If there was one thing that Sarah had figured out early on, it was that the universe just loved fucking her over. And today was a classic example.
She and Pops had kept their heads down for years, minding their own damned business while trying to save the world, but as soon as they'd beaten Skynet, but now, as soon as it looked like they'd finally be home free, of course their names - and mugshots - were known to the authorities.
And as if that wasn't enough of a kick in the teeth, the authorities in this time seemed a hell of a lot more efficient than Sarah remembered, especially when the word 'terrorism' was mentioned. It hadn't taken long for them to put two and two together. She supposed it wasn't a stretch to realise that the 'terrorists' who'd tried to blow themselves up on the freeway - naked, and the thought of that still made her cringe - and who'd destroyed half a hospital, a quarter of a bridge and an entire school bus, and then stolen a police helicopter for good measure, were also in the frame for another explosion in the immediate area.
Okay, they had, but still. She'd thought she could finally stop running. What a fucking joke. Only she'd never found it funny, and this morning...
Yeah, the joke was finally, irrevocably, on her.
One branch of law enforcement - and Sarah couldn't keep track of them, from Homeland Security to the FBI to the CIA, all of them after her head - caught up with them some place outside of Colorado. So the three of them might have added some property damage and more than one leg wound to their running tab, but they hadn't killed anyone. Yet. As far as Sarah was concerned, from now on anyone who tangled with them, government forces or not, deserved what they got, and next time she wouldn't be so careful about where she aimed.
Somewhere in the melee, Kyle had caught a bullet, and Sarah's heart had just fucking stopped.
"Right," she stated flatly, her hands curled into claws and her heart racing, hard and furious in her chest. He was fine; they were fine; everything was fine, except for the blood that stained his shirt and her fingers and palms.
She'd scrubbed the worst of it off when they'd got here, trying not to throw up while the water swirled redly down the drain. Trying to convince herself that they were safe here for a while, where 'here' was an abandoned gas station and 'they' was her and Kyle. Pops had stashed them here while he went to divert attention - turned out that whole 'mimicking' thing was useful when it came to laying a fake trail.
She wanted Pops back desperately. Wanted it to be Pops that had to deal with the fallout, not her, not this time. She could deal with her own injuries, even Pops', but it turned out she had no defences, none at all, when it came to Kyle.
It was an effort to keep her voice even, to keep the screaming inside. "You're fine. Sure. In case you hadn't noticed, you have a hole in your arm."
"Yeah." Kyle craned his head, lifting his arm to peer at the wound as though it was purely a matter of scientific interest instead of him bleeding the fuck out. "Through and through, straight through the meat."
When he looked back up at Sarah, his expression was calm. Too fucking calm as far as Sarah was concerned when she was still shaking from the adrenaline, the moment when the bullet had hit, knocking him off balance so that he'd stumbled as blood sprayed into the air, played over and over in her mind.
"It's fine," he repeated when he caught sight of her face.
Fine. Fucking fine. If he was aiming for reassuring, he missed it by a mile.
The fear was still choking her, but she swallowed it down somehow, locking it down as tightly as she could and finding a snort to answer him from somewhere. Maybe it was even convincing. She didn't know, couldn't tell. She fumbled the first aid kit open, slamming it down on the counter to cover the fact that her hands were still trembling, but the fear kept bubbling up in her, leaving her chest tight, her heartbeat tripping over itself.
So close, so fucking close. A little further up, a little more to the right and it could have gone right through his stupid head.
She couldn't lose him. She just couldn't, not now. Not ever.
She'd never wanted to lose him even before she'd met him, railing against the inevitability of that as much as the existence of Skynet. Railing against the existence of Kyle, if she was honest, but the thought of him dying now, when she thought the danger had passed, when she thought they were safe...
"I'm fine," Kyle repeated, his voice soft as he leaned in towards her. "Sarah..."
He knew her too well. Well enough to see what she kept hidden, and even Pops couldn't read her like that.
"We need to get that wrapped up," she said, focusing on keeping her voice brisk, even brusque, as she rummaged through the kit for sterile bandages and something to clean the wound. The bullet had gone straight through his jacket - it might have been through and through, but she couldn't guarantee it hadn't left some debris in its wake.
The thought made her feel vaguely sick again. She'd cleaned Pops' wounds, dug bullets out of his flesh, patched him up as well as she could; she should be used to this by now. She should be harder than this by now. She should be better.
But it was Kyle... That made everything different.
Her fingers were still shaking, and she straightened them out, taking a deep breath and holding it inside her. Holding it long enough to set her head buzzing, but at least it blocked out the pounding of her heart. For a moment. "We need to clean it, too."
He didn't argue for once, didn't suggest that he do it instead. She was stupidly grateful for that. She'd feel better doing something, anything. Better to have something to concentrate on instead of watching him struggle to do it himself, driven by some mistaken need to protect her.
She could do it. She could.
She had to.
Kyle let her be for a moment, settling back on the bench and watching her but saying nothing. She knew what he was doing - giving her whatever space he thought she needed, when what she really needed was him.
Her fingers were still trembling, and she willed them to stop.
She found some wipes first, and some sterile forceps, small enough to use to ease out the few scraps of fabric she found, but big enough to have Kyle hissing through his teeth, struggling to stay still for her. Then she washed the wound out with sterile saline solution, leaning over him and resting her hand on his uninjured shoulder to steady herself.
Kyle's fingers settled on her waist, warm and dry where they curled against her skin. His breath stirred the small hairs at her temple, slightly sour but present.
He was still breathing. She let that thought fill her for a moment, the weight of it pushing everything else down inside, finally drowning out the screaming, just for a moment.
She'd take it.
This close to him, she could almost hear his heartbeat; it was all too easy to imagine it beating underneath his skin, fragile like the rest of him. The scent of him rose up around her - part Kyle and part gunpowder, warm and alive. Her fingers steadied against his skin, and she took a moment, just one, to let the feel of him anchor her, to calm the rushing of her heart, ease the tightness in her chest until she could breathe again.
The wound was finally as clean as she was going to get it, although they'd need to keep an eye on it, make sure it didn't get infected. She was already mentally mapping all of the places they could get antibiotics off the grid and with the law hot on their heels as she started to step away from him to reach for the bandages.
He didn't let her go, his grip on her tightening until he held her put between his legs. When his eyes met hers, they were still calm, but darker than they had been.
Her heart skipped a beat, a sudden surge of something running through her, pricking against her skin and leaving her a little breathless, just when she thought she'd finally caught her breath. She anticipated his next move, tilting her head to meet him as he leaned in and kissed her, but she wasn't ready for the fierceness of it, the way his fingers pressed bruises into her skin, the way the kiss consumed her.
She let it, letting it drown everything else out until the thrumming under her skin wasn't fear, but him instead.
When he finally pulled back, she held his gaze for a moment, waiting for her heart to slow down again before she leaned to reach for the bandages - leaned instead of stepping completely away, and coming back as soon as she could.
He brought his other hand up to rest it on her hip, both thumbs now stroking along the waistband of her pants, feather-light where they brushed against her skin as she wound the bandages around his bicep. He didn't say a word as she tightened them just enough to hold them in place, but not so tight they'd cut off circulation, or cause him pain. He didn't flinch, and she was sure that was for her benefit.
It was hard stepping away from him, and his fingers slipped away from her just as reluctantly before he flexed his arm, twisting it to and fro to eye what she'd done.
"Good field dressing," he said eventually, glancing up to give her a heart-stopping smile with something darker, richer underneath.
She didn't smile back, not at first, not when his blood was still on her skin beneath her thin latex gloves, not when she could still feel the warmth from his fingers. Instead, she peeled the gloves off, keeping her moves brisk and business-like as she threw them into the waste bin.
"Like it?" She kept her tone light, barely a quiver in it as she found the strength from somewhere. "Up to now I've only had Pops to practice on, and he never complains."
He snorted, finally dragging his attention away from the pristine white bandages to focus on her. He considered her for a moment, cocking his head in a way she'd seen echoed in John, and then smiled at her again.
There was an edge in that smile, one that thankfully she'd never seen mirrored in their never-to-be son. It was a look she recognised, and she raised an eyebrow at him, ignoring the way it sparked something in her, something hungry instead of afraid.
"Yeah, seriously." This time the edge in his smile was wolfish as he reached out and caught hold of her belt-loops, tugging her all the way back towards him. For a moment, she thought about resisting, but she was fooling herself. She couldn't resist him - that was half of the problem.
But not all of it.
"You've just been shot," she pointed out as he eased her closer. "And Pops will be back soon."
"It won't take long."
She raised an eyebrow at him, but let his grin settle something inside her, the last frantic beating of her heart. "Is that supposed to be an incentive?"
"Come on, Sarah," he coaxed, finally bringing her to a stop again between his legs, close enough to feel the heat of him against her skin. "All that adrenaline's got to go somewhere."
He could have had a point - the tension was still singing beneath her skin, a constant refrain of fight, flight, or fuck raising the hairs on the back of her neck, sending shivers down her spine.
Kyle's thumbs stroked over her skin again, slow and deliberate this time, naked intent - and need - in his eyes. Then his hands moved, sliding slowly over her hips, around to her ass and then settling there.
Another shiver ran through her, this one all over, down her spine, over her stomach, tightening in her nipples.
"Sarah," he said again, the sound soft and low, and she felt the harmonics of it in her chest, her belly, all the way down to between her legs. He pulled her closer still, until his breath was once again ghosting over the skin just by her ear, until she could feel him, more than half-hard already, against her thigh.
"Pops..." she began, but Kyle simply leaned in even closer, his breath now warm against her neck as he lowered his head, and any objection she planned to make was already trailing off before the word was fully out of her mouth.
"We have enough time," he murmured, his lips brushing her skin, the sensation shivering through her and leaving her weak at the knees.
"That's easy for you to say," she bitched, but the sound came out way too breathless, not cynical like she'd hoped. Not steady like she'd hoped. "You're not the one who has to take their pants off."
"There are ways around that," he murmured, his mouth moving up her neck, settling just by her ear. She could feel the vibrations running her when he spoke, a low rumble, dark and deep. "Trust me."
She did, that was the kicker. She trusted him, and she wanted him, more than she'd ever imagined.
It terrified her. Easier not to think about it. Easier just to let go.
His fingers slid from her ass to her stomach, moving unerringly to the fastening of her pants - all action, no messing around as he flicked the button open and slid the zipper down, the backs of his knuckles scraping roughly over the skin of her stomach. She tensed, anticipation running through her again; her mouth was dry, but she was already starting to get wet for him, fear, flight, fuck. It helped that she loved his fingers, the broad, simple strength of them, loved his hands, especially when they were on her.
Loved him, for all that she'd railed against fate, and that was both the sweetest and bitterest of ironies.
But Kyle didn't ease his fingers into her panties like she'd expected, not the way he had so many other times before. Instead his hands shifted back to her ass, moving with the kind of focus and dedication that made her want him even more, that overwhelmed her and left her - blissfully - incapable of thought.
And then he was yanking her pants down, not stopping until he'd bared her ass to the air. The move was rough, hurried, and he was even more so when he stood up and pulled her sharply back against him, pressing his dick hard against her hip and grinding against her as he leaned down to kiss her again, hard and fierce, his teeth sharp against her lip.
The hunger surged through her, leaving her clutching at his arms to stay upright as she groaned helplessly, barely avoiding his injury in her haste. He pulled away too soon, way too soon, but before she could protest, reaching for him automatically, he was already moving, not stopping until he was behind her.
His hand settled somewhere between her shoulder blades, and he shoved her down towards the bench.
It sent a spike of pure lust through her, one that surged again when his hands yanked her pants further down, this time over her hips, not stopping until the waistband was bunched around her thighs.
It was perfect; she was trapped, unable to spread her legs any wider or close them completely. She swallowed down another gasp as his hands - big and broad - settled on her hips, pulling her back against him so that he could grind himself against her, against her ass this time, thick and hard and leaving her wanting.
She couldn't help the sound that escaped her this time, something high-pitched and made of pure need. But again he pulled away too soon, leaving her whimpering in frustration, not wanting his usual gentleness, not this time. She wanted this - something hard and fast and furious to wipe out the memory of blood splashes and Kyle stumbling, falling to his knees - and she rocked her hips helplessly, seeking that friction.
Kyle's breath echoed harshly in the small room, and she repeated the move deliberately, just to hear his breath catch, just to get him moving. She wanted him pressed so closely against her that she couldn't tell where she ended and he started. She wanted him in her, so fucking deep she couldn't feel anything else.
She closed her eyes, bracing herself against the bench and breathing through her mouth as she listened to the sound of Kyle's zipper coming down, the soft crinkle of the condom wrapper, the hitch in Kyle's breath when she pushed her ass up, automatically adjusting for the difference in their heights as he stepped closer. And then he was pushing his fingers into her, testing how ready she was for him.
Not ready enough, but she didn't care, loving how even his fingers felt like too much, his calluses catching against her skin. She rocked back into him, still unable to spread her legs the way she wanted to, but urging him on, wanting his dick so badly now that she could barely breathe around the need, her belly clenching and an aching emptiness between her thighs, one his fingers couldn't fill.
He didn't make her wait too long, just long enough to spread her wetness around before he pulled his fingers out abruptly and pushed his dick into her, fast and deep. It jerked her forward, her hips banging against the edge of the bench and her teeth catching her tongue as she fought for balance.
He pulled out just as quickly, and she whined, her hands reaching back for him, scrabbling for him until she caught fabric, until she could drag him closer again, trying to get him to bury his full length in her. The second thrust had her hips banging against the bench again, and she'd feel that tomorrow, would have bruises for days, but she didn't care about that, couldn't do anything except lose herself in the sensation, the slow burning as he pushed back in again, slower this time, making it last, making her beg.
He was too tall, pushing her up onto her toes until she had to let go of him, bracing herself against the bench, but still unable to get any leverage. This time when he pulled back, his hands slid around her hips, steadying her and holding her against him, his knuckles taking the brunt of each thrust instead of her flesh. She finally let go, her fingers curling helplessly against the cool metal of the bench as he pounded into her, no finesse, not this time. Nothing but pure need, all sweat and adrenaline.
She was close; God, she was so close already, the breath forced out of her every time Kyle's hips snapped forward, sucking the air back in again with a gasp every time he pulled back. It was unrelenting, and her throat burned as she panted harshly; now she was the one who couldn't quite catch her breath.
There. Christ, just there. Her toes curled as another whimper left her, this one higher pitched, desperate in a way she never let herself be, not even with him.
Kyle's fingers slipped from her hips, his arm wrapping around her waist instead as his free palm settled against her spine, pushing her down. Holding her down as though a bullet wound was nothing, as though nothing could stop him when it came to her. Her hips rose up even higher to compensate, higher and higher until her toes were barely touching the floor. The whine that left her this time should have embarrassed her, but she couldn't feel that, couldn't feel anything but Kyle, in her and over her, thick and solid, filling her until she thought she'd break apart.
Yes. Oh, God, please.
She may have said it out loud; she couldn't tell over the sound of her own blood rushing in her ears, over Kyle's harsh breathing, the pace of his hips picking up until he was slamming into her. His hand left her back, sliding over her sweat-slicked skin until he could tangle his fingers with hers, squeezing them almost to the point of pain.
She held on as tightly as she could, turning her head so that she could stare at his strong fingers wrapped around hers. It was too much - she could already feel the tension in her body racking up, starting in her toes, moving up her calves and thighs until her whole body was tense, shaking with it, release just a hair's breadth away.
Kyle rolled his hips, pushing his dick even deeper into her, his breath now warm against the nape of her neck as he leaned over her, his weight against her back pressing her down.
"Sarah," he gasped against her skin, the word broken and harsh with need.
The sound of her name in his mouth was enough to finally send her over the edge, her cunt tightening around him as the pleasure surged through her, turning her limbs to liquid, fire sparking along every nerve ending as her whole body shuddered, coming apart at the seams.
She cried out, too lost in the feel of him, the warmth of him against her back and the thickness of his dick still buried in her, to hold anything back.
Kyle cursed, his grip on her tightening as he grew closer to his own release. His thrusts grew more erratic as he lost his rhythm, her body clenching around him with every wave of pleasure that washed over her.
"Sarah," he said again, and this time her name sounded like a benediction in his mouth. She couldn't answer him, could only squeeze his fingers, letting him know she was still with him, still there despite him fucking her brains out.
He grunted as he finally spilled inside her, his hips jerking once, twice, three times. His fingers slid free of hers as he braced himself against the bench so that he didn't flatten her.
Sarah closed her eyes, feeling his sweat drying on her skin, the imprint of his fingers branded into her hips and her waist, and the tenderness between her thighs where Kyle was still buried in her. She didn't think she could move if she tried.
She didn't want to.
But Kyle could still move. All too soon, he was pushing himself up and easing back, ignoring her slightly disgruntled sound as his fingers slid down between their bodies, catching hold of the end of the condom and keeping it in place as he pulled out. She let out another disgruntled sound, and he chuckled, reaching out absently to stroke his fingers over her back, under the sticky, sweaty fabric of her T-shirt.
His touch was gentler this time, much more familiar and Kyle-like, and she had to fight not to arch into it like an attention starved cat, wanting to hold onto some of her dignity at least.
Although, given that she was bent over with her pants around her knees and her come drying between her thighs, she had a feeling that her dignity was long gone.
One of Kyle's large hands settled on her ass cheek. "Come on," he said, sounding far too with it for someone whose brain should, by rights, be pooled on the floor alongside Sarah's. "You're right. Pops will be back soon, and we'll need to head out."
Way to kill the mood. She managed to push herself up somehow, still not convinced that her knees had turned back to bone given the way that her legs wobbled when she tried to stand upright and pull her pants back up again, struggling to slide them over sweat-slicked skin.
She lifted her head up, turning her focus from her zipper to Kyle's face, a smart remark already making its way to the surface in response to his question. But it faded away again at the look on Kyle's face, the soft affection there not hiding the concern underneath.
She swallowed around the lump that had suddenly appeared in her throat and nodded, lost for words the way she often was around Kyle when he got that look in his eye, the one that said she was his whole world. The one that said that he saw her, all of her, even the small, scared bits she tried to hide from everyone else. Saw all of her and loved all of her anyway.
"Good." He gave her another smile, this one a little smug around the edges. Given that her knees still weren't working properly, she thought she'd give him that one at least, especially when, as soon as he'd finished fastening his own pants, he cupped her face in one palm and leaned down to kiss her again.
It was softer, gentler this time, and the few parts of her that hadn't already been turned to liquid melted.
He finally let go and stepped back, giving her some space to finish getting dressed as he flexed his arm again, nodding approvingly when her makeshift bandage held. He'd bled through the bandages a little, but the stain this time was smaller and easier to bear.
"Like I said, this is a good field dressing."
She snorted, and the sound also came easier this time, no need to fake it when the frantic beating of her heart had finally been silenced by this, the ease between them and the traces of him left beneath her skin.
"Which means I don't need any more practice," she said pointedly, finally able to crack wise about it even if it wasn't, and would never be, funny.
The corner of his mouth twisted wryly.
"Point taken," he said, and she took it, a little insurance against the future.
Maybe that was all she needed, in the end. A little insurance that, while the universe might conspire to fuck her over, the fucking wouldn't always be bad as long as she still had Kyle.