The Cadillac stopped and Serenia turned from the window. The hospital loomed over them with its tattered walls and broken windows. The only floor that looked untouched and still in an okay condition was the third floor, where her father most likely was. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Derek unbuckled his seat belt and put his hand on her shoulder, “You sure you can do this?” Serenia glanced at him and opened her door. His hand fell off her shoulder as she slid out of the car.
The two walked into the hospital and up to the front desk. The woman there sat behind an old computer and looked up as she heard footsteps. Serenia asked where John Connor was and the woman directed them to the third floor. Derek and Serenia headed up the stairs, Derek running ahead of her. She was still limping slightly.
As Serenia made it to the second flight of stairs, a tall man brushed past her, almost knocking her over. “Sorry, sir…” she said apologetically and turned to look at the man she bumped into. He turned his cold gaze towards her for a moment. She couldn’t see through his dark sunglasses, but she could feel his gaze burning into her. There was something off about this muscular guy that bothered her, something unnerving, but before she could say anything, he had walked off. She didn’t realize she was shaking until a voice floated down to her. Derek was calling her name from the top of the stairs. She shook her head for a second and ran the rest of the way.
Derek was standing in front of John’s door when Serenia surfaced from the stairs, “What took you so long?” Serenia was still in a bit of daze, but brushed it off, “Nothing. I’m injured for crying out loud! Shouldn’t that be enough of an excuse?” She shoved past him and tried to open the door, but Derek held her back, “The doctor’s in there.” Serenia’s hand dropped and the two sat down on the floor to wait.
After what felt like forever, the door opened and a man who couldn’t be much older than Derek walked out. He smiled at the two on the floor and walked off. Serenia and Derek looked at each other and stood up. Serenia took a deep breath and opened the door.
As soon as she opened the door, she wished she hadn’t.
Serenia wondered if they came to the wrong room. This man could not have been her father. He turned when he heard the door open and the ghost of a smile played across his face. Serenia felt weak in the knees but ultimately ran to his side and knelt down next to him.
The flesh on John’s arms and face was very haggard looking, whatever wasn’t covered in bandages. He didn’t seem to be able to move his left arm but his right arm reached forward and caressed Serenia’s cheek. She looked down his body to his legs, which were all bandaged up. No skin was visible, but all Serenia saw was blood. She all of a sudden felt sick, but braced herself. Derek walked in and shut the door, saluting to John. John managed to nod his head in return and smiled at Serenia weakly, “I’m glad you’re okay.” Serenia looked into his eyes, and though John was smiling, she could see the pain in his eyes. She leaned forward and hugged him, “I’m just glad you’re alive.”
“It’s been too long. It sucks that this is what it took for me to be able to see you.” John laughed slightly, but the effort it took seemed to be too much for him and he shut his eyes. Derek took a seat in one of the two chairs in the room. He offered the other to Serenia, who declined. She looked into John’s eyes and asked, “So, when are they releasing you from here?” John sighed and opened his eyes. Serenia didn’t like the sound of that, and knew all too well the answer to her question. “…They’re not,” Serenia finished. John forced himself to his side and gazed at her with his tired, bloodshot eyes, “I love you, and your mother loved you. We always have. Unfortunately, I am in no condition to do anything. I don’t know how much time I have left.” Serenia averted his gaze.
John continued, “I can’t lead the Resistance from this hospital bed. You know that. And you know there is no one I would entrust the safety of my soldiers to than you, Serenia.” She looked back up, bewildered. Derek had stood up, a shocked look on his face. Serenia said weakly, “Me? How am I supposed to lead the Resistance?” “I have more faith in you than in anyone else. I want you to know that.” Serenia could not believe her ears. “Isn’t there anyone else you can suggest to help? I can’t do this by myself.” John leaned back against his pillow and stared at the ceiling. He seemed to be focusing on the cracked tile above his head.
When he looked back at Serenia, his eyes seemed to be looking not at Serenia, but something unseen behind her. His voice sounded hollow when he spoke, “There is someone. She was more important to me than anyone, before you, of course. Sarah will help you. I’m sure of it.” Then he passed out. Serenia was still kneeling by his bedside, stunned. Did she hear what she thought she heard? Did John just ask her to do the impossible – to contact Sarah Connor? She turned to Derek, who had a very pale complexion all of a sudden.
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