DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have only read fanfiction about these two, so I apologize in advance if I don't get their personalities correct. And if you haven't read Time Loop yet, please do before reading this one. It sets up the premise of this ongoing AU. Please leave a comment, even if it's just one word. Comments tell authors their stories are being read and enjoyed. Big Thank You to demoka for betaing.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Time Loop: Loop 37
By wkgreen


Cameron is lying in bed with Sarah draped over her right side, sleeping quietly. She is softly running a hand through Sarah's curly locks as she monitors the surroundings, maintaining her guard duty as she analyzes/enjoys the sensations Sarah causes laying on top of her. She intercepts a suspicious message sent over the airwaves; it suddenly opens up and reveals that it is a Trojan, which immediately tries to take over her systems. Anti-virus programs snap to activity and break apart the invading program. Examining the pieces left, Cameron's eyes widen slightly, as she recognizes this code. Skynet is active. She immediately actives her firewalls and goes to high security settings to protect herself from any other invasive programs. Skynet, even in its early stages, is much more dangerous then any human made program.

"Wake up Sarah." Cameron shakes Sarah's shoulder gently.

Sarah rolls to the side and snaps upright, pulling her .45 out from under the pillow as she looks around for the threat. Blinking her eyes as she realizes there is no immediately threat, she works to get her brain engaged and looks down at Cameron, "What is wrong?"

"Skynet is active, time to get to the bunker." Cameron informs Sarah calmly, laying perfectly still, knowing Sarah's reaction to being woken unexpectantly.

Sarah freezes, her eyes open wide in fright/disbelief, "What NO! We are so close to finding it!" Sarah hisses in frustration/disbelief, "How long has it been active?"

Cameron calmly answers, "Unknown, I intercepted a Trojan sent out to take over computers. The date code on the Trojan is 2 hours old, but this could be the first, second, or even a later wave."

Cameron watches as Sarah frowns in thought, "Start packing, I will get John up." Sarah and Cameron move off the bed together. The next couple of hours are a blur as they rush to get everything packed and loaded on the truck as John sends out emails to all their friends to seek cover with a list of bunkers ready for occupancy. Some of the bunkers are ones they set up in their travels; others are old army bunkers that have been forgotten. A select few are giving the location of the bunker they are going to.

Cameron lets them help pack the truck, even though they are reducing her efficiency. She has been monitoring Sarah's stress levels and occasionally John's. Their stress levels climb whenever they stay still too long as they get ready for the coming apocalypse. The work is a good distraction for them. Neither of them is talking about what is about to happen either, pretending that this is just another move.

Once they are in the truck and going, Cameron observes them resolutely stare straight ahead, not looking at anyone. They are trying to not see all the people who are going to die. They don't want to wonder who will live and who will not. She continues to monitors Sarah's climbing stress levels. Cameron is respectfully quiet as they silently mourn.

Once they get out of the city, Cameron continues to observe Sarah and John as they start to stare at everything. She speculates internally that they are trying to memorize what the country side looks like when it is green and full of life, since they know it will be gone soon. She catches Sarah blinking away tears several times through the trip to the abandoned bunker. Looking at John in the rearview mirror, she can see open tracks of tears running down his cheeks. Cameron follows the unnecessary directions Sarah gives her to the bunker. It helps keep Sarah's stress levels down to being doing something, gives her a sense of control in a situation she can not stop.

They are the first to arrive, which is good, because Cameron knows that John sent messages to several of his school friends that have no idea about what is coming. Explanations will need to be given, that is never a good scene. In total there is going to be about 30 people in this bunker, this includes the 3 friends and hopefully their immediate families. The supplies they have stocked away will last that many people about 3 years. Sarah immediately starts directing the unpacking and storage of items in the main bunker and secondary storage bunkers. The next people to arrive are the resistance fighters, lead by Derek. Derek is going to cause problems, but it is nothing Sarah can not handle.

John's friends arrive and he and Sarah take them aside. Cameron goes with them; she will be needed to prove that they are not crazy. His friends and family react expectantly, with shocked disbelief, until Cameron cuts open her left arm to expose the metal underneath. Their shock turns to horror, and several break down and cry. Sarah, John and the stronger family members console the weeping family members, some ask why we do not warn the general populace. Sarah gives the tired but true statement, that if they were believed it would only lead to riots, fear, and death anyway. Is it not better to let people go into the apocalypse with as much normality as possible? Derek and the resistance fighters are staying conspicuously away, they are not very sympathic, apparently having lived through it already and fighting for years has robbed them of compassion.

Later, after the unpacking is finished, Sarah bandages up my arm tenderly. Everyone stays just outside of the bunker, taking in as much of the countryside as possible, no one wants to go inside the bunker until the last minute. They are trying to get as much fresh air and open space as possible. Over Sarah's shoulder, Cameron observes Derek and several resistance fighters approach John, they are going to try to talk him into joining their cause of getting me barred from the bunker and to guard from outside. Cameron internally smirks as John tells them she has a very important job on the inside of the bunker and that no one else can do it. They look at him disbelievingly. John reminds them that Sarah is going to be locked inside with them. They are still clueless. John then reminds them that Sarah is claustrophobic and can not stand being locked up. Things start penetrating their skulls, as John asks them which of them wants to be the one to restrain Sarah if she looses it. Cameron internally smirks as all of them look at Sarah's back and involuntarily step back from her. She happens to know that Sarah, on various occasions, has had to smack down each of them, Derek a couple of times. That ends the argument, as none of them want to face a crazed Sarah, they huff and puff about keeping the metal under control and John assures them that Sarah will.

The sun is starting to set as Cameron detects the first missiles in the air, she immediately goes to Sarah. Sarah orders everyone inside, everyone's faces fall as they look at each other and then shuffle inside, taking lingering looks behind them. Sarah and Cameron are the lasts one inside and Cameron seals the door. Everyone goes to their living areas, to be alone, to mourn quietly through the night. Cameron is installed in Sarah's living area, which is across from John's. Cameron and Sarah have been discrete around Derek and the other resistance fighters about their developing relationship, but the bunker is too small to keep that quiet. Cameron foresees Sarah having to smack them down, since she is forbidden to fight humans. Actually, Sarah has not made that order yet, but she will after the first confrontation, Cameron is just going to get a head start on following, it is a good order and reduces tensions in the other humans.

During the following days, people fall into survivals guilt. Everything falls on Sarah's shoulders to lead this group of people, to get them through the next year locked up together. John proves to be of invaluable help, he is the first one to get pass the depression, and is every where, consoling, and encouraging, while Sarah kicks people into action, sometimes literally. The stress and confinement weigh heavily on Sarah, Cameron has to hold and rock Sarah every night so that she can get through the next day, trying to keep everyone else sane and busy. Cameron draws on all her knowledge of Sarah to keep her from loosing it. Cameron's main strategy is to hug Sarah from behind and surround Sarah with her presence and allow Sarah to forget the walls. It is in the second week that Derek catches Cameron and Sarah in an embrace, and he loses it. He swings a metal pipe at Cameron and she blocks and takes it away from him. Derek retreats and gathers several of the other resistance fighters to confront Sarah and demand she dismantle Cameron; that Cameron is evil and will kill them all eventually. Sarah tells him rather inventively to stuff it, the fight happens. Cameron loves watching Sarah fight to protect her. She stands perfectly still as Sarah beats the crap out of Derek and three other resistance fighters, all of them outweighing Sarah on average by 76.3 pounds. Sarah calls Cameron forward, in front of everyone, she orders Cameron to never fight humans, Cameron gives the appropriate acknowledgements, and it defuses the situation, people start moving back to what they were doing. Derek and his friends nurse bruises as John moves over to them and starts smoothing over their resentment.

The third week, Cameron finds Sarah in a corner where no one can see her, shivering and hugging herself, tears leaking down her face. Cameron spends a minute analyzing Sarah's vitals, sensing that Sarah is at the breaking point, she comes up to Sarah, slides around Sarah and hugs her tightly, using her arms and legs to surround Sarah as much as possible.

Sarah sobs, "I failed… I didn't stop the apocalypse. How do they trust me to get them through this? I failed already!" Sarah gasps as she tries to hold back tears of anguish, burying her face into Cameron's neck.

"Ssshh.. you have not failed Sarah." Cameron motions with her head to where they can see John talking and organizing people through a space between stacks of food crates. "John is becoming the leader he is meant to be, all because of you."

Cameron observes as Sarah really looks at John, remembering how he has matured and taken on more and more responsibilities, helping and encouraging everyone, "but what about stopping Skynet?"

"There was nothing you could do to stop Skynet." Cameron murmurs quietly into Sarah's ear. "I have come back to protect you and John many times. And never once have we been able to stop Skynet. There are too many paths of creation."

Sarah jerks her head up to stare at Cameron, "WHAT!? Why haven't you told me this before," Sarah hisses, Cameron notes the rising anger that overwhelms the depressive state Sarah was in.

"If I tell you before the apocalypse, it sends you and John into depression and hinders your ability to plan and act," Cameron explains softly.

Sarah glares at Cameron as she seethes quietly, making sure to not draw attention to them, "Then why are you telling me this now?"

Cameron tilts her head, "To know that you could not stop Skynet, helps you get past the depression of not stopping it. Helps you start planning for the future and not get stuck in thinking about what you could have done to stop Skynet."

Cameron observes Sarah look down and bite her lip. She can see the change in Sarah's posture as Sarah realizes that she is indeed starting to let go of the past and think about the future. Cameron feels Sarah press against her; Cameron calculates it is to seek warmth and strength, taking a bit more shelter in Cameron's arms before she has to get back to being strong.

Sarah asks softly, "How many times have you come back?"

Cameron nuzzles her face against Sarah's hair, "37"

Sarah snaps her head around and looks into Cameron's eyes, "You have come back 37 times? Even though you know we don't succeed in stopping Skynet? How can you keep coming back and reliving the war over and over?"

Cameron bites her lip, a gesture she picked up from Sarah, "I do not come back to stop Skynet."

Sarah reaches out gently and touches Cameron's cheek, "Why do you keep coming back Cameron?" Sarah feels tears of hope trying to spill past her eyelids.

Cameron looks deeply into Sarah's eyes; the moment of truth she has dreaded and anticipated has arrived. "I come back to be with you, Sarah. I love you," and she watches tears of joy, sadness, acceptance spill past Sarah's eyelids as she presses herself deeper into Cameron's embrace.

The End

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