Irony, thy Name is Cameron Chapter 19

Cameron walked into the kitchen as Sarah flipped the last pancake off the griddle.

“My son still asleep?”

“Yes, but he shows signs of waking soon.”

“Good. Go drag him off the couch and tell him breakfast is ready.”

Cameron headed to the living room where John was sprawled out on the couch like a panther. Calculating angles, she grabbed his arm and pulled him off the couch.

“Aahhhoooowww WHAT THE HELL?!” John looked up to see Cameron standing over him.

“Breakfast is ready.”

“So you freaking pull me off the damn couch???”

“Sarah told me to.”

John stood up rubbing his butt, and stomped into the kitchen. “Mom! What the hell did I do now?”

Sarah was putting pancakes on Savannah’s plate. “I don’t know, what did you do?”

“Obviously I did something again for you tell Cameron to yank me off the damn couch like a sack of potatoes.”

Sarah looked at John, confused. “No I didn’t, I just told her to… oh. Sorry.” She looked at Cameron. “When I said ‘drag him off the couch’, I didn’t mean literally drag him.”

“Oh, thank you for explaining.” Cameron looked at John. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay… it would’ve been funnier if you did it to Derek.”

“Did what to me?” Derek had walked in, hair wet from the shower.

“Nothing.” John pulled out a chair and sat down, grabbing a plate and some pancakes.

“Hey, what about you and me get out of here today? Go see what’s around this town. Spend some quality guy time.”

John looked up from the bottle of Aunt Jemima. “Quality guy time, huh?”

Derek shrugged. “Yeah, why not?"

Why not, indeed. “Sure. Sounds like fun.”

“Only if you plan on walking. I need the car. We need to buy you furniture,” Sarah said.

“I’m sure we can handle it, Mom.”

Sarah looked back and forth between the two, a little doubtful. “Fine. Suit yourself. I could use a day off.”

**********************

Sarah dried her hands on a dish towel. “You have your cell phone?”

“Yes, mom.”

“Guns?”

“Yesss mother.”

“Are they loaded?”

“No, I thought we’d try water guns today, see if they make terminators melt.”

“Don’t sass me, boy.”

“Yeah,” Derek chimed. “Don’t sass your mother.”

“Shut up, Derek. Let’s go.”

Cameron stood in the living room quietly, watching the interaction. It was clear she was not to be going with them, and it made her more than a little uncomfortable.

John grabbed his gun off the counter and stuck it in his waist band. He gave Sarah a quick kiss on the cheek. “Later.”

“Be safe. Don’t do anything stupid,” she said.

“Gee, have a little faith why don’t ya?”

Cameron spoke up. “Please… don’t do anything stupid.”

John sighed, and walked over to her. “What, no faith from you either?”

“We know you better than that.”

John rolled his eyes. “Right. I won’t do anything stupid. I’ll be fine. Promise.” He kissed her on the cheek as well and headed out the door.


****************************

“Ahh… smell the fresh air of freedom… hear the sweet sound of silence… no women, no bickering, no nagging….” Derek nearly stuck his head out the window like a dog.

John laughed. “It’s not that bad.”

Derek gave him a nasty look. “Says the man who actually gets laid out of it all.”

Snorting, John shook his head. “You’d have a better argument if my mother didn’t have impeccable timing.”

It was Derek’s turn to laugh. “Ah yeah… she’s a trip.”

“Speaking of trips, where are we going?”

Derek shrugged. “Hell if I know. As long as it’s away from them, I couldn’t care less.”

John glanced at his uncle and considered his plans. “Well, if we go home without having bought at least a mattress, mom will flip shit and be all sorts of unpleasant. Besides that, I have one stop I’d like to make, and that’s it.”

“Sound’s good to me.”

*******************

Cameron stood at the front window, watching the driveway. There wasn’t anything else to do but wait for John. She didn’t feel comfortable with him out there without her, but there wasn’t really anything she could do. He’d been gone for well over an hour, and she’d been standing at the window every minute.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out the old pocket watch. She gazed at it, dully gleaming in the sunlight filtering through the window. From the day John returned it to her, she always kept it in her pocket. She didn’t really know why she felt the need to keep it on her person, but every once in a while she liked to pull it out.

Opening it up, she rubbed her thumb lightly over the buttons inside. She didn’t have any explosive in this skull, so the watch was essentially useless. Yet, simply throwing it away wasn’t an option.

Sarah watched her from the kitchen table. The last time she saw the watch was when she had given it back to John. She didn’t know he had returned it to Cameron.

Looking down at her hands, Sarah let her thoughts wander. She knew Cameron was different, she always had. There wasn’t really any denying it. Sure, she pretended otherwise, but in reality, there wasn’t anything you could do to escape the fact.

But regardless of how different she was, Sarah always just believed everything she did was just because of her programming. From tying her shoes, to… making John fall in love with her. It was all artificial, nothing was real. Right?

John didn’t believe so. He’d tried to explain to her, but she wasn’t really interested in hearing his lovesick theories of artificial intelligence and emotion. If what he said was true, Sarah wanted to witness it for herself.

And she did, to a certain degree. Cameron never really “opened up” to anyone other than John. She’d seen how she’d look softly at him, then turn around and put up the metal-hardened expression she wore in front of everyone else in a flash. She’d seen glimpses of the “girl” Cameron when they went shopping, but she’d never seen what John had always claimed to see.

Now, though… watching her completely unguarded… there it was. Standing in front of the window idly playing with the watch, Sarah could see the girl under the metal. She watched as Cameron snapped the watch closed, and instead of putting it back in her pocket, put the chain over her head and slipped the watch under her shirt.

Yeah, there it was. Oh how the simplest of acts could speak volumes.

“Hey Tin Miss… why don’t you go do something productive?”

Cameron turned around, head tilted. “Like what?”

“I don’t know… anything. I’m sure you can figure out something. Don’t just stand there looking like a lost puppy, it’s unattractive and annoying. Go fix something or, build something, or… whatever. Just stop staring out the window all pathetic looking.”

“Okay.” Cameron considered for a moment, and then headed downstairs. Since John was gone, she could refold his clothes without him getting mad.

***************************

“This one’s nice and fluffy,” John said, lying on a full sized bed in a mattress store.

“Yeah, but this one has a lot of bounce.”

“Knock it off Derek, people are staring.”

“So? They’re just observing. I’m saving them the trouble of having to do this themselves.” He was sitting on the edge of the bed, seemingly trying to propel himself across the room.

A nerdy looking salesman bustled over to them. “Ah, I see you’ve found our two most popular choices. Are you looking to make a new mattress purchase today?”

John wondered why else people would be shopping in a mattress store on a Thursday afternoon. “Yeah…. Do you deliver?”

************************************

Sarah carried the basket of towels up the steps and found Savannah waiting for her in the kitchen.

“Sarah, what’s Cameron digging for outside?”

Digging? “Um, I don’t know honey, where is she digging?”

“In the back yard.”

Super. “I’ll go take a look. Can you carry this basket into the living room and fold them for me?”

Savannah nodded, and taking the large basket, hobbled into the living room.

Sarah headed down the hall to the back door. Opening the screen door, she stepped out into the yard, and found Cameron digging a hole beside the house. What the hell?

“Cameron… may I ask what you’re doing?”

“I’m digging.”

Sarah closed her eyes and counted to five. “I can see that. WHY are you digging?”

“I’m digging out space to build a door in the basement.”

Oh my God. She’s gone insane… or whatever machines go. “Cameron…” Sarah just shook her head. “Give me the shovel.”

Cameron stopped, and handed her the shovel. Sarah, glancing at it, briefly wondered where she stole it from. “You can’t just… dig holes and build doors in basements.”

“But it’s necessary. There is no outside access except small windows that would be difficult to escape out of in an emergency.”

“Well, for one, you need a building permit to do anything like this.” Sarah sighed. “Two, it’s just insane. How were you planning on building a door in cement?”

“I was simply going to widen the window.”

“….. Riiiiight.”

“It was more practical than building a tunnel through the floor.”

Oh my God. “Well the windows are just going to have to suffice. Now take this shovel and fill this crater back in. Then, put the shovel back wherever you found it…”

“The shed.”

Right. We have a shed. Sarah looked at the small structure in question. “Did you find anything else useful in there?”

“Yes. There’s an old lawn mower, and a usable saw. I could cut down one of those trees and build a…”

“NO!” Sarah nearly panicked. “No… no cutting or digging or building anything. Got it?”

“But you said…”

“I know what I said. I changed my mind. Just… fix this damn hole and get in the house.”


*******
John followed the GPS and pulled up to the little shop he was looking for. Stepping out of the SUV, he looked at Derek.

“This is a top secret mission. You tell anyone, I kill you.”

Derek nodded. “I can just stay out here if you want…”

John shook his head. “It’s almost 100 degrees out here. I don’t think so. Besides, Cameron would kill you if there was a terminator in there and you let me walk right into a death trap.”

Derek thought about that. “Did I tell you about the time some poor guy did just that? He went in first and half-assed scoped it all out. You went in next and almost got your ass handed to you by a triple eight. If it wasn’t for you being there to calm Cameron down, we were all pretty sure she’d have just torn Conway’s arm off and beat him to death with it. I personally, do not wish to piss her off.”

John scratched his ear, recognizing the name of his useless partner in the future. “Well, should I even mention what my mother would do to you, first?”

Derek looked genuinely fearful. He stopped John as his hand grabbed the doorknob. “I better go in first. You never know…”

John chuckled as he followed his uncle into the Jeweler’s.

***********************************

Cameron did as she was told, and found herself staring out the window once again. A truck rolled up the driveway, and she reached behind and grabbed her gun.

“Savannah, go upstairs to your room.”

The girl climbed off the couch and ran upstairs, passing Sarah who was on her way down.

“Cameron what’s going on?”

“There’s a truck.”

Ever so informative. Glancing out the window, Sarah recognized the logo on the side. Two men had stepped out and walked to the back of the truck.

“Are they metal?”

“No.”

“Then chill. They’re just delivering John’s bed.”

“They could be a threat.”

“You’re right. Kaliba is probably hiring their most brilliant operatives from mattress discount stores,” Sarah deadpanned.

“That is highly unlikely.”

Giving Cameron a very impatient look, she opened the door for the delivery men.

“Is this the Taylor residence?”

“Yes it is, bring it on in,” Sarah nodded.

“Great, where would you like it?”

“Don’t worry, just leave it here. We can manage.”

“Are you sure? It’s rather heavy.” The man looked seriously doubtful.

“Trust me,” Sarah smiled. “We have it under control.”

“All right then.” The man shrugged. “We’ll be back in with the box springs.”

Cameron watched the men like a hawk as they returned to their truck for the other part of the delivery.

Leaving the box springs with the mattress, the man evidently in charge detached a form taped to the mattress. “Sign here, and you’re all set.”

Sarah signed the paper and showed the men out the door. Cameron watched them until the truck drove out of site.

“Can you handle this?” Sarah asked, knowing she didn’t have to.

Cameron nodded, and picked up the mattress. Sarah opened the basement door and watched her carry it down the steps gracefully.

Walking over to the upstairs steps, Sarah shouted that Savannah could stop ‘hiding’.

“I’m bored,” the child complained when she came back down the steps.

Sarah did feel bad. There wasn’t anything for her to do. There was no TV, and they didn’t bring any toys except her doll. She had already half finished her coloring book, too.

Sarah stepped out of the way as Cameron came back upstairs and headed straight for the window again.

What the hell do you do with a bored eight-year-old and a bored cyborg?

Sarah racked her brain for ideas. “Who wants to bake cookies?”

“OOOOOO MEEEE!” Savannah jumped up and down with her hand in the air.

Cameron, on the other hand, was apprehensive. “Can we do that?”

“What do you mean can we?”

“Is it safe?”

Sarah blinked. “We have the most advanced egg timer in the world that can even remove the cookie sheets from the oven on time for us. I’m sure we’ll manage just fine.”

**************************

Derek politely stood at the back of the shop as John approached the counter. A short, balding old man walked out of a back room and smiled at John.

“Good afternoon lad, how can I help you today?”

John returned the smile. “I called you on the phone earlier…”

“Oh, yes. So that’s you with the stone, eh?”

John nodded, and pulled out Cameron’s diamond.

The old man took the stone and checked it with an eye magnifier. “This is a mighty fine stone you have here, about 2 carats. You want a ring, you said?”

“Yes, just something simple.”

“Any recutting?”

“No.” John shook his head. “Leave it as-is.”

The old man nodded. “I can do that. What kind of metal would you prefer?”

“At least 18 karat rose gold.”

“Ah, that’ll be gorgeous. What size will we be making it?”

John’s face froze. He hadn’t thought about the size. It’s not like he could just ask her.

But, there was one person he could ask… Saying a short prayer to any deity that might listen, he pulled out his phone and dialed his mom.

************************

Sarah wiped her hands on a dish towel and answered her phone. Hearing her son’s keypad code, she responded with her own. “Yes, John?”

Cameron looked up from pressing peanut butter cookies.

“Tell me something only you would know about me?”

Sarah got a little nervous, but did as she was asked. “Your favorite underwear when you were six had Spiderman on them. What’s going on? Is something wrong?”

“Please tell me Cameron wasn’t there to hear that.”

Sarah grinned. “You can’t hear her laughing?”

“Shut up. This is important. I had to make sure it was really you… so… don’t say a word. I have a serious question that you have to promise to answer, and promise not to behead me either.”

Sarah turned around and moved to the other side of the kitchen. “Fine. What is it?”

John took a deep breath. “If you were to guess… what size ring do you think Cameron would wear?”

Sarah almost… almost… hung up the phone.

“Mom?”

“Six.”

“Ok… thanks,” John answered awkwardly.

He didn’t get a reply.

**********************************

Sarah hung up the phone and took a deep breath. She was so not expecting that.

“Is John all right?”

Sarah looked up to see a very concerned Cameron staring intently at her. She forced a smile.

“Yes, he’s fine. He just had a question. How are the cookies coming?”

Cameron knew Sarah was hiding something, but let it drop. “I’m just about to put them in the oven.”

“What other kind of cookies can we make?” Savannah asked.

“We have enough ingredients for sugar cookies,” Cameron replied.

“All right.” Sarah clapped her hands together. “Let’s do it then.” Anything to distract her from the recent phone call. “How about some music?” And the beer in the fridge…

**************
A couple hours later Derek and John got out of the SUV and headed up to the porch. They’d found an adult arcade and spent the remaining afternoon shooting aliens and racing all sorts of motorized vehicles. Skeeball, though, still wasn’t John’s forte.

Walking up the steps, both men stopped to listen.

“Are we at the right house?” Derek asked.

John nodded. “I think so. Is that Shania Twain?”

“You’re asking ME?”

The curtains had been closed, so there was no way to peek into the house. Unlocking the door, they walked in unnoticed, as the music was too loud to hear anything. It also smelled like…. cookies? They had to be in the wrong house.

Slowly, hands on their guns, they walked in far enough to see into the kitchen. What they saw made them both question whether they were dreaming.

Sarah and Cameron were singing along to the music and dancing around the kitchen. John blinked a few times and rubbed his eyes, not quite sure if he’d secretly been drugged and was hallucinating.

Nope, they were really there. Savannah was standing on a chair at the counter, looking like she was building cookie dough animals, completely covered in flower and sugar. John also noticed several empty beer bottles on the counter. And… half empty ones in Sarah and Cameron’s hands. Cameron was drinking? She can’t really be drunk, can she? No, it had to be some sort of subroutine she activated to… what, have ‘fun’ with Sarah? The music was coming from John’s laptop and speakers. He didn’t even know the volume could go up that high. Nor did he own the music they were listening to…What the hell did Cameron do?

John and Derek looked at each other, neither quite sure what to think. They watched as Sarah and Cameron danced like, well, drunk people… using their beer bottles as microphones.

“THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A WOMAN IS THE PREROGATIVE TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN!... OH, OH, OH, GO TOTALLY CRAZY – FORGET I’M A LADY, MEN’S SHIRTS SHORT SKIRTS… OH, OH, OH…”

John watched, slightly horrified, as his mom stood up on a chair. This can’t be happening. Not one to miss out on an opportunity, though, he pulled out his cell phone and snapped several pictures.

“I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN!!”

When the song ended, Derek clapped. Sarah and Cameron both looked to find the two men standing in the living room watching them act like idiots. Instead of being embarrassed though, Sarah grinned. “Hey boys, wanna help bake cookies?”

“Um, that’s okay Mom. We’re cool. We’ll just…watch.”

Sarah paused as she listened to the next song start playing. Her grin got wider. “IT’S ONE OF MY FAVORITES! Come on, guys you have to dance with us.”

Derek looked like a deer in headlights. “No, no, no… I do not dance. Especially to Madonna.”

Still on her chair, Sarah began to sing.

“LIFE IS A MYSTERY… EVERYONE MUST STAND ALONE… I HEAR YOU CALL MY NAME... AND IT FEELS LIKE HOME…”

John’s heart leapt into his throat when he saw his mother teeter on the chair, but Cameron was there quickly to steady her, and helped her step off the chair. It didn’t stop either of them though from singing or dancing. Derek made the mistake of walking to the fridge to get his own beer, when Sarah took his hand and tried to awkwardly dance with his stiff arm.

Cameron had made her own way over to John and dragged him into the kitchen. It took him a few moments to realize she was actually singing. Really singing. She didn’t quite sound like Madonna, but voice was pretty and harmonious with the music. He had absolutely no idea she could sing. He gave a few props to Skynet.

Slowly, Cameron took his hand and leaned in closer to his ear.

“I hear your voice… it’s like an angel sighing…”

She slid her hands up his arm and across the back of his neck as she walked around behind him to his other side. John simply watched her lips move, completely entranced. He had absolutely no idea how she knew the words to a song from 1989, but he didn’t really care

“I close my eyes, oh God I think I’m falling…”

His breath caught as Cameron snaked her arm around his waist and pulled him closer. Staring into his eyes, she paused, her lips an inch from his own.

“Heaven help me”

Pulling away without any further contact, Cameron smiled and handed John her beer. John mindlessly took it from her, not quite sure exactly what had just happened. When his brain caught up to him, he quickly glanced around to see if anyone had just witnessed it, but Savannah was busy building an elephant, and Sarah was… well, Sarah was dancing with a beer-chugging Derek’s arm. Poor Derek.

Cameron grabbed the potholders and pulled out the last tray of cookies from the oven. She turned it off, and warned Savannah not to touch the hot tray. Picking up a cooled peanut butter cookie from one of the many stacks on the kitchen table, she walked back over to John.

“Would you like a cookie? They’re still a little warm.”

John accepted the cookie and took a bite. It nearly melted in his mouth. “Holy shit. How did you guys manage to make these with my mother helping?”

“One cup of sugar, one cup of peanut butter, and one egg. It’s very hard to mess up.”

John studied the cookie thoughtfully. “I think you guys need to bake more often.” He looked across the kitchen to find Sarah now dancing alone with a spatula. Derek was nowhere in sight. “What did you do to my mom?”

“She got drunk.”

“Yeah? It looked like you did, too.”

Cameron gave him a look. “You know that’s impossible. I didn’t even drink that in your hand. It was hers I took from her, but she got another one anyway.”

“So you attempted to stop the madness?”

“I was only concerned she’d be ill again.” She watched Sarah stumble into a chair. “But it was nice not being treated like a stupid piece of metal for a while.” Shrugging a shoulder, she walked back over to the stove to take the fresh cookies off the sheet.

John watched her, a newfound understanding slapping him in the face. He walked up behind Cameron, and regardless of who was watching, he wrapped his arms around her waist, and took the spatula from her hand. Setting it aside, he moved her hair out of the way and kissed the back of her neck. “Go help Savannah get into the bath before you have to cut that stuff out of her hair. I’ll clean up the kitchen and make sure Mom doesn’t kill herself in here.”

Cameron smiled, and turning in John’s arms, she kissed him on the lips.

“Oh get a room you two.”

They both looked to see Sarah leaning up against the fridge, trying to stand up straight.

“On second thought…” Cameron nodded in understanding and took Sarah’s arm, leading her up the stairs carefully.

John turned to Savannah. “Hey squirt, take your butt upstairs. Cameron’s going to run you a bath.”

“Awwww do I have to?”

“Yes, you do, unless you’d rather her give you a short spiky hair cut when all that stuff dries and you can’t get it out.”

“NO!”

John grinned, and lifted her off the chair. “Don’t touch anything.”

He moved the chair over to the kitchen sink and helped her climb back up. “Wash those hands. If my mom finds little cookie hand prints all over the house you’ll be grounded for your birthday in a couple days.”

“It’s my birthday?”

John never saw the girl smile that big. “Yes it’s your birthday soon goof, how could you forget that?” He’d done his own Google search to confirm it this morning while looking for local jewelers. It wasn’t too hard to find a birth announcement for the owners of a corporation as large as Zeira corp was.

Savannah shrugged. “I don’t even know what today is.”

Good point. John didn’t know half the time either. “All right, well get upstairs then, and think about what kind of birthday cake you want.” He smiled as he watched her run up the stairs.

He had already planned a good surprise for her. It wasn’t really a pre-meditated plan, it just fell into his lap and he took advantage of it. Catherine Weaver had called him while he was out with Derek. Seemed she’d found out where to find Danny Dyson, but didn’t want to discuss anything on the phone. Agent Ellison was going to be their liaison of sorts, and would be the only other person to know where they were living. She was planning on sending him out to meet them somewhere, and that’s when John got the idea.

“Dude can we turn this chick music off?”

Derek walked back in from wherever he’d been hiding and grabbed a handful of cookies.

“Yeah, didn’t even realize it was still on.” John turned the laptop off and felt odd in the sudden quiet.

“Thank God,” Derek sighed in relief. “Shit was giving me a headache.”

“Wanna help me clean up?” John asked hopefully.

Derek flipped him off as he headed to the living room.

************************************

It had taken over an hour to clean the kitchen. John really didn’t know how they managed to get flour all over the place. Cameron had come downstairs and washed up all the dishes, while John scrubbed crusty batter off the table. Afterwards, nobody felt like cooking dinner, so they ordered a pizza and sat in the living room, playing simple card games. Sarah had groggily joined them, her buzz having mostly worn off after a lengthy nap.

Cameron pulled the new bed sheets out of the dryer. “Do you want to move the bed?”

John shook his head. “No, it’s fine where you put it.” He had just gotten out of the shower, and was searching the remaining duffel bag for his boxers. “You refolded all my clothes didn’t you?”

Cameron didn’t answer. She shook the sheets out and started tucking the fitted sheet over the corners of the mattress.

Finally finding them hiding at the bottom of the bag, he pulled out a pair and slipped them on. He went in search for his sweat pants, but couldn’t find them. Looking up to ask Cameron, he noticed for the first time that she was fully dressed, boots and all.

“Where are you going?”

Cameron tossed the pillows onto the finished bed and grabbed her gun and cell phone off the floor. “I have to go patrol.”

John was just a bit more than slightly disappointed. “You don’t have to. It’s not really your job anymore.”

Cameron stopped dead, one foot on the stairs. “Yes, it is my job, John. It will always be my job.”

John watched silently as she continued up the steps and shut the door. It was at that moment he realized how much he took having 2 extra terminators around for granted. Now he had to sleep alone.

*************************************

It was about 5 am and Sarah found herself in the kitchen brewing coffee. She watched it drip slowly into the pot, becoming more impatient by the minute. Finally giving up waiting, she pulled the pot out and poured what was already finished into her mug and replaced the pot before it dripped everywhere.

Adding a liberal amount of sugar, she paused when she heard the front door unlock. Grabbing the gun on top of the fridge, she didn’t lower it until she saw Cameron walk in.

“Where have you been?”

“Patrolling the neighborhood. There are currently no threats.”

Sarah raised her eyebrows and took a sip of her coffee. She was glad Cameron was still usefully keeping an eye out.

Cameron walked through the living room and stood in the kitchen doorway. “You look surprised,” she commented.

Sarah shrugged, and pulled out a chair at the table. “Well, I know before, um, everything… you didn’t always stick around at night. You’re not the only one who didn’t sleep,” she said wryly, taking another sip of her coffee. “I think we all got used to having John Henry keep an eye on things. And what with everything else… I guess I am a little surprised at you spending your nights out there.”

Cameron tilted her head. “I would not be a very good protector if I didn’t ensure the security of John Connor and his family at night.”

Good point. “No, I guess you wouldn’t be. But I didn’t think you had a mission anymore. I thought you were all about free will now or something. I find it hard to believe you’d ‘prefer’ skipping around the neighborhood at night. “

Always suspicious… Sarah would never change. Cameron took a step forward and let her eyes glow slightly. Sarah stared, not having seen her do that for a very long time. Well, not counting when her face was half blown off.

“I’m a terminator, Sarah. I’m very different, but that does not change what I am.” She looked down at the floor. “I’m just a machine. My sole purpose is to protect John Connor. It always has been, and always will be, regardless of circumstances. It is my choice… and my preference to keep him safe.” She glanced back up to see a stunned Sarah staring back at her. Turning away, she took a step towards the living room before Sarah found her voice.

“You know, you’re only half right.” Turning back around, Cameron stared blankly at Sarah. “You’re not just a machine.”

Sarah stood up and made her way around the table to stand in front of Cameron. “Sure, you’re all metal, but up in that chip of yours, there’s much more than robot programming.” Cameron and Sarah were both surprised at her admission. “As much as I’d love to… I can’t deny it. And I certainly won’t lie; it scares the living crap out of me.” Sarah took a breath. “Nor can I say I trust you farther than I can throw you; but my son is a different story.” She took a step closer. “You don’t have a ‘sole purpose’ anymore. The moment my son fell in love with you was the moment that all flew out the window.” It almost physically hurt Sarah to say that, but she knew it was the truth.

“Yes, you’re a terminator. Yes, you have a job to do, just like we all do. Protecting John is one of them. But physical injuries aren’t always the most painful damages. And sometimes, the people closest to us are the ones who can hurt us the most.”

“I don’t understand.”

Sarah sighed, and awkwardly put her hands on Cameron’s shoulders. “You have to stop pretending you’re ‘just some machine’. You can’t have emotions and a full-fledged relationship, and then turn around and treat yourself like a useless toaster. One day, that’ll get you into trouble or even killed. You’ve already done that to John once.”

Cameron looked away, knowing the truth of it. Taking a breath, Sarah continued. “Putting yourself in danger may be the most practical way to protect John, but it’s not always the right way, or the only way. In trying to protect him, you could end up hurting him more than Skynet ever could.” Walking back to the table, Sarah picked up her coffee and took a long sip. She sat back down and rested her arms on the table. “I’m not telling you to stop doing what you’re doing. I’m just telling you to think before you do it.”

Cameron and Sarah just stared at each other, a brief moment of mutual understanding passing between them. Then, without a word, Cameron turned and walked downstairs to the basement.

***************************************

John rolled over and opened his eyes. He could tell by the lack of light coming through the small window that it was still very early, and he couldn’t figure out what had woke him up. Sitting up, he spotted a dark figure sitting against the wall on the floor.

“Cameron?”

“Yes.”

John rubbed his eyes. “What are you doing?”

“Watching you sleep.”

Ugh. “You know that’s creepy.”

“I know. I was thinking.”

Well, that could be good or bad. John crawled out of bed and moved to sit beside her. “Okay, what were you thinking about?”

“It’s very difficult to be your protector and your lover at the same time.”

“Well,” John itched his nose. “Nobody said it was going to be easy.”

“But it could be dangerous. What if something were to happen to me? What if Skynet were to use me to get to you somehow? It would not be good for you in any way.

“So what? Been there, done that, and look, I survived. Makes life a lot less boring don’t you think?”

Cameron was getting a little agitated. “Why aren’t you taking this seriously?”

John sighed and rested his head against the wall. “I am taking this seriously, Cam. I always take you seriously. It’s just that you can’t constantly worry about ‘what –ifs’. You just gotta do what you gotta do, and take it one day at a time. You don’t think I thought about the possible dangers that would come with this?” He gazed at Cameron through the darkness. “I didn’t take forever to, you know… for no reason. I know there’s a chance that I could lose you, and there’s a chance that I could die. But that chance is there regardless of what we do. I could get hit by a bus crossing the street tomorrow, or choke on a pancake and suffocate. You could go on a one-woman rescue mission to break my crazy-ass mother out of prison and get yourself half blown up. You can’t control everything. You just have to go on with life, hoping you make the right decisions, and that humanity doesn’t get erased from existence because you chose to wear a gray shirt today instead of blue.”

John stood up and stretched. “Now, I’m going back to bed, and I’d prefer it if you would join me willingly, cause I’d hate to have to give you a direct order to do so.” He reached his hand down, and smiled when Cameron took it. “Good, no more moping around in the middle of the night and watching me sleep, okay?”

“It’s morning, not night time.”

John rolled his eyes and crawled into bed. “It’s dark time. How’s that?”

Cameron glanced out the window. “The sun is coming up.”

“Knock it off, smartass, and get over here.”

Cameron did as she was told, and laid down next to John.

“We have a lot to do today,” John said through a yawn.

Cameron couldn’t think of any plans they had. “What do we have to do?”

“You have to do your thing and find a safe place for us to meet with Ellison. I gotta go to the pet store and get supplies for five cats. Then we have a cake to order and a birthday party to plan for tomorrow.”

“We’re meeting with Ellison?”

“Yes.”

“Whose birthday is it?”

“Savannah’s.”

“What are you doing with 5 cats?”

John smiled, and told her his plan. “Don’t tell Savannah. It’s a surprise.”

“Is that why we’re meeting with Ellison?”

“How about you let me sleep and I’ll tell you everything in the morning.”

“It is morning.”

John groaned. “Fine… when I wake up… again… later in the day…”

Cameron was quiet for a few short moments. “But if it’s something important I should know so I can plan mmph…”

John cut her off with a kiss. “Please…” Kiss. “Shut…” Kiss. “Up…”

Cameron was effectively silenced, but John still didn’t get to sleep for a long time after.


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The End… for now. Stay tuned for That Which We Call Fate coming soon.


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