Disclaimer: No, I do not own Legend of the Seeker. If I did, a certain someone would probably still be alive.
Warning: Spoilers for the end of Episode 10 (Perdition). If you haven't seen it, don't read it.
This is just a quick little something I whipped up after watching Perdition. I haven't done much fan fiction in a while, but I really felt like that episode needed one more scene to give it a sense of closure. This is my idea of what that scene should have been. Enjoy! :) And as always, please review! :D
I'll Protect You From the Chipmunks
The stars were still shining brightly when Kahlan opened her eyes. For a moment she lay there quietly, staring up at the night and drinking in the quiet peace. Zedd and Richard were both fast asleep nearby. Richard. The sight of him lying close-by once more warmed Kahlan's heart. A small smile touched her lips. Just having him nearby made her feel that much safer. How she had missed him! Missed his warm smile and his laughing voice, the sound of him fighting beside her and the sight of him sleeping peacefully across the fire. The feeling of his strong arms around her...
A soft sound caught Kahlan's ear: a quiet, ragged breath. The Mother Confessor turned over and caught sight of Cara standing on the edge of the camp keeping watch, her red leather visible in the moonlight. She had offered to take first watch, and by the looks of the stars she had gone and taken all of them. Kahlan felt her heart go out. She knew the Mord'Sith must be breaking inside, despite her efforts to hide it. Cara had allowed Leo to get into her heart, had allowed herself to care about him, even to love him. And now he was gone.
The Mother Confessor was known for being able to move quietly, but as she stood to her feet she made a point of making noise. At the first rustling of her dress, Cara's red-gloved hand jerked up and wiped away a lone tear that had begun to make its way down her cheek. By the time Kahlan reached her there was only her hardened Mord'Sith mask.
"The night's almost gone," Kahlan said. "You should've woken someone to take over."
"You need the rest," Cara said simply, refusing to look her direction.
"So do you," Kahlan countered gently.
"I'm not tired," Cara said, still not looking at the Mother Confessor. Kahlan waited a moment, wondering how to say what she had gotten up to say.
"I'm sorry about Leo," she said finally. "I know how much you cared about him. If there was any way-"
"He's dead," Cara said abruptly, turning to Kahlan with anger in her eyes. "Sitting here and weeping won't bring him back. There's no sense wasting time wishing he were still here." She turned away. "We have a quest to focus on."
Anyone else would have thrown up their hands and left. But Kahlan had spent enough time with Cara to be able to read the pain that the Mord'Sith was trying to hide. And she could see the single tear stain that ran the length of Cara's cheek.
Knowing she couldn't leave but not quite sure what to say next, Kahlan turned to survey the scene before her. After burning Leo's body, the foursome had traveled fast. Cara had said not a word all day, keeping her eyes straight ahead. When the sun sank they had made camp on a tree-covered ridge overlooking a wide expanse of forest. Somewhere in those trees was the entrance to the New World. Tomorrow they would be back. Beyond the trees the tops of mountains were just visible. The sky above was clear and speckled with stars. The white moon was full and low, casting its light on the world.
"It's beautiful," Kahlan said quietly, a small smile on her lips.
"I suppose." There was still no emotion in Cara's voice.
"If you'd rather be alone..." Kahlan said, turning to Cara.
"I'd rather you be quiet." She said it brusquely, as if trying to shush an annoying child. But Kahlan could still read the loneliness in her eyes, even without her Confessor powers. It only hardened her determination. She was quiet another moment, wondering what a person was supposed to say to a grieving Mord'Sith.
"When I left Dennee for dead," she began softly, "I didn't think I could go on. It hurt too much to live without her. But I did. I had a mission to fulfill. And I knew that she would want me to keep going." Cara's expression never changed, but the thin line of her mouth had tightened.
"Leo was a good man," Kahlan continued. "He was strong and brave and caring, and he will be deeply missed. I owe him my life." She paused, looking at the Mord'Sith. "He knew you loved him, even if you never said it." Cara continued to stare down at the trees, but there was obvious pain in her eyes.
"I know that you're hurting," Kahlan said. "It's alright to grieve for him. But he would want you to go on. He would want you to keep loving, to keep laughing." She took a step towards Cara. "I know it hurts, and I know you'll never forget him. And you shouldn't. But it will get better." She paused a moment to let her words soak in. Then she reached out and lay a hand on the Mord'Sith's shoulder. Cara stiffened and stared at the hand as if trying to decide if it was a threat.
"Richard and Zedd and I are here for you whenever you need anything," Kahlan said.
She removed her hand, but made no move to leave. The two women stood together in silence for a long time. Cara would never have admitted it to anyone, but she was glad not to be alone. A short while later the moon sank and the stars began to fade. The sky began to turn from dark blue to purple, to red, to orange, to yellow. The stars twinkled bravely, trying to hang on, but gradually vanished in the wash of color. Mother Confessor and Mord'Sith stood in silence, watching the sun rise and reclaim the sky for its own. It truly was a beautiful thing. Not even Cara would've argued with that.
Kahlan was the first to break the silence.
"We should wake the others," she said. She turned and started back toward the camp, but was stopped by Cara suddenly catching her arm. She turned back, and waited a moment while Cara tried to find her voice.
"Thank-you," Cara said finally. She looked up and met Kahlan's eyes, and there was true gratitude there. For a moment Kahlan didn't know what to say. In the end she gave a small smile and nodded. Cara nodded back. It was all that was needed.
As the Mother Confessor stepped back into the camp, Cara turned back to the brilliant sunrise. She could hear Kahlan wishing the others a good morning, and then she and Richard began talking while Zedd stretched noisily. Cara knew she should join them, but something held her in place. Maybe it was that she wasn't sure how to react to such kindness from the very same Confessor whose sister she had killed. Maybe it was the simple beauty of the sunrise. Leo had liked sunrises. She had watched a few with him, watched how his face lit up just like the sky...
Something moved on the ground to her right and she whirled, hand on her agiel. It was a chipmunk, a nut grasped firmly between his front paws. He froze and stared up at her, trying to decide if she was a threat.
"Could you train a chipmunk?"
"What are you talking about?"
Cara tilted her head and stared at the chipmunk as the memory washed over her.
"To obey your orders. Attack people. It's probably too hard, right? Ahh, a mighty chipmunk. It's fearless. Cunning, stalwart. And sworn enemy of the Mord'Sith. Not even the touch of the agiel can break its tiny but heroic heart."
She had laughed then, laughed at his utterly ridiculous joke. She hadn't laughed like that since... Well, she couldn't even remember the last time she had laughed that hard. Kahlan had almost seemed amazed that she could laugh at all. Leo had just smiled.
"So you do have a sense of humor."
And then when she had tried to shun him, he had only said, "Don't worry. I'll protect you from the chipmunks."
Cara lifted her hand from her agiel. The chipmunk made a noise and then scurried away. She turned back to the sunrise, hardly noticing. Her mind was still with Leo. He had always been like that. Always trying to make her smile, to make her laugh. Even when she hadn't wanted him to.
"Flowers make me sneeze."
"So. What kind of bird would you be?"
"What difference does it make?"
"A blue-tailed seahawk."
"Do you know what kind of bird I'd be?"
"A parrot that doesn't know when to stop talking?"
"A banded falcon. They're the only birds blue-tailed sea hawks will fly with."
"I do care about you. And I think you feel the same."
She had never gotten the chance to tell him the truth.
"I have something to tell you. I just wanted to say..."
"I do care about you."
But it had been too late.
"I do care about you," she repeated softly. There was no one there but the wind and the trees and the sun, but somehow she felt almost as if Leo had heard her this time. It was a strange feeling and she knew it was silly, but it helped ease the pain.
Behind her she could hear the others breaking camp. Zedd was muttering about what he wouldn't give for a nice, juicy apple, and Richard and Kahlan were laughing. Cara took a breath and let it out, making sure she had herself under control. Something had changed. She still missed Leo horribly. But it was a new day, a new start. She still had a mission. There were still people here who needed her.
As she turned to go, a tiny smile touched her face.
"Don't worry," she said softly. "I'll protect them from the chipmunks."