My mother always used to talk about the future. She told me stories on how a mind we can't understand rises from a simple computer to the destroyer of Mankind. She and others, be they either friends or mortal foes, told me what the future'll be like: nuclear wastelands, ruins on more ruins, bleached skulls... and Machines. Machines everywhere, on land, sea and air, dedicated to killing each and every human being, no more, no less.
They told me I am to become the one who leads Mankind to the final victory against the Machines. You yourself have told me what it really means to be John Connor. But neither Mom, nor you told what it means to be human in this war.
The future looked like what I always imagined it to be. The only exception was that it was all real now, not phantom shapes of what's yet to come. Oh, and that when I arrived, nobody knew who the hell John Connor was. Well, I followed the old family motto and made my fate.
Of course, it wasn't so easy, convincing veterans twice or more of my age that I know the stuff better than they do. After all, I was just a kid of sixteen. Well, a kid of sixteen who has grown up knowing what to do when a Terminator is after your sorry ass. In four years, I became what I was intended to become: "The" John Connor, leader of the Resistance, a thorn in Skynet's side. I became "The" John Connor, with all the hardships and non-existent benefits of the role. It was a role I too up but never truly accepted, not then.
I still miss Mom. I always hoped I can find her, that she survived J-Day and lived to the date I found myself in. I still think she's out there, somewhere. Like she said once: In war, there is hope. And I missed you. After all, I re-wrote history (or the future history, whatever, it still gives me headaches) just to find you. Damn you for making me make such decisions!
When I arrived in that Resistance bunker, hard reality hit me like as if a Triple-Eight had punched me in the guts. But I wasn't alone. There was Derek. He didn't remember me, of course, how could he. It'll be me who'll send him back to the past in the future. In the future's future. What the hell am I saying? Anyway, Kyle was also there. It was hard for me not to spill out some things about who he really is. It still is, yeah...
And there was Allison. Boy, what a surprise she was! For a heartbeat, I thought she was you. But there was that dog... dogs hated you, they always did. And the smile. You never smile much, not like her. I thought I liked her smile. But it wasn't what I was missing. I missed those rare moments when you smiled.
Imagine this: I freak out because she is the original while I'm looking for the copy. Maybe this is why it didn't last long, Allison and me. I admire her, though, she's one hell of a fighter. Okay, she can't throw the bad guys through the wall, but give her a Westinghouse plasma rifle and she'll do wonders. And she's a good friend, someone I'd trust my life on. Maybe that's why you were created before we screwed up the timeline. So that you could approach me in the guise of a personal friend and associate. It's different now, though.
And you know what? I hated you for doing this to me. To make me forgetting about people who care about me and dedicating years from my life on finding you. And what happened when I finally found you? You were there, playing the man behind the curtain with Weaver and John Henry. I found myself facing two mastermind AIs now with you being some herald to one of them.
You changed. I don't know how you managed to get a new body, it doesn't matter. You looked the same like you did on the day we first met: silent and beautiful. But you had something in your eyes I never seen before. It was... how should I put it? Knowledge, yeah, that's probably the word.
I never asked how did you find a new body. After all, who gave a damn when I finally found you. And it was really you, not someone something? of your model. On that day, many lives have changed. Your fraction and mine became allies against Skynet. I got you back. You... you just nodded and followed me back to the bunker. That was the day the problems started.
Allison freaked out. Of course she did, it was the normal thing to do. Kyle was just watching in amazement, he never saw something like you before. Derek... his eyes were filled with the mixture of disgust and hate toward anything Metal. Me... well, for the first time in many years, I was something you could call happy. The next day... well, the magic ended and I wanted to shout at you, hit you, kill you. I wanted you to know how I felt because of you, because of what you made me do. But what good would that do, shouting at a heartless, soulless machine? So I simply told you my story. Your reply has changed many things, too.
It was nothing but four words, words I knew too well: "Thank you for explaining". The words, I knew. But that little light in your eyes, that was new. It was what I saw the day before when I found you. That little light was something I only saw in the eyes of humans. It was understanding, not on the level of data, but on that of the soul. When I asked you about it, your answer was short, like always: "I had time to learn". In an outburst of frustration, I could not hold back my fury: "The hell you did, after you left me behind!"
Your face was calm, like always. You just sat there, looking at me. "I was there where I had to be and I did what I had to do", you said, "This is what Future You wanted me to do". I was standing there, laughing. "I am Future Me now", I said. You nodded, a shadow of a smile curling at the corner of your lips. God, I missed that smile so much!
While the others started to distance themselves from me, I found myself truly becoming what I was to become. The Resistance started to deal blows to Skynet, the Resistance and the Renegades. You were always with me, helping me, aiding me. You became my guide, my protector, my only real friend. We talked much, like you once said we will.
One a day, I felt a bit more nostalgic than usual. It happens somedays, it's inevitable. I don't usually allow myself to become too nostalgic, even then, so I only said "I miss pancakes". You looked at me, with a small, sad smile, something I never saw before. "I miss my old jacket", you said. It was the moment of mutual understanding. It was when we both realized that the past as we know it was gone forever. In that moment, we grew up.
On that day, I finally took up the mantle of not simply John Connor, but of Future John. Not in words, but in deeds. On that day, you just looked at me with that small, knowing smile. You fulfilled your mission. On that day, we both became free of many burdens. We were there, ourselves alone, but more together than we ever were.
Those days were the time of discoveries. When I first kissed you... boy, was it strange. Strange in a good sense of the word. I don't know whether it was you or me who was more dumbfounded. I was just shaking my head, realizing what I just did. You... I never saw you like that before. You were even more perplexed than me. You didn't smile and didn't frown, but that light in your eyes... "It's different", you said, no more loud than a whisper, "I feel different". For the first time since I met you, I realized that it's true. You feel. Maybe not the way humans do, but you do it nonetheless. For me, it was more than enough. There was no need for words than on. They say this is how things work.
The future is here and it's different than what I expected. I knew that it would be hard. We sleep on torn sheet metal, get a spit in the face for breakfast and a kick in the guts for lunch. I always knew it'll be like that. But I didn't know that I'll find a personal reason to fight this war. I found you, Cameron, and you found me. And with you at my side now, we do what we have to do: we make our fate.