Title: That Which Binds Us...
Author: Ally Ranger (email@example.com)
Website: http://reality_dysfunction.tripod.com/pitchblack and http://reality_dysfunction.tripod.com/AllyFic
Pairing / Main characters: Riddick/OMC
Series/Sequel: unfinished, parts 1-4
Summary: Before Pitch Black there was Laurie and Rick. Partners. Theives. Friends. Before the Hunter Gratzner, they became much more than friends and the ties that bound them were the very ones that would pull them apart...
Disclaimer: The characters of Riddick and Johns and any other Pitch Black characters/references belong to/and are exclusive properties of USA Films. They are borrowed without permission and used for entertainment purposes only. I make no money from this piece of fiction.
Warning: That Which Binds is a SlashFic, containing m/m sex. It contains: Violence - Language - Adult Situations - Sexual Situations/Scenes. If you are not of legal age - turn back now. You have been warned.
That Which Binds Us...
By Ally Ranger
Chapter One - Pinned
It started as a simple grappling session. Two men fighting in jest over the last ration pack, grunting and rolling around on the grimy floor of some nameless motel in Messina.
It turned into something more when he felt the erection of the man pinned beneath him pressing into his thigh.
He stared down at his friend; strange fire lighting in his own loins as his eyes beheld the squirming man between his thighs. Skin flushed from exertion, breathing rapid, the younger man was covered in a light sweat.
Blue eyes caught his and pink lips opened to speak, but closed before a single word could be issued. There was no need for words - it was obvious what the young man wanted and he found himself willing to give it.
It had been a long time since a man or woman had been in his bed. But how he needed it, needed what this man was seeking - the release from that one perfect moment when two bodies came to completion, when the troubles of his life were erased completely for a few precious minutes of mind-numbing bliss.
Leaning forward, his mouth latched onto the tender skin of the exposed throat, suckling it. A startled cry of pleasure reverberated through his body, sparking his own arousal. Hands pulled him closer until the two bodies were pressed together in that delicious dance.
Clothes were ripped, skin exposed as sweat soaked bodies worked towards one goal. Their coupling was frantic, driven by lust and need, and it ended quickly with hoarse cries echoing through the bare room.
It was their first time - it would not be their last.
But this one time - he had been in control.
Chapter Two - Help Wanted
[Eleven Months Earlier]
Smokin’ Joe’s was dusty and dark, not quite dingy and just shy of respectable. It was a quiet bar, its clientele coming not to brawl, but to drown their sorrows in expensive, quasi-legal intoxicants while pouring out their tales of woe to Joe, a robust looking lady in her late sixties, the manager and antithesis of empathetic bartenders.
Joe pulled the customers in, her magic-like charm an uncanny ability to tell it like it was. Peculiar honesty that called Rick in day after day to share an afternoon drink with the lady before heading out for work.
Today, though, it was business and he forewent his usual seat at the bar for a dark corner lit only by lamplight.
“You say the kid is good?” Eyes never leaving the exit, Rick spoke to his companion, his voice soft.
“The best amateur, Rick. But I still don’t know why you messin’ around in the slops though. You know any of the usual crowd’d work with you. Tiernie-”
Setting his glass down, Rick turned to his companion. “I don’t want a reg. Watchers, Moss. They’ve all been staked. I want a newbie, someone fresh, someone with out a tail. This boy you’ve recommended sounds good. If a little late…” Raising his wrist to check the time, Rick found bare skin where his watch should have been.
“What the-“ He looked up at Moss, who simply smiled from across the table, his crooked teeth making him appear shark-like.
“Good enough to lift a watch off a pro? The kid’s a natural Rick and he nabbed your timepiece a coupla seconds after you walked in the door.”
A heady mixture of disbelief and awe washed through Rick. He’ d been picked. By an amateur. “Gods above Moss, who is this kid? Where is he?”
Moss’s smile grew, though it hardly seemed possible. With a grand gesture, he waved his arm towards the bar. A blonde man raised his glass in a silent toast, a playful smile on his face. Kid looked no more than twenty, if that.
“Damn, Moss, but he looks like he’s just left his teens. I don’t work with kids-“
“Twenty-two, Rick, passed his teens years ago. Name’s Laurie Johns. He’s what you’re after, if you wanna introduction.”
Rick stared into his glass, swirling the liquid as he considered. He needed this job, before he found himself growing a tail of his own. He needed off planet and fast. Raising his head, he nailed Moss with a hard stare. “He clean?”
“Sure, sure. No record.” Moss’s arms moved as if of their own accord, snaking about in the air before him. The man was fond of gesticulating, despite the fact that it made him look like a has-been game show host. With his red suit on, it was easy to draw the comparison and not for the first time, Rick wondered if he should get another contact. One that wasn’t so conspicuous, perhaps one that didn’t scream ‘hood’ just by his very appearance.
Too late for that now.
“Send him over on your way out, Moss. Yeah,” Rick talked fast, intercepting the other man before he could interrupt, “if I bring him in, you get your finder’s fee and a cut of the job. Now, go, send the kid over.”
“Moss tells me you’re after an entrance man.” Not a question, Rick noted, but a statement of fact. The kid had some confidence that was for sure.
“Moss says a lot of things, kid.”
“It’s Laurie, Laurie John’s. Ah-”
“Rick. Just Rick.”
Laurie smiled and Rick felt relief upon seeing a set of straight, white teeth. “Well, Just Rick, tell me what skills you need and I’ll tell you what skills I have.”
Rick laughed, delighted to find that the kid possessed something of a sense of humour. That he would loose quick enough. “You got a set of balls on ya, kid. If you can work a lock and I’m talking any lock here, metal, combination, key, computerised, card-swipe, retina scan, the works, then I’m interested.
“I want someone fast on their feet, not just literally either. I need a quick mind, someone who is cool under pressure, makes smart choices. What I don’t want is a shiv happy wanna-be, who leaves a trail of corpses behind ‘cause he doesn’t have the skills to do a heist right.” He leaned forward, closing the distance between then. Laurie did not flinch and did not move away. The kid sat before him, calm as a Kertani whore tripped out on Tranquillity. Good. Rick knew that he was intimidating and the kid was on his turf and comfortable with that. Perhaps he would do.
“I need someone who understands the necessity of silence. I don’t want questions. When I say do this, you do it. No questions and no hesitation. You think you can do that?” Laurie met Rick’s hard gaze with one of his own.
“I can more than do that, otherwise Moss wouldn’t have sent me.”
Rick nodded and conceded the point. “Fine, kid. I do have one more condition though. Call it my Golden Rule.” Reaching under the table, Rick unclipped a small gauge from its snug bed in an ankle holster. He placed the gun on the table, eyes ever watchful as Laurie’s body went rigid.
“No stealing from me Kid. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories… don’t find out if they are real.”
With a small nod, Laurie slowly reached into his pocket and placed Rick’s watch on the table.
“Good, we’ll work a few jobs together, test your skills and all of that. I think it could work.”
Laurie twitched in his seat, wringing his hands over the tabletop. “I, uh, have one condition.”
“Oh?” Rick said, folding his arms. “And just what is that?”
“My name’s Laurie, not Kid.”
Rick laughed, slapping his hands on the table. “I like you kid. You’ve got some balls on you. Fine, Laurie it is. Tomorrow, we work out details. Tonight, we drink.”
Chapter Three - Beginning With After
Rick woke. It wasn't a slow dreamy wakening, but a sharp tug into the bright light of the morning after. There was no confusion as he opened his eyes - Rick knew where he was, knew who he was with, how he had spent his time the previous night. The only thing that escaped his mind was the answer to the question that buzzed about his mind - 'what now?'
They were friends. They were partners. And they had fucked.
Careful not to disturb the sleeping man next to him, Rick rolled out of Laurie's arms and stood up, cataloguing various aches and strains as he moved. Wincing, he traced a bite mark on his forearm, cursing his memory when images and feelings flooded back, stirring parts of him that were best left undisturbed.
Leaving Laurie naked and asleep on the floor, Rick showered. Bite marks, bruises, and cuts. His body was a tapestry, undeniable proof that something had happened last night that shouldn't have.
Rick lingered under the comforting spray of the shower. The last thing he wanted to do was to go back into that room and tell Laurie that their partnership was over. Finished. Contract null and void.
They had fucked.
And that sort of mindless nonsense had a way of changing everything.
Finally, Rick admitted that he was avoiding Laurie and what came after. With dramatic sigh he turned off the water. They were going to have to talk.
"We have to talk."
"I know," Laurie said, already awake when Rick entered the bedroom, "about last night. It was a spur of the moment thing. It meant nothing more than that, right?"
"Right." Rick agreed instantly, as he tried not to stare at the lean, naked body that was stretching next to the bed. Instead, he focused on Laurie's face, on the beads of sweat that were collecting on the pale forehead.
"Good." Laurie looked away as he pulled on a pair of pants. "I'm glad we worked that out."
Rick nodded. "Me too."
A charged silence stretched out before them. Laurie stared out the window while Rick's eyes stayed fixed on Laurie. Could it really be this simple? Label it a mistake and move on?
Laurie spoke first, turning an expressionless face to Rick. "So- I have to get those circuit boards from Tye. A soldering iron too."
Rick nodded and Laurie walked past him still reeking of sex, the smell hanging in the air even after the door swung shut. Sighing, Rick took Laurie's spot on the bed and began to lose himself in thought. Thinking of Laurie, meeting his thrusts with breathless abandon, how good it felt to just exist in that moment with no responsibilities, nothing but the siren call of pleasure.
Thinking of how stupid it was to fuck a colleague. Rick hoped they could survive this. They were a formidable team and Rick was so close to retirement. They would get over his hiccup.
He was jerked out of his contemplation when the door snapped open and Laurie stumbled into the room.
"Mercs!" The door was shut and bolted.
Springing into action, Rick fished a gauge from under the bed while Laurie gathered up loose plans and equipment, thrusting them into a duffel bag.
"Get the comp. Erase the hard disk." Rick snapped, chambering a bullet.
"No time." Laurie said. "They're in the foyer. We have to jet. Now Rick."
"Fuck." Rick turned to jerk the window open when the sound of splintering wood told him it was too late...
The door exploded inwards, swinging on hinges warped by the force of the blow unleashed upon it. Rick kept his gaze trained on the door, gauge held before him, snapping it from side to side, following the movement of his eyes. A haze of dust and wood chips floated aimlessly through the room, lending a surreal, dream like air to the morning.
As the dust settled, Rick listened for sounds of movement, but there was nothing. It was quiet, too quiet. There were no calls for surrender and no movement from the other side of the doorway. Minutes ticked by, passing as if they were hours, working at the frayed control Rick was exercising over his emotions. He battled away internally, reaching for a semblance of calm that he didn't possess, but trying anyway. His life depended on this - their lives depended on this.
The faintest flicker grabbed his attention, heralding the arrival of the first merc, leaping into the room clutching a big gauge.
Time stopped and for a few heartbeats, Rick did nothing but stare as the muzzle of the merc's gun centered on his chest. Just one shot and he would be dead - chest a bleeding hole, body twitching as his life faded away and his blood pooled on the dusty floor.
No. He wasn't going to die here, not on this planet and not at the hands of this man. No.
Rick's fingers tightened on the trigger and the gauge bucked in his hand, time moving again as the three bullets hit their mark, colliding with the chest of the merc. He watched as the man jerked with the impact of each bullet, arms flailing as he was propelled backwards, out into the hall.
At the exact moment of the other man's death, calm found Rick and a strange sense of unreality settled upon him, the flow of time speeding up until everything was a blur of moving colours that only he could decode.
Rick watched Laurie hit the floor, rolling toward him and out of the line of fire before his own partner could accidentally shoot him, a ball of blue denim and blonde hair hurtling from one side of the room to the other.
He saw the next merc enter, gun firing indiscriminately into the room, a montage of grey and black set off by angry red bursts.
Sensing the immediate danger, his focus narrowed until there was only Rick, his gauge and the red mist of death as each bullet hit its mark, the hollow-points creating irreparable damage before exiting its victim.
More mercs entered, falling to the floor like dominos as Rick picked them off with precise firing. It was a slaughter and they stood no chance. They writhed on the floor, their twisted faces and harrowed screams of pain drowned out by the red of Rick's vision and the roar in his ears.
He emptied the magazine, squeezing the trigger despite the gun's empty state. It clicked over and over until Laurie's strong grip settled on his arm.
"Rick, stop. There's no more."
Rick looked into Laurie's eyes and read the truth there. He lowered the gun, but continued to stare at the other man, unable to look away.
To do so would only confirm what he had just done.
The faint sound of sirens caught their attention, but Rick could move. He HAD to look at Laurie.
Desperate, Laurie tugged his arm, "Rick, we gotta go NOW."
Eyes pinned on the back of Laurie's head, Rick allowed himself to be pulled out the door and over the bodies of the dead men and women. Something cracked under his foot and his gaze instinctively sought the cause.
His foot recoiled from the slim wrist, his eyes taking in the body of the merc beneath him. Sightless eyes, opened wide in agony, mouth agape, the corpse stared at him in silent accusation.
Nauseated, Rick stumbled after Laurie, his mind overloading with information and images, feelings and sounds as the gunfight played back on continuos loop in his memory.
His first kill, forced backwards as three bullets pierced skin and bone. His second kill, one to the heart. Third, fourth and fifth copping multiple bullets to the mid-section and number six losing the left side of her head. Seven, eight, nine... they were dead, all dead.
And Rick had become a murderer.
And it had all started with a simple grappling session.
Chapter Four - Recoil
Rick stumbled into the safe house, propelled by a sharp shove from Laurie. Another push and he lost his footing, falling to the concrete floor, limbs giving up after a frantic run to safety. Too tired to complain at the rough treatment and still in shock from the unexpected turn of events that morning, Rick said nothing about the rough treatment, preferring instead to stare at the dusty floor before him.
He was a killer. A murderer. True, it was the reality of the job that he might have to defend himself, and he had, on rare occasions. Oh, Rick knew the mechanics of fighting and he was a trained shooter, but he had never, ever shot to kill. And in a handful of warped minutes all of his noble ideals about the preservation of life had fled and he had racked up a death toll of nine. Nine corpses, nine people who wouldn't be going home that evening. Wouldn't be going home EVER.
He was a murderer.
Squatting in front of Rick, Laurie frowned. Something just wasn't right. The other man had not spoken since the hallway, hadn't made one noise after they shimmied down the fire escape. Never had a tense moment passed where Rick hadn't found some quip, some totally irreverent saying and turned it on its head to relieve the tension. But now it was like his friend wasn't there, Rick was on holiday and he had left an empty shell in his place - an impostor Rick with no life, no feeling. Just dilated pupils, the blank stare and the steady rise and fall of his chest. It was maddening and doing more to shake Laurie than the gunfight had.
"Fuck, Rick. C'mon. Talk to me." Laurie said. His eyes roamed Rick's face in a desperate search for some sign that Rick was still there. "Rick? What is it? Were you hit?" His hands began to feel for the telltale wetness of blood, while his eyes looked for any darkened fabric. There was nothing. "Fuck it. Don't stare into space like some fucked up zombie. Look. At. Me.!"
Laurie swung his hand at Rick, aiming to slap the man out of his stupor. Before he could connect, dark eyes met his and Laurie let his arm drop just short of the target cheek.
"I'm a murderer." Rick said, his face etched with sorrow.
Laurie stared at him, dumbstruck. "What? Rick, those fuckers weren't taking any prisoners! We're alive because of you."
Rick pushed himself up to his feet, startling Laurie. "Because of me, there are nine dead people in our hotel room, Laurie. NINE DEAD PEOPLE. I shot them and now they are DEAD."
"Yeah, Rick," Laurie said, "nine dead fuckers who were trying to X US out. You did what you had to do to live! Fuck! Anyone would think that you'd never shot no one before. I mean - Fuck!" Laurie stood up abruptly as the pieces fell into place. It fit so perfectly, but it couldn't be. There was just no way this man had never killed before. Rick was a legend, known for his skills as a thief and the horrific things he did to those who crossed him. Everyone knew not to piss him off. 'Never fuck with Rick, 'cause you won't live to regret it.' What was that? Propa-fuckin'-ganda?
"This was your first kill."
Rick grunted in assent. He was now stalking back and forth across the room, smashing his fist onto his thigh, his distress morphing into anger that was all too visible to Laurie. "All nine of them."
"You did what you had to do, Rick. Shit man, they were trying to kill us. They-"
"Us." Rick said, coming to a sudden stop. He turned slowly, an odd look settling onto his face as he began to walk towards Laurie. "They were trying to kill US. Us. You and me. But I was the only one shootin' back, Laurie. Where the fuck were you when the shooting started?"
Laurie heard the accusation in Rick's voice and he backed away from the advancing man. Rick looked livid. His face was a mask of rage, a strong crease appearing between his brow making him look savage, dangerous.
"Where the fuck were YOU?"
Laurie jumped when his back hit the solid brick wall of the building. Rick was just a hair's breadth away from him, so close that Laurie could feel the tickling breath against his cheek. "I was lying on the floor, weapon less, caught between you and an army of mercs! Shit Rick, was I supposed to get up in the middle of a gunfight and kung fu their asses? That ain't likely to happen anytime soon! You had the gun and I had the computer you were so fuckin' desperate to get!"
"Fuck that, Laurie. You could have done something. You could have tried. I- You-" Rick stumbled through the words, anger evaporating just as fast as it had appeared. "I- Why? Why the fuck did this have to happen?"
Now Laurie was stuck for words. His partner, the strong, dependable member of the team, was standing before him looking lost, broken. Laurie wanted to take the burden of guilt away from Rick, comfort him, do something, anything that could make the pain go away. But what could he do? The only avenue he knew of, the only thing he could do, was the one thing that Rick didn't want. Rick had made it plain that morning that he didn't want it when Laurie had woken up alone and Rick had all but permanently installed himself in the shower, avoiding him and what they had done.
When Rick had finally emerged, Laurie had wanted to tell the truth; he had rehearsed it all in his mind. That last night had meant more to him than a quick fuck between friends. That it wasn't a mistake and they could make it work. But one look at Rick, standing in the doorway with that damn impassive, 'I-couldn't-give-a-shit' look on his face and Laurie had said good-bye to hope and hello to lonely reality.
Now, seeing Rick in pain, he bit his tongue to stop the words from spilling out. All he could offer was his love and Rick didn't want it.
Instead, Laurie placed his arms around Rick's shoulders and held the man until the shaking had stopped.
It was a long time before Laurie's heart stopped its own frantic quivering.
TBC in Part 5