TITLE: The Game
FANDOM: Terminator/Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles
CHARACTERS: John Connor, Martin Bedell
WARNINGS: Spoilers for everything that has aired in the US, including the movies.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Don't know who does.
SUMMARY: Martin Bedell isn't the only one who likes running. John wishes like hell he could run away from this conversation.

"Connor, we need to talk."

John glances over at Bedell. He doesn't know what the Colonel wants, but if the look on Bedell's scarred face is any indication, John won't enjoy the conversation. Not that John enjoys many conversations with his closest advisors these days. They seem to be nothing but an unending stream of casualty numbers and damage reports.

John pointedly looks at Marks and Boyd, who John was debriefing on their latest mission, and then to the door. The two young soldiers take the hint and make themselves scarce, leaving the two ranking officers alone. "What's the problem, Bedell? More ogres?"

"There's always more ogres," Bedell says dryly.

John doesn't say anything, he just stares at Bedell until the Colonel gets to the point.

Bedell frowns and then takes off the filthy stocking cap that covers his equally filthy hair. Long gone are the days of the clean cut prep student. With a sigh, Bedell sinks down to the dirty concrete floor, looking up at Connor. "I got a couple of new transfers in my squad today," Bedell says. "A pair of brothers."

John shrugs. It happens. Even in this time when simply being human is enough to make you feel like family, a lucky few actually have blood relations. "Why is this something we need to talk about?"

Bedell looks away. "I shouldn't say new. One of them, the younger one, was in Century with us. Just a kid. Reese. Kyle. Guess after we busted out he found his older brother."

Now it's John's turn to look away. Fuck. Martin Bedell isn't the only one who likes running. John wishes like hell he could run away from this conversation. He thought he was finally getting past this part, past the part where he still has to justify his rationale, explain how he knows things that should be unknowable. Most people these days have stopped asking, stopped questioning. The name John Connor now carries considerable weight and influence within the human resistance.

But there are still those to whom John is personally accountable. And Bedell is one of them.

"Yeah, I remember Kyle," John says. It's vague and evasive and he knows it. It isn't that he doesn't trust Bedell. He does. But he'll give the Colonel just enough information to placate him and no more. Of all John Connor's secrets, this one remains the most closely guarded. "I've never met his brother."

Bedell's eyes narrow and John knows nothing short of full disclosure is going to work. Fuck.

"You haven't met this Derek Reese," Bedell says carefully, easily playing the semantic game John has long employed to try and keep his conscience clean.

John laughs mirthlessly. "Yeah," he confirms. "Not this Derek Reese. Not yet."

Bedell rubs the scruff on his chin thoughtfully with his filthy fingers. "There's a lot I can't remember these days. The other day I was trying to remember my grandmother's maiden name and for the life of me, I can't. But some things – some things I will never forget. And that day at Presidio Alto when I met you and your uncle is definitely one of them."

"Yeah," John agrees, finally sinking down to sit on the ground across from Bedell. "Me too."

Bedell laughs. "How did you phrase it? He was … intense."

John smiles. "Yeah. Definitely intense."

Bedell stares at John, holding his gaze for far longer than is comfortable. "I'm not going to ask how it was possible because I know you won't tell me and I don't feel like being lied to today."

"Thank you."

Bedell nods and then pushes up off the ground. He smacks the stocking cap against his thigh a few times, sending a cloud of dust into the air before he pulls it over his matted hair. He turns to leave and then glances back over his shoulder. "I'd do anything for you, Connor. We all would." He sighs. "I just never figured it would mean somehow going back in time and pretending to be your uncle to protect you."

John smiles. "Don't worry, Marty. You don't ever have to pretend to be my uncle."

Bedell chuckles and he walks away.