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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

Once at the hospital, Rose asked if she could call the police station to speak to Tess but was told Tess wasn't there.

"Can ya get a message to her?" Rose asked the male officer who answered.  "What was ya name?"

"Dave Harris, Miss Tyler.  DS Hardy's sending someone with a change of clothes for him, she's gone to check on the girl he found."

"Yeah.  Can the person who brings his stuff bring my car to the hospital?  I left my keys in his desk drawer," she asked hopefully.

She also thought it would give Tess something to complain about but when all said and done, she was representing Torchwood and they had to work together.  If the woman thought Alec was also cheating, that was her problem.  Maybe Tess was just on the verge and now was about to really have an affair.  She herself couldn't get caught up in it so she had to take Alec's advice and stay away, when they weren't working.

This though counted as working.  Dave just caught one of the WPC's who had seen Alec go off with Rose in the ambulance and told her to take Rose's car and get a patrol car to follow her, now they were getting freed up from the search.

"Sir, I hope she doesn't accuse me of anything, for driving her car," the officer asked.

"Don't be daft Sandra," Dave laughed.  "You can brag to all your friends.  You can also tell them bets are on that she and Hardy are up to something," he winked.

Now, he thought the pressure would be off he and Tess, if the rest of the station had something else to talk about.  Fancy Hardy attracting the attention of Rose Tyler though, he also thought she was a bit young for the DI, she'd want to be out on the town every night and Hardy would find it difficult to keep up with her.  It would never last, he laughed to himself.

At the hospital, Rose was sat outside a cubicle where Alec was being accessed.  She had used her authority to get that far, only close relatives were normally allowed that far.  A doctor came out, followed by the nurse with a large bag containing Alec's wet clothes.

"Are you with Alec Hardy?" she asked as Rose looked up from staring at the floor, cursing herself for leaving her phone in Alec's office.

"Yeah, is he okay?" Rose wanted to know.

"He'll be fine, he swallowed a lot of water and got soaked, obviously," the nurse smiled, holding the bag out.

"Someone's bringing him clean clothes, I left a message," Rose smiled back and offered to take it.

"Well he was lucky he didn't catch pneumonia," the nurse replied.  "What exactly did he do?  We were just told it had been a police incident and he needed immediate attention."

"Yeah, I saw all the looks when he got escorted in," Rose grinned.

"That's because I walked in," Alec told them as he peered through the cubicle curtain.

"Are ya okay?" Rose turned to him.

"I am fine, no need to fuss," he insisted.

"Huh, how many times did ya go under?" she challenged him.

"You sound like my wife," he replied, closing the curtain.

"From what I've seen of her, we're nothing alike," Rose objected as someone passed by.

"Are you with DI Hardy?" the nurse asked, seeing the bag Rose was holding.  Rose nodded.  "There's another carrier bag at the desk."

The nurse indicated for Rose to follow her so she shoved the plastic bag under the curtain.  She hoped her car was waiting for her as well.

"There are some car keys," the nurse told her as they approached the desk.

Rose thanked the nurse and took the clothes back to Alec.  He was soon dressed, he, like everyone else always kept spare clothing in his locker as did all Torchwood agents.

"I had my car brought here, I'll take ya back to the station," Rose suggested.

Alec was stopped on his way out.

"DI Hardy?  The doctor wants to send you for further tests," the head nurse told him.  "You'll be getting an appointment in the post."

"Okay, thank you, I have to get back to work now," he replied, waving her away.

As Rose was looking around for her car when they got outside, she nudged him.

"That was rude," she told him, spotting her car in the staff car park.

Alec just raised his eyebrows and followed her.

"I don't have time for hospital appointments now.  I have a killer to catch and another teenager to find.  Lisa could also be in danger."

"Yeah, I get that Alec," she told him as they got in her car.  "Your health is more important."

"Whatever it is can wait until the investigation is over," he replied as he put his seatbelt on.

Rose doubted he would keep any future appointments and she wasn't there to babysit him and make sure he did.  That was up to his wife but she doubted Tess Hardy would see he kept any either.  She herself would be gone when the investigation was over and he'd warned her to stay out of his way already.

"I have to report we found Pippa," Rose broke the silence as she followed her satnav back to the station.

"It will be all over the news by now," Alec replied.  "There will be no-one there to keep the press back."

"I take it that was your job?" Rose tried to lighten the mood, thinking that would take some doing.

"It was my job to find Pippa, alive," he replied, looking out of the car window and avoiding Rose glancing at him.

"Alec, you can't have known she was in the river," Rose tried to convince him.

"I should have known where it was all leading.  Still think the neighbours had something to do with it?" he asked as they neared the station.  "Want to come with me?"

"Yeah, let's drop your wet clothes off first or they'll start making a smell in my car," Rose tried again to cheer him up.

Alec was caught by the chief as he and Rose went to his office.

"Alec, I heard you went to hospital?" he was asked.

"I'm fine, they gave me the all-clear," Alec insisted, getting a questioning look from Rose.

She had not got the same impression as they'd left.

"I want an arrest Alec, the sooner the better.  Who are your suspects?" the chief wanted to know, looking at Rose.  "Miss Tyler, I'll be informing your director we no longer need Torchwood's assistance."

"Excuse me, Sir," Rose was annoyed they were suddenly being dumped.  "We have a lot more to offer.  You still need help going door to door and evidence being analyzed."

"We can manage and we thank you for the assistance you've already provided.  If DI Hardy thinks he can use your personal help, you can stay for a while longer.  Well, Alec?"

Alec wanted to tell her to go but she had been the only one to care enough to go to the hospital with him and make sure he got some dry clothes.  That should have been his wife's job but Tess had taken over at the scene.

"She can stay, for now," Alec had to agree, thinking Rose may be his only ally around here.

He really wanted her not to be a part of the investigation so he could ask her out to dinner.  What then though?  She would be gone a few days later but maybe he'd get further with her than he was with Tess at present.

"Fine," the chief approved.  "I will personally thank your director for all of Torchwood's help and yours, of course.  What's your next move Alec?"

"Seeing the neighbours," Alec muttered, wanting to get away.

"Alec, unless you have concrete evidence they were involved, stay away from them.  I had a complaint, from Claire Ashworth, saying you were harassing her husband."

"When was that?" Alec wanted to know, getting annoyed.

"Never mind that, just go carefully from now on.  She accused you of trying to get him to admit he'd seen both girls the night they disappeared.  Oh, by the way, we're stepping up our search for Lisa but nearer to where she lived so it's being passed to the closest station to her.  We'll be notified of any developments," the chief told him as he went off.

"Did you hear that?" Alec asked Rose as she picked up the large bag of clothes, since he was going to walk off without it.

"Yeah, seems Lisa's no longer your problem?  Want me to get the people we had searching for Lisa over to whoever's looking for her?"

She got no answer as Alec stormed off to his office so she had to make a decision.  Alec sat at his desk and banged his fist on it.

"Better?" Rose smiled as he rubbed his hand.

"No.  Go back to London, if you must," he replied.

"Not until we catch whoever left Pippa in the river and I bet you already know who it was, Alec," Rose told him.  "You might have been told to back off but I've not.  Leave it to me, trust me Alec."

"Do I have a choice?" he replied, getting his personal things from his desk drawer and handing Rose's over.

Rose shook her head and dialled Jake's number.

"Jake, I need a specialist team down here," she told her friend when he'd made a few jokes.  "We have a suspect and Alec Hardy's been told to back off."

"Has he now?" Jake grinned as he put the call on hands-free for Mickey to hear.  "Well I think it needs the attention of Torchwood's finest and since you're already there, me and Mickey will join you tomorrow.  What hotel are ya staying at?"

Rose gave him the details and sat back in the chair after confirming Jake would find out where the team already there were wanted.

"Pleased with yourself?" Alec wanted to know.

"Really?  No, I'm not.  I prefer it when someone confesses on their own but we don't have time for that.  Lee Ashworth will wish that when my friends have finished so if he wants to play games, those two invented them."

Alec thought he bet they did.  Just what sort of company did Rose Tyler keep?  This was a very different version of the young woman who had suddenly found fame as Pete Tyler's stepdaughter.  Meanwhile, Dave had caught up with Tess and they had got a preliminary report from the coroner.

"She'd been suffocated," they'd been told.  "There was no water in her lungs so she didn't drown, there were no other visible signs."

Dave thought it didn't take a genius to work that out.

"Want to go for a drink later Tess?" he asked as they left the examination room.  "I saw Alec looking at Rose Tyler, why do you stay with him?"

"He's moved out Dave," Tess told him.  "Why should I care how he looks at her?"

She did care though, enough to wish the younger woman would just go home but they needed her organisation's help finding a killer, whether she herself liked it or not.

Rose was about to leave Alec's office.

"See ya tomorrow?" Rose asked him as he looked at a report that had been brought in.

"What?  Oh, yes.  Will you be joining your friends?"

"Yeah, we'll catch Lee Ashworth before he leaves for work.  You don't have to be there Alec, in fact it's best ya don't, then ya won't get into trouble," Rose smiled.

"I will be, for allowing your friends to visit him.  Don't make me regret this Rose."

When he got home, he regretted not having the time to find a hotel for the night.

"Why did you let Rose Tyler go with you to the hospital?" Tess wanted to know.

"She volunteered, since you had gone off," he replied, feeling tired.  "I will move my things out in the morning."

"There's no need to go Alec.  What if I stop seeing Dave?  Would you stay?" Tess wanted to know.

"No Tess, it's too late.  You would have never gone to him in the first place if you still wanted me," Alec objected.

"So that leaves the playing field open for you and Rose Tyler?" Tess wanted to know.

"Why are you so obsessed with accusations about her Tess?  What would you do were it to be true, which it's not," he replied.

"Maybe not yet," Tess answered as she walked off, leaving Alec puzzled as to why she kept going on about Rose.

Rose would be gone in a few days, then what?  She'd be back to her fancy life of parties and rounding up aliens but he was sure she had secrets of her own.  Why was finding Lisa so important to her and why bring in the heavy mob to find out who killed Pippa?  He just hoped she wouldn't use underhand tactics to bring in the killer.

The next morning, after an hour with Lee Ashworth, he was being escorted to the police station.

"Can I help you gentlemen?" the over-worked desk sergeant asked Lee, Jake and Mickey, the latter two flanking Lee.  Then he saw Rose behind them.  "Miss Tyler, is DI Hardy expecting you?"

“Actually, well yeah, I think he's expecting me,” Rose tried to make it sound not too likely Alec would expect Lee Ashworth to turn himself in.

Well actually, Ashworth wasn't quite turning himself in, he'd been persuaded by the Torchwood agents it would be better all round were he to turn himself in, after being told what the alternatives were, one being instructed on what Torchwood actually did and that they had many varieties of making someone forget who they were.  Lee had objected that they couldn't do that but Jake had finally persuaded him by whispering something in his ear that Rose couldn't quite make out.

Lee had still objected though as they had got out of Jake's car.

"This is still illegal," Lee had told no-one in particular.

"Think yourself lucky you're walking in there on your own two feet," Mickey had laughed.

That remark had kept Lee Ashworth quiet as they marched him up to the front desk.  Then as the desk sergeant picked up the phone to let Alec know they had arrived, Ashworth turned to Mickey then Jake.

"What's she doing here?" he looked over his shoulder.  "That's Rose Tyler."

"She's just another agent," Mickey insisted.

"Well the police already know her," Lee replied, getting some of his cockiness back as the tactics the team had used on him were wearing off.

As they waited to be escorted to an interview room, Mickey nudged Jake.

"Just how well does Rose know this Alec Hardy?"

Jake just laughed.  "You don't even want to know mate."

By the end of the interview, Alec had enough to take Lee into custody and he stopped to thank Jake and Mickey.

"Your teams can leave now," Alec said confidently.

"Yeah, I'll give the word," Jake grinned, feeling pleased with himself.  "Coming back with us Rose?"

"I've a few things to clear up first," Rose replied, one being why Alec had been staring at her as she'd stood observing him interviewing their suspect.

All through the investigation, she had given him no cause to repeat his request she stayed out of his way, had she?  Maybe her just being there and him having to accept help had been enough?

Chapter 5

Rose was in for a surprise as Jake said they'd see her back at the office as they waited for Alec coming back from booking Lee Ashworth.

"So, what is it with you and the detective inspector?" Jake grinned as Mickey played with his phone.

"What is it with you and your phone, Mickey?" Rose changed the subject.

"New doctor in medical," Jake laughed.

"Is not," Mickey denied.

"Oh, ya mean that Martha Jones?" Rose also laughed at Mickey.

"Leave her alone," Mickey got all defensive.  "She's brilliant and I bet back home, she's the sort of companion The Doctor would have, after you had to leave."

"That's not fair Mickey, I never would have left him if I'd had a choice," Rose turned on him.

"Stop it you two," Jake interrupted them as he heard sounds outside.  "We know that Rose but ya have to face the facts and pretty boy who just left looks just like him."

"That's not fair either, Jake, I'm trying to ignore the fact and it ain't been easy, trust me," Rose replied, folding her arms and leaning back on the wall.

They were all silent as Alec entered the room and he sensed something was wrong.

"Am I interrupting something?" he asked no-one in particular.

"No, these two were leaving," Rose replied, not moving even though there was now an empty seat.

Alec had wondered why Rose had chosen not to sit down and the other two men hadn't offered to let her but he supposed they always did that.

"Right.  Thanks for your co-operation," Alec went to shake Jake and Mickey's hands, stopping at Rose, who held her hand out and he took it but didn't shake it.  "Thank your director as well," he added, hoping that would give him the excuse to hold onto it.

"We'll be off then?" Jake tried not to notice.

Mickey did though and despite him taking notice of the new medical intern, was still jealous of any man who noticed his old girlfriend, which had started with the man who had big ears, had a deplorable northern accent and wore a leather jacket.

"Yeah, we'll be off," Mickey had to agree and Jake glared at him to leave.  "See ya later Rose."

Alec let go of Rose's hand, thankful the other two hadn't seemed to notice, or maybe they had and had chosen to ignore it.  Her hand had felt soft and seemed like it fitted just right into his, like his was a glove.  Where had that train of thought just come from, he wondered.

He'd been thinking about her since she'd arrived but yesterday, she had cared enough to stay at the hospital with him when Tess had gone off to do her job, which had been procedure.  All he had done was let her walk off last night but what else could he have done?

He'd not expected a result this morning and Lee Ashworth had been handed to him on a plate, all he had to do was search the car after getting a warrant after Ashworth had admitted Pippa had been in his car.  They still needed concrete evidence of the physical kind so only he and Tess would conduct the search.

"So, what happens now?" Rose wanted to know, her hand feeling cold after Alec had let go of it and she'd come out of her trance.

Just why had it felt so good the detective had held her hand for a few moments and why had it felt exactly like the times The Doctor had held it?  It had been such a long time since that had happened, too long and now, this was giving her the exact same feelings as those times, like she could melt like a block of ice and form a puddle on the floor.

She just hoped Alec, who was staring at her again hadn't noticed.  He had but shook it off.

"I've asked for a warrant to search his car, I'm just waiting for it," he replied as he flicked his tie and leaned on the back of a chair.  "You can be present, if you wish?"

Was he looking for an excuse to keep her around, Rose wondered.

"Might as well see it through," Rose readily agreed, hoping she didn't sound desperate to keep his company.  "I'll go grab a coffee and wait in what I was using for an office then?  I have some reports to make, I'll be finished up by tomorrow, then I'll be out of your way."

"You are not in the way," he tried to assure her, without sounding too personal.  "We are always happy to work alongside fellow agencies," he added for good measure but knowing it was already too late.

Should he ask her out now or tomorrow as she was leaving?  Tess would go ballistic at the very thought and she'd already be in a bad mood over yesterday, not to mention him locking Lee Ashworth up on his own, well with another detective he'd grabbed hold of when he'd got the call that three Torchwood agents and another man were waiting at the desk for him and one of them was Rose.

Why had he felt like a teenager on his first date when he knew she'd not left without saying goodbye?  She could have left it to the other two agents, if she'd wanted to.  Rose though didn't seem like the kind of person who did that.

"Well I hope I didn't make things awkward Alec," Rose replied.  "I mean with you and Tess?  She didn't exactly make me feel welcome."

"That's just her," Alec tried to assure her.  "She would have been like that with anyone.  She and I are splitting up, things are difficult at the moment."

Had he told her that before, he thought to himself as Rose smiled back.

"Sorry.  I mean she didn't think I was after ya, did she?" Rose laughed.

"What?  No, I mean well maybe but if it had not been you, she would have focused on any other female."  He saw the way Rose looked at him.  "What I meant to say was you going to the hospital with me did not help."

What had he just said, he thought.  Then he saw Rose was about to laugh.

"Yeah, I suppose she thought the worse?  Ya could have warned me she got jealous, Alec."

"I thought I had warned you?" he replied as he went to sit down and shuffled the folders still on the desk for something to do, anything but face the fact he wanted to ask her out.

Rose went to sit on the corner of the desk.

"You mean for me to stay away from you when we weren't working?" she asked him.

"Well yes.  Look Rose, under any other circumstances, were I in the midst of leaving my wife, I would have asked you out, hell, I wouldn't have hesitated for a second but I have our daughter to think about."

"Alec, I understand, really I do.  How old is she?" Rose wanted to know.

"Around the same age as Pippa was," he replied, Rose seeing him look sad at the mention of the other girl's name and the thought maybe he had a younger daughter.

"You must have been worried?" Rose asked him.

"We were.  Well, thank you, for all your help," he held his hand out again as he got up.  "Especially yesterday and the extra divers."

"I saw Tess just standing there, watching you when you waded into the river," Rose told him as she grabbed his hand to ease herself off the desk.

He held on to it again.

"She had a job to do Rose," he made the excuse.

"She could have handed it to someone else," Rose replied as she noticed he wasn't letting go and taking his other hand.

"She had no reason, Rose.  She is seeing someone else," he replied sadly.

"Sorry.  I didn't want to make things worse," Rose apologised.  "I suppose I'm adding fuel to the fire?  She thinks you're doing the same, with me?  That's why you told me to stay way.  Well I hate to tell ya Alec but it didn't work, she's been saying all kinds of things and now, it all makes sense."

"I am sorry she's made things difficult for you Rose, I have told her to back off," Alec told her.

"Well, she took no notice, trust me," Rose smiled.  "It's not your fault Alec, if she's made her mind up."

"I am tired of arguing with her, let her think what she likes.  There is another reason why I told you to stay away," he replied.

Rose looked down as they still held onto each other.

"I can see," she grinned.

Alec tried to let go but she grabbed his hands back.

"Let's get things wound up Alec?" she suggested.  "I should start makin' my report."

"Yes, of course," Alec tried not to sound embarrassed.  "Rose, would you maybe like to go out for a meal tonight?  You can bring your friends along, if you wish?" he offered, hoping she would say yes but be on her own.

"They'll be going off but yeah, if you're sure?" Rose replied, thinking it was mainly innocent, well so far it was.

"Tell me where you are staying and I will pick you up," he suggested.  "I have moved out and staying in a guest house," he then admitted, having sorted it out finally, which was why he was delayed interviewing Ashworth.  "You could join me for lunch, if you prefer?"

"Why not both?" Rose smiled, letting his hands go as his phone rang.

It was Tess.

"I hear Lee Ashworth has been arrested?" she asked him.  "Why wasn't I there?"

"I took someone with me Tess, two Torchwood agents were with him as well," he defended his decision not to call her about it.

"What were Torchwood agents doing at an interview?" she wanted to know and looking at Dave sat opposite.  "I bet one of them was Rose Tyler?"

"No, they were two male agents, agent Tyler was only observing," Alec replied.

"She would be," Tess sounded sarcastic to him.  "What's this about a search warrant for his car?"

Alec wondered where she was getting her information from.  Maybe he shouldn't have given Dave Harris the job of getting the warrant?

"When it comes, you are going with me to search the car, I am not trusting the junior officers," he warned her.

"Does that include Torchwood?" Tess wanted to know.

"They have already left, or leaving," Alec informed her.  "Miss Tyler will be leaving shortly."

Rose wondered why he'd included her but she supposed it was for his wife's benefit.

"Are you sure about that?" Tess sounded sarcastic.

"Just be ready when the warrant arrives," he warned her.  "Bring your new boyfriend with you, I want no mistakes making, uniformed officers can serve it to the car dealers."

He hoped Harris had done his job and told the car lot owner to put the car Ashworth had sold on one side and no-one else had touched it.

"Want me to go with ya?" Rose asked, seeing he looked tired.  "Are ya sure you're okay after yesterday?"

"I'm fine, really.  If we find any evidence in that car, we have him," he replied.

"Ya have his confession," Rose reminded him.

"Yes but he was still being vague.  He says he remembers picking Pippa up and placing her in his car but not leaving her in the river."

"The water must have risen and carried her there," Rose suggested.  "I just don't get it though, it's like he was in some sort of trance, as he smothered her."

Then they both said "Claire" at once.

"No," Rose gasped.  "She covered it all up?"

"Yes, she must have done," Alec realised.  He pressed a number on his phone.  "Get a unit to the Ashworth's address and bring the woman in."

"She might be at work?" Rose wondered.

"Check her work address," Alec spoke to the sergeant.

"Ya can get her locked up?" Rose asked.  "Want me to get Jake and Mickey back?"

"No, when she sees we have her husband, she will talk," Alec replied confidently.

Rose just hoped he was right but they'd have to hold her while they searched the car.  Rose decided to tag along to the car sales, just to annoy Tess.  If the woman was going to accuse her of something, she was going to have some fun over it.  Would it backfire on Alec though?  Maybe she should give him some warning?

"Hey, I don't know my way around, can I go with you or Tess?" Rose asked him.

"You can come with me, maybe you should avoid Tess?" he raised his eyebrows at her.

"Ya think?" Rose grinned back.  "What's her problem anyway, if she's seeing someone else?"

"I have no idea and her accusations are completely untrue," he replied.

"Well, we could have some fun with her?" Rose suggested.  "Just follow my lead, yeah?"

"Rose, we are doing a serious job, leading to two arrests," he reminded her.

"Aw, come on Alec, lighten up a little," she laughed.  "I promise not to do anything once ya start searching the car.  Deal?"

"Deal but don't go too far, understand?" he asked, moving forward and very close to her face.

Rose just wanted to grab hold of him, ruffle his hair and plant a sloppy kiss on his lips.  She had tried to imagine what it must have felt like when she'd been possessed by Casandra on New Earth and The Doctor had constantly teased her about it.  She still regretted she'd had no chance of re-creating it since, he'd always backed away if they had got close.

Chapter 6

Alec had a feeling he was going to regret this.  Rose seemed in a mischievous mood and searching a car for vital evidence did not seem a likely place for the Vitex heiress to have some 'fun' as she put it.  He could see why she thought Tess was acting strangely by being bothered he might be romantically involved with her but so far, Rose had heeded his words to stay out of his way.

Now though, he was beginning to regret saying that to the young blonde who was smiling at him.  He knew he couldn't hold out much longer to tell her he hadn't really meant it.  He was only taking precautions that he wouldn't get distracted from finding young Pippa's killer.

"Leave your car here then and I will get a patrol car to take us," he then suggested, thinking at least then, Tess couldn't really object Rose arrived at the scene with him.

He thought knowing Tess though, she'd find something and Rose would pick up on it.  What had he just agreed to?  He arranged for a car to pick them up outside and gestured for Rose to go first, just as Tess happened to be passing.

"Are you coming Alec?" Tess asked him, insinuating had he finished his 'meeting' with Rose.

"Yes, you go ahead, Miss Tyler and I will follow in a patrol car," he replied.

"You could come with me," Tess suggested as Alec's mobile rang.

He answered it and told the desk sergeant they would be outside shortly.

"I would have thought you were taking Dave with you?" Alec turned to Tess as he put his mobile in his pocket.

Rose was trying to resist a smile that Alec was already one up on his wife.  She loved nothing more than mischief making and especially with already warring couples.  She thought back to a few minutes earlier, when Alec had taken her hand.  It had felt like when The Doctor had held it.  Now though, they had a job to do, they could maybe talk about that later.

"Don't make it sound like that Alec," Tess told him.

"Hey, you two," Rose reminded them she was there.  "Can ya have ya domestic arguments later?"

"Just why are you coming with us?" Tess asked her.

"She's coming Tess, that's the end of it," Alec warned her.

"That told her," Rose smiled to herself, thinking it was something The Doctor would have come out with.

"Don't look so pleased with yourself, Alec," Tess warned him back as she walked off.

"Sheesh, how do ya put up with her?" Rose wanted to know.

"I'm not, not for much longer," Alec replied, allowing Rose to go first, again.

"Well she's got one hell of a chip on her shoulder," Rose remarked as he opened the door for her.

A male officer was waiting in a car for them outside as Alec opened the car door for Rose and helped her into the back seat, then he got in the front, Rose assuming he didn't want to add more fuel to his wife's fire.  She was going to make sure she made a fuss of it when she got out though, she decided as they set off.

Alec's phone rang again.

"What?" Alec asked as he learned Claire Ashworth was not at work or at home when officers had gone to look for her.  "Well, start looking for her and bring her in, under arrest if need be," he ordered.

"Was that about Claire?" Rose asked him.

"Yes, she is missing," Alec admitted.

"Our agents may still be in town?" Rose offered.  "I can get them to search for her?"

"We have enough officers freed up from the search but thank you," Alec replied as he found the number for the station.

Once they arrived at the car sales, Alec got out but Rose remained seated.

"Are you not joining us?" Alec wanted to know.

"Well yeah but I should stay back," Rose replied, hoping he'd get the hint and help her out.

Then he did remember Rose had said she wanted some fun at Tess's expense and Tess was wandering around waiting for his arrival.

"Then allow me to help you," he then smiled, opening the back door.

As he held onto her hand and Rose got out, awkwardly, she pretended to slip and whispered to him.

"Now ya gettin' it."

Alec wondered what exactly he was supposed to be getting and she had already started her mischief making.

"Just look at those two," Tess huffed to Dave, who was enjoying a quick cigarette break while they'd waited for Alec to arrive.

"They're already shagging each other brainless, trust me," Dave laughed at Tess's discomfort of her husband with another woman.  "She's far too young for him Tess, he'll never keep up with her or should I say keep it up with her," he laughed.

"Stop it Dave, I don't need reminding," Tess replied angrily.

"Better face it Tess, she's much younger than you are, lucky him," Dave shrugged his shoulders.

"You're supposed to be on my side," Tess reminded him, watching Rose right herself after Alec propped her up.  "Look at him, has he forgotten we're in public?" she added.

"Come off it Tess, why do you think they're behaving like that?" Dave wanted to know.  "He's trying to get a reaction out of you," he then went to whisper in her ear and making sure Alec saw him.

"Do ya think they're doin' that on purpose?" Rose asked Alec as she held onto his arm.

"No doubt," Alec replied, trying to feel jealous but failing.  "Come on, we have a job to do then maybe we can get back in time to go to lunch together, if you still want to?"

"Yeah, why not?  We could be here for a while though," Rose smiled as they walked towards Tess.

"Best hope not," Alec leaned down to reply quietly and making sure Tess saw him.  "Do we have the warrant?" he greeted Tess.

"It's on the way," Tess replied, looking at Rose.  "Really Alec, was it necessary to let everyone see you helping her out of the car," she indicated to Rose.

"Oi, I'm here," Rose objected.

"Well behave like a Torchwood agent," Tess suggested.  "How did you get to be put in charge?  Was it because of who you're related to?"

"Meow," Rose huffed and walked away.

"See what I mean?" Tess turned to Alec.  "She's far too young to be in charge and for you."

"Keep out of it Tess, I'm warning you," Alec wagged his finger at her.  "You too Harris and while we are at it Tess, stop showing him off to everyone eh?"

He went off to catch up with Rose, who was about to go sit in the car to wait for the search warrant to arrive.  He put his hand on her shoulder, Rose trying to shrug him off.

"Rose, take no notice of her.  You said you wanted some fun," he reminded her.

"I have my limits Alec and maybe she's right, about my age?" Rose replied.  "You don't have to take me out tonight."

"I still want to," he assured her, wanting to comfort her but rubbing her shoulder with his thumb instead.

"So ya can tell everyone you had a date with me?" Rose asked him.

"What?  Of course not, what do you take me for eh?  Someone who makes a habit of bragging I went out with Rose Tyler?  I've seen the gossip column headlines Rose, I am not one of those attention seeking want to be's."

"Sorry.  Geez, she'd better watch out, she can even get to me," Rose tried to laugh.  "That's sayin' something."

"Well just be careful and don't take any notice of her.  I am just learning what she is capable of," he warned her.

"Yeah, well you be careful as well Alec, she could get nasty and compromise this case."

"I already gathered that is what she is aiming for," Alec told her, turning back to where Dave was standing close to Tess.  "I should feel jealous."

"Then why aren't ya?" Rose wanted to know.

He never answered as another police car arrived and he went to greet it and took the search warrant.

"Keep a watch for anything suspicious," Alec whispered to Rose as he passed her.

The search was conducted by Tess, Alec and Dave and after five minutes and Alec having shone a light in the glove compartment, he found the chain of the delicate pendant all scrunched up in the corner.  He called for an evidence bag and carefully placed the item in it.

"Carry on searching while I call the chief," Alec told the other two.  "See what else of interest you can find."

"Are you leaving?" Tess indicated to where Rose was resting her arms on top of the police car and observing the growing crowd of onlookers for any sign of Claire.

Rose had thought Claire may not be stupid enough to be at the scene of the search, if Ashworth had warned her there may be some incriminating evidence left in the car he had sold recently.  Instead though, Claire may concentrate on either trying to clear his name or be observing from a distance and maybe follow whoever was taking anything back for examination.

Alec chose to ignore Tess's remark and went to join Rose, holding up the evidence bag.

"Hey, well done," Rose smiled.  "I can go home now."

"I was hoping you would stay, at least for a little while?" Alec tried to hide his disappointment.

"Ya don't need me here any longer.  Oh, you might want to get your officers to take a look in the pub over there, Claire may be watching."

"You've seen her?" Alec was suddenly interested.

"Not exactly but it's what I would do," Rose replied.  "I'll get a ride back to the station and pick up my stuff."

"Don't leave just yet Rose, please?  At least keep our date tonight?" he pleaded.

Rose saw the look on his face.  Could she leave just like that?

"Well okay, pick me up tonight then?  Best leave lunch, ya might be here a bit longer?"

"We will be finishing up shortly," he corrected her.  "We could get dropped off in town and have an early lunch.  I did not realise what the time was."

"Well, if I were you, I wouldn't trust Tess to take the pendant back," Rose nodded in the direction of Tess, who was pretending not to notice they were talking about her.

"They can both take it back, Harris has no interest in us," Alec replied confidently.  "I will be right back."

"What do you bet he'll go off with her and expect us to take that pendant back?" Tess sounded indignant

"Chill Tess, we can take it back, after we stop off somewhere and sit in the back of your car before we have a drink to celebrate," Dave laughed.

"I suppose so?" Tess was tempted.

"Well Alec will be doing the same with her," Dave nodded towards where Alec was helping Rose back in the police car.

"Just look at them," Tess tutted to herself more than Dave.

"Still jealous?" Dave laughed as Alec went towards them.

After giving the two of them strict instructions not to delay taking the evidence back and agreeing they would confront Lee Ashworth early in the afternoon as the pendant was being examined, Alec also told them to have any local businesses questioned as to if Claire Ashworth had been in and if she was hiding in the local pub.

"I bet I know who gave you that idea Alec," Tess laughed.

"Maybe Tess but she's right, Claire would not openly watch her husband's car being searched so have officers watching for her leaving," Alec replied.

"Where are you going?" Tess then wanted to know.

"To apologise to Rose, for your treatment of her," he just replied.

"I bet you are," Tess hissed after him as she held the evidence bag.

"Forget it Tess," Dave insisted.  "Let's get this over with."

Alec had the police driver drop them off at the edge of the town centre, just outside a pub that was serving lunch and they went inside.  Once they'd ordered, Alec sat beside her.

"Please don't just leave Rose?" he asked her again.

"I have to get back to my other work Alec," Rose insisted.

"We could still use your help in making sure Ashworth and maybe his wife get put away," he replied, putting his arm on the back of the seating.

He began to touch her shoulder, gently at first to see if she would resist.  Instead, she relaxed more and leaned back into it.

"I can't Alec, not if ya keep tellin' me to stay out of your way, when we're not working.  I can't keep away."

"I only did it because I never wanted to be distracted but it's almost over now, we will have Ashworth by this afternoon," Alec replied, feeling even more confidant.

Rose relaxed more into his arm and put her head on his shoulder.

"I hope so.  I don't want to stay out of your way Alec," she admitted.

They finished their lunch, Rose wanting some ice-cream afterwards.

"What time are ya interviewing Lee Ashworth?" she wanted to know.

"We should be getting going, I will call a cab to take us back, you can watch the interview via a video link."

"With any luck, Claire may have been caught," Rose smiled back.

As they waited in the entrance, Alec using a free taxi phone, he suddenly leaned down to see if Rose would respond if he kissed her.  He was pleased when she did so and with his arm around her, escorted her out to the cab that was just pulling up outside.  Instead of getting in the front seat again, he got in beside her and took her hand.

They were almost back at the station when Alec's phone rang, the display showing 'Tess'.

"I'm on my way," he said without listening.  Then he let out a 'What?'

"What's wrong?" Rose asked him as he covered his phone.

"Tess has messed up," was all he'd say while they were still in the taxi.  "In a big way."

Chapter 7
As they got out of the cab and Alec paid the driver, Rose made him stop before he bounded into the building.

"Tell me what happened Alec," Rose begged him.

"I knew I could not trust them Rose.  I told them not to stop off anywhere but they disobeyed me," he replied angrily.

"Alec, it was hardly an order, if was lunchtime," Rose reminded him.

"Rose, they had vital evidence, remember?  They should have returned with it, not stop off on the way."

"So they're not back yet?" she asked innocently.

Alec let out a nervous laugh.

"Rose, they won't be back for a while yet.  Someone smashed Tess's car window and guess what was taken along with her personal belongings?"

"You're kidding?  See, I told ya Claire would have been watching," Rose told him.

"Rose, there was no sign of her," he replied.

"Are ya sure Alec?  She could have been down the road and watching then followed Tess's car?" Rose suggested.

"How would she know they were going to stop off then?" she was asked.

"Easy.  Lee Ashworth sussed there was something going on between us so he figured Tess was doing the same," Rose grinned.

"Do you always have an answer Rose?" he wanted to know.

"I'll tell ya later Alec.  Are you off to where she is?"

"I have to attend, sorry.  Why don't you catch up on your work?" he suggested.

"I've got a better idea.  Why don't I go gloat that Tess stuffed up?" she laughed.

"Rose, now's not the time eh?  I will be back soon, then we should talk."

"About that kiss?" Rose teased him.

"Be careful what you say Rose.  Yes, about what just happened but also about you leaving.  I don't want you to leave."

He escorted her inside then went to get his car keys from his desk, Rose standing in the doorway.

"I'll wait for you coming back then?" Rose asked him.

"Yes, you do that?  Rose, I was wrong to tell you to stay away.  I am going to tell Tess it's finished and get a separation order as soon as possible.  I do not want you getting in the middle of it and us being accused of having an affair.  I'm sure your stepfather would not approve?"

"Sheesh, just worry about my mother," Rose laughed.  "Sorry.  Yeah, if you and Tess are legally separated, no-one can accuse us of having an affair but I'll get the press office to issue a statement for me, it can also cover you."

"Whatever you think is best?" Alec had to agree as he passed her.  "About your mother though?  Should I be worried?"

"Only when she meets ya?" Rose further teased him.

He went off, knowing he was biting off more than he could chew with a younger, famous woman.  He got to where Tess and Dave had stopped off and wondered how long, if it had been Claire Ashworth, she had been waiting.  Tess had parked around the corner, out of sight and had encouraged Dave to have a bit more than a kissing session on the back seat, having covered them with a blanket.

Then, they had gone inside the pub, not knowing Claire had been standing pretending to be waiting for someone and she had broken the car window and grabbed the evidence bag.

"What the hell were you two doing here?" Alec wanted to know as Tess sat on the back seat of a police car.

"As if you and Rose didn't stop off on the way back?" Tess turned the tables on him.

"You were carrying vital evidence Tess," he reminded her.  "There was no reason you could not have waited until you had handed it over.  Whose idea was it to stop eh?"

"Dave's," Tess tried to put all the blame on the man she'd taken up with.

"Finish up here, get your car window repaired then go see the chief.  No doubt he will have some questions for you," Alec warned her.

"Thanks Tess," Dave complained as Alec went off to see what damage had been done to Tess's car.

"Well it was your idea," Tess replied, closing the car door on him.

She was still fuming at the thought Alec had stopped off somewhere with Rose Tyler.  After she got back and faced the chief, Alec saying she could explain things to Daisy, the chief called Rose into his office.

"You were there when they were searching the car?  Torchwood's part in this investigation was meant to be over," the chief told her.

"I asked her to come with us," Alec replied for her.  "You said it was up to me."

"I stayed out of everyone's way," Rose objected.  "Anyway, I was looking for Claire Ashworth, ask him," she nodded at Alec.

"That's right, Miss Tyler believed Claire would be watching and we're certain she broke into Tess's car.  I have officers stepping up the search for her, right now.  She will make a mistake."

"Well you had better hope she does Alec, otherwise Ashworth is going to walk free.  He'll have to appear in court but the charges won't stand, not now," the chief stated.

"I can get my team back," Rose offered.

"I expect everyone, including yourself to be gone by tomorrow, understand?" the chief asked her.

"You can't run Miss Tyler out of town, if she does not work on the case," Alec reminded him.

"She had better not interfere Alec, I'm holding you responsible for her," the chief replied.  "I had better not have to call your director, Miss Tyler."

As they left the chief's office, Tess confronted them.

"I got a reprimand Alec," she told him.

"Well, next time, ya might be more careful," Rose replied before he did.

"Stay out of this Rose," Alec warned her.  "This is all about her getting back at me, at the cost of letting a child killer go free."

"You would say that Alec," Tess scoffed back at him.

"Leave it Tess," Dave tried to pull her away.

"I thought you were leaving?" Tess hinted to Rose.

"You'd like that," Alec replied.  "Well, you are not the only one who can find someone else.  You have been right, in your insinuations Tess, we just did not make it public like you.  Rose is staying but she will not be included in any more of the case."

Rose was dying to say something but this was Alec's moment of glory – the time he got his own back on his cheating wife and she wasn't going to be the one to spoil it.

Tess just huffed and walked off so Rose nudged him.

"Sorry Alec, I've caused trouble for ya this time."

"No, it was a long time coming and I apologise to you, for dragging you into this.  I will make sure she does not mention your name if she gets a separation order before I do."

"So ya think she'll beat ya to it?" Rose wondered.

"Maybe?  She won't want to admit she needs it though so I will probably beat her to it.  I will call and see about one first thing tomorrow.  I suggest you gather your things and work from your hotel room, unless you want to wait until tomorrow?"

"I'll do it now, it might be best?" Rose replied as she saw Alec's chief leave his office.

"She was just leaving, Tess delayed us," Alec told the chief as he approached.

"I hope so Alec.  I don't want to be the bad guy but Miss Tyler may compromise the rest of the investigation, if you both don't use some discretion."

"Excuse me?" Rose interrupted him, getting a frown from Alec.  "I'm the one not using discretion when Tess and her boyfriend were probably shagging in the back seat of her car when it got broken into?"

"There is no proof they were being inappropriate," the chief objected.  "We only know they stopped off rather than report back here with the evidence."

"Oh come on," Alec almost laughed.  "What do you think they were doing?  They disobeyed an order and put the conviction of Lee Ashworth at risk."

"Alec, Tess complained that it's you and Miss Tyler that are putting everything at risk so I'm ending this – now.  Tess is no longer permitted to have Dave Harris as her work partner and Miss Tyler is no longer working this case as a Torchwood agent.  That's my final decision," the chief warned him, walking off.

"Leave it Alec," Rose urged him as she took his arm.

"That will make her worse," Alec admitted.

"Will she take it out on you?" Rose sympathised.  "Sorry, it's maybe my fault."

"No," Alec laughed nervously.  "She would have found another way, trust me.  After I get a separation order, I will put in for a transfer, before Lee Ashworth gets off."

"Are ya so sure he will?" Rose wondered.

"The pendant tied him to having Pippa in his car and plus, he will use the fact three torchwood agents 'persuaded' him to tell the truth about that night," he replied sadly.

"I could come and speak up, at the trial?" Rose offered.

"It would do no good Rose but thank you.  I have to take the blame for allowing you," he replied.

"I could say I took the decision, that I went against your wishes," Rose further offered.

"You would get into trouble Rose, from your stepfather.  I can't allow that.  We will just have to see what happens."

"So, we forget tonight as well?" Rose wondered.

"Absolutely not," Alec finally smiled.

Alec picked her up from where she was staying and took her to a well established restaurant just outside town that he'd managed to get a reservation at without using Rose's name and after their meal, they moved to a quiet corner table.

"So, what does the famous Rose Tyler like to do to relax?" Alec teased her as he moved her hair away from her cheek and touched it gently, sending a shiver down poor Rose's back.

"Ah, I have my ways," Rose teased him back, going for her glass of white wine and lemonade.

Alec had done the sensible thing and arrived at her hotel in a taxi cab so he was drinking white wine on its own.

"Maybe I could guess some of them?" he replied.  "Ah, maybe you would care to demonstrate some of them, with me?"

"You want me to relax with you?" Rose just came out and asked him bluntly.

"Well, ultimately?  That was the plan," he laughed, reminding Rose it would be something The Doctor would have said.

She had to get all those thoughts out of her mind or she was going to lose Alec's interest, he was the only man who had been genuinely interested in her since her arrival here all those years ago.  All the rest had been hopefuls or failures from reality and talent shows, well the least talented Rose had thought and never made it past the main gate of the mansion she now lived in.  They certainly would never have met with her mother's approval.

The only reason she had accepted a date was to stop her mother going on about her new social status and Jackie Tyler had never been a snob before marrying Pete.  Then Jackie had claimed it was what was expected from her as she'd accepted the chairs of multiple charitable organisations, of which Rose was expected to attend their benefit 'do's' and dinners.

"Rose?" he questioned the far-away look in her eyes.

"Sorry.  I was just thinking how I was going to explain staying here," she made the excuse.

"You are still going to stay?  When you are up against Tess?" he wondered.

"Yeah, I made trouble between the two of ya, how can I leave ya to face her on ya own?" Rose replied.

"Well, I too am in a hotel for now but I will get onto the HR department to find somewhere more suitable.  So, your hotel or mine?" he smiled.

They got a taxi to his hotel, since he had to work the next day and Rose made short work of his shirt buttons as he did the same with the zip of her dress, which was short and sparkly though he'd been more interested all evening in getting it off her rather than admire how she looked in it.

They fell into bed kissing and Rose enjoyed the best time of her life, realising afterwards she felt different.

"Is there something wrong?" Alec wondered as she dashed to the bathroom.

He hoped she wasn't going to come back out, get dressed and demand he called a cab for her.

"Hey, sorry," she mumbled as she got back in beside him, now wearing her panties.

"I was getting worried," he had to admit, touching her breasts and going to kiss one.  Then he realised what the problem might be.  "Oh, something gave, did it not?" he guessed, since she'd put her underwear on.  "It's okay, don't be embarrassed Rose.  I should have asked you if you wanted to go that far."

"It's okay, I just wasn't expecting, well ya know?" she replied as she relaxed again.

"No, I assumed you had already had your first time, the way you responded to me.  I know what you experienced Rose, you just did not know that your body was reacting."

"Well, you must be more experienced in that department than me," she teased him as he turned the bedside lamp off and she settled into his shoulder.

"I am not going to give you a lecture about the birds and the bees Rose," he laughed.  "Well mainly about how the bees.."

Rose nudged him to stop, to which he gave her an 'Hmm' and made her giggle.

"I get the picture Alec.  Well, you're older than me, you know about those things.  It was good though," she had to admit.

"I noticed how much you enjoyed it, I thought you were never going to stop," he teased her yet again.

"Sorry, that's how it felt, like I didn't want ya to stop, it was really good.  No bragging about it though."

"No bragging, got it," he joked.  "I think I need my sleep after that."

"What?" Rose burst out laughing.  "Alec can't keep up with a younger lover?"

"Oh, so, you are my young lover, are you?" he went to tickle her ribs.

"Stop it," she giggled.  "Well, yeah, if ya want?  Ya asked me to stay Alec."

"Yes, I did and I meant it Rose.  Just don't go around saying you're my young lover though, eh?"

"I have a reputation to keep up ya know?" Rose replied indignantly.

"What reputation is that then?" Alec wanted to know.  "That of being out on the town every night?"

"I wish," Rose tried to be serious.  "The papers never report I'm a Torchwood agent and I earn my keep and I'd be too tired to work if I was out every night."

"Well, that's good to know.  At least I won't be expected to keep you out every night," Alec also tried to sound serious.

Then Rose began to giggle again and he knew he was going to be in trouble for taking her on.  After fooling around a little while longer, they fell asleep, Alec feeling happier than he'd done in a long time.  The next morning, Alec tried to get her to be serious after she wanted to have a repeat of the night before, Rose asking him if now he had broken her barrier, that having sex would be more enjoyable.

"Rose, I've not got time to give you a sex education lesson love," he told her as he tried to get dressed and she'd been staring at his ass as he'd changed his shorts, him having put some on before they'd gone to sleep.

"That's a shame, though I'd only want to get the practical part," she laughed.

"You, Miss Tyler, are going to be trouble, aren't you?" he replied.  "So, are you moving in here?"

"Well, for now?  I won't get my hotel paid for after today so I'd better move my things out.  Then I'll have to tell dad I'm staying here.  He'll make me tell my mum though, he's too much of a coward to come between us."

"I bet he is," Alec replied quietly.  "You take the room key then?"

After moving her things into Alec's room, Rose went to collect her laptop and files from the police station, knocking on Alec's office door before she left.

"I'm off then," she told him, one hand in her jeans pocket and one holding her designer laptop bag.

"Right.  Well, thanks for trying to help," he said as he got up and for the benefit of anyone listening.

"Did ya have to let him go?" she asked about Lee Ashworth.

"Not as yet, we're keeping it quiet for now, see if we can get him on his confession alone.  We've asked for his trial to be brought forward so we'll get a hearing date and if his plea is not changed, it should be straight forward in front of a judge."

"Are ya keeping Torchwood's involvement out of it?" Rose wondered.

"It may come up we were given some assistance in finding Pippa," he had to admit.

Then Rose closed his office door.

"See ya tonight then?  Did ya get anywhere else to live sorted out?"

"No, not yet.  Do you want to find somewhere?" he asked hopefully.

"You look tired Alec," she smiled.  "Are ya okay?"

"Yes, I'm fine.  Maybe you kept me awake too late last night eh?"

When she got back to the hotel, she had to face Pete in a video call.

"I'm staying Dad," she told him after making her report.

"Well you can tell your mother," Pete joked.  "So, you got involved with detective inspector Alec Hardy then?"

"When are we gonna meet him?" Jackie wanted to know after hearing the news.

"Soon Mum, after the hearing maybe?" Rose tried to appease her mother. "I'll bring him back so I can get some more of my things."

"So, ya gonna live down there then?" Jackie stated the obvious.

"Until he can get a transfer Mum.  We can't stay here, his ex will make it difficult enough," Rose admitted.

"Well she'd better not drag you into their divorce or you'll have to get your stepfather to get you of it," Jackie warned her.

"I know Mum but that's down to her, she already tried to make trouble," Rose admitted. "I'll try to be careful Mum."

Alec already knew Tess would try to drag Rose into any further action he would take to end their marriage.  He thought that she would react better if he told her right away he would bring Dave into it if she mentioned Rose.  As he was about to leave for the day, she entered his office after being served with a separation order.

"That didn't take you long," Tess remarked.

"What did you expect Tess?  You screwed up our marriage, not me.  I held back," he reminded her.

"Not by much," Tess retaliated.  "Are we sticking to a separation?"

"I don't think so Tess, it's over.  We both have someone else so we do this in a civilised manner, agree?"

He was soon going to find out how 'civilised' his wife could be.


Chapter 8
A few days later, Rose was moving hers and Alec's belongings into a studio flat her secretary at Torchwood had found for her and she'd had it put in both their names so Alec couldn't complain she was paying for it.  Then, the fun was about to begin as the prosecution wanted to rush through Lee Ashworth's guilty plea before it was discovered there was no physical evidence.

Alec had to go face questioning by the lead barrister – Jocelyn Knight, who was a big London lawyer with her own unique reputation of almost never losing a case.

"Alec Hardy," a voice shouted from beyond a door at the crown court where she was working.

His chief nudged him to get it over with, since this was when it was decided if the trial could go ahead.

"Sit," Jocelyn indicated to a vacant chair.  "I'm going to ask you the same questions the defence is going to ask and you had better be ready with some answers.  How did you get Lee Ashworth to confess?  Well?" she waited a few moments for him to speak.  "The judge won't wait for your answer.  Is it true that three Torchwood agents spoke with him and 'suggested' he went to the police and told the truth?"

Alec wondered how she'd got hold of that but he supposed Torchwood had co-operated.

"Yes, three agents visited Lee Ashworth and he came to the police station of his own accord," Alec replied.

Well he hoped the man had gone freely anyway but Rose's two friends looked like they'd meant business.

"The defence had claimed they used underhand tactics on their client," Jocelyn read from a file she picked up off the desk, Alec noting she held her glasses in front of the page.

"I was not present when Lee Ashworth was spoken to by the Torchwood agents," Alec denied.

"What about in the interview room?" Jocelyn wanted to know.

"They were not present during our questioning the accused," Alec replied truthfully.

"That was very clever of both parties," Jocelyn almost smiled.  "Did you give the go ahead for the Torchwood agents to confront Lee Ashworth in his home?" she tried again.

Alec didn't hesitate to deny all knowledge of what Rose and her team had been up to the day they brought the suspect in.

"No, we had no idea until I was told by the desk sergeant they were all waiting for me."

Jocelyn wasn't about to give up, she knew the defence wouldn't.

"Do you have any physical evidence tying the accused to the unlawful killing of Pippa Gillespie?  A search warrant was asked for, to search the accused's car.  Did you find anything?"

Alec could see she thought she had him on that point, she was playing games with him.  Maybe he'd suggest she joined Torchwood if she failed.

"Upon a search of his car, a pendant belonging to Pippa was found in the glove compartment, proving she had been in the car as her mother claimed the girl was wearing it that day," he replied, hoping she'd give up now.

"Can you produce that evidence?"

He knew she had him on that point.

"At present, the answer is no but myself and two senior officers have written sworn statements it was placed in an evidence bag at the scene where the accused's car was searched.  A description of the pendant had been issued to all officers."

"So you cannot produce the evidence?" Jocelyn wanted to make sure he knew she had him.

Alec was wondering if she was on the wrong side.

"At present, the pendant is being located.  It was stolen from a police vehicle near to the scene of the search.  We have a suspect and have issued a warrant for their arrest."

There, he thought to himself, she was surely going to give up.  Jocelyn knew he was gloating though.

"Do you know who will be defending Lee Ashworth?" she asked him, getting up to offer him some tea that was on a tray in the corner.  Alec shook his head.  "I've just been informed and trust me, she will not be as pleasant in asking the questions as I was."

"We've not been informed who the defence is," Alec replied, wondering if they should have been.

"She used to be my junior, until she went out on her own.  I taught her a little too well, she is now relentless," Alec was warned.  "You had better be able to produce that evidence in front of the judge.  There will be a trial but not by jury, unless he changes his plea, which will be entered the day after tomorrow.  I've just been told."

Alec thought that was a bit short notice but he supposed that was so Ashworth had no time to cook something else up with his defence barrister.

"Torchwood has been informed," Jocelyn informed him as she placed a tray on the desk.  "I was told an agent is still in town?"

"Yes, there is," Alec admitted.

"Rose Tyler herself?" Jocelyn raised her eyebrows.  "She may be called on by the judge to give evidence as to the part she played in all this.  I hope she and yourself are not involved in any way?"

Alec declined to answer, making the barrister suspicious.

"Then you had better hope the defence don't pick up on it then and the judge doesn't put you under oath to admit it.  As for finding the evidence, you know who may have taken it?" Jocelyn wanted to know.

"Lee Ashworth's wife.  She is the only one who had a motive to take it, so as not to incriminate her husband."

"Makes sense?" Jocelyn had to agree.  "You had better let Torchwood join the search looking for her then?"

Alec finished his tea, having forgotten his chief was waiting outside.

"Do you want to see the chief inspector?" Alec wondered.

"Ah, yes.  On a few points I should think," Jocelyn replied.

Alec knew she was going to chew the man out on the evidence being lost to start with.  The prosecution lawyer wouldn't be fobbed off with the excuse he'd just come out with.  He had to warn Rose when he got home that she would more than likely be called in the courtroom.

"I was hoping to avoid that," Rose had to admit.

"Then get one of your friends to cover for you?" he suggested as they went to bed.  "The prosecution know about us, so will the defence."

On the day of the hearing, Rose went with Alec to the court, hoping to hear Lee Ashworth pleading guilty but it wasn't to be.

"Not guilty," Ashworth stared at the judge.

Then he turned sideways to glance at Rose and Alec, who had thought it was safe enough for now to sit together, though it didn't please Tess.

The young lawyer who had been assigned to him asked for him to clarify.  Then Cate Gillespie broke her silence.

"Own up Lee, you killed my Pippa," she cried out, Ricky trying to hold her back.

"Man up Ashworth," Ricky then added, getting his wife to sit down.

Rose felt sorry for them.  The man standing in front of them had taken their twelve year old daughter away.  She had tried her best to help them but Tess had screwed it all up for what?  A 'Quickie' in the back of her car?  Had Tess been getting back at Alec and expected him to take the blame?

He'd told her Tess had got a reprimand for it and things had got very tense in the space of a few days.  He'd come back at the end of the day and all he'd wanted to do was forget everything.

"Order!" the judge shouted over the top of others who had joined in.  "Mr Ashworth, you need to repeat your plea, for the benefit of your own council, it seems?" he looked over the top of his glasses.

"Not guilty, your Honour," Ashworth replied, a bit too cheerfully for Alec's liking as he shifted in his seat.

Rose nudged him so he took her hand and squeezed it.

"So noted," the judge replied.

"Your honour, the defence request Mr Ashworth should be released on bail, pending trial," the young woman stood up again.

Jocelyn Knight had something to say about that.

"Your honour, the prosecution objects on the grounds that the defendant may leave the area."

"What leads you to believe that, Ms Knight?" the judge wanted to know.

Alec was praying she wasn't going to come out and say the only physical evidence tying Ashworth to killing the young girl had been lost, by the police.

"Your honour, I have been informed that the defendant's wife has disappeared and Mr Ashworth may leave the area," Jocelyn replied.

"I see then?  Bail is denied," he told the defence.

"I don't know where she is," Ashworth objected.

"Non the less Mr Ashworth, you may be tempted to find her," the judge told him.

Tess was waiting for them outside the courtroom.

"He could have lead us to Claire if he'd been given bail," she confronted him.

"Whose fault is it we have to rely on following him Tess?" Alec turned on her.

"You'd better hope they don't start asking questions Alec, especially about the two of you," Tess replied.  "When are you coming to see Daisy?"

"We're not stopping her coming round," Rose then objected.

"It's not good for a teenage girl to visit her father when he lives with his girlfriend," Tess reminded them.

They were interrupted by the prosecution.

"I suppose we were expecting his plea?" Ms Knight asked them.  "I've just been told it will be another two weeks before the trial and the judge wants no interaction from Torchwood, understand, Miss Tyler?"

"Fine with me," Rose huffed.  "We do all the work then we're not allowed to play our part in court.  I hope ya have plenty else to go on then?"

She turned to walk off, leaving Alec wanting to go after her.

"I told you she was too young Alec," Tess reminded him as Ms Knight cracked half a smile.

"I hope you mean to be in charge of a Torchwood team DS Henchard?" she asked Tess.

"See what I mean Alec?" Tess hit his arm as Ms Knight went off.  "Rose is too young for either and even the prosecution can see it."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you Tess?  For Rose to leave?" he moved her arm away.

"Have some sense Alec, if she turns up in court, even if she's not called, people will see and draw their own conclusions.  At least Dave is older and not just a few years older than your daughter."

"Rose is considerably older than Daisy," Alec corrected her.

"By ten years Alec?" Tess gloated.  "I would think again if I were you."

He caught up with Rose outside as she waited by his car.

"Sorry," Rose apologised as he went to the driver's side.

"It's this court case, it's already getting to everyone," he tried to assure her.  "No-one expected it so soon but the prosecution are eager to get it over and done with."

Rose tried not to show her anger when they got home, trying not to throw things around the kitchen to start with.

"Rose, why don't we go visit your family this weekend?" Alec suggested, thinking it would cheer her up.  "You must be missing them?"

"I miss Tony," she had to admit.  "Can you get Friday off?"

"I expect so, there is very little going on.  You should check in with your friend Jake to see how much progress they are making locating Claire Ashworth."

Rose brought up Jake's number on her phone for a progress report.

"Rose.  How did court go?" Jake wanted to know.  "Let me put this on conference with Mickey, he found out something interesting."

"Hi Mickey, what did ya find?" Rose asked, seeing Alec was keeping out of the way.

"On your own?" Mickey asked.

"No, Alec's here, he's not up on tech stuff, are ya Alec?" she teased him.

"I use it when I have to," Alec answered from beside her.  "What did you find?"

"Claire Ashworth's maiden name," Mickey sounded pleased with himself.  "She was known as Claire Ripley before she got married so I've got agents onto looking for her under that name."

"Great, that's all we need," Alec wasn't pleased they'd only just found out.  "We need her and the pendant before the trial."

"We're doing our best," Mickey objected.  "When are you coming home Rose?"

"We'll be coming up at the weekend, for Alec to meet everyone," Rose tried to smile, seeing Alec wasn't happy.

"Okay, see ya then," Mickey ended his side of the call.

"We'll keep looking," Jake suggested.  "Did ya get into trouble because we got Lee Ashworth to confess?"

"Only with the prosecution," Alec admitted.  "I will have to accept the responsibility now."

"No Alec, I'll tell her it was my idea and you knew nothing about it.  We'll go see her tomorrow," Rose insisted.

The next day, Jocelyn Knight was not pleased at being interrupted by being told a Torchwood agent and the detective in charge wanted to see her.

"Another interruption," Jocelyn complained as she offered them a drink, both of them shaking their heads.

"It was all my idea," Rose tried to tell her.  "I got two other agents to go with me to get Lee Ashworth to agree into going to the police."

"Did you use underhand tactics on him, Miss Tyler?" the barrister wanted to know.

"Not exactly.  We sort of pointed out the alternatives," Rose admitted.  "DI Hardy had nothing to do with it, I take all responsibility, he knew nothing of it until we asked to see him.  We used the power of suggestion on Lee Ashworth but no drugs, our director made us promise so we wouldn't compromise the case."

"That's all well and good Miss Tyler," Jocelyn told her but looking at Alec.  "You put DI Hardy in a difficult position by your actions.  Very well, I'll accept he knew nothing of it and I'll base my court case on that he knew nothing but it had better be the truth?"

"It is," Rose had to agree.  "I'll speak to my director and have him send his assurance to the court that we just talked to Lee Ashworth and helped him make his mind up to go tell the truth.  We can get people to do that and not use any drugs on them."

Once outside, Alec stood in front of Rose.

"You did not have to do that Rose."

"Yeah, I did Alec.  I didn't want you gettin' the blame and everything go sour.  Anyway, now we know about Claire, it should be easier to find her, Jake will have informed the station to look for her under her maiden name.  Right, I have to go get Tony a present, coming with me?"

"No, I have some work to catch up on, if I am going with you on Friday.  See you at home, sweetheart," he replied, bending to kiss her cheek.

Rose hoped now, things would be less tense between them.  The last few days seemed to her like they'd unsettled Alec and she wasn't sure how he felt.  She was about to find out when they drove up to see her family on Friday morning.  They arrived in time for a late lunch, Jackie greeting them as they were let in, one of the servants helping them with their luggage.

"Rose!  Have ya brought half your luggage back with ya?" her mother laughed as she hugged Rose.  "So, you're Alec then?" she turned her attention to Alec.

"It's nice to meet you Mrs Tyler," Alec replied as he went to shake her hand.

Jackie pulled him into a hug instead.

"I saved ya some lunch.  Tony didn't want to go to school this morning," she told Rose as she herded the both of them towards the kitchen.  "He was excited ya were coming home."

"We brought him a present," Rose told her mother as they followed behind her.

Tony was pleased with a boat for his bathtime and chatted away with Alec about police cars when he got home from school and they promised to take him out the next day.

"Ya don't mind, do ya?" Rose asked as they got ready for dinner, since Jackie had invited a few friends around.

"No sweetheart, you've missed him," Alec replied as he fastened his tie, not quite straight.  Rose went up to him to finish the job.

"Thanks.  We can take him to the zoo, then after lunch, we'll go on one of those tour buses but he likes to sit upstairs," she smiled.  "Otherwise, he'll wear us out."

"Your brother wears you out?" Alec raised an eyebrow in surprise.

"I need to start exercising again, I'll have to join a gym when we get back, I've had no field work recently," Rose laughed.

The truth was, she'd been feeling a little 'off' the last few days but had put it down to the pre-trial and Alec being edgy.  Well she hoped that was all anyway.  She'd also felt differently since her first night with Alec, when he'd finally admitted he didn't want her to stay out of his way.  That was only two weeks ago but they'd enjoyed each other every night since then.

"Well, Miss Tyler, I may have to see you get a little more exercise – in bed maybe?" Alec laughed.

The day out with Tony was a success, though Alec got told off by Jackie for buying Tony a t-shirt with 'I love London' on it that in her opinion looked like a 'Tacky' tourist one with love replaced with a heart.  She then turned on Rose for letting Alec buy her little brother it in the first place and Alec knew Jackie Tyler was a formidable opponent he'd have to get used to if he was going to have a serious relationship with her daughter.

He hadn't wanted to say anything to Rose but meeting her parents had been daunting.  The mere fact they weren't that much older than him plus as Tess had pointed out, Rose only being a little over ten years older than Daisy, were all contributing factors to him wondering how this was going to play out – having such a young girlfriend.  Since when had he ever bothered what other people thought about him though?

It wouldn't have bothered him but he was in a relationship with the famous Rose Tyler and sooner or later, the papers would catch up with them, albeit approved by the Torchwood or Vitex press office and no newspaper dare print a word about her for fear of feeling the wrath of Pete Tyler, who was now more powerful than he'd ever been as just the chairman of Vitex.

After facing more of Jackie's friends and some work colleagues of Rose's that evening, Alec was sure he was not comfortable with socialising and had put on a brave face for Rose, including posing for photographs with her and her friends for Jackie's albums, a photographer being hired for the evening and it was all too reminiscent of that fateful night the Cybermen had invaded for Pete's liking.

"What's wrong Dad?" Rose smiled as she offered him a glass of champagne.

"Don't Rose," he turned the drink away so she put it on a passing tray held by one of the staff.

"Oh, sorry.  I hate these parties mum likes to hold but it's nothing like that one, you know when," she tried to tell Pete.

"I know she does love, sorry.  She can never know, understand?  It would destroy her if she did, to know what really happened that night and the other Jackie…" he trailed off.

"I know Dad, she'll never learn it from me.  So, what do ya think about Alec?" Rose smiled as she sat on the sofa next to him, in a corner of the large room her mother kept for such occasions.

"That he's too old for you?" Pete managed to smile back, taking her hand.  "Rose, if he makes you happy, then go live with him in Sandbrook or wherever.  You can work down there, set it up with Jake.  Just wait until you get back and maybe tell Alec what we really do?"

"He already knows Dad and he's okay with it, I think.  This trial's gettin' to him though, with the evidence being lost.  Geez Dad, I probably saw that woman, while I was there and never realised."

"You didn't know love," Pete tried to tell her.

"I could maybe have stopped her?" Rose wondered.  "She just blended in with the crowd though or was watching out of the pub window, I tried to tell him she would be.  Now, she's holed up somewhere, holding the evidence to put her husband away."

"Rose, we have agents all over it, I knew you felt guilty about it, Jake's keeping me informed.  She'll turn up sooner or later."

"I hope you're right Dad.  I'd better go and rescue Alec from Martha and Tosh, or at least Mickey will get jealous."

"He's done nothing about her so far, he needs a nudge," Pete told her.  "I'd worry more if your mother was talking to Alec."

Pete wasn't going to be wrong the following day, while waiting for lunch to be served, the one day Jackie didn't interfere with the kitchen staff, much to their relief.  Rose had no idea Jackie had caught Alec earlier and warned him she wanted a word with him before he left and fearing she'd turn Rose against him, he'd had to agree but doubt was already creeping into his mind that maybe Tess was right – he had no business having a twenty-something beautiful blonde for a girlfriend.


Chapter 9

Alec came away from the small living room Jackie had beckoned him to in a daze but shook his head to clear it.  What had he just agreed to?

"Listen 'ere you, Alec," Jackie had wagged her finger at him.  "Rose says you're gettin' a divorce?"

"Yes, I am, Mrs Tyler," he'd replied, not daring to call her Jackie, which he was sure she'd told him to a dozen times since his arrival.

"Well, don't you go gettin' Rose involved.  Her stepfather can control the press but not if it gets her name dragged through the court.  Can ya guarantee ya can keep her out of it?" she asked, looking at him with her arms crossed.  "Well?"

He'd known he couldn't absolutely guarantee Tess wouldn't keep Rose's name out of the divorce proceedings.  He'd threatened her with bringing Dave into it if she did but to be spiteful, knowing who Rose was, she just might risk it, in the hope Dave would divorce his moaning wife.

"Whatcha gonna do about it then?" Jackie had demanded to know.  "You'd better not leave it to Pete's lawyers to get her out of it ya know?"

"I would not do that Mrs Tyler.  I am not expecting any trouble," Alec replied in his defence.

Then he had stopped to think about it.  How would he keep Rose from any trouble without some help?  He couldn't go running to Pete Tyler, could he?

"Do the right thing and end it now, before she gets hurt," Jackie then advised him, remembering all the heartache Rose had suffered when The Doctor had changed and then when she'd been brought here.

Now, Alec was debating outside the kitchen, where Rose said she'd be.  Tony liked to have a baking lesson while the staff enjoyed a break after serving lunch.  Today he was making cornflake cakes and Rose was trying to get the chocolate at the right thickness.

Alec was watching from the doorway, seeing her pour the chocolate from the microwavable jug and mix it in the large bowl.

"Hi Alec, want to help?" Rose smiled when she noticed him.

"You seem to be managing," he replied, not wanting to butt in.

He sat watching them then Rose sent Tony off to let them cool.

"Is something wrong?" she wanted to know.

"We need to talk Rose, he replied, gesturing for her to step out of the kitchen.  "Is there somewhere?"

"Yeah, the conservatory, I go there at night sometimes," Rose admitted, not wanting to say so she could look up at the stars.

Pete had it built for her because she'd told him she missed travelling, even if it was in the wrong universe.  He'd had blue twinkling lights put up all around the roof windows and potted palms at the entrance.

"Rose, please, don't take this the wrong way," Alec began as he seated her in one of the cushioned wicker chairs.

"Alec?" Rose questioned him as he stood in front of her then pulled the other chair closer.

He took her hands in his.

"You should stay behind, when I go back to Sandbrook," he told her as he tried to find the right words.

He knew she'd never go for him saying it was to save her getting involved with his divorce.  She'd already told him she didn't care.

"What?  Why should I stay here?  I want to be with you Alec," she told him.

"It won't work Rose, I'm sorry."

"You're gonna let Tess win?" Rose was lost for words and suddenly feeling sick.

"No, it has nothing to do with Tess winning," he tried to explain, putting his hands together as Rose backed off.

"If you're tryin' to keep me out of your divorce Alec, I don't care about it," she replied as she tried to hold her tears back.

He got up, feeling uncomfortable.

"I thought you loved me Alec?" Rose leaned forward, putting her head in her hands.

He tried to put his hand on her shoulder but she shrugged it off.

"I'm sorry Rose, I should never have let us get involved," he replied, feeling as bad as she did.  "I was wrong to encourage you."

He knew she'd not needed any encouragement from him, the attraction had been mutual from the moment he'd told her to stay out of his way.

"I will go back and ask one of the staff for a taxi number," he continued, thinking it was best he just left.

"Ask one of them to get dad's driver to take ya back to Sandbrook," Rose replied through her sobs.

Just then, they both turned at a sound in the doorway.  It was Jake, who had called to see Pete about Rose going back to work in Sandbrook and he'd been looking for her.

"Sorry, I'll come back," Jake apologised.

"I was just leaving," Alec told him.

"I can take ya back, if ya want?" Jake offered.

"How much did ya hear Jake?" Rose asked him as she tried to dry her tears, Alec offering a tissue from the box on the table.

"Just about going back to Sandbrook, I was gonna talk to ya about it," Jake replied, knowing he'd walked into a break-up.  "Just you?" he asked Alec.

"I won't be long," Alec told him, if he could remember the way to Rose's bedroom.

Jake went to sit opposite Rose when Alec had left.

"Wanna talk about it?"

Rose shook her head.

"Come on Rosie, what happened?" he asked.  "You were all for goin' to work with him."

"Leave it Jake, Alec's going back on his own," Rose replied, wiping her eyes.

Alec was in the bedroom, throwing the last of his belongings into a holdall.  Pete had seen him go upstairs on his own and wondering what had happened, gave him time then went to knock on the door.

"Things didn't work out then?" Pete asked as he leaned on the doorframe.  "Rose thought the world of you, Alec."

"Yes, well.  Mr Tyler, your stepdaughter is a great Torchwood agent and maybe I led her on," Alec replied.  "I warned her to stay away so neither of us would be tempted, then I gave in.  I should not have done so, I should have let her leave with the other agents."

"Rubbish.  From what I heard, it was mutual.  She was willing to leave her family and go live down there with you," Pete told him.  "You talked to her mother?" Pete guessed, since Jackie had been missing.

"It was nothing to do with my decision.  I will be honest with you, my almost ex wife did nothing but complain about Rose working with us and she insinuated a few half truths were actually happening.  I can't subject Rose to any more of it, while my divorce goes through.  Please don't tell her Mr Tyler."

"I won't, that's up to you Alec," Pete replied.  "What about when your divorce is finalised?"

"She will have forgotten about me by then," Alec replied sadly.

"Maybe so Alec but will you have forgotten her?" Pete wanted to know as Alec picked up his luggage.

Alec took one last look around Rose's bedroom, with the silky patterned floral blue bedspread and curtains that had given off blue hue early in the morning as the light filtered through.

"Her friend Jake offered me a ride to the nearest train station," Alec replied, not wanting to admit he would never forget Rose.

Jake was waiting in the entrance, trying to avoid Jackie, who had to finish Tony's baking lesson, well more like trying to stop the young boy eating all the cakes he'd made.  She was telling Rose off for leaving him unsupervised.

"What we're ya thinking Rose?" Jackie asked her as she tried to put the rest of the cakes in a tin and smacking Tony's hand away again.

"I had to talk to Alec," Rose replied.  "I sent Tony off."

"Yeah, ya might have done but he came back," Jackie chastised her as the kitchen staff stood in a corner, finding it amusing.

"And you lot," Jackie turned to the three women.  "Ya should have stopped him and called for someone when he came back in."

"Sorry Mrs Tyler," the cook tried to smooth things over.

"What was so important ya had to leave to go talk to Alec?" Jackie wanted to know from Rose.

"He wanted to talk to me," Rose admitted as Tony was stopped in his tracks from trying to get back into the tin.

"Go watch TV or find your father," Jackie told the boy.

"But Mum, I want more cakes," Tony objected.

"Go find Jake then," Jackie replied, as she'd passed Jake earlier.

"He's taking Alec to the station," Rose replied.

"I thought ya were both leaving later?" Jackie asked, not knowing what her talk with Alec had done.

"He's going back on his own, it's over," Rose admitted, trying not to cry again.

"Well maybe it's for the best," Jackie replied.

Alec was getting into Jake's SUV.

"Just take me to the train station where I can get one back to Sandbrook," Alec told him as he got in, getting his phone out to find out which one.

"You're an idiot Alec," Jake told him as he set off.  "She told me she didn't know how you'd been staying away from each other just over a week ago, when she asked me to set her up for working down there.  What the hell are ya thinking mate?"

Six weeks later, Rose hadn't been into work for over a week.  She'd been sick every morning for the last ten mornings in a row and had dragged herself into her office the backend of the week before, then Jake had sent her home when Mickey had told him she looked terrible and she'd thrown abuse at both her friends.

"That's is, I'm calling Doctor Mason in," Jackie told her on the Monday morning.

"Leave it Mum, I'll get one of the staff to call and get me a pregnancy test kit," Rose replied from her bathroom.

Jackie was now regretting she'd pulled Alec up over their age difference.

"If it's positive, are ya gonna tell him?" she asked Rose, who was still hanging over the sink.

"I haven't decided.  He just left me Mum, like The Doctor did," Rose groaned.

"Well, it's not the same is it?" Jackie wanted to know.

Rose managed to think maybe not, she'd not been sick every morning when she'd arrived here.

"Be sensible Rose and call him," Jackie urged her, now feeling guilty she'd sent Alec back on his own.  "How long are ya gonna wait?"

Alec had done his best to try to get on with his life when he'd gone back on his own.  Daisy had wanted to know what had happened to Rose so he'd tried to explain to her.

"It wasn't meant to be Daisy," he had told her.

"She was nice Dad," Daisy had gone to give him a hug.  "Why don't you make up with her?"

"Maybe, when the divorce comes through?" he debated.  "Your mother is delaying by not signing the papers."

"I know Dad, I don't know why she's hanging on," Daisy replied sadly.

Tess was hanging on.  She was convinced Rose was coming back and she didn't want Alec being free to marry the Vitex heiress when Dave wouldn't ask his controlling wife for a divorce.  The woman had money and Dave wanted his share.

As the months went on, Alec still missing the woman he'd fallen in love with when she'd tried to take over his investigation, he asked for a transfer – to anywhere away from Tess rubbing it in his face every day that she was still seeing Dave and wouldn't let him go.

After a miserable Christmas for both Rose and Alec, Rose now eight months pregnant and didn't enjoy her Christmas dinner, she was rushed to the local hospital in mid January and with Jackie holding her hand, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, naming her Katy.

Alec though, wasn't faring very well and had gone to see his physician and friend.

"I got the results from your tests Alec," Alistair told him when he'd made an excuse to have an hour off work.  "It's not good.  Ya have what's called heart arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat, ya need a pacemaker fitting."

Alec knew it was bad but he'd not been expecting that.  He'd been feeling off for a while but he'd put it down to a mixture of still missing Rose, Tess still not giving way and signing the papers and the after effects of jumping in the river last April.

"What are my chances?" Alec had wanted to know, thinking maybe he'd brought this upon himself.

"Less than 50/50," his friend told him honestly.  "Do ya know what caused it?"

"Walking away from someone," Alec replied in a low voice.

"Ya mean Tess?" Alistair asked him, thinking maybe not and that Tess had always been a bit bitchy whenever he'd seen her.

Alec had chosen him because he'd tried to find a doctor from Glasgow so he knew he could trust them and it had been lucky for him Alistair had recently moved to the town.  Now, they were like old friends.  Alec let out a nervous laugh.

"Are you kidding?  No, someone I met last year, on the case of those two cousins.  I walked away because Tess would have brought her into the divorce," Alec confided in his friend.

"Are ya anywhere near getting it?" Alistair wanted to know as he wrote a prescription for some heart medication he knew Alec would probably discard.

"I'm still trying to get Tess to sign.  She won't, even though I've seen no-one else since the young woman I mentioned and Tess parades her boyfriend in front of me."

"What?  Alec, what are ya playing at man?  Don't let Tess walk all over you.  Ya must have something to make her sign?" Alistair replied in disbelief that Alec was being walked over like that.

Alec sat up straight as he took the prescription from his friend.

"You are right and do you know what?" Alec replied as he squinted at his friend's writing and saw how many pills he'd been given and how often to take them.

"I hope you're going to say you know how to fight back Alec?" his friend smiled at seeing the old Alec he remembered, not the one who was wallowing in self-pity.  "Make sure ya take them," he then nodded to the form Alec was putting in his pocket.  "If ya need any paperwork signing, let me know."

Alec went back to the station and stood in front of Tess's desk.

"My office – now," he growled at her, since he'd thought about it on his way back.

He was about to take the first step towards his freedom but he'd never get Rose back, not after all this time and he'd not even heard from her at Christmas.

"What now Alec?" Tess asked him, not getting up.

"Do you want to discuss why you won't sign the divorce papers in front of the entire squad room?" he growled again.  "Fine, we can do that."

Tess let out a laugh.

"You wouldn't dare Alec," Tess replied, still not moving.

Alec put both his hands on her desk and leaned forward.

"Try me," he challenged her.  "I'm sure everyone will be amused as to why you parade Dave around in front of me yet I'm not allowed to have someone?"

That got everyone's attention, though he knew most of them were already guessing what he wanted to talk to her about.

He stood straight again and walked off to his office.  Tess waited a moment, then saw he was on his desk phone.  He was being put through to the personnel office.

"This is DI Hardy.  I'm wanting the name of DS Dave Harris's wife for some paperwork I have to fill in," he told the person who replied as he got his copy of the unprocessed divorce document out of a drawer.

He then grabbed a pen and found the part where it said to enter the name of any other persons involved, not noticing the legal term for it but he'd been wondering what to put since he'd got the papers.  He knew Tess wouldn't hesitate to put Rose's name on hers.

"Hold on Sir," the personnel officer replied, amused she'd got such a request when it was all around the station he'd not got divorced from his cheating wife yet.

She wondered if he was about to.  She'd get into trouble though if she didn't ask why he needed it.

"Excuse me, Sir, can I ask why you need it?  I'm not supposed to give out personal information about families of other officers," she replied, though everyone in the office was scared of him.

"I will pretend I never heard that," Alec replied, watching for Tess to show any signs of moving as she sat watching him back.

"Sorry Sir, I had to ask," she replied, getting Dave's record on her computer screen.  "I'll send it in an email," she added.  "Then I won't have told you, will I Sir?"

"No, you won't and I never asked you for it, did I?" he asked.

"Asked what Sir?" she smiled to herself as she opened her email program and started inserting his name.

When he'd received it, he opened his messenger window and typed Tess's name as who he wanted to start a secure chat with.

'I have Dave's wife's name' he wrote.

He saw Tess look down at her screen.

'Am I supposed to be impressed?' Tess wrote back, thinking he was bluffing.

'You should be – I'm about to put it Dave's name on the divorce paper where it indicates to name a third party or whatever the legal term is' he wrote back.  'Then I will tell her.'

"You wouldn't?' Tess replied when she'd read it.  'Two can do that and I could put Rose's name'

'I doubt Dave's wife has a stepfather who can get her out of this?  Why don't you ask him eh?' Alec wrote back.

He noted the delay in Tess's reply.  She was carefully considering her options.  She'd sworn to Dave she'd never let Alec put his name down so could she risk Alec wasn't bluffing?  Plus, he was right, no-one had a legal team like Pete Tyler, who wouldn't want his stepdaughter naming in a complicated divorce.

She had thought she had him, that just the thought of naming Rose would prevent him doing anything but despite the legal separation, she'd held him to ransom.  Now, it seemed like Alec was holding all the cards.

Chapter 10
That made Tess get up and walk into his office, where Alec had his glasses on and had written a name on his notepad.  Even Tess could read it upside down, it was Dave's wife's name.  She'd never even questioned Dave as to why he wouldn't divorce Sandra, who was the daughter of a wealthy financier in the town but no match for Pete Tyler.

Was Dave really that financially dependant on his wife?

"Well?" Alec asked her over the top of his glasses.

"You'd play dirty?" Tess asked him as she sat down and Alec put his pen down.

"Try me.  What are you holding out for Tess?  Oh, you thought Rose would pay you, to sign the papers?" he smiled, leaning forward.  "Well, I have news for you.  I left her, not the other way around.  I left her to prevent her getting caught up in your petty game Tess.  I know who Dave's wife is now, I remember something about it from when they got married, you dragged me to the wedding," he reminded her.

Tess knew she'd had him but she'd not been holding out for a big pay-off from Rose or her stepfather, she hadn't even been holding out for Sandra to give Dave half of her small fortune she'd come into when her mother had died.  No, she was holding out for the pleasure she got from preventing Alec being with Rose Tyler, who had apparently got tired of being in the spotlight and wouldn't get caught up in a tacky divorce where she'd be named.

Now, it was all about to go sour on her.

"You came back from a weekend in London on your own," Tess realised.  "Everyone thought she was the one who sent you back."

"No Tess, I told her it wouldn't work, so I could protect her from being in the papers and from you.  Well guess what Tess?  You might have succeeded in keeping Rose and I apart but I want that divorce.  Then, I get a transfer out of here and Daisy can split her time between us.  If you try to keep her from me in any settlement, Dave's wife's name gets added.  Understand?"

There, it was no more mister nice guy, that side of him was gone.  He'd never been soft, until the day he had to leave Rose.  He'd get his divorce but never have the woman he'd fallen in love with when Rose had come to town.  The short time they'd been together and not fighting each other, he'd loved Rose more than he'd ever loved Tess.

Would he have left her behind if her mother hadn't made him see he couldn't protect her from a messy divorce though?  Maybe he should try contacting her, to let her know Tess was finally about to sign?  No, he should wait until it was all done and since now, there would be no delays and it was more simplified, it shouldn't take that long.

He didn't know how wrong he was going to be when he handed in his copy of the divorce papers.

"What?" he asked loudly when told it would be three months before they would get to see a judge.

"I'm sorry Mr Hardy but we're inundated with divorce applications, the judges' calendars are all full up until then," the clerk apologised.  "We'll also have to wait for your wife to hand in hers before we can give you both a date," the man added.  "We'll have to have both copies before I can file them and get a date."

Alec got his phone out when he'd handed his copy over to await Tess's.

"Tess, whatever you are doing now, you had better leave it and get down to the civil court," he told her.

"Why, what's going on?" she wanted to know as she looked at Dave across the room.

"Get down here with your copy of the divorce paper.  Today.  There's a long wait already and there were plenty of people behind me," he replied, seeing what had been at least one couple squabbling as they waited for their turn and another pushing each other and having the security guards try to pull them apart.

"I've not finished it yet," Tess objected as she opened the desk drawer and pulled it out.

It was finished, she just had to date it and she'd been hoping Alec was bluffing.  If he was down at the court, then he wasn't bluffing.

"If there's a long queue, I won't be able to wait in my lunch hour," she added.

"Then you had better get started," Alec replied.  "I'll wait and we can say mine has been handed in.  I want to see you handing yours in Tess."

"You would," Tess scoffed.  "They'll be nowhere to park now."

"Then get Dave to drop you off or get a cab.  I don't care how you do it Tess," Alec told her, wishing he'd taken his new medication he'd called for the day before.  "I don't care what time you take getting back Tess."

He hung up and went to one of the security guards.

"Where can I get some water?" he asked, only seeing a fancy coffee machine.

"In the hallway, at the end," he was told.  "There's a water cooler.  I would offer Sir but there's been some trouble."

"So I noticed.  Thank you," Alec replied.

Since he was waiting for Tess, he was going to need to take one of his pills.  He'd only gone to get the prescription filled the day before, when he'd been passing a pharmacy.  He'd slept better the night before than he'd done since realising something was wrong with him.  He had previously put it down to sleeping without Rose.

He went back to wait for Tess arriving, he was taking no chances and found a seat had been vacated and got it before two young boys pounced on it, getting a look from them.  He thought they had to be with the couple who were fighting.

Rose had been home with the baby for almost two weeks now and loving every minute of it, though her mother had insisted the nanny helped some of the time.

"Are ya gonna tell Alec?" her mother had wanted to know, yet again.

Every part of Rose wanted to tell him but he had left her and she still hadn't got over it.  Maybe he did deserve to know but where was he?  She'd seen the trial collapse, since she'd not been called to tell of Torchwood's involvement and both Pete and Jake had told her it was best to keep out of it.

Rose had insisted the culprit would have been found guilty if they had been involved in the trial but poor Lisa still hadn't got any justice.  Alec had tried to convince a jury Lee Ashworth was guilty of killing Pippa on his own and as far as she knew, Claire was still missing.

Now, she didn't know if Alec had got his divorce and left or if he'd stayed and done nothing about it.  That was until almost six months later.  Alec's chief had finally got another station's chief to agree to take him but at the cost of turning down someone's promotion.

"She's risking uproar from the DS she's about to turn down Alec," his present chief reminded him again as he was about to call the chief in Broadchurch, who had been reminded she owed him a favour from years ago and he'd not wanted to call her to collect it.

"I know but now the divorce is going through, there is nothing to keep me here," Alec replied.  "I had to make sure Tess handed her papers in and she's done so, it will be a few months before it's heard in the court and I don't have to be present, I'll get a legal adviser to do it.  I doubt Tess will attend anyway."

"How did you get her to agree Alec?  Almost everyone wondered how you'd finally managed it," the chief smiled.

"I can't say," Alec almost smiled back.  "I did not use a certain person to convince her."

"I never said you did," the chief went serious.  "So, you don't mind being sent to a quiet seaside town then?  I just didn't want you being reminded of your encounter with the river last year."

"The only thing about that river last year was that a virtual stranger cared more about my ordeal than my then wife did," Alec reminded his chief.  "Is CS Jenkinson expecting my call?"

The chief dialled his counterpart's number and then handed the conversation over to Alec.

"I'm just curious why you're agreeing while stepping on someone's toes," Elaine Jenkinson sounded amused.

"I'm going through a divorce and I need to get away as quickly as possible," was all Alec would admit.

"I would have thought you'd want to see it through," his possible new chief disagreed.

"You've never met my hopefully ex wife then," he replied.  "I can handle whoever I am taking the promotion from."

"Don't be so sure Alec," Elaine laughed.  "Ellie Miller has a lot of friends here and she's going to be defended.  How soon can you be here?  It would need to be early next week, for you to be introduced to her colleagues."

"I can be there on Monday," Alec agreed.  "Why, are her friends going to call her while she's away?"

His new chief wasn't sure about his dry sense of humour.

"Just be thankful she's gone to Florida Alec.  If she'd gone somewhere in the UK, they wouldn't hesitate.  I'll make arrangements to put you up in hotel for up to six weeks, then you'll ether have to pay half or get a place of your own.  The HR department will send you the details.  We'll give it a six month trial, shall we?" he was asked.

Since he didn't have much choice, he had to agree.  He was sure he'd feel much better away from all the stares he was getting that he'd finally gone through with the divorce.  He often wondered if those on Tess's side had expected him to do nothing after getting on for a year since they'd suspected he was seeing Rose.

His new terms agreed, he decided he'd quit for the day and start getting ready to move.  He sent notice to the rental agency, telling them to sort it out with the police over him leaving early then after sorting a few more things, he left to go meet Daisy from school.

"Dad?  What's wrong, why are you here?" she asked as she got in his car.

"Don't panic Daisy, nothing is wrong," he tried to assure her as he drove off.  "I just wanted to talk to you."

"Mum said you forced her to sign the divorce papers Dad, is it true?" Daisy wanted to know.

"In a way.  I won't lie to you Daisy but she was taking her time, on purpose," he reminded her.

"In what way?" Daisy asked.

"Daisy, all you need to know is, you were never the cause of it," he tried to assure her yet again.  "We have some issues still to work out but I'm going to the court tomorrow and appointing a legal representative to deal with it and the first thing will be about you."

"Is it that serious Dad?" she asked as they headed to her grandmother's house.  "Mum will say you have an advantage."

"I know but I'm going to need one Daisy.  I've been accepted at another station, I start on Monday."

"Dad, stop the car please," Daisy panicked.

He pulled up just before they turned into Tess's mother's street.

"Daisy, there's no easy way to tell you about it," he defended himself.  "It's in a quiet seaside town, you'll be able to come down and spend the holidays there."

"That's not going to make up for you moving away Dad," she turned to face him.

"Daisy, you can come down for long weekends as well, when you have a teacher training day off,"  he tried to appease her.  "It will be about the same as now."

"Are you getting a promotion then?" she asked.

"No but I've been asking to be moved for a while now," he replied.  "I did not want to say anything until I was sure.  I think it's the right time, things are only going to get worse between your mother and I if I stay."

"I know Dad.  She's said a few things about you lately," Daisy admitted.  "I was going to ask you if she had said anything."

"Then you need to tell her if you're okay with my leaving.  I've not told her yet," he admitted.

"Then the sparks will fly Dad," Daisy smiled.

"I wanted to make sure everything was in place so she could not spoil it, " he further admitted.  "You can object, if you want?"

"I know things are a lot worse with mum than what you were both admitting.  You want to be free, to go after Rose."

"I doubt she will even remember me now," he replied sadly.

"You really loved her dad, didn't you?" Daisy tried to get him to admit it.  "I bet she will but I noticed something.  She dropped out of everything a few months after she left here.  Mum said it was because she was sulking and couldn't get her own way.  I didn't agree with her though."

"Then thank you.  Rose wasn't like that.  She may have been upset when I returned without her but I'm sure she will have moved on.  I will tell you something though, Rose was something else.  She could have got really angry when I left and had it all over the newspapers but she never did.  I left her to protect her from your mother making more out of it than she need have done."

"Do you think mum would have done that?" Daisy wondered.

"I was not willing to take the chance or give her the satisfaction," he replied.  "You had better go."

"Will I see you before you leave?" she asked him as she got her school bag.

"I will come around on Sunday, before I leave."

"Well, okay Dad and don't let mum stop you, will you?  Do yourself a favour and call Rose, yeah?"

As he drove around the corner, Daisy wanting to walk the rest of the way, he thought about what she'd said.  Rose must have been hurting when he'd just left and why had she dropped out of the public's eye?  Now though, he had to go face Tess but he didn't care what she thought, see how she'd like being on her own like he was.

He decided to go back to the station and face Tess in his office, since part of it was police business.

"You're what?" Tess dared mock him when he said he was leaving.  "Who's going to take you?"

"May I remind you that Ashworth got away because of you, not me?" he replied.  "Had it not been for Rose being observant and saying Claire could have been watching, we would have no idea who stole the pendant."

"Well, we've still not found it, have we?" she gloated.

"Well, you are responsible for that and getting it back Tess, not me," he reminded her.  "I was officially cleared, remember?"

Tess did remember.  She still had to live with it while Alec had been given an alibi by none other than Rose Tyler, when she'd tried to say it was Alec's fault for leaving her to take the evidence back.  She'd found out later that Rose had told the chief she'd warned her that Claire may be around and the chief had decided that despite the warning, she'd left herself open.

"Yes, well of course you were, having your little girlfriend agreeing I was wrong not listening to her," Tess hissed.  "I bet you're still in contact with her?"

"How can I be?  Face it Tess, I left her back in London to protect her from you and the way you were accusing her of things that were not true.  I'm leaving, that's the end of it.  Daisy knows about it and while it was a shock, she's agreed to visit me."

"Well I've never heard of the place.  Are you being sent there to keep things quiet then?"

He knew she was being sarcastic.  Well this was the end of it, in a few days, he wouldn't have to see or hear from her apart from arranging to see Daisy.  He realised that since he first discovered Tess was seeing someone else, she'd held it over him and when he'd retaliated and started seeing Rose, it hadn't gone down well and he'd let Rose get away to preserve the peace.

Well not for much longer.  Should he try to contact Rose and tell her he was finally going to be free?  Maybe he should get settled first and find out what was causing him to sometimes feel a little faint.  He had thought at first that it was because of Tess and losing Rose but maybe he should go see his friend again.  The condition he'd been diagnosed with could be more serious than he'd thought.

He made an appointment and because he said it was urgent, got an appointment the next morning.

"I'm glad you took my advice Alec," he was told by his friend as he fastened his shirt.  "Where did ya say ya were going?"

"Broadchurch.  It's down in Dorset," he reminded Alistair.  "Can you refer me to a doctor down there who I can trust not to tell my new boss how bad I am?"

His friend laughed as he sat down again.

"Well I don't know about not telling your new boss, Alec.  Ya should have taken my advice and got ya self sorted.  Why wait Alec?" Alistair asked him, revealing his broad Scottish accent.

"I can't just give in," Alec replied, not bothering to straighten his tie.

"No-one asked ya to.  Look, I can fill in all the paperwork for ya, put yourself on short hours and I'll say I've put ya forward for the surgery.  They can't turn ya down.  At least let me see what they say?" Alistair offered.

Alec thought about it.  If he took it easy, the worst that could happen is that his new boss would keep asking him when he was getting himself fixed and he could keep putting it off.  Unless he got in touch with Rose?

"Can you make enquiries then?  Without saying who I am?" Alec wanted to know.

Alistair just smiled and picked up his desk phone.

"Sarah is it?" he spoke when the other end answered.  "This is Doctor Murray, Sandbrook medical centre.  Can ya find out something for me?" he asked the overworked personnel officer at Alec's station.  "I need some information about putting an officer on reduced hours – on medical grounds."

"Do you have a name, Doctor Murray?" he was asked.

"Oh, I can't reveal any names at this stage," he replied.

"Well, it is possible," she admitted.  "It depends on the medical condition.  Is it serious?"

"Ah.  Well not at present it's not and the officer concerned would be closely monitored and be recommended to only do office work.  Well?"

"Well yes Doctor Murray, the personnel office would carefully consider it, I don't see any problems as long as the officer is being monitored.  You would have to clear it with the CMO, he would need to know if the condition is likely to worsen."

"Well if the condition were to worsen, I would get the patient to do something about it," he replied, looking directly at Alec.  "Thanks for your help."

Alec knew who he'd been speaking to and hoped Sarah wouldn't go gossiping and Tess got to know about it but he only had a few more days before he could put it all behind him.  He thanked his friend and promised to let him know if he got worse and that he was taking the pills he'd been prescribed.

"One more thing Alec," Alistair stopped Alec leaving.  "This woman you let get away?  Who exactly was she?  She must have been someone special."

"She was and you would never believe me if I said who she was," Alec replied.

Alistair let out another laugh as Alec turned from the door.

"Anyone would have thought it was Rose Tyler herself the way you act," he told Alec.  Then he realised he'd hit the nail on the head.  "No way man."

"She and a team from Torchwood helped on that case last year," Alec admitted.  "I tried to warn her to stay out of my way but we got to each other.  Tess accused us of all kinds of things so I did the right thing and broke it off."

"Did you tell me this before?" his friend asked him.

"Ah, no.  I don't think I did?" Alec tried to recall.

"Well, why be so miserable eh?" Alistair asked him.  "Alec, ya have a heart condition, not an incurable illness.  Do ya self a favour and call her.  Ya would probably be surprised how she'll react."

"I'm not one of her charitable cases," Alec replied.

"Listen to ya self Alec," his friend laughed.  "I never said ya were.  If ya couldn't keep out of each other's ways when she was here before, why break it off?  Don't ya dare tell me ya listened to Tess?"

"It wasn't just Tess, trust me," Alec laughed.  "Her stepfather would have ruined me if I'd got his stepdaughter in the middle of a divorce, especially the way Tess was behaving.  I was not going to subject Rose to what Tess would have come out with."

"Well, what are ya doing about it man?" Alistair wanted to know.  "I hope I'm going to see you on the news headlines that the two of ya are now involved?"

"Not yet, I have to be sure the divorce is going through and I have Tess where I want her now.  I threatened to tell the judge about who her boyfriend's wife is?"

"That's more like the old Alec," Alistair laughed.  "So, who is she then?"

"Oh, I think you will have heard about her?  Someone almost as famous as Rose Tyler," Alec replied dryly.

"I hope it's who I think it is?" Alistair smiled.  He opened the door for Alec.  "I'd want a front row seat if ya did let the cat out of the bag.  As it is, get ya self sorted, then I want an invitation to yours and Rose Tyler's wedding."

Alec just nodded and hoped no-one had been passing by as his friend had not seemed to care.  Maybe Alistair was right?  He should consider all his options for getting himself fixed though before he tried contacting Rose.  He'd been a little concerned that Daisy had mentioned Rose had been out of the public eye recently but she was probably still hurting more than he was?


Chapter 11
As Rose settle down to life as the mother of a baby girl, it wasn't until Katy was almost six months when she heard anything about Alec.  His transfer had been delayed, much to his dismay but he got to see his divorce from Tess go through, once she discovered he meant business and she finally stopped fighting him.

Daisy had become a little distant towards him, which he thought was perfectly understandable since he refused to talk about seeing Rose again.

"Dad, you should maybe contact her?" Daisy had insisted for months and they were now into July.  "When do you start your new job?"

"Soon.  You could maybe come with me?" he asked hopefully as he started packing.

"I'll think about it Dad.  Did you say it was by the sea?" she asked him.

"Yes, though I don't know why I accepted it," Alec smiled.  "I suppose it's because of the incident with the river and Rose caring more about what happened than your mother did at the time?"

"I think mum cared," Daisy replied sadly.  "Maybe she was jealous of Rose?"

"Daisy, I was keeping away from Rose at the time," he reminded her.

"Were you Dad?" Daisy questioned him.  "Maybe you thought it was the right thing to do but you gave in, eventually."

"Yes, I did but not when your mother accused me of doing so.  Maybe I should have done?" he replied, trying not to take advice from his now teenage daughter.  "Well, this will be the last weekend I'll be here, want to choose where we go?"

"The place where you get mixed up over the chicken?" she teased him, going to give him a hug.

He put his arms around her and kissed the top of her head.

"I love you so much Daisy and me divorcing your mother had nothing to do with you, you do know that?" he asked her.

"Yes Dad, you keep telling me and I believe you," she replied.

"Well, I want to keep reminding you.  Hey, maybe you can teach me how to do those video calls?  Then we can stay in touch and you won't forget what I look like?" he suggested.

Back in London, for some reason, Rose wanted to go back to work and her mother was trying to talk her out of it.

"Mum, a lot of women go back after six months off," Rose was insisting.

"Not to jobs like yours they don't." Jackie tried to tell her.  "Anyway, you'd have to pass a medical with your job."

Rose didn't need reminding of that and it meant a visit to Doctor Owen Harper, chief medical officer of Torchwood and he wasn't only tough, he was the organisation's Casanova, though thankfully not while women were his patients.

"Owen won't let me back, I'm not back in shape yet," Rose replied.  "I'll have to start exercising again."

"Well leave Katy with me then?" Jackie suggested.  "Ya have to give her up at some point, anyone would think she'd break."

Rose knew her mother had a point.  So the next morning, Jackie saying she'd be fine being left with the six month old, Rose drove over to Torchwood Tower and asked to be let into the gym when she got to reception.

"Call Jake Simmonds," Rose insisted.  "Don't ya even know who I am?"

She thought the spotty young man dressed smartly in a uniform she wasn't familiar with was obviously going to be awkward.  Jake had already seen her on the security camera and was making his way to the foyer.

"It's okay, ya can let her in," Jake told him as he came through the doorway.  "What ya doing here Rose?"

"Hi Jake.  Sorry, my ID seems to be out of date," Rose grinned.

"It would be but first, I want a hug," Jake grinned back.  "Ya should have called.  How's that baby of yours?"

"Growing," Rose laughed as Jake got a visitor pass for her.

"Have you seen the news this morning?" Jake asked as he escorted her to the lift.

"No.  Why, what's wrong?" Rose wanted to know.  "I was making sure mum could manage with Katy."

"As if she couldn't," Jake had to laugh as the lift arrived.

Rose had kept away from Torchwood and her mother's charity work and apart from Christmas, when she'd been heavily pregnant, she'd not even attended any parties.  As a whole, she'd kept away from the press, hidden her pregnancy with bigger than she needed clothes and had escaped the media's attention.

Jake had played a big part in throwing the press off her trail with press releases every few weeks that she was engaged in several Torchwood activities that required her full attention and that she didn't have time to hit the social scene.

"Hey Jake, I never really thanked ya, for keeping being pregnant a secret," she told him as they went to the lower basement where a large gym was housed for staff.

"It was nothing," Jake assured her.  "Being Katy's godfather's enough thanks.  Mind you, getting Mickey to keep quiet about it takes some doing," he laughed.

He let her out of the lift first but the lower basement area still gave Rose the creeps, after being down there in her own universe while the Daleks had been let loose.

"Bring back memories?" Jake sensed what was wrong as they walked along.

"Just a bit.  Did I ever tell ya I followed Mickey down here and I didn't even know it was him?" she laughed.  "I mean in my old world."

"He told me," Jake also laughed.  "He also said when he volunteered to keep an eye on the Cybermen, he wanted to contact you but that hadn't been part of the deal, since Pete wasn't sure about you and the Doctor."

"Yeah, he wouldn't have been," Rose agreed.

"Mickey was upset so when Pete realised, he let Mickey be the first to cross over," Jake admitted as they stopped outside the gym and gave Rose her gym bag back.  "Call me when you're done and I'll meet you upstairs in the café."

"Hey, what was that news about?" Rose had almost forgotten to ask him.

"It'll wait, enjoy your workout.  When are ya coming back?" he asked.

"Mum thinks it's too soon?  Maybe I can do something from home?" she suggested.

"Yeah, ya can push a button from home as easily," he joked.

An hour later, Rose was looking out of the widow and remembering Daleks shouting 'Exterminate' as they flashed past her.

"Okay?" Jake asked as he joined her.  "It didn't happen here," he whispered to her.

He sat her down and went to get some hot drinks.  He knew it still upset her, even now but he hoped the baby had finally taken some of it away.  Not a lot of people even knew she'd had the baby, she was keeping it quiet until she'd had the courage to tell Alec, she didn't want him to find out in the gossip columns of the front pages of the 'tacky' newspapers.

He would surely work it out from the baby's age that Katy was his.

"So, are ya ready to tell him yet?" Jake was asking her.

"I don't know Jake?  What if he's moved on and found someone else?  I can't just spring it on him," Rose replied.  "I don't know where he is anyway."

Jake got his phone out and went to the news headlines from a local newspaper in Dorset – namely 'The Broadchurch Echo'.  He showed it to her and passed his phone to her after scrolling down the page.  There, Rose read 'New detective inspector in town'.

"So, ya don't have an excuse now, do ya?" he asked her.

Rose looked at the date, the report was from the day before.

"I didn't know he was gonna be moving," Rose tried to recall if he'd mentioned it.

Jake thought she would have remembered something like that.

"Well, are ya gonna do something about then?" he wanted to know.

Alec had arrived in the small seaside town of Broadchurch and had already attracted the attention of the local newspaper.

"Are you DI Hardy?" he was asked as he'd stopped by a catering stall opposite the police station, just after he'd arrived.

"What now?" Alec wanted to know as he took his food to a table.

"Olly Stevens, Broadchurch Echo," the reporter grinned, showing his badge and sitting opposite.

Alec really wasn't in the mood for nosy reporters.

"What do you want?" Alec wanted to know, hoping the reporter would get the message.

"Just a quick interview, like where you're from and why you came here?  Did you know someone else put in for the job you got?" Olly wanted to know.

"Yes, I was aware but I was chosen for it," Alec snapped.  "As for where I came from?  Do some research rather than asking questions.  I came here for a reason – to do a job."

When he got back to his hotel, the owner knocked on the door.

"Hi, are you settling in?" Becca Fisher wanted to know as she hoped Alec was single.

"Fine.  Anything else?"

"Oh, sorry.  It's just the police didn't say how long you were staying.  Will anyone be joining you?" Becca was dying to know.

Alec knew a pickup line when he heard one.

"Ah, no, not at present," he replied, trying to put her off.

Did Daisy count, he wondered.

"Well, if you want someone to show you around?" she paused in the doorway before handing him some more towels.

He just nodded and took the towels, wondering why she was using such a feeble excuse to knock on his room door.  He wasn't even remotely interested in her, she wasn't a patch on the woman he'd lost last year.  He often thought about Rose, remembering Daisy saying Rose had almost disappeared which was unusual, considering she seemed to like hitting the news headlines.

"I'm fine, thank you," he replied quickly, trying to close the door.

Later on, when he'd eaten, he walked down the side of the hotel onto the sea front, standing by the railings and watching the waves.  He'd been thinking about Rose again, how she'd taken charge by the river that day and made sure he went off to the hospital.  The town he was now in had brought it all flooding back but he was also heeding the words of his friend – to get himself fixed before it was too late.

Then he would never get to see Rose again, not that he had much chance but if he survived the surgery his friend has repeatedly told him about, maybe he'd find the courage to admit he did need her.  He went into his pocket and after getting his phone out, found his friend's number.

"Tell me you've changed your mind, about the surgery?" Alistair greeted him.

"How soon could you arrange it?" Alec dared ask, hoping his friend wouldn't say the next day.

"Been caught by your new boss?" Alistair laughed.

"Not yet.  Seriously, when can you get it arranged for but not in this town?" Alec wanted to know.

"I'll have to see the nearest hospital to you can fit you in.  Why not admit it to your rich ex-girlfriend and get her to pay privately?" Alistair teased him.

"Be serious," Alec replied, not being in the mood.  "How can I, when I left her?  I know I was an idiot to walk away, I mean who in their right mind walks away from someone like her?"

"Only you, it seems," Alistair replied.  "So, stop being such a fool and call her.  Mind you, she's being very quiet these days.  My receptionists used to gossip about her all day, she was always in some paper or magazine.  Now, they don't say much and when they do, they complain it's all old news the editor has churned up to get a few extra readers by putting it on the front page."

Alec didn't need reminding, since Daisy had already mentioned it before he'd left.  Her last words to him had been stop messing around and go get her back.

"So I've been told," Alec agreed.  "Can you make some enquiries, about how long a wait I would have, at the nearest hospital?"

Alec hadn't realised but the nosy town's reporter had been passing on the other side of the road, taking a short-cut back up to the newspaper office on the High Street.  Olly had been annoyed at getting his ass kicked by the new detective in town and that the man didn't seem to care he'd stolen someone else's job that had been promised to them, especially since it had been stolen from his own aunt.

Olly knew his aunt was going to be more than annoyed when she got back from their family three week vacation to Florida.  That had been the only reason they'd treated themselves to such a long time away.  Well, his aunt Ellie would find out the hard way when she got to work on her return the next morning.

Then, he'd ventured across the road and sat in the shelter, hoping the detective didn't turn around and spot him but he sat pretending to be playing on his phone.  Then he stopped as he heard the word 'hospital'.  Was there something wrong with the man who had just taken his aunt's job?  He couldn't hear much more but he was certainly going to keep an eye on the newcomer.

Alec was woken by his phone ringing at just after seven the next morning.  He'd been dreaming of Rose again so why didn't he do something about it?

"What?" he asked as the duty sergeant told him there had been a break-in at a farm up on the top of the cliff.  "Get a duty officer out to it man."

"I can't Sir," the sergeant apologised, already having learned how difficult the new DI could be.  "They're all out elsewhere, there are several events going on in the area. We're already stretched."

"Then send a car to my hotel in twenty minutes, I'm not walking all the way down there," Alec replied, not wanting to admit he was finding mornings more difficult lately and the fact he still got lost in the area.

He got into the car and on arrival at the farm, took the details and cursed he'd been brought out for a petty case of a few pheasant feathers were scattered around and some diesel had been siphoned out of a tractor.

"Is that it?" the farmer wanted to know.  "Diesel's not cheap you know?"

"Someone will be in touch with you," Alec replied, wanting to add that it wouldn't be him, he'd had his share back when he'd been a junior officer while he tried to listen to what the driver was saying.

"You're wanted down on the beach Sir," the driver was telling him.

Alec was feeling hungry by now and Alistair had told him he should eat on a regular basis to improve his chances when he had surgery.

"Then take me there," Alec replied as he got in the car and forgetting his manners.

He'd forgotten most of them since he'd walked away from Rose.  He'd kept on trying to tell himself she would never have forgiven him for it so what was the use of heeding his daughter's and his friend's words' of trying to get her back?

When he arrived at the beach, a section had been cordoned off and uniformed officers were holding back the crowd that had already gathered.  It was already after eight so he supposed people on holiday would be going out for a morning run on the beach.

"Over there Sir," Bob from the station indicated to where an ambulance crew were standing and covering something with a green blanket.

Alec didn't need telling what would be waiting for him as he walked across the sand.

"Don't do this to me," he thought out loud as he approached.  "I've not got Rose here with me this time."

Could he do this, on his own?  He crouched down when he reached the medics as one of them pulled the blanket back and revealed the still form of a young boy, around eleven or twelve, Alec could determine.

"So, who is he?" he asked no-one in particular.

Then he heard a woman's voice getting louder.

"Oh no!" the woman exclaimed as Alec got up – carefully so he wouldn't get dizzy and firstly need attention from the ambulance crew already in attendance and secondly, so the woman, whoever she was wouldn't accuse him of having something wrong with him.  "Please, not Danny."

"Get her away," Alec shouted to the officers who had now followed the woman.

"I'm a police officer," the woman replied indignantly, pulling out her ID from her pocket that she'd forgotten to pin on her since she'd been called suddenly to the beach whilst on the phone complaining to her husband that someone had taken her promotion while she'd been away.

"I just can't believe it," DS Ellie Miller was telling her husband as she sat in a cubicle in the ladies restroom of Broadchurch police station after her boss had broken the news to her.

"Never mind Ell," Joe Miller was trying to console her.  "He might only be temporary?"

"I've heard his name before, I'm sure I have," Ellie was trying to recall.  "I'm going to look him up, when I get chance.  I was so happy when I got here, the chief called me to her office and I thought she was going to congratulate me.  Now, I'm stuck being a detective sergeant, for at least another six months, until this Alec Hardy can get a transfer out of here."

So now, she said her name quickly and flashed her ID at him.

"Alec Hardy," Alec replied, wanting to get this over with.

"I know, you took my job," Ellie complained as the boy was covered up again, by one of the medics who thought they were going to be here all day while the two detectives fought over who was going to take charge.

"Are we going to do this now, really?" Alec wanted to know.  "Shut it off, DS Miller, you're working a case now."

"Shut it off?" Ellie repeated angrily.  "You don't even know who that boy is."

"Then tell me," Alec replied, his hands on his hips that had amused Rose endlessly when he did so.

Why did he keep doing these little things, he wondered as he realised he was always doing the little things that Rose had teased him about.

Alec covered his face with his hands as he saw the young boy again, like all his worst nightmares from his past case in Sandbrook had come back to haunt him again.  He didn't even have the benefit of Rose's help this time and he couldn't call Torchwood and ask for it, could he?

The day went on and a few facts were established, they went to see the boy's family and Alec tried his best to get on with his new DS but was failing, miserably as he refused to use her first name.  Then he upset his chief by refusing to step back, after what had happened in Sandbrook and he'd riled the local newsagent by asking the man if he was married and had been asked the question back.

How could he have said no but he'd had a relationship with Rose Tyler and been believed?  By the time he realised he should get back to his hotel and take his medication, it had calmed down slightly and at least his DS was talking to him.

"I'm going to walk Danny's newspaper round in the morning," Alec told her, hoping the walk wouldn't kill him or put him in the hospital.

"Fine, I'm just waiting for any CCTV footage from the locals to come back," Ellie yawned.  "We will catch the person, won't we?"

"Yes, we will," Alec tried to assure her.

"You let the person in Sandbrook walk free," she reminded him.

Alec took his glasses off and sat back in his chair.

"Wow, have you been waiting all day to say that?" he wanted to know.  "Sandbrook was complicated."

"I looked it up, you even had help from Torchwood.  What were they doing there?" Ellie asked him.

"They heard about it, they sent an agent to see if we needed their help.  They had resources we needed, like labs, personnel who specialised in what was needed and divers, which we had hoped we wouldn't need," he admitted, closing down his computer screen.

"Did they send Rose Tyler herself?" Ellie dared ask.

"It's irrelevant who they sent," Alec told her as he got up and put his jacket on.  "All their top agents are fully trained to handle any situation."

"It was her," Ellie smiled.  "Why did it all go wrong?"

"Not now Miller, go home," Alec insisted as he turned  the lamp off and recognising it as one he'd had in his apartment in Sandbrook, it being one Rose had bought from a famous catalogue store.

"It won't affect your judgement here, will it – Sir?" Ellie dared again to ask, knowing she could make him snap at her and give her a reprimand.

She knew though it may affect his judgement and his mood – if he and the Vitex heiress had been involved and she'd walked away afterwards.  Then there was the fact Rose had disappeared from public life over a year ago and despite the odd news report she was busy with her Torchwood duties, gossip was rife it was for other reasons.

Then, as they were leaving, it dawned on her.  Rose Tyler and her grumpy new boss had to have been involved or he wouldn't act the way he was.  She bet anything they'd been involved and broken up and her stepfather had kept it out of the gossip columns but she suspected there was more to it.  Maybe Hardy had got the Torchwood agent pregnant and they'd gone to great lengths to keep it quiet and Rose wanted nothing to do with him.  Or was it the opposite way round, Ellie now wondered.

"Goodnight Ma'am, Sir," the desk sergeant was saying to them, snapping Ellie out of it.

Ellie replied cheerfully with a 'Goodnight Bob" back but had to smile when Alec just grunted.  She'd talked to her husband again and he'd advised her to turn the tables on her boss by asking him to go to their house for dinner one night so just as Alec was looking around for a taxi, Ellie was about to go around to the police garage.

"Can I drop you somewhere, Sir?" she asked him.

Thinking maybe he'd already been grumpy with her once too many today, on their first day of working together that had seemed to both of them more like a year, he turned back to her.

"Are you by any chance going via the High Street?"

"Yeah, I have to go that way, it's actually quicker to walk over the cliffs and the field," Ellie replied.

They walked around the back of the odd shaped building and Ellie got her car out and Alec got in.

"Oh, my husband said to invite you to dinner?" Ellie suddenly mentioned to him.

"What?" Alec asked, a little surprised after he'd done nothing but insult her all day.  "What for?"

Ellie by this stage was losing her patience with her boss.

"It's what people do, they invite their boss to dinner when they're new in town," Ellie explained, wanting to add 'you knob'.  "Haven't you been invited out to dinner before?"

"Only when I was married," he added as they set off towards where his hotel was.

"You're divorced?" Ellie stated the obvious.  "No girlfriend then?  Only if you have, the offer is extended."

"No, no girlfriend, not any more.  Well, not for over a year," he admitted, Ellie detecting a sadness in his voice.

"Did she leave you?" Ellie dared ask.  "Where am I dropping you off?"

"Outside The Traders Hotel," Alec replied, hoping she wouldn't ask him any more questions.  "No, I was the one who left, it would never have worked out," he admitted.

"Sorry.  Maybe it's not too late?" Ellie wondered, watching out for the hotel that Becca Fisher ran.

"It is too late Miller.  This is my hotel coming up," he replied, recognising where he was, just opposite the newspaper office.

Then he realised how the nosy reporter had known who he was.

"Well?  About coming for dinner?  How about Wednesday night?" Ellie asked him.

"What?  Oh, right.  It's not a good idea Miller."

"Why not?  Aren't you tired of hotel food yet?  Did your girlfriend cook for you?" Ellie dared ask him.

"Leave it Miller, I have to go," he replied, knowing he should take his medication soon.

"I need an answer by tomorrow," Ellie called after him as he got out, opposite the newspaper office.

"Night Miller," Alec just replied, hoping the nosy reporter from yesterday wasn't still hanging around.

Otherwise, he'd have to explain why he was getting out of a woman's car after ten at night.  He saw the front door was locked, cursed then went to the side one, getting his keys out.  Then a voice called from opposite as Ellie drove off.

"Night," a woman shouted over to him.

Things were going blurred on him so he called 'Night' back, wondering who it was but just made out a woman and a dog in the newspaper office doorway.  He wasn't taking much notice as he fumbled with the keys and let himself in.  Carefully, he made his way to his room and once inside, went to get a bottle of water from the tray on the dresser and fumbled in his pocket, bringing out a strip of pills.

He had just enough left for tomorrow so he hoped the prescription he'd asked for would arrive soon.  After about fifteen minutes, he started to calm down – it had been a close call.  Maybe he did need Rose, she was the only one he could ever trust, especially in this town, where he didn't know anyone.

Should he give in and call her office and see if she would talk to him?  He'd give it a few days and see if his medication arrived but he'd be in a bad way if it didn't and even Rose wouldn't be able to help him.  Maybe he'd call Alistair tomorrow and make sure he'd posted the prescription?

Ellie had got home and after assuring her older son again that he would be safe and they'd find the person responsible for killing his friend, sat down with her husband.

"So, did you ask him?" her husband Joe teased her.

"Stop it.  He's been a right misery all day," Ellie complained again.  "I found out he's divorced though and he had a girlfriend but he left her.  He'll let me know tomorrow.  Hey, I just realised he must have got a girlfriend pretty soon after his divorce."

"Why, is he good looking?" Joe asked her.

"Jealous?" Ellie laughed.  "I suppose so, if you like that sort of thing."

Ellie leaned back on him and didn't see the look on his face, like he was hiding something.  The next morning, Alec was on the phone to his friend.

"I heard what happened there Alec, I'm sorry," Alistair told him.  "Do you want me to come down for a visit?"

"Yes, I have to talk to you about something," Alec admitted.

"I hope it's going to be that I'm not wasting my time trying to get you a hospital appointment?" Alistair laughed.  "Where should I meet you?"

Alec suggested the weather shelter halfway along the east pier around nine the following evening, knowing he'd have to finally give in and get something done about his current illness.  If he didn't, that would be the end of it and Rose would find out the hard way.  The thought of it made him shiver and before putting his phone away, found the number he still had for Torchwood.

"Good morning, you have reached Torchwood Tower, how may I help you?" a voice answered, Alec noticing they didn't give any names out.

"Hello.  May I speak to Rose Tyler?  This is Broadchurch police calling, DI Hardy."

"I'm sorry but Miss Tyler is away on assignment," the receptionist, Kyle, told him, as instructed to do so rather than Rose was on extended maternity leave.

"Then could you get a message to her that I called?" Alec asked, wondering what kind of assignment she was on.  "Would you tell her I would be grateful if she called me back.  She has my number."

There, that was all he could do apart from ring her mobile number and if she saw his name, she may ignore it or worse still, block it so she wouldn't see his name come up again.

"I will pass that on to Miss Tyler as soon as possible," Kyle promised.

Kyle had been instructed to screen Rose's phone calls and pass certain ones to Jake.

"It's okay Kyle, I'll let her know," Jake laughed when he heard Alec's name.

He knew Rose wasn't taking any work related calls but this time, she might make an exception.  Rose was trying to feed a hungry Katy, who although hungry, didn't want to co-operate and her own breakfast was being kept warm.

"Give her to me," Jackie insisted as she finished her own.  "Honestly Rose, she's worse than Tony was at this age."

"I remember," Rose sighed, looking at her younger brother as Tony wondered why he was getting the blame for something.

"Rose, will you play with my racetrack with me later?" Tony asked hopefully, wondering as well why a small child was getting more attention.

Rose had noticed he was getting restless since he'd begun his school holiday and it had only been a day or two.

"Yeah, later.  I'll get Mickey to come round, yeah?" Rose tried to appease him.

"You're relying on Mickey too much," Jackie then complained while trying to spoon-feed young Katy.

"He doesn't mind Mum, especially now he gets an excuse to see Katy as well," Rose told her mother.

"Has he been asking ya out again?" Jackie wondered as Tony went to his dad as Pete entered the kitchen.

"Is it time for football practice?" Tony asked hopefully.

"Have a good game sweetheart," Jackie called after the young boy.  "Never thought I'd ever be saying that," she then laughed.  "Never thought you'd have a baby either," she added.

Rose picked up her mobile when she saw Jake's name, since she had it on silent.

"What's up Jake?" Rose sounded concerned.

"Where were you yesterday?" he asked her.

"With Katy, why?" Rose answered.  "You know where I was the day before Jake," she reminded him.

"Didn't ya hear the news?  About that young boy, down in Dorset?  Broadchurch to be precise?" he told her.

"Oh yeah, I saw that on the news last night, it's awful," Jackie chirped in, since Rose had her phone on the speaker.

"Ya didn't tell me, Mum," Rose complained.

"Ya'd gone to bed Rose, I wasn't gonna wake ya," Jackie objected, making Jake laugh.  "Why, what's so special about it?" she wanted to know.

"Because that's where Alec went, Mum," Rose admitted.  "I found out the other day, from Jake."

"So, he's in charge?" Jackie wanted to confirm.  "Rose, he might need ya."

"That's why I'm calling Rose.  He just rang Torchwood," Jake admitted.

"Go see him sweetheart," Jackie urged her when Jake had hung up.

"I can't Mum, he left me, remember?" Rose asked her mother.

"Yeah but be fair Rose, he didn't know ya were having a baby, did he?" Jackie pointed out.  "He maybe wouldn't have if he'd known.  Ya should go see him and see what he thinks."

"What if he still doesn't want me?" Rose asked her.

"Then get your father to make up some documents and agree to let him visit Katy.  She has to know her father, look what happened with you?"


Chapter 12

Rose knew full well what had happened, her mother had been left without a husband and she herself without a dad and she'd had the chance to do something about it.  It had still ended with tragedy, her dad had sacrificed himself to save everyone but she'd had a few hours to get to know him, albeit at the expense of everyone, including The Doctor disappearing on her.

It had upset her that her mother hadn't believed her at first but slowly, Jackie had come round, just in time to save The Doctor yet again on Satellite Five.  She smiled to herself at the thought of sometimes it seemed she'd saved him more times than he'd saved her.

She waited for Pete to get home after Tony's football practice then she asked to speak to him.

"Dad, can ya get the legal team to draw up some papers?  Just in case Alec doesn't want me or the baby?"

"Are you serious Rose?" Pete questioned her.  "Why wouldn't he want either of you?"

"I have to be realistic Dad," Rose admitted.  "He left me last year."

"I know sweetheart and I know how upset you were about it," Pete recalled.  "Okay, what do you want me to do?"

Rose made a list of the points she wanted including, legally speaking so it covered that Alec had full parental and visiting rights up until Katy was sixteen, plus other suggestions Pete inputted.

"You know I never thought I would ever have a family?" he reminded her as he composed an email to the head of Torchwood's legal department.  "I was given a second chance, lord knows why.  When you and your mother were stranded here, I could have made sure you were both looked after and walked away."

"I know Dad," Rose admitted, recalling the day they were supposed to leave and Pete had changed his mind.

"Then give him another chance eh?  Draw up these documents, to be on the safe side if that's what you want but go see him and give him the choice.  I remember you telling me that's what The Doctor used to do – give people of all races and species a choice."

Rose also remembered that.

"He has a sixteen year old daughter, why would he want to start over again with a baby?" Rose wanted to know.

"Rose, you just don't get it, do you?" Pete turned away from the computer screen and smiled at her.  "Maybe that's exactly what he wants?  Have you learned nothing from me and your mother?  We were both given another chance and did you ever expect to have a younger brother?"

Rose reached for the nearest chair and sat down, Pete moving his nearer and taking her hands.

"Sorry Dad."

"It's Alec you should be apologising to Rose.  You should have told him you were pregnant, now you have to tell him he has a six months old baby daughter.  He might not forgive you for never telling him.  Go think about it eh?  I'll send this email to Mr Giles and tell him it's top priority and get him to send the documents to your email, shall I?"

Rose got up, wiping her eyes and kissed Pete's cheek.

"Thanks Dad."

"I never thought the first time I met you that I could believe you really wanted to call me that," he smiled.  "Go on, go pack and book a hotel down wherever he is."

"I think I'll see if there are any caravan sites.  If I get unlucky enough to choose a hotel the reporters are using?" Rose replied.

"Send the bill to Torchwood," Pete called after her, smiling after her.

He'd listened many a time to Mickey trying to explain how Rose had missed growing up with her father and when he'd found himself realising he had the chance of a family when Rose and her mother had arrived here, he couldn't just let them walk out of his life and him only look after them financially.

"What are you doing Rose?" Tony asked her as he'd been wandering around before his teatime looking for her.

"Hi Tony?  Is mum playing with Katy?" Rose smiled at him.

"She's in her chair," Tony laughed.  "Mum wanted to know where you were?"

"I was talking to dad," Rose replied, sitting on her bed and patting the space beside her for him to sit down.

"Are you going away?  Are you taking Katy with you?" her brother wanted to know.

No-one had ever tried to explain to the boy about him being Katy's uncle and that anyone's sister's child was your niece or nephew.  That would come later – if at all.

"No, not yet.  Do you remember Alec, who came home with me before I had Katy?" Rose asked him as he nudged her.

"I remember him Rose.  Is he Katy's dad?" Tony wanted to know.

Rose thought Tony was far too advanced for his age.

"Yeah but it's a secret, okay?  You can't tell anyone, shush!" Rose covered her lips, indicating for him to do the same.  "Only Jake and Mickey know besides us.  It wouldn't be fair to tell anyone else because Alec doesn't know.  Do ya understand?"

Tony nodded.

"Are you going to tell him though?" Tony wondered.

"I think so.  At least I'm gonna try.  If he doesn't want to know, I have to give him a chance to see Katy though, he has to at least know about her.  You are so lucky Tony, knowing your dad."

Tony was also well aware that Pete wasn't Rose's dad, though he'd found out by accident.  He'd taken it well though, assuring Rose she could share his dad because she didn't have one.  She had loved him even more for that.

"What's dad to Katy then?" Tony tried to understand, since he didn't have a granddad.

"He's Katy's granddad, that's what your mother or father's dad is to your child.  Or your grandmother," Rose tried to explain.

"So what am I to Katy?" the boy scratched his head.

"Dad will explain it to ya, I have to get packed," Rose laughed, not fancying trying to explain it, since he used to call Jake and Mickey 'uncle' until a short time ago.

"Ha, you don't know," Tony laughed and nudged her again.

"Do so," Rose laughed back.  "Go get ready for your teatime."

The next morning at breakfast, Tony was being very quiet as he listened to the others talking.  Rose had made her plans including booking five nights at the harbour caravan park in Broadchurch, being surprised it was still open as much as the manager was that someone wanted to make a booking, given what was going on and Rose had planned her route.

"Are ya sure about going all that way on ya own?" her mother was questioning her decision.

"I'll be fine Mum, I'll make a couple of stops on the way," Rose promised.

"You did the right thing, leaving my little angel at home," Jackie agreed.

"Why are you leaving Katy?" poor Tony seemed confused.

"It's a long way Tony," Pete tried to explain.  "Nanny will take her down if Rose wants?"

"Yeah, it's for the best Dad," Rose had decided earlier when she'd got up.

"Well Nanny can be ready in a few hours to get Katy to you," Pete assured her.  "Frank will take them to join you, leave the address of the caravan park."

"Yeah, mum has it," Rose assured him, her mother having hovered over her the night before as she'd written it down whilst on the phone.  "I'd best get going, the caravan will be ready after four."

"I would have thought they'd have less to get ready?" Jackie wondered.

"Never mind that Mum.  I'll have tomorrow to settle in, then go see Alec on Tuesday.  I'll just call Jake, in case Alec calls Torchwood again, to let him know."

"Go find him sweetheart, for Katy's sake," Jackie urged her.

"I'll try Mum but he may only have been calling me to get Torchwood to help find that boy's killer," Rose replied.

"Well, he could have just called and not asked for you and get your hopes up," Jackie disagreed.

Pete loved nothing more than listening to the two of them, since his first wife either didn't talk to him at the breakfast table or complained about something he'd either done wrong or not done at all.  The nanny brought Katy into the kitchen for Rose to say goodbye to her daughter and handed her to Jackie.

"Don't worry Miss Tyler," the nanny, Jane assured her as Jackie started cooing over her granddaughter and Tony was pulling a face that his mother was being all soft.  "I can be ready as soon as you give the word for me to bring your baby down."

"Thanks Jane.  Don't let Frank get a speeding ticket though, will ya?" Rose smiled, trying to get her baby back from her mother.

She had to be content kissing the baby's forehead and taking her tiny hand.

"Hey you, I'm off to see your dad," Rose smiled at the infant.  "Well hopefully.  I hope he wants to see ya."

"Of course he'll want to see her," Jackie defended Alec.  "I don't know why ya not taking her with ya?"

"Mum, I'll be lucky if he even wants to see me, let alone present him with a baby and saying Katy's his," Rose defended her decision.  "He left me Mum, not the other way around."

Rose was aware everyone was watching her.

"See ya all in a few days."

Down in Broadchurch, Alec was debating if he should try calling Torchwood again.  He'd been walking Danny's paper round the morning before and had discovered a CCTV camera by a hut on one of the cliff tops and had wanted to get any recordings from it as soon as possible.  He'd got the keys the day before and forensics were still going over the place.

"Why are you so interested in that hut?" his DS was questioning him as she was watching one of the telephone engineers.

She had been keeping an eye on him the day before and was sure he'd been sneaking looks at some of the reports.

"Here's that CCTV footage you wanted, from that hut."

Ellie leaned on the back of his chair after she forwarded the file to him and he began to play it.

"Is that Mark Latimer?" Alec wanted to know of a man waiting by a car.  "Who's he meeting then?"

Ellie wanted to reply by saying she wasn't a mind reader but thought it would only make him worse if she did.  The tape ran out, making Alec annoyed.

"Find out if there's more," he urged her as she just stood there.

They were interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Have you finished?" Ellie was hoping as it was the same telephone engineer she'd caught acting suspiciously.

"Ah, no.  Are you investigating that boy's death?" the engineer wanted to know.

Alec wanted to ask what he thought they were doing.  Rose had taught him not to be sarcastic instead of asking questions.  He thought he may have had a reply from Rose but there was nothing so far.  He supposed he'd have to give her time, after all, it had been over a year since he'd walked away from her.  He was meeting his friend later and he was hoping he'd have something else to say other than he needed more pills and he hated the place he'd just moved to.

"We don't have time for this," Alec stared back at the man instead.

"I have some information," the engineer insisted.

"About what?" Ellie asked, hoping she was wrong about him snooping.

"About Danny," the man just stared at them.

Alec insisted they went to the interview room, now wishing Rose was with him after the man admitted he'd got his information from the boy himself.

"I don't choose what I'm told," the engineer was insisting.

"So, you're a reluctant psychic?" Alec asked, having had enough.  "Take this information to Torchwood."

"Who?" the man asked and Ellie looking at the engineer then Alec.

"They deal with this kind of thing.  DS Miller, give them a call."

Ellie thought he was the one who needed Torchwood's help, to avoid being carted off.

"No, you're not listening to me," the engineer cried out as Alec called for the officer outside.

"No and we're not going to either," Alec replied as the duty officer took the man's arm to remove him from the interview room.  "Get him out of here."

"Danny wants you to know he was put in a boat," the man still insisted.

"What does that mean?" Alec asked as he got up slowly.

"Just that and the fact he knew his killer," the man added as he stopped the other officer pulling at him.

Alec went up to the engineer.

"Think yourself lucky I don't arrest you for wasting police time," Alec told him.  "Go look up the number for Torchwood and speak to someone, they have specialists to deal with psychics."

As the man was led away, he managed to turn around.

"She forgives you, about the pendant," Alec was told.

"What?" Alec looked lost.  "I have no idea what that means."

"Yes you do, I can see by your reaction," the engineer seemed pleased with himself.  "Someone is returning."

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

"How am I supposed to know?" Alec tried to avoid the question.  "I'm going to go ask Mark Latimer what he was doing at that cliff-top hut when he claimed to be out working on a job.  Find out how it's going up there."

Ellie wondered how she was going to do that inbetween everything else he was having her doing.  So much for her not working on Sunday then.  She watched him go off and pitied any poor woman who was unfortunate to get involved with him.

The rest of the day, Alec was expecting a phone call from either Rose or Torchwood to say Rose didn't want to speak to him.  Rose had arrived at her destination and was trying to settle in, having warned the reception at the caravan site that she may need a portable cot and someone else may be joining her.  When she'd left the office, the youngest receptionist turned to the one in charge.

"Did she just say she was Rose Tyler?"

"Now then Francine, no gossiping," she was warned.  "There could be plenty of Rose Tylers around."

"If you say so?  The famous one has been quiet lately though.  Maybe she's come down here to hide for some reason?"

The older woman turned to start putting leaflets in envelopes again.  How many Rose Tylers were they who had said she may want to hire a portable cot and may have someone joining her though?"

Alec hadn't been satisfied with Mark Latimer's poor excuses for not remembering where he'd really been last Thursday night, nor the fact he couldn't remember the name of the person he'd supposedly been with so he'd told the man to report to the police station the following morning.

Finally, it was time to go meet his friend on the pier and it wasn't a moment too soon for him.  He'd got a taxi from his hotel to the end of the block of apartments and walked slowly towards where his friend was waiting.

"This is all a bit cloak and dagger Alec," his friend laughed when Alec sat down.  "Why the secret?"

"I have to live here," Alec reminded Alistair.

"I have what you asked," Alistair told him, handing him the piece of paper.  "Make sure you get them eh?"

Alec nodded.

"You're the first friendly face I've seen in this town," Alec admitted.

"Well it's not as though that woman you walked away from is going to be here," Alistair replied.

Alec didn't need reminding.

"I called her, well at Torchwood, after I called you.  They said they would get a message to her."

"Well it's not like you to wait Alec," his friend laughed.  "I take it she's not returned your call then?"

Alec shook his head, then put his head in his hands.

"Then call her again Alec, what are you waiting for?" Alistair wanted to know.

"She may not even want to talk to me," Alec replied.

"Then make her want to talk to you Alec.  What's wrong with you man?" Alistair wanted to know.  "It's just not like you.  You put up with Tess while she taunted you."

Alec had called his friend a few times complaining about his ex wife.  He'd been mad at Tess for insinuating things about him and Rose but most of all, he'd been mad at himself for walking away from Rose, just when he'd finally won.

Alec got up to leave

"Don't let it be for nothing Alec, I mean finally getting away from Tess.  Go find her," Alistair suggested.  "How are you liking it here then?"

"I'm not.  I hate the sun, the sea and the never ending sky.  I want her back Alistair.  There is something going on with her, it's too quiet.  She was always in the papers.  It all stopped after she stayed in London.  She was going to stay in Sandbrook with me, who would want to stay in the same town as Tess?" Alec wanted to know.

"She must be something Alec," Alistair agreed.  "Go tell her you were wrong to leave her."

"Aye, I will.  Just let me find who killed Danny and do something about this illness," Alec replied.

"Well it may give you an incentive," Alistair grinned.  "Don't put off that surgery, you should be hearing about it soon."

Alec waited a while as his friend went off and thought about Rose.  He'd done a lot of that the last few day, thinking what he'd say to her apart from that he was a stupid idiot for leaving her.  He had no idea she was across the other side of the harbour, watching TV in her caravan after checking in with her mother and seeing Katy on the video chat.

"Have ya found him yet?" Jackie had wanted to know when Tony had said hello to her.

"Not yet Mum," Rose had laughed.  "I'll find the police station tomorrow and see if I can catch him going in or out."

"Rose, just go up to the desk and ask to see him," her mother suggested.

Rose thought trust her mother to be direct.  She wasn't feeling that brave though.  The next morning, she went across the road and got herself a drink then sat on the wall facing the police station.  After a while, she got her phone out and was debating calling him or the front desk.

After lunch, she decided she needed some groceries.  Alec and his DS had gone to find the postman whom the local newsagent had claimed he'd seen having a heated discussion with Danny, after he'd locked up Mark Latimer for obstructing a police investigation.

Late afternoon, she gave up and walked across to the police station, making the desk sergeant drop his pen.

"Miss Tyler?" Bob wanted to make sure.

"Yeah.  Um, can I speak to DI Alec Hardy?" Rose asked shyly, leaning on the counter and seeing two young women police constables staring at her.

She had forgotten what it had been like to be famous over the last few years.  When she had first found fame as becoming Pete Tyler's stepdaughter after her mother had said yes to marrying him, there hadn't been a newspaper or magazine that hadn't scrambled to get the story.

"Is it to do with that boy's death?" Bob felt obliged to ask, just to make sure before the new detective kicked his ass for disturbing him.

Rose didn't know that Ellie had been using the entrance at the rear of the building when leaving and entering when they'd had to go out by car.

"Sorry Miss Tyler, he said not to be disturbed," Bob remembered clearly when Alec had come back earlier.

"Well, can ya just make sure?" Rose was about to give up and call the whole thing off and go home.

"Well, I can make an exception for you," Bob had to agree before she called the chief and complained the Broadchurch police hadn’t extended any courtesy to her.

"Sir, I can go get him?" one of the young WPC's volunteered.

"Never mind, I can call him," Bob then agreed, thinking Hardy would be even less pleased if a young officer were to disturb him.

Picking up the desk phone, that had only just stopped ringing, he called Alec's office.  Alec however had almost staggered out of the squad room and into the men's room, swallowing two of the few pills he had left in his pocket with some water he had scooped up in his hands.

He had to make some time to go fill the prescription his friend had given him but where did he go where people wouldn't gossip about him?  Ellie heard his desk phone ringing and went into his office to answer it.

"Ma'am, there's someone here to see DI Hardy," Bob began to tell her.

"I'll tell him when he comes back," Ellie replied.  "Who is it?"

"I think he needs to see for himself Ma'am," Bob replied, not wanting to chance it.

"Well okay, I'll tell him to get himself down there but who do I say wants him?" Ellie wanted to know.  "Why is it such a big secret Bob?  It had better be important."

"It is Ma'am," Bob dared tell her.

"Well if it's anyone less than the killer or Rose Tyler herself, he'll kick both of our asses," Ellie replied, seeing Alec in the doorway.

"What are you answering my phone for?" he asked as Ellie tried to get past him.

"You have someone waiting downstairs.  Answer your own bloody phone next time," she mumbled as he went to sit down.

She hadn't taken the call seriously and told him it was important so he just got back to what he'd been doing.

"I've told DS Miller," Bob had turned his attention back to Rose.  "You can wait for him over there," he indicated to a row of seats opposite by the lift.

After ten minutes, Rose was thinking either Alec hadn't got the message or not treated it seriously so she went back to the desk.

"If he comes down, I'll be sitting outside on the steps," she told Bob.

Bob just nodded and went back to answering yet another call.  Normally, he would keep trying the DI's phone to get an answer but members of the public had other ideas by keeping all the phone lines busy.  He didn't see the look of disappointment on Rose's face as she moved outside.  He did feel sorry for her if she'd come to offer her help as a Torchwood agent and Hardy had decided he didn't need it.

Rose waited a while then thought she'd get moved on so she went back to her caravan and decided she'd try again tomorrow.  Later on, Alec had arranged a more thorough press conference and Rose was watching.

"Why didn't you call me?" Rose asked as the camera focused on him.

Alec got outside and finally looked at the piece of paper Bob had handed to him on his way out which read 'Sir – Rose Tyler herself was here earlier asking for you.  I left a message with DS Miller.'

"Miller, what's this?" he asked, thinking he needed some more pills, if he had any without either going to a pharmacy or raiding his desk for the spare strip he'd placed there and he didn't fancy doing either tonight after the press conference.

To make things worse, his worst nightmare, besides Tess had been present during the interview and he was expecting trouble from her.  Karen White had picked up on the fact he'd been put in charge of another murder investigation after letting the killer in his last case get away.  Worst still, she had interviewed his colleagues in Sandbrook and had found out he'd been working closely with Rose.

She had been waiting for him after the hurried press conference on Saturday so now, he was trying to avoid her as people talked when they emerged from the school hall.  She was watching him though so to avoid her, he asked Ellie to drop him at his hotel.

Ellie thought he had a nerve, since he'd just told her off.

"What are you talking about – Sir?" Ellie asked as she wondered why he was in such a hurry.

"This note from the desk sergeant," Alec replied, not wanting to say it involved Rose.

"I told you, someone had been waiting downstairs for you but you totally ignored it," Ellie refused to take the blame for it if he couldn't be bothered about it.  She was already regretting inviting him for dinner.  "By the way, can you come to dinner tomorrow night instead?" she asked, wanting to get it over with but Joe wouldn't be pleased.

"Fine," Alec replied, thinking he had nothing else to do and now, even the desk sergeant was winding him up.  Had Rose really been here asking for him or was Bob being sarcastic?

He decided to see if Bob had been having a joke at his expense.  After all, it was common knowledge that she'd led the team that had helped him on the Sandbrook case and everyone in the station may have been in on the joke.  Most of the office were already calling him a few names so it didn't come of much a surprise really.

Rose decided she'd let him get to work the next morning and go try again.  She could give in and call him directly but she'd wanted him to come to her, he'd been the one to leave.  She sat opposite the station again, with her sunglasses on and a drink then waited to see if he came out.

He went out onto the balcony just after eleven, having taking some of his emergency supply of pills earlier and knew they wouldn't last much longer and he was dangerously low.  The prescription was still in his inside jacket pocket and he needed to go get it filled after work.

"You are still coming to dinner tonight?" she reminded him as he stood looking at the crowds opposite.

"What?  Do I have to?" he replied, not really being in the mood.

"Why are you being such a misery?" Ellie complained, trying to see what he was staring at.  "Why can't you just say yes?  Got something better to do, like a date with Rose Tyler?" she almost laughed, then remembered the message Bob had given her had included the Vitex heiress's name.

"Fine," Alec  agreed, trying to get her to stop annoying him and repeat Rose's name again.

Was everyone here obsessed with Rose's name and using it at every opportunity they got?  Then it dawned on him.  Was Rose really here, in Broadchurch?  Had she seen him on TV and wondered if he needed her help again or she'd got the message he'd left with Torchwood?  Then his eyes rested on someone with blonde hair suddenly getting up off the wall and crossing over the road, disappearing from view.

As fast as he dared in his current condition, he ignored another snide remark from his DS and hurried back inside, going straight for the door and almost missing the handle, hoping no-one had noticed.  He went to wait for the lift, telling himself he had to slow down but had that been Rose across the road?

If it had, she'd disappeared out of view into the crowds but as far as he knew, the path opposite only led to the catering stalls so she may still be there.  As he emerged from the lift, he ignored calls for him to take messages, followed by a few 'Get yourselves organised up there' and went out onto the plaza or whatever fancy name they called the area in front of the station these days.

He went down the steps and crossed the road, a driver beeping a horn at him and stood at the edge of the slope where he thought he'd seen Rose five minutes ago.  His heart was beating faster than was good for him, despite having taken his pills and he peered into the crowd.  Rose had gone to get another drink so she didn't look suspicious with an empty cup placed beside her on the wall and so no young girls spotted her in the crowds.

Alec was about to put it down to his imagination when Rose finished getting served with a latte in a paper cup when he saw her.  He followed her back to the wall and stood behind her.

"Rose?" he dared ask as those around took no notice.

She didn't have to look to know who it was saying her name.  He went to sit beside her, the opposite way around.

"Hi Alec.  I left a message for ya yesterday," she replied.

"Yes.  Sorry, it has been really busy.  What are you doing here?  Have you come to offer help, I called your agency."

"I know.  Can we talk?" Rose dared ask.

"Ah, well not now, I have several interviews to conduct," he used the excuse.  "Maybe tomorrow?"

Rose went in her purse and tore a slip of paper from a notebook, then scribbled where she was staying down on it.

"I'm in the caravan park over there, the second roadway," she told him, folding the piece of paper and putting it into his hand.  She was trying not to think of when he would fit her hand into his own.  "It's really important Alec.  Can you come over tonight?"

"Not tonight, I have to be somewhere," he replied, taking the piece of paper.

"Yeah, I get it," Rose replied, thinking the worst and that he'd already found himself another girlfriend, maybe even just after he'd left her and he'd brought her with him.

"Rose, don't take that the wrong way," he urged her.

"I get it Alec but it really is important I talk to you.  I'll be here for a few more days.  After that, ya can reach me through Torchwood."

"I called them already," he reminded her.

"Yeah, asking for me.  If ya need help, ask for Jake or Mickey," Rose tried not to sound upset he only wanted help with the case he was working on.

Alec could already see where this was going.  Rose had been upset he'd only called once and ignored her visit yesterday.  Worst of all though, if those nosy reporters were lurking around, his meeting with Rose would be all over the morning's newspapers.

"I will try to visit you tomorrow night," he offered as she got up.

"Fine.  I'll wait then," Rose replied before walking off.

Now, Alec knew how much she'd been hurting when he'd been the one to walk off last year.  He was about to leave when Olly Stevens joined him.

"You keep high company," Olly grinned as Alec tried to get up slowly.

"Go away Stevens," Alec warned the reporter.  "You had better not report what you just saw."

"What?  You talking with Rose Tyler?" Olly laughed, Alec glad there was now no-one near them.  "Oh, I don't know, there's been nothing about her in the press lately, this could be classed as interesting, her talking to the detective in charge of another murder investigation."

"Leave it, this is your only warning.  Otherwise, I will call Pete Tyler, who will call your editor or better still, close down your little newspaper operation, depending on how mad he is you put his stepdaughter on the front page," Alec replied.

Olly appeared to be considering if it was worthwhile or would his aunt also be onto him about it?

"I'll leave it for now but if more of the press find her, I'll be ready to put it in print before they'll be," Olly replied.

"Fine but don't put that you saw her with me," Alec further warned him.

He went back to his office and Ellie followed him.

"Where did you go in such a hurry?" she forgot who she was talking to.  "Here's my address for later," she added, giving him another piece of paper.  "If you want to walk, it's quicker over the field by where Mark and Beth live."

"Afraid I won't find it Miller?" Alec asked her.  "Where I go has nothing to do with you or anyone here either," he added, Ellie thinking she'd got away with it.

"I was only asking because I thought I saw Rose Tyler across the road, then you ran off – Sir," Ellie grinned.  "Her name was mentioned yesterday."

"Leave it be Miller," Alec ordered her.

By the end of the day, he had looked in his desk drawer and tore two of his pills off together and put them in his pocket.  Then he called the transport sergeant and asked for a car.  He knew he shouldn't drive but he didn't want anyone knowing where he was going.

"Sorry Sir, all cars are being used," he was told.  "I can spare someone to take you somewhere?" the sergeant offered.

"No, it doesn't matter," Alec replied.  "I can manage.  On second thoughts, I need a ride back to my hotel."

He got dropped off on the High Street and Alec looked around for a pharmacy.  It was then when he saw the London reporter outside the newspaper officer so as he went inside the hotel to avoid her, she followed him in through the front door.

"DI Hardy.  You've been avoiding me," Karen White told him when he'd got his key.  "Five minutes, for an interview?"

"Do you want me to get you thrown out of here?" he asked as he went to the stairs, wishing the lift wasn't down the other end and seeing Becca Fisher taking no notice.

"I saw you earlier, with the reporter from the Broadchurch Echo," she admitted.  "Have you given the story to Olly?"

So, they knew each other, did they, Alec wondered.

"There is no story, go back where you came from," Alec insisted.

"Does that include you talking to Rose Tyler?" she dared ask him.  "What have you two got to talk about?  Oh, you knew each other when she and her team helped you back in Sandbrook?"

"Leave it, I'm warning you," Alec insisted.  "Go away, I have to be somewhere and I'm running late."

"You're meeting her?" Karen almost smiled.  "There were rumours why she didn't back you up in court, that the two of you didn't part on pleasant terms when she never came back from London.  So, it was true?"

Alec shook his head.

"Leave it alone or you'll be writing press releases," he replied, not knowing she'd already been doing that.

Karen watched him walk up the stairs, not knowing what it was doing to him to be reminded that Rose hadn't been there with him in court.

"What's wrong with him?" Karen asked Becca, who had just come out of the bar.

"I'm keeping out of his way," Becca had decided, when she'd heard Rose Tyler's name mentioned.

She didn't care if it was true or not but if the Vitex heiress was in town, why wasn't she staying here?  Was she trying to avoid the new detective for some reason?

Alec had got changed and called for a cab to take him to the Miller's house, now wishing he'd not brushed Rose off so quickly by saying he had to be somewhere tonight.  He'd been to the store across the road from the hotel and was waiting for his cab to pull up.  He didn't see the newspaper editor leaving and Maggie Radcliffe noting he was holding flowers in his hands, along with a box of chocolates in his pocket and a bottle of wine.

Ellie greeted him when he got to his destination and he tried to avoid most of the questions her husband had thrown at him.  She had warned Joe not to be nosy when her boss arrived.

"Well, that's the only way you'll get to know anything about him," Joe had objected.

"Well, you can ask him then," Ellie had backed down slightly.  "Mind you, something funny happened earlier.  We were on the balcony and suddenly he took off.  All I saw across the road was someone with blonde hair."

"That Rose Tyler has blonde hair," Joe laughed as he'd prepared dinner.

"Don't you start," Ellie had laughed as well.  "Bob had a mysterious message for Hardy and put her name in it."

"There you go then Ell," Joe had laughed even more.

So now, Ellie had made her excuses to visit the bathroom and check on their youngest and Joe was doing some fishing, to see if his wife's boss had any idea he was sitting across the table from the person responsible for the death of Danny Latimer.  He felt guilty about the poor young boy but if he'd just not tried to get away, they could have talked things out.

Danny had understood him because they'd both wanted the same thing.

"So, Ellie tells me you're divorced," Joe opened his mouth without even thinking.  "Got a girlfriend?"

Alec thought if his DS had told her husband that much, why hadn't she told him the rest, to save him doing it?

"No, not anymore.  We split up a year or so ago," Alec replied, not keen on answering.

"Was she someone famous?" Joe was dying to find out and Ellie wasn't there to stop him.

"What makes you think that?" Alec almost gave the game away.

So Miller had been watching him from the balcony earlier and he'd never noticed.

"It's just Ellie mentioned someone, never mind," Joe replied as he heard her coming downstairs.  "She mentioned Rose Tyler's name," Joe then laughed.  "Don't know what she did that for."

"What's so funny?" Ellie asked as Joe tried to put on a straight face, then looking at Alec.

"Ask your husband," Alec tried to deny anything.

Ellie looked at her husband.

"It was nothing Ell," Joe tried to change the subject.

"Well if you're not going to tell me," Ellie smiled as she sat down again.

"I was asking your boss if he had a girlfriend and that you'd mentioned Rose Tyler's name," Joe admitted.

"I never!" Ellie exclaimed in denial.  "Not in the same sentence."

"Oh please," Joe laughed.  "You joked about her asking for him at the desk."

"While it's true someone asked for me, I never said Rose Tyler had been my girlfriend," Alec denied it.

"I saw you talking to someone with blonde hair," Ellie reminded him.  "Fair enough, I never said Rose Tyler was your girlfriend and she'd been in asking for you."

Alec could have sworn he'd never got the real story from the very beginning.  He'd thought they'd all been trying to wind him up.  Then he'd brushed Rose off earlier by saying he was busy tonight, when she'd wanted to talk to him.  Maybe he should get a cab down to the harbour caravan park and go see her and apologise – for everything.

He should apologise for being an idiot and leaving her to start with and for leaving it so long.  Most of all though, he should apologise for saying she was too young and it would never work.  Those had been her mother's words – not his and Jackie Tyler had seemed like she meant it but there again, she was only a mother looking out for her daughter and at the time, Tess had been making trouble.

"I should be going," Alec insisted as they were about to move into the living room.

"Oh, I was going to make tea or coffee," Ellie replied, since she'd only seen him make tea for himself and no-one else.

Alec knew she was having a dig at him.

"Not for me, thank you for inviting me," he remembered his manners.

"Let me call a taxi for you," Ellie then offered as she got up.

"I'll walk, it will do me good," Alec replied, since Joe had refilled his glass twice and he shouldn't drink.

How had he come to this since he'd left Rose?

"Well, thanks for coming," Ellie told him as Alec opened the door.

"Night Miller," was all Alec could say as he turned to the outer door.

"Night Miller," Joe repeated as Ellie saw he'd gone.

"Stop it," Ellie laughed.  "I think we hit a few home truths, don't you?"

"You mean Rose Tyler was his girlfriend?" Joe asked, not believing her.

"Well they worked together on his last case it makes sense why he's so touchy about it," Ellie reminded him.  "Plus, Bob saying about her asking for Hardy.  I thought Bob was the one being sarcastic."

"Why not ask Olly?  He might have seen her around?" Joe wondered.

"Best not, she won't thank me if she's trying to hide the fact she's here to see Hardy," Ellie warned him.

Alec had decided to walk across the field, seeing the Latimer house, then he went through the gate and followed the coastal path until he reached the turn-off for the hotel.  He was feeling better so he thought he'd maybe go see Rose tomorrow but as he got to the side door of the hotel, he turned too fast and felt dizzy again.

He knew he wouldn't make it upstairs but there was nowhere to get a drink to take his pills.  There was a taxi rank just down the street but a cab was just heading down the road so he hailed it.

"I should be joining the queue," the driver complained as Alec told him he wanted to go to the harbour caravan park.  "It's not far you know?"

"I know but I'm in a hurry," Alec replied as he stumbled into the back seat.

"Well I'll still have to charge you the flat rate," the driver warned him as he set off and knowing he'd get told by the other drivers.

They set off and passed the exit to the caravan park, the driver wondering why it had a one-way system then reached the harbour and turned left.

"Where do you want to be?" he asked Alec, who was trying to stay conscious and knew he should have asked to be taken to the hospital.

"The second roadway," Alec recalled, trying to remember the number of Rose's caravan.  "Just drop me here."

They were just below where Rose was but Alec was trying to get some money out to pay for the short distance he'd been driven.  Once he hit the cool night air again, he looked around for any lights on where Rose had said she was staying but saw none.  She had gone to bed having given up on any chance he would pay her a visit when he'd been somewhere else.

Having figured out she'd probably be in the end bedroom, Alec tapped lightly on it, making poor Rose jump.  She didn't think an intruder would bother knocking so it could only be one person.  She got up and put her robe on and fumbled to open the window.

"Alec, is that you?" she asked cautiously.

"Yes.  Rose, let me in, please?" he asked, hoping she wouldn't keep him outside.

Rose studied for a second, then went to the middle door after picking up the key.

"It's late Alec," she reminded him.

"Yes, I know.  I need your help Rose," he told her as she let him in and he locked the door behind him.

"What?  Alec, I said we needed to talk," she reminded him.

"Rose, listen, please.  I need you to take me to the hospital."

Chapter 13
Rose shook her head, thinking she'd not heard him correctly.  She had been trying to get to sleep but all kinds of ideas had been running through her mind since she'd seen him earlier.  Was he trying to avoid her?  Didn't he want anything to do with her but the idea at the forefront was he'd got someone else, this person he was seeing earlier.

If that were the case, why was he here now though?

"Rose, did you hear me?" he nudged her from her thoughts.

"How did you find me Alec?  I don't remember telling you where I was?" she asked him, trying not to yawn.

Alec was certain she'd tried to tell him earlier.

"Never mind that.  Please Rose, I need your help.  I was just going back to my hotel when I turned too fast and got dizzy," he replied.

"Why, what happened?" Rose insisted on knowing as she led him to the lounge area and gestured for him to sit down, carefully.

"Does it matter?" he asked, taking a seat.  "Please Rose, just take me, I'll tell you everything."

"You'd better do Alec," Rose relented.  "Do you even know where the hospital is?" she asked, putting another light on.  Then she saw how pale he looked.  "Geez Alec, what happened to ya?"

"I was out and had a drink when I should not have done," he tried to use the excuse.

He then thought that wouldn't wash with his ex girlfriend.

"It's not what you think Rose," he continued.

"Leave it Alec.  You find out where it is while I go get dressed," she replied as he tried to judge if she believed him or not.

She was about to go back to the bedroom when he caught her arm.

"Rose.  Thank you, I didn't want to go on my own."

He got his phone out and looked where the hospital was.  He had told her the truth, he was scared to go on his own or even have the hotel owner call an ambulance and her go with him.  He thought though that Becca Fisher would be nosy and if he passed out, she would probably go through his pockets for details and say she was his wife if she found nothing.

Rose went to get dressed, wondering what the hell was going on.  She'd heard nothing from him all this time and when she finally gets the courage to go find him, he brushes her off earlier then turns up late at night saying he needs help.

Alec had found where he wanted and sent the directions to his phone.  The hospital wasn't far from his hotel so he'd come down here only to be taken back that way by Rose.  Rose was soon dressed again and picked up her phone and some loose change.

Alec had laid back on the cushion and closed his eyes.  For the first time since his illness had started, he felt safe.  Why the hell hadn't he gone to find her sooner?  His stubborn pride was one reason, he thought to himself as he heard a door closing and him not wanting anyone to know what was wrong with him was another.

"Come on then," Rose encouraged him as she held her hand out.

He looked at it and hesitated to take it.  Then, he smiled at her and made the effort to take it.

"I was not with anyone, if that's what you have been thinking?" he told her as he stood up.

"You don't have to explain Alec," Rose told him as she went to turn the other lights off and left the one on by the door.  "Come on then, let's get you seen to."

Alec got into the passenger side of Rose's car and waited for her to start the car as Rose put her seatbelt on.  He had always wondered why she had a car with a keyless starter but he supposed if she worked for Torchwood, it was to be expected.

"Rose," he stopped her from setting off, Rose wondering why since he'd been in such a hurry.  "I was out at my DS's house.  Her husband had invited me.  I just wanted you to know, in case."

"In case of what Alec?  Geez, ya not gonna die on me are ya?" she feared the worse.

When he didn't answer her and indicated for her to drive off, Rose wished she had a driverless car because she wanted to ask him questions but wanted to get him looked at urgently, them having fallen out or not.

"I will try not to," he tried to joke, a bit of a smile on his face.

"Don't joke like that Alec," Rose replied as she made her way slowly up the narrow roadway, Alec's phone starting to give directions to the hospital.

Alec was praying the artificial intelligence behind the technology wouldn't decide to send them the long way round but it told them to turn right when they got to the exit.

"What the hell's wrong Alec?" Rose found her voice again once they were continuing along the High Street.

"I have something wrong with me," Alec had to admit.

"I gathered that," Rose replied as they passed Alec's hotel.  "Why is it so urgent you go to the emergency department at this time of night though?"

"Because I need my medication.  I was on my way back to my hotel and I felt dizzy.  I'm way past the time I should have taken it but I couldn't get to a drink."

"I would have given ya one, had ya asked," Rose replied, listening for any signs they should turn off from Alec's phone.

"If I don't take it at the right time, I could pass out at any time, it was getting late, I was already feeling dizzy and besides, I think I left the strip of pills in my hotel room," he admitted as he felt in his pockets.  "I'm not even sure I have any in my room, I was running low."

"Geez Alec, don't ya keep any for emergencies like this?" Rose couldn't believe what she was hearing from the man she had to admit she still loved.

Now, what were the chances he wanted her back, complete with a baby daughter?  He couldn't even look after himself, apparently, let alone Katy.

"There may be some in my desk drawer?" Alec replied quietly as Rose listened as she was told to take the next right.

Rose followed the dimly lit winding road to the community hospital while Alec prayed they actually had a twenty-four hour emergency department.  Rose saw some parking spaces as she followed the sign for A & E and pulled into one.  Without saying anything to each other, they got out and walked up the ramp, the automatic door opening as they did.

Rose spied a window and walked up to it, Alec just behind her.

"My friend here needs to be seen – urgently," Rose told the woman, who had been rushed off her feet earlier.

"There's a thirty minute wait at present," the woman yawned, picking up a clipboard with a form clipped to it.  "Fill this out."

"Ya don't understand, it's urgent.  He's run out of vital medication and he's passed out once," Rose replied, assuming he had from what Alec had just said.

Otherwise, he wouldn't have gone to find her, would he?

"He's standing on his own two feet," the woman pointed out as Alec appeared at the window.  "What's the problem?"

"The problem is," Rose began to reply, then looked at Alec.  "Well, tell her," Rose turned to him.

Well, she was going to find out one way or another, Alec thought to himself as both women waited for him to answer.  Better to tell Rose now while he was still alive and not her find out if they have to rush him to the operating room and find a heart surgeon at this time of night.

Then, they would have to keep him alive until one arrived, it would be touch and go as to if he'd survive and if he did, Rose would literally kill him for not telling her he was this bad in the first place.  Either way would be bad for him.  He tried to move Rose out of the way so he could hide his problem a little while longer.

"I have a heart problem," he tried to tell the woman as he whispered.

"Speak up," the woman insisted, seeing Rose looked annoyed and hadn't a clue why they were there, annoying her.

"I have heart arrhythmia," he raised his voice slightly, still praying Rose hadn't caught it.

"Why didn't you say so?" the woman asked, taking the clipboard back that Rose hadn't yet picked up.  "Name?"

Rose had staggered back, not believing what he'd just admitted.  She could hear him answering the woman's questions but not able to take them in, until he told Rose they should sit down and someone would be right with them.

"Tell me I heard wrong Alec?"

"I'm sorry Rose, it's true.  I didn't want you to find out this way."

"Is this why you left?  If it is, you were wrong, I could have helped ya."

"Rose, it was after I left," he admitted.  "It was partly me going in the river and partly being stupid to leave you."

Rose thought the last bit was true but after her mother admitted she'd had something to do with it, she couldn't understand why a no nonsense detective could take notice of Jackie.  It was like Alec could read her mind as they waited.

"I told ya to get checked after you almost drowned," she reminded him before he could say anything.

"That's exaggerating things Rose," he replied instead, thinking she was being over-dramatic.

"If Tess had her way, she would have let ya go off by ya self," Rose replied, folding her arms and reminding him Rose said things as they were.

"She would have checked," Alec told her, wondering why he was defending his ex wife.

"Huh, when exactly?" Rose huffed.  "When it was too late?"

Alec didn't reply, he knew she was right

"Rose, I'm sorry, okay?  Just in case, I mean when I go in there," he nodded to where a nurse was coming out, holding a clipboard.

There were half a dozen other people sat moving around in their seats and hoping it was their turn.  Rose bet none of them were in the same state as Alec was and weren't in urgent need of medical attention.

"Alec Hardy?" the nurse called out, looking around.

Rose put Alec's arm in the air, half afraid he'd try to get out of it by the tone of his voice.

"Here," Rose said for him and pulling him up.

"You don't have to come in Rose," he tried to insist.

"Ya dragged me out Alec, so tough, I'm coming in.  I wanna know what's wrong with ya," Rose replied firmly.  "There's something ya need to know, now I know how worried ya are."

She took his arm to make sure he followed the nurse and not the sign for the exit, hearing a few complaints.

"Don't you get seen in the order you came in?" one man called out.

"Patient's are seen according to their medical needs," the nurse replied as she let Rose and Alec go through a door, Alec taking his time.

"I've been waiting over an hour," the rude man reminded the nurse.

"So have I," another one agreed.  "I'm going to the newspaper over this, it's not right."

"Yeah?" Rose turned around suddenly.  "What's wrong with you then?"

"Leave it," Alec urged her, nudging her forward.

"Well he should stop complaining," Rose backed off.

"Don't worry dear, he's a regular, why he doesn't go to his local surgery is beyond me," the nurse smiled.  "This is Doctor Jones," she indicated to a dark-skinned female doctor.

"Hello, have a seat, Alec?" she asked him, reading the name on the form and looking at him.

She got up and pulled the stethoscope from around her neck and rubbed it.

"What's the problem with your heart then?" she then wanted to know.

"I think I had an attack earlier," he admitted, trying to avoid looking at Rose.  "I got a tightness in my chest and got dizzy, while I was out."

"Open your shirt," Doctor Jones indicated with her finger.  "What about your medication?"

"I think I ran out, I only have some at work," Alec admitted.

"That was a bit daft," he was told, a smile on the female doctor's face, Rose joining in.  "It seems to have calmed down a bit, well except for the fact it's all over the place anyway.  Heart arrhythmia can go either way but the wrong way can be almost fatal.  Are you down for a pacemaker?"

She went back to her computer and got his records on the screen, shaking her head.

"Really Alec, why are you avoiding having one fitted?" Martha Jones wanted to know.

Just how had she ended up part running this small community hospital's A & E department, on the south-west coast on England?  It had been offered to her after the incident where she used to work and she'd got a promotion for saving the hospital from mass panic when some students put on some rhino costumes and everyone panicked.  Not only that, a female patient had escaped from the mental health ward and was going around trying to drink everyone's blood – with a straw. She'd gone to work at Torchwood for a while but they were just plain weird with all the talk of aliens.

"I have not put it off that long," Alec was insisting as he fastened his shirt, not before Rose was staring at him though.

The young female doctor shook her head.

"No, not by much," she was disagreeing.  "You need to get it sorted.  We'll get you back on your medication, I suggest you stay overnight, it will be quicker if we start you off on it, then we'll see how you are in the morning.  I'll make the arrangements."

"Do I have to stay in?" Alec asked.

"You came for help Alec," Rose reminded him.

"Your girlfriend's right," Martha agreed, recognising the woman with her patient.

What was someone like Rose Tyler doing here, Martha wondered.  Still, it wasn't her place to start gossip and the Vitex heiress wouldn't thank her.

"The nurse here will take you to the ward, it's best we get you on that drip," Martha insisted as she picked up the phone.

"She's right Alec, ya came here for help," Rose agreed.

"I thought I would just get more pills?" Alec disagreed.

"You need to get calmed down," Martha reminded him.  "The pills will take too long to work now."

"Come on Alec, I'll go with ya and come and collect ya in the morning," Rose smiled as she got up to follow the nurse and taking his arm.

"Leave it Rose, I can get a cab back to my hotel," he replied, looking worried now he was going to be kept in.  "It was my own fault for running low on my medication."

"Well, I'm here now, so tough," Rose argued as they were led out of another door.  "You got me involved Alec and besides, we need to talk, that's why I came here.  You're tryin' to tell me now I might not get the chance.  Are ya just gonna sneak off in the morning and avoid me until I give up and go home?"

Alec had a guilty look on his face.

"Why are you here Rose?" he asked, sure he'd asked her before.

"Not here Alec, I can't tell ya here," Rose replied as they arrived at a lift and the nurse was pressing the 'Up' button.

The nurse just smiled at the two of them, thinking they must have been a couple at one time and now they weren't sure about it.  She also thought the woman with the detective she'd seen on the news recently looked very familiar but what would the famous Vitex heiress be doing in a small town's community hospital with him?

"It's not far once we get upstairs," the nurse smiled as they got into the lift.  "Are you sure you're okay to walk?" she addressed Alec.

"I'm fine," Alec replied, then remembered to say, "Thanks."

Rose had taught him a lot in the few weeks they had been together, he'd got so used to being rude to Tess, he'd been rude to everyone, including Rose when they had worked together.  He'd had so many regrets when he'd finally admitted he loved her, one being the day she went to the hospital with him after he'd almost drowned, that he'd never even kissed her.

He had imagined what was going through Tess's mind that day, when she'd stayed at the scene then found out Rose had gone with him, she'd already made her mind up they were already seeing each other, he should have instigated their affair long before he actually did.

"Here we are," the nurse told them quietly as a sign hung from the ceiling told them they were at 'Ward 2'.  "Sorry dear, he’ll have to go in on his own, it's a men only ward," she told Rose.

Alec wondered why the woman had let Rose get this far then?

"Yeah," Rose muttered under her breath as the woman went to the door and left them a few feet away.  "See ya in the morning then?  Don't go sneakin' off before I come for ya.  Got it?"

"Yes Ma'am," Alec replied, giving a two-fingered mock salute back.  "You had better tell me what you want to talk about."

"If I do, you had better not think I'm gonna leave so easily until we've talked about it," Rose replied cryptically, trying not to give too much away.

How could she tell him he'd become a dad again a few months ago and she didn't know how to tell him?  Hopefully, the papers she needed should arrive tomorrow by special delivery to the park office.  Papers that gave Alec full joint responsibility for their baby daughter and visiting rights they agreed on, just in case he took it badly.

Now, the news he was seriously ill had suddenly been a game changer.  Now, it was more urgent than ever that he accepted Katy as being his and he met his new baby daughter as soon as possible.  Maybe now, he'd be more serious about his health and even be persuaded to let her help him get seen to sooner rather than later.

She reached up and put her arms around his neck, kissing his cheek.

"You be good and let them help ya," she told him as the nurse reminded them she was still there.

Alec put his hands on her shoulders, easing her back.

"You should go back Rose, don't worry about me," he tried to tell her without getting a lump in his throat.

How could this woman still be concerned about him when he'd so cruelly walked away from her and not even had the nerve to admit he was taking her mother's advice?  Or had Jackie admitted to her that she'd been the one to suggest it?  Since when had he taken notice of someone's mother?

Alec was the one to break the spell as Rose was reminded to let go of him.

"See ya in the morning," she told him as he turned away from her.

As he followed the nurse through the door, he stopped for a moment to wave to Rose.  He knew he still loved her, he'd never forgotten the times they had together after he'd finally admitted he'd kept away from her on purpose while they'd worked together.  He'd never told her why though, why he'd not wanted their relationship to become public while they were in the middle of a murder investigation and that he was afraid it would become like it had been with Tess, always arguing over work.

As he got settled down, he supposed it was his own fault Rose had brought him here and left him for the night but he was in no position to argue about it, was he?  Rose drove back to her caravan, wondering if she should call Pete about Alec's condition but there was nothing that could be done anyway and it was late, she could tell him tomorrow.  While Alec was put on a drip to try and get his medication level back up, he tried to get to sleep but all he could think about was when he saw Rose again and knowing he still loved her.

Whatever reason she had come here for he had listen to her.  She wouldn't have come all this way for nothing.  He figured she must have seen him on the news and decided since he'd left Sandbrook, he must have finalised his divorce to Tess.  Tess had been the main source of them not getting together earlier, if he had to admit it, more so than working together.

"Let's get you settled then, Alec?" another male voice addressed him as a face appeared at the curtain.

He'd heard chattering as he'd got undressed, thinking they must be deciding what to make of him, arriving late at night.

"I just have to put this in the back of your hand," the male nurse told him as he took a tube from the small box he'd been carrying.

It was over soon enough, with just a little discomfort and he lay back on the pillow.  He'd not been sleeping properly, sometimes waking calling Rose's name and wishing she was with him and sometimes, he felt like he was going under the water again and this time, Rose wasn't there.  Maybe tonight, he'd actually sleep, knowing Rose was nearby instead of over a hundred miles away.

Maybe though he'd sleep better if he admitted he was stupid to listen to her mother and beg Rose to take him back?  It may not be that difficult, judging by what she'd said, that she needed to talk to him.  Jackie had probably admitted she put the idea in his head and Rose would be more willing to forgive him?  What he couldn't figure out though was why she had waited over a year?

There had been the trial that had seen Lee Ashworth walk free because of Tess and he bet Rose had been right that Claire had followed Tess and taken the only real piece of evidence they'd had.

"Right, let's get this medication working," the male nurse, whose name on his badge was unpronounceable told him.

Alec thought about time, since he was supposed to be an urgent case and two pills would have done the job by now anyway and he could have gone back to the hotel - or maybe Rose's caravan.

Rose had got back to her caravan and put her car remote back in the drawer she'd started keeping them in.  She hoped Alec wouldn't make a fuss and leave before she got there in the morning.  He'd looked so pale though, when he'd knocked on the door earlier.

She thought she'd best get to sleep, in case she got a call from either Alec saying he wasn't staying any longer than he had to or the hospital would be calling to say he'd discharged himself against their advice.  She'd left her number with the nurse who had been with them as she'd left.

"Excuse me," the nurse had called after her as she waited for the lift as she didn't know where the stairs were.  "Can we have a number for Mr Hardy, just in case?  Are you his next of kin?"

"No, just a friend," was all Rose could describe herself as at present.

"Well we need a few details, he didn't fill the form in," the nurse had told her.  "Do you have his details?"

She had filled the form as best as she could but had left gaps.  Now, she just got undressed again and got back into bed and closed her eyes.  She turned onto her side and touched the empty space.

"Why did ya leave me Alec?" she whispered to herself.  "How did ya get so ill?  I could have looked after ya.  You'd better get well, ya have to meet your daughter."

Maybe she should have told him, before she'd left him at the hospital?  She was awake at seven the next morning so she made a quick drink and set off for the hospital.  It was busier than the night before and she waited for the lift again, looking miles away.

"Are you okay dearie?" an older woman asked as she stood at the side of Rose.

Rose turned towards the voice and saw an older woman wearing a yellow uniform with 'Volunteer' stitched in red.

"What?  Yeah, I'm fine, thanks.  I'm just collecting someone, unless he's decided to check himself out," Rose managed to smile at the thought of someone trying to stop Alec from leaving and running after him with a packet of pills.

"No-one's allowed to leave the wards until the doctors have seen them," the woman tried to assure her.

"They don't know him that well then," Rose smiled back as the lift arrived and she half expected Alec being in it.

"What ward's is he in then?" the woman asked her, getting in the lift beside Rose and pressing the 'Up' button.

"Ah, ward two," Rose answered, hoping the woman wouldn't follow her when she got out of the lift.

Being local, the woman would probably recognise Alec and it would be all around the hospital the lead detective on a murder investigation was a patient.  She was sure Alec wouldn't want it known he'd spent the night there.  She made her way to the ward and stopped at the desk.

"I've come to collect Alec Hardy," Rose told a nurse who was about to leave.

Alec was sat on the edge of the bed, waiting for the tube in the back of his hand taking out.

"Anyone know where Alec Hardy is?" the nurse asked the others who were gathered around the nurse's station.

"The first bed," one of them replied, the one who'd been dealing with him since the changeover.  "I'm just going to get him discharged."

"Has he been given medication to take with him?" Rose wanted to know, since that was why he'd been encouraged to stay last night.

She'd been surprised he'd agreed so easily.

"We're just waiting for it to arrive," Rose was told as the nurse picked up a tray.  "You'd best take a seat."

Rose went back to the doorway, where there was a row of seats.

"Was someone asking for me?" Alec asked the nurse who had taken over.

"A blonde?" the nurse smiled back.  "She's waiting.  If I didn't know better, I would swear I recognise her but what would someone as famous as her be doing in Broadchurch, of all places?"

Alec wanted to reply with a 'waiting for me' but thought better of it.  Instead, he let the nurse take the tubes out of the back of his hand, which had been disconnected earlier from his medication and a drip plus the oxygen tube had been taken away, which he had to admit had helped.

"Right, you can get dressed now," the nurse announced as she put a dressing on his hand.  "From what I heard, you did the right thing coming in last night."

Alec wondered what she'd heard.  Surely he'd not been that bad?

"What would that be?" he dared ask as he reached for his things.

"Weren't you told?  You should ask the doctor about it, it's not for me to say," the nurse replied.

"What wasn't I told when one came around earlier?" Alec now wanted to know.  "Get him back before I leave."

Rose thought she heard Alec talking and wandered nearer to the desk.

"Excuse me, has he been told he can leave?" Rose asked the nearest nurse, who turned out to the sister.

"As far as I know," the sister replied, looking at the computer screen, then at Rose.  "Are you a relative?"

"His girlfriend," Rose decided to say, since it would carry more weight, well maybe if she gave her name, that might carry even more.

"I see.  I'll have to get the doctor back to explain then," the sister sighed, as if she didn't have enough to do since coming on duty.

She picked up the desk phone and asked the operator to page the doctor on duty for the men's ward then looked up to Rose as someone arrived from the pharmacy.

"Is that for him?" Rose dared ask.

"Yes, when the doctor arrives, he'll explain why your friend should take his health more seriously.  I do know he did the right thing getting himself admitted last night."

"Why, did he have a heart attack or something?" Rose asked, a feeling of dread coming over her.  She started to panic when the sister just looked at her.  "Seriously?"

"The doctor who admitted him last night seemed to think he had.  Did he not mention it?  Maybe he didn't realise?" the sister wondered.

"He said he thought he might have had one,"  Rose recalled.

She'd been trying not to think about the prospect when he'd come in last night.

"If he is your boyfriend, how have you not noticed?" the sister wanted to know.

"He just moved here, I stayed behind, until he got settled.  He seemed fine before," Rose used the excuse.

"Then he must have been hiding it from you?   A lot of people tend to do that," the sister then told her.  "You'd be surprised."

Rose certainly was.  She waited for the sister to tell her more but the woman got called away.  Alec was sure he could hear Rose's voice, he'd imagined hearing it every time his bad heart woke him up.  He pulled one curtain partly back and saw her from the side.

"Rose," he called out, hoping she would hear him.

She did and turned towards him.

"Hey, I wondered where ya were," she admitted, giving him a smile that always melted him.

She went to meet him as he left the cubicle he'd stayed in last night.

"Alec Hardy," a male voice called out as a young doctor picked up Alec's medication.  "You wanted to know about your admittance last night?"

Alec took hold of Rose's arm, since he was stiff with sitting on the side of the bed.  He looked at Rose.

"Ya might as well tell me Alec," she whispered to him.

"Why are you getting involved Rose?" he wanted to know.

"I'll tell ya later," Rose just replied.  "So, why did he get here just in time last night?" she turned to asked the young doctor.

Chapter 14
The young doctor looked directly at Alec.

"You may as well tell her," Alec reluctantly agreed, thinking she'd find out one way or another.

"If you're sure?" the doctor replied, looking at the chart and the hastily printed notes. "He's been suffering from heart arrhythmia for some time now, he's marked down as not co-operating when an appointment is made for a pre-op before having surgery to insert a pacemaker," he told Rose, rather bluntly Alec thought. "If it's not done soon, we can't be responsible for him getting worse."

"I only put it off before because I was told my chances were not good," Alec objected at Rose being given so much information, which was supposed to be private.

He thought the young man must have thought Rose was his girlfriend after all.

"That's no excuse Alec," Rose turned to him.

"Well there was only one way to find out," Alec replied. "I was not willing to risk it."

"Why not?" Rose asked.

"Can we discuss this later?" Alec asked her, looking at the time. "I have to get back to work."

The young doctor just shook his head. The patient had been brought in by the woman with him, whom he swore was Rose Tyler herself, with a suspected heart attack and he still refused to have a pacemaker fitted, a procedure that took half a day, if that. Why wouldn't he want to risk it, when he had everything to live for – the woman with him for one.

"Well, here's your medication and I recommend you don't let your supply run so low in future," Alec was told.

"I'll make sure he doesn't," Rose insisted.

Alec wondered why she'd said that? After all, he had left her over a year ago, yet here she was and had probably saved him last night.

Rose remote unlocked her car, Alec just behind her trying to tear the name tag from his wrist.

"Why do they put these things on when you're only in overnight?" Alec was getting mad with it.

"So they don't lose ya," Rose laughed at him. "Are ya going to your hotel first?"

"Yes, it's on the High Street, The Traders'" Alec replied, trying to think of something to say back about the name tag, which he was searching for a bin to put it in, since he didn't want the hotel cleaner to find.

"Give it here Alec," Rose stood opposite him, holding her hand out. "We have to talk so come over after work."

"What about? My refusing to have a pacemaker fitted or what you came here for?" Alec asked her, not wanting to really talk about either.

"Both now," Rose replied as she got in and searching for her sunglasses, since the sun was low.

"I'm sorry I brushed you off last night," he apologised. "My DS had insisted."

"Don't worry about it Alec," Rose replied as she reversed out of the parking space.

She always drove straight into any parking space, much to her driving instructor's dismay. She had argued that you had more room to reverse out as opposed to getting into a small gap. Jake had given her extra lessons and had laughed at her argument. They drove back to the hotel, not saying anything and she pulled into the lay-by opposite.

"I don't know what time it will be," Alec said as he was getting out of the car.

"Call me, I still have my old number," Rose replied. "It needs to be tonight."

"Why the hurry, after all this time?" he wanted to know, making sure the annoying trainee reporter wasn't around.

It was all he needed, being seen getting out of Rose's car. Even the so-called 'fair' editor wouldn't be able to resist that story.

Rose didn't want to be away from Katy for any longer than she needed to be. She had to decide that if Alec turned her down and only wanted a long distance contact, she may have Katy brought down anyway and let him see them together. Surely he'd want to know more then? The papers would be there soon and she had to go through them, she'd not seen the final draft.

She stopped by one of the catering stalls near the caravan park to get some breakfast then called at the park office. She was surprised the package had already arrived and thanked the woman who handed it to her.

"Oh, I'll be having some visitors, should I put them down as staying with me now? My baby daughter may be joining me, I left her with my mum and I may need some baby equipment as well. It depends but I should know by tomorrow. I'll be having my boyfriend joining me, I don't know how long he'll be staying though? You won't say anything?" Rose smiled, certain they knew who she was.

"Of course not, Miss Tyler," an older woman told her, who had been listening while sorting various leaflets into piles. "Any visitors have to be registered though, we'll need their names."

"Well someone will be dropping the baby off and probably won't come inside," Rose admitted. "The thing is, the other person may not even stay overnight. It's complicated."

"Sorry, Miss Tyler. We'll need a name, you can write it on your agreement if you wish?" the woman suggested, going to the filing cabinet. "What equipment are you planning on borrowing?"

"Probably just a cot?" Rose wondered. "I'm not sure she'll like a baby bath, if ya have any?"

"Normally, things like that go very quickly but there are not many people here. Just call and I can have some of the twin beds taken down so you have a spare bedroom. I can send the cot and bath to you as well."

"That's great," Rose admitted, taking her agreement and being pointed to where it asked who would be staying. "Should I put the baby's name down?"

"There's no need for that. How old is she?" the woman asked.

"Six months," Rose smiled, now wishing she'd brought Katy with her but Alec may not take to the fact he now had a new baby to deal with, on top of his heart problem.

That would be the deciding factor, Rose had already thought. Would Alec be able to cope, if he accepted Katy? She'd had no idea he would be ill when she got here. Now, she had to call Pete and let him know. There might be something Torchwood medical could do for Alec? Would Alec accept their help though? He'd been a bit 'off' with her since she'd first seen him.

As Rose put Alec's name down, even though she wasn't sure, the woman was sure Rose had asked before about a cot. So, that was where the Vitex heiress had been hiding? She just hoped the younger receptionist didn't go talking to the young local reporter.

Rose went back to her caravan and assuming Alec had kept his old number, sent him a text – 'meet across the road at one?' she was referring to the seating area where the caterers were. It was a few minutes until she got a reply with a simple 'Yes'.

Alec was surprised he had got a message from her, he didn't quite know where things stood between them. It could go either way later on, she could tell him she couldn't cope with him being ill and either tell him to get himself fixed then call her or have nothing else to do with him. Then there was a very slim chance she had wanted him back since they'd split up and she wanted to help him. Would that include help from either her stepfather paying for a top surgeon or Torchwood?

Could he accept their help though, after walking out on Rose? Surely her mother should be the one apologising, not Rose? He should also apologise for being a total idiot and listening to the woman in the first place. Rose had to know it had been her mother who'd been the cause of him leaving? He tried to go through some information but found himself watching the time instead. Ellie had noticed.

"Something wrong Sir?" she asked when he went to make a drink.

"What? No, there's nothing wrong," he lied.

"You left suddenly last night, that's all," she replied. "My nephew thought he saw you getting out of a car outside the newspaper office this morning."

Alec knew he wouldn't have got away with it.

"I had to be somewhere early this morning," he told her, which was sort of true. "This Thursday night, have a reconstruction, one week on. Your boy Tom should lead it."

"What?" Ellie stopped what she was doing. "No way, he's already upset, especially after that interview."

"He's the best one to do it," Alec pointed out. "He knew Danny. Tell him it's important and it will help catch Danny's killer."

"I'm his Mum," Ellie reminded him. "It's not a good idea and not much notice – Sir."

"Well it's the best way to jog people's memories," he kept insisting. "Get it organised."

Ellie put her elbows on her desk and rested her head on them as Alec went back to his office. He was already tired from not getting much sleep last night, in a noisy hospital ward. He had been tired of Tess questioning everything he'd done back in Sandbrook and wasn't going to take it from his new DS. That had been another reason for keeping Rose away when working with her.

Now, out of the blue, Rose had re-appeared but what for exactly, he wondered as the desk phone rang.

"What?" he answered, hoping it wasn't Rose once he'd actually said it.

"Are we having that meeting?" Brian from forensics asked, from the office next to Alec's having failed to get Alec's attention.

"Yes," Alec just replied and put his phone down.

Ellie had already been summoned.

"He's so infuriating," Ellie was telling Brian. "Can you believe he wants my eldest son to lead a reconstruction of what happened that night?"

"How old is your son?" Brian wanted to know.

"Same age as Danny," Ellie replied, wondering why he was asking.

Did the man think Tom was younger or a lot older than Danny was?

"Hardy must have forgotten he'd asked for a meeting this morning," Brian changed the subject.

Poor Ellie was thinking it was a bit odd. Once Alec had joined them, Brian went over what they'd found already but was still annoyed about being disturbed and having to leave the scene, then Hardy had the nerve to forget about it.

"We could do with extra help, Sir," Brian concluded and brought Alec out of his daydream of wondering what Rose could possibly want. "When you had that case in Sandbrook, didn't you get help from that Torchwood?"

That made Ellie look up. She hadn't imagined seeing Rose Tyler, had she? Nor Hardy looking like he was talking to her yesterday. Then, there had been Hardy leaving their house early after being invited over for dinner. She had then had a call from her nephew just as she was leaving for work to say Hardy had got out of a car outside the newspaper office. He'd not been happy being asked about it though, she thought. Had Rose Tyler come down to offer help, like she'd apparently done up in Sandbrook?

She'd hurriedly read about it when she'd got to her desk, seeing the famous Torchwood agent had played a big part in getting Lee Ashworth convicted but why had it all fallen apart, even if evidence had gone missing? Then she'd seen Rose had disappeared before the trial. Maybe she and Hardy had been having a 'fling' while she'd been working with him and it hadn't ended very well?

That could explain why he seemed so tense about her being back? The meeting ended and Ellie took a chance of following Alec back to his office, closing the door.

"What about getting some help from Torchwood, Sir?" she dared ask.

"Call them then, if you think they will agree?" he replied as he looked in his desk drawer and saw a strip of pills that he could have done with last night.

If he'd put them in his pocket, he wouldn't have had to go find Rose and get her help. Maybe that would have made things even more tense between them though, when the did meet?

"Isn't Rose Tyler already in town?" she then replied, thinking she might have just crossed the line, if Hardy and Rose already knew each other.

She waited for him to reply and when he just sat back in his chair, she carried on.

"Sir? If she is, are you trying to avoid her? Only I saw you both yesterday and Oliver thought he saw you with her earlier. He'll probably have told his editor by now and she will have rung her press officer."

If the Vitex heiress was only on holiday, they wouldn't deny she was here but if it was personal, between her and Hardy, they might put a block out on it, Ellie wondered.

"Were you spying on me Miller?" he tried to get out of it.

"Not at all – Sir," Ellie tried not to blush. "We could do with some help though but what happened, back in Sandbrook? It was all going well, then it fell apart."

"That has nothing to do with this case Miller," Alec replied. "Call Torchwood, I already contacted them."

"About the case or Rose Tyler?" Ellie then dared ask.

"Leave it Miller, that's an order," Alec tried not to lose his temper. "Whether Rose Tyler is here or not is no-one's business. I doubt her press officer will answer the question."

Ellie was just about to leave when she turned back.

"You mean answer if you were both involved or about Sandbrook?"

"Sit down Miller," he almost ordered her. "What happened in Sandbrook is of no consequence, understand? Yes, we had a short relationship but after her involvement with the case ended. It was no secret back then but it ended a short time later, by mutual agreement. I have no idea why she is here."

"Sorry," Ellie apologised. "Is that why you left my house early last night, to meet her?"

"We met for a while, she wanted to talk but I don't know what about, she was being mysterious and it was late," he admitted.

"You should have said you had somewhere else to be," Ellie scolded him.

"What and have everyone know I was meeting Rose Tyler or that I had a date with her? I know what office gossip is like Miller, I had enough while my ex wife was having an affair, behind my back. That's why I don't date women I work with Miller. Rose was warned to stay away from me and she did."

"She waited until you had enough on Ashworth then passed it to someone else you mean?" Ellie had to smile.

"You could say that. I had only just begun divorce proceedings, my then wife accused Rose and I of having an affair before we began seeing each other but it did not put us off, once Rose stood back from the case," he further admitted. "Tess, my then wife got jealous of the way Rose and I worked together, especially when we found young Pippa Gillespie. It's a long story."

Ellie bet it was but at least she had some idea of why he was keeping things a secret.

"It wasn't a good idea to admit if I was seeing Rose," he added. "If this gets to your nephew though," he warned her.

"I won't say anything but he will ask questions about this morning," Ellie replied. "So, what do you think she wants? Just to offer help?"

"I have no idea. Now can we get back to the case?" he asked her. "What do you make of those cigarette ends being found where Danny was? Did the killer stand there smoking after bringing him down the coast?"

"It's a bit odd," Ellie agreed. "Well there were no cigarettes found up at the hut so either the killer waited all that time to smoke or it's not the same person. Mind you I know someone that does smoke. That woman from the caravan park and I think I remember her at the beach when Danny was found."

"She was not very pleasant when I went for the keys for the hut either," Alec agreed with her. "Wait for the DNA test results then if it is her, we will pay her a visit."

"Have you arranged to meet Rose Tyler again?" Ellie had been dying to ask, since he'd not actually said anything.

"Leave it Miller," he told her, not sure how he'd left things earlier.

It now bugged him what Rose wanted to meet with him for. If it was about working together again, she could have gone over him and gone to the chief.

"How are you getting on arranging that reconstruction?" he added.

She could have sworn she'd never even agreed for Tom to lead it.

"I've not had time," she tried not to get annoyed with him.

Alec was sure that was an excuse for her avoiding to do so. What was her problem of not wanting to get her son involved, he wondered.

"I want it organised Miller and if you are not wanting your son to take part, ask the parents of Danny's other friends if they can do it."

"That will take ages," Ellie objected, knowing what he was trying to do. "Oh okay, I'll ask Tom but if he says no, that's it."

Ellie was wondering how more annoying the DI was going to get. If he really had been involved with Rose Tyler, why didn't he want to make up with the Vitex heiress? Then, he'd stay out of her way. She knew he'd be pleased over that small victory so she wasn't going to let him have any more.

When it came to lunch time and most people were leaving except the ones who had just started, Alec was waiting until it was time to meet Rose, looking at the text message again. Why had he been so reluctant to agree to meet her? He maybe owed her his life last night and he'd just got out of her car and not even promised he would meet her later. He had come to the conclusion that his failing heart had already been broken the day he'd walked away from her.

It had been a tough time, not wanting Tess or Daisy to know he was ill and he'd hidden it all this time but maybe it was time to let go and let the one woman he had really loved know what she was up against, since Rose now knew how ill he really was. He would never have got that bad if he'd not left her. She would have spotted it and he would have got medical attention a lot sooner.

When he had told his old friend and sent him the latest results he'd got, Alistair had gone crazy over it the other night, he recalled.

"I've been over the results you sent me. They're not good Alec. Ya have to change all this, take it easy and find that woman you told me about again," Alistair had told him.

"I can't," Alec had replied. "I can't just find Rose again, how can I tell her how wrong I was to leave her?"

"Ya could admit ya listened to her mother," Alistair had laughed as they'd sat in the shelter on the pier.

"I think she'll know that by now, her mother will have admitted it, even under protest. You don't know what Jackie Tyler is really like Alistair. If you'd read about Pete Tyler's first wife, this one is twice as bad – she has a daughter to protect, at all costs, it seems," Alec had told his friend.

"Well, ya have to do something soon Alec or it's all over," Alistair had warned him. "How are ya liking it here then?"

"I don't, nowhere's the same without her Alistair. I hate it here without her but I couldn't have stayed in Sandbrook. Tess took every opportunity to remind me I couldn't keep Rose. Rose's stepfather put out a short press release when I left, to say we were going our separate ways due to the trial coming up and keeping Rose out of the press and that I didn't want her name getting involved."

"A wise decision Alec," Alistair had agreed with him. "Did it cover you getting back together again by any chance?"

"Leave it. She won't come back now, not after I left her, not the other way around. I know I was wrong but she won't forgive me," Alec admitted.

"You never know Alec, you never know," Alistair had tried to encourage him

He'd sat in the shelter after his friend had gone to his hotel for the night, wondering now how he was going to get through this murder investigation without Rose at his side to help him. Would he have solved Sandbrook without her, even though he'd gone up against Tess once she'd decided she was allowed to have an affair and he wasn't? The fact she'd had the nerve to accuse him of having one with Rose, before he'd actually started one had made him more determined to pursue Rose.

When Rose had turned up yesterday, he'd hardly been able to believe it but as usual, he put personal problems aside in favour of professional ones and it had almost cost him his life. What had Rose made of him asking her to take him to the hospital?

Meanwhile, at the office of The Broadchurch Echo, Maggie, the editor had heard some interesting news from her friend who worked as a volunteer at the hospital and she was telling her junior reporter, Olly Stevens, the nephew of Ellie Miller.

"I told you this morning I'd seen Hardy get out of a car and I swear it was Rose Tyler who was driving," Olly was insisting, having been brushed off earlier.

"Yes, forget about that," Maggie was telling him. "Yvonne, who volunteers up at the hospital was talking to one of the doctors there, Martha Jones and she was just coming off duty."

"That's news?" Olly wanted to know.

"Gawd, I hate the young," Maggie muttered under her breath. "I've not finished yet. Anyway, Yvonne had brought Martha Jones a cup of tea as she looked tired, which is unusual for such a small hospital and Martha said some patients had been complaining they'd been made to wait because someone was being admitted with a heart problem," Maggie told him.

"That was DI Hardy?" Olly asked, getting his notebook out.

"I'm glad to see you remembered your notebook Olly, good intuitive!" Maggie smiled, holding her fake cigarette in a holder. "Anyway, Martha didn't say much else except she'd heard from her nurse last night that the woman with Hardy looked familiar and she turned around and told the rude man off. I mean the very nature of A&E is that the most urgent cases get seen to first, especially if there's not much wrong with the person at the head of the queue."

"I know Maggie, look how many times I've had to take my mum," Olly suddenly looked sad.

"Oh, sorry sweetheart," Maggie rubbed his shoulder as she stood beside him, remembering her reporter's sad tales of taking his mother to hospital when he was as young as fifteen when she'd got herself drunk and injured herself and sometimes him, which was why his dad had left.

"So the woman with Hardy could have been Rose Tyler I suppose? I mean she'd get pretty pissed off at being kept waiting when she's used to getting her own way?" Olly managed to smile.

"Exactly!" Maggie called out, making those who were left working there turn and look at her. "Get back to work," Maggie shouted at them. "How about you go and ask him?"

Olly's face suddenly lit up at the prospect of catching the gruff detective on the spot.

"It's lunchtime, he'll be going out for some food," Maggie pointed to the clock.

"How far should I go with the questions?" Olly wanted to make sure, after the incident of giving Danny's name out before the official statement was given.

He thought Maggie was never going to forgive him for that.

"As far as you need to Olly, this is major news and we can get it before the nationals, thanks to my spy at the hospital," Maggie sounded happy. "Don't go too far though, you've already had one run-in with Hardy," she then reminded him.

Olly remembered it well as he got his things and set off for the catering stalls across the road from the police station, the most obvious place to catch the detective and with a bit of luck, Hardy may be meeting Rose Tyler. He had wondered what Rose Tyler was doing hanging around with the Scottish detective, who seemed like he didn't even want to be here.

Rose was making her way around to meet Alec, hoping he'd turn up after it had taken him a while to reply to her earlier. It was just before one as she looked around for him, then looked to see if he was leaving the police station. She did see a younger man hanging around by the stall on the corner and she was sure she'd seen him earlier, when she'd been dropping Alec off. She reckoned he was a reporter so she was going to give him no cause to start asking her any questions so she waited for Alec by sitting on the low wall, keeping her eyes on across the road.

Ellie was just leaving one of the other stalls when she saw her nephew.

"What are you doing down here, Oliver?" she wanted to know, hoping he wasn't there to spot Hardy. "You'd better not be looking for Hardy?"

"Why would I be looking for him, Aunt Ellie?" Olly pretended that wasn't why he was here.

"Don't get smart Olly, there'd only be one reason why you're waiting here. You'd best be gone before he does come out. He was still in his office when I left," Ellie told him.

"Look, I saw him get out of that car this morning and a woman was driving. I'm fairly certain it was Rose Tyler," Olly replied confidently. "A friend of Maggie's was told he was at the hospital last night, with someone who looks like her."

"He was at the hospital?" Ellie seemed put out, hoping it wasn't what Hardy had eaten last night. "What was he there for?"

"I don't know? Didn't he mention it to you?" Olly asked her.

"I asked him about getting out of a car," Ellie admitted. "He said he'd had to go somewhere."

She wasn't going to admit what Hardy had told her, he'd make her life more of a misery than he already did. Neither of them noticed that Rose had her back to them. Ellie tried to encourage her nephew to leave with her.

"I can't, Maggie wants a story. She said we can beat the nationals if Rose Tyler is meeting Hardy," Olly told her. "This could be my big break."

"It could also be your last day in the newspaper business, if her stepfather finds out about it," Ellie reminded him. "Be careful Olly, don't even mention her name if you see Hardy."

"I can't promise," Olly replied, not wanting to tell her any more until Hardy confirmed it. "I have to at least try."

Ellie went back across the road, silently wishing him good luck on getting a story out of Hardy. Rose had seen Ellie crossing the road after hearing talking nearby and she concluded the young man she'd seen waiting had been talking to her. Since the woman was going back to the police station and she was sure she'd seen the woman yesterday, it was a safe bet she worked with Alec and maybe the DS he'd been to visit last night.

She still bet the young man was a reporter and waiting for Alec to greet her when he crossed the road so she sent him a message not to talk to him before they met. Alec got the message just as he was putting his jacket on. He knew he'd be a few minutes early meeting Rose but he'd wanted to get there first.

Reading the message, he thought it was just typical the nosy reporter would be hanging around. He replied thanking her for the warning and that maybe she should move to the back of the seating area to wait for him and that he'd deal with the reporter. He met Ellie as he was going out, not wanting to say he'd been warned.

"Be careful, my nephew's across the road," Ellie told him as he got out of the lift.

"What is he doing there?" Alec wanted to know.

"His editor sent him to get a story. He saw you getting out of Rose Tyler's car this morning. I told you earlier. He must have got more information. Sir, had you been at the hospital last night?"

"What makes you think that?" Alec wanted to know, Ellie holding the lift button.

He wondered why everyone used the lift when it was only one floor up. Still, after his episode last night, he had to be more careful.

"It wasn't what you ate last night was it?" Ellie seemed anxious to know.

"No, why would it have been?" Alec asked her.

He could have used that as an excuse, he thought after he'd answered.

"I just wondered, only someone the newspaper editor knows told her you'd been there," she warned him. "Anyway, if you're meeting Rose Tyler, be warned."

"She already knows Miller, she just sent me a message," Alec replied, wanting to get away.

"She was there? Still, she should be used to spotting the press and dodging them," Ellie smiled at the thought she herself hadn't spotted Rose.

Alec went off and hoped Rose had taken his advice. She had and he was thankful she wasn't sitting on the wall opposite waiting for him again. He spotted Olly though and tried to avoid the reporter.

"DI Hardy," Olly shouted to Alec as Alec tried to get around a group of people waiting to be served at a stall.

"Go away Stevens," Alec warned him as Olly caught up.

"Just a few questions," Olly told him, getting his phone out to record the conversation.

"If it's about the case, go to the press officer," Alec told him, spotting Rose as he turned back to face Olly.

"No, it's about you. I saw you this morning, with Rose Tyler," Olly replied confidently. "I also know where you'd been. So, give me the exclusive and I won't sensationalise it like the big newspapers will, if they get it first. They also might make things up about it, if you don't tell the full story."

"You won't?" Alec questioned Olly's motives.

"I promise. We can do this later, at the newspaper office. You choose a time," Olly offered.

"Wow, you won't give up, will you?" Alec stood his ground. "It won't be tonight Stevens. I'll call your editor to make sure she will agree to those terms. Not that I'm saying there's a story and you agree to keep Rose Tyler out of it for now. You know who her stepfather is."

"I know, I've already been warned by my aunt," Olly admitted.

"I know and yet you're still here," Alec told him, Olly just grinning that he'd almost won.

Alec waited until Olly turned back before going to join Rose, who had ordered for the both of them and when Alec sat across the table from her, drinks had just been brought.

"You had a narrow escape," Rose smiled, turning the cups over to pour out some tea.

She bet the man who had just been over was telling his wife who he'd just served.

"Sorry about that," Alec apologised. "I've warned him to stay away but once the press know you are here, I won't be able to keep them away, you will have to get your press office onto them. We were seen at the hospital."

"I guessed that. Are ya okay Alec?" Rose asked him.

"I'm fine but I had to tell my DS about how we were once involved. She won't tell anyone," he replied, saying nothing about Ellie being related to the reporter.

If Rose wasn't staying, it wouldn't matter anyway and if she did, it would be up to her office to get the press to back off.

"Why did you want to meet later Rose? I was thinking about it earlier when I should have been working. You know now why I told you to stay away from me when we were working on the Sandbrook case," he added.

"We need to talk about a few things Alec, not in public though," Rose replied as a woman approached them with food on a tray.

Rose had taken the healthy option and ordered baked potatoes with cheese and salad, since she now knew Alec was ill. She also bet the woman hadn't believed her husband when he'd gone back.

"How are things going here anyway, are you getting any further with the case?" she then asked him.

Alec shook his head.

"It's slow, there's a lot to go through, there have been too many disruptions and now, I can't concentrate. Sorry Rose, that was not directed at you. I'm fighting my DS, it's like working with Tess all over again," he admitted. "Now, I have a nosy reporter to contend with, who wants the story of how we know each other. I could do with you helping out?"

"On the case or with the press?" Rose smiled.

Alec had always wondered why she had managed to see the funny side of serious things. He supposed it was due to the company she apparently used to keep before she had become famous. Instead of saying anything back, he made a serious face.

"Sorry," Rose tried to look serious. "Alec, I have to warn ya, when we've talked, then we won't be able to keep the press away so Pete suggested we called a press conference. I can't tell ya any more but things could go either way and ya could just walk away again when you've heard everything."

"Rose, can you please stop being so cryptic and just tell me?" he asked her as they ate.

"I will, when you come over tonight. I'll make something to eat, then it's up to you Alec, I can't make ya mind up for ya," Rose replied.

"You make it sound serious," Alec told her. "Why did you agree to help me last night? My DS knows we were once involved."

"It wasn't a secret back then Alec, it's just no-one except Tess was interested," Rose smiled. "Why did ya ever take notice of my mother? Ya didn't know her very well, ya didn't know what she was like but ya still took her word for it. I could never understand why."

"You let me walk away Rose, it was the second worst decision of my life, after marrying Tess. I suppose that was in the back of my mind, marrying someone I worked with," he admitted.

"Alec, I wasn't working with ya then, was I?" Rose asked him. "Is that what my mum said to ya? About gettin' married?"

"I don't remember her mentioning it," he tried to recall.

He'd walked away from Jackie Tyler that day and had no idea how Rose was going to take his decision to leave her.

"When did she tell you Rose?" he asked as he put his cutlery down on the almost empty plate.

He'd never understood how people could ever want to eat the potato peel, except when it was properly cooked.

"A few months later. She told me to go after ya," Rose replied. "I said it had been your decision to take notice of her, even though she'd said she was sorry to me. I told her you were the one she should apologise to and she said she couldn't, that you would never have believed her. Would ya have done?"

"Maybe, if she had told me she had not meant what she'd said. It was all her Rose, she made me believe it was all true."

"Since when did you ever take notice of someone's mother?" Rose wanted to know as she poured out more tea.

"Then this is something else to discuss?" Alec wanted to know.

"Yeah, I should think it is but first, there's something else and I swear we can't talk about it here. Come over after work then?"

They got up to leave and were about to part company at the steps to the police station, where they didn't notice Ellie was drinking the last of her coffee on the balcony.

"I never wanted to leave you Rose," he leaned down to whisper and dared to kiss her cheek.

"I think I always knew that Alec but it wasn't easy to go after ya. You were still in Sandbrook and I could never have gone back there, not with Tess making things difficult," Rose told him. "See ya later then," she went to put an arm around him, now more confident he would show up.

Alec went back upstairs after being caught by the desk sergeant, who handed him a pile of messages.

"You should put another number on your leaflets and information sources," Bob complained.

Once upstairs, Ellie followed him into his office.

"So, have you made up with her then?" she grinned.

"That remains to be seen Miller, she is still being mysterious. She still won't say what it was about but we agreed I should never have left her like I did."

"How was that, Sir?" Ellie was dying to know as she sat down.

"Her mother tried to make me see a few things and the way she did so, made me believe she was right. By the time I realised what she had done, it was too late. Rose never would have taken me back."

"So, is she willing to take you back now?" Ellie wanted to know.

"I don't know Miller, she knows it was her mother so maybe? She said there is something else Miller and I cannot for the life of me begin to think what it is," he admitted.

Chapter 15
Alec was tense the rest of the afternoon, trying to think what Rose wanted to talk about. Seeing her again had brought up all his feelings for her, of when they'd lived together for a short time. If they'd not gone back that weekend, they might never have split up.

They had done though and it had been him, believing her mother and just leaving her standing there when he'd gone off. He'd thought back to that day many a time, how she must have felt when she'd watched him leave. He'd got to the train station and had thought maybe it wasn't too late to get a taxi back or even call her for her to pick him up but he'd bought his ticket and sat waiting for the train to arrive.

If he'd have rung her house, her mother would have only reminded him and if he'd called Rose's mobile, she would have been too upset to answer it or maybe she would have just ignored it as she saw his name come up. No, it had been best he'd just gone and tried to get on with his life.

That hadn't been easy though, going back on his own. He knew Tess had scored a victory over him but he didn't give her the chance to gloat, telling everyone they had decided it was best Rose remained back in London while the case was concluded, because of any trial. Then he'd justified his decision, making himself believe it was the best thing to do so no-one could accuse Rose of trying to get her name in the papers of being involved in the case.

Then, he'd put in for a transfer and here he was, back beside the water and thoughts of Rose's concern for him that day he knew he was in love with her. He guessed he'd really known since the day she'd arrived and he'd told her to stay out of his way.

He gave up trying to sort through some case reports, thinking he'd just put them on either Miller's desk or one of the other DS's, he didn't think Miller would appreciate it since he'd left her to organise a reconstruction of where Danny had been the night he'd died. Something was digging at him though but he couldn't put his finger on it. He wasn't going to ask Rose though.

He'd find out what she wanted to see him for and then she'd probably leave again but her being mysterious over it wasn't helping. What had she been talking about with her saying she can't make his mind up for him? He hoped she'd stop being cryptic when he got there tonight and she'd do it before they ate. He put his jacket on, picked up the pile of folders that had appeared on his desk while he'd been at lunch and stood in front of Ellie's desk.

"You don't expect me to go through those?" Ellie looked up at him.

"Give them out then?" he suggested. "I'm going out, see you tomorrow. Talk to your boy about Thursday night."

"If he says no, that's it," Ellie warned him.

He just made one of his faces and turned around, slowly.

"Frank, take these folders," Ellie called over her desk. "Then organise a reconstruction of where Danny walked down to the harbour last Thursday night."

"How do I do that?" Frank wanted to know.

"Find out," Ellie suggested, seeing he'd not appeared to be doing much when Hardy had her doing all the work.

Why had she been the one to be picked on to work with the grumpy detective who had stolen her job? It was now after four anyway so Alec walked up to his hotel and Becca was at the desk.

"Slow day?" she asked, noting the time.

"Not really, there's a lot goes on behind the scenes," he replied, tired of everyone thinking nothing was being done. "We can't tell the public everything."

Becca got up to give him his key, since she'd asked for it back that morning as it was cleaning day. He was about to go upstairs when a voice called after him from the lounge.

"You're early," Karen White remarked as she folded her arms and leaned on the doorframe. "How about an interview or did Olly beat me to it? I have a reliable source you've been meeting Rose Tyler, that makes a very interesting story."

"I have nothing to say," Alec replied, not in the mood for any reporters, let alone her.

She'd not left him alone after Rose had left Sandbrook. He was then half glad Rose was no longer there for the reporter to get her claws into them. She'd then not left him alone after Tess losing the evidence had let Lee Ashworth walk free.

"I could make up a story," Karen told him. "But then, I'd have my editor pull me back. What's she doing here? Has she come to work on the case or is it personal?"

"If there is any comment from her, it will come from her office. You print anything about her being here and your editor will do more than pull you back and no, there will be no interview," Alec told her firmly, wanting to get changed and get a shower before going to meet Rose.

He'd only had time for a quick wash that morning when Rose had dropped him off. He'd had a nasty feeling the reporter who had hounded him in Sandbrook might be staying at the same hotel, given it was just across the road from the newspaper office. Karen White and Stevens were bound to have teamed up to gang upon him.

For all he knew, the two of them were going to cook up a story about himself and Rose without asking for the facts of Rose being in town. When he'd got himself ready, he decided he'd check up on Daisy, who had not been pleased he'd gone off and left her.

"Have you forgiven me yet?" he asked as he got the hang of the video call when she said she couldn't hear him.

"I've not decided yet," the teenager replied. "Maybe if you tell me why Rose left?"

"Daisy, I already told you, it was for the best," he tried to convince her.

"Dad, I don't believe you," she dared to tell him. "You seemed happy with her and she wouldn't have gone off and not come back so admit it was you."

"It was complicated," he admitted, for the second time today and Miller knew more about it than his daughter did.

That was mainly due to him not trusting Daisy when it came to telling Tess. He did not want Tess knowing the reason, she would gloat over it then, how he'd backed off due to Rose's mother suggesting it. Now, all Jackie had said was coming back to haunt him.

"Rose is here, in Broadchurch," he suddenly decided to tell her.

"Then tell her you want her back," Daisy replied excitedly.

She had been overjoyed when Alec had admitted he liked Rose and they had become an item, since she'd followed everything Rose ever did. Then her dad had gone and left Rose behind in London and offered no explanation for it. She had been upset until the day he'd finally packed up and left, only seeing him once a week and then she'd kept asking if he'd heard from Rose.

"It's not that easy," Alec told her. "I'm meeting with her tonight but it may not be about her forgiving me for leaving her at home. Daisy, it may be in the papers about it so when it is, just be aware they will make half of it up, if it doesn't go well."

"Okay Dad, I know what the papers did before," Daisy remembered. "It wasn't true, was it? That Rose stayed behind on purpose, so she wouldn't get named in court."

"Daisy, Rose did it for the opposite reasons. She did not want her name getting in the headlines and taking the focus away from what was happening," he recalled.

"That makes more sense," Daisy agreed. "I'm older now Dad, you don't have to shield me from the truth. Besides, I knew Rose wouldn't do that, she wasn't like that."

"I know. I'll see what she has to say but I'm not exactly sure she'll even take me back," he smiled.

"I think she will Dad," Daisy smiled back.

"Well I'm not letting her get involved with the case this time but if she offers Torchwood's help, I can't refuse that. If I do, she might just go away again," he admitted. "She hinted that we need to talk about why I left her behind so that's something."

"Maybe you'll tell me one day?" Daisy asked. "You never said. It wasn't you who wanted to leave though, was it?"

"How would you know that?" Alec wanted to know.

"I know you Dad, there had to be a reason," Daisy replied. "Will you come back for a visit and maybe bring Rose with you? I'd love to see her again."

"Maybe? If she forgives me?" Alec smiled again. "She was being all mysterious earlier so it could go either way."

He recalled Rose saying that anyway but she had also said it would be down to him so he said goodbye to his daughter and decided he'd go catch the store down the road before it closed and get some chocolates and a bottle of wine for Rose. Then he thought he would walk slowly down to the harbour and it should be the time Rose was expecting him. He felt as nervous as the first time he'd invited Rose out in Sandbrook.

Rose had been to the supermarket to get groceries for the next few days and also a few baby items. If she needed more, she could go back the following morning before the nanny arrived with Katy, though most things would be coming with her.

She had put dinner in the oven, not that she was impressed how high the oven went so she would have to leave the casserole in a little longer. Then she prepared the table, having got a few candles in holders so she could pull the curtains over and not need a light on. She was aware being in a caravan needed extra safety precautions so the candles were placed on the coffee table and below the glass cabinets on the wall. Then she placed one on the table and hoped for the best that would be enough for some ambient light.

She was also aware she may never even get chance to light the candles. She had to tell Alec why she was there as soon as he arrived, so he could leave without things being any more awkward between them while they ate than they were now. She then decided to call her mother.

"Mum, I'm gonna try and make up with Alec so I need ya to apologise to him if I call you," she told Jackie.

"I know, ya said ya were gonna try," Jackie replied as she watched the nanny put Katy in her cot.

"How's Katy?" Rose asked, hearing some murmuring.

"She's fine and misses you," Jackie laughed. "You make up with him Rose, we can have Katy down tomorrow, can't we?" she asked the nanny.

"Yes Mrs Tyler, it's all arranged," the other woman told her, again, since it was all Jackie had been going on about. "We just need to know where Miss Tyler is staying and what else she requires."

Rose ended the call and went to get changed, having treated herself to something nice while she'd been out and she looked at herself in the mirror after she'd showered and put a new outfit on, hoping Alec would actually notice. Would he just want to hear what she had to say then go without even debating it? If so, she had to give him the envelope and leave him to decide if he wanted contact with his baby daughter or not.

She could live with him wanting to see her say once a month and him meet Katy some time tomorrow and even if he wanted to tell Daisy she had a baby half sister. What she didn't want was for him to snatch the envelope and telling her she'd hear from his solicitor, if he had one now.

She remembered one back in Sandbrook who had given her a hard time before the trial had taken place. Then she had left and not fully followed the rest, only hearing the outcome. She'd had Mickey follow it instead, Mickey had come a long way since he used to hang about and be her boyfriend, back in their own world. Pete had placed a lot of trust in him and Jake.

Now as the time approached for Alec to arrive, she felt even more nervous and Alec had never made her nervous before. Things had vastly changed between them but she was willing to forgive him for leaving her as long as he accepted responsibility for Katy, since the baby had his name after she had insisted.

Alec took the turning for the caravan park that the taxi had avoided last night and he found the row he wanted, looking at the numbers. If he'd brought the piece of paper Rose had given him with him last night, he wouldn't have had to try to remember it. Rose had checked dinner and everything was almost ready but somehow, she didn't think either of them would have an appetite.

She jumped slightly when she saw him approaching the caravan and go around to the door.

"Hi Alec, come in."

"Rose. Ah, these are for you," he handed her the wine and the flowers he'd picked up at the last minute.

"Oh, thanks, the flowers are lovely. Watch the step."

Alec thought she could have warned him about the step last night. Rose had called about a more sturdy one if the baby was arriving tomorrow. She had a large 'posh' caravan and all they had put was two single normal caravan steps on both doors.

"I have chocolates as well," he added as she went to the kitchen area, Rose hoping there was a vase somewhere.

"You shouldn't have Alec, really. It was sweet of you though," she told him, so as not to make him think she was turning them down.

"To make up for not being able to see you properly last night and for taking me to the hospital. I meant it Rose, you probably saved me last night," he replied.

"You could have gone straight to the hospital," she reminded him.

"I made my choice Rose, if something was going to happen, I wanted someone with me," he told her, hoping she didn't take it the wrong way. "What I meant was you deserved to know there was something wrong with me."

Rose thought that was some way of telling her, wasn't it?

"Well I'm relieved it wasn't the last time," Rose turned back around and put on a smile. "So, how are ya feeling now?"

"Better. I promise I will take the pills when I am supposed to. Tell me why you asked me to come over, before you serve the food. Please Rose?"

"Okay, ya'd better sit down though. Alec, ya have to understand why I never went to find ya before ya came here."

"Yes, I was an idiot, I know that and I didn't deserve for you to either. You were well within your rights to forget me Rose."

"I never for one minute forgot ya Alec," she replied, sitting opposite.

"Nor I you Rose. Why I ever took notice of your mother, I will never know but she was wrong, we could have made it work and we still can but things are not going to be easy here. You will need to get the press to back off, there are two here who know you are here. It will not take them long to figure out you are here because of me."

"I can get them to back off Alec but as I told ya earlier, we'll have to face them," she reminded him.

"I remember but what for Rose?" he wanted to know.

"Okay. Alec, just after ya left, I didn't feel well and mum got the doctor in. He did a test and well."

"Rose. Just tell me, eh?" he urged her, getting up.

He went to sit beside her and took her hands.

"I want to make up Rose, if you want? It was nothing serious then?" he smiled.

"That depends. Yeah, I was fine, seven months later. Alec ya have a six month old daughter. She's called Katy."

Alec let go of her hands and Rose thought that was it, he'd taken it badly. She expected him to get up and head for the door but he sat further forward and took her hands again.

"I have?" he wanted to make sure he'd heard correctly. "Where is she, with your mother?"

"Yeah. I didn't want to bring her with me, until I'd told ya. That's why I wanted ya to come over last night."

"And you thought I was avoiding you?" he asked, still holding one of her hands but running the other through his beard.

"That suits ya," Rose tried to judge his reaction, which wasn't easy. "Then when ya did come over later on and I had to take ya to hospital, I thought then wasn't a good time. I would have told ya if ya'd got really bad though. I'll get the photos, they're on my phone."

Alec let her up and Rose thought he was going to fall off the sofa as she held her phone out and went to the photo gallery. She sat beside him as he thumbed through them as Rose put it on the first one, from when she was holding Katy in the hospital, one Pete had taken as Jackie had been trying to get the baby off her. She thought it was a good sign and went to get the envelope.

"Alec, ya need to see these as well," she told him.

He'd nearly got to the end of those in the gallery but she had some Jake had hidden away in another folder.

"What's this?" he asked as he put the phone on the coffee table, seeing the unlit candles.

"Oh, just if ya were staying to eat," Rose told him, handing him the envelope. "In this envelope there are papers, giving ya full joint parental responsibilities for Katy. Ya can see her when ya want Alec, someone will being her down, if ya don't wanna see me and then when she gets older, ya can have her weekends and some of the holidays. That's if ya wanna?"

"What?" he asked as he saw the name of the law firm on top of the cover letter.

"Ya just have to sign 'em," Rose prompted him. "They're all filled in, I'm not gonna stop ya seeing her and she has your name."

"This is all a lot to take in," was all he could say.

"Yeah, sorry. I didn't know how ya'd take it. I mean it is a lot to take in, I can imagine. Anyway, read through them, there's no rush. We can eat, if ya want?"

She went off to the kitchen area, hoping the pan containing the baby potatoes hadn't dried up and was about to put the light back on under the veg.

"Rose, sit down," he called to her, the papers in his hand, untouched.

Rose thought this was make or break. Maybe he wasn't even going to sign them? All kinds of things were running through her head.

"I can't sign them," he told her, now glancing through them.

"Fine, ya don't have to take responsibility Alec. Ya don't have to sign anything ya don't want. Maybe if ya saw her, ya might want to?"

"What? Rose, you have it all wrong," he then cracked a smile. "You think I'm turning all this down?"

Rose managed to nod, a lump in her throat with her disappointment.

"Sit back down eh? I can't sign them, I want more than what you're saying is in the papers. I don't just want to see her whenever you or someone else can get down with her, nor have her just for the holidays."

"Fine, I already get it Alec," she almost cried.

Alec had noticed and guided her to sit beside him.

"Rose, don't you get it? I said I wanted to make up, if you do? I'm trying to say I want to see you both, if you want? Not just for a few days at a time though. When can you get her here?"

He got up to get her a tissue then sat back down, the papers on the coffee table. He picked the phone back up.

"Do you have more photos? Maybe more from the hospital?" he smiled.

"What? Oh yeah, hand the phone to me. These are the ones I show to mum's friends when they ask and those I used to work with if they call round."

"Rose, I want you and Katy, if that's what you want?" he asked as Rose found the other photos. "What do you think?"

"Well yeah, I wanted to make up, for ya not being there when she was born, so I hide these away. I asked mum to take a few videos of me tryin' to feed katy but she wouldn't, the nurse said to keep tryin' but she was crying. Then mum took some of us as I held Katy and I held her hand to wave. I hoped ya see them one day."

He saw the videos and pressed the play button, hearing Jackie and the nurse encouraging her to get it right, trying to feed the baby and he saw Rose's tears as she gave in and accepted the ready-made milk in the bottle. He also heard Jackie telling her it wasn't her fault, that Katy was just a hungry baby and Rose couldn't keep up then Jackie telling her she wasn't a failure when Rose said she was.

"Rose, you should have contacted me," he finally told her. "I would have left Sandbrook. I had nowhere else to go, I was waiting for a transfer."

"I stayed away 'cos of the trial and what happened. I wasn't gonna bring Katy to the same town as Tess," Rose replied.

Chapter 16
Alec supposed he could understand Rose not wanting to return to Sandbrook, complete with a newborn baby – his newborn baby. At least only six months had passed but he could have helped her when she was pregnant. Or could he? He still would have had to battle with Tess and see the divorce through whilst supporting Rose and that wouldn't have been easy.

No, he had to respect why she'd stayed away and that maybe it had been for the best. Could he have let her stay away and have known about the baby? He somehow doubted it.

"I understand Rose, really I do," he told her as she passed her phone back after opening the private folder.

"I know ya do Alec, it wasn't easy staying away. I think the worst was over Christmas," she admitted as she sat beside him, wanting to call her mother to make the final arrangements to bring Katy down tomorrow. "I had to think about if ya'd not wanted anything to do with us."

"What made you change your mind?" he asked as he flipped through the photos where she was holding Katy close and feeding and bathing her.

He wished he could have been there, even if only for short periods.

"It would never have worked Alec, not while you were still in Sandbrook. I never knew that ya'd put in for a transfer, I thought you'd have wanted to stay near Daisy?" Rose asked.

"I did at first," he admitted. "Then it became more difficult with the divorce almost being final, it was pure luck this job came up, though I did not expect to walk into another murder investigation."

"Yeah, that was a bad break," Rose sympathised. "I'd offer our help but ya'd probably refuse?"

"I can't let you help this time Rose, think of how it would look? No, it's best you keep out of it this time. I know I called Torchwood but I was hoping to speak to you but now I think it's a bad idea."

"Ya can still call Alec, ask for Jake or Mickey, they can get a mobile unit down here to help with forensics and medical, if ya need it?"

"You mean to help me?" he smiled as he saw the last of the photos of Katy taken a few days ago.

"I think ya need it Alec, don't you?" she tried to get him to admit. "What if ya'd not found me last night and ya'd collapsed in the middle of the roadway? No-one might have found ya. I hate to think of it."

"That is being over-dramatic Rose," he told her, passing her phone back. "Do you need to make arrangements to get Katy down here?"

"What? Oh, yeah, I'll do it now, then we can eat," Rose replied, coming round.

"What you said about getting attention?" he reminded her as she got Pete's number on the screen.

"Pete can sort all that out, we can give a statement to the local press, if ya want? I mean it would be less dramatic and we can control it. Then we wouldn't take attention away from the case," she suggested.

"I somehow doubt that Rose. Maybe we can delay making the announcement and do a deal with the local newspaper? The editor seems reasonable enough," he suggested, remembering Maggie Radcliff saying the newspaper worked with the police after she made Olly Stevens apologise to him for blurting Danny's name out.

Olly had not given up though, he had still been hanging around. He should have guessed right from the start the young reporter was related to his DS. He had confided somewhat in DS Miller and hoped she wouldn't gossip. He listened as Rose told her mother where she was staying and what time the nanny would arrive tomorrow.

"Well if your dad's driver brings her down?" Jackie suggested, thinking then, nanny could see to Katy in case she wanted anything. "Or she can drive down with Katy herself? I don't know though, it's a long way with a baby."

"Yeah, that's why I didn't want to do it Mum," Rose reminded her mother. "Get the driver to bring them down, that's the safest, they won't be here long and then it's another long drive back."

"Yeah, I'll tell them then shall I?" Jackie wanted to make sure. "How are things going then?"

"Okay, Alec's keen to see Katy, aren't ya Alec?" Rose smiled in his direction. "Is dad around, I need to speak to him, Alec may need some help down here after all and I don't wanna get involved."

"I should hope not if Katy's with you," Jackie told her. "I'll get Pete to call ya back, he's with Tony and I'm off to check on Katy."

Rose thought her mother should have added 'again' to that statement.

"Are you telling your stepfather that I am ill?" Alec wanted to know.

"He can help Alec, ya have to trust someone else besides me, he can get things done. Don't try to do this on ya own, ya have Katy to think about now, remember?" she reminded him.

"I already know that Rose," he replied as Rose got up and he followed her to the kitchen area. "I will let you help but I'm not so keen getting Torchwood involved again, there are reporters swarming all over the town."

"Not so much down here, I've not seen any and I already sussed out the local reporter," Rose smiled.

"Did he know you were there though?" Alec asked.

"Nah, don't think so, I had my back to him," Rose laughed. "I know you talked to him though."

Alec thought that was typical of a top Torchwood agent, he'd already experienced how she worked back in Sandbrook. He knew how sneaky she could be when she wanted to be, he had to give her that much credit. They finished getting the evening meal ready and caught up as they ate.

"So, what is Katy starting to do then?" he asked as he poured some more wine for Rose but he stuck to his water.

"I hate to drink alone Alec," Rose told him. "No more for me after this one. The clinic's pleased with her, she's met all her milestones and she's the right weight for her age."

"That's good then? Is she still just having milk?" he wondered, trying to think back to Daisy but Tess had never said much about it.

No, Tess had been too keen to get back to work and had Daisy in a private nursery as soon as she'd got her a place. Tess was a career woman, not mother material and that had been part of the problem. They had been arguing who picked up their daughter right from she was six months old. Things were going to be drastically different this time around, Rose had already given up working by the sound of it but he was still a little worried she had a nanny.

"Rose, about this nanny?" he dared ask.

"What about her? It was mum's idea to get Tony's to help look after her, not mine. I still do a little work from home though, not much but Katy's in the family room with mum most of the time and I only do a few hours to pass the time," Rose admitted. "I can stop any time I want to."

"Then I am glad to hear it," Alec smiled as he helped clear the dishes. "So, what time will they be here tomorrow?"

Rose was pleased he was so keen to see his new baby daughter.

"Sometime in the afternoon, they'll set off after the morning rush hour, well it lasts more than an hour though," Rose laughed. "Once they're out of London, they should maybe only need to stop once, if Katy gets irritable. I've never taken her on long journeys before, I've never needed to."

"I expect not? Give me a call when they arrive, I can make an excuse to come round," he replied.

"Yeah. Have ya told anyone I'm here Alec?" she wanted to know.

"Just my DS, she saw me talking to you," he admitted. "She was near where you were earlier but I don't think she saw you. She noticed something was bothering me as well. We don't really get on though, she practically forced me to accept her invitation last night."

"Yeah, I bet she did," Rose laughed. "The less people who know I'm here the better, I don't want it being all over the papers and that boy's family suing me."

"They may get annoyed if the headlines about their son get replaced by claims you have been seen in the town with me and we are pushing a baby in a pram," he teased her.

Rose didn't know if he was joking or not until she saw him smiling. Then she just nudged him as he washed the dishes.

"Be serious though Alec, that's why we have to go to the local newspaper, they can break the news gently," she reminded him, thinking he seemed to be taking it all fairly well. "Are ya gonna call for some help then?"

"Not yet, see how things go, it has only been a few days," he reminded her. "I have to at least try to prove myself to my new chief. She would not think much of me if I just called Torchwood and let them take over."

"You didn't do that in Sandbrook," Rose recalled. "You did the opposite, you told me to stay away from you."

"I know and for a very good reason. You know what happened before we even got together, need I remind you?" he asked her.

"Yeah, Tess came to the wrong conclusion. I think it made her worse that I went off in the ambulance with ya when ya went in the river. Why did that get to her so much? Were ya having trouble before I came along?" she tried to remember.

"Does it matter eh?" Alec wanted to know as he dried his hands.

"No, sorry. I didn't mean to drag up the past, it's done now. A friend of mine used to say the past is another country, like the Isle of Wight," she smiled as she remembered her first Doctor and all his quirky sayings. "Anyway, I can get someone down here, ya just have to say."

"I know and I will, if need be. I do not want to think what my DS would be like if they did turn up," he smiled at the thought of Miller going up against Torchwood. "You should meet with her, she has a young son."

"Okay, I'll be busy tomorrow though so how about Friday lunchtime? I have to get a cot organised tomorrow and they're gonna take some of the single beds down so the cot can go in one of the spare rooms. I took a three bedroom model just in case I needed the space. I even got a washing machine but I don't know if it's a dryer as well, though I don't like them much, the clothes tend to smell a bit," Rose pulled a face, making Alec smile.

"So, have we made up by any chance?" he wanted to know, wondering how things now stood. "I did not mean to upset you by saying I would not sign the papers, I will look at them, if that's how things are? I mean if you don't want to make up in that way?"

"Alec, I didn't mean to make ya sign them ya know? They were just in case ya didn't want to make up. Do ya? I mean I know it was my mum and I'm gonna make her apologise to ya"

"Yes, I know it was all your mother, I already said I should never have listened to her but would you have stayed and had the baby in Sandbrook or would you have gone home anyway to have her?" he wanted to know.

"Ah, good point?" Rose wondered as she hung the tea towel to dry on the cooker handle. "Maybe not? I mean Tess was bad enough at the time, she'd have never quit when she found out. What about now though? I mean we don't have to go there, do we?"

"Well, I will have to tell Daisy, who in turn will tell her mother," he had to admit. "Sorry but there is no avoiding that though I will try to keep the peace. She is old enough now to travel on her own, should she want to come down and meet her baby half sister."

"Yeah, I won't stop her. I think Daisy liked me while I was up in Sandbrook," Rose recalled. "So, where do things stand then?"

She wanted to make up but it was now up to him.

"I think I want to try to make up for not being with you, while you were pregnant but was I right? I mean about you staying at home while you were having the baby?" he wanted to know.

"That's a tough question Alec and hardly fair on either of us. I mean I might have gone home for a while, when the trial was taking place, to avoid being in the papers. It would have taken over the headlines that I was pregnant with your baby when instead, I minimised it by the headlines saying I had buried myself in my work. Then they lost interest."

"Yes, I did see what they had written about you, Daisy made a point of showing me," he admitted. "Then she told me I was an idiot for letting you go. I had to explain to her the reasons and it was not easy."

"Yeah, I can imagine?" Rose sympathised. "Guess we'll never know if I did the right thing in staying away? I'm sorry Alec, maybe I should have gone to you when the trial was over but ya left so easily on my mother's advice. I was so mad at you for that."

"I'm sorry for that, really I am," he tried to apologise. "I do not know what possessed me not to challenge her."

"You and all my male friends," Rose admitted. "Mickey's still scared of her."

"Then do you forgive me now? I mean I want us to start again, if you do?" he dared ask as he tried to put his arms around her.

Rose had forgotten how good it felt as she let him.

"Yeah, you're forgiven but I hope ya know what you're gonna have to face? Can ya arrange to meet the newspaper editor? I don't wanna approach her, she may not believe it's me and I'd rather go to her than the reporter."

"Yes, I can contact her. By the way, we are having a reconstruction of where Danny Latimer went on Thursday night, so the papers will be full of that. Maybe we should wait until next week?" he suggested.

"People will see me with a baby in a pushchair," she reminded him.

"That will be unavoidable I suppose? You will no doubt get the attention of the town's reporter before I get chance to contact them? My DS is related to him, I will have to go to her to get him to keep the news to himself for now."

"Won't he go to his editor anyway?" Rose wondered.

"Not if he does it on his own, like he did by revealing the boy's name on social media before he told his editor. He may have learned his lesson though after she threatened him?" Alec wondered, pulling her closer.

"Geez, it sounds like he's out to make a name for himself then? He'd better not try at my expense or his short career will be over before he knows it. If he crosses me, my step dad will be on him like a ton of bricks."

"I can imagine," Alec smiled at the thought. "So, am I invited to stay a while longer maybe?" he dared ask as he kissed her neck.

"What?" Rose asked as she melted. "Oh yeah, I put your name down earlier, along with the fact Katy would be joining me. There aren't that many people around anyway."

"Good, we don't need anyone seeing me leave early in the morning then?" he smiled.

This was the first time being here had made any sense to him. They watched some TV, snuggling up on the seating and Alec initiating some kissing and pulling her down on top of him.

"Hey you, I don't wanna have to take ya back to the hospital," she warned him as he went for her jeans zip.

"Then come here and calm me down?" he suggested, Rose seeing how different he looked when he was smiling.

"Are ya keeping that beard?" Rose wondered, not used to seeing him for a while.

"You never objected before, Rose," he reminded her, wondering if he dared to call her 'love' again when he'd been an idiot.

"It's been a while though," she reminded him as he unzipped her jeans and getting no resistance.

Why was she forgiving him so easily, he wondered. Maybe he should just leave things be and not drag up the past? She went for his zip and gently, they got used to each other again, Rose being content with the touching and making him smile even more that she hadn't forgotten how good she used to feel when they had got together.

Now, he really regretted he had left it so long. He could have gone to her after the trial had fallen apart but he had been stubborn and believed she would never forgive him. Would she have done though, after what she had said earlier? Maybe if she'd found out how ill he'd got after he left her, she might have done?

They decided they would take it to the bedroom, Alec locking the door and they had already pulled the curtains across, Rose not trusting the local reporter and he'd followed Alec earlier.

"Hey Alec," Rose called from outside the bathroom door. "There's another smaller bathroom in my bedroom if ya don't wanna wait?" she suggested.

"You really went all out when you chose this caravan Rose," he joked as he turned the lounge light out.

"Yeah, except for the cheap steps," Rose laughed. "I should be getting at least one of them changed tomorrow, I told them Katy was only three months and they can't expect me to manage with just one step, can they?"

Alec raised his eyebrows and expected someone else might have to manage without a fancy step if the management changed hers. Still, he supposed she did have a point, this model of caravan can't have been one of the cheap ones and looked like it was maybe a private one the caravan park managed for a private owner.

Rose was trying to decide if she should get changed in the bathroom when she went into the bedroom and Alec was missing. She grabbed a thin nightdress and a clean pair of underwear and stood to debate for a moment. Then she froze as the bathroom door opened.

"Sneaking off?" Alec asked as he raised his eyebrows again, Rose with the items in her hand.

She put them down on the bed and sat down.

"I'm not sure Alec? Maybe we should slow down a little and get used to each other again?" she suggested.

"Whatever makes you feel comfortable love?" he replied, taking his shirt off. "I will need to leave early in the morning to get changed though?"

"Yeah, I'll take ya up. Want to grab a few things tomorrow and bring them over? Ya can move in if ya want? I mean Katy sleeps through most of the time now but I'm used to her being in with me. I'll have to see how big the camping cot is when they bring it before I decide? Ya don't mind if she's in here?"

"Of course I don't mind, if that's what she is used to? Rose, whatever you decide is fine with me. Do you want me to sign those papers?"

"No, not really, they were worded for if ya didn't want to be with us full time," Rose sounded sad.

"I do want to be with you, full time, I thought we had just established that?" he asked. "Then why did you have them made like that?"

"I had no idea how you would react Alec," she reminded him. "It could have gone either way for all I knew when I had them made up, I took the solicitor's advice, dad found one who specialised in children's law."

"I noticed the name, very impressive," Alec replied. "So, did you have them done for nothing?" he wanted to make sure and thinking her stepfather would have already paid for them.

"I hope so Alec?" Rose replied, Alec noticing a tear in her eye.

"Come here Rose," he encouraged her, Rose getting up. "I want you back so much, when I saw you yesterday, I could not for the life of me think why you were here but now you have told me? I was driving my DS crazy trying to think of the reason. Now I know, I want to be a proper father to Katy."

"I want ya to be Alec," Rose replied as she let him hold her. "Alec, about that surgery for your heart though? Will ya let me get it arranged for ya, urgently?"

"Let me think about it eh? I am back on my medication, let me spend some time with you and Katy, then see how I am doing? I could get an appointment anyway, now I have been back to the hospital and they now know where to send it."

"I thought ya were moving out of the hotel, to stay with us?" Rose reminded him as she put her chin on his shoulder.

"Oh, yes. I will have to get my mail forwarded down here. I will tell the owner in the morning that I am moving down here to be closer to work. No sense in saying any more than that?" he replied.

"I don't suppose so? No-one ever tells a hotel owner why they're leaving, do they?" Rose replied, feeling better about things. "Just be careful though?"

"Yes, I will be extra careful now. I should not have let myself get so bad that I scared you last night," he admitted. "Still going off to get changed?"

They decided to get ready at the same time, Alec getting into bed first and complaining the sheets were cold.

"Yeah, I thought that last night, I thought it was just me?" Rose had to admit. "Maybe I should put the heating on now Katy will be here but it's July."

Rose remembered the time when she and the Doctor had gone forward to 2012 when it was 2006 in her time and that it was cold then.

"I would do so but maybe it is because the bedroom is right at the end and takes up the whole width of the caravan?" Alec suggested.

Rose thought maybe he was right and continued getting ready by sitting on the edge of the bed with her back to Alec.

"I have already seen you again Rose," he pointed out as he propped himself up on the pillows.

He had unfastened her bra when they had been getting re-acquainted earlier and seen her briefly as he had pulled up her t-shirt. If he hadn't seen that much of her, he had certainly touched her top half and felt it against him. He had thought how good it felt to be near her again after all this time and hadn't said anything that she hadn't lost her baby weight.

He already knew how sad she was that she couldn't feed Katy herself so he wasn't going to say anything. He could tell from the videos she thought she had failed her daughter, he didn't know if he should give her some encouragement over it or to let the matter rest.

"There is no need to hide yourself love," he tried to get her to turn around as she slid the nightdress on.

"I know, just give me a bit of time, yeah? I have to get used to it again and I put a bit of weight on. I should have gone to get some exercise. I used to get plenty when I worked."

"Don't worry about it eh? I would have told you that before, had we been together," he smiled. "Can we continue where we left off earlier, only without me trying to stop you falling off me?"

Rose had to smile back at the thought. They managed not to go too far on Rose's insistence, since she was no longer covered in that department and Katy had arrived after she had forgotten about it the last time.

"It's okay Rose, I understand," Alec told her when he moved onto his side when they had got as close as Rose dared. "Are you also trying to spare me?"

"Yeah, I'd not thought of that though, sorry. I'll have to see when I can go back on something, I didn't bother, there was no need. I wasn't interested in going out with anyone else, I had plenty of offers at work," she recalled.

Alec was relieved to hear it. Rose could have any man she wanted, yet she had waited until the Sandbrook investigation was over and gone to him. Back then he had only just legally separated from Tess, or had he? Well to him he was, he didn't know how Tess considered it.

The next morning, Alec woke to find Rose snuggled in at his side, her thin nightdress revealing her cleavage and he told himself to stop staring that she was even more beautiful looking like that and that her baby weight made him think no less of her.

"Rose," he tried to move her gently. "I have to get up love, I have to go get changed."

"Oh, yeah," Rose remembered, one eye still closed. "Have some breakfast first, then I'll take ya up?" she offered, trying not to yawn.

"I need time to shower love," he reminded her, wondering if she would mind him dipping down to kiss through the gap in her nightdress.

"Ya can cram into the shower here, ya'll have to get used to it," she laughed, seeing where his eyes were looking so she pulled him down and laughed even more.

"Well, I will have to try then? It is a shame there is not room for two then?" he teased her as he nipped at her cleavage.

"Don't tempt me," Rose was still laughing. "Mind you, there's only this morning so tough luck."

"Indeed," Alec sounded disappointed when he thought about the few occasions before they had split up when they had the pleasure of sharing an intimate shower. Then he wondered if one of those times she had become pregnant?

"Maybe the last time we shared one was just before we went back to your house?" he then wondered as he looked up and went for a kiss. "I still love you as much as I did back then. I never stopped loving you Rose."

"I always loved you Alec, I never stopped either. We should have done something about it?" she wondered.

"I really should get ready and tomorrow, you will have our daughter to see to," he smiled. "With some help of course?"

"Yeah, I do look after her but when she was younger, the nanny used to help. I was so tired the first few weeks, I never seemed to stop, what with feeding and changing her. Then I started going downstairs all day and mum tried to take over. She was only tryin' to help and make up because she felt guilty of sending you away," she explained as she put her arm around his neck.

"I know love, you must have done a good job, eh?" he told her as he pulled her close. "What time will she be here? You can call me and I will come over or meet you somewhere? I think the town will have to get used to us? Yes?"

Chapter 17
Rose wasn't going to complain he was taking it all so well. The arrangements had been made and Alec wasn't being very patient about seeing the baby.

"I can't give a time Alec, it depends on traffic and how Katy is on the way here," Rose replied as they made a move. "It might be a bit much for Katy if everyone's there. Ya never know, my mum might hitch a ride with them?"

"Tell me you are joking?" Alec suddenly looked worried as he stood in just his shorts and Rose trying to resist the temptation to try and get in the tiny shower cubicle with him.

She knew the door would never close with two of them in there though, so that put paid to that idea. As she tried not to show her disappointment, she burst out laughing instead.

"Ha, your face!" she laughed at him.

"Rose, that was not funny," Alec tried to be serious. "Have you forgotten why I left you in the first place?"

"Yeah, sorry. I couldn't resist it. Ya've not forgotten I used to like to wind ya up?"

"No, I have not forgotten but I really have to get ready. Maybe I should just get a quick wash then you can take me to the hotel? I will get my things tonight but just what I need for now."

Rose did go all serious.

"Aren't ya moving in with us?" she sounded concerned. "I thought ya wanted to?"

"What? Rose, I never meant I was not moving in with you and Katy love, it's just I won't have time to do everything, I can finish moving in later. I have the reconstruction tonight, I don't want to spend all night packing, I would be missing out here," he tried to explain to put things right. "I won't have long."

Rose got out of bed, pulling her nightdress down as far as it would go but it rode up again when she put her arms around his neck.

"It's okay Rose, I know how it must have seemed just then," he kissed the top of her head.

"We'll have to get used to each other again," Rose reminded him.

"Yes and don't ever stop trying to wind me up, eh?" he replied.

Rose let him go use the slightly larger bathroom, hoping he was going to be able to put up with it for a while. She planned getting her stay extended at least until next weekend, then it would be make or break for her and Alec.

She quickly got washed then put her jeans and t-shirt on then she found Alec opening the bread and putting some in the toaster, as he had sneaked back in the bedroom and quickly got dressed while she had been in the smaller bathroom.

"I got told off for making toast at the station," he smiled as she joined him. "I am going to have to offer some explanation to my DS this morning, I told her I had no idea why you were here."

"If she has kids, she's probably already guessed?" Rose teased him. "I mean why else would an old girlfriend turn up unannounced and wanted to see ya?"

"I expect she will know then? She was not happy I was leaving her to do all the work though, I should maybe get her some help?" he wondered.

"Geez, then she will think there's something wrong?" Rose told him.

"Maybe?" he wondered as he buttered the toast as Rose made drinks. "Rose, I meant what I said last night, I never did stop loving you, you know that?"

"I know Alec, let's forget about it, you're here now but what about the incident the other night?" Rose wanted to know.

"I promise I will get something done about it, I have my medication now," he assured her.

"Well don't leave it too long, ya have me and Katy to worry about now, remember?" she reminded him.

Alec went off and Rose got on the phone to the site office.

"Yes Miss Tyler, we have a cot waiting here for you, do you need anything else?" Rose was asked.

"Yeah, maybe a baby bath and a high chair would be useful? My daughter might use it, she's a bit hit and miss at the moment," Rose smiled to herself. "I think I'm gonna put the cot in my room though, for now."

"Well we can take the spare beds down in one room anyway?" the woman offered.

"Yeah, can I extend my stay until the following weekend? Maybe a bit longer until I find somewhere else to rent?" Rose asked.

"I'll make sure it's kept available for you, as long as you need it for," the woman assured Rose. "Are you in now, I can have the items there within the next half hour?"

Rose agreed and called her mother to make sure nanny had set off with Katy.

"Yeah, they've left," Jackie told her. "I'm missing her already," she complained, looking where the chair rocker had been.

"Geez Mum, she's not been gone that long," Rose laughed.

"Yeah, well?" Jackie complained. "Have ya made up with Alec then?"

"Yeah, I think so? Alec's keen to meet his daughter," Rose replied. "He's not said what Daisy's gonna think about it though."

"Well, she's got a baby half sister, she'll probably be the same as you were when Tony came along?" Jackie wondered.

Rose hoped her mother was right. She heard a knock on the door and saw a van with the park name on it in front of her caravan. They soon dismantled the two spare single beds, putting the baby equipment in the room for Rose to place where she wanted, then she got a call from the nanny.

"We're about half way," Rose was told, the nanny used to not saying Rose's name in public. "The baby's been fine but we thought we'd stop for a break."

"Yeah, ya did right, it's a long way in one go, trust me," Rose laughed. "See ya soon then?"

It was already after eleven and Rose thought they were going to be another two hours or so, so she called Alec to warn him.

"Hey, how's things?" Rose asked him when he answered.

"Going nowhere fast," he had to admit. "The reconstruction got moved to Friday night," he complained, looking in Frank's direction, who was across from Ellie with his back to Alec.

"So can ya get all your stuff tonight then?" Rose wondered.

"There is no rush Rose, I'll get a ride to the hotel tonight then get a taxi down," he suggested.

"Ya can use my car if ya want? I mean if ya still okay to drive?" Rose offered.

"I'm fine to drive," he replied quietly. "I can pick it up later."

"That's if ya ever get back to work when ya've met Katy," Rose laughed.

Alec thought that was going to be difficult, parting with his new daughter when he finally met her. Maybe Frank making a mistake had turned into his own advantage? Ellie had seen him on the phone and found an excuse to enter his office.

"So, what did she want then?" Ellie asked him when she'd put a folder on his desk.

"Why isn't the reconstruction tonight?" Alec wanted to know as he evaded Ellie's question.

"I don't know, maybe Frank thought it was for the day we found Danny?" Ellie replied. "You didn't answer my question. What did she come to see you for, Sir?"

Alec knew she was now being sarcastic. Should he really let Rose become friends with his DS? Rose had no-one else here except for him and if something ever really did happen to him, she would be on her own.

"This goes no further for now, we were planning going to the newspapers at some point, we need to decide what goes public," Alec warned Ellie.

"Fine, I'm not planning on telling my nephew and he didn't get Danny's name from me either, he saw Chloe down at the beach and guessed," Ellie tried to explain.

"If he ever pulls a stunt like that again, he'll be finished, I have warned him," Alec told her. "Anyway, you will find out sooner or later, when I left Rose, she was pregnant and she never told me."

Ellie sat down before she fell down, steadying herself on the edge of the desk.

"Wow," was all she could say. "You had no idea then?"

"No Miller, she found out a few weeks later and she was still mad at me for leaving her. I should never have talked to her mother," he admitted.

"So let me get this right, her mother put you off your relationship with Rose?" Ellie found it amusing.

"Yes, okay, I knew you would find it amusing," Alec told her. "Rose had the baby and now, she decided the baby needs her father. I don't know why she changed her mind, I am just grateful she did. I think it has something to do with her growing up without hers."

"Everyone who follows her knows her story," Ellie reminded him. "So she had a girl? She disappeared off the social scene, they explained it as her busy working. I'm surprised no-one guessed it was something like that?" Ellie wondered.

"Our relationship was never made public, Miller, there was nothing to suggest Rose was with me. Only a few people in Sandbrook knew," Alec recalled.

"You would have gone public, if you'd stayed together though?" Ellie wanted to know.

"Eventually though at the time, there was no need to, if we had stayed there. Rose would have got tired competing with my ex wife and wanted to leave anyway," he explained. "We did not start our relationship until Rose's part of the Sandbrook investigation was over and someone else took over."

"You probably did the right thing, she would have been all over the papers with you," Ellie replied. "What about now though?"

"We will do everything we can to minimise it, which is why we will break the news in the local paper rather than the Daily Herald," Alec replied, hoping he and Rose were doing the right thing. "We could have her stepfather control the news if need be," he added.

"Olly will be pleased with himself then?" Ellie grinned.

"I am sure he will be," Alec agreed. "Back to work Miller, Danny's killer is not going to walk in here and confess, although that would be a good thing."

"Yeah, if only," Ellie agreed with him. "I'll make sure the arrangements for the reconstruction are in place then? Are you staying with Rose now?"

"Yes, I will be moving out of the hotel," he admitted. "You should meet her, Miller, she needs a friend in the town, having a young baby with her."

"How old is the baby? She can't be that old?" Ellie wondered.

"Her name is Katy and she's six months," Alec revealed.

Rose was now pacing the caravan after going to the local store to get more groceries and baby food, then just after one, she recognised the car pulling in opposite and was out as quick as she could, surprising the driver.

"Miss Tyler," Rose was greeted as the driver went to the back door as the child lock was on since Tony went in the car sometimes.

The nanny was already unfastening the safety belt of the baby seat that fitted into the stroller, which was in the back of the spacious car being taken out. Rose was reaching in but the driver insisted he did the reaching, him not wanting to be responsible if Rose injured herself. She was still a little sore when it came to doing awkward things.

He followed Rose into the caravan and placed the seat on the lounge area floor, the nanny bringing the stroller part in. Rose got her daughter out carefully, as Katy was just waking up.

"Hey you, I've missed ya," Rose smiled and holding Katy carefully. "Let's get your things inside, then we'll go meet your dad. Are you two going to get something to eat?" she asked the nanny and the driver.

"Ah, yes, that would be a good idea," nanny replied. "We passed some catering stalls on the way in."

Rose was thinking about going where she was yesterday. She had no objections as to eating with the staff but across the road from the police station was more convenient for Alec.

"Well you two go ahead, ya can leave the car here for now, I told them ya'd be here today," Rose told them.

After changing Katy again and getting her bottle ready, Rose followed the other two to the camp entrance then parted company from them.

"Thanks for bringing her down," Rose told them both. "Have a safe journey back. Did my mum want to come with ya?"

The nanny had to smile as she answered.

"Yes, until Tony wanted to come down as well. Your mother said he could visit you another time."

Rose was not looking forward to that, as much as she loved her mother and younger brother. She thought maybe she should let Alec know his baby daughter was here.

"Hey Alec, we'll be across the road," Rose greeted him, just as he was about to give up and think they had been delayed.

"I was wondering where they had got to," he admitted to Rose. "I will come over then."

Ellie saw him getting ready to leave and smiled to herself. She had just got back from fetching something to eat and cursed herself for missing seeing Rose with her baby. She intended seeing the three of them together and there was always the following lunchtime.

Rose was waiting for Alec and after ordering, got Katy out of the stroller.

"Don't suppose ya wanna wait for ya dad?" she asked a gurgling baby, who had seen her bottle of milk Rose had warmed up before coming out.

Rose started feeding her as a man appeared with the drinks. He gave Rose a smile and asked if she could manage, since her food was on the way.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm waiting for someone to join me," Rose thanked the man, who would no doubt go back and tell his wife she was there with a baby this time.

Alec was making his way downstairs when the chief called after him.

"Going somewhere Alec?" she wanted to know. "Have you got a minute? I've had a complaint from the Latimers."

Alec wondered what the family had found to complain about now?

"I was on my way out, can it not wait?" he asked as he stopped and leaned casually on the wall.

"You look awful Alec, what's wrong with you?" the chief wanted to know, Alec thinking he'd looked better this morning, after Rose had forgiven him. "It's a bit late for lunch," she then pointed out as she looked at her watch.

"I was aware of that. I am meeting someone," Alec defended himself, wondering if she would go for the 'I'm meeting Rose Tyler' excuse. "My girlfriend from Sandbrook just arrived a few days ago."

"I see then? You never said anyone was joining you, is she sharing your hotel room?" the chief wanted to know.

Alec wondered what that had to do with her, the police were paying for a double room.

"We rented a caravan, I will be moving out of the hotel shortly. I had no idea she would be joining me, we have been apart for a while," he decided to tell her.

"Well Mark Latimer called me to complain about this reconstruction that's being organised. He thought it should have been tonight? It's not too late to switch it, we can still be ready," the chief suggested.

"I don't know who arranged it for tomorrow night, I left DS Miller in charge, she must have got someone else onto it?" Alec replied.

"Well get her back onto it and get her to call the radio and TV stations, there are plenty of reporters here from what I've been told," the chief further suggested.

He wanted to spend a bit of time with Rose and the baby after getting a few things from his hotel room, when he'd borrowed Rose's car. He wondered if the chief had already got officers on stand-by for tonight but how had she heard about it?

"I will call her and have her arrange things then?" Alec replied, wanting to get away.

The chief shook her head and left him to walk down the steps. He decided to walk slowly, he didn't want to collapse on Rose again, they had the baby to think about now. He wished he and Rose would have had a bit more time to themselves but he'd been in a hurry to meet his new daughter.

Once outside, he called Ellie.

"The chief wants that reconstruction tonight," he told her.

"You are joking?" Ellie replied. "That's going to take some doing."

"The chief was expecting it to be tonight, she already has the resources ready. She already knew about it," Alec told her.

Leaving Ellie to get on with it, he spotted Rose sitting at the far end and prayed Miller's nosy nephew wasn't around today. Olly was already debating with his editor about Alec and Rose maybe being together.

"I'm telling you Maggie, Karen White will beat me to the exclusive if I don't confront them," he was pleading his case. "I bet they're meeting opposite the police station, Hardy was down there yesterday and maybe she was as well?"

"You mean you missed her Olly? I'm surprised at you," Maggie pretended to be mad. "Well make up for it and get the exclusive then? They might still be hanging around? Get them in for an interview."

"I already mentioned it to him yesterday, he didn't exactly agree and he was still denying he was meeting her," Olly told Maggie. "If I catch them together, Hardy can't deny it, can he?"

"No but her stepfather could ruin us, if he's that way inclined," Maggie reminded him. "Be careful how you handle it petal."

Alec was trying to eat one-handed as Rose passed Katy to him when the baby took a break.

"She's heavy," Alec smiled as he tried to move her, the bottle almost empty. "Is she on solids yet?"

"I keep tryin', she likes baby rice," Rose smiled as Alec put a cloth on his shoulder and grabbing some food. "I'll take her if ya want?"

"I'm fine, I used to do this with Daisy," he recalled, it all coming back and remembering it had been Tess who hadn't been keen on having any more children.

He just wished he and Rose had discussed it before Rose had got pregnant, they'd hardly had time together, just those few weeks.

"Alec, we have company," Rose nodded towards Olly, who was weaving his way through the tables.

"Go away Stevens," Alec warned Olly and leaving a moving Katy on his shoulder.

"So this is what you've been hiding?" Olly couldn't believe his eyes. "Was this why you were both at the hospital?"

Rose saw a way out of Alec explaining why they'd been there.

"It's confidential, what's your name?" Rose answered.

"Olly Stevens," Olly flashed his press pass around his neck. "I did ask DI Hardy to come into the office."

"Then why are you here now?" Alec wanted to know as Rose got up to take a falling asleep Katy.

"Don't you dare take any photos," Rose warned him as she put Katy in the stroller seat. "We'll come in but the story's not to be printed until Danny's killer's found, get it?"

"Of course," Olly had to promise if he was to scoop Karen White.

Karen knew none of this and he had the advantage. Olly went off, pleased with himself and Rose sat close to Alec.

"That's it now," Rose smiled. "Want to take your time finding the killer?"

"Don't even joke about it Rose. I had the chief onto me that someone organised the reconstruction for tomorrow night instead of tonight. I had to leave DS Miller to change it. I won't have much time with Katy tonight."

"Don't worry about it Alec, we're not going anywhere, are we Katy?" Rose smiled at the now sleeping baby. "She woke up when she arrived."

"Should I get your car now?" Alec wondered as they got up to leave.

"Just whenever ya want?" Rose agreed as she let Alec take the stroller handle.

"I can walk back with you, then you can give me the keys?" Alec suggested.

Rose put her arm in his and they walked the short distance back to the caravan that was to be their temporary home. Alec said goodbye after Rose gave him her car keys and she reminded him to be careful driving.

"I will love," he agreed as they kissed. "I will get my things and spend a little time with her."

He managed to get a few things done, then Ellie said she was leaving to prepare Tom for later, having agreed to wait until it got dark to set off on the route Danny had probably taken down to the harbour.

"Everything okay with you and Rose?" Ellie asked as she stood in his office doorway.

"Everything is fine. I need to get my things from the hotel, so I'm getting off as well," he admitted.

"Need a ride?" Ellie offered, since she was going that way. "Oh, I meant to ask, Olly mentioned you were seen at the hospital, what were you and Rose doing there?"

"Leave that for the press release Miller," Alec suggested. "I borrowed Rose's car, they had better not have given me a ticket for parking in the yard at the back, I told someone it was mine."

Ellie thought trust him to borrow a car. It was just typical he was still avoiding the question of being at the hospital. She bet anything that what they told Olly and what they were actually there for would be two different things.

She went off, wondering if it had been Doctor Jones who had been on duty, trying to remember if Olly had mentioned it. If it had been, she might just be nosy and ask her, after all, being in the police sometimes had its advantages. Once home, Tom was getting reluctant to take part later.

"Do I have to do this Mum? I didn't think it was going to be tonight," Tom asked her as Fred was being put to bed and they were waiting for the babysitter to arrive.

Ellie didn't expect Rose Tyler was going to turn up with her boss later.

"Sorry Tom, it's all arranged now, although it was nearly tomorrow night," Ellie replied, trying to grab something to eat. "Hey, I found out why Hardy was being so funny the other night," she told Joe as he returned.

"Go on then, was he meeting Lady Ga-Ga or Rose Tyler then?" Joe laughed.

"Dad, no-one listens to Lady Ga-Ga these days," Tom laughed. "What would either of them be doing here anyway?"

"Hey, don't laugh, Rose Tyler is in town and she is with Hardy," Ellie told them.

"You are joking Ell?" Joe asked her, not believing her. "When you mentioned it before, I never thought you were being serious?"

"Dad, you never said mum told you," Tom objected. "Does anyone else know?"

"No and don't go talking to Olly about it," Ellie insisted. "They'll go to the press when they're ready but I can tell you this, everyone's going to find out why she disappeared for so long."

"Was she pregnant or something?" Joe laughed, also trying to eat before they went out.

"Yeah, good guess," Ellie admitted.

Well Hardy never said she couldn't tell her family, she thought to herself. Just as long as it wasn't her nephew, whom Hardy hadn't forgiven yet, probably. She was surprised that Rose hadn't wanted it in the news straight away but she was doing the right thing in not taking the focus away from Danny's death.

Alec had driven up to the hotel and had parked in the lay-by opposite for getting away faster so he could have a bit of time with his new family. It hadn't really sunk in yet that he had one, that Rose had come back when he'd least expected it, right when another child had been killed.

At least this time, he didn't have to hide his feelings for Rose, like he had done back in Sandbrook. This time there was no waiting until Rose had left the investigation. He had her by his side now and though they still had the finer points to iron out, they still loved each other.

He had just entered the hotel and was looking for Becca when Karen White came out of the lounge, Alec seeing an open laptop behind her and supposed she'd set up office in there.

"No evading me this time, DI Hardy," she confronted him.

"Leave me alone, I have to get to the reconstruction and I am trying to move out of here," Alec replied as he stood on the bottom step.

"To get away from me?" Karen seemed surprised. "Or maybe you're moving in with your girlfriend? That would be Rose Tyler, right? Don't try denying it, there were rumours you two were close back in Sandbrook."

Alec thought if she was trying to get him to admit something, she was in for a long wait.

Chapter 18
He was about to turn to the steps, slowly but she confronted him again.

"So, the rumours back then were true?" Karen asked him.

"No, they were not true during the investigation," Alec tried to evade answering, thinking that part was true, even though he'd longed after Rose since she'd gone to the hospital with him.

When Rose had gone with him, she'd showed him far more compassion than Tess had ever done since they'd met. While he'd been attracted to her since she'd walked into the police station, it had made him more determined to pursue Rose the moment the investigation was over but he'd not lasted that long, had he?

"Come off it, the rumours amongst the other officers were overwhelming, everyone heard them when the press showed up, especially at the woods when Pippa was found. Everyone was too scared of Pete Tyler to print anything," she told him.

"You were there then?" Alec wanted to know, thinking his packing may have to wait.

"Yes but I only turned on you when the case fell apart. I kept quiet the same as everyone else, my editor would have gone crazy if I'd suggested you and Rose Tyler were involved during the initial investigation," Karen revealed. "You've already given your story to Olly, haven't you? I want in on it, you owe me that much."

"Really? After you hounded me? I don't owe the press anything. I really have to go or I will miss the re-enactment," Alec replied.

"I won't give up that easily this time," Karen called after him.

Alec knew he couldn't take the bait. He'd told Rose they would break the news gently through the local paper and he couldn't break his promise. All he could do was stick to it or let Pete Tyler put out a general statement to the press association and let it be all over the daily and evening newspapers, including where Karen White now worked.

He was sure she'd made her name off him and the Sandbrook case last year but he couldn't prove it. He gathered what he could put in an overnight bag he had and called Rose.

"Hi, we were wondering where you'd got to, hadn't we Katy?" Rose replied, going to touch Katy's arm and the baby began gurgling.

He thought she was going to be mad with him because he'd promised to spend a bit of time with his new daughter before going out again. Why had he insisted on doing the walk tonight? Rose wasn't Tess though, he had to remember that.

"Shall I call and get some food love?" he offered, getting used to calling Rose that again but was he taking liberties?

"Ah, well yeah, if ya want? I was just gettin' something ready but I can use that tomorrow. Do ya wanna get some mushroom omelettes and some chips?" Rose suggested.

Alec knew Rose was rather partial to chips, wherever they were from. He heard Katy in the background and let himself smile.

"Sounds like someone else wants some as well?" he then laughed as he picked up the bag.

"I'll have to start her off with some mushy scrambled eggs first," Rose replied. "Hey, don't forget to tell them to put some fried onions in the omelettes and I don't want any garden peas," she added.

That made Alec smile even more, remembering how she liked the food when they'd lived for a short time together in Sandbrook. Then he doubted the person taking the orders in the Chinese takeaway across the road from the hotel he'd seen would be pleased.

At the newspaper office across the road, Maggie was telling Olly Stevens to get a move on and go home if he needed to before he reported on the hastily arranged remembrance walk to jog people's memories of seeing Danny last Thursday night.

"I'm okay Maggie, I doubt my mum will be joining the walk, she'll watch it on TV," Olly told her sadly. "Unless she's looking after Fred for my aunt Ellie?"

"We'll go outside when we see everyone gathering then?" Maggie then suggested. "The traffic will be stopped anyway and there will be flashing police lights. Are you going to join your new friend?"

"She's not exactly my friend," Olly reminded his editor. "I mean I hardly know Karen."

"When you were suggesting where she stayed, when she arrived?" Maggie had to smile.

"I was just helping her out Maggie," Olly told her. "You refused her a desk, remember?"

"I had no choice Olly, think how it would have looked?" Maggie defended her decision. "It would have opened the floodgates and all the reporters would have been knocking on the door. Then I would have been accused of collaboration."

"I suppose so then?" Olly had to agree. "I'm sure I just saw DI Hardy cross the road then."

"Olly, you see him everywhere," Maggie told him dryly. "You never said what you thought of seeing him earlier."

"You didn't believe me Maggie," Olly replied. "I tell you, he was holding a small baby, maybe three months old?"

"I told you to get the facts straight petal," Maggie reminded him. "You print the baby is his and Rose Tyler's and that will be it. You have to wait for confirmation from them, what did he say about it?"

"Look, I told you it was him," Olly told her ten minutes later as he saw Alec get into Rose's car. "He has to be going somewhere, he was staying across the road."

"I know he was Olly, I dragged you over to apologise to him," Maggie replied as Alec drove off. "The press must have moved in, in their droves and he's left," she surmised.

Olly knew at least one of them, he thought as he wondered where the DI was going and where Rose Tyler was staying, with a baby.

Alec got picked up just before eight to be taken the short distance to join the procession, looking for Ellie.

"I hope this is going to do some good," she told him when he stood beside her, her husband and the Latimers just behind them as he'd made his way from the back of the gathering crowds.

"It will, it has to," he tried to assure her as Tom put his skateboard on the road and turned to look at Ellie.

Alec then nodded to Tom and the boy put one foot on his skateboard to set off. Everyone followed at a steady pace, Maggie having locked the newspaper office up and found someone she knew to walk with and Olly sought out Karen White.

"Where have you been hiding Olly?" Karen asked him. "Did you get a story of a certain person who's in town?"

"I don't know what you mean?" Olly tried to deny what he had stumbled across earlier.

"Well he's not talking to me," Karen nodded towards Alec, who was now talking to Mark Latimer.

"We'll have to wait then, won't we?" Olly suggested.

Karen thought if he wasn't so cute, she would stay well away from the junior reporter. Instead, she put her hand on his shoulder.

"Want to pool resources, Olly?" she asked him.

"What do you have I mind?" Olly wondered as they crossed the harbour and he could see the newsagent standing outside his closed shop.

"You know the town and the people? Someone is bound to have seen Hardy with the Vitex heiress? I'll share a by-line with you, in the Daily Herald," Karen offered.

"Really?" Olly sounded tempted.

He didn't know Maggie had caught up with them, her knowing they were about to conspire to something, the way they had their heads together. Everyone was gathering in the empty car park just across from the newsagents and the three reporters were now trying to avoid the news cameras.

"I think you should check in with your editor," Maggie told Karen. "He called me a little while before we set off, wanting to know if I'd seen you in the town after he'd been trying to call you for the past few days."

"He had me polishing press releases and that's not me," Karen told her. "There's not only the story of Danny Latimer being killed but if Rose Tyler's in town, she's bound to be involved with Alec Hardy. There were plenty of rumours during the Sandbrook case."

"I know there were," Maggie had to agree. "No-one ever reported on it though back then."

"There was never any proof," Karen told her. "Now, they're in the same town again, they have to be meeting up. I'm going to find out, one way or another and I'll prove to my editor I can still find a good story or two."

"So, you're going to report on two?" Olly wondered. "Maggie?"

"I know what you're going to ask Olly. I'll have to think about it. Karen, come up to the newspaper office first thing tomorrow and I'll let you know," Maggie told her. "Why don't you both walk around and see what's going on?"

"After you," Olly grinned at Karen, whom he'd admired since she'd reported on the case falling apart in Sandbrook last year.

He had wondered why she'd been so aggressive toward the detective in charge and then he'd realised who Alec Hardy was, when he'd arrived in the town and taken the job meant for his aunt.

"So Karen, you pursued Alec Hardy because you suspected he was involved with Rose Tyler, when they were working together?" Olly dared ask her.

"Of course I suspected it Olly," Karen admitted. "Like every other reporter at the time, I was warned to leave it alone. Then she disappeared from the social scene and it was covered by saying she was busy at Torchwood."

"Well, I think I know what happened to her but you'll have to wait until I clear it with Maggie," he tried not to say too much.

Alec was standing on his own, thinking of walking back to the caravan, where he could lose any reporters following him in the rows of caravans. Then Ellie joined him.

"Sir, we're taking Tom home now," Ellie roused him from thinking of going to his new temporary home.

"Yes, fine. Tell Tom well done, anyone seeing Danny that night may have been reminded. With them being friends, it will make all the difference."

"I'll tell him but all he wants to do is go home," Ellie told Alec. "See you tomorrow? Oh, have you moved out of the hotel? I saw Becca, she mentioned it and the fact a load of reporters just arrived."

"Goodnight Miller," Alec told her, not wanting to talk where they could be overheard.

If Pete Tyler wanted to keep Rose out of the papers, one wrong word would lead to even more speculation. He still had to face the local paper but that should be a lot easier. He walked back to the caravan and knocked on the door, hoping Katy would have woken up for some reason.

He thought if not, he would just stand over her a while and watch her.

"Hey," Rose greeted him as Alec put his bag down and locked the door behind him.

"Hi. You did say you booked me in?" he wanted to make sure.

"Yeah, it's all sorted. Well go and unpack, then ya can check on Katy with me," Rose suggested.

When they had done that, after watching the news highlights, they lay on the seating.

"Are things gonna be the same as before? I mean between us?" Rose wanted to know.

"I do not want things to be awkward between us," Alec told her.

"Neither do I Alec. I'm just about okay now but I didn't lose all my baby fat," Rose had to admit.

"It does not make any difference to the way I still feel about you," he tried to assure her. "I did see you last night Rose and you did not seem to have that much left."

"I wish that was true," Rose laughed. "I'm still a bit on the large size, on top."

"All the better for me to kiss love," he teased her, going behind her back for her bra strap. "I told you last night how I still feel. Did I mention I had to admit about you and Katy to my DS? I told her you should meet."

"Well yeah, I expect we will?" Rose replied as he pulled her bra away, after lifting her t-shirt.

"Rose, please don't be shy with me? People will see us together anyway, so word will get around. Now shush love eh?"

"Alec, I need to go get covered, ya know what I mean?" she asked him as he unzipped her jeans.

"I know love and you should get covered, if you want the same as I do? You will be safe enough for now, I have to go easy anyway," he agreed. "Can you see someone at a clinic? You will have to register maybe?"

"Yeah but not while they think I'm on holiday," Rose replied as he began kissing her exposed parts after he pulled her bra all the way down.

Rose was now enjoying the sensations and went silent. Maybe she could get someone in medical, who saw to her later in her pregnancy to send a prescription for the pills she'd been on before? She had thought she would have been better on the injections but then, she never would have had Katy.

Torchwood had come up with them and she'd been offered to take part in the medical trials but she'd missed out with being with Alec, in Sandbrook. They went off to bed after checking on Katy again, Alec lingering in the doorway of the now nursery.

"She is perfect love," he told Rose as she came out of the bedroom. "I cannot believe she came out of our short relationship. Why did you think I would agree to those papers, that I would only want to see her occasionally? I am not annoyed you would think I would Rose, did you think that was all I would want?"

"Alec, I didn't know, after you went off like that. You never even talked to me about it, you just went. When I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t know what to think. Mum felt guilty and told me to contact you but I had a bit of a hard time with Katy at one point, I felt awful. I got a lot of headaches and dizziness, I had to stop working early but I thought by then, you would have moved on."

"How could I have moved on from you Rose? You were everything to me, when we were together," Alec reminded her. "If I had thought we could work together and be in a relationship, I would have never told you to stay out of my way."

"I know Alec. It would never have worked though, Tess was watching our every move," Rose reminded him. "I wish I could have seen her face when she found out I went in that ambulance with ya."

Alec had to smile at the thought and turning towards Rose, carefully, he pulled her close so she rested her head on his shoulder.

"I am so sorry you had to put up with Tess's insinuations. I should have been firmer with her and I should have never taken any notice of her," he admitted, kissing Rose's hair.

"It wasn't your fault Alec, Tess just couldn't stand the thought of us getting involved. If we had started seeing each other, it would maybe have been easier."

"I just wanted to keep you out of the papers," Alec reminded her. "Never mind the past love, what about the future? We have Katy to think about now."

"Yeah? Why don't we look for somewhere to rent for now? I can look on rental agencies websites and arrange to see a few places? Trust me, I can sign up quicker than most people, the agency doesn't have to check me out," Rose smiled.

"Nor I when the police are paying," Alec reminded her. "Let me pay for anywhere eh?"

Rose thought she had to give him that. She'd got the love of her life on this world back and Katy wasn't going to grow up without a father, something that had upset Rose and had made her relent and see if Alec wanted the job. Luckily, he did.

Eight weeks later, the town was in shock when Danny Latimer's killer was caught. No details were being released but Rose was told by Alec, since she was now Ellie Miller's friend and Ellie had given her plenty of baby advice. The night Joe Miller was arrested, Ellie had got her sister and nephew to look after her two boys in the hotel just off the harbour and she'd gone knocking on Rose and Alec's caravan door late at night.

Alec had made drinks and Rose was trying to comfort her friend.

"Ya had no way of knowing, did she Alec?" Rose asked him as he put the drinks down. "What are ya gonna do now?"

"Move away and make a fresh start," Ellie replied. "You two are so lucky you have each other. If he'd had turned you and Katy away, he'd have answered to me," she tried to smile.

"Rose and I had to keep apart when we were working in Sandbrook," Alec reminded her. "My jealous ex wife was watching us for any signs we were together, though I have no idea what she would have done. I am just glad Rose came looking for me when I was a complete ass and left her."

"What made you come after him Rose?" Ellie asked, trying to forget her own problems for now.

"I grew up without my dad. I had no-one until mum married Pete," Rose told her, thinking everyone knew her story, since she and her mother had short but mostly made up official biographies. "I didn't want Katy to be the same, when there was a chance Alec wanted to be there for her."

"Rose, the news would have escaped sooner or later and I would have found out anyway," Alec told her. "Anyway, if there is anything we can do, just say, Ellie."

"Wow, ya called her Ellie," Rose almost splurted out.

"He's tried before, I told him not to," Ellie replied. "After the first time I told him not to keep calling me Miller, he lost the chance."

"Quite right too," Alec had to agree.

"I will walk you back to the hotel," Alec offered half an hour later when Rose had excused herself after failing to stop yawning. "Where will you go afterwards?"

"Maybe down to the other caravan park? No-one will bother us there and we can blend in. They'll be more room for the boys," Ellie replied as she put her bright orange coat on. "When are you signing for that house?"

"It's still going through, I told Rose not to use her name to get it," Alec told her, making Ellie smile as they went outside.

"I bet she loved that," Ellie had to laugh.

They walked off down the roadway, since the grass was too wet to cut through the caravans. Rose was checking on her baby daughter as Ellie and Alec walked across the harbour and came to the hotel on the corner.

"I expect Rose and I will be all over the newspapers, hopefully not on the front page," Alec admitted after they'd give their story to Karen White and Olly for them to jointly break the news in their two papers. He expected it would boost both their careers at his and Rose's expense but he didn't want the alternative, having to stand up and put Rose in the spotlight and everyone hounding them for weeks.

His operation was booked up in London in a few weeks time, after they got the house just off the main road out of town and Rose had now got the all clear after having Katy and was now taking the precautions again. He hoped this time, he could keep track and avoid any accidents but Katy had been a happy one.

He said goodnight to Ellie, who had offered him a hug and a kiss on the cheek and as he set off back, he had no idea how the simple gesture was going to turn his and Rose's relationship upside down when Ellie's husband went on trial.

Chapter 19
It wasn't easy for Alec to accept he had two choices – have the pacemaker operation and go back to work in Broadchurch or stay on sick with maybe the promise of teaching at the police academy in Exeter until the trial of Joe Miller. Despite Rose asking her stepfather to intervene, Pete had come down on the side of medical advice for Alec to get himself fixed and be able to raise his young daughter with Rose rather than leave her without a partner and Katy without a father.

So, they were in London, the day before the operation was to take place in Torchwood's state-of-the-art medical bay. Alec had avoided being on his own with Jackie and she'd noticed as Rose was spending time with Tony and Alec was in another room looking after Katy with Jackie.

"I said I was sorry," Jackie was telling him. "Can't ya forget about it?"

"I should have been with Rose, taking care of her," Alec was protesting as Katy laid on the floor on the play mat. "I missed out on it Jackie, I let her down."

"I never meant for it to go so far, that ya'd actually leave," Jackie replied.

"Well it did because I respected your opinion and at the time, I did not want Rose in the newspapers with me over the case," he admitted. "I was about to go through a divorce and trust me, Tess would have dragged Rose through the middle of it anyway. I would have insisted Rose came home when she found out she was pregnant and I would have come up when I could."

"Ya'd still have been apart then?" Jackie asked.

"No, just me keeping Rose safely out of my ex wife's way. When the case fell apart Tess wanted me to take the blame. She did not want Daisy to know she was meeting Dave that night. As far as Daisy knew, they just worked with each other and went out from time to time."

"No-one could blame ya for protecting your daughter and Rose," Jackie tried to convince him. "Well, whatever happens tomorrow morning, at least you and Rose got some time together with Katy."

Alec agreed to let the nanny take care of Katy if she woke during the night, Rose saying he needed his sleep to be fit the next day.

"I want you to know Rose, I am so happy you came to find me love."

"I know Alec. Don't be so gloomy, ya gonna be fine after the surgery, Owen said ya have nothing to worry about."

"Easy for him to say," Alec smiled. "Rose, I want you properly love, just this once."

"Alec, I want ya to be careful then but there'll be all those times ahead of us, when we get back to you being okay. I made ya get ill."

"No Rose, the river did that. Don't take the blame love," he told her. "If anyone is to blame, it's Tess, she was so angry over us being together, even after I went back without you."

"I could never work out why Alec? Did she still love ya as well as Dave?" Rose wondered.

"Do you know something love?" he asked as he pulled down the straps of Rose's nightdress. "I don't think she loved Dave, she was trying to make me jealous, then it backfired on her when you arrived in town. She knew she had a rival."

"Wow. I think ya could be right Alec. She was using him to get to you? Alec, we gave her no reason though, remember?"

"Yes we did. She expected us to go off together and then she found out you had gone to the hospital with me. She needed no more proof," he realised.

"I can't believe that was all she needed. What the hell was wrong with her?" Rose wanted to know.

"I have no idea. Rose, she was the one who wanted to get married, maybe she realised I was losing interest in her?" Alec wondered as Rose went to lie on him.

"Before I even came along?" Rose asked him.

"It had to have been," he tried to recall. "That's in the past love, you and Katy are my future and maybe Daisy will come around, once I get well?"

Twelve hours later, Rose was pacing the corridor while Pete and Jake watched.

"She's gonna climb the walls any time soon," Jake grinned.

"I heard that Jake," Rose called behind her as she came to the end before the corridor gave way to another leading to the exit.

"Come and sit down Rose," Pete suggested. "Let Jake get you some hot chocolate?" he suggested, thinking coffee would just make her worse.

"I don't want a drink Dad, I want Alec, safe and well," she replied, going to sit next to him and putting her head on his shoulder. "Katy needs him, I won't let her grow up like I did."

"Rose, your mother did quite a good job love," Pete reminded her. "That must have been tough, growing up on that estate," he added, still not saying in which universe since there were civilians around working in the med lab.

Just then, Owen Harper came out of the operating room, pulling his mask down.

"He's doing well Rose, he's holding his own," Owen told her. "They're almost finished, the surgeon is going to make sure he can manage on his own without life support. That will be the biggest test. If all goes well, Alec will be stitched up and he'll be taken next door to recover. You can go sit with him then."

"He's gonna be okay?" Rose dared ask, trying to take it in. "Did he make himself worse by waiting?"

"No, I don't think so Rose, he was already bad," Owen replied. "He couldn't have made himself any worse if he'd tried."

Rose had never really like the head of Torchwood medical. He'd had many assistants and she was sure the doctor she'd seen in Broadchurch when Alec had been there had been one of them. She remembered vaguely that Mickey had followed the young doctor around like a lost puppy for several weeks, only for him to be let down when she'd left.

"Jake, do ya remember someone called Martha Jones who worked here for a while?" Rose needed to know since it was getting to her.

"Maybe? Was that the one Mickey fancied then?" Jake laughed.

"I remember her," Pete recalled. "Why are you asking?"

"If it's the same one, she was working at the community hospital in Broadchurch, she saw Alec when I took him there," Rose admitted.

"Didn't she know you?" Pete wondered.

"Everyone knows her," Jake laughed.

"I meant from here," Pete replied.

Just then, the door opened again and someone else came out.

"Miss Tyler, I should tell you it's touch and go, Alec's on life support but we had trouble starting his heart again. It's going to take a bit longer," the surgeon told her.

"How much longer?" Rose started to panic.

"Calm down Rose, Alec's in good hands," Pete tried to assure her. "You have to let the team do their jobs."

"We are doing everything possible," the surgeon agreed. "He said if he didn't come round to tell you he loved you."

Rose went to bury her head in Pete's shoulder and began to cry.

"He never expected to come round, he knew he'd be leaving me and Katy," Rose sobbed.

"He's not gone yet, has he doctor?" Pete wanted to know.

"Of course not Mister Tyler, I have the best team with me. I thought it was only right I came out to tell you. If you will excuse me? My assistant was putting Alec on the monitor. We may have to do further surgery but Alec's already weak."

"What am I gonna do Dad?" Rose asked tearfully. "I almost didn't tell Alec about Katy and I had no idea he'd got so ill."

"Rose, you weren't to know love," Pete told her. "Blame me, I should have kept tabs on him for you but you didn't do anything about him leaving Rose. That's not like you when you fought so hard to try to get back to your friend."

None of them ever mentioned The Doctor within the confines of Torchwood Tower. Some employees and management still remembered what happened years before and The Doctor's name was always thrown into the equation and not in a good way.

They had tried to get the dimension cannon working, it was a piece of alien junk according to Mickey. It had seemed promising but had failed time after time to get a fix on the universe Rose, Jackie and Mickey had come over from. The team working at developing it hadn't been told the full story as to why they had been working on it, just that a top team of agents wanted to explore other dimensions, as a safeguard that the Cybermen would never return. The machine was now in pieces in the old lever room on the top floor and every now and then Mickey would get them to try to put the thing back together again.

"Let us know any more news," Pete asked the surgeon as he was about to tell Jackie to get herself down here to comfort Rose.

Just then, Mickey came bursting in, making Rose look up. She'd not wanted him there, since more than once he'd agreed with her mother over Alec being too old and him doing the right thing by ending their relationship.

"Pete, you're not gonna believe this," an out of breath Mickey told his boss. "We've been working on the dimension cannon for the last few days and there's been some signs coming from it."

"From your universe?" Pete wanted to know as Rose sat up.

"Go away Mickey, I don't need this now. Alec may not come round," Rose told him.

"I'm sorry, really I am Rose but don't ya get it? We can try and contact the one person who could help," Mickey sounded confident.

"How are ya gonna do that Mickey? Go over there and drag him back with ya?" Rose wanted to scream at him.

"No Rose, me and you are gonna go and find him," Mickey grinned.

"Oh no, ya not draggin' me into it," Rose replied firmly. "Besides, the thing may give up on us and I'm not leaving Alec."

"Rose is right," Jake agreed. "I'll go with ya. The readings may be off and Rose might not come back at the right time. Then she'd never forgive herself."

Jake followed Mickey back to a now crowded lever room, leaving Rose with Pete.

"Want me to call your mother?" Pete offered.

"Not yet. I'm still mad at her, that Alec might not have got ill if he had stayed with me," Rose replied.

"Don't be, Rose. Don't be mad at Mickey either, he's just trying to help," Pete replied. "No-one could have predicted Alec was going to get ill. Maybe if anyone's to blame, it's his ex wife, for hounding you both before you even got together?"

It seemed like ages as Rose and Pete sat arm in arm. He'd ordered some lunch to be sent down for the both of them but Rose only picked at hers. Owen came out a couple of times just to say Alec was holding his own but they didn't want to presume too much at present.

Mickey and Jake had both taken revised devices and were ready to set off, to try and find The Doctor.

"This isn't what I thought we'd ever be using this for," Mickey had told Jake as they waited.

"Rose needs him now more than ever Micks," Jake replied. "Well if we get split up, I'll see ya back here, at some point."

"Yeah, we might both get back too late, we never thought about that?" Mickey wondered.

They both felt a dizzy sensation, everything whirling around them and then, they found themselves back where Mickey came from. They tried to get their bearings and when exactly they were – 2010.

"Crikey, I bet he's changed?" Mickey wondered as the dizziness subsided.

"This world doesn't look any different to mine," Jake complained as he noticed they were in the middle of some wasteland, by the docks from what he could tell.

"What's that banging?" Mickey complained as something banged three times.

Then the banging got faster and he counted six times. All of a sudden it stopped and he could hardly believe his eyes as a familiar figure appeared on a mound of dirt and rubble.

"Doctor!" he shouted as Jake grabbed his shoulder. "Doctor, over here," Mickey waved, shrugging Jake off.

The figure looked down at them and made their way towards them.

"Mickey? Jake?" they were asked. "What are you both doing here? The worlds were sealed off. What happened? You didn't bring anything with you, or anyone?"

"Just us, sorry to disappoint you," Mickey grinned at his old friend.

"Jakey-boy," The Doctor addressed Jake. "Come to see what it's like here, since you didn't get outside the last time?"

"Something like that," Jake grinned. "Good to see ya Doctor and that ya've not changed?"

"Not for much longer," the Doctor replied sadly. "I'll change soon."

"What?" Mickey asked. "You can't change yet, Rose needs you. We came to get you."

"I can't go anywhere Mickey. I have to face my fate and beside that, hear that banging?" Both Mickey and Jake nodded as they heard it again. "That's a rogue Timelord. He's called The Master and I thought he was dead," The Doctor sounded serious.

"Well if it's him, he sounds pretty mad," Mickey observed.

"I thought he'd died, turns out I was wrong?" The Doctor admitted. "Is something wrong with Rose? Tell me she's okay."

"Rose is fine. It's her boyfriend, well partner I suppose?" Mickey told him. "He's having a pacemaker fitted but it's touch and go. Torchwood developed a device to measure timelines and finally, its started working."

"Seems we've come for nothing though?" Jake was wondering.

"Very observant Jake. I think maybe you have? He's looking for me, to kill me before I have chance to regenerate, he has to be. There's no other reason why he cheated death. I wouldn't mind but I put him on that burial pyre myself. Some part of him survived," The Doctor tried to explain. "I should have known it was him, I kept getting warnings."

"We're sorry Doctor, it's bad timing on our part," Mickey admitted. "Come on Jake, we should get back."

"No, wait," The Doctor asked him. "Help me, then maybe I'll survive to help you? How is she?"

"Rose is good. She had a baby, a girl, with the man who needs your help. Doctor, he could be your twin," Mickey revealed.

"What? Are you serious Mickey?" The Doctor asked him. "I do have a twin. It's a long story but he went off. He can't have crossed over to your world though. Your world is out of sync with the rest of the parallel worlds. Something happened here, all the stars were going out and the Daleks were behind it. They were stopped, just in time and everything was restored."

Then The Doctor ran his hands over his face.

"Of course my twin could have crossed over. There could have been some tiny gaps left. That's why your devices are working."

"Geez, you could be right," Mickey had to agree. "We never got them working right before, did we Jake?"

"The last time I looked, the dimension cannon was in pieces on the floor," Jake had to laugh.

"Well, even so, I have no idea where he is. He could have got through to your world I suppose?" The Doctor wondered as he looked around. "When The Master turns up, both of you run like the hell hounds were after you, understand? Do not attempt to confront him."

"Rose told us there were other Timelords," Jake remembered.

"Not like this one Jake, trust me," The Doctor replied. "Look, if I survive this, I'll come over and help? Who is the father of Rose's baby?"

"He's called Alec Hardy," Mickey replied. "He's a detective and he really could be your twin."

"Trust Rose to single him out then?" The Doctor had to laugh. "I wonder if he is my twin? He got created, remember my hand got cut off that time Mickey? Well Jack found it and gave me it back. Then when we were fighting the Daleks again, my clone grew out of that hand and merged with a woman called Donna."

"Sounds a bit far-fetched," Jake told him.

"I saw his hand get cut off," Mickey confirmed what The Doctor had just said.

"Afterwards, we were celebrating defeating the Daleks. I suppose with the walls of the universes being so weak, he could have crossed over?" The Doctor admitted. "He just sneaked off, without even saying goodbye."

"Doctor, do ya think he could be Alec?" Mickey wondered. "That's why he's got a bad heart?"

"Maybe? Is he in danger of dying?" The Doctor asked.

"I think he may be? He wasn't doing so good," Jake confirmed. "It's gone even quieter."

"The Master's close, I can feel him now. He was hiding himself before. Mickey, you know him as Harold Saxon," The Doctor revealed.

"No way! I was gonna vote for him, so were Jackie and Rose, Jackie fancied him," Mickey laughed. "Doctor, we are not deserting you, are we Jake?"

Back in the other universe, Rose and Pete hadn't heard anything for a while. A nurse had come out and then twenty minutes later, Owen came out, a solemn look on his face.

"We're putting Alec in a coma, to help him recover. We'll take him to the recovery room, you can sit beside him and maybe talk to him?" Owen suggested as Rose got up.

"So ya don't know anything yet?" Rose asked. "I want to be with him."

"I know love," Pete wasn't surprised. "You stay here and I'll check on Mickey and Jake."

"I'll stay with her," Owen offered, looking tired.

"I'm fine Owen," Rose insisted, not keen on being left with Torchwood's version of Casanova.

"Rose, let him sit with you," Pete also insisted.

"Haven't you forgiven me for the Christmas party two years ago?" Owen asked innocently.

"I'm sure she has?" Pete wanted to know.

"Dad. You go off if ya want? Can ya call mum for me?" Rose asked, since no phones were allowed in the area.

"You can use the phone in my office," Owen offered.

"I don't feel like talking to her, she'll ask a load of questions," Rose replied. "Thanks anyway."

She sat back down and Owen sat beside her.

"If you don't feel like talking?" Owen asked her. "It's fine with me. I'm sure your stepfather doesn't want you being out here on your own, if Alec doesn't make it?"

"Don't talk like that Owen. He has everything to live for now," Rose told him.

"I'm sure he has. How is the baby anyway?" Owen asked.

"She's fine and I'll be lucky to get her back off my mum," Rose replied.

Pete was talking to Jackie while he rode up to the top floor of the tower block.

"Poor Rose then?" Jackie was telling him. "I hope Alec's gonna make it?"

"He will Jackie, he has Rose and Katy now. It's more than he had when he first got ill. Mickey and Jake went off, that device started working."

"You're kidding? So have they gone to find himself then?" Jackie asked, 'Himself' being the term she referred to the Doctor.

"They hope to find him, it's like a miracle Jaks, just when Rose needs him. It's more than a coincidence. Let's hope he'll come back with them, then he gets back safely?"

In the docklands in the other universe, Wilfred, Donna's granddad had found The Doctor, Mickey and Jake.

"How can so many people all find me at one time?" The Doctor was wanting to know after loosing track of The Master.

They had seen the now mad Timelord in the distance, leaping up on top of a mound of rubbish.

"Do what?" Wilfred was confused. "I put the word out, I never said who you were. We need you Doctor, we're all seeing this face, when we go to sleep. I mean everyone."

The Doctor knew The Master could be hypnotic when he wanted to be. Now, he was the whole world's worst nightmare.

The Doctor, Mickey and Jake all got on the mini bus Wilfred and his friends had arrived in and were driven back to the town centre.

"So who are you two then?" Wilfred wanted to know as they sat in the café when he'd bought them all cups of coffee.

"Old friends," The Doctor replied for them. "Tell me about these nightmares Wilfred."

"Do you two get them?" Wilfred asked Jake and Mickey.

"Nope," Mickey laughed, when Wilfred had described the face everyone saw when they went to sleep. "Can't believe it's Christmas."

"Where have you been?" Wilfred objected to being laughed at. "On another planet? Here, you've not come from one of those planets that were in the sky a while ago?"

"Shush," The Doctor insisted. "No, they're from a parallel Earth."

"Well if you're gonna mock me as well?" Wilfred got upset.

"Wot planets in the sky?" Mickey asked.

Suddenly, a beep came from Jake's device.

"We have to go soon Mickey," Jake told his friend. "Doctor, we need to know how to save Alec."

"Who's Alec?" Wilfred wanted to know.

"Jake, I wish I could help you but I have bigger problems here," The Doctor told him. "The Master will succeed this time, he won't fail again at taking over the world. It's what he does, every time."

"Is Rose not more important to ya Doctor?" Jake wanted to know.

"Don't you dare use that against me Jake," The Doctor replied angrily. "Rose will understand, trust me."

"Leave it Jake, he's right," Mickey agreed. "Good luck saving the world again, Doctor."

"Are they just gonna leave ya?" Wilfred wanted to know. "I thought they were your friends?"

"They are but someone I care a lot about needs them more than I do," The Doctor told him. "Mickey, tell Rose I'm really sorry but have faith, tell her not to give up. Who we were talking about, Alec could be him. Tell Rose to look and see if Alec has a fob-watch and if he does, to open it. If he's disguised as Alec, it will restore him. If it's not him, then I'm sorry."

Wilfred had to blink when the two of them disappeared in front of his eyes.

"A bit of the old Doctor flim-flam?" Wilfred grinned.

"Something like that. Why did you bring us here? We must have passed half a dozen café's," the Doctor wanted to know.

Pete was in the old lever room when Jake and Mickey suddenly appeared.

"It worked," Mickey laughed, handing his device to a technician. "Crikey, I thought days would have passed."

"They have," Pete smiled.

He had been there every day for over a week. Rose was still downstairs sitting by Alec's bedside, still no sign of him coming out of the coma he'd been placed in. She had asked every day if he was strong enough to come out of it and every day, she was told he had to stay in it for now.

Katy's nanny was bringing her in every day for a few hours. Rose thought it would do Alec good to know they had both been there for him over the last seven or so days, she'd lost track of time – just like she had done travelling in the Tardis. Another hospital bed had been brought into the room and placed beside Alec so Rose could stay overnight with him.

Jackie had been pleading for Rose to get some proper rest but she refused, saying Alec needed her. Jake and Mickey were upstairs, being debriefed.

"So someone's trying to take over that world?" Pete was trying to keep up.

"Yeah, this bloke who used to be known as Harold Saxon," Mickey told him. "We all knew of him, he was a junior minister. Now, he's some mad rogue Timelord who's out to kill the Doctor and take over the world. Anyway, The Doctor was a bit busy to come with us. I need to tell Rose something. Jake, you finish off here."

"What's with him?" Pete wanted to know as Mickey hurried out of his office.

"I don't know Boss. We really tried to get the Doctor to come with us but something was rattling him," Jake admitted.

"Well you tried, Rose won't blame you if he wouldn't come with you. What did Mickey rush off for?" Pete wanted to know.

"Something odd. Pete, The Doctor said he had a clone and that it may be Alec."

Chapter 20
Pete was grabbing his phone to call Mickey.

"What? Are you serious?" he asked Jake. "If Alec's The Doctor's twin, he'll not only be in danger of dying from a bad heart. Jake, if it's true, we have to protect him at all costs and that starts with not telling Rose."

"Geez Boss, we never thought of that," Jake admitted.

"Mickey, don't tell Rose what you found out, I'll explain later," Pete told Mickey as he answered his phone on the way down to see Rose.

"Why not Boss?" Mickey asked as the lift arrived at the basement where the medical bay was housed. "I can help save Alec."

"No, you can't, trust me," Pete replied, trying to avoid saying his catchphrase from Vitex, which he had all but given up and was associated by name only these days. "If Rose asks why you're there, tell her you're checking up on Alec but don't say anything else. I'm on my way down."

"Okay Pete, will do, for now but what if Alec's dying?" Mickey wanted to know, not wanting to think about Rose losing the father of her baby and the man she now loved.

"I know it'll be hard Mickey but I'll explain. Remember what Torchwood is about now?" was all Pete would say about it.

"Right," Mickey remembered.

The new Torchwood had been re-formed out of those who had survived the Cybermen taking over to make their escape and somehow, The Doctor's name had been associated with them from the time almost everyone in London had been rounded up and converted. Pete had argued that if not for The Doctor, everyone would have been turned into a Cyberman, no-one would have escaped to tell the tale.

He had done his best to protect Rose, Jackie and Mickey but if any version of The Doctor was on this world, he wouldn't be able to protect him. Rose had told Pete how the other Torchwood had wanted to make a prisoner out of him in her world, that and worse would happen here. No, those who held high positions in the organisation still blamed the Timelord for various reasons and would love to get their hands on him, in any form.

"Mickey, what are ya doin' here?" Rose wanted to know as he saw Rose sitting next to Alec, Owen checking Alec's vital signs as they took it in turns every hour, which to him seemed odd seeing as Rose disliked the head of medical so much.

"I just got back, is there any news about Alec?" Mickey asked instead of just blurting out how he'd found The Doctor but had been unable to tempt him to come and help who could be his clone. "Pete's on his way down."

"No, there's no change yet. Well, what happened Mickey?" Rose asked.

"Let's wait for Pete and Jake getting here?" Mickey suggested as he sat down.

"Owen, haven't ya checked Alec enough yet?" Rose asked him to get rid of him, since Mickey obviously wanted to tell her something.

"Okay, I'm going. Trying to get rid of me?" Owen joked.

"As much as I love your company Owen," was all Rose would say.

"Fine, I know when I'm not wanted," Owen tried to be serious. "Just remember, only one person at a time."

"Well Mickey?" Rose turned to him as Owen disappeared.

"We should really wait for Pete and Jake," Mickey tried to remain calm.

He could tell her now but she'd hit the roof and want to know how to cure Alec, without hearing what Pete had to say about it.

"What's the big secret Mickey?" she tried again. "Did ya find him or not? Ya took ya time, it's been a week."

Luckily for Mickey, Jake and Pete arrived as he tried to think of some excuse.

"Sit back down Rose," Pete suggested as she got up. "Jake, tell her what you found out."

"I could've told her," Mickey objected as he held onto Rose.

"Will someone just tell me?" Rose got annoyed at them.

"Rose, Alec could be a clone of The Doctor's," Jake said quietly in case Owen was still lurking around.

With that, Rose sat still, Mickey still holding her arm. She tried to keep sitting still now it was sinking in.

"What?" she asked as it hit her. "How can he be when he's clinging to life?"

"We understand Rose, really we do," Pete tried to assure her as he sat at the other side of her and put his arm around her. "Let Jake explain?"

"Rose, we found him, he was going up against someone call The Master, another Timelord who'd been hidden from him. You know him as Harold Saxon," Jake started to tell her.

"He was the minister in charge of the Archangel network, back home," Rose recalled. "He's a Timelord? Why was he hidden then?"

"We don't know the full story Rose, we didn't have time," Mickey joined in. "The Doctor said this Master was out to get him, before he could regenerate. We're sorry but we had to leave him, you know our policy of not interfering?"

Rose turned and looked at Pete.

"Yeah, I know as well as anybody but you could have helped him? Was he okay when ya left?" she wanted to know.

"Yeah, he had someone helping him, he wasn't on his own," Mickey told her. "He told us something had happened before and a clone of him had been created. He didn't know what had happened to the other him, the walls of the universes were weak, he could have come here. Rose, think about it, it explains a lot?"

"Mickey's right," Pete had to agree. "Alec may have a bad heart because he's meant to have two?"

Jake went out to the drinks dispenser and got her some water.

"Calm down Rose," he suggested as she drank it all in one go.

"How can I be calm?" she handed the plastic cup back to Jake, who went to get more water.

"Rose, he told us something, before we left," Jake was about to tell her until they heard a door opening.

Owen looked at all of them as they had serious looks on their faces.

"What did I interrupt?" Owen grinned at them.

"Nothing, just something Rose needed to know," Pete insisted. "Thanks Owen."

"Someone has to be in here with him until he recovers," Owen told them, knowing they wouldn't give anything away.

He knew Rose, Mickey and Jake were all as thick as thieves and nothing would get between them.

"I'll give you a few minutes before I send someone else in," Owen added.

"How much longer do you think Alec will be out?" Pete asked.

"There's no telling, Director. If Rose stays by his bedside, it will give him a better chance. She needs a rest as well though or she'll be exhausted," Owen warned them.

"I'm here ya know?" Rose reminded them. "I've got a bed here, Katy's been visiting, what more?"

"Rose, Alec wouldn't want ya to get ill," Jake reminded her as Owen left. "Anyway, what we were gonna say was about this clone. I mean what do ya know about Alec?"

"He has a point love," Pete had to agree. "If the walls were giving way, he could have slipped away but only with a device, otherwise he wouldn't have been protected, Timelord or not."

"Pete, remember a few years back, that unexplained phenomenon?" Mickey asked. "When the stars started going out then a few nights later, they were back?"

"Yeah, I remember Mickey," Rose agreed. "No-one could figure it out except for unusual cloud formations that were blocking them. So what happened over there to make them go out?"

"What makes you think they were going out over there as well?" Pete wondered.

"It stands to reason," Rose thought. "Do ya think that was down to him? Well what if this clone who was created didn't realise he was ill? I just remembered, that old device I had from when I came here then went back. I left it on a desk in the other Torchwood. He could have picked it up, then his clone decided to come after me?"

"He would have used it before, wouldn't he?" Mickey wondered. "I mean did he mention it when he got that message through?"

"No, maybe he didn't realise?" Rose replied. "The walls would have been weak then."

"Yes Rose but maybe not enough?" Pete disagreed. "What did he say about how his clone was created?"

"Just it involved someone called Donna," Mickey remembered. "Before we left, The Doctor mentioned this device that they have for hiding themselves, an old fob-watch. He said it could contain the memories of a Timelord then when it's opened, they were restored."

"Well if he had one, why wasn't he hiding from this Master, instead of being in danger?" Rose asked.

"Rose, his clone may have taken it, came over here and wanted to start again. He'd know enough to realise he'd be in danger here, not only from Torchwood," Pete told them. "If he's Alec, maybe he didn't want to change back?"

"Why would he put up with Tess, she was a real cow," Rose reminded them.

"Hey, he was only half Timelord," Mickey remembered. "Maybe that device only worked one way? That it took his memories away but won't restore them?"

Everyone looked at him, like he'd grown another head.

"What?" Mickey asked.

"Geez Mickey, if you're right, if Alec's this clone, he's stuck being Alec but how did he blend in? I mean he wasn't ill when I was with him in Sandbrook," Rose told them.

"That device must only work on full Timelords?" Pete wondered. "So even if you can find it Rose, it won't do him any good, will it?"

"What am I supposed to do Dad?" Rose got all tearful again. "I thought you two were off to get him help? Then ya come back over a week later and nothing."

"Calm down eh?" Pete encouraged her. "It's not their fault if they landed in the other universe and The Doctor was going up against one of his old enemies."

"It's okay Pete, we know Rose is upset," Jake told him.

"Yeah, no worries Pete," Mickey agreed, wanting to reach out to her but those days were long gone, even before she'd met Alec. "He must have told us for a reason though? I mean about having a clone who could be Alec and this watch."

"We just have to figure it out then?" Jake grinned. "No worries."

"Come on Rose, you know The Doctor better than any of us," Pete reminded Rose. "Didn't he mention this fob-watch and hiding from his enemies?"

"No, maybe he'd never had to use it before?" Rose replied. "Why did he tell you two?"

"I remember that Harold Saxon though," Mickey reminded Rose. "Rose, remember your mother used to tell us to hush if he was on the news? Sorry Pete."

"Before my time," Pete assured him. "We're all changed now, all of us. Come on, start thinking."

"Maybe he doesn't need the watch?" Mickey wondered. "Maybe The Doctor was just trying to tell us that Alec's different? I mean if Alec's his clone?"

"We don't even know that yet," Rose told him.

"Well, we're all assuming he is," Pete pointed out. "Rose, we are not giving up. We'd best let the nurse back in, one of us will be back before we head home. I'll have your mother pack you some more things for tomorrow."

Jackie had been out to get new items of clothing now Rose was having to stay by Alec's bedside. Rose smiled at the thought of her mother coming along and telling Alec he'd better wake up or she'd have something to say. Either that or if she found out that he may be The Doctor's clone, that alone should be enough to wake him up. Why was he out so long though?

Even The Doctor had only been out of it for a few hours when he'd regenerated. Then she realised something as Pete was leaving.

"Dad, what if Alec's doing the equivalent of recovering from a regeneration?" she asked him.

"You could be right love?" Pete had to agree, though he knew nothing other than what she'd told him. "Even so, it's been well over a week."

"I can't give up Dad," she told him.

"I'll send some food down for you," Pete suggested. "You have to eat love."

"I'll try. It's bugging me now though, why tell me about a fob-watch when I don't even know if he has one?" Rose asked him.

"Why don't you call Tess or Daisy, ask if he left one behind?" Pete suggested. "Has Tess called to see how he is?"

"Not today but she'll probably call later. How do I ask her if he had an old fob-watch? I mean we barely talk as it is," Rose asked.

"I can call her for you? I could say he asked for it before being put under the anaesthetic, that you've only just remembered?" Pete suggested.

"It's okay, I'll ask her, she'll probably want to know why he wants it, I'll have to think of something," Rose replied.

"Rose, you make cover stories up for a living," Pete laughed.

He kissed her cheek as Rose hugged him then he went off, signalling the waiting nurse to go into the recovery room.

"I won't be long, then I'll be at the desk if you want anything. Not wanting the TV on?" the nurse smiled.

"I hate daytime TV, it's more to my mum's liking. I only like the re-runs of the seventies cop shows," Rose tried to smile back.

"Oh I love those, it reminds me of when I used to watch them growing up," the nurse agreed. "Don't worry about your boyfriend so much, I'm sure he's fighting back."

Rose was sure of it and especially now she'd learned a few things. The only problem was, how was she supposed to know what The Doctor meant? She'd never asked Mickey if he'd still looked the same or had he regenerated after she'd been forced to leave him?

Pete was discussing the new developments with Jake and Mickey in his office.

"I've stopped anyone else using the devices for now," Pete was telling them. "At least until we're sure no-one can find The Doctor."

"That's why I had one last go," Mickey replied. "I was gonna leave it but Rose seems so sad about Alec."

"We know Mickey, we're all as sad as she is. She feels guilty that she wasn't there to stop him getting ill," Pete told them. "That's just it though, if Alec is The Doctor's clone, he can't have any memory of it. If he had this fob-watch, it must have done a good job on him."

"Yeah, too right," Jake agreed. "Best wait until Rose asks his ex wife if she remembers him having one but what then? Are we supposed to get him to open it when he's unconscious?"

"That might be it?" Mickey wondered. "It might not work unless he's the one to open it. Maybe if Rose puts it in his hands and opens it for him? What then though? He'll put Rose and himself in danger, maybe even me and Jackie?"

"Mickey, we don't have a Timelord detector," Jake reminded him. "As long as he doesn't let on who he is, he'll be safe."

"That depends Jake," Pete warned him. "Some people here don't forget so easily. As long as they go back to Dorset though, they should be okay. We have to think about Katy though. She could be part Timelord or whatever they call females."

"Pete, Rose said The Doctor once told her that not everyone from his planet became Timelords, she said he explained it to her," Mickey told them. "We have to get him to wake up first."

Rose got the expected call from Tess, who had sounded disinterested up until now.

"Well if there's no news then?" Tess was asking.

"No, none yet. Tess, I need to ask something. I've only just remembered that Alec mentioned something about an old fob-watch maybe? He was a bit vague when they were knocking him out before surgery. Do ya know anything about it?"

"You're asking me about that stupid watch when Alec's out of it?" Tess sounded annoyed. "Why would he even mention it?"

"You know about it?" Rose thought she'd heard wrong.

"Daisy still has it, he gave her it to play with when she was four or five. I don't know why, the damn thing didn't even open for her, I don't know how many times he'd show her," Tess replied.

Rose could hardly believe what she was hearing.

"Tess, if I send a courier, can you ask Daisy if I can borrow it?" she dared ask.

"Hold on, I'll ask her. For some reason she won't part with it, he used to drill it into her that it was the most important possession he'd had and she had to look after it for him, only he never could tell her why, just that it was to be looked after so he wouldn't lose it," Tess told her.

Rose's own heart was leaping at the news they'd all be right. Now, she had to get it here as soon as possible without anyone here knowing what it was.

"Tess, can you put it in one of those padded bags addressed to me at the med lab at Torchwood?"

"I supposed so? You never said why Alec was having the surgery done there," she reminded Rose.

"Because my stepfather arranged it, so Alec would get the best care possible," Rose tried not to give too much away.

"I should have known then," Tess replied dryly. "When will someone collect it?"

It was now after five and she needed it here tonight, if possible.

"I'll arrange for a local courier in Sandbrook to pick it up," Rose told Tess, knowing she'd have to get Jake to arrange it for her. "Maybe within the hour?"

"If you insist. Hold on while I ask Daisy, she'll want to know why it's so urgent," Tess replied. "Daisy, where's that old watch your dad gave to you?"

"In my drawer upstairs. Why Mum?" Rose could hear.

"Rose needs it, your dad mentioned it to her," Tess told Daisy.

"Rose, why does my dad need it back? I promised I'd look after it for him," Daisy wanted to know.

"Daisy, I wouldn't ask unless it was really important, sweetheart. I thought maybe giving it to him might help him recover, I've been told to try everything I can think of to get him to wake up," Rose explained. "The doctors here said anything could help. Hey, if that doesn't work, maybe I can get someone to pick you up and bring you here at the weekend?"

"Can you? Please Rose?" Daisy begged her.

"Yeah, one of my friends will come and get ya after school on Friday, you can stay with my mum when you're not here. I have a bed in the recovery room, the nanny brings Katy in for a few hours every morning," Rose explained. "If he does wake up, they'll keep him for observation anyway, then we'll be at my mum's before we go home."

"Mum, can I?" Rose could hear Daisy asking Tess. "I'll get the watch but you'll make sure I'll get it back?"

"Yeah, I will. I'd best arrange for it collecting then? Speak to ya tomorrow and if I have any news, I'll call right away." Rose assured the teenager.

Rose asked Tess to text their address then called Jake before he left.

"Yeah, I'll get someone on it," Jake assured her. "Have ya got the address?"

"I'll text it to ya, Tess has just sent it to me," Rose heard her message tone.

"Let's hope this works then? How will ya explain it though?" Jake wondered.

"It will or it won't but I have to try," Rose replied.

"We'll you're good at inventing cover stories," Jake laughed. "Are you telling Pete?"

Rose then called Pete, who came down to see her.

"Are you sure about it?" he asked her, thinking maybe The Doctor had put them on the right track after all.

"It has to be what he meant Dad," Rose was talking quietly away from the nurse. "That means he knows Alec took it."

"Maybe he just couldn't say, if someone was with him at the time?" Pete wondered. "Maybe so the other one didn't get to know."

Rose knew what he meant. So this person who was helping The Doctor didn't get captured by The Master and forced to tell what they knew, that The Doctor had a clone and could cross into another universe. Then if The Master had defeated The Doctor, the rogue Timelord would try the same over here and no-one would be equipped to deal with him.

Well maybe with the exception of herself and Alec, if he ever woke up and was well again but he still only had one heart and The Master would know and capture him, herself and her friends and family. No, it couldn't come to that and maybe that was why Alec had been hiding his true self?

Chapter 21
Pete hoped he was wrong but if Alec had a mysterious timepiece he'd entrusted to his daughter and she'd had it drilled into her to keep it safe, then he wasn't wrong. They could only sit and wait until the fobwatch arrived.

"Try and eat something," Pete was encouraging Rose.

Rose offered him a weak smile.

"Sorry Dad. I was hoping the watch would be here by now?" Rose replied.

"Well Jake put an urgent rush on it, couriers usually co-operate with us," Pete smiled back. "Poor Daisy will be wondering what all the fuss is. We should get them both up here tomorrow if Alec don't come around."

"Ya think it's that serious?" Rose gasped.

"You have to face it. Doctor Harper won't bring him around until it's safe, he's already said that," Pete reminded her.

"I should get Mickey and Jake to tell me the full story about what The Doctor said to them," Rose changed the subject. "Maybe we missed something and Alec's not his clone?"

"I think he is love," Pete disagreed.

"Well what are we gonna tell Owen, when the watch arrives?" Rose wondered.

"We'll think of something, if opening the watch brings Alec out of it. There might be another reason Alec had the watch though," Pete replied. "He may have just been given it, he might not be the clone."

"Whatcha mean?" Rose was puzzled.

Meanwhile where Tess and Daisy lived, Daisy had been sat on the bed fingering the watch Alec had given her to look after.

"Come on Daisy, the courier will be here soon, Rose was in a big rush to get it, for some reason," Tess was telling the teenager.

"I know Mum but what if dad doesn't come round?" Daisy cried. "She said it was serious a few days ago. This is all I have of him."

"Rose will make sure you get it back," Tess was trying to assure her. "It must be important somehow."

"It's been making noises Mum," Daisy then admitted.

"Don't be silly Daisy, it only ticks, if you keep winding it up," Tess disagreed. "I've never heard it."

"But that's it Mum, he said something about it when he gave it to me," Daisy insisted. "It's still stuck though."

"Well let Rose worry about it, she should have told me why she wanted it," Tess huffed as she heard the doorbell. "You have to give me it now."

Jake had instructed the courier service to take a large padded envelope to Tess's address and get her to put it inside and seal it. Then a biker was to take the fastest route to the London Docklands and hand it in at the reception desk where cash was waiting along with a bonus if it was delivered before the estimated time.

The biker had the envelope all ready and was eager to complete his task so he rang the doorbell again.

"I'm from Thoms courier services," the skinny man all in leather greeted Tess, showing her the padded envelope. "I'll have the item there before you know it."

"Yes, you do that but don't get stopped for speeding, the person who's waiting for it won't be pleased," Tess told him, seeing Jake's name on the envelope.

Jake had decided it was safer the item be addressed to him rather than Rose. Tess put the watch in the envelope and pulled the strip off the end and sealed it. She just hoped that whatever reason Rose had asked for it, it wasn't anything mysterious that Torchwood was synonymous with.

"Take good care of the item," Tess then insisted as the man put his helmet on.

The man just looked at her as if to ask was she in the police or something? It wasn't his job to say anything about where a package or envelope was going, just to get it there. Tess thought it may make her ex husband's girlfriend feel better to know the watch was on its way so she sent a quick message to Rose, who jumped when her message tone went as she leaned on Jake's shoulder, since he'd just joined her.

"Give it to me," Jake offered, seeing Pete closing his eyes.

Neither of them had been getting much sleep, being worried about Alec and Rose as well.

"It'll be Tess to say the courier's there," Rose thought.

"The desk'll take it and pay them," Jake replied. "Geez Rose, I hope whatever's supposed to happen when he gets the watch actually happens."

"We all do Jake," Pete told him. "Where's Mickey?"

"Stuffing his face?" Jake grinned.

Rose had to smile, whatever the situation was, Mickey dealt with it by eating. Mickey was in the canteen trying to persuade one of the secretary's to let him take her out.

"You're always working late Mickey," Fiona was telling him across the gap in the tables. "Hey, you're well in with Jake, ask him if Torchwood's hiring. My friend Donna's looking for a job."

"Any vacancies are advertised," Mickey replied, waiting for her to answer his question. "Besides, he's busy with something."

"Something of Rose Tyler's I expect?" Fiona huffed. "I heard that secret project is off limits again, fat lot of good it is having it then."

"It's secret for a reason," Mickey objected to her scoffing the cannon project.

If it hadn't been for a stroke of luck, they'd never had known to send for a watch Alec had given to his daughter.

"Bet ya can't talk about it Mickey?" he was asked.

It was more than his life was worth to talk about the cannon project to general employees.

"Well if you don't want to go out?" Mickey asked her again.

After Fiona saying she'd think about it, Mickey went down to join the others.

"So how do you know anything will work?" Mickey asked Rose.

"There are no guarantees," Pete told him.

"We have to believe The Doctor was trying to help in some way," Rose insisted. "He wouldn't let Alec die, if he could help it."

"We know love," Pete told her, taking her hand.

"Alec had just got to know Katy, I insisted he had the surgery," Rose told them.

"He chose to go ahead," Mickey reminded her.

"Rose, there's every chance he'll come round on his own," Pete told her.

"He can probably hear us," Mickey grinned at the thought.

"Yeah and telling us not to fuss over him," Rose had to smile.

"You couldn't have just left him Rose," Pete reminded her. "Let's just see what happens when the watch gets here?"

"He might be mad with me, for finding out about it?" Rose wondered, staring across at Mickey.

"I'd best go," Mickey suggested as Rose held on to Jake's arm.

At one time, Rose would have gone to him but not since they'd arrived here. Now, she had chosen Alec like she knew he could be The Doctor's twin.

"Did you have any idea?" Mickey challenged her.

"What?" Rose looked up. "You are joking?"

"Leave it Mickey, no-one could have guessed," Pete insisted.

"Pete's right," Jake agreed. "It's not like he'd tell her before she came here and said so."

"Jake's right, he couldn't have known his twin would be created just like that," Pete told them.

"He's a time traveller," Mickey reminded them.

"It doesn't work like that Micks," Rose disagreed. "He wouldn't go forward in his own time-line and create a clone just to send him here. That would mean he knew he was gonna lose me."

Then she thought of something. Maybe he had? She got up, feeling sick and ran to the bathroom.

"What?" Mickey wondered what he'd done now.

"Leave her," Pete suggested. "She's just upset whatever the watch is for, it won't do Alec any good."

"It has to work Pete," Jake told him. "Why would Alec have it if it wasn't for a reason?"

Rose was leaning over the sink in the ladies bathroom. Did this have something to do with what happened on the impossible planet? Had the Doctor seen his clone's fate and been prepared? She heard a knock on the door and Pete's voice calling her.

"Come on Rose, they should be here with the watch soon," Pete insisted after waiting ten minutes. "You just got another message from Tess. If someone's on a motorbike, they won't get held up in traffic."

"Okay Dad, I'll be out in a minute," Rose tried to dry her eyes.

Had The Doctor really seen she was going to almost fall into The Void and when he'd had the chance, created his twin? She'd not even asked Jake and Mickey how it had happened.

"You'd best get her mother here," Jake suggested to Pete as he sat back down again.

"Owen's mad enough all of us crept in," Pete smiled.

"Jackie won't let him stop her," Mickey laughed. "I'll go wait upstairs for the courier."

"Yeah, you do that," Jake agreed, knowing Rose was uncomfortable him being there.

He'd often wondered how Mickey had managed to get his nose pushed out when Rose had decided she wanted to go off in a time machine. He'd heard how back then, The Doctor had looked different. Rose came out just as Mickey was leaving.

"Tell me how it happened," Rose grabbed his arm. "I mean how Alec might be his twin."

"We don't know for sure," Pete reminded her.

"I need to understand Dad," Rose insisted.

"Sorry Rose, he didn't say much, just a part of him merged with a woman called Donna, when the Daleks were trying to take over," Mickey replied. "He said someone found his hand, the one he lost in that sword fight and he got it back."

"It had to have been Jack," Rose smiled. "Only Jack would keep a hand."

Pete was dying to hear the rest, Rose hadn't talked much about it.

"That can wait, Rose," Pete told her. "Once the watch arrives, Jake and Mickey should leave, it could get awkward."

"How do ya mean?" Rose wondered.

"Think about it love? Alec could be changed, he may not be the same person you love," Pete told her.

Rose looked horrified as Jake and Mickey left the room.

"Rose, if Alec's is The Doctor's twin and he went off, he may not have intended to find you," Pete continued. "You think he did but what if we're wrong about it? As your stepfather and director of Torchwood, I have to look out for you. You need Jake in here at least and people outside in case he tries to leave. However much you don't want to think about it, we have to be prepared if he becomes hostile."

"Alec wouldn't do that," Rose insisted, a tear in her eye.

"Not the Alec you knew," Pete reminded her. "This could be an entirely different person."

Pete got his phone out and called one of Jake's security team and outlined what he wanted. Then he got Jake back in.

"Sorry Rose, none of us wants this," Jake told her.

"You're all wrong about him," Rose insisted as she folded her arms.

"We hope we are," Pete replied.

"What do you both think he's gonna do?" Rose asked, getting up to sit on Alec's bed.

"He could be a rogue Timelord," Pete suggested.

"Rose, ya have to face it," Jake agreed.

"Well you'll all be proved wrong," Rose insisted. "When he wakes up, he'll still be my Alec."

"I will gladly be proved wrong," Pete admitted.

Jake agreed and they stayed quiet as Rose sat beside Alec, holding his hand.

"He feels cold," Rose told them.

"Owen will be in to check on him soon," Pete told her.

"He's not to be let in when the watch arrives," Rose insisted. "No matter what happens."

"We may have to," Pete replied. "We may have no other choice, if Alec's in any danger."

Owen entered half an hour later, frowning that Rose still had company.

"He can't hear anyone," Rose told him when Owen said something.

"It's okay Owen," Pete told him. "We'll be leaving soon."

Owen did all his checks when a nurse joined him and took Pete on one side.

"I honestly don't know how long to leave Alec like this," he admitted. "He should be strong enough on his own to bring him out of it."

"Well he has everything to live for," Pete replied. "We're going to try something, to bring him round."

"Don't tell me, something top secret Jake and Mickey came up with?" Owen joked. "What piece of alien tech would that involve? I remember the last disastrous time. Well I accept no responsibility."

"That's just typical of you Owen," Rose huffed. "What are you gonna do, leave Alec like this forever?"

"He doesn't mean to do that, do you Owen?" Pete asked him.

"Of course I don't. Well whatever you are going to try, I need to know," Owen insisted.

"We'll think about it," Pete replied, seeing Rose was upset.

Finally, Jake got a call to say the courier was there and been paid so he went to collect the watch himself. Mickey waited downstairs and greeted his friend.

"How are ya gonna get that past Owen?" Mickey grinned as they went back inside the medical lab.

"He's not gonna say anything about a watch Mickey," Jake laughed as he took it out of the envelope and put it in his jeans pocket.

"I suppose not," Mickey grinned.

"Thought you two had gone?" Owen remarked when he looked up from his laptop screen.

"Just gonna check on Rose before we go home," Jake told him.

"Well don't be long," Owen warned them.

Jake always thought of himself as being in charge of security but Owen seemed to think otherwise. Rose sat up when Jake and Mickey entered Alec's room.

"Want us to wait outside?" Jake wondered.

"Maybe it's best?" Pete agreed, thinking they were only just outside, were they to be needed.

Rose fingered the watch, recalling Tess saying it never seemed to open but it opened first time for her. Maybe it was because of looking into the heart of the Tardis?

"I can hear it whispering," Rose held it towards Pete.

"You would," Pete smiled. "Just put it in his hands Rose, then leave it. If nothing happens, at least we tried."

"I want him to be better Dad but I don't want this world to be in danger," Rose replied.

"I don't think it will," Pete disagreed.

Pete was right as nothing seemed to be happening.

"We weren't to know," Pete told her as Rose had tears in her eyes again.

"We were completely wrong Dad," Rose admitted. "Why did he have the watch though?"

"Do you recognise it, from when you travelled?" Pete wondered.

"The design is like the swirls on the Tardis console," Rose told him. "It could just be a coincidence though."

"It probably is then?" Pete had to agree. "I'll let Jake and Mickey know."

Just then, Rose thought Alec squeezed her hand as she tried to take the watch back.

"Alec?" Rose called out. "Dad, get doctor Harper if he's still here."

Pete went off but Owen had already been alerted.

"Rose," a confused Alec spoke her name.

Rose quickly put the watch in her pocket.

"Hey, welcome back," Rose greeted him, going to kiss his cheek.

Maybe the watch had healing properties, Rose wondered. She didn't care how it had worked as Alec tried to sit up.

"Don't try anything else Alec," Owen warned him. "Let me check you over."

"I feel fine," Alec replied as Owen was making Rose move. "I had you all worried?"

"Ya could say that," Rose had to smile as Pete tried to hold her back.

"Well your heart's back to a regular beat," Owen informed them. "In fact, that's quite amazing, since the pacemaker's only supposed to regulate it when it goes fast or slow."

"Well that's good then?" Rose asked. "I'm just glad it works."

"As am I," Alec agreed as Owen took the cold stethoscope away. "The surgery went as planned."

Owen wanted to say it was a miracle but that was what Torchwood was about. What had happened since Alec was placed in a coma to let him recover? He knew he'd get the run-around from Rose Tyler and her friends and the director himself would deny anything they might have done. Where the elite team were concerned, they had more or less free reign.

"Yes, well I still need you to be under observation for a few days," Owen told him.

"Please Alec, don't rush things," Rose urged him.

"Rose is right," Pete agreed.

"Well as long as you stay?" Alec smiled at Rose.

When everyone had left and Owen was satisfied Alec could hold his own, it left him alone with Rose.

"We were all worried about ya," Rose admitted after they had kissed.

"I felt something in my hand when I came round. It felt like that old watch I gave to Daisy."

"Yeah, she sent it to me," Rose replied, hoping he wouldn't ask too many questions.

"Then how did she know to send it?" Alec wanted to know as Rose tried to avoid the wires.

"Alec, just be glad she did, it maybe helped?" Rose tried to bluff.

"I don't see how," Alec replied. "Well never mind, the day we know everything, we may as well give up."

Rose looked at him. That was something The Doctor used to say. Had they be right in some ways?

A few days later, Alec was back with Rose at her parents' mansion, Tony being told not to bother him.

"He's fine Rose, leave him be," Alec told both Tony and Rose as Katy slept in her baby chair.

"Are you taking Rose away?" the boy wanted to know.

"Hey Tony, I said ya could come and visit me," Rose reminded him. "I'm only still in a caravan, wait until me and Alec find somewhere else."

The boy considered it.

"Well okay," Tony agreed after a few moments.

"We will have that house soon," Alec told Tony. "Then ask your mum if you can come and stay during the next holiday."

"Yeah, that's a great idea," Rose agreed, her arm in Alec's.

"So are you my big brother Alec?" Tony put Alec on the spot.

"I suppose I am? Rose, want to make that official at some point?" Alec asked her.

"Well Katy has your name," Rose reminded him.

So after agreeing, they set a date just before Christmas and they would leave Katy with her mother to go off for a few days. Everything went well and after staying over the new year, they finally went home. Ellie had moved to the traffic division in Exeter but with Tom staying with his aunt, she often visited and would call in to see Rose.

"I hate it there," Ellie complained on one visit. "I have a tiny little flat near the police station and I can't find a decent child-minder for Fred."

Rose patted her friend on the shoulder.

"Poor Ellie. Have ya asked to come back here?" Rose wondered, trying to think of a way to help her friend. "I'd volunteer to look after Fred but you'd have to travel."

"I know but thanks Rose. What would your husband think though?" Ellie asked her.

"Ellie, come back, no-one will bother now," Rose encouraged her.

"What about the new chief though?" Ellie asked. "Does Alec get on with her?"

"He doesn't say much," Rose replied. "Why don't I ask him for ya?"

So somehow, Rose persuaded Alec to talk to the new chief about Ellie.

"I'm sorry Alec but she made her choice," he was told. "You were lucky you got back in, you do know you had some help Alec?"

"Excuse me? I passed the medical did I not? What did you expect me to do, go teach new recruits over at the academy?" Alec objected. "It was coming back here or taking the other job. My wife wanted to come back here to live."

"I'm well aware who your wife is Alec," the chief replied. "The chief constable suggested I take you back on, to ease yourself back into the job. I also know you were ordered no chasing any suspects for the time being. You'd best hope nothing calls for it."

Try as he might, he had no answer to Ellie's problem, being told she had to prove she could cope with the traffic division before she'd be considered to get her rank back.

"And no suggesting to your wife she helps PC Miller get back," the chief called after Alec as he left.

He went back to his office to give Rose the news.

"Well we tried," Rose told him as she picked Katy up. "Hey wanna do a video call?"

"Not just now eh?" Alec told her. "Has anything come from the court yet?"

"No, sorry. I know how much ya want it over Alec," Rose replied.

"Rose, we need to talk when I get home, about Sandbrook," Alec changed the subject.
Chapter 22
Rose was wondering why they had to bring up the subject of his old case when she would rather forget about it. So after they'd eaten and put Katy to bed, Alec sat Rose down on the seating, wishing now they had a proper house.

"Why did ya want to talk about Sandbrook?" Rose wanted to know.

"Rose, Claire Ripley disappeared, goodness knows where she is and I am fairly certain she took the pendant," Alec told her.

"Do ya think she'll show up here, now you've been in the news?" Rose wondered.

"Well after all the turmoil recently," Alec had to admit. "If she does, we will have to be careful, after the case fell apart mostly because of losing the pendant."

"Yeah, I followed the rest of it, sorry," Rose told him. "Alec, she will probably just stay out of the way?"

"I hope so love. Let us just hope she won't turn up when Joe Miller goes on trial?" he replied.

"Geez Alec, I hope not," Rose gasped. "I don't wanna even think about it if she stirs up any trouble. Why did ya bring the subject up?"

"Another trial involving me?" Alec asked. "It will be tempting for her."

"Well I hope we're wrong about it then?" Rose replied.

So did Alec.

"I hope Daisy got the watch back okay?" Rose then asked him.

"She would have said otherwise," Alec replied. "You're not going to tell me why she sent it then?"

"Alec, just leave it," Rose suggested, hoping he would.

"Fine, I know you women and your secrets," he had to smile.

Rose was disappointed a few days later to find the deal for the house had fallen through. She knew it had been a holiday rental and they'd been promised it at the end of the season but the owner had changed his mind. Alec hadn't wanted her to use her name to get the man to change his mind back.

"We can look for another place?" Alec then suggested. "Maybe that one would have been a little on the small side if Daisy visits?"

Rose could only agree to start looking again but she'd wanted somewhere near the sea. She knew Alec hadn't been keen on the idea but he'd put up with it for her. It was approaching the end of the season at the caravan park so they had to call in to see if they could keep the caravan a while longer.

"Well there won't be many people around and the club will be closed," the manager was telling them.

"I don't think we mind too much," Alec replied. "Will it be possible? The caravan is plenty big enough for now until we find somewhere permanent."

"Well, I'll speak to head office and see if we can make an exception," he was told.

"What if you say I'm in the police and I get them to pay for it?" he then suggested, looking at Rose, who was fussing over Katy.

"If you call back later, I should have an answer for you," Alec was promised.

"Well can ya tell them I want to keep it for now, if his idea doesn't work?" Rose asked.

That got her a scowl from Alec.

"Well?" Rose asked when they got outside.

"Rose, what did we agree?" he asked as she leaned down to look at the baby.

"Sorry. Well what if they aren't impressed the police might want to pay for it?" she wanted to know.

"Rose, how am I going to get them to pay after all this time anyway?" he wanted to know. "I will have to say we will continue to pay and claim it back."

"I hope we can keep it for now, it's really handy for taking Katy for walks along the pier, she loves watching the boats and for meeting you for lunch as well," Rose told him. "Any news about Ellie coming back? I've not even seen her for a while."

"She may have stopped asking for a transfer back?" Alec wondered. "It's now down to her."

"Poor Ellie really took it hard," Rose recalled.

"I know love but you have done all you can for her," Alec tried to assure her.

Over Christmas and the new year, they'd gone up to see Rose's family and called to see Daisy. The teenager hadn't yet decided if she wanted to move to Broadchurch as they still couldn't find a house they both liked and with plenty of room, if they ever decided to have another baby, since Katy was almost a year old.

Alec was keen on the idea since he'd missed out with going with Rose to hospital appointments and more importantly the actual arrival of his baby daughter. They had just got back after the new year and decided to step up their house hunting. Alec went up to the rental agency one lunchtime to see why the housing market was so slow with rentals.

"Mr Hardy, there's no more shortage here than there is in other towns," he'd been told by the agent. "Have you thought about looking a bit further away? We have some properties up in Charmouth, it's only a few miles up the coast."

So Alec took a few leaflets back to show Rose and tried to explain that without buying a house, they may have to keep waiting or move up the coast slightly.

"Rose, if we are going to be staying here, we could go for buying one," he suggested.

"Alec, you won't want to use my money so how can we afford it?"

"I could ask Tess to buy my share of the house she still lives in?" he wondered. "After all, I left her the house in my hurry to get away and find a place for us."

"That would still mean I'll have to put some towards it?" Rose asked.

Alec knew Tess finding the money to buy her share of the house would be difficult so what choice did he have but to let Rose pay towards it?

"Rose, I don't want to let you do it on your own," he told her.

"Yeah, I get it Alec. Let's stay here a while longer if they'll let us?" she suggested. "Maybe I can speak to my dad and get him to lend us the money and we pay him back?"

"Talk to him and see what he says then?" Alec gave in.

"If that's what you both want?" Pete wanted to know as Rose called him. "I'll make up an agreement then and make the money available when you find something you both like."

"Yeah, we'll start looking," Rose replied. "Thanks and don't let mum talk ya into buying it for us."

"That's down to you," Pete laughed. "When are you all coming for another visit?"

Alec was listening and remembered the one where he'd almost lost Rose.

"I am still waiting for a court date," Alec used the excuse on the speaker.

"Yeah, there's that," Rose had to agree, knowing Alec wasn't comfortable with visits. "Well why don't we just go for a long weekend, for Katy's birthday next week?" she then suggested.

Alec knew he didn't really have a choice.

After they celebrated their baby daughter's first birthday, they got to work on finding a place to live and finally, Alec got a court date for Joe Miller's hearing, where he had the chance to enter his plea. Alec was hoping the man wasn't going to change it.

Rose was going to stay well away from the proceedings as she didn't want to attract all the attention, especially if she had Katy with her. She'd not had much to do with the Latimers, she'd only met Beth a few times while they'd been out but Rose knew Beth was expecting any time now.

On the morning of the hearing, Alec had agreed to do a short interview for the local paper and had just finished getting ready when his phone went.

"Is that now?" he asked as Olly Stevens was reminding him.

He opened the door to see Olly and his editor outside.

"We can do this on the beach if you want?" Maggie suggested. "Any chance your wife will be joining you?"

"No, keep her out of it," Alec insisted as he put his jacket on.

He looked across the room where Rose was still trying to feed their daughter her breakfast.

"Wasn't she friends with your detective sergeant?" Maggie then asked him.

"Maybe she was but she stays out of it, just like she's staying away from the court case," Alec told her.

He was glad when it was over and went back inside to get the car keys.

"Just watch out for any reporters," he warned Rose as Katy wanted to go to him. "As for you young lady, be good for your mum eh?" he asked the giggling girl.

"I'll put the local news on and see if they say anything," Rose told him as she tried to rescue him from Katy going for his beard yet again.

"Well confirm what you hear with me, I will call when I get out. It should not take long," he replied.

"If ya see Ellie, tell her to come over and see me," Rose added. "I don't know why she's been staying away."

"Maybe she thinks it's for the best?" Alec wondered as he handed Katy back after kissing her cheek and the baby giggling again.

"Come on Katy, let daddy go," Rose tried again.

Alec set off and on his arrival at the court, found a place to park and put his police sign on the dashboard, daring any wardens to give him a ticket. Inside, he saw some familiar faces then saw the Latimers approaching.

"You needn't have been here today," he told them sympathetically.

"I need to hear him say he's guilty," Beth told him. "Your wife's not here then?"

"No, it's best she keeps out of this," Alec replied.

"Good, this is about my Danny," Beth replied, Alec detecting a hint of sarcasm but it was to be expected he supposed.

"She's never looked for any special treatment since she's been in the town," Alec reminded her.

"Come on Beth, let's speak to our solicitor," Mark suggested as he took her arm. "Sorry," he called to Alec as they left.

"Don't be sorry," Beth told him, trying to move his hand from her arm.

Once inside the courtroom, Alec found a seat and tried to keep one free in case Ellie showed up. With just a few minutes to go, he saw her enter and look around. Beth saw her and was about to shout out asking her what she was doing there, then Alec called her over.

"How's Devon?" Alec asked as she sat down.

"Awful. How's Rose and the baby?" she replied as the court bailiff entered.

"They are both fine," he told her as they stood up. "Rose wanted to see you."

"I thought it best to stay away," Ellie admitted to him.

The bailiff read the charges against Joe as Joe turned towards Ellie.

"Don't you look at me," Ellie hissed his way.

"How do you plead?" Joe was then asked by the bailiff.

"Not guilty," Joe said clearly.

The whole courtroom erupted, Beth and Ellie louder than the rest of the room and the judge tried to silence them.

Joe's solicitor stood up and asked for the plea to be repeated.

"Not guilty," Joe said once again.

He was remanded back into custody and led away as Beth rushed out, followed by Ellie.

"This is your fault," Beth screamed at Ellie as Mark and Chloe caught up with her.

"Leave it Beth," Mark urged her. "We need to find a good barrister."

"I know who you want but you won't get her," his solicitor told him.

"I know who you mean," Maggie said to no-one in particular.

Ellie had rushed to the ladies room, feeling sick.

"Miller, come out," Alec was shouting through the door.

"Go away," Ellie told him.

Instead, he found a cleaning sign and lodged it in the doorway.

"Come over and see Rose," he urged her.

"How's that going to help me?" Ellie wanted to know as she came out of the cubicle. "How am I going to face Tom now, he'll never come back to me."

"Like I said, come over and talk to Rose," he suggested again.

"I have to pick up Fred," she replied, thinking that was a good excuse not to face her one time friend.

"Rose will be disappointed," he told her.

"Okay, maybe I'll come over later?" Ellie relented.

She didn't really feel like facing anyone but she knew Rose was just concerned. She'd heard they'd got married although while the papers should have made it front page news, it had been hushed up at Rose's request and Pete had made sure it wasn't splashed all over the gossip columns.

She knew Olly would have been one of those who had been warned.

"I will tell Rose then?" Alec suggested. "Just remember she has not fallen out with you."

He watched her walk off but doubted she would take his advice. He got a funny look from two woman as he moved away from the doorway and finding an empty seat, called Rose.

"How did Ellie take the news?" Rose wanted to know as Katy took a nap before lunch.

"Not too well," he admitted. "The Latimers have to find a good barrister now."

"Yeah, I wonder what made Joe change his mind?" Rose asked him.

"Well his solicitor was not expecting him to change his plea" Alec replied.

"Hey, best hope ya don't get the same barrister as Lee Ashworth got," Rose laughed.

"Well we could do with the same prosecution, they did the best with what they had," Alec replied.

"Be careful what ya wish for," Rose teased him. "Still meeting for lunch?"

Alec agreed and drove off, not seeing Lee Ashworth watching from his van. Ashworth wanted to know where his wife was and had figured the detective might lead him to her but he had no idea Alec had no interest in finding Claire Ripley and had left it to the Torchwood agents to find her.

Claire had settled just down from Broadchurch in the attempt to get away from her husband after Tess had got her to say she was in that night and had seen Pippa, who was worried about her cousin. She had kept her distance from Alec, since she didn't know him that well but she'd been getting silent calls and was worried it was Lee. She couldn't go back to Tess so she only had one choice. Would the DI help her though?

Claire had heard he'd got married to none other than Rose Tyler, whom Claire had also learned play a big part in getting Lee locked up. Then she'd suddenly disappeared before the trial was over which was when Tess had found her and got her to testify.

She decided she had to do something about the calls so she'd rung Broadchurch police station and been told Alec wasn't in.

"Well when will he be back?" Claire had wanted to know.

"Sorry, he's attending a hearing this morning," Bob was telling her.

She had forgotten he may have to attend the hearing of the man who had killed that boy last year.

"Well can I leave my number and ask him to call me?" Claire then asked.

Bob jotted the number down on the message pad but didn't promise Alec would get it any time soon. It was her day off and she didn't fancy waiting around for him to decide to pass the message on to Alec.

Alec got back to the station and was handed a pile of messages, Bob thinking the DI had been popular that morning.

"Oh Sir, there was one of those people who stood out," he dared tell Alec.

"Well which one?" Alec then wondered, looking at the names. "Don't bother, I found it."

He knew Claire's name but thought he'd heard the last of her before he'd moved here. Rose wouldn't be happy if he got involved with calling Claire, he thought he'd left Torchwood to deal with her. He still had Jakes's number so he called him instead.

"So Rose doesn't know what happened?" Jake wanted to make sure.

"There was no need, she was no longer part of the investigation," Alec told him.

"Well maybe you should tell her?" Jake suggested. "Want me to try and find Claire for ya?"

"No, she will find me. I just have to find a way to tell Rose," Alec replied.

Claire had heard Joe saying he was innocent on the news so she figured Alec might be back at work. She walked up the lane to catch the next bus going to Broadchurch and it was just her luck the bus that took the scenic route arrived first. It still ended up by the harbour so she hoped he would be back.

"Are you the lady who called earlier?" Bob recognised her Welsh accent.

"Yes, why?" Claire asked, thinking how many Welsh people called every day.

Bob called Alec's desk phone and told him someone was waiting for him, that being the woman who called earlier. Alec had just got back from meeting Rose across the road and Claire could have sworn she'd seen Rose with Katy as she'd got off the bus.

So, that's what the Vitex heiress had been hiding, that she had a small child, Claire wondered. She had read somewhere Alec had married Rose but there was nothing about a baby. Did the local press know? If not, how much would the news be worth to a big London newspaper such as the Herald?

She remembered the journalist who had been asking a lot of questions back in Sandbrook towards the end of the trial but that was when she herself had left, after Tess had tricked her into telling the truth about Lee.

Alec wasn't that pleased Claire had sought him out but since she was here, he could at least hear what she was doing in Broadchurch. Was she living locally though? He went downstairs and found an empty interview room.

"I never expected you to be contacting me," Alec told her as he gestured for her to sit opposite.

"Neither did I," Claire admitted. "I think Lee's looking for me."

"What makes you think that?" Alec wanted to know. "You should really contact Tess."

"Oh, so you're not interested since you got married?" Claire huffed.

"She left before it was all over," Alec reminded her. "I left Tess in charge when I left."

"She won't be interested either," Claire looked disappointed. "What am I supposed to do?"

"I suppose I could make some enquiries for you?" Alec thought about it.

He only vaguely remembered Claire giving testimony, other things had been on his mind. He could contact Jake again and ask if they knew if Lee Ashworth was in the area.

"Leave your phone number, I will have someone contact you," Alec then told her.

"Can't you deal with it?" Claire wanted to know, swearing she left her number earlier.

"I'm going to have to attend a trial," Alec replied, thinking Rose would just love this.

"Afraid your wife will find out?" Claire smiled at the thought.

"She stays out of it," Alec told her. "It's either that or I pass it on to Tess."

Claire huffed at not getting her own way.

"I suppose so then?" she replied.

"Right, expect a call from an organisation called Torchwood," Alec then told her.

"Aren't they the alien chasers?" Claire mocked.

"Not these days," Alec replied. "They got your husband to admit he had something to do with Pippa's death. He did not escape prison due to them. Do you know anything about where the missing pendant disappeared to?"

"You have to be joking," Claire laughed as she got up after scribbling her phone number on the pad Alec had produced from a drawer.

Alec knew he was going to have enough now he had a trial to attend, let alone sorting this out for Tess.

"Expect a call from Tess as well," he then warned her.

"Huh? She won't be able to protect me from Lee, will she?" Claire asked.

"We have yet to determine he is even in the area," Alec reminded her.

"Well what if it is him? What am I supposed to do?" Claire then wanted to know.

Chapter 23
After Claire agreed to let someone contact her, being disappointed she'd not got what she'd gone there for, Alec called Jake back.

"I will have to leave it to you," Alec had to admit. "I have the trial to face now."

"Yeah, just text me her number," Jake agreed. "Do ya think now that Joe Miller's gonna get away with it?"

"I hope not Jake," Alec replied, not too sure any more about it. "I had best warn Rose."

"Rather you than me," Jake had to laugh.

Alec thought Rose would be back with Katy, who would want her nap any time soon. Rose didn't know how to take the news that their old case was coming back to haunt them.

"I'm not sure how I feel Alec," she told him as she stood over the sleeping baby. "I thought that was over with. Did ya expect her to contact ya?"

"I had no idea she was even here Rose," he denied. "Upon hindsight, if she saw me on TV, she would have thought I could help her if she thought Ashworth was now looking for her. Your friend Jake assured me he could deal with her if need be."

"Yeah, he probably can, if it's certain she was the one to take the pendant? I mean it stands to reason her husband will want the pendant, maybe she's gonna blackmail him with it?" Rose wondered.

Alec thought she was probably right. Claire had got back home and was thinking of calling the local paper about Rose Tyler but then thought she'd try her luck with the London newspaper instead.

"Sorry, she no longer works here," Claire was told upon asking for the reporter she'd known of who had covered Sandbrook. "I can get someone else to take your story, if you have one?"

"No, it doesn't matter," Claire changed her mind.

She looked up the local paper instead and got Olly Stevens as the phone was answered.

Olly was in the middle of downsizing the newspaper office as Maggie had moved to smaller premises and he was the only reporter left.

"Sorry, whoever you are," Olly was telling her. "We already know about her. My editor's banned all reporting about it, she doesn't want to cross Mr Tyler."

Claire sat with her phone in her hand, wondering what to do next. Would Alec Hardy pass her details on to Tess or to Torchwood? She didn't want it to be either of them but she supposed Tess was the lesser of the two evils. She was sure this Torchwood had something to do with Lee admitting he'd killed the girl in the first place.

Before anyone knew it, they got a date for Joe Miller's trial and Alec wanted Rose to stay well away from it but that wasn't going to be easy. Alec couldn't believe it was the same prosecution and defence teams who had been involved in Lee Ashworth's trial. Of course, Joe Miller had stood up again and pleaded not guilty and Alec suspected the junior barrister had something to do with the decision as it was a bit of a coincidence.

Ellie had arrived at the courtroom and Alec was trying to encourage her further to go visit Rose, since they had become friends before she had left.

"No, I can't face Rose, not now," she had told him after she had tried to go after Beth, who hadn't wanted anything to do with her.

"You know what Rose is like," Alec tried to encourage her. "She will make sure I asked you."

"Well Joe should have owned up and spared Beth and Mark," Ellie told him as they tried to avoid the waiting reporters.

Alec didn't want to say he already knew what the defence was like. He was sure neither team would have been expecting to see it was him who had brought the case to court. A few days later though, he had no idea that the last time Ellie had visited himself and Rose, Ellie had been spotted on the CCTV camera in the hotel car park. He also had no idea the defence had been desperate to prove Joe's innocence.

"PC Miller," the defence gathered her black robe and addressed Ellie. "When did you and DI Hardy begin your affair?"

"What?" both Ellie and Alec asked at the same time, causing an uproar around the courtroom.

"Answer the question," Ellie was being told as she tried to judge Alec's reaction. "May I remind the witness you are under oath?" Sharon Bishop spoke to Ellie again.

"What affair? There is and never was any affair, he's married," Ellie finally replied.

"Well he wasn't married at the start of the investigation was he?" Ellie was asked.

"No, his now wife joined him a few days after Danny died. What's that got to do with anything?" Ellie wanted to know.

"PC Miller, you are not to ask any questions," the judge reminded her.

"Even so, I put to you, PC Miller that you began an affair early on to plot against your husband and to eventually frame him for Danny's murder," the defence carried on.

There was more noise around the room and both Mark and Beth were shifting in their seats, looking at each other.

"See, I wasn't the only one," Mark was hissing to Beth.

"Your honour," Ellie addressed the judge. "Does the defence know who DI Hardy's married to?"

"I'm sure they do but I will remind the defence. Miss Bishop, are you aware who DI Hardy is married to?" the judge asked.

"Yes, your honour, I'm well aware but at the time, DI Hardy was alone when he arrived in town. I have CCTV retrieval to prove PC Miller and DI Hardy were more than work colleagues. PC Miller, where were you on the night your husband was arrested?" Ms Bishop wanted to know, looking pleased with herself.

"I called my sister to watch the boys," Ellie recalled, trying not to look at Alec. "Then I went to see Beth Latimer."

"Then what did you do? You were seen later on in the car park of the hotel you were then staying in, with DI Hardy. You looked like more than just two work colleagues," the defence gloated.

"I went to see DI Hardy," Ellie then remembered. "His now wife was there though."

"I'm talking about back at your hotel, PC Miller," Ellie was reminded.

"I might have kissed him on the cheek," Ellie tried to remember. "That's not a crime," she added.

"You kissed his cheek," Ms Bishop mocked. "That's what you wanted it to look like, isn't it? You wanted to make it look innocent."

"Your honour, I must object," the prosecution suddenly stood up. "Where is this leading? We all know who DI Hardy is now married to."

"Indeed Miss Knight," the judge had to agree. "Very well. Ms Bishop, you are to stop this line of questioning unless you have solid proof other than some CCTV of PC Miller kissing DI Hardy's cheek, which could have been a simple gesture he had walked her back from where he and his now wife were staying at the time."

Alec wanted to stop holding his breath but wondered if there was more to come. The defence moved on by saying there were no further questions but the damage had already been done. He expected the defence had planned it that way, she was gloating that she'd won in Sandbrook and she wanted to win this time as well.

If she thought she was going to walk all over him, she had another thing coming if Rose got to hear about it. The court was adjourned for lunch and of course, Ellie had to seek him out.

"Why did she even do that?" Ellie wanted to know as she joined him at a table as he tried to send a text to Rose.

"Miller, forget about it," he tried to tell her. "Just try to salvage what you can, Rose knows I walked you back that night. It means now I have to admit certain things and Rose wasn't ready to admit about Katy."

"I already know that," Ellie huffed at him. "Is she now though? I know she's trying to keep it quiet."

"Yes and rightly so, at least until this trial is over," Alec agreed. "Miller, if it comes out now, the focus will be taken away from this trial," he reminded her. "Rose won't want that to happen."

It was now too later and Beth was approaching them.

"See what you've done now Ellie?" Beth asked her as Mark caught up to her.

"Leave it Beth, it won't do us any good," he tried to tell her.

"Mark's right," Alec also tried to tell her.

"Oh you have room to talk," Beth pointed her finger at Alec, who held his hands up in defence. "You just had to bring Rose Tyler here to take the focus off my Danny," Beth added.

"Excuse me," Alec interrupted her as Mark tried to get her away. "Rose never sought any media attention. It was exactly the opposite."

"He's right Beth," Mark tried to tell her as he led her away. "There's not been much in the papers about her."

"Well there will be now, thanks to someone," Beth replied as she was sat down at another table.

Just then, they were interrupted by the prosecution barrister.

"Really, you should have warned me," she told Ellie and Alec.

"There was nothing to tell," Alec defended them both. "Beth is just upset," he nodded in her direction.

"I didn't mean that," Ms Knight told him. "I actually meant two other things. Firstly, the defence may also remember you from Sandbrook, DI Hardy. Secondly, the fact that PC Miller visited you the night her husband was arrested."

"My now wife was there," Alec reminded her.

"Yeah, she was," Ellie backed him. "I had to make sense of what happened."

"That's as maybe? DI Hardy though, well I recall your now wife was also present at the Sandbrook trial. You'd best hope the defence doesn't drag that up." Ms Knight told Alec.

That was what Alec was also hoping. He got Rose's number and called her to warn her. Rose saw the funny side of it though.

"Rose, it's not funny," Alec tried to tell her.

"Want me to get my dad to appoint a solicitor for ya?" Rose then offered.

"Maybe, just in case it's brought up again. Rose, it's the same defence as Sandbrook, remember?" he wanted to make sure.

"Yeah, she was a bit fierce," Rose tried to recall. "Then I stayed behind in London."

"I know," Alec admitted.

"Yeah, sorry. Maybe no-one will take notice?" Rose wondered. "I mean there's no evidence, is there. You'd only been investigating a few days when I arrived in Broadchurch."

"There's supposed to be CCTV of me with your friend, outside the hotel," he told her.

"I'll call Jake and get him to access it," Rose suggested. "He can make it disappear."

"No, don't have him doing that Rose," Alec told her. "She may be just bluffing and we know it was innocent."

"Yeah, I know that Alec," Rose agreed. "Is Ellie gonna come over?"

"I don't know love," Alec replied.

Ellie shook her head when Alec got off the phone.

"How can I face Rose now?" Ellie wanted to know. "I thought Joe would just admit it and I could move on."

"I know, we all thought that," Alec agreed.

As they were going back into the courtroom, Rose was calling Jake.

"Which hotel was it?" Jake asked when he'd stopped laughing. "Is that all they have?"

"Yeah but Alec said it wasn't funny," Rose told him. "Can ya see what it was and send it to me?"

"Yeah, sure Rose. Are ya gettin' Alec a solicitor?" Jake wanted to know.

"I'm gonna call Pete now, to get one down for tomorrow morning. That woman's messed with the wrong people," Rose replied.

She got the CCTV sent to her and studied it. It showed Alec talking to Ellie, then Ellie had kissed his cheek. She recalled Ellie had been her best friend prior to them finding out it was Joe who had killed Danny, Rose saw nothing that could be classed as them being too familiar and to jump to conclusions like the garbage the defence had come out with.

She called Pete, who was sympathetic.

"Jake just told me," Pete revealed. "I agree it's just the defence playing games. I'll make sure the judge gets a copy, you can bet the defence will have omitted to send her a copy."

"Thanks Dad. I know I have nothing to worry about with Alec but what are the jury thinking of him now?" Rose wanted to know.

"Well tell him I'll have someone waiting for him at the court in the morning, who will ask to speak to the judge. Let's see if we can sort this out," Pete assured her.

Ellie had been called back to the witness stand by the prosecution, who only had a few questions for her. After that it was Beth's turn. After they were let out for the day, Alec went straight home and Rose told him what Pete had said.

"I had hoped it wouldn't come to this," Alec told Rose.

"It's not your fault Alec," she tried to assure him. "Maybe ya should have thought what the defence would get up to, after Sandbrook though?"

"Rose, that was sheer incompetence by Tess," Alec reminded her. "They didn't need to use dirty tricks to get Ashworth off."

"Yeah, I suppose that's true?" Rose wondered. "Anyway, someone will be there to meet ya in the morning."

"Then I will watch out for someone although they probably already know who I am," Alec replied.

"Yeah, a brilliant detective and a terrific dad," Rose had to smile.

"If only that were true love although I seem to have got something right at being a dad," Alec also had to smile.

The next morning, Alec set off and was prepared to meet the solicitor Pete had sent to represent him. Alec was right, the man did recognise him and they went to sit down.

"What we have here is a clear case of slander Mr Hardy," the solicitor told him. "I take it the accusations are completely unfounded?"

"Yes, of course they are," Alec told him, wishing Rose was with him. "The barrister probably remembers me from Sandbrook and is on some kind of vendetta."

"Maybe so?" Mr Mayhew agreed. "I will go approach the judge and see if we can get this resolved. It may not be before the proceeding recommence though but I will try."

Alec had to let the man go try then as he waited, Ellie arrived.

"You did what?" Ellie asked when he said he'd got a solicitor.

"Rose got one for me, he's gone to see the judge," Alec told her. "She won't let the press get hold it," he added.

"Well I suppose it covers me as well?" Ellie wondered.

Everyone was now going up to the courtroom and Alec was about to join them as Ellie also made a move. Then he saw his solicitor coming down the steps and met him halfway.

"I managed a quick meeting with the judge and she agrees the accusations are unfounded and Ms Bishop won't be allowed to continue that line of questioning," Alec was told. "If anything else happens, I will be out here," he pointed to the refreshment stand.

Alec wondered how much Pete was being charged by the hour for the other man's services but that wasn't his problem. Rose's stepfather would do anything to keep Rose out of the newspapers these days and not many people even knew she was married and had a one year old daughter.

Fortunately, the defence had backed away from the accusations but Alec knew she could try and bring it up if she wanted to. A former co-worker of Joe's appeared for the prosecution about Joe having a temper then the defence called a witness who was going to let them down – badly.

Alec could see they were trying to pin the blame on someone else but the witness was pulled apart by the prosecution and the judge ended it by telling the woman she could leave. By Alec's reckoning, that fiasco had cost the defence their client's freedom.

That wasn't to be though as he was called again to the witness stand. The prosecution had already pulled him and Ellie up about Ellie attacking Joe in the interview room and they'd been warned that Joe's confession may be disallowed.

"When was a doctor called for Mr Miller?" the defence asked him. Alec just stared at her. "I repeat, DI Hardy, when did Mr Miller receive treatment for injuries sustained whilst at Broadchurch police station?"

He could hear everyone talking amongst themselves, especially Beth and Mark. Alec tried to explain that as soon as he realised, Ellie was removed from the interview room.

"Your honour, I move that the confession Mr Miller gave be dismissed," Ms Bishop addressed the judge.

"Your honour," the prosecution stood up quickly. "I insist this is investigated before dismissal. I will speak to the other officers concerned, then see if any breach occurred."

The judge decided to allow her to do so and the court was dismissed. Alec waited for Ellie while he was talking to his newly appointed solicitor. The solicitor handed Alec his card and was told to call if his services were required.

When Alec turned around, Ellie had already left.

"So how did it go then?" Rose wondered as he was back early.

"It could go either way," he admitted. "I tried to talk to Ellie but she was gone."

"I don't know why she doesn't visit," Rose admitted.

"This trial has done more harm than when Danny was killed," Alec told her.

"Yeah, it's sad that Joe just couldn't accept what he'd done," Rose replied. "Did ya get that accusation sorted?"

Finally, it was the day the jury was to decide Joe Miller's fate. They had been dealt a blow after the judge threw out Joe's confession and the prosecution did what she could to salvage it. Things weren't very good between Rose and Alec as he left for what was hopefully the last time.

"Did ya ever see that footage of you and Ellie that night?" she asked him, since Jake had found it and forwarded it to her.

"No, I don't think you showed me it," Alec replied as he tried to eat his cereal and feed Katy at the same time, which wasn't easy.

"Was it just my imagination it didn't look like she hit your cheek?" Rose asked him.

"What? Rose, it was just on the cheek, do you even have to ask?" he replied. "What brought all this on eh?"

"When I arrived here, to tell ya about Katy. You went out that night," she reminded him.

"Yes, I was invited out by both of them, it was her husband's idea," Alec told her. "I came to you for help afterwards. What are you saying?"

"It was just the way you said it, when I asked ya to come and see me that night," Rose admitted. "It was like that was more important than seeing me."

"What's brought all this on?" he wanted to know as Rose took over feeding Katy. "Rose, we'd not seen each other for quite a while and you never told me why you were here."

Rose looked away while she cleaned Katy up.

"Rose, please?" Alec asked her as he got up. "I had only just met her. Her husband was the one who invited me."

"Sorry," she then told him. "I guess it's gettin' to everyone?"

"Yes love but it should be over today," he tried to assure her.

"I hope so? What's it doing to the others?" Rose wondered.

Alec leaned down to kiss her and then kissed Katy's cheek, the youngster rubbing it.

"Don't you like daddy's beard?" Rose then laughed.

"Well she had best get used to it," Alec smiled. "No matter what happens today, the town won't let him back."

"I just hope Ellie comes back though, it's not her fault," Rose replied.

"I know love, I will try to talk to her," he promised. "She is still your friend then?"

When the jury were sent out by the judge, everyone was waiting around and Ellie decided to sit on her own, her sister and nephew talking outside. Alec got up and went to sit with her.

"Rose still wants to be friends with you," he told Ellie.

"How can I be friends with her if Joe gets let off?" Ellie asked him.

"That won't make any difference to her," he tried to assure Ellie.

"What did she say about the accusation?" Ellie wanted to know.

"You know Rose, she was a bit upset at first but she saw there was nothing to it," he replied.

"Yeah, sorry, it was my fault really," Ellie had to admit.

"No real harm done," Alec replied. "Let's see what happens then?"

"He's going to get off, I know he is," Ellie told him.

"We don't know that yet," Alec replied.

"I know but I went and spoiled it that time," Ellie insisted.

Everyone was called back in but they were to be disappointed as the jury were undecided and the judge insisted the majority of them should agree. They waited around for a while longer then were called back yet again.

Beth Latimer burst out of the courtroom, closely followed by Ellie as the jury foreperson said they had found Joe not guilty. Alec left the two women, who seemed to have made up after months of Beth blaming Ellie for what her husband had done and he drove home.

"Well, that's it then?" Rose wondered.

"I expect the people of the town will seek their own justice?" Alec suspected.

"Probably? Joe won't have anywhere to go, will he?" Rose replied.

"Well it's over from our point of view. She may remain in the town though?" Alec thought.

"Yeah, I hope so?" Rose agreed.

"Now this is all over, how about thinking of a new addition to our family?" Alec dared ask as he picked up Katy from playing with her toys.

"Yeah, we can try?" Rose replied. "So is Sandbrook over with?"

"As far as I am concerned, yes, it's over. Claire never contacted me again but I told her it was either Tess or Torchwood," he admitted.

"Good, it was all Tess's fault anyway," Rose agreed. "I told ya Claire would have been watching that day."

"Yes love, you did and maybe you were right eh? Well the day we know everything, we may as well give up," Alec told her.

Rose just stared at him. Was he The Doctor's twin after all? Maybe it was best no-one knew, it could start all kinds of rumours and those who didn't like the thought of aliens inhabiting the same planet may start an uproar. She knew neither Jake or Mickey would ever admit to anyone else that Alec may be who they thought he'd been and as for Alec waking up when the watch was opened, well maybe it had just been time for him to wake up.

The End!