Friends and Lovers
"Successful?" A woman's voice spoke
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
"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
"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.
"I just need to know?" She said
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.
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
“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
"This had better be important," he
growled, crawling from his warm bed, and pulling on his robe.
"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
"Don't be so stupid, come in, what's
happened? Are you okay? God, you're soaked!"
"Yeah, it's pouring out there, I
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.
"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.
"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
"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!"
terrible? Are we talking murder here? You finally killed Gooshie for breathing
"No. I'm scared that when I tell you, it
may end our friendship."
"Nothing could do that, kid!" Al
"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
"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.
"Jeez, she was pissed, huh?" Al smiled
Sam choked back a laugh. "You could say
"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."
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?"
"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
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
“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.”
“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
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
Nothing more had been said about the discussion
that night, though the familiar arguments with Donna continued with frightening
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.
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,
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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
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
away!" Came the reply.
"Sam, it's me, Al!"
"Go away." The voice was smaller, and
"Open the door, Sam!" Al demanded.
There was silence. "Open the goddamned door Sam!"
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
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
“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
“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
"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.
"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
Love could mean so much, but he was sure that
the trust, and understanding they shared, could not possibly be defined as
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
"What the hell happened to me, Al?"
Sam replied, not sure if he should hold his head, or his hand as both hurt in
“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.”
“Sit down, Sam, I think you need a little
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
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
"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
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
"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 ...me 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
"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
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
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
"Don't worry about that, I could do with
the practice. My third wife always said I wasn't domesticated enough," Al
"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
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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
"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
ALERT! ACCELERATOR INITIATED. ALERT! ALERT.#
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