Quantum Leap "A Time to Hurt, A Time to Heal" Chapter 4 When Sam woke up the next morning, his head was pounding and the nausea had returned in full force. He opened his eyes slowly before closing them quickly. The sun was so bright! He moaned. *I have to get rid of this terrible feeling all over.* He started reaching for the nightstand drawer. "Good morning," a raspy voice told him. Sam looked at Al with a frown. The hologram was dressed in his Naval uniform and was smoking a cigar. "Al, I feel awful," Sam pleaded. "Yes, but you're in complete control," Al pointed out. Sam leered at him. "So are you," he said sarcastically. Al frowned at him in confusion. Sam gave him a mischievous grin. "If I can't have those pills, you can't have that cigar." Al smiled in amusement. "I think I can't go a day without a cigar?" "I'm willing to bet on it," Sam told him. Al nodded. He dropped the cigar and grounded the end of it with his foot before picking it up and putting it in his pocket. "What's a bet without a little temptation?" he told Sam. Sam nodded with understanding. He took the bottle of pills out of the nightstand and put them in Byron's briefcase. "Now," Al said after Sam had finished his task, "how about some breakfast?" Breakfast, Al noticed wasn't much food: a tall glass of milk and a slice of toast. He shook his head. He'd never known Sam to eat so little in the mornings, even when he was working of perfecting Project Quantum Leap. "Sam, you really should eat more," Al reprimanded him. "What about you?" Sam told him. "I don't see you eating." Al huffed. "I'm a hologram. Besides, I had breakfast before I came to the complex." "You did, huh?" Sam asked skeptically, munching on his toast. Al nodded his head. "A glass of milk, a large bagel with cream cheese, a bowl of fruit, and an egg - easy-over." Sam glared at him, not saying a word as he finished his toast and milk. The schedule for the day was pretty much as the one the day before, only there was no meeting to attend. A few hours at the hospital showed that all of Zetter's current patients were in good health. However, Sam had trouble keeping his mind focused on his work and he longed to leave for the university to give his lecture. He collapsed behind his office chair at the university. He closed his eyes in an attempt to block out the growing headache and nausea. "I feel like I'm going to throw up," he told Al. "If you have to throw up, then throw up," Al told him. "Better that than taking one of those pills." Sam looked at the briefcase with temptation. Al frowned. "I know it's tempting to take one, Sam. But you don't need to take one because you're in complete control." Sam looked at Al carefully. Dressed in his uniform, the Admiral looked more than unaffected by not having a cigar. He looked as if the idea of smoking was the same as having a glass of orange juice - he could easily do without. "How can you just stand there?" Sam questioned malevolently. Al didn't answer. He quickly looked at his watch. "Hungry?" he questioned. "Not really," Sam told him. "Too bad," Al told him. "'Cause it's almost one o'clock and I'm hungry. Gushie," he called to the ceiling, "could you have a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and extra mustard sent down here. I'll be staying in here for the rest of the day. And have a pitcher of water brought down." He paused before shaking his head. "Sorry, Tina. I'll have to make it up to you later." He turned to Sam and gave him a slight smile. "I had invited Tina to lunch today but it looks like I can't do it, huh." Sam's eyes were closed tight. "Al?" "Yeah, Sam?" "Shut up." Al's eyebrows lowered. He exhaled, watching Sam carefully. "And stop staring at me!" Sam complained. "I will when you give me a good reason to stop," Al told him. "And that would be?" "When you start acting like Sam Beckett and not like Byron Zetter." Sam glowered at him. Al lowered his eyes. "Let's just get some lunch, okay? You should have a least a little to eat." Sam reluctantly agreed and followed Al to the university's cafe where he had less than a fourth of a bowl of soup whereas Al ate all of his turkey sandwich. The lecture was right after lunch. Unlike the day before, the lecture was a great strain on Sam. He relied heavily on Al throughout the lecture for information that he knew but couldn't concentrate hard enough to bring to the surface of his mind. Often, he completely forgot the basics of anatomy, making the students wonder about him. One student in particular seemed very concerned. Her blue eyes focused on Sam as if she had an idea of what was happening to Sam. Sam may not have noticed her piercing blue eyes and beautiful long blond hair but Al certainly did. After the lecture was over, Sam was approached by the same man who had approached him the day before. This time, the man wore a pair of navy slacks, a white dress shirt, and an aqua pullover V-neck sweater. "Hey, Byron. You okay?" the man asked. "Yeah, I'm fine," Sam answered with a glare at Al. "Man, you seemed gone during the lecture," the man told him. "Haven't you been taking your medicine?" The minute the man said this, Al punched buttons on the handlink. "The name's Darren Maning," he told Sam. "He's convicted next year of dealing in illegal narcotics." "No," Sam answered Darren bluntly. Darren huffed. "What do you think you're doing, Byron?" Sam glared at Al. "Winning a bet." Darren sighed. "You've got to take your medicine, man. You know? 'Feed your head'." Sam nodded. "Don't worry about me, Darren. I'm fine." Darren shrugged. "Okay." He smiled. "You should have been at the sit-in, Byron. It was so far out! Even had a couple of arrests. Just show how the establishment is trying to take away our freedoms." Sam glance at Al again. "You can say that again." Al frowned. "I'm NOT the establishment." "Well, I've got to go," Darren told Sam. "Take care of yourself. Okay?" "You can count on it," Sam replied as Darren left the auditorium. He turned his attention to Al. Al stepped back slightly. All through the lecture, Al had been too busy helping Sam than to notice just how awful Sam looked. "Not the establishment, huh?"" Sam said, pointing out Al's uniform. Al glared at him. "My enrollment in the United States Navy...." he started. Before he could finish his sentence, Sam closed his eyes and dropped to his knees, the tips of his fingers on his temple. Al lowered himself to look at Sam's face with intense concern. "Sam, are you okay?" "My head feels like it's on fire!" Sam exclaimed. Al breathed out. ""You should go home and get some rest, Sam." "Gawd! I've never felt so bad in my life!" "All the more reason you should go home," Al told him. "Trust me." Sam glowered at him. "You like to see me suffer, don't you?" Al frowned and shook his head. "Of course not." "Then, I'm taking a pill," Sam told him, standing up and heading towards the briefcase. Al closed his eyes. "Sam, don't do it." "Why not?" Sam glared at him as he opened the briefcase. Students started coming into the classroom for the next class. Sam looked astonished to see them as they took their seats. "Now's not the time for argument," Al told him. Sam saw Al's point but didn't like it. He slammed the briefcase shut before grabbing it by the handle and marching out of the auditorium. With great strides, he went to Zetter's car and got in. When he arrived, he saw Al sitting beside him. "Why can't you just leave me alone?" Sam yelled at him. "Because I don't want you to make a fatal mistake," Al told him firmly. "What are you talking about?" Sam said angrily and with a lot of confusion. "I'm talking about a little girl bleeding to death on an operating table during a textbook appendectomy!" Al told him loudly. Sam stared at him. Al nodded. "A little girl will die on an operating table on the fifteenth unless you do something about it. Seems the surgeon's hand slipped and cut a vital artery. They couldn't stop the bleeding. If the surgeon hadn't been so incompetent, the girl would have lived." "What does this have to do with me?" Sam demanded. Al looked at him carefully. "The surgeon's name was Dr. Byron Zetter. He was convicted of second-degree murder and malpractice. He had a drug problem and was under the influence when he operated on that girl." "What does that have to do with me?" Sam demanded again. "The leap gave you Zetter's addiction to morphine," Al told him firmly. "That's ridiculous!" Sam replied. "Is it?" Al asked. "Look at yourself, Sam! You're out of control!" "I'm in complete control!" Sam declared. "Then finish the day without taking one of those pills!" Al ordered. "The Sam Beckett I know can do it. The question is are you still him." Sam looked at Al with as much determination he could muster as he started the car. "I'm still the same Sam Beckett," he told Al. "I sure hope so," Al replied as Sam started back towards Byron's house. ******************** Alex moaned as the sun shown into his eyes. Opening them, he looked around quickly. The apartment was a mess, glass everywhere. He moaned again. He'd almost forgotten about his rampage last night. Standing up, he winced hard at the concurring headache. "Oh, what a hangover!" he said mostly to himself but partly to the shattered remains of his furniture. He hurried to the bathroom to vomit before returning to the living room with a sigh. "Well, I'd better clean this up or the landlord will kill me," he told himself. A few hours later, Alex had succeeded in returning his apartment into some semblance of order. He had replaced all of the shattered light bulbs and had shampooed the carpet. Having done so, he went to his bedroom and collapsed on his bed. A few minutes later, he was asleep.