Not sure if I'm going to continue this or not. If I did continue it would be a story where Riddick kept Jack with him and raised her as a little mini-Riddick. Don't have any idea beyond that. It just kind of came into my mind and wouldn't go away, so I got rid of it by writing it out. Hope you like.
I don't know why I didn't leave them to die. I really I don't. It went against everything I'd learned and believed. Went against every rule I had for survival. When I'd made it to the skiff I'd had every intention of flying off into the night, almost completely at ease with the idea of leaving them behind to die. I'd done more for them by hiding them in the cave and all the shit that had lead up to that than I'd ever done for anyone else. And considering how no one had ever stuck their neck out that far for me before, I figured it had been more than they deserved.
While I'd been prepping the ship for takeoff brief flashes of the kid had kept popping into my mind, but I ruthlessly pushed them aside. So what if the gender confused kid had treated me like a human being when no one else had done so for years? So what if she had foolishly shaved her head to imitate me, something no one had ever done? None of it mattered, only the code; survive by any means necessary. The code that had kept me alive for so long and out of government hands, and more importantly sane when the shit of my life threatened to consume me. I'd worked too long and hard to become the hardened warrior I was to let some slip of a girl destroy all my hard work with her big green doe eyes shining with trust for me that I'd never deserve. Going back for them would be a mistake, I'd known that. Going back for her would be a mistake. I knew it as sure as I knew that mercs would always be on my ass. I'd had myself convinced that survival was all that was important in life; to anyone. Even that bitch Carolyn had been ready to ditch all the carefully sculpted civilized morals she'd probably had her whole life in order to save her own ass when the ship had been going down. There was no reason for me to play the martyr, and no reason for me to feel bad about it.
I'd been determined to get the hell off that rock and get as much of a head start as possible on any government detail or mercs that would be on my tail once word got out the transport carrying me had crashed. No one was going to believe I'd died that way. I was Richard B. Fucking Riddick, I don't die. Period. It wouldn't take long for someone to pick up the emergency beacon the Hunter-Grazner had sent out as it went down. I didn't plan on being close to whoever came to perform the rescue. So there I'd been ready to blow planet when that dumb blonde had come running out of the dark with her pitiful light. I'd shrugged and figured, 'What the fuck, might as well give her a lift. She's got strong survival instincts. Gotta respect that.' So I'd stepped off the ramp and offered her my hand, provided the hollow excuse that no one would blame her. Certainly not me.
Then she'd shocked the hell out of him. She'd actually attacked me. Me! That blonde bitch had actually thrown down on me and tried to fight me to convince me to go back for the others. I'd been stunned. Stunned that the woman who had been so eager to save herself before had found redemption in the dark. I'd lived there for years and it had only made me a better killer. So I'd wondered what made her so different? Why did the dark warp me into a monster, and yet turn her into a hero? It didn't make sense. So I'd pushed her, asked if she would die for them. She said she'd try. That hadn't been good enough and I'd pushed harder. And when she finally answered I saw the truth in her eyes. Yes, yes she'd die for them. Interesting.
So I'd gone back. Figured if she could find something better in the dark than death, then I sure as hell could too. If I made it, I was the victor over death and had kicked its ass. If I didn't, then I'd have gone out in life doing better than I had living it. A win/win situation if you looked at it from a distinctly morbid angle. I'd smiled at the kid when I'd pushed the rock aside and ignored the holy man almost entirely. Together we had battled through the dark back to the ship and I had felt a sense of accomplishment watching the girl walk into the light. Something I hadn't felt in a long time. It had been slightly dampened by the loss of Carolyn, but I'd shrugged that off. Shit happens you know. Can't let it weigh you down. The important thing was I'd found something in the dark just like Carolyn. I'd found Jack. Now the question was what to do with her?
It was hard to go from being ready to leave them to die to sitting alone in the small skiff with them for hours on end while we waited to get picked up by traders. Hopefully traders, and hopefully ones who weren't government commissioned, otherwise I was going to have to ghost whoever found us to keep from being reported. Doubted that would sit well with the holy man. I see the kid being cool with it. She seemed to think everything I did was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but the holy man could be a problem. Push come to shove I'd ghost the old man and space his body if he threatened my freedom in anyway. I'd make it quick and painless, but I'd do it nonetheless to ensure my own survival. The code an all. I'd ignored it for Jack, but the holy man didn't rank so high.
But until then I needed to decide what was to be done. When the kid had come up to the cock pit and strapped into the co-pilots seat I'd wondered what she was going to say. It'd been obvious she was going to try to talk to me; she had been itching to get at me since the crash. At the time I'd found it amusing to say the least. No one had wanted to get close to me for nonviolent reasons for a long time, unless they were looking for sex. And it didn't take a genius to see the kid wanted absolutely nothing to do with sex. It was only the continual interference from the other survivors that had kept her away, but now that was no longer a concern. I knew at first she wanted to be near me because I was her best shot and staying alive, just like at first I didn't mind her being around because she amused me. But for the both of us somewhere along the way everything changed. We changed. The holy man seemed content to sit in the back and chant himself into unconsciousness, leaving us alone in the front to tolerate his incessant praying. So there I'd sat waiting for some tranny kid to strike up a conversation as I'd tried to decide what to do about her.
She'd surprised me by tossing the ball into my court, leaving the decision to me about how things were going to go from there. I'd looked into her eyes for long moments, seeing that unwavering faith that was starting to eat at my insides. Finally I'd told her that Riddick was dead. And it was true, part of me had died on that planet, and something new had been born. Something equally as dark, but somehow different from the rest of the blackness that was my soul. Something in the form of Jack had wormed its way into my black heart and put down deep roots. I knew I'd never get her out, and I wasn't sure I wanted to try.
As I'd sat there staring at her she had suddenly become the embodiment of everything I'd ever lost in my life. She was the family I'd never had, or would ever get. She was the child I'd never had the chance to be. She was innocent of so many things I'd had to learn early on in order to survive. She was the one good thing I'd ever done in my life, and I made a decision then and there. She was going to survive.
Jack was going to learn to survive by choice, not necessity as I had. Every lesson or rule I'd ever learned about life had been painful. The result of a costly mistake that I was determined to never repeat. I wasn't going to let that happen to Jack. Oh, I knew she wasn't as innocent and helpless as she made herself appear to be. I know that initially she'd stuck to me like glue because she knew I was her best chance of getting off that rock. Kid was like me, a survivor. Her life on the streets had obviously taught her how to calculate her odds. I liked that. Gotta admire a strong survival instinct. The only difference was her path to survival hadn't turned her into a psychotic killer like mine had. She still cared about shit. I wanted to keep it that way. I was going to do whatever I had to to make sure that light in her eyes wasn't extinguished.
I'd ripped her out of the dark with my bare hands, and I knew without a doubt that if I didn't hold on tight, the dark would claim her again. All my hard work would have been for nothing. I wouldn't let it happen. I'd do whatever I had to to make sure this kid made it. I wasn't sure how yet, and I still wasn't completely sure why the unchangeable decision had lodged itself so deep in my chest. All I knew was that Jack's life, her survival, had become as important as my own. I'd settle the why of that after I figured out the how. For now I needed sleep so my wounds could heal and I could replace the energy I'd lost.
So I settled back in my seat and closed my eyes, ready to succumb to a healing sleep. I ignored Jack's shuffling movements beside me, until I felt her touch. My eyes shot open as I felt a small, soft, warm body curl into my lap as Jack settled herself on top of me. Looking down I saw a shy smile on her face as she muttered, "You're warm and I'm not. Hope you don't mind Big Evil," and with that she snuggled into my chest and closed her eyes.
I didn't move, hardly dared to breathe until I knew she was asleep. This was not a situation I was prepared to handle. I had rarely held any woman, let alone some teenage girl with identity issues. Once I was sure she was out I tentatively wrapped my arms around her and shifted our position as I forced the chair to recline until I was more comfortable. Jack was now lying on top of me, her whole body barely taking up half of my own and looking ridiculously small in comparison. It felt….nice. Letting the scent of her fill my senses I drifted into unconsciousness my final thought, 'Things are definitely going to be different from now on.'