Richard B. Riddick. Serial Number:3535041.

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Acacia looked at him through the small, barred window of the steel cage he was in and grimaced. She couldn't see much because of the dark, but she caught sight of a pair of goggles and a glint of steel around his hands and ankles. Nothing moved, so she assumed he was either asleep or passed out. That was a comfort.

She'd heard of him before. He was famous amongst prisoners and convicts alike. Rumors of his infamous escapes from top-notch prisons had spread across galaxies. Every prison with prestige wanted him, and was willing to pay good money to have him. Most prison went after him for the reputation that his capture would earn them if they were actually able to keep him. Others did it because they had no idea who they were dealing with. She hoped Antenora wasn't one of those.

Since most rumors tend to be tall-tales of the actual truths, she didn't believe Riddick was what they all made him up to be. It made sense for inmates to look up to someone who might have broken out of a prison or two; it gave them a small sliver of hope that what they were made to believe to be impossible was actually quite possible if someone like him were around. She knew that wasn't going to happen in Antenora. There was no way he would be able to escape.

"So now they've got girls working the slams. Interesting." he spoke slowly, as if he took his time savoring each word that came out of his mouth.

A shiver ran down her spine at the sound of his voice, and she knew that it caused nightmares for whoever heard it and survived to remember it. It was a voice she wouldn't easily forget. The thought of him being awake, and worst of all, aware, bothered her as well and she knew she had to be on her guard. She didn't say anything. Even thought her back was now to him, she had a feeling that he could tell she was less self-assured than a minute before when she'd thought he was asleep.

She left before he said anything else, and tried not to listen later as they took him out of the solid steel cage and moved him along to his cell. It was prison protocol to have at least 6 guards accompanying a prisoner at all times. Depending on how dangerous the prisoner was, the guards would have automatics at the ready. For Riddick they made an exception. 10 guards accompanied him, and she knew they would all be pointing their automatics at his head.

Before she had a chance to make herself some coffee, the code red alarms went off everywhere and suddenly everyone was in a hustle. 5 years she had worked at Antenora and not once had any alarm sounded. They hadn't even had Riddick for a whole day and yet he was causing more trouble than he seemed to be worth.

It took her less than a second to decide what she should do. Every nearby guard was running towards what would have been Riddick's cell. She ran as fast as she could towards the first set of gates.

There was no one around. Why wasn't there anyone around?

She found two dead guards as she turned a corner. Their throats had been slit and they were both missing their automatics. And their pistols. She cursed and ran faster, nearly stumbling over a few more bodies. She took a shortcut through a narrow passageway that would lead her right by the first gates. She stopped dead in her tracks when she reached the end and heard the sound of a knife swishing through the air, a man gagging, then of blood gushing.

Her first instinct would have been to raise her gun, point and shoot without a second thought. The sight of him delayed that instinct. A curved knife was held in a strong hand by his side. Two rifles hung over one shoulder. His goggles were off and he looked straight at her. She couldn't breathe. Silently he ran on past the first gates, which stood open. It wasn't a sight she was used to, those gates being open.

A strange terror had gripped her as his eyes had locked to hers. He had been so ready to kill her, and for a split second she had had no doubt that he would. She could almost feel his threatening strength from across the expanse that was separating them. In a split second she had realized that she was no match for such a killer and that realization had numbed her into complete powerlessness. She had watched as the most dangerous man she had ever laid her eyes on walked away from her without her even firing a single shot. Something had whispered to her not to shoot, that it was safer that way. Only after he was completely out of her sight and terror released it's hold did she start to breathe again, taking in large gulps of air which made her head light with dizziness.


A gust of wind passed by the window, making the white curtains swell up like vertical ocean waves. A whisper carried by the wind entered her dreams, and she woke up drenched in sweat with a gun in her hand, pointing at air. Acacia had heard his voice in her sleep, saying words she had never heard him utter. Still they had sounded as horrific as if he had whispered them in her ear. She could still see his large frame hovering over that corpse with blood still gushing from its throat, holding the curved knife and looking at her as if he was the all-powerful animal and she was the helpless pray.

Acacia put down the gun on the nightstand and glanced at the clock, its letters flashing a pale blue. 3:35am. She flinched as if someone had placed a rock in her stomach.

She put her head back on the pillow and closed her eyes. Sleep crept over her and she sighed.


Another gust of wind bothered the curtains, and a pair of light feet landed soundlessly on her carpet. His eyes flashed in the darkness and he took in her frame covered by bed sheets.

She shifted in her sleep and he stood still as stone. He saw her hand move by her side as if it was seeking something. Then he saw the gun on the nightstand. The pistol he was holding was poised and ready.

Her face contorted as if she was in pain. Her hand sought more urgently for the gun. Without being able to reach for it she awoke once again.

Every muscle in him tensed as he felt her fear, its bitter taste filling his senses, but even as he held her gaze, she did nothing. She didn't move. Neither did he.

Her hand began to creep slowly towards her gun. He saw the look in her eyes shift from surprise to something akin to determination.

He had her pinned against her pillow, hands secure above her head before she could even acknowledge the fact that he had moved and that he was attacking her. Her eyes gazed into his in fear, and he knew that she wasn't going to scream. She wasn't even resisting him as he held the sharp blade to her neck.

"Do it," she whispered. "Get it over with."

He frowned, but didn't slacken his hold.

She arched her neck ever so slightly against the blade as if she was inviting it to glide and cut against her flesh. "Come on."

The smell of fear was gone and it surprised him. "I've never seen anyone so ready to give up." As soon as he said this he saw her expression change, as if she realized how stupid it was of her to want to be killed. He felt her begin to tense.

"What do you want?" she asked.

"Why didn't you shoot me when you had the chance?"

"What --"

"Answer me."

"I don't know."

He frowned again, and Acacia became aware of the fact that although he was pressing her down, he wasn't crushing her. He wasn't even hurting her.

"There must've been a reason. I mean, most prison guards I know would rather shoot me than not. Since you didn't, and you're obviously someone who should have every reason to, it got me thinking." he paused. "You a merc?"

His question was more of a statement than a question.

She shook her head, looking at him in utter confusion. Nothing of what he was saying made sense to her. Why would she be a merc?

"What's the price tag this time?"

Again, he saw that look of confusion on her face.

He wasn't even holding her tight. She wondered, if she was quick enough, would she be able to get her hands away from his grip, grab her gun and his knife and finish him before he could finish her. She noticed his shirt was torn on the side and there was a large dark stain. Maybe she'd be able to distract him long enough by bumping his side with her knee.

She could see he was growing impatient, so she made up her mind. She managed to free her hands long enough to grab the blade and use her knee to hit his side, but he quickly swung his legs over her other side, pulling her far away from her gun. Even though she was the one with the knife and the advantage of being on top, her hands were again in his grip, and this time she was pinned against his chest. She was straddling his hips, and she had time to become aware of the fact that she was sitting right on top of his crotch before she heard him chuckle.

"Oh come on, do you really think I'm that easy?"

She kept her head as far away from him as she could, but despite her every effort her face was still very close to his. So close that she could feel his breath tickling the hairs that had fallen over her eyes; so close that she could almost feel the touch of his lips on hers, if only she lowered her head just a bit.

"So tell me, what is someone like you doing working in a prison? Even such a pathetic prison as Antenora."

"I work there," she almost growled at him. She was getting angry at being toyed with like he was doing.

"Riiight. Don't bullshit me."

"ENOUGH! I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about, so how about we get this over with and you tell me what it is that you really want besides throwing me around my own bed and playing with sharp blades." her tone was stoic, almost detached and he wondered exactly how sane she was as she looked into his eyes. He couldn't see anything there besides impatience and annoyance. That wasn't normal.

"Is that what you think I'm doing, playing?"

She wondered if he had really snickered or if she had imagined it.

He uncrossed her arms which had been pinned against his chest, and took the knife away from her hands so effortlessly it made her feel as if she had handed it to him. With another swift movement he flipped them over so that he was once again the one on top, but this time he didn't hold the knife against her throat. With one hand holding both of hers above her head and the other holding the knife, he slowly slithered the knife under her back. He pushed with his fist against the small of her back, as if he was positioning her against his pelvis. He tapped a spot against her back, and she felt the cool texture of the blade against her skin. She would have shivered if not for the compromising position she was in.

"You feel this? One slight flick of my wrist and I could have you withering in pain. That's how bad it hurts. I could have you begging me to stop it as waves of torture flow up and down your spine. You think I'm just playing around? Do you want me to give you a little sample or would you rather pass." he tapped her skin with the knife. "If I were you I would definitely opt to pass. Trust me."

Acacia looked into his eyes, wondering if the gripping fear that was settling in the pit of her stomach showed at all in her eyes. She no longer feared him, nor what he was capable of doing to her. She did, however, fear death, especially when it seemed to be hovering right above her, and under her.

His face was impossibly close to hers. She looked up in his eyes, sensing that her time was almost up. She wanted her killer to remember her as he threatened to slice up her spine. She wanted him to look her in the eye as he tortured the living daylights out of him. He would remember this kill, she was going to make sure of that.

He didn't move. She felt his tense body pressing against her own, aware that somehow, he didn't feel menacing at all. He felt like a man, a man she could have perhaps, in another universe, liked to have against her, holding her like that but for a different purpose. His breath tickled her hair again, and she almost smiled at the irony. She was aware of her killer not as a threat and a danger, but as a man. A man who might have been able to love.

Suddenly, something in the back of her mind snapped. She didn't care what he did to her anymore, so she left all of her inhibitions buried somewhere in the back of her mind, and she did the unthinkable. She lifted her head slightly, just enough to touch her lips to his. They felt surprisingly warm and soft, they could've perhaps been the lips of the perfect lover. She couldn't settle for just one touch. She moved her lips against his. She tucked her upper lip between both of his and gently let her bottom lip gather his own as she slightly sucked on it. Then she let her tongue trail lightly across it. His mouth felt so gloriously full against hers. The knife never left her backside, and he didn't slacken his grip on her hands. But slowly, ever so slightly he opened his mouth. She moved from his bottom lip to his upper lip, and he kissed back. He didn't have the patience for light caresses. He slipped his tongue in her mouth, and she met him stroke for stroke. She pushed back against him and surprisingly he was no longer the intruder. She explored his mouth and he seemed to let her to do it all too willingly. For the briefest of moments she wondered why he couldn't be like that when it came to arguments. She tried to find out what he tasted like, but she couldn't quite place it. He didn't taste like killer. He tasted too good for that. It reminded her of the first time she had tasted her favorite foods. He reminded her of dark chocolate. At first she hadn't liked it very much, but by the second bite she had needed more and more because it had become more and more delicious with every other bite.

They parted for breath, and she gasped. The sudden deprivation of his mouth was as unpleasant as the thought of what the knife pressing against her back could do.

He took her mouth again, this time uninvited. He wanted the intense rush of a harsh and rapid kiss, but she only allowed him little of what he wanted before she slowed it down. She made him make careful movements as she kissed him slowly, lingeringly. He succumbed, however unwillingly to her movements. He delved deep inside, making her groan and yearn for more. He gave and he took and she let him do it all. She restrained a whimper as he backed away, gasping for air. She nibbled on his lip, wanting to hold on just for a little while longer.

"Do it," she whispered, and slowly pressed her back down against the hand that was holding it up and against the knife pressed to her skin. "You know you want to."

A part of him did want to do it. The part that wanted to smell her blood as it spilled over the sheets. The part that loved the thought of killing a woman in her own bed as she screamed against the pain.

Then he noticed that a lone tear trailed down from one eye over her temple. She looked so very sincere, lying there powerless against him. She looked so ready for him, for whatever it was that he wanted to give her. Never before had he wanted to give life rather than death until now.

Slowly he brought out the knife from under her and secured it in its slick holster by his side. He let go of her hands and let her lower herself slowly onto the bed.

She looked up at him, surprised and confused, unable to understand this new change. He moved away from her until they were no longer touching, but she craved his touch now. She was too stunned to move, too stunned with the realization that she wasn't going to die. She wasn't even sure if she was in any danger anymore. Before she could recover her thoughts, she saw him stand by the side of her bed. He looked just as menacing as he'd looked earlier in the day, standing beside the bloody corpse. He was just as much the villain now as he had been then.

"No," she whispered. "No. What are you doing?"

He didn't answer.

"No," she said again, and stood on the bed. Only this way she was able to match his height. "You bastard, you fucking bastard, you can't just terrorize the living daylights out of me and expect me to just… Let you do nothing." She launched at him with a punch he caught too easily, then another which he diverted with his elbow.

"What's your name?" he asked calmly as if nothing had ever happened. If Acacia would have known better she would have realized that his voice was huskier than it should have been and his face graver than it usually was.

"What?" she stopped trying to attack him.

"Your name."

"Acacia."

He nodded and let her go. She stood rock still as he crossed her bedroom and went out of the room. Soon afterwards she heard the front door slam shut.

Slightly dazed she went back to her pillow and pulled the covers over herself. Without intending to she fell asleep.


On the news the next morning they announced that an extremely dangerous criminal was out on the streets, just escaped from Antenora.

"He was never in there in the first place," Acacia muttered to herself as she poured a cup of coffee.

It had seemed a wonder to her that she had been able to get out of bed in the morning. There was no way she'd be able to function after what she had been through. But after her thoughts began to clear up a little bit, things didn't seem so bad. Sure, her back was a little sore and her lips hurt just slightly if she touched them with her fingers, but other than that she was very much alive and well. There was no reason why her life wouldn't be able to go on.

She also had every reason to believe that Riddick wasn't going to come back for her. They'd established that she wasn't someone who was after his head just so she could have a good payday, and she was also not someone he was particularly interested in killing. As far as she could see, she had no reason to want to kill him either.

However, her gut told her that she had to be careful. She didn't know a whole lot about Riddick, but she was beginning to believe the rumors. He was definitely not someone whose attention she wanted to have. He was capable of much more than she had thought. She wasn't terrorized by him or the thought of him anymore but she knew that she shouldn't take him lightly. She realized now that what she had done the night before could have easily gotten her killed. Like he'd said, one flick of his wrist and she would have died a very painful death.

Suddenly her stomach turned over and in a few seconds she was by the toiled bowl, emptying out her stomach. It seemed her body hadn't caught on to the fact that she'd undergone some very intense things. She groaned against the toiled bowl, and just when she thought it was over, the rock settled in again.

She didn't hear the front door open and close. She didn't even hear him pulling up a chair and making himself a cup of coffee.

She pulled down a towel and wiped her face, then went over to the sink and brushed her teeth, trying to wash away the taste of bile from her mouth.

She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw him sitting on one of her stools, by her bar, drinking coffee from one of her mugs.

"Good morning to you too," he said, and Acacia had to remember to wipe the stunned look off her face.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, even as a smile spread over his face. It didn't look forced, but it was strange seeing it on a man she had once seen as the most horrifying killer she'd ever laid her eyes on. And the smile was directed at her.

"Just checking to see how you were." He made slow, deliberate movements as he reached over the counter and refilled his mug.

She scoffed and shot him a look. He shook his head. "Don't do that." he said.

While he sat there, basking in the sunlight of her kitchen with his goggles on, Acacia finally got the chance to really look at him. He was a huge bulk of a man, and yet he had the agility and athleticism of a cat. He was all muscle and roughness, and yet as she looked at him like that she couldn't help remembering how his lips had felt as she had kissed them, so soft and warm.

"You didn't come for a preview of last night, did you?"

An eyebrow went up ever so slowly. "And what if I did?"

"Then I'd say you're wasting your time. And mine."

"I've got nothing but time," he said and grinned.

"Bullshit, every cop in the city is on high alert, patrolling the city looking for you. You need to get out of here as fast as possible. And yet you're still here. Why are you still here? I'm sure a big boy like you would be able to handle himself, you know, acquire the necessities."

He put down the mug that had been pressed to his lips, and Acacia curiously followed it with her eyes until he set it on the bar.

"And you're not very good at your job. It is your responsibility to report any recent sightings of criminals even if you're not on duty, isn't it? Yet you never called anybody, never reported to anyone that you knew I was around. Why is that, I wonder?"

"I don't want to be questioned. Questions dig in too many places. I would have to tell them what happened, because they would wonder why you left me alive."

Even with his goggles on she could tell he was watching her.

"I wouldn't know what to tell them. Why did you leave me alive?"

He shrugged, his shoulders going up and down with the movement. She watched them, remembered how they'd loomed over her the night before and how she'd thought of them as the shoulders of a man, and not of a killer.

"You're a sick one."

"Why, 'cause I let you live instead of die? 'Cause I didn't stick my knife in that sweet spot of yours and watched as you were slowly tortured until you'd succumb to the pain and die? You were almost begging me for it, and I'm the sick one? Fuck you."

"Well, you didn't. I guess that makes you better than most."

He looked up, suddenly curious. "Is that what you want, you want me to fuck you to oblivion? Is that what you want?"

She grimaced at his tone, as if he was trying to make her feel guilty for what she'd let slip.

He got up from the chair, backing her up against a wall as his frame loomed over hers.

"You listen to me. I let you live because you're not worth killing. You've got a fucking life, unlike the rest of us. Don't you come talking to me about wanting death. You know nothing about death." With those last words he backed away from her and left.

Once again she thought that would be the last time she'd see him; once again she was wrong.

She was getting ready for bed, changing the sheets and tossing them up in the laundry basket. She put on newly washed sheets and she was glad that she could feel as if she could start over. Nothing was written in stone, she would have to get over what had happened.

She sneaked under the covers, feeling the small sleeping pill she had taken start to kick in.

She saw his frame again, with the curved night in his hand. Only this time it looked much more terrible and menacing. He was standing over a corpse, and she soon realized it was her corpse and there was a large hole in her back with blood pouring out. She screamed and woke up still screaming, sweat covering her entire body.

"Having nightmares?" the voice that sent shivers down her spine said, and when her eyes adjusted to the dark she saw that he was standing at the foot of her bed.

"None of your goddamn business."

"Okay."

"What are you doing here? Why do you have to sneak up on me like that? Tell me what you want and I'll see if I can help you."

"Oh I'm sure you can." This time she did notice the new huskiness in his voice and the lower octave to which he had brought it. He lowered himself onto her bed and began to crawl on all fours towards her.

"What do you want, Riddick?" she asked as she pulled the covers around her body, suddenly unsure if she wanted him like this.

"You know what I want." He faced her, and claimed her mouth quicker than she had expected. It was a rough kiss, and she could taste his urgency. Without intending to she gave him everything he asked for.

She didn't protest when he pulled her towards him like an animal claiming his prey. She didn't even flinch as his hands tore away her nightshift from her body. His hands then traveled over areas she never thought he would touch.

She raised herself up on her knees, letting him drink in the sight of her naked body and enjoying it as she tugged at his shirt and pulled it over his head. Their eyes met and for the first time she felt like she understood him, even if for a little while.

He undid his pants before she could get to them and soon enough it was her turn to drink in the sight of his body. Goddamn was he beautiful. He was a masterpiece. She ran her hands over his shoulders, which were now more a man's shoulders than she'd ever thought they would be. Her mouth lingered over his nipples and he tensed when she gave them some attention. Then she moved lower, over his stomach, and she nearly gasped at the sight of him. All of him. She pushed him down onto the bed, attempting to straddle him then take him.

He flipped her over with one quick movement, a movement which, the night before, she had thought of as the quick movement of a killer who was getting ready to slice his victim. Now instead of holding a knife he held her in his hand. His fingers got busy and plunged inside of her, making her gasp at the intensity of what he was making her feel. He found her wet and so incredibly ready for him. She had been as ready to accept death the previous night as she was now ready to accept him.

He didn't make her wait long. He plunged deep, and she arched against him like a cat. He plunged again and she let out a small scream of surprise. She opened her eyes and looked into his, basking in the gloriousness of their shine. She hooked an arm around his neck and the other went over one shoulder. He kissed her like he'd kissed the night before, deeply and hungrily, before he plunged into her again, this time not stopping in between thrusts. She screamed out his name as her climax took her and let her go, before he growled against her skin and bit at the nape of her neck as he got to his own climax. His seed was warm as he spilled into her and she clung to his now sweaty shoulders.

As soon as she could regain any strength she untangled herself from him, and pulled him to the pillows. She covered up their bodies and she found that she fit perfectly against his as he let an arm lay sprawled across her thigh. His breath ruffled the small heirs on the back of her neck as deep sleep slowly took him. Acacia noticed that somehow he had managed to become both a man and a killer for her.

The next morning she opened her eyes and was almost blinded by the sunlight that was streaming in through the open windows. She stretched lazily, feeling a wonderful ache in her body. Something warm touched the small of her back, and it traveled up until it reached her neck. She felt her hair being pulled away, slowly and deliberately, and a pair of lips kissed her exposed neck, reaching just the sensitive spots.

"The blood," he whispered, "Flows differently here." he kissed a spot near her hair which made her sigh. "There are smaller, but infinitely more veins." He kissed again and Acacia wondered at his ability to actually be gentle. Her hand sought his and their fingers interlaced. The intimacy of the touch truly surprised her and she almost yanked her hand away, but he wouldn't allow it. He turned her to face him but she found that she couldn't look into his eyes; he kept them closed.

The tip of his nose tickled her skin as it traveled over her body. He kissed and bit in select spots where she was sure to feel it most.

He lifted her legs and wrapped them around his waist. He slipped into her before she could realize what he intended to do. He sheathed himself inside of her, but didn't make any other move. She hooked her arms around his neck and he bent down to claim her mouth. When he moved, it was slow as if he was taking his time. With each stroke she arched just a little bit more into him, her fingers digging into his back as wave after wave of pleasure rippled through her body. She begged him to move faster, begged him to end this tantalizing torture. He dipped his head and nibbled on her ear, making her want more and more.

"It would've been so easy to kill you," he said in that low voice of his. He pressed his thumb on the most sensitive spot on her female body. Her muscles tightened around him and they reached their peaks together and once again she relished in the feeling of his seed spilling into her. "So easy," he said again even as her arms wrapped around him and he lay on his back, letting her head rest on his torso as she fell asleep.

His hand entangled in her hair and he let it rest there.


Acacia woke up alone. Had he been a dream?

She rolled over, looking at the ceiling.

A noise came from the bathroom, and she heard the water being turned on. He hadn't been a dream. She wrapped a bed sheet around her bare body and went into the kitchen.

Soon the scent of strong coffee filled the entire room and Acacia sat down at her bar, mug in both hands and elbows on the counter. Now that her mind was a little more clear she had the luxury to do some reflection. It was an insane thing she was doing, letting a killer and escaped convict come and go into her life as he pleased, occupying her every space as much as he did, mind, body and apartment.

"Riddick," she whispered as if she was testing the way his name sounded when it wasn't referring to a cold blooded murderer. She touched her mouth with her fingers, remembering how he'd kissed her, letting her enjoy herself thoroughly but only on his terms.

The water in the shower stopped running.

He came in with a towel wrapped around his midsection. Acacia could tell he wasn't the type to go for snuggles when he wasn't in bed, so she resisted the urge to plant him a kiss as he stood in the middle of her kitchen. Despite the detachment that existed between them, she couldn't help but feel drawn to him. She knew what his arms felt like when they were around her, she knew what it was like to have him touch her as if all he wanted to do was to give her pleasure. She liked that about him, no matter how absurd it was to like anything at all in him.

He had his goggles on, but he took them off as soon as he closed all the shades. The room was dimly lit by one or two rays that managed to make their way into the room. His glinting eyes were fixed on her and for the first time since she'd met him they weren't filled with surpassed rage, or with any trace of the desire to kill. The animal in him seemed to be tucked snugly away, comfortable in its cage below the surface. He didn't look ruthless anymore. Seeing him like that caught Acacia off guard and she had to look away.

"I'm leaving tonight," he said to her as he made himself a cup of coffee.

Acacia nodded, wondering why she felt a knot begin to form in her stomach. "I'll pack you some things you'll need."

"You want to help me?" his tone was skeptical, as if he suspected her of lying to him despite the conviction in her voice.

"I feel like I owe you."

He chuckled and settled on the stool next to her. He smelled like soap and aftershave. It was a little odd, since she didn't remember ever having bought aftershave.

"What could you possibly owe me, hm?"

"You didn't kill me when I asked you to. Then you swarmed over me in the middle of the night, robbing me of any sanity I might have had. That's not something many men can claim to have done."

"You'll need some clothes," she said, thinking of the pile of dark clothes by her bed. "There's no point in washing the ones you already have, I doubt they'll ever be clean."

Then she remembered the wound that she'd spotted two nights before, the one that had looked serious even in the darkness of her bedroom. She got up from the stool and moved to his other side, the left side so that she could look at the wound. That's when she noticed just how cut and bruised he really was. He'd been hunted before he'd landed in her bedroom that first night and it clearly hadn't been easy for him to escape. Most of the smaller cuts looked like they were healing well, but the one by his side didn't look so good. It was too red, and she could see that he'd broken it several times, not allowing the blood to properly coagulate.

She realized he had been in pain all this time and yet none of it had showed. She looked at the profile of his face, suddenly curious to know what was hiding behind his shined eyes.

She touches the edges of the cut gingerly, making him wince when she probed to closely to the open wound.

"Sorry," she whispered, her eyes still fixed on the cut.

She probed some more, causing him to wince again. "Stop it," he said, grabbing her arm more forcefully than was necessary.

"This needs bandages."

He frowned and let her go.

"You're used to the pain, aren't you?"

Her eyes were kind when he looked into his.

She did something that would've seemed like insanity two days ago. She wrapped her arms around his torso, careful not to touch the cut, and pressed her cheek against his broad back. She could hear his heartbeat, strong and sure, and she could feel his chest swelling and contrasting as he breathed. She placed a kiss over each cut and each bruise. Her hands went to his shoulders and she began to slowly massage them. She pressed as hard as she could with the heels of her hands at the knotted muscles, wondering how long it was since they'd unclenched. She wondered if he remembered what it was like to be able to relax.

She fetched a first-aid kit from one of the cupboards, having difficulty reaching it while at the same time trying to keep the bed sheet wrapped around her body. She momentarily lost control of it and it flowed down to her waist before she caught it. When she turned back to Riddick she thought she could detect a faint smile on an otherwise stony face. She took out some white pieces of cloth, and dabbed one with rubbing alcohol. She pressed it lightly over his wound. She knew it stung him, but he didn't protest. Then she bandaged the wound carefully, her fingers working effectively over his skin.

After she was done she closed the white box with the red cross printed on the lid and she went to the cupboard to store it back. As she tried to reach up again, she heard him move behind her. He took it from her hands and put it back for her.

"Thanks," she murmured, not knowing how to react around this new Riddick.

After she was done showering, she went into her bedroom to put some clothes on. She found him lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling.

"You've gotta stay here until tonight. Don't go anywhere. They're probably still looking for you."

"Going back to Antenora?"

She shook her head. "I took a sick leave, they won't be expecting me until next week."

He watched her as she went around the room, tidying things they had made messy, picking up his filthy clothes and tossing them into a garbage bag.

She bent down to give him a kiss before she went out, and he pulled her close to him, his first sign of affection. "I'll be back soon," she whispered. She felt him press his nose close to the nape of her neck, taking in the smell of her. She went out the door with a small smile on her face.

When she came back to her apartment, she found him leaning over a pot on the stove, tasting the contents. Her kitchen smelled like cooked food, something it hadn't smelled like since her mother had last visited her.

"You cook?" she asked, incredulous.

"I made food, something you seem to have forgotten about."

Her stomach gave a low growl, and she became aware of the fact that she hadn't eaten since he'd broken out of Antenora. She blushed without knowing why.

She pulled out a loaf of bread from one of he bags she had come in with. "I didn't forget, I just don't cook. How in the name of all the galaxies is it possible that you, of all people, can handle a pot and a spoon?"

"One of those things that necessity teaches you, like locking your doors when you go to bed in case someone turns you into a target and finds you even easier than they'd expected."

She almost gaped at him, but he didn't give her much time to ponder as he slipped two plates onto her counter, broke the loaf of bread in two and handed her a spoon.

"Eat," he ordered.

She did, and it was delicious.

After they finished, she took the dishes to the sink. She heard him rustle through the shopping bags she bad put on the floor.

"Are these for me?" he asked and held up a small, bright pink thong.

She raised an eyebrow, and gave him a sheepish grin. "If you want them to be."

His laugh filled the room, and it was yet another thing that surprised her about Riddick and about herself. She liked to hear him laugh.

She dried her hands, and went to help him pick out the things that were for him.

A small part of her wasn't very pleased when he emerged out of her bedroom fully clothed. She had to admit, however, that he looked as delectable with clothes on as without them. She wondered briefly how many women in his life had thought the same thing.

She tried to seem nonchalant, but she was much too aware of him to be comfortable as she carefully packed for him.

"All of the food in here should keep for quite some time, and the clothes are supposed to be of the best quality. The material is supposed to be able to keep constant the temperature of your body, it doesn't rip easily… That kind of thing. In your case I'm sure they'll be put to quite some tests, but like I said, they're of good quality. When did you say you were leaving?"

"Midnight."

"I'll drive you."

"You know that you're breaking about a dozen laws by just being near me, right?"

She nodded.

"And you don't care?"

"Not right now I don't. Tomorrow maybe. But right now none of that matters."

He turned his head to the side as if what she said seemed curiously interesting.

She finished packing his bag, and a yawn escaped her. "Jesus," she murmured wondering when or why she'd become so tired.

"Do you still want to die, Acacia?" Several things unsettled her about his question. It was the first time she heard him say her name. It was also the first real question he had ever addressed her with. He was really asking, and she realized that if she said yes, he probably wouldn't hesitate to take her life.

She didn't answer him. Instead she walked towards him, and she noticed that his knife was by his side again, secure in its holster.

"You make me want things that anyone else would consider insane. But death isn't one of them."

"Funny," he said, not a trace of humor on his face.

She pushed against his chest, and he took a step back. "It's all so fucking unfair, Riddick."

He pinned her against a wall, but when she pushed him away he didn't resist. She kept on pushing until they got to her bed. She made him sit and she wrapped her legs around his waist. He flipped them over backwards until he was the on top. She let out an angry scream and flipped them over, making them land on the floor. She had a feeling he had all too willingly let her do that. She suddenly hated him for going easy on her. She gripped him tight with her legs and bent down for a rough kiss. He plunged deep in her mouth, knowing he had her as she succumbed to his rhythm. She moved away from his mouth and her hand went straight to the zipper of his pants. She undid them without another thought, mildly surprised to find him hard as a rock. She undid her own pants just as quickly and slipped over him as soon as she was rid of them. He met her thrust for thrust as she rode him to his climax, his hands gripping her waist as he poured himself inside of her and she collapsed against him.

"Why do you have to go," she whispered as soon as she could breathe properly, lying half naked on top him. "You gave me things I never thought I'd want just so you could take them away. You occupy my very waking thought. That's not normal. You make me want you, just you, and nothing else, and that's not normal either. Why do you have to go."

He wrapped his arms around her, and suddenly tears sprang from her eyes and she let them soak in his shirt.


A quarter of an hour before midnight, she started up her car and sped down the freeway. Hers was one of the few cars left that actually ran on wheels. She reached the docking station Riddick had told her about quickly, with 5 minutes to spare. They got out of the car and they went over to a small booth where someone handed Riddick the keys to a hangar, and they walked in silence towards the ship.

It was a small thing, build only to carry two people. Riddick had the bag that she'd packed for him slung over his shoulder. When they got to the ship he set it down, and her eyes remained locked on it. She wasn't able to look up at him because if she did, she would lose it

"I never forget people I owe," he said as she was getting ready to walk away.

The only thing she could do was nod.

He took her hand in his, which was something he hadn't done before. He kissed her knuckles, a gesture that looked unbecoming to a man like him. Then he kissed her mouth before he completely let go of her. He turned his back to her and walked back to the small ship, and closed the ramp.

Acacia stared at the small vehicle for a few moments before she recovered herself, regret swelling up inside of her, making her steps heavy and burdensome.

When she got home and turned on the tv, reports of a missing criminal by the name of Richard B. Riddick were still playing on the news. She went into her bedroom to get undressed, and she found something in the middle of the bed. It was the knife he had threatened her with. For the first time that evening she smiled and the sadness was gone.

The End