DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a sequel to my first ever story "Beyond All Reason" and although it's not really necessary to read that to understand this one there are minor references to past events from the other story. This is written purely for my own enjoyment and if anybody else happens to enjoy it as much as I did writing it then...yay! Any mistakes that exist are all mine...and I will selfishly keep them :p This story is dedicated to the love of my life, Gayle.
SPOILERS: Mostly AU but has some references to events in Season 1.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To jojovee[at]gmail.com
Against All Odds
Sarah groggily stirred as she felt the sensation of being lifted and then a gentle swaying movement. Opening her eyes fully, Sarah stared into mesmerising brown, feeling Cameron's strong arms under her legs and around her back.
"Cameron?" Gazing away from the eyes looking down at her, Sarah realised they had reached home as Cameron walked up the front steps and through the door, John standing to the side holding it open for them.
"Cameron?" Sarah repeated as she struggled to be let down, "I can walk."
Choosing to ignore Sarah, Cameron tightened her arms and walked down the hallway towards Sarah's bedroom.
"Cameron, let me down. I need to go talk to..." Sarah protested again as she felt the arms around her tightening.
"John and Derek will do that. You are hurt." Cameron's voice was clipped as she interrupted Sarah forcefully.
Entering the bedroom Cameron placed Sarah down gently onto the bed, stepping back with an impenetrable expression on her face as Sarah got off the bed and stood up, shooting Cameron a withering glare at her actions.
"I'm fine. It's just a graze." Dismissing the wound on her shoulder with a wave of her hand, Sarah went to walk around Cameron's solid form in front of her, only to be stopped as Cameron gripped her firmly but gently on the arm.
"I need to have a look at it Sarah." Cameron's tone was hard, implying no argument or plea from Sarah was going to change her mind.
"Cameron..." Ready to argue her point, Sarah fell silent as she took in Cameron's firm stance and the narrowing of the girl's eyes at her protest.
Sitting back down on the bed slowly, cowed by the barely concealed anger behind familiar brown eyes, Sarah swallowed her apprehension as Cameron turned and stormed out of the bedroom and a few minutes later returned with the first aid kit in her hand.
Closing the door behind her, Cameron strode forward and knelt in front of Sarah, waiting patiently as Sarah removed the blood splattered shirt. An uneasy silence fell in the room as Cameron worked methodically, wiping the dried blood off Sarah's shoulder and then the small wound as gently as she could.
Feeling Cameron's stormy silence eating its way into her gut, Sarah watched the face in front of her in concern.
"Cameron?" Placing a hand on the girl's cheek gently, Sarah tilted Cameron's head up to her worried gaze, taking note of the superficial cuts and bruises sustained from her fight with the other terminator.
"I know you're mad at me but can you at least talk to me and stop giving me the silent treatment?"
"What do you want to talk about Sarah?" Cameron's voice was still clipped as she moved away from Sarah's touch, leaning back on her haunches to stare back with a shuttered expression.
"How about the fact that you're mad at me?" Sarah replied dryly with a raised eyebrow.
"Why did you not leave like I told you to Sarah? I cannot protect you if you don't listen to me." Cameron's expression was now hard and her eyes narrowing into a displeased glare as she turned away to glance down at the medical kit, her hands reaching for the disinfectant.
"Because Cameron," Sarah reached down again and lifted Cameron's head to her gaze, "for the same reason you can't leave me behind, I can't leave you behind either."
"I'm sorry for being such a bitch this morning and ordering you around like you don't matter to me." Sarah's hand started to stroke softly at Cameron's cheek, wanting to quell the uneasiness settling in her stomach at Cameron's coldness towards her. "I'm truly sorry Cameron. I do love you you know."
Cameron's features softened at Sarah's words, feeling her resistance melting at Sarah's touch. Sitting up on her knees, Cameron shifted closer as Sarah parted her legs to accommodate Cameron, Cameron's desire to hold the woman in her arms since she had seen Sarah battling with the terminator kicking into over drive.
Leaning her upper body into Sarah's, Cameron wound both arms lightly around her neck, pulling the woman closer as she placed her lips onto the tantalising ones in front of her. She needed to feel Sarah against her with a desperation that was making her lose cohesion to her thoughts. Her entire being needed to confirm that Sarah was safe, that the woman was here in her arms, to hear Sarah's heart beating it's familiar soothing rhythm.
Breaking away from the kiss, Cameron leaned her forehead against Sarah's her eyes closing in reaction to feeling her systems finally stabilising at the very real confirmation of Sarah under her hands and along her upper body. Her fingers were lightly brushing behind Sarah's neck, revelling in the tingling sensation of warm skin.
"You are reckless and stubborn "
"Blah, blah, blah, but you love me anyway Cameron," Sarah interrupted with a murmur as her lips widened into a grin, moving away from Cameron slightly to stare into intense brown. Although her words were flippant, Sarah could feel the overwhelming relief sweep through her body at Cameron's forgiveness making her want to weep in joy.
Tracing a finger lightly against the cut on Cameron's cheek, Sarah marvelled once again at the feel of softness underneath her fingers. Taking note of the silver metal showing through the skin, Sarah clamped down on the shiver she could feel just sitting on the edges of her psyche. This was Cameron, not an unknown machine that wanted to do her harm. Cameron loved her and would always protect her, evidenced time and time again. Taking comfort in that knowledge, Sarah leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss onto the lips in front of her. This was her Cameron and she needed to accept everything about the girl.
Cameron remained silent as she returned the kiss, wanting to keep on reprimanding the woman but knowing that she could not refute Sarah's words. Stifling her sigh Cameron could only hope that she was enough to keep Sarah safe. She had not lied to Sarah when she had told the woman that she could not function without her. With no programming to tell her what to do Cameron's only desire now was to be with Sarah and if there was no Sarah...Cameron shut down that thought as quickly as it entered. She did not want to think about that now if ever. Today was already too close for her comfort.
"Come on girlie, finish patching me up so I can patch you up. The world beckons you know." Sarah flashed Cameron another loving grin and an exasperated eye roll as she pulled away, feeling her insides finally settle at the warmth in the intense brown eyes staring back at her.
"Where's Sarah?" Sarah enquired with a raised eyebrow as she entered the kitchen, automatically heading towards the coffee machine.
Since the events of yesterday, the other Sarah was understandably freaked out and upset. After Cameron had finished tending to her wound and vice versa, Sarah and Cameron had made their way back to the sitting room only to find that John and Derek had already filled her in. Sitting shell shocked on the couch, staring wildly between everyone in the room, the other woman could only remain silent as the reality of her situation set in. Taking pity on the poor woman, Sarah had then decided it was enough for one night and led the still shocked woman to Cameron's room, hoping that a night's sleep would make her feel better.
"I think she's still in Cameron's room," John replied between mouthfuls of cereal as he glanced up at his mother's entrance.
Seeing the tiredness in Sarah's eyes and the stiffness to her joints, John could only hope that she had made up with Cameron. He hated it when they fought, making him feel uneasy and his stomach roil in apprehension at the tension between the two most important people in his life.
"I guess it's a lot to take in in one night. I don't think I did much better when Kyle Reese showed up," Sarah mused almost to herself as she waited impatiently for the coffee to brew. Usually Cameron would have already had the coffee waiting for her but for some reason this morning, the girl had been reluctant to let her out of her sight. It was only when she had finally threatened lightly that she would ban her from her room did Cameron allow Sarah to move from the bed to start their day.
Feeling her muscles twinge in a slight achy resonance to their activities last night, Sarah could only blush as she hid her face away from John. Last night, Cameron had been surprisingly dominant. Usually quite happy to just sit back and let Sarah take the lead, Cameron had surprised her and taken charge. Not that Sarah was complaining but their lovemaking had been very intense and very tiring.
Cameron's touches and caresses had been almost desperate, a quiet hunger that could only be assuaged by hearing Sarah cry out her name in passion over and over again. It wasn't until she had begged off in exhaustion did Cameron finally relent and allow her to sleep, lying her on top of her solid form gently as warm arms wrapped around her waist to hold her firmly in her sleep. Knowing that Cameron would not feel the heaviness of her weight while she slept Sarah had allowed the girl her neediness.
Picking up the coffee carafe as soon as it finished percolating, Sarah wondered dryly if she would survive a cybernetic organism's never ending energy, never mind the spectre of judgement day. Pouring the contents into her waiting mug, Sarah inhaled the enticing aroma of freshly brewed coffee as if it was the Holy Grail and took a satisfying sip, feeling the hot liquid winding its way down her throat to settle comfortably in her stomach.
Feeling the caffeine kick start its way through her blood stream, Sarah finally began to feel a little more human as she wandered over to the table and sat down opposite John. About to say something to John again, Sarah flicked her glance towards the entrance as the other Sarah finally appeared and hesitantly started to enter the kitchen, her expression solemn and apprehensive.
"Sarah," Sarah stood up and walked over towards the woman slowly, not wanting to startle her further, "come sit down. John will get you some coffee." Quirking her eyebrows at John in silent command to bring the woman a coffee, Sarah guided her to a chair.
"So wha what am I supposed to do all day if I can't go home?" The woman finally enquired softly as she gazed towards Sarah then to John as he placed the coffee down in front of her. "I can't be expected to just sit here and do nothing? I have a life to get back to my my family."
"At this moment in time, you have to stay low, stay here with us until we can destroy the machine that's after you well...me." Sarah started softly as she sat back down on her seat, trying to relax her body so as not to cause the woman more alarm. "It's not safe for you to go back and it'll be safer for your husband and children as well."
"But they'll be wondering where I am, if I'm ok. I need to see them, explain, explain what I don't know because I still don't understand. Even after thinking over everything last night, I still don't understand anything. That machine wants to kill me because I share your name?"
"Essentially yes." Sarah sighed and sipped her coffee as she tried to reign in her impatience, feeling the instant guilt devouring her thoughts. It wasn't the woman's fault that she was here with them and understandably she would still be confused and scared. It wasn't every day that some strange people saved your life from a machine that was sent from the future to hunt and kill you.
"How how long am I expected to stay here?" The woman's features were still creased into a worried frown as she ignored the coffee on the table, her hands clasped together tightly in her lap.
"I don't know, until we can destroy it." Sarah's tone was firm this time as she glanced over towards John who was now leaning silently against the kitchen bench, arms folded over his chest as he took in the scene before him.
"When's Derek coming back?" Dismissing the woman for now allowing her to absorb her words, Sarah directed her question at John.
"He said he was going to check out Sarah's house first, see if he could get more information." John's voice was quiet as he walked over towards his mother and sat down beside her. "Where's Cameron anyway?"
John was surprised; it wasn't like the girl to not be hovering when his mother was around. She was like Sarah's silent bodyguard, silent but deadly.
"I am here John." Cameron answered before Sarah could as she stepped through the open back door, a paper bag in one hand. "I have breakfast."
Walking over towards Sarah, Cameron placed the bag in front of her, her expression clearly stating that Sarah was to eat without any arguments.
Rolling her eyes at Cameron's actions, Sarah sighed in resignation and opened the paper bag. Seeing the pastry treats inside, Sarah selected the smallest croissant she could find and grudgingly bit into it, giving Cameron a challenging look in return.
Cameron remained silent as she grabbed the paper bag from in front of Sarah and looking inside briefly, picked out another pastry and placed it in front of Sarah expectantly, this time much larger than the one Sarah was currently eating.
"Cameron, why don't you offer our guest some breakfast as well?" Sarah voiced in a sugary sweet tone, feeling her hackles beginning to rise as she eyed the second pastry distastefully.
"I'll have one," John quickly cut in as he snatched the paper bag from Cameron's fingers, grabbing a pastry from the bag and then offering it to the other Sarah.
The woman accepted the bag hesitantly, her features still showcasing her discomfort at having to spend time amongst strangers. Picking out a pastry from inside the bag, the woman began to tear off little strips and placing them in her mouth, chewing absently as she continued to watch in silence.
Cameron had now walked around to stand behind Sarah, her right arm making contact with Sarah's shoulder as she stared at the other woman with a blank expression. An awkward silence fell as the woman continued to stare at Cameron, Cameron returning the woman's stare unconcerned.
"Is she is she one of them?" The question was hesitant, as the other woman continued to tear at her pastry, this time more with having something to do with her hands than having any real intentions of eating it. She had briefly caught a glimpse of Cameron last night when the girl had carried Sarah inside the house, the metal shining through her cheek obvious in the reflection from the light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
John stiffened automatically in response as he saw Cameron's form stiffen also at the woman's words as well. About to interject on Cameron's behalf, John fell silent as his mother spoke up first.
"Yes, Cameron's a cybernetic organism but she's not like that machine," Sarah's tone was firm as she spoke the words. Taking Cameron's hand lightly in her own Sarah squeezed it gently to get Cameron's attention as she glanced up into brown eyes, "Cameron's with us."
A little surprised at the declaration from Sarah in front of a complete stranger Cameron softened at the words and the look of love bestowed her way as she ignored everybody else in the room except the green eyes staring back at her with such warmth.
"Look, I really appreciate what you've all done saving my life, but I need, I really need to go home. My children husband " The other Sarah stated softly, not missing the look exchanged between the machine and the woman sitting across from her.
"You cannot leave. You will put Sarah in danger and I cannot allow that." Cameron glanced away from Sarah's eyes to stare fiercely at the other woman as her words finally registered.
Flinching back in reaction to the cold eyes now pinning her with such intensity, the other Sarah glanced between John and Sarah in alarm.
"Cameron, it's okay. Sarah won't leave, will you Sarah?" Sarah interjected softly as she felt the tension rising in the room. Standing up from the table Sarah turned around to face Cameron, her back to the other woman as she placed a hand on Cameron's arm.
"Cameron, I really think you should go check outside. Make sure everything's safe." Sarah could see that Cameron was about to protest, her mouth opening to form the words. Before the words could come out however, Sarah stepped closer and mouthed, "Please," quirking an eyebrow in a silent plea.
Giving Sarah one last look and then glancing over Sarah's shoulder towards the sitting woman, Cameron turned and walked out without another word.
"Is she is she always that scary?" The woman voiced uncertainly as the back door closed after Cameron with a soft click.
"Only when it comes to my mother's safety," John quipped dryly in reply, giving his mother a chagrined smile as she threw a scowl in his direction.
"Cameron won't hurt you unless you give her reason to."
Picking up her mug from the table Sarah walked over towards the coffee machine again and refilled it.
"Which basically means I'm stuck here until you guys let me go doesn't it?"
Sarah remained silent as she placed the carafe back in to the coffee machine, knowing that an answer wasn't needed. Even if she now decided that the other woman could go, Cameron would never let the woman out of this house, not if it meant her own safety was at stake.
Derek stifled a sigh as he sat at the kitchen table listening to Sarah's neighbour droning on and on about the proper care of her vegetable and flower garden, driving him insane with boredom. He had been here for at least half an hour now, showing the appropriate amount of attention and making the right noises in the right places as he tried to watch the house next door surreptitiously.
He had been surprised it had been so easy to gain the woman's trust. It was amazing what a little flirtation and lies about being Sarah's concerned friend from work could do. Having gained enough information from John about Sarah's life, Derek was able to keep up the pretence of knowing Sarah with enough vague comments and references to keep the neighbours suspicions away.
Watching the old woman move from the table to the boiling kettle and then the cupboards, Derek wondered if he should just shoot himself now to end his pain. Facing machines and terminators were better options than trying to keep up his enthusiasm with the current conversation. Glancing through the kitchen window again to Sarah's house now milling with police and FBI agents, Derek pushed away his impatience and gave himself an internal slap. The things he had to do for the mission.
"So the police already came to talk to you did they? Did they say where Sarah was? What happened?" Derek's voice was calm with a touch of curiosity as he was finally able to jump into the conversation as the old woman paused to gather breath.
"Oh yes dear, the FBI agent, what was his name, Agent Agent Ellison, that's right, such a lovely man. We had the nicest conversation " Derek stiffened at the agent's name, not liking that information one bit, " wanted to know if Sarah had had any enemies, or anybody coming and going that didn't fit in with her usual crowd. Of course I told him that Sarah wasn't that kind of person, she was just the sweetest little thing ever. Her children and husband too. A boy and a girl you know, very lovely they are, always so well-mannered. Why, just last week, they both came over with some baking "
Derek stifled another impatient sigh; the old woman had a bad habit of running away with the conversation if he let her.
"Do you think that they'll be ok? The children and husband I mean? They must be out of their minds with worry?" Quickly jumping in with another question Derek tried to keep her on topic.
"Isn't it just horrible? I can't imagine what they must be going through and I asked that exact same question to Agent Ellison but he assured me that the family are safe. Apparently they've been taken away and are under FBI custody at the moment. Agent Ellison couldn't tell me where of course, such a lovely man he is. He even made the time to come out and appreciate my garden, now wasn't that just the nicest thing ever?
The old woman walked back to the table slowly, teapot in one hand and a plate of biscuits in the other. Placing them down gently on the table, she prepared to pour tea into two mugs resting side by side in front of her.
"Mrs Clarkson, did you see anything at all? What did you tell the agent?" Grabbing the offered mug of tea from the woman with a polite thank you, Derek took a cautious sip to hide his features.
"Please, I've told you to call me Beatrice, Mrs Clarkson was my mother-in-laws name and that is one person I never want to be compared to, may God rest her soul." Sipping from her own tea slowly Mrs Clarkson extended the plate of biscuits to Derek. "Now, what was the question? Oh yes. All I told the agent was that I saw some people running out of the backyard, two women and a young boy. You see I was taking my usual afternoon nap at the time and was awoken by the most horrifying sound ever gunshots, can you imagine? In a place like this? Where there's children running around and everything?"
Derek hid his grimace at the words; she had seen Cameron, Sarah and John. Damnit. Now they not only had to worry about the terminator chasing them down, they had to worry about the agent as well.
Sarah was not going to be happy about this.
"Hello? Oh, hello dear. Lovely to hear from you. No, no, I'm fine. Just a bit shook up as to be expected but I'm fine. No, no, you don't have to come over, next week is fine. I'm just about to make myself a cup of tea. Yes alright, see you next week then, bye."
The terminator placed the phone in its cradle gently and walked over to stand in front of the kitchen window. He had waited until night fall to return to the neighbourhood, making his way easily into the old woman's house with a simple flick of his wrist on the back door knob.
Killing the old woman had been easy too. She had been too weak to struggle against his hand clamped firmly over her mouth and nose as she lay sleeping in her bed. Watching her struggle futilely against his grasp, her eyes bulging in surprised terror, he had already dismissed her as being irrelevant. He had needed somewhere so he could hide and wait, somewhere where he could watch the house next door without being noticed.
Running his thermal imaging program in his head, the terminator cocked his head to the left slightly, his eyes boring holes into the house directly in front of him. That was where he had seen the real Sarah Connor and John Connor, they had been flushed out like he had planned. This was the best place for him to be, they would be back and this time he would be prepared. The unknown terminator that was with them had taken him by surprise but she was irrelevant as well. He had a mission to do and anything standing in his way would be destroyed.
Powering himself down so he was only running the minimal necessary programs required to keep him alert of his surroundings, the terminator stood rigidly in front of the kitchen window. He would wait and if they did not return before next week, then the visitor that the old woman was expecting would be dealt with as well.
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