A Quantum Leap fanfiction, A Leap in Anger, by Rob Morris,
Rob4654@webtv.net  , featuring characters created by Belisarius
Productions and Marvel Comics.

Part 6-Confrontation and Catastrophe

          Using me as his mouthpiece, David Banner had just destroyed
Jack McGee, a good if flawed man who had unknowingly brought great harm
to David's life-and he had enjoyed doing it. Unable to hold back, I lit
into him. "I once leapt into Lee Harvey Oswald, David. I wasn't able to
stop him from playing his part in history-his evil was too strong.
You're not evil. But what you just did is!"  He wasn't listening to me,
or having any of my lecturing. "Don't you dare judge me! Aside from the
Hulk, you have no idea what I've been through because of Jack McGee's
constant hounding. You leap from life to life, Sam. Try running from
life to life, while keeping full memories of what you've lost! Knowing
that any number of factors can shatter anything you might build!" I was
in a fighting mood, and so was David. Some things had been building
between us since the time when enhanced strength and time-travel were
theories spat out between too many slices of cold pepperoni pizza. I
should have let go, recognized the pain that drove him to hurt Jack
McGee so badly, seen that McGee had in fact brought most of this down on
himself. But David kept on, and so did I. "What you fail to recognize,
Sam, is that most of us don't get to live as secret angels, riding off
into the sunset of time. No matter how great my joy at helping another,
it was always the same-the open road awaiting me at the cold, grey dusk.
You live in Paradise, I live in.."  I stopped him "Don't say it! It
isn't true! Not for five seconds, not for a minute! We're both alive,
David. No up, no down, only here. And my open road doesn't let me take
much with me. Right now, I can't even remember my sister's name!" David
looked as though he was trying to hold back, now, too, but there was too
much wounded pride. It was as though leaper and leaped were feeding off
one another's rage. "Her name is Katie, and don't change the subject! My
life is one war story I'll put up against anyone else's, before and
after the Hulk and the fire that Jack Mcgee caused!"
I was livid, now. "All these years, and you are still playing like you
can overpower everyone and everything by 'explaining' things loudly
enough!" I imitated David, exacerbating matters still further.
"If-you'd-only listen, Sam!", "Huh!?" "How many socks to the jaw did
that get you, while lying your way into someone's lab?! 25 years on, and
still the angry young man!" He responded to my admittedly low blow in
kind, and in my voice, as well. "L-Let's just step back everyone, and
think this thing through" "Boy, Sam, I can't imagine the people you
dealt with liking that any better than the dean did when you pirated
power for your first accelerator. But he forgave you, because everybody
forgives Sam Beckett, cosmic Boy Scout! Then as now! I guess even I'll
forgive you." He leaned closer , and spoke in a low voice, "It's
required " I stood my ground, but tried to shift things as best I could,
and hoped David would try, as well. "Forgiving me for my mistakes with
McGee is not neccesary. I should have hid, not let him get a good look
at your face"  David's face softened-an opening ;"Go on". "But how's
about forgiving Jack McGee. He committed a wrong against you, a wrong I
can't make right because of your experiments' unintended consequences."
Emphasizing divided responsibilty. Good, I have him.  "But, David, get
on with your life. Forgive Jack Mcgee. Let him know that we are all
familiar with-" No way to avoid saying it -"not looking before you
leap." Ouch. "One, I can't believe you just said that. Two, as far as
I'm concerned, Jack Mcgee can go..." A new voice from outside
interrupted our talk/argument. "Jack, don't jump. For God's sake, what
could be that...JACK!" Our hate dissolved like it never was, and we were
simply two people concerned about a third. I ran out to check while
Ziggy focused David on Jack Mcgee. We hoped we weren't too late.

             As we arrived near the precipice outside the back of Jack's
rented cabin, David and I saw Mcgee looking into the abyss-in more ways
than one. A young man, probably his photographer friend, was trying in
vain to urge him back. He looked at me rather oddly, as though a sixth
sense told him I was not who I appeared to be. Jack looked back and saw
me, and almost casually introduced us. "Doctor David Banner, meet the
Daily Bugle's chief photographer and a damned good friend, Peter
Parker". "Peter Parker, meet the late Doctor Banner, also known as the
Incredible Hulk". Damn. Mcgee might not ever tell, but this newcomer was
another story. Maybe David's life wasn't as secure, after all. Parker
stared past me, almost as though...no, not possible. "I've seen pictures
of Doctor Banner, Jack. This guy doesn't look anything like him." What?
David and I were both stunned. Could this Peter Parker be pulling a
trick to talk Jack down, or could he see Sam Beckett? "That's him Peter,
I should know. I've haunted him enough years." Mcgee sounded utterly
despondent. Parker was trying to concentrate on his friend, but was
still drawn to look past me. Suddenly, he pushed me aside-with a grip
like steel-and jumped through David. Both Banner and Parker were
startled by this. "A hologram! You two are playing with Jack's head
somehow!" Picking me up like I was nothing, Parker said "You and your
friend stop this RIGHT NOW! I don't know what you hope to gain, but.."
Still too depressed to note Peter Parker's remarkable strength, Jack sat
down at the cliffside and chuckled grimly "Oh, I wouldn't do that,
Peter. You see, you shouldn't make Doctor Banner angry. You wouldn't
like him when he's angry! I finally got it! It only took 13 years! The
joke's on me, though." Parker put me down. I don't think I'd care much
for him, either, when he was angry. "Remember the fire, Peter?"
Apparently, Jack had told the story a number of times, because Parker
quickly nodded, while keeping an eye on both me and David. "Well, you're
looking at who set it, so click away. This shot could get little May the
Turtles figure she wanted. I can see Jameson's headline: ARSON JACK
MCGEE, hottest reporter in town!" I tried to intercede, "Jack, it was an
accident, I was upset, but I didn't"... Parker looked at me as if to say
not now, and that maybe I had done enough. I was hard pressed to
disagree with him on that. "One, Jameson's too obsessed with
you-know-who to care about your past. Two, little May would prefer not
to have to visit her Uncle Jack at Forest Hills Greenery. Come with me,
Jack-please."  Peter Parker held out his hand, and I held out mine,
and-remarkably, so did David, the hate washed off his face. It was a
symbolic gesture on his part-symbolic of many things. Perhaps Jack
sensed this, and stood up, heading back toward us. The cliff rocks,
though, had other ideas, and Jack Mcgee fell. Suddenly, Peter Parker
jumped for him, remarkably catching him, and, even more remarkably,
sticking to the cliffside while carrying a sobbing Jack upwards. In this
moment, a true hero had cared more for a friend's life than a well-kept
secret. I would not allow myself to forget this. He looked at me and,
suddenly trusting, said, "Can you keep a secret?" Without blinking, I
said, "Can you?". We smiled, and turned our attentions toward Jack
McGee, still in tears; "I'm a murderer! I'm a murderer! "  "Jack!"
"Don't you understand, Peter? I'm the worst kind of murderer! I framed
someone else for my crime! Ohhh, God! Forgive Me!"  Suddenly David
Banner was speaking through me again, the joyful survivor having
displaced the bitter, wronged fugitive. "He'll forgive you Jack.  I
forgive you. Just as I know Elena forgave me for starting this whole
mess, by crossing lines and pushing safety limits. We're alive. Forget
the recriminations. We all fail to look before we leap, usually because
we're angry at the world. It took something away from us. But, just by
moving on and forgiving ourselves, we can at long last make right that
which once went wrong, and tie the threads of our lives together."  Jack
looked up at me, as though trying to reject my words to punish himself.
"I'll never be who I was, David. I can't be that shark." I helped pull
him up. "Then be someone better. Go home, Jack."  Parker helped Mcgee
towards the car, ready to depart. The amazing young man looked back at
me, smiled, and said "Good work, heroes. We'll have to team-up again
sometime." He was speaking to both David and myself. "Peter", I heard
Jack ask as they got in the car, "does everyone I know have
super-powers?" "Who's your law firm, Jack?"  He thought for a minute.
"Murdock and Walters, why?"  Peter's face got kind of sheepish. "We'll
talk", he said as they pulled out.

                David was flabergasted. He started, "I am so sorry, Sam.
I knew this might happen. Knew, and didn't give a damn. Worst of all, I
used you as a weapon. I..I.." I stopped him. "David, since I've known
you, I've joked about your anger, lectured you about your anger, and
made myself a general nuisance on the subject. I never even made an
effort to understand you, what you've had to endure, or"  Now he stopped
me. "Or I you. We both stood their helpless as a man nearly ended his
life. But for Parker, he would have. Time-travel is not paradise. I
don't know how many times I could endure such close calls. You have my
admiration, Sam Beckett."  "You, David Banner, have mine". We couldn't
shake, of course. But that didn't matter. We had leaped in anger and
landed on our feet. But "What about McGee? And when do I leap out?"
David studied Al's handlink. "Jack spends some time in therapy, and
comes out an outspoken critic of certain media practices-Guilty As Sin
with Jack Mcgee is a highly-rated talk show, particularly after the
death of Princess-" David held himself together. His voice kind of
hoarse, he said, "I guess you can't win them all". I tried to cheer him
up, "Says You". It almost worked. He returned to the handlink, "As to
the leap, Ziggy's going to accelerate me into myself at your point in
time, straight from here", theoretically moving you forward to your next
destination , he put down the handlink," so goodbye, Sam." "Goodbye,
David"  What should have followed was David returning to his own time
while I leaped forward. The agony we both felt, agony that triggered the
change in both of us simultaneously, was not what should have happened.
We changed into the Hulks-and then something else occurred-something I
desperately wanted but not now. No, definitely not now.

         "Ziggy, what the hell just happened?"  The supercomputer
responded "Due to the gamma radiation in their systems, Admiral, the
attempt to leap Doctor Banner failed. Also, something else undefinable
occurred". Al was frantic from hearing the cries in the holo-chamber,
"Well, define it quick, Ziggy, we got two men screaming like newborns in
there-" Al thought for a moment. "Wait. Two Men? I should hear Banner's
screams, but why would we hear.." Al then saw the door to the projection
chamber burst open, with TWO  HULKS pounding on one another, heedless of
the consequences. Calling for security, Al came to a sickening but
obvious conclusion about one of them. "Welcome Home, Sam. OOOOhhhhhh,
BOY!"              End Part 6