Disclaimer: I don't own Back to the Future. I also don't own all the reviews I've gotten for this story. Many thanks for them to all of you, it's great to hear people appreciated my work.
Author's Note: And there we go for the final chapter. It's been a long while since the first one was uploaded in January of 2012, hasn't it? Three and a half years... But yes, this is the end of the story (even if it's only the beginning of Marty and Doc's adventures, more of which are and will be shown in "Travelling Through Dimensions"). The conversation about the new baby's name is me trying to justify the name I came up with, which was undoubtedly stupid and the product of a momentary loss of good sense, but which I'd grown too fond of to abolish. So please welcome the latest member of the (Trilogy) Brown family, and the final chapter of this story. I hope you all enjoyed it. If you have anything to say, positive or negative, please review. If you post a review from an account on this site, you can be 90+ percent sure that you'll get an answer.
Thank you all for reading and enjoying the story!
Wednesday, November 12, 1986
10:50 PM PST
Hill Valley, California
In the end, although certainly stressful, the evening wasn't quite as adventurous as Marty had predicted. Clara was orderly transported to the local hospital, where it took another six hours before she gave birth to their latest child, a boy, at 10:04 PM. Although the idea of the kid being born at 10:04 had slipped into both Doc's and Marty's minds the moment they realized that Clara was going to give birth on November 12th, they had both dismissed it, Doc sooner than Marty. Yet, by some amazing coincidence – or cosmic significance, whatever you prefer – it happened. Doc and Marty had been astonished; the rest of the Brown family had merely chuckled, knowing all too well how important this date was in their family history, but not getting as worked up over it.
Marty left Clara's room shortly after the birth of the boy, and had spent his time sitting in the hallway of the hospital's first floor, eating some snacks he had brought along. He had gotten up for a walk and was just looking out of the window when he heard the doors of the room creak behind him. He looked around to see Doc Brown, looking stressful and worn-out but extremely happy at the same time, exit.
"Jennifer's alone with Clara now" he said, softly. "She told me I should leave for a while. I initially didn't want to go, but she insisted and when Clara chimed in…" He shrugged. "Well, I suppose there wasn't much point in arguing the case any further."
Marty smirked, walking over to his friend and sitting down next to him. "So, what are you going to do now? Catch some sleep?"
"Privately, I'd like to" Doc replied. "I've been up and about all day, first preparing the new time machine and then worrying over Clara at the hospital. And it's not like I've had much sleep the last few days either. But I feel like I can't. Like Clara will be disappointed in me if I go to sleep. We did just have a son, you know – that's not an occasion I would like to waste sleeping."
"Well, the kid's already born" Marty said. "So, there's not much of a roadblock left now. Clara's going to be all right, although they did say she's gonna be in the hospital for a while. So, why not get some rest?"
"I'm not entirely certain I can sleep, anyway" Doc mused. "Perhaps later, past twelve, when everything looks secure. I doubt there will be much more change in-between, but my mind will then be more at ease than it is now." He looked at his friend. "So, when were you planning to leave?"
Marty shrugged. "I think I'll be here for a while yet" he said. "I don't have to go to college tomorrow, and I don't want to go without Jennifer – and you know she'll be here for a while yet. You know she likes being around babies and all and loves nurturing them." The teen shivered. "Me, I get chills up my spine every time I think about being a father."
Doc chuckled. "I'm sure you'll manage" he said, putting an arm around his best friend's shoulder. "You know I wasn't prepared for Jules – Clara and I hadn't been intending to have any children while we were still in the Old West, and I had barely even considered it – and I still succeeded in raising him."
Marty frowned. "What do you mean by 'while we were still in the Old West'? I thought you didn't make up your mind about returning to the '80s until you met my future self."
"Well, it really started during that mad trip that preceded it" Doc corrected him. "But yes, I suppose that subconsciously, the concept of returning to the future must have always lingered on my mind. Especially during the early days, when we were still hoping that you would come back to pick us up. I hadn't yet realized the inconvenient time I'd sent you back to at that point."
Marty winced. "That was scary, you know" he replied. "For a moment, when I couldn't get the DeLorean's door to open, I was certain I was going to die. And the misery I was put in when the train destroyed the time machine…"
"I'm sorry, Marty" Doc said, sighing. "I hadn't intended for you to have such a narrow margin of escape. It's just that the train schedule had recently changed, and it had slipped my mind until a few weeks after we saw you leave. For some time, I was worried I'd killed you, and only the constant reminder that we could – somehow – save you from that fate kept me all right. That was one main reason I built the time machine – that, and Einstein, and just that I wanted to see 1985 again."
Marty frowned. "Wait, Doc – you just said that you were hoping that I'd come back to pick you up?"
"Well, that was more Clara's idea than mine," the inventor explained, "and as I just told you, at the time we still thought you had a few minutes to spare. Realistically, that wouldn't have been nearly enough to get the DeLorean out of the way, but you know… wishful thinking and all." Marty nodded. "Of course, even if you had managed to save the time machine from imminent destruction and had gotten yourself a repaired tank and gas to put into it, there would still be hundred years needing to pass from September 7th, 1885, before you could go back – by which time Clara and I'd be long dead and buried. It wouldn't be until the second timeline, the one created after your journey from 1985 into what we considered the present, that you would be there to pick us up. Granted, the irrational thoughts we had about you picking us up might in fact have been aided by the fact that I'd already lived through a 'second timeline' twice already, both when I avoided getting shot by the terrorists because of a time travel from 1985 to 1955 to save me, and when Buford Tannen didn't kill me in 1885 since you had travelled there from 1955. Of course, these two occasions couldn't have provided any guarantees for the future, and it might very well have been possible…"
"Doc, please!" Marty exclaimed. "Not tonight, will you? It's your son's birth! I know it's November 12th and all, but…"
"You're right, Marty" Doc replied. "We'll talk about this some other time. But yes, it is the twelfth of November… odd that our son should be born today, since it was also the day it all began for him."
"What?" Marty asked.
"When we prevented Old Biff from hitting my younger self's DeLorean" Doc explained. "That was when we still were on November 12th 1955. Clara was feeling a little ill at that time, and the next morning we realized that she was pregnant. That was, or would turn out to be, one more motivation to move back."
"I still can't wrap my head around the fact that all that happened over a year ago, and your kid has only just been born" Marty complained. "It must have been even harder for the other me in 1994 – for him, it had already been nine years, while for you it was just a few weeks."
"Time travel can be confusing sometimes, indeed" Doc admitted.
"More like always" Marty said. "I don't think I'm never entirely going to get this 'thinking fourth dimensionally' thing ingrained in my brain. But, anyway, the kid's born, which seems to wrap up the last tie since the whole adventure began."
"Odd how long such things can take" Doc mused. "And it's not even entirely over – won't be until 1994, when my younger self will come to visit you."
"I guess so" Marty muttered. "I suppose you could even argue it won't be over until 2016… or 2030, if you take this as part of the entire weekend with the first DeLorean – you went there the first time you headed to 2015, right?" Doc nodded. "But for me, it certainly feels like it's over – and to wrap it all up, you've got a son." The musician stared at his friend. "Have you thought of what to name him yet?"
Doc smirked. "Oh, I think you'll like the name we picked" he said. "It's Martin."
For a moment, Marty couldn't reply, so baffled was he – and honestly, he didn't really know what to say. What did one say when hearing your best friend had just named his son after you? Finally, he croaked: "But won't that get confusing?"
It was a stupid and ungrateful answer, really, and Marty felt embarrassed the moment he said it. But Doc didn't feel that way, or if he did, he didn't react to it. "I suppose it will create some difficulties," the inventor admitted, "but Clara and I agreed on it. This whole adventure does symbolize our reunion and us finally settling down in what I can now with nearly a hundred percent certainty call my present. You're my best friend, Marty, and I didn't feel that even giving the boy 'Martin' as a middle name was sufficient to express that. Of course, Clara did somewhat hope that our child was going to be a girl, so we'd been thinking more of it as 'Martina', or 'Mary', or 'Martha' than as Martin. But nevertheless, we are happy with our new son, and looking at him I wouldn't know a better name."
"What do you mean?" Marty asked.
"His eyes are blue, like yours" Doc said. "Of course, genetically, that can be explained as something from a relative who had blue eyes – both of my parents' eyes were brown, but I wouldn't know about my grandparents, or even Clara's parents – but they are startlingly similar to yours. Didn't you notice?"
"I didn't think about it" Marty responded, surprised. "Doc… thanks. Thanks a lot."
"You're welcome" Doc replied, hugging the teen. Marty hugged back. "If you don't mind, we also decided on letting you come up with a middle name for the child – if you'd like to, of course. Clara and I just can't pick a scientist name. We went through some trouble to agree on Eratosthenes and Newton, but we can't find any name for the third baby – for Martin."
"Ugh, that sounds hard" Marty muttered. "I don't know nearly as many scientists as you do. Have you got any hint for me?"
"Well, I was thinking that, with Jules' middle name being one of an ancient scientist and Verne's of a relatively recent one, we could have another older scientist" Doc suggested. "That's partly why Clara turned down my suggestion of Martin Einstein Brown, although her idea wasn't much better. Of course, you could argue we could simply continue the trend of naming scientists ahead in time, but that might cause problems for what would come after Einstein, since he died so recently and I couldn't name any great scientists past him at the moment… not that we aim to have a fourth child, but you never know… anyway, we prefer an old scientist" he finished, noticing Marty was giving him a look again. "Got any ideas?"
Marty thought hard about it. "What about Socrates? That sounds good with Martin, doesn't it?"
"It does, but you forgot one thing" Doc said, amused. "Socrates wasn't a scientist. He was a philosopher."
Marty frowned, and then winced. "Sorry, Doc" he muttered. "I knew that, it's just that I was thinking about the distant past, and, well… scientists, philosophers, it's basically all the same for me. And it sounded good, so I just blurted it out…"
"You're right, it does sound good" Doc said, thoughtfully. "Perhaps that would be a solution to our dilemma about what scientist to pick – not pick one at all! Socrates was a great man too, and it's only fitting that his name should be honored. Especially after such a time travel journey, in which we did get philosophical sometimes… and it required a lot of thinking to resolve the complex issue of our return home. Also, using 'Socrates' would indicate to our children that they don't all have to become scientists if they don't want to. Martin Socrates Brown…"
"Gee, Doc, I was only making a mistake!" Marty protested. "It was just a suggestion… you don't have to feel obliged to use it!"
"I don't" the inventor reassured him. "It's just that I really do like the name. 'Martin Socrates' even sounds slightly better than 'Martin Einstein', or 'Martin Edison', which Clara and I argued over. Of course, I would have to discuss it with her first."
"All right then" Marty said. "I still can't believe you're naming your son after me."
"Life is full of surprises" Doc replied, shrugging. "Like how Martin was born on November 12th, at the very minute the lightning struck the clock tower thirty-one years ago. It's like his birth is an event of cosmic significance."
Marty chuckled. "It couldn't have happened any other way" he said. "I think it's just a sign that time travel is as much a part of your life now as your kids are… or I am. You're a time traveler, Doc. It's part of your identity now."
"You may be right" Doc agreed. "Of course, considering everything it got me – and you – I wouldn't have wanted it another way. Without my time machine, I might be still living out a lonely life in my garage, and you'd have an unhappy family. There's a lot of benefits to being a time traveler. It's just that the one drawback is that the future is for a time traveler even more uncertain than for most people."
Marty chuckled. "You wouldn't say so, considering that you can – and do – go anywhere in the future" he pointed out. "I get the idea, though. The future hasn't been written yet. It can turn out right; it can turn out neutral; but it could also turn out very wrong. It's more uncertain, because we think about it more often, and actually see the possibilities as they present themselves."
"My thought exactly" Doc said. "But there is one thing about the future that I do know. After this crazy trip, I don't think it'll ever change again."
"And that is?" Marty asked.
"We'll always be friends, Marty" Doc replied. "Ordinarily, I'd be reluctant to agree to the idea of destiny, and I've been having some arguments with Clara about it. However, knowing what I know now, and seeing how we even sort of became friends in that crazy 2016 where the Tannen family ruled Hill Valley… well, that's ensured me that our friendship will persist forever. It may develop – I'm no longer the same person you encountered in 1955, and you are certainly not the sweet little kid that I saved in 1975 – no offense – but I strongly doubt that it'll ever end altogether."
"I doubt it, too" Marty said. "Especially in the old timeline, I've felt like you were my Dad. And though George McFly has strongly improved now, I can't help but feel that you fit that title more than he does."
Doc smiled, touched, and hugged the teen. "I sometimes feel like you're my third son too – fourth now, I guess" he said. "I can't believe I was going to leave you here in 1985 while living out my life with Clara. You were right all along, Marty. Living with the love of my life and the best children a man could ever wish for would have been great, but it would have been imperfect as long as you were not there."
"Thanks" Marty replied. "But you don't need to apologize, Doc. I'm just glad you came here in the end."
"Same here, Marty" Doc said. "Same here."
And thus, that night, two friends realized once more how close they were to each other. They were very different from each other, had different interests and entirely different lives, but at heart, they were very much the same. Thus, when Jennifer finally slipped out of Clara's room sometime past twelve, she found her boyfriend sleeping peacefully against his best friend's shoulder, and she smiled at them. Much like she felt she and Marty belonged to each other on a romantic level, she realized Marty and Doc belonged to each other on a different, but not less close level. They were truly partners in time.
THE END (FOR NOW).