Lost and Found

"You should have made it known you lost your son," Derek snaps.

Sarah doesn't immediately reply, poking Derek between the shoulder blades with the barrel of the shotgun as she marches him and Bedell down the hall. "You should have told me you picked up a kid claiming to be my son." She punctuates the words with another jab.

Serrano Point guards try to intervene as soon as they see them, but Bedell orders them away. It could be the four heavily armed soldiers backing up Sarah that give Bedell pause, but Derek doubts it. The guards stand down so quickly that Derek wonders if Sarah Connor pushing people down corridors at gunpoint is commonplace. It's not a comforting thought. Bedell doesn't seem overly concerned that Sarah might kill them. Derek isn't so sure, especially if Sarah doesn't find the answer she needs. Bedell's banking on John being Sarah's son. If he's wrong, this could all go very badly.

"You have any idea what your kid looks like now?" Derek presses. Sarah doesn't answer. Derek stops, despite Sarah jamming the shotgun barrel into his spine. He turns to face her, glaring. "You don't know it's him."

Sarah's expression betrays nothing, but Derek knows there has to be desperation beneath the cast-iron bitch facade. Whether or not Sarah admits it herself, she needs this kid to be her son. She fucked up. She lost her kid. Derek knows how it feels to be willing to sacrifice anything to get back your blood. But it doesn't happen. No one comes home. Kyle was one in a million.

Derek looks over Sarah's crew. He recognizes two of them, Fields and Wallace. The other two he's never met, but they look seasoned. He wonders if they knew Sarah lost her kid. Not that it matters. Either way, they'll back her up. Sarah's got the tightest squad he's ever seen. If Sarah starts a war today, they'll follow her into Hell. Derek needs to stop that from happening.

"He's some orphan kid," Derek says firmly.

Sarah glares at him. "My son. Now."

John gives Kyle a sidelong glance as they walk down the hall. "You should have told me."

Kyle looks over, but doesn't reply. His chin is set defiantly.

John looks away, stewing. He doesn't know what Kyle thinks about the treason charge, but he's fairly sure Kyle doesn't want to see him die for it. He thought he and Kyle were friends, but right now the only thing he's sure of is that Kyle feels more loyalty toward Sarah than he feels toward John. John isn't sure why exactly that irritates him so much.

The guards direct them down a set of stairs. It's a challenge for John with his hands cuffed and legs shackled, but he manages to do it without falling. When he reaches the bottom, they point him through a doorway. As it turns out, the location for the tribunal is the old commissary. The space is pretty big. It'll probably hold three or four dozen people. It's about half-full right now. John figures that anybody who isn't on active duty probably came down for the show. Savannah and Allison are both standing against the wall. When they see him, they give him tight smiles that do little to hide their worry. His palms start sweating.

Brewster is already seated at a battered old folding table at the far end of the room. Taylor is also here, talking to a dark haired young woman who is probably Avila. As soon as Derek and Bedell arrive, that's the tribunal. John wonders where the hell they are. If Derek didn't show, that might actually be a boon to John, considering how pissed his uncle was the last time he saw him. But Bedell - John needs Bedell. Bedell is John's only hope at not ending up dead.

Savannah crosses the room to where John and Kyle stand. She leans in toward John, giving his arm a quick squeeze before she and says, "You need to sit in that chair up front."

John swallows thickly and nods. He takes a carefully measured step toward the chair, compensating for the shackles.


The sound of her voice stops John in his tracks and he spins staring wide-eyed at Sarah. He can't move. He looks at her, standing in the corridor outside the commissary, forgotten shotgun loose in her hand, flanked by Derek, Bedell and four other people he doesn't know. She's older, but it's unmistakably her. Her hair is long again, dark, but now interwoven with gray. There's an inch-long scar across her left cheek, but otherwise, she looks remarkably unchanged.

"Mom," he says, but it comes out as a near whisper.

She moves before he does, charging through the doorway. Suddenly he can move too, but he does so too quickly and almost trips. Sarah rushes at him, shoring up his balance, wrapping her arms around his waist. He does his best to pull her to him with his hands cuffed, gripping handfuls of her shirt as he buries his face in her hair. Sarah clings to him, her fingers biting painfully into his back, but he doesn't mind. He's crying and he doesn't care. Jesus, how long has it been? Just three months for him? It feels like an eternity. He was so sure he lost her; that he abandoned her to die alone from some horrible sickness. But she's here now. She's alive. And he has never felt so relieved in his life.

He doesn't know how long they stay like that, but it's a long time. When Sarah finally pulls back, her cheeks are wet too. She looks at him for a long moment, reaching up and gently cupping his cheek, her eyes tracing his face in wonder.

"Touching." Taylor's mocking tone reverberates clearly.

In a heartbeat, Sarah's demeanor changes, her expression shuttering as she steps forward, putting herself between Taylor and John. She grips the shotgun tightly, her eyes quickly assessing the room. The four armed soldiers immediately close ranks on her, weapons at the ready. Sarah glances at Bedell for a moment, but turns back to glare at Taylor as she orders, "Get me the keys to these cuffs."

The room is absolutely quiet, every set of eyes riveted on the scene. Sarah has the shotgun in her hand. Everyone in the room, save John, is most certainly armed as well. This has the potential to become an explosive situation and in the crowded quarters, nobody wants that.

John notices the way people watch his mother. There's fear, tempered by an obvious respect. Everyone looks a little shellshocked, thrown by the scene between Sarah and John. John can't blame them.

"Sarah," Bedell says quietly, trying to appeal to her reason, "we have rules."

Sarah never takes her eyes off Taylor. "Nash." On cue, one of the soldiers, a guy probably in his early forties who is built like a tank, pulls something out of his vest pocket and tosses it to Bedell. John watches as Bedell catches it. It's a set of dogtags. Bedell reads it and his gaze immediately locks on Sarah. She doesn't look at Bedell, but it's like she can feel the weight of his stare. "The keys," she says again.

Bedell nods to one of John's armed escorts. The soldier lobs the set of keys to Sarah. She catches them in one hand.

"What the hell is going on here?" Taylor bellows, muscles in his neck straining as his gaze darts between Sarah and Bedell.

Sarah doesn't bother to reply, she motions John closer and he complies, holding out his wrists to his mother.

"That boy is going to stand trial for what he did," Taylor says darkly. John watches as Taylor reaches for a pistol.

Sarah immediately trains the shotgun on Taylor. The four soldiers accompanying her raise their weapons and aim for him as well. At Taylor's side, Avila and two boys in their early teens draw their own weapons.

Kyle immediately steps forward, standing next to Sarah, gun in hand. When Kyle moves, Derek does as well, automatically offering support. Taylor's followers swell around him, probably a half-dozen of them in total, all shockingly young, all armed.

Following Kyle and Derek's lead, the soldiers from their camp step forward. All of them have weapons drawn, though not all of them are pointed at Taylor. The threat is clear. And it's also clear that Taylor is woefully outnumbered.

"Bedell," Taylor yells, his anger and frustration clear. "Bedell, that boy was working with Skynet and you know it. He's a traitor."

Bedell merely shakes his head, making it clear he's not going to get involved and he's not going to order any of his soldiers to intervene. Taylor sputters in impotent rage, but there's nothing he can do.

Sarah turns away from Taylor dismissively, as if he no longer poses a threat. She quickly unlocks John's cuffs and then does the same with his shackles. Putting a hand on John's arm, Sarah ushers him toward the door.

"You can't do that," Taylor rages.

Sarah looks at him and then makes a show of looking around the room. "Who's gonna stop me?" she asks.

No one moves.

She gives Taylor a dark smile and turns, pushing John in front of her out the door.

Sarah stalks down the corridor, Kyle at her side, John trailing closely behind. Sarah's soldiers flank John, two on each side. Somewhere farther behind Bedell, Derek and several of the soldiers from Kyle and Derek's camp follow.

"Connor," Bedell yells.

Sarah takes a couple more steps and then slows and finally stops. She turns and faces Bedell, who looks absolutely livid. Bedell holds up the dogtags and Sarah's lips purse together. She looks at Nash and nods.

"He's in the control room for the desalinization equipment," Nash says unrepentantly to Bedell. "I didn't truss him too tight. He probably already got loose."

Bedell shakes his head in obvious disgust, glaring at Sarah. "You touch my son again and ..." He trails off, not finishing the threat, but his vision darts between John and Sarah. It's clear that after all he did for John, this is a particularly despicable turn of events. Sarah looks away without replying. Bedell mutters under his breath and heads the opposite way down the corridor at a jog. John wonders if Sarah just made a huge mistake. Serrano Point is the most important resource the human resistance has and Sarah jeopardized that relationship to free him. Dammit.

John glances at his mother and their eyes meet. For a moment, her expression softens. John steps closer, rubbing his wrists. "So, uh, back there," he says, pointing in the general direction of the commissary. "You can just ... do that?"

She shrugs. "Apparently," she says blandly. She purses her lips at him, her expression hardening. "I didn't have a lot of choice. I had to get you out of there before you incriminated yourself."

John is forced to look away from the weight of his mother's glare. He frowns sheepishly, retreating a step. "It was Cam."

Sarah crosses her arms over her chest, unimpressed with his explanation.

"Who's Cam?" Derek asks.

"None of your business," Sarah says without bothering to look at Derek.

Derek glares at Sarah. "I hope Cam was worth pissing off both Taylor and Bedell," he says darkly. "And giving a big 'fuck you' to the only justice system we have."

"Derek," Kyle growls, stepping closer to Sarah.

Almost instinctively, Sarah reaches out, touching Kyle lightly on the hand. When he looks at her, she shakes her head, signaling him not to bother fighting with Derek. Kyle frowns in resignation, but then smiles tightly as he moves his hand, gently grasping Sarah's fingers.

John stares dumbfounded at Sarah and Kyle.

Chatter screeches over the radio clipped to Nash's vest. The soldier tilts his head to the side listening. The words are muffled and mostly unintelligible, but it's clear that things aren't good.

John moves, grabbing Sarah's forearm and pulling her down the corridor. "We need to get out of here before Taylor comes up with anything else," John says.

Sarah nods, taking several steps with John and then turning to look at Kyle. "You sticking around here?"

"Wasn't planning on it," Kyle says. He looks to Derek for confirmation and Derek shakes his head in agreement. "We're out of here."

"We'll meet you at the rendezvous point," Sarah says.

Kyle nods.

Sarah gives him one last look and then continues down the corridor with John, the opposite direction from Kyle, Derek and the handful of soldiers from their camp.

"We can't leave," John says tightly, keeping pace with Sarah's strides. "I have to find Cameron's chip. It's here. Savannah has it."

"No way," Sarah snaps. "We're getting out of here now."

"Mom, I can't," John says.

Sarah stops, pulling John to a halt as she turns to face him. "I already lost you once," she says tightly, her voice so low the soldiers can't hear. "It took me eighteen years to find you. I am not losing you again. We're leaving. Now."

John opens his mouth to protest, but shuts it again. He nods. In this world turned upside down, this is completely familiar. And he actually misses the damn pancakes.

[end section]