This isn't my world, in more ways than one. It's not only not my time, it's not even my future. In this world, there is no John Connor, and I don't think there ever will be. But there is still a resistance and from what I can see? It's going on just fine without me. As disturbing as it is, there's something oddly comforting about that. Maybe it's just good to know I'm not humanity's one and only salvation, so if perchance I do fail…the whole world won't be damned to hell with me.
But I'm not going to fail.
I know my world, my reality, needs me. I still don't understand all this time travel and alternate paths but I do know that much. Just like I know the Derek I know here isn't the same Derek I knew back home. He's not as bitter here and the way he does things is just…different. Maybe it's because my dad, Kyle, is still alive or maybe it's because Jesse's still fighting by his side. Either way, I know he's not my Derek anymore than Kyle is my father. But still, it's been good to get to know them.
I never dreamed I'd be here this long, but I was still a kid when I made the jump. I thought I'd just make the jump, get Cameron back and go home. How naive was that? I really was a child; I never would've had the skills it takes to lead a revolution no matter how much I thought I did. It only took me a week in this hell to learn that lesson. I thought I knew death and pain but what I saw before was nothing like this. This is war, plain and simple, and in war you can't always get what you want.
All that aside, I never expected this to take seven years.
I wonder if Mom will even recognize me when we go back. I'm hardly the same boy who left. He still had principles. He still had yet to kill. I hope she understands that sometimes you can't always do the right thing. I know she always tried to. I know I always did too. But after all I've seen? I have to make sure I'm not alone. I need her, no matter what the cost.
I shake my head and count the seconds to myself. Won't be long now before this nightmare is over and a new one begins. But I'll be more prepared this time, Derek and Kyle have made sure of that. They've made me one hell of a soldier, though I know they only took such an interest in me due to all my knowledge of the machines. It's a good thing Cameron taught me what she did. Its kept me alive, but she was always good at doing that. She was good a lot of things.
That's why I need her back.
For a split second I thought I'd found her here, but one look and I knew she wasn't my Cameron. I didn't need to see the dog at her side to know she wasn't mine. I just wish she'd told me about Allison, though I don't guess it would have mattered. I should have known she was built to replace a real person. How else could she be so effective at getting to me? Still, it was hard to come face to face with a woman you knew had to die…especially when you knew you wouldn't do a thing to stop it.
Its taken me over five years to get in the right position to make this happen. Turns out I had to prove my worth before anyone would trust me-–not that I blame them--and it's why I've kept so much of my knowledge to myself unless I knew it would get me somewhere, like when I exposed Weaver for what she really was. But when we finally captured a T-800 I knew I could show my skill. Derek got me assigned to the research team and before the month was over I was running it. That was the first one we reprogrammed and I'm still proud. It was almost like being reunited with an old childhood friend…and in a way I guess it was.
It was my success with the T-800 that got me to where I am. Before I couldn't even get close to John Henry. He's been instrumental in the success of the resistance so I don't feel bad about foiling Weaver's plans to bring him back. I'm beginning to think he belongs in this universe but that's not my call to make. I know she's still out there somewhere, but at this point I wonder if John Henry would be willing to listen. He's been protected ever since I explained she was trying to take him away, and since then he's proved invaluable in helping us fight the machines. Pity they never thought about protecting him from me.
The pounding's getting louder and it won't take much longer before they're able to break down the door.
Turns out I'm going to be a legend in this reality anyway. John Connor: the traitor.
But they don't understand.
I have to go home, and it has to be with her.
Run my eyes over the two bodies on the tables and how can 120 seconds be such an eternity? Brush her hair with my fingertips and I know I should have warned them about Allison. I should have told someone, but if I had…she wouldn't be here.
She came here to kill Kyle, but it didn't matter. I knew the second I saw her eyes that she was mine. I saved the leader of the resistance's life that day. That's how I got the freedom to take this one last shot. I could have reprogrammed her then, but she wouldn't have been right. I needed the chip in John Henry's head and there was no way anyone was handing that over on a silver platter. Turns out they didn't need to. I don't really understand why he met me here or why he didn't put up a fight. Maybe he understands or maybe it has to do with whatever they said to each other before he stole her from me. I don't know, but I'm grateful.
I flashed his programming over the chip that was in the "new" Cameron. Hopefully he wakes up fine because I know they need him here. He should; his programming is still solid. It's her I'm worried about. What if after seven years underneath all of his programing there's nothing left of her? What if I've done all this for nothing? Come on Cameron, please, "Wake up!"
Her eyes snap open almost on cue and I hold my breath. Will her programming have reverted? Will she try to kill me? Or is there nothing left but this shell of the only one I could ever really trust. Please, please Cameron: remember me. Her eyes flick to one side then the other before finally landing on me. She sits up suddenly and cocks her head to the side, booting up.
I stand before her and take the rifle off my shoulder. Her eyes lock on it and I slowly lower it to the ground. If she's not my Cameron, I'm not going to need it anyway. The metal clatters on the cold tile floor and she jumps off the table with a grace not even her human counterpart possessed.
"My mission is to kill John Connor."
Stare into her eyes and I don't know what I'm looking for. I know she's metal, but I also know she's more. She showed me that. She chose not to kill me once; I know she can do it again. I believe it with every bit of the shred of a heart I have left.
"So what are you going to do…Cameron?"
Her head jerks to the side again and once more she straightens it and holds my gaze.
"My name is Cameron."
She takes a step forward and I hold my ground. I know she could kill me in an instant if she wanted, and if she does, she might as well. There's no going back for me without her.
"I'm not going to kill you, John."
Well, that's something. I continue to stare at her because I still don't know if she's really her. I don't even know if she's telling the truth. I feel her eyes run over me and I have to know.
"You brought me back. Again."
She takes another step and we're only inches apart but I make no move to back away.
"I don't want to kill you."
She leans forward and before I know what she's doing she places a soft kiss to my cheek. I always expect her lips to be cold even though I know they're not. They feel as real as she looks. God, I've missed her so much.
Reach out without thinking, something I haven't had the luxury of in so damn long, and wrap my arms around her.
I know it's stupid.
I know she's metal.
But I don't care.
She's the first thing that's been familiar to me in seven years and I need this moment more than I can say.
Her arms wrap around me, returning the hug, and for the first time in years I can relax. I know someone's got my back and it's finally time to go home.