Title: That's What Friends Are For
Fandom: Legend of the Seeker
Pairing: Cara/Kahlan, pre-femslash
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Summary: Kahlan thanks Cara for coming to rescue her from the dungeon.
Note: Takes place directly after episode 2x13 "Princess".
It was dark by the time they stopped walking and Cara had to hike her dress up to avoid tripping as she searched the area around their campsite for an acceptable place to change.
When she had walked far enough away from the campsite not to be seen she stopped and leaned against a tree. Normally she would have walked farther away to ensure her privacy, but her feet were killing her and she did not want to take one step further than was necessary in the uncomfortable shoes she'd been wearing for the past two days.
Cara braced herself against the tree and lifted her foot. A soft relieved sigh escaped from her lips a second later as she slipped the blasted shoe off and freed her foot from its torturous confines.
Cara did not start at the sound of Kahlan's voice. She hadn't heard the Mother Confessor following her, but she was accustomed enough to Kahlan popping out at her that it no longer alarmed her or irritated her.
"Why?" Cara asked as she dropped her bare foot to the ground.
"I didn't realize how awful those shoes were," Kahlan responded moving close enough to Cara that the blonde could see her face. "I should have let you change when you wanted to."
"I'll survive," Cara murmured as she pushed away from the tree.
Standing tall before Kahlan put all of her weight back on her aching feet and they screamed in agony, but Cara paid no attention to the discomfort. It was only pain. She was its mistress, not the other way around. A few blisters were not going to make her look weak in front of the woman standing by her.
"Yes, of course you will," Kahlan responded, smiling gently as she came to a stop just in front of the Mord'Sith. "You're very strong," the Mother Confessor breathed out, the curve of her lips taking on a teasing edge as she reached out and squeezed Cara's ruffle covered bicep. "I'm lucky the dress didn't run away in fear when it was confronted with your terrifying visage."
Cara stared at Kahlan blankly, her green eyes boring into the Confessor's blue ones, her face giving absolutely nothing of what she was thinking away. In response to the Mord'Sith's look Kahlan merely chuckled however and then lightly and rubbed her hand against Cara's arm affectionately for a moment before she drew her hand back into her body.
"I wanted to say thank you," Kahlan said once they were no longer touching.
Cara's lips twitched though she did not quite smile.
"You didn't look like you needed much help," the blonde drawled. She sounded pleased by this however, impressed even, and Kahlan smiled again although this time it was a tad bashful and she dropped her eyes away from Cara.
"I did what needed to be done, but I felt much better about my chances of actually getting out of there alive after I saw you," Kahlan admitted.
Even in that dress Cara was an imposing figure and a feeling of relief had gone through Kahlan when her eyes had spotted the blonde.
"Oh course you did," Cara responded, a full smile appearing on her lips. "I'm very strong. I'm surprised the Sisters of the Dark didn't run away when confronted with my terrifying visage."
Kahlan smiled widely at that and reached out to touch Cara's arm again.
"It's not so terrible right now," Kahlan breathed out. "You look quite … fetching actually."
Cara's lip curled up as her nose crinkled in distaste and Kahlan found herself laughing once again.
"Was there a reason you followed me out here other than mockery?" Cara asked a touch peevishly.
Kahlan met Cara's eyes and looked at her very somberly for a moment before she slowly shook her head, no.
Cara held Kahlan's eyes for a few moments after the brunette's response, but eventually her resolve broke and she felt herself start to grin.
"I should have left you in the dungeon," Cara muttered turning her head away from Kahlan. Her words were combative but there was affection in her tone and Kahlan simply smiled in response.
"If you'd done that, who would follow you out into the woods in the middle of the night to mock you?" Kahlan teased.
"Zedd," Cara responded without missing a beat. "The Wizard did show his barbarous tongue while you were locked up twiddling your thumbs," the blonde went on, a slow grin spreading across her lips as Kahlan's eyes widened in surprise.
The Mother Confessor was thoughtfully silent for a moment but after a few seconds her eyes lit up with amusement and she smirked.
"Dear Cara I must say you have me impressed, who knew such eloquence could result from a dress," the brunette replied her smirk still firmly in place as Cara pursed her lips and glowered at her.
A moment later the Mord'Sith turned her back on Kahlan and began to try and remove the infernal dress in question.
"Let me help," Kahlan said placing a hand on Cara's shoulder.
The blonde tensed at the contact but after a moment she relaxed again and spoke.
"I can do it myself," she said shortly.
"But it would be easier if I helped," Kahlan responded ignoring the blonde's tone. "Allowing others to help us doesn't diminish us Cara, it makes us stronger. I got out of the dungeon myself, but if you hadn't shown up the Sisters of the Dark would have overwhelmed me and killed me. Just because you can do something alone, it doesn't mean that you have to or that you should."
Cara held Kahlan's gaze for a moment and then sighed softly and looked away. It was just a dress. She could remove it easily herself. She had, after all managed to stuff herself into it. She didn't really see why Kahlan felt the need to make a speech about it, but she had spent enough time around the Mother Confessor to know that the woman had set her mind to helping her and that it would be easier on her if she just let Kahlan help. After all, Cara had just spent two days around overly chatty women and she didn't care for the idea of listening to Kahlan talk about feelings and togetherness and compassion.
"Fine. Help," Cara muttered morosely, making certain to roll her eyes while Kahlan's gaze was on her so that the Mother Confessor would know she was doing this under duress.
The brunette simply smiled in the face of Cara's peevishness however, and moved her hands to the laces that helped hold together the dress. She worked methodically in the silence that fell between them until the laces were undone and it would be easy for Cara to slide out of the dress. Kahlan then stepped back and eyed Cara speculatively.
"What?" the Mord'Sith asked, her head dipping down despite herself to see if something had suddenly gone very wrong with her.
"You look nice in the dress," Kahlan responded thoughtfully, "but you don't seem quite you." The brunette smiled a little shyly. "I think I miss the leather."
"So do I," Cara responded in a tone that was less dour than she had intended. "I say we use this for kindling. I'll enjoy watching it burn," she continued fingering the material of the dress with distaste.
Kahlan eyed the dress one last time with a playfully mourning expression.
"So long pretty dress, you did well," she murmured. "My beating heart and I will remember you fondly," she continued sorrowfully stroking a ruffle.
"Go away," Cara muttered knocking Kahlan's had away from her though she wasn't quite able to stop a touch of amusement from showing in her voice.
"Okay," Kahlan said holding up her hands innocently. "I'm going," she announced but despite her words she made no effort to move.
Cara's eyebrows scrunched together and she stared at Kahlan suspiciously.
"Are you feeling things?" the blonde asked hesitantly, trepidation and bewilderment warring for dominance in her tone.
"Yes," Kahlan responded smiling softly as she took a step towards Cara. Cara's back tensed and for a second her eyes took on a wild look as if she was contemplating punching Kahlan in the face before taking off into the woods.
Kahlan paused for a moment, giving Cara a chance to adjust to her and then she stepped closer and wrapped her arms around the blonde, hugging her.
"It means a lot to me that you went through all of this," Kahlan said, brushing her fingers over the dress, "to help me. Thank you," she finished pulling back from Cara enough that she could place a gentle kiss on her cheek.
Cara blinked quickly for a few seconds and then turned her head to the side so that she wasn't looking directly as the brunette.
"I'm glad you were not branded, maimed, killed or otherwise permanently damaged," the blonde finally murmured still averting her eyes.
Kahlan watched her fondly for a moment and then sighed softly.
"Hurry back to camp. Dinner will be ready soon and if you wait too long Zedd will eat your portion."
Cara snorted indelicately.
"If you're standing too close to the stew pot, Zedd will eat you."
Kahlan smirked in response. She would never say so out loud to Cara, but it amused her to no end when the Mord'Sith and the Wizard snapped at each other like bored old ladies.
"Well, I'm off," Kahlan said, "don't be long," and with that she turned and headed back through the trees the way she had come.
Cara stood still watching Kahlan as she walked away until the Mother Confessor's form disappeared. A crooked smile came to Cara's lips as she stared at the spot where she had last been able to make Kahlan out. After a few seconds a staring at nothing with a smile, Cara shook her head at her own foolishness and quite leisurely set about removing the dress and putting on her leathers, secure in the knowledge that despite her warning last words Kahlan would be protecting a nice warm bowl of stew for her when she returned to camp.