Title: In His Head, a Tiny Dancer
Disclaimer: Not mine, but so pretty.
Word Count: 515
Derek heard the tinkling of piano keys from across the hall from the robot's room. The music was classical, but he couldn't place it. The creak of floor boards and shuffling feet followed in an uneven rhythm.
He'd taken it upon himself to keep Sarah and John safe--and to keep a sharp eye on the robot. If it was doing something besides homework to keep up the appearance of a high school student or recharging its batteries or whatever the hell it did in bed at night, he wanted to know about it. Besides, the song was pretty.
Not bothering to keep quiet, Derek walked out of his room across to where the robot was housed. The door was half open and sunlight filtered in from the one window to illuminate a pale column of dust-filled air. From where he stood, the thing was framed by the doorway as it stood in front of the mirror hung above the dresser. It moved one foot out and flexed a knee, arms raised and at a parallel angle to the leg. Then it straightened again and swept the right hand up into the air above its head. The sight of the robot's actions confused him, and it took Derek a minute to figure out what it was doing. The terminator was dancing. He finally remembered that it was taking ballet lessons to find out about Dmitri and The Turk.
Cameron's movements were smooth and strong, and Derek forgot--only for a moment--that she wasn't a person, that in that head there was nothing going on except calculations determining movement, that beneath the exo-dermal layer there was cold steel and hydraulic fluid instead of bone and blood. For a moment he thought she was beautiful. Fluttering in and out of the hazy, fading sunlight, she looked like the angels he remembered from a time when he still believed in those things. And he remembered another girl, a while back, who loved to dance. And god, how he had loved to watch her.
He watched as finally Cameron's dance came to an end. Her hands lifted above her head, crossed at the wrists, limp, and slowly she lowered them. Her head tilted back as she finished, her eyes closed. As the songs final notes faded out, Derek thought he would never be able to move again. He couldn't decide what he wanted his body to do. He wanted to walk into the room and run his hands down her--its--arms and see if they would be cool and sweaty like another's arms had been after she practiced. He wanted to go in and yell at the robot to never do that again, not while he was here, not where he could see her. He wanted to run.
The terminator stood and slowly turned around as if it had known he was there all along. It probably had--heat sensors. It looked at Derek out of wide brown eyes, and tipped its head to the side to regard him. His will broke. He ran.