Chapter One: Intrusion
It was a Sunday, no clouds, no rain, just the blue sky and the green grass. Rows upon rows of grey slabs littered the cemetery, each with a name of those gone. The only living person amongst these names was a 16 year-old boy. He was kneeling in front of one of the tombstones, gently polishing the marble.
"Hey, bro. How are things on your end? Good? Things aren't so good here, but then, you probably know that."
The boy picked up a cloth and poured a dab of polish onto it, then began wiping the engravings.
"We've had to move school. You know, avoid the press. I can't get my face in the papers, too many people out there who'd hunt me down if they knew. She misses you, ya know. She doesn't talk about it but, I can tell."
The boy finished polishing and put the bottle and cloth in his bag. He remained there for a few minutes, before getting to his feet and tapping the top of the stone.
"Take care of yourself, mate."
John gave the tombstone one last glance before turning around and walking home.
Beloved Son and Friend
'Groceries, check. Guns, check. John's shirts, check. Cameron's unmentionables, check.'
Sarah was returning from the local store, going over everything she'd bought, hoping that she hadn't forgotten anything. Life seemed to have returned to normal, or at least, as normal as the Connors could expect. It had been over a month since the incident at the Prom, and they hadn't had a single run-in with Terminators or mobsters alike. Cromartie and Carter were disintegrated by Cameron and her thermite bath, which, along with
Vick's chip meant the end of any immediate threats.
But Terminators weren't the only threat to her son. Though she allowed John and Cameron's relationship to continue, Sarah was determined to enforce boundaries in regards to the physical aspects. Cameron was, despite her apparent humanity, a machine, and therefore inappropriate for John in the long run. Sarah tried to make Cameron see this, but the machine was stubborn, and dismissed her concerns.
John also seemed indifferent about the consequences of their relationship, so much so that he often showed his affection in front of Sarah. The occasional kiss here and there was fine, but sometimes he would forget that Sarah was in the same room and they would end up glued together until their squelching got so annoying that Sarah would lose her temper and shout at them.
Sarah entered the house and immediately dumped the groceries on the kitchen table. John and Cameron were no where to be found, but she could hear that infuriating squelching sound coming from the seemingly empty living room. Sarah marched over to the couch and cleared her throat loudly. Cameron popped her head up; her lips parted slightly, a look of surprise on her face. John appeared moments later, his cheeks turning red, and sat up. Sarah placed her hands on her hips and glowered at them.
"What have I told you about doing that?"
John wiped his mouth and extricated himself from Cameron, who stood up and brushed the hair out of her face, seemingly unconcerned by the awkwardness of their predicament.
"You told us: 'Don't let me catch you making out in the house, or anywhere else'."
Cameron had mimicked Sarah's voice perfectly, which annoyed her even more, as it seemed that the machine was mocking her.
"If you have such good memory then why didn't you remember that before you started eating John's face?"
John shifted uncomfortably, not wanting to be the target of Sarah's rebuke. Cameron can handle it, he thought.
"I did. But you said to not 'let' you find us making out around the house. It wasn't our intention to 'let' you find us, but you did anyway. So really, this is your fault."
Sarah was livid. John looked warily at his mother, waiting for the inevitable outburst.
"Yes, for not being more specific in your instructions."
John couldn't help but snigger. Sarah gave him a withering look, which quelled his laughter in an instant. He looked at Cameron and saw a tiny flicker of a smile; apparently she had intended to make him laugh. Sarah regarded them both with a look of annoyance and anger. Eventually John decided to put his oar in and help deescalate the situation.
"Look, Mom, we're sorry, okay. We just got carried away. It won't happen again, I promise."
Sarah glared at him for a minute before nodding.
"Fine, go finish your homework. Cameron, I take it you've already done yours, so you can help me put the food away."
John gave a sigh of mixed relief and regret as he grudgingly went to his bedroom. Cameron followed Sarah into the kitchen and immediately began putting the tin food into the cupboards.
"Do you remember our little talk about you and John?"
"Yes, but it wasn't little. You lectured me for over an hour."
"Well I'd hoped that my point would sink in. Obviously it hasn't."
Cameron opened the fridge and began packing it full of turkey slices and chicken.
"I understood your 'point'; I just don't think it relevant at the moment."
"Not relevant. How d'you figure that?"
Cameron closed the fridge and examined her new underwear, a smile crossing her face.
"I like this colour, it's tight. Thank you."
"Don't change the subject."
Cameron's smile faded and she looked at Sarah with a serious expression.
"I promised to protect John. If I saw myself as a threat, don't you think I would've left by now?"
"There are many different kinds of threats, not all of them physical."
"I know this. I also know that if I leave John now, it would hurt him too much. I can't allow him to be harmed."
Sarah nodded slowly. Cameron had a point, but one question nagged at her.
"What about you? If you left John, how would you feel? Would it hurt?"
Cameron looked at the floor for a moment before locking eyes with Sarah.
"It would kill me."
'Number 312, number 313, number 314, here it is; number 315.'
Sarah pressed the doorbell and examined her surroundings while she waited. She was standing in a plain corridor, the apartment block was not exactly first-class, but it was clean. The sound of a chain being removed brought Sarah's attention back to the door as it swung open, revealing a man in his mid twenties. The man had dark brown hair with a fringe that was longer on his right side; he smiled and let her into the apartment, locking the door behind her.
The apartment was small with only two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a kitchen that joined with the living room. Still cosy though, she thought. The man went into the kitchen and poured himself a drink before offering her one.
"No, thank you. I can't stay long."
"Oh, you know, the usual. How're things with you."
The man winced slightly and pressed his hand on his stomach, which had recently been punctured with a steel pipe.
Sarah nodded sympathetically. He'd had an unexpected encounter with an old flame from 2032. Somehow she'd followed him back to 2008 and tried to kill him. He was forced to snap her neck and burn her body afterwards, to keep her from coming back to life.
"For someone who was impaled and almost gutted, you do seem to be in remarkably good health, Jason."
Jason laughed and winced once more.
"And Cameron? She still freaking out paramedics?"
"No. Alone they're fine, but collectively…"
Sarah mimed throttling their necks and Jason smiled.
"Boys will be boys, and girls, well… Girls try to rip the implants out of your brain."
Sarah smiled to herself. Jason was some kind of Skynet-bred human with cybernetic implants throughout his body. I-950 he'd called himself. He saved them from Cromartie many weeks ago and then disappeared for a month until returning a while ago to help with a little problem of Sarah's.
"Is he awake?"
Jason nodded and put his drink down. He then took a key from a peg and unlocked one of the bedroom doors.
"He cries sometimes. At night, when he thinks I'm asleep, he cries. I think that's a good sign, isn't it?"
"As good as we're gonna get."
Jason opened the door. The room was bare; just a mattress and pillow. Sarah stepped inside and nodded to Jason, who closed the door. She kneeled down and smiled slightly.
"You sober today?"
"Yeah, that bastard took away my drink."
Derek was a mess. He hadn't shaved in weeks and now had a short beard. He was chained to the wall and sat in the corner, out of the beam of sunlight that shone through the barred windows. Sarah felt a twinge of sympathy; she had decided that keeping Derek in their shed at home was too risky in his current state. Especially when he managed to break free and charged Cameron like a crazed animal, earning him a roundhouse from John. Keeping him chained up with someone who could restrain him was the better option, not to mention more hygienic. For all Derek did, he was still Kyle's brother, and therefore she still cared.
"You won't do anyone any favours by drinking yourself to death. He's keeping you safe."
Derek snorted and laid his head back.
"So… what's on today's agenda, warden?"
Their new school wasn't as big as the last one, but still somehow had the same number of students. John was in Chemistry class, Cameron sat three desks behind him and he knew that she was watching him carefully. He smiled to himself, his thoughts drifting to later that day, when they would get home. John was so lost in his daydream that he didn't hear the teacher repeat his question for the third time.
John came back to his senses and saw the teacher eying him angrily.
"Uh? Wha-? Sorry."
"Nice of you to join us, I hope I'm not boring you?"
"No, I was just… Sorry."
Several of the students laughed, including a particularly pretty girl to John's right. He glanced at her and received a beaming smile. He quickly averted his eyes, feeling Cameron's gaze on his back, but chanced another glance; and saw another girl whisper something to her, which caused the pretty girl to smile in John's direction again.
Cameron observed the girl carefully and recognised several tell-tale signs that set off alarm bells in her mind. She was very attractive, with blonde hair and blue eyes, and she was definitely interested in John. Cameron suddenly felt the urge to blind the girl and realised that she was feeling jealous. Jealousy wasn't something
Cameron had experienced until now, and it was a little confusing. Nevertheless, she made note of this girl and swore to keep a close eye on her in the future.
The girl was nearby with a group of fellow femmes.
'Note to self: teenage girls share many similarities to wild felines. They travel in packs led by a dominant female.'
Cameron watched as the girls giggled and playfully pushed the blonde towards their lunch table. John and Cameron were eating their lunch outside in the sun, but in retrospect, Cameron should've insisted they eat inside. The girl approached the table and smiled nervously, John looked up at her and swallowed, Cameron watched intently.
"Hi John, I'm Chloe."
Chloe grinned and looked over at Cameron, who kept a blank face.
"Is this your girlfriend?"
Cameron wanted John to say 'yes', but obviously that would cause complications, seeing as they were "technically" brother and sister.
"Uh, no, she's my sister."
"No, we uh, we share the same father, but have different mothers."
Chloe pretended to be sympathetic but Cameron could detect her joy at him being single. She sat down between them and placed her hand on the table, a gesture Cameron recognised.
"So, John, umm, what are you doing tomorrow night?"
"Nothing much. Why?"
Cameron glared at John behind Chloe's shoulder. He should have said they were busy, but his brain must not be functioning properly. She is very pretty, Cameron thought, she's using her wiles to sway his thought.
"Well, a whole bunch of us are having a party and I was wondering if you would be interested in going."
Say no, Cameron thought. John considered for a moment, choosing his words carefully.
"I'll think about it."
Chloe beamed and stood up, her hair brushing John's face slightly.
"That's cool, I hope you do decide to go, I'd like to see you again."
Chloe gave him a wink and strolled back to her gaggle of friends. John shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"Well that was bracing."
Cameron tilted her head and eyed him suspiciously.
"Why didn't you just say no?"
"Because girls don't like it if you reject them out of hand. It creates a lot of seriously screwed up emotions. You ever hear the expression; 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned'?"
"Yes, but she can't hurt you with me around."
"No, but she can turn me into a social pariah in a nanosecond."
"You mean… a freak?"
"Yeah, that's what I'm always telling you; 'don't be a freak'. I've got to follow my own rules."
Cameron watched him closely for a moment. His reasoning was sound, but something bothered her.
"If she kisses you can I kill her?"
John laughed and smiled affectionately.
"Don't worry, it'll never happen."
"No, I can't seem to reach him. Whenever I get to the root of his insanity he shuts down, refuses to speak."
Jason locked the door and hung the key on the nearby peg.
"It must be pretty bad then."
Sarah sighed. She'd made no progress in discovering the source of Derek's hatred for Cameron.
"I'll try again in a couple of days. You don't mind watching him until then?"
"Nah, I got nothing better to do."
Jason smiled and so did Sarah. They stared at each other for a moment until Sarah broke eye contact and gathered her jacket.
"I uh, I got to get home."
"Sure, I understand."
Sarah left the apartment and took a moment to regain her composure before heading down the corridor, determined to get him out of her head.
The youth struggled with lock, swearing as he tried to get the door open. Suddenly, a bright light erupted from behind the door, lightning arched in all directions, smashing the windows. The spectacle ended almost as soon as it started, the youth slowly reached out towards the door handle and found that it had unlocked. He cautiously opened the door and peered inside. He saw a boy, no older than himself, kneeling naked on the floor, which had melted all around him.
"Dude! What the hell?"
The boy stood up and stepped towards the stunned teen, regarding him for a moment.
"What are you looking at freak?"
The boy suddenly drove his fist through the teen's chest, killing him instantly. He let the youth fall to the floor and carefully examined the blood on his hand with a look of wonder, his eyes glowing red.