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Alec Hardy's day off

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Rose Tyler meets the grumpy newly returned DI Alec Hardy in Broadchurch when Rose is made the Torchwood liaison with the Wessex police, based in the town but Jackie is missing her daughter and gets a driver to take her for a visit.  Rose has arranged to have a few days off but gets an emergency call so it's up to Alec to keep Jackie and Rose's younger brother entertained for the day.  The only problem is, Rose had not told her mother she and Alec live together so Alec has to pretend he lives elsewhere.


Based loosely on an episode of 'The Closer'

Chapter 1
After settling in Broadchurch, Rose's mother and younger brother arrive a few weeks after she takes up a post in the town and she and Alec were fighting over a cliff-side cottage.  Pete had got her a job as the liaison officer between the Wessex police and Torchwood. 

 Rose had taken a liking to the town after just a few days but didn't fancy staying in the hotel further up in the town.

"Look for somewhere to rent then," her mother suggested, since she knew once Rose made her mind up, she'd want to stay there.

"Yeah, there's a few nice places down by the harbour, when dad sorts me somewhere to work.  I asked him to pull in a few favours and get me a liaison job with the police, since I finished my training."

"Well what can happen down there?" her mother wondered.  "Hasn't it all settled down after that poor boy was killed?  Is that detective still there?"

"I don't know Mum, I've only been here a few days ya know?  I've not seen him walking around but there again, if he's stayed here or come back, he'll be at work.  I'll let ya know if I find somewhere then."

Jackie supposed she'd just have to get used to her daughter finally wanting to go out on her own.  

Meanwhile, things were not working out so well for Alec Hardy.  He'd got his job back, in a different station to his ex wife in Sandbrook and was trying to persuade his daughter to go back to Broadchurch with him.

"Well how about I go back, arrange a place to live and you come down for the holidays?" he suggested.

"I'll think about it Dad.  It's just you'd been away so long, it's taking a bit of getting used to.  So you're going back?  Thought you hated it there?"

"I can't settle here again Daisy, it's just not the same.  Even though I'm in a different station, people don't forget so easily.  See you at the weekend then?" he asked hopefully, since she'd at least agreed to that since he'd been back.

So he went to his chief, who had claimed he'd stuck his neck out taking Alec on and offered him a job after pulling in two killers and an accomplice while on medical leave and asked if he could get transferred back to Broadchurch.   His chief was somewhat amused.

"What was all that about you hating it there Alec?" the chief smiled.

"It's not the same here any more, it's no longer feeling like home.  I may try and get my old cottage back or somewhere just as remote.  I heard they got a new chief there?"

"Yes, lucky for you, we know each other, she may do me a favour.  The thing is though Alec, your ex is up for a promotion, she's re-qualified after she admitted she'd lost that evidence.  How did you get her to though?"

"It was not that difficult, since Claire Ripley admitted she followed Tess's car to the hotel and smashed the window, Tess could hardly deny it, could she?" Alec almost smiled.  "So, how long will it take to get me back?"

Before he knew it, he was checking back into The Traders Hotel, surprised it was still open but even more surprising was the fact Rose Tyler was already checked in and somehow, they kept missing each other until a few days later, they were in the same letting agency, Alec having more or less followed her in and was about to ask about renting a white cottage on the side on the east cliff that was only accessible via thirty something steps.

Alec had seen it advertised, after discovering his old riverside cottage had been refurbished and beyond his allowance so as he waited to be seen, a blonde woman sat with one of the agents, he hoped she wasn't after the same place.

"Well Miss Tyler," the agent was telling her.  "We certainly won't have to make the usual finance checks where you are concerned.  The cottage though is occupied until Saturday, we don't get many requests to take it for three months.  Are you thinking of settling here?"

"Yeah, I thought it would do while I find something permanent, the caravan park would maybe have been okay but with the school holidays coming up?" Rose smiled.

"Of course Miss Tyler," the agent smiled back.  "If you call on Saturday, say around midday, we should have the keys back by then, we'll get the place cleaned and it should be ready to move into.  I can't see there being a problem.   We'll just need a month in advance."

"I'll have my accountant get in touch with you then," Rose replied, since Pete had told her Torchwood would pay and it didn't sound good actually saying it in public.

Alec had just sat down at the other desk when someone left.

"I'm interested in the white cottage on the east cliff," he told the woman.

Rose turned towards the voice that had just spoken, a Scottish voice, since she'd not noticed who had just sat down.  He was here or had he just come back?  How did she feel about it though, he was the Doctor's double and she'd tried to ignore it all through the murder investigation and the subsequent trial.  She thought it was safe now, that he would have left but she should have known he'd be tempted to come back, eventually.

The agent attending to Rose heard her colleague's client.

"Sorry, it's just been taken," she called out, marking it on the website and would have to take the leaflet out of the window as soon as possible.

"Already?" Alec asked, not sounding too happy about it.  "Why is it still down as available then?"

He looked at his phone, the website open on the page and noticed it was now showing as unavailable.

"Have you just changed that?" he asked, completely ignoring the blonde.

"Hey, excuse me, I was here first," Rose complained.

"Miss Tyler, please?" the agent objected, since she knew of the grumpy town's inspector's reputation, just when everyone thought he'd left.  "Yes, you were fortunate enough to be the first to ask about it, since it only went on the website last night.  I'm sorry, Detective Inspector Hardy, I'm sure we have other properties to suit your needs?  Did you not have the riverside cottage before?"

"Yes but it's out of my budget range now you've done the place out.  It's not out of some people's budget though," he hinted, since he recognised the name and the blonde and should have known.  

His daughter followed the Vitex heiress on social media but he'd tried to tell her the woman would have someone to see to all that, surely?

"So you expect me to take the riverside one and leave the other one for you?" Rose huffed.  "It's not suitable for me if my mum and my younger brother come to visit or I would have taken it."  She turned back to the agent.  "See you on Saturday then, unless you're gonna refuse my application and give it to him?"

"Of course not Miss Tyler, as you pointed out, you did apply first.  Everything will be ready for you," the agent assured her.

Alec was not pleased and felt like going after the woman and either arguing with her or kiss her, he couldn't decide which.  He could have sworn he'd heard her mention where she was staying – the same hotel he was in when asked her current details, though he shouldn't really have been listening but she wasn't hiding the fact.

Maybe he'd bump into her and persuade her to change her mind?  Who was he kidding though?  She was used to getting her own way, she'd never give in just to please him.  What was she doing in the town though and why hadn't he known?  Still, he had another meeting with the chief next week, she was away and he was sort of in charge until she came back but she'd told him she had something to discuss with him on her return.

He couldn't begin to imagine what that was, she'd been called to a series of meetings at headquarters over in Exeter, so her quick phone call had informed him that morning before she'd left.  He wasn't that bothered, Miller could get him up to date with what had been going on there since he'd tried to make up with his daughter.

Over in Exeter, CS Clark was having her first meeting with the chief of police and other high ranking officers.

"I'll now reveal the nature of these hurriedly called meetings shortly," the chief told them as some staff served coffee and fancy food.

"I take it each of you knows about how important it is we engage with other agencies?"  Most of them nodded or grunted their agreement.  "We also are quite often called upon to co-operate with private agencies and the one I wish to talk about in these meetings is Torchwood."

There was a lot more murmuring around the large conference table, the chief from Broadchurch amongst them.

"Sir, they are a rogue agency are they not?" she objected, having been told the meetings were about agency co-operation but not with this one.

"Not exactly.  I've been informed by their director that they are already working successfully with the metropolitan police in some areas.  They have a number of agents who have been trained as liaison officers between the police and themselves.  I've been asked to consider using them in our area, to include the whole of Wessex eventually but for now, one of their top agents who has just completed their training has expressed an interest in your area, Clark."

"Then I must object, if they want to use us to experiment on, Sir," she further objected.

"I can hardly refuse on those grounds," the chief replied, knowing the request had come from his old golfing friend, Pete Tyler.  "If successful, a further number of agents will be trained to cover other districts, which we will talk about tomorrow but today,  I want to talk about an agent working with us in general."

He saw she was about to interrupt again but she changed her mind.  She knew Hardy would laugh at the idea, even though he'd only been back since Monday.  She knew he'd had a difficult time back where he'd moved from originally and she'd been asked by his chief to take him off his hands and she had gladly done so, since she couldn't justify getting another DI from another area when DS Miller had asked to be reconsidered for the post.

The chief of police was looking at her again.

"I know you took Alec Hardy back, are you afraid the two of them will clash?"

"I expect they will, Sir, Hardy's not one for sharing as far as I've been led to believe.  Do we know who this agent will be?"

She should have known by the smile on his face.

"I believe the director's stepdaughter, Rose Tyler was the agent who expressed the interest joining your team."

There were a few more comments from around the table.

"Why would she want to come to our town?" the CS wondered out loud.  "Surely she's not heard Hardy's come back?  We've not made it public yet that he's just returned.  He only arrived on Saturday and he's got his feet back under his old desk already and it's only Wednesday.  Maybe she'll change her mind when she sees she'll have to work with him?  So when would she start?" she asked, still not keen on the idea.

"Next Monday, when you go back and ultimately, it will be Hardy's responsibility to make sure the two of them get on, we all know what he can be like.  He'll also be responsible for any decisions as to if her expertise will be required or not.  I've been informed that Miss Tyler will just be attached to your station on a needs basis, she'll also be doing her own work for Torchwood."

"Well I suppose if she's not in the station all day?" the CS replied.

"Well you will also benefit from a budget increase, as will those further chosen to participate in the scheme plus Torchwood will make their labs available to us and if anything happens, a fully trained team will be available immediate to work alongside your officers.  I also expect Hardy to co-operate with them, he and Miss Tyler would be equally in charge in such cases."

The chief superintendent knew Hardy would just love that, he'd only been back a few days and everyone already knew about it and she'd left him to sort out his accommodation after being told the budget wouldn't cover where he'd stayed before.  Maybe she could sweet-talk him into co-operating if the budget was getting a boost?

Alec had gone back to his office after his clash with Rose in the letting agency and had slammed the door behind him, making those who were left after the reduction in staff look in that direction.

"What's wrong with him today?" Katie Harford dared ask Ellie.

"You'll have to get used to him Katie, someone must have beaten him to a place to live he was interested in," Ellie told her.

"There are plenty of places to rent," Katie replied.

Ellie just shook her head.  Hardy had already chewed out the new DC twice since he came back and had complained about her when they'd gone out the day before and he'd only been back a few days.  Now the CS was away for some mysterious meetings and he was in charge.

Rose got back to the hotel and gave Becca the news she was possibly leaving on Saturday.

"That was fast," Becca replied as Rose got her room key.

She wasn't surprised though, knowing who Rose was.

"Is Alec Hardy staying here?" Rose dared ask her.  "I just saw him in the letting agents, he wasn't happy I just beat him to a cottage."

"Yeah, he's staying here, have you not seen him?"

"No, I've not been that lucky," Rose grinned.  "I think I'd best stay out of his way but I came down here for a job and I might just be working with him."

"Lucky you," Becca smiled back, thinking she'd love to see that – the Vitex heiress and the newly returned grumpy Scottish detective.

Somehow, the two of them still managed to keep missing each other.  Rose had told her mother she was moving into a cottage that had a nice view of the harbour on Saturday and when Tony broke up for the holidays, she said they should come down for a few days.

Alec had gone back to the hotel, determined to find some accommodation to entice his daughter to come and stay with him and wasn't about to let Rose Tyler get the better of him.  He did wonder what she was doing in the town though, was she doing some snooping around for Torchwood or had she found out he was coming back and decided to make life difficult for him by pinching the cottage he wanted?

Just after lunch on Saturday, Rose was already out getting a few things she needed and called to collect the keys for the cottage, being told everything was in order, the first month's rent and deposit having been paid by the accountant and them being told they would be paying if she decided to stay.

She decided to take a trip to the supermarket to get her groceries, getting a few stares as people recognised her, probably wondering what she was doing there.  Maggie, the newspaper editor and sole reporter for the almost defunct Broadchurch Echo was amongst them and she was determined to find out, it could boost the paper's sales and stop the rumours the parent group were going to swallow the paper up.

Rose was now looking forward to starting work on Monday, even thought she was probably going to have to work with Alec Hardy, who wouldn't be in a good mood with her.  She'd talked to her stepfather, who had assured her that everything had been arranged when he'd spoken to his friend, the chief constable for the Wessex area.

"So, is that detective in town then?" Pete teased her on the Sunday morning.

"Worse luck.  He was after my cottage, I just beat him to it."

"I'd watch out then, he may refuse to work with you and the chief will be complaining," Pete joked.  "It took a lot of persuading Rose, don't let me down by arguing with the detective."

Rose already thought it wasn't going to be her who started it, if Alec Hardy didn't like it.

Chapter 2
Rose got settled into her cliff cottage and Alec resigned himself to staying in the hotel for now, if Miss Tyler got tired, she'd soon leave and since there was very little nightlife down by the harbour, it wouldn't take long for her to get bored.

He had read about her, the parties and dinners she attended and being photographed with some hopeful from a reality TV show but they were probably taken out of context so he shouldn't really judge on that score.   He got a shock when he walked into the new chief's office on Monday morning when Rose Tyler was already there drinking coffee, well he imagined it would be coffee.

"Ah, Alec, nice of you to join us," the chief greeted him, gesturing for him to sit next to Rose and stop gawking at her.

Not that he was aware his mouth was open and no sounds were coming out anyway.

"Alec, meet Rose Tyler.  I've asked her to join us as I've had a directive from the chief of police for the area at the meetings I attended last week.  I can now reveal what they were about.  Miss Tyler will be joining your team, as a liaison between us and Torchwood."

"Why, have we been invaded and no-one told me?" Alec asked sarcastically but thinking it was a fair question, considering who Rose was.

"If we had, no-one told me either," Rose replied to him.

"Really Alec?" the chief questioned him.  "You have no choice in the matter anyway as neither have I, the director of Torchwood himself has requested she be placed on the south coast and Miss Tyler thought the town suitable for a trial period."

"Doing what?  Watching for flying saucers and little green men?" Alec asked.

Rose wasn't going to encourage him by laughing but failed.

"Not everyone who comes to Earth is so obvious," Rose informed him.

"You've met some them?" Alec replied, the chief getting annoyed with him again.

"Some are as human looking as you or I, they're not all green.  We don't let the public know though, we dread to think what would happen after the Cybermen incident.  Anyway, I'm here only to go between the police and Torchwood, to provide a backup should the police need it if anything strange occurs," Rose began to tell him, though the chief had heard it before.

"As a way of thanks, the director also places Torchwood resources at your disposal, such as lab facilities and agents who have experience dealing with the public, who can help with door to door enquiries etc.  Your chief has all the details."

"Is this just a trial then?" Alec asked her, hoping she might be gone sooner rather than later.

"Alec, this is just the beginning," the chief tried to tell him.  "Other police forces will also get the benefit if it's a success here.  I expect your full co-operation on this, when Miss Tyler starts here, she will go through any old cases to see if she can help in any way.  In such cases anything is found or newly reported, I expect you to work alongside her."

Great, he thought, just what he needed.

"Why can't DS Miller work with her?" he objected.

"Because you are the most senior officer around here Alec," the chief reminded him.  "Miss Tyler will use the office next to yours when she's here, which I believe will only be for a few hours a day, am I correct?" she asked Rose.

"Yeah, it should be enough, I still have my Torchwood work to do as well.  I'm not here on holiday, DI Hardy," Rose told him.

"How long is this trial period likely to last?" he wanted to know, hoping it might only be a week or two.

Could he put up with her for a short time?

"I'll have to see how it goes, it's up to the director if he wants me to stay here or not," Rose told him.

Who was she kidding?  If she had suitably annoyed Alec Hardy, her stepfather would make her give up and if he didn't, her mother would, especially since the irritating detective resembled someone she had loved long ago.

"Miss Tyler, I can assure you, you will get our co-operation, won't she Alec?" the chief asked him.  "You can show Miss Tyler to the office next to yours and have a junior officer at her disposal, for making sure she gets files on any unsolved cases."

Alec knew just the person – the newly promoted DC Harford, who already got on his nerves and tested Miller to her limits.  If the chief hadn't taken her on, she would have remained where she was as a uniformed officer, she was a liability.

Rose was escorted to an office next to Alec's and he left her to get organised.  The office wasn't used much any more, he told her she may have to vacate for the odd meeting but she would more often than not be present when the crime scene unit leader had some information to share.

Alec had the pleasure of telling Katie Harford she had been chosen to help Rose.  When he'd gone back to his office, she turned to Ellie.

"He has to be kidding?" Katie objected.

"Like it or not Katie, someone has to do it," Ellie told her.  "You know who she is?"

"Some special ops?" Katie asked.

Ellie thought maybe Hardy was right about her after all?  She had tried to defend the young junior officer when he'd come back.

"Yes, special ops and we need you to give a good impression, Katie," Ellie told her.  "Try not to let us down?"

Ellie thought if anyone let them down, it would be Hardy, since he'd opened the spare office door then left as soon as he could.  This could be interesting, she thought.

Over the next few days, Rose got on with mostly everyone, she made friends with Ellie, whom Alec was rather relieved she'd got herself together and gone back to work there so he didn't have to break in a new DS.  Ellie though had been a little sceptical that the two of them could work side by side when Rose and Alec completely ignored each other.

The conversation had been interesting though, CS Clark thought, since she was unaware how Rose had met her new detective inspector, well new to her when she'd taken the job.

"So, Miss Tyler, have you already met DI Hardy?" CS Clark had asked her before Alec had joined them, the chief thinking he was late on purpose.

"Yes, the other day, when I went to the letting agency.  He wasn't happy I beat him to a place to rent," Rose admitted.  

"I'm sure he'll get over it.  If you have any problems with him, DS Miller will help you, she's used to him," Rose was told.

That though wasn't helping by Wednesday when Ellie went in to see Rose.

"Are you two talking yet?" Ellie smiled at her.

"Not exactly," Rose admitted.

"Then do what I did, invite him over for dinner.  Mind you, that didn't really help, he admitted he had another heart attack when he got back to the hotel."

"Crikey, well it’s a good thing he got himself fixed then?" Rose replied.  "Was he so bad?"

"Yeah but the stupid idiot did nothing about it at first."

"So why did he leave then come back?" Rose wondered, not wanting to say he'd mentioned something in the letting agents.

"You'll have to ask him Rose," Ellie smiled.  "He won't thank me for telling you.  Just ask him, you never know?"

"He's mad at me for taking the cottage he wanted," Rose admitted.

"I thought it would be something like that, no wonder he's mad with you then?"

So before she got ready to leave for the day, she took a chance and let herself into Alec's office.

"Something I can do for you?" he asked, looking over the top of his rimless specs.

"You've hardly spoken to me all week, Alec," she reminded him.

"I was told to co-operate with you on cases, you never brought any to my attention," he just replied.

"Does that mean you have to ignore me?"

"I never wanted to disturb you and so I left you to it.  Everyone else here manages on their own."

"Are you still mad at me, for taking that cottage, Alec?"

"Do you have to keep saying my name?"

Rose thought that must be one of his pet hates then?  Right, he'd asked for it.

"You are still mad at me.  Let me make it up to you?"

"How?  Are you planning on moving out already?" he asked hopefully.

Rose grinned at him.  "Nope.  If my mum comes with my younger brother, he may slip into the water if I take that riverside shack."

"Well he may fall down those steps," he reminded her.

"Once he's up there, Alec, he won't be going out, trust me.  So, about making up for it?  Can I invite you to dinner one night?"

"So I can see what I'm missing, I mean in the way of the cottage," he hastily added.

"No, as a peace offering maybe?  I doubt you have much company for dinner at the hotel?"

Why did she have to remind him, he wondered.

"It's not a good idea," he replied, thinking back to his invite to the Miller house and he ended up in hospital.  He bet Miller had already told her about that.  "We work together."

"I wouldn't go as far as to say that, Alec.  Just say yes?"

"Yes, okay, if it stops you asking me.  I doubt you will give up?"

"Nope.  See, that wasn't so difficult, was it?  Shall we say Saturday, half seven?  No need to give you the address."

Alec wondered why she had to be such a smart ass.

When she got home, she called her mother, who wanted to know how she was getting on.

"Fine Mum.  So when are you and Tony coming down then?"

"Maybe later on in the school holidays?  I'm not sure about being so high up though."

"Mum, it's better than stepping out at the side of the river," Rose reminded her.

She wondered if her mother would even last that long, Tony broke up from school in a few weeks, she'd cave in then.

Alec still didn't say much to her the next day so Friday morning, she asked him for a meeting.

"Giving up?" he asked hopefully.

"No, should I?  Can you think of anything we should discuss?" Rose replied.

"You leaving town?  Seriously, why choose this place?"

"If you think I chose it because you were here, think again.  As far as I knew, you'd left town.  Anyway, it was the thought of it being quiet here, not like other seaside towns in the area.  Well, if there's nothing you can think of?  Are you still coming over tomorrow night?"

"I said I would.  Don't go telling anyone, understand?"

"Not a word," Rose smiled, wondering what all the secrecy was.

Ellie saw her smiling on her way out.

"Did you ask him then?  Only I thought if you weren't busy tomorrow night, maybe we could have a girls night out?  I've got my dad staying with me so I've already got a babysitter."

"Sorry Ellie, I have something planned tomorrow night.  Maybe another time?"

"You did ask him!" Ellie laughed.  "Don't let him fool you Rose, I bet he's looking forward to having some company."

"I sure hope you're right Ellie," Rose admitted.  "He doesn't seem so keen though."

All day Saturday, Alec was trying to come up with excuses to get out of his dinner 'date'.  He still knew no-one in town all that well and Daisy had laughed and said if he didn't start dating soon, she was going to make him join the latest dating 'app' to which he'd told her not to dare set him up with a blind date.

He'd called her the night before and Daisy had asked if he'd met anyone yet.

"Daisy, I've not been back long," he had to remind her.

"That's no excuse, Dad.  What about any women on holiday?" she suggested.

"That's not going to work," he told her.  "Anyway, I sort of have a dinner date on Saturday."

"Really?" Daisy had to laugh.  "Well, who is she?"

How could he say it was with the famous Rose Tyler?  She would never believe him in a million years.

"Just someone who started work here a few days ago," was all he was going to admit.

"It's a start," Daisy told him.  "I'm really pleased Dad."

He thought she would be, when she found out who it was but it was just an odd dinner date and Rose would probably hate him even more afterwards.

Rose went shopping on the Saturday morning, bought a new dress as well as food shopping and hoped she would impress her dinner guest, since he'd hardly spoken to her all week.  What was it with him?  She was hoping he would lighten up a little when he arrived later that evening.

Alec was having a debate with himself as to if he was going to forget Rose Tyler had forced her way into the station on the pretence of working and enjoy her company for the evening.  Taking the bottle of wine and the expensive box of chocolates from the back seat of the car he had commandeered while the chief had been away and he'd half expected her to confront him about it, he remote locked the doors and found his way to the steps up to the white painted cliff cottage, thinking maybe it was better she'd got the place instead of him.

What was he going to tell Daisy though?  That he'd failed to find a place to rent because the Vitex heiress had beaten him to it?  His daughter would never agree to live in the riverside cottage, even if he could afford it so maybe he could talk her into living in a caravan if he had to find somewhere in a hurry?

He reached what he thought was the back door and decided to bypass it, thinking she may not answer it anyway, even though she was expecting him.  He knew from looking up the place it had a patio door so he walked behind the cottage, passing some windows at the back and seeing garden lights placed on the side of the cliff above the brick wall and then passed one patio door, the curtains closed and surmised that was one of the bedrooms.

He went to the next one and could see the living room and knocked on the double-glazed door.  Rose was in the kitchen, nervously looking at the kitchen clock and wondering if he'd changed his mind at the last minute.  Then she heard him knocking and turned around to see him standing at the patio door.

Alec was trying to brush his hair back as he looked at his reflection and forgetting it was now short again, putting it down to the tension that had been building up all day and his internal debate as to if he should cancel.  That though would prove her point, that he didn't like her much so he'd told himself he could at least make the effort.

"Hi Alec, come on in," Rose greeted him as she unlocked the door, Alec pleased she had the sense to do so.

"I wasn't sure which door to use.  Ah, these are for you," he replied, holding out the fancy box, the bottle still tucked under his arm.

"Oh, thanks.  Come on through, I was just finishing off.  Can you open the wine?" she asked, going to the kitchen drawer for the opener.

He'd called for it as late as he could, hoping it wasn't too warm.  He took the opener and placed the bottle on the counter top.  He wasn't sure if he'd even brought the right type.

"Hope you like Italian?" she asked him as he looked nervous and taking his time opening the bottle.

"Ah, yes, now I can eat it again.  I had to watch my diet back when I was ill.  You look very nice by the way, you need not have got dressed up for my visit."

"This old thing?" Rose laughed, pointing to her floral dress.  "Well, you only see me in slacks and a work shirt normally.  I thought you would have dressed more casually though?  Don't you go out anywhere?"

"In this town?" he tried to joke as she turned to the stove.

He picked up the wine and thought he'd best retreat and leave her to it, going to pour the wine into the two glasses already on the table by the window.  He looked out of the window and saw why she'd wanted the place.

"Nice view," he remarked as she brought some dishes in.

"I know you were disappointed when I beat ya to this place.  I thought about what you said Alec but I can't let my brother near the river.  I mean he can swim but my mum wouldn't be too pleased.  Have you found anywhere yet?" she asked, going back for some more dishes.

"Not yet.  Maybe I was hoping you would give this place up?"

"Sorry.  I'm sure you'll find somewhere Alec, there's still a few weeks to the holidays.  I'm not sure when my mum's coming down though, she'll probably just spring it on me.   Well, let's eat then?"

The dinner seemed to be going well, so Rose thought.  He complimented her on her cooking, she said he'd chosen just the right wine when he said he'd not been sure about it and she was clearing the dishes when he offered to help.

"Leave them to soak," Rose insisted as she poured water into the bowl.  "I got some Italian dessert as well, hope you like it."

Alec was at a loss what he should talk about when he arrived but he talked about Daisy, how he'd gone back to try to make it up to her for him leaving home and Rose felt sorry for him when he told her Daisy still hadn't decided.

"You have to keep trying Alec," she encouraged him.  "So if she comes to visit, how long is she planning on staying?"

"More than a few days I hope.  If I have to, I'll go get a caravan for a few weeks and I'm sorry for hinting you should take the other place so I can have this, I was a bit annoyed someone had just beaten me to it."

"You're forgiven," Rose smiled.  "Actually, when I think about it, maybe my mum would be better off getting a caravan for their stay, Tony could go swimming and to the kids club.  I'll have to mention it to her when I call her."

She somehow doubted her mother would go for a caravan though, given one of her male friends had lent them his in Clacton for a week and they were glad to get home.

"May I ask you something Rose?" he wondered, using her name for the first time all evening.

"Yeah, sure."

"Do you think I've been ignoring you all week?"

"Have you?" she smiled.  "Maybe we got off to a bad start, fighting over this place?"

"I did not know at the time we would be working together.  I thought you were just on holiday."

"Taking the place for more than a week?"

"I wasn't to know," he replied in his defence.

"So, if you are not mad at me, can we at least be friends while I'm here?"

"I will try to be more friendly.  How are you getting on with DS Miller?"

"She suggested we have a girls night out," Rose grinned.  "She had better not ask Katie."

"You don't like her?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.  "Take my advice, don't go drinking with Miller.  She took a suspect out from an old case of mine and she got wrecked."

"Thanks for the warning then.  Was it you who assigned Katie to me?"

Alec remained silent.

"You did, didn't you?" Rose laughed, hitting his arm as they stood in the kitchen.

"I thought you two would get on well.  Okay, I apologise, I deserved that," he replied rubbing his arm.

"Well ya could make it up to me?" Rose suggested, taking a step forward.

"How would I do that?" he wondered.

Rose leaned forward and whispered in his ear, "You'll figure it out, Alec."

He raised his eyebrows and put his hand on her shoulder.

"I'm sure I will," he replied as he leaned to close the gap and went to kiss her.

Chapter 3
"That was a surprise, Alec," Rose smiled as they parted.  "I mean to say since you've been ignoring me all week."

"Well I can leave, if you want?" he replied.

"I never said that.  Don't get me wrong, it was nice, the question is, was it just the one?"

"I hope not?  You want to know why I was ignoring you?"

"It would help," she grinned as he put his arms around her again and went to kiss her neck.

"I've been on my own for too long I suppose?  That and my daughter threatened to set me up on a dating site, then you come along and I had to admit to myself I needed to do something and I did not want to.  I thought ignoring you would work and you would give up but instead, you had to go invite me to dinner.  Do you always do that when someone ignores you?"

"No, not really.  I asked Ellie what was wrong with you, she told me I should just ask you.  So, are you going to continue to ignore me at work?"

"I should, I have a reputation to keep up.  We had best just try to stay out of each other's way instead, since you keep your own hours," he suggested.

"That may work although Ellie sort of knows we had a dinner date tonight."

"Did she suggest you ask me to dinner?" he wanted to know, Rose's perfume now getting to him.

"If I said yes?  I wanted to know what I'd done wrong Alec, I mean besides beat you to this place?"

"Forget it Rose, it won't matter if my daughter won't come and visit me, she's still undecided.  At least she's talking to me now."

"Was it so bad then?  I mean when you left home?"

"Leave it Rose.  I wasn't at my best when I left, I won't bother you about it.  Just out of interest, how do you get down those steps in the dark?"

"There are lights at the side and a handrail.  You're not planning on leaving just yet, are you?" she asked as she tightened her grip on him.

"I was just curious, I saw the lamps around the back.  Maybe I won't need to find out?" he asked as he went for another kiss.

It wasn't quite ten yet so Rose led him back into the living room and onto the sofa, where they resumed kissing, Rose managing to unfasten some of his shirt buttons, admiring the view.

"Mmm, Alec, maybe you won't have to find your way down those steps in the dark?  Do you really want to?"

"No, I was hoping I would not need to find out just yet.  Why did you put up with me all week Rose?"

"I've dealt with worse than you Alec, trust me.  I didn't come here hoping you were here or if you'd left and come back, really.  I'm sorry now I beat you to this place, really I am but you didn't help ya know, getting all grumpy about it."

"Oh, so you thought I was grumpy did you?" he teased her, going to kiss her neck.

"You were grumpy and to get your own back, you assigned Katie to me."

"You like her that much eh?" he smiled.

"Just do me a favour Alec, get me someone else, please?"

"She should not even be in that position in my opinion but the chief wanted to give her a chance.  If I take her off helping you, it would prove my point to the chief and she may get rid of her."

"Are ya trying to make me feel sorry for her?"

"Yes and no, she needs to change her attitude and I thought you may help her do that?  She does not even know who you are according to DS Miller.  I would prefer she stayed with you, unless she is really getting to you?"

"Okay, I'll give her another chance but even I'm not that good, she needs proper training Alec, she's sorely lacking in that department.  Maybe I can talk to the chief, get her to put Katie back in normal training on the promise when she's completed it she can come back?"

"Are you always like that, being sympathetic?"

"I try to be, especially in my job, which despite what you thought is not clearing the way for people to accept there may be little green men living amongst us."

"Okay, you got me on that, I was being sarcastic.  Are there really aliens living amongst us Rose?" he asked, brushing her hair from her forehead.

"You'd be surprised Alec but we're not allowed to say who they are.  We try to send most of them back when they get here by accident.  There's this sort of rift, things fall through it, we have no control over it though.  It's in Cardiff, we have a branch there who keep an eye on it but apart from that, aliens get here by other means.  I'd have to get clearance from my stepfather to tell you though."

"Then I would like to hear more about it, after those Cybermen just disappeared and no-one knows where to."

"They're not coming back Alec, they're sealed off," Rose replied, Alec seeing she looked sad all of a sudden.

"What do you mean by sealed off Rose?  You should be happy they are unless there is more to it?  Is there?  When they disappeared, did they take anyone with them?"

"I don't want to talk about it Alec, just accept they've gone, they can't get back."

"Then why are you so upset eh?  Maybe they never took anyone, maybe they forced someone?" he suggested.

"I can't tell you that Alec, you'll have to speak to my stepfather, I'll call him tomorrow.  Can we leave this for now?"

"Fine but I still want to know Rose.  Oh, someone you knew was taken or followed them maybe?  You don't have to say anything, your face tells me I'm right, someone was sealed off with them.  Where did they go Rose?"

"Nowhere Alec, they went nowhere, they're stuck inbetween worlds."

"Then how did they manage that?  They had to go somewhere first Rose, if say they found a gap between two worlds or two planets, they were not aiming for space when they left here, they had to have plans to take over another world.  Were they stopped from taking over another world?"

Rose tried to get up, he was getting too close for comfort.

"Are you staying or leaving Alec?"

"What do you want me to do Rose?  I would rather stay and I promise no more questions for now but you make that call tomorrow, okay?"

"You really don't want to know Alec."

"Yes, I do because you have driven me mad all week Rose and I'm not going to continue, not now I know I'm getting near the truth.  I know why you were keeping your distance.  You could have any man you wanted Rose, why flirt with me eh?"

"I was flirting with you?" Rose asked him.

"Yes, you were and you know it but you were afraid to take it further.  Most of the single male population would give anything for a date with you, yet you come to a place like this instead of staying in London and going out on the town every night.  Why?"

"I just want a quiet life Alec, it's not true what you read or hear about me.  Yes, I lost someone but we weren't lovers, just very special friends but if I'd not lost him, who knows?"

"Did he go after the Cybermen?  Please tell me he did not get trapped between worlds?"

"No, he didn't but he may as well have done, he's not coming back Alec."

"How do you know?  You said, about that rift, how do you know he won't come though that?"

"You can't just pick and choose what comes though Alec, it doesn't work like that and sending someone back through it is dangerous, who knows where they will end up?  I know what can come though Alec, we have a team to handle them when we get an alert, not everyone is friendly, trust me.  Besides, the Cybermen didn't use the rift, they used the old Torchwood and those working there at the time helped them take over.  They escaped using Torchwood technology while people argued they had the same rights as us, since they used to be us."

"Was your friend turned into one?" he asked, seeing this was upsetting her.

"No, he wasn't.  Can we leave this for now?"

"I'm sorry Rose, I should not have brought up the subject but the chances of you coming here, why Broadchurch?"

"Because it was in the news, it seemed the best place, not over-crowded like other places down here would be."

"Admit it, you were hoping I was still here or just returned?" he smiled.

"Huh?  You've got such a big ego, Alec."

"Have I, really?  I don't think so, Miss Vitex.  I guess I should probably just leave then?"

"No, I don't want you to leave Alec.  I did hope you might be here but I thought you would have left for good."

"So you got a shock when I walked into the rental agency to ask about this place?" he smiled.

"You were the one who made a fuss about it," she reminded him.

"I don't like being beaten but there was very little I could do about it," he replied, wondering if she was still going to ask him to leave.

"Except ignore me all week," she smiled.  "You could always take advantage and come round every evening?"

"To let me see what I'm missing?  Have you not been lonely up here, all on your own?"

"I never noticed.  If you came round, I wouldn't be lonely, would I but if I tell you more about what happened, you may change your mind."

"It can't be that bad, can it?" he replied.

"My stepfather will have to grant you access, we don't go around telling everyone what happened.  He'll make you a limited member but it can be revoked without notice.  We're not opposed to officials knowing about us but the Cybermen and other aliens aren't talked about in public.  So, are you staying?"

Alec soon showed her he was staying as he got up, more shirt buttons undone as they kissed again and asked which was her bedroom, being surprised it wasn't the one with the patio door.  He waited for her to finish in the bathroom then went himself to give her chance to get into bed, surprised when he got back she was just in a skimpy vest top and her underwear.

As he got undressed to his boxer shorts, making Rose smile, he got in beside her, the light now just coming from the lamps outside and they soon forgot their differences of the past week or so.  As they lay together when Alec came away from her, Rose snuggled up to him.

"I've not felt like that for a long time," Alec had to admit.

"I don't think I've ever felt like that Alec," Rose had to admit.  "I never really had a boyfriend since my mum met and married Pete and we moved in with him.  I had one but we weren't that serious.  I'm not out with a different bloke every night."

"I never implied you were Rose.  Do you think you could maybe go for more, I mean with me?"

"Already?" Rose teased him, going to kiss across his chest.

"Well, you could finish what you're doing first, if you want?" he teased her back.  "I actually meant more nights of what we have just had."

"I knew that you plum.  Yeah, I can go for more of it but that depends how you take what Pete has to tell you, about where my friend went."

"Can't you tell me?"

"You'd believe him more than you would me."

"I would believe it from you, since it seems to have affected you.  Tell me in your own words Rose, once you get permission."

Rose tried to move.  "You may change your mind about wanting more of what we just shared."

"What makes you think that?  Is it so bad?"

As they fell asleep, Rose sprawled over him, he couldn't help but wonder what had happened to her to make her think it would put him off.  Maybe she'd come from the place the Cybermen had been thought to have disappeared to?  Would that make her an alien?  No wonder she was so reluctant to talk about it and very little was known how her mother had met the Vitex millionaire except it had been a whirlwind romance.

He soon found out the next morning, after fooling around in bed, Rose insisting they get dressed and ate before Alec faced finding out about everything.  Rose set up a video conference with Pete, who wasn't that surprised she'd met the detective and wanted to tell him about herself.

So Alec listened for what Rose thought was ages, Alec judging both Pete's and Rose's reactions when he had questions.

"Well, that's it Alec, Rose has to tell you the rest, how she was involved with him," Pete told him.  "Rose, call your mother eh?"

"Yeah, I will, thanks Dad."  

She disconnected the call and turned to see how Alec was reacting.

"So, I was right then?  No wonder you know so much about it then, Miss other universe?  So, he's really not coming back?  I guess I remind you of him?"

"A little, yeah, minus a few details.  You can leave if you want?"

"Why would I want to do that Rose?  How many men get to sleep with Rose Tyler?"

"We did more than sleep Alec.  I'm not from around here, remember?"

"So what?  I won't hold that against you, Rose Tyler, who never had to change her name.  What were the chances of that?"

"I can't believe you've taken it so well.  So, about you coming here every night?"

They went out for the day, calling at the hotel for Alec to get a few things, with a view to moving out and went back to work the next morning, having to face the chief.

"So, you got involved with each other?  Are you both going to be able to work alongside?"

"Yes, I believe we can," Alec replied for the both of them.  "Miss Tyler also has agreed, since she does other work that her time here, we will just act normally."

"You mean by ignoring each other?" the chief mused.  "Well, you both provided amusement for the rest of the office last week, we'll see if anyone notices the difference shall we?  Anything else?"

"Yeah, about Katie Harford," Rose spoke up.  "She's no idea what she's doing, no disrespect but she shouldn't even be here, she should be back in training."

"I chose her myself Miss Tyler, along with a few others in different departments.  It would be unfair to send her back to basic training now."

"So, just send her back and promise you'll let her resume afterwards?  No-one gets on with her, she's got a real attitude and I thought I was bad enough.  Look, If you don't want to send her back, leave her to me but she won't like it.  I'll assume responsibility for her along with Alec, on the premise she does what I tell her, no arguments."

"Well, I'm willing to let you try but she represents the younger officer, whom teenagers and young people may relate to," the chief replied.

"That's all well and good," Alec joined in, thinking if she'd asked his opinion, Harford would never have been accepted for training, let alone officer training.  "Teenagers need someone to tell them what to do, not join them."

Rose had to suppress a laugh. 

"Well, the two of you see what you can do with her.  If you both fail, I'll take your suggestions into account," the chief replied.

Alec knew it was a lost cause before they even started.  They went to their offices, Rose suggesting they brought Ellie in on it but Ellie was more interested in how the two of them had got on with their dinner date.

"We're not here to discuss our private lives Miller," Alec tried to tell her as both Ellie and Rose grinned at him from the other side of his desk.

"I'll just get it out of Rose then?" Ellie laughed.  "Seriously though, Rose is right, Katie's a bit of a liability but I had no choice but to try to get on with her before you came back.  I'll try and help you Rose but she's really a lost cause and goodness knows how much it's costing to train her.  She shouldn't be here at all.  So, what do you have in mind?"

"Just leave her to me Ellie, if Alec agrees?" Rose smiled at him.

"She's all yours but don't say I never warned you.  As for our date Miller, Rose and I have settled our differences but we promised the chief to keep it low-key while working.  No gossip, understood?"

Ellie just grinned at them both – this could be very interesting.

Chapter 4
When Rose got back to her office, the first thing she did was secure a video link to her stepfather.  If she was going to tell Alec about some of her past, she needed to talk to Pete face to face.

"So, anything happening yet?" Pete asked her, Rose hearing Jake in the background.

"You may as well put Jake on as well Dad.  I want to tell Alec some of what Torchwood does and how I got here."

"Already?" Jake joined in, Pete widening the camera view and Jake giving a little wave that reminded her of how the Doctor waved to her when she was in the vault when she'd been caught in the other Torchwood.

"I had to tell him some of it, about the rift and how the Cybermen escaped.  He sort of guessed I lost someone when I wouldn't admit anything about my boyfriend status.  It didn't matter to him, we decided to call a truce but it's getting in the way of other things.  So, can I tell him?"

"I know you don't just tell anyone Rose," Pete had to admit.  "Just be careful eh?  You don't want to send him running, do you?  So apart from you and Alec Hardy, anything else I should know about?"

"I'm going through some old cases for them and Alec, to get his own back I wormed my way in here assigned me a young DC.  She's a liability Dad but I'm gonna put her in her place, he left her to me."

Jake had to laugh.  "A bit like you when you joined us?" he asked.  "The things I had to put up with, training you.  Do you think she'd make a good officer?"

"No, not really.  The chief here picked her out, she needs to go back to training school.  Alec and Ellie don't know what to do with her so I offered to take her off their hands," Rose replied, seeing Katie at a filing cabinet.  "I've no idea what I'm gonna do with her."

"Tell her tales about the Cybermen?" Jake teased her.  "Well, good luck with that then.  So, Alec Hardy?  Have you two got together then?"

"You could say that," Rose tried not to blush.  "Don't either of you dare tell my mother.  He thinks I came here hoping he was still around."

"You did," Pete reminded her, wondering when she was ever going to learn.  "I won't tell her for now, it's up to you but you know she wants to visit?  How's the cottage anyway?"

"After Alec and I stopped arguing over it?" Rose smiled.  "I sort of offered to share, that he could come over every night, if he wanted.  There's plenty of room if mum still wants to come down but I dread to think how she'll react."

"Guess you'll have to admit it sooner or later?" Jake grinned.

"Anyway, gotta go, Katie has an armful of folders heading in my direction."

Katie just pushed the door open, without knocking and put them on Rose's desk.

"Anything else?" Katie asked her.  "I'm not the slave around here by the way."

"Ya could have fooled me.  What is it with you?" Rose asked, gesturing for Katie to sit.

"Why would you want to know?  I know who you are, besides special ops.  What are you even doing here?"

"Trying to help.  Seriously, I used to be a rebel like you but someone took me under his wing and trained me.  Now I'm a team leader and police liaison.  Why did you want to join the police?" Rose asked, remembering what Alec had said.

"My dad abused my mother when I was a kid.  He said it was only once but how can I believe him?  It's never just once, is it?  Anyway, I was determined he wasn't going to do it again but my mum died anyway but men like him can't be allowed to get away with it."

"No, they can't but you're not helping your cause ya know?  Go through these cases with me and see if there's anything odd about them.  I'm not here to get abusers or anything.  I'm from Torchwood, heard of us?"

Katie shook her head.

"Then go get us some coffee and I'll tell ya," Rose grinned, seeing Ellie look in their direction.  "We chase after aliens and the unexplained – interested?"

Ellie went into Alec's office.

"Rose is wasting her time with Katie," she told him.

"Is she?" Alec raised his eyebrows and put his hands behind his head.  "We'll see Miller.  Rose told me some things about Torchwood last night, she was getting permission to tell me more.  She may get Harford involved."

"Well I hope she knows what she's doing," Ellie replied.

So did Alec but he was looking forward to learning more himself, especially about the person who was taken from her, who had to have been more than a friend.  Maybe the man had been more to her but neither of them had wanted to admit it.

He knocked on her office door as Katie was leaving.

"How did it go?" he asked Rose.

"Okay.  We have a lot of talking to do tonight Alec.  If you can accept it, wanna share the cottage with me?"

"Most definitely.  Think I can't take it, Miss Tyler?"

"Well, you call for a Chinese takeout on your way over and bring enough stuff for morning and we'll see?" she teased him.

"Can't wait," he replied, giving nothing away.

So Alec went to the hotel when he finished work, packed an overnight bag, called the takeout number and was soon climbing the steps to Rose's cottage, hoping it would soon also be his.  He'd made his mind up that no matter what he was told, he could take it.

Had she really come from that other world?  Did it really bother him?  She had got him really annoyed but she'd soon melted him and he'd given in last night.  Just as long as she was right, the man she lost wasn't coming back but he wanted more details on this 'Rift' and what was being deposited on this world.

After they'd eaten and Rose curled up on the sofa with him, she began to tell him, first about how she had helped this London dispose of the Cybermen, then going back but leaving out the fact they dropped out of the time vortex in a time machine – for now.

"Why go back Rose, if you were safe here?" he asked her.

"I didn't want to stay here Alec, not when he needed help.  I loved him but never told him.  I barely got back, my mum went on at Pete to get me back and he grabbed me as the void was closing, she never knew how close it had been."

"So you would have followed the Cybermen and those other creatures had he not appeared then?  Do you know what would have happened, if it was just an empty space?  How would your mother and the Doctor have felt?  Geez Rose, you are one hell of a risk taker."

Rose took it the wrong way and tried to get up but he stopped her.

"Let me up Alec.  That's what I do, take risks, we all do to keep this world safe.  If you can't accept that?"

"It's hard to accept Rose but still, I never said I couldn't.  So, when the void closed, there was just a tiny gap and he got a message to you?"

"Yeah but before he said he loved me, it closed.  That's why I keep away from men Alec, I'm afraid they'll leave before they tell me."

"Come here," he leaned over, pulling her closer.  "There is no need to fight me over it Rose.  He tried to tell you, he just ran out of time but you have to trust someone so trust me.  Is there anything else you need to tell me?  Maybe I remind you of him?"

Rose tried to get away again.

"You don't have to say it Rose, it's in your eyes.  You came looking for me, did you not?  It's fine to admit it Rose, I don't feel any less about you.  At least I understand now.  Who was he, really?  I can't accept he was just an ordinary man.  Oh, he wasn't, was he?  You had aliens on your world, that's how you knew so much about them when you came here and he was one of them, wasn't he?  I used to read comics Rose, I know they're not all green," he smiled.

"He was a Timelord Alec, the last one and he had no-one until he found me but he'll have found someone else by now.  He can change, when he's in danger and he changed in front of me, to look like you, well without the beard."

"Well I'm glad there's some difference," he smiled.  "It's fine Rose, really.  Everyone has a double."

"No Alec, they don't.  There was no Rose Tyler before I came here, you have no idea how that felt and for me to turn up and tell Pete I was his daughter in another reality?  We both had to come to terms with it.  Now, we're really close and he does his best to make up for me losing my real dad, he didn't have to."

"I expect that's because you tried to safe his first wife?  He had time to think about it, before you came back, can you imagine how he felt when you did come back?  He finally got to thank you for it."

He saw the look on her face.

"I never thought about it like that.  He never told me Alec."

"He maybe thought he didn't have to?  Well, that's that, Rose Tyler, I'm still here.  So that's it now?  Maybe you can tell me more about your old world, I mean if you were with a time traveller?"

"How long have ya got?" Rose teased him when they'd kissed.

By the weekend, Alec had moved his things in, not quite happy Rose was getting the cottage paid for but had to accept she came with the money and status of being the stepdaughter of Pete Tyler.   The school holidays were now only a few days away, Daisy had agreed to call him and come for a visit and he just hoped it wasn't when Rose's mother and brother were coming down.

"Rose, you did say your mother was coming down the back end of the holidays?" he asked her over dinner one night.

Rose didn't know how to tell him.  "Well, about that.  She called, this morning."

"You're telling me this now?" he raised his eyebrows that Rose normally thought was rather sexily.

"Yeah.  She said she missed me, she wants to come down at the weekend."

"What?" he asked, in the same tone of voice the Doctor always used.  "Rose, have you even told her we live together, hmm?"

"Not exactly.  Dad told her you come over most nights, it got left at that."

"Rose, this is serious, you have to tell her and before she arrives."

"Just let her meet ya first, then we'll tell her," Rose suggested, hoping she'd get away with it.

"That's just asking for trouble love, what if she goes crazy about it?  Besides, I can't see her wanting to share a twin room with your brother or is she coming on her own?"

"No, they're both coming on Friday so I won't be at work, Katie can have a few days back in the office."

"Are you trying to get your revenge on me?" he tried to joke.  "Rose, where are they going to stay?  Why did you never tell her?"

"How do I tell her over the phone, Alec?  Trust me, she'd have been down before now if I had."

"You are old enough to live with a man Rose.  How did she react when you travelled with the Doctor?"

"Badly.  She'll be okay, once she sees us together."

"Really?  Why don't you book them into the hotel?"

"If I do that, she'll know I've got something to hide," Rose replied.

"So, what do we do then?" he asked, fearing the worse.

"You move down to the hotel, while she's here?  It won't be all the time, just to sleep Alec.  Maybe she'll just accept you and it won't be necessary?"

"You're asking a lot Rose, really love.  Okay, I will do it for a couple of nights but we tell her and if she does not like it by Sunday night, Tony can stay with us and she takes the room, understand?"

Rose knew he didn't usually lay down the law at home.

"Yeah, okay, thanks.  Mum will want our room and I'll have to share with Tony for now but we'll sort it out.  Maybe we'll keep the hotel room and we'll both use it?"

"Just how long is she staying?" he asked worriedly.

"I suggested they came on Friday, so they saw you at the weekend, is that okay?"

"I suppose so love.  You have to make it up to me, Miss alternate universe."

"This is the alternate universe to me," she reminded him.  "Well I'll have plenty to do on Thursday, washing the bedding.  You book into the hotel on Friday morning, you may need some time off."

"What time will they be here?"

"Around two I think, then we'll all go out for tea, Tony can't wait to get here."

Things were not going to turn out quite as they expected on the Friday morning though when Rose was woken early by her phone and it wasn't her mother calling either.  It was the desk sergeant, who had been told if anything usual was reported, to pass it to Rose but she didn't appreciate it at seven thirty in the morning.

"Rose, leave it," Alec was begging her as they got ready and he'd seen what she'd written down.

"I can't Alec, this is what I came for, remember?  You have to move your things anyway, just call Ellie and tell her you won't be in.  Remember, the driver will drop Mum and Tony in the car park below, he'll help ya up the steps with their luggage," Rose smiled at him, tempted to run her finger down his still open shirt but they'd get too carried away if she did.

"How much are they bringing?" he asked, still worried he'd leave something he shouldn't in the bathroom, since Rose was almost on her monthly and not covered herself.  

He had visions of her younger brother asking his mother what they were.  Rose seemed to know.

"Just take that bright red packet with ya when ya pack," she teased him.  "Don't forget to empty the bathroom bin either."

"Stop it," he told her, seeing her with a smirk on her face.  

"Ya didn't put last night's in our bin in the corner did ya?" she giggled, pretending to look over into the corner beside the wardrobe.

"Rose, stop it.  Thought you were in a hurry eh?" he asked, seeing she was trying to fasten her black trousers, leaving a tempting gap.

"I am, Inspector, ya can do some inspecting another time and no, I'm still okay for now so maybe I'll sneak down to the hotel tonight while mum watches TV?"

"You had better, I booked it in both our names," he smiled.

"So, you take the day off then?  I promise I won't say anything to Ellie."

"Yes you will and you know it.  She knows your mother arrives today and she knew I needed an hour off.  I just never told her why."

"Well it's a bit embarrassing.  Just keep her away from my mother or she'll be the one to tell her, not us.  Maybe I should just warn Ellie though?" she teased him.

Rose finally went off to the station to get more details and to wait for Katie, whom she'd promised if anything came in, she could go with her.

"Hello Rose, thought you weren't in today?" Ellie greeted her as Rose read the report in reception.

"Something finally came up but I hope to be finished before my mum and Tony get here.  If not, Alec will have to let them in."

"Well he already said he had something to do later, he never said what though, as usual," Ellie grinned.  "So, anything exciting that brought you in?"

"You know I can't tell you Ellie.  Oh by the way, if you meet my mum.  She knows Alec's my boyfriend and he sometimes stays with me but not anything else.  We're gonna tell her when she settles."

"Well good luck with that then," Ellie grinned.  "Looks like your other alien chaser's here," she nodded as Katie came through the door.  "Hope she's better at that than being a detective," she leaned to whisper to Rose.

"So do I," Rose replied, she could live in hope.

The Tyler household had been in uproar that morning.  Tony wasn't co-operating with his nanny, whom he reckoned he was too old to have one and wanted to wear something that was already packed.

"Tony, you'll be late seeing your sister," he was reminded.  "Just wear that top for now."

"Huh, I suppose so?" Tony replied, taking after what he'd heard Mickey say many a time.

They finally got him into the car, his nanny relieved she was having a break since she'd have him the rest of the holidays unless his two 'uncles' rescued her.

Alec was packing his things, including his stuff from the bathroom and made sure the bins were emptied, a large black bag by the kitchen door to take down with him.  He hoped Rose's mother wouldn't go inspecting everything, Rose had moved her clothes into the other room until they broke the news he also lived there but as he was doing a final check, he missed something on the coffee table, something Rose had thought was amusing that she'd made him buy on a trip to a nearby seaside town.

Little did he realise as he locked the kitchen door it would cause a commotion when Jackie Tyler arrived.

Chapter 5
While Rose and Katie went off to investigate, Alec checked into the hotel just at the bottom of the steps that had become their cottage, wondering what exactly he was letting himself in for by agreeing to move out for the duration of a visit from Rose's mother.

He had a couple of hours before he'd get a message she and Rose's younger brother had arrived, since Rose had passed his number on to Jackie.  Tony was excited to be seeing his older sister again but no-one had tried to explain to him she was only his half sister really, it never seemed to matter.

"Where does Rose live Mum?" Tony was asking as they sat in the back of the comfortable SUV Pete had bought for Jackie to be ferried anywhere she wanted to go by the part-time driver and handyman.

"Halfway up a bloomin' cliff, that's where," Jackie huffed, not looking forward to climbing up and down but once she was up there, she was only going to go down once a day.

"Wow, can I run up and down it?" Tony asked, the driver smiling at the thought as he heard.

"No you can't.  What was she thinking, moving up there?"

"Aw but Mum, I want to run down the cliff.  Are there any steps?"

"Yes, thirty something of them.  If she thinks I'm going up and down more than once a day, she's got another thing coming.  I don't know why she can't meet us, leaving her boyfriend to do it."

Jackie had got the message Alec was to meet them on their arrival, along with his mobile number.  As the driver turned off for the town, Jackie saw the sign and got her mobile ready.

"We'll be there in a few minutes Mrs Tyler," the driver informed her.  "I'll park as close as I can, as per Miss Tyler's instructions."

"Yeah, she can't meet us Frank, she's getting her boyfriend to do it.  I hope she described us to him?"

"Won't you recognise him Mrs Tyler?  He has been in the news," Frank replied after he'd heard the name Alec Hardy being mentioned.

"I suppose so then?  Just watch out for him, I'm sending him a message now."

Alec was pacing his room that was to be his home for at least the next few nights, hoping Rose would do as promised and sneak out when her mother had gone to bed.  He'd already laid down the law that her mother was going to be told he lived there, whether Jackie Tyler liked it or not.

Rose had told him her mother was prone to slapping her male friends regardless if they were her boyfriend or not.  He didn't intend being one of them.  His message tone went with the words 'We're here' and it was a good thing Rose had given him her mother's mobile number since there was no name included in the message.

He had an idea he'd spot the car, since Rose had told him her mother like to travel in style and sure enough as he emerged from the hotel, a large black SUV was parked in a corner near the bottom of the cottage steps and he made his way towards where a man was standing at the rear of the car.

Tony wanted to get out and look around, his mother pointing out they were in a car park and there was nothing to see.

"Have you got Mrs Tyler in there?" Alec nodded to the car as he approached.

"Yes, you must be DI Hardy?"

Frank went to open Jackie's door first.

"He's here Mrs Tyler, I'll get your luggage out."

He'd parked where it had a sign saying 'Resident's only' next to Alec's car, which he thought he'd best not point out it was his and move it as soon as he could, though he should have thought of that earlier.

"Mrs Tyler?" Alec asked as she got out, Tony having crawled across the back seat and was scrambling out.

"Who else would I be?  So you're Alec?  Tony, come back here," she called after the boy, who had gone to the back of the car.

"Are you Alec?" Tony asked him, getting his shoulder bag.  "Does Rose live up there?" he pointed to the cottage.  "It's not that high up Mum."

"It's high enough Tony.  Well let's get up there then?  I hope Rose changed rooms?"

"Yes Mrs Tyler, I was just up there making sure everything was tidy.  Rose regrets she can't be here to greet you so I took the day off.  She hopes she won't be long."

"Mum, can we go for icecream?" Tony asked hopefully as Alec helped with their luggage, glad he was well again.

"Later, I'm only going out once.  Didn't Rose say how long she'd be?"

Alec knew Rose could have put that call off if she'd wanted, she'd done it so her mother could meet him.

"No, she had no idea how long it would take.  She gave me the keys for the cottage."

"So where do you live then?" Jackie asked as they began to climb the steps.

"I'm in the hotel for now, until I find a place of my own."

"Well I hope you're not moving in with my daughter, you've not known her that long," Jackie replied, Alec thinking it was an order, not a suggestion.

Alec let them in the kitchen door, since that was nearer to the bedrooms and Frank deposited the rest of the luggage.

"I'll be back next Saturday morning Mrs Tyler.  What time would you like to be collected?"

"Not too early, I'll have trouble getting Tony to leave.  Make it around midday."

Alec thought Tony wouldn't be the only one who didn't want to leave, unless he got her into the hotel instead of himself.  He showed Jackie what had been their bedroom then the twin room, Tony going for the bed near the patio door.

"Can I have this one?" Tony asked him.

"Take the one you want, Rose won't mind," his mother replied for Alec.  "Get your things unpacked Tony, then we'll go out and wait for your sister."

"There's a café nearby, I'll leave Rose a message to meet us there," Alec suggested as he helped Jackie with her cases, thinking she looked like she'd come for more than a week.

Did she think there was plenty of nightlife?  If she did, she was in for a big shock.  He went to wait in the living area while Jackie got unpacked and sent Rose a message 'I hope you'll be back soon, meet us at the harbour café'.

Rose got the message as she and Katie sat in her car.

"My mother just arrived and Alec's gonna kill me for leaving him with her," Rose smiled.

"Hasn't he met her before?" Katie wondered.

"No, it's the first time.  The thing is though, she doesn't know he lives with me," Rose laughed.

"That should be interesting then?  So, how long are we waiting here?" Katie asked, as they were parked a mile or so down the coast, having borrowed a police sign in case a traffic warden came along.

Rose supposed Katie could have used her ID but she'd enjoyed the challenge of getting Alec to part with his.

"As long as it takes, haven't you done any stake-outs?"

"No, not yet, I was waiting for DS Miller to take me on one.  So go on then, tell me more about Torchwood?"

Back at the cottage, Tony came out first.

"Alec, will you help me?" Tony asked him.

Alec got up and followed the boy, seeing clothes scattered all over the bed and reminding him what Daisy used to be like.

"Come on then, let's sort this out before your mum sees it eh?"

They still managed to get back in the living area before Jackie, Tony kneeling on a chair and looking out of the window.

"It's not as high up as mum said," Tony called to him.  "Where are you staying?"

Alec got up and pointed to the white painted hotel below.

"Just down there," Alec replied.

"Why haven't you got a house?" Tony wanted to know.

"Because when I came back to live here, I wanted this cottage but your sister got it before me.  That was how we first met, in the rental agency.  Then she came to work at the police station and we became friends."

"Aren't you her boyfriend?"

"Well yes, I became her boyfriend but not at first.  She invited me for a meal one night and I thought she was showing off that she beat me to the cottage," Alec recalled with a smile.

Tony laughed.  "Don't you want to live here Alec?"

"Well yes, I come up here most evenings and the weekends.  So, where do you want to visit while you are here?" Alec asked, trying to change the subject.

He heard a noise from the kitchen as Jackie went to fill the kettle with water.  He thought Jackie didn't waste any time making herself at home.

"Did ya send Rose a message?" Jackie asked him.

"Yes, she said she would be as quick as she can.  Do you want to go out yet?"

"No, we'll wait then go get something to eat.  I hope there are no noisy seagulls in the mornings on that cliff."

Was she trying to catch him out, Alec wondered.

"Rose has not said anything about them" Alec replied.  "I'm sure she would have complained?"

"Trust me, she would have done," Jackie laughed.  "So, where is there to go around here?"

"I believe Rose has some places in mind after today?  She was talking about an old tramway up the coast that Tony would like, then there is the tank museum and a few other places.  Do you like to go swimming Tony?"

"Yeah, is there a swimming pool?" Tony asked hopefully.

"Yes, there is one just down the coast but you may be able to go to the caravan park one, Rose will check for you."

Rose and Katie were about to give up as her message tone went again that Alec needed rescuing from her mother's questions, making her smile.

"Well, it seems this was a waste of time," Katie told her as Rose replied asking him what it was worth, to which she got the reply that if she joined him in the hotel tonight, she'd find out.

"Katie, we have to respond if we get a call, we never know," Rose told her as she put her phone away.  "Let's have one more look on the beach?"

"Well I'm hungry.  Do I have to go back to work?" Katie replied.

"I'll show you how to make out a report for Torchwood and send it to my office back in London.  I'll put you down as my trainee.  Can I give ya some advice Katie?"

"I suppose you will?"

"It's your attitude Katie.  Acting all tough will get ya nowhere.  Ellie's a good officer, maybe ya should take more notice of her?  Look, while I'm here, you can work with me but if I don't stay, then what will ya do?  You have to make an effort.  Why don't ya think of going back for a bit more training?"

"To a boring police academy?" Katie asked.

"DI Hardy taught at the academy over in Exeter and you thought your tutor was boring?" Rose laughed.  "Don't tell him I said that or I'll get a Torchwood agent to give ya something to forget."

"They do that?  Really?"

"Yes, we have special agents who decide about how much a person should forget.  Katie, it's obvious you are more interested in what Torchwood does.  Why don't I get my friend to put you in their training program?"

"Really?  You'd do that?"

"He keeps reminding me what I was like when I joined.  That was just before my mother remarried and my now stepfather made me finish my education and go through training.  What do ya think?  I'll be your sponsor so don't let me down, you can't get in without a sponsor.  Stay a few weeks with me then see what ya think but I'm qualified to train you on the job.  It depends how long I stay."

"Don't you know yet?" Katie asked as they walked towards the beach after reports a strange kind of seaweed had washed up on the beach early that morning but the tide must have already carried it out.

"That depends on a few things, I'm not planning on leaving just yet though.  You'll have to go to London to get clearance but you already being in the police, it'll just be a formality.  Look, I'm off next week, get yourself to London and I'll have Jake arrange a place for you to stay and get some basic training there.  It's the offer of a lifetime Katie.  I'll give him your number, he'll be in touch with you."

Rose just hoped she wouldn't regret it and Jake hate her for it.

Meanwhile, Alec was trying to keep young Tony entertained, since Jackie had said she was going to have a lie down after her journey.

"So Tony, what do you like to do at home?"

"I like playing with my race track, I've got a police car and my dad got me a train set.  Do you have a police car?"

"No, just a plain one, sorry.  Do you want to be in the police when you get older?"

"I might do, Rose said you have to work hard at it.  Did you always want to be in it?"

"Yes, since when I was at school.  Maybe your sister can bring you to the police station one afternoon?"

"Yeah, cool!"

Alec got a message from Rose to ask if they were in the café but he replied saying her mother was having a rest so she went back to the cottage, Tony all over her when she got in.

"Hey, I missed you Tony!" Rose greeted him.  "Have you made friends with Alec?"

"Yeah, he said I can go visit the police station, didn't you Alec?  If he's your boyfriend, is he like my big brother?"

Rose glanced at Alec, who shrugged his shoulders, leaving that up to her.

"Well not quite Tony but he wants to be your friend, don't ya Alec?"

"Indeed.  Rose, why don't you wake your mother and we'll go out?  How did you get on anyway?"

"Bit of a false alarm but I might have solved your problem with Katie?" she replied, sneaking a kiss on the cheek.

"Do I want to know how?" he raised his eyebrows.

"I'll get Jake to call your chief, offer to give her some basic Torchwood training.  I'll have to put her down as a trainee anyway so may as well.  Not that Jake will thank me for it," she added with a grin.

"You can be sure of that and I've never even met him.  Are you certain she'll be any good?"

"Alec, she's got the wrong attitude for the police but Torchwood?  It could be an advantage if she's willing to learn."

"She can't have been willing at police training school or she would have stayed and no, she was not in my class when I was over at the one in Exeter."

"How would ya know Alec, didn't ya get accused of sending the students to sleep?" she teased him.

"I will get you back for that Rose," he replied.

Rose knocked on the bedroom door then opened it slightly.

"I'm back Mum, want to go out for something to eat?"

A short time later, they all went into the café just below and Jackie was trying to catch up on what Rose had been doing since her arrival.  Then they all went to the end of the pier, Tony asking about the beach.

"You can go tomorrow, Rose can take ya," his mother told him.

"Well Alec will be coming too, he has all weekend off ya know?" Rose protested.

Rose could see this was going to go down well and she'd only just arrived.  What would her mother say if it was even suggested Alec lived with her?  She was soon about to find out.  Tony wanted to go exploring so Alec suggested he took the boy onto the beach and go for a walk.

"Yeah, you do that then me and mum can catch up," Rose agreed.

Giving Alec a kiss on the cheek and patting Tony's head, Rose took her mother off.

"So, what do ya think of Alec then?" Rose asked cautiously. 

"He's okay I suppose, Tony seems to like him.  So why hasn't he got a place of his own yet?"

"He wanted my cottage," Rose smiled as they reached the steps.  "There was nowhere else he wanted so he spends the evenings with me."

"I hope that's all Rose?" her mother asked her.

"Mum, I'm old enough to choose if I want to live with a man," she defended herself.

"Not when you've only just met him Rose.  What do ya know about him?"

"Plenty Mum, he told me all about himself and yes, he's divorced but it makes no difference to me.  He went back to try to make peace with her but he failed and no, it wasn't his fault, she left him."

"I never said anything," her mother defended herself.  

"Mum, just give him a chance?  I know ya don't like the thought of me and Alec living together but I'm going down to his hotel for a few hours later, when Tony's got settled.  I promised him nothing would change while you and Tony are here."

"Well I suppose I'll have to get used to him then?" her mother replied as they went inside.

"Yes Mum, just like Alec has to get used to you.  When he gets back with Tony, we can all talk."

Rose had also failed to notice the souvenir on the coffee table.  Once Alec had tired Tony out by letting him run around on the beach, they climbed the steps to the cottage.

"Does Rose like it here?" Tony asked him. 

"Yes, I believe she does," Alec replied as they reached the kitchen door.

"Do you like it here?" Tony continued as they went inside.

"I'm not here all the time Tony," Alec replied carefully, seeing Rose's mother turn around.

Then he saw it – on the coffee table.  The item Rose had thought was amusing and something she wouldn't have bought for herself as she had no reason to but she'd thought it was perfect for Alec to put his mug of tea on – a Mr Grumpy coaster.  He'd thought nothing of it as he'd left earlier.  It was Tony who spotted it.

"Rose, do you like the Mister Men?" he laughed.

"What?  Oh, I thought it was funny since Alec used to be grumpy in the office, so I was told."

"Yes, I don't need reminding of that," Alec replied, hoping her mother wouldn't ask any questions.  "Rose made me buy it when we were out."

"Then what's it doing here?" her mother asked.

"Mum, he does eat here ya know?"

"When exactly?" her mother wanted to know.

"He comes for dinner then there's the weekends," Rose defended herself.

"Yeah but why haven't you got a coaster then?"

Alec wanted to say because he couldn't find one that had 'Miss Sexy' on it but thought better of it.

"Mum, what's the big deal?" Rose wanted to know and wishing Alec had removed it before he'd left earlier.

"I'll tell you what the big deal is Madam, you're trying to hide the fact he lives here."

Alec wondered if young Tony should be listening to this.

"Do you live here Alec?" Tony asked innocently.

"Never you mind Tony," his mother replied.  "Well Rose?  What have ya got to say?"

"Mum, I'm old enough to live with a man," she replied, remembering what Alec had told her.

"You told your stepfather he only came in the evenings," her mother reminded her.

"I just forgot to tell him that things had changed, that's all," Rose had to admit.

"What do you have to say for yourself?" Jackie asked Alec.

"Mrs Tyler, Rose and I were fighting over this cottage when she first arrived but when she invited me over, she said I could come over whenever I wanted.  It just went from there."

"Rose lives with Alec!" Tony chanted as he laughed.

"Stop it Tony," Jackie chastised him.  "Now see what you've done Rose."

After they finally got Tony to bed, Jackie made Rose tell her how Alec had moved in so fast.

"Well Mum, you and Tony stay here, I'll go down to the hotel with Alec," Rose suggested after she'd told her mother they had thought it was best Alec moved out for a few days.

That agreed, Rose got a few things and she went down to the hotel with him.  They decided to have a drink first and they sat in a corner.

"You owe me, Rose Tyler," Alec reminded her.

"Excuse me, how exactly do I owe you?" Rose asked him.

"Well, where exactly do I start?  You only told me to dispose of the items in the bins, you forgot about the coffee table as much as I did."

"Sorry.  I seem to remember a text about making up for things earlier?"

"Oh, you do, do you?  Well Miss Tyler, the next day I have off, I hope it does not include evading your mother's questions.  I can think of better ways to spend it.  How did you get on with Harford?"

"I thought I'd told ya?  Oh, I'll have to call Jake."

"Well, that can wait, we have a nice cosy room upstairs and your mother won't be in the next room.  By the way, she asked if there were any noisy seagulls in the mornings."

"You could have answered that, Alec," Rose grinned.

"And admit I lived there?" he smiled.

"Well ya might as well have done, she found out anyway," Rose smiled back.  "She guessed a bit soon though, did ya give her any clues?"

"No, I don't think so love.  How about getting a bottle of wine and take it to our room?"

"Yeah, okay then.  So, when Daisy comes for a visit, we're not going through that again?" she teased him.

"What do you think?  Though maybe I will get my own back on you and make you look after her for the day?"

"You are so in trouble when we get upstairs, " Rose smiled.

"I hope so because after my day off, I need some consoling."

The End!

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