Sam's quantum leaping has caused quite a few little...and not so little...ripples in time. This one however, was a full-fledged twister.
It started when he leaped into me, in the days when everybody used to call me Bingo. There were so many different timelines in that one leap alone, even Ziggy couldn't keep track of them all.
We figured the important thing was that Sam had come up with a way to keep me from the gas chamber. And it was an ingenious idea, it just had far reaching repercussions beyond our wildest dreams.
Things started out simple enough. I told Bingo what he had to do--making sure he committed the name Sam Beckett to memory--hey, I fully believe in the old adage, 'better safe than sorry'. Then I sent him into the Accelerator. I couldn't wait to tease Sam about how I was the first one to use the Accelerator, traveling in time while he was still playing patty cake.
Once Bingo was on his way, I rushed into the Imaging Chamber to be with Sam. According to Ziggy, it worked. Then a moment later we had our own proof, when Lisa arrived alive and well. Sam leaped out and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. This one was definitely too close for comfort.
Everything was back to normal...or so I thought. I left the Imaging Chamber for Main Control. Whistling to myself, I dropped the hand-link onto Ziggy's console and headed for the exit, planning on stopping by my office to finish up some overdue paperwork. I was almost to the door when I realized something was off. I stopped abruptly, backing up until I stood in the same spot I'd left. There was something weird indeed...and I didn't like it one bit. Gooshie and Tina were standing there as big as you please, locked in a passionate kiss.
I gaped in open-mouthed astonishment, finally recovering my senses enough to clear my throat loudly. Several times.
Eventually they broke apart and looked at me questioningly. Neither one of them looked guilty, just maybe a little embarrassed.
I stared them down, but neither offered an explanation.
"Is everything okay?" Tina finally asked.
"Is there something the two of you would like to tell me?" I countered. Recalling the time years ago that Tina had gone off to Vegas with the little toad, I wondered if this had been going on since then.
"The leap out went off without any problems," Gooshie supplied.
I decided to be more direct. "And why were the two of you kissing just now?" I asked.
Gooshie looked puzzled, flustered, and a little affronted. "Is there something wrong with a wife showing her husband some affection? It's not like we're 'doing' anything, on company time. Plenty of times I saw you and--"
"Wife?" I croaked. "As in the two of you, married?"
Tina frowned, worry clouding her eyes. "Are you okay, Al? Maybe you should have Beeks check you out..."
"I'm fine, just fine..." I babbled, making a hasty retreat. I knew what happened, should have expected it. Somehow, the timeline had been changed again. Instead of being my girlfriend, Tina was Gooshie's wife.
And I'd thought walking out and finding Donna had been a challenge!
I grabbed some industrial-strength Excedrin and decided to take the rest of the day off. I needed time to get used to the new changes. Unfortunately, being the Observer and having a neural link to Sam gave me the dubious honor of being able to see the timelines shift right before my eyes. One of the most unsettling of those was when a male Senate committee member turned into a woman named Diane McBride right in front of me, and no one else noticed anything out of the ordinary. It took some getting used to. My mad scientist friend was enough to drive anyone to drink.
I was not as drastically affected by the changes Sam wrought as everyone else, although it did get more confusing as they went on. Immediately following a change I would only remember the previous timeline. Then slowly the altered one would come to me, like a dream half remembered in wisps the next day. My mind would supply enough of the new one to get me by, superimposed on the ones that came before. But lately they were all starting to blur together.
Except for the newest one, which was still a blank to me.
I checked my driver's license for my address. It was a different one than I remembered. Instead of the apartment I'd shared with Tina, it was the address of a luxury condo on the outskirts of town.
It was somewhat comforting to know certain things remained the same. The prototype car that I'd permanently borrowed from the government gave me a sense of security as I drove over to the condo. This adjustment was proving more unsettling than most. After all, Tina and I had our ups and downs, but I had a head full of loving memories which no longer existed, and no one to share them with.
Feeling very much alone, I let myself into my new home. As I stepped over the threshold, a sense of deja vu hit me. It happened that way sometimes. As if I knew this place well...yet not at all.
I looked around tentatively. A lot of the furniture and belongings I happily recognized as my own. Some were strange and still others I could have swore I knew well, but belonged to someone else.
I went in search of my photo album, it usually helped smooth the transition. I grabbed a glass of ice tea and sat down on the couch to start filling in my gaps.
What I found when I opened the pages were plenty of the usual pictures, some not so. Most of them were of me and Sam. Nothing unusual there. Us celebrating the birth of the Project by dousing each other with champagne, pouring over the blueprints for the Imaging Chamber, taking a weekend vacation in Mexico...
...sitting by the fire gazing into each others' eyes, cutting a cake which had 'happy anniversary' written on it, kissing...
I carefully prodded that part buried deep inside of my memories, not wanting to open any wounds or pull any scar tissue off. Sure enough, while many of them I recognized as old friends, some were definitely brand new.
No less beautiful. I basked in the unfolding images for awhile, content as I hadn't been in a long while. In forever.
Sam and I were living together. We were lovers. That time-tripping Romeo had finally done something right. Or maybe I had, by giving myself his name long before I knew he even existed.
I guess I should explain something here. See, it wasn't as much of a shock as you might think. Like I said, with Sam leaping, timelines were always changing. Something else wasn't new to me either...the idea of Sam and me as lovers. We'd been this way before as a matter of fact.
In the original timeline, Sam had been mine. The first time we screwed around with it, we wiped that out. Sam couldn't remember shit in those days, and what was I supposed to tell him? You can't get Donna back because you and I are lovers? I wasn't about to lay that trip on him, anymore than I'd tell him he had a wife waiting for him.
Unfortunately, he did remember his love for Donna. I figured it was because of the trauma he went through when she left him at the altar. Hell, I even entertained the thought that maybe I'd gotten him by default. Scorned by the only woman he had ever loved, etc... And I was recklessly confident in the strength of our love, so I helped him reunite her with her father...and stepped out of the Imaging Chamber to an empty apartment. I still don't know how I kept myself together in those early days. Drank more than I should, and pretended that five wives hadn't cured me of women in the least.
Sam had done a good job in curing me of men.
The casual affair with Tina I got in replacement grew stronger after that. She'd been a good friend to us before, and helped me get my job back, although none of that happened as far as she was concerned. She was there for me when I needed someone. No matter how much things change, she'll always be special to me. I looked again at the picture of the cake, knowing she'd baked it for us.
Now Tina and Gooshie were together, as they seemed destined to be. I wondered what had become of Donna, hoped she found her right path in life, finally. No longer was she the deserted wife, nor I the deserted lover. She was gone and I had Sam to myself again. No rebound this time, we'd been lovers practically since the day we'd met.
I leaned back in my chair and relaxed, a deep sense of peace infusing my soul. All was right with the world.
I figured things were back the way they belonged once again.