Title: Sentimental Fools
Fandom: Legend of the Seeker
Pairing: Cara/Kahlan, friendship/pre-femslash
Words: 3, 527
Disclaimer: I don't own them; I'm just borrowing them for a short period of time.
Summary: A short interlude with Cara and Kahlan before they meet up with Zedd and Richard to continue their hunt for the Stone of Tears. Takes place post episode 2x19 "Extinction".
It was still light in the sky when Cara placed Kahlan's pack and then her own on the ground and turned around to survey their surrounding. They could have walked for another hour or so, but Kahlan's pace had slowed considerably and she was obviously limping. The injury wasn't bad but the constant walking was inflaming it and Cara didn't to risk making it worse.
"There's still plenty of light," Kahlan said hobbling to a stop next to Cara. "Why are we stopping?"
Cara turned her head to observe Kahlan for a moment and then allowed her eyes to scan the area around them once again.
"This is a good spot to make camp. We're not likely to find anywhere better," the Mord'Sith breathed out tiredly.
"The whole countryside is nice," Kahlan responded mildly, her blue eyes watching Cara closely, "We're not likely to find anywhere worse either. We can keep going."
Cara turned her face from Kahlan and breathed in and out audibly before rolling her eyes. The Mother Confessor had lifted her injured right foot so that all of her weight rested on her good leg and her forehead and upper lip had a fine sheen of sweat glistening on them clearly showing how much the last part of their hike had taken out of her, yet she would not relent.
Kahlan could be absolutely ridiculous at times.
Cara breathed in and out deeply once more, and then was forced to chew on and swallow her pride.
"Unlike some people," Cara grumbled glancing over at Kahlan, "I've been running around all day. I'm tired."
She wasn't, but that didn't matter. Kahlan was almost as stubborn as she was and Cara knew that if she pointed out the Mother Confessor looked like she was on the verge of collapse that the brunette who stomp off in a huff just to prove her wrong and probably trip over a root or something leaving it up to Cara to carry her back to Richard and Zedd in the morning.
"I really am fine," Kahlan said softly, ignoring the way Cara's eyebrows scrunched together in disbelief. "I can keep going for a while longer."
"Then you can keep going without me," Cara muttered turning away from her companion. "I'm making camp." And without another word Cara stalked off, disappearing into the trees to begin gathering firewood.
Kahlan lowered her right foot intending to follow her sulky companion but as she placed some weight on her injured ankle at shot of pain spiked through her leg and she winced and breathed in sharply.
Turning her head to the side, Kahlan saw that Cara had dropped their packs near the trunk of a fallen tree and hopped over to it on her good leg. She suspected that Cara had dropped the packs there on purpose as a silent directive to Kahlan to sit, and the Mother Confessor obeyed, sighing gratefully as she rested her weary body on the trunk.
When Cara returned a few minutes later with her arms fill of wood for the fire, Kahlan was seated comfortably on the tree trunk undoing the wrap around her ankle. Cara watched her for a moment, her hawk-like green eyes taking in the red, puffy, inflamed flesh. It was clear from the sight of the ankle that Kahlan really was in no condition to keep walking, but Cara thankfully refrained from saying "I told you so," and simply dropped the load in her arms to the ground before crouching to begin building the fire.
When the fire was burning healthily and a good stock of kindling was stacked a safe distance away, Cara stood and stared out into the woods.
"We haven't seen another soul all day. I'll be fine," Kahlan said watching the blonde with a small smile. They didn't have much food on them and as Cara had worked Kahlan had heard her stomach rumbling. The blonde was hungry and what they had in their packs would not satisfy her, but Kahlan knew Cara was hesitant to go hunting because it would leave her unprotected. "Besides," the Mother Confessor continued, "I was hobbling on my own all morning. Really, go kill something," she finished smiling fondly.
"That was different," Cara murmured turning to look at the brunette. She hadn't liked the idea of leaving Kahlan unprotected earlier any more than she liked it at the moment, but she'd had a task to complete. Leaving Kahlan that morning had been unavoidable, but leaving her presently wasn't.
"We need to eat," Kahlan said her expression placid though she was touched by Cara's reluctance to leave her. "There's plenty of small game around here, you won't be long. Honestly, I'll be fine."
Cara's stomach rumbled again and the blonde looked down at it peevishly as Kahlan tried to suppress a smile.
"Call for me if you hear anything," Cara said finally, already moving to her pack to gather her bow.
Cara emerged from the woods just as the sky was beginning to darken with a skinned rabbit in her hands. It wasn't a very big rabbit and Kahlan knew that under normal circumstances Cara probably would have come back with another one in tow, but these weren't normal circumstances and she was sure Cara didn't want to leave her unattended for any longer than was strictly necessary.
Cara looked over at Kahlan sharply and frowned when the Mother Confessor shuffled her way over to her and lowered herself to the ground, but Kahlan merely smiled.
"I'll take care of dinner," Kahlan said placing her hand reassuringly on Cara's knee. "Why don't you set up the rest of camp?"
Cara's lips twitched as if she wanted to disagree but Kahlan's suggestion was reasonable and finally the Mord'Sith nodded and stood up. She would have preferred Kahlan stay on the log and let her take care of things, but Kahlan would be stationary as she prepared the meal and was at no risk of making her injury worse. And, perhaps more importantly, the Mother Confessor was a far better cook than she was and Cara was hungry.
When the sun had set and their bellies were full Cara reached out for Kahlan's swollen ankle and poked it experimentally.
"Ow," Kahlan exclaimed swinging her hand peevishly at the blonde.
Cara easily dodged the blow and went back to prodding at Kahlan's foot.
"You should wrap that again. If the swelling gets any worse you won't be able to get your boot on."
Kahlan sighed deeply. She knew Cara was right. As slow as their progress had been that day, they would be even slower in the morning if she had to go barefoot and time was one thing they did not have. She just wasn't looking forward to having to wrap the foot up again and wrestle it into her boot.
"It should be wrapped more tightly," Cara observed still staring at the injured foot.
"I wrapped it as tightly as I could," Kahlan sighed mentally preparing herself for her trek over to their packs.
"That wasn't tight enough," Cara responded and Kahlan released an irritated puff of air and glared at the woman beside her. "I'll wrap it," Cara said ignoring Kahlan's look as she moved gracefully onto her feet. "I don't want to have to carry you all the way to Richard and Zedd," she grumbled as she made her way over to their packs.
Cara wrapped the ankle tightly, as she had threatened, but she was careful with it and the process was far less painful than it had been that morning when Kahlan had wrapped the ankle up on her own.
"You have a healers touch, Cara," the brunette breathed out, smiling at her companion as her foot was cradled in Cara's lap.
"I've had practice. I've been taking care of delicate things all day," she declared smugly as firelight dancing fetchingly over the planes of her face.
"Well, the night wisps and I thank you," Kahlan said not at all insulted by Cara's words.
Cara's expression fell at the mention of the night wisps and Kahlan's heart clenched in sympathy. As they had walked Kahlan had gathered that the mother wisp had died after successively giving birth, and though Cara would deny having bonded with the small creature throughout their trip to the birthing grounds, Kahlan was certain that the blonde felt badly that she hadn't been fast enough to save the mother wisp.
"You saved them from extinction," Kahlan said softly, wishing that she could reach out for Cara's hand, but with her leg outstretched and her foot resting in Cara's lap it was impossible.
Cara nodded but said nothing as she very gently she lifted Kahlan's foot from her lap and placed it carefully on the ground.
"I saw a small creek not far from here. We're running low on water. I'll return quickly," the blonde said moving towards their water-skins.
Kahlan's water-skin had been very nearly full when she met up with Cara again and she'd only taken a few sips from it during their walk. She knew that Cara's had been full as well and she hadn't seen the blonde drink from it at all after the met up. There was no reason to visit the creek, but Kahlan kept that knowledge to herself and simply watched Cara's sleek frame as it disappeared into the dark.
Spring had taken firm hold in the Midlands and the days were pleasantly warm but the nights were still cool, though usually not to the point that Kahlan found herself shivering. She was lying on her bedroll with the thin blanket she had brought with draped over her, but it wasn't enough to keep her warm. Still, despite the chill running through her, she continued to speak softly to Cara telling her about the first time she had seen the night wisps forest.
However, as her shivering got worse, Kahlan heard a rustling and knew that Cara was moving. A few seconds later Cara was beside her, lowering her bedroll and then herself on the ground beside Kahlan.
"It's colder here," Cara said by way of explanation.
"There were storm clouds in the distance earlier," Kahlan murmured as Cara settled herself on her bedroll, their shoulders pressing against each other as the blonde moved. "It must have pushed a wave of cold air this way."
Cara lay still, flat on her back beside Kahlan and after a few minutes Kahlan smiled softly, shook her head and turned onto her side, pressing herself against Cara's side as her arm settled across the blonde's torso. They needed bodily contact to keep warm, but it was clear to Kahlan that Cara wasn't going to initiate it so she had to take control.
Cara tensed for a moment as she felt Kahlan flush along the length of her body, but then a soft sigh escaped from her throat and her arm moved around Kahlan so that she was holding the brunette as well.
"What did the two of you talk about?" Kahlan asked as her fingers absently stroked the surprisingly soft leather of Cara's uniform.
She knew that Cara had to have been talking to the mother wisp since she'd deciphered the wisps language and managed to keep the wisp alive long enough to make it to the birthing grounds, but the blonde hadn't said much about the time they had spent together.
"Nothing," Cara sighed warily.
"Nothing?" Kahlan repeated incredulously, her lips curving up in the face of Cara's caginess. "You had to have talked about something. It was quite a hike to the birthing ground from Gar territory. The wisp wouldn't have made it if you didn't keep her company."
"Well yes, we spoke, of course," Cara huffed. "That thing didn't shut up actually, but it was nothing interesting."
"Well, we're all alone out here and you have to keep me company, so why don't you tell me, interesting or not?" Kahlan suggested, snuggling her face into Cara's neck a little when the blonde shifted moodily beside her.
Cara very rarely ever initiated any physical contact between them but Kahlan knew that she liked it, that it comforted Cara in the same way that it comforted her, and that Cara would not actually remove herself from Kahlan's arms once she was settled in them.
"We talked about the quest," Cara sighed a few seconds later. "And all of the stupid detours you people take," she added a bit peevishly making Kahlan smile. "And I suppose we talked a little about Richard and Zedd … and you, though that was the wisps doing … irritating, chatty little thing."
Cara was tense beneath her and Kahlan suspected that she and the wisp had had quite a serious conversation together. She had talked about things she didn't normally like to discuss with the wisp and she suspected that Cara had been forced to open up as well. She wanted to push more, to know what Cara and the wisp had talked about in more detail, but Cara was stiff as a board beneath her and she knew that pushing the matter would only cause Cara to close herself off.
Cara's body relaxed as Kahlan lay silently with her, the tension leaving her body when she realized that Kahlan wasn't going to question her further about what she had talked about with the wisp. She didn't like talking about her feelings when she knew what they were, and she certainly didn't feel like discussing the tangled web of emotions the wisp had gotten her to admit to possessing.
"The stars look like the wisps did," Cara said minutes later as she stared up at the night sky. "Only the wisps danced."
Kahlan smiled at that and impulsively pressed her lips lightly against the column of Cara's throat, her smile growing when the blonde accepted the affectionate touch without complaint.
There was romance in Cara; there was poetry in her soul though she refused to admit it.
"Tell me about it," Kahlan requested softly, her voice barely a whisper. "I've never seen a night wisp give birth before."
Cara was silent for a long time, so long that Kahlan began to think that she wasn't going to respond, but finally Kahlan felt Cara's chest rise and fall deeply, and then her raspy voice filled the air.
"I didn't see the birth of the first one," Cara began speaking slowly, the way people did when they were remembering what it was that they were sharing. "Wisp's light had gone out. I thought I had failed her. I thought I had failed you," the blonde continued, her voice softening at her remembered heartache. "I placed her in a flower and turned to leave, but then the light dimmed and I heard chirping. I thought Wisp still lived, but when I turned her light was still out. But there were other lights, dozens of other lights," Cara continued and Kahlan lifted her head from the blonde's shoulder enough that she could see her face and the unconscious smile spreading across her lips as she remembered. "Little wisps," Cara breathed out. "In the end there must have been hundreds of them. No wonder Wisp was so weak, she had a lot of babies to feed," Cara continued, her eyebrows scrunching together in consternation at the though. "How did she hold so many babies in that tiny body?"
Kahlan didn't know whether Cara was speaking to her in the end, or simply wondering, but at the risk of breaking the spell that had fallen over the blonde she responded.
"The baby wisps are very small, tiny little eggs no larger than the tip of a needle when in the womb," Kahlan breathed out. "The birthing ground is so special because the plants there produce a song. Human ears can't detect it, but it's there and the vibrations cause the eggs to crack open when they are pushed out of the mother wisp. The baby wisps push their way out and then," Kahlan continued smiling, "there is light."
"When I spoke they came to me," Cara said as Kahlan settled her head on her shoulder once more. "They swarmed me."
"They gathered," Kahlan corrected gently. "They recognized the sound of your voice."
"I thought they were just eggs inside of Wisp," Cara said angling her head towards Kahlan.
"Eggs with little wisps inside of them that could hear your voice," Kahlan responded gently. "You did a good thing today," the Mother Confessor continued, unsuccessfully trying to stifle a yawn.
Cara snorted indelicately. "You never would have let me hear the end of it if I hadn't."
Kahlan smiled and snuggled against Cara as her eyelids began to droop. "You're not afraid of me are you?" the brunette asked with a sleepy playfulness.
"Mord'Sith are afraid of nothing," Cara replied stiffly. "Your lectures are just incredibly tedious," she continued as her bare hand stroked Kahlan's back absently. The brunette's breathing was deepening, and Cara knew that it would not to be long before Kahlan drifted off to sleep.
"I'm sorry I'm tedious," Kahlan murmured though she sound more amused than sorry.
"It's fine. I'm used to you," Cara muttered in what Kahlan suspected was an attempt at graciousness.
Rousing herself a little Kahlan rose up so the she was looking down at Cara and then dipped her head down until her lips brushed Cara's cheek. Cara's eyebrows creased together at the kiss, but she did not object nor pull away and Kahlan beamed down at her before replacing her head on Cara's shoulder.
"Goodnight Cara," the Mother Confessor whispered happily.
"Goodnight Kahlan," Cara murmured in return.
As Cara suspected Kahlan was asleep within a few minutes of her goodnight, which left her with first watch, which she didn't mind. Kahlan was injured and needed more sleep than Cara to be properly recovered for their journey in the morning. Cara knew she would have to wake Kahlan at some point to get some sleep herself, but she would put it off for as long as possible. Kahlan would nag her when she realized what Cara had done but Cara resigned herself to that fate knowing it was for the best.
Later, as Cara lay gazing up at the stars, she heard Kahlan mumble something indecipherable and then the brunette began to shift against her as if she were in some sort of distress. Cara was still for a moment, and then she began to move her hand up and down Kahlan's back, having discovered on previous occasions that it helped the Mother Confessor sleep more soundly. Kahlan's slumber remained restless however. Cara sighed softly and then found herself bending her head to place a kiss against Kahlan's forehead.
Kahlan murmured softly again and seemed soothed by the action and encouraged Cara repeated it.
Kahlan's distress was lessened but she was still restless and Cara resigned herself speaking softly to Kahlan, hoping the sound of her voice would sooth the Mother Confessor as it had soothed Wisp.
Mercifully, Kahlan didn't require as much attention as Wisp had and a few minutes of softly speaking to her and stroking her back was enough to get the Mother Confessor to settle back into a peaceful sleep.
Cara lay her head back down and stared up at the night sky once more, rolling her eyes as she thought about the ridiculous things she had to do for these people. Not only would they have been Shadrin food if it wasn't for her, they sometimes couldn't even make it through the night without her tending to them like newborn kittens. Honestly, Kahlan was lucky Cara liked her so much because …
Cara's mental rambling stopped and her eyebrows scrunched together in consternation.
The damn wisp was right!
She did care for the Mother Confessor, and Richard and even the Wizard, if only just a little bit. There was no way that she would have put up with them for so long if she didn't, because Rahl knew they were dumber than a D'Haran foot soldier with a head wound most of the time with their puppy rescuing and gardening for old people and useless rot like that.
Kahlan shifted against Cara again and the blonde wrapped her arm more securely around the Mother Confessor, holding her firmly against her.
They were lucky they had her that was for damn sure, Cara thought to herself as her hand moved up and down along Kahlan's back. They'd have all died months ago if it wasn't for her. Banelings would be running even more amuck and the whole world would have been doomed.
Cara's fingers lightly ran through the silky dark strands of Kahlan's hair, playing with them idly as she scanned the stars.
Fools, she thought shaking her head faintly.
Kahlan shifted against Cara again and without thought the blonde angled her head to the side and kissed the Mother Confessor's forehead once more as her hand continued to move gently across Kahlan's back.
Sentimental fools, Cara thought as a soft sigh escaped from her. They were lucky they had her.