Title: For Ourselves
Author: gega cai
Pairings: Sarah, John, Kyle and OCs mentioned
Summary: There's nobody else. No one else to do what must be done. So, we fight today for a future –for everyone –for ourselves.
Disclaimer: Characters and other likely inventive scenarios based on the world created by James Cameron and William Wisher Jr.
Author's Note: This fic references some events from The Terminator and takes place in 1991, seven years after the first movie.
by gega cai
No fate but what we make for ourselves, right?
- Sarah Connor, 1984
Sarah Connor's eyes snapped open at the sudden lunge of her body waking her from an unintentional lapse into sleep. Her hand instinctively moved to her hip, but her senses were already placing her back where she had left her waking self moments ago. Sarah remembered now; she didn't have a gun to reach for… She looked around and saw she was still in the back of a rusted Toyota truck's camper. The driver had picked her up somewhere near the U.S. border and, with good luck she was not accustomed to, was going where she needed to be now: Mexico.
She eased her back into the bumpy metal of the truck's wall. Looking out the back window of the camper, Sarah saw that it was still dark outside. The relief of recalling her surroundings was fleeting. Something was missing –no, not something, but someone. She now remembered who she was desperate to get back to. His face flashed in her mind. It took every bit of self-control to keep panic from rising and taking over her at the thought of him without her and what he must be going through without her. She loathed the feeling and pointedly looked away towards the front of the truck as an outward show of her indifference to it while it tried to trickle out from the center of her chest.
"He could be anywhere now, Sarah. Alone," the panic spoke to her.
She clenched her jaw and bore a hole into a metal groove of the truck with her icy gaze.
"Alone … and afraid."
"Fuck," she said in a sharp exhale.
On the other side in the truck's cab, she could hear the driver's muffled hum-a-long to an annoying soft rock ballad on the radio. The moment her eyebrows tried to come together in judgment of his musical taste, her face softened at the thought of the driver having the luxury to enjoy anything.
Enjoy it while you can, she said to herself bitterly in a moment of self doubt. No. Fuck the machines. They'd find a way to stop it.
It was this type of thinking that had gotten her in the back of the truck.
"Miss Connor, again, what were you doing in a hotel room rented by these individuals?"
Sarah looked over the photographs of three young men. No emotion or sign of recognition crossed her face. She looked up at the federal officer with heavy eyelids as if the questioning was the most boring thing she had ever been subjected to in all her life.
"I do not know them. The hotel must have had a mix up," she replied flatly.
"Miss Connor," he started again. Inwardly, she flinched at her name being openly used. The officer did not know it (or ever would), but Sarah was a crumbling infrastructure of hope as her world seemingly fell away to expose her to all dangers. It had been a stupid, lazy slip up. Now, her damn name was in the system for any out-of-time motherfucker to see and come after them. Self-disappointment was gelling in her grey matter and threatening to takeover all of her critical thinking. All this was going on behind her blank, lidded eyes and like hell they would learn of anything. The officer went on.
"Aiding and participating in domestic terrorism is a serious offense. These men could have been responsible for serious injury and even deaths. Now, the California state officials are willing to be lenient with you if you provide us information," he said. Below the table top, Sarah's self-control was melting. She had started bouncing the heel of a foot in a nervous, fast rhythm at the word "deaths".
Deaths. I shouldn't be here –he needs me!
"Sarah?" the federal agent said, taking note of her blank stare at the wall behind him.
Sarah Connor paused to take in a deep breath of Mexican air. The sun was close to rising. Its premature steaks of purple chased after fading dark blue sky of the night. The dirt gravel of the road's shoulder crunched under her boots as she approached the Toyota truck's driver window. She had already thumbed a generous number of Mexican bills inside her jacket's front pocket. It was better to pull out just enough and not show how much she really had. It would practically be an invitation for trouble to flash around a ridiculous wad of U.S. and Mexican currency.
"Thank you," her voice broke. She hesitated with her fingers in her front pocket, but then presented the bills to the driver. She looked down at the bills hovering above the driver's side window seal. The driver cautiously took the money and she played up a moment of regret at giving up so much. Maybe he would even twinge later for taking it all after thinking the young woman obviously handed over too much of what money she had –just as Sarah wanted him to assume.
Deaths, it said again to her.
The driver tipped his head to her and then faced ahead. Dirt kicked up into the air and Sarah watched the truck pull off and disappear into the horizon. Where she stood was not an uncommon drop-off point. A dirt road a few yards down the main highway led to a small town. Beyond that, was another small town. However, her home was in neither. Just outside between both towns was a not-so-known group of people living in near isolation from the known world. It was there that he was waiting for her to return.
The FBI agent shook his head in disbelief as Sarah Connor walked out of custody. Behind him, his partner handed over a written up file on the computer factory's bomb scare to the pretty clerk. Tearing away a smug flirtatious glance from her, the partner spoke, "Think we'll be seeing her again? She sure did show up in the thickest mess after disappearing for so long, huh?"
The FBI agent did not respond. Of course they'd see her again. It had been only a few years since the Phone Book Killer's mad spree in California, but those years had changed Sarah Connor. She seemed nothing like the frightened girl staring back in her file folder from state records. Instead, they were now watching the back of a mysterious (and dangerous) woman on a mission walk out on them to plan ahead for her next mission.
Sarah approached the encampment cautiously. They were not in any obvious danger, but her stupid fuck up in the U.S. could have easily followed her here. They would have to move on soon. It was about time to anyway.
The first faces of recognition nodded to her as she made her way past them to their personal tent. The heavy beating in her chest wasn't fear, but anxiousness to be reunited.
Sarah stopped outside their tent. It appeared to be the same. There was nothing unusual, but then that could be a problem too. All at once panic tried to rise up in her again, but it was too late. She had returned. She had just taken a step forward when the tent entrance flapped open and small legs kicked out in a trot in her direction. John Connor's small face beamed up at his mother and he slammed hard into her legs, gripping the fabric of her cargo pants in appreciation to make physical contact with his missing mother. Sarah plucked him from the ground and lifted him high into the air playfully. She lowered him to her chest and held him in a motherly hug, twisting at her hip to sway him as he rested his head on her shoulder. Contentment.
The two of them remained that way for several seconds. But then Sarah felt eyes on her and she opened hers to see him watching. She smiled and mouthed "Hey".
A few feet from her, standing in the tent's entrance was John Connor's father. Kyle Reese lifted a corner of his mouth in only the way Kyle did and mouthed back, "Hey".