She could feel his eyes on her, watching her as he often did. Looking over her shoulder, she gave him a quick, warm smile, wishing for a moment to spend with him alone. Since they left the small village, he had grown quiet; making her more uneasy than the thought of him unleashing the Rahl magic within him. She had never feared him before, but when he raised his sword at her, she thought that he would kill her. Now, she didn't know how she felt.
Zedd raised his eyes to her, making her turn away and focus her attention back on the small, narrow trail ahead of her. The sun was blazing down upon the land, losing almost none of its heat as it went through the gaps in the tree limbs and leaves. The air was filled with the smell of trees, making Kahlan, for a moment, imagine being close enough to Richard to smell it. Each moment she continued to walk, she fell deeper and deeper into thought, slowing down every few seconds until at last she stopped with a sigh. The wizard tried to urge her forward, but she wouldn't move. Turning around, she looked at Richard and waited.
"I'm sorry," he told her once again. "I never wanted to hurt you."
"I know," she nodded. "I know." Turning, she walked beside him, close to the wizard who slowed down to be sure he heard what was said. "You scared me."
"I'm sorry," he repeated softly. There were many things he wanted to say, but he couldn't find the words. He was so ashamed of what he had done; he felt his apology was worthless.
"Do you feel it now?" He nodded his head and avoided looking at her. "What does it feel like?"
He swallowed the lump in his throat and sighed. "Terrifying."
Grabbing his hand, Kahlan moved closer. "I'm sorry. I know how you feel about magic."
"It's not the magic that frightens me," he whispered. "It's what I will do with it."
"What do you mean?"
Coming to a stop, he pulled his hand free of hers and pushed his fingers through his hair. "I almost killed you!" he shouted, bringing Cara and Zedd to a halt. "I would have killed you without hesitation and I- I'm in love with you and I tried to kill you! I killed all of those people! I was so angry... Spirits, I wanted to kill you for getting in my way!" Reaching up, she cupped his face in her hands and stepped closer. Her body pressed firmly against his in an attempt to comfort him. She felt his body relax and she moved even closer. "I almost killed you..."
"But you didn't," she said softly, pushing her forehead against his.
"I wanted to."
"It wasn't you."
Pulling back, he grabbed her arms and lifted her slightly. Kissing her, he tried to forget what he had done, but the memory flooded his mind. She surprised him by wrapping her arms around his neck, trying to pull him closer and deepen their kiss. How could she want to kiss him after what he had done? He nearly killed her and here she was, allowing his tongue to push past her lips.
Zedd's cough pulled the couple apart. Their kiss breaking, but their bodies remaining close as they both gasped for air. Lowering her hands, Kahlan felt her cheeks redden at the thought of their private moment being seen. His eyes were closed, his hands holding her waist in an attempt to keep her close. For the first time, he felt safe and he almost forgot the look in her eyes when he had attacked her.
Crossing her arms, Cara sighed. "We should move, his screaming would have attracted any close banelings."
Richard tightened his hold on her for a moment, needing another moment with her to go on. "It wasn't you," Kahlan whispered again.
Pulling away, he nodded to the others, telling them to continue. "It was me. I- I've felt the anger for some time." He kept his eyes on the winding trail ahead of them. "I have been fighting it for a while now."
Nodding, Richard sighed. "I- it feels like I've bottled the world in a jar and it's desperate to get free. I'm angry all the time and then I touch this sword and I see red."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"Because I'm ashamed of it."
She grabbed his hand, hoping for another chance to comfort him. "Why?"
"Because this isn't who I am. Kahlan, I'm not like this."
"I know, but it is a part of you."
He stopped once again and turned toward her. "I don't want you to know this part of me."
"Because I don't want you to fear me."
Her smile eased him, making him feel safer. "I know the feeling."
"I could never fear you."
She nodded, her smile widening for a moment as she looked ahead of them. Zedd was glancing over his shoulder to them, making sure that they were still coming along and not lost in another moment of dangerous passion. "And I could never fear you."
"You told me that I scared you."
"I wasn't scared of you, I- I was afraid that I had lost you." She sighed heavily, stopping mid-step so that she could look at him. "I didn't know what was happening, I- The last person who was that angry with me was my father and I- It scared me. I was afraid that we weren't going to be able to help you. I didn't want to lose you."
"Why do you keep doing that?"
He motioned up the trail with his head, watching her as she avoided looking. "You keep looking at Zedd like you're doing something wrong."
"Yes, you do."
"We should catch them." He grabbed her arm, stopping her from moving away from him. "Richard, please..."
"I'm sorry." Releasing her arm, he turned and walked away, leaving her where she stood.
"It won't happen again," Kahlan whispered to the wizard.
Laying his thin hand on her shoulder, he leaned closer. "I know dear one."
Poking a long stick in the fire, she sighed. Her mind was spinning and she could still feel the Seekers lips against hers, making it all so much harder. In four days she was to take a mate, the date set for the Mother Confessor from the beginning of time. It was the reason Zedd kept a close eye on them now, knowing that one wrong move would destroy them. She hadn't told Richard why they were returning to Aydindril, but a part of her began to suspect that he already knew. He always figured things out.
Snapping the stick in half, she tossed it into the burning flames, watching as it devoured it. The thought of taking him hadn't left her mind in days, the package her handmaiden had sent to her made sure of it. She had made sure to keep a single content to herself, knowing that if anyone knew she possessed a Rada'Han, things would spiral out of control. Being with Richard was out of the question, but she couldn't keep her mind from imagining the way it would be. Looking over her shoulder, she watched him with Cara, wishing for a brief moment they could change bodies. Shaking the thought from her mind, she turned back to the fire and fought back the sudden tears.
"It will be over with soon enough," Zedd offered.
Meeting his eyes, she shook her head. "I love him. This will never be over." Standing, she wiped her hands down her dress, trying to rid the sweats and appear calm. "I'm going to stretch my legs; clear my mind."
Moving into the trees, she quickened her pace until she believed to be far enough in to let go. Pushing her back against a tree, she let out a silent, breathless cry of agony. After everything they had been through, this was the hardest. Covering her face, she slid down to the ground and tried to find her breath. She needed to pull herself together, if she was gone for too long, he would come after her and she had to make sure it didn't happen. It he came to her, she wasn't sure she would be able to hold herself back.
Wiping her cheeks, she took in a deep breath and stood. She nearly jumped from her skin as he laid his hand on her shoulder. Spinning around, she tried to push past him, hoping he wouldn't notice her tears. Grabbing her arms, he held her still.
"Nothing," she lied, pushing against his chest. "We need to get back."
"Not until you talk to me."
Lowering her eyes to the ground, she shook her head. "I can't."
"Because I don't want to talk to you." Pushing him as hard as she could, she moved past him and walked away.
Racing after her, he took her in his arms, forced her to face him. "Kahlan, what's wrong?"
Taking his face in her hands, she kissed him roughly, loosing herself. He didn't hesitate to return her kiss, his own desire taking its hold almost instantly. She pulled him closer, pushing against him until he began to lower them to the ground. His first instinct was to lay over her, but he didn't want her to push him away. Lying on their sides, they kissed frantically, their hands roaming over the other as they attempted to get closer.
Hooking her right leg over him, she pulled his left leg between her, moving past the slit in her dress as she rocked against him. His body ached for hers, but he knew that she didn't realize what was happening, that she was pushing against him so hard, it nearly made him explode. Grabbing her leg, he held it to him as he rolled over her, unable to keep from it any longer. Their kiss heated even more as his hands pushed her skirt until it was out of the way, taking away most of the barrier keeping her from him. The moan that escaped her as pushed against her drove him mad, knowing that this could go no farther.
Breaking their kiss, he held onto her face, holding her still as he stared into her darkened eyes. It would only take a few seconds for her to realize what they were doing. Quicker than he liked, she pushed him from her, and sat forward, her eyes closed in a moment of horror. Standing, she fixed her dress, being sure to keep her eyes from his. One look into them and she would be lost again.
"I'm sorry." Her words were so soft, barely making it to his ears as she turned and hurried away.
When he reached their camp, she was already lying beside the fire with her eyes closed. His grandfather watched him carefully as though he knew what they had done. If he didn't, the stain on his pants from her arousal would give them away. Sitting down next to Cara, he waited for her to say something, but she didn't. Looking at her, he realized that she didn't have to.
"Nothing happened," he said quietly, making sure that she was the only one who heard him.
"That's not what she-"
"What did she say?"
Nodding, Richard leaned back and closed his eyes. "She didn't have to, did she?" Her silence told him everything. "I don't know what to do."
"Use the Rada'Han in her pack."
Opening his eyes, he looked at her sternly. "Don't-"
Lifting the Confessor's bag, she pulled the round metal out and waved it in front of him. "She's had it since we left." He sat up instantly, taking the cold metal into his hands as he looked over to the woman he loved. "You should do it," his friend encouraged him.
Licking his lips, he laid down and closed his eyes, knowing exactly what his friend was referring to. He had found himself able to use some of his magic lately and one part in particular, he had been using nightly. He never attempted it with her, unwilling to invade her privacy, but things were different now.