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
Two hours had passed but the spring storm had not.
Sarah sat on the back porch, her booted feet resting against the rail as she reclined in an old lawn chair. The rain came down in soothing sheets, fitting her introspective mood to perfection. The scent of wet wood and dirt pervaded the pleasantly warm air and Sarah inhaled it with idle pleasure. Part of her wondered where her son and Derek were but she suspected they were simply avoiding household chores rather than being in any sort of mortal danger. Although if they didn't get home soon, mortal danger would be the least of their worries.
Thunder mumbled in the distance. The sound stirred memories of the previous evening's dreams, dreams where thunder morphed into nuclear detonations, mushroom clouds bloomed on the horizon and the air became too scorched to breathe.
The nightmare was nothing new. She had one every night, every one of them ending with her death at the hands of a terminator. But the last two nights had been different. The last two nights Sarah survived in her dreams, saved by the hand of a terminator rather than destroyed by one. Cameron had materialized just as Sarah believed all hope was lost, leading her from the battle, from the death and destruction raining down mercilessly on them both to sanctuary.
It made waking up alone almost painful.
Sarah closed her eyes and listened to the rain plinking on the rusted metal swing set and gushing gently out of the gutters. It was peaceful, and Sarah desperately craved peace. She'd fled the house after Cameron's chaste kiss, not trusting herself, afraid she would take her fear out on Cameron. Her knee-jerk reaction was always anger, always violence, and Cameron didn't deserve it even if she could easily take whatever Sarah dished out. Two weeks ago, Sarah wouldn't have hesitated to lash out verbally or physically at Cameron, but now now everything had changed.
The memory of those soft lips on her cheek plagued her. Sarah's attraction was getting stronger, harder to ignore. The long days spent in Cameron's company, getting to know that mind and, strangely enough, the heart of the machine was confusing to Sarah. The more she knew about Cameron the more she wanted to know. It was a slippery slope Sarah found herself on. She was flailing helplessly and the thought of where she'd land if the unthinkable fall came was terrifying.
The hinges on the porch door creaked. Sarah turned her head expecting John but discovered Cameron instead. The terminator's soft brown eyes looked out at the rain. Sarah took the opportunity to study Cameron's profile, aching at how beautiful her creators had made her. At that moment Cameron looked much older than she often pretended, perhaps a woman closer to her mid-twenties than the teenager she so easily mimicked when necessary.
She had a cute nose, Sarah realized with an unconscious smile. The girl's lips were shiny with gloss, drawing Sarah's gaze to them and the sexy little dent above Cameron's mouth. She felt her heart skip as Cameron's gaze abruptly turned from the rain to fix on her. There was a look of reproach in Cameron's eyes, or perhaps Sarah just imagined there was, but the girl did not comment on her sitting outside in the rain. There was a streak of white powder on both Cameron's shirt and her chin that made Sarah wonder what the terminator had been up to in her absence.
"John called," Cameron said after a moment. "He and Derek went to the mall for lunch. He said they would pick up groceries and be home by one."
Sarah nodded mutely. She expected Cameron to come out onto the porch, almost wanted her to, but instead the terminator retreated back inside, shutting the door softly behind her. Sarah stared at the space where the girl had been. She felt compelled to get up and follow, to see what Cameron was up to but she clenched her teeth and returned her gaze back toward the rain.
It wasn't going to happen. Whatever in the hell she was feeling for Cameron was going to stop and stop now. It had to, there was too much at stake. She had John's life to worry about, the future of all mankind. There was, of course, her own sanity to consider as well.
But she didn't think she could go back to the way she'd treated Cameron before. It wouldn't be fair and the mere thought of treating the girl so callously made Sarah ill. She sighed, wondered vaguely if she'd hit her head when she'd been shot.
"Face it," she muttered aloud, "you kind of liked the girl from the start."
She wished she hadn't though. It would make things so much easier. If she could just go back to thinking of Cameron as a thing... a resource. A damn tool to help her get what she wanted without having to get her hands too dirty. If only she could go back to hating her for being necessary to John's survival and for simply existing.
Then Cameron had held her for two days. Two damn days.
And Sarah had woken to a different world.
Sarah snorted at the thought. She took a deep breath, flinching as her shoulder throbbed. She blinked at the smell she'd detected with that breath. Slowly she took another.
Her boots dropped down from the rail with a bang. She started to get to her feet when the door unexpectedly opened again. Cameron stood there, a plate in one hand and glass of milk in the other.
"Are those cookies?" Sarah asked; hearing the child-like hope in her voice, she cleared her throat, almost embarrassed.
Cameron came closer and offered her the plate. There were, in fact, four chocolate chip cookies on the surface.
Something in Sarah's chest melted at the gesture and she swore at herself for her weakness. Damn it, the girl was doing all the right things to get under her skin, but that was what terminators did. They infiltrated.
Sarah took one of the cookies from the plate. It was still warm. Taking a hesitant bite, she was unsurprised but delighted that it was the perfect, gooey temperature. Cameron offered her the milk and Sarah accepted it wordlessly, noting by touch that Cameron had chilled the glass first. She took a sip. "Thanks," she said when she swallowed. "Did you make these?"
"I wanted to try baking."
"Impressive first attempt," Sarah complimented her as she set her milk aside to take another bite. "These are good."
A shy, pleased smile answered her. "Someone called the Barefoot Contessa demonstrated the recipe."
Food Network again. Sarah grinned. "I see."
"She wasn't barefoot, though. I'm not sure why they called her that."
Sarah bit her lip.
"And I'm not sure she is actually a contessa. What is a contessa?"
Sarah chuckled this time, finding Cameron's questions more adorable than annoying. "I have no idea." She polished off the cookie then picked up another. "Did you have one?" She bit it in half. Cameron shook her head so Sarah broke off a bite and handed it to the girl.
She was wholly unprepared for Cameron to take it with her mouth.
Sarah went still as soft, warm lips closed over her fingers and she felt the brush of Cameron's tongue across the pad of her thumb. Her breath caught in her throat and the moment went from warm and nice to hot and intense. She swallowed hard as she watched Cameron lick her lips.
Cameron sampled the bite with open curiosity. She tilted her head as she completed it. "I like chocolate," she declared.
"That's nice," Sarah managed to ground out.
"On television many women talk about how much they love chocolate."
"Most of us do as a general rule," Sarah answered her voice husky. She polished off the rest of the cookie just to have something to do with herself. She reached for the frosted glass.
Cameron watched her curiously as Sarah raised the milk to her lips. "Is it really better than sex?"
Sarah choked, milk spluttering in her glass. Cameron blinked, seemingly unperturbed. "Are you asking me to help you compare the two?" Sarah joked uncomfortably between coughs.
A speculative look entered Cameron's eyes.
"I was kidding," Sarah quickly added as she wiped her bottom lip.
"There are several of John's classmates who have offered to 'show me a good time.'"
Sarah hesitated. She wasn't sure why she was surprised by this bit of information but she sure as hell didn't like it. "Have they?"
"Have they what?"
"Shown you a good time?" Sarah's voice was harsher than intended.
"Are you asking me if I have had sex with any of them?"
Sarah glanced at the glass of milk in her hand. "I suppose."
"No. I'm not interested in any of them as sexual partners."
Sarah slowly breathed out, feeling relieved yet hating herself for it. "Good."
"I mean I think that would probably not be a good idea."
"Me having sex or me having sex with a high school boy?" Cameron asked for clarification.
Sarah pinched the bridge of her nose, wondering how in the hell she'd stumbled into this conversation. "Either both " Sarah shook her head. "Are you curious?" As soon as she asked the question, Sarah wished she could take it back.
Cameron's gaze dropped. "Not with any of them," she answered.
Her whole body shivered as Sarah's mind interpreted what the gesture and simple sentence met. She knew she should walk away, end the conversation now, but she had to know, had to be sure where they stood. "Is there someone ?"
Cameron's dark eyes lifted and met Sarah's gaze was almost physical intensity. Sarah's guts reacted, contracted pleasantly if not alarmingly.
"Cameron," Sarah said hoarsely. The rest of her words died in her throat as Cameron took the glass from Sarah and set it aside before taking Sarah's hand in her own. Sarah watched, spellbound, as her fingers were lifted to Cameron's lips. She thought for a moment that Cameron was going to kiss her palm, maybe her knuckles like some sort of misguided suitor.
"You have chocolate on your fingers," the terminator informed her.
Sarah felt relief wash through her so hard she almost laughed. Before she could respond with some sort of quip, however, Cameron dipped her head and slowly drew Sarah's index and middle fingers into her mouth. Sarah gasped in half surprise half something else.
Cameron applied gentle suction as her tongue licked the chocolate from Sarah's skin. Sarah felt her knees nearly buckle as the tugging sensation translated to points further south. "What are you doing?" she managed to rasp.
Cameron didn't answer, her mouth otherwise occupied.
Take your hand away! Take your hand away Sarah kept issuing the command but her body refused to obey it. Teeth scraped the sensitive pad of her middle finger and Sarah felt fire lick through her veins. "Cameron," Sarah got out breathlessly. "You need to stop."
The girl's eyes watched Sarah knowingly. "You liked it when I did this earlier."
"I like it now," Sarah confessed. "But you need to stop."
"I'm asking you to."
And just like that, Cameron released her. Sarah stumbled backward as the hold on her wrist vanished. She stood frozen in the moment incapable of deciding whether to fight or flee. Sarah forced air into her lungs, trying to clear her head.
"Are you all right?" Cameron asked.
Sarah shook her head. "No. Not really." She picked up then drained the milk in a few quick swallows before handing the glass back to the terminator, careful not to let their fingers touch. "I'm going to lie down."
After a cold shower, she added silently
"I did something wrong," Cameron stated with certainty.
"No," Sarah replied. "I'm just feeling light-headed." At least it wasn't a lie, Sarah thought sourly. She just wanted Cameron to back off so she could deal with whatever in the hell it was that she was feeling. What she wished like hell she wasn't feeling.
Without another word, Sarah moved past the machine and tore open the porch door. She prayed Cameron wouldn't follow.
It was not the reaction Cameron had been hoping for.
The terminator stood on the front porch, feeling the intensifying rain beginning to spray her bare arms and legs in a fine mist. It was pleasantly cool on her unexpectedly heated skin.
She reviewed the last several minutes, the images of Sarah's reactions flickering across her optics as her processors analyzed every physiological reading, every inflection in Sarah's slightly breathy voice. Cameron knew when she'd taken the cookie she'd done something that elicited an aroused response in Sarah Connor. She lingered on those images, studying them in the hopes of determining why duplicating the same actions did not produce a suitable repeat of the initial experience.
Sarah's skin had flushed when Cameron touched her. Her green eyes had hooded and she'd licked her lips, her gaze pinned on Cameron's mouth and what she was doing with it. Cameron detected Sarah's racing heart, her shortened breathing. Sarah had done nothing to stop her the first time and she'd even claimed to enjoy it. Yet the second time, even though her physical responses had been similar, Sarah had pulled away. Cameron tried but couldn't understand why Sarah was denying herself what her body so clearly wanted and needed.
She opened the door then stepped inside setting the plate and glass down on an accent table. She glanced down the hall, hearing the shower running. She hoped Sarah had covered her wounds. Deciding she should check, she marched down the hall and turned into Sarah's room.
Sarah's clothes were strewn about haphazardly in a trail leading to the open door of the bathroom. Cameron picked them up and set them on the bed. The last article was Sarah's shirt and Cameron hesitated with it in her hands. Slowly she lifted it to her nose and inhaled Sarah's scent. She'd always liked the way Sarah Connor smelled and now she knew the taste of Sarah's skin was equally as appealing.
Cameron entered the bathroom. "Did you cover your wounds?"
"Jesus Christ." Sarah's pinched and exasperated voice floated out from behind the shower curtain. "Don't you knock?"
"The door was open. Do you need me to cover your wounds?"
"I'm fine," Sarah's voice still sounded oddly strained to Cameron's ears.
"I don't mind," Cameron offered.
"I'll just bet you don't," Sarah's voice was faint but the terminator detected it anyway. "I'm fine," Sarah said again. "Why don't you bake more cookies for the boys?"
"I baked them for you."
The shower continued in silence for a few moments.
Cameron noted the lack of steam in the room. She frowned. "Are you taking a cold shower?"
"Shit." Sarah shut the water off. One of her muscular arms appeared as she reached out and grabbed a towel. She emerged a few moments later with it wrapped around her torso.
Cameron's eyes dipped instantly to Sarah's bare legs where the water dripped down from sights unseen beneath the towel. Her gaze traveled upward, watching as more water ran in rivulets from Sarah hair down her bare collarbones and collected into a stream between Sarah's breasts. The light hit the water, making it refract and Cameron stared almost mesmerized. She wondered what the combination of the water with its mineral tang would taste like combined with that patch of Sarah's skin.
"My eyes are up here," Sarah pointed out sounding roughly amused.
Cameron's gaze leapt to Sarah's face and she realized by Sarah's tone that her actions had been inappropriate. She believed the actual term for what she'd just done was 'ogling.' "I was looking at your wound," Cameron felt the need to lie and by the disbelieving look on Sarah's face she deduced she had not performed the falsehood adequately.
"Sure you were." Sarah snorted. "I can't believe this."
"Can't believe what?" Cameron blinked as she processed the fact that her eyes wanted to wander again. She commanded her gaze to stay focused on the pale green of Sarah's eyes.
Sarah stood in the middle of the bathroom and stared at the terminator. "This," Sarah said her uninjured arm sweeping out first to encompass the room then returning to gesture between the two of them. "This is wrong. It is fucked."
Cameron tilted her head. "Fucked?"
Cameron noted that Sarah's heartbeat skipped when she said the word. She could hear it, had been listening to it ever since Sarah's shooting in the event that it should stop. She wondered if she should express concern.
"Are you attracted to me?" Sarah suddenly asked, her voice quavering slightly.
The terminator paused as she studied Sarah's other physiological reactions, noting the severely increased heart rate, the slight sweat even after the cool shower, the trembling in Sarah's extremities.
"Well?" Sarah demanded roughly.
"I am trying to decide."
"You're trying to decide if you're attracted to me?" Sarah sniffed and shook her head.
"I'm trying to decide which answer to give you so as not to cause you any more unnecessary discomfort."
Sarah swallowed. "What are your choices?"
"No," Cameron instantly and easily replied.
Sarah watched her for a moment, her emotions unreadable. "And what's behind door number two?" she finally asked.
Cameron hesitated so long she was sure Sarah thought she wasn't going to answer. "Yes," she slowly admitted. The fear that swept through her with the admission was almost as strong as what she'd felt when she was first brought on-line, almost as disconcerting to her systems as when Sarah had been shot.
Sarah glanced heavenward then stepped closer to the girl. "Which is it?" her tone had softened just a fraction even if her intensity had not.
"Why do you ask me questions you do not want the answer to?"
Sarah closed her eyes then ran a wet hand over forehead, rubbing it none too gently. "I think you just answered my question."
Cameron nodded once in acceptance of that. "I am sorry if I make you uncomfortable."
Sarah almost laughed but she lapsed into silence as Cameron came closer, stepping well inside her personal space.
"I want to protect you," Cameron tried to explain. "I want to make you laugh. I want to make you happy." She watched with interest as Sarah's eyes widened and the other woman stared at her dumbstruck.
Sarah swallowed, more roughly this time. She licked her lips. "Cameron " She paused, trying to gather her thoughts and failing. "I you " She shivered, her dripping body both fevered and chilled at the same time. She tightened the towel around herself reflexively. "We "
"I will not make any other unwelcome advances, no matter how much your physiological signs suggest such advances might be welcome."
Green eyes lifted toward the ceiling and Sarah sighed, her breath coming out in a shudder. "You're saying you'll keep your hands to yourself?"
"And any other body parts of your choosing."
Sarah actually laughed at that, a nervous release of energy. She studied Cameron as she listened to the sounds of the rain beating on the roof. "This can't happen, Cameron," Sarah finally told her, her voice an odd mix of conviction and regret.
"Yes it can," Cameron stated firmly. "If you let it." With that she pivoted and left Sarah alone, aware of pale green eyes on her back as she walked away.
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