“Listen, I have to go to the hardware store. Slip into Cyberdyne before the end of the day. Do you want me to drop you off?”
The T-1000 shook its head, walking out of the door behind John.
“I can reach the interior without issue. Do you require notification once I reach the core?”
“Please.” John responded, hailing the elevator. “I want you to give me a call every two hours, or if anything goes wrong. And before you go, I would really appreciate it if you made an effort to stay hidden and not be forced to kill anyone.”
The T-1000's expressions were so vacant that if John wasn't granted heightened senses from the nanites, he wouldn't have been able to tell a difference between minor annoyance and indifference. But the slightest twitch of an eyebrow told John that the irritation of being given orders was very much there.
“Fine.” the T-1000 answered after a few seconds of awkward silence. John watched its void expression for the trip down to the ground floor, then looked away, crossing his arms.
“It'll behoove you to cooperate.”
“You've said that multiple times before.”
“Well I'm saying it again because it's in your best interest. We have to-”
“Be careful. You repeat yourself too often.”
“Because you robots are so damn stubborn that when I try to tell you things that are in your best interest you decide that instead of listening, and being cautious, you would rather act out like a bunch of children.”
“Implying you haven't acted with poor judgment in the past.”
“Don't get smart with me.”
The two exited the apartment building, the T-1000 turning to walk down the sidewalk. John watched it go, frowning when he saw the tiniest of smirks tugging at the robot's mouth once again. He rolled his eyes, walking the other way towards his car.
John still found himself yawning, which genuinely surprised him and made him wonder about the state of his being. Truly he hadn't known of his own abilities until he was attacked by the 101 model. Before that there was simply no need to be violent.
John tried to stifle the incoming yawn, but failed, feeling his eyes begin watering as his mouth stretched open and he took in a long, deep breath. He turned into the lot of a hardware store, stooped forward in his seat, sighing as he began turning into a parking space, only to be cut off by a faster car.
He rolled his eyes, finding a spot further from the store and getting out. He locked the car and began walking down the lot, passing long row of parked cars. The sound of muffled cursing drew his attention, and he slowed, looking over between two minivans to spot a man bent over the engine of a truck. John glanced at the hardware store, then at the struggling man, and took some time wavering in his decision before starting to walk again. A few steps more and he stopped, chuckling at himself and turning, giving up on trying to ignore the man.
John slid between the two minivans, clearing his throat. The other man didn't bother looking over, grunting as he stood up straight.
“No that's my business, but do you need some help?” John asked quietly.
“I might actually have to take you up on that...”
John felt himself grow cold, eyes widening as he stared at the other man, who in turn grew shockingly pale within seconds as soon as he turned and laid eyes on him.
Kyle was frozen in place, staring back at John. The two men were still for several moments of tense silence before John spoke.
“Why are you here?”
The question opened the floodgates, with Kyle storming towards the other, his rashness surprising John, who took a step back.
“How the hell are you even still alive!?” Kyle snapped, glaring at him. “Pops said there was nothing left!”
“You really thought it was going to be that easy?” John responded, his anger mirroring Kyle's. “I told you before, certain things are going to happen. Destined to happen. Why try and fight it?”
“You used to know why – fuck, what am I even saying, you're not-” Kyle didn't bother finishing his sentence, drawing a gun that was tucked under his belt beneath his jacket.
“Really, Kyle?” John snorted, staring at the pistol.
The taunt drew a sneer across Kyle's face and prompted him to fire. John began to advance on him, ignoring the bullets. He reached towards the gun, but suddenly felt himself lurch forward, stumbling into the truck that Kyle had been working on. John looked down at the entry wounds, which hadn't healed, and were not only lingering but growing. A much lighter silvery liquid began expelling from the wounds like blood, running down his torso and legs. John felt a rush of nanites race through his body, the feeling akin to rapidly bleeding as the nanomachines began to swarm around the foreign alloy from the bullets and attempt to purge it from his internal systems.
“What..” he breathed, attempting to stand, his feet sliding on the pavement as he was unable to gain balance or traction.
“No, John, we didn't really think it would be that easy.” Kyle responded, his pistol still aimed at the other. John pursed his lips, staring at the barrel of the gun aimed at his head.
“Why are you here?” he muttered.
“You know why.”
“You can't stop it, dad. You can keep trying to fight against your fate-.”
“Shut up!” Kyle snapped. “Don't call me that!” He punctuated the end of his sentence by emptying the rest of his clip at John, the others head snapping back violently as the bullets struck. John's face was a mess of holes and polyalloy as he slid down the side of the car and hit the pavement, completely still.
Kyle stared down at him, a mixture of gray and silver alloys bleeding out from the wounds that struggled to heal. Kyle lowered the gun after a few seconds, taking in a shaky breath, shuddering as he blinked rapidly, turning his head away. Slowly the gun was put back into his coat and he looked around to check for any witnesses. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted a shorter figure rushing towards him, flanked by a larger one.
“Kyle!?” Sarah called from across the lot with Pops in tow, the machine carrying several large bags of supplies with him.
Kyle attempted to respond, but his words faltered and he just turned back to look down at John. He leaned back against the rusted old truck he had been fixing just a few minutes beforehand, his breathing beginning to even out.
“Kyle? What ha-” Sarah gasped, stopping so fast that Pops had to snatch the back of her shirt to stop her from falling forward.
Kyle threw his arms up, letting them fall back down and slap his sides as he stared blankly down at the body. The nanites continued to fight against the foreign alloy that had invaded, causing John's limbs to jerk and twitch every few seconds. His systems were overrun with work as the already weakened nanomachinse grew burdened further by new injuries.
“We know the poly-bullets work.” Kyle whispered, voice breaking.
Sarah glanced over at him, swallowing nervously before turning to look at Pops. The old Terminator had his eyes set on John, a familiar scowl moving across his face.
“John Connor will not remain incapacitated for long, even with the success of the poly-bullets. We need to move him to a secure location before he reconstitutes himself.”
“What, do you just want me to load him in the back of the truck and hope nobody looks under the tarp?”
Pops turned, staring at Kyle. The man stared back, holding the unwavering gaze of the machine for a few seconds before he sighed in frustration.
“Help me put him in the truck...”