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The skirmish outside of town isn’t completely unexpected but the toll on one member of the group is heavy nonetheless. They’d dispatched the bandits easily enough with no real nicks or bruises to speak of. Yet Cara lags behind as Richard and Zedd go ahead to secure rooms for the night. Evening delicately places shadows along the path, the lights of the town a welcome sight as darkness starts to settle around them.  Kahlan slows her pace until she is beside Cara.

“What’s bothering you?”

“I am not bothered.”

“Cara, your face says otherwise.”

Despite only receiving a grunt in her direction, Kahlan tries again.

“Your moods are as easy to read as a child’s learning scroll.  What I can’t quite figure out is why you are scowling like that.”

Calling attention to it only seems to deepen the furrow between Cara’s brows. Kahlan is sorely tempted to run her fingertips over it in an attempt to soothe. But they are still on the open road heading into town and the crowds are growing larger as they near the entrance to the open gate.

The guards there give wide berth to the irritated Mord’Sith. Cara’s shoulders straighten as a small child hides behind his mother’s skirt. With an apologetic smile to the mother, Kahlan bides her time as she matches her pace to Cara’s.

Kahlan knows an admonishment to Cara will go unheeded. Just as she knows that the same Mord’Sith pride that makes Cara stand straighter now comes with guilt that colors her face.  That may be obvious only to Kahlan but that is okay with her.  The complexities that make up the Mord’Sith at her side are as precious to Kahlan as her own life and she treats them as such.

When they arrive at the inn, Kahlan steps in front of the door of the inn before Cara can reach for the handle, preventing Cara from dashing inside.  Kahlan ducks her head until Cara’s green eyes meet hers.

“You don’t have to tell me what’s gotten under your skin right now," Kahlan says. "But we will speak of this later.  Don’t think you can glare your way out of it.”

With that, Kahlan opens the door and leaves Cara staring after her.

 


 

After dinner the men go off to share a room on the second floor while Cara and Kahlan make their way to their own room on the third floor.  Kahlan grants entrance to Cara first, already knowing that the Mord’Sith will want to secure the room before allowing them to sleep for the night. Cara lets Kahlan know she can come in with a curt nod.  Picking up both of their traveling packs, Kahlan deposits them near a small table before closing the door.

Cara’s energy is off. It is even more apparent without the distraction of the crowd in the dining area and Zedd and Richard’s company. 

Kahlan watches Cara prowl the room as she lights candles for the night, then moves easily around her to sit quietly at the edge of the bed. When the task is done, Cara is left with nothing to do.  Kahlan knows what will come next, so before Cara can offer to go downstairs for some meaningless item, she speaks.

“Tell me what’s wrong, Cara.” When she is met with stony silence, Kahlan pulls out the one word she knows Cara will not resist. “Please.”

Cara rubs at the bridge of her nose, her voice muffled behind her hand. “It’s nothing.”

“It’s not nothing if it has you so wound up. You’ve been quiet since those men earlier and while quiet is usually your default, I know something else is going on. Tell me.”

“You almost died back there on that road and you had no idea.”

The certainty in Cara’s voice shocks Kahlan. She mentally replays the fight from earlier in the day. When no dangerous moment is obvious, she shakes her head and meets Cara’s intense gaze.

“Cara, those men never posed any real threat. To any of us. By the time I drew my sword, their numbers were almost halved.  Between the three of you, I think only two fell to my sword.”

Cara paces away from Kahlan and runs her bare hand through her hair, her gloves long since discarded.  Turning back, Kahlan watches as one of Cara’s hands curls into a fist, anger seeping into her tone.

“That’s because you never saw the man in woods," Cara says curtly. "The one with the arrow aimed right at your back.”

Now Kahlan understands the mood that weighed Cara's shoulders down as Kahlan and Richard joked about the quality of bandits these days. Realization hits her shortly after and she uncrosses her legs, letting her hands rest lightly on the tops of her thighs.

“You killed him.” A statement. Kahlan knows that she wouldn’t be sitting here in the room with Cara otherwise, but she can still sense the turmoil in Cara. Wanting to give Cara the chance to confirm it out loud for herself, Kahlan follows up with the obvious question. “Didn’t you?”

“I did.”

“Did you hurt him before you killed him?” Kahlan’s voice is a little breathless and she watches Cara’s mouth as Cara answers.

“I did.”

Kahlan feels no shame at the quick punch of lust that hits her system. She’s come to accept that the violence in her lover is part of what draws them together. It took time to reconcile, but now…now there is nothing but pride and want as she hears the slight increase in Cara’s breathing.  Yet Kahlan pushes aside her own desire for the moment. She can sense there is a different kind of release Cara needs first.

Nodding her head to acknowledge Cara’s words, Kahlan adjusts her legs once more. She watches Cara watch her as she spreads them a little wider.

“Come to me.”  Kahlan’s low tone hits them both. Neither looks away as Cara comes to stand before Kahlan.  “And kneel.”

The please is there on the tip of her tongue, should Cara need it, but it gets swallowed down as Cara follows Kahlan’s request without hesitation and kneels between her spread legs. 

Cara’s face is all confidence as she gives Kahlan’s body one slow look, but the hands that rest on Kahlan’s thighs are tentative. Kahlan’s heart hurts just a little at the difference and she brings her hands up, the backs of her fingers passing gently over Cara’s cheeks.

One of her hands rests on top of Cara’s while the other cups the side of Cara’s face to pull her in closer.  Kahlan keeps the kiss light, tempering the passion inherent in Cara’s kisses until she feels Cara’s mouth soften. The kiss ends on a sigh and Kahlan sits back and slowly drags her thumb across Cara’s bottom lip, loving the way the hand under hers grips her thigh just a little harder.

Curling her fingers under Cara’s chin, Kahlan pushes her thumb between Cara’s lips.  Tilting her head back to look down at Cara, she strokes her thumb slowly across Cara’s tongue as Cara continues to watch her.

“Undress me.”

Cara starts to pull her head back and Kahlan simply curls her fingers harder, holding Cara’s jaw in place.  The look her Mord’Sith gives her makes Kahlan glad that she’s seated on the bed.  The creak of Cara’s leathers as she shifts on her knees caresses Kahlan’s senses. 

There is defiance there, always, and that’s part of the thrill for Kahlan.  For them both.  But tonight, the Mother Confessor sees something else and so she keeps her hold firm on Cara’s head.  Limiting Cara’s movement, Kahlan allows Cara to pull down one side of her dress as she pulls her arm free.

Cara’s lips are pursed against Kahlan’s thumb. Kahlan takes the opportunity to scrape the pad of her thumb over Cara’s bottom teeth.  She smirks as Cara tugs in frustration on the other side of Kahlan’s dress, Cara’s eyebrow arching high as Kahlan simply shakes her head.

“Not yet.”

She feels the warning growl vibrate across her thumb as Cara’s teeth bite down slightly, but Kahlan pays the action no mind.  With her free hand, she runs her fingers through Cara’s blonde hair and smiles knowingly as Cara’s eyelashes flutter before she fixes Kahlan with a look.

Kahlan knows her Mord’Sith.  She knows Cara better than she knows herself.  And the Mother Confessor knows what she offers Cara tonight is something that Cara has never directly asked for.  Each time brings them closer and brings a peace to Cara that Kahlan cherishes as her own.  She offers it this time to Cara wordlessly, the play of emotions across Cara’s face as Kahlan cups the back of her head accelerating her breathing.  Kahlan works to remind herself this isn’t about her, but the quick jolt of pleasure that tugs at her clit as she slips her thumb from Cara’s mouth cannot be helped.

Never looking away from Cara’s green eyes, Kahlan guides Cara’s mouth to her breast.  Cupping the soft flesh in her own hand, she gently slips the fingers of her other hand through Cara’s hair and waits.  She feels Cara’s heavy exhale brush over her, damp and warm against her sensitive skin.  Despite this warmth, Kahlan’s nipple hardens as if she was outside in the chill and this time, she cannot control the soft moan that escapes her lips as Cara opens her mouth a little wider.

Cara’s arms come up and settle around the Mother Confessor’s waist, her palms pressed tight to Kahlan’s lower back.  Kahlan watches her for a moment, her fingers reaching out once again to hold the bottom of Cara’s chin gently.  There is still hesitation there and Kahlan feels her heart pump even harder with love for the Mord’Sith kneeling in front of her.

“It’s okay.  Everything is okay now.”

Kahlan isn’t sure if it’s her words or her tone or something in her eyes, but Cara finally closes the small distance, her lips and tongue latching on to Kahlan’s nipple and sucking gently.  Kahlan welcomes the desire that sits heavy in her belly, but lets it rest for the moment.  This is about Cara.  Kahlan leans back slightly, both hands shifting to cradle Cara’s face -- not to control her but to feel her, to let Cara know that she’s there.

Cara’s eyes flicker closed after a moment. Kahlan closes her eyes as well, her senses tuned in to the feel of Cara’s full lips moving slowly against her breast, Cara's tongue soft and wet as she sucks steadily on Kahlan’s hard nipple.  There is an answering pull between Kahlan's legs each time and she allows her body to settle into this familiar call and response, letting Cara take what she needs in her gentle suckling.

She can feel the moment that Cara truly relaxes against her, body warm and pliant between Kahlan’s thighs.  Kahlan's lips turn up in a smile at the soft noise Cara makes as Kahlan scratches lightly against the nape of her neck, Cara’s fingers flexing softly where they rest on Kahlan’s back.

This time spent with her Mord’Sith is precious to her. Again, Kahlan’s heart fills with love, knowing that she’s the only one that can give this to Cara.  The only one who can be there for Cara in a way no one else could ever be.

Kahlan senses Cara opening her eyes and does the same.  Watching Cara as she nurses at her breast, Kahlan feels their connection deepen and knows, as she did during battle today, that she will protect this--protect Cara-- at all costs.

Kahlan knows the moment that comfort turns to desire.  Her breath catches as Cara uses her teeth.  One slow warning tug, a signal Cara is steady once more, and Kahlan concedes control.

Cara’s lips are still pursed as she pulls back, the corners curving up slightly.  Kahlan welcomes the slight ache in her nipple as Cara cups her breast.  Pressing a kiss to the skin above Kahlan’s heart, Cara leans back to rest against her heels and reaches down to grip the bottom of Kahlan’s dress. 

There’s no gratitude exchanged for what just happened.  There’s no need.  What comes next is all either of them need.

“Are you wet for me, Mother Confessor?”

“Yes.” The answer comes without hesitation.

Cara makes a show of slowly gathering the fabric of Kahlan’s dress and pushing it up over her thighs, her eyes only for Kahlan’s face.  Grabbing one of Kahlan’s hands, Cara turns it so she can place a slow, wet kiss against Kahlan’s palm.  The sound alone has Kahlan moaning softly.  This side of her lover, the promise held in the green eyes that continue to watch her, is another part of the comfort they find in each other.  This reminder they have both survived another day, together.  Nothing exists outside of the room and Kahlan’s stomach tightens with anticipation as a slow grin transforms Cara’s face.

“Show me.”