Richard jolted awake for the umpteenth time in the last few days and almost on cue, their eyes met. She said nothing, she knew better now. All previous attempts lead them to a road he clearly didn't want to go down and she couldn't bear to see the pain in his eyes any longer. Once she was sure he was alright, she looked away, bringing her eyes to the roaring fire before her. It was then that he realized that she was crying.
He didn't move, he couldn't. He was too angry with her. They had barely spoken since they left Denna and he wasn't sure it upset him. Lying back against the cold ground, he tried to clear his mind of her, thinking about all of the things he had done with the other woman. He had never been with a woman before, something he had thought would happen with Kahlan, but being with the blonde opened his eyes.
He could have any woman, so what if he couldn't have the one he had desired? Who cared that his body responded to hers, the sound of her voice, the ring of her name? That was how Denna claimed him the first time. She had whispered her name in his ear, panting in a way that drove him mad. He would never have that with Kahlan.
Turning his head, he looked over at her. Her face was lit clearly by the fire, showing him everything he had never seen before. He wondered if it had always been there, but he was too blind to see. The world weighed on her shoulders, taking everything she had to give and she put up no fight. Anger began to fill up within him again. How dare she be such a woman and deny him the opportunity to love her. Sighing in frustration, he sat forward again and moved to his feet. Her eyes followed him as he walked into the trees, he wished he couldn't feel them.
Richard found comfort against the thick trunk of a tree, the rough bark reminding him of one he used to rest against back in Hartland. A part of him wished he had never left, never fallen in love with the Confessor. Confessor, he thought with a sigh, he should have known that she- He did know. Zedd told him. She told him. He didn't listen and now his heart was torn into pieces.
"What?" he snapped as he saw a piece of her white dress come into view.
She stopped and he instantly regretted his tone. "I'm sorry, I just wanted to make sure you were alright. Zedd said he would take your watch if you needed to sleep."
Standing, Richard made sure to keep his eyes off of hers. "I'm fine." She didn't respond, she couldn't. If she opened her mouth again, she wouldn't be able to control what came out. "I can take my own watch." He expected her to say something, anything, but she didn't. She turned away and he couldn't take it any longer. "What you said before- About not wanting my feelings to change... Did you mean it?"
Kahlan stopped again, but didn't turn around. This needed to be said in the coldest of ways. It was the only way to save him. "Why would I care about your feelings?" She was shaking, she hoped he couldn't see. "When this is over, we will never see each other again."
"That's all I needed to know. You really are a monster." The emotion was clear in his voice, she didn't have to see his face to know what he was feeling and she was glad for it. Seeing would have ended her instantly.
"Kahlan?" Zedd was standing close, his hand resting on her shoulder. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," she lied without thought. "Are you ready to set out again?"
"You haven't eaten yet."
"I'm not hungry."
Releasing a heavy sigh, the wizard looked over his shoulder to his grandson, who focused all of his attention on stuffing the leftovers into his pack for later. "You haven't eaten in three days."
Looking back to him, she tried to remember her last meal. "I'll eat something tonight, I promise." Before he could counter, she began walking, knowing that they would follow and she looked forward to having more distance between herself and the Seeker.
"This is silly!" Zedd shouted, bringing her to a stop as she turned back to him. "You two cannot keep going like this. It will kill you both!"
"No worse than what she would do to me," Richard said angrily. She gave no defense. "We should keep moving-"
"Look what that Mord'Sith has done to you!"
Richard looked past his grandfather and met her eyes, hardening them instantly. "At least she could provide pleasure."
Kahlan swallowed her anger, the hurt and searing pain that ran through her veins at his words, taking hold of her Confessor's face. "You're right."
It wasn't the reaction he wanted and aimed to receive. "What is wrong with you?!" he shouted at her, making the first move in walking forward. "How can you be so cold?! You have no emotions!"
"It's easier for a monster to feel nothing." Then she was gone, walking away as quickly as her legs would allow. She felt sick, broken and all she wanted to do was lay down and cry, but she couldn't let them know.
Confused, Zedd grabbed his grandson's shoulders and held him still, making sure he couldn't escape without answering his questions. "What has gotten into you?"
"I've finally learned the truth. I know what she is. I see the monster."
The older man frowned, shaking his head in disappointment. "You have no right to call her a monster. You do not know a portion of what she has been through. She hid the truth from you for a reason; maybe you should try to understand what that was." Releasing him, he took a step back and picked up his own pack. "She never lied to you." After taking a few steps, he looked back and said, "She told me what happened that night, why she was leaving. She couldn't bear the thought of hurting you and if you truly looked back at this, you know the truth. You may feel like a fool for loving someone you cannot have, but that is no reason to treat her this way. We both warned you that it wasn't a possibility."
Anger still flooded him as he stared at the other man. "You should have tried harder."
Two days and nothing had changed. They didn't speak to each other and it was starting to drive Zedd insane. He finally decided to follow her into the trees one night and found her sitting in tall grass in tears. The trees blocked most of the moonlight, making it difficult to see clearly. The darkness made it easier to let go.
"He'll calm down," he said as he knelt down beside her.
Wiping her cheeks, she turned her head toward him. "It's best if he hates me."
"He doesn't hate you, dear one. The line is thin, love... Hate."
"You know what I am. If he hates me, he can go on. When he defeats Darken Rahl, he can go home; get married, have children... How I feel is irrelevant. To him, I'm a monster and as long as he believes that, I cannot hurt him."
"You would never hurt him."
Looking back to the trees, Kahlan sighed. "I almost did. For a moment, when he kissed me... I forgot what I was." Tears filled her eyes again as she remembered the event. "I never had a friend before and now I understand why."
Laying his hand on her arm, he smiled warmly. "Come on, you should rest."
Richard was talking in his sleep again. Some of his words were inaudible, but not all of them. Between moans, her name was whispered, panted and then he grew silent. Opening his eyes, he instantly looked over to her, doing his best to keep from drawing her attention if she was awake. She was. She always was. If she slept at all, he didn't know and with each passing day it bothered him more.
Kahlan was leaning forward, her elbows on her knees as she studied the flames of the fire. He hadn't heard her voice in days and he was forgetting the way it sounded, but he wouldn't be the one to end the silence. Closing his eyes he forced himself back to sleep, knowing it was in his dreams he was safe.
"We can rest in the village ahead for the night. I know someone who will provide shelter." Kahlan was speaking softly, but his ears picked up her voice as though she was next to him. "We can trust him."
"Richard," Zedd called back to his friend. "We have-"
"I heard," he mumbled back, keeping his eyes on the ground.
The sun was beginning to set when they entered the village and almost as soon as they were visible, an older man raced toward them with a smile on his face.
"Kahlan! It's wonderful to see you again!" He sounded sincere, bringing Richard to study him. Enveloping her in his arms, he rocked her body. "I heard about Dennee, I'm sorry."
Pulling back, she nodded. "Me too. Daniel, this is Zedd and this is the Seeker, Richard." She hesitated with his name, the other man noticing instantly. "We need a place to stay for-"
"You'll stay here, with me. My youngest married last year, I have plenty of room. I was about to hunt for dinner, you can go inside and make yourselves at home."
"I'll come with you," Richard said quietly, making her body stiffen.
"Excellent! How are you with a bow?"
Their words trailed off as they walked back toward the trees. Looking over her shoulder, Kahlan sighed, "I don't know how much longer I can do this, Zedd."
"I know, dear one."