Literatti: Fiction By Deslea
Fearful Symmetry cover art by Deslea.
Fearful Symmetry
Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 2010

Fandom: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Character/Pairing: Sarah/Derek UST, but nothing explicit.
Rating: PG. Pretty harmless.
Warnings: Spoilers for Queen's Gambit (with a blink-and-miss-it reference to Allison From Palmdale).
Summary: He sees steel and prettiness in the woman, and his brother in her son. This is how Kyle's story ends, he thinks. Ends, and begins.
Disclaimer: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
Feedback: deslea at deslea dot com.
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Author's Note: I wrote this simply because I wondered exactly when Derek knew John was Kyle's, and I didn't think I'd ever seen it written. And I always thought there was a little too much standing still waiting for the T-888 to notice them in Queen's Gambit. *snerk*

He first set eyes on her at Andy Goode's house.

He'd done a pretty good job of separating Andy Goode and Billy Wisher in his mind. It wasn't hard. This man - this *boy* - was so cheerful. So cleancut. Nothing like the moody, tormented man he'd fought beside in the future. He'd steeled himself, and he'd gone to his house ready to kill.

And then he saw Sarah Connor through the window. Floral shirt, hair drawn up loosely, two glasses on the table. It was an honest to God date.

He'd flinched. Drawn back. Drawn attention to himself. And that had been the end of it, at least for a while.

He watched them. Hoping that she had a plan. Relieved, for a while, when she burned his house down. He wondered why he hadn't thought of that himself.

But the machine was in Andy's head, and he just went and built it again.

He hoped Sarah would do it, but she didn't. She had chances and didn't take them. Once in the park with her gun tucked into her belt at the small of her back. Once in a closed room. She wasn't going to do it. Idly, he wondered if she'd fallen in love with the kid. Or maybe she just wasn't as tough as the legends made out.

So he did it. And she surprised him. Tackled, kicked, punched. Clawed at his face. Hurt him just as much as any man.

Okay, she *was* as tough as the legends made out.

"You're prettier than your picture," he'd said at the prison, and he didn't mean anything by it, not really. If anything, it was a backhanded apology for the alley. He didn't think he'd hurt her much - just enough to get away with his balls and his eyes intact. Probably nowhere near as much as she'd hurt him. But still, Derek Reese wasn't in the business of hurting women, least of all his commander's mother.

Of course, until recently he hadn't been in the business of killing his best friend, either.

"I didn't do it." Why had he said that? Was it just because of this unexpected development, a hard-as-nails Sarah Connor who hadn't killed, wouldn't kill, and his own new status as a killer, acquired spectacularly against his dearest friend? Did he really give a shit what she thought of him? Could it be any worse than what he thought of himself?

The question was all pretty moot now, he supposed. They were transporting him into federal custody, yes, but such things counted for little with a T-888 after him. If he were a betting man, he would wager that his life expectancy was less than a day. He supposed he should make peace with his likely demise. The Turk was out there, but Sarah would find it. At least there would be no more. The deadly song in Andy Goode's head had fallen silent.

If his life was the price, then he could probably make some kind of hurried peace with that.

Of course, that didn't mean he was going to go without a fight.

Getting out of the cuffs was child's play, but it was too late. He was shaking them free when the van screeched to a halt, lurching him to the floor. There was shouting and glass breaking and doors opening and closing. Weight on the front of the van, then the back. It was coming for him in a locked box, and he wasn't ready, and for that he would die.

The door slid open, and it wasn't the T-888.

It was the Allison-clone. The thing they called Cameron.

"Metal *bitch,*" he hissed. The hairs on the back of his neck were up and it was as much relief as his default setting of metal-hate. Adrenaline pumped through him in jittering breaths and prickles on his skin.

The *thing* tilted its head at him thoughtfully, then stepped past him and pulled open the dividing door, breaking the lock effortlessly. "She's on our side," Sarah said calmly.

Yeah, he'd figured.

He sat down beside her in the front, shooting her a look. Almost angry with her.

What the fuck was she doing? Did she need a hired gun that fucking bad? He would have asked if she hadn't been busy, y'know, busting up a T-888 with a semi-trailer.

A jeep pulled up in front of them, and she brought the van to a stop. The driver was a teenaged boy - John Connor, Derek guessed. Okay, this was a whole new level of crazy. She'd put the whole crew at risk for a stranger. He didn't know who this hellion was, but she sure as hell wasn't the strategic genius of post-J-Day folklore.

He kind of wanted to court-martial her, and felt like a shit for it. She had, after all, saved what passed for his ass.

They got out of the van. And John Connor got out of the jeep.

"Where's Cameron?" he said, running not so much up to him as past him. Great, he thought. Soldier of the future had a chivalrous streak for the machines. It just got better and better.

"Leave her," he said. "Let's go."

There was a thud behind them. He glanced over his shoulder, registered the metal on the losing side of a T-888 sucker-punch.

John tried to push past, to get to it. Sarah grabbed one of his arms. "Stay back!" she yelled. Maybe she had some sense after all, he thought, grabbing the other. And that was when he got his first really good look at the kid.

*My God, he looks like Kyle,* he thought in clinical bemusement. Then, more gravely as the full import made itself clear, *He looks like KYLE.*

Images tumbled through his mind, forming patterns like a kaleidoscope as John pushed back against them. Kyle with Sarah's picture. The look on Sarah's face when she asked who his brother was. That odd look John would get on his face sometimes when he looked at Kyle.

Oh God. Oh God.

John was pushing through them, towards the thing, and he glanced at Sarah. They moved in unison. Mother and father figure, at least for the moment. Him holding the kid back while she distracted the T-888 off that damn machine with a few futile shots of her gun. And he watched Sarah out of the corner of his eye and he wondered how long they were together. Whether she loved him. He hoped so. He saw steel and prettiness and he saw Kyle.

The T-888 was rising. Turning his gun on them.

He saw it with stunning clarity. Almost in slow motion.

He stepped in front of John. Held out his arms. Sarah moved with him in perfect complement, fluid and sure. Pushed John down and sheltered behind him. Derek widened his stance, covering them both.

Covering his family.

This is how Kyle's story ends, he thought, staring the T-888 in the eye. Ends, and begins.

He didn't feel the shot. He felt her arms around him instead.

Willingness to die gave way. He would live for as long as he could.

He wanted to know how Kyle's story turned out.


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