The Calling, tag for Bound episode 2x14.

If you're a member of CSS you may have read this already there. Didn't realize I never posted it here.

Richard's pace was urgent as he made his way down the forest path. He needed to get to Kahlan. For all he knew, Nicci was making her way back to her at that very moment.

And then he saw her: walking just ahead of Zedd and Cara coming toward him. She saw him that same instant and her face lit up. She tossed her backpack aside and they both ran the rest of the way, eager to hold each other. "How did you find me?" Richard called out. Ecstatic to be with his beloved Kahlan once more, he barely heard the wizard's reply that he'd spelled his shoes. He couldn't reach her fast enough, pulling her up to meet his kiss. They had eyes only for each other.

Though overjoyed to be reunited with her, sorrow suddenly washed over him. "I'm so sorry for everything that happened to you," pain evident in his voice.

Kahlan smiled through tears of joy at being in his arms once more. "I'm fine. Now that I know you're safe." And she was fine. All the pain she had suffered these past few days dissolved at seeing him. She only wished they were alone so she could kiss him the way she wanted to.

They continued their journey toward the next town, all the while Richard held tight to her hand, not letting her more than an arms length from him. Kahlan was glad for it. She didn't want him to ever let go.

They made camp when it grew dark, building a small fire to light the night and add a bit of warmth. Zedd was already sleeping soundly after the evening meal. Cara stood atop a large outcropping of rocks, keeping watch. She twisted her Agiel, rolling it along the palm of her gloved hand just wishing Sister Nicci would show her face again.

Richard laid out bedrolls for him and Kahlan, then retrieved her green blanket and laid it out over hers. Looking up, he saw her standing just outside the perimeter of camp. There was just enough firelight to keep her from being lost to total darkness. He didn't like her being even that far away. Not now. Not after all that had happened.

He made his way over to her, stopping to stand just behind her. She was looking up at the night sky, filled with stars. Richard kept his eyes on her. He slipped his arms around her encircling her waist from behind and pulled himself close to her. Kahlan pulled in a sharp breath at feeling his warm arms around her. She never felt as safe as she did in his embrace. Alone with her in the darkness, Richard at last felt he could hold her the way he wanted to. He nuzzled his face into her hair and softly kissed her neck. "I was so afraid I'd lost you." Kahlan hugged his arms tighter to her. A single tear slipped down her cheek.

"You almost did" she said into the night. She turned in his arms to face him, clasping her hands around his waist. She couldn't meet his eye and looked down at his chest. "I was on my last breath Richard." The words caught in her throat. She had felt his agony when she lay dying. The pain was nearly too much to bear. She forced herself to go on. "I had breathed for the last time. I knew I was about to be lost forever…and then I heard you. I heard you call to me. You told me how much you loved me."

Richard gently raised her chin with his finger so he could look in her eyes. Tears streamed down his face at the memory of what took place.

"I heard you call to me and then…I felt you. I felt you hold me. I felt your tears. I felt your kiss. As she spoke, Richard kissed her as he had in the cave; her brow, her eye. When he kissed her lips, Kahlan responded as she imagined she had when she lay dying…as Nicci had when life returned to her. This time, Richard didn't pull away. This was Kahlan in his arms. His Kahlan. He pulled her closer, deepening their kiss, his lips pulling on hers. This was Kahlan, body and soul and he wasn't about to stop.

Kahlan suddenly realized it had been real. Somehow, Richard had been with her. It was his love that pulled her back from death's grip. She knew he'd had to hold Nicci like that for her to feel it, but it didn't matter. He had reached out to her soul and he had found her. It was his love alone that brought her back. She leaned into him, fully returning his kiss, kissing him the way she had wanted to when he'd first come back to her. His warmth enveloped her, making her heart sing. She placed her hands on his face and looked into his eyes with bewilderment, "How did you do it?"

A look of love radiated from Richard's face. "I love you Kahlan. I'll find you anywhere."

END