Title: Series of Failings
Email: aquemarina AT aol.com
Summary: The creature clicked, hissed, and yanked; he pulled back and dammit, his hands would not slip.
Disclaimers: Pitch Black & co., Dylan Thomas poetry is not mine.
Author's Notes: Pitch Black, R/F. This fic may or may not expanded. Were this actually a series, this would be chapter one entitled ‘This Fight.’ Very unbetaed – please be merciful.
…and wasn’t he surprised as fuck to see her, deep down; all he could do right now was gasp and choke with the pain of whateverthefuck had happened to his leg – but that didn’t mean he was oblivious. This tiny excuse of a captain was dragging him along. The situation, their limbs constantly slipping in the mud, sweat, rain and blood so their bodies more often than not fell flush against one another, was almost pleasant.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
In between this breath and the next a thousand images pressed themselves into his brain.
They invaded him, shuddering inside and pattering his skull like the damned rain falling. His mind had always had the ability to take the smallest suggestion, to let it go forth and multiply like a virus, and the scenarios spawned were always so interesting. But the flash of those garish triangulations that were before so captivatingly bright – and would she die before they started eating her? – became suddenly too harsh in his mind’s eye.
And for once, Richard B. Riddick wanted just to look away. Do not give me this, he wanted to say to her death-bright eyes, I don’t know what to do with it.
Instead he tightened his grip on her and – to do what he didn’t know – moved. A crack sounded and a screech whistled out.
He looked down. The cold iron of his shiv splintered exoskeleton he had originally taken for bone. The night flyer cried angrily and ripped itself away. It tried to yank its prize away with it, and the shock of it reverberated to his bones.
The creature clicked, hissed, and yanked; he pulled back and dammit, his hands would not slip. He held on, hands locked round her arms, eyes locked to hers, ignoring her expression and the snap-flash procession of recently repulsive possibilities; he grimly played the tug-of-war until the injured thing finally fled.
No one would hold them up now and they were off balance, and he didn’t have the time or strength to twist and take the fall. He braced his armed behind her ruined back as they crashed to the mud.
“Carolyn;” he gritted out, without much hope of her response. She had not winced as pieces of her back were torn raggedly from her body. The flayed edges of her wounded waist laid hotly against his own unbroken skin, and he was almost sure that he’d felt the blunt curve of a naked rib scrape his wrist in the fall. She was in shock and must be bleeding out into the puddles she lay in. At the thought he rolled them, and ignored a strange impulse to keep her huddled small and safe beneath him.
Trying to get them up and to the ship would be useless. Her morbidly surprised face had shoved him from shock and tremors to lucidity, yes, but he could feel the adrenaline fading. There would be no getting to the ship.
He cast out a hand and groped through the mud for the buglight bottle, finally grasping it by the neck and balancing it on her shoulder blades. Her breaths, coming shallow and too slowly on his neck, would not move the bottle enough to make it fall.
She lay like a doll atop him, limp and useless, and for all her stillness may have been dead right then and not only straying down the path. Riddick folded his hands, pressed them to her shredded back in some attempt to stay the damage, and laid his head back and away from the light. The rain smacked their limbs. He waited for someone to save them.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
His waking was gradual, all warmth and receding darkness. Riddick could not recall such an awakening in recent memory, and let an eye slit open in curiosity to see what it was that had him so relaxed. The effort of it was like pushing through warm water.
Must be in a hospital, he reasoned, drugged to sleep and tucked into bed. When he lifted his gaze, it met with the decidedly not hospital-white gunmetal gray of hull interior beyond. To his other side lay a smooth shoulder and a tousled golden head. He sat up. Carolyn Fry lay beside him, on her stomach and one hand dangling to the floor, on the outside edge of the only narrow bunk the skiff had to offer.
“Don’t move too quickly.” The kid sat across the way. “You’ll knock her off.” She must have assumed he wouldn’t give much of a damn about that. “Well, you’ll jostle your leg.” Said leg was elevated by propping it on the cabinet at the foot of the bed, naked to the mid-thigh and heavily bandaged. An experimental flex brought no pain.
He propped himself up on his elbow. “So who piloted?”
She nodded towards the front. “”Imam is. He used to pilot, apparently.”
It was a bitch of a thing, but planetside he was able to part from them and take Carolyn with him.
How much of a coma would one expect for someone who had been so thoroughly shredded? She had been in that bed for months now.
The amount of time was starting to make him almost exasperated because it was not as if modern medi-regeneration had not done its job and she laid at death’s door still. A quick survey confirmed that the sheets still lay in the same dents and folds they had before his departure: no movement in twelve hours. He threw his jacket at a chair and stalked to the bathroom the wash his hands. He walked out with bandages and a fresh IV, settled himself on the edge of the bed and began to work with movements made deft by experience.
At least it was a change from the initial trepidation. The stumbling attempts to be gentle were slowly abandoned and eventually gave way to clean maneuvers that swiftly had his patient redressed. There was no longer any moody sitting around for hours, in awe of human nature, contemplating her motives and thinking, maybe, just maybe, redemption.
Because she could be his penance.
Don’t you want to rejoin the human race?
She handed him a chance by giving out her life like so many coins to a vagrant. But he didn’t know what to do, they clinked hollowly in his empty cup - and he wanted more, suddenly. So he took the supplies and instructions from the doctor, didn’t leave her in that sterile cold, hospital room. He took her and waited for her to wake up. Perhaps she would never regain her strength and in her white-sheeted bed lay as a cripple forever, but he would let her wounds dictate the rest of his life to him. He would listen to this invalid created by both of them. The limp and forever-tight ache in his ribs was nothing to the woman destroyed by a kindness.
But it had been fifteen months, and it was possible that playing nursemaid and his nine-to-five blue collar workday was all that to be expected for his cherished penance. He needed to finally face up, he knew, to the fact that here would be no guidance, no company for him. It would be a lonely life. Today was not one of the days he could deal with the thought without a heady jolt of anger. His fingers gripped her arm too tightly as he laid her back on the bed.
Carolyn Fry chose then to stir, murmur, and open her eyes.