thegirl20: (Denna)
[personal profile] thegirl20
TITLE: You're so fine, you blow my mind
AUTHOR: [ profile] the_girl_20
FANDOM: Legend of the Seeker (AU)
PAIRING: Cara/Kahlan
SUMMARY: The Confessors need a new cheerleader after Dahlia fell off the top of the pyramid and broke her leg (aka a blatant rip of of Bring It On.)
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Written because [ profile] gilligankane requested Cara/Kahlan, highschool AU in this thing.

Kahlan Amnell sighed as yet another hopeful (‘Hopeless more like’ Triana had commented) trudged out of the gym with the air of failure weighing heavy on their shoulders.  Tryouts for the Midlands High cheerleading squad were always an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.  The Confessors were three times National Cheerleading Champions and the standard was high.  It was Kahlan’s first year as Mother Confessor (the traditional name for the Captain of the squad - no-one knew where it had come from but nobody was brave enough to change it in case it affected the squad’s luck) and she had the pressure of her predecessor’s victories to contend with, as well as a squad full of large personalities and people who thought they should have been chosen as Mother Confessor.

She hadn’t had the best of starts to her captaincy.  The squad’s first attempt at a move she wanted to incorporate into their competitive routine had resulted in Dahlia, their youngest and most eager to please member, falling from the top of a pyramid and breaking her leg in three places.  She was out for the whole season, which was why they were being forced to sit through the hell of tryouts when they really should have been honing their competition entry.

The squad was pretty well formed as a group and they could pull on a number of skills if they needed to.  The seniors, who made up the tryout panel, were all experienced and seasoned cheerleaders and Kahlan could, mostly, rely on them to give their all.  Richard and Leo were their core strength, giving the girls confidence in the tosses and catches.  Triana was their showgirl, all tits and teeth and high kicks.  Nicci and Denna, though their constant bitching and bickering made Kahlan want to pull out her own fingernails, were formidable dancers and choreographers in their own right, and the squad owed them a debt of gratitude.  

Nicci and Denna were a force to be reckoned with, but Kahlan wasn’t afraid to stand up to them.  They’d obviously coached Richard’s little sister, Jensen, for her audition earlier in the day.  The squealing and clapping they did at the end of her rather mediocre routine had been sickening.  The girl was clearly terrified of them and Kahlan tried to avoid thinking about their ‘coaching’ techniques.  They just wanted someone they could shape in their own image.  Jensen was a sophomore and not very confident; a prime candidate.  Not if Kahlan had anything to do with it.

Despite the strengths of the team, Kahlan couldn’t help but feel like there was something missing.  That they needed a little something to take them to that next level.  She was fast losing hope of finding it at Midlands High.  It seemed she wasn’t alone as mutters and grumbles sounded along the length of the table.

“God, we haven’t seen anyone decent all day.  Except Jensen of course.”  Denna groaned, leaning back in her chair, tipping it onto its back legs and stretching her arms over her head.  

Kahlan rolled her eyes; the move was obviously to give Richard a view of her midriff.  Richard, as usual, was blissfully unaware of his surroundings and didn’t give Denna a passing glance, choosing instead to lean closer to Kahlan to look at the list of people trying out.  Unfortunately for Denna, Nicci had noticed the unsubtle attempt at attention grabbing.   Nicci also had her sights on Richard.  Kahlan had heard a rumour that the inside of Nicci’s locker was covered in photoshopped pictures of herself and Richard, as if they were in a relationship.  A flash of leg and Denna ended up on her back, coughing as she tried to get air back into her lungs.  Nicci looked down at her best friend/worst enemy with fake sympathy all over her face.

“You should be more careful in these old chairs, Den.  You could hurt yourself.”

Denna glared up at her as she allowed Leo to help her back up.  Nicci blew her a kiss.

“Can it, you two,” Kahlan scolded them.  “We don’t need any more injuries this season.”

“Says the girl who nearly killed Dahlia in her first hour as Mother Confessor,” Triana looked up from filing her nails, and Kahlan felt her face flush with guilt.  “Face it, Kahlan, your inexperience and ambition are the reasons we’re sitting here, watching the scum of the school stumble through routines my grandma could do in her sleep.”

A mutter of agreement runs along the table.

“Hey!  Kahlan would never intentionally hurt anyone,” Richard protested, giving Kahlan a wide smile.  “Right Kahlan?”

She couldn’t bring herself to agree with him, because she knew that Triana was right.  What was worse, Triana knew she was right.  And that was never good. Thankfully she was prevented from engaging further in the conversation when footsteps sounded further up the gym.  Kahlan looked up at her breath caught in her throat when her eyes landed on the girl who had just walked in.

Walked was too simple a word for what this girl was doing.  Her movements were fluid and confident and deliberate.  She flowed across the floor.  Kahlan’s body was doing some interesting things of its own.   (There were reasons why she had turned down Richard’s advances for years.  And this girl was bringing them to the fore.)  Decked out in a white wife-beater and black combat pants, the girl stopped at the taped line on the floor.  And then she took a step over it.  Kahlan dipped her head to hide her smile.

“Excuse me, where’d you park your Harley?” Denna had made sure it wasn’t quite a whisper.  Nicci’s snigger prompted Kahlan to clear her throat and glare at them both.  Nicci, as was her habit, ignored the warning.

“Tattoos are strictly verboten.” She smiled sympathetically at the new girl, tilting her head to the side.  “Sorry.”

Kahlan’s head snapped around and her heart sank to see the small, but intricate, design on the girl’s bicep.  The blonde smiled and, for the first time, Kahlan’s attention was drawn to her eyes.  And she found herself wondering how she managed not to notice them before.  They were almost feline in shape, a mystifying greenish-blue in colour, and seemed to hold secrets.  Just as Kahlan was about to start composing bad poetry about this nameless girl’s eyes in her head, the blonde lifted her right hand and extended her middle finger briefly before putting it in her mouth.  Full lips closed around the digit and Kahlan’s insides melted, the resulting liquid pooling somewhere near the pit of her stomach.

Slowly, the finger came back out of her mouth, glistening with moisture and she reached around to run it over her left bicep.  The tattoo smudged; fake.  The relief Kahlan felt was embarrassing in its intensity.  The girl gave a careless shrug.

“I got bored during fourth period.”

Her voice was low and rich, with a hint of an accent.  

“You need to fill one of these out.”  Triana held up the application form, but the girl was reaching into her back pocket.

“Did it.”  She stepped forward and handed the somewhat crumpled form to Triana, who took it between the tip of her forefinger and thumb, holding it at arm’s length.  As she stepped back, the girl made eye-contact with Kahlan for the first time and Kahlan forgot how to breathe.   Something must have shown on her face because the girl quirked an eyebrow at her.

“Cara, is it?”  Triana said, voice dripping with disdain.  Kahlan wished she had confidence that her voice would work if she tried to speak, because she wanted to be the one asking the questions of the girl.  Of Cara.  But Triana continued.  "Before we start, I'm afraid we're going to need to make sure you can do a standing back tuck.  Standard procedure, you understand."

Kahlan frowned.  That was not the first thing they’d asked of any of the other people who’d tried out.  Cara appeared unperturbed by the request, reaching into her pockets and taking out a wallet and keys.  She stepped forward and laid them on the table directly in front of Kahlan.  She looked to Triana.

"Standing back handspring back tuck OK?"

Triana shrugged and nodded.  Cara nodded once and then threw herself into the move and executed it perfectly.  Kahlan’s hopes shot up.   

"Where's this girl from, Romania?"  Nicci muttered.

Denna held her hands up, as if she had something really important to say.  "Can she yell?"

Kahlan smiled and rolled her eyes.  Leave it to Denna to make them all sound like airheads.  Remembering that she was, in fact, the captain, Kahlan took charge.  She turned to Cara with an encouraging smile.

"We'll try an oldie.  'Awesome, oh wow, like totally freak me out I mean right on...Confessors sure are number one!'"

Cara looked at Kahlan like she had two heads.  Just as Kahlan was about to repeat the cheer, Cara rolled her eyes and plastered an enormous fake smile across her face.

"I transferred from D’hara High, your school has no gymnastics team, this is a last resort."

Chancing a glimpse along the line, Kahlan noted that everyone, even Richard, seemed insulted by the insinuation.  She tried desperately to think of a way to mitigate Cara’s words so that the others would immediately rule her out.  Unfortunately, Cara wasn’t done.

"OK, so I've never cheered before, so what?  How about something that actually requires neurons?"

Kahlan bit her lip, Cara had directed her challenge at Nicci.  That was potentially a fatal mistake.  Denna leaned towards Nicci, keeping her eyes on Cara.  "Do it."

Shit, Kahlan thought.  Nicci smiled, though her eyes remained hard and cold.  "Front handspring, step out, round off back handspring, step out, round off, back handspring, full twisting layout."

That was a ridiculous request.  Three quarters of the current squad couldn’t do that, including Kahlan herself.  Cara rolled her eyes and turned on her heel.  Kahlan felt panic bubble in her chest.  She was not going to let this girl walk out of her life like this.  But as she was starting to rise to her feet, Cara stopped walking and stood still.  She wasn’t leaving.  Kahlan let herself drop back into her seat, ignoring the strange look Richard was giving her.  The room was silent, all eyes focused on Cara’s back.

All at once, she was in motion.  Her body turned and twisted in the required combination and Kahlan had to work very hard to hold in a shout of triumph.  Cara landed perfectly in the spot she’d been standing in before.  The genuine smile she wore gave away the fact that she knew she’d nailed the moves.  It also spoke to the enjoyment she derived from gymnastics and, for Kahlan, everything fell into place.  This was what they’d been missing.  They needed Cara.  She stood up, hands on hips.

"Cara is in."

The grin she got from the girl in question made her reconsider her choice to stand up.  Her knees felt very weak all of a sudden.  She smiled back, forgetting for a moment about the other people in the room.  Of course, Denna wouldn’t be forgotten for long.

"Uh, you can’t
do that, Kahlan.  I mean, we've already so decided on Jensen."

Cara’s smile fell into a scowl.  Kahlan hurried to correct the statement.  They had not decided on Jensen.  Nicci and Denna had decided on Jensen.  She turned to face Denna, pulling herself up to her full height, which was considerable.

"Denna, this is not a democracy.  I’m the Mother Confessor. I'm the highest authority at Midlands High and, I'm sorry, but I'm overruling you."

Denna was on her feet immediately with Nicci close behind.  She leaned across Richard, pointing a finger at Kahlan’s face.

"Don’t pull that high and mighty crap with me, Kahlan.  We already voted.  Besides,”  Denna paused to let her eyes roam down Cara’s body and back up again, her smirk growing.  “Cara looks like an uberdyke."

Richard gasped and Nicci didn’t bother to hide her snigger.  Kahlan turned to see Cara’s eyes flash with hurt, her cool facade dropping for the briefest of moments before she spun on her heel and stormed out.  This time she didn’t stop.  Kahlan clenched her jaw as she turned back to Denna.  Leaning in, forcing Richard to scoot his chair backwards, she dropped her voice as low and menacing as she could manage.

"Denna, the Mother Confessor follows no-one’s orders.  I'm pulling rank, and you can fall in line or not.  If we're going to be the best we have to have the best.  Cara’s the shit."  She moved even closer, her nose almost touching Denna’s.  “So take a big whiff.”

She didn’t wait to see the reaction of the group to her decision.  Instead, she picked up her bag and strode out of the room, waiting until she was out of the gym to break into a run, hoping that she could catch Cara before she left.

She found her just as the blonde was heading to the parking lot.

“Cara!  Wait!”

A glance over her shoulder was all she received, as Cara continued to walk.  Kahlan put her long legs to good use and managed to catch up.  She grabbed the other girl’s arm, a little out of breath from her run.  Cara’s guard was back up and she shook Kahlan’s hand off, but she did stop walking, so that was something.

“You want me to come back in so your friends can make fun of me some more?” The words were spoken casually, like she didn’t care, but Kahlan could tell something had struck a nerve in this seemingly tough girl.

“They’re not my friends.”  Kahlan would not have chosen to associate with Nicci, Denna or Triana had they not been on the same squad.  “They’re people I work with.”

“And your job is being popular and shit?” Cara lips curled into an almost smile, like she was telling a joke that Kahlan didn’t get.  She brushed it off and focused on the task at hand.

“Our job is winning National Championships,” she said.  “And we’re good at it.  I think you would make us even better.”

Cara scuffed the heel of her boot along the ground, looking down.  “And you overruling everybody does that work for the team dynamics?”   She looked up into Kahlan’s eyes.  “You basically told them their opinion wasn’t worth shit to you.”

Squaring her shoulders, Kahlan drew on every ounce of confidence she had in herself.  “I am the captain and I have to make the decisions that will help us be the best, not the ones that’ll make me popular.”  She smiled.  “And if you join the squad, you’ll prove to them that I know what I’m talking about.”

Shaking her head, Cara let out a little laugh.  “You sure have a high opinion of me.  You don’t even know me.”

“I saw what you can do.  That speaks for itself,” Kahlan coughed before she continued, a little embarrassed.  “And I know it sounds kind of weird...but I’m a good judge of character.  When I looked into your eyes...I could tell that you’d be good for the team.”

Those eyes were focused on her now and she didn’t draw back from them.  “You’re right...” Cara paused.  “That does sound kinda weird.”  A real grin broke out on her face and Kahlan laughed in relief.

“So you’ll join the squad?” She was beyond any kind of humility; she’d get down on her knees and beg if that’s what it took.

Cara let out a sigh.  “If those bitches talk shit to me again, I’m gonna pound on their faces, is that okay with you?”

“I’ll make sure they don’t say anything to you,” Kahlan assured her in a rush.  Black eyes weren’t a good look for competitions.  

“Tell you what,”  Cara began, a little uneasily.  “I’ll join your squad on one condition.”  

“Name it.”  Whatever it was, Kahlan would make it happen.  

“You let me take you out Friday night.”

She hadn’t expected that.  At all.  Blood rushed to her face and she looked down, trying to calm the excited fluttering in her stomach.

“I...shit, sorry, that was...I’ll join the squad anyway...I didn’t mean to make it sound like I was forc-”

“Yes.” Kahlan lifted her head and smiled at Cara’s flustered babbling.  “Yes, you can take me out on Friday night.”

Cara’s whole face changed as a relieved smile pushed its way past her ‘don’t give a shit’ attitude.  “Really?” She coughed, schooling her features back into neutrality.  “I”

“Cool,” Kahlan agreed.  Silence drew out between them as neither of them really knew what to say next.  Kahlan let out a nervous little laugh.  “Well, these tryouts turned out way better than I could have hoped.”

“Me too.”  Cara smiled.

To busy her hands, Kahlan flattened out her cheerleading skirt.  “You can get fitted for your uniform tomorrow.  And I guess I should go back and confirm to the others that you’ve agreed to join us.”

“That’ll be fun for you,” Cara said, and Kahlan preened a little more when she noticed that Cara’s eyes were focussed a little lower than her face.

“I can handle them.”  And she firmly believed that she could.  And now she had to take charge of this situation before it got awkward.  “So...pick me up at seven on Friday?  Your number’s on the form so I’ll text you my address, okay?”

Cara looked up and smiled.  “As you command, Mother Confessor.”

And, for the first time, Kahlan felt worthy of her title.

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