DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Takes place in the middle of 1x08: Vick’s Chip. A continuation of Reminders, Welcome to the Club, Somewhere In Between and Evolution.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Sarah had new nightmares now. She still had plenty of the old ones, filled with terminators and their never-ending hunt for her son. But now, she also dreamed about Cameron, in a way that she hadn't before; Cameron trapped in a burning blaze.
The nightmares always start with the sound of the explosion. It feels so loud and violent and real in the dream, but is never enough to actually wake her from sleep. Sarah is halfway to the truck before she even registers the danger -- (a) whoever planted the bomb could still be around, not to mention (b) the intense heat of the flames.
But Sarah is already in plain sight of anyone who might be looking, so there is no longer any point in worrying about (a), and (b) doesn't alarm her nearly as much as it probably should. Pure adrenaline flows through her, pushing her forward.
She doesn't really remember grabbing the gun, but she must have done so, because it's there in her hand, and as she reaches the raging fire surrounding the jeep, she doesn't hesitate before using the butt of the gun to break through the driver's side window.
From night to night, there's variation in terms of what she finds inside. Sometimes, Cameron's entire body seems to be engulfed in flame, and Sarah can do nothing but watch her burn. Sometimes all the flesh has already blistered away, and nothing remains but the metallic shell -- Cameron's eyes don't glow red, at least, but they don't glow blue either; they don't glow at all, just a hauntingly empty black. At other times, Sarah looks inside the truck but doesn't find anything. Cameron has been almost instantaneously incinerated, leaving Sarah with nothing to hold on to.
None of that was what actually happened, of course. What actually happened was that when Sarah looked inside the jeep, she found Cameron lying immobile, but largely intact. The explosion had singed away chunks of skin, leaving hints of Cameron's skeletal structure glinting in the harsh light of the flames.
At that first glance, Sarah felt her heart leap into her throat. She had somehow believed that Cameron would be completely unharmed and would come walking calmly from the blaze on her own.
Seeing Cameron lying there helplessly, Sarah had a brief, horrible thought of, 'Oh god...I've killed her.' Because even though it wasn't really her fault, and even though Sarah wasn't sure whether Cameron could really die if she wasn't exactly alive to begin with, it was Sarah who was responsible for sending Cameron out to the jeep.
But Sarah quickly remembered the times she had witnessed what happened when a cyborg short-circuited. 120 seconds. Cameron had said that it took 120 seconds for the system to reboot. Knowing that she needed to get Cameron away from the danger before any more damage could be done, she reached inside, grabbed a tight hold onto Cameron's form, and heaved the body up and out through the window.
Sarah fell backward, hitting the pavement hard, with the weight of Cameron landing awkwardly on top of her. Derek and John were suddenly beside her, then, pulling the two of them back and away from the burning wreckage. Another small explosion went off, propelling them backward.
Time seemed to be moving so slowly, but it all happened remarkably quickly, really -- it was still less than 120 seconds since the bomb went off, because Cameron remained unconscious.
Cameron rebooted right before they got her back to the house, startling the rest of them with her sudden movement. Sarah felt the urge to hug the girl, when she saw those eyes flickering with life once again, but it wasn't exactly an appropriate time for that, so she kept the reaction to herself.
What happened after that... Well after that, it was all mostly a blur in Sarah's memory. A controlled frenzy of movement. They already had an emergency stash of equipment and papers, permanently ready for situations like this -- situations where they had to leave at a moment's notice, leaving everything but the most important items behind -- so it didn't take them long to pack up and move.
The bomb made everything more complicated. Even John agreed that they couldn't stay there anymore. They managed to get away right before the fire department arrived at the scene, probably alerted by someone in the area. Sarah only hoped that no one got a chance to get a good look at any of them.
But now, two weeks later and hundreds of miles away, Sarah couldn't stop the nightmares, even though she knew that Cameron was all right, that she hadn't "died" or anything.
Sarah jerked awake, her body drenched in sweat, as if the heat of the explosion once again surrounded her. This time, Sarah couldn't even remember which version of the nightmare she'd seen. The exact images quickly faded away, but that acute fear remained.
As Sarah's heart rate returned to a normal pace, she became more aware of the throbbing pain over the surface of her arms, neck, and right cheek. Although she had barely noticed the heat of the fire when she went after Cameron, she was now dealing with various burns across her body.
Knowing that the pain, combined with the remnants of her nightmare, weren't exactly conducive to getting back to sleep, Sarah got out of bed and walked quietly through the house.
They had found a new place relatively easily, bought under Derek's name. He wasn't associated with the Connors in any official database, which enabled them to get through the system unnoticed.
She made her way to the bathroom, searching through the medicine cabinet. She wasn't sure where Cameron kept the cream she had been using to treat the pain, but she hoped it would be around there somewhere.
"What are you looking for?"
Sarah jumped at the sound of Cameron's voice, turning around to face her. Cameron looked no worse for wear, at this point. Though the original damage to her body was much more severe than the damage to Sarah's, Cameron required significantly less time before full recovery. Looking at her now, you'd never know that, only two weeks earlier, there had been no skin covering her right shoulder.
"I was just looking for that whatchamacallit you use. For my burns," Sarah replied, idly picking at the bandage around her lower left arm.
"Does it hurt?" Cameron asked, her voice an expressionless monotone.
"Yeah, it hurts like a bitch, actually."
Cameron tilted her head to the side quizzically. "I do not understand."
"Never mind." Sarah still sometimes forgot how literally Cameron took each and every word. "Yes, it hurts."
"Good," was Cameron's concise response.
"Good?" Sarah almost laughed, unsure whether to be amused or offended. "Since when are you glad that I'm in pain?"
Cameron looked down at her feet as she answered, "You have numerous deep partial-thickness second-degree burns, Sarah. Your pain is a good thing in this case, because it means that the nerve endings in the damaged areas were not completely destroyed. The topical cream I have been using for you is in my room."
Sarah followed as Cameron turned and silently walked from the bathroom. Ever since the explosion, Cameron had been acting differently around her, and Sarah couldn't quite figure it out. It bothered her, though. It was like Cameron was a lot more cautious around her, or something. Quieter. Less direct, but more technical. Impersonal, Sarah realized.
Cameron motioned for Sarah to sit down on her bed, as she got various things out of a bag sitting on the floor, and then settled into a chair in front of Sarah. Cameron never used the bed herself, obviously, but the girl had liked the idea of having one in her room anyway.
Even though they had gone through the process many times over the last two weeks, Sarah was still somewhat amazed at the tenderness with which Cameron treated her. Removing the bandages, cleaning the burnt flesh, applying various ointments that Sarah didn't recognize, bandaging up the skin again. It was all done with a proficient, but gentle hand.
"The edema has gone down," Cameron commented.
Since the tone of voice gave nothing away, Sarah had to ask, "And is that a good thing?"
Cameron looked at her in surprise. "Yes, of course it is. Why wouldn't it be?"
Sarah smirked, unable to hide the sarcasm in her voice as she replied, "Yeah, well I don't exactly have the same kind of vocabulary as you do, Nurse Cameron. I haven't gotten a chance to read the whole dictionary yet. I have no clue what 'edema' actually means."
Cameron paused, and Sarah felt like she could almost hear the neurons (or whatever Cameron had in that head of hers) working, searching for a better explanation. "Swelling," she said, when she found a suitable synonym. "The swelling has gone down."
"Thank you for explaining." Sarah couldn't help but grin as she uttered Cameron's oft-repeated phrase.
She felt herself relaxing, forgetting about the dream that had interrupted her sleep. Cameron's presence was soothing, somehow. Sarah tried to catch Cameron's eye, wanting to thank her for everything, but Cameron wouldn't look at her.
Now that she thought about it, Cameron had been doing that a lot lately -- avoiding eye contact, avoiding her altogether.
"Hey," she murmured, grazing her hand under Cameron's jaw, encouraging her eyes upward. "Is everything ok with you?" Sarah knew intuitively that Cameron didn't experience emotion in exactly the same way that Sarah herself did, but there was now no doubt in her mind that Cameron did feel emotion in some form or another. Sarah had gotten better at reading Cameron, but the girl had become more guarded lately, making it a more difficult task.
Sarah did manage to recognize the flash of sorrow that crossed Cameron's face, though. It was gone in an instant, but Sarah had definitely seen it.
"I am fine."
Cameron was looking down at the floor again, so this time, when Sarah reached out toward Cameron, she didn't let go. She cupped Cameron's chin firmly in her hand and kept Cameron's eyes focused on her. "You're not 'fine,' and you don't need to pretend that you are. Come on, you've been avoiding me lately. Why? Talk to me, Cameron. You agreed not to lie to me, remember?"
"I do not want to burden you," Cameron sulked.
"It's not a burden, I promise." Sarah was actually starting to get annoyed, at this point. Cameron was getting way too good at the whole 'sullen teenager' thing.
"It's just that..." Cameron hesitated. "I avoid you so that you don't have to deal with me. With what I am."
Sarah narrowed her eyes in confusion. "Huh? You certainly never worried about that before. What makes you think you need to do it now?"
"Your nightmares. I hear you at night. You have nightmares about me. I understand that the damage done to me by the bomb served as a reminder of what I am. I am sorry that you had to see me like that, without all my skin. I am sorry that this image of me plagues you in your dreams. In addition, when I am around you, my self-confidence level now drops from its usual 100% to approximately 68.463%. This puts me in an uncomfortable position. Therefore, I avoid you."
Cameron kept her eyes on Sarah's throughout this explanation, but as soon as she stopped talking, she suddenly stood up from the chair and strode over to the window, turning her back on Sarah.
Sarah sat still for a moment, processing what Cameron had said. She then stood up as well, following Cameron's path. It all made more sense now. She stretched out her hand, placing it gently on Cameron's shoulder. Her eyes met Cameron's in their reflection in the window.
"You think you understand, but you don't really," Sarah began. "Yes, I have nightmares about you. But they're nightmares about losing you, Cameron. That's what I'm afraid of."
Sarah watched Cameron's steely gaze falter, a mixture of both doubt and hope creeping into her expression. "Really?" she asked quietly.
"Really," Sarah affirmed, still speaking to Cameron's reflection. "I had definitely grown to like you, before. I trusted you. But until that day, I hadn't quite realized how much I really care about you. I was so scared, Cam."
Cameron finally turned around, and it suddenly felt like they were closer together. The distance between them had seemed bigger when they weren't facing each other. Still, Sarah stayed where she was. "You are scared for me, not scared of me?" Cameron asked for clarification.
Sarah hadn't thought of it that way, but it worked. "Yes. Exactly."
Cameron's face broke into a smile, and Sarah automatically smiled back. It had been a while since she'd seen Cameron smile.
Sarah felt her heart speed up a bit, unconsciously licking her lips, when she noticed Cameron's eyes straying briefly down to her mouth. Although she had meant to, Sarah had never gotten around to talking with Cameron about that time in Sarah's room, when they kissed. That didn't mean that she had forgotten the experience, though. Sarah had actually thought about it fairly often. But their lives had gotten too busy, too crazy, to bring it up again.
Now, though, Sarah couldn't think of a better way of emphasizing her point that Cameron didn't need to worry about avoiding her. Before she could lose her nerve, Sarah leaned forward, capturing Cameron's lips with her own. Cameron's hand went instantly to Sarah's waist, gripping tightly, as if Sarah might change her mind and walk away. Her burns forgotten, Sarah responded by wrapping her arms around Cameron's neck, pulling her even closer.
Releasing Cameron's lips and pulling back slightly, Sarah simply gazed at Cameron for a moment, hardly able to believe that this was actually happening. And not only was she letting it happen, but she was also the one to actually initiate the whole thing. Her eyes fluttered closed when the tips of Cameron's fingers swept softly across Sarah's lips.
"I have been wanting to try that out for many weeks, now," Cameron whispered. "Did you like it?"
Sarah smiled, but instead of answering verbally, she simply kissed Cameron once again, pressing firmly into her.
There was no easing into the kiss this time. Their tongues slipped together, Cameron's arms wrapped securely around Sarah, her hands running up and down Sarah's back, and Sarah's hands tangled deep in Cameron's hair. It was urgent, hard, intense, and exactly what Sarah wanted.
She wasn't sure how long they stood there, wrapped in each other's arms. She squeaked in surprise when Cameron suddenly lifted her off the ground and began walking forwards. Sarah instinctively wrapped her legs around Cameron's waist, and then had to bite back a moan at the increased friction it caused.
Cameron lowered Sarah softly onto the bed, before climbing up and over her, with Sarah pulling her back into another demanding kiss. Sarah gasped as Cameron's hand made its way beneath her shirt, tracing tortuously slow circles over her skin.
Sarah could feel the heat practically radiating off of Cameron. She reached for the hem of Cameron's shirt, pulling it up and over her head and then dropping it carelessly on the floor. Cameron decided to take a more direct route, and efficiently ripped Sarah's shirt open.
Sarah was about to complain, but Cameron promptly lowered her mouth to the newly revealed skin, and all Sarah could do was moan.
Sarah's ability to think was rapidly declining. Her mind was full of sensations, unaware of anything but lips, fingers, tongues, and the rapid beating of her own heart. It felt like Cameron was everywhere all at once, until suddenly she was nowhere. Cameron had stopped all movement.
Sarah whimpered softly at the loss of contact. Cameron was holding herself up above Sarah, a focused, but puzzled expression on her face. "What? Why'd you stop? What's wrong?" Sarah asked breathlessly.
"I am enjoying our sexual intimacy, but I have encountered a problem," Cameron answered straightforwardly. After another quick moment, she continued. "I wish to go further with you, but I am not sure how to proceed," Cameron admitted.
Sarah took in a deep breath, with the full weight of what she was doing hitting her all at once. She was lying on a bed, half-naked, with a half-naked cyborg nestled between her legs. Sarah blushed.
"So you've never...? Can you even? You can, right? I mean, Vick was married, so they must have at some point... Right?"
Cameron merely continued to stare at Sarah, her head quirked to the side. "I cannot answer this question, because I do not know what you are trying to ask me."
Swallowing audibly, Sarah tried again. "Have you ever had sex before? And are you even able to have sex?" she asked hurriedly.
Cameron, of course, was not disturbed in the slightest by the conversation. "I have never engaged in sexual intercourse, but I am physically able to do so. My sexual organs are not made for reproduction, but they are otherwise fully functional."
"Ok, good to know." Sarah closed her eyes, trying to breathe deeply. She was tempted to get up, run from the room, and hope that she never had to speak to Cameron again. This conversation made it so that Sarah could no longer pretend that this was just a normal sexual encounter. In fact, Sarah figured that this was probably about as far from "normal" as you could get.
Still, there was something special about Cameron. Like Sarah had said, she did honestly care for her. She cared a lot, actually. And she knew that Cameron felt strongly about her as well. When it came down to it, that really wasn't such a bad thing, was it?
Having finally made up her mind, Sarah opened her eyes to find Cameron still gazing at her patiently. Sarah offered a small smile, reaching up to softly stroke Cameron's cheek.
She lifted herself up slightly, so her mouth was level with Cameron's ear. "You don't know what to do next?" she whispered. "Then let me show you."
Sarah smirked at the small shiver that ran through Cameron's body. She briefly took the girl's earlobe into her mouth, sucking gently, before kissing her way along Cameron's jaw and back to her lips.
From that moment on, there was no talking. Just heavy breathing, wandering hands, and wandering mouths. Sarah was soon kissing a wet trail down Cameron's body. Cameron gasped and then moaned at Sarah's first timid lick between her thighs, her hips bucking slightly. They quickly settled into a rhythm, with Cameron reaching down to bury her hands in Sarah's hair. Cameron's tight grip was almost painful, but Sarah hardly noticed, as she decided to add fingers into the mix.
When Cameron came, her entire body became rigidly still, her hips pressed up against Sarah, before she collapsed back onto the bed. Sarah crawled back up Cameron's body, to find the girl unresponsive to any movement.
"Cameron? Cameron, are you ok? Fuck, I didn't break you, did I?" Sarah looked worriedly into Cameron's glazed eyes.
Finally, Cameron spoke, an element of wonder in her voice, as she continued to stare straight up at the ceiling. "I have never felt such overwhelming sensation before. I thought my system might be malfunctioning, overloaded with too much sensory input, but..." Cameron turned her gaze to Sarah's, a bright smile now crossing her face. "But it was wonderful. Your sweet ass is bitchin'."
Sarah laughed, relieved that Cameron was back to her normal, though odd, self. Suddenly, Cameron got a wild look in her eyes. "Thank you for demonstrating what I should do," Cameron said, before she practically pounced on Sarah, pinning her to the bed.
Cameron was probably the ideal lover, Sarah decided. Not only was she a quick study, having taken in everything Sarah had done, but every gasp, moan, whimper, and growl that Sarah now made, Cameron was able to respond perfectly to each, anticipating exactly what Sarah wanted.
It didn't take long before Sarah, feeling like her own system might "overload" from all the sensory input, shattered in orgasm, crying out softly. Cameron seemed eager to continue, though, not moving from her position between Sarah's legs. Panting, Sarah finally managed to breathe out, "Cameron. Stop. Please. I can't. Just. Come here."
Cameron looked up at Sarah worriedly. Bringing her face back up to Sarah's level, she opened her mouth to speak, but Sarah reassured her, "It's ok. I just need to rest now. You've tired me out, girlie." Satisfied with that answer, Cameron moved to Sarah's side, gazing at her contentedly.
"Is it always like this?" Cameron asked.
"No, not always," Sarah replied, fighting to keep her eyes open. It was now almost four o'clock in the morning, and Sarah's lack of sleep was catching up with her. "Some people are better than others."
"And what about me? Was I good? How did I do?"
Sarah chuckled at the eager excitement in Cameron's voice. "You did great, Cam. Fantastic, really."
"And will we do this again? I'm sure that, with practice, I could get a lot better."
Smiling, Sarah murmured, "Well then. I guess we'll just have to get you plenty of practice."
The next time Sarah dreamed of Cameron, it had a whole different feel to it.
Sarah still runs out the front door, grabbing a gun on the way, her heart pounding in her chest. When she reaches the jeep, the flames leap around her, but they don't actually touch her skin. She can feel the intense heat, but it's more comforting, somehow, than threatening. Sarah quickly breaks the front window, and when she looks inside, Cameron is lying there, perfectly still. Sarah waits for a moment, holding her breath. Then, Cameron opens her eyes, turning to gaze trustingly into Sarah's face. Sarah reaches her hand inside the truck. Cameron calmly takes the offered hand.
This time, Sarah woke up smiling.
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