A Quantum Leap fan fiction, A Leap In Anger, by Rob Morris,
Rob4654@webtv.net  , featuring characters owned and created by
Belisarius Productions and Marvel Comics

Epilogue-Who Can Change The Course                       Of Mighty

               I sat with bartender Al (the second Al I had ever really
known) to talk about the odd coincidences I had encountered in Al's
Place. The least of the coincidences had been seeing David Banner's
reflection in the mirror, a face not seen for five years. The biggest
coincidences had involved other faces I had known. Sam, Al#1, Donna, and
a few dozen others less directly. I almost jumped when someone in the
mirror looked like Jack McGee. Old habits die hard. For me, and for
others. Before we could get to talk, a voice that sounded a lot like Al
Calavicci's boomed through. "So, Al, old man, still tryin' to recruit
wlling losers, Huh? Hi, David. Been a while". The thing that looked like
Al#1 said that in a sickening way I didn't care for one bit. "We're
trying to talk here, pal." The big man behind the bar had a history with
this version of Al Calavicci, stretching, I felt perhaps back into
infinity. "Now quit being rude, or I'll tell everyone your secret!" The
snide thing wasn't impressed. It had no shame. As I looked in the
mirror, I saw what else it did not have. "You don't know my secret any
more than Banner here knows how to take a punch without going green!" Al
the bartender smiled. "I do, and so does David.David?" I started, but
somehow knew exactly what to say. "You died during the fall. You're just
the ghost of evil, not the real thing. We hold that in us." The thing
screamed, and then left without leaping. Al smiled. "He hates it when I
do that." I looked at where the thing had stood. "Is what I said true?"
Al#2 cocked an eyebrow. "He thinks it is. Prince of Deception, but the
biggest lies are the ones he tells himself. Old Story." I drank down the
last of my soda, then said, "The oldest".  Al was an easy bartender to
get a laugh out of.

                "So, about this place-er, Al."  Without missing a beat,
he asked, "Like It?"  "I, yes, of course, its great." He had promised to
be straight with me, but " I know, David. I promised to tell you
everything, and so I shall. After all, you've been a leaper for some
years now. And this is where the leaper elite meets to eat!" He somehow
knew my thoughts, but an opening was an opening. Sensing headway, I
responded,"Well, I've been a leaper for five years, now. I guess that
makes me elite." He stopped, and looked at me. "Five years, David? Come
on. It's been more like 20. You've been a leaper since right after the
fire that killed poor Elena!"  I looked straight at him; "Please don't
give me riddles, I'm not good at them. I may have helped people here and
there, but I was no Leaper back then. As you seem to well know, I was
the Hulk! Leapers are like secret angels. You're going to try and tell
me that the Hulk was an angel?"  "David, think about it. What do leapers
do? They go from life to life, making right what once went wrong. The
people who knew you, then, benefitted tremendously. Those lives touched
other lives in a pattern..." I interrupted him. "Leapers travel through
time. And all the good I did doesn't put wings and a halo on the Hulk!"
Al seemed almost taken aback by my argument, but easily countered me.
"You traveled through time, David. You just did it one day at a time,
like most people. Even at your most despondent, you always stopped and
helped someone in need. The Hulk did, too. Notice how he only emerged
when clean-up was needed? As for angels, well, there are different
types. There's the angels who closed the Lion's mouth..." He trailed
off, and, unexpectedly, I finished his thought. "Then there were the
ones who punished the wicked, sometimes destroying whole cities to do
it." I was stunned. Suddenly my life and place in the world seemed
crystal clear, even to the Hulk's role in it. Having made his point, Al
moved in to complete his thought. "It's said that sometimes you cannot
see the path because it is all path, David. You started out as a leaper
within time. With Sam's help, you became a leaper through time. What
comes next, do you suppose?" I sat as a child in kindergarten, hoping I
knew my ABC's. "A leaper-beyond time?"  He nodded his head as if to say
I had my alphabet down pat. I wished I felt that way. "But" I continued,
"what lies beyond time? And who were those people that looked so
familiar?"  "Two, two, two questions, David-and guess what?"   I was
getting good at this.  "One answer", I said correctly.

              If this was Al the bartender being straight with me, I
hated to think of him being evasive and vague. Still, I could tell he
was trying, and so would I to see this very weird leap through to the
end. "Eventually," he began, "leapers have to learn to do without the
safety nets. No more leaping into situations that any good heart could
undo with a little common sense. No more leaping in as someone in the
situation. They go for the dark corners, and try to bring light. They go
in as themselves. And they learn to accept the possibilty of
failure-never to give in to it, but to learn from it. The people they
deal with are a little bit less inclined toward redemption, have fewer
friends, and less reason to go on. Still, the leaper must try. The
answers aren't stated by seance or handlink or telepathy, but are found
in one's heart. That is what happens-for most leapers." "But I'm not
most leapers, am I?"  Al chuckled again, "No, David Banner, here you are
utterly unique. We have Als, Alias, Donnas, Beths, Moes, Gooshies,
Staupas, Tinas, Verbeenas, Jimmys,and enough Sam Becketts to populate a
state the size of New Jersey. But of all the leapers that pass on by,
there is only one David Banner-that's you."  I rose to the riddle he
offered. "All those people, the same people, but different. You're
talking about alternate realities, aren't you?" Al looked back to the
window by the door. "You remember the Sam I was talking to, earlier? He
went off, before his new assignment begins, to make sure that Beth
Calavicci waits for her husband while he's a Prisoner of War."  Now I
was really confused. "But she did. Al mentioned-" catching my
foolishness, I stopped. "You see, David. Realities can converge as well
as diverge. When Sam convinces Beth to wait for Al, it effects the
reality you came from and a host of others. One person here, another
there, still a third down the way, all digging at the water's edge,
eventually setting the waterway on to a new path, so more people have
life-giving water-or maybe just a chance to live at all. Any waterway
can be effected this way. Any stream."  I took all this in, as best I
could. "Even the timestream, Al?"  He nodded, "To leap tall lives in a
single bound!"  I smiled, finally coming close to what I needed. I added
"To change the course of time, the mightiest river of all!"  "A river
has a lot of twists and turns, David. You and that other Sam Beckett are
just from other bends of that one river. You've altered his reality for
the better, too. When your worlds had common cause. After all, who's
from the alternate reality and who's from the real one? Sorry-didn't
mean to go Zen." The Al Calavicci I know told me I had an instant friend
power. If so, in that regard, I had nothing on this other Al. One just
felt good in his presence. "Al, the other Sam Beckett-what is his
difficult new assignment?" Reluctant to answer at first, my new
friend/teacher nevertheless spoke. "In 1890's Austria, outside of the
safety net of Sam's lifetime, there is an abused little boy who will
grow up to hate the world. In the 1930's, he'll gain power to act on
that hate. I believe you know of his work." I felt my skin crawl.
"Does-does Sam have any chance at all?" I knew I was talking about
another Sam, but I still had to know. This was too big. Al gulped, then
spoke. "No leaper has ever been able to crack this one. Sam stands a
better chance than some. But there's a lot there, David. He may have to
learn from losing this one." He then smiled. "Or, maybe not. Sam is the
best. And at least the goal is obvious, there. It can be much less
clear-in other places."  "Like at my new assignment, Al?"   He nodded
his head, slowly. "That Sam will be going up against pure evil, David.
But if he breaks through to the little before he becomes a monster, he's
won. The abused little boy you'll be looking after has good in him,
great good. But his love is mixed in with real hate. A trickier thread
to unwind." Understanding for me was now coming in waves. "And he lives
in a reality removed from our bend of the river?"   "A real tributary,
David, almost a lake in the mountains. A world of Marvels, good and bad.
He'll be one of them, someday. But there's a lot of ifs on that journey,
and you must help him-by any means possible." Accepting my new
assignment, I asked, "Al, what is the boy's name?"  His name would throw
me for a loop, like no other. "David, god bless you and your young
charge-Robert Bruce Banner. His parents aren't yours, and he's not
exactly you. But he has rage, David. And his rage will lead to-a
different kind of Hulk, when his time comes. Kind of like your ride has
come, now." I looked outside and saw hologram Sam Beckett frantically
looking for me. He ran in, saying, "David, thank God we found you. We
locked on to your date of birth, but still it was.." I stopped him.
"Sam, tell them you still can't find me, or they'll close the project.
In 2019, send Abby into the accelerator. She's the next one. I don't
know how I know, but I do.Thank You for my new life, Sam. My best to all
of you!"  "David!, I"  I looked at my friend one last time, then left to
seek a new bend in the river.

       1964-Rebecca Banner waited nervously. Her husband was late
getting home, and that meant only one thing-he was roaring drunk, and
would arrive home fighting mad. She would try to protect 3-year old
Bruce from Brian's rages, but she couldn't always. The nurse he hired
for Bruce was of no help, and seemed to be cut of the same abusive
cloth. She was in hell, married to a monster, unable to protect her
child. In another world, David Banner's parents were hard-working,
decent farm folk whose only real sin was distance from their children on
occasion. Rebecca and Brian Banner, however, were not the counterparts
of David's parents in any way,shape, or form. They were abuser and
abused, and their child was growing in this enviroment. One day a
nuclear bomb would release that boy's rage on to the world. Unless
someone stopped it. Here and now.
               Stepping up to the house he did not grow up in, that
indeed was nothing like the house he grew up in, David Banner paused.
Things had not gone as planned, since he entered this new world. He set
about to end the abuse of Bruce Banner in the best way possible. When he
tried to approach the drunken Brian Banner, the man went crazy, though
shouting, "Get away from me, Dad! You're dead now, you can't hurt me
anymore!" Fighting mad, Brian grabbed the gun of a police officer who
came to break things up, and, when he ignored another officer's cry to
put down the gun, that officer did his duty. Brian Banner, son of a man
who resembled David, would never hurt his son or wife again. Explaining
that he was Brian's cousin, David offered to explain to Rebecca what had
occurred. The police are never fond of such duties, and so allowed it.
He knocked on the front door quietly, and Rebecca answered, fully
expecting a blow of some kind. All she saw was a man who vaguely
resembled her husband's late father, who had died mysteriously. "I'm
David Banner, Brian's cousin. He's never mentioned me?"  "No, David. He
doesn't talk much of family. Aren't you kind of young to be his first
cousin? You don't look a day past 25!" Quickly, David spotted a mirror,
and saw his own very young face looking back. "Tools for the journey,
David", he swore he could hear bartender Al's voice say. "Well, I'm
actually 30, but who's counting". Rebecca mildly chuckled. She already
liked this man, better than she ever could her husband-oh God, her
husband. "David, Brian's not here right now. He's-out." She had lied for
this long, but somehow lying to David Banner seemed wrong. "I know he's
not here, Rebecca. That's why I am. Rebecca, please sit down. Do you
trust me?" Somehow, she did, as she never could Brian, and indicated so.
"There's no good way to say this, so here goes-Brian is dead. He's gone,
and he's never coming back. I walked up..." As much as relief as from
grief, Rebecca Banner collapsed in the arms of the man claiming to be
her late husband's cousin, sobbing between anger and joy. Rebecca and
David Banner were not genetically related, even a universe away. So they
stayed in each other's arms-for the rest of their lives. Upstairs, an
abusive nurse had her last night of employment, and young Bruce Banner
slept through the night for the first time in his 3 years on Earth. It
would be the first of many such nights for decades to come, with no
yelling, no screaming, and no hitting.         


Dedicated to: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell,
Peter David and Brian Michael, and lastly, Bill Bixby and Michael
Landon, who we lost about the same time, reminding us of why we all love
the premise of Quantum Leap
                            THE END