I do not claim any rights to the Terminator films; the TV series, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles;" or any characters depicted within the films or TV series. I do claim the right to this story idea and all characters and situations of my own creation. This story was created solely for my own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. No profits are garnered from its distribution.
Thematically, this story takes place during season one, between Dungeons & Dragons and What He Beheld.
2013 is a significant year for me. Right now, I am the same age as my Father was when I was born. My father died on Father's Day in 1988, two month's before my twentieth birthday. It's now twenty-five years later.
Throughout my life, I never knew what to get my dad for his birthday or for Father's Day. Most years I'd just buy him a card and give him some small gift, usually something my mom bought. When I was in Middle School, I wrote a poem, with help from my sister, in honor of Mother's Day. It was published in a special book featuring writings from the students. Other than a home made Father's Day card I made at age eight for my dad, I never wrote anything for Father's day, until now.
This is for you Dad.
TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
We all celebrate it in different ways. Fathers are usually gifted with something silly or embarrassing in the morning from his children with mother looking on laughing at him and with him. Maybe he has a special breakfast that day with all the things he craves for breakfast that his health conscious wife won't let him eat any other time of the year but on his birthday.
Later that day he might go fishing with the kids or play baseball in the yard or park with his children. Maybe there is some special Father/kids event provided by a special group or church that they attend. Or maybe Dad gets to spend an afternoon in quiet repose or playing golf while Mom takes the kids out for a day.
Thinking about this day and my own Father, I began to wonder how would the Connor household treat this day. Each individual, Sarah, John, Derek and Cameron find their own way to honor a special Father on this day, and perhaps because of one person, they find the means to honor him together as a family.
# # #
Sunday morning, a day to sleep in and catch up on all the sleep missed during the week. Whether it's Sarah working double shifts at the diner, or John going to school and being trained relentlessly afterward by his uncle or Cameron, or Derek working round the clock to find The Turk and protect his new family, they can all agree that Sunday mornings are for sleeping. On this particular Sunday, resting is all they want to do. Which is why at 7:30 AM Sarah is surprisingly woken by the smell of brewing coffee.
At first she is pleased by the welcoming scent, but as she slowly wakes, she also remembers that today is Sunday. Judging by the sunlight sneaking in past her shades, the coffee maker shouldn't be coming on this early.
Sleepily, she rolls over, checking the clock to be sure of the time.
"Damn!" She utters in disbelief.
Dragging herself out of bed, Sarah stumbles into her tiny, but private bathroom. She takes one look in the mirror and is shocked by her appearance. A few lingering memories surface in which she shared some drinks with Derek in the backyard last night. They got to talking and they shared some more beers, then he pulled out something stronger. What was it? Vodka? Tequila? Or was the tequila her contribution? Either way, they got into a drinking game, one she learned while running guns with the revolutionaries in Nicaragua.
Sarah doesn't know which of them won. She does remember Cameron and John helping her to her room. Looking at herself in the mirror, she can only assume Cameron must have undressed her for bed. She isn't certain whether to be offended that the little tin-miss should have seen her in her underwear or that she was considerate enough to help her. Even that idea freaks her out a little. A machine showing compassion? How drunk was she, to completely let her guard down?
Shaking the thoughts out of her, and desiring that coffee that has been tickling her nostrils and making her salivate, she drops her remaining clothes to the floor and dives under the spray from the shower.
The first wallop of water is cold as ice waking her up considerably before the hot water comes flushing out of the ancient water heater restoring the warmth to her flesh.
While she dresses, she wonders what happened to Derek? As she recalls, he was just as legless as she was by the end of their drinking game.
Upstairs John has been lying awake on his bed, listening to the tel-tale signs of activity, while tossing a baseball up into the air and catching it.
Six-fifteen AM. Cameron comes inside the house from her night patrol and inspects the house, checking on all the occupants. He feigned sleep, but he felt her presence at the door to his room. It felt like she lingered for a very long time before moving on to check the other rooms. He wasn't certain what that was about and wasn't going to ask. Asking questions about her motivations when it came to himself felt more awkward than just sharing a lab bench with Cheri West in science class.
Six-twenty-five AM. He hears the front door close. Cameron will be checking the street for any activity. He could have told her there wouldn't be any on a Sunday morning, but for the newspaper boy. If there was any activity of the dangerous kind, her hearing alone would alert them well in advance of its arrival. The neighborhood was virtually dead before noon on a Sunday.
Six-thirty AM. Cameron walks to the end of the drive to collect the newspaper. If it isn't there she waits for the paper boy. One morning John witnessed Cameron scolding the boy for being late. He delayed her morning routine by five minutes. He gave her the finger and rode off on his bike. She never understood why John and Sarah laughed when she related that event. John told her later what it meant and explained some other rude hand gestures she was liable to encounter.
The following Sunday Cameron had to wait for the newspaper to be delivered again. John was watching from his bedroom window. Once again Cameron tried to lecture him on promptness and he gave her the finger again, this time saying, "up yours." John was surprised when Cameron gave him a rude gesture and said "Fuck you." To which the boy shouted back, "Love to lady, but you've already lectured me once on being late. I don't need to keep the rest of my customer's waiting."
John laughed out loud, then had to duck behind the curtain to avoid being seen, but he knew Cameron could hear him laughing.
After that Cameron allowed an extra ten minutes for the paper to be delivered, and on those mornings he was late, she had almost the same verbal exchange with the boy.
John listens now as Cameron returns to the house. Six-forty-five she'll enter the kitchen. She'll pull out the ads, dropping them in the recycle bin, place the headline news section at Sarah's place at the kitchen table, the sports and funnies at John's place, and she will take the lifestyle and classifieds. Cameron has found most of her wardrobe at yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales, and she uses the fashion tips in the lifestyle section to help her choose the best clothing for blending in. Overall she is quite pleased with her appearance.
Six-fifty AM. During the week, Cameron turns on the coffee maker so Sarah will have a fresh brew first thing in the morning before taking them to school before going to work. On weekends, she doesn't bother as their schedules are generally more varied. So John was as surprised as his mom when he smelled the coffee brewing.
John grins. Recalling his mom from the night before. He isn't certain what got her and Derek started on the drinking game, but he decided to keep an eye on them. It was just past midnight when he and Cameron carried his mother inside and placed her on her bed. Cameron then told him he should go to bed himself that she'd take care of Sarah and Derek. He thanked her and walked out as Cameron was pulling the boots off his mom's feet.
Laying back on his bed staring at the ceiling, John wonders what Cameron did about Derek.
# # #
Derek is running, plasma rifle in hand. The metal is right behind him and his options for survival are between slim and none. Its not often he gets separated from his squad, but when facing the onslaught from as much metal as they did in Connor's latest offensive, you typically find yourself on your own and alone really fast if you lose focus for only a moment.
He curses but grows quiet as he hears metal on concrete as the machine follows him through the wastelands. Diving into a hole between two upthrust section of concrete slab, Derek takes the time to check what supplies he has with him. One standard issue plasma rifle, check. A food pack containing rations for one day, check. One canteen, half full, check. Three flares, hot enough to burn through armor plate. One handgun, 45 caliber, fully loaded with 3 spare clips.
Derek hears a noise and drops down. His right foot slips into a gap getting stuck in something thick, black and gooey with sheen to it. Curious he reaches down, and grabs a handful. The stuff is oily and thick. He shakes his hand but it doesn't come off. He scrapes his hand along a rough outcropping of concrete to get it off.
He can only guess where the deposit came from, some form of petroleum deposit, probably from combination of melted liquified tires and oil. Whatever it is it might be helpful.
The T-700 walks forward with caution. The human he's following has proven to be wary leaving few traces of his passage behind.
The machine walks over the top of a hill of crumpled burnt out hulks of cars and trucks into the middle of a clear area. It's foot comes down on the remnants of a metal sign advertising a local mechanic. The faint words, Free Oil Change with a New Set of Tires, are barely readable through the rust.
The T-700 looks up to see an object arcing through the air. It strikes the machine in the chest with a wet splat.
It looks down with a slight tilt of its head. With its free hand it grabs the object stuck to its chest. It makes a wet sticky sound as the T-700 removes the device, its fingers encased in the gooey mess.
It identifies the object as a flair. The stuff on it an unknown petroleum based substance.
Its struggling to release the item from its hand when another object flies through the air. The T-700 looks up only for the flair to adhere to its face obscuring one eye. It sends out a call for assistance. Its vision has been impaired.
The T-700 reaches up to remove the object, the other flair still stuck to its hand. From its one unobstructed eye it sees a movement and focuses its targeting and aim of the plasma rifle in his right arm to focus on the figure.
Derek pulls back on the trigger on his plasma rifle aiming for the T-700's head.
With a loud woosh the flairs ignite blinding the T-700. The flairs burn with all the strength of a cutting torch melting into its skull, destroying its eye.
Derek takes a moment to watch the T-700 go up like a roman candle.
Knowing the bright light will bring other machines in the area he begins to run. He doesn't get far when an HK appears in the sky coming right to him.
With no energy to spare for a curse, Derek dives and runs, explosions going up behind him as the plasma beams cut into objects.
With no where to go, Derek spins about and fires at the HK, falling backward so he's wedged between block walls.
The HK takes a position overhead. Derek lets out a roar of anger and fear as the plasma weapon takes aim and fire.
Still roaring with fear, Derek leaps out of the fire pit in the Connors garage where Cameron burned the Triple-8.
"What the hell?" Derek shouts realizing his present location.
Sarah and John are sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast when Derek storms through the back door.
"Who put me in the fire pit?" Derek growls, looking at the two people at the table ignoring the metal presently standing at the stove cooking.
"The fire pit?" Sarah asks, confused.
"Yeah! The fire pit! What happened? I passed out and you thought it would be funny? Well, I'm not laughing."
John snorts, dropping his fork on his plate. Sarah has to bite her lips to suppress a smile. Neither manages to hold back and soon they are both laughing.
"Did you do it?" Derek asks John, pointing at him.
"No. But I think I know who did." John laughs.
Cameron turns from the stove a plate of food in hand. "I did it. Would you like some breakfast?"
Derek opens his mouth to speak, and closes it again. Sarah and John are still laughing as he walks off grumbling something under his breath.
"Whatever possessed you to put him there?" Sarah asks.
"Yeah. I thought you were going to bring him inside." John adds.
"It was late." Cameron replies sitting down at the table. "I had to begin my patrol and the fire pit was nearby. I could keep an eye on him and it would be a safe place for him until I finished." She pushes the plate to the center of the table. "More eggs or sausages?" She says with an innocent expression.
"No. We're good." John chuckles. "Leave them here for when Derek comes down."
Ten minutes later Derek enters the kitchen, his hair still wet from the shower he took.
There's a place set at the table set for him with a plate of eggs, sausage, and pancakes.
"Did she cook all this?" Derek sneers, pointing a thumb at Cameron.
"I did the pancakes." Sarah says.
His eyes fall upon the calendar on the wall behind her as she's talking.
"Yeah." Derek picks up the stack of pancakes in one hand. "I've got to go."
"Derek!" Sarah stands up angrily as Derek heads out through the door munching on one pancake.
The screen door slams shut behind him as he keeps walking, ignoring her.
"Sorry Cameron." John says to her.
"Nothing to apologize for. He wasn't all that sociable in the future either."
John sees the tiny frown lines, and knows she feels hurt, even if she doesn't say anything.
"So what's your plan for today, Cameron? Why'd you knock us out of bed so early?" John says with enthusiasm, if only to cheer her up.
"Yeah. It can't be just for this breakfast you whipped up." Sarah says. May be I'll put her in charge of cooking from now on.
Cameron takes her place at the table again. "Today is a holiday. I was thinking that three of you might want to do something together as a family, but Derek left."
"Holiday?" John asks. He doesn't know of any holiday.
Sarah turns and takes the calendar down from the wall behind her. Her face grows pale, which is quickly overtaken by a flush of anger.
"How did you know?" Sarah asks Cameron, her eyes drilling into the cyborg.
John takes the calendar from his mom and looks at the current date, a Sunday in June.
"Shit." he whispers, but adds more loudly, "I didn't say a thing mom. I swear."
"He didn't tell me, but future John did." Cameron says.
"You son of a bitch!" Sarah shouts at John. "What else did he say?" She says her head snapping around to face Cameron like a whip.
"He said that he never got to honor his father before Judgment Day. And that after getting to know him in the future before sending him back in time to help you, he wishes that he had done something with you Sarah. That if he had, that maybe some of that pain of his loss could be put away. His words, not mine."
Sarah, her eyes still flashing angrily, gets up from the table and walks into the living room.
"Did I do something wrong?" Cameron turns, asking John, who looks slightly shell shocked.
"Real smooth Cameron." John gets up, picking up the dirty plates. "You drop a bombshell like that, on today of all days, and you expect Mom to be pleased?" He sets the plates in the sink and turns on the tap.
"Why the hell didn't you tell me that you knew who my dad was? Right there. Right there in the living room I asked you while Charlie was trying to save Derek's life. I asked you."
"I didn't know how you would react. It seemed to be a touchy subject to bring up at the time."
"Touchy? If mom doesn't come back in here and orders your immediate burning, consider yourself lucky. Do you realize how dangerous that information is?"
"Yes." She says, softly.
John turns off the water, and places the uneaten eggs and sausage in a small container, placing it in the fridge before adding the platter to the sink.
"How long were you planning this thing of yours? Was the breakfast it, or is there more?"
"I thought it would be good for the three of you to spend this day together. Kyle Reese is your father and all of you are connected because of him."
"Yeah." John looks at the eager cyborg, wanting to find her place, yet seemingly shoves her way in like a bull in a china shop. Unintentional, but she means well.
Sarah returns to the door, this time she has on her black leather jacket.
"I need to go out. You two stay here. I shouldn't be gone for long."
"Where are you going mom?"
"Out. Need to think. Breath a little, you know?" she finishes, her eyes darting like daggers at Cameron.
John nods his head.
"I have my cell." Sarah announces as she walks out of the house.
"Does this mean I'm lucky?" Cameron asks when Sarah leaves.
"Just grab a towel, would ya?" John snaps as he begins washing up the morning dishes.
They wash and dry the dishes in silence. An awkward silence passes before John asks, "Just you and me then?"
"You have your home work to finish and I have my patrol to walk."
John frowns as Cameron walks outside and begins a slow march around the property.
"Yeah." John says with disappointment. "Just me and schoolwork."
# # #
Derek takes a position on a park bench. He chose it weeks ago as it offered the best view of the park where he used to play catch with his brother.
Now he hopes to see something more. Noontime is approaching, and with that families will be coming to play, to picnic, or just spend time together.
He isn't disappointed when at 11:42 AM a familiar looking car pulls up on the further side of the park.
Two boys tumble out from the backseat and begin tossing a ball between them. The adults go round the back and begin taking items from the trunk. Both boys are called over and given items to carry. The oldest boy is given the hamper of food. Mother is carrying a blanket for spreading on the grass. Father has the chest of cold drinks, and the youngest is given a canvas bag holding some supplies for games, bats, mitts, and some balls.
"Dennis. I want to set up over there, near the tree." The woman says.
"Okay Mary." He says, lugging the heavy ice chest. "Kyle, you doing all right with that bag?"
"Yes Daddy." the lad shouts, smiling at his father, while clutching one end of the bag in his arms while the other end of the heavy bag drags through the grass.
"Derek, set the hamper there." Mother points as she spreads the blanket.
"Place the cooler there, in the shade." She says to her husband, keeping the Reese clan organized.
"Who brought the chairs?" She asks, with hands on her hips.
"Hey my arms were full?"Father protests, as his wife's withering glance takes in his now empty arms.
Mary sticks her tongue out at him and sends both her eldest son and her husband back for the lawn chairs.
"Kyle, will you help me set out the food?"
"Okay mommy." The five year old says eagerly.
On the park bench, Derek watches his family. His grizzled face twisted in a mix of joy and pain.
# # #
Sarah drives through the open gates to a cemetery and drives to the far side, following a mostly forgotten path. She remembers what the location looks like, Near the top of a hill, a brace of small conifers providing a nice backdrop.
She brings her Jeep to a stop at the base of a hill. The road is any one of a large number that twist and turn throughout the vast cemetery. She takes a look up a familiar hill, past a Victorian grave-marker crowned by a statue of an angel, to the top where several tall conifers crown the hill.
"They've grown up." she says, getting out of the jeep.
She climbs the slope, passing strange names and old dates, until she begins to pass more familiar names and more recent dates. It isn't long until she is at the top, and reaches the top.
The grave marker is covered with pine needles, but the names and dates are readable. She careful wipes away the needles, bringing some dignity to the forgotten grave of her parents.
She squats down beside the granite stone. "Hi Mom. Hi Dad." She sighs. "It's been a long time."
"I would have visited sooner, if I could, but my life hasn't been my own since mom died. I know what you'd say dad, that I'm just making excuses. But it's the truth. I'm a mom. Have been since the day of your funeral mom, but I didn't know it at the time. You're both grandparents. I gave a birth to a boy nine months after your funeral mom. You'd love him. I wish you were both here to see him. He's taller than me, looks like his dad, but he reminds me of you dad. Same wiry build, stubborn like you, but he has a heart that reminds me of you mom. It's hard being a parent. Harder than I gave either of you credit for, but raising John is different compared to when you raised me and . . ."
Sarah stops talking. She heard a footstep in the grass lawn behind her, on her right.
". . . and I just wanted to let you know." She finishes quickly, hoping whoever is approaching didn't hear the hesitation in her voice.
A sixth sense tells her the person is right behind her. With a shout, she spins and grabs an outstretched arm. She barely notes the surprised look on the man's face, as she flips him, sending the flowers in his hands flying. He lands face down on the grass, and she twists his arm around behind him.
"Sarah! It's me." the man shouts. It sounds like he says, "Awah, eh ma," as Sarah kneels on his back shoving his face in the grass, while still holding his arm.
The man manages to twist his head around to shout again. "Sarah. It's me. Michael! Let go!"
"Michael?" Sarah gasps. "Are you alone?"
"Except for you, yes!"
Sarah releases him and gets off his back.
She's still looking at him with some shock, as he gets up and brushes grass and crushed flowers off a good suit.
He manages to crack a smile which looks just like Sarah's.
"Hello Sis. It's been a long time."
Sarah doesn't reply. This isn't exactly what she had planned.
# # #
John is upstairs throwing a ball up in the air and catching it, his homework going ignored on his desk.
He listens as Cameron comes up the stairs, her boots making loud clomping sounds on the exposed hardwood surface.
She stops outside his door.
"Have you finished your schoolwork?"
John keeps tossing the ball in the air and catching it.
"What's it to you?"
Cameron frowns. Her plan didn't work out well at all. She has difficulty understanding human behavior. At moments when they should be together, they always go apart by themselves. Based on her files on human psychology, this is normal, but to her thinking this is unhealthy and not right.
"I want some ice cream and there is none in the freezer." She announces.
"So." He answers, still not looking at her as he continues to toss the ball up in the air.
"I want you to take me out and buy me some."
The ball hits the floor, and John sits up quickly.
"I want you to take me out and buy me an ice cream."
"Because I want some, and Sarah isn't here to stop us from going out." Cameron's eyes seem to sparkle as she turns about and heads back down the stairs.
John's eyebrows quirk questioningly, but he doesn't protest as he grabs his wallet and follows her downstairs.
Twenty minutes later and they are sitting on a bench outside an ice cream parlor each eating an ice cream cone.
"So . . ." John prompts.
"What?" Cameron asks, licking ice cream from her top lip.
John for his part wonders if she did that deliberately, the way her tongue ran across her lips, and the way she made eye contact with him.
"Why did you want ice cream? Why are we disobeying mom? Not that I'm complaining . . ."
Cameron almost looks disappointed. Doesn't he know? I'm right here John.
"To cheer you up. Despite my intent, my actions this morning has made you depressed. I understand ice cream is the surest way to make you smile."
"Yeah, about this morning. Why didn't you tell me you knew Kyle was my dad back when we had that conversation about him? You know, when Charlie was patching up Derek."
"You were stressed, and I didn't want to give you cause for further worry."
"So you lied."
"I lie to you about a great many things, but it's not out of malice. I have my orders, and until I am relieved from this mission, I will carry out those orders. Including the orders I have to withhold information until you are ready to know it or it becomes necessary for you to know it."
"And who gave you these orders to lie to me?"
"You will, on the day you tell me about my mission to protect you now."
John shakes his head, "You know the more I get to know about future me, the less I like myself."
"Why?" She asks with honesty.
"Well. You know what today is. For me to be here, Kyle Reese will have to die. In the future I will give the order. He will go back in time, protect my mother, and I will be conceived in one night of passion, thus starting the whole vicious circle. Knowing that he will die, I don't know if I could do it."
Cameron listens carefully, and thinks before replying.
"Being leader is more than wearing an insignia or flag on your lapel. It means having to make hard choices, even if they aren't popular choices, to get the job done and to do the right thing. People will die under your command, and sometimes because of your commands, but Skynet is the killer of those men, not you."
John slowly nods his head. "Yeah. I kind of figured that out. But thank you for reminding me."
He smiles at her, his upper lip coated with ice cream. Cameron smiles back, pleased she helped him.
John eats some more of his ice cream. By this time they are both down to the rim of the cone.
"So can you tell me something about my dad, or are you under orders to lie about that too?"
Cameron's enigmatic face softens into something akin to compassion. "I can tell you about the day I met him. Would you like me to tell you about that?"
A group of kids run up behind them to the outside window at the ice cream parlor.
"Sure," John says getting up from his seat, "But let's walk."
They start walking away, Cameron tosses her unfinished cone in the trash while John nibbles at his.
She begins to speak. "It was the summer of twenty-twenty- seven. I was at the Skynet facility in Topanga Canyon on the day you led Tech-Comm inside and took control. Kyle saw me and told me, 'Stay with Connor. Protect him.' He then got into Skynet's TDE and disappeared. I met you a short time later and I've never failed to follow Kyle Reese's orders since."
John smiles at Cameron's sentiment, but he frowns as well. Cameron just said she met his future self for the first time on the day he sent Kyle Reese back in time. Does that mean she was never reprogrammed by the resistance? Is she still working for Skynet? No that can't be otherwise he'd be dead. Maybe a third party who reprogrammed her? But for what purpose?
"Cameron, can I ask you a question."
"I'd only have to lie to you John. Whatever you want to know, you will be told, when I decide the time is right. I have my orders. Surely the future General Connor understands the necessity of following orders."
John frowns, then smiles. Why ruin a good day? "Yes I do. You want a pizza?"
Cameron remembers the day very clearly. She woke from standby mode with no knowledge of events since that group of machines took over the factory ship and reprogrammed her. She could hear gunfire of automatic weapons and the high pitch wine of plasma weapons from some distance away.
She looked to see if she had any weapons and that's when she discovered she was wearing just basic blue overalls and some rather worn shoes.
As per her programming she ran toward the noise. Passing some fallen soldiers and broken machines in the dark corridor, she paused only long enough to pick up one of the dropped weapons, before pushing through the double doors into a vast arena.
In the middle of the room almost reaching the ceiling above was a vast machine as large as a three story house glowing with energy. Around it on the floor were various fights as men with the aid of other cyborgs struggled to hold off the few remaining machines.
She hears a voice shouting a name. Suddenly the man shouting the name is standing before her, greeting her by that same name.
"Allison! You're here. I didn't know you were assigned to this mission."
"You're looking a little shell shocked. Are you okay?"
"Yes, I am... okay." She replies, using the same descriptor. Its obvious he thinks she's someone else. Better to play along and learn some relevant information.
"Listen I need to ask you a big favor. Can you do it for me?"
She nodded her head.
"That man over there." Kyle Reese points to a tall wiry man with dark hair at a computer terminal with three other soldiers. "That's John Connor. You've always wanted to meet him. But I need to ask you to do something for me."
"What?" She asks, pleased that she should reach her objective so quickly. The intelligence must have been very accurate to place her so close.
"Stay with him. Protect him. I'm going away and I'm not returning. I need to know he will be safe. I love that man like he was family."
"I will." She says to him all the while hearing a conversation echo from the past, 'I will never help you get to John Connor.' 'You already did.'
"Reese!" Connor shouts. "We're ready for you."
To Cameron's surprise, Reese strips off his clothes.
"One more thing. Keep an eye out for my brother. He disappeared. If he comes back tell him..."
"Reese! Now!" Connor shouts again.
Cameron watched as both Reese and a T-800 took it in turn to use Skynet's TDE.
After they returned to base, Cameron introduced herself to General Connor, and told him what she was, whom she represented, and why she was there. An entire new life began for them both that day.
# # #
"I haven't seen you since mom's funeral. You look good." The man says. He's nearly a foot taller than Sarah, wearing a suit but no tie.
"So do you Michael." Sarah answers, still looking quite stressed. "What are you doing here?"
"Visiting our parents grave. What else? I was in town on business and my flight got canceled. Thought I'd come up here and pay a visit. I don't get to visit L.A. that often. What about you?"
"Ahh. Same thing. Just paying Mom and Dad a visit." Sarah nervously wiggles her fingers by her side. "So, how long has it been?"
"Twenty-three years." Michael shakes his head. "My God, Sarah. What happened to you? After Mom was murdered and you were attacked by that crazy man, I thought for sure you would stick around after the funeral. I could have helped you out."
"Older brother always looking out for me. You never change. You finished college and just gotten married. You didn't need me around. Besides, I had something important to do, and I couldn't put your lives in danger."
"Your son, John." Sarah looks at him questioningly. "I over heard you talking, and after your first arrest, I had a visit from the FBI and some crackpot psychiatrist, um, Sugarman, I think he said his name was."
Sarah laughs. "His name is Silberman, and that crackpot is in the looney bin now."
"Jesus. At the time I looked into getting you transferred, but the DA said it was Pescadero or maximum security. Silberman was the only one who was willing to treat you. I would have tried harder if I had any idea he was nutso."
"Thanks. So what about you? Still married?"
"Yeah. John has three cousins. The oldest is in the Marines, coming home soon. Our middle child is in college and thinking of going to law school, and our youngest just went to her first prom."
Sarah looks sad. A picture of normal life. Something she could never give to John.
"You know, I never believed them, what they said about you. I'll never believe you are a terrorist." He says with concern.
"Thanks Michael. But I did blow up that computer factory, and I did take part in destroying Cyberdyne. I can't deny what I have done, but it doesn't mean I'm proud of it either. I'm only doing what I can to save John from his future."
"You mean Skynet and the machines, and how he's supposed to lead humans in the fight for survival?" Sarah scowls. "The FBI visited me, remember? Listen, I don't care about that. But you are my sister and I want to help you."
"How do you want to help me?" Sarah goes on the defensive.
"To get you counseling, like we should have got for Dad."
Angrily she closes the distance, "Listen to me Michael, I don't need counseling, and I'm not suicidal. What happened to me was real! It is still real! Do you even believe what I've said is true?"
Michael gives a light shake to his head. "I believe you believe its real. That this guy you met, sold you on his delusion and you have been living it out since almost getting killed twenty three years ago in an automated factory."
"I'm not crazy, Michael." She spits the words out through gritted teeth.
"I'm not saying you are crazy. But when dad lost his job to automation, he thought his world was ending. He could have gone into their training program to maintain the new machines, but he chose instead to waste away, until one day he decided to use his old service revolver one last time. He was confused, and all he needed was some help to see the truth. That's all I'm saying."
Sarah shakes her head, crying.
"I'm not Dad! I'm not crazy! And I'm not confused! What happen to me was very real. Kyle Reese saved my life from a machine. A machine tried to kill my son. Kyle is dead, but my son lives. I will do anything to keep him alive and hopefully to prevent Judgment Day from coming. Because its real, Michael! It's real, and it's coming!" She finishes with white-hot tears.
"You sounded just like dad. He thought the machines . . ."
"Shut up! This is totally different. These aren't any ordinary machines. They don't build, construct, or weld. The machines that are after me and John, kill. Kill! That is all they do! It is up to me to stop them from being built. To stop Skynet from being created!" Sarah finishes, her chest heaving, and tears streaming, as she finishes screaming at her brother.
"I'm sorry Sarah. I was wrong. You're not confused. You're crazy." His face a mask of pity.
The words hurt. Cutting deeply.
"Goodbye Michael. You won't be seeing me again, ever. And if you are smart, you will never tell anyone you've met me here today."
Sarah runs off, with her brother calling after her, but she ignores him.
Climbing into her jeep, Sarah drives off with a squeal of tires and driving just a little too fast for the narrow twisting lanes through the cemetery.
Reaching the entrance, she pauses long enough to wipe her eyes and gain some composure before pulling out onto the road to take her back home, to John. Her son. Kyle's son.
# # #
After having their picnic lunch, the Reese family set about arranging a small ball game. It wasn't much of a game, as far as being anything like a real sporting event, as each member would take turns at pitching, catching, hitting and fielding. With there only being four family members, scoring was only accomplished by who got farthest around the bases. Of course each time Kyle was up to bat, he got the easier pitches, but how far he got around the bases was entirely up to who was the outfielder.
Derek more than once had to keep himself from laughing, but even when he wasn't laughing he was crying.
After an hour of watching his family, he decided it was time to move on.
As the Reese's continued playing their game, Derek got up and began walking away. In the background he could hear his family shouting happily.
An ice cream vendor comes to a stop on the path, blocking Derek's view of his family. He hears the loud crack of the bat, and the sound of his mother shrieking with surprise and joy. Derek gives the vendor money for an ice cream. Derek is pulling the wrapper off when he hears the shouts from his family grow more alarmed.
He looks up to see his mother dropping the bat. Behind her, his younger self rises up and begins to run too. His father is already running and shouting. Derek turns to look at where they are looking and sees five-year-old Kyle running for the ball which is going to the street.
Dropping the ice cream the vendor just gave him, Derek takes off running, closing the distance more quickly than his father. He reaches the curb just as Kyle runs into the street to grab the ball.
Without thinking Derek, jumps in the street, grabs the boy and tosses him back onto the grass. A driver not seeing the boy but seeing Derek slams on his brakes. The car slides to a stop knocking Derek to the pavement.
Derek shakes his head gets up. The driver is offering up a mix of protests and apologies, and finishes asking if the boy is okay before driving off.
During this time his father has been examining the boy, who is only crying from surprise.
Derek begins to walk away, but the man touches his arm to stop him.
"Thank you for rescuing my son." Dennis Reese says to him
"It's no problem." Derek replies uncomfortable being this close to his family. A family that doesn't recognize him.
"Can we offer you something to eat, or to drink? Mary packed more than enough food."
Derek looks over his father's should at the rest of his family approaching.
"No it's okay. I'm just glad I was here to look after the lad." Derek looks at his mom and his younger self as they arrive.
"I have to go." He says hurriedly and runs off.
"Who was that man?" Mary asks, holding Kyle close to her.
"I don't know." Dennis says looking at the stranger's back as he disappears. "I didn't ask."
"Yes. Well, I think its time for us to go home." Mary says. "Derek, will you mind Kyle while your Dad and I put the items back in the car."
"Sure." Derek smiles as he ruffles Kyle's hair. "I'll look after the lad for you."
Dennis glances at his son. Those were almost the exact words the stranger said.
# # #
John and Cameron had returned home some time ago. John in a better mood went upstairs to finish his schoolwork before his mom came home. Meanwhile Cameron goes inside the garage.
She sees a pool of solidified molten coltan from the burned endoskeleton in one corner of the fire pit and gets an idea.
Taking some tools down from the rack, she begins digging a form in the packed sand inside the fire pit. She switches occasionally to using her fingers or other tools to dig or pack down the sand until it forms a mold.
After a good hour of work, she sees Derek come up the street. She watches him approach the house. A breeze carries the scent of alcohol from his direction. Cameron sees him grimace and rub his shoulder when he turns the door knob to go inside.
Returning to her project, she takes some of the sand and packs it and forms it into a bowl shape at one end of the mold she made. Using her fingers, she digs a furrow down the side of the bowl to the mold.
She places the leftover bits of coltan into the bowl she created and sprinkles it with some of the thermite leftover from burning the endoskeleton. The idea is to produce enough heat to melt the metal, without consuming it.
Cameron has just pulled out a flare to ignite the thermite when Sarah pulls into the drive. She waits for Sarah to get out of the Jeep.
"What are you doing Cameron?" Sarah asks, seeing the cyborg on her own in the shed.
"Destroying the last bits of the coltan that survived the first burning." Cameron lies, not wanting Sarah to know what she is truly up to. Besides, there is a chance it might not work at all.
"Good. Is John inside?"
"Yes. He was doing his schoolwork when I came out."
Sarah nods her head and goes inside.
Derek and John are sitting at the table, both trying very hard to appear to be doing nothing. Earlier, John had heard the front door open and close, and assuming it was his mother had gone downstairs, only to find Derek. Derek invited him into the kitchen and offered him a drink. They hadn't been there very long when Sarah came in through the back door.
"Okay. What's going on?" Sarah asks, knowing the surprised but innocent expressions are hiding something.
John avoids looking at her, maintaining his innocent expression.
"Derek?" Sarah growls.
Derek gestures at John, and they bring out from under the table opened bottles of beer.
"I thought this might be a good bonding moment." Derek grins. "You know, uncle and nephew sharing a beer."
Sarah, jaw firmly set, takes the beer from John's hand. "No more for you. And you!" she says directing the last comment at Derek. "Not on a school night and no more than a sip. He's still a minor."
"Good as said." Derek responds, seeing the fire in Sarah's eyes.
She continues to look at them both sternly before her mouth twitches. "However, when he turns eighteen, you can split a six-pack with him, but not before." Sarah grins, taking a sip from the bottle she took from John.
An hour later, Cameron enters the kitchen to find them all sitting around the table talking amiably. She goes over to the wall behind an empty kitchen chair, and without them seeing what she is doing, Cameron hangs something on the wall.
When she steps away from the table, they see a plaque above the chair.
They all read it.
Father & Hero
Sarah reaches out and takes John hand. She gives it a squeeze, a tear runs from one eye, then the tears really begin to flow.
Derek gets up from the chair, looking angry.
"This doesn't change a damn thing. You are a machine and always will be." He begins to walk away.
"Derek!" John and Sarah both shout.
Derek still scowling, and looks over his shoulder at Cameron. "And thank you." He nearly spits.
He walks outside and sits down on the steps.
"Beer?" John prompts his mother.
"Grab two fresh ones out of the fridge for Derek and me, and another coke for yourself."
Sarah takes the two beers outside and hands one to Derek who accepts it.
"So tell me about Kyle. What was he like growing up?" Sarah asks as she sits down beside him.
Inside the house, John and Cameron listen to Derek tell Sarah a few stories. John looks at Cameron, looking really happy for once.
"I'm surprised that because of the story you told me today, that you didn't include mentor and friend on the plaque."
Cameron's eyes dart outside at Derek. John follows her gaze and understands why she didn't. Derek just doesn't understand and seeing those words might have raised questions that would have widen the divide more than to help heal any damage.
Cameron watches John's expression change, soften to that of understanding. He figured it out on his own. She slowly reaches out to touch him, perhaps hold his hand, but before she can, John turns to face her.
"What you did today, thank you." he says with genuine kindness.
John gives her a brief, friendly hug, before grabbing his coke and dashing outside.
Cameron looks a little surprised and pleased. He hugged me!
"How about a game of catch before we have dinner?" John says to his uncle.
"Sure. I'd love it." Derek answers with a smile.
John runs to the garage to grab the mitts and ball.
Sarah turns to look inside the house and sees Cameron standing there alone, watching them, with an odd expression on her face.
She raises her bottle in a silent toast and turns to watch John and his Uncle Derek play catch in the back yard.
Cameron smiles. Her mission for today has succeeded.
In the year 2027, a nervous young sergeant is brought before the commander by an equally young lieutenant.
"Sir. Sergeant Reese, as you ordered." The lieutenant snap off a salute and leaves.
The general runs a measuring eye over the young man. Its all he can do not to tell him what he knows, who he is, and who that man is and will one day be.
"Sir. If I may ask, why am I here?" Reese asks, having been under General Connor's steady gaze for what felt like an eternity.
He smiles before answering. "It's been brought to my notice that in last weeks battle. You put yourself in the line of fire to protect a young family."
"I only did what I could. There wasn't much hope if someone didn't do something right away. I just happened to be closest. Anyone else would have done the same."
"But the thing is, you're the one who did it. Your heroic actions saved those kids lives. If we had the resources, I'd be pinning a medal on your chest for what you did."
Reese perks up. "Thank you sir!"
"I wouldn't smile too broadly. I've chosen you for a special mission. When you leave here, report to General Perry for your orders. He will be expecting you."
"Yes sir. Thank you sir."
"Any questions Reese?"
Reese thinks deeply, "Just one sir, what happened to that family? Both parents were badly injured, I know, but I haven't been able to find out what happened to them."
Connor frowns, "The kids are okay and being looked after. Their mother is still in the infirmary, slim chance of survival, but doc thinks she'll pull through. I'm sorry to say their father died shortly after arriving in the infirmary. By all accounts, if it wasn't for his sacrifice, and your timely arrival, they would have all died."
Reese looks down at his feet, worrying over the idea.
"You know sir, I've often wondered what kind of father I'd be, if the opportunity came along."
Connor momentarily frowns with sadness. "Don't worry Kyle. Someday you will be a great dad. No less heroic or important to his family than any other father."
Reese tries to smile, "Yes sir."
"You still have that good luck charm I gave you?"
Reese reaches up and touches the breast pocket where he keeps the picture of Sarah Connor, a look of serenity appears on his face.
"Good." Connor smiles inwardly, "Memorize it, cuz where you are going, you won't be able to bring it with you."
"All will be explained when its necessary. Report to General Perry. You're dismissed sergeant."
Back in present day, Sarah laughs as Derek makes a silly excuse for missing one of John's easy throws, hiding his bad attempt by rubbing his shoulder and blaming an old injury, when in truth he injured it that afternoon.
Just like a family. Sarah thinks watching John and Derek. Just like how my family should be.
"Happy Father's Day, Kyle." She whispers, to the sound of John and Derek laughing.
I had to take a few liberties with established canon to make this story work, but by reading the following, I hope you'll understand why.
I placed the story arbitrarily between "Dungeons and Dragons" and "What he Beheld." I know Father's Day is in June, and John's Birthday is in February which occurred in "What he Beheld." How can that work you ask? I don't know. Ask Friedman and his writer's who ignored temporal continuity themselves. This story had to take place during Season 1 while John still had complete trust in Cameron and Derek was always bitter and angry and never once giving Cameron any allowance she might be telling the truth. It just wouldn't work after "What He Beheld."
I know that no one has ever mentioned Sarah having a brother or any other siblings. As far as we know, Sarah was an only child. I was originally going to have a distant relation, like a cousin run into her at the cemetery, but it seemed more likely a closer relative would be there. So I made the relative a brother. I tried to present him as the older caring brother, who truly wants to help, but unfortunately he doesn't accept Sarah's story as the truth, and they quickly fall into arguing then separating.
And what about Cameron knowing Kyle's relationship to John. No excuse, only that I felt Cameron always knows more than what she lets on. She's like a walking, talking, sexy, encyclopedia that can kill you with her little pinky or a bazooka, whichever is at hand.
If you liked this story then, I thank you. When Father's Day roles around, or just the next time you see him, take the time to say 'I love you' and thank him for being your dad. Dad's are special and are needed, and aren't appreciated enough in our present society.