Title: The Enemy
Fandom: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Pairing: Jessie, mentions of Jessie/Riley
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm just borrowing them.
Summary: Jessie's thoughts in the wake of Riley's death.
The room was silent and still as Jessie sat immobile in the large chair.
The room was as it had been when she had first entered it months ago. The rug was spotless with tiny little wheel marks running across it where the vacuum had run over it. The legs of the couch were perfectly situated into the groves that had been pushed into the rug after years of sitting in the same place. The coffee table lay directly in the middle of the main room, and nothing rested on its surface but the room service menu.
Everything was in order. Everything was as it should be.
…Except for her.
Jessie's hand twitched where it rested against the arm of the chair, and before she could think better of it, she reached out for the lamp on the table beside her and adjusted it minutely before slowly dragging her hand away.
She shouldn't have been in the room.
If it was any other week she wouldn't have been in the room, not at that time. She would have been at the pool with Riley.
On Tuesday evenings she always went to the pool with Riley. She was teaching her how to swim. Riley liked the water. She liked submerging herself below the surface and opening her eyes up to look at people's hazy legs fluttering and kicking. She liked feeling the cool water all around her. It was one of the luxuries of life in the past that Riley had liked the most. Bathes hadn't existed in the future Riley had come from.
She should have been at the pool with Riley, but she wasn't. And in the still silence of the room, Jessie reached out for the lamp and adjusted it again.
Despite what she had done, she had loved the girl. She had cared for her as much as she was capable of caring for anyone. She had lied to her, and manipulated her. She was using her, but she also liked her. When she smiled and clapped for Riley the first time the girl had managed a dive into the pool on her own, the smile had been real. When she sat Riley down on the benches in the locker room and combed out the girl's freshly shampooed hair as water dripped down the back of her t-shirt, it wasn't a manipulation, it was an end in and of itself. When Riley's fingers brushed against hers as they walked down the street, and she sighed and rolled her eyes at the girl before allowing their fingers to entwine, she enjoyed the simple touch and coveted it as much as Riley did.
What she had done, she had done for humanity. She had done for future generations. She had done for the survival of the human race, not out of malice or cruelty. She had loved the girl. She had cared for her as much as she was capable of caring for anyone. She had used her, and lied to her, and manipulated her, but she also loved her.
Metal didn't understand people. Metal didn't feel. Metal didn't love.
Metal killed. It destroyed. It annihilated.
Metal was pragmatic, logical, coldly rational.
Her plan was logical. It was pragmatic. It was rational … cold, but rational. The metal would have approved if it hadn't been part of a plan to destroy them.
But, she wasn't metal. She was human. She was a person, and she understood people. She felt, and she loved. She killed and destroyed as well, and if she had her way she would annihilate, but she wasn't metal and she couldn't react or not react as metal would.
She had come up with a plan, it had failed. She should have accepted her losses and moved on. Even without a computer for a brain she was able to calculate that the risk of discovery was unacceptably high if she stayed. Even without micro-fiber chips in her head she knew that the longer she stayed the more likely it was that there would be a fatality outcome for her.
But she couldn't go. She couldn't force herself to leave.
Jessie's lip curled and she looked down at her right hand.
She was bleeding again.
If Riley was there she would have gone to get the first aid kit and then kneeled on the floor in front of Jessie. If Riley was there, she would have taken off the soiled bandage and swabbed the cut with hydrogen peroxide before carefully wrapping Jessie's hand up again. If Riley was there, she would have dropped her head down to watch herself clean up the supplies, and softly murmured that she wished Jessie would take better care of herself. If Riley was there, Jessie would have smirked, and told her that she didn't need to take care of herself because Riley was there to take care of her. And then, she would have reached out and cupped Riley's cheek, stroking it softly with her thumb for a moment before whispering, "Such a pretty girl," as she leaned forward and pressed her lips against Riley's.
If Riley was there, Jessie would have flowed off the chair and onto the floor, and after kissing her again for a few minutes she would have fallen onto Riley. Her hands would have made short work of the girl's clothes and then they would have touched each other, until a fine sheen of sweat covered them both, and they lay against the rough carpet, tired and sated. Her wound would have started to bleed again, but this time, Riley simply would have picked up her hand and kissed the reddened bandage before grinning at her sheepishly and reaching for the first aid kit once again.
But Riley wasn't there. And if she was, Riley wouldn't have fixed her cut because she had gotten it smashing her fist into Riley's mouth. Riley wasn't there, Riley wasn't anything anymore because she had killed her.
Jesse's eyes closed and her bleeding hand twitched.
She had done what needed to be done. She had done what she had to in order to secure a better future or all of humanity. She had done what she had done for the preservation of the human race. What she had done was evil, she knew that. But it was necessary. It was cold, but it was rational. She was a realist. She did what others were too weak to do.
Her plan was logical. It was pragmatic. That was the way to beat metal.
Know your enemy. Think like your enemy. Defeat your enemy.
Jessie reached to the side and adjusted the lamp on the table beside her again. As she moved to draw her hand back, she noticed that a few drops of blood had landed on the table top, and she dragged her bandaged palm against the surface of the table to wipe up the blood that had fallen from her hand.
Jessie sighed, and cradled her bleeding hand in the other one to stop blood from getting on anything else.
She was going to have to get up and get the first aid kit.
The room was perfect. Everything was in order. It was exactly as it should be and she didn't want to dirty it up again.
She was tired of scrubbing blood out of fabric.
Jessie rose to her feet and started towards the bathroom. She would dress the wound and then go for a swim.
It was a Tuesday night. She should have been at the pool. The pool was where she was supposed to be. Everything was in order but her. She had been planning to teach Riley the breast stroke, which had made the girl laugh when Jessie had told her that the week before. They had been in the locker room, and Riley had smirked and told her that she already knew the breast stroke as she reached out for Jessie to demonstrate. They had stayed the locker room for a while after that as Jessie helped Riley perfect her technique.
It was a Tuesday night. She should have been at the pool. The pool was where she was supposed to be. She had to go where she was supposed to be. Everything was in order but her.
It wouldn't be the same. Riley wasn't there, but that didn't matter. She had always known that one day Riley wouldn't be there, and that it would be her fault, even if it hadn't been by her hand. She had known this would be the end, but she had done it anyway because she had to. It hurt, it hurt more than she had expected. She had come to count on the girl, and love the girl more than she had expected. But she had a mission. She had a calling. She had a destiny.
She had done what needed to be done. She had done what she had to in order to try to secure a better future of all of humanity. Her plan was logical. It was pragmatic. It was rational. It was cold, but rational.
That was the way to beat metal.
Know your enemy.
Think like your enemy.
Defeat your enemy.
Jessie placed her newly bandaged hand on the edge of the bathroom counter and stared forward into the mirror.
The face that gazed back at her seemed perfectly composed. She knew that she wasn't composed. She knew that she wasn't alright. She could feel herself beginning to spiral into some depths of feeling that she couldn't afford to fall into.
That was why she needed to go to the pool. That was why everything needed to be in order. That was why she couldn't leave yet.
She needed her routine. She needed familiar things around her, to calm her until her emotions began to level out again. Then, when she felt more like herself, she would go. She would leave. She would take stock of the situation, evaluate her assets, she would set another object and execute it.
It was the logical thing to do, the pragmatic thing, the rational thing.
Jesse turned away from the mirror and made her way into the main room where her gym bag was resting by the door, ready and waiting for her. She bent over and picked it up, then reached for the door knob as she tried desperately to ignore the voice whispering, 'become your enemy' as she stepped out of the darkness of her room, and blinked against the light in the hallway.