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Make Your Own Fate
#2 - Atonement


Marcus feels like he's in a dream. The sunlight is so bright and pure that it's unreal - like an overexposed picture or like he can feel the radiation they got exposed to on their flight away from Skynet eating through his flesh and bo-- metal.

Kate Connor's words are just as unreal. John Connor is dying? That can't be true. For the leader of the human resistance to live through all the shit they survived together in the Skynet complex only to die now from a weak heart? That's irony. That's a damned lie.

But Kate isn't lying, and the unhealthy pallor to John's face is all too real, too. John, so quick, so full of fire, of conviction, of life, looks dazed, slow, and like he's half-dead already, and worse - like he's accepted it. Like he's more than a little relieved to be able to rest.

Marcus won't accept that. Not when he can do something; give John a second chance, give what remains of humanity in this strange, cruel world back the leader they need in order to survive an enemy that seems unstoppable (he still sees Serena's face in front of his inner eye; the cruel twist to her mouth, the red lights in her eye sockets). So he steps forward. And offers his heart.

He hears a small, stifled sound from Blair, and a choked-back "No!" from Kyle. He sees Kate's expression only through his peripheral vision (and wow, he's got 20/20 now - how stupid was he to not realize something had changed when he woke up in that cave, feeling stronger, faster and better than he's ever felt before? But he didn't know. He didn't want to know.), and it is at first appalled, then considering, then it lights up.

She presses his hands (flesh and metal alike) and thanks him. But Marcus' eyes are still focused on John. He's heard, and finally, his strange, wrong detachment shatters. He tries to sit up, a denial on his lips, and two hectic spots of color on his cheeks.

Kate hurries to his side and pushes him carefully back down, leaves her hand on his chest. Marcus feels a strange little sting in his stomach and reels with the clear-as-life mental picture of him elbowing her out of the way and replacing her hand with his own. Then he could feel John's weakening heart beat, his lungs fill and empty again, his pulse pound under warm flesh. He almost staggers. This explains so much, he thinks, reeling, as he finally understands. It would almost be funny if it weren't so tragic. Skynet's latest infiltrator falling for its target. That's bloody fucking irony.

Kate is calming John down, her voice deliberately even with an underlying exaltation that shines through like gleaming steel. Like blood. Like determination.

Marcus has given her an idea, she says. They could give John another heart. Not Marcus'; who knows whether John's body could cope with it (whether it wouldn't kill John, Barnes' grunt says without words). But they lost a lot of good people - and are on the verge of losing more - in that last battle, and any member of the Resistance who's lying on their deathbed would be more than willing to give their heart so that their leader would live.

Kate thanks him. Barnes stares at him, then leaves. Kyle is lost for words and peels a jittery Star off his hand. Blair grabs his other hand (the one still covered by flesh), but he wordlessly asks her to go without him.

He steps up to John's bed and looks down on him.

Oh, it would be so much easier if one of them were dead. Then Marcus wouldn't have to feel this hollow pain in his chest (where he knows no such space exists - all taken up by flesh and metal, circuitry, mechanical parts working as the organs he no longer has, aside from his far too human heart) and think of tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after. An endless number of days in an equally endless war, with people who either are suspicious of him or expect far too much of him, and his will to atone for something he had no control over, to prove himself even if it destroys him.

For how can he do anything but, when there are John Connor's eyes on him, full of that inexplicable trust and willingness to believe?

They're linked; not because of Skynet's attempt at a trap, not because of metal and blood, but because of something much, much deeper.

It might be love, Marcus thinks. It feels like it's inevitable; like it's the punishment he deserves. He should have died, but instead he got this. It'll be painful, and it'll hollow him out from the inside. A strange kind of comfort. It feels like death.


"Terminator: Salvation" ficlet by allaire mikháil, 816 words, John Connor/Marcus Wright UST, Marcus POV, rated PG.

In T4, there is an undeniable something that draws Connor and Wright together, and it is more than suspicion (on John Connor's side) and the need for redemption (on Marcus Wright's side). Connor trusts Wright - against every instinct; against logic -, and Wright is willing to risk and give up everything if only it saves Connor. It's no stretch to see it as UST.

Many thanks to ljdestinyawakened who didn't just create ljconnor_wright and invite me to join as co-moderator, but who also looked over this and tried to curtail my run-on sentences. What remains of them can be blamed entirely on me. *g*


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