Title: When I'm Gone
Author: Drucilla
Email: dru_dollhouse AT yahoo.com
Rating: TEENS
Summary: Songfic to 3 Doors Down. Riddick, Jack, and Fry and their contemplations at various stages post-movie. Ties in with In the Dark.
Disclaimers: Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick and their characters belong to Universal Studios. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Author's Notes: A ves ordes, here is a kind of sequel (well, prequel) to In the Dark... a songfic about Riddick, Fry, and Jack. The song is When I'm Gone, by Three Doors Down. The characters I'm sure you all know.

 

There's another world inside of me

That you may never see

There's secrets in this life that I can't hide

Somewhere in this darkness

There's a light that I can't find

Maybe I'm too far away...

Maybe I'm just blind...

 

LEAVING

Riddick pulled away from the planet, feeling oddly hollow inside. He didn't understand it, quite... not yet. He knew was the source was, for certain... the death of the erstwhile captain, Carolyn Fry. The conversations they had had just before her death at the hands of the raptor creatures. Just before she had been grabbed, ripped brutally away from him as she was trying to save him, as she had tried to save everyone on the doomed shuttle. He had been stumbling along, injured, resigned in his own wry way to his inevitable death. And she had come along, picked him up, shaken him told him in no uncertain terms that they were getting the hell off this damn planet. He smiled to think of it, smiled wistfully as he'd remembered the anger and fire with which she'd fought for her life, and for the lives of the rest of the people from the shuttle. Her life, that the raptors had ripped from her.

Riddick grinned ferally. He'd shown them.

He glanced back at the two passengers, huddling in the half-light of the shuttle. Jack... or Jackie, or whoever she was... looked scared out of her mind, even now. He didn't understand her either, even less than he'd understood Fry. He didn't understand why she emulated him, why she wanted to be like him. Who in their right mind would want to do that? Didn't she realize what an absolutely craptastic life he lead? Probably not.

Fry had understood. Fry, of all people, had probably understood him the best, no matter what that six-times-damned bastard of a bounty hunter had said. The bounty hunter Johns had understood just enough of Riddick to catch him, but not enough to hold him. Riddick smiled that feral grimace of a grin once more. He'd shown the bounty hunter, too. Ripped him up the middle, before the raptors had ripped him in two. Served Johns right for trying to fuck with Richard B. Riddick.

But Fry had understood.

She'd understood the subtext, read past the text stream to the data stream in their conversation about death, dying, and fighting for what you believe in. Right now he wasn't sure, but he was starting to think that she'd understood even more than he had. He didn't understand why, why she was willing to give up her life even for him, but he thought he was starting to. Maybe. His mind was starting to wrap around the concept. His heart (or what was left of it, shivering in its frozen cold prison) was screaming out that it just didn't make sense. It really didn't make sense. Why sacrifice herself for him? What had she seen in him that was worth her life?

He wished she was there... or that she could at least point out what it was. That someone could point out some reason, some quality in him that was worth the life of a woman like Carolyn Fry. He couldn't see it, which made her death pointless, meaningless. Wasteful. He hated waste, and he hated this kind of waste with a violent anger and rage (and sorrow) that made his hands clench on the controls. It didn't make any sense. None of it made any sense. His thoughts chased themselves around in circles like leaves in the wind.

Riddick took a deep breath. Now was definitely not the time to be falling apart, not when he had to worry about his own survival. He'd gotten off the planet, which was a definite step ahead, but now he had to worry about being registered as officially deceased, and how to secure a new identity. Familiar tasks, but ... he had witnesses.

He glanced back into the cabin where Imam seemed to be sleeping and Jack was... well, was either in shock or passed out, he couldn't tell which from her posture. What was he going to do about them? Common convict sense said to kill them. He couldn't afford to have survivors knowing where he was going or that he was still alive. He couldn't afford to leave that kind of security risk. Even two people... well, hell. Didn't the saying go something like that? Three can keep a secret if two are dead. He could dispatch these two and dispose of the remains easily, and then his secret would be kept well safe.

But Carolyn.

Riddick winced. He really shouldn't be going all sentimental at a time like this... but the memory of her was still burning brightly in his mind, silhouetted against the darkened planet. The memory of her willingness to fight for life, anyone's life she thought valuable. She had thought Jack's and Imam's lives were valuable. Valuable enough to risk her life for them, both against the raptors and against him. He smiled... she had thought they were valuable enough to stand up to Riddick for, and he had to respect that. Privately, a small jealous part of him had wanted her to go away with him... wanted to play the rescuer and leave the rest behind. Just the two of them, flying off into space. But then, she wouldn't be the Carolyn Fry he remembered if she'd accepted. He had to admit, had she stayed on her knees and permitted him to carry her into the shuttle, he would always have thought there was something wrong.

Riddick sighed. Who was he to tell her, no? Who was he to go against her last decision and kill these two, as easy as it would be. He'd have to let them live, anyway, for her sake. In honor of her last assertion, if nothing else. The thought was unlike him, and he examined it briefly for signs of weakness before setting it aside as a decision made. It wasn't weak to respect strength. It wasn't weak to admit strength in others. And it wasn't necessarily weakness to let these two live. Really. It wasn't. They could be immensely useful one day.

And they'd keep his secret. He was sure of that, even if he didn't necessarily trust them. He did, however, trust his ability to judge people's characters. They wouldn't tell anyone that Richard Riddick was still alive. He could safely bet his life on that... which was, indeed, what he was doing. He was betting his life on their goodwill, as Carolyn Fry had bet her life on his goodwill. And as much as he hated to admit it (and thought it was weakness) she was right. He could never have hurt her.

Riddick sighed. And now she was dead, her body scattered on the surface of the planet. And he could only hope he'd gotten a few of the raptors that had gotten her with that final blast of light.

He turned the nose of the shuttle to the stars.

So hold me when I'm here

Right me when I'm wrong

Hold me when I'm scared

And love me when I'm gone

Everything I am

And everything in me

Wants to be the one

You wanted me to be

I'll never let you down

Even if I could

I'd give up everything

If only for your good

So hold me when I'm here

Love me when I'm wrong

You can hold me when I'm scared

You won't always be there

So love me when I'm gone

 

LANDING

Jack stood in the darkened doorway and stared at the man she called 'uncle' or sometimes 'father'... or sometimes, in the furthest corner of her mind, 'beloved.' He was asleep, and sound asleep, as unusual as that was for him. They'd just left behind one of their usual station stop-overs and Riddick was more exhausted than usual. Not that she didn't know why, and not that she couldn't understand what had happened. Jack smiled. It was good to know that She was alive.

Carolyn Fry. The last survivor of the darkened planet.

Jack walked softly over to the bed, not commando-stalking or trying to be quiet, because she knew Riddick would wake up in a heartbeat if he thought anyone was sneaking around. And he'd probably wake up grumpy and violent, too. Instead she simply walked quietly but firmly, her customary walk made silent by the relatively thick carpeting in the small room on the ship. One of their (her) more lush indulgances. She knelt down by his outflung arm, by the side of the bed, and watched him sleep as she'd watched him so many nights. Wishing he could be hers, and understanding why he could not. Why he would never feel about her the way she felt about him.

Jack smiled slightly. For one thing, he was too damn old. As much as she hated to admit it, there was a certain length of age gap past which there was a very small chance of actually forming a relationship with someone. The age gap between her and Riddick definitely qualified. She was twenty now, but he was in his mid-thirties, and he had known her for too long to think of her as a romantic object, anyway.

He thought of Carolyn... he called her Fry, but Jack knew he thought of her as Carolyn... in a romantic way, though. Jack could see it in his eyes the moment he'd stepped back on board. His posture was less stiff, less careful, his smile had come more easily. There had been something that had... for lack of a better word, had relaxed with the visit with Fry. Something that had been released within him, and it wasn't just pent up sexual frustration. Jack had seen Riddick around the bars in the space stations, and he could pick up six different women in as many hours, and take them all home. There was something different about Fry.

Riddick had told Jack how she'd survived on the planet, how she'd managed to escape the raptor creatures. He'd told her with an odd sort of proud glow about him, and Jack figured that was part of what made Fry so special. She was a survivor, same as Riddick. She was a fighter. Jack also figured that Fry had been one of the first ones to really see Riddick for who he was, instead of what he was. Jack would sheepishly admit, if asked, that even she had been a little star-struck by the looming convict when she'd first met him. She'd have admitted that years ago. And the bounty hunter, Johns... Jack shuddered. He'd given her the creeps worse than Riddick back then. She didn't know what happened to him, but she was sure she'd been justified in choosing the convict's side over the self-proclaimed lawman's.

But that was then. And now, Jack wasn't entirely sure Riddick needed her anymore. Sure, their cover had been helped by her presence... he'd been ample protection for her, and she'd been a good smokescreen for him. No one would have suspected Richard B. Riddick, convicted mass murderer and escaped prisoner, of towing around a teenaged girl. But now there was someone else in the picture... someone who might show up soon, if Jack wasn't mistaken. And she knew she'd be a third wheel if she stayed.

Jack smiled. She leaned over the convict and gently kissed him on the cheek, mildly surprised when he didn't wake up. She sniffed at his mouth, but it was free of any suspicious chemical odor, and his breathing was slow and even. Probably just tired. She gently, quietly, picked up her bags and opened the door, standing in the silhouette of hallway light and looking back on the older man who had meant so much to her. And then, in the company of the priest from the past, she left.

When your education x-ray

Can not see under my skin

I won't tell you a damn thing

That I could not tell my friends

Roaming through this darkness

I'm alive but I'm alone

Part of me is fighting this

But part of me is gone

 

FLYING

Carolyn Fry stared out at the stars from her small berth on the carrier ship, wondering just what the hell Jack's last cryptic message had meant. Her mind wouldn't let her think the impossible, wouldn't let her attribute human emotions to the convict. It just wasn't going to happen, and that was an end to that. The man had tried to talk her into abandoning her comrades, for Christ's sake! There wasn't any human feeling, any human compassion left in him. She was convinced of that.

Then why, oh why, did she want to go back there?

She shook her head, banging it softly into the pillow (and by consequence, into the roof of the exremely tiny bunk). Thoughts like this had been plaguing her ever since Jack had sent her the damn message, and she cursed the girl's urge to play match-maker. It just wouldn't work, anyway. Carolyn Fry was... well, Carolyn Fry. And no matter how comforting the damn convict was, no matter how wonderful he was in the dark, he was still an escaped murderer. He was still the bad guy, and she (at least she thought she was) was still a good girl. She had to believe that. She wasn't going to compromise herself, compromise her safety, by going anywhere near him.

Her chest twinged. Her mind rebelled. What was she compromising, it asked her, by staying away from him? She couldn't very well deny the physical attraction, and she didn't even try. The man was all kinds of handsome: well-built, well-tanned, chiseled features and chiseled abs. Women probably swooned all over him in any spaceport he walked into. She wasn't any different, and with a sigh of resignation she supposed she didn't have to be. Except that she knew better. She knew exactly what kind of a sick, psychopathic killer he was, and therefore she should know better than to get involved with him. Dammit.

Every time she'd thought that it was punctuated with the word 'dammit.' Who was she trying to convince here? Jack? Riddick? Herself?

Besides, even if she was attracted to him on more levels than just the pure animal sexuality, there wasn't exactly much hope for a romantic relationship from him. He was a convict, and more importantly, one who had spent a good deal of time in Slam. Even more time on the run... and she didn't know the first thing about him. Except that he'd had a rough childhood, a rough time growing up. None of the things she knew about him were the kind of thing that would make her inclined to have a relationship with him. And certainly not the kind of thing that would make her think he wanted a relationship with anyone. Much less a romantic one.

Carolyn Fry scowled. Put Riddick out of your mind, woman, she told herself. He won't bring you anything but heartache and trouble. And he's certainly not worth getting a... a schoolgirl crush over! Just stop thinking about him. It's not worth it. She checked the flight manifest as she rolled out of the berth, grabbing her pack along the way. They were stopping over at one of the bigger stations in the area, she could hop another transport out from there. It wouldn't get her to where she knew she could find a job... but it would get her away from Riddick. Anything to get her away from Riddick. She needed to get away from him, out from under his spell, off the Riddick drug.

She walked through the station halls, searching for a transport out of there, the farther the better.

So hold me when I'm here

Right me when I'm wrong

Hold me when I'm scared

And love me when I'm gone

Everything I am

And everything in me

Wants to be the one

You wanted me to be

I'll never let you down

Even if I could

I'd give up everything

If only for your good

So hold me when I'm here

Love me when I'm wrong

You can hold me when I'm scared

You won't always be there

So love me when I'm gone

 

 
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