Richard held her through the night, waiting for her to stop crying, but the moment never came. Sleep escaped her as she stared out into the darkness, lost in her thoughts and the memories. She felt numb, weightless; dead.
He rocked her gently, humming softly. It was a slow song, one that his mother used to sing to him when he was a young boy. He hoped that it was bringing some kind of comfort to her. He found tears rolling down his cheeks at several points, his heart broken for the pain he felt seeping from the warmth of her. She whimpered Daniel's name and as soft as it was, it echoed around them.
The fire had died down, the fire of the flames having disappeared from the cracks in the wood above them. Zedd moved to the stairs, trying to determine if it was safe for them to leave their hideout. He was impossible to make out, but from the soft sigh, Richard knew it was time for them to leave.
"Kahlan, I know that this is hard for you, but we have to go now." She didn't move. "We need to find a safe place to-"
"There is no safe," she said distantly, following his lead and moving to her feet.
He had to catch her as she struggled to remain standing, her strength and energy having yet to return. Stumbling forward, she followed the wizard up the stairs, the smell causing her to feel sick as they reached the door. It fell apart as the wizard touched it, the magical seal protecting them dissipating. They shielded their eyes from the brightness of the sun as they ascended, Richard keeping his eyes on her to anticipate every one of her moves. He knew what was coming and he hoped he could stop her.
It would have been impossible for them to miss. The purpose speaking clearly as their eyes landed on it. Daniel's body, burned unrecognizable, was hanging from a tree in front of his house, the sight bringing a loud cry from the Confessor. Before either of the men could stop her, she was running toward him in anguish. Dropping to her knees before the body, she began apologizing for what she had done and begging him to forgive her. It was impossible for her to keep her eyes on him, each second she looked at him, she felt another flash of rage, sorrow and shame.
She felt him behind her, watching, waiting in silence. He would remain that way until he had no choice but to speak and she prayed the moment never came. He would tell her that it wasn't her fault and that she couldn't have known what would happen, but it wasn't true. She knew the risk; she shouldn't have brought them to him. Before her hung the man she thought of as her father. He was what she always hoped for others and now he was dead. They had killed him.
"Kahlan," Richard spoke in a quiet sorrow. "This wasn't your fault."
"Please..." she begged. "Leave me alone with him."
"No." It was firm, bringing her back to stiffen. "You shouldn't be alone, especially now."
Wiping the tears from her cheeks, she closed her eyes. "What's different about now?" She asked without thought. "I've been alone my whole life."
"That's not true. You had Dennee... and Daniel."
"Shhhhh," she hushed sharply. "Don't say his name."
Laying his hand on her shoulder, he leaned forward. "His name should be spoken for all to hear. They should know who he was; what he did."
"He saved us. Kahlan, he would have done anything for you and he did. He gave his life because he loved you. You should honor that, not let it fill you with grief."
Reaching up, she let her trembling fingers touch the burned corpse before her. "He was all that I had left."
The body before her jerked, making her fall backwards into Richard as she looked up in shock and confusion. Everything was blurred out by a bright light and suddenly Daniel was standing in front of them. Zedd rushed to the man's side, clapping his hand on his shoulder.
"Thank the spirits it worked!"
"What worked?" Richard asked as Kahlan jumped forward and wrapped her arms around the older man.
"An old wizard trick I learned many years ago! A protection spell that would pull him from the body if any damage or pain were to come to it. When he was safe, it would come to an end. The spell only works once."
"Thank you, Zedd," Kahlan said as she pulled out of Daniel's hug. "I thought I had lost you, too."
"I thought so too," the older man chuckled.
"Why didn't you just tell them where we were?"
"I wasn't going to let them hurt you and we both know that they would have killed me anyway."
He hugged her once more and then stepped back with a sigh. "You need to get moving. They won't be looking over their shoulders for you."
"It's not safe for you here," Richard said quietly. "We will get you to a safe place first."
"I think I'll manage. This will give me an excuse to see my daughter and grandson. They live three weeks walk from here." The Seeker was about to argue, when Daniel stepped toward him and circled an arm around him, lowering his voice. "You will look after our Confessor, I trust."
Pulling the young man away from the others he moved closer. "She will push you away, maybe not at first, but she will. I know Kahlan and she will do anything to make sure you are happy and safe, even if it means breaking her own heart. If you feel the way I think you do, you won't let her and if you don't and you hurt her, I will personally find you. I want to make this as clear as possible," he said in a hushed, but firm tone. For a moment, Richard could have sworn that it was the same voice Kahlan used. "If this is some sort of conquest, to have her, I will remove your insides. She is not a toy and she has been through more than you could ever imagine. You hurt her and I will see to it that you never touch another woman."
"I understand, but Kahlan is more than that to me."
Smiling, Daniel nodded. "Don't tell me, show her."
"Is something wrong?" Kahlan asked as she took a step toward the men.
Leaving the Seeker, Daniel grinned. "No, I just wanted to make sure you would be kept safe."
"It's fine, Kahlan. We have it all settled now. It's far too late to protest," he said as Richard moved past them, walking to the wizard to give them a moment alone to say their goodbyes.
"What did you say to him?"
"I asked him to look after you."
"Asked?" she questioned with a grin.
"Of course. Are you going to tell him?"
She stared at him for a moment, waiting to see if he would let the question go. "Tell him what?"
"Tell Richard you're carrying his child."
She looked over her shoulder at the other men and sighed quietly, watching them speaking to each other for a moment. "I can't." Looking back to Daniel, she crossed her arms. "How did you know?"
"You kept brushing your hands over your stomach. Christina used to do that. She once said that she expected to feel them as clearly as she would hold them in her arms. I imagine you can feel yours a little stronger than she could."
"It feels strange."
"But beautiful," he added in a quiet whisper. "You should tell him, Kahlan."
"I can't. I was with him once and only for a moment. No man could want a child to come from that."
"Your Seeker is not like other men, but you already know that."
"If I tell him, he-"
"Won't leave your side?" he interrupted. "You can't keep pushing others away. You don't want to be alone, trust me. He loves you and I know that I don't know what it was between you two before you arrived, I haven't seen a man look at a woman like that in so long. Don't shut him out." He sighed and pulled her into his arms. "Promise me that you will at least think about it."
"I don't think I'll be able to stop."
With the sun setting around them, Richard led them through the trees. He had been scouting the area ahead to make sure they wouldn't run into the soldiers who wanted to kill them. Every few minutes, he would stop and look behind, meeting her eyes to make sure she was alright. She had barely spoken since they left Daniel's, but she was always ready to give him a smile when he brought his eyes to hers. It was the only thing that kept him believing that she was alright.
The sun was no longer visible, but he didn't want them to set up camp until he was sure it was safe. After his fifth circle of the area, he sat down next to Kahlan's bedroll and crossed his legs. She was staring up at the sky, seeming to be lost in thought, so he waited before speaking. Shoving a piece of rabbit meat into his mouth, he closed his eyes for a moment. His mind was replaying the other man's words on a loop, "She will push you away, maybe not at first, but she will." He knew the words to be true and he knew it was only a matter of time before it began to happen.
"Do you want me to take the first watch?"
"No. I don't think that I will be able to sleep until-"
"Come here," she purred softly, pulling at his arm until he was lying down beside her. Settling against him, she laid her hand against his chest and looked down at him. "Thinking about what Daniel said to you?"
He smiled. "He wouldn't tell you what he said, would he?"
"He told me to look after you."
Studying his face, she raised an eyebrow. "That's all?"
Richard withheld a laugh, "He may have used more words. He said that you were a handful, that I should keep my eyes on you at all times, even in my sleep."
Her lips tugged at a smile, her hand now beginning to travel down his stomach. "What about now? Do you have to watch me now?" His heart raced beneath her touch, her hand returning to its previous position. "Who knows what I may do next?" Stretching his neck up, he tried to kiss her, but she pulled back just as his lips grazed hers.
"It's just a kiss, Kahlan."
She moved closer, soaking the warmth of him as his hands gently rubbed her back. Lifting herself onto her elbow, she took his face in her hands and connected their lips.
Before she knew it, she had laid her right leg over his, holding his firmly between hers as she began to rock gently. Her body acted on its own, her mind now softly encouraging her onward. She acted instantly, flowing forward as he gracefully accepted her on top of him. His hands snaked over her, wishing for the feel of her skin. Shifting his body beneath her, he pushed against her, helping to ease the pressure building up within her. Her appreciation shown immediately by the low moan that vibrated through them both.
Her magic was floating on the surface, waiting for her to give in and let it fly away. The strength of it made her dizzy, though she wasn't entire sure that it wasn't his kiss. He was the first man she had kissed, but she knew that no other could feel this way. He made it nearly impossible to pull away, to think and breathe. Breaking their kiss, she sucked in a breath, keeping her face close to his in case she had another moment of control.
He was breathing just as heavily, his hands now firmly holding her head while his fingers lost themselves in her hair. Opening his eyes, Richard watched her face, waiting for her eyes to open and grant him the honor of seeing the magic within. He longed for it to speak to him again, to tell him what it wanted and most importantly, what it needed. Kahlan may not want to let it go, but it had a mind of its own and it seemed to know something they didn't. When the darkness of her eyes met his, he smiled, feeling the comfort that could only come from her.
"We're going to wake Zedd," she murmured, closing her eyes before looking to their friend, who appeared to be sound asleep.
He didn't move his eyes from her, he found the struggle between her and her magic to be captivating. Zedd wasn't the reason they had to stop. She was. Touching his fingers to her cheek, he nodded. "Alright." Wrapping his arms around her, he brought her to his chest, hugging her to him.
He felt her heart racing against him, her breaths slow and deep as she struggled to keep her hold. His shirt was fisted in her left hand, giving her something to focus on.
"I'm sorry," she panted after a few minutes.
His arms tightened around her. "You don't have to be. You didn't do anything wrong." She nearly blurted it out, the secret she had been holding onto in fear. Turning her head, she closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, inhaling his scent. "I have something for you," he whispered when she returned her head to a comfortable position. Reaching over, he grabbed his travel pack and pulled it toward them. She sat up as he handed it to her. "Open it."
She hesitated for a moment, looking back and forth between him and the bag. Giving in to her curiosity, she opened it and a smile instantly covered her face. Inside laid several of the flowers from the garden they had laid in. Her reaction had the desired effect. Sitting up, Richard moved closer to her as she reached inside. "I didn't know how long they would live, so I asked Zedd for help. They'll last forever."
Lifting them out of the bag, she brought them to her nose and breathed in. "Thank you." Lowering her hands, she looked at him. "When did you get them?"
"When you were talking to Daniel. I thought that you would like to have something to hold onto that reminded you of your family."
Laying the flowers down, she crawled onto him and pulled his face to hers. He adjusted his body to hers instantly, his arms circling her waist as he gladly returned her kiss. It began again, her body flowing over him, matching his movements as he worked to give her what she needed. Their kiss heated with each second, both pulling the other closer until their bodies refused to mold together.
"Kahlan," he panted when they parted for a breath. He shifted his hips, trying to relieve the pressure between them. "If we don't stop now, I'm not going to be able to..." She could feel him beneath her, his arousal trapped within his pants as she cut his words short with her lips. Reaching between them, she began to pull the laces of his pants loose. "No," he muttered, stopping her hands. "I don't need you to do that."
"I don't mind," she told him quietly.
Intertwining their fingers, he lifted their hands. "I know."
"I can't give you anything more."
Leaning his forehead against hers, he smiled. "You can give me this."
Closing her eyes, she shook her head. "It's not very much."
"It's more than you think it is."
"Thank you for the flowers."
Kahlan was gone when he awoke. The sun had yet to rise, but it was light enough for him to see everything around him. Moving to his feet, he searched the area around him, his eyes quickly moving over Zedd before rushing to the trees around them. If the D'Haran soldiers had found them, they wouldn't take her alone. The thought eased him a bit, but he hurried anyway.
He hadn't gone too far when he found her leaning against one of the trees. She was staring at the ground, speaking softly, unknowing of his presence.
"Are you alright?" he asked quietly, closing the short distance between them.
Turning her head, she smiled with a nod. "I'm fine. I was just trying to figure out the right words."
"Words for what?"
"I don't quite have them yet."
Pushing his shoulder against hers, he grinned. "Need some help?"
"Maybe later. We should get back before Zedd wakes up and thinks we've been captured."
"I thought the same about you for a moment, but then I realized I was still there."
Raising an eyebrow, she tilted her head. "Maybe a handsome man came by and swept me away."
His mouth opened in shock, confusion and then into a smile. "I'd kill him for taking you away from me."
"No one would-"
"I would." It was such a simple statement, but it carried her away. Taking her hand, he pulled her forward. "I would have run away with you the day I met you and every day since. Every day."
"I think you're forgetting those days before we reached Daniel."
Richard shook his head, rubbing his thumbs on the back of her hands. "No, I'm not. I was angry with you, but I didn't stop loving you." Pushing his back against the tree, he sighed. "I was so angry and I'm sorry for what I said. I- I couldn't believe that you kept something like that from me. I had told you everything and I had to hear something that important from someone else. When Denna told me, I didn't believe her. She kept saying that you would hurt me and I- I kept thinking that you couldn't hurt me any more than you already had."
Tears were slowly dripping down her cheeks, her hand trembling in his. "I'm sorry."
"I know." He sighed and wiped her cheeks with his thumbs. "I know that it's hard for you, but I'm not going anywhere."
"I'm pregnant." The words flowed effortlessly from her lips, gliding through the air as though they were supposed to be spoken to give them life.
He froze for a moment, unsure that he heard her correctly. "Wh-Pregnant?" Darting his eyes to the ground, he ran the words through his mind, speaking them aloud slowly. "You're pregnant?"
Fear covered her features, her mouth open as she tried to form a simple word. She suddenly wished that she hadn't told him. "Yes."
She was suddenly lifted in his arms, held tightly against his chest as he began to laugh. "You're pregnant!" Setting her feet back on the ground, he took a step back. "I'm sorry, was that alright?"
Kahlan allowed her smile to widen and nodded, relieved. "Yes."
"What happens now?"
"What do you mean?"
Moving forward once again, Richard grabbed her hands. "Do we tell Zedd?"
"No." Her answer was instant, knowing what the wizard's reaction would be- What it should be. "I don't know."
Squeezing her hands, he smiled. "He can help protect you."
"He may send me back to Aydindril."
"He couldn't if he tried. I'm not letting go of you." Abandoning her hands, he brought her into a snug hug and kissed the side of her head. "Either of you."