Disclaimer: I do not own the Terminator franchise. The poem, however, belongs solely to me, despite how much it probably sucks.

(Author's Note: Yeah, I know I said I'd get it up within a week of posting chapter 11, but then I moved into college and that sorta got lost in a long list of stuff to do... But hey! It's finally finished! ...omigosh... it's finally finished. *sniffle*

The poem was written forever ago and was the original catalyst for this whole story. I understand it sucks royally, but hey, I'm a prose writer, not a poet. Besides, I told myself it would be in the epilogue, so here it is. Please enjoy.)

Epilogue:

Living amidst this smoke and ash
Somewhere between lost and found
Trying my best to erase the past
While hiding underground

Duality's in my nature
Fighting my only way
Keeping away a fracture
Doing my best to stay

The casualties: too many
The toll is higher still
The fault is mine, they're saying
And I break against my will

But when I feel I'm falling
When the guilt's too much to bear
I hear your sweet voice calling
And I shed the pain I wear

Help me keep forgetting
This unbearable life of games
Don't let me keep regretting
The person I became


His eyes were green.

That was the first thing Model TOK-715 examined about the man in front of her. After that she did a face-mapping scan, detailing every wrinkle and scar and committing them all to memory.

IDENTIFIED, her HUD flashed. TARGET: JOHN CONNOR.

Her head tilted slightly to the side as she sized him up.

He didn't seem to pose that much of a threat.

"Cameron?"

His voice, she noted, was deep and rough, perhaps raw. Yes, raw was the correct adjective to use.

"Cameron? Answer me."

She looked at him, eyes intent.

"Is that my name?"

Something happened to his face; a fleeting shadow of something had passed over him. She frowned, somewhat unaware she could and was doing so.

"Yes," John Connor said. "That's the name you'll answer to when you arrive in 1999. Cameron Phillips."

Her head cocked again, her eyes fixed on him.

"Is that where I'm going?"

John Connor nodded. "You'll find your mission parameters—"

She stiffened a little as the information streamed past on her HUD.

"—are already programmed. Do you have any questions before you're dispatched?"

She considered, and then nodded. John Connor looked at her expectantly.

"Why do you look sad?" she asked.

The fleeting shadow appeared again, vanishing a little slower than last time.

"Sad? Why would you say that?"

Her head tilted. "I don't know. It just seemed like the right thing to do."

He stared at her a moment, and then a smirk crept to his mouth. She could not yet identify it as an ironic one.

"Well don't worry, Cameron. I'm not sad. Now, anything else?"

She considered, then shook her head.

John Connor nodded. "Right then." He turned and walked away, putting the protective shield between himself and the silent machine. Cameron took her place inside it, and it roared to life.

As the displacement energy crackled around her, Cameron watched John Connor. Her mission flashed on her HUD, but still she wondered, even as the steel chamber around her disappeared.

Why did John Connor look so sad?


In every school he'd ever been in over the past five years, John Connor had dealt with the kind of teacher that was droning on now. They talked, going on and on and on about some bullshit or another, and he was fairly sure that he'd heard it enough times to allow himself to instead brood over how much it fucking sucked being there…

"What's your name?"

John jumped slightly in his chair, glancing back at the girl that had asked him the question. She was pretty, with dark hair and smiling brown eyes. He stared a moment before whispering back, "John."

She smiled at him, and he thought it was the most amazing smile he'd ever seen. "I'm Cameron."

He didn't know what else to say, so he just nodded, feeling stupid. Of course, that feeling only increased tenfold when Mr. What's-His-Name told him off for talking.

But regardless of how dumb he felt, he couldn't help sneaking a glance back at the girl — Cameron — again. Maybe he was just being paranoid, but there was something about her, something different.

Maybe it was just 'cause she'd spoken to him. Of her own accord. Without any prompting on his part. He could never get used to that, no matter how often it happened. Which, in case you hadn't been paying attention, it didn't.

He sighed quietly to himself as he turned back in his seat. No, better to just let it go. She wasn't interested in him at all. She was just being friendly, pitying the new kid.

Yeah, better just to let it go.


(Author's Note: I wanna thank everyone who has stuck with me through the painful course of writing this story, but there are some reviewers worth special mention: Metropolis Kid and Alana84 for their continued support and patience; SSG Michael B Jackson for his insightful and very helpful comments on dialogue; and last but not least Miguel Artadi for consistenly nudging, pushing, and occasionally threatening me to write more -- without you, sir, who knows if this story would have ever been finished.

It's been a fun and crazy ride -- thank you again for reading and reviewing!

~Dakota423)