He expected her to resist, but she didn't. Nodding her head, she stood with him and followed him into the trees. He didn't take her as far as he wanted, the urge to kiss her again becoming more overwhelming with each step. Pushing her against a thick tree, he lifted her from the ground and wrapped her legs around him. She pulled him against her, rocking slowly as he reconnected their lips. The magic was boiling within her, desperately seeking a way out as she slowly began to lose control.

He felt it within her and the strength she used to keep it at bay. Sliding his hands over her legs, he pushed harder against her, hoping to push her closer to her limit. Her head leaned back against the rough bark with a gasp as she tightened her hold on his hair. His breath warmed her neck, sending chills through her body with every breath.

"Let go," he whispered in her ear. "Trust me."

She felt him pull the magic from her, her body suddenly going limp in his arms as he took it into himself. It wasn't the Confessor's magic that rushed from her but his own coming from their child, instantly relieving the pressure within her. He held her to the tree, watching her carefully as the darkness in her eyes faded away to reveal the bright blue that sucked him in.

Staring at him, she stroked her fingers through the hair at the top of his neck. "How did you do that?"

"I don't know," he told her quietly as he inched closer. "But I knew that I could." His right hand pushed higher up her thigh, gliding along the soft flesh as her eyes fluttered closed. "How do you feel?"

Words failed her, the feel of his hands continuing their journey took all thoughts from her mind. Tightening her legs around him, she pushed against him with a moan. The sound drove him wild, but he knew they couldn't go much farther without the release of her magic waking their friends. The sounds coming from her begged him not to stop and drove him onward until she let out a loud gasp.

Rocking against his hand, she panted in pleasure, desperately seeking more. She couldn't get enough, reaching between them, she grabbed the top of his pants and pulled frantically at the laces while pushing them down with her legs. Bringing her down to the ground, he laid over her and began pulling at her dress, the need to feel her skin against his taking over. Richard covered the top of her chest with his lips, kissing until he could no longer stand to be apart from her lips. A growl of frustration left him as he struggled with her corset, once again hating it for keeping her from him.

Breaking their kiss, he sat up and pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it aside before bringing all of his attention to the leather of her corset. Kahlan laid her hands over his, once again guiding him through it until he was able to continue without her help. He stared at her for a moment, examining each piece of newly exposed skin, the red marks made by her mate standing out against her porcelain skin. Slowly, he traced his fingers down her stomach, over the bruised skin in the shape of his fingers until her landed upon a scar he knew all too well. Bringing his eyes back to hers, he traced his index finger over the skin, watching as her eyes fluttered closed while she pushed into his touch. Lowering his head, he licked over her belly button, rewarded instantly with a loud moan.

Richard kissed over the bruised skin, hoping to take away the hurt caused by the other man. Her fingers wound into his hair, pulling slightly each time his lips made contact with her body. Arching her back off of the ground, she brought his face to hers, desperately needing to feel his chest against hers. He struggled to kick off his shoes, his pants making it difficult to move with them pushed over his boots. A soft groan of relief filled her ears as he shifted between her legs, pushing harder against her.

Pushing her head back into the grass, she whispered his name, telling him what he already knew. If he didn't take her soon, it would be too late and her magic would flood his soul. Reaching between them she took him in her hand, stroking him gently until he stopped her.

"Kahlan," he panted in her ear, "we don't have to do this..."

She ran her left hand over his shoulder, bringing him closer. "I want you..."

It took all of his strength to move off of her, his entire body shaking with need. Laying beside her, he draped his arm over her stomach in an attempt to keep close. "I'm already yours. We don't have to do this."

Turning her head, she met his eyes, they were filled with the lust of passion that burned within her, but he was holding back. Tears began to fill her eyes as she rolled to face him. "Because of what I've done with him?"

His smile surprised her with its kindness. "No," he stated instantly. "Because you would never forgive yourself if you lost control of your magic. What you did with him doesn't make me want to be with you any less." Touching her cheek, he sighed. "It makes me want you more." The confusion on her face was clear, asking him to explain. "You spent three nights with a man who hurt you; with someone who didn't love you the way I do. I want to take those memories away from you; I want to make you forget the pain it caused you."

"I'll never forget." She blinked out a set of tears as she whispered. "I wanted to punish myself."

"Why?"

She looked away, squeezing her eyes shut for a moment as she rolled onto her back. "For loving you so much."

"Kahlan," the sound of her name leaving his lips pulled her gaze back to his. "You shouldn't be punished for that."

Sitting forward, she pulled her dress into her arms and shook her head. "I nearly confessed you that afternoon and that I deserved to be punished for."

"You're wrong. You don't understand how much that means to me." She turned her head and looked at him as he, too, sat forward. "For those few moments, we were together in a way that I could be with no other. It was ours and I will find a way to have it again."

"We should get back, before Zedd wakes up."

"I promise, Kahlan. We will spend the rest of our lives filling our home with daughters."

A smile crept onto her face, the way he said it made her believe that it was possible. "I'd like that."

Handing her her corset, Richard smiled back at her. "I don't know how you-"

"I usually have help," she replied softly. "Help me?"

Moving to his knees, he turned her gently and pulled at the leather as she moved her hair over her shoulder and out of his way. As she adjusted the front, he ran his fingers over her side, needing to touch her once more. He made sure to lace slowly, wanting to remain alone with her for as long as possible; she didn't object. Finishing, he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her back against his chest. She went easily; without protest, holding his arms to her as she leaned into him.

After a few moments, she turned her head to look at him. "If Zedd found us-"

"We're not doing anything wrong."

She grinned, cheeks turning red for a moment. She could feel his arousal against her lower back, telling her that he still felt the way she did. "No, but I want to."

Turning in his arms, she flattened her hands against his chest and pushed him to the ground. She was unable to have her release, but she could give him his. His eyes slid closed as she kissed his chest, sucking and licking as though she only had a hunger for him. Her hands slid over the newly moistened skin, massaging the muscles as they flexed beneath her touch. Fisting her hair, he let out a loud moan and pushed up into her lips.

Grabbing her hand, he held her still, mumbling something she was unable to understand through his panting. She was on her back almost instantly, Richard above as he connected their lips. Hooking her legs around him, she lifted herself to meet his thrusts, changing the angle as she scratched her nails down his shoulders and back. His head laid in the crook of her neck, kissing her every few seconds while he pumped into her. The heavy gasps and moans filled the air around them, waking the forest with their passion.

Her magic was on the edge, another minute and she would be gone. Squeezing her eyes shut, she leaned her head back into the grass and pulled him roughly against her, quickening their pace. Lifting his head, he pulled his left hand from her breast and cupped her neck and jaw, holding her in place as he struggled to keep his lips on hers as he began to lose control. The taste of her kiss was tainted by the blood that dripped from her nose, the strength of the magic within her taking its toll. He didn't want to let go without her, the pleasure meant for the both of them, but he knew she would hold on until it killed her. Returning his head to the crook of her neck, he grunted with each thrust, falling rapidly over the edge as she pulled his hips roughly to her.

Collapsing onto her, he gasped for his next breath, filling his lungs with much needed oxygen. Her heart raced beneath his ear, pounding against her chest as she struggled to keep her magic within. She pulled at his hair, using the distraction to help calm her as he remained within her. Keeping her legs wrapped around his, she held him still as she rocked up against him, her body still thriving off of his. To keep from crushing her, Richard rolled them over, letting out a sigh of discontent as he slipped from her warmth. She continued to move against him, the fire of her desire already fueled.

Her name left his lips softly as she sat up above him, rocking roughly against him, wiping the blood from her nose before holding his hands to her hips. She suddenly wished he hadn't laced her corset, wishing he could rip it from her and set her free. Bringing her eyes to his, she grew wilder by the look in them. He watched her hungrily as though it was the first time he had the privilege to look upon her in this manner. His fingers moved over her, tracing the contours of the leather corset that hid her, wishing he could touch her skin. Reaching up, he grabbed her breasts, trying to slip his fingers beneath the leather and at last touch her soft skin.

Sliding his hands down her side, he held her still, doing his best to be gentle as he forced her rocking to a stop. Resting her hands on his chest, she stared down at him with darkened eyes as she realized what she was doing.

"I'm sorry."

He grinned widely at her, moving his hands back up her sides until he was able to pull her down against him. "Don't be."

Kahlan clung to him, grateful he had stopped her when he had. All thought had fled her mind and she was lost in his eyes, the hunger, desire and passion that filled them completely. She had never seen such a look in anyone's eyes before, certainly not toward a Confessor. He held her as though she were just a woman, unafraid of what could be released into him at any moment and she knew he could feel it. Lifting her head, she looked down at his peaceful face, eyes closed and a smile on his lips. Slowly, she moved onto her side next to him, making sure to keep herself close in his arms.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she replied quietly, reaching for her dress as he loosened his hold on her. "We should get back before Zedd wakes up."

He remained still for a few moments, watching silently while she laced her white Confessor's dress before him. As she finished, he sat forward and reached for his own clothes as she brought her eyes to his. "What's wrong?"

"I was just thinking."

"About what?"

"Did you know I was pregnant before I-"

He shook his head slowly. "I wished, but I didn't know. Not until you told me in your dream." He moved to his knees, taking his pants from her hands and laying them beside her. "I wanted to say something, to tell you how happy I was, but-"

"I said that I could never tell you."

His face saddened for a moment, telling her that it wasn't the reason. "You told me that you would lay with him again because you hoped it would keep me from knowing." Taking her face in his hands, he rubbed his thumbs across her cheeks and inched closer. "You were lying in my arms, crying about what you had just done, but willing to do it again because you thought that it was what was best for me. The first time I saw you, when we met with the council, I could feel her and I was desperate for you to tell me."

She lowered her eyes, staring at his lips while she thought. "I'm sorry."

"Why?"

"For saying what I did instead of telling you the truth."

Sitting back on his heels, he hugged her to him. "Me too."

Pulling back, she rested her hands against his chest and sighed. "We should head back." Standing, she took a step back as he hurried to pull on his pants. The moment he was done with the laces, she reached for his hand. "Lay beside me?"

His smile warmed her, making her already pounding heart beat faster. "Always."

******The End******