DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Response to the ‘Their Fate is What You Make It’ challenge, so the Cameron POV planned third part will come after this. Challenge prompt: Just what did happen after the cameras stopped rolling? Post-ep for 'Dungeons and Dragons'. Thanks again to ralst for the beta read. You’re a lifesaver.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Third part of the Mixed Emotions series.

By zennie


Both times they'd had sex since the first time, Sarah had initiated it. Once had been easy to explain away; it had been an overwrought day, they had nearly lost John, and Cameron had come across Sarah quietly losing it in the privacy of her room. A well-intentioned hug had turned into a searing kiss and Sarah had once again found herself taking out her frustrations on the terminator's body in a flurry of ripped clothes and desperate need. Cameron had, of course, reciprocated, her gentleness in stark contrast to Sarah's aggression, giving Sarah a long slow slide into sleep with hands and tongue.

The second time Sarah had found harder to explain to herself. She had gone into Cameron's room on a quiet, almost normal day, and watched the terminator do her homework until Cameron had looked up at her. Sarah hadn't asked, had only shifted her eyes toward the bed in a mute appeal, and within seconds, Cameron had been removing her clothes and walking her backward toward the bed. That night, Sarah had actually taken time to learn what gave Cameron pleasure, her gentleness as surprising to Sarah as it was to Cameron.

But then Derek Reece entered their lives, and now Sarah is avoiding Cameron. Derek's hatred of Cameron has solidified Sarah's contradictory feelings for the moment, and she finds it difficult to be near the terminator, as Cameron's mere presence seems to undo Sarah's newfound clarity and resolve. Cameron herself is acting more like a moody teenager than Sarah has ever seen her and has been hiding out in the garage ever since Sarah found her standing over Derek with a pillow and apparently considering the pros and cons of smothering him with it.

So Sarah is surprised when she opens the bathroom door to find Cameron waiting for her. She stares at the terminator apprehensively; there is an intensity in Cameron's eyes that she's never seen before and for a second, Sarah is scared. Cameron takes a step forward and Sarah steps back, repeating the slow retreat until she is backed up against the counter. Cameron's hands slide under her robe, loosening the tie, while her lips fasten on Sarah's neck. The chill air and burning lips against her skin cause Sarah to shiver, her fear transformed to desire as Cameron's fingers trail up her spine.

"Cameron, the door."

Cameron kicks the door shut as she bends Sarah back, her strength holding Sarah up as her mouth descends to Sarah's breasts. With determined hands, Cameron parts Sarah's legs and slides her fingers in. Cameron's touch is still gentle, but there's a ferocity and desperation in her movements that was absent before, and Sarah is ashamed at how quickly she forgets that first shiver of fear in the ministrations of the terminator.

An hour, a second shower, a look in on Derek, and a load of laundry later, Sarah takes her third cup of coffee and goes in search of Cameron. She finds her in the garage, staring blankly at the cinder block crematorium she had so recently used to incinerate one of her brethren. Her expression is blank, but Sarah is learning to read Cameron, and the fact that she doesn't turn or acknowledge Sarah's presence is telling.

Hesitating in the doorway and tapping the side of her coffee cup nervously, Sarah confronts her typical quandary in dealing with Cameron: how does she ask a nearly indestructible, cold-blooded killing machine about her feelings? Or, as she had framed the question in one of her inexplicably odd philosophical moods, what is the protocol for giving a terminator a stuffed animal after stitching closed bullet and stab wounds?

"Cameron?" She knows this is one of the few times she's used Cameron's name when she isn't yelling at her, and she wonders if Cameron notices, or resents the absence, or even prefers the 'tin man' nickname Sarah gave her weeks ago.

"Yes." Cameron half-turns toward her to indicate she is listening, but her eyes are still focused on grey bricks.

"I just…" Sarah begins, but finds that it's harder to pry with Cameron than with John; with John, she can begin the conversation by asking if he's hungry or by pretending to look for laundry. Her subtleties are mostly wasted on him even though she likes to pretend otherwise, but they are completely and utterly wasted on Cameron, so she just gets to the point. "I wanted to know if you are okay." It's odd to hear the words aloud, to acknowledge that Cameron has feelings and to realize she cares, deeply, about those feelings.

There is a long pause, as if this question requires more processing than normal. Finally, Cameron says, "I am okay." Another pause, and then, "Do you miss him?" The question seems random, so Sarah waits patiently for Cameron to explain. "I saw you in the yard with Charley Dixon yesterday. He kissed you." Sarah frowns at the sudden realization that, while she may have been right to worry about Cameron being a threat to Charley, she may have been completely wrong about the motive. She wonders if an emotionless killing machine might be better than a terminator driven by human emotions like jealousy as Cameron repeats her question. "Do you miss him?"

Sarah considers the question carefully. She misses what he represented, certainly, the glimpse of normalcy they got for those few months with him. She also misses the comfort, the warmth, of having someone focused on her, a rare luxury in her life. "Sometimes," she answers truthfully.

"You love him." Cameron states with her typical straightforwardness.

Sarah nods. "Yes."

"In English class, we are reading stories of romantic love between men and women. Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare in 1596…"

"I'm familiar with Romeo and Juliet," Sarah cuts her off before she gets the full Encyclopedia Britannica entry on the tragedy and author, a half-smile gracing her lips. She finds it amusing how Cameron assumes everything is as new to those around her as it is to Cameron herself and how she constantly wants to share this newness. She can, at times, be almost child-like in her innocence, at fact that is both amusing and disconcerting to Sarah, in equal measures.

"In the story, the protagonists would rather die than live apart. It is considered a 'romantic story of star-crossed lovers, even though it arguably equates sex and love with death'." Here Sarah can hear the air quotes as Cameron recites from memory a phrase she heard from someone, her teacher probably. Sarah nods her head absently as she wonders where Cameron's foray through English literature will end up.

"Charley Dixon would die for you." For a second, Sarah hears a threat in the words before she discerns their true meaning. Yes, Charley Dixon would die for her, if she let him. He loves her and he would sacrifice his life for her and her son, even though she never asked that of him, even though she left him to avoid that exact situation. And she didn't simply leave because they put him in danger, but because the life they lived was not anything he could survive.

She regards Cameron for a moment. Cameron can survive this life, even the coming apocalypse if they don't succeed. She was built for this, and she thrives in the uncertainty and death that surrounds them. As a protector, Cameron is committed to Sarah and John's survival; as a lover, she can be by Sarah's side where none can stand. Sarah can let Cameron get close without the guilt over involving her in their fight, and the insight both comforts and scares her.

Stepping close, Sarah wraps an arm around Cameron's neck, the other around her waist, and pulls the slight frame toward her in a backward hug. Cameron resists her pull, the solidity of her stance a reminder of the immovable endoskeleton underneath.

In a quiet, resolute voice, Cameron states, "I would die for you."

"I know," Sarah replies quietly. She exerts more pressure and Cameron relents, allowing herself to be pulled fully into Sarah's arms. Sarah nuzzles Cameron's ear and presses a kiss to her temple, feeling the warm living skin beneath her lips. Resting her head on the terminator's shoulder, she gazes at the cinder-block crematorium and knows that Cameron would not only die for her, she probably will die for her. If they fail, Cameron will die trying to defend them and if they succeed, Cameron will be incinerated all the same, in the structure she herself built.

"It's not only my programming," Cameron says, her stubbornness to continue the conversation a testament to the importance of Sarah's understanding. "I would die for you."

Sarah nods her head and squeezes the girl-woman-terminator in her arms more tightly. Her reply is quiet and heavy with the truth of the statement. "I know."

The End

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