THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
Reunion is defined as a gathering of relatives, friends or associates after a separation.
# # #
Disclaimer: I do not claim any rights to the Terminator films; the TV series, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles;" or any characters depicted within the films or TV series. I do claim the right to this story idea and all characters and situations of my own creation. This story was created solely for my own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. No profits are garnered from its distribution.
Permission: If anyone wishes to use a portion of my story within their own work of fan fiction, please ask my permission first. Any reasonable request will be granted. I only ask that you give me full credit for that portion of my story that you use. Please extend to me the same courtesy that I gave to River2027. If you wish to post my story on any other site or retain a copy for your own use, please ask me first. If you wish to use my story in any published work from which profit will be made, then you'd better contact me about a contract to use my work first. Thank you.
Ratings: For the most part I would say my story would be the equivalent of a PG13 rating for the violence and language. However, a few chapters will contain scenes of a sexual or violent nature which could easily make it the equivalent of an R rating. I have deliberately used language to minimize the graphic nature of such scenes, but I do advise caution. I have decided to release this story using a T rating but two or three chapters will have scenes of an M rating. I will inform you at the beginning of these chapters.
My Thanks: First of all, I must thank Andrew Keen, who encouraged me to write a story based on a short scene I wrote depicting Sarah being reunited with her son. I had no idea it would grow into this huge work of fiction.
I must thank Kaotic2 whose unabashed honest criticism of the original edition of my story pushed me to do better and work harder.
Thirdly, I have to thank Meanoldmoe. He understood the story I was trying to tell right from the start and he has been instrumental in Beta reading this revised edition. Any errors are mine and mine alone.
My most sincere thanks to River2027 who gave me permission to use part of Chapter 1 of her story "Born to Fight" as the prologue of my story. It contains a great transcript of "Born to Run" plus many embellishments I thought worked well with my own story at the time. It has been revised significantly since then, and contains more of my own work, but at its heart, a lot of her work is still there.
I should also thank Talli.B who helped me with setting up my story on the original Terminator wiki. Her help was instrumental in posting my story there. I've learned a lot since then but I couldn't of gotten started without her help.
My thanks to all who read and enjoyed the first edition of Reunion. There are many of you who have been with me from the beginning and some of you who joined me part way down the road. Its been a fun trip for all and I hope you'll enjoy this second trip.
Changes: For those of you who have read the original, some things will be apparently different in this revised edition. One, there are more chapters. Fleshing out the chapters of Pt 1 so all of them are told in the third person made it impossible to keep to the same number of chapters. Two, no more summaries of previous chapters. Three, no more cues to my soundtrack. If you want to hear the songs, there are links on my profile page. Four, eliminated interludes from Part 2. Interludes 1 & 3 repeated in two chapters in Part 3 - no need to have them in part 2. Interlude 2 moved to what was Chapter 1 of Pt 1 and used as a flashback, providing more background to story. Five, there are more revisions made to Pt 1 then Pts 2 & 3, but there are significant revisions there as well. All done to make the story more enjoyable for everyone, including me. It was always my intention to revise Pt 1 of my story, I just had no idea how much work it would be. Part of the revisions to Pt 1 included matching its formatting to that of Pts 2 & 3 with opening quotes to set the story. I hope you enjoy reading them as it has been fun finding and selecting quotes for each chapter.
This book is dedicated to the actors and actresses who made these characters come alive. It is also dedicated to the production staff, the writers, and directors who worked tirelessly to create some of the best drama on TV.
Lena Headey: Your portrayal of Sarah Connor was some of the best acting I've seen in a very long time. You made this character into such a wonderful three dimensional complex character. Sarah's struggle of being just a mom, and having to raise and protect the future leader of mankind. You made Sarah Connor a hero. I hope you are proud of your work because we are proud of you.
Thomas Dekker: You had some big shoes to fill as John Connor. You've given us an insight into the struggles John Connor had to go through to become the man he will be. Despite his teenage angst and his struggle to come to terms with his destiny, we saw glimpses of the character of the man he will become. You did a marvelous job.
Summer Glau: You made what could have been a very difficult role into one of this series iconic characters. The subtlety at which you portrayed Cameron. You acted the part so well with just small expressions and body language to give us hints of what Cameron was feeling or thinking. The artful way you portrayed her will go down as some of the best acting I've seen. We will miss you very much.
Richard T. Jones: Your portrayal of Ellison as a good man thrust into a world for which he wasn't prepared was fantastic. You demonstrated that even in the darkest hours of one's life a person's faith in God will carry them through.
Brian Austin Green: You've given an excellent portrayal of a man who has been through the hell of war and still manages to live every day. The hatred of Cameron for being a machine, even though Derek truly knew she was there to protect John and how this distrust of anything metal both drove him and ate away at him like a cancer. A truly complex person who loves his nephew yet can't see him as the man he will become.
Garret Dillahunt: What can I say? Undeniably an awesome portrayal of a terminator. Cromartie is one dedicated, scary, son-of-a . . . computer? Then your portrayal John henry as an innocent artificial intelligence in the manipulative hands of Catherine Weaver. Always left us perplexed as to John Henry's ultimate purpose. Amazing acting on your part to portray two completely different characters.
Mackenzie Brooke Smith: Was there ever such an actress like this young lady? So adorable as Savannah Weaver. A little girl in a dangerous situation. Her mother replaced by a terminator, yet her daughter is kept alive, but for what purpose? You did a fantastic job as Savannah and I don't think we could ever imagine the character again without you playing her.
Shirley Manson: I loved your portrayal of Catherine Weaver. A truly dark and mysterious persona. We wondered throughout season two what her motivation was and with that season finale, we still do. It was a wonderful dynamic to the character as we saw her come to grip with the fact that she had to be a mother to Savannah not just look like her mother. I love your singing voice as well. I wished we heard more songs from you during the series.
To all the other actors and actresses who contributed to this show, I thank you.
Josh Friedman and the other people who worked so hard to make this show possible, I thank you too.
Bear McCreary: The music you developed for the series was great. Haunting melodies for the characters. Sarah Connor's Theme is the best. I also love the heavy industrial sounds integrated into some of the music or being the music itself. Fantastic. I am truly envious of your musical talents.
Now, without further delay:
Born to Run
Her voice is soft, softer than he'd ever heard it before. He swallows hard, finding it difficult to breathe.
"It's time to go," Cameron finishes.
He doesn't want to go. He wants to stay there forever, on top of her, their faces so close they are almost touching. And despite the awkwardness of his hand in her chest, he desperately wants to kiss her. But she is right. It is time to go.
If he doesn't pull away now, he isn't sure if he ever could. He reluctantly backs off, withdrawing his hand, mentally kicking himself for not even trying to kiss her.
Cameron sits up. Turning her back to John, she sits on the opposite side of the bed, untangling the straps to her bra.
He looks at Cameron as she puts on her bra. She appears calm. She didn't even appear to feel awkward being topless in front of him. Does she trust me that much, that she isn't afraid of me making a move on her?
He wonders how he even ended up in that situation. Not that he is complaining, but he isn't stupid. She'd did it on purpose. No, she wanted me to make a move. After all, it wasn't absolutely necessary for her to remove her bra. Was it?
She slips on her shirt, pulling her hair out from under the collar. It cascades down her back like some golden brown waterfall.
That's better. He thinks. It's much easier for me to concentrate when she has all her clothes on.
"Why did you have me do it?" He asks, his brow furrowing in honest confusion. "You can feel. You could have felt the power cell yourself and know if it was leaking. You feel heat. You told me that. You could have just done it yourself."
Cameron turns around, facing him, holding his gaze, and asks, "Would you have believed me?"
He opens his mouth to reply, then closes it, unsure of how to respond. Would I? If she'd just told me, would I have trusted her word? Would I have needed proof?
"I don't know," He says with a heavy sigh. All he did know was the moment, the incident, had become far more than a simple sensor check. It was the most intimate moment they've had together and he wishes he had the courage to have taken it further.
"Did you feel anything?" He asks almost desperately. "Did that mean anything to you at all?"
She shifts her eyes to the bed, seeming to be contemplating. "I would not have stopped you."
Her eyes rise to meet his. "If you tried to kiss me. I would not have stopped you."
He swallows hard. That didn't actually answer his question. "But would you have felt anything? Would it have meant anything to you?" Can you truly love me? Or have I been fooling myself all this time?
"I would not have let anyone else, if that's what you mean," she replies. "Just you."
Why didn't you kiss me, John?
"Just me," he repeats. He decides to take that as a good thing. It had to stem from something akin to love, right? She wouldn't let anyone kiss her, only him.
Why me? Because I love you John and you love me.
"Were you lying?" He suddenly demands, pressing his lips together tightly. He needs to know, needs to finally settle the debate raging inside himself. "When you were stuck between the trucks, and I took your chip, were you lying?"
She meets his gaze, her eyes soft and calm. "No."
I love you John and you love me.
He draws in a shaky breath. There can't be any more deception between them, no more lies. They can't be together if he always had to question if what came from her mouth was the truth or not. No more secrets.
"You can't lie to me anymore," he says, his voice breaking with emotion. "You have to be honest. You have to tell me the truth. Do you understand?"
Cameron nods slowly. "Yes. I understand."
He takes a deep breath before dropping the bombshell. "What did Weaver mean?"
He sees her flinch almost imperceptibly. He was right. She did know something.
"What?" She asks. I don't want to go. Please. I don't want to go.
Don't do this, Cam. Don't play games. "The message." He repeats, his lip twitching in slight irritation. "The one Ellison brought. The one that upset you. 'Will you join us?' What does that mean?"
Cameron remains silent. I can't tell him. It would hurt him too much to know the truth now. And it was future John who told me to do this. Surely, he must have been wrong?
"It means something," John prods. "And you know what it is. Don't lie to me."
Cameron finally looks up. She doesn't have to lie. She can tell him something else, where the message came from and not what it means. I'm sorry John.
"In the future, the resistance you lead is not the only enemy of Sky Net. Future John sent a message to the leader of this other group, asking, 'Will you join us?'"
John frowns. "Another group?"
"Only four people know the meaning of that phrase," Cameron explains. "Future-You, me, Jesse, and the leader of the Third Faction."
John's mental wheels are turning. "So, if Weaver knows the phrase?"
"Then Weaver is the leader of the Third Faction." Cameron finishes.
"Not necessarily. Might Weaver be employed by this Third Faction and given the phrase to identify herself to us?"
Cameron doesn't think that is possible. The third faction didn't employ humans to do their work as a general rule. But that doesn't mean it isn't possible.
"Yes." She answers.
"So, what does the phrase mean?"
It means I'll be leaving you John.
"It is possible, that after I left the future, negotiations for uniting our two forces against Sky Net were completed. She might have acquired the Turk on the behest of a united resistance."
"But we were already doing that."
"The future you that sent me, wouldn't have known that. We went after the Turk after joining forces with Derek Reese, after I brought you and your mom forward in time."
"You mean all this time, we've been working against each other?" His voice rising at the end. "When we could have joined forces and possibly destroyed it?"
"Yes," Cameron replies evenly. "But neither future you nor the third faction would have known where to find you. If I hadn't brought you forward in time, you might not have been found. According to the stories future John told me, you had been living off the grid. You spent your early life with no fixed abode, no phone. You traveled from place to place, alone." Her eyes drop. "I wanted to save you from that."
John gently places his hand under her chin and raises her head until their eyes meet.
Because I love you. Cameron's eyes glisten from the increasing moisture.
"Because you shouldn't be alone." She says instead, knowing their time together is growing short and not wanting to make the situation any worse.
John runs a hand across his chin, deciding to change tack.
"What makes you think this third faction has joined forces with the resistance?"
"They don't possess time travel technology. Only Sky Net and you do. So if Weaver is here, then you must have sent her."
Cameron studies his face, wondering what he might be thinking about.
"This Third Faction, what do they want?"
"It wants what you and the other humans want, to survive. Next to you, the Third Faction is the most hated enemy of Sky Net."
"She will not harm you. You are not her mission." Cameron continues. "If Catherine Weaver wanted to harm you, she could have had Mr. Ellison followed. Then you could be killed, far from her, removing any suspicion from Ms. Weaver. It's what I would have done."
"I'm not her mission." He scoffs. "Apparently this Third Faction's mission is to take the Turk, and instead of destroying it, to hook it up to a damaged cyborg." His voice rises. "How do I know they don't threaten the resistance? Or my survival? How can I trust them?"
"You can't," Cameron replies softly. "You just have to trust me, John." Please, her eyes plead.
His anger quickly fades as he realizes, he does trust her. He trusts her with his life.
"John, it's time to go," she repeats.
"Go where?" He asks.
"You know." She replies easily.
He does know. They'll be running again. Just like his mother had told them in the message. New name. New history. No destination. Judgment Day only two years off and they still don't know who builds it. And how likely are they to stop it, running again.
"You are to make sure he does," was the message his mother sent. Cameron would do that. John lowers his eyes to the floor. That's his life. Always running. But how is he supposed to lead mankind in the war against the machines if he is always running. No they must fight it, and he can't do it alone.
"I can't leave her." He whispers.
"Your mother ordered . . ."
"You don't take orders from my mother," John says stubbornly. "You take them from me."
Cameron is silent for a moment. This wasn't John being petulant again. This was more like future John, coming to a decision and acting on it.
"But I'm not giving you an order," John replies, sounding like his current self. "I'm asking you. Please. Help me get her back. I can't do it without you." He pleads.
Cameron tilts her head. "You're giving me the choice?"
John hesitates. He isn't entirely sure, what her answer will be, but he has to try.
"I didn't mean what I said. Before. About you just being a machine. You're much more than that. I won't make you do anything. It's your choice."
He draws in a deep breath. "If you chose to leave, we leave. I won't argue." He hesitates, watching her hang onto his every word. "But if you love me, if you care about me at all, if you feel anything about me. Please, please help me get her out. I've lost everyone else. Charlie, Derek. I can't lose Mom too."
Cameron stares into his eyes. She had a similar conversation once with future John. He was afraid of being alone too. And she left him, without friends, without family, future John was alone when she left him. She can't do that to this John, to her John. She comes to a decision. John can almost tell the exact moment when she does.
She stands up, walks over to the table, and starts to gather their belongings.
"We're leaving," she states.
John is crestfallen. That's it. He'd promised. He'd taken the chance. It's over.
Cameron's gun makes a sound as she chambers a round. John's eyes darts up to hers.
"But first we're going after Sarah Connor." With her orders, and no means left to avoid them now, Cameron knows John will need his mother to protect him. I'm sorry John. I love you.
His eyes widen and he leaps off the bed, a broad grin stretching out across his face. "Thank you, Cameron."
She smiles back. The smile plays lightly across her mouth as she sees how happy John is at her choice, but inside she feels uneasy despite making the right choice. Freeing Sarah is of great importance now that she's received the message. I'm sorry John, but I'm doing this for you.
As they leave the motel room, John says to her, "What you wanted me to do? What I wanted to do . . . back there . . . on the bed? It was more than just a kiss you wanted, right? I mean . . . it meant something to you?"
"Yes." She says, her face a placid expression of fear and happiness.
"I promise, when this is over. I won't lose my nerve again, if you want to, that is?"
With a feeling of loss knowing what will happen, she smiles warmly at him.
"Yes John. I want to, very much."
She continues walking to their vehicle, her back toward John walking just behind her, unable to face him, fearing her normally placid face will be torn by the unaccustomed grief she feels at the coming separation.
# # #
John drives up in front of the jail, searching through the crowd of orange for any sign of his mother and Cameron. He can hear the screaming and shouting coming from inside the building. Cameron must have let all the inmates out to provide a distraction. He suppresses a smile. Clever, Cam.
Finally he sees them coming up the walk and his breath catches in his throat. Cameron looks awful. He only gets a brief glimpse before he wrenches his eyes back to the road, driving straight through the gates.
Beside him, his mother is livid. "I sent you a message! I told you . . ."
"Yeah, bad John Connor, ground me." He snaps at her. He doesn't regret his decision. He turns around to regard Cameron, wincing at the damage she'd taken. Half of her face had been blown off, one blue mechanical eye showing through the metal. Her entire jacket was ripped and bloodied with bullet holes. All because of him. Because he'd convinced her to go against his mother. Because she loved him.
I'm so sorry, Cameron.
"Are you okay?" he asks, worry in his voice.
He sees her from his rear view mirror, the jerky movement as she moves her head. "I am not one hundred percent."
John feels sick inside. Cameron sacrificed so much for him. Because he asked her. Because she loves him. Oh Cam, I'm so sorry. I'm so very sorry.
Sarah turns around. "How far from one hundred percent are you?"
Cameron's head jerks toward her. John's eyes flashes from Sarah back to Cameron, eyes widening.
"Why?" John asks, sounding worried. His mom wasn't suggesting Cameron was damaged beyond repair right? Did she think Cameron would go haywire again?
"Because I need to meet Catherine Weaver," Sarah replies coolly. "And she needs to destroy whatever is in that basement."
John tries not to react to Weaver's name, glancing in the rear view mirror at Cameron. She is looking forward, then to the floor, all in erratic movements. He feels a pang of remorse. Oh Cameron, what did I do to you?
She is damaged. She is no longer the fully functional cyborg he'd been so close too in the motel room, the one who'd smiled with soft brown eyes gazing at him. She is damaged.
All because of him. All because she loves him.
I'll fix you, Cam, he promises. As soon as this is over, I swear, I'll fix you.
# # #
John sits on the sofa in the lobby of Zeira Corp, next to his mother. A mixture of fear of what might happen, joy over the release of his mother, fear for the damage Cameron sustained for him, and bewildering contentment to know that Cameron does love him.
"I really wish we weren't here now," He mutters, as his thoughts once again turn to Catherine Weaver and that mysterious message. Should he tell his mom what Cameron told him? Or just wait it out until he knows more?
"Savannah could tell them we know about Cromartie," Sarah replies, interrupting John's thoughts.
"John Henry now." He corrects her. John is worried. She's made a mistake and mom is always so good at remembering details.
"Metal," Sarah amends. "If she tells them, they'll move it. Maybe they already have."
"Well, we'll know soon enough," He replies edgily. "Mom, are you sick? Cameron thinks you're sick."
"She does?" She asks, giving him a slight frown as she tries to hide her reaction.
"You've lost weight." He says, repeating what Cameron told him.
A chime announces the elevator's arrival and Ellison walks out. John rises to his feet beside his mother, his mouth suddenly feels dry.
If Cameron is wrong, they'll be walking straight into a trap. There will be no escape. He is staking both his and his mother's lives on his trust in Cameron. And there is a chance that he made the wrong choice.
He swallows hard, casting a glance over at Sarah, his voice hoarse as he whispers, "I love you."
And if this goes wrong, I'm so sorry.
John walks quickly into the elevator, filled with emotion as Sarah watches his departing back. It has been so long since he told her that he loves her. She quickly follows as Ellison is waiting impatiently holding the doors open to the elevator.
John and his mother stand in front of Catherine Weaver, trying not to appear nervous. She stands with her back to her office window, facing them, poised, clearly feeling in charge of the situation.
"So, why are we here?" Weaver asks.
Sarah speaks up. "We need . . ."
"Let me restate." Catherine Weaver interrupts. "We are here first and foremost so that I can thank you for your heroism regarding my daughter Savannah. She's the light of my life and I'd be lost without her."
"Where is she?" Sarah demands. Something John is curious about too.
"Let us assume she's at school," Weaver replies calmly before getting straight to the point. "We have a common enemy. One we cannot fight with conventional weapons or by conventional means."
Cameron is right, John thinks. Weaver is part of this third faction.
"Kaliba?" Sarah questions. "Don't presume to know Kaliba."
Weaver's eyes glare at her, though she puts on a small smile. "I'm sorry. I wasn't speaking to you." She shifts her eyes back to John. "I was speaking to you. About Sky Net."
He sees his mother look over, no doubt expecting some kind of surprised reaction, but he doesn't flinch. He'd known this was coming.
Cameron had been right. Weaver has a different mission. John thinks. I'm sorry I doubted you.
"Savannah's told you about John Henry I presume." Weaver says edgily. "Which is why your cyborg is skulking around my basement."
Before he can defend Cameron's current actions, Ellison lets out surprised curse. "What the hell?"
John jerks his head up to see something flying towards the window. His eyes widen.
It is the hovercraft from the pond, the one Derek had called an HK.
Weaver turns back around, face blank. "Get down." She orders.
Sarah yanks John down to the floor, shielding him, as the HK impacts the building. John hears the window shatter followed by an explosion. His eyes trail up to see Weaver, her liquid metal body forming a shield between them and the fire. He can feel the searing heat above and beside him, but Weaver's body is blocking the rest of the flames from reaching them.
John is overwhelmed. He wasn't expecting Weaver to be a terminator. This third faction then, are they all machines?
"Run," Weaver orders.
John doesn't waste any time. He can think on this later. Sarah drags him to his feet and they run for the staircase, dodging the small explosions in the hallway. Ellison and Weaver not far behind them.
"The basement." Weaver states flatly as she comes down the stairs behind them. "Mr. Ellison. John Henry."
"We need to get out," Sarah insists. "They're trying to kill my son."
"No, they're trying to kill my son." Weaver says calmly. "Just like you are."
"I'm sure she's already done it." Sarah shoots back.
"You better hope not." Weaver replies in a cold monotone. "Your John may save the world, but he can't do it without mine."
She continues down the stairs and John exchanges a confused look with his mother before following. As they reach the end, John sees the unconscious security guard and his pace quickens, feeling a sense of urgency. What if Cameron wasn't able to kill John Henry? What if she had been too badly damaged in the breakout? But what if Weaver is right? That I will need John Henry in the future.
He charges forward, ahead of his mother, ahead of Weaver. As he bursts through the door first, he halts suddenly, his eyes widening in shock and fear.
Cameron sits in the chair, completely still, her eyes dead and unfocused. His mind is screaming. Nooooo!
Frantically, he rushes to her side, pulling back her hair and skin to see the port where her chip is. Where it usually is. He looks up at his mom and Catherine Weaver, his face ashen.
"Her chip, it's gone." NO! This can't be happening! He fights against the emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. His eyes desperately searching the table, spotting Cameron's bloodied knife.
"Where is he?" He shouts. "Th-th-the John Henry!" He stutters. "He took her chip! Where did he go?" He is aware that he is shouting, his voice edged with fear. I'll kill him! I'll kill him!
Weaver slowly approaches, glancing at the knife, at Cameron's unmoving body. "He didn't take the chip. She gave it to him." She replies in a cold analytical voice.
"John," Sarah says softly, nodding to something behind him.
He turns, not knowing what to expect. What he sees is a computer screen that keeps flashing words, Cameron's words:
I'M SORRY JOHN.
I'M SORRY JOHN.
I'M SORRY JOHN.
I'M SORRY JOHN.
John can feel the tears coming. Why, Cameron? Why did you do that? His whole world was suddenly crashing down. Just like Cameron thought. He never got to say goodbye to her, never got to tell her how he felt, never got to kiss her . . . .
I would not have let anyone else, if that's what you mean. Just you. Cameron had told him.
"Where is he?" John asks.
"Not where," Weaver replies. "When."
John sees Ellison frown, standing in the doorway. "What? What do you mean when?"
Time machine . . . John realizes with shock.
"I know that," Sarah says, her eyes locked on a computer piece behind a clear static protection shield. "I've seen it before."
John turns around, his eyes widening. "Is that the Turk? That's Andy Goode's Turk!"
"Three dots," Sarah whispers. John looks back. Sure enough, there are three red dots on the machine.
Weaver is programming something into a computer that looks similar to the one Cameron had used in the bank vault . . . to time jump.
We're going to find John Henry. We're going to save Cameron. He is vaguely aware of his mother going off on Weaver.
"You Terminator Bitch. You're building Sky Net!" Sarah accuses, her voice hard with rage.
"No I was building something to fight it." Weaver replies. "And I'd watch who's calling who bitch."
Will you join us?
John squeezes his eyes shut before glancing once more at Cameron's lifeless body. He hates seeing her like this. He turns to the screen again, seeing the words: I'M SORRY JOHN.
He can almost hear her voice saying those words, in the same pleading tone she'd used when she'd been begging for her life, apologizing for trying to kill him.
"Coming, James?" Weaver asks.
Ellison furrows his brow. "Coming?"
"After John Henry," Weaver replies with a smile. "Our boy."
Ellison slowly shakes his head, backing away. "He's not my boy. And you . . . you're . . . "
"Do you mind picking up Savannah then?" Weaver interrupts, her voice still pleasant. "Gymnastics ends at five-thirty."
John jumps back startled, as the first of the electrical surges begin. His eyes flash from the computer, which has begun counting down from twenty seconds, to his mother, who slowly starts shaking her head back and forth.
"John, we can't." She protests, backing up a step.
No! We have to! We have to save her! He hears his voice break. "He's got her chip."
Sarah continues backing away and John can feel the tears welling in his eyes. His throat constricts and he finds it nearly impossible to breathe.
"He's got her," he chokes tearfully.
The bubble begins to form around them and Sarah steps back, out of the circle. "Mom," John pleads. Her image begins to blur blue as the bubble thickens.
"I'll stop it," she promises. "I'll stop it."
He feels a deep sense of loss as his mom backs away from view. Right before the jump, his eyes darts from Cameron's limp body to the screen where her words had been repeating.
I'M SORRY JOHN.
I'M SORRY JOHN.
I LOVE YOU JOHN.
Was it a mistake? Did I see what I wanted to see or did the screen briefly say, I love you John? His breath catches in his throat and he turns to stare down at Cameron's body, his eyes watering.
There is a bright flash, and then he sees nothing, only darkness. Suddenly, he is kneeling in some kind of concrete tunnel, completely naked, shivering in the cold. He slowly rises to his feet, glancing around. Small fires still burn in a ring around them, but beyond that…nothing.
It is dark. Rubble, dirt and dust are everywhere. The only light is from the dim lights of the tunnel.
John would often imagine what the future after Judgment Day would be like. But he'd never imagined it would be like this.
He turns around, meets Weaver's eyes for a brief second and looks back at the tunnel. When he glances at Weaver again, she has clothes on. Liquid metal. Must be nice.
He looks down, expecting to see Cameron's body lying there. Instead, he sees nothing. A terrible fear settles in his stomach.
"Where's Cameron?" He asks. "Where's her body?"
"It doesn't go through," Weaver replies calmly. With the damage Cameron sustained, exposing her endoskeleton, she couldn't travel in the time displacement field, even with her chip. Not for a TOK715 series, but a T-888 could. The only mechanical cyborg that can.
Doesn't go through? John could swear his heart stopped momentarily.
He jumps at a noise. Human voices coming closer, dogs barking. His eyes scan the room, finally spotting a coat lying on top of a rickety cot. John goes to it. He quickly grabs it and wraps it around himself tightly, trying to keep in his body heat.
John sees the beam of a flashlight and ducks as a couple of soldiers and some dogs pass by. For a moment, he considers showing himself, but decides against it. He didn't know where he was, he didn't know when he was.
He doesn't really know anything at all.
After they had passed, he quietly walks to the main tunnel, checking once to make sure Weaver is following before entering the open.
A shadowy figure appears in front of him, his gun raised. "Got one!" The man shouts. "Got one!"
John quickly raises his hands in the air. "One what? What?" The man didn't seem like a Terminator, but John couldn't be sure. He looks behind himself, startled to find Weaver missing.
Where had she gone? He faces the soldier, who is advancing, never lowering his weapon.
"Please," John whispers. "I'm not metal."
"Don't move!" The soldier orders in a low voice. He is now in the light enough for John to now see that he is Asian in appearance. "Don't move!" He orders again.
"Please! I swear, I haven't got anything! I-I'm human!" John pleads. The soldier has to believe him. He has to get out of here, to find John Henry, to save Cameron.
Suddenly his entire life is looking bleak.
"Cuz, I will blast you!" The soldier threatens.
Someone else comes from behind. "Stand down!" The new voice orders. As the figure steps past the Asian looking soldier, John's eyes widened in shock. It is Derek.
John's mouth twitches up into a smile. Derek is alive! Derek is here, now! Finally, things seem to be looking up.
Derek steps forward, staring at John, eyes squinting as if studying him. Finally Derek grins and looks back at his companion. "Look at his eyes. He's got about as much metal in him as you do."
"Derek . . . " John breaths, his smile widening.
To his surprise, Derek merely stares back, raising an eyebrow. "Yeah?"
He doesn't recognize me.
"John." Derek's eyes show no recognition and slowly John's joy begins to fade. "J-John Connor."
Derek shakes his head. "I know a lot of people, kid. Don't know you." John's face crumbles as Derek turns to his companion. "Anybody heard the name John Connor?"
The Asian looking soldier shakes his head and John's eyes betrayed his disbelief.
Something clicks in his mind and he suddenly feels sick. He time-jumped. He'd skipped Judgment Day and all the intervening years. John Connor didn't exist to these people. John Connor had disappeared the day he went to see Weaver. John Connor wasn't there on Judgment Day to lead the humans.
John Connor isn't their savior. He is nobody.
He glances down at the floor, trying to contain his shock. It's like I don't even exist.
Derek turns back to him. "You know what? I think you're gonna be famous."
John forces a smile. I was famous. I was John Connor.
Pride shines in Derek's eyes and a smile lights his face. "My brother's back and you're wearing his coat." He looks over John's shoulder.
John turns, letting out his breath slowly as Kyle Reese enters. My father… John can't breathe. Kyle stops when he sees John and for a moment John was almost sure Kyle knew who he was, or maybe he was just curious as to who the new recruit was and why he was wearing his coat.
But John didn't care. He is looking at his father for the first time, the hero, the soldier from the future who would save the life of his mother. He didn't even care that he was staring, drinking in the sight of the father he never knew.
Then something catches his eye, someone else coming in behind Kyle, her eyes cast downward, but a happy smile on her face.
His heart nearly stops. It's Cameron. It's Cameron!
Cameron. Oh, Cameron. He thinks wanting to apologize for the wrongs he did to her.
She hadn't looked up yet, crouching down next to the German Shepherd dog that was sitting at Kyle's side, a radiant smile on her face.
He almost whispers her name, almost runs to her side, ready to tell her how sorry he is, how much he loved her. But something stops him.
There is something different about her. The way she is petting the dog that isn't barking a warning, the bouncing, graceful way she moved, the way she flips her hair back out of her face. Cameron doesn't do that.
This isn't his Cameron. This isn't the Cameron who had professed love for him, the Cameron who had come into his room late at night, lying down beside him. The Cameron who had been jealous of his girlfriend Riley, the Cameron he is frantic to save, frantic enough to time travel to this devastating future to get her back, the Cameron he loves.
His smile fades quickly as the realization set in, and his heart breaks all over again.
This isn't his Cameron. This isn't Cameron at all. She's still in the past.
He can see it in her eyes. They are beautiful brown eyes like Cameron's, but there is something different in them. Life. Her eyes dance, the only ray of light in this dark future he'd landed in. This girl isn't Cameron. She is human.
This must be the girl Cameron had told him about. The human girl she was based on, Allison Young from Palmdale.
She looks up to see him staring and her joyful smile slowly fades into confusion, curiosity even. But no matter how hard he tries, he can't look away, can't stop taking in the sight of her.
He glances back at Derek, at Kyle. He receives no recognition anywhere. At first, he'd felt as if he'd died and gone to heaven, being reunited with all his dead loved ones, Derek, Kyle, Cameron. Just like Dorothy when she traveled to OZ. He swallows the lump in his throat. The longer he stares, the more he realizes that these people are not his family. They are not the people he knows and loves. His Cameron and his Derek are still dead.
John feels his world collapsing. His heart sinks as he realizes that he had gambled on going forward in time to get back his Cameron and had lost. Lost his mom. Lost Cameron. He is lost, forever cut off from those he loves, in a future with no hope.
He is among strangers.
Strangers who look and sound like and were the people he loves. He can feel the tears forming and his vision begins to blur. He doesn't belong here. He doesn't belong anywhere. More than anything, he desperately wishes he listened to Cameron. They could have just run away together and rescued his mother later, when security wouldn't be as tight. The sobs start slowly and he covers his face with his hands.
He doesn't expect anyone to comfort him. They wouldn't understand. They are soldiers now, battle-hardened by the war. They grieved for the loss of their loved ones on Judgment Day.
But John Connor had just lost his today.
He falls to the floor, his body racked with sobs. Someone shouts, "Catch him."
But it's too late. They don't get there in time. No one knows him or cares about him.
John Connor is alone.