Richard roamed the halls of the Confessor's Palace until he reached his destination - the Confessor's Chambers. He heard the muffled sounds of Kahlan speaking and detoured, deciding to go through the main entrance instead of the side door. He worked his way around and opened the door slightly, sliding in.
"It is with great regret that I must inform you that Lord Richard Rahl is on his deathbed. He does not have a male heir, leaving the D'Harans without a proper ruler." Richard heard Kahlan's voice choke up and he had to stifle a laugh. "I wish I could do something that would bring him back, to allow our child to have a father and D'Hara to have a leader." Richard peered around the crowd in front of him, all of them too enthralled with the speech to notice that he had slipped through. He saw her resting her hands on her stomach. He smiled despite himself.
"I know this goes against all the laws of D'Hara, but until a proper heir can ascend the throne, I would like to guard over you and make sure the mighty D'Hara does not fall without a ruler." Richard looked around as the crowd nodded their heads. They were all commanders and generals in his army. They were all men that Kahlan acquainted herself with, befriended. Richard continued to stand in the shadows, not wanting to be noticed.
Richard darted his eyes when a man started to speak. "It's what Lord Rahl would want, the mother of his child looking over his kingdom." The crowd nodded again and Richard placed a hand over his mouth. He watched as Kahlan wiped tears from her eyes.
She wasn't a stupid woman. She was working this crowd and she knew it, claiming just to watch over D'Hara instead of take over full command - which he was sure she would do once she settled herself in as the mother hen. All these men adored her, all of D'Hara adored her. They would welcome their destruction with open arms. He should end this, end it all.
However, Richard couldn't lay a hand on her. He wouldn't. Although she wished to run his kingdom straight into the ground, he still loved her. Somewhere in her deeply dark twisted mind, he was sure she cared for him as well, even if his epiphany told him otherwise. He may be disgusted with her right now, but Richard knew she'd be able to talk him into forgiving her. This woman held all the strings of command in her tiny hands, and she plucked them when it would benefit her.
And he still loved her.
It disgusted him that he did, but he couldn't deny his heart. Maybe his feelings were still in tact because she was the mother of his still growing child. Maybe after the babe was born, he would be able to cut off all emotions towards her. Most likely not.
Kahlan continued to speak on behalf of him, glorifying his image with what a respectable and caring man he was. How he loved her when no one else could. How he cared for his kingdom and his people. Richard knew she was telling the truth, that none of what she said was forced. She didn't have to convince herself of these things, she believed them. Maybe he could reform her.
Richard knew it was a lost cause, but it was the only hope he had.
He didn't pay much attention to the rest of Kahlan's speech, his mind wandering to the thought of their child, if she'd be a good mother despite her betrayal. He collected his thoughts when he heard applause and peered through heads of those around him to see Kahlan crying.
For a fleeting moment, Richard thought the tears could be real.
She turned to walk towards her Confessor's chair, moving to sit down and dismissing everyone in the room. The commanders and generals turned as Richard took a step forward, all of the gasping. Kahlan paid no mind, her back still turned. Everyone in the room became silent.
Richard began walking forward, the crowd parting for him. The rustling of feet caused Kahlan to turn around. When her eyes met his, her face didn't attempt to hide her shock. She faced him, her hands resting on her stomach as she shook her head, her gaze becoming dangerous. She was still wearing the bracelet he had given her, the one he bestowed upon her to show her how much he loved her.
He took a few more steps forward and lifted a hand to her. Kahlan looked at him as though he were the Keeper, afraid to make contact with his flesh. She eyed him warily, refusing to accept his hand. He stood there like stone, his eyes never leaving her. The crowd behind them was quiet, all waiting with anticipation to see what was happening. Richard had no doubt that they expected Kahlan to become teary eyed and to hug him, shower him with kisses. That wasn't her intention.
She wanted him dead. He was not. This ruined her plans.
Concern for D'Hara may have been what saved his life, but this woman carried his child. He would not strike her nor embarrass her. As far as Richard was concerned, she never had plans to take over D'Hara, she never stabbed him with intention. This was to stay between the two of them. This was their secret. If he spoke of it, it would just alarm a nation, rid the Midlands of their leader, and possibly be the death of their child. It had become obvious to Richard that no one else had picked up on Kahlan's plans, it would be of no benefit to enlighten them now.
He took another step forward with is arm still extended, his facials lightening. Kahlan knew. He could see it in her eyes that he knew of her plans, of what she had done and had planned on doing. She eyed him again, taking a step back. She looked to the crowd, motioning them to leave. They did so reluctantly.
When the door closed, Kahlan and Richard stared at each other, each not saying a word. Kahlan swallowed and began to open her mouth.
"I know." Richard interrupted, hand still offered to her. "I know of what you did, what you planned to do. How you meant to kill me, to take over D'Hara and give the Midlands their revenge."
Kahlan's face was hard and blank. "And what do you plan to do about my actions?"
"Nothing." Shock returned back to her face as she tilted her head towards him, waiting for him to elaborate. "No one else knows of your plans, Kahlan. I'm still alive, I have spoiled them. There is no need to punish you now."
"The intent is as bad as the deed." Her voice was a little unsteady. Richard nodded at her, taking another step closer. This time, she didn't move back.
"This is true, but sometimes second chances are in order. You can be redeemed, Kahlan." She shook her head at him and scoffed.
"You are a rare person, Richard Cypher. To let a woman who tried to kill you and ruin your kingdom to continue to live her life without the slightest punishment? Most would call that foolish. You leave me a chance to try yet again." Richard smiled at her and she smirked, looking down at her hands which were resting on her stomach. "I can not be redeemed, Richard."
Richard shook his head. "All can be redeemed, Kahlan."
"What makes you think I wish to be redeemed? What makes you think I won't try and kill you again?"
"I have faith."
"That is ridiculous. How can you trust a woman who wanted nothing but to destroy you?"
"All your life you have had to brush aside what you felt for your people. You want to protect the Midlands from D'Hara, what better way than to crush the opposing nation?"
Kahlan laughed as she shook her head. "And you are just going to brush this off? Act as though this never happened?" He nodded.
"Your devotion to the Midlands is astounding, Kahlan. You held up this ruse for months without anyone comprehending what you were doing. I swear to you that D'Hara will not be a threat."
"You can not promise such things." Her voice was harsh and skeptical. He smiled at her.
"You will just have to place your trust in me."
Kahlan glanced to the side, sighing. Her blue eyes made contact with his brown ones as she lifted her hand and reached it towards his.
The road ahead would be rocky, convincing her that a threat wasn't present would be nearly impossible. She would fight him every step of the way, but she could be redeemed. Richard would try until his dying breath to make her realize that the Midlands was safe, that D'Hara wouldn't strike against them. He was positive that she wouldn't repeat the plan, he felt it in the marrow of his bones. They were going to raise a child together, possibly create another life. He just had to show Kahlan that all was well, that she was in safe hands.
Maybe along the way she would open up to him, embrace her own thoughts and feelings.
Despite what had happened, they were forever bonded by the child growing inside of her. They were a family. Family was the most important thing to Richard. Family helped each other, healed each other.
Family forgave each other.