A/N: TCoR re-imagining - sequel to "Animal Side". *Updated 7-31-13*
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction using characters from the Pitch Black universe. I do not claim any ownership over them or the world of PB/TCoR. This work is solely for entertainment purposes and is not considered canon (not by a long shot).
Riddick mused over inevitability as he prepped for cryo-sleep. He'd known, despite everything, that the mercs would come for him. It had taken them five years, but he'd known they would come - they always came. He expected nothing from mercs - no honor, no code. He was the one they called animal but in truth, the only animals were those bastards that took money to run a man down. He had, however, expected different from a certain holy man whose life he'd saved once upon a time. He'd broken his own rule: expect nothing, never be disappointed. Lesson learned - there was no such word as 'friend'. It only ended badly for those who got too close.
Riddick's mind drifted unbidden to a particular hazel-eyed man who haunted his memories. Vaako.
Did you tell them where I was, beautiful? Did you send them to find me?
Riddick relaxed as the cryo drugs took effect. He was headed back to the brightness ... back to civilization ... back to everything he hated ... except ... except for the man with the hazel eyes that he dreamt about through long, frozen nights on UV6. He let his mind drift to those eyes ... to that deep gravel-laden voice ... to the feel of a hard body next to his own. He remembered devouring a mouth with no tenderness, only heat. He remembered sliding into a body and feeling it clench around him until the universe narrowed to only the two of them. He remembered tasting the salty spill of blood as his teeth pierced skin. His beautiful animal with the eyes of the wolf that glimmered in the dark.
Are you with me, beautiful?
Always ... Riddick ... wake up ...
Riddick jerked into consciousness, fighting disorientation and then instant blindness as the shields lifted from his view screen and allowed agonizing sunlight to sear into his vision. Stupid ... falling asleep without his goggles on. Gradually, Riddick was able to focus on tinny voices screeching at him over the ship's comm-link.
*Helion Prime is on alert condition four. Unrecognized craft. You need to follow me to Spaceport Six for security inspections.*
Riddick yanked his goggles down and turned the pilot's seat to face the control panel. He kept his path as the pilot of the other vessel became irritated.
*Hey ... do you hear me? Follow me to Spaceport Six ... NOW!*
Riddick looked over at the other craft as it came along side his own. Through the cockpit shield he saw the pilot jerk his thumb down, indicating through gesture what he assumed Riddick had not heard or understood. Riddick's mouth quirked into a grin. With a growl, he took his ship down and underneath the escort. Flicking his wrist, he slammed his ship up into the underside of the other vessel, knocking it off course and sending it spinning away as he dove toward the city below. He would make his own path fuck you very much.
Imam moved through the marketplace of his chosen world. He listened distractedly to the snatches of conversation around him until his mind registered that they were all of a particular nature and topic. He heard frightened people talk of leaving, of fighting, of wondering what fate God had for them. He knew their fears because he shared them. He wondered about his recent decision to unleash a powerful but unpredictable force. Imam wondered if Riddick would come.
Arriving at his home, Imam paused in the serene entryway before moving to go up the stairs to his main living quarters. He could not stifle the shudder that vibrated through his frame when a soft baritone wafted through the silence of his house. His earlier curiosity shattered - he had indeed set in motion dangerous events.
"Be careful what you wish for ..."
Imam remembered those apt words spoken by a man possessed of jaguar eyes and the killing skills to match. Imam found he could not make his legs move and stood helpless on his stairs as the voice continued to talk.
"I took three people off that planet - a kid - Jack, who everyone else thought was a boy; a hazel-eyed convict, Vaako, who shared my mind and my bed; and a holy man, searching for New Mecca. " Riddick paused as he noticed Imam's gaze drift to the upper level. "Your wife? She's in the shower."
Imam remained motionless. He could just see Riddick shaving his head free of the long locks he'd grown over five years on an ice planet. When he was done, Riddick turned and walked toward Imam, predator eyes flashing.
"I told one man where I might go. I showed trust to one man - not even Vaako knew. Did I make a mistake, Imam?" Riddick asked softly.
"There is no simple answer -" Imam pleaded.
Riddick hand shot out, pressing his blade against Imam's throat before the man could complete the sentence. Riddick held it there, waiting. Imam gathered his courage and continued.
"Whatever was said, it was meant to give us a chance - a fighting chance. Were it not for the threat of invasion, I never would have betrayed you."
A faint noise brought Riddick's head around. He zeroed in on a young girl, wide-eyed and topped with thick, dark, curly tresses. She looked down on them from the landing. Her eyes held no fear, only a child's curiosity.
"I give you my word, Riddick."
At the name, the little one gasped in surprise and cried out, "Riddick?!"
Imam's wife, who had walked onto the landing while tucking her hair beneath a wrap, shared the surprised sound. Mother's instinct found and catalogued the threat in her home. She spoke his name with much less fascination than her daughter.
"A daughter ... whose name would be?"
Imam moved forward, his paralysis lifted by his need to protect his family. He moved between Riddick and the stairs. "If you have issue with me, you will let it be with me. You do not need to know their names."
"Ziza. My name is Ziza." The little girl said brightly. Her father's heart fell in his chest at his daughter's innocent and unwary attitude around this man.
"Cute kid." Riddick murmured.
"Did you really kill monsters? The ones that were going to hurt my father?" Ziza asked.
Imam looked sheepish. "Such are our bedtime stories."
Riddick looked at Imam, amused. His memories of that world had kept sleep at bay more than once for himself and Vaako. Memories of his lover thrashing beside him and awakening with wide, terrified eyes flashed through his mind. The worst nights were when Vaako's mind found Riddick's and linked them in the dream. That had been a bitch to shake off.
Imam's wife broke his musings by urgently pushing her daughter from the landing and out of sight. Riddick sighed and looked at Imam. "Now who do I have to kill to get this payday off my head?"