Disclaimer: Don't own 'em.
Title: A Fighting Chance
Summary: This was what they were fighting for. Set after the Season 1 Finale, What He Beheld. Derek and Sarah come to terms with some recent revelations. One-shot.
Pairings: Derek/Sarah (sort of), John/Cameron (on the side)
(Author's Note: I just thought that there was some stuff that needed to be addressed after the season finale between Sarah and Derek about Kyle. I think that she can love both of them... And a little John/Cameron mentioned. Enjoy!)
Sarah Connor put her fork down, unable to stand the silence any longer.
"Stop moping and go."
Her son looked up from his plate. His eyes were wide, as if he hadn't heard her correctly, and then he shoved away from the table and took off towards Cameron's room. She sighed and put her head in her hands.
"He's too worried about that thing," a rough voice said. She looked up and saw that Derek was staring at her from across the table, his arms crossed. She shook her head.
"It's sick," he continued. "You've seen the way he looks at it--"
He paused and stared at her incredulously. "You can't be serious--?"
She rubbed at her temples. "Can we please not talk about this right now?"
He continued to stare at her, then leaned back in his chair and shook his head. He grabbed his plate and stood, walking over to the sink. Sarah heard him turn on the water and start to rinse it off, and then there was a clatter as he dropped it. She sighed.
"Not tonight, Derek."
She wasn't touching him, but she swore she could feel the tension leaving him as she said his name. It was his turn to sigh.
"We need to go after that guy," he said, and his voice was low. "If the metal says it's Sarkissian..." There was the sound of a chair scraping across the floor and Derek turned to see Sarah leaving the kitchen. He frowned, wondering whether he should follow her. Half of him wanted to; he was itching for an argument. He couldn't understand why she didn't want to talk about it. If it had been a normal night she would have had the entire household mobilized in a counter-attack by now. It had to be discussed.
Setting his jaw, Derek walked out and headed down the hall. He knew he'd be passing the machine's room -- why the hell the Connors had given the fucking thing a room in the first place still evaded him -- and he wasn't looking forward to overhearing any conversation that might be coming out.
John was in too deep, he didn't know what the hell he was doing--
He looked up and saw John standing in Cameron's doorway. He had congealed synthetic blood on his hands and a confused expression on his face.
"Mom just came by. She looked…" He frowned at him. "What'd you say to her?"
Derek shook his head. "Nothing," he said, meaning it. John nodded slowly, then turned back into the machine's room. When Derek went by he saw Cameron sitting on the edge of the bed. Half of her face was missing. He forced himself to stop and stare fear in the eye.
The half of Cameron's face that was still covered in synthetic skin was devoid of expression per usual. From the other half a cold blue eye focused in on him. He resisted the urge to run, to flee for his life… or even better, pull out his pistol and shoot the bitch all to hell.
"Are you gonna stand there or are you gonna help?"
John's voice snapped Derek's eyes away from Cameron's. He was kneeling next to her with a washcloth in his hand, wiping away the blood from a shrapnel wound to her thigh. It was then that he realized the machine was wearing nothing but her bra and underwear.
"I don't need help, John," Cameron said, her voice thin and metallic sounding. "I heal faster than you do."
John ignored her, but his eyes were soft and caring as they glanced at her. Then he turned back to his uncle.
He frowned. "No," he said, and walked off. John sighed and went back to patching up his precious Terminator.
Sarah closed her eyes, welcoming the pounding of the water on her skin. The stream was hot and relentless; Sarah imagined that it was washing away the events of the past few days.
It was a shame those events clogged the drain and stuck around.
But she did her best to forget that. For now there was nothing but her and the torrent. It wasn't a fight; she gave in willingly. Just her and the water and -- whoever the hell had just walked in the bathroom.
Her eyes had snapped open when she had heard the doorknob turn, and she turned her head towards the door, listening. She saw Derek's shadow move across the shower curtain. He moved the towels off the toilet seat and sat down. He was silent for a while, and Sarah wrapped her arms around herself, feeling cold.
She wanted to snap at him, shout at him to get out. He was intruding; he wasn't supposed to be in there with her…
…but she couldn't find a reason for him not to stay.
Instead, she shivered and said, "Shut the door, its freezing."
She could hear the annoyance in his voice as he said, "It's too damn hot in here as it is. The door stays open."
She rolled her eyes; she damned him for his ability to take the strain out of the space between them.
"What do you want, Reese?"
"So it's Reese again?"
She stuck her head out of the shower, glaring. Derek shrugged.
"I'm just saying…"
Her eyebrow went up, and he sighed, a smile pulling at the corner of his lips. She caught her breath. Seeing him smile was something she'd never expected.
He looked like Kyle when he did it.
"What do you want, Reese?"
The smile faded. "We gotta talk, Sarah."
"It can't wait?"
They stared at each other, not blinking, trying to get the other to back down. It probably would have gone on forever if Cameron hadn't walked past the door half-naked. Derek and Sarah broke the gaze long enough to watch her go by, and then they both looked at the ground. Sarah ducked back into the shower.
"I hate it when she does that," she said, pressing her forehead against the tile wall.
Derek nodded despite knowing that she couldn't see him. "Sarah…"
She sighed. "Fine."
He nodded again and thought a moment, wondering what to say. Luckily -- and to his surprise -- she started for him.
"What did you and John do at the park?"
Derek couldn't help but laugh. "That's what I wanted to talk about." He got up and stood on the other side of the shower curtain, suddenly sobering.
"I know about Kyle."
There was a silence, broken only by the sound of running water. Derek waited for her to say something. Instead, the water shut off, and he grabbed a towel, holding it up. The shower curtain was pulled open and a sopping wet -- and, to a shocked Derek, beautiful -- Sarah Connor stepped out and into the towel he held up for her. Derek stared at her, his breath caught somewhere in his throat. Sarah didn't even glance at him. She took the towel from him and wrapped it around herself, tucking in the ends. It was only after that she met his eyes.
"Did John tell you?"
Derek couldn't pull his eyes away from her. It made him want to kick himself.
"No," he said, and he surprised himself by sounding calm and collected. "I figured it out."
She nodded and turned away, grabbing a comb and pulling it through her dripping hair. Her face was expressionless, but he saw that her eyes were welling up. Derek swallowed. If she started crying…
…actually, he didn't know what he'd do.
"I didn't want you to know," she said, answering his next question. Her voice matched her expression: blank, cold, devoid of humanity. Derek wondered why it was that when your life was dedicated to fighting the machines, you ended up losing your own humanity along the way. Had they all become so numb?
"Why?" He didn't know if it was a response to her statement or to his own thoughts.
She sighed, and some of the emotion flowed back into her features.
"It complicates things."
"I don't see how."
Sarah put the comb down and turned to him. Her mouth opened to reply, but then it shut again. She looked lost, sad; a wrinkled photograph flashed through his mind.
"Did you love him?"
Her eyes snapped to his, and Derek wasn't surprised to see tears there. She nodded. "Yes," she said.
Derek looked down and stuck his hands in his pockets. "And did he know--?"
She shook her head. "No. Neither of us did."
Derek nodded, still looking at the ground. Knowing his brother had died a hero was one thing, but discovering that he'd been happy… Knowing and hearing it were two entirely different things.
They were silent for a while, just standing across from one another. Sarah watched the emotions flit almost imperceptibly across Derek's face. She wondered what he was thinking, thought about how different he was from Kyle, and how the differences didn't really matter. How, she realized with a small intake of breath, it was the similarities that she clung to.
Derek heard her gasp and looked up in time to see a single tear slip down her cheek.
Sarah Connor was crying.
Without thinking, Derek reached for her. She went willingly into his arms, shedding all of her pretenses and letting herself bury her face into the soft fabric of his t-shirt. His arms went around her protectively and he held her close to him. He wondered at how well they fit together, and then refused to let himself think about it any further. She was Kyle's. From the moment Connor had given him that damn Polaroid, she had been his. He wasn't about to mess with that, even if everything inside of him was screaming to.
As he held Sarah Connor in his arms, Derek Reese wondered what his baby brother would think if he knew they both loved the same woman.
John Connor walked down the hall, wiping his hands on the already-bloodied washcloth. Cameron would be all right, he decided. She was a little beat up, and she looked like hell, but she'd been through worse.
Or so she'd told him.
He smiled slightly, then shook his head and frowned. He'd been terrified when he'd seen the Jeep engulfed in flames, when Cameron's coltan-alloy body had crawled from the wreckage. Her skin had hung off in places, and her face had been damaged horribly. She'd scared the hell out of him.
But she'd assured him that she would heal quickly, and that by tomorrow most of the burn wounds would be closed. He had to take her word for it. John hated it when she was hurt. Sure, she was supposed to be his protector, but as a guy he couldn't help trying to keep her safe.
John finished wiping the rest of the synthetic blood off of his hands and turned into the bathroom. He stopped dead in the doorway.
He saw his uncle hold his crying mother, stared as they clung to each other. He didn't know what was going on or what had happened; he didn't need to know.
He saw Derek kiss the top of his mother's head, softly, carefully, as if he were afraid she'd break beneath him, and John felt tears come to his eyes for what felt like the billionth time that day. A thought ran through his head, briefly: Only girls are supposed to be this emotional. But he ignored it. He knew that he was witnessing something private, something that was meant to be shared only between Derek and Sarah. His mom would go crazy if she knew that he'd seen her break down like this. But he stood there a moment longer, somehow knowing that neither of them would notice him.
It was right, what he was seeing. The two of them, like this… it was right. They needed each other, more than either of them probably knew.
With as much silence as he could manage, John backed out of the bathroom and continued down the hall towards the kitchen. A small smile tugged at his lips as he sat down at the table. Cameron was staring out the window as usual, but she turned when she heard him enter the room.
He met her eyes, one chocolate brown, the other glowing blue, and smiled at her. She graced him with one of her own, rare and beautiful, and sat down beside him. As he took her hand in his, he knew. Everything would be all right. Somehow, after all of this was over, it would all be okay. It had to be.
This was what they were fighting for.
(Author's Note: Please review and tell me what you think! I'm always hungry for reviews! Review if you liked it. Review if you didn't like it. I don't care. Just make sure its constructive criticism and not flames. Thanks!)