Hey all! Thank you so much for your reviews, they're all greatly appreciated! Here's the new chapter, I hope you'll like it!
Quick question, which story do you prefer so far? First one or this one?
Reacting out of instinct, Kahlan immediately grabbed Richard before he hit the floor. She didn't need her Confessor powers to know that he was far from okay. His face was pale and sweaty, probably from trying to whist hold the pain.
"Let's get you to bed." She told him, walking towards the bed with her arm around his waist. She looked at the bed and smiled at Cassie, trying to reassure her as the little girl watched her parents intensely, trying to understand what was going on in the room around her.
Richard sat on the bed and Kahlan let go of him.
"Thank you." He whispered.
"Lay down." She instructed sternly.
He did as he was told and laid on the bed. Kahlan watched her daughter scooting closer to him. There was an undeniable bound between them, she didn't know how this was possible but they were linked somehow. Cassie acted as if she'd known Richard for a long time. She was usually shy and hiding behind Kahlan's legs when strangers were around her, but not with him. Maybe it was Richard's way with kids, he loved them and they loved him. But Kahlan liked to think that the bond between a father and her daughter was beyond that. And with Rahl's magic running through their veins, who knew how strong the link between them was.
What happened in the city made her realize that her daughter needed her father. Even if things were difficult between her and Richard, Cassie deserved to have a father who loved her. Kahlan had suffered enough because of hers, she didn't want her daughter to suffer too.
"Kahlan." Richard called, taking out off her thoughts. She looked at him and couldn't help but smile at the sight of Cassie strongly tugging at Richard's necklace. Richard on the other side looked half frightened and half amazed, looking back and forth between Cassie and Kahlan. He didn't know what the little girl wanted but Kahlan knew exactly what she was waiting for.
"Can you lie on your side?" She asked him gently.
He nodded and she told him: "Then lie on your side, pull the covers over the both of you and wrap your arms around her."
Richard did as he was told after a short moment of hesitation and Cassie buried her face in his chest.
"That's how we take naps." Kahlan told him with a small smile.
He smiled back at her and she got up and said: "I'll be back in an hour or so."
"No! Kahlan wait! What if she doesn't fall asleep? Or if she falls asleep and then wakes up?" He asked.
"You will be fine Richard." She told him.
"No, please stay. She doesn't know me, what if she cries or asks for you? Please Kahlan. I don't want her to be scared because you're not here." He explained.
Letting out a small sigh, she sat on the chair next to the bed and took a book that she started to read. It was weird seeing him insecure about his own daughter. She couldn't blame him though, he didn't want to scare the little girl, he was just a stranger to her after all.
Richard watched her as tears pooled in his eyes. He was torn between the happiness of having his baby girl in his arms and the sadness of the disappointment he was for Kahlan. Looking down at Cassie, he kissed her on the forehead, praying to the good Spirits that he will be a good father for her. His eyes were feeling heavy, he tried to stay awake but sleep slowly took him away from consciousness and he imagined Kahlan lying with them in bed. Having both of his girls in his arms was something he couldn't have anymore, something he dreamt more than once in his life, even before he knew Kahlan and him could be together.
He felt Cassie move in his arms and immediately opened his eyes, fearing that something was wrong with her or that she simply wanted to leave the bed to go to her mother. She had just shifted to get more comfortable, her eyes were already closed.
"I'd rather have you hating me but alive than in the Underworld with the Keeper." He told Kahlan.
"Get some sleep." She answered him without looking up from her book.
Richard swallowed hard and closed his eyes, the dream of having a family with her was definitely a lost cause.
Kahlan woke up with a start, her neck and back aching from her position on her chair.
"Well, it's true, you only sleep when Lord Rahl is around." She heard.
"Cara…" She mumbled. "What are you doing here?"
"What a Mord'Sith does, serve and protect." Cara replied, crossing her arms over her chest. The blond woman sat on a chair next to Kahlan, her legs resting at the edge of Richard's bed.
"So, this is little Confessor Rahl?" Cara asked, looking at Kahlan's daughter in Richard's arms.
"Her name is Cassie." Kahlan replied.
"Well, we haven't been properly introduced." The Mord'Sith said with a shrug of her shoulders. "You should probably wake her." She added.
"Why?" Kahlan asked, surprised by Cara's statement.
"Because Richard is going to wake up screaming your name and she'll be scared." Cara explained.
"How do you know?" Kahlan asked, it sounded absurd to her.
"I've spent the last two years living with him and I know he's not able to sleep long before waking up from a nightmare and screaming your name." Cara explained with a sigh.
Fortunately, Cassie awoke by herself, probably because of the sound of her mother's voice. She left Richard's arms and went to Kahlan who gladly picked her up and kissed her on the top of the head. Noticing Cara, Cassie buried her face in her mother's neck.
Cara shifted on her chair to take a better look at her Lord Rahl's daughter.
Cassie turned her head and looked away from her, tightening her hold on her mother.
"She's scared of me." Cara stated.
"She doesn't know you yet." Kahlan replied to the Mord'Sith before saying to her daughter: "It's alright baby. It's Cara, she's a… friend."
"Oh, I see, we're friends again now." Cara snorted.
Kahlan let out a small sigh, she knew better than to answer the Mord'Sith.
"Kahlan…" They heard Richard whispering in his sleep.
"It's starting." Cara stated.
"No… Kahlan please… no." He said louder. He gripped the sheets tightly, his face giving on the painfulness of his nightmare.
"KAHLAN!" He shouted, waking up and sitting up straight in his bed, making Kahlan jump in her chair. He looked over at Cara and Kahlan, his breathing was erratic and sweat covered his body.
Without a word, he got up from the bed and walked outside to the balcony of his room. The air felt cold on his skin but he didn't care. The images of his nightmare kept replaying again and again.
He heard her walking next to him, closing his eyes, he allowed himself to enjoy her scent filling his nose. His breathing returned to normal and after a moment he was finally able to speak.
"I'm sorry you had to witness this." He whispered. "I think I know what I can do to heal Zedd. I'll be gone soon."
"I'll get Cassie's things ready and a journey book to keep in touch if you don't mind." Kahlan told him.
"I told you before, I'm not taking her away from you. I hurt you enough and I don't want to cause you more pain." He said, looking at the city in front of him.
"I'm asking you Richard, as a favor. Take our daughter with you. It's far too dangerous for her to stay with me. Please." She whispered as tears rolled down her face.
"I can stay, if you want me to. I can stay with you." He told her, turning to face her. It was his last try, if there was a small chance that she still loved him, she would tell him to stay. He doubted she would, but he had to try.
She wasn't able to look at him, she knew what she had to say to make sure he would leave. He had no future with her. He was Lord Rahl and belonged to the People's Palace, she was a monster and she couldn't give him a son. His nightmare made her realize that she had to set him free. He needed to move on. Even if he was still in love with her like the Con'Dar and her powers had shown her, one day he would wake up and realize the monster she was. Ever since they admitted their feelings to each other, she knew she was being selfish and that he deserved someone better than her.
She slowly turned to him and said: "There is nothing left for you here, no reason to stay. I'm going to bed Tim and carry his child."
Her words cut his heart in half and for a moment he couldn't breathe. Tears threatened to fall on his face and he swallowed hard.
He waited a moment to gather his thoughts and finally, he cleared his throat and said: "I wish you could understand and forgive me for leaving."
"I can't." She whispered, shaking her head slightly. Her words were hurting herself as much as hurting him. She was lying to him and hurting him on purpose, she thought that this pay back would ease her mind, quell her anger but it did nothing of the sort. It only made her heart break even more.
"Alright." He said, rubbing his face with his hands, drying his tears in the process.
"I just want you to know that…" He started. "Until my last breath, I'll cherish the moments we spent together, I'll think of the family we should have, I'll remember your smile and how good it felt to have you in my arms…"
He stepped close to her and brushed a strand of hair out of her fair and added: "But Kahlan… I'll never regret leaving you because I kept you and our daughter safe. I stopped the Keeper so he couldn't claim your souls. Kahlan… I will love you until my very last breath."
He softly kissed her forehead, letting his lips linger on her skin for a moment in order to remember her scent and how soft her skin was.
She closed her eyes and fought the urge to wrap her arms around him and burry her face in his neck. She had to let him go.
The moment ended too soon as he pulled away from her.
"As I told you before, Mother Confessor…" He started, the use of her title making her cringe as he tried to gather himself together before adding: "I'm not taking your daughter away from you. I'll heal Zedd and leave. I'll take that journey book with me to stay in touch with Aydindrill."
He ran his hand through his hair, looking at her intensely and said: "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have duties to attend to."
He bowed at her and left her alone on the balcony.