Chapter 18 "Get it through your thick skull, Commander! She's not coming back! And there's nothing you can do about it! Nothing!" Lt. Comdr. Calavicci stared at his older self with incredulity. "I don't believe you." "Well, you're forgetting an important piece of information, then," the Admiral told him. "I'm you. And clinging to the idea of her coming back nearly destroyed me. It certainly destroyed any kind of relationship I had with any other woman." He gave him a commanding glare. "If you know what's good for you, you'll give her up. Now. Because your life isn't the only one you'll screw up if you don't." "What do you mean?" The Commander returned the glare. "What do you think will happen to Susan when you finally realize she's not Beth?" "I know she isn't Beth! SIR!" the Commander replied sarcastically. "No, you don't, Commander! And you're going to destroy her life just so you can have your ex-wife back, one way or the other!" The Admiral huffed. "You disgust me." "I am you, remember?" the Commander replied. "I know," the Admiral told him firmly. "And that alone should make you listen to what I'm telling you. But, then again, you like to wallow in your misery. So, go ahead and use Susan to satisfy your selfish yearnings for an unobtainable love. The sooner you get it through your head, the better. Because, one of these days, you'll hit rock bottom and maybe this time around you'll actually go through with those ideas of suicide that run through your mind." He marched out of the room, letting his words hand in the air. The moment he was outside of the Waiting Room, Al leaned against its door, his eyes closed against his own cruelty. Telling himself off was probably the hardest thing he ever had to do in a very long time. He knew his younger self a little too well. He knew that breaking the man's heart was the only way to make him listen without lecturing him every day for months. "Al," Verbina's voice broke into the memories of his cruel words. He opened his eyes and looked at her, knowing by the look in her eyes that she had listened into the lecture he had just given. "What is it you want, Beeks?" he demanded, marching away from the door and towards the control console. She followed carefully. "Are you okay?" He huffed. "Sure, I'm okay. Why wouldn't I be okay?" he asked with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "You're upset," she stated firmly. He turned and glared at her. "Damn right, I'm upset! And I thank God that I'm no longer the arrogant self-centered bastard in that Waiting Room!" He kept his back towards her, not wanting to look at her, to face the truth he already knew. "You're upset with yourself," Verbina augmented her previous statement. "You're upset because you hurt him." "I did what I had to do," he answered simply. He started to walk towards the Control Room door. Verbina started to follow but stopped, noticing the way Al was walking. It was obvious that he wanted to be alone. When he entered his office, Al immediately sat down and put his head into his hands. Moments later, he was asleep, emotionally and physically exhausted. ----------------- "It looks wonderful," Susan commented as Sam placed the dinner in front of her. Sam smiled at her words. "Well, I don't' know about it being wonderful but I tried my best." He sat down at the table with his own plate. He waited until Susan had taken a bite before eating some of the spaghetti himself. "Mmmmm!" Susan commented with a mouthful. "Delicious!" Sam's smile widened. "Thanks." He hesitated. "You were talking about your sister. Angela?" Susan nodded slowly as she ate. "Poor Angie. She has such problems. Sometimes, she doesn't even know where she is. Or who she is," she finished quietly. "Why do you say that?" Sam questioned, knowing the answer but not rushing the subject. The last thing he wanted was for Susan to get suspicious or angry with him. He had to make this friendship between Al and her work. Susan was hesitant to answer. She wasn't sure she could trust him with the truth. What if it drove him away from her? What if she frightened him? What if he suggested the unthinkable - that she should lock her sister away in a looney bin? She took a breath before answering. "Angie… has some problems. She… she has a few other people inside her." Sam nodded. "She had Multi-Personality Disorder," he stated as if it were a conclusion. She looked at him with a glare. "What? Are you some kind of psychiatrist?" Sam shook his head, leaning back to give her room. "No. I just want to help in any way that I can." "By locking her up and throwing away the key, right?" Susan said angrily. "Well, forget it!" She stood up and marched to retrieve her purse. Sam followed quickly. "Susan! Please, listen." He touched her shoulder just enough to make her turn around and glare at him. He looked into her eyes. "I don't want to lock your sister away. I couldn't." "Why not? Everyone else could," she stated bitterly. "I'm not everyone else," Sam told her, taking her shoulders gently. She looked at him with challenge. "Then who are you?" Sam thought of how to answer for a moment. Part of him wanted to tell her the truth that he was Sam Beckett, a quantum physicist from the future who was there to save her and Angela's lives. Another part wanted to tell another truth. He chose the second truth, a truth that applied to his host and best friend. "I am a man whose sister died in a mental hospital," he told her somberly. Susan gasped slightly at his answer. "I'm sorry," she whispered. Sam pierced his lips. "Yeah. Me too." He took a deep breath and looked at her. "Susan, I know you care for your sister. I also know she needs help. Multi-Personality Disorder is a very disabling disease…" "Is that why your sister was in a mental hospital? Because she had MPD?" she questioned nervously. Sam shook his head slowly and sadly. "She was retarded." "And so they locked her up?! That's horrible!" Susan exclaimed. Sam didn't reply to her statement, instead trying to think of how to convince her of the truth. He took a breath, knowing what to say. "Susan," he told her, gently taking her hand. "I don't want your sister to be institutionalized but, unless she gets help soon, that is exactly what is going to happen whether we want it or not." She frowned at him strongly. "Angie is doing just fine. She doesn't need help." "That isn't what you indicated a few minutes ago," Sam pointed out gently. He touched her shoulders carefully. "You can give Angie the help she needs without putting her in a mental hospital." Susan was silent at his words, not looking at him. Sam gently led her back to the dinner table and helped her to sit down. "Eat up," he told her softly. "Your dinner is getting cold." He slowly sat in his own place and watched as she nibbled a little of the pasta. "How?" she asked after a long moment. Sam looked at her with questioning in his eyes. Susan looked at him. "How can I help Angie without putting her in a hospital?" "Out-patient therapy," Sam answered. "And by just being there for her. A good psychiatrist can not only find out why she has MPD but can also help her to become whole again." She shook her head. "She's never go for it." "You've got to at least try. For her sake and yours." He paused, an idea coming to his mind. "I'll even help you convince her that it's the right thing to do." "But she doesn't even know you. Why would she listen to you?" "It's worth a shot, isn't it?" Sam asked gently. "To give her an objective opinion to help weigh her possibilities?" Susan sighed, thinking about his words. "I suppose." "Good," Sam said with a gentle smile. "We can talk to her tomorrow then. Or whenever you feel is right." Susan nodded. "Tomorrow's fine." She stood up again. "I'm sorry but I better go. This dinner… it's just not working out. Perhaps later." Sam stood with her. "I understand," he said gently. "Let me show you out, at least." She nodded slowly and once again went to retrieve her purse. Sam then guided her to the door and opened it for her. She looked at him. "It was thoughtful of you, though." She hesitated. "I don't understand why you're so interested in Angie." "What if I told you it was my way of saving her soul?" She thought about those words. "Are you really sure that she would be put in a mental hospital eventually?" Sam nodded slowly. "I just have this feeling that she would be." There was stillness between them before Susan suddenly kissed Sam on the cheek. "Thanks, Al. For caring." Sam smiled at her. "Good night, Susan. Sweet dreams. I'll see you tomorrow." She nodded slowly before leaving the apartment, Sam closing the door behind her.