Quantum Leap "A Time to Hurt, A Time to Heal" Chapter 12 The days passed slowly for both Sam and Al as Sam fought to get the morphine out of his system. The 15th of July passed with the assurance that the little girl had survived the appendectomy and Verbina convinced Al to wash up and have a change of clothes while Sam was asleep. He still, however, refused to go home, despite the ever-increasing odds of Sam's survival. Al had fallen asleep in his Imaging Chamber chair, which he placed beside Sam's bed. His head rested on the back of the chair. His left arm hung to the side of the chair while his right rested on his chest. There was a slight movement from the bed. It wasn't much but it was enough to wake Al, who had years ago become used to sleeping very lightly. Al looked towards the bed with a smile. Sam's eyes were open. "Hi," Al greeted gently. "Did I wake you up?" Sam asked quietly. Al shook his head. "No." "Liar," Sam whispered. Al's smiled widened. "How are you feeling?" Sam closed his eyes. "Tired," he answered truthfully. "I feel awful but it's a hell of a lot better than I felt yesterday." "I can tell," Al commented. "You're a lot more talkative today." Sam opened his eyes and looked at Al. Al looked exhausted but definitely relieved. The whole thing had obviously been very hard on him. "How long?" Sam asked quietly. "Five days," Al told him. "You did very well, Sam." "I remember a girl," Sam started. What's today?" "Well, for you it's July 17, 1967," Al told him. Sam looked at Al with concern. "The 15th!" he tried to call out. "The little girl!" Al raised his hand gently. "She's fine, Sam. The operation was a huge success. Just relax." Sam exhaled in relief. "Thank goodness." He paused. "Then why am I still here?" Al's eyes widened in surprise. "You've been through a lot, Sam. You need to rest." "There was another girl," Sam realized. "That would be Linda," Al answered. "Linda?" "Linda Cartwright, the cute little blond from the lecture that's in no way related to Ben Cartwright from Bonanza," Al said gently. "Remember? She helped us through this." Sam thought for a moment before nodding with remembrance. Something else can to memory when he remembered Linda. Sam closed his eyes in shame. "What is it?" Al asked with concern. Sam hesitated. "I said some pretty horrible things to you." Al frowned. "Nonsense." Sam looked at him firmly. "No, it isn't nonsense. I said things I know hurt you greatly. I'm sorry." Al looked at Sam with affection. He opened his mouth to say something but changed his mind. Closing his mouth, he smiled gently at his friend. "Why don't you get some sleep?" he finally told him. "You need it." Sam closed his eyes, tired. "So do you," he told Al just before he drifted off to sleep. Seeing that the physicist was asleep, Al stood up and stretched out the cramps he had gotten from sleeping in the chair. He then looked at Sam once again. Sam had definitely improved in the past twenty-four hours. His breathing was now steady and regular. He was no longer shaking and his fever had broken. Most importantly, he was now acting like himself, which was the best sign Al saw in Sam's improvement. Al smiled briefly before laying on his cot and falling asleep. ******************** Curiosity had been plaguing Verbina for the past two days. After having heard Linda Cartwright's name and having seen her, she was certain there was something very important about the girl. However, having been busy helping Alex start coping with having AIDS, she had little time to explore the subject. That is until today. Based on the girl's appearance, she was probably about twenty-four years old in 1967, which would have made her about fifty-five years old in 1998 and would have put her birth in about 1943. "Ziggy," Verbina said to the project's hybrid-computer as she walked into the Control Room. "I want to run a check on a woman named Linda Cartwright, born in the early 1940s. Let me know when you have a profile on her." "Of course, Dr. Beeks," Ziggy replied. "May I ask what the significance of this particular person is?" Verbina sighed. "I'm not sure, other than she helped Sam off of his addiction and she seems familiar to me." There was a pause. "You have peaked my curiosity, Dr. Beeks," Ziggy told her. "I too would like to know about the woman who helped my father/creator. I will inform you when I have found that information." Verbina smiled. "Thanks, Ziggy." "You're welcome, Dr. Beeks," Ziggy replied as Verbina headed for the Imaging Chamber. "Admiral Calavicci hasn't come out yet?" "Negative, Dr. Beeks." Verbina sighed with concern as she entered the chamber. What she saw, however, took her by surprise a bit. Al was asleep in his cot, apparently unbothered by Verbina's entering the Imaging Chamber. He, nonetheless, woke once Verbina stood by his cot. He looked at her with concern. "What is it?" he asked. Verbina smiled. "How's Sam?" Al sat up, rubbing his eyes. "Much better. But he's exhausted." He took her hand so that she could see Sam. Verbina smiled at the sight of Sam gently resting in Byron's bed. "So," she said. "Does this mean you'll finally go home and rest?" Al laughed slightly. "As soon as he wakes up. I want him to know where I am." He paused. "He did bring up a good question. Why hasn't he leaped?" He looked at Verbina. "It has to be more than he needs rest. He's leaped plenty of times before when he needed rest." "What does Ziggy say?" she asked. Al shook his head. "She doesn't know. Neither does she want to speculate. She's worried about Sam." "Are you worried?" Al looked at Sam. "No. Not anymore. He's in good hands and he's back to his normal self. He'll be fine without me for a while. I'm just curious now." Verbina nodded. "Well, I'm having Ziggy do a check on Linda. Maybe it'll help her figure out why else Sam would be here." "I hope so," Al told her. "I just keep getting this feeling that there's something else that needs to be done." The moment he said this, Al heard the doorbell. He frowned, looking at his watch and then at the clock on the nightstand by Sam. It was almost eight o'clock in the evening when Sam was. "What is it?" Verbina asked, seeing Al's frown and letting go of his hand. "Someone's at the door," Al told her as he started raising the handlink. "Mr. Maning!" he heard Linda exclaim in surprise downstairs. "Maning!" Al said with concern. He quickly centered on Linda. "Al, who's Maning?" Verbina asked. Al was hitting the handlink, trying to get information from Ziggy. He was alternating his attention from the handlink to Darren Maning. "Hi, Linda," Darren was saying. "What're you doing here?" Linda was obviously scared of Darren and for good reason. He looked completely stoned and very interested in doing something very illegal to Linda. "I'm helping Dr. Zetter," she told him briefly. "'Bina," Al said quickly. "Go into the Control Room and see if you can get Ziggy to give me something.. Darren Maning just came in and I don't think he cares much about what he's doing." The urgency in Al's voice forbade Verbina from questioning. She immediately left the Imaging Chamber, knowing Ziggy would update her. "Helping Dr. Zetter?" Darren was asking Linda. He started walking towards her, forcing her to back away from him. "With what?" Linda looked at Darren carefully. She immediately knew he had taken some very potent drug. "Mr. Maning," she said calmly. "You're not yourself right now. I think you should just go home and get some rest. You do have to teach class tomorrow morning." Darren shook his head. "I don't think so. I think you can here so Byron could... entertain you." Al glared at him. He had a really bad feeling. He didn't need Ziggy to tell him what Darren had on his mind. He checked the handlink. Still nothing from Ziggy. And Al wasn't sure Sam could help much in his weakened condition. Still, he knew the situation was only going to get worse. "Ziggy, center me on Sam," he ordered. A moment later, he found himself next to Sam's bed. "Sam, you've got to wake up. Sam!" Sam's eyes slowly opened. "That's it!" Al encouraged. "Sam, Linda needs you. Maning's downstairs and he's putting some major unwelcome moves on her. You've got to hurry!" Sam slowly sat up and closed his eyes as a headache hit him. "Al, go be with her," he told him. Al nodded. "Okay, but you've got to hurry, Sam." Pressing a button, he was beside Linda once again. Linda was laughing nervously as she backed away from Darren. "You are mistaken, Mr. Maning," she told him. As she said this, she suddenly found herself in a corner with no means of escape. "Dr. Zetter and I are not involved. He was ill and he needed me to help him get better." Darren's smile widened. "So, you were playing nurse," he said to her, his face only a foot away from hers. Linda remained calm, much to Al's admiration. "No, Mr. Maning, I was not. And if you don't get away from me immediately, you will regret it." Al was still glaring at Darren. "I'd listen to her if I were you," he told him, even though he knew Darren couldn't hear him. Darren laughed. "What are you going to do, Linda?" He was practically on top of her. Linda raised her knee hard. Less than a second later, Darren screamed in pain, covering his genitals. Al raised his eyebrows in surprise as Linda quickly moved away from the corner. It wasn't quick enough. Darren quickly grabbed her hair and pulled her back as she gasped in pain. "Hey!" Al yelled in fury. "Let her go, you bastard!" Darren threw her into the corner and slapped her hard. He then proceeded to kiss her violently while tearing her clothes. "Sam! Where are you!" Al yelled loudly. "Get the hell away from her, Darren!" someone shouted from the staircase. All eyes, including Al's, went to the staircase. Sam was leaning on the staircase's banister for support. He looked weak and frail in Byron's pajamas but, despite being obviously tired, his eyes were firm with determination. Al smiled and gave him a nod, showing his pride in him. Linda looked at him with a mixture of concern and relief. Darren looked at him in confusion. "Byron!" he called out in shock. Sam started down the stairs slowly. "I said get away from her." Darren slowly moved away from Linda. He was watching Sam carefully as he moved. "Sure, Byron. No problem," he said. "I just thought that since we share everything else..." "Linda is not a thing to possess," Sam interrupted with a growl that fit the expression on both his and Al's faces. He got to the bottom of the stairs and went over to Darren. Darren was staring at him. "Geez, Byron! You look awful!" "But I feel better than I have for a long time," Sam told him. "Get out of my house, Darren. And don't ever get near my friends or me again." Darren huffed in confusion. "But, Byron! I AM your friend!" Sam glared. "My friends don't try to rape their students." Darren backed away towards the door. "They got to you, man. The establishment got to you." Sam smiled. He glanced at Al. "Yeah, they did. And I'm glad they did." Al exhaled and shrugged, unsure how to react and not wanting to show how Sam's comment touched him. Darren looked at Sam with disgust. "Don't worry about me staying away from you. You repulse me. See ya 'round, Dr. Zetter," he said sarcastically as he left. Al gave a sarcastic wave good-bye. "And good riddance." Sam laughed slightly. He looked at Linda with concern. "Are you okay?" Linda nodded. "I'm fine," she assured him. "A little shaken up is all." She put his arm over her shoulder. "But you are not fine. You need to be in bed." Both Al and Sam looked at her with fascination. "You know, Sam," Al commented. "I think, if you hadn't stopped Maning, that Linda would have made sure he never had the URGE for the rest of his life." Sam couldn't help but smile with understanding. Linda looked at him with curiosity. "What is it?" He looked into her eyes. "You are one hell of a woman." Linda smiled back. "Let's get you back upstairs. And don't you get any funny ideas in your head." "No, ma'am," Sam said firmly as she helped him back to his bed.