Apologies for the posting delay.
Title: and our minds will learn to fly
Fandom: Doctor Who/Lost
Rating: PG (minor swearing)
Characters: Hurley, the Tenth Doctor
Warnings (if any): zilch
Spoilers for: Nothing really, series 1 and 2 at most
Notes: The title comes from the song “Common Market Madrigals” by Jefferson Airplane.
“Dude, what? You’re breaking up, I can’t hear you. No. Yes. Totally. Okay, Sayid. It’s a date. You know what I mean. Next Wednesday. I’ll meet you at the airport.” Hurley pauses and gives his cell phone a shake. “Wait, what? Okay, man. See you then. Bye. Bye.”
Hurley drops the phone into his jacket pocket and turns back to the Slurpee machine, picking out an electric yellow straw. He sticks in his cup, pleased. It clashes nicely with the violently blue drink.
“Take that, stupid Dharma smoothies,” he says, and trods up the aisle toward the cash register.
The cashier, blonde and bored, pops her gum. “That’s $4.18,” she says, holding out a hand, and Hurley stares.
“What,” he says. “What. No. That’s not… no.”
“Listen, man,” the girl says, “I don’t price this crap, I just—”
Her eyes grow wide.
Hurley gestures with his cup. “I know,” he says, “it’s crazy, right? Can I go pour this in a smaller size or something? Because there’s no way—”
“Behind you,” the girl whispers, pointing.
He drops the cup on the floor and turns with his hands raised. “After all the—okay, man,” he says, blue Slurpee sloshing cold over his sandaled feet, “put the gun down, and we can all just…oh. Oh. Dude.”
“Holy shit,” the girl squeaks.
Hanging from the ceiling is a—a thing. A thing is pretty much all Hurley has the vocabulary to narrow it down to, because… it is a thing. That is yellow. And scaly. And has fangs. And… tentacles. And it looks hungry, or really pissed off, or something, because it is snarling at the pair of them viciously, tentacles tangling in the air.
“Dude,” Hurley repeats.
The bell over the door jangles.
“Hello, you sneaky bugger,” a skinny man in a brown suit says, grinning widely. He sticks his hands in his pockets and rocks back on his heels. “Did you miss me?”
“Dude,” Hurley says over the sound of toppling shelves. “Dude!”
“I know!” the cashier snaps shakily. “I know! Shut up!”
The two of them are huddled behind the cash register—or, at least, huddled as best as anyone with Hurley’s bulk can. The cashier looks close to tears. “What the hell is that thing?” she whispers. “And what the hell is that guy doing to it?”
Hurley seriously considers peeking over the counter for a very long moment, and then dismisses it. “Dunno,” he says, “but he’s winning? At least, I hope he is.”
With a thunderous crash, all the glass windows at the front of the store smash at once. Hurley clutches at his head frantically.
“Oi!” the man in the brown suit hollers. “You coward! Get back—oh, forget it. You lot,” he says, leaning over the counter, “he’s gone, you can come out from behind there.”
The girl doesn’t wait to be told twice. She grabs her coat from her stool and tears out of the store. Hurley stands more slowly; he grabs the edge of the counter and pulls himself upright, feeling queasy.
“Dude,” he says. “What just happened.”
The skinny man whips out a pair of black glasses and puts them on, squinting at a bit of yellow goo that is dripping from the ceiling. “That was what’s called a Hrudl,” he says, rolling his R spectacularly. “From the planet Uoh Three. And there are a lot more headed this way, so unless you’re planning on being eaten alive anytime soon, I’d suggest you make yourself scarce.”
“Hold on,” Hurley says, looking at the spilled Slurpee spreading across the floor. “This isn’t—this is real, isn’t it? I’m not having another psychotic breakdown, or something, am I?”
The man eyes him carefully. “No,” he says. “This is very… completely… real. You don’t have a lot of those, do you? Psychotic breakdowns?”
“Um,” Hurley says. “Well. I got… I got better. Mostly.”
“Nevermind that,” the man says, tucking his glasses away. “You want to give me a hand? With the Hrudls? I’m sort of short a few hands—and, okay, by a few hands I mean people, I don’t usually travel alone, I don’t normally have more than two—hold on, what’s your name?”
“Hugo Reyes,” Hurley says, sticking a hand out, “but, uh, you can call me Hurley, if you want. And… yeah. Okay. Yeah.”
“Hurley! Lovely name, pleasure to meet you. Now, can you do me a favour, Hurley? Run!” This last is shouted; Hurley winces and drops his hand, watching as the man turns and runs, grubby white Chucks crunching over the broken glass.
“Oh, man,” he says weakly. “Dude, I don’t… I don’t do running.”
But then a few more of the freaky yellow aliens swarm out from the back room, and he follows anyway.
Breathing hard, Hurley rounds the corner into an alley dimly lit by a blinking orange street light. “Hello?” he calls, peering warily into the darkness. “Skinny dude with the—hair—hello? Should I still be running?”
From behind a dumpster there comes a loud clanging and an incoherent shout, then the thin man in the brown suit hops out into the shaky pool of light. “Hurley!” he says delightedly, scrubbing at the dirt on his cheek. “You made it! Listen, if this is going to be a thing, you and I, the running is kind of part of the gig. Just—just a warning.”
“What gig?” Hurley says. “Dude, I don’t even know what your name is.”
“Oh! Sorry! So sorry. I’m the Doctor!” the man says, pumping Hurley’s hand enthusiastically. “Before you ask—no, just the Doctor’s fine, thanks, no last name that goes with that. And the gig is—well, right now the gig is, basically, try and save the world from an alien invasion? Unless you have other plans. In which case, I completely understand.”
From a pile of garbage he pulls out what looks like a very large, sleek, silver machine gun, loaded with an odd sloshing green liquid. Hurley raises his eyebrows, and smiles.
“Nah,” he says. “I’m cool.”
The man called the Doctor grins, the lines of his angular face lit orange.
“Oh my God,” Hurley says. “The look on that guy’s face. And then when the Strudel—”
“Hrudl,” the Doctor corrects.
“—Hrudl thing exploded? Man.” Hurley shakes his hair back. He can’t stop grinning. “That was awesome. You do this kind of thing for a living?”
“Well, sort of,” the Doctor says. “And I must say that you, Mr Reyes, seemed remarkable unfazed by the whole thing.”
Hurley shrugs. “Well,” he says, following the Doctor down the alley again, “I don’t want to brag, or anything, but I’ve seen some kind of weird stuff in my day. Like, seriously weird stuff. So, aliens? I can totally take aliens.”
“Now that is a very good—hello!” the Doctor cries, running over to a tall blue phone booth wedged between two dumpsters. “Here she is. Hurley, meet the TARDIS. Isn’t she lovely?”
Hurley blinks. “Wait,” he says, “your spaceship is a phone booth?”
The Doctor widens his eyes at Hurley. “Police box,” he says with exasperation, “police box, you—you Yank. Anyway, she just looks like one. This here’s a special police box.”
The Doctor pulls open the flimsy wooden door and gestures majestically.
“Um,” Hurley says, spreading his hands. “Dude, I know you’re pretty skinny, and all, but the two of us in there? It might be kind of a squeeze.”
“Oh, go on,” the Doctor says gleefully. “Really.”
Hurley steps in.
“Dude, this is so freaking awesome,” Hurley says. “It’s right out of Star Trek or something.”
The Doctor leans back against the console as the time rotor whirs, grinning. “Oh, come on,” he says. “The TARDIS is much cooler than Star Trek. Aren’t you, old girl? Eh?”
“So, wait,” Hurley says. “If you’re British, where’d you get the time machine?”
“Oh,” the Doctor says. “I’m not… I’m not British. I’m… honourary, at best. And she’s not just a time machine, she’s a time and space machine, very important distinction.”
“So if you’re not British, you’re… what. Are you an alien too? Oh, my God. You’re an alien.”
“Maybe,” the Doctor says.
Hurley mulls this over for a minute. “Okay,” he says. “I can take that.”
The Doctor folds his arms, looking impressed. “That was…that was easy,” he says. “So tell me, Hurley, what other weird stuff have you seen?”
Hurley sits down on the jump seat. “Dude,” he says feebly. “This is going to take awhile.”
“Believe me when I say I have all the time in the world,” the Doctor says. “Anyway, first of all, I’m getting itchy just drifting around here, so if you had one trip to make, anywhere in time and space—where’d it be? We can chat on the way.”
Hurley looks at his hands. “That is…dude, that is some kind of question,” he says. “Let me guess. I can’t change the past, so going back in time to before… to before everything… that would be a no no.”
“That would be correct,” the Doctor says.
“And visiting dead friends before they die—”
“I’ve… no. Sorry. Bad experience with that once, nearly caused reality to implode.”
“Right,” Hurley says. “See, I get the rules. I watch a lot of scifi. Okay, how about. Um. A Jefferson Airplane concert?”
The Doctor grins manically. “I knew I liked you,” he crows, and runs about the console throwing levers and spinning dials. “San Francisco! October 16, 1965. You’ll love it.”
“I gotta warn you,” Hurley calls over the sound of the TARDIS in action, “like I said, I watch a lot of scifi, and if you’re, like, a crazy alien dictator type person trying to take over the world or something, my friend Sayid? Will totally kick your ass. He knows kung fu. Iraqi kung fu. He was a torturer during the Gulf War. For serious. I saw him kill a man using his ankles once.”
The Doctor sits down beside Hurley and braces his feet against the console, twisting his own ankles speculatively. “Now that,” he says seriously as his soles squeak, “is a very impressive party trick.”
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Hurley says, swinging his feet.