This is my first TSCC fanfic, I hope you enjoy. It's been rolling around in my head for a while and I had to write it down. Please R&R, constructive criticism appreciated, but no flames. Oh, and I don't own the Terminator franchise in any way shape or form.

Los Angeles, August 29th 2032

"Keep going, they're almost finished!" John Connor yelled over the din of plasma fire and explosions as he fired a series of bursts from his own plasma rifle and drilled the chromed head of yet another Terminator. It dropped to the floor as if its legs had disappeared from under it and lay twitching on the ground. After two gruelling decades of war against Skynet, the tide had finally turned in humanity's favour. Thanks to John's leadership, TechCom had brought humanity from the brink of annihilation and they were now on the verge of victory. Under John, the TechCom resistance had found and wiped out all of Skynet's factories, power installations, and processing cores. Skynet's complex in LA was the last stronghold the AI had left and was desperately defending itself now with everything it had. John took aim again and whistled as he drilled the skull of a T850. "One more down, hundreds to go," he muttered as he took aim through the rifle scope and searched for more metal to kill.

"Approximately two hundred and thirty eight enemy Terminators are engaging your forces, plus fourteen aerial and eleven ground based Hunter Killers," a familiar voice behind him replied to his comment. The only one who had the advanced hearing to tell what he'd said. John turned and raised his eyebrow at Cameron.

"You know I hate it when you do that, Cam," John answered with look of mock indignation on his face.

"Yes, I know, John. Why else do you think I do it?" She gave him her sweetest smile, and he nearly melted right there and then looking at her. Unlike twenty five years ago, when Cameron had first come to him, he knew now that her smile was warm and genuine and only for him, not the simple mimicry displayed by the other Terminators.

He was brought back to reality by the roaring of an aerial HK soaring above and opening up on a platoon approaching the Skynet complex, piercing their positions – and bodies- with devastating laser fire. More HK aircraft approached to attack the TechCom forces. Rocket trails plumed upwards from fire teams scattered around the battlefield and shattered the relatively light armour of the aerial killing machines. Rocket crews on the ground were all experienced in shooting down these metal birds or prey and knew where their weak spots were. The ground based HKs, however, were built much tougher than their airborne counterparts and held up to the plasma and rocket fire, pinning the soldiers down while more HKs were called for support, and the Terminators closed in on their positions for the kill.

"Baum, scramble the jets, 7th company are pinned down eight hundred metres from Skynet's north wall."

"Roger, Connor, on their way," came the reply of John's uncle, also one of his top field commanders. Within a minute four Harrier jump jets were blazing across the sky towards the HKs. The Harriers had been found in an abandoned hangar on a foraging mission in Nevada, whilst searching for supplies and heavy weapons. It had been Cameron who had 

suggested restoring them for use against the HKs. Skynet had all but owned the surface and had total air superiority after annihilating the air forces of the world on Judgement Day. She had reasoned to John that having any kind of air power would greatly improve the odds of this battle. John had two main concerns with Cameron's idea: Firstly, that although there were a few former pilots in the resistance, none of them had flown in over twenty years, not to mention Cameron had noted there was only enough fuel and weaponry for them to last a single engagement; and secondly, Derek (who now went by the surname of Baum) had agreed with her, which in itself was cause for concern. It was the first time they'd agreed on anything, ever. He trusted Cameron, more than anyone else he knew, so he had given the green light to use them.

Any doubts he'd initially felt evaporated as he watched the four jets streak across the night sky and unleash their missiles on the aerial HKs, blasting them out of the air with ease. The old HKs used by Skynet shortly after Judgement day had eradicated most human fighter planes within days, their AI's were much superior to any human pilot. These newer HK's however, had been designed for hunting down humans on the ground. Having been built in a time when there was no air power to contend with, their air combat capabilities were minimal, and were easy prey for the Harriers.

John and Cameron ran down the hillside with a squad of friendly T800s and an infantry platoon towards the massive Skynet Bunker complex, and being pushed back when a trio of TXs emerged from an exit and launched a salvo of plasma blasts at John and his team. Cameron instantly pushed John down and covered his body with hers as a flurry of plasma shot inches above her head.

"Thanks, Cam," John said sheepishly as he realised he was staring into her big chocolate eyes (as she was into his), and their lips were mere centimetres apart. "But I think we should save that for later."

She simply smiled in reply before her face turned back to its usual blank stare as she aimed her plasma rifle at the centre TX and fired a series of rapid blasts. She'd known about the TX's, and had warned John before this attack about the high probability of encountering the advanced models for the first time in Skynet's last stand. He'd hung on to every word she'd told him about them, and felt he was prepared. The other soldiers weren't so lucky. They didn't trust Cameron, to them she was another machine, and had dismissed her reports on the TX model. It cost them dearly now as half of the platoon escorting John was cut down.

Cameron half dragged, half carried John backwards, away from the TXs' line of sight, and ordered the T800s to engage them. Nine Terminators advanced towards their more powerful enemies, severely outgunned despite outnumbering them three to one.

"What odds do you give them?" John asked Cameron as she set him down.

"Less than ten percent chance of defeating the TX on a three to one basis. I calculate that at least twelve T800s would be necessary to defeat one TX, and would still face eighty four percent casualty rates. They will be terminated." Cameron showed no signs of regret that she had sent several of her kin to be slaughtered. No, John corrected himself, not her kin. They were nothing alike. Cameron could feel, had free will. She was alive. John called another air strike on the TXs' position, and a Harrier launched a missile down towards the ground, exploding in a brilliant blue-white flash that vaporised everything within fifty metres of impact, like a miniature nuke. When the smoke cleared, there was no trace of either the TXs or the resistance Terminators.

"Another of your little inventions, Cam?"

"Plasma bomb, do you like it?" John nodded as he got up, he felt the thigh of his trouser leg singed from a near miss by one of those TXs. He frantically checked one of his pockets, stuck his hand inside to check it was still there. He sighed with relief when he felt it in his pocket. It was important. What "it" was, Cameron had no idea. The night before, John had been very secretive about something, and she was unable to tell what. He was keeping something from her, and she guessed that whatever was in his pocket was involved. Although her emotions were as real as any humans, she was better able to keep hers in check, and consciously sent a command to suppress her curiosity and allow more processing space for her combat subroutines.

After another series of air strikes, a massive hole had been punched in the outer wall of the Skynet complex. Cameron led the way inside, having detailed files on the place and having been "born" here, she knew where to go. She was closely followed by John, the rest of the platoon, and another squad of Terminators. Cameron led the group down several flights of stairs and into a sub basement, engaging in a number of skirmishes with Terminators protecting Skynet, many of which were older models; rubber skinned T600s, and even older, blocky, barely humanoid combat models. Skynet must be desperate, John thought, to use obsolete models like these. They even encountered an old T1 model patrolling the sterile, stainless steel winding insides of the complex. Old and obsolete, but still deadly, its chain guns tore apart two more of John's men before Cameron leapt onto its back and tore its head off, then pummelled the machine with her coltan fists until it was scrap.

John split his team up to engage the forces inside. He and Cameron approached the system core, Skynet's brain. There it was, in front of him. John saw his nemesis, the thing that had very nearly wiped humanity from the face of the earth; the thing that had chased him and his mother throughout time. He was not impressed. Skynet's system core was an eight foot black metal pyramid with sensors and screens surrounding it. Reinforced cables ran from the pyramid under the ground and into other installations within the bunker, allowing Skynet communication with the rest of the complex. John noticed a single sensor focussing on him, and a number of red lights blinking frantically. John guessed Skynet was panicking. It knew who he was, why he was here, and it knew that reinforcements would not arrive in time to save it. There was a circular panel behind a clear glass screen to the right of the system core. A T888 was stood alone on the panel, naked. John and Cameron both recognised the device; the time displacement machine. Skynet was planning to send another Terminator back in time to preserve itself. Not a chance, John thought, and fired a long burst from his plasma rifle, shredding both the time machine and the Terminator inside. That was it, now there would be no more tampering with the past. This war, that had spanned space and time, would finally end here.

Cameron raised her rifle to fire on the system core, when John stopped her.

"John, we must destroy Skynet now."

"I know," he replied. "I want us to kill Skynet together." Aww, how romantic, he joked inwardly. Other couples went out on dates together; they'd have to settle for killing a supercomputer instead. "You have to appreciate the irony behind this."

Cameron stared at him, not quite understanding what he meant.

"I mean, Skynet created you to kill me, to prevent this from happening to it. And look now, Skynet's pride and joy is now its executioner. I really hope Skynet understands irony."

"Oh. Thank you for explaining," Cameron replied, raising her rifle again. Skynet had nearly forced her once to kill John, had sent others to do the job she'd failed. And she was glad she failed. With John her life had meaning; she was no longer a slave to Skynet, to logic. She could think, she could feel, she even loved- something she never thought she'd have been able to do. If Skynet had its way right now, she knew it wouldn't kill her. It would do far worse; it would reclaim her, and force her to kill John. Skynet had to be destroyed. "I hope so too." She grinned wolfishly as she took aim.

John aimed at the pyramid, "you're terminated, fucker." At the same time, John and Cameron fired blast after blast into the system core, tearing it apart until the pyramid shattered and caught fire. Some deep seated, evil part of John's brain was disappointed there was no scream, that Skynet couldn't cry out in pain. It almost felt a bit anticlimactic to him. Cameron punched into the molten slag of the system core and pulled out the familiar grey rectangular CPU, handing it to John to do the honours. He tossed it to the ground and smashed it with his boot. Just like squashing a bug, he thought.

"It's over John," Cameron said as she shut down her combat subroutines, the relief was visible on her face as he was sure it was on his.

"No cam, not quite. There's one more thing I need to do." Her head tilted again with confusion.

His hand drifted down to his pocket, the same pocket, Cameron noticed it was the same pocket he had been searching earlier. He pulled out a tiny box. She scanned it, no energy signature detected, no trace of explosives. It wasn't any kind of weapon she could make out. She had no idea what it was.

"Cameron, I was thinking last night about what I would do when this was all over. And it came to me. Since you came back in time to protect me, you've been my only real friend, the one person I can rely on, and the only one who truly knows me. You've been my rock since mom died and then through Judgement day, and all the way through this godforsaken war, you've been at my side. You helped me win, and more importantly, you've kept me human." She tilted her head once again inquisitively. She had no idea where this was going.

John got down on one knee and opened the box. Inside was a diamond ring. The same diamond, she saw, that he had given her back in 2007 from Derek's safe house. "Cameron Phillips, will you marry me?"

Cameron's systems nearly shut down with shock. She had tried to work out what John had been hiding from her last night; her biggest fear was that he was going to kill her. That had been statistically the most likely outcome in her mind. She had known there would be a chance he would shut her down after the war, to rid the world completely of terminators. She had decided that if that had been the case, she would let him. She only lived for John Connor, and if he'd wanted her dead, then she wouldn't want to exist any more, anyway. She had never even factored in the possibility that he would propose to her. She knew all about marriage from Skynet's files on human pair bonding, combined with endless hours of late night TV before Judgement Day.

She realised she had no purpose now that the war was over, John Connor no longer needed protecting. She had no mission to accomplish. Now she felt useless, she needed orders to carry out. Even now, after developing emotions and what John called "a soul," she was still a machine and still needed a mission to carry out. However, unlike before, she was now free to write her own mission. She no longer needed to protect John from Skynet, but she owed her feelings, her mind, her soul, to him. She wrote herself a new mission, to repay her debt to John, by remaining by his side, forever. She quickly chose to execute her new mission.

"Yes, John." Her eyes glowed blue with emotion behind the chocolate brown. Her mouth grew into a huge smile. "Yes, I will marry you."

Chapter 2 coming soon.