DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The idea for this fanfic popped up almost as soon as I read Karla's suggestion for a TSCC story.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
BETA: Karla. Thank you for your patience.
Sarah stormed into the house fuming.. Spinning on her heel she stared at John and Derek who entered after her. Without looking at her, both men fled into the living room dropping armfuls of weapons on the couch.
Sarah ignored them. Instead she centered her attention on the last member of their party that entered the house. The Terminator walked light footed without being bothered by the heavy black bag over her shoulder which contained the remains of the latest Terminator they had destroyed. Cameron strode past her without acknowledging the older woman. Leaving the house through the backdoor, she made her way to the hovel in the backyard to dump the destroyed combat chassis into the pit and burn it to ashes.
The storm that was raging within Sarah increased as Cameron ignored her. She shot a glare at her son and his uncle who were busying themselves with cleaning the weapons. Sarah turned and stomped from the room following Cameron.
Pushing the door of the hovel open, Sarah watched Cameron scattering Thermite on the remains of the destroyed T-888. She waited until the girl had put away the canister, then she marched into the dimly lit room grabbed her and shoved her against the wall. "Listen, you fraking piece of scrap," Sarah said with a low menacing voice, "I told you to stay with John. You left him and he got caught in the crossfire. If you ever again disobey my orders concerning my son, you heartless example of a killing machine, I swear to God I will dump you in that pit myself.. You got me?"
Without waiting for an answer, Sarah let go of the Terminator and turned on her heel, intending to march back to the house - at least she tried, but she never left the hovel.. Instead, she found herself pushed against a wall. In the semi-darkness of the hovel Sarah registered two things: her feet were dangling in the air as Cameron held her with one hand by her leather jacket, the second was that she felt fear. Fear for her own life, for John and even for the rest of mankind as she stared into the expressionless face of the Terminator.
Suddenly she was certain that something in Cameron's programming had snapped. That she would kill them all. She grabbed the girl's wrist with both hands knowing that it was useless and kicked out at the Terminator. "Lemme go," she snarled.
Cameron didn't follow the order and Sarah's stomach cramped in fear. Again she kicked out. All she could hope for was that John and Derek could escape. If she cried for help they would come in here and be killed.
Her eyes were fixed on the Terminator's other hand which slowly came up. Again, Sarah was caught by surprise as Cameron lowered her to the ground but still held her in place. The Terminator took her hand with an unexpected gentleness and finally Sarah's eyes widened as Cameron placed the brunette's hand on her chest, right above her breasts. Sarah couldn't believe it but she felt a heartbeat; it was slow and constant. She stared at their hands.
"I'm a machine. But I'm not your puppy dog. I did what I did because I thought it was the right thing to do in that moment," Cameron said quietly. Suddenly the Terminator let go of her and Sarah almost fell to the ground. She stared at the girl who had turned away from her. Sarah watched as Cameron took a torch, ignited it and threw it into the pit. With a sharp hiss hot, yellow flames shot from the pit engulfing Cameron in a ray of light.
Sarah fled from the hovel.
A few hours later it was night and Sarah sat on her bed. Her room was lit only by the bedside lamp. She was nursing the toes that she'd injured when she had kicked at Cameron. A soft knock on the door forced her to look up. "Yes."
Slowly Cameron came into the room. Crestfallen, she stood at the door holding a package in her hands. The girl looked at Sarah before she spoke quietly. "I never meant to frighten you."
Sarah hadn't seen or heard from Cameron since their confrontation in the hovel. It had occurred to her that the Terminator was avoiding her. Sarah remained silent. She would never admit it but she was sure that back in the hovel Cameron had seen the fear in her eyes.
"I would never do anything to endanger John," Cameron said quietly. "Because of the tactical situation, I came to the conclusion that it would be safe to leave John and destroy the T-888 quickly."
"Derek and I were already moving into position. You should've waited two more minutes;" Sarah replied. There was no accusation in her voice. She just stated facts.
"The position you were headed for was not safe. If the T-888 had opened fire on you " Cameron looked directly at Sarah.
The older woman stared for a moment at the Terminator. On one hand anger was boiling in her again because of Cameron deciding what was best for her. On the other hand Sarah was sure she'd seen a flicker on the girl's face, just for a moment. She couldn't say what it was.
Cameron went on. "Every time you call me 'Tin Miss," or 'Killer' or 'Machine' it... It is as if... As if you stab a knife into me," Cameron said. "And this time it was much worse."
Sarah blinked confused. She wasn't sure anymore what Cameron's reason had been to leave John. Was it really to protect him? Or to protect her? "Listen Cameron " Sarah registered in surprise how the girl's eyebrows jerked upwards at the use of her name. " I am not important. John is important. Understood?"
"You are not unimportant, Sarah." Cameron looked at the package in her hands. "I don't care if Derek Reese calls me names. John never did. But you... I don't want you to hate me."
Sarah didn't know what to say. The almost heartbreaking confession caused a lump in her throat. "I don't hate you;" she said slowly. "It's just that "
"You don't trust me." Cameron finished.
Sarah didn't answer.
Suddenly Cameron stepped forward lifting the package. Sarah recognized it as an ice pack. "I brought you something for your foot."
"You scanned me?" Sarah frowned.
"No. I guessed from the way you kicked me." Cameron looked at Sarah and the older woman got the impression the younger woman was smirking at her.
"And you waited till now because "
"I'm an infiltrator. I waited until it hurt the most to approach you. So you would be distracted." Cameron replied.
Sarah chuckled softly before she became serious again. "What about the " She waved her hand before her chest.
"The heartbeat?" Cameron asked.
"It is a pump for coolant and hydraulic oil. But it is triggered to mimic a human's heartbeat to make me a better infiltrator." Cameron knelt before Sarah and gently placed the ice pack on her foot. The cold numbed the sting but not before Sarah felt the Terminator's fingertips brushing her bare skin. In a fast, smooth move Cameron stood up and turned towards the door. "I will now resume my patrol. Good night, Sarah."
"Good night;" Sarah choked out, shocked by Cameron's words and actions. The gentleness of the brief touch had surprised her, again. In the last few hours she had learnt more about Cameron than she had in all the months before. There was not only the revelation that Cameron claimed to have feelings but this touch had been so tender. It almost seemed that Cameron Sarah shook her head. The Terminator couldn't have such feelings, not directed at her. And yet, Sarah brushed her fingers over the spot Cameron had touched her, what if Cameron did have such feelings? The girl's heartbeat had felt so real. Knowing that it was nothing but a pump didn't makes it easier because if Cameron's feelings were real and if she could be hurt by words maybe then the human hearts are not the place where the soul lives.
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