Title: I Want You To Need Me
Author: Mary (SlayerKnight2@aol.com)
I Want You To Need Me 5
They walked down the street, silently. Johns pulled his navy jacket closer around himself as the winds caught up again, it's temperature chilling him.
He walked a couple of steps behind Riddick, needing some space right now. It amazed him that the serial killer was clothed in only a black wife-beater and dark-green pants, yet the other man didn't appear to even notice the sudden drop in temperature.
He followed the man down into the tunnel and waited for the subway. It was lunchtime and there were a fair amount of people gathered in the cramped space. Homeless people crowded into the corners to sleep, as others sang songs for money from the travelers who in turn paid them no mind. Johns listened to an old woman's hauntingly beautiful lyrics as she recited a poem.
'Make a decision.
Then make another.
Go on with your life.
Because you cannot remake a choice.'
Johns snorted. Unless you keep repeating history, he thought. It always amazed him that he could find drug-addicts standing next to doctors, designers, and, well, serial killers. And yet, they have so much in common.
He pulled one of his hand from his pockets to rub his forehead. His thoughts were getting too disjointed. He was aware of Riddick's eyes on him, but he ignored the other man.
The subway car finally pulled up, heated wind blowing into his face and through his hair as it streaked past. It came to a stop and people rushed on board as others struggled to get off in the frenzied pass of life.
Riddick walked onto the subway and turned to find that Johns had not followed. The bounty hunter stood just outside of the door, staring ahead but his blue eyes were unfocused. He walked over to the door but made no move to pull Johns inside.
Johns shook his head. "Just wondering who will kill these people to find out where I am."
The serial killer blinked. He hadn't expected that kind of statement from 'Billy Bad-Ass.' Then again, this wasn't that man. He couldn't make Johns follow him; trust him.
He leaned against the metal pole that was inside of the car. "Stay or go, it's your choice."
The blue eyes that met his were just as unreadable as the goggles he wore.
The doors began to close and Johns walked through them just before they slammed shut. The other man walked past him and sat down on a bench that was near the back of the subway car. This time, it was Riddick who followed.
Despite the crowd of people that had boarded the subway, the two men were alone on the bench and the one facing them housed only a sleeping homeless woman. He felt Johns turn to look at him.
"You said you'd tell me," the younger man said, his voice quiet.
Riddick swallowed, but his face remained a stoic mask. He didn't like to dwell on the past. He couldn't change it, so why bother? But he realized he owed Johns as much and maybe it would help the other man trust him. "I was raised a child of the system. Passed from house to house until they finally gave up on me and kept me at an orphanage that was run by the Catholic church. Guess it was pretty decent. Kept clean and we had good food, care from the nuns. I was twelve when it started happening, so I think I was too old for him to get near."
Johns unconsciously moved closer to hear more of the story.
"He was a priest. Father O'Malley. The nuns forced us to go to mass every morning, so we saw him a lot. He became our friend, our trusted priest." He saw Johns wince at his sarcasm at the last words. "One night he came into our room and took one of the young ones out with him, saying that they needed to go to confession. Cody was the first, but not the last. He was only eight. We laid in bed and listened to them talk, then we'd hear noises. Whimpers and crying.
"He always went after the young ones because they didn't tell. Couldn't tell.
The older boys and me, we didn't tell anyone for them. It wasn't happening to us so we didn't understand."
Johns was watching him intently. "You were afraid."
Riddick took a deep breath. "Yeah and we didn't want to believe he could do that. He was our hero. He was everyone's hero. Every night we would wait and listen as he took the young ones out for 'confession.' Some were later adopted and new ones would come in but he never left. But I did. I left them behind when I went to juvie and I never looked back." His story over, he could only wait for Johns' reaction.
"Is that why you hate God?" the blonde bounty hunter asked.
He frowned at the unexpected question.
At Riddick's inquiring look, Johns replied. "I read it in your file. You told the psych doctors in the Slam that you hated God."
Riddick nodded and leaned his head back against the subway car. They were going to the outskirts of the city, so it would be a long ride. They rode in silence for a good ten minutes when Johns finally spoke.
"So, you're trying to clear your conscience of the past with me?"
The serial killer smiled. "At first."
"Now I got some more reasons," he replied.
Johns bit his lip in irritation at Riddick's usual secrecy. He decided to change the subject. "Where are we going?"
Irritation turned to anger as Johns argued. "Goddamnit! Could you for once tell me what the fuck's going on?"
Riddick grinned at the young man's reaction. Maybe this was the way to get Johns back to his old self: just piss him off until he snaps.
Johns took a deep breath to calm himself, realizing his anger was getting him nowhere. "I don't like surprises, Riddick."
"That's too bad."
The bounty hunter sighed. Riddick wasn't going to tell him.
He looked at Johns. The young man was exhausted. He hadn't considered the possibility that Johns could be in a state of shock. Attempted-rape victims were always perfectly fine after the incident. Aside from the cuts and bruises, Johns had a faint tremor in him. "You okay?"
"Fine." It was a lie. He had a headache and was slightly dizzy. His hands were shaking a little. He tried to rest his head against the subway car wall that was to his left side but the jarring motions of the vehicle kept slamming his temple against the cold metal.
Riddick saw this and moved closer to him. He put an arm around Johns' shoulders but the young man pulled away. "Don't be such a pain in the ass, Johns."
The bounty hunter glanced at him but allowed Riddick to put an arm around him. He rested his head on the serial killer's shoulder, the warmth and strength from it soothing his frayed nerves once again.
New Terra was a suburban area filled with urban life. It reminded him of Brooklyn on Earth. There were cars around but most people walked. Children played on the stoops outside of buildings while teens played basketball and mothers hung wet clothes on the fire escape clothing lines. It seemed like a completely different world from the one he had just left.
Johns walked behind Riddick, watching the life around him. He was so busy staring at the new surroundings that he practically ran into Riddick when the serial killer stopped short. "Fuck! What the hell are you doing?"
Riddick turned to look at Johns. "You can walk next to me, you know?"
"I know. I was just thinking." He shifted on his feet, nervously.
"Then think while you're walking next to me. This neighborhood's nice but the place that we're headed isn't."
Riddick cut down an alleyway that led to another part of the town. This place was different, more reminiscent of their previous dwelling in the main city.
Here, kids played on the stoops and sold drugs in the same area, in front of younger siblings. Some of the mothers did the laundry while others just stared out the window, the haunted look of those who were trapped in a drugged-haze and could never leave. Men stood in gangs on the basketball courts and outside of drug stores.
"Now are you going to tell me?" he asked.
Riddick kept his eyes on the surroundings, to scout for danger. "An old friend of mine lives here. I managed to contact him this morning and he said we could stay with him until our ship leaves."
"What ship? Where are we going?"
"The Hunter-Gratzner and it's headed for Earth with a stopover at New Mecca. I hadn't really thought of a good place to go just somewhere off this planet and away from Dallas." Riddick turned into a building. It was an old-fashioned brick building that was at least ten floors high.
Johns winced at the painful reminder of his former lover. "Max Dallas is dead. There's no rush. Earth sounds fine. I haven't visited my aunt in years."
Riddick walked up the three flights of stairs it took to get to the floor he wanted. He heard Johns gasp out behind him.
"You got a problem with lifts, Riddick?"
The serial killer stopped and waited for Johns to catch his breath. They were on the floor he wanted. "You'd rather be sealed into a soundproof lift where there is nowhere to escape, with people you don't know the first thing about?"
Johns shook his head. "You're a real people person, you know that?"
Riddick snorted and stalked down the hallway past a couple of doors. Johns grinned and followed him. They approached a wooden door and Riddick knocked.
They waited a few moments before a series of locks were undone and the door opened, revealing an African American man in his late twenties. His black hair was woven into thick dreadlocks that hung past his shoulders and his midnight eyes lit up when he saw Riddick.
"Richard B. Riddick, you son of a bitch!" His voice had a higher pitch to it than Riddick's, filled with a sort of natural strain.
The two clasped hands and embraced briefly. Johns squashed a sudden pang of jealousy at the closeness between the two men. They separated and Riddick motioned to Johns.
"William Johns, Desolation Keen."
The other man shook Johns' hand, amiably. "Good to meet you, kid."
He bristled at the word but then realized that the man meant nothing by it.
Keen motioned for them to come inside. Johns followed Riddick inside and Keen shut the door behind them, locking it up.
Keen moved into the kitchen. "You guys must be hungry. You want some sandwiches?"
"That's fine." Johns sat down next to Riddick on the sofa. Outwardly, the serial killer looked ready for anything but Johns knew that he must be tired. He could tell from the way the older man had sat down so heavily on the sofa. They sat in silence until Keen walked over with some sandwiches, orange juice, and chips.
"I thought about offering you some tequila but you didn't seem to be in the partying mood, Johns, " Keen said as he bit into his sandwich.
He smiled, weakly, and ate his food. He didn't know what he thought about Riddick, but he wasn't ready to trust this man just yet. Johns had always been wary about making friends, and Keen was no exception, no matter how good a host he was. He wasn't too thrilled about sleeping in a place with a stranger. Keen might be Riddick's old pal, but Riddick was a serial killer.
"So, Riddick, last I heard you'd escaped from SlamCity. How come you didn't call me?"
Riddick was quiet as he ate but answered simply. "I was busy."
Johns winced but Keen didn't appear to notice. He also didn't appear to notice Riddick's unsocial disposition at the moment.
He turned to Johns. "So, kid, where're you from?"
Keen grinned around a mouthful of chips. "You're a long way from home."
Johns shrugged. "I travel a lot."
The other man nodded. "So, what's your game?"
Johns stalled by taking a drink of orange juice. "Um, I'm a pilot."
"How'd you two hook up?"
"At a bar," Johns said. Well, it was true enough.
"You becoming friends with strays now, Riddick?" Keen laughed, good-naturedly.
Johns forced himself to keep his anger in check but Riddick's comment pacified him somewhat.
"We are strays, Keen."
"True, true," the other man said.
It was getting dark now. After spending all day on the subway, Johns felt filthy. "You got a shower I can use?"
Keen stood up. "Sure, kid. I'll show you the bathroom and your room. I only got one spare room, so you'll have to share."
Johns was beyond the point of caring. "Okay."
After the short tour, Keen handed Johns a towel. "Go wild, kid."
Johns closed the door and shook his head. "Fucking freak."
A soon as the sound of the shower could be heard, Desolation Keen's whole demeanor changed. He walked out to find Riddick drinking his glass of juice. "You're one large fucking asshole, Riddick!"
The serial killer looked up at him from the blank, black goggles. "You gotta problem, Keen?"
He stood in front of the older man. "You bring a fucking cop into my crib!"
"Not a cop. He's a merc."
"Oh, oh! That's so much fucking better, you bring a hack." Keen grabbed the plates and shouted to Riddick as he threw the plastic away. "Goddamn pilot, my ass."
Riddick remained silent through his friend's tirade.
Keen walked back out. "Why the fuck are you hanging with a merc?"
"Known him for a while now. He got into some trouble and he needs help right now."
Keen sat in the chair, opposite him. "So drop him off at a psych ward."
"So they can pump him full of meds until he can't remember what made him so fucked up? Not a chance," Riddick said, his voice filled with anger.
Keen felt his anger slip away. "You care about this kid, don't you?"
"Well, I don't care. I want him out of here when he gets out of the shower," Keen said.
Riddick met his eyes. "His boyfriend beat the shit out of him so long he didn't bother fighting back anymore."
"Fuck," Keen whispered, his own memories resurfacing.
"Yeah. You know what that feeling is like. Helpless. Pain," Riddick said, his voice quiet.
Keen shifted. "I remember. Not much you can do to help him with that, Riddick."
"No, but suicide was also an option for Cody and Michael."
"It wasn't one for me. They did that when our dear *padre* stopped taking them to confession because they had gotten too old," Keen replied.
Both men sat in silence while painful memories streaked past their eyes. They couldn't help the ones that had died nor the ones that had lived. It had always been a shadow over their lives, even while they were in juvie and Slam.
Keen spoke up, his voice filled with pain. "You thinking of righting the wrongs with this guy Johns?"
Riddick nodded. "Started out like that."
"Then good luck, my brother."
Johns crawled into bed, exhausted. The past two days had been a nightmare that had never ended. Keen had given him a pair of gray sweat pants and a white cotton T-Shirt. There was nothing but a queen-sized bed and an empty closet. The bed was in a corner and he turned towards the wall, curling up on his side. The last sound he heard before he drifted off into sleep was the sound of the shower down the hallway.
He was dreaming. He realized that belatedly. Max Dallas was on the floor, bleeding. His former lover started moving on the floor towards him. His stomach slid across the floor, leaving a wet trail of blood and gore. Max's eyes were dark and filled with blood as he moved closer to Johns.
'You won't leave me.'
Johns glanced at the door and saw Riddick just standing there. The man met his gaze for an instant and then walked out the door, leaving them alone. He was too paralyzed to move.
Max was getting closer and closer to him. He just sat there, curled up on the floor. Max grabbed his throat with a bloody hand.
'You can't leave me.'
Johns eyes snapped open and he gasped. He sat up, trying to catch his breath.
The nightmare came back to him and he buried his face in his hands as he willed his heartbeat back to normal. Even in death, Max could torment him. He felt a hand on his back that made him jump. "Jesus, Riddick. You gotta stop scaring the hell out of me."
The serial killer was lying next to him, on his back, in a gray wife-beater and black pants. His goggles were off and the silver eyes looked at him, worried. "Who do you dream about when you get nightmares?"
Johns laid down next to him and turned onto his side to face Riddick. "The people who leave me behind."
He shrugged. "Friends, family..."
Riddick heard the pain in the last word. "I never knew my family."
"You're lucky. I wish I'd never known mine," Johns said, quietly.
Riddick frowned. "You mean that?"
"Yeah. When your family ends up giving you nightmares for the rest of your life, you kinda wish they were never a part of it. I don't have happy memories of my parents because the way they died is they only memory of them I have. The only one I can take." Johns' words were filled with pain but he didn't cry. He didn't have anymore tears for the two people who had given him life and then taken away his innocence.
Riddick decided to let it go. "There's a lot I don't know about you."
"That's a two-way street." Johns was calming down but he couldn't sleep.
"Give me time." Riddick's words were simple but held a lot of meaning. He was willing to trust Johns, if the other was ready to do the same.
Johns moved closer and leaned over the larger man. "I don't want to think anymore."
He kissed Riddick, his lips sliding over the ones beneath him. The kiss was hesitant at first, then needy as he slipped his tongue into the other man's mouth. He groaned and felt large arms come around him and pull him on top of Riddick, straddling his chest.
Go back to Part 4
Go on to Part 6