Like pretty much every kid his age, Marty McFly wasn’t a stranger to alcohol. He’d been to enough parties to be able to recognise what had booze in it and what didn’t. He knew what his limits were, and knew how to stick to them, meaning that whenever he was at those parties, his fun wouldn’t be ruined by too much alcohol in his system. Most drinks made him more relaxed and cheerful, as long as he kept relatively sober.
Unlike everyone else his age, however, when Marty got drunk, he didn’t get crazy, or giggly, or flirty. He didn’t get happy. Marty got sad. He got honest, and quite frankly his thoughts got dark . He’d learned this after blacking out at a party at Jennifer’s and waking up on his girlfriend’s bed, Jennifer holding him close and telling him how much she loved him, and how much she appreciated him being there and how she was going to help him. Marty had had no recollection of what had happened at all, or what he had said. Jennifer had quietly explained to him about how he had basically started bawling once he got past three drinks, saying how he was worthless and would never amount to anything and how it wasn’t as if he was ever going to achieve anything so why should he bother trying? Marty just stared at his feet as Jennifer had talked, before quietly admitting that it was, in fact, true and that he never really had the guts to say it while sober.
Since that incident, Marty had made a promise to himself to keep the boozing to a minimum while at parties, more for Jennifer’s sake than his own. He quite frankly didn’t care what happened to him, but he didn’t want to scare his girlfriend like that again.
Some days, however, it was just too hard not to get absolutely shitfaced.
It had been rough, to begin with. Marty’s alarm had failed to go off, meaning that he had had to skip breakfast in order to get to school on time. As a result of rushing off so fast, he’d forgotten to get himself any lunch. He’d ended up being late anyway and had landed himself in detention. Then, as he was leaving the boys’ bathrooms on the first floor of the science building, he’d been shoved around by Needles and his friends, insults over his friendship with Doc being hurled at him, along with horrible accusations. The more Marty denied it, the more he got shoved until he was eventually forced to admit to some of the horrible things. They’d laughed, insulted him again and left, leaving Marty not only late for his next class but thoroughly beaten, and not just physically. He’d ended up failing his Physics test, despite all the help that Doc had given him, and when he’d gotten his English essay back, he’d barely scraped a D. When he eventually got home, he was subjected to getting his ear talked off by his mother over how poor his grades were and how he needed to work harder and how it was probably Jennifer’s fault for being such a bad influence on him and how Doc clearly wasn’t helping him at all. Marty had simply stood there and quietly muttered an agreement to everything she told him. By the time she had eventually finished, Marty said that he wasn’t hungry and went straight to his bedroom, despite having not eaten anything that day.
So one would imagine Marty was pretty upset by the time his family went to bed.
He’d waited until he could hear the sound of his mother snoring from the bedroom opposite his before he’d quietly crept out of bed, heading into the kitchen and rooting through her liquor cabinet. He found an unopened bottle of whiskey at the back of the cupboard and dug it out, cracking it open and taking a large swig straight from it. It burned his throat and made his eyes water but Marty kept drinking anyway.
He continued to drink, in fact, until he couldn’t remember much and wondered how on Earth he had somehow made it, barefoot and still in nothing more than pajamas and a dressing gown, all the way from Lyon Estates to Doc’s house, which was at least a mile and a half as the crow flies. He didn’t care enough to wonder when he’d decided to come here and didn’t have the time to think about it as he felt his stomach lurch violently. He dropped the mostly-empty bottle of whiskey onto the concrete, where it shattered immediately and sent broken glass flying everywhere, and fell to his knees before starting to puke his guts out, egesting all of the booze he’d consumed over the past hour.
Doc had been relaxing in his garage by the heater, immersed in a copy of
Journey to the Centre of the Earth,
when he’d been interrupted from his reading by the sound of something smashing outside, immediately followed by retching and splattering noises that were unmistakably those of someone being sick. Grumbling under his breath, he bookmarked his page and got up.
“I swear, I’m sick of these inebriated degenerates vomiting all over the front of my property,” Doc grumbled, giving Einstein a pat before he slipped on some shoes and headed for the door. He yanked it open, heading towards the figure hunched over in his driveway.
“Hey you, get off my property otherwise I’ll - Marty?!”
It was indeed his young friend, doubled over on the tarmac with pale vomit clinging to his chin. He was trembling all over, a smashed bottle of whiskey beside him. Marty’s hands had been cut up by the broken glass when he’d fallen to his knees, thin trickles of blood mixing with everything else already on the pavement. Doc immediately rushed over to the teenager, slipping Marty’s arm around his shoulders and helping the teen to his feet.
Marty let out a pitiful whimper and allowed himself to be pretty much carried into Doc’s garage, his body sagged against the older man’s weakly. Doc helped him down onto the couch before heading back outside to hose away the mess. By the time he returned, Marty had curled up on the couch, whimpering quietly with his arms wrapped tightly around his stomach.
“It hurts, Doc…”
Doc frowned and knelt down beside the couch, running his fingers through Marty’s hair. Marty whined and pulled away, burying his face in the couch cushions. He curled up a little tighter with a soft whimper. Einstein whined quietly, his head resting on the boy’s arm, tongue gently licking Marty’s cheek in an attempt to soothe the boy. Marty weakly lifted a hand, giving the dog a scratch behind the ear.
Doc sighed and got up, going to fetch his young friend a glass of water and a first aid kit to mend the boy’s bleeding hands. He gently prompted Marty to drink it when he returned. “Marty, c’mon, you need to drink something other than whiskey.”
Marty shook his head. “I don’t want any…”
“Marty,” Doc sighed, giving his friend a gentle nudge. “Your body needs water. Alcohol is a diuretic which causes your body to lose more water than it takes in. You need to drink something or you’ll get dehydrated.”
“So what?” Marty grumbled. “What does it matter?”
“Marty?” Doc frowned. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means exactly w-what you think it does, Doc,” Marty shot back. “What does it matter if I get dehydrated? Maybe I’ll die. That’d be fucking great, wouldn’t it?”
Now Doc was just worried. “What makes you think that?”
“B-because my life’s a fucking joke, Doc!” Marty exclaimed suddenly. “I - I got a mom who drinks more booze than she breathes oxygen, I got a dad who’s never stood up for - for himself in his life, I got a brother who works night shifts at fucking Burger King and a sister who can’t keep a boyfriend for longer than a week. I’m just another in the long line of failures in my family.”
“Marty that isn’t true-”
“Doc, you wanna know what happened to me today? I woke up late and had to skip breakfast, and forgot my lunch. I got detention for being late to school. I got beaten up in the boys’ bathrooms and they made me tell them that you and I have been doing gross shit together even though we haven’t. I failed my Physics test even though you were helping me and I barely passed my English essay, and when I got home I got yelled at by my mom for having shit grades and I just went straight to bed without eating anything. I’ve had fuck all to eat today, I’m tired, my stomach hurts and instead of talking this through with my own goddamn parents I’m stuck in your garage because you’re the only person on this whole damned Earth that will listen to me!”
After his tirade, Marty flopped onto his back on the couch, tears beading at the corners of his eyes. “But what does it matter, Doc? Who cares if I’m gonna end up a failure like the rest of my family?”
“I care,” Doc said softly. “You know I do.”
“That makes one of us,” Marty replied bitterly.
Doc frowned. “Marty, you know I’ve always cared about you. I always will. I don’t think you’ll grow up to be a failure.”
“How do you know?” Marty replied bitterly.
“Because I like to think I know you pretty well, and I know that you’re too damn stubborn to just give up whenever you hit an obstacle. You’re smart and resourceful and I know that’s going to get you far in life, despite what you might think. Now, come on, sit up. I need to tend to those cuts on your hands.”
Slowly, Marty managed to sit up, resting his bleeding hands palm-up on his legs. Doc picked up the first aid kit and grabbed a stool, sitting in front of Marty and gently taking one hand at a time. He cleaned the boy’s wounds, making sure to remove any shards of broken glass which may have been stuck in his flesh, before adding a stitch or two to the worst of the cuts and wrapping his hands up with bandages. Marty simply sat there in silence as Doc tended to his injuries. Einstein lay his head in Marty’s lap, giving the boy a gentle nudge every time Marty winced.
Once Doc had the teen all fixed up, he gave Marty a small, reassuring smile before going to clear away the medkit. By the time he returned, Marty was curled up on his side on the couch, his arms wrapped around his stomach and his eyes shut tightly. Concerned, Doc knelt on the floor in front of the boy. “Marty…?”
Marty’s eyes opened slowly and he gingerly sat upright, clearly in pain. “...c-can I have an aspirin…?”
“Of course,” Doc said softly. He got up and went to get the boy the painkillers, passing him a dose and nudging the glass of water back into his hands again. Reluctantly, Marty swallowed the small tablet with a mouthful of water. As he did so, he realised just how incredibly thirsty he was and, before Doc could blink, Marty had downed the rest of the glass of water. He returned to laying curled up on the couch once more. Einstein jumped up to sit on the couch beside him, curled up against Marty’s side with his head resting on Marty’s leg.
Sighing, Doc settled on the floor next to the couch, lightly brushing his fingers through Marty’s hair. Marty seemed to relax a little bit at that. Doc pressed a gentle kiss to Marty’s forehead before going to retrieve a blanket for him.
“Hey, Doc?” Marty called quietly as Doc dug a blanket out of one of the drawers near his bed.
“Yes Marty?” Doc headed back over with the blanket, gently wrapping the teenager up in it.
“Y-you don’t mind if I crash here for tonight, do you?”
“You honestly thought I’d toss you out?” Doc quirked his lips into a smile. “Of course you can stay for the night.”
“Thanks, Doc,” Marty smiled weakly. He winced as he sat up, still hugging his stomach tightly. “Ow…”
“Would you like a hot water bottle?” Doc asked softly. “Your stomach must still be very painful.”
“Y-yes please,” Marty nodded. Doc went to fill the kettle up, getting a hot water bottle out of the cupboard along with two mugs and the hot chocolate mix. Once the kettle had boiled, he filled the hot water bottle up for Marty and made up two mugs of hot chocolate, carrying the mugs and the bottle back over to the teenager. He set the mugs down on the table before getting Marty settled with the hot water bottle.
Marty cocooned himself in a huddle of blankets on the couch, the hot water bottle resting against his sore stomach. Doc took a seat beside him and passed the boy one of the mugs of hot chocolate, holding the other in both hands. Marty blew on the drink before taking a few small sips. “Thanks, Doc…”
“Anytime, kiddo.” Doc smiled as he sipped his own drink. He grabbed the television remote, turning the TV on and scrolling through the channels until he found a few episodes of Star Trek. Setting the remote down, he pulled Marty a little closer to him and the pair watched the television, Einstein snoozing by Marty’s side.
At some point towards the end of the first episode, Doc gently placed his empty mug on the table and turned to take Marty’s as well. He found that the teen had drifted off against his side, empty mug loosely resting in his lap. Smiling, Doc set Marty’s mug down on the table beside his own and turned the television off. He pulled the teen a little closer to him, unable to hide a grin as he saw the way Marty curled up slightly against his side. The older man brought the blanket up a little more around his friend’s shoulders, adjusting his position so that he was lying against the arm of the sofa with Marty against him.
Marty mumbled something under his breath, wriggling his way up to lie against Doc’s chest, his head under Doc’s chin. The inventor brought the blanket up over them and wrapped his arms gently around the teenager, letting his own eyes drift shut. It wasn’t long at all before they had both fallen asleep. The lab went quiet.
Marty woke the next morning to the feeling of the surface under his head moving up and down, accompanied by quiet snoring and the rhythmic feeling of breath blowing against the top of his head. Yawning quietly, the teenager lifted his head up and looked. He was met with the sight of Doc laying against the arm of the sofa, both arms wrapped around the teen and his eyes closed. Marty figured it was probably the most relaxed he’d ever seen Doc. A small smile tugged at his lips and he lay his head back down, perfectly happy with getting a few more minutes of sleep.
Marty managed to get another hour of sleep before there was a change in the breathing pattern of the older man and Doc’s eyes cracked open. Confusion hit him to begin with, wondering why on Earth his blanket was so warm. He thought it might be Einstein for a moment, before the memories of the previous night came back to him. Glancing downwards, he was met with the sight of Marty asleep on his chest, one of the teen’s arms draped around him and the blanket falling loosely off his shoulders. Einstein was still asleep by their feet.
As Doc moved to pull the blanket back up, Marty shifted a little and opened his eyes, blinking sleepily. He looked up at the scientist and cracked a small smile. “Mornin’, Doc,” He said through a yawn as he rubbed his eyes. “Sleep well?”
“Best night’s sleep in months,” Doc grinned, lightly ruffling Marty’s already-messy hair. “What about you?”
Marty grinned. “I don’t think I’ve ever slept that well, at least not since I was a kid.”
“You still are a kid,” Doc teased, ruffling Marty’s hair again.
“Gah! Doc!” Marty whined and swatted at his hand. “Quit it! I’m not a kid!”
“Yes you are,” Doc smirked, but let his arm fall back to around the teen again.
“I’m only a kid to you ‘cause you’re an old man,” Marty retorted, sticking his tongue out.
Doc scoffed. “Oh, so I’m an old man now, am I?”
“Oh that’s it.” Doc abruptly sat up, eliciting a yelp from the teenager, who slipped off his chest and fell onto the other half of the sofa, and a whine from Einstein, who Marty had fallen on top of. Einstein grumbled and jumped off the couch as Marty lay giggling on his back.
“Come on!” The teen whined. “That wasn’t fair!”
“It was too!” Doc laughed. “You called me old!”
“You are old, Doc!”
“Oh that is it, McFly!”
In an instant, Marty had shot up off the couch and raced away, Doc hot on his heels. Marty was laughing like mad as Doc chased after him. “Come on, Doc!” Marty laughed. “I was joking!”
“Oh were you now?!” Doc grinned as he managed to grab hold of Marty’s arm, preventing him getting any further. Before Marty could react, Doc had wrapped both arms tightly around him from behind, pinning his arms to his sides.
“Doc!” Marty gave a half-hearted wriggle in his friend’s grip in a weak attempt to get away. He was still laughing. “Lemme go!”
Doc just grinned, panting slightly from his brief few moments of running. “I don’t think so, kiddo.”
“Doc!” Marty giggled. “Alright fine, you’re not that old, okay?”
“Better.” Doc released his grip on the teenager, chuckling as Marty flattened his hair down and leaned against the workbench. After a few moments of catching their breath, Marty groaned softly, sinking down to sit on the floor by the workbench with his head in both hands. Doc frowned and knelt down beside him. “Are you okay?”
“You got an aspirin?” Marty asked from between gritted teeth. “Th-that running made my hangover worse. I mean it wasn’t that bad to begin with, but…”
“I’ll be right back,” Doc said, getting to his feet and heading over to the medicine cabinet. He retrieved some aspirin and a fresh glass of water, taking both items back to the teen on the floor.
“Thanks, Doc.” Marty knocked back the tablet with a mouthful of water, grimacing as he tasted a hint of the bitter pill brushing over his tongue. He shuddered and finished the rest of the glass of water before struggling to his feet.
Doc helped him up, guiding him back over to the couch. Marty flopped down against the couch cushions with another groan as Doc took a seat beside him. “How are you feeling?”
“A - a little better, but mostly just everything hurts,” Marty sighed quietly.
throw up last night,” Doc supplied unhelpfully. “I doubt you’ll want to eat much, but I’ll cook you something when you feel up to it.”
“Thanks, Doc,” Marty smiled a little despite his persistent pounding headache. He leaned against the older man with another yawn. Doc slipped an arm around his shoulders. “Good thing it’s Saturday, huh?”
“I would say so, yes, considering you’re suffering from a rather nasty hangover.” Doc ran a hand through Marty’s hair. “I think you should just stay here for today.”
“Damn, and I was planning on heading home,” Marty remarked sarcastically, pouting.
Doc snorted in amusement and ruffled Marty’s hair lightly again. “Well too bad for you, but I think it would be best if you stayed here and rested that hangover off.”
“You’re the doc, Doc,” Marty shrugged, making himself comfortable up against Doc’s side. Doc smiled a little and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, pulling him close. Marty smiled a little, laying his head on Doc’s shoulder. “Thanks, Doc. Y’know, for helping me out, and letting me stay the night and stuff.”
“It wasn’t as if I could get up to kick you out,” Doc teased. “You fell asleep on top of me!”
“Hey, you were warm and comfortable and I was probably still a little drunk, okay?” Marty smirked. “Just ‘cause I puked didn’t mean
the alcohol left my system, y’know?”
“A little drunk ?” Doc balked. “It looked like you’d had most of that whiskey bottle. It’s probably a good thing that you were sick!”
“Shut up,” Marty smirked, lightly elbowing his friend in the ribs. He snuggled up against him with a small smile. “Seriously, though, Doc. Thank you.”