AN: I own nothing and was challenged to write a ship story for Derek and Sarah. Enjoy.
Also, Sorry about the typos, but I don't have a beta.
John missed his second swing in a row and Morris cheered his good luck. They had been couples playing against each other at miniature golf and unsurprisingly, Cameron was beating them all. But John's mind wasn't on the game and it wasn't on his date either. He kept looking over at his mom and Derek, where they sat on a picnic bench. Derek sat on the table and Sarah sat on the seat, between his legs. She was leaning back against him, with one arm over his thigh. Every now and again Derek would lean down to tell her something and she would smile brightly at him. She also seemed to spend a lot of time playing with her hair, which was not normal. His mother never cared what her hair looked like. They both seemed to be playing their parts extremely well, too well.
"It's your turn again, John." Cameron informed him. At first he had found the idea of a Terminator playing putt-putt comical, now he was too distracted to be amused.
"Sure." He took a swing and did better than his last. "Cameron," he pulled her aside as Cheri took her turn. "What is going on with them?"
"They are attempting to act like a married couple. Married couples often maintain physical contact with each other, even when it is unnecessary."
"I know that, but why?" He looked back again, "It's creepy. They're acting like they really are attracted to each other."
"She is of breeding age and he is able to produce healthy children. Their genetic material is compatible. There is no logical reason they should not mate. She should put out for him."
"Remind me never to talk to you about anything like this again."
"It's your turn, Cameron. My shot is going to be hard to beat." Morris again tried to impress her.
"Man your sister is so hot. Do you really think her dad would be angry if I kissed her?"
"I think he would rip your face off and feed it to you, but I could be wrong. Go ahead, take a chance." He smacked Morris on the back, with a smile.
"Your parents are really cute." Cheri stood next to him and said.
"Thank you." He barely managed to tear his eyes away from where Morris was trying to show Cameron the right way to shoot. Somehow this was not how he pictured his first date. He pictured something more romantic, with less people and far less hidden weaponry. Derek and Sarah had actually broken in last night and hidden a high powered rifle in the windmill.
"My mom died a few years ago so it's just me and my dad. I sometimes wish he would find someone else but that might also just be awkward."
"My real father died before I was even born. Mom bounced around from guy to guy for awhile before she met Derek. He's so close to it, he might as well be my father." John realized that none of that was actually a lie. He had grown to love Derek almost like a father and not entirely because he was Kyle's brother.
"That's sweet. So they must have been together quite awhile?" John had a hard time keeping his mind on anything other than the fact she was leaning closer to him. He could smell her shampoo. It smelled like coconuts. People always said that boys ended up falling for women like their mothers. John was sure he was the exception that proved the rule. Frankly, he had a hard time understanding why anyone was ever attracted to his mother unless they had some sort of fetish for pain. For all of Derek's joking about 42 year old virgins, John was slightly surprised he hadn't ended up gay because his mother rendered him too afraid of women to ever perform with one. Cheri couldn't have been more different from his mom. Cheri was curvy, sweet, soft, and supple and didn't have hands as callused as a longshoreman or biceps bigger than his. She was blonde and smiley not dark and dower. She was always dressed in pretty clothes with her hair done rather than wearing around the same bloody tank top because it was more practical than changing.
"About eight years." John remembered the number they picked, barely. "He's been really good for her. She used to always worry about how I was being raised and if the guy she was with could teach me anything. She hooked up with a lot of losers that didn't always treat her very well. Derek has helped her loosen up a lot. She smiles again now." Oddly, he realized that was true too. Having Derek around had mellowed her out quite a bit in good way. She was still strong as hell, paranoid, and extremely intense about almost everything but sometimes now she would relax and just be his mom. Sometimes, when Derek was out building bombs, doing surveillance, or any of the other various and sundry things she had him do; she would come find him with popcorn and they would sit and watch a movie together or they would talk about anything other than the war till he got back. Once, when he had been gone all night, they had stayed up until dawn playing gin. He had really appreciated the distraction from is worry.
"She's good for him too," Cameron surprised him. "He is not nearly as depressed and withdrawn as he was before he met her. With the two of you he doesn't feel as alone, disconnected, and devoid of family." John was a bit surprised that she could figure any of this out but it seemed true.
John went to take his shot and Cameron stood beside them. "You and your father have the same eyes." Cheri complimented Cameron. John knew that Cheri was uncomfortable around his developmentally challenged stepsister, but she was doing her best to be nice. He liked that. "They aren't the same colour or anything but you both have the same look in your eyes."
"You mean the look of a cold blooded murderer," John mumbled under his breath.
"I favour my mother in looks." Cameron spoke over him.
"You both have the same smile too." Morris added sugary sweet. John had to bite his lip not to laugh, thinking about what Derek would say if he heard that. He suspected the Terminator hating resistance fighter would really rip Morris's face off. He regained his composure as they made it to the final hole.
The next activity was the batting cages. Sarah decided that if this was a date, then calories didn't matter and got herself a hot fudge sundae. She sat in the stands watching Cameron hit ball after ball and John not hit many. As they came nearer to the baseball side, Derek had become more and more quiet. He kept looking up at the over head lights, and trying to duck away from the being in the direct shine of any of them. She looked over at him now and realized he had to consciously restrain himself from reaching for his gun every time a light shifted or there was a crack off a bat. She did have to admit that the ball shooter sounded a bit like a very quiet cannon but that shouldn't really be bothering him that much.
At first she had tried talking to him, but the spaces between his answers had grown longer and longer until he wasn't speaking at all. Tired of her one sided conversation, she tried a new tactic. She took a large spoonful of ice cream, fudge, and whipped cream; bent it backwards slightly, lining up her shot; and let it go. Her aim was true and the mess spattered all over his right cheek.
"What was that for?" he asked her indignantly as he tried to wipe the mess off, but just ended up smearing it everywhere.
"Because you were a million miles away," she scolded him, wishing she could tell him exactly how many seconds he had been off in his own little world. She softened her voice then, as she started to clean his face off. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." He snapped and shook away from her, then seemed to slump slightly. He looked down at where his hands were dangling between his legs. "It's the lights. HKs use really bright lights to find us. The first thing you learn on patrol is to hide from them, to get away from those fucking overhead flood lights. At least you learn it or you don't come back, a lot of people don't come back."
"I didn't know. If you want, we can leave." She didn't want to cut John's date short but she also didn't want to torture Derek either.
"No. I'll be fine." He stopped then looked at her, biting his lip "Just talk to me." He was bouncing his leg quickly and she could clearly tell he was anxious.
"Anything, just anything that reminds me that I'm sitting at a batting cage in 2008 and not caught out in the open by HK's and about to be blown to pieces." He was starting to rock back and forth slightly. "Even if it is just to tell me what a horrible date I am."
She took his hand and held it again, this time putting it in her own lap and hoping a physical anchor would make him feel better. It seemed too cold. "You are not even close to the worst date I've ever had. When I was 14, I went with Thomas Munson to a carnival. My mother let me wear my pretty, pink church dress and even a bit of mascara. I felt terribly grown up. Anyway, he ate an entire helping of rainbow coloured cotton candy and after we got off the tea cup ride, threw up all over me. I was mortified and enraged."
"And you let him live?"
"I was much more tolerant back then. Now I would definitely beat the crap out of him. And I also seem to recall that upon our second meeting, you proceeded to bleed all over me and I didn't kill you. In fact, I went out of my way to keep you alive." She smiled and knocked against his shoulder playfully.
"If you had just listened to me in the first place and stayed away, then you wouldn't have gotten blood all over you."
"If you had ducked instead of standing there like a giant orange target, he wouldn't have shot you."
"Then he might have identified you or John. Actually, if you hadn't tackled me, I would have been long gone before the police even showed up and the T-888 never would have found me." This was an on going argument they had been having almost since he could speak coherently. But at least he didn't seem as frightened.
"Not my fault that you couldn't hold your own against me." She stuck her nose in the air.
"I was afraid I would hurt you, if I fought back. You should have just let me run and failing that, let me take care of myself."
"True, but then you would be worm food like your men and not my date." She supposed that was a little harsh, but she just couldn't pass up the chance to point out she had saved his life. She rubbed the back of his still slightly cold hand to take the sting out of her words though. She was trying to cheer him up, not depress him further. "But, we were talking about dates, what about you? Even if you don't have what we would traditionally call dates, you must have spent time with some women. What was the worst one for you?"
"There was this one lady, Georgi, she had these gorgeous blue eyes and this great ass. She was a weapons tech and SOC was always testing the new weapons. We ended up becoming friends and we used to spend time together if we were both at the base at the same time."
"That sounds sort of like a girlfriend to me. How long exactly did you two spend time together?" She feigned jealousy. Though for some reason the idea of another woman being important to either of the Reeses was a bit irksome to her.
"Eighteen months or so. Anyway, it was a Saturday and I had a busted up shoulder and was sitting around the lab keeping her company, while she worked. She had one of her assistants get us some food and we were eating, when a terminator got in. It was a T-760. They aren't that tough but they are made to look like someone specific. No one ever figured out how it got through. I dropped it with three shots, but not before one of it's clipped her in the neck. She bled to death before we could even get her to medical."
That certainly trumped Sarah's story. But the point of this was to take his mind off the future, so maybe some more distractions were in order. She ran her hand through his hair, it had gotten much softer than it had been when he was shot. She didn't know if it was from better food or better shampoo but either way it was much shinier and healthier. She pulled him over and whispered, "I have a confession to make." She leaned close to his ear. "I have never hit a baseball in my entire life."
"That's your big secret; you've never hit a baseball?"
"You've never been on a real date and I've never hit a baseball. That sounds about even." She defended herself.
"I suppose that explains why John sucks so bad." She watched her son miss the fourth pitch in a row.
"He really does, doesn't he?" Derek nodded. "So," she stood up, pulling him with her, "you are going to teach me how to hit a baseball."
"I am?" He followed her anyway.
"Yes." She headed to an empty batting cage and picked up a bat. She stood on one side of the plate. Derek leaned against the pole behind her.
"I didn't know you were left handed."
"You're standing on the wrong side of the plate."
"Oh." She moved and started swinging wildly at the balls as they flew towards her. She missed every one. She pounded the ground in frustration. "You are supposed to be helping me."
"I think you might be beyond help." She glared at him and he stood straighter. "You're swinging too early, wait till it gets closer." She tried that but waited too long.
"This is impossible!" she fumed as he sniggered at her. "I'm the mother of the freaking future. I can take apart an AK 47 blind folded but I can't hit a stupid ball."
"Here," Derek moved directly behind her and wrapped his arms around her, placing his hands on top of hers on the bat. He was warm and solid behind her. He smelled like gun oil and hot fudge and she hated to admit she liked the way he felt, wound around her like that, with her back against his chest. She shook her head, remembering that they were only pretending. He was only pretending. The next ball fired and he guided her to a perfect hit. "See, not that hard." She elbowed him in the rib for his gloating and he poked her in the side. She jumped in the air with a very startled yelp. "Did I hurt you?" he asked her in genuine concern.
"No, no, I'm fine." She shook the smile off her face just as one crossed his.
"Oh my god, you're ticklish."
"No I'm not." She tried to inch away from him but not before his fingers started to dance up and down along her sides. She howled in laughter, finally twisting out of his grasp. She ran around the other side of the fence and stopped, panting. "That is no way to treat your wife."
"And throwing food at your husband is acceptable?" When she first met him, she assumed he would be just like Kyle. She had been dead wrong. There were things alike about them, mannerisms they both shared. The way they moved or pronounced words but in personality they were almost polar opposites. Kyle had been kind and sweet, almost innocent but had almost no sense of humour and little sense of joy. Everything had amazed him and he seemed reticent to do anything even remotely disrespectful towards her. He treated her with the reverence one showed royalty. Derek on the other hand was snide, cynical, constantly questioning her, and had no problems cracking jokes about her, John, or himself. Kyle had been a girl's protector, a futuristic knight in shining armour come to slay the metal dragon. Derek was more like a woman's partner. He treated her like an equal and usually even deferred to her judgement but had no problem telling her, when he thought she was wrong. He was more than willing to slay dragons for her but he expected her to at least provide cover fire for him.
She feigned to the left but went right. He was on to her ploy though and caught her as she came back around. They were face to face with his arms around her this time and not knowing what else to do, she blurted out, "why didn't you ever get married?" He let go of her. "I never did because of John and your brother. I always wanted to though, deep down." She admitted. "I always wanted a husband and two kids, a boy and girl. Could you picture it, me with two kids and a white picket fence?"
He looked at her then picked up the bat she dropped. "My parents were odd balls. My mom was smart as hell. She was a doctor. She had a temper, though, and had no problem punishing you for something someone else did wrong. But for some reason in college, she fell in love with this complete hick in the A&M Corps of Cadets, not real bright, and from BFE, TX. He was three years younger than her, dumb as a box of rocks, and the calmest person you ever met. They were so different but they really loved each other. Even when dad was still in the Navy and was away from home for months at a time, she never left him. She could have had much better than a soldier but she loved him so much she stayed. She was always really uptight about details and used to freak out and yell and scream and he never got mad. She wanted things perfect and he would just look her in the eyes and tell her that 'perfect was boring and he married her because he didn't like boring.' They were partners in everything they did and they had this way of complimenting the other ones short falls." He ran his hand over his head. "I guess I just didn't want to agree to spend the rest of my life with someone whether it was 20 minutes or 60 years unless we could be those things for each other."
He handed her the bat. "I understand," was all she could come up with. It never occurred to her that Derek Reese could be a Romantic.
"Besides, there was always a better than average chance I wouldn't come back from a mission so why marry some woman just to make her a widow two days later? Seemed pointless to me." He collected 10 of the balls and walked in front of Sarah. "Now, just like I showed you," and he tossed them at her much slower than the machine.
At ten misses he couldn't hide his smile. At 15 he started laughing. At 20, he said, "I wonder if Skynet knew that to defeat you and John all they had to do was throw a baseball at you?"
"Very funny." She swung and missed again.
"Do you want me to get you a tee? Maybe you can hit a stationary ball." He taunted.
"I bet I can still hit you upside your head, if you don't quit teasing me."
"Not if my head is moving more than 4 feet per minute."
"Just throw the damn ball, Lieutenant."
"Sir, yes, sir!"
"And stop calling me sir." He smiled at her and threw the next ball.
Thirty-four misses later she finally hit one. "I did it!" She exclaimed and jumped up and down excitedly. She ran towards him and jumped up, wrapping her knees around his hips. He caught her easily. Unthinkingly, she kissed him in her happiness. He stiffened and put her down. Her hands were still linked behind his neck and his arms were still around her waist, though. She didn't know why, but she tilted her head up and kissed him again. She wasn't sure what she had been expecting, but not the soft return kiss. Her mind quickly went through all the ways he was different from Kyle, and she hated herself for comparing them in everything, even this. Derek was taller but broader too. His kiss was more tentative oddly, as if he was unsure of either of their attraction. He was more skilled though, not as frantic, much more restrained.
She ran her hands through his hair and he pulled away, locking his eyes on hers. "Don't do that again until you mean it." He walked away. His words had sent sparks shooting up and down her spine, even as his look sent warmth flooding other places. She didn't know if she was more turned on or scared.
But part of her almost shot back, "what makes you think I don't mean it?" Because, in a way she did. He was hot and convenient. She had gone without a man's touch for too long and damn it, she wanted some good sex. But part of her immediately realized this was different, he was different. He wasn't a random guy she wanted to score with or just a somebody that could teach John how to be a leader. He was John's uncle and meant a great deal to her son, more even than Charley. He was a link to Kyle. He was her counter balance, when she wasn't strong enough or hard enough to do something. He was their reality check, when they lost focus. But more than that, he was her friend. He was someone that sat up with her when she couldn't sleep, usually because he couldn't either. When she was having a bad day he took her outside and sparred with her, letting her beat the shit out of him until she felt better or was too tired to move. He made her laugh and didn't make her feel like she needed to be "Sarah Connor" all the time.
She realized that over the past few weeks and months, he had become the compliment to her short falls and her to his. She was compassionate, where he was cold hearted. She was stealthy, where he was too forceful. He was paranoid, when she was too trusting. She was sane and rational, where he was hot headed and mentally unstable. She was restrained, where he was all or nothing. They were so different but so alike. They were both loyal, fierce, and loving. He would die for her or John and she realized that if it came down to it, she would sacrifice Cameron for him. Tactically, it would be stupid but in her heart she would choose the support and love he could provide over her security.
But she and Derek together right now was like playing with fire. If it didn't work out, the whole world would burn. He wasn't willing to take that chance and she supposed she should follow his lead. The mission was more important, even if it had been nice, for one night, to pretend to just be a normal woman, on a date, with her normal guy. She touched her lips for a moment and felt suddenly sad.
"So am I still not your worst date? I can try harder." He asked from where he was leaning.
"Still not close, at least I got a kiss this time." She sighed, "I'm sorry, that was stupid of me. I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I just got caught up in the game we were playing. Can we just forget about it?"
He walked over to her, invading her personal space and taking her chin between his thumb and forefinger. He forced her to look up and meet his eyes. "Probably just an itch you want to scratch. And believe me, if you weren't St. Sarah Connor, I would scratch it all night, probably till you were bow legged tomorrow." She couldn't help but smile at him. "But I'm not your rent boy and you don't need to convince me to stay and help John."
"I never thought of you like that," she hooked her hand over his wrist and told him, but didn't pull his hand away. She ran her thumb just over his pulse point.
"But were you thinking about my brother?" He smiled at her softly, almost sadly. "You're my brother's girl and even if I were willing to cross that line, I would never know if you were thinking of him or me. And you would never know if I were doing it because I cared about you or some subconscious desire to punish John for sending Kyle to his death." Kyle was a ghost that always hung between them, she realized. Sometimes he was a guardian angel and sometimes a poltergeist but always there. "You and I just have way too much baggage between us to risk getting distracted. Not now, not when there is still so much to do." She was surprised that he was thinking nearly the same thing she had been. He let her go and held his hand out for her. It was getting late and they had to take the kids home. "It did feel nice though, didn't it? To be someone's someone, even if it was just pretend."
"It did." They walked back to the car, John and his friends trialing them. She wrapped her arm behind his waist and he put his arm over her shoulder. If they only had one date, she would enjoy it as long as she could.
Please read and review. This is the last chapter but if enough people enjoyed it, they might have a second date. Afterall, I think Morris and Cameron would need a chaperone for the prom.