Disclaimer: Don't own Pitch Black or Firefly/Serenity.
Spoilers for Serenity.
I never really gave this pairing (River/Riddick) any thought until, by chance, I wondered onto a fic that centered on them and I got to thinking. What a perfect match, they are both more animalistic than human, both are killing machines, and somewhat unstable. What a great crossover couple! So I got back to reading Pitch Black fics (didn't like the Chronicles half as much) and this is my crossover fic. I hope you all like it and leave me a review to let me know how you feel about it.
River was used to being the one taken care of. During the year that Simon had rescued her from the Academy he'd never left her side, but not only had she been separated from Simon and the other crew of Serenity, but Kaylee and her had had to duck into the first ship they'd found--trying to avoid the Blue Hands and the Alliance--and before either girl knew what had happened they were in cryosleep.
And now, as River stretched and narrowed her eyes at the glare of the planet in which their ship had crashed, she knew that it was her turn to care for the girl she suspected her brother had a future with.
It was a daunting challenge, especially since the planet whispered cries of pain and death in her ear. She shivered yet was glad that Kaylee hadn't noticed it, it wouldn't do to frighten the girl and tell her that this planet had just as many secrets as Miranda.
They'd only left the planet a month ago, and instead of a good vacation, they'd just barely escaped capture and survived a crash on a foreign, unknown planet.
"Capt'n will find us," Kaylee kept saying as she rubbed her arms. "Simon will find us."
River didn't acknowledge that, knowing that whatever she said wouldn't be reassuring. That was what Simon would do; he'd hold her close and tell her that everything was fine, that he would take care of her.
Dark eyes fell on the disheveled survivors as her mind assessed them, immediately searching for potential dangers, as she'd been programmed to do.
There was a dark man who was dressed weirdly. She'd once seen another dressed this way in one of the ports, and when she'd asked why he dressed so oddly, Simon had explained that he was a Hoodoo holy man, so the young woman guessed that this man was a holy man as well, and the three young boys with him were his apprentices.
She didn't sense any danger from him and his charges, and proceeded to dismiss them from her mind immediately.
There was the Australian couple who looked lean and fit from obvious psychical work. The man looked a little iffy, but the woman had a hard glint in her eyes, the glint that said she wasn't only pretty and could kick some ass if she wanted to. But still, neither were strong or intelligent enough to worry River.
Her unwavering gaze rested on a shorter, skinny man with wire-framed glasses. Just the thought of him lifting a rock, much less a gun, looked enough to hurt him and she shook her head with a smirk.
Definitely no danger there.
"Anyone else having breathing problems?" The tiny man asked in a strained voice. "Other than me?"
"I do." Kaylee spoke before she remembered that they were supposed to keep a low profile so that their risk of being identified as the crew of the notorious Serenity would be minimal.
"I feel like my lungs were bashed in." The young boy wheezed, proving that Kaylee and the other man weren't the only ones suffering.
"Too much pressure in the atmosphere…Not enough oxygen." River announced with such surety no one seemed to even think to question how she knew it, but they all looked uneasy at her words.
"We have enough oxygen to breathe with, that's what matters. And we'll be acclimatized in a couple of days." That was said by the blonde docking pilot that everyone were praising for having 'saved' them.
River scoffed and shook her head in disgust. If the people wanted someone to thank it should be the navigator who'd died. If it hadn't been for his intervention, this blonde would have killed them all to save herself.
While River had contempt for someone so ready to sacrifice the lives of others just to give herself a second more of life, River had no other problem with her. The blonde whom everyone had silently put as leader wasn't worth her attention for now.
There was, of course, the young boy that just struck River as odd. Something about the boy seemed off, but other than that he proved no imminent threat, so the young assassin shook off the questions in her head about him.
"Are you alright, ladies?" A handsome blonde, blue-eyed man asked, giving them a concerned smile.
Kaylee looked up at him and blushed slightly. "Y-Yes, thank you."
"The name's Johns, William J. Johns." He gave Kaylee a lopsided grin. "But everyone just calls me Johns."
"Kaywinnit Lee Frye." Giving him a smile, Kaylee shook his hand, oblivious to his blinking at her long name. "But everyone just calls me Kaylee."
Johns turned to River. "And what would your name be?"
She frowned at him, looking deep into those blue eyes and trying to read him, surprised when she couldn't. When the Academy had cut open her brain and taken away all her Amygdala, they'd created a reader and weapon so great they feared and wanted her all at the same time.
Usually voices and memories and people's thoughts plagued her, but Johns was horribly silent.
"She's River!" Kaylee hugged River's arm, smiling weakly, trying to distract Johns from her friend. "M—my cousin! River Frye!"
River heard Kaylee's worries at that the law enforcer would recognize River for who she was. The Alliance was still looking for her despite the fact that she'd already let out their biggest secret--that they'd created the cannibalistic Reavers while experimenting with the drug Pax on the planet Miranda.
"Pleasure." Johns' smile was filled with charm…
…and River narrowed her eyes further at him.
Now this one gave her the chills, just like the Blue Hands did.
This one she was going to keep a good eye on.
"What were you two lovely young ladies doing on the ship?" Johns asked, giving River one long, piercing look before turning his smile on Kaylee.
"We have a grandmother we never met before." Kaylee hurriedly announced. "Apparently she died and left us an inheritance so we were going to see if there was anything we could collect." She smiled the smile that River knew captivated most men. "And you?"
Johns was silent for a moment before motioning them to follow him. "I was taking a convict to a maximum security slam."
River remembered the presence she'd felt, the purely animalistic scent that'd bathed her the moment she'd awoken after the crash, and silently allowed Kaylee to lead her to the crash site until they came upon him.
Kaylee gasped, obviously horrified to see a tall, muscular man cuffed to a pole, with a bit in his mouth and blindfolded. "That's inhumane!" she cried, turning to Johns.
The law enforcer shook his head. "Well, miss Frye, considering that he's an animal that doesn't matter." Seeing the tears in her eyes, he hurried on to explain. "That's Richard B. Riddick, the man's a serial killer--killed more innocents than one knows how to count. He's an animal and a monster, and already tried to escape once we crashed. I just barely got to him on time. It's thanks to that that we will be able to sleep tonight without worry that he'll come back to the camp and slit all of our throats."
"No night for the weary, no shadow to cool from the heat." River said in a soft voice, eyes on this Riddick. "Hotter by three, each day swallowed by the next, time stands still and the brief passing of night is death."
Kaylee looked worried. Not only didn't she want Johns to realize that River could see things, but what River had just said sounded ominous.
Johns turned to look at River once more, silently, before chuckling. "Night is death? Are you afraid of the dark, Ms. Frye?"
Her dark eyes connected with his blue ones. "You should be."
He looked at her for a moment before cracking a smile and turning to Kaylee, asking something, but River didn't notice it. Her attention was once more on Riddick. He was listening to them, that much was obvious in the tension in his muscles and the way he tilted his head slightly in their direction.
When she tried to read him she came up against a mental wall, barring her from his thoughts. She was immediately impressed, never had she been flung out of someone's mind with such strength. Only someone with years of extensive training could have managed to do that.
It only added to the mystery that was Richard B. Riddick.
Going up towards him, River ignored Johns' call for her to get away from the prisoner, that he was dangerous. She slowly circled the man with his hands cuffed behind his back and around a pole of steel, assessing him, mind overloading with the threat and power he emitted.
Vaguely she realized that he followed her movement, sniffing slightly, as if trying to catch her scent.
That intrigued her.
He made a sound low in his throat that might have been a growl, but with the bit in his mouth River couldn't tell for sure.
In a movement that surprised even her, River's hands shot out and trailed over the hard muscles of his bound arms.
Instantly images assailed her.
"Destruction, horror, pain, screams." She whispered so softly she barely heard herself. "Babies in trashcans with their umbilical cords wrapped around their throats, they are in pain, suffocating, wanting to know why their lives are ending so cruelly when they should just be beginning to live."
The muscles beneath her tensed further, as more images and feelings entered her.
"Their last moments the fear and sadness is gone, replaced by anger, by fury." She paused before gasping the one word that'd been screamed at her throughout her entire vision. "Furyan." Pulling her hand away she moved back as Riddick threw himself at her viciously, yet was restrained by the handcuffs.
"I said get away." Johns grabbed her arm and jerked her away. "Caged animals are not for little princesses to play with."
She frowned at the hand he had on her. "I am not a princess and he is not an animal. He is a warrior."
"He's a murderer, darling." Johns let go of her, realizing that she wouldn't stop glaring at his skin against hers. "Come, let me lead you two ladies out of here." He turned his back on her and strode over to where Kaylee had been watching with trepidation.
River gave one look back at Riddick, who had calmed down yet was sniffing her once again. "There's a gap higher up that pole. Quite a foolish place to restrain a murderer. With one pop, he's free." She offered the information in a soft whisper before going to Kaylee's side and leaving the Furyan there to choose whether to believe her and act on her information or not.
Safe and hidden, Riddick frowned.
Who was the woman whose scent had captivated his animal, spoken things of his past which he'd never told anyone, and helped him escape?
She was all sorts of crazy, her speech told him that in itself, but he found it somewhat intriguing, considering that she'd practically predicted that he'd dislocate his shoulders and get free from the pole (One pop and he's free).
He watched from a safe distance as the other survivors mulled around. Johns, the blonde docking pilot, and two young women left the wreckage with what seemed like a very irate little man and…was that booze?
Riddick shook his head and continued to watch the women. He knew for a fact that the blonde wasn't his little mystery girl—he'd heard her voice and it was nothing like the one whose voice gave him goose bumps of pleasure.
There was also another woman, but she was there with her lump of a husband, and he'd heard her accent. It sounded like one of the accents of people who'd used to live on Earth-That-Was.
So that left him with two alternatives…
…Two very pretty alternatives.
One had dark honored curls and a bounce to her walk, despite the fact that she clung to her friend both protectively and seeking protection. The contrast intrigued him, especially since the other girl seemed so frail she couldn't defend herself from a horsefly.
His goggled eyes landed on the other girl, with midnight black hair, a long black dress that swayed in the breeze, and a walk so confident she seemed unaffected at the fact that they'd just survived a near fatal accident.
Riddick heard Johns sound the alarm when he discovered him gone, and the convict couldn't help but smirk as the blonde looked around him frantically, knowing that Riddick was there somewhere watching him, gloating.
The smirk disappeared though when Riddick returned his gaze to the girls and his eyes connected with the dark pools of the dark haired girl.
She was looking right at him!
And yet, not.
A small smile lit her face, before she turned away from him and spoke to her friend, who looked nervous yet doing her best to hide it.
His inner animal wanted to get closer to her, scent her again.
And not for the first time he was in complete agreement with it.
Just how to do it?
Sometimes having been experimented on proved a blessing, like it did now. While everyone else were faint of breath her lungs were capable of taking in whatever oxygen was present in the air and distributing it so evenly she didn't feel the chest aches and shortness of breaths the others felt.
After news of Riddick's escape leaked out, the passengers had gone into an uproar, all so terrified, their thoughts and worries screamed so loudly into her head River had had to leave the group until they'd calmed down or gotten busy collecting anything from the wreckage that could be used as weapons.
Of course, this effort had been led by William J. Johns, who at the end of the search took an inventory of what they had. His contribution to the 'Keep Ourselves Safe From Riddick' pile were a shotgun, a pistol and a baton.
Shazza and her husband Zeke offered up their pick-ax, digging tools and a hunting boomerang that River was just itching to get her hands on.
Iman pulled out a ceremonial blade, yet kept it with him at all times, letting them understand that he was protecting his students and himself.
River stood behind Frye and took a swig of the alcohol Paris had reluctantly contributed. Although she knew that it would dehydrate her more than she already was, the young assassin took yet another mouthful of the odd tasting liquid before passing it to Kaylee.
The dark haired girl couldn't help but look at the others and wonder if they really thought those weapons were going to be any good against Riddick. If he was half of what she'd sensed he was, then they were just playthings.
She knew she herself could easily disarm and disengage anyone who came at her with any of them, and she doubted that this Furyan in their midst was any different.
Sensing movement, she looked up and was the first to notice Paris straggling in with what she recognized to be antique curios.
Johns stole one from the skinny little man and looked at it with an eyebrow raised. "What the hell are these?"
"Maratha crow-bill war-picks from northern India." The little man announced, pushing his glasses further up the bridge of his nose and taking the curio away from Johns carefully. "Very rare."
"An' this?" Zeke asked, pointing to another oddity.
"Blow-dart hunting stick from Papua New Guinea." Paris announced, slapping away the hand Zeke had placed on said hunting stick. "Very very rare, since the tribe's extinct."
"'Cuz they couldn't hunt shit with these things, be my guess." Zeke announced dryly to his wife.
"Well, what's the need anyway?" Paris glared at the larger man before turning on Johns, obviously annoyed that no one was giving his rare and hard to acquire antiques the respect and awe they deserved. "If he's gone he's gone. Why should he bother us?"
"First, because he can only live out there for so long," Johns announced, eyeing his pistol thoughtfully. "He's gonna come back and take what we've got. Second, for the sheer thrill of the kill."
Kaylee whimpered and unconsciously moved closer to River, causing the thin girl to awkwardly place her hand around her shoulder like Simon did whenever comforting her.
It seemed to work, because Kaylee gave her a small smile, obviously feeling safer knowing that a weapon like River was taking care of her.
She ignored the fear of the others as they each reached for a weapon.
Johns, thankfully, had left them to go and stand on the ship, surveying the land and obviously trying to find Riddick. Both he and River knew that he wasn't going to see the assassin--he was too smart to allow that.
Kaylee had rapidly made friends with everyone who'd survived, introducing everyone to River by name. Apparently her outgoing, friendly personality had charmed everyone, and they seemed to consider River the 'shy one', so they didn't mind her lack of conversation.
While modifying breather units they'd found surprisingly enough intact in the wreckage, Shazza and Zeke told Kaylee stories about their homeland before it was destroyed and what their plans were once they arrived at their destination.
When the breather units were passed to those there, River took one because she'd read Kaylee's worried thoughts of how to explain to the others why River didn't need one if she was supposed to be 'normal', and the mechanic gave her a thankful smile when the assassin just took the mask and thanked Shazza.
Iman, the holy man, and his three students readied themselves to join the others in the search for both Riddick and water. Since the Chrislams didn't drink alcohol, the four of them were suffering from thirst and ready to face the heat of the planet to find some suitable liquid to quench their parched throats.
Docking pilot, Carolyn Fry (Kaylee had been excited, wondering if the blonde could be some distant relative of hers), arrived from scouting the lands, obviously not caring that a 'raging, bloodthirsty murderer' was on the loose. "There are two suns."
That caught everyone's attention.
"Huh?" Jack, the young boy, vocalized their silent question.
"An orange one and a yellow one."
"There's another, a blue one. I saw it while on top of the ship." Johns commented slowly as he joined them once more. "Three suns. No wonder there's hardly any oxygen in the air." His gaze slid to River. "That's three times the normal heat."
"My bloody oath…" Shazza cursed, wiping at the sweat accumulating on her forehead.
"Well, I don't see him sneaking up on us during the night now." Zeke told Johns, who'd mentioned that worry more than once.
"'No night for the weary'…" Johns once again quoted River, his intense blue eyes on her.
"So much for my cocktail hour." Paris lamented.
Kaylee giggled at him, and even River smiled slightly despite Johns attention fully on her. The short man was proving to be entertainment.
Like Zeke, Iman found the three suns a reason to be optimistic. "We take this to be a good sign," he proclaimed, hope shinning in his dark eyes. "A path, a direction from God. We will find what we seek."
"A very good sign." Johns agreed, tearing his eyes off of River and instead looking in the direction of the blue sun. "That's Riddick's direction. You do not wanna be caught in the dark with this guy."
A frown crossed Fry's face. "I thought you found his restraints over there." She pointed in the direction of which she spoke. "Towards sunset."
"I did." Johns nodded. "Which means he went towards sunrise."
"Okay then," Fry straightened, taking in a deep breath. "Let's go find the bastard."
Zeke stepped forwards. "What, you goin' off, too?"
River frowned. Normal people seemed quite dependant on those they saw as their leaders.
"Johns is leaving you a gun." The blonde gave him a comforting smile. "Just do me a favor, huh? Get my crewies buried? They were good guys who died bad."
Shazza stepped up and put a hand on her husband's shoulder, a smile on her face. "A'course we will."
"Thanks." Fry smiled at them before hurrying after Johns, Iman and his boys, who were already beginning their journey to find Riddick, and hopefully, water.
River watched them going with a frown, before turning and going back into the ship with Kaylee and Jack behind her. The mechanic had made friends with the young boy traveling on his own, and had taken to him like a mother.
The assassin watched their interactions and laughter with her head tilted to the side, wondering how it was that Kaylee could make friends of everyone. Was such happiness normal? Or was River just so messed up from the experiments forced upon her she was the odd one to not be so friendly and outgoing—not to care about the welfare of anyone other than the few whom she'd grown protective of?
Shazza appeared, pick in hand as if expecting Riddick to jump out at her from any corner yet confident she could take him on if she had to. "We've decided that while the others are out there should be a watch out to make sure that bastard doesn't sneak up on us while we're divided."
Kaylee looked up from where she'd been joking with Jack. "That sounds like a smart idea."
Shazza smiled thankfully. "Zeke's gone to burry the crew and Paris has decided to take the first watch."
"Paris is our watch?" Jack asked, skepticism deep within his voice.
River snorted, looking at her dirty fingernails. "That was not a smart idea."
"River!" Kaylee cried out.
Shazza, surprisingly enough, snorted in laughter. "Aye, I dunnae think it is either, but I'm keeping a watch on Paris."
Jack went out, mischief in his gaze, and River watched him go with interest, wondering what he planned on doing but shaking her head, realizing that she had more important things to worry about.
Something about the planet wasn't right. Like when on Miranda, voices seemed to call out to her, echoes of the dead cried out in pain, asking every deity to end their suffering, and for the first time in a long time, River felt in true danger. She'd taken the Reavers down without earning one scratch in the battle, but this planet gave her goose bumps.
The Alliance had had a hand in this planet as well. Like her, everything they'd ever touched had been destroyed. She could see the scars in the place as well as she could feel the scars in her brain from the many times it'd been cut up and stitched back together.
The ghosts of trees and flowers, the whispers of children's laughter and the heady scent that Kaylee and Simon made whenever they joined together filled her nostrils, haunted her, told her that this planet had once been alive, a thriving place with animals and humans.
But it was now dead and forgotten—just like Miranda.
The coincidences were too unnerving.
Shivering despite the heat, River closed her eyes tightly and wished that Simon was there. Her brother would know what to do. He was the sane one out them, the one who'd had a normal childhood, who could think coherently, who always found a way to help her.
He'd risked his life, left behind his wealth and his future to save her, and now, as River heard Kaylee giggling at something Shazza was saying, she took in a deep breath, promising herself to save Kaylee because without the girl, Simon wouldn't be happy. That would be her own way of paying Simon back for all he'd done for her.
Even if she didn't make it off this planet alive, she'd make sure Kaylee did.
Well, hope you liked it and review! Reviews are my inspiration!