TITLE: Lost and Found
AUTHOR: Lord of Kavaka
CHARACTERS: Richard/Kahlan
RATING: M
TIMELINE: POST-Tears
STORY TYPE: Angst/Romance
SPOILERS: Season 1 & 2, the books, specifically Faith of the Fallen
DISCLAIMER: I do not own them, and I make no profit from this.
SUMMARY: After a crippling attack, Richard and Kahlan return to Hartland.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For ForeverRK.


Lost and Found

How long had it been? Try as she might, Kahlan could not remember. It seemed like ages ago that they had sealed the rift and discovered they could be together. However, they had to wait, there were more important things to do. They had waited long enough. So, they could wait a little while longer. They had to get back to Aydindril, which was in turmoil, with the foiled coup d'état that had been put down by her Confessor half when she had been split in two. Her mind still reeled with what Richard had told her of what had happened. She liked that one half of her had been with Richard, but she felt disgusted and violated that her confessor half had taken Prince Fyren as a mate. So, returning to Aydindril was not exactly the most pleasant of tasks to her, but she needed to. She was, after all, the Mother Confessor.

And there was also Darken Rahl to deal with. Since his return from the Underworld through Walter's body, Rahl had been slowly regaining the support of the Mord'Sith. Though, fortunately it appeared he had only been able to gain a fraction of the following he had once had. Cara had told them that it was due to the fact that having been resurrected in Walter's body, Rahl may look like himself, but he was no longer Rahl by blood. Zedd had picked up the explanation, having been a close friend of Panis Rahl until the death of his father, the great Carracticus Zorander, and informed them that the Lord Rahl had a magical link with the D'Haran people. Cara confirmed this, saying that this bond always allowed her know the general direction in which Richard was, whenever they were separated, and it was the reason behind her agiels ceasing to work when Richard had died.

Then even more disturbing was Sister Nicci. Kahlan was still reeling over how she had been confessed by the former Sister of the Dark and had been induced into the Blood Rage, which had compelled her to kill her beloved Seeker for preventing her from saving her mistress. Richard tried his best to reassure her that he was okay, but she felt terrible about it, especially knowing that it had been her that had helped to blind him and leave him defenseless, not the mention the scar on his chest, above his heart, where she had stabbed and killed him. When they had arrived at the village, they found no sign of the sorceress's body, which greatly disturbed and worried Kahlan.

They set up camp in the stables. It was the one structure that was not too damaged from the baneling attack that the village had suffered when the Keeper had assumed the guise of the boy Declan. Richard started a fire and they all sat around it, sharing some bread and cheese. Zedd grumbled a complaint about them needing to ration their supplies until they made it out of the desert, which brought back some of the jovial mood of their triumph over the Keeper. Kahlan beamed and gaze across the campfire at Richard, and the two shared a smoldering stare of deep longing. It was at that moment that Cara further lightened the mood by blunt stating that the two lovebirds should just go over into the corner for a roll in the hay. Everyone laughed, but Richard had stopped when he saw Kahlan's face, seeing that she had actually been seriously contemplating the suggestion.

And that night, for the first time, Kahlan snuggled up next to Richard, their bedrolls pushed together, as they slept. Before, during their quest for the Stone of Tears, they had slept close, but still apart, with an agonizing gap between them, which was due to Kahlan's fear that she might accidentally confess him during the night should they sleep too close. But now she no longer held that fear. It lingered no longer. With all the worries and concerns for the future gone, Kahlan relished the feel of Richard's arms wrapped around her as she nestled her head to his chest, listening to the steady beat of his heart. Everything was as it should be.

But then, everything changed. They were just leaving the Wilds when they were set upon by over a dozen Mord'Sith. It all happened so fast. The first thing she could remember was an agiel striking her side, cracking a rib. Cara jumped in front of Zedd, protecting the wizard. The flash of the Sword of Truth was out in a second and Kahlan could hear Richard slashing through their attackers. She could hear him shouting her name, the desperation and terror in his voice painfully obvious. The rest of the attack was a complete daze to her. Agiels flew around her, and she seemed to be on fire.

And then it all went black.

When she next woke up, it was for barely a couple of seconds and all she could see were stars. Time disappeared from her and when the light returned for the second time she found herself lying in a bed with blankets piled around her. The door was closed, but she could hear what sounded like a heated argument. Kahlan recognized one of the voices as belonging to her Seeker. She tried to open her mouth to call for him, but her entire body seemed to scream in agony. It was hard to breathe, let alone move. The voice got louder and then the door opened and Richard came in, followed by a huffing Zedd.

"—not your fault, Richard," Zedd was saying.

"Dammit, Zedd! Don't patronize me!" growled the Seeker, sounding like he had just been betrayed. "Spirits, it was my idea to bring her here. I thought it was going to be safe."

"You are not a prophet, my boy," Zedd replied, his voice calm and steady, yet with a slight edge to it. "No one could have predicted Rahl would have swayed over Hartland to his will."

"But I should have known!" bristled Richard. "Last time we came here he had the entire town performing the devotion to the Master Rahl! They think he's a god, Zedd. You heard Connor!" Richard voice changed, mimicking someone else. "He returned from the Underworld, Richard? How can you deny his power?" The Seeker heaved in a deep breath. "They're all a bunch of ignorant farmers. We should never have come. We're leaving, that's final!"

"Richard... she's awake," she heard Zedd say.

Her Seeker was suddenly in her field of vision. His eyes were big and watery. Kahlan tried to smile, to reassure him, but it was too painful. "Here," Richard spoke softly, holding up a clay cup with water.

Kahlan managed to open her lips and take a sip, a small sip. It hurt to swallow, but she felt better, her throat less dry. "Richard?" she managed to choke out, her voice was hoarse and it was hard to talk.

"Shh," Richard murmured, running a wet washcloth across her forehead. "You need your rest."

"What…? Where…?" she squeaked out, coughing slightly. Her lungs were aching, she knew she must have a couple of broken ribs. Richard immediately brought the lip of the cup up to her opened mouth and gave her another sip of water. Closing her eyes against the pain as she swallowed, Kahlan tried to clear her head.

Richard caressed the side of her face, and Kahlan knitted her eyebrows together, hating that his touch hurt. She must of been injured far more than she thought she had. "We were ambushed by some of Rahl's Mord'Sith. They got to you… spirits, Kahlan, you almost died. If Cara had not given you the Breath of Life, you might not still be with us." He sighed. "As for where, I couldn't risk taking you to Aydindril. So we came to Hartland. I thought it would be safe here, but it appears my so-called friends have turned their backs on us."

A noise caused Richard to look away.

"They're coming, Richard," Kahlan heard Cara's voice. "We've got to go… now!"

Richard nodded and turned back to Kahlan. "This might hurt, you're still recovering." She nodded, at least she thought she nodded, she wasn't quite sure. Richard swooped one arm under her bottom and another around her shoulder, lifting her up into his arms. Kahlan tried to move her arms to loop them around his neck for support, but they would not respond.

"I'll collect our things," Zedd said.

Kahlan felt more than saw Richard give a nod. He gripped her tight and pulled her out of the bedroom. As they went through the door, she passed out. When she came to, the world seemed to be quaking. Every bounce and bump brought a spasm of pain, and all she could do in response was sob silently. Warm tears streamed down her cheeks, and she tried to steel herself against the pain. She could tell she was bundled up in numerous blankets and it was warm, but the agony was overwhelming, and she willingly surrendered to the oblivion of unconsciousness when it came.

When she came too again, Kahlan found herself in a room surrounded by logs. She felt a little better and managed to sit up, though it brought tears to her eyes to do so. "Richard?" she called out, her voice dry.

The door immediately shot open and her Seeker appeared. "Kahlan?" Richard furrowed his brow. "What are you doing?" His voice was laced with worry, and he rushed to her side, closing the door behind him. With tender hands, he guided her back down to the bed, resting her head on a pillow. He brought a clay cup to her lips and Kahlan had a moment of déjà vu. Suppressing it, she obediently parted her lips and took a sip. She managed about half a cup and smiled when it did not hurt to swallow.

"Zedd's managed to heal you up a bit more, but it will take some more time for you to recover," he spoke softly. "You've been unconscious for almost a month. I was terrified that I had lost you." Tears were freely falling down his eyes.

He bent down and brushed a brief chaste kiss on her forehead. Kahlan groaned slightly, wishing the kiss was not so brief and not so chaste, not to mention on her lips instead of on her forehead. Backing away, Richard retrieved a washcloth and began scrubbing her face, cleaning her. She blinked and managed to arch her neck to look down, seeing that she was lying prone on the bed, dressed in a simple shift.

"Dress?"

Richard looked up, his eyebrows knitting together. "I had Cara change you after I finished the cabin and got you into the bed."

"You… you could have done it," she coughed out, gazing longingly up at him.

He smiled softly, his eyes brightening a bit. "I didn't want to besmirch the Mother Confessor's honor," Richard jested lightly.

Kahlan blinked and let out a quiet breath. "You can besmirch my honor as much as you like, Richard," she murmured, managing a weak smile, pleased she was able to speak without any pain.

Richard chuckled and shook his head. "But then you'd have none left because it would all be mine," he joked back, smiling. He lowered his brow and his smile disappeared, as he turned serious. "You need your rest, Kahlan. There will be time enough for that later. Right now, I just need you to get better."

She nodded and accepted another cup of water.

XXX

The next couple of month seemed agonizingly long. When she managed to regain enough strength to stand, Kahlan explored the cabin Richard had built. It wasn't much, three bedrooms, and one common area. Zedd and Cara had the other two rooms, and Kahlan found out that Richard had been sleeping on a bedroll on the floor beside her bed. It warmed her heart to know he had been close to her during her recovering, but she wished he had shared her bed, not just her room.

Though, after she got a good look at herself, she understood why Richard would not want to see her naked or even sleep with her. She hardly looked that attractive anymore, a pale reflection of the strong vibrant woman she had once been. She had lost the majority of her muscles, and when Cara helped her to the river to bathe, she noticed that her ribs were showing. Looking down at her reflection in the river water, Kahlan did not see herself, but a ghost. Her cheeks were hollow and her eyes were sunken. Her limbs were thin, failing, a shadow of their former glory. She thought she looked more like a corpse than a woman. Kahlan could hardly blame Richard for not wanting to share her bed.

So, once she was mobile, Kahlan was determined to recover her strength and make herself a desirable woman again. She started off easy, doing simple leg and arm exercises with Cara, firming up her calves, biceps, and thighs. After a couple of weeks, they began to spar. It was light, not very heavy, but enough to make her feel stronger and more sure of herself. Her breathing was heavier than it was before and her heart pounded like crazy, but eventually she got close to being in the same shape she had been before the attack.

After her sparing sessions with Cara, Kahlan would go on either a short or a long hike with Richard; it often depended on how much sun was left in the day. Despite how exhaustive they were at times, Kahlan relished the long hikes, because she got to spend more alone time with Richard without having Zedd or Cara around. Sometimes Richard would catch her pushing herself too hard. He would frown and shake his head disapprovingly, and then, before she could object, he would swoop her up in his arms, holding her like she weighed nothing—which was probably not far from the truth—and carried her back to the cabin. She desperately wanted to tell him why she was going it, why she was pushing herself past her limit, but she was always too tired at the end of the day to really tell him.

The strain of the hikes on her muscles would often leave them sore and aching, making it hard for her to sleep. She would toss and turn, and Richard would set up from the floor and soothe her back to sleep, gently caressing and massaging the tension out of her legs. Spirits, she loved the feel of his hands on her legs and she wanted him to continue and do more, but he would always back away at the last moment, letting the mutual desire just hang in the air like the large dragon in the room that no one wanted to talk about. Kahlan was starting to worry that seeing her so emaciated and weak from the attack had caused his desire to diminish to almost nothing, and that he was now only staying with her out of some sort of obligation he thought he owed her.

It was not until nearly two months after she had woke up—a total of almost three months since the attack—to find herself in this secluded valley, resting inside a room in a cabin that Richard had built with his own hands, that Kahlan started to feel like herself again. She was getting better in her sparing sessions with Cara and was even able to beat her a couple of times. Zedd was all smiles, because she was eating more, and her hikes with Richard grew longer, which pleased her.

Presently, Kahlan was standing near the edge of a ravine, gazing out at the lush green valley below. She had spent the entire day with Richard, hiking through the woods of his homeland. Westland was certainly a beautiful place and she could understand why he wanted to return here for her recuperation. As she stood there, gazing out at the trees, hills, and meadows of their own little private valley, Kahlan hugged herself, thinking of the Midlands and what must have become of Aydindril without their Mother Confessor to lead them when Darken Rahl's forces marched on their walls. She felt guilty that she was not there to suffer with them, but she knew that it would not have changed a thing. Soon, when Richard deemed her fully recovered, they would set out to reclaim the Midlands from Darken Rahl tyrannical rule.

The déjà vu feeling swept over her again, reminding her of when she first met Richard, and the quest she had sought out the Seeker of Truth for. Yet beyond that similarities in the quest, nothing else was the same. This time there would be no need to fight their desire for one another… that is, if it still existed at all. Kahlan's heart still yearned for Richard, and she was waiting patiently for the day when she could finally give herself to him. She felt like she had waited a lifetime.

"It's going to rain," Richard spoke up, calling her from her ruminations. "We should start heading back."

Kahlan nodded and turned around, smiling as she watched him crouch down beside the checkered blanket that they had spread out over the hard mountain ground, as they had ate their picnic lunch and enjoyed the scenic view. She had been grateful for the entire day and she wanted him to know that.

Stepping lightly over to join him, she knelt and began packing the leftovers into their pack while he rolled up the blanket. He tied the strings around it and attached it to the bottom of the pack. Standing up, Kahlan attempted to take the pack, but Richard gently pulled it from her grasp. She huffed and glared up at him, thinking he was being too overprotective.

"I can carry it!" she nearly snapped, hating when he made it seemed she was still weak and useless.

"Kahlan, this was my treat," he said, smiling softly, reaching out to rub her arm as he pulled the strap over his shoulders. "A reward for the progress you've made."

She crossed her arms and huffed, blowing her hair out of her face, but relented, not wanting to fight with him. She followed him down the mountain, quietly sulking over how he treated her like she was some fragile flower. But she was not a flower, and, if anything, Kahlan felt that a venus flytrap was a closer analogy. They were enticing and alluring, yet both just as deadly. Beneath her beautiful exterior raged the storm of a confessor, one of the most terrifying being ever created, feared by men and women alike… well, all except for Richard. He had never been afraid of her, even when he found out what she was.

It was raining by the time they got back to the meadow, cold and dark. They walked the rest of the way, Richard sheltering her under his arm, as they covered the final distance to the porch. The rain had made the hike back more difficult, and Kahlan's muscles were screaming with agony. Getting back into the cabin, they found Zedd and Cara sitting around the table talking softly as they ate some rabbit stew. The old wizard beamed upon their return and announced that Cara had finally managed to teach him how to capture a rabbit without burning it to cinders with his Wizard's Fire, so they were eating heartedly tonight.

Kahlan groan and sat down, eating little, still a little peeved with Richard for treating her like an invalid. Spirits, she'd been walking around on her own power for two months now, and she could best Cara three or four times during their sparring matches. Zedd judged them, and she trusted the old man to be honest in his scoring, just as he had when Richard, Cara, and her would spar to see who got first night's watch. Kahlan ate quietly, raising her eyebrows in surprise when Zedd informed them that Cara had been the cook. Richard sat across from her and avoided her eyes. She let out a soft breath and announced she was tired and was going to go to bed.

When she stood up, Richard rose. "Kahlan?"

His eyes were big and sorrowful looking. She gave a soft nod, accepting the offer she knew he was making. After the grueling hike back, her legs would welcome his ministrations. And besides, she enjoyed it when he massaged her legs; it was the closest they had ever come to being intimate during her recovery. He waited outside their room as she changed, which irritated her, because if fate had not thrown a curve at them, they should have had already made love countless of times since the Pillars of Creation. Kahlan rifled through the clothes in the dresser he had constructed and found a nightgown she had never seen before. She knitted her eyebrows together and she placed it on the bed, guessing he must have got it while they had been in Hartland.

Kahlan closed her eyes and groaned softly as she removed her jacket from her aching shoulders. She tossed it over to a wicker reading chair Richard had made for her. Unlacing her boots, she leaned against the log walls for support as she kicked them off, grunting with the effort. Stripping off the rest of her clothes, Kahlan piled them on top of her jacket on the wicker chair. She grabbed the nightgown and pulled it over her sore shoulders. When she was done, she let out a soft laugh, noticing that it barely covered her hips. Smirking to herself, she collapsed on the bed and called Richard inside.

He entered, having changed in Zedd's room into a simple linen nightshirt and matching shorts. Kahlan looked up at him, gauging his reaction to her half naked body, and huffed when he appeared not to notice. Richard carried in a bowl of heated oils that Zedd had purchased for them on one of his and Cara's trips into a village about a two-day journey to the south. Once, when Kahlan had expressed an interest in going, Richard had flatly denied her, telling her it was not safe for her in Westland, that the entire populace seemed to have fallen under the charismatic spell cast by the "Father Rahl."

However, there was no real magic involved in Rahl's takeover. The villain just happened to be a master at manipulating people, and was milking his "rebirth" from the Underworld to its full advantage. After a heated argument, which had resulted in them not speaking with one another for an entire day, Kahlan had relented to Richard's decision, grudgingly acknowledging that Rahl would most likely have agents scouting every inhabited village in Westland for them.

"Of course," she had not been about to keep the retort back. "That doesn't stop Zedd and Cara, or even you, from going. You're just treating me like a defenseless child. Well, I have news for you, Richard… I managed just fine before I even knew you!"

Richard growled, his eyes flashing with the fury of the Sword of Truth. "If I recall correctly, I saved your life when we first met!" he had shot back.

"I would have managed just fine if you hadn't shown up!" she had shouted, infuriated with his constant implications that she was helpless. "Unlike you, I don't get distracted the second a pretty thing with breasts shows up!"

The Seeker heaved in a deep breath and glared at her. "That was low, Kahlan… really low," he had grumbled in a low voice. And with that, he had stormed out of the cabin, disappearing into the woods. Kahlan had spent the rest of the day sulking in their room, silently kicking herself for arguing with him, when all she wanted was to make love with him. She hated fighting with him, but she had been so restless, needing something to do. The following day was when they had started their lone hikes, part of Richard's way of apologizing.

XXX

Then sound of the door locking pulled her from her thoughts and back to the present. Richard set the bowl down on the nightstand, another thing he had made with his bare hands, and quietly eased down to his knees, kneeling by the bed. The only sound was the soft drumming of the rain on the roof. Kahlan suddenly realized that Richard had built practically everything—in the room, and not to mention the entire cabin—for her. Only the spirits knew how long and hard he had labored at constructing this sanctuary away from the world for her to recover from her injuries.

It made her heart melt to know he would do such a thing for her, but just the same, there were other things she wanted him to do that he seemed unwilling, maybe even too repulsed, to do, such as sleeping with her. She had expected him to crawl under the covers with her once she had recovered her strength, no longer bedridden and incapable of moving on her own. Yet he had still refused to share her bed, opting to remain on the bedroll that was sprawled out by the foot of the bed.

Kahlan sighed deeply, regretting the brief moments she had let slip by because she had been too bitter or angry with him for babying of her. She watched passively as he dipped his fingers into the ointment, shifting over her. Letting out a quiet frustrated breath, Kahlan closed her eyes shut, while Richard went about applying the warm oils to her sore legs. Despite her bitterness, she sighed softly, relishing his ministrations. She had loved how he had started doing this for her after a long day of strenuous exercise. She also always wished it would lead to something more… something her heart always burned for when he was around.

"Kahlan?" his soft voice pulled her from her thoughts.

"Huh?" she blinked, startled. Kahlan had been too wrapped up in her own thoughts that she had not been paying attention.

"I was saying that it looks like your legs have gotten back their tone and shape," Richard whispered softly, continuing to massage the warm oil over her calves and thighs.

Kahlan looked up and saw desire in his eyes. She caught her breath at the sight of it. Having hardly seen that look from him over the past couple of months, she had almost forgotten the thrill of seeing his hunger for her. She was so startled at what she was seeing that she actually felt tears trickle down her cheek with the joy of suddenly feeling like a woman again—a desirable woman. And not just any desirable woman, but the woman that Richard desired.

Richard smiled down at her, his eyes swirling with the love she had grown so used to seeing when, during their quest for the Stone of Tears, she had seen as they sat around the campfire at night before bed. He raised her leg slightly, and pressed a soft kiss to her bare ankle. Kahlan let out a soft gasp, feeling his warm lips press against her skin for the first time in what seemed like ages. His fingers continued to caress her leg, and he followed them with his lips, whispering soft kisses along her bare skin until his warm mouth reached her thighs. By then, she was practically panting with the sudden and unexpected desire that had awakened within her. Kahlan had not been expecting this from Richard today, especially not after he had so sternly rebuked her on the mountain when she had tried to pick the pack up to carry it back to the cabin after their picnic.

His hands moved from her legs and hovered above her, until his fingers started working the laces of her night tunic. Pulling it open, Richard began rubbing the warm oil on her exposed belly. Kahlan trembled softly, having been completely caught off guard by this sudden change. His hands moved up her body to caress her breasts. He breathed heavily through his mouth as he rolled her nipples around between his finger and thumb, igniting even more need with her smoldering body.

"Why, Seeker," Kahlan said in a breathy whisper, "I do believe you are going to get carried away."

Richard paused, blinking, seeming to check himself and what he was doing. Taking a quick breath, he pulled back, looking stunned. Kahlan knitted her eyebrows together and pouted. "I'm sorry," he gasped softly. "I don't want to hurt you."

"I won't break, Richard," she murmured as she caught his hand and pulled it back, placing it over her breast. "I'm all right. Spirits, I've been all right for some time now. I… I'd like it if you got carried away."

He gaped at her for a moment, stunned by her words. With a shake of his head, the look of shock melted away and the burning hunger returned. Richard grinned and shifted, climbing up onto the bed. She felt the straw mattress dip as his weight was added and she let out a soft giggled. She clutched at his hair as he lowered his head into her chest, covering her breasts in kisses. He hummed against her skin, as his hand roamed her legs, grabbing and squeezing at her thighs.

His kisses worked their way up to her shoulder, where he sucked on her pale flesh so hard she knew he was going to leave his mark. Kahlan could feel him grinning against her skin as he moved on to her neck, devouring it like he was a starving man. His warm breath tickled her ear, and she moaned softly as his fingers explored her, running between her legs to touch her where she only wanted Richard to ever touch her.

"Oh, Richard," she whimpered softly, no longer feeling any soreness or stiffness in her body as his ministrations only seemed to heat it up. His frantic exploration of her special place, left her breathless, and the way his body hovered over hers, adding to her already growing heat, was wildly erotic and exciting.

She could hear her pulse quicken in her ears as he finally moved up from her neck and tenderly kissed her lips, his other hand caressing the side of her face as his fingers buried themselves into her lush hair, which was covering her ear. As the kiss deepened, Kahlan no longer felt weary or tired, but alive and excited. She looped her arms around his neck and pulled him back for another kiss. Grabbing his hair in her fists and roughly pulling him against her, she let him know, through the intensity of her kiss, that he need not worry about being tender.

Backing away, he gazed down at her, continuing to work his hand between her legs, making her all wet and warm down there. She beamed up at him and tugged at his shirt, wanting it off so she could explore the hard planes of his chest. Slipping his hand away from her warmth, he raised his arms and allowed her the honor to discard him of his shirt. She laughed softly as she flung it to the floor, not really caring where it landed.

Richard grabbed her face and rammed his lips against her with all the passion and longing that she knew he had been holding in ever since the Pillars of Creation, an agonizingly long three months ago. Their time had finally come, after almost two years of waiting, and countless struggles and battles, they were finally going to become one. Kahlan ran her hands over his shoulders, feeling his smoothed skin flex and move with his muscles. She felt his back and tickled his spine, coaxing a chuckle form his lips as he shifted to continue the soft wet nibbling of her neck.

Kahlan ran her hands down his chest, feeling every muscle and curve, giving them all equal attention. She tickled his abdomen and slipped her hand under the waistband of his sleeping shorts. Richard let out a soft groan as she gripped him in her hand. She smiled against his shoulder, feeling him involuntarily buck his hips when she began to stroke him.

"I see how it is," he laughed against her throat in a husky voice. "Two can play at that game. His hand skimmed down her body and slipped between her thighs to touch her wetness again, stimulating her special place with his thumb as his fingers teased her folds.

"Oh, spirits… Richard," she gasped out his name as he slipped one finger inside her.

"Mmm?" he hummed, obviously smug in his triumph as her fingers ceased on him.

"Stop… stop teasing me," Kahlan moaned. "I… I want you, my Richard. I've wanted you since the moment I first saw you."

"I thought you said I had interrupted your plan? That you needed no help?" he chuckled, jesting over their argument they had had weeks ago.

"I lied," she whimpered.

Richard shifted over her, removing his hand from behind her legs and tugging his shorts down, kicking them off. Kahlan laughed as she saw them go flying up into the air. He brought his hand up, cupping her face with his palm as he leaned over to kiss her. She pushed her tongue against his lip, begging for entrance, wanting to taste him. Her Seeker readily complied and opened for her, allowing her tongue access to explore the warmth of his mouth. Kahlan moaned, completely enthralled by how he tasted. So absorbed in their kiss, she was only vaguely aware of his knee coming between her legs.

The heat of their passion was intense and Kahlan had to break it to breathe. She panted for a moment as Richard stroke her hair, gazing down at her with utter love. "I've wanted this for so long, Kahlan," he whispered, his knee beginning its mission, gently pushing her legs apart. "I love you… always and forever."

Kahlan's heart melted at his words and her eyes glazed over with the deep need and desire she had for this man. She brought her hands up and tugged at his neck, pulling him back for another kiss. Richard's lips affectionately ran across hers as he settled himself between her spread legs.

"Yes," she panted. "Yes. Oh please… Yes."

She slipped her hand between them and gripped him, guiding him to her quivering flesh that was begging to feel him. Richard groaned into her mouth as he pressed against her. Kahlan felt him brush against her threshold and removed her hand to the side of his hip, her fingers softly kneading his backside for encouragement. He looked down at her and waited for permission to continue. She smiled and gave a weak nod, knowing that when he entered her it would hurt, at least she hoped it would. Kahlan wanted to be new and unspoiled for him.

Her mouth dropped on its own accord, her eyebrows knitting, and a soft moan escaped her throat as he pushed up into her. A dull pain rattled through her body as he broke her barrier, sealing their union. Kahlan trembled beneath him as he began to move over her, his lips dancing across her cheeks and jawbone as his hands roamed her body, one caressing her thigh as the other groped at her breast. Kahlan lost all reason and coherent thought. She was forever adrift in the ocean of ecstasy that came rolling upon wave after wave, as the dull pain between her legs ceased. All she felt was Richard moving within her, burying himself deeply with in her core, then extracting himself for another thrust.

Whimpering softly, Kahlan gripped the flesh of his backside tightly, digging her fingers in, as her other hand looped around his neck to help and encourage him. She rested her hand by the nape of his neck and played with the strands of his hair. Richard murmured into her ear, whispering instructions. She smiled, and bit her lower lip, following his directions. His hand on her thigh moved up to her hip and he helped to guide the sway of her hips as he came down on her, filling her completely. Soon she was moving with him, swaying and rolling her hips in rhythm with him.

The rain continued to drum against the roof above, and lightning flashed outside, the distance cry of thunder rumbling through the mountains, rolling through the valley and meadow, bypassing the cabin as their passion only grew into the night. All her fears and worried disappeared as they simply moved as one. She no longer wondered whether she was desirable or even physically ready for what they were doing. All Kahlan cared about was being with Richard, her one true love, the man who loved her with all of his soul, leaving it immune to her deadly confessor's touch.

They had never needed each other as much as they had needed each other that night. As Richard continued to move over her, kissing her neck and shoulder, and occasionally the tops of her breasts, Kahlan wept with joy at finally being able to give herself to the man she loved. She wept with the strength of her pleasure and threshold, amazed at how much she could withstand without giving in to the tugging strings of her powers. Richard's hunger was extraordinary, driving him deeper into her, coaxing out feelings and sensations she never knew were possible, making her body quiver and tremble with rapture.

Her chest tightened and she felt a surge in her stomach as her powers raged within her, demanding release. Yet they were not alone. Another kind of power was demanding release, and it was like nothing Kahlan had ever felt before. She was worried and concerned that she might harm Richard, that somehow they might have been mistaken. It was not until Richard's hand brushed across the side of her face, that she blinked and looked up into his smiling eyes.

"Let go, Kahlan," he whispered, his lips brushing against her. "I'll catch you if you shall fall."

Richard kissed her deeply as she closed her eyes, letting go of her last restraints, letting her powers surge forth. A clap of thunder without sound resounded around them, and her eyes darkened, becoming black orbs of destruction as her powers grasp for the soul of the man above and in her. But they could not claim him, for his heart already belonged to her. She could feel the tendrils of her magic sputter out and fade, having consumed nothing. And at the same time that her powers ceased, she felt another explosion within her core. Instinctively she clenched her lower muscles, and it was not until the fog of confession and bliss had drifted from her eyes that she realized that she was clenching Richard with her inner walls.

He was pressing his hips hard against her, causing the straw mattress to sag, as she felt a burst of intense warmth erupt up into her insides. Richard groaned her name and grabbed her face, almost roughly, as he kissed her with such a fierceness and passion that Kahlan was left breathless. Her entire body seemed to be quaking with aftershocks of both the release of her powers and the orgasmic bliss that had consumed her at the same time. She smiled up at Richard as he leaned back to caress her face, whispering his undying love for her.

"I love you, too, Richard," she whispered back as he kissed her again.

Richard slipped out of her and Kahlan shifted out of the center of the bed, giving him room to rest beside her. He opened his arms and she curled up against his bare chest, sighing with contentment at the feeling of love that permeated every fiber of her being. She nestled against him and softly blew kisses against his neck as he held her, breathing slowly. It was not until she felt a teardrop fall on her cheek that she realized he was crying.

Easing up, Kahlan looked at him with worry, concerned that something was wrong, that she had displeased him and had not been satisfying enough for him. That had always been one of her greatest fears, that she could never fulfill his hunger. "Is… is something wrong?" she choked out, anxious over his answer.

He shook his head and spoke in a distant voice. "For so long I have feared losing you, that sometimes I almost believed I might go mad," Richard sobbed softly. Kahlan held her breath, unaware that he had held such a private terror.

Wanting to soothe away his pain, Kahlan shifted over him, resting in his lap as she held him to her chest, cooing softly as she stroked her fingers through his hair. "I'm not going anywhere, Richard," she said. "My wounds are healed and I am ready to face the world. And wherever you are, then I shall be there too. Because you are my family. My home. And I cannot live without you." She swallowed past the lump in her throat and eased his head up, so he was looking at her. His warm brown eyes were watery and filled with a mixture of worry and love, both for her. She gently brushed the tears from his face and gazed down at him. "I love you, Richard Cypher, more than anything."

"And I love you, Kahlan Amnell, with my entire being."

"I know," she replied softly, leaning down to kiss his lips, banishing all fears and worries as she sought to unite them once more.

THE END