You guys are the best! Thanks so much for following along with me and all the encouraging reviews! Here's the last chapter. I'm off to work on the sequel…

Nightmares (Chapter 10)

The tall grasses of the meadow swayed gently in the wind like rolling green waves. The sun burned brightly above, warming everything within its reach. It was the perfect day to say the least.

Lying in the grass watching the billowing white clouds drift lazily overhead, Richard didn't think he could be any happier or more content then he was at that moment. He was the luckiest man in all three territories.

Richard knew he was grinning, but he couldn't help it. Kahlan had put the smile on his face; her name forever written upon his heart just as his name was on hers. They had survived another trial, had been unwilling participants pulled into the familiar dance with death once again and had lived through it to fight another day.

Squeezing the woman sleeping beside him tighter to his bare chest, Richard fought against the sudden rush of terror that endeavored to well up inside of him threatening to ruin their beautiful afternoon of love making. He had come so close to losing her again. The sooner he found the Stone of Tears and sealed the rift, the sooner Kahlan would be safe from Darken Rahl, the Keeper, and the prophecies that haunted their lives.

The feel of lips beginning to move against his sun-kissed flesh caused Richard to moan with his rapidly escalating arousal, his smile growing wider with anticipation knowing that his lover was awake. Eager to explore every inch of each other all over again, Richard quickly rolled on top of her, eliciting a giggling squeal of pleasure.

He loved the feel of her soft flesh pressed so closely and completely against his, the feel of her feminine curves…

"Lord Rahl,"

…her luxurious long dark hair, the taste of her sweet lips before he plunged his tongue into her mouth to savor her fully…

"Lord Rahl,"

…caressing her breasts, his hands running down her sides, stroking her smooth stomach on his way down to her…

"LORD RAHL!!"

Richard's eyes flew open at the sound of the distasteful title he had refused to claim. Seeing Cara staring down at him, Richard quickly sat up, his chest heaving, his body pulsating with heated arousal.

"Glad to see you finally decided to wake up. Judging by the sounds you were making, it must have been a very good dream," Cara smirked with an arched eyebrow conveying that she knew full well what he'd been dreaming about.

Looking away with a blush, Richard apprehensively scanned the room he now found himself in. "Cara, what happened? Where's Kahlan?" he anxiously asked.

"She's in the next room," the Mord'Sith began as she attempted to push him back into bed. "You need to rest. Zedd told me not to let you get up until he saw you."

Ignoring his determined protector's warning, Richard swung his legs over the edge of the bed. He had to see Kahlan; he had to know that she was alright. He didn't want to be separated from her any longer than he already had been.

"Lord Rahl!"

"Cara, I'm fine. I have to see Kahlan."

"You know I could take you out with my agiels and make you listen to me," she reminded him, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I know, but you won't," he called over his shoulder as he headed for the door.

"You are the most obstinate…" she growled under her breath as she strode across the room to catch up with him.

"How long have I been out?" ignoring her cursing complaint.

"Two days. Zedd and I made it out of the mines after the cave-in and then circled around to check the other entrances. We finally found you both a few hundred feet from the mine entrance," she informed him as he reached the door to Kahlan's room.

"Has she woken at all?" he asked, concern in his voice. Things were still hazy, but he definitely remembered how bad she looked when he had carried her through the mining tunnels.

"No, not yet," Cara softly responded as Richard turned the handle and pushed the door open.

His chest tightening, Richard stood frozen in the doorway as he stared at the site of his Confessor lying in a bed, her face ashen. She looked worse since the last time he had seen her. "Cara," he gasped, his brow furrowed with worry, "is she going to be alright?"

"Zedd said he didn't know; we have to wait until she wakes to see," Cara murmured, concern also evident in her face. She would never willingly admit it, but she considered the Mother Confessor her friend. It also hurt her to see the Lord Rahl in such despair.

Finally finding the strength to make his legs work, Richard slowly made his way to Kahlan's bed. Cara stood in the doorway for a moment before turning and closing the door behind her to leave him alone with his love.

As he approached the bed, Richard found his eyes watering with tears as he stared into Kahlan's pale face. Kneeling down at the edge of the bed, Richard reached under the blanket and pulled her arm free from the covers. Clutching her hand tightly in his, he brought it to his lips. Brushing her fingers with a soft kiss, Richard used his other hand to brush back a stray strand of hair. She felt so cold to his touch.

Stroking her hair, Richard leaned in and pressed his lips to her forehead. The chill of her skin made his blood run cold with fear. "Kahlan, please come back to me," he whispered. "We're been through too much together to leave me now."

Slipping off his boots, Richard pulled back the covers and crawled into bed behind his Confessor. He gently pulled her into his arms, wrapping his body around hers in hopes of warming her. His heart was so heavy with anguish; he wanted nothing more than to see her electric blue eyes staring lovingly at him again. "I'm right here, Kahlan; I'll never leave you," he murmured into her hair as he drifted off to sleep, hoping that when he woke up, his earlier dream in the meadow would be a reality.

XXX

Zedd slowly opened the door to the room to find Richard sleeping, holding Kahlan in his arms. He had been so relieved when they had found them in that tunnel a couple of days ago. He had feared that they had lost them forever.

The old Wizard made his way over to the bed. Zedd settled down in a wooden chair beside his loved ones' bed. Richard began to stir upon hearing someone enter the room.

Lifting his head, Richard saw Zedd sitting by the bed watching over them. "Zedd…how long have I been asleep."

"A few hours," he quietly informed him. "You don't listen to Cara very well, my boy," he teased his grandson, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

"I had to see Kahlan; I couldn't be away from her any longer."

"I know; I just wanted to warn you about her condition before you saw her," Zedd replied. He was worried about how Richard would respond to seeing Kahlan. She had been near death when they found her and Richard hadn't been that far behind her. Zedd had done what he could, but even a Wizard of the First Order could only do so much against the dangerous effects of ayon. Now, it was up to Kahlan.

"Zedd, please tell me the truth. Is she going to live?"

"I honestly don't know. Kahlan is strong, she's a fighter. We just need to give her some time."

Unable to find his voice, Richard could only nod his head in understanding. Lying back down, Richard pulled Kahlan closer into his arms. He never wanted to let go of her ever again.

"Richard, why don't you go get cleaned up and get something to eat. You haven't eaten anything in days. You need to get your strength up. You weren't in that great of shape yourself when we found you too, you know. Cara or I can sit here with Kahlan."

"I just want to lay here with her for a little while longer. Then, I'll go downstairs and get something to eat," he softly replied, closing his eyes against the wash of heated tears. He hated the thought of letting go of her, of leaving her here alone without him. He was afraid if he walked out of the room, she wouldn't be there when he came back.

Slowly standing to his feet, Zedd replied, "Alright my boy, but if you're not downstairs eating something in the next half hour, I'm sending Cara after you."

Smiling to himself, Richard answered, "I promise. Thank you, Zedd."

XXX

Several hours had gone by and still Kahlan had not wakened. With every passing hour, Richard spiraled deeper into despair. He had finally relented to go downstairs and eat when Cara showed up in the room, agiels in hand. He had pushed her once; he knew he wouldn't get away with it too many more times. He was too distraught and too exhausted to fight her this time.

Reluctantly releasing his hold on Kahlan, Richard had pressed a kiss to her cheek before following Cara out of the room. Having eaten something, Richard did admit he felt somewhat better. He hadn't eaten as much as Zedd had insisted he eat, but then again, no one had an appetite like his grandfather.

Re-entering the room, Richard made his way to Kahlan's bed again. Kneeling down beside her, he took her hand, closed his eyes and pressed it to his lips as he gave up a silent prayer to the Spirits on her behalf.

"You need a bath."

At the sound of her voice, Richard's eyes flew open. "What?" he incredulously asked, afraid to believe the voice he had just heard.

Turning her head towards him, Kahlan opened her eyes, giving him the smile that made his heart melt and his stomach flutter. "You need a bath, Cypher," she weakly repeated, her voice still somewhat hoarse.

Tears of joy and relief began falling from his eyes as he swiftly scooped his soul-mate up into his arms. "Kahlan, you sacred the life out of me!" he exclaimed as he sat on the edge of her bed, holding her in his arms.

Wrapping her arms around him, she held him tightly to her, knowing the anguish he held in his heart. She had felt the same in her nightmare. Her memory of the last several days was nothing but pieces that didn't seem to fit together. She knew Richard would explain everything to her later. Right now, she was content just to hold and comfort her Seeker, to just be with the man that she loved.

XXX

Richard stayed by her side the next three days, nursing his Confessor back to health. She had made great progress much to Richard's relief and delight. It had taken a lot of arguing to keep the Mother Confessor in bed resting. Zedd felt it would be safe for her to travel again in the next day or so.

Walking back to their room at the inn in nothing but his pants and boots, Richard ran his towel over his wet hair one last time before flinging it over his bare shoulder. He had been so relieved the nightmare of the last several days was finally over. Kahlan was safe and they could resume their search for the Stone in the next day or so.

Opening the door to their bedroom, Richard came to an abrupt halt in the doorway as his breath hitched. Kahlan was standing, staring out the window dressed only in a white satin nightdress. Turning at the sound of him entering the room, her dark raven hair fell over her shoulders and came to rest at the tops of her breasts. The nightdress was edged in lace along the top of the bodice that dipped low between her breasts, revealing a tempting amount of soft flesh. The lace hem hit above the ankle and the slit up the side revealed a generous portion of her thigh as she moved away from the window.

Standing with the moonlight splashing through the curtains, Kahlan looked all the more angelic and beautiful to behold. "Are you going to stand there all night gawking or are you going to lock the door?" she seductively inquired, her eyes dancing with longing.

Finally finding his breath again, Richard turned and quickly bolted the door shut. No one was getting in tonight and neither of them planned on leaving any time soon. Kicking his boots off, Richard threw his towel to the floor before making his way to where Kahlan stood.

Brown eyes locked on blue as he approached her, his senses beginning to spiral out of control with passion and the desperate need to reconnect with his lover once more. The last few days had been tormenting to say the least. They both needed the comfort and loving reassurance of their soul-mate's touch.

"This is new," he murmured with fiery desire smoldering in his eyes, pleased with the new attire he found on his lover as he ran his fingers over her soft bare shoulder to the thin lace strap and then under it as his hand caressed the side of her breast.

Her breathing already becoming ragged with need, Kahlan smiled as she replied, "I picked it up a while back as a surprise for you. Do you like it?"

"No…I love it…but more than that, I love the one wearing it," he softly said as he leaned in and brushed his lips against hers.

The grazing caress of his lips against hers sent arousing shocks of electricity firing rapidly throughout her body. She had missed being with him and feeling him so much it almost hurt. She swiftly buried her hands in his wet hair, wrapping her fingers around the longer strands as the tenderness of their kiss rapidly began to escalate into heated need.

Thrusting his tongue into her mouth, he began devouring her as the need to reconnect intensified with the deep-seated hunger for her that demanded to be satisfied. His hands moved from her sides to hold her head as he swiftly pushed her back up against the wall behind her.

Colliding into the wall, Kahlan's own desire burst into flames that threatened to consume her if she didn't do something about it. Her hands left his hair and began running feverishly over his back, her nails gently raking across his muscles.

Richard moaned into her mouth when her hands began running along the edge of his pants and around to the laces. She made quick work of the laces as she began pushing his pants off of his hips. She had to put a temporary hold on her task as Richard began to nip, kiss, and lick his way down her neck to her breasts causing her to tilt her head back. She relished the feel of his lips devouring her skin.

Grabbing hold of her thighs, Richard pulled her up onto him. Kahlan used her feet to push his pants off before wrapping her legs around his waist. The feel of her legs wrapped tightly around him made his head spin. He had to be in her soon before he went mad from his all-consuming desire for her.

Turning her away from the wall, Richard carried his lover to their bed. Laying her down, Richard climbed over her as he began to make fierce passionate love to the one he thought he had lost forever. Kahlan could not get enough of him. Every touch, every stroke, every ounce of love he poured into her, Kahlan greedily welcomed and showed in return. The feel of their bodies moving in perfect rhythm swiftly pushed them over the edge and into the waiting arms of temporary sated bliss.

As they lay in each other's arms trembling from their passionate release, Kahlan could not hold back the sudden onslaught of tears. Feeling her tears on his chest, Richard quickly sat up, taking Kahlan's face in his hands.

"Kahlan, what's wrong? Are you alright?" he anxiously asked, his breathing still labored as concern weighed heavily in his warm brown eyes. He prayed that he hadn't hurt her. He just couldn't hold himself back any longer. The need to be complete in her and with her had driven his body to heights of passion never reached before.

"I'm fine, Richard…better than fine…" she replied as tears trickled slowly down her cheeks. "I just can't shake the images from that nightmare from my mind. I know you told me that it was only a nightmare, but it was so real, the pain I felt was real. I saw you die, Richard. I can't live through losing you like that again. I'm not strong enough."

Pulling her to him, Richard stroked her long hair. "Kahlan, I'm right here. I'm not going to leave you. The Keeper, Darken Rahl, the prophecy, the Stone of Tears…forget all of it. Right now, there is only you and me. As long as we have each other, we can make it through anything," he pulled back to wipe her tears. "We'll just have to make more good memories to drive away the bad ones."

"I like that idea," she smiled shyly through the last of her tears.

Lying back, Richard pulled Kahlan down to lay against his chest again. As he softly caressed her back, Richard could feel her begin to relax in his embrace. "I won't let anything happen to you, I promise. I love you Kahlan, with all that I am."

"I love you too, Richard, forever," she murmured as she closed her eyes.

"Tomorrow I'd like to show you this meadow I heard about from the inn keeper," he told her with a grin spreading across his handsome features.

"I'd like that," she replied, knowing he had ulterior motives. "I'll bring a blanket along in case we need to stop and rest."

"Oh, there is not going to be any rest involved with what I have in mind for you," he teased as he rolled over on top of her, brushing his nose against hers.

As Richard and Kahlan began to make love again, they both knew that the nightmares that they had experienced had been pulled from their deepest, darkest fears. They had decided that their love for each other and their dream of a future together were both stronger than their worst nightmares could ever be.

THE END …for now… :)