Title: "A Really Nice Shade of Blue", part 1/10(ish)
A Top Gear/Doctor Who(/Torchwood/Sarah Jane Adventures/Big Finish) crossover
by [personal profile] melannen
Characters: Bessie, Oliver, a somewhat modified Nissan Figaro, a not-exactly-factory-model Fiat Panda, a Type 9 TARDIS in the guise of a police box, TGD and K9. (Also a bunch of anthropoid apes, but let's face it, no-one here watches Top Gear for the monkeys.) Gen, w/canon ships & subtext.
Story summary: "Tonight on Top Gear: James May fixes something that has been broken for a very long time, Richard Hammond is troubled in love, and I get abducted by an alien. Oh, and we also lark about on the Top Gear test track a lot and put a star who you've probably never heard of, but James really wants to go on a date with, in our reasonably priced car."
Disclaimer: For all I know, the Stig actually is an alien.
Notes: This is set, for Top Gear people, during the filming of an alternate S14; for Torchwood people, the autumn after Children of Earth; and for the Doctor, sometime between Journey's End and The End of Time. Also, I am not good with getting WIPs finished expeditiously, so it might be awhile till Chapter 2. But [community profile] crossovers wants us to post WIPS. :D Originally posted at [community profile] topgearslash.

Your special multimedia bonus enrichment for this chapter: Max Warp, the Big Finish thinly veiled audio crossover in which it is revealed that the Doctor thinks a Top Gear taping is the sort of place to bring a girl for a special night out. I think we all agree that he is correct. (Warning, this audio contains graphic depiction of Richard's crash, but spoiler:he isn't really dead.)





"It's one of the grand reassuring constants of the universe, this show," the Doctor said, and put his feet up on Rhys's coffee table.

It had been rather a strange week for Rhys. Granted, it'd been a weird few months - with only him and a rather fragile Gwen left to handle all the various things that tended to show up in Cardiff, it was eventful even by his new, post-Torchwood standards, but he'd been adapting fairly well, he thought, to facing down a new alien menace every week or two.

Then a rubbishy-looking old blue police box had appeared in what was left of the Plass, and a skinny, twitchy bloke with a suit and really bad hair had run out to where they were still sorting through rubble, and demanded to know what the bloody hell Jack had done to the Rift.

The next thing he'd asked, inevitably, of course, was, "And where's Jack run off to, anyway? Playing the irresponsible cad again, is he?" and oh, that'd gone down well.

So now, while the TARDIS parked on the rift trying to "untangle the polarities" enough to pick up a proper power charge, and who knew how long that'd be, Rhys had a moody Time Lord crashing at his and Gwen's flat. It said something about Rhys's life now that he found the domesticity quite a lot more bizarre than, oh, helping Corporal Andy try to lure a superintelligent shade of blue out of a tree. Which he'd just come back from doing, to find, after hosing off the scared-shade-of-blue effluvia in the garage, his wife and the Time Lord sitting on his couch like a matched set of depressed bookends. They were surrounded by a fortress of empty cartons of ginger ice cream from the Asian grocery down the way, and were watching really terrible telly to distract themselves from the really terrible things they're all tired of remembering.

"This show is one of the constants of the universe?" Gwen raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, yes. It stays on the air - one way or another - for, well, nearly as long as humans drive vehicles of some sort. A friend of mine was even a presenter on it once, out in the Sirius Sector, in, oh, the thirty-second century or thereabouts."

Rhys was fairly sure this was all bollocks - like ninety percent of the things said by people Gwen brought home from work - but he was curious enough to turn round and see what what was on: it was James May and Richard Hammond standing gormlessly in a carpark, begging to be mowed down by a rogue lorry. As usual.

"A friend of yours was a presenter on Top Gear?" asked Rhys

"Well, not for very long," the Doctor replied. "There was a war and some murders and men in tacky robot costumes and suchlike. Though honestly I think the real reason she quit is because the racers they were testing just couldn't measure up once she'd got used to riding in my TARDIS."

"Oh, right," said Rhys, "That'd be why." And then he swung round the arm of the couch and nudged Gwen. "Shove over, then, love, and let us watch?"

"What, you don't even like this show!" Gwen said, but she was leaning over and snuggling into his shoulder as she said it.

"Well, if my wife's going to spend a hour ogling Clarkson's jeans, I figure I ought to at least stay and supervise," Rhys said, and the Doctor glanced over Gwen's head at him with an unreadable dark look in his eyes. Rhys stared back at the television. It looked like they were doing one of their challenge things anyway, and they were more tolerable than the rest of the show; some of them were downright fun, in fact, even if Rhys tended to pull stupider stunts with worse equipment twice a week, these days. It was nice to see someone doing that sort of thing just for the joy of it instead of because the fate a city depended on it.

And it was nice to sit on the couch and stare at the box, like any newlywed couple come home from a hard day at work, his wife curled up under his arm, solid and alive and warm and still there. And if there was another bloke, who wasn't quite as humanly warm as he ought to be, solid on her other side - well, to be honest, Rhys was just as glad to have someone else helping to hold her up. Even if it was only for a little while.

On the screen, Clarkson was holding a folded sheet of paper and what looked like an ancient padlock key. "'--wasteful extravagance, and, in these trying times, very poor taste'," he said, obviously quoting something. "Honestly! Accusing us, us of all people, of acting in poor taste. Where could they have possibly got that impression."

"Well," Hammond said, "We do let James pick his own wardrobe."

Everyone looked at May's shirt, which was, admittedly, well, one of James May's shirts. "I like this shirt," he said vaguely, plucking at his own chest."

"....point granted," Clarkson answered. "So, as they are ever-responsive to the voice of the British populace, our producers have declared that in this episode, we are not going to spend any taxpayers' money on automobiles. This week, in the spirit of the great British virtues of thrift and making do, they've given us the key to an old BBC storage facility, which they tell us contains a variety of old prop vehicles used on cancelled shows. So instead of recklessly destroying a lot of expensive modern cars, we're going to be responsible by reusing and recycling, by which I mean recklessly destroy some iconic symbols that were beloved by an entire generation."

"Well," said Hammond, grinning. "No-one could possibly write in to complain to the Beeb about that, surely."

"Exactly," replied Clarkson. He spun the key up and caught it. "You ready to violate some childhood memories, gentlemen?"

The scene cut to a warehouse interior, which they'd done a good job of showing up as dusty and claustrophobic as it ought to be, even if they'd brought in proper filming lights, and were playing music that sounded like it'd come right out of Tomb Raider. The three presenters split up among the aisles defined by mysterious swathed and packaged items, searching for anything that resembled a car. Clarkson was the first to hit jackpot: behind a jumble of crates half covered in dustcloths was a boxy, mustard-colored car that looked like it dated from the late seventies, if the complete lack of styling was any indicator.

"My god," May said, when Clarkson had called them over. "It's a British Leyland Rover SD1 3500."

"Yes it is," said Hammond, who'd been inspecting the bonnet. "1977, it looks like. But that's impossible!"

"Not all British Leyland cars fell to bits within five years of going into operation, Hammond," Clarkson answer. "Admittedly, most of them did, but there's always one or two that throw off the statistical curve."

"But I'm pretty sure this is the car they used in the first season of The Professionals and The New Avengers," Hammond said.

May looked at him inquiringly. "Well, yes, this is supposed to be an old BBC warehouse, we're meant to find cars that were on telly."

"But neither of those were BBC productions! They were both through ITV, everything the BBC had on in the 70s was rubbish. What's this car doing here?"

"Maybe there was a mix-up with the storage and they've got some things from other networks in," suggested Clarkson.

"Maybe there was a mixup with the warehouses, and we're actually in one that belongs to a top-secret British-government-funded intelligence organization," said May.

"Postulating that The New Avengers was actually a documentary," Clarkson said.

"Well, naturally."

"I would think they'd be a bit more careful giving out the keys to that building," said Hammond, and then he met May's eyes and they said in unison, "But it is the British government."

"Right!" said Hammond. "I'm off to find a car that'll actually make it around the Top Gear test track without bits falling off."

"Who knows," said May, gazing vaguely up into the piles of junk, "Maybe you're right about the spy agency, we could find anything in here. Dibs on the Ark of the Covenant, if it turns up."

"Oh, and," added Clarkson. "The Professionals also used a Leyland Princess, if I recall. You wouldn't want to miss a chance to get your hands on one of them again, would you, James?"

"Oh bugger off," May said good-naturedly, as he wandered away with his hands in his pockets. "And here I was expecting the most exciting thing we'd find was some missing black & white film reels."

Clarkson gazed after him a moment and then turned back to the Rover. "I bet he knows exactly which reels are missing, too," he said brightly.

The camera stayed with Clarkson for a bit until it caught Hammond shouting "Oy! Over here!" from the other end of the warehouse.

When Clarkson's camera caught up with him, he was helping the other two pull a heavy canvas tarpaulin off a large squarish object; they gave it a yank, and the shot zoomed out to reveal - "What *is* that?" Clarkson asked.

Hammond stared at it a moment. "It looks almost as old as you, Jeremy. But better-preserved. Did they even have the BBC back then?"

"Radio, maybe," answered Clarkson, slowly circling the car, which was bright canary yellow and looked unnaturally sharp and clean in the dusty scene. "It's a roadster, looks like it came right out of the 1920s - but I don't recognize the model. And the body panels are fiberglass."

"And canary yellow."

"And canary yellow."

May popped his head up; he'd already got the bonnet open, and was poking around in the engine. "It's a Ford Prefect," he said.

"What?" answered Hammond.

"It's a Ford Prefect, late fifties I think," May repeated. "Plucky little car, that. I've run into Ford Prefects in the most unexpected places."

"That is not a Ford Prefect, May," said Clarkson. "I know what one of them looks like, and that's not it."

"Well, it's had some modifications," May conceded. "But the frame and all the basic works are a Ford - actually whoever did the engine work was a bit of a genius, the fluid link interchanges alone--" he said, and dove back into the mechanics.

"This is possibly the most ridiculous car I have ever seen in my life," declared Clarkson. "Why anyone--"

"THAT'S MY CAR!"

Rhys started with suprise and nearly fell off the couch. Gwen, next to him, had quicker reflexes, and was standing next to the Doctor, already trying to calm him down.

"That's my car," the Doctor repeated, tense as a bowstring suddently and pointing at the screen. "That's Bessie! Who on Earth thought it was a good idea to give Bessie into the hands of those - those - those reckless destructive incompetent nincompoops? They'll have her in pieces inside an hour! Utterly ruined!"

"Now come, Doctor, how can you be so sure it's the same car?" asked Rhys, quite reasonably, he thought, considering that as far as he knew the Doctor didn't even know how to drive.

"Have you ever seen another car like that?"

Well, no. Gwen gave him one of her "shut up before you make it worse" glares and he rolled his eyes at her and sprawled back a bit.

The Doctor sat down suddenly and started rummaging through all the empty ice cream cartons. On screen Clarkson was saying "--still haven't found anything I'd be willing to drive. Either of you got anything?"

"I'm taking this one," May said, still bent over the engine.

"What?" said Clarkson.

"No, seriously, were you even listening when I was going over the engine modifications? Sit down and give her a good cleaning and a tune up, and I bet you she'd even beat your Lamborghini in a drag race. There's some amazing stuff in here--"

Clarkson smiled slowly and evilly. "What do you bet--"

The television shut off suddenly and Rhys looked back: what the Doctor had found among the trash was, apparently, the remote control, and he was staring fixedly at the screen. "Right. The TARDIS should have enough charge by now for one short hop. Gwyneth, get the SUV ready: I hereby declare Operation Rescue Bessie to begin."

"Oh, now, come on, Doctor, that's a bit of an overreaction," said Rhys. "When's the last time you bothered with a car, anyway?"

"Well I can't leave her in their hands! Just imagine what they'll do to her if they're allowed! I know what they're like: horrible things, and if we're lucky the planet won't blow up. And I'm certainly not letting him get his grimy fingers all over her intimate parts in some steamy garage; that's just perverse."

"Oh, I don't know," said Gwen. "I wouldn't mind having James May get into my--"

"Gwen!" said Rhys. "What did I tell you about that?"

She rolled her eyes. "That you'd rather not know about it when I'm thinking things like that."

"Especially if they involve James May and intimate parts."

The Doctor shuddered theatrically. "You are a man wise beyond your years, Rhys Williams. So! We're agreed! No time to be lost, allons-y!"

"Now, wait, Doctor," Gwen said. "We can't just charge down to Surrey and tell them to stop everything because James was right about the secret spy agency: they film those challenges months in advance. Whatever happened to your car has already happened; it's too late for us to do anything to stop it."

The Doctor gazed at her fiercely. "Do you know what happened to the cars in this episode?"

"--well, no, we came in partway through and this is first broadcast."

"Rhys, do you know?"

"I don't even like the show. I'm not the one here who wants into May and Clarkson's trousers."

"Right, well, I'd give you the talk about protesting too much but I imagine Jack's already tried it on you and you're got learned immunity. So there's no problem then. Gwen, can you find out exactly when they did film that segment?"

"...yeah, probably pretty simple, I won't even need the Torchwood databases. But Doctor--"

"You've completely forgotten, haven't you," he said, grinning at her cockeyed. "I do have a time machine, after all! As long as none of us know how it really did come out, we can still go rescue Bessie, no problem whatsoever, easy as pie. So go get me those filming dates - and mind you, no looking for spoilers, or you might collapse the universe!"

Gwen smiled slowly, and went over to the computer. "Aye aye, Doctor. Operation Rescue Bessie it is."

Rhys waited until she was safely out of earshot and then glared at the Doctor, who had his hands in his jacket pockets and was bouncing impatiently up onto the toes of his shoes. "You're not really going to do that, are you?"

"Do what?"

"Go back in time two months, on a lark, and try to change history, and in the meantime drag along my wife - who I mention here is also pregnant, because she'll castrate me if I imply in her hearing that it makes her less capable, but she's still pregnant - into a rickety, malfunctioning, underpowered and unsteerable junkheap of a spaceship that's just as likely to end up on Pluto or somewhere, and even if it does land properly will dump you in - in the middle of that den of testosterone and posturing? You're honestly going to do that with my wife while I'm sitting right here?"

The Doctor appraised him intently for a moment, and then, as if he'd made a great discovery, "You're a bloke, aren't you, Rhys?"

"What?" said Rhys.

"You're probably the most blokish bloke I know at the moment. And actually I'm not terribly fluent in blokish this time round; that's excellent luck. You can come along to translate if necessary."

"What?" said Rhys, again. "Oh, no, no. I'm not getting into that--"

"You got me those temporal co-ordinates, Gwen?" he shouted.

"Got it, I'm on my way," she called back.

"But I'm a lorry driver!" said Rhys. "You can't take a lorryist onto Top Gear, that's just cruel--"

Gwen brushed past him on the way to pick up her coat. "You coming, Rhys?" she said, and turned back to him. She was grinning, and she glowed, in a way she hadn't done for months.

"Yeah. I suppose I am." He let himself half-smile as he trailed out after them.


Rhys slid in beside Gwen in the passenger front seat, leaving the Doctor to take the back. "Still, you sure this is a good idea, larking back in time like this?" he muttered, when it appeared the Doctor was busy inventorying the contents of his coat pockets.

"I don't think it can do any harm," said Gwen. "The Doctor does know what he's doing when it comes to time travel, despite occasional appearances. And honestly, I'm a bit worried myself."

"About him?"

"No! -- well, yes. But no, about the car. That really was his car, Rhys - I've seen pictures in the Torchwood files; he had it way back in the '70s when he was trapped on Earth for awhile, working for UNIT. He packed it full of all sorts of advanced non-human technology."

"So it could actually be dangerous if it gets into the wrong hands."

"Yes. And I want to know how Top Gear stumbled on it - that car is supposed to be tucked away in the safest place possible, deeper than the Black Archive; Torchwood never managed to get closer than photographs in forty years, and even UNIT can't bring it out without personal permission from Lethbridge-Stewart. I don't think the Doctor knows just how secure it's supposed to be. So if the car randomly turned up in a warehouse that lot could go wandering through--"

"--then something else must be going on."

"Exactly," said Gwen. "And that's Torchwood business, one way or another." She pulled into a street-parking spot just down from the remnants of the Plass, clicked the key off, and raised her voice. "All right, this is as close as I'm driving, after that collapse last week. Everybody out."

The famous TARDIS was every bit as unimpressive close-up as from a distance, and rather more splintery. He did - Rhys will admit to himself - pause for second after he stepped in, just to gaze around, but he saw Gwen stop, too, and heard her little gasp. The vast, seaweedy cavern was, well, certainly unexpected.

"What d'you think?" the Doctor asked, rocking back with a little grin.

Rhys managed to narrow his eyes long enough to growl "The paint job's a bit drippy, isn't it?" and prod Gwen the rest of the way down the ramp.

"Hmph," said the Doctor, leaning up over the round console-thing in the center of the room. "Gwen, you still have those coordinates?"

"Yeah," she breathed, then took a deep gulp of air, and read the numbers off in a normal voice that shook only a little.

Rhys realized suddenly that the date in question was well after the day of the bombing of the Hub (and everything that came after); he hadn't even thought about the possibility before, but now - he wasn't sure whether to be relieved or angry or both. On the one hand, he doesn't think Gwen - or himself - could've resisted the temptation to run up to Cardiff and try to change something. On the other hand, he and Gwen could've run up to Cardiff to try and change --

"Hmm, the morning after that was filmed should be soon enough; they can hardly have gotten the cars transferred any faster," the Doctor said, pulling several levers and turning a dial in quick succession, and then Rhys didn't have any more time to think; a strange whooping noise started up and the whole ship rattled. The Doctor grabbed onto the console to stay upright, and Rhys grabbed Gwen, and Gwen grabbed a pillar. And then it was over almost as soon as it had started, and the Doctor made a satisfied noise in his throat, checking a display.

"Exactly bang-on time!" he said, stroking the console fondly. "The ol' girl doesn't want to see Bessie in trouble any more than we do, do you, girl?"

"Exactly on time?" said Rhys. "Is that even possible in this bucket?"

The Doctor glared at him. "Go check outside if you don't believe me. It should be a beautiful summer morning at Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey, about 9:00."

"Yes, but will it be full of brand-new Spitfires?"

Gwen glanced at Rhys, shrugged, and then walked back and opened up the TARDIS door to peer out. She froze for a second, then shut the door and turned her back to it. "We're right smack in the middle of the test track!"

"What?" Rhys said, and reached around her too look for himself. "We are! Doctor, we can't just land right in the middle of the track and waltz in; they'll have security, and cameras, and--"

"Oh, don't worry about it," the Doctor said, pushing past them and throwing the doors open. "One of the presenters is an old -- chum of mine; he'll get us wherever we need to go."

Gwen and Rhys stared at each other again - "well, what now?" "Well, what else?" and followed him out onto the still-dewy grass of the airfield, toward the cluster of buildings that housed the studio and garages.

"A chum of yours?"

"Yeah, we go way back."

Gwen blinked, and then pointed at Rhys triumphantly-- "I told you the Stig was an alien!"

"Hey, I don't have a horse in this race," Rhys said defensively, "I don't even watch the show, remember?" He paused for a second, wondering if he should ask, then went for it - "So who wins the pot?"

Gwen flashed him a grin, so he must've gussed right. "Well, I said alien, Tosh went for robot, Owen said time traveller, and Ianto said we were all wrong, but wouldn't--"

"Ianto wins, then," the Doctor called back.

"What?"

"Mmm. The Stig's perfectly, 100%, 21st century Earth human, I can guarantee you that."

"So they just made up all that stuff about the ducks and that, in the intros?" Gwen said.

The Doctor slowed as they got nearer the gate that opened on the buildings, and turned around to face them. "No, of course not. Why would anybody make something like that up?"

Rhys blinked at him, completely at a loss for any reply to that. Gwen opened her mouth to say something, then closed it, and then shook herself and pointed.

A man was coming toward them at a fast trudge, glowering underneath windblown shoulderlength hair.

"Hello!" called the Doctor with a wave, and the man looked up at him and brushed the hair out of his eyes. It was unmistakeably television's James May. He squinted, then visibly brightened.

"Oh, good," he answered, still rather vaguely. "That really was you, Doctor. I thought the woo-woo noises were familiar." He waved a hand around in illustration. "Finally! Now come and show me how to fix your bloody car."

"Dropped the Brixton accent, eh?" the Doctor replied. "Good for you, it never really suited, though I'm not sure Bristol's any better."

"Oh you don't want to start there, Thete, I heard tapes of that nasty Geordie whatsit from a few years ago. Honestly, I've been waiting how many years for you to get in your head to drop by, and you finally do it on the day your old car decides to go mad and barricade the hangar?" He turned around, back toward the buildings with a lanky stride, and the Doctor following; Rhys and Gwen after him rather like ducklings.

"If you wanted a visit, you didn't have to kidnap one of my companions for the purpose!" the Doctor said. "That's a bit overdramatic for your style, isn't it?"

"Well it worked, didn't it?" he called back. "And she was getting lonely, anyway. She's a sweet piece of engineering, I'll give you that, Doctor. That minimum inertia hyperdrive's amazing, especially considering the materials you were working with - I'm really suprised the double hydrohelices did the job, because a standard inertial drive is generally based on the principle of polarity of momentum--"

The Doctor clasped his hands behind his back, and nodded at the other two with a bit of a manic grin. "Gwen, Rhys," he said, "Meet Drax. My old schoolmate."
beatrice_otter: Tardis on a green field (Tardis)

From: [personal profile] beatrice_otter


Bwahahaha! Moar, plz? I've never seen any Top Gear, but I love this story so far--I can just see the Doctor charging off to save Bessie.
sashataakheru: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sashataakheru


This is possibly one of the most awesome things I've ever read. Moar plz. :D
skywaterblue: (dalek love)

From: [personal profile] skywaterblue


At first I was all 'I don't know about this...' and then it turns out that James May is DRAX. AHAHA ILU.
cameoflage: BBC Sherlock looking enthused, captioned with "I feel as if I have been hit over the head with GLORIOUSNESS". (hit over the head with gloriousness)

From: [personal profile] cameoflage


TOP GEAR/DOCTOR WHO CROSSOVER WITH CLASSIC WHO BITS, FUCK YEAH.
.

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