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
Cameron moved from the living room to the kitchen, her brown eyes scanning past the windows to the raining world beyond the glass. Her senses detected nothing out of the ordinary so she pivoted and returned to the living room and the softly playing television. It was nearing one in the morning and she was resisting the urge to go check on Sarah again.
Derek was sleeping in Cameron's room, having dragged himself in smelling of alcohol and cigarettes about an hour ago. John was sleeping as well, his even breathing a soothing sound as Cameron passed his room. Not even realizing what she was doing she found herself at Sarah's door.
Cameron stared at the knob, wishing it were okay for her to turn it. Sarah had been very firm that she was not to stay with her tonight. You can't keep watching me sleep, girlie, Sarah had told her, but there was a gentleness to her tone Cameron had never heard before.
She had let Sarah be but it had been hard. She felt the constant need to check on her, to make sure she was all right. To make sure she was breathing. But her relationship with Sarah was improving and Cameron didn't want to do anything that might damage it.
Today had been a better day for Sarah. Charley had changed her bandages and had seemed pleased at how well her shoulder was healing. He'd also ordered her to get as much rest as possible so Sarah had spent the majority of the day in bed but awake, researching possible connections to Skynet using John's laptop.
Cameron's fingers touched the aged wood as she considered the woman on the other side of it. She analyzed her response to the forced separation and concluded that she missed Sarah's presence. She missed watching her sleep, missed soothing her from her nightmares. She missed the heat and scent of her skin.
Reluctantly, Cameron turned and went back down the hall. She sat on the sofa, her brown eyes fixed on the television but not really seeing it. Cameron picked up the remote and thumbed through the channels. She blinked when she came to an image of two women kissing. They were slowly undressing one another as they moved clumsily toward the bed. Cameron tilted her head, watching the events unfold with open curiosity. Both women were aesthetically pleasing, but she found they could not match the sinuous grace of Sarah Connor's body.
Recalling the shower they had shared days before, Cameron let the moments play out in real time in her memory. She had been mesmerized by the soap as it clung to Sarah's tanned skin, slipping down over curves and muscle and collecting between Sarah's toes. Every breath Sarah had taken had seemed unnaturally loud to the terminator's ears but her systems indicated their volume was no more than normal.
Sarah had been unaware of Cameron's appreciation. When the woman had been on her knees as Cameron washed her hair, the terminator had taken full advantage of her position and had studied every visible inch of Sarah's body. She had played those minutes under the spray together over and over, recalling the texture of Sarah's skin and hair. The way her breath hitched as Cameron's hands had slid up the inside of her thighs.
The moaning on the television was getting louder. Cameron reduced the volume and tilted her head in the other direction as she studied techniques.
Sarah had exhibited signs of arousal in the shower. Although Cameron recognized Sarah's physical reactions, she knew better than to act on them, even though the idea intrigued her. She would have wound up shot for her trouble with a few threats of dismantlement thrown in for good measure. Sarah had been reacting to the situation and tactile stimulation. Nothing more. Cameron knew this yet the emotion she was feeling she labeled as disappointment.
Her left eyebrow arched as one of the women on screen did the same. The character was being very vocal in her pleasure as her lover's hands and mouth mapped her body. Cameron wondered what such a touch would feel like on her own skin and her body flushed unexpectedly in reaction. She blinked, studying her physical response curiously as her eyes continued to watch the intimate scene unfold. Her right hand came up and she touched her breast, liking the sensation but failing to see why the caress would generate so much noise.
Perhaps it was the added element of a partner. Would it feel different if Sarah
The terminator arrested the thought there as her nipple stiffened against her palm and she felt damp heat spread between her legs. The mere notion of Sarah Connor's hands touching her seemed to illicit the response Cameron was searching for. She paused and considered some of her classmates as potential lovers and discovered none of them evoked the same physical reaction in her.
Cameron turned the channel. Her thoughts, however, stayed with the scene, running a scenario where it was Sarah in the throes of passion, crying out for Cameron's intimate touch. She realized these thoughts elicited a similar response inside her. Disconcerted by her body's reactions, Cameron set the remote down and did another perimeter sweep of the house. She found herself ending again at Sarah's door. It was like a root command in her systems, a primitive instinct that needed to be met, an action that needed to be executed. She just wanted to see Sarah.
The door suddenly opened and Sarah was standing there. The taller woman jerked when she saw her then uttered a stream of colorful curses that Cameron was sure would make her blush if she were capable.
The pain was driving her crazy. Sarah tried to meditate through it but her thoughts couldn't clear as flashes of red danced to the beat of her heart behind her closed eyelids like her own private strobe light. She was really starting to regret her show of throwing the pill bottle away earlier, making this yet another time where her damn pride was coming back to bite her in the ass.
Giving in, she rolled to her feet. She needed the sleep and she wasn't going to get it without taking something.
Sarah jerked the door open and nearly came out of her skin when she saw Cameron standing on the other side. A string of expletives rolled off her tongue and she struggled with the urge to shove the girl for scaring the shit out of her. "What the hell are you doing?" she demanded.
"I " Cameron hesitated, looking caught. "I was making sure you were all right."
"By hovering outside my door?" Sarah spat.
"I just wanted to hear you breathing."
Sarah felt the breath in question hitch at the simple comment and her irritation deflated somewhat. "I'm breathing fine, thanks," she replied, her tone softening a fraction.
"Do you need something?" Cameron asked, hoping to be of some use.
Sarah bit her lip. "The pain pills," she confessed bitterly.
Cameron pivoted and headed for the kitchen without another word.
With a sigh and roll of her eyes Sarah followed at a much slower pace. She heard the faucet come on in the kitchen. By the time she reached the end of the hallway Cameron was back with two pills and a glass of water. She hadn't heard the terminator rifle through the trash and she shook her head as she realized Cameron must have retrieved the pill bottle earlier.
Sarah accepted them and swallowed the pills gratefully. She finished off the water and handed the empty glass back to Cameron. "Thanks."
They stared at each other for a moment.
"So what are you doing?" Sarah asked to break the silence more than anything.
"Anything good on?"
There was an odd pause before the terminator answered. "I'm watching the History Channel."
"I should have joined you," Sarah said dryly. "That might have helped me sleep without the pills." She regarded Cameron in the light cast off from the television. The rest of the house was dark. She'd barely seen the girl all day. More than once she thought about seeking her out just to see what she was up to.
Sarah's gaze studied the dark recesses of the house once more. It was depressing and lonely looking at this time of night. Her eyes returned to Cameron and she felt a surge of guilt for leaving the girl to such emptiness every night. It had to be boring as hell.
"Do you " Sarah started then stopped, uncertain. "I've been looking over a few possible names that might have something to do with Skynet. I'd like you to look at them."
Sarah wondered if she'd imagined the eagerness she thought she heard in Cameron's voice.
They walked back down the hall and Sarah returned to the bed. Cameron paused in the doorway, waiting to see what she should do next. Sarah patted the free side of the bed absently and Cameron smiled as she walked over and sat down next to the other woman, setting the empty glass on the nightstand.
Sarah handed her the laptop. "His name is James David." Sarah showed her the bio she'd pulled up. "He's an artificial intelligence "
"He dies on judgment day," Cameron told her before she could finish.
"You know him?"
"No. I know of him."
Sarah rolled her eyes and prayed for patience. The pain was making her already short fuse almost non-existent. Usually she would verbally rip Cameron to shreds for keeping something from her but her own weakness and the past few days spent in the girl's company had her biting her tongue. "What have I told you about keeping things from me?" she asked her voice low and laced with anger.
Cameron stared at her for a moment obviously trying to formulate a response. The silence only fueled Sarah's temper. "Well?"
"How can I have kept something from you that you never asked me about?"
Sarah opened her mouth to respond, her eyes snapping with irritation. She hesitated when Cameron's question sunk in. The damn girl had a point. "Did he have something to do with Skynet?" she finally asked through clenched teeth.
"Maybe. He worked with the Cyber Research Systems Division for six months before Skynet came on-line."
"How do you know about him?"
"I researched as many names as I could find that were connected to the C.R.S.D before I came here."
"How many names is that?"
"Three hundred sixty seven."
"Can you write me a list?" Sarah asked feeling more than mad that Cameron had not shared this information before now.
"Yes. Most of them were nothing more than clerical workers. I have only a handful of names that might have anything to do with the development of Skynet."
"And you were going to share this information when?" Sarah asked testily.
"You get cranky when you're tired," Cameron pointed out.
Sarah narrowed her eyes, fighting the irrational and sudden urge to smile at Cameron's attempt to change the direction of the conversation. "You've been holding out on me, Tin Miss."
"No. I've been looking into those names to see which would be viable choices so as not to waste your time."
Sarah took a slow even breath to calm her irritation. There appeared to be no deception on Cameron's part and Sarah suspected she was using the terminator as a convenient excuse to vent some of her pain and frustration. Sarah considered this new bit of information, trying mightily not to take her mood out on Cameron, before asking, curiously, "And have you found any? Viable choices that is?"
Cameron tapped the screen. "He will work in a lower level of programming. It is possible he might, in some way, aid in the creation of Skynet. But it is highly unlikely he will make a contribution of any great significance."
Sarah looked at David's picture. She rubbed at her eyes when she felt her lids beginning to droop. The pain meds were starting to kick in and she could feel the screaming in her shoulder backing off to an intermittent shout. "Is there anyone else?"
"Three I've been looking into further."
"Three," Sarah mumbled. "And when were you going to tell me this?"
"Now?" Cameron offered.
Sarah snorted. "Cameron, if you want me to trust you then you need to share this kind of information with me."
"I wasn't trying to keep it from you," Cameron said.
Sarah realized that she believed her. When the hell had that happened? "I understand that, but this is important. Derek and I could be following up on this while you and John are in school."
"I wanted to have more information before bringing any names to you."
Sarah blinked then took a breath when she realized what Cameron was saying. She had no idea what role Andy Goode had played in creating Skynet but Derek had executed the sweet programmer rather than giving him a chance to change the future. She nodded. "All right. For now we'll keep this just between us. But I want those names. Okay?"
"Okay." Cameron moved the laptop away from Sarah and shut it off before setting aside.
"What are you doing? I wasn't done with that."
"You're falling asleep sitting up."
Sarah sighed, admitting the terminator was right. Damn pain pills wiped her out in no time flat.
Cameron helped her get situated in bed then turned and went to the door before switching off the overhead light. "Sweet dreams, Sarah," she said softly having heard the phrase on television.
Sarah gave the girl a sad smile. Sweet dreams were a thing of the past for her. "Thanks." Cameron opened the door to go and Sarah found she really didn't want her to. "Cameron?"
The terminator looked back.
"Talk to me for just a little bit? Until I fall asleep?" Sarah felt almost childish asking, but a part of her needed this and she hurt too much to deny herself such a simple thing.
The girl tilted her head and regarded her but she seemed pleased by the offer. Cameron returned to the bed and settled next to the other woman, facing her in the muted glow of the bathroom nightlight. "You will not be awake long."
"Probably not," Sarah agreed as she studied Cameron's features.
"What would you like to talk about?"
"You told me you saved Derek's life. How?"
"A particular model of terminator sometimes goes bad without warning. One did so in the compound."
Sarah felt a chill. "Goes bad?"
"Malfunctions and starts killing."
"Does your model ever do that?"
"I am the only one of my model."
That was news. Sarah tucked that away for later thought. "So what happened?" She closed her eyes.
"It began shooting any humans in its path. It targeted Derek Reese."
"And what did you do?" Sarah murmured sleepily.
Cameron cocked her head, as she watched Sarah in fascination. "I put him through a wall."
"Derek or the terminator?" Sarah chuckled.
"The terminator. Derek Reese would not have survived had I put him through a wall."
"I was kidding," Sarah sighed.
"I know," Cameron whispered when Sarah's breathing evened out and she slid into sleep.
Cameron knew she should leave, that Sarah expected her to. But was there harm in staying for a little while? Was there a reason she couldn't just watch Sarah sleep?
Cameron thought of many.
And ignored them all.
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