Fire

AN: Listening to a song over and over again will eventually do funny things to your head, like give you an idea for a ficlet. Please keep in mind that this is un-beta'd and written at crack-thirty in the morning, so don't be too harsh.

Summary: Songfic/drabble about Cara's feelings towards Kahlan. Set to Snow Patrol's "Set The Fire to the Third Bar."

Disclaimer: The story is mine, but nothing else is.

Spoilers: Up to 2x13.

Rating: PG for implied Kahlan/Cara

……………………

The pain of watching her run across the sand, running to kiss Richard…it hurt worse than an agiel to the heart. Worse than watching Leo burst into flames. She had just saved her life, just stepped in front of the dagger flying for the Mother Confessor and sent it flying back to Nicci. And still, Kahlan ran to Richard. Cara pretended not to care, pretended to ignore them by going to kneel by Leo's body. But the anguish flickering across her face, the emotional turmoil she was fighting to control – that was for Kahlan.

When Cara put the red flower on Leo's chest, she felt Kahlan's eyes on her every movement. Even as she whispered that she did care about Leo, even as she remembered that one night with him, she remembered her deeper reasons. She cared for Leo, she was willing to admit, finally. But sleeping with him hadn't been from caring. She needed relief. A distraction from feelings deeper than camaraderie with the new Seeker. When Kahlan met Cara's eyes as she handed her the torch, those feelings reemerged.

I touch the place where I'd find your face

My fingers in creases of distant dark places

It had started when she stood before Dennee, or the woman that Dennee's spirit now possessed, and expressed her regret for Valeria. Though she did indeed regret her actions, she didn't say it for Dennee's forgiveness, but Kahlan's. From the corner of her eye, she saw Kahlan's curiosity at her actions, and, somehow, a trace of acceptance and understanding. Cara grasped that trace like a lifeline, trying to keep it in her memory even as Kahlan kissed a living Richard, no one having thought to thank the Mord'Sith until a full day later.

Mord'Sith had no feelings, she tried to remind herself. But Cara was no longer truly a Mord'Sith. She was Richard's protector, exiled from her sisters. For that matter, how many of her sisters remained? It was a poor excuse for her slowly slipping control of her emotions.

Zedd's capture had at least given her something greater to focus on: finding Denna and killing her as painfully as possible. But then Richard left with the Sisters of the Light, and she and Kahlan were left to find Zedd themselves, leaving Cara in an even greater state of turmoil.

Their words mostly noises

Ghosts with just voices

Your words in my memory

Are like music to me

The fight against the D'Harans, which Cara thought may have steadied her, only served to heighten her awareness of the stunning brunette that accompanied her. The two women wove around each other in battle, each movement so in tandem that it was as if practiced, or as if the two had been battling beside each other for their entire lives and not mere months. Cara felt Kahlan's wound like it was her own, but tried to remain coldly calculating and indifferent when the confessor insisted that it was just a scratch.

It was harder to remain cold and calculating when she was pressing the agiel to Kahlan's wound, watching the woman grit her teeth against the excruciating agony. Cara found herself smiling, expressing to Kahlan how impressed she was at her tolerance for pain. Kahlan smiled back, right before she fainted. When she opened her eyes nearly an hour later, she found a cool cloth pressed to her leg and Cara's gloved hand stroking her hair. That was the first night they had slept beside each other, wordlessly spooning in the dark. Cara found comfort in holding the Mother Confessor against her, keeping alert even as the woman in her arms slept. Protecting Kahlan like that, embracing her like that, made her feel strong. Made her feel needed. More than just Lord Rahl's protector.

After I have traveled so far

We'd set the fire to the third bar

We'd share each other like an island

Until exhausted, close our eyelids

Even after Zedd had rejoined them, Kahlan slept beside Cara each night. Even when Cara kept watch, she stayed close to Kahlan's side, feeling a strange overprotectiveness for the confessor, even as the confessor seemed to need to be close to her. At first, a flicker of hope burned within Cara – hope that Kahlan was coming to trust her. But she knew differently. She knew she was just a replacement for Richard. Just someone there for needed comfort. Someone – something – to be used and discarded.

Leo had given Cara an excuse to gravitate away from Kahlan – to attempt to distance herself from whatever unnamed emotions the woman stirred within her. Just when she thought she'd succeeded, Kahlan had said to her that she liked how her laugh sounded. Cara's heart stumbled over its normal rhythm at the confessor's words, to the point where only sex with Leo the next night had brought some stability back to her usual demeanor.

And then Leo died, and Kahlan clung to Richard, and Cara was alone.

Even more alone than when Richard and Kahlan – half of Kahlan – stole away into the night to finally consummate their feelings for one another. Cara wasn't sure why, but the fact that Kahlan didn't remember any of it gave her a sort of perverse comfort.

Even more alone than when she awoke in the Underworld and demanded the deal from Darken Rahl. But she didn't do it to protect Richard, as had been her original mission, but to be with her friends again. Friends. She felt she could call them that. And even when every last shred of Cara's dignity was falling to pieces even as she did literally, Kahlan had put her hand on her shoulder and smiled at her, wishing for the Spirits to be with her. To Cara, that was more life than even Thaddicus had given her in his sacrifice.

And even when Cara was alive again, Kahlan smiled at her, showing acceptance and even caring. It had baffled Cara, perplexing her even as she kept watch that night. She was so distracted by Kahlan's actions that when the confessor herself lay down next to her, she didn't notice until Kahlan rested her hand on Cara's knee. Cara turned her head sharply to gaze into piercing blue eyes, searching for a sign of trickery or a hint that Kahlan might actually be moving in her sleep. But Kahlan gave the blonde a sleepy smile before closing her eyes and huddling deeper in the blankets. When Zedd got up to take his watch, Cara lay beside the Mother Confessor, who didn't protest. When she closed her own eyes, she slipped into the memory of their nights alone as they tracked Denna.

And dreaming pick up from

The last place we left off

Your soft skin is weeping

A joy you can't keep in

"Cara!"

The Mord'Sith turned just in time for Kahlan to toss her a sword from one of the fallen guards. Without another word, the two of them fell into the same pattern, the same woven steps of so long ago when they had fought the D'Haran squad, flowing around each other in perfect synchronicity. Even when Zedd and Richard joined the fight, the two women still held their ground as one magnificent fighting force, gathering strength from each other even as their movements were their own.

Kahlan had teased her about the dress later before going on to tease Richard and Zedd, hugging the wizard gratefully, smiling broadly. Would that such a smile be directed at her, the one who had been by her side when Richard and Zedd weren't. The one who had reached the dungeon first, tearing through the guards to reach the doors. The one who had truly worked the hardest to figure out how to save her, despite the fact that some of it may have been the desire to get out of the dress sooner rather than later. And yet Kahlan's eyes seemed only to be for Richard, Zedd, and even the Margrave's wife, whom she continued to reassure that she would make it safely to her village.

Cara gripped her agiels until her knuckles turned white beneath her gloves, hoping one pain would cancel out the other. The agiels weren't strong enough.

I'm miles from where you are

I lay down on the cold ground

And I, I pray that something picks me up

And sets me down in your warm arms

She heard Kahlan come up behind her as she stood watch. There was no mistaking her stride, the softness of her step, the light, lingering scent that was distinctly hers.

"I never thanked you, Cara," she whispered, stopping just a few inches behind her. The Mord'Sith could feel her light breath on the back of her neck. She shrugged, her leathers creaking – she had finally rid herself of the dress. There was silence for another moment.

"You really do look good in that dress."

Despite herself, Cara felt her lips twitch upwards. "Maybe I'll wear it again for you some time – give you the opportunity to lower the neckline to your satisfaction." Her voice was low and husky, purposely laced with seduction and challenge. She was mildly surprised when Kahlan chuckled, wrapping her arms around her waist (carefully avoiding her agiels) and resting her chin on the blonde's shoulder.

"I'd like that."

I'm miles from where you are

I lay down on the cold ground

And I, I pray that something picks me up

And sets me down in your warm arms

They intended to stay awake, to savor what they could of the warmth of lying with their arms encircling each other. But sleep took them, as it only does those who are perfectly content with not knowing what would come with the fire of the dawn.