TITLE: What We Lost in the Fire
SERIES: And So It Went
FANDOM: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
RATING: Teen for language
SPOILERS: Anything through 1:7 "The Demon Hand" is game.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Don't know who does.
CHARACTERS: Sarah Connor/Derek Reese, John Connor
SUMMARY:  There were days she could barely remember Kyle’s face.


***
Sarah hissed in pleasure as the heat of his body melted into her bones. Skin to skin, his full naked length was against hers, the coarse hair on his body rasping against her frayed nerve endings. God, the way he smelled. She was haunted by that smell. Groaning, she reached out for him, drawing him closer. She bit down on his bottom lip as he rolled on top of her. She was lost in the taste of him. It had been too fucking long. Why had it been so long?

She relished the weight of him, the way he pressed her into the mattress, sparing her nothing. She could take it, he knew she could take it. But the gentleness of his hands was a delicious counterpoint, carefully caressing her cheek, her neck, hitching her leg to his waist, opening her to him.

It was dark, too dark to see and her mind was still fuzzy and slow from sleep. But she knew some things with absolute certainty. She knew she wanted him. She knew she missed him.

He rocked his hips against hers, kissing her harder. She gasped from the pleasure of it, shuddering as his sex nudged against her. She turned her head to the side and he kissed away her tear.

Kyle,” she breathed, threading her fingers through his hair.



It took her a moment to realize how still he’d gone, to note that while he didn’t push her away, he was no longer returning her kisses.

And in a moment, she was wide awake.

“Fuck,” she yelped, planting the palm of her hand in the middle of his chest and pushing him away as hard as she could.

He rolled away easily, not fighting her.

She lay there on her back, eyes screwed tightly shut, hating the way her body ached with unfulfilled desire. She felt the bed shift and knew he had moved to sit on the side of the bed, facing away from her. She heard the flick of his Zippo and smelled butane and cigarette smoke.

Ordinarily, she would have busted his head for smoking in the house. But this wasn’t an ordinary situation.

He exhaled loudly and chuckled mirthlessly. “I’ve done some seriously freaky shit,” he said, his voice low and rough. “But I draw the line at pretending to be my dead brother.”

“I wasn’t pretending,” she snapped waspishly. “I was asleep, you asshole. What were you doing sneaking in my room?”

“Apparently interrupting your wet dream about Kyle.”

“Fuck you.”

She pushed herself out of bed, turning her back to him as she reached for a shirt and pulled it on, cringing when she realized it was his. It smelled like him. Dammit, that was part of the problem. Why did the brothers Reese have to have the same goddamn BO? The universe was trying to punish her.

***

She was standing at the kitchen sink, glass of water in hand, staring out at the swingset in the yard. She sent Cameron away with a few nasty words and waited. Derek didn’t disappoint. Less than two minutes later, he was leaning his hip against the island, arms crossed over his bare chest. Sarah was glad to see he threw on some sweatpants.

“How long have you known?” she asked.

“A while.”

“How. Long.”

He sighed, scrubbing a hand over his stubble roughened face. “A couple of weeks. Since the morning after you beat the shit out of the fridge.”

She turned, leaning back against the sink as she faced him. “How?”

He looked at her, holding her gaze in the dim light. “When John doesn’t have all that fucking hair in his face, he looks just like Kyle.”

Sarah looked away and then back to Derek. “Sometimes I don’t see the resemblance,” she said quietly.

“You didn’t grow up with him,” Derek replied flatly. “You didn’t watch him every day of his life.”

Sarah shook her head. No, she certainly didn’t. There were days she could barely remember Kyle’s face.

“Why did you save me?” Derek asked.

“What?” Sarah asked, truly taken off guard.

“When the triple eight shot me, why didn’t you let me die?”

Sarah shook her head, at a loss for words. “We needed you,” she finally said. “Even Cameron said you were one of John’s best soldiers. It was tactically – “

“It was tactically a disaster,” Derek said, cutting across her. He stepped closer. “Why’d you do it?”

She didn’t say anything.

“In that cell, if I hadn’t told you I was one of the Reese boys would you have still saved me?”

She looked up at him, holding his gaze for a long time. “No. We saved you because you’re Kyle’s brother.”

***

The door slammed behind Derek and John looked up from where he was rinsing the last of the Chinese take-out off his plate. Derek had been in a foul mood all day. First he shrugged off the morning ride to school for drop off. Ditto with pick up. And he skipped dinner despite the fact that John knew he loved Chinese food – well, any food really, but especially Chinese. And though John hadn't actually checked the weapons cache yet, the smell of oil was so strong he suspected Derek had cleaned and reloaded every gun in the house. Twice.

He shot Sarah a questioning glance as she sat at the table. "What's wrong with Derek?"

Sarah shrugged, looking away. "Pretty sure I'm not qualified to speculate on all the things wrong with Derek."

John turned off the water and then crossed the room, leaning against the door jamb between the kitchen and the dining room, watching Sarah. "That's not what I mean," he said carefully. "Something happened between the two of you."

Sarah waved him off with her hand, pretending to concentrate on a stack of paperwork, apparently unconcerned. John frowned. He was pretty sure it wasn't normal to acknowledge that your mother was the best liar you'd ever known. But Sarah was. She could lie straight to your face without blinking – had in fact, to John, many, many times. He knew she didn't feel guilty about it – probably because she thought she was protecting him.

"I don’t mean the sex," John pressed, trying to ignore the way his cheeks flamed with a blush. "I already knew about that."

Her head snapped toward him, but she didn't say anything.

"I've known for weeks," John continued, secretly glad his steady voice didn’t belie the fact that his innards were squirming. He didn't want to think about, much less talk about his mother's sex life. "Something new happened."

Sarah looked at her son and smiled mirthlessly. She turned to Cameron. "Go fill the Jeep up with gas."

"The Jeep has half a tank of – "

"Now."

Cameron cocked her head to the side for a moment and studied Sarah, but then nodded and rose from the table.

John waited until he heard the engine turn over to continue. "Well?"

"He asked if we would have saved him if he hadn't been Kyle's brother," she admitted. "And I told him no."

"Jesus, Mom," John swore, rolling his eyes.

"It's the truth," Sarah said firmly, staring at her son.

John shook his head, crossing the room to sink into one of the chairs. "It's the truth," he agreed. "But it's not like that's all he is."

"I told him," Sarah said, now sounding like she was trying to convince someone. John wasn't sure if it was him or herself. "I told him we knew he was one of your best soldiers."

"You really know how to stroke a guy's ego," John said dryly.

Sarah glared at her son. "What do you want me to tell him? That he's family? That we can't live without him?"

"Is that what you think?"

Sarah shook her head, standing up from the table. "I’m not talking about this with you. It's none of your business."

"The hell it's not," John countered in frustration. "I sent him here. He's my uncle."

"Yes," Sarah snapped, rounding on her son. "Your uncle. The one you didn't trust enough to tell the truth to." She crossed her arms over her chest. "We still don't know if we can trust him, John."

"You trusted him enough to sleep with him."

Sarah's spine straightened like she'd been slapped. Slowly, she turned to leave the room.

John bolted out of his chair, following Sarah. "Maybe it wasn't that I didn't trust him," he said. "Maybe it isn't about trust. Maybe I didn't tell him for the same reasons I didn't tell Kyle. Maybe people just aren't meant to know that much about their futures."

Sarah stopped and turned around to look at her son.

John opened his mouth and then at a loss for words, closed it again. "He's … We're family," he said quietly. "I just …"

Sarah took a deep breath, watching her son. "I'll talk to him," she said. At John's smile, she amended. "I'm not promising anything. But I'll talk to him."

"Thanks," he said softly.

***

Derek was sitting at the bar, watching a pack of sorority girls who had pushed two tables together in the middle of the room. One of them got up and walked to the bar to buy another round. She teetered on a pair of stiletto heels that probably cost more than the Jeep – you know, if someone had actually bothered to pay for the Jeep.

He took a long drink from his bottle, studying the impressive curve of the girl's calf, her delicate ankle. "Bet you never owned any shoes like that," he said. "Couldn't run for shit in those babies."

Sarah frowned, irritated at Derek's total lack of reaction to the fact that she took a seat at the barstool next to him – while he wasn’t looking.

Leaning back, she looked at the girl's shoes. "Work study sure as hell wouldn't have paid for a pair of Christian Louboutin heels," she said. "But I had some knockoffs that were close."

"Christian Labou-whatthefuck? You know about shoes?"

"I am a woman, you know," she countered, non-plussed.

He snorted. "Yeah, tell me about it. I just didn't know you were a girl too."

The bartender deposited a bottle of Dos Equis in front of Sarah and she took a long drink. Setting the bottle back on the bar, she said, “They’re completely impractical now, but I owned shoes like that once upon a time.”

Derek cocked an eyebrow and then snorted, taking another drink. “I bet,” he said dryly.

“What does that mean?” she asked pointedly, holding the beer halfway to her mouth.

“It means good little whitebread girls don’t learn the kind of lessons you’ve taught John. You had to learn ‘em somewhere. I’m betting you fucked half the guerillas in Central America to get the weapons and warfare training you wanted. The shoes probably came in handy when you needed to dupe someone into giving you what you wanted.”

“Fuck you, Reese,” she spat. “You don’t know a goddamn thing about me.” She slammed the beer back on the bar and slid off the stool, heading for the door. She promised John she’d talk to Derek, but she wasn’t about to put up with this level of bullshit.

“I know a lot about you,” Derek said, having followed Sarah out of the bar and into the alley.

“Oh really?” Sarah snapped, turning around to face him, hands on her hips. “And what the fuck do you think you know about me?”

Derek snorted, looking away for a moment and Sarah realized he was pretty drunk.

“Everyone knows about you.” He leaned in close. “You’re a fucking celebrity.”

He smiled and Sarah crossed her arms over her chest, cocking out one hip as she waited for him to dig himself a hole.

“Sarah Connor who taught her son to fight, to prepare,” he said. “Sarah Connor who knew what the future held. Sarah Connor who saved us all.”

She glared at him, so angry she could barely breathe. How dare he. She stepped closer. “You think you’re the only person who lost something, Reese?” she demanded.

He gave her a surly, defiant look. “And what did you lose, Sarah?” he mocked.

She shoved him, slamming him into the building’s brick wall. He didn’t fight back, he just stared at her with this expression that was half angry, half amused.

She grabbed the collar of his jacket and gave it a good yank, growling at him. “I lost everything, you jackass,” she hissed. “You know what that first machine took from me? My life. It killed my mother. It killed Ginger and Matt” As the list went on, she got louder and louder until she was yelling at him, shaking. “I lost Kyle. Seventeen fucking cops … I lost myself!”

He didn’t look angry or amused anymore. He looked a little freaked out. Gently, he reached up and touched her arm. “Sarah?”

The second he touched her, she let him go, taking several quick steps backward. “You’re right,” she said, her voice hoarse. “Good little whitebread girls don’t know how to do the shit I do. You know how I did it? I walked away from everything, from everyone I knew. I ran. And then, yeah, I ended up in Central America and I did use whatever I had at my disposal – including my body – to get John the education he needed. I’m not sorry. And I’m not going to apologize to anyone – especially you. I did what I had to do.”

He took a step toward her and she reflexively backed away. She paced in a tight circle, rubbing her arms with her hands. “You should have seen me,” she said quietly. “I was such a fucking joke. There I was, seven months pregnant, alone, trying to learn Spanish in the middle of nowhere. It took me a week to figure out how to disassemble and reassemble an AK-47.”

Derek shook his head, looking at her. “Where was Kyle?”

Sarah stopped pacing and turned to look at him. She snorted and then released a burst of hysterical, not-funny laughter. “Dead,” she said, wide eyed and slightly manic. “Kyle was dead.” She stepped closer. “Your brother and I had two days together. Two days when he explained to me that the fate of the human race depended on me being able to teach my son to fight the machines.”

Derek had no response, he just stood there staring at Sarah.

She stepped closer. “He didn’t even know John was his son. I didn’t even know until a month after he was buried.”

“I thought …” Derek said, trailing off. “John said he never knew Kyle, but I didn't really believe …”

“Believe what?” Sarah demanded. “Did you think John lied? That Kyle and I were married? That when he found me I was already the centerfold for Soldier of Fortune Magazine?”

Derek didn’t reply, but his expression told Sarah she was pretty close to the mark.

“Those girls,” she said pointing to the bar. “Those girls in there with the silly, impractical shoes – that is who I was. Kyle came at me in a nightclub with a shotgun. I thought he was trying to kill me. But he stopped the machine and then he grabbed me and ran. And in one night, he laid out my entire, horrific future, all the while that terminator was hunting us down. And then he knocked me up and died protecting me. So everything that has happened, all the fuck-ups, all the little victories. Those are all mine. Because I had to figure out every bit of it on my own while doctors and social workers threw me in a mental institution and told my son I was a violent, paranoid schizophrenic.”

Sarah could feel the wetness on her cheeks, but she wasn’t conscious of the fact that she was crying. She turned, marching down the alley. Fuck John. Fuck him for making her talk to Derek. She’d never admitted any of this to anyone and if she was going to confide in someone, she sure as hell didn’t want it to be Derek Reese.

She could hear him following her and somewhere noted that he must intentionally be making noise because he usually moved like a goddamn cat. She didn’t care. She was finished with him. She reached the Jeep and jumped inside. As she slammed the door, Derek was standing right outside her driver’s side window.

She didn’t bother looking at him as she sped away.

***

Sometime during the night, she heard Derek ease open her bedroom door. Then he heard her disengage the safety on her gun and he wisely left her alone.

The next morning at breakfast, Derek was present. He looked hungover and significantly worse for the wear, but he was there. He talked to John, but gave Sarah a wide berth. The ride home from school was completely silent.

It was mid-morning. Sarah was in the front yard, sitting in the swing, rocking back and forth slowly, arms aching from her morning workout. Derek leaned against one of the swingset supports, watching.

“Two days together and you still dream about him?”

Sarah stared at the ground for several long moments. "No," she said quietly. "I don't. I stopped dreaming about Kyle a long time ago."

Derek shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "So what changed?"

"You," she said flatly. She looked up at him and then looked away, once again concentrating on the grass. "That's why I didn't kiss you. You taste like him. And you smell like him. And I can't be with you without thinking of him." She took a deep breath. "And I hate that."

"You don't want to remember Kyle?" he asked, his voice coarse and strained with a caustic mixture of emotions he could barely contain.

She shook her head. "No. That's not it," she said, glancing up at him, her eyes welling with tears that would never be allowed to fall. "Remembering Kyle feels like a gift. I loved him."

"You knew him for two days," he snapped.

"I know," she said, pushing herself out of the swing, turning to look at him. "But I loved him. And I hate that I know you a thousand times better than I will ever know Kyle."

***
End Section


***
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