TITLE: Practice Makes Perfect
AUTHOR: Lord of Kavaka
STORY TYPE: Romance/Smut
SPOILERS: Season 1 & 2, and the books.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own them, and I make no profit from this.
SUMMARY: Richard decides to teach Kahlan how to use a bow and arrow. He gets more than he bargained for.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This one-shot is inspired by a scene from Stone of Tears, where Richard teaches Kahlan to shot with a bow and arrow. Since Mr. Goodkind does not like fanfics based on his books (a silly notion in my opinion, he should flattered that fans want to even do such a thing), I have adapted and changed it to fit into the universe of Legend of the Seeker.
Practice Makes Perfect – Chapter 1 - Practice
Kahlan groaned. Why did she let him talk her into this? They had been enjoying a rather simple day of relaxation. Spirits knows they needed it after sealing the tear in the veil and defeating the Keeper of the Underworld. Not to mention, since discovering he was immune to her confessor's touch, Kahlan was brimming to the point of overflowing with her need for him. She had resisted her urges, her wants, and her desires for far too long. It was far past time that they finally indulged in one another. Kahlan wanted to feel that connection, the collision of mind and body that promised so much pleasure and euphoria that she was aching to feel it. But Richard had to be a worrywart.
"He's still out there, Kahlan," Richard had growled softly, his brown eyes blazing with the intensity to keep her safe. "And… and he has Nicci with him. Spirits knows what he is planning to do with her."
It was true. When they had returned to that ruined village, they found no sign of the sorceress that had stolen some of her powers and confessed her. Kahlan was still shocked and appalled that such a thing had occurred, but not as much as she was over her actions as a confessed slave to that evil sorceress. Richard still had the scar on his chest to prove it. One mark had disappeared, while another remained. It pained her every time she saw it, marring his hard chest, knowing that she had placed it there.
Tugging her cloak tighter around her frame, Kahlan braced herself against the icy cold wind. The tall grass in the fields swayed around them as Richard marched them out away from the trees. Zedd was still sleeping, and Cara… well, to be honest, Kahlan had no idea where the Mord'Sith had disappeared, but still, it was kind of her to make herself scarce, no doubt knowing what the Mother Confessor wanted to do with the Seeker.
A strong gust of wind picked up, flapping and pulling at their cloaks as they walked along in silence. Richard's brow was lowered and he looked determined. When he had broached the idea to her, Kahlan had readily agreed, thinking that he wanted to take her someplace private, where they could finally make love. But then he turned and snatched up the bow and quiver, declaring that today he was going to teach her how to shoot.
She scowled, sullenly. I already know how to shoot a bow and arrow, she grumbled to herself as she kicked a loose rock into the thick rolling grass that surrounded them. So lost in her internal brooding, Kahlan was unaware that Richard had stopped and she bumped into him. He turned around and raised an eyebrow, catching her with his strong arms before she fell.
"Kahlan? Are you all right?" he asked, his brow furrowed in worry.
"Yes, I'm fine," she nearly snapped back. She closed her eyes and took a deep. "I'm fine, Richard, please, set me down."
Richard gave an unconvinced nod, but did as she asked, placing her back down on her feet. "All right," he said, then smirked a boyish grin that melted her heart. "Ready for some target practice."
Oh, how she wished he had said something else. Something that involved ripping each other's clothes off and creating some warmth in this dastardly cool autumn.
So he had planned this, Kahlan thought, almost dejectedly, wishing he had spent his energy planning something else. She squinted into the distance and eyed what appeared to be bundles of brownish grass tumbled together with string to resemble men. He had even found some white mud and had even painted targets across their grassy chests.
Kahlan watched in stubborn indifference as he tossed his cloak aside and raised the bow, notching an arrow in. The wind picked up and pulled at her long hair. She grinned, hoping the sight of her hair flying wildly about her would entice him. Richard arched his neck a bit and gave her a smug smirk, before turning to face the targets. His brow lowered and he disappeared, his focus completely on the targets. Kahlan took a deep breath through her nose and crossed her arms under her breasts. Well, if he's planning on snuggling tonight, he's going to be disappointed, she nodded to herself with satisfaction.
"Okay, now watch this, Kahlan," Richard said, though he gave no other sign that he was aware of her presence.
The arrow whistled through the air, denying the wind advantage. There was a thwacking noise and one of the grass-men swayed slightly from the impact. Richard grinned triumphantly. Quickly notching another arrow, he sent it out at once, hitting the target on the exact same spot, splitting the previous arrow in twain. All right, that was impressive, especially considering how awful windy it was. So, she permitted him a raised eyebrow in congratulations.
"Impressive, Seeker," she said, trying to sound not too impressed.
Richard feigned a frown. "I'd like to see you do better," he suggested, prompting her by holding out the bow.
Kahlan raised an eyebrow, appraising it for a moment. "I don't know," was all she could mutter. Spirits, why was she suddenly so nervous.
"Come on, Kahlan," Richard said, sounding like a disappointed parent. "I'm going to need to judge how you are now, so I can see where to improve your technique."
"Improve my technique!" she hooted, and then harrumphed, grabbing the bow from him and pushing him aside as she grabbed an arrow from the quiver. Narrowing her eyes, she focused on notching it. Spirits, please don't let me embarrass myself, she quickly thought as she raised the bow and arrow, taking aim.
Kahlan squinted, staring off into the distance. Now that she was actually in position, she had the sinking feeling she was going to miss. The grass-men seemed too far away for her to hit. How had Richard done it? It seemed impossible. Gritting her teeth, intent on not being condescended to, Kahlan pulled back and let go. The arrow flew out. It had not gone that far until the wind knocked it off course and it impacted the ground to the right of the particular grass target she had aimed at.
"Damn!" she hissed under her breath.
Richard chuckled. "Not bad… not bad at all."
"Oh?" she huffed, thinking he was just patronizing her.
"No, really," Richard said, taking note of her expression. "Take a couple more shots."
Kahlan softened somewhat and nodded. "All right." She did her best, trying some different angles and pulling back with different tension, but each time, her arrows either fell short or completely missed the target. Letting out a frustrated breath, she huffed a strand of loose hair away from her eyes.
Glancing over her shoulder, she gave him a stare. "Well, aren't you going to instruct me?" Kahlan questioned. "Or are you just planning on staring at my backside all day?" She allowed him a quick flash of her special smile, before suppressing it, wanting to remain angry at him for not whisking her away to some secluded spot to make her his through physical bliss.
Richard grinned, his warm brown eyes glazing over with what she hoped was desire as he came up behind her. His arms came around her, and for a moment she thought her wish was going to come true. But then his hands bypassed her breasts. He adjusted her hand on the bow, and placed his fingers on the string. She bit the inside of her cheek, annoyed, but covered it with her confessor's mask.
"Here, do this," he spoke softly, his lips so close to her ear she could feel his warm breath dancing across the flesh of her neck, giving her tingles all over. "You can't get any power or be steady enough holding the arrow with your thumb and knuckle or your first finger that way. Hold the bowstring back with your first three fingers, like this, nesting the arrow between the first two. And pull with your shoulder too. You don't need to pull on the arrow, just concentrate on holding back the string. The arrow will take care of itself. See? Isn't that better?"
Despite herself, Kahlan gave him a grin. "It is, with your arms around me."
"Pay attention to what you're doing," Richard scolded, shaking his head like one of the wizard tutors she had had as a young confessor.
Kahlan raised her chin defiantly, and took aim. She let go and the arrow went flying out.
"Better," Richard nodded. "Now, try again."
Shooting him a glare, she rolled her eyes, but allowed a small smile, before doing what he told her. After several more shots, she was gaining some confidence and thought she might have even hit one of the bundles of grass once. Beaming with self-pride, Kahlan grabbed another arrow and notched it into place. Pulling back the bowstring, she took aim, focusing on the grass-man she had been targeting, sadistically imagining it with Richard's face. Sucking in a quick breath, and releasing it slowly, Kahlan felt for sure that this time she was going to hit the damn thing.
Now, she thought, preparing to release the tension on the bowstring.
Suddenly, his fingers danced across her stomach, tickling her. She doubled over, squealing and laughing, trying to get his fingers off her. "Stop it!" Kahlan laughed breathlessly, trying to spin out of his reach. "Stop it! Richard! I can't shoot when you're doing that!"
Chuckling softly, Richard stood back and placed his hands on his hips. "You have to be able to."
Catching her breath, Kahlan shot him a glare, and glowered at him. "What do you mean?" she inquired, almost snappishly. She had enjoyed his hands on her, even if he had been tickling her, but she was still pissed it had only been that and nothing more.
Richard arched his eyebrow at her, giving her an expression that he thought she was being impossible. "Besides being able to hit what you want, you have to be able to shoot no matter what is happening," he said, speaking calmly, yet with a note of a stern tutor. "If you can't shoot when you're laughing, how can you shoot when you're afraid? Just you and the target, that's all that exists. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is there. You block everything else out. Everything."
Kahlan huffed and rolled her eyes. "This is ridiculous, Richard," she groaned. "Nothing is going to happen."
"Damn it, Kahlan!" Richard suddenly burst. "Rahl is out there! With Nicci!"
"So?" she shrugged her shoulders. "He has no powers, and D'Hara is still fragmented. Even with Nicci, I doubt he'll be much of a threat."
Richard took a deep breath and glanced up at the sky, shaking his head. "Spirits help me, Kahlan, but I somehow can't believe that," he groaned.
Swallowing hard, and losing her anger, she inclined her head. "All right," she spoke softly, giving a nod.
"You have to be able to make the shot under pressure. Or else… have a tree close by you can climb," he continued with his instructions.
"You really think we're going to be attacked?" she asked.
His shoulders slumped. "I don't know," Richard admitted. "But I just want to make sure… just in case anything happens."
Kahlan gave a nod of her head. "I'll try, Richard," she was genuine now, no longer feeling peeved or angered at him. She understood where he was coming from, and frankly, she agreed. They needed to be prepared for anything. If past experienced had taught them anything, it was that once one stone was pushed out of the way, there was always one much bigger and heavier that was still blocking the way. "But Richard… you can do it because you have the gift."
"Nonsense," Richard shook his head. "The gift has nothing to do with it. It's simple concentration. And besides, I gave up my Han to Nicci."
"Yes, you may have," Kahlan inclined her head. "But… well, I wasn't planning on telling you this, Zedd wanted to, thought he could make it a big surprise…"
"What are you saying?" Richard creased his brow.
"Well, apparently, when… when I… I killed you," she forced it out through a sudden manifestation of tears.
"Shh," Richard consoled her, wrapping his arms around her and tenderly rubbing his fingers up and down her back. "It's all right. I'm okay. I'm here."
She buried her head in his chest, and sucked in a breath, inhaling his scent. "Nicci had been killed by Cara, and she died, before Rahl revived her with his loyal Mord'Sith," Kahlan spoke softly, sniffling slightly. "According to Zedd, before Cara managed to bring you back with the Breath of Life, your Han reunited with you in the Underworld. And… and when you came back… came back to me… it—your Han—came with you."
Kahlan felt Richard intake a quick breath, obviously stunned by this revelation. She knew he hadn't really cared for having the gift, but he did. He had it. It was a part of him. And if he could love her, confessor powers and all, then the least he could do was embrace all that he was as well. Before he could say anything more, Kahlan pushed back from him and wiped her eyes.
"Show me," she said, trying to distract him from the shock of having been informed his Han had been restored. She grimaced slightly, knowing Zedd was going to give her an earful, but she didn't care. Richard deserved to know and Zedd had been waiting too long. She groaned inwardly… just like Richard had been holding off on making sweet love to her. Grumbling softly, she bent down and retrieved another arrow, notching it as she straightened up. "Here. Talk me through it, okay?"
Richard blinked, coming out of his trance, and nodded, quickly returning to the lessons he had planned out for the day. Taking a shallow breath, he came up behind her again, gently pulling her hair off her neck. She smiled softly, loving the feel of his touch, and completely aware of how he had taken the opportunity to breathe in her scent. He thought he was being all subtle and nonchalant, but she knew what he was up too.
He leaned close, looking over her shoulder, and whispered in her ear as she drew the bowstring back. He whispered what she should feel, how she should breathe, where she should look, what she should see. Without intending it, he was actually turning her on. She could feel the warmth coalescing in her core.
"Kahlan," his breath was warm against her neck.
"Hmm? Yes?" she murmured, her cheeks flushing with arousal.
"Focus," he chided, chuckling softly.
"But it's so hard…," she whined like a little girl. Kahlan let out a breathy laugh. "You honestly have no idea what you do to me, do you?"
"I think I do," he said, arching his neck just so slightly to tease her with a brief kiss against her pulse point, causing her to shiver, and making the wetness in her center to grow. "Now focus."
Kahlan shifted and grinned. "I'll try."
"Do…," he instructed. "Don't try… Kahlan. Do."
She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, pulling up her training from her youth in how to suppress feelings and emotions. "Yes, Richard."
Richard gave a nod, and then continued in his instruction. He talked in a way that made the words melt into nothing. Before she knew, she was following each one of his words. All of her focus centered on the target, everything else winked out, ceasing to exist. The target seemed to grow larger in her vision, almost as if it was drawing the arrow to it. He always had a way of making her do things without understanding them.
Kahlan relaxed her muscles and exhaled, holding herself still without taking another breath. Yes. She could feel it, feel the target. She knew when it was time, when it was right. Lightly, like the wings of a butterfly, the arrow left on its own accord, as if it had a mind of it's own. In the dead silence that rang in her ears, she could see the feathers clear the bow, feel the bowstring fly back, hitting her outstretched arm. The target was calling the arrow to it. And the arrow went to it, impacting in the dead center of the X that Richard had drawn with white mud.
In a rush, her lungs filled. Her entire body seemed to tingle with sensations. It was almost like when she released her powers. The rush, the euphoria of it, was almost overwhelming. She almost collapsed against it. Spirits, if this was how she felt after he had touched her with his Han, how would it feel when they finally connected in that most intimate of ways!
"Spirits, Richard," she murmured as he held her up, her head buried in the crook of his neck. "That… that was wonderful." She backed up, catching her breath. "It came to me. The target actually came to me!"
Richard grinned proudly. "See? I told you that you could do it."
Delighted, Kahlan leaned up and kissed him, ramming her lips against his. He was taken aback, but soon relaxed and wrapped her tighter into his arms. Breaking away to suck in oxygen, Kahlan smiled. "I didn't do it," she asserted. "It was you. You touched me with your magic. I just happened to be holding the bow."
"No. You did it, Kahlan. It was all you," he countered, smiling broadly down at her, brushing her hair away from her face, his fingertips skimming against her skin, sending shivers of anticipation down her spine. "All I did was show you how. That's what teaching is. That's all I was doing." He paused, and stepped back, moving his hands to her shoulders. "Now." He turned her back towards the targets. "Do it again."
They tried it again. Without him speaking the words, the arrow fell short, or missed. Reluctantly, he positioned himself behind her, and whispered into her ear, guiding her. She shot more arrows. After each successive shot, Richard would speak less, and by the end, she was doing it without him, not always, but now and then, she was able to do it. Her mind was well tuned enough to be able to tell when she was doing it herself, without him. And it was exactly like he had described it, like an intense concentration, where everything else meant nothing.
As she started to perfect blocking the world out as she aimed, he began to do things to try to distract her. At first, he just rubbed her stomach. It made her smile until he told her to stop thinking about what he was doing and think only about what she must do. After spirits knows how long, she could shoot while he tickled her. But only sometimes. And each time she did it, it was exhilarating. It was almost as euphoric as she imagined it would feel with him pressed between her legs. Kahlan could not do it very often, when she did, it was wonderful. The feeling was almost addictive.
"It's magic," she declared, lowering the bow and staring off into the horizon. "That's what your doing. Magic."
"No, it's not," Richard countered. "Everyone can do it. Cara can do it, and she doesn't have magic."
She gave him a look.
"All right, she has some magic, but not the kind you're talking about," he relented, giving her a grin. "All it takes is practice."
"Practice makes perfect?" Kahlan question, arching an eyebrow.
"Of course, yes," Richard bobbed his head in agreement.
A wicked thought came to her mind. Kahlan bit her lower lip and gave him a sidelong glance. "Okay, then if practice makes perfect, shouldn't you be practicing as well?"
"I… um… this was… about…," Richard stammered, trying to come up with an excuse.
"Uh huh?" she raised her eyebrow teasingly. A smirk spread across her lips and she pushed the bow into his arms. "You shoot. I tickle."
*I decided to break this up into 2 chapters, since it got kind of long. =)