Kahlan has been trying for days to come up with an acceptable excuse to slip away. It's been a week since she was freed from Nicci's maternity spell, and it seems like her companions have been taking it in turns to make sure she's never left alone. It's starting to drive her more than a little insane. She understands their concern, appreciates it even, but there are some things she prefers to do without a constant shadow.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she sags against the trunk of a tree, her eyes shifting from side to side as she listens for a few moments. Satisfied that she hasn't been followed, she slips her right hand into the slit in her skirt, dragging it up her bare thigh. Her eyes drift closed as her fingers slide into her undergarments with practiced skill.
A twig snaps, and her eyes shoot open again, her hand jerking out from beneath her skirt. The face that greets her is the last one she would have expected.
“What are you doing here?” Kahlan asks warily, with no small amount of venom. Her chest heaves with shock and anger as she tamps down the beginnings of arousal. It seems she will not be getting a moment to herself after all.
“Nothing quite as interesting as you, I'm afraid.” Nicci emerges from the trees, a familiar smirk playing at her lips. The moon is bright, making her loose-flowing blonde hair almost seem to glow. Kahlan's eyes are cold with suspicion, her hands flexing at her sides in readiness for a fight, and Nicci frowns. She stops several paces away, well out of reach of Kahlan's touch. “I'm not here to hurt you, if that's what you think.” Nicci almost seems wounded by the assumption; there's an air of uncertainty about her that Kahlan didn't notice before. The detached arrogance she had so proudly displayed the last time Kahlan saw her is still there, but it's damaged, like something vital in her has been shaken. “I was curious.”
Kahlan's brow creases as she tries to understand. “About me?” Their camp is not far; the glow from the fire is still barely visible through the trees, and Kahlan knows that if Nicci had wanted to see Richard, she would have known where to look.
Nicci rolls her eyes. “No, about that tree,” she says dryly. Amusement flickers through her eyes. “Although it certainly is more interesting now that you've spent some time with it. You seem to have that effect.”
Pale cheeks flush red as Kahlan loses the fight with her embarrassment, and she quickly chides herself for it. Cara is never ashamed of her pleasure—she almost seems proud of it, in a way. Why should Kahlan be ashamed of her own?
“Get to the point, Nicci.” There's an edge in Kahlan's voice that speaks less of hostility and more of irritation. She came out here for a reason, after all, and this conversation is doing nothing to quell the ache between her legs. “What do you want?”
Nicci takes a small step closer, her eyes raking over Kahlan in a way that suggests more than mere intellectual curiosity. “I came here tonight to observe you,” she says in a low voice. “But I must admit, I've since had other ideas.”
Her meaning is clear, and Kahlan's eyes widen, her mouth falling open in shock. “You'd be confessed,” she finally manages. Her fingers dig into the bark of the tree, itching with the urge to reach for Nicci—whether to confess her, or take her up on her offer, she's not entirely sure.
“Oh, I don't need to touch you,” Nicci says with a sultry smirk. She raises a slender hand toward Kahlan, her eyes glowing with something more than curiosity or desire.
At first, Kahlan doesn't understand Nicci's meaning. Then she feels it: a light brush across her cheek, trailing down the side of her neck. She gasps; if she didn't know better, she would swear she was actually being touched. But Nicci is still several paces away, watching her with wary interest.
"I just spent three days under your control," Kahlan replies, her voice wavering as Nicci's magic sparks against her collarbone. "What makes you think I'd give you any amount of power over me?"
A dry chuckle passes Nicci's lips. "If I wanted to hurt you, I would have done it already," she points out, arching an eyebrow as she guides her touch lower. "And if what I interrupted is any indication, you could use the release."
“What's in it for you?” Kahlan asks, shivering as the ghostly touch traces the top of her corset, dipping teasingly between her breasts. She's more tempted by this than she'd like to admit, but Nicci always has ulterior motives; it would not be wise to put herself in a position to be hurt by the sorceress again.
Nicci tilts her head, searching for the right words. “Like I said, I'm curious about you,” she says, shrugging slightly. “There's something about you that seems to inspire an unusual amount of loyalty and passion. I want to know why. Maybe this will help me understand.”
Silence stretches between them as Kahlan considers Nicci's words, her offer. It's clear that the blonde is telling the truth; Kahlan can read it in her eyes as plain as day. There's no hint of malice in her gaze, only a complicated mixture of confusion, curiosity, and desire.
It shouldn't be this easy. Kahlan has grown accustomed to the idea that she can only ever have pleasure from her own hand—the idea of confessing a mate has always disturbed her, and after the ill-fated attempt with Richard when he was confessed to Annabelle, Kahlan resigned herself to a lifetime of celibacy, until such time as she is forced to take a mate to further the confessor line. She knows her duty, as well as she knows that she won't take any pleasure in it when the time does come.
What Nicci is offering may not be perfect; it may not compare to what she's fantasized about having with Richard—or more recently, to her endless embarrassment, with Cara—but the temptation is too strong to resist. Before she even realizes that she's given in, Kahlan's fingers are already working at the laces of her jacket, tugging at the loose knot holding it closed.
“Wait,” Nicci says abruptly. Kahlan stops, meeting Nicci's gaze with a furrowed brow. The blonde's lips are curved into the smallest hint of a smirk as she nods toward her own raised hand. “Let me.”
Kahlan lets her hands fall away, and that invisible force is back, untying the knot with ease before pulling the laces free. Her eyes are open, fixed on Nicci, as what feels like a hand slides under the material at either shoulder, slipping it down over her arms. Kahlan knows magic—Kahlan is magic, in a very fundamental way—but her knowledge is not enough to combat the wonder at watching her jacket fall to the ground, the buckle of her belt come undone, all while her own hands remain firmly clenched at her sides.
"Relax, Kahlan," Nicci murmurs, and Kahlan can see the other woman still standing several paces away, but she feels warm breath brush over her ear, sending a jolt of excitement racing down her spine. Then the breath turns into soft lips and sharp teeth marking a trail down her neck and Kahlan has to struggle to keep her eyes open. She is still wearing most of her clothes, and she has never felt more naked in her life.
Nicci seems to realize Kahlan's state of dress, and the sensation at Kahlan's neck fades to a whisper as the laces running down her back are tugged free. Her corset loosens, then falls from her chest, exposing her skin to the cool night air. Her skirt and undergarments soon follow, pooling at her feet. Her breath catches in her throat at the expression that dawns on Nicci's face. The sorceress is looking at her with breathless admiration, lips parted and cheeks flushed visibly in the bright moonlight. It's enough to make Kahlan forget all about being modest.
She knows that she doesn't have feelings for Nicci—nothing like the deep, encompassing love she feels for Richard, or the intense, soul-shaking bond she's developed with Cara. But she has always been taught that sex has nothing to do with feelings—sex is about duty, nothing more or less—and that makes it easier for her to succumb to this; to relax against the trunk of the tree and enjoy what Nicci is about to do to her.
And Nicci doesn't keep her waiting. Kahlan's skin tingles under the touch of Nicci's magic. It becomes almost a game, of sorts—one in which Kahlan is left guessing at what each touch is supposed to be simulating. A brush of lips along her neck, fingertips teasing slow circles into her sides, a hot tongue circling a nipple hardened by the cool night air. It's everything all at once, and it's not enough; Kahlan whimpers as she feels teeth draw a stiff peak into an invisible mouth, surrounding the aroused flesh with a sucking wet heat. Her hands grasp at air in an attempt to guide the touch where she needs it so desperately, and the throaty chuckle that escapes Nicci's lips floods Kahlan with desire.
Kahlan's knees nearly buckle beneath her at the first flutter of fingers over the curls between her legs. Nicci's magic withdraws just long enough to allow Kahlan to slide down to the ground, arranging her skirt under her and leaning back against the solid support of the tree behind her. She lets her legs fall open as she looks back up at Nicci; the dark arousal written on the blonde's face is mirrored in the heat that flushes Kahlan's skin, contrasting sharply with the chilled air.
Then the magic is back, and Kahlan's eyes widen at what feels like the scratch of stubble at the inside of her thigh. Nicci's lips twist into a smirk as she continues to wave her hand, and Kahlan feels something hot and wet tracing up the line of her sex, sliding hesitantly through her folds. The touch is gentle, almost reverent—the way she's imagined Richard would be, if he ever touched her like this. The knowing glint in Nicci's glowing eyes tells Kahlan the effect is intentional.
When she sees Kahlan's surprise, however, Nicci's eyes turn curious again. She cocks her head in thought, and then the stubble is gone; the hand sliding along Kahlan's thigh is smaller, softer, but more demanding. Kahlan gasps as she feels full lips close around her clit, sucking the tender flesh between sharp teeth and biting just a little too hard. Her heart pounds in her chest, and the pleasure is almost not enough to distract her from the conflicting feelings Nicci is pulling to the surface.
"Please," Kahlan moans, not really knowing what she's asking for. Her body is screaming for more, but her heart and mind can't settle on whose touch she wants more of—Richard's, or Cara's.
Fortunately, Nicci seems to notice her distress, and her eyes glow just a little brighter before the touch between Kahlan's legs becomes more vague; just simple pleasure not pretending at anything else. Kahlan's hips arch into nothing, begging for more contact, and Nicci obliges her with firm strokes of what could be fingers or a tongue or something altogether different.
It's getting harder for Kahlan to reconcile the things she's feeling with the sight of Nicci standing several paces away, eyes glowing gold as she traces intricate patterns into the air. Simply being touched like this, by anyone, would be overwhelming in itself—but feeling the touch while her eyes tell her that it can't be happening dizzies her, makes her head swim. Her head falls back against the trunk of the tree, her eyes slamming shut as she jerks into the magic.
Then something is teasing at the entrance to her sex, something so firm and solid that Kahlan's eyes shoot back open, sure that it must actually be there, but there is nothing but air. With a whimper, Kahlan closes her eyes once more, focusing on the sensations flooding her body with heat. Nicci pushes into her then, filling her with a void that grows and widens until it hits every spot within Kahlan that she could never reach, never knew existed.
Kahlan's fingers scratch at the dirt underneath her, closing around handfuls of leaves and twigs and just as quickly releasing them. The magic filling her so perfectly shifts and pulses as Nicci settles into a rhythm, and Kahlan can hear the blonde's breath quickening, coming in short shallow gasps as her power thrusts in and out.
She was already painfully aroused when she came out here, having looked forward to this time away from camp for longer than she would care to admit. It doesn't take long before Kahlan can feel her body tightening, her own magic straining against her careful control. Her hair catches on the rough bark of the tree as she presses her head back against it, arching into Nicci's invisible touch as it pushes her steadily up and over the edge.
When her power breaks free, Kahlan barely remembers to stifle her cries as her climax crashes over her. They are far enough from camp that Kahlan doesn't expect any of her companions to wander across them, but not so far that someone will not come running if they hear her scream.
Panting, Kahlan slumps back against the tree as Nicci's magic fades. "You've done that before." The accusation is blunted by the breathless nature of Kahlan's voice, the heaving of her breasts as she struggles to regain her composure. Her skin still tingles from Nicci's power.
When she doesn't receive an immediate response, Kahlan slides her eyes open, and nearly gasps all over again at the sight of Nicci's expression. The golden glow is gone from Nicci's eyes; they glimmer instead with an astonished sort of appreciation that holds magic of a different variety. Whatever questions Nicci had in coming here, she has clearly found some kind of answer.
With a slight shake of her head, Nicci comes back to herself, her gaze growing guarded once more. Her careful mask of cool detachment slides back into place, and a wry smirk teases at her lips. "You didn't think the Sisters of the Light spent all those years together on our knees worshiping the Creator, did you?"
Kahlan blushes, and she notices that there is a similar flush on Nicci's cheeks—only Nicci is far from embarrassed. It's clear from the dark, hungry look in her eyes that pleasuring Kahlan was anything but a chore, but it clearly didn't come close to satisfying her own desires. She's not sure what makes the words spring to her lips, other than simple gratitude, but they come nonetheless. "Did you want me to—"
Nicci chuckles at Kahlan's flustered gestures, but there is an uneasy glint that flashes through her eyes; she doesn't trust Kahlan. It's a curious thing, but not unexpected. If there's one thing Kahlan learned being tied to every one of Nicci's emotions for three days, it's that Nicci despises not being in control.
“Maybe another time," Nicci says, taking a step backward.
Heat floods Kahlan's body anew at the thought of this happening again, and she looks away, not wanting Nicci to see just how badly she wants it. It's wrong, and she shouldn't have even allowed it this time, but the promise of a touch that is not her own is even more tempting now that she's felt it. If Nicci comes to her again, she's not sure she will be able to say no.
When she looks back up, Nicci is gone.