Series: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Give me the lover's curse
Maybe my time has come
To walk by your side
Her jeans are three sizes too big, and cinched against her waist with a long piece of rope. The waist band wraps around her in ruffled folds, hanging just below her bellybutton, which was scarred with what looked like too many homemade piercings. In contrast to the half-acre of jeans she is wearing, her t-shirt is too small. She had to cut it even shorter and chop off the sleeves just so she could pull it on all the way.
“You're not going to trip, are you?” John rests on the shell of a Jeep, gun held so casual it's like it's just another finger.
“No.” Cameron says it quick and flat, but she gave his question some thought. The pant legs are long, but they won't hinder her. It's more likely that her legs would tear them off before she stumbled. “We don't trip.”
He scoffs because he knows better, but she doesn't amend her statement. He knows she exaggerates at times, when she isn't outright lying. She knows that the chances are he catches more of her lies than she knows, so sometimes she tells him the truth in jokes. Like, 'I killed that man'. He laughed, because he didn't believe her.
John looks out towards the hills, over the ruins and bombed out vehicles. Some of the resistance fighters called it 'emptiness'; John put a stop to that. Later, though, he told Cameron he misses the feel of grass and the smell of clean air. Bravery is something she will never understand, so she doesn't know if he's being a coward when he tells her something so honest it hurts him to form words about it.
“Where are we going next?” He speaks into the silence, and her mind clicks to this new task.
A map races through the red haze she sees when she's thinking, and then she says, “South.”
She doesn't give him statistics anymore. He asks for them when he thinks they're important but otherwise it's up to her to weigh their chances. There is a 95.33% chance that they will find survivors in the south. There is a 75.98% chance that there will be a confrontation. She doesn't have enough information to calculate what their chances of success in that event would be. It's a good thing he hasn't asked.
They have to stay off the road because there are magnetic mines laid out like spots on a dalmatian. They're easy to spot, but that's for the benefit of humans. By the time the machines see, the explosives are flying at them like silent wasps.
The back roads are hazardous in their own way. Cameron can see the older, non-magnetized mines, planted before the machines had adapted to seek them out. John can't. Not for the first time, Cameron carries him on her back, never mind that at eighteen he's almost two feet taller than her. She weighs a whole lot more than he does, anyway. They sink into the wet soil, and her jeans are soaked up to the knees by the time they reach safe, dry land again.
Just two years ago, John would've made some comment about how she needed more padding, that her 'bones' were going to leave bruises. Now he just slides off when she tells him there's nothing in the ground.
He stands there, frowning not at the scenery but at the dirt. “Yes there is.”
Cameron looks down, scanning again, picking up no metal except her skeleton and a lost—useless—keyring buried a few centimeters down. “No--”
“Seeds,” John interrupts, and he kneels down. His hand wavers over the faintest whisper of green against unrelenting brown. In the end he's unwilling to disturb it. “I thought you guys salted the earth.”
“No,” she looks at him. “We used copper.”
He cranes his neck and squints up at her. “Figure of speech. Kind of.” The seedling shudders in a low breeze, and John reflexively domes his hand over it, protecting it. “I thought nothing grew here anymore.”
“Thank you for explaining,” she still says it these years later. She kneels down, mimicking the care that he took. She leans forward onto her hands to look at the plant. Her tone is curious, although John still doesn't believe she can become confused. “Nothing should grow.”
“Well,” she hears reluctance. He gets up, and brushes dirt off his palm. “Do you think Skynet will find it?”
“No.” She stays were she is. “They don't hunt plants.”
“Come on, then.” He heads off, knowing she'll follow.
It turns out to be the first of many sprouts. John tells her not to step on any of them, but it's much harder to avoid seedlings than it is to step over land mines. He laughs a couple of times when she has to stop short, and take larger steps than she'd planned. “I'd carry you,” he grins, “but I think it'd drill us both into the ground.”
“You'd get tired,” she agrees, and John laughs again, that wry way he only has around her.
“You know, a few years ago if I said that to any other girl, I'd probably get hit.”
“Oh.” She raises her fist and he starts to raise his, coming up with a gun. It's reflex on his part and dangerous for her, but she just looks at him. “...Fooled you.”