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Ordinary World

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Cara eyed the golden ball of fur with suspicion. It was trying its hardest to wriggle its way out of Kahlan's arms—already bent on disobedience, then. “Are you sure want it living with us?”

“This is not an ‘it’,” Kahlan admonished. “His name is Samuel, and he is adorable.” She held the puppy up to her face. “Yes you are, aren’t you Sam? Yes you are,” she said in a playful voice. Sam promptly licked her nose, tail wagging furiously, and Kahlan grinned. “See? He’s friendly!”

“Friendliness is hardly an important quality,” Cara scoffed.

Kahlan frowned. “Maybe I just want something warm and soft to cuddle with, since certain present parties are decidedly unwilling.”

“…Is that what this is about?”

“No, Cara.” Kahlan set down Sam, and the puppy immediately flopped down between them—he’d had an eventful day. Kahlan’s voice took on a sad quality. “I just thought he’d be nice to have around. If you really hate the idea, I suppose I can try and find a new home for him.”

Cara, of course, felt rather awful. But…“I just don’t see the point,” she confessed.

Kahlan brightened suddenly. “He’ll grow up, you know.”

“Animals generally do,” Cara said, eyes narrowing.

With a pass of her hand over her swollen belly, Kahlan looked down. “You won’t be able to be with both of us all the time, you know.”

“You want me to entrust the protection of our child to a dog?”

“Not just any dog.” Kahlan smiled coyly. “A dog that you trained to protect our home, and everyone inside it. Trained without the use of Agiels,” she added firmly.

Cara stepped in to cover Kahlan’s hand with her own, as if securing her place with the two of them—mother and child. “I know exactly what you’re doing,” Cara murmured. “You’re using my Mord-Sith leanings against me.”

The Confessor nodded earnestly. “Is it working?” Glancing down, she sighed. “Cara, look—he’s so cute I can’t stand it!”

Sam yipped, and got up to sit on his haunches, gazing up at the two of them.

“Okay,” Cara said. “We’ll keep him. You apparently need something around here to call cute, and I’ve endured my fair share. It’s his turn now.”

Kahlan grinned and kissed her, then sat down. At her urging, Sam jumped up into her lap. Cara watched as the dog was lavished attention, and found herself a little jealous. Just a little. Barely worth mentioning, really. She sat down next to Kahlan and rested an arm around her. Kahlan shifted and settled in closer, leaning her head on Cara’s shoulder. “Here,” Kahlan said, reaching for Cara’s hand.

“I know how to pet a dog,” Cara protested. “I had one, remember?”

Sam saw fit to switch laps, stumbling over to Cara and collapsing his warm weight on her legs with a huff. Cara eyed him suspiciously. The puppy stared back, panting, ears perked with wide, brown eyes locked on her own. He licked Cara’s hand before she could move it. With a sigh of longsuffering, Cara scratched behind his ears.

“We’re in for a busy home,” Kahlan said quietly.

Cara nodded. “Good.”