Title: Thicker Than Water
Disclaimer: Not mine, the belong to idiots who cancel shows!
Summary: For a LJ prompt the prompt was "Kahlan to Cara: "Blood is thicker than water, yes. But love is thicker than blood." Something to do with Kahlan choosing Cara even though Cara killed her sister.
A/N: Written between classes so it may be rough.
"Cara, Cara hang on!"
Blood flows, hot and treacherous through the fragile, failing dam of her fingers to stain the rocks below the Mord'Sith's body as Kahlan pleads. Her voice cracks, desperation leaching in, even as Cara's life rushes away beneath her hands.
"Don't you dare leave me," the Confessor hisses, slashing at her white dress, heedless of the damage to the material as she presses it tightly to the wound in her companion's side. The action draws a tiny sound, quickly bitten off behind gritted teeth as Cara writhes weakly beneath her.
Too many. There were just too many of them, and the ambush had been planned. There was a part of Kahlan that was still grateful she and Cara had split from Richard and Zedd two days ago, because it meant the Seeker was likely safe.
A greater part of her – the part that tries and fails to hold back the tears stinging her eyes as she presses harder against the wound in Cara's side, trying to slow the blood loss – wants to scream in rage and terror that the cost of caution might be Cara's life.
Kahlan works furiously, trying to stop the bleeding and bandage the wound, but in the end, she knows the only thing that will save her friend is Zedd's magic.
It seems to take forever to stabilize Cara and secure a campsite nearby, building a fire and trying to make sure the injured woman is comfortable. It also doesn't seem to take nearly long enough, because once the fire is built and Kahlan determines they at least have water and food for a few days, there is nothing to do but take Cara's head in her lap…and wait.
The stars come out and Kahlan stirs the fire. She is exhausted, body aching with her own bruises and the remnants of fear and adrenaline. Her hands are still stained with Cara's blood, her back is stiff from sitting against a large rock, and she desperately wants a bath.
She doesn't move.
Cara sleeps fitfully, upper body cradled in Kahlan's lap, and though the Confessor doses, her hand rests on Cara's chest, measuring each faint heart beat.
"You should go," the rasping words startle the dark haired woman from her own half-sleep sometime later – late enough that the fire has burned low and the moon hangs heavy above them.
"Cara?" She whispers, feeling her heart leap in her chest as her gaze finds glazed, ice green eyes looking up at her.
"You should go find Zedd and Richard. They may have been attacked as well."
Kahlan merely shakes her head and tips a water skin gently against Cara's lips, watching with a lump in her throat as the injured woman struggles to swallow.
"No, you didn't hear the soldier I confessed, they thought to find all of us together, that's why there were so many. Richard and Zedd are safe, and they are on their way here, and when they get here, Zedd can heal you." She says it in a rush, as if the force of her words will give them truth.
"I'm a liability. You should find the Seeker and the Wizard. You know they'll just get into trouble without one of us around," the attempt at humor is weak, but it brings a sad smile to Kahlan's face nonetheless.
The Confessor merely shakes her head. "I'm not going anywhere. Just rest Cara, you need to keep your strength up."
It's a sign of how badly Cara is hurt that she doesn't argue. Pain filled eyes close and the blonde woman's breathing evens out. Kahlan thinks she has fallen asleep when Cara licks her lips and her voice slips into the night, barely strong enough to reach Kahlan's ears.
"Thank you for staying."
The next day is even harder. Kahlan manages to change Cara's bandages, but even the Mord'Sith's training doesn't allow her to ignore that much pain, and in her weakened state she passes out. Kahlan gathers more wood and does a quick survey of their perimeter before returning and gathering Cara to her once again. Something eases inside the Confessor when she has the injured woman in her arms. Even though the fear does not recede, being able to feel Cara's heart beating and watch her chest rise and fall with breath keeps it at bay.
The wound is turning septic despite Kahlan's best efforts to clean it, and Cara's skin grows too hot. She also keeps suggesting Kahlan should leave her, and doesn't quit until the Confessor snaps that she doesn't give a damn about Cara's pride, she's not leaving the injured woman so she can do something stupid like die alone.
Kahlan pretends not to see the fleeting look of gratitude on Cara's face at her words. It stops the protests though and that afternoon, while Kahlan wipes cool water across the injured woman's too-hot brow, the blonde opens her eyes and thanks her weakly.
The Confessor strokes a stray wisp of gold hair away from Cara's cheek and simply nods.
"I killed your sister." The words startle Kahlan from her exhausted dose. The sun is inching toward the horizon and the golden glow lends Cara's skin the color she has lost. It's the end of the second day since the attack and Kahlan's hold on hope is growing tenuous.
Looking down at her charge, it takes a moment for Cara's statement to make sense, and when it does, pain of another kind pricks her heart.
"I am…I am sorry," Cara manages, voice breaking from exhaustion and emotion.
The words have never been spoken. Kahlan had heard Cara'a quiet apology offered to Denee – or at least, Denee in someone else's body – but the Mord'Sith had never said them to Kahlan, never asked forgiveness for taking her loved one from the woman she traveled with every day. It took a long time for Kahlan to realize that it was because Cara simply never expected forgiveness to be granted.
The implication that the injured woman thinks it no longer matters scares her deeply.
"I know. I forgive you. You are not the same person that you were."
For a moment Cara looks like she might argue, but the struggle is brief. "No," she almost sighs. "I'm not."
She blinks though, and pain clouded glacial eyes fix on the Confessor's face.
One word, but there is so much underneath it. Now it is Kahlan's turn to close her eyes and sigh. For a long moment she sits still, feeling the weight of the truth of the words she knows she can no longer keep silent.
"Because blood may be thicker than water but love, Cara, love is thicker than blood." As she speaks, she cups the blonde woman's cheek, tracing her thumb tenderly along Cara's mouth. "I don't know how, or when, or why, but I love you Cara…I love you."
The words hang in the air, like the fading echoes of a distant melody, captured between two pairs of eyes that now shine with tears.
Cara tries to answer, but fails. She has never been one for talking anyway. Instead, she reaches out weakly and takes Kahlan's hand, bringing the knuckles to her lips and kissing them softly. The gesture makes the Confessor's breath catch and her heart leap she leans down, capturing Cara's lips with her own. The kiss is slow and careful, but achingly sweet and Kahlan's hair forms a dark curtain around them as both women slowly fall into each other, letting the rest of the world – with its pain and fear and doubt – fade away.
Cara's hand threads through Kahlan's hair, and she pulls Kahlan tighter to her, heedless of the effort it costs her. She is beyond caring, when…
Kahlan jerks away, turning to the sound of Richard's shout.
"Richard, Zedd, over here!" She yells, fierce, bright hope making her heart soar for the first time since she heard Cara's anguished cry.
Still kneeling cradling Cara and holding her hand, Kahlan brushes her fingers across the injured woman's forehead, smiling through tears of relief.
"See? I told you," she jokes weakly.
Cara does not smile.
"I love you too," she whispers.
Kahlan swallows, leaning down to kiss Cara's forehead. "I know," she replies. More than that they have no chance to say however, Zedd and Richard finally reach them, gasping for breath.
Zedd doesn't hesitate, dropping stiffly to Cara's side. "Well, let's see what we can do here…"