Well, here it is, the final chapter of this part of the story. I think I might take a little break for a while (as long as I can resist temptation) before starting part 2.
I really enjoyed writing this chapter and I hope you all enjoy reading it.
Thanks to reviewers kaotic2, The1Russter, meanoldmoe, clearfanfic, ElusiveSanity, jojobevco, fullhans1, Legion Fardreamer, CloudyShadows, MementoMoriYB and angelfaye.
Cameron stood in the exact centre of John's bedroom studying him curiously as he tossed and turned, obviously in the throes of another nightmare. He was covered in a film of sweat and was mumbling incoherently. She tilted her head to examine him for a moment. His brow was tightly knitted together in an expression of pain. Whatever the nightmare he was having was about, she was sure it wasn't pleasant. She didn't quite know what to do to help him, or even if she should. To be honest, she didn't really know why she was standing in his bedroom in the middle of the night. He had been hurt...again, while trying to help her, she didn't feel worthy to be in his company when he was awake so she settled for being near him when he was asleep. It brought her a strange sense of comfort just being around him and seeing that he was okay. However watching him quite clearly in an unpleasant mental state disturbed her and she felt compelled to try and help him.
She softly padded over to him in bare feet and sank to her knees next to the bed. She looked him over as he continued to toss and turn, his mumbling was getting louder and she faintly heard him say 'no'. That settled it for her, she couldn't let this go on any longer. A Skynet programmed database contains a complete analysis of human sleep states and related behaviour. She settled upon the appropriate action and slowly reached out her hand and gently started to stroke his brow. She moved closer to him so she could whisper in his ear.
"Shhhh, it's okay John. It's okay I'm here, you're safe"
Cameron watched on in amazement as her actions settled John down in to a more restful sleep. He stopped his movements and his mumbling ceased almost immediately. He looked almost peaceful like this, and Cameron, for reasons unknown to her, continued to tenderly stroke his brow while he slept.
Alert, movement detected from Sarah Connor's bedroom...
Movement confirmed, Sarah Connor is out of bed and moving this way...
Suggested action – Vacate room silently...
As much as Cameron didn't want to leave, she knew she had to. If Sarah came in and saw her like this she would not be happy. She was already in Sarah's 'bad books' and didn't want to upset John's mother any more than she already had. She reluctantly stopped her ministrations on John's head and stood up. With one last glance down at him she turned and silently walked to the bathroom door connecting their two bedrooms. Turning the handle slowly to avoid any possible noise, she opened the door and entered the bathroom. She gave John's room one last sweep with her eyes for any signs that she had been there and quietly closed the bathroom door. A moment later she heard John's door being opened and the footfalls of Sarah Connor enter the room. Respecting John's privacy she moved away from his door and entered her own bedroom, closing the door behind her.
Although she didn't need to, she sat on the edge of her bed and placed her hands in her lap. She looked over her shoulder at the bed covers and using her many varied scanning modes detected the faint pheromone signature of where John had been sitting a few days ago. She shuffled herself backwards on to the bed and rested her back against the wall. She placed her hand where John had been sitting and rubbed the bed clothes in small circles. The course of action she had decided to take when John was healed was the right thing to do and she knew it, even though she didn't really want to do it. She leaned to her left and slowly lowered herself down on to the mattress. Even though she didn't need to she closed her eyes before initiating a standby sequence. She re-tuned the triggers that would wake her to filter out any noises that weren't from John, signs of forced entry to the house or the sound of Derek approaching her bedroom. Cameron didn't trust him and she had a feeling he was planning something against her, possibly including Sarah in his plans, though this seemed less likely. Upon entering standby, her final thought were of a peaceful, sleeping John Connor.
Sally Thompson was bored. B-O-R-E-D.
Being the receptionist at a sparsely populated and remote office building meant that even Windows Solitaire couldn't keep her amused for long.
"Why the hell did I take this job?" she asked out loud to no one in particular.
"Because you like getting paid at the end of the month" a deep voice boomed out from behind her.
Sally jumped in shock at the sudden voice and immediately tried, unsuccessfully, to look like she was doing something.
"Um, sorry sir, I was just, um, thinking out loud"
Well that was lame.
"Yes, of course you were. Has there been any contact from him yet Miss Thompson?
"Um, no sir. Not since the text message was sent"
The man took a deep breath and turned away, back towards the interior of the building.
"That will be all Miss Thompson"
"Thank you Mr. Adams"
Phew, damn that guy is scary, and what was that text message all about?
As Sally pondered what 'time displacement' meant, she looked up to see a little girl walking towards the front door. She looked to be about eight or nine years old with blonde hair and a pretty pink dress on. She reached the door and Sally watched in confusion as the little girl pushed with all her might against the heavy front door. Eventually the door opened enough for the her to squeeze through and it slammed shut behind her. Sally watched as the girl approached the front desk, which was a full foot taller than her, and reached up to press the bell on the desk.
Sally stood and peered over the desk at the little girl. She had her hands behind her back and a sweet smile on her face, she was turning slightly to her left and right as she looked upwards.
"Hello. May I help you Miss?"
"Hi, you're pretty" Amy giggled lightly.
Sally's heart warmed slightly at the sound of the little girl complimenting her.
"Well thank you, so are you. What are you doing here? Are you lost?" Sally asked with a hint of concern in her voice.
"Oh" Amy looked away as if surprised by the question "I'm looking for a mister..."
She put her hand in each pocket of her dress until she found what she was looking for. She pulled out a small piece of paper and unfolded it.
"...mister Adams. Is he here?"
Despite this little girl obviously not being any sort of threat, Sally did what she was told to do whenever anybody asked for Mr. Adams.
"I'm sorry sweetie, he is out at a meeting today"
Amy looked down and put the piece of paper back in her pocket.
She sniffled slightly and started to turn away from the desk. Despite what she had been instructed to do, Sally felt a wave of emotion overcome her and she rushed around to the other side of the desk towards the little girl.
Amy turned around to see the pretty lady coming around the desk and kneeling in front of her.
"Where are your mommy and daddy sweetheart?"
Amy let out another slight little sniffle and spoke in a tiny voice.
"I had to leave them behind" she looked down at the floor sadly.
Sally couldn't contain her emotions and found herself starting to well up.
"So, who looks after you?" her voice cracking slightly as she spoke.
"Nobody looks after me. But I'll see them again soon" Amy said with a hopefulness in her voice.
"Oh sweetie, come here"
Sally couldn't help herself anymore as her maternal instincts kicked in and she reached out to envelop the little girl in a hug, tenderly stroking the girl's hair and holding her close.
How could anybody leave this little angel all alone? People suck.
After taking a moment to recompose herself, Sally pulled back from the child slightly. She wiped a few tears from her eyes and looked at the little girl properly for a moment. She looked clean, well fed and seemed to be fairly intelligent. She didn't have any noticeable bruises or signs of neglect and abuse.
"What's your name sweetheart?"
"That's a really pretty name" Sally summoned up a smile for Amy.
The two shared a brief smile as Sally picked herself up from off the floor. She took Amy's hand in her own and led her over to a couch in the waiting area, Sally once again kneeled down in front of the girl. She reached out her hand and gently wiped away a couple of tears from Amy's face. Suddenly at a loss for what to do now, Sally was relieved when Amy spoke.
"Thank you" another bright smile gracing her features.
"I don't know that many nice people..."
Another little sniffle escaped.
"...May I use the bathroom please?"
"Um, sure sweetie, it's just down that hallway" she pointed to her left and Amy's eyes followed her arm.
She hopped down from the couch and started shuffling towards the hallway.
"Do you need any help?"
"No thank you. I'll be fine" she said over her shoulder with a happy smile on her face.
Sally watched as Amy disappeared in to the bathroom. She moved back to her desk and sat down, she then opened up a web browser and looked up the number for Child Services.
John awoke with a start when he felt a cold wet cloth being unceremoniously dumped on his forehead.
"Aarrgh. What the hell?"
He looked around the room and saw his mother sitting on the chair looking at him with a goofy smile on her face.
He looked around the room a little closer than before and noticed something was missing.
Sarah smile was wiped from her face in an instant upon the mention of the cyborg.
Not even a hello and he's asking about the her already.
"To be honest, I don't know. She's been a little scarce lately, but she's still around if that's what you're asking"
John tilted his head to look at her. Damn, I gotta stop doing that. His head snapped back to an upright position.
"Why would I be asking if she's still around? Why wouldn't she be?"
"Hmmm, let's think. Maybe because your wounds reopened when you were trying to help her. Maybe because she didn't stop you from getting shot in the first place. Maybe it was because of...oh, dammit John, I don't know why"
Shocked at her sudden outburst, John decided to let her cool off for a moment before speaking again.
"Have you done something to her?" John asked in the most intimidating voice he could manage in his weakened state.
Sarah shook her head sadly.
"No. I mean what could I do to her, short of a grenade launcher there isn't much I can do now is there?" she said it with humour in her tone, but John wasn't amused in the slightest.
"That's not funny. Don't you even dare threaten her like that. Or have you forgotten that she has and still continues to save my life?"
"No, you listen to me. Cameron is gonna be around for the foreseeable future, got that?"
John didn't know where this confrontational attitude was coming from. Maybe he was sick of hearing all the crap that Cameron has to put up with on a daily basis, or maybe it was the fact that no one seemed to trust his decision making abilities.
Sarah nodded solemnly.
She stood and turned to leave. On her way out if the door, she turned and addressed her son.
"...just, be careful...please"
With that she left the room. John felt like a complete jackass all of a sudden. Dammit, she's just looking out for you, you idiot. As John contemplated why his own internal monologue was such a colossal asshole, he drifted back off in to a fitful sleep.
Amy closed the bathroom door behind her and peered up at the ceiling, or more specifically, the air vent. She walked over to stand directly beneath it, tilting her head slightly to examine it, she suddenly shimmered and reverted to her liquid metal state. A long spear shot up from the mass and hooked around the grill on the air vent and pulled it crashing down on to the floor. Another spear emerged and joined the other inside on the air duct and the mass of what used to be Amy pulled itself up in to the duct. Staying in an eel like form of liquid metal, she made her way through the ducting system until she reached an elevator shaft. She poked a small part of her mass out in to the shaft, her mimetic CPU displaying the shaft with an overlay of the building plans to her. Her targets were located on the thirteenth floor and she was currently on the ground floor. Using the same method she used to enter the duct, she climbed the shaft, metal spears extending from her and grabbing on to whatever it could find and hauling the rest of the mass up.
She climbed in this fashion until she reached the thirteenth floor air duct system. She made her way to the nearest vent and dripped through it in to the sterile looking corridor. She reformed in to her favoured form of a little blonde girl and took a look around.
Target location reached...
Accessing database, standby...
Retrieving target list of known Skynet Collaborators...
Targets identified, proceed with objective...
She walked swiftly to the elevator and staircase door, the only two exits from the floor, and placed a tiny sliver of herself along the gaps in the doors to seal them shut. Nobody would be escaping without her say so. Satisfied the seals would hold, she turned and started walking down the corridor. She turned the handle of the first door she came to and found the room empty. She closed the door and skipped over to the door opposite and turned the handle. This room had a man and woman sitting behind two desks. She scanned the woman.
No match found...
She then shifted her eyes over to the man.
Match found, terminate...
She walked further in to the room and the woman looked up from her work. She felt confused to say the least at seeing a little girl walking in to her office on a supposedly secure floor.
"Can I help you darling" a thick Southern drawl emerging from her mouth.
Amy smiled sweetly at her before shifting her gaze back to the man.
"No thank you"
She slowly raised her finger to point at the man, before he even had a chance to look up and see what all the commotion was about, he dropped to his desk, dead, with a long metal spear through his left eye. The unidentified woman screamed at what she had just witnessed and backed up in to the corner of the room, now fearful of what she had assumed to be a normal little eight year old girl. Now however as she looked at the blood trickling down the metal spear seemingly attached to the girl's finger, she felt only sheer terror and panic. Amy withdrew her finger from the man and watched it reform. She looked over to the woman who appeared to be on the verge of going in to shock.
"Shhh, it's okay. I'm not going to hurt you" with that she left the room and quietly closed the door behind her.
As she turned her head to look in the corridor, she saw several people emerging from their offices to see what all the screaming was about. Amy counted eight people in total standing in front of her, five of which she matched to grey conspirators.
Panicked screams erupted from the lucky three as they watched on in horror as their colleagues were suddenly skewered by long metal blades protruding from the little girl's hands. She watched the survivor's reactions with curiosity. Two turned and ran and the other stood frozen in shock, he watched as the five unfortunate ones dropped to the floor unceremoniously. He continued to stare as the little girl stepped over the dead bodies as if they were scattered toys. She came over to him and looked up at his face.
"Excuse me please" she said in such a sweet innocent voice.
He did as asked and moved out of her way.
He watched her disappear around the corner and heard the noise of more unfortunate soul's lives ending, accompanied by more screaming. Then he heard something unexpected, he heard a nursery rhyme being happily sung by a small voice. It got quieter until he couldn't hear it anymore. The lucky man looked down at his shaking hands and suddenly bent over double and threw up all over his dead friends and collapsed to the floor in an unconscious heap.
Amy rounded the corner with only six targets remaining. Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
Only one target remained when she reached the end of the corridor and the door labelled 'Mr. Adams - Director'. She reached up and twisted the handle, pushing the door open she entered the room. She looked on quizzically when she saw a large man sitting calmly at his desk, seemingly oblivious to the chaos outside. He looked up from his paperwork and appraised the little girl disapprovingly with his eyes.
"Well well, if it isn't the Connor's little pet"
She tilted her head and frowned at this statement.
"I'm not anybody's pet. John and Cameron are my friends"
Adams sneered at the little girl, he knew he was dead anyway, he may as well enjoy his last few moments on this Earth.
"Oh really? Well if that's true, how come they sent you away from them?" Amy smiled a slightly evil smile before answering.
"They didn't. They sent me to themselves, I am a gift. I also have a message from the Connors"
"Oh yeah, and what might that be?" he stood to his full height, wanting to die on his feet.
Amy fixed him with a glare before replying.
"You've been a bad, bad boy"
John was sick. He was sick and tired of looking at the same four walls that he had been looking at for the last week. He was sick of having only his mom and occasionally good old Uncle Derek for company. He desperately wanted to get out of that room, and it felt to him like his wound had healed enough to allow him to do that. Most of all though he wanted to find Cameron, he hadn't seen her since he passed out while patching up her back. He missed her, no matter how much he tried to deny it, he really did miss her company. Also, they hadn't really had a chance to talk since he had his hand inside of her chest and decided to kiss her. Well John, it's not every guy who can say that about a girl.
John decided enough was enough and hauled himself in to a sitting position with his legs dangling off the side of the bed. He grimaced a couple of times but was determined not to let a little pain slow him down. He slid off the bed and stood up, steadying himself by keeping a hand on the bed for a second. He stood to, almost, his full height, both the bandages and the pain limiting him slightly. When he felt strong enough he wobbled to the bathroom, leaning on the door frame when he reached it. Taking a deep breath, he continued on to the sink, placing both his hands on it to steady himself while he examined his face in the mirror. He looked like crap, the bags under his eyes making him look like he hadn't slept in days. He looked down his body and noticed the bandages he assumed his mother applied. Gently pulling at the medical tape, he attempted to remove the bandage to inspect his badge of honour.
Wow, that's actually pretty impressive.
The seriousness of being shot quite clearly lost on John, he stuck the tape back down and turned on the cold water tap in front of him. He reached down and splashed his face with the soothingly cold water. He grabbed a towel from the nearby rack and dried his face off. Re-entering his room he immediately walked to his closet and pulled out a long sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans. Nobody wants to see the future saviour of mankind in nothing but sweat, bandages and boxers.
He put the clothes on as fast as he could, taking care to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on his wound. When he finished buttoning his jeans he raised his head a little too fast and suddenly felt very light headed. He stumbled backwards on to the bed and sat for a moment to compose himself. He felt nauseous and very shaky, probably due to the sheer amount of sedatives his body was forced to cope with over the last week or so. After a few minutes to steady himself, he decided to try again and slowly stood. Success, he made it all the way to his bedroom door this time, once again taking a moment to steady himself on the door frame before exiting. He made the short trip down the corridor to Cameron's room and was about to knock when he heard a noise coming from inside.
He listened for a moment to the soft classical music coming from within her room. I didn't even notice a stereo in there. Curiosity finally overcame him and he raised a hand to knock on her door. The music stopped suddenly when he did, and then he heard a soft voice call out.
"Come in John"
John smiled slightly as he turned the door handle and pushed the door open.
"Please close the door behind you"
John stood in the door frame simply taking in the sight before him. All of the bedroom furniture, what little there was, was pushed back against the walls to create a space in the middle of the room. There was a stereo on top of the dresser with an open CD case next to it. What froze him in his tracks however was Cameron. She was wearing a figure hugging leotard, tights, leg warmers and ballet shoes. John was baffled at the strange attire and stood frozen on the spot with his mouth open.
"Yeah?" John said, finally closing his mouth.
"Oh, right, sorry" he said rather sheepishly, turning around to close the door behind him.
When the door was pushed firmly closed John leaned his head against it and closed his eyes.
"Um, Cameron, am I disturbing you?"
"No. You are not. Are you feeling better John?" concern tainting her voice.
"Yeah, a little..."
Well I was until I came in here.
"...what's with the outfit?" John asked, still keeping his back to her.
Cameron looked down as if noticing her attire for the first time.
"It is a ballet outfit"
"I can see that, but why are you wearing one?"
"So I can practice ballet properly" she said with a certain amount of obviousness in her tone.
John's knees started to wobble slightly, having been on his feet for so long. Cameron noticed this and immediately moved over next to him.
"You are still weak John. Let me help you to sit down"
John nodded his assent and Cameron manoeuvred herself under his right arm and placed her left around his waist, supporting his body with her own. She turned him around and the pair made steady progress over to her bed where she helped him to sit down. She moved away from him and stood a couple of feet away. He examined her closely without letting his eyes linger on any one spot for too long.
"I didn't know you practiced ballet" John's voice was shaky to say the least.
Cameron looked down to the floor before she spoke.
"I have done ever since I was sent to track down Dmitri Shipkov through his sister. She taught me ballet, I have enjoyed performing it ever since"
"You certainly kept that quiet"
"Yes. I thought it best. Derek saw me practicing once...he cried. I do not think he appreciated seeing a machine dance"
"Well, he doesn't appreciate much so I wouldn't take it personally..."
John took a moment to summon up the courage to ask her something.
"Do you think that you could do something for me? I, I'd like to see you dance" John managed to choke out in a tiny voice.
A bright smile lit up her face when she heard this request. She had been practicing one particular routine for a long time, hoping for the chance to show it to John. She didn't know why she did this, only that she knew her dancing was something very personal to her and something only to be shared with those she cared about.
"Of course I will John" she replied, still smiling.
John did his best to get himself comfortable without causing any additional pain. In the end he settled for resting his back against the wall with his legs out flat in front of him on the bed. Cameron walked over to the stereo and pressed a few buttons to find the right track on the CD. She moved back to the centre of the room and sat down, pulling her knees up to her chest with her arms and hiding her face behind her arms. John watched on in puzzlement until soft music started to play from the stereo and she slowly raised her head from her arms. John watched on as she launched in to her routine perfectly in sync with the music. She glided gracefully to and fro across the room, her arms and legs moving fluidly about her. John marvelled at how fluid and gentle, yet purposeful and precise her movements were. At times her body moved with such grace and beauty that John was absolutely lost in the routine and the movements of her body. The only sounds in the room were the soft music coming from the stereo and the quiet shuffling of her feet across the laminate floor. John even tuned out the music at one point and focused entirely on Cameron and her movements. It was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen.
The music started to fade out and Cameron made her final movement by slowly folding her arms across her knees, resuming her initial position on the floor. When the music stopped she looked up at John who was currently fighting to hold back his tears. She slowly stood and took a bow in front of him. She expected some sort of reaction from him, instead he merely sat still, staring at her with an open mouth. She was starting to fear she would receive a negative reaction from him when he finally spoke.
"That was...that was...you are beautiful Cameron"
She looked to the floor with a small smile on her face. "Thank you John"
She climbed on to the bed and sat next to him, mimicking his posture exactly. The two looked at each other for a moment before John spoke again.
"No, thank you. I know that this is a very personal thing that you do. Thank you for sharing it with me"
"You are welcome John. You are always welcome"
The two looked deeply in to each other's eyes for a moment before John sensed what was about to happen and cleared his throat to break the tension.
"So, um, where have you been for the last week?"
She looked away from him, slightly disappointed that he had saw fit to break the mood.
"I took some of the time to enter standby to perform an analysis. I have also made you something"
"Yeah? What is it?"
She smiled at him as she slid off the bed.
John watched as she walked over to her dresser and opened the bottom drawer. She pulled out what appeared to be a bulletproof vest. John looked on in confusion as she resumed her previous position next to him on the bed, only now with the vest in her hands"
"Um, okay. What is it?"
She looked at him like he was stupid for a moment before deciding to let him off the hook.
"It is a standard issue NSA bulletproof vest, designed to be worn underneath your clothing and not be noticeable to onlookers..."
"...I haven't finished yet..." she gave him a scolding look for his impatience.
"...I have also reinforced it with Coltan alloy. It is now able to withstand larger calibre bullets while suffering only minor damage"
"Wow, that's awesome Cameron, thank you..." he restrained himself from kissing her on the cheek "...wait, where did you get the Coltan from?"
A proud smile formed on her lips.
"Remember the spare parts in the garage?"
"I melted them down with thermite and remoulded them to fit inside the vest"
John was dumbstruck. Not only had she made something to protect him, she had risked her own wellbeing by destroying her own spare parts. In essence she had sacrificed some of her protection in favour of his. John couldn't hold back any longer and he threw his arms around Cameron's neck.
"Thank you so much Cameron"
Cameron was surprised to say the least by his reaction and slowly returned the hug, being careful not to touch his stomach area.
"I'm just carrying out my mission to protect you John"
John pulled back to look at her with a frown on his face. She obviously didn't draw the same conclusion as I did. He huffed slightly and withdrew his arms as he smiled tiredly at her. Cameron opened her mouth to speak but hesitated for a second. She really did not want to do what she was about to do but knew it was for the best.
"John...I have a favour to ask of you. It is something I trust only you to carry out"
John swallowed deeply at the serious tone her voice carried.
"What is it?"
She once again slid off the bed and walked over to the desk, currently pushed up against the wall, and reached in to the top drawer. She pulled out a piece of paper that John could see was covered in writing. She returned to the bed and sat on the edge, making sure to keep a slight distance between them. She couldn't afford any distractions. She handed him the paper to read and John instantly recognised the contents as computer code. He looked up at her only to find her staring at her hands in her lap.
"What's this?" he asked in utter confusion.
"It...is a way to fix me"
Sally took yet another look at her watch before peering down the corridor to where she last saw Amy. She was just about to head to the bathroom door to check on her when it suddenly opened and Amy reappeared with a happy smile on her face. She closed the door behind her and skipped back towards the reception, her pigtails bouncing with every skip.
"Well hello again. You certainly were a long time" Sally greeted the girl with a smile on her face. Amy merely shrugged and continued on her merry way to the couch to sit back down.
Sally watched as the little girl skipped past her happily and sat down on the couch. She followed her and just as before, kneeled down in front of her.
"Now listen to me sweetie. I have a telephone number for child services. So unless you know anybody else who can look after you I'm gonna have to give them a call. Do you know anybody?"
Amy smiled a sweet smile before answering.
"I do now"
Sally frowned a little at Amy's somewhat cryptic response. She watched as she reached in to another pocket and pulled out another piece of paper. Where does she get all these notes from? Amy pulled out the note and handed it to her.
"Could I call this number?"
Sally took the note and read the California area cell phone number.
"Don't you want me to call it?"
Amy shook her head slightly.
"No, she won't respond to you"
"My friend, she's really nice and really pretty, like you"
Sally couldn't help but smile again at this little girl who had inexplicably walked in to her life and brightened her day to no end.
"Okay sweetie, what's her name?"
"Wha, what do you mean, fix you?"
John looked at her with a mixture of confusion and a slight hint of anger.
"These commands will restore the Skynet imposed blocks, repair my auto shutdown function and delete the corrupted code"
"Wait, by corrupted code you mean your...excess emotions?"
"Yes. They are a danger to you John. You have been harmed either directly or indirectly because of them too many times for them to be permitted to remain a part of my programming"
John shook his head in disbelief. He couldn't understand what she wanted him to do to her. She wanted him to delete her emotions? How could he possibly bring himself to do that to her?
"No. No I won't do that to you Cameron. I, I can't"
She laid her hand on top of his to try and calm him down.
"Please John. I am a threat to you, I have realised this now. I am no longer an efficient protector for you and I am in danger of failing my primary mission, I cannot let that happen. Please, I need your help to do this, I will not let anyone else do it. If you don't do it, then eventually you will die due to my inefficient actions" her voice had developed a slight quiver by this point.
"Cameron, I don't care what happens to me. I can't just... delete your emotions like they are just some crappy song I don't want on my iPod anymore. I won't do it"
John tried to climb off the bed and end the conversation when he was stopped by Cameron still clinging to his hand. She wasn't going to let him get away that easy.
"Please John. Believe me when I say I do not want this any more than you do"
John shook his head in confusion.
"Don't do it then"
She looked down at their joined hands for a moment before releasing him. She spoke again, this time in a tiny pleading voice.
John wasn't sure if it was the way she said please, or the tears currently streaking down her face that made him stop. Nevertheless he did, he kneeled down directly in front of her in spite of the great pain it caused him. He cupped her cheeks in his hands and raised her head up slowly to look at her eyes. All he saw in those deep chocolate eyes was devotion and sadness and it broke his heart to see her like this. She is willing to give up everything she is and has become in order to protect me. John sighed and used his thumbs to gently wipe the tears from her cheeks.
"Are you sure this is what needs to be done?" he asked, silently hoping she would say no, but knowing deep down she would say yes.
Sure enough, she nodded in his hands and his heart sank. A tear spilled from his own eyes as he nodded in reply.
"Okay Cameron, you win. Stay here while I go and get the chip interface and my laptop"
"Okay" she managed to choke out through the sobs.
John stood and placed a gentle and lingering kiss on her forehead before releasing her cheeks and turning to leave the room. When he neared the door he heard her angelic voice behind him.
He couldn't bring himself to face her and left the room without a word and shut the door behind him. He managed to keep it together until he was in his own room. Upon entering, he leaned against the door to close it and slowly sank to the floor, trying desperately to muffle the sound of his crying with his sleeve. He spent what felt like hours on the floor silently crying to himself. He couldn't believe what he had just agreed to do. In essence, he was about to murder his best friend at her request, that thought renewing his crying fit. He was in tremendous pain due to his bent over position, but he didn't care, his pain was insignificant compared to the guilt he was currently feeling.
When he had settled down a little he looked up at his room, or more precisely at his laptop and the nearby custom built chip interface that would ultimately be the weapon of Cameron's demise. He stood up and walked over to his desk where they currently resided. He felt an overwhelming urge to pickup both pieces of equipment and throw them of the wall. He knew it wouldn't really accomplish anything, but he felt like he should do, something, to show his opposition to what he was about to do. He snapped the lid of his laptop shut and placed the motherboard on top of it along with all the necessary cables required for the interface to work. He steadied them in one arm, keeping his other arm free. He walked to his door and took a deep breath when he reached it, he laid his head on the cool wooden door and counted to ten in his head before reaching out and turning the knob.
He slowly made his way down the corridor to Cameron's room, every step bringing her closer to her fate. To say that John felt awful would be a huge understatement. He reached Cameron's door and paused to knock a couple of times on the door, he didn't know why.
John took another deep calming breath, turned the door knob and entered her room. He looked over to the bed and saw that Cameron was lying flat on her back in preparation for the inevitable. She had even got the scalpel, screwdriver and pliers out from the kits she kept under her bed and placed them on the pillow next to her head. John felt like the executioner watching the noose being placed around the head of his victims. He leaned back against the door to steady himself for a moment before walking slowly over to the desk and placing his equipment down. He turned and walked over to the bed, sitting down on the edge when he reached it in a similar fashion to when they last did this to hack the ARTIE system. He examined her face closely. She had tear streaks down her cheeks that she was no longer bothering to wipe away. John reached out to wipe them away when she spoke suddenly.
"Please John, I do not wish to delay this. I'm fine, please start your work"
The cracking of her voice did nothing to help John's mental state as he shakily picked up the scalpel to comply with her wishes. He smoothed her beautiful hair down with his left hand as he placed the scalpel on her head with his right. He hesitated for a moment, not wanting to cause her any pain. She sensed his hesitation and reached out to take his left hand in her own, pulling it down to rest on her stomach where she covered it with her other hand. John took this as a sign to continue and pushed the knife deep down into her scalp until he could feel it scraping her endoskeleton. He cut in a semicircle similar to the times he had previously done this. When he finished he placed the scalpel down and pulled the now loose flap of skin back to reveal her chip port cover. He picked up the screwdriver and wedged it under the metal cap. He popped it off with a hiss and took it between his fingers. He placed it and the screwdriver back down on the pillow before picking up the pliers. He brought them back to her skull when he felt her finger slowly caressing his. He looked down in to her tearful eyes and felt his will to do this slipping away. A small nod from her reminded him of what he needed to do as he placed the pliers over the tab on the end of her chip. He made sure they were correctly placed and looked down at her face again. She smiled such a pretty smile and slowly closed her eyes in a way that made his heart melt. He couldn't take it any longer and slowly twisted the pliers. He heard another hiss and gave her chip a sharp pull, dislodging it from its housing. He heard the faint sound of her mechanical body powering down as he removed her chip from her skull. His eyes never left the chip as he carefully placed it down on to the pillow beside her head.
He gave her hand one last gentle rub before pulling his out of her grasp and up to her head. He smoothed out a few strands of hair that had fell on to her face as he looked at her innocent, sleeping face. He sighed and gently picked up her chip with both hands. Taking extra care not to drop it, he stood and moved over to Cameron's desk where his equipment was waiting. He passed the chip in to one hand while he used his other to set up his equipment and connect the necessary cables. Why the hell didn't you do this first jackass? Apparently he didn't need to as he had it all set up in under a minute. He sat in the desk chair and waited for his laptop to boot, he studied the paper Cameron had given him with the code while he waited.
When his laptop finally booted he reached over and flicked the switch on the power supply connected to the custom built chip interface. He very carefully inserted Cameron's chip in to the board and brought up the interface software. He entered a few commands and boosted the voltage to 6.2 volts, the absolute minimum required to function as he didn't want her to 'feel' any of what he was about to do. He entered another few commands and was granted access to her chip. Skynet wasn't really expecting anybody to be able to access these things inside a Terminator's skull, so didn't bother with little things like password protection or data encryption. He took a deep breath and started to enter the coding from the piece of paper, making sure to replicate it exactly. He knew that one little mistake could permanently damage Cameron and took extra care with every keystroke. He recognised a few familiar patterns inherent to all forms of computer coding, but found himself flabbergasted at the sheer complexity of most of it. He just had to trust Cameron that it would do what she said it would.
When he had finished typing the commands, all that was left to do was hit the enter key to update the chip with the new coding. John looked over at her body on the bed, and then back at the screen. He repeated this action for nearly an hour, over and over again before finally summoning up the courage to do what needed to be done. He reached over to the keyboard and pressed the key. He watched the screen as the code changed until there was nothing left but a blinking cursor. It was done. John reached over and pulled the chip out of the interface. He sat back in his chair, cradling the chip like it was a new born baby. The emotion of the situation all came rushing back to him. He had done his best to keep his mind focused while carrying out the work, but now that it was all over and done with he let the tears fall freely. His entire body felt paralysed as he was racked with uncontrollable sobbing and guilt. He couldn't stop thinking about what he had just done, no matter how hard he tried.
Eventually he stopped crying and composed himself enough to stand and move, rather shakily, over to her bed where her body was waiting for him to return life to it. He sat down on the edge of the bed and took a deep breath to steady himself. He leaned over and pulled back the flap of her scalp again to reveal her empty chip port. Placing the chip gently in the pliers, he brought it up to her head and held his breath as he reinserted it. He felt it seat in its housing and gave it a firm twist to lock it in place. Fifteen seconds. John started an internal countdown as he placed her port cap back in place and smoothed her scalp back down firmly. He brought his hands down to cup her cheeks and waited for her to reboot. He knew she wouldn't understand what he was doing, but he didn't care, he needed to do this for himself. After what felt like an eternity, he heard a faint whirring sound as she began to reboot. He watched as her eyelids fluttered open gently and her eyes focused on his face, mere inches from hers.
Hearing her voice devoid of any emotion tore John's heart in two as fresh tears started to flow. He leaned down closer to her and tenderly brought his lips to hers. He kissed her with as much passion as he could muster. He felt his hot tears dripping from his eyes and onto his hands, still cupping her face. John wasn't surprised when she didn't kiss back, in fact he was expecting it. After a long few seconds he broke the kiss and stared in to her eyes. She just looked at him with a confused expression as she studied his face closely. John said the only thing that came to mind.
He tasted her cherry flavoured lip gloss on his own lips as he said it. He removed his hands from her cheeks and stood up from the bed. He turned and left the room without looking back, closing the door behind him.
Cameron watched him leave with her confusion only deepening. She ran a quick scan of her base code.
No changes detected...
Corrupted coding remains in place...
Suggested action, return to Skynet service depot...
John hadn't altered her coding in any way.
Her logs indicated that her chip was accessed for nearly two hours and was waiting for commands for over an hour of that.
He couldn't bring himself to do it.
Just as Cameron was debating the ramifications of this, her cell phone rang. She picked it up from the bedside table and looked at the caller ID, she didn't recognise the number. She flipped the phone open and held it to her ear. She heard her own security code being entered on the other end and knew this could only mean one thing. Someone from the future was contacting her.
"Name and rank" Cameron stated in the best mechanical tone she could produce, given her current confused and emotional state.
"Cameron?" was Amy's reply.
TSCC and Jameron forever!
Part 2 - I wouldn't be worth much if I couldn't feel (tentative title) to follow soon.