charlieblue: (pinnochio's never a real boy cameron)
Something like a crossroads song ([personal profile] charlieblue) wrote on April 15th, 2009 at 10:16 pm
TSCC Post-Finale Fic.
Title: Eschatology
Fandom: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Notes: Post S2 Finale, 1300 words. PG-13

He doesn’t track time anymore, doesn’t want to, stops caring about the complexities of the tangled web his mother wove and instead plays at blood brothers.

John still see echoes of Cameron everywhere.

Not just in the face of Allison, which he can barely stand to look at; a face so full of emotion and movement that it grates on his nerves, sends shudders of wrongness down his spine.

The girl from Palmdale is a constant reminder that Cameron stole Allison’s skin, that she is (was) a changeling, a kind of advanced Frankenstein that was only ever crafted after living flesh. It troubles him that even after everything, he still considers that body Cameron’s, that somewhere deep and visceral, he feels that Cameron’s right to that shape and form supersedes Allison’s own.

Allison tries to be his friend. She is a sweet girl, though roughened to soldier-status by Judgment, and the dogs adore her.

Cameron was never any good with animals.

John forgets himself sometimes, slips into something resembling friendship with Allison. It’s hard not to. She is a singularly appealing person, with a wicked sense of humour, and a fierce loyalty. And she likes John, which is more than he could ever say for sure about Cameron.

He’s the one who suggests she start going on missions rather than just running support and med duty. She takes to it a like a fish to water, and the first time John walks into a room to see her cleaning an M-16 with familiar efficiency, cheek stained with grease, he has to walk straight back out again, stomach churning.

John still sees echoes of Cameron in everything; in the satanic eyes of the metal that sends fires of death and destruction hailing down on their camp, in the coltish grace of the young child they find cowering in a tunnel, a child who dies of an infected gunshot wound only days later, he sees Cameron in the heavy military issue boots everyone wears nowadays, her face against his eyelids every time someone spits the word ‘metal’, every time he realizes that these people have never seen terminators as anything but a plague to be eliminated, while everywhere John looks, he sees only opportunity, fingers itching, adrenaline pumping, brain sparking with ideas, with the constant, heady rush of squandered opportunity, with the desire, the need to experiment, to push ever forward, to cleave to progress.

If he did, if he even tried, they would execute him on the spot, this strange young man with no family and no friends to speak of, a teenage boy who had appeared naked, as if out of thin air, one dark and stormy night, just another fugitive from the grim and sorry junkyard that was the war-torn Earth.

Weaver comes to him; sometimes she comes and goes three times a night, sometimes days would go by, dragging into a week, two weeks, maybe more, and then suddenly she would be there again, red hair gleaming like the scorched sky, smiling her not-quite-smile and pressing a finger to her lips smugly, as if delighted with this human mannerism, while just around the corner Derek chats with Kyle as they eat lunch, happy and together, just like John imagines brothers should be.

John can talk for hours to Weaver, where he barely sees the need to speak at all inside the camp apart from strategy sessions and basic courtesy, it is as if there is an inverse relationship between his communication skills and the humanity of the listener. He's sure it never used to be like that.

But for some reason, the Reese brothers take a liking to him, adopt him like a stray, and Kyle especially seems fascinated by him. John will catch him staring sometimes, like the time he woke up just as dawn light creeps through a crack in the tunnel to see Kyle half-propped up, Allison casually lying across him like a ragdoll, his light eyes blazing like beacons across the dank and dirty tunnel. Whenever John catches him at it, his father-to-be will duck his head, grin handsomely and shrug, bashfully mutter something vague and portentous like, ‘I swear I know you from somewhere,’ or ‘I just wanna figure you out,’ and John will grin in reply, because he doesn’t know what else to do.

Not being John Connor has an addictive quality to it, and John falls into the rhythm of the resistance, gains battle scars, loses not-quite-friends, fights like he was born to it, because even if he wasn’t, he was certainly bred to it.

He doesn’t track time anymore, doesn’t want to, stops caring about the complexities of the tangled web his mother wove and instead plays at blood brothers while pretending that he isn’t betraying them every moment of everyday by constantly searching, always hoping, forever waiting for a metal girl he just might be in love with.

They know he is looking for someone, but he never talks about it, and because he never talks about it, they assume the worst, their imaginations run amok with tragedy and hellfire.

Once, sitting around a small fire, Allison warms her hands, takes a swig of vodka, passes it to John and their fingers brush. He jerks away instinctively, violently, and knows he has made a mistake from the strange looks Derek, Kyle and Allison, his holy trinity, throw his way. But they don’t push the issue; nobody does, because while for all they know, he might as well have not existed before they found him cowering like a feral animal in the tunnels, history doesn’t matter to them, not anymore.

He doesn’t quite know when or how it happens, but it hits him like a slow, crawling nuclear Armageddon in his gut, like acid lazily climbing through his veins, burning bridges and free will as it goes. It starts when Kyle throws him a jaunty salute before leading an away mission. Then he hears some men talking about him, but they don’t call him John, or Connor, or even John Connor, no, it’s John Connor. Then he reprograms a terminator, integrates it, and they don’t shoot him in the head. Then Derek starts looking at him with something more than respect. The final blow is when they come to him after Allison is taken, and when he tells them to do nothing, they obey.

He doesn’t realize how far gone he is until he wakes up one morning and realizes that the night before, when he had sent Kyle back in time to counter a mission launched by Skynet, to protect his mother, he had just enacted the one concrete thing that he knew for sure was an intrinsic action of John Fucking Connor.

So he isn’t surprised when Cameron comes marching into camp, an arrival as glorious as that of any Trojan Horse, calling herself Allison and wearing the proper bracelet on the appropriate wrist. He isn’t surprised when that very night, she crawls into his bed and tries to kill him. He survives of course; he’d already laid a trap, had drawn up the schematics weeks ago, then redesigned them seven times, just for kicks. His survival, his seemingly preternatural knowledge makes his men look at him with a growing awe that curdles in his gut; it is that same awe that eventually drives him to cut all human contact back to a minimum.

It isn’t until he finally sends Cameron away, back to himself - a Cinderella off to her oblivious Prince in a pumpkin of electric-blue lightening - envy and regret twisting inside his gut in equal measures, that John Henry walks straight through the resistance camp in clear view of the security cameras, and turns himself in.

John, furious, shows his face in the camp at large for the first time in eight months.

“Where - Jesus - where the hell have you been?” He hisses, shoving Cromartie’s old husk up against the wall, and John Henry lets him, eyes wide and guileless.

“I have walked the Earth.” The metal pauses, tilts its head to the right in an eerily familiar manner, and speaks as if reciting something ancient, something ritual, “Why art thou wroth, brother?”

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