DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have mainly read fanfiction about these two and watched one episode with plans to watch more, so I apologize in advance if I don't get their personalities correct. If you haven't read Time Loop yet, please do before reading this one. It sets up the premise of this ongoing AU, other Time Loop stories can be read in any order. 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 80
Cameron walks to the front door and then pauses as she contemplates the imminent explanation she is to give to Sarah and John. To have them find out this early that she has lived through this time multiple times will cause difficulties. She is dreading answering one question in particular and hopes that it will not be asked. She will have to tell them the truth no matter what, but she is not going to be able to answer all their questions. Especially questions about why she keeps coming back, Sarah has not yet accepted their love. Cameron lets a small smile grace her lips, they are getting closer and Sarah has been letting Cameron hold her after her nightmares.
Cameron lets out a human-like sigh as she opens the door and enters. She scans the house and finds Sarah and John in the kitchen, waiting, both of their heart beats are high with restrained tension. Cameron is glad that neither Derek, Jessie nor Riley are around, it would make things more uncomfortable and she would not answer any questions while they are present.
Cameron enters the kitchen, pulls out a chair and sits with perfect posture, resting her hands in her lap and looks at Sarah and John.
"The terminators are in the garage, waiting to be destroyed and I dropped off the truck I borrowed miles from here," she reports, noting that both of their pulses jumped as they saw her enter the kitchen. She can tell Sarah is feeling very conflicted by the crease in her forehead. She surmises that Sarah is wondering why she trusts someone who might have been lying to her about everything, and is preparing herself for the revelation of that betrayal and the shattering of their growing relationship. She hopes she can answer Sarah well enough to prevent that, she has not always been successful and that has lead to delaying their love.
"Soooo you have traveled back to this time several times?" John decides to confront the elephant in the room head on and not give his mother time to get angrier, and then grill and attack Cameron about the recent revelation. "How many times have you done this?"
Cameron did not let herself smile as John asked the first question, when he asks the first question, things go smoother, "Many times, how many times is irrelevant."
Sarah jumps on Cameron's answer, "What do you mean it isn't relevant? I will determine what is and isn't relevant!"
Cameron waits patiently, looking between John and Sarah as they try to figure out how to ask what they want to know. John suddenly blurts out, "Do you know what we are going to do? I mean if you have been traveling back to the same time, we are responding to the same things each time, so we react the same way each time, right?"
Cameron lets a smile touch the tips of her lips, "No, small differences happen that slowly change the environment, leading to different decisions."
Sarah looks agitated, "John that isn't important right now. What is important, is that you know how to find the Turk, don't you Tin Miss?" Sarah's face is a cross between hopeful and irritated as she waits for Cameron's answer.
"No, I do not know how to find the Turk," Cameron states impassively, "each time is different."
Sarah looks at Cameron irritated, "What do you mean each time is different? You come back to the same " Sarah's forehead creasing together as she tries to wrap her mind around the implications of Cameron having coming back to the same time multiple times, "Why aren't there a bunch of you running around?"
John sits back, trying to stay out of the firing line as he watches his Mother getting agitated as she questions Cameron; he ponders the implications of time travel.
Cameron tilts her head the other way, "Each time I travel back, a new timeline is created," she replies in her stilted manner, "I can not exist in the same place twice."
"So each time you travel back," Sarah is rubbing her head, "a new time line is created and things change."
Cameron waits for Sarah to finish her thought and then clarifies, "Each time anything, human or terminator, travels back, a new time line is created," her body still as she waits for the next question.
John's head pops up, "There could be hundreds of time lines by now!" John frowns in thought, "Every time one side sent someone back in time, the other side would have to respond, like the games Go or Chess, each side would try to gain an advantage or counter the others move."
Cameron nods her head slightly, "That is correct John, although you have been able to get moves ahead because I am always successful at protecting Sarah and you."
John frowns in thought, "But how would I know you are successful? Your actions happened after I send you back?"
Cameron tilts her head, "Because the past tells you that I was successful."
"But that is a different timeline that I just sent you to, the timeline I am in is your old timeline ."
Sarah raises her hand, her face getting confused by Cameron and John's convoluted talk about how strategy works in time, "That is all very interesting later. Right now we need to focus on stopping Skynet by finding the Turk." Sarah rubs the bridge of her nose, "I get that you can't tell us exactly where the Turk is, but we can look at all the places the Turk has hid in the past and check them all out." Sarah lays out her strategy for stopping Skynet. Sarah fixes Cameron with a glare, "This still doesn't explain why you didn't tell me all this from the start."
"Too much knowledge too soon causes complications." Cameron turns her head to face Sarah and answers the second, unstated question, "And you find it easier to accept me as a terminator, then as a cybernetic organism that thinks, feels and has a past." Cameron feels safe answering Sarah that much because Sarah is already accepting her as an individual.
"Why do you keep coming back Cameron? Wouldn't it be easier to make a new one of you without all the previous timeline experience in it?" John suddenly asks, getting a sly look on his face as his eyes cut between Cameron and his mom, as he remembers the revelation he had about Cameron's feelings for his mom.
Cameron wants to make a face at John for asking that question, wanting to avoid that particular line of thought, "Because I am the best and most efficient at protecting you, Sarah and the time line." She makes a note to ask him for advice about getting into Sarah's pants and commenting on how totally hot Sarah is in those pants. That always makes him uncomfortable and will be adequate repayment for asking that question. Cameron takes a moment to let her sensors run over Sarah's body. Sarah has the totally hot, sweaty and tousled look going on right now.
Sarah has been mulling over Cameron's statement about accepting her as an individual while Cameron answers John's question. Reacting to what she feels is an accusation of their current state of relationship; she defends herself, "Wait, I accept you as an individual."
Cameron nods her head, "Yes you do, now. But in the past, when I had revealed myself earlier, you had a harder time accepting me without having seen my emotions evolve." Cameron continues to analyze her constant scans of Sarah's body and responses, noting that things are going well and she can start taking steps to protect Sarah's health, starting with a healthy breakfast in the morning.
"Fine," Sarah looks irked at the correction and wants to dispute it, but is too honest with herself. Feeling vaguely disquieted with where this line of questioning is going, Sarah returns the questioning back to Skynet, "How often do we stop Skynet from being developed and starting the war?"
Cameron sighs, part in relief and part in sadness, relief that her feelings for Sarah are not going to be revealed yet and sadness because Sarah and John will not like her answer, as she looks between their faces, noting their hopefulness. "Skynet is always developed. Skynet creates the time machine. Without the time machine, no one travels back to stop Skynet, if no one travels back, Skynet is developed." Cameron phrases her answer to focus on Skynet and not on the coming apocalypse. "As John likes to say, the past can not be changed, the future is ever evolving."
Sarah wraps her arms around herself for comfort as she forces herself to ask the next question "And is there always an apocalypse? And I want a yes or no answer, Cameron, no half-truths."
Cameron emotionlessly answers with a simple, quiet, "Yes."
"And John " Sarah looks over at John who is looking stricken and she reaches over to grab and squeeze his hand.
"Always steps up to become the Savior of Mankind." Cameron finishes for Sarah. "There are certain events that seem fated to happen, an apocalypse, humans rising up to fight Skynet, John becoming a savior, Skynet losing to humans and creating the time machine." Cameron turns to face John fully and reaches out to hold his other hand, "What you do now matters. Your decisions now matter, it shapes the future. The times you have given in to despair were really bad times, John." Cameron speaks softly and with conviction to John, encouraging him to accept what is coming.
John yanks his hands free and jumps up from the table, "I I gotta think about this." John looks stricken with the knowledge of the future and escapes to his room.
Cameron's sensors assure her that he really did go to his room and not out for a walk. At the same time, she turns to face a distraught Sarah, who is hugging herself harder. She gets up offering a hug to Sarah, who steps away from her, "It is easier for him when he does not find out this early, but the sooner he accepts, the better things usually go," Cameron tries to explain to Sarah, hoping to offer her hope.
"So So, you hold back this information why? Wouldn't it be better to tell him as soon as possible," Sarah hisses out, attacking Cameron because she needs to lash out.
Cameron freezes, her arms dropping to her sides, stopping herself from approaching the agitated woman and making things worse, "I am conflicted. He is my brother, my best friend. It is better for him to not learn until later, but it is better for the mission if he accepts earlier." Cameron body stays in perfect posture but looks dejected, "I find it easier to let fate decide," She admits her inability to make a decision on which path to take.
Sarah holds herself tight, holding in her anger, her hopelessness, her despair. She glares at Cameron, "You stand guard I have a lot to think about." Sarah works hard to keep herself in check and not blame Cameron for John's pain, "If he leaves, you call me and you follow him, don't let him out of your sight!" Sarah turns and heads to her room.
Cameron stops herself from reaching out for Sarah, "It matters what you do Sarah. Keep fighting." Cameron offers to the distraught woman she loves.
Sarah looks over her shoulder at Cameron, looking like she wants to say something, but isn't sure what will come out, blaming Cameron for what isn't her fault or she might break down from knowing all her fighting is useless at stopping the coming apocalypse. And she refuses to break down when John might need her. She shakes her head and disappears to her room, closing her door.
Cameron spends the rest of the sad day guarding the house. She makes dinner and when neither of them comes out of their rooms, she fixes their plates and places them outside their doors, knocking and quietly telling them there is food outside their doors before retreating back to make her rounds around the house. Later she walks by their rooms and picks up their untouched plates and tosses the uneaten food away.
At midnight she walks towards their rooms. Stopping outside of John's door, Cameron, with her infrared sensors, can see that he is curled around himself, whimpering as he dreams. Sighing, she knows there is nothing she can do for him but offer him support. This is something he has to come to terms with on his own. As long as she and Sarah are here for him, he will have the support he needs to turn into the man that will save humankind. Cameron continues to Sarah's room. Quietly she opens the door and enters Sarah's room. She looks down in sadness as Sarah twitches in her bed, her hands clutching her sheets. Cameron's sensors show that Sarah is near the end of her nightmare and that she is close to waking up, sitting on the edge of Sarah's bed, she waits for Sarah to wake.
Sarah suddenly snaps awake with a gasp as she holds back a scream of terror, to find Cameron sitting on her bed and she snaps, breaking down in tears of sadness and anger, "JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE! HE IS JUST A BOY! LEAVE HIM ALONE!!" Sarah cries out as Cameron gently enfolds her in a soothing hug. "I CAN'T SAVE HIM!! I CAN'T SAVE ANYONE!!" Sarah sobs and tries to twist free of Cameron's hold as she slaps and punches at the terminator. "EVERYONE DIES!' Sarah sobs, tears pouring out of her eyes as she breaks down.
Cameron holds Sarah as she cries and struggles, letting Sarah hit and slap her, moving her body just enough to make sure Sarah does not injure herself, letting Sarah's emotions run their course. She offers her strength, giving Sarah shelter inside her arms, murmuring in Sarah's ear, "I will never leave you. I will always be here with you," softly and continuously. Cameron holds Sarah throughout her anger, throughout her despair, she lets Sarah cry and release her emotions without judgment, but acceptance. She cradles Sarah's shuddering body until Sarah falls asleep from exhaustion. Cameron lays Sarah back down on her bed, maintaining contact the entire time as she spoons behind Sarah to hold her through the night.
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