Fandom: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Disclaimer: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is not mine...though since Fox appears to be dropping it, rightfully it should be up for grabs.
Summary: Slightly alternate time-line, Riley lives...Cameron's glitch continues to make itself known, and Sarah...well Sarah gets to learn what it's like to be in John's shoes...in more ways than one.
AN: Many thanks as always to inspectorboxer for catching my characterization hiccups, and also to revolos55 for the grammar and typo beta. You guys are awesome!
AN#2: Apologies again for how seriously long this took to get written, but chapter 5 is coming along fairly well, so it won't be as long of a wait for that one *G*.
AN#3: In case anyone is still interested, I'm hoping to keep working on Sarah/Cameron prompts during writing blocks etc. So if you have an idea that you haven't posted on the Prompt entry yet, than feel free to do so.
Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3
“Good afternoon Haven House, this is Jeanette speaking, how may I help you?” Middle aged with a sagging belly, floral shirt and long platinum hair, Jeanette Harris looked like an aging hippie, but she spoke with the voice of a queen. The front desk at Haven House was her kingdom, and woe betide anyone who challenged her authority there.
An indulgent monarch, Jeanette listened patiently to the description the woman on the phone gave her of a girl she was looking for, a cousin apparently, not bothering to write it down, although she made the appropriate noises, “uh huh,” “mm hmm,” even throwing in an “I see” for good measure. Teenage white girl with a baby; Jeanette had a dozen of those staying under her roof right now, and twice that many passing through at any given time, but this one did sound familiar, and although she had no intention of giving over the information, she pulled open a drawer and started flipping through the files.
“I’m sorry,” She said gently once the woman on the phone had wound down. “I simply can’t give out information on our girls without their consent…you understand. Some of them have good reason to be running.”
The voice on the phone broke, losing the last of its defensive armor and Jeanette’s soft heart melted for perhaps the thirty second time that day. She sat back in the chair with a sigh as she pulled out the file she’d been looking for.
“Oh honey, I really would love to help, but I can’t. If you want to leave a name and a message, we can make sure it’s available at the desk if she comes in…”
Jeanette took down Sarah Fields name and number on an index card and tucked it into Lauren Bird’s file. She hadn’t seen the girl in a few days, but she’d be sure to give her the message if she did turn up again. Sweet little thing, she should know that someone cared about her.
“Thank-you, goodbye.” Sarah Connor thumbed off her cell phone with more force then was strictly necessary. “Damnit!”
“You knew that wasn’t going to work.” John commented, reaching across the kitchen table and plucking the phone out of his mother’s hands before she broke it in sheer frustration. “They have rules about this sort of thing.”
“I know, I just…” Sarah leaned back in her chair, laying her hands flatly in front of her.
“Wanted it to be easy?” John asked wryly.
“Is that so bad? Wanting one thing to be easy?”
“No.” John shook his head. “But this is better really. At least we know the terminator won’t find her that way either.”
“That’s something then.” Sarah sighed, dismissed her irritation at bureaucratic red tape and the people who enforced it, and gathered the fragments of her composure. From the expression on his face, Derek was resisting the urge to add his ‘I told you so’ to John’s and Cameron had a deliberate blankness about her that gave Sarah the impression that the girl was doing the same. “Anyone else have a better idea?”
Cameron opened her mouth but Derek cut the terminator off without apology, leaning forward over the table between her and Sarah. “I’ll go, give this place a look, and if Lauren is there, I fill her in, and we can let her make the call.”
“Last time you talked to her she ran away,” Sarah retorted. “And this isn’t her decision anymore. Innocent girls are dying, she’s coming with us.”
“What, you’re just going to kidnap them?”
“If I have to,” Sarah snapped. She had no intention of letting Lauren and
“Look,” John interjected, pulling Sarah’s attention away from her stare off with Derek. “If she didn’t want our help then, she probably isn’t going to want it now either. If we’re even going to get a chance to talk to her, we have to send someone she doesn’t know. What about me?”
“No.” Sarah and Cameron answered in unison, eliciting an amused snort from Derek and a faint smirk from John. Sarah resisted the urge to roll her eyes, unimpressed by the wordless commentary. She shot Cameron a warning look, but the terminator only stared back at her innocently, indicating that Sarah should continue on her own.
“No,” She repeated firmly. “Even if it wasn’t too dangerous, it’s a women’s shelter. I doubt they’d let you past the front desk.”
“Why don’t we ask Jessie?” Derek offered. “Lauren never even knew about her.”
“Because I don’t trust Jessie,” Sarah growled, dismissing the suggestion immediately. There wasn’t even the slightest chance that she was going to let that woman be responsible for another innocent young girl’s safety. She’d had no choice but to accept her help in Riley’s case, but that was as far as her tolerance extended, and if it weren’t for Derek and John’s insistence, she wouldn’t even have bent that far.
Derek looked like he wanted to argue, swelling up and leaning aggressively over the table, but catching a headshake from John he exhaled heavily and let it go. Sarah pretended not to see the exchange, understanding with a familiar stab of guilt that John desperately needed at least a semblance of peace in the house.
“We could send Riley,” Cameron interjected smoothly into the tense silence, her suggestion the first complete sentence she’d spoken since they’d gotten home. “She has experience with the foster care system which would provide an adequate cover story, and she is almost the same age as Lauren.”
“What, it’s too risky for me but you want to ask Riley?” John spluttered at the terminator before turning pleading eyes on his mother. “Mom, no. Please tell me you’re not seriously going to consider this.”
Sarah wished she could. The last thing she wanted to do was to ask anything else of Riley, the girl had been used enough. But Cameron’s idea made too much sense. Riley was perfect for the job. Young, non-threatening, and well-versed with the system, she was the only one who might be able to get close enough to Lauren.
“John…” Her answer was in her voice and she knew he heard it when his face closed up and he leaned away from her.
“Fine.” The teenager pushed away from the table and stood up. “But if she’s going, then I’m going with her.”
“John,” Sarah began wearily. “We already-”
“You don’t want to be a grandmother before you’re forty,” Cameron cut in abruptly, her brown eyed gaze moving between John and Sarah.
“What?” John asked before an appalled Sarah could manage to get a single word out.
“She doesn’t want grandchildren right now,” Cameron repeated, oblivious to Sarah’s discomfiture. “It is a common concern among mothers of young teenagers. You might be able to gain access to the shelter with Riley if you posed as a runaway couple with a baby. They would understand.”
“We don’t have a baby lying around,” Sarah almost spat through gritted teeth. She didn’t know what Cameron was playing at, but she was fairly certain that whatever the metal girl had in mind, she wasn’t going to like it.
“Casey has a baby.”
Her guess was correct, she didn’t like it. “And what, she’s just going to loan it out to us for an afternoon?”
“You don’t want grandchildren,” Cameron said for the third time with some emphasis. “Babysitting would give John and Riley a chance to see what parenthood is like. It would seem like an effective deterrent to Casey.”
“Look, girlie …” Sarah spoke slowly, her outrage held at bay only by the knowledge that the girl couldn’t possibly understand the gravity of what she was suggesting. “I am not putting an infant in the path of a terminator.”
“There is already an infant in the path of a terminator,” Cameron returned implacably. “Riley will be able to talk to Lauren, but she cannot protect them. John is more experienced.”
“She has a point…” John ventured cautiously, his anger fading. “Of course,” he amended hastily in the face of his mother’s glare, “the chances of anything happening are really low. The terminator doesn’t know where they are, what their names are, anything.”
“We still have the bugs we used at the shrink’s,” Derek offered reluctantly, obviously not enjoying the fact that the plan was Cameron’s, but unable to resist backing John against his mother. “We could wire them both and stake out the place, so that if anything went down we’d be right there.”
The idea of a prolonged surveillance mission with Derek was quite possibly the least appealing thing Sarah could think of right now…second only of course to the suicidal stupidity of the plan in general.
Sensing that Sarah was wavering, John hastened to reassure her. “It’s just recon mom, I’ll be fine... We’ll be fine”
Sarah wrestled with her conscience. She didn’t like it, but she had to admit that the plan seemed solid enough to work. If Riley and John could get into the shelter and locate Lauren, then they stood a chance of extracting the girl and her sister quickly and quietly. Otherwise it was going to be a mess, and that was when people got hurt.
“Okay,” She agreed eventually. “But I want you to swear that at the first sign of anything out of the ordinary, you’ll run. Call and let us handle it.”
“All right…” There didn’t seem to be anything more to say, but they were saved from an awkward silence by the ringing of Derek’s cell phone.
“Jessie,” he announced, glancing down at the number on the screen before taking the phone into the living room to answer. Reappearing no more than a minute or two later, he retrieved his jacket off the back of his chair and pulled it on. “They need me in town. Are we done here?”
“Yeah...” Too tired for interrogation, Sarah opted against demanding to know exactly what it was Jessie needed Derek for. The ex-soldier had his back up far enough at the moment, and despite recent events she did trust him…most of the time anyway.
“Do you want me to fill Riley in?” he asked, pausing on his way out of the kitchen.
“You might as well,” Sarah allowed, getting up to follow him to the front door. “And Derek?”
“Try to phrase it as a request.”
Sarah stood at the front door and twitched the curtain aside to look out over the driveway. Twilight was fast descending into true darkness and there was still no sign of Derek returning with Jessie and Riley. She wasn’t worried…yet. But she didn’t like not knowing where they were or exactly what they were up to.
She cursed her reluctance to talk to Jessie this morning. If she’d been a little less eager to avoid dealing with the woman then she might not be so ignorant.
“Staring out that window isn’t going to make them come home any faster,” John pointed out, coming up to stand beside her.
“You’re not responsible for them.”
“No.” John took his mother firmly by the shoulders and steered her away from the doorway, pushing her gently down into a chair. “Derek and Jessie have been taking care of themselves for years, and between them they’ll keep Riley safe.”
Sarah snorted. “Yeah…because Jessie was doing such a great job of that before…”
John shrugged. “She thought she was doing the right thing.”
“The right thing?” Sarah twisted around in the armchair to look up at him. “There is no world in which setting up a girl to be murdered in cold blood is the right thing to do.”
“And just standing back and watching the resistance fall apart would have been better?” John countered, stepping around his mother to drop down sideways onto the couch so that he could face her.
“I can’t believe you’re defending her!”
“I’m not.” He leaned forward over the arm. “I’m just trying to see it from her perspective, because if I don’t, then she’s just the woman that tried to kill my girlfriend, and I can’t handle that.”
Sarah opened her mouth to tell him that he didn’t have to handle it, but the truth was that he did. They all did. And if trying to rationalize the woman’s actions made that easier to face, then she couldn’t bring herself to argue with him.
John watched her try to come up with something comforting to say, smiling faintly when they both realized that there really wasn’t any way to spin this that could be called comforting.
“Hey…I just don’t want you blaming yourself for what she did,” Sarah finally managed; guessing at some of what was bothering him.
“Why?” John asked sharply. “Because I’m a teenage boy?” He scowled down at the carpet. “I wasn’t sixteen when I sent myself back a cybernetic girlfriend so I think at some point I have to take some responsibility for that.”
“For what? Something you may or may not do twenty years from now?” Sarah reached across the space between their seats to grip her son’s chin, turning his face up to look at her. “Listen to me. We can’t know what was going through future John’s head when he sent Cameron back with that directive, but we do know how they operate. They never give up, they never stop. There’s nothing you could have done.”
“Because I can’t control myself.”
“Because you’re human.”
John snorted, pulling away. “So if you were in my shoes, you’d be just as susceptible, is that what you’re saying?”
“I…” Sarah couldn’t think of a way to refute that without insulting him. In her opinion he was more vulnerable to Cameron by way of his age and gender…It was biology, not a judgment call.
“That’s what I thought.” John took her lack of response as confirmation and stood up, leaning forward with his hands resting on the arm of her chair. “You don’t trust me, and you’re my mother…So how can I blame Jessie for having the same doubts?”
“It’s not the same.” Sarah refuted, stung by her son’s accusation but unable to deny that she hadn’t trusted his judgment where Cameron was concerned.
“No. It’s not.” He admitted with a wry grin. “You wouldn’t have gotten Riley involved. You would have just blown Cameron’s head off with one of those crazy isotope rifles.”
Sarah snorted, conceding his point with a sheepish grin. “Yeah well…subtlety has never been one of my strong suits.”
John laughed. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Next to Derek and Cameron, you’re practically a super spy.”
Relived that the tension seemed to have dissipated, Sarah relaxed back in her chair, fixing her son with a narrow stare. “More subtle than a trigger happy ex-soldier and a killing machine in pink nail polish? That’s not saying a whole lot.”
“Just calling it how I see it.” John raised his hands in surrender, backing away from her and almost bumping into Cameron on her way into the living room. “Speaking of killing machines… No offence
The terminator sidestepped the teenager neatly, turning her head to watch him continue past her and up the stairs. When he was out of sight, she looked back at Sarah
“I fooled him,” Cameron pointed out, as if she felt the need to defend her infiltration abilities.
“I know,” Sarah granted wearily because it seemed like the terminator was expecting some kind of acknowledgement from her.
Cameron stood there quietly for a moment, looking down intently at Sarah as if she had something else to say but wasn’t sure how to say it. Or maybe she was just broken; Sarah was tired of guessing where the metal girl was concerned.
The terminator stretched out her arm, flexing the wrist to a ninety-degree angle and spreading her fingers to examine the freshly manicured nails. “What’s wrong with pink?”
“Your niece?” Sarah asked skeptically, accepting a bag of Chinese takeout from Derek as he shrugged out of his coat and hung it up in the front hall. Jessie and Riley were already in the kitchen putting the rest of the food on the table, and she could hear the domestic sounds of drawers and cupboards opening and closing as they set out the plates and silverware.
“Second cousin once removed actually,” he admitted. “But niece is a lot easier to explain.” Pulling a sheaf of folded papers out of his pocket he passed them over before explaining. “According to these, Riley’s great-great-grandfather was also my great-grandfather.” Taking back the heavy paper bag so that Sarah could peruse the paperwork, Derek headed into the kitchen.
“So they’re just handing kids out to anyone these days are they?” Sarah scanned the documents as she followed him, her tone indicating that she didn’t think a whole lot of a system that just passed a teenage girl over to a single uncle with such a flimsy claim of relation.
Derek shrugged, setting the bag on the table and ripping it open to pull out steaming Styrofoam containers. “Jessie faked the paperwork. I just signed it.”
“So now John and I both have an Uncle Derek,” Riley chimed in with air quotes and her characteristic grin, linking arms with the ex-soldier and batting her eyes up at him.
“Make those eyes at your own man sweetie,” Jessie admonished in a weak attempt at playfulness, pulling Riley gently away from Derek so that he could sit down, and propelling her towards John who had been lured into the kitchen by the smell of food.
Riley seemed willing enough to go along with the charade, but she stiffened when Jessie touched her, and the hand that she wrapped around John’s arm was a gripping a little more tightly than absolutely necessary.
“What’s this about sharing an uncle?” John wrapped an arm around Riley’s waist, and smiled down reassuringly. “Does that mean I’m dating my cousin?”
“No silly. That would just be creepy,” Riley teased, affecting a pathetic mien. “You’re dating your third cousin.”
“Wow…because that’s completely normal.” John laughed, freeing himself to sit down and grab a plate, piling it with rice, noodles and lemon chicken. Riley pulled up a chair beside him and they fought good-naturedly over the box of egg rolls.
“It’s easier than changing her whole damned identity, so just be grateful I didn’t save myself some more trouble and make her your half sister,” Jessie reminded him, also taking a place at the table and reaching between the teenagers to steal an egg roll.
“Thanks, but one pretend sister is more than enough,” John answered with relief, taking a bite out of a chicken ball and managing to drip sweet and sour sauce down his chin.
“So where is the metal?” Jessie asked, glancing around as if she expected Cameron to come jumping out of the walls. “Tucked safely away in a closet for the night?”
“I think she’s in her room,” John answered stiffly, lowering a forkful of noodles back to his plate.
“It has a room?” The Aussie’s voice melted from surprise into condescending sugar, though the smile that twisted her lips was bitter. “How sweet...”
“She’s supposed to be his sister. It would look a little strange if she didn’t have her own room,” Sarah cut in, coming all the way into the kitchen to stand behind John’s chair. Seeing the first signs of temper in the set of his eyes and the way he was holding himself, she reached down to squeeze his shoulder gently. Jessie’s attitude was abrasive, and where Cameron was concerned it bordered on offensive, but she didn’t need a brawl in her kitchen tonight.
“Would it now…?” Jessie queried, leaning back in her chair and looking up at Sarah with a thin veneer of nonchalance layered over disgust. “Because you seem kind of chummy with it yourself, so I’m thinking that maybe John’s not the only one who’s forgotten what that thing really is.”
“John,” Sarah spoke almost slowly through gritted teeth, as she gripped the back of the chair and locked eyes with Jessie across the table. “Why don’t you and Riley go upstairs and tell Cameron its dinner time.”
“Mom…” John sounded doubtful, glancing back and forth between his mother and Jessie.
“Now, John.” Sarah didn’t look away from the other woman but her tone left no room for discussion and he complied hastily, dragging a bemused Riley with him out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
Sarah waited until he was out of earshot before speaking.
“Listen, I’ve had a really bad day, so I’m not in the mood to put this nicely. Don’t think for a second that just because I am tolerating your presence in my home that I want you here, or that I have in any way forgotten what you did to that girl… what you were prepared to do.”
“Sarah…” Derek growled warningly.
“Shut up, or get out Derek,” Sarah snapped without looking at him, and he subsided grudgingly, resting a supportive hand on Jessie’s back.
“My son may have chosen to believe that you had good intentions, and Derek here might care enough about you to lie to both of us, but I want to be very clear when I say that neither of those things will protect you for even a minute if Cameron decides that you are still a threat. The only thing standing between you and her is that so far she’s willing to accept my word that you’re more useful to us alive. The instant that that changes for any reason, she will come for you, and there isn’t a thing that any of us can do to stop her.”
Sarah paused to make sure that had sunk in before continuing. “So, you may want to reconsider just who has forgotten what she is, what she’s capable of doing to protect my son…and keep your opinions to yourself.”
Silence reigned after she finished, neither woman willing to back down, both of them fully cognizant of the others conviction.
“Is that a threat?” Jessie managed finally, pale under her dusky complexion.
“Yes,” Sarah snarled, sick unto death of keeping up appearances. She waited until Jessie dropped her eyes before peeling her hands off the back of the chair and stalking from the kitchen, slamming the front door on her way out.
Fear, shame and fury battled across Jessie’s face in the wake of Sarah’s exit. If either the fear or fury had won it might not have ended there, but it was shame that finally settled into her features and shame that made her hold her tongue when the clatter of feet on the stairs signaled the return of Riley and John, with Cameron trailing woodenly along behind them.
The night was cool but Sarah barely felt it though the heat of her anger. It sustained her down the porch steps, across the lawn and up the driveway to the Jeep, but as soon as she got into the driver’s seat and realized that she’d forgotten the keys, the fury abandoned her. Bereft she left the door open and gripped the wheel, pressing her forehead down on the rim between her hands.
Hot tears threatened and she fought them back, squeezing her eyes shut against their burn. It was too much. First Derek, then Riley, Jessie and soon Lauren and Sydney… There were too many people depending on her to keep them safe, to save them. Even while they denied it, hated her, fought her, lied to her, it was there in their eyes and their faces, and some of them she didn’t want to save.
John might be destined to be the savior of humanity, but he had passed the responsibility for all of them on to her when he begged her to stop the apocalypse. She couldn’t say no to him, couldn’t tell him that she was tired, that she was scared and lonely. He had been angry when she’d tried to stop him from seeing Riley, but he couldn’t see that she was as alone as he was. Just like she had been since before he was born, when she was barely older then he was now.
He was her life, but she wasn’t his. Still, she would do this for him, had to do this for him, even when she didn’t want to anymore.
“I will kill her if you ask me to.”
Sarah jerked her head up off the wheel to see Cameron standing just inside the open door of the Jeep with a plate of Chinese food in her hands. “What?”
“I will kill her if you ask me to,” The terminator repeated. “I heard your fight. John said not to eavesdrop but I thought it might be relevant to my mission so I listened.”
“Relevant how?” Sarah disregarded Cameron’s offer to kill for her in favour of the lesser confession.
“Protect John. Jessie might be a threat.” Outwardly the girl was completely calm but Sarah couldn’t shake the feeling that somewhere in there was a desire akin to her own where Jessie was concerned.
“I don’t want you to kill her.” Even as she spoke the words Sarah hoped they weren’t a lie. She didn’t want to want Jessie dead, even while she fervently wished her elsewhere, or better yet, back in the future where she came from.
“Maybe later?” This time there was no doubt that a hint of hope coloured Cameron’s response, and Sarah snorted softly, irrationally cheered by the sense of camaraderie in their exchange, in spite of its subject matter.
“We’ll see,” Sarah allowed. Casting about for a way to change the subject, she looked down at the plate in Cameron’s hands. “Trying to make me eat?” She asked, amused despite herself.
“Yes,” Cameron admitted, offering the dish to her. “The doctor said you need to eat.”
“I suppose you’re prepared to stand here and stare at me until I do?” Sarah sighed when Cameron nodded, but she took the plate anyway and slid over to the passenger side. “You might as well get in then. Did you bring cutlery or am I supposed to use my fingers?”
“I brought a fork and knife,” Cameron reassured her, climbing into the Jeep and handing the implements over. “John said you would not be in the mood for chopsticks.”
“John was right.” Sarah ate silently and methodically after that. The food was cold and the confrontation with Jessie had stolen whatever appetite she may have had, but she ate it anyway. Not because Cameron wouldn’t leave until she did, though she was happy enough to let the terminator believe that, but because she was beginning to get an inkling of what the doctor had meant when he’d implied that she was looking for an escape.
When she was finished, Sarah set the empty plate and utensils up on the dash and leaned back in the seat.
“Do you want me to leave?”
“Hmm?” Sarah turned her head to look at Cameron. The girl had watched quietly while she ate, barely moving, almost as if she felt that any interruption might cause Sarah to stop eating.
“You ate the dinner so that I would leave you alone,” Cameron explained. “Now that you are finished, do you want me to leave?”
“Do you want to go?” Sarah asked in return. The truth was that she didn’t really like the idea of sitting here alone; she just didn’t have the energy to perform any more tonight. Cameron wouldn’t ask her to be anything other than herself.
“No,” The metal girl answered softly, wide brown eyes fixed on Sarah’s face. Tilting her head, she suddenly gave the impression of distress, even though her expression hadn’t changed.
“What?” Sarah couldn’t help asking.
“I should have brought napkins,” Cameron confessed.
Without warning, Cameron reached forward and brushed her fingers across Sarah’s lips, freezing the woman in place. When she pulled her hand back there was a piece of rice captured between her thumb and forefinger. “You got some on your mouth,” she explained innocently.
Sarah couldn’t speak for a moment. She wasn’t sure what exactly she was feeling in response to Cameron’s warm fingers on her mouth, but it was damned uncomfortable whatever it was. All of a sudden she needed some space. “Next time just point okay?” She corrected the terminator brusquely, a little firmer than she’d intended to be, but unable to soften the rebuke in the face of the tension that innocent touch had evoked.
The idea of Cameron feeling fear had weirded Sarah out enough, and the terminator’s admission that she might be damaged, had out and out frightened her, but this, this was disturbing it its own way. She had almost begun to let herself relax around Cameron and apparently that needed to stop. Right now. Sarah had no intention of giving the girl the impression that this sort of thing was okay.
“You want me to leave now.” It wasn’t a question and Cameron didn’t wait for an answer before she slipped out of the Jeep. Sarah watched her go with a twinge of something suspiciously like guilt in her chest.
“Cameron…” She called her back just before the girl shut the door.
“Thank you.” Sarah gestured at the empty plate. “For dinner I mean.”
“You’re welcome.” The metal girl turned to go but stopped with the edge of the door in her hand. “I should say thank you as well.”
“Why?” Sarah asked, confused.
“Jessie called me a thing…an ‘It’. That made you angry.”
Sarah opened her mouth to explain that she had been furious with Jessie for playing with Riley, bating John, and being a general bitch, but she hesitated, the words catching in her throat. In hindsight, she realized that she had reacted in part to Jessie’s attitude towards Cameron. Not entirely, or even mostly, but there was no denying that a small corner of her anger had roiled exclusively on the terminator’s behalf.
“You’re welcome,” Sarah responded instead, oddly pleased when her words seemed to lift something off of the girl.
Cameron nodded and eased the door shut before returning to the house. Sarah sat for a little while longer, content to be alone with her thoughts for the moment. Cameron’s visit had somehow eased the worst of her earlier turmoil, while adding an entirely new kind…
She knew that she needed to discourage this new habit Cameron was developing; it wasn’t appropriate for the girl to be following her around and feeding her. Even if it was only a reaction to the loss of one of her key directives, or a strange extension of her mission to protect John, Sarah couldn’t allow it to continue. She wondered though, if the problem was that Cameron needed to fixate on someone. If so, she would have like to know how she’d managed to draw the short straw. Maybe they should get the girl a cat.
Snickering lightly at the thought of Cameron with a pet, Sarah finally felt ready to leave the Jeep. She managed to get through the house without encountering anyone, though she heard Derek and Jessie talking quietly in the kitchen as she ghosted through the darkened living room. If they saw her they didn’t say anything, for which she was profoundly grateful.
Reaching her room, she shut the door and stripped out of her jeans and sweater, wishing she could shed the emotional baggage of the day just as easily. A quick rummage through her dresser resulted in a worn t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms and she slipped them on, enjoying the feel of the comfortable old clothing.
Clicking off the bedroom light, her eyes were drawn to the bedside table, lit in warm gold by a fat little lamp. Beside her clock there was a glass of water and a small white pill resting on the pamphlet she’d given Cameron at the hospital. Looking down at the picture of two women holding hands, Sarah reached out and picked up the third thing sitting there. It was a fortune cookie, still in its plastic wrapping and in spite of her usual attitude towards the oracular treats; she couldn’t help the little smile that tugged at her mouth as she sat down on the bed and pulled the package open, breaking the cookie once she’d freed it.
“Your life becomes more and more of an adventure!” Sarah read off the little slip of paper with a snort. “No shit.” But she was more amused than annoyed, and she ate the cookie to postpone the decision of whether or not to take the sleeping pill.
It lay there accusingly beside the glass of water, and even though Cameron wasn’t physically present, Sarah could practically feel the terminator’s disapproval at her hesitation.
“All right, girlie,” she muttered before slipping the pill into her mouth and chasing it with a swallow of water. “You win this round, but we are definitely going to talk about this mothering thing tomorrow.”