TITLE: The Frail

DISCLAIMER: I'm not sure yet exactly who holds the rights to the Sarah Connor Chronicles, other than James Cameron lost them a few years ago, but I'm confident someone does.

NOTES: This one was came out of a few moments in the first two episodes of the Sarah Connor Chronicles, but mostly that moment in "Gnothi Seauton" when Sarah casually chucks Cameron out the window and John stares down in disbelief. I took one look at his reaction and thought "yeah, these two definitely have different attitudes towards this killer robot driving instructor."

RATING: Call it a hard T.

Who would design a robot that looked like that?

More than anything else, Sarah Connor reflected, her son was a something of a romantic. When she saw the Machines, all she could see was the pain and destruction they'd already caused her and the people she'd loved... but John saw the potential for something better, more noble.

That, in itself, made her uncomfortable.

Still, she would have been much happier if her future-son had sent back one of the older model killing machines that was less likely to don a miniskirt to protect them. It was going to be a problem for her son sooner or later, which meant she had to take action now, while she still had time.

After all, that was the reason she'd been brought to this time in the first place.

When John was safely out of earshot, Sarah approached Cameron cautiously, always ready for a battle. "I need to speak to you about John."

"If John is in danger, I will neutralize the threat..." Cameron began with the usual lack of emotion.

Sarah shook her head. "No, it's not that. It's..." Sarah took a deep breath. "When John looks at you..." Sarah explained, wishing she could be having nearly any other conversation in the world "...He doesn't see a Machine. John thinks you're a girl."

The polite name for Cameron's reaction would be confusion, but Sarah couldn't help but think it was a little closer to does not compute. "I am a girl," she replied evenly. "I have all the appropriate gender-related organs and they are function within normal parameters."

"I know exactly how you things are designed," Sarah replied bitterly, not letting on for a moment that Cameron had just voiced the exact problem. "I've known for years. But when John looks at you, he doesn't see the robot that casually gunned down Enrique," she said pointedly. "John may know what you really are, but on some level he still thinks you're the cute girl that talked to him in the hallway on his first day of school."

Cameron seemed to take a moment to think about this, although Sarah knew it was more accurate to say she was processing information. "John Connor is the most important single human being in history," Cameron finally replied as she turned to leave the room. "To have him see me as truly alive is the greatest honor I could ever be given."

"Your John," Sarah reminded her caustically, "not mine."

"He will be the same person," Cameron replied, "and I will do what I can to help him."

And even though the Machine had said it all without the slightest effect, Sarah couldn't help but hear the cold threat dripping in her voice.

----

"What was that about," John asked casually as Cameron walked up behind him.

"Your mother thinks you see me as a human being," she said with the usual monotone bluntness.

"Oh," John replied, awash in awkward shyness, completely unable to look her in the eyes. "No, I know you're a machine," he replied, clearly trying to remind himself of this fairly important point.

There was a strange twist on her face that he'd seen only a few times before. "I don't want you to," she said, her voice confused as if she was feeling something vaguely resembling real emotion and she didn't know quite what to do with it.

John's eyes widened. In his mind, he thought back to all the times he'd seen similar behavior in Cameron and looked for a common denominator. He nearly asked her about it, but instead found himself asking her "why do you look like that?"

"Do you ever ask yourself the same question?" she asked, snapping effortlessly back into the usual matter-of-fact tone.

And suddenly there was a big "click" in John's head and it all made sense. Fortunately, before he could say anything, the air was broken unmistakable sound of a crazed killing machine punching his way through the solid brickwork of his house.

And even as he prepared to run off for the sake of his continued existence and (by extension) that of mankind in general, he couldn't help but feel somewhat happy to be back on familiar ground.