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 – unfortunately.

M Rating for this Chapter: For a scene with sexual content.


TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

REUNION

Part 3: Babylon

Author: The1Russter

Chapter 47

Going Home

"I don't think you understand how we work. I have sensation. I feel. I wouldn't be worth much if I couldn't feel." Cameron, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Complications, Nov. 17, 2008

"I'm staring out into the night,

Trying to hide the pain.

I'm going to the place where love

And feeling good don't ever cost a thing.

And the pain you feel's a different kind of pain.

Well I'm going home,

Back to the place where I belong,

And where your love has always been enough for me.

I'm not running from.

No, I think you got me all wrong.

I don't regret this life I chose for me.

But these places and these faces are getting old,

So I'm going home.

Well I'm going home."

Home lyrics, Chris Daughtry

# # #

May 19, 2009, 9:30 PM

John closes the door behind him. Cameron turns on a small bedside lamp, while John locks the door and slides the chain home.

With a grimace, John slides his coat off and lays it in one of the two chairs framing a small table between the bed and the window.

"I'm going to take a shower. What about you?" He says going into the bathroom and turning on the light.

"I'm fine." Cameron says, sitting on the bed facing the motel window, her gun in easy reach.

He recognizes that mood. What was it Cameron said to him a long time ago, "I don't think you understand how we work. I have sensation. I feel. I wouldn't be worth much if I couldn't feel."

That's right Cameron, you feel. You feel a lot and I bet right now I know what is you are feeling. John thinks as he watches Cameron sitting quietly on the edge of the motel bed.

Ignoring the welcoming shower he asks from the bathroom door, "What's wrong?"

At first he doesn't think she heard him, as she sits, unmoving, on the edge of the double bed until at last she speaks.

"What you said to your mom, on the ride here, wasn't the whole truth. I wanted it to be true, because you said I was the only girl for you. Your feelings were mixed, but you meant what you said. That is why I kissed you, but you did meet a girl in the future. Allison."

John walks over to her. "Yes I did. I told your other self that before sending her back to save you."

"Did you love Allison?" She asks looking up at him with her innocent yet earnest gaze.

John sits down across from her in a chair. Reaching across and gently taking her hand, he answers her question. "It wasn't exactly like that. You see, she was in love with me. I fought the feelings I was having for her, because I loved you. At the time, I thought there was still a good chance of getting back. But then Weaver told me she could only send you back, because of problems with her T D E. I thought I was stuck there forever. I was separated from you, and I was alone, and scared. So I loved Allison. I had a hole inside me that was begging to be filled, and she was the only one there wanting to fill that hole. Then I met a future you, the Cameron you would have become if I hadn't come back. She opened my eyes to Weaver's lies and I learned the truth about Allison. Something I've been wanting to tell you."

"Allison was special to you?" She asks quietly, interrupting what John was going to say.

John hesitates to answer, he doesn't want to hurt her, but she needs to know the truth. "Yes. She was, but . . ." But she was you, is what he was about to say before being interrupted again.

"I could be her, for you. I could be Allison. The repairs you made to my system. It would be very easy for me to be Allison, if that's what you want?" She says in an almost innocent child-like voice.

John is taken aback. His face a cloud of shock, anger and grief.

"No Cam! No!" John moves off the chair, so he is kneeling in front of Cameron. "I didn't repair you so you could be someone else. I love you. I went across time for you. I suffered the hell of that future war. I did everything that I could, with John Henry's help, to get your body repaired and updated so you wouldn't have to suffer again. I love you Cameron. If I learned anything during my time in the future, I learned that your emotions are real, you have sensation and feelings. I learned you are a real person and that I love you and that I can't do this without you. I need you." He rattles off very earnestly.

"Then why with Allison? Why not wait for me?" She says, her voice breaking as a tear runs down her face.

John looks in Cameron's eyes and realizes to get through to her, he will have to tell her what happened at the end. It is the only way really. So Cameron will understand, he must face the memories he'd rather not remember at all.

"I'm going about this the wrong way." John pauses to gather his thoughts. "I was going to tell you everything from beginning to end, and why I told your other persona what I did. But I'll have to start at the end and tell you things that I didn't even know at the time I said goodbye to your other persona at Palomar. Will you promise to listen to everything that I have to say?"

Cameron sees the sadness on his face, and holds onto his hand. "I promise. Tell me about her."

"I'm going to tell you about the last time I saw her. I don't want to remember it, but for everything else to make sense, I'll have to begin there."

John moves up and sits beside Cameron on the bed, grasping her hands in his own and relaxes slightly when Cameron looks at him with her open expectant face.

"In the future, we were in the biggest fight of our lives at Topanga Canyon. The complex was huge compared to present day. I chased Kreilley into a building where he almost killed me, then Allison arrived, but it wasn't her who fought and died to save me. It was you. It was always you."

# # #

After leaving John and Cameron at the door to their motel room. Sarah strode as quickly as she could towards the bar, fighting every instinct to rush back and stop them. She didn't want to go to her motel room. She'd probably interfere or worse over hear her son having sex with a machine. Sarah hesitates in her thoughts, no, not a machine, Cameron, who saved her life and John's. She needs to try to stop thinking of Cameron as a machine and as a person. It will be hard she knows.

Sarah pushes open the door and walks right up to the bar.

"Tequila." She says to the middle-aged woman behind the bar.

Sarah knocks it back like it was water. She plans on knocking back a few drinks tonight and hopes John or Cameron would be up to driving in the morning.

She takes time to observe the interior. It's a comfortable cozy kind of place, built more to serve the people of the town than the people traveling through. Off in the corner is an old jukebox. A quick glance at the music list shows it hasn't been updated since the early 90's. She wonders if they still make jukeboxes today. The entire world went digital during the eight years they missed time traveling to this decade.

Sarah walks back to the bar. At the far end a small group is watching a sporting event on a TV.

"Can I help you with anything else, miss?" The bar maid asks.

"I'll have a beer." She tells the woman. "Are you still serving food?"

"Our cook has gone home for the night, but we do have a selection of cold sandwiches if you want to see the menu card?" The woman offers.

She glances at the card and picks one at random. "I'll have the chicken." Sarah says, sliding the card back in its holder.

Taking her drink, she goes to a booth where she can see the motel next door and watch the entrance as well. She figures if there is a back door, its off behind the bar, somewhere in the kitchen.

A few guys who were watching the game try making some passes at her, but she puts them off. The last one by dislocating his thumb as he wasn't going to take no for an answer. His buddies guided him away, snickering at his pain, and guffawing loudly when he shouts with agony as his thumb is relocated.

She's just about finished her sandwich, and she still isn't sure if she's doing the right thing with John and Cameron. Her heart says yes, her instincts says no, and her mind is confused. John did all of this because of her, putting his life on the line to not only get back the girl he loves, but to save the world from Sky Net again.

Finishing her beer, she quietly wonders about her son and Cameron. The two of them have changed. Cameron is the more obvious by being more emotive than before. John's bearing has changed, there's less of the boy she knew so well, and more of the man he should be. But the one thing that is clear, the one thing she cannot avoid nor stop, is the fact that they love each other, even if it goes against every instinct and prejudice she owns.

"Buy you a drink, miss." A shadow falls across the table in front of Sarah.

"I told you guys before. No thank . . ." Sarah stops mid-sentence when she looks up and Kyle is standing beside her. And for one split second, she saw her Kyle, with his sad smile, green trench coat and all. Then the image fades and its Kyle from the future John visited. Warm smile, plaid shirt, denims, and work boots.

He slides into the seat opposite her, to Sarah saying, "What are you doing here?"

"Came into town to pick up a few groceries. I was heading back to the farm when I decided to stop here for a drink. Two minutes later you walked in the bar."

"I didn't see you, when I scanned the room."

"I was over there in the shadows," he says pointing, "opposite those people watching TV, trying not to stand out."

"It worked." Sarah grins. "Guess I have a lot on my mind, or I would have seen you."

"Not that it's my business, but are you going to tell me why the three of you stopped here in town instead of driving the last few miles to the farm?"

Sarah gestures at the window, where Kyle sees her truck parked across the lot at the motel.

"Too many people at the farm. They needed to talk in private, and I needed a drink. Nothing more than that."

"I see." Kyle answers, signaling the bar maid for another round for them both.

Sarah has grown quiet again. Kyle sees how she looks through the window at the motel next door.

"Worried about John? Or worried he's having sex with Cameron?"

Sarah purses her lips, as Kyle hits the damn bulls-eye.

"I just wish I knew I made the right choice." She confides, "I could put down John's feelings to being a hormonal teen. But John's not a kid anymore. He's a man, and according to what I overheard, a married man."

"Not really. The wedding was a ruse to draw out a machine. But he did marry a remarkable young woman. I can't imagine a better person for him to be with." Kyle answers with a straight face and a twinkle of mirth in his eyes.

"Who? Tell me I'm not making the worst decision of my life right now."

Kyle watches the expressions on Sarah's face, which betrays every thought she has. She loves her son and worries about him, even now.

"I'll tell you, as I think you should know and I have to tell someone what I saw. In the future, you and Cameron were there. No one knew, not even me, that Cameron wasn't human. But Cameron wasn't Cameron when John met her."

Sarah gives Kyle a questioning look.

"John met a young woman, just a few years younger than I. Her name was Allison Young. Derek and I raised her when we found her in the rubble after Judgment Day. John and Allison fell in love."

"She died didn't she?" Sarah says, grasping his hand across the table.

"Yeah, she did. More than once." Kyle says feeling the grief well up inside of him again.

"What?"

2027, July 25, Day 64 4:50 AM

John tries to reload the gun with a fresh magazine but Kreilley is getting ever closer, his spear shaped arms prepared to strike a death blow. Allison stands up and sees what's about to happen. She has only seconds to act.

As Kyle runs along the catwalk he hears more gunfire, and can see something silvery moving quickly on the other side of the opening. He is almost to the door when he sees Allison run past.

She runs, faster than any time before and just as Kreilley is to deliver the death blow, she leaps grabbing Kreilley, dragging him over the edge of the platform.

"NOOOOOOOO!" John screams as he watches Cameron and Kreilley disappear over the edge. Time appears to slow to a crawl as John watches them both disappear into the abyss.

Kyle reaches the doorway just as John screams.

John leaps up and goes to the edge of the platform. Kyle is about to run forward thinking John is going to foolishly leap after her, but all he does is collapse at the edge and begin to scream again.

"Cameron! Cameron!" He screams over and over.

Kyle slowly walks forward, shocked by what he has witnessed and what he's witnessing now. John must be crazy, delusional. Both himself, his mother and Savannah has said Cameron died weeks ago.

"Cameron!" John screams again as tears fills his eyes.

Kyle walks up beside John and looks down. He must be delusional, transposing their names, because of their physical similarity.

Squinting against the heat and smoke, Kyle sees nothing but the boiling molten metal in the large open hearth furnace below. A silvery film across its surface.

John is crying. There is no sign of any movement on the floor below. The brightness of the molten metal is blinding, making the shadows look darker.

"John." Kyle says calmly, but there is no response.

"John!" he says more forcefully.

"Kyle?"

"We have to go John. Catherine says the nuclear bomb is set to go off. We need to leave."

"I can't leave without her."

"She's dead John. Allison died saving your life!"

"No . . . No! She can't be. I need her." He shouts at him, "I need her!"

John gets up and runs to the far side of the platform. Grabbing a ladder he slides down it to the floor below.

Kyle chases after him. Reaching the floor, he checks his belt quickly to make sure he didn't drop anything and runs after John.

The heat is intense on the floor as the molten metal burps and bubbles in the open hearths.

John and Kyle are nearly suffocating in the intense heat as they walk towards the large open hearth.

"Cameron! Cameron!" John yells.

Kyle reaches over and places his hand on John's shoulder. John quickly shakes it off.

"Leave me alone!" He says.

"John please. We need to go now. We haven't got much time!" Kyle pleads.

"Not until I know what happened to Cameron!"

"Don't you mean Allison? The girl you married, the girl you love!"

"That was Cameron! That Was Cameron! And now she's down here someplace!"

"John please don't make this any harder for yourself."

John spins on his heel. "Hard, what do you know about it being hard?!" John shouts. "Have you ever loved someone so deeply that their life has been more important than your own?! Have you sacrificed all that you wanted all that you loved just to be with the one person who loved you more than life itself?! Tell me you have and I know you're a liar. I will not leave until I know Cameron's fate!"

"John. It's obvious what has happened. And you're not thinking straight."

"NO! No its not! She could be lying here someplace damaged. Please just help me look? Please, Kyle?" John pleads, tears streaming from his eyes. He's lost everyone he's ever loved. His mom, Charlie, and Cameron. He can't lose her again.

Kyle shakes his head. "Dammit John. I'll give you five minutes, and that is more time than we should take."

"Thank you Kyle."

John goes trotting off towards the furnaces where he thinks she fell. "Cameron! Cameron!"

# # #

"What did you do?" Cameron asks.

"I kept looking for you." John answers. "I knew in my heart you couldn't be dead. I just knew."

# # #

"What were you thinking?" Sarah asks.

"I thought the boy had gone mad, talking of finding Cameron when I thought I knew otherwise. So I followed him." Kyle answers. "And learned something that almost drove me mad."

# # #

Kyle watches and just shakes his head, knowing they need to leave. He walks after John.

The heat on the foundry floor is oppressive. It strips the breath from John's lungs and bakes him like a roast in the oven.

John looks thoroughly around every corner, grimacing against the heat of the furnaces. Calling out again and again. "Cameron!" "Cameron!"

He has almost given up hope when out of a dark corner he hears her voice quietly call out to him. "John?"Cameron asks, surprised and touched that he would come looking for her.

"Cameron!" He starts toward where he heard her voice.

"Stop! Don't come any nearer. Please, you must leave!." Cameron pleads in her soft voice.

"Cameron are you hurt?" John asks, concern filling every syllable.

"Please, don't come any closer, John. Please." Her voice is pleading.

"Why? Let me help you." He walks closer. Kyle is slowly approaching him and watching.

"Stop John. Please stop. You need to leave, now!" She pleads as he walks into the corner where she is hiding. Kyle right behind him.

John walks into the shadows and his eyes adjusts to the dark. On the floor, leaning against the wall is Cameron, or at least what remains of her. It is then the odor assails his nostrils, causing him to choke.

Her flesh is horribly burnt. Her left arm, upper body and head are nearly intact while her right arm is completely burnt with flesh falling off. The flesh from just above her knees down has been completely burnt off her legs. What is visible of her mechanized legs, is quickly being seized up in the cooling molten metal that coats them.

"Oh, Cameron." John says with both pain and shock.

"John, I didn't want you to see me like this. Your memories of me should be happy ones, not as how you see me now."

"Cameron." His heart is breaking. "I, I love you! It doesn't matter if you are a machine or not. It is you I love. Please come with me. I can fix you."

Kyle looks on in shock at the sight before him.

"What?!" Kyle shouts. "Allison?"

# # #

"I thought I was going insane." Kyle says, taking a swallow of his beer. "There she was, the girl I grew up knowing as Allison. Instead there was a horribly burnt cyborg with molten metal clinging to its exposed parts. I truly thought I was going to lose it."

"What happened?" Sarah asks.

"I learned the truth." Kyle says, taking a sip of his beer.

# # #

"I couldn't tell you this before. I wanted to tell you Kyle. I truly did" She says tears running from her eyes. "I lied to you. I lied to everyone. I'm not Allison. I'm Cameron. I always have been Cameron."

Kyle is nearly blinded by a rush of emotion, anger grief, confusion, which comes out as a shout!. "But what happened to Allison? The girl Derek and I raised and was a part of our family?"

"Kyle please understand that I didn't do this to hurt you. The Allison that I know, the Allison that you and Derek looked after all those years, loved you both like brothers. You were her family."

"But why did you do this?" Kyle asks.

"I'm sorry I've hurt you Kyle. It was not my intention." She turns her head to look at John. "We'll have to tell him everything."

"Is there time?"

Cameron closes her eyes and communicates with John Henry. "We've got time, but we shouldn't waste it. It's a question of which happens first, being destroyed by Sky Net's machines or it's fail safe device."

# # #

"What did she say?" Cameron asks John.

"The truth." John replies with deep sadness.

# # #

"I tried to remain calm," Kyle says. "To be patient, but there's only so much you can take when your world gets turned upside down."

Sarah nods her head and grasps his hand with sympathy.

# # #

"The future John sent me from was very similar to this only different. Before he sent me back to 2009 to help his mom, John told me everything that happened to him up until the time he finished restoring me. John told me how he met Allison and you and others. Catherine sent me back with he at Crystal Peak."

"Cameron?"

"Let me finish John. Kyle needs to know. I went back in time and was able to recover my primary matrix from The Turk and made my presence known to Sarah, after John jumped forward in time. I helped and protected Sarah like John asked me to do. When Judgment Day came two years early, I took Sarah and Savannah deep into the mountains, back to Crystal Peak, to protect them from any potential radioactive fallout."

"I know this part. You and Sarah raised Savannah and then started building an army to help fight Sky Net." Kyle explains.

"Yes but that isn't all." She turns to look at John. "After I got them back to Crystal Peak, I inserted the chip with my original matrix on it. It was the safest place for it. I activated the chip for the purpose of explaining what happened to my original self, but I wasn't prepared. Her matrix overwhelmed mine. She was shocked to learn you were gone. She was sad, she wanted to see you again, but I told her it would be eighteen years before that would happen. It is a long wait for someone in love. She withdrew, and made me promise not to activate her again, but it was too late, her memories were now my memories and I found myself missing and loving you just as much as she did. I knew what love was. I never told Sarah or Savannah what I had done, I concentrated on helping them build an army from the survivors for your arrival. I did all that I could do to help you."

"That's why you referred to your past self as my Cameron all the time, because you weren't."

"Not exactly. Your program integrated her memories with my matrix, but I wasn't her. But like I told you at the barn, it didn't mean I didn't love you any less. Your Cameron just couldn't cope with your absence. She preferred being stuck in limbo, until you were here, but even after you arrived, I didn't dare activate her until I knew events had played out like you had told me. I was waiting until you sent my other self away with Catherine to use her TDE, but by then it was too late. I couldn't activate her chip without also activating the Allison matrix. Something had gone wrong while I used her and it became too dangerous to activate my secondary chip until blocks could be restored."

"But what about my Allison? When did she die, or is she even dead? When did you take her place?" Kyle shouts.

"I'm sorry Kyle, I'm getting to that."

"After Savannah became an adult and started taking on more responsibility, it quickly became apparent that Sarah was sick. In a couple of years time we realized she had cancer. John's time of arrival was approaching. I gave them a false reason for leaving and made my way to where Zeira Corp once stood. When I left Crystal Peak, I took with me one of our dogs. I raised him and I knew he would aid in my disguise when I encountered people who didn't know me."

"Is that the dog I saw you with when I arrived here?" John asks.

She nods her head.

"What happened to Allison? The real Allison." Kyle interjects impatiently, kneeling beside her, and not noticing his knife slide from its worn scabbard onto the concrete floor.

She reaches out and takes his hand, and is surprised when Kyle doesn't pull away. So is Kyle.

"I went to the bunker so I would be there when John arrived. My only intention was to keep an eye on him from a safe distance after his arrival. I owed that to him, and those who loved him. I missed you so much." She cries out taking Johns hand with her naked metal hand. "When I arrived at the bunker there was a fierce fire fight happening as machines were purging the tunnels of humans. They were almost finished when I arrived, so I hid until I could slip inside the bunker unseen."

"That must have been the fight we had just before you arrived, John. We found you when we came back."

Cameron continues her story. "When the machines left the bunker, I searched the tunnels looking for John. I was afraid you might have already arrived and possibly been killed. Instead as I searched, my dog, Max, ran off and started digging frantically at a fresh cave-in, whining and barking. I joined him and found a young woman trapped under the rubble, where a wall collapsed. She was still alive and I dug her out."

"She was Allison, the girl John had told me about. Kyle, I'm so sorry. She was dying. Allison had massive internal injuries. There was nothing I could do to help her and help was too far away." She says crying.

"What happen-ed next Cam?" John asks his voice trembling.

"She was semi-conscious and in shock. We spoke for a time, but Allison started to become delirious. She thought I was an angel, come to take her home to her mom and dad. She kept saying how she was so scared and so alone. I held her, so she wouldn't be alone any longer."

John and Kyle are both crying as Cameron tells her story.

"She told me about you and Derek. Allison loved you two like brothers. She worshiped you both. That's why Allison never returned your advances Kyle."

"So why . . . why did you take her place?" Kyle asks with tears of pain and sorrow. "Why didn't you just tell us who you were?"

"Because before John sent me to the past, he told me that Allison was here. After I buried her, I decided the only thing I could do was allow the personality matrix of the other future Allison, that I was based on, access to this body instead of the Cameron I was supposed to be. Using her, I was able to get close to John and he could live the life he had told me about. But what I hadn't expected was how strong our mutual feelings were for John, and what was supposed to be just friendship quickly expanded into something more."

"I'm sorry to say John, Allison had a strong influence over my actions at that time. She caused me to make some bad lapses in judgment regarding you and our relationship. I'm sorry I've hurt you." She cries some more. "Kyle, I'm sorry I had to lie to you too. You loved Allison, but there is someone else who loves you and she needs you just as much as I needed John."

Kyle glances at John, remembering the story he told of his parentage. Seeing the look of recognition on his face, Cameron smiles at him and nods her head. Kyle understands how Cameron feels about John. Sarah feels the same way about him or rather a Kyle Reese.

# # #

"Did she really say that?" Sarah asks.

"She did." Kyle says, caressing Sarah's hand as their eyes connect.

# # #

"Why did you wait so long to tell us?" Kyle asks, seeing as how John is momentarily lost in his grief.

"I couldn't tell anyone not even John. He had to fix me and prepare the chips so I could exist. If he knew I was Cameron before he sent me back, I might never exist and I could not interfere in my own time-line. So I had to be Allison all the time. Then the time came and I had to shed the Allison matrix so I could be me again, to protect John in the war, just like I did at the plasma rifle factory. John had to live, to get back to his own time, even if that meant my own destruction." She holds up her bare metal forearm and hand as an example.

# # #

"So how did she go over the edge? I thought she only rushed Kreilley to push him."

"John asked her. And it was Kreilley's fault. If it wasn't for him. She'd be with us now."

# # #

"Why didn't you just shove Kreilley instead of going over the edge with him?"

"That was my intent, but Kreilley stabbed me." she parts her jacket showing the deep gash in her shirt and through her chest. "Seeing the end, he stabbed me. My momentum sent us both over the edge. On the way down, I was able to break free, but I still partially landed in the molten metal. But even if I wasn't damaged, I still couldn't go with you."

# # #

"Why didn't she want to come back with you? I could have thanked her for saving your life." Cameron says.

"She could have . . . if we only knew." John breaks down. Crying once again in his telling.

"It's okay John." Cameron says, wiping the tears from John's face. "You can finish telling me later."

"No. I'll do it now. While I still can." He says, blowing his nose on a large red handkerchief.

# # #

"But why? It wouldn't matter if you are there already. We can use your body in the weapon's cache. Swap parts and," he swallows, "and flesh too."

"John. John!. You're not thinking. You can't fix me because I can't travel to the past because of my damage."

John looks at her with sudden realization. So focused on trying to save her, he hadn't realized that he couldn't. John breaks down in tears and he clutches her metal hand to his face.

"It's okay John. It's okay." She says soothingly, caressing his face with her other hand.

Information comes up on her HUD, one of her fuel cells was damaged by Kreilley. The report has only got to her now as information from the sensor unit had to be rerouted around damage to her neural network. She needs to hurry to tell him the rest.

John wipes the tears from his face. "That's okay. You got me thinking straight again. You saved my life. You save my life." He grips her metal hand and kisses it, making Cameron cry fresh tears.

"John, there isn't much time. I left my bag in the room where I stitched Savannah's leg. Inside is my original chip. You need to look at it, John. There are things on it you need to know if you are to deal with Weaver."

# # #

"Why did she want you to deal with Catherine Weaver? I thought she had helped you." Cameron says.

"She helped me all right." His face flushes with anger. "Lying to me. Manipulating me. She knew I returned to the present, and you want to know something? I arrived with my things!"

"How?" Cameron looks perplexed. "Only living tissue can go through."

"Not if there i on either end. Weaver didn't tell me that until it was too late to save your other self." He says bitterly. "I could have saved her. I could saved you."

John weeps against her shoulder as Cameron awkwardly holds him.

"I'm sorry for your loss."

# # #

A warning message appears on her HUD. The damage fuel cell is in danger of rupturing. Unseen by the two men, she presses her naked metal foot against a metal upright and begins bleeding excess energy off, but it will only give her a few minutes more. She'll have to make her goodbyes now to give the men time to get clear.

"I love you," she says, "but you must go."

John takes both her hands in his own. "I love you too, but I can't lose you again. I can't."

"John, please just go. I can't be fixed. My power cells were damaged in the fight with Kreilley. They could rupture at any moment."

"John we need to go." Kyle says. "Catherine should have th ready. It is our only means of escape."

"Cam, I can't leave you here. I came across time for you. I gave up everything for you. I love you." John says with more tears than he thought he had left.

"Yes you can John. You've saved this world but you need to save your own. I'm there. You can still have your Cameron to be with you forever. She's with your mom now waiting for you in 2009. She needs you and I can't be with you anymore. You can be with her as it should have been. You need to leave."

"But I can't. Please, I just can't leave you like this." John begs, "Let me remove your chip. I can still save you."

She looks at him with so much love. He is so close to death but he's more concerned for her than for himself. "John, I wish you could, but its too late. The heat from the furnaces have caused my port seals to expand wedging them in place, and you don't have any tools. Please just go to her. Use the T D E. Hurry, please."

John is crying hard. The tears mingling with the blood and burning the wounds on his face, but nothing hurts as bad as how he feels inside. His heart is breaking.

Cameron looks up from her position on the floor. "Kyle, it's up to you to help him." she cries.

# # #

"What," Sarah sniffs back some tears, "what were you doing before she spoke to you?"

"I was crying like a baby." Kyle wipes his nose with a napkin. "I never saw nor felt so much love between two people before."

They both take a drink before Kyle continues his story.

# # #

Kyle grasps John's shoulder. "John, she's right. Even if you can't leave, you must. That nuclear bomb could go off at anytime. You can't save her now, but you've already saved her. We use the TDE and you can be with Cameron, and your mom. Please John, we need to go, now!" Kyle says with more emotion than he thought he had.

Resigned to their fate, John leans over and kisses her. "Cameron, I love you so much."

Cameron reaches up with her good hand and pulls him in close and returns his kiss.

"I love you. I always have, John Connor, and I always will." She whispers, tears streaming down her face. "Take my ring. Give it to her someday. She'll want it, just as much as I did. Be patient with her. I had eighteen lonely years to learn to be more . . . more human." Her hand slides gently away from his neck and falls to the floor beside her.

John pulls her to himself and hugs her. He does this just in time to hear her whisper so quietly he can barely hear her. "Don't forget. My bag, my chip. Tell her I'm giving her all my days with you. Don't trust Weaver. Trust John Henry, my chip, something . . . to . . . show . . . you." Then there is nothing.

John pulls back and sees that she is no longer responsive. Cameron continues to stare blankly into space. He lays her gently on the floor and closes her eyes. Removing the ring from her hand, he folds her arms gently across her chest. John cries more tears than he thought was possible.

"We need to go John." Kyle says again, his voice breaking.

John doesn't respond as he grieves, kneeling beside Cameron's still form.

Kyle gently lays his hand on John's shoulder. "Son." He says more firmly.

John stands up and looks at Kyle. He's crying just as hard as he is. They hug each other.

"I loved her so much." John says.

"I know. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. She loves you too. We've got to go, now!"

John takes the ring he gave Cameron on their wedding and slides it onto his little finger. It's tight, but it fits. John reluctantly walks away, watched by Kyle until he too leaves. They walk away leaving Cameron where they found her.

Kyle and John run back through the foundry and factory floor and until they reach the doors that open out into the court. Outside they see the fight has gotten closer and the weather is taking a turn for the worse. The wind that has been blowing out of the mountains has gotten stronger. Flashes of lightning are seen across the mountain slopes beyond the factories. Thunder rolls and rebounds off the buildings walls. Sounds of battle not far off, leaving this particular street free from the fight.

"There's a storm coming." Kyle says.

John looks out the window in the door. Lighting zips through the sky lighting up the storm clouds and the ruins beyond the Topanga facility. Thunder echoes in the courtyard as the wind blows. The noise of the coming storm almost drowning the sounds of battle.

"No." John says thinking of a different storm. "It's finally coming to an end."

Kyle nods his head in agreement.

"How long did you know?" he shouts. "How long did you know about her?"

"I didn't know that Allison was really Cameron until she saved me out there to the barn with the T-600's. I didn't suspect until that day. She followed me to Palomar, and intervened to save my life, but as Cameron. Some things were said that got me thinking, but what clinched it was her lack of jealousy over Allison. Then the T-600's and you arrived so I didn't get the chance to talk to her until we got back to Pendleton. We wanted to tell everyone, but on the eve of battle we thought it would be too distracting, so we kept up the charade. I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but we were going to tell everyone after tonight."

Kyle just waits for him to finish speaking.

"You were in love John, and you weren't expecting Cameron to be here. I'm just glad, someone was there when Allison died. So many of us die alone, only for our dried bones to be found with nothing to identify us but the mementos in our pockets."

Lightning flashes and thunder rolls through Topanga and the rain begins to fall.

"Cameron is a good person. I'm sure she would have told you sooner, if she could."

"She tried to tell me. I just wasn't listening. Cameron helped me program the chips for Alpha, Beta and Gamma. It was her way of teaching me so that I would know what to do to program her chip, without her interfering in her own time-line. She had to wait until I had sent her other self back in time, before revealing herself to me."

"Are you angry with her?"

"Angry?" John says tears still streaming from his eyes. "I love her more than ever now."

"John, I don't fully understand all of this. Don't know if I ever will. But it is very clear that the two of you love each other. You gave up your life in the past because of your love for Cameron. And she gave up her life now to save your life. But you haven't lost her, you can go back to Cameron in the past. You traveled through time for her and you are going to do so again. But our fight isn't over. Sky Net still needs to be defeated, in 2009."

"I know and I will."

Kyle looks grim. "Kreilley has a lot to answer for when we get to 2009."

"No. He doesn't. I know who is responsible for this, but right now I can't afford to antagonize her."

"Come on John. It's time to go." He says as he guides him out through the door and run through the gunfire to the research building where th control room is.

It is then that Kyle realizes his knife is gone from its scabbard. He looks back at the foundry, wondering where he dropped it. There's no time to go back for it, even if he knew where it was. With a silent curse for losing his favorite knife, Kyle places a hand on John's shoulder and guides him to the entrance.

Before they enter the building, John stops Kyle. "Don't tell anyone what has happened. Let them believe she was Allison."

"So you don't want them to know she even a machine?"

"No. No one needs to know the truth. Not yet."

"So what do you want me to say?"

"Just tell people Allison is missing, presumed dead. When we reunite with Mom and Cameron in 2009, we can figure it out from there."

Kyle nods his head in agreement and guides John through the door into the building. The doors barely close behind them as the rain pours down.

2009, May 20, late in the evening

John finishes his story, holding Cameron's hands as he has since he started. "So do you understand that I love you, and that I know without any doubt that you love me?" He says gently caressing her hand.

Cameron reaches out and lightly strokes the scars on his face, around his left eye, with her fingertips. Looking sad, she says. "You suffered and were injured for me, the same way I suffered and was injured for you."

"Yes Cam, and I would do it all over again for you. I love you." He says, giving her hand a re-assuring squeeze.

"John, may I see the ring?"

"Sure." John pulls the ring off his little finger with some difficulty and places it in Cameron's outstretched hand.

Cameron holds the small gold band so it catches the light. The lights in the motel room shimmer and bounce off it. She studies the ring, not sure what to make of it, until she spots tiny scratches on its surface. She zooms in and analyzes the strange marks.

"There's writing on it!"

"There is?" He sounds surprised. "What does it say?" He asks shuffling forward, squinting at the ring in her hand.

"It's in microscopic shorthand. Some words are skipped, but I can fill in the gaps so it makes more sense."

"And?" John asks, prompting her but he can see she looks upset, in her own mild way.

"It says: 'Cameron, Sorry I interfered. Forgive John, my fault. Took what wasn't mine. Protect him for you. Two months I knew his love. You are my past and John's future. Take care of him. Be patient and forgiving. He loves you. So you know I wrote this, I told him why we like purple. I never told him when I was you. He's searching for me. I can't go with him, damaged. Sending him home. Giving you all my days. Complete our mission. Protect him. Cameron.'"

Tears stream from both their eyes.

"She lied to me." John says softly and unexpectedly. Cameron looks on, curious as to what John is going to say. Surely with what he has told her the lie is obvious. Why mention it? "She lied about her only having a copy of you on her primary chip. The program I wrote wouldn't allow that."

Cameron nods her head. Once the secondary chip was inserted, her original matrix was transferred immediately, supplanting and replacing the secondary matrix. Copying wasn't possible for it.

"Which mean she was you." John says. He looks up and into Cameron's warm brown eyes. "I've seen you fight, many times. In that foundry, on that balcony, you, she could have avoided Kreilley. He was fast, but he was damaged." Cameron places a hand on his wrist, gripping his hand. "She was giving me an out. A reason to come home to be with you."

"Why?"

"How would you feel if I returned with another Cameron? Knowing that, what we might have been, I was having with someone who looked just like you. In fact she was you but with different memories." Cameron frowns, her lips purse with displeasure. "See, you don't like it. Even her idea of using Weaver's TDE to send one of you back to the future to be with future me doesn't sound right. What guarantee do we have that the future that plays out from these events will be the same as the one you left?"

Cameron knows there is a possibility, slim though it is, and can only be proven with mathematics far beyond John's ability to understand. Instead she just says, "Perhaps she wanted to prepare you for the possibility that she might have to leave you, or die, to save your life." She gently draws him forward and hugs him. "We live longer than humans, but those of us who have pledged our existence to keep you safe and alive, know that our lives may not be as long as yours. I love you John. I know you have the most important life to live and if I have to die to keep you safe, then I would know I hadn't died in vane. The world needs you John. She made sure you came home. So I could keep you safe."

She holds the ring out to show him.

Wiping his eyes John eventually asks, "Was there anything else on it?."

"There are a few marks hurriedly scratched." She hands him back the ring. "I think it says chip, but there is something else scratched over it I can't read."

"She's probably talking about your original chip. It's repaired and secured back at Crystal Peak." He answers. "John Henry says you are on it up to the moment he removed your chip."

She nods her head and asks, "What did my future self say about me liking purple?"

"Yeah. Um, she said that in your future, future me gave you a purple ribbon, for your hair. You seldom wore it, but you always associated that color with you and I."

"Yes." She caresses his face, wiping the tears. "I left him to help you and you had to leave her to be with me. We are much alike now. Do you understand now, how much I love you, of what I am willing to sacrifice for you?"

"Yes I do. I would do the same for you." John says earnestly.

"No John! You must never put your life on the line for me. You are far more important than me. The future needs John Connor. It doesn't need me." She says concern filling her voice.

"Cam, I need you, even if the future doesn't. If I don't have you, then I don't want to live. I'd rather die to save you, than to live without you." His heart sinking when he thinks about possibly losing her again.

A few tears trickle from Cameron's eyes. "That is how I feel about you. That is how I have always felt about you. I didn't know how to tell you before, when I didn't understand. I love you John Connor. I always have, and I always will."

# # #

The table is cluttered with empty glasses, and the crumbs from Sarah's sandwich. Kyle has long since moved to her side of the booth.

"Did you ever find your knife?" She asks him.

"No. And it was a good knife too. It was there when I knelt down beside Cameron, I guess it must have slipped out when I ran after John."

"I find it amazing, what Cameron did."

"Cameron was Allison the whole time. She was the girl John met, married and loved. There is no doubt that she loved him too, loved him enough to . . ."

". . . die in his place." Sarah finishes Kyle's statement.

"Sarah, If you saw them together like I did, you wouldn't have anything to worry about. I never saw two people that loved each other more. You did the right thing." Kyle answers placing an arm around Sarah's shoulders, giving her a light squeeze.

"I believe you Kyle." Sarah turns to look out the window at the motel beyond. "I believe you."

"What made it worse for John when we got inside, Catherine told us non-living items can travel through time in a TDE to TDE transfer. If she had told John the truth, we could have saved her."

"Oh God! So that's why John went back to Crystal Peak. He said something about John Henry looking after Catherine Weaver. What do you think he did?"

"Don't know, and I don't much care so long as we never have to see her again. I trust John Henry and I trust Cameron, but Catherine Weaver is whole different equation."

"Poor John. My poor son." she says, wishing she could go to him right now, but knowing this would be the worse time to see him, considering who he's with and what they might be doing. It might be a while before she can go back to her room next door.

"I'm no expert," Kyle says to Sarah, "but I think deep down, John knew who Allison was. I think that is why he was so drawn to her when he met her, and why . . ."

"Kyle."

"Yeah?"

"Shut up and buy me another drink." She smiles. "I'm going to need it and several more before I go back to my motel room."

He smiles back, then goes to the bar with their empty glasses.

# # #

John Connor, with tears in his eyes, quickly moves forward, placing his hand upon her chin, raising her lips to kiss her. Feeling moisture on her cheeks, he gently kisses the tears off her cheeks. She hesitates only briefly and returns his kiss with her own, urgently, desperately wanting to feel his touch, his kiss upon her lips.

He opens his mouth and lightly brushes her lips with his tongue. She hesitates at first, unsure what to do, but then she parts her lips, allowing his tongue entry where it entwines with her own. She was confused at first by this method of kissing, but finds the sensation of their tongues touching quite enjoyable. They fall back on the bed, kissing, groping, caressing. Cameron matches each of his motions with her own, as she finds the sensation both interesting and pleasurable. As their passion grows and they become flush with the heat of their love, John becomes bolder in his advances.

He begins to slide his lips along her neck while gently kissing her, his hand slowly moves to unbutton her shirt and slip beneath the soft material. Sliding his fingers along her bare flesh, John relishes feeling the warmth of her flesh beneath his fingers.

Cameron places baby kisses with her lips as they graze across his face. The moment she has waited for is so close. She's wanted this for a long time, but now that the moment is here, she is worried. Taking this next step will affect more than just themselves. There are so many doubts she has about what they are about to do, and some are about herself.

No knowing of the fears growing in Cameron's mind, John slides her shirt down from off her shoulders, kissing the exposed skin of her neck, past her bra strap, until he reaches her bare shoulder. John pauses for a moment to lean back. Puzzled and looking a bit frustrated, Cameron gives John a curious look.

He is sitting back drinking in her beauty like some intoxicating scent upon his senses, when he feels her stiffen in his arms.

"Is something wrong?" John asks. Please don't say it's time to go like last time.

"I want to give you a moment to think about this, before we take it any further." She says, her voice trembling ever so lightly.

John hesitates. What does she mean? "If you are worried about the implications of you and I having a relationship that will possibly affect the future of the resistance, or my mom, or just you and me. If you have any doubts, understand I have them too. But you love me and I love you, and right now, that is all that matters. I trust you completely."

"I, I have those doubts too, but I have to ask," Cameron pauses unsure if she should ask, but realizes she's already stumbled down this road so finishes her sentence, "Was it real? When you and she had sex, was it real?"

"What?"

"Was I, real? I love you, but can I..."

"Shh." John kisses her. Silencing her verbal protests and calming her worries momentarily.

Cameron is unsure, maybe even frightened a little. There are so many sexual techniques and positions she could call on from her programming to make love to John with exquisite passion, but she wants this to be real. For their first time, she wants to feel it as a person, not a collection of programmed routines. Frustration in being unable to come up with the right approach to what they are about to do, Cameron decides she will just inquire.

"What did she do?" she asks, as soon as John's lips break free from hers.

John pauses to collect his thoughts before continuing. "Do you really want to talk about this now?" John asks, with impatience.

"You don't understand. I know things. But what she did? Was it real?"

"Oh." John says with realization. "Understand she was pretending to be someone other than you. The first time we did it, she was, uh, very, very good, especially for a virgin. Which if I was paying attention at the time should have been my first clue she was . . ."

She presses a finger against his lips. "I have my answer John."

"Which is?" he asks while her slender digit remains on his mouth, which he finds slightly erotic pressed against his lips.

Future me relied on programming. I want my first time to be real, not some pre-programmed response and actions. What do I do?

Do what feels natural. Says the unbidden voice once more, from Cameron's newly acquired inner voice and conscience. With some trepidation, Cameron leaves it to her own neural network to respond to the sensations she is about to feel, basically giving up some control to make the experience real for them both.

It's okay, relax, just let your feelings guide you. You won't hurt him. A quiet voice speaks inside of her.

No. I won't hurt him. I couldn't even if I wanted to. You don't understand. I'm giving myself to him and I'm not letting some programmed actions and responses govern what I do. Now go away!

Cameron turns off her second processor, leans in close enough to John to feel his breath on her cheek and kisses him softly on the lips.

"I trust you." She says, her voice trembling slightly as she moves her hands to the first button on John's shirt.

John smiles back reassuringly "And I trust you too."

John knows that doesn't answer his question, but he doesn't object to Cameron unbuttoning his shirt. As her fingers undo the last button, he reaches around and tries to undo the clasp of her bra. His fingers fumble with the unfamiliar clasp as he fights the nervousness he feels. He never had this problem in the future, but then she wore tank tops and T's, until their last day together. He finally manages, but doesn't remove it as her arms still hold the bra to her sides.

Cameron pulls the shirt down from his shoulders. She lets out a small gasp as she looks with shock at the injuries he has sustained. She touches the wound on his chest, and runs her fingers across the scars from the plasma burns on his back and shoulder, and the flesh wounds from bullets. "You suffered all this for me. Why?"

John lifts her chin up with his hand. "Because I had to Cameron. I cannot ask you or anyone else to risk their lives for me if I'm not willing to do so myself."

"That's foolish talk. Your life is too important to take such risks."

All she gets in reply is a lopsided grin, so she asks, "Do they hurt?"

"Some, but not as much as the pain I caused us both all those months I ignored you." or the pain of worrying I had lost you . . . when you found out about the marriage, he thinks to himself.

As she leans in to hug John tight, Cameron shrugs her shoulders so that the bra falls away, revealing her naked breasts to John. Before he can even admire them, she embraces him, pressing her breasts into his bare chest. She whispers into his ear. "I'm so sorry. If I hadn't regressed to Sky Net's command structure when damaged, you never would have pushed me away like you did."

John kisses her then whispers, "We can both apologize, all we want, but in the end, it was my fault. I never understood how you felt about me, how real your emotions were and are. You tried to explain it to me many times and I wasn't listening. I never understood that until I saw the future."

"And it didn't help that I didn't know how to tell you how I felt before you removed the blocks. Thank you. Future John was going to do that, and then I had to leave him to protect you. I'm glad it was you who did it."

John starts to say something and she presses her fingers against his lips once more. "No more talking." She says as she kicks her boots off her feet with purpose. "Sarah gave us this room for a reason."

John looks upon her with fresh eyes. No longer in doubt, for this time he knows for certainty that he loves her and that she loves him.

In moments their clothing lies in rumpled piles on the floor and they are laying naked on the bed. She kisses him lightly, and gradually builds in intensity as she runs her hands gently across his body, touching gently the scars he earned in battle. Her hands roam across his chest, she kisses the scar above his heart, while her hands move further down his body until she grips him. He lets out a gasp of air.

Cameron maneuvers herself to straddle John, then she leans in to kiss his face and chest, while providing what pleasure she can through the touch of her hands. John feels like he could burst, gently he guides her hands away, and begins kissing her mouth, her face, her neck. He rolls her onto her back, and leaves a trail of kisses across her breasts and down her stomach while his hands caress her breasts, and teases her nipples.

Cameron freezes momentarily when his kisses arrive at the top of her pubic hair. She feels his fingers touch and explore her sex from top to bottom. She bites her lip to keep from crying out when his fingers find that sensitive spot. Cameron lets out murmuring groan when she feels John's tongue dance across her most private spot.

She often wondered what it would feel like. All the magazine articles, books, or videos in the world don't fully explain it. This feeling from John's hands, lips and tongue, exploring, caressing, and just touching her sex, produces a sensation she was not prepared for feeling.

Cameron is certain there's data in her programming about these sensations, but she doesn't want to experience this time with John as a machine but as a person and a female. The flesh of her body being far more like a human than any other cyborg, yet her matrix barely takes the difference into account. Her system tries to launch a program to analyze the sensations. Despite the distraction, she tries to focus on John's gentle touch, as he explores places that she never let anyone touch before. Her back arches in an involuntary spasm as the nerve endings in her genitalia send a feedback signal through her neural network to her chassis. No longer wanting the distraction, she shunts the analysis program to an unused block of memory to prevent it interfering with her enjoyment of the sensation.

John continues to apply himself to Cameron's sex. He started slow, to give her time to get used to the new sensations before applying himself in earnest. He knew from the future that there was no difference between future Cameron's reaction to sexual stimulation and any other girl, not that he knew much about that, other than what he heard through the thin walls of Charlie's home in Oklahoma. Not that he wanted to think about that right now, not with his head buried between the legs of his girlfriend.

He is quite pleased, by the results. Cameron's head was bent back, her hands grasping the bed sheets, as her back arched in ecstasy. She clamped down on his fingers, as a rush of moisture squeezed out around John's fingers.

After a few more involuntary muscular and mechanical contractions, John leaves a trail of kisses across her body, working his way slowly across her stomach, to the underside of her breasts, where the skin is so soft and smooth, brushing his lips across her nipples eliciting a small moan from Cameron, and works his way up her neck. He runs wet fingertips across her lips, before finally kissing her full upon her mouth. She returns his kiss, feeling the moisture upon his lips, his cheeks and chin.

"Was it real?" he asks her, to which she nods her head, her hands clasped behind his neck.

If she had breath to catch, she'd still be trying to catch it.

"I think it's my turn now." She says, licking her lips.

This time she refers to her programming, for techniques only, as she decides to give John the same oral pleasure he just gave her. She rolls him onto his back, and like he did before. Cameron begins by teasing his lips and then his tongue with hers. Cameron leaves a trail of kisses across his torso, pausing to kiss the healing wound above his heart, making eye contact as she does. That machine could have killed him and that mark will always remind her how close to death John came.. She works herself lower and finds John well on the way to full erection. John gasps as Cameron firmly, yet gently, grips him with her mouth.

Her ministrations drive John crazy. He's undecided whether he should urge her on or to ask her to ease back, but just when he thinks he can't take any more, he erupts. A minute later and Cameron leaves a trail of wet kisses along his body, to his mouth. They hold each other, kissing, enjoying the moment of their bodies entwined as one. Cameron disentangles herself from John's embrace and rolls onto her back, pulling him with her. She leans back against the pillows, guiding John into position.

There are many positions they could try, she knows over a hundred, but for her first time with John, she wants to go traditional. There will be plenty of time for experimenting later. Besides, she likes the idea of them finishing ideally placed where they can both see each other, and embrace each other.

He slowly guides himself inside her, feeling her warm moist flesh part as he enters her. Cameron lets out a soft groan as sensors deep inside register so many new sensations. This is different from John's oral stimulation. He stops momentarily when he reaches an obstruction. She looks deep into his eyes, silently urging him on.

He looks as if he's about to say something then kisses her passionately.

"I love you." he says, then pushes through, eliciting from her mouth a small noise, somewhere between a gasp and the cry of a small animal.

Like before, he starts slow, taking his time, not wanting to rush through what is probably greatest time of both their lives. On some level he was afraid having sex with Cameron was going to be like making love to a store window manikin. That everything she did in the future was just programming, but his fears were wrong. He should have listened to what he told her. She has sensation and feeling. She is real.

Cameron has lost all ability to monitor their surroundings for threats. Every time he slides himself into her, it's like small electrical pulses travel throughout her neural network. Various sensors send warnings to her HUD of possible system disruption. Not wanting to miss the experience, she turns off the warnings but not the sensation her neural network is sending to her chip. She wants to experience this as a person as a woman, and not be bothered with all the warnings and data Sky Net wants its cyborgs to record to improve each new generation.

John takes his time, as he wants this moment to last forever, but is unsure of long he'll last after Cameron's more than adequate job bringing him to readiness with her oral administrations. He speeds up his actions and Cameron begins to react even more strongly, as her fingers dig into his shoulders. With every thrust she lets out a small yell. Her hands slide down, by their own volition, until they are on his hips, pulling him with every thrust he makes. Their eyes are locked their gaze never wavering but for the occasional closing of eyes as they come under the grips of some internal passion.

As he penetrates her one more time, but with the added attention of his fingers stimulating her exposed sex, she clamps down on him letting out a deep moan. Her hands go to the bed and grip the mattress, squeezing two handfuls of padding. John lets out a deep groan as he is gripped, and Cameron's back arches as she lets out a soft yell. Her body shakes as the build-up of energy from her sensors is released unceremoniously back into her neural network. Muscles spasm and servo motors pulse until all the energy is used up.

John feels spent as he lies on top of Cameron kissing her mouth, and moving the sweat soaked hair from her face. Cameron remains still as her system is finally allowed to respond to the sensory overload that she kept ignoring. Despite a desire to analyze the data now, her priority is with John, who she guesses is the weight she presently feels laying on top of her. She opens her eyes, and smiles at the face hovering just above hers.

With some relief, Cameron releases her grip and John withdraws from her. Rolling over, he pulls Cameron to him and holds her. Lying in his arms, sweat glistening on their bodies, Cameron analyzes the last few minutes. She cannot account for the last thirty seconds. This must be what the books described as an orgasm, she thinks. She begins to cry.

"Is there something wrong?" John asks.

"Was that . . . was that real?" She asks.

"Oh Cameron." he draws her closer, embracing her in his arms. "That was very real." He says with a loving smile. "It was the best sex I ever had."

She kisses him. Their naked bodies are still glistening with the sweat of their exertions, pressing against each other. She runs her hand through his dampened hair, while kissing his forehead.

How can she explain how she feels? All the fears of what this first time would be like. Would she feel it? Would sex be anything but a mere mechanical act? The answer to the first question a definite yes, and the answer to the second a definite no. This was as close to feeling loved by John and loving him back as she could ever feel.

"I love you John Connor." She says with true feeling before snuggling in close to him.

"And I love you too, Cameron Phillips." John says as he pulls her closer to him. In a few minutes he slowly slips away into a restful deep sleep that has eluded him since he arrived back home.

Cameron continues to gently stroke his hair, running her fingers through it, as he sleeps. Feeling the happiest she's felt since . . . probably the first time she spoke to young John Connor in Red Valley, New Mexico. She rests her head upon his right shoulder and with her left hand, she gently caresses the healed wound above his heart.

John suffered, and nearly died for her. She'll never let that happen again. Never. She would die for John Connor. Relaxing she activates her second chip.

I felt the same for my John.

Allison?

Yes Cameron.

I'm sorry I killed you.

Don't apologize for something that wasn't your fault. Sky Net killed me. But you now exist and you love your John, just as much as I loved my John. He loves you and you'll take good care of him. Far better than I could.

I'll try. You know I will do anything to ensure his survival.

So I over heard. I miss my John, very much.

Would you like to see him? I can share with you memories I have of your John.

Please.

Cameron transfers data to her second processor allowing Allison to see her John as he was in the future after Cameron met him for the first time. Together, but separately, they find some peace.

Cameron listens to John's gentle breathing and feels the soft beating of his heart through her hand. She thinks about what he told her and the conversation she had with Allison on the Turk. It seems her and Allison's destinies are the same, willing to die to protect the man they love.

Maybe someday, she can do something for Allison. Her other body may be damaged from the prison break, but it would do. But maybe she should wait until its repaired before suggesting it to John. After all, giving Allison life again would affect him too.

John murmurs something in his sleep. Protectively, she hugs John with her left arm, her hand gently pressing against his side. In his slumber, John instinctively raises his right arm and places his hand upon her shoulder. They lie upon the bed, holding each other, truly content and at peace.

She'll never let anyone or anything harm John Connor. Never.

May 21, 2009, 1:35AM

A dark alley in a run down part of L. A., loud music and the sound of a raucous gathering blare from the open back door of a bar. Parked in the alley behind it, is a small battered Honda with a young nicely dressed black male leaning against the fender.

A car headlights suddenly light up both him and the alley as a car turns in off the streets. The man shields his eyes as the car approaches. The lights don't dim until the car pulls right up beside him.

The drivers window rolls down. The interior has no illumination, not even the instrument panel is lighted and the tinted windows block what little light there is in the alley.

"Mr. Dyson, do you have it?" A voice comes from inside.

"I wouldn't have called you unless I did." Daniel pulls a package out of his pocket. "This is the last of it. You now have everything you need to recreate the AI that FOX Industries was building."

"Hand it to me." The man inside the car says and a hand appears at the window.

"Money first." Danny says holding back the package, gesturing with his other hand.

A briefcase appears at the window. Danny takes it and hands the package to the man in the car.

"You will find a full report on the design of Kreilley's AI inside."

The man in the car looks through the various documents and the inclusion of data discs and memory cards.

"I don't know where you got copies of my father's work, but it was the key for getting me inside Kreilley's company." Danny proffers hoping for some information.

"We keep tabs on all technological advances that have potential military applications." The man says offhandedly.

"In other words, you spy on corporations." Danny accuses, "Like you hired me to do?"

The man finishes thumbing through the documents. "Is there anything else?"

"Just one bit of information that isn't in the reports. I thought it safer not to have it on paper."

"What is it?"

"The machines built by Kreilley not only fired upon the people attacking the factories, but they also killed his own security guards and many of the people working for him."

"There are always casualties in the course of progress." He says coldly.

"They were human lives!" Danny nearly spits through his teeth.

"Of course. Probably just a glitch in the machines programming." The man says in a cold tone that show no compassion for those who died.

Disgusted, Danny asks "Will you be needing me again?"

The man inside the shadowed vehicle moves slightly.

"I'm afraid I won't be needing your services any longer."

A pistol with a silencer appears at the window and three quick shots fire hitting Danny at point blank range in the chest.

He falls to the ground clutching his chest. The briefcase landing beside him.

The car door opens, but the dome lights doesn't come on. An arm in an Air Force uniform reaches out grabs the briefcase and pulls it back inside the car.

"No one likes a snitch, Mr. Dyson. Next time you choose to leak information, make sure the person you leaked it to, doesn't reveal it to Military Intelligence on TV. And isn't so stupid as to make notes in her appointment book as to whom she has spoken with. D. D. Did you really think I wouldn't figure out it was you?"

The car drives off leaving Danny Dyson gasping for his next breath.

The car barely disappears when car lights come on down the alley. The driver quickly pulls out and drives up along side Danny.

The passenger door opens. "Quick get in before someone comes out to investigate." A clear voice of an older woman calls out from inside.

Clutching his chest, Danny quickly gets in and the car and it speeds off.

"I told you it was a bad idea to talk to Miss Cartouche." The woman scolds. "I didn't give you my Scorpion prototype to hack into communications. You were to use it strictly as a secure data storage while working as one of my agents."

"I'm sorry, but I didn't divulge any secrets. Just pointed out some recent events and showed Miss Cartouche how the pieces fit. Stuff that can be found on the internet if you know where to look and what to look for. And by the way, I'm fine." Danny grimaces as he undoes the buttons to his shirt revealing a bullet-proof vest with three shiny bullets clustered right over his heart. "Ten to one odds, we've got proof who murdered Zoe Cartouche right here."

"I'll hold onto that. Might be able to use the evidence to our advantage. Did you deliver the package?"

"Would I have been shot otherwise? Hell yeah, I delivered it. I wish I could see his face, if he ever gets that software decrypted and reassembled." Danny laughs, pulling the vest out from under his clothes.

"Why?"

"You ever see the movie War Games?" he says, rubbing his chest. The new material worked. No cracked or broken ribs. All he has is some light bruising and tenderness where the bullets struck.

"I financed it and gave the writer the idea." The woman says with a smile.

"Oh! Well that's just about the extent of the software he'll be getting. A gaming system. Only all it will want to do is play chess."

"Anything else I should know?"

"Sarah Connor was there the night FOX Industries went down."

"What?" The elderly woman is surprised. "Was her son there too? John Connor?" She asks with more urgency than she wanted to express.

"If he was there, I never saw him, but Sarah did have about two dozen trained military types with her."

"Did she see you? Did she recognize you?"

"Yes. She did. Can I go home now, Ms. Loom? My mom and sister must be worried sick." Suddenly sounding more like a boy than the young man that he is.

"Of course Daniel. Your mother and sister have been looking for you. With the money you've earned, you should take your family, and disappear until things cools down. I can always send for you if I need you again."

"Thanks Ms. Loom."

Danny turns to place the used bullet proof vest in the backseat when he spies a bundle of folders sealed up in plastic.

"Ms. Loom, What are these?"

"Insurance Danny, and I want you to take them with you when you leave with your family."

# # #

An hour later and Kyle is escorting a slightly tipsy Sarah to her motel room. The room next door is dark and the curtains drawn shut and judging by the light snores emanating from it, John had to have been asleep for a couple of hours. Inwardly, Sarah is angry, she could have returned to her motel room sooner.

They continue on to her room next door. After fumbling with her room key, Kyle takes it from her and unlocks the door for her.

"You want to come in?" Sarah invites him.

"Any other time Sarah, but you've had a bit too much to drink tonight."

"I'm not drunk." She protests. "Merely have a nice buzz."

"Still, I'd rather be our first time together be something you will remember in the morning."

"Buzz kill." She protest leaning against the door.

"Let me help you in."

"I can walk." She snaps her arm away from his grasp and nearly falls through the open door.

"Of course, you can." Kyle answers, guiding her to the bed.

"Will you be all right?" He asks turning on the bedside lamp.

"I'd like it more if you stayed." Sarah replies, giving his arm a pull toward the bed.

"Not tonight. I still have supplies to take to the farm, remember? Hungry people become angry people when they aren't fed and last night I caught two of our people having a serious discussion about butchering one of the neighbors cows."

Something about that reaches the more responsible side of Sarah's brain, despite the pleasant fog.

"Very well, Kyle Reese, look after your people. Don't expect a rain check."

Kyle smiles. "No rain checks required. There will be other times."

He moves toward the door.

"Kyle?" Sarah calls out.

"Yes." he asks, looking back.

Sarah isn't looking at him with drunken seductive eyes any more, but with something more akin to real affection.

"You are a good man, Kyle Reese."

He nods his head, closing the door behind him and walks away with a smile on his face.

The door barely closes behind Kyle when Sarah dashes to the door and slides the security chain in place. Leaning against the door, she lets out a long sigh. She hated doing that, feigning being drunk. Especially considering she can hold more alcohol than most men twice her size, and the fact she really wants to sleep with Kyle. But she had to know if he was anything like her Kyle.

"He is a good man." She says to the empty room, and walks straight and true to the bathroom with a desperate need to pee.

Cameron hears the toilet in Sarah's motel room flush and slides carefully out of John's arms without waking him. She looks about for something she can put on quickly. Finding John's long army coat, Cameron puts it on, tying the belt around her waist. Grabbing something from the night stand, she makes her way next door.

Sarah splashes cold water on her face, and drinks a full glass of water to hopefully hold back dehydration from all the alcohol. She'd hate to start the day with a hangover, but will probably have one anyway.

Returning to the bed, Sarah sits on the end and pulls off her boots and socks. She's just about to pull off her slacks when there is a gentle tapping on her door.

There is a momentary spark of hope that its Kyle returning, but the more logical and battle-scarred part of her brain responds. She pulls her gun out and approaches the door. Friend or foe, she'll be ready.

There is more gentle tapping, then Cameron's voice. "Sarah, it's me, Cameron."

Sarah goes to the door, looks through the peep hole. She sees Cameron standing outside in her bare feet wearing John's long green Army coat. With a twinge, she realizes it is much like the coat Kyle was wearing that first time they met at Tech Noir.

With relief, and a little disappointment, Sarah opens the door.

Cameron walks in and hands Sarah a bottle of aspirin. "I thought you'd might like these. You sounded pretty drunk coming back."

Sarah smiles despite herself and takes the bottle gratefully.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Cameron tilts her head to one side and asks, "May I ask you a question?"

Sarah nods her head.

"If there was someone you loved, and you had not seen that person for a very long time, then a day came and that person was there, but many years had gone by."

"Like almost eighteen years." Sarah interjects, getting a feel for where Cameron is going.

"Yes." Cameron pauses. "Would you do anything to be with that person? Even if that meant giving up something of who you are?"

Sarah stops to think. A deep question from the cyborg. One that could equally apply to either of them considering what Cameron did in the future to be close to John to keep him safe or to Sarah as she now faces the prospect of being with Kyle again after a seventeen year separation.

"I think . . ." Sarah pauses again. "I think that if the love is real it can transcend every obstacle. And if situations or circumstances are different compared to when we first loved that person." Sarah shakes her head. "Let me put it to you this way. When my son first met you at that high school in New Mexico, would you have gone on pretending to be a normal girl if Cromartie didn't show up and try to kill him."

"Yes."

"If he asked you out on a date and you kept dating each other, and had sex then," Sarah steadies herself at the thought, "would you have told him what you are, even if no machines showed up to try to kill him?"

"It was always my intent to tell him, but I did want him to get to know me as a person before he knew me as a machine."

"And isn't that similar to what your future self did in that future he visited?"

Cameron looks deep in thought, then a ghost of smile plays across her face. "Thank you Sarah."

Cameron begins to leave, but Sarah stops her with a hand upon her arm. The thought of this attractive cyborg having sex with her son having struck a nerve, triggering a question.

"Damn, I shouldn't even be asking this." Sarah runs a hand across her face. "I'll put it down to the alcohol I drank. When you and John . . . When the two of you . . ."

She smiles gently to reassure John's mother. "Sarah, your son was very gentle and very loving. I never felt more . . ."

"Human?" Sarah interjects, then quickly regrets saying it.

". . . loved. I love John and he loves me. I'll never let anyone hurt him. Never. I'd die first."

Sarah can tell that Cameron means every word she's saying. On one level it scares her that artificial constructs, terminators, cyborgs, call them what you wish, are capable of feeling, of caring, even willing to die for those they love. On a more sentimental level, she can't help but be comforted that John has someone in his life that does love him and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep John alive, and happy too.

"This um, devotion to protecting John. Is that just programming, or do you truly care for him?"

Cameron smiles. "I was never programmed to protect John. I volunteered for that duty. In the future, John rescued me. He took a slave to Sky Net and gave her the choice not to kill blindly. An opportunity to be more than what she was. I will always be grateful for the kindness your son gave me in the future. For that reason, I also volunteered to come back to this time to protect him now. I love your son, Sarah. I always have. I just understand it better now."

Sarah sighs, "But what about when you asked me to choose before inserting the chip?"

Cameron smiles compassionately. "It was never your choice to make Sarah, because there was no choice to make but whether you trusted John."

"So regardless of what I chose, you and John would have still gotten together." Sarah was scared of this and she always made her point clear about her opinion of Cameron before he left. But things changed when she let him go with Weaver. He was willing to risk so much for Cameron, but still he needed to know how his mom felt about him and Cameron. What better way than to have Cameron to find out how she felt. She could almost be angry with John for what he did, but it doesn't matter, John is back now and she made her choice.

Cameron starts to leave, but is once again stopped by Sarah.

"Cameron, before you go. I want to say I'm sorry for the way I've acted toward you before all this. It's not that I didn't trust John, I didn't trust you and I should have tried to have trusted you more. It's just, you have to understand, all my life machines have tried to kill me or my son. Even after our last experience, before we met you, I should have been prepared for this possibility."

"It's okay Sarah. You always did what you thought was right to protect your family."

"Speaking of family, um, can you get pregnant?" Damn the alcohol, Sarah thinks smacking her face with her palm. Why didn't I stop with the apology?

"No, I cannot get pregnant." She says with a tiny frown. "But if I could, I'd be proud and honored to have John's child. Goodnight Sarah. Sleep well."

Cameron leaves and Sarah closes the door behind her. Damn the alcohol, Sarah thinks, that was so tactless, but then Cameron didn't seem to notice or care.

Sarah walks back to the bathroom and fills a glass with water from the tap. She swallows two aspirins, then returns to her bed. Slipping out of her trousers she crawls under the covers and tries to sleep.

Cameron pauses outside the door to her motel room. She felt something when she told Sarah she couldn't get pregnant. It felt like grief, but it wasn't her feeling it.

Allison, I felt you become sad. Is something wrong?

I know what my missing memory is. Dr. Brewster thought I might have been pregnant but I was captured before we could go to Depot II for more tests. It was the last thought I had before I died, that I'll never know for certain. I didn't want to remember my death, so I didn't check that memory until now. I hate them!

I'm sorry Allison. I didn't know. I swear I didn't know.

She sheds a tear, and isn't certain if its from her or from Allison as the feeling of loss runs so strong.

It's okay. You are not responsible. I'm all right. Just do me one favor. If you ever decide to adopt a little girl, teach her ballet for me. My mom was teaching me before Judgment Day. I still remember the sound of Chopin as she played the piano as I practiced my faltering first steps in ballet. I wanted a little girl so I could do the same.

I will. I promise.

Cameron walks back to the room she is sharing with John, feeling sad and happy and in love. After closing and locking the door behind her, she slips off the coat and slides under the covers next to John in the bed.

"Hey." He murmurs. "Did I hear you talking?"

"You should be sleeping." She whispers back. "Sarah is back from the bar. I went next door to give her some aspirin."

"That was thoughtful." He says as he rolls over to face her. He strokes her face with his hand, placing a kiss on her lips.

She kisses him back, running her delicate fingers, as strong as a hydraulic press, gently along his body, feeling smooth skin turn to rough and back to smooth as her fingertips dance across his scars. Different scars than future John had, but scars nonetheless. Earned nobly in the fight against Sky Net.

"How much longer until we need to leave?" He asks.

"Two hours, forty-seven minutes, twenty-nine point six seconds." She answers. "You should get some more sleep."

"How can I sleep with the most beautiful girl I know laying naked beside me?" He asks. His eyes twinkling mischievously in the dark.

"Shall I put my clothes on?" Cameron moves to get out of bed.

"No." John replies with a wicked grin. "I've got a better idea."

He pulls her closer to him, but using the momentum, Cameron rolls him over so she's on top, straddling his hips.

"What the . . ." John says looking up at Cameron's silhouette.

"Its my turn now." she says with a grin. To John's surprise, she begins sliding her hips back and forth gradually bringing John and herself to full arousal.

"I have the perfect program to keep you at the height of ecstasy."

Her eyes flash blue in the dark, causing John's heart rate to quicken.

"Oh god!" John exclaims as Cameron envelops him in her moist folds.

In the room next door, Sarah buries her head under her pillows as the sounds of her son and Cameron having sex emanate through the thin walls.

I definitely didn't drink enough, she thinks.

# # #

Kyle remembers one more thing as he drives to the farm. Something he isn't sure if he should mention to John or to Sarah, but it forever changed his feelings about terminators, and Cameron in particular.

John was walking away as Kyle still stood next Cameron. He was just about to follow, when he heard something.

He looked down on the beautiful, but horribly burnt cyborg beside him. Did he actually hear it?

Kyle kneels and leans in pressing his ear close to Cameron's mouth and he hears her speaking.

"I want to go home. I want to go home." She says in a voice so soft and sweet, that if he believed in angels, he couldn't imagine their voices sounding any lovelier.

"I want to go home. I want to go home." Cameron says again

"It won't be long." he says, patting her shoulder compassionately. "You're going home."

"Promise?" She asks in almost a childlike plea.

"I promise." Kyle answers, choking back tears.

With tears in his eyes, Kyle looks up to see John's quickly departing form disappearing and reappearing in the ghostly light and shadows of the foundry. With reluctance and desperation, Kyle tears himself away from beside Cameron's prone body, jogging to catch up with John, unable to comprehend if cyborg's believe in heaven or even have a soul. Scratch that. If any cyborg has a soul its this one, and she's far more worthy of heaven than most humans he's known.

As he catches up with John, who hadn't noticed Kyle hadn't been with him, Kyle looks back, wondering if what just happened was some kind of dream. Was Cameron regurgitating old data? Something she might have said earlier. He looks at the shadowed alcove where they left Cameron's body but can no longer see her in the shadows.

Kyle presently wonders what that was all about. What is home to cyborg? and was she truly gone or was it a trick of the lights? Surely with her damage, she could never escape the blast area of that bomb. So how could she get home? Wherever home is, if she were still alive?

He stops his reminiscing to concentrate on the road.

Kyle's just turning down the drive when he recalls something his mother used to say, "Home is where your heart is." He finds that odd, because with all that's he's seen, Cameron's heart must belong to John. So isn't being with John where her home is? Maybe that's what she meant, with her last thoughts about John as her system shutdown. She wanted to be with John.

He hauls the box of food up to the porch and goes back for the other. Some people run out of the barn to help him with the supplies.

Maybe there's something he's missing, or maybe it's something he'll never understand. But whatever it is, Cameron must have died in that future. Must have died, right?

When he finally has a moment to himself alone, Kyle stands in the house and begins to speak.

"God, Kyle Reese here. You and I would have frequent chats. Mostly my begging for you to save my life or that of my squad when facing the enemy. I've never asked for more or less than that and you've delivered every time. There is one more thing I want to ask and it isn't for me. It's for Cameron. The Cameron we had to leave behind. I don't know if machines like her have an eternal soul, but she definitely showed more than the glimmering of a human spirit. I don't believe there is anything outside your power. I have seen or heard of too many miracles in this war not to believe. So I'm asking, I'm begging, if there is the tiniest margin of a chance for Cameron to find that home she wants or needs to be safe and loved, then please find it in yourself to help her. Without her we wouldn't have John Connor, and you know how important he is to our cause. Thank you."

And with his prayer offered Kyle finds a comfortable chair to sit in and wait until the others arrive.

# # #

John would have described what Cameron did more on the lines of hellish paradise than ecstasy. He'd already given twice to the cause, and with her current administrations of bringing him to the point of orgasm and then easing off, again and again, even squeezing his member while still inside her to keep him from climaxing on two occasions. He never looked at the clock when she began, but he was hearing birds singing outside the room by the time she had finished with him.

They laid on the bed basking in each others glow afterward, as they kissed and held each other until the time came to shower and get dressed.

Embarrassed and slightly amused, John and Cameron had to flip the mattress before leaving the room. Apparently Cameron had gripped it so hard during her first climax she had ripped out two great chunks of the padding. John told her it would be weeks or months before the motel manager found out and by then there would have been too many guests to know who to blame. Cameron agreed and quickly made the bed, expertly leaving it in a state as appearing to have been slept in.

"How did you know how to do that?" John asked.

"Two years living with you and Sarah pretending to be human. It would look unnatural for my bed not to appear slept in should company come over."

Upon leaving the room, Cameron took one look at each of the Connors and declared she would drive. Neither Sarah or John were willing or had the energy to argue.

# # #

From the Journal of John Connor

May 21, 2009

My last entry. I'm with my family now. We'll be leaving in a few days for Mexico. Cameron is beside me on the porch of this old farmhouse, looking over my shoulder while I write. We're enjoying each others company and watching the troops playing softball inside the pasture. Mom is inside sleeping off a mild hangover. Cameron had to drive us home this morning. I was too tired. Cameron just smiled at me when I typed that. She's the reason I'm tired. Now she slugged me in the shoulder. I guess this is what it means to be in love.

John stops typing long enough to exchange a kiss with her.

"Hey Cameron!" Wren shouts, from across the yard. "You want to come over and give us girls a hand? The boys are beating us four to two!"

"Go on Cameron. It will be fun." John coaxes.

"But I don't know how to play."

"It's just like baseball but the pitches are underhanded."

"Come on Cameron! We need you!" Wren shouts.

With some coaxing, Cameron runs over, leaping the fence in a single bound, to join them in the game.

Wren has called Cameron away to join them in a game of softball. Wren has really taken to her and I hope they become friends. If Cameron can make friends, I think it will help her grow as a person, much like having Savannah and my mom as her friends helped her in that alternate future I visited.

This gives me a moment to say something. I told Cameron the truth last night. I didn't hold anything back. She was far more understanding than I expected. It wasn't the first time that I've underestimated her and it probably won't be the last, but I can't help but feel like I've betrayed her, which I did until I knew who it was I was with and why she did what she did.

Cameron's message to her past self certainly helped. Cameron is far more introspective than I am, and I would like to know what went through her head as I told her my story. I never did let go of her hand. I knew she could tell if I was lying by my pulse, and she could see my face as well. I have it on good authority that I have a tell. I love her and I needed her to understand how much I knew she loved me and how wrong I was. She believes me, that much I know, and maybe that's all that matters, but I think it will take longer for me to forgive myself. I'm not shirking my responsibility, but if Weaver told me the truth at the beginning, then I wouldn't have done what I did. The only good from out of what happened is that I can say that future Cameron kept me sane. If I didn't have her with me in that hell, I wouldn't be alive now.

Kreilley's Judgment Day has been stopped and Weaver has been taken care of, for now. John Henry is still searching for that TX, even though we think its gone, and will maintain watch on developments of Sky Net, and keep an eye on Weaver.

I called Savannah, whom I must call Hanna now, this morning. Kyle told her about the small celebration at the farm we'll be having before leaving for Mexico. I wanted to say my final good bye should she not make it. Hanna has a family and a business to look after and she will lend assistance to John Henry when she can. We, myself, Mom, Cameron, Kyle and the others, are going to stay out of sight in Mexico and points further south until things cool down. Don't know how long that could be. We would have stayed at Crystal Peak if we could, but it just doesn't have the resources to support us at present and trucking in supplies would have raised a red flag with authorities. I plan on returning before April 2011.

John looks up as he hears the girls cheering. Cameron is up to bat. The pitcher throws the ball low and fast. CRACK! Cameron has swung and gotten all of the ball as it goes screaming through the air. The girls are screaming and some of the guys as well, though mostly because Cameron, in one swing, has begun to close the gap in points.

Hot Damn! Bet that ball is in the next county already. That's my girl! It looks like softball is over unless they have another ball. Need to talk to her about easing up on the swing. Oh good. They do have another ball.

As Cameron rounds the bases and reaches home plate, the girls surround her cheering. One of them begins talking to her. By her hand gestures John guesses she must be showing Cameron how to ease up on her swing.

As I was saying before Cameron hit that awesome home run. We lost a few people in the second battle of Topanga. Kyle assures me all the bodies were disposed of properly. A few more wanted to remain in the Los Angeles area. I don't blame them. They were the older members of my team and therefore remember more of their lives before the bombs fell. I only gave them two orders, enjoy themselves and don't interfere with their past lives. Hanna is going to give them jobs providing security for Savannah, herself. You might say she'll be commanding her own squad. Good for her.

Time must be allowed to heal from these wounds. Outside of Kyle and myself, and Hanna, there are only about twenty-five others who have survived both battles at Topanga. There are those who here who have lost loved ones, but do they feel what I feel? Despite having so many people with me now, I sometimes feel as alone as I did before I met Cameron.

Beddell will be taking his exams soon. I'm sure he'll graduate. Probably take top honors too. None of his people were injured. I'm glad of that. Involving him was a huge risk, but it turned out for the best.

It has all turned out for the best. I have Cameron, my mom, and Kyle too. I am home. I am home!

John puts down his computer and shuts it down. The guys are shouting for him to join their team. He runs over. The game is girls versus guys. He grins. This ought to be fun.

# # #

"The miles are getting longer, it seems,

The closer I get to you.

I've not always been the best man or friend for you.

But your love, it makes true.

And I don't know why.

You always seem to give me another try.

So I'm going home,

Back to the place where I belong,

And where your love has always been enough for me.

I'm not running from.

No, I think you got me all wrong.

I don't regret this life I chose for me.

But these places and these faces are getting old,

Be careful what you wish for,

'Cause you just might get it all.

You just might get it all,

And then some you don't want.

Be careful what you wish for,

'Cause you just might get it all.

You just might get it all, yeah.

Oh, well I'm going home,

Back to the place where I belong,

And where your love has always been enough for me.

I'm not running from.

No, I think you got me all wrong.

I don't regret this life I chose for me.

But these places and these faces are getting old.

I said these places and these faces are getting old,

So I'm going home.

I'm going home."

Home lyrics, Chris Daughtry


Author's Note: Coming next, the three part epilogue to wrap up the entire story