TITLE: And So It Went
AUTHOR: indie
CHARACTERS: Sarah Connor/Derek Reese
WARNINGS: Spoilers for anything through 1:7 "The Demon Hand".
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Don't know who does.
SUMMARY: Derek didn't like Sarah … much.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I don't have a beta for this fandom, so I'm sure there are mistakes.

When he first arrived in 2007, Derek was overwhelmed just like the rest of 'em. Sayles, Sumner, Timms – all were in awe. They were soldiers first and foremost, so they did the job. Recon. Base camp. Supplies. Surveillance. But when your primary mission was to wait until you were needed, there was a whole lot of down time.

Derek had his own non-Connor-sanctioned agenda – tracking down Andy Goode before he doomed the future for the entire human race. Billy Wisher had never been great at subterfuge. Andy Goode might as well have had a bullseye tattooed to his chest. Finding him, tracking him and - when it became apparent Sarah wasn't going to do it - killing him, was no obstacle. In fact, Andy was such an accommodating target, Derek barely needed to keep an eye on him. Which left him with a lot of free time.

Derek kept waiting for the novelty of this time to wear thin, but it never did. In this fragile, finite world, everything … worked. Meds that could have saved hundreds in Derek's native time were easily obtained from the corner drugstore. There were bulbs in all the light fixtures and children were free to play in the sunlight. But the people were so oblivious, so soft and reliant on their technology. The urge to grab them – all of them – and shake some sense into them was nearly overwhelming. Didn't they realize what they had? Didn't they realize how quickly it could be lost?

The answer, of course, was no. No one had a clue. Those few far looking individuals who dared to voice such an opinion were shouted down, ostracized from mainstream society. Technology was the way of the future.

They had no idea just how true that was.

Derek came to the past trying to find answers. So far, all he had were more questions. His baby brother, Kyle, was dead. Killed protecting John Connor. That information was so horrible, so devastating Derek had yet to process it. He doubted he would ever process it. His only hope now was to try and find the right set of actions, the correct sequence of events to avert it all. If there was no Judgment Day, then there was no need for Kyle to be sent back in time. That hope was what Derek clung to now. Hope he had the foresight and the perseverance to avoid his birthright. So, yet again, all he had to do now was wait. Wait and see. Protect John.

John …

This John was nothing like the John Connor Derek knew from the future. The boy had the same air of authority, the strange charisma, but he was so damn earnest Derek had no idea what to do with him. The secretive, secluded general from the future was only a distant echo in the open, intense young man. And the way John looked at him … like there was something he had to confess, some connection he needed to make. None of it made any sense.

Derek would stay with them, protect them, mostly because he had no choice. Kyle gave his life to protect John. At least that's what the boy said. So far neither John nor Sarah had offered any real details of Kyle's life with them, or his death. Both Sarah and John shied from the topic and Derek couldn't stand to press them about it. Truth was, he didn't want to know. He didn't want the intimate details of his baby brother's death. Thankfully the hunk of metal didn't seem to know anything about it. Derek couldn't imagine a worse hell than having to hear those details relayed without inflection by that robot.

Derek tilted the bottle and drained it in one long drink. He nodded to the bartender and soon another was placed in front of him. That was definitely another perk of living here and now. The old timers used to reminisce about a cold beer, but the reality of it surpassed any imaginings. He sure as hell didn't miss the rotgut whiskey Hubs used to brew in that rusty tin can contraption.

He took another drink and a girl on the other side of the room smiled coyly at him. He looked away. That was another thing he never got used to. The women. There was this whole production associated with sex here. A ritual. The flirting and talking and sly smiles and light touches. Sex was a biological imperative, a need like any other. Everyone knew that. If the need struck and your partner was willing, you went for it. In ten minutes, you might all be dead. There were none of the games. The human race didn't have time.

Not that Derek couldn't appreciate the women of this time. They were like exotic birds he'd seen pictures of as a child, extinct creatures from another time. They were so soft in every way. At first he relished it. They were all so clean and smelled so good. They wore such frivolous, impractical clothing. They giggled and cooed. They took their time.

But they had the strangest expectations. The more time he spent with them, the more he felt out of place, unable to play by their rules or read their cues.

All in all, the mystique of these women was dwindling. Derek flatly refused to consider whether or not that might have anything to do with Sarah.

Derek didn't like Sarah …much. He had to admit, she wasn't exactly what he was expecting. She certainly fit the propaganda. Hard as nails. But she also had a softer side. Her care for John was evident without being some creepy mommy-son hive mind. She distrusted the metal as much as he did – which went a long way with Derek.

Mostly, Sarah was a creature out of time. Sort of like himself. Only not. He lived their future. He knew without a doubt what was coming. He learned the cold, hard lessons necessary to live because he had no choice. Fight or die. But Sarah took it all on a leap of faith. She was once one of those soft, frivolous girls and something happened to change that. He expected her to be a whackjob, some pathological nutball. But she seemed shockingly normal, reasonable even. Sometimes that scared him. Her strength was impressive. She was a little scrap of a girl, but he'd seen her beat a man half to death with her bare hands, hell she'd cracked a few of his ribs their first run-in. She didn't flinch or cry or shirk her duty. She was one hell of a soldier. And he had no idea why.

He didn't need to understand Sarah. It's just that she made him curious sometimes. She didn't really trust him, which was fine. He didn't really trust her either. He didn't particularly trust or like either of the Connors. As far as he was concerned, the Reese boys would have been a lot better off without them. But that was water under the bridge – or maybe not, all this time theory stuff screwed with his head.

His first time with Sarah was weird – and not. It was late, a couple of weeks after the triple eight nearly took him out. He was mostly healed and restless as hell. John was inside – doing homework of all things. The metal was watching the boy as usual. Derek was outside, walking barefoot in the grass pretending like hell he wasn't enamored of everything this time had to offer. Sarah walked down the steps and over to the aging swing set. Derek eventually wandered that way, leaning against one of the rusting metal supports as Sarah rocked back and forth in the swing.

He held out his beer and she took it, swallowing half of what he had left in one swig. He tried not to smile, failed and offered her the cigarette. Grimacing, she waved him off. He shrugged, taking another long drag.

They stayed that way for a long time, not talking. It was easier that way. If they didn't speak to each other, it was much less likely they'd piss one another off. He finally flicked away what remained of the cigarette and reached out, grabbing the chain of Sarah's swing. She looked up at him, but didn't move. He offered her a hand and she took it, allowing him to pull her to her feet. They stood chest to chest, almost touching, not quite. Sarah cocked her head to the side and looked at him. With a small smile, she lifted her hand, cupping his cheek.

He reached up, covering her hand with his own and it seemed to break whatever spell held her. Her posture changed, no less inviting, but somehow less vulnerable. He reached for her and she went willingly.

She was more like home, more like the women of his time, tough and proud and unafraid to take what she wanted. She led him into the garage and he followed eagerly. There wasn't much preamble, no foreplay. They tore at each other's clothes and screwed against the wall like animals. She bit his shoulder hard enough to draw blood, but it was a good pain. At the last moment, he pulled away. He stood there, panting, one arm braced against the garage wall, watching as she cleaned up the mess.

"You don't have to do that," she said.

"What?"

"I can't have more kids."

He didn't reply. He didn't need to. It made sense. Her entire life centered around making sure John lived. Of course she would have gotten herself fixed to avoid having additional children. He didn't know much about Sarah's history, but he knew enough to know she wasn't above using any means necessary to get John the education he needed. He suspected she'd traded long and hard on that currency.

He reached out, grabbing her arm and pulling her back to him. She allowed it, but when he tried to kiss her, she pulled away. He tried again and again she avoided him, finally pulling away and fumbling for her clothes. He grabbed his discarded jeans and fished another cigarette out of the pocket. He stood there and smoked it nude, watching her dress in the near dark. Straightening her shirt, she finally turned away without a backward glance and returned to the house.

And so it went. They argued. He didn't trust her. She didn't trust him. Neither of them trusted the metal. Sometimes they screwed. It didn't make breakfast any less awkward or any more pleasant. But it took the edge off the nights.

Next to him, she slid onto the barstool. He motioned to the bartender who deposited another beer in front of Sarah.

And so it went.

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