Stay out of my way

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Rose Tyler offers Torchwood's help when a young girl has been killed in Sandbrook. Alec Hardy agrees as long as she stays out of his way when they're not working - as if that's going to happen.  The case is solved and after getting together for a short time, Alec breaks it off saying she's too young.  Then Rose goes to tell him he has a baby daughter when he gets to Broadchurch.

Chapter 1
The story won't concentrate on the investigation but rather on the working relationship of Rose and Alec, the breakdown of Alec's marriage and Tess accusing him of sleeping with Rose when it wasn't even true, amongst other things.

Alec Hardy's Sunday was about to get a lot worse – as if fighting his wife about going out for Sunday lunch and his almost teenage daughter crossing her arms and saying he never spends any time with her and why do they have to go out.  Then, while shushing his wife and glaring at his daughter, he answers his work phone and his wife starts again.

"Go on, answer it then," Tess dared him as he squinted at the screen.  "Why do you never put your glasses on, really Alec," she continued.  "It's going to be the station but why call you, on a Sunday?  You really need to have words with them," she added as he pressed the answer button and said 'Hardy' to the person who had dared to interrupt his day off.

He thought at least if they went out for lunch, he may get a bit of peace and quiet as the caller spoke.

"Sir, sorry to interrupt your Sunday," the desk sergeant apologised, not that he really meant it, he knew what the DI was like, especially if his wife was giving him trouble.

"Tell him we're going out," Tess insisted as Alec tried to cover his mobile to tell her for the hundredth time to shush.

"They don't call for nothing Tess," he hissed at her to remind her.

"It's up to the junior officers to deal with anything Alec, that's the protocol," she reminded him back.

"Well is your work phone on?" he replied as he uncovered the phone.  "What is it then?  Where are all the junior officers?"

"They've turned their phones off Alec, what do you think?" Tess scoffed at him.  "You should try it once in a while, your bloody work mobile's always on, even in bed."

"Well nothing goes on there, does it Tess?" Alec scoffed back at her, not caring if the desk sergeant heard or not, even with the phone covered again.

Daisy looked round at him.

"Are you and mum getting divorced?" Daisy shouted out loud.  "All my friends' parents are getting divorced, I'll finally fit in with them.  Hang on a minute, are you going to fight over me or abandon me?"

"Daisy, no-one's going to abandon you, are they Alec?" Tess glared at him, daring him to say something.  "And we're not getting divorced, are we Alec?" she added.

"Will you two stop?" he told them.  "Daisy, you are not going to be abandoned but as for the divorce?  I swear Tess, you tempt me sometimes."

"Fine, have that attitude," Tess replied.  "Don't think I've not thought about it either."

"Been getting advice from your friend Dave?" Alec raised his eyebrows, forgetting he was supposed to be talking on the phone until he heard another voice calling his name.

"Sir, if it's all the same to you, you need to know why I'm interrupting your Sunday morning," the desk sergeant told him.  "Sir, we have a missing child in the town."

"What?" Alec asked.  "Why didn't you say so?"

The desk sergeant felt like telling him he'd be better off sorting out his own problems first.

"Sir, you're on the duty roster for emergency call-outs, along with DS Hardy.  The missing girl is twelve year old Pippa Gillespie, she and her nineteen year old cousin couldn't be found when the younger girl's parents got back from an overnight stay.  Officers have been out to the estate and a search is underway but they need a senior officer to take charge," the desk sergeant told him.

Alec was reaching for a pen and pad on the unit.

"Give me the address," he replied, daring Tess to object.  "Tell them to carry on searching, get a map of the area and set up a command post.  Are officers knocking on doors?" he asked.

"Yes Sir but some people are out or only just got up," the sergeant replied, wishing someone else had drawn the short straw of calling the grumpy detective but the whole station knew why he was so grumpy.

Rumours were rife that Alec Hardy's wife was paying more attention to another certain DS than she was her husband but he'd either chosen to ignore it or he'd already started divorce proceedings.  Everyone knew Tess didn't care Alec was now aware and were surprised he'd not retaliated.

"We'll be there in an hour or so," Alec replied, Tess throwing down the morning paper where she'd been looking at various venues to go visit for lunch.

"Great, that means I get bundled off to nan's again," Daisy complained, without finding out why.

"Daisy, you're not old enough to be left on your own," Tess told her.  "Blame your father for taking the call."

"I didn't want to go out," Daisy further complained.

"Well you will have to go out, your mother and I have to go to work," Alec told her firmly.  "A young girl has gone missing."

"Do I have to go missing to get some attention?" Daisy asked as she got up.

"Daisy, just get your things," her mother told her.

"Am I staying there overnight?" Daisy wanted to know.

"Best take everything, just in case," Alec advised her.

He really didn't know what to expect when he and Tess got there but it was Sunday and people had things to do and places to go so half the estate would be unavailable.  He always concentrated on immediate neighbours though, since they didn't usually miss much, though they tended to take some persuading to talk.

Daisy moaned all the way to Tess's mother's house, about how they didn't care about her and any excuse to get rid of her, until Alec pulled up outside the house.

"We'll spend some time together, yes?" Alec promised her as she got out.

"Don't say that if you don't mean it Dad," Daisy warned him as Tess got out.

Alec elected to stay where he was, he knew how his mother-in-law hated the way he worked too much and he'd heard Tess blame it on him when she'd called to say they were bringing Daisy over.

"Aren't you coming in Alec?" Tess wanted to know.

"You don't need for me to go in," he replied, checking his phone.

He counted how long it took Tess to come back out, it was the usual length, which was why he'd said an hour to get to the scene when it was only a ten minute drive away.  When they arrived, they were let through to where the girls had disappeared from and Alec saw all the officers stare as if to say why had those two been called out?

"No saying we'll find them safe and well," Alec warned Tess.

"I know how you feel about these cases Alec, I don't need reminding."

"Well all the better if we do find them safe and well but they have to be prepared for the worst.  I hope the other girl's parents are here.  We need backgrounds on both families so we know what we’re dealing with, a list of friends and visit the next door neighbours."

"In what order?" Tess wanted to know.  "I wish you'd stop firing orders out Alec."

"Tess, we're working now," he reminded her.  "Look for anything out of place, anything suspicious, remember that case in Yorkshire?"

"This isn't Yorkshire Alec, that was on a council estate," Tess replied.

"That makes no difference Tess.  Right, let's get started."

They got out of the car, a uniformed officer knocking on the door and wishing them luck, since the parents hadn't said much in their initial interview.

Half an hour later, Alec was back in the car, leaning over the steering wheel while Tess was still talking in the doorway to the girl's mother.

"You'll find my Pippa?" the mother was asking Tess.

"We have a lot going on Cate, we have a lot of people working.  Are you sure you've told us all the places the girls liked to go?" Tess wanted to be sure.

"What's wrong with him?" Cate pointed to Alec, who was now leaning back in his seat.

"We have a daughter, the same age as Pippa.  It's just getting to him," Tess replied, hoping that was the reason.

It was and it wasn't, Alec had thought it could have easily been Daisy but it was the way the girl's father was acting, like he knew something and Alec didn't like the feeling he was getting.  They'd found out the older girl's parents were separated and now had to go see them and he wished Tess would stop talking, seeing her watching and then pointing to his watch.

Tess got in beside him, asking what his problem was.

"We've a lot to get through Tess and you're spending too much time talking to the mother," he complained.

"I'm trying to get her to talk to me," Tess replied.  "You could have shown more interest Alec.  What about the girl's father?"

"What about him?" Alec wanted to know.  "He knows more than he's saying and where are the other parents eh?  They're family, why aren't they with each other?  Right, we call next door now, find out what the neighbours know and I want a full check of both houses."

"You really think one of them's hiding the girls?" Tess asked, being a bit puzzled.

"Do I have to remind you where they found that other girl?  How do we know they're not playing some kind of game?" he wanted to know.  "Find out how well the girls knew the neighbours and find out if the Gillespies really were at that wedding all night."

"Why would one of them leave?" Tess wondered.

"You tell me?" he quipped.

Up in London, Pete Tyler was reading the morning papers, one eye half on his young son, whom he thought he'd never in a million years ever have a son and who was playing with his plane and zeppelin collection with his big sister.  

"I don't know why your mother has to still supervise Sunday lunch," he complained as Jackie was missing again.

"Old habits die hard Dad," Rose laughed, going to tickle Tony as he reached over with a plane over her head.  "She spends most of the day in the kitchen.  I wish something exciting would happen though, it's been boring at work."

"Mum always says be careful what you wish for," Tony laughed.

"Listen to your brother," Pete also laughed.  "Maybe you and Mickey should think up some new project eh?" he suggested.

The next day, Rose was going to wish she'd not said anything when Pete read out the news headlines over breakfast, Jackie trying to keep Tony interested in something else and listen at the same time.

"So where's Sandbrook?" Jackie wanted to know.

"Near Portsmouth," Pete told her.

"Where all the boats are," Tony grinned.  "Uncle Mickey told me."

"Well done Tony," Rose patted him on his head.  "It's awful, imagine two of 'em going missing?"

"You wanted something to do," Pete replied.  "You could go offer Torchwood's services, go see the detective in charge."

Then he turned the page to read more and changed his mind but Rose was already watching.

"What's wrong Dad?" she asked him, getting up.

He cautiously moved his hand away from the photo Alec had not wanted taking at the press conference he'd had to go last night.

"You're kiddin' me," Rose stood back on seeing the photo.

"What's wrong?" Jackie turned away from Tony, who complained.  "Blimey, when did he get here?"

"When did who get here?" Tony wanted to know.

"Never you mind young man," his mother replied.  "Hurry up or you'll be late for school."

"I want dad to take me," the boy insisted.

"Nanny will take you, as always," Jackie told him, to which he pulled a face.

"I'm too old for a nanny," he complained.

"Mum, it can't be him, we'd know if it was," Rose turned to her mother.

"Pete, could it be him?" Jackie asked.

"I don't know Jaks, there's been no signs of any activity and we have been watching," Pete replied.  "There's someone monitoring 24 hrs a day, ask Rose, she wanted a job there and no-one will give notice," he smiled.

"I'd swap with one of them," Rose replied.  "Anyway, how can it be him, unless he's disguised himself?"

"Don't get your hopes up Rose," Jackie sympathised.

"I'm not Mum, if he'd found a way, he'd have come to find me."

"Why don't you and Mickey drive down and check him out?" Pete wondered.

"I'm not taking Mickey," Rose insisted.  "I'll go take a look, see if we can help."

"Good, offer them lab and other facilities if they need them, you know what to do," Pete told her.

"Yeah, though whoever he is, he'll think we're trying to take over," Rose smiled, remembering the last time they'd offered to help a police force.

"Just don't go barging in, like they do in Cardiff," Pete laughed.

So after getting to work and making all the arrangements, having passed her driving test, much to the relief of Mickey and Jake, who had taught her, she set off the next morning and booked into a hotel and found the police station.

She was taking her mother's advice and not getting her hopes up that The Doctor had found his way here and was masquerading as a police detective as she made her way to the police station.  The desk sergeant thought he was seeing things when Rose walked up to the desk.

"Miss Tyler?  What can the Sandbrook police do for you?  Has your car broken down or maybe you're lost?" he asked her.

"Neither, thankfully," Rose smiled.  "Can I see the detective who's in charge of finding those two missing girls?"

"Of course, take a seat," he indicated to a row of chairs attached to the wall opposite, Rose thinking they were taking no chances that no-one smashed them up or stole them.

She walked across and pulled one down and sat on it, wondering what had possessed her to come here.

The desk sergeant was waiting for Alec to answer his phone and was just about to hang up and try Tess's.

"What?" Alec snapped as he'd been arguing with Tess again and he was getting tired of it and was thinking of doing something about it.  "I'm busy man, get on with it."

"Sir, there's someone in reception to see you," he was told.

"Well who is it?  It's not my daughter is it?  If she's skipped school, she'll be in trouble," Alec replied.

"No Sir, it's not your daughter," the sergeant replied.

"Well I've not got all day to guess, how am I supposed to know who it is?" Alec snapped again.  "If it's anyone short of Rose Tyler herself, tell whoever it is to see DS Hardy."

"Sir, it is Rose Tyler," the sergeant tried to sound serious.

"I'm coming down there and if it's not her, you're on school crossing patrols," Alec warned him.

He wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen for himself.

"Miss Tyler?  Come this way," he spoke more gently than he had done with the desk sergeant.

He led her to a more pleasant interview room and opened the door.

"May I ask what you're doing here?" he wanted to know.

"Well, I came to offer the services of Torchwood," Rose replied.  "We're trying to help any police force who need it."

When he didn't seem all that keen of Torchwood barging in and taking over, she began to tell him all the benefits.

"We won't take over, not unless we're invited," Rose insisted.

"I will have to clear it with my chief," Alec half relented.  "However, any signs you are taking over, you'll be asked to leave."

"Fine," Rose agreed.  "So, we'll work together?  I mean as a team?" she added as he raised his eyebrows like The Doctor used to do, which didn't help convince her he wasn't the real deal.

"Agreed but there is one thing.  Stay out of my way when we are not working, understand?"

Chapter 2
Rose thought he was assuming rather a lot, that she'd want to keep getting in his way.

"Fine, suits me," she replied, trying not to sound like she was bothered.

"Good, just remember that and the fact Torchwood is not taking over.  Bring down however many specialists you think appropriate for the investigation, they can work alongside our teams," he replied.

"We have worked with the police before," Rose objected.

"You may have done but not with the Sandbrook police, I don't stand for anyone trying to take over," Alec reminded her.  "What do you normally do?"

"Me?" Rose questioned the fact he thought she didn't actually do anything.  "I co-ordinate to start off with.  You tell me what you need, I get it," she began to grin.

Then she saw the serious look on his face, thinking he was so different from The Doctor and she'd hardly have any fun with him anyway, even if he'd not warned her to stay out of his way.  She'd maybe have fun winding him up though.

"So you say?" Alec grumbled.  "Do you have any lie detectors or something that will point out who took them?"

Rose thought he'd had no sense of humour until now.

"I'll see what I can do, shall I?" she challenged him, making him shift in his seat.

Rose went back to her hotel to do a video conference with Pete and Jake, who had agreed to co-ordinate from Torchwood's end.

"You don't want much Rose," Jake was laughing as Rose reeled off the list Alec had come out with.  "You want extra divers?  What for?"

"So they can search the river, Jake," Rose replied.  "They're already starting to search the nearby woods, one of the officers is in close contact with the younger girl's mother and she thinks Pippa liked to go there with her cousin and her dad."

Just then, her phone rang.

"Hold on, Alec Hardy's calling," Rose told them.  "Wonder what he wants, since he told me to stay out of his way."

She heard Jake laughing as she pressed the talk button.

"Yes?" she answered cautiously, in case he had more rules he wanted to remind her of.

"I have some more information for you," Alec told her as he squinted at the sheet of paper that had just landed on his desk.  "The next door neighbours were friendly with both girls, the girls used to spend some time with them.  Want to visit them with me tomorrow?"

Rose thought it rather sounded like he was asking her out on a date.

"Yeah, okay then?  Send me their details and I'll look them up for ya," she replied.

"You have files on everyone?" Alec wondered.

"You'd be surprised," Rose laughed.  "I was just organising a few things, I thought some extra divers would come in useful."

"What for?  If the girls had been in the woods, they would have been found by now," Alec reminded her.

"Maybe?" Rose wondered.  "If they'd been anywhere local they'd have turned up by now as well.  We can't rule out that maybe Lisa left her younger cousin somewhere."

Alec didn't want to think about the fact Lisa had abandoned her cousin in favour of going off with the estate stalker he'd just found out about.

"While you're looking up the neighbours, you can find out about a young man who'd been seen watching the Gillespie house when Lisa was there," he told her.

"She had an admirer?" Rose asked.

"More like a stalker," Alec corrected her.  "Neighbours reported him several times but he was always gone by the time a patrol got there.  Seems he might be someone we want to talk to."

"Got a name?" Rose asked, wondering why he'd not mentioned it before.

"Someone recognised him but we only got a first name, Gary.  The Gillespies might know him, if Lisa mentioned him.  I'll get someone onto it.  Oh, by the way, you can liaise with DS Hardy, you can meet with her tomorrow."

"Is that your wife?" Rose dared ask.

"Yes and it makes no difference, she will keep you up to date.  You can meet the young girl's parents with her but if we don't find the girls by tomorrow, we will have to search the house again."

"I bet that'll go down well?" Rose remarked.

"It will have to be done.  We all want both girls to be found alive and well," Alec replied.

"Well, I'll come to the station in the morning and your wife can take me to meet them.  What's her first name?" Rose wanted to know.

"It's Tess," he admitted, thinking his wife wouldn't want to make friends with Rose Tyler but his daughter would, Daisy followed everything the Vitex heiress did.

The next morning, Rose set off to meet Tess but Tess had already objected to Torchwood operatives being present, let alone Rose herself.

"She's going to be a nuisance Alec," Tess was telling him.

"No, she can provide the extra help we are going to need Tess," he defended his decision, after seeing the chief.

"That's typical of you," Tess huffed. 

"What's that supposed to mean?" Alec wanted to know.

"You know full well Alec.  You want me to babysit Rose Tyler just so I don't accuse you of anything."

"I've already told her to keep her distance," he defended himself.

"Well, we'll see how long that lasts," Tess replied.  "When is she coming in?"

Alec looked at his watch.

"Soon.  I want you to take her to meet the Gillespies and I want you to stay there, I'm going to get a search warrant to include their back yard."

"You are joking Alec?  Do you know what that will do to them, especially Cate?" she asked him.

"What do you want Tess?  To handle them with kid-gloves?" he asked her.  "Two girls are missing and you pointed out the similarities between this case and that one up north.  The judge may not even go for it at this stage, not while we're searching the woods and the river."

"I expect Torchwood's helping with that as well?" Tess asked.

"We may as well take advantage of the Torchwood's director's generosity," Alec replied.

"Including his daughter?" Tess raised her eyebrows.

"Tess, you are the one who went to someone else.  Why could you not talk to me, about what was happening at home?" he wanted to know.

"Really Alec?  Would you have listened?  At least Dave doesn't say he's too busy to talk and doesn't work all hours."

"You could have still said something, instead of all the arguments," he reminded her.

They were interrupted by Alec's desk phone ringing.  Rose had arrived and was wondering what Alec's wife would be like.  Probably catty, from what she'd read about Mrs Hardy.  She wasn't really looking forward to working with the woman but since the DI had told her to keep out of his way, she didn't suppose he'd want her tagging along with him.

She was led to Alec's office, suspecting she'd interrupted something, judging by you could cut the air with a knife.  Tess was sat with her arms folded and Alec sat back sideways in his chair and tapping a pen on the desk.

"Am I disturbing ya?" Rose wanted to know.

"No, come in," Tess replied, Rose thinking she was already being sarcastic.

Was Tess Hardy already jealous of her arrival and thinking she was going to make a play for her husband?  Rose thought it would serve the woman right if someone did.  After a quick briefing, Rose followed Tess out to the estate where Pippa had lived and they were talking outside.

"So, what's with the neighbours?" Rose asked, looking at the identical houses next to each other.

"I expect you want to meet them?" Tess replied.

"DI Hardy said I could go with him, he sent me a message earlier," Rose told Tess.

"Did he?  I could take you there now," Tess suggested.

"They might be out," Rose wondered.  "Besides, I think there may have been a reason he wanted me to go with him."

Tess wanted to say something like she just bet he did.  Rose could already see what she was up against – a jealous wife

"Tess, have you got something against me being here?" Rose asked as she knocked on the door.

"What makes you think that?" Tess replied.

"I'm just here to help," Rose tried to tell her.

"Of course you are," Tess told her as a WPC answered the door.

"Why haven't ya got someone plain clothed?" Rose wondered as they were let in.

"Because we have no-one trained in family liaison at present," Tess admitted.

"I can have someone here tomorrow," Rose offered.  "We have specially trained operatives for this kind of situation."

"I bet you do," Tess hissed as they went into the living room.  "Cate, how are you today?" Tess asked the woman sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine in her hand.

"How do you think I feel Tess?  I want my little girl back.  If I get my hands on who took the girls, you won't need a trial.  Who's this?"

Rose was surprised she hadn't been recognised but the woman seemed well out of it, despite the drink.

"Hi.  I'm Rose, Rose Tyler.  I'm from an independent agency, helping the police and I'm here to do anything I can to bring the girls home."

"Rose Tyler?" Cate laughed.  "You are having me on.  What would she be doing here?  Tess, get her out of here."

"Cate, she is who she says she is," Tess promised.  "She's here from another government agency to help us find Pippa and Lisa.  Her agency are providing extra facilities to analyze all the information we're getting and backing up our officers on enquiries."

Tess had been told earlier by several departments that unknown staff had turned up that morning, which was why she'd gone to Alec's office in the first place.

"What sort of organisation?" Cate wanted to know.  "You mean secret government agency?"

"No, we're not a secret, as such," Rose defended herself.  "We're called Torchwood."

"Get her out of here Tess.  I heard what they did, letting all those metal monsters loose," Cate replied angrily.

"No, that was the old Torchwood, the new one is good, we only help people," Rose further defended herself and Torchwood.

"I don't care, I don't want you here," Cate insisted.

"Sorry Cate," Tess apologised.  "I thought she could help.  She wanted to meet you."

"It's okay Tess, I'll leave," Rose offered.  "I'll go back to the station and set up there."

Rose found her way back to the station and was given a visitor's badge that Alec had told the desk sergeant to issue her with.

"Is DI Hardy busy?" Rose asked as she put the badge on her belt loop with the clasp.

"He said for you to go straight to his office when you arrived back Miss Tyler," she was told.

Alec was going through some files when she knocked on his door.

"You're back soon," he remarked.

"Cate Gillespie didn't want me there," Rose admitted, taking a seat.  "I don't think Tess wanted me with her anyway."

"She is like that with anyone, especially females," he admitted.

"Any chance I can get an office or something?  My hotel room's not ideal for video conferences, the walls might be a bit thin," Rose smiled.

"I will have something made available for you, it may be an interview room though," he agreed.  "There is nothing so far from the teams in the woods, I may have to go with searching the younger girl's home and garden."

"Geez, Cate was already upset with me being there," Rose laughed.  "I can't see that going down well.  What about seeing the neighbours?"

"That will have to wait, they have already been interviewed but I wanted your input, they seem to be hiding something," he replied.

"Well I'd best stay away from Cate.  It's gonna be bad enough if ya search the house.  I can have someone stay with her, if ya want?"

"We will leave the uniformed officer there for now, there is only someone there for her safety and in case the girls go back," he replied.  "Also, in case the press have the nerve to break through barrier."

"Well, I'll go get my laptop and come back, let me know what happens," Rose told him as she got up.

It didn't go down well as Alec was granted a search warrant to dig up the Gillespie's back garden and Ricky had been informed.

"Why don't you go dig up next door's instead?" Ricky told Alec, his arm around his wife.

"We have to start where the missing person lived," Tess tried to explain.  "Officers from the station closest to where Lisa lived are doing the same."

"We don't talk to Lisa's mother much," Ricky told them.  "Not since they got divorced.  Lisa didn't get on with her dad so when she turned eighteen, she changed her name."

"Ah, so she was a Gillespie?" Alec was surprised.  "Why did you not mention it before?"

"It didn't seem relevant," Ricky replied.

"This isn't helping find them," Cate reminded them tearfully.

"I know Cate," Tess tried to sympathise.

"What was that about someone from that Torchwood being here earlier?" Ricky wanted to know as forensics started digging up the garden.

"They are providing vital resources," Alec replied.  "They are also providing manpower searching the local woods and other areas the girls might have been taken."

"Keep whoever came here away from Cate, understand?" Ricky asked them both.

Alec nodded and went to talk to the forensic team leader.

"Whose idea was it to bring Torchwood in?" Ricky wanted to know as he watched his garden being ruined.

After finding nothing, Alec told the forensic team to have someone come in and restore the garden and he went to tell Tess to step up the search in the woods.

"Torchwood offered more divers to search the river," he told Tess.  "They can start tomorrow."

After going back outside, he saw a car parked next door so he called Rose.

"I'm still out at the estate, still want to interview the neighbours?" he asked Rose when she answered.

He waited in his car for Rose to join him, looking up at the two identical houses that stood out from the rest.  He wondered what else Ricky Gillespie was holding back about his niece.  There were plenty more questions he'd not got answers to so he was going to have to get the man in for a formal interview.  So if he could get the neighbour in as well, it would give him an excuse.  Rose pulled up in front of his car so he got out.

"Sure ya want me to be here?" Rose wanted to check.

"Why not?  Don't let what happened with Tess put you off," Alec replied.  "Have you got any ID on you?"

"Only my psychic paper," Rose laughed.

"Be serious," Alec chastised her.

"Okay, I have my Torchwood ID right here," she laughed again, getting her ID card out of the leather wallet.

Alec shook his head and rang the doorbell.  Rose Tyler was far too young to be second in command of a very powerful organisation.  He'd read up about them and Pete Tyler had taken over after the disaster of the Cybermen affair and the original Torchwood being destroyed but what fascinated him the most was how Tyler had met a woman who had looked like his first wife and married Rose's mother.

He thought there was something more to it and not a coincidence as he waited for the door to be opened.  Claire Ashworth had been in the kitchen and suddenly noticed two cars parked outside.

"Lee, come in here," she shouted as he was in the living room, wondering if anyone would notice the floorboards had changed colour when he'd had to replace them on Sunday.

"What now Claire?" he asked as he joined her.

Then he heard Alec knocking on the door.

"I bet it's the police again," Claire told him, wiping her hands after cutting some vegetables.

"Not a word Claire, or you know what will happen," she was warned.

"Why do ya wanna talk to them again?" Rose was wondering as they waited.

"Neighbours always know more than they let on," Alec reminded her.

As Rose observed Claire looking slightly out of it, Alec was studying her husband.

"Just how friendly were you with the two girls?" Alec wanted to know.

"What makes you think we were?" Claire asked, taking Lee's arm and stroking it.

"Pippa's mother said they spent a lot of time here," Alec replied.

"Well she would, wouldn't she?" Lee remarked.  "She's always got a wine glass in her hand."

"How would you know?" Claire suddenly let go of his arm.

"Come on Claire, you've seen her when we were round there," Lee defended himself.  "I bet she was well out of things at the wedding they went to."

"Enough to not notice if Ricky was missing or not?" Alec wondered, glancing at Rose for her to get more out of Claire.

"Claire, can ya show me where your bathroom is?" Rose smiled.

Rose had learned her lesson on snooping around upstairs after having a run-in with a pencil monster in a cupboard.

"Yeah, sure," Claire replied, looking at Lee.

Once upstairs, Claire indicated the bathroom, closing the door to the spare room.

"These houses are quite big," Rose remarked as she opened the bathroom door.

"Yeah, a bit too big," Claire grinned.  "I do know who you are.  What are you doing here, with the police?"

"Well you might think I'm just the Vitex heiress," Rose smiled.  "I'm so much more.  I work for an organisation called Torchwood.  We're helping the police, to find Pippa and Lisa.  Look, I've got a young brother, I hate the thought of them being taken, I want to help catch whoever it is."

"You think we had something to do with it?" Claire accused her.

"I'm not saying that Claire.  Only if you know something, you must tell the police.  Have you been round to see Cate?" Rose wanted to know.

"No, Lee said to give her time," Claire replied.  "You think I should go?"

"Well yeah, a friendly face," Rose smiled.  "Leave it until tomorrow, yeah?  Best pop in the bathroom then?"

Rose hoped she'd got through to the other woman.  The Doctor had always trusted her to talk to the women they got involved with so she hoped she hadn't lost her touch.  She was sure Claire was hiding something, apart from the fact she was Welsh and looked suspiciously like a young serving girl she'd met in 1800's Cardiff.

Alec was hoping Rose would come in useful and get something out of Claire Ashworth, since he was getting nowhere with the woman's husband.

"What do you expect us to do?" Lee was asking him, blowing cigarette smoke in Alec's face and Alec thinking surely there was a smoking ban in the rental house.

"Give your condolences to your neighbours," Alec suggested.

"What makes you think we haven't already done that?" Lee replied.

Alec bet that hadn't been the case so far.  He hoped Rose was having more luck with Claire, that was why he'd brought her along – well that and it was better her than Tess at the moment.  He'd tried to justify his decision to tell the Torchwood agent to stay out of his way as one of making sure the agency didn't take over his investigation but it was also so he wouldn't be tempted to get his revenge on his cheating wife.

He knew he should have seen it coming, that of he and Tess drifting apart but he'd done nothing about it.  Had Tess expected him to?  It was too late now, she wasn't denying she was cheating on him and he didn't want her back but neither did he want to do the same, especially with the famous Rose Tyler.  Her stepfather would literally kill him if he got her in the middle of what was about to become a messy divorce.

If the press got hold of it, it would be the end of his career, amongst other things.  No, warning her to stay away when they weren't working was the best thing he could have done but would he be able to resist her tagging along after working hours to interview people?

That was going to remain to be seen as he waited for her coming back downstairs but judging by the way Ashworth was acting, he knew he dare not send Rose to interview the man on her own – his wife present or not.  Something about the pair of them disturbed him and he didn't like it.

Rose came back downstairs, indicating she was ready to leave so he left Ashworth a card with his phone number on and they went outside, standing by their cars.

"Did you get anything out of her?" he wanted to know.

"Plenty," Rose grinned.  "Meet you in your office tomorrow?"

"Of course," he replied, wanting to invite her out for a drink but he was the one who was wanting her to keep her distance and he would be constantly having to keep reminding himself.

Chapter 3
After watching Rose drive away, he decided he was going home, move some of his things out of the bedroom and go sleep in the spare room, just for tonight.  Then he thought he would get the personnel office to find him a hotel for a few nights while he located something more permanent.

Tess would make a fuss, as usual and Daisy would accuse him of not caring about her, to which Tess would take her side.  All he could do was try to persuade his daughter he wasn't the bad guy in all this, she'd said most of her friends' parents were divorced.

He had just about finished as Tess stood in the doorway.

"Are you leaving?" she asked.

"Of course I am Tess, first thing tomorrow, I'll find a hotel for a few nights.  I can't stay here, not now.  You knew it would come to this Tess."

"Maybe you can get some sympathy out of our visitor?" Tess asked him.

"Stop it Tess, I am not after sympathy from anyone.  If you have made your mind up you are staying with Dave, I'm not going to stop you."

"You drove me to it Alec," Tess replied.  "All that working late and paying no attention to me."

"You're blaming me?" he asked, pointing back at himself.  "I'm not arguing with you Tess."

"Seems like it Alec.  Maybe you should take up with our visitor?" Tess accused him.

"Who's your visitor?" Daisy wanted to know as she passed their bedroom door.

"No-one for you to be concerned about," Alec tried to assure her.

"Hey, one of my friends said she'd heard that Rose Tyler was in town.  I wonder what she's doing here?" Daisy changed the subject.

"Ask your father," Tess told her.

"So it's true?  Cool.  I'd love to meet her some day."

"Maybe your father can arrange it for you?" Tess suggested.  "She's in town working with us."

Alec wished she wouldn't do things like that, especially involving a case.

"Really?" Daisy was interested.  "Can you Dad?"

"I'm sure Miss Tyler is busy working," Alec tried to get out of it.

"I might have known you wouldn't Dad," Daisy sounded disappointed.

"I will do what I can," Alec offered.

Then Daisy saw he was packing.

"Even if you're leaving?" Daisy changed her attitude.

"Daisy, it's nothing you have done," he tried to assure her.  "I will still see you, I will call in and see you most evenings and I will call you."

"You had better promise her," Tess insisted.

"I will," Alec looked at his daughter.

He knew he had to try his best but Tess would keep on at him if he didn't.

"So, have you asked her out yet?" Tess asked after Daisy went off.

"Tess, I do not know what you are talking about," he replied as he fastened his case.

"Well you were insisting she went with you to see the Gillespie's neighbours when we were already there and I offered to go," Tess protested.

"Tess, she's a civilian," he reminded her.  "Besides, have you met them?  You should also stay away from Lee Ashworth."

"You're concerned about me now?" Tess scoffed.

"I think he is hiding something, which could be dangerous.  You may not get any help from his wife," he warned her.  "Even she looked afraid of him.  If you go there, take someone with you, I mean it.  Tomorrow, we step up the search in the woods and use the people Torchwood has sent us."

"With Rose Tyler in charge?" Tess asked sarcastically.

Alec ignored her and waited for her to move aside to let him pass.

"She may have got something out of Claire Ashworth, we'll see tomorrow."

"What would the woman tell her that she wouldn't tell us?" Tess wanted to know.

"Plenty, I hope," he replied.  "Don't forget Tess, Torchwood agents are trained to pick up all kinds of things that we would miss."

"That's because they have more money for training than we do," Tess replied.

"Which is why we should use them to our advantage," Alec reminded her.  "You go straight to the woods tomorrow, I'll see what Claire Ashworth had to say."

He knew he shouldn't get into an argument with Tess about Rose Tyler.  Yes, he could easily go to the blonde and tell her he hadn't really wanted her to stay away, maybe there was still time?  The next morning, he arrived in his office and waited for Rose to give him her report.  He'd sent her a message asking her to get there as soon as she could and to send the extra help to join the team already in the woods.

Rose was already on her way, stopping to get coffee from a nearby stall and pinning her pass on her belt, tried to remember her way to his office.  Tess had stopped in for a few minutes and saw Rose on her way.

"Joining us in the woods later?" she asked Rose.

"Yeah, why not?  I want to help in any way I can," Rose reminded her.  "I was already asked," she added, Tess noticing Rose was wearing boots.

"I see you've come prepared," Tess looked down at Rose's feet.

"I'd best get to my meeting," Rose felt uncomfortable facing the DI's wife.

"Yes, maybe you should?" Tess agreed.  "You know he stays out late a lot?"

"What are you gettin' at?" Rose was puzzled.

"Just a warning," Tess smiled to herself as she walked away.

Rose shook her head and found Alec's office just inside another large one with a lot of people flitting around with files in their hands and phones ringing everywhere.  She tapped on Alec's door and he looked up, motioning her to enter.

"You should have got someone to show you the way," he told her, looking at his watch.

"Well I wasn't expecting to be called in so early," Rose grinned as she put the paper cup on the corner of his desk.  "Well, Claire Ashworth is definitely scared of her husband, she was very nervous.  Want me to make friends with her?"

"Not just yet.  The search of the Gillespie's house found nothing unusual so, we'll wait and see what we find in the woods today then I may go for searching the Ashworth's house," he replied.  "If we do, I would like you to be there, gain the woman's confidence."

"Okay then," Rose agreed.  "Do you think she was friendly with the two girls?"

"Maybe?  What did else you find out from her?" Alec wanted to know.

"Just the way she was acting," Rose replied, finishing her coffee.  "Can I leave my car and get a ride to the woods?"

If he offered to take her, Tess would have something to say.  If he got a patrol car to take her, she'd think he was being rude and wanted rid of her.  Either way, he couldn't win.  What did he have to lose though if he offered to take her?  Tess was already making the insinuations.  Maybe he should compromise?

"I will be getting a ride there myself, you can come with me," he offered, thinking that was the safest option, especially if Tess saw them getting out of the same car.

What was it with her anyway?  If Tess was seeking comfort elsewhere, what was it to do with her what he did?  He had a feeling if he actually tried to find out, Tess would play innocent and try to infer whoever he took up with was stealing her husband.  Did he actually want to risk it?

Once out at the entrance to the woods, he found Tess had taken charge and was arguing with the Torchwood divers' leader.

"I am trying to co-operate," the leader, who Rose knew was trying to tell Tess.  "I'm saying it's best we go further downstream than the police divers.  The amount of water coming down the river means anything could have been swept down before anyone got here."

Then he saw Rose approaching but Tess saw her just in front of Alec, Rose knowing there was going to be trouble.

"How are you getting on?" Alec asked as he approached, letting Rose go first into the clearing.

"Fine, if these Torchwood divers would work with ours," Tess complained.

"Agent Tyler," the leader spoke to Rose.  "I'm trying to co-ordinate and I think we'd be best further down."

"Don't we have enough divers here?" Alec asked Tess.  "Fine, you go ahead and search further down," he turned to Rose.

Rose nodded to the team leader then saw the look on Tess's face.  She decided to keep out of it and let her and Alec get on with it.

"It's typical of you to take their side Alec," Tess chastised him.

"It makes sense to cover more ground," he tried to ignore her remark.

If he was trying to make an impression on Rose Tyler, Tess was seeing to it that he would fail.

"Is there anything I can do to help or do I sit in the police car all day?" Rose interrupted their staring contest.

"Why don't you go to the other side of the river with him?" Tess asked sarcastically.

Alec wondered if she was trying to see if Rose would play along or if she genuinely wanted to conduct the search with him.  He also wondered if Rose was aware what Tess was up to.  Rose did know what was going on and thought if that's what the woman wanted, she was going to have some fun in the process.

"Fine, how do we get across?" Rose asked as she fastened her coat, since it had started raining again.

"There's a bridge about a quarter of a mile further up," Tess replied, having looked at the map.  "Get a hi-visibility vest from the van over there," she pointed to where several vehicles were parked.

Tess watched as Rose went off, Alec raising his eyebrows then following her.

"Alec," Tess called after him.  "Make sure she doesn't fall in the river.  I'm taking charge here, she's my responsibility."

"If she's searching with me, she becomes mine," Alec disagreed.

They'd been searching around an hour then Alec strayed towards the riverbank, well he thought it was but it was hard to tell.  They'd spread out with other officers, Rose had been given a long stick to probe in the wet, muddy ground and Alec was watching her and the ground in turn.

She followed him as his attention turned to the water, others passing them.

"Something wrong?" she asked as he motioned for her stick, Rose clinging to a tree branch that was hanging low.

"Something large has lodged in between those rocks," he nodded in the middle of the river.

"Hey, it's stopped raining," Rose told him cheerfully.

"It will still not stop the river flowing fast," Alec called back.  "What do you see over there?"

Rose let go of the safety of the tree and Alec held his arm out to steady her, Rose grabbing his hand and praying his wife wasn't watching from the other side.  She could tell all the signs of a jealous wife a mile off and Tess was one jealous wife if ever she saw one.  Now Rose was more determined to wind the woman up.

"Hey, it's slippy here," Rose wasn't sure about letting go so near the water and eyeing another tree a few feet away.

As suddenly as he'd spotted whatever it was, it was dislodged and caught against a tree trunk that had been floating.

"What the hell is that?" Rose called loudly as she was still attached to Alec's hand and he was following it.

She grabbed hold of another branch, trying to let go of him.

"Take this," he offered her the stick.

"Why don't ya get the divers?" she asked as he dared grab hold of the same branch she was clinging to and he was concentrating to see what he'd found.

"They're back the other way," Alec replied as the last of their group had passed.  "Call the others back."

Then, with no further warning he stepped into the murky water.

"What the hell are ya doin'?" Rose shouted after him.  "Hey, officers, come back here," she shouted even louder, just catching the last one who had also stopped to look at something. 

Tess was over the other side and heard shouting.

"See what's going on over there," she ordered the officer with her.  "It just has to be him," she added to herself as she saw a figure enter the water.

Alec was hoping the river wasn't going to be any deeper as what he had his eye on wasn't quite in the middle.

"Please no, don't let it be her," Alec was saying to himself but Rose just about heard him.

"Hey, how about helping him?" Rose asked several who had gathered.

"You heard," one of the other senior officers recognised Rose, even with her hair all plastered to her face.

As others entered the river, Alec had made the discovery and was already wading towards the other side, where other officers had been watching.

"Well go help him," Tess was ordering them.

Rose suddenly decided she needed to be on the other side.

"Help me across," she gave one of the officers her stick.

"This way," he offered, indicating some rocks that would make it easier a few yards further up.

They were soon across and Rose hurried back to where Alec had been relieved of his find and pulled out of the water, after going under and Rose missing that part.

"What the hell happened to you?" she greeted him as he sat on a rock and being offered a thermal blanket from a paramedic who had been following.  "Did ya go under?"

"Only when I was being helped out," he replied as two more paramedics flanked him.

"Come with us Sir," one of them suggested.  "If you swallowed water, we need to check you out."

"Yeah, ya'd best go with them," Rose agreed, looking around for Tess.  "Where's your wife?"

"She went off with the girl I found," Alec replied sadly.  "It was her, it was Pippa."

"Yeah, I guessed as much when ya waded in," Rose smiled as he got up.  "I'm coming with ya, if your wife's busy."

"I don't need anyone," Alec insisted as the paramedics nudged him along.

"Geez, ya need to get checked over," Rose urged him.  "You're as bad as someone else I used to know.  The sooner ya go, the sooner ya can get back.  Ya need some dry clothes, I'll call Tess from the hospital."

Alec was made to sit down in the ambulance, Rose sitting opposite as his vital signs were checked.

"This someone you used to know?" Alec began to ask her as his pulse was checked.  "They were stubborn?"

"Ya could say that," Rose smiled.  "What happened?"

"My foot slipped," Alec insisted.  "How could everyone else have missed her?"

The paramedic went to join the driver and Rose moved over.

"Maybe they weren't as determined as you were?" she suggested.  "No-one wanted to find her like that."

"She was abducted from her bedroom, probably.  She was in her nightwear.  How could anyone leave a young girl in the river?" he asked her.

Rose took a towel and handed it to him, touching his hand.

"She may have just been left by the side of the river?" she suggested.  "If she was taken from her bedroom, it may have been someone she knew.  Well ya think the neighbours are hiding something?  Maybe her cousin left her and someone broke in and took her?"

While they were on their way to the hospital, Tess was sorting everything out.

"Has anyone seen DI Hardy?" she was asking those nearby.

"Ma'am, he went off in an ambulance," an officer told her.  "Someone went with him."

"The nerve," Tess said to herself, everyone looking.

"DS Hardy, I heard the woman saying she was going to phone you from the hospital."

"Well I've not got time, get his locker key from his desk and send someone with some clean clothes," she replied.  "I'm going to check in at the command post then go to the mortuary."

"What do you make of that?" a WPC smiled at her colleague.

"A jealous wife?" the male officer suggested, also with a smile.

"Maybe those rumours about her are wrong?" the WPC wondered.

"I doubt it Lawson, there's nothing like a cheating wife's husband getting his revenge on her.  Do you know who went with DI Hardy?" he asked.

"No, I missed that," the female officer grinned.

"None other than Rose Tyler herself.  She's here as some liaison between her organisation and us," he replied.

"So that's where the extra help came from?" another officer asked.  "So, Rose Tyler went with him?"

"Who did you say?" another WPC asked the other one.

The first one just laughed.  Now they had something else to talk about other than Tess Hardy sneaking around with that other DS.

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20


Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33