TITLE: Caving In
AUTHOR: Lord of Kavaka
CHARACTERS: Richard/Kahlan
STORY TYPE: Romance/Angst/Smut
SPOILERS: Anything from Season 1 & 2
DISCLAIMER: I do not own them, and I make no profit from this.
SUMMARY: In the cave, temptation takes hold, and an offer made by Richard is hard to refuse. Takes place during 2x20 ETERNITY.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wrote this as a birthday present for one of my most dedicated readers.

Caving In

Kahlan took out her favorite green blanket and waved it up in the air before settling it down on the dirty floor of the cave, placing it near the small fire that Richard had made. The Seeker was seated cross-legged, watching her, a small smile on his face. As she bent down to straighten out the little ripples in the blanket, she heard him take an almost hesitant breath before deciding to speak.

"This isn't so bad," he said.

She laughed lightly as she glanced back over her shoulder at him. "Yes, sleeping in a cold dark cave…," Kahlan's voice trailed off as her mind started to envision ways that they could warm it up.

"Being alone together, I mean," Richard elaborated, his head tilted just a bit to the right as he gazed at her. Kahlan swallowed hard, stopping in mid-motion, looking back at him, recognizing the look in his eyes. "I can't remember the last time." He paused, smiling. "It's nice." He sighed, almost longingly.

They stared into each other's eyes for the longest moment, before Kahlan sighed and forced herself to look away. She craved the look she was seeing in his eyes, but it made her nervous as well. Trying to take control of her emotions, she turned to her pack, picking it up and bringing it over.

"I… um… hope Cara's all right," she said, changing the topic.

She noticed a flash of disappointment in Richard's eyes at the change in the conversation as he looked away, gazing down at the fire. Kahlan hated seeing that hurt in his eyes, but it was necessary. Being alone with him was hard enough without fearing she could destroy him with her love.

"And the boy," she added, still a little shocked that Cara had had a son with Darken Rahl.

"If anyone could take on the Sisters of the Dark, it's the son of Cara and Darken Rahl," Richard sighed, going along with her change in topic, his eyes fixated on the flames.

Kahlan found herself staring at him, marveling at how the flickering light accentuated his handsome features… the orange glow of the flames making him even more gorgeous, as his brow furrowed slightly in contemplation.

"Can you imagine what that child is going to be like?" she asked, genuinely curious of his opinion.


Kahlan made a soft noise in agreement, and looked up in thought. "Stubborn," she added.

"Powerful," Richard replied slowly with heavy concern lacing his voice.

"Enough to take over the world," Kahlan concurred. She looked up for a moment before going back to looking through her bag. "Who could stop him?" she asked out loud, more as a rhetorical question than anything else.

"Our child," came his voice, sounding bright and confident, almost like it was an epiphany.

She paused and looked up, meeting his gaze. It was hard keeping a steady masked face with what he had just said, and Kahlan found herself unable to hide her surprise and shock at him actually saying it out loud, especially when she had been thinking the same thing, but had been holding it back. His face was all aglow with the possibilities, and his smile was infectious. Kahlan took a quick breath and shifted, smiling in return and, despite her better judgment, going along with him.

"Well, our child will have to be a girl," she said.

"A girl that could take out a dozen D'Haran soldiers, just like her mother," Richard said, smiling wider.

Kahlan's heart warmed and her cheeks flushed slightly as she allowed herself to daydream about the possibility of having a child with Richard. "Well… I'd want her to have a good heart," she replied, looking down slightly before returning to his eyes. "Like her father."

Richard shifted, moving closer to her. "Well, I would want her to have her mother's eyes," he spoke softly, running a hand through her hair, and then down onto her cheek.

"No… no," Kahlan mumbled, blushing… always relishing every single time he would touch and caress her. She was always surprised by it, having been trained since a child to know that no man would freely touch her the way Richard did. "I want her to have your eyes."

Richard smiled down at her, bringing up his hand to hold her face in his palm again. Kahlan's breath hitched up as he moved closer and her eyes flirted down to his lips. Her heart went wild and she just wanted to give in, to submit to her want and need for him.

And then they met in a soft and tender kiss, his fingers gently caressing her face. Kahlan closed her eyes and brought her hand up to hold his face. Everything seemed to melt away and she lost herself in the kiss as it grew. She dropped her hands and gripped his collar, pulling him closer, opening her mouth to allow his tongue a brief entrance into her mouth, while she moved her hand back up to his face, always wanting to touch him as much as possible.

Her heart hammered deep within her chest, and the kiss went from being soft and tender to something that could become dangerous. Kahlan could feel the strumming of her power in the pit of her stomach, the warning sign that she could lose control and lose him. And she could never lose Richard… never her Richard. He meant more to her than anything.

Backing away before she lost everything she loved, Kahlan caught her breath. "Richard…" she panted. He opened his eyes as she opened hers. She shook her head. "We can't."

"It's all right, Kahlan… it's just a kiss," he declared, looking at her with a slightly bemused look at what he perceived as her overwrought worry. He raised his eyebrows. "Zedd and Cara aren't here."

"That's… the problem," Kahlan forced out, closing her eyes as she sighed in a mixture of disappointment and frustration. She placed a hand on his chest, and then looked up into his warm brown eyes. He deserved the truth. "When they're with us, its easy for me not to grab you and kiss you openly. Without them… there's nothing stopping us, except good judgment." Her eyes flicked down to look at his lips again. She noticed that his did the same. She sighed and rested her forehead against his. "When you kiss me like that I… I feel that judgment slipping away."

Kahlan looked deeply into his eyes, letting out a long frustrated sigh that she was not a normal woman, that she could not simply be with Richard as a normal woman could be with the man she loved. For Kahlan, the consequences of just the loss of a single ounce of control would be the destruction of Richard's soul. And that was not something she could bear. She hoped he understood that it was not that she didn't want to—quite the opposite really—but that it was just for his safety, and the fear she held that if she gave in to her desires, he would be lost.

Then, ever so slowly, Richard pulled back, giving her the space she needed to breathe. He removed his hand from her thigh, and Kahlan quickly backed away, going over to lay on her green blanket, her back to him, using her pack as a pillow. Kahlan could feel Richard's eyes on her the entire time, and knew that if she turned to risk a glance back, she would see the want and longing that she herself held.

She looked out in the darkness, feeling empty and miserable. How she wanted to simply give in, to open up and get lost into the sensations kissing Richard brought. And she wanted to do a lot more than just kiss him. She wanted to writhe in pleasure beneath him as he brought her to the heights of exquisite rapture that she just knew he would take her.

Letting out a long sigh, Kahlan prayed that the talk they'd just had about what a child of theirs would be and look like was not just a fantasy… that someday it could become a reality. She wanted it to so badly, she ached for it. And she knew that Richard would make a terrific father. She'd seen how good he was with young children, and she'd even allowed herself to fantasize about him playing with a little girl with long raven hair and big brown eyes. Their fantasy daughter. A daughter that could never be… because of her powers.

A sad smile touched her lips as she recalled the image from her dreams. Yes. She wanted to have that dream tonight, and she asked the good spirits to have mercy on her and grant her such a dream in this dark and cold cave. That dream would surely help to warm her shivering body. With that thought in her mind, Kahlan closed her eyes and went to sleep.


Opening her eyes, she looked over her shoulder to find Richard resting his back against the wall of the cave. The fire had died down a little, and the orange embers softly illuminated the entire cavern in a warm glow. As she looked at the Seeker, Kahlan could not help but wonder if he was right. For a while now he'd been trying to convince her that his love for her was stronger than the magic of her confession, but still… she was cautious, fearful that they were just being overly confident.

Kahlan had seen what giving in to ones baser instincts had done. It had happened to one of her fellow confessors whilst she had been training in the Confessor's Palace. The young woman, not much older than Kahlan, had fallen madly in love with a man. The Mother Confessor had warned her to stay away from him, but she had paid the warnings little heed. So had the man, thinking that his love for the young confessor was strong and could with stand the magic.

They had both been wrong. The man had been confessed, and in her grief the young confessor had taken her own life rather than have the man she loved now devoted to her because of the magic she had inflicted upon him. When she died, confession was released, and the man, distraught at finding his lover dead at her own hand, took the very same dagger she had used and plunged it into his heart. They were found the next morning by the cleaning staff, blood soaking the mattress and pooling along the stone floors.

Kahlan shuddered, and blinked rapidly, trying to wipe the memories of seeing the scene. The Mother Confessor had insisted that all the young confessors witness the grisly sight. Kahlan was still haunted by it. And part of that was why she had been trying to be so careful around Richard. She had already broken her vow not to fall in love, but with Richard… how could she not? If he were not the Seeker… no, she didn't even want to think about that. She would never—never—under any circumstances risk Richard's soul for one night of pure ecstasy.

A soft sound, a pop from the small burning embers, caught Kahlan's attention. She shifted, rolling over and scooting towards the fire. She held her hands over it and rubbed her cold palms together. Glancing around, she spotted the sticks that they had gathered and added some more to the fire. When she was done, she risked a look up at her Seeker and found that he was still sleeping.

Her heart ached for what she could not have and Kahlan found herself sitting there by the fire, debating the entire thing all over again. She wanted desperately to consummate the love she had with Richard, but to risk his very being to do so was inconsolable. To her, giving in to her urges… her desires… it… it was unforgivable. Yes… that's what it was. Oh… but it would be so wonderful if she could. Even just once. All she wanted was to feel that undeniable expression of love that every other woman did.

Feeling her face heat with the sudden images that swarmed her mind, Kahlan looked away from the crackling embers and back up at Richard's sleeping form. He had shifted, now laying more fully on his bedroll, his pack under his head for support.

Chewing on her lower lip, Kahlan thought about everything that had happened to them, and what still lay ahead. If they were right, soon, very soon, they would find the Stone of Tears. Then… then after that... after the world had been saved, then perhaps, perhaps then she could give in. When she knew that risking his soul would not condemn the world of the living, then… and only then, would she give in to her desires and his pleas. No… she couldn't. Even then. Risking everything with him was too great a risk.

"You're staring at me," one of Richard's eyelids opened and he glanced over at her with his one eye, a bemused look on his face.

"I… I was not staring," Kahlan respond, flustered. Her cheeks were blushing bright pink and betraying her. She silently cursed her biology.

Richard shifted, turning onto his side, resting his head on his arm. "What were you thinking about?" he asked nonchalantly.

Kahlan blushed even more and Richard laughed softly, no doubt guessing what it was she had been thinking of.

"I know you doubt it, but I believe it, Kahlan…," he spoke, his voice firm and certain. "I believe it with all of my being. I am immune. You're powers cannot possibly take that which you already own… have own, for well over a year."

Kahlan swallowed and looked across at him, uncertain. "The risk is too high, Richard," she pleaded with him. "I want to, more than anything… but I… I cannot risk your soul, Richard."

"It's mine to risk, and I give it to you freely," he asserted, and she didn't need her confessor's power to know that he was telling her the truth, at least what he believed to be true. He could believe in it… really believe in it, but it would still not prevent him from becoming confessed. Her magic was dark and twisted that way. And, for not the first time since they had met, Kahlan silently cursed the fact that she was born a confessor.

Sighing, she looked up at him with apologetic eyes, desperately wanting to cave and submit to him like she had submitted to no man… no one. Kahlan ached for him with every fiber of her being, yet the truth of what could happen to him if she gave in to temptation was too grave to ignore.

"Kahlan," Richard said, sitting up, pulling her attention back to him. "I love you. I love you so much that I am willing to stand by your side through it all. And…," he paused and knitted his eyebrows together while his brown eyes took hold of a steely determination that would not be dissuaded. "If I have to stand by and watch as you take a mate to carry on the line of confessors… then… then I will."

"You say that now," Kahlan sighed, lowering her head and averting her eyes, "but when it happens, you'll stop loving me. All you'll see is me… me with him."

"No," Richard shook his head, almost like he was trying to convince himself as well.

Kahlan forced herself to look him in the eye. "Yes, it is, and you know it," she said, a little too heatedly. "You may still love me, but you'll be torn inside. How do you think I'd feel if you had to take another woman to your bed to have children?"

Richard stopped there and frowned, then sighed and nodded, relenting to her point of view. She nodded.

"If there was a way, Richard…," she told him. "I would. In a heartbeat."

He sat there for a moment, his eyes looking at her. She recognized the wheels turning in his head. He was thinking. "There is a way," he spoke softly at first, almost hesitant. "I… I never wanted to bring it up, because I didn't want to do it, but if… if it's the only way you'll agree, then… then we should take advantage of it."

"What?" Kahlan asked, intrigued and wanting to know. If there were a way for them to be together without risking his soul then she would be willing to give it a try.

Shifting, Richard sat more fully up and reached over for his pack. He opened the latch and flung the flap open. Digging inside his pack, he retrieved an object wrapped in tanned cloth. Sighing, he looked up at her with soulful brown eyes.

"If this is the only way you'll ever agree to be with me, then… then I will take it," he said, parting the folds of the cloth to reveal the gleaming silver metal of a Rada'Han.

Kahlan gasped, stunned and unable to speak. She stared at the silver collar as it glistened against the low fire. Her mind raced for a response. She had worn one before, when she had been terrified of what might happen when the Con Dar seized her and she had no control over what she did. It had been difficult, suppressing her powers like that, and in the end, she had relented and vowed to work at learning to overcome the struggle, to just deal with it like the confessor she'd been trained to be.

Remembering all that, and Richard's presence and opinions when she had done so, Kahlan knew now that he would not offer option this lightly. He had said on more than one occasion that he wanted all of her, even her powers.

But she was the one to hold back and resist. And this… this option would provide her mind with some ease over the possible risks of confessing Richard during the throws of passion.

Making a decision she hoped she would not later regret, Kahlan nodded, declaring that she was willing to wear the collar so they could then consummate their love free of worry.

Richard looked sad, almost disappointed that she had agreed, but she shoved that thought to the back of her mind as she held up her long silky hair, allowing him to place and lock the silver collar around her slender neck. Richard let out a breath and ran his hands gently around her neck before letting them fall away, his fingers skimming over the metal of the Rada'Han.

As Richard settled back down onto the bedroll, he looked up at her with his soulful brown eyes again. It was almost like a challenge. Like he was daring her to take it back and say that she couldn't do this.

"What do we do now?" she asked, reaching up and touching the collar around her neck, feeling how cold it felt.

Richard raised his eyebrows, amused. "We undress, of course," he answered as he removed his vest and began to undo the buttons on his shirt.

"Oh, yes, of course," Kahlan nodded, allowing her hand to drop away from the silver collar. She averted her gaze from him and began to untie the laces of her dress.

She didn't know how to feel, as she undressed in front of him, occasionally glancing up at him. Each article of clothing that was removed was a step closer to what they both wanted, but something seemed wrong, almost impersonal about the way they simply undressed.

This was not how she had pictured their first time. This was how she had pictured what it would be like with a mate, not a lover. Just as her thoughts started to drift to the notion that this was the latter and not the former, Richard stilled her hand, stopping her from removing her top. She looked at him with confused eyes.

"I thought you said that we were to undress," she said, noticing that he was still in his underthings. This was the most she had ever seen of him, and her eyes could not help but wander along the contours of his well-toned body.

"If we are going to do this, Kahlan," he said softly. "We're going to have to get in the mood… and… I think it's safer that we still have something to separate us. In case… in case we change are minds."

Kahlan knew that by "we" he meant "her".

"I won't change my mind, Richard," she assured him, flashing a small quick smile that was anything but confident. "I want to do this. I want you. I really do."

Richard stood besides her, looking her in the eye. "Then prove it."

Accepting his challenge with a smirk, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that she wanted this, even if it wasn't under the circumstances she had always envisioned, Kahlan took hold of his hand and guided him over to the bedroll.

Richard sat down, pulling her with him into his lap as he kissed her, running his hands through her long hair. She closed her eyes, losing herself in the moment, the feel of his tongue pressing against her bottom lip, asking her to open. She complied, moaning as his tongue collided hers as their kissed deepened.

He slowly moved them, shifting onto his back to lay on the bedroll. Kahlan rested on her knees, one on each side of his leg and leaned over him, her hair cascading down around her face as they continued to kiss. His hands run up and down her back, touching bare skin and making her shiver and moan. His fingers played with the band of her black shorts, but he did not pull on them. He knew enough that she was going to have to be the one to take things forward if they were going to go any further than this.

They continued like that, kissing softly as his hands roamed up and down her body. He didn't push her, allowing her to take the lead and decide what they would do. Slowly, she moved away from his mouth, and nuzzled his neck, just below his jaw line. Closing her eyes, she kissed the tender skin of his neck that pulsed with each beat of his heart. And when she did that, Richard let out a gasp. Kahlan smiled lightly, pleased. Then, ever so slowly, she worked her way down his chest.

As her mouth moved over his collarbone, she grazed his skin with her teeth and Richard let out a soft whimper, hissing her name in low pleasure. Grinning to herself, she continued to kiss her way down his well-defined chest, exploring and giving each contour and turn of his muscled body the attention she had longed to give. Reaching his navel, she hesitated a moment before kissing the soft hairs that drifted up from under his grey underthings.

Taking in a deep breath, feeling her cheeks heat as she felt the warmth radiating off from his lower body, Kahlan pushed away and leaned back on her knees, straightening her back and shoving her hair out of her face to look down at him without obstruction. His eyes were dark and filled with love... and for a moment, just a moment, she hesitated, before she started to reach up and pull off her top.

His hands caressed her hips, gently, rubbing their way up her sides, following the flowing expanse of new skin as she pulled back the dark fabric covering her chest. His hands swept up the curve of her back and brushed along the sides of her breast, sending a tingle to run down her spine. She let out a soft breath and lulled her head forward as he moved his hands and cupped her newly exposed breasts in his palms, his fingers softly kneading.

Richard sat up, pressing his lips against her navel, kissing her softly. His bristles tickled and she laughed, momentarily pausing. He smirked and kissed his way up from her bellybutton, until his hot mouth was skimming along the bottom of her right breast. She could feel his warm breath against her skin and she groaned, wondering why she had waited so long to give him this… not to mention herself.

His hands moved to her sides and he rubbed her arms, encouraging her to fully remove herself of the scrap of clothing that was now halfway off. With his help, she raised her arms and he pulled her top away, letting it fall to the cavern floor besides their bedroll. Some of her dark hair tumbled down between the valley of her breasts and she shivered, feeling how the silk strands felt against her exposed skin.

Kahlan took a deep breath and looked down at Richard, watching his reaction. He was staring at her with a stunning love, a kind of love she had never imagined that she'd be allowed to receive. But Richard loved her like that. He loved her despite everything that threatened to tear them apart. She choked back a cry at the weight of that love. It was so overwhelming, bursting like water through a dam and threatening to pull her away.

Resting her hands at her sides, she watched as he skimmed his hands along the edges of her breasts, circling them with his fingers. And then he moved forward, his mouth colliding with one of her breasts. Kahlan gasped in surprise as his lips surrounded her nipple and he sucked softly. Closing her eyes, her head lulled backwards as sensations she had never felt, except in her dreams, came rippling throughout her body.

Her mouth opened in a silent moan as she forced herself back to reality. She arched her neck to look down at him, watching as he paid homage to her breasts. His mouth blazed hot trails of pleasure across each fleshy mound, giving both a generous amount of his attention. And he didn't stop there. His hands rested on her back, holding her to him as he kissed her navel again, leaving her breasts for a moment. Her skin tingled after his touch, and she absently brought one hand up to gently rub one of her tender nipples, gasping at the sensation it caused to travel through her body when she did so.

His mouth dropped just below her navel, close to the edge of her black shorts, and Kahlan shivered, feeling his fingers glide underneath the fabric, just enough to tease the tops of the small fringe of hair between her legs. Before she could regain her senses, his hands were moving back up her body and cupping her breasts again. His warm mouth found her nipple again, and she moaned.

Her eyes darkened with desire, and she reached out for him, grabbing his face and tilting it up until she could kiss him. Their mouths met partly open. Without thinking, letting the moment carry her, Kahlan shoved her tongue into his warm mouth. A low growl rolled up from his throat and she felt his hands tighten on her hips.

She moved her hands up and down his face, before slowly letting them fall to his shoulders. Gently she pushed him away. Richard groaned softly from the separation, but she wanted to try something. With the collar around her neck, suppressing her powers, she was going to take advantage of it and explore her Seeker's body.

Leaning over him, she kissed his neck, finding his pulse point again and sucking on it. Richard groaned and she felt his hips involuntarily buck up towards her and she chuckled while she also groaned in want, feeling the hardness straining to escape his underthings.

Moving her mouth along his neck, Kahlan savored the flavor of his sweat. She darted her tongue out and tasted him as she ran it down the center of his chest and towards his abdomen. Bringing her fingers up, she played with his taut muscles and watched as he flexed and sighed at her teasing.

"Kahlan," his voice was low and throaty, desperate.

"Hmm," she hummed in response. The vibration of her lips together, against his upper waist, caused him to buck his hips up. Kahlan gasped, feeling the heat radiating out from him.

Biting her lower lip, she leaned back and ran her fingers under the edge of his grey shorts. Richard arched his neck and looked down, watching as she tugged on the fabric.

"Richard… a little help here," she pleaded for some assistance, and he acquiesced, lifting his hips.

Kahlan narrowed her eyes as she removed him of his underthings, trying hard not to look until she was absolutely ready. Tossing them off to the side, she placed her hands on his hips, feeling the exposed skin beneath her hands. Richard made a noise she couldn't quiet discern as she allowed her fingers to feel him.

The skin stretched along his length was velvety and warm under her fingertips. Still looking up at him, staring into his eyes, Kahlan wrapped her fingers around his length and slowly began to stroke him. Richard's mouth dropped and his chest heaved. As she brought her fingers back up his length, Kahlan squeezed slightly. Richard groaned, and she felt him tremble under her touch and she frowned.

"Did I do something wrong?" she asked, pausing in her movements.

"No," his voice was breathy, almost like it was difficult for him to speak in coherent words.

"You're sure?" she asked, worried. "I… I'm not hurting you, am I?"

"Not at all, Kahlan," Richard assured her, moving one of his hands up to caress the side of her face. "You're doing just fine. It feels wonderful. Don't… don't stop."

She smiled at him and closed her eyes, leaning into his hand as she continued to move her fingers. She noticed that Richard's hips began to move with each up and downward motion of her hand and she wondered what would happen if she kissed him down there. Taking a deep breath, determined to do this… because there would be no other man she'd even be willing to do this for, Kahlan held his throbbing member up and closed her eyes.

Tilting her head, she opened her mouth and moved down.

A strangled sort of noise escaped Richard's throat as her mouth encompassed the head of his hardness. She ran her tongue along it, noting the texture and taste. She found she quite liked it. This was Richard… this was how he tasted and it was her that his gasping moans of pleasure were for. Enclosing her lips around his length, she closed her eyes and began to bob her head up and down, her hair cascading around her face as she took him further into her mouth.

Richard's hips bucked up and she nearly gagged, but she managed to prevent that by breathing heavily through her nose. She felt his gentle hands on her head and he brushed her hair back. Willing her eyes open, she glanced up at him, his length halfway into her mouth.

He gave her an apologetic smile. "Sorry," he murmured and his fingers caressed the top of her head.

She nodded and knitted her eyebrows together. Moving her hand to the base of his length, she held him firm as she worked on him, stroking him as she took him in and out of her mouth with pursed lips. Kahlan teased him with her fingers as she continued. She sucked on the tip like he had sucked on her nipples, and she was pleased with the reaction she got from him. The sound of it was very similar to what he had just done to her when his mouth had latched onto her breast.

For a time, Kahlan lost herself in the erotic nature of what she was doing. She felt so liberated from all the constraints that had been put on her since she had been a young confessor training at the Confessor's Palace. And she was highly certain that no confessor had ever done for a man what she was currently doing. It made her feel like she was special, that she could even do such a thing.

Pulling back, she took a breath and then ran her tongue up along his length, from base to tip. Richard groaned and she looked up at him and smiled. "How am I doing?" she asked, genuinely curious. This would most likely be the first and only time she ever did this for a man, and she wanted to make sure she did it just right for her Richard.

"You're doing just fine, Kahlan," Richard replied, the look of pure love never leaving his eyes.

She made a move to hold him up again, so she could take him back into her mouth, but Richard stopped her. He shook his head. "You've done enough for me," he said, answering her confused look. "Now, it's my turn to give to you what you deserve."

"I don't deserve anything, Richard," Kahlan feebly protested. "I'm not the one that had to suffer."

"Yes, you were," Richard grumbled, frowning, looking a little irritated with her objections. "We've both suffered because of the fear of temptation."

Richard sat up and slowly pushed her back. She frowned, but relented, allowing him to guide her down. She settled her bottom between his parted legs and she felt him reach for the waistband of her black shorts. Her breath hitched up as she realized that now was the time. They were approaching the point of no return. The black fabric was the last article of clothing separating them from each other. If she allowed him to remove it, they would both be completely exposed to one another.

For a split second, fear of being rejected flashed through her mind. What if he didn't like how she looked? What if…? And then she gasped in surprise, feeling cool air dance between her thighs. Blinking, Kahlan arched her neck and looked down passed her breast to see Richard looming over her, his fingers twirling a piece of black fabric in his hand.

His eyes sparkled, full of mischief. Knitting her eyebrows together in confusion, she opened her mouth to inquire what he was smirking about, when suddenly his mouth was on her center.

Kahlan arched her back and moaned loudly, her hands instinctively grabbing at his hair, clutching him. Pleasure erupted in her and she cried out in the overwhelming euphoria he was stirring up in her with his tongue. She squeezed her thighs against his head and she heard (and felt) him chuckle against her.

Richard brought his hands up and he rubbed her legs and thighs, easing her, and helping her to relax and take the pressure off. Letting go, she allowed her legs fall apart and she released his head from the intense hold of her thighs. Richard nuzzled his nose against her soft flesh and continued to kiss her there, his hands eventually coming to rest against her sides. He held her still as she writhed under his ministrations and soon she was incoherent.

Then, suddenly, fear hit her as she felt a familiar twining in her gut. The sharp pull of her magic demanding release made her let out a scream as Richard's tongue darted along her moist lining, distracting her for an infinitesimal fraction of a second.

That was all it needed.

Tears streaked down her face as she felt her power surge forth. It latched out, like an insidious predator, hunting the prey that was the soul of her beloved. Her muscles tensed and she felt herself come undone, in both sense of the word. Her body writhed and contorted in a sick combination of pleasure and despair. Pain and grief soared through her as guilt pounded in her heart. Kahlan would never forgive herself for feeling so much pleasure at the same moment in time that she took away the soul of the man she loved more than anything.

And then, it was gone and she felt the haunting fatigue of confession. Despite the fact she had grown stronger, both physically and in her gift, Kahlan could not help but be emotionally weighed down by what had just happened. She deserved to be spent and unmoving. She had just destroyed the man she loved.

She sobbed softly when he kissed her skin, and then his tongue, wet and hot, trailed a tantalizing trail up from her waist, pass her navel, and between the valley of her breasts. Kahlan let the tears tumble down freely as his face came into view. His eyes… spirits, his eyes! They had that absolute devotion in them. The sight sickened her and made her want to vomit. But then, he was grabbing her and kissing her hard, and Creator help her, Kahlan relinquished her guilt for just a moment and kissed him back, moaning as his hands touched her down there between her legs.

"Stop," she gasped, as she pushed back for air. Kahlan was not going to have her Richard like this. What they had done… it was unwise and foolish… selfish. Glaring up at him, she felt anger rise. He must have known. The Rada'Han he had given her was a fake… that was the only explanation she could think of. Richard had wanted to test his love and damn it... he had been wrong—they had been wrong!

"Why?" he asked, looking slightly confused.

"What?" Kahlan choked out behind a sob.

Richard paused and his hands moved away from her sensitive areas to cradle her face. He was gentle and tender, and so very loving, that it made her heart clench in her chest. He let out a breath and frowned.

"I'm sorry," he said. "Was… was I hurting you?" His warm brown eyes reflected all the concern and love that was her Richard, and for a moment, Kahlan was unsure what had happened.

"No… not that," she spoke tentatively, slightly confused and uncertained. "Just… I can't. Not anymore. Not… not when you're confessed."

"I'm not confessed," he spoke, sounding confident, but Richard would, even confessed.

"Richard… you are," she informed him, her sorrow rising up as her chest heaved with her anguished.

"No, I'm not," Richard asserted, the defiant tone in his voice cutting through her grief and anger.

Gasping, she looked up at him in wonder. "You can't disagree with me… you can't!"

"Yeah, well… I am," Richard nodded his head and moved closer, resting his forehead against hers. His hands brushed along the side of her face, caressing her and pushing her hair back. He kissed her then, softly and slowly, his fingers digging into her long lush hair.

Kahlan closed her eyes and allowed it, but still doubting his words. Pushing him back, but letting her teeth pull delicately on one of his lips, she kissed him one last time before using the last of what she knew to see if he was truly confessed.

In a move that stunned him, Kahlan grabbed his throat in a flash. The coil inside her was tightening, and though she had just released the powers within, they were still strong. She was strong. She was the Mother Confessor and the fatigue and exhaustion she had felt earlier had only been the weight of guilt. Her powers were already returning to their minimum strength. And that… that was enough. It was all she needed.

Releasing her hold, she let her power loose on Richard. Her eyes turned inky black, and tears cascading down her cheeks. The roar of the power soared through the cavern and the tendrils of her magic reached out to take his soul. Double confession. If he were already confessed, it would not affect him, but if he hadn't, for some reason, then he would be now. It pained her to do this, but it was the only way to know for sure.

As she came too, Kahlan was startled to hear a low and rumbling chuckle assault her ears. She frowned and blinked her eyes several times until she was positive what she was seeing and hearing was real and not a delusion or imagining of her deranged mind.

"Richard?" she managed to squeak out his name pass the lump that had formed in her throat.

"That… that tickled," he said, laughing. "I don't know why, but when you're powers grabbed at me, it… it kind of tickled."

"What?" she gasped. "Tickled?"

"Yes," he nodded.

"Why aren't you confessed?" she asked, wondering why she was pushing her luck.

"Because," he began, leaning down to brush her tears away with a tender hand, "I love you, Kahlan, with everything that I am. I am willing to sacrifice myself, to surrender completely to you. I cannot already love you any more than I already do."

"But… but I saw your eyes," Kahlan protested, shaking her head. "They had the glazed look of the confessed."

"Are you sure about that?" he asked skeptically.

"Yes…," she nodded, sure of what she had seen. "You looked absolutely devoted to me. That is the look of the confessed."

He raised an eyebrow at her and smirked. "Devoted, you say?"

"Yes," she frowned up at him. No confessed man should be this flippant with his confessor. "Devoted."

"Well, I am devoted to you, Kahlan," he said. "Have been… for some time. And that will never change. Never. I love you, powers and all."

"This… this is impossible," she muttered, averting her eyes, slowly coming around, though not fully able to accept it.

Richard's hand grabbed her chin and tilted her face back to him. She looked at him with a bemused expression, her lips curling up as realization dawned on her.

"Oh Richard!" tears of joy escaped her eyes and ran down her cheeks. She had never been so happy in all her life. Her heart pounded in her chest and a weight seemed to lift off her shoulders, freeing her of every worry and fear she had ever had.

Wrapping her arms around him, finally accepting what had just happened, Kahlan pulled him down for a intense and passionate kiss. His hands ran up her sides and towards her neck. His fingers worked quickly and he unlocked the fake Rada'Han. The hollow metal clanged against the ground and she realized it sounded wrong. Rada'Hans were solid, not hollow… yet more evidence of her Seeker's deception.

As his kiss trailed away from her mouth and down her throat, she chuckled and groaned at the same time, allowing her head to rest back against the padding of the bedroll.

"You're evil, you know that?" she smirked.

"Don't know what you're talking about," Richard mumbled in between butterfly kisses along her neck and shoulder.

"It was very devious of you," Kahlan elaborated, "making a fake Rada'Han."

"I knew the truth, Kahlan," he said, kissing his way back up to her mouth. "I'm just surprised you wouldn't believe me when I told you." He paused and they locked eyes. "After all, I'm the Seeker of Truth… so it's my job to know the truth."

Before she could respond, Richard captured her mouth in a soaring kiss and Kahlan allowed herself to be swept away. She moaned into his mouth and arched her body up into his, pleading with him to take her. Now that she knew it was safe, she was already feeling that ache in her core that wanted nothing more than to feel him.

His hand slipped between them and she gasped, clutching onto his shoulders as his fingers slid along her folds and around her sensitive nerve bundle, helping to stimulate her and make her wet. Kahlan's breath hitched up and turned into heated pants. Her eyes glassed over as she stared up at Richard, his warm brown eyes fogged with desire as well.

She nodded, unable to form words, but knowing that he'd interpret her gesture correctly as one of permission to proceed.

Kahlan could hardly believe it. Her one wish, the one wish she had dared to dream, was going to come true. Her celibacy was at an end, and her maidenhood was about to be taken by the man she loved and longed to be her first and only. She leaned back and tried to ready herself, unsure of what to expect.

Richard kissed her neck softly as his hand moved between them, directing himself to her opening. She shivered and gasped when she felt his tip rub along her moist folds. Instinctively she rolled her hips with the movement and found him inching closer to her. And then, he angled himself and pushed up, breaking the last barrier between them.

Kahlan bit her lip and grimaced at the pain. She had expected some pain, having been told as much by the older confessors, but she had not really comprehended what they were saying. She felt her insides shifting, making room for him.

He paused and slowed, holding her face in his hands. "Look at me, Kahlan," he instructed. "Focus on me."

And she did. Kahlan stared up at him and lost herself in his eyes, feeling all the love he felt for her swell up in her chest and coalesced further south. And then… ever so slowly, the pain was gone. It vanished, leaving her confused. She actually laughed at the sudden change, but she still felt a slight ache from accommodating a foreign object inside her body. But it was a feeling she was finding she enjoyed, especially when it was her Richard, and not some mindless confessed mate.

Richard shifted, leaning up and guiding her legs further apart. Kahlan arched her neck and looked down, watching as his hips thrust against her, causing her body to shake and pleasure to shoot up through her veins.

He kept his thrusts slow and gentle, but then he picked up the pace, ramming harder into her and she could feel him going deeper into her body. The sensation was something she hadn't expected and her eyes rolled back into her head as she felt the euphoria of pure pleasure, a sensation she had never felt before engulfing her. It was oddly similar to the feeling she felt when she released her powers, but this was more intense, more raw and real… and much more pleasurable.

His name tumbled from her lips as she came too. She reached up for him, and he lowered, allowing her to meet him halfway. Their lips met in a soft and loving manner that told her it was real and true. She nipped at his lips and nose, and Richard moved back to her throat, working it as he worked her wetness with the slow and almost torturous thrusts of his hips.

Eventually, she discovered that if she moved her hips with his, it only made it feel better. And it was at that point that she understood the phrase "making love". She looped her arms around his neck and he came back down to meet her, kissing her as his thrusts grew more insistent. She could feel his muscles begin to tense, just like her own.

On instinct, she clenched her lower muscles and earned a long throaty groan from her Richard.

"Spirits, Kahlan," he gasped and then wiped out the triumphal smirk on her lips with a soaring kiss.

Grunting, Richard pulled back and rested his head against her shoulder as he pushed himself into her. She felt the hot throbbing of his hardness push ever deeper into her warm depths. And then, there was an eruption of some sort and her insides felt all warm and tingly. When she realized what it was, that he was spilling his seed into her, she grasped his face and pulled him to her, surprising him with a deep kiss and impassioned kiss. At the same moment, she felt her inner muscles contracting on their own accord, and she was overcome with a feeling complete and utter bliss.

The high of release, because that's what it was, took Kahlan by surprise. It was not the first time, she realized, that Richard had caused this sensation in her, but it was the most intense and powerful. She cried out his name, hooking and squeezing her legs around him, holding him close and tight. He pressed hard against her, her name gasping out of his throat as he gave her all that he had.

There was a brief lull in their movements as they both recovered. Richard was the first to come to. He started by pressing light kisses along her collarbone and the top of her breasts, before moving his lips up her neck and towards her jaw. Kahlan hummed in sweet approval and begged him to come to her. He complied and kissed her mouth soundly, her arms wrapping around his neck and holding him there.

Richard leaned back and Kahlan squinted, her mouth dropping as she felt him leave her. It felt odd, having never once had someone inside her like that and now missing it. She caught the smile on his lips as he noticed her expression and she grinned back, knowing that her fears and insecurities about being able to please him sexually were unfounded. The intensity of his release and how their bodies had responded to each others was a testament to that fact.

He laid down next to her, and shifted, pulling her up against him, his fingers trailing up and down her bare back. She curled into his side and rested her head against his chest.

"Is… is it always like that?" she asked, curious.

"Spirits, I hope so," Richard replied with a light chuckle. She looked up at him and saw the love swimming in his eyes. "I love you, Kahlan," he said. "More than anything."

Kahlan felt her heart swell with the look in his eyes and she tightened her hug onto him, their nude forms melding together as she moved a leg and stretched it over his, interlocking them.

"And I love you, my Richard," she murmured. "More than I ever thought possible… I love you." Flirting her eyes up at him, she smirked. "And you better watch out now."

"Watch out for what?"

"Now that I know my magic cannot harm you," she elaborated, her grin growing wider into a devious smile. "You're no longer safe from my every want and desire."

Richard chuckled, and the rumbling of his chest made her laugh as well. His eyes sparkled and he nodded, accepting the challenge. He kissed the top of her head, and then murmured for her to go to sleep, that tomorrow reality would return and they'd have to continue with the quest. She sighed, not wanting the night to end, but her traitorous body betrayed her and forced her to yawn.

Burying her head into his chest, she sought out the warmth of his body, helping her to lull into the blissful dreams that her sleep would no doubt bring her after what they'd just done.


When Kahlan woke, for a moment—just a moment, she was afraid it had all been a dream, but then her eyes flicked up and she found herself still curled up against Richard's strong nude body—and herself in a similar stay of undress, confirming that it had all been real.

Kahlan hated having to get up, but they had to get moving and find the Stone of Tears and seal the rift. Slowly, they got up and she loved the new found intimacy of their movements as they helped each other get dressed, allowing their hands to linger longer than necessary. Richard, especially, had trouble covering up her breasts. He made a little pout, disappointed when they had to cover them up, but she promised him with a quick kiss that he'd soon get to see them again.

A dense jungle met them when they left the caves, walking through solid rock and into the bright sun.

As they made their way out through the lush foliage that blocked their path and finally emerged out into the light to see a temple in the distance, Kahlan realized that everything had changed. Not just with what she had just done with Richard, but also with the love she had for him. If anything, it was only stronger. Kahlan no longer had any doubts or reservations. Richard Cypher would be more than just a mate to a confessor. He would be a father to her children, her husband, her partner, and her love. He would be her everything.

And it made her smile.