Title: The Confession

Author: LOTSoflove

Characters: Richard / Kahlan / Zedd / Some new characters I created

Rating: PG-13

Timeline: After Cursed

Story Type: Adventure / Romance / Drama

Spoilers: None

Summary: A confession taken by Kahlan five years ago comes back to haunt her.

Disclaimer: I do not own them; they are not mine. I just love to write about them; though I don't make a dime.

The Confession

"Kahlan, what are you doing?" Richard asked, puzzled by the scene that greeted him as he entered their campsite with an armful of firewood.

"I'm working on an idea I had," she replied, forehead furrowed in deep concentration as she slowly and deliberately sliced her daggers in various angles.

Richard stood watching his Confessor, mesmerized by her beauty, the grace and fluidity of her movements, taking in the way her dress clung to every curve of her body. He almost had to remind himself to breathe. He had never met anyone in his entire life that affected him the way Kahlan did.

"What sort of idea?" he finally responded after several moments. She made it very difficult to focus sometimes, but it was a distraction he felt he could definitely live with.

"Remember that skirmish with the D'Haran soldiers we had last week and that one soldier who cut my arm?" Kahlan stopped her maneuvers and walked over to Richard.

"How could I forget?" Richard grimaced. "You nearly gave me a heart attack. There was blood all over." Richard inwardly shuddered at the memory. He wished Kahlan wouldn't always be put in danger such as that, but there wasn't much he could do. He knew he certainly couldn't talk her out of it.

As he unloaded the firewood, Kahlan continued. "Well, I've been upset with myself ever since then because I allowed him to get in a shot like that. I've been trying to come up with a maneuver to better counter it than using my arm."

"I'm glad. It took three washes to get the blood out of my shirt," he frowned.

"Hey, I was the one who washed it for you after Zedd healed my arm," Kahlan retorted.

"And I appreciated it too. You didn't have to do that, you know."

"I know, but I felt bad for causing you such panic."

"Blood or no blood, Kahlan, any time you are in danger or at risk of being hurt puts me into a panic. Now, let me show you what you should have done."

"Great, a lesson in combat from the Seeker himself," Kahlan exclaimed with exaggerated eagerness, a mischievous smile plastered across her lovely face.

"Alright, try to hold back the enthusiasm," he jokingly admonished as he came up behind the Confessor. "Now, hold your daggers out, but pointing toward you along your arm." Richard, placing his hands on her hips, continued "now you want the majority of your weight to be on your back foot." He gently shifted her hips so her back leg would hold the majority of her weight.

The feel of his hands on her hips sent warm tingles through her body. His face was right beside hers as he released her hips and pressed his body against her back. The feel of his breath on her neck made it incredibly difficult to focus on his words.

Her breathing became uneven as he lifted her arms out into position in front of her, daggers ready for action. A bead of sweat formed and trickled down the side of her face. She didn't know how much longer she would be able to stand being this close to him without having to taste him…

The lavender smell of her hair, the warmth of her skin beneath his touch, the feel of her body pressed against his own, the heaviness of her breathing was tantalizing. What had started out as a simple lesson in combat maneuvers had quickly shifted into an enticing dance of unspoken passion and desire. Richard didn't know how long he could take being this close to her without having to…

"What are you two up to? Don't you have lunch ready yet?" Zedd grumbled, interrupting the pair as he entered the campsite. "I'm starving!"

Startled by the sudden intrusion, Richard quickly let go of Kahlan. "We were just practicing Kahlan's dagger moves. With setting up camp and then gathering fire wood, we hadn't had time yet" Richard complained, somewhat irritated that his time alone with Kahlan had been interrupted by the Wizard. "Anyway, you're always starving."

"So, what did you find out?" Kahlan asked, quickly changing the subject as she replaced her daggers into the safety of her boots.

"I found out about a resistance cell in Aspen Grove that may be able to provide us with some information about what Darken Rahl is up to in this area. Aspen Grove isn't far from here, less than an hour west, so it shouldn't take us long to get there."

"Aspen Grove" Kahlan repeated more to herself then to Zedd, her mind drifting back to a distant memory triggered by the town's name. She hadn't realized they were so close to Aspen Grove. They had been travelling so much lately, not settling down for more than a night here or there, that it was easy to lose track of where in the Midlands you were. They had been pressing hard to gather information about what Darken Rahl was up to. There had been some rumblings lately pointing to Rahl mounting an assault of some kind in this territory.

"Yes, Aspen Grove. Have you been there before?" Zedd asked her.

"Yes, but it's been a few years ago" Kahlan murmured, brow furrowing as she attempted to recall the events surrounding her previous visit there.

"Kahlan, is something wrong?" Richard asked, concerned by her sudden change in demeanor.

"No, it's nothing" she replied, brushing aside the gnawing apprehension that stirred her mind along with the unsettling feelings that was coming with it.

Richard let it go for now, knowing by the look on her face there was something more she wasn't telling them. He also knew trying to get it out of her before she was willing was an absolutely futile undertaking.

"Well, we're due to meet the head of the resistance cell in Aspen Grove this afternoon" Zedd scowled, interrupting both Richard and Kahlan's thoughts as he turned and started to leave their camp. "We'll just have to find something to eat in town."

"That would be nice for a change" Richard muttered as he gathered his things. "I guess the combat lesson will have to wait for now," Richard commented to Kahlan, disappointment evident in his brown eyes.

"For now..." Kahlan gave him a small smile, still somewhat distracted with her own thoughts.

The walk to town was uneventful as Zedd filled Richard in on what he had learned about the resistance leader, Larson. Kahlan walked quietly, staying several paces behind Richard and Zedd, deep in thought as she probed her memory for what exactly had happened in Aspen Grove four years ago…or was it five?

As a Confessor, she and her Wizard had been assigned to this specific region of the Midlands a few years ago to take confessions as the need arose. The territory she covered had been quite large. After taking several hundred confessions, they all began to run together a bit, each flowing and melding into the next one.

The things she heard, the memories the confessions created, the nightmares they caused her all made her attempt to block them out of her mind as much as possible. As hard as she tried, though, they still periodically managed to creep into her subconscious, causing nightmares to appear out of nowhere or when least expected. It was a burden that all Confessors carried as a consequence of their duties.

This particular confession that Kahlan took in Aspen Grove was still hazy. Images from the confession flashed in her mind in disjointed pieces. Images of a man… murder… family devastated… brothers enraged… or were they parents? It was so difficult to remember…

"Kahlan?" Richard turned to her, startling her out of her private thoughts.

She had been silent the whole way back to camp and now on their way to Aspen Grove causing Richard to become somewhat concerned. Something must have occurred in this town to cause Kahlan to become so reclusive. Whatever it was, he decided he would try to press her later into telling him about it. Her somber disposition had also caused him to become increasingly wary and watchful, taking in all details of his surroundings in preparation for whatever might occur in case danger was lurking there.

"Kahlan, do you remember anything about this resistance leader Larson from the last time you were there?" Richard asked her, noticing the distant look that had settled into her blue eyes.

"Hmmm, not that I remember. At least, I don't remember hearing the name before" Kahlan absentmindedly answered, still trying to assemble the pieces from her previous experience there.

Even though she could not remember all the details of that visit, she did know for certain it was not a good one. She had an overwhelming sense of dread and fear that settled like a stone in the pit of her stomach. Confessors and the confessions they took were not always welcome or cause for celebration.

"Hopefully, he'll be able to provide us with some useful information that could aid us in our mission" Zedd interjected. "We need to head to the local tavern. Larson will send someone to meet us there and take us to their secret meeting place."

Aspen Grove was a small town with only one tavern, making their search for their meeting place and for food easier. The trio settled around a small table in the corner near the door, trying to remain friendly yet inconspicuous. The less attention they drew, the better.

Even in her woods outfit instead of her white dress, Kahlan felt like everyone knew she was the Mother Confessor just by looking at her. She subconsciously pulled her hair back away from her face and shoulders, hoping that no one would notice the length.

This act did not go unnoticed by Richard who was already on edge because of Kahlan's uneasiness. He didn't even know why they were being so guarded. Although the D'Harans were sweeping through the Midlands like a wildfire, there were still many loyal to the resistance, to the Seeker and Mother Confessor. Why was Kahlan so concerned about being recognized?

From across the room, the tavern owner stood behind the bar drying glasses and observing the new customers who had just settled in at the corner table. They were definitely not from around here, but he immediately recognized the woman with them. It was a face he had seared into his memory a few years ago. He would recognize the dark long hair, the piercing blue eyes, and the beauty of the Confessor anywhere, even if she wasn't wearing the pure white dress that was the emblem of the Confessors.

The site of her ignited a rage in him that had been steadily smoldering, a hatred he had been nursing for the last five years. It was a blood-thirsty revenge he had been aching to quench. And now, here was the Confessor herself in his tavern. The malevolent gleam in his eyes began to sparkle even brighter. Now if he could only find Birch…