Warnings: Cracktastically angsty schmoop. You know what the evil plot bunnies do when you ignore them. If you haven’t seen Season 1 yet…
Characters: Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese, John Winchester, Dean & Sam Winchester
Timeline: 1999, before Sarah and John leave Charley.
Disclaimer: This story is intended for entertainment purposes only and provides absolutely no financial compensation. Recognizable characters belong to their prospective owners/writers. Some lines from the show are used either as is or altered to fit the story.
Acknowledgements: Hugs and kisses to my fabulous Beta Babes: MusesInspiration
. Y’all keep me sane when the plot bunnies won’t rest. And also thank you to Ava
for discussing some plot points.
Sarah surged up from the bed, biting back the scream that had been crawling up her throat. The nightmare had ripped through her sleep again and once more she tried to discount it. Life with Charley was good, John was flourishing and she should be happy. But that was the problem; happiness and contentment weren’t in her makeup. Those luxuries hadn’t been a part of her life for more than 15 years. She certainly had strong feelings for Charley, but they were all wrapped up with John and the fact that the man was a strong positive role model for her son. Three days ago she’d found herself humming some sappy pop song and when she caught herself, it had felt like a betrayal.
The betrayal part had to do with the festering wound in her heart that never seemed to heal. In one night, in spite of the mortal danger she’d been in, Kyle Reese had grabbed hold of her heart, made it sing and then shredded it with his death. Sarah hadn’t visited Kyle’s grave in five years and the need to do so had been growing, but it would have to wait until after her shift tonight. It was the best way to avoid tedious explanations to Charley and her son’s insistence to come along.
When Sarah had cautiously approached the remote section of the cemetery, the last thing she’d expected to see were two young men digging up Kyle’s grave. The younger of the two was close to John’s age and hadn’t yet grown into his gangly limbs or height. She crouched behind the serenity angel nearby and watched as the older one shoveled dirt with quiet efficiency. It was obvious that the boys thought they were alone because their voices carried clearly across the short distance.
“Dammit, Sammy! The flashlight is for me! You can’t see a ghost with that thing, you know that. Shine it down here and keep your eyes open in case our friend here decides to stop screwin’ around at the factory pay us a visit.”
“You think Dad’s okay by himself, Dean?”
“Don’t be such a girl Sammy. He’s fine. The factory is still shut down because of that last accident. He’s just keepin’ an eye out for ol’ Kyle here.”
Sarah had no idea what these kids were talking about, but they were digging up Kyle’s body to do God knew what and she saw red. Stepping out from behind the angel, Sarah raised her weapon, aiming in their general direction. “Hold it right there boys.” The younger one, the look out, reflexively shined the light in her eyes. “Put the light down now or I shoot it out.” The light dropped and Sarah felt a twinge of guilt when the kid squeaked. Guilt was replaced by a bit of approval when the older one hauled himself up out of the disturbed earth.
“You leave my brother alone!” he snarled at her and stepped in front of his brother, hands up at his sides to show he was unarmed.
“Why the hell are you digging up my husband?”
Moonlight broke through the clouds and Sarah watched the older kid grin at her. “Husband? Lady, except for a death certificate, Kyle Reese didn’t exist. At least not in California and there’s no marriage record for him either. His burial was paid for in cash with no relatives listed.” He took a step forward and Sarah brought her weapon to train on him. His shoulders relaxed slightly and she realized he’d intended to take her focus off his little brother. “Let’s say he was your husband. Nighttime’s a pretty strange time to come visiting.”
“I hate crowds.”
A scuff of sound alerted her to someone approaching from behind. She whipped around, sweeping her weapon around to focus on the dark haired man standing behind her and felt her gut clench at the Mossberg aimed at her. Movement caught the corner of her eye and her frustration rose enough to bring a sting of tears to her eyes. Not now! She just needed a break dammit!
“You mind telling me why you had a weapon aimed at my boys?” His voice was a growling bass that reminded her of her long dead father and Sarah clenched her jaw against the melancholy the memory brought.
“You mind telling me why your ‘boys’ are digging up my husband?”
The man stepped into the moonlight and Sarah could see caution and curiosity in his dark eyes.
“Would your name be Sarah by any chance?”
The clench in her gut froze to solid ice and Sarah spared a quick glance at the two boys before focusing back on the father. There was no way she could out run the shotgun unless she fired first and she couldn’t make herself shoot this man trying to protect his kids. She’d already be dead if any of them were Terminators. What little comfort that was.
“Look, there’s nothing of value in that grave. No jewelry or gold teeth.”
“Eww, gross!” she heard the younger one, Sammy, squeal. “Shh, quiet Sammy!” the older one cautioned.
Sarah didn’t look toward them, keeping her eyes on the man and she saw him shake his head. He looked her in the eye and then lowered his weapon. “You are Sarah, aren’t you?”
Keeping her guard up, Sarah blurted out, “How the hell would you know that?” She winced inwardly, hating the fact that her voice was a little shaky and so she steeled herself, pushing away the uncertainty she’d been fighting all day.
The man looked at his sons and they shared a shrug and he held out his hand. “I’m John and these two are my boys, Dean and Sam. This is going to sound pretty crazy and you probably won’t believe me, but there have been several pretty serious accidents at the machine factory Kyle Reese was killed in. We believe that he’s haunting the building.”
Sarah gaped at the man, completely at a loss for words. With everything she’d been through in the past fifteen years, ghosts; specifically Kyle’s ghost, was the last thing she expected. She snorted, “It’s a prank right? A ghost?” She looked up at the moon. “And they thought I was crazy?” She looked back at the man and then the two boys and shook her head. They weren’t a threat. Not to her anyway. She lowered her weapon. “Even if what you say is true, what the hell do you hope to accomplish by digging him up? I’ve seen some pretty fucked up things in my life, things you couldn’t imagine if you tried. But ghosts? And that factory shut down fifteen years ago, after Kyle was killed.”
“Are you a Hunter?... Ow! What’d ya hit me for, Jerk!”
“Shut up Sammy. She’s no Hunter. Otherwise she’d know why we were digging up Sir Screams a Lot.”
Sarah glared at the older boy, Dean and then barked at the father, “Sir Screams A Lot? Explain! Or do you actually expect me to swallow this bullshit?” She shot the younger boy a look and then winced at the father. “Sorry.”
Dean snorted and Sam grinned despite his fear. Sarah tapped her foot impatiently.
“No problem. Despite my instruction, Dean has a rather impressive vocabulary and feels it necessary to share with his brother.” He held his hand out, palm up to try and calm her and the gesture only made her tense up more. John’s hands dropped and he grimaced, obviously trying to come up with a plausible story to feed her. “Kyle, your husband, really is haunting the factory he died in. But, unlike most hauntings, I don’t think he’s actually intending to hurt anyone. I watched him for two hours tonight and he keeps calling out, ‘Sarah! Run!’.
The four of them watched as Kyle backed up the metal stairs, rage and fear shining from his surprisingly solid face. John Winchester had warned her that this was a very unusual haunting because the spirit, Kyle, was nearly corporeal. She watched him ascend the stairs, her adrenaline spiking as her memories of that night began to fill in her part of the macabre scene playing out. She hadn’t witnessed Kyle’s actual end since she’d turned to run and so she steeled herself to witness the death of John’s father.
“Run, Sarah… Run!” His voice startled tears that had been pooling and they raced silently down her pale cheeks. Kyle looked over his shoulder, right where she knew she’d been standing and screamed again, “Run!” He faced what she knew had been his worst nightmare advancing on him and raised the length of pipe in his left hand. “Come on you mother fucker!” Even to the uninformed, it was obvious his right arm was useless and he grunted with the effort of swinging the pipe at his unseen foe. Sparks shone with each blow and she flinched every time, ignoring the three males watching her reaction.
She was halfway up the stairs when Kyle went flying and she hesitated on the landing, wondering if the pipe bomb going off was the cause of the electrical disturbance the Winchesters had told her about. There was a flash of light and she squinted against it, watching as Kyle rolled down the stairs. He landed on his left side and Sarah absently rubbed her thigh. The scar had faded a little, but it was still there as a physical reminder. Not that she needed more than one.
Focused on reaching Kyle, Sarah didn’t hear Winchester calling her back and she knelt by the crumpled form. This was where she’d come in before. Only this time, when she turned him over, he was looking at her instead of nothing. His eyes widened in recognition and he opened his mouth to yell, but Sarah touched his lips with shaky fingers.
“Shhh. I’m alright, Kyle. It’s dead. I crushed it in the machine press.” She stroked the side of his face and wondered how her hand was still clean.
His gaze inspected her face for injury and he frowned. “You look older and you hair’s darker.”
She laughed around the lump in her throat. “Yeah well… hair color just doesn’t seem important and… It’s been fifteen years, Kyle.”
“But…?” He stopped, confusion wrinkling his brow and she stroked his head again, trying to memorize everything about his face. She realized that her memories had started to fade. It hadn’t been her imagination; John really did have Kyle’s eyes. She knew what he was probably thinking. That she’d somehow been sent back in time… possibly to save him. If only…
“It’s not Tech. This is something… different.”
“But, you’re okay? You got away and you’re safe?”
Sarah nodded, her heart twisting at the relief in his eyes. “We’re okay. John and I are okay.”
“John?” Awareness lit his expression and the haze of pain seemed to just disappear. He sat up and grabbed her shoulders. “John’s here?”
Sarah shook her head. “No, Kyle, John’s not here. He’s somewhere safe… sleeping if he knows what’s good for him. I wish you could see him, just once.” A step on the landing behind them sounded and Sarah turned toward it. Kyle followed her gaze and they both looked up at John Winchester. He stood silently for a moment more and then cradled the Mossberg in the crook of his elbow and nodded. Winchester met her gaze and gestured to Kyle.
“You need to tell him, Sarah. Because if you can’t satisfy his unfinished business then we’ll need to put him to rest.” Winchester’s voice was sympathetic, but firm and Sarah nodded in response. Kyle didn’t deserve to exist in this loop.
“Are you Resistance? What’s your unit number?” Winchester shook his head no and Kyle turned back to Sarah. “What’s he talking about, Sarah?”
The look on his face was close to panic and Sarah did her best to try and calm him. It was so hard to remember the soft and sweet part of her that had died that night. But he didn’t know the hard determined woman she was now. Swallowing painfully, she stroked his face again, committing the tactile sensation to memory. “Kyle. D-do you remember what happened after the explosion?”
“Um… well, I woke up and you were holding me.” He looked around, a little fear creeping back into his demeanor. “Are you sure it’s gone? They’re really hard to destroy.”
“Between your pipe-bomb and the machine press over there, it’s been most definitely terminated.” She took another breath. “Kyle, remember when I said that it’s been fifteen years?” Kyle nodded, his grip on her shoulders tightening. “You completed your mission, Kyle. I survived and so did John. He sent you to protect me, remember?” Kyle nodded again, his face relaxing as the fear dissolved. He looked down, obviously noting the changes her body had gone through in the passing years. “It’s ti-…” her throat closed up and her breath hitched. “It’s time to rest now, Kyle. You didn’t survive the explosion.” Kyle seemed to slump into himself and Sarah couldn’t just let him go on such a negative note. “John knows what you did, for me… for him. I told him that his father died a hero.”
Kyle’s head snapped up and Sarah felt the tears well up in her eyes again.
She nodded, trying to smile but mostly failing. His hands slid up her shoulders to cup her face and he grinned, tears overflowing and running down his bloody cheek. “Mine?”
Her answering smile was genuine, if a little rusty and he pulled her in for a fierce hug. Aware of their audience, she pulled out of his embrace reluctantly and opened her mouth to tell him again, that it was time to rest. But his lips covered hers and she broke apart, clinging to him despite the futility of the act. He felt so real and warm…
…and she squeezed her eyes tight as she sat back on her heels when his hands disappeared, unwilling to see that he was gone. Again.
She stifled the urge to wail and pulled herself together, ignoring the sniffles coming from the landing above her.
John watched the woman pull herself together as he gave Sammy a comforting pat. His head was whirling as he tried to sort out everything he’d heard tonight. There was a nearly silent sniff from his other side and he resisted looking at his eldest. “Dean, any readings?”
A cough sounded out and then Dean’s raspy voice answered, “Uh, no, Sir. All clear.”
John was grateful for the uncharacteristic silence of his youngest son on the walk back to their vehicles. He pulled out a piece of paper with his contact info on it for Sarah and handed it to her.
“In case you come across anything unusual or need any help.”
Sarah looked down at the white scrap for a moment and then looked up at him with red angry eyes.
“You wanna help me? Do me a favor then. If you or your boys come across any groundbreaking computer technology and have to opportunity to sabotage it, I’d be very grateful. Anything that is owned by this company,” she gestured to the building behind them. “Cyberdyne Systems… burn it down or the future will be filled with more ghosts and spirits than people.” She jumped into her truck and had the engine roaring and out of the lot before he could get his mind around what she’d just said.
John gave the building one more look before sliding in behind the wheel of the Impala, bracing himself for the onslaught of questions from Sammy.
Sarah was grateful for the empty bed that greeted her when she got home. Charley was working a double shift and not due in until five a.m. On his way out to school, John woke her at eight and she went through the motions of dressing for work. She hated it when her emotions got the better of her. Sniveling wouldn’t save their lives.
The dream didn’t go away, but her heart was lighter and she began to enjoy their life with Charley again. Until he presented her with that damned engagement ring. Like being presented with a diamond large enough to sufficiently arm her for a small war wasn’t something to freak out about. It certainly reminded her of why they were living the way they were.
The fight with John over leaving was worse than she’d expected, but she pushed the guilt away.
“Don't you think that John. Don't you ever think that! Look at me. No one is ever safe. Half an hour. One bag. Plus the guns.” She turned to stalk out of the room and called over her shoulder, “I'll make pancakes.”