DISCLAIMER: I do not own these characters or this show.
The group got back to the house and Sarah got straight to business.
"Okay, family meeting..." Sarah started, but before she could get too far, John cut her off.
"No, mom, I think you all need a break. We'll figure things out tomorrow, okay?"
"But what about Danny?"
"What about him? John Henry will keep an eye on him, and it'll all be fine."
With that, John led Cameron out of the main house to the guest house.
Derek, who had reclined himself back on the oversized chair in the living room, turned to Sarah. "The three of us can still have a family meeting," he said, almost facetiously.
Sarah gave him a condescending look before heading to the kitchen. Kyle stayed behind with Derek, sitting down on the couch. A few moments later Derek looked at Kyle, confused. "Wait. They went out to the guest house. When did I get kicked out?"
"A couple days ago my brother. John's been in the guest house since he came back here the other night." Kyle wisely refrained from saying that both John and Cameron had been in the guest house since then, not knowing if that was something Sarah wanted anyone to know or even talk about. "You're in John's room now. Sorry to disappoint you."
But Derek just shrugged it off and got up. "No big deal. Still better than any other place I've stayed since J-Day." With that, he headed into the kitchen after Sarah to try to find something to eat. Kyle didn't move to follow him though, as he had other things on his mind.
In the guest house, John was leaning over his computer, typing furiously. He was looking for any information about Mercer, anything that might lead them to him.
Cameron had been standing in the doorway of the office the entire time he'd been working on the computer. She quickly calculated how long John had been working. "John, you've been on the computer for one hour and seventeen minutes. You should take a break."
John didn't seem to hear her, or he was ignoring her. Neither possibility was acceptable to Cameron, so she walked across the room to John and started massaging his shoulders. She hoped by doing this she would alleviate some of his stress as well as get his attention. It worked in both regards. John stopped typing and leaned back letting his head rest on the back of the chair. In doing this, the top of his head was now touching Cameron's abdomen. He waited a few minutes, wanting to take as much advantage as he could of the unsolicited massage. But eventually, he pulled away, surprised that she let him, and swiveled the chair around to face her. He placed his hands on her hips and looked up at her.
"Thanks, Cameron. I definitely needed a break." With that, he let his head fall forward to slightly rest on her stomach. Cameron reached up with both of her hands and began stroking the back of his head and neck.
"You should rest. I'm sure John Henry is searching his databases for information on Mercer as well."
It occurred to John then, not for the first time, that any research on their part might be pointless now that they had access to John Henry. John Henry could do the same research more effectively and efficiently. This made John feel both relieved and useless at the same time. Though he knew that making use of the information John Henry uncovered would be left to him and the others, which made him lean more towards relieved.
"You're right." He swiveled back around and closed the laptop he'd been working on then quickly swiveled back towards Cameron again. "I don't know why I'm even bothering."
With that, he stood up, a mischievous smile on his face. "There are much better things I can think of to do with my time." John lifted his right hand up to the side of Cameron's face, rubbing circles at her temple with his thumb. He leaned in ever so slowly, then stopped mere centimeters from Cameron's lips.
John whispered, "Tag, you're it." He quickly ran past Cameron into the next room. Normally, Cameron would have been able to stop him, but he had distracted her with his proximity. She had also been trying to understand his words. She now knew what 'Tag, you're it' meant, and mere milliseconds later, she was running after him.
As she ran, she calculated the force at which she would 'tag' John. Just as he was approaching the bed, she tackled him, careful not to put very much force behind the tackle, bringing both of them down to the bed.
After composing himself, John looked at her, confused.
"Tag, you're it," was all she said.
John couldn't help but laugh at this. However, he stopped laughing when Cameron's face became intent. She wasn't looking at him anymore, she wasn't actually looking at anything in particular.
"What is it?"
She looked into his eyes, and he prepared himself for the worst.
"Kyle is coming for a visit."
"What have you found John Henry?"
John Henry turned away from the monitors to see Weaver entering the room.
"I have not been very successful in decrypting the Skynet files, but I have found some interesting intel on the hard drives from Arkarna Industries. I have cross-referenced the profiles of humans the company employs with those it stores on the hard drives. Many of them match up, but there are a few profiles of people that are not currently nor have ever been employed by the company. They do not appear to be potential employees either. "
"So why is there information on them?"
"I can't be sure, but they are definitely persons of interest. I wasn't able to decrypt most of the files, only the file names in many instances. However, I conducted my own searches. One that stands out to me is Mr. Tyson Dawes. I remember the name from Cameron's files when we were sharing a chip."
"Very good work John Henry. I will inform Mr. Connor of this new lead. Meanwhile, I think you should continue your work."
Sarah and Derek had managed to prepare themselves dinner without actually speaking a word to one another. Once they had finished, they set to work on cleaning the guns they had been using. They were in the basement, as it not only stored the guns, but also provided space and materials for cleaning.
Derek finally broke the silence.
"What did he do?"
"What?" Sarah was genuinely confused given the vagueness of his question.
"The other Derek. What did he do?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you look at me like you don't trust me."
Not one to beat around the bush, Sarah replied, "You're right. I didn't trust him. And I guess because of that I don't trust you."
"Why didn't you trust him?"
"I did for awhile. As much as I can trust someone who isn't John or myself or..." she trailed off, and they both knew who she meant.
But she finished the sentence, not with the name that had first come to mind, but with the name of someone else she trusted. "...Charley."
"Yeah. A few years ago..." she stopped and corrected herself, "...or I guess about 10 years ago, we were supposed to get married. I thought that we had stopped Skynet. I was still a fugitive, though, so John and I left. I couldn't drag Charley into this life. But eventually he was dragged back in, and his wife died because of it. Still, he's the only other person I ever trusted with my life. And with John's."
"What happened to him?"
"Kaleba killed him. He died protecting John." The despair in Sarah's voice was not lost on either of them. After a long period of silence, Sarah continued.
"You lied to us. A girl died, John was put in danger, and was greatly hurt by your deception."
Before Derek could ask her to go into detail, she began the story.
"There was a woman. Jesse. I don't know if you know her in your time line, but in his time line, he was in love with Jesse. Jesse traveled back here without John's knowledge. She brought a girl with her. Riley. Her goal was for John to fall in love with Riley. She came at just the right time. John was confused and in denial about a lot of things. Riley allowed him to be normal. Jesse's goal was to keep John away from Cameron. Derek found her, and she explained what she was doing here. She failed to mention Riley. Since he agreed with her overall goal, he didn't interfere.
"Things got bad quickly. Jesse posed as a school counselor and told Riley's foster parents about things Riley had supposedly revealed to her. Things that could put us in danger. So I met with her, and she confirmed some of my suspicions. Riley insisted that she hadn't told anyone. Regardless, she'd become a threat. Cameron should have killed her. I'm still not sure why she didn't. But John was smarter than any of us had realized. He had known for a while that Riley was from the future. He knew about Jesse, and Derek. He wasn't sure what the end game was, but he knew that he was being lied to. So when Riley turned up dead, he was the only one that wasn't sure Cameron had done it.
"It turns out, Jesse's plan all along had been for Riley to die. She wanted Cameron to kill her so that John would truly never trust her again. It wasn't enough for John to fall in love with Riley, she had to make sure that John would never fall in love with Cameron."
Derek interrupted her now. "Wait? Fall in love with Cameron?"
It killed Sarah to actually say it out loud, especially considering her recent conversations with her son. "In the future, there are rumors that John and Cameron are involved. I can't know for sure, Jesse didn't know for sure, but she did know that Cameron had a huge influence on John in her time line."
With this new information, Derek now viewed John and Cameron's relationship in a completely different way. He knew they were close, but he figured that was only because she protected him. But with this new knowledge, his stomach churned, considering all the possibilities. Thankfully, Sarah distracted him by continuing her story.
"But Cameron didn't kill her. And when Riley figured out what was going on, that Jesse had been posing as a school counselor; stirring up trouble, that she meant to give Cameron a reason to kill her, she confronted Jesse. Riley fought back, but Jesse was the more skilled fighter. Jesse dumped her in the river. When we found out about a Jane Doe who matched Riley's description, both Derek and I assumed it had been Cameron. John wasn't so sure. He went to the morgue and examined the body. He found defensive wounds all over. It was then that he was sure it hadn't been Cameron. If Cameron would have killed Riley, Riley wouldn't have had time to fight back.
"It was then that he confronted Derek about Jesse. And then he confronted Jesse about Riley. He let her go."
"So she's still out there somewhere?"
"I don't know. After John let Jesse go, Derek spoke with her. I'm not sure what happened between them. I don't know if we ever will now."
"How did he die?"
"A terminator. Execution style."
"So I didn't trust him. He lied and we were all put in danger. But even though I didn't trust him, he died for John, and because of that, he'll always have my respect and gratitude."
Sarah was now done cleaning her weapons. She put them away, keeping the Glock to take with her, and made her way up the stairs to her room.
Derek, though finished as well, sat in the basement alone for a long while processing everything he'd just been told.
Cameron quickly got up off the bed and walked across the room to the door. She opened the door just as Kyle was approaching. He was a bit surprised, but was able to keep his cool.
"You wish to speak with John." It wasn't a question. Cameron calculated that there was a 96.4 percent probability that Kyle was there to speak with John. Additionally, she calculated that there was an 84.9 percent probability that he wished to speak with John alone.
"I will patrol. You two will be able to speak alone." Without another word, Cameron looked back to John to ensure that he was in agreement, to which he gave a slight nod, and she stepped around Kyle to begin her patrol.
It still threw John off how Cameron could seem almost human when they were alone, and then be so machine-like around other people. He understood why she did this, and he agreed with it, but it was still unsettling.
Before Kyle had arrived, John had repositioned himself to sit on the edge of the bed. He'd done his best to smooth out the bedding, as it had been mussed up from their game of tag, but Kyle could still tell that something had happened. He hoped that John had just been napping, but he knew that that was unlikely at this hour.
John started to stand up, but Kyle motioned for him to stay. He pulled the large ottoman over towards the bed so he could sit a few feet away, facing John.
They sat there awkwardly for a few long moments. John waiting for Kyle to speak, and Kyle not sure where to start.
"So we haven't really had any time to talk since we got here."
John knew this was true. In part, he'd actually been avoiding Kyle. It was too confusing for him, and he had enough confusing in his life right now. Kyle was technically his father, but he was also very different from the Kyle that Sarah had known. So he wasn't sure what his relationship with this Kyle was or could be.
"Yeah, I know. There's been a lot going on." It didn't escape John that his response was fairly lame.
"Yeah, but I figure this is the most downtime we're likely to get for awhile, so we might as well talk about some things."
"Like your father. Honestly, this time travel stuff is really confusing. Sarah says that I'm different from the Kyle that she knew. And I know you never knew him, but I'm still not sure what that means about the two of us. So let me ask you, what do you want?"
The question surprised John. He didn't know what he wanted. He spent so much time avoiding the subject completely, trying to lose himself in stopping Skynet or focusing on Cameron, that he hadn't thought about it at all. So he answered with the first thing that came to mind.
"I think I'd like to get to know you. Even if you're not the same man that my mother knew, you are still biologically my father and despite the small differences, you are still essentially the man that my mother knew, you're still essentially my father."
John looked up awkwardly, not sure what Kyle's response would be.
"Well, I've been thinking about it a lot, and it's going to take a while to get used to the idea of having a son that is only eight years younger than me."
"Well, at least I'm younger. I was supposed to meet you when I was at least ten years older than you. Originally, I think it was more like twenty years older, but since we jumped from 1999 to 2007, things are different now. I'll still be meeting the younger version of you, though."
"I was wrong. I thought this time travel stuff couldn't get more confusing, but you just made it more confusing."
"Yeah, I just try not to think about it." There was another awkward pause before Kyle continued what he had been saying before.
"But while I get used to it, I'd still like to spend some time with you. Alone, but I'd also like to get to know Cameron."
This got John's attention. Had his father picked up on their closeness? Of course they spent a lot of time together, but did Kyle notice the emotional side of it as well?
Seeing John's confused expression, he explained.
"She means a lot to you, doesn't she?" Before John could answer, Kyle continued, "Because if so, she's someone I think I should know."
John was stunned. He had expected Kyle and Derek to be overly hostile about working with machines, which they hadn't been, and now this. Kyle was basically referring to Cameron as if she were human.
"It doesn't bother you that she's a cyborg?"
Kyle thought on it for a moment before answering. "I'm not thrilled. Pretty much my whole life I've been running away from or fighting machines. But I guess it makes sense to me. For the most part, machines do what they're told to do. A select few achieve self awareness, like Skynet. I believe Cameron is one such machine. For these reasons, I'm led to believe that not only can we and should we utilize machines, more specifically terminators, but that Cameron has earned the respect that you've given to her. And if you respect her, then there should be no reason why I can't."
Kyle's candidness as well as his open mindedness was refreshing to John. He hoped that Kyle really believed everything he was saying, that he wasn't just trying to get on John's good side. John decided to give Kyle the benefit of the doubt. He smiled saying, "Thank you. That means more to me than you can ever imagine." John checked the clock. Cameron had been gone for almost thirty minutes.
"Cameron will be back soon. Can we continue this tomorrow?"
"Of course. It's late. We'll talk later."
John got up and walked Kyle to the door. Before Kyle left, John said, "I'm glad we talked and got this out in the open."
"Yeah, me too. That elephant was getting cumbersome."
The next morning, Cameron lay next to John in bed, studying him, like she had done much of the night. She noticed how peaceful he looked, and wondered what he was dreaming about, or if he was dreaming at all. She lifted her hand up to caress the side of his face. Then she leaned forward slightly and kissed his forehead. A few minutes later, he began to stir. Cameron calculated how long he had been asleep.
"You've been sleeping for eight hours and thirty four minutes. A teenage male requires at least eight hours and fifteen minutes of sleep each night. You rarely achieve this minimum, so I am glad that you slept so long last night."
"You mean you're glad that I'm unconscious for so long? You don't miss me even a little bit?" To John, it was obvious he was teasing. To Cameron, however...
"I miss you when I patrol during the night. But when I'm here, you are here with me, so there is no need to miss you. If you mean do I miss your personality and conversation, then of course. But I want you to be healthy and well-rested, which takes precedence over my wants."
John stopped her before she could go any further. "Relax, Cameron, I was kidding."
"Oh." Her face showed relief. "When we will have sexual intercourse?"
"What?" John asked, speechless. He didn't think he'd ever get used to Cameron's bluntness.
"We spoke about it before, and you said that we should wait, but then you seemed to change your mind. However, Sarah and Derek arrived home and interrupted us. I've been patient, but from everything I've read and seen, teenage males are usually extremely interested in sexual exploits. Are you not attracted to me? Is it because I'm a cybernetic organism?"
"No, Cameron, of course not. You're beautiful, you're...perfect. It's just..." John searched for a reason. Honestly, he wasn't sure. He'd been so stressed out about his mom knowing that sex hadn't exactly been at the forefront of his mind.
"There's been a lot going on, you know? And, well, it would be my first time, you know... I don't want to rush anything. I don't want to worry about my mom coming for a surprise visit or about if Danny Dyson is safe. I guess I've just been waiting for the right moment."
"But we had a whole day alone."
She was right. He knew she was right. He wasn't entirely sure why he hadn't taken advantage of their time alone, but he tried to explain anyway. "I think...I think I'm still figuring things out. I told you before that we'll figure this out together, and I promise we will. As much as I'd love to just lose myself in you, I have to be more careful than that. I learned that lesson the hard way."
Cameron knew he meant Riley. "Wait. You said that you had never had sexual intercourse before. So that means that you never..." She trailed off, not wanting to upset John.
John looked down for a moment before looking back at Cameron. "No. We never did. I can't be sure, but I think that even though I was in denial about my feelings for you, deep down I still felt like that would be a betrayal. Too big a betrayal for me to live with. I wanted you to be my first. My only."
John's words elicited a warmth in Cameron's abdomen, one she'd gotten used to over the past few weeks. This time, however, the feeling was even more overwhelming. Without even thinking about it, Cameron leaned forward and began kissing John. He was pleasantly surprised, and probably let it go on for much longer than he should have, but somehow he was able to come to his senses and pull away from Cameron.
"My mom's going to be wondering where we are, let's save this for later okay?"
Cameron obviously was not satisfied with his response, but the logical side of her could not find fault in his reasoning. She grudgingly got out of bed, with John getting up behind her. As soon as John's feet hit the floor, he pulled at her arm to get her to turn around towards him. When she did, he placed a soft kiss on her lips. When he pulled away, he stayed close to her face, looking straight into her eyes.
Sarah stood staring out the back window. She could see into the guest house from where she stood. She hadn't meant to look, but out of habit, she had wanted to make sure that everything looked alright. That was when she caught sight of her son and his terminator protector laying in bed together. She was relieved that they were both still clothed. She had wanted to look away, but before she could she noticed something strange.
Though John was still asleep, Cameron lay there staring at him, caressing his face. Then she placed a kiss on his forehead.
What is she doing? Who is she doing that for? Sarah had always explained to herself that Cameron's human behavior was purely for those around her, like she was trying to prove something. This was her last hope to explain how her son could fall for Cameron. She was sure that Cameron was manipulating him, but this unobserved (at least to Cameron's knowledge) behavior disproved her theory. Sarah hung on to the hope that either Cameron knew that Sarah was watching or that John was waking up and that therefore Cameron was doing it for his benefit.
So Sarah waited a few more minutes, but John didn't stir. Finally, she gave up and turned away. When she turned around, she was surprised to see Kyle standing there. It was rare that someone could sneak up on her, but she attributed this instance to be a result of her immense distraction at the moment.
"You know, you might think about having an open mind."
Sarah glared at him.
A man stands in front of a line of four other men. They are in a large office, presumably the man's. He is issuing orders to them. A monitor behind him displays Tyson Dawes' info sheet and photo.
"The target is Tyson Dawes. We want him alive. However, if the choice is between him getting away and him being dead, you have permission to kill him. This a high priority target, men. Get to work."
The men file out of the office, leaving the leader to himself. He sits down at his desk and continues his search for George McCarthy.
In Montebello, California, in a single story contemporary home, Tyson Dawes gets ready for work. He gets dressed, prepares breakfast for himself, loads the dishwasher, and fills his dog's food and water bowl. He whistles for his dog to come eat.
"Wizard, come here boy."
It's then that Wizard begins barking at something outside.