FANDOM: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
SPOILERS: Spoilers for the whole Terminator universe.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Don't know who does.
CHARACTERS: John Connor, Kyle Reese
TIMELINE: Set in 2027, but
spoilers for all.
SUMMARY: Despite a lifetime of meticulously
planning for the future, it somehow never occurred to John that there
would be a time in his own life when Kyle Reese was alive and a hero
and an adult - all at once.
Always a hero. And
Those were the
characteristics of his father as far as John Connor was concerned. It
sounded cold. Or flippant. It was neither. Those two absolutes ate at
him, unmatched in intensity by any of John's myriad other emotional
wounds. Even watching his mother relinquish her parental rights didn’t
make him feel like an orphan to the same degree. Because despite the
pain, Sarah was there. She was available. And John could feel betrayed
and unwanted and cast aside, but at the end of the day he could argue
with her about it. He could force her to explain, to tell him she was
coerced, that it was a plan. Sarah could take it all back. Sarah could
make it better. At least for a little while.
But Kyle Reese
was dead and nothing could change that. John didn't know if his father
comprehended that he was
his father before he died. It was possible – likely even – that Kyle
Reese worshiped and respected John Connor as a leader, but died
ignorant of their connection.
John’s need to
connect with his
father was always present. Occasionally, Sarah indulged John’s need.
The two years they spent as Sarah and John Reese made him feel closer
to Kyle than he ever had before. He made up elaborate stories about his
father's past. But then Charley proposed and Sarah bolted and in a
flash, it was all gone. And John was left with the reality that his
lies were just that, lies. He still knew almost nothing about Kyle
That did change,
eventually, with two sentences.
"Test my blood.
heart pounded in his throat as he said it, but he forced himself to
stare down both Charley and Sarah. Because until that very moment, John
had never had a true physical link to any human save his mother. His
father was dead. His maternal grandparents were dead. All at the hands
of the machines.
resistance fighter from the future
bleeding to death on their kitchen island was a match to John’s blood.
Because they were family, John and this stranger. Because this man was
his father's brother.
Derek was the
key John had been missing
for so long. Derek knew Kyle. He affirmed for John that Kyle was a real
live, living, breathing man and not some fairy tale his mother
invented. Derek also had stories. Endless stories of how Kyle had been
as a child, what he was like as a man. Derek had funny stories and sad
stories and really messed up stories that made him laugh in ways which
reminded John that his uncle wasn't quite right in the head.
Then Derek took
John to see his father. It was exhilarating and heartbreaking all at
once. Because Kyle Reese, this Kyle Reese wasn't
John’s father. This Kyle Reese was a child to whom John meant nothing.
knew in that moment, that was how his relationship would always be with
Kyle. John grieved, both for himself and for Kyle. Because there was
nothing that would ever assuage John's constant need for his father.
Nothing. Not even a flesh and bone Kyle Reese.
John’s constant need for his father, and despite a lifetime of
meticulously planning for the future, it somehow never clicked in
John’s head that there would be a time in his own life when Kyle Reese
would be alive and a hero and an adult - all at once.
"We've got a
volunteer," McManuss said, stepping into John's war room.
John said, still staring at the latest tactical readouts. He glanced up
at McManuss, noting the smudges of powdered rubble that marred the
man’s black skin. "Kyle. Not Derek."
he looked at his General. "Yeah. Kyle. The younger one. Derek and the
rest of his team have gone missing. Probably KIA."
John shook his
head. "They'll turn up."
"Unlikely or not, they'll turn up."
frowned. "It's really creepy when you do that. Sir."
reply, turning his attention back to the files. "Make sure everyone's
ready. We leave at 0200."
stood there, unmoving. He waited. Unlike most of the men who served
under John Connor, McManuss wasn’t intimidated by his General’s passive
dismissal. After a few minutes, John finally looked up at him in
"Are you sure
about this, Connor?" McManuss asked. He
was one of John's most trusted lieutenants. He'd been with John almost
since the beginning. He was older, in his late 40s, though he looked
like he was in his early 60s. But he was still a very valuable soldier.
And he was fiercely loyal, taking nothing more than John's word on many
occasions when everyone else said John was crazy.
don't even know what this place is," McManuss pushed. "If we make a
move and the machines attack us, we'll be spread too thin, unable to
will attack," John said with a solemn
certainty. "It's only logical. And we will take some hard losses. But I
promise you, taking this facility is worth the risk. Without it, none
of the rest of this matters."
unconvinced, but John knew he'd do his part.
"Send him in,
would you?" John said absently.
left and John leaned over the table, bracing his hands on the top,
staring down at the files. A good portion of the intel was written in
Skynet's syntax. It was a trick to be able to not only understand the
words, but to make any sense of them. John could do both. But right
now, he was merely staring at the symbols, his mind elsewhere.
heard the footfalls and he knew Kyle had entered the room. John didn't
move. He stood there, staring blindly at the files. He sort of felt
like a shit for making Kyle wait. It certainly wasn't something a
friend should do to a friend. But regardless of what some of the men
might have thought, he and Kyle weren't really friends. That wasn't
possible. John kept Kyle Reese at arm's length, even when they were in
Century together and Kyle was just a kid.
John could lie
himself and say the distance was a deliberate tactic. But it wasn't
really. Sure it would have been difficult to form a close friendship
with someone knowing you would one day have to sacrifice them for the
greater good. But in these dark days, that could have been true of
anyone, any friendship. McManuss was as close as John got to truly
having a friend and both he and McManuss knew that if the situation
necessitated it, John would sacrifice him in a heartbeat. It was how it
had to be. Humanity was on the brink.
John could also
himself and say that he didn't want to risk anyone noticing the family
resemblance between himself and Kyle Reese. But the truth was, the
resemblance was fleeting at best. John always favored his mother in
appearance. And even if he had looked exactly like his father, no one
in their right mind would ever suspect that Kyle was John's father. No
one expected the Spanish Inquisition. And no one expected a twenty-four
year old kid to be John Connor's father.
The reason John
maintained his distance was because Kyle Reese had always made him
nervous. It was absurd. John knew that. He knew objectively that Kyle
had a serious case of hero worship for him. But it didn't make John
feel any less nervous when staring into the eyes of his much younger
father. John had thirty-four years (forty-two if you went by his actual
DOB) of pent up daddy issues that didn't care if Kyle Reese was just a
kid. Kyle Reese was also his father. And the one thing John Connor had
wanted more than anything for his entire life was to know his father.
And for just as long, he’d known it wasn’t possible.
Looking up, John
said, "Reese," in acknowledgement.
they broke out of Century, John saw Kyle every month or two, a nod in
the tunnels here, shared water rations there. In fact, it was only a
couple of weeks ago when he last saw Kyle. But it had obviously been a
long time since he truly assessed the young man. John looked – really
looked – at Kyle and was more than a little shocked to realize that the
kid from Century wasn't so much a kid anymore. He was a man.
was tall and leanly muscled, far healthier looking than should have
been possible given the circumstances. Even with humanity spinning on
the edge, Kyle Reese was a man in his prime.
Kyle was tired,
John could see the fatigue clearly etched on his features. And like
everyone else, Kyle would have benefited greatly from a shower and a
shave and a hot meal. But he wasn’t going to get any of those things.
And yet Kyle stood rigidly at attention, the perfect soldier.
pushed away from the table and stood, openly watching his father. Kyle
was slightly taller than John, maybe even a little taller than Derek,
though Derek was broader shouldered than either of them. Despite what
Derek might have said when John was younger, John saw little
resemblance between himself and his father. But he did note somewhere
in the back of his mind that his eldest son, Joe, looked quite a bit
“Sir,” Kyle said
again, shifting his weight uncomfortably on the balls of his feet.
pursed his lips together, looking away. Even after all this time, the
sound of Kyle’s voice never failed to surprise him. He somehow always
expected Kyle to sound like Derek. And he didn’t. Where Derek was loud
and brash and gratingly bitchy with his dry wit and biting sarcasm,
Kyle was unnervingly soft spoken and almost painfully earnest.
said you volunteered,” John said, reaching in his pocket for a
cigarette and lighting it. He noticed Kyle watching the cigarette and
he shrugged. “Bad habit,” he said. “I should quit. It’s how I lost my
uncle.” He omitted the part where Derek used the cigarette to light the
plastique’s fuse and blew himself and one of the triple eights all to
respond. He just stood there, watching his General.
sighed, dragging his free hand through his hair. “I have a message for
you, Reese. They briefed you, right? You know where you’re going. When.”
swallowing thickly, eyes downcast. “1984. To protect Sarah Connor.”
John could see
the blush staining Kyle’s dirty cheeks.
looked away, unexpectedly disturbed. He had known his entire life where
Kyle was going. And why. Hell, it’s why he gave Kyle the picture of
Sarah. And yet, now, thinking of sending Kyle back in time solely for
the purpose of impregnating his mother was decidedly uncomfortable.
John chuckled under his breath, finding a perverse reassurance in the
emotion. He thought of the gagging noises his own children made when he
and Kate were openly affectionate with one another. For one perfect,
singular moment, he felt absolutely like Kyle Reese’s son. And he would
rather stab himself in the eye than think about what Kyle and Sarah
were going to do.
thoughts occurred within the space
of a heartbeat and John covered the chuckle with a cough, holding up
the cigarette for cover.
Kyle asked, canting his head slightly to the side.
sobered completely, looking at the young man, knowing his mission would
invariably end in death. Suddenly, it was incredibly important that
Kyle understand the gravity, that he have a chance to decide. John knew
it was crazy. Kyle had to go back. But John couldn’t stop himself from
giving Kyle the opportunity to back out. “Nothing dead can go,” John
said. “Just you. No weapons, no notes, no proof of where you came from
or who you are. You’ll have to fight the machine. And you’ll have to
convince Sarah. And no one can help you.”
Kyle met his
gaze, held it for a long moment and nodded firmly. “I can do it.”
grudgingly, relieved even though his existence was proof of what Kyle’s
response would be. “I know.”
brow furrowed in confusion, but before he could ask John to elaborate,
John cut him off. “I have a message for Sarah. You’ll have to memorize
it and repeat it to her.”
“Yes, Sir,” Kyle
reached in his shirt pocket and pulled out the aged piece of paper. Not
that he needed it. He could have easily recited the message from
memory. But he didn’t feel like saying it aloud to Kyle. It felt
somehow too intimate, too much. So he withdrew the paper, written in
Sarah’s own hand. And he handed it to Kyle.
up with fairy tales. John Connor grew up with an intricate series of
mindfucks, the majority of which, it turned out, had been orchestrated
by himself, so he figured he wasn’t exactly entitled to bitch about it.
As he’d told Cameron, his mother had often read him the story of the
Wizard of Oz – in Spanish – as a bedtime story. But many, many nights
as he was drifting to sleep, Sarah whispered Kyle’s message against the
shell of his ear like a prayer.
Thank you, Sarah,
courage through the dark years. I can't help you with what you must
soon face, except to say that the future is not set. You must be
stronger than you imagine you can be. You must survive, or I will never
Kyle read the
passage several times and then folded it and put it in his own pocket.
“Is this really real?” he asked quietly.
John nodded. “It
John smiled. “I
did it myself once. Hurts like a bitch. I wish there was something that
I could do about that, but I can’t.”
solemnly, looking John directly in the eyes.
swallowed thickly, forced to look away. “You’re a hero,” he said,
marveling inwardly that he’d said this innumerable times about his
father, but this was the only time he would ever say it to his father.
“Without you, we wouldn’t have won.”
Kyle smiled that
slightly lopsided grin Joe had. “We haven’t won yet,” he said,
obviously uneasy with such praise from the usually taciturn John Connor.
“We will,” John
answered firmly. “We will.”
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