Short one shot, written specifically for today. As always – beware that both characters are OOC and there is no specific time point or span in the TV show in which this story would fit. I'm just playing with the characters and writing them as I'd like to see them.
Oh, BTW, I own only the plot, everything else is just borrowed.
What I Want for Valentine's Day
Cameron sat in front of the television and stared transfixed at the screen, where a girl just clutched a paper heart to her chest with a goofy smile and gave a boy, who gave it to her, a quick peck on his cheek while blushing slightly. Her head was tilted to one side in an unnatural angle and her unblinking eyes were glued to the screen. She sat on the couch as always, completely stiff with hands neatly folded in her lap. For someone who wouldn't know her, she would appear as marble statue.
The movie ended and Cameron's head slowly straightened while her eyes still stared at the screen. It was obvious that she was pondering over something very important and it occupied her mind completely. After few minutes she slowly turned her head to the sound of the clock, which just announced 1 am.
Suddenly her head jerked towards the stairs and she quickly stood up and went over to them. She detected that someone was coming down the stairs and according to the walking pattern it was John. She furrowed her brows. Why is John coming down? He should be sleeping. He hasn't slept enough in last days.
She waited until John appeared at the top of the stairs and slowly began to descend with eyes half closed. "Why are you awake, John?"
"Jesus! Cameron!" John clutched his hands at his heart and his eyes flew wide open after he heard her voice. "You'll cause me a heart attack! Do you have to hide in the dark?"
After flipping on the light switch, Cameron deadpanned: "I'm not hiding in the dark. You didn't switch on the light. And I would never cause you a myocardial infarction." Cameron spoke deadly serious, but as John looked into her eyes he thought to have seen a brief flash of mischief. He dismissed the idea as impossible. For God's sake, this is Cameron! A terminator and not a girl! Or? He sighed: "Are you making fun of me, Cameron?"
Cameron's eyes flashed with something like contempt, but John dismissed it again as something that could not be, or, perhaps, should not be. However, a strange feeling nestled itself in his thoughts, a feeling that she's probably much more than just a machine. A feeling that, strangely, wasn't uncomfortable at all.
"No, John, I would never make fun of you." She looked at her boots for a second and as her eyes returned to look into his there was unmistakably something in them. "Perhaps only when you say stupid things." She smirked at him ever so slightly. John was still lost in contemplations what did he saw in Cameron's eyes. Could it be … no, that's impossible! Terminators don't feel things, they process data from their sensors. But still … she looks so alive …
"You still haven't answered my question. Why are you up at this hour?" Her eyes drilled into his inquisitively.
She's not going to let go of this. John groaned inwardly, but on the other hand, he was glad that she was so protective, no, overprotective. He grinned at her: "I got thirsty. Satisfied?"
Cameron tilted her head: "Why should it make me satisfied to know that you're thirsty? It should make me worry that you didn't drink enough liquid during the day." But her eyes looked at him somehow strange … not blankly; he could swear that there was something like amusement, visible in them.
"Do you have to be so technical, Cameron?" He sighed and went towards the sink. He found a clean glass and filled it with water. But before he could bring it to his lips, Cameron strolled to his side and gazed at him from aside. He suddenly felt somehow irritated. No, irritated was the wrong expression. Embarrassed? Yes, that described his feeling to the point. "Cameron?"
"Why are you staring at me?"
She suddenly looked down as if being caught in some forbidden activity. It lasted only for few seconds, but it definitely woke his interest even more. She never before looked embarrassed, but now she did. "I … I don't know." She was stuttering! John couldn't believe his ears and looked at her wide-eyed. "I wanted to look at you. I don't know why." She looked at him insecurely.
"Cameron? Are you trying to say that you wanted to look at me?" What a stupid question, Johnny boy! She just told you the same. Moron!
Cameron gave him a look, clearly depicting that at the moment she doubted his mental sanity: "I just told you. Yes."
John felt embarrassed: "Ahem, sorry, you did, yeah." He looked at his hand, still holding the glass and went silent.
Cameron's eyes flickered from his face to the glass in his hand curiously: "I thought you said you were thirsty, John. Why aren't you drinking then?"
John finally realized that he was still holding the glass in his hand and finally drank it out. He suddenly felt even thirstier and poured himself another one and downed it immediately. He didn't miss Cameron's eyes, following his every movement with special interest. Well, this is getting weird. Something's going on and I should find out what.
"Cameron?" He gazed into her eyes, which turned towards him and remained glued to his questioningly. "Is there something you'd like to ask? Is something wrong?"
Cameron's eyes suddenly looked at him slightly confused: "Why would you think that something was wrong?" He didn't miss that she avoided his first question and smiled gently.
"Well, you are acting differently."
Cameron suddenly sank her eyes just to lift them again to look into his eyes. He knows that there's something bothering me. Maybe I should ask him? Perhaps he can explain it to me. She inhaled; something she normally wouldn't do and it didn't escape John. Something's definitely bothering her. "I was just watching a movie. A boy gave a paper heart to a girl and she seemed happy about it. Why would she be happy to get a paper heart?" She looked inquisitively at him and her lips parted slightly in anticipation of his answer, so that her perfect white teeth flashed between them.
That was something John definitely didn't expect and it took the wind out of his sails. For a second he looked slightly confused into her eyes, but then it dawned on him – tomorrow was Valentine's Day and at this time of year such cheesy movies ran on TV. And she obviously knew nothing about the meaning of Valentine's Day. Slowly his confusion turned into a grin. "Well, Cameron, do you know what day is tomorrow?"
Now it was Cameron's turn to look confused: "Of course! February 15th. Why are you asking?"
John again felt a bit confused: "Wait a minute. Tomorrow is February 14th!"
Cameron looked at him blankly: "No, it's February 15th. Today is February 14th. It's 1.15 am."
John sighed: "I forgot that's it's so late … or early … whatever." He shook his head with a grin. "OK, I give you that one. But … do you know what is on February 14th?"
Cameron seemed to be lost in thoughts, or better yet, she was probably searching her databases, and after few seconds she looked at him: "I don't know."
"Well, it's Valentine's Day."
"And what is Valentine's Day?"
John smiled gently at her. It had been a long time since he had a chance to explain something to Cameron and he realized that he missed it. Besides: this topic was something special. He actually never gave this day any second thoughts; in fact he hated it for he never had someone whom he could give a gift, but now … looking at Cameron's childlike curiosity, seeing her beautiful face tilted towards him and gazing into her bottomless eyes, seeing the golden spots dancing in her brown irises, he suddenly felt like losing himself in her and the meaning of Valentine's Day suddenly appealed to him.
He took a deep breath. "On Valentine's Day you give a small present to someone who means a lot to you. You show them how much you care for them, how much you love them. It's a day of all lovers. The girl and the boy you saw in the movie were probably in love, so he gave her a paper heart to show her that he loves her." He did his best to explain the meaning of this day to Cameron, who had no idea about it, in simple words.
Cameron processed the new information and after a few seconds her lips slowly, but beautifully turned up into a beaming smile. It was obvious that she understood his explanation. Her smile was the most beautiful thing John had seen in months and in the very instant he remembered when he saw her for the first time. Yes, this was a smile of a New Mexico schoolgirl, a smile of the girl who took his heart in a storm. Wait a minute! Am I really admitting to myself that I love her? Am I really in love with a cyborg, sent back in time to protect me? His thoughts were stumbling down like an avalanche, but he suddenly realized that it felt right to admit to himself that he loved this girl, a girl, who was beaming at him right now.
"Thank you for explaining, John" Her voice was soft, much softer than before and her eyes were looking at him with unseen warmth. He suddenly felt embarrassed and he shuffled his right foot: "Nothing to thank me for, Cameron. It was my pleasure."
"Will you give me something for Valentine's Day, John?"
John froze. If a thunder would strike him right now, he probably wouldn't even notice it. A simple question, but it turned his feelings completely upside down and sent his heart racing. For few seconds he looked at her flabbergasted. "What?"
"Will you give me something for Valentine's Day?" Cameron patiently repeated her question and looked at him eagerly with bright eyes.
John finally managed to pull himself together and processed her question. Is it really so unexpected? Didn't she show me before that she cared? If I'd only understood her better, I'd have known it before. He stepped closer to her and saw how her head tilted upward and her eyes never left his. "Is there something special you'd like to get for Valentine's Day, Cameron?" His voice was soft and caring.
Suddenly Cameron looked a bit confused and hung her head for a second: "I don't know …" But as she looked at him again, her eyes were shining brightly and she beamed at him: "Could you give me a paper heart?"
John melted at the sight of her and upon hearing her words. She understands it! She understands the meaning of Valentine's Day! He nodded eagerly: "Sure, Cameron. I will make you one."
Cameron contemplated for a second: "I'll make you one too. You mean very much to me."
John's heart was speeding: "Very much?"
Cameron nodded: "Yes, very much! More than anyone else." Then she frowned: "Do you want a paper heart John? I … I don't have a heart. Would it be appropriate to give you a paper heart, although I don't have a real one?"
John suddenly felt overwhelmed. One look into her slightly confused but anticipating eyes convinced him. Without really thinking, he laid his hand on her cheek: "Yes Cameron, it would be appropriate. You don't have to have a real heart. And yes, I want a paper heart." He paused, thought for a second and bowed to give her a quick kiss on her other cheek. "I really, really want it, as long as it's you who gives it to me."
For a second Cameron obviously processed his answer and after she understood it, she suddenly looked a bit ashamed. John's kiss didn't exactly help her to keep her façade and his hand on her cheek felt so good … She suddenly decided, stretched to him and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. A second later she looked like she would be completely surprised over her deed and she retreated from John for a step. His hand slide from her cheek and she suddenly felt an inexplicable emptiness on the spot that had been touched by his hand just a second ago. "I'm sorry, John. I shouldn't have done it."
John stepped after her: "No, Cameron. It was a right thing to do. I liked it very much."
Her eyes searched his face but found nothing but sincerity and a smile slowly returned to her lips. I did the right thing. He appreciates that I'll make him a paper heart. He appreciates that I kissed him. "John?"
John was beginning to lose himself in her eyes but her voice brought him back to reality. "Yeah Cam?"
Cameron didn't miss the use of diminutive and suddenly felt warmth spreading inside her. But now was not the time to dwell on this. John should get some sleep. "You should go back to sleep. You haven't got enough sleep tonight. I'll give you my gift after you wake up." She smiled gently at him.
John felt slightly dejected that she was sending him back to bed, after she showed him just how much she cared. But he knew she was right. There will be enough time in the morning. So he nodded: "You're right, Cameron. I'll see you in the morning." He turned and went to the stairs. Just as he put his foot on the first step, he heard Cameron, softly calling after him: "John?"
He stopped and turned to her: "Yeah Cam?"
She smiled at him: "Happy Valentine's Day, John."
He smiled back: "Happy Valentine's Day, Cameron."