I don't know tech stuff. This time travel business gives me gyp. Sequel to 'Breaking The News' and 'Escapism'. Set in an AU where the Terminator was destroyed when the truck blew up, in the first film. The Terminator, Kyle Reese, and John and Sarah Connor all belong to James Cameron. No infringement of copyright was intended; these characters are used without permission, and not for profit.

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"What d'you think of 'Henry' as a name?"

Kyle looked at her in startled shock. "What? You can't mess with – he has to be called..." He spotted the evil glint in Sarah's eyes, and reached over, swatting her lightly on the head.

"Hey! No hitting the pregnant woman, thank you very much!"

Kyle glared at her. "Stop bein' so much trouble and I won't have to," he said. "Were you always this difficult?"

Sarah leaned back musingly. "Only since I met you," she said. "My life was pretty quiet before then."

"Hmph." Sarah continued to stare into space, and Kyle tapped the table pointedly. "No shirking. Get this thing reassembled."

Sarah sighed and went back to work, her fingers picking nimbly through the pieces of the dismantled .357. "Sir, yes, sir," she muttered.

He watched her work silently for a while, not allowing himself to prompt her when she hesitated. She was making good progress: she was a fast learner. John had told him once that no one knew weapons like his mother – it was like they were a natural extension of her own body. Well, John, Kyle said silently to himself, she wasn't always like that. But he could already see the seeds of that legend in the deft way her fingers moved over the growing shape of the gun. Soon, she was finished, and he watched as she looked the weapon over, checking for faults or flaws in her work. He could see at a glance that there weren't any. Yes, this woman would be the Sarah Connor he'd grown up revering. Finally she looked up, smiling, but her smile faltered at something she saw in his face.

"What's wrong, Kyle?" she asked, quietly.

"Nothing," he said, a little too quickly.

Sarah laid the gun down, a frown creasing her brow. "Did I do it wrong?" She touched the weapon with one slim finger, pushing it so the barrel pointed away from them both, even though it wasn't loaded.

"No. No, you did everything right. You're a fast learner." He got up quickly, wanting to get away from her sharp eyes, and started to pull clothes into the suitcase.

Sarah got up and came to stand behind him, putting gentle hands on his shoulders and stilling his restless movements. "I'll always need you," she said softly, seeing straight to the heart of the matter, as always.

"You won't," he contradicted. "You're good, Sarah. You're a fast learner, and you're a natural – with weapons, tactics – everything. What I know, you could just as easily learn from someone else."

Her fingers dug hard into his biceps. "Kyle, don't think like that – you're not gonna die. I won't let you!"

"It's not up to you. I wasn't there, Sarah." He turned to meet her eyes at last. "John's father dies. I told you that. No one even knows his name. You were the one who taught John, even before the war – that's why you're a legend! You knew what was coming and you prepared him – not me. I have no part in that, except to teach you all I know, before-"

"No! Stop!" She shook him, hard, to stop the words already on his lips. "Don't you remember the message? 'The future is not set.' You told me that, too. John told you to tell me that. You don't have to die – we can change it. Hell, we might already have changed it – that Terminator didn't kill you, did it?"

"We don't know how it happens – I might get hit by a car tomorrow. I might have a heart attack next week. I might hit my head and drown in the goddamn bath tonight – we just don't know!" She saw, suddenly, that the constant anticipation of his death was wearing on him – it hung over him like a shadow, wondering if every moment was his last. "I'm not afraid of dying – I just can't stand this waiting!"

"Oh, this fucking time travel..." Sarah sighed angrily. "I wish I'd told John to give you a proper briefing before he sent you, so at least we'd know! In fact, I bet I did tell him, and the little shit disobeyed me. Listen to me, Kyle. I believe John when he says the future is not set in stone. I think we can change things. That's why we have to hit Cyberdyne. That's why I don't plan on letting you die. We can change this – and you won't have to grow up starving, hiding from HKs. You'll have a normal life – billions of people will just have normal lives. And they'll never know how it might have been. That's what I intend to do – that's what I will do."

"But if you do that, then John will never send me back in time..." Kyle ran his hand through his hair, frustrated. "God! I wish I knew how this worked!"

"Me too, kiddo." Sarah moved closer, and Kyle wrapped her in his arms, leaning his cheek on her hair. "This is how I think it goes," she said slowly. "I think that, when you left and came back in time, you were separated from your own timeline – it's like you're a free agent, and that future became just one of an infinite number of possibilities. The future isn't set in stone – that's why we had to fight that goddamn Terminator, and why it nearly killed us. He – it – was separated from the timeline, too, so it could have won. If it was all predestined, then we wouldn't have had to run so hard – hell, you wouldn't even have had to come back, because obviously it couldn't have killed me, because it already hadn't – d'you see? Nothing is set, so now we have to stay in hiding, stay safe – because there's a chance that I might die before I even have this baby, before I have a chance to prepare it for anything." His arms squeezed her, unwilling even to think of that. "And if that's true, then there's a chance you'll live. That's the way it works. All or nothing – either it's all predestined, in which case why worry, or it's not, in which case we have to work at getting it right this time. And I have to believe that's possible – I have to."

There was silence between them for a long while, whilst Kyle digested that. "It sounds plausible," he admitted, eventually.

"Damn right it does. I've been thinking about it for long enough."

"You're a hell of a woman, Sarah."

"Yeah, yeah," she grumbled. "The mother of the future. The legendary Sarah Connor. So you keep telling me."

"No." He pulled back, and brought her face up to look at him. "You – you, right here, right now – are a hell of a woman. I worshipped the legendary Sarah Connor. But I love you. It's the one certain thing in this world – the only thing set in stone. Compared to that, death is merely a possibility." Their arms tightened around one another as they kissed. Then he rocked her gently in his arms, and spoke thoughtfully. "I like the name Christopher."

"No! There was a boy in school called that – I always hated him. No son of mine is going to be called Christopher..."

END.