The Tin Woodman knew very well he had no heart, and therefore he took great care never to be cruel or unkind to anything.
- The Wizard of Oz
This is a city built on dreams. The dreams of a child. A collage of stories blended into something new. This is the city she constructed, together with John Henry and the others. She'll leave it soon, for different shores.
This is the man she dreamt of. He was made of half-remembered snippets. She did not recall the color of his eyes. She'll bid him goodbye, as soon as they reach the bottom of this hill.
This is the moment she's been reaching for her entire life. This is where she shall begin.
They've assured her, they've told her, she is the real savior.
If he will be the principle of death, then she will be the principle of life.
They walk side by side. She holds the dog's chain and looks ahead.
The sun is tumbling down.
She sings, in a voice that is a whisper.
Is tric mi 'sealltainn o'n chnoc a's àirde
Dh'fheuch am faic mi fear a' bhàta
An tig thi an diùigh no'n tig thu a-màireach?
'S mur tig thu idir gur truagh a tà mi
"What is that?" he asks.
Their shadows blend as they walk.
"Gaelic," she says. "My father sang songs like that to me. John, do you ever sing when no one listens?"
"No. There were no songs for me," he says firmly.
She feels sorry for him. Never having lullabies. She had songs. She had a father, for a short while. She had two mothers and John Henry. She had the domes of Xanadu and the never-ending spring of the greenhouse.
She tries to imagine what would have happened if their roles had been reversed. If she'd had the jagged, broken city and he a sanctuary.
Would she still sing, then?
They reach the bottom of the hill. She pulls out a slim, laquered box and hands it to him.
"The coordinates to one of Skynet's TDE laboratories are there. You will be able to overtake it, with the help of some of our soldiers. We are also providing you with plans to construct a new TDE and an engineer to build it. You will have everything you need to handle chronoportation," she says. "In thirty days, when Skynet learns of this, it will destroy Xanadu. I must be gone by then."
John grabs the box and stuffs it in his pocket.
"Don't worry. I'll see to it."
"You must not try to reach me. My team will take care of our needs. In three years, once Shiva awakes, we will message you."
"If you attempt to double-cross me you will pay for it," he says in a low voice. "I don't care where you are, I will find you."
"I wouldn't hurt you."
"I can't know that, can I?"
Savannah reaches for her sleeve and pulls out the little poisoned pin. She hands it to him, carefully placing it on the palm of his hand.
"Synthetic tetrodotoxin," she says, lowering her eyes. "It causes paralysis and respiratory failure. It would have killed you in a matter of minutes. I had it with me. All of the time. I could have accomplished what all those Terminator units never managed."
Savannah raises her eyes, staring into his shocked face.
"I did not."
"I suppose I should be thankful."
He says it, but does not sound so pleased.
"Do you know if we'll meet again?" he asks.
She kicks a pebble.
"I was not told."
She's glad she does not know. She does not want to wait again. Though perhaps she might go to the shore on certain days, to watch the clouds go by.
Only once in a while.
"Take care," he says.
There is no lingering kiss, no embrace nor shake of hands. Silence parts them and stands between them. He simply walks away.
She watches him leave and leans down, rubbing the dog's head. She wishes he'd turn back to look at her.
He does not.
Eventually, night falls and Savannah heads back home.
When John dreams of Riley his dreams are green and full of promise. When he dreams of Cameron they are tinted gray with ambivalence.
Lately his dreams are red. He imagines a woman walking in the snow, wrapped in a parka, looking towards the sea.
He stands with his eyes to the east, staring in the opposite direction.
And then he turns to gaze at her, the girl with hair like a flame.
Note: I apologize for not finishing this fic sooner. I began it before season 2 of the show ended, so it does not follow the show's end-of-season cannon. Well, at least it is done now. Hope you enjoyed it!