Chapter 9

Tuesday, April 29th, 1986

Hill Valley

7: 43 P. M.

It was a hard adjustment to life outside the hospital. Marty was still struggling with his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. At least once a day he'd experience a flashback or nightmare about the torture he had suffered. He couldn't go back to school for three days. In fact, the day he was released, he found himself unable to face the world outside the house. He was also upset by the fact that his parents had set up an appointment for him with a psychiatrist. Marty had protested as much as possible, but they had refused to back down. "Honey, you need someone to talk to. I'm sure Dr. Adams will be a perfectly wonderful woman," Lorraine told him.

"Everybody's going to think I've lost it," Marty grumbled over dinner. "That's the last thing I need, more people teasing me."

"You don't have to go to school tomorrow, Marty," George said gently. "We're not going to make you. You're welcome to stay home again."

Marty shook his head. "I need to see my friends again. I'm going a little stir-crazy around here."

"All right. But if anything happens, go straight to the school nurse. She'll send you home."

"Okay." Marty got up from the table. "May I be excused?"

"Of course. Do you want one of us to come with you?"

Marty shook his head. "I think I'll be all right." He went down the hall, followed by the worried looks of his family. With a mournful sigh, he fell onto his bed. I hope I can get through the day tomorrow. At least Jennifer's gonna be there for me, along with the band. Damn it, what happens if I have a flashback while in one of my classes and everyone sees? People are gonna think I'm nuts. And I've still got the appointment with the shrink. I hate my life.

Suddenly, he felt someone slide their arms around him gently. He smiled a little. "Thanks," he said, turning to see the identity of the person who had hugged him.

He was totally alone.

For a split second, Marty was certain he had gone over the edge. Then he heard a familiar voice in his mind. Sorry. I didn't think.

It's okay, Doc. Marty shook his head. I can't get over how weird this is. You sure that the mind-reading accident would do all of this to us?

It's the best explanation I have at the moment, Doc thought back, squeezing the pillow he was holding a little tighter. He too was having a hard time adjusting. All the media attention on the event had made quite a bit of the fact that Doc was Jack's brother, and people were responding accordingly. He had spent the better part of a day scrubbing off insulting graffiti from his house. People from all parts of Hill Valley were telling him he was probably no better than his brother. One had even literally spat in his face. The scientist had tried to get them to understand what he had done for Marty, but no one listened. They were all too interested in the picture the media was painting of him and his brother as horrible monsters. The fact that Marty was unable to look him in the eyes just aggravated his hurt. How are you coping?

I'm still having those flashbacks. And I can't go to sleep unless someone's sitting beside me. I'm scared as hell about school tomorrow. Do you think everyone's gonna think I'm crazy?

I doubt it. If anything I'm sure you'll receive an outpouring of sympathy. Everyone in the town knows what happened.

Yeah, Dad had to beat off the reporters who wanted to talk to me. How about you, Doc? Are you okay?

Jack's connection to me has led to some nasty incidents. And the reporters I have talked to have treated me like I was no better than him.

Those bastards. You saved my life. Maybe I'll tell Dad I want to talk to some of those jerks.

Don't over-stress yourself on my behalf, Marty. I feel bad enough about you as it is.

Marty hit a pillow in frustration. I wish this had never happened. I wish that everything was normal again.

Doc sighed. You're not the only one, Marty. I wish too that we could go back and --

Go back. . . .

Doc's eyes grew wide. Marty, I'm an idiot! I can go back and prevent this from ever happening! I can just use the DeLorean and somehow prevent you from getting into Jack's van! It's the optimal idea! I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier! I'll go right now and set things right!

Doc! Wait a minute!

Doc paused, having jumped to his feet in excitement. Marty's tone sounded much different than he had expected it to. What's wrong, Marty?

I don't want you to use the DeLorean.

What??? Marty, I thought you would love for me to manipulate time for your advantage. This is probably one of the few times I'd be willing to do it, too.

Yeah, but lots of stuff could go wrong, Doc. Jack could just grab me again later. He was pretty dead-set on killing me. Marty shivered. And even if it did work, I -- I don't want you to have to live with the memories.

I'd be willing to make that sacrifice for you.

Trust me, it's not fun. My old memories of geeky Dad never went away. Imagine having the memories we've got along with okay ones!

Doc sighed and sat down again. Marty was making some excellent points. What use would it be to stop the original kidnaping if Jack somehow found a way around it? And what good would it do if when he went home he was bothered forever by painful memories that had never happened? Possibly even going insane from the memories? Damn it! he thought angrily. I build a time machine to use for the good of mankind and I can't even use it to help my best friend!

Marty was about to agree with him when he abruptly saw a funny side to the conversation they had just had. Jesus, I just realized something. I was explaining time travel stuff to you!

Doc laughed briefly. That's one for the record books. Marty McFly explains time travel pitfalls to Doc Brown. Then his mood grew somber again. I miss having you over here.

I miss going over to your place. But I still can't think of your face without thinking of Jack. You think you could use the DeLorean to make you guys not be twins at least?

To tell the truth, Marty, I have been considering plastic surgery. At least we have this. Doc picked up the pillow again and gave it another squeeze. Let me know how it goes tomorrow, all right?

Sure thing, Doc.

Wednesday, April 30th, 1986

Hill Valley

10: 43 A. M.

As it turned out, Marty didn't have to tell Doc how it went at all. The scientist was converting a few of his clocks to solar time when he felt fear envelop him. An all-consuming horror. For a moment, he was completely paralyzed, breathing hard, feeling like he had to get away. Shit, why would he start teaching this today? I really can't handle this. I just --

Wait a minute, those aren't my thoughts! Marty, what happened?

He got a brief flash in his mind of Marty's history classroom, with an exhibit on the Inquisition. It was complete with miniature versions of torture equipment. Oh, I see. Want me to do anything?

No, I -- I'm heading to the nurse right now with Jennifer. Damn it, just when I saw that stuff. . . . You can still feel it when I get afraid?

Not like my fits, but yes, I felt it as you might feel it. Possibly due to what we've just gone through, this talent of ours makes us hypersensitive to each other's feelings. The nurse will know what to do, right?

Yeah, she'll call my parents. Shit, I wanted to get through one day without anything happening to me. I'm sick of having PSTD.

I'm here for you if you need me, Marty.

Thanks, Doc. The teen cut the connection as they entered the nurse's office. She took one look at him and called his parents. They came immediately to pick him up. Marty tried to convince them that he'd probably be fine if he could just skip history, but they refused to listen. Which turned out to be a blessing the minute a kid from the class saw him. The look of indifferent pity he gave him hurt a lot. None of them know what it's like. Not one of them. I've got nobody who'd understand.

Except Doc.

He looked up from the floor of the family BMW. "Hey, could you drop me off at Doc's house?"

Lorraine turned to look at him. "You sure, honey? We all know about--"

"Yeah, positive. I want to see him again. I miss him."

Lorraine looked at George. "Well, all right, if you're sure you can handle it."

"I'm sure." He waited out the rest of the drive in silence. Lorraine gave him one last pleading look as they pulled up to Doc's place. It was obvious she didn't want her youngest to be in any discomfort. "Don't worry, Mom, I'll be okay."

"If you need to come home, call us," Lorraine made him promise. They both gave him a hug, then lingered in the parking lot as Marty walked up and knocked on the door.

Doc answered it, but immediately stepped back as he saw who it was. "Marty. This is a bit of a surprise, to see you in the flesh. What brings you here?"

"I wanted to see you again," Marty said, looking at Doc's feet. "After what happened in school today." I just need to know that there's somebody else who understands about Jack.

Doc nodded. "Come on in." He waved hello to Marty's parents, then shut the door. Marty was seated on the nearby cot, a depressed look on his face. "What happened after you cut off?"

"Mom and Dad came to pick me up. I saw a kid from history before I left, though. The way he looked at me -- he didn't give a shit. It hadn't happened to him, so why should he give a shit?"

Doc sat down next to him and put his arm around him. "It appears that we belong to a very exclusive club, Marty. One nobody on the outside can truly comprehend."

Marty snuggled into Doc. This feels like that night at the hospital. Just the two of us against everybody else.

I wouldn't say "against," Marty. "Apart" would be the more accurate word.

Whatever. We know, they don't. Simple as that. Marty adjusted his position. What did Jack do to you?

Do you really want to talk about that?

Better you than some shrink that's gonna take notes and tell me whether I'm nuts or not. I really don't want to go see that Dr. Adams on Friday.

I don't blame you, really. Psychiatrists tend to make me uncomfortable as well. Possibly because the entire town thinks I'm crazy. But I don't want to worry you.

Doc, after what I've seen, nothing can. I really want to talk about this. I'm not as fragile as everyone thinks. There was a pause. Well, not totally.

Doc smiled a little. Jack wasn't as cruel to me as he was to you. After all, he was only a kid back when he tortured me. He beat me up often. But sometimes -- sometimes it would be more like your experiences. He built a rack for a history project once, and I was his test to see if it worked.

Marty shivered. Did yours have knives built into the sides?

No, that was an innovation he hadn't yet come upon. He patted Marty's head gently. I know it seems impossible now, but you will heal from what's happened to you. I managed to. It took a while, but eventually I healed.

It feels like I'm gonna be waking up screaming for the rest of my life. You ever have nightmares?

Sometimes. But they fade with time. If it's any comfort, I've been having nightmares too. I can't stop thinking about what might have happened if I hadn't arrived in time. Tears formed in his eyes, but he blinked them back. Marty, I would do anything for you. Trust me on that. You're like a son to me.

Yeah, I know. Itch laybe ditch, mine sohn or something like that.

It's "Ich liebe Dich, mein Sohn," Marty. Not -- Wait a minute, how did you know about that?!

You woke me up when you said it. I looked it up.

Doc felt himself blush. I hope I didn't embarrass you. I was simply so lonely back in 1955.

Relax, Doc. I -- uh -- you wanna see? He let Doc see his memory of looking up what the words meant, then returning the favor. It really meant a lot to me.

The scientist smiled and pulled Marty closer. It means a lot to me too. We'll get through this.

You keep saying that.

I'm going to keep saying it until you believe it. We will get through this.

Friday, May 2nd, 1986

Hill Valley

4: 23 P. M.

Marty stormed into the house, absolutely furious. He slammed the door shut and sat himself heavily on the couch. Dave looked up from his book. "Marty?"

"I'm never going back to see that b*tch Dr. Adams again," Marty growled. "She's the worst shrink on the planet, and she can go to hell."

"Christ, what did she do?" Dave asked.

"What did who do?" asked Lorraine, coming in with Linda.

"Tell Dr. Adams she can go check herself into the looney bin," Marty said, voice cold. "She's a total jackass."

Lorraine looked confused. "You've only gone to one session with her and already you think she's a jackass?"

"One session is all I could take! She's one of those people who wants to help you, but does it in such a way that you want to kill yourself! You know, those 'perky' types."

Linda frowned. "Sounds like she made one hell of a first impression on you, bro."

"Yeah, as she did nothing except b*tch about Doc the entire time."

"What? Why on earth. . . ?"

"She thinks he should be committed," Marty explained. "I tried to tell her that Doc's my friend, but she refused to listen to me. When I told her Doc rescued me, she wanted to know how he would have known he was there if--" Marty's voice came close to breaking. "If they weren't in cahoots," he finished quietly.

Lorraine's eyes narrowed. "That woman. . . . I can't believe that! Doc hates Jack! Don't worry, Marty, I'll find you a new therapist."

"I don't want a new therapist! I don't want a therapist at all! I just want to put all of this behind me! I want things to be normal again!" He put his head in his hands. "Why can't everything just be like it was before?"

Lorraine leaned over him and patted his back lovingly. "I know, Marty. I want to turn back the clock myself. But this is not going to go away." She sighed. "I'll call Dr. Caldwell and ask for his advice. You only have to see the second psychiatrist once, and if you don't like him, we'll leave it be. Okay?"

"Okay," Marty groaned. "I'm gonna go over to Doc's." He needed to sit with his best friend again.

Lorraine smiled as she dialed Dr. Caldwell. "I'm glad you two are talking again."

"It's not like we had a fight, Mom. But it is nice to be able to go over his place again. Just wish I could look him in the eyes."

"Hopefully soon you will."

Monday, May 5th, 1986

Hill Valley

4: 10 P. M.

Marty walked nervously into Dr. Robinson's office. To his surprise, Doc was sitting in the waiting room, face buried in a magazine. "Doc? What are you doing here? Mom send you over?"

"Actually, Dr. Robinson called me here. She apparently got the briefing from your doctor and wanted me to be at this session with you for some reason." Doc kept the magazine firmly in front of his face. "I suspect her ulterior motive is to suggest therapy for me as well."

"Be glad that I'm not going to Dr. Adams anymore, then," Marty said, sitting next to him. "She hates you, Doc. I can't believe she would suggest that you and Jack were working together."

"It makes my blood boil," Doc muttered, his voice cold. Then it warmed again. "But I don't think I'll reject her offer. I do have a few issues to work through."

A young, green-eyed woman emerged from the next room. "Marty McFly?" Marty stood up. "Hello, I'm Dr. Robinson. Please, come in."

"Do I have a choice?" Marty joked weakly. Doc gave him a thumbs up, making sure the magazine stayed in place. Marty returned it and followed Dr. Robinson into the room. She picked up a notepad and pen as he looked around the room. It was painted in soft, neutral colors, the kind used to calm people. They weren't having too much of an effect on the nervous teen. "Uh -- do you want me to sit on the couch, or--?"

"You can sit wherever you feel comfortable." Marty uneasily lowered himself into a chair. "Now, Marty, I understand you've been suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?"

Marty nodded. "Yeah, it sucks like nothing else. I hate it."

"I don't blame you. Having to mentally relive such an experience could cause serious emotional scars. Dr. Conner also told me that the prevalent symptom of the disorder seems to be the inability to look at your best friend's face."

Marty nodded again, looking at his sneakers as he blushed. "Yeah. He saved my life, and I can't even look at him."

"Why?"

The teen blinked. "Why?? Don't you know? I'm sure those media hounds were all over it."

"My TV's been broken for a week, and Dr. Conner only told me the bare essentials of your condition."

Marty blushed harder, wishing he didn't have to say this. It was like saying it would make it real. "Doc and Jack -- the guy who tortured me -- are twins."

"Identical twins?" Marty nodded, keeping his eyes fixed on his sneakers. "Dear me. Well, I believe we should work on that first, don't you?" She started asking a few general questions about their relationship, both before and after the "incident." Marty answered them, slowly beginning to loosen up. Soon he was telling her about the various tortures he had suffered at Jack's hand. She listened very carefully, took many notes, and occasionally offered emotional support during the more graphic moments.

Marty finally finished up. "Whew! You know, it felt good to get that all out. Thanks."

"You're welcome." She studied her notes for a moment. "I can hardly believe there could be a person alive as soulless as Jack," she murmured under her breath. "It appears to be a simple case of emotional transference."

"Heh?"

"Since Doc has the same face as Jack, you associate your negative experiences with him. That's why you can't look at him. We have to replace the negative feelings with positive ones for Doc. I'm not promising miracles, but I promise that you will be able to look at his face again soon." She flipped to a fresh page in her notebook. "All right then, let's get started."

Monday, May 12th, 1986

Hill Valley

3: 45 P. M.

Marty shivered as Jack walked into the room, accompanied by a lawyer and a guard. Beside him, Doc glared at his twin with a look of total hatred. Lorraine, forming the other slice of the sandwich, squeezed Marty's shoulder gently. "He can't get you here."

"He doesn't have to," Marty muttered, remembering his nightmares. Doc glanced over at him.

I know. I've been having some myself. Sometimes I think the therapy just makes them worse. Both he and Marty had been patients of Dr. Robinson for a week. Although they both liked her, and seemed to be making some progress with their "emotional issues," as she had termed them, they still hated the stigma of having to see a shrink. At least you'll have the satisfaction of seeing him sentenced.

Now? Doc, we haven't even gone through a trial yet!

We won't have to. I know my brother. He doesn't feel like he did anything wrong. He'll plead guilty and be sentenced. He glared at Jack again. This time Jack caught his gaze and gave him his snake smile. Marty tried not to show that Jack was getting to him.

"The Honorable Judge Bartholomew Smith presiding, all rise," the bailiff said in a bored tone. The McFlys and Browns rose as one as the judge came in, shuffling papers. He motioned for them to sit, and they sat, Jack flashing one final look towards the friends. Marty gritted his teeth. I will not let that bastard get to me.

The bailiff informed the judge of the charges -- kidnaping and attempted murder. Doc exchanged a disgusted glance with George. That hardly did justice to what Marty had gone through. What they had all gone through.

The judge looked down his nose at Jack and his lawyer, sitting calmly behind their table. "How does the accused plead?"

"Guilty, Your Honor," the lawyer said, his voice as oily as his hair. "My client has nothing to apologize for."

"Nothing to apologize for!" Lorraine shrieked, momentarily losing her composure. "Your Honor, do you know what he did to my son?!"

"I've heard, Mrs. McFly," Judge Smith said, shooting Jack a venomous look. Then he turned the look onto Doc. "Which makes it odd that you keep the company of other Browns."

"Doc saved my life." Although Marty said this in a hissing whisper, it immediately became the loudest noise in the room. Doc took the teen's hand discreetly, both offering and taking moral support through the touch. "If it hadn't been for him, that -- that thing would be on trial for murder."

Jack didn't seem too bothered by being called a "thing." He gave the judge a disarming look. "Such is life, isn't it? I do admit my original intention was to kill the boy, but my dear brother interfered with my plans. I truly believe I have nothing to apologize for. Why should I? I'm not the one with a problem about my actions." He grinned at the McFlys and his brother, making their flesh crawl. "So, why don't we get this over with and pass sentence?"

Marty scowled and looked up at Doc. "The nerve of that fu--"

He froze. He was looking at Doc. More specifically, he was looking at Doc's face. And he wasn't immediately cringing in fear or being reminded of the horrors he'd had to suffer. No -- he was looking at Doc like he had before. Like his best friend.

Doc felt eyes on him. He looked down, then quickly looked up again, not wanting to worry his friend. It was bad enough he had to be present to see his brother sentenced, no sense in making it worse. . . .

No, Doc. Look at me.

Confused, the scientist glanced down. Marty was looking at him without a trace of fear in his eyes. In fact, he was beginning to smile. Doc felt the corners of his own mouth lift hesitantly. Could it be? He allowed Marty a more direct view of his face, locking their eyes. There was a brief feeling that Doc couldn't describe, but it quickly passed as he realized Marty wasn't looking away. They could look at each other again. I think Dr. Robinson deserves a present, don't you think?

Yeah, a big one. A really, really big one.

After a few minutes of deliberation, Judge Smith passed his verdict -- 50 years behind bars. The McFlys were upset it wasn't life, until Emily pointed out to them that Jack might not live another 50 years. "And at least there was no mention of parole," she added as they left the courthouse, leaving Jack behind.

"I would have killed him had the judge mentioned he might get parole," Lorraine growled. George pulled her close, nodding his agreement with that. Dave and Linda just looked relieved to be away from the man who had tortured their brother. "Come on, I think this calls for a celebration."

"It certainly does," Marty said, hugging Doc tight, not taking his eyes off his face. Doc hugged back twice as hard. It would still be a long road back to full recovery, but now that they had each other back, it wouldn't be half as hard.

The End