Title: Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Author: Janine

Fandom: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Pairing: Riley/Jesse

Rating: R

Disclaimer: I don't own them.

Note: Slight, very slight spoilers for 2.17 "Ourselves Alone".

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A car horn blared as I crossed the street.

I blinked as I looked up into soft brown eyes. My gaze reluctantly falling from the chocolate orbs in front of me to take in the hand stretched out towards me. It was small, and soft, and clean and I didn't want to dirty it.

The sun was bright in my eyes as I staggered down the sidewalk, but I wasn't sure whether it was the light or the tears in my eyes that were blurring my vision.

Slim, tapered, piano player fingers trailed gently across my cheeks. The touch was almost unbearably soft, a mere whisper of sensation that brought tears to my eyes. Warmth spread against the front of my body, and a strong, slim arm wrapped around my waist. Her breath tickled my ears as she murmured soothing, meaningless words to me, and for the first time in years my eyes closed and I wasn't afraid.

The lobby of the hotel was cool, and I shivered as entered it. At one time the splendor of the place had shocked me into silence and brought tears of wonder to my eyes.

No more.

Jesse's fingers ran teasing up my thigh and I squirmed beneath her and parted my legs. Her lips curved up in a smile against my skin, and she pressed a soft kiss to the column of my throat, and then another, and another, slowly moving up until her lips were pressed against mine. We kissed, and her fingers slid from my thigh to the wet, hot spot between them, and I never wanted to be without her in my life.

I'd stayed in that hotel room with her before my identity was set up and I'd been forced to move in with my foster parents.

Every part of the room carried memories for me. Some were good, very good. And others were … no good at all.

Jesse had lived in the room for months, but there were few traces of her in it. There were no little personal mementos, only surveillance pictures taken with a telephoto lens. The room was sterile, and vacant, devoid of anything sentimental, or meaningful. It was a place setting, a simulation of warmth and welcoming with no real emotion behind it.

I decided that it was the perfect reflection of the woman who had been occupying it after all.

"He'll like you. He'll love you. It would be impossible for him not to," she whispered, wrapping her arms around me from behind as she rested her chin on my shoulder. "Look at you," she continued, leaning her head against mine, black and blonde hair tangling together in a way that fascinated me, and struck me as being terribly romantic. "How could he not fall prostrate at your feet?"

"You don't," I murmured, blushing though a pleased smile spread across my lips anyway. Jesse was kind, and considerate and loving, but she was always in control. She doted on me, but if anyone was to fall to their knees and kiss the boots of the woman in front of her, it would be me. I didn't mind that though, her forceful personality was comforting. I'd been on my own for a while, and it was nice to have someone looking out for me. It was nice to have some care, and try to protect me.

"Don't I?" Jesse asked softly, her eyes meeting mine in the mirror and holding them for a few moments.

She then tucked a few strands of stray blonde hair behind my ear, and nudged me, encouraging me to turn around so that we were facing each other. Once I was turned, she held my eyes for second, her brown eyes were intense and alight, and then she leaned forward and pressed her lips against mine gently. She was so strong, but she could be so gentle as well, and the sweetness of her kiss nearly brought tears to my eyes.

"I need you," Jesse breathed out as she pulled back from my lips. "You are everything," she whispered. And then, with her eyes still holding mine, she lowered herself down until she was kneeling on the floor in front of me and brought her hands to top of my jeans.

My fingers flexed, and I felt the wire dig into my tender flesh to the point of pain.

I didn't relax my hand.

I wanted the pain.

I wanted to feel that wire digging into my flesh. Physical pain I could deal with. I had spent my whole life up until six months before bruised, hungry, cold, damp, and dirty. Black and blue had been the only accessories I had known before Jesse, and their return was comforting to me.

Pain was my lover now, and I gave myself over to her cold, biting embrace as I had once collapsed into Jesse's warm, soft arms.

"I'm scared," I confessed, feeling extremely vulnerable as Jesse slipped into the bed beside me. She had given me so much, and she was asking for so little, and I was still afraid.

I sickened myself at that moment, and I didn't want to see the emotion reflected on her face.

"Why? I'm here," Jesse responded, propping her head on her hand and gazing over at me.

"But," I began.

"I'm here, Sweetie," Jesse repeated, her expression gravely serious as she stared at me. "I'll take care of you."

Everything was pain before. And everything was pain now.

"I love you so much. I don't know what I would do without you."

"You'll never have to find out. As long as you live, I'll be here."

I felt the wire dig into my flesh, and pressed myself further into the shadows.

I didn't know if I would win.

I didn't know if I wanted to win.

All I knew was that one way or the other, when Jesse walked through that door, things would come to an end … and there was peace in that thought, no matter what the outcome.

The End