Broken Glass

By sidspappy

broken glass NOTES: This is a new storyline that takes place sometime after my fanfic "A Leap of Faith: The Tin Man's Heart, Part II." This is an Alternate Universe John/Cameron romance that branches off from the Season 2 episode "Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today." Contains some profanity.


John Connor raised his arm to look at the face of his Casio G-Shock. With a sigh, he confirmed it had been two minutes since the last time he'd checked his watch. He walked in a small circle around the coffee table in his living room. Realizing how ridiculous he appeared, he dropped onto the sofa. Shaking his head at himself, he leaned sideways on the cushions. "Cam!" John yelled down the hallway. "Come on, we're gonna be late!" When he got no response - again - he heaved a sigh of exasperation.

Figures, he thought to himself. Cameron was becoming more like a real girl everyday.

John picked at some imaginary lint on the sleeve of his black suit jacket. He'd traded in his denims and leather boots for an honest-to-goodness suit tonight. Granted, it was off-the-rack and he refused to wear a tie with his white linen dress shirt, but he and Cameron had journeyed to the local mall and picked out decent outfits for their planned "anniversary" celebration. It had been two years ago today that he'd first met Cameron at Crestview High School where Cromartie had first tried to do him in. Actually, in chronological terms, that was nearly ten years ago, due to the temporal jump that had shot them eight years forward into the future.

At the time, when he'd suggested the admittedly silly idea to Cameron, John assumed she'd refuse, citing the inefficient use of time, security risks, or any number of valid reasons not to attempt something so frivolous. However, he'd forgotten that she was learning about emotions and how to integrate them into her everyday behavioral routines. Surprisingly, she seemed to brighten at the notion, and became - dare he say it - excited at the prospect of venturing out as a couple.

So tonight, they were going out on a "date," the first for both of them. Ever. It made sense for Cameron, as dating wasn't high on the list of things-to-do for a Terminator. But as for John, he'd never really had the opportunity to have a real girlfriend - not too many girls wanted to have anything to do with the "weird kid," in school. Riley had been the first girl who'd really shown an interest in him, but he'd never taken Riley out like this. She was as odd as he was, and it turned out she was more of a "hang-out" type of girl than anything.

John tried to put the peculiar, troubled blonde out of his mind. He still had to tell her about Cameron. How exactly am I going to do that? he wondered to himself. As far as Riley was aware, Cameron was his sister! It wasn't going to be easy, but no easier than avoiding the girl these days. Riley still called him almost daily, wanting to come over and just "hang" with him. He'd put her off, giving her lame excuses about needing time alone to sort out his shit. She'd understood, yet John could tell Riley was getting suspicious. He wouldn't be able to put this off much longer, he realized.

In avoidance, John turned his thoughts back to Cameron. In the days since John had admitted that he was in love with her, he'd tried to take things slow. Obviously, part of the care he put into the relationship was due to the fact that his mother and his uncle were completely against his choice, and he had to take pains to limit the amount of affection he could shower upon his new girlfriend.

Girlfriend...somehow the term didn't seem to fit how he saw Cameron. He did indeed love her, yet his connection with her was so much deeper. Saying they were soulmates just screamed "new-age" to him, and who could say if a cyborg even had a soul anyway? So he discarded that notion quickly. She wasn't his lover yet - though Cameron had made overtures in that direction several times. As difficult as it was to turn her advances away, John wanted to avoid any intimacy between them taking place within the four walls of his home. He remembered how furious his mother was when she caught them fooling around in his bedroom a few weeks ago. John had no desire for a repeat of the incident.

So, platonic girlfriend would have to suffice for the moment. Now, if his girlfriend would only finish getting ready...

"CAM!" He called out once more. Finally, he heard a faint "I'll be ready in a moment." John shook his head. Tiring of his part in this particular ritual, he stood up and walked toward the kitchen to get a glass of water. As he did so, he passed Derek Reese, who was sitting at the dining room table cleaning several handguns, including his favorite Beretta.

"John," Derek called out softly. Turning, John looked at his uncle's somber, serious expression.

Derek had just finished reassembling the cleaned Beretta. He racked the action back and forth several times before leaving the slide locked back on an empty chamber. He stared at John as he did this. "What are you doing?" Derek asked pointedly.

John was used to his uncle's moodiness. "Getting some water," he replied.

Derek's glower never wavered. "No. I mean, what are you doing with her?" he said.

John's face turned to stone. "Going out. What's it to you?" he shot back defensively.

The older man's blue eyes glittered with barely restrained anger. "What's it to me? John, you're my nephew. You're the only family I've got left - the only reminder of my brother I still have."

A brief stab of guilt shot through John. "You don't think I know that?" he said. Silence fell between the two for a moment. Then John asked, "What does this have to do with us going out?"

Derek seemed to contemplate his answer before standing up and stepping closer to John. "I've told you before. She's no good. It's no good. What you're doing is dangerous."

John rolled his eyes. "I thought I got enough of this from Mom, and now you're gonna start in on me."

Derek's stern facade fell, betraying his emotions. "Because this is crazy! I mean, what? You think you love her?" he responded with increasing frustration.

John was sick of everyone questioning his ability to love. With a deadly serious look, and a tone to match, he replied, "That's none of your business, Derek."

But Derek would not be deterred. "This is not love. Love is something between two people, and that thing over there, can't feel love." He gestured with his empty pistol, poking it toward the hallway to punctuate his point.

John crossed his arms defiantly. His uncle rarely spoke of his personal life in the future, and at times like these, he wondered how much his resistance fighter uncle really knew about relationships. "Well, how do you know what's real and what isn't? Have you ever been in love?"

John was met with a long silence. Finally, Derek replied, "Yeah, I've been in love." He didn't reveal the fact that he still was. A beautiful face with wild raven-black hair and equally dark eyes flitted through his mind.

At any other time, John would have been fascinated by the crack he saw in Derek's ever-present armor. But today, he really wasn't in the mood. Instead, he pleaded for some understanding. "Then you know I gotta do this, Derek. For good or bad, I can't...I can't stop being with her." He leaned on the kitchen doorframe and laughed ironically. "You know, everyone was giving me hell for Riley, and now I'm getting the same thing over Cam. Sometimes, I don't think you or Mom ever want me to be happy."

Derek shook his head. He wasn't getting it. "No, John; we want you to be safe. This is bigger than you - bigger than all of us. You have to survive. There's too many people who are gonna depend on you to get them through what's going to happen."

It always comes down to that,
John thought to himself. He couldn't prevent the bolt of anger that struck him. "I know! All right? I know!" John yelled. "But hell if I'm gonna let that prevent me from living a life. While I'm here and I still can, I'm gonna live my life, whether you like it or not."

Derek leaned in and said with as much gravity as he could muster, "She's gonna kill you."

"Yeah, so everyone tells me," he said with a deadpan expression.


Cameron had called out to him from the entrance to the dining room. The argument ended right there, as both men turned to look at the subject of their discussion. John's face lit up with a beaming smile, while Derek stood speechless, conflicting emotions clouding his features. He cared more for John than he could ever know, and seeing him happy lightened his mood, yet at the same time, he looked at the beautiful killing machine before him, and his mood sank once again.

John caught Derek's look from the corner of his eye, and he said, "Well, Derek, if you're right, I can think of worse ways to go."

"Is everything all right?" she asked. John nodded, still grinning. He took in the sight of her loveliness. Cameron was dressed in a delicate peach-colored silk dress with an empire waist that ended at her knees. It was low cut in front to display her cleavage prominently, as it was certainly enhanced by some kind of push-up bra. The hem was fringed with flower-shaped appliqués made of organza and detailed in shimmering pink thread. Her long legs showed the silky sheen of hosiery and she wore open-toed three-inch heels in pale gold. She'd styled her hair, and it was full of body, with chocolate-colored waves and curls falling around her creamy shoulders. He had seen Cameron with makeup before, but it seemed even more appealing when he knew she wore it for him. Her cheeks were full of color, and her eyes looked even more dramatic with the judicious application of eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara. And her lips - they were a subtle shade of coral pink, and glistened from the light overhead.

Now I know why she took so long, John thought to himself.

Cameron looked from John to Derek and back again. When they both just stared at her, she became self-conscious. Perhaps she'd done something wrong in preparation for the evening.

"What?" she asked tentatively. "Nothing," John replied, shaking his head. "You look great, Cam!" he continued, as he sidled up to her and put an arm around her shoulders.

"Thank you," she said, looking down at herself, and added "Preparing for this event proved...problematic."

"Why?" he asked. John knew women's fashion and maintenance practices sometimes stumped Cameron, despite her exhaustive programming in numerous aspects of femininity.

She tilted her head slightly and answered, "When you helped me pick out this outfit, you suggested I wear garters with my stockings and -"

"Whoa!" John interrupted and glanced at his uncle, his cheeks turning red from embarrassment. For his part, Derek simply rolled his eyes, wondering how his nephew could be so stupid. He was acting like the machine was some kind of dress-up doll or something.

Trying to ignore Cameron's confused expression, John turned her toward the front door. "Uh, okay, Cam. Maybe you can tell me all about it on the way there."

Cameron suspected that she'd made an error in judgment. It was another in a long line of misinterpretations of human behavior. She could tell John was uncomfortable with her comments on her clothing difficulties, but didn't understand why. He'd been more than enthusiastic when he told her about the appeal of antiquated modes of stocking suspension.

"I'm sorry. Did I say something wrong?" she asked softly. He shook his head quickly, as his eyes darted to his uncle again. It was then that Cameron realized that the problem went further than her verbal faux pas. John was hiding something from her. She knew there was a disagreement between John and Derek Reese in the moments before her arrival. Presumably it had centered on her, judging from Derek's reaction.

"I'm sorry for making us late, John. I'll try to do better in the future," she offered, unsure of what to say. John gave her another smile. "It's all right, Cam, really." He looked her up and down. "It was worth it, believe me."

Cameron couldn't hide the smile that suddenly appeared on her face.

John tilted his head, gesturing toward the door. "Come on, let's go," he told her. John's smile faded as he fixed a glare on Derek. "Don't wait up for us," John said firmly. Derek gave him a resigned shrug. "You're a big boy now, John. You've made that perfectly clear. So don't worry about me."

John led Cameron out, still with his arm around her. As they approached the front door, Cameron turned her head, giving Derek a last fleeting glance. She saw the frown and sharp downturn of the corners of his lips. And he punctuated his sour look by thumbing a release lever on his Beretta, causing the slide to snap forward loudly.

"Goddamn metal," he muttered to himself as the front door closed. With a sigh, Derek sat back down at the table and stared morosely at the gun in his hand.

Sounds of heavy boots moving across the wood floor came from behind him, signaling the arrival of Sarah Connor. He looked up as she passed him.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were contemplating something that I would rather you do someplace else," she said to Derek in her trademark gallows humor.

Derek just gave her a tired snort of laughter. "Yeah, you wish." He put down the Beretta and leaned back in the chair.

Sarah returned, holding a glass with what looked like orange juice in it, though Derek didn't remember seeing any in the refrigerator. She took a seat across from him on the table. She stared at him as she drank. "So, what's with you?" she asked brusquely.

He put his hands behind his head and peered at Sarah through heavy-lidded eyes. "I don't know. It's just John, and you know, her," he managed to get out. With a tired half-smile of her own, Sarah looked down at the placemat in front of her. "Yeah, I know. Hard to get used to, isn't it?" she said, not unsympathetically.

Straightening up in the chair, Derek leaned forward. "How do you do it? He's your son, for chrissakes, and he's messing around with metal! How can you let him do that? What if she turns again?" Sarah looked up and gave Derek a fiery glare. "And what would you have me do? Forbid it? Kick him out? Kill her?"

When Derek just shrugged and looked away, she went on "That's right, Reese, there isn't a goddamn thing I can do about it. At some point in his life, I've gotta trust John to look after himself." She emptied her glass and put it down. "I won't be around forever to take care of him, so he needs to learn to make his own decisions and live with the consequences."

Breaking herself out of her dark mood, she leaned forward and laid her elbows on the table, picking at her ragged fingernails. "Besides, who better to have as a girlfriend than a machine that can go toe-to-toe with anything Skynet can dish out?" she conceded.

Derek ran his hands through his hair in frustration. "I know, I know. I just wish..."

"What?" she prompted. Sarah had rarely seen Derek so vulnerable. It was times like these that she could see some of Kyle in his older brother, and it made her both uncomfortable and…aroused at the same time. She quickly smothered the feelings, as she always did.

Finally, Derek decided to just say what he was feeling. He would rather have told Jesse, but in a lot of ways, she was even harder than Sarah, and she just wouldn't understand. "I just wish life could be simple sometimes, you know? Maybe if Cameron was a real girl, John could really be happy and have a shot at a real life. And if Judgment Day never happens, then everything and everyone..."

"Yeah, and that's usually when I wake up," Sarah said with an ironic gleam in her eyes. Derek laughed lightly at himself. "Yeah, me too," Derek replied with a smile.

What a sap you're getting to be in your old age, Reese,
he thought to himself.


Just outside the front door, John stood on the porch and stared at Cameron. For some reason he couldn't get the thought out of his mind that the love of his life had never looked so beautiful as she did now. With the sun setting in the west behind the Hollywood Hills, she was bathed in a vibrant orange light, and he imagined that the color matched the warmth of her ever-evolving inner spirit. He wondered what she was thinking at the moment.

For her part, Cameron was still trying to come to grips with the recent discovery that she could command herself to deactivate her HUD and remove the tactical displays from her field of view. No longer did she have to look at the world through endless lines of data and Skynet-developed interfaces. She saw through the eyes of Allison Young, and was glad for the reprieve. As she gazed at John Connor, it was not as a Terminator, but as a young love?

Am I in love with John?
Cameron still didn't know, though she suspected her machine brain was simply being too cautious. You were either in love, or you weren't, as Sarah told her once. John didn't push her on the issue, allowing her to come to her own conclusions. It was that kindness that drew her to him. Even in the future, he could still make her feel special while everyone else around her despised her for what she was.

"What are you thinking?" John asked. The question broke Cameron out of her train of thought. She smiled demurely and lied. "I was thinking of how much things have changed between us since I met you," she said.

He let out a bemused laugh. "That's the understatement of the century," he replied. Removing his arm from around her shoulders, he offered his left elbow out to her. She stared at it a moment before pulling up information regarding formal occasions. Her HUD popped up and the recommended response flashed prominently onscreen.

Cameron linked her right arm around John's elbow, and she let him lead her down the front steps to the Grand Cherokee. He opened the door with a flourish, and held it for her while she entered. Shutting it gently, he quickly walked around to the driver's side and got in himself. After seeing that they were both properly situated, John started up the Jeep. A moment later, he leaned back, seemingly lost in thought.

Cameron was sensitive to changes in John's demeanor. "What is it?" she asked. He looked at her with humor in his eyes. "Far be it from me to dampen the mood for tonight, but I'm not carrying, and obviously..." he looked at her outfit, and the tiny purse she carried. Usually, whenever they went out, Cameron was armed in some way for security purposes. As much as he hated the idea, his mother had drummed into his head that they always needed to be prepared for the worst.

After a moment's confusion, Cameron realized what John was getting at. "I'm armed," she reassured him. This caused John's eyebrows to rise. "How?" he asked incredulously. With a mischievous smirk, Cameron slowly pulled the hem of her dress up until John could see the black Galco Thigh Band holster she wore on her left thigh. He leaned over and peered at the short-barreled 9mm Glock 26 nestled provocatively between her legs. With a blush, John realized that in addition to seeing the gun, he could also see more of Cameron's gorgeous legs than he'd had in quite a while.

"Wow," was all he could think of to say. Then he gathered his senses and continued, "I can always count on you to never forget who you are." Cameron looked up and caught the glimmer in John's eyes. "And who might I be?" she asked coyly. John grinned widely, winked at her, and said, "A very scary robot." Cameron returned the smile, recognizing it for the affectionate joke that it was.

As John drove away from the house, Cameron realized she had no real idea where they were going. She asked him once more about it, and once again got the same answer. "Nuh-uh, I told you before, it's a surprise," he reminded her.

"I don't like surprises," she said, trying not to pout.

John thought it was adorable when she got like this. The first time she'd done it, he jokingly asked her who taught her to behave like a spoiled child when she didn't get what she wanted. To his chagrin, Cameron simply stared at him, giving him a look like "who do you think?" As embarrassing as it was to admit, John knew Cameron had a point.

Still, John had to try to instill a sense of fun into his sometimes stoic girlfriend. "Oh, come on now, Cam. Where's your sense of romance and adventure?" Her response was typical. "I have no sense of romance and adventure at present. I am trying to develop them, however."

He gave her a little shrug of his shoulders and replied, "Well there you go then! When I don't tell you and it's a surprise, then it will be fun once we get to where we're going, right?" With his bright green eyes looking at her with such enthusiasm, Cameron knew she couldn't resist.

"I suppose your logic does have some validity," she gave into him begrudgingly. "Okay then," he said with some satisfaction. "Okay," she returned with a tiny smile.

He was approaching a lonely, deserted intersection and he saw that he could pass through it on a green light. John glanced at her for a moment before turning his attention back to the road. He said to her tenderly, "By the way, I really think you look beautiful, Cam. I think that I'm the luckiest guy - "

Cameron caught the flash of a truck's headlights and grill heading straight for the driver's side door.

"JOHN!" she screamed, as she tried to leap forward to protect him from the impact. Her seat belt locked and she was unable to move. The crash was unbelievable in its jarring force. She felt her head rebound from the hit and slam against the passenger window, shattering it. Her HUD switched on, blasting error messages and warnings of impact damage at her. The Jeep spun around clockwise and the world whirled by at a sickening rate. All the while, Cameron tried to focus on John. He was unconscious, with blood flying off of his head and face as they spun around. His head flopped around dangerously, and Cameron feared that he'd suffered critical head and neck injuries.

Finally, the Jeep stopped moving and came to a hissing rest about thirty feet from the initial impact. Cameron's dress was torn and smeared with blood - exactly whose blood she wasn't quite sure of. She tried to gauge John's condition. He leaned forward against his seatbelt, unmoving.

Wrenching her own belt forcefully from the latch, she leaned toward him and laid a hand against his neck. With a completely human sigh of relief, she analyzed him and found that he was still alive, his heartbeat strong and steady. She quickly moved her hands along his body. Her limited diagnostic abilities indicated he suffered no permanent damage to his spinal column or cranium. He did have numerous cuts and abrasions, but the head wound didn't appear to be life threatening and there appeared to be no broken bones as far as she could detect.

Looking up, she peered through a gaping hole in the shattered windshield. The truck that hit them, a red Dodge Ram 3500, seemed to exhibit as much damage as their Jeep. The front end was crushed, with fluids and steam leaking out of every imaginable space. It was unusual that she saw no passengers inside. Perhaps they had been ejected from the vehicle.

Ignoring that for the moment, Cameron looked around for her purse. It had been flung from her lap in the crash, and she needed it if she wanted to retrieve her cell phone. They were on a stretch of road that was sparsely traveled at this time of day, and Cameron knew it was unlikely that she would be able to find any bystanders to assist them. She needed medical attention for John and she needed it now.

Glancing down at her feet, she finally saw her purse, covered in pebbles of safety glass. She leaned over to pick it up. When she straightened, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. Someone was standing just outside her door and in Cameron's peripheral vision, she caught a glimpse of blonde hair. She was about to turn to face the person when she was suddenly frozen in place. She heard a buzzing and crackling in her right ear, and her HUD confirmed her worst fears; she was being electrocuted. A riot of warnings flashed, notifying her of immediate shutdown. She could do nothing, and with a strangled cry of frustration, her last thoughts were of John, and her hope that he would be all right.

I'm so sorry, John...I love you.

(To Be Continued)

More pages