Title: Blue-Eyed Devil
Author: Sandrine Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pairing / Main characters: Riddick/Johns
Series/Sequel: unfinished, part 1
Disclaimer: I don't own Riddick or Johns or anything else having to do with Pitch Black, they are the property of the producers/creators/writers.
Warning: This is a work in progress! By popular demand and considering the fact that it might need awhile until I'll finish it, I'll post this the way it is.
By Sandrine Shaw
Darkness. Faceless black horror everywhere around him. No escape from the blackness, no light to seek. Nothing to keep them away.
Johns stumbled through the night, occasionally firing into the darkness just by random. The bright flashes of gunfire briefly sent the creatures in fleeing all directions, burning them. It didn't keep them away for long, though, their threatening whispers coming closer and closer, louder and louder in his ears. Soon, he knew, the battery of the gun would be empty - a moment he dreaded to think about, yett the knowledge that it was inevitably bound to happen eventually ever so present in his pain-clouded mind.
He would give everything for a tiny bit of morphine now. He didn't care who he'd have to kill for it. Unfortunately, there was no-one to kill and no morphine to gain.
He was alone... except for them.
His arm hurt where one of those things had bitten him. The sharp teeth had barely grazed his flesh, yet it felt like the whole arm was on fire. Thick blood was oozing from the torn flesh, and even to him the smell of blood was strong in his nose, sweet and nauseating. He was covered in various wounds all over his body, including the one where Riddick had stabbed him, and he knew that the blood dripping from them attracted the creatures even more.
Riddick! The thought of his former prisoner brought the fire back into Johns' eyes as a rush of white-hot anger hit him. Bloody motherfucker! I hope you'll die out there.
His attention wavered for a moment, and suddenly one of those beasts was almost directly at his head, the deadly teeth merely inches from his left ear. He jumped, firing another volley into the darkness. For a moment, a shrill cry filled the air above him as the shot hit one of the creatures, and the wounded thing fled into the night, before silence fell over him once again.
One down, thousands to go.
The blood loss was making him dizzy, and he was sure he had lost any sense of direction long ago. He had probably been walking in circles for hours now, yet he didn't want to waste another shot just to look for footprints in the sand.
He knew he would probably die on this planet - it was only a matter of hours. Each shot gave him a few minutes longer to live, and in some respects, he hoped that it would end soon. Every once in a while, he wondered why he didn't just drop the weapon and wait for the creatures to get to him, but every time he seriously considered it, his survival instincts started kicking in.
Die. Sleep. Rest.
Another shot, another high shriek, one more creature dead or at least hurt. It didn't really matter, and still he was feeling a certain kind of victory... even when it was shallow.
And then, suddenly, a blinding flash of light filled the darkness around him, bright enough to blind him for a moment. He raised his arm and shielded his eyes with it, the angry cries of the creatures filling his eyes, the smell of burnt flesh and gas hitting his nose.
Peeking through half-closed eyes, Johns saw the ship in front of him. God, I'm hallucinating, was his final thought before the blackness engulfed him once more.
"Is he dead?"
"No." A warm voice, deep and dark and vaguely familiar, close to his ear.
"Cool, flying a ship is pretty easy. Is he okay?" A third voice, higher this time, maybe female.
Suddenly, the ground around him started to tremble, shaking under him, and he felt himself falling off wherever he was lying on.
Strong arms caught him and steadied him. "Watch where you're flying, girl, or neither of us will be okay." The deep voice again, even closer this time. He felt himself being lifted onto the bed again, a sound of disappointment leaving his mouth when the warmth from the arms around him was gone.
Something touched his forehead, cold against his skin, and he shivered. "Damn, he's burning up."
Were they talking about him? Who were they? And, more important, where were they? What had happened?
"Serves him right that there's no morphine left," the first voice spoke again.
"He'll be okay," the other man said, his warm voice like a caress against his ears, and there was something about it that made him feel oddly safe in the other's presence.
Johns tried to open his eyes, but somehow he couldn't, and he dimly realized that this wasn't a good thing, but before he could really start to worry, his tiredness overwhelmed him and he fell asleep.
And in his dreams, Johns was back on the planet. It was cold around him, and dark. Oddly enough, although he could hardly make out his own hands in the darkness, the creatures surrounding him everywhere, lurking around him and watching him like a tiger its prey, were perfectly visible. Their teeth were bared, long and sharp as daggers. He was covered in a rapidly drying liquid, and even though he first thought it was sweat, he soon realized that it was blood - his own blood.
Suddenly, something touched his shoulder, the warm weight of a hand against his skin making him jump in surprise and fear. Turning around, he came to face with Fry.
"Carolyn?" he asked, wonder swinging in his voice. What was she doing here? He heard himself speaking like through a veil - the only sound that was loud and clear in his ears the creatures' whispers. "Why don't they attack us?"
When Fry answered, her voice had the same far-away sound to it as his own. "Because we're dead."
It shouldn't have shocked him like it did.
He looked at her with a mixture of disbelief and terror in his ocean blue eyes. "No," he whispered, starting at her wide-eyed.
She started laughing - a hollow sound, echoing in his head. He pressed his palms against his ears, trying to shut out her cruel laughter, but it didn't have any effect. And then, her features blurred, changed, turned into Riddick's. A cruel sneer stretched the taller man's mouth as he looked at him. "You only get what you deserve, Johns."
The knife in Riddick's hand seemed to appear from nowhere, and with a cold smile on his face, the killer stabbed it down, right through Johns' heart.
He screamed, and unlike the spoken words it sounded real to him, much clearer. Riddick's laughter became louder and louder, and Johns closed his eyes, not wanting to see the other man's face. From under closed lids, tears streamed down his cheeks, mingling with the blood on his face.
He felt a none-too gentle pressure against his upper arms before he was shaken roughly. Hesitant, afraid of what he would see, he cautiously opened his eyes.
A pair of deep black ones looked back down at him, their owner hovering above him.
"So Mr. I-Don't-Fear-Anything has nightmares." Riddick's lips stretched into a cool smile. "Good."
Damn, damn, damn. The other man's voice still had the power to send shivers down his spine.
"Fuck you," he muttered under his breath.
Riddick's smirk widened, and he leaned further down, his lips almost grazing Johns' ear when he spoke in the low, deep voice of his: "And wouldn't you like to do just that?" Barely louder than a whisper, yet enough to send another stab of desire through Johns' body. Later, he would ask himself whether he had just imagined those words.
"Take your filthy fingers off me," he yelled, suddenly all-too aware of Riddick's hands on his arms, and he struggled to free himself from the vice-like grip. The enigmatic, thoroughly annoying smile still covering his lips, the other man released him and stepped back a few feet.
"You could be a little nicer to the man who just saved your life, don't you think?"
"If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have needed to be saved," Johns snarled back, glaring angrily at the taller man. It was the first time he got a good look at Riddick ever since the eclipse down on the planet had begun. He appeared to be unhurt, except for a small cut at the side of his neck; and the way he favored his right leg indicated that the left one was probably wounded, too. Other than that, the killer seemed fine - in contrast to Johns himself, whose naked upper body was covered in small and medium-sized bruises and cuts. And from the pain in his legs which were hidden under a light cover, he guessed they didn't look much better than the rest of his body.
His eyes darted through the room. "So you have reached the ship after all." Stating the obvious, with the not-so-hidden question behind it, how the other man had survived. When he didn't get an answer, another question popped up in his mind that seemed so important that he wondered why he hadn't thought of it earlier. "Who else survived?"
"The girl and the preacher."
A grim expression came over Riddick's face, and the smirk faded. Without another word, he turned away, no hint of emotion on his closely guarded face, indicating that he considered the discussion finished.
Johns didn't object, although he'd love to ask how they had lost that bitch Fry. Not because he was genuinely interested in her fate, but rather because he'd have liked to find out how Riddick would react. Obviously, there had been something going on between Riddick and the pilot, and he was feeling a morbid desire to see the ex-con snap when he mentioned the woman's death. However, considering his own weakened state and the other man's superior powers, he realized that it probably wouldn't be a good idea just now.
Another question bothered him even more, but somehow he doubted he would get a satisfying answer from Riddick. Why had the other man saved him? The ship had been about to leave off, so why had they returned to pick him up?
With the promise on his mind to ask Riddick later, he drifted off to sleep again. This time, no nightmares haunted him and he quietly slept for hours.
"Wake up, sleeping beauty."
Once more, he was shaken awake by Riddick. The lights in the ship were considerably brighter than they had been when he had woken up the last time, so he guessed that they had reached the 'day' phase in the night and day cycle of the ship.
Riddick stood directly in front of him, wearing his goggles, while Jack and Iman a short distance away, eyeing him with barely hidden skepticism and disdain. He probably told them about my little survival plan down there. Joy!
Suddenly, a frown came over his face. "Hey, who flies the ship?"
"No-one," the other man answered. "We reached Deep Space Station Alpha3 a couple of minutes ago. The tanks need to get filled up again and we have to get some food. Is there anything you need?"
Johns considered the question for a moment. "Could you bring some morphine?" he finally asked, hoping against hope that the answer would be yes.
"No," Riddick replied, his features hardening, his gaze holding Johns' steadily.
A weak smile twisted the younger man's lips. "Didn't think so."
Briefly nodding, Riddick turned to Jack. The girl regarded Johns with the obvious question in her eyes why they hadn't left him to die on the planet. Well, understandable - from her perspective.
However, his eyes widened as Riddick handed her a gun. "If he tries anything funny - shoot him!" The girl nodded enthusiastically... a bit too enthusiastically for his taste.
He swallowed hard. "Can't I come along?" Swinging his legs off the bed, he sat up - or rather, he tried. Because in the very moment he attempted to sit, a sharp rush of pain and dizziness hit him with the force of a sledgehammer. "Oh fuck," he muttered, raising his hands to his head that felt like it was going to explode any second.
Riddick's low chuckle didn't sound unkind. "I actually don't think that's a good idea, Johns." His hand closed around the other's shoulder and he gently pushed Johns back into a lying position.
The pain gradually eased away, yet the vertigo remained. Riddick's hand briefly brushed against his chest as he moved away, sending a wave of small electric jolts through his body. For a moment, he thought he saw a mischievous, knowing smile on the other man's face, and he could have sworn that Riddick had touched him on purpose, but the impression was fleeing. However, he still couldn't quite brush off the thought that the other man was toying with him.
When have I started to react to him like this? he wondered, confused at his own feelings - the sense of fire burning all over him at the slightest touch. He frowned. This isn't how things used to be between us. What happened? How does he know?
Riddick was at the door when he turned back to him. "Behave, Johns. You won't live to regret it otherwise."
Johns nodded mutely, his eyes locked with the other man's for a split second before Riddick turned again and slid through the door, despite his wounded leg moving with his usual cat-like grace. Giving him and the girl a brief, nervous look, Iman followed the killer out of the room.
Jack and he regarded each other warily for a while, and once more he found himself wondering how much Riddick had told her.
"I don't get it," she finally said, breaking the tense silence.
He merely raised an eyebrow in askance.
"Why did he rescue you? You had almost killed him down on the planet."
Johns grimaced, but didn't interrupt her to tell her that it had been Riddick who had attacked him, and not vice versa. If she didn't know already, she would ask for a reason for Riddick's attack, and he didn't think she would react very understanding to his little scheme to sacrifice her for the survival of the group.
"Why did he risk his own life to go back and get you. You aren't worth it," she continued, unconcealed scorn shining in her gaze.
He didn't object. "Why don't you ask your 'friend'. I'm sure he can answer your questions far better than me."
She nodded, leaning against the opposite wall, the gun in her hand pointed at him. He leaned back, closing his eyes and wishing for Riddick to return soon, as an awkward silence fell over them. The oddity of that wish vaguely amused him, bringing a grim smile to his lips, but at this moment, he was beyond caring.
Every once in a while, Johns dozed off again, his sleep only light under Jack's watchful eyes. He didn't trust the girl not to finish him off while he was sleeping. He tossed and turned in his uneasy sleep, the pain in his torso and his arm increasing with every move and his head pounding like mad. He desperately wished for a few drops of morphine, knowing he wouldn't get any anytime soon.
Sweat stood in small drops on his forehead, and yet he was shivering when he woke up again. He wrapped the cover around himself tightly, looking around the room and realizing that Jack wasn't there anymore. He hadn't heard her moving. She could have ghosted you and you wouldn't have noticed anything, he realized. A thought quickly followed by: Why hasn't she? It would have been so much easier that way... Vaguely realizing that this line of thought was dangerous, he tried to focus on something else.
Through the open door to the next room, he could hear the voices of people arguing. Very carefully, he sat up, ignoring the sharp pain shooting through his whole body at the slightest motion. He cautiously moved off the bed, standing on unsteady legs. The pain was making him dizzy. When he walked over to the door, his legs felt like jelly, each step pure torture, and he had to concentrate so they wouldn't give way under him.
"... don't see why! We could have left him down there and nobody would ever have known." Annoyance and a kind of childish impatience swinging in Jack's voice.
"I don't think I need to justi--" Riddick interrupted himself when his gaze fell on Johns leaning weakly against the door frame and staring at them. "You shouldn't be out of bed," he stated, and all heads snapped around to glare at the intruder.
Johns' fingers were tightly closed around the edge of the door, his knuckles turned white. "I... I heard voices and... er, I thought... ," he began almost shyly, before asking himself why the hell he was trying to justify his actions. He frowned, and when he continued speaking, his voice was much firmer: "But it's an interesting question the girl asked there. I'd like to know that, too."
Narrowing his eyes, Riddick slowly approached him, coming to halt only one or two feet in front of Johns. The bounty hunter could feel the other man's hot breath on his face as Riddick spoke, and his voice was low and dangerous: "I don't need to explain my reasons to anyone, and certainly not to you!" He leaned even closer towards the other man, their faces mere inches from each other, almost touching, his eyes gleaming predatory. For a brief moment, Johns thought Riddick was going to kiss him, and he felt adrenaline shooting through every single vein of his body. His breathing quickened and he was certain he would feel the pressure of the other man's lips on his any second now.
How would it feel? Would he be gentle, or would he brutally claim my mouth with his? How would he taste? The thoughts were racing through his head, his pupils dilating. He closed his eyes, trying to shut out the unwanted thoughts, and when he opened them again, Riddick stood a couple of feet away, smiling at him. I didn't think what I just thought! I must be losing it.
Johns frowned. How could the bastard stand there so calm and unruffled with an air of nonchalance around him, when he was so shaken himself. Slightly shocked, Johns noticed that he was trembling. What the fuck is wrong with me? I can't seriously want him to kiss me, can I? God, I'm going insane...
He felt dizzy and suddenly it was too warm in the room. It lasted a moment until the blond bounty-hunter realized that it didn't have anything to do with Riddick's previous closeness, but was rather a physical effect - but then it was already too late and his legs gave way under him.
The floor rapidly closed up to him and then, abruptly, his fall stopped and he was swept up into Riddick's strong arms. He felt warm and safe and secure, and resting his head against the other man's shoulder seemed to be the most natural thing to do at the moment.
"I told you to stay in bed," Riddick muttered.
Johns just smiled into the curve of the other man's neck, completely oblivious to the odd looks Jack and Iman were shooting him, as Riddick carried him into the other room and dropped him on the bed. Johns' glassy eyes followed his adversary's every movement as Riddick drew the covers up around the wounded man.
"Thanks," he said in a weak voice and tried to smile.
Riddick grimaced. "Don't stand up again." With that, he left the room and joined the others again.
The following days passed by in a rush - all Johns did was sleeping and eating, warily observed by the other crew members. Most of the time, though, he was alone and he was grateful for that. His odd reaction to Riddick's physical closeness the other day had proved that he still wasn't really himself and he needed time to sort out his confused feelings.
Lying alone in bed and contemplating the events of the last couple of days he realized a couple of things. First, he was thankful towards Riddick for rescuing him - whatever the killer's reasons had been. Second, the other man still annoyed the hell out of him, and his gratefulness didn't lessen the desire to punch the arrogant smirk from Riddick's face. However, the initial hate he had been feeling for the other man was gone and to his own great surprise, he realized that he trusted his erstwhile prisoner. Still, there was something between them that he hadn't noticed before - an odd kind of tension between them that made him want to throw Riddick against a wall and -
He closed his eyes, trying ineffectively to block the disturbing thoughts from racing through his mind, wondering for the nth time if he had already crossed the thin line to insanity.
The physical pain that had tortured his body for the last few days had started to slowly ease away now and yet, he still wished he had some morphine, if only to make him sleep through one single night without having those nightmares coming back to him, haunting him over and over again.
And each time he woke up, he felt the others' curious eyes on him - gloating gazes from Jack's, a weird mixture of sympathy and mistrust from Iman's and inscrutable looks from Riddick's. Neither of them spoke much to him and when they did, they constantly shot him nervous or suspicious gazes as if they expected him to pull out a gun and kill them all any second. Well, maybe that wasn't what they thought, Johns rationalized, but it was hard to ignore the air of tension and suspiciousness in the ship.
Sometimes, he thought he'd prefer open hatred and heated confrontations to the awkward silences that filled the room where he rested. He'd know how to deal with that, how to behave and what to expect. As it was now, he didn't, and it gave him a feeling of helplessness he didn't like at all.
He tried to concentrate on healing instead, insisting on trying to stand up again four days after the previous incident. He knew that if he spent one more second lying motionless in bed, starring at the blackness of the ceiling and thinking about the situation in general and Riddick in particular, he'd really go crazy. So nothing could stop him from sitting up and cautiously trying to make a few steps - not even Riddick's half-joking, half-serious warning that he wouldn't catch him again if he fell.
Johns felt like he was walking over a bridge that was swaying under his feet, but he managed to stay on his feet for almost twenty minutes. This time, he didn't fall when a familiar yet unwelcome dizziness overcame him, but he stumbled a bit and once more it was Riddick who - despite his previous comments - steadied him.
Unlike the last time, he was fully conscious when the other man's fingers closed around his upper arms. As soon as Riddick's hands made contact with his skin, he wished that he had stayed in bed after all. It wasn't that it felt unpleasant or even hurt, but rather that it felt too good. And it was that moment he realized that whatever mixed feelings he was having for Riddick weren't caused by momentary psychical confusion from his injury or the blood loss or the drug withdrawal, but were here to stay - had probably always been there, only suppressed, but now wouldn't allow them to force them into a far corner of his mind any longer.
Riddick's touch burned on his skin, igniting a desire in him he hadn't felt in a long time, and he hated himself for it and Riddick even more.
Their eyes met and Johns opened his mouth to speak - just what he was about to say, he didn't know. But before any words could leave his mouth, Jack rushed into the room and broke the tense atmosphere between the mercenary and his former prisoner. "There are two cops out there. They're asking questions about where we come from and what has happened to the rest of the crew."
'Breathe,' Johns told himself. He shrugged off Riddick's hands, glaring daggers at the ex-con. He wasn't sure whether he welcomed Jack's interruption or not, and was still contemplating the issue when the implication of the girls statement sunk in. The company wouldn't be too pleased to hear that one of their ships had lost its crew and was now in command of a sociopathic prison escapee, a teenage girl and a preacher. Oh, right, and a drug-addicted bounty hunter on withdrawal. Johns seriously doubted that with regard to the people on board, the cops would believe their story about a crash on a planet with creatures that came out in the night and killed humans. And with any luck, the eclipse would be over by the time the officials decided to send someone off to verify their story.
"I'm gonna talk to them," Riddick announced, walking over to the door.
Johns frowned. "And what are you going to tell them? If they find out who you are, you'll have your ass dragged back into prison faster than you can say 'serial killer'."
The grin he got in response was feral and dangerous. "I doubt that they know who they are looking for. And who knows - maybe I'll tell them you're the escaped killer they're looking for and drop a hint to examine your blood for drugs. It'd be interesting to see who they'll believe."
Johns narrowed his eyes at the older man, trying to find out if Riddick was serious or merely trying to rile him up, making a joke at his expense. "You bastard! It wouldn't work. I can identify myself."
"Right here and now? I don't think so." The killer chuckled darkly. "By the time they'd have found out the truth, I'd be light-years away you you'd be long since croaked in some prison shit hole." Smirking, he left the room.
Johns gaze met Jack's who stood leaned at the opposite wall of the room, grinning wickedly at him.
"Fuck you," he muttered under his breath, knowing she'd be only all-too happy if Riddick pulled a stunt like that. Still, it surprised himself that he wasn't afraid. He didn't seriously believe Riddick would sell him out to those cops - at least not if he didn't absolutely have to. But when Jack left the room to follow her hero, doubt started nagging on him. What if he was wrong? What if he was merely projecting his own confused feelings for the other man on Riddick? The man was a brutal murderer. How could he be so certain that Riddick wouldn't betray him?
'Because he came back for you down on the planet even if he didn't have to,' a small voice in the back of his mind answered his question. 'He saved your life.' Still... could he trust him?
Sighing, Johns closed his eyes and laid back on the bed, trying not to think about the possibility that Riddick was looking for a chance to get back on him. His last conscious thought was that he had to be crazy to trust a man who had every right to hate him and no scruples to take a life.
The siren of a ship leaving the hangar next to theirs awoke him, and he wondered how much time had passed since he'd dozed off. He opened his eyes and let them roam through the small room, coming to face with Riddick who was sitting on the floor opposite him, sharpening his knife with long, powerful strokes. The other man didn't look up at him, but he must have sensed his awakening, because suddenly, he spoke: "It's kinda odd how relaxed you are when you're supposed to worry your head off about me selling you out."
Johns shrugged unceremoniously, sitting up. "What did you tell them?"
"That we're a family on our annual vacation trip," Riddick answered dryly. Johns shot him an annoyed gaze, making the other man chuckle in amusement. "More or less, the truth. I told them about the crash and the planet, and how we escaped in the ship - excluding the minor details of our identities." He shrugged. "They are checking the ship ID to verify the story now. They'll be back later." He finished preparing his knife, satisfied regarding the weapon.
"They didn't want to see our ID chips?" Johns asked doubtfully.
A grin stretched the other man's lips. "They did. But Jack had manipulated the chips from the ship's old crew and we gave the cops those."
The mercenary sharply drew in air. "You're aware of the fact that this alone is enough to get us into jail for ten years?" Annoyance swung in his voice.
Riddick's grin didn't waver. "Yeah," he replied cheerfully. Johns shook his head in exasperation, letting himself drop back onto the bed.
"I thought you'd like plan B even less," Riddick added.
The younger man didn't bother to ask what 'plan B' would have been. He quickly changed the subject of their conversation, knowing that arguing with the killer wouldn't get him anywhere. "So - how long do we stay at the station?"
His former prisoner shrugged. "A few days. Maybe till the end of the week. If things with the cops get hairy, we'll piss off earlier." He pushed himself off the ground, his fingers playing with the knife. The blade reflected the dim light from the ceiling lighting, the bright shimmers dancing through the room. Suddenly, without warning, he threw, the blade digging into wall just inches from Johns' head. The mercenary didn't even flinch. Riddick grinned at him. "Not bad." He strode over to Johns, leaning over him, and retrieved the knife.
Johns had been perfectly calm when the other man had thrown the weapon at him, but now that Riddick was hovering above him, the strong, muscular body mere inches from his, he found his breathing quickening and blood rushing to his face and to other, lower parts of his body. Riddick looked down at him, a knowing smirk on his face, making the young man flush even more and averting his eyes.
TBC in Part Two