Disclaimer: I don't own TSCC or anything associated with it. It's just a sandbox I keep coming back to play in again and again...

Title: Solace
Author: Dakota423
Rating: T for now
Summary: A series of follow-ups to my fic "A Fighting Chance." Derek and Sarah stumble and trip over the ultimate question: What are they to each other? Derek/Sarah, w/ brief mentions of John/Cam. You MUST read "A Fighting Chance" first, no questions asked.
Author's Note: Okay, finally. I've had this in my head for a while, but it took a bit for the words to really come to me. This is just a series of fics about Derek and Sarah after the events of my fic A Fighting Chance. Probably going to be sporadic and emotional, with the right amount of angst and humor thrown in for the best results possible. Enjoy!


There was a part of Sarah that didn't want to acknowledge it. He was Kyle's brother, for God sake. John's uncle. A stranger. He was harsh and uncouth and probably crazy and dirty, with the exception of brushing his teeth for twenty minutes three times a day.

But hate him or not, Sarah Connor had found the one piece of solace left in the world in the arms of Derek Reese.

It wasn't a relationship. Both of them would agree that there would be no love in what they shared. Only comfort.

It wasn't about wanting anything. It was strictly need: the need to feel something, anything other than the emptiness that had become their only companions over the long bleak years of the war.

But Sarah wanted it. Somewhere inside of her -- in that place she had built a wall around -- she felt something for Derek.

The night of John's birthday had started it all.


She felt a bit like the girl she'd been before all of this had started, a girl excited about a boy who showed even the slightest interest in her: giddy and slightly terrified. They had been outside, after John had gone to bed and Cameron had begun her routine inspection of the house; Sarah was sitting on the bench and Derek was leaning against the railing of the porch. He was smoking cigarette, the end glowing red every time he took a drag. The light floated there against the black night, the only source of illumination they had. They were silent, listening to the wind run through the grass and the trees. The swing set creaked, and Sarah felt ready to bolt.

"You okay?"

She jerked her head to him. He was a dark silhouette in the shadows, the glow of his cigarette a red lightning bug hovering next to him.

"I'm fine," she said. "Why?"

He shrugged and took a drag off his cigarette, then dropped it and smashed it beneath his boot. Sarah frowned but let it go.

"You haven't said a word since you came out here."

She looked away and rubbed her arms to fight off the chills that had crept across her skin. "I'm fine," she repeated.

Derek pushed away from the railing and walked over to the bench. He watched her with a blank look on his face, then sat down next to her. Sarah tensed, every nerve in her body screaming that it was wrong, that she should get up, run away. But she didn't move.

"Okay then." He leaned back against the house and sighed. Sarah felt the overwhelming urge to punch him, just so she would feel something other than the tension between them.

He was maddening. She couldn't stand him…

"Why did you tell me you knew?"

Way to hold out, Sarah. Why did you have to open your mouth?

Derek was silent, then he picked at a spot on his jeans. "I guess 'cause I thought you should know that I knew." He frowned. "What? You think I wouldn't want to tell you?"

She frowned back. "It just seems like something you'd enjoy holding over my head."

He shrugged again. "Maybe."

His tenacity sometimes was just unbearable. With a roll of her eyes Sarah stood and headed for the door. Derek hopped up after her.

"Hey, I'm not done with you yet."

She spun on him. "Really? Because I'm done with you."

His eyes blazed in annoyance as he walked up to her. He didn't stop until they were almost chest to chest. Sarah kept her eyes on his the entire time.

"We gotta talk."

She faltered at that, her gaze dropping. "We've already talked--"

"Yeah, well we need to talk again."

"It can't wait?"

She was being childish, scared, stupid. She knew what he wanted to talk about; she didn't want to listen.

But he laughed and smirked down at her. "Sarah."

Her eyes shut, blocking out the images. It was Kyle's voice she heard in her head, not Derek's. That's where the problem was. She couldn't…

"Derek, please, let's just…"

"Just what?"

She sighed and clenched her fists, trying to strengthen her will. It wasn't working very well. Damn the Reese brothers for making her lose whatever power she had.

"I can't," she tried. "We can't."

He looked at her, eyes showing just the faintest trace of confusion, and then it dawned on him.

"Oh."

She stared at him. "What do you mean, 'oh'?"

He laughed again and turned away, shoving his hands into his pockets. When he looked back at her, his eyes were bright like a child's. A child who had just discovered he could pick on someone else.

"That's not what I wanted to talk about, but if it's really bothering you..."

The bastard!

"Go to hell."

He tried to frown, to get angry, but it failed. Sarah fought with all her might the smirk that threatened to pull at the corners of her lips.

"Too late, been there," he quipped.

"Shame you couldn't have stayed."

His lips twitched in a smirk. "They could only handle so much."

"Oh, they kicked you out on your ass?"

"It was more of a voluntary discharge."

She had to catch the reply before it left her mouth. Were they flirting?

Sarah frowned at him. "Was there something you wanted to talk about? Or am I wasting my time?"

Derek stared at her for a moment, his expression falling somewhere between amusement and seriousness. He crossed his arms.

"We need to do something about Sarkissian," he said, not sparing her any of the malice in his voice. "We need to do it now."

Sarah sighed and put a hand to her forehead. "Can it wait?"

"Sarah…"

"Derek, I mean it. Not tonight."

Her sentence fell off, and the two of them stood silently in the darkness of the porch. Derek shuffled his feet and went to pull out another cigarette, but Sarah reached out and caught his wrist.

"Look, about what happened in there--"

"Don't worry about it."

She stared up at him. "Derek--"

He shook his head and lit up. He took a long drag off if to get it going, then blew the smoke away, staring at it as it disappeared into the night. "Forget about it, Sarah."

But this was Sarah Connor. She didn't forgive or forget.

"No, I won't. We need to talk about it, Reese."

She saw him blink at his name, saw him look down at his boots and shake his head. She wanted to slap him. She wanted to kiss him.

"You wanna go to the park tomorrow?"

She frowned. "What?"

He looked down at her. "I wanna take you to the park. Tomorrow."

"Wha-- Why?"

He shrugged. "I just figured…"

And then she understood what he meant. He wanted to take her to see…

"Derek…"

"You don't have to go if you don't want to. I'd get it."

She stood there a moment, thinking it through. Derek finished of his cigarette and tossed it to the ground, then made like he was going inside. Sarah caught his hand and squeezed it.

"I'd love to."

Author's Note: Please review and tell me what you think and if I should continue this. I'm rather tentative at the moment; sugggestions as to what should happen would be greatly appreciated!