Author's Note: This is completely Alternate Universe—something that I mixed together using the Terminator universe and my favorite characters. Read and respond!
Full Circle By Sensue
"Mom!" Lt. Derek Reese heard the boy scream from the kitchen where he was sitting in the living area, cleaning out his weapons, "Where's the beef jerky you bought? I can't find it."
Reese bit his tongue when the legendary Sarah Connor answered that it was in the cabinet above the stove. It was in a fucking cabinet and the kid couldn't find it without asking his mommy. It was times like this when Derek truly couldn't picture this John Connor leading his way out of a paper-bag, non-the-less the entire Resistance.
He tried to warn Sarah several times—mentioning that John wasn't living up to his potential. That he was acting more like John Baum, instead of John Connor… but his concerns were disregarded with a hostile look. It was as if she thought he'd meant them harm or was trying to burst their happy little bubble of domestic bliss.
John finally found the jerky and stuffed a couple large pieces in his mouth, sighing happily as he walked past his uncle and towards his bedroom. Derek got up and walked towards the window, finding himself staring at the shiny green grass again, deep in thought. The kid had no idea –Jerky! The jerky that he and his men ate wasn't processed USDA approved meat and treated with seasonings and chemicals to freeze dry it, packaged in an air-tight plastic bag. An animal had to be hunted first – most of the time a deer—one of the only animals that hadn't been nearly hunted to extinction in humanity's fight for survival, and even then, it was rare to find one out in the open; it would take days to find one deep in the remnants of woods. The meat was laid out in the sun, men batting away the flies attracted to the smell – it was eaten quickly. There were no plastic zip lock bags available to keep it fresh, even if people weren't starving.
This John Connor didn't look as if he could survive a day post-Judgment Day. The kid was floundering—he could see it. The suicide attempt was terrifying and quickly forgotten and denied. Sarah looked as if she had believed the kid's statement about just 'cleaning' his weapon and it accidentally firing. But, it scared Derek Reese to the bone.
It only took Reese a few weeks after the 'accident' to realize that Skynet was wrong—that they'd seriously made a tactical error of an epic proportion. The thought of it nearly made him have a panic attack right in front of that thing—the machine that seemed to be Connor's beloved pet. It just looked at him with analyzing eyes—if you would call them eyes instead of cameras or sensors – and then ignored him as if he was no threat to it, walking away to find John cloistered in his bedroom.
Every time he thought about Skynet's error, his knees would begin to quiver and he'd feel the need to sit. He pulled the chair nearest to him and sank into the comfortable cushions. Reese started laughing – a hysterical laugh that he happily noted that no one heard. He saw a couple of robins eating out of the bird-house across the street where the Baum's pregnant neighbor hung it. Every morning he watched her fill the container with seed, waddling to the porch with her belly exposed. Derek's heart beat faster when he thought of all the dangers pregnant women faced in his time.
Yeah, of course, there was radiation, poor nutrition, non-ending stress, and the dangers of birthing a child naturally for a woman to worry about. But, those issues were the normal ones. Children had become commodities—both rare and dangerous. A baby's cry could expose an entire shelter to the aerostats and bring the terminators. The machines didn't care about their innocence—they were human and it was the easiest way to ensure humanity's destruction by eliminating the young.
That was just the Machines. Humans, by far, were worse animals. He'd once witnessed the effects of a woman being carved alive—a child literally ripped from her womb by another woman in a psychotic break. When the woman'd been captured by Resistance fighters and brought to one of the bases, she didn't understand why no one believed that the child was hers. She'd apparently birthed five still-born children and was insanely jealous of the pregnant woman in the bunk beside her. The child was ripped away from his mother's womb prematurely, and died not even an hour later from the 'surgery', joining his mother in heaven when she died a few hours later—the surgeons unable to save the mutilated woman.
It was the only time he ever saw HER cry. It was the only time he'd touched her—held her in his arms. She'd folded herself in his arms and sobbed. A crying woman wasn't uncommon in the bunkers. You could hear them wailing at night –crying over lost children, husbands, lovers, friends, family—the life they used to have. Men were no longer uncomfortable listening to a woman cry since the beginning of Judgment Day—they had become stone to it. But, Dr. Kate Connor was as much a legend as her husband, if not more. To see her cry was devastating.
Reese's body tensed, not knowing what to do. She was crying and he didn't know how to stop it. The nurses in the room looked at him with horrified eyes; He'd heard Nurse Rebecca say that the last time Kate cried was when John had almost been killed. Another nurse, an older woman looked at her knowingly. She'd pulled Kate out of his arms and towards one of the curtained areas to examine her. It was then that he figured out why John Connor himself had ordered him to protect his wife.
The assignment was ridiculous, Lt. Reese argued with Captain Perry. Ordering a high-ranking Tech-Com lieutenant to a five-month protection detail to a field triage medical unit? It was almost insulting—he had argued with Perry until the man had suddenly jumped into a salute mid-sentence. He turned to see who Perry was saluting; General John Connor had walked into the command center just in time to hear him complain about the 'cake-walk' of an assignment. His face turned beat-red; something that hadn't happened to him since early adolescence. Reese saluted the almost God. Connor stared at him for a while, then saluted back.
"Follow me, Lieutenant." Connor ordered, walking towards the infirmary where his wife was stationed. Reese was a step behind at all times, his guard up. "I understand that you are not thrilled with this assignment, but I am asking you to do this as a personal favor. You are to protect my wife—at all costs. You are to be subtle—do not let ANYONE know that you are there for her protection; as far as anyone knows, you are there to protect the unit as a whole." The General paused before they entered, bending to whisper something in Derek's ear.
Reese cracked a smile, nodding. "Yes, sir." He saluted, "She won't hear about it from me."
So, he'd done his duty, shadowing the fiery red-head from trauma to trauma. It didn't take her long to figure it out. Kate had confronted him after only 18 hours of detail. Once she'd caught him—she claimed him. "You're mine now!" She proceeded to schedule every minute of every day for him. She'd arranged his 'tutorials' within her reach—always being within eye-sight of each other under the guise of teaching him basic trauma surgery and triage.
Derek struggled not to argue with her, but he didn't understand why it was necessary for him to learn how to insert a chest tube or re-inflate a lung. He was a field officer! If someone's lung collapsed in the middle of a battle—they were dead. There was no time for him to find the spare parts for him to put the bastard back together—he had to protect the other men under his command. But, she was a general of her own accord, the Chief Medical Officer and the wife of John Connor. He shut his trap and listened to her.
During the day, he studied with Kate—helping her when she ordered him to hold a leg that was being sutured a soldier when the pain medications had run out. She was strong. One of the strongest people that Derek had ever met. She never broke, not when a soldier begged her for death, not when a woman had been gang raped by rebels, nor when a child died of the simple flu.
She worked every moment of every day until she shook with hunger. The nurses around her had worked with her long enough to know when to push food on her. They often handed her a piece of jerky or an extra ration they 'happened' to have. Kate was so focused on helping everyone else that she often forgot about herself. The people who worked under her loved her for that—in return, she was cared for by all.
Reese was not immune to her charms; Kate Connor had a way of melting his heart. He began to feel relaxed around her and started smiling when she was around. She called him "Derek" never Reese or lieutenant. Derek was starting to love her as a big sister and kicked himself for getting attached. Kate looked at him as if she knew what he was thinking and just laughed at him, smacking him on the shoulder and telling him to relax.
It was his duty to walk her to her bunker every night—making sure she was protected for the evening before taking his leave. He nodded at the guard at the Connor's door before walking inside to check for intruders. Kate waited patiently by the door, chatting with the guard kindly until Reese let her go inside.
"Mommy!" Robert screamed with joy. "I miss you!" The small two-year-old wobbled away from his nanny to run towards his mother—the way he did every night she came home. The dog, Max jumped up from the bed and ran towards his mistress, just as excited as the baby.
Kate swung Robert up in the air, making him squeal with joy. She laughed with him; her voice was like honey, so sweet. The moment she entered the room, Kate became Mommy. "Were you good for Allison?" Robert nodded, smiling.
The little boy excitedly told his mother everything he had done with Allison from the moment she'd left until she'd walked in within five minutes—words mashing together so quickly that one had to nod-and-smile and pretend to understand it all. Derek had been invited stay that night for the first time, so he'd politely sat next to Allison and asked her about her day.
Allison Young was about as young as her name suggested. There was an innocence about her that Derek envied. There were times when he walked in to survey the bunker that he noticed her just rolling around the ground with both the dog and the baby—playing with them. She was always on guard when he was around, a gun holstered at her waist and ankle at the ready to fire, if needed. He nodded at her proudly. It was her duty—the most sacred duty of all. The future of the Connor family rested on her shoulders. Not only was she to protect John Connor's only son, but she was to raise him—in a sense, when his parents were out fighting to protect humanity.
He had been talking softly when his breath was knocked from his chest. The little boy packed quite a punch. Robert Connor had launched himself into Derek's lap without regard to where his little feet ended up. Reese fought back a groan and moved the foot from his crotch.
"Hiya, Unca Derek!" Robert greeted him. "Tell me a 'tory! Peas?" Max padded over to him, as if for effect, and laid his head on his lap too, in anticipation. Both Allison and Kate smiled at him warmly. Kate nodded towards the attached room, motioning for Allison to follow her; effectively leaving 'Unca Derek' with Robert and Max.
"I have a better idea! Why don't you tell me a story?" Derek encouraged the child. It was as he suspected, the little boy bounced and started talking a mile a minute—making up anything that popped into his head, most of it gibberish. Reese took the time to study the boy; there was something familiar about him—if anything he reminded him of Kyle when he was a little boy, except this one looked entirely like Kate, red-hair and all. There were small freckles on his nose and he made faces as he spoke, waving his hands around.
It made him miss his brother. Kyle had been promoted recently to Sergeant and had been given a solo assignment. The Reese boys were separated, the first time in a long time. As Robert spoke, Reese kept an ear and an eye towards the door of the bedroom, just-in-case.
It was the front door that opened—making Reese tense and grip the boy in his lap. He recognized Connor, then relaxed. Robert stopped the story mid-way, scrambling off his lap and towards his "Daddy!"
The cry was loud enough to resound through the entire base, Reese winced. The little boy wasn't old enough to understand yet—no matter how much they tried to explain the 'quiet' concept. Kate and Allison emerged from the room in different clothes.
Kate smiled happily at her husband and their son; she'd slipped on a dress for the occasion. It wasn't often when John would come home in time for them to eat dinner together. The dress was old—the fabric worn enough to be like silk. Unfortunately, it also made it a little see-through in the wrong places. Derek noticed her body for the first time—the scrubs she wore daily were baggy enough to hide her growing curves. This dress did nothing to hide her condition.
Kate Connor was pregnant—at least five months, if Reese had to make a guess. John nodded at him, unable to shake his hand with his son in his arms. "Stay for dinner." John said.
Derek nodded. "Yes, sir. I'd love to." He looked down at his clothing and wished he had washed them. Connor didn't seem to care and directed him to a chair at their table. It was just an old folding table, but it was clear that Kate tried to make it look like an old fashioned dinner table; an old cloth covered it and there were lit candles in a couple of canning jars.
Allison had washed up, her face and hands clean as she shyly greeted the General. "So, Allison, what are we having for dinner tonight?" John smiled at her. "It smells wonderful."
It was obvious that Allison was favored by the entire Connor family; they didn't treat her like a servant, but a treasured friend. She sat with them at the table every night, sharing stories of her and Robert's 'adventures' throughout the day, knowing they wouldn't kick her out the moment they came home. After dinner, she'd slip out giving Robert a goodnight kiss on the cheek.
Derek tried to follow her, but John stopped him. John stood up and gave Kate a kiss, caressing her belly before tickling his son. Robert was carried into their bedroom, and John settled him in the bed before coming out to speak to him. Kate smiled at them both and went in the bedroom to follow her son in slumber.
Connor went to the corner of the room to an odd-looking contraption; after fiddling with a knob, he filled a couple of jars with amber-colored liquid. Reese took the jar and sipped the drink after his fearless leader. He smiled at the taste of beer.
"Who do you think designed the schematic for the distilleries?" John smirked. It was the first time Reese had seen him act, well, human—like a man comfortable in his own home, having a beer with a friend.
Derek smiled back. He relaxed in the presence of the Great John Connor for the first time in his life; the way that his little brother was able to. They made small talk for a little while, before John got serious again. "I heard there was an incident today in the infirmary."
Reese straightened his back, almost at attention as he spoke. "Yes, sir. A woman and her child were murdered by a woman who'd snapped. They both died within an hour or so. I believe the murderer was taken to the brig, sir."
"And Kate?" John's eyes intently searching his face for an answer.
"She—uh—she was upset." Derek was uncomfortable. He didn't want to betray Kate's confidence. He thought of her as his friend; her child—hell—even Robert had a place in his heart now.
"Do you know why she was upset?" John was leading him into telling him what he knew—it felt like a test.
Derek Reese's gaze hardened. "I have no idea, sir… and I'll tell anyone who asks me that question the same answer."
The response made Connor relax again, taking another sip of beer, mulling it over for a while before speaking again. "Kate is pregnant. She's seven and a half months along."
That shocked him! The drink loosened his tongue and he was unable to stop himself from blurting out, "Seven?" Kate didn't look as if she was nearing the end of her pregnancy.
John nodded, unhappy. "Yes. I'm worried, Reese. She's not eating enough or resting. I need you to help me make sure she takes a break. I know that she listens to you, so perhaps you can convince her to relax a bit; take care of herself and the baby." The man seemed to wilt as he spoke, the next statement so low Reese had to strain to hear him. "I couldn't live if anything happened to her."
Reese automatically reached out, touching him on the shoulder. "I'll look after her, sir. I promise."
The next couple of months flew by without pause; Derek did his best to honor his word—if he noticed Kate faltering, he'd immediately make her lay down for a nap; threatening to call Connor if she argued. They'd made it through without her miscarrying; her weight seemed to increase only in the last couple of weeks—when they'd all forced her to bed rest. She'd sworn at them—muttering that they were all trying to 'fatten her up'. Thankfully, up until that point, her pregnancy had been easy to hide. When a couple of newbies had seen the pregnant doctor walking the halls, it didn't take long for the entire Resistance to find out.
The labor was hard—it was hard on everyone, not just Kate. Anxiety rolled through the camp, every breath was held until the cry of a baby echoed through the infirmary. The birth of John Connor's first-born son was celebrated by all: Robert was considered a symbol of hope. The birth of their second-born son was no different. John had explained that Kate had named Robert after her father, and that Kate agreed to let him name his new son after a man who'd been a father to him: Charles—Charley, for short.
The birth was a difficult one on Kate; she'd nearly bled out and had to stay in the infirmary for weeks afterwards. Everyone in the base stood line to give her their blood, to do anything in their power to save her, as John Connor stood by helplessly.
It was then that he saw the cracks start to break in the Great John Connor. It was only then that he realized that the words that John had whispered during their first dinner were without-a-doubt the truth. Kate Connor was truly John's reason for living. SHE was the reason that he fought—to protect them—to save humanity.
They—all of them—lived for John Connor; if the man died, the Resistance would surely crumble. As far as they all knew, the man was practically a machine himself—he showed no weaknesses, no signs that he was human unless Kate was by his side. Derek buried that discovery deep—forcing himself not to even think about it, as he helped carry a drunk John Connor to his bunk under the watchful eyes of Barnes and Perry. Neither man spoke or seemed surprised at the turn of events.
The next morning, Reese visited Kate in the infirmary. She'd been secluded in a secured area—guards standing at the door, dogs, and scanners examining every visitor. Apparently, Kate had asked for him, because the guards just let him through.
"Derek, what's happened to John?" Kate spoke shakily. She was still on pain medication, and her words slurred.
Reese approached her and gently took her hand. "Kate, John's alright. He just got a bit—tipsy. It happens, you know, nervous fathers and all."
"He didn't… try to hurt himself?" She spoke in a rushed voice, quickly as if speaking the words might make them true.
Derek's eyes flashed in surprise, but quickly masked it. "Of course not, Kate! Why would you think that?"
Her body shuddered, as if she were cold, so Derek pulled out another blanket and draped it gently over her. She gripped his arm when he got near and pulled him to her side. Kate motioned him to lean over so that she could whisper to him. "He's tried before, Derek. So many times before..." It was obvious to Reese that the medication was loosening her inhibitions. The things she was saying—he knew she would never speak about if she were sober.
"I won't let anything happen, Kate." Derek vowed softly, trying to calm her.
"Stay by his side." It was an order.
And so he did. He stayed by Connor's side until Kate was released from the infirmary and their family reunited. The cracks in Connor were refilled, and as if by magic, the man grew more cunning in his fight against the Machines.
The Machines fought back—Allison was the first causality. Her capture by Skynet had been anticipated—How? Reese would never know. The children were quickly moved to a more secure location and Kate, still recovering from the blood-loss, joined them in hiding.
Reese's missions grew more and more dangerous—taking the lead gathering information to use against Skynet. He'd heard rumors of Connor's reliance on the reprogrammed Machines but discounted them as mind-less dribble upon his brother's encouragement.
Kyle was completely and one hundred percent loyal to Connor—he couldn't stand to hear a negative statement about the man; It was an on-going fight with his little brother. Connor was human—he bled, he hurt, he felt pain—he could be broken, but Kyle refused to believe it. To him, Connor was unbreakable; Kyle reminding them all that Connor's heart had been impaled through the chest by a terminator, and he still lived. The story had become exaggerated over time; many speaking as if the man walked around without a heart. That a terminator ripped it right out of his chest and he walked around without any scars. Of course, there was the rumor that he could float on water too—but, it didn't mean that Derek was going to believe any of them.
Kyle wouldn't hear about it; he didn't want to know that the man had flaws –that he was just as damaged as the rest of them. Kyle swore that he would die for John Connor and it scared Derek to the core. He'd catch his brother staring at that creepy photo of John's mother and wonder what the hell his brother was thinking.
Derek blinked at the tears burning at his eyes. His little brother volunteered to go on a suicide mission—where, he had no idea, but Kyle did it for John Connor. He'd gotten back from what seemed like weeks of torture at that house with his men, only to find his brother missing and a terminator that looked like Allison walking around the base unchecked. Fucking thing even was even given a name—Cameron.
The rumors were true, Reese realized then. Machines were freely walking around Connor's camp; there was even a rumor that a Machine was watching the man's family—protecting them after another assignation attempt, by a group that labeled themselves "Grays". This group was secret—a group of fucking humans—Reese discovered, that worked with the Metal to defeat the Resistance.
He begged to be able to speak to Connor—to find out the truth from his lips. He was prevented at every turn. He was running out of options and desperation soon turned to despair. Reese volunteered for every suicide mission he could get his hands on.
Some good came of it—He'd met Jesse Flores—she stopped him from putting a bullet through his brain. They were only together a short time before she shipped out on the USS Jimmy Carter; it was good while it lasted. They'd managed to save everyone from a biological weapon, in the process.
The mission to go back to the future was a no-brainer, especially when Billy Wisher confessed that he'd worked on the Artificial Intelligence that created Skynet under the name of Andrew Goode. He could go back and stop it all from happening.
It gave him hope. It gave him something to live for again.
And it was only standing in the Connors' living room that the cold realization seeped into his very soul. Skynet was wrong—they had targeted the wrong person.
"You see," he thought to himself as he stared at the grass, "Machines are stupid. They sent back Terminators to kill John Connor; he was their primary target- #1 on the kill list. What they should've done was target Katherine Brewster."
John had finally come downstairs sighing that he didn't want to do his math homework—and why couldn't "Cameron" do it for him. His mother followed behind, hands on her hips in a threatening manner, as she ordered him to complete the assignment himself.
Sarah Connor might have taught John about military tactics, weaponry, and leadership—but she kept him a child, a whining, annoying child. It was Katherine Brewster, John's wife that made him a man and kept him from self-destruction. Without HER—John Connor would've killed himself. There was no doubt in Derek's mind about that fact. The kid was weak; Kate was his only strength. Not even his mother could keep him in line.
And it was that discovery that shook Reese to the bone. A part of him itched to find her—to warn her about Judgment Day; to train her, the way she trained him and prepared him for the future. The other part of him knew that Skynet could NEVER know about her; her destruction, would most definitely be theirs. It was too risky to even try.
One day, John would meet her—She'd help him become the man that he needed to be. Until then, Reese would protect him and keep him from hurting himself.
He was Uncle Derek, after all.