He looked up from the kill and saw the sight he had most wanted to avoid. She was there, in the doorway, just staring at him. He became aware of the blood scattered across his chest, along his arms, even on his face. His hands, he knew, were drenched. The body was splayed on the ground, limbs unnaturally twisted. He had eviscerated it, spilling intestines across the ground. His boots were black with the gore.
This was it, he realized. The moment he had hoped would never come. She was seeing Richard B. Riddick at his worst, when the kill was not quick, or clean. He had taken pleasure in this one, drawn it out. The poor fucker had screamed behind his gag -- such horrible screams -- and he had enjoyed it. She had seen that too, he knew without asking. She had seen him for what he was.
He stood slowly, unhurried, his face expressionless. She would be the same, he was certain. No changing the past, no reason to apologize. He just watched her with a neutral gaze, waiting for the shock to wear off and the condemnation to come.
He couldn't smell her over the stench of human waste, but he conjured it up in his mind: sandalwood and sweat. Her wide green eyes pinned him down. Subtly, very subtly, he shifted his grip on the shiv so that when she went to scream he could end her with a clean stroke she would never feel.
A small smile came up on her lips and she arched an eyebrow, her eyes flicking down to tell him she had noticed the change. "You asshole," she said, "If you kill me, who the hell's going to help you scrub? This is going to take forever to clean." She looked him up and down fastidiously, her nose wrinkling at the smell. "For that matter, you're going to take forever to clean. And you'll need new clothes. See, if I were bleeding out who'd go to nick you new gear?" She rolled her eyes and turned her back on him -- no fear. "Sometimes you got no common sense at all."
The laughter when it came echoed in peals off the blood-smeared walls.
Riddick leaned against the doorframe to her bedroom, taking up more space than she thought he really ought to. Jack turned around in her swivel chair to face him. It had been two days since he murdered that moron he caught breaking in and they hadn't spoken of it again. It had taken four hours to get the room back in order, but it would've gone a lot faster if they hadn't been running interference keeping the girls out.
"What's up?" she asked perfunctorily. Riddick would not have come to her room unless he had something to say.
"If you need anything go get it today. We're deep-spacing tomorrow." They had been planet-side for three-days living out of a brothel. An old acquaintance, which Jack had come to realize meant an old fuck, ran the establishment and had offered to put them up in exchange for Riddick's "company." While Jack couldn't fault the hospitality of the hookers, she wouldn't mind leaving all the better-left-unexplained noises behind.
"Really?" Her face brightened at the prospect of seeing all those stars. "You got us a ship?" His answer was an indeterminate sound she took to mean, 'More or less.' She quickly ran through her list of belongings and settled on what should would bring. She'd need relatively few things. She had two pairs of pants, three shirts, and a small selection of undergarments. They lived in a state of poverty, but Jack hardly even noticed. She had Riddick. Everything else was superfluous, really, up to and sometimes including basic necessities. The brothel was high living. A ship would be heaven.
"You need creds?" he asked gruffly, those goggles empty of expression. Ordinarily she kept her room dim so he wouldn't need them but he had interrupted her reading and the lights were on full.
"Nah," she told him, twisting the chair from side to side thoughtfully. "I've got everything I need. How long we going out for?"
"A while," he said, his eyes roaming over the room. He was bothered by something here and he couldn't put his finger on what. Jack was staring off into space, presumably doing an inventory of her supply needs. Her hand reached up to rub her peach-fuzz hair and he noticed that for the first time the face underneath looked feminine as opposed to androgynous. Jack no longer looked like a boy. She looked like a girl with no hair. Again, something about that bothered the man, but he couldn't think why so he shook the feeling off.
She caught him staring - or rather she made an educated guess he'd been staring - and asked, "What?" He didn't respond, disdaining the question, so she shrugged and added, "We need anything you want me to pick up?"
"Yeah, grab a new set of shirts that fit," he told her.
Her eyes widened, shock evident in the way she suddenly froze, "Why?" The distress in her voice was uncharacteristic. Riddick wondered again why Jack had become a boy in the first place.
He felt his frustration building. Why did she have to be so damn emotional all the time? He kept it from his voice when he said, "'Cause. Nobody's going to believe you're a boy anymore. Look in the mirror, Jack. Takes more than short hair to make a boy and we don't need anyone sniffing around to find out why you're faking." He left then, before he snapped at her. Wasn't her fault he couldn't do the comforting thing.
In her room, Jack was doing just what he said -- looking in the mirror. At first she couldn't see what he meant. She had the same face, the same hair, the same clothes. What was different? What had changed? She stared hard, one hand reaching out to trace the outlines of her reflection. And then like a veil had lifted, Jack realized what she hadn't wanted to see. Her chest was still flat like a boy's, but the way her pants sat on her hips was different. There were subtle curves there now that even the baggy t-shirt she was wearing couldn't obscure. She was a little longer in the leg, but the new width of her hips had changed them. Her chicken legs had turned into slim shapes.
Even her bald head had betrayed her, emphasizing her narrow jaw and large eyes. She narrowed those green depths now at herself, analyzing the changes.
"Shit," she whispered, knowing he was right. "God dammit." As she ducked out her window onto the fire escape she stopped and watched the night sky. The atmosphere on this planet made it look green and the stars were more of a phospherescent purple. They twinkled merrily.
As she descended to the street she wondered vaguely if God had a sense of humor, and if He did, if this was His idea of a joke.