Title: The Elixir of Truth
Fandom: Legend of the Seeker
Disclaimer: I don't own them
Summary: Cara, Kahlan, a tavern.
The first time Kahlan kissed Cara she was drunk.
Zedd had been invited to dinner by a pretty village woman and Richard was giving hunting tip to some of the local teenage boys, which left Kahlan and Cara on their own for the evening. The two of them had settled down at the local tavern to take a meal, and while there they found themselves surrounded by curious villagers who wanted to know about their adventures and the defeat of the Keeper. The tavern owner fed them well and kept their mugs full and Kahlan spoke to the townspeople while Cara glared at them suspiciously.
The hour was late when Cara finally laid her hand on Kahlan's shoulder and whispered into her ear that they should get some rest. Kahlan had been enjoying her time with the villagers, but as her lips parted to release a mighty yawn, she knew that Cara was right and reluctantly stood. This action was harder than usual after the mugs of ale she had consumed and Kahlan found herself swaying unsteadily. However, before any harm – or true embarrassment – could befall the Mother Confessor, Cara's arms were around her, steadying her, and Kahlan found herself laughing as she leaned against Cara and murmured, 'Thank you'.
Navigating the stairs of the Inn was difficult for Kahlan, but Cara was patient and far steadier on her feet than Kahlan was – despite the ale Cara had consumed – and they managed to make it upstairs without any major incidents, discounting of course Cara nearly rolling her eyes out of her head every time Kahlan stumbled and mumbled "Oops" between giggles.
When they made it to their room, Kahlan immediately staggered to the closest bed and flopped down on it with a groan. Cara removed her gloves slowly as she considered the Confessor, and then once her hands were free the blonde sighed and moved over to where Kahlan was lying. Lowering herself to her knees in front of the bed, Cara then reached for the Confessor's boots and began to unlace them.
Cara worked quickly but carefully, and when she stepped back from the Mother Confessor a few minutes later, Kahlan was laying in nothing but her shift with her legs on the bed and her head on the pillow.
"Thanks," Kahlan murmured, startling Cara.
The brunette's eyes had been closed the whole time Cara worked and she had assumed that the Confessor had passed out.
"You're welcome," Cara grumbled.
Kahlan's eyes fluttered open, and when she saw the peevish expression on Cara's face as the blonde glared down at her, she smiled.
"You think that look is scary," Kahlan began, still smiling up at Cara as she spoke. "But really, it just makes me want to hug you."
Cara stared at Kahlan silently for a few seconds, and then released an aggravated huff and muttered, "I'm going to bed," to the brunette.
"Wait," Kahlan said, her hand immediately shooting out to grope for Cara's hand which the blonde let her hold despite her cranky demeanour.
Cara looked over at her curiously.
"Stay with me for a little while," Kahlan requested, staring up at Cara with the biggest, bluest, most hopeful eyes Cara had ever seen on someone over the age of five.
"My bed is right there," Cara replied, her eyebrows scrunching together in confusion as she pointed the bed a meter and a half to Kahlan's left.
"I know," Kahlan admitted a little ruefully. "I meant here," she clarified, patting the mattress of the bed she was on. "I don't feel like being alone."
"You won't be," Cara responded still frowning faintly. "I'll be right there," she said pointing to the other bed again, as if she thought that Kahlan had forgotten in the ten seconds that had passed.
"That's too far away," Kahlan responded almost sulkily, which would have made Cara smirk under different circumstances.
"It's too far away for what?" Cara asked, some of the frustration she was feeling at not understanding Kahlan's request showing through in her voice.
Kahlan looked up at her for a moment, and then sighed softly and withdrew the hand that had been holding Cara's.
"Never mind," Kahlan breathed out. "Sleep well."
Cara drew her arm back into her body but otherwise didn't move. She knew that she had disappointed Kahlan but she didn't understand how or why. She hated not understanding and she hated disappointing Kahlan - though she would press her own agiel to her heart before she'd admit that to anyone.
Pressing her lips together in displeasure, Cara moved over to a nearby table and sat down in the chair beside it before beginning to unlace her boots. Once that was taken care of, she stood and removed her belt. Normally she slept in her leathers, but normally she was sleeping on the dirt in a clearing that could be attacked any moment, not in a relatively safe town in a bed with clean sheets.
Cara reached for her leathers then and began to unlace and pull them off as well. She would rest better out of them, and her agiels would be close by her no matter what which meant she would be able to handle any threat that presented itself. After all, she didn't need to be wearing clothes to injure, maim or kill someone.
Once stripped down to her Mord'Sith underclothes, Cara had nothing left to distract herself and found her eyes drifting to where Kahlan resting. The brunette's eyes were closed, but after watching her closely for a minute Cara could tell that she was not asleep.
Cara bit down on her bottom lip, worrying it for a few seconds as she thought about what to do, then she took a deep, fortifying breath and straightened her back before stalking over to Kahlan.
"Wha..." Kahlan began the mattress dipped behind her.
"You asked me to stay close," Cara said settling her body behind Kahlan's.
The bed was small, it was only intended for one person and so Cara was forced to drape her arm over Kahlan's waist to anchor herself.
"I did," Kahlan breathed out, smiling though Cara couldn't see because Kahlan's back was to her.
They lay in silence together for a minute or so before Kahlan started to shift, squirming against Cara so that she could turn around so that she was facing the blonde. Cara being Cara sighed huffily as Kahlan shifted, but when they were front to front Cara kept her arm around Kahlan and made no move to leave the bed.
"Thank you," Kahlan whispered, snuggling against the blonde, another smile touching her lips when she inhaled and smelt leather on Cara's skin.
If she had consumed less ale, Kahlan would have wondered at the fact that she had come to find the scent of Cara's leather comforting, but she had not consumed less ale and so was not distracted from the pleasing warmth of Cara's body by such concerns.
"Okay," Cara muttered uncomfortably in response which made Kahlan chuckle.
As Kahlan settled into her new position, her hands began to roam, running lightly over Cara's exposed flesh. The Confessor's fingers trailed over her hipbone and then followed the curve of her torso until just below her breast. Kahlan's hand rested on her stomach, her thumb fanning out, pressing down lightly on Cara's stomach to feel the firmness of it while also caressing her. Kahlan's breath was warm where she exhaled against Cara's chest, and after a few minutes Cara felt her body begin to react to Kahlan's touches and captured the Confessor's wandering hand with her own.
"I like being close to you," Kahlan breathed out as Cara held her hand firmly in place.
A second after she spoke Cara felt Kahlan's lips press against her clavicle and she released a shuddering breath.
"This was ill-conceived," Cara stated in a voice that wasn't as steady as she would have liked. "I'm going to lie down on the other bed."
"Don't," Kahlan gasped, wrapping her arms around Cara's waist to make it difficult for the blonde to continue to rise. "Stay close to me."
Kahlan suspected that she shouldn't have been saying the words. There was a part of her brain warning her that trying to get Cara to stay was a bad idea, but her brain was clouded and the message was weak. What wasn't weak was Cara's scent, strong and alluring, making Kahlan want to nuzzle against her forever. What wasn't weak was the warmth of Cara's body, the softness of her skin, and the tantalizing way her muscles twitched when Kahlan's fingers brushed over them. She had wondered again and again what it would feel like to touch Cara this way. She had wondered so much that now that she was doing it, she couldn't force herself to stop.
Kahlan's head was pressed against Cara's back and the Mord'Sith could feel her breath against the small of her back, tickling her skin and inflaming her passion.
"Richard should be back by now. I'll get him and he can keep you company. I'll stay with Zedd," Cara said trying to move again, but Kahlan did not release her hold on her.
Cara did not particularly want to share a room with Zedd and she knew that the feeling was mutual. The wizard snored too loudly for her tastes, and she kicked him to get him to stop too much for his tastes. If she was lucky however, Zedd would not return from his date until the morning and she would have the room to herself.
"If I wanted you to get Richard, I would have asked you get Richard," Kahlan responded, tugging firmly at Cara's waist with her arms to draw the blonde back down onto the mattress beside her. "It's you that I want."
Cara closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. It would have been so easy to just give Kahlan what she wanted, to just lay back and allow the brunette to touch her and kiss her and bring her pleasure. Kahlan was doing everything in her power to make that happen, and Cara could not deny the fact that a large part of her ached for it to happen, and had been aching for Kahlan's lips and hands on her for some time.
It would have been so easy ... but also wrong, and Cara had been traveling with the Seeker, Mother Confessor and Wizard long enough that she could not put that knowledge out of her mind.
"You're drunk," Cara declared. "You're not thinking clearly."
"I am drunk," Kahlan acknowledged, "But I'm not thinking about anything that I haven't thought of before."
Cara's lips parted to respond, but before she could Kahlan shifted against her and then the brunette's lips were pressing against her own.
In moments of weakness, when Cara hadn't been able to stop herself, she had thought about what it would be like to kiss Kahlan. The reality was far more raw and forceful than her fantasies and Cara found herself responding to Kahlan's urgency, lifting her hand to the back of the brunette's head to hold her as Cara kissed her back.
By the time Cara remembered herself and wrenched her lips away from Kahlan's the brunette's hand was on her breast and Kahlan's thigh was between her legs.
"Cara," Kahlan began, but this time when Cara made to move off of the bed she meant to move off of the bed and Kahlan's hands were not enough to stop her. "Cara," Kahlan tried again as she blonde moved towards her leathers.
"Go to sleep," Cara muttered with her back to Kahlan.
"Cara, I ..."
"Go to sleep, Kahlan," Cara said more forcefully as her head whipped around to meet Kahlan's eyes.
Cara's look quieted Kahlan down. As foggy with alcohol as her mind was she did not miss the anger and hurt in Cara's eyes, and as much as she wanted Cara to return to the bed, she did not dare ask the blonde again.
"I'm sorry," Kahlan breathed out, desperate to make Cara stop looking at her so accusingly. "I thought you wanted this," Kahlan continued, her voice barely more than a whisper by the time she stopped speaking.
"Not like this," Cara responded bluntly though her features softened marginally before she turned away from Kahlan again to finish dressing. "You've made me better than this," Cara added sounding disillusioned as she tugged on her second boot, though she didn't bother to lace it.
"I'm ..." Kahlan tried again.
"Just sleep, Confessor," Cara sighed as she headed towards the door. "You'll have your chance to talk. I can't avoid you forever," she continued before opening the door and continuing out it.
The second time Kahlan kissed Cara she was hung-over.
Kahlan was surprised to find Cara in their room when she awoke the next morning. She had been drunk, but not drunk enough to forget what had happened the night before, so when Cara looked up from the agiel she had been polishing, Kahlan couldn't help the blush that spread across her fair skin.
Cara's eyes lingered on her for a moment, and then the blonde placed the agiel aside and picked up a mug that was resting on the table and brought it over to Kahlan.
"Drink this," Cara said handing the mug to Kahlan, though she avoided meeting the Confessor's eyes as she did.
"What is it?" Kahlan asked softly, not sure what to make of Cara's mood.
"Something that will help with the headache," Cara murmured before moving back to the chair beside the table.
"How did you know I have a headache?" Kahlan asked, bringing the mug up to her nose and then sniffing it.
"There's no way you wouldn't after how much you drank you last night," Cara replied dryly picking up her agiel and the rag she was using to polish it.
Whatever Cara had handed Kahlan smelled awful, but Kahlan brought the mug to her lips anyway and began to force it down. The concoction Cara had forced into her hands tasted as awful as it smelled and after a few sips Kahlan wanted to put the mug down, however she could feel Cara's eyes on her and after her behaviour the night before, she couldn't stand the idea of disappointing Cara again, so she forced herself to finish the drink.
"Thanks," Kahlan said, unable to help grimacing slightly after draining the last of the noxious beverage. "I feel better already," she continued, offering Cara a small smile before she gingerly bent down to rest the mug on the floor.
She'd forced the drink down, but her stomach wasn't happy about it, and Kahlan suspected that if she wasn't careful the drink would resurface - and it had been vile enough going down that she didn't even want to imagine how awful it would be coming up again.
"No, you don't," Cara responded, grinning wolfishly, certain that Kahlan was struggling to keep the mixture down. "You will soon though," Cara continued, her expression becoming staid once more as she got up out of her seat and moved over to the bed to pick up the mug Kahlan had discarded.
Kahlan averted her eyes from Cara and then nodded awkwardly.
Silence followed, which wasn't altogether unusual for them. When people spent as much time together as Kahlan and her traveling companions did, the hours could not all be occupied with conversation, and they had grown comfortable being together without talking. The silence that hung in the air between her and Cara presently was not a comfortable one however, and Kahlan soon broke it.
"Cara, I ..."
"Save your words, Confessor. There's no need for them," Cara interjected, sharply at first though her tone gentled as she continued to speak. "I understand that you were ... not quite yourself."
She knew that under normal circumstances Kahlan would not have acted the way she had the night before. Alcohol had a way of making people act against their natures, and while Cara had come to accept the fact that Kahlan had tender feelings for her, she did not fool herself into thinking that it was anything more than that. Plied with drink and facing an empty bed Kahlan had wanted a body beside her, and in her state of intoxication it hadn't mattered to her whose body it was. Sober, in the light of day, Cara knew that Kahlan would not want such contact from her, but her feelings for the Mother Confessor were such that she did not particularly want to hear Kahlan say that out loud, no matter how kindly the Confessor phrased the rejection.
"No," Kahlan agreed softly, "I wasn't. But that doesn't excuse the way I ... the way I treated you," she continued, her fair skin colouring slightly as she looked down at the floor, embarrassed. "You know that I would normally never ..." Kahlan went on a few seconds later, looking over at Cara again.
"I know," Cara interrupted irritably. "I said I understand," she continued, a flat monotone replacing the frustration that had been in her voice a moment before. "We'll speak of it no more," she concluded, clutching the shaft of her agiel tightly in her hand for a moment, focusing her mind on the pain of the agiel instead of the pain in her chest until she felt calm enough to remove her hand and stand.
"What if I wish to speak of it?" Kahlan asked as Cara took a step towards the door.
"That's of no concern to me. I don't wish to listen," Cara replied in a tightly controlled voice, purposefully keeping her back to Kahlan as she spoke.
Kahlan breathed in sharply at Cara's response, genuinely surprised by the coldness in Cara's voice. It had been a very long time since Cara had spoken to her in such a way and hearing it after all that they had been through together hurt her.
"Cara," Kahlan said softly, standing so that she could cross the small space that separated them and place her hand on Cara's arm, "please, I ..."
Cara tugged her arm out of Kahlan's hand and took a step towards the door.
"Cara!" Kahlan gasped, her surprise at Cara's aloofness quickly turning to alarm. "Please, stop. Let's talk about this," Kahlan said urgently, following Cara towards the door. "I didn't mean to offend you ..."
"You didn't offend me," Cara interjected derisively.
"Obviously, I did!" Kahlan exclaimed, her voice rising with a hint of exasperation as she continued to be met by Cara's back. "Will you not even look at me?"
"I know what you look like," Cara muttered, still refusing to turn around.
"That's hardly the point," Kahlan declared, her eyes narrowing as she stared at the red leather covering Cara's back. "I don't want to talk to your back."
"I don't want to talk to you at all," Cara responded, and with that she reached for the door knob.
Moving faster than she thought possible considering the wretched state she had been in mere minutes before, Kahlan moved around Cara's body and pushed the door their room shut, and then she placed herself in front of it, blocking Cara's exit.
"Move," Cara said, eyes narrowing menacingly.
"No," Kahlan responded softly, her eyes searching Cara's face, hoping to read something in her eyes or expression that would explain Cara's behaviour only to find the blonde almost as unreadable as she had been when they first met. "I don't want to leave things this way. I don't want you to leave here angry with me."
"I'm not angry," Cara spit out impulsively.
Her facade of indifference only slipped for slightest moment before Cara schooled her features once again and straightened her back imperially, but it had slipped and in the seconds it took Cara to rebuild her walls, Kahlan was able to read something in her eyes.
Despite Cara's hostile tone, Kahlan could see the truth of her words. Cara's response had been honest. She wasn't angry with Kahlan, she was ... hurt. Kahlan realized that she had wounded Cara in some way, and the coldness Cara had been treating her with was the blonde's way of protecting herself from further hurt.
Kahlan blinked a few times, the realization that she had hurt Cara only confusing her all the more. Cara had been slightly weary when Kahlan had awoken, but the emotional armour that now shielded herself with hadn't been in place during their first exchange that morning. Whatever she had done to wound Cara she had done since waking up. No, not since waking up, since she tried to ...
Kahlan breathed in sharply and her hand fluttered up to her face, her fingers pressing against her lips as understanding dawned.
Cara's demeanour had changed when she had tried to deny what had happened the night before. Cara had become cold with her when she had said that she would normally never have behaved the way she had the night before.
There was shame in her voice, there was regret and Cara must have thought ... but that wasn't what Kahlan had meant. She hadn't meant to imply ... the opposite actually. She had been impulsive and thoughtless the night before, she had tried to take advantage of Cara's affection for her and that shamed her, not Cara or feeling desire for her. But her shame could so easily have been misinterpreted.
Kahlan knew what she was feeling and had been feeling for months, but Cara did not. Kahlan had never told her, she had never hinted at the romantic feelings that had been blossoming inside of her until the night before when she had thrown herself at Cara.
How easy then it would have been for Cara to think that it was the alcohol that had driven Kahlan to kiss her.
How easy then it would have been for Cara to think that now that Kahlan was sober she no longer wanted her, or even worse, that Kahlan was ashamed of the desire she had displayed for Cara the night before.
"You don't understand," Kahlan breathed out softly, reaching out for Cara only to have the blonde draw her face back, out of Kahlan's reach.
"I understand perfectly," Cara replied, taking a step back into the room to place more space between herself and Kahlan. "It was the drink. You didn't mean it. You're sorry. It won't happen again. Does that about cover it?"
"Not in the slightest," Kahlan breathed out, and then before Cara could say anything else or move away from her again, Kahlan closed the distance between them, took Cara's face into her hands and kissed her.
Cara struggled at the first contact of their lips, but Kahlan's lips were too tempting to resist and after a few seconds Cara stopped trying to pull away and gave into Kahlan, kissing her back with eagerness that would have shamed her if she'd been able to focus on anything besides Kahlan.
"Drink gave me the to courage to do something I had wanted to do for months," Kahlan breathed out, placing tiny kisses on Cara's lips between words. "I am sorry for how I acted because you deserved better than drunken groping. You did sense shame from me earlier," Kahlan continued, finally pulling completely away from Cara's lips so that she could look into the blonde's green eyes. "But it was because of the ill-bred way I went about revealing my feelings for you, not because of my feelings for you."
"Feelings ..." Cara breathed out, her eyebrows scrunching together as she spoke.
Her body was tense and she sounded dubious as she eyed Kahlan wearily, but she made no attempt to place distance between them or to remove herself from Kahlan's hands as she had earlier, and Kahlan breathed out in relief.
"Yes," Kahlan murmured, smiling gently. "Gooey, tender, girly feelings," she continued, the small smile on her tips turning into a large one when Cara's lips instinctively curved up into a smile.
When she realized that she was smiling, Cara forced a neutral expression back onto her face, but it was too late to hide the pleasure Kahlan's words had brought her.
"It's always feelings with you," Cara muttered, but when their eyes met Kahlan could see relief and happiness in the lovely green eyes opposite her.
"Do you mind?" Kahlan asked, a hint of playfulness entering her voice.
"Not if it leads you to my bed," Cara replied immediately, eying Kahlan in a way that made her feel naked.
Kahlan smirked at that perfectly Cara response, but a few moments later a look of speculation came into her eyes and in response Cara sighed deeply and muttered, "What?"
"You say that, but you kicked me out of your bed last night."
"Actually, I believe I made a tactical retreat from yours," Cara replied.
"Because I was drunk?" Kahlan asked, biting down on her bottom lip coyly.
"Yes," Cara responded, looking uncomfortable again as she cut her eyes to the side away from Kahlan's. "You were vulnerable and you are my friend. I would not take advantage of you. I would not treat a fellow warrior in such a disrespectful manner."
"So," Kahlan began hesitantly, chewing on her bottom lip in order to stop herself from smiling adoringly at Cara, knowing that Cara would pout if she realized Kahlan found her response terribly romantic. "If I hadn't been drunk last night and had acted the same way ..."
Cara grinned at her.
"Your screams of ecstasy would have been loud enough to keep the whole village awake," the blonde drawled, boldly meeting Kahlan's eyes now that they were talking about actions instead of feelings.
A blush touched Kahlan's cheeks at Cara's words, but her lips curved up and Cara smiled at her rakishly before reaching out for Kahlan and drawing the brunette forcefully against her body.
Kahlan gasped at the sudden bodily contact and when her eyes fluttered open and met Cara's again, her blue orbs were burning with desire.
"I ..." Kahlan breathed out.
"I think we've talked enough," Cara interjected softly, eying Kahlan's lips covetously.
Kahlan smiled ... and third time she kissed Cara, led to many more.