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TITLE: The softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon
AUTHOR: the_girl_20
FANDOM: Legend of the Seeker & Game of Thrones
PAIRING: Cara Lannister/Kahlan Snow
SUMMARY: Cara and her mysterious Lady in the North.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: AU set in the Game of Thrones universe. May or may not precede my other fic: Of all sentiments, the most abstract, which is Cara/Cersei.

“You must be sorry that you missed your brother and sister by so short a time.”

Cara smiled at Catelyn Stark, positive that the woman would just as soon spit on her as speak to her. Cara had planned to meet the royal party at Winterfell on her return from her latest expedition. Stormy seas and ill winds had delayed her departure and she’d missed them by mere days.

As a Lannister, and as the Queen’s sister, she was afforded hospitality wherever she went, though sometimes it was given grudgingly. But Cara’s scarlet leathers felt stiff with the need for cleaning, and her bones ached for a real bed after sleeping in tents for weeks and then on a ship on choppy seas. She was not above using her station to gain a few comforts for herself and the small personal guard her father insisted she take with her wherever she went. In truth, she thought of them more as brothers than soldiers and she always ensured they were treated well wherever they went.

“Yes, it’s a great pity that my ship was delayed. And I’m so sorry to trouble your household while your son is…”

Catelyn looked away, acknowledging Cara’s sympathy with a curt nod.

“It is no trouble,” Catelyn assured her. “You and your party shall stay here as long as you need to.”

Cara surmised that Catelyn hoped it wouldn’t be long at all.

“I thank you for your kindness, Lady Stark. My sister spoke highly of you in her letters.”

“The Queen is too kind,” Catelyn said, though her eyes told a different story and Cara’s jaw worked at the slight.

“Yes, she is,” Cara replied, tightly. “I’m sure you wish to return to your son. I don’t wish to keep you from him.”

For the first time since their meeting, Cara saw a spark of emotion other than disdain in Catelyn Stark.

“Thank you, my lady.” Her eyes caught sight of something over Cara’s shoulder. “Kahlan, show Lady Lannister to her chamber, make sure she’s comfortable.”

“Yes, Lady Stark.”

Cara turned, expecting to see a servant girl and instead found herself looking at the most beautiful woman she’d ever laid eyes on. She was tall; taller than Cara by at least a handspan. Rich, thick dark hair tumbled down her back in waves. Her skin was as white as the damned snow that was everywhere, and she wore a long white gown. But her eyes. Cara had never seen anything like them. They were blue, unnaturally so; like ice on a summer’s day. She smiled and Cara realised she was staring.

“Would you care to follow me, Lady Lannister?”

“I would indeed,” Cara murmured.


When they reached Cara’s appointed quarters, Kahlan showed her in and stood by the door.

“If you need anything, pull on that rope and you will be attended to directly,” she said, indicating a rope near the bed. “If there’s nothing else for the moment, I’ll leave you to settle in after your journey.”

“If I pull on the rope, will I be attended to by you?” Cara asked, letting her eyebrow creep up in suggestion.

It was the wrong move. Kahlan’s face hardened, a flush appearing on her neck.

“You will be attended to by whoever hears the bell, Lady Lannister,” she said, all traces of her smile gone. “I bid you good evening.”

“Wait!” Cara commanded, using her haughtiest tone, despite feeling slightly guilty.

Kahlan halted and turned back to face her.

“Yes, my lady?” she asked, her voice carrying a hint of a challenge.

“You are not a serving girl,” Cara said.

Kahlan’s eyes narrowed; this was clearly not something she wished to discuss. But Cara held her gaze and waited.

“My name is Kahlan Snow,” she said, finally, in resignation.

“Ah...,” Cara nodded. Ned Stark’s bastard daughter. She’d heard Cersei, on more than one occasion, talk scathingly about Ned Stark’s supposed ‘honour’. Cara caught a flash of something in Kahlan’s eyes and decided to leave it be.

“That will be all for now, thank you,” Cara said, tugging off her red leather gloves.

Kahlan dipped her head in a small bow. “Lady Lannister,” she said, before turning to leave.

“Mistress Snow,” Cara’s voice stopped her again. She took longer to turn back this time and when she did, she looked sad.

“I’m...sorry,” Cara found herself saying. “If I offended you.”

This appeared to take Kahlan by surprise, her eyebrows lifted and her mouth opened a little. She nodded.

“As you said,” she began, holding Cara’s eyes. “I’m not a serving girl. And I don’t do the things that they do.”

“Understood, Kahlan Snow,” Cara said. More’s the pity, she thought to herself.

Kahlan looked at Cara, as if deciding whether or not she was being mocked. Cara waited until she made up her mind. With a final nod, and a curious glance back at Cara, Kahlan was gone.


A snowstorm kept Cara and her party at Winterfell longer than expected. Cara kept her distance from Kahlan for a few days, content to admire her from afar. She found her fascinating. The way she held herself, so regally, as she carried out the most mundane of tasks. The guarded expression she usually wore, with a real smile making an appearance on rare occasions. Cara decided to make it her goal to earn one of those rare smiles before her departure.

She watched as Kahlan deferred to Catelyn Stark; doing her bidding and putting up with the woman’s obvious hatred for her. She watched her laugh with Robb, tweaking his beard and trying to distract him while he practised archery in the yard. She watched her gallop through the great hall with Rickon on her back; Shar and Shaggydog at her heels. She seemed both out of place, and a perfect fit. But at all times, she was composed and collected.

Until one day, when Cara collided with her in one of Winterfell’s winding corridors. Cara grasped Kahlan’s upper arms to prevent either of them from falling from the impact. Kahlan tried to pull away.

“I’m sorry...I...”

Cara dipped her head, trying to see Kahlan’s face, hidden as it was by her hair.

“Did I hurt you?” Cara asked, sweeping some of Kahlan’s hair back.

Kahlan finally looked at her and Cara was astonished to find the other woman was crying. Her beautiful face was red, cheeks stained with tears that were still flowing. Cara thought she might be even more beautiful this way. Because it was as if a little of the ice had melted. Kahlan pulled out of Cara’s gentle grip, wiping at her tears with her sleeve.

“You didn’t hurt me, I wasn’t looking where I was going. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologise.” Cara wasn’t prone to feelings of sympathy for strangers, but something in the girl’s demeanour cried out to her. “What’s upset you?”

“Nothing. It’s…nothing.” Kahlan sniffed and tried to smile. “Are you enjoying your stay at Winterfell, Lady Lannister?”

“Never mind my enjoyment.” Cara’s brow creased in concern. “Did someone try to…ravish you?”

“No! No, it’s nothing like that.” Kahlan glanced over her shoulder, making sure they were alone. She turned back to Cara. “I just…wanted to see my little brother and…I was told I wasn’t welcome.”

Lady Stark, no doubt. Cara shifted, awkward. She wanted to say something of comfort, but she hardly knew the girl. She settled on something that she was sure of.

“If my brother were hurt, I’d want to see him too. And anyone who stood in my way would be sorry they did.”

Kahlan’s smile was rueful. “He’s her son. It’s her house…I have no place. She made that clear. She’s made it clear for as long as I can remember…but she’s never sai-….”

She stopped short, biting her lip.

“What did she say?” Cara stepped close to Kahlan again. “What did she say today that was different?”

She thought for a moment that Kahlan wouldn’t reply. But those blue eyes met her own and she saw fire swirl behind them.

“She told me it should have been me.” Kahlan’s voice didn’t waver, and neither did her gaze.

There was nothing to say to that. Cara shook her head and Kahlan took a step back, collecting herself.

“I’m sorry, Lady Lannister, I shouldn’t have burdened you with this. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

And she walked away before Cara could say a word. She watched her retreat down the corridor, a strange hollowness in her chest. She suddenly felt very far from home and her family.


She had spent the evening drinking in the company of the soldiers of the Stark household. Cara liked to hear men spinning tales of battle and adventure, no matter how tall those tales were. Richard Cypher, the head of her guard, was currently laughing so hard that his ale was coming out of his nose. Cara shook her head affectionately and punched his shoulder.

“Do try to maintain a modicum of decorum, Richard,” she murmured close to his ear. “We can’t have these Northerners thinking that we can’t hold our ale.”

He turned to her with a wide grin. “Not all of us have hollow legs, Cara.” He nudged her knee with his. “I don’t know where you put it, I really don’t.”

Cara smirked and emptied her tankard in a single swallow, watching him over the rim and slamming it down onto the table. She wiped her mouth with her hand and Richard leaned close, his arm pressed against hers.

“So, have you spoken to her again?”

Cara frowned, wondering if she’d missed part of a conversation. “Spoken to whom?”

Richard laughed. “To the tall, dark and beautiful bastard.”

“Don’t call her that.” The words were out before Cara had time to think about them. Her immediate defence of Kahlan came as a surprise to both herself and Richard. He raised an eyebrow at her.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it.”

She sighed. “I know you didn’t. I just...I don’t see why you would be interested in any conversations I might have with the Snow girl.”

Richard just smiled, irritating Cara further.

“Stop looking at me like that.”

“As you wish,” Richard said, as his tankard was filled by a comely serving girl. “But you forget, Lady Cara, that I was the one who used to steal apples with you and then watch you convince your father you hadn’t been near an orchard in your life. You look a lot like that right now.”

It was true. Richard had been taken in by Tywin Lannister when he was barely past his fifth nameday. He had been Cara’s constant companion as they grew up in Casterly Rock. More than once Cara had talked them out of trouble. Cara tried to maintain her stern exterior, but ended up rolling her eyes.

“She interests me,” she finally admitted. “I find her...intriguing.”

“She’s certainly very intriguing,” Richard agreed. “And almost unnaturally beautiful.”

“You keep your eyes off her beauty,” Cara told him, good-naturedly. “But yes, she is.”

“Why haven’t you bedded her?”

From anyone else, the question would have been insulting. From Richard, it was merely genuine curiosity. He was under no illusions about Cara’s exploits.

“She’s not a serving girl. She doesn’t do that.” She smiled as she repeated Kahlan’s words.

“Poor girl,” Richard mused. “She doesn’t stand a chance, does she?”

Under normal circumstances that might have been true. But Kahlan Snow did not appear to be like any other woman Cara had met. She shrugged.

“Perhaps I’m the one who doesn’t stand a chance this time...”

They were saved from further introspection when a bottle was thrust onto the table between them. They looked up to find a hulking Stark guardsman looming over them.

“You!” he bellowed, pointing at Richard. “You challenged me to an arm wrestling contest! And then you disappeared. You don’t run away from no challenges up here, boy. Let’s be having you.”

Cara sized the man up. He was only slightly smaller in height and girth than Ser Gregor Clegane. She turned to Richard with an eyebrow raised. He looked back at her, eyes wide with panic.

“You must be drunk,” she murmured. Turning back to the guardsman, she stood up. “He’s feeling a little unwell. I’ll take his place.”

The room erupted in laughter, which Cara ignored, keeping her eyes firmly on her opponent. She raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to refuse my challenge? And have me tell everyone from here to King’s Landing that you fear losing to a woman?”

The immense man thought this over for a moment, but then dragged out a chair and sat, planting his elbow on the table and wiggling his fingers.

“As you wish, My Lady.”

Cara took her seat opposite him, grasping his hand and settling into the hold. She knew she was no match for him and that the contest would be over quickly if she didn’t use the advantages she had available to her. Richard put his hand over their joined ones, holding them in the centre of the table. Just before they took the strain, Cara dragged a finger from from her chin down into the deep dip at her neckline. She watched the man’s eyes follow its progress and grinned.

“Ready...” Richard was saying.

His eyes snapped back to her face. She snaked her tongue out to lick her lips. His grip went slack in hers.


She used his distraction to slam his hand down onto the wood without warning, resulting in a huge cheer from the assembled crowd. He howled with rage, standing and leaning across the table.

“I...you...I call foul play!”

Cara regarded him casually, not bothering to stand.

“My good man, if you cannot concentrate on the task at hand, that is hardly my fault. I won fair and square. And now you will buy me and my friend a drink.”

Everyone in the room looked to the angry soldier for his reaction. The air was charged and dangerous. Cara may have been a Lady, but she was an outsider. And outnumbered. Thankfully, her gamble paid off as the man threw his head back and guffawed, breaking the tension.

“My lady, you are right, of course,” he said, with a sweeping bow. “Allow me to get you a real drink. That ale you’ve been supping all night is gnat’s piss.”

He picked up the bottle he had placed on the table and filled two glasses, pushing them at Cara and Richard and holding up his own.

“To the Lioness of Lannister. A worthy winner!”

Cara smiled at the compliment and tipped the fiery liquid down her throat. She fought not to cough and saw Richard doing the same. The alcohol warmed her from within, snaking into her veins. Her glass was refilled and downed another serving. Her head was growing clouded and she frowned. Perhaps her legs weren’t quite as hollow as Richard thought.


Later, staggering across the courtyard in the dark, Cara was having trouble remembering which door would take her back to her chambers. She stumbled over a cobblestone and, in her state of inebriation, could not right herself. She went down hard onto her knees, managing to get her hands out to brace herself before her face made contact with the icy ground. She stayed down for a moment, her forehead pressed against the cool stone.

“Are you alright?”

Cara was considering pros and cons of lifting her head to see the source of the voice, but before she could come to a decision, a hot tongue started swiping at her cheek. She scrunched up her face, rolling over to try to escape the onslaught. She ended up on her back, looking up into the cloudless sky. A worried looking Kahlan swam into her vision and Cara grinned up at her.

“I asked if you were alright,” Kahlan said, her eyes searching Cara for signs of injury.

“I’m glorious,” Cara said, the words feeling too big for her mouth.

Kahlan’s lips thinned into a stern line when she heard the slurring.

“You’re drunk, Lady Lannister.”

“You’re observant, Lady Snow.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“Oh, but you are a Lady,” Cara heard herself say, garbled though it was. “Far more than most Ladies I’ve encountered.”

Kahlan appeared to be caught between protesting and blushing. She settled for rolling her eyes and holding out her hand.

“Come on,” she said. “You can’t stay here all night.”

The thought of having to stand and walk was not at all appealing and Cara shook her head.

“I’m quite happy here. It won’t be the first time I’ve slept on the ground.” She groped around, and frowned. “Where’s my cloak?”

“You’re not wearing one,” Kahlan said, impatience tingeing her voice. “Now get up.”

Cara let her eyes drift closed again with a sigh. Getting up really did sound like too much effort.

“No.” She heard Kahlan making a tutting noise.


The tongue was back at her face and she tried to push it away but the wolf was relentless. She heard Kahlan laugh and opened her eyes to see her smiling down at her. Cara tried to frown, but she wasn’t sure it quite worked.

“Fine. I’ll come with you. Call off the beast.”

“Here, Shar,” Kahlan called, the wolf immediately moving to her side.

Cara grasped Kahlan’s hand and allowed her to pull her to her feet. She swayed a little and swallowed down the burn in her throat as her evening’s drinking caught up with her. A warm cloak landed on her shoulders. She looked at Kahlan in surprise.

“You’re shivering.” Kahlan looked away. “It’s not lionskin, but it’s warm.”

It was warm. But what warmed Cara more was that it held the scent of Kahlan’s skin. She pulled the cloak tighter around herself.

Together they managed to stumble to Cara’s chamber. Kahlan was out of breath from the effort of supporting most of Cara’s weight and she pushed her onto the bed with a quiet ‘oomph’. Cara let herself drop to the pliant surface, her eyes closed. The bed dipped beside her, but to her disappointment the weight that settled itself against her side was decidedly furry. A heavy lump landed on her abdomen. With a sigh, she brought her hand up to scratch at Shar’s ears.

Kahlan started to tug her boots off. “Thank you, Lady Snow. I’m indebted to you. And a Lannister always pays her debts.”

“Not at all.” Kahlan stumbled a little as Cara’s boot came off in her hands. “How would it have looked for the sister of the Queen to be found frozen to death with the stench of alcohol clinging to her?”

“Oh, so you wished only to preserve the reputation of your House’s hospitality?” Cara grabbed at the blanket underneath her as Kahlan gave her other boot a particularly hard pull.

Kahlan stood up, dropping Cara’s boot beside the other one.

“It’s not my House.” She turned and moved to the fireplace, lifting a poker to agitate the burning wood. She kept her back to Cara. “And I don’t think it prudent to draw your sister’s ire.”

A protest died in Cara’s throat. It came naturally to her to defend her sister; her family. But she could not deny that arousing Cersei’s anger was not wise. She sighed again and Shar let out a low whine that she felt reverberate through her torso.

“She likes you.”

Opening one eye, Cara looked into the blue eyes of the white wolf, so like those of its mistress.

“Well, I don’t like her.” The words were clearly untrue. Even Shar seemed to understand the lie, giving the underside of Cara’s chin a lick. Kahlan laughed and the sound warmed Cara further, the warmth settling firmly between her legs.

“You look very comfortable there for one who doesn’t care for the company of wolves.”

Shar had laid her head back down and appeared to be asleep on Cara’s chest. Cara gave in and wrapped an arm around the animal.

“Perhaps I’m beginning to see the appeal of wolves,” she muttered, lifting her eyes to meet Kahlan’s. “Certain wolves.”

“Shall I leave her here with you to keep you warm tonight?” There was an undertone to Kahlan’s suggestion and Cara’s body reacted to it.

“That might be enjoyable,” she agreed. “But you should probably stay too...the wolf might miss your company.”

She wondered if Kahlan would storm off again. Instead, she was treated to the raise of a single eyebrow.

“You’re right,” Kahlan said, thoughtfully. “I wouldn’t want her to miss me.” She grinned. “Here Shar.”

Cara frowned as the wolf got up and bounded off the bed to stand by Kahlan, leaving her cold and alone.

“You don’t wish to face my sister’s wrath, but you would chance my own?”

Kahlan looked at her for a long time, coming to some sort of decision.

“Something tells me that your bite is not as bad as your roar, my lady” she said, finally. “I would not say the same for your sister.”

Again, Cara could not find the words to dispute Kahlan’s assertion, even though it was bold enough to be bordering on impudent. She sighed pitifully, letting her head drop back onto the soft surface of the bed.

“As always, second best to my sister,” she lamented.

“I wouldn’t put it quite like that,” Kahlan said. “You’re more beautiful than she is.”

By the time Cara lifted her head, she was gone.


The weather worsened and Cara had to further prolong her stay. She found herself in the library most evenings. It was smaller than the one at Casterly Rock, but with the same comforting smell of old books. And it was warm, which was more than could be said for most of the rooms at Winterfell. She was ensconced in a chair by the fire one evening when the door opened. Cara didn’t look up, expecting it to be Maester Luwin, who often pottered around the room without paying her any heed.

“Not drinking tonight, Lady Lannister?”

Her head snapped up to find Kahlan standing in front of her with a soft smile on her face.

“Not this evening,” Cara said, her lips creeping up into a smile. “It’s not all I do, you know.”

She nodded to the book in Kahlan’s hand.

“It looks like we have a common interest, Lady Snow.”

Kahlan looked down at the tome, as if she had forgotten she was holding it. She smiled.

“Perhaps we do. What are you reading?” She moved so that she was standing beside Cara, her hip pressed against her shoulder as she tilted her head to see the book in her lap.

A little thrown by the contact, Cara took longer than she should have to respond.

“Or maybe you’re just looking at the etchings.” There was no mistaking the humour I Kahlan’s voice; Cara was being teased. She looked up at the other woman with an eyebrow raised.

“I’m reading about battle strategy,” she said. “What are you reading? Some epic tale of grand romance, no doubt.”

Kahlan shook her head, but her smile remained. “I have no inkling where you would get that impression,” she admonished. “My sister Sansa, yes. But not me. I have no interest in romance. I’m reading a history of the Wall.”

Cara laughed softly. “You are an unusual woman.”

“So they say.”

Cara’s forehead creased. For some reason, she didn’t want other people holding this opinion of Kahlan. “Who says so?”

Kahlan shrugged. She moved away from Cara’s side and she immediately felt the loss. Laying her book on the table, Kahlan turned to face Cara again, watching her face for a reaction as she spoke.

“You haven’t heard the stories, then?”

Cara sat up straighter, reaching out to place her own book alongside Kahlan’s. She sat back, crossing her legs and looking up at Kahlan. “I’ve heard many stories, you’ll have to be more specific.”

“Well,” Kahlan began, her voice lowering conspiratorially. “It’s said that my mother was from beyond the wall. That my father laid with a wight walker and his seed quickened in her cold, barren womb. That he waited until she was ready to drop and then went back and killed her and cut me from her belly to bring me here. They say I have magic in me.”

Kahlan smiled as she talked, but Cara could see that there was a sadness behind it.

“Magic?” she whispered, playing along with Kahlan’s storytelling tone. “What kind of magic?”

Kahlan moved forward, placing her hands on Cara’s shoulders and bending so that they were at the same level. Cara fought the desire to pull her closer, though she couldn’t help her eyes from flicking to Kahlan’s lips.

“They say I can look into a person’s soul and see what’s truly there,” Kahlan whispered, and in that moment, Cara almost believed it. Looking into those eyes, Cara had no doubt that she would confess all of her innermost thoughts if Kahlan so much as nodded.

“And what do you see in my soul, Lady Snow?”

The title broke the spell that hung over them. Kahlan blinked and stood up, seemingly realising how close she was to Cara.

“As I said, they’re stories, nothing more,” she said, playing with a page in the book Cara had been reading. “I’ve also heard it said that I can fly and that I control the weather. People need something to talk about. And to fear.”

Cara watched her close up before her eyes. She wondered if Lady Stark had been the first one to whisper these ‘stories’. She stood and moved closer to Kahlan, reaching out to touch her arm.

“I don’t fear you.”

The look she received was equal parts amusement and surprise. “There’s not many as brave as you, Lady Lannister.”

“Call me Cara. I think we are friends, are we not?”

She spoke without thought of propriety or position. The smile Kahlan gave her was worth it.

“Well, if we are friends, then I suppose you can call me Kahlan.” Her eyes danced with a joy Cara had not seen in them before. “But in company, it must be Lady Lannister...or Lady Stark will have my head.”

“I’d have hers first.” It was a ridiculous and grandiose statement, and Kahlan treated it as such, rolling her eyes. But there was a hint of a blush on her pale skin.

“Thank you.” And she brushed a soft kiss across Cara’s cheek.

Cara closed her eyes and turned her head so that their lips met, unable to stop herself. Kahlan made a surprised sound in her throat, but didn’t move away or slap her. Cara’s hands went to Kahlan’s hips and around to her back, holding her gently in an embrace. When both of Kahlan’s hands cupped her face, Cara moaned indelicately, her tongue seeking out the warmth of Kahlan’s mouth. Entrance was granted and Cara felt like she was gliding over ice. She stumbled forward, pressing Kahlan back against one of the bookshelves. A book became dislodged and fell, hitting Cara on the head and ending their kiss in a most untimely fashion.

Rubbing her head, Cara looked to see Kahlan’s reaction, fearing what she might find. She needn’t have worried. Kahlan’s eyes were unfocused and almost black with lust. She was breathing heavily, fingers touching her lips.


The word drew Kahlan’s focus and she dipped her head, smiling, before looking back up.


Cara smiled and leaned in for another kiss.


Days passed and Cara only saw Kahlan briefly at mealtimes and occasionally in the yard. Whenever their eyes met, Kahlan would always smile shyly at her, so she knew that she hadn’t frightened her off. Part of her wondered whether Kahlan was doing it on purpose, just to tease her. Eventually she got tired of waiting and marched into the kitchen one afternoon. Kahlan was kneading dough for bread and had flour on her clothes and face. Cara had to school her features into a neutral expression.

“Mistress Snow, may I speak with you?”

Kahlan looked up in surprise, several of the kitchen hands were casting furtive glances between the two women, but Cara ignored all of them.

“Certainly, Lady Lannister,” Kahlan said, untying the apron she wore and laying it down.

Cara turned to leave, knowing that Kahlan would follow. She ducked into an alcove and waited. Kahlan appeared a few seconds later, dusting off her dress. Cara grabbed her arm and pulled her in, so that their faces were almost touching. Kahlan’s eyes were wide, but a smile broke over her face. Cara tried to remain stern.

“Usually when I kiss girls, they’re keen to repeat the experience.”

Kahlan frowned. “So, you kiss girls often, then?”

“Often enough...and I don’t usually have to chase around after them afterwards.”

“Well, perhaps you should go and find some other girl to kiss,” Kahlan said, breaking Cara’s grip on her arm easily. Cara caught Kahlan around the waist, drawing her against her body so that her breasts were pressed to Kahlan’s back.

“I don’t want to kiss other girls.” Her voice was a whisper. “I want to kiss you. You’re all I think about, Kahlan. I...I meant it when I said we were friends. I don’t say that to many people.”

Kahlan sighed, but it wasn’t the dreamy kind of sigh that Cara had hoped for. It was sad.

“Lady Stark is watching me...with you. Someone has talked. Or she’s noticed something. But I know when she’s watching me.”

“Then let her watch,” Cara growled. “You’re a woman grown and are no kin to her. She has no say in your behaviour.”

Kahlan turned in Cara’s arms, though she kept her eyes downcast. Her hand came up to play with the lion’s head brooch that held Cara’s cloak in place.

“She’s very skilled at making my life a misery without actually doing anything that my father could object to.” Kahlan’s voice was small and defeated. “She may be a Tully, but the Cat has claws.”

Cara shook her head, tipping Kahlan’s chin up and kissing her nose.

“I’m a bigger cat than she is. Let her show her claws and I’ll show mine.” She meant every word.

Kahlan smiled and shook her head. “My champion,” she murmured, threading her fingers into Cara’s hair and tilting her head to let their lips meet. For the first time in days, Cara felt at ease. She shifted so that Kahlan’s body fit more closely against her own. Her hand slid down to frame Kahlan’s ribs, before starting a journey upwards towards her breasts. A journey that was halted by Kahlan’s own hand. Cara drew back from the kiss to find Kahlan looking at her, worried.

“I told you that I don’t do what the serving girls do...and I don’t. I...never have.”

Cara frowned and then clarity set in.

“Oh... you’re a...maid,” she fumbled. She wondered why that hadn’t occurred to her before.

A furious blush covered Kahlan’s face and neck, but she nodded. Cara felt herself grow wet between her legs. The knowledge that no-one had touched this exquisite body before her was thrilling. She would lay claim to Kahlan’s unexplored flesh, mark it as her own. She purred at the thought, yanking Kahlan back in for a hungry kiss.

“You don’t have to...” The words were whispered against Kahlan’s lips. “But I want you. I want to be inside you. I’ll be gentle, I promise. But I want to be with you.”

The moan that escaped Kahlan’s throat was enough of an answer in itself, but Cara wanted to hear it spoken. She pushed Kahlan back with a hand on her jaw so that they were looking into each other’s eyes.

“What do you want?”

Kahlan swallowed, her tongue flicking out to soothe kiss-bruised lips. “I want you.”

They were the most wondrous words that Cara had ever heard.

“Then take me. I’m yours.”


Cara lay back against the pillows, trying to get her breath back, as Kahlan kissed her way up her body. The brunette settled on top of her, a delightfully solid weight. She grinned down at Cara and she couldn’t help but smile back, lazy and happy.

“Clearly you read about more in that library than just the history of the wall.”

Kahlan laughed. “Perhaps I did. Was my time well spent?”

“Very well spent,” Cara confirmed, pressing her hips up against Kahlan’s and watching her eyes close. She scratched lightly at her lower back. “I...are you alright? I hope it wasn’t too painful.” There had been blood on Cara’s hand, mixed with Kahlan’s arousal.

Blushing, Kahlan shook her head.

“Only briefly, and it was a good hurt.” She looked at Cara through her eyelashes. “You were very gentle.”

“I promised I would be,” Cara said, pushing some of Kahlan’s hair behind her ear. “I keep my promises.”

“I believe you,” Kahlan said, leaving Cara wondering if she really could see into the truest depths of her soul.

Her hand drifted from Kahlan’s hair to her lips. She ran her thumb along the full lower lip, pulling it down. She rose up to lick the scar on Kahlan’s upper lip, running the very tip of her tongue up the length of it.

“How did you get that?” It was the only mark Kahlan had on her, and Cara had spent a great deal of time exploring the rest of her to be sure.

Immediately, Kahlan’s eyes dropped and Cara felt her body tense. She stroked her hair.

“I’m sorry...you don’t have to tell me.”

“It was on my eighth nameday,” Kahlan said, her eyes still focussed somewhere on Cara’s chest. “I was playing with Robb in the yard...he was chasing me but I was taller so he couldn’t catch me. He was running fast and I turned and he tried to follow, but he slipped and fell. He only skinned his knee, but Lady Stark was furious that I’d hurt her boy.”

“She struck you?” Anger simmered under Cara’s skin like a fever.

Kahlan nodded, finally lifting her eyes to Cara’s. She smiled sadly.

“Then she leaned in close and whispered ‘Not so pretty now, are you?’.”

It took all of Cara’s willpower not to leap out of bed and find Catelyn Stark to see how she enjoyed being hit. She already disliked the woman, but upon hearing Kahlan’s story, it had progressed to a hatred hotter than the seven hells. Her hand was shaking as she cupped Kahlan’s face, her thumb stroking over the scar.

“Well, if she thought a little thing like this could mar a beauty such as yours, she’s more foolish than I imagined.” Cara’s voice was tight as she spoke, her eyes shining with tears for a frightened little girl she didn’t know. “It only adds to your magnificence because it speaks of your strength...your will to survive. You truly are the most exquisite person I have ever had the pleasure to know.”

Kahlan ducked her head, hiding her face and dropping a kiss on Cara’s collar bone. After a moment she looked up, her smile back in full force.

“And you, Lady Lannister, were worth waiting for.”


The day the raven arrived with the news about Robert, Cara knew her time at Winterfell was over. Her family needed her and she would return to them. Kahlan came to her, clearly having heard the report. No words were spoken as they came together in heated passion, demanding pleasure and receiving it until they were both spent and panting.

“I could come with you,” Kahlan said as she lay with her head on Cara’s chest afterwards, drawing haphazard patterns on her belly. “I’m sure Lady Stark would be glad of the opportunity to be rid of me.”

Cara’s hand stilled where it was running up and down Kahlan’s naked back.

“Kahlan...” Cara began, unsure of what she was even going to say.

It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be with Kahlan. It wasn’t that at all. She wanted to be with Kahlan so badly that it frightened her. But for the first time in her life she was torn between her family and an outsider. A bastard one at that. Cersei would never stand for it. She wasn’t sure Cersei would stand for her finding anyone she truly loved. Far better to make a match for strategic reasons and find pleasure closer to home.

Pushing herself up on her elbow, Kahlan looked down at her, dark hair spilling over her shoulders onto Cara’s face.

“My father is in the South, with my sisters.” Her eyebrows came together and she was almost begging. “I could make some excuse to be with them...please. I can’t stay here and be treated like I’m beneath her any longer. Not when you’ve looked at me the way you do...made me feel the way you make me feel. Like I’m worth something...”

The pain in her chest was real as she listened to Kahlan’s plea. She cupped her cheek and brought her in for a firm kiss, keeping their foreheads pressed together when they parted.

“Kahlan, you are worth ten Catelyn Tullys. A hundred. A thousand. Never think differently.”

“Then take me with you.”

Cara closed her eyes. “I want to. But it’s not safe for you to be with me.”

“I don’t care,” Kahlan said, clutching desperately at Cara, pulling her closer. “I need you.”

“I need you to stay alive,” Cara told her, trying to make her understand. “And the chances of you doing that here are far greater than if you’re with me in the South.”

“I’m only alive when I’m with you,” Kahlan whispered, ripping Cara’s resolve into shreds. “I’ve spent my whole life as an outsider. You brought me in from the cold, Cara. Please...don’t send me back out.”

Kahlan covered Cara’s lips again and she sank into her embrace, letting the sensation wash over her. Her hands moved to Kahlan’s hips, under the covers.

“We can’t,” she whispered, between frantic kisses. “There are eyes everywhere in the South. My sister...”

“Forget about your sister,” Kahlan murmured against Cara’s neck as she licked and nipped at the flesh there.

Cara’s stomach clenched. She pushed Kahlan back a little, shaking her head.

“Oh Kahlan, don’t ask that of me,” she says. “It’s the one thing I could never give you.”

Tears spilled from Kahlan’s eyes and she dropped her head back to the crook of Cara’s neck. Cara held her close, their sobs mingling.


There was no formal farewell from the household. Cara had thanked Lady Stark for her hospitality at dinner the previous evening and informed her that they’d be gone at first light. Cara didn’t sleep a wink all night. She lay awake and listened to Kahlan breathing. She pressed her hands to her skin, trying to imprint the feel of it on her memory. She turned her face into her hair and learned its scent by heart. She kissed her lips to savour the taste. But mostly she looked at her. She didn’t want to forget a single freckle.

Dawn came far too soon and Cara shook Kahlan awake, smiling as she blinked and stretched. When her eyes focussed on Cara, they immediately filled with tears and Cara’s followed suit.

“No,” she said, kissing Kahlan’s cheek to catch the first tear that fell. “We will not spend this time together crying.”

Kahlan wrapped her arms around Cara, as if she never planned to let her go. Cara held her just as tightly.

“You’d best get up and get ready,” Kahlan said into Cara’s shoulder. “You’ll want to make good time on the journey.”

Cara nodded. She squeezed Kahlan one last time before loosening her hold. When Kahlan let go of her, it had a finality to it. Cara stood and dressed in silence, shrugging into her leathers and fastening the buckles; glad to have something to do with her hands and eyes. Another pair of hands covered her own on her belt buckle and she looked up to see Kahlan with the bedsheet wrapped around her, looking like some goddess from the old tales. Kahlan pulled her belt tight, buckling it and then sliding her hands to Cara’s hips. She looked up.

“You asked me once what I could see in your soul,” Kahlan said and Cara’s breath hitched, fearful for what would be said next. “I can see a woman who wants to break free.”

The accuracy of it pierced Cara’s heart like an arrow. Her whole life, Cara had struggled with the ties of her family. She loved them fiercely, but sometimes felt shackled by her name. Her travels had shown her how wide the world was, but she always had to return home. And now there was Kahlan. Her family would never accept Kahlan. Cara just wanted to be allowed to live.

“You told me they were just stories. That you couldn’t see people’s souls.”

“I can see you.”

Cara nearly crumbled and begged Kahlan to come with her. But the absolute trust and faith on Kahlan’s face reminded her of why she had to protect her; protect what they had. So she kissed her to stop any treacherous words from escaping.

“Promise me,” Kahlan whispered against her mouth. “Promise me that I’ll see you again.”

Cara made sure to look into Kahlan’s eyes as she replied. “I promise.”

Kahlan nodded, stroking Cara’s cheek, her lip trembling.

“Then I can bear this, for now. Because you keep your promises.”

“I do,” Cara swore. “We’ll find a way.”

“Winter is coming,” Kahlan said, glancing at the first fingers of light coming through the window.

“Thoughts of you will keep me warm,” Cara told her, trying not to think of what awaited her in the South.

“I’m not saying goodbye to you,” Kahlan said, suddenly. “I won’t.”

It made Cara smile.

“Then don’t. Kiss me instead and that’s how we’ll part.”

Kahlan did kiss her, deeply and with everything she had left in her. They both knew it was their last kiss. When they parted this time, their cheeks were wet. Cara saw no purpose in dragging out the farewell.

“Until we meet again, Lady Snow.”

“Until then, Cara.”

With one final look into Kahlan’s eyes, Cara turned, barely able to see the handle of the door through her tears.


The small party rode out with Cara in the front, her head high and her shoulders back. Richard urged his horse alongside her own, casting a sympathetic look her way. She ignored him. The cold seeped into her skin and she pulled her cloak tighter. Snow started to fall, gently. Cara caught a snowflake in her hand, another on her tongue. The men mumbled curses about the old gods and their weather.

From nowhere, Cara started laughing. She turned her face up to the sky, letting the snow caress her skin.


( 79 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 15th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Goodness! Clichéd as it is, this fic was a bright ray of sunshine on a very dark day... thank you, dear.
Jul. 18th, 2011 06:49 am (UTC)
You're terribly welcome :) I'm glad I could brighten your day.
Jul. 15th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
I adore you. I've said it before. I'll say it a million times more.

Good lord, woman.
Jul. 18th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
I'm adorable. It is known. ;)

I hope your own fic is going well. Let me know when I should send Alanna.
Jul. 15th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I do not know about Games of Thrones...but I don´t care!
Cause this is an awesome piece of intense beauty!
Wonderfully written and tugging on more than just a few heartstrings! AWESOME!
Thank you!
Jul. 18th, 2011 06:54 am (UTC)
Awww, I'm really glad to know it works even if you aren't familiar with the GoT background. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you :)
Jul. 15th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
Wow, this was absolutely amazing. I felt so bad for both Cara and Kahlan, Cara is bound to her family and yet all she wants to do is be with Kahlan and Kahlan gets treated like she's worthless. Gah, it's beautiful, heartbreaking and just perfect. I really do hope that Cara keeps her promise.

Also, this is the first time I've commented on any of your stories. I found your page about a week ago and read all of your LotS fics and.. they're perfect. Beautifully written and full of awesome. Thanks for writing all of these great stories. :D
Jul. 18th, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
I felt really bad for them both too. Particularly Kahlan (I've made myself hate Cat Stark!) I'm sure that Cara will keep her promise.

I'm glad you like the other stories too. I'm pretty obsessed with LotS at the moment!
Jul. 15th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
You are amazing ^_^. I am sooo happy you posted this. I hope Kahlan finds her inner strength after this, her own independance and regality, 'cause she's far too much of a badass in her own right to be put down by another. Cara was fantastic in this, I really felt how much she was torn between her two duties. Gah.

I've got this scenario in my head and I would love to have a go at drawing it sometime. Its a scene where Jaime and Cara are fighting and Ceresi has ahold of Kahlan in the background. Its sort of just after Ceresi finds out how Cara has betrayed her. Just incase you want to continue this but need ideas ^_~.
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:02 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it. I agree that Kahlan needs to come into her own because it made me really sad how oppressed she felt. She needs to get away from Winterfell, I think.

I would welcome any of your drawings!! Jaime and Cara fighting would make me sad though, because I like the idea of them having a really good relationship and Jaime being very protective of his little sister. And I would worry about Kahlan if Cersei got a hold of her!!! I do have an inkling for a continuation but I need to think it through more before I do anything with it. We'll see....
(no subject) - escapay - Jul. 18th, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_girl_20 - Jul. 18th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 15th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen Game of Thrones, but OMG, THIS IS GLORIOUS. It works really well as just an AU.

Cara being drunk is MY FAVOURITE.
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:03 am (UTC)
I never really thought that people who hadn't seen GoT would read this so I'm glad to know it works for you!

Drunk Cara was fun. I like drunk Cara in fics.
Jul. 15th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
Woman, you made me cry. Shit that was intense. I don't like Cersei but now i dislike her even more. Please, please tell me we will get a happy ending in the future. I can't stand for them to be apart, i just can't. My heart is breaking. *sobs*
As for Lady Stark, ugh that bitch, i want to strangle her, or at least for Cara to do it.

And can i just say, i love you for writing Cara and Richard as best buddies. :D Gosh how i love those kind of scenes between them. :D
Cara drunk = hilarious LOL
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:17 am (UTC)
I'm sorry for making you cry :( But I'm glad you enjoyed the fic!

One thing I'm sad about though is that you dislike Cersei more because of it. I love Cersei to a scary degree! But you are free to hate Catelyn as much as you like! (Kidding, I'm conflicted about Cat. I hate her treatment of Jon and I don't like that she appears to forget she has two daughters at various stages, but other than that she is admirable.)

Richard and Cara as buddies is one of my favourite things. I love their scenes together on the show and, given the chance, I will always write them as best bros.

Thank you!
(no subject) - beautifullauren - Jul. 22nd, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_girl_20 - Jul. 23rd, 2011 09:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
This was excellent. Very in keeping with how the Lannisters can only seem to escape one another for a bit, before they're drawn back in. Not that I want Kahlan (or Cara) to be sad, mind, but Westeros is an unforgiving place. I'm glad you kept it that way.
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:18 am (UTC)
The Lannisters are fascinating in their relationships. I love them.

I don't want them to be sad either, but people seem to have a habit of ending up dead in Westeros so I don't hold out much hope of a happy ending...
Jul. 16th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
I love this, particularly the ugliness that the Game of Thrones brings to it. I want to know what Catelyn will do to her now, especially if she knows that she's made herself a slut for the Lannister Bitch, and of course I want to find out if Cara will manage to break free, and how.

Jul. 18th, 2011 07:19 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed this. I'm kind of intrigued about what will happen next myself.... ;)
Jul. 16th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
*sniff* Oh, that was heartbreaking. I admire Catelyn Stark for a great many things, but her treatment of Ned's bastard (in GoT-verse and this one) is despicable. It's the only thing that really makes me want to hate her.

I love everything about this universe...you fit Kahlan so perfectly into the Starks' history. I would have loved to see her be some powerful woman with a title and cronies of her own, but the story you've given her is just so perfect, down to the "stories" of her questionable parentage.

This was beautiful. If you ever feel the need to explore this 'verse further (perhaps when Cara keeps her promise, and they meet again?), I'm sure you'd have plenty of support. :D
Jul. 16th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
Ah! And I almost forgot to mention how much I loved the last little bit, with Cara and the snow....so sweet and a nice crossover from the Seekerverse :D
(no subject) - the_girl_20 - Jul. 18th, 2011 07:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_girl_20 - Jul. 18th, 2011 07:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
Awesome awesome prequel! The Lady from the north country has captured her heart and I can't wait to see how this all plays out. So can't wait! She can't just leave Kahlan there. She can't really stay and mess with Cersei, can she? I LOVED reading this. Really, I think you should contact GoT and MAKE them include Cara and Kahlan in the next season and YOU get to write their scenes and storylines. Damn I wish I were rich and powerful I would make it so!!!
Anyway, thanks for writing this. And I will await more of the Throney goodness!
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Would that I had the power to make anyone include Cara and Kahlan in the Game of Thrones universe.

There may be more of this 'verse, but I cannot guarantee that it will be a) good or b) happy. It's not a nice place and characters have an awful habit of ending up dead in it.
(no subject) - spanishtvjunkie - Jul. 18th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_girl_20 - Jul. 18th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2011 05:05 am (UTC)
Okay before I even read this I just have to say, THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS!! My mind has been pretty much consumed with the idea of these two somehow thrown into the GoT universe ever since GoT first aired. So yeah, off to read now and then comment properly...
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Well, I hope you enjoyed it when you read it :)
Jul. 16th, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
This was wonderful!!! The characters shine in this AU just as much as in their normal canon.
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you. They do seem to really fit in with this 'verse. :)
Jul. 16th, 2011 09:41 am (UTC)
*flails hard and clings to it*

Zomg it's like a dream come true.

No really.

Wait that sounds wrong.

Bah, who gives a flying sea monkey! EPIC!

*cough*you should totally join and post over here *cough*
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
lol. I'm glad you liked it :) I may well pluck up the courage to post in GoT comms at some point. Thanks for the link.
(no subject) - synergyfox - Jul. 18th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
“I’m only alive when I’m with you,” Kahlan whispered, ripping Cara’s resolve into shreds. “I’ve spent my whole life as an outsider. You brought me in from the cold, Cara. Please...don’t send me back out.”

That line killed me! Excuse me, crying rn. This was brilliant, I needs a sequel please
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
Awww, sorry to make you cry. But I'm glad you liked it :)
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Cara: bow, hesitation

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