Marty stepped through the large oak door which led to Doc's office. None of the universe he had returned to was safe, but he felt that, as he left the small waiting area and the world it had shown him, the hope that he could succeed had plummeted. He turned to close the door behind him, hearing a quiet claxon sound, probably turning the green light on the door to red. Room occupied. Marty kept his eyes fixed on the door. Everything depended on what came next. Then with a huge effort of his will, he turned around and looked at the manner in which this universe's Doc conducted himself. What Marty saw as he turned was at the other end of the spectrum to the old garage where Doc in the other universe called home. So far removed from where Emmett and Marty had concocted the chemical to break Doc out of his cell in the past 24 hours. It had all happened so fast and yet this room was so different from what Marty knew of Doc that it was beginning to convince the young time traveller even more of the challenge that stood before him.
The walls were clad in oak panelling with lavish gold flourishes bordering the wooden room. There were similarly constructed chests of draws with gold handles and varnished surfaces which lined the walls. Images of lush countryside and open freedom adorned the sides of the room. All he supposed was what those who structured this world hoped to create in this desolate existence. However one of the pictures Marty recognised from his own universe, but it had been changed to conform to the structures of this reality. A couple stood in front of a white farm house with a very distinctive upper window. The two people in the frame, a man and a woman should have been farm workers, but on closer inspection Marty found that it was none other than Doc and Edna in some of the overalls Marty had seen the people of Hill Valley wearing earlier. Marty continued his journey through the long room slowly trying to prolong the inevitable just a little longer. The floor was dull except for a lengthy red carpet which led anyone who entered the room to its centre point. Ahead of him was truly unbelievable. It was funny how lives and time crossed over. The entire back wall of Doc's office was the clock tower. In fact, the very clock itself. Behind him were the cogs and gears of the tower looking very old and tired but still recognisable from when Marty had followed Emmett to the top of it back in 1931. Cogs and coils curved elegantly around one another. But the workings were still. Stuck where they had been since 1955. The rickety wooden staircase that crept around the walls to the top of the building was still in place and Marty could just about see where it escaped to the ledge which looked out over the heart of Hill Valley. Some daylight was pouring through the glass face of the clock, but the sun was setting. Its orange glow was almost completely engulfed by the darkness of night which fell so early in November. He had obviously been out for longer than he thought. How much time did he have?
Then Marty concentrated on the room's main attraction. On a slightly higher level from the rest of the room was Doc's desk. On a small platform stood a large desk which sat near the back of the room. A small barrier seemed to have been rigged to allow the desk to stand with the beautiful clockwork framed behind him. Between the railings and the desk stood television screens piled on top of each other. Almost reaching Marty's height. The images showed a large range of Hill Valley, some of which was still recognisable from Marty's world. Of course there was the Hill Valley town square just beyond the back of Doc's office, Lone Pine Mall which looked dead and Riverside Drive where Doc lived. How strange. Maybe Doc's house and garage presented possibilities that Marty could exploit. After all, it was still the crazy scientist behind this world, only now he wore a three piece suit, not a lab coat. On Doc's desk were numerous piles of paper all incredibly neat, but in the midst of it sat a name plaque which, as Marty got closer, he was able to read. It simply read 'Doctor Brown. First Citizen.' Behind the desk sat a large red leather bound chair with a tall back, facing away from Marty and towards the screens. The time traveller stepped up on to the platform and approached the desk with trepidation. As he walked nearer, a fear descended over him as if something might jump out of the walls and stop him before he got too close. He couldn't deal with another of those henchmen, his back still shivered at the thought of them. He couldn't afford to be out for however many hours he had been asleep. Not again.
Suddenly, Marty heard a creak. The large leather red chair began to turn and after it had rotated fully the man sat facing Marty was Doc. The demeanour of his reveal reminded Marty of a Bond villain as he turned to face his prey. Marty could see his mentor clearly now. He was truly a different man to his good friend back in the real 1985.
'Well, sit down, Martin' Doc gestured for Marty to take a seat. Marty looked around him but could not find anywhere to sit but the floor. However, within seconds, a hatch had opened in the floor just in front of the desk. An old worn leather chair began to rise from the platform and soon the small seat had fully revealed itself beside Marty. Doc gestured Marty to take a seat once again which he quickly did. He wasn't going to take any of the universe's crap that he feared this version of Doc would hurl at him, but if doing as he was told kept him in the office and gave him the opportunity to talk to his old friend, then Marty would do anything. There was still some of the old Doc in there somewhere. Marty had not seen any kind of technological advancement in this world except for this almost sci-fi B-movie chair. Maybe there was some of the inventor in this world's Doc after all. All Marty had to do was find him and convince him…
In Doc's lap sat a file with a picture of Marty paper clipped to the outside of the folder. As Marty sat down, Doc had closed the file, flinging it between the piles of paper on his desk. He had then leant forward, crossing his arms on the desk in front of him, looking straight into Marty's eyes. In all honesty it made the boy from the real 1985 a bit uncomfortable. The eyes were no longer shimmering with a mad glow of delight and creativity. They seemed so cold.
'Martin Seamus McFly. 18 years old. Sector LE. Mother Lorraine, Father George, Brother David…' He didn't mention Linda. Dave had told Marty that his sister was….dead. He hadn't quite believed it until now. Doc's face had looked almost sorry when he neglected her name, but soon it brightened slightly. Maybe something good was coming Marty's way. 'Recipient of a scholarship to Strickland College, winner of the Citizen Brown Behaviour award two years running and a diligent worker in the industry… Then it all went wrong, didn't it Martin?' Doc's smile slipped. 'You have been seen loitering in the streets past curfew hours. Then there was the spray painting incident, you know what you did there! Also, you have been taking extortionate amounts of time off from industry duties. Now there is nothing wrong in that as a concept. A couple of hours a year other than holidays, you know. It is what a citizen needs to keep going. But not SEVENTY SIX IN THE PAST QUARTER!' Doc stood up forcefully. Hands firmly smacked onto the desk, head bowed, almost unable to look to Marty. 'The question that arises from this predicament is one which I think should be wrapping itself around your head right now. What happened to you?' Doc stood to his full height, arms stretched wide questioning Marty, face aghast. Marty remained in his chair. Stuck to it in sheer disbelief.
'What happened to me? Geez, Doc. What happened to you?' Marty had been right when he walked into the room. This was not Doc and yet he was so close.
'And why do you call me 'Doc'? You shouted it earlier in the compound. Why 'Doc'?' The old man had question marks in his eyes such was his wish to know the answer. Marty was not going to give in though. 'Martin McFly, you are taking advantage of the position you built for yourself in your younger days and I am here to tell you today that you are no more than another citizen. You are as insignificant as the rest of them. Another ant in this Hill Valley moving towards a brighter future. You are just a cog in the works that myself and Edna set out to build all those years ago. I am disappointed in you. You are nothing…' Marty stared at Doc as his voice grew louder and more distinct. This had to change. Doc stayed behind his desk pacing, waiting for Marty to reply. He could see that the young boy in front of him had something to say. 'Well? Spit it out!'
'If you insist.' Marty's wry smile obviously toying with the older man's frustration. Doc nodded. Marty pushed himself up from his seat. 'I came here today to find the only man who is capable of changing the world…'
'And I have changed the world. We are all living in the changed world. In a world free of war and…' Doc stopped. Marty had raised a silencing finger to his own lips and murmured 'Sssshhh' for Doc's silence.
'No. Let me finish because what I have to say Doc, it matters!' The wrong Doc looked offended by Marty's intrusion but didn't want to interrupt. He hadn't been spoken to like that for many a moon. It was the one thing that could be unleashed in every human being. When spoken to with that kind of force and determination, it created a sense of confidence in the speaker and Martin had surprisingly achieved that. Doc went back to his chair and resumed the position he had sat in earlier, arms crossed, looking on expectantly to Marty. The time traveller realised he now had Doc's attention. This was his opportunity. 'Now this is going to sound crazy, but then again so does a lot of my life recently. Right…here goes nothing.' Marty could feel the words bubbling up inside him. It sounded bizarre but it was his only chance. 'This is not how the world should be. None of this is real. Not you, not me, not any of this. I am from an alternate time line… an alternate Hill Valley. And it is that Hill Valley that is the real one and you are the only person who can change it all back to normal. All you have to do is listen to what I have to say and then we can really change the world. And I mean really.'
'And how different are these worlds? How did they come into being?' Doc shrugged, asking his questions like they were directed at an eight year old. Marty almost hesitated to say what came into his mind. He knew it was the truth but still something held him back. The ridiculousness of it all, he supposed. Ever since he had seen the DeLorean slide out of Doc's lorry Marty's life had never been the same. If he had been told of all the things that would happen to him as a result of being friends with the mad scientist, he would have ignored it as a whacked out fantasy. But it was real. All of it. And truth always won out.
'In the other universe, we're friends. Really good friends.' It hadn't dawned on him until now just how close he and the old scientist had become. If this didn't work he wouldn't just lose Hill Valley which was a big enough price to pay. He would be losing a friend, mentor and a good man. 'And in that world you created a time machine out of a DeLorean…'
'Why?' Doc looked confused, not that the story could get anymore fantastical. Marty was silenced while he thought of a reason, but soon came to the conclusion that there wasn't one and there didn't need to be one.
'Why not? That, along with so much other stuff is what is wrong with this reality and with you. No scope, no vision. It's all just sit down, stay quiet and do as you're told because the monsters are coming. From what I have seen of this world, it should never have been. And I hate to admit it Doc, especially to you, but it's all my fault…' Marty couldn't bear to look at the fraud in front of him. This man was definitely not Doc, but regret still poured into Marty's head when he looked into that man's eyes. Marty turned away and started to pace around the little platform.
'And why is it your fault Martin?' Doc seemed genuinely concerned. Was Marty turning the tide?
'The you from the real 1985 went back to 1931 in your time machine and you got put in prison. I got called back to save you and when I did all hell seemed to break loose. Then when everything was sorted and we were going to return the you from the other universe vanished right in front of my eyes.' The story did sound unbelievable now that he thought about it. Marty had not had time to just sit and think about what had happened. Relaying it now and seeing the look of pity and disbelief on Doc's face was what hit the unreality home. 'Ah come on don't look at me like that, Doc. Like you don't remember when you were that age. Everybody remembers their teenage years because everything around them changed and you forged friendships that stayed with you forever. Ah ha! There was a guy you met. Now you've got to remember this one. He called himself Michael Corleone, but you didn't believe him. The night of the fire when you and Danny Parker uncovered the second speakeasy. Don't you remember? Ah you've got to Emmett! You didn't see him again after that adventure with Kid Tannen. Come on, Doc! Before he left he gave you a piece of paper with the words 'do not open until 1985' on it. Now I don't know whether you have read it or whether you even kept it. All I know is that you remember it. Deep down inside that big old brain of yours, you remember Michael Corleone…' Despair was what was keeping Marty telling his story. Despair and a sense of duty. 'I was Michael, Doc. You won't believe me, but you always told me that truth was the best policy and here I am sticking to your goddamn morals. But really I never left you Doc. I'm always going to be there for you. Your friend in time, Doc.' Still Doc's face lay still, but Marty kept going. 'Now from what I…we have experienced from things vanishing and changing on us that means that time is shifting. I came back to see what had happened and this world…' Marty pointed past Doc and to the darkness of the outside world, the sun having now completely set. The lights that lined the walls were illuminating themselves, their brightness growing in intensity as the outside world descended into night. 'The world I helped to create was what I saw. Your timeline and everything else got all screwed up, Doc. And it's all my fault. And I am going to change that, but I need your help, Doc. It has to change Doc and you've got to believe me when I say that all you have created is not real.' There was a short silence which seemed to last forever. If only this Doc would believe him…
'But if what you say is true with all this changing time…then who is to say what is real and what is not? Why is it that this world has any less of a right to be the "real world" as your own?'
'What? That's not the point at all. That's jus…'
'I think it is very much the point, Martin. If this 'Doc' and you went time travelling and things have changed and you know that they have, then why can't you accept this world as being another possibility where things work out? Maybe your world wasn't right. What if nothing is?' Marty couldn't believe what this man was saying. He was turning it all on its head. 'What I have strived to do since I returned from war is to make this world better for everyone. Sure it may not be the world that is preferable to you because it is different to your own, but it is a better world from what it was before. And surely that means that this reality is right.'
'But you don't see. You are not listening. You can't do this to me, Doc.'
'Martin, I can do as I wish. You may not like that I am leading this part of our world but somebody has to be at the top and in this reality it happens to be me. I class your tale as just that. A fancy story made to delight children when they are young. Just a story.' Marty stared at the old man. He felt like he was back in school with Mr Strickland breathing down his neck. He felt like he was being told off by his parents for setting fire to the living room rug. He felt like he had been beaten. It felt like there was no way in which Marty could say anything to convince this man that he was wrong. He was shot down every time. 'Now this meeting is adjourned. Two guards will be awaiting you outside to escort you out of the building quietly and without fuss. You had better buck your ideas up or next time I won't be so lenient with the power at hand.' Doc's voice pierced Marty's hopes. There it was. His chance gone and the man he admired had vanished from existence. Marty took one last look at the man he once believed in more than anything. Doc stared back at Marty with complete control and power in his eyes. The Doc and his state had won and he knew it. Marty shook his head as he turned to head to the oak door and his way out. He jumped down the small platform, not wanting to take the steps. He could feel Doc watching his every move. But then something struck Marty and he stopped halfway between the desk and the door.
'But are you happy?' There was a stunned silence. Marty turned. A thoughtful look upon his face. Doc hadn't been expecting the question.
'Yes. I have the world at my feet and everything to aid those in my power to betterment.' He replied after a stutter.
'But are you really happy?' Marty persisted.
'Am I happy in this other world of yours?' Doc joked, pulling his hands up from the desk and leaning back, crossing them behind his head. He pulled his feet up and lay them on the desk top, also crossed. The look in Doc's eyes was almost smug. This only spurred Marty on.
'Beyond happy. You have two great sons. Jules and Verne. Named after…'
'My favourite novelist…'
'Exactly. And you have a lovely wife.'
'Far from it. Her name is Clara. You met her on one of our travels in time. And that time machine! You can go everywhere with it! Everywhen! You're the happiest man alive, Doc! Now that's what I call truly having the world at your feet. Not sitting in your office away from the people who supposedly need you. They'd be better off without you….' And the cold silence resumed. Doc got up from his seat and walked around the front of his desk. He stepped down from the platform and moved closer to Marty. They stood side by side. The look in Doc's eyes were like serpents.
'How dare you? This world has benefited from what this little town has done. All because of the tireless work that everybody here puts in because of me! These lies that you have cavorted around my office, wasting my valuable time. What is the point?'
'Because of what you said about me when I first came into this office today. Now I don't matter and it doesn't matter that you addressed me as just another rat caught in your trap but it does for the people of your town. If any of what I have just said has affected you in the slightest then maybe it will stop you being the man who said I was insignificant. In the other world, the Doc I know didn't see anybody as unimportant. Everybody was special, everybody was unique and everybody mattered. If what I have just said brings you any closer to being that man who sees the good in everybody and not what needs to be controlled then what just happened matters.'
'GET OUT!' Doc stared at Marty one last time and then to the large oak door which led out of his office. The two guards that he had mentioned earlier had burst into the room. 'Get this citizen out of my sight and make sure he gets the proper attention that is due to his kind.' Doc nodded as the two guards came nearer. Then Marty remembered something else. He had the time to do it. He reached into one of the suit pockets and produced the slightly burnt green bow tie that Emmett had given him back in 1931. He pulled it from his pocket and threw it towards Doc. It fell to the floor, Doc's eyes following it. Then Marty crunched up. The impact of the two massive guards hit him as they grabbed Marty and pushed his arms behind his back just as they had done earlier. Marty had wanted to avoid this and he had given up the chance to walk away after Doc had first shouted at him. But it was his pride that had kept him there. His pride and hope had made him stay to the point of being dragged from the office looking back to the man who had just doomed the entire world. He had taken every chance he could and it had still made no difference. Everything was lost and just as before everything went black…
Thank you so much for reading this chapter. Hope you enjoyed it.
Author's apology: Right, I owe you this one. This is the first chapter of my BTTF fanfic that I have posted in a long time. My first excuse is a-levels. This year I completed my a-levels and obviously dedicated myself completely to those. My second excuse is that I was supposed to then put the next chapter up in June, but my computer died which meant I had to get a new one. Then after trying to transfer, I found that I had lost all my notes on this. It has taken me a few days to remember things and make it all link up as before. My sincerest apologies. Hoping that you enjoy this road we are going along. Xxx