Minor note: This takes place prior to "Today is The Day" part 1. There are spoilers a'plenty for the Jesse and Riley plot of season two, plus some swearing courtesy of everyone's favourite "evil" Aussie.
Minor note 2: Made some minor edits to address the little typos Metroid13 brought up. Good on ya, mate!
I found Riley in a tunnel, scurrying around with all the other sewer rats. Dirty, filthy, disgusting little thing, but I could tell by looking at her that if I could get her cleaned up she'd be pretty enough, and that was all that mattered. A girl who was around John's age who was easy on the eyes and would listen. Figured it wouldn't take much more than that, and I was right. It's got to be pretty lonely, being a teenaged boy, future leader of the human Resistance, with only your mum and a metal to talk to, eh? As for the girl, well, we've all grown up hearing the legend of the great John Connor, the saviour of mankind. The big damn hero. What girl wouldn't want to be with him?
She was scrawny when I found her. Not like now. Girl could stand to lose a few pounds, but that's not a major problem. It was to be expected. You don't get much to eat in those tunnels, but here there's food everywhere you go. Good food, too, which is pretty much non-existent post Judgment Day. I took her to a fancy restaurant, once, as part of her briefing—figured she should know how to act if Connor wanted to take her places. Girl didn't now what to do with herself. Wasn't used to being treated like a lady. Spilled a glass of expensive wine all over the tablecloth. Everything was sopping wet and stained gold. Ah well. Wasn't my tablecloth. She'd never been any place nice before; she was born post-JD, the sad, sorry wretch. It kills me that some of them never get to know what they're fighting for. Green grass. Trees. Kids playing in parks who look normal and healthy and haven't been born skinless or with their eyes sewn shut because of the radiation. If you look around enough, you might even be able to get yourself a cuppa coffee that's hot and doesn't taste like dirt.
This place really is paradise.
A person can get lost in heaven. It's easy to grow soft here, lookin' around at an idealistic place like this, where there are no HKs and bleached skulls to remind you of what's to come. Derek would know. I still can't believe he shares a house with one of those things. Imagine living under a roof with a Terminator. A machine. Disgusting. I thought I knew him better than that. Used to be he was the one tellin' me to watch my back around the metals. "Never let your guard down for a second." That's what he'd say to me, and I always took his advice to heart, though I wasn't always as anti-metal as I am now... Now look at him, poor, sorry bastard. The way they treat that thing—all of them, Sarah and John too, they got no excuse—just makes me want to knock my fist through a wall. They let it into their home, gave it run of the house, and now they act like it's one of them, like they're all just one big, happy fucking family. I've lived in a bunker with one before, but it's not the same. When you've got a Terminator in your bunker, you don't talk to it. You don't make nice-nice. You pretend to ignore it but you never stop watching it, because you know it sure as hell never stops watching you. Always know where it is. Keep your hand on your holster when it walks by and if something goes amiss, aim for the chip. That's what Derek taught me. That's what I learned the hard way.
Do they invite it to the dinner table in the evening, I wonder? Make pleasant mealtime chit-chat? Sit down with it and watch reruns of… of whatever the hell's playing on TV now? (Seinfeld? God, they're still showing that thing?) How do they sleep at night, knowing that when they turn off the lights, it'll be there? That if it wants to, it will kill them.
Am I the only one who sees how wrong this is?
…I guess if I didn't already know the answer to that, I wouldn't be here right now.
To start with, Derek was the only monkey wrench in the plan, but now I see he's made it harder for me in some ways, but easier in others. Harder because he trusts me. Harder because he loves me. Harder because—I'll be totally honest with myself for a moment—I'm scared shitless what'll happen if he finds out.
They told me he'd been sent back on a mission. They didn't say when or where or why. I had no way of knowing that it was here, right now, in Los Angeles, to look after his nephew, who just happened to be John Connor.
He left without saying goodbye.
In a city with a population of thirteen million people, you don't expect to be out for a jog and randomly run into your boyfriend from a different time period. Christ. That's why when I saw him, I just kept running. Even when he started chasing me, I just kept running. I was thinking, Please, God, let me lose him. Let me be a stranger, just a face in the crowd who reminds him of someone he used to know. I can't see him. Not here. Not now.
I should've ran a little faster.
Did I say he makes it easier for me? Ah yes, he does. Derek makes it easier because he lets me in on some things now and again that are useful, like how my darling sewer rat tried to off herself. I fucking hate teenagers. Angsty, hormonal little things willing to go all Romeo and Juliet at the drop of a hat. Being forced to live in the hell that is Earth, post JD, now that is a good reason to kill yourself. Not getting enough hugs is not. I don't buy the excuse that she was trying to get John's attention, either, not for a second. She wasn't clever enough for that. Stupid, ungrateful little bitch. Would've fucked up the whole plan if she'd succeeded. Some people never learn that there are things worth fighting for. Worth dying for.
Here's one of the things I hate thinking about: How much is this Derek different from the man I fell in love with? How much is he like Derek in the future? What's changed him? I know, it's probably not a good idea to worry too much about this alternate timeline bullshit, but I still can't wondering about it, late at night, when I'm trying to get some shut-eye, these stupid thoughts creep up on me… In a way, the way he tolerates that thing, Cameron, makes everything a little easier—the sneaking around, secret-agent type shit, and the lying… the constant lying… Because if he was my Derek, none of this would be necessary. He would've already done it by now. He would've gotten rid of that metal bitch the first chance he got.
Derek is a constant reminder to me of what I have to do. Because he's not doing it.
Hey, did you know that they did some sort of psychological studies on people, and they proved—scientifically, mind you—that the more people there are present in a crisis situation, the less likely anyone is to do anything about it? What they did was they hired these stunt actors to make it look like some poor girl was being murdered on the street. The lady put on a big show—screaming and crying for help—and the dumbfucks that lived in the apartment buildings and hotels wandered around, staring out their windows, not doing anything for half a fucking hour until someone finally called the cops. On the other hand, when test subjects were put alone in a room with someone having, say, an epileptic seizure, they were pretty quick to move their asses and get help. It has been proven that the more people there are standing around, gaping like idiots, the more likely you are to also stand there with your thumb up your ass. Nice thing to know about the race you're fighting for, eh?
I'll tell you one thing, though. That sure as fuck ain't gonna be me. I was the one who used to volunteer for all the icky missions no one else wanted to do. I was the one willing to make the tough decisions. And here I am now. I'm doing what needs to be done, because no one else wants to do it. There was this idea going around before I left, something I overheard in the bunkers late at night. Men whispering about "relinquishing control from John Connor." Mutiny. Couldn't say I blamed them. Connor had the metal at his side at all times, keeping secrets from his best soldiers, putting the lives of good men on the line. But can't you see what happens next? Can't you just see it? A big bloody battle in which the Resistance overturns Connor, some staying loyal, some fighting against him. Parts of the Resistance breaking off, fragmenting into angry little factions all convinced that they're right. Humans fighting humans, not for survival, but for bloody ideals. While we're busy bickering amongst ourselves like bratty little children, the machines come down on us and wipe us out in one fell swoop.
Someone's got to stop that from happening. And I don't see anyone else volunteering.
No one wants to be the bad guy.
So I will.
Author's Note: So I may be in the minority here, but I never saw Jesse as a bad guy. By the end of "Today is The Day" part 2, last night's episode, I sympathized with her more than ever. She is incredibly well-developed and complex for a minor character, and for me, she was never evil. She brought a whole different flavour to the shoe and the Resistance and really contributed a lot to John's development. I'm glad that neither John nor Derek chose to kill her, but I will miss her presence on the show! (Plus, admit it. Aussie accents are awesome.)
Whether you liked Jesse or hated her, I encourage you to drop me a line, leave me some constructive criticism. I thrive on critique. If not, Evil!Jesse will come to your house and… rearrange your lamps.