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Constellations

Chapter Text

“Just admit it Cara.”

The Mord’Sith rolled her eyes. They had been arguing for at least a few leagues, and Kahlan was apparently not about to let it go.

“There’s nothing to admit.”

She nearly shouted the words as she pushed at the leafy thickets they were walking through.

Kahlan, just a few steps behind her, scoffed at her stubbornness.

They had been traveling together for the better part of two days. Nicci and the other Sisters of the Dark had been hot on their trail since Rothenberg, and Richard had decided that they should split up to make their trail harder to follow.

At first, he had suggested that he and Kahlan take the backwoods, while Zedd and Cara drew the Sisters away by staying on the main road.

The plan lacked the strategy and forethought that most of Richard’s plans tended to, but that had never been reason enough for Cara to speak up before.

So, she wasn’t sure what had made her do so this time. In a moment that must have been a rare instance of temporary insanity, she had insisted that it made more sense for he and Kahlan to travel separately. That way, she or Zedd would be on hand to protect them from any magical attacks that Nicci and her cadre might be organizing.

After she had shared her idea, Richard nodded gravely before instructing Cara to go with Kahlan through the backwoods, making sure to meet he and Zedd in four days time.

Now, scratched up by thorny bushes and exhausted by Kahlan’s incessant chattering, Cara sorely regretted having said anything.

Her patience was only further tested by the setting sun. Until they found a reasonably sized clearing they would not be able to make camp.

The entire situation made her brows furrow in irritation.

“Cara, I don’t understand why you just won’t say it.”

The wrinkles on her forehead deepened as Kahlan spoke again. She stayed quiet determined not to be drawn back into their pointless quarrel.

“You had to have known Richard would send you with me.”

Cara ground her teeth at that, in no small part because there was truth to it. Swatting at a small mass of flies, she let her exasperation seep into her response.

“Maybe I simply prefer your company to that of the wizard.”

“So you do admit it.”

She could almost hear the smile in Kahlan’s voice.

Sighing, Cara turned to look at her.

“Saying I find you less irritating than Zedd is hardly the same as saying-”

“That you care for me?” Kahlan finished for her.

Smacking at another fly that had landed on her neck, Cara huffed.

“Yes!”

But Kahlan’s eyes had gone wide, and only then did she realize what she had done.

Looking down, the dark red remnants of a blood fly marred her leather glove.

Without thinking she jumped on Kahlan, flattening her against the rough earth.

Pressed against each other, they both stayed as still and as silent as possible.

Tense moments passed as their senses came alive waiting for the impending danger, but there was only the buzz of blood flies and the rustle of heavy branches.

Just as enough time had elapsed that their initial fear and apprehension had started to dissipate, there was a loud hiss and crash as a the furry bulk of a gar tore through the trees overhead.

Cara stiffened and watched as the beast tried to shuffle through the dense forest.

For the first time that day she was grateful for the thick underbrush.

It was a long tailed gar and a young one, or possibly underfed, by the look of it.

That was a small relief. It meant that it would be slower and easier to outmaneuver than a larger one or - spirits forbid - a short tailed gar.

Cara watched it with a battle tested focus, ignoring the feel of Kahlan underneath her, rigid with fear.

When at last the gar’s round ears perked at the sound of something in the distance, it spread its thin wings - as much as was possible considering the overgrown greenery surrounding it - and flew off.

Even after it had gone and the blood flies slowly disappeared into the now darkness, Cara did not move. She waited and counted to ensure that enough time had gone by that they would be safe.

Finally, she let her body loosen. Standing, she held a hand out to help Kahlan off the forest floor. The Confessor took it and rose, both of their hearts still racing from the close encounter.

Without a word, Cara started to walk in the opposite direction that the gar had flown. Kahlan silently followed her.

With the possibility that more gars might be nearby forefront in each of their minds, they walked quickly and in silence for the rest of the night.

Only when the forest began to clear, giving way to rolling hills and the sight of the sun rising, did they fully relax.

“We should look for a place to make camp.”

Cara bobbed her head in agreement, and they soon found a low grassy spot that would provide adequate cover for them to rest.

As they began to set out their bedrolls, Kahlan looked up at Cara from between dark locks of wavy hair.

“I should say thank you.”

Cara rose an eyebrow, and let her continue.

“For protecting me from the gar.”

Kahlan grinned at her, a tinge of pink on her cheeks.

Not sure how to reply, Cara nodded.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was almost as if you cared for me.”

Cara’s head snapped up at her but whatever retort she had died on her tongue as she took in Kahlan’s wide smile, barely contained laughter, and the way the pink on her cheeks had spread to her neck and chest.

Licking her lips, Cara kept her eyes locked on Kahlan’s.

“I suppose I do care for you, somewhat.”

Then she stood, intending to take first watch. But before Cara turned fully away, she glanced back over her shoulder to see Kahlan’s open expression of pleasant shock.

Chapter Text

The halls of the Confessor’s Palace were abuzz with energy and excitement. Servants and guards seemed to hum with a pleasant energy, and Cara took measure of her own countenance by how quickly they dispersed or quieted as she walked to Kahlan’s private chambers.

She knew she was struggling to keep her self composed. Though she was sure that nothing showed on her face, her footsteps were heavy and slow.

Furrowing her brow, she reminded herself that this was a happy day. The aching in her chest ill suited to the joy that rippled throughout Aydindril. Still, feelings that would never be spoken surged through her - weighting her limbs and making her composure falter.

Taking a deep breath as she reached the heavy door to the Mother Confessor’s personal chamber, she calmed herself.

The door opened slowly and too easily. She would need to speak with the guards about it. Lax security would not do as long as Richard insisted she stay here.

As she stepped into the room, she squinted from the increased light pouring in from an open window. When her sight adjusted she felt her throat tighten at what she saw.

Kahlan was facing away from the door in a flowing white gown - far more ornate than her Confessor’s dress. It was a stark contrast to the dark of her hair which fell down her back and shoulders in long loose waves. The sight of her glowed.

And woven into her hair was a gold leafed crown glinting brightly - a sure sign that today was her wedding day.

Yet, it could not have been as bright as the smile that stretched across Kahlan’s face as she turned to see Cara quite openly staring at her.

“It’s time?”

Cara nodded tersely.

Kahlan’s smile widened even further as she stepped closer.

Before Cara could think of how best to prevent it, Kahlan had pulled her into a tight embrace, her dark hair tickling Cara’s cheek.

“Spirits, I didn’t think it was possible to be this happy.”

Cara’s shoulder’s straightened, and she pulled from Kahlan’s grasp.

“And you haven’t even seen Lord Rahl yet.”

Kahlan laughed again.

The sight and sound of it sent waves of feeling through Cara’s body. Turning away, she opened the door behind her.

“Well, Mother Confessor let's go.”

They walked together to the balcony. Kahlan’s smile grew only brighter with each step they took toward Richard.

Cara watched her, how she radiated happiness, oblivious to everything but her love and the life she and Richard would finally be able to share.

As they reached the balcony, a cheer rippled through the throngs of people gathered to watch the Seeker and Lord Rahl marry the Mother Confessor and Queen of Galea.

Richard and Kahlan faced each other, unperturbed by the noise. Their faces both stretched in smiles wider than Cara had ever seen, and she knew it would have been impossible for them see anything else at this moment.

Steadying her breathing, she took her place beside Zedd - her place from now until her body failed in its protection of the two people before her.

The Wizard nudged her fondly, his eyes shining with happiness that it seemed everyone shared but her.

She rolled her eyes at him, and though it was hollow, he chuckled.

Their attention shifted as the deacon entered and began the ceremony. As he spoke, the people of Aydindril, clustered below, quieted and listened intently to words of devotion, steadfastness, and unity.

But whatever he had to say about love, Richard and Kahlan had already shown in their every word and action since meeting.

There were no two people more in love. Richard and Kahlan had fought everything and won. They were fated.

So, even as Cara stifled the weakness pulsing though her, she knew it was for the best.

These feelings were unwanted, unnecessary, and some part of her that thrived on her weakness whispered that they were also unreturned.

When the deacon finished speaking, he looked back to Richard and Kahlan, and Cara was caught once again by how beautiful Kahlan looked in the golden light of early evening.

But as they kissed, and the people of Aydindril cheered at a union that the Creator herself must surely have blessed, Cara let everything in her that had hoped, that had wanted, that had dared beyond what she trusted and knew harden and collapse.

She would live her life making sure that what bound Kahlan and Richard was never broken, even if she lived with a dull pain in her chest forever.

Because, duty, she reminded herself, must always come before love.

Chapter Text

Though they had been traveling together for sometime now, Cara still struggled to adjust to the openness of her companions. 

Richard was always quick to share his feelings, and Kahlan and Zedd - though less likely to burst out with some emotion - still acted with a comfortable camaraderie and friendship that Cara was wholly unaccustomed to. 

But worse than their overt displays of fellowship was the never ending affection sharing between Kahlan and Richard. 

Yes, Cara understood that they were in love. It was hard not to know it when the passing touches between them and whispered laughter or conversation were neither subtle or scarce. 

At times she was sure that were they not restricted by Kahlan’s power, Zedd might as well name a new Seeker, because Richard’s already unfortunate tendency to get off task would suddenly become much more damning. Still, at other times she thought that a good rutting might decrease the ever mounting tension between them. 

Either way, their behavior irritated her. Annoyingly, this only seemed to amuse them. Cara almost felt as if they went out of their way to share soft words and kisses when she was near. 

In fact, she was sure that was what they were doing. For the past week or so, she had noticed that as soon as Zedd fell asleep Richard and Kahlan would fall into hushed conversation pressed against each other as much as they could without Kahlan simply sitting in Richard’s lap. 

They would position themselves across from her, speaking in whispered tones, and tonight was no different. 

Fed up with their lovesick spectacle Cara stood rigidly, fists tightening at her sides to keep the irritation out of her voice. Avoiding direct eye contact with her companions, she spoke. 

“I’m going to check the perimeter.”

Richard and Kahlan paused and looked at her from across the low light of the fire. They seemed surprised, and Cara was unsure if that was because they’d forgotten she was there or if they couldn’t think of a reason she really wouldn’t want to be. 

Sighing, she started to walk away, but as she did Richard cleared his throat in an obvious attempt to get her attention. 

Leveling her gaze back on the them, she was frustrated to find that they were again talking quietly. 

“Did you need something Seeker?”

Before he answered, Cara watched him roll his eyes at Kahlan in response to something she had whispered.

“You don’t have to leave Cara.” 

This time she was the one to roll her eyes. 

“Yes, well I’d prefer to spend the night watching things instead of avoiding watching things.” 

She gestured at them as she spoke, her face drawn in look of open exasperation. 

But Richard only laughed, and it irked her more than it usually did.

As she was about to snap at him with weeks worth of aggravation, Kahlan sat up as fully as she could with Richard’s arm draped over her. Then, she met Cara’s glare with a look far too provocative for someone purportedly as chaste as the Mother Confessor. 

And if the look was suggestive, the tone Kahlan used when she spoke made Cara question every assumption she had ever made about the other woman. 

“Come on Cara, why don’t you stay.”

Feeling her eyes widen at the implication in Kahlan’s words and the small knowing smile that crossed Richard’s face, Cara realized with a jolt of annoyance that her companions were far more open and much more irritating than she had originally thought.