A loud crackle and a burst of fireworks exploded in front of my eyes. Seemingly in slow motion, Cameron's body flew backward and then time sped up as she smashed into the floor, hair askew and arms spread out. But her eyes, those deep brown eyes remained wide open.

"They rigged it," I said just before I dropped to my knees beside my bodyguard. It felt like a boulder had dropped onto my chest. Stupid boy. Of course they rigged it. How could you have assumed that it would be so easy? You should have known better. If you had just used your brain and thought about it, Cameron wouldn't be lying lifeless on the floor.

I turned her head back and forth, frantically searching for some sign of consciousness. "W-what did she say, a hundred and twenty seconds before the system reboots?" I stuttered pathetically. Panic rose within me and I tried to shove it back down. Danger was a regular part of my life. I was used to seeing people get hurt, but somehow, this felt different. It felt scarier.

I patted her cheek, attempting to rouse her somehow. That was what you did when someone passed out. You lightly slapped her face until she came to.

One hundred and twenty seconds. That's two whole minutes. I didn't think I could take five more seconds. I wanted to drag her up and shake her--order her to come back to life. When would I become this Future John that she took orders from anyway? Could I order her to reboot faster?

Reboot. That word sounded so wrong in conjunction with Cameron. She's not a computer. She's a Machine-Girl. The Tin Man wasn't made of flesh and bone, but he still had a heart. Did Cameron have a heart? Could she feel? If I laid my head on her chest, would I hear it beating? If it could beat, could it stop?

"We got to get in there, John. We can't come back," Mom said hastily.

"Mom, we'll find the money some other way," I replied. I just wanted to take Cameron and get out of that place. She looked so small, so frail. I never thought that I would ever associate vulnerability with Cameron, but there was no other word for it. Furthermore, it was creeping me out to see her eyes blankly staring up at nothing. She looked like she was dead.

"No, whatever's in there, I want it now," Mom insisted. She didn't even look at her. She didn't care. Mom saw nothing more than a killing machine when she looked at Cameron. No matter how humanoid her behavior became, she treated her like a walking, talking computer with a 9mm.

How long has it been? Surely it's been at least ninety seconds by now.

"Numbers. What are the numbers? What could the numbers be?" Mom asked, pointing the flashlight at me.

How was I supposed to know what the numbers were? All I wanted was for Cameron to open her eyes and pop up and reassure me that she wasn't as lifeless as she looked. But as soon as I saw the determination in my mom's eyes, I knew that we weren't leaving until she got whatever was in that safe.

Suddenly an idea came to me and I jumped up and stepped in front of the door, muttering about fingerprints. Then I put my hand inside the cloth of my tee shirt and punched in the code.

I heard a click and I popped open the door, revealing a large black bag inside of the safe.

"It's a date. Judgement Day," I said, somewhat creeped out by my future looming over me once again. It was almost suffocating at times. John Connor: the Savior of all Mankind. I'm only fifteen years old. How am I supposed to bear that kind of responsibility?

Clearing my mind and focusing on the task at hand, I grabbed the bag and handed it to my mom. Then a dog started barking nearby and both of our minds jumped to the same conclusion: another Terminator was nearby, probably in the very same building. We jumped into action.

It took a lot of effort, but together we managed to lift Cameron into a rolling chair and I grabbed the bag, heading towards the window where we came in as Mom had told me to do. She said that it didn't take two people to push the chair, heavy though Cameron was. As I dropped the heavy canvas bag to the ground, it should have occurred to me why she wanted me away from Cameron. If I had been anywhere close to the two of them, then I would have tried to stop Mom from doing what she did next, even though it might have saved our lives.

I looked over just in time to hear the wheels squealing as they rolled across the floor and Cameron hit the wall with enough momentum to flip her out the window. A shock of electricity coursed through me as I heard her crash into what I assumed to be the ground. How could she just push her out a window to fall down several stories? Jaw dropped, I gazed at my mother in horror as bile crept up my throat. She might as well have thrown her into a dumpster. That was how I felt.

I flew to the window and looked out, barely registering the sound of my mother rushing to the other window. As strange as it sounded, a car had cushioned her fall. I supposed that the thin roof was softer than the hard Cement underneath the vehicle. With the way her arms spread out beside her, she looked like a fallen angel.

When I was satisfied that she wasn't dead, or, rather, I acknowledged that the other terminator was closing in on us, I quickly jumped up and followed my mother out of the building.

My mind was pure instinct as we ran down the stairs. Put one foot in front of the other. Grip the rails. Don't trip. But as soon as we reached the bottom, I darted across the alley to where Cameron lied motionless on top of the car.

For a split second, she didn't move and I thought that she was broken. Anger rushed through me as I cursed whoever rigged that trap and I even cursed my mother as I wondered if the fall was partially to blame. Sure, Cameron was hard to kill, but she wasn't indestructible.

But then she turned her head. She was awake, alive, and moving…and suddenly I felt light. I hadn't noticed the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest since I jumped out the window, but I noticed it lifting.

I watched Cameron sit up and found myself waiting. I still wasn't completely convinced that she was fine. My heart was still pounding in my chest, and I had a feeling that it more than adrenaline or fear of the enemy following closely behind us.

As soon as she dropped to her feet and started running, I finally breathed an internal sigh of relief and followed her down the street. Still, my eyes kept drifting towards her like they were magnetized and I tried to see her chest rise and fall--listened for labored breathing. I imagined a strong heart beating inside of her metal ribcage and lifted up a silent prayer that it would never stop.


Disclaimer: If I owned "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", John and Cameron wouldn't be pretending to be brother and sister and they'd be together already. lol.

A/N: So, it's a little OOC 'cause I romanticized it a little...or a lot. lol. I'll let you guys decide that one. Please review and tell me what you think. Hopefully it wasn't too awful. This is one of my favorite moments in the series so far and I wanted to somewhat do it justice.