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Eclipse of the Heart

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He sat on the overhang of the cliffs looking out at New Mecca.  It was a bustling metropolis, rather peaceful for its size, and not a typical place that Riddick would find himself.  All the same, he felt at ease there.

Usually it seemed he was the lone one simply enjoying the day, taking the time to just stop and relax as the rest of the city continued to move at its productive pace around him.  On this particular day though, he wasn’t the only one.  Below, people were stopping in the streets or up on the rooftops, everyone gazing towards the sun.  For today, the bright sun of Helion system would be experiencing an eclipse.

Now, Riddick loved the dark- it was where he felt most at home- and there was no denying that Helion was a bright planet.  Even so, the actual event of an eclipse was one to give him pause.  Five years…  Had it been so long already?  Five years since the crash onto a backwater world, another eclipse, the creatures in the dark.

Riddick looked up at the sun as the moon started to move slowly into its path and whispered, “Johns…”

They lay on the floor of Johns’ skiff, bleeding out- the merc with a stab wound to his abdomen, Riddick with a gunshot wound to his chest.  “You dyin’ on me Johns?”

“No, not yet…”  His arm was reached out towards Riddick and he forced a half chuckle.  “They get you good?”

“I’ve had worse,” was the dry reply.

“I thought this was gonna be the day Riddick…”  His breath was coming out a bit sharper, ragged.  “The day one of us… kills the other.”

Riddick’s head turned to the side to look at him.  “The day’s not over yet.”

Of course they never did get around to killing each other- not that day.  Rather, Riddick ended up in Butcher Bay’s “cold storage.”  The cryo-chambers couldn’t even hold him though and the infamous convict fled.  He managed to get out to a docking platform, nowhere else to go and guards at his back with guns.

Giving up wasn’t an option though and thankfully an unexpected savior showed up in the form of a skiff, hovering at the edge of the platform.  “Riddick!” a familiar voice called over the loudspeaker.  “Get in!”

Like a cat, Riddick leapt on top of the skiff, popping open the top hatch before dropping in.  Johns at the helm, the convict could only give him a feral grin.  “How’s the back?”

“Been better…  We’re gettin’ outta Butcher Bay together.  That’ll teach Hoxie to fuck with me,” he said of the prison Warden.

“Now you’re learnin’ Johns.”

Except, Riddick hadn’t been quite ready to leave.  He wanted his revenge and crashed Johns’ ship into the Warden’s office.  Afterward though, they indeed got out of Butcher Bay together.  Only to start the whole game of cat and mouse all over again.

Until they hit that planet…  The one where the lights went out...

“Come on Johns,” Riddick goaded the merc.  “You’ve got the big gauge.”

The blonde scoffed.  “I’d rather piss glass.  Why don’t you go fucking check?”

Riddick could only smirk.  He loved that about Johns, his quick wit, the banter they had with each other.

It wasn’t so amusing later though when Carolyn decided to pick a fight.  “Cause you’re 79 kilos of gutless white meat, and that’s why you can’t think of a better plan!”

Johns growled, pulling his shotgun.  The only thing stopping him from using it was Riddick stepping into the way.  The barrel of the gun shoved under his chin, the convict simply pulled his goggles up and gave Johns an exasperated look.  Well, and he teased him a bit, tapping his knife to the merc’s upper thigh.

“Okay,” Johns answered quietly, removing the gun and sitting back down.  Though the knowing smirk on his face was enough to let Riddick know he’d seen the twinkle in his own shined eyes.

Later it became even more tense though.  Riddick could tell the merc was high.  He couldn’t really blame Johns- their situation was dire and he was probably in a lot of pain, thanks to Riddick no less.  Still, his mindset wasn’t right and that was only proven when he suggested using someone as bait.

“Enough of this shit,” Johns spoke impatiently.  “You do the girl and I’ll keep the others of your back.”  Riddick froze.  “Not too big a job for ya, is it?” he taunted.

The convict turned slowly, eyes locking with his, stern and unwavering.  He was already regretting the words the moment they slipped out of his mouth.  “I’m just wonderin’ if we don’t need a bigger piece a bait.”

“Like who?” he inquired with a cocked brow.

There was a tense moment where all they did was stare straight into the other’s eyes.  And then they moved…  Riddick came at the merc with all his strength and agility.  Johns was well-trained by both the marines and his own merc father, and if he wasn’t so high then Riddick knew the blonde would have been able to counter him much more gracefully.

As it was, Riddick got one up on him.  Johns ended up on the ground with a large slash across his left shoulder blade.  The convict goaded his merc rival as he backed away into the shadows.  The flare was flickering out by the time Johns got to his feet.  His blue eyes were huge in panic when he realized he was all alone… in the darkness.

The bioraptors that had been stalking them whooped and chirped, smelling fresh blood.

Riddick frowned, remembering that night of hell all too well.  He’d spent too long killing to survive, never once regretting what he had to do.  That night though…  Johns…  He wished it could have been different, that he hadn’t needed to do any of that.

As time passed, he didn’t think about it so much.  Every once and awhile though, he was reminded of the event, as well as those that led up to that moment.  Everything that had happened between them, from their first time meeting after Riddick had broken out of Slam City to their adventures at Butcher Bay to the crash- it all had an impact on their dynamic, had influenced the outcome that night.

“Riddick?”  Someone behind him.  Male.  Slight drawl.  “Up here again, huh?”  The convict nodded.  “Whatcha thinkin’ ‘bout?”

Riddick waited until the other joined him on the ledge, feet dangled over, to look at him.  He was met with brilliant blue eyes and an expression of concern.  “How I almost lost you,” he answered honestly.

The blonde nodded, looking up to the impending eclipse as he obviously thought of the same.  “Takes a bit more than that to get rid of me,” he finally commented.  He looked over at Riddick, giving him a broad grin that the convict couldn’t help but return.

“Don’t I know it Johns,” he replied ruefully.

Leaning back onto his hands, the merc sighed.  He was studying the eclipse with the same intensity that Riddick had been.  He knew Johns still had nightmares on occasion, though Riddick refused to allow him the medication that the doctors wanted to prescribe.  It’d already been proven that Johns had an addictive personality.  Getting him clean of the morphine had been hard enough- they didn’t need another challenge in its place.

“You ever think ya shouldda just left me there to die?” Johns asked quietly.


Riddick’s fingers walked across the space between them, brushing against Johns’ before the merc twinned them together, a soft smile on his face.