TITLE: Pillow Talk
WARNINGS: Spoilers for all of T:SCC and the Terminator universe.
DISCLAIMER: Owned by Warner Bros, Friedman, et all. No profit gained, no infringement intended.
TIMELINE: Post Born To Run, set in 2027 or thereabouts
SUMMARY: for Monimala from the prompt "Our" John must send alternaKyle back to save and impregnate his mother. The thing is, this Kyle Reese has no intention of going!
In another time, another place maybe it could be considered pillow talk. But this isn't another time. And it certainly isn't another place. And in this time and this place there are no pillows and not a whole lot of talk either. Talk implies a two sided conversation. Here there are only orders.
Kyle draws in a deep breath of stale, possibly-carcinogenic air and flops unceremoniously onto his back, staring up at the dirty, crumbling tunnel ceiling. His heartbeat pounds in his ears and the cold air prickles against his hot, sweat-damp skin.
He stares blindly at nothing, listening to his own breath.
Next to him, she props herself up on one elbow. He knows she's looking at him, but he won't turn to look at her. She lays there, patient and still in a manner eerily reminiscent of the metal that hunts them all. Except that the metal doesn't usually lounge around naked.
"I'm not going," he finally says, swallowing thickly, still unable to look at her.
She doesn't move, doesn't speak. She just lays there. Finally, she reaches over, smooths a lock of sweat soaked hair back behind his ear. "You have to go," she says more softly than he's ever heard her say anything.
It's her tone, more than anything, that causes him to jerk his head toward her, study her as he props himself up on an elbow in a mirror position of hers. The tunnel is not well lit, but he can see her features, her face always so stoic and unreadable, shockingly open and soft in the dim light.
He shakes his head sullenly and she reaches out. She gently grasps his chin in her fingers, stopping his movements as she leans in and presses a soft kiss to his lips, still tasting of him. "You have to go," she says again.
He feels her breath against his lips more than he hears her words against his ears. He stares at her, into the mossy green of her eyes, so similar to those of the boy they found last week. His chest hurts so much he wishes he could die. "I won't leave you," he manages to whisper.
She looks soft and sad, but the corners of her mouth quirk up as if she's privy to an irony only she could possibly appreciate. Finally, she licks her lips and says, "You aren't leaving me."
He shakes his head almost reflexively and pulls away from her. Sitting up, he grabs the pair of tattered fatigue pants and pulls them on, rising to stand. He pulls up the pants and buttons them, then reaches for his discarded shirt before he finally turns to look at her. He shakes his head again. "This is insane," he bites out, nearly growling at her. He stands there, shifting his weight back and forth, pacing, stopping, unable to stand still. He drags a hand through his hair, causing it to stick up in dirty spikes. "This … kid," he says, choking out the word. He stops, pressing his lips together tightly as he stares down at her where she lays, still naked, on the old tarp that doubles as their bed.
"Fuck, Sarah," he says, cursing as much as pleading. "We all lost so damn much. I know what it's like to see someone, to have them remind you of what you lost, to think that maybe …" He falls silent as she rises to stand.
She crosses the few steps to him, unconcerned with her nudity. It doesn't make her vulnerable. Until this last week, he didn't believe there was anything that could make her seem vulnerable. She presses her fingertips to his lips. (Fingertips well calloused from years of fighting.) She pulls his head down, pressing her forehead to his as her hands cup his face. (Hands unaccustomed to gentle touches.)
He aches for her, for this tenderness. He's loved her for so long, worshiped her for longer. She is Sarah Connor, the savior of mankind, the liberator of Century Work Camp. She, both the idea of her and the reality of her, is the reason he and Derek are alive. She kept humanity alive. He spent years fighting, willing to die for her, waiting for the time when she might deign to notice him. And now he's finally here and she's finally here and even if they don't say it, he knows they love each other.
And she's asking him to abandon her. Ordering it.
"Kyle," she says, her voice not quite as soft, her expression not quite as open, "John is right."
He pulls away, frowning at her. Metal is the only thing he's ever hated more than he hates John Connor at this moment. He crosses his arms over his chest, staring down at her, trying vainly to intimidate her with his size. "Send someone else. Sayles, Timms, Saqib, Den … they've all volunteered. They're good men, good soldiers, they- "
She shakes her head, cutting him short. "It has to be you."
"You need me here," he growls.
Her expression softens again. "Not as much as I need you there."
"And where is there, Sarah?" he demands. "The past? Are you fucking serious? This kid shows up out of nowhere claiming to be your son – "
"He is my son."
He ignores her assertion, forging ahead. "Claiming that time travel is possible, claiming that I need to go on some one way mission with no hope in hell of ever getting back here, of ever getting back to you."
Her eyes glitter and part of him is terrified that she might cry. But she coughs, shakes her head and then looks at him again. "You aren't leaving me, Kyle. You're going to me."
He snorts. "Yeah. To … what was the year? 1984?"
She nods somberly. "1984."
He shakes his head. "You were what in 1984? Ten years old?"
She smiles wryly. "Nineteen."
Her answer takes him off guard and part of his brain is still irrationally pissed, but another part is trying to imagine her at nineteen.
She looks down at her naked body. "My ass was much nicer in 1984."
He gives her a withering look. "I prefer your ass the way it is."
"You say that now," she says with a wink.
His hands ache with the urge to grab her and shake her. She's turning this into a joke. A joke! She's ordering him to leave her forever and she thinks it's a fucking joke!
Seeming to understand the rage and fear and pain inside him, her smile fades and she steps closer. She takes the forgotten shirt from his hand and pulls it over her head, hugging the rough material close, breathing in the smell of him. He can't help but half-smile. The shirt undoubtedly reeks, but you'd never know it from looking at her. He wishes for a moment that he was a clean freak like Derek. Derek's shirts probably smell better.
She leans into him, wrapping her arms around his waist, resting her cheek against his bare chest. "It's still me, Kyle," she says softly. "And in 1984 I'm alone and so damn naïve and Skynet is after me."
The words chill him to the bone and he hugs her tighter. "It can't be possible."
"It is," she says firmly.
He sighs, giving in to the idea. He can't win in a battle with Sarah Connor, he already knows that.
Sensing the change in him, she says, "She needs you, Kyle." They stand there for several long moments before she adds, "She'll love you."
Now it's his turn to laugh wryly, shaking his head. "Right."
Sarah pulls back far enough to look up into his face. She is utterly serious. "She'll love you," she says again. "She … I will always love you, Kyle."
He doesn't reply. He can't. He just stares down at her. And nods.
"You have to go back," she says.
He nods again. "I know." He leans forward, pressing a soft kiss to her lips. "Will you miss me?"
Her eyes glitter again and this time, a single tear does track down her cheek. "Always," she whispers. "Always."