A/N: Yet another one-shot I wrote after Fury. I wish I had more time to write and more time to fix these stories up, but I don't...so take it as is :)
Anger, hatred, revulsion. All these emotions came crashing in towards him at once as he gripped the cool steel in his calloused hands. The words 'truth' protruded from the hilt, making an impression in his skin he was holding it so tight. The fury of the sword coursed through his veins like a raging river seeping out of his pores. His brown eyes bore nothing but ruthlessness as he glared out towards the mass of banelings they had just destroyed. He panted from the exertion of trying to hold his anger at bay. Zedd had been practicing with him to hold in the anger, learn to control it, but every now and then, especially when he was tired, the rage ignited within him and he was barely able to take hold of it.
Zedd held out his arm towards the carcasses and through his hands and threw wizards fire towards them, scorching them at their final resting place.
Richard was keenly aware of his surroundings as he still gripped the sword and heard someone come up behind him. He smirked to himself knowing how foolish it was to sneak up on him. With a cry, he turned in fury and whipped the hilt of his sword and hand into the face of the woman coming towards him, cutting her above the eye and sending her sprawled on the ground. Richard vaguely heard someone yelling his name behind him, but paid no heed as he rounded on the woman again. Sword lifted in the air to finish her off, he stopped mid-swing when her bright blue eyes, full of tears stared up at him, terrified. The fire within him began to quell as he realized who he had just hit. With wide eyes, he dropped the sword and backed away, too ashamed to look at the one he loved more than life lying on the ground bleeding because of him.
Zedd rushed to Kahlan's side while Cara slowly walked over to him. He ran his fingers through his hair in anger at himself. Cara gave him a sympathetic look and went to grab the sword as Zedd slowly helped Kahlan to her feet and inspected the large gash above her right brow. Blood was oozing from the wound and tears were running down her beautiful face as she gazed at him, in honest confusion.
"Kahlan…" he couldn't meet her gaze. His voice broke as he spoke, "I'm so sorry." His muscles were still tense as he looked down. He wiped his hand across his face to try and push the emotions of anger down, replacing it with disappointment in himself. Zedd quickly applied a compress to Kahlan's wound and sat her down to steady herself. He grabbed the sword from Cara and with it, walked over to Richard. He gave Richard a look of determination as he held it out to his grandson, urging him to take the deadly weapon once more.
"No," Richard held his hand up and shook his head, "I'm not taking it."
Zedd gave him a scornful look, "you have to learn, Richard. Take it. Embrace it. Learn to control it…Now's the perfect time." He meant it was the perfect time because of the anger Richard felt within himself over Kahlan. If he couldn't control it now, he never would.
"No," he pushed Zedd's hand away, "not after I just…" he turned and bit his bottom lip, trying hard to forget the painful memories of hitting Kahlan. "No, Zedd." He stated, more determined than ever.
Zedd put a hand to Richard's shoulder, pulling his gaze to him once more, "Richard. Kahlan's a strong woman; she can handle a little cut on her forehead…she should have known better than to sneak up behind you as well. She's not upset with you. None of us are. You have to conquer this, Richard. There's no better time than now." His dark eyes were full of concern as he stared at his grandson. Richard pulled away from Zedd's touch and took one glance at Kahlan who was holding a cloth to her wound; the wound that he had caused. He looked away again and turned toward the brush.
"Give me some time alone," Richard stated as he headed out towards the forested area, tears brimming his eyes. Zedd sighed as he watched him walk off, worry creased in his brow.
Kahlan stood up and walked over to Zedd. She held her hand out for the sword expectantly, waiting for Zedd to hand it to her. He sighed in contentment and handed it to her, knowing if there was anyone that would convince Richard, it would be her.
She found him standing, leaning against a large oak tree, his head in his hands. She braced herself as she approached him and gently laid a hand on the back of his muscular shoulder. He didn't even flinch and she guessed he knew she was coming.
"Richard," she said her voice was tender. He didn't respond, so she went around facing him, "look at me," she stated, a little firmer this time. He reluctantly complied, but couldn't look her in the eye as he saw the large gash on her forehead, already turning a bluish, purple colour from the bruising. He looked down in shame, not wanting to meet her gaze.
"Richard," she put a hand to the side of his tear-stained face and wiped her thumb across it. She took a step closer, closing the distance between them and was nearly nose-to-nose with him as she guided him to look her in the eye. She gently moved closer, her lips caressing his with sweet torture as she kissed him. Her other hand dropped the sword on the brush nearby and grabbed his, forcefully putting it on the small of her back to hold her. After a moment, he gently pushed back, his one arm still holding her to him. With his left hand, he brought it up and gently touched the wound, his eyes full of absolute sorrow. She grabbed his hand and kissed the back of it, her gaze never once faltering from his, "I'm all right," she whispered to him. He pursed his lips together, not completely believing her. She lifted his chin with her index finger and forced him once again to look at her, "I'm not made of lace, you know…I can handle a few cuts and bruises," she smiled. He shook his head.
"Kahlan, this is more than just that," he gave her a gentle look; "I almost killed you. I was committed. Had you not looked at me, you would be dead by now, all because of this cursed sword," he kicked it, sending it sliding across the dirt floor, resting a few feet away from them.
Kahlan nodded in understanding, but was not willing to waver with her resolve. She pulled away from him and grabbed the sword. "Yes, Richard…you did. That's why you need to practice more. You need to accept it. You need to learn to control it," she walked back over to him, the sword in hand, "we need you, but we need you with the sword. You have to accept it as is and learn from it. You were able to stop yourself from killing me. That says a lot. You're learning, Richard," she held the sword out to him, "now take it. Move on from the past and learn from it. Challenge yourself with it. I shouldn't have been so stupid to sneak up on you like that. It was my fault, not yours now…" she lifted an eyebrow, "take the sword."
He stood up and met her stare. Brown against steel. "No, Kahlan. I won't."
Kahlan's face distorted in anger. She held her head higher and rounded on him, "are you accepting defeat, Seeker? Are you going to punish the whole of the world simply because you can't conquer one simple task as managing your anger," she spat at him, "I always thought you were a ruler, Richard," her eyes intensified, "not a coward."
Richard's anger brought to a boil as he stared at her. Heatedly, he grabbed the damned sword from her grasp, the anger once again engulfing him like gas thrown into a fire. His once soft brown eyes turned malicious and he brought the sword up, the steel burning a yellowish/orange colour.
Kahlan held her ground as she stared at him, fully knowing and seeing the battle going on inside of him. She didn't want to be so cruel, but it was the only way he would accept this. She had no choice. "Good, Richard. Fight it. Control it. You have the power…not the sword," she stated.
His muscles flexed as he gripped it, the power almost inundating him. His breath began to get ragged with the fury of it and he was having troubles focusing. His glare on Kahlan never faltered and he could feel the anger sluicing through him to kill her. He shut his eyes, trying to calm the storm inside.
He stepped closer to her, the sword pointed directly at her. She never once moved.
"Run…Kahlan…" he struggled to say, the power of the sword almost over-taking him. Kahlan stood her ground, firmly, not backing down.
"No. Fight it. I know you won't kill me," she stated, he took another step towards her; the sword was now inches from her face. He brought it down to her neck, trying in vain to push back the anger sluicing from him; he was now sweating from the effort. She could feel the heat of the sword on her neck as she met his gaze.
"Please…" he whispered one last time. Kahlan didn't budge. She lifted an eyebrow over a blue eye.
"I'm not leaving you. This isn't you, Richard. Fight it. You have control over this. Don't give in. Don't allow it to take over you." The tip of the sword was now touching her neck, drawing some blood at the tip, "fight it, my love." She whispered. The sword was shaking in his hands as he held it there. One slash was all he needed to finish her off. He stared into her blue, unsettling eyes, trying to focus on her and only her. He found his resolve once more and yelled in frustration, yanking the sword away from her and stumbling to the tree where he laid an arm on the trunk to steady himself. He still held the sword in hand as he worked to fight against the magic.
Kahlan smiled from behind him, completely trusting her life to him. He was winning this battle. She would make sure of it, "See? I told you that you could do it…now try again." She could see him nearly convulsing with the effort as his hateful eyes once again bore into hers. She pushed him further, "kill me, Richard. If you can, that is," she stood in the middle of the clearing. He screamed in rage and ran towards her, knocking her back into a tree. She grunted with the force but did not give up as he pressed her up against it, the sword once again at her throat, "You have it, my love. Keep hold of it. Control it," she whispered to him. His hand on her upper arm was painful, but she ignored it. He was seething as he glared down at her, the sword ready to end this all. "You have the power, Richard. Embrace it," she pushed. She could see in his eyes he was gaining control. She could see his muscles begin to relax and knew he was taking precedence over the magic coursing through him. His demeanor physically calmed and he pulled away from her. His breathing came back to normal and he pushed the sword back into its scabbard. Kahlan smiled in relief and was about to go to him when his angry eyes came to her.
"Don't ever, ever do that again, Kahlan," he snarled, the look in his eyes full of anger towards her and this time, not from the sword. Kahlan's heartbeat stopped, not ever wanting to see that look from him. She took a step forward, but he held his hand out, "don't. I need some time away from you," he stated, hurt evident in his once soft brown eyes. She was going to protest but he walked back towards Zedd and Cara in the clearing before she could. She bit her bottom lip to keep from crying. She wasn't worried that he would kill her. The thought never even came to mind, in fact. But nothing was worse than seeing Richard angry with her, and not because of the magic. She had to swallow the lump in her throat and pulled herself together as she headed back towards the clearing as well.
He hadn't said one word to her the whole trek and barely spoke to Zedd or Cara. Zedd had managed to heal most of the wound on Kahlan's head, aside from the bruising which was still vividly evident on her once porcelain skin. Kahlan had told Zedd what she had done and he understood her reasoning, but he could also understand Richard's as well.
They decided to set up camp early as the day had been tiring, particularly for Richard. She was pulling at her pack when Richard's brown boots came up in front of her. She slowly brought her eyes up to meet his tired gaze, "Kahlan. May I talk with you, please?" he questioned. She swallowed hard, fully accepting the reprimand she was about to receive.
"Of course, Richard," she stated. He nodded and walked off into the lush forest, expecting her to follow after. Zedd gave her a sympathetic look as she followed suit.
He had his arms folded across his muscular chest as he stared out at the fleeting sunlight as it slowly made its way down from the sky above. He could hear her approach him timidly, but didn't turn to greet her. There was an awkward silence before he finally spoke.
"Kahlan, I understand what you were trying to do today," he spoke calmly, but with resolve. She knitted her fingers together and looked down, waiting for the brunt of it, "but believe me when I say that was the stupidest thing I have ever seen you do," he at last turned to her, "do you have any idea what it's like to almost kill the one you love more than anything not once but three times in one day? Do you have any idea how close I was to slicing you through?" his brown eyes were burrowing in on her. Anger flared within her and she brought her blue eyes to meet his.
"How else are you to learn, Richard? How else are you to conquer it? I know you wouldn't have killed me!" she held her position firmly.
"Yes!" he said sternly, louder than before, "yes I would have. I was so close. You were acting on blind faith, but you don't realize the extent of the magic of the sword. Kahlan, I will never get those thoughts of killing you out of my head again, seeing it replayed over and over," he ran a hand through his hair and turned away from her again, pain etched across his face, "Kahlan…" his voice was a mere whisper now, "I don't ever want to hurt you. I don't want to ever even come close to hurting you again," he looked up at her once more, "please promise me, you'll let Zedd do the training? I can't live with these thoughts, with that anger directed towards you. Please, Kahlan. Grant me this?" His voice was barely audible as he pleaded with her.
Her heart broke at seeing what she had done. The pain of almost killing a loved one and having it replayed over in your head…no she couldn't imagine that… and she had done it to him. She stepped closer to him, tears in her eyes as she spoke, "ok, Richard. I'm sorry. I was only trying to help you," her voice broke as she spoke, hating herself for what she had done. He let loose the breath he was holding in and took her in his arms, relief washing over him. She buried her face into his neck and gripped his shirt in her hands as he held her. His big hand held her head to him as the other wrapped around her waist, nearly crushing her to him.
"Stubborn woman, always putting your life in danger. And you say it's me that needs protection?" he whispered to her, drawing a small laugh from her. He pulled back and cupped a hand to the side of her face, his fingers lightly tracing over the slight bump above her eyebrow, "I am so sorry for doing this, Kahlan," he leaned forward and gently kissed the bruise, hoping to take it away with his soft touch. Kahlan gave him a small smile and snaked her arms around his neck, pulling him down for a kiss which he returned in kind. She felt his arms enclose around her once more, tracing her spine with his fingers as the kiss intensified. She moaned against his mouth and ran her slender fingers into his hair. They were breathless when they parted, his fingers lightly running down her temple. "I love you more than life, Kahlan," he whispered, his brown eyes full of adoration as he gazed at her. She smiled and gave him a light kiss.
"I love you, too."