Summary: Because when all was said and done, this is what life was all about for her.

Author's Notes: Written for Round 1, Challenge 2 at TSCC Last Author Standing.


Carpe diem.

The words were etched into the wood surface of the wall, gouged deep as if someone wanted them to remain there forever. Sarah stared at the saying, wondering why anyone would believe in it enough to take the time to dig deep past the smooth surface. She walked up to the wall and reached out, touching the words, remembering a scene from the past...

"Seize the day, Sarita," her friend, Juanita, had said. "Always remember that the future holds only your destiny."

"The future is not set," Sarah replied, holding onto the belief that was drummed into her mind as she recovered from the wounds inflicted by the first Terminator. "We can change it."

"Like that monster who wanted you and John dead?" Sarah tried not to think back on that time, knowing that her friend was right. If the Terminator couldn't succeed in changing the future... "There will always be death," Juanita continued, her dark eyes boring into Sarah's. "And you never know when he will strike."

Her friend had been right about that, but times were different now. Sarah no longer believed in hope and dreams. Death seemed to always be around the next corner, waiting for her to let down her guard. She glared at the words, knowing now that they mocked her and the situation she found herself in. It was hard to live her life to the fullest when there was a Terminator hanging around.

"Carpe diem." Derek's voice broke the silence, interrupting Sarah's reflections on life. "It means live life to the fullest."

"Yeah," Sarah responded dryly. "I know."

She turned to leave, stopping only long enough to give Derek a silent message, then walked out of the room. She had no doubt he would follow her. They had a mission to accomplish.

"That term died out a few years after the war," Derek said, as he followed her out. "People were too busy trying to survive."

Sarah didn't respond. She had her own memories to deal with. She nodded at Cameron as she got in the car, and temporarily ignored John's questions about what she had found in the makeshift garage. That place brought back too many reminders of what was out there. She just needed a minute to put things in perspective.

"Carpenter knew we were coming," Derek said. "He and his crew are long gone by now."

"We'll find them," Cameron said as she started the car. "We should check out the restaurant where he works."

John, however, still had more questions. "Any clues as to where they went?"

Sarah shook her head. They had searched that place top to bottom and nothing. Only the words carved into the wall, which were probably put there by someone who dreamed of more than what life had given him.

"Nothing," Derek replied. "Nothing but dreams."

This was said with such bitterness, that Sarah had to turn around to look at him. It was a huge shift from his earlier statements, and she wondered what memories were tormenting him now. She turned back toward the front, knowing that she may soon find out if they can't stop the war from happening.

They drove in silence, while Sarah made a conscious effort to move past the "what could have beens" and turned her thoughts toward her current target. Because when all was said and done, this is what life was all about for her - fighting against the future that loomed on the horizon.