Disclaimer. Riddick, Carolyn and associates belong to someone else. I've gently used them and put them away for future use.

And the things that keep us apart
Keep me alive
And the things that keep me alive
Keep me alone
This is the thing

All he could hear was Carolyn screaming "GET UP RIDDICK, GET UP! I said I'd die for them, not you. Now GET UP!" He thought he was going to die on this fucked up planet and never expected her to come back for him, not after what he had done. They did a drunken dance in the rain and mud as Carolyn attempted to help him regain his balance. Finally upright and on his feet he felt her go stiff in his arms with a small gasp.

Tightening his hold around her waist he whispered, "Not for me" as her eyes locked on his; glazing over in shock and pain. "Not for me!" He bellowed in rage at the monster behind her, slicing at it with his shiv, playing a macabre tug of war with her body till finally claiming victory.

"What do you think is happening?" Jack asked Imam back at the skiff. They could hear Fry's screams along with Riddick's yelling the two intermingling with the cries of the monsters holding them at bay. "I don't know," said the holy man griping her shoulders to keep himself from going after them as much as the child. "We must keep watch and wait and pray," he told her.

"Carolyn, are you with me? Carolyn?"

"Riddick, just leave me here."

Blood was running down his arm as he tried to keep her upright. Her buckling knees threatened to take them both down.

"Not today Carolyn, not fucking today! Do you hear me?" he gently shook her. "We are getting to that skiff and we are getting off of this fucking planet, NOW!"

"I can't Riddick."

"Yes you can, Carolyn, yes you can! You WILL NOT fucking die on me!"

Tucking his shiv into his pants, he grabbed the whiskey bottle of light that was lying on the ground at their feet. Throwing Carolyn over his shoulder he bit back the pain from his thigh where the creatures had sliced it open nearly to the bone. Heading towards the skiff he couldn't help but think that they were the bucket of chum that Johns had wanted, both covered in blood.

"I am going to get us to that skiff, Carolyn, I am," he chanted hoarsely dragging them through the mud. He started hollering for the holy man when they were close. Imam had been standing on the skiffs ramp trying to see into the darkness as Riddick rounded the corner of one of the buildings.

When Imam saw them he called out to Jack to make a pallet on the floor with the some of the bedding they had packed away earlier that day. The holy man then ran out into the rain and stood at the very edge of the light waiting for Riddick to reach him. As soon as he stepped into the circle of light Imam very carefully took Carolyn away from the larger man, having seen the damage to her back, and carried her into the skiff laying her face down on the bed that Jack had hastily constructed. Imam then ran back and helped the injured man up the ramp into the skiff. Jack gasped as she saw him.

"Take care of her," Riddick whispered hoarsely, hitting the button closing the ramp and making his way to the pilot's seat. When he mysteriously powered everything down Jack appeared at his shoulder. "We have to say goodnight first," he told her. The look on his face sent the girl quickly backing away from him.

Firing up the burners you could hear the death cries of the creatures as the skiff lifted off the ground and headed for space. By the time he got them into orbit and a shipping lane Imam had almost finished stitching up Carolyn's back.

"How is she?" Riddick inquired gruffly slumping down on a bench.

Imam looked up at the man as he placed a large gauze pad over the wound. "Help me wrap this?" Riddick sat down next to him, pulling Carolyn into his lap so that the holy man could wrap some long bandages all the way around her; as he could see now that the stab wound had went all the way through to her front. Not as bad as the back, but not good either.

"She's alive. But with the blood loss and shock only Allah knows for how long. We can only pray for her recovery and a speedy rescue." The holy man finished and Riddick gently lowered her back to the floor.

"You're next" the holy man said indicating his injured leg. "Take your pants off and sit on the bench, please." Brushing a stray piece of Carolyn's hair away from her face, he stood to do as the other man had requested. The pain in his leg had subsided to a dull throb, but it needed to be attended to. He slowly sunk to the bench leaning his head back against the hull and stretched his leg out. Imam dropped a blanket on him.

"This is going to hurt," he said, eyeing the leg while holding the antiseptic in his hand.

Clenching his teeth, Riddick replied, "Just do it."

Imam decided that the fastest way was also the easiest and poured the contents out over the injured leg. Riddick took in a shuddering breath as fire enveloped his leg. The holy man dabbed at the wounds drying them as best he could. "These need stitches." That was fine with Riddick. The pain would give him something to focus on.

"Jack" Imam called. "Please get the flashlight and come here. I need some more light in order to stitch Mr. Riddick's leg." He worked as quickly as he could to stitch the three cuts up while keeping an eye on both his patient and his young charge. They each looked ready to drop where they were. As he finished up with the last cut he instructed the child to get a pillow and blanket and to go lay down in the co-pilots seat. For once she was quiet and did as she was told. Riddick watched the exchange in silence.

"What's on your mind holy man?" Riddick asked.

"You need rest. You've been injured and have lost a lot of blood. It's only right that I take the first watch. The child can stay up front with me and there is room here beside the Captain."

"I'm fine," Riddick told him his voice edged with annoyance.

Imam stood, reaching out to lay a calming hand on Riddick's shoulder. Riddick looked at him and then his hand and then back again. The Holy man slowly pulled his hand away. Glancing at the petite blond on the floor he looked Riddick in the eye. "I think it would be best if you were the one with the Captain when she awakes. I know enough about these old skiffs to know if there's a problem. Please, Mr. Riddick, rest for awhile." He turned away, heading towards the front of the skiff stopping to pick up another blanket on his way, effectively ending the conversation. Riddick looked down at Carolyn passed out on the floor with only a bandage around her back to cover her from the waist up and something shifted in him.

He was honest enough with himself to admit that he wanted to be near her. To make sure that she was still with him. Looking towards the front of the skiff he saw the holy man stop to pull the blanket up around the girl who appeared to be fast asleep and then settle into the pilot's chair.

Focusing on the problem at hand he decided against putting his pants back on and draped them over the bench he had just occupied. He then did the same with Carolyn's shirt that he found lying on the floor where it had been discarded. They were both soaked and he had no desire to lie around in wet clothes. He stripped his shirt off adding it to the bench and then bent down to unzip Carolyn's pants and pull them off of her. That done he finally lowered his self to the floor and rolled onto his side so that he could see her face.

Propping up on one elbow he touched the bandages on her back. They were still dry and her skin felt only slightly warm to the touch. Carolyn moaned slightly, reaching out, her hand looking for him even in her sleep. He smoothed the hair back that had fallen in her face, then lay down gathering the hurt woman to his side letting her use his shoulder as a pillow so that he could wrap his arm around her waist and pull her in tight. Riddick took her small hand in his and kissed the top of her head, breathing in her scent. "What have you done to me?" he whispered into the darkness. Never had someone been willing to give their life for him before. And he had never before put someone else's life before his own.

Carolyn was thrashing about in her sleep. He pulled her close whispering into her ear so as not to wake the others. "Shh, it's ok. There's no monster. Shh, it's ok."

She had stopped fighting as soon as she had heard his voice. "Richard?"

"Yeah babe. Right here."

"My back hurts."

"I know it does. I just need you to hang on a little while longer. Can you do that for me?" he asked stroking the back of her head.

"Yes," she answered softly her breath warm on his neck.

"That's a good girl," he replied holding her close. "You stay with me, ok?"

"I was always with you. Always"

"Just rest now."

"Don't go." she murmured.

"I'm not going anywhere," he said roughly. Lying there quietly his mind was traveling in several different directions as he waited for sleep to claim her once again. The next thing he was aware of was Jack shaking him awake. Riddick cracked an eyelid.

"What is it kid?"

"Imam needs you. We've been contacted by a ship and their hauling us into their docking bay!"

"Mercs?" He asked getting to his feet sliding his pants on and then his boots to head up front.

"No, no mercs, Mr. Riddick. Some type of cruiser. They have offered to tow us aboard and to provide medical care and lodging until they can drop us off at New Mecca. Evidently we are not far away."

"How much longer?" Riddick asked.

"We should be docking right about now," he replied as a shudder ran though the small ship.

Riddick climbed into the co pilot's chair and began to shut down the systems on the skiff. He could hear Jack and the holy man attend to Carolyn getting her dressed and ready to be taken out.

At last the skiff was powered down and the ramp started to lower. The holy man moved to stand in front of both Jack and Carolyn's prone form. Riddick slowly made his way to the back but stayed in the shadows.

Two men appeared at the bottom of the ramp and proceeded to make their way up into the skiff.

The older of the two men stepped forward. "Welcome Aboard. I'm Captain Pike and this is my medical officer, Dr. Connor," he stated, indicating the younger man.

Imam stepped forward. "Hello, I am Abu "Imam" al-Walid; the injured woman is our Captain, Carolyn Fry. This is her child, Jack and her husband, Rick Fry," he said waving his hand in the other mans direction as he finished the introductions. Riddick growled to express his displeasure at this turn of events. The holy man turned his head slightly and slanted his eyes. Jack actually grabbed on to the back of Imams robes and their hosts looked at each other nervously. "We are grateful to you for rescuing us." Imam said turning back to them. "We have been through a terrible ordeal."

"Yes, yes we can see that and are happy to be of service," The captain replied with a nod of his head. "Dr. Connor perhaps you should call down for a stretcher to transport Mrs. Fry to the Med-Lab."

"No," Riddick said stepping out of the shadows causing both men to take a step backwards. "I'll carry her. Just lead the way." He bent down picking Carolyn up and settled her in his arms.

"Of course," the doctor responded. The Captain turned to him "I'll send a steward to the med lab to get them settled in rooms and to find them some clean clothes. I'm sure we can find something that will fit." The Captain then addressed their ragtag group. "We'll be passing by New Mecca tomorrow evening. Until them, please consider yourselves our guests." The holy man uttered his thanks and the Captain strode down the ramp.

"The Med-Lab?" Riddick questioned the doctor.

"Right this way." He turned heading towards what appeared to be a lift.

Carolyn had started squirming in his arms. "Richard," she moaned grabbing the front of his shirt.

He brought his mouth close to her ear. "Shh, I've got you babe. We're taking you to a med-lab right now."

"Here we are," the doctor told them as the lift doors opened once again. The group stepped out of the lift and was met by several other medical personnel. "Mr. Al-Walid, my colleagues here will check you and the child over and provide any medical assistance you should need. Mr. Fry, please come with me." Riddick glanced over at Jack and then the holy man who had wrapped his arm around the girl's shoulders. Imam had gotten them into this mess with the cover story of a family; he could certainly handle this situation.

He followed the doctor into the room he had entered. "Please, lay your wife down here," the doctor instructed him pointing to an exam table on the far side of the room. Riddick put her into a sitting position and holding onto her arms got in her face. "Carolyn? Carolyn!" Her eyes instantly flew open. "I need you lay on this table. It might hurt your back, ok."

She blinked. "Ok"

"Here we go," he said helping her turn onto the table, lifting her legs as he used a hand to support her as she lay back. The doctor injected her with a painkiller and began to remove her shirt and bandages all the while babbling on introducing himself and talking about the medical equipment he was using. Riddick's goggled covered eyes never left her face. The instant her shirt had been removed she had turned her face away from him and closed her eyes. The doctor then rolled her onto her side to examine her back.

"What did you say caused these injuries?" The doctor inquired.

"Indigenous creatures living on the planet where we crashed landed." A shudder rippled through Carolyn's body as he explained.

"I see," was the only reply.

The doctor moved a large piece of equipment over Carolyn's bed. "This machine," he explained to her, is going to move back and forth over your body. It will diagnose and then repair," he gave her a smile and patted her shoulder. "And while you're being taken care of, I'll take a look at your husband"

Riddick smirked. No way was he taking the blame for this cover story but it sure was fun to see the look on her face. The holy man was going to have hell to pay when this little spitfire got a hold of him.

Carolyn turned her head away once again as he removed his pants and sat on the table the doctor indicated. Riddick kept a watch on her as her breathing grew slower from the pain medication and she eventually drifted off to sleep. By that time he had his own machine that was busy knitting everything back together.

The doctor, who had been checking on Carolyn the last few minutes, approached him. "Mr. Fry as you can imagine your wife suffered severe internal trauma as well as the loss of a large amount of blood. It's a miracle really that she's still alive.

"She's a fighter"

"Yes, I can see that. However, she'll need plenty of rest the first week or so."

Riddick waved him away with a hand. "Whatever needs to be done, Doc. Just fix her."

"Of course, Mr. Fry. How does your leg feel?" he asked moving the machine that had just finished out of the way.

"Feels good," he answered stretching and bending his leg.

"Just take it easy while you're here and you should be fine by the time you leave the ship." The doctor instructed.

Riddick slid off the table and pulled a face at the dirty pants he was putting back on his body.

"The rest of your family has already been taken to their rooms on the third level. This is going to take a while," he said waving in Carolyn's direction. "Would you like to go to your room to clean up? You can eat here when you return."

"Will someone be here with her? I don't want her left alone."

"Someone will be in this room with her the entire time. You have my word, Mr. Fry." The doc smiled at him, thinking he was the dotting husband afraid to leave his wife. He pressed a button on his desk and in a few minutes a young man arrived to take Riddick to his room.

When they arrived at level three the steward pointed out the rooms that had been assigned to Imam and the girl. He opened the door to the last room and ushered Riddick in. "Everything you need should be in the bath and bedrooms." He turned and left the room shutting the door behind him.

Leaving his room he went next door to check on Jack. He looked inside discovering she wasn't there. He went to the holy mans room next. Imam answered almost as soon as he knocked. "Ahh, Mr. Riddick. I have been expecting you," Riddick just lifted his eyebrows at him and walked in.

"Have you seen the kid? She's not in her room."

"Yes, she is here" he answered opening the door to the bedroom. There was a clean Jack fast asleep in the middle of the bed with every light in the room on. "She was afraid to be by herself. I shall sleep on the couch. How is the Captain, Mr. Riddick? I have been anxious for news."

"It'll be another hour or so before they've finished with her. But other than taking it easy for a few days she should be good as new."

"Praise Allah!" the holy man exclaimed closing his eyes and turning his face upward. "Please Mr. Riddick; let me know if there is anything I can do."

"Just keep an eye on the kid till we get to New Mecca."

"I will be happy to do so while the Captain recovers."

Riddick let himself out, heading back to his room going straight to the bath. He stripped down and climbed in the shower letting the water beat down against him soaking away layers of grime and sweat before finally finding the energy to wash himself. Turning the shower off he slung a towel around his waist and stood in front of the mirror staring at his tired reflection. He looked around finding a razor and shaving cream and set to work.

Finishing up there he walked out to the bedroom and opened the closet. True to their word there were several outfits hanging in the closet. He grabbed pants, a shirt and a pair of boots. Going to the bureau he found socks and underclothes. He finished dressing and slipped his shiv into the back of his pants making sure it was concealed before walking out the door.

Dr. Conner was waiting for him at the lift when he arrived. "She's awake and asking for you," he said without any preliminaries. Riddick nodded and walked into Carolyn's room. Her eyes were closed but he could tell she had been crying. Damn, he thought to himself. He called for the lights to dim enough that he could pull his goggles off and sat on a stool he found near her head.

"Hey, what's wrong?"

She opened her eyes and a sob tore out of her throat. She grabbed his hand clutching it. "I woke up and you weren't here."

"The doc said you'd be out for a while so I went to check on the others and get cleaned up."

"I thought you'd left without saying goodbye."

"I'm here," he said reaching out to stroke her cheek. "How are you feeling?"

"Better. Don't feel like I've been run through with a spike anymore." He let out a chuckle and she smiled.

There was a knock at the door. A nurse stuck her head in the door "I'm sorry for the interruption but Mr. Fry, your dinner is here." He looked back at Carolyn who was looking at him as if he had just grown three heads.

"It was the holy mans idea," he said in his defense.

She smiled. "Go. Go eat."

"Mr. Fry!" the doctor called to him just as he had finished his dinner. Riddick wiped his mouth and laid the napkin on the table. No one said a killer couldn't have good manners, he mused.

"Mrs. Fry is getting dressed and will be ready to go in just a moment."

Riddick nodded his thanks, heading to the room to collect his "wife".

He stood in the doorway for a moment watching her attempt to zip up her shirt. The same shirt with a hole going from the back to the front. He took a long breath through his nose besieged by conflicting emotions. He walked up behind her placing his hands on her shoulders. She leaned back against his chest.

"A little help?" she asked. He leaned her forward and zipped her up.

"Now, Mrs. Fry," the doctor said bustling back into the room carrying a small pouch that looked much like a miniature shaving kit. "Here are some medications for you to take with you just as a precaution. Antibiotics for a week just to be safe, some pain medication for any lingering pains you may experience and sleeping pills. After as traumatic a situation as yours, you may have difficulty sleeping. All the instructions are labeled on the bottles for you." He finished depositing the bag into her hand.

She smiled up at him. "Thank you so much Doctor."

"My pleasure, Mrs. Fry. Now I'm sure you're anxious to check in on your daughter."

"Yes, Jack, of course." Carolyn murmured

"Come on, honey," Riddick said taking a hold of one arm and wrapping another around her waist. "Let's go check on her and get you settled." Oh, if looks could kill. He smirked and steered her into the lift. When the doors shut she continued to lean against him. "Jack is sleeping in Imam's room."

"Is she ok?" she asked looking up at him.

"Who knows," he shrugged. "Holy man didn't say anything. Just that she was afraid to sleep alone or in the dark."

She shuddered a bit and leaned her head against his arm. "I'm dying for a shower."

They stood quietly until the lift deposited them on their floor. He steered her towards their room, pointing out the others as they passed.

Once they arrived Carolyn tilted her head to look at him. "Bathroom?"

"Through the bedroom." he pointed the way following behind her. Riddick stood propping his self against the doorframe as she investigated the bath. "There are clothes in the closet and bureau. The bath should have what you need." She had already started stripping out of her clothes as he was shutting the bedroom door. After a few minutes he opened the door back up. For some reason he wasn't comfortable with it shut.

Carolyn turned on the water adjusting it till it was just this side of scalding. She stepped under the spray letting the hot water hit her head and run over her back. It felt so good to see the dirt being washed away with the water. She grabbed the shampoo and concentrated on one task at a time until she was clean. Finally, she leaned her forehead against the tiled wall and closed her eyes.

Snapshots of the nightmare they had just survived flashed through her minds eye. Her shame and horror at almost dumping the passenger cabin was nearly unbearable, bringing her to her knees. She buried her head in her hands trying to muffle the sobs as she cried. How could she have ever thought of killing those people? Her soul wept as she knelt there in the bottom of the shower.

Riddick paced as he waited for her to finish. His patience finally at an end he stepped into the bathroom and saw her go to her knees. The sight cut him to the quick. He stepped back into the bedroom and stripped out of his clothes. Entering the shower he knelt down behind her and pulled her against his chest.

"It's ok Carolyn. It's ok."

"No," she moaned, moving her head from side to side. "No, it's not! How can you say that?" she cried out. "I tried to kill all of you! How can anyone forgive that? How can you forgive me for that?" she sobbed.

He lifted her up and flipped her around so she was sitting on his lap facing him and grabbed her by her arms. "Look at me!" he hissed at her. She shook her head screwing her eyes shut. He shook her this time and raised his voice. "Carolyn, look at me NOW!" he waited a heartbeat. She finally raised her head and opened her eyes. He lowered his voice. "You do what you have to do to survive." It came out as a rough rasp. He pulled her closer wrapping an arm around her waist and pushing her wet hair out of her face looking her straight in the eye. "No one understands that better that than me. No one." She reached her hands up to his face and then gently pressed her lips against his. Using her tongue to taste his lips he sat perfectly still while she explored not wanting to scare her. Her breasts were pressed to his chest and her hips were molded to his. She tasted delicious. Her lips were soft and subtle. He folded his large arms around her small frame pulling her closer as she deepened the kiss and his body responded to hers. A soft moan escaped Carolyn's lips and she finally pulled back to look at him. "Richard" she whispered softly.

Riddick looked at her and growled. Bringing them both to their feet he reached behind her turning the water off. Pulling her out of the shower he sat her on the bathroom counter. He quickly toweled himself off and then standing between her legs dried her off as well. Throwing the towel down he grabbed her hips pulling her towards him. She wrapped her legs around his waist and buried her face in his neck as he picked her up and carried her to bed.

Riddick lay on the bed with his head propped up on an elbow, running his hand over her back. She had such beautiful skin; so soft to the touch. He thanked the holy man's God that he had done at least one right thing in his life by saving this woman. This woman who wasn't the least bit afraid of him or of putting him in his place. She brought out a better side of him. The human side she would say. He wasn't surprised that she was still asleep. She had given as good as she had got during the night.

These were the thoughts he was lost in when he felt her begin to stir under his hand. She turned her head to face him. For the first time he cursed his shine job. She smiled sleepily.

"Good morning. Did you get any sleep at all?" she asked with a yawn and a stretch.

"Technically, its Good Afternoon and a little," he told her as he heard a knock in the door.

He got out of bed slipping on a pair of pants. "Stay here."

He padded back into the room and sat down on her side of the bed. "Imam and the kid are headed to lunch. We can meet them there if you'd like."

"Yes!" she replied. "I'm starving!"

He finished dressing as she pulled out a dress to slip on over her head and then reached down to put on some shoes that she had found. She turned and found him watching her. She cocked her head to one side watching him watch her.

"It's been a long time since I've seen beautiful" he told her.

She headed towards the door and held out her hand with a smile across her face. "Coming?"

Against his better judgment, he took her hand and followed.

They met the others in the main dining room and then were shown to a private dining area away from prying eyes. They ate their fill, settling in to listen to Imam talk about New Mecca. They had to laugh at Jack who quizzed the man about anything and everything having to do with the city.

"We are going to stay there aren't we" she suddenly asked looking at first Riddick and then Carolyn.

Carolyn reached for her hand. "Don't you have any family, sweetheart?"

"No. Parents died a long time ago. Been in the system ever since. But we're a family now, right?" she questioned the three of them.

Riddick refused to give an inch. He was no one's family and wanted no one depending on him. But he also knew that Carolyn and the girl needed each other. And the holy man needed them. He continued to sit in rocky silence as Imam glanced between the two of them and then back to the girl. Carolyn refused to look over at him, but never took her hand off of his leg where it had been resting. Imam answered breaking the silence. Patting her hand with a patient smile he told her, "Of course we are child. There are many types of families".

Carolyn smiled and leaned forward taking Jacks other hand. "Sounds like a good place for a soul to get lost."

"More like a place where souls are found, Captain." The holy man said gently.

"You'll have to go to school though," Carolyn told the girl.

"Ah man! Do I have to?" she whined

"Yes!" Even Riddick chimed in on that answer which caused a chuckle or two and encouraged Jack to think of even more questions for the holy man.

Before they knew it several hours had past. Riddick wanted a little more time with Carolyn before they headed to the skiff, so the holy man was left to hold his own against the girl. Carolyn was relaxed as they made their way to the lift. Finally reaching their room he carried her to the bed and worshipped her body making love to someone for the first time in his life and had someone love him in return.

Riddick sat on the edge of the bed rubbing his head. The decision that he had finally come to weighed heavily on him, not that here had really been any choice in the matter. The three of them had been thrown into his life and had become a part of it in the span of a few days. Carolyn knelt on the bed behind him sitting quietly for a few moments then reached up putting her arms around his neck. He put a hand over hers. She laid her chin on his shoulder.

"You're going to leave us." It was a statement. Not a question.

Turning his head, Riddick tried to respond but she covered his mouth with the fingers of one hand.

"But not today."

He took her hand and kissed the palm. "No, not today."

They met Imam, Jack and Captain Pike at the skiff. "I had our best mechanic look her over. She might be old but she's in good shape. She'll get you to New Mecca with no problems." The Captain told them.

"Thank you so much for your generosity," Carolyn said shaking his hand. "My family will never forget your kindness."

"We were happy to be of service, Mrs. Fry." He nodded to the others and made his way down the gangway. Carolyn hit the button to close the hatch as soon as he had stepped off. Riddick was already in the pilots' seat so she took the co pilots, strapping in. She glanced to the back to make sure the others were strapping in as well. As soon as the systems were up he detached from the ship and slowly turned to head out through the open docking bay doors.

They had been in New Mecca a few months now. Carolyn had been able to access her accounts and it had been more than enough to purchase a small two-story home near Imam with plenty of room for her and Jackie who was now going to school full time. Carolyn had taken a part-time pilots job on the planet. It gave she and Jackie enough money to live on but allowed her to be home every evening providing the stability that the young girl needed. Their nightmares had lessened but they were still a long way from sleeping in the dark. Riddick had been doing odd jobs; a handy man of sorts. He wanted to make sure they were settled before he left. Or at least that was what he kept telling himself. But he knew. Time was getting short.

Riddick had felt Carolyn's eyes following him the last few days. He had been making sure to spend as much time with her and the girl as he could in the evenings. Listening to Carolyn read while sitting on the porch, telling the kid stories about the places he had been. He never got tired of hearing their laughter.

He had also enlisted the holy mans help. Once Imam realized there was no talking him into staying, he had helped strip the skiff down to bare bones and sell the surplus parts. Riddick had him put the money into an account that Carolyn could access when he was gone. Riddick would need no money where he was going.

He took Carolyn to bed every night trying to memorize every line, every curve. How she felt, how she tasted. There would be no one else for him. He knew that he would hurt her when he left, but he refused to be the cause of her getting hurt when more hunters came looking for him. It was simply a matter of time. She and the girl would be safe here with Imam looking after them. Jackie would grow up and forget him and Carolyn would eventually move on with her life.

They had spent the evening at Imam's. He had invited several families from the neighborhood over for dinner. He had even snapped some pictures, including some of Riddick and Carolyn with Jackie. Riddick wasn't happy about it but played along, as he knew what the holy man was up to. There was no work or school the next day and they had stayed out later than usual. Jackie was weaving on her feet by the time they had made it down the block to their home. She hugged Riddick goodnight and he kissed the top of her head. "See ya around kid." She made her way to Carolyn next. "Goodnight sweetheart. I'll see you tomorrow." They both knew the girl would sleep late the next morning. Carolyn had a slight smile on her face as she watched the girl enter the house.

He sat in the bedside chair watching her sleep. He had kept her up late, making love to her till the darkest hours of the night. She had fallen asleep with an arm around his waist, her head over his heart, and legs tangled in his.

He bent over the bed breathing in her scent one last time, then kissed her head and left a note on the bedside table along with a silver ring.

Riddick walked out of the room never expecting to see this woman who had earned his heart ever again.

He should have known that the world wasn't finished fucking with him yet.