Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, or the actors...Matt and Alex and everybody else own themselves. I don't mean to offend anybody with this. I'm allowed to dream, right?
A/N: (Feel free to skip my useless rambling) This is my first EVER RPF, and honestly I'm not sure if I'm doing it right (or even if there is a right way to do it). I personally believe that Matt and Alex are ridiculously cute together and they really, really deserve each other. While I will be diving into their personalities, pasts, and motives quite deeply and exploring them as people in this fic, I highly doubt any of this really reflects the real Matt and Alex, I suppose you can decide that for yourselves. Please enjoy, leave a review, and I'll be looking forward to seeing you all soon!
Beneath the Script
The first time he held her hand, it wasn't as him. The entire scene had been completely contrived, a myth of a plotline, the acting out of a writer's fantasy to a spell-bound audience, nothing more. Alex Kingston was no stranger to these kinds of false affectionate touches. She was an actress, she was paid to act like she was in love with someone, and it was easy. It was easy until the fables of fiction became an all-too-confusing reality.
She had a crush on Matt Smith.
The trouble was she didn't want to. It was stupid, honestly. And Alex was getting far too old and learning that her treacherous heart couldn't possibly handle one more of those. She was forty-one, divorced once and separated. She had a daughter to think about. Matt had a girlfriend and he was most definitely not going to return Alex's feelings, so it was best to just stop this right where it was and simply stop having a ridiculous 'flowers-floating-around-her-head' crush like a demented schoolgirl.
Only it wasn't that easy.
Wafting in from her left, there came the bitter fragrance of roasting coffee and the slightly sweeter scent of tea. She scrubbed at her face, folded up the script that she realized she'd been staring idly at for over half-an-hour, and stood up to get herself something to wake her up.
The lounge was humming with good-natured activity as Alex walked over to the kettle to make herself a cup of tea. Karen was laughing about something with Arthur, crewmen and the director were running about, makeup artists were escaping the mayhem of an early-morning set, and he was there. Just her luck.
She took a deep breath. Don't make it awkward, it's only awkward if you make it awkward. Alex put a smile on her face and took the heating kettle and her favorite mug, pouring in the hot water slowly and silently begging him not to come over and start a conversation. Not yet, anyway. She'd be more than happy to talk when they had something work-related to distract her. Right now, right now it was too early in the day, and her mind was simply too confused and focused on him.
Her eyes closed and Alex refrained from hitting her head on the wall. Just her luck, indeed! She turned to see him looking at her with that daft lopsided grin, holding a cup of coffee, and dressed in his trademark jeans and blue v-neck T-Shirt.
"Good morning, Matt, did you have a good night?" She replied back, attempting to be amiable and to stop biting her lip whenever his eyes locked with hers.
He scratched his head in that adorably thoughtful habit of his, avoiding eye contact for a record of around thirty-seven seconds. "Yeah. You?"
She took a deep breath as his eyes finally made contact with hers. He so genuinely seemed to care about her, just the way that face of his was quirked in a wonderfully interested look. She cracked a smile and shrugged, her gaze flitting up the ceiling. "Oh, I suppose so. Slept well."
She'd only met Matt a week ago. They'd been shooting their first episode together for a while now, and it was getting more and more awkward as she realized just how stupidly crazy she was for him. It was a phase, of course. What woman in their right mind wouldn't fall for the lovable, awkward, sweet, flirtatious Matt Smith? He practically had every girl in the UK (minus the die-hard Tennant fans) hanging off his arm!
"Alex, Matt! Jenna and Abby want you now!"
Alex breathed a sigh of relief. She was saved by the makeup artists from having to make conversation with him. It wasn't that Alex was a shy person - she was quite out-going and flirtatious, really. It was impossible to be shy when one was an actress. It was just that when it came down to it, she shut down when she felt herself getting even the slightest crush. She didn't want to let herself go there. Honestly, she couldn't blame herself. She'd had her heart broken so many times she'd stopped keeping track.
Karen was standing by the door waving at them frantically, "Hurry up!" she was dressed in her costume, her makeup and hair done, the baggy red sweater-shirt hung around her tall frame as she gestured imperatively toward the door as if Matt were her well trained dog. Alex had observed the friendship between these two for quite some time, and it seemed like Karen and Matt (along with Arthur) were the three musketeers or something and she was just that actor who played the side-character that only showed up every so often. They were all nice and friendly to her of course, and they had their moments of hilarity and meaningfulness, but beings how it'd been a week, Alex hadn't really made any close friends on set, nor was she expecting to in such a short time. She was often stuck in her own little corner going over the script whilst the three were joking about something random.
Alex followed Matt into the hair and makeup room, sitting down in one chair in front of the cluttered workspace as he did the other. Jenna set to work putting massive amounts of gel in his hair to get his bangs to a Doctor-ly height, and Abby grabbed a comb and some hairspray and began teasing Alex's. She made a bit of a face whenever the stylist pulled, she wasn't really fond of the hair-teasing, it was a pain to wash her hair afterword and get her curls to co-operate, but if it was what the Director and Moffat and the stylists wanted…she was supposed to go along with it. At least until she knew them well enough to protest.
She thought back, trying to remember when, exactly, the crush had begun. It probably had something to do with that ridiculous scene where she'd had to land on top of him repeatedly. God, how many outtakes were there going to be of her falling on top of him, kneeing him in the goolies, and the resulting awkward laughter afterward? Seriously, she had to practically throw herself at him, and while any girl in the UK would be happy to do that to Matt Smith, her included, it was a little awkward when she found herself trying to shake off the feelings the incident was arousing. Yes…arousing was definitely the word for it.
Shifting in her seat, she vaguely heard Abby complain and mumbled an apology before flushing a deep shade of pink again and feeling grateful that her stylist had tilted her head forward so she could avoid Matt's enquiring gaze.
"Are you okay?" He asked suddenly.
She chuckled, "Yes!" Maybe that was a little too quick of a reply…"I'm fine." She looked up at him when Abby was finished with her hair. "Just…thinking of something Salome said last night, kids say the oddest things." She said with a half laugh.
Matt laughed as well, "Oh." He replied quietly. Apparently he wasn't the only one who felt awkward during their conversations.
Matt had to admit. He felt a bit like a fish out of water when it came to Alex Kingston. She'd been in so many American shows, a good many of which he hadn't seen until he'd been able to move out of his house and not have his mother staring over his shoulder at the resulting…well… yeah. And now that she was sitting right next to him, sometimes when the resulting movie/show images that had been burned into his mind popped up, he couldn't help but go speechless and have his mouth run dry and scratch his cheek until he successfully steered his mind away from her body. How long was it going to take to get over that?
Not to mention, she was so damn quiet around him. She wasn't like that with anybody else, so what did it mean? From what he'd heard, the woman had a great sense of humor, an amazing, bubbly personality, and absolutely no problem with being loud. He had to admit she'd been an incredibly good sport with all of that…falling…at the beginning of the week, considering it had been his idea and they'd only just met. He honestly didn't know what the hell had been going through his head when he'd gotten the idea for Alex/River to fall on top of him/the Doctor…honestly? Seriously, Matt? Seriously? Why don't you just raise your bloody hand and gesture awkwardly with your bloody pen and suggest that Alex bloody Kingston fall right on top of you? What was wrong with him? He was pretty sure that after the whole "knee-going-where-the-sun-don't-shine" incident she hadn't looked at him the same way since. He felt himself growing warm, and quickly started to haphazardly throw all of those thoughts into the overstuffed and rather disorganized drawers of his brain. He was mental, honestly, and completely mental!
"Matt, hold still." Chided his makeup artist with an amused chuckle… oh, when had they moved on to makeup?
"Sorry." He pulled his face into an overly stony-still look, and he could catch Alex cracking a smile out of the corner of his eye. He had to admit, that was one of the things he found nice about her, her smile. It was so bright and warm, it came in so many forms. There was that flirtatious lopsided smirk, the warm, happy smile, the bemused grin she wore right now. Since when had he started paying attention to her smile? Mental. Yeah…obviously very mental.
They were filming one of the last scenes of the episode today, and when the makeup artists had finished and Matt and Alex were in costume, they hopped in the car and were promptly driven on-location. The stony ground was interesting to work in, and he was glad Alex had never actually had to wear her heels for this shoot…she'd mainly been carrying them around before she changed into the army-boots. He checked over the script one more time to make sure he had everything right before walking on set to where Alex was standing, handcuffs dangling from her wrist and holding the prop-vortex manipulator.
He stood next to her, hands behind his back. Karen flounced up to them, her ginger-hair bouncing.
"So, who is, River…really?" She asked suddenly.
Matt blinked, "Random, much, Kaz?"
Karen chuckled and shrugged, "Well, y'know…Amy did kinda tease the Doctor about her being his wife…" She did that terrible half-sultry, half-army sergeant voice, "Heel boy and whatnot."
Matt coughed and Alex laughed, quirking an eyebrow, "Well maybe that's just a red herring that Steven decided to throw in." She suggested, a smug look on her face.
Karen slapped her playfully on the arm, "Oh shut up, Alex Kingston! Not fair that Steven told you! C'mon…just a hint? I'll buy you tea for a year!" She pleaded.
"Sorry Sweetie," Alex teased, mimicking her character with a wink. "Spoilers."
The ginger huffed, and Matt grinned, "And tea for a year, seriously, Kaz? I would think that it'd have to be at least tea for six years."
"Seven." Alex contradicted with a smirk.
"Seven?" Karen cried, her eyebrows flying to the top of her head as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Seven." The older woman repeated. She laughed at Karen's obvious disapproval, Matt's low chuckle quickly followed.
"Oi, stop ganging up on me. It's not fair." Karen pouted.
Laughing, Matt enveloped Karen in a strangely effeminate hug, legs flailing in the way his arms usually did, "We love you, Kaz!"
The redhead only huffed, shifting from side to side as Matt kept his hold on her, rocking back and forth clumsily. The odd movement only caused Karen to finally stop pouting and laugh at the awkwardness.
"Alright! Scene 40, take one! Matt, Karen, get into your places!" Came the commanding voice of their director. Matt let go of Karen so she could walk off a way, and Alex snapped the other end of the handcuff on her wrist. "3…2…1…Action!"
The scene progressed, and they conversation between River and the Doctor at the end of the "Crash of the Byzantium" ensued. Alex found herself easing into the role, feeling quite comfortable as she let her acting instincts and knowledge of the script take over.
"You'll see me again," She said with a smile, fully into her role of River Song by now, "When the Pandorica opens."
Matt looked to the side, laughing bemusedly as if she'd just said 'diddlywonkadodadeebeepbop' "Pandorica…" He leaned forward, and Alex's heart-rate sped up, that…that wasn't in the script! What was he doing? A shiver ran down her spine as his breath tickled her ear. "The Pandorica's a myth."
Alex collected herself enough to manage a chuckle as well, thinking to herself that River, at this point, would feel perfectly okay with that gesture. "Doctor…" She said with a sly grin, "Aren't we all?"
Matt stepped back from her, and a few sound-effects were played in the background as she 'vortexed' away.
Steven ran forward, clapping Matt on the back. "That was brilliant! You always come up with the best alterations to the script!"
Matt laughed, scratching his cheek and avoiding eye-contact with Steven's excited face. "Yeah…I guess it felt kinda natural, like it should be there." He said awkwardly, glancing at Alex.
"Positively brilliant, I tell you!" The writer exclaimed again before whipping out his clipboard and making alterations to the script, "Why didn't I think of that?"
They ran the scene a few more times and then it was time for a short break. Matt shoved his hands in his trouser pockets, trying to figure out where the heck that had come from. Yes, it had felt like the Doctor would lean forward and whisper in River's ear, they were flirty enough already together…this Doctor was quite…flirty. He tried to convince himself that it was merely a bit of fantastic acting, like Moffat thought. Matt hoped that's what everybody else thought of it as well. His heart was finally starting to return to a normal rhythm after being so close to Alex in such a…a…weird way. She was gorgeous, he had to admit that, and that was probably the only reason he felt so awkward around her. She was way out of his league and he'd never even have a chance of getting her, even if he had real feelings. Which, he didn't.
When he got over to his chair and attempted to bury his nose in his script and look busy, Karen sauntered over to him, a smug look on his face. She looked from him to Alex, who was still back over on the set talking with the director, and back again.
"Shut up, Kaz."
X X X
After waving goodbye to Matt, Karen, and Arthur, Alex drove home to her flat. The commute was quick, which was to be expected, it was nearly eight and nobody would be out driving by now. Since it was the summer, Salome, her 11-year-old, had joined her in Wales instead of staying with her father in New York. That meant Alex was staying in a flat, rather than in a trailer on location. While she loved to be able to not be confined to a stuffy, messy, living-out-of-a-suitcase trailer, it only served to widen the rift between her and the other actors, making her feel more left out than usual. Especially when Matt and Karen teased Arthur about late-night jam-sessions or some prank and all three were set off into peals of laughter. It was just awkward when one was left out of a joke.
Not that she was complaining, she reminded herself as she pulled out her key and opened the door to their rather large, but homey, flat. This meant more time to spend with Salome, and that was something they both could use.
She was immediately hit with the whirlwind of force that could be called her daughter. "Mum! You're home! What did you film today? Did you see Matt Smith and Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill? Are they cool? Does Matt's hair always look like that?"
Alex laughed, kneeling down to her daughter's height and brushing a brown curl or two from her daughter's wide brown eyes. "Yes, yes, and you can ask him that sometime, I'm sure, because I don't really know. It looks like that when I see him, but that's because Jenna fixes it that way." She said with a grin. She looked up toward their nanny, Cailen, a tall, boisterous brunette who could actually keep up with her daughter, and gave her a bright smile, "Thanks so much for watching Salome for me!"
"Yeah, no problem." Cailen smiled back at her, "Perfect little angel that one is."
Alex chuckled ruefully, "Uh, uh. You behave for her but not for me? I see how it is!" She teased Salome.
Salome grinned up at her mum impishly, "You're my mum. I'm not supposed to behave all the time for you."
Alex laughed, "Oh hush, how about you go pop the kettle on and come back and see what Rich gave me to give to you?" Rich was the prop designer for the set, and Salome tended to be spoiled by the prop designer, costume director, and most of all by Karen and Steven.
"Bye, girls! Don't burn the house down while I'm gone!" Cailen called after them on her way out.
Alex hung up her coat and bag, taking out the item from Rich, "Ha! Who put you in charge?"
"You." Salome yelled from the kitchen.
Her mum held up her hands in defeat and chuckled, shaking her head. "I stand corrected. Bye Cailen!"
"Bye! See you Monday, yeah?" She asked quickly, fumbling for her keys in her purse.
"Actually, I won't need you on Monday, I'm taking Salome with me to the set." Alex sat on the couch, cringing when she heard her daughter's excited squeal from the kitchen coupled with the kettle screaming on the stove.
Cailen laughed, "Have fun with that! Tuesday, then."
"Tuesday." Alex confirmed, nodding.
When Cailen had left, Salome came over with two cups of tea, handing one to Alex before setting the other on the side-table and tucking both of her knees under her. She leaned forward expectantly, "So, what is it?"
Alex laughed, putting a hand over Salome's, "Patience is a virtue, one which you don't have." Her daughter huffed, causing the corners of Alex's mouth to twitch bemusedly as she handed her the package. It was book-shaped, and Salome smiled at that. She loved to read, and this had to be something interesting…though normally Stevie, as she called Moffat, was the one who got her the books.
She tore off the paper and squealed when the TARDIS-blue cover came into view. Her voice jumped about six octaves, "He got me River's journal!" A slightly lopsided and incredibly excited grin lit up her face as she held out the paneled journal.
Alex took it, thumbing through the empty pages, looking up at her daughter's face as she gave the book back. Seriously, the people that worked on Who were amazing, they always found ways to make Salome's day. She'd wanted that journal ever since Alex started working on the show back in Silence in the Library.
"It's not the one you use, though." Salome said with slight disappointment, "It's too new looking."
Ruffling her daughter's hair gently, Alex laughed, "Well of course not, you can't have the one I use, darling…then I wouldn't be able to use it on the show."
Salome pouted, but Alex could see the amusement in her daughter's eyes, "They could make you another one." She shot back for argument's sake.
Shaking her head, Alex took the book again and set it on the couch, giving Salome a push in the general direction of the shower, "Go take your shower, missy." Alex said, effectively ending their little banter.
Salome gave her an angelic smile, the kind that Alex employed when playing a dangerous River, and walked off to the bathroom. Despite her matured-beyond-her-age use of sarcasm, her ability to make an argument, and a sense of humor to match Alex's, she thankfully wasn't yet in that yeahwellyou'remymumandsoIhateyouandyou'reneveraroundandsoIdon'thavetolistentoyou stage that Alex knew, regrettably, might come soon enough. Hopefully, their relationship would be good enough that Salome wouldn't hit that. They'd been through a lot together, the Kingston girls. Even though her daughter was mature far beyond her years (11 going on 30, Alex always said), and likely to hit the rebellious teenager stage way before she hit thirteen, Alex hoped she'd be one of those few kids that never did. Of course, with Alex's luck, Salome probably would, and early too. The Universe seemed to work that way.
She sighed as she got up to reheat her tea, realizing she hadn't taken one sip since Salome had given it to her. The water was running in the bathroom, and as she looked at the clock…it'd been five or ten minutes since Alex had sent Salome off. Oi, she really needed to stop getting lost in her thoughts. This was getting ridiculous. First with the script this morning, then in the makeup room, now with the tea, Alex swore she was losing her mind. She used to be far better at occupying herself. She decided to blame Matt for that. Or rather, her ridiculous crush on Matt. Really, really, Alex? That whole incident while filming had only served to make her feelings for him skyrocket. If she had been younger, maybe a bit less talented at hiding her emotions she'd be humming right now. It was just…he'd been so close. She could've turned her head just slightly and kissed him.
She mentally smacked herself. No, no…NO. We're not going there! No! No…no kissing, no thinking about kissing, no wishing about kissing. Kissing is off-limits. Oi, and now she was talking to herself, using the exact same wording and tone she'd used when Salome had come home announcing she wanted to snog the boy at school she liked. Alex let out a sigh of frustration and pounded her head on the refrigerator door lightly.
This was not a good sign.