While watching last weekend’s Doctor Who, my dear husband piped up and said ‘This is basically Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, isn’t it?’ Then he suggested that a crossover would be the Best Thing Ever. And so did a lot of the internet. Now, I’ve never done fanfic before, and I spent this week either migrained or hungover from my birthday. This has had only a cursory edit. So, y’know, I apologise in advance.
The TARDIS door swung open, sending a cloud of dust spiralling into the air. The glare of neon lights caused the Doctor to squint behind his sunglasses.
‘Well, you know when I said I promised you an adventure…’
Clara pushed past him, still adjusting her pith helmet. Her face fell when she took in her surroundings. They had landed on the pavement of a wide street jammed with glinting Buicks and Quattros. Crowds jostled to get into the vast, soulless shopping mall, their faces washed out by fluorescent lights.
‘It’s just a tiny detail,’ said Clara, ‘but I can’t help noticing that the Amazon’s looking a lot less… full of trees than it used to.’
The Doctor had already ducked back into the TARDIS and was studying readouts on one of the displays with a frown.
‘I was sure we were heading to Santa Maria de Nieva.’
Clara jabbed a finger at a road sign. ‘San Dimas. Close, but no rainforest.’
‘Look, don’t blame me,’ snapped the Doctor. ‘Anyone would get their calculations wrong when they had someone going on about seeing Paddington Bear in the wild every five minutes.’
Just then, two faces peered into the TARDIS. One of them was mostly hidden by a mop of messy dark hair, his mouth hanging open. The other ran a hand through his blond curls and blinked at the Doctor.
‘Woah, Rufus, what happened to your phonebox?’ asked the blond boy. ‘And, like, what happened to you?’
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. ‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Hey, dude, check this out,’ said the other boy, wandering into the TARDIS and stretching his arms wide. ‘It’s bigger on the inside!’
‘Well of course it is, you idiot,’ said the Doctor irritably. ‘Now if you’ll just—’
‘Woah,’ exclaimed the blond boy, running over to a battered electric guitar leaning against a wall. ‘Nice axe, Rufus!’
Before the Doctor could stop him, the boy picked up the guitar and launched into a 70s classic, complete with fret buzz and bum notes. The black-haired boy sat down cross-legged on the floor, nodding in approval. Clara leaned against the doorway, her mouth quirked up in a smile.
‘That’s quite enough of that, thanks,’ said the Doctor, snatching the instrument from him. ‘Anyway, can’t you read?’
He pointed at a sign taped to the wall, reading No Stairway To Heaven. The boy frowned and shrugged.
‘So, what’s the deal, Rufus? Why’d you come back?’
‘For a start, I’m not Rufus. I’m the Doctor.’
The black-haired boy stared at him, then at Clara. ‘Doctor? So is this your most excellently luscious nurse?’
‘Keep talking, and you’ll find out just how good I am at vasectomies,’ hissed Clara through gritted teeth.
‘Now that the pleasant greetings are out of the way, would you mind telling me who you are?’ asked the Doctor.
The boys looked at each other.
‘You don’t know who we are?’ said the dark-haired boy, his brow creasing in confusion.
‘But everyone knows us!’ protested the blond boy.
The Doctor leaned back on the TARDIS console. ‘Enlighten me, before I take up Clara’s suggestion.’
As if it was something they did every day, the boys struck a pose, their legs wide apart, broad grins on their faces.
‘I am Bill S Preston, Esquire,’ announced the blond boy.
‘And I am Ted Theodore Logan,’ added his black-haired friend.
‘And together, we are… Wyld Stallyns!’ they said together, holding invisible guitars and playing an enthusiastic riff.
Clara gaped at the pair. ‘Are you guys for real?’
‘Two platinum albums says we are!’ said Ted, high-fiving Bill and causing the Doctor to cover his face with his palm.
‘What year is this?’ he asked.
‘Rufus… sorry, Doctor, if you’ve come from the future, don’t you already know that?’ said Bill.
The Doctor felt his cheeks burning. He cleared his throat. ‘My instruments are on the blink,’ he lied.
‘Well, it’s 1988,’ said Bill, ‘and I’m guessing you came here about the metal dudes wandering around town.’
Clara stiffened. ‘Metal dudes?’ She and the Doctor exchanged looks. ‘What sort of “metal dudes”?’
Ted shrugged. ‘The sort that go around firing lasers at people. Guess they’re not fans of our music.’
‘Oh, this is not good. Not good at all,’ the Doctor muttered. ‘Clara, let’s go.’
He pulled his coat around him and stalked outside, straight into a glass door. The Doctor allowed himself a brief post-watershed bout of swearing, then peered at the new arrival. Inside, he could make out a battered phone directory and a scuffed plastic handset.
Another TARDIS? The Doctor felt his chest tightening. If it was a rival Timelord… it could be her.
‘You know, anyone would think you harbour a deep unspoken love for me.’ He threw his arms wide. ‘Spoiler alert: the feeling isn’t mutual.’
A deep voice answered from behind the new phonebox.
‘Well, I’m flattered, but we’ve just met.’
A rustle of fabric announced the appearance of the unknown Timelord. His bearded face was mostly hidden behind sunglasses; like the Doctor he wore a long dark coat and a black shirt. For a moment he examined the Doctor with an amused smile on his face.
‘Like your style, amigo, even if you’re a few centuries too late,’ he said.
‘What do you mean, “late”? I’ve been dressing like this since before you were knee-high to a grasshopper.’
The stranger leaned in. ‘Looks like your knowledge of quantum theory needs updating too.’
Bill and Ted emerged from the TARDIS, ran up and greeted him with fistbumps. Clara rolled her eyes.
‘Are you the babysitter?’ she asked.
‘Rufus has totally come to save the day!’ said Bill, grinning.
‘Oh, has he now?’ said the Doctor. ‘How’s he going to do that? Read his Penguin Book of Timey Wimey Things?’
Ted screwed up his face. ‘Hey, don’t talk trash about Rufus, dude.’
‘I come in peace,’ said Rufus, ‘but the Cybermen don’t. They’ve exploited a rift in the circuits of history—’
‘Yeah, can I just stop you there?’ said the Doctor, holding up a hand. ‘There are no “circuits of history”. Don’t teach your granny how to suck eggs.’
Clara sighed. ‘When you gentlemen have quite finished waving your brains at each other, maybe we could deal with that lot.’
She pointed down the road. A shimmering, metallic crowd were marching along, their metal shells clanking on the tarmac. Terrified faces pressed against the inside of shop windows, watching the army pass by. Bill and Ted looked at each other, their brows creased in concern.
‘What’re we gonna do about the metal dickweeds?’ asked Ted.
‘Not sure yet, but when we get our hands on them,’ said the Doctor, pulling out a pair of sunglasses and putting them on, ‘we’re going to throw them on the scrapheap.’
‘Woah, dude. This is a most heinous situation.’
The crater where the Circle-K used to stand was still smouldering, rubble scattered over the ground. Bill and Ted were slumped on the pavement, their heads in their hands.
‘Looks like this was where they landed,’ muttered Clara. She picked up a battered piece of metal and her stomach lurched when she realised it was a chunk of Cyberman armour.
‘But what would Cybermen want in 1980s San Dimas?’ asked the Doctor to nobody in particular, stroking his chin.
‘If they want to mess up the future of the Two Great Ones, this would be the perfect time,’ said Rufus, pointing at Bill and Ted.
The Doctor looked them up and down, taking in their scruffy T-shirts and jeans. A broad grin crept over his face.
‘You two… Great Ones? Oh, that’s good. That is good!’ He clapped his hands. ‘A great disguise. Do you have any other regenerations up your sleeve? Maybe “unpopular politician” or “overrated sci-fi show writer”?’
‘Better than that, rude Doctor dude,’ said Bill, folding his arms. ‘We got a plan.’
As he stood in the middle of the alley, Rufus made a mental note to tell future Bill and Ted that their plan needed a little work. The dustbin and metal pipes they’d scavenged fit perfectly on him with a little help from the sonic screwdriver.
‘There’s no way they’ll fall for this,’ he’d protested.
‘They don’t have to,’ said Clara. ‘We just need to distract them for long enough.’
‘As soon as they scan the area they’ll alert their leader,’ said the Doctor, ‘then we just have to hope your Great Ones know what they’re doing.’
Rufus turned his head with difficulty, trying not to make his DIY armour rattle, and looked at the rest of the gang huddled behind a giant skip. Clara was fidgeting with a small glinting object, while the Great Ones chuckled quietly and punched each other’s shoulders. Maybe the Doctor had a point. They did get better, eventually, but leaving Earth’s fate in the hands of two puerile teenagers was verging on the insane.
A rhythmic, squeaky thudding heralded the arrival of the Cyber Leader. Small cracks snaked across the pavement as his feet landed. He came to a halt in front of Rufus.
‘Please… state… your… ID,’ he barked, his clipped tones echoing off the slimy alley walls.
‘Sixty… nine… dude!’ came the reply. Behind the skip, Bill and Ted celebrated their ventriloquism skills with some air guitar.
The Cyber Leader buzzed, his head jerking up and down. ‘The stated ID is invalid.’
‘It’s perfectly valid,’ shouted the Doctor, stepping out from his hiding place. ‘Haven’t you ever seen a Mark II Cyberman GTI before?’
‘Target is organic,’ said the Cyber Leader, turning round. ‘Target will be deleted.’
The Doctor sucked his teeth noisily. ‘That’s a pity. It’s a shame your target has to see you like that before he shuffles off this mortal coil.’
‘Look at you, man. You’re a disgrace. Your armour is filthy, your antenna is bent and you’ve got dirt on your shoes.’
The Doctor pointed downwards. The Cyber Leader bent over. As he did so, Rufus toppled sideways and rolled himself down the alley, while Bill and Ted leapt in front of their enemy.
‘Dude, he’s got metal pants!’ cried Bill.
‘Be strong, my friend,’ said Ted, gripping one side of the Cyber Leader. ‘Do it for the medieval babes.’
They pulled up with all their strength. There was a hideous metallic screech and the Cyber Leader uttered something that sounded like a scream. It started stomping around, its hands clasped around its crotch. The Great Ones staggered to their feet and high-fived.
‘We just totally Melvin-ed a Cyberman, Ted!’
Clara sauntered up, casually throwing a gold hairpin from one hand to the other.
‘So, you’ve got five seconds to call off this invasion, before I get careless with this,’ she said.
‘Error,’ burbled the Cyber Leader, staggering into the wall. ‘San Dimas will be deleted.’
The end of the alley grew dark with the shapes of hundreds of Cybermen.
‘Help me out of this thing, will you?’ yelled Rufus, wriggling around on the ground. The Doctor ran up and started hauling him out of his metal costume.
‘This metal dude is going to explode most prodigiously,’ said Bill. He pointed at the skip. ‘Let’s lay low.’
The army of Cybermen were already halfway down the alley, guns raised.
The tips of their guns glowed blue in the gloom. Clara raised the pin and slammed it into the Cyber Leader’s face at full speed. He fizzed, uttered a garbled string of nonsense and crumpled to the ground. Seeing their chief fall, the other Cybermen lowered their guns, spun round and began to march away.
Two grubby faces popped out of the skip, their eyes wide.
‘That… was… most excellent,’ breathed Bill, hauling himself out and picking rubbish from his clothes.
‘The Circle-K has been most righteously avenged,’ added Ted.
Rufus was stretching his tired limbs and smoothing out the creases in his coat.
‘I don’t know how we can repay you, Doctor,’ he said.
‘You could start by teaching your Great Ones a bigger repertoire,’ he replied with a grin.