Disclaimer: I don't own the characters —that would be Josh Friedman and Fox— nor do I lay claim to the series and intellectual property they're a product of. No money is made off of this.
Warnings: Smut (but with a soul).
Author's Note: J/C. Set during "Born to Run" during "the scene" but goes AU. There was so much tension there, I couldn't remember a story I felt properly explored the other way things could've gone. Thank you, Missi Marie, for the excellent beta and advice. A little background: I was inspired to write this after reading her TSCC story "Pounce." If you haven't already go read it and her other stuff. She's got some amazing stories. Okay, I'm done talking. Please read and review!
By Mark Question
"You need to understand how it works."
Her voice was soothing.
"This chip. This body—the software is designed to terminate humans," a pause to let that sink in, but there was more, and she continued. "The hardware is designed to terminate humans—that's our sole function."
A quality to it that told him he had to listen.
"No. Not anymore. But what was there is still there. It'll always be there."
"So down deep," he reasoned, hesitating to reach the inevitable conclusion, "You want to kill me."
"Yes—" not even a hesitation, "—I do."
At the time, he'd had this sudden feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach that something bad was about to happen. Other than the miniscule events like his jail-bird mother and execution-style dead uncle.
"Then why don't you?" He'd glared. There had been a tightness in his chest. He was angry, sick of Cameron's cryptic answers and half-truths.
Brown eyes bored into his, purpose cryptic and impenetrable like a puzzle. "I might some day."
This was where they were now.
Derek dead. His mother apprehended.
And he—John Connor—was going to have to make a choice soon. Whether to run or go back and try to break her out. Sarah wanted him to run. He was clear on that.
But Sarah wasn't there. Ellison had betrayed them, or maybe he hadn't. But at best he'd led them into a trap. Then, to top it off, he'd given them—or specifically, Cameron—a message. One John still didn't understand but that he suspected she did. And now, well...
"I need to show you something."
Cameron sat up—he'd awoken to find her on the bed, watching him sleep—in one fluid, graceful movement. "This body..." she began.
Whatever he'd expected, John was unprepared for what actually happened next.
Fingers reaching for the hem of her black tank top, he watched as she pulled it up—over her smooth shoulders and over her head. His brain freezing, then unfreezing. Misfiring in a thousand directions at once like a Fourth of July fireworks display. This wasn't the pitiable, transparent attempt at seduction she'd made before, stalking into his room and laying on his bed to keep him away from Riley.
This was different.
Despite the newly uncovered real estate of flesh, his eyes never left her face. His mouth hung slightly ajar though. She could've killed him then, there, turned on him in a sudden revelation of hidden agenda, twitched and malfunctioned before his very eyes and murdered him, and he wouldn't have been able to command his limbs to move.
But she didn't.
Instead, Cameron moved closer, and only then did he feel his gaze drop beneath her shoulders. She moved first one denim clad knee onto the empty bed-space beside him, then another, and then he found himself shifting to accommodate her on the bed, intrinsically understanding not why he should, only that he should.
This was the part where he left. John knew that. Flee. Take up and ditch to Mexico like he had the last time when she'd walked into his room, laid on his bed, told him she felt heat too. But Mexico was far away; the last thing on his mind now. Derek and Sarah were gone. And Riley was dead. And he couldn't bring himself to feel sad about that fact, at least not here, while he was watching Cameron undress in front of him.
Facing him, she reached behind her back, unclipping the frill bra hiding more of her from view with more ease than he'd naturally imagine. Not that he ever had imagined. This. Here. He swallowed, throat dry. Her. All the while, he watched the terminator, and quietly, she watched him back. She looked... wistful. It would have been something he thought about ordinarily. But... this wasn't ordinary. He didn't take his eyes off Cameron. He needed to. Really, really needed to like right now. Because everything was written across his face. Everything was visible, he thought.
All of it.
In the back of his mind, John was pretty sure he knew what was coming next. He understood. His mother hadn't needed to explain. The birds and the bees had been learned after she was taken away, spelled out by foster parents "fit" to raise and nurture, but never to give a damn, hiding behind closed bedroom doors. And even before then, his generation was not like the last. More cynical and questioningly curious at the same time. So yeah, he understood.
Cameron laid back onto the bed, hair a pillow of chocolate brown at her neck and shoulders, action adding another ingredient to the sequence that his mind could find only one explanation.
"Get on top of me." She instructed softly. Gently. Encouraging. Not at all threatening, not the least bit frightening. For his benefit. For him. Always for him.
"Put your knee here." Her voice told him.
Her right hand moved—his left, her right, he inanely observed. Basic mental protocol; impersonalize the personal when above a very naked Cameron Philips. It took him a second to realize that she'd bypassed her pant buckle and reached for the pocket instead, slender finger tips disappearing into the space and retrieving a compact, oval shaped object that he instantly recognized. Nimble digits snapped it open with an uncomfortably loud 'snick'.
It was... she had... he frowned... A knife. Wait... what?
Cameron stared up at him, offering it handle first toward him. John looked at her, at the silver of the blade, and again at her. She... wanted him to take it. That... that was what came next. He was supposed to take it, not... Reality crashed back into him, or he crashed back into it. Fingers numb, he took it, cold dread filling him at what would come next.
What she would say.
What he would do.
Though above her, she had the control.
John looked at her face. She looked sad, almost pensive. That and something he couldn't put his finger on. It made him feel ashamed. Your fault a little part of him whispered. There was something he was missing. Maybe a piece to the puzzle he'd been missing for a while.
'You said it yourself, John—I'm just a machine.'
Her voice drew him from his thoughts and he looked at her hard, trying to read her, but the expression was gone. He adjusted his grip on the knife. His palm was sweating, and the handle kept slipping loose.
"If I'm damaged," she explained quietly, softly. "We should know."
And it all made sense.
Except it didn't. If her power cell was leaking, then it wouldn't have been his mother getting sick, it would've been him before anyone else. Who else spent more time around her? She was literally his bodyguard.
He hesitated, and gazed down to see Cameron already watching him, eyes unreadable. He took one more look across the smooth expanse of unblemished skin. The knife went down.
If he were paying less attention he wouldn't have noticed her flinch.
The knife—so close to cutting into her—stopped where it was.
"You flinched." His own voice barely registered in his ears.
She gave no indication of having heard him. "Keep going."
"John," her eyes had diverted back to his, voice again a gentle insistence. "John—you need to focus."
But he was focused, John thought. Was it possible he'd seen things? No. He banished the thought. He'd seen it. Which either meant Cameron was... tricking him, which didn't make any sense, or she hadn't intended or realized she'd done it.
'She doesn't have a soul and she never will.'
Her hand—the same one that had guided the knife into his—now held his wrist. He could feel the warm pads of her fingers, the soft glide as they grasped his, encouraging the macabre duty.
"It's okay, John." He heard her say.
He fought the urge to look away. She began to guide his hand back where it needed to be, letting go. The knife went down—but not into her skin, just against it. His eyes were suddenly on her face, looking for a response. There was nothing save the inevitable rebuke he knew was coming. Naked from the waist up, his eyes ran over her perfect belly button that wasn't really a belly button, and he drew the cool, blunt side of the knife-edge against her stomach, just above the denim waist-band of her jeans.
He had a theory. But he needed her to prove it first.
He looked to her face. Still nothing. The rebuke came though, as expected.
"John—" she began, voice harder, stern. But he ignored it. Everything but her reaction to him. Which was nothing, not until he did the unexpected and touched her. It was instantaneous. It was like her skin was a soft expanse of receptors for his, a touch-pad reactive to nothing but his touch.
A part of him cheered.
Hazel eyes shifted back up, studying her. She had shifted, and her eyes had changed, the empty gaze gone, now it was... her face was... strained, like she was holding back a breath, too close to the surface to be swallowed but not far enough down to go away.
The knife was forgotten, his hand now the greater tool of impact. Swallowing down the lump in his throat, he kept going, tentatively at first, fingers skimming over the slightly tanned, artificial skin. Departing their start-point only to arrive at the cavity that was her belly button.
It was small. A glimmer of the girl buried beneath the sea.
Not stopping, he forced himself to breathe, nostrils flaring as he fought to keep from shaking. She felt soft, and warm and utterly not like what she was. John chanced a look at her face, only to find that she was already watching him.
"What are you doing?"
"Testing a theory. Can you feel this?"
She hesitated, just a fraction of a second. Most wouldn't notice, but he did. "Yes. We need to—"
"What do you feel?"
With trembling hands, he moved to the swell of her breasts. Her eyes followed the movement. Upon contact her lips seemed to part slightly. Rationally, John knew she didn't need to breathe, that it was done for effect. For infiltration. But as his hand moved up the middle of her chest, he noted the absence of the telltale rattle of a heartbeat. It mattered only because it made him wonder at the discrepancy in imitation. Maybe...
His face heated. His hands still shaking, he fought through it and fanned them out to either side, hot, tactile, skin-on-skin contact as they brushed her chest. "What about—"
It was her turn to cut him off. "Yes."
He looked at her.
Her tone was cool but that wasn't what caught his attention. Cameron was... there was no better way to describe it other than squirming. Lips parted just so. Eyes wider than he'd ever seen them before. He couldn't help it. Forgetting himself, he leaned down, closer, until his face was just inches from hers.
Cameron knew John wanted to kiss her.
It was a bad idea. But things weren't that simple. 'Girls are complicated' she'd once explained to him, but the main problem tended to be that John just wasn't that simple. If girls were complicated, then John required an encyclopedia.
For a long time there had been a divide between where her mission to protect him and certain other things began. And there were mistakes—mistakes Sarah made, mistakes Cameron had made, and some he had—that affected not just John but her as well.
The car bomb had changed things. It had compromised her and she was damaged as a result; less reliable. John had stopped trusting her. Birds were unintentionally terminated because of her.
If there had been no bomb she wouldn't have malfunctioned. If not for the bomb, John would have had a cake for his sixteenth birthday instead of her trying to kill him. If there had been no bomb, she would have been around to make sure there was no Riley. Or at least a significantly decreased likelihood. Bitch-whores were not allowed near John.
In the shed, when she had told him that he was ahead of schedule, she had really wanted to tell him that they were really too far behind.
In the car, coming back from their interrogation of former FBI Agent James Ellison, she had really wanted him to know that she understood the significance of the upside down turtle, and that it wasn't just the wind that she could feel.
She felt heat.
But that didn't matter. In as much as anything that had already come and gone could still matter, it didn't.
She was quickly approaching a point where her mistakes, her inaction, were becoming problems more severe and unexplainable than any glitch.
Killing Riley would have solved several of her problems at once even if John would have hated her for it. Lit her up and burnt her down for it.
But it mattered what he wanted. And it mattered that he was happy, so she hadn't. Now being no exception to her aforementioned cascade of indecision, above her John hesitated, and she uncharacteristically did the same.
She was a machine—the clarity of her thoughts instantaneous. Except here, with John, was her moment of disconnection. Her thoughts atrophied into a kind of concrete traction and she stalled. He was going to kiss her. And she was going to tell him they needed to go. But maybe...
"John?" her voice was soft. "I've made a choice."
He blinked slowly, frowning. "You say that like it's hard."
"It can be. Some things are hard to do, others I have to do."
"Like this?" His voice had dropped.
"No. A choice. Like this."
And she closed the distance and kissed him.
He didn't respond. A part of Cameron wondered whether she'd perhaps done something wrong, or her decision had upset him. Cameron knew, and had known for some time, that John wanted her. Wanted this body. She had come back in time to protect him. But this was different.
Stumblingly, slowly, hesitantly, John did respond. He pushed back. Bit by bit, he gave back.
An infiltrator by design, she had extensive files on human mating rituals, but she'd never done this before. For Cameron there was feeling. Piles of it. Data that was sensation. Sensation that was the sum of him, John Connor, compressed and transmitted to her through her desire to touch and respond to him. It was new and for seconds, she took it in; processed it.
It was good. It was perfect.
For John it was a hundred different feelings and a hundred different conflicts all boiled into this one, forbidden act. The brush of her tongue, light and testing, caught him by surprise. The brush of her nose against his as the kiss continued. Everything in his life had always been the necessary things: Running, hiding, training, fighting for his life—it was never the right things that he got to keep.
The things he wanted.
And he wanted her. He hadn't been lying when he told his mother that she saves him. He needed her.
He deepened the embrace, pushed back. There were lips and gums and teeth, and nothing to suggest she wasn't human. But he was human and he needed to breathe. He broke the kiss, out of breath. No sooner had he done so did he feel her hand, which had gently moved to softly encircle his sides, at his neck, pulling his head back down to mold her mouth back to his. He opened his mouth to laugh. John didn't know how long it was, but the tempo was upped. In a daring move, he returned his hands to her chest, small breasts topped by hard buds. He teased, clumsily and he swore she arched— just barely but there.
It set him ablaze.
He needed to stop. Would they even work? Could they... it was a little late in the game to be asking that, he knew.
"Wait, just... wait."
There was a light behind her eyes. Something almost... potent. His breath caught. Beneath him, she slowed and, adorably, turned her head a little to the side, and it was gone. No, not gone; submerged.
Was he ready for this? Were they? There were things he needed to say to her. Truths he wanted to set straight. Words he'd said that he hadn't meant and others that he had. And as if she could read his thoughts...
It wasn't, John thought. But it would be.
Somehow, in the process of them moving around, her jeans had ridden low. Hand unsteady, he unzipped her jeans down the rest of the way, all the while he felt her gaze on him. It jarred him a little when she lifted her hips; kicked her pants away. It was such a human action. He barely suppressed a smile when he saw her underwear was purple too, like her jacket.
"They were on sale," she told him, sounding like she was reciting a notable fact. John fought back a smile, not sure whether she meant the pants or the panties.
He bit his lip, "Hold on."
She held on.
Steeling himself, he kept going, past her belly button, and under the seam of her royal purple panties. It was more to see her reaction than anything else. Brown eyes followed his hand—which he found incredibly distracting—and when he made contact, her left hand, the same one that had malfunctioned, twitched, clutching the bed sheet. A spark. There were other things she could've done: demonstrative vocalizations befitting any human girl, but there was something intensely... Cameron about that. Something that was his.
There was wetness, just like a normal girl. He began to roll sloppy, almost shaky circles with the pads of his fingers. He stole an uncertain glance at her face and was surprised to see her eyes were closed.
The way she said it... her voice was lighter than he'd ever heard it. His heart beat faster, blood rushing to his ears, skin breaking out in goose bumps. Disbelief that she could be anything but the petite, beautiful girl underneath him sprang up. Of course heknew better. But how many times had she saved his life, and now—now!—she was here, voice resonating with something like emotion.
It shook him. It humbled him.
It could've been a lie.
Yet something changed for John. He peeled off his shirt, discarding it. On its way to the floor something crashed, but his focus was on the terminator beneath him. His only focus was on her—brown eyes holding his with unusual intensity. She reached down and it was her turn to unbuckled him, head cocked to the side, hair fanned out and eyes watching her hands with a slightly keener interest. If he'd had any blood left above his waist he would've blushed. And then he was on his back, Cameron over him, dark, frighteningly intelligent eyes studying him as she freed him—slender fingers firm, efficient, but gentle. He gasped and her head jerked up to his face, brown hair falling into her eyes as she observed him from behind it. John had seen that expression before. Usually when she was hunting other terminators. Her 'scary robot' face. If he survived this, he didn't think he'd ever be able to watch her "hunt" without remembering this.
"Are you trying to kill me?" he asked when she moved her hand again—experimentally—slower than the first time.
"No," she said flatly, glancing down before looking back to him, "I'm not trying to kill you."
The dirty retort died on his lips as the cyborg shed her final piece of undergarment with methodical slowness. She descended, slowly—and then he was inside her. She was tight. And wet. And warm. And he had no other words to describe it. John grit his teeth and broke eye contact. When he finally caught his breath it was to lose it again as she leaned over him, beautiful brown eyes blocking his view of the ceiling with the most endearingly inappropriate expression of concern he'd ever seen.
She'd tensed, concerned. "I'm hurting you."
No. No, she wasn't. As if to prove his point, he tried to rise to his elbows. Gently, shaking at the feel of being inside her, he recaptured her mouth with his own. He opened his eyes and pulled back from the kiss to find hers never having closed and watching him back. Rather than being off-putting, it warmed something in him. He watched her frown in confusion and had to fight the grin that threatened to break out.
"What's so funny?"
He just shook his head. "Close your eyes."
"Why?" Was that a pout?
"Because it's what people do when they kiss each other. It's awkward if you're just staring at the other person. Trust me."
"I trust you," the three words seemed to hold the weight of the world, "Thank you for—"
The cyborg never finished because he stopped her, kissed her. He felt her go still, surprised. Eventually she "relaxed" and began to respond.
Cameron didn't mimic him, he noticed. But she did learn. He was far from experienced, and what experience he had he didn't want to think about just then, but Cameron offered no complaint. Her explorations were inquisitive, testing, tasting and foremost, unbearably arousing. Somehow it put them on equal footing. He groaned when he felt her breasts brush against his chest, her tongue flicking against his, darting into his mouth. He grimaced as he finally felt her weight, but didn't let on. She knew though, and shifted to accommodate him, inadvertently—he thought—taking him farther into her in the process.
This time when she tensed it was for a different reason than before. She actually shivered.
She otherwise kept still, and he silently thanked her for it. Because if she hadn't he would've been done for. They stayed like that, her kneeling in his lap, his head pressed against her shoulder while he caught his breath. He felt her hands run up and down his back. Could smell her shampoo wafting into his nostrils. Fruity and light.
Eventually, without his realizing it, she had started a rhythm. Movement just enough to initiate contact, her heat holding him inside her, warm thighs connected to trim waist as she started to softly rock in his lap. It was like she was a drug, one that he could touch and inhale, which wrapped around him and hovered above him, sweet smelling and soft fingers and wet heat. But most important was that he knew she could feel it too.
He kissed her again, and when that tired, he broke the lip lock, needing air. The look on her face stole it right back: there was focus, the inhuman single mindedness that was their calling card, but there was something else, something Cameron. Something hungry.
Thanking whatever gods there were to thank that he hadn't lost it already, he surprised himself, dipped his head down to her chest. Tentatively, he kissed the skin, and when that proved positive, sucked, all the while imagining her face, feeling for a reaction while his tongue felt and fanned the soft peaks of her chest, trying not to bite as she rocked. Her hand tightened on his shoulder, almost painfully, the other finding the back of his head. It served to distract as well as arouse.
He did it to the other breast. Pleased when she arched, her rhythm faltering, rewarding him even further.
His muscles tightened, coiling at the base of him. This was it.
"Cameron... " He buried his head against her chest, "I can't—"
Thankfully, blessedly, she spared him saying the words.
"It's okay. But John, it's important that you go faster. Now. Something's happening."
He did, pushing himself harder to see what was happening to her more than anything else. He lost it—the pleasure buffeting him like a hurricane of sensation, sweeping through him and coiling along his every muscle, making his toes curl and hips actually arch—her weighing him down—off the bed as he fell onto his back. So absorbed in the feeling, the unbridled, unrestrained release, he shut his eyes, jaw wired closed. He heard something, but whatever was 'happening' he didn't get to see. He felt something, but by the time he opened his eyes, it was to Cameron at his side and not above.
If he'd been told hours ago that lying in Cameron's arms would've been this calming, so singularly cathartic, well, he probably would've believed it. Because deep, deep down he'd been wanting this for a while. He could admit that now. What was unexpected though was just how right it felt. It felt good, John thought. It felt good to be here, with her, and he decided he wasn't going to regret it.
He was intimately aware how her hands hadn't broken contact with his skin yet. He could read her now. Or maybe it was just that he finally acknowledged fully that there was something to read. She watched him and he watched her back. He wasn't afraid, and he wasn't running.