Friends and Lovers

By K9


"Successful?" A woman's voice spoke suddenly.

Al Calavicci turned to see Donna Elysee Beckett walking through the door.

"Yeah." Al replied wearily. "He leaped ten minutes ago, saved that soldiers life of course."

"I knew he could do it." She said with a slight smile.

"We all did except Sam," Al replied, rubbing his sore eyes. He’d been with Sam for eighteen hours, not wanting to leave his side in such a dangerous situation.

"He's always been a professional doubter where his own abilities are concerned. "

Donna sighed, "He's never doubted you though, has he?" She looked at Al quizzically.

"We trust each other," Al said quietly "I'm all he has in there, Donna."

"Yeah, but we both know that this dependence he has on you started a long time before he leaped."

"What do you mean?" Al snapped.

"You and Sam."

"He’s my closest friend, Donna. If you have a problem with that then I'm sorry!"

"C'mon Al, get real!" Donna growled suddenly. "You know as well as I do that you were always more than 'just friends'!"

"What the hell's that supposed to mean?" Al raged. They squared up like pit-bulls waiting for their chains to be slipped. "Well?" He repeated.

"He loves you! He always did, a hell of a lot more than he ever loved me," She snarled, tears welling in her eyes. Angry at herself, she turned away.

  Al placed a tentative hand on her shoulder. "Donna. Emotions are running high right now, for all of us. You're upset, go home, and get some sleep. It’s been a long day."

"I just need to know?" She said quietly.

"Know what?"  Al asked.

She turned to him, her face streaked with tears.

"Why my husband felt that he needed to run from my bed…straight into yours?"

Al's jaw dropped. "I…I don't know what you're talking about?" He stumbled over the words. For a man usually so eloquent, he was making a pitiful attempt at lying.

"Please, Al, don't insult me! You think I love Sam so little that I was blind to the pain he was in? You know as well as I do, the reason he leaped when he did, was because he was so torn up inside over what was happening between the three of us, and that was affecting his work. He wanted to make us both happy, and still run a successful project, and in the end, he couldn’t do either."

“Don’t you dare criticize Sam’s work!” Al raged, “He knew Project Quantum Leap could work, and it did.”

“Oh yeah?” Donna stood back from Al, hands on hips, “Well then why don’t you bring him back here, and he can join in the argument?”

“Sam will be back, I swear he will,” Al insisted, “No one’s given up on him yet.”

“No, I guess you never will, will you?” She wiped her eye with the edge of her finger, “I’ll give you that much, Al. You probably love him as much as he loves you.”


  She shook her head, “Don’t bother, I knew all along. Although I won’t pretend to understand what the hell he saw in you, I do understand the devotion Sam feels to those he loves. I guess I’ll just have to accept that in the end, he loved you more than me.”


Six months ago

  Al Calavicci was dreaming about drums, loud, persistent drums. Suddenly he felt himself drifting.


  The goddamned door!

"This had better be important," he growled, crawling from his warm bed, and pulling on his robe.


  The sound echoed around the apartment. 

"I'm coming, stop hammering on the damned door!" He snarled. Angrily, he swung it open to find…Sam. Shivering, wet, cold, and obviously upset, the younger man tried to smile.

"Sam, what's up? It's three o'clock in the morning!" Al gasped.

"I'm sorry Al, I shouldn't have come," Sam shook his head and turned to go as Al grabbed his arm pulling him through the door.

"Don't be so stupid, come in, what's happened? Are you okay? God, you're soaked!"

"Yeah, it's pouring out there, I walked…"

Al gasped, "You walked here in this?  That's over five miles!"

"I know, but I wasn't in the right frame of mind to drive."

"What happened?" Al insisted, ushering his friend into the apartment, and closing the door before the neighbors had time to start bitching about the noise they were making.

"I had an argument with Donna." Sam explained at last.

"What's the bitch queen been up to now?" Al asked. It was well known to everyone at the project that Al and Donna didn't get along.

"Oh, the usual!" Sam looked away.

  Al always knew when Sam wasn't telling him the whole story, because he couldn’t look him in the eyes. The kid would never make a decent politician with such a lousy ability to lie.

"Okay, you go in the bathroom, get out of those soaking clothes and put on a robe while I get us something hot to drink, then I want you to tell me what’s going on." Al insisted.

  Sam nodded, and walked away. Minutes later he emerged from the bathroom in a blue robe that sat a little short on him, but at least he looked more comfortable, and warmer than he had a few minutes before. Rubbing his fair hair with a soft white towel he sat himself down in the chair.

"Okay, shoot!" Al ordered as he sat down opposite Sam, and offered him a hot cup of coffee. Sam held the cup with both hands; he obviously still pretty upset by something and Al was determined to find out what it was.

"I…er…I don't really know how…er well …I m…mean, this isn't easy." Sam began, staring inexorably into his cup.

"Just take your time, how terrible can it be?" Al tried to joke.

Sam blushed, and a nervous laugh escaped his lips. "Oh…pretty terrible!"

"Like how terrible? Are we talking murder here? You finally killed Gooshie for breathing on ya?"

"No. I'm scared that when I tell you, it may end our friendship."

"Nothing could do that, kid!" Al insisted.

"Oh, we'll see about that, I guess." Sam took a deep breath. "Donna and I have been arguing a lot lately, as you know, and, well, it's been about a lot of things; the work, the hours, our friendship."

"And?" Al encouraged Sam a little, when he stalled.

"Yeah, well, tonight we kissed and made up, and decided to…make love….and, erm, she got a little angry."

"Why?" Al was now quite intrigued.

"Well, when I, you know, when I erm… I called out someone else's name!" Sam finished the sentence quickly. He stared into the cup nervously, his face flushed with embarrassment.

  Al fought the urge to laugh. The idea of Donna’s face twisted in righteous indignation when Sam called out another woman’s name as he came, was almost too enjoyable to resist a grin.

"Jeez, she was pissed, huh?" Al smiled despite himself.

Sam choked back a laugh. "You could say that!"

"But, I still don't understand? I can appreciate she’d be a little pissed off, but enough to make you storm out of the house without a coat, and walk five miles in the pouring rain?"

"Ah, well, that's not the entire story." Sam shifted uncomfortably in the chair. "Y'see Al, it was a mans name I yelled." For the first time since arriving Sam looked up and into Al's eyes. "I was thinking about a man."

  The usually verbose Al Calavicci was temporarily lost for words. He had no idea… What could he possibly say?

"Please say something, Al?" Sam pleaded.

"So are you telling me that tonight when you shouted out a guy’s name, you really wanted to be with a man?"

"In my fantasy, yes," Sam admitted.

"What d'ya mean Sam, 'fantasy'? You telling me you fantasize about men?" Al asked.

"Not 'men', Al. A particular man."

“In a sexual way?”

Sam rubbed his face nervously, "Yes, in a sexual way, but it's not like it sounds!"

"Are you telling me that you’re a homosexual?" Al whispered the words.

"No, Al! Well, I guess I must be…something. Oh hell, I don’t know anymore!" Sam sighed, running his fingers through his wet hair in desperation. “I don’t really understand it myself.” He reached his hand out towards Al’s hand. Al backed away, pulling his hand out of reach.

"Why are you backing away from me Al?"

"I'm not!"

"Yes you are. What's the matter? Think I'm going to come on to you?" Sam’s voice had gone from desperate to angry.

"Don't be so stupid!!" Al was feeling more than a little confused. His best friend, the man he knew better than anyone else in the world, had just dropped a bombshell, which proved that he didn’t really know Sam half as well as he thought, and he was getting pissy about a twitchy hand?

  "Well then talk to me! Don't stereotype me until you've tried to understand. I've never considered myself to be a homosexual, because I’ve never recognized these feeling for men in general before. It’s just this particular one that I’ve found myself attracted to, and I realized that maybe I did like men in a sexual way? I like women, I don't understand them, but what man really does? I have only ever responded sexually to women before, because I never thought beyond the boundaries I was brought up with. I don't understand this myself yet, because I’ve never really let myself think about it until now. I have lived with feelings for this guy for a long time, denying them every day, because they didn’t make sense to me. I wish I could make you understand how hard it’s been trying to live with a…stranger inside of me trying to tear his way out every time I see this guy.

I've come to realize that these feelings are why I’m so unhappy. I have everything I ever wanted in my life, but there’s something missing.  I'm lying to myself, and those around me that I love, and I can’t do it any more, Al. If this means the end of our friendship then I'm sorry, it’s the last thing in the world I want, but I can't carry on living the lie!"

"I'm not sure what you want me to say, Sam?" Al said softly.

"That you don't hate me would be a start." 

  Al’s heart leaped into his mouth, “I could never hate you, kid,” he reached for Sam’s hand, “You've done so much for me, been too important in my life to let something like this come between us. But I guess I just don't know how to handle this at three in the morning. It's a bit of a shock for an old guy, ya know?" Al smiled, rubbing his chin wearily, feeling the beginnings of a beard rough against his fingers. Sam relaxed a little, and squeezed the hand gently.

“Does the guy know?” Al asked, “How you feel about him?”

Sam shook his head, “No, I’m not ready for that yet. I only just managed to admit it to myself. I don’t think I’m ready to talk to him about it.”

Al looked up into the eyes of a man he thought he knew so well.  "I'm sorry if I reacted badly, kid," he sighed, “I’m just getting too old for these kind of shocks.”

"It's okay, Al. I understand. Really I do." Sam smiled weakly. “I shouldn’t have turned up on your doorstep in the middle of the night and dropped this bomb.”

  Suddenly Al realized that he hadn't seen Sam smile in a long time. Why hadn't he noticed? Why hadn't he seen that his best friend was in pain?

  “You need some sleep,” Al clapped his hand on Sam’s shoulder, “And I can tell you from experience, that this couch is very cozy. I’ll go get you a blanket, and pillow, and I want you to get some rest.” He stood up, and moved towards the bedroom door.

“Al,” Sam said.

Looking back, Al smiled at the disheveled figure in a robe that didn’t fit. “Yeah?”

“Thanks, for everything, but especially for just being you.”

Al felt a lump form in his throat. “You’re welcome, kid.”



  A month passed, work had taken up so much time that everything else had taken a back seat. The government was threatening to pull the plug and stop the money. The project was in disarray; they were trying to hurry something that required such precision, that one miscalculation could spell disaster.

Al had spent much of his time in DC arguing the case for funding; he was so much better than Sam at these things, he didn’t get intimidated by the Brass, and he knew how to bullshit. Al was good with people, and Sam just got irritated when they refused to see what was in front of them.

Nothing more had been said about the discussion that night, though the familiar arguments with Donna continued with frightening regularity.

Al, however, had been surreptitiously watching Sam, trying to work out who this guy was. He thought that maybe Sam would start to react differently to this person, now he’d faced his feelings for them? It hadn’t been quite that simple. Sam was just being Sam, he was kind and thoughtful to everyone, and didn’t seem to act differently at all.

There were fleeting moments when Al wondered if this guy was someone outside the project, and maybe Sam was already sleeping with him? The thought annoyed him a little, though he wouldn’t have admitted it to a soul. He decided that it was none of his business, and Sam was a grown man, who could make his own decisions. But if the guy ever hurt him, Al would go to great pains to see the man hurt very, very badly.


"Is Al back yet?" Sam asked rushing into the control room.

"Hi, Donna! How you feeling today? Would you like lunch with me?" Donna snarled sarcastically.

Sam glanced at her angrily. He hated it when she started this in front of everyone, but it seemed to please her when she managed to embarrass him.

"Oh no, that's not important enough to enter your thoughts is it Dr Beckett?  Is Al back yet, now that’s important! If Al called right now, and asked you to lunch, I’m guessing that you could make time for him?"

"Would you just let it go?" Sam snapped perhaps a little more sharply than he meant to.

She’d been like this since 'that' night. Though she didn't know he’d run to Al when he’d left their bed, it hadn’t taken much of a guess. Sam knew that where Donna was concerned, he was an open book on the subject of Al Calavicci.

"Well, we all know he's way more important than me, so why don’t you marry Al, and go live with him? Just don't bother coming home at all. It would solve so many of your problems, wouldn’t it darling?" she spat venomously.

Face flushing, Sam slammed the report he was holding onto the desk. "That seems like a great idea!" He yelled. “The being away from you part, I mean.”

Suddenly he looked around to see all of the staff had stopped work and were watching in amazement at the sheer ferocity that the couple expressed towards each other. It seemed so little time ago they were loves young dream, and everyone envied them their relationship.

"What's the matter, not enough work to go around?" He glared at the milling people who in turn tried to look busy.

Donna moved in close, “Fuck you, Dr Beckett!” she snarled, before slamming from the room.

Sam slid into the chair and buried his head in his hands. He really didn’t need this right now.



Al sat in the diner; tiredly he rubbed his eyes, glancing at his beloved car parked just outside the window.  'You're exhausting me today, baby' He thought smiling to himself. 'I must be getting old!’ The drive from the capital had really taken its toll on him, he was tired and weary from the incessant arguing, and he longed to see home, and Sam.

Hell, he'd thought about Sam a lot this trip. The conversation he’d had with his best friend that night had unsettled him. He hated seeing Sam so unhappy, but he understood only too well the dilemma Sam faced. Hell, he’d been in the services for too many years to be surprised when men fell in love with each other. When a guy you trust is the only thing standing between you and death on a daily basis, it forms a bond that’s difficult to put into words. For most men, it’s a bond of brotherhood that lasts a lifetime, but for many, that bond easily slips into a physical love that is both dangerous and exciting in equal parts.

Suddenly Al realized someone was standing beside him.

"You okay sweetie?" The pretty waitress gave him her best smile.

"Yeah, thanks. Just a headache!"

"I get off in ten minutes, I got a great remedy for a headache," she grinned widely, her eyes shining with expectation.

"Some other time, sugar. I'm in kind of a hurry," he swallowed the last of his coffee, shooting her his best grin.

"Who's the lucky girl?" She asked, her voice edged with disappointment.

"No, it's not like that. My partners expecting me back, it's just a pity I'm taking him such bad news."

"Him?" She said wide-eyed.

"My business partner. I’ve been in DC on business, and the results ain’t good!" Al explained.

The girl smiled sympathetically. Al handed over payment for the coffee and headed for the door.

"Some other time then?" She called after him.

He winked at her, "Sure thing, sugar." 



"Why do you do that?" Sam asked angrily as he stormed into Donna’s office. "Why do you insist on embarrassing me in front of the people we work with?"

"Because it's the only time I get a reaction from you these days," she replied.

"What the hell do you want from me Donna?"

"I want you to be my husband!" Donna insisted, "I want a normal life, with a husband I love, and who loves me. I'm tired of playing second fiddle to this damned job and Al Calavicci!"

"Why do you hate him so much?" Sam demanded.

"Because you love him so much!" She replied with tears in her eyes.

Sam merely stared at her.

"What? Did you really think that I was so stupid or blind that I didn't notice?"

Sam looked away, “For God’s sake Donna…”

"Everyone knows how you feel about that man, and they’re laughing at me!” She sobbed out the words. "Are you sleeping with him?"

"No!" Sam shouted.

"Then why?" She begged, “Why do you need him so much more than you need me? What does he give you that I can’t?”

"Maybe he just gives me the support you never have!" Sam replied. “He doesn’t fill my life with an endless list of ‘demands’.”

Tearfully, Donna nodded, "Fine. Don't come home tonight, Sam. In fact, don’t come home again. Maybe Al will take you in, he's so much more supportive than I am, after all." She turned around and walked out of the office.

Sam stood motionless for a minute. This was not how he wanted it to go. He was sure he could reason with Donna, that she would see it wasn’t her fault he was in love with another man. Now, he’d not only lost a wife, but a friend and a work colleague he valued, too. Tears rolled down his cheeks, and he sent a vase crashing into the wall before smashing his fist down on the glass top table, shattering it.




"Hey, Gooshie!" Al said wearily. "I got your message, what's up?"

"It's Dr Beckett, Admiral."

"Why, what's wrong with him?" Al asked, with a tight knot forming in his stomach.

Gooshie went on to relay the story. "We saw Dr Elysee-Beckett storm out, but no one's seen Dr Beckett since. I knocked the door earlier, but he just told me to go away. Okay, he used slightly more imaginative language than that, but that was the basic message!"

Al nodded, and threw down his coat. "Okay Gooshie, you go home, I'll handle this."

"Are you sure, Admiral?"

"Yeah, I’m sure. Thanks, Gooshie, and thanks for staying with him until I got back." Al squeezed Gooshie's shoulder, the scientist just smiled and nodded. He waited until the room was empty before moving over to the door of the office.

"Sam?" Al called through the closed door.

"Go away!" Came the reply.

"Sam, it's me, Al!"

"Go away." The voice was smaller, and slightly slurred.

"Open the door, Sam!" Al demanded. There was silence. "Open the goddamned door Sam!"

  Still silence.

Al pulled back and rammed the door with his shoulder. The lock flew off into the darkened room, along with the slight figure of the Admiral.  Picking himself up off the floor, Al looked around the room. In the dimness, he could just about make out a figure sitting behind the desk.

"Sam, are you all right?"

"Go away, Al." Sam’s voice was slurred, and the room stank of bourbon.

Al moved to the light switch, turning up the dimmer mechanism until it gave a soft light in the room.

"Oh my God, Sam!" Al rushed across the room to his friend’s side. Sam was covered in blood. "What happened to you?"

Sam's pale face turned up towards him. "Fucked up. Hit the table. Blood on the carpet!" He waved his arm in the air. A thin handkerchief had been tied around the wound, but it was now soaked with blood, which dripped into his lap and pooled darkly on the carpet. The other hand clutched an empty Bourbon bottle.

“Oh, Sam,” Al groaned, grabbing for the waving hand.

“I really messed up this time, Al. Donna’s gone, she hates me, an’ s’my fault. S’all my fault.”

Gently, Al took a bottle from Sam’s other hand, and placed it down on the desk. “It’s not your fault,” he said softly.

“Yeah, ‘tis. I didn’ wanna be gay, Al. I jus’ wanted to be normal. I wanted everybody to be happy, I shouldda left it alone, then I’d be the only one not happy.”

“No one can live that way, kid. I hate to see you torn up this way, but you were right, you can’t go on living a lie.”

“I don’t wanna hurt anybody, Al, I swear!” Sam’s eyes glistened with tears.

"I know,” Al smoothed the hair out of Sam’s eyes, “C'mon kid!" he attempted to lift Sam to his feet.

"We going for a walk?" Sam slurred. Al wasn’t sure if Sam was as stinking drunk as he looked, or if it was the blood loss that was causing him to sway.


"Where we going?" Sam mumbled as Al struggled out of the office, and headed out of the building. He supported Sam as he lowered him into the car parked at the entrance of the parking lot.

"We’re going to the hospital, Sam."

"Oh no…" Sam attempted to climb out of the car, falling forward into Al's arms.

"Come on Sam, we've got to get that hand stitched. You're bleeding like a stuck pig!"

"Don't like doctors!" Sam whispered into Al's ear.

"But you are a doctor, Sam"

"Don't like me much," Sam replied.

The words sheared pain through Al's heart. He suddenly remembered someone else who’d once felt that way. Someone for whom life had become such a burden, that just living it was a daily torture.

"Oh, Sam." Al pushed the hair back off Sam's face once more. "Let's go get that hand cleaned up, then you can sleep this off at my place, okay?"

"Got any Bourbon?"

"Nope!" Al managed to smile.


"I'm on the wagon, remember? You put me there."

"Is it a big wagon?"

"Huge, kid. Huge!" Al grinned. He lowered Sam back into the car and managed to slam the door.

It was time to repay an old debt.

He’d once been the one hopelessly drunk, pissing his own pants, and not remembering where he was, or what he was doing there. He knew exactly how it felt, to feel so helpless, and angry.

Sam pulled him out of all that. He gave him back his self-esteem, and led him through the darkest time in his life. He wasn’t about to let the kid down now.


It took two hours in the emergency room, lots of black coffee, and fifteen stitches, before Sam was able to hold a conversation again. Al half carried Sam back to his apartment, in the hopes that a little rest might jolt him back to his senses. He almost fell as he pushed open the door, and fumbled for the light switch. He dragged Sam into the room, resting him carefully against the couch, while he closed the door.

"Here we are, kid, you can get some sleep now," Al said quietly, placing his arm around Sam’s waist, and carefully lifting him to his feet again. Al helped Sam through to the bedroom, dropping him just a little too heavily onto the bed.

He stood back to catch his breath, and took a moment to survey the scene. Sam was all but passed out. He was dirty and disheveled, and Al couldn’t ever remember seeing him that way before. Despite the mess, Al couldn’t help but marvel at how young and sweet Sam looked. He had one of those perpetual teenage faces, that never quite develops the deep lines of cynicism other mortals were cursed with.

Sam was so lovely.

Al closed his eyes for a moment, feeling slightly angry with himself for getting so sentimental over a guy who just almost killed himself through stupidity. No, that was a lie, he was angry because he’d suddenly found himself looking at Sam’s body, instead of worrying about his damaged soul the way a real friend would.

He pulled off Sam’s blood spotted shoes; virtually everything he was wearing was covered in blood, and stripped Sam down to his underwear. He slid Sam’s legs carefully under the cover, before pulling it up around his shoulders.

"Al?" A sleepy voice said suddenly.

"Yeah, Sam?"

"I really do love you, you know?" Sam’s eyes flickered, before forcing themselves shut.

"I know, kid, I love you too." Al listened to the words as they slipped past his lips. It was true. He did love Sam.

Love could mean so much, but he was sure that the trust, and understanding they shared, could not possibly be defined as anything else.

He stroked Sam's cheek tenderly with the back of his hand. He hated seeing Sam like this; hell, he was the sensible one, it shouldn’t be him lying there passed out in a heap

Al patted Sam’s shoulder, “Get some sleep, and I promise you, we’ll sort this whole mess out. I promise!”



Al awoke with a start. He'd fallen asleep in the chair, and his neck hurt like a bitch. Glancing at the clock he groaned. Eight a.m.   Suddenly the bedroom door opened and an unearthly sight emerged.

"Sam, you look rough!" Al smiled sympathetically.

"What the hell happened to me, Al?" Sam replied, not sure if he should hold his head, or his hand as both hurt in equal measures.

“You had a little blow-out, last night, don’t you remember?”

“Uh, oh yeah.”

“I’m told that you and Donna had an argument, and when I found you, you’d managed to fatally injure her glass table with your hand.”

“Oh shit.”

“Sit down, Sam, I think you need a little Calavicci special!”

Blearily, Sam looked up, “Do I want to know what that is?”

Al grinned, “Probably best that you don’t ask questions, kid,” he replied.

After seating Sam at the kitchen table, Al began to mix a concoction that he wasn’t entirely sure was legal, but it did the job. With a smile, he handed it across the table, “Drink it right down,” he ordered.

Sam obediently swallowed it down in one gulp then gagged violently.

"What the hell is that?” he coughed, “The stuff they drench horses with?” He held his head with his uninjured hand, “God, I feel terrible!"

"Yeah, I know kid, believe me, I know!"

"Al, how the hell did you survive all those years of feeling like this?"

"Easy." Al grinned "I never let myself get sober enough to find out!"

Sam gave a strangled laugh.

"That is until some Boy Scout came along and dried me out! Then I found out real quick, the true meaning of the word ‘suffering’."

"Jeez, I hurt all over!" Sam moaned.

"I'll go run you a bath, take a long soak, try to relax." Al squeezed Sam’s shoulder.

"Wanna join me?" Sam asked suddenly, and followed the remark with a nervous laugh.

"I only got one rubber ducky," Al laughed, but something didn’t feel right about how Sam had made the remark. It almost felt…serious.

Suddenly, Sam’s face became very serious indeed. “Can I ask you something, Al?”


"Last night, you said… you loved me. Did you mean it?" Sam suddenly looked up directly into Al’s eyes.

"I thought you…"

"You thought I was too drunk to understand you?" Sam smiled at the expression on his friend's face. "Photographic memory, even when intoxicated!"

"No shit? Oh, well…er"

"So, you didn’t mean it?" Sam asked nervously.

"No! I mean yes," Al replied with irritation. "You're my best friend, Sam, of course I love you." Suddenly the realization hit home, and Al stopped dead in his tracks. "That guy you fantasize about? It …It's isn't it?" he said, suddenly feeling like a prize chump.

Sam looked away, shyly, "Yes," he replied." I have feelings for you. I think I probably always did."

"What kind of feelings?" Al asked nervously.

"Physical, emotional. I love you," Sam stated, staring at the floor. “Part of me never wanted you to know, Al, but another part of me couldn’t live with you not knowing.”

“Oh, Sam, I don’t know what to say…” Al stuttered. He wasn’t sure that he was ready to face those kinds of thoughts, from either Sam or himself. Especially with emotions running as high as they were right now.

“I don’t expect you to say anything, Al. I just need you to understand how I feel about you. I don’t want it to change anything. Our friendship means more to me than anything else in my life.”

“And you mean more to me than anyone else in my life, you know that. When I was a mess, you were the only person who believed in me. When my wives kicked me out, I always knew you’d understand, and not judge me. Nothing could change those years, Sam, nothing!”

Sam tentatively reached out and placed his hand on Al’s neck, gently stroking his fingers against Al’s cheek.

“I don’t…expect anything, you know?” he stuttered, “Just being close to you is enough, I’m not asking for anything more.”

Al placed his hand over Sam’s, “This is still kinda new to me, but I gotta say, I’m pretty flattered,” he laughed, “It’s not every sad old sailor who finds he has a beautiful, smart, young guy in love with him.”

Sam laughed, and Al melted. He was right, Sam was gorgeous, and he’d be a great catch for anyone, man or woman. So, why did he still feel so unsure about the situation?

“I just need a little time, Sam, to get my head around this stuff, okay?”

Sam nodded, and pulled Al forwards, kissing him lightly on the forehead.

Suddenly the moment was shattered by the telephone. Al answered it, his voice was steady but his hands trembled slightly.

"Calavicci," he answered shortly. "Gooshie? No, everything's okay. Dr Beckett is fine, he's just injured his hand. He's going to need a couple of days rest for it to heal. Cover for us will ya, just until I get into the office later?"   Al nodded. "Sure I will. I'll be in this afternoon. If the Pentagon calls, just stall them for me."

"Is everything okay?" Sam asked.

"Sure! Gooshie sends his regards, and hopes you're feeling better. Now you’d better go get that bath, while I pull up all the paperwork we need for the meeting in two days time."

"Okay. Al…I'm so sorry if this was a bad time…for all of this," Sam looked embarrassed.

"It wasn’t. It needed to be out in the open between us. We'll talk about this later, Sam. Now go get freshened up."

Sam nodded, but Al couldn’t help but notice the fire in his eyes. It was suddenly a little unsettling to be the one being ogled, and Al found this amusing, and frightening all at the same time.

The hunter was being hunted.



The steam rushed out into the clear air as Sam opened the bathroom door.  Al was nowhere to be seen, so Sam wandered into the bedroom, where he’d left the sweats Al had rustled up from somewhere.

Al was leaning across the bed, pulling off the sheets that now had blood on them from Sam’s injured hand.

"Hey!" Sam said suddenly.

Al jumped. "Christ kid, you trying to give me heart attack?" He grumbled playfully.

"Sorry. About the blood on the sheets too."

"Don't worry about that, I could do with the practice. My third wife always said I wasn't domesticated enough," Al grinned.

"I seem to remember she always said that you should be neutered too." Sam smiled.

"Yeah! What a woman," Al laughed. 

"Al, are we going to be…okay?" Sam asked suddenly, “You and me, I mean?”

"Sure, kid." Al nodded understanding the question without Sam having to go any further. “Always.”


Three weeks later

Things were not looking good for Project Quantum Leap; they had received word from the pentagon that the projects funds were being withdrawn unless they could see results. They ran out of money in thirty days. If Project Quantum Leap couldn’t show provable results in that time, it was to be closed down, and staff reassigned. 

All members of staff had already received their reassignment places; Sam was being sent to work at a weapons research lab in Nebraska, while Al was being stationed back on a military base, in a training capacity.

This was it, the end of the road. Even worse for Sam, things had not stabilized between he and Donna. It was causing tension at the project, and everyone could sense it. Furthermore he and Al were still unsure of their relationship, so their behavior had taken a shift too. The tension between Sam and Al had definitely developed a sexual edge that had never existed before, though Al refused to acknowledge its existence, insisting that nothing had changed.

Al knew that Sam wanted their relationship to become physical, and he wasn’t sure he could deliver in that area. He loved Sam; of that he was absolutely sure, but could he sleep with Sam, and still feel the same kind of friendship afterwards? He wasn’t sure he could.

Al always had one problem with relationships. He could be a lover or a friend, but he’d never quite achieved both at the same time. He knew it was old fashioned, and that it wasn’t something he was particularly proud of, but it was pure, one hundred percent Al Calavicci, and he couldn’t change that.

What if the same happened with Sam? What if he agreed to a physical relationship, and it all went wrong? He’d lose the single most important thing in his life.

The two men sat in Sam’s office, going over the budget accounts one more time.

"We have to test the accelerator, Al!" Sam sighed, nervously picking at his nails, "They ‘re going to close us down. We have no choice."

"It's not ready, Sam," Al stressed. "We have no idea how stable the field is. You know that as well as I do!"

"And we'll never really know for sure until someone tries it!"

"No Sam, it's too dangerous, I won’t risk anyone" Al Calavicci leapt to his feet. He stood in front of Sam defiantly. He lowered his voice to a whisper, "I won’t risk you until I know we got it right. You gotta promise me that you won't attempt activation until we've tested it properly?"

Sam touched Al’s hand with his fingers, "Al, we may not get a chance to run more tests. They are going to close us down," he insisted.

 "Sam, we can't cut anymore corners. The risk isn’t worth it."

"I know," Sam sighed deeply. “But I can’t face losing this project, and everything we’ve worked for.”

Al took Sam’s hand in his, and held tightly for a second. “I know how much this means to you,” he said quietly, “But I know how much you mean to me too.”

Suddenly the door burst open, Donna pushed her way in. Sam and Al backed off from each other, quickly disengaging their hands.

"I want to talk to you,” she demanded, glaring at Sam, “Alone." She shot Al a black look, filled with barely concealed contempt.

"Why?" Sam asked.

"Because you're still my husband!" She glared at Al pointedly, and he could feel the bile rising within him. He glanced at Sam, and the younger man nodded. Al didn’t want to add to Sam’s misery, so he left the room, and busied himself, checking and rechecking test data. Hoping that they could find a way around this current dilemma.




"You okay, Sam?" Al asked. Donna had crashed her way out after about an hour. Sam sat slumped at the desk, absent-mindedly scribbling on a pad. He sat up suddenly.

"Everything's fine, Al. I'm calling a meeting in an hour, in the boardroom, organize it will ya?"

"Sure. You sure that you're okay?" Al insisted. Sam seemed…different somehow.

"I'm fine, Al!" Sam walked around the desk. He looked into Al's eyes.  "You know how much I love you don't you?" He said quietly. "And I know it's not the time or the place for this, but I need you to know how much you mean to me.”

Sam leaned in and kissed Al. Their lips touched gently at first, and Al thought how strange it felt to be kissing a man. But when the emotional rush kicked in, all doubts melted away, and Al found himself responding enthusiastically.

When they parted, both grinning like idiots, they were pressed up against the office wall, hips grinding against each other. Al had pulled Sam’s shirt from his pants, and stripped it open, so he could run his hands across Sam’s chest. Sam was breathing heavily, and his nipples had hardened from the attention they’d received from skilled Calavicci fingers.

Sam’s hand had slid down the back of Al’s pants, and Al finally admitted to himself that it felt good to have Sam’s hand on his ass.

Slowly, Sam slid the hand out, following the line of Al’s spine, causing him to shiver with delight.

“Wow!” Al gasped, rubbing his mouth, realizing that the odd feeling he was experiencing was that of another stubbly growth of beard, scraping his skin.

“Oh boy,” Sam laughed, and touched Al’s face tenderly, “That was pretty intense.”

“Sam, I won’t pretend that I’ve been sure about all of this until now, because I haven’t. You’re my friend, and I don’t want to lose that friendship, but maybe…well, maybe we can be more than that?”

Sam Beckett’s face lit up, and for the first time in months, he really smiled, “You have no idea how badly I’ve wanted to hear you say that,” he sighed.

“Well, I guess we could give it a try, huh?”


"That's all I needed to hear." Sam brushed his fingers across Al's cheek, and leaned in for one more kiss.

“If Gooshie walks in right now, we could put his emotional development back years, ya know?” Al teased, “He’s only just accepted that his parents had sex!”

Sam laughed out loud. “I guess we should get back to work?”

“Yeah, but we have all the time in the world to explore this, right, Sam?”

Sam’s face twitched for a moment. A look of sadness passed across it, but he smiled, “All the time in the world. And who knows more about time than me, huh, Al?”

Al took the hand that rested on his cheek, and kissed the palm gently. “Sure, kid.”

"Okay, back to business.” Sam said at last, pulling himself together.  “Get Gooshie to correlate the calibration matrix data for the last test. I want all the data from the last six run tests put on a database, and produced for the meeting, Maxwell can do that. Oh, and could you see that Phillips picks up the retrieval files we pulled out of Ziggy?"

"Okay, no problem," Al grinned. It was good to see Sam so positive again.

"I have some calls to make, see if I can call in any more favors Oh, Al, could you drive into town, pick up those parts I ordered for Ziggy? They should have arrived at the shipping company this morning, only last time I sent one of the drivers, it took him two and a half hours. I'm not sure if he was abducted by aliens or just inexorably drawn to the bar!"

"Sure, Sam,” Al looked into Sam’s eyes, “You sure you're okay?"

"Me? I'm fine. I haven't felt this good in a long time. We can do it, Al. We can beat the bureaucrats and prove that this project is really worth something. I'll see you in the boardroom in an hour." Sam smiled, and Al, for some reason, felt a chill. It was good to see Sam looking confident again, yet he felt that it hid something much more. “I love you, Al.”

“I love you too, Sam.”


Forty minutes later, Al Calavicci was speeding along the deserted highway. He'd just picked up a stranded damsel in distress, and was in the process of giving her the full Calavicci treatment when he saw the blue light in the distance. He felt his blood run cold. As he reached for the car phone, he knew what had happened, it didn't take Gooshies distressed voice, or the sound of Ziggy in the background to tell him



It had taken the staff five minutes to get to the lab, by then Sam had gone.

He’d known that by sending everyone to the boardroom, the furthest point from the lab, he’d have time to access the chamber without resistance. And he knew that by sending Al out of the building, he'd have no one to change his mind.

Al rushed into the lab. Stripping off his jacket he threw it onto the floor.

"Gooshie, get Ziggy on line, I need to know if his life signs are reading anywhere in the matrix?"

He was bordering on panic but he needed to keep his head. He sat at his console and begun to punch at the keys, desperate to find something that might help get Sam back.

Until they could contact Sam, they couldn’t pinpoint his life signs, and couldn’t even consider getting him back intact.

That was if he was still alive.

Suddenly, a message flashed on the screen.

For the attention of A Calavicci:

^ Al, I'm so sorry I had to deceive you about leaping. It's the only way. I have never lied to you before, and I swear, I’ll never lie to you again. Promise me you won't blame yourself, and please forgive me. I’m doing this for all of us; this project deserves time to prove itself. I couldn’t bear being sent away from you, to work in some soulless weapons lab somewhere. I love you, and I’ll see you soon. ^

A tear escaped and ran down Al’s cheek. He couldn’t remember a time in his life when he’d ever felt so helpless.



They’d found Sam. Ziggy had managed to track him down, but they couldn’t retrieve him. Al had gone into the imaging chamber to let Sam know that they were working on it, and to tell him how much he loved him…but Sam didn’t remember him. The leap had caused some brain deterioration; temporary Ziggy had prophesized, but no one really knew for sure.

Al closed the door of his office, and sat down in the darkened room. They had so much to look forwards to, so much that needed to be said, and now he was little more than a stranger to the man he loved.

Tears began to slip down Al’s face. How could he do this? How could he go on, talking to Sam, never able to touch him, never able to tell him what they were about to embark upon?

He’d always be there for Sam, and one day, Sam would leap home, he was sure of that. When it happened, he’d be waiting.

Ready to be the friend or lover, and hopefully both.