Title: A Moment To Rest

Rating: PG-13 for lack of clothing

Pairing: Kahlan/Cara

Disclaimer: They belong to some (Jackasses) people who aren't me.

Summary: The prompt was "scars and or bruises, and Cara being gentle"

A/N: Written during my religion class, (the irony is fantastic I know) so if there are grammar errors I apologize. I tried to clean it up before I passed out. 6:30-9:30pm classes are a bitch yo.

Kahlan bites off a cry when Cara yanks the arrow from her arm, breathing harshly and gritting her teeth while the Mord'Sith binds the wound firmly.

"We may have to burn it closed," the blonde says mildly, and Kahlan looks at her sharply. It takes a moment, but the twitch of full lips makes the Confessor realize Cara is trying to make a joke. It brings a tired smile to her face – more at the fact that the blonde is making an effort than the joke itself, but it's something.

The ground is littered with dead or dying D'Haran soldiers, and with a shared look of disgust, the two women go about making a pyre to dispose of the bodies. No matter how much effort it will take, they can't afford banelings on their trail.

"This is so much easier when Zedd is here," Kahlan pants, hours later when the last soldier has been dumped on the fire to burn.

Cara is looking disheveled herself and merely nods. "The Wizard does have his uses."

The Confessor grins tiredly at Cara's statement, but straightens, taking a deep breath. "We should get going. We still have a long way to go before nightfall if we are going to meet up with Zedd and Richard on time."

Cara doesn't answer, just goes to grab their packs.

The sun hangs just beyond the tops of the trees, beginning its final ascent toward the lip of the world. Overhead, the sky turns to fire, the few wispy clouds limned in scarlett and gold.

Kahlan is totally and completely unimpressed. Her entire body aches as if she has been trampled by a herd of horses and her arm radiates pain with every step. She is filthy and sweaty from the fight earlier and getting hungry and becoming decidedly grumpy. Lost in her own frustration, it takes the Confessor a while to realize Cara has stopped.

Tamping down her irritation, the dark haired woman walks back to her traveling companion. "If you need to stop and rest," she sighs, trying to find some humor in their predicament.

Cara gives her an indecipherable look and touches a huge Oak tree just off the path. It takes a moment for Kahlan to realize that there is an old mark carved on the tree – a faded sigil the Confessor can't read, but it appears familiar to Cara.

"We both need to stop and rest," Cara finally responds. "Follow me."

And before Kahlan can get over the shock that the Mord'Sith actually implied she needs to rest, the blonde woman has struck out off the path and uphill into the woods.

How long she follows Cara's leather clad back Kahlan doesn't know, but she is just starting to get truly frustrated when the smaller woman pushes aside a tangle of bushes to reveal a small clearing below a sheer cliff face. It's a tiny area, shaded by trees and brush and in the middle…

"Cara, is that…" Kahlan trails off, not daring to hope.

The blonde is already dropping her pack and undoing her belt.

"A hot spring? Yes it is," she replies, and the Mord'Sith's smile is genuine.

"Thank the Creator!" Kahlan could cry with joy and follows her companion in wasting no time ditching her pack and dress. Even her arm seems not to hurt as much as she unties the binding. When she finally wades into the water – which is just shy of being too hot and feels perhaps better than any other sensation in her entire life – her groan of pleasure is echoed by a soft sigh from Cara.

The crystalline pool is deep in the middle where the water wells from the depths of the earth, but it has carved natural shallow ledges around the edge with a lip at the far end where the water bubbles down the hill in a small stream. For a while, both women merely wallow, enjoying the rare sensation of being warm and safe. Kahlan finds herself drifting, her eyes closing and body relaxing into the yielding hold of the water.

"Hmmm, this is bliss," she sighs.

Their respite is finite however, and Kahlan opens her eyes to see the sky fading to twilight, the brilliant reds bleeding to violets. With a sigh, she moves to get out, but before she can, a soft touch stops her.

"Here," Cara says quietly, "let me look at your arm."

The dark woman hesitates, surprised by the request, then accepts with a nod.

The gentleness of Cara's touch surprises her. Deft fingers examine the damage left behind by the arrow, washing the area around it with a sponge and soap Kahlan didn't even know Cara had. Nor does she stop there. Slowly, carefully, Cara uses the sponge to clean away the last traces of Kahlan's blood from her skin, moving over her arm and down to her fingers.

"Thank you Cara," Kahlan says softly, turning to find the blonde woman's eyes, shaded by the richness of the fading light.

Instead of replying, Cara merely gestures. "Turn around, I'll do your back."

Once again Kahlan hesitates, and once again, it is only for a moment.

What follows is more massage than bath, as Cara - with a sensuous, tender skill Kahlan never would have guessed at - uses her soap covered hands and the sponge to cleanse any lingering remnants of violence from Kahlan's body.

Never before has the Confessor experienced such simple, sensual, almost iprimal/i pleasure. There is nothing purposefully arousing about Cara's touch, and yet the care that the Mord'Sith takes with Kahlan makes the dark haired woman's chest tight with emotion even as her body melts into Cara's ministrations. Aches, bruises, even awareness of her exhaustion fades and Kahlan is filled with a glorious lassitude as Cara slides her fingers along the Confessor's neck and shoulders, chasing away the last effects of months on the road.

Kahlan moans softly as a final knot of tension bleeds away under the press of Cara's thumb and the dark haired woman's head falls back against her companion's shoulder. The Mord'Sith has shifted until she is sitting on the ledge at the edge of the pool, Kahlan half floating in her lap.

Carefully – as if afraid of startling the other woman – Cara slides her hands along the Confessor's arms, avoiding the arrow wound, and then wraps them gently around Kahlan's waist in what is almost-but-not-quite a hug.

Kahlan is still for a moment and then her hands come to lay atop Cara's, guiding them to rest against her stomach. The Mord'Sith tightens her hold, pulling Kahlan fully against her and pressing her cheek against the Confessor's hair.

The sun sets on the two women, each lost in the feeling of the other, knowing even now the fleeting peace is merely borrowed. They stay like that until the last golden sliver of light has disappeared over the trees before finally relinquishing their hold on each other.

No words are spoken as the two friends climb from the water and dry off. Clothes are cleaned and the camp is made, dinner is fixed and fire is banked. All in silence.

When Kahlan lies down and opens her arms however, Cara doesn't hesitate, and they fall asleep in each other's embrace.