Title: Unbound

Pairing: Cara/Kahlan Legend of the Seeker

Rating: R for violence and mention of attempted rape

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters the show or anything. No infringement intended, no profit made.

Spoilers: YES. From 2x14 "Bound"

Summary: After the events from 'Bound' Kahlan can't sleep.

The stars glimmer softly in the velvet sky and the night is gentle, but Kahlan shivers, her jaw aching and her fingers clenching painfully around her own arms. Behind her Zedd and Richard sleep peacefully and the embers of the fire dim, and somewhere in the darkness she knows Cara is patrolling. For the moment however, Kahlan is utterly alone.

Alone, but not enough.

She can't stop feeling the phantom hands on her body; lips crushed against her own as a sickening arousal that didn't belong to her swirled in her belly. She keeps re-living the sharp pain of blows she never saw coming and could do nothing to avoid. The Confessor can almost feel the web of memory close around her, pinning her like the weight of a man she couldn't see, couldn't stop, couldn't fight. Her body is taught, muscles strung wire tight as she fights a loosing battle against her own memory, alone in the silent night.

"Shouldn't you be asleep, you've had a long day."

Not alone as she thought.

The words are like a knife, clean and bright, that severs the clinging tendrils of what might have been from Kahlan's mind. They ease something that had been close to breaking inside her and she lets out a slow breath, forcing her fingers to relax their grip and turning to find Cara standing just behind her. The Mord Sith is braced as if for a fight, but there is a vulnerability in her expression, in the tilt of her head, that gives her away, just as the genuine care beneath the veneer of mockery gives lie to her words.

Kahlan's lips twitch in an almost-smile.

Poor Cara. The angry, wild warrior has changed greatly in the short time since she joined her life to Richard's, but emotions still aren't something she deals with easily.

That understanding lends those hesitant words weight and for a moment the warmth of gratitude warms Kahlan before a chill breeze touches the cut on her cheek, and she once again feels invisible blows.

She tries to hide the flinch, but she hears the hiss of anger and knows that the Mord Sith has seen.

"Kahlan." Her name. Nothing more, but there is a fierceness and a tenderness and an almost painful need to fix it, that erodes the last shred of stubborn pride that drove the Confessor away from the fire to confront her demons alone.

"I…I keep feeling the fight. I keep feeling…" she can't finish.

The sound of leather creaking reaches her ears and then she nearly jumps as a hand – its ever present leather covering gone – gently touches her shoulder.

"She did more than just get hit." It's not a question and Kahlan looks sharply at the other woman.

In the starlight, glacial green eyes are colorless, but the Confessor watches Cara's jaw working and sees the turmoil inside the other woman.

"It's what I would have done." The truth, as bare and harsh as she can make it, and yet…

It means Kahlan doesn't have to explain what nearly happened to her.

The Confessor merely nods and turns away, only to be stopped, and surprised, by a second touch.

Moving warily, as if unsure of her own intention, Cara reaches up and cups Kahlan's cheek, thumb stroking the abraded skin with such tenderness it makes the dark haired woman gasp. Her eyes flutter as the Mord Sith's other hand slides over her shoulder to trace delicate fingers across the place where spider bites had blossomed, angry and red.

This time it is Kahlan's heart that flutters.

"Cara." Just a name, but it is pulled from her lips without thought, and she barely knows why.

The tender touch sills and suddenly Kahlan understands.

"I don't want to remember," she whispers, swallowing hard. Something has given way, and right now, she doesn't care if it is seen as weakness, or that her voice breaks or that tears spill from beneath her lashes.

"Then don't," comes the reply, at once begging and commanding and the gentle touch resumes.

Her cheeks, her lips, her neck, her shoulders, Cara touches her. Slowly, softly, with a patience Kahlan never guessed at, Cara maps Kahlan's body with her hands. They stand together in the starlit darkness, surrounded by the forest and the night as gradually, the tension is drained from Kahlan's muscles. Slowly, elegant fingers normally hidden by leather gloves chase away the sensation of pain and fear, leaving a soft pleasure in their wake. Slowly, Cara's touch seems to grow warm, even through Kahlan's dress, until that heat begins to spread to her skin and blood and her pulse begins to speed.


.The questions comes unbidden, but once spoken, can't be taken back.

The tender touch stills and for an instant, Kahlan's heart leaps in fear that she has shattered the fledgling connection between them. She opens her eyes and watches Cara closely as anger tightens the younger woman's features, but realizes with a start it no longer scares her. She understands now that Cara's anger is most often directed inward.

"I was… scared today. I thought...we lost you." The admission comes slowly, as if being pulled from somewhere inside the younger woman and Cara looks away, jaw clenching, though her hands are still gentle where they rest against Kahlan's waist.

The Confessor watches the struggle of emotion on Cara's face with the sudden clarity that there is no barrier to her now – the Mord Sith is almost painfully easy to read and Kahlan can see the truth of what has been left unsaid. "I almost lost you" is written in the gentle shine of jade colored eyes and tightness in a leather clad body as clearly as if it were shouted to the heavens.

Kahlan also sees that those words can't be said yet. She could force them from Cara - she has that power over her now - but the Confessor can see the wound it would leave in the younger woman's heart. So she lets it go. Instead, with a finger, she lifts Cara's chin so their eyes meet. She means to say something light, about how she can't leave Richard or he'd never make it to the Stone of Tears, but something in the way Cara trembles ever so slightly under her touch stills the words in her throat and what comes out is far different.

"I won't leave you Cara."

Once again the Confessor watches a fierce battle play out in the Mord Sith's eyes – the desire to trust running headlong into the knowledge that has been literally beaten into her since she was a child; that life is cruel, and people leave.

Kahlan can see the moment doubt begins to win the silent struggle and doesn't think. Slipping her hands up to cup Cara's face, she kisses the other woman. She intends it to be gentle – chaste – merely a distraction and a promise that she means what she says.

But the lips beneath hers are impossibly soft; the hands that hold her gentle and warm and the body that she is pressed against yields, curving around her own. One of them deepens the kiss, slowly, but neither backs away until Kahlan is lost in the feeling of Cara's mouth, the younger woman's tongue teasing her own, tender and slow but so damnably sure.

They kiss until their bodies mold to each other, hands holding each other close and tangling in silken hair; until Kahlan can't remember how to breathe or whether they are still standing: Until the memories of phantom hands and invisible pain are replaced by a bright, pure desire that dances in her blood and makes her heart race in joy.

After a moment – an eternity – Cara gentles the kiss, finally pressing her lips against the corner of Kahlan's mouth, her cheeks and her forehead.

Opening eyes that are glazed by untainted passion, Kahlan nearly asks 'why' but Cara is looking at her, and in the unflinching gaze, Kahlan sees the answer, tangled up in the woman that Cara is becoming: A woman who wants, inside a warrior who needs an enemy to fight, and somewhere, within them both, a child who desperately needs to make things right.

Kahlan isn't sure what is more of a marvel; the journey Cara walks, or that that journey has led her here, to this instant, to Kahlan's side, where the Confessor freely admits - if only for this moment - that she desperately needs her.

"Thank you," seems painfully inadequate, but it is all she can say.

Cara merely nods, stepping back.

"You really should try to sleep." This time there is not even the hint of mockery, only kindness.

Kahlan looks back through the bushes to the dying fire where the slumbering forms of Zedd and Richard mere shadows.

"I'll be right here," Cara says softly.

And Kahlan knows she will be. All night, whether or not she should be resting as well. Cara will be here, prowling the dark so that Kahlan can sleep. The Confessor reaches up one last time to trace her fingers across Cara's cheek before turning and walking back to her bedroll. As she lies down, she catches a last glimpse of starlight on blonde hair before her body gives in to exhaustion and the memory of soft, full lips against her own carries her into darkness.