Chapter 6 --- March 2, 1996 --- That Sunday afternoon, Tom Beckett had a barbeque for the neighborhood. Al's family was there as well, but apparently he had to work at the Project. 'I can't believe how much I've changed things. My brother's alive and he likes to host barbecues on Sundays! I'm married to Donna and Al's married to Beth! I'm so anxios to return to the present and be me again! Maybe I'll only be able to remember things as they went after I changed them.' Sam thought to himself, hoping anxiously to leap home. He wished he knew where in the past his younger self must have been. He knew it had to be from an early leap, but he couldn't remember too well, let alone the fact that Al was never aloud to tell him what year it was in the future. The only way he could even find out would be to sneak into Project Quantum Leap and visit whoever was in the Waiting Room. "Hey Sam, you will never guess what I just found out!" Al spoke, nearly startling Sam who had developed the ability to be un-phased by his friend's ghost-like capabilities as a hologram. "Yeah, what?" "Well we checked the project's records and at this time in 1996, you weren't really in anybody's place. We were busy tracking you through the timeline and ... well that's all I can really say. See whenever you were passing through time, they had to use my brainwaves to help keep track of you after each leap ..." As he continued to talk, Al's image was passing through a table. He looked down and stopped only to notice he was torso deep in a punch bowl. "Uh oh, looks like I spiked the punch!" he joked. "Listen, I'm just gonna stick around and keep an eye on things for you. Try not to draw too much attention on me, okay?" Sam nodded as he took a big bite of his hot dog, just as someone took the punch ladel and it passed through Al's stomach. Trying hard not to laugh, Sam quickly ran over to converse with his nephew's friend Todd. He had almost forgotten that he had to save the boy from the doom of being killed in a car accident in order to leap. "So Todd, what're you up to tonight?" "I told ya last week, Tommy. Me and Josh are heading up to the bowling alley. You can come if you want to." "Yeah ... that would sound great, Todd. Thanks. Uh, I guess my parents won't mind if I took off afterwards." "Uhh Sam, you better be careful. Ziggy just said that if you go along, there's a 65% chance you could also die in that accident." Al said. Later that night, Sam and Todd were about to leave when Al reappeared to tell Sam the accident would occur in the next 5 minutes. Sam had to stall somehow, so he quickly explained he wanted to go say goodnight to his new baby sisters. "I'll go start the car then." Todd exclaimed. "You better keep an eye on him until I come back downstairs." Sam said quietly to Al. "No problem at all! Goosh- uh, I mean Tom have Ziggy center me on Todd." In the blink of an eye, Al's image was teleported to the outside of the house where the boy was standing in the driveway talking with some other kids who apparently were also going to join them. "Two minutes to go. Come on Sam, hurry up!" Just then Sam left the house and greeted the boys he was going bowling with. "Ready to go?" Josh asked. "Just tell em you need acouple more minutes to uhh..." Al tried to look around for something to distract the three kids from leaving when something caught Sam's attention. "Al." he said. The hologram infront of him assumed he was the one Sam was referring to when Sam ran across the road to another Al Calavicci. "Hey Mr. Calavicci!" "Huh? Oh, hi Tommy. It's good to see you!" "How's work going?" "Oh, just fine. Hey, do you think I could come over to talk with your dad abit?" "Sure." Al started to cross the street, just when Sam and the boys noticed a car careening out of control. "Look out!" Al quickly jumped out of the way as the car skidded off. The hologram stared half shocked when he noticed a small pinkish remnant of the gash that now appeared on the other Al's left hand. "My gosh. I don't even understand that at all. How could I not remember something that happened to me?... The time dyslexia? Oh come on, Ziggy!" Just then, Tom Beckett ran out, alarmed by the crash. "What happened?" "We're not sure. Some guy must have been driving drunk when Mr. Calavicci started to cross the road. The next thing we know, Tommy here saved him." "Well son, that was good thinking. I am so proud right now! Your uncle would be too!" he said to Sam. "So would your Grandmother." "Well why don't we tell her about it over the phone?" "Tommy, are you feeling okay?" "Yeah, sure." "Well, you know it would be hard to call someone who passed away." Tom said half-chuckling as he helped the Admiral to his feet Sam stood with a blank expression on him as he looked back at Al. "I'm sorry Sam" he spoke, partially choked up. Just as he lowered his head, he could hear the all too familiar sound of a leap. As he watched the temporal distortion around Sam turn from bright blue to white, Al kept his eyes on his friend until the holographic images faded. Epilogue --- August 31, 2001 --- Al emerged once again from the Imaging Chamber, trying hard not to let his emotions overcome him when he heard a ruckas from the accelerator. "Sam?" "Al, wh-where am I?" "You're back!" Al ran over to his friend, who was alittle distraught. Sam stumbled as he stepped off the steps leading him from the Accelerator when his wife Donna quickly ran to help. Al also lent his hand to Sam's. "I can't believe it, I- we're making physical contact with each other for the first time since my first leap!" Sam said. "I know Sam, it's been pretty intense for both of us." "Al... Why didn't you tell me about my mom?" "Because Sam, we couldn't." Tom replied. He, Sally Beckett and Beth Calavicci emerged from the Waiting Room, after having apparently witnessed the last leapee vanish. "You probably won't ever remember this, but about a month before you leaped into yourself, Mom was diagnosed with cancer. Then while you were here as yourself at 16 years of age, I was aloud to bring her in to see you. She told you how proud she was. Then about three months later, she passed away." "Gee, I can't believe it. That would mean that I was actually here to say goodbye to her, and the change I made to my own past was irrelevant, in some ways." Sam asked. "Yes sweety, you did!" Donna spoke. "Are you sure you don't remember it?" "I think... I think I actually have that memory of being here as a child. I'm sure every person I've leaped into does. The swiss cheese effect isn't as severe for them since their stay is relatively short, so it should've set their minds to simply dismiss the visit as a strange dream. Oh Al, did you ever find out who crashed that car?" "Yeah Sam, it was our old pal Gooshie!" "Who?" everyone else asked at once. "Uh, nevermind!" Al replied, certain Sam's memory of the original history had been entirely erased. "So Dr. Beckett, do you think that's it for all the leaping?" Ziggy asked. "Definatly, Zigg. I think I've righted as much as I could. Now if you'll excuse me, I got some calls to make!" As the three couples left the main control room of Project Quantum Leap, the hybrid computer shut itself down as it said "Welcome home, Doctor Beckett!" THE END!