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Must Love Dogs

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Summary: **Nominated for 2008 Crossing Over Awards** It would be a change to have close contact with someone that didn’t behave awkwardly around her.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Television > Dark Angel > Non-BtVS/AtS Stories
(Past Donor)CharlotteFR1314,330192,4131 Nov 081 Nov 08Yes
EDIT 11/18/2008: Note: I posted this more than 2 weeks before the airing of episode 2.9 - Complications.

Just sayin', LOL!



Written for a fic exchange on The Sarah Connor Chronicles Crossover Community

Recipient: Ava

Rating: PG13 (for minor cursing)

Warnings: Not really

THANK YOU to Strangevisitor for an excellent beta!

Summary: It would be a change to have close contact with someone that didn’t behave awkwardly around her.

Prompts at the end.

Disclaimer: This story is intended for entertainment purposes only and provides absolutely no financial compensation. Recognizable characters belong to their prospective owners/writers.

Must Love Dogs
Banner by the awesome dhfreak aka Mel


~DA~SCC~DA~SCC~DA~SCC~

June 2, 2009

“Hey, Cameron?”

Cameron stuck her head under the hood of the truck John was working on and answered, “Yes, John?” He jerked slightly and she wondered why he had been startled by her sudden appearance. His address of her indicated that John obviously knew she was present, but for some as yet unknown reason, he had been disturbed by her proximity. She would run a thorough diagnostic and examination of the situation as soon as she finished assisting him.

“I need the three eighths socket out of the tool box; will you get it for me please?”

His voice held a tightness in it that she had learned to associate with emotional discomfort. Cameron had also learned that he preferred it if she wouldn’t acknowledge this discomfort. Embarrassment was, according to her reading, a common occurrence among teenaged males and even though John’s emotional control had improved in the last two years, he was still prone to bouts of ‘angst and woe’ as described by Derek Reese. She scanned the garage and located the toolbox. As she moved toward it, she noted that its location against the wall was an inefficient position for the receptacle. Intending to carry the box to a more effective location near John, Cameron grasped the handles and in a split second, found that she was unable to move due to the high voltage running through her system.

She didn’t have time to ask why.

~DA~SCC~DA~SCC~DA~SCC~

John’s face was the first one Cameron saw when she reactivated. His eyes were the same, but his face was older – jaw more square, shoulders wide and strong – his familial similarity to Derek Reese was visibly apparent now. Cameron waited a moment; distracted by the lack of the faint humming that had run under her sub-processes for at least two months prior to her deactivation. She sat up, noting the layer of dirt and grime covering the casket she currently sat in and turned back to John. A strange process pinged deep within and Cameron tilted her head, unsure which of the many questions she should ask first. The most simple was the most logical. “Why did you deactivate me, John?”

A flare of regret shone in his eyes and he pressed on the scalp flap to ensure proper healing of the incision lines. “Because it was time to set up the bomb and the signal your processor was sending out had done its job.” His voice was deeper now and sounded very much like the John Connor from her time. “The last time I had to adjust your chip, I already knew we would have to set off the EMP, that it was the only way to stop Cyberdyne and prevent Judgment Day. I had embedded a signal to attract all of the machines to the West Coast so they would be destroyed when the bomb detonated.” The light in his eyes was familiar, the excitement he always showed when working on a particular electronic puzzle.

“Why am I still functioning, John?”

His eyes softened and he patted her shoulder. “Because I made sure your body was protected from the blast. I intended to come back for you a year after Judgment Day had passed, to reactivate you if we successfully prevented it.”

“You are much older than twenty-one, John. Were you successful?”

John grimaced and then scratched his head in typical fashion. “We were successful in destroying Cyberdyne and the machines; all of them are gone except you. We even managed to destroy the headquarters building and the main plant. But a lot of people died as a result of the EMP blast and it caused the country to go into a severe depression. It took me a long time to get back to you, Cameron, and I’m sorry for that. You’ve missed so much.”

“What about the others?”

John’s mouth tightened for a second and then he gave her a small smile. “Mom and Derek are here, waiting just outside.”

Cameron turned her attention to the door and her scans indicated that there were two adults just outside it, one adult several yards away near a large vehicle and three children seated inside the vehicle. All exhibited a rapid heartbeat and all were heavily armed.

“They are all afraid, John. Is there danger? Is this why you reactivated me?”

His eyes glistened with sudden moisture, as if he might cry and Cameron opened her mouth to ask why, but he stopped her. “I have a new mission for you, Cameron. Run a system scan.”



~DA~SCC~DA~SCC~DA~SCC~

September 2020

It always puzzled her when her human family would stand just outside the door to conduct their arguments. Especially since they thought they were doing it out of her hearing. They would need to go much further away for that kind of privacy. But Cameron never reminded them of that fact. It was a useful way to gather information.

“She can’t keep bringing home strays, John! Thanks to her, we now have four cats, a rabbit, a snake and a freaking turtle! Granted, the cats are actually beneficial, but… The area is heating up and… did she really have to bring someone’s lab experiment home to live with us! There are soldiers patrolling the woods not ten miles away from here!” The thud of Sarah’s boots vibrated through the floor as she paced. “Another thing! How the hell, in the eight years we’ve lived here, did we miss a military lab barely twenty miles away?”

Sarah’s voice hit a shrill note and Cameron frowned as the shaggy head in her lap quivered in response. From his seat on the floor, he wrapped his arms around her legs more securely. His height made him an imposing figure even with his attempt to look small. She wove her fingers through musky smelling hair and scratched his scalp, smiling in response to the calming effect her actions had on him.

“Come on, Mom! Are you telling me that her first real act of compassion bothers you? We changed her mission remember? This is the first evidence that we’ve had that her new programming is really working! Cameron would never bring someone into the compound that could compromise our safety. And he looks like he could help with some of the work around here. Katy’s due any day now and can’t lift anything heavy. Our perimeter is still secure so we’re not moving. We can handle the soldiers if they decide they want to trespass. We’ll keep him out of sight so our one neighbor that never visits won’t see him.” John’s composed tone had a soothing effect on her new friend and he looked up at her with large blue eyes.

She smiled again at her new friend and stroked her fingers through his hair like she’d watched John do with his German Shepherd and Isaac shot her an adoring look. His wounds were almost completely healed and she would soon teach him sign language so that his speech impairment wouldn’t matter.

A snort sounded from the figure seated in the far corner of the room causing both Isaac and Cameron to look at Derek.

“Sounds like you’re gonna get to keep your pet.” Derek’s voice didn’t hold the same biting derisive tone that it usually had and Cameron wondered if he’d been concerned for Isaac.

“He is not a pet. He is my friend.” She met his steady gaze and inspected Derek’s aged face. It was still an adjustment, the changes the years had caused. Hard living both in the future that would never happen and in the present time line had taken the color from his hair, but the avoidance of Judgment Day had eased some of the stress and worry. Derek Reese was still a formidable warrior. He was also a father.

In true Reese/Connor style, John, Sarah and Derek had trained their children in all manner of weapons use and combat. John’s wife Katy had been trained as well, but since she was in late term pregnancy, she was not as much of an asset as the children. But they were still very young and neither the 7 year old Reese twins nor John’s nine year old son were a match for any of the beings she had witnessed moving through the forest while helping Isaac. If the strangers decided to invade their compound, they were at a distinct disadvantage. The less human looking creatures might stay away, but the human hybrids could pass more effectively than any Terminator series, with the exception of the T-1500. But that model had been a singular experiment and had been melted just before John deactivated Cameron.

“We should keep the children within the compound and make them aware of the possible danger. There are a large number of Transgenics in the woods.”

Isaac shivered and twitched and Derek frowned at the dogman’s response to Cameron’s words. “Transgenics? They from the same lab that cooked him up?”

Cameron tilted her head, initiating a search through her database. The data was incomplete due to the change in timeline, but what she had was accurate enough. “The Manitcore Project was a privately owned genetics lab until 2008 when the founder and head research scientist Dr. Sandeman disappeared under mysterious circumstances.” She paused for a moment, noting Derek’s tense expression. He nodded and she resumed her report. “The first two viable Transhuman subjects to survive infancy were twins. They were born before Sandeman’s disappearance. Number one was named Joshua and Isaac was number two. The first series of experiments immediately after yielded subjects with characteristics more like their animal DNA than human. After the Doctor’s disappearance, a covert branch of the American government took control of the project and used his research to create genetically hybridized soldiers. In 2000, the X5 series had been genetically perfected and most subjects survived infancy. By 2012 the lab was successful in producing viable soldiers that could pass for human and began to deploy them in covert black ops. These two facilities were among the first that Skynet destroyed by nuclear bombardment.” Derek’s knuckles were white as his grip tightened on his shotgun, comprehension dawning on his face.

“John Connor had two such soldiers within his inner circle.” Derek’s face had paled and even though Cameron knew she shouldn’t, she thought about those soldiers. Their designations had been X5-494 and X5-452, but John had ordered her to never refer to them in that manner. They were almost as high on the termination list as John himself and the machines only knew them by those designations. John asserted that the Transgenics were people, not just a number and so they were introduced by their chosen names: Alec and Max.

Whenever Cameron tried to think about people from the future; the future in her memory banks, her processors would begin to malfunction and so she turned her attention back to the puzzle of Derek Reese.

Given his predisposition against anything Cyberdyne related or produced, Cameron had no reason to expect Derek Reese to accept her new position within the group. But he seemed to have made peace with his ‘personal demons’ as John described them, and had immediately supported keeping their new arrival on with the provision that the ‘dogman’ Isaac be eliminated if he became a liability or a danger to them. Logic indicated that compassion and necessity were the weight behind Derek’s acceptance.

However tentative it might be.

Derek scrubbed at his face and rested his elbows on his knees, visibly weary. “You understand how fucked up this is?”

“Yes, Derek.”

“And can you possibly explain why, since he obviously has enough dog DNA that he looks like one, he’s not going bat shit and attacking you? Thor still snarls at you and he’s been around you for months.”

“Isaac has sufficient human DNA to override his natural canine instinct and as I explained before, I prevented his extermination. His leg was injured in a poacher’s trap and therefore unable to camouflage his movements through the woods. I carried him out and brought him here.” She held Derek’s gaze, determined to follow her altered directive. Isaac liked her and it would be a change to have close contact with someone that didn’t behave awkwardly around her.

John had given her a new mission. Her protection directive now encompassed the whole family. She also assisted in teaching the children since they couldn’t allow them to attend the barely adequate public school that was too far away for comfort. And, John said she was to have as normal a life as could be managed in this vastly changed world. Which included making appropriate friendships. It was not the most logical directive.

The idea of Isaac staying made her smile. It was yet another unexpected response that should have immediately prompted a thorough diagnostic. She had mentioned the anomalies to John upon her return as everyone in the compound gathered around them. But Isaac’s presence had everyone in an uproar and he said he would talk to her about it later.

**

Four Days Previous

The tremors that had rattled the land couldn’t be attributed to seismic activity. Not this far north. And any volcanoes nearby had been dormant and would remain so. From her sentry point, Cameron looked back at the compound and ran a thermal scan, noting that all but two occupants were sleeping. Two were awake, but their activities indicated that sleep would occur soon. She turned toward the north east and headed out, confident that one of the adults would find her note stuck to the refrigeration unit.

An explosion of that magnitude required immediate investigation. There was also a signaling device in the sky and Cameron was very interested in finding out who it was intended for. After approximately ten klicks, a hush washed over the forest and Cameron noticed movement. A human would have never detected the others traveling with predator-like stealth. She activated her thermo receptors and observed many humanoid beings heading south and southwest, away from what she deduced was the epicenter of the tremors.

When she reached another compound, Cameron examined the damage and was satisfied that she had found the cause of the land tremors. The entire complex was in ruins and as she toured the area, she found a large number of bodies littering the ground near the perimeter fence. The bodies were a mixture of male and female adolescents as well as male and females of at least twenty years. All had been terminated via projectile armament. None had been armed and most of the injuries had been received from the rear.

Cameron found what appeared to be a deceased guard and something about the symbol on his uniform seemed familiar so she stopped and searched her databanks. A shot rang out, catching her square in the back and Cameron turned to see her attacker. The man stared at her with no small amount of fear as she headed in his direction, and an unfamiliar process caused an anomaly in her reaction response. Her directive included protecting the children and this man had been party to wholesale slaughter of charges he should have protected. Children were to be cherished, not murdered. This had been one of John’s most adamant instructions.



It was a glitch. There had to be a malfunction in her processors. Cameron stared down at the crushed body of the guard and examined him closely. It appeared that every bone in his body was broken. A scan confirmed her initial diagnosis and she searched her memory for the events prior to the man’s death. There was nothing but that unfamiliar sensation and four new holes in the front of her shirt. Sarah would be angry. Clothing was expensive now. Cameron crouched and searched the guard’s clothing, locating a Manticore security badge, seventy dollars and five loaded clips for his weapon stored in a pouch. Cameron pocketed the items, slung the weapon’s strap over her shoulder and turned toward home. The sound of at least three HumVees were approaching the perimeter on the other side of the compound and she didn’t want to engage an unknown enemy and possibly put the family at risk.

The stealthy movements around her would never have been detected by a normal human and Cameron decided to project the outward appearance of ignorance. A delay caused by an unnecessary confrontation with the escapees would be unacceptable. Men who experimented on children and willfully terminated them in order to hide those acts would have no issue with trying to take her apart to find out how she worked. She ran the probability of reverse engineering if she were captured and felt another anomalous glitch shiver through her circuitry. Cameron discovered that she really didn’t want to be deactivated again and the danger of someone reverse engineering her components was too great and she increased her speed through the trees.

Distant sound of gunfire stopped Cameron in her tracks and she decided to take a more circuitous route home. There was no way to determine if the soldiers of Manticore had tracking abilities. Approximately three klicks later, Cameron heard a nearly silent rustle in the gully she had been skirting and stopped to listen. A quiet whimper was followed by a pain-filled yelp and Cameron jumped into the creek bed to find a rather large figure huddled over its obviously injured leg. Dark scraggly hair hid the creature’s face but its hands were a unique blend of human shape and canine nails. The creature briefly met her gaze and he snarled at her before shrinking back against the bank of the dry creek bed. Cameron moved into his eyeline again and stared at him in the same way she’d stared down John’s dog. She held out her hand, “Come with me if you want to live.”

Sounds of movement in the distance caught his attention and the dogman reached out a tentative hand to grasp hers. She pulled him into a fireman’s carry and stepped up her pace, covering two more klicks in an adjacent angle to home before reaching an area she felt was secure enough to assess the creature’s injury. She set him down and looked him in the eye again. “Do not move. I will return soon.” He nodded warily and shifted into a more comfortable position.

A quick sweep of the area showed no signs of escapees nor their pursuers and Cameron returned as promised. He was leaning against the base of a tree with his eyes closed, but she could tell that he was alert and she deliberately stepped on a stick, its loud snap announcing her arrival. His blue eyes flew open wide and he snarled at her again, reminding her of Thor, John’s German Shepherd. Even after daily exposure for six months, Thor still snarled at her and barked if startled. His eyes widened as she stared him down and he roared at her, mouth wide and Cameron noticed that his tongue had been crudely removed at the root.

Which explained his silence as she carried him. “I must assess your injury. If something is broken and is left untreated, you could suffer from permanent damage. Will you allow me examine your leg?” She waited as he stared at her with wary, distrustful eyes. He snarled at her again and she responded, “If I had wanted your death, I would have left you behind, or terminated you myself.” It took him exactly one minute, thirty seconds to nod his compliance and lean back against the tree. His ankle was swollen and the skin just above the joint discolored and abraded, but not completely compromised. She rotated his ankle, ignoring his yips and whines and was satisfied with its mobility.

The injury was consistent with the use of a steel trap favored by small game poachers. If it had been a trap constructed for larger game, his Transhuman advantage wouldn’t have been sufficient and the injury would have required possible amputation. She pulled a strip of cloth from the hem of her ruined shirt and stabilized his ankle with an adequate stick and then sat back on her heels. “What is your name?”

He scowled, pointing to his mouth and lack of tongue and she tilted her head before reaching over and sweeping an area clean of debris. “Can you write it?”

He reached over and scratched out a name in the dirt.

I – S – A – A – C

The letters were awkward, much like a child’s and he glared at her as she processed this new information.

“Did your twin escape?” Through her contact with his ankle, she felt his pulse increase and his pupils dilated in fear. She held him firmly and leaned in, holding eye contact. “I cannot explain how I have the information, but I do know about Manticore and I have no affiliation with them. Why would Manticore damage one of their test subjects in such a manner? Removing the tongue only limits communication capabilities. There are no other logical reasons to do so.”

Isaac’s hands tightened into fists and Cameron watched him, quietly waiting for him to explain. He swept the dirt clear again and then laboriously scratched out a short response.

BAD MAN. BAD GUARDS. ISAAC SAD. HURT ISAAC. MEN TOOK TONGUE.

Cameron met his angry gaze and nodded. “Thank you for explaining.”



--

It had taken more than two days to sufficiently elude the soldiers in the forest, but Cameron finally made it to the front entrance of the Connor compound; half carrying Isaac since his injury had become aggravated the previous night. Everyone had come running when she opened the gate and they waited patiently as John approached. Cameron watched silently as Sarah opened her mouth to begin firing questions, but the older woman stopped as John held up his hand, demanding her silence.

Sarah Connor’s relinquishing of her leadership role to her son was another thing Cameron still had yet to adjust to. It was logical, but Sarah was not a logical woman by nature.

“Cameron, where have you been and who is this?” John’s tone was calm and even, but Cameron could hear the slight strain, indicating worry.

“I left a note. The tremors we felt four nights ago could not have been caused by earthquakes as Sarah suggested. I noticed movement in the forest while on my patrol and followed the activity. Approximately ten klicks north, I ran across a group of young people dressed in BDU’s. They moved very quickly to avoid me.” She felt Isaac sag against her as exhaustion and hunger took over his instinctual flight response. “This is Isaac, John. He was unable to escape from the soldiers searching the woods without assistance and I helped him. He cannot speak due to the removal of his tongue.”

“Why did you bring him here?” Sarah’s voice was unusually harsh and Isaac rumbled low in his chest in response. Cameron poked him in the ribs and he yipped, sending her an irritated glare. Knowing that his canine instincts would prompt him to try and dominate everyone here, Cameron tightened her grip on his elbow and met his scowl with one of her own. He broke eye contact quickly and she loosened her fingers slightly. John’s dog had held out longer during that particular test. Isaac just might fit in with their strange unit. Cameron felt her mouth form a smile and Sarah scowled darkly, shrugging Derek’s hand off of her shoulder before turning on her heel and stomping toward the house. Katy pulled the children back into the sleeping quarters of the house over their loud protests and Cameron turned her attention back on John.

“John, I have experienced several anomalies since leaving the compound…”

“We’ll talk about it later, Cam. Okay? Just take your friend Isaac to the front room for now. When I’m finished talking to mom, you can show him the greenhouse and set up a cot in the office.”

**

Now…

Derek was still holding her gaze, refusing to back down when the door opened; slamming against the wall with a force that indicated Sarah Connor was highly agitated. John’s mother stomped across the room and came to halt a foot from Cameron and Isaac. “He can stay.” She growled and then she leaned down, catching Isaac’s eye, holding his gaze steadily until he looked back down. Sarah looked Cameron in the eye as well. “You’re responsible for him. No biting or growling aggressively at the kids. He’s expected to pull his own weight and help when someone is out of commission.” Sarah sighed heavily and scrunched her nose. “And make him take a bath.”

Cameron smiled at the blue eye peeking out at her through messy hair.

“I understand.”

~DA~SCC~DA~SCC~DA~SCC~

END


Prompts:
What would you like to read?: Plot, character interaction (IE dialogue), Cameron getting a pet
Ratings I want to read: FR13 or higher please
Are there certain pairing you will like to read: Nope
Suggestions on story setting: A park at night
Anything you don't want to read? Cameron/anyone (sorry, but I just don’t like her shipped), incest or age regression fics
Fandoms you want read (at least 5 or more): Dark Angel, BtVS/AtS, Anita Blake, Stargate SG-1, Mercy Thompson series (Patricia Briggs), Supernatural, Noah Bishop series (Kay Hooper), The Return (movie), Dr Who Torchwood

A/N part deux: Thank you to Sabaceanbabe for pointing out that I had made a mistake on Max's designation. All fixed now!

The End

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