A/N An alternate scene taking place during Episode Five, 'OUTATIME', right after Citizen Brown disappears right up until Marty asks about the 'key of the city' ceremony. Some of the dialogue is lifted directly from the game and therefore is credited to Telltale Games however several additions have been made.
Staring at the now unoccupied space before me, I found myself weakly pleading for the return of the timeline altered version of my dearest friend. First Citizen Brown was the closest thing I had to actual Doc and it pained me to see him disappear. He may have not been my Doc but he was still Doc and I wasn't ready to see him go.
Watching him slowly fade away made me realize just how important he was to me and while I secretly hoped that my Doc would never suffer the same fate, it was childish to believe that he'd stay with me forever. Doc…
A loud noise from behind drew my attention away from the ground; the doors of the Expo had flown open and dark smoke poured out. What the hell? I got back on my feet and eyed the front door, curiosity getting the better of me.
A dark figure with wild hair seemed to make its way through the heavy smoke, approaching me. Surprised and a bit alarmed, I took a hesitant step forward. "Doc?"
As the mysterious figure came out into the light, I couldn't help but smile slightly. With his goggles gone, Emmett's normally neatly combed hair had now taken on a drastically different look. His brown locks seemingly reached for the sky and had adopted a much more wild appearance. He spotted me and coughed a few times, trying to clear his throat. "Marty! Have you been out here the whole time?"
I was so relieved to see Emmett standing in front of me that I momentarily forgot that he had posed a question. In an effort to stop myself from staring, I hastily thought up a response. "Emmett! Is it over already?" My cheeks flushed as I quickly recalled that in an effort to stop Edna, I had skipped out on Emmett's demonstration. I knew that it was destined to be a disaster anyway but it didn't stop me from wanting to see Emmett's face as he took off.
"Oh, it's over alright. You missed a very…" He laughed softly, trying to find the right word. "…wild party." He noted my bemused expression and continued. "I'm afraid that I've been banned from the Expo for the next fifty years. If I were you, I wouldn't go back in, either. At least, not until all the broken glass is swept up…" Turning his back to me, his voice fell. "What was I thinking?"
My eyes drifted back to the ground. I knew that I should've told him about the rocket car and saved Emmett the embarrassment. Because of me, he was going to give up on science and…
"Naturally, the ionic wind generated by an electromagnet of that size is going to play havoc with a merely mechanical steering mechanism…" I looked back up at the ecstatic scientist who now seemed to be excitingly rambling on about future adjustments to the rocket car. Maybe it was just me but I could've sworn that I heard a hint of old Doc in his words. "Great Scott! That's it!" He exclaimed, throwing his hands above his head in triumph.
"Then you're not discouraged?" I asked, trying to make sense of the sudden change in attitude.
"Discouraged? By what? You mean what happened in there?" He gestured towards the Expo's doors and gave me a disbelieving look as I nodded. "That was a learning experience! The way I see it, it's those little mistakes along the way that advance us along the pathway of knowledge!" With an air of excitement, Emmett turned on his heel and gestured me to follow him. "Come on! There's no time to lose! Let's back to the lab!"
"Yeah, sure. Why don't you go and I'll meet up with you in a moment?" I gave him a small smile when a look of uncertainty crossed his features. "Go ahead." I urged. "I'm just going to go for a small walk and clear my head."
After a few persistent words from Emmett, I found myself at the gazebo just in front of the clock tower. Leaning against the rail, I looked up at the stars and let out an audible sigh. The image of Citizen Brown disappearing was burned into my memory and seemed to haunt me with every passing moment.
For the first time while time travelling, there was no Doc, in one form or another, here to help me. No older Doc and no Citizen Brown to guide me towards the right path. No one telling me what I should do to avoid disrupting the space-time continuum.
Edna had taken the DeLorean and there was no way of knowing what time period she went to and even if I did have some vague idea of where she went, there was no way of getting there. I was trapped in 1931 and I was completely and utterly alone.
My eyes grew wet as the wretched word echoed within my head. Alone. How could I trick myself into thinking that Doc would always be there for me? Perhaps it was because I had access to a time travelling car that could re-write Doc's fate and put him right back where he belonged.
Right beside me.
I reached up and undid my tie, letting it hang loosely around my neck. "I miss you, Doc…" I murmured under my breath. "Why'd you have to leave like this?"
All I had now was Emmett.
My hands gripped the rails of the gazebo tighter at the mere thought of him. I didn't deserve his friendship. I wasn't there to give Emmett the encouragement and attention that he deserved during the Expo. Everything had been for Doc.
"You seem lost in thought." I spun my body around to face the voice. The young scientist saw my shocked expression and gave a nervous laugh. "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."
My heart continued to hammer away in my chest as I tried to play it cool. "You didn't. I had a feeling that someone was standing nearby." I turned my back to him and coughed to try and hide the breathlessness within my voice. "Why are you here anyway?"
Emmett walked over next to me and leaned his back against the rail, eyeing me. "You never came back to the lab."
"I said that I'd be back later."
"It's been nearly two hours since I last saw you."
Holy shit. Was I really gone for two hours? I stared at him in disbelief. "You're kidding."
Emmett smiled slightly and shook his head. "One hour and fifty three minutes to be precise." The sound of the clock tower's minute hand drew our attention to the clock face briefly. "Correction: fifty four." Emmett added with a smirk.
"How'd you find me?" I was touched by his concern but it still didn't change the feeling that still raged within the pit of my stomach.
"To be perfectly honest, it wasn't hard." The scientist began. "I merely calculated your average walking speed by taking the amount of time since I last saw you and the distance to the potential areas you could occupy. I managed to narrow it down to here and the movie theatre." I blinked, completely in awe. He laughed and gave me a knowing look. "I'm kidding. Arthur McFly was walking past here earlier and told me where you were."
I smirked, shaking my head in faux disappointment. "I expected a lot more from you."
"Hence the previously stated explanation."
"You're such a show-off."
"Only around you." My eyes flickered to him briefly, unsure of what he meant by that. Whatever his intended interpretation was, he seemed to casually let the topic go and turn his attention back towards the various shops surrounding us that had begun to close for the night.
We remained in a comfortable silence for a few fleeting minutes. Just reflecting on the chaotic events of the day. Catching his eye, I decided to humor him and prompt the reason why he came looking for me in the first place. "You didn't come and get me just because it was getting late. So what's the real reason why you're here?"
Emmett offered me a friendly smile and a nudge. "How about you let me in on what's troubling you?"
There it was. There was the real reason why he went out of his way to find me. Concern. Concern for a friend. "I don't think that's such a good idea, Emmett." The last thing I wanted was him worrying about me; this was my burden to bear. "Don't get me wrong." I added defensively, seeing his sour expression. "I do appreciate your effort. It's just…"
"Just…?" Emmett waited for the end of my response but I found myself at a loss of words. I couldn't say that it didn't concern him because, indirectly, it sort of did. I mean, Citizen Brown WAS an alternate version of his older self. Not to mention, Edna had stolen his prized invention; a working time machine.
"A dear friend of mine…passed away." I carefully worded. I didn't think that Emmett would react so well if I had said: 'Your older, alternate-timeline self disappeared in my arms while Edna made off in a time-travelling DeLorean, thereby stranding me here in 1931 with no way of getting back to the year 1986.'
The young scientist's face fell. "Oh, how sad. I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry that it had to happen on the day of the Expo." I frowned, putting my elbow on the rail and resting my head on my palm. "I'm really happy for you. Honest." My lips curled into a small smile. "I know it's probably not obvious at the moment but I'm proud of you. Not letting your, ah, temporarily unsuccessful invention get in the way of passion for science.
Emmett gave a weak laugh. "Failures become successes with enough practice and determination. Failing is just another step in the scientific process and I'm more than happy to embrace it." Emmett moved forward towards the rail and adopted a similar stance to my own. "What were they like? Your friend, I mean."
"Oh, he was..." I trailed off once I realized just how complex the question was. It wasn't just Citizen Brown that I lost; it was the last version of older Doc that I had left. How I felt about losing Citizen Brown was very different than how I felt about losing Doc.
"Go on…" Emmett persisted, looking at me with his undivided attention and interest.
"He was the smartest man I ever knew." I began. "Ambitious. Determined. Innovative. He didn't let anything stand in his way." A genuine smile formed. "You know, I remember this one time while he was still working on his automatic dog feeder." I chuckled at the memory. Boy, was that a day. "He was tweaking it to try and get it working when his shirt got caught on the edge of the table." Grinning, I did a clumsy re-enactment of the memory. "So there he was, messing with is inner workings, when I called him from the other room. He actually got the damn thing working and, in his excitement, wanted to rush out and let me know."
"And?" Emmett was desperately trying to conceal his laughter towards my skit, making it clear that I was doing it some justice.
My gestures became more wild and elaborated as I became more involved in the memory. For some reason, I really wanted to convey Doc's personality and attributes for Emmett; for him to see Doc as I saw him. "He tried to sprint into the next room to tell me but when his shirt pulled against the table, it caught him so off-guard that he grabbed the nearest thing on the table: the dog food bowl, filled to the brim with wet dog food."
The other teen was full-on laughing at this point. Perhaps it was my over-the-top acting along with my rendition of Doc's mannerisms and expressions. Either way, it was evident that we were both having the time of our lives.
"…all over his clothes and the stains didn't come out for weeks!" I motioned towards the make-believe piles of dog food that now occupied my clothing. "And he still didn't give up! He shrugged it off and still went to find me. He told me about the success of his invention all while smelling like chicken and rice!"
"Your friend sounds like quite the character." Emmett gave me a sympathetic look. "He sounds like a great man. I wish I could have met him."
"Oh, believe me; you two would have gotten along famously." In some sort of perfect and messed up world, they'd be able to exist with me simultaneously; the younger and the older self. Keep Emmett while still being with Doc. With old Doc and the DeLorean gone, where would I go from here? No doubt some sort of time paradox would happen but to what scale? I mean, if I lived out the rest of my life in this time period, I could potentially be risking the safety from everyone in this universe.
"Marty? You're looking quite grim at the moment." Emmett bit his lip. "Did I bring up bad memories? It was hardly my intention but I apologize if I did so. I don't think I've developed social skills for all conversational situations yet so I'm sorry if I acted in an inappropriate manner."
"Emmett, you did nothing wrong." I jumped to his defense, not wanting to rid him of that joyous mood he held minutes before. Right now, he was the only version of Doc I had left and I wanted to keep him as happy as possible. "It's just that it's got nothing to do with you."
For the first time tonight, I couldn't read Emmett's expression. Was it disappointment? Confusion? Pity? "What?" I asked.
"You're a complete mystery to me, Marty." I was taken aback by his response, feeling a drastic change in tone. "Where you come from, what you're doing here…" He took a deep breath. "But there's one thing I do know. Whatever it is, it does have something to do with me."
"What makes you think that?"
"Well, it's difficult to accurately convey in words. It all seems very…" The scientist paused, searching for an appropriate word. "…artificial. If you could just give me an explanation…"
"Someday I will."
The request was so simple and innocent and yet, I found myself struggling to say the two words he wanted to hear. I swallowed hard. I would have to tell him. He deserved to know, after all. One day, I'd tell Emmett everything. Maybe on our deathbeds. I'd be sure to tell him about the DeLorean, the Old West, 1955, Biff.
"I promise, Emmett."
"Good." The teenager nodded, completely content with my promise. "You know, Marty…" He began again. "I wouldn't trade our time together for the world. In the short time that I've gotten to know you, you've become one of the closest friends that I've ever had."
"Same here, Emmett." I became aware of how close he had gotten and, while my cheeks colored from the proximity, I forced myself to ignore it and focus on what he had to say.
"What I'm trying to get at is…" He hesitated before patting my hand with his. "If you need to talk to someone about anything at all, I'd be happy to offer some insight or support."
By the way that Emmett was acted towards me, it was obvious that he hadn't been in such a close relationship before. His father, until today, had offered no warmth and judging by the way he seemed to avoid the subject of friends at school, I could guess that he was a loner. Saying those words to me was a big step for him and it really warmed my heart that he was able to open up to me like that. "Thanks, Emmett. I'll keep that in mind. The offer stands for you too."
"Thank you." An earnest look came over his face as he drew me into a hug.
I made an embarrassing noise of surprise. It really came out of the blue. Older Doc never had these spontaneous reactions; well, at least those that didn't come from doing science. With that thought in the back of my mind, I firmly hugged him back. I wouldn't let this Doc go.
"Wow, you're a bit affectionate." He laughed nervously, adjusting to my hold. "You're not going to leave again, right? Like when you disappeared for several months?"
"Judging by the way things are going, I'm not going to be leaving anytime soon."
Emmett's features lit up as he broke away from hug. "You're more than welcome to continue spending nights in my lab! Why, I bet we could get started on a new project tonight! I've written down hundreds, no, thousands of ideas and sketches in my books. With you by my side, we could accomplish anything!"
I nodded, unable to stop myself from smiling with excitement. "Can't wait."
Emmett gripped my hand and lightly pulled me out of the gazebo. "Let's not dilly-dally then! There's only so much time given to us and we're responsible for putting it to good use! We're going to have to pick up some supplies in the morning." He continued, leading me back in the direction of his laboratory. I tried to keep his pace but his excitement with the whole operation seemed to be an appealing motivator. "Some heavy duty wire, a few planks of wood, newspaper…"
Newspaper? I instantly recalled the newspaper I still had just under my overcoat. The newspaper had been there for so long, I'd forgotten all about it.
My pace slowed and I began to drag against Emmett's pull. He felt the resistance and raised an eyebrow. "What? You didn't twist your ankle, did you?"
"No…" I stopped completely and reached inside my jacket.
Feeling the familiar roughness within my hand, I pulled out the newspaper and looked at the front page article, complete with picture. My brain began working at a pace that was normally only reserved for math class as I looked from Emmett's confused face to the newspaper. It was crazy and it just might explode the universe but it was still an idea. Ripping out the front picture, I offered it to the scientist.
He eyed the piece of paper in my hand with caution. "What's that?"
"An explanation." I took Emmett's hand and placed the paper squarely on the palm before curling his fingers around it. "The one that I promised you." He tried to pull his hand back but I kept a sturdy hold on it. "You've gotta promise me something in return: don't look at it until you get the key to the city."
"Huh?" Confusion and uncertainty.
"Just promise. As a friend." His eyes met my own as he surveyed my desperate look. He was having so much difficulty comprehending the events and it was evident that it was bothering him.
"Key to the city? I just don't understand…"
"And you can't understand. Not for a long time." I added hastily. "It would do irreparable damage to…something." I didn't want to lay the whole space-time continuum hazard on him right then and there. We'd find out shortly anyway… "Just promise me." I urged.
He didn't like the sudden mystery over the seemingly trivial piece of paper and I'm sure that he wasn't too keen on how fraught I looked about it either. Emmett shook his head, a sign of utter defeat. He knew that he wasn't getting an answer out of me. "Okay. I promise."
I released his hand, letting him tenderly take it away. He carefully put it away and gave me a weary smile. "Is that all? No more secrets that you want to share?"
I hugged him again; like I've never hugged anyone before. With the photographic evidence of my time travels now in Emmett's possession, the universe could explode any minute. I had no idea how long it would take for the effect, if any, to take hold. I wanted to be with my greatest and most treasured friend one more time. "No, we're fine now."
"Marty…" His voice showed fear, sensing how worried I was and how urgently I clung to him.
"Everything's going to work out, Emmett." Squeezing him tightly one last time, I broke away. I took in his image and decided that I'd hold onto it until the very end. "I need you to go ahead. Go to the lab. I'm going to take my time getting there."
His skeptical expression was met with my genuine one. "You better not disappear like before. I am going to see you again, right?"
"Guaranteed." I answered. He waved and slowly began to leave. The trust that he had in me was the same kind that I had in him. Doc and Emmett had truly become one and the same.
I watched as Emmett ran off, leaving me on the streets of Hill Valley. The sounds of the night filling the silence that Emmett's voice used to occupy. Closing my eyes, I silently awaited my fate.
I pictured Emmett. Just as I saw him before he left. His messy hair left over from the Expo. The pale blue jumpsuit. The yellow scarf tucked in neatly. At a time where he looked the happiest: doing science.
A flash of light.
A few loud noises.
Opening my eyes, I watched with compete amazement as the DeLorean appeared right in front of me. It had worked. I thought there wasn't a chance in hell but there it was in all its glory. The timeline hadn't ripped apart. The universe was still intact somehow. "It worked…" I said with disbelief, walking towards the vehicle.
The door of the DeLorean opened and out he stepped, looking as dashing as ever. With his pink flowered shirt and yellow atom tie, he was a sight for sore eyes. We gradually walked towards each other, taking in each other's appearance. Doc was back. He was finally back.
"So, you were the same Marty." He started, eyeing me from head to toe. "Funny how memory can play tricks on a person. I remember you being much taller." He said playfully.
"Oh wow, you actually remembered me?" I felt my eyes begin to tear up. It was really him.
"I could never forget you. I carried that photo on me every day, wondering what you meant. When you didn't come back to the lab, I vowed to always keep my final promise to you. I'm glad I did."
I nearly jumped into his arms, embracing him. Fighting back tears, I buried my head into his shoulder. He was with me again.
I never considered Emmett and Doc as the same person. They had different mannerisms, different reactions and different personalities.
That was what I thought before.
It was at that moment, holding Doc as tightly as I could, that I realized that I was wrong all along. Emmett and Doc were one and the same. Seeing Doc step out of the DeLorean, I saw more of Emmett in him than I ever did before.
And all it took was the threat of a universal explosion to make me realize it.
"Me too, Doc. Me too."