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FEEDBACK: To mysensitiveside[at]yahoo.com

Learning the Rules
By mysensitiveside


Wizard's First Rule: People are stupid.

Cara can't believe it.

One would think that the threat of the Keeper taking over the world of the living would be motivation enough to hurry up and find the damn Stone of Tears. But no, another damsel in distress comes calling, and somehow, finding a cure for the girl's sick grandmother becomes more important than saving the world.

The girl's pretty, at least, which does a lot towards explaining why Richard agreed to help so quickly.

So Cara resigns herself to enjoying a bit of eye candy while they waste a few days that could be much better spent.

Wizard's Second Rule: The greatest harm can result from the best intentions.

Cara doesn't even realize that her defenses have been lowered until it's too late. Richard, Zedd, and Kahlan -- especially Kahlan -- have been picking away at her walls, bit by bit. First they got her to agree not to kill people as much. Then they got her to actually care about their cause. Then Kahlan and her stupid night wisps got her to feel truly moved.

So before she knows it, they have a damn mascot, and Cara actually lets it happen. They'd been passing through a small village north of Tamarang (stopping yet again for a random side-mission, this time to find a farmer's missing cow), and for some reason, a stray cat had decided that he really liked Cara. No matter how much dissuading she attempted, the cat simply kept trotting along behind her, wherever she went.

It's humiliating. And yet... Thanks to Kahlan's influence on her, Cara finds it strangely endearing at the same time. So, while she puts up an outward front of trying to chase the cat away, she begins to let it sit in her lap when everyone else is sleeping, and she makes a point of feeding him choice pieces of meat from their meals.

Except, then one evening the little thing goes off to explore on his own a bit, and he doesn't come back. Cara can't help it, she's actually worried.

When the others finally realize what it is that's bothering her, they go off to find the cat together; but when they find him... Cara sinks to her knees, but she already knows, even without having to check. She's not sure what it is that got him, but the poor little bundle of fur is no longer breathing.

To Cara's utter horror, she feels tears welling up in her eyes. She wipes angrily at her face as her neck tightens up with the effort of stopping the tears from falling.

She stands up quickly, turning to face the others. The look of sympathy on their faces is the last straw, and she lashes out. "This is your fault!" she charges. She's talking to all of them, but stares particularly at Kahlan, who looks confused at Cara's accusation. Cara continues, explaining that it's not the cat's death that she's blaming them for. "I wouldn't have cared before you. I told you that feelings only made things worse. I told you, but you taught me to feel anyway. This is your fault!"

She storms away, waiting until she's out of sight before she stops, leans back against a sturdy tree, and allows the tears to fall.

Wizard's Third Rule: Passion rules reason.

'Feelings make you weak.'

This is the mantra that Cara has taken to repeating to herself inside her head. She hates that she needs the reminder; hates that Kahlan has taken away that safety of numbness that Cara knew so well.

Still, it seems to be working, for the most part. Cara has learned her lesson after the disaster with the cat.

Kahlan hasn't given up, though, to Cara's great annoyance. The Confessor maintains her belief that feelings are actually a good thing, and she isn't letting Cara simply slide back into the role of heartless Mord' Sith.

Cara decides to just ignore her.

The blonde has almost gotten back to feeling normal again, when of course, Kahlan has to cause trouble. Not that Kahlan actually means to get kidnapped, but Cara almost resents her for it anyway.

Because even though all she wants to feel is indifference, she can't ignore the cold stab of fear that sweeps through her when they realize that Kahlan has been taken. Luckily, the rescue mission proves to be a lot simpler than the last time they had to go retrieve Kahlan (no need to wear frilly dresses or speak in rhyme, thank the Spirits).

Even so, when Cara is the one to find the Mother Confessor, she doesn't resist when Kahlan pulls her into a fierce hug. She assumes it's nothing more than gratitude, but even after a long moment, Kahlan still doesn't pull away. If anything, she only holds Cara tighter. Hesitantly, Cara brings her arms up around Kahlan's body as well. She's unsure whom it is that she's afraid of breaking -- Kahlan, or herself.

She stiffens as Kahlan shifts, bringing her warm lips to Cara's cheek.

'Feelings make you weak,' she repeats urgently to herself, trying to calm the suddenly wild beating of her heart.

She knows that it's true; knows that any feelings will only hurt in the end. Still...

Cara swallows audibly then tilts her head just slightly to the side, eyes desperately trying to ask the question that she can't bring herself to say out loud.

As answer, Kahlan bites her lip, then leans forward, crushing their mouths together. They only pull apart when they hear footsteps approaching, and Richard and Zedd come around the corner. Cara tries stepping farther away, but Kahlan quickly reaches out and grabs hold of Cara's hand, keeping her in place.

Cara knows that feelings are nothing but a weakness. But at the same time, Kahlan does almost nothing other than feel, and she's the strongest person Cara knows.

Cara feels more confused than ever, but oddly content as well. Maybe, just maybe... Cara can learn to use these feelings for good.

Maybe, just maybe... Kahlan will be there to help.

The End

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