancient empire capitals she had seen in a book she had stolen from Paris. He didn't seem to be needing it at the time and she had been without orders from Fry, so she had leafed through it.
"Riddick, where are you from?" She asked suddenly, surprised at her bravery.
"Not a good place." He replied after a moment.
"So you don't have a home?" She pressed and one sharp glance at her sitting form kept her quiet. Jack thought over what she had asked and realized that he probably never had a place to call home. Not even his own ship, since he must've kept switching and stealing different ships to keep the mercs off his back.
She had a home, somewhere. Jack had distant memories of kind parents, an idyllic home and maybe even a few friends. She had been kidnapped by traders in the human trafficking business and never returned home after. She had finally escaped but she had no idea where home was. Her parents had never taken her off the planet and she had known that other systems had existed, but it had never even been a possibility that she would leave the planet she lived on and go visit those.
So Jack didn't have a home anymore. A family somewhere, maybe, but no real 'home'. She was sure Imam would always have a home because his religious affiliations gave him a home and family wherever he went. She shivered as she remembered the family he had lost on the hell-planet.
"Jack? My child, we have a question for you." Imam spoke, breaking her train of thought.
"Sure," she turned around and realized that Riddick had moved as well, standing across from her, leaning against the steel walls of the skiff.
"You can take your time with your answer, for it is your fate that you decide now, it is the fork in the path of your-"
"We're going planet-side in twenty minutes, don't take eternity," Riddick cut in and Jack nodded.
"So what's the question?" She asked and Imam's hopeful look almost betrayed him.
"The answer is obvious, but we thought it would be wise if you were to have a choice between the two of us to live with." Imam explained.
"Wait, we aren't living together?" Jack wasn't happy with this new development.
"My child, I cannot live in my society if I house a criminal. You must see that it is best if you stay with me-" Imam was angrily cut off by Jack.
"Get the facts straight, bub. One, Riddick is a man, he has a name and it isn't the label: 'criminal'. Two, the answer isn't obvious, least not to you. Three, if you think I'm going to live and be part of that society who just supports the world that destroyed my life, you are sorely confused." Jack nearly snarled the last part and knew that she had surprised both of them.
"And you should watch your tongue, child, speaking back like that is not acceptable in your new home." Imam scolded her and Jack sprung up, enraged.
"Your life isn't my choice! I'm going to live with him!" She pointed at Riddick who smirked.
"Look like she's made her choice, holy man." Riddick said and shoved himself off the wall and sat down in the pilot's seat. "C'mere Jack." She glared at Imam once more before standing next to his chair. Pulling her neck down, he whispered into her ear. "Made the right choice."
End of the first story. Another one soon to come. As you can see, the plot has changed, I have changed it, because…well, I like it better that way. So nyeh.