John's Birthday Dinner

Disclaimer: I don't own any material contained within this story. All copyrighted content remains the property of the person, people, or organization that holds the copyright. This story is solely for fun.

AN: Okay, this is my version of what happened after the end of the season one finale. This is a humor fic and as such, is not to be taken seriously. If you're looking for a serious story about what could've happened following the car bomb, you should check out dakota423's two one-shots, "A Fighting Chance" and "Birthdays and Builtdays". They're both very good. Anyway, on with the story.

It was a special day, John's birthday. Derek, John and Cameron were sitting at the table, waiting for Sarah to finish making supper. This was not how the evening had been planned.

The plan had been for Cameron to go out and get a cake. When she returned, the whole family would go out for dinner. John had wanted to go out for his birthday. They'd eat the cake when they returned.

However, since when did life with the Connors go the way it was planned? Cameron had indeed gone out to get a cake; but when she turned the car on, it exploded. John had rushed down the stairs and flung open the front door. He had seen the smoking (and not in the good way) heap that had once been the "family's" car. He had tried to rush out the door, but his mother grabbed him and refused to let go.

John couldn't be placed in danger. They needed to protect him at all costs. Without John the future was doomed. So instead, Derek went out to inspect the wreckage. When he reached the car, the driver's side door flew open. Cameron stepped out. Derek wasn't surprised. He'd had more experience fighting terminators than anyone. He knew that a little thing like an exploding car wouldn't be enough to stop one, no matter how much he had hoped otherwise.

So Derek stood there, face to face with Cameron. Her clothes were ragged, barely holding together. Pieces of the exploding car had left large gashes in her skin, exposing areas of the metal endoskeleton beneath. However, what really caught Derek's attention was her hair. It was on fire. Cameron was apparently oblivious to this fact since she was walking back toward the house's entrance.

Being a man of action, not words, Derek ran over and grabbed the garden hose. He turned it on, full blast, and sprayed the terminator's head. Cameron turned toward the future soldier and analyzed his action. First she scanned the hose. It's threat level was "None". Derek was not attacking her. Cameron cocked her head to one side and tried to find some motivation for Derek's action.

She had observed human children playing in such a way. They were running around with plastic guns that shot out small streams of water. She had asked John why the young humans were engaging in mock battle. He had told her that it was called a water fight. Humans had them for fun and to cool down on warm days.

Cameron analyzed the atmospheric temperature. It was eighty seven degrees out. Her research told her that it could be considered a warm day. She wondered if Derek was attempting to have a water fight with her. She decided that if he was, his sense of timing needed improvement. Their car had just been blown up. Someone was obviously after them. This was not the best time to frolic in the water.

As the water stream subsided, Cameron asked, "Why did you spray me with a hose? Are you attempting to engage me in a water fight?"

"What?" Derek was shocked by the question. It took a moment before his brain fully processed it, and he continued, "No! Your hair was on fire! I was trying to put it out before you burnt down the house.

Cameron righted her head. "Oh, thank you for explaining. Is it out now?"

"Yes." The answer was a little drawn out.

"Good, Then I can enter the house without putting John at risk."

Cameron had entered the house and the "family" had discussed what to do about the bombing. It was decided that until Cameron's artificial skin grew back and once again covered her metal parts, she should remain in the house. Since she was the one most capable of protecting John, that meant that he was effectively grounded as well. Sarah and Derek would investigate the bombing, but not right away.

The family had been through a lot recently. They needed sometime to unwind, and it was John's birthday. They decided to put off the investigation until the next morning. After all, Cameron had informed them that, despite the car bomb and her resulting appearance, she was still fully functional. If anyone came for them, they would be in for quite a surprise.

So John, Derek and Cameron were all sitting down at the table, waiting for Sarah to finish supper. Sarah walked over and put the first batch of food in John's plate. He was the birthday boy, after all.

Derek stared curiously at the food. "You made pancakes for dinner?"

"What? No. I made Almond Chicken Crepes."

Derek was staring at her strangely. "So you rolled up a pancake and stuffed it with a piece of chicken?"

"It's not a pancake. It's a crepe." Derek was still staring at her. "It's French!"

Derek let out a sarcastic, "Right."

Cameron interjected. "Actually, Sarah, the dictionary describes a crepe as 'a thin pancake usually served rolled up or folded with a filling.' So technically, you did make a rolled up pancake stuffed with chicken."

Sarah pointed her spatula at Cameron, "Stay out of this, Tin Man!"

Cameron calmly replied, "Now Sarah, there is no reason to get so defensive. We already know about your pancake obsession. Well John and I do, anyway. Derek may not. He isn't very observant."

Derek responded, "Hey!"

Sara cut him off. "I do not have a pancake obsession!"

Cameron replied, "Really?" Cameron accessed her memory banks; and her voice changed to Sarah's, as she replayed one of the woman's statements. "So you just want to walk in there and kick their asses and go for pancakes?" Cameron's voice returned to normal. "Don't you think it's strange that you associate pancakes with a victory meal?"

Derek adds, "Now that I think about it, the first day I was up, you were making pancakes. In fact, other than a burnt roast, I can't remember you fixing anything else, since I got here."

Cameron adds, "Not to mention the fact that you gravitate towards jobs that revolve around pancakes, like the morning shifts in diners."

Sarah couldn't believe it. What is this, a Pancake Intervention?! And since when do Derek and the machine collaborate on anything? She turned to John. "John, honey, you know that I'm not obsessed with pancakes. Tell them." John didn't say anything. He just looked around nervously. "I said tell them!"

John let out a nervous chuckle. "Well actually, Mom… Do you remember when you were telling me that we had to leave Charlie's? 'Half an hour. One bag, plus the guns. I'll make pancakes.'"

"That was to cheer you up!"

John rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, Mom, that's kind of the point. You were uprooting me again, taking me away from the closest thing that I'd ever had to a normal life. And somehow pancakes were supposed to make it all okay?"

Sarah threw her pan and spatula down on the ground. "Fine! Then you can all just make your own meals from now on! It's not like I don't have other things to do, you know!" Sarah stormed out of the room.

After a moment of tension between the three remaining occupants, Cameron followed. She went to Sarah's room and entered.

"Didn't anyone ever tell you to knock first?"

"No."

"Well, go away."

"Are you crying?"

"No."

"Yes you are. I can see the swelling and build up of moisture around your eyes. Why are you crying."

"It's just… I try so hard to take care of this family; and now everyone's picking on me about making too many pancakes. Even John. I'm not really obsessed. I just don't know how to make very many meals. Every time I try to learn to make something new, it turns out terrible, like the roast. I learned how to make pancakes back when I was working at the diner, before any of this terminator stuff started. And I'm good at it."

Cameron attempted to console Sarah. "Sarah, there is nothing wrong with your pancakes. No one said that there was. Well, Derek implied it, but he's an idiot. I could kill him for you, if you like."

Sarah turned to look at Cameron. The Terminator was smiling. Sarah eyed her warily.

Cameron responded, "That was a joke. I wouldn't really kill Derek just because he insulted your pancakes. He was one of John's best soldiers. He's more valuable alive than dead." Sarah's expression lightened, slightly. Cameron continued. "I happen to know that John likes pancakes. In fact, in the future, they are his favorite comfort food. Before I came back, I never understood why; but now I know. It's because they remind him of you."

"Really?"

"Oh, yes. In fact I remember that the first thing that he always wanted me to do, when we got out of bed in the morning, was make him a plate of pancakes."

"WHAT!!" Sarah picked up her nightstand and started hitting Cameron with it. "You stay away from my son! You hear?!" Sarah chased Cameron out of the room. It wasn't that the blows were hurting the terminator. It was simply that Cameron's processors determined that Sarah did not want to be around her at that particular moment.

John happened to be walking by, as the two females entered the hall way. "Mom, what are you doing?" He grabbed the nightstand. "She's on our side, remember?"

"Let go. I'm going to beat this thing to scrap."

"Mom, she's a terminator. You're not going to damage her. You're only going to break the nightstand." Sarah let out a primal roar and threw the nightstand at the wall. With that final impact, the nightstand broke apart.

Sarah turned to her son. "You stay away from her! You hear me!"

John turned to Cameron. "What did you say to her?"

"I told her that, in the future, I made pancakes for you."

(Well, I hope you enjoyed the story. Please review. Thanks.

Have a good day, and God bless.

Metropolis Kid.)