Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with any "Terminator" movie or TV.

Warnings: Spoilers for episode 1 of 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and reference to the first Terminator movie.

Author's Note: So this was a plot bunny that wouldn't let go, really wouldn't let go! Sort of surprised me since I'm on a fan fic. break, but hey go figure, right. :P I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading. :)


"I can't lead an army..."

So determined, so knowing, so terrified...

His words ring in her head, echoing those of a young girl with blonde strands of bedraggled, dirty hair hanging in front of glazed eyes brimming with shock and that same terror.

I can barely balance my checkbook, she'd cried, desperation barely hiding behind a valiant attempt at humor.

"… maybe that's you," John continued; words rushed, holding back tears, screaming for justice, because if ever anything was unjust it was the hand dealt to her boy.

"But it'll never be me. So you've got to stop it."

She'd thought it would never be her too. How would she raise the savior of mankind?

She couldn't have seen herself doing it, couldn't see that strength inside her—hadn't seen it until Reese's blood had soaked through her clothes, had turned her hands crimson; hadn't seen it inside herself until she'd seen that strength in him.

She'd never believed it was over; not really. She'd hoped, prayed, denied… but she'd known somehow that it wasn't over; that it would never be over.

Reese had traveled to the past on orders from his commanding officer—so that he could sire that commanding officer. Circles like that didn't disappear. The future wasn't as liquid as that—it could be delayed, maybe altered a little, but it couldn't be erased.

John Connor would be the savior of mankind.

The When of it and the Why of it and possibly even the How of it were up for grabs, but the basic tenant wouldn't change anymore than that his father wasn't even born yet.

"Please…" Her boy added; voice wavering, determination and knowledge giving way to that terror.

He didn't see his strength. He didn't see that he was a survivor, that he would take what life threw at him and hurl it back. She saw that now, saw that he didn't see the strength in himself.

"Mom…"

It was a plea accompanied by tear filled eyes that turned him from sixteen to six and after that it took her only a moment, one beat, as everything shifted into place.

Reese and Terminators and possibility, truth and horror and fate, love and family and hope-- she nodded once, the decision made. "Alright."

John blinked, startled by the one word, the simple acquiescence. She pulled him into her arms, cutting off his surprised, uncertain words with her own, "I'll stop it." She promised.

The empty words slid off her tongue smoothly and she wondered again if Reese had known, if he'd lied when he'd told her he didn't know who her child's father would be. She wondered if empty words had slid off his tongue as easily as they did hers now; if he'd loved her enough for that to be possible.

For a moment she let her eyes close, just felt her boys arms wrap around her.

John would have to see it in her first.

She had to show him her strength, the strength Reese had shown her, the strength, he in turn, would show Reese.

Another circle closed—the piece she'd been missing, hadn't wanted to see, in place. He would have to see her die fighting.