A/N: This was part of the last chapter, but that one was so long already I decided to make this its own little thing. I promise we'll see some Doc and Bogg next time, but this is more of our favorite time-traveling teenagers. I apologize if any of the 50's slang is completely wrong; I'm just a college kid relying on the Internet for most of my facts. Enjoy.
We might have a problem, Jeff thought, standing in the entrance to the cafeteria. He and Marty had spotted Marty's dad almost immediately. He was the only one sitting completely by himself.
"Figures," Marty muttered. Jeff privately agreed. Getting this guy to ask a pretty girl to a dance might be harder than saving Abraham Lincoln from kidnapping. After a quick discussion, the two teens agreed to split up. Jeff would go get some food (and incidentally, remain near Marty's mother and her friends in hopes of overhearing something useful), while Marty went to talk to his dad. "One person talking to him at a time is probably all he can deal with. Too much human interaction might make him pass out or something," Marty said, a little scornfully. Based on the little he'd seen of George McFly, Jeff couldn't actually disagree with that, so he merely nodded and headed over to the lunch line.
Standing there, not quite in hearing range of Lorraine, Jeffrey considered his new friend. He was speaking quietly with George, looking at something the latter had been writing. He was doing remarkably well with all of this, in Jeff's opinion. If he was trying to get his parents to fall in love, knowing his own life was on the line if he failed, Jeff didn't think he could keep it together. Of course, there would be a little more to it in his case.
Jeff sighed as the lunch line inched forward. He wasn't sure why he was so reluctant to tell Marty about his parents. Maybe it was because Marty was the first person he'd had since becoming a Voyager-or really, he reflected, since his parents died-that knew exactly who he was but never gave him that awful pitying look. Even Bogg, who Jeffrey loved more than anyone, got that way sometimes. And Jeff wasn't blind. He knew Marty wasn't exactly comfortable with seeing a kid four years younger than him as an equal. He thought the save earlier today might have gone some way toward changing that, but...still. Marty didn't need any more excuse to look at Jeff as a little orphan boy who couldn't take care of himself.
A familiar name broke Jeff's train of thought. "That was Calvin Klein! Have you ever seen anyone so dreamy?"
"That one's a real flutter bum," a second voice agreed, teasingly. "Got a new date for the dance on Saturday, Lorraine?"
Jeff scanned the throng of students for the girl in question. He'd actually gotten closer to her table than he'd realized; she and her friends sat just across the aisle way, in perfect position for him to see Lorraine playfully slap her friend.
Well, if we weren't sure she was in love with him before, we know now, Jeffrey thought. He pretended to be studying the lunch choices and let a group of students cut in front of him in order to continue eavesdropping. He saw Marty point Lorraine out to George, and smiled. Everything seemed to be going according to plan-
"Oh no. Lorraine, run for it."
Jeff's attention snapped back to the girls. A group of male students was making a beeline for their table, lead by a HUGE guy in a plaid shirt. The others trailing behind him (including a boy who, for some reason, was wearing 3D glasses in the middle of the day) seemed to be his crew. Jeff didn't need two years of time traveling to tell him these guys were trouble.
The ringleader and his posse boxed Lorraine in before she had a chance to flee. For her part, she looked defiant, not frightened, but still tried to put as much space between herself and the big guy as possible. "Get out of here, Biff," she spat angrily.
Biff, Jeff thought, stepping out of line and lounging on a trash bin nearby. He had to keep an eye on this.
Biff only chuckled, actually amused. "Well, what do we have here?" he asked, sitting and sliding his arm around a squirming Lorraine. One of her friends made as if to shove him off, but a threatening motion by Biff's goon with a straw in his mouth put a stop to it. "I know you were waiting for me to come over, baby doll."
"I said, get away from me!" Lorraine cried, struggling harder now.
Her protest fell on deaf ears. The guy only pulled her tighter, saying, "You know you want it. You know you want me to give it to you."
Lorraine managed to get one arm free, and slapped Biff soundly across the face. "Shut your filthy mouth! I'm not that kind of girl."
Biff caught the offending arm and used it drag the girl even closer. "Well, maybe you are and you just don't know it yet."
Jeff had seen enough. If there was one thing Bogg's, er, extracurricular activities had taught him, it was that you never forced a woman to do anything she was uncomfortable with. No was an automatic NO. This jerk needed to be taught some manners.
He stomped up to the table and kicked 3D Goon in the shins. It worked even better than Jeff had expected to get their attention, because 3D Goon fell onto Straw Goon and they both crashed into the back of Biff's head. When Biff turned around, Jeff grabbed a lunch tray from on top of the trash can and used it to smack the bully upside the head. "Let go of her, you big ape!" he yelled.
Biff released Lorraine like a hot brick and rose to his full alarming height. Jeff backed up, but only succeeded in trapping himself between Biff and a pillar, with one of Biff's goons on either side. He belatedly realized that attacking a guy nearly twice his size without Bogg around maybe wasn't the best idea.
Upon seeing his assailant, Biff looked momentarily incredulous. "Who are you, a toddler?" he asked, flexing his arms in an intimidating gesture. "You got no business here. Why don't you just run on home to Mama?"
That hurt in more ways than one, but Jeff wasn't about to show it. He drew himself up as tall as he could go (which, admittedly, wasn't much), and stared Biff straight in the eye. "I'm not scared of you," he lied.
Biff laughed long and hard at that. Jeff bit his lip. Biff could obviously see through Jeff's bravado, and seemed to enjoy taunting his victims before squashing them. Without Bogg to back him up, Jeff was quickly running out of ploys. Biff stopped laughing long enough to say, "Shut your trap, kid. This'll teach you not to mess with things that don't concern you." He brought his arm back in a practiced motion that meant nothing good for the boy pinned below him.
Jeff couldn't keep it up anymore. He ducked as low as his position against the pillar would allow and covered his arms with his hands. He'd been roughed up a couple times before-as a slave in Ancient Rome and a prisoner in the American Revolution, to name a few-but Bogg had always protected him from any serious beatings. He had no illusions that whatever was coming next was going to be intensely painful. Picturing Biff's fist in its descent, he mentally counted down the seconds until the blow struck.
Instead of the impact he expected, he heard something that sounded like a muffled "Oomph!" He quickly unfolded himself and glanced around to see what could possibly have saved him from the pummeling.
To his astonishment, he saw Marty with a fistful of Biff's shirt and a deadly look in his eye. He'd honestly forgotten about the other boy, and was shocked that after only knowing Jeff for less than two days, he was willing to stand up for him. Just like Bogg would have.
Maybe this partnership had a chance after all.
"Hey, jackass," Marty said as he hauled Biff around to face him. "Why don't you pick on someone your own... size..." He trailed off as Biff gave him a death glare and stretched to his full height. Marty's eyes widened. Jeff found himself completely forgotten by both friend and foe, and wasted no time scrambling out of the way. From his new vantage point, he realized that for all that Marty was 4 years older, he really wasn't that much bigger than himself. Biff was going to clobber him just as easily as he would have Jeff.
"What's it to you, butthead?" Biff asked, giving Marty a shove. Marty, his temper getting the best of him, shoved back. They grabbed each other by the collar and raised their fists, and for a moment Jeff was terrified he was going to have to bring his friend home in a body bag. To his intense relief, however, Mr. Strickland arrived at that moment with an aggrieved look. He seemed to be daring Biff to throw the punch. Jeff held his breath until Biff began to straighten Marty's shirt, clearly showing that the threat was over. Just as Jeff allowed himself a sigh of relief, he realized they had another problem: once Marty turned around Strickland would recognize him, and neither one of them would be allowed on school grounds again. They needed some sort of distraction in order to slip away...
"Hey," he said to the kid next to him. "Can I borrow a piece of paper?"
When Jeff caught back up with Marty, the older boy was breathing hard from his narrow escape. "That was too damn close," he said as Jeff approached. "If it wasn't for Strickland, and then that airplane..."
"Yeah, I know," Jeff replied. He tugged Marty toward the door. "I threw it. Let's get out of here."
It was only on their way out of the cafeteria that the pair realized George McFly had disappeared. Again.