Fandom: Pitch Black & BtVS (mentioned)
Disclaimer: None of the characters from Pitch Black or Buffy belong to me. I just have borrowed them for this fiction story. However, the rest of the characters and situations are mine! :) And by the way, I don't make a dime off of using these characters.
Summary: Riddick's last moments after a life he never imagined he could live.
Archive: Sure thing, just let me know before you do.
Feedback: If you want....
Notes: This story is the very conclusion to my PB/BtVS crossover stories. You don't really need to know much from those stories. Except that Riddick and Faith (from Buffy) were married and in love. They had two children (Avalina and Topher). And Jack (PB) turned out to be a descendant of Buffy, and was also a Slayer in this time. Any other questions, please feel free to ask. Oh yeah, all spelling and grammatical mistakes are mine -- please ignore them ;)
This story is a challenge response for a challenge issued by riddickswoman. The challenge is seen below:
Take any of Vin's character's you want and put them close to death or dying. Car accident, close call, cancer......whatever you choose. I want to know their regrets, their reflections of their life, what they would change, are proud of, hate, love, will miss, whatever your imaginations come up with. 3000 words or less.
Day: Friday, October 31st
Year: 3574 A.D. /// 29 Post-Salvation
St. Christopher’s Hospital
California Island, EARTH
“How are you feeling today Chancellor?” Betty, my nurse and assistant, asks me as she bustles around my room, fiddling with several different machines that are hooked up to me. The constant beeping has become a mixed blessing. It lets me know that I’m still alive, still hanging on, and at the same time it reminds me that I’m still on this plane, still alone.
“Same as I was yesterday, Betty, and the same as the day before that. I’m still here,” I reply. My voice is harsher than it used to be. It could be attributed to old age, but I’m not old. I like to blame it on the jagged scar running across the base of my throat. An assassin got through my security team almost ten years ago. She was able to get to me. And she almost did me in. The only thing that saved my life was that sixth sense that some people have. It kept me alive up until that point, so there was no reason to start to doubt it then. And it was a good thing I trusted my instincts and gut feeling because everything else was telling me that the woman hovering over me with a knife cutting into my throat was my dead wife. She was one of the Coalition’s troops. A member of a small, radical group that was opposed to the government that I had set up roughly twenty-five years ago. A government that looked to me for leadership, even though they knew that I was Richard B. Riddick. The shock of the situation still hadn't worn off.
“Are you in any pain?” she asks me, pulling me out of my memories.
I bark out a harsh laugh before I am able to swallow it. She looks at me in surprise.
“Sir?” she asks, and I can see the concern in her eyes. I can smell the anxiety coming off of her.
“No, Betty. You are keeping me feeling good. I don’t feel a thing,” I reply, after a moment’s hesitation to regain a normal, even tone to my voice.
“Perhaps I can send for Dr. Thompson. He would be more than willing to come in and talk, if you…if you need someone to talk to,” she gently suggests. The idea that she suggested that I get help scares her. I’m not sure whether she is afraid of how I will react to the situation, or is afraid of the fact that I just might need the help after all.
“Thank you for the offer, Betty, but I’m fine. Sure, losing one’s ability to control their own body isn’t exactly a picnic, but I’m coping. Besides, you tell me everyday that the Alliance’s finest are working towards a cure, right?” I remind her with a glance in her direction. She nods, keeping her face neutral. But I know the thoughts that are going through her head because they are my thoughts as well. There is no cure for what I have. New diseases take time to cure. They take time to figure out. And time is exactly what I don’t have at the present moment. My case is the first of its kind. The Alliance doctors haven’t seen a disease that has this high of a degeneration rate in centuries.
“And I’ll tell you the same again today, Chancellor. The Alliance is working towards finding you a cure. They have their very best working towards the solution. You just need to keep thinking positively. They will find a cure,” she told me with a smile. I could smell the lie. She probably knew that I could, but what else was she going to tell me – the truth?
“Thanks for daily update, Betty. Please send word to the doctors working on my situation that I greatly appreciate their dedication to their task at hand,” I told her. She nodded and stared hard at me for a moment. I wondered if she had any idea about the thoughts that were going on inside my head.
“Will do, Sir. I will see you later this evening. Is there anything I can get for you between now and when I return?” she asked me.
“Reports on all the active Slayers,” I replied with a slight smirk.
“As usual,” she replied with a tiny smile. “Very well. I will be back in a few hours. Page Christie up front if you need anything,” she stated and then walked out of the room, pulling the door almost closed behind her.
And so I was alone again, with only my thoughts.
I still remember the look on Jack’s face right before she died. It still, even after thirty-one years, chills me to the bone. We were traveling through a controlled system. For that reason my guard was down slightly. It was just the mistake that cost Jack her life. I didn’t even see the man pull the gun out and point it in our direction. I still don’t understand how she knew it was happening either. There was absolutely no way that she could have seen the man behind me, absolutely none. Jack just shoved me aside, sent me stumbling several feet away from her, clear of all the danger, and took the shots in her back. I watched her life slip away from her. It was the first time in decades that she looked like the Jack that I first met back on Taurus 2. In that moment she was once again innocent, completely vulnerable and terrified. But she held eye contact with me, made me see that she understood what she had done, before the light faded from her eyes, and her body fell lifeless in the middle of the street. There were thousands of people just standing there. All too shocked to even say anything let alone move.
Before them, on the dirty street, in a puddle of her own blood, lay the longest-lived Slayer in history. The first the universe had seen in fifteen hundred years.
That was one event of many that would set about major change.
I didn’t think it could hurt that much to lose her. I hadn’t meant to ever love her, but I had. I had vowed after Faith that I would not love another. That my children would be my sole focus in the world. But somehow Jack just wormed her way back into my life and my love for her was revived and altered. My love for Jack was different than my love for Faith. But they both knew that I loved them.
I suppose, looking back on it, Jack knew that she was dead long before she actually died. The way that she lived her life proved that point. Each moment was sacred to her. The newfound love for life probably came from meeting up with Faith before died. She told me once that she was living on borrowed time. I didn’t fully understand why she felt that way until I saw her eyes as she was dying. She knew that she was going to be needed in the future to die to protect me. The realization that she had stuck around to just die for me made me sick.
A parent should never have to bury their children. How many times has that phrase been uttered at funerals?
That phrase often pops up in my head when I think about my children. A parent should never have to witness the death of their children either. But in my case, it seems that I have drawn the short straw when it comes to luck.
My two children, Avalina, and Topher, were the last things I had in my life that completely reminded me of Faith. More than that they were my children, my own flesh and blood.
They were supposed to get old, have children of their own, start their own families, and die among their grandchildren.
They were supposed to bury me. But it didn’t happen that way; it never does.
Faith was right when she said that our children were special. They were born from a vampire slayer turned part-vampire and an enhanced man. They never really had a chance at being normal. And I knew that she had seen their deaths, even before she left the house all those years ago to go save Jack, I knew that she knew what would happen to them. And for years after their deaths I blamed her for leaving, for not cluing me in, and letting me know so that I could protect my children with my life.
But it finally occurred me to that it wouldn’t have mattered; fate had written their path, and it would have come for them regardless. It didn’t make their deaths any easier.
The creaking of the hospital door jarred me awake. I had been sleeping for hours and didn’t even realize I had drifted off. I looked over to my left and my eyes fell on Betty. She was back, which meant that I had slept the entire day. Shit like that was happening more and more often. I couldn’t stay away for more than several hours.
“Did I wake you, Chancellor?” her soft voice questioned.
“Of course not, I was just resting my eyes,” I replied and she smirked at my response.
“Of course, Chancellor,” she replied and I could hear the amusement in her voice. “I brought the video report on the current Slayers as you requested, Sir. The girls are all accounted for. And everything else seems to be going well,” she informed me. “I will turn this on after I leave,” she added, waving the disk she held in one hand.
“Thank you, Betty,” I replied. “Has there been anymore progress with attempting to reopen the portals?” I questioned and she frowned slightly.
“None. The Mages that attempt to open any of the portals are going insane, if they are lucky enough to survive. There aren’t very many that are strong enough to survive long enough to go insane.”
“I see,” I sighed, allowing a little relief into my body.
“The force field that your children put up is still holding, Chancellor,” she quietly added.
“But they are getting closer to breaking through, aren’t they?” I muttered, more to myself than to her.
“Yes, Sir, sadly enough. But I have the greatest confidence that nothing will happen to destroy us,” Betty replied, and I could hear the truth and conviction in her voice.
“Will they be able to break through? Honestly?”
“All the reports that I have received proved there is no way they can make it through. Besides, they have no idea what is going on here. If they make it through they will have the surprise of their very short, little lives waiting for them on this side,” she assured me as she came forward to take my hand gently.
I let my eyes trail down to where she was holding my hand. It was horrible that I couldn’t even feel her fingers wrapped around my own. She noticed me staring at our joined hands and blushed, but didn’t remove her hand. Even she, who had been with me for so long through this disease and life, forgot just how far gone I really was.
“The force field will hold, Chancellor. It has to. Because *they* built it,” she added with a true smile on her face. I allowed a slight smile to come to my face at her comment.
“They were always so damn stubborn. In the back of my mind, the pit of my stomach, I realized the minute that I found out about their plans that there was nothing I could do to stop them. They didn’t seem to care that their lives would be forfeited for the spell to work. They were willing to risk it in an attempt to keep everyone safe. They definitely got that from their mother, cause it sure as hell didn’t come from me,” I gruffly replied.
“Of course not, Sir," she replied attempting to agree with me. But the smile on her face told me that she was calling bullshit on me and my statement. I knew that she could see through the harsh tone of my voice and hear the genuine love and pride underneath.
“They were amazing children, Chancellor. If we were all so lucky to be blessed with ones like yours…” she commented and trailed off.
“Yes … if we were all so lucky,” I replied and closed my eyes again.
The flood of memories from Avalina and Topher’s whole lives came at me hard. It tended to do that exactly when I wasn’t expecting it. Although, over the course of the past 29 years since they had sacrificed themselves to save our universe, it had become increasingly easier to think about them. The memories of their lives were gently washing away the pain of their deaths.
A father should never have to bury his children. A husband should never have to lose his wife.
And as corny and tacky as it sounds I did see a brilliant white light at the very end of my mortal existence. Some people say that they when they come out of comas they head towards the light, which leads them back to their existence in the world. I headed toward the light knowing that it was the end.
I welcomed that oblivion.
And I welcomed whatever waited for me on the other side. And I was pleased when a hand reached out for me to grasp. And I didn’t even need to think to know that it was Faith reaching out for me. So I took her hand, sliding my fingers in-between hers and just that simple touch brought back so many memories. And it was just like that, holding the hand of my wife, my love, my reason for living that I died.