A Slider's Story
By Michaela McPhillips
Summery: Quinn has to deal with his guilt over the consequences from Sliding.
Spoilers: There's spoilers for The Pilot; Fever; Last Days; Double Cross, Exodus; Last Of Eden; The Other Slide Of Darkness, This Slide Of Paradise; & events from the 4th season. Also minor references to Dragon Slide; In Dino Veritas/DinoSlide; State of the Art; & Slither.
Author's notes: This story takes place 2-3 years after season 4.
A special thank you to Julie Tharp for her enthusiasm and encouragement, and Julia Reynolds for helping me see this story in a whole new dimension. I hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: Sliders belongs to Tracy Torme; St. Clare Entertainment; Fox Network; Universal; & The Sci-Fi Channel. All the characters except from Michael belong to these people. I'm not getting paid for writing this, its just for fun.
The gunshot rang out in the basement, swiftly followed by the heavy thud of a body falling to the ground.
Quinn Mallory watched in horror as his friend and mentor, Professor Maximilian Arturo lay sprawled on the ground.
"He's dead," Wade Welles whispered in disbelief feeling for a pulse. She then stared up at her friend. "Quinn, you killed him!"
Quinn stared down at the gun in his hand. Then soon felt himself being pushed hard against the wall.
"Dammit, Q-Ball, why'd you kill the Professor?" Rembrandt Brown yelled into his face. "He was your friend! Isn't it enough that you dragged us away from our friends! Our homes!"
A blue vortex opened in mid-air and two travellers came tumbling out.
"Quinn, you've got to help us, they're right behind us!" Maggie Beckett pleaded.
Colin Mallory rushed over to his alternate brother. "It's the Kromaggs! They've followed you here!"
Soon a red vortex opened in the middle of the basement, and two Kromagg soldiers stepped through it, and took a firm grip of Wade.
"Quinn, help me!" Wade pleaded, as she was dragged kicking and screaming.
"Wade!" Quinn raced towards them.
"Quinn!" Wade disappeared into the vortex.
Quinn dived for the vortex, and landed on the basement floor as the vortex closed seconds before he reached it.
"I said we were alike, Quinn," a female voice whispered close to his ear. "You killed your Professor too."
Quinn glanced up to see Logan St. Clair beside him. He then scanned the room as he heard a baby's cry in the distance, which grew louder each passing moment.
"That's the price we pay for sliding, Quinn," a male voice whispered in his other ear.
Quinn turned to see an older version of himself. He recognised him as the Quinn who had first visited his own Earth. He had met up with him again, three years later, where he explained that he was the one who had gave the Kromaggs the formula for sliding.
"We cause the destruction of millions of lives..."
The baby's cry was now becoming unbearable as it pierced through his eardrums.
"Even the ones we love most."
Quinn woke up with a start, as the baby's cry screamed through the intercom.
"I'm coming!" Wade Mallory called out instinctively as she eased herself up in the bed.
Soon a hand reached out for her and blocked her from rising.
"It's all right," Quinn said rubbing his eyes. "I'll take care of him."
Wade nodded with a small smile, grateful for her husband's intervention and laid back down on the bed.
Quinn blinked his eyes open and shut in an attempt to focus them, as he pulled back the duvet and got out of bed. He glanced down at Wade who was soon falling fast asleep again, and sighed. She looked exhausted. She had been nursing Michael day and night for the last two weeks as he was teething again. He had helped whenever he could, but he had also been working late for the last week as he and Bennish were inches away from perfecting the Sliding machine.
As he walked into the hallway he yawned and stretched his arms wide. Tucking his hand under his t-shirt he scratched at the itch on his stomach, as he used the back of his other hand to stifle another yawn.
Entering the nursery, he rubbed the tiredness from his eyes, as he strolled over to the cot.
"Hey, buddy, what's wrong?" he leaned over the cot, and glanced down at the crying baby. "What is it? Are you teething again?"
He gently picked up his seven month old son, and cradled him in his arms, with the baby's head coming to rest against his shoulder.
"Aw, its okay, Michael, Daddy's here," Quinn whispered softly, as the baby cried louder.
His face then crumbled as he felt a gooey sensation on his hand.
"Maybe your problem lies elsewhere."
He gently placed Michael down on the changing table, and ripped open the new packet of Huggies next to him.
"So, does Mikey want Daddy to change his diaper, huh?"
He began to undo his son's diaper. "Whoa! That's a lot to come out of a little kid!"
In the bedroom Wade lay on her side, eyes wide open, and laughed quietly as she listened to Quinn through the intercom. He hadn't changed many diapers since becoming a father, and when he did, it was priceless.
Quinn threw the used diaper into the disposable waste basket, and began placing another onto his son. "So, lets see, we do this," he placed the diaper underneath Mike. He then took a baby wipe. "And we wipe this area clean here," he said as he wiped the baby`s bottom.
Once satisfied the baby was clean, he put on some baby cream, then he grabbed the baby powder.
"And then it's powder time," he said looking at his child, who was now staring up at him with wide blue eyes.
Afterwards he put down the powder then sneezed as the powder irritated his nostrils. "You knew that was going to happen!" he smiled down at his son.
Little Michael giggled up at his father, kicking his feet in the process.
Wade laughed lightly as she knew the scene which had just unfolded without having to use her imagination. The same thing happened every time Quinn changed a diaper. He would always use too much powder, and would always forget to close the seal afterwards, so when he placed the bottle down with a thud, the loose powder would escape and spray up into his face.
"Okay, we just attach this here and here," Quinn told himself aloud, as he fastened the velcro tabs. "And then we're done." He then grinned. "Hey, that wasn't too bad, was it, little guy?"
He was proud of himself, as he gazed down at his son who was now wide awake.
"But, you're not gonna go to sleep right away, are you?"
The baby boy smiled up at him and gave a little chuckle.
"Okay," Quinn sighed as he scooped his child up into his arms, along with a shawl covering him. "Right. Mommy always sings you to sleep dosen't she?" he said in a playful voice. "Do you want Daddy to sing to you, huh?"
He then thought for a moment, trying to remember the words to a lullaby.
`Lullaby and goodnight...`
Wade smiled as she listened to Quinn sing to their son. She had only heard him sing a few times, and even though he would never be able to make a career from it like Rembrandt had, when he sang to his son it was the most wonderful sound she had ever heard in the world.
Michael giggled in his father's arms, clearly winning the battle to remain awake, and Quinn smiled down at him.
"Well, little guy, looks like the only way you're gonna go to sleep is if Dad tells you a story." He then put on a playful voice again. "Would you like that?"
He began walking around the room with him, hushing him gently as he did so.
"Now you've heard of the stories of The Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood, but here's one of The Four Sliders And Their Quest To Go Home."
Wade settled in her bed as she listened to her husband.
Quinn settled down onto the rocking chair and began rocking softly back and forth, as he cradled his son. "Once there was this young genius who one day discovered a brilliant blue light which could send him to this great new world," he said in a soothing voice.
"Then one day the genius went through the light and discovered a world like his own, but it was different to what he knew."
Quinn then gazed from his son and drifted back to the memories. "But, the genius didn't want to be alone on his discovery, so he told his professor and his best friend." His smile faded. "But, suddenly he found that he had trapped them into going to all these different worlds with some other poor guy, a singer, who became a valued friend even though the genius had unintentionally forced him to come along with them...and there was no way for them to return home."
Wade frowned. She had hoped that after all these years that Quinn had finally gotten over his guilt about them being forced into sliding from one parallel Earth to another for which seemed to be an eternity, but in reality was only five years. However, it would seem that she was wrong.
"They travelled to different Earths. Thousands..." he then smiled. "No...millions of them!"
It was an exaggeration. Yet to him at times it did feel that way.
"They had amazing adventures fighting dragons and dinosaurs, and robots and snakes, and even meeting themselves! They were getting to see all these brand new worlds." His smile faded again. "But, sometimes the adventure would turn into a nightmare, and all would seem lost. No hope...no family...times when everything went wrong."
He held back the tears as his thoughts drifted back to that fateful day when his university Professor Maximilian Arturo died while saving his life. And also to when he finally returned home only to discover that the Kromaggs had enslaved his own world, and held almost everyone he had loved prisoners...including Wade.
Wade's lip trembled as she remembered the same tragedies as Quinn had. She thought back to that fateful day when Arturo had died taking the bullet for Quinn. And how Maggie Beckett had joined them, as she and Quinn vowed vengeance against the killer. She thought she had lost Quinn then. In fact she was almost sure of it. When he had failed to come through the vortex when they slid home, she assumed he had stayed behind to be with Maggie.
And, when she discovered that her own father had died, and her sister had placed the blame on her shoulders, she couldn't handle it. She needed comfort. Sure Rembrandt was there, and he was a good friend who had helped her cope with Arturo's death...but she needed Quinn to be there with her. She shuddered at the memory of being held captive by the Kromagg Dynasty. That was the worst year of her life. And, one that she would never forget.
A single tear touched her pillow, before Wade wiped the others away.
Quinn shook himself out of his trance and looked down at his son. "But, the story had a happy ending. The genius finally fixes what went wrong, and he finally did manage to get his best friend home like he promised...even if it took two attempts. And, he realised what a fool he had been, and how much he had missed her when she was taken away from him."
He then smirked down at his son, with a playful tone again. "And, do you know what he did? He married her. And promised himself he would never let her go again."
Wade smiled through the tears, as she touched the wedding ring on her finger, and the memories that belonged with it. Memories of her romance and marriage to Quinn, and the tears both she and Quinn cried when they first brought their son into the world.
Quinn thought of his lost mentor once again.
"Y'know you'd have liked the Professor," he smiled gazing at his son. "He would have loved you. He was the Dad I lost." He then smiled tenderly. "Me and you are gonna do so much, y'know that?"
The baby boy now looked up at him with sleepy eyes.
"We're gonna have so much fun, yes we are," he beamed. "I'm going to teach you things like, how to tie your shoelace, that's a good lesson. How to throw a ball..." he then grinned. "And, how not to cut yourself while shaving."
He then sighed, as he gazed into the other end of the room at the poster of the universe, with the 'You Are Here' label pinned onto one of the stars. The poster had belonged to him and had been pinned up on his own bedroom wall since he was eight years old. And now it was pinned on his son's bedroom wall, as a significance of what they had been through, and where they are now.
"And, how not to mess up your friends' lives along with everyone else's."
He glanced down only to see that Michael was now in a sound sleep. Standing up carefully he gently laid him back down into the cot, and gazed at him as he slept peacefully.
"Goodnight, son," he whispered touching his face softly not to waken him. "Sweet dreams."
He left the nursery.
Wade wiped away her tears, just as Quinn reentered the bedroom.
"Is he sleeping?" she asked.
"It took a while," Quinn replied as he climbed back into bed. "But he's out like a light now."
Quinn noticed her eyes were red and puffy. "Were you crying?"
Wade gently let her fingers caress his cheek. "Quinn, why didn't you tell me you were still feeling guilty over the Professor?"
Quinn lowered his eyes, averting them not to meet hers. "I sometimes lie awake at night thinking how I caused his death..."
"Quinn, you didn't kill the Professor," Wade stated softly.
Quinn finally met her brown eyes. "I just as good as. Wade, I was the one who invented sliding. And if I hadn't have been so foolish and gung-ho then none of this would have happened." He felt his eyes well-up, as he saw tears glaze over Wade's. "The Professor wouldn't have died, you and Rembrandt wouldn't have been missing for God knows how long. And the Kromaggs..." he trailed off, as he noticed Wade flinch at the memory.
"I'll never forgive myself for what happened to you with them," he whispered as a tear fell onto his cheek.
Wade wiped away his stray tear, as her own escaped from the corners of her eyes. "I need you to, Quinn. Michael and I need you. We need you to be able to forgive yourself so you can be happy with who you are." She then smiled softly. "A wonderful father...a loving husband...and an amazing human being."
Quinn gave a small smile, as he gazed into her dark brown eyes, and gently wiped away her tears.
"I sometimes ask myself why after all that happened why I'm so lucky to have you," he moved a strand of red hair from her eyes. "And Michael, and Mom and Remmy." His smile disappeared. "While the Professor and all those other people didn't make it home...and I was the one to blame."
Wade continued to stroke his cheek. "Quinn, it happened," she whispered. "There's nothing you can do to change things. The Professor died because he loved you. All of us would have given our lives for one another. But, Quinn, sliding saved lives too."
Quinn's expression remained unconvinced, as Wade smiled softly.
"Remember the world with the Q? If we hadn't have slid then millions of people could have died. And the same goes for the world with the asteroid. If we hadn't have been there, Quinn, then a whole world would have been destroyed."
Quinn began to relax a little.
"Yes they've been times when things went wrong, but, Quinn, because of you we've done more then anyone could ever imagine! And we've helped people learn to survive." Wade lowered her eyes for a moment. "You helped Maggie come to terms with her husband's death...and you saved her life."
Quinn studied Wade's face as he listened to her. Wade and Maggie Beckett weren't what he would call friends, but on their last meeting both had came to find a new respect and understanding for each other.
"Quinn, if it wasn't for you Maggie wouldn't have coped, and she wouldn't be the person she is now."
"And still sliding to parallel worlds with my brother from another universe?" Quinn grinned.
Wade smiled broadly at the memory of Quinn's brother, Colin, from another dimension wanting to continue travelling to other dimensions, and Maggie deciding to go along with him to *look out for him* as she had put it.
"And that too." She then gazed into Quinn's blue eyes. "Everything happens for a reason. It determines who we are." She lets her fingers push through his sandy brown hair. "I love who you are."
Quinn smiled down at her. "You're an amazing wonderful woman, Wade." His fingers now ran through her red hair. "And I love you for it."
He kissed her tenderly, and she responded as their love and passion for one another flowed through the embrace.
She then took his hand in hers, and their fingers interlaced, and she smiled into the kiss. Quinn opened his eyes and smiled, as he noticed the grin and funny look on her face.
"What?" he asked with curiosity.
"Today I found out why I've been so tired lately."
Quinn smile faded, to be replaced with a look of concern. "Anything serious?"
Wade put her arms around his neck. "Well, I should think so. Do you remember a couple of months back when we gave Michael to Kelly for the weekend?"
Quinn thought back, then smiled. "Yeah, she and Kevin wanted to get in some practice before Andrew was born, so we had the whole weekend to ourselves..." He paused then stared down at Wade. "You mean...?"
Wade's smile widened at her husband's sudden surprised expression. "In just over seven months time there will be another Mallory to take care of, Oh Great Procreator," she grinned, reminding him of their conversation in an underground city one time whilst sliding.
Quinn beamed with elation.
"Forget it, Quinn, I'm not having a basketball squad!" she said playfully remembering the rest of the conversation. "Three is my limit."
"If I remember you said *at least* three," Quinn grinned.
Wade smiled up at him. "You remembered?"
"Of course I remembered," Quinn replied. "How about we compromise?"
"Compromise is good," Wade nodded.
She then closed her eyes as they kissed once again.
Quinn kissed her softly then gazed down at her. "I'm lucky to have you. I mean after all we've been through to get this far..."
"Quinn, we're both lucky," Wade said sincerely. "But, the truth is luck dosen't have anything to do with how we ended being together. Being on separate worlds wasn't going to keep us apart." She then smiled tenderly at him. "We both knew it would happen..."
"Eventually," Quinn smirked.
Wade smiled. "Eventually." She then gazed up at him again. "But, we both knew we would be together someday."
Quinn swallowed then spoke softly. "I love you, Wade."
Wade gazed into her husband's blue eyes, and smiled. "I love you too, Quinn."
Quinn smiled down at his wife before sharing another passionate embrace with her.
Through all the pain and heartache life had thrown at them in the past, together they both looked forward to the joys and celebrations ahead of them.