Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles

title: More than Metal

author: River2027

Disclaimer: I do not own anything Terminator

setting: season 2, sometime before "Earthlings Welcome Here"

genre: romance/drama/humor

rating: T

warning: contains spoilers for all episodes up to "complications"

summary: After Cameron saves his life once more, John begins to discover his true feelings for his Terminator protector and tries to prove to her--and himself--that she's not just a machine. John/Cameron

author's note: Just something I'd written a while ago and thought I'd post while working on my other stories. I've posted a trailer for my "threequel" fanfiction on YouTube that you guys could check out: URL: http:// youtube .com/watch?v=sfMjjjuJeV4

Come with Me if You Want to Live

He had been so sure he was going to die.

There was Cromartie, his substitute teacher and Terminator assassin, holding a gun aimed at his head when the truck came out of nowhere, slamming into the machine with enough force that would have killed a human man instantly.

He had been in a state of shock when the truck suddenly reversed and Cameron Phillips threw the door open and spoke the words he knew, the words Uncle Bob had spoken. "Come with me if you want to live!"

He saw the bloodstains on her shirt from bullets that hadn't pierced human flesh. He didn't hesitate. When he climbed in, he knew nothing would ever be the same.

John struggled against the icy water, mind spinning, threatening to lose consciousness. Was Cromartie still here? Had his mother escaped? Where was Cameron? He could vaguely hear his uncle, Derek Reese, shouting his name from too far away.

John felt the last bit of air leave his lungs when a strong arm lifted him effortlessly out of the water by the collar of his shirt. He was coughing and sputtering when Cameron dragged him onto dry land once more. He saw his mother running towards him, face twisted with worry.

"John!" Sarah cried. "John, are you alright?"

John nodded, shivering violently from the icy water. "Yeah…I'm fine."

"Good," Derek said. He stood up quickly. "We need to find out where Cromartie went."

Sarah stood up and turned to Derek. Their voices faded as they walked up the hill to see if Cromartie was still nearby, waiting to ambush them again. Had he fallen in the water as well? Had he sunk again?

Cameron sat down next to him and brushed her hand across his forehead. John shivered at her touch, though that could also have been from the cold. Then Cameron did something totally unexpected. She put both arms around him and drew him into an awkward embrace.

"Wha-what…what are you doing?" John asked, voice quivering. He didn't mind the affection, but he just couldn't imagine his mother or Derek approving. In fact, they'd probably think she was trying to crush him to death. Especially Derek, who was engaged in some kind of personal war with Cameron.

"Your body temperature is dangerously low," Cameron stated in her normal mechanical tone. "I am helping to conserve your body heat so you will not freeze to death from hypothermia."

"Oh," John said. He felt a brief pang of hurt. It was practical. It would save his life…nothing more. She wasn't doing this out of some kind of love for him, just to keep him alive. Just to fulfill her mission objective. It meant nothing to her, right?

John sighed. He hadn't spoken to her in a friendly way in a while. He didn't hang out with her anymore. He spent time with Riley instead of her. He had expressed some…resentment for her ever since the car bomb. No wonder she felt nothing towards him. "When did I let things get so bad between us?"

"I don't know," came the reply. "You stopped being friendly when I informed you that you could not be trusted anymore."

John winced. "Yeah."

"Then you met Riley."

Was he hearing things in his feverish state or did he recognize something in Cameron's tone? "Yeah."

"We stopped being friends," she stated simply.

John bit his lip. She didn't understand his feelings, of course, his need to break free and be the leader everyone expected him to be. She only saw things in black and white. No shades of grey. Just a few months ago, he would have taken the time to explain his thoughts to her.

"I'm sorry," he said finally. "For blowing up at you…for…everything that happened after that day. I…uh…I just needed to break free of my mother…and you…I guess. I thought I didn't need help anymore. If I'm the future leader of mankind, I have to grow a spine."

"You already have a spine," Cameron said. "It is unnecessary that you grow a secondary one."

John allowed himself a smile at her naivety. "No. Grow a spine means…become stronger, do things for myself, make decisions for myself. Become the leader I'm meant to be."

"Oh," Cameron said. Wait for it…John thought.

"Thank you for explaining," she added predictably. "But Future John isn't strong all the time either. He needs help. He has friends."

John shivered against her shoulder. He remembered when she'd said that to him before.

"In the future you have many friends," Cameron repeated.

"So you've said. But I think I have followers, not friends."

Cameron cocked her head. "Your friends would be willing to die for you."

"Just because you're willing to die for someone doesn't mean you love them!" John exploded. The instant it left his mouth, he realized how untrue it was.

"Yes it does," Cameron corrected instantly.

"Who?" John demanded. "Who would actually take a bullet for me? Who cares that much about John Connor?"

Cameron met his gaze. "I do. So does Sarah. Even Derek. Kyle Reese. Martin Bedell. Allison Young. Everyone."

He died for you…We all die for you…

John felt his fever taking hold again.

She'd die for him. She'd proved that. He knew that.

He was beginning to realize that he felt the same way.

No matter how irrational or illogical it was.

He'd die for her too.

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Author's note: Everyone have fun tonight! Can't wait!