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
They didn't have much time before the others would awaken and Charley Dixon would return. Cameron seemed determined to make the most of it.
She eased Sarah down onto the bed then went to the kitchen to fetch something to cover Sarah's stitched wounds. She returned with medical tape from Charley Dixon's bag and a box of Saran Wrap.
Sarah looked at the items dubiously. "What are those for?"
"You should not get your wounds wet."
Sarah scowled but offered no further comment about them. "I'm going to need help with my shirt," she reluctantly confessed. "I have no idea how you got the damn thing on me in the first place."
Cameron set her items aside and retrieved a pair of scissors from her back pocket. "I bathed you after your surgery and dressed you."
Sarah's gaze went from the scissors to Cameron's eyes and she wasn't sure which pair was more alarming. "You what?"
"I didn't think you would want John or Derek Reese to see you like that. Was I wrong?"
Sarah opened her mouth to respond then closed it. The girl had a point. "What about Charley?"
"He had to go home. To his wife."
Well, that was a pointed comment if Sarah had ever heard one. She felt chastised for some reason. Sarah watched with some trepidation as Cameron stepped closer with the scissors. "What are you doing?"
"You ask me that a lot," Cameron stated as she took the hem of Sarah's shirt in her left hand and began to cut her way upward.
"With good reason," Sarah murmured. The scissors reached the collar of her shirt and snipped through it cleanly. With no bra, Sarah felt the chill of the room against her suddenly bare skin and she shivered.
Cameron noticed. "We'll have you in the shower in a minute."
Sarah nodded as she watched Cameron set the scissors aside. She bit her lip as the terminator covered the wound on her chest with the Saran Wrap and tape. Then Cameron slowly peeled the remains of her shirt from her shoulders, leaving Sarah feeling oddly exposed. She crossed her arms over her bare chest, grimacing as the action tugged on her stitches and injuries. Cameron's fingertips were warm against her skin as she tended to the exit wounds on her back.
Cameron regarded her and Sarah struggled not to squirm under the inspection. It wasn't as if the girl had never seen her naked before.
"Let me help you with the rest."
Sarah let her. She simply had no strength to do it herself. Warm socks went first followed by her sweat pants. Finally she was left in nothing but her underwear.
And the room no longer felt so cold.
Cameron had been nothing but gentle. When she leaned in once more Sarah immediately put her right arm around the girl's neck and was lifted easily to her feet. She could feel the heat of the terminator's body and her own skin flushed in reaction. Cameron waited until she was steady then slowly sank to her knees, her hands skimming down Sarah's body, holding her still.
Christ, Sarah thought when her body reacted to the innocent touch. She shuddered as Cameron's fingers slipped inside the waistband of her panties and coaxed them down her long legs. The moment was frighteningly intimate and Sarah was fully aware of how much her body was tuned into that fact. She tried to tell herself that Cameron was just a machine that the terminator could care less what she looked like. The last thing Cameron would want would be any kind of of Sarah shook her head to clear it of the silly thoughts. Then her eyes popped wide open when a soft touch traced up the inside of her thigh.
"Where did you get this scar?" Cameron asked faintly. She leaned closer, peering at the faded wound with keen interest.
"Um," Sarah struggled for air as she looked down and those brown eyes looked back up at her. "I the first terminator that came back. One of a run in with him." She swallowed thickly.
"Thank you for explaining." Cameron got to her feet, her hands sliding up Sarah's thighs and coming to rest on her waist. "Would you like a shower now?"
Sarah nodded dumbly.
Cameron led her into the master bathroom. Her grip did not loosen as she leaned in and turned on the faucet. A few moments later she had the stream of water at the optimal temperature. She eased the curtain back and helped Sarah step inside. "Would it bother you if I removed my clothes?"
Sarah almost staggered into the wall. It had to be the drugs. She still had plenty swimming through her system. Obviously, they were to blame for the decidedly dirty track her mind was traveling. As much as she wanted to tell Cameron otherwise, practicality won out. She needed help and Cameron needed to get clean. "No," she said reluctantly.
Cameron made sure she was securely against the tiles before stepping back out of the spray and behind the curtain.
There was a rustling of clothes and Sarah thought Cameron had to have the noisiest zipper ever on her jeans. Then the curtain drew back again and Cameron stepped inside. Sarah only saw a flash of bare skin and she had to turn away. Drugs or not, her body was reacting to Cameron in an unpredictable and potentially dangerous way.
She sensed more than saw Cameron turn toward the spray so Sarah opened her eyes and looked. Cameron had her back to her as the water sluiced over her pale skin. She was using the washcloth to lather herself and Sarah saw traces of blood mingling with soap and water as they chased each other down the drain. "Were you badly damaged?" she asked to fill the lengthening silence between them.
"I received two bullet wounds. Nothing serious."
Nothing serious. Two bullet wounds had certainly been serious enough for her, Sarah thought with some bitterness. "What happened to the bangers that attacked us?"
Cameron was quiet, her hands still moving as she leaned over and washed her legs. "I killed them."
Sarah took a breath. She couldn't blame the girl. They had seen her in action. And if Cameron hadn't
"They hurt you," Cameron spoke, interrupting Sarah's musings. "They hurt you and I couldn't stop them."
"I'm still here," Sarah said uncertainly after a moment, a little confused by this new direction to the conversation.
Cameron abruptly turned and Sarah had to divert her eyes again. Whoever designed this model had obviously gone for perfection. If it hadn't been for the two healing bullet holes in the girl's chest Sarah would have thought her flawless.
"You almost died. I failed."
Was that why Cameron had held her these last few days? Out of some sense of robot remorse? "You can't be everywhere at once," Sarah said as she studied the faded tiles of the shower with apparent fascination. "I shouldn't have gotten out of the Jeep. We should have left when you said." She made a vague motion with her hand at her injuries. "You're not to blame for this."
Cameron eyes went to the healing holes in Sarah's chest. She stared at them for a long, unsettling moment before looking away. "Turn around," she finally instructed.
"Why?" Sarah risked looking at her.
"So I can wash your back."
After only a brief hesitation, Sarah did as asked. She continued to lean heavily against the wall, needing it to steady herself. A soft touch brushed her skin and traced its way down her spine. Then a warm hand joined the slightly rough texture of the washcloth as both made their way over her back.
"You have lots of scars," Cameron noted sadly.
"Yeah," Sarah confessed as she closed her eyes, giving in to Cameron's touch and the heat of the water. "A few."
"I'm sorry." Cameron sank into a crouch and began washing Sarah's legs. She heard her companion's breathing hitch as she worked her way up between her thighs. She stopped when she realized Sarah was shaking. "Are you all right?"
"Fine," Sarah croaked. She turned and took the washcloth out of Cameron's hands. "I got it from here."
Cameron tilted her head. "I don't mind."
A sharp retort died on Sarah's lips. "I know. Why don't you wash your hair?" She suggested as a way to distract the girl for a few moments.
Cameron said nothing but she turned and reached for the shampoo. Sarah breathed a sigh of relief. As Cameron's shoulder flexed Sarah caught sight of something she hadn't expected. She reached out with her right hand and bushed her fingers across a long, thin, jagged line. "Is this a scar?"
Cameron glanced over her shoulder. "Yes."
"Yes." Cameron said again. She frowned when Sarah's touch moved away. "Our skin is not much different than yours."
Apparently not, Sarah mused. Her eyes bravely wandered down the terminator's body taking in more of the small and sometimes not so small healed markings. Cameron had taken a lot of abuse. The knowledge was disturbing.
Sarah realized Cameron was nearly done with her hair so she quickly ran the washcloth over the essential areas she most definitely did not want the terminator to touch. Cameron turned, her hair now wet and clinging attractively to her features. Sarah felt her mouth go dry and cursed the drugs in her system again. Then another part of her said a quiet prayer that the drugs were actually to blame.
"May I wash your hair?"
Sarah knew she couldn't do it herself and she longed to feel truly clean. She nodded. Cameron helped ease her down to her knees then turned to pour shampoo into her hands. Sarah was painfully aware of how close Cameron was standing. She could feel her heat even with the warmth of the water, and for the first time she noticed a scent she never had before.
The smell of Cameron's skin.
Sarah closed her eyes as the water beat down on her. Then she sighed as a pair of small hands threaded through her hair, gently massaging her scalp. Those hands could easily crush her, Sarah knew, but she also knew they wouldn't.
There was no fear in her. No doubt. Just a surprisingly simple moment of trust that Sarah would find herself thinking about in the days to come.
"I like this scent," Cameron said conversationally as she continued her gentle and soothing ministrations.
"Do you?" Sarah asked with faint interest.
Sarah smiled and shook her head. "I never know what's going to come out of your mouth."
The hands in her hair stilled for a moment. "Is that bad?"
"Sometimes," Sarah admitted. "Not always."
The spray began to cool so Cameron helped Sarah to her feet and eased her under it. For a moment their bodies came into contact and Cameron heard Sarah gasp softly in surprise. "Sorry," she said uncertainly.
Sarah nodded feeling very light headed. Cameron's hands eased through her hair, removing the shampoo. She was surprisingly gentle and thorough, almost as if she enjoyed what she was doing.
Cameron finally shut off the water. The girl reached past her for a towel and quickly dried Sarah's back and legs then handed it to her. Sarah smiled weakly relieved that Cameron understood something about modesty.
Ten minutes later she was sitting back on the bed in a new buttoned red shirt and dark grey sweats. Sarah felt more human than she had in days. Cameron emerged from the hallway wearing a dark blue tank top and low slung jeans. She was barefoot.
"Charley Dixon has returned from his donut run."
Food actually sounded pretty good now, Sarah admitted. She eased back against the pillows. Cameron had changed the sheets and the smell of fresh linen washed over her. "Great."
Cameron watched her for a moment. "Sarah?"
Sarah's eyes popped open. She was unaware she'd closed them. "Yeah?"
"Would you like me to stay with you?"
There was something painfully open in Cameron's features, Sarah thought. A smirk graced the older woman's mouth. "Aren't you bored?"
"I've I was hoping we could talk more."
Sarah swallowed as she considered the request. What the hell, she decided then patted the mattress next to her. Maybe Cameron could at least keep a hovering Charley away.
Cameron smiled shyly and sat down on the bed. Sarah almost laughed when the mattress sagged under the girl's deceptive weight. Then Cameron surprised her, lying down and turning to face her.
"You act like you're going to sleep."
Cameron shook her head. "Just watching over you."
"I don't need you to do that," Sarah replied quickly with an edge to her voice.
"I know. I want to."
Sarah stared into the depths of Cameron's eyes, seeing that phantom hint of something more human lurking there. She nodded without conscious thought and was rewarded with another rare Cameron smile.
"Don't hog the covers," Sarah tossed out lightly.
"Hog the covers?"
Sarah just shook her head as Charley walked into the room, stopping cold at seeing the two of the lying side by side. "Hey. Did you get any with sprinkles?" She noted Cameron eyeing her strangely. "What?" Sarah cocked an eyebrow at the terminator, challenging. "I like sprinkles."
Charley blinked. "Yeah."
"Give one to Cameron. She's never had a donut." Sarah chuckled lightly even though it hurt as Charley passed the terminator the whole bag.
"Thank you." Cameron watched with some bewilderment as Charley almost stomped out of the room.
"He's just confused right now," Sarah said as she took the bag from Cameron's unresisting fingers. "He isn't the only one," she added more softly. She slipped a donut out of the bag, a chocolate glazed treat with the requisite sprinkles in evidence. With a grin she bit into it. Then she broke off a piece and handed it to Cameron.
Cameron stared at the morsel with confusion before popping it into her mouth and chewing slowly.
Sarah watched, curious as to whether a machine could like the flavor of one food over another. If a machine could even taste.
Cameron licked her lips when she swallowed. "I like sprinkles, too."
Sarah shook her head at how surreal the moment was. She reached into the bag and handed a whole donut to her bedside companion. Cameron accepted it with a tiny grin before biting into it.
"You don't smile like that when you eat my pancakes," Sarah accused.
Cameron looked momentarily alarmed then realized she was being toyed with. "Perhaps if they had sprinkles."
Sarah chuckled in surprise at the clever comeback but not enough to cause her too much pain. Cameron started methodically picking off the sprinkles and tasting each one, no doubt in an effort to discern if different colors meant different flavors. The moment was just damn odd. Even odder was how strangely endearing it was.
She shook her head and took another bite of her breakfast as she tried to process the fact that she was lying in bed next to a terminator sharing donuts. It was like the world had gone mad. Or she had. She wasn't sure which.
Cameron caught her looking. "I like the red ones best," she said seriously.
"Of course you do," Sarah murmured.
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