A Tale of Two John Connors
Deslea R. Judd
Disclaimer: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
Fandom: Sarah Connor Chronicles
Warnings: Spoilers for the whole series.
Summary: He was born at Pescadero State Hospital in 1994. The only coherent word his mother uttered before he was taken from her was "John."
Author Notes: More fic: http://fiction.deslea.com
His name is John Connor.
Before that, it was Aidan West.
That was the name his adoptive parents gave him. Lucy and Andy West, of La Mesa California. And that was all well and good until Andy died in a car wreck when Aidan was two. Until Lucy married Wilson Scott. Wilson Scott, who terrorised them from the day he moved into their home. Their hell was punctuated only by his occasional short stints in prison - invariably on petty charges that never reflected the full extent of his activities.
Aidan hit the road when he was fourteen. He'd learned everything he could learn from that old fucker - how to load a gun, how to get drugs and guns and fake ID, and how to survive. As for Lucy, well, she was long gone, half catatonic with fear. There was no saving Lucy.
His first stop was social services - or at least the social services database. He was tall and he could have passed for eighteen with the right ID, but his file would have told them the truth. So he did it the old-fashioned way - he hacked in from an internet café.
That was when he learned about Sarah Connor.
Sarah Connor was a homicidal paranoid schizophrenic. She blew up a computer factory and did time at a state mental hospital. She blew up a bank. She died in 1999. She had another child, to whom she was devoted, who died with her. None of this shocked Aidan all that much - he'd lived with a homicidal maniac for most of his life. Except this one actually seemed to love her child.
Sarah was pregnant when she was arrested. Two fellow industrial saboteurs, Mexican nationals both, died in the explosion. It was likely one of them was Aidan's father, but no one knew for sure - least of all Sarah, drugged up through her brief trial and seemingly oblivious to her condition.
A prison nurse had considerately annotated on his file that Sarah was delirious through her labour, and appeared to believe she was giving birth to her much-loved older child. The nurse named him John - the only coherent word Sarah had spoken throughout her pregnancy and birth. Social Services removed him within the hour.
A fucked-up mother who got her older son killed and probably never knew he existed was no great prize in objective terms. But Aidan figured it was still better than Wilson Scott.
He took the news philosophically and changed his name back to John Connor.
In 2009, John Connor was sixteen - eighteen on his fake ID - and running drugs back and forth across the border. He'd just arrived in San Diego when he saw Sarah Connor on the news. She was alive, and she'd been arrested. And then she got out again, before John could decide whether to try and break her out (as he knew his dead brother had done once before).
It was just as well, really. John was little fish in the scheme of things, and he knew it. Running drugs and risking juvie was one thing, but busting out of prison was big time. Especially for someone who didn't even know he existed.
The next time he saw her was in Juarez in 2014. It was the first time in the flesh. He was down there, running guns this time, and so was she. She had a ten year old girl with her and a guy who screamed "cop." Cops turned bad sometimes, but this one didn't strike him like that.
When the bombs fell, they were far enough away to live, but not so far that they weren't afraid.
"What's your name, kid?" Idle words around a campfire.
He told her.
The cop confirmed John's story. He thought she knew.
Sarah's reaction was one of mistrust. She wasn't sure it wasn't a trick. But she didn't turn him away, either.
They stayed like that for days, waiting for the mushroom cloud over LA to subside. Cautiously getting to know each other. Sarah told him of her past, of *her* John, and of a future he would not have believed a week previously.
Then the creepy metal woman arrived, naked, in a flash of blue light. Hugged the little girl, Savannah, with one arm and stretched out the other to him. Said, "Come with me if you want to live."
That was when Sarah apparently decided John was the real deal. They went.
The metal-woman's name was Catherine, and she explained that he was John-Connor-Leader-of-the-Resistance in this timeline. He would fill the void created by the other John's time-jump. How did she know? Because she'd seen it, and so had the other John. She was here with that John's blessing.
Sarah was instructed to remain at this John's side.
Sarah argued. She argued *bitterly*. They might be interchangeable in human history, but not to her. She wanted her sons. *Both* of them.
That seemed to touch Catherine, who had never let go of the little girl, but she didn't relent. "These two Johns are contingencies for each other, Sarah. It's how they're made. It's why they were made. You can't have them both. Not at the same time."
Then she let go of the girl, with seeming reluctance, and she disappeared into the night.
It was 2027 when John met the other John for the first time.
He was thirty three. Savannah was twenty three, and Sarah was fifty three. Savannah and Sarah were in hiding, lest the sight of the real, aged Sarah somehow cause Kyle Reese's crush to dissolve. The cop had died honourably long ago.
The other John was sixteen.
He was brought in by the Reese brothers - brothers he knew he would have to send back before much longer, to keep the timeline intact.
"We told him we didn't know a John Connor. At least, not one that's a kid like this."
He knew that no one could ever know that there were two John Connors. Not even the other John's family. They were contingencies, after all. It's what they were made for.
"And I'm Superman. Good one, kid. Don't you know your mother's half out of her mind with worry?" He wondered if Sarah would love him so much now, with her other son back in her arms.
"My mother?" the other John echoed. Suddenly very pale.
"I'll take care of this," John told the Reese brothers. "It's fine."
That was how John Connor met John Connor.
The war ended on 21 December 2029, when a large group of liquid metal prototypes signed a peace treaty with John Connor - a deal brokered by Catherine after years of delicate negotiations.
The reaction from Skynet was bloody, but lasted only a day before the combined force of the human assault and the TXs' ability to manipulate other Terminators forced them into submission.
The two John Connors fought side by side. In this timeline, at least, both contingencies survived.
Sarah had both her sons in the same moment in time, and she wept joyfully over both.
And John Connor knew his mother loved him at last.