DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to zennie as always with this one. Your patience knows no bounds. ;-)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

More Than A Mission
By Inspector Boxer


Part 10

Blood, soap and water swirled together and eased down the drain. Oddly fascinated, Cameron watched their progress as she rinsed Erickson's blood from her arms. Hands clean, she shut off the water and picked up a towel, wiping her fingers dry. Then she merely stood motionless in the middle of the kitchen, processing what had happened in the hallway minutes before.

Sarah had kissed her.

It had lasted mere seconds, but Cameron had total recall and she took full advantage of it, reviewing the contact again and again, re-experiencing the heat of Sarah's mouth, the softness of her lips. Her fingers came up to touch her mouth in honest wonder.

How could such a simple touch make her feel so much? Was there something about Sarah's lips, some sort of chemical reaction with her own, that caused her mouth to tingle? Cameron tilted her head a fraction as she considered the deep ache in her chest as she thought of Sarah Connor. Even more distracting was how flushed her body was, and how wet her…

A gentle throat clearing had the terminator's thoughts tracking instantly to the doorway. Sarah looked mildly embarrassed as she leaned on the doorframe, watching Cameron with a tiny lift to her lips, as if she knew what thoughts were running through Cameron's head. "You should get cleaned up." She sounded what Cameron decided was bashful.

Cameron followed Sarah's line of sight as she glanced down at the two seeping wounds on her chest. She blinked. After the kiss, Cameron had somehow managed to completely forget her injuries. She started an internal diagnostic, wondering how such a thing was possible. "Yes. I should take a cold shower."

Sarah's gaze snapped up to Cameron's eyes. Cameron watched as Sarah opened her mouth to say something then seemed to decide against it. Finally, Sarah pushed off the doorframe and came closer. She cleared her throat again. "I know cold slows the blood loss," she said, her voice sounding curiously tight, "but wouldn't you rather enjoy a hot one?"

The terminator decided to test a theory and let her features relax into a smile. "That was not why I wanted a cold shower." She watched Sarah with naked curiosity, wondering what the other woman would say to that.

"Right," Sarah drawled and Cameron took instant notice of the mild blush crawling up Sarah's cheeks. Sarah took a deep breath and came closer, her fingers hesitantly coming to rest between the two wounds on Cameron's chest. "Do they hurt?"

Cameron's gaze dipped to study Sarah's hand where it rested on her tank top, the heat of her touch penetrating the thin cloth of her shirt. It was so strange how Sarah's touch always felt so hot on her skin even though her systems showed Sarah's body temperature to be normal. "Not fully. Not yet."

"Still blocking those pain receptors, huh?"

"To a point." Cameron looked back up into Sarah's concerned green eyes. "I will remove the bullets first."

Sarah's fingers pressed more firmly. "You still have the bullets in you?"

"Yes." Cameron watched as Sarah's expression grew more stricken. "I will be fine." She indicated the toolbox she'd retrieved when Sarah and Derek had first walked away to talk. It sat open on the kitchen table. "I have done this before."

"I know," Sarah's voice was hoarse. "I've seen the scars." She was quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry," she finally murmured. "For Derek… what he tried to do."

"He fears me," Cameron replied. "His actions were borne from that fear."

"His actions were borne from jealousy," Sarah corrected. "Yes, Derek fears you, but he knows in his head that you're an asset to the mission."

"Jealousy?" Cameron considered his actions since the moment she'd first laid eyes on him in the back of a prisoner transport truck. "He is jealous of…"

"You," Sarah explained with a patient grin.

Cameron gave that some thought. "Why?"

Sarah took a breath and looked a little uncomfortable. "You have abilities he doesn't," she said matter-of-factly. "And…" Another shallow breath followed. "And he sees… how our… relationship… has… evolved."

"Thank you for explaining." Cameron considered this information. "Jealousy does not always make one take such drastic measures."

Sarah tilted her head, a curious light coming to her eyes. "What makes you say that?"

"I never tried to come between you and Charley Dixon." Cameron watched as Sarah reacted, taking a deep breath and wiping a hand nervously across her mouth.

"Did you want to?" Sarah asked after a thoughtful silence.

"I wanted to snap him like a twig," Cameron admitted blandly. "But I promised you I would not hurt him."

"Yes you did," Sarah agreed firmly. "Don't touch Charley. He's a friend."

"Is that all he is?" Cameron asked. She glanced down again when she felt Sarah's fingers twitch against her shirt, realizing that Sarah had yet to remove her hand.

"I'm not in love with him if that's what you're asking," Sarah confessed.

Cameron started to ask more but Sarah stepped back and turned away, heading for the tool box. "So let's get those bullets out of you," she said. Cameron blinked, feeling her systems twitch in sudden fear.

"I will conduct my own repairs," Cameron proclaimed quickly. She marched up behind Sarah and snatched up the pliers before Sarah could even touch them.

Sarah appeared amused by her antics. She gently took the pliers from Cameron's fingers, and Cameron wondered if she could easily read the look of surprise and trepidation in her eyes. "You may be indestructible," Sarah murmured, "but even you can't reach this." She brushed her fingers over a wound in Cameron's back the terminator had given no thought to until now.

Sarah started to ease up Cameron's shirt, but the terminator pulled away.

"I can take care of it." Cameron turned and took the pliers from Sarah's hand then moved away toward the hall bathroom.

It hurt. The rejection of her offer actually physically hurt, Sarah realized. Cameron had been there every moment for her after the shooting. This seemed like such a small thing Sarah could do to show a little of the gratitude she felt and Cameron was denying her. And the thought of those bullets still nestled inside Cameron's skin… Sarah only knew she wanted them out and she wanted them out without Cameron causing herself even more scars trying to get to them.

The girl deserved some tenderness for a change, Sarah thought. God knew she'd received very little from her.

With a determined shake of her head, Sarah followed, stepping inside the bathroom just as Cameron peeled her shirt off. Sarah's gaze darted away from the reflection in the mirror displaying an image of Cameron in a hot pink bra, the left cup soaked in blood.

The terminator's right hand covered the wounds as if in modesty. "I can take care of this," she told Sarah in a voice that carried a hint of anger. "You did not need to follow me."

Sarah frowned, not understanding the origin of Cameron's irritation with her. "I did need to follow you," she replied. "You have a bullet lodged in your back. You can't reach that easily, Cameron."

"But I can reach it regardless." Cameron wouldn't meet Sarah's gaze in the reflection. "Please let me repair myself in private."

Sarah stepped closer, suspecting Cameron's reasoning and aching a little for it. She touched the girl's shoulder and turned her so they were eye to eye. "Let me see," Sarah pleaded in a husky voice. She watched the wariness enter Cameron's eyes. "Let me see the wounds, Cameron. Please."

"I…" Cameron didn't seem to know what to say. "I don't want you to see…"

Sarah mentally braced herself, preparing as best as she could not to let her revulsion show in her eyes when the metal beneath Cameron's skin revealed itself. She reached up and wrapped her fingers around Cameron's and gently urged the hand away. "Let me see."

The damage was brutal. One shot would have killed a human instantly, Sarah realized, and for the first time, Sarah was glad Cameron was a terminator. She stepped closer, dipping her head to inspect the injuries. She could see hints of exposed metal but the sight didn't cause her to recoil in horror; in fact, it didn't affect her at all, she realized with a start. "Ouch," she joked faintly, trying to put Cameron, and herself, at ease. When she looked back up into Cameron's features Sarah felt her breath stolen from her lungs at the sight that greeted her.

There were tears in the terminator's eyes.

"Hey," Sarah said instantly, her hand curling around the back of the girl's neck. "What is it?"

"You didn't flinch," Cameron whispered.

Sarah took a moment to compose her thoughts. She didn't understand herself why the sight of what Cameron was underneath didn't make her sick, didn't remind her of what she was growing closer to everyday, and didn't send her running away in fear. "It's who you are," Sarah finally said with dawning understanding. It was the truth, Sarah realized. Somewhere along the way during the last several weeks, Cameron had become far more than a machine in Sarah's mind. She'd never lost sight of what Cameron was, but now she also knew who Cameron was… and somehow that made all the difference.

"You don't like who I am." Cameron's gaze fell and took a piece of Sarah's soul with it.

Sarah moved her touch to Cameron's cheek. "You're Cameron," she said, echoing her earlier words to Derek, "And I like Cameron just fine." Her thumb stroked the temptingly soft skin. "I generally don't kiss people I don't like," Sarah teased her gently. Hopeful brown eyes lifted once more and captured Sarah whole. "Now give me the pliers." She took the tool from Cameron's unresisting fingers.

"I don't understand you," Cameron said after a moment, her tone faintly accusing.

Sarah snorted in wry amusement. "That makes two of us, Tin Miss. That makes two of us."

A gentle touch eased Sarah from her dreams. She blinked her eyes open and looked up into Cameron's blank features. "What?" Her hand was already reaching for the gun under her pillow, but Cameron wrapped her fingers around Sarah's wrist, stilling her fears.

"John is home. You asked me to wake you."

Sarah swallowed at the heat she could feel coming off Cameron's body. The girl was leaning over her, their upper bodies almost touching. She'd showered and changed since Sarah had removed the two bullets from her body and she smelled like apples and clean skin. "Thank you," she murmured a little breathlessly.

"You are welcome." Cameron's fingers reluctantly released Sarah's wrist before the terminator eased away from her.

"Did you tell him about Derek?"

"Tell me what?" John demanded from the doorway. He'd obviously gotten tired of waiting and followed.

"Give us a minute, okay?" Sarah said to Cameron.

Cameron nodded once then pivoted and left. She paused next to John. "I'm sorry," she said simply before continuing on her way.

"What the hell is going on?" John demanded. "What happened to the wall in the hallway?"

Wearily Sarah told him. He cried when she was finished, more in tears of frustration than loss. Sarah held him until they both drifted off to sleep, oblivious to the soft blanket laid over them both and the touch of Cameron's hand through her hair.

Sarah stepped back, wiping the sweat off her brow and leaving plaster dust smeared across her forehead. It had taken her a week to get around to it, but the hole Cameron had made in the wall with Derek's body was almost gone now. A fresh coat of paint and it would be good as new. She smirked at the memory of Cameron coming to her defense… her knight in shining armor, except Cameron wore her armor under her skin instead of over it.

She heard the kitchen door close and she looked down at her watch. Apparently school was out.

John appeared in the hallway, hesitating when he saw her.

"What?" She asked with a light laugh.

"Hey, Casper," he teased.

Sarah wiped at her cheek and her fingers came away covered in white dust. She held her hand out to John, palm up, and then blew on it, sending a cloud of the stuff all over his face and making him cough.

"Mom," he whined, but he laughed.

Sarah smiled then looked past him as Cameron appeared behind him. "Hi."

"Hi." Cameron's smile was adorably shy as she moved past John and went into her room.

Sarah's smile lingered as she gazed at the doorway for a moment before finally turning her attention to John. Her son was watching her, a glint in his eyes that made her suddenly nervous. "What?"

"Happy to see her?" he asked casually.

Sarah shrugged and she knew the motion came off jerky. "No more than usual," she lied. She turned and busied herself with cleaning up. The sling was long since banished to a bottom drawer of Sarah's dresser, and she now had fairly good motion back in her arm. It still ached when it rained and when she foolishly pushed herself too far, but she was finally feeling like herself again.

"Right." John sounded less than convinced. "Mom, I'm sixteen but that doesn't make me clueless." He moved past her, giving her an affectionate nudge that Sarah was too stunned to return. She turned her head, watching him walk down the hall and into his room. One day she would learn not to underestimate him.

Not today, apparently.

She wondered if he was implying what she thought he was implying or if he was merely noting the considerable lack of tension between her and the terminator now. Shaking her head she dropped the putty knife in her left hand into a bucket and followed him. She stopped just inside the door to his room and watched as he slung his backpack onto the bed. "You seem to be in a good mood."

It was John's turn to shrug unconvincingly.

"Is it a girl?" she asked.

"Mom," he whined again.

Sarah bit her bottom lip to keep from grinning in victory. "Well? Just because I'm your mother doesn't mean I'm clueless," she paraphrased back at him.

He groaned and sat down on the bed. "It isn't a girl." He watched his mother come closer, dusting off the back of her jeans before sitting next to him on the bed. "I was going to wait and tell you later… feel you out a little about the subject first."

"What subject?"


Sarah's humor evaporated. "You saw him," she guessed.

"He was waiting for me… after school," John admitted quietly. "Mom, he's my uncle…" he started to explain.

"I know." Sarah took a breath as she pondered her options. "What did he want?" She considered them lucky that Derek hadn't come around again. She'd even considering moving them in case Derek decided to try something stupid, but so far he'd stayed away.

"He wants me to go camping with him this weekend."

Sarah didn't like it but the hopeful look in John's eyes was something she couldn't deny. Her first instinct was to send Cameron with them, but given the last time the terminator and Reese were in a room together… She sighed and rubbed her forehead. "John…"

"You said I could still see him," John reminded her.

"I just…"

"I'll have my phone. I'll check in every twelve hours if you want."

"Every eight," Sarah insisted, already surrendering. She watched as John's face eased into a full blown smile, a rare sight on his features. Then his arms came around her and he squeezed, nearly stealing the breath from her lungs, not that she minded one bit.

"Besides," he murmured into her ear. "You and Cameron can hang out for the whole weekend." He yelped as Sarah's fingers dug into his sides.

"John Connor," Sarah said on a shocked laugh as she scrambled on top of her son, tickling him until he yelled for mercy.

Cameron instantly appeared in the doorway, shotgun in hand. "I heard you screaming," she said in confusion.

John and Sarah looked at each other then burst out laughing. Cameron regarded them for a moment longer then merely pursed her lips and left.

The hot water felt so good it seemed sinful. Sarah let it beat down on her tired and sore muscles, let it tease out some of the pain and stiffness. The bullet wounds in her shoulder were now angry red scars that would fade in time, just two more marks on her body to serve as a testament to how hard and for how long she fought. She eased the soap over them, no longer noticing that the new skin around them was still slightly more sensitive than the rest.

Sarah ducked her head under the spray then grabbed for a bottle of shampoo, making quick work of her hair before the hot water she'd been indulging in ran out.

John had departed an hour ago. Derek had pulled up in a beat up old pickup and waited at the curb. Sarah had stood on the front porch, meeting his gaze squarely with her own as John had joined him in the front seat. She didn't think for a second Derek would hurt her son. She often thought John might be the only thing in Derek's life that he still cared about more than killing the creators of Skynet. But her gaze had been icy and she made sure, even without words, that Derek understood what she would do to him if laid a finger on her son.

Derek had dipped his head in her direction, silently conveying more than just acceptance of her silent threat. Maybe there was hope for him yet, Sarah thought.

So now the house belonged to her and Cameron. Part of her was actually pleased by that but the more practical part of her brain, the one that obsessed about the girl and how she was feeling toward her, was scared shitless.

Sarah shut off the shower and reached for a towel. She scrubbed her head first, shaking loose the water from her hair before moving the towel down her arms. The trickling water hid the sound at first but then some of it filtered through.


Sarah paused and listened as steam floated around her. It was definitely music, she decided. Classical from the sounds of it. She hurried to finish drying herself off then stepped out of the shower, moving with intent toward her room.

The music was louder here and she could tell it was coming from Cameron's room. She quickly tossed on some clothes, opting for a blue tank top and her favorite pair of jeans before padding barefoot out into the hall.

The soft strands of Beethoven flowed from Cameron's partially open door. Sarah thought the song was Fur Elise, but she'd never been terribly good at remembering such things. She only knew it was the same melody that played when she'd opened her jewelry box, the one with the dancing ballerina, when she was a child.

Carefully, Sarah eased the door open a fraction further and peered inside. What she saw stopped her in her tracks. The ballerina from her childhood music box had come to life right before her eyes. Sarah watched, transfixed, as Cameron moved with the music, her body flowing to the haunting strains like the melody moved through every fiber of her being.

Cameron had not changed out of her jeans or figure-hugging black t-shirt from school, but her feet were now bare and Sarah noticed the soft pink polish that dotted the terminator's toes as her gaze began there and wandered lazily up Cameron's lithe body. She watched Cameron bend, twirl and seemingly float through the music, the sight bringing hot tears to her eyes.

She was breathtakingly beautiful.

Machines shouldn't be able to move like that, Sarah thought. You had to have something in your soul to move like that. You had to have a soul. She swallowed, feeling a lone tear slip down her cheek.

Sarah blinked when she realized Cameron had stopped moving and was now watching her through the reflection from the mirror on her dresser. The terminator's expression and those warm brown eyes drew Sarah forward, and she was several steps into the room before she realized it. She paused by the bed, scanning through the contents on the MP3 player as Cameron watched her intently. When Sarah found what she was looking for she pressed play.

Cameron cocked her head as soft, lazy strands of music filled the room around them. Sarah smiled, knowing she was confusing the girl as she straightened and held out her arms.

The terminator looked from Sarah's open palms to her eyes, her gaze questioning. Sarah encouraged her with a nod, so Cameron turned away from the reflection to watch the real thing. Hesitantly, she took a step forward, still unsure of Sarah's intent. Sarah met her in the center of the room, taking Cameron's right hand in her left. Then Sarah's right curved just above Cameron's hip and urged her closer. Bodies barely touching, Sarah began a slow sway to the music, pleased when Cameron followed her lead and began to do the same.

They fit together, Sarah noted as Nina Simone softly serenaded them with "Sunday in Savannah." Cameron was watching her closely for clues as to what Sarah was doing and why, but Sarah could tell by the way the girl moved that she was enjoying their delicate dance.

Sarah pulled her closer, feeling their bodies connect and current surge through her nerve endings where their heat combined. The feeling was as seductive as the music.

Cameron's left hand skimmed up Sarah's back and Sarah felt goose bumps rise in its wake. She pressed closer, needing to feel as much of Cameron's warmth and curves as possible. Cameron surprised and delighted her by laying her head on Sarah's shoulder, her breath blowing warm and even across Sarah's throat.

Sarah swallowed. "You like this?" she asked in a husky voice. Her eyes fluttered closed as Cameron actually nuzzled her neck, breathing her in.

"Yes," Cameron's voice was a faint whisper. "It's different than ballet."

"You… move beautifully," Sarah told her. "I didn't know you could dance like that."

For a moment, Cameron said nothing. "Thank you," she finally murmured. Her hand moved higher, curving around the back of Sarah's neck as if she were holding on.

Chills skittered through Sarah as her heart rate increased in tempo. They swayed for another silent minute until Sarah realized her hand at Cameron's waist had slipped beneath the girl's shirt and was lightly stroking the skin above Cameron's hip. They weren't dancing anymore, Sarah realized.

They had moved on to foreplay.

"Sarah," Cameron's voice was soft and vibrated against Sarah's throat. It held the hint of a plea and more than a note of confusion.

Sarah slowly drew back, heart jack hammering, to look into Cameron's eyes. Her gaze dipped to those full lips and she had to take a shuddering breath to rein in her desire to kiss them. She wanted this, wanted Cameron, but…. "I just… need a little more time," she confessed. Then Sarah stepped back, releasing her hold on Cameron, and walked away on shaking legs.

Cameron watched her go, confused. She could still feel the lingering heat of Sarah's body, could recall the impression of her curves. She felt the loss keenly until her mind processed Sarah's words.

Sarah needed more time. She'd said it almost like she was sorry, like she was asking Cameron for her permission.

The terminator smiled as hope filled her to near distraction. She crossed to the MP3 player and replayed the song they had just shared. She wanted to hear the words this time, wanted to imprint the music onto her memory.

Sarah closed the door to her room and leaned against it. Her knees were trembling so hard she could barely stand. With a curse at her weakness she banged the back of her head against the door then took a moment to wonder if she was upset with herself for wanting to give into Cameron… or because she didn't.

"You are fucked up, Connor," she sighed. "You want to have sex with a damn machine." But inwardly Sarah knew it was more than that. If Cameron were just a machine then it would just be sex, just a release and nothing more.

But there were feelings attached to this… on both sides, Sarah wearily accepted.

Really strong feelings, damn it.

With one more firm smack of her head against the door, Sarah moved toward the bed. She lay down and drew a pillow to her chest, curling around it. Robbed of Cameron's seductive heat, her body seemed cranky with her now, protesting all the physical labor she'd performed most of the day. She closed her eyes, trying to block out the world for a little while.

She didn't mean to fall asleep.

The world was is in flames.

The Earth burned around her, a scorched scent of sheared metal, melting asphalt and pulverized concrete. Sarah ran, lungs burning, through the remains of the city. Buildings had been reduced to rubble. Cars were flipped and strewn over the roads, metal hulks tossed casually about like toys some large and careless child had left behind. Sarah stumbled, catching herself, feeling her palms rip and tear on the glass-covered ground.

She'd been running so long, so hard. She just wanted to lie down, to sleep, but her stubborn will made her move, made her put one foot in front of the other until her body would simply refuse to go a step further.

They kept coming.

An army of machines, their metal gleaming demonically in the fires they had helped wrought. They walked with purpose behind her, taking their time. They would not tire and there was nowhere to hide. The ground shook with their combined weight, each coordinated step sounding like a pile driver pounding into the earth.

In the end they would win. They always won. Some part of Sarah understood she was dreaming, wanted to get the inevitable over with, to let death claim her in its merciful oblivion. Then she could sleep.

Her house loomed ahead. Home, she thought. At least I can die at home.

She staggered inside and shut the door, collapsing face first against it as helpless tears began to fall. Then a warm hand slid up her back and Sarah pivoted, throwing herself into the familiar heat and curves of Cameron's body.

"They're coming," Sarah managed to gasp.

"I know." Cameron's voice was quiet and accepting. She pulled Sarah tighter, holding her close. "I'll stay with you. I'll fight for you."

"They'll kill you." Sarah's body shook. Fear for Cameron became more intense than the fear for herself. "They'll tear you apart."

"I'll protect you until I can't," Cameron whispered.

Then the door was torn from its hinges and they were there, hundreds of them, their bulk dwarfing the slight form of Cameron who stepped protectively between Sarah and the first wave of advancing machines.

"Cameron!" The name sounded like it was torn from Sarah's throat as the first terminator attacked. She tried to move, tried to help, but her feet suddenly seemed to be welded to the floor. She could only stand by, utterly helpless, and watch as Cameron's own kind turned on her with a vengeance.

The girl's small frame was deceiving. Cameron fought hard and with purpose, and, unlike her brethren, she fought with emotion. Tears streamed down Cameron's cheeks and Sarah understood that everything in Cameron knew it was hopeless, but that she had to try. Cameron had to fight… for her.

Not because Sarah was the mission, but because she didn't want Sarah to die.

"No, no, no, no," Sarah kept yelling the word defiantly, feeling fate rushing toward them like a hurricane, its force and magnitude too much for two tiny souls to stop.

Then fate washed over them both as one terminator, armed unlike the others, stepped through the door and opened fire on Cameron. The bullets, hundreds of them, tore through her flesh and jerked her small frame, making her almost seem to dance.

Sarah looked down at her own chest, seeing the spots of red bloom on the dirty white shirt she wore. It was over.

She sank to her knees, suddenly alone with only a bleeding and broken Cameron a few feet away. She crawled closer, needing to be next to Cameron when the end came. The warm brown eyes that looked up into Sarah's own were filled with such love it took Sarah's breath away.

"I'm sorry," Cameron whispered.

"Don't be sorry," Sarah told her as tears spilled from her eyes. "Just… please… don't…" She choked before slowly lowering her head to Cameron's lips, tasting tears, blood and the flavor that was Cameron's alone. In that moment, Sarah felt her soul come home even as the life fled from her body.

"Sarah," Cameron said one last time, everything she felt reflected in her voice. Then her eyes flashed blue and the love in them vanished, leaving Sarah to follow her in death alone.

Sarah bolted upright in bed. Tears were already damp on her cheeks and more joined them as she slowly curled back down and around a pillow, helpless to stop the sobs needing release from the tight ball of pain centered square in her chest. She was crying not for herself, not for the loss of mankind…

But for the life of a terminator.

For sixteen years of her life, she would never have believed it was possible.

It had felt so real, holding Cameron's bleeding and destroyed body in her arms. Her emotions were open and raw, allowing her to feel in her dreams what she tried so hard to deny when she was awake. She was more than attracted to Cameron. She was falling in love with her.

Now she knew the whole truth, knew just how far Cameron had infiltrated her life. She was as far inside as she could get. She was in Sarah's heart.

Sarah rolled from the bed, needing to see with her own eyes that Cameron was still in the house, going about her nightly ritual of protection, watching over her alone until the sun rose once more. She yanked open the door then jerked violently when she came face to face with the very thing she sought.

"I'm sorry to startle you," Cameron said quietly. "I heard you crying."

Sarah didn't hesitate. She stepped forward and threw her arms around Cameron's neck, feeling the terminator stiffen in surprise and confusion. It took a moment before Sarah felt the heat from Cameron's hands settle hesitantly at her waist.

"Did you have a nightmare?" Cameron asked. "Are you injured or in pain? Can I…"

"You should can shut up and let me hold you for a minute," Sarah cut her off, her words spoken into the curve of the girl's throat. Her eyes closed when she felt Cameron's hands ease from her waist to her back, pulling her in hard and tight. Sarah's world tilted and stabilized as her hands fisted in the back of the jacket the terminator still wore. Leather and the scent of Cameron's skin invaded her senses and Sarah took a long, calming breath of both, feeling the tension starting to ease from her frame.

"Hold me as long as you need," Cameron murmured, her hands beginning to trace soothing circles on Sarah's back.

Sarah closed her eyes, reveling in the energy she could, even now, feel flowing between them. Experimentally, she nuzzled Cameron's neck with the tip of her nose and was rewarded with the sharp sound of an indrawn breath.

Cold fear ebbed and faded as Sarah felt something warmer and sweeter washing over her, bathing her body clean and exciting her senses. No more running, she decided, not from this.

"I need this," Sarah admitted in a harsh whisper, confessing her soul's dark secret into the night.

Cameron's hands stilled on Sarah's back then the terminator leaned away so she could study Sarah's face in the low light. They were so close Sarah could feel Cameron's breath on her lips.

"So beautiful," Sarah murmured as she brought her right hand up and cupped Cameron's cheek, her thumb stroking across the soft skin. "Why did they have to make you so beautiful?"

Cameron's brown eyes watched her intently. "Sarah…" She sounded confused, frightened and hopeful all in that one little word. She fell silent as Sarah's hand moved, her fingertips pressing gently on Cameron's mouth.

"Thank you for checking on me," Sarah said quietly.

"Always," Cameron replied as Sarah dropped her hand. She looked disappointed by the loss of the other woman's touch. "I…"

Sarah's green eyes zeroed in on Cameron's brown ones. It was no trick of the light this time, no wishing to see something in the girl's gaze that wasn't there. Cameron was watching Sarah with a look that caused Sarah's guts to heat and clench. She watched as Cameron's head slowly dipped and angled, and Sarah felt the thrill of the knowledge that she was about to be kissed. But then Cameron hesitated, her eyes wide with sudden fear.

"What?" Sarah whispered.

"I promised." The terminator's response was hushed, her desire clearly at war with the need to keep her word.

Sarah smiled, appreciating Cameron's restraint. But she curled a hand around the terminator's neck, urging her forward as Sarah tilted her head back until their lips met.

Part 11

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