Home... he was home.
Sam didn't get it. He'd made the choice, he'd taken the chance to give Al back the women he loved, so why was he here?
Everyone was excitedly welcoming him back, everyone except Al.
"Where's Al?" Sam asked eventually when he got a chance after all the excitement had calmed, or at least forestalled by Beeks.
"Right behind you Sammy." The familiar voice chimed.
"Al?" Sam spun around, coming face to face with his best friend, but Al just stared blankly back at him.
"Hiya Sam," Al greeted calmly.
"Your..." Sam couldn't even say it.
"Blind. Yeah, long story Sammy. History has change it's self around quite a few times over the years, it should all come back now your home," Al answered.
"I... I change it, I fixed it, I thought..." Sam was so confused.
"You tried... I know, but it didn't work. Well it did, just not the way you'd imagined I'm sure," Al said, chuckling morosely.
"What... how?" Sam wanted to know how this had happened, WHY this had happened.
"Come on Sam, the white coats will want to give you a once over before they spring you, then I'll take you home and explain everything," Al promised.
Sam nodded, before realizing Al couldn't see him. "Yes. Yes that... Yes." Sam repeated.
Al shook his head and cane in front of him he walked off, Sam following behind silently. This was all so wrong, Al was supposed to be with Beth, be happy, why had it all gone wrong?
It was well into the next afternoon before Al got to fulfil his promise to take Sam home, but eventually that's where they were... except it wasn't the apartment Sam remembered having, it was a house... with a well tended garden, which Sam knew couldn't have been his work, he wasn't at all green fingered.
"Time line changes Sammy, it'll all come back. The garden was my handy work, well before this. I have a gardener come in to do it now," Al said, motioning in the general direction of his eyes.
"Come on, I'll make some lunch and we can eat while we talk," Al added moving towards the front door and with uncanny accuracy slotted the key into the lock and opened it.
Sitting with a couple of sandwiches on the sofa, Sam was trying to be patient as he waited for Al to explain... explain his sight, explain this house, explain why he wasn't with Beth.
"She left me a few months after I got back, she couldn't handle what had happened to me while I was a POW, she couldn't handle how it changed me. I can't blame her, I couldn't handle it either," Al said like he was reading his mind.
"After that... well the timeline wasn't exactly like the first one, but it was pretty close, I ended up here and project QL anyway. I lost my sight a few weeks before you leaped. You probably don't know it, but originally you leaped because I was in a car crash you thought you could stop it, of course you didn't, but the time line was changed enough over the years, instead of coming out with a few cuts and bruises a couple of broken bones I came out without my eyes. I'm kinda getting use to it, been like this for the last four months, ever since you disappeared off our radar."
"I did this?" Sam asked, shocked.
"No Sammy, don't ever think that, it's not so bad actually, it was hard at first but like I said, I'm getting use to it. Anyway as for this house... well I think you should remember that on your own. I'm going to catch a few hours sleep, you should probably explore see if you can find everything again," Al suggested, depositing his plate in the kitchen sink before he headed for the stairs.
Sam watched him move around, comfortably, Al had obviously adapted well to his situation.
Standing up, Sam made himself useful and washed his plate and the one Al had left in the sink, searching in several cupboards until he found the one with the plates to return them to their rightful place.
Further exploring revealed food cupboards and a cupboard filled with various tools. Moving through the living room he poked into drawers and cupboards, coming over to the fireplace he took in the photo's littering its surface, but one caught his attention.
It was in the middle, next to a small gold and crystal clock, was a picture of him and Al. Al was in his Dress Uniform, looking very dashing in the Navy Whites, while Sam himself was in a black tux.
The picture it's self wasn't so strange, except that he and Al had their arms around each other, smiling brightly at the camera, but what really caught his eye was the glittering gold bands on each of their wedding fingers.
Sam felt it hit him like a bolt of lightening. He and Al, they were married? How had he not remember?
He wondered if it was a timeline change, but immediately sensed it wasn't... well not entirely, he remembered his old apartment, so maybe they hadn't been married, but they had still been together, Sam felt it, why hadn't Al said anything? The answer was obvious, Sam's own rules.
Sam spent the rest of the day looking around, finding the master bedroom, Al's clothes hung along side his, but Al wasn't in the bed... he was in one of the two spare rooms.
Sam watched him sleep, watching the way the familiar face changed as he dreamed, memories of other times he'd done the same assailing him. No he didn't remember everything, no where close to everything probably but he did remember one thing, he loved Al and Al loved him. But that didn't explain why he was here, even if Beth and Al hadn't worked out, Sam had made the choice and given them the chance, so how had he ended up back here? And did it really matter?
Sam was so confused... what did he do? Did he tell Al he knew about them, did he pretend like he didn't, why was he here? Was this just another leap, would he leap out again once his 'mission' whatever it might be was complete? Did he dare risk it? Would someone else suffer if he didn't do whatever he was sent here for? Was he sent here for any reason? It all made no sense!
He needed air, needed to get out of here, be somewhere else, anywhere else.
Sam wandered aimlessly through the streets around the house until he found a small park with a fountain, and sat on the edge of it, he somehow wasn't surprised when someone sat down beside him.
"It was a noble attempt to help your friend," The man beside him said.
"He's blind, not with Beth... I made it worse for him," Sam said.
It was Al. Bar Al. Not married to him, blind, without Beth Al...
"He has a partner he loves, a job he likes, friends, and a real home for maybe the first time in his life. He's better off now than he ever was before, he's happier now than he ever was before. He loved Beth and she was an ideal, but she was never supposed to be his true love. Go home Samuel Beckett. Go home."
Sam was left alone to think again, as he noticed the sun going down, it would be dark soon, time to head... home.
Al was still asleep, Sam was glad. Stripping down to his boxers while in the bathroom, Sam tossed the stuff in the hamper and headed through to the master bedroom, poking though the bedside drawer he found what he was looking for, two gold rings...their wedding bands...
Sam slipped his onto his finger and went into the spare room Al was sleeping in, moving as carefully as he could slide between the sheets, wrapping himself around Al, waking the other man.
"Wha... Sammy?" Al asked sleepily.
"Its okay Al, it's me... go back to sleep," Sam murmured in his ear, reach for his hand and gently slipping the gold band onto his finger.
"Love you Sammy," Al said, yawning as he fell back to sleep.
"I love you too Al," Sam said, kissing Al's neck softly, burying his face against the older man and allowing himself to fall asleep contentedly, knowing with certainty that somehow it was all gonna work out just fine.
They were together again... that was all that mattered.