Author's note: I wrote this story without meaning to, because the characters in this movie were really interesting to me, and because there was so much more that could have been done with them. I also thought, as did many viewers apparently, that killing off Marcus' character was a terrible, if predictable choice. I thought it would be great to see a continuation of the movie that showed the conflicts and the dilemmas that would arise from various characters struggling to accept him into the fold, and him trying to accept himself.
That, essentially, is what this little story is trying to do. To anyone who has the patience and the curiosity to read it, many thanks, hope you enjoy it! Do forgive any glaring errors or obvious mistakes, I don't claim to be an expert on anything, especially anything Terminator-related. Just a fan. :)
Slowly, consciousness crept back. He was foggy, muddy, had no idea where he was, what had happened, or even who he was really, but was dimly aware of being. His mind struggled against itself to clear the inertia that gripped it, to grasp the faint sounds filtering in through what seemed like a deep, long tunnel.
Some time passed. He could hear voices now, sounding much closer than before. They sounded brisk and efficient and his first vague thought was that this did not sound like Longview prison. He must have drifted out again at that point. Later he stirred to the sound of a clear voice very close by, almost beside him, and caught a few words; something about stabilizing, about alerting somebody.
Later still his eyes decided to try and open. The space around him was filled with hushed voices and bustling with energy. When his lids finally flickered up, a flood of light slammed painfully against his brain and he heard himself gasp; an oddly disconnected sound. 'He's awake,' a firm female voice stated, 'He's coming around.' Then, 'Turn the light down a bit.' He tried opening his eyes again, and though the light was still painfully strong, this time he could keep his lids open. Against the glare he saw the shape of a woman's head hovering over him. Her face was in shadow but stray wisps of hair stuck out around her head in a messy halo, silhouetted against the light behind her. He blinked his watering eyes and tried to focus his bleary gaze.
'Marcus,' the woman said, 'Marcus, can you hear me?'
Hearing his name did it. Suddenly his groggy brain was rammed full of overwhelming memories. They came at him relentlessly in disjointed spurts; the green walls of a dingy chamber, a gun glinting in his hand as he lowered it slowly, trudging blindly through an unnatural, torrential rain, Serena Kogan's pale face looming over him... and violent explosions. Explosion after explosion replayed itself in his mind's eye, the strongest memory that of flames engulfing everything around him as he stood reeling in a dark forest, the unnatural light that suddenly blazed white-hot in the night as the fire came down to consume him...
He was screaming, or trying to, in a voice hoarse with disuse. He was trying to get up, to get away, but hands took hold of his arms, his shoulders, and held him down. A vaguely familiar voice broke into his head over the scuffling chaos, the same woman who'd spoken earlier, 'No, just disoriented I think, no need for that...' This was to someone else, then she was addressing him, snapping at him '...Goddamn it Marcus, stop it! It's okay; you're okay... just stop fighting!' She sounded authoritative, commanding, and more than a little irritated. He stopped flailing and lay back, panting, muscles tightly wound and ready for action.
She decided to try again. 'Listen to me.' She seemed to force a gentler tone, 'I want you to calm down. Everything's okay. You're... safe.' Her hand grasped his shoulder, giving it a firm shake. 'Do you recognize me?' He struggled to say yes, to remember who the hell she was, but his mind was still swimming in a swamp of panic. He rasped out the only name he could think of, 'Dr Kogan... Serena?' That lying bitch. He wasn't safe. She had used him. She had done something monstrous to him, oh God what had she done, if only he could go back and not sign that fucking form...
'I don't know who Dr Kogan is Marcus, but I'm not her. It's Kate. Kate Connor,' the woman was saying, and suddenly Marcus' vision seemed to snap into sharp focus. He found himself staring up into Kate Connor's large round eyes, as startlingly blue as his own. She was bending over him, looking down at him with an odd mixture of detached aloofness and reluctant concern. He swallowed hard, feeling foolish. Of course. Connor's wife. Not someone he'd choose to have by his side, but at least a familiar face. He began to feel his breathing even out. 'Kate? What... what happened?' he couldn't keep the pleading note out of his voice.
She met his eyes, 'You don't remember?' Then she shook her head slightly 'Give yourself a minute. It'll all come back. And stop the theatrics. You need to rest.'
But he was only half-listening. As he'd asked her, it had already started to come back, his mind throwing out fragments for him to piece together; making his way into the compound in the dead of night, locating Kyle, facing down that terrible image of Serena Kogan as it told him, finally, what had been done to him. He remembered the chaos of terrified prisoners scattering across the military facility, and bursting in to help Connor fight the T-800. And coming to on the floor of the factory just as Connor, crouching above him, was impaled by a steel beam. Marcus remembered thinking it was all over, Connor was dead; no man could survive an injury like that. He thought this even as he leapt up from the ground and finished off the machine in a desperate, final spurt of strength.
'Oh shit,' he breathed, 'Shit. Skynet.'
Kate had been examining him, her hands flitting over his body briskly businesslike as she felt his pulse, checked his pupils. She now looked away. 'Yeah,' was all she said, shortly.
'But... John. Is he... His heart – I mean, my heart,' he sputtered, his eyes widening as the full meaning of the situation hit home, 'I'm... I should be... What about my heart?'
Kate was silent for a long time. She seemed to be studying him as if seeing him for the first time, taking in his features; the blue eyes searching hers in distress, muscles twitching beneath the angled symmetrical planes of his face, the two deep creases of confusion between his eyebrows, his lips, opening and closing silently as his mind raced. She had a strange expression on her face, something ratcheting between confusion, disbelief and wonderment.
Finally her eyes softened a bit. 'Your heart's right here,' she said quietly. Reaching down she lifted his right hand in hers and placed it carefully on his chest. Marcus looked down to see a large swath of bandages, feeling the rough texture of gauze under his fingers. The low, searing pain he had been vaguely aware of suddenly made sense. 'I don't underst-' he had begun when she continued, cutting him off, 'You gave him your heart Marcus. You did do that. And... We did use it. You saved his life, again. It's just that, well, we managed to find a way to keep you alive too.' He was amazed to find that she responded to his bewildered look with a tiny, humorless smile, 'A small but vocal contingent wanted you around.'
Trying not to think too much about that last sentence, he tried again, 'How did I save him if I'm still alive? His heart was giving out. He needed a transplant, right?'
'Yes. He did and that's what we were about to attempt. Though honestly there was a slim chance it would have worked, even if your types matched. Too big a shock for the system.'
Suddenly, Kate looked uncomfortable, like she was struggling to find words. 'Marcus. Listen.' She stared off into the distance, shaking her head. When she spoke again she kept her voice low, as if she didn't want him to hear too much emotion in it. 'I would have done anything to save John. Anything at all. He is my whole life, and I couldn't bear living without him.' She instinctively placed a hand on her belly. 'But, what you did, stepping up like that... I didn't even thank you. I didn't stop to think. About what... it meant. For you.'
As dizzy with confusion as he was, Marcus realized what she was trying to say. 'Kate. Nothing was asked of me. I made my choice.'
She nodded quickly, too quickly 'I know. And it was,' she faltered '...An admirable choice. But... it all happened so fast. You didn't hesitate, and of course none of us tried to stop you. And, once we were ready to begin...'