Author's Note: Here it is, my first Cheers Fanfic! I've done it for MASH, a little for Red Dwarf, and now my new classic TV obsession. Enjoy!
It was an unusually warm fall day in Boston. Sam Malone stood behind the bar, watching out for empty glasses. Sure he needed glasses anymore to see when the drinks were dry, but that didn't slow him down any.
"Need some more there, Norm?" Sam asked as the gray curly haired Buddha sized regular chugged down his beer in no time.
"Naw, I've been thinking about cutting back…" Sam didn't move his hand from the glass, knowing what was coming. "Okay, I've cut back enough. What's the hold up, bartender?"
"Guess I'm gettin' old…" he tried to make it sound amusing and keep a smile on his face, but that statement was getting harder and harder to lighten up with jokes and sarcasm.
"Woah, Sammy. Check out what's coming down the stairs," Cliff, still in his U.S.P.S uniform nodded toward the window. "You know, its a little known fact that shorts like that were at one time a way to weed out prostitutes from public settings in the mid 1950's. It was practically their uniform and showing knees was grounds for execution."
Norm's eyebrow raised as he shook his head, "You've lost it buddy, you really have."
The bartender just rolled his eyes at the comment. "God I love how the shorts have gotten shorter again…" He sneakily checked himself in the mirror. He was truly the same old Sammy, but the snow-white hair, artfully hidden bald spot, and glasses just proved the first part to himself. Old.
The familiar sound of the opening door caused most everyone to turn and look. Sure, new faces had been added to the regular crowd in the past twenty years, and there were always people just stopping in to check it out, but over the years, Cheers had turned into a place for…well…the older crowd. It was once again a sports bar, but the fans were just a little older anymore. Everyone still knew everybody's name, but it just took a second to remember them.
The young woman looked around, a little timidly, noticing everyone's eyes. She wore a very short pair of white denim shorts and a pink American Eagle tank top that showed off her toned, tan arms. She had long brown hair, darker skin, dark blue eyes, and a nose that Sam could have sworn he'd seen before.
"Can I help you?"
"Uh…I think so…" She walked over to the bar and sat on one of the stools near the corner. She looked up at the man in front of her and smiled, "You're Sam Malone, aren't you?"
He could swear he'd seen that smile before, but nodded and held out his hand, "That'd be me. I was gonna ask for some ID, but if you're old enough to remember Mayday Malone…"
She shook his hand and laughed, "ID for a Diet Coke?"
"No, not for that. Not afraid of the whole Aspartame thing they're going on about in the news now?" He winked, pouring the drink and sat it on a cardboard BudLight coaster in front of her.
"I like to live dangerously." She took a drink and pulled out a five dollar bill from her pocket, "Thanks."
"On the house," Sam slid the money back to her. "A pretty young girl doesn't go to an old-timer's bar for a Diet Coke if there's nothing going on."
"I'm a Sox fan and finally in Boston, what can I say?" The brunette shrugged, "I wish I could've seen you play in person."
Sam leaned his elbows on the bar in front of her. "There is no way you could be old enough to remember seeing me play on TV."
"No, but Carla posted a link on my Facebook to some game footage that made it onto YouTube…and a rather embarrassing rap from channel 13 news…"
"Carla Tortelli?" Sam's eyes grew wide. When the girl nodded, he stood up and called to the short waitress across the bar, "Carla, you have Facebook?"
"'Course!" She answered without turning around, handing out the glasses on her trey, "How else am I gonna keep up with all my kids?"
He looked a little surprised but turned his attention back to the girl, "Okay, what's the story?"
She took a deep breath and started slowly, "Remember Diane Chambers?"
A sad look crossed the man's face when he leaned back down on the bar, "Of course I remember her…"
"She's my mom."
He laughed, "You're kidding? Diane Chambers has a daughter?"
"She has a daughter," she nodded. "I'm moving into the dorms at Boston University tomorrow so we're here for the week. Right now I'm supposedly at Freshmen Orientation, but I wanted to come see the place my mom still talks about. Did you know the only one of you guys that has a Facebook is Carla?"
"If I touch a computer, it breaks. Seems the ol' Sammy Charm doesn't work on technology. You should see me with my stupid smart phone." He smiled as she did a quick face-palm. "So let's see, being the daughter of Diane Chambers, what are you going into? English? Art? Psychology? Native American Studies?"
She shivered, "God no. I hate all that stuff with a passion. Sports Management actually. I'd love to play for a professional sports team, but it turns out in order to play in the Major Leagues, even in 2012, you have to be a guy. So not fair."
"You like baseball, huh?" The bartender's eyes lit up.
"Love it. I begged my mom for two months straight to let me transfer to a high school with a coach that would allow a girl on their baseball team so I could play the real thing instead of softball."
"Pitcher of course."
She was smiling from ear to ear, "The coach put me out to see how I'd do when we were ahead by 4 runs in the 8th inning and I struck everyone out. I ended up starting the next game and was a starter for the rest of high school. Got us to the State Tourney three years in a row." Her smile disappeared, "Of course, I couldn't play once we got there…"
"That's incredible! Horrible you couldn't play though… You playin' at BU?"
"Not a guy. That's why I'm going into Sports Management. I figure I can't play but I can at least play a big part in what I love."
"Well your parents have gotta be proud of you, kid."
"My mom's a little disappointed that I don't want to go into theater or something like that, but otherwise I think she is. My dad's never been in the picture."
Sam looked lost in thought for a second before a customer came up to order a dry martini. The girl watched him as he worked, her heart pounding in her throat. When he came back over, she had to bite her lip so as not to ramble on like her mother would in this situation.
"Not really my place here, but…you know who your dad is?"
"Not a clue…I just figure…I'm athletic and mom's anything but…I'm human colored and she's 'alabaster', and you'll notice I'm not blond…"
"Got her smile though."
"Really? Mom says I have most of my dad's looks."
"Neh…I see a lot of her in you. How is she anyway? What's she up to?"
"She's alright. Always reading, writing, talking, the usual." They both chuckled, knowing the woman's habits all too well. "You know, I tried to get her to write a TV movie about this awesome ex-Red Sox relief pitcher that won't touch a drop of alcohol but is a great bartender and so on and so forth but she won't listen. I thought it'd be great."
"Well, the problem with that is who would be gorgeous enough to play the main character? The whole thing would be off." The ex-player snickered, "How do you know so much about me anyway?"
"When I was little, my mom wrote this play called 'Rhapsody and Requiem' that was pretty much all of the stories she's told me wrapped into two and a half hours. I was like four when it closed, but I saw it so many times I remember it like I saw it yesterday. Oh, and I got bored one night and Googled everyone she talks about. Did you know you're on Wikipedia?" she smiled and drank the last of her diet coke.
"I'm almost afraid to look! You know, life used to be a lot simpler before the Internet. Refill?"
"No, I'm good. Thank you though. You've never Googled yourself?"
Sam just shook his head, "Like I said, technology hates me."
"I understand," the girl smirked, laughter in her eyes. "But yeah, mom's pretty good."
"She ever…?" he trailed off, realizing he didn't really want the answer.
"Nope, it's always been just me and her. She says she's too busy with her job and raising a teenage daughter."
"Can't be easy doing that alone…" He refilled a couple glasses and leaned against the pole behind the bar closest to his ex's daughter, "She still like Los Angeles?"
The brunette shrugged, "She likes her job, but I don't know. She talks about Boston all the time. That's partly why I'm going to BU. I had to see it for myself."
"Best place for a baseball lover."
"Oh, exactly my thought!"
"Sammy, I need two drafts and a Jager Bomb. Oh, and four eyes over there, hiding behind the laptop, is complaining that the WiFi's down." Carla sat her trey on the bar between Cliff and Norm and leaned her forehead on the rail. "You know, the twins are finally out of the house and I was supposed to be an empty nester for the rest of my life. Now all of a sudden I'm babysitting Annemarie's youngest for the rest of the week. I'm too old for this. I thought maybe it'd make me feel like I did the first time I was alone with a kid, but I guess I had a lot more energy at 16."
"I thought you and Nick got married right away?" Cliff asked.
"Like that scumbag was any help."
"You're Facebook friends with Diane's daughter and you never told Sam?" Norm spoke so only the short waitress could hear.
"Hey, I was real hesitant to actually accept her friend request, thinkin' she'd be the Spawn of Borezilla, but I'm tellin' ya, she's nothing like the Toothpick."
"She reminds me of someone…" Norm scratched his head as if it would help conjure up a realization. "How she talks, her personality…maybe I've been around Sam too much but…what am I seeing, Carla?"
"Watch this." The woman, still as spunky as she was when her hair was dark, walked over to the other side of the bar. "Well well well, I've seen this face in dozens of pictures online, but I finally get to see it in person! Sammy Chambers, could it be you?"
"Carla!" The girl got up and gave the woman a hug, towering over her by almost a foot. "It's so nice to finally see you in person!"
Sam was getting the drafts ready when he heard the girl's name for the first time. There was a crash as the beer mug fell to the floor, shattering. The bartender was frozen until he started feeling his shoe fill with ice-cold beer. "Woah, woah, woah. Your name's Sammy?"
"Samantha, but everyone calls me Sammy. Did I forget to mention that?"
"You are your mothers…" he took off his shoe and poured out the contents into the sink, careful not to step on any glass.
"Do you know who this is? Sam, this is the one good thing to be associated with Diane Chambers. She's gotta be one of the best damn pitchers being jipped out of a spot in college baseball. She's the only girl that's ever pitched a baseball no-hitter in Southern California high school history. She's incredible!"
"That's no way to talk about a girl's mother right in front of her. But I have to agree. She is incredible."
The young, female Sammy just chuckled, "Thanks, but no worries, Sam."
"So uh…he do the math yet?" Carla asked, turning so the man in question wouldn't hear.
Sammy shook her head, "I dropped a couple hints but he hasn't really caught on yet."
"Stop acting like your mother and just come out and ask."
"Look at him," she nodded toward her boss, "if he thinks much harder he might stroke out."
She took a deep, nervous breath, "Sam, can I ask you something?"
"Uh…sure, yeah. 'Course. What is it?"
"I have a feeling you know exactly where this conversation is heading…but um…when was the last time you saw my mom?"
He ran a hand through his hair, careful not to mess up his bald-spot's hiding place. "Well…I guess it was probably '93…you're a-a freshman this year?" She nodded. "Oh God… 18? 19?"
He held his breath for a moment, seemingly unable to move, "That'd be about right I guess…" he started counting on his fingers and mouthing names of months, "Febru-February?"
"January, but I was a preemie."
"Sam!" Carla brought him back to Earth, "Her name's Sammy and she came out gorgeous and useful. What more proof do you need?"
"C-cool it, Carla." He retorted stuttering. "Uh…" he adjusted his glasses and rubbed his neck, completely lost for words. "Uh…"
"Sam…I don't know for sure…I'm just guessing here…"
The man scurried around behind the bar, grabbing a broom and dustpan and started sweeping up the broken glass. "S-sorry Sammy, I just…I don't know what to do or say here. Nothing like this has ever…you know…happened before, I jus-"
Norm leaned over the bar to watch his friend, "This really hasn't happened to you before, Sam?"
"Surprisingly no, Norm." he shot back a little quicker than he meant.
A light bulb practically went off over the accountant's head, "Well, then I say a round of drinks is in order for the happy occasion, daddy!"
Ignoring Norm's comment, Sam finished sweeping up the glass and threw it into the garbage can before throwing a couple towels down to soak up the beer. After a couple rounds of pacing, he shook his head and faced his alleged daughter. "Sammy, I'm sorry. This is just kinda…hard to wrap my head around."
"No, honest, it's okay. I'm sorry. I really shouldn't be here…"
"No, no…it's not that, I'm thrilled you're here…I mean hell, I…I might have a daughter…" The phrase finally hit him and a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, "I might be a…wow."
"I dunno, it was just…mom's stories…and…how sometimes she totally changes the subject when I ask about you and…things I'd found out through some prodding…"
Carla headed back over to her trey on the other side of the bar, "Look, Sam, I don't mean to break up a family moment here, but I have a feeling my tip's taking a beating."
"Right…yeah…uh….what was it again?"
"Two drafts and a Jager Bomb," Sammy replied.
"Right, thanks. Should probably fill that."
"Great idea." The waitress tried to be patient, but it just wasn't in her nature.
Sam sat the beers on the tray and grabbed one of the bomb shot glasses and a Red Bull, "Carla, how long have you known about all this and didn't tell me? We've known each other for over what, 30 years now? Any other kids you'd like to tell me about?" he was trying to keep his cool, but it wasn't working as well as usual.
"Look, Sam, I don't know for sure. I mean yeah, she's gorgeous, useful, a hell of a pitcher, and a great kid, but who knows. Her mother toured Europe on her back, who knows what she did in LA."
He finally finished the order and sighed, "Carla, she's got my eyes."
"Yeah. Eyes, nose, hair, skin color, mannerisms, personality…" the waitress kept going as she walked away to deliver the drinks.
Cliff stood up and took the place Carla had just left, "You know, the ongoing nature versus nurture study has shown that a person is more likely to develop personality based on surroundings than genetics…maybe that's stuff's just coincidence?"
"Uh, Cliffy…" Norm jumped in to correct the flaw, "I just read an article about that at the dentist's office last week. They're still baffled by it. Could be either or both. Sam, I say she's yours. Free beer?"
"Come on, Norm." His postman friend stopped him before Sam had to, "So okay, Sammy…as Sammy's father, what are you gonna do?"
Sam stared off in the distance, not focusing on much of anything. He shrugged and an involuntary smile spread across his face. "I have no idea…" He chuckled, sounding a bit dazed, and turned around to go back to the young lady on the other end of the bar. "So…Sammy…you say your mom's still in town?"
"Yeah, she's-" she was cut off by a blood curdling scream from Carla. Both hers and her supposed father's eyes grew wide. "Here?"
Sam stood up enough to peak over the girl's head to see who had just come in. She only looked about five years older than the last time he'd seen her, her hair slightly lighter than it was in '93. She still had that same glow about her with her beautiful, bright brown eyes. She looked basically the same, except for her outfit. The 80's and early 90's fashion had been replaced by all the current styles. He couldn't speak through the lump in his throat and the sound of his heart pounding in his ears. All he could do was duck back down and nod.
"Do I have time to hide?"
"Samantha Helen Chambers, what are you doing in a bar?"
"I'm gonna take that as a no." She sighed and turned around, "Hi Mom."
"What are you doing here? What happened to Freshman Orientation? What…what are you doing here?" The woman walked down to the bar, but stopped short when the Sam from her past slowly stood up. "Sam."
"Hi Diane," his voice was barely above a whisper.
"NOOOOOO!" Carla let out another blood curdling shriek as she over-dramatically fell to her knees.
Nobody paid much attention to her. Instead they all watched the three in the middle of an awkward family reunion of sorts. "Looks like you two have met," Diane's eyes grew even shinier than normal.
"She's amazing." Sam walked around the bar and put a hand on the woman's elbow, guiding her to the bar stool by her daughter. "Diane…we want to…need to know."
The woman in question pursed her lips and had to blink back tears. Her gaze moved from her former flame to the girl beside her and then to her hands. Finally, she gave a small nod. "Yes Sam, she's yours. Our last rendezvous produce-"
"Ohmygod, Mom!" Sammy cut her mom off before she went into too much detail. Her dad chuckled, despite the overwhelmingly growing lump in his throat.
The blond couldn't hold it back anymore. She quietly burst into tears, shaking her head, "Sam I don't know why I didn't tell you…I should have…if I could go back, I would I just…I didn't know what to do…"
"Shhh, Diane…" he stepped toward the barstool and wrapped the woman in his arms, taking in the familiar scent he had missed so much and kissed her hair. "I don't blame you, Sweetheart."
The crying woman pulled back and looked into the man's eyes, "How can you say that? I robbed you of the precious gift of fatherhood…I'm a horrible person and you're just going to forgive me for it?"
"You're supposed to forgive the one you love, Diane." He had to clear his throat before he started crying himself, "I'm not happy about it, but I understand. I know what I was like and I have to live with the mistakes Imade over the years. I just hope this beautiful little lady will forgive me for not being there for her and hope she knows I would have been." He smiled a little sadly at her and she nodded, the exact same expression on her own face.
"I know you would have, Sam…" she hid her face behind her hand for a moment, wiping tears away with a cocktail napkin. She froze when realization hit her, "Sam…?"
"What did you just say?"
"Uh…I hope Sammy can forgive me for not being there for her…?"
"No, before that."
"Oh that was nothing, just waxing poetic…not that I've become anymore sophisticated, I jus-"
"No, Sam. You said 'You're supposed to forgive the one you love'. You still lo-"
He cut her off, putting a gentle finger on her lips and his thumb under her chin to get her to look him in the eyes. "Yes, Diane. Okay, you got me. Not a single damn day has gone by since the last time I saw you that I haven't thought about you. I tried damn near everything to get you off my mind. Yes, there were other women, but only because I thought it would help, but it didn't. It's…it's always been you, Diane."
The tears started welling up in her eyes again, "Sam…"
"Oh my God…" Sammy's jaw dropped, not entirely sure if she could really believe what was happening in front of her or not.
Sam wiped away the tears on Diane's cheeks with his thumb. "Since this is where we usually start bickering…I…I just want to do one thing before I inevitably put my foot in my mouth."
"Wha-" before she could question his intentions, her lips were otherwise occupied with one of Mayday Malone's famous, long, passionate kisses, his arms wrapping around her and holding her to him in a warm, loving embrace. They parted after a few moments, both a little breathless. "You haven't changed a bit."
"Hair's a little whiter…thinner…and I'm blind as a bat without my glasses...but…seeing you I feel 20 years younger. Hell, you still make me feel…well…all squooshy inside…"
The closest onlooker's eyebrows furrowed despite being so happy for her mother, "W…T...F…?"
"Sammy." Diane shot her a quick warning glance.
"Right, I'm a lady." She rolled her eyes, but ended up smiling beyond her control. "Should I leave you two alone?"
Her dad winked, "Give us a minute. Maybe." Diane playfully swatted him in the stomach. "No…no I want you here for this. Diane," he took her hand and gave it a caring squeeze. There was question in her eyes, not knowing what to expect this time. "I was an idiot over and over again before, and I can't do it again. I've let you go too many times…please don't let me make the same mistake again."
"You can't leave Cheers, Sam." She shook her head, "This is your home."
"And yours is in LA…"
"No it's not." She looked over at her daughter, "I know you want your space, Honey but…I can't bare to think of you being clear across the country…" looking back at Sam, she continued, "I don't know what will happen with us, but you can't imagine what it's been like, living every day with someone that is almost identical in so many ways to the man you love."
"But your job…"
"I can write anywhere with the technology nowadays."
Sam looked a little confused, "Really?"
"He wouldn't know, he's afraid of computers," Sammy jumped in. "Mom, are you…following me to Boston?"
Diane looked up into the eyes of the man she loved, searching for the assurance she needed. He laughed at the girl's comment, "What do you say? If it won't hurt your career…maybe we could be a…sort of…family finally?"
After another quick look at her daughter and seeing the smile on her face, Diane could be completely sure of what she wanted to do. She nodded, "Yes…I guess I am following you to Boston."
"Really?" both Sams were smiling from ear to ear.
Sam Malone laughed and gently pulled Diane off the barstool, wrapping one arm around her and his other around his daughter. "You know, I never thought I'd be able to say this again after those twins in my Red Sox days, but you ladies have just made me the happiest man in the world."
Their daughter laughed, somehow not all that surprised by the comment, "Way to balance out the corny with the disturbing."
"He's great at that." Diane giggled and patted the man's chest, reaching up to kiss him, "I've actually missed it. I love you Sam. And to think it's been so long…but as one of my favorite pieces of poetry from the wonderful Emily Dickinson says, 'That I did always love, I bring thee proof; That did I love, I did not love enough. That I shall love always I-'"
"I love you too, Diane." He squeezed her shoulders and kissed his newfound daughter's thick brown hair, "And my little girl."
"Oh ick…" Carla walked by the group, making gagging noises, but Sammy, Sam, and Diane all noticed the smile she was trying desperately to keep hidden.
Norm grabbed a cocktail napkin from the pile in front of him dabbed at the tears in his own eyes. "Now that…that deserves a round on the house."
Welp, there it is! My first 'Cheers' fanfic. Hope you liked it! And notice that little 'review' button down there? I'd be honored if you'd let me know what you thought. Thanks for reading!
PS: My awesome cousin Josh is a great creative consultant. Just sayin'. Thanks dude! :)