CHAPTER 4 ONE KISS-

Cara rarely admitted to enjoying anything aside from battle, however, alone with her own thoughts she couldn't deny that she much preferred the early morning when it was still pitch black and everything was quiet, particularly Richard and the wizard. She was free to keep watch with nobody prattling on about how well she behaved that particular day, or how she had failed again in one way or another. And she could keep watch without the always probing eyes of the Mother Confessor burning through her leathers.

Cara had almost grown accustomed to being watched by Kahlan. At first, she had been entertained by the hostile glares she'd been given. She was used to those type of stares and if she were honest, she liked them. It reminded the one staring of who she and it kept her connected to who she was, especially when the pain of what she'd learned in Stowecroft threatened to become too much. Gradually the looks began to change. They became curious as if Kahlan were trying to see into Cara's soul, but that only amused Cara further because she knew there was nothing for her to see, so as before, she ignored them.

Then Cara made the mistake of dropping her guard the day that she had saved the Nightwisps, forgetting herself long enough to reveal her amazement at the beautiful site of a million little baby wisps filling the air. and the looks shifted again. Curious gave way to sympathetic and gentle and those were intolerable to Cara.

For days she'd endured those looks along with incessant attempts by Kahlan to talk about her experience and it was maddening. What made it worse is that she sometimes found herself wanting to open up to Kahlan and that made her...itchy, so she channeled her aggravation into her fighting, almost grateful each time a soldier or thief or even the Dark Sisters attacked but even that backfired.

As Cara eagerly fought those stupid enough to challenge the Seeker, she found herself frequently distracted by Kahlan's elegant movements as she fought beside of her, not to mention the flash of thigh she received each time Kahlan threw a kick at one of her attackers. She was truly magnificent and Cara had nearly lost her head a few times due to her distraction. She had always known that Kahlan had a fire beneath that gentle facade she wore so proudly. She'd seen it directed at her often enough, but watching Kahlan fight was something all together different. Cara thought it appeared as if she were actually seducing her prey before killing them and seeing the triumphant, glowing expression on her flushed face after battle had to be one of the most erotic things Cara had ever witnessed. She had soon discovered a hunger for the Confessor that far exceeded anything else she'd ever experienced. It was an almost constant ache which grew each time she looked at Kahlan and she didn't like it at all. However that hunger was nothing compared to the looks Kahlan had started giving her over the last two weeks.

Cara wasn't sure what had caused it or even when it had started but one night at the fire, Richard and Zedd were having a spirited debate over some trivial thing and Cara, who had been leaning casually against a log, one leg bent at the knee as she lovingly attended her agiels, looked up to find Kahlan watching her as usual but this time there was an expression in her eyes that Cara knew all too well. Kahlan Amnell wanted her and that realization sent a matching shock of desire through her. Kahlan immediately looked away believing Cara hadn't seen her and Cara let her, but she had felt the heat of those ice blue eyes on her constantly since then and it came close to making her crazy.

There were more times than she cared to think about where Cara nearly gave into that heat but she held back. She would never admit it even under the threat of torture, but if she gave Kahlan what she wanted, what they both wanted, the guilt of betraying Richard would destroy her and Cara could not bring herself to do that to a woman who had the heart of a warrior and one who had somehow forced herself under Cara's skin, so she had followed Kahlan's lead. She had pretended not to notice Kahlan's wanting glances just as Kahlan pretended she hadn't been looking at Cara when their eyes did meet and she tried harder than she had ever tried anything, not to notice the long beautiful leg exposed through the cursed slits in her dress any time Kahlan took a step. She failed miserably at it and each minute they traveled became a glorious sort of torture. When they made camp, Cara made sure she took first watch, needing the time alone to rid herself of the near painful desire that had built up during the day. Cara was not a woman that usually denied herself pleasure of any sort and doing so now was making her extremely agitated.

A sharp crack of a tree branch, broke into Cara's thoughts and her hands went to her agiels, hoping for a fight to rid herself of the frustration boiling inside of her. Her heart clenched when she saw the subject of her thoughts standing in front of her.

"You should be asleep," Cara stated roughly, refusing to acknowledge how beautiful Kahlan looked in the moonlight; blue eyes gleaming brightly and her dark hair looking so impossibly soft, Cara was nearly consumed with the urge to touch it.

"I can't sleep," Kahlan replied quietly, running her eyes over the woman who had completely invaded her every waking thought.

For the last several days Kahlan been aware Cara was avoiding her and initially she'd been grateful for it. She had only just begun to accept that she had developed feelings for Cara. Strong feelings that had her looking at the blonde in a way that often left her burning with something she refused to name. She was also confused and not a little guilty because she was supposed to have these feelings for Richard and she had been forced to acknowledge that she didn't. She hadn't felt that way about Richard for some time and she knew she couldn't continue to let him think she did, but she just couldn't stop thinking about Cara long enough to figure out how.

Once Cara had started avoiding her it had finally allowed Kahlan the space to clear her head enough to talk to Richard and tell him the truth about where her heart lay. It hadn't been easy but it had to be done and while he was hurt, he told her he had suspected that her feelings for Cara had changed and grown into something beyond friendship even if he was worried that she had given her heart to a woman who most likely didn't want it. Kahlan sadly agreed but Richard just kissed her cheek and told her that if he wasn't the one to make her happy, he could think of nobody else he trusted more than Cara to love her as she deserved, but she definitely had her work cut out for her.

Kahlan had wept in Richard's arms for a long while as he assured her he would always be her friend. When they parted she had felt as if a weight had been lifted from her. She was free and she needed to find out once and for all if Cara had felt the pull between them. Tonight she finally had her opportunity. When Cara had predictably headed off to the woods alone, Kahlan had waited for Richard and Zedd to fall asleep and then followed her.

She had easily found Cara standing in a small clearing, her back to Kahlan and clearly so lost in her thoughts she didn't even notice Kahlan's approach so Kahlan took a moment to study her. Yes, Cara Mason was an impossibly beautiful woman with a body to match and the tight red leathers she wore so proudly only served to enhance every line and curve to perfection, but Kahlan had seen many women just as beautiful and had never felt even a flicker of attraction. No, it wasn't Cara's physical perfection that had her heart pounding each time she was near the frustrating woman. It was everything about her. It was the perpetual irritability and impatience that easily gave way to reluctant surrender whenever Kahlan asked something of her. It was the way she so often risked her life for Kahlan even though her only duty was to Richard and the gentle way she cared for her while she healed, despite the air of being inconvenienced she presented. Kahlan was even drawn to Cara's infuriating arrogance because she alone had been allowed to see the vulnerability it hid. And it was her eyes. Those big beautiful eyes that often betrayed the emotions she tried so hard to pretend she didn't have and a smile that could melt the hardest steel.

As if being pulled by magic, Kahlan could no longer stay silent and she stepped forward, unwittingly breaking a branch, drawing Cara's attention.

"Shouldn't you be sleeping?" Cara asked, an expression on her face that Kahlan couldn't decipher.

"I couldn't sleep." Kahlan's heart was racing, but it wasn't with fear. It was anticipation. She was not a woman who second guessed herself. As Mother Confessor she couldn't afford to be that woman. She stepped closer to Cara and saw her swallow almost nervously and that was all she needed.

Cara saw the intent in Kahlan's eyes and the desire that swept through her had her trembling.

"Is that so?" she asked softly. "I assume, since you sought me out, that I have something to do with that?"

Kahlan shivered at the throaty sound of Cara's voice but still managed a smile. "Not only beautiful, but smart too."'

"Kahlan, what are you doing?" Cara asked tightly.

"What I've been wanting to do for weeks now," Kahlan replied, stepping even closer. It sometimes surprised her to remember that Cara was actually a few inches shorter than her. Cara was such a fierce, imposing woman she seemed to tower over everyone. She placed a hand on Cara's cheek, thrilling at the softness of her skin. She leaned forward, smirking at the hitch in Cara's breath. Knowing she had that effect on the moody Mord'Sith was extremely exciting.

"Kahlan, we can't."

Kahlan heard the disappointment in Cara's voice and her smile grew. "If you're worried about Richard, don't be. We talked a few days ago and I told him that my heart was no longer his."

Cara's breath caught in her throat. "What?"

Kahlan felt her face heat and she found herself suddenly nervous. What if she had been wrong? "I..." she laughed nervously. "Maybe this was a mistake."

Cara was suddenly afraid. She knew that if Kahlan ran now, they would never get this chance back. She reached out and took Kahlan's arm, stopping her before she could walk away.

"Please don't go," she whispered.

Kahlan's heart flipped as once again, Cara's eyes, pierced her heart. "Cara, I don't know how it happened or if you even wanted it, but you pushed your way into my heart. I care for you, more than I thought possible."

"Really?"

"Creator, those eyes will be the death of me," Kahlan whispered brokenly, captivated by the look of hopeful joy she saw. She cupped Cara's face in her hands.

"Really," she answered and then lowered her head, pressing her lips to Cara's and her knees nearly collapsed to discover they truly were as soft as they appeared.

Cara knew sex. She knew desire and passion and how to use them, but the feel of Kahlan's lips against hers was none of those things, yet it was all of them and Cara needed more. She lifted her own hands and slid them into the dark curls, wishing she had thought to remove her gloves.

"Cara," Kahlan whispered, savoring Cara's sweet breaths against her lips. "Is this something you want?"

Several replies crossed her mind, but for once had no desire to be sarcastic or indifferent. She stroked Kahlan's face. "Yes. More than I have ever wanted anything in my life," she said seriously. "You are all that I want." Then it was her turn to capture Kahlan's lips and this time she held nothing back. She offered Kahlan fire and Kahlan accepted it.

Kahlan nearly collapsed as Cara's lips possessed hers with the same sensual intensity that she did everything. Those beautiful full lips managed to caress as well as consume her own as she deepened the kiss. Kahlan couldn't hold back a whimper as a warm silky tongue slid against hers, sending a jolt far more powerful than an agiel and far more pleasurable.

Cara was lost. Kahlan's kisses were like nothing she'd ever experienced and she knew that now that she'd had a taste, she would never have enough. Suddenly Kahlan's lips were gone and she growled in protest which quickly faded at the soft laugh in her ear. She opened her mouth to express her displeasure at being laughed at, but then Kahlan's hot mouth was at her throat.

"Creator!" Cara hissed as Kahlan nipped at her throat before soothing it with her tongue.

"I've never wanted anyone or anything the way I want you," Kahlan whispered as she licked a trail up Cara's neck.

"I'm yours Kahlan," Cara replied sincerely. "I always have been." And then Kahlan's lips were once more on hers, telling Cara that Kahlan was hers as well.

ONE KISS-EPILOGUE

ONE YEAR LATER

Kahlan entered her private chambers, relieved that the long day had finally ended. At least she didn't have to confess anyone. It wasn't that she disliked her magic or her responsibilities. In fact, she embraced them but now, almost every time she put her hand on someone's throat she saw a flash of Cara the day she nearly confessed her and the single tear that pushed its way through the ice around Kahlan's heart. With each confession she was reminded of how close she'd come to letting her own feelings override justice and ending the life of the most complicated and loyal person she'd ever met and she used that memory to make sure she never again lost the purpose of what she did.

Closing and locking the door behind her, Kahlan entered her rooms and walked straight to the large balcony. She smiled as she spied the familiar sight of Cara standing stiffly in the fading light of early evening, looking out at the city as if daring it to irritate her.

She stepped up close to Cara but didn't touch her, finding it odd that she hadn't noticed her enter. Cara could hear a fly buzzing in the hallway.

"Is there any particular reason you're staring at me?" Cara finally spoke, repeating one of the first questions she'd ever asked Kahlan.

Kahlan's smile widened as she finally slid her arms around the shorter blonde and rested her chin on the leather clad shoulder.

"Because you're letting me," she whispered into Cara's ear before kissing her cheek.

Cara turned in Kahlan's arms and her face lit up in a rare smile. The smile that had first touched Kahlan's heart.

Kahlan placed her hand on Cara's cheek, thumb trailing over the smiling lips, the way she had wanted to so long ago. "Oh Cara," she said softly, shaking her head.

"What?" Cara asked, suddenly afraid Kahlan was about to send her packing.

Kahlan just smiled. "You pride yourself on your fierceness, your strength and your grouchiness…"

"I'm not grouchy," Cara interrupted irritably.

Kahlan placed her fingers over Cara's lips. "You are," she said with a smile, "but there's one thing you've never understood. While you are indeed a formidable warrior, this," she stroked the soft full lips, shivering as Cara's warm tongue flicked out playfully against her thumb. "This is your biggest weapon. You can break me with just a smile," she said honestly.

"I would never want to break a spirit such as yours," Cara protested.

"I know," Kahlan replied soothingly. "I just...I would never ask you to change who you are. In fact, most of the time I find your crankiness rather attractive" Kahlan paused as she fought a laugh. Poor Cara looked as if she was struggling between being offended and making a suggestive comment about her attractiveness. "But those moments you let your guard down for me," she continued with the soft look she knew would ease Cara's irritation, "you have no idea how much that means to me. And your smile…your beautiful smile over something as simple as the birth of a Nightwisp, that was what opened my heart enough to begin to let you in."

Cara wanted to brush off the disturbing conversation. She was not, nor would she ever be comfortable discussing emotions, but looking into the blue eyes that pierced her heart in a way nobody or nothing ever had, she would do so. To an extent.

"Only for you, Kahlan. You are the only one who can draw a smile from me and you are the only one I will ever trust to see it."

Tears sprung to Kahlan's eyes knowing that no declaration of undying love or books of poetry would ever mean as much.

"I shudder when I think of how close I came to killing you," Kahlan whispered, her hand dropping to caress Cara's throat.

"I deserved it," Cara said simply, swallowing at the feel of Kahlan's long fingers stroking her skin.

"No you didn't and you yourself convinced me of that more than any testimony I heard at your trial."

And once again the adorably confused frown made an appearance.

"How? I told you to confess me."

Kahlan closed her eyes as the pain of that moment washed over her. "I heard you but Cara, but it wasn't your words that moved me. It was a single tear that destroyed my blind hatred. You opened yourself to me in that moment and I got a glimpse of that heart you're so protective of."

"Yet you continued to insult me for weeks," Cara argued, choosing not to remember the things Kahlan had thrown at her regarding her father.

Kahlan looked away with shame. "I know and I regret that more than you will ever know. I just… I felt myself…" she paused, uncertain of what she wanted to say but knowing nothing could justify her cruelty.

"You felt that to not insult me would be a betrayal of your sister," Cara said simply and Kahlan looked up at eyes that weren't angry, merely curious.

"Yes."

"I can understand that," Cara stated honestly.

Kahlan stared at the beautiful, complicated blonde in utter wonder. "I wonder if I will ever understand you," she said with a gentle smile.

"I hope not," Cara muttered uncomfortably.

Kahlan laughed. "Don't worry my little Mord'Sith, you will forever be a deadly mystery to the rest of the world.

Cara didn't know how to respond to that. Her instinct was to offer a sarcastic retort and leave it that but, something about Kahlan had her lowering her guard and happy to do so. Feeling out of her element, she chose the Mord'Sith way and picked action over words and wrapped her arms around the Mother Confessor and kissed her with all the warmth, love and gratitude she was unable to express.

Kahlan's knees nearly gave out as Cara's lips moved over hers, grateful she'd learned a while ago that Cara's contradictions continued even in passion as the woman somehow managed to blend fierce and tender into every kiss and every touch and Kahlan simply couldn't get enough.

Finally, Cara pulled away, breathless. "I suppose this means that if I ever wish you to obey me, I just need to smile at you?"

Kahlan laughed, stroking a thumb over those full tempting lips. "You can always try it and find out," she teased, knowing that one full, heartfelt smile from Cara would have Kahlan willing to do anything, just to see it again.

"I love you Kahlan," Cara blurted and the earnestness in those eyes had tears springing to Kahlan's.

"Oh Cara, I love you too. With all my heart," and knowing Cara would quickly become uncomfortable with the serious emotions, Kahlan kissed her and let her hands and her lips continue to show the unsure woman just how very much she was loved.

THE END