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Derek wasn't sure what triggered it, but it was like a switch got flipped inside his head. One minute he was wrestling with Sarah for the last cold beer, and the next his was unable to focus on anything but the curve of her hip beneath his hand.
He let her go, made some joke, and went outside. The night air in the desert was cool, and the chains of the swings were creaking in the breeze.
He stared down at his hands, trying to remember the last time he'd touched a woman for the sake of just feeling skin on skin.
He ached with want, and had no intention of having. But the dull ache, the itch to touch and feel was sweet in and of itself. He hadn't in so long, it was like he'd forgot how to be human. And he knew that the memory of that bit of skin above her belt and below the frayed hem of her tee-shirt would end up like that damn picture Kyle had kept in his pocket if he wasn't careful. So much could and would and couldn't happen.
He felt eyes boring into his back, and turned to see the machine watching him from the kitchen window. He could hear voices through the screen door--Sarah telling John to get off the internet and go to bed. School night.
Simple Mom-stuff. From a woman who had taught her son how to clean and load guns along with his A-B-Cs. How to make pipe-bombs along with macaroni collages. He assumed there had been macaroni collages. He hoped there had been, once. Kyle had made those. Spray-painted with flaking gold paint. It had been a life-time ago, but at the same time, somewhere in the valley, they were magnetted to a fridge. Or would be. Time displacement made his head hurt.
He wondered what Sarah Connor had been like, before her world had become his world. He couldn't imagine the Sarah Connor his baby brother would have known, 16 years ago. He only knew the tough-as-nails warrior commander avenging angel who burned grilled cheese sandwiches, and he almost believed would kill him if he lied to her again.
And, dammit, he was still thirsty.
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