DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Takes place after 1x06: Dungeons and Dragons. Works on its own, but is also kind of a continuation of Reminders.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Welcome to the Club
Sarah didn't know how long she had been in the shower. It could have been ten minutes. Maybe an hour. She simply stood there, her eyes closed, letting the water wash over her. It had been a really long couple of days.
She finally opened her eyes, rapidly blinking against the water. She glanced down at herself, checking to make sure she had successfully scrubbed away all the blood. There had been so much of it, enough to soak straight through her thin shirt. Derek's blood was now gone from her body, but Sarah still felt like she could smell the iron tint in the air. She felt the urge to just stay in the shower until tomorrow arrived. Surely, tomorrow would be better than today.
The house was quieter now, at least. Charley had left. Derek was sleeping. John was keeping an eye on Derek. And Cameron? Sarah frowned at the thought of her most recent interaction with Cameron. She didn't know where Cameron was.
Eventually, Sarah realized that she was shivering. The water had finally run cold. She turned off the shower, finding her muscles to be sluggish as she wrapped a towel tightly around her body.
She wasn't even quite sure why she was so shaken up. Nothing truly bad had happened. John was fine. The latest terminator to find them was destroyed. Derek hadn't died. She saw Charley again, and he hadn't even freaked out too much.
But she just felt so...overwhelmed. The last fifteen years had been one long series of overwhelming events, but today was simply one of those days when it felt like everything caught up with her. When her past crashed into her present, the future loomed especially large, and she wanted to scream until she woke herself up out of the nightmare that was her life.
In the living room, Sarah found John studying Derek's sleeping form, probably looking for some sign of the father he never got a chance to know. Sarah tried not to think about Kyle too much. She really hadn't known him for very long, but that didn't stop her from missing him sometimes.
She watched John and Derek for a minute, before she turned away, needing some distance from the latest Reese to be dropped in her lap.
Sarah was pacing back and forth in her room, lost in thought, when John entered, plopping down onto her bed. Sarah spared him a glance and a brief smile, but she continued moving.
"Will you sit down, already? You're making me dizzy." John's voice broke into the silence.
Sarah sighed, but did allow herself to sink into the nearest chair. She briefly cradled her head in her hands, before she managed to pull herself together. John wasn't ready to handle her when she let her weaknesses push forward.
"Where's Cameron?" John asked.
Sarah frowned, and her words came out harsher than she meant them to. "I don't know. I'm not her keeper. How should I know where she is?"
Sarah didn't miss the flash of confusion across John's face, before he chuckled.
"Um. I dunno. It's just that, in case you haven't noticed, she tends to follow you around like a lost little puppy. Usually, finding you means finding Cameron."
"Well, she's not here now." Sarah had, in fact, noticed Cameron's near-constant proximity. It had been like that practically from the moment that the girl showed up, but Sarah had been especially aware of it since that time when Cameron kissed her.
How long ago was it that Sarah had been wishing so desperately for reminders that Cameron wasn't human? Well, wish granted, she supposed. A reminder had been most-helpfully supplied in the form of both Derek and Charley. Through their eyes, Sarah saw the way that she should look at Cameron. With mistrust and fear and whatever was the opposite of desire.
But if this was the way that Sarah was supposed to see Cameron, then why did she feel so guilty about it?
"Is everything ok?" John once again broke into Sarah's thoughts. "I mean, other than all the obvious things that aren't ok?"
Sarah locked eyes on John, forcing the muscles in her forehead to relax. Sometimes she felt like her brow was permanently etched into a tense frown. She smiled in a way that was meant to be reassuring, but Sarah wasn't sure if she had succeeded. "Yeah, John. It's just been a long day, you know?"
"Yeah. We've had a lot of long days recently, haven't we?"
After another few moments of silence, John got up and walked from the room. On his way towards the stairs, he called out, "Whatever you're mad at Cameron for... You two should just kiss and make up or whatever."
Hours passed, and still no sign of Cameron. She and John had dinner, she changed Derek's bandages and gave him some food, and then John went to bed. Still no Cameron. Sarah had tried not to be, but she was worried about her. Cameron could certainly take care of herself, so that wasn't the problem. But Sarah would feel better if she knew that Cameron was safe at home, even if she'd never admit it out loud.
Finally, Sarah decided to just go ahead and actually look for Cameron. It wasn't difficult. She found her right where she'd seen her last, still sitting on her own in the garage.
Cameron looked up at her briefly, before returning her eyes to the gun she was cleaning. From Sarah's vantage point, the gun already looked perfectly clean, but if Cameron wanted to clean it again, then Sarah wasn't going to argue.
The silence felt heavy between them, but Sarah didn't really know what she wanted to say. "Look," she began, but failed to find any words to complete her sentence.
Cameron waited for a moment, and then looked around the room in confusion. "Look where?"
"No. Sorry. You don't have to look anywhere. Anyway, about Charley..."
"He doesn't like me," Cameron interrupted.
"Well, can you blame him? He wasn't exactly mentally prepared for someone like you."
"I do not blame him. I'm a very scary robot."
Sarah was so used to hearing the word "robot" followed by the correction of "cybernetic organism," that she actually almost corrected Cameron herself. She bit back the words, though, merely watching Cameron. If Sarah didn't know better, she'd say that Cameron was sulking. Her tone was a cross between defensiveness, guarded anger, and sarcasm. But robots -- cybernetic organisms -- couldn't sulk. Could they?
In spite of herself, Sarah felt a small smirk creep across her face. "Well that's just because he didn't get to know you very well. Don't worry, you're only a little scary."
Cameron chose not to reply to this.
Sarah found herself fidgeting, uncomfortable with the tension between the two of them.
"I'm sorry that I yelled at you earlier," she blurted out. "I was stressed, and I took it out on you, and that wasn't fair. So I'm sorry." She paused. "And I don't apologize very often, so you can consider yourself lucky."
Cameron looked up. Her expression had softened somewhat, compared to when Sarah first entered the garage. "I would never do anything to hurt you. Because of what he means to you..." Cameron paused and looked briefly to the ground, as a flash of emotion crossed her face. "Killing Charley Dixon would do more harm than good." Cameron's eyes raised to Sarah's once again. "I would never do anything to hurt you," she repeated.
"I believe you." Sarah was almost surprised to find that she really meant it. She did believe Cameron, even though one part of her was still screaming that she shouldn't. "Now, why don't you come back inside?"
That guarded look returned to Cameron's face, and she broke eye contact. "No. I will stay here. I do not want to bother you as you help Derek heal."
That same flash of emotion appeared once again, and this time, it occurred to Sarah which emotion it looked like. "Are you jealous? Are you jealous of Charley and Derek?"
Sarah took Cameron's stony silence as an affirmation.
"Why? And can you even be jealous? You're a rob--. A cybernetic organism."
Cameron's expression changed to one of genuine confusion. "I...I am not sure. The combination of my physiological and psychological reactions is indicative of jealousy, and my system had not acted in this way until Charley Dixon and Derek Reese arrived, but...I do not understand. I do not understand what has created this particular pattern of reactivity. I have never not understood myself before."
Sarah smiled kindly. "Well not being able to understand yourself is a very common occurrence when you're human, unfortunately. Welcome to the club."
Sarah held out her hand to Cameron, and after regarding it for a moment, Cameron took it, allowing Sarah to lead her back into the house. Sarah thought the conversation was over, but Cameron continued, "There is a club? What kind of club? I've never belonged to a club before."
Sarah laughed out loud, something that didn't happen very often. "No, there is no club. It's an expression. An idiom. Well, you're certainly entertaining, Cameron. I'll admit that much."
"Oh," Cameron replied. "Thank you. I think. Have we resolved our argument?"
Sarah smiled. "Yeah, we're good now."
Cameron turned and abruptly pulled a startled Sarah between her arms. Sarah didn't know what was going on at first, until she realized that Cameron was attempting to hug her. She kept her arms at her sides for a few moments, before gingerly placing her arms around Cameron as well. She felt her cheeks flush as her fingers made contact with Cameron's deceptively soft skin. The end of Sarah's day was turning out to be quite different from the beginning.
Cameron pulled back, releasing her hold on Sarah. "I am glad that you are no longer angry with me. In the movie I watched last week, the two main protagonists gave each other a hug after they resolved the argument between them. Goodnight, Sarah. You need sleep."
"Goodnight, Cameron." Sarah felt a wave of exhaustion catch up with her at Cameron's last words, as if she had been reminded of how tired she should be. She smiled hesitantly at Cameron one more time, before heading to her bedroom.
She still didn't really know what to think of Cameron. But her instincts had served her pretty well so far, and surprisingly, her instincts told her that she could trust Cameron.
So, until her instincts informed her otherwise, that was what she'd do.
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