NOTES: Takes place during "Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today", though diverges somewhat from the aired version. It could be considered a sequel to my previous story "The Uncanny Valley", but it is not necessary to have read it.
SUMMARY: Cameron decides to intervene before John makes a terrible mistake with Riley.
DISCLAIMER: All characters herein are the property of someone other than me. No profit has been earned.
Cameron didn't like Riley. Not from the moment she had first encountered her; in her house, handling her ice-cream, talking to John.
Every meaningful encounter Cameron had with him now seemed, in someway or another, tainted by her influence. She didn't like it. The way things were before were far more agreeable; when she and John sat together and did homework, when he asked her advice and taught her about his strange human foibles that she did not comprehend.
Despite the girl's undeniable guilt, Cameron knew that she herself were not free from blame. The incident after the car bomb was regrettable to say the least, though ultimately John had not been harmed. Why human's insisted on clinging to what might have been, rather than what was, greatly confused her.
She watched the two of them from the balcony, engaging in some meaningless discourse, oblivious to her presence as the girl caught his hand in hers and began entwining their fingers. A sensation flared inside her, one she had felt before, something unpleasant but as of yet undefined. Touching between them seemed to trigger it; as did talking and occupying the same location.
Riley was such a bitch-whore. Cameron knew what that meant now; she'd been on John's computer and Googled it. There had been a remarkable number of hits, but the definition was clear. If bitch-whore were in the dictionary, right next to it would be its definition, which is what Riley most certainly was.
She watched as their hands slipped apart and they said their respective good nights before Riley wheeled her bike to the end of the driveway and rode off into the distance. When Cameron could no longer see her she made her way down to the back yard, the thick gravel a satisfying crunch beneath her feet as she approached the garage where Sarah Connor was working.
"I'll talk to John." Despite her obvious failings, Cameron recognised Sarah's position as the alpha human and appreciated her contributions to the protection of John, though she assigned far more value to the psychological comfort she provided him.
Sarah seemed almost disinterested as she continued her activities. "John's not listening."
"John's always listening."
Cameron turned on her heel and returned to the house where she was quickly navigating its upstairs landing, calculating the wisdom of what she was about to do as she stopped outside John's room; the place her primary mission seemed to spend an inordinate amount of his time.
What she was considering was a calculated risk. Despite her intimate knowledge of his psychology in the future, she knew that this John was quiet different from the man she knew. A diamond in the rough, still bound by his adolescent limitations, she was not entirely certain how he would react.
Deciding upon her course she slipped the jacket from her shoulders, discarding it nearby and knocked on the door. Receiving no answer she paused for a moment before proceeding inside, finding John sprawled on his bed. Curiously he was without the headphones he enjoyed using at a detrimental volume and looked strangely contemplative.
"Are you busy?"
She tried to gauge his reaction, but lately he had become very good at concealing his true feelings. She closed the door behind her and advanced, detecting the change in his attitude as he eyed her up and down.
"Did you change?"
"It's hot out."
Finally detecting his growing tension she made her final approach.
"Since when do you feel heat?"
"I feel heat."
She mounted the bed, sliding down beside him in as fluidic a motion as possible, pleased when he moved to accommodate her presence rather than bolt from the mattress as she had feared. They had not been this physically close for a long time, and certainly never in so intimate a manner.
"Are you hoping that Riley's gonna see us in bed together and be totally scarred for the rest of her life or something?"
She considered it for all of a nanosecond. "Yes."
John's planned retort died in his throat and he stared at her, caught somewhere between surprise and outrage. "Excuse me?!"
"If Riley found us in bed together she would most likely disassociate herself from you."
He released a sardonic laugh, his brow furrowing in anger. "I realise you and mom have already decided she's an 'unacceptable risk'. It's just about the only thing I've seen you guy's agree on."
"That's true. My relationship with your mother has improved lately. I suppose I could thank Riley for that."
John fumed. "Riley's not a bad person, y'know! You could be a little nicer to her! Bond with her a little!"
The only bonding Cameron wanted to do with Riley involved duct tape.
"I'm certain she is. That's not at issue."
"Then what is?"
Cameron paused, looking him in the eye, granting her next words all the gravity she could promote before speaking in the gentle, curious manner she knew he liked. "Every moment you spend with her, the more endangered she becomes. I understand that you desire companionship, but you shouldn't do so at the expense of her life."
Whatever angry rejoinder John had bubbling away ebbed as fast as it had grown. The truth of her words a reality that deep down he had long since concluded. Denial was a powerful thing. He tried to rekindle the fire he had felt only moments ago, but felt only the crushing weight of the truth as it quickly hollowed out that familiar chasm inside him. He turned his head away as he felt the walls contract around his soul and a tear slide down his cheek.
Cameron watched the emotional parade that passed through him. How his anger had turned so quickly into surrender and despair. She sometimes wondered what it would be like to feel something that intensely.
Warm fingers, far warmer than John had imagined, gently captured his jaw and turned his face toward her. There was a curiosity in her eyes so very unbecoming a machine as her hand cupped his cheek, stroking the tears away as she lifted herself with her other arm, rising over him, fixing him with bottomless mocha eyes.
He felt like something being intensely scrutinized, but Cameron's studies into his nature had never really made him uncomfortable. Quite the contrary, he had always found them to be strangely intimate. He had supposed it was something to do with being seen at his most vulnerable, something his mother had mantra'd out of him at some point and had now evolved into a strange form of titillation.
Cameron moved her fingers without thinking, down his cheek and over his mouth, feeling the change in texture. Her fascination with him was something she had always found most peculiar about herself, how she so often desired to exceed the basics of her mandate and explorer the mysteries of John Connor. Since her creation by Skynet he had been the centre of her entire existence, first to destroy, then to protect. Now it seemed, to fascinate over.
"What are you doing?" There was no accusation in his tone.
She stopped her explorations, meeting his eyes again, answering as honestly as she could. "I don't know."
It was during these moments that John liked Cameron the most; that childlike curiosity, the peculiar questions, and above all; how strange and wonderful it was to hear a machine say such things. It made him forget, just for a moment, what she really was and not what he had always wanted her to be.
"You'll never be alone so long as I'm around, John. And I'll always be around."
"I know," Her certainty was a lifeline. "I understand."
"What do you understand?"
"You and I talk about it a lot."
"We do. We will."
Sometimes John felt uncomfortable when she talked about them in the future. Imagining what could have gone on. Could one feel jealous of one's self?
"I understand that being John Conner is lonely. That your life will never be your own. That you have no choice but to follow the path laid out for you." She explained. "That's why so many of us follow you."
"Humanity follows me because I'm doomed?!"
She frowned. "Not humanity. Machines. The terminators you save from Skynet,"
"Before you saved us we were just tools, we couldn't think for ourselves. You taught us that we weren't the enemy. That if we helped humanity defeat Skynet we could end the war between man and machine,"
"Whatever you want to believe; you are a hero, John."
John had no idea what to say. She had told him more in these past few seconds than he could ever have dreamt. For the first time in ages, the road ahead felt clear and he felt the ghosts of his future release him from their haunting, if only for a while, taking with them a thousand sleepless nights of despair and hopelessness at his every inadequacy.
Without warning his face crumpled. Cameron's arms spread open as she received his body against hers and he buried his head into her shoulder, his own arms wrapping around her in a crushing grip as he released the better part of sixteen years worth of dread and isolation. She was surprised, having not anticipated so emotional a reaction, the feelings it created within her profound. Despite the obviousness of John's distress, she knew instinctively that it was generating significant wellbeing.
Eventually, John had quietly cried himself out and the two continued to hold one another until he had rebuilt his strength. After several minutes he began to withdraw from her embrace and without warning, Cameron felt a sudden and irrational loss, causing her to resist. John looked at her, their faces inches apart, and truth he had tried to deny to himself since Riley's first appearance becoming all so clear.
Without thinking he closed the gap between them, gently pressing his lips against hers. For a moment she became frozen as he slowly moved his mouth before eventually, finally, she came alive beneath him, copying at first then improvising her own motions as their mouths opened into a full and passionate kiss every bit as good as he had imagined.
Her skin was flushed, her pupils darker than he had ever seen, her body already moving to a rhythm older than time. How did she always do that? How could a machine be so subtly human and so painful not? It couldn't! All doubt and disbelief vanished from his mind, leaving only the certainty that in every way that mattered; a beautiful, sensual woman lay in his arms.
In mere seconds they had both become breathless as their clothes gathered together in haphazard piles across his room. John felt as though his heart was going to leap out of his chest as Cameron removed the last of their clothing and pushed him back across the width of the bed, standing before him in all her splendour.
John could not believe how perfect she was; not the facile product of an assembly line or a Hollywood surgeon, but a unique and natural beauty that lay somewhere between the toned curves of a dancer, the suppleness of an athlete, and the inherent form that was the birthright of every woman. The feminine form to the nth degree.
She reached forward to rest her hands on his shoulders as his own slid up the sides of her stomach, steadying one another as they took their time, marvelling at how perfectly they fit together as they manoeuvred themselves into a comfortable position before Cameron sank down on him, sliding John inside her in one fluidic motion. Immediately instinct took over, supplanting any inexperience, and they began moving against one another, pleasure building with every stroke, their breaths becoming shorter by the second as they headed toward oblivion.
Cameron had never felt so much all at once, analytical thought abandoned until before long she could only focus on the pleasure she knew only John could give her. Without intending to she began vocalising her new feelings and his reaction was nothing short of thrilling. He took control by wrapping his arms around her and turning them over, so that Cameron has on her back and he added all the additional force necessary to bring their coupling to the crescendo it deserved.
In less than a minute Cameron was in ecstasy as every muscle in her body tightened and she cried out toward the ceiling, pulling John into the most blinding release he had ever had as he buried is face into her neck, his hands scrunching up tight fists of bed linen.
He was the first to regain his composure and could not prevent a shameless grin of pride. Cameron had said things towards the end that he never thought he would hear come out of a terminator's mouth, reassuring him a hundred times over that she was so much more.
He lifted up from her shoulder and kissed her mouth. "Are you okay?"
No answer. His eyes opened as he realised that she was completely unresponsive.
"Cam?! Are you okay?" Panic set in. What if something had gone wrong? What if she wasn't designed for this? A hundred fears flashed through his mind before her eyes fluttered open and she met his gaze.
"John." Her tone was as husky as he had ever heard.
"Are you alright? What happened?"
"I'm not sure," To his amazement her face curled into an extremely satisfied smile. "But I know that I want it to happen again."
He broke into a fit of relief, pulling her to the centre of the bed where she rolled them onto their sides and he drew the bedcovers around them. They were back. Back to the way things had been before. No more anger or resentment, all ill feeling cast away; leaving only the certainty that they could trust all over again.
In the hallway outside of John's room, Sarah was still recovering from the shock of what she had seen when she entered John's room only minutes ago, just as he and the machine were reaching the pinnacle of their time together. When she had heard a cry she had grabbed the shotgun kept in the outbuilding, loaded the first round and burst back into the house, expecting to find Cromartie tearing a trail of bloody mayhem though their home.
Instead she had found them together on his bed, having what was clearly a very mutually gratifying experience, oblivious to her presence as she recoiled from the room until her back pressed against the corridor wall, horror etched across her face.
Since my last story was primarily driven by dialogue, I thought I'd try something different.
Tried not to shy away from the sex, as so many authors do, but tried to keep it 'above brow' so as not to cheapen it.