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Run away from you

Rose Tyler has run away from her mother, who has hi-jacked hers and the duplicate Doctor's wedding plans. She arrives in Broadchurch to get away from it all and meets Alec Hardy, who helps her sort out her feelings. He doesn't want to get involved with her, the trial of Joe Miller was on the horizon and he didn't want her getting mixed up with it.

Rose though has some feelings for him and Alec gives up after he invites her for dinner the night after they meet. She goes back home and tells the Doctor's clone she wants to call off the wedding and just stay engaged and he agrees and seems relieved. A few years later, they find their old universe and he goes back but Rose stays behind.

She then goes back to Broadchurch to try to convince Alec to take a chance with her only to find out a serial attacker is on the loose and Alec fears Rose could be the next victim.

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Chapter 1

From the day the duplicate Doctor was left on the beach with Rose, they had gone straight into a relationship and had hit all the gossip column headlines with their whirlwind romance. They had come up with a story of how they had met and were sticking to it but after a few years, speculation was rife that a wedding was on the cards. They tried to play it down but when Jackie pointed out they'd be left alone if they at least got engaged, they agreed and gave interviews to the papers.

After several weeks of announcing their engagement, things had finally died down but in their place, sad news had been broken about a young boy who had been found on a beach in a seaside town down in Dorset and now the killer had been caught, there was talk of the trial.

"Rose, ain't it funny that detective looks like John?" her mother asked her.

"He doesn't find it amusing Mum," Rose had to smile over breakfast as Jackie glanced at the news headlines.

"Not amused about what love?" John asked as he joined them, having spent twenty minutes trying to get his hair to stick up.

Jackie passed the paper over to him.

"Nah, he's got a beard," Rose pointed out as she teased John.

"Good job as well," James objected as he flicked his hair.

"I'd better go see what's keeping your dad and Tony," Jackie decided.

"Don't go mixing me up with that detective, will you?" John asked Rose.

"Ha! Had ya going there," Rose laughed.

John was well used to Rose constantly teasing him.

"As long as there's nothing in the gossip columns that speculates when we're getting married?" John replied as Rose moved the paper away from his face and went for a kiss.

Jackie disapproved of them forever kissing in front of people, especially Rose's younger brother.

"Watch out Rose, before your mother comes back," he reminded her.

"Are you two snogging again?" Jackie asked when she came back holding Tony's hand.

"What's snogging Mum?" Tony asked innocently.

"Never you mind," Jackie told him. "Now see what you two have done?"

Rose decided to ignore the remarks and went to serve herself and John some breakfast. She wondered if he'd been relieved her mother had almost caught them? Was he beginning to feel trapped? Well he had been only too pleased to finally get together so she didn't know what the problem was.

Maybe it was the fact her mother was forever talking about wedding dresses, flowers and cakes? She needed a break from it and the reporters lurking around corners trying to get photos of them when they were out.

"Hey John, how about a holiday?" Rose asked out of the blue.

John put his knife and fork down.

"You mean now?" he asked as he drank his coffee.

"We can get a last minute one?" Rose wondered.

"Ah, well?" John pondered. "There's lots to do at Torchwood love, maybe we should wait a while?"

"If ya wait too long the two of ya will be going on your honeymoon," Jackie told them.

"Mum's right," Rose agreed.

"Well, why don't you go somewhere?" John then suggested. "Maybe I can join you?"

Rose knew that was never going to happen but what harm would it do going off on her own for a few days? Then she thought of the perfect place to hide where all the press had left town. So the following Monday morning, she was packed and ready to leave but John was going to work as usual.

"Ya will miss me?" Rose asked him on the way downstairs.

"Yeah, I will miss you," John tried to assure her.

"Well it's only so you'll get some peace and quiet," Rose reminded him.

"Yes, your mother does seem to go on a bit?" he had to agree.

In Broadchurch, Alec Hardy was just reading yet another letter from the hospital telling him he was on the waiting list for a pacemaker. This time though it was to say if he travelled a bit further, he could have it done at the hospital in Exeter. Funnily enough, that was where Joe Miller's trial was taking place next week.

The town had been bitterly disappointed that Joe Miller had the nerve to stand in front of a judge and say he was not guilty. At least he'd sort of made friends with Miller, it had given them common ground. Now it had been in the paper though, Claire would probably start calling him. He wasn't going to let her get to him though and he was keeping himself occupied by teaching new recruits at the police collage.

He got up to go make himself a drink and never saw Rose passing on the harbour road and into the caravan site, not that he would have guessed she had and that they would come across each other shortly. Rose checked in and got her keys then went to the local store to get a few things, spying a fish and chip shop opposite and thinking she'd go later on.

After unpacking, she decided she'd go for a wander around and was sitting at the end of the stone pier watching the boats in the harbour just as Alec was passing, since he needed a bit of exercise every day. He was still on call if anything urgent came up though only in a supervising capacity so as he spotted a figure at the end of the pier all on their own, curiosity took over.

He was almost at the end when Rose was aware someone was approaching and thought if anyone was thinking she couldn't defend herself, they had best think again. Then she recognised who it was, thinking he'd have left town by now.

"Miss Tyler?" Alec recognised her. "May I ask what you're doing out here on your own?"

"Just watching the boats," Rose replied, thinking that should be obvious.

"It will be getting dark soon," he hinted.

Rose thought she had better humour him.

"Yeah, I was gonna make my way back anyway, to get something to eat," she told him. "Wanna join me?"

Alec didn't think it was such a good idea, seeing who she was and she was engaged but he was feeling rather hungry himself and as long as they were in public? Rose thought if anyone were to spot them, they may think she was with John. That though was also worrying Alec. Then he wondered why she was on her own and as they sat on the wall, he dared to ask her.

"I just needed a break from it all," Rose admitted to him.

"Why here of all places?" he wondered.

"Well after all that was going on, I figured the press would have left town," Rose told him.

She wondered if he was still on active duty and he was just doing his job.

"I also came to get my mother to back off about weddings," Rose smiled.

He knew his daughter was one of her followers on social media and was waiting for the news. Maybe Rose might let slip they had a date and he could get back in favour with Daisy? Maybe it would take more than that but Rose wouldn't give him a personal invitation to her wedding, which would be what would appease his daughter.

"I would have thought you would have a date already in mind?" he dared ask.

"Ha, my mother would!" Rose laughed. "Wanna know the truth?" she asked him. Alec nodded. "We really can't decide and John's always busy with something."

She didn't want to add he was busy trying to get a piece of coral from the other Doctor's Tardis to grow in a special lab he'd set up. Between that and the cannon project being fired up again for short periods that was pretty much John's day. John had one lab assistant after Mickey failed to come back with them. He'd been hoping Mickey was remaining but given that John had grown out of The Doctor's hand, it shouldn't have come as a surprise. Poor Tony couldn't understand at the time why his uncle Mickey didn't come to see him any more and they had to keep telling the boy Mickey was working away a lot.

"Well according to the papers, they think you will set a date shortly." Alec told her as he got up off the wall.

He held his hand out to help Rose up and took the carton she'd been eating out of from her. Rose wished John would do little things like that sometimes.

"It was nice meeting you Rose," Alec told her when he'd deposited the rubbish in the nearby bin.

"Yeah, it was nice to meet the detective who got that boy's killer," Rose replied. "I'm just in the caravan park over there, I thought I'd get more privacy there than a hotel."

"I have that blue cottage by the river," Alec gestured across the harbour.

"Ooh, that sounds nice," Rose smiled. "You were lucky to get that. I think I'm jealous."

"Don't be, there have been a few times when it rained I thought I would need a boat to get to it," Alec admitted. "I don't like boats or being on the water."

"Then why did ya choose it?" Rose wanted to know.

"I have no idea. I suppose it was that or the white cottage on the cliff," he replied.

"I didn't see that when I arrived. Ya never know, that might be the next place ya live?" Rose wondered.

"Ah, not quite. I think I will be leaving after Joe Miller's trial. It would have all been over if he had stuck to his plea of guilty," Alec told her.

"Yeah, I wondered why he'd changed his plea," Rose admitted. "I told my stepfather we should pay him a visit and get him to tell the truth."

Alec didn't know if she was having him on or not until he saw another smile on her face.

"Be careful Rose, I may yet take you up on that," Alec told her.

"Then call and ask for me?" Rose suggested.

"They put calls through when anyone rings?" Alec wondered.

"Sometimes, if the receptionist doesn't think someone's playing a prank," Rose told him.

They were standing on the corner by the entrance to the caravan park by now.

"Hey, I'd love to see your cottage sometime," Rose admitted.

"Then if you are passing and see me sitting outside, wave to me and cross the footbridge around the corner, then through the gate," he replied, wondering why she was inviting herself.

"I might take ya up on that?" Rose laughed. "I'm on the third row of caravans, number twelve."

He then wondered why she was telling him that?

"Wanna come back with me for tea or coffee?" she then suggested.

He didn't know if she was just being courteous or not.

"Are you allowed visitors?" he then wondered.

"Who's gonna tell? Besides I put down John might be joining me at some point, if he can tear himself away from his projects," Rose sounded disappointed to him.

"Your fiancé cannot tear himself away from his work to spend some time with you?" Alec queried, hardly believing the man wouldn't want to holiday with his fiancée.

Daisy had constantly teased him that if he spiked up his hair, he would look like Doctor John Smith, which had prompted him to grow a beard.

"Seems not?" Rose looked sad as they walked along the roadway.

"May I see you to your caravan?" Alec tried to be polite.

"Yeah, thanks. Sure I can't tempt you with a hot drink?" Rose replied.

Alec was sure she would think he was being rude if he didn't accept.

"Well maybe some tea then?" he gave in.

They entered the caravan, which was quite cold and Rose went to the heating thermostat, looking puzzled.

"Alec, can ya take a look at this for me? I had hot water earlier but there's no heating on."

Alec got his specs out of his pocket and took her place, turning the dial until he heard a 'click' when it was towards the central heating.

"Give it a few minutes but I will look at the boiler, someone may have turned it off?"

"Well the park just re-opened, maybe it was boiling hot weather the last time someone used this caravan?" Rose asked.

"Maybe so? Are you going to tell me the real reason you are here on your own?" Alec wanted to know.

"I told ya. My mum hi-jacked our wedding plans and she was drivin' me crazy," Rose admitted.

"Very little was said about your wedding plans Rose. My daughter was following everything that was going on a good while ago and she was complaining there's been no news since," Alec told her. "Her mother kept telling her you must be keeping it all secret."

"Wanna know the truth?" Rose asked him as she leaned against the kitchen counter.

"Very much so. Only if you feel comfortable explaining it to me. I promise not to tell my teenage daughter," he assured her. "Daisy thinks I resemble your fiancé."

Rose stepped up to him and ruffled his hair, Alec leaning forward.

"Nah, it takes John twenty minutes or so to get his hair spiky," Rose grinned. "The truth is Alec that we were fine just being engaged, it was my mum who tried to rush us into getting married. Me and John knew each other ages ago but lost touch with each other. It was only after he came back from travelling around and came to work at Torchwood again that we got back together again."

"That was in the papers Rose," he reminded her as the kettle switched itself off but Rose remained where she was, in front of Alec. "Where did you first meet then?"

"When Pete was holding a birthday party for his first wife," Rose admitted, sticking mainly with the truth of that night, with a few agreed alterations they had all come up with. "John helped me and Pete escaped when the Cybermen gate-crashed the party. We couldn't save the other Jackie though. She was taken and we found her, already converted in the cyber factory."

"That must have been a shock?" Alec wondered. "I take it you weren't guests?"

"Nope, I was temping for an agency and got the job as a waitress for the night, John was gate-crashing. He worked freelance for Torchwood, he was tryin' to make contact with Pete and knew something was going on so he dressed as a waiter. We were having a laugh before the Cybermen smashed all the windows and rounded everyone up," Rose recalled.

Alec was getting interested at this point. Very few people had survived that night and no-one ever spoke of it, especially Pete Tyler. He waited for Rose to continue and moving her to one side, got two mugs from the cupboard and some teabags out of a glass jar.

"Please go on Rose. Everyone wanted to know what happened there that night," Alec told her.

"He grabbed my hand and after trying to stop the president getting himself killed, pulled me towards a window when everyone started screaming. Jackie ran off in the other direction. Pete jumped out afterwards but he wanted to go back for her. John told him we had to get away and we bumped into a group of freedom fighters who took us with them. The rest, everyone knows. We helped the others stop the Cybermen converting millions more."

"So did you and he stay together?" Alec wondered.

"No, he stuck around while things were cleared up but then he went off somewhere," Rose told the alternate version of what had happened. "I never told him I loved him."

Alec was beginning to feel sorry for her. He made the drinks and they went to sit down, finding himself sitting opposite her.

"So, you know more than anyone else did about that night," Rose told him.

"Then I am honoured. So you got up the courage to tell him when he came back?" he asked, suddenly feeling jealous of the other man.

Where had that come from, he asked himself. She wasn't likely to tell him, was she? They finished their drinks and Rose got up.

"It's getting late, I should be going," Alec decided as they stared at each other for several minutes. "Still want to see my cottage?"

"Yeah, why not?" Rose managed to smile as he broke her stare. "What you asked me? Yeah, I told him when he came back. Like I said, things were fine, even when we got engaged but all this with my mother taking over, I think he finds it a bit much to be honest," she admitted.

"Then that is a shame," he told her, touching her arm.

"Thanks. I mean for listening," Rose managed to smile.

"I promise I won't sell your story to the trashy papers," he smiled back. "Come over tomorrow evening, I will make something to eat?"

"Yeah? Then I'll look forward to it?" Rose agreed as he followed her to the kitchen area.

"Goodnight then," Alec began to tell her. "Until tomorrow? If you pass earlier on in the day, give me a wave? We can maybe get something from one of the food stands?"

"Yeah, I will, if I'm passing. I thought I might drive up to the next town and have a look around," Rose replied.

"Yes, you do that, you may as well look around?" Alec agreed, wondering if that was why her fiancé wasn't with her.

Maybe the man objected to being dragged around stores selling trinkets and displaying the name of the seaside town on stickers and sweets. He thought he had best leave before he said anything else like was the other man crazy for letting her go off on her own?

"Night then Alec and thanks, for thinking about me being on the end of the pier on my own," Rose told him.

"It was nothing Rose, I expect it's the police officer in me?" he wondered.

"Are you okay now?" Rose suddenly asked him, remembering he'd collapsed after chasing a suspect, so the papers had said.

She was sure the press had made that up, even though he'd admitted there was something wrong with him.

"Ah, well. I still have a bad heart but I am waiting for surgery," he admitted. "I have an irregular heartbeat. I'm fine at present, I take medication on a regular basis," he smiled.

"Ya mean ya didn't before?" Rose smiled back.

"I thought I could manage without it but I was wrong," he further admitted.

"Sorry but isn't that a bit daft?" Rose wondered.

"Indeed but I learned the hard way. I assure you, I am fine now," he told her once more.

Then he took her hand and placed it on his heart, startling Rose as she remembered The Doctor had two hearts and she'd not believed him and he had placed her hands on them. She flinched slightly as she felt his heart beating fast then slowing down over what seemed like several minutes.

"Satisfied?" he asked her as he held her hands as she tried to back away. "I had a letter about it just this morning, if I go to the hospital in Exeter, I can get it done sooner. I have to go over there to attend the trial, I can get it done in less than two weeks."

"Do ya have someone to go with you?" she sounded concerned, unaware he was still holding her hands.

"I don't need anyone Rose, really," he tried to brush it off, wondering if he could tell Tess he could do with her being there, in case it all went wrong.

She may say no but there again, she would probably turn up if Daisy found out. He certainly couldn't ask Rose Tyler to go with him, that was for sure.

Chapter 2

Rose wondered why on Earth he'd want to go on his own?

"Thank you for your offer Rose," Alec replied, thinking he really should be getting back to his riverside shack, cottage not being the right word to describe it.

He knew Tess would scoff at it and if Miller was around – well?

"You should not be in the same town when the trial starts," he then warned her.

"Aw, me and John have dodged the press a few times," Rose had to laugh.

"I can imagine?" Alec had to agree she knew how to evade nosy reporters. "You do not know the local one though."

"Bit of a pain?" Rose wondered.

"Yes, you could say that. He revealed the name of the boy who died here before the official press interview," Alec told her, wondering if she already knew.

"Ouch! That was a bit low?" Rose agreed. "Hey, I'm keeping ya up and ya need some rest. I've got a spare room if ya want?" she offered.

Alec didn't fancy sleeping on one of those single beds that caravans tended to have when they used to take Daisy on holiday.

"There's two double rooms," Rose then told him. "Don't know why?"

The offer was tempting, Alec thought. Maybe he had bad dreams about water because he was right at the edge of the river? What the hell had come over him renting somewhere by the water? Rose could see he was debating.

"Hey, I'll make a drink while ya decide?" she then offered.

He sat down again as Rose went off to the kitchen area and began filling the kettle with water and washing the cups from earlier.

"I don't want to put you to any trouble Rose," Alec told her, looking at the time.

He knew he should try to get some sleep. Maybe he would feel better if someone was there?

"Hey, it's no trouble," Rose insisted. "My Mum still stays up for one last cuppa with the staff. Dad finds it amusing."

It still reminded her of when the other Jackie had been nasty to her just before the Cybermen had invaded. Now she had told Alec some of it, she'd have some explaining to do to Pete.

"Alec, wanna see the other room?" she suggested before making some drinks.

"I'm sure it will be fine. Are you certain it will be okay to stay?" he wanted to be sure.

"Yeah, I told ya Alec. They'll just think 'cos you're with me that you're John. Does that put ya off?" she then wondered.

Alec knew it should, if he had any sense. As long as he left early, no-one would be around and he could weave his way through the caravans to the main entrance. He was sure there would be another exit anyway, judging where the local store was.

"Well I may get away with it if he sometimes has a beard?" he then wondered.

What was he thinking, he asked himself as Rose made some tea. Rose joined him and offered him some cookies she had bought.

"I should warn you I may call out," he thought he'd best tell her now while there was still time to leave.

"Wanna know something?" she asked him. "I used to have nightmares about the Cybermen, when me and mum first went to live with Pete."

"That was understandable," he admitted.

"Yeah, what with seeing the other Jackie turned into one. She still knew who Pete was, it was creepy to say the least," Rose told him.

"No-one left who remembers it will ever know how it was allowed to happen," Alec replied. "It was all covered up and stories were put out. Half the police force had no idea what they were getting into by rounding them up."

"Alec, it was Lumic who started it all," Rose told him.

"We knew that Rose," Alec replied. "Unless you know more?" he then wondered.

"Yeah but Pete doesn't like me saying," Rose replied, wondering what she'd just started.

Alec thought he'd just love to hear more but couldn't expect her to tell him when they'd only just met. Maybe she would tell him more tomorrow night? On the other hand, she may cancel tomorrow night if he called out and woke her up during the night? Rose indicated which was the spare room, which thankfully was warm as she'd not checked the radiators in there and went into the bathroom. Alec was waiting in the narrow corridor when she came out. She tried to get past him but came close. What had made her invite him to stay over? Had she felt sorry for him?

"Thank you for letting me stay," Alec said when he was at a loss what to say to her.

"Yeah, it's fine. I think I'd be worried about ya," she admitted.

"There's no need Rose, no-one else worries about me," Alec replied, aware just how close they were and he had unbuttoned his shirt without thinking.

"That's not right Alec. Ya need someone," Rose told him.

How had this started, Alec wondered. Without thinking, he reached out and put his hands on her shoulders.

"Rose, thank you for your concern, no-one has bothered about me for a long time. I promise I will be fine, I will have the surgery and I will ask my ex wife to be there. Would that put you at ease?" he asked her.

"Well yeah? Ya can call me and tell me as well," she asked.

"So anyone can call Torchwood and ask for you?" he wondered.

"Ya asked me that before," Rose laughed. "Yeah, I'll make sure they put your call through. Night Alec."

"Yes, goodnight again Rose," he replied, wondering why she'd not told him to move his hands.

Maybe she thought he was steadying himself? Was he using excuses to stand opposite her? Rose reached up and kissed his cheek.

"Don't worry if ya wake up Alec, there's no-one in the next caravan," she told him.

"You will probably hear me," he warned her. "Don't trouble yourself."

"Tough, it will trouble me," she insisted. "Are ya always so stubborn?"

"You think I am stubborn?" he asked. "My DS used to call me that," he recalled Miller telling him a few times.

"Was she right?" Rose wanted to know, a smile on her face.

Why was she teasing him, he wondered. Rose went off and Alec watched her. Rose got into her pyjamas and listened out for him going back to his room, wondering if he would knock on her door. She heard his door closing and got into bed, wondering why she was so bothered.

She was engaged to John but was he starting to back off under all the pressure her mother was putting on them? How could she tell her mother to back off? Jackie had been delighted the two of the had got their acts together and become a couple. She knew John would be relieved if she got her mother to leave them to it. She had just turned the light out and realised John hadn't called her.

She sent him a short message asking him what he'd been doing and got the reply 'working' from him. Did they even talk that much these days, especially about getting married? Maybe they should have just ran off to a tropical island or a certain Scottish village to get married? Her mother would have only made them get married again in front of her so there wasn't much point.

Rose was startled to hear a noise a few hours after getting to sleep and sat up in bed. Then she heard Alec moving around and got up.

"Are ya okay Alec?" she asked as she saw him getting some water and swallowing some pills from a strip.

He'd put his shirt on his shoulders but not fastened it.

"I should have taken these earlier," he admitted. "Sorry I disturbed you."

"It's fine," Rose yawned. "I can't imagine how it feels. How did ya get so bad?"

"Now is not the time to tell you," he replied.

"Why, how long will it take?" Rose wanted to know.

He wanted to ask how long she had got but decided against it. He tried to get past her and Rose stepped back but she got more than a good view of his bare chest and she held her hand out.

"Would ya feel better having someone with ya?" she asked him.

Before either of them knew it, Rose was resting her head on him after he'd taken his shirt off, hardly noticing he'd just stood in the kitchen in his shorts. They had also barely noticed Rose just started out by kissing his shoulder as he put his arm around her and he'd kissed her forehead, then he had pulled her closer and she had reached up, which had led to them kissing.

They fell asleep and only woke when they could hear Alec's phone alarm going off in the other room.

"Wake up Rose," he began telling her.

"Is that your alarm?" Rose yawned.

"Yes, I need to turn it off but you have my arm," he reminded her.

"I'll go," Rose offered. "What's the time?" she asked, scrambling for her own phone.

"I have to go get changed," Alec reminded her.

Rose flopped back down again.

"Hey. Morning Alec," she smiled at him over the top of the duvet.

"Good morning Rose," he replied as his phone chirped away and he was trying to put his shirt on.

As he left her bedroom, he was sure she had a disappointed look on her face. What was his hurry? He didn't have to go back to work, except for going over more case reports from the Sandbrook files and what for? He was getting nowhere fast with them and Tess wouldn't entertain re-opening it without new evidence.

Maybe he could tempt Miller to get interested in it after the trial, he wondered as he heard Rose calling his name.

"Alec, ya not sneaking off are ya?" she was saying.

What the hell had he been thinking during the night when he'd woken up? She was engaged, to someone at Torchwood though very little had been revealed about the lucky man. His daughter had teased him that he looked a little like Rose's fiancé. Was that why he'd got in her bed last night though nothing much had happened apart from kissing but he was aware he only had his shorts on and she had somehow ditched her PJ bottoms at some point.

He went back in the bedroom with his phone and holding his trousers, having debated if he should just put them on and leave before anything else did happen, should they both get tempted.

"Why did ya leave your alarm on?" she asked as he gave in and got back under the duvet, since it was still a bit chilly.

Rose turned to face him, giggling to herself as she did and looping her arm in his.

"Rose, be serious," he tried to tell her. "You are engaged."

"Engaged, yes but not married," she pointed out.

"Rose, I can't go for a fling," he warned her, since she'd had a reputation of being wild before she'd got involved with Doctor John Smith.

"Alec, I don't know how I feel right now," she told him. "I know I have to sort myself out. John's always working, he wouldn't take a few days off to have a rest."

"So are you consoling yourself with me?" he wanted to know as she tried to get his arm around her again.

"What?" Rose asked him. "No. Why are ya even asking?"

"You cannot blame me," he replied. "Rose, you need to sort things out. This is as far as we can go. You leave in a few days to go back to your life."

"I don't need reminding of that," Rose told him. "I go back to my mother sending me links to look at dresses, cakes and flowers. I don't know how many times I've told her not to."

Alec thought no wonder the other man was being put off.

"Then stop her?" Alec suggested. "Rose, only you can do that."

"Pray you never meet my mother Alec," Rose told him.

"Come on, back to the real world eh?" he encouraged her as he tried to move his arm.

After some breakfast in the caravan park's bar, Alec went off home and Rose drove up to the next town and called at the supermarket on the way back. Then she sat thinking of what she was going to do. Should she call John and tell him they needed to talk when she got back? She thought maybe he'd know what it was about without telling him.

The other question was, what should she do about Alec Hardy? Was she already getting too close to him? They had only kissed a little so far but he had backed off this morning. How could he think she was using him though?
Maybe she was? She thought she had best not go over to where he lived too early and give him some breathing space. After all she had just sprung this on him.

Alec was sat on his doorstep, watching for Rose crossing the river when he'd got a taxi to the supermarket to get some ingredients for impressing Rose later on. He'd also got some non-alcoholic wine and some chocolates for her and put some flowers in a vase he found in the cupboard. He went inside when he heard his phone ringing but cursed it when he'd forgotten to exchange numbers with Rose and it was the pesky reporter from the local paper instead.

"DI Hardy," Olly greeted him. "Can we do an interview with you just before the trial?" he asked hopefully.

"Why would you want to do that?" Alec wanted to know.

"Our readers are interested in what you think about it," Olly replied, Alec wishing Olly didn't always have an answer for everything and wasn't so smug.

"If you must?" Alec relented slightly. "Though I think you already know what I make of it? Did your editor put you up to this or was it entirely your idea?"

Maggie was sat at the side of him in the almost empty newspaper office.

"So sometime next week?" Olly asked him. "Maybe before you set off for the court?"

Olly put his hand over the phone.

"Well?" Maggie was asking him.

That over with, Alec decided he go through a few more notes from Sandbrook, though why he was bothering, he didn't know. Maybe now was the time to contact Tess and admit there was something wrong with him? He didn't know if he'd get any sympathy from her or not but maybe she did have the right to know, since it affected Daisy as well.

Rose was getting ready to go visit Alec's cottage and wondered if she should invite him back with her or stay over at his place. She would have to see if her conscious got the better of her or not but John was still her fiancé unless she told him differently when she got home? Like she'd thought last night, would he be relieved?

He didn't deserve to be cheated on and she had slightly cheated but not actually done anything yet. She was still in control last night but was that about to change? She set off, crossing the river and seeing Alec's door was closed but it wasn't that warm even though the sun had been out earlier and now it was almost dark. She then crossed the other footbridge and pushed the wooden gate open.

Knocking on his door, she hoped Alec was expecting her this early. Alec heard her knocking and assumed it was Rose. It was hardly likely to be Tess or even Ellie Miller, he thought as he went to open the door.

"Hi, I'm not too early am I?" Rose smiled.

"No, not at all. Come on inside, it's cold out there," he noticed as he stood in the open doorway in just his shirt.

He thought he'd never noticed last night while he'd been talking to Rose on the end of the pier.

"Something smells nice," Rose told him as he took her coat.

"It's not anything special," he replied. "Ah, you look very nice."

"Yeah? It's nothing special," she teased him as she stood in a short black dress with a lacy top and chiffon sleeves.

Alec was glad he had the heating on, since she'd not been wearing warm clothing like last night but she'd been out for a walk, she would have been wrapped up warm, wouldn't she? He beckoned for her to take a seat at the table by the window and went to get the wine.

"I got you some chocolates," he told her as he picked them up off the counter.

"Ah, thanks Alec. So, this place is interesting," she replied.

It did remind her somewhat of the Tardis, being deceiving from the outside. They chatted over their meals and then Rose asked if he had any music as she wanted to dance.

"It's been a long time since I danced Rose," he admitted.

"Well, you won't have forgotten," she insisted.

He found he'd not forgotten as they swayed to a few slow tunes when he found a CD he happened to have.

"Rose, we need to talk about this," he insisted when they stopped.

He was getting uncomfortable that the next time she insisted on him sleeping with her, that despite his heart problem, he'd be unable to resist any further developments between them. He'd told himself she was going home in a few days time and she would forget all about him.

No, he couldn't involve Rose with the upcoming trial at any cost, despite he was having feelings for her. Was she having feelings for him or just filling the gap being without her fiancé?

Chapter 3

Alec stopped them from swaying to the music since Rose had got her arms around his neck as she was leaning on him.

"I should walk you back to your caravan," he suggested.

"Mmm, maybe I can stay here?" Rose wondered.

Alec knew there was no excuse for letting her stay and be with her two nights in a row.

"It's really not a good idea," he tried to object. "Besides, I only have a slightly larger than single bed and the door will not close properly."

Rose let out a laugh.

"You are joking?" she asked him as she stayed where she was.

Alec tried to remove her arms but Rose wasn't budging.

"Rose, I am being serious," he reminded her. "There is just barely enough room for myself."

"I just don't wanna be on my own," Rose admitted.

"Rose, you came down here to forget about your wedding plans," he then reminded her. "You should maybe have stayed at home or brought your fiancé with you."

He felt sorry for her but he was playing with fire here.

"John spends more time at work on one of his projects," Rose told him. "I asked him to come with me. He must be as tired of my mother and her wedding plans as I am."

"Then that is the price you have to pay for being famous," Alec replied. "Rose, promise me this is not just about being with your fiancé?"

"No Alec, of course not," Rose replied as she stood back. "Why do ya think that?"

"It seems to me you cannot accept the fact you are away from him," Alec told her.

"Fine, walk me back then. You don't have to see me again if ya don't want to," Rose huffed, going for her things she'd left on a chair.

She saw the bedroom door was open and wondered if had ever closed.

"Rose, don't leave like this eh?" he asked her as she put her jacket on. "I want us to be friends, I just want to know if this is going anywhere. My ex wife left me because she accused me of always working."

"Are ya still working too much?" Rose wanted to know.

"No, I'm on sick leave but I teach over at the academy in Exeter. Once I have my surgery, I'll be able to go back to my old job, on reduced hours for now. Rose, you will just go home and forget about me."

Rose let out a nervous laugh.

"What makes ya think I'll forget you?" she wanted to know.

He held his arms open and she cautiously moved back towards him. He leaned down to kiss her forehead.

"I never meant you should forget me but you have to justify spending your time here with me," he told her. "What if a stray reporter sees us together and think I am your fiancé?"

"Well if they do, we'll just give 'em the run-around," Rose suggested.

"Have you done that before?" he wondered.

"What do you think?" Rose replied, trying not to laugh.

Alec knew she was never going to be serious.

"Then I have to believe you," he told her. "Rose, it would be a pleasure to spend a few more days with you."

"Really? Yeah, I'd like that Alec. Maybe we can go somewhere tomorrow? Down to Weymouth?" Rose suggested.

"Fine. Now, are you going to your caravan where there is more room or are you staying here and try and fit both of us in one single bed?" he wanted to know.

Rose liked nothing better than a challenge. After dancing some more and having a hot drink later on, Rose had borrowed one of his t-shirts and he had let her get undressed first in the small bedroom. Rose had scrambled into bed, going right up to the window and Alec stood at the bottom of the bed trying to get undressed and desperately searching for another clean t-shirt.

He found one in the bottom drawer and slipped it on, swearing that Rose was sulking under the duvet. Why had he let her stay with him last night after he'd woken her up? If he hadn't called out and woken her, he wouldn't be in the dilemma he was in now. He carefully got into bed, the only light coming from the string lights over the road bridge and the street lamps.

Rose slid over him until she was on top of him, Alec wondering if she knew what she was doing to him. He may have a bad heart but it wouldn't stop all the feelings he was having as Rose lay on him. Rose indicated she wanted him to remove her skimpy underwear, which he was only too pleased to do so but he stopped her going for his shorts.

"Aw come Alec, we can at least have some fun?" Rose hinted.

"Rose, we should stick to the simple things," he suggested. "I'm not saying I don't want to have real sex with you but you have to let your conscious stop you from going too far."

Rose tried to get off him but he held her in place.

"Let me go then Alec," Rose told him.

"Just relax Rose and see how we can compromise?" he asked her.

Rose stopped struggling to find her underwear, which she supposed was by now at the bottom of the bed.

"Well okay then? I suppose you're right and I'm getting carried away a bit?" Rose had to agree.

"Maybe we can just take it easy and relieve some of the tension?" he then suggested. "I have been on my own for a while now."

He didn't want to mention he'd made a complete ass of himself by asking Becca Fisher to spend some time with him. He would rather forget about that but had she told anyone? He hoped not.

Rose initiated the kissing, which were short, sweet kisses and getting used to Alec's scruffy beard was taking some doing but they both began to relax with each other. He left it up to Rose as to how far she wanted this to go but he was determined to stop it before they went too far.

Thankfully for Alec, Rose seemed contented after he smiled to himself when she had made some funny noises that he supposed were her way of saying she had enjoyed the feelings that had washed over her. He'd had to admit it had also felt good for him as well but he couldn't let it go any further until she assured him she was going back home to end her engagement to the lucky Doctor John Smith.

He had wondered why she didn't mention her fiancé much though. Had she come here to also forget about the man she was engaged to as well as her mother interfering with their wedding plans? He had to keep reminding himself that not only would her fiancé be upset Rose was at least putting off their wedding plans but her mother may be the one who was most put out.

From what he had read about this Jackie Tyler, she liked showing off her famous daughter whether Rose liked it or not. No wonder Rose had run away from her wedding plans. A wedding was difficult enough to organise for anyone but having the gossip columns and gossip social media accounts waiting for the most tiniest of hints the couple were going to soon announce an actual date must be a pain.

He couldn't really blame Rose for running away and hope no-one would spot her and was now doing her best to make his shorts move out of the way since he wouldn't let her take them off. He wasn't sure though that he was happy at the prospect people may recognise Rose and mistake him for John Smith and get them to pose for photos.

Then Rose's real fiancé would probably get jealous if he saw the newspaper articles and who was claiming to be him out in public on the south west coast that Rose may not have to do anything to tell the man the wedding was being put off, at least for now anyway. Would Rose just put it off for a short time or indefinitely?

"Mmm, Alec, are ya okay?" Rose wondered a few moments later as he lay trying to let the last ebbs of the tide that had washed over both of them subside.

"I am fine Rose, you would know if something was wrong," he tried to assure her.

"I don't wanna cause ya any discomfort," Rose replied as she wondered if she should try and retrieve her underwear or if Alec would prefer to do the honours? "Why won't ya part with your shorts then?"

"Rose, as pleasant as what just happened was, we can't go any further," he reminded her again.

"So ya keep bloomin' well saying Alec." Rose told him.

"It's for your own good Rose, trust me," Alec claimed. "I am not making up excuses but you really need to think about this."

"Ya think I've not been thinkin' about it?" Rose tried to prop herself up on her elbow, which was difficult given the small bed. "I have been thinkin' about it Alec. Who says I can't spend my time down here with you?"

"I am not saying you can't spend your time with me Rose," he tried to assure her once again. "The problem lies with when you go home. Like I pointed out before, you have to face your fiancé and your mother. How far has she got with the plans?"

"Far enough," Rose had to admit. "Basically, she has everything in place once we set a date. John's draggin' his heels tied up in one of his projects and he won't sit and discuss a date."

"A secret project?" Alec asked, since he meant to look the man up once Rose left in the morning.

Then he remembered she'd roped him into going to Weymouth with her.

"I swear I can't tell ya what it is Alec," Rose told him, giving up on him seeking her underwear and she'd just have to get out of bed and find it herself.

"So it is a hushed up then?" Alec wondered as Rose tried to get out of bed without either of them ending up on the floor.

He then thought maybe she was going back to her caravan after all.

Locating her underwear, she quickly put it on and ran off to the bathroom, Alec smiling to herself that she must have really enjoyed what had just taken place and she needed to freshen herself up, amongst other things. He put his arms behind his head and waited for her coming back, hoping she wouldn't fall over anything in the dark.

Rose had kept on her lacy black top, Alec not attempting to remove it but he hadn't quite been able to stop his hands straying under it at some point, he smiled to himself as he thought about it. Rose was much more responsive than Tess had ever been, had he dated and married Tess because there had been a shortage of women who understood the pressures of being in the police? Considering their marriage had broken down after twelve years spoke for itself really, he supposed?

He had just gone with it and been surprised Tess hadn't asked him why he hadn't fought to get her back. He'd just let her go despite her showing off her new boyfriend, not that everyone except him in the station in Sandbrook hadn't known.

Getting back into bed, Rose let Alec go on his side and she snuggled into him.

"So, Miss Tyler," Alec tried to be serious. "If I don't take off my shorts tomorrow night, are you ending our little arrangement?" he wondered.

"What?" Rose tried to look at him. "I never said that Alec."

"I was merely checking," he corrected himself.

He thought maybe he was the only man on the planet who would have gone the whole way with her if they'd been invited and who had flatly told her he wasn't prepared to let things go that far. Had he made the right decision, he wondered as Rose tried to move.

"Well I thought we'd agreed to see each other as long as I was here?" she reminded him.

"Yes, if you still want to?" Alec asked her.

"Yeah, I do, you plum," she teased him, kissing his shoulder where she could reach, since he'd got too warm and taken his t-shirt off.

Rose was doing more than just keeping him warm, he had to admit. She had made sensations he thought were lost come alive again. Now, in a few days, she would be gone, going back to her old life.

"When do you leave the caravan?" he changed the subject.

"I have to hand the keys in before ten on Friday morning," Rose admitted, running her finger along his other shoulder.

"Then stay here with me, until Sunday?" he asked hopefully, thinking she was bound to say no.

"Well?" Rose debated.

"Geez Rose, does it need thinking about?" Alec wondered, getting him a nudge. "Just say yes or no, eh?"

"Yeah, okay then," she had to agree or they would be debating this all night and Alec needed his sleep. "Well, you come back to the caravan with me in the morning and leave a few things, then we can go straight back there when we've been out," she suggested.

He supposed it did make some sort of sense? After kissing for a while longer, Rose thinking he was a better kisser than John was but she supposed Alec had a better advantage in such things, they fell asleep with Alec hoping he didn't hit her or she fell on the floor should he wake up suddenly. She also thought that explained a few other things as well because she was almost certain she'd never had a first time with John.

Maybe John didn't know nearly as much as a normal human male in that department though, Rose thought as she relaxed even more closer to Alec. Could she go back to John now? Maybe if nothing else happened between her and Alec but what if he did want to take things further?

Alec managed not to wake up before his alarm and felt Rose leaning on him and thought himself to be very fortunate. Even if Rose wasn't so famous, they may have come across each other at some point? Rose felt him moving and yawned.

"Hey," she greeted him.

"Hi. Do you need to move?" he had to give her the choice since if he wasn't very, very careful, nature would take its course.

"Yeah but that depends," she teased him again. "I could go for more of last night," she hinted.

So could he, he thought to himself as Rose gave him another hint.

"Wanna swap?" she asked him with a big smile on her face.

"I'm too heavy to just lie on you," he thought she meant.

"I didn't mean you lying on me Alec. I know ya have to be careful," she told him.

"You are most considerate Rose," he replied. "Ah, you mean for me to lose my shorts?"

"Now ya getting it Alec," Rose laughed.

"That's not a good idea Rose," he tried to tell her.

"I won't let anything happen," Rose then insisted. "I won't make things bad for ya."

"I know that Rose but either one of us could get carried away," he reminded her. "You may regret it if things get out of hand."

"Ya don't know that," Rose then insisted. "I just wanted to feel what it would be like, I mean with me keeping my underwear on and you, well ya know what I mean?"

Alec knew full well what she meant, that he had to take the responsibility of how far they took this. He was skating on very thin ice and they both knew it. Who would be the one to give in and Rose betray her fiancé or was John Smith still her fiancé?

The way Rose had been talking, it seemed like she had to make that decision when she got home but her conscious wouldn't be clear if he let her finish what she was now trying to do.

"Rose, think about it eh?" he tried to ask her.

Rose stopped tugging at the waistband of Alec's shorts.

"One of us can call out to stop," she reminded him.

"Maybe so but it may be too late and you could get up and leave," Alec told her.

"I wouldn't do that Alec," she told him. "I may get scared and back away."

"Scared of what?" he wanted to know. "Rose, why are you scared?" he tried to look at her in the morning sunshine coming through the wooden blinds. "Oh, something you may lose?" he wondered. "Rose, I would never go that far without your permission," he promised her. "Has your fiancé been pressuring you?"

"No. What makes ya think that?" Rose wanted to know.

"All the signs are there Rose," he told her. "You have nothing to worry about with me. I'm not that capable at present."

"Aw, don't put ya self down," Rose turned her head to reach for a kiss.

"Rose, as much as I want to make the attempt, it may be impossible and I would end up in the hospital," he warned her. "I once asked the owner of the hotel I was staying at before I got this place, she turned me down and rightly so. She had to call for an ambulance a few nights before when I collapsed in my bathroom."

"Geez, ya must be really bad then?" Rose decided to move her hand that was hovering over his shorts.

"Don't worry about it," Alec told her.

"Well tough Alec, I would be worried about ya," Rose replied. "Well I guess we'll have to stick to kissin' and me losing my underwear?"

"Rose, we don't have to continue, you can back out," Alec offered. "We could still be close friends, if you want?"

"Well I do want more kissin'" Rose admitted. "Okay, see what happens tonight?"

Chapter 4

They set off to Weymouth after breakfast and Rose soon forgot she was with Alec and not John, who hated being dragged into shops more than ever these days. Alec was trying to appear interested until she went in a branch of a famous discount store, wondering if she still thought she was living on a tight budget instead of being the Vitex heiress she'd become.

Then he wondered if that was what was wrong with her for the time being fiancé.

"Are ya okay Alec?" she asked as she picked up a shopping basket and Alec relieved she'd not unchained a large shopping trolley.

He thought it would probably be a miracle though if she didn't actually fill it to the brim or ask him to go get another one or ask if he had any change for a trolley after all.

"I think I may wait across at the coffee shop?" he suggested as she'd already been in half a dozen shops.

"Yeah, okay then? I'm just gonna get a few things, I won't be long," Rose promised, Alec doubting she knew the definition of taking long.

Thinking she should probably not buy too much, Rose went to join him about twenty minutes later, leaving her recent purchases and going inside to get a drink.

"We have to discuss if we are staying at your caravan or my chalet," he reminded her before they set off again.

"Maybe it's more practical in the caravan?" Rose wondered. "Alec, I've made up my mind that I'm putting the wedding off, see how John takes it?"

"That's for the best really," Alec had to agree. "He may be more relieved than you are? Rose, you need to go back and talk it out. Until then, all we can do is be friends."

"If that's what ya think's best?" Rose tried to remain calm.

Why had he been so keen the last few nights and now changed his mind? Should she try and argue with him? That though may drive him away completely. Why hadn't she been truthful with who had become John Smith and told him it made no difference to her who he was?

She had been convinced he thought she'd wanted the real Doctor. Maybe that was why he'd been backing off? Alec was expecting her to complain and was surprised at her agreement. He could go for more with her if she called her wedding off and had thought it through.

When they got back, Rose decided to try extending her stay in the caravan until Sunday morning. Since it wasn't that busy they readily agreed but were eyeing Alec as he waited outside the reception area. Rose was debating causing mischief by claiming John was with her but thought better of it. She supposed Alec wouldn't thank her if rumours spread after she'd gone home. He had to live there for the time being.

"So what are ya gonna do after the trial's over?" Rose asked him over their evening meal.

"Try to make peace with Daisy, if she's willing," Alec replied, having explained what had happened when he'd got transferred here.

Rose suspected there was something he wasn't telling her but let it go. Alec didn't even want to mention he'd hidden someone away from his last big case, not so far away. It wasn't very likely Claire and Rose were ever going to meet.

Before either of them knew it, it was Saturday and Rose was packing a few things. Alec had been secretive as to what the trial was going to be like that was now looming and she asked again if he wanted her to stay.

"Rose, I am going to be in the spotlight," he had to remind her.

"Yeah, sorry. It's just maybe you'd do better, having someone there who's on your side?" Rose wondered.

"Thank you for your concern Rose but I will be fine," he then insisted. "You would be in the news more than the trial."

"I don't wanna take the media's attention away from the trial," Rose defended herself.

"I know you would not do it intentionally," Alec assured her. "You would not have any choice in the matter."

He knew the moment Rose broke the news about putting her wedding off, the gossip columns would be writing all kinds of things and he didn't want any of them to be about him associating with her this last week. He just hoped the local paper wouldn't have been spying on him and be the first to make the report.

Rose stopped what she was doing and sat next to him. Alec put his arm around her, seeing she looked disappointed.

"Why can't I just stay here Alec?" she then asked him.

"Rose, it's not a good idea," he replied. "I thought we had agreed that you should go back and discuss cancelling your wedding? It's not the sort of thing you do by phone."

"I know John deserves for me to tell him in person," Rose admitted. "I could go and tell him then come back?"

"That would not be fair Rose," Alec disagreed. "Calling your wedding off and running away again."

"So ya don't want me to come back then?" Rose wanted to make sure.

"I'm not saying that Rose. You need to get things sorted before you even think about coming back. Think about it eh? Coming back here, to someone who resembles your fiancé?"

Rose didn't need reminding Alec looked like John and The Doctor.

"Yeah, I get it Alec," Rose agreed, trying not to look disappointed yet again.

Why was she doing this to herself? Yes, she had met Alec on her first day and immediately used him as a substitute for John, who these days didn't do much in the romance department. She got up and started looking around for any stray items she didn't need and could be put in the spare canvas bag.

Alec could see how she felt about it but what could he do, he asked himself. How could he possibly take her fiancé's place and have his name splashed all over the papers with Rose? The upcoming trial would be bad enough and if Claire decided to break her silence, it would be even worse.

He went up to her and took her arm.

"Rose, don't leave like this tomorrow eh?" he asked her. "We had a few enjoyable days together and I will treasure that. You made me feel wanted again."

He turned her around and pulled her close.

"I won't forget you Alec," she promised as she leaned her head on his shoulder, looking up at him. "I'm gonna tell John when I get back that the wedding is off for now. I don't know how I feel about him any more. I lost him once and then he came back. Maybe neither of us are still the same as we were before?"

Alec sympathised with her, it can't have been easy being under the scrutiny of the press everywhere they went. He knew he couldn't manage such a thing at present, he had enough going on. The press would be hounding him again and Karen White would probably come crawling out of the woodwork to put him on the front page of her tacky newspaper.

Rose wanted an early night, she needed to set off early the next morning, Tony would be driving their parents mad waiting for her getting back. She'd got him a set of boats for his bath time and a toy police car she hadn't seen before.

"Are you going to admit you met me when you get home?" Alec wanted to know as Rose held onto him in bed.

"I don't see any reason not to," she admitted. "I was bound to see ya at some point."

"At least we seem to have dodged the local press," Alec was relieved to say. "It could have been we were followed everywhere."

"Yeah, I'm glad we weren't spotted," Rose agreed. "I enjoyed spending time with you."

"As did I Rose. Get some sleep, you have a long journey back tomorrow."

"Don't remind me," Rose laughed. "It's worse crossing London, trust me."

"I can imagine?" Alec agreed. "Going back, all the traffic will hopefully be going in the opposite direction."

"Yeah, I hope so. Alec, if I ever come back, what then?" she wanted to know.

"Then we will see what happens? Rose, I may go back to Sandbrook, I may not come back here," he warned her. "You have my phone number, call me, if you want?"

"Let me know you're okay after your surgery? If ya don't call me, I'll probably think the worst has happened."

"Fine, I will send you a message then?" he hoped would appease her, since she had showed some concern over it.

He had still to tell Tess and he had no idea how. Maybe he could get her down here on some false pretence? Daisy should know what may happen, she deserved that much. The next morning, Rose got ready to leave and Alec was going back to his blue riverside chalet, which he'd not been in much the last week or so.

"Take care Alec," Rose told him.

"You too Rose and be honest with your fiancé," Alec replied as she held onto him.

Up in London, Tony was driving his parents crazy by asking what time Rose would be back and John was hanging around, like a spare part, Jackie had told him.

"I don't know why ya didn't go with her," Jackie asked him again.

"I was busy," John tried to get out of it.

He had gone off to find Pete, who might be a bit more sympathetic than Jackie. Pete held his hand up as he laughed.

"No good asking me about women," Pete was telling him. "It was different with Jackie, I never had to work at it."

"No, I don't expect you had to," John had to agree. "I didn't expect to have to work on it with Rose either. I mean I'm literally the same man with a few differences. I sometimes think she wanted the other me, to talk to about what we used to do."

"John, she accepted you," Pete reminded him.

"Did she Pete?" John wondered. "She wanted to know where I'd been and who with."

"Well that's only natural," Pete told him.

"Well maybe I suppose?" John wondered. "It's like she didn't trust me, for some reason. I mean come on Pete, I never wanted to send her here, it's like she still blames me, for some reason."

"I'm sure it's not that," Pete disagreed with his future son-in-law.

He'd had no idea how much of an impact Rose was going to have on him all those years ago when he found out he was her father in a different reality.

John laughed nervously. "I should maybe have gone with her?"

"Yes, well. That's between the two of you," Pete smiled. "I've had no experience bringing up a daughter."

So John had gone off to find Tony, whom he knew the boy would be driving Jackie crazy.

"Thank goodness you're here," Jackie greeted him as Tony was running around with a model plane in one hand and a zeppelin in the other and pretending they were crashing. "I don't know who he takes after. Has Rose called yet?"

"Where's Rose?" Tony suddenly wanted to know.

John thought he and Rose had never even mentioned about having kids of their own. If they did, they'd have to move out of that two bedroom town house Rose had fallen in love with, in Chiswick of all places. He didn't need reminding that Donna had sort of brought him into being but he was glad most of her mannerisms were starting to wear off.

Rose had found it amusing the first few weeks they'd been together. Maybe that's where things had started going wrong? Well that and Jackie forever going on about weddings. Tony thrust another toy zeppelin into his hands and indicated he wanted to chase him, Jackie shaking her head and giving up.

Rose finally got back, having called to say she was on her way and John saying he was at her mother's.

"Your brother thinks I'm a zeppelin," John laughed as he greeted her as she got back inside, leaving her things in the car.

"Makes a change from him thinking I'm one," Rose laughed back. "I think he still misses Mickey."

"Rose!" Tony almost knocked both of them over when Jackie let go of him.

They stayed until Tony went to bed, then John drove them home.

"So, how's work?" Rose wanted to know as they drove back.

"We're getting promising results back for the cannon," he admitted. "Don't know why they call it a cannon though?"

"No good asking me," Rose laughed.

"So how was Broadchurch?" John wanted to know.

He wondered if she had met that detective while she'd been there but he didn't want to ask her.

"Nice and quiet. I went around a bit, to Weymouth and across into Devon a couple of times," Rose told him.

"Well Tony liked his boats anyway," John told her. "Rose, we have to talk when we get home."

"Yeah, I wanted to talk to you as well," Rose admitted.

John then wondered if it was about the same thing? Was Rose wanting to back out of getting married? At first it was all they ever talked about but since getting engaged, it had been hi-jacked by Rose's mother. He really shouldn't have expected any less from Jackie Tyler.

"Well?" John asked as he stood in the bedroom doorway.

Rose sat on the bed and he joined her.

"So did you meet that detective then?" he wanted to know.

"What do ya mean by meet?" Rose wanted to know. John then did that thing with his eyebrows. "I saw him a couple of times, yeah. He was sat outside a blue chalet at the side of the river and when I went for a walk on the pier, he walked up to me to see if I was okay, it was starting to get dark."

"Really?" John grinned, getting up to pace the floor.

"That was it, sorry to disappoint ya," Rose replied. "Anyway, what do ya really want to talk about? Me asking you what ya did while I was away? Ya could have taken some time off ya know? Torchwood's not gonna disappear if ya have time off."

"Torchwood might but the cannon? Rose, I could be on the edge of a breakthrough with it," he suddenly got enthusiastic about it.

"Then what?" Rose wanted to know.

"We could make it possible for both of us to go back, at least for a visit. Don't you want to see your old world?" he asked her.

"Yeah but not until that thing gets tested first, thanks very much," Rose huffed.

"We could be the first Rose, think about it? We can catch up with my other self and start travelling again. I mean he can get us back in time for the gap closing that we make."

"Doctor, have you heard yourself?" Rose questioned him. "We can't go back on our personal timelines. Ya used to drill that into me." Then she saw the look on his face. "You planned to do that? You are joking?"

"Rose, it's well away from that point," he insisted as he swept his hair back, which would normally get a smile for his troubles.

Rose was just staring at him instead.

"Why did ya stay here then?" she wanted to know. "Was it just to please me? That ya didn't really wanna stay?"

"Rose, don't think that," he replied. "I wanted to stay with you more than anything but if we can get back? Rose, I could be putting this world in danger just by remaining here."

Rose sat down and wanted to question his decision. She had always known he was a bit of an alien magnet.

"But you're half Human, how would anyone who doesn't belong here know about ya?" she wanted to know.

"Do I need to explain?" he replied, stubbing the toe of his Converse shoe on the floor. "I'm risking everything to stay here with you."

Rose got up and went to him.

"I know, sorry," she apologised as she saw that had got to him.

"Do you know what would happen if any of the aliens you sometimes process knew I was here and had heard of me?" he asked her.

"I get what ya mean," Rose sympathised. "Why do ya think Pete wanted you working in alien artefacts and not processing? I know ya can watch remotely and warn us if any of them might be dangerous."

"Rose, you can bet most of them are a danger in one way or another," John laughed. "They just pretend they're no threat to get sent on their way. Most of them haven't heard this Earth is defended."

"I suppose we've been lucky so far?" Rose wondered, leaning her chin on his shoulder and John starting to kiss her neck as they held on to each other.

"Well that luck might run out if any of them get any idea I'm here," he reminded her. "I may look different to some of them but they're bound to have crossed universes before it was all stopped. I expect some of them blame me for getting trapped here?"

"I've not heard anything from any of them," Rose assured him. "If they've been cut off from their version of a universe, we won't be able to help them."

"Yes, well if the cannon works successfully, we can maybe start sending some of them back?" John wondered. "Mind you, it will take some testing and who better to do that?"

"Don't go putting yourself in danger," Rose warned him.

"Well who else knows as much about travelling between universes than me?" he wanted to know.

Rose knew she was never going to win this argument. They all knew he was the real expert around here but he could never face any of the aliens who somehow got stranded here but no-one was going to tell any of them The Doctor, well the part Doctor was here.

Pete had pointed out it could start an interstellar war, start a blockade of the Earth and have fleets of war ships surrounding the planet before anyone could stop it or worst of all, demand they handed John over to whoever found out he was here first.

They could never allow anything to happen to him, which was why Pete had got Jake to carefully produce documentation for him that would pass any examination and why he had been integrated into the family but Jackie had insisted they made it official.

Now, Rose was going to have to find a way to tell him she wanted to call the wedding off without him storming off somewhere to find any passing alien ship to get himself as far away as possible.

Chapter 5

The Doctor could tell Rose wasn't happy about his latest plan.

"I thought you of all people would understand Rose," he told her as he got up.

"Yeah, I do understand," Rose objected. "I don't want ya to put ya self in danger, that's all."

"That's what makes it more interesting," John reminded her. "Well okay, maybe it used to? Come on Rose, have you lost your sense of adventure?"

"Not exactly," she replied after thinking about it. "It's a bit different though to what we used to do."

"Well maybe in some ways?" he had to agree. "So you don't want to go, if we find a way back?"

"I'm not ruling it out," Rose told him. "It'll have to be tested. Doctor, I'm not risking it to leave my mum and Tony behind, if we can't get back. Yeah, I know I was prepared to stay there with you but a lot's happened since then. Think what it would do to Tony if mum and Pete have to tell him he won't see me again?"

John sat back down again, trying to see her point of view.

"I could go then come back for you?" he offered.

Rose let out a nervous laugh.

"What if you don't come back though?" she asked him.

"Well we won't know until I've tried, will we?" he replied. "Anyway, that's a long way off yet. What did you want to talk about anyway?"

Rose thought he'd forgotten she wanted to talk.

"I'm gonna have to face my mum and get her to back down on all her wedding plans. It's getting too much."

"Really? I mean well, if you think it's getting too much?" he agreed. "How did she manage to take it over?"

"We're talking about my mum here," Rose reminded him.

"Yeah? How are you going to get her to back down? Oh, you want to postpone the wedding?"

"For now, yeah? It's too much, I never wanted all the fuss and people waiting for us to set a date," Rose replied.

"So, what brought all this on?" John wondered.

"Well if you want to still find a way back and we got married?" Rose questioned him.

"Yeah, good point," he had to agree as he scratched his head. "So, we put it off, at least for now?"

"Wow, you took that better than I thought," Rose had to admit.

"Well you can be the one to tell your mother," he warned her.

"Still scared of her?" Rose teased him.

John gave her a sly look. Jackie had always been his nemesis whom he never wanted to go up against.

"Why did ya go along with it?" Rose wanted to know.

"Well so did you," he replied. "I mean to say, we were fine before she took over," he reminded her.

"Yeah, I know. We'll go and tell her, I can't just tell her on the phone," Rose agreed.

"Do I have to go with you?" he dared ask.

So after work the next day, Rose having called Jackie to say they'd be going to see her, they had to go face her over the wedding.

"So let me get this right," Jackie was telling them. "Ya want me to cancel everything for now? Ya do know it'll get in the papers?"

"Why will it Mum?" Rose asked her. "I hope ya can trust the firms who were gonna supply everything?"

"Well yeah, I suppose so?" Jackie wasn't all that sure. "So how long are ya puttin' it off for then? Maybe I can just delay it further?"

"That's not fair Mum," Rose objected. "It's best ya just cancel everything. Ya didn't pay any deposits did ya?"

"Well no, considering who I am now," Jackie replied. "So, what's brought all this on?"

"Ya know what it was Mum. Every newspaper expecting us to set a date. I don't know why everyone needed that information," Rose told her, seeing John was dying to escape.

"Well I'll have to call everyone tomorrow then," Jackie reluctantly agreed. "What are ya doing about the press?"

"Leave it?" John suggested as he tugged at his ear.

"Well I suppose they might get tired of waiting?" Jackie wondered. "You two haven't fallen out have ya?"

"No Mum but it was gettin' a bit much, always being under pressure. It'll give us some breathing space."

Down in Broadchurch, Alec had been preparing himself for the upcoming trial. It should have all be over if Joe Miller had accepted the punishment he deserved for taking a boy's life and for what? Just because in the man's twisted mind, abusing a young boy was more important than his own family?

Alec could not understand what had come over his DS's husband. She had moved away shortly after Joe's arrest but he had been surprised she'd turned up to hear the plea being entered. He'd not had time to dwell on it since Rose Tyler had walked into his life for a week.

He'd not meant to let himself be taken in by her but they had shared a bed for a few nights and it had been pleasant enough to have someone with him who didn't care that his heart was preventing him from having a sexual encounter with her. She'd not been bothered that all he could offer her was to keep her company and a few kisses though she'd tried to get him going a few times and he'd almost given in.

He'd not been able to tell her though. She was engaged and although she'd said she was going to call it off, he couldn't be sure she actually would. She was young, famous and rich. What would she be doing with a DI who had a bad heart? Still, he had finally got booked in for his surgery but he had to go for a pre-op before and he wasn't looking forward to it.

He had wished that she'd stay a bit longer but he'd been right in telling her she had to go home and end her engagement or at least put her wedding off. Whether he'd see her again was anyone's guess but he'd promised to let her know if his surgery went well and he intended keeping his word.

A few days later, he'd gone in the old newsagent's shop that had been taken over and seen Rose and who was this John she'd been engaged to all over the news headlines that their wedding had been put back due to a heavy work load for both of them.

He was somewhat pleased she'd kept her word but that didn't mean she'd come back to Broadchurch, did it, he asked himself. Why would she now she was practically free again? Maybe she had realised she could have her pick of men, why would she still bother with him?

He sat at the table, looking out onto the river. Why had he even chosen this place? Tomorrow, the court case started and he wouldn't be able to go inside until he was called to give evidence. He slept as best he could but the only time he'd had any decent sleep recently was when Rose was with him. Was it her or was it just because he had company?

The next morning, he got to the court building, going past where reporters were gathering to catch the Latimers for an interview. He silently wished them good luck with that, the family wouldn't be in a talkative mood. He was standing around when he saw Ellie Miller going through the security check.

"This isn't right," she told him as she passed him.

"I know. I cannot imagine how the family feel," he nodded towards where they were going up the stairs.

"Beth must be nearly due by now," Ellie told him as they were about to follow. "Do you think we'll get called today? I just want this over and done with."

"Don't we all?" Alec agreed. "Have you seen Tom?" he wondered, since he knew Tom had refused to move with her.

"No, only when my sister organises something," she replied. "I'm having to pay towards his keep. Who's that?" she nodded to a woman with dark hair looking around.

It was his worst nightmare, well one of them anyway. Claire Ripley as she was now known as was looking around for him.

"How did you know where I was?" he wanted to know as she approached him.

"Come on Alec, with this court case starting today?" Claire laughed. "I don't need to be a detective to work it out."

"What are you doing here?" he asked as Ellie went up the steps.

"You've been ignoring my calls Alec. It's Lee, I think he's found where I'm staying," she admitted.

"That's not possible Claire," he told her. "I have someone watching for him coming back."

"Well they may not have seen him but I keep having all these strange calls," she admitted. "Where were you a few weeks ago? I called in a few times."

"How did you know where I live?" he also wanted to know. "When was that?"

Claire looked at him.

"I saw ya sitting outside that blue chalet by the river. There was a blonde with ya. Got a girlfriend Alec?" she teased him.

"None of your business Claire but no, it was just a friend," he replied, trying to play it down a bit.

"If you say so," Claire backed down. "Are ya gonna be here all day?"

"I have no idea. You should go home Claire, you can't be here," he reminded her.

"Trying to disown me?" she asked.

"You know why Claire. Go home, I will call in when I get finished here," he promised.

"You'd better Alec or I'll tell everyone who I thought was with you when I passed over the river," she warned him.

"What?" he then asked her as everyone was going inside the courtroom.

"You should be more careful Alec," Claire reminded him. "I saw you with a blonde and she looked very familiar."

"We will discuss this later Claire, you had best leave," he replied, thinking it must have been on one of the rare occasions Rose had been to his place.

If Claire was that way inclined, she could make some real trouble for him, including his unofficial witness protection, which he was only doing to see if her husband made contact and slipped up. He had to wait to be called and Ellie had decided she wanted to sit on her own so he left her to it. He had enough of his own problems without getting involved with any of hers or Claire's.

Claire was pleased with herself as she made her way back to catch the bus. Well it served him right if she called the local newspaper and say she'd seen him with Rose Tyler the other week but what was she doing in the town with Alec? Was the Vitex heiress still around and hiding in the blue chalet by the river? She'd had an idea Alec was somewhere close by after he'd been investigating that boy's death last year and the strange calls she'd been getting recently had been making her nervous.

Alec was finally called and had to face a grilling from both sides. Joe Miller looked disinterested Alec thought and he was just answering yes and no at first. Then he got into trouble from the judge for being sarcastic to the defence, who seemed determined to catch him out.

He was let go then a break was called and he went to join Ellie.

"How did it go?" she wanted to know.

"Not too good, it was tough going," he warned her.

"Who were you talking to before?" she then wanted to know.

"Someone from my last case. Leave it Miller," he replied.

"Fine then. I'm going to see Tom when I get out of here," Ellie replied. "So, how was she involved in your last case?"

"Her husband got set free when evidence was lost," he admitted. "I'm going to see her when I get out of here."

"Want a ride there?" she offered, knowing Tom wasn't that keen on seeing her.

"What about your youngest?" he reminded her.

"I can pick him up first. I might stay at my sister's tonight anyway," she told him.

"See how it goes?" he replied.

When Ellie found out why he'd been hiding Claire away all that time, she told him he was certifiable doing it on his own, making Claire laugh.

"There's no witness protection," Claire told her. "I would have been on my own if not for Alec. You have a cute little boy Ellie."

Alec gave her a warning look, since he'd half suspected Claire and her husband had been grooming the two girls from his last case.

"I know what ya think Alec," Claire told him. "You still can't prove it was Lee even when I helped you."

Alec didn't need reminding of that.

"So are you re-opening the case?" Ellie wanted to know.

Alec had been really tempted to do so but he couldn't do it on his own now.

"Don't look at me," Ellie warned him.

"I can't do it on my own, Ellie," he admitted.

"I have my own problems," Ellie reminded him, not bothering at first he'd used her first name for a change. "Don't call me Ellie."

Claire let out a laugh.

"You two have some serious issues," she told them both. "Why don't you stay here tonight?" she offered. "There's even a cot for the baby and Alec can sleep on the sofa, can't ya Alec?" she asked him, totally unaware of his heart condition.

"Sure," he agreed, not wanting to let either of the women know something was wrong with him.

"So you two worked together?" Claire asked them as they sat eating. "Thought you would have had enough working with your ex?"

At times he'd thought his DS had been worse than his ex wife.

The next few days, Alec was going to regret trying to get Ellie involved solving his old case. He decided to pay a visit to where he used to live and called his ex wife to arrange to meet their daughter.

"So all of a sudden you're interested in meeting Daisy?" Tess scoffed at him. "Why are you really coming up here?"

"Do I need a reason?" he argued, thinking Tess was just being awkward.

"Tell me you're not trying to drag up your old case?" she then asked.

"That was all your fault Tess," he reminded her, trying not to let her get the better of him.

"That's right Alec, drag that into it again," Tess objected. "Please yourself but don't drag me into it Alec. I'm not re-opening the case without some solid evidence. Don't go bothering Cate or Ricky either. Do you know where Claire disappeared to? She left around the same time as you did."

Alec thought it was wise to deny he'd planted Claire nearby.

"That was maybe coincidence?" he offered.

"If you say so? I'll talk to Daisy and text you if she agrees," Tess told him. "Don't get distracted and forget."

"As if I would go all that way and forget," he replied.

"How are you getting here?" she then wanted to know.

"Never mind," Alec told her, not wanting to let on he'd roped Ellie into taking him.

He then sent a message to Ellie saying he was going to see his daughter while they were in Sandbrook, to make it look like he wasn't just going to ruffle a few feathers over his last case.

"Have you booked that hotel?" he asked her, since they were going up tomorrow afternoon then he was going to visit Cate Gillespie and the woods where Pippa had been found. He was also going to get Ellie to snoop around next door to see what she made of where Claire and Lee used to live.

He'd had this nasty feeling Lee Ashworth had sneaked back into the country undetected and maybe Claire's fears were about to be realised. He'd persuaded her that she was only getting nuisance calls from someone trying to sell her something.

"I don't know why we have to go up the night before," Ellie complained to him. "Then you insist you have a meal with your daughter and we drive back the same night. I'll have to drop you off then get back to Exeter."

"Stay with your sister then, if she's looking after young what's his name for you," he suggested.

"Why can you never remember his name?" Ellie chastised him.

They were going to be in for a shock the following day as Ellie was called to give evidence. They'd been waiting around at lunch time, Ellie just wanting to get it over with and complaining that Alec kept talking about some of it and not being able to tell her the rest.

It started out simple enough until the defence barrister stood up and gathered the edge of her gown in her hands.

"PC Miller, when did you and DI Hardy start your affair?"

"What?" both Ellie and Alec said at the same time as the rest of those around the room began gasping.

"We never had an affair," Ellie finally answered, seeing Alec shaking his head.

"May I remind you that you are under oath?" Ellie was reminded.

"Well that is the truth, there was never any affair," Ellie insisted.

"PC Miller, I put it to you that you colluded with DI Hardy to frame your husband for Danny's murder so you could continue your affair," the defence added.

"Why would I do that?" Ellie wanted to know.

"PC Miller, you are not allowed to ask questions," the judge reminded her.

"Sorry, your Honour. If I had wanted to start an affair, I would have gone for a divorce," Ellie decided to still stick up for herself. "I wouldn't have just started an affair. I've not seen DI Hardy since Joe was arrested."

"You've been seen together several times recently," the defence continued. "He's been seen getting into your car leaving here."

"Only because I was giving him a lift. I was going to visit my eldest son," Ellie replied.

"Who no longer lives with you?" the defence told her. "Your son must have a reason? Maybe because you framed his father and put him in prison?"

Ellie could see Beth and Mark whispering to each other and a grin on her sister's face. She thought Lucy was enjoying this a bit too much.

"You're not going to win," Ellie turned on the barrister. "If you're looking for real proof, you won't find any."

Just as she thought the defence was giving up, the woman got back up again.

"PC Miller, on the night your husband was arrested, you left your two boys with your sister. Where did you go?" Ellie was asked.

"I went to see Beth," Ellie replied.

Then she realised she'd just been caught in a trap.

"Then where did you go?" the defence barrister wanted to know.

"I went to see DI Hardy in his hotel room?" Ellie recalled, a lump in her throat that she'd been so easily led but who had told the defence?

Chapter 6

Alec's head had remained in his hands, still shaking it and wishing Miller had been more careful, given she was a detective.

"I put it to you PC Miller that you had forsaken your two boys to go be with DI Hardy to celebrate the fact your husband was no longer a problem and that you could carry on with your affair," the defence lawyer gloated.

"Do you think you're going to win by twisting things around?" Ellie retaliated.

"PC Miller, you can't address counsel in that manner," the judge reminded her. "Be very careful I don't caution you for contempt of court."

"Sorry, Your Honour," Ellie swallowed, wiping tears from her eyes at the mess that was happening to her again. "That's not what happened though, Your Honour. There was no affair, I needed someone who knew about the case to talk to. My sister wouldn't have understood and my nephew is the local reporter, how could I have talked to him when he may have been tempted to use it for a story despite me being his aunt."

"I understand that PC Miller but in future, address the bench, not the counsel," she was reminded again. "Ms Bishop, I hope these allegations are founded?" the judge asked the defence. "It had better not be just speculation?" she asked over the brim of her spectacles.

"Very well, Your Honour, no further questions for the witness," Ms Bishop had to back down, knowing the damage had already been done.

"I will not tolerate any outbursts or counsel fabricating half truths in order to defend their client," the judge warned her. "Please just stick to the truth and what has already been established, Ms Bishop. The witness is not the one on trial here."

Alec let his breath out that he'd been holding but it was maybe too late now. There would be talk when they got outside and he couldn't trust Olly Stevens to hold out on such juicy gossip whether it included his own aunt or not.

"You are released," the judge told Ellie as the prosecution had no further questions for Ellie. "Court is adjourned for twenty minutes," she added, Alec thinking they needed it after that but it would give reporters time to call it in. He could only pray that Rose wouldn't believe what was written but would she come back anyway?

If she'd been considering it, she wouldn't now, he thought as everyone stood while the judge was leaving. He was going to try to keep his distance from Ellie but would that even matter now? He tried to delay leaving but Ellie was waiting for him.

"What the hell was all that about Miller?" he asked her without thinking how it looked.

"How the hell do I know Hardy?" Ellie hissed back as she waited to get a drink, trying to ignore the stares. "We've got nothing to hide, have we?"

Alec raised his eyebrows, thinking maybe he should come clean about his sexual encounter with Rose Tyler, not that they'd had proper sex but it had come very close a few times.

"Don't you dare have a secret relationship with that woman who turned up," she hissed again at him as she paid for her coffee.

"Shush Miller," he warned her as they moved away from everyone.

"Tell me you didn't get involved with her," Ellie tried to calm down.

"Not with her," was all Alec was willing to admit.

"What? Are you off your head?" she asked him. "Are you serious, in your condition?"

"It's not a condition," he still insisted on playing it down and he didn't want her knowing about his appointment to have a pacemaker fitted, if he survived it.

"It is a condition you nitwit," she replied, blowing on her hot drink. "Oh lord, Olly swore a certain heiress was in town a while ago. Please say it's not her?"

Alec was guilty by his silence, making Ellie say she didn't want to know.

"Really Hardy, couldn't you have stayed well away from her?" she then asked him. "She's engaged for goodness sake."

"Read the papers Miller, she called the wedding off," he tried to tell her without raising any more suspicion than there already was.

"I won't believe it until I see it," Ellie remarked. "It's still a stupid thing to do and it's dangerous, especially with what's wrong with you."

"Go on Miller, bring that into it, why don't you?" he replied. "If you must know, we were just friends and kept each other company," he had to admit.

"A likely story," Ellie shot him down. "Well if she was postponing her wedding plans, it wouldn't have necessarily been for your benefit."

Alec pulled another face at her. Ellie didn't care if she'd burst his bubble or not, after trying to rope her into his old case and her being stupid enough to agree to take him to Sandbrook.

"I didn't tell my sister where I was going when I asked her to have Fred overnight," she admitted.

"Good, no-one needs to know," Alec replied as everyone was heading back to the courtroom.

Then suddenly, Beth Latimer turned around to face Ellie.

"If that's true Ellie, how will you prove it was Joe who killed my Danny?" Beth asked her.

"Leave it Beth," Mark was trying to get her away. "It won't do any good."

"Won't it?" Beth turned on him as he took her arm.

"Sorry Ellie," Mark tried to tell Ellie.

"Don't apologise to her," Beth hissed at him.

"It was just the defence trying to get him off," Alec joined in.

"You two should have known better," Beth turned on him.

"There was no truth in it," Alec tried to assure her. "The defence were getting desperate."

"You'd better be right Inspector," Beth replied as Mark led her away.

Olly Stevens had wasted no time trying to put something together during the break but his editor grabbed his phone out of his hands and read the Tweets.

"Olly, shame on you, it's your own aunt," Maggie chastised him

"It's news Maggie," Olly protested. "I want to get in before the rest of them do."

"I can understand other reporters but not you petal," Maggie tutted as she turned his phone screen off, hoping the message would disappear and not be posted. "Have some respect."

Olly was trying to make sure his message had gone through as they got seated again, Maggie shaking her head and trying to tell Alec she wasn't taking any responsibility for her junior reporter. Ellie went off to sit next to Maggie, trying to ignore Alec but she wouldn't be able to later as they drove up to Sandbrook. She was now regretting agreeing to take him and she would be more than annoyed if the hotel hadn't got her booking or they got it wrong.

No further accusations were made, the prosecution had recalled Mark then they were all let go for the day. Ellie had arranged for the babysitter to drop Fred at her sister's house and Alec collected the overnight bag he'd had to leave at the desk downstairs after being reminded to do so when he'd gone upstairs with it.

As they drove up towards Sandbrook, cars passing them and Alec wondering if she always drove like she was on a country lane on a main road, he started messing with the radio and Ellie slapped his hand away.

"So go on then, what went wrong in Sandbrook?" Ellie then asked him. "What made you think it was Claire's husband?"

"Oh, so now she's not that woman I may have had something going with?" Alec replied.

"Don't be a smartass Hardy," Ellie sighed. "While we're on the subject, you and Rose Tyler seems a bit unlikely."

"You jumped to the wrong conclusion, as always," Alec replied. "We were nothing more than friends but she needed someone to talk to. She admitted all the wedding plans were getting a bit much and they'd been taken over by her mother."

"That seems more than likely, this Jackie Tyler is supposed to be as bad as the other one," Ellie told him. "So why did she pick here, of all places?"

"She never said," Alec tried not to say much.

"I bet she did, you just don't want to tell me," Ellie replied as she saw the turn-off they wanted. "You'll have to guide me the rest of the way."

"We'll go to the estate first, then the hotel. They had better have got us two single rooms," Alec warned her.

"Hardy, the damage has already been done, it will be all over the papers by now," Ellie complained.

"That seemed to have been the idea," Alec had to agree.

"It's so embarrassing," Ellie further complained as Alec indicated which turn-off she wanted at the junction.

After finding the Gillespie house, Ellie went to find the hotel and Alec got their things from the back of the car. It was just a big chain budget hotel but neither of them were bothered, that was until they got to the desk.

"I'm sorry but the booking wasn't registered," the receptionist told Ellie.

Alec went up to the desk to join her.

"We have double?" the poor woman offered, seeing the look on Alec's face.

He thought maybe she'd not seen the evening edition of the local paper.

After collecting the key, which Alec grabbed hold of and gave the receptionist one of his looks, they found the room then went in search of some food. Alec had stood in the doorway.

"Oh come on Hardy," Ellie complained as she tried to get past him. "It's late and I'm tired and hungry. We'll take half the bed each, you sleep on top."

Now was the time he wished it was Rose that was with him but he couldn't say anything.

"You'd better not snore Hardy," Ellie warned him when they got back and she came out of the bathroom.

"Me?" he questioned her.

"I bet you never snored when Rose Tyler was with you," Ellie told him as he got a cover out of the wardrobe and took his shoes off.

"Shut up and go to sleep Miller," he replied, making it an order, not a suggestion.

Rose was just about to leave work when Jake entered her office without knocking, a few late edition newspapers in his hand. He put them on the desk in front of her.

"Where's your boyfriend?" Jake asked her, Rose noticing everyone had gone back to calling John that.

Then she saw the headlines mentioned Alec and picked the newspapers up. She read some of it and threw them back on the desk.

"So, you did meet him?" Jake asked her since she'd denied anything after she got back. "Come on Rosie, you know I won't say anything."

"Yeah, I met him," Rose admitted, sitting on the edge of her desk. "I spent some time with him."

"Come on, I bet it was more than that?" Jake wanted to know. "I'm not judging you."

"I know Jake. What do ya want me to say?" Rose asked him. "Now it seems I'm wasting my time, he was already involved with her."

"Ya don't know that for sure Rose," Jake reminded her. "It's just gossip, probably to discredit them as witnesses and officers."

"Why should I care?" Rose tried to bluff as she felt sick. "Don't you dare show this to John. I never admitted I met Alec Hardy."

"That's between the two of ya Rose," Jake told her. "I'd worry more about your mother."

Rose gathered her things and followed Jake out after he'd picked up the newspapers. She went down to where John was and sat leaning on his untidy desk.

"Won't be a tick love," John grinned at her. "What's wrong?" he then noticed she didn't look happy.

"Nothing, I'm just tired," Rose replied.

"Well if you say so but I think we need to talk," he replied, opening his desk drawer and trying to fit everything in.

Rose wondered if he'd guessed. He hadn't but it was now worrying her that he'd see the news headlines and put two and two together that Alec had been in Broadchurch the same time she'd been there recently. They'd already agreed nothing would change in their relationship, they'd been fine before Jackie had interfered.

Even so, Rose always thought he still wondered if it was him she'd wanted or his twin. When they got home, all John wanted to know was about the wedding plans that had been put on hold.

"To be honest I'm glad you got your mother to back down," John told her as they ate a Chinese takeaway they'd called for on the way back.

Rose was somewhat relieved that was all he was bothered about.

"You are?" she wanted to make sure. "You took it better than I thought."

"Come on Rose, we were fine before she took it over," John reminded her. "So, how long do we put if off, now we're not under pressure?"

"When we feel the time's right?" Rose suggested, trying the eat the noodles without dropping them, something he did quite often, half Timelord or not.

She supposed there was still a lot of Donna's mannerisms about him.

"Yeah, we'll both know, won't we?" he laughed.

She sat and thought about the bits she'd read in the paper then got her tablet out and looked them up online. She gulped as she read what had been said about Alec and his then DS. Was any of it true or should she assume it was made up like they used to do with her and John?

Then she wondered if that was why he'd been so reluctant to be intimate with her or was he genuinely bothered she had been engaged and not wanted to start a scandal? Well it seemed like he'd got mixed up with one whether he liked it or not but if this Ellie Miller was back in the picture, where had she been until now?

Had they fallen out or was it just they were lying low and he just happened to be on his own when she'd arrived in Broadchurch? Either way, there was no way she could go back now, even if the guilty person was set free, Ellie Miller would have chosen to stay with Alec.

"Looking someone up?" John asked as he looked to see what she was doing, Rose just closing the web browser in time so he didn't see another twin.

"Just catching up," Rose bluffed. "I'm off to bed John, I'm tired."

"Yeah, okay then? Just going to watch a bit of tele," John grinned.

Rose knew he'd wake her up getting into bed, he still liked to hug and kiss, she supposed it was still a novelty for him now he was half human and it would wear off sooner or later. She still loved him, she always had but if things slowed down a bit between them, everyone would start noticing.

The next morning, Alec and Ellie walked through the woods where the young girl had been found then Alec went to see Cate, giving Ellie a key for where Claire and Lee Ashworth had lived after having a late lunch.

"You kept a key?" Ellie asked him as he got out of the car.

"In case they came back," Alec tried to tell her.

"So you're hiding Claire to see if her husband comes back?" she wanted to make sure. "What then?"

"Then I set a fire under them," Alec replied. "See what you notice," he nodded next door.

"Why do I bother?" Ellie muttered to herself as he knocked on Cate's door.

"What are you doing here?" Cate Gillespie wanted to know.

"Just a few minutes of your time," Alec told her.

Cate stood aside and let him in.

"You and Tess got divorced then?" Cate asked as she poured more wine out. "So did me and Ricky."

"Sorry to hear that," Alec replied.

"It was coming," Cate let out a laugh. "Does she know you're here?"

"No. What weren't you telling us Cate?" Alec wanted to know.

"What makes you think that?" Cate challenged him.

Ellie had let herself in next door, kicking all the mail scattered all over the hallway. She looked in the kitchen, then went into the lounge, sitting on the low sofa and feeling the light oak floorboards. Then she got up and tried to listen if she could hear talking next door.

Hearing nothing, she opened the patio doors and went outside, peering over the fence and just seeing Alec standing in the other doorway. What had he even expected for her to find? The police would have gone over everything at the time.

After this, she had to go eat on her own while Alec caught up with his daughter. She hoped his ex wife hadn't taken any notice of the false accusations. When she'd thought about it though, she'd no-one but herself to blame getting caught on camera that night. Why hadn't Becca taped over them?

They parted company just before six and Alec went off to meet his daughter, seeing her inside then he saw his ex wife.

"Alec," Tess greeted him as he sat down and picked up the menu, squinting at it.

"Why are you here Tess?" he asked her as he debated what to order.

"Dad, it's all chicken," Daisy reminded him.

He finally decided, since Tess wouldn't say while she'd turned up as well. Daisy had just gone to get her drink from the counter when Ricky Gillespie appeared beside him. Alec got up to face him.

"He called me," Tess admitted, knowing Alec would realise why she was there now.

"You stay away from Cate," Ricky warned him just as Daisy came back. "This your girl?" Ricky asked her, making Daisy step back. "I had a daughter, she would have been your age but she died."

"That's enough Ricky," Alec warned him back as Daisy sat down.

"Go back where you were Hardy," Ricky continued. "There's nothing here for you now."

"I came to see my daughter, you don't get to tell me," Alec turned on Ricky. "Get out of here before I have you thrown out."

He'd lost all the sympathy he once had for the man whose daughter had been killed by Lee Ashworth but they hadn't been able to prove it, since Tess had lost the only evidence they'd had.

"You're a failure," Ricky turned back to tell Alec as Alec followed him to make sure he left.

"Alec, you're not on active duty," Tess reminded him when he sat down again.

"Why did you tell him where we were?" Alec wanted to know.

"Don't start fighting you two," Daisy told them both, folding her arms.

"It was that or he made a formal complaint at the station," Tess replied.

"Like you pointed out, I'm not on active duty Tess," he reminded her.

"Well it could damage any chance you had of getting back," Tess told him.

"For your information, I was teaching over at the academy until recently," he snarled back at her.

He didn't want to admit that he'd had an encounter with Rose though. All seemed to be going well until Tess wanted to know how he'd got to Sandbrook.

"I came with someone," he finally had to admit.

"No, don't tell me. You came with your detective sergeant you've been accused of having an affair with?" Tess asked him while Daisy went to the ladies room.

"Shush Tess," Alec warned her as the place was getting crowded. "There was no affair, it was the defence stirring up trouble. Come on Tess, you don't believe it do you?"

"I suppose not but what about everyone else?" she asked him.

"Do I look like I care?" Alec replied sarcastically. "So is there any chance you'll reopen the case?"

"You are joking Alec?" Tess wanted to know. "Not without any further developments. You coming up here and bothering Cate doesn't count. You look awful Alec, what happened to you? Forgotten how to shave?"

"I have no-one to impress," he told her, thinking Rose hadn't been judgemental of him. "I'd best be off now, it's a long drive back. By the way, I'm going into hospital soon, for a pacemaker."

"What?" Tess asked him as Daisy came back. "Tell me you're not serious?"

"Serious about what Mum?" Daisy asked as she put her coat on.

"Ask your dad," Tess replied, trying to get her own coat on.

"Dad?" Daisy questioned him.

Chapter 7

Daisy sat back down again, much to the dismay of the waiter who had come over to remove everything left on the table.

"You weren't going to tell me?" Daisy asked as the waiter went off empty handed.

"Calm down," Alec tried to tell her. "I will be fine."

"You don't sound very confident," Tess then noticed.

"Yes, thanks for that Tess," he replied sarcastically. "I suppose you'll be checking up on me then?"

"I will now," Tess told him. "Just for Daisy's sake."

"Don't blame me Mum," Daisy objected. "How can you do this to me Dad?"

"I am doing it for you," he reminded her. "I never wanted to leave you."

"Yes Alec, tell her that now," Tess hissed at him as they finally left, much to the waiter's relief.

He saw Ellie's car parked a bit further down and after saying goodbye to Daisy, giving a few notes to buy something she wanted, he got in beside Ellie.

"Are you going to stick to twenty miles an hour all the way back?" he complained as he put his seat belt on.

"Shut up Hardy or walk," Ellie told him as she indicated to pull out. "Don't get us lost leaving the town centre, I'm not staying in another hotel room with you."

Alec didn't reply, wishing again he'd been sharing with Rose Tyler last night. Was he ever going to stop thinking about her? He had to do something about it but what? Go up to London to find her and bring her back with him? Yes, that would surely get in all the papers and Rose wouldn't thank him if it was implied she was in the middle of a love triangle.

He still couldn't be sure she'd even talk to him if she'd believed the reports. The journey back to Broadchurch was uneventful enough, Ellie was going to drop him home then go to her sister's.

"Why are you so late back?" Lucy wanted to know when she let Ellie in just after midnight.

"Disturbed you playing online poker?" Ellie huffed back, since she was tired.

"If I hadn't been that night, I wouldn't have seen Joe put that black bag in the bin down the street," Lucy reminded her.

"You can't prove it was him Lucy, for goodness sake don't say that at the trial," Ellie warned her.

"What if they ask me if I recognized the person?" Lucy wanted to know.

"Tell them it was too dark," Ellie suggested, just wanting to go to sleep, since she'd not slept much the night before in case Hardy did snore.

If he'd got tangled up with the famous Rose Tyler, that was his problem, not hers. She had enough to think about like trying to get Tom back. She thought maybe she should be a bit firmer with him but it had always been Joe who had kept the teenager in line.

There had been times when she'd regretted going back to work instead of letting her husband stay at home. Maybe he wouldn't have gone after Danny if he'd been working instead of hanging around young boys all day?

"So, there wasn't any truth to what came out in court then?" Lucy laughed.

"You know there isn't," Ellie insisted as she put the duvet Lucy had got her over the sofa. "I don't understand why he's even trying to get off."

"If you ask me, he's had too much time to think about it," Lucy suggested.

Alec had put the heating on when he got home and made himself a hot drink while he waited. He knew he should maybe move if the outcome of his surgery went his way and somewhere suitable to have visitors. Would Rose ever think about coming back though?

Being in the news all the time wasn't for him, Rose and her fiancé were always in glossy magazines he'd seen in newsagents' racks. He had seen those with headlines of them calling off their wedding but he wasn't going to tell Ellie Miller any more than he needed to, such as would Rose leave her life behind to come and live down here?

If she ever did come back she would need to be completely over her engagement, he couldn't accept anything less. Why had he let her get so close to him while she had been here? Had Tess suspected anything or had she just been having a go at him for the sake of it?

The next morning, he took a bag with him again and pre-booked a cab to pick him up from the court and take him to the hospital. He wondered if he should send Rose a message before he went in or not? If he didn't and he didn't make it, she would never know she was the last person he would think about after Daisy.

During the morning break at the court, he kept to himself, hoping Claire wouldn't turn up again. He had noticed Beth Latimer looked a lot thinner when she'd entered the courtroom and he saw Chloe holding a baby in her arms. He also noticed Ellie looked like she wanted to go over but she daren't.

The way things had been going that morning it wasn't looking good for the prosecution although they had pulled a neat trick in getting a character witness to tell the court how Joe Miller had lost his temper quite often. Then the defence had made the mistake of calling the woman who had cleaned in the cottage where Danny had been murdered, who proved to be not so reliable and the prosecution scored a few points.

As soon as they broke for lunch, Ellie went to talk to her sister and Olly so Alec went off to collect his bag and to find the cab he'd booked.

"Where to Sir?" he was asked.

"The university hospital," Alec told him, hoping the driver wasn't the chatty type.

He decided to remind Tess where he was going but unless she was already on her way, it was doubtful she'd do anything but text him back saying she was busy. He sent one to Ellie, knowing she wouldn't get it until the next break and finally he carefully composed one to send to Rose.

It started with, 'Hello Rose, remember I said I would text you when I was having my surgery?' he started off. 'Well I am on my way to have it this afternoon. Should I make it, I will try and let you know but it may be tomorrow. I can't ask my ex wife to let you know and DS Miller doesn't believe we were only friends while you were here. Should things not go my way, it will make me either more ill, they may not be able to bring me back.'

He paused as the driver asked which entrance Alec wanted.

"Ah, the heart unit," Alec replied, hoping he'd not been recognised, given what had happed.

He retrieved his bag and paid the driver. He had decided that if he didn't make it, he'd put everything of importance in the bag and placed his chalet key in a zipped pocket, hoping Tess would look for it. He'd also written a letter to Rose, telling how he felt about her and how he regretted he'd not let himself get closer to her but he hadn't wanted to have a guilty conscious over having a sexual relationship with a woman who had been engaged to be married at the time.

He had written at length that had she come back after breaking her wedding off, he would have welcomed her but he understood she needed her privacy and time to think things over. His thoughts were interrupted as it was his turn to check himself in. He answered a few personal questions and went to wait to be called, getting his phone out again to finish the text to Rose, wondering if he should call her or not before going into the operating theatre but she was probably working.

Instead he finished the text, saying the letter for her would be with her shortly as he couldn't say what he wanted to say to her in a text. He signed it off and hoped she'd read it.

Rose was trying to concentrate but was getting nowhere and it showed as Pete sent for her.

"Come on Rose, you've been like this since you went off the other week," Pete reminded her.

"Sorry Dad. It's just that John doesn't seem to care about calling off the wedding. It's like he's just relieved," she admitted.

"I see then?" Pete pondered, tapping his pen on the desk while twirling it in his fingers. "Rose, I know your mother went on at the two of you about getting married. Maybe it was never meant to be even though he found his way here?"

"I realised that Dad. We were fine as we were but he seems like he's not bothered at all now. I know he's trying to get the cannon working, he asked me to go with him if it worked."

"Did he?" Pete wanted to know. "What did you tell him?"

"That I couldn't leave now. I know I was upset when I left the other him back there but there's Tony now. I can't have him growing up on his own like I did."

"That's very commendable of you Rose," Pete told her, getting up for some coffee. "I know how much he means to you. You have no idea how much your mother cried she wanted me to go get you when you went back."

"I know, she never talks about it," Rose agreed as she heard her phone tell her she had a message.

"Want to get that?" Pete asked as he poured two coffees.

"It's probably John or mum," Rose shook her head, having no idea it was Alec saying he was at the hospital.

"What do you want Rose? Some more time off?" Pete offered as he placed the coffee on his desk.

"That won't do any good Dad. I keep trying to talk to John but he avoids the subject. He thinks everything should be as it was before but he doesn't say it. He doesn't need to."

"I'm sorry Rose," Pete sympathised. "I know how long you waited to get him back."

"When I saw him on that deserted street," Rose recalled.

"I can imagine," Pete agreed. "Are you going to do anything about it? You don't wear your ring any more."

"Ya know we called it off Dad," Rose reminded him.

"Sorry love. We were hoping that was just for the sake of the press," Pete replied. "Why now though? I mean you came back from that place, Broadchurch was it? What really happened there that you don't want us to know about?"

"I don't want to talk about it Dad," Rose insisted, knowing he would tell her mother, who wouldn't understand.

"Do you want to work some place else, away from John?" Pete then wondered.

"It won't help Dad, nothing will. Promise not to tell mum something?" she risked asking.

"You said you met Alec Hardy, that detective," Pete remembered.

"I spent the week with him, mainly in the evenings and no, I didn't exactly cheat on John," Rose confessed. "He helped me realise I did want the other him but despite Alec looking like them both, he was fully human and seemed to understand me."

"So you decided before you came back to end your engagement?" Pete guessed.

"I think I knew it before I got there Dad," Rose replied. "Alec just happened to still be there and he was still sick. He said he needed a pacemaker and he might not make it," Rose told Pete sadly.

"Get Jake to check up on him then, discreetly," Pete suggested.

"Alec said he'd text me when he was going," Rose remembered, getting her phone out and covering her mouth. "Geez, it was from him, that message," she saw Alec's name.

"Go ahead and read it then?" Pete suggested. "It might be what you were waiting for?"

"No Dad, I just want to know that he survived," Rose replied.

"I understand that Rose, really I do," Pete told her. "Take some time off and go see him."

"I can't Dad. I haven't split from John, I spent too much time tryin' to get back to him, I can't just go off," Rose replied.

"You have to decide Rose," Pete reminded her. "Does he think it's not him you want?"

"He never says Dad. What am I supposed to do? I thought having someone to talk to while I was away would help but it turned into more," she admitted. "Don't take it the wrong way, it wasn't like that," Rose added as she saw his face.

Pete held his hands up in defence.

"I'm not judging you Rose but after you spent all that time trying to get back, were you satisfied when John stayed behind?"

"I was, well I thought I was but he's exactly the same Dad and I'm all confused now. I wanted to help Alec but we were only friends. I should read his message."

"Take your time Rose. Why don't you go home early eh?" Pete suggested.

"Mum will grill me," Rose smiled back. "How can I explain it to her?"

"Sorry love. She was all for you two getting together though. I expect she was a bit put out after you called things off?" Pete wondered.

"She took it better than I thought," Rose recalled. "Mind you, so did John."

"Did he now?" Pete wondered. "So he never thought you wanted the other version of him?"

"He never said. Dad, do ya think that's what he really thinks?" Rose asked worriedly.

Pete had already had his suspicions when Rose had brought John back home with her. Then there was the fact John was really interested in getting the dimension cannon working again, telling the experts he'd gathered where he thought they were going wrong. What was John's plan, Pete wondered. Was Rose going to let John go so easily if it started working and he wanted to be the first to try it?

Rose went off to read the text from Alec, just as he was about to be wheeled into the operating theatre.

"Sorry Mr Hardy, the phone will have to be switched off," he was being told as the nurse held out her hand for it.

"I was waiting for someone to reply," Alec had to admit. "Can you give me a few more minutes?"

"Sorry, not really, we need to get you prepared for the surgery," the nurse replied, wondering what was so important about people hanging onto their phones at the last minute.

"It's important," Alec pleaded with her. "I may never know what they had to say if I don't make it."

The nurse studied him for a moment, seeing the look on his face.

"Someone important?" she asked him. "Two minutes until the orderlies get here," she relented. "I hope she's worth it," she added with a smile.

"I am grateful," Alec replied, hoping Rose would reply.

Rose had sat outside Pete's office and seen what Alec's message had said. She quickly composed one back, knowing how scared he was.

'Hi Alec, sorry I was in a meeting. I really hope everything goes well with your surgery and that you see this message. Have someone contact me if you can't reply, won't you? Those few days I was in Broadchurch, you made me feel like my old self again and I can't thank you enough. I wish I could have been with you today but I won't forget you. Love, Rose'

She sent it before she had chance to change her mind and got up to call for the elevator back to her office, praying Alec would see the message and be able to reply himself. If he didn't, then she knew the worst had happened and it would make her sad thinking that she had got closer to him in those few days than she had to John since he came here with her.

Chapter 8

Alec was about to turn off his phone when Rose's message came through.

"We really should get going," the nurse was insisting.

"Let me read it, I may not wake up," Alec replied.

"Very well, you can read it on the way down to the theatre," the nurse relented.

"Thank you, the message is from someone very important to me," Alec admitted.

"Wife or girlfriend?" the nurse asked as she kept up with the porters.

"I wish at this present time she was my girlfriend," Alec replied after glancing at what Rose had written. "I just need to acknowledge I got her message."

They had stopped just outside the door to the operating theatre and the porter who had remained put the brakes on the bed.

Alec tried to keep from shaking his hand as he was nervous over Rose and the surgery. He managed to send a few words back to Rose – 'I wish you were with me but I will do my best to survive, for you to maybe come back?'

He sent it just as the door opened and he handed the phone to be put away with his other things.

"Don't worry Alec, you'll be fine," a male nurse was telling him as he was helped to another bed that was half folded Alec noticed as he was helped on to it. "Texting someone special then?"

Alec wished they wouldn't try and get too friendly, especially should he not survive.

"Is this going to work?" Alec asked as another nurse put a swab on his arm and had a needle in the other hand.

He thought this was just another routine operation for them.

"You'll be in the recovery room drinking tea before you even know it," the male nurse turned back to him after closing the door to the small area. "Will someone be waiting to take you home?"

"I hope so but not the person I wanted to be there," Alec replied as the needle was put in his arm.

"You never know," the male nurse laughed back. "Just relax and think of something pleasant."

Alec was just wondering if he asked Rose to come back, would she? She had only just called her wedding off. He was having trouble concentrating and all the operating team were going about their tasks, a female one taking his hand and telling him to relax. His last thought was should he survive, he had to tell Rose how he felt about her.

Rose had got back to her office and called Jake on a video call.

"You should go home," Jake agreed with what Pete had suggested. "Your dad called me to say you'd got a message from Alec Hardy. I can drive you down if you want?" he offered.

"No Jake, I'll be draggin' ya away from work," Rose replied. "Besides, it's too late to be going down there when I don't exactly know where he is."

Then she saw a grin on Jake's face.

"As if I wouldn't look it up," he then laughed, showing her what he'd written down. "Go down Rose. If he doesn't make it and no-one's there to see he's taken care of, you'll only feel guilty over it. I'll get someone to drive you down in your car if you want?"

He could see she was debating it.

"I promise they won't break any speed limits," he then joked.

"He might be gone by the time I get there," she then debated further.

"Well you're already wasting time," Jake reminded her. "I'll have someone waiting outside for you and I'll tell Pete to let your mother know."

She knew he meant it.

"I guess if he's okay they won't be able to keep him there and he'll go home? His ex wife might turn up though. No-one knew about us."

"Well, you can wait nearby until she's gone," Jake suggested, knowing she was stalling but he'd sent for one of his security team.

"I can text him if he's not at the hospital I suppose?" Rose then wondered. "If his ex is there, he can make up an excuse to send her home."

"Now you're thinking Rose," Jake laughed, waving the waiting team member into his office. "Get Rose's car and be outside in ten minutes, she's going down to Exeter," Jake told him. "Keep to the speed limits and drop Rose off at the university hospital then get the train back."

"Right you are Jake. Is she okay?" Jake was asked.

"She's visiting a friend," Jake replied.

When he was alone, he called Pete back.

"I'm glad you could persuade her," Pete was relieved. "I know putting the wedding off was something to do with her meeting Alec Hardy."

"Yeah, I don't get it though Boss, they were both okay until Jackie started going on about weddings," Jake laughed.

"Tell me about it Jake," Pete laughed back. "Jackie had no idea what she was starting. I think it was mostly John though, it seems he's not that different from his twin, doesn't it?"

"You mean when it comes to commitment?" Jake asked. "I feel sorry for poor Rose. I mean Pete, when they were here that time and Mickey's face when he saw them hugging. No wonder he never came back."

"Yeah Jake," Pete agreed. "All that time we were getting those devices to work so we could find out what the Cybermen were planning? Mickey couldn't get over there fast enough."

"Well from what John told me, he thought a certain Martha Jones had her eye on him," Jake recalled.

Tess was already on her way to Exeter, having being talked into it by an upset Daisy.

"You can't leave him on his own Mum," Daisy had told her before school started.

"Well I suppose I can take the day off?" Tess relented. "He'd better survive but I expect he's made all the arrangements?"

"Mum, is that all you're bothered about?" Daisy asked. "He doesn't deserve to be facing it alone Mum."

"Well he never said what time he was going," Tess tried to think of an excuse.

Did she still owe it to him to be there even when they were divorced?

"Mum?" Daisy pleaded with Tess. "How would you feel if dad doesn't make it?"

Tess knew her daughter was trying to make her feel guilty.

"Fine, I will just go into work and then I'll set off," Tess gave in.

"Thanks Mum. Don't leave it too late, will you?" Daisy seemed satisfied, Tess thought.

Tess had got distracted and had set off later than planned, having told Dave she was going to see Alec. Rose had got downstairs and was looking for her car.

"Hi Charlie," Rose greeted the man sat behind the wheel as he got out. "I think I'll sit in the back, I have a few things to think about. I won't be much company."

"Don't worry about it, Jake said you were visiting someone," Charlie told her.

"How are ya gettin' back?" Rose was now wondering as they set off. "Ya can wait for me if ya want? I might not get to see the person, he might have already gone home and I'll need a ride to where he lives."

"Okay, I'll do that then?" Charlie agreed, trying to think of the best way out of London other than the Sat-Nav suggestion. "Jake said it was a friend?"

"Yeah and," Rose stopped before she said Alec may not survive. "Sorry Charlie, it's just gettin' to me."

Charlie left her alone, except asking if she wanted to stop for a break then they just got a drink and took it back to the car. They got caught in some traffic but it cleared after the sign for Bournemouth and other resorts but they still had a fair way to go and Rose knew they'd get stopped again. She was hoping she'd done the right thing or she'd be getting driven back home later if Alec didn't want to see her or wasn't capable of seeing her.

She just hoped it would be due to the fact he'd not made it.

"Are you okay Miss Tyler?" Charlie glanced at her through the mirror.

"Yeah, sorry," Rose gave him a weak smile back. "John will wonder where I am I suppose, when I don't collect him after work. I'd best send him a message."

Alec was lying alone in the recovery ward, Ellie waiting outside as she'd headed to the hospital after seeing the text he'd sent her. She had called him a few choice names under her breath but had got in her car and thought she'd go tell him to his face, should he survive.

Then she wondered if who she suspected had more than kept Hardy company recently would also turn up. He had been too defensive over who had been in town for it not to have been Rose Tyler. Well good luck to him now he'd survived, she doubted Rose would want to move to a small town like Broadchurch, where she'd have no privacy at all.

"You can go in now Mrs Miller," a nurse who'd been checking on Alec went out to tell Ellie. "Don't be too long though."

Ellie had no intention of staying longer than she had to as she entered the recovery ward, seeing he was the only one there.

"I made it Miller," Alec smiled.

It was the first time Ellie had really seen him smile since he and Joe were laughing at something when Alec had been invited for dinner.

"I never expected to survive," Alec added, thinking it was a bad idea to sit up.

Then Ellie threw a bunch of grapes at him.

"Grapes?" Alec questioned her. "What did you bring grapes for again? Pass my phone."

"Really? You want to text someone? Your daughter or your mysterious girlfriend?" Ellie wanted to know.

"Never you mind. I don't expect my ex wife to turn up so someone needs to tell Daisy," he insisted. "Then you can drive me home."

"No, I have to collect Fred, I'm not taking you back to Broadchurch Hardy, I'm not a bloody taxi service, taking you all over the place," Ellie reminded him.

"It's okay, I can take him," they heard Tess saying as she entered.

"He's all yours," Ellie turned to Tess, grateful for the rescue.

"I got your medication and instructions Alec," Tess told him as Ellie stepped away while Tess pulled the curtain across. "Rest for 24 hours. I told them they'd never be able to keep you in."

"I'm glad he irritates you as well," Ellie told Tess as they left him to get dressed. "I think he was just going to text your daughter."

"Well I only came down to appease her," Tess told her. "I suppose she would have made me feel guilty had something gone wrong."

"Thanks Tess, that makes me feel a whole lot better," Alec called from behind the curtain and bringing the messages up between himself and Rose.

"I'll leave you two to it then," Ellie told her as she could see that was all Alec and Tess would do. "See you in court in a couple of days?"

"I will be there tomorrow," Alec then insisted as he sent Rose a message saying he was okay.

He heard Tess saying to Ellie she would make sure he was okay before she left him.

"Aren't you going to stay with him?" Ellie seemed surprised.

"Leave it," Alec called to her.

Ellie went off and Alec took his time getting ready while waiting for Rose to send him a text back.

Rose's own heart fluctuated when she saw Alec's message.

"How much further Charlie?" Rose asked her driver.

"Not far now, just across Exeter. Is your friend okay?" Rose was asked.

"Yeah, thanks," Rose was glad to say. "Find somewhere to park while I go inside."

"I'll try Miss Tyler. Do you know where your friend is?"

Rose had to send Alec another text and she'd wanted to surprise him. 'Who's looking after you?' she asked discreetly.

Alec had wondered what she meant by that but Tess was waiting to take him home so he just replied with 'Don't worry Rose, I'm fine'.

Rose wanted to call him but Charlie had arrived at the main road going through the city and no-one was going anywhere.

"Want me to find an alternate route?" he asked Rose.

"I think if there was one, we wouldn't be stuck?" Rose grinned back.

As they finally moved, Tess was leading Alec to her car, taking the bag from him and putting it in the back of the car.

"You shouldn't really be on your own Alec," Tess reminded him.

"Stop fussin' Tess," Alec objected as Tess closed the passenger door, Alec reaching for the seatbelt.

"Well I vouched for you to get you out," Tess further reminded him. "Besides, by the time we get back to Broadchurch and I've settled you in, it may be too late to set off home."

"Tess, I will have someone to look after me," Alec started to admit.

"You mean Ellie?" Tess smiled at the thought. "Do you know how that will look?"

"No. I do not mean Miller. I met someone who was here a week or so ago, she may be on her way now."

"Really Alec," Tess then scoffed.

"Read my text messages if you don't believe me," Alec replied, trying to get to his phone to make sure Rose knew he'd made it.

"Never mind Alec. If she's on her way to the hospital, she'll be told you left with someone. She'll probably just go home," Tess told him matter-of-factly.

"That won't be easy," Alec replied.

"She's not local?" she asked.

"No. She texted me after I came out of surgery, I think she will come to check on me, she asked who was looking after me," he admitted.

"Really Alec, getting involved with someone who doesn't even live local?" Tess mocked him.

"What of it?" Alec wanted to know as he felt the painkillers wearing off.

Tess saw the face he was pulling.

"You need to take something for the pain when you get back. Did you tell this person you were going home today?" Tess wondered.

He wasn't thinking straight but he wasn't going to admit it to Tess.

"I should send her a message," he bluffed. "Make sure she knows I'm going to be at home."

"I suppose you just want me to drop you off and leave?" Tess sounded annoyed. "Is that all the thanks I get? Are you serious about her?"

"Non of your business Tess," Alec replied as he sent the message 'I'll be at home' to Rose.

Rose got out of the car, leaving her driver to try and keep from getting caught and putting the sign top management carried with them with the Torchwood symbol and name on it on the dashboard and hoping he'd get away with it.

"I'll be as quick as I can Charlie," Rose promised as he opened the window.

"Don't worry Miss Tyler, if I get a fine, Jake will sort it out," Charlie laughed.

"Yeah but I don't want to start my collection of parking tickets here," Rose laughed back.

She was just approaching the desk as her message tone went but it was too late.

"I'm here to see Alec Hardy, he just had a pacemaker fitted," Rose told the woman at the desk.

"Up the stairs, follow the sign for the cardio unit," the woman advised Rose.

Rose thanked the woman and before going upstairs, got her phone out.

"Typical," Rose thought out loud and turning around.

Now she had to remember how to get to Alec's riverside chalet.

"Change of plans Charlie," Rose greeted her driver. "We're going to Broadchurch. Can ya drive my car back when I find out if I'm staying?"

"Sure Miss Tyler, won't you need it though?" Charlie wondered.

Rose got in the back and considered if she would or not.

"I might not have anywhere to go and I can always get local cabs if I need to. Mind you, I might have to get someone to come back for me in a few days?" Rose wondered. "Bet ya hope it's not you," she then laughed as he set off again.

"Do you know the address you're going to?" Charlie then asked, being used to Rose changing her mind.

"Ah? Just head for The George pub in Broadchurch," Rose thought was the easiest.

Rose sent Alec another message but he was sat outside talking to Daisy on Tess's phone. Tess heard his message tone and picked up his phone, seeing 'Rose' as the message sender.

"Who the hell is Rose?" Tess asked herself, seeing Alec smiling for a change as he assured Daisy he was fine.

She held the phone out to him, thinking it may be the person he was expecting to look after him. He passed Tess's phone back and took his.

"Your girlfriend?" Tess confronted him as he read the message saying Rose was heading for Broadchurch from Exeter.

"I told you Tess, she is just a friend," Alec still denied there was anything between him and Rose.

"If you say so? Well I had better set off then? Really Alec, you should have warned me beforehand that someone else might pick you up?" Tess was annoyed as she put her jacket back on.

"I did not know she would," Alec insisted as he sent a message back.

"Well I could have left you in the hospital and she would have had to vouch for you," Tess warned him.

"Hanging around to meet her?" Alec hinted, not that he wanted them to meet.

"No thanks. So where is she coming from?" Tess tried to find out.

Alec saw no sense in admitting Rose had come down from London, trying to remember if he'd already given her that information.

"She is on her way from Exeter," Alec insisted.

Tess knew he was going to evade the question.

"Forget it then Alec, if you're not going to answer properly," she told him, putting his jacket on his shoulders. "I'll get off then?"

"I appreciate you bringing me back, I honestly did not know she was going to be visiting me," he then told her.

"It's fine, Daisy insisted I checked on you, you can thank her," Tess told him.

Alec could well believe it, Tess wouldn't have checked on him otherwise. She gave him a peck on the cheek and said she'd check on him later before opening the gate and crossing the footbridge to the car park. Little did she know that a silver sports-style car that was just pulling into a parking space had Rose in the back of it.

"I'll check the parking charges," Charlie was telling Rose.

"I think it's free after six so just pay for an hour," Rose suggested, getting her purse out.

"I've got some change," Charlie looked at her through the mirror.

One thing everyone liked about Rose was that she always paid her own way. They had stopped briefly to refill the car with fuel and Rose had gone in to pay, though he expected she'd used her Torchwood credit card, also coming out with a carrier bag.

"Will you need the car?" Charlie wanted to check.

Rose had been thinking about it.

"Well, if ya sure ya can get back?" Rose wanted to be certain. "Sorry to drag ya down here, it was Jake's idea. I was all nervous about coming here."

"It's nothing to do with me Miss Tyler," Charlie insisted.

With going straight from work, Rose had very little with her. Now she wished she'd gone home first.

"There's a supermarket up on the main road, I can drive up there later," she decided. "Get Jake to pay ya back, won't ya?"

She took the key after Charlie locked the car, noticing another car driving off.

"Thanks again for bringing me," she told Charlie.

Charlie got his phone out to call a cab to take him to the nearest train station as Rose crossed the road to the gap in the wall and the footbridge over to where Alec's chalet was. Alec was still outside when he was wondering if Tess had met Rose in the car park and recognised her. Then he heard the catch on the gate and his heart was going just as fast as it had been doing before the pacemaker had been inserted.

He turned around slowly as Rose came into view as she closed the gate behind her.

"Rose," was all he said as she walked up to him.

"Hey. How are ya feeling?" Rose wanted to know, bearing in mind they were in full view of the entire harbour area so she just kissed his cheek, smelling Tess's perfume. "Someone else been visiting?"

"Just my ex wife, does that count?" Alec replied, hoping she was just teasing him.

"Had ya there," Rose just smiled, putting her arms around him from behind. "So, they couldn't keep ya in then?"

Chapter 9

Alec went to get up, taking the arm Rose offered.

"What do you think?" he smiled back. "I really never thought I would survive."

"Well since you were diagnosed, the techniques will have improved," Rose thought. "Well, you're here."

She took him inside and he sat on the low sofa.

"Why are you here Rose?" he then asked. "I would have been okay with Tess here."

"Really? Oh, she just left?" Rose realised. "I bet that was her just leaving as I got here? I got someone to drive me down, I would have been too stressed out to come on my own."

"So you don't have your car with you?" Alec wondered, feeling the effects of the painkillers he'd taken.

"Yeah. We came in my car," Rose told him. "One of the Torchwood security team brought me. I think though that I'll pop up to the supermarket for a few things. Want anything?"

He felt like saying yes – for her to stay this time but the trial wasn't over just yet and the press would just love to find out where she was.

"No, you go, I will be fine," he assured her.

"Well I won't be long, I came straight from work, I didn't want to go home first," Rose admitted.

"Want anything to eat?" she asked as he looked pale. "I'll make ya something before I go, some toast maybe?"

Half an hour later, she was in the supermarket at the same time as Ellie was but Ellie didn't want to go up to her and have a crowd around them. Instead, Ellie placed herself behind Rose at the checkout as Fred chattered away to himself.

"Ah, he's so cute," Rose grinned as he caught her attention. "He reminds me of my younger brother."

Ellie looked up from getting Fred to stop wriggling around and recognised her. So she was back checking up on Hardy was she? Ellie thought she'd best not say anything but would love to see how they reacted around each other. She had just been to collect Fred from her sister and was already late getting home.

That was it, she was fed up of all the travelling, she was moving back and asking for a transfer. The trial had been a nightmare. Hardy had not been much of a help apart from being useful to call in on but she couldn't go barging in if he had company. Still, if he didn't turn up at the court tomorrow, she had a valid reason to be nosy and see if Rose was staying with him.

"Say hello Fred," Ellie tried to encourage the boy, since his favourite word at the moment was 'Hardee'.

"Hey Fred, nice to meet ya," Rose laughed as she moved forward with her shopping trolley. "Have ya been shopping with your mum?"

Young Fred just giggled and nodded his head.

"Excuse me for asking but did ya used to work with Alec Hardy?" Rose then asked Ellie.

"Yeah. Ah, you're the friend who was with him a few weeks ago?" Ellie dared asked as Rose put her shopping on the conveyor belt

"Well yeah, I came to check on him," was all Rose would admit.

"It's okay, I know where he was today," Ellie also admitted. "I would have brought him back but I had to get Fred from my sister's."

"Well call in sometime, I'm here for a few days," Rose offered as the operator was scanning her purchases.

"I'm sure he doesn't want to see me," Ellie replied.

"Well he'll be out of it for a few days," Rose smiled as she moved away.

So Rose was staying with Hardy, she'd just admitted it. Ellie didn't suppose if there was a second bedroom that Rose would be using it.

When Rose got back, Alec was laid on the sofa with his long legs stretching over the arm. He opened his eyes when he heard Rose bringing the shopping inside. She had got two ready-made salads and they were soon eating together on the sofa.

"I'll have to borrow a t-shirt tonight," Rose told him. "I'll go up into the town tomorrow. Where's your key?"

She thought she'd best get it now before he went to bed. She was tired herself with all the anxiety on the way down.

"Rose, I am glad you came," Alec had to admit. "I can't guarantee no-one will see you though."

"I think I met Ellie Miller in the supermarket," Rose told him. "She said she'd pop in tomorrow night, I expect you'll want to know what happened in court?"

"I could go see for myself," Alec tried to bluff.

"Well tough, ya can have a rest tomorrow," Rose had to smile.

Neither of them knew that the chalet was being watched by a certain Lee Ashworth, who had found out where Alec was living and was convinced he was hiding Claire. Then he'd seen two different women going inside and Hardy sitting outside on a chair. One woman had left after a short time, then another one had turned up, who if he wasn't mistaken looked like it was that Rose Tyler but what would she be doing there?

One thing though, now someone else was here, it was going to be difficult to confront the detective. He had planned on breaking in and seeing what he could find out but that may have to be scrapped. Something looked different about Hardy though but he couldn't put his finger on it. He went to move his van to drive back to where a farmer had been letting him sleep in a barn where he was doing some fencing work to plan how he was going to step up trying to scare Claire into revealing where she was.

He knew she'd give herself away, even if she went crawling to Alec Hardy, which was doubtful if he'd taken up with the Vitex heiress.

Rose insisted Alec got ready for bed even though it was now just after nine. She wasn't going to wake him early in the morning except to make sure he took his medication and had something to eat and drink. She got into bed beside him as he moved up as far as he could go.

"How long are you staying again?" he wanted to make sure.

"A few days. Alec, remember I told ya that John might be leaving?" she asked him.

"Vaguely," he tried to recall as she let him put his arm around her. "Remind me?"

"I told ya about the project he was working on? I've hardly seen him recently. He never says how it's going, how near he is to being ready to try it. I think it won't be that long to be honest."

"I'm sorry Rose. Is he doing that because you called the wedding off?" Alec wondered.

"Yeah, though he's not saying. We've not even talked about it really."

"Rose, stay here then?" he offered as he felt tired.

"I can't Alec, ya know why," Rose replied.

"No Rose, I cannot understand why if you say John is going away why you won't stay," Alec told her.

He tried to lay on his back but there wasn't enough room and he'd have to climb over Rose to pace the small bedroom.

"I'll stay tomorrow Alec, to make sure you're okay," Rose promised.

"Rose, why are you so reluctant?" Alec wanted to know. "Have I not made it plain enough that I want you to stay? The trial will be over in a few days, if he gets off or not will have no impact on us."

"I thought ya were gonna go see Daisy?" Rose tried to change the subject.

"I could see her while you go back home to pack," Alec suggested. "You could drop me off on your way home if you wait until after the trial."

"John may go before I get back," Rose then realised. "I need to be there when he goes."

"Goes where Rose? Why are you being so secretive?" Alec wanted to know.

"I swear I've told ya all I can Alec," Rose told him, leaning into him even more.

He put his head on her shoulder, nudging her hair away.

"Who am I going to tell eh?" he asked. "You said something about exploring other worlds? What do you mean by that?"

"Alec, don't, please," she urged him not to push her. "All I can tell ya is it's what the Cybermen used to escape, a team's been working on it and when John got involved, he put everything into it."

"Why? Oh, maybe because he comes from there?" Alec guessed.

Rose knew he'd keep digging away at it, to understand why she had to leave.

"Rose, are you going with him?" Alec suddenly backed away.

"What? No, I'm not leaving my family. I never said I was going with him," Rose denied.

"Not even to get back yourself?" he wanted to know.

Rose tried to sit up, which wasn't easy.

"What?" Rose repeated herself, thinking she was as bad as The Doctor.

"You can admit it to me, who am I going to tell?" Alec asked her. "It makes sense that's where you come from, that you were involved with all that to do with the Cybermen."

"I need to clear it with my stepfather," Rose replied as she hugged her knees, Alec propping himself up carefully.

"Then please do so, tomorrow morning," Alec agreed. "You all come from a parallel world then?"

"Do ya think that makes us aliens?" Rose wanted to test him.

"Certainly not, you are as real as anyone," Alec confirmed, touching her arm, which made Rose shiver. "Don't be alarmed, come back here."

"John will use it to get back, he wants to find his twin," Rose told him. "That's what made us drift apart."

"Oh, he thinks you still want his twin?" Alec asked, trying to remember what she'd told him before she had left.

"Yeah, ya could say that? He never admitted it though. He wants some answers, such as him being here with me. Alec, he's wrong to think I want his twin here, not him."

"That would seem to explain why he has backed off?" Alec wondered, looking at her in the light filtering through the wooden blind.

"Did I tell ya that he didn't even seem bothered about calling the wedding off?" Rose replied.

"Yes, which seemed strange," Alec agreed. "Are you sure you are not rushing things?"

"No, what am I rushing?" Rose wanted to know. "I came to see if ya were okay."

"I appreciate your concern Rose but you can't stay. Not until the trial is over," Alec reminded her.

"I'm only gonna be miserable back home," Rose replied.

"There is nothing I can do, I have to see it through after all that has happened," he also reminded her.

Rose huddled up to him, Alec putting both arms around her and they kissed for a while.

"I'll stay tomorrow," Rose promised.

"Don't leave like this Rose, not until we settle things?" he asked her.

"It's always gonna be like this Alec," Rose replied sadly.

"I was hoping you would come back when the trial is over?" he dared ask. "If you need more time, then I understand."

Rose wondered if he really did understand though.

"It's not that Alec. You know the press follow me everywhere," she reminded him.

"I can handle the press," he insisted. "If that is all that's stopping you? Are you really thinking of going with him?"

"I said I wasn't Alec, at one time I would have done but not now I have my little brother to think about, I know what it's like. At least until he's old enough to understand anyway."

"What if you had someone to keep you here for longer?" Alec wanted to know. "Would that also make a difference? Why is he in such a hurry to leave?"

"I can't explain Alec but he feels it's the right time," was all Rose would admit.

"I think there is more to it," Alec replied, kissing her forehead. "Would you get permission to tell me more?"

"I'll ask but I can't unless dad's alone," Rose told him. "He won't say anything. I have to speak to John though but not on the phone."

"You said that last time," Rose was reminded. "Just how much do you owe him Rose?"

"It's complicated Alec, without telling ya the whole story," Rose admitted.

"Then get permission," Alec insisted, wanting to get this sorted before he went to sleep but he was fighting to stay awake.

"I will Alec, I promise I'll explain it to ya," Rose had to promise, knowing he should be resting and he'd probably be out of it tomorrow anyway.

"Well no leaving until I know it all," he further insisted.

Rose knew Pete would only let her tell Alec so much without making him a limited member of Torchwood. Would Alec want to be part of it and learn the truth? They fell asleep and Rose was woken just before eight by a tapping on the door. She looked through the wooden blinds and saw a woman in a business suit standing on the decking.

She pulled on her jeans and found the key and opened it cautiously.

"Oh, is Alec Hardy not here?" Rose was asked.

"Oh. Well actually he had surgery yesterday, he's still recovering," Rose had to tell the woman.

"Finally?" the woman queried. "Not before time either. I'm Maggie, from the paper, he disappeared from court yesterday afternoon. I just wanted to get his insight into how the trial is going."

"Well I expect he'll be out of it today," Rose told her.

"Fine, I won't bother him then. You look very familiar," Maggie then told Rose.

"I'm just a friend looking after him," Rose tried to play it down. "I'll tell him you called when he wakes up."

Maggie went on her way, Rose still not noticing a figure had taken up position across the river and was watching Alec's cottage again. Lee Ashworth was wondering if the detective would go out again today and this time, he'd make it look like someone had broken in and he'd look through any papers lying around for any clues the detective knew where Claire was.

Lee thought he may as well try Claire again, she might be tempted to answer this time. Claire was wondering if it would be worthwhile turning up at the court again but somehow doubted it would do any good.

Rose was sitting by the river later in the afternoon when the catch on the gate made her jump. She could only guess it was someone who knew Alec but hoped his ex wife hadn't come back to check on him.

"Oh, is Alec not up then?" Rose was asked.

"I was gonna wake him soon," Rose replied as she got up. "So you are? We weren't formally introduced before."

"Ellie Miller, I used to work with him," Ellie tried not to get flustered but this was definitely Rose Tyler, Hardy couldn't deny it this time around, never mind 'A friend' who was looking after him.

She was sure she'd told Rose the day before.

"Well come in then," Rose called behind her.

She closed the bedroom door as far as it would go then climbed onto the bed, Alec stirring.

"You are the best thing I could ever see when I wake up," he told her as he propped himself up on one elbow. "Why can't you stay?"

"Alec, we have company," Rose warned him as he reached up for a kiss, which Rose couldn't deny him. "Ellie Miller."

"What's she doing here?" Alec asked, louder this time.

"Hello to you too Hardy," Ellie snapped back.

"I'll make some drinks then? I popped over to the store earlier, fancy something to eat?" she then asked him.

"I'm sure I can manage something light," Alec agreed, going to grab hold of her.

"Watch it, that bedroom door leaves a lot to be desired," Rose then warned him. Then she leaned down and whispered, "I'll stay if ya changing out of that t-shirt though," she teased him.

Ellie could only guess what was going on when it suddenly went quiet so she went into the kitchen to fill the kettle with water, then after flipping the switch on, she went to sit on the doorstep. She thought they could well be a while before they emerged. Then she wondered why Rose was getting flirty with her ex boss when she had only recently called her wedding off.

Then Ellie thought maybe the famous heiress had come for some peace and quiet before her wedding, stumbled into Hardy, who had been sickly but they'd obviously started something and now Rose had come back to settle any unfinished business.

They emerged ten minutes later, Alec having lost his t-shirt and they had kissed for a while.

"Rose, we need a serious talk," he tried to tell her before they left the bedroom. "Things are different now."

"About time," Ellie muttered to herself as she made some tea.

"No-one told you to call in," Alec replied as Rose handed a mug to him.

"Manners Alec," Rose laughed. "I'm sure she only came to tell ya what was going on at court."

Ellie eventually left and Rose made a quick meal then they walked to the end of the stone pier and sat down, Rose leaning on his shoulder. He took her hand, seeing her ring had left a mark.

"Why did you come back Rose?" he then wanted to know. "Have you split from him yet?"

"I told ya he was going away Alec," Rose reminded him. "He's gettin' ready, I know he is, he's been all secretive and never mentioned it. When I go back, I'm packing and going back to my mum's."

Alec thought that was at least a start he supposed.

"So is it just too soon, to come and live down here with me?" he asked.

"I don't know Alec. I only came down because I got your message. How would I have felt if I'd not come down and something bad had happened to ya?" Rose replied.

He was tempted to say that was Tess's excuse for showing up. At least he knew Rose meant it but it wasn't enough, not now.

"So, you go back until he leaves then?" he had to know.

"Alec, I wish ya could understand," Rose replied softly.

"So, you were engaged to him but you were the one to break if off, yes?" Alec wanted to make sure. "Why is it so important you stay until he goes back? Oh, are you still tempted to go with him?"

He dropped the arm that was around her, making Rose move. If she didn't quit this loyalty she would not only lose the other man she loved but she'd lose Alec as well. He may not welcome her back then next time, he could leave town and not tell her where he was going, although it would be a safe bet it would be to see his daughter.

"Alec, don't think that. I was, at one time but I have my family to think about. He doesn't know if he'll get back or not, he could miscalculate and he ends up some place else. Then no-one will be able to find him," Rose tried to explain.

"Then see him off, if you need to," Alec finally had to agree. "Please Rose, I don't want to fight you on this but you may not find me here next time."

Chapter 10

They walked back to where Alec was staying in silence, Rose putting her arm in his. She had decided that it was harmless enough, if anyone did notice her, she could always claim she'd brought John with her. She didn't think Alec was all that happy she was going back but she had to.

One thing was true though, why had she gone down to see him if she wasn't ready to leave John before he went off? While it was true Alec had needed her, maybe John did as well?

"What time are you leaving tomorrow?" Alec wanted to know, wondering if she'd go early to avoid things getting awkward.

"After breakfast I think. Are you going back to the trial, will you be okay?" Rose wondered.

"I will be fine to sit for a few hours in the court," he insisted. "Don't worry about me. So, you are going back home then?"

"Yeah, I may as well do it now, it's as good a time as any," Rose told him. "If I come back, well where will I find you?"

"Honestly?" he asked as they reached the chalet. "I'm not saying I don't want you to come back Rose but you have to be sure. If you don't, well maybe one day you will decide to?"

They got into bed quietly and Rose clung hold of him.

"I'll leave the same time as you in the morning," Rose decided. "I'm not saying I won't ever come back Alec."

"I know," Alec replied, trying to get over it. "Do what you have to Rose but I will find it just as difficult if you choose to stay at home."

"I said I was gonna go back and live with my mum," she reminded him. "I'll only be going back to pack up."

"You don't have to explain Rose," he told her, putting his other arm across her.

Rose buried her head into his shoulder and went to kiss him. Before they knew it, it had turned into more as Rose sighed after she had got under him somehow and they went further than they had been doing, Alec not realising she was no longer resisting him. Rose got back on top of him after he helped her with her underwear and his shorts then they fell asleep.

"Morning," Alec spoke softly as Rose stirred and he tried to move her to get up.

"Hi. Sorry, do ya need to move?" Rose apologised. "Hey, ya never woke during the night."

"I noticed but I must move you now, my arm in numb," he replied.

She moved over to the window to let him free his arm.

"What happened last night, well. Rose, you did not stop me," he reminded her.

"Yeah, I know Alec, I was feeling too good to stop. I know you would have done if ya'd needed to," she told him.

"Yes, I expect I would have done, had I needed to?" Alec had to agree on that point. "It has been a long time since I felt well enough to continue. We did not discuss it though, I never gave you the choice and I should have done."

"Geez Alec, I chose not to stop ya, don't be daft," Rose replied. "You're so old-fashioned, you're so cute Alec."

She leaned over to kiss him before he could escape.

"I have never been called old-fashioned or cute before," he admitted.

"I should have called ya them before then?" Rose teased him. "I need to excuse myself."

Rose gathered her clean underwear, jeans and a t-shirt and crossed the living room to the bathroom so Alec got up, still being careful and began getting dressed. He wondered now if he was ever going to see her again but had something given between them last night? Only Rose knew the answer to that, apart from Tess he'd had very few girlfriends he'd really been serious about and now, well maybe Tess had used him?

He ordered a cab to pick him up at 09.30, which would get him to the court just in time so Miller couldn't question why Rose had been there when she'd called in, then went to put water in the kettle and bread in the toaster. Then, Rose emerged from the bathroom but headed for the bedroom to throw everything into a bag so she was ready to leave.

"Not staying?" Alec dared ask as they sat at the table.

"It's best I go Alec, I have a lot to think about," Rose replied.

"I get that Rose but what I do not get is why you can't think about it here," he wanted to know.

"That's not fair Alec," she told him. "What if John disappears and I'm not there? I don't want him going off and thinking I don't care."

"What if he has already gone?" Alec asked her. "He may had said for no-one to tell you?"

"Then I won't be able to do anything Alec, will I? I'll come back in that case, if ya still want me to?"

"You know I don't want you to go in the first place but I also know if you don't, you will find no peace. Will you?" Alec stated. "Rose, I know I did not want you dragging into this trial but you could promise me you will come back as soon as it's over."

"Ya mean whether John's gone or not?" Rose asked him.

"You won't consider it, will you?" he replied, pouring more tea.

Rose moved her chair to get up but Alec grabbed her arm.

"I've already asked you not to leave like this Rose," he reminded her.

He could tell it was only making things worse so he let go.

"Don't let me make your miss your cab to the court Alec," Rose just told him.

While Alec cleared up, Rose got her things and put them by the door then she waited until he joined her. He went to put his arms around her and leaned on her shoulder.

"Rose. You should know that…." he trailed off.

She knew what was coming. Another man who couldn't finish that sentence but he then surprised her.

"You don't have to answer me Rose." Then he moved her hair and whispered, "I love you Rose."

Before she could take it in, he had picked up her things and had opened the door. She picked the rest up and went out before him, waiting on the decking for him to lock the door. Across the other side of the river, Lee Ashworth was watching again as they left. So, Hardy had someone staying with him but looked like they were leaving? He thought it was doubtful the detective had seen anything of Claire then, if the woman, who he was convinced was Rose Tyler had stayed overnight.

Alec let Rose cross the footbridge before him and hoped the traffic warden hadn't reached the car park before them as it was free parking until 08.00 but he doubted Rose would be bothered about paying a fine.

"Seems we are just in time?" Alec called in front of him as there was no sign of any tickets on Rose's car and she remote unlocked it, opening the back door.

Rose wasn't in the mood to deal with any traffic attendants as Alec put her things in. She didn't even know if she'd be able to drive home yet, after what he'd just said, which had been unexpected. A cab was just pulling in and Alec waved to the driver.

"You should get going Alec," Rose managed to tell him as a tear formed in her eye.

She tried to hold it back but Alec had already seen. He didn't want her to watch him leave so he opened the driver's door for her.

"Bye Rose. Call me eh?" he asked hopefully as the cab driver waited.

Rose managed a nod and was about to get in when she grabbed hold of his arm and put her arms around his neck, then she kissed him.

"Bye Alec and just take it easy," she told him.

Alec nodded and closed the door as she got in, then went to the waiting cab.

"Where to?" the driver asked him, even though he'd already told the operator where he was going.

"The court building in Exeter," he just replied, daring the driver to ask why he hadn't got a ride from the woman he'd been saying goodbye to.

The driver set the meter and as he set off, Alec glancing through the back window, Rose just sitting there. He wished she hadn't watched him leaving like that, wasn't she punishing them both enough already? Rose dried her eyes and although she didn't feel like moving, set off as she saw the traffic warden look in her direction.

She only got as far as the second roundabout when she could feel the tears building up again and she knew she'd never make it back home. She turned off for the next town and followed the signs for the railway station, meaning to just grab her personal belongings and leave the car for Jake to get someone to pick it up.

She parked up close by and got an all day ticket then rang Jake.

"I can't drive home," she was telling him, when Jake said he wasn't surprised that she'd decided against it.

"I'll have someone local pick it up on a trailer. Want to wait?" Jake asked her.

"No, I just want to get back, can you just see to it?" Rose replied. "Can someone meet me for when I get back?"

"I'll send Charlie, then ya know who to look for," Jake promised. "How was Alec?"

"Better, thanks," Rose told him, drying her eyes on a tissue. "It didn't help watching him being driven off though," she had to admit.

Jake felt sorry for her, he didn't have the heart to tell her that John hadn't even asked where she was when she was missing. He'd passed the message on to John that she was going off for a few days and that had been it. Well so he thought as five minutes after assuring Rose her car would be taken care of, John wandered into the security office.

"Ah, Jakey-boy, have you heard from Rose?" John wanted to know.

"Yeah, just now, she's on her way back," Jake told him, not wanting to say she was coming by train but the time difference wouldn't be much anyway and she wanted the car dropping at the mansion. "I think she's off to Jackie's first though."

"Right. She probably wants to see Tony then?" John guessed. "I'll catch up with her later then? Did you hear I've had some great results recently?"

Jake assumed it was to do with the cannon project and not Rose.

"Yeah, I'm kept informed, Doctor," Jake still called him. "Great stuff."

He didn't want to add that yes, it was great it was almost working but not great Rose wasn't going off as well. Now he knew why she was staying behind, which was mainly for her little brother but also because she wouldn't be able to leave Alec Hardy behind.

He politely listened to John going on about the results for five minutes or so, just glad he wasn't asked any awkward questions such as where Rose had been.

"So, what did Rose have to say about you going back?" Jake thought he'd try his luck at getting to know since Rose hadn't wanted to talk about it.

"She won't go with me," John replied, trying to hide his disappointment. "I thought she would have wanted to but who can blame her?"

"She has Tony to think about now," Jake reminded him. "Doctor, I know she wanted to stay the last time but things are different for her now."

John didn't need reminding of the fact that Rose had changed over the last few years. From being excited to have him back after going looking for him to suddenly calling off their wedding but he'd only gone along with that because it pleased her.

"Yeah," he had to agree. "Things are different Jake. Right, best get back to work then?" he suddenly cheered up. "I expect she'll call me later before she gets home?"

Jake had no idea if Rose was simply calling in to see her mother or if she was moving back. He got back to organise Rose's car getting picked up and hoped she'd parked somewhere where it would be easy to get her car up a ramp since it couldn't be towed. Then he called Charlie and told him to be ready to pick Rose up from wherever she was arriving, since there were two alternatives.

Rose tried to close her eyes once on the train, relieved she had got on one that went directly to London and she'd texted Jake to say where she would be getting off. She was thinking about Alec and how they'd left things, Alec saying for her to call him. Had he meant it though?

As she got nearer, she called her mother to say she was going there first.

"Rose, what's going on?" Jackie wanted to know. "Pete wouldn't say much, he said to ask you."

"Mum, I'll explain when I get there. I think I'm gonna move back, if that's okay?"

"What for? What happened?" Jackie asked. "Are you and John splitting up?"

"Well he'll be gone soon anyway Mum, remember what dad told ya?" Rose reminded Jackie.

"Rose, are ya thinking of going with him?" Jackie wanted to know. "If ya are, why did ya call the wedding off?"

"Mum, there were loads of reasons," Rose reminded her. "He seemed more determined to go after we called it off. Who knows what he would have done or if he'd even stayed to get married."

She got to London and let Charlie drive her home, then she waited to get her car back. Then she decided to go home and pack and take the following day off to get it finished. John caught her packing the last of it.

"I thought you'd stay until I went off?" John asked her.

Rose thought she'd had enough of men going off for one day. She couldn't say anything though.

"Won't you change your mind and go with me?" he tried again.

"Ya know why John," Rose told him. "He still won't let me go with him, even if I do. Then what? It'll only drag up the past."

"Are you staying tonight?" John wanted to know.

"Yeah, then I'll take everything to mum's tomorrow. John, I'm not leaving ya altogether ya know? We can still go out and ya can stay over if ya want?"

"I'm not sure about it Rose," John replied. "I know you made a promise, to the other me to stay with me but I'm not holding you to it."

Rose didn't know what he meant by that but he surprised her by following her to bed like he always did and Rose could hardly stop him, since she knew deep down it would be the last time.

A few days later, it was in all the newspaper that Joe Miller had walked free from court, all the reporters blaming different factors and she couldn't imagine how Alec had felt. Alec though had been determined it wasn't going to get to him and concentrated on finally closing the case that had haunted him in Sandbrook and a few days after he'd felt defeated, he finally got them locked up with the help of Ellie. Then he went to face the chief.

"You should have left it to your ex wife Alec," Elaine Jenkinson scolded him. "You weren't even on active duty."

"Then put me back on it," Alec replied, already tired of being reminded about it and wanting to get back to work.

"Alec, you're going to be needed in Sandbrook to make sure that case goes back to court," she reminded him. "Let me see what I can do to get you back in there. I will however leave the option open for you to come back at some point, if you still want to?"

He couldn't say why he'd wanted to remain but if they hurried the case through the court, he could come back sooner rather than later. While he'd been seeing the chief, Ellie had responded to a call from Beth Latimer and they had dealt their own justice to Joe, casting him out and into a waiting cab, with a warning never to return.

Ellie made her way back to Alec's chalet and sat waiting for him to return.

"Where did you get to?" she asked when he let her into the neater than normal living room, all the papers on the wall removed. "Are you handing that case over to Tess then?"

"No Miller, I have to see it through to the end now. Besides, there's nothing here for me now, certainly now Rose will never be coming back."

"She was good for you," Ellie told him. "Admit it Hardy. The way she came down to see you after your surgery. Why did you turn her away?"

"Forget it Miller, she's back home with her family and her wedding is probably back on," he replied, not wanting to admit he was the reason Rose had called it off.

"You can't fool me, you were in love with her," Ellie told him bluntly.

"If I was?" he replied. "No, I'm going back to Sandbrook, mainly to see Daisy but to lock those three up for causing my heart problem in the first place."

"Well, if you'd never come here and taken my job, you might not have met Rose," Ellie teased him.

"Don't you have to get home for something Miller?" he asked her, making Ellie smile. "Go pick up young what's his name."

"You've been pushing him around and looking after him and you still don't know his name?" Ellie told him. "Honestly and while we're at it, go get Rose to come back."

"I can't Miller, why would she want to come back?" he wanted to know.

"Well you don't know until you try Hardy. Stop feeling sorry for yourself," Ellie replied. "You got me determined to turn things around but you're not taking your own advice. Get those three locked up then put things right with her."

Ellie went off then he made his way across the footbridge, recalling he'd crossed it with Rose a few mornings ago. He told the cab driver to take him to the nearest train station, with the intention of going to Sandbrook, winning his daughter back and give evidence at the trial and he hoped the chief would decide she'd let him back in time to arrest the three suspects.

He had no idea that Pete had intervened on his behalf, not saying that Rose had fallen in love with the detective and had asked him to talk to Alec's chief to clarify that when he'd gone to teach at the academy, it covered him for arresting the three involved in the Sandbrook case.

Chapter 11

It had been several months now that Rose had been home and John had gone back to where they'd come from after a breakthrough in getting the devices working again. They had parted on good terms and Rose had moved back home, discovering she was pregnant but not wanting him to know.

He did though but had never said anything, assuming the baby wasn't his and she'd had a relationship while she'd been away twice but since she wasn't showing much he guessed it was the second time. He had wondered why she hadn't gone back to tell the man, who he guessed was the detective who had locked up three killers but another one had got away.

When Rose had seen him off, he thought he'd best not say anything.

"I'll miss you Rose," he'd told her as they hugged, being careful he didn't crush her. "Look after that brother of yours and I understand why you won't go with me, really I do."

"Thanks. Will he be happy to see you?" Rose wondered.

"I expect so, unless he's changed," John had smiled. "If he has, I expect it will make things easier?"

"Will ya ever come back?" she'd asked him, a tear now in her eyes.

"You don't need me, you're getting on with your life. Rose, you did the right thing, stopping the wedding. We were only doing it for your mother, I know that."

"I'm glad we realised," Rose tried to smile. "Give him my love."

"I will, he'll want to know what's been going on. I won't mention the getting married bit," he smiled back.

"Yeah, he'd cringe at the thought," Rose had cheered up. "Bye then, look after yourself."

That was the last she'd seen of him, not wanting to see him disappearing and the noise the cannon made. She'd given up active duty and had settled in an office job, sorting out and processing any new arrivals but it was soon time to give that up as well. Her mother had tried to get her to go tell Alec but she'd refused so far.

"Rose, ya should be with him," she'd been told again with less than a month to go. "Don't bring the baby up on ya home, don't be like me sweetheart. I know I had no choice but you have."

"Mum, I don't even know where he is," Rose had used the excuse. "If he's still in Broadchurch, it'll be freezing down there."

"That's not gonna be any colder than it is here," Jackie laughed. "Ya should have told him when ya found out that killer had walked free."

"Yeah, great idea Mum, that would have really put him off," Rose complained.

"Get Jake to find out where he is," Jackie then suggested, hating seeing Rose was being so stubborn. "He can see how Alec feels about seeing you again. Then someone can drive ya to where he is."

"I don't think it's a good idea to travel too far Mum, I'd have to change hospitals and stuff," Rose tried to get out of it.

"Listen here Rose Tyler, stop making up excuses," Jackie then told her. "Get Linda to help ya pack, ya can come back for the baby stuff and bring him with ya."

"Mum, he might not even want to see me," Rose replied.

"Ya said that last time and ya stayed," Jackie disagreed. "Now do something before it's too late."

Rose reluctantly picked up her mobile and found Alec's number. It had been months since they'd spoken and a lot of things had remained unsaid, mostly Rose returning the sentiment Alec had whispered before she'd left that morning.

As for Alec, it had been a lonely few months and nothing had changed in Sandbrook. Daisy was just about talking to him until one day, they were talking about Tess still being mad about the trouble the teenager had got into with some friends.

"Think about going back to Broadchurch with me," he'd told her one Saturday. "I can get a transfer back."

"You said there's nothing to do there Dad," Daisy had reminded him.

"I know I did but there are other places to visit. Why don't I see how soon I can go back?" he asked.

So now, he knew he probably wouldn't get a very good reception from Ellie Miller if he did go back plus there was a new chief, who called him a few days later.

"Didn't you leave on medical grounds?" he was asked.

"Yes but I was reinstated," he argued. "I want to bring my daughter back with me or at least get her to agree to join me."

"I see then? Let me check if our budget will cover it, we're supposed to be getting an increase to train young officers on the job, I feel it's really important to train them while they're young," the chief replied. "I was hoping to take two or three on in the new year."

Alec thought he'd get away sooner than that.

"Well can you call me when you decide?" he wanted to know.

"If you're still interested?" she agreed. "It won't be until the new year though."

He sat in his small office, wondering if he should apply somewhere else and fished his mobile out of his jacket pocket when it rang. Then he stared at the name – 'Rose'.

He'd had to admit to Daisy that he'd met her before he'd moved back to Sandbrook but not that they'd been involved and he'd also not admitted who Rose was. If he had done, Daisy would probably start talking to him properly but he wanted her to do that without the promise of meeting the Vitex heiress.

"Rose," he greeted her. "It's good to hear from you."

"Hi Alec. Where are you? I mean apart from at work," she added.

"Still trying to get out of Sandbrook again," he admitted. "I never should have come back but you don't want to hear about that. So, how have you been?"

"Okay. John went off," Rose admitted, getting a twinge from the active baby.

If she was going to see him, she couldn't go to Sandbrook where his ex wife and daughter were. She knew he would never have told them of their short relationship.

"When you say he went off? Rose, is he out of the picture?" Alec wondered.

Rose wanted to say out of this world but thought she'd better not.

"Yeah, a while now, no chance he's coming back. I thought ya'd be back in Broadchurch, I fancied getting some fresh air."

"Rose, you can't keep doing that to me. You broke my recently mended heart when you left last time," he reminded her. "I thought you realised that?"

"Yeah, I know Alec but ya said I had to be over John. I am over him, for a while now," Rose assured him. "Well, if ya not in Broadchurch then?"

"Rose, I have a one bedroom flat, Daisy stays over every other Saturday and sleeps on a make-up bed," he replied. "She talks to me but sometimes things don't go so well."

"Sorry. I know ya wanted to make things up with her. So, ya trying for a transfer? Are ya going back to Broadchurch?"

"Aye, I suppose it's better than trying another town?" he wondered. "Why are you asking Rose? I can't spend a few days with you and let you go off again. Besides, there's a new chief there now, she may not be all that keen to have me back," he recalled the conversation he'd had.

"I went back on the train last time, I was too upset to drive all the way back," Rose admitted.

"So, if I go back and you come to see me? How long will you stay Rose? Letting you go twice was the biggest mistake I ever made. I know things were difficult and we met at a bad time."

"Yeah, I guess we did?" Rose had to agree, thinking this wasn't making things easier to tell him.

He had the right to know she was due in a week or so and this wasn't helping.

"Alec, can we meet? Can you come up here this weekend or is it the week you see Daisy?" she asked him.

"Well I could put her off, she may want to go shopping with her mother anyway, it will probably be a relief to her," Alec replied, thinking it must be important if she was asking.

"No Alec, don't do that," Rose insisted. "It can wait I suppose? Leave it until after the holidays then?"

"Rose, I will come and visit you, you would not be calling if it was not important. Text me your address then?"

Rose sent her address though Pete was never happy about her giving her address out.

"Dad, can you talk to your friend in the police commission?" she then asked Pete. "Can you get Alec back to Broadchurch?"

"Rose, I know I play golf with one of the commissioners but to request someone a transfer?" Pete questioned her. "Will you go back to Alec if he moves back there?"

"It depends how he takes the news," Rose replied. "Can ya at least get your friend to ask the new chief to consider taking him back?"

"Okay, I'll give him a call but I'm not promising anything," Pete finally agreed. "Don't say anything to Alec, he has to think he got the job on his own."

"I know Dad, how can I tell him? I've still not told him about the baby yet," Rose replied.

Alec wondered what was so mysterious that she had called him out of the blue and wanted to see him. He thought he'd best get cancelling Daisy's visit out of the way first as he got a message from Rose, who had put her address and joked he had best memorise it and delete it. He sent one back, hoping she'd take 'what message' as a joke back.

He hoped Daisy would be out of school and able to talk.

"Dad? Do you have any news of moving yet?" she asked.

"Not yet but soon, I hope. Daisy, can we change the weekend? I know you were coming over but something came up," he asked hopefully.

"Mum said you'd keep trying to put me off," Daisy sounded disappointed.

"That is not fair, when have I put you off? What about when she changes it for her convenience?" he wanted to know. "I need to go somewhere. I thought you may be going shopping?"

"Are you going about your transfer?" Daisy hoped.

"Not exactly. Remember I told you about someone I met in Broadchurch? Well I had a phone call about seeing her."

"After all this time Dad?" Daisy asked. "You're putting me off to meet her? Oh, well never mind about me."

"Daisy, don't be like that. Well okay, I'll try and put it back to next weekend," he had to agree, hoping it wouldn't put Rose off for good.

It was a risk but Rose seemed to understand Daisy was important to him. He ended the call and got Rose's number again. Rose would know he was going to put it off. Maybe if she'd admitted why it was urgent she spoke to him he might give her priority but would she make him choose between her and his daughter? He thought maybe he'd best leave it until tomorrow.

The next day though, Rose had stayed in bed and Linda, who had become Rose's carer for the duration of the pregnancy had tapped on the door and entered with a breakfast tray.

"Good morning Miss Rose, how are you feeling?" Rose was asked as she tried to sit up.

Linda put the tray down and went to help her.

"I feel like such a child," Rose replied, which she'd done every day she'd been off work.

"You can't help it," Linda just smiled. "Fancy some scrambled eggs and toast this morning?"

Rose made a face as she began feeling sick.

"You have to think of the baby," Linda reminded her.

"I don't feel too good, really," Rose insisted as she pulled another face.

"I'll go get your mother, see what she thinks," Linda offered, not wanting to make a judgement that Rose might be going into labour early.

Rose laid back down again, feeling the baby moving as Linda went off. Jackie was just going downstairs with Tony.

"I think you'd best come and see Miss Rose," Linda insisted.

"What's wrong with her?" Jackie wanted to know.

"I think the baby may be coming," Linda admitted. "I could be wrong."

Pete had just gone back upstairs to see where Tony had got to.

"Tony, go with your father, I have to go see your sister," Jackie told him. "Pete, Rose might be early, get ready to call an ambulance, ya know where she's booked in."

Rose was beginning to panic.

"Mum!" she called out since the door had been left open.

"I'm here, stop yelling," Jackie told her as Rose called out again.

Pete was taking no chances and was already speaking to the emergency operator.

"Don't worry Mr Tyler, the ambulance is on its way," he was assured that they'd make an assessment and take her in if she is ready to have the baby.

He just hoped they wouldn't be long, he could hear Rose again.

"Tony, go to the kitchen and get Mrs Robertson to get your breakfast, I'll be down to take you to school," Pete insisted.

"What's wrong with Rose?" Tony wanted to know as a few of the staff were outside Rose's room.

"Craig, Lindsay, Nina, get back to work," he called to them. "Craig, get ready to take Tony to school if I have to stay."

"Yes Sir, Mister Tyler, I'll be ready," the man agreed.

"But Dad," Tony protested. "What's happening to Rose?"

"I'll explain later, don't miss your breakfast," Pete insisted, handing him to Nina.

Linda was putting some loose slacks on Rose then her dressing gown, Jackie saying it was a waste of time getting dressed.

"I've got a week yet," Rose insisted as she was helped out of bed.

"Well that baby ain't gonna wait another week," Jackie told her. "Pete is the ambulance on the way?"

Rose was helped downstairs by the paramedics who arrived and into the waiting ambulance, Linda handing the packed bag to Jackie as she got in.

"Mum did ya get my mobile?" Rose asked as she lay down.

"Never mind your phone, ya won't be needing it," Jackie laughed.

"Alec might call to say if he's coming up this weekend," Rose told her.

"Ya mean ya actually gonna tell him," Jackie laughed again.

Alec had got up early and thought he'd best call Rose before he went to work but he got no answer, thinking maybe she was on her way to work. If it had been important enough for her to call him, she wouldn't ignore him, would she?

Pete thought calling his friend should be put off but he'd promised Rose and it seemed more urgent if she was going to tell Alec Hardy the baby was his.

"Well Pete, I don't really now her that well, she's from another division," Pete's friend was telling him. "I did hear she's trialling a new program for new recruits, as in she's training them up to be detective constables without all the formality. She did quite well where she came from."

"I appreciate that Alistair," Pete agreed. "This detective, Alec Hardy is a friend of my daughter and he's trying to get back to Broadchurch. He's already applied but he's waiting. Could you see how she feels about having him back instead of new recruits?"

"Well I suppose he did reprieve himself?" Pete's friend admitted. "Leave it with me Pete, I'll give her a call but I won't mention your name, nor your daughter's."

"Thanks Alistair, I owe you a round of golf," Pete laughed, hoping things would go well and Rose would be pleased.

The chief in Broadchurch wasn't very happy to be getting a call from such a high ranking officer.

"Pardon me Sir but I already have three young officers in mind for the training," she was saying. "Am I to let them down?"

"No, keep one of them and think about getting a more senior officer back," it was being suggested. "There is more value in having a senior officer back in the area."

"Well one has been calling about coming back," she admitted. "I don't know him but one of my detective sergeant's does."

"Then I will leave you to it," she was told.

That got her wondering if Alec had friends in high places. Now she had to make a choice and she didn't like being put in that position.

Alec tried Rose's number again and still got no answer so he left her a message to call him back and that Daisy may or may not decide to stay at the weekend, rather that tell her he wouldn't be able to visit. Rose was being assessed and she was waiting for something to ease the pains she was getting.

"If you have something, you'll need help with the delivery," a nurse was telling her.

"Can't ya just take the edge off it then?" Rose managed to ask. "Mum, get dad to bring my phone, I need to call Alec."

"Sorry, no phones allowed," the nurse smiled.

"Then get dad to call him," Rose insisted to her mother as she propped herself up with her elbows.

"I will when he gets here," Jackie laughed. "Ya didn't even want to tell him before."

"I've thought about it," Rose admitted. "I should have told him instead of running away."

"Well at least ya admitted it," Jackie remarked. "If nothing's happening I'll go phone Pete."

"Rose wants ya to get Alec's number and call him," Jackie told Pete.

"I can't get in her phone Jackie, you know she locks it," Pete replied. "I'll call the police station in Sandbrook then."

Pete then made the call but was told Alec was out.

"Well pass a message to him," Pete told the sergeant. "Tell him to call this number."

He gave Jackie's number and hoped she would answer it.

Chapter 12

Alec was annoyed with himself that he'd gone out without trying to explain to Rose he would have to make it the week after. Still, she'd not called him back but it made sense she would wait for him to contact her, which he should as soon as he'd finished with this false lead they'd been given.

"Sir, I have a message for you," the desk sergeant called across as Alec was going to his office and holding out a pink message form.

"Well who called?" Alec snapped as Tess held back to see what it was. "The message is for me, not you," he reminded her.

"Don't snap at me because it didn't work out," Tess huffed.

"That's the last time I follow a lead with you," he reminded her as he took the note.

He stopped for a moment, wondering if Rose had called but he'd not heard his mobile ring. He saw a number that wasn't hers and was about to put it in his pocket since the caller had left no name. Pete assumed Alec would think it was Rose because she'd admitted she'd talked to him the day before.

He got back to his office and thought better of leaving the note until later and called the number. Jackie was holding Rose's hand as she struggled to keep from pushing when the midwife told her not to.

"You try not pushing," Rose yelled.

"I know you want to but the baby is not in the right position yet," the midwife told her, being used to being yelled at. "I'm just going to see if it will on its own."

"Hasn't she been in pain long enough?" Jackie wanted to know as she felt her mobile buzz in her pocket. "How long's it gonna take?"

"Just a few minutes," the midwife relented, seeing the look of Rose's face.

"Rose, I'll be right back, your father may be calling or he's given Alec my number. What do ya want me to tell Alec if it's him?" Jackie asked as she tried to get some feeling back in the hand Rose had been gripping.

"To get himself here Mum," Rose pulled another face. "No, never mind that, I don't want to tell him on the phone. Tell him I've not got my phone with me but it's urgent he comes up here, as soon as he can. He won't get here in time anyway."

"Well whose fault's that then?" Jackie replied. "Okay but if he wants to talk to you I'm not telling him any tales."

"Mum, promise ya won't tell him," Rose begged her.

Jackie went off and a nurse took her place at Rose's side.

"Is he far away?" the nurse asked her.

"Ya could say that," Rose admitted. "Anyway, it'll all be over so there's no point, is there? I don't want to talk about it."

Alec was about to hang up when Jackie answered.

"Is that Alec?" she asked, seeing it wasn't Pete.

"Yes, I had a message, who's that?" he wanted to know.

"Rose's mother, she said to tell ya to get here as soon as ya can," Jackie replied.

"I was going to call her Mrs Tyler. My daughter is being difficult, I was going to ask Rose to make it next weekend. Why did she not call me?" he wanted to know.

"She's busy," was all Jackie could think of. "I don't think it can wait or she wouldn't get me to ask ya, would she? Listen, I know she wants to see ya," she added, wondering if he'd changed his mind.

"Yes, I want to see her but what can I do? My daughter barely talks to me as it is," Alec replied. "Look, I will come up early on Sunday," he then suggested. "I will make up an excuse to my daughter and take Monday morning off work."

"Well I suppose she'll have to settle for that then?" Jackie told him as she heard Rose again.

"Mrs Tyler, what was that noise?" Alec became suspicious.

"Nothing. I'll tell her," Jackie told him hastily.

"Could you ask her to call me?" Alec then asked.

"When I see her," Jackie agreed. "I gotta go now."

Before Alec could say any more, she ended the call, leaving him confused. Why had she got her mother to call? Was she still unsure he'd go and see her? Nothing had been settled between them since they'd first met if he admitted it. He should never have driven her away over the trial and when she'd gone to see him after his surgery.

He had hardly heard from her and then she'd called him out of the blue, wanting to see him. He tried to get back to work, knowing he'd have to call Daisy later but that was the least of his problems. He was now more worried that Rose was going to end it for good and he didn't think he could let her go. Why did she keep running away from him?

Two hours later, Rose was being settled in a private room, Pete had arrived with Tony and Jackie was holding her new granddaughter, Alice May Tyler, well Tyler for now Rose had decided. If Alec rejected them both, Tyler it would be.

"Rose, did you keep being sick because the baby was inside you?" Tony wanted to know as he got restless.

"Yeah, I'm fine now," Rose smiled at him as he wanted to go to her.

"Not yet Tony," Pete pulled him back. "Your sister's still a bit sore. Come on, let's get you home eh?"

"When will you be home Rose?" Tony then wanted to know.

"Soon, with the baby," she told him. "Mum, go home for a rest."

"Well if ya sure? If Alec turns up before ya get home, I'll bring him to see ya, yeah?" she asked Rose as she handed the baby back.

"Put her in the cot, if she's asleep," Rose suggested. "I'm gonna have a nap before she wants feeding again."

"Are ya sure ya don't want to try feeding her yourself?" Jackie wondered.

"Ya saw she was too eager to wait," Rose replied, still a bit upset over it.

"They're all like that at first," Jackie laughed. "Think about it Rose."

Rose closed her eyes when they all left and a nurse had been in to check on her and the baby.

"Fancy something to eat later?" Rose was asked.

"Yeah, I think I can manage something light?" she agreed.

Then she'd opened her eyes again and took another photo of the sleeping baby and debated if she should call Alec. It would be Sunday before she saw him and hopefully she'd be home by then.

Alec had just finished talking to Daisy, the teenager not being very happy when he'd said she'd have to compromise. His desk phone rang and he hoped Tess wasn't daring to call him. He was relieved when told it was the chief.

"Well Alec, seems you have friends in high places," he was told.

"I have no friends in high places or I would be out of here by now," he replied, not being in the mood to play games.

"Well I had a call, from the chief in Broadchurch. Seems she's keen to fill a vacancy with an experienced DI rather than training two new DCs," the chief revealed.

"What? So she's made her choice?" Alec sounded surprised. "She said it would be in the new year."

"Don't knock it Alec, she's gone out of her way to take you back. How soon can you be there? I expect she'll find you somewhere to stay?" the chief suggested.

The problem now was what would Rose want to do?

"Well I will need somewhere for my daughter to join me," Alec used the excuse in case Rose was really calling it off.

"Well I suggest you get things sorted at your end and be ready to move by the weekend after this," the chief told him. "I'll let them know you accept?"

"Yes, I accept," Alec agreed, thinking he'd best do so.

If Rose didn't want to join him then it would be a new start for Daisy but would she accept Rose? Now he had something positive to tell Rose when he went to visit. He got home, Rose having decided to have a rest and she called him after feeding the hungry baby.

"Rose. I got your message earlier, though I was somewhat puzzled," he told her.

"Yeah sorry about that," Rose apologised, hoping the baby wouldn't start crying.

If Alice did wake up, she'd have to tell him now that he had a new baby daughter. Would he believe it was his and not John's though?

"I said I would try and get up there this weekend, Daisy was being difficult. Rose, I had a call to say I was going back to Broadchurch."

"You did? That's great Alec," Rose replied.

"I hope I did not get any help?" he asked her. "Please answer me."

"Wouldn't the chief have the final decision?" Rose wanted to know.

"That is not the point Rose. I needed to get back there on my own. Now, I have been told the chief decided against training two young officers to be detective constables and take me on instead."

"Maybe they weren't ready Alec and she wanted an experienced officer instead?" Rose suggested, thinking he sounded angry.

"I hope that was the reason," he replied. "I told your mother I would be with you early on Sunday, if that's acceptable? Daisy can't be put off and now I have to get her to decide if she is moving with me. It will have to be in the new year now, getting her into another school."

"It's fine Alec, really. Are ya gonna tell her when ya see her?" Rose wondered.

"It would be better," Alec had to agree. "Why was it so urgent that you left your mother's number Rose? Admit it, there is something more to it, is there not?"

"Playing detective again?" Rose tried to joke. "I was a bit busy earlier and you were out."

"Is that the best you can come up with Rose?" he wanted to know. "Has he come back after all?"

"Alec. No, he can't come back, I told ya," Rose replied. "I told ya I'd ended it between me and John, don't ya believe me?"

"I want to believe you Rose," he told her. "I wanted to believe you when you were returning home the last time I saw you. I wanted you to reply to what I told you before you left."

"I wanted to Alec, I just never got the chance," Rose replied. "I thought somehow you'd know? I mean after what happened between us the night before I left?"

She wondered if he was such a good detective if he'd work it out.

"You mean you not stopping me?" he asked, to make sure. "I know that was your first time Rose, did I not tell you?"

"I was upset that morning, with having to leave. Yeah, I know it was and it was wonderful Alec," she admitted.

"Rose, tell me the truth. Did something happen? Did something come of it?" he wanted to know.

He thought she had ended the call when she didn't answer him.

"Rose, did you get pregnant?" he asked her. "Or did nothing happen? Oh, you maybe made up with John when you got back and then got pregnant? That was why you wanted to see me. Well I expect telling me to my face is slightly better than telling me in a phone call?"

"Alec, no, that's not true. I moved back home when I returned, honestly, ask my mother," Rose insisted.

"Then are you pregnant?" he further insisted on knowing. "If it happened then, you must be almost due and that is the reason you wanted me there?"

"Alec, what can I say?" she replied. "When I called yesterday, well that was the idea."

"What? Are you telling me something happened? I heard a noise whilst talking to your mother earlier. It was you, was it not?" he dared ask. "Rose, have you had the baby?"

"Alec. Yeah, a few hours ago," Rose had to admit. "You have a baby daughter."

It was his turn to go quiet.

"Really? Is she okay?" he wanted to know, trying to recover. "Why did you never tell me?"

"I suppose I thought you'd say it wasn't yours?" Rose admitted. "You could have thought I'd gone back to John."

"The thought crossed my mind, well almost," he had to admit. "Are you both okay?"

"Yeah, we're fine Alec, really," Rose told him.

"Then I am going to set off, never mind waiting until the weekend," he then insisted. "Tell me where you are."

"Alec, they won't let ya in tonight," she reminded him. "Come up tomorrow or go to my place and wait, I'll tell mum to expect ya."

He didn't fancy being interrogated by her mother.

"Don't put her to any trouble, I will set off early tomorrow morning. Just text me the address of the hospital," he replied. "I wish you had told me."

"I'm sorry Alec, I just couldn't," Rose apologised. "Ya did think it was John's at first."

"I apologise for that," he told her. "Ah, what did you name her? Not after a flower?"

Rose let out a laugh.

"No, her name is Alice May. I put Tyler for now though, I didn't know how things were going to go," she admitted.

"That was to be expected?" he wondered. "I should not have left it so long, I mean before I got your call."

"I still might not have told ya," Rose replied.

"We have a lot to discuss Rose," he reminded her. "Not least why you kept running away from me."

"Maybe because I thought I was somehow betraying both you and John?" Rose wondered. "I never expected to meet ya."

"Did it not occur to you it would be inevitable, seeing you were in Broadchurch?" he asked. "Get some rest, I will see you in the morning, I will call for visiting times. Bye Rose, kiss the baby for me eh?"

"Yeah, when she wakes again but the nurse said something about putting her in the nursery tonight," Rose told him.

"You need your rest," he reminded her again.

He decided to go out and get something for the baby and some flowers for Rose and called at the takeaway for some food before calling Daisy.

"I got my transfer," he told her when she answered. "Take your time in deciding what you want to do."

"Why have you changed your mind about getting me to make my mind up?" she wanted to know.

"I have to go visit Rose," he admitted, trying to remember if he'd told Daisy who he'd been seeing.

"Dad, you said you'd put her off," she reminded him. "You weren't even going to."

"That's not true Daisy. I was going to but something came up, I have to go. Daisy, you should know that I intend asking her to move to Broadchurch."

Daisy went quiet so Alec assumed she wasn't happy about it.

"What? Do I have to meet her?" Daisy finally asked.

"There's something else you should know. I said her name was Rose, did you not wonder about it?" he asked cryptically.

"I'm not playing guessing games Dad. Oh. You can't be serious?" she managed to ask.

"Would you believe me if I said you were right?" he wondered, not wanting to say Rose's name over the phone.

"Does mum know?" Daisy wondered if he'd even mentioned it.

"I'm not sure she believes me," he had to admit. "It makes no difference who she is Daisy. Yes, she came to Broadchurch then when I had got out of hospital. I told your mother but they never met, thankfully."

"Oh I don't know Dad, I'd have loved to have seen mum's face," Daisy laughed.

"Well I was not in the mood for your mother being rude to her," Alec told her. "What if I try to come back on Sunday for a few hours?" he then offered.

"Well, if you're sure? You've nothing else to tell me have you?" Daisy wanted to make sure. "Please tell me now."

"If I do, you will probably never speak to me again," he warned her.

"Oh please tell me she wasn't having a baby?" Daisy sounded horrified. "Does that mean I'll have a half brother or sister?"

He thought he may as well get it over with. If she was going to disown him, he could stay with Rose and the baby longer, he might even stay then collect his things and go straight to Broadchurch, with both of them. That was providing Rose was ready to move with him. Yes, that seemed like a good idea, if he could get his current chief to agree.

The last few times he'd been with Rose, it had never been for long. How would they get along if he were to stay? It would be a test if nothing else or she may decide on a long distance relationship and give him access to see the baby. He didn't think he could just settle for that, not now.

"Daisy, she had the baby yesterday, you have a half sister. Don't tell your mother, I'll have to tell her."

"Well rather you than me Dad," Daisy laughed. "That should be fun to see."

"For you maybe," he replied.

"Will she be jealous?" Daisy then wanted to know.

"Don't be so cheeky," he replied. Then he hoped she'd think he was joking. "Daisy, it was her choice not to have any more after you. She wanted to stay a detective."

"Sorry Dad. So, what do they call her?" she then asked.

"Alice May but Rose uses her surname for now. I expect that's up for debate," he replied. "Not a word to your mother, I will tell her when I get back. I'm leaving early in the morning."

"Wow, I can hardly believe it," Daisy admitted. "I'll try not to let on to mum but you know she always suspected something was going on when you told her someone was going to look after you."

"She told you about that?" Alec didn't know. "Just how much?"

"Chill Dad. She was just a bit annoyed she went all that way, took you back to Broadchurch then you sent her home," Daisy laughed. "I heard her moaning to Dave on the phone when she got back."

Alec wasn't that surprised. There was nothing he could do about it so why was Tess so bothered about him?

"I will collect you when I get back. Tell your mother you want to go shopping with her on Saturday or something," he suggested.

"You owe me then," Daisy laughed.

He thought maybe it would be worth it. He packed what he needed for a few days then went to bed after he text Rose to send him a few photos of the baby, deciding he couldn't wait. Rose wasn't really surprised and selected a few and sent them to him with a short message. She was going to suggest to do a video call but the nurse had already been to take Alice to the nursery for the night so she could get some rest.

Alec tried to get to sleep but he was too worked up at the prospect of not only seeing Rose again but his new daughter. He still wondered how he'd managed to get her pregnant, since he was supposed to have been recovering from heart surgery at the time.

The next morning, Rose called her mother to say Alec was on his way.

"Well about time then," was all Jackie could say.

"Well if you come to see me in the afternoon, ya can take Alec with ya, so he has somewhere to stay," Rose suggested. "He should be allowed in at any time, then he can come back in the evening with dad and Tony."

"Well if that's how ya want it?" Jackie asked. "When will ya be let out?"

"I'll find out but I'll probably stay in today. Mum, he got his transfer back to Broadchurch. He might want us to go back with him or come back for us?" Rose admitted.

"Well I've been trying to get ya to go join him," Jackie reminded her.

Alec made good time getting to London and found his way to the hospital, asking for the ward.

"There's no visiting until this afternoon," he was told at first.

"My girlfriend just had a baby," he replied, a bit put out. "I was told that I can visit any time."

"You'll have to check with the ward sister then," the receptionist replied.

As he waited for the lift, he thought they had better let him in or he'd use his rank to get in. Rose was waiting to be seen and for Alice bringing back to her when there was a tap on the door. Alec had asked to see her and was told it was up to her so he asked for her to be told he was there.

"Yeah, I wanna see him," Rose agreed. "Can you bring my baby in?"

The nurse nodded and let Alec in, him going straight to greet her, a pink teddy bear in one hand and pink and white flowers in the other.

"I'll get a vase for those," the nurse told him as she offered to take the flowers.

"Hi Alec," Rose greeted him as he kissed her cheek and placed the bear on the table.

Then when the nurse had gone, she reached her arms out.

"You should not be stretching," he advised her.

"I'm glad you're here Alec. How can I say I'm sorry for not telling ya?"

He saw she looked sad so he sat on the edge of the bed, putting his arms around her.

"Well, you have told me now, that's the main thing. I would have liked to have been with you. Did you have her early, we're you planning on getting me here in time?" he wanted to know.

"Yeah, sorry. I was gonna come down but she decided not to wait," Rose managed to tell him. "That's why I asked ya to visit me."

"Well the thought was there," he agreed as he tried to kiss her.

The nurse came in, wheeling the cot and Alec went to see if Alice was awake. He helped Rose to sit up and handed the baby to her and took a photo, then one with him with his arm around Rose.

"Well, we have a lot to discuss," he reminded her. "Is it going to be Tyler or Hardy then?"

"Ya know the answer," Rose smiled back. "I should have told ya I loved you. I do love you Alec."

"Then come to Broadchurch with me, a fresh start?" he offered. "What do you say?"

"Will Daisy be joining us?" she wanted to know.

"Maybe? So, is that a yes and no more running away from me?" he wanted to know.

"What do I have to run away from?" Rose replied as Alice began to stir. "I have you and Alice now."

"Yes Rose, you do, we could be a family, if you want?" he replied.

"Then that's a yes."

The End!