Written in response to a challenge on LJ at: The Buffy & Sarah Connor Chronicles Crossover Community
Picture by BillyBeeHoney
Summary: Derek still couldn’t remember where he might have seen her.
Disclaimer :: I do not own these characters and no profit is being made from the use of them. MusesInspiration
and I tag-teamed on this effort. While both of our efforts can be read independantly of each other, this chapter and her ficlet: Andrew's Chance To Save The World
, pretty much occur simultaneously and compliment each other.
For greatest impact, read this chapter first, then Muse's. Chapter two of Paradox is in progress.
Thanks to MusesInspire for the brainstorming and encouragement when my flashdrive ate the original and I had to start over.Paradox of Fate
Derek leaned back, stretching his arms out across the back of the park bench and enjoyed the sunny day with a stomach full of ice cream and the rare feeling of pleasure that resulted from doing something nice for someone. The kid had been moping around the house, acting surly and angsty so he’d dragged John to the park.
Watching himself play ball with his little brother had been a wrench, but well worth the pain. John had been so happy to see his father and surprised that Derek had noticed the familial similarities. After a while, his nephew decided to head home and Derek stayed behind to watch for a while longer. He scanned the park again, unconsciously checking for threats when a mumbling from his right escalated to grumbling, drawing his attention. Sitting at a picnic table a few feet away was a petite redhead typing away on a laptop.
“Oh please. That move was old when I was in high school! No… hah! You just thought you could get by me. … Ooh, you jerk! … Puh-lease! … Uh, that was just sad, where’s the challenge? …” she typed silently for a short time and Derek found himself unable to turn away. She coughed out a laugh, “Gotcha. … Can’t run now. … Let’s see what you look like. … Eh, kinda weasley aren’t you? Meh, shouldn’t insult weasels.” She shifted and Derek caught sight of the screen.
The image displayed was of that computer geek from the ‘net Café. Derek had wanted to question him about Sarkissian’s location, but shooting the Aussie had made that impossible.
“Oh my god!” He was up and looking over her shoulder before he knew it and when his shadow crossed her, the redhead looked up with a startled ‘Eep!’. Derek grimaced in apology. “Sorry, but do you know that guy?” he pointed at the screen.
She looked up at him with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity and he grimaced, hoping it looked like a smile. Kyle had received the charm gene. Pretty girls like this one rarely looked at him twice and he knew it was because they usually thought he was an ass. It rarely bothered him though; constantly running for your life didn’t exactly encourage romance. She smiled back and Derek felt relief that she wasn’t running off screaming for the cops.
He met her eyes, wondering how he could get the info he needed from her and felt a wave of dizziness that passed quickly. The woman patted the seat next to her and he sat gratefully; must have stayed out in the sun too long. She held out her hand and he took it into his, noticing how small and pale it was in comparison to his.
“Um, yeah… Derek.”
“Nice to meet you Derek. Why exactly did you want to know if I knew this guy?”
“Well, um…” Derek thought fast, wondering how little he could tell her and still get what he wanted.
Willow placed her hand over his on the table and raised her brows at him. “Come on Derek. Tell me what you need. See this face?” She pointed to the very serious expression on her delicate face and Derek nodded. “This is the Willow Resolve face. Neither man nor woman can defy it.”
This provoked a laugh, startling Derek since he hadn’t experienced a genuine laugh in a long time. She grinned at him and winked. “Look, this guy has been a pain in our ass for a week. Trying to hack our computers even though he has no reason we can think of. If you know him, then maybe we could trade info.”
Derek met her mischievous gaze and felt that wave of dizziness again. A sense of assurance shot through him and he shook his head. Was he actually thinking about confiding in this woman? His common sense warred with his natural instincts. He felt a pat on his shoulder and he shook his head again, trying to get rid of the sudden cobwebs.
“Hey, you know what? Here’s my cell number. You think about it and call me if you think we can help each other okay?” She handed him a plain white card with her name, a phone number and a Celtic symbol watermarked in the back ground.
Derek glanced at the card and then nodded at her, thinking that he could follow her, see where she lived or worked and have John run a search on her before he decided to trust her. That’s what he thought. What actually happened was in turn embarrassing, scary and mortifying.
Willow packed up her laptop, patted him again and left. He waited a few heartbeats and then followed her. She meandered here and there, stopping to look at gardens and other things; basically making Derek’s attempt to follow her unobtrusively nearly impossible. Of course he was a little out of place, but he made it work. Well… He thought he’d made it work until she sighed loudly and whirled around, glaring at him as she stomped his way.
“Come on.” She pulled on his arm. “You know, I could have lost you at any time. Better psychos than you have tried to follow me home.” She giggled as she threaded her arm through his, pulling him along. Derek was speechless and for the first time, he couldn’t think of a way to escape. Sure he could shove her away and run for it, but that would probably land him in jail again since the neighborhood they’d just entered was slightly more middleclass. It reminded him a lot of the houses his school friends had lived in before Judgment Day.
They stopped in front of a large apartment building and Derek read the sign. Haven
IWC : Private Corporate Housing‘Interesting…’
Derek thought as Willow pulled him up the stairs. The building seemed pretty big for what he thought ‘corporate’ type housing would be. He remembered seeing one his dad had stayed in when they went with him on a business trip to Florida. It had been a tiny two bedroom with a barely there kitchenette. This looked like a large apartment complex.
She led him into one of the units and as he crossed the threshold, a chill swept over him; it dissipated quickly and Derek shrugged it off as the temperature change. He could hear what sounded like two women having an argument in another room and he noticed Willow shaking her head.
“When will she learn?” Willow murmured and she veered to the right and Derek changed course with her since he had no idea where he should be. The argument sounded like it was over dating with one demanding to and the other refusing it. Derek entered the kitchen behind Willow and saw a tall twenty something brunette leaning slightly toward a much shorter blonde. The blonde’s back was to the doorway and she was gripping the back of a metal barstool as she returned the loud argument. Derek watched in fascination and then icy gut wrenching fear as the blonde’s hand clenched violently, crushing the wrought iron.
Derek shoved Willow behind him as he drew his weapon and aimed it at the surprisingly short terminator. The brunette screamed and ducked as the blonde spun, catching the first bullet in the shoulder. Derek emptied his clip into her, not noticing her still form until the sound of dry firing broke through his panic. The brunette was screaming and Derek suddenly found himself airborne, flying across the room and smashing into the refrigerator. It was his head hitting the floor that knocked him out.
Derek woke to the increasingly familiar sound of arguing females. A quick assessment revealed he was bound and possibly suffering from a concussion if his nausea was any indication. He kept his eyes closed; hoping to learn as much as he could about the situation he found himself in.
“Again I ask you, what the hell were you thinking, bringing an armed whacko into our home? He could have killed Dawn, Willow!”
“I know that! But I honestly couldn’t have foreseen this happening. I scanned his mind before I gave him my business card, Buffy, and he had absolutely no evil intent. That’s what the wards at the entrance are for. He didn’t even shiver, much less get caught up in the binding spell that would have activated!”
“Buffy, I really think it was spontaneous. I saw him walk in behind Willow and he was actually smiling at us, like he thought our argument was funny somehow. And then… Oh mi’god. I bet he saw you crush the back of the barstool. That’s when he shoved Willow behind him. I saw his face, Buffy, he was terrified. Do you honestly think that if he’d somehow managed to fool the wards and planned on hurting someone in here, would he have been concerned with Willow’s safety?”
The atmosphere in the room changed slightly and Derek tensed involuntarily.
A wash of fear tightened everything sensitive on his body in reaction to the coldness in the woman’s voice. The tone had more animation than any terminator he’d ever run across, but Cameron had been able to fool John long enough to secure his trust so that wasn’t something to count on. Someone gripped his shirt and hauled him up from the floor and he couldn’t prevent his eyes from popping open. His body jerked in surprise as he looked into a pair of green eyes. They were hard and angry and he recognized them from the glimpse he got just before they closed in pain after catching that first bullet. It was an image that had already burned itself into his mind.
They were also housed inside an incredibly beautiful, but tiny package. She was even smaller than Cameron. And she was maneuvering him around like he was a sack of potatoes. A small sack. She set him in a chair and he watched Willow push her out of the way, the redhead shining a light in his eyes and running fingers over his scalp. He maintained eye contact with the blonde as Willow forced a hiss from him by brushing a lump on the back of his head. He had the feeling he’d seen the blonde before, but a brief memory search of the last few years brought nothing.
Before the jump was pointless. No one as attractive as her would look so fresh and even though he tried to imagine her golden skin thick with the typical grime of his time, Derek still couldn’t remember where he might have seen her. What shocked him was the lack of physical evidence that he’d emptied a full clip of armor piercing bullets into her body.
The white tank she wore revealed the shoulder that had taken the first hit and the skin was smooth and unblemished. In fact, the only part of her skin broken by any damage was what looked to be a very old scar on the juncture of where her neck and shoulder met. When his eyes met hers again, he found them narrowed in irritation and she stalked up to him, ignoring both Willow and the brunette’s protests.
She got right in his face, which meant she’d only had to lean in and not down. Despite her show of strength, Derek had to stifle a snicker. Maybe it was the concussion, but he found it difficult to take her threatening stance seriously. She looked like a cheerleader for God’s sake! And a small one at that. A wonderful smelling, pixie like cheerleader in black leather pants… ‘Stop it! Get a grip on yourself man!’
The Blonde rolled her eyes and then called over her shoulder, “Willow, if you don’t stop mojo-ing him, I’m gonna call Giles.”
“Sorry, Buffy, but he’s got a concussion and you looked like you were gonna hit him again. I just calmed him down a little.”
“Wills, if he was any calmer, I’da had to bust his nose for making a pass me.”
“Oops! Sorry, I’m still kinda freaked over the whole shooting thing.”
Buffy nodded and then met Derek’s gaze again. “Time for secrets are over big guy. Willow seems to think you need our help, but your methods of asking for it leave a lot to be desired.”
Derek found himself nodding in agreement, even though he was straining to shake his head no. And then he found himself babbling like a newbie during their first interment. He tried to tell her only what he could without exposing anyone. He started out by telling her that someone had stolen a very dangerous piece of computer equipment, the hard drive and tower to be precise and his group needed to get it back. Geek boy knew where the man was. They had tried to buy it back from him but the man had double crossed them. Some people had died and if they couldn’t get the Turk back, the future was going to be bleak.
Like world ending kind of bleak.
Derek hung his head in frustration when that last part slipped out. If he got out of this in one piece, Sarah was going to kill him. Strong fingers gripped his chin and Derek had a sudden sense of Déjà vu…
Green eyes clashed, but instead of waves of golden hair, the green gaze was framed by pale, fragile looking skin, bruised circles and a hard expression that belied the gentle look in her eyes.
He was back in the basement.
The basement under the house where he’d been taken while John Connor sent Derek’s brother Kyle into the future, ensuring the older man’s conception. Until now, Derek hadn’t been able to remember his time in that house… that dark hole. Only now he knew it hadn’t been very dark. And he remembered why watching John’s clockwork girlfriend dance an elegant ballet routine to a beautiful classical piece had brought tears to his eyes.
Because it hadn’t been the first time he’d heard the music.
It had been playing in that basement from the future. And she had been there. The machine’s tool of interrogation and torture. She had been exacting and precise, knowing just how much pressure to apply to elicit a truthful response.
But what the machines hadn’t known, was that the whole time she worked on him, he could hear her talking in his head. And her knowledge had been frightening. In the end, she’d told him that he wouldn’t remember their time together until after he tried to kill her in the past. And that she forgave him for that. Because it would have been a welcomed relief, avoiding the pain and degradation of these long years. But it had all been necessary because Derek was proof that her continued existence had a purpose. It was important he tell young John that Cameron would need to be reset soon.
She’d shared with him how she had come to be in this place. How Skynet had found the schematics for a cybernetic version of her and used it as a template for their T-Series cyborgs. How Skynet had also unearthed the defunct military operation called the Initiative and had adapted its behavior modification chip as a way to control her since they couldn’t kill her. Her first interrogation had been Willow. And they’d electrocuted her for days before Willow had managed to project most of her consciousness into Buffy’s. The circuitry in her brain didn’t recognize the added activity and when Buffy still refused to cause further harm to Willow’s body, the witch took over and severed her connection to the corporeal world.
Willow had been the last of her family. The witch had felt the Earth’s energies bracing for a devastating blow and on pure instinct, teleported. She was shocked to find herself in the Tibetan Council safe house. She learned much later that it was one of the only places in the world far enough removed from technology that it survived the first of several Skynet strikes.
Everyone else had been taken out within the first few nuclear attacks.
Buffy had shared her world with him and Derek was glad he hadn’t been able to remember it until now.
When Buffy recovered from the shooting, Willow had told her everything she knew about the man. Derek, according to Willow, needed help, but she thought he’d been too embarrassed to ask for it. Dawn transferred her arguing from dating a newbie Watcher to whether their trigger happy Jack was actually dangerous. Buffy didn’t really feel a sense of evil, which was a welcomed change. The inability to die hadn’t been the only enhancement she had received from both of Willow’s spells. If a human was particularly evil or had harmful intent, Buffy could sense it in a vague itchy, irritating way.
Joy. Not only did the presence of supernatural evil give her the sensation of menstrual cramps, she now had to deal with human issues.
And people wondered why she was so bitchy.
He didn’t set off any of her senses so she wrestled this Derek guy into the chair and after a few oopsies with Willow’s mojo, she got some answers out of him.
The guy was either crazy, or they were faced with a much bigger issue than their annual Apocalypse problem. Claiming to be from the future, he said manmade machines – computers to be exact, would end the world, not demons. Since he had no knowledge of their existence, she assumed that when this ‘Judgment Day’ occurred, most demons either left this reality or were destroyed.
Damn. Why was it that dark brooding hotties never had good news?
Derek had dropped his head, visibly embarrassed at his babble-fest and Buffy gently gripped his chin to bring his gaze up to hers again. She ignored the butterflies in her stomach, half-heartedly denying that she’d just wanted an excuse to touch him and look into his striking eyes again. Hey she was a woman after all. Why should she be embarrassed that she was drawn to him? Hell, her most successful relationships usually started with an assassination attempt or three.
When she tilted his face to hers, his pulse jumped and the color faded from his skin. He seemed to wheeze for a second and she started to worry when his pupils dilated, obliterating his iris completely. Willow rushed over in full babble mode.
“What’s wrong? He’s not a magic user but something’s triggered big time magic in here.” She leaned closer and ghosted her palm over Derek’s aura. “Oh goddess. It’s coming off him in waves… a-a-and it’s mine.”
Willow’s shocked gaze met Buffy’s startled one. “Th-th-the magic is mine, Buffy, and I can’t get through it. I can tell that there was a trigger and he’s also under a strong geas.”
Both Buffy and Willow looked at Dawn with confusion and the young woman shook her head. “Come on guys! Think about all of those sci-fi marathons we had to suffer with Xander and Andrew. If this guy, Derek, is from the future and knows Willow, wouldn’t it make sense that she would prevent him from telling anyone about it?” Willow looked like she was starting to understand, but Buffy was now scowling.
Dawn tried again. “Like… OH! In the Time Machine, the scientist loses his true love and that motivates him to finish his work on the machine so he can go back and save her, only he can’t… she dies in a different way each time because if she’d lived, he would have never completed the machine!” Understanding lit Buffy’s face and Dawn nodded in satisfaction. ‘Take that Andrew!’ She thought with a silent giggle.
Derek groaned and shook himself and Buffy noted with relief that color had returned to his face. His eyes cleared and met her gaze with silent questions. His expression softened and he tilted his head toward his bound hands. Buffy quirked her brow and when he did the same she relented; it’s not as if she couldn’t toss him back in the chair again. He muttered a quiet ‘thanks’, rubbing his wrists as he stood and Buffy wondered what to do next as she looked up into his face.
Willow’s phone rang and everyone rolled their eyes at the sound of the Imperial March. She pulled it out of her pocket and moved away. “Hey you! Where’ve you been all day? … You wha…? What did you do Andrew? … The WHAT?”
End pt 1
The next part is well on it's way. Let me know what you think? Comments always feed the Muse.