"Point of View" pt. IV Act IV, Scene I Sam pointed past Al and he turned to see an officer handing Scaggs a note. "A chiquita called for you - it's the second time she's called. Finally figured out she was calling for you. At least, I think it was you. Says she has a hot tip for a narc called ‘Scabs'." Scaggs laughed. "'Scabs'?" he echoed in amusement. The officer just held out the paper. "Thanks." "That's the call, Al," Sam prompted him. Al took a deep breath, trying to focus on how to save this man's life, but all he could think of was what Beth was doing, or may be doing, on the other side of the city. "Hey, Scaggs," he called as the man turned to go. Scaggs turned and looked questioningly at him. "Maybe you shouldn't go by yourself." "Go where?" Al motioned to the note. "You know, safety in numbers and all that junk." Scaggs laughed at him and slapped his shoulder. "Thanks, partner, but it's just a tip. I think I can handle it." Al glanced back at his partner, but Sam was avoiding his eyes, staring at the handlink. *Dammit!* "Look, Scaggs, I've got time to kill this evening and-" "It's just a meeting, kid. You're not gonna get a medal of honor out of it." He tugged on his hat. "Come on, we don't want to keep the garbage waiting, do we, partner?" "I guess not," Al conceded. "I'll be there in a minute." He turned to Sam. "Just tell me where he gets shot, and I'll stop it when it happens, okay?" "Sure." Al sighed deeply. "Hey, kid, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... I'm sorry, okay, Sam?" Sam exhaled in frustration. "It's just you're - your talk with Scaggs at the beginning of this leap seemed to bring up a lot of painful stuff and I just wish you didn't have to go through it." *You have no idea.* "So do I, Sam, so do I." "You'd better go join your partner." "Yeah, I guess I'm sorta...running out of time, huh?" Al stared down the row of lockers. "I guess, in a way, we all are." Al looked at Sam curiously. "Boy, my mood must really be rubbing off on you!" Sam grinned, but it didn't touch his eyes. "I'll be back tonight." ^----^----^----^----^ Act IV, Scene III Sam let out a heavy breath as he reached for the handlink on the console, ready to go back into the Chamber, even though it had only been a half hour. Verbena was at his elbow. "Everything okay, Sam?" He glanced at her. "Sure. Why?" She cocked her head to one side. "You just seem out of sorts." He sighed again. "I had a fight with Al earlier." "Well," she said carefully, "you know how stubborn he can be. Just give him time - he'll tell you what's bothering him when he's good and ready." Sam laughed lightly. "And not a minute before, I know. But normally I can get it out of him by now." "Patience, Sam. Everything doesn't always happen according to a set schedule or plan. People have infinite reactions, infinite responses." "Right." He smiled gratefully at her. "Ziggy, do you have that information I requested?" "If you're referring to the young lady Admiral Calavicci spent the entire night with, yes." There was a pause. "And?" Sam asked, exasperated. He was still feeling bothered from his confrontation with Al and, despite the admiral's later apology and Verbena's assurances, he couldn't help but feel that whatever was wrong could destroy Al. "Her name is Elizabeth Simon. She's a nurse currently working in the United States Navy. Born in-" "Ziggy..." Sam paused. How could he say what he wanted? "I'm trying to determine if she has any connections with Al. He was behaving very oddly when I found him with her," he added to himself. "Can you save the 20 minute bio for another time?" "You didn't let me finish, Doctor." He rolled his eyes. "By all means." "Born Elizabeth Ingalls, married in 1961 to become Elizabeth Calavicci." Sam paled. "Beth?" "In 1969, Beth Calavicci had her husband declared dead and married Dirk Simon in-" "-In June," Sam whispered. "Oh, Al..." ^They'd both had a little too much to drink. Al was draped over the couch in Sam's office and had eventually convinced the scientist that they needed to celebrate. Sam had conceded and then failed to stop either one of them when a few drinks turned into a few bottles.^ "He's going to stop her." Sam turned to Verbena. "He's trying to save his marriage to Beth." ^"To Project Quantum Leap!" Funding approvals had just come in that morning - they were really getting started. And it was there, in the privacy of a locked office, that their friendship got a new beginning.^ Sam's vision became slightly blurred as he began to imagine what the last couple of days had been like for Al. "That's why he wouldn't talk to me, that's why he kept acting as if he was glad I was going...he didn't want me to know." ^"What, you gonna work on another marriage, Al?" "Nah, I've had it with that. Shoulda stopped after one."^ Verbena touched Sam's arm. "What are you going to do?" "Ziggy, what are the odds on Al's scenario?" ^"You certainly wouldn't have as much alimony to pay. Just one person's worth." Al's voice grew quiet. "No, not from her."^ Ziggy's smooth voice sifted through Sam's mind. "15%" He turned to Verbena. "I'm going to stop him." "How?" *How?* "I don't know..." ^Sam leaned forward on his elbows. "I don't get it." Al fingered the glass resting on his chest as he leaned back on the couch, never removing his gaze from the amber liquid. "My first wife - God, she was some woman. When I went back to ‘Nam the second time, I got shot down. When I finally got home 6 years later, she was gone." The older man paused to steady his voice. "She'd declared me dead 2 years after I was M.I.A. and remarried. June of 1969." He drained the glass.^ "Verbena, he loved her so much, I don't know how I can ever convince him to let go." ^If Sam hadn't been so fuzzy, he probably would have picked up on Al's mood. "Well at least you found a replacement. Or three or four." Sam grinned and took another sip. Al remained stoically passive. "Oh, no, Sam. She was - she was my life. For six long years she was the only thing that kept me alive." He sat all the way up and wiped at his eyes. "And I would give anything if..." He paused again and then shrugged helplessly at Sam. "I love her," was all he said, but his eyes told the entire story: the hurt, the pain, the anguish. The loss. "I love her," he repeated in a whisper.^ Sam took a shuddering breath. "I've got to go see him." ^----^----^----^----^ Act IV, Scene III Al arrived at the foot of the stairs breathing hard and two heartbeats from panic. He only had a small amount of time left and then whatever second chance he was being given would be taken away again. Al didn't think he could go through the pain of being abandoned again. He knocked at the door, trying to push back his fears. Beth opened it, wearing a simple blue dress and looking a bit shaken. She smiled, though. "Jake, I didn't - I didn't think you were getting off work until later." He stepped into the house and caught sight of Dirk in the shadows. "I took some time off for sick leave. I guess I should have called first," he added, eyeing the lawyer with undisguised contempt. Dirk smiled slyly. "I was just leaving. Call you tomorrow?" he asked her. "Sure." "You didn't, uh, give me a parking ticket, did you?" he asked Al as he passed by Beth. "Didn't have time. Maybe next time I see you around here." Dirk responded to the thinly veiled threat with another grin and then pointedly ignored his nemesis as he left the bungalow. Beth laughed uncertainly as if trying to ignore the hostility that was almost tangible. "We ran into each other at lunch," she explained. "First the flat tire, then his mother. Oh, the woman I was talking to yesterday at the lookout? That's Dirk's mother." "Oh?" Al said without interest. "We just keep bumping into each other - it's like something out of a Russian novel." He smiled slightly. "Sounds like you have the heart of a romantic. But I wouldn't read too much into it." She turned and started for the bedroom. "Just give me a minute to get changed. Why don't you turn on the stereo? Oh, and there's a beer in the ice box." Al didn't reach for the drinks - he figured that could only land him into trouble at this point - but he did turn on the music. "Someday" by the Supremes drifted through the speakers. ~Someday, we'll be together...~ "Perfect," Al muttered sarcastically. He reached to turn it off, but Beth's voice filtered from the bedroom. "Don't you just love that?" Maybe it was hurting him, but it was helping her. He forced out a small smile despite the fact that she wasn't there to see the effort. "Yeah." Al strolled over to the opposite corner of the den, looking at surroundings he'd dreamed of for years. ~A long time ago my, my sweet thing, I made a big mistake, honey. I said goodbye.~ "You're right, you know?" she said, stepping from the room. "I can be too much of a romanticist sometimes. My husband always accused me of that." Al grinned. The smile on Beth's face made him wonder if maybe things were starting to look up. ~Ever since that day, all I can do is cry.~ Then the sound of the Imaging Chamber Door resounded through the room and he glanced up to see Sam walking through at eye-level with the picture on the mantle. The picture of him, taken a few months before he left for his first tour. Before he could say a word, Sam turned and gazed at him. Al couldn't say anything. ~I long for you, every, every night.~ "Al..." Sam whispered, staring at his friend unflinchingly. ~...Hold you ever, ever so tight...~ "One thing the Navy teaches you is how to get dressed in less than..." She faded as she saw the look on Al's face. "Beth..." he choked out. Sam was silent. "What is it?" "I have to go," Al said, barely above a whisper. "I'll be back, though, okay? I'll be back." ~...Some sweet day...~ Beth wordlessly opened the door for him, any ground she'd gained that evening fast being lost again. "I'll be back," he said again as he squeezed her hand. He turned so he couldn't see her close the door. Sam was waiting for him across the street. "Why didn't you tell me?" he said. There was almost no anger in his eyes, just sorrow and a little hurt. Al tried to take a breath that didn't shake and failed. "What?" he said. Sam shook his head. "Oh, Al... I wish you had told me." "It's what I'm here for, Sam. I'm here to get Beth and me back together." "No. I ran the scenario; it's only at 15%." Al stared at some distant point, and then looked Sam in the eyes. "God, Sam...I love her." The scientist exhaled, a look almost like regret on his face. "Beth is the only woman I ever really loved, she's the only one I ever wanted to grow old with." His voice cracked, but he pressed on. "That's why all my marriages never worked after that. Sam...if you're lucky, life is gonna give you _one_shot_ at true love. And Beth was mine. I lost her, but I have the chance to get her back." "You know the rules, Al..." Al looked away, denying any possibility that Sam could be right. "We can't change our own lives, and nobody knows that better than you." "No, I _don't_ know it," Al insisted forcefully, still avoiding Sam's gaze. "In your heart you do." "No, no..." He shook his head, staring at the ground. "Al...I wish it were so. I wish you could do this. If anyone deserves to be happy, you do, but you can't do this." Sam's voice grew hushed. "You have to let her go, Al." "I don't - I don't think I can." "You have to and you have to do it now." Al closed his eyes. "Are you going to let him die for you?" ^----^----^----^----^ Act IV, Scene IV Roger Scaggs walked into the small bar and immediately saw the woman in the corner, gazing at him expectantly. He took several steps into the room and then the woman slid into a booth, revealing a baby beside her, sitting on the table. Scaggs froze. The baby stared steadily at him as if with intelligence and he couldn't move. He never heard the sound of two guns being cocked behind him - it was too quiet to make out over the sound of mortar fire all around him. Guns and smoke and people yelling... Then something happened and he unfroze as the baby started screaming. He reached for the infant, clutching her to his chest and sobbing. The mother started crying hysterically. Scaggs turned and saw his partner standing beside him with a shotgun. "It's okay, he's alive," Scaggs told him. Rawlins just nodded. "Thanks, partner." ^----^----^----^----^ Act IV, Scene V "I'm sorry, Sam I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but I would never have let him die," Al said quietly. They were standing outside across the street from the bungalow. "I know, Al." Sam's voice was gentle. "Well, now that they're okay, why are we still here?" The hopeful look on Al's face was almost painful for his friend. "I think maybe..." Sam cocked his head, "He's giving a chance to say good- bye before you leap." Al stared at the bungalow and Sam stared at Al. "I couldn't, Sam. She hasn't been with me these past few days. I haven't been the one to - to try and help her through this. I'm not the one she sees. Jake is. Do you know how hard that is? To have her...speak to me and touch me and think I'm another man?" "Al..." "I've been with her this entire time, and now that I've done what you say I'm supposed to do, I'm going to do what _I_ say I'm supposed to do." Al took a step towards the house, but Sam's voice stopped him. "What are you going to do? Tell her who you really are? She won't believe you." "I don't know," he returned miserably. "But I have to try, Sam. I have to. I can't stand it anymore." Sam took a deep breath. "You have to give her up. You and I both know it. I know...it's painful for you, but you have to try." *No. I can't...I don't have the strength.* ^----^----^----^----^ Act IV, Scene VI She had immersed herself in their record collection. "Unchained Melody" could be heard, even through the closed door. Al paused on the porch, bracing himself against the wall as if he was in pain. He didn't knock, but opened the door slightly. She was sitting on the couch smoking a cigarette. "Beth?" he called, hesitating in the doorway. She jumped slightly and turned. He could see the tears in her eyes, even in the dim lighting. "Can I come in?" Beth smothered the cigarette in a nearby ashtray and started to stand. "Of course," she managed, but he could see she wanted to be left alone. ~My love, my darling, I hunger for your touch alone.~ He shut the door behind him and regarded her for a moment. "It's a beautiful song," he said finally. She just nodded, putting a hand to her mouth as if straining not to scream. He moved directly in front of her. "Are you okay, Beth?" "I'm fine." Her eyes told a different story. ~Time goes by so slowly...~ She held out her hand to him. "Would you...dance with me?" She seemed uncertain whether to be afraid or relieved when he accepted the offer, but, in the end, she stepped into his arms, and he held her as closely as he dared. ~...And time can do so much; are you still mine?~ "You don't mind...if I just pretend for a moment that you're my husband, do you?" she asked timidly. He shook his head; he couldn't speak. They didn't say anything more as they danced, but Al was silently pleading with her the entire time. *I want you to wait for me, Beth. Don't give up, honey. Because I'm alive out there, and I'm only alive because of our love. And someday...oh, Beth...someday, I'm gonna come back home to you.* ~I'll be coming home; wait for me.~ He didn't know whether he would rather have remembered this moment, or forget it forever. The song ended and she pulled away, ducking her head to avoid his gaze. She stood, looking exposed and vulnerable in the middle of the room for an instant, her eyes closed, her arms wrapped around herself, and then she broke from the trance and walked to the stack of records. Seconds later, the familiar strains of "Georgia on My Mind" emerged and he tensed. "I'm sorry, Jake," she said carefully, "but I can't dance with you. Not for this song. And I need to hear it right now. I need..." She blinked rapidly. He tried to hide the pain in his eyes. "I understand." "It was...our song-" Without warning, she started to weep. "It hurts," she gasped out. He reached for her and held her tightly, grateful that she didn't try and pull away. "I know." "Oh, Jake, it _hurts_..." He closed his eyes and rocked her gently. "I know," he said again. "I don't know what to do." *Wait for me.* Her sobs increased in intensity. "I don't know anything anymore." *I love you. Wait for me.* He pulled back to look her in the eyes. He'd never wanted her to suffer like this. Tears spilled over faster than he could wipe them away and he held her head in his hands. He held her future in his hands. "What do I do?" she whispered. *Someday, I'm going to come back home to you...* Did he love her enough? He rested his palms on her shoulders. After he had seen what she went through every day of her life, the terrible pain of not knowing - could he love her enough? His hands caressed her soft skin. "Be happy," he murmured and kissed her tenderly on the forehead- *I love-* -And leaped. ^----^----^----^----^ Act IV, Scene VII Sam Beckett stood in the empty quarters and looked around. "Admiral Calavicci has leaped out," Ziggy informed him in subdued tones. Sam released a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding. "Thank you, Ziggy." He waited a moment longer, as if expecting something to happen, then left the room as empty as it had been when he entered it.