Quantum Leap "A Time to Hurt, A Time to Heal" Chapter 7 There was a whimper in the darkness. Then there was a moan. Then, a name, intermittent with pants of panic. Before his name was spoken a second time, Al was out of his borrowed bed and sitting by Sam's as Sam panted out Al's name. "I'm right here, Sam," Al assured. "I'm right here." "I can't see you," Sam panted. "Where are you?" Al took a breath. "Well, you can't see me because it's night and the lights are off. But I'm right beside you, Sam." Sam shook as he tried to control himself from crying out. "I'm scared, Al," he said slowly. Al looked at him with sympathy. "I know you are, kid. So am I. But it's okay to be scared, Sam, as long as you don't let your fear control you. You have to control your fear and use it to your advantage." Sam's shaking became worse but he didn't seem as frightened. "Don't leave me," he begged. "I won't," Al swore to him. A moment later, Sam had fallen back to sleep. Al sighed as he stood up and pulled his cot closer to Sam's bed before getting in and covering up. He knew he would not sleep as well as Sam would tonight. Fear tended to do that to a person. ******************** Fear also tended to do other things to a person. Fear tended to cause a person to do things he would normally not do. Alex was afraid, though he wouldn't admit it as he placed his possessions into storage boxes. He was afraid of life. His possessions were almost all packed, each piece meticulously separated according to his wishes. Once the storage boxes were filled he marked each of them with a name, using a Marks-A-Lot marker, and then placed them in a corner in the living room. Alex looked at his watch. It was nearly three o'clock. He needed to get some sleep before visiting the complex one last time. Standing by the clothes washer, he stripped himself naked and placed the clothes into the washer. Since all of his other clothes were packed away, he'd need these clothes tomorrow. He then went into his bedroom, which was practically barren. Slipping into bed, he covered himself and fell asleep, assured that tomorrow he'd be ready to go on to his new life - quite literally. ************************ Verbina didn't sleep well. She had tried all night to contact Alex with no luck. He wouldn't answer his pager. He wouldn't answer his phone. His friends didn't know where he was. When she had gone to his apartment, he wasn't there or wouldn't answer the door. and she couldn't wait for him there because Byron needed her in the Waiting Room, having had trouble adjusting to a world without morphine. Verbina had no idea how to find Alex and she was tired from the attempts to find him. Therefore, she was very much surprised when Alex entered the complex the next day wearing the same clothes he had on the day before. "Dr. Hathorn," she exclaimed. "I've been trying to reach you all night." Alex raised his eyebrows. "You have? What's the matter?" "I've been concerned about you," Verbina told him. "Especially after yesterday evening." "Oh, you mean the wristband," Alex surmised. "Look I'm sorry I broke is. I guess I was having a really bad day yesterday and I really didn't want to be followed." "Where did you go that you didn't want us to know?" Alex looked sheepish. "To tell you the truth, I went to a bar, got plastered, and spent the night with this woman I met there." Verbina could tell it was a lie. "That's not like you." Alex laughed. "Yeah. Well, I've gained a new perspective in life lately." Verbina didn't like the way he said that. "So that's why you have finished all of your research so abruptly yesterday." Alex shook his head. "No. I finished my research because I'm resigning." "What?" Verbina asked, more than a little shocked. "Effective immediately," he added. "Where's Admiral Calavicci? I need to give him my resignation." It took a moment for Verbina to respond. She was still trying to register what Alex had told her. "He's in the Imaging Chamber," she finally told him. "He won't be out for a while." Alex shrugged. "Well, I'll just put it on his desk, then." He started away from her. "Alex?" He looked at her with surprise. She rarely called him Alex, especially when on duty. "What are you going to do?" Alex gave her a wry smile. "Start all over," he told her before going on his way. The answer only increased Verbina's uneasiness about him. ************************** "Good morning," Al said with a smile as Sam opened his eyes. Sam wasn't looking very good at all. His nervous shaking hadn't ceased. His eyes were red. His face was pale and was covered with sweat. He glared at Al with malevolence. "Fuck you," he muttered angrily. Al's eyes widened in surprise. He couldn't recall Sam ever using the word. In fact, Sam always reprimanded Al when Al himself used it. "I see being under the influence of drugs really improves your personality," Al commented sarcastically. "Come on. It's time to get up." "Leave me alone," Sam moaned, rolling over. Al huffed. This day was really getting off to a great start. He lowered his eyes as he stood up and walked to face Sam. Sam screamed and sat up quickly, undoing the already loosened ties that kept the bed sheets on him. Al smiled inwardly, seeing that his standing IN the bed had the desired effect. "Dr. Samuel Beckett, you WILL get up NOW! You WILL take a shower and you WILL have breakfast! Is that clear?" "But you're..." Sam started, pointing at Al's legs. "I said, is that clear?" Al said forcefully. Sam nodded. "Good," Al replied. "Now move it and maybe I'll remind you why I can stand in a bed." Sam nodded again. He quickly stood up. As he did so, a wave of nausea hit him. He hurried to the bathroom and vomited into the toilet. "Oh, gawd! I feel awful!" Sam moaned. He looked towards the shower to see Al watching him with concern. He gave him a sarcastic smile. "Are you going to watch me take a shower?" "Do I have to?" Al replied. Even with a befuddled mind, Sam knew what Al meant. "No," he told Al. "I promise you. They're all gone. I don't want that little girl hurt." Al smiled. *Typical Sam Beckett. Everything is for someone else's sake.* "Well, after you make a certain phone call, she won't be," Al told him. "Hurry up and get in the shower," he instructed Sam. Sam slowly undressed with Al still in the bathroom. As Sam did so, Al took the handlink out of his pocket and pressed some buttons. "The girl won't get hurt?" Sam asked as he slipped into the shower and turned on the faucet. Al shook his head. "Not if someone else does the operation. Which means that you have to call in sick for the next couple of days." Sam leaned against the shower wall, barely enough energy in him to keep on his feet. "You do it for me, okay?" he moaned. "I'm too tired." Al frowned. "I can't call them. I'm a hologram. All I can do is tell you what to do. And you'd better make that phone call or Byron will lose his job and we don't want that." He took a quick peek through the shower curtains to make sure Sam was washing himself. "Be sure to wash thoroughly. I don't think you want me to give you an inspection." The thought wasn't very pleasant to Al either. Sam huffed. "You're worse than my mother." Al laughed slightly, returning his attention to the handlink. There were a lot of things he needed Sam to take care of before they got much further with treating him for the addiction. Sam did as Al instructed, having to sit several times to accomplish the simple task. "Good," Al said once Sam had finished. "Now get into a clean pair of pajamas and let's go." "Pajamas?" "Trust me," Al told him. "It'll help." *Besides, if everything goes well, you'll be too sick to change your clothes tonight*, Al thought. He involuntarily winced. It was odd WANTING your best friend to get sick. Sam obeyed Al, slipping on a pair of pajamas slowly. He paused once to close his eyes and fight off a wave of nausea that hit him. Once it had passed, Sam finished dressing and stood up. "Better?" Al asked with concern. "Not really," Sam told him. "It's hard to keep on my feet." Al nodded. "I know, Sam. Now, let's make those phone calls and get you some breakfast." Sam nodded as Al led him out of the bedroom.