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Title: Rufus's Enlightening Time-Traveling Road Trip
Author: diacriticalword
Fandom: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Words: 2687
Notes: Written for Hyperfocused in the 2008 Yuletide challenge. Thanks to jamminbison and Suiane for being my betas - ILU guys. :D

Original link is here.


Rufus wasn't quite sure how he got roped into this. Preserving our way of life as we know it? Not a big deal. Ensuring the progeny of the next generation's musical geniuses by way of rescuing two totally bodacious princesses? Piece of cake.

But diaper duty? That was just cruel.

He never meant to get this involved, anyhow. He supposed it was just guilt, in a way - sure, he'd saved history and made everything right in the world, but he sure hadn't done the boys any favors. Knowing that their music influenced the whole world started out as a major headtrip for the two goofballs, but they'd figured out just how much their behavior affected the future by the third time Rufus got called back to his own time because of them.

He had stuck around, even after all that, but somehow Bill and Ted had disappeared, and William and Theodore had materialized in their place. They weren't nearly as much fun to hang around with, Rufus soon discovered. Pretty soon he got tired of the small talk and the idyllic suburban lives they had settled into with their wives and children, and he dealt with it the only way he knew how - by time-travelling back to find the root of the problem.

He started paging back through history, taking short jaunts in the booth between his stints as babysitter for the duo's hellacious, fun-sized offspring (via the princesses) and his duties as official ambassador to the future.

What he found in the past might not have been what you would call academically challenging, but it certainly was educational.

-------

The first time he stopped in was just shortly after he had left them the first time. He had been called back to the future, maybe for good (only for what turned out to be a review of his work and an assignment to go right back and make sure everything continued smoothly; but with the endless praise and guitar-jam-saluting, it took a little while to get that far), and he had left the boys alone with their guitars and girls, hoping that they wouldn't get into too much trouble while he was gone.

Boy, he sure hadn't known them for very long at that point, had he?

He arrived only about three days after he had left them, but they had already landed themselves in hot water on a number of occasions. Ted had been grounded twice, and was caught sneaking out of the house three times, and Bill had impersonated authority figures an astounding thirteen times.

Rufus shook his head as he peered in Ted's bedroom window, trying not to feel like a voyeur as he watched Bill sprawl out on the bed while Ted bounced above him, practicing his 'totally wicked guitar moves, man.'

Sticking the giant novelty ear to the window with a soft squelch, Rufus mentally noted that it was odd to use technology inspired by the immature duo to spy on them, but that was beside the point. He pulled on the lobe of the ear until it extended into a pair of headphones and turned back to the window as he put them in his ears.

"Man, Rufus needs to get back here, like, now," Ted grunted as he leaped about, missing Bill's head by inches. "Or at least send the booth back. It's so boring here!" He ended with a flourishing move that would have made Eddie Van Halen cringe in disgust. Rufus made a note to give Ted tips on his theatrics when he got the chance.

"Agreed, my most excellent friend." Bill opened his eyes and sat up, bouncing on the end of the bed and pointing at Ted. "That was a totally heinous move he pulled there. He's supposed to be helping us develop our wickedly awesome and world-changing band, not taking day trips to the future."

"Why are you pointing at me, man? It's not like I can do anything about it." Ted flopped down next to his friend, black hair flying everywhere and long limbs connecting painfully with other flesh. "Sorry, dude," Ted apologized, shrugging his skinny shoulders up and out, taking his hands along for the ride. "It's probably time we started writing songs, anyway. I mean, maybe it's a good thing he left."

Bill looked confused. He propped himself up on one elbow so he could look at Ted. "Please expound upon your answer, Mr. Logan."

Ted shook the hair out of his eyes and looked sideways at Bill. "Well, you see, we keep getting distracted by the booth, right?" Rufus knew that Ted's words were an understatement. In the first week he had stayed with them after the history report, he had taken them to no less than twenty time periods and thirteen different countries. They had been particularly intrigued by ancient Greece, though he assumed that was because of Socrates' many lewd gestures in reference to the place and not because of any historical value it may have held.

Inside, Ted was still talking. "So, even though we've been having a lot of fun in history and stuff, we haven't been getting anything done, you know? Like, band stuff and girlfriend stuff."

"Once again, Ted, you have proved yourself to be an excellently logical person. But that still doesn't help us much. I mean, if Rufus only left to make us do stuff for the band, does that mean he won't come back until we've got, like, twenty songs or something?"

"I dunno, Bill, but I think we'd probably get to work, in case that's what's going on. I kinda like Rufus, and I want him to come back."

Rufus smiled, knowing that that was probably the closest he'd get to a statement of affection from them. They weren't remarkably bright on the emotional scale, either. Speaking of...

"But does that mean we have to do girlfriend stuff to get him back, too?" Bill had a horrified look on his face. "I mean, they're really hot and all, and I'm glad Rufus rescued them from those royal ugly dudes, but are we going to have to go on dates or get dressed up all nice or go-" he paused to shudder expressively, "shopping?"

"It's possible that something so non-triumphant could happen, Bill. But it's a sacrifice for the sake of friendship; you'd do the same for me, wouldn't you?"

Bill looked up at Ted, and for a moment, Rufus thought he saw something new behind the dopey grin. "Of course, man! Let's get to it!"

Rufus disengaged the ear from the window with another delightfully squishy noise as Bill and Ted debated the various merits of naming their first song either 'Bodacious Time-Traveling Babe, You Rock' or 'Hellacious Cretacious Bubblegum Machine.'

Personally, Rufus enjoyed the second song more than the first, but that wasn't something they needed to know.

-------

Lightning crackled from a clear blue sky as the booth dropped through the air to land on the dirty concrete in a cloud of smoke. Rufus unfolded the door and stepped out, hoping he'd actually made it this time.

He peered around the corner, relieved to find that he'd landed in the right place and the right time this time. Gatecrashing one of Blackbeard's victory celebrations was not something he'd ever like to do again, even on accident, no matter how much fun it may have been. He rubbed his head. Hopefully his killer hangover would be gone soon.

He ducked back around the corner as he saw a familiar head of shaggy black hair come around the opposite corner and bounce its way up the stairs. Rufus followed it at a discreet distance.

Ted made it all the way to the back of the library before making any sort of loud noise, which, in Rufus's opinion, might have been a record, but he ruined it all when he got to Bill's table and did a celebratory air guitar jam, complete with sound effects. Judging by the librarian's glare, that was not something one did in a library at this point in time. It was a pity that Bill and Ted had stopped doing such ridiculous things before they became socially acceptable. Air guitar jams were now one of the most socially respectable greetings.

He shook himself out of his musings and snagged a table behind the duo, close enough to listen in, but not so close that they might actually figure out who he was should they turn around, and settled in to see what unfolded.

Bill was, surprisingly enough, not very receptive to Ted's enthusiastic greeting. "Ted, dude, we gotta stop fooling around." He dropped his head into his hands. "Our history paper is due next week, and with Rufus called back to the future again, we've got no way to talk to all of these people. What are we going to do?"

Ted looked puzzled for a moment before breaking out into a wide grin. "Well, what does everyone else do? I mean, look at all these guys!" He swept his arm out over the crowded library, encompassing all of the busily working students around them.

Bill glared up at his friend. "They read books is what they do." He gestured at the towering pile of books beside him. "Which is exactly what we are going to have to do if we want to pass this class."

Ted dropped down next to him, huffing a deep sigh that ruffled his hair. "Heinous, dude. Why did we take this class, anyway? It's not like we need to know all about," he squinted at the page in his hands, "'Discrimination in History: A Comprehensive Course?'"

"Well, you want to graduate college, don't you, Ted? I mean, at least here you don't have to listen to your dad rant, and I don't have to see my dad and Missy- I mean, Mom- doing gross things in the living room anymore. Plus, Rufus said it was important that we do it. I don't want to be responsible for messing up this awesome-sounding future, do you?"

"No, I guess not. It just sucks that we've got to do all this stuff just because it's supposed to happen that way." Ted sulked a bit before glancing back up at Bill. "All right. What's our topic, then, if we're going to do this?"

"LGBT history. I still don't know what that means, and all the librarians keep looking at me funny when I ask what it stands for." Bill looked mildly perturbed by this. "But I found this book that I think can probably help."

Rufus watched as Bill tugged one giant book out of the stack, threatening to topple the whole thing. The title read 'LGBT: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE.' Rufus laughed quietly as he anticipated the looks on the boys' faces when they finally figured out what they were reading. They were probably in for the shock of their lives.

Then he looked closer. Ted had scooted closer to Bill and was draping his arm over the back of Bill's chair, resting his chin on his friend's shoulder. Bill glanced backwards at him and smiled a little before going back to the book. Rufus was stunned. Could it be that there was something going on here that he didn't know about?

"Oh man! That's what that meant? Gay!" Ted had evidently discovered the meaning of their mystery acronym.

Bill looked back and glared at him. "Yeah, Ted, that's the point. Now come on, we've got to get this done so we can get back to practicing our new song."

"Okay, dude. Just sayin'." And with that last quip, Ted settled his chin into a more comfortable position and started reading over Bill's shoulder. Rufus gave them one last affectionate look and stood up, ready to visit his last stop, where he was sure it would all become clear.

-------

Rufus arrived in the garden of a small church just outside of San Dimas, a little more than two years before his original time. He checked the buttons on the phone: perfect timing. Adjusting the tie of the suit he'd hastily procured from his home in this time period, he walked into the church, being careful to avoid anyone who might be able to recognize him. It was hard going - there were paparazzi everywhere, eager to snap photos of all the rich and famous attendees at the wedding of the century.

Somehow, he got through the crowd and, with a well-placed tilt of his sunglasses, into the back corridor of the church. He glanced into one room and quickly retreated; all of that white lace and ribbon, it was enough to give him the willies. He would leave the princesses to their own devices in there.

He wandered a bit further until he heard the unmistakable chorus of "EXCELLENT!" coming from a door to his left. He stopped and silently opened the door just a crack, enough to see both Bill and Ted, with shorter hair and dressed, inexplicably, in neon-colored tuxes, stop to do a brief air guitar solo. Rufus nodded in approval. Their technique had gotten much better over the years.

Bill let his arms drop to his sides as his smile fell away from his face, replaced by a weighty sigh. Ted, arms still posed ridiculously, flung them out to the sides and pasted a big grin on his face. "What's the problem, most excellent friend Bill?"

Bill sighed again and shrugged. "I dunno, man. It just doesn't feel right, you know? I mean, we have to marry them because Rufus says that's how it happens in the future, but I kinda don't want to. I mean, they're hot and all, but I'd usually rather hang out with you than my wife-to-be."

Ted looked thoughtful at this. "You're right, man. I'd, like, rather be married to you than to either one of them!" He looked confused at his own words for a moment before he glanced at Bill.

"Gay!" They said in unison, but this time there was no heart behind it. In fact, Rufus fancied, he thought he could hear some wistfulness.

Ted, surprisingly enough, took it upon himself to be the voice of reason for once. "Listen, Bill, I don't like it very much either, but Rufus said it's gotta be done."

Bill still looked a little depressed, and Ted threw an arm around his shoulders. "Plus, man, think about all the free publicity the band is getting? I mean, did you see all those cameras outside?"

Bill brightened up at that. "Oh yeah, man! This could be Wyld Stallyns' break into like, I dunno, superstardom!"

Ted straightened Bill's bright orange bowtie one last time as he led him out of the room and down the hallway, past the room that Rufus had ducked into to hide. "Yeah, and maybe Eddie Van Halen will start answering our calls once we have fans in other countries."

"That would be pretty sweet, dude. And Ted?"

"Yeah, Bill?"

"We can still hang out together after we get married, right?"

"Totally." And together, the two of them flung open the doors of the church to marry the princesses that the future dictated they should.

Neither one of them noticed the bright flash of light that accompanied the disappearing phone booth out in the garden.

-------

Rufus reappeared in the present with a better understanding of what had happened to his favorite time-travelling buddies. It wasn't that they had changed, it was that they had reordered their priorities because of how it could affect the future. He shook his head, amazed at how much they had matured and yet how little they had learned.

Resolute, he set off towards Bill's house, knowing he'd probably find Ted there for their after-dinner rehearsal and jam session. It was definitely time to talk some sense into the two of them. Just because they once influenced the future shouldn't mean they couldn't live in the present.

He intended to see that love won through in the end - he did have his priorities, after all.