Chapter 1: Prologue
Karen and Arthur looked up from their coffee as they huddled in the corner of Starbucks, thankfully it was mostly empty, only them and a few pensioners so Matt’s entrance didn’t attract any unwanted attention.
“Someone’s in a good mood this morning,” Arthur pulled out a seat and Matt fell into it with a dramatic sweep of his arms, narrowly missing Karen’s mug and almost toppling over.
“Watch it,” Karen grumbled, she was never in a good mood this early and having to deal with a hyper Matt Smith was one of the last things she wanted.
“So sorry Kaz,” Matt teased, pulling her into a one-armed hug before pulling Arthur in with his other arm. “I, have a plan.”
Arthur and Karen shared a look across the table. Matt’s plans never ended well, actually most of the time they never really started all that well either. He grinned at them both and they prepared themselves for whatever he was about to say.
“I’m going to get Alex to go on a date with me.”
“You’re going to what?”
“She’s never going to do that!” Karen and Arthur protested, pulling away from Matt as he pouted at them.
“Look mate, are you sure about this? Because Alex has been hurt too many times before.” Arthur frowned slightly. He knew Matt would never intentionally hurt Alex but he also knew that Matt had the unfortunate habit of being an idiot and saying things without thinking.
“Yeah,” Karen agreed. “You can’t just jump into this Matt.”
“I’m not jumping into it!” Matt argued. “We’ve got the entire summer haven’t we?” At his friend’s nods Matt smiled. “Then I’ve got time.
Arthur sighed, “Just don’t screw this up.”
Matt stood and saluted playfully, “Yes sir!” He gave a boyish grin and practically bounced out of the shop, leaving his two co-stars and friends behind to think on what they’d just heard.
“Matt and Alex huh?” Karen took a sip of her now-cold coffee. “I can see it.”
“Yeah,” Arthur nodded glumly.
“Okay, what’s up with you? Or have you fallen in love with Alex too?”
Arthur shook his head, “Nah, not that. I’m just thinking.”
“Shut up,” he flicked a piece of paper at her. “Matt thinks this is going to be easy.”
Karen smiled as she caught onto Arthur’s thoughts, “So let’s make it more difficult! Darvill, you’re a genius.” She looked around the shop to make sure they wouldn’t be disturbed before leaning forwards with an excited grin. “So what’s the plan?”
“Well,” Arthur started before leaning in himself. “We’re her parents aren’t we? I say we meddle.”
Karen nodded, “Good thinking Mr. Pond!”
Arthur brought out his phone, “Now we just need to find out where he’s going to try first.” The two of them stood and shook hands.
“Watch out Matt Smith, the Ponds are back in business.”
Chapter 2: At the theatre
Matt stood outside Alex’s door. He checked his pockets for the tickets to the show (Arthur’s idea, personally he’d rather the cinema but Darvill had insisted that Alex would enjoy the theatre more) and fiddled with the bow-tie he’d nicked from costumes (someone, he suspected Kaz, had stolen all his ties so he was left with no choice.) He knocked quickly, before his nerve ran off and hid.
"Matt?” Alex smiled as she opened the door.
“Hello Kingston,” he replied. ”Feel like going to see a show? I’ve got tickets.” He waved them in front of her and she giggled.
“Let me just get my coat Darling.”
Matt smiled; everything was going according to plan.
An hour later saw him and Alex trying to be discreet as they walked into the theatre. Their taxi had been caught in traffic so they were running a bit later than expected, not too late (Matt had made sure they would be early to avoid the crowds) but they still had to navigate a crowded lobby to the stairs. Their tickets were in the grand circle, a private box would have been far too suspicious and Arthur had guaranteed a great view from their seats. They walked along the aisle, looking out for their row, when Matt spotted two very familiar heads.
“Bugger,” he muttered, not loud enough for Alex to hear as she scanned the tickets to check where they were.
“Over here!” Kaz called from the row her and Arthur were in. They both grinned and waved and Matt had no choice but to wave back.
“Hi Kaz,” he smiled as he and Alex slid into their seats and then leaned back slightly as Alex leant over to talk.
“Have you heard much about this show?” She asked, grinning. Matt almost laughed at the lost look on Karen’s face; she was as much of a theatre fan as he was. Luckily, Arthur was there to save the day.
“From what I’ve heard it’s supposed to be great,” he enthused, successfully drawing Alex’s attention. Matt and Karen just looked at each other, amused at their friends as they chatted about the actors, the plot and everything else. Karen sneakily snapped a photo on her phone and showed it to Matt. ‘Daddy and baby Pond’ she’d saved it as. Matt grinned and gave her a thumbs up before the lights dimmed and Arthur and Alex sat back to watch.
Despite not really enjoying the theatre before, Matt found himself genuinely enjoying the show. Of course, with Alex next to him crying and laughing, well, why wouldn’t he be loving tonight? During the intermission, after Karen and Alex had gone off to the loo and Arthur and Matt had gone to get ice cream for everyone, Matt decided he had better find out what the hell his friends were doing.
“I got the day wrong,” Arthur shrugged once Matt asked him. “I thought me and Kaz were booked for yesterday. Why?” he smirked, “Are we cramping your style Smith?”
“No,” Matt grumbled, poking at his ice cream.
“Well this makes it less suspicious doesn’t it?” Arthur pointed out. “I mean, you and Alex out alone would probably be all over the papers but the four of us isn’t such a big deal. I’d have thought you’d be aiming for quiet.”
Matt sighed, “Yeah, you’re right mate,” he said. “It’s just going to be awkward trying to be romantic with you guys sitting right next to us.”
“Then don’t try,” Arthur winked at Matt. “Just be yourself.”
Matt shook his head, “Corny Darvill, very corny.”
Arthur smiled, “I do try.”
“You do try what?” Karen and Alex slid back into their seats.
“None of your business moony,” Arthur handed Karen her tub of ice cream and she grinned,
“Aww, you really do care! I love you Mr. Pond!” she hugged him and Arthur batted her away.
“Get off! Crazy woman.”
Matt laughed at their antics and turned to face Alex. “Do you know them?” he whispered.
“No idea who they are Darling,” she replied, eating a spoonful of her ice cream and leaning back against the seat, “This ice cream is lovely by the way, thank you Matt.”
“Anything for you Kingston,” he grinned and tapped her on the nose. A shriek from Karen made them both turn and they bit their lips to avoid laughing. A blob of ice cream was on the tip of her nose and she was going cross-eyed in an attempt to see it.
“I’m going to kill you Darvill!”
Arthur merely kept his gaze on the stage, even though they could all see the smile fighting at the edge of his mouth.
“Arthur!” Alex chided, handing Karen a tissue to wipe off the ice cream. He sunk into his seat and at least had the good grace to look chastised.
“Sorry,” he mumbled. Wincing when Karen whacked his shoulder.
“And you should be,” she declared. “Thank you Alex.”
“It was nothing dear, have to keep these boys in line don’t we?” she smirked and Matt gulped.
“Shh,” Arthur placed his hand over Karen’s mouth when she was about to reply. “It’s about to start again.” Karen shut up and the four of them watched the rest of the show in comfortable silence. Alex ended up using Matt as a pillow during the last few moments and he wrapped his arm around her shoulder, throwing a triumphant smile at Karen and Arthur. They only rolled their eyes in return.
The show ended and Matt was reluctant to disturb Alex, Karen however, had no such worries and promptly tapped Alex’s shoulder until she moved. “Come on sleepy-head. You can use Matt as a pillow in the taxi.” Matt glared at her and Karen mouthed ‘What?’ back at him as she steered Alex towards the exit.
“Can you wait until we’re done filming before you kill her?” Arthur sighed as he stood up. “We kind of need Kaz in one piece.”
“I’m sure the Doctor and Rory can last.”
“Then you can explain to Steven why Karen was mysteriously murdered after a night out with us,” Arthur patted Matt’s shoulder, “Come on.”
“It wouldn’t be mysterious,” Matt grumbled.
“No,” Arthur agreed. “It would be the headlines: ‘Doctor Who star Matt Smith kills companion Karen Gillan for ruining his date’”
Matt frowned and Arthur smiled. “I’m not going to kill her.”
“Even if she is currently telling Alex every bit of your plan?”
“She’s doing what!” Matt yelped and ran to the girls, leaving Arthur behind.
Karen and Alex turned to face him as he reached them and then looked behind him to see Arthur leant against the wall in hysterics.
“Oh dear,” Alex shook her head. “Arthur playing tricks again darling?”
“I am going to kill him!” Matt gasped.
“Can it wait until tomorrow?” Karen yawned, “I think we all need some sleep.”
The four of them climbed into the taxi and Matt and Arthur were immediately commandeered as pillows. Karen was curled into Arthur’s side and Alex was curled into Matt’s. The boys hesitated for a moment before putting an arm around the slumbering women and almost falling asleep themselves. When they got to their apartment building, somehow climbing the stairs had never been such a hardship.
Arthur and Karen hugged their friends goodbye as they reached the doors to their flats. “See you in the morning,” Karen pointed a finger at Matt. “And no funny business, it’s an early start.”
“Better get your beauty sleep then Kaz,” he shot back, grinning as she aimed a slap at his shoulder. He hugged her, “Go on, see you tomorrow.”
“Night mate,” Arthur nodded and Matt saluted.
“See you Arthur.”
With one last wave, Karen and Arthur disappeared into their rooms, leaving Matt and Alex in the hallway. Alex turned at the door to her flat; Matt was standing awkwardly in the hallway and fidgeting with his bow-tie. ”Darling,” she leant against the door frame and smiled at him. “I had a wonderful time tonight, thank you.”
”You’re welcome,” he grinned and raised her hand to his lips. “I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.” She laughed,
”How could I not? Spending time with you always makes me happy Matt.”
”Yes. You and Karen and Arthur certainly keep me young.” She walked into her flat, “Goodnight Darling. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Matt stayed in the hall for a minute after her door had closed, thinking of other ways to get her attention. He just hoped that Kaz and Arthur wouldn’t cock it all up like they had tonight, okay, that wasn’t fair. He’d had a brilliant night and had thoroughly enjoyed every second. Oh well, he thought, there was always tomorrow.
Chapter 3: On set
Six o’clock the following morning found Matt being shaken awake by Karen while Arthur got a cold glass of water.
“Matt,” Karen gently shook him, it was better for everyone if he didn’t panic and the best way to do that was to ease him into the waking world. “Oi, stupid face, we’ve got work to do.”
Matt groaned and rolled over, almost dislodging Karen from her perch on the edge of his bed. She shrieked and Arthur caught her, almost toppling over himself.
“Aww my own personal hero,” Karen beamed at him and Arthur grumbled,
“I was trying to avoid having to explain to Steven why you had a bad back and couldn’t work. Can we throw this over him now?” he indicated the glass and Karen sighed, waving her hand in assent. Arthur grinned and promptly up-ended the glass over Matt’s head, causing him to bolt upright.
“What the hell guys?” Matt spluttered, wiping at his face, “How the hell did you get in here?”
“You gave us a key moron,” Karen pulled back the covers and hauled Matt out of bed, “Now get in there and shower, meet us outside when you’re ready.”
“Sorry mate, you know how Kaz gets in the mornings.” Arthur shrugged and followed her outside Matt’s trailer. “You know one of these days he’s going to take that key off you.”
Karen smirked and Arthur groaned, “Oh no, where do you keep it?”
“Somewhere Matt will never find it,” she patted her chest and Arthur laughed.
A few hours later, after Matt had tripped over another wire and dragged the light to the ground, the director had called for a break while the set was returned to its pre-Matt condition.
“Nice job baby giraffe,” Kaz playfully nudged Matt’s shoulder as he leant against the wall before walking off in the direction of the catering table, “want something?”
“Just a coffee Kaz!” he called, before turning his attention back to Alex. She was speaking to Steven about something to do with River’s entrance and Matt smirked, this series was certainly upping the ante when it came to their flirting. Then he remembered his mission for the summer and frowned, how was he ever going to pull this off?
"Oh Alex, why won't you notice me? Look at me pining away." Matt turned around and glared at Arthur. The other man shrugged and leant against the wall, "Come on mate, I was just voicing your thoughts."
"Those were not my thoughts," Matt growled.
"They so were. You were looking over there like a lost puppy wondering why its owner was ignoring it." Arthur mimicked the expression Matt was sure he would never make in a million years, all pathetic and mopey.
"I was not like that!" Matt demanded, "I was thinking."
"Yes about, wait, no!"
Arthur smirked, "Yeah yeah," he patted Matt's shoulder, "I know mate."
Matt spluttered as Arthur walked away, "Darvill get back here! That's not what I was thinking about!"
“Thinking about what?” Matt spun around but relaxed when he saw Karen holding their drinks.
“Oh nothing Kaz,” he smiled and took one of the cups, ignoring Karen’s raised eyebrow. “This isn’t instant is it?”
“How the hell would I know? My job is to smack you and Arthur when you’re being stupid, not check the coffee.”
“Amy smacks the Doctor and Rory,” Matt mumbled.
“Oh believe me, sometimes there isn’t a difference,” she replied, grinning when he gaped at her.
“I think you’ve broken him Kaz, look at that poor face,” Arthur walked back with his own coffee and laughed as Matt pouted at them both. “Come on Kaz, they’re calling us back on set.”
“Aww,” she groaned but followed Arthur anyway, “Catch you later Smith!”
Matt waved them both away with a smile and a shake of his head; at least he wasn’t the only one of the cast with a ridiculous and totally inappropriate crush. “Sometimes I really do think Steven planned all this.”
“Planned all what darling?” Matt turned to see Alex standing next to him and he smiled,
“Kingston! Why I haven’t seen you all day, what’ve you been up to?” he bopped her on the nose playfully and Alex giggled,
“Well dear, there was a slight problem with the set earlier so I went to see Steven about some logistics.”
Matt grimaced, “Ah, yeah. I tripped again.”
“It’s okay Matt, we all understand about your little problem with staying upright.”
“Thanks Kingston,” he grumbled.
“I find it adorable.”
Matt winced, adorable? He was not adorable. He was strong and manly and very much not adorable. Realising that his stunt earlier had effectively ruined his chances for today, he decided to wait until tomorrow. “That’s me,” he said cheerfully, “Adorable. I like the sound of that.”
Alex laughed and patted his arm, “Well as much as you are adorable, you can be very manly when you need to be.” Matt instantly perked up; maybe today wasn’t a total waste then.
Around the corner, Karen and Arthur were discussing Matt’s continued attempts to woo their co-star. “We didn’t even need to do any meddling today; he managed to screw it up himself.” Karen nodded, “Maybe we should thank him for letting us have a day off.”
“And say what?” Arthur shook his head, “Thanks for screwing up your own love life so we don’t have to?”
“Okay maybe we won’t say anything.”
“Let’s just see how it all goes, it’s early days yet.” They both looked over to where Matt and Alex were talking and smiled, maybe they didn’t really need to meddle but sometimes it was just too much fun.
Chapter 4: Pinky and the Brain
Night shoots were always more fun, the late hour meant that there were less fans around and so the cast generally felt as if they could play around a bit. Steven tried to discourage them but he didn't really mind, the happier his cast the better the final product. Tonight was especially nice, it wasn't so cold and Karen and Arthur had plotted a bit of ad-libbing.
"Oh look out, here come Pinky and the Brain," Karen said as she and Arthur waited outside the cafe, the script didn't call for her to say anything but she felt like Amy would say that. Matt and Alex were walking slowly, chatting to each other quietly as per the script but then Matt heard Karen's improv and went along with it,
"Ponds!" he beamed, not once breaking character, and walked faster, dragging Alex behind him.
"Let me guess," Arthur leaned over, not totally in character but still adding more Rory into the new line, and whispered in Karen's ear. "He's Pinky."
"Yep," Karen nodded.
"Pinky and the Brain?" Matt asked later while they were on a break, "Really Gillan?" Karen just shrugged,
"Well you are."
"And which is which?"
"Alex is the Brain." Alex smirked and Matt gaped, "So you're Pinky."
"But, why am I the stupid one?" Arthur coughed and Alex bit back a smile. Karen however burst out laughing,
"Have you seen yourself?" At Matt's pout she rolled her eyes, "Oh come on stupid, I'm only teasing." He grinned and she playfully hit his shoulder.
"Ow! Alex, tell her." He whined. Alex sighed,
"No Karen, don't hurt him." she deadpanned. "How was that darling?"
"Terrible," Matt scowled, "You're supposed to defend me from evil people."
"Isn't that your job dear?" she smiled at him and he shrugged,
"It's Karen, she's scary."
“I’m sure you can handle her.”
“But she’s always so mean to me!”
Karen scowled, “Hey! You’re always mean to me.” While Matt and Karen got into a heated argument about who was meaner, Arthur moved next to Alex, partly to save his mind and partly to be out of the way should Karen decide to hit someone and miss Matt.
“What lovely weather we’re having.” Alex smirked at him and he laughed, he’d be lying if he said that Alex wasn’t a lovely person. He could see why Matt loved her, but he didn’t have to like it.
“Is it our scene next?” he asked. Steven had written in a few scenes between Rory and River that Arthur and Alex had immediately approved of. They didn’t really have to act too much, Rory was practically just an extension of a normal Arthur and River was just Alex’s naughtier side so it all came naturally. Beside them, Matt and Karen’s argument had escalated into a full blown fight and Alex ducked as Matt’s flailing arm came flying towards her head.
“Oops, sorry Kingston! Ow! Kaz get the hell off my back!” he tried to spin around to reach the ginger that was anchored to his back but failed. Arthur sensibly pulled Alex away, he knew that most fights between Matt and Karen ended with one or both of them on the floor and he didn’t want to have to explain to the costume department why all four of them needed their outfits touched up.
The rest of the night went smoothly, they’d completed all their scenes with time to spare and so while Matt and Alex went off to their trailers to change, Karen dragged Arthur with her into Steven’s office. Time to put her little plan into action.
"You want me to do what?" Steven looked up from the ever mounting piles of paper on his desk at Karen and Arthur as Karen finished pitching her latest idea. "But the fans love those scenes."
"I know," Karen nodded. "But we were thinking that it might add a little more to Amy and Rory's roles as parents. I mean, nobody really wants to see their kid flirt all the time do they?" she nudged Arthur and he shrugged his agreement,
"Yeah, I mean. From playing him for the last two years, Rory doesn't seem too comfortable with this whole deal and maybe he'd rather River cut down on the flirting while he was around?" Karen almost slapped herself in the head. Why oh why did Arthur have to end every sentence of his with a question? It wasn't helping their cause at all and Steven still looked unconvinced.
"We're not asking you to not write flirty scenes. We're just asking to have Amy and Rory be a bit more well, parental." Please let this get through to him. Didn't Steven always appreciate their input normally? But then, they normally didn't ask anything so specific.
"Well alright, we can test it out in the next episode. See how it goes." Both Karen and Arthur smiled. "Are we telling Matt and Alex this?" Steven asked.
"No, best keep it a secret, you know, get the most natural reactions out of them." Karen hoped her panic didn't show. The last thing they needed was for Matt to be aware of what they were doing.
“Kaz are you sure this was a good idea?” Arthur asked as they left to get changed before heading back to their flats. “Getting Steven involved?”
“Oh stop worrying Darvill. Steven doesn’t know what’s going on and he’s not involved!”
“You just told him to cut down on writing his favourite couple.”
“What if he gets suspicious?”
Karen waved his question away, “Arthur, trust me.”
“Okay, but I did warn you.” Really what choice did he have but to leave her be? Arthur knew that nothing short of a nuclear war could stop Karen when she was on a mission, he only hoped it didn’t come to that.
Chapter 5: Heart to Heart
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Another one of their days off and Matt finally saw an opportunity for him to make some progress. What with Steven writing less flirting scenes (and who prompted him to do that? Those scenes were some of the best ones!) and Karen and Arthur badgering him to spend more time with them, he’d hardly seen Alex or been alone with her. Well, today would be different. He stalked over to Alex’s trailer where she was having a quiet coffee outside and trying to think of a good opening conversation. Mind on his mission and not on his surroundings, Matt didn't even notice the tree in his path until it was too late.
"Matt, watch out for the-"
"Tree." Alex finished, giggling. Matt made a face and shook his hair out of his eyes before registering the giggles from beside him and the loud laughter from set. Cheeks burning with embarrassment and mood steadily worsening, he stormed back to his trailer, ignoring Alex's calls for him to come back.
A few minutes later, after assessing the damage done and trying to get rid of the dark moody cloud currently taking up space in his head, Matt slumped on his sofa and threw his head back against the cushions. "Idiot." He muttered.
"Matt?" He groaned, what did she want now?
"Come on in Kaz."
Karen opened the door and walked in, holding out a cup of coffee and a sandwich as a peace offering. "Brought you lunch, feeling any better?"
"No. Seeing as I can't even take one step without tripping over something or walking into something. And then everyone laughs at me! It's not my fault." Karen smiled, not her usual jokey smile but a genuine smile.
"Matt, we all love you. And we wouldn't love you half as much if you weren't such a klutz."
Matt glared at her but took the sandwich anyway. “Thanks Kaz, that makes me feel so much better.”
“Oi! I didn’t have to bring you food.” Karen frowned slightly as Matt sat up, making room for her on the sofa. “Alright you, what’s wrong?”
“Huh?” Matt looked up, eyes wide and obviously annoyed at being caught moping. “Nothing’s wrong.”
“Yeah, okay. Want to try that again?” He sighed, knowing it was useless to even try and argue with Karen. It was one thing he’d learned early on in this job, Karen would keep at it until you either told her or killed her, lucky for her that most people simply gave in.
“You know how I told you a few weeks ago that I was going to ask Alex out?” Alarms started ringing in Karen’s head. What if he suspected her? Or actually knew what she and Arthur were doing? She forced herself to stay calm.
“Oh yeah, how’s that going?”
“You know it’s not been going well Kaz. I’ve been spending loads of time with you and Arthur and now Steven’s cut back on the Doctor and River scenes and he won’t tell me why. Alex isn’t here for very long anyway and I’ve hardly had any time to talk to her.” Karen felt ashamed as Matt pouted at her, he was her best friend and she didn’t want to see him hurting like this. But Alex was her friend too and she didn’t really want to see her being hurt either. God why wasn’t Arthur around today? He was so much better at this.
“Matt,” she began, not sure where she was going with this. “The time will come, just let it happen naturally.”
“It won’t happen naturally Kaz! Alex thinks she’s too old for me.”
“What?” Karen couldn’t help but laugh and quickly stopped herself as Matt glared at her. “Oh Matt, I’m sure she doesn’t. Look, why don’t you go and talk to her later?”
“I thought you were going out with her later?”
Faced with a Matt Smith pout and the need to talk to Arthur and re-draft their plans, Karen just had to give him something to look forward to. “It’s okay, I’ll say I’m feeling ill. You go and talk and stuff.”
Matt grinned and Karen knew she’d done the right thing. “Thanks Kaz,” he grabbed her in a hug before bounding out of the door. Karen shook her head, one ray of hope for Matt couldn’t do any harm. And at least now she knew this wasn’t some silly little crush they were dealing with, her and Arthur would have to be more careful in future.
This is just a filler chapter, sorry guys. I know everyone hates them but I needed Karen to have a reason to change her and Arthur's tactics.