A/N: In the Quantum Leap universe, this is set immediately after Star Light, Star Bright and immediately before Deliver us from Evil. If you have not seen Star Light, Star Bright, then expect spoilers and minor confusion as the story progresses. There are some references to past episodes, too, but the ending of Star Light, Star Bright is given away, I will admit. In the Doctor Who universe, this would take place sometime between the Christmas '08 special (The Next Doctor) and the Easter '09 special (Planet of the Dead), with references to past episodes through to the end of the fourth season of the new series. Very few references to the classical series, I'm afraid; I've not been privy to the majority of the episodes. Please note that a cursory explanation of both universes will turn up within the course of the story.
Additional note: I'm slowly making a few edits to this story to make it easier to read, but the storyline remains the same.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, and I make no money from this work of fiction!
Sam Beckett blinked for a moment before getting his bearings. The situation didn't appear life-threatening, which was definitely something to be thankful for. He was alone, which meant he wasn't about to embarrass himself by having to respond to an unknown question. It was early. He was in a kitchen, perhaps in the late 60s or early 70s judging by its décor, which seemed to be rather new. He was dressed in a plain brown housecoat with worn moccasins on his feet and nought else on but a pair of boxers. Closing the refrigerator door that he found himself holding, he picked up the glass of orange juice on the counter and drained it.
The tangy taste felt good; his mouth was dry, sometimes, after leaping. And the act itself was ordinary, and it was normal, and he was comforted by the fact that he could spend some time getting used to this new leap. Generally, even the ones that started out normally enough ended up with him in a terrifying situation, whether the danger was physical or emotional. Other times, the danger would start almost instantly—like being shot at, for instance. That had happened all too soon for him, more than once.
He studied his reflection as best he could in the window. The man he had leaped into was a bit shorter than he was, he thought. He was perhaps forty years old—there were telltale wrinkles around the corners of his blue eyes. Though clean shaven, the man had short, scruffy brown hair that demanded a combing. Sam tried to smooth it out with his fingers, thinking that, with his luck, the doorbell would be ringing within the next few minutes and he should at least appear passably acceptable when he answered it, particularly when he wouldn't know until the other person spoke whether or not they were good friends with his host. Not that he fancied answering the door in his current attire, anyway.
The thought pushed Sam to continue a normal morning routine. He found the bedroom, getting a better look in the mirror this time, grabbed some good quality clothes that were suitable for the cheery morning weather, and proceeded to wash up and get dressed. He headed to the front door to get the mail, but found the mailbox empty and the front step devoid of a newspaper. He wandered back to the kitchen, deciding to fix himself a spot of breakfast. Spotting a pile of mail on the table, however, he decided wait on that and instead find out who he was and when he was until Al showed up to tell him what he was doing here.
The bit on the top was junk—addressed to the occupant of the house—but he found a phone bill underneath addressed to a Mr. William Rivers. A local newspaper for the town of Millbrook announced the date to be May 7th of 1969. Sam reached for the newspaper to discover the current events and see if anything jogged his Swiss-cheesed memory. As he picked it up, something fluttered to the floor.
"A lottery ticket?" So Mr. Rivers decided to try his luck at those things, at least once in a while. With better odds of being struck by lightning than winning the jackpot, Sam wondered for a moment if he was here to change William Rivers's fortune along with his future, even though Al had assured him on many an occasion that it was his own rule not to use future knowledge to his—or his leapee's—own benefit.
"Sam?" Al Calavicci asked, appearing in the middle of the table. Realizing this, he hastily stepped away from it. Sam nearly jumped, not expecting to be pulled from his thoughts so suddenly or frankly so soon. "Listen, Sam, you're William Rivers, and you go by Bill. It's May 8, 1969, and you're in Millbrook, Connecticut. You're a physics teacher at the high school and you—what've you got there?"
"Lottery ticket." Sam showed it to his holographic friend. Al was his only link to the future, his present, and even if there were a lot of things Sam didn't remember, he doubted he could ever forget Al Calavicci—at least for a second time. It had been a bit of a shock that first time, realizing no one else could see or hear the man. After all, he didn't exactly blend into the crowd. Right now he was clad entirely in green, and while he may have passed as an oversized leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day, it didn't seem to fit in here. Then again, Al was Al and he wouldn't be Al if he wasn't dressed in some outrageous outfit or another. Sometimes, a small bit of normal insanity was enough to make sense of the storm of unreason that surrounded Sam's life.
"Funny. Bill Rivers doesn't seem to be the gambling type; tried and true thing for him. Think it's a winner?"
"Al, that doesn't matter. Why am I here?"
"Well, that's just it. Ziggy could get a lock on you, no problem, but none of the scenarios we've run so far have come up with a probability greater than 12.3 percent—not that we got much before our friend in the Waiting Room clammed up, at least until I have time to go and reason with him. I thought I'd drop in and see how you ended up; sometimes you know before we do."
"Not this time," Sam muttered, watching his friend take a puff of his cigar and study the device in his hand.
Al punched a few buttons on the handlink and shook his head. "No, you aren't here to make a…." His voice trailed off and he frowned. The handlink erupted into a series of squawks, protesting the data. He hit the device a couple of times, and eventually the handlink began to function again, but his expression didn't change. He looked up. "Sam, Ziggy maintains that in the original history, William Rivers never bought nor in any way attained a lottery ticket. That's not supposed to be here."
"What? Are you trying to tell me history's changing now? Before I've even done anything? That time's in flux?" Sam looked upward, wondering what God or Fate or Time or whatever had in store for him now.
There were a few more beeps from the handlink as Al punched something in. He let out a low whistle. "Ziggy gives it a 94.7 percent chance."