TITLE: In Silence
AUTHOR: Lord of Kavaka
CHARACTERS: Richard/Kahlan
TIMELINE: Set immediately after 1x08 DENNA.
STORY TYPE: Romance/Hurt/Comfort/Angst
SPOILERS: Season 1
DISCLAIMER: I do not own them, and I make no profit from this.
SUMMARY: Richard confronts Kahlan after his rescue from the clutches of the Mord'Sith Denna.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was scenario was requested a while back by klynnrhiannon.

In Silence

Richard stood there, uncertain and upset. He was vaguely listening to Zedd as the wizard explained what had happened in the past few days with the villagers and the other confessor. But Richard's thoughts were elsewhere. He looked past Zedd, watching Kahlan speak with one of the villagers as they wheeled away the other confessor. He didn't even know her name, only that she had attempted to lead her confessed in an attack on the Mord'Sith temple in order to rescue him, the Seeker of Truth. He felt sorrow for the confessor's death, but his emotions were more jumbled up with other thoughts and feelings.

Kahlan shifted, a hand coming up to brush back some of her long lush hair, and her eyes caught him staring. Richard swallowed and averted his gaze, feeling his cheeks warm in a blush like they had that time he'd spied her bathing by the waterfall.

"Zedd, can you give me a minute?" he asked, interrupting the wizard in mid-sentence.

Zedd narrowed his eyes, giving him a curious look, before nodding and stepping away to assist the villagers.

Richard watched him go, letting a sigh slip out as he turned on his feet, seeing Kahlan again, her profile softly lit by the moonlight. Closing his eyes, and stifling the rising disappointment in his heart, he pivoted around and walked towards the edge of the cliff, where the trees parted, giving way to a breathtaking view of the ravine below.

He stood there, allowing his thoughts to drift and wander as he contemplated the last couple of hours. His body still ached, certain joints felt strained, and overall he was sore, but he knew he would heal. At least physically. There were some things that were harder to recover from than a few strained muscles, cuts, and bruises.

He sensed her presence before he saw her in his periphery. She came up and stood by his side, silent and repentant. Richard blinked, feeling the tension in the air as he tilted his head slightly to look at her, once again catching the soft blue moonlight reflecting off her beautiful features.

Kahlan swallowed, and he watched the motion travel down the column of her throat as she slowly turned her head to return his gaze, her eyes large and sorrowful. She looked trapped in a maze of her own thoughts, unsure and anxious. She sucked in a quick breath and then fully turned to face him.

"Richard, there's something I need to tell you," she tentatively started, her voice laced with regret and worry.

"Denna told me," he stated factually, attempting to keep his calm. He couldn't help but notice how her face fell. "Is it true?"

Kahlan swallowed, her breath quick and worried as she averted her gaze. She risked a glanced back up at him before barely giving him a nod of affirmation, confirming everything.

He shook his head, in disappointment or anger, he didn't know. "Do you know what it was like… hearing it from her?" he meted out, his voice so calm and smooth considering the tumult of emotions raging inside him.

She closed her eyes, looking ashamed. A sigh escaped her lips as she bowed her head.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he questioned, hurt that she felt the need to lie to him. He thought she trusted him. He thought she cared about him.

Kahlan pursed her lips and flicked her watery eyes up, forcing herself to meet his steady gaze. He narrowed his eyes, his brow knitting together slightly as he observed her. This was obviously difficult for her.

"I was afraid that if I told you the truth, you'd become… scared of me," she confessed softly. "You're feelings would change…"

"Well, why would you care if my feelings changed?" he asked, deliberately locking eyes with her, no longer wanting to ignore the issue as they had during the previous weeks. It was now or never. "You told me you didn't share them."

She gave him a meek smile, and tilted her head slightly to gaze out at the moonlit ravine. "Well, like you said," Kahlan glanced down shyly, her lips slightly tugging upwards until she forced herself to return his gaze. "I'm not a very good liar."

They remained silent, letting her words sink in. A weight that had been holding him down lifted, and the vise wrapped around his heart eased.

Kahlan inhaled sharply and looked away, folding her arms and turning her body back towards the vista before them. He shrugged to himself, and followed suit, crossing his arms over his chest and turning with her.

"So…," he drawled out, "now what?"

"I'm not sure," Kahlan sighed, sounding as unsure as her words. She paused, her eyes drifting as she thought. "But I do know," she continued at length, "I'm not leaving your side again." She turned to look him, showing him how determined she was not to repeat her mistakes.

"What about the prophecy?" Richard asked, meeting her stare. Her eyes flicked up. She knew he was referring to the prophecy that Shota had informed them on, declaring that he would be betrayed by the one in white.

"I can't think of any worse betrayal than leaving you," Kahlan answered with sincere honesty and regret written all over her face. She shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe… the prophecy's been fulfilled."

He inclined his head slightly in agreement. He really didn't fully believe in prophecies. He believed he made his own destiny.

"But Richard," Kahlan continued, looking down for a moment. She tilted her head back and her brow furrowed. "Your mission is far more… important than any… feelings we may have." He clenched his jaw and risked a glanced at her, noticing the tears welling in her eyes. "That's why we… we can never act on them." Kahlan resolutely turned from him. "We can never let our guard down. We have to bury them." She looked at him hesitantly. "Can you do that?"

Richard sighed, but gave her a soft smile, not fooling anyone about his feelings for the confessor. They were written all over his face and dark gaze. "Well, if there's one thing I learned from Denna," he said, his eyes flicking down momentarily to her lips, wishing he could at least kiss her once more. "It's how to suffer in silence."

She looked at him for a long moment, seemingly uncertain how to respond. Finally she inclined her head and retreated back into the forest, leaving him alone with his thoughts. Richard sighed and turned his gaze back up at the moon.

He wondered just how true his statement was. Would he be able to suffer in silence? Richard frowned, his gaze more inward than out towards the sweeping slopes and valleys of the vista beyond. Perhaps he could do as he said, but not for long. Kahlan was beautiful, not just physically, but inside as well. Her soul was breathtaking. He saw the depths of her compassion and drive every time he gazed into her beautiful blue eyes. It would take a mighty effort to resist his feelings for her.

Yet, at the same time, he couldn't help but feel that his feelings had saved him from being fully trained by Denna. The Mord'Sith had tortured him for hours on end, with hardly any breaks in-between. But in the end, when she had tested his trained devotion to her, he broke free of her control. There was only one emotion he could name that was powerful enough to break those mental chains that had been wrapped around his battered mind… and that emotion was love.

Richard swallowed past the lump in his throat and looked over his shoulder, seeing Kahlan and Zedd speaking softly. Did he love her? It seemed so fast… so sudden. They'd only been traveling together for a handful of weeks, a month or two at tops. He still barely knew her. But it was there, pumping through his veins, resounding in his heart. Love. He continued to stare at her, wondering if she too went through the same struggle as he did, and if she'd come to the same startling truth about her own feelings. As he watched, Kahlan would occasionally glanced up to see him watching, her lips pursed in a tight smile until she'd avert her gaze and return her focus on her discussion with the wizard.

His mind drifted, envisioning things he so wished he could already have. In his dreams, he reached out for her, cupping her cheek in his palm as he pulled her in for a soft and tender kiss. His tongue would flick out, gentling her quivering lips, reassuring and soothing away her anxiety and fears. He'd hold her told him, crushed against his chest, as he inhaled the sweet scent of her hair, his nose nuzzled deep in those long dark tresses.

Richard's breath hitched up as his thoughts turned decidedly erotic.

His beating heart would pound against his ribs as he kissed his way down her throat while he pulled back the white fabric of her dress to suck on her creamy white skin, glistening in the soft moonlight. His hands would cradle her breasts, caress and touch her as he longed too. He could see it all, in his dreams, her arching under him as she moan softly, calling his name, as she surrendered to him, allowing him in as she had no other man. His hands would skim up her bare legs and thighs, gripping at her, his face buried in the rise and fall of her chest, suckling with his mouth and soothing those marks with his tongue.

He wanted it. All of it. But not just the base and wanton needs. He wanted her love, to have that security of having her by her side through whatever trials and tribulations they may face. Because whatever was ahead of them, they'd face it together, as one. Friends and lovers… and so much more.

Richard took in a deep breath; his chest heaving slightly as he forcibly pulled himself out of his thoughts. For now, those were just fantasies. But in time, he hoped they'd become reality.

For her… he could wait. She was worth it. So, yes… he could do it. He could suffer in silence. Because he loved her. And she was right, after all. Their mission was important. Darken Rahl was a tyrant that needed to be stopped and if they allowed their own feelings to interfere they may very well lose the struggle. Sighing, Richard steeled himself to do as she'd implored him to do. He closed his eyes and mentally wrestled with his heart, holding it down until it submitted to his will.

Finding a calming peace, one that he could never really know how long it would last, Richard turned away from the ravine and stepped back into the forest to join Kahlan and Zedd, ready to continue their journey, with the hope that at the end, he and Kahlan could test the boundaries between their mutual feelings and her magic.