anniversary| trancer

Sarah placed her hands, palm flat, against the tile. She lowered her head, allowing the showerhead to rain down on her. The water was hot, almost scalding, and Sarah inhaled deeply as the water warmed her skin, seeped into her weary bones.

She was exhausted, for reasons both good and bad. Sarah chose to dwell on the good reasons; the fingertip shaped bruises around her wrists, the lip-shaped ones on her neck, the scratches down her back, the teeth marks...

On the inside of her thigh?

"Dammit, girlie," Sarah chuckled to herself. She drifted her hand down, performing a cursory examination of Cameron's 'handiwork.' It was a surface wound, despite the breaking of skin. And Sarah quickly placed her hand back on the shower wall to quell the sudden rising heat within her caused by the memory.

The door to the bathroom opened, closed, Sarah remaining still at the sound of familiar footsteps. The glass door slid open enough to clear some of the steam billowing around her before closing again. She sighed as the familiar body pressed against her from behind, and those familiar hands were sliding up her torso.

"You're up early," Cameron said, placing a kiss to the back of Sarah's neck.

"Couldn't sleep."

Sarah felt the lips on her neck purse as she imagined Cameron's expression.

"A nightmare?"

Sarah nodded.

"I thought you no longer had nightmares."

"Only when I'm with you." Sarah reached down, threading her fingers with Cameron's and bringing Cameron's hand upwards. She brushed her lips over the gold band wrapped around Cameron's finger, the gold band matching Sarah's. "But you were in the shower."

"After last night," Cameron purred into Sarah's neck, her free hand roaming Sarah's stomach. "I thought you'd be too exhausted to have nightmares."

"After last night," Sarah chuckled, turning and tilting her head back to claim Cameron's mouth with her own. "I'm surprised I regained consciousness."

Sarah turned to face Cameron, draping her arms over Cameron's shoulder before going in for another kiss. It was slow, long, leisurely. Cameron's fingertips painted lazy patterns on Sarah's back as Sarah's hands cupped Cameron's jaw, keeping Cameron exactly where Sarah wanted her. And when the kiss turned heated, as Cameron's hips began to roll against Sarah's, Sarah pulled back.

Cameron, eyes a dazed, blinked, tilting her head slightly. "What?"

"You bit me."

Cameron's lips curled into a smile. "Are you saying you didn't like it?"

"I'm just saying you bit me."

"I could bite you again." The hands on Sarah's back drifted lower, settling on her hips. Cameron stepped closer, breasts and stomach pressing together. Closer still, and Sarah was moving, pushed backwards, until her back was against the shower wall. And Cameron was lowering, kneeling before Sarah.

"Cameron..." Sarah's tone was warning, an empty threat, and they both knew it. "I'll be late."

Cameron looked up and the expression on her face was enough to make Sarah's breath hitch. A hand was already between Sarah's legs, grasping behind Sarah's knee and lifting. "I don't think the boss will mind."

"Fine," Sarah huffed. "You'll be late."

"Like I said, I don't think the boss will mind," she said softly, then pressed her lips gently to the mark on Sarah's thigh. Then another kiss, just a little higher. "Be late with me," Cameron said just before pressing the length of her tongue flat against Sarah's sex.

"Cam..." Was all Sarah could get out before the words choked in the back of her throat and her mouth went slack and her eyes went hooded.

They were going to be late. But, Cameron was where she wanted to be and Sarah wasn't going to argue, not when she was doing *that* thing with her tongue. Especially when she was doing *that* thing with her tongue.

Besides, Cameron was right. The boss wouldn't mind.

**

"Morning, Mom."

Sarah stopped in her tracks upon entering the kitchen. The tension Cameron had successfully drained from Sarah returned with a vengeance. The muscles in her shoulders knotted almost painfully as her temples began a migraine-intense pulse.

"John! What the hell are you doing here?"

John sat at the large island in the center of the kitchen, working on his umpteenth bowl of cereal, judging by the box and half empty gallon of milk next to him. He merely smiled, sliding off the stool and approaching his mother.

"Good morning to you, too," he said, placing a kiss on Sarah's cheek.

"John..." Sarah sighed. "You're supposed to be at the airport."

"And I will be. Terissa and Danny are already there."

"Then why are you here?"

"She wouldn't let us leave before saying goodbye."

As if on cue, 'she' came storming into the kitchen in a flash of school girl uniform and crimson hair. "Mommy Sarah!" she cried out, arms already outstretched, and Sarah bent down just in time as the child crashed into her.

An 'oof' whoosing from her lungs, Sarah picked Savannah up, who proceeded to put a death grip around Sarah's neck. "Good morning to you, too," Sarah laughed.

In Savannah's hand was a tiny red box tied with a giant green bow-obviously tied by John as Savannah had yet to master the art of tying bows-which Sarah had to pluck from Savannah's eager fingers because the girl was practically shoving it in Sarah's face.

"What's this?"

"It's for you," Savannah beamed. "For your annvi... annsi," she stumbled. "Anniversary."

"My what? What anni..." Sarah paused. Cameron had entered the kitchen, face blank, eyes focused on Savannah. Not a death glare, but a look Sarah was all too familiar with--the 'you're in big trouble' look.

Savannah, as familiar with Cameron's looks as Sarah, suddenly deflated. "Did I ruin the surprise?"

The look on Cameron's face changed, a soft smile pulling at her lips. If anyone could melt a terminator without lighting a match, it was one Savannah Connor-Philips-Weaver. Which explained Savannah's last name. If Sarah and Cameron were going to be Connor-Philips, Savannah would be too.

Cameron placed her hand softly on the back of Savannah's head before kissing her gently on the cheek. "You should be at the airport," she said, sending a quick, hard glance towards John who merely shrugged his shoulders. He was as quick to bend to the force of nature that was Savannah as anyone else.

"I don't wanna go," Savannah whined. "I wanna stay here with you and Mommy Sarah."

"And miss out on your special John-John time?" Sarah asked.

"He's just gonna play video games with Danny," Savannah said with a pout. And John received a hard glare from both Sarah and Cameron.

John rolled his eyes at his mother. He stepped towards the 'inner circle.' "I promise, this time I'll do whatever you want to do."

The pout on Savannah's lips twitched, Savannah desperately trying not to smile. This was her world, and everything was good when she was the center of it. "Danny too."

"Scout's honor," he said with a salute.

A heartbeat away from acquiescing, the pout on Savannah's lips returned. "But what about..."

"Savannah," Cameron immediately interjected. Savannah's lips snapping closed into a grim line. Her expression so similar to Cameron's Sarah would swear the child was Cameron's instead of merely 'Mommy.' "You know the rules," Cameron continued. "But, I'll promise you this..."

Cameron paused, smiling softly as she leaned towards Savannah's ear, whispering something Sarah couldn't hear. Like a light, Savannah's face brightened.

"Really?" Savannah said. "You promise?"

"I promise."

"Okay."

And just like that, Savannah wriggled out of Sarah's arms. She grabbed John's hand and pulled him as she walked towards the front of the house. "C'mon, John-John."

"How do you *do* that?" John asked with a bemused expression on his face before kissing Sarah's cheek one last time. "See you in a couple days."

They watched the two of them exit the house. The door closing, Sarah turned to Cameron. "Anniversary?"

**

"Miles?" Sarah smiled through her annoyed tone. "Why aren't you at the airport?"

"I know I'm an attractive man but I already have a wife," he chuckled back in her ear. "I'm on my way. Listen, I just had a nice, long chat with a computer programmer, Andy Goode, he used to intern for me at Cyberdyne. Smart kid. Anyway, he's built an AI system I think we might be interested in."

Sarah inhaled, tension knotting her shoulders. "How interested?"

"Better us than the military is all I'm saying."

"Okay," she brought a hand to her forehead, fingertips digging into her skin. "I'll talk to him tomorrow. Now you, get to the airport."

"All right, boss," Miles laughed.

She closed her cell, turning to face the floor to ceiling windows of her office. Arms crossed over her chest, Sarah stared blankly at the view from the top floor of the Zeira Corp. headquarters. Los Angeles sprawled out before her, buildings and streets, mountains to the east, ocean to the west. And all Sarah could see were the images from her nightmare--bombs, mushroom clouds and concussion waves of destruction.

The nightmares weren't as intense or as frequent as they were back in the beginning, but they were always there, particularly this time of the year.

She turned from the view, both real and imaginary, choosing to focus on more pleasant things. Her eyes went to her desk, the pictures of John, Savannah, Sarah and Cameron on their wedding day.

The door to her office opened, and Sarah couldn't help but smile. Only one person entered her office without knocking. One hand holding a vase with two dozen white roses, the other carrying a white, rectangular box, Cameron approached Sarah's desk.

"For our anniversary," Sarah said, leaning back in her chair, resting her hands on her stomach.

"An anniversary, yes," Cameron replied, maneuvering the items on Sarah's desk so she could set the box and flowers down.

"I didn't get you anything."

Hazel eyes narrowed. "I know."

"Cameron..." Sarah sighed. It wouldn't be the first time Sarah was in the doghouse; it also wouldn't be her last. "A hint would be nice."

Cameron inhaled deeply before circling around the desk. She placed a hand on Sarah's shoulder then leaned down, kissing Sarah on the cheek. "You'll remember."

Sarah turned her head enough to catch Cameron's lips with her own. "Was it the first time we made love?" she purred, a hand on Cameron's thigh, fingers sliding under the already dangerously high hemline. "The first time we had sex?"

Cameron swatted the hand away, leaning back up to her full height. "No." As she stepped back around Sarah's desk, her eyes went to the white box. "The limo will be here at 6. I'll be waiting..." she paused just enough for her lips to curl in the tiniest of smiles. "And I expect you to be wearing that."

**

The restaurant was empty except for the staff, Cameron and Sarah. Cameron had rented the entire restaurant for the evening, one of LA's most exclusive, and expensive. It sat high up in the hills with a spectacular view of Los Angeles.

They ate their dinner in silence with the exception of the occasional visit by the maitre'd and the ambient music wafting through the air like smoke. A comfortable silence, the kind between lovers long accustomed to each other.

Sarah poured the last of her wine into her glass. Taking a long sip, she leaned back in her chair. There was Cameron and the lights of Los Angeles behind her, two gorgeous views in one frame.

"I remember," Sarah grinned over the lip of her glass, Cameron lifting her eyes from her dessert to meet Sarah's. "What today is."

"I knew you would."

"I never took you for the sentimental type."

"It was..." Cameron's eyes lost focus as they always did when she was deep in thought. It lasted a nanosecond before they were on Sarah again, bright and clear. "An important day."

"To say the least," Sarah said, setting her glass on the table then leaning forward on her elbows, clasping her hands and resting her chin on her fingers. "It changed everything."

Cameron looked away again. Sarah said nothing. She didn't have to. Everything she needed to know she saw in the tiny twitches on Cameron's face. "He said 'she thinks too much, thinks too much about the future'." Sarah merely nodded. It'd been a long time since Cameron had spoken of John, the man her son was supposed to be, would have been, had they not changed the future. "'Don't let her forget to enjoy the present'."

"Is that what you've been doing, helping me enjoy the present?" Sarah's eyes went to the band of gold around her ring finger. It was a constant question always in the back of her mind, if that John knew how much Cameron would mean to Sarah. A question Sarah hoped to never get the answer to.

"No fate but what we make," Cameron replied.

"No fate but what we make," Sarah repeated. She reached across the table, clasping Cameron's hand, drawing her thumb over the knuckles. "Let's go home."

**

"Hi Mom. We're here. We're fine. Savannah hasn't driven us crazy... yet. See you in a week. Bye..."

"Don't say 'goodbye', say 'I love you'!" Savannah's voice piped in.

"Savannah.." John paused, his voice dripping with irritation. He inhaled deeply. "I love you."

"And Mommy Cameron too!"

"Bye Mom..." Which was followed quickly by. "JOHN!"

The message ended, beeping immediately to play the next message.

"Hi Mommy Sarah. Hi, Mommy Cameron. I love you."

"See. Are you happy now?"

The message ended, the last of them on the machine. Sarah's finger hovered a moment over the delete button, then she thought better of it, leaving the messages as they were.

Then Cameron's hands were on her hips, Cameron's body pressing against the length of Sarah's, lips on Sarah's neck.

"I miss them already," Sarah sighed.

"You say that every year."

"I mean it every year."

"And every year they back to you," Cameron paused, turning Sarah in her arms until they were face-to-face. "They come back to us. Safe and sound."

"Say it again," Sarah smiled softly, drawing her arms over Cameron's shoulders.

"What?"

"'Us'."

A single eyebrow rose higher up Cameron's forehead. "I have something better."

"Wh..."

Cameron crashed their lips together. Aside from dinner, Cameron had been distant, almost cold all day. Now, she was hungry and urgent. She brushed her tongue across Sarah's mouth and, at Sarah's moan, pushed her tongue inside. A timeless dance, their mouths connected as Cameron pushed and Sarah walked backwards. Until Sarah felt the backs of her knees colliding with the edge of their bed.

Breathless, Sarah pulled their lips apart. "Cam..." Was all she could get out before Cameron pushed once more, letting gravity do the rest as Sarah fell backwards on the bed.

"The only reason I bought this dress.." Cameron placed her hands under Sarah's knees, roughly pulling them open. "Was so I could be the one to remove it."

It was a lovely dress, black, slinky, hugging Sarah's every curve. In a flash, it was gone. Between Cameron's hungry kisses, Sarah's panties and bra followed. The shoes? They stayed on. How a machine could develop a kink? Sarah would never ask, just indulge because Cameron was no ordinary machine. No ordinary terminator. Something Sarah had learned long ago.

"Cameron," Sarah panted, almost breathlessly.

"Sarah," Cameron purred into Sarah's neck in that way that always made Sarah's breath hitch. "Stop thinking. Let me love you."

"You say that like you've stopped."

Suddenly, Cameron stilled. She lifted her head, meeting Sarah's eyes, her face stony and serious. "Never."

"I know," Sarah pulled Cameron's face back towards hers, bringing their lips together again. "I know."

They kissed as Cameron's hand slid between them and Sarah draped a leg over Cameron's hip, marveling at the way they just.. fit so easily together. Sarah moaned, arched as Cameron's fingers entered her. The rhythm too slow, too fast, too much, not enough. And Sarah's nails were digging into Cameron's back, her moans throaty and ragged. Moans that turned to whimpers as Cameron descended, added suckling lips and battering tongue. Sarah's hands flailed at the sheets, grabbing white-knuckled fistfuls.

All these years and Sarah still hadn't gotten used to this--Cameron's all consuming, singular focus. The patience of a machine, tearing down the walls Sarah had built brick-by-brick, until she was the enemy within. The nightmare, the enemy, turned friend, lover. Wife.

Years. Walls. Bricks.

This.

There was a time when all Sarah thought of was destroying the machines. Now, she can't imagine her life without one. This one.

One more push of her fingers, one more swipe of her tongue and Sarah careened over the edge, feral wail erupting from her throat. Glad the kids were out of the house, if she were capable of cognitive thought. Because Sarah knew, this wasn't the end. There was more, more of Cameron's tongue and lips and fingers and she was careening over the edge again. Until Sarah collapsed bonelessly on the mattress, with the last of her strength, threading her fingers in Cameron's hair and pulling insistently.

"I swear, girlie," she chuckled throatily. "You will be the death of me."

Cameron took her time kissing her way back up Sarah's frame, like this was all new to her though they'd done it hundreds, maybe thousands of times. It's not like Sarah had been counting although, had she asked, she was sure Cameron knew the answer.

She brought their lips together, kissing slowly and leisurely, both enjoying the taste that was exclusively theirs.

"You won't die," Cameron said as their lips parted, her fingers running over faded scars. "I won't let you."

Sarah could only smile at the sincerity of Cameron's words. She may have evolved beyond her programming but there were bits and pieces of it still in there. There was still the mission even if the parameters had long ago changed, included a family, friends, a multi-billion dollar corporation. Underneath it all, Sarah knew, Cameron's purpose remained.

Protect Sarah Connor.

**

1984

200 MILES SOUTH OF THE CALIFORNIA/MEXICO BORDER

"What'd he say?" Sarah asked the old man.

"He said..."

"He said..." both the old man and Sarah turned the eyes towards the young woman standing on the other side of Sarah's Jeep. "You're going the wrong way."

Instinctually, Sarah's hand went to the safety box between the driver and passenger seat, a heartbeat's away from her gun. "Who are you?"

"Cameron Philips." Cameron extended her hand, merely shrugging when Sarah didn't accept it instead opening the passenger door and sliding onto the seat. "Come with me if you want to live."

**

Morning came and Sarah watched as the sliver of orange on the horizon rose, morphing into the sun. She never slept on this day, out of fear tomorrow would never come. For the past three years, it was why the rest of her family spent a week in South Mexico, a stone's throw from the underground bunker Sarah had paid for herself. Paid for by Sarah, designed by Cameron.

Sarah felt the arm draped over her stomach tighten, soft lips against her neck.

"See," Cameron whispered. "The world didn't end."

"There's always next year." It was meant to be a joke, but Sarah's voice lacked any mirth. Then she felt Cameron's hands gently rolling her onto her back.

"You think too much."

"Was that your plan? Help me forget?"

"No. To help you remember." Cameron leaned down, bringing their lips together. "Today might be the day the world ends. But, it's also the day our world began."

Sarah smiled. "You *are* a sentimental fool."

"Yes, but I am your sentimental fool."

Sarah chuckled softly. Despite the moment, she couldn't stop her eyes from glancing at the rising sun. She couldn't stop herself from seeing what could be instead of what was. She sighed heavily. Cameron was right, Sarah did think too much. Today was what she wanted, a day without bombs and mushroom clouds. A day that wouldn't be possible without the machine, no, the woman, painting lazy circles with her fingertips on Sarah's stomach. That was a reason to celebrate.

Cameron was Sarah's. The thought made Sarah's insides warm as quickly as Cameron's fingers warmed Sarah's skin. Hers. "Forever?" she said.

Cameron's lips spread into a grin. Sarah thought too much. Sarah needed to occasionally enjoy the present instead of constantly worrying about the future. Mission accomplished. "Forever."

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