Fandom: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Characters: Sarah, Cameron
Spoilers: 1x05, The Queen’s Gambit
Word count: 1000
Disclaimer: I don’t own them but I heart them so hard.
A/N: I watched the episode and felt the need to write something. This was quick and dirty. I offer no guarantees of quality.
Sometimes, the look in Cameron’s eyes worried Sarah.
She’d initially believed that Cameron didn’t have moods; if she had no moods, then there was nothing which could be reflected in her eyes. But, even the Turk had moods, at least according to Andy Goode, and she’d come to realize that Cameron did too. They were hard to spot, unsurprisingly – subtle spectres of emotion in a face as blank as a slate – but they were there.
What frightened Sarah was that Cameron felt remorse.
Kyle’s brother was resting fitfully in her bed by the time Sarah found and read the note on the table. She recognized Cameron’s handwriting – so neat, so precise, so bold – but had initially been puzzled by the sentiment.
Not about the girl who’d committed suicide, obviously. Cameron certainly wasn’t the sort to get sentimental over a teenager who’d flung herself to her death. No, she was sorry about what she’d done to the enemy terminator. Sarah had seen the flicker of remorse in her eyes, a brief, soulful look of muted regret that retreated almost as soon as it had surfaced.
The memory of it sent a chill through her.
She sat for a long time, fingers tracing back and forth over the two simple words, smearing the pencil lead until they were a smudged wound against the page.
“That is mine.”
Cameron had showered. She’d washed away Reese’s blood and was wearing little more than her underwear… short, tight shorts and a tank top that had inched up her abdomen to reveal a silvery line of flesh. She looked like a misplaced nymphet, gilded in moonlight, her relaxed posture unconsciously seductive.
Sarah frowned, eyes dropping down to the paper once more. The strokes of her finger couldn’t erase the indentation of the letters. She could feel them against her skin like a brand, an indictment.
“Why are you sorry?”
Cameron walked closer, eyes shadowed in the darkness of the room. She stopped at the edge of the table, belly even with it, and looked at Sarah. Her face was impassive, an inexpressive cipher.
“I killed today.”
The words ripped through Sarah’s gut, drawing it tight. “I thought killing didn’t bother you,” she said roughly, struggling to keep her voice free of inflection.
With an economy of motion, Cameron sat. She reached forward slowly, fingertips settling along the edge of the sheet of paper, and gently pulled it from Sarah’s grasp. “He had a mission.”
“So do you.”
Cameron’s eyes traced the words much as Sarah’s finger had done earlier. “He had no choice.”
Sarah’s jaw tensed. Her skin began to itch, fingertips pressed now against the cool wood of the table. She wanted the comforting reassurance of the weight of a gun in her hand – something to give her the illusion of mastery. “Did you have a choice, Cameron?” she asked slowly, each word like acid on her tongue.
For a moment, Sarah saw remorse again. “No,” Cameron said plainly. “He was a threat. He had to be stopped.”
“Did you want to stop him?”
The silence between them stretched out thickly. Cameron blinked, the movement incongruous in the face of her stillness. “He had to be stopped.”
“But you’re sorry,” Sarah said, voice flat. “You couldn’t cry, so you wrote him a note.”
Cameron tilted her head to the side, eyes once again locked on her words. “I begin to understand your feelings about the value of life.”
Sarah felt a bolt of absolute terror rip through her.
“Soldiers must take lives,” Cameron continued curiously. When she looked up at Sarah once again, there was something different in her eyes. It was a soft pleading, a need for reassurance. “It should never be easy to take life. You said that.”
Sarah’s small smile was bitter. “I meant human life.”
Cameron nodded slowly, though her eyes became guarded. “We are not so different.”
“We’re very different,” Sarah snapped, unable to stop herself.
“You see me as inferior.” Cameron’s face was blank again, voice eerily detached. “In the future, Skynet sees humans as inferior.”
“Skynet is evil.”
There was something challenging in the set of Cameron’s shoulders. “Are you evil?”
The words evoked an unconscious scowl. “The two can’t be equated. Skynet destroys the world.”
“And I am trying to save it.”
The thought sprang to life as an instinctively wrong notion. It stuck in Sarah’s throat like a spur, the idea almost painful. Regardless, she knew it was true.
“You did the right thing.”
Cameron’s eyes dropped to the paper once again. “I know,” she said softly, finger tracing the smudge Sarah had made of the words.
Sarah’s arm moved without her volition. She felt the cool softness of Cameron’s skin under her hand before she’d even registered the action and looked down in horror. At her touch, Cameron’s finger had stilled, her hand flattening limply beneath Sarah’s, and Sarah didn’t pull back even though she felt something almost like revulsion inch up her spine. Instead she tightened her grip, wrapped her fingers around Cameron’s hand and squeezed.
The flicker of relief in Cameron’s eyes gave a veracity to Sarah’s words that shocked her. “You did the right thing. Never doubt that.”
“I saved your life.”
Sarah nodded tightly. “You did.”
“I saved John’s life.”
Another nod. “You did.”
For a moment, Cameron’s brows drew together. She looked resolute, fierce, brow crinkled in a gesture of consternation. “I will always protect you.”
Sarah’s grip tightened unconsciously. “Make sure that you do.”
Cameron glanced down at their entwined hands, face once again smoothing out so that it was void of expression. “What should I do with my note?”
Burn it, Sarah wanted to say, but didn’t. “Keep it,” she said instead.
“So you don’t forget.”
Cameron’s eyes held a hint of confusion. “Forget?”
“The value of life.”
Cameron nodded solemnly then slowly flipped her hand over so their palms met. She wrapped her fingers around Sarah’s, mimicking her gesture of comfort. “I won’t.”