Quantum Leap "A Time to Hurt, A Time to Heal" Chapter 10 After hours of watching Sam roll back and forth on his bed and perspire heavily, Al was still very much awake. His eyes were growing red from lack of sleep and from worry. His once immaculately pressed uniform was crinkled from long wear. His hair was ruffled, curled at the ends, indicating lack of care. Feeling he needed to do something to encourage Sam in his struggle and to assure him that he was there, Al started telling Sam story after story. He asked him questions, hoping Sam would answer one way or another. All the while, he checked the handlink to see if there were any changes in Sam's chances of survival. He was pleased to see that they were gradually going up. "Did you see that gorgeous blond sitting in the front row at yesterday's lecture?" Al asked. "Maybe after you get better you could tutor her in human anatomy, if you know what I mean." He waited for a reaction from Sam. Sam opened his eyes and looked at Al.. He screamed slightly as he struggled to get away from him. "Sam," Al said with controlled calmness. "It's just me. It's Al. I know you're having hallucinations but it's me. You don't have to be scared. I won't hurt you." Sam panted heavily, pushing himself against the headboard and staring at Al with uncertainty. "It's okay, Sam," Al assured. "Come on down." Sam still hesitated. "Al?" he questioned quietly. Al nodded. "It's me. Come on and lay back down." Sam slowly obeyed. However, he quickly returned to his former position when he heard the doorbell ring. "Just calm down," Al told him gently. "I'm going to go see who it is and I'll be right back." "Don't leave me!" Sam yelled. Al looked at Sam carefully. The poor man was terrified. He gave him a slight smile. "Okay, Sam. I'll stay," he told him. "Dr. Zetter?" a female voice came from downstairs. "Are you home?" Al checked the handlink quickly. "Ziggy has no idea who that is but we need all the help we can get. So, call her up here, Sam." Sam hesitated. "Dr. Zetter?" the voice called again. Al nodded to Sam. "Go ahead. Call her up here. You can do it and I've got a really good feeling about her." Sam took a breath. "Up here!" he said as loudly as he could. His voice hardly left the room. There were footsteps on the stairs. "Dr. Zetter?" The voice was closer. "One more time, Sam," Al said, seeing Sam's odds of survival going up from forty-nine percent to sixty-three percent. "Here!" Sam attempted to shout. Instead, the word came out more like a moan than a shout. The door to the bedroom opened. "Dr. Zetter, are you okay?" the woman asked. Al's eyes popped open. "Sam, it's the gorgeous blond from the lecture! You lucky dog! I wouldn't mind her being MY nurse!" Sam didn't answer either Al or the woman that was entering the room. "Oh, Dr. Zetter!" she said with concern. "You look awful!" She approached him. Sam struggled to get away from her. Unfortunately, it meant getting closer to Al. He was beginning to feel trapped. "Sam," Al said softly. "It's okay. She's here to help us." He looked at the handlink. "Ziggy's finally come up with a name. Her name's Linda Cartwright..." He laughed slightly. "No relation to Ben Cartwright, I don't think. Anyway, she's a graduate student at Berkeley and she's working towards getting her RN." "It's okay, Dr. Zetter. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm Linda Cartwright from your neurological anatomy class. Remember?" "Trust her, Sam," Al told him. "She knows what she's doing. She's specializing in helping recovering drug addicts." Al hesitated as he read the next piece of information from the handlink. "A couple of years ago, a friend of hers died while trying to break a drug habit alone. As a result, Linda promised herself that she'd do everything she could to help people break their addictions." Sam relaxed noticeably as Linda helped him lay back down. "Geez, you're burning up!" she said as she touched his forehead. She looked at him firmly. "What were you taking?" she asked very professionally. Sam looked extremely confused. He looked at Al, questioning in his eyes. "Morphine," Al told him. "Tell her." "M...m...morphine," Sam stuttered. Linda nodded as she covered him up with blankets. "And how long have you been off of them?" Sam hesitated a moment. "A day," he said quietly. "I think." "A day and a half," Al corrected. "What made you decide to stop taking morphine?" Linda asked. Sam pointed at Al. "Him." Linda smiled at him patiently. "Well, perhaps when you're a little more coherent." Sam looked at Al in confusion but Al was prevented from explaining by Linda's speaking again. "Okay, Dr. Zetter, you just relax. I'll be right back with some water to help cool you down. When did you eat last?" Sam didn't have to answer. His stomach grumbled in complaint. "Well," Linda said upon hearing the grumble, "whenever it was, it's obviously been too long ago." She started towards the door. "Miss Cartwright?" Sam asked softly. She looked at him. "Call me Linda." "Linda, thank you," Sam whispered. Linda smiled at him. "I'm only too glad to help, Dr. Zetter." Sam closed his eyes. "Call me Byron." Linda nodded as she left the room, leaving the door open. Sam released the control under which he's been putting himself and started to shake. His breathing became more erratic as the shaking increased. "Are you okay, Sam?" Al asked with concern. "Get them off of me!" Sam whispered, fear in his voice. "Get what off of you, Sam?" Al asked gently. "The scorpions!" Sam whispered. "Get them off! They'll kill me!" Al closed his eyes, trying to control his own emotions. His heart went out to Sam. "Sam," he said gently, looking at him with firm kindness. "Listen to me. There are no scorpions on you. You're safe in an old Victorian house in San Francisco in 1967. Do you understand me?" Sam nodded. "Okay," Al said. "Now, just relax. Everything is going to be okay." Sam rolled so that his back was to Al. "I don't want to die, Al," he nearly cried. Al shook his head. "You're not going to die, Sam. You have me and Linda looking after you." Sam took a breath. "You said her friend died from this," he whispered. "Sam, look at me," Al ordered. Sam didn't obey. "Look at me," Al repeated firmly. This time, Sam rolled over to see Al. "Linda didn't kill her friend. She's here to help you, not hurt you. Do you understand?" Sam nodded. Al smiled at him. A moment later, he noticed that Sam had fallen asleep. "Poor kid," he commented before laying down himself, his mind at ease knowing that Sam had care from Linda. When Sam awoke, he found himself being wiped down with a soapy sponge. Linda smiled at him. "Hi, Doctor. Hungry?" For the first time in two days, the idea of food was pleasant to Sam. He nodded. "Good," Linda told him, "because you're going to eat whether you want to or not." She dunked the sponge into a bucket of soapy water and wrung it before wiping it over his chest and arms. "There you are," she said, putting the sponge in the bucket. "Did you enjoy your bath?" Sam looked confused. Linda smiled at him. "It's okay. You don't have to understand my humor. Here. Let's get you in a seated position. There. Comfortable?" Sam didn't answer. Linda exhaled. She went to a corner and picked up a tray from the floor. "You don't have a lot of food in the house, Byron," Linda told him. "So, I opened a can of soup. Hope you don't mind." Sam didn't answer as Linda dipped a spoon into the soup and raised it to Sam's lips. Sam dutifully ate the soup, too weak to fight her even if he wanted. "Do you like it?" she asked. Sam didn't answer as Linda continued to feed him. "Come on," Linda pressed. "At least say something so I know you're not a zombie." "Where's Al?" he asked. "Who's Al, Byron?" Linda asked. Sam looked around frantically. "Where's Al?" he demanded. Linda put up a hand to calm him. "It's okay, Byron. Tell me, who's Al?" "He's my friend," Sam told her quietly. "He said he wouldn't leave me." "I'm right here, Sam," a gravelly voice said with a bit of a yawn. Sam turned his head quickly to his right to see the Admiral. Al smiled at him gently. "I'm right here," he repeated to Sam. "Told you I wouldn't leave." "It's okay, Byron," Linda was saying. "Even though Al's not here, I am and I swear I won't leave you." Sam looked very confused. "But Al IS here. He just woke up." Al looked at him carefully. "Sam, Linda can't see me. Only you can. Remember?" Linda was watching Sam with concern as he looked intensely at a person who wasn't there. "Byron?" she called his attention. "Let's finish dinner. Okay?" Sam looked at Al. Al nodded. "Go ahead." Returning his attention to Linda, he obediently finished his soup before falling asleep again.