Say My Name
A/N - This started out as a parody, than as I was working on it, I just had to add a little angst/drama. Hopefully, though, most of it will still have a lighter touch.
Disclaimer - I own nothing related to the Sword of Truth books or to Legend of the Seeker, I make no profit. I only play with the characters. And, of course, I don't own Margaret Mitchell's wonderful characters or anything related to Gone With the Wind.
Darken Rahl was beginning to wonder if an eternity being tormented by the Keeper might not be preferable to the prospect of serving as his brother's underling.
It had begun shortly after his little brother had decided to assume the mantle of Lord Rahl and rule D'Hara.
A man raised in Hartland and a woman from the Midlands would be ruling the land Darken and his ancestor's had spilt their life's blood trying to preserve. Well, not this body's blood, that was true, but it was the principle of the thing that counted.
Once Richard made his decision, it was inevitable that the Merry Band would to move into the People's Palace.
It didn't surprise the former tyrant that Richard and his new wife, the self-righteous Mother Confessor, had declined to use the royal bedchambers. But it had been galling when, at Kahlan's insistence, Darken's former rooms were sealed off from the rest of the palace because of the "unspeakable acts that had been committed in that bed".
Kahlan was so lacking in imagination.
Did she really think he had limited his activities to the bed?
Even Cara had rolled her eyes at the absurdity of it all. Hopefully she shared his fond memories of what had gone on in that bed, on the floor, on the table, on the chair. He doubted if there was any square inch of that room that hadn't been pleasurably explored.
Darken hadn't been able to resist pressing the issue. "Kahlan, why don't you and my brother at least use my old bed for a few nights? You might gain a little inspiration – broaden your horizons, so to speak." He so loved making Kahlan squirm. It was one of the few diversions he had left.
Cara snorted with quickly suppressed laughter. Encouraged, Darken had smirked at her, hoping to enjoy a moment of mutual scorn. But, as always, she glowered at him and turned away as soon as she caught his glance.
His Cara – the woman who had been fiercely loyal in battle and endlessly inventive in bed – was gone. First she had betrayed him, then she had been inhabited by this imposter who kept repeating that she now served "the true Lord Rahl" in answer to any question he posed to her.
There had to be some way to break through that shell of indifference. Surely his Cara was still in there, no matter how deeply hidden.
Before the locksmiths arrived and he was forever banished from his former apartments, Darken managed to snatch the velvet drapes from his old rooms. Kahlan was a miser when it came to his clothing allowance, and he certainly wasn't going to continue looking like a beggar because she enjoyed embarrassing him. After all, he was still Richard's advisor, even if the Mother Confessor didn't want him to be seen in public.
The drapes were in excellent condition and even bore the golden insignia of the House of Rahl. Darken smiled. He was sure a seamstress could be found somewhere in the palace who could transform them into apparel fit for a former king.
"Why are you wearing those old curtains?" Cara blurted out, her voice dripping with derision. She had crept up on him from behind as he was waiting outside of Richard's audience chamber. Her face crinkled in amusement. "The great and powerful – former – Lord Rahl, reduced to wearing the household furnishings. How does it feel to be reduced to a servant? "
Watching Darken's face flush with mortification, she felt just a slight pang of remorse. He was a proud man and had borne his lowered status with more grace than she would have ever thought possible.
"Why don't you tell me? You've been the Seeker's pet Mord'Sith far longer than I have been his advisor," he snapped, pulling at the uneven hem of his not-so-fresh attire.
All trace of laughter vanished as Cara fought for self-control . She would not let herself be goaded, no matter how deeply the words stung. She should be used to it by now.
Mother Confessor's toady.
Ever since the Keeper had been defeated and they had returned to the People's Palace, Darken had called her many things.
But her name had never passed his lips.
Kahlan spoke Cara's name with soft condescending pity.
Zedd uttered it with paternal pity.
Richard said it with earnest pity.
But only Darken could shape Cara's name into the deep silky caress that made her go weak at the knees.
The Mord'Sith was surprised at the stab of disappointment she felt at his obstinate refusal to say that one word. Not that she would ever let it show. Darken Rahl might be Richard's brother, but he couldn't be trusted. Her duty was to serve the true Lord Rahl, not this man who no longer even shared the bloodline.
"I've missed you," Darken said quietly, as if reading her thoughts. "Or at least I miss the person you used to be. I miss the ferocious woman who was never afraid to admit the truth about her own nature." His tone carried a hint of sadness.
Cara wasn't going to be seduced by his play-acting. "I'm a different person now, Rahl, a better person. Being with Richard and Kahlan, being with Zedd, has changed me in ways you couldn't begin to understand."
The words were true enough, up to a point, but why did it always feel as if there was something lacking in her present life, that a vital part of her was starving for nourishment? Why did life with Richard sometimes seem so – colorless?
Cara immediately backpedaled. Serving Richard was enough. Zedd's concern and Kahlan's friendship were enough. She needed nothing more.
Her life was complete.
As always, Darken was trying to manipulate her for his own purposes. Cara knew she had made the right choice. This man was the past, no longer important except as a possible threat from which she might need to protect Richard.
If only he weren't so - unforgettable.
Even in those ridiculous clothes he was imposing, and could still draw all eyes to himself when he entered a room.
Darken shook his head in exasperation. "Admit it. Yes, you serve Richard, but you have no life of your own. He and the Mother Confessor are too wrapped up with each other to be concerned about your happiness. Despite their vows of friendship, do they see you as anything more than a useful servant?"
The heat rose in her face. Although she knew Richard's feelings for her were far warmer than Darken implied, Cara couldn't deny that with each passing day, she felt more and more an outsider, watching Richard and Kahlan's epic romance unfold while she remained alone.
Her former lover grabbed her by the arm, pulling her toward him. "You and I see the world as it is, without my brother's naive illusions. I value you just as you are. Aren't you getting tired of always concealing your true self, always ashamed that your new friends will condemn you if they knew what you were really like – if they knew what you and I have shared?"
Releasing his grip, Darken brought his hand up to her cheek, but Cara jerked away. Undeterred, he leaned into her and whispered, "I want you back."
Blinking back furious tears, she demanded, "I want you back – what."
He frowned, for once completely baffled.
"If you want me back, then say the word. Say it. Say my name, damn it!" Cara couldn't believe she was doing this. She desperately hoped Richard wouldn't hear about it.
Darken's eyes gleamed with hope – and suspicion. "And if I do, will you come back to me?"
For just a moment, she wavered. Closing her eyes, she could feel his body against hers, his heat, his heartbeat, his hair brushing against her cheek. Then, without warning she shoved the butt of her agiel into his ribs.
Darken hissed, his breath catching in his throat. "Ah….hmmmm," he gasped. "I'd almost forgotten how deliciously painful that feels. You are an true artist. None of my other Mord'Sith ever had your talent with the agiel. If you want, we can step into the closet and you can practice on me some more. I promise I'll return the favor." He grinned at the absolute fury in her face.
"Say it!" she demanded, beyond caring about anything other than bending this infuriating man to her will.
"Careful, you're starting to make a spectacle of yourself. You wouldn't want your pure-hearted co-horts to see us like this – or would you?" Darken taunted. He was starting to enjoy himself. "They only expect the worst from me. But my poor brother would be shocked to see how little you've changed." His brow furrowed in feigned indignation, mimicking Richard's expression of boyish shock.
"Say it!" Holding the agiel within inches of his chin, Cara grasped him by the collar of his ratty looking drape-robe, bringing her face flush with his.
"And if I say it, will you come back to me?" he asked again, staring into her eyes with such intensity that her skin felt scorched.
Cara 's lips pulled back in a snarl. "Never," she whispered, brushing her mouth against his.
The infinitesimal flinch of pain in his face was instantly replaced by the expression Cara knew all too well, as the corner of his mouth quirked up in mockery of both them both.
Darken deliberately seized her wrist and pried her fingers away from his robe, freeing himself from her clutches. Stepping away, he regarded her thoughtfully. "If that's your final word, then – No – I don't think I will say it. But, if you ever change your mind, I'm usually easy to find. I live here."
Ashamed of her momentary weakness, becoming aware of stares and muttering around her, Cara rounded on him, still panting. "Don't flatter yourself. I'll never come back to you. I serve –"
"The true Lord Rahl," Darken finished smoothly. "You don't need to tell me again. As a matter of fact, here he comes now. You'd better fall into place, like a good little pet."
Cara ignored him, pulling her Mord'Sith mask into place and falling in step behind Richard and Kahlan as they exited the audience chamber and paraded down the hall. Kahlan held her hands protectively over her swollen belly while Richard beamed in contentment.
Darken stepped back against the wall to allow them to pass, but not quickly enough to avoid the Mother Confessor's baleful glare. He smiled back benignly, tipping his head in mock respect.
Cara stalked away without a backward glance.
Darken sighed in regret. At least he had gotten a reaction out of her.
For today that would have to be enough.