****Sorry it took so long to get this out. I've been working on another story that will be up shortly. Anyway, this is the last chapter. It's been really fun writing it and now I'm kind of sad that it's over. My writing isn't, though. So, if you will, please read this and review it; send me you final thoughts on the story, how it made you feel, if you liked it, and if you want a sequel. I want to thank all those who had influenced me throughout the creation of this story. I wouldn't have been able to finish it without you all. =)
It was dark and the only thing Jack could make out were the steel beams she was stepping around. Faint yellow light could barely penetrate the gloom but she avoided it, knowing that if there were danger down here, she didn't want to announce her arrival by stepping into the light and giving them a perfect target.
She didn't hear anything at first, but as she moved in deeper she could barely make out different pitches of sound, a human voice and the closer she got the deeper it got. But the pitch of the voice was still too high to be Riddick's and the tone was that of someone who was losing or lost their sanity.
Nervous butterflies started flapping their wings inside her stomach and slowly found entrance into her veins, filling her entire body. She had to be ready for this, be ready for anything but she also had a little special someone to look after and stepping into this kind of situation could hurt both and them and more so, hurt Riddick in a way that would probably kill him. Jack didn't think Riddick, as strong as he is, could survive if she and the baby died. So, Jack was going to do her best to not let that happen.
She hid herself behind a shelf and looked into the clearing of light and saw Ethan…no surprise to her, and Kelly was on the ground, chained. That kind of startled her but what nearly knocked her on her ass was the slumped over figure directly across from her, half in the light half in the shadow; Riddick, and the blood on the floor sent her heart into an erratic beat of panic.
He was on his hands and knees, trying to crawl closer to Ethan but he gave up and fell to the ground, rolling onto his back, bathed in the pale light, giving Jack a good look at his injuries. There was a cut on the side of his head that was bleeding, not as bad as it apparently had been, but still bleeding nonetheless.
Jack's heart ached at the sight of Riddick down, injured, lacking any strength to even pull himself up. This was not the Riddick Jack knew and it scared her, just like when he was bit and she had to take care of him. It terrified her to see him this weak. To her, he was invincible, could withstand anything, but she knew how human he was, just like everybody else, and just like everybody he could get hurt and he could die. Jack was not about to let that happen.
She was about to move into view when Ethan started talking. She stopped to listen, to try and judge just how insane he was and if his insanity was going to be too much for her to handle. There were ways to turn that around and use his state of mind against him but she wasn't sure if she had the means to do it yet.
"It's perfect. I kill her and tell everyone that you did it and I fought with you and killed you." Ethan rubbed his hands together as the plan formed in his head. "That way, I won't even be a suspect and no one will know."
Yea, he was completely gone and Jack decided to make her move. "Not if I can help it," she said, stepping out of the shadows. Riddick managed to turn his head so he could see her, blinking away the blood that had run into his eyes.
"Jack, no," he choked out, closing his eyes against the blinding pain that shot through his head. Jack looked at him, seeing him lying on the floor with blood all over him but managed to keep herself calm. She turned her attention back to Ethan and took a step forward.
"Look, lady. I'll kill as many of you as I have to…doesn't matter to me. People won't know the truth because the dead don't talk."
"Have you ever done anything that you've regretted?" Jack asked, her voice low and unthreatening. Ethan paused for a moment at her unusual line of questioning.
"Nope," he replied after a second. Jack shook her head.
"Sure you have, everybody has." Riddick kept his eyes closed but remained focused on Jack's voice, trying to stay conscious. He's never heard her sound this way and he wondered where it was coming from. "I've had many regrets in my life," Jack continued, taking another step closer to Ethan. "But I won't regret killing you if I have to." Her voice had a strange quality to it, echoing softly off the metal walls and coming back to her. She almost didn't recognize it herself.
"Yeah, I'd like to see that happen," Ethan said, crossing his arms over his chest. Jack took another step but inside she was shaking more with every inch of distance she closed. This guy could kill in a second but something kept her moving forward, kept her talking.
"Ethan, you don't know anything about me. You don't know what I'm capable of." Jack caught a glimmer of nervousness in his eyes but he didn't move. "See that man over there, the one you want to kill." Ethan looked over to Riddick then back to Jack, shrugging his shoulders.
"Yeah, so," he said.
"I have never loved anyone more than I love him. He's my life, he's everything that makes me strong, makes me happy, and I don't know what I'd do without him." Jack didn't take her eyes off Ethan but she could see out of the corner of her eye that Riddick trying to pull himself up. "I need him in my life and this baby needs him in its life."
"Jack," Riddick warned. She was showing Ethan her weakness and that was going to get them all killed. "Move away, Jack." Jack ignored him and continued when she saw uncertainty flicker in Ethan's eyes.
"This isn't you, Ethan. You're not a killer," Jack said.
"Like you said before, same goes with me; you don't know anything about me," Ethan said as confidently as he could but Jack could see she was getting to him.
"You might be right but I do know that you won't go through with this…not now." Ethan threw his head back and laughed, a loud booming sound that made Jack cringe but at the same time, she could hear that he was forcing it, trying to intimidate her. It wasn't working.
Riddick stopped trying to get up. Jack was going to do what she was going to do and at this point he couldn't even see straight to be of any help to her. He only hoped she knew what she was getting into.
Ethan's laughter came to an abrupt halt and the grip on his knife intensified, eyes burning intensely into Jack. He was all serious now and was ready to get back to business. Roughly, he grabbed Kelly's arm and was about to make the first cut on her wrist and Jack made her move.
Her hand latched onto Ethan's wrist and pulled it away from Kelly's arm, surprising Ethan with the speed of her attack. She wrapped the fingers of her other hand around his throat and squeezed harder than she thought possible. The knife he was holding dropped to the floor with a loud clang as he struggled to get her hand off his neck. She slammed him back against the shelf that stood behind him and got right in his face.
"Do you think I would stand by and watch my world fall apart because someone you used to work for is paying you a shit load of money to off some poor helpless girl!" Jack yelled, feeling an anger in her surface in a red-hot blinding rage. "And as for knowing about you…I know a lot. I know you lost your wife in this same kind of deal. The company you used to work for had some fierce competition and they off'd her to get you to quit because you had valuable information about them that you could only access if you were still employed and it worked, now you're seeking revenge by doing the same thing they did to her! How fucked up is that?"
Ethan stopped struggling and looked at Jack through tear filled eyes. Whether it was from the lack of oxygen or the reality of Jack's words, she had no idea. Riddick listened on and suddenly found the strength to pull himself up, fighting off the sleepy feeling that pulled at his senses. Jack must have gotten through that locked file and somehow, she was keeping herself safe with that information. Riddick could feel Ethan was about to crumble, Jack almost had him.
"Don't you realize what's happening here?" she asked more quietly, feeling her own tears burning in her eyes. "I'm doing exactly what you would have done if you had been given the chance. One small chance to have been where your wife was when they killed her. One chance to stop them. Think about it. If I continue on with what you would have done, given that chance, do you think you'll live through this?" Ethan shook his head no, his body weakening under the weight of her words.
"That's right!" Jack yelled, now crying freely. "I will do everything in my power to keep my family safe. No one will hurt him or our baby…EVER!" she said with conviction. Ethan slumped to the floor and Jack released his neck. "I love him," she whispered.
Riddick finally made it to her side, forcing away the pain in his head and becoming fully aware of everything around him; that's what Jack did to him, made his life richer, vibrant, and a little knock on the head was not going to keep him away from her. Wrapping an arm around her waist he pulled her back away from Ethan. Jack turned and threw her arms tightly around Riddick's neck. "I love you," she said into his ear. Riddick sighed in relief. It was over, she was safe and no one was hurt.
"I love you, too," he whispered back, burying his face in her neck. He didn't want to let go of her because when she was in his arms he knew she was safe and he knew he was safe. Jack had a fire in her that sometimes rivaled his, a power that allowed her to know how far she could push things. Riddick would have just killed Ethan if he'd had the chance and not been knocked unconscious, but Jack was able to see a weakness in Ethan that she used against him.
Somehow she knew that he wouldn't hurt her, something deep inside her told her she would be okay. 'Damn, we make a pretty good team' Riddick thought as he stood there with Jack, feeling nothing but her body against his and the love that she had for him warming his heart.
Riddick sat next to Jack on the main deck as their security team took care of Ethan. Kelly was under Ellie's care and it looked like everything was going to be just fine. Riddick refused medical attention for the time being and Ellie granted him that but she wanted to see him later. Right now, he just wanted to be here with Jack, sit with her for a while, just to know she was still with him. He had his arm around her and she was leaning against his shoulder.
"So," she started saying and Riddick looked down at her. "Every time we do a run we're going to have to go through this shit?" Her voice was light and sweet in spite of everything and it made Riddick smile.
"Pretty much, yeah," he answered, kissing her on the forehead. "Do you think we should stop and find something else to do?" Jack pulled away from him and looked him in the eyes.
"Hell no. I'm having too much fun." Riddick was shocked. He was expecting her to want to give it up and do something a lot safer.
"You are?" he asked skeptically.
"Oh come on. Since I met you, it was kind of a fantasy of mine to go on all these adventures with you, kick some ass here and there, see all kinds of different places and people…you know," she said, shrugging her shoulders.
"A fantasy, huh?" Riddick said, his smile brighter.
"Just one of them," she said, blushing slightly. "You up for it?"
"Hmmm," he said, thoughtfully. "Yeah. You think you are?" he asked. Jack put her hand on his cheek and he put his on hers.
"Bring it on, baby," she said before kissing him on the lips. He returned it with a renewed passion, a sudden need to make it last forever. Yeah, they were both up for the challenge and as long as they were together, nothing could break them down.
Six Months Later
"Remember when I asked you once if you were up for this?" Jack asked, her voice strained. Riddick only nodded. "Well, I don't think I am!" she squeaked out as another painful contraction ripped through her abdomen. Riddick held her hand as Ellie checked her over, seeing how far she was dilated.
"Time to start pushing," she said. "You're almost through."
"Not soon enough!" Jack screeched. She was going to have to do this naturally because the labor was moving swiftly along and it was too late to give her anything. Riddick crawled onto the bed and positioned himself behind her to help support her. He figured any encouraging words he could give her would only come back and bite him in the ass so he kept his mouth shut and became the steady rock for her to lean on.
Riddick kept his breathing even and slow and Jack tried to follow suit. He wiped the sweaty hair away from her forehead, lightly kissing her on the cheek, and prayed that they would both make it through this. Jack had her hands on his knees, using them as leverage to pull herself forward to push and Riddick covered her hands with his and leaned forward with her.
All was silent in the room as she held her breath and pushed as hard as she could. Riddick could feel her heart pounding hard against his chest as well as his own. The seconds ticked by slowly and then the room was filled with Jack's cries of pain.
"I can't do it!" she cried out.
"Yes, you can," Ellie said. "Come on, give me another one." Jack took a deep breath and so did
Riddick. He's never gone through anything like this in his life and he didn't think he'd feel this helpless. She was going through this because of what he did to her and for a second he felt guilty that she was the one to suffer. But he knew Jack would never see it like that. She never felt it was something he did to her. They both did it, they were in it together and this was just a small sacrifice on her part in order to have a family with him. No regrets.
Jack only had to push a few more times before Ellie yelled out, "Okay, stop! Don't push." Jack leaned back against Riddick and tried not to push, felt his arms go around her and his lips go to her neck. He was so wonderful through all this, so strong and loving that Jack started to cry. Really let go. Riddick thought it was just from the pain so he held her tighter but that wasn't all. Jack would go through this all over again just to have this feeling, this feeling of love.
"All right Jack. Give me one more push and it's all over," Ellie said as she looked up from her hands.
"Riddick," Jack said quietly.
"I'm here," he replied. Jack nodded and took his hands in hers and took a deep breath. Silence again as Jack bore down, the blood rushing loudly in her ears, the heat from Riddick's body pressed against her back, and the intense burning sensation ripping through her body kept her speechless. It kept her focused, made her push harder and with a laugh that came from Ellie, Jack suddenly felt empty, hollowed out…strange.
Jack fell back against Riddick, exhausted and relieved that it was over and that it was the beginning of a whole new adventure. She tried to catch her breath as she stared at the ceiling. Riddick stroked her face with the backs of his fingers and kissed her on the neck.
"You did it Jack," he whispered in her ear.
She shook her head. "No, we did it," she corrected and Riddick hugged her tighter.
"And here is, with the most dramatic entrance into the world I have ever seen…your new baby girl," Ellie said just as the tiny wails of the baby filled the room.
"A girl?" Jack asked in surprise, looking down at the bundle Ellie had in her arms. She handed up the little package to Jack and moved to the side to give them some privacy. "A girl," Jack repeated, her voice breaking as her stirred up emotions hit her full force. Riddick hadn't said a word and Jack looked back at him only to see silent tears slipping down his cheeks. He blinked them away and put his chin on Jack's shoulder.
"Our little girl," Riddick said in a voice heavily laden with emotion. He reached for the baby and ran one finger over its smooth cheek. The baby stopped crying and looked at them both, recognizing them, forming that bond that was so important in a family; something neither Jack nor Riddick ever had the chance to experience. This baby saved Jack's life. This baby was created by the love Jack and Riddick had for each other. This baby gave Riddick a sense of fullness in his heart that he didn't think was possible. Jack had filled it completely and he didn't think there was room for anyone else, but he was mistaken. There would always be room in his heart for those he loved, now and forever.
"So, did you ever decide on a name?" Riddick asked Jack. He let her make the decision in that matter, knowing it would be perfect coming from her.
"Yeah," Jack said, moving her head so she could kiss Riddick on the lips. "Eve." Riddick pulled back and smiled, tears still evident in his eyes.
"Eve it is," he said, kissing her again, feeling her happiness all through his body. They broke the kiss when the baby squealed. Riddick laughed, a deep thunderous laugh, so full of life and love that Jack could feel and she laughed as well.
"I love you, Riddick," Jack said, moving the baby to her shoulder. Riddick kissed Eve on the forehead and pressed his cheek to Jack's, nuzzling her as he wrapped his arms around both of them.
"I love you," he said, looking at Jack before turning his attention back to Eve. "I love you both…with everything I have…with everything I am."The End