Riddick makes a contemplative noise and smoothes a finger over the black marks decorating his side and back. "You're shittin' me," he mutters.

Vaako looks over his shoulder at the Lord Marshall. "I wish I were," he murmurs back and remembers the cool, bristly feeling of a brush tickling along his skin. Riddick's hand skims upwards, fingers circling around the callused scars on his neck, the already healing Purifying scars, and Vaako shivers at the touch. "Why would I lie?"

Riddick leans down and sweeps the flat of his tongue over a Purifying mark. Vaako jerks backward that, a helpless noise trapped in the back of his throat. Chuckling, Riddick noses underneath his jaw, mouth brushing skin as he says, "You wouldn't."

Vaako offers his throat, eyes fluttering shut as Riddick takes advantage of the move. He arches back, his body for the taking. Instead, Riddick moves back, a heavy, hovering weight over Vaako. He waits until Vaako's knuckles are white from clenching uselessly in the sheets of the bed and says, "You're not gettin' Purified anymore."

Vaako snarls over his shoulder, teeth bared angrily. It's treason and sedition and all sorts of rebellion, but Vaako says, "No."

Riddick tangles his hand in the long hair trailing down the bare back and slowly pulls until Vaako is bent back uncomfortably, throat stretched. He cocks his head, silvered eyes taking in every inch of pale skin. "That one's an order, Commander."

It's proof that the Purifyings are wearing off when Vaako grits out, "Fuck you, Lord Marshall."

Riddick grins slow and wide like, gives a rusty chuckle, and then proceeds with ravishing Vaako.

Later, when Vaako is still gasping for breath by his side, Riddick skates his teeth over a free patch of skin and says, "It's still an order." Vaako glares but says nothing about it.

Three days later, Vaako is ready to claw himself out of his own skin. Everything is intensified, rolling through his skin and muscle and nerves like electricity. During a meeting with the Lord Marshall, he digs grooves in his palms and chews through his lower lip in order not to go insane.

He is still, silent, until Lord Marshall dismisses the meeting. The men say nothing as they leave the main chambers, but their discontent is in their eyes. Their new Lord Marshall is declaring simple exploratory missions instead of the usual kill and convert missions. The door closes quietly behind them.

Vaako remains focused on the shiny tile beneath his feet and feels the warmth of blood sink underneath his nails, in between his teeth. There's the thunk of boots on ground and then one rough hand is gently tilting his face up.

The thumb trails along his chin, draws along his lip. Riddick pulls away, the blood a rusty-colored smear on his thumb. "I don't think that's a good idea," he says quietly, but the murmur echoes in the empty chamber.

Vaako swallows and feels the flush of heat along his skin. The axis of the universe tilts and his world spins. "It's too much," he whispers and bends his head into his hands. Clammy skin and sticky blood heats to fire against his brow. He's dealt with pain before, but this influx of pure feeling is something he's not felt in years. He pants, trying to get his breath.

There's the slight creak of leather and Riddick is facing him. "Calm down," he rumbles and there is an order in that deep voice that Vaako can't help obeying. He slams his eyes closed, presses the heels of his hands into his temples. Then he is weightless as Riddick scoops him up like some sort of blushing bride and they are moving. He hears the hush that goes in their wake and wants to kill Riddick. He may not care for his reputation, but shit like this is going to cause the men under his command to eye him like he's nothing and that does fuck-all for the chain of command.

(With the absence of Purifyings, the amount one Cylus Vaako curses increases an almost astronomical amount.)

Then there are soft sheets around him and he opens his eyes to the darkened chambers of the Lord Marshall. Riddick walks off to somewhere else. The hellhounds circle around him, sniffing. One finally draws close, ears pressed back, and whines disconsolately at him; it nuzzles his hand, ears perking happily when he finally scratches at it.

Riddick comes back and scoops him up again. Vaako would definitely feel more inclined to hit him if he weren't so exhausted from trying to scratch himself bloody to get out of his skin; also, the urge to hit Riddick would be increased if it weren't for the broad, warm chest and the steady thump-thump-thump against his ear.

The room they go into is lit by a few candles. Riddick stands him up and strips him down and places him in a hot, tubful of water. Vaako bites down on his already bloody lip to stifle the pleased moan that wants to come forth at the feeling. Smirking, Riddick undresses and sinks in behind him.

They soak, steam rising in lazy tendrils around them. When all the tension has somehow seeped out of Vaako's frame and all he feels is the lazy buzz of content, Riddick stands, picks him up, and carries him to the bed. When Riddick disappears for a few moments, Vaako tangles himself in the cool sheets and waits. Soon enough, Riddick is back and curls around him in the bed.

Sleep, however, is far off for Vaako. "You know my story. What's yours?"

Riddick stills and then slowly tells him the strange, saddening story of Richard B. Riddick. It's all lovely, low murmurs in his ear and he sleeps.

When finally does wake up, he knows that the Purifyings have completely washed away and he's a normal human being once again. Well, he amends, almost normal. The only way he knows this is that he has the burning desire to strangle Riddick and he does not feel like a junkie coming down off a high anymore.

He dresses and waits, the hellhounds padding around him his only company. When the Lord Marshall Riddick does enter, he is able to dodge the punch to the face but cannot avoid the low kick to his stomach. Bent over from the hit, an elbow comes up smacks him in the face. Then he stands and, in a few precise motions, has Vaako pinned against the wall.

Vaako does not struggle. He only says, "You goddamn bastard," under his breath.

Riddick tilts his head and skims his mouth over the pounding pulse in his throat. "You seem to be feeling better." Then he brings one hand up and dabs at the blood gathering at the corner of his mouth. "Fiesty," he adds.

Vaako breaks out of the pin and turns, the burn of anger in his cool hazel eyes. "Fiesty?" he asks, almost incredulously. Then he hooks his hands around Riddick's neck and slams a kiss over that wide, smartass mouth. Riddick takes it in stride, kissing back as good as Vaako's giving and sliding his hands under Vaako's ass to heft him higher.

Vaako groans and lets himself be lifted. This was not at all what he planned. But, he decides as Riddick drops him to the bed and crawls over him, this may just be even better.

He hears the echoes that whisper along the walls. He walks, and people gather behind him, gossiping behind closed fingers. "Cause for change," the once-nobles say; their words indicate that there is nothing good about that. "Weakening," his men whisper and he glares when they frown at him. "Not Purifying anymore," some mutter, eyeing his scar-free neck as if it is diseased. "Lord Marshall's whore," few murmur and none look him in the eye.

He walks the halls and holds his head high. He feels disgust for these people, disgust and pity. He wants to shake them out of their emotionless lives and tell them how wrong they're being and—

But he does not. After all, the new Lord Marshall is changing things now.

He continues on his way and is stopped by the former Dame Vaako, Leelia Krypkus. "You," she hisses when she spots him and glides her way over to him like the snake she is. Her smile is false and her eyes are cold and she is nothing like the Sarge he once compared her to. "You…" she trails off. "You…breeder," and the hissed word is the best curse she can come up with.

"You have taken the Lord Marshall," she says sweetly up at him. She grabs his wrist with strong, bony fingers and pulls him close.

"I have done nothing," he replies calmly and bends her fingers back. There is a faint pop and the former Dame snaps her hand back. Vaako feels sick, although he knows she is really not hurt, him having broken nothing.

"You have weaseled your way into his bed," she spits.

Vaako steps closer, towering over her. "I have done nothing that Lord Marshall hasn't wanted," he says. His hot self-loathing turns to bubbling victory when she steps back and scowls up at him. She glares up at him, eyes cold and hard; then she turns in a swirl of perfumed fabrics and glides away, her very own surrender to him.

Sighing, he continues on his way. In the bed chambers of the Lord Marshall, the hellhounds raise their muzzles to him and gather for pets. When they have settled back around the room, he strips and lies in the bed. Soon enough, Riddick joins him. One big hand traces over his side, over those painted symbols; a warm mouth presses along the curve of his shoulder.

They sleep.