First Aid (John Connor)

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First Aid (John Connor)
Date of Cutscene: 06 May 2014
Location: Connor Residence, Los Angeles
Synopsis: In the aftermath of the rescue of Derek Reese, John Connor has a pair of awkward conversations - one with Cameron, the other with Charley.
Cast of Characters: John Connor (Dropped)

John Connor can't handle being inside the house anymore. There's a man bleeding out on the kitchen counter. A man they went through a lot of effort to save, only for him to get his lung nicked by a bit of shrapnel right at the end. Derek Reese. His uncle. His biological uncle was being operated on by Charley Dixon, the man who John thought might actually be a decent stepfather. All because he went and grabbed him from his home and dragged him into this mess.

All things considered, Charley had taken it pretty well. He knew everything now - the reason they disappeared, why they had brought a bleeding man into their home, what Cameron was. Out of everything that had happened today, Charley's words to John - "I just wish you could have trusted me" - stung the most.

He just needs a second to think.

Stepping into the shed in the backyard, John takes a breath. It takes him a moment to realise he's not alone.

"You look nervous," Cameron says, in the back of the shed. The lights are off but she doesn't need them to see. "Would you like a sedative?" she continues, "There are sedatives in Charley Dixon's bag."

John flicks the light switch. Cameron is standing by one of the workbenches, her leg extended at an angle that would be a remarkable display of flexibility for a human. It takes John a second to realise that she's not wearing pants but she is wearing purple underwear. In spite of the fact that she's cut away most of the flesh around her knee joint, leaving the gleaming chrome of her endoskeleton exposed and revealing what she truly is, John blushes.

"Do you know who that is in there?" John asks her, dispelling his brief bashful spell. "Who's dying on that table?"

"Yes," Cameron replies instantly, turning back to tinker with her knee. "That man is First Lieutenant Derek Thomas Reese with the 132nd S.O.C. Operational speciality: Tech-Com."

"No, I mean, on a personal level. Do you /understand/ who he is?"

Cameron looks up. "Records indicate that only his blood relation is his brother - Kyle Reese."

John closes his eyes. Sometimes talking to Cameron is like pulling teeth. "And what information do you have about Kyle Reese?"

"Imprisoned at Century Sector Work Camp with John Connor, 2015. Escaped with John Connor, 2021. He was officially declared MIA in 2027 after being assigned to protect Sarah Connor from a Skynet attack."

John looks at her for a moment, questioning without saying anything. "Is that all?"

"It seems like a lot."

"It is."

But it's not the whole truth. And it raises more questions. For now, John doesn't focus on it. He tries not to focus on Cameron either. He should've found out where she was before going for a walk.

"How's the knee?" John asks.

"Damaged."

"I can tell," John drawls. He steps over to the walkbench and examines the metallic knee joint. "Can it move?"

Cameron demonstrates. Something whirrs and clicks. John knows machines, he knows how they should sound. That's not a good sound.

"Yeah, something's damaged in there, something probably got knocked out of alignment." As John talks, he slides over a toolbox, pops it open and pulls out a multitool. He brandishes it up at Cameron and grins. "Now, this won't hurt a bit."

"Of course," Cameron replies, "I don't feel pain."

John shakes his head, lays out a few more tools, and goes to work on Cameron's knee joint. She might be different, sure, but Uncle Bob all those years ago seemed to have a better sense of humor.

Later, once Derek was out of the woods, Charley finds John in the living room. John had packed up all of his paramedic gear. John was always very good at that sort of thing, logistics and efficiency, and now Charley has some idea why. To John, Charley looks old. So much older than before. His hair was greying when it had been flat black before. To John, it's only been a month. To Charley, it's been eight years and he wears every bit of stress as a new line on his face, as a new streak of grey through his short dark hair.

And eight years worth of questions stretch across the living room and between the pair.

"So," Charley says. "A, ah, a cybernetic organism over... a hyperalloy combat chassis."

John nods. "That's what she says."

"'She'." Charley shakes his head, waggling a finger as he picks upon that point. "That's kinda weird, isn't it? Because she isn't really a she. Um, she's not really anything, is she? But I guess you get used to her. Right?"

Charley had talked to Cameron. While she had been skinning the Terminator with a combat knife. Charley was still reeling from it.

"Yeah," he was saying, "You end up looking at her like she's a normal girl."

John laughs. "Normal? No. Definitely not normal."

"But, yeah, I- um- I guess it's easy to forget. What she is. Y'know, the more she's around."

John hasn't stopped smiling since Charley called Cameron normal. His face splits in a grin. This is all so ridiculous. He knows that Charley only ever got nervous about topics when they related to, well, certain things. And eight years hadn't seemed to affect that little quirk.

"Are you asking if I like her?" John asks, grinning. "Like, like-like her? No, dude, come on... That's insane."

"Is it?" Charley asks, not believing him, and he takes a step to settle onto the couch. "Don't forget, I used to see you down at the bike shop. With that girl."

"What girl?"

Charley tilts his head towards John and gives him a sardonic look. "/The/ girl, Johnny. Come on, with the parts counter? The one with the tattoo right there?" Charley points to his neck, as if to jog John's memory.

John smiles, rolls his tongue over his teeth and looks away.

Charley leaps on it. It's just like old times. "I mean, how many times did you and I go back for just the right brake pad?" The words are like a criminal charge, albeit a teasing one. That was Charley's justice. For all his close-cropped hair and tough demeanour, he was gentle and heartfelt in everything he did.

That's why, of all the men he had seen come and go, John wishes Charley had've been the one to stay.

"I thought I was being so clever..." John admits.

"And every time, I thought, yeah, that's my Johnny, he'll manage it."

Those words seem to have an effect on John. It's like the smile on his face becomes brittle, sad. That would was still fresh.

Charley glances down at his watch. "Now, I've got to go. Let's hope it isn't another eight years."

"It's only been a month," John replies, without thinking.

"Yeah. Right. Well." He holds out his hand to John and pulls him into a hug, clapping his hand on his back. He says, quietly: "Don't forget what she is."

And then Charley is gone, picking up his bags. He steps out of the living room, saying over his shoulder: "Take care of your mom for me."