Sam was awakened by banging, he raised his head from the pillow, "Is 
that you Al?" he shouted.

"Yeah, it's me."

"Come in, it's not locked."

Al walked into the small bedroom, "Just callin' to give you a shout, 
it's 2:30, wanderin' if you were in here seein' as though you weren't in 
your lab."

"Oh I needed that, I haven't slept that well in years."

"Are you okay?"

Yeah sure Al, why are you askin'?

"Ah just worried 'bout you, yer know, yer decision, you okay with that?"

"Al I'm okay, really.  A new day, well perhaps not a new day, but a new 
life, a new chance."  Sam went into the bathroom.

Al could hear running water, when he emerged Sam had changed from the 
Fermi-suit, into a pale blue shirt and darker blue trousers. 

Sam took a comb out of a drawer and stood in front of the mirror, "Hey 
Al look, it's me in there, it's really me."

"About time you shaved off that stubble, thought yer was growin' a 

Al looked at Sam's reflection in the mirror, Sam was smiling, he saw a 
sparkle in his eyes, a brilliance he'd not seen for a very long time.  
Sam started singing, Al recalled the tune, it was one of Sinatra's, but 
when Sam sang it, it sounded different some how, perhaps it was his 
unique voice.

"When somebody loves you

It's no good unless she loves you - all the way

Happy to be near you

When you need someone to cheer you - all the way

Taller than the tallest tree is

That's how it's got to feel

Deeper than the deep blue see is

That's how deep it goes - if its real"

Al sat on the bed listening, Sam looked so good, so happy.

"When somebody needs you

It's no good unless she needs you - all the way

Through the good or lean years

And for all the in between years - come what may

Who know where the road will lead us

Only a fool would say

But if you'll let me love you

It's for sure I'm gonna love you - all the way, all the way."

Sam turned to Al, "Will I do?  Do I look presentable?"

"You'll knock her dead kiddo.  Here catch."  Al threw Sam his car keys, 
"You might need these."

"Thanks Al, I owe you one."  Sam slapped Al on the shoulders, "Come on 
pal, I've got some courting to do."

Al stood and followed his friend down the corridor towards the 
cafeteria, he was so happy for Sam, he knew Sam had made the right 

* * * * *

Bernie was just finishing up in the kitchen, when she heard Sam and Al 
talking outside, she hurried drying her hands.  She grabbed her coat as 
she excitedly ran out into the cafeteria, suddenly embarrassed, she 
slowed to a steady pace when she saw Sam.  Al nudged Sam, and he turned 
to face her, she slowly walked up to him.

"My don't you scrub up well Sam Beckett."

"You don't look so bad yourself Bernie."  Sam looked into her dark eyes, 
her dark mysterious eyes.  Al and his surroundings evaporated into a 
distant haze, she was here, that was all that mattered to Sam, this 
moment in time.

Al felt self-conscious, "Erm, I'll see you later Sam."

Al's voice bought Sam partly back to earth, "Oh sorry Al, see you 
later."  Still his eyes did not stray from hers.

"Okay pal, have a good time." Al sneaked a peek at the two of them.

Sam did not notice, "Yeah, sure." 

Al was sure that Sam was away on some far distant planet, "Don't have a 
bumpy landing." Al waved a hand in dismissal, "Shish."  He left the two 
of them together.

After what seemed like an age Sam broke the silence, "Where would you 
like to go?" then added, "or do, there's Santa Fe, Las Alamos, Taos or 

"Anywhere Sam, as long as it's away from here."

Sam led her outside and they headed for Al's car

"Okay, Santa Fe it is, I've heard there's plenty of entertainment there. 
Theatres, crafts, restaurants.  Whatever you like."  Sam opened the door 
for her and she climbed inside, he held her hand, lingering longer than 
was necessary, as he helped her into the car.

Al watched from a window and waited while they drove off.  He smiled to 
himself, then went to find Sammi Jo, he had some news for her.

Sammi Jo was in the Control Room, she took after Sam for his dedication, 
they were so much alike.

"Hey you're here, I've just seen Sam off on his date with Bernie," Al 
walked over to Sammi Jo's  and stood by her side.

Sammi Jo turned, "That's good, it's about time he had some fun, she's 
nice, I like Bernie."

"Sam's made a decision, I think it's the right one, mind you knowing 
Sam, he might change his mind later if things don't workout, with 

"What decision Al?"

"He's decided to leave his past as it is, 'no regrets' he said, he heard 
us talking when we were in the Control Room, when he was in the Imaging 
Chamber, he heard us talking about Matt and Leone."

"What did he say?"

"Oh not much, just that he wanted to get on with his life and not live 
in his past, he said that you were right, he couldn't save one and not 

"Oh Al, I feel so selfish, he's given Donna up, just for me.  I'll have 
a talk to him when he gets back."

"No Sammi, leave it, you're not being selfish, he was and I think he's 
realised that now.  Using his words, 'what is done is done, no more 

"But I can't just let him throw it all away, not just for me."

"Sammi leave it, he's not throwing anything away, don't bring it up 
again, you'll only be opening up his old wounds." Al's tone was stern.  
"If he finds happiness, let him get on with it."

Al turned and headed for the door, he turned back to Sammi Jo, 

"Promise."  She repeated.

He left the Control Room striding through the corridors.  He waited for 
the lift, while he waited he found himself whistling the tune that Sam 
had been singing earlier.  The lift arrived, a shapely blonde came out 
of the lift, he watched her as she walked, smiling at her little 
'wiggle'.  The doors started to close and he just managed to jump in 
before the doors closed.  He was still whistling as he ambled along the 
final corridor to his quarters.  As usual Beth was there waiting for 
him, she sat in an armchair by the window.  Al moved behind her, bent 
over and gave her a big hug.

"I'm so happy for Sam, I don't envy his first date though, starting 
again from scratch, I hate it, the first few times when you don't know 
what to say, or do.  It's so much easier when you know someone.  It's 
gonna be hard for him, he's no socialite, he's no good with 
relationships.  I just hope things go easy for him."

"He'll work it out Al, Bernie's a nice girl, she's had problems in her 
past too, I think she knows our Sam better that you think she does, you 
see, things will be just fine."

Al's thoughts turned to Beth, 'If Beth says something is gonna be fine 
then they usually are.'  Al bent lower and kissed Beth's cheek.  "As you 
say honey, it'll work out, just fine."  Al kissed her neck playfully.

* * * * *

They arrived in Santa Fe, Sam parked the car and turned to Bernie, "Is 
it gonna be a craft fair or a museum?"

"Can we just walk and see the sights?  We could go to a museum later, 
when it cools, it's such a beautiful day."

They strolled along the dusty streets, bought ice-cream from Schwan's 
Ice Cream parlour, laughed as it melted far too quickly and ran down 
Bernie's arm.  Sam acquired a flower from a local peddler and placed it 
in her hair.  They laughed and ran through the streets like a couple of 
teenagers.  They sat in the park and ate sandwiches from Mucho A Gourmet 
Sandwich Shoppe.  Sam pointed out a poster for the Albuquerque Balloon 
Fiesta, scheduled for 9 days at the beginning of October, and he spent 
some time explaining the theory of hot air balloon flight.

As the day progressed the air turned cooler and they ventured inside 
Arch Diocese Museum.  There they studied the relics of the ancient 
American Indians, laughing and shushing each other as they made their 
way round the ancient building.

When they left the museum they discovered the air very chilly and found 
Ore House a restaurant on the plaza.  It was warm and comfortable 
inside, the decor was plush and luxurious, quite different to the 
cafeteria back at the project compound.

It was 11:30 when they made a move for the return journey, Bernie was 
quiet, she rested her head on Sam shoulder as he drove them back into 
the desert.  She was happy, so was Sam, it had been a perfect day.

It was mid September, already the evening air of the desert was 
near-freezing, Bernie was pleased that she'd remembered her coat.  As 
Sam helped her out of the car, the night air hit her and she shivered.  
Sam noticed and encircled his arm about her shoulders, she felt his 
warmth and lay her head on his chest.  His hand gently touched her and 
she faced him, she shivered again, but this time, not from the cold.  
Sam's closeness made her tremble with excitement, he drew her closer and 
held her near.  She looked into his eyes, their lips met, their first 
kiss, long and lingering, passionate but gentle.  She could feel the 
warmth of his breath on her cheek, deeply he breathed, she felt his body 
tense as he held her tighter, their lips parted.

Sam held her tight, he didn't want to let go, again he looked into her 
dark, mystical eyes and was lost.  He wanted to hold her forever, never 
let her go, but she was shivering in the cold evening wind.  He scooped 
her up into his arms and carried her inside, to the warmth, there he 
paused, their lips met again.  He felt a surge of desire run through his 
veins, a feeling he'd never felt before, it made his muscles taut, 
grasping her even closer.  She sighed as he released his embrace, they 
both breathed heavily, looking, wanting.

He set her down and swallowed hard.  "I think we should say out 
good-bye's now, its late."  Sam kissed her brow.

"Will I see you again?"  She looked down at the floor.

"Yeah sure you will, tomorrow, here."

"I don't mean as colleagues."

"Neither do I, Bernie I want to see you again, I want us to do things 
together, but also to keep thinks simple to start with.  I'm not used to 
this dating thing, I admire and respect you, I don't want to spoil it.  
Sometimes I get things so wrong, I want you to understand."

"I do understand that Sam, it's just that I feel so insecure, after...."

"I know, please trust me Bernie, I don't want to hurt you, that's the 
last thing on my mind."  He reached out and held her again holding her 
head close to his chest.

She could hear his heart beating, "Goodnight Sam."

"Sweet dreams Bernie." He kissed the top of her head, "see you 

Sam watched as she walked down the corridor, she paused a few times and 
looked back, smiling.  He waited until she'd entered her quarters before 
heading to his own.  He was happy, he hummed a tune in his head and 
almost skipped down the hallway.  'I will have good dreams tonight,' he