Rose Tyler's new life

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This is the story of what happened when Rose Tyler, with no means of her getting back to her own world decided to stop pining after the Doctor. She chose to get on with the life she had been handed and met a certain grumpy Police Detective Inspector at her newly opened shop in a town called Broadchurch and after a case of mistaken identity changed both their lives for the better.

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Chapter 1
This is the story of what happened when Rose Tyler, with no means of her getting back to her own world decided to stop pining after the Doctor.  She chose to get on with the life she had been handed and met a certain grumpy Alec Hardy at her newly opened shop in a town called Broadchurch and after a case of mistaken identity changed both their lives for the better.

The dialogue switches as the characters are seeing things from their point of view so some parts may be repeated.

Rose Tyler 'died' the day she lost her Doctor. Cut off in 'Pete's world' as it had become known to her and her mother, she never gave up hope of getting back to her world and her Doctor.

She had finally told him how she felt but it was too late – the walls were closed and no amount of her screaming at them would ever open them again. She had been over-wrought with tears, spent endless nights crying into her pillow after seeing his ghostly form through one tiny gap left in-between the universes' and being told she couldn't touch him.

She would have gladly let the two universes collide if she'd thought they could be together. She would have given anything to touch him, hold his hand, hug him the way they used to. Who's going to hold his hand now? Who's going to offer him cake and run with him? Why had she not had the courage to tell him how she felt before she was cruelly taken from him? If only she had told him, been able to kiss him right there on that beach and never let go and been able to go back with him, her life would have been so different.

She'd tried oh so many times to get back, they had come up with all kinds of inventions, even tried the original devices that Pete Tyler and his team had breached the void into her world with but nothing was working. Torchwood had been officially up and running for a few years, Rose had taken up a position as head of research so she could help develop new ways of possibly getting back to her own world which was the main reason she took it, that and she would go mad at home.

She was offered active duty as part of the team but she declined, wanting to concentrate on anything that would just get her back. She was desperate even though she knew time was different on this world and the Doctor could have regenerated but she thought she would know deep down inside despite being cut off if that had actually happened.

She kept telling herself, if only she could get back, they could pick up where they left off, with her telling him she loved him, longing to hear the words back which she was certain he was about to say when they were so cruelly parted. She wondered if he'd met anyone else, if anyone could ever replace her. She was sure that he would never just give up on her just as she had never given up on him but what if he'd had the chance of being happy? Could she have blamed him and if he had regenerated, maybe he'd forgotten her anyway thinking Rose would have moved on in her new world. He had told her he had to move on and she had been lucky he'd wanted to retain their friendship the last time and that was when Rose realised that their friendship was becoming more.

Mickey had tried to make up to her but she wasn't having any of it. How could she? Not only had the Doctor been her friend, she had found herself wanting much more and could never face Mickey again, not in that way. Would the Doctor want her back if she found a way? A thousand questions had raced through her mind.

At first, she missed the Tardis, it had become her second home or had she spent so much time in it that it had replaced her home? Her mother certainly had thought that, complaining Rose never rang her. The last time she'd been in it, she hadn't even been alone with him, her mother had been there, only briefly being left on her own when they'd arrived at Torchwood Tower. That was the last time she'd ever have an adventure with him. She had spent the best time of her life with a 900 year old alien who she'd fallen in love with and now her life was never going to be the same again. How could anything replace that?

She couldn't even think about travelling, it reminded her too much of the times they'd had. Travelling the world was not the same as travelling the stars and was a poor substitute. Her mum had got her to take a few family holidays with them, just little seaside towns, all looking the same to Rose but one had stuck in her mind, one with a quiet beach, spectacular golden cliffs and a great little place they used to go to get fish and chips, the best she had tasted apart from the first time she'd had chips with the Doctor.

She couldn't quite remember the name of it but vaguely remembered it was in Dorset. She began to think about the place more and more, thinking that maybe one day she'd go back, just for some peace, the soothing colour of those golden cliffs had actually brightened the holiday as the sun shone on them. Even at night, they turned a deeper golden colour which Rose was enthralled with. She'd seen more beautiful scenery on her other travels but nothing seemed to quite compare with it. It seemed to haunt her somehow.

She had been well out of it, not taking much notice with what had been going on in the world, let alone in her own country and was completely unaware that the quiet seaside town she had thought so much about had recently been in the news. She was still having a few difficulties accepting things had run different courses to her old world, she was having to re-learn history and had to be very careful not to get the two versions mixed up in any conversations.
Only a handful of people actually knew that her mum, Mickey and she were not from that world and one word out of place would take a lot of fixing from the Torchwood team trying to cover it up but she'd managed fairly well so far. Jackie on the other hand had nearly put her foot in it a few times but everyone knew what she was like and laughed it off much to everyone else's relief. Tony had no understanding about his mum and sister and they had decided to tell him when he was older so he could make up his own mind about it although she used to tell him stories.

Everyone had done their level best to cheer her up at first. She was inconsolable after her ghostly encounter on the beach in Norway, hardly sleeping in case he called out to her again and she suffered for a long time, having to seek help because her health was suffering. Her mum had instantly fallen in love with Pete and Rose was happy for her. She now had a step-dad and a little brother called Tony and she had a friend in Jake and Mickey, who had to be contented with only being her friend if that was all she wanted. Mickey never said anything to her, he knew he had lost her the moment she had met the Doctor and that was confirmed the day he regenerated but he put on a happy face now she was back after he'd decided to stay behind when they had visited after an accident crash landed them a few years before.

He'd said he was staying to look after his old gran who was still alive there but he knew that wasn't the real reason but he didn't dwell on it. He could never convince Rose to take him back but wouldn't give up hope, just as Rose never gave up trying to get back to the Doctor. Jake on the other hand had lost his Ricky but found someone else as Mickey was definitely not that much like Ricky and had made that quite clear. He had become Rose's best friend and protector because she found she could confide in him more than anyone else and mainly because there was no pressure from him.

Between the two of them they would try to keep Rose occupied when they weren't working. She had become close to Jake because she could talk to him about the Doctor and would tell him about their adventures. Jake had only met him twice but would be fascinated about the tales she would tell. He would spend time at the Tyler residence trying to help Rose but when he wasn't there she spent most of the time either with her little brother or in her room looking at the few photos on her phone that she had taken of the Doctor and herself. She was grateful her phone hadn't fallen out of her pocket when she was pulled toward the void and rescued by Pete at the very last moment. She'd transferred them to her new phone and had a copy on her computer and had the best one as her desktop wallpaper. The one she had taken of the Doctor when she thought he wasn't looking. The one where he had a great big smirk on his face.

Forever dreaming of what might have been if she'd managed to hold on or the void had closed just as she was about to be pulled through and been safely caught by the Doctor, safe in his arms where she had always wanted to be. In her dreams they carried on their adventures together and they had soon disclosed their feelings for one another, first just the casual kiss, then after he said he actually liked it, a bit more kissing then suddenly it was becoming apparent they both wanted more than that, just laying together, exploring each other and it leading to other things so both of them ended up giving in to the one thing both of them wanted more than anything and were blissfully happy together. He would take her to dreamy worlds where they would sunbathe all day, laying on the golden sands together, so wrapped up in each other, nothing to stop them. Or they were alone on a deserted island, just the two of them, skinny dipping in the sea, the Doctor would chase Rose through the clear water and she would pretend to let him catch her just as she ran off again.

He would run even faster but he'd taught her to run so well but she'd get tired of being chased and just wanted him to catch her. They would gently fall into the water as the Doctor caught her and began kissing her and gently laying her down, the water just covering them both and the would kiss and make love, never wanting to let go. He would cover her in kisses as the water lapped over them and she would run her fingers through his hair – oh that hair, how she missed his hair and his laugh and the talking at 90 miles an hour that she never understood a word of it. The things he used to say, how she got jealous when he wasn't paying her any attention though she never let on. She was always rudely awakened from those dreams with the harsh reality of her alarm clock just when it was getting to the good parts where she and her lover were being intimate.

She had to work just to keep herself occupied, to find a way back to him. She didn't really need to, she was Pete Tyler's step-daughter, heiress to a multi-million pound business and had come a long way from being a nineteen year old shop girl whose place of employment had been blown up but she never told anyone who she was, never acted like it or dressed like she had money. She'd been brought up properly where money was always tight and never wasted. Her mum on the other hand had embraced the idea after initially telling Pete she didn't care about the money but she never overdid it, never splashed out for the sake of it, only wanting things to make life easier and the things she could never afford previously because she'd had to work for it, had to just scrape by.

It had been difficult for Pete to explain his sudden status of being a step-dad and his new wife looking like his old one but a few touches here and there from Torchwood had smoothed things over and eased the transition. It had been surprising just how quickly Jackie had settled down but for Rose, life wasn't so easy, having lost more than she was letting on to anyone, never wanting to share it with anyone, not even Jake and even her mother didn't know what was going on in her mind and it dawned on Rose that it was going to take a lot more to start a new life, a new beginning.

She certainly had no knowledge about the little town she remembered so fondly being in the news recently, of all the media attention it had been receiving and of a certain team of detectives who had been on the case and that their lives would be soon intertwined in more ways than one.

If her family and friends had told Rose she would ever find anyone to replace the Doctor, she would have shot them down in flames claiming it was ridiculous, she was holding out to find her way back or, to everyone who didn't know about him, she just laughed it off saying she was waiting for the right man to come along.

Little was she to know that a decision she was about to make would change her life back to one of being happy again, something she had thought would never happen again until she found her way back. No, she had decided to live a solitary life and it was going to take something drastic to make her change her mind. She thought she didn't deserve to be happy, that she had been robbed of the chance after being pulled apart from the man she had come to love. She knew he would never settle down so she resolved that neither would she. The conversation had already taken place with her mother before they came to this world and she vowed to herself she was going to stick to it. It was the very least she could do, to somehow honour his decision even though he would never know it unless by some miracle.

In her mind, if she did somehow get back she could truly tell him she knew how he felt being alone and that he didn't have to be, she would be content with whatever time they had together but she knew deep down what it would do to him, to watch her go again. Hadn't he suffered as much as she had done? Or even more after all his lifetimes? Would it be fair on him if she did find she could move on with her life? What if he'd already moved on with his? Was she ready to move on yet? Rose came to the conclusion that there was only going to be one way to find out, one way to know for certain and that was to take a giant leap, take the plunge and give it a try.

Chapter 2

Eight years had passed Rose by, eight years without the Doctor and each day had been a painful reminder of what might have been but never was. Rose was coming to a long overdue decision that nothing was going to get better if she stayed. She had been giving it serious thought lately, her mind wandering back to the sea. Why was she suddenly being drawn to the seaside? What had brought that on again? She didn't know why she stayed at home. For her mum, her brother? Certainly not out of choice.

She could have had her own place in the city but she preferred not to be entirely alone in a noisy place, she still wasn't ready for that yet but moping around making everyone else miserable day after day wasn't the answer either. So she got home from work one night and after playing with her brother made a startling declaration to her slightly awed mother.

"I've made a decision - about moving."

She even surprised herself.

Why had she suddenly come to such a decision? Was it because she had been thinking about the sea again? Why was she drawn to the sea? Did it remind her of Bad Wolf Bay? Did she think she was going to see him standing on the beach? Whatever it was, she felt she was being drawn into something and she wasn't sure just what it was. It couldn't be any worse than her life already was, surely? Then at least she would have some space without constantly being reminded that her now home had once been graced by the presence of the Doctor all those years ago, the one she had to live in that reminded her so much of him, the one she'd had the dreams in that led her to the beach in Norway to face the worse day of her life since arriving and having to say goodbye, the worse day of her life prior to that being in the other universe when she was torn away from the man she loved.

When her stepdad came home Rose started to make plans.

"I realise I need to make a fresh start, away from here, from Torchwood. Somewhere remote, perhaps by the sea," Rose said.

Both looked at her, surprised by her sudden declaration.

Her mother spoke first.

"Then where would you go, what will you do sweetheart?"

Her stepdad looked at her thoughtfully and then spoke up after the initial shock that his stepdaughter was finally making some plans to move on. He thought for a while, wondering just how serious she was.

"If you haven't decided anything for definite, I have an idea, one that will give you something to make plans for and keep you employed so you can remain independent."

"I've got somewhere in mind actually. Do you remember that holiday we had a few years back, in Dorset? The place that had those golden cliffs and those gorgeous fish and chips?" Rose replied. "I've been thinking about it a lot lately, it seems to be drawing me there somehow, like I may even find some peace there. I can't remember the name though but I remember I liked it."

Rose told them more about how she had been taken with that certain little seaside town in Dorset they had visited. They sat down to dinner then Pete continued to explain his plan. He'd been toying with the idea of branching out, Torchwood already had several offices in different locations, the remotest being in the northern parts of Scotland but they were all secret locations, always code named and always in disguise, hiding their true nature. Some of them Pete was very pleased with because the public had never even batted an eyelid when they came across them.

"It would be good to have another operation and I think I know the town you are talking about on the Dorset coast and it's been in the news recently, some poor child was murdered there and the media was all over it. It's all over now but it would be the perfect place to open a new branch of Torchwood because no-one would ever suspect and since a lot of people and businesses left during that time, there should be plenty of places we could set up and for you to move into," he said, his face lighting up. He continued. "The town was called Broadchurch. I'll get Jake to do some research on it, see what properties are for sale so we can invent a cover for the operation. Rose, if you like, you can be in charge. You can do some of your work for Torchwood at the same time and Jake can come down and help you for a while. Nothing too stressful, maybe a little shop, maybe even antiques or something. We could buy a shop with a flat above it."

Rose's face started to become a bit brighter.

"Or maybe a picture gallery?" she chipped in.

"Yes, that could work," replied Pete.

"I'm not sure about living above a shop though, unless it's out of the town," Rose continued. "Maybe I could just rent something. A small house or a flat near the sea? I could always buy something later if I decide to stay."

They continued to make their plans. Jackie was taking it all in, suddenly realizing her daughter was finally moving on and she didn't know whether to laugh or cry. She had seen Rose go through so much. She herself had settled down and married Pete, had a baby while Rose had continued mostly being upset and miserable with only brief moments of happiness like on their wedding day and when Tony was born. Even birthdays weren't that eventful with the exception of Tony's.

She had felt really sorry for Rose, that she hadn't been able to settle down the way she had done. Now Rose was making plans to move away altogether, out of London completely. She didn't like the thought of leaving Rose to fend for herself when she'd wanted to stay behind with the Doctor and convinced Pete to go back and get her though she didn't know how close he had cut it and now she was having to face Rose being really gone. Still, everyone leaves home eventually, she just wasn't expecting it so suddenly. She hoped that Rose knew what she was doing. It wasn't like she was going back 'travelling' again and at least she knew where she was, being only a few hours away. They'd still get to see each other.

So Jake was charged with making the preparations, not his idea but he was happy to help if it meant cheering up Rose, doing research on the place and looking up properties. They had finally decided to go with the gallery idea. Nothing fancy, no originals, just small reproductions, posters and prints and some cards to start off with. Jake made all the connections, found a local distribution firm who could supply the gallery so they went ahead with their plans.

It was early March, Rose, Pete and Jake all travelled to Broadchurch in Pete's car and arrived at the local hotel, the same place they had stayed on holiday that time though it did look slightly different than Rose remembered. It was still quiet before the season started so they asked for and got rooms on the same floor. The owner was glad to be having the extra guests at that time of year. Jake had looked into several properties for the gallery and places for Rose to rent so they had decided initially to make a week of it but longer if necessary. They were assured that the rooms were available for longer if needed. It should have meant trips to the council planning offices but they had it covered with help from Torchwood. All the red tape seemed to have been cut magically. Pete thought to himself that what was the use of running a fairly powerful organisation otherwise?

As plans and ideas saw everything coming together by the end of two weeks, they were all feeling pleased with themselves. They had found the perfect spot for the gallery, just down the road from the hotel, just before the Police Station in a little side street which had a colourful array of little shops. When they had initially looked, Rose had spotted one that was vacant that was painted pale yellow on the outside with a cream and mint green interior which Rose wasn't quite sure about.

Rose had thought of the perfect name when she saw the colour of the shop exterior – 'The Sunflower Gallery'. Pete said he would take care of all the finances such as bills, all Rose had to do was run the place. She had found the perfect little house to rent, only five minutes drive away but up a hill, not far from the cliff top which was just across a playing field. When she moved there, she would be bringing her car with her and she liked to run a bit so being near the cliff top footpath was ideal. You never knew just quite when you were going to have to run again. She didn't remember the last time she really ran, not for pleasure anyway.

Everything was achieved in a short space of time (with some help again) and local tradesmen were employed with the task of getting the gallery into shape and fitting it out, Rose had given precise instructions how she wanted it. They started work with Jake keeping a close eye on them. She decided to run it on her own at first and maybe get some help later, once it was established.

Rose had asked to keep her room at the hotel although she was going home for the weekend on the Friday night, driving back down on Sunday afternoon, to gather some of her belongings and it would be easier than moving right into her new place, she could do that when she came back.

Before everyone knew it, the shop was finished except for the delivery of the stock, a new window blind had been fitted, with a security blind at the door and an electronic lock had been fitted to the back door and a sophisticated 'Torchwood' style alarm fitted back and front. It was only a single storey shop so there was no first floor to worry about.

Rose's rented house was almost ready to move in to, Pete had gone back home taking Rose with him, Jake had stayed to do a bit of painting to freshen it up while Rose was saying goodbye to her Mum and Tony and picking up her personal stuff and would drive her car back to her new house, the living room had been carpeted, the kitchen and bathroom with tiles, she had the rest of her things sent down and she'd been shopping with Pete to get new furniture etc.

Rose said goodbye to the owner of the hotel they'd been staying in who she had started to talk to since Pete left and after officially taking possession of her new rented house it was moving day.


While all this had been going on, her new next door neighbour had noticed movement over the last week or so in the house that had been vacant for a while. It was the house adjoining and was hoping not to be disturbed with any amateur home decorating and was thankful that it was quiet on a night when a car had driven off. It was noted that a car came and went and had disappeared over the weekend with someone then coming and going on foot.

The next door neighbour was only concerned that at least the house would no longer be empty, living next to an empty property was disconcerting, gave a feeling that it needed protecting. All the while hoping that the new neighbours wouldn't turn out to be noisy and come and go at all hours and have loads of kids.

The neighbour at the other side had been oblivious to the gradual moving in of their new neighbours so had not discussed it with anyone.

Chapter 3

Alec Hardy had been initially reluctant to stay in Broadchurch after the past events, he'd stayed for the funeral and for the trial and he'd made peace with whoever he could but some were going to take longer. He'd become a friend to Tom Miller and even his DS, Ellie had sobered up to him and they had become good friends over the past months even taken to calling each other by their first names although she always used his title when they were at work and just Sir when she got annoyed with him.

Alec had been there for her throughout the painful trial and had encouraged her to stay, stating it was better the devil you know and the townsfolk were forgiving, some had remained her friend throughout. Ellie had been granted a quick divorce but decided for her two boys sakes to keep her married name and she had managed to goad Alec into looking into the surgery to have a pacemaker fitted to make him well saying if he only had a 50/50 chance what did he have to lose and he'd be no use to her otherwise.

Ellie had been right. Before he knew it and much to his surprise he'd survived and after weeks of complaining he was bored, deciding he'd probably stay and needed to move out of the hotel. He reluctantly got himself a place to live and was put back on active duty much sooner than he'd expected despite objections initially from the Superintendent who had to relent when he was cleared by the CMO plus Ellie complaining she wasn't going to prop him up and that he'd better pull his weight.

Ellie had half enjoyed taking over during his absence. With the revelation that he'd given to the local press about his past and the reason he was mainly in Broadchurch, he was no longer being hounded by them and was working on a solution to his problems with his daughter. His ex-wife however still hated him and had moved on to live with someone else which pleased him no end. If only he could get his daughter talking to him or at least answer his texts he would be reasonably happy. He'd sent her word that he was getting well again and hoped it would mellow her but so far she had not responded to the endless messages he'd left her.

He'd found a house to rent, two doors down from where Ellie had moved though if he'd thought about it he would have looked elsewhere and she'd looked in on him every night after work grudgingly saying didn't he think she had enough to do without waiting on him hand and foot as well. Still, she kept her distance now apart from inviting him to have Sunday lunch every week, starting by telling him not to be miserable and that she always made too much anyway. He'd kick a football around in the back garden with Tom and Fred while she got it ready. Then they'd talk shop a bit, about a certain officer who kept asking her out and about how people were moving on after the past events in the town. They also agreed that they didn't want to go through that again any time soon.

It was late on a Friday afternoon in March when he'd been returning from his trip to the grocery store (he still didn't have his own car though he could borrow one when needed and had a driver when he wasn't working with Ellie) when he noticed a blue car parked next door. He'd seen it pull away sometimes as he was arriving back from work but never seen the driver.

He knew someone was moving in obviously, he was just hoping he wouldn't be getting noisy neighbours and had been glad they had at least not been decorating into the night and disturbing him. Not taking much notice, he walked past and saw two figures at the window facing away from him. One was a small blonde female, the other a taller blonde man but he couldn't make out their faces. He was silently thinking how he hoped there were no kids there.

He went for his usual run on Sunday morning then to Ellie's as normal for lunch, noting no car in the driveway next door and recalling he'd not seen it since Friday and remarked to her about his new neighbours.

"I've not seen them," Ellie said, "Have you Tom?" she asked her son.

Her son shook his head as he had a mouthful of food.

"I just saw a blonde woman and a blonde man facing away from the window on Friday," Alec said. "Hope they don't have kids," he grunted under his breath.

"Misery guts," Ellie mouthed at him across the table and she just laughed.

Tom hoped they had, then he'd have someone to play with, he'd just lost his best friend.

Alec walked back home again, having to pass his new neighbours. The car was now in the small driveway and the blonde man was taking something out of the back. There was no sign of the woman, Alec was secretly hoping he might at least get a proper look as to who had just moved in.

There was nothing much happening at the police station the following day. With the media circus leaving reluctantly after a few months, the season wasn't even started so Alec decided he'd had enough of shuffling papers on his desk and staring at the computer screen. He told Ellie he was off for a walk, see what was going on and that he didn't want any company to which she just pulled a face at him. He walked around the side of the station and for some reason he decided to stroll into a side street which he didn't usually frequent, he wasn't much of a window shopper, in fact he wasn't much of a shopper full stop, just getting the bare essentials.

He certainly wasn't interested in the 'Artsy' shops in small side streets but for some reason or another, a pale yellow shop caught his attention. A sign above the shop read 'The Sunflower Gallery' in red fancy lettering. The number of the shop was to the left and in the right corner in much smaller lettering was a name stating 'Prop – R. Tyler'. The door blind was pulled halfway down as was the window blind but he could make out two pairs of legs, one was a distinctive female pair which in his opinion were not half bad and wondered what the rest of her was like. The other pair were almost certainly a male wearing jeans.

He wondered with it being a new shop and just having seen two new neighbours move in a few days before if his detective skills were getting the better of him and deduced they were one of the same. He smirked to himself.

"At least they're employed," he thought. "And I know their name."

Two days later, he found himself back in the side street again, he'd not noticed the street name plate but he was gazing at the pale yellow shop again. Why exactly was he there he wondered? This time the window blind was almost fully raised. He could see various paintings on display, a rack with cards, a display sleeve rack with posters showing through plastic, a small counter at the back of the shop and a doorway. The woman whom he had only seen the legs of two days before had her back to him having the same blonde hair as he had seen in the house window previously and was she looking around the shop.

There was no sign of the man, he could have been in the back or out somewhere. The woman turned round and saw him staring in the window. She stared back in horror, probably not expecting anyone to be watching.

"Should have pulled down the blind," Alec thought to himself.

She walked to the back of the shop and pulled out a mobile phone from under the counter.

Alec could see the panic on her face from that distance and she was probably calling her boyfriend/husband or whoever the blond man was. He just caught her attention as he fished in his jacket pocket for his I.D and he tapped on the window. Looking up for a second, the woman moved the phone away from in front of her eyes where she was about to dial a number.

She kept the phone in her hand and came to the window and signalled for a closer inspection of his I.D Card. Satisfied, she walked to the door and unbolted it.

"You scared the hell out of me," she yelled.

"Nice to meet you too," Alec replied as he instantly chastised himself for it not being his best pickup line. He introduced himself when he'd picked himself up off the floor having been suddenly yelled at.

The blonde muttered a very quiet, "Rose Tyler," in reply.

With that over with, he mumbled an apology, turned away and made a hasty retreat probably leaving a very puzzled Rose Tyler standing in the shop doorway. He noticed the blond man just coming round the corner of the street and he crossed over.

When he got home that night, the blue car was parked outside and not in the small driveway. It was beginning to get dark and the light was on inside the house. Two people were sat opposite each other at a dining table, looking like they were having a heated discussion.

"Hope that isn't about me?" he thought and then added to himself, "Why would it be about me? Did she think I was a stalker or something?"

Questions raced through his mind. He'd only been doing his job – well sort of – that of checking out new people to the area and new businesses. Nothing unusual about that, he had a clear conscious. He walked past and opened his front door, still wondering what they were discussing and why she'd yelled at him. He hadn't noticed she had just turned towards the window or that she was rubbing her wrist.

He went inside, trying his best not to think of a certain Rose Tyler he had just met but wasn't having much luck. The best he could do was resign himself to wait until he had the chance to introduce himself properly or maybe be the nosey neighbour he despised and knock on their door on some pretext. No, that wouldn't be very tactical.

"Who was the man?" he was thinking to himself. He thought it was good though that new people were moving to the area and starting up businesses, the town had suffered during the past year.

He hadn't liked living in a small town when he'd first moved there and he'd found it difficult to settle down. He was only just starting to come around. He only had one real friend he could speak of and that was Ellie and then he thought he was putting too much on their working relationship by stretching it to outside work but they had helped each other through bad times. They certainly had no desire to take it any further, they were both too stubborn to start with.

Alec had thought he didn't need anyone anyway, he'd had no time for his first family otherwise it would not have got so out of hand and his daughter would still be talking to him. He had not noticed his ex wife slipping away from him or had he and not bothered? He'd kept to himself, never socially mingling with work colleagues, always giving excuses that he'd too much to do. He hadn't really, he spent a lot of time reading or catching up with interesting cases from other divisions and occasionally watching the news on the TV. He had a personal laptop but never got round to having access to the internet, mainly because that was how the rumours had spread about him so fast when a case he'd worked on went badly wrong and wished the thing had never been invented. Maybe he'd relent one day though but not just yet.

Trying to put the day behind him, he went to get some sleep thinking he must at least go and try to apologise to Rose Tyler and it occurred to him that was maybe just the way to get to know more without seeming too obvious. It would give him chance to find out who she and the man were. He made his mind up to leave it until the weekend to go back to the shop and pay her a visit and maybe a take a peace offering.

Chapter 4

Rose's POV

The Wednesday after her coming back with the rest of her personal belongings, having had to make another trip, Rose was standing in the middle of the shop surveying her handiwork. She had got back as planned and spent a few day arranging things at home as she wanted them. She was now trying to get the shop looking right for the opening on Saturday, having only taken two days to get it stocked. Were the pictures straight? Did the card display look okay? Had she overdone it? The cash register was arriving on Friday, the phone line was being installed the same day along with internet access so she could bring her laptop to do her work for Torchwood and keep a stock register. The back of the shop had been fitted with a new kitchen and separate rest room, she didn't really need a stockroom.

She'd decided on re-ordering when stock got to a certain level. After all, she wasn't exactly on a tight budget, Torchwood was paying for it all, even her rented house. Plus as an added bonus she was still receiving her salary even when she was in the process of moving. "One of the perks of being the boss's step-daughter," she smiled. Anything she made from the shop was hers to pay any staff she employed and expenses. She was going to need it; after all, the gallery was only a front for the real purpose.

When she got connected to the internet at work, she could work from there as well as at home with her secure connection to the London office. Jake would be setting that up for her as he'd done at home. They'd finally got everything sorted, everything was moved in. She had chosen to get all new furniture, done out both bedrooms mainly so Jake had somewhere to stay and if her mum wanted to come down with Tony, fittings and electrical goods, not wanting to pinch anything from the Tyler residence and Jake didn't have anything to bring as he wasn't staying much longer, he was missing his home comforts back in London.

She realised she'd been staring at the walls for too long and had forgotten she'd left the blind on the window up. It was just to give a bit of natural light to the place. She had gone for spotlights in clusters rather than tubes, they gave her a headache after a while, spotlights were much easier on the eyes. She'd got rid of the mint green and cream and replaced it with a peachy colour instead, with one wall to the right of the doorway covered in white peg boards to hold the various sizes of the prints, just two of each, though not too high for safety reasons. The wall on the same side of the door had some posters and a few prints firmly hung up as with above the counter and a rack with display sleeves holding posters of various floral decorations and single flowers. In front of the window was a display stand full of various sized greeting cards, all of flowers. She'd decided to call it 'The Sunflower Gallery' due to the colour of the shop exterior but she was against just selling sunflower themed items.

She turned around and her mouth dropped as she looked through the window.

"No!" she thought, "No, I'm seeing things, it can't be."

There, on the other side of the glass stood an unshaven Doctor. She shook her head, trying to see if she was actually seeing things or if he really was there. He was, and looking slightly bewildered. She turned around, heading for the counter and grabbed her mobile phone. She was just about to speed dial Jake when something caught her eye. She saw a Police ID badge and moved the phone away from her. She calmed herself and walked to the door. Thoughts were rushing through her head, all jumbled into one, she had to see who this man was, who had scared her and surprised her all at once and who shouldn't be there, in this universe. She gestured for him to show her his ID so she could take a closer look. She unbolted the door and yelled at him, not thinking.

"You scared the hell out of me, what are you doing here?" was all she managed to come out with.

The man just looked at her and replied, "Nice to meet you too."

She looked at his ID again, it read Detective Inspector Alec Hardy just as the man said, "I'm Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, Broadchurch Police and you are?"

With all the effort she could muster she very quietly replied "Rose Tyler."

The man standing in front of her couldn't possibly exist in this universe, could he? Surely not. Time travel between two universes was impossible, he'd told her that so long ago now. The man just looked at her, mumbled something about sorry for frightening her and couldn't get away fast enough as he half walked and half run back down the street. Rose just stood there, slightly trembling, regained some sense and closed the door, pulling the blind down, forgetting the window blind was still up. She was just about to bolt the door again when it started to open. She panicked but it was only Jake who'd been to get them some lunch. She looked at him. He was holding a bag over his wrist and balancing two cups in a tray.

Jake saw immediately something was wrong. A man in a dark suit and overcoat had just passed him on the opposite side of the street, apparently in a rush and Jake was worried now, thinking the worse.

"Rose, what's wrong, did someone just come in the shop?"

He went to put lunch down on the counter as Rose bolted the door.

"What have I told you, keep the blinds down and the door locked until the shop opens properly."

He distinctly remembered saying that to her, he wasn't happy about the location that had been chosen but there were a few people around.

"A man just passed me opposite, did he try to come in the shop?" he asked again.

Rose could hardly reply so he just handed her a cup. She took it gratefully as she went behind the counter and sat down on the only chair. After taking a few sips she calmed down.

"Did you see his face Jake?" she asked.

"No, he was in too much of a hurry," he laughed. "But you never answered my question."

So Rose proceeded to relay the brief encounter to Jake after which Jake just stood in silence. He was dumbfounded to hear that Rose had observed one very specific thing about Detective Inspector Alec Hardy – he was 'The Doctor's' double. No wonder she was taken aback so Jake insisted they finish their lunch and close up. The gallery wasn't opening until Saturday and Rose's mind clearly wasn't on things. He thought about calling Pete but thought better of it, he would talk to Rose when he got her home. Maybe now though, she was ready to call the whole thing off, get someone else to run the gallery and this branch of Torchwood and go home to London.

They closed up, walked to the main street and crossed the road to the car park. They retrieved Rose's car silently and drove home in the same manner, neither of them wanting to broach the subject. Rose went to her bedroom, Jake thought she was sulking for him telling her off. She had but also to gather her thoughts from earlier. There had to be an explanation she thought. Some reason why she had seen this man and immediately thought he was the Doctor. It had taken a lot of effort not to call him by that name but she'd needed to stop herself.

"Think, think, think," she said aloud, a habit she'd picked up a lifetime ago. Everyone has a double, don't they? Okay, maybe not me but almost everyone and if they do, it's reasonable that the man I just met is just that, this universes double of the Doctor. Even my mum had a double, she laughed. The more she thought about it though, the more the memories came flooding back, just as she thought she was moving on. Life just wasn't fair. She had not meant to be happy and she knew it, life kept dealing cruel blows and she was getting the brunt of them. She looked at the photos on her phone and realised she'd not looked at them since she'd been there, not needed to.

She had been keeping herself busy and that's what she'd wanted, not thinking about him and getting away from Torchwood and whatever else kept reminding her. Tears were already starting to well up in her eyes. She couldn't go through all that again and now after seeing this man today, living in the same town she would constantly be reminded. Maybe she should just pack up now and go home? After all the effort she'd made to start afresh she decided no, she would get past this once and for all. He was not the Doctor. She heard Jake calling her from downstairs and began to dry her eyes.


Jake had switched on the TV and began thinking of a way to cheer her up. After all, she'd had a bit of a shock but Rose had also pointed out that the Detective Inspector had a scruffy beard unlike the Doctor, who he had only seen clean shaven. He toyed with the idea of looking up this detective on the Torchwood files, see if there was anything about him but didn't want to alert the team just yet. So instead he searched the Police website and found what he wanted. He'd seen glimpses of the infamous case on TV but not taken that much notice.

After that, he did a more general search, he knew he shouldn't really but he wanted to know more and to say it was enlightening was an understatement. He would have to think carefully before revealing what he had learned to Rose, give her chance to settle down and leave it until the weekend. He turned his thoughts to making them both something to eat and went into the kitchen. He'd make her favourite, Spaghetti Bolognese, that would cheer her up. Having it nearly ready he called up to Rose to come and eat. Five minutes later he heard movement and she came downstairs. It was quite apparent she'd been crying but he left it – for now.

They began to eat in silence, they'd hardly spoken since the incident. Jake was going to tell her he was thinking of going home at the weekend but wasn't sure now. Rose broke the silence.

"I'm not a kid Jake, I know he looks like him but I also know he isn't him, it was just a shock. It just took me back a bit, that's all. I know it's impossible for him to be here."

"I'm only trying to protect you Rose, mainly from yourself. I don't want to see you fall to pieces again just when you are moving on finally," Jake said. "I know you're not a kid but you are vulnerable," he added.

"Am not, don't say that," Rose lifted her head from her plate and continued. "You can't treat me like a delicate piece of glass all the time, I'm not going to break."

Jake also looked up. "That's the problem, you are delicate," he said.

Rose just glared at him. "Is that what you think? Is that what everyone thinks?"

Rose was getting slightly angry now though she didn't know why.

"Why are we even having this conversation Jake? Did my dad tell you to keep me from getting broken?"

She'd put down her fork at this point and was about to leave the table when Jake caught her wrist.

"No, he didn't, what makes you think that Rose?"

She moved her wrist to break his grip and half stood but he held on.

"I'm sorry Rose, I didn't mean it to sound like that, I'm just worried about you, that's all," jake told her as he slowly let go.

She rubbed her wrist and turned to the window just as someone walked past, only seeing the back of the person but something told her it was the very person they had been talking about. She was no Detective but had this strange feeling that it was and if it were so, he either lived on this street or he'd been following her. She hoped it was neither. It was the very last thing she wanted. She'd had an encounter with Alec Hardy and once was more than enough for her liking. She didn't want old wounds re-opening.

Chapter 5

Saturday was make or break day for Rose and 'The Sunflower Gallery'. The phone and internet had been installed, the cash register had arrived and supplies for wrapping had been delivered. She had taken a half page advert out in the local paper, left leaflets she'd had printed in various shops, cafe's and at the Tourist Information Centre and had brightened up the shop outside by sticking sunflower decals on the windows in strategic places so they wouldn't discourage people from looking in.

The street itself wasn't all that wide, there was limited vehicle access for deliveries at certain times otherwise cars weren't allowed but she had discovered that there were parking spaces as the street curved round to the back of the properties and she had managed to secure one which would save using the public car park across the road. Access to the back of the street was only needed occasionally for waste collection. The street had got busier during the morning, there were some antique shops, an arts and crafts store, a second hand shop selling old records and compact discs and one selling local souvenirs amongst other things as well as boutiques, one a few doors down, the one on the other side of the street being a retro look one from the 50s' and 60s' which she wouldn't mind having a look in.

She'd been to the 50s with the Doctor and she'd loved it. She might even find a skirt similar to the one she'd worn, then she could get all nostalgic or upset, one or the other. A few people had been in to browse, bought a few cards which was a good start. A few girls came in together which Rose wasn't too sure about but Jake had installed a discreet security camera hooked up to her work laptop for recording so it wasn't too bad. Her fears were alleviated as they began to look at different things and one of the girls bought a poster.

Jake came in at lunchtime with supplies. They had a kitchen but not got round to buying tea or coffee, they would have to go shopping to stock up. Rose had decided to keep the hours of business 10 - 4 closing on Wednesdays and open Saturdays after looking at the other shops around them. Jake thought now would be the time to tell Rose what he'd discovered and began to tell Rose what he had learned about Alec Hardy, about his reasons for being in Broadchurch being both personal and work related and how he'd been the centre of a case in Sandbrook and had to leave to get away from it.

He left out the bit about the Detective having a bad heart and a pacemaker fitted, he didn't think Rose really needed to know that but she took it all in her stride and now at least she knew what she was up against. He was definitely nothing like the Doctor from what Jake told her of him, had led a completely different life, one that the Doctor could never have. Jake went off again after telling her, saying he'd see her at home and that he wanted to discuss something with her when she got back.

It was around 3pm, it was quiet. She'd emptied the till earlier while Jake was there and put the money in the electronic safe in a concealed place. She was just about to phone Jake to tell him she was setting off and did he want to go out for something to eat for a change when the bell on the door sounded. She looked up from her mobile and there stood one Detective Inspector Hardy in the doorway. She had not noticed the last time that he spoke with a Scottish accent although they had hardly exchanged two sentences between them.

He looked over and hesitated then mumbled.

"Is it alright to come in? You're not going to yell at me again are you?" he enquired.

She looked at him for what seemed to him like ages then spoke with a soft voice.

"No, it's safe to come in, my bark is worse than my bite," she grinned.

He noticed she had a nice smile and at least she wasn't yelling at him. He really shouldn't be looking at her if she had a husband or boyfriend.

"I'm sorry I scared you the other day, I didn't mean to. I could see it bothered you," he humbly apologised, something he didn't often do.

"You just startled me, that's all. I'd forgotten I'd left the blind up. Just wanted to get some natural light to the place and my name is Rose by the way, Rose Tyler."

"Alec Hardy," came the reply and held out his right hand.

Rose promptly took it and slightly raised her left hand and being the Detective he was, immediately noticed no wedding band or engagement ring for which he mentally kicked himself for not noticing sooner.

"Nice to meet you properly Rose," he replied as she looked slightly awkward as he held onto her hand firmly, not realising he was still holding it to which she said, "Hmm," and he immediately let go, looking guilty.

He looked around the shop as though he didn't know what to say next but Rose broke the silence first.

"Now we're on friendlier terms, is there something I can help you with Inspector?" she tried to act cheerfully but Alec could see it was an effort.

He decided to try the direct approach, something he was good at.

"Just came to apologise for scaring you the other day. I was just wondering if perhaps we live in the same street, if it was you who had just moved in with just opening this shop as well."

"Well, we are being the Detective aren't we?" Rose replied. "And what makes you think that Inspector?" she continued.

"Well a good Detective never reveals his theories," was all he replied. "I just put two and two together and probably came up with five," he smiled, deciding the direct approach would work just as well as any other and he was getting more curious day by day having spent the last few days going over it.

Rose let out a short giggle, she was going to let him squirm. She wasn't going to reveal just yet that yes, she thought she had seen him walk by the other evening as she looked out of the window. He probably thought that she and Jake were together because they were talking – about him. He might even have seen them leave and arrive together in her car. She would let him stew for a while, after all, she had just met the man who had painfully reminded her of someone she had lost all that time ago.

The conversation went downhill from there. Alec had a habit of putting his foot in it and coming right to the point was something he always considered to be useful, never mind beating around the bush. Perhaps confronting her like that had not been the best way to strike up a conversation after all.

Rose went on the defensive.

"We have just moved here, Inspector and so it seems logical to assume that opening a shop would be the main reason for doing so. Not quite that difficult to work out really, considering you're meant to be an expert."

Now it was really going downhill.

Alec tried to think of something clever to say, which he was usually good at considering his usual banter with Ellie but could only muster up a gruff reply.

"Well I've only just opened the investigation of new arrivals, is that Miss or Mrs Tyler?" he quizzed.

"So am I under investigation then Inspector?"

Rose's face went serious as she tried to avoid answering the last part and Alec was doing his best to worm his way out of it. How did he end up being in the firing line?

"I – I didn't mean you in particular were under investigation," he trailed off. "I investigate all new arrivals and new businesses, it's my job," he finished as he fought to recover.

He couldn't let this woman get the better of him. It was a one on one as the conversation continued to spiral out of control.

"Well, I'll have to let you get on with your investigation then Inspector," Rose took up the lead as an awkward silence had fallen.

"Please, call me Alec, I'm not on duty."

He hated the name really but hated being called Inspector even more when he wasn't working.

Rose considered for a moment then let up.

"Sorry, I was being a bit catty – Alec," she smiled again, something that Alec noticed suited her. "It's just moving down from London is a big step. I'm trying not to get noticed and now I've caught the attention of the local Police, so much for a quiet life then."

She looked sad somehow Alec thought. Maybe she did just want a quiet life but she had caught his attention and did have a boyfriend, he knew now she wasn't married even without her answering the question but he didn't want a fight on his hands, not yet at least. It was a long time since he had noticed anyone and he never thought he would find himself doing so but something had drawn him to Rose Tyler and he didn't know why, didn't want to know why – or did he?

Both of them were squirming at this point when Alec insisted to her that he wasn't just 'Investigating' her as she put it.

"I can understand you not wanting to draw attention to yourself and really, I wasn't investigating you or anyone you are with, that's if you are with anyone or not, or maybe…."

His voice cut off, he was getting deeper in this and there was nowhere to go.

Rose just looked at him.

"How do you know I'm not with with anyone? Without doing any investigating that is?"

She could see him squirming and she was quite enjoying it.

"It's just, well, 'hmm, I was walking to my house the other night and well, 'hmm, I saw two people sat at the window and 'hmm one looked like you and well."

He stopped.

Rose was looking at him again. He had sounded exactly like the Doctor when he was trying to squirm out of something. How can two people from different universes possible talk exactly the same she wondered to herself? Let alone look alike. She had come across doubles of people she had known from her own world but they had been entirely different in their personalities and mannerisms. She had got used to that but now, with Alec Hardy not only looking like him but talking like him, how would she cope?

"Detective Inspector Hardy – were you spying on me?" Rose teased.

"Not at all Miss Tyler – is it Miss Tyler?" came Alec's reply, playing her at the name game. "Why would I do that? I was only passing by, I couldn't help but notice as I live next door and I was turning into my driveway, how could I possibly not notice, it would be impossible not to notice at that angle?"

Alec was on the defensive now. He sounded like the Doctor again when he was losing an argument Rose thought.

Who was going to win this little game they seemed to be playing? Alec was determined it was going to be him but Rose had her own plans. She was going to make him squirm as much as she could, see how alike he really was and to see how far it would go.

"Oh, so it's you that lives next door? Been a bit busy with moving and getting the shop ready, Jake and I have been out all day." Ooops, she'd let slip his name but didn't give any further details having just stopped herself. "I'd offer you a drink, Inspector but we've not got round to getting any tea or coffee yet. We go to the bakery just around the corner."

Alec noticed she had started to say 'We' in the conversation, was she doing it on purpose, trying to make a point?
"That's okay, maybe another time, perhaps? That's if I'm allowed back if you think I'm investigating you?"

Rose managed a smile.

"Perhaps, Inspector but we're really not worth that much investigation, at least not here."

Rose was starting to like teasing him, hoping a bit that he might take the bait so she had a chance to really find out what he was like and not letting on about Jake would be her ace in the hole, the card up her sleeve that she could play at her leisure whenever she wanted to. She was going to enjoy this. It was the sort of game she would play with the Doctor, who this man in front of her was looking less and less like him and she could start playing the game all over again.

Chapter 6

When Alec left the shop, neither of them knew exactly what had transpired. He stood on the corner of the street, debating whether to walk up the hill back home or take the longer flatter way. He had recovered sufficiently from his operation, was even starting to take some exercise but he hated that hill, it seemed to get steeper every day and was just there to annoy him. He always got a lift home from the station from one of the officers. he still didn't have his own car yet. Didn't really need one he supposed, he didn't really go anywhere.


Rose locked the shop, gathered her things and left to walk to her car. She had just got to the corner when she saw Alec standing there. She debated whether to stop or not as she was waiting to turn. She let down the passenger window and he turned as she called his name.

"Need a lift Detective Inspector?" she asked.

Alec just stared at her, opened the door and got in without answering.

"I'll take that as a yes then," she continued.

She waited for him to put his seatbelt on and drove off. The journey was completed in silence until she pulled up outside her house to let him out. She wasn't sure whether to say anything or not but as Alec opened the door, he managed a faint 'Thank You' as he walked off.

"Charming," thought Rose as she got out and locked her door. "Accepts a lift then doesn't want to be seen with me, I can see this is going to be difficult."

Jake was waiting for her when she got inside. He'd seen her from the window.

"Are you getting friendly with the neighbours then?" he laughed but then suddenly realised who it was. "Rose, I don't believe you did that, giving him a lift," he continued. "Does he live in this street then?"

"Yes, he lives next door. So I offered him a lift. What's wrong with that?" she asked innocently.

"Oh, you know, just that he comes in the shop and freaks you out then you give him a lift in your car. What were you thinking Rose? I told you all about him and you never even let it bother you."

"He came in the shop just before I closed, to apologise Jake."

"So you just asked him if he wanted a lift home then?"

Jake was getting annoyed now. He didn't want her getting involved with anyone yet, especially the detective.

"No, he was standing on the street corner when I was leaving. It seemed only polite to ask him since I was coming this way. He told me he lived in this street."

"And why would he tell you that Rose? What were you talking about in the shop?"

"Just that he'd seen us sitting at the window the other night when he was walking past. He thinks you're my boyfriend and I didn't correct him," she smiled. "I accidentally let out your name though."

"Thanks a bunch Rose, just what I needed."

They ate their dinner in silence, Rose seemed further away than normal but Jake was used to it. Jake was thinking that perhaps the attention from the police detective wasn't such a bad thing after all, it would give him the reason he was looking for to leave. So he told her he'd decided to go back to London the following day. Rose was disappointed.

"I thought you'd be staying longer, what if I need you?"

"But you don't Rose, you're getting on and it seems you've made a new friend in the local police department in the process."

"Jake, I just met him," she blushed but knew he had hit a raw nerve. "I don't want you to go just because of that Jake, I didn't mean to let out your name or let him think you were my boyfriend."

"I'm not, I miss home and I can't stay forever. I'm sure the inspector will keep a close eye on you when I'm out of the way," he chuckled. "You didn't exactly discourage him even though he thought I was your boyfriend and he wasn't exactly discouraged by the thought of you having one either. I'm not blind Rose."

Rose blushed again. "Don't know what you mean Jake," was all she managed but she knew what he meant and was worried he may be right. She hadn't done anything to discourage him but there again, she wasn't ready to admit it. Maybe she should tell Alec that Jake wasn't her boyfriend but he was the detective, let him work it out.


Alec had let himself in and couldn't put his finger on what was bothering him. What was he doing? He had found himself intrigued by this blonde young woman who had a boyfriend (possibly) and now he was accepting lifts from her and not even thanked her properly. He may have done that when he first arrived in Broadchurch but he'd changed, Ellie had said for the better. He wasn't being called DI Grumpy anymore or at least he never heard anyone now. How was she making him think about her? He'd gone to apologise to her and now felt even more puzzled as to her behaviour. Did she have a boyfriend or not? He was no nearer the answer. He tried not to dwell on it but wasn't having much luck. By the time he'd eaten he decided to do a bit of homework on Miss Rose Tyler but would have to wait until Monday.


Jake had decided to go home early Sunday morning after assuring Rose his decision was nothing to do with her befriending a certain police detective to which she protested she had not 'befriended' him. He made an early start to catch the train, having come down with Rose and Pete so he'd no car. He phoned for a taxi and as it arrived, he noticed the Inspector passing the house in what looked like running gear. He'd said goodbye to Rose inside and got into the taxi, leaving her at the door.


Rose was rather gutted her friend was leaving but if she was going to make a go of this she had to get used to being on her own. Jake was only a phone call away if she needed him back. Just as Jake's taxi was just pulling away, she saw the inspector passing by in what she was thinking he looked kind of cute in. Wanting to make up for not being able to offer him a drink the day before, she quickly covered the short distance of the drive and called after him.

She invited him for coffee and he agreed. She needed cheering up and the inspector was after all the only person she had sort of made friends with since she'd been there. She hadn't met her other neighbour yet but had seen a woman going out with two boys sometimes, one of them only looked a few years old. She went back inside and put the kettle on and waited for her visitor. Her first one, she thought.


Alec had decided to get up early and go for a run on the cliff top path to make room for the rather big Sunday lunch Ellie usually made. He set off as normal and on his way back he passed Rose's house. The blonde man had just come out of the door as a taxi pulled up, the man had a couple of bags and a shoulder bag and Rose was standing silently at the door. Alec turned into his small driveway and as he did, the taxi pulled off, neither Rose nor the man had spoken to each other, not even a goodbye. Had they said their farewells inside? Had they fallen out? Just as he was out of sight of Rose's house he heard a voice behind him.


He spun round and Rose was standing there. "Miss Tyler," he replied, they were back to playing the name game again, something he was beginning to enjoy.

"I was wondering?" she stopped, then continued. "If you're not busy, would you like a coffee or something to make up for not offering you one yesterday?"

"Crikey," thought Alec, "the man's just left and she's inviting me in for coffee. She doesn't waste any time." "Miss Tyler, give me 10 minutes while I get changed," he said.

He was in his running gear, shorts and a yellow running vest and he could see Rose was eyeing him. "She really doesn't waste any time."

Rose was indeed eyeing him, thinking he looked really cute in his running gear and she'd obviously caught him off guard.

"Great, see you then," and she turned round and went back inside.

Then to herself she thought how she wished he would have come round without getting changed first but she was getting just a bit ahead of herself.

Ten minutes later, there was a knock at the kitchen door. Alec didn't want to be seen knocking on the front door with someone just leaving. What would people think? Did he really care what they were thinking? Possibly not and after all, she had offered him a drink yesterday despite not having anything in the shop.

Rose opened the door and greeted him with "Inspector" and let him in.

"Please, either call me Alec or don't use a name at all. I hate being called Alec but I hate being called inspector even more."

"Right then, until I think of a suitable name, Alec it is. Unless of course I have reason to get annoyed with you, then it's back to inspector again. Those are the rules," she laughed.

"Right," thought Alec, "We'll see who wins this game." He nodded and said "Okay, your rules – for now until the game changes that is."

"Oh, we're playing games are we?" she teased him.

Alec gave up, he was getting nowhere.

She made coffee and they sat at the kitchen counter. She wasn't letting him in her living room just yet, not while she'd sized him up. Neither of them were letting on about the man who had just left. Alec didn't want to push the subject and Rose didn't want to give any information. They drank in relative silence, Alec asking only more general questions about the shop and how she was settling in. Rose was determined not to give him too much information about herself but deep down inside, she knew this man was starting to get to her and there was nothing she could do to stop it.


After he finished his drink, he made his excuses and left. He needed time to think about Miss Tyler and was still puzzled as to why she'd asked him round. They kept meeting only for brief periods of time and had hardly spoken more than a dozen sentences and yet there she was, inviting him for coffee and like a fool, he kept leaving even though he had wanted to find out about her status, he never hung around long enough to ask her. That was it, he was going to get Miss Rose Tyler out of his head one way or another – at least until he could get some information on her. He didn't say anything to Ellie when he went round to her house later. Rose Tyler was indeed starting to get to him.


After Alec left her house, she was left wondering why he kept leaving in rather a hurry. Was he uncomfortable around her or just with women? He'd not said a word when she had given him a lift home the day before so when she'd seen him pass by as Jake was leaving, she thought she would try to find out why. She got no nearer finding out as he made his excuses yet again and left. Was there something wrong with her or with him? Maybe he was married or had a girlfriend and was just trying to be a friendly neighbour. Then again, if he had a girlfriend, why was he prepared to come into her house and have coffee?

"He's a strange one," she thought to herself "He's just as bad as the Doctor when it comes to women – clueless."


Regretting now he'd never got round to having the internet at home, Alec got to work early the following day. He began his search by typing her name. Nothing. He tried again, this time all he got was a link which when he clicked on it got 'Classified' and the name 'Torchwood'

"What the….?" he said out loud just as Ellie opened the door to which he snapped down the lid on his laptop.

"You talking to yourself – Sir?" she said sharply, remembering they were on duty.

"Nothing, just thinking out loud."

Ellie told him why she was there and then went out to do some detective work. Alec returned to what he'd been doing. He couldn't get past this Torchwood. So that was that, was it? It made him more determined than ever, to find out just who she was. He decided to take the direct approach after all and picked up his jacket to go pay her a visit. He stood outside her shop, seeing she had customers. He didn't want it to look like an official visit. He waited until they'd left and went in.

"Detective Inspector Hardy, how nice to see you again."

He could tell she was being sarcastic.

"Miss Tyler," he nodded.

"And what can I do for you this time, need another lift home or a cup of coffee?" she teased.

Little did Alec know that when he'd done a search for her, Torchwood had been alerted as to where the enquiry had come from and Rose had been told. She was a bit annoyed he'd had the cheek to look her up but Jake had done it to him and she knew all about Alec Hardy but wasn't going to let on. It seemed unfair in a way, to have an advantage. It was only right to answer some of his questions should he ask them but she wasn't going to make it easy.

Alec couldn't just come out with all the questions he had. He'd said nothing the day before when he'd been in her house. That would alert her to the fact he'd been checking up on her when he'd already told her he wasn't investigating her. He'd have to tip-toe around and try a more subtle approach.

"Miss Tyler, will you answer something for me?" He stopped, thought, and then continued. "I admit I was playing detective on Saturday and I know you're not married. This Jake you mentioned was he the one who I saw leaving yesterday and would that he be your brother, cousin or your boyfriend?"

"Straight to the point, inspector," said Rose, although she was enjoying this, this teasing and Alec knew she was either playing or getting annoyed. "For what reason do you ask, I thought you weren't investigating me? You never mentioned anything yesterday when we were having coffee."

They were back to formal names again. She was playing games with him and he knew it. Right, she wanted straight to the point and that's what she'd get.

"Miss Tyler, the reason I'm asking you is because I would like to invite you out to dinner and wanted to know whether you would be coming alone?"

Now he wondered where this was taking him.

He hadn't planned it, it just came out, his curiosity was getting more than the better of him and it took him by surprise when she accepted and told him she would be alone. Maybe he actually stood a chance of getting information out her or was she still just teasing him?

Chapter 7

 A/N:  This may seem complicated but the story goes backwards and forwards between different points of view at the same time as I try to give an overview of what's happening to each character.

Rose had been taken aback when Alec came right out and asked her to dinner and even more surprised that she had agreed to go. Jake had left the previous morning and she could do with cheering up at Alec's expense. She'd hoped they could have talked longer the previous morning but he had made his excuses and left. She was still hitting herself mentally for wishing he'd come round in his running gear. She had told him she would be delighted to go out to dinner and that she would be alone as Jake had gone to London 'On business' which was half true. She hoped afterwards she had made the right decision but there was no backing out.

She had to do this, to really get it out of her system before she led Alec on too much to the point of no return. She'd not come quite to grips with the fact of his likeness but was half getting over it. It wasn't like she'd shared anything with the Doctor, they were just special friends so it wasn't like she was betraying him but was it unfair of her to move on, not knowing if he really meant to say those words back to her before he faded away for the last time. Would it really have made any difference if he had said them? They were worlds apart and there was nothing she could do about it despite trying. It was up to him to get back to her if he'd not given up trying, had he? Would it be right to give up every hope of ever seeing him again and make the mistake of moving on to have him come back? The dilemma was endless, a paradox, the Doctor would say, full of 'What if's.'


Alec was disappointed, he thought the man had left, not just be gone for a while and would be coming back but Rose still had agreed to meet on the Friday night at a little place up in the town itself that Alec had passed. Maybe the man was just a friend or even her brother. Maybe she wasn't involved with the man. He would keep right on hoping that. If the man was her boyfriend, maybe he was just asking for trouble but it was a risk he was willing to take, he was finding himself wanting to get more information and the only way to do that was go take her out first and then get her to open up to him. It had been a very long time since he'd been on an actual 'Date' and hoped he wouldn't get cold feet by the time Friday came around. Should he take her flowers or something? He made a note to ask Ellie about it at work before he made a fool of himself. Would Rose expect him to take something to their date? He really should brush up on his social skills which had been at the bottom of his 'To do' list for so long.


The rest of the week was uneventful, Rose took her day off and went for a walk on the beach although it was a bit cold, just to get some fresh air, the main reason she had gone there. There were only a few people around but she didn't wander far. She wished now she could have got a house a bit nearer the sea but had discovered that just through the gate opposite her house there was a small playing field which led to the cliff top path so that was where she headed to finish her walk, hoping she wouldn't get lost and go past it. She had not bothered asking Jake for any more information on the Inspector and decided to do a little on her own but there was nothing she'd not already known. She was a little concerned to learn that Alec Hardy had only fairly recently had heart surgery to have a pacemaker fitted and wondered if she really should let herself get tangled up with this man. After all, she'd come down here to recover, not to make friends.


Friday seemed to take forever to come round. Alec hadn't wanted to overdo it and knock on her door to ask for a lift but he knew Rose would probably drive so he set off early and got a taxi, hoping she wouldn't see him come out of the house. Alec had told Ellie of his impending date with Rose, told her a little bit about her and how she'd just moved next door and was running a new shop, asking her for a few tips as he was somewhat out of practice and he'd goofed up when he'd been invited to her house the first time around. She'd been teasing him the rest of the week but she put him on the right track. Ellie also said she'd like to meet Rose, fill her in on a few things and show her around town and maybe gossip about Alec to which he was horrified. He still didn't know the answer to the boyfriend question though, hoping he'd find out soon enough.


Rose decided not to drive to where they had arranged to meet. That would mean giving him a ride home and if things didn't work out they would have to endure the journey home together or leave him at the restaurant. She ordered a taxi, hoping she wouldn't be spotted by Alec after first spending what seemed like hours deciding what to wear. Should she keep it simple or go for the killer look? She decided on something relatively plain that complimented her figure in all the right places but not too much she hoped and just a little makeup. It was just dinner, she told herself and he'd probably only invited her to see if she did have an actual boyfriend or not but she'd keep that to herself for a while longer.


Alec got to the restaurant ten minutes early and seated himself at the small bar in the waiting area where he could see the door. He wasn't quite prepared for what he did see when Rose entered. She looked stunning. Her hair was loose, little makeup, (she didn't need any) red v-necked dress which went down just below her knees, black velvety open jacket, bare legs and black low heeled shoes. Alec took in every inch of her. Boyfriend or no boyfriend, he knew what he liked. The waiter showed them to their table, just by a side window and Alec ordered wine while they looked at the menu. He then gave her a small box containing a single orchid which she thanked him for and smelled it. They began the small talk over dinner, just basics at first, where Alec was from, how he'd risen up through the Police. Rose told him her humble beginnings growing up on a council estate, how her dad had died when she was a baby and her mum struggling then remarrying twenty years later.

Their dinner date seemed to be going fairly well except that he couldn't take his eyes off her all night, trying to look down her dress and she knew it. She was just doing it on purpose, she was driving him mad. They had another glass of wine then Alec asked if she was driving, sounding concerned. She said she'd come in a taxi to which Alec laughed and said he'd done the same not wanting to ask her for a lift. They both laughed and Rose remarked that she wouldn't have enjoyed herself having to think about driving home. Had she enjoyed herself Alec wondered? He certainly was. It had been a long time since he'd had dinner with a beautiful woman and Rose was certainly that – beautiful. The way she laughed and smiled, Alec was very attracted to her but was still unsure as to her status and she wasn't telling him anything.

Rose was enjoying herself, more than she deserved. It was a long time since she'd been out on a date, a proper date, not one that was interrupted by aliens or an earthquake or on another planet. She was hanging onto her safety net though, letting Alec think she was with Jake, just a bit longer while she figured out what was going on. She'd know when she could let go, venture out of her safety zone when the time was right. Alec was a very attractive man, with his scruffy beard and his Scottish accent and the way he said "Rose" but she was having a difficult time not picturing him without a beard and him saying Alons-y Rose Tyler with his Estuary English accent every time he spoke.

The early evening became late evening, moving from their table in the dining area to a smaller table in the corner of the bar, seating them closer together. Rose was wearing a sweet smelling perfume and it was getting to Alec very quickly that he just wanted to get even closer. He tried shuffling his chair slightly so she wouldn't notice so he could look down her dress but she was watching him. So he tried to catch her foot with his, brush against her leg to get her attention and she sort of played along in the end because she was running out of room to put her feet. It was almost eleven, Rose had to open the shop the following morning so she asked if they could leave, suggesting they shared a taxi and waited inside the restaurant because it was getting chilly outside. They arrived outside their two houses and the taxi drove off, Alec was kicking himself that he was so out of practice at this sort of thing. Did he kiss her goodnight on the cheek, kiss the back of her hand or go straight for the kill and kiss her on the lips? Why couldn't he remember?

He settled for a "Well Rose, I really enjoyed our evening together, can I assume you did also?" then leaned over to kiss her cheek.

"Well, yes I did actually Alec, I really enjoyed it."

He was glad they'd stopped playing the name game, at least for tonight. She turned ever so slightly as he went to kiss her cheek again and he just caught the corner of her mouth but drew back sharply.

Rose took his arm to pull him back but stopped instead and said, "Don't want to give the neighbours something to gossip about, Inspector," she teased and started to pull Alec towards her front door.

Alec dare not hope she was going to ask him in but she didn't. She unlocked her door and turned the handle. She turned around and kissed him on his cheek.

"Goodnight, Alec, tonight was more than enjoyable," purposely missing his cheek to catch him on the side of his mouth, teasing him again. He realised just how much he enjoyed her teasing. With that she was up the step and through her front door.

He knew she had to be at work the following morning and accepted that.

"Rose," he added quickly. "Can I just ask you something? Something that's bothering me to the point of driving me crazy?" She nodded as she turned back round to face him. "Just exactly who is Jake?"

She just smiled, leaving him tormented, she wasn't ready to tell him just yet, she had to let him squirm a bit first, maybe go out on a second date and that was just the way to get asked out again.

"I'll tell you on one condition."

"What's that, anything Rose, I just want to know."

"Why Alec?"

"Because you, Rose Tyler, are driving me crazy and I need to know before I make a complete idiot of myself."

Rose laughed. "The condition is, take me to dinner again next Friday."

Alec couldn't believe her. Did that mean she was free or was she just tormenting him even more? He would have to wait another week to find out and it was going to kill him but maybe it would be worth it for another dinner date with the mysterious Miss Rose Tyler who couldn't be traced via the internet. No records of her, everything classified and what exactly was 'Torchwood' but more importantly, he was determined now more than ever that if this Jake was indeed her boyfriend he was going to do anything and everything he could to win her affections and no-one was going to stand in his way.

They said goodnight again, Alec reached for her hand and kissed the back of it, smelling her perfume again, oh boy, did he want to kiss her but thought better of it. He watched as she turned and closed the door then it dawned on him that he didn't even have her phone number, kicking himself, some detective he was, couldn't even remember to get a girl's phone number, he really was out of practice. He walked back home hoping he'd have better luck the following week and pleased with himself it had all gone well and she was offering to go out with him again.


Rose closed and locked the door behind her, her face red with blushing, she had so wanted to kiss him on the doorstep but thought it was maybe just a bit too soon, she was running away with herself over him, getting way above where she wanted to be. She remembered he'd not asked for her phone number but he could easily get it if he really wanted to, he was a detective after all. For the first time since being in this world, Rose was feeling quite happy when she went to bed, the first time she had even been on a date there and sure didn't want it to be her last. She hoped she'd not scared him off by suggesting he take her out to dinner again but wasn't sure it was a good idea to be seen out two nights in a row together. The Inspector had a reputation to think about even if she didn't.


Rose planned on spending a quiet weekend, sorting out her things and re-arranging the living room and kitchen, she was glad of something to do. She had an uneventful Saturday at the shop, chatting to the locals who came in and was starting to feel at home in the town. That and her date with Alec last night, she had so wanted to kiss him. She was sure she saw a certain detective inspector pass by but he didn't come in if it was him. Maybe he was back to playing games with her again, she hoped so. Just as she was pulling the window blind down, Alec appeared seemingly out of nowhere. She went to unlock the door to let him in.

"Closing time, Miss Tyler?" he asked as he walked in the door.

"I've got tea or coffee now if you want some, Inspector, is that why you're here?"

"Not exactly, I came to tell you I enjoyed last night and also I forgot to get your phone number."

"Some inspector you are then, can't even remember to get a girl's phone number after you've taken her on a date," she laughed.

"Yes, it was a bit remiss of me I admit so I thought I would rectify the error and call and see you. That and ask if you would like to go out just for a drink tonight perhaps? That's if you want to be seen with me again?"

"I'd be delighted, Inspector and since you do live next door, perhaps we could get a taxi together this time?"

"Then shall we say 7.30 outside your house? I'll phone for a taxi, we can try that little pub just down by the harbour."

Rose said that was fine with her, now all she had to do was find something to wear. Alec left, saying he had some errands to run so Rose drove herself home to get ready. Two nights out in a row, that was a record.

They met outside at 7.30 and the taxi dropped them at the pub. It wasn't far but it was a bit cold to walk considering how Rose was dressed, she'd gone to town trying to impress the Inspector. They found a quiet corner and talked for a few hours, Alec was eager to find out about Jake but she was quiet about it. They sat close together, Alec hoping to try again to look down her dress but being out of luck again and Rose's perfume getting to him again, he thought he couldn't stand it much longer if he didn't get to kiss her soon.

They got a taxi home and stood outside Rose's front door. She turned to Alec as she put the key in the door.

"I know you've been itching to ask all night so I'll put you out of your misery, Inspector. You can kiss me goodnight if you want?"

He didn't wait to be asked twice. When their lips parted he asked, "What about Jake?"

"He's not here is he?" she teased him. "He's going to be away for a while, he doesn't own me you know?" then she leaned forward to kiss him again. "Goodnight, Inspector, I had a great time."

Then she was through the door before he could recover, leaving him standing puzzled again. How was he even going to know what was going on with her? Was she thinking about leaving this Jake for him and just testing him? She was going a funny way about it, he thought as he left.

The following morning, Rose was glancing out of her window when she saw him crossing the road in his running gear again and thought again just how sexy he looked in it but she was going to make him wait just a bit longer but not too much or he'd lose interest and she would be back to square one again. She'd tell him on Friday or Saturday, whichever.

Alec saw her at the window and waved as he went past, wondering whether or not to knock and invite himself in for coffee but thought better of it. He'd call and see her during the week at the shop and he'd be seeing her on Friday night anyway and he was looking forward to it. "Alec Hardy dating again," he thought. "Never thought I'd live to see the day."

He was debating whether to go to Ellie's for lunch and on the spur of the moment, he turned around and knocked on Rose's kitchen door. She was upstairs and he thought she wasn't going to answer but she did.

"Inspector," she greeted him.

"Miss Tyler, if you don't have any plans, may I invite you for Sunday lunch, say one o'clock?"

"I'd be delighted, Inspector, though three dates in row, aren't you worried about getting a reputation for being seen out with the same woman?" she teased him.

"I don't have a reputation, yet, only one for not taking no for an answer, Miss Tyler. Shall we go to the same place as last night, I hear they do a decent Sunday lunch?" he asked.

"People will talk about us, Inspector," she laughed "We can take my car, you can drive, that's providing you have car insurance, Inspector."

"Miss Tyler, I'm the Police, I can commandeer anyone's car," he assured her.

They met outside at 1pm, Alec had phoned Ellie to say he wouldn't be round that lunchtime, saying he had plans to which she had replied, she hoped they were with a certain next door neighbour of his and he told her to mind her business jokingly. Rose handed him her car keys and they drove to the pub by the harbour and parked in the car park. They settled at a table and they both ordered the special, Rose insisting she only drank tonic water, it was too early in the day for her, she'd said. They moved to a quiet corner when they had finished eating, Alec casually slipping into the seat next to her and putting his arm on the back of the seat, debating whether to get any closer but held off until he'd discovered if he really did have a rival or she was just leading him down the garden path.

"Tell me more about Broadchurch, Alec. I know something terrible happened here last year, that poor boy and his family. I don't really keep up with the news, not in the last few years, been pre-occupied with things but I've been reading up about recent events here since I got here. You were in charge, weren't you and it was your DS's husband who did it. Is she okay now, how are you both coping with it?" she asked, sounding concerned.

Alec took another sip of his non-alcoholic drink, he was driving.

"The town is still in shock, Rose, it's not that easy to get over something like that in a small town. My DS, Ellie, well, she lives next door to you actually. She's coping as well as can be expected, for her boys' sakes. I help as much as I can, after she got divorced, keep an eye on her eldest boy who was the murdered boy's best friend but I don't think she'll ever get over it. As for me, well, I just plod on as usual. I wasn't going to stay after the investigation. I'd been sent down here because – well, things weren't going so well where I was and I'd only been here a few days when I found myself with a murder to solve and Ellie was totally pissed off because she'd been promised a promotion so we fought each other over the case," he told her.

"Eventually though things eased a bit until I arrested her husband. She was shattered and thought about leaving but we talked each other into staying somehow. She went back to work part-time and she took over when I…" he stopped. Should he tell her about his operation? Maybe that will put her off. Still, she'll find out eventually, may as well. "I had to have an operation Rose, there was something wrong with my heart and I collapsed twice on the case. Ellie persuaded me to have the operation to have a pacemaker fitted."

Rose didn't seem surprised, she couldn't let on she'd read all about him then remembered it had been in the paper about him being ill.

"I sort of assumed that Alec, I did read the newspaper article about you. You wouldn't be here otherwise so it's safe to assume you had an op." She smiled at him and took his hand. "You're okay now though, aren't you?" she asked, looking at him.

He stroked her hand and smiled back. "Yes, I'm okay but not if you continue to tease me so much. I think you rather enjoy seeing me tormented, Miss Tyler," as he took her hand and gently kissed it.

Alec drove them home and stood at her front door hoping she would invite him in which she did after taking pity on him. They closed the door and Rose turned to him and unexpectedly kissed him, not like the night before and as he kissed her back wondered if she was giving him the go ahead to pursue her or not.

Chapter 8
A/N: Things begin to hot up between Rose and Alec from this chapter

As they stood in the entryway of Rose's house, kissing for a good while with their arms around each other, Alec was getting more worried that she was leading him on but wasn't going to argue with her. She finally let go of him and made to undo his shirt buttons more at the top but he grabbed her hands.

"I think you, Miss Tyler should really think about this before you bite off more than you can chew," he told her as he held her at bay from his shirt.

Rose tried to continue her quest but Alec stopped her.

"It's not that I don't want your advances Rose, I would normally welcome them, geez, I've been trying to look down your dress for the last three dates so I can talk but Rose, I can't let you do this, not unless you tell me about Jake first."

Rose stepped away, a disappointed look on her face. Was she ready to tell him or just getting carried away by the moment? She reluctantly backed away.

"I suppose you're right."

Now Alec was looking disappointed.

"Please don't take it the wrong way, Rose, kissing you is amazing and it's something I'd like to continue and not like we've just done but that's all, I can't go for anything else until you're ready to tell me about him. When you are, I'm ready to take it to the next level. I think it might be best if I leave now before we both do something we'll hate each other for."

Rose was getting way too ahead of things and she knew it. They kissed goodbye and Alec promised to phone or text her and call in the shop during the week, duty permitting.

Alec's plan to visit Rose during the week never got off the ground, they were tied up with some stupid festival going on all week so were short staffed so he sent her a few texts because he was working late and didn't want to disturb her. He thought back over their last three dates and her teasing him by letting him kiss her. He'd wanted more than that but was happy they had got to that stage but it was still in the back of his mind about Jake. Was she cheating on him? He put it out of his mind, no, she wouldn't cheat on someone just for a date with him, would she?


Rose was disappointed that Alec has not been round to the shop, he must have been busy and since she got home earlier than him didn't see him even then. He'd sent her a few texts saying work was really busy, he was working late and was looking forward to Friday to resume where they had left off hopefully. Should she go see him? He knew she was only next door but maybe he was waiting for her, not wanting to take advantage, what was wrong with the man? Wow, men like him were extremely hard to find. Did he really want to wait until Friday? Didn't he want to resume that amazing kissing? Rose thought it would give her more time anyway. Was she ready to have a relationship at all especially when he looked like he did? Was she still seeing the Doctor when she looked at him? Strangely enough he was looking less like him every time she saw him.


Friday night at 7.30, Alec knocked on Rose's door and was nearly blown away. She looked even more beautiful than she had last week wearing a blue floral low necked dress coming down just below her knees and a white jacket. He handed her a single pink carnation, then offered to drive Rose's car again to which she agreed, assuming he had enough of being driven around when he was working. They went to a different restaurant this time and Alec spent most of the evening still trying to get a glimpse down Rose's all too low necked dress which somehow never quite managed to go down far enough when she moved or leaned over. Not that he was trying to make her but he was now certain she was just doing it on purpose. Alec drove them home, having only one glass of wine with their meal. He insisted on opening her car door for her, holding out his hand which she held on to and didn't appear to want to let go. Alec handed her car keys to her.

"So do I get invited in again tonight Miss Tyler?" he asked.

Rose didn't answer him, she just opened the door, stepped inside and left the door open for him to follow her which he did because there was no way anyone in their right mind would refuse an invitation like that. He followed her in and closed the door, she immediately turned round and took off her jacket and kicked off her shoes and Alec took off his jacket. She reached up on her toes and grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him down towards her and kissed him, again and again. When they finally let go, they both smiled.

"Well, that was one kiss goodnight Miss Tyler," he managed to say, being out of breath.

"Well, Inspector, if you let me make dinner for you here tomorrow night, I promise you more than just kisses," she said as she grabbed him again, this time her hands going around the back of his opened shirt, ruffling the back of his hair and planted another kiss on him.

Alec removed her hands and put his own around her waist as she did the same to him.

"Rose, let's not spoil tonight. I've waited all this time to kiss your properly, not like we've been doing which is more than just nice and I don't want to ruin it by doing something we might both regret. You make me dinner tomorrow night and tell me all about Jake and we'll see about taking this further. Deal?"

She nodded her agreement but pulled him closer to kiss him again.

"Then, Inspector, if you survive my cooking we just might have something to take further." She let him go reluctantly. "7.30 on the dot."

They kissed goodnight again and Alec left albeit begrudgingly but with a smile on his face still cursing himself for not getting a proper look down her dress. Rose was just hoping he'd survive her cooking because she had plenty in store for Alec Hardy.


Rose didn't really feel like getting up and opening the shop the next morning. She'd had a wonderful time with Alec last night and regretted not making it even more wonderful but she had to be certain that she wanted it to go further. Alec was very interested in her, he'd made that quite clear and she was fast becoming more interested in him but she had built this wall between them and it was called Jake. She wanted to tell him, Jake wasn't going to be happy if he found out she was using him like that but he would surely understand that she needed her safety buffer until she figured out what she wanted from Alec. What did she want from Alec? A friend or more?

She went to work and was daydreaming when the bell rang and a teenage girl walked in. Rose had put a sign on the door for a Saturday person aged 16 plus so she could relax a bit more after the Saturday before, the shop had got busy. The girl introduced herself as Carly and asked about the job. Rose asked her a few questions and agreed to give her a trial if she wanted to stay a few hours and would pay her for half a day. The shop started to get busy so Rose just asked her to keep an eye on things and that she would serve and show her things inbetween customers and she soon picked it up. By the end of the day, Rose was pleased with her and asked her if she wanted the job and they agreed she would come back next week. Rose then went to get some groceries on her way back to cook something special for Alec but before she did that, she stopped by a little shop down the road to buy some new things to wear.

She had told Alec to come round at 7.30 but wished she'd made it earlier so they could talk. She so wanted to tell him but was still reluctant just yet, maybe after dinner she would finally break. The moment the doorbell rang her heart started racing and she felt like a schoolgirl on her first date. She let Alec in and this time he had a bottle of wine, he'd learned not to take three gifts with him when he was invited for dinner. The table was set, Rose had drawn the curtains for privacy and there were candles on the table which she asked Alec to light, handing him a gas lighter. She brought out their meals and they sat down to eat. She thought she wasn't much of a cook but the food had been simple to prepare. Jake had done most of it when he was staying with her and she didn't need to back home, her mother saw to that.

She had thought just how ruggedly handsome he looked, standing there with a bottle of wine in his hand, a casual pale blue shirt that was undone at the top two buttons, jacket and trousers. The beard was still there although Rose was beginning to find it hard to imagine him without it which he surely had been at some point. She had invited him in and accepted the bottle of wine he was carrying. The orchid he had given her was still on a small bookshelf in the corner and the room all tidied.


When Rose opened the door, Alec thought just how beautiful she looked. A dusty low necked pink short sleeved buttoned top and floral flowing skirt just coming down below her knees, flat black shoes again and he could smell different perfume. He particularly noticed the buttons on her low necked pink top. If he didn't get her to tell him about Jake soon, he was going to have to take matters in his own hands and tell her how he felt anyway and blow to the consequences. She would either accept him or reject him and if it was the latter, then this Jake would have a fight on his hands and he would have to work at winning her over.

They chatted about everything and nothing over dinner. Rose asked if he'd had any interesting cases but he declined to answer. She was only fishing, Broadchurch had gone back to being a sleepy seaside town after the past excitement. She had read everything that had happened, in particular about Alec as she had read about his heart problem, his nearly dying after he collapsed twice while on the case and about his subsequent operation. Rose wouldn't have let him pursue her if he'd still had a heart problem. She'd lost one man she cared for, she couldn't let another one get to her just to lose him again.

Alec was completely in the dark about Rose except for the few bits he'd learned from her. Should he ask her? If so, how?

Rose said she'd leave the dishes but Alec insisted on helping her with them. Afterwards, he poured some more wine and they sat, Rose with her legs on the sofa and Alec in the chair to the side. They talked some more and Alec was again giving in to the smell of her perfume, afraid he would get too far ahead of himself and spoil things. He needn't have worried because Rose was about to melt and give in but not before one final tease from her which was going to be dropped into Alec's lap leaving him wondering if he really should have asked in the first place.

"Why don't you come and sit on the sofa or are you scared of me? I don't bite, honestly," she asked him.

"I daren't," was the reply. "Because I'm afraid I will get ahead of myself."

Rose giggled "Oh, are you sure of that Detective Inspector Hardy? What makes you think I'd let you get ahead of yourself. You weren't shy the last few dates when we were kissing, were you?"

Alec knew she was playing with him again and it was driving him spare.

"Well Miss Tyler, I hardly think you'd be in a position to stop me because once I get ahead of myself, there's very little to be done to stop me."

With that said, he put down his glass, got up and moved to the sofa. He moved Rose's feet to one side and sat on the edge of the sofa, then nudged up, putting his hand on her legs and his other hand reaching for her shoulder to lift her to sit up. Then at last, at that angle, he could finally see what exactly was under her pink low necked top and he almost lost it.

"Rose, why do you torment me?"

"I'm not, I'm teasing you Alec, teasing you because I know you enjoy it, playing these games is something we both enjoy. Don't we?"

"Yes Rose but I can only stand so much you know, you are driving me mad."

"Good, I'm having the desired effect then" she smiled and leaned forward as he pulled her shoulder towards him and she looked at him as he was about to go to kiss her but she put her finger on his lips and he kissed that instead, took his hand off her legs and put it around her waist, drawing her even nearer. Neither of them could bear the tension for much longer, something had to give and very soon after nearly losing it last night.

They couldn't keep on going like this, he had so wanted to kiss her properly the last few dates but was she holding back because of Jake? He had to know and now.

"Rose, please tell me, about Jake, I so badly want to kiss you properly right now, not like we have been doing but I don't want you to hate me for doing so. If you don't want to kiss me the way I want to kiss you, I'll understand, if you're with Jake but you can't tease me like this without knowing what you're doing to me Rose, please?"

As he looked at her, she moved the arm that had been at her side and touched the side of his face and with the other hand that she had moved from his lips she put it on his shoulder and moved nearer.

"Detective Inspector Hardy, you're not much of a Detective are you?"

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"I thought you were doing some investigating about new arrivals in the town? If you had, then you would have investigated Jake and me, wouldn't you?"

Alec couldn't tell her that he couldn't get access to any information about her and since he didn't know Jake's surname either, he was rather stuck.

"Rose, I wouldn't dream of investigating you, doing something for my own personal gain by using police resources," he said innocently but with a smile on his face.

Did she know he'd been blocked from finding out about her? Was she part of this Torchwood, whatever it was? Did she know that he'd been interested enough to try to find out about her? If she was part of this Torchwood, did she know everything about him, he hoped not. Did he still want to pursue her if she was part of this organization or whatever it was? The answer was very simple, he didn't care if she knew everything and was part of it, he wanted Rose Tyler, not Torchwood and if the two came together then so be it. He would have to accept it because if Rose was free and wanted him which she obviously did since she was sat in front of him, then he so wanted her no matter what she brought with her.

Rose looked at him, her hand now round his neck, then she freed her other hand and undid two more buttons of his shirt, still teasing him as she pulled her legs up so she could lean forward to whisper in his ear, "Jake is a friend and he's not interested in girls."

The look of relief on Alec's poor face as she pulled away to look at him was a picture. Weeks of playing games with her were almost all but over as Alec leant even closer to kiss her as their lips met, they finally gave in and Alec gently pushed her back onto the cushion, straightened her legs over his knees and leaning over, moving his hand onto them as he kissed her deeper and she kissed him back. Their lips parted, he whispered her name as she pulled him nearer and started to undo the rest of his shirt buttons and pulled his shirt partly over his shoulders, pulling him back to her as he lifted her top. She could feel him kissing her neck as he whispered her name again as he worked his way down her neck, pulling back her top from her shoulder, undoing the buttons as he moved his head, his other hand moving up her legs pulling up her skirt.

Rose was thinking she was glad she had made that extra stop before she went grocery shopping, it was about to pay off and Alec was thinking that Rose had to be the most beautiful woman he had met in a long time and she was far too young for him but as he gently kissed Rose along her shoulder and she held onto his shoulders, kissing his neck, he really didn't care as he moved her to lay just on top of her.

Rose tried to say something but Alec just wanted her even more and he didn't want to wait for any talking saying just "Rose" as he looked at her, this beautiful young woman who had made him have feelings he'd not had in years, made him question himself as to what she had done to him, to make him feel this way. He looked at her, her pink top off her left shoulder, he could see the top of her bra and it was driving him insane.

They kissed again after coming so close, Alec's arms were around Rose with both of them thinking how much they were enjoying it and how they had actually managed not to go the whole way.

Chapter 9

Then Alec sat up. "Am I taking things too fast Rose because if I am, please say something."

"No Alec, it's just, well there are things you need to know if we are going do this, if you want me as much as I want you but it's getting late and it's going to take me quite a while to tell you everything. I don't want you not knowing what you're letting yourself in for if we are going to become romantically involved. I couldn't do that to you. I didn't tell you about Jake and I let you dangle on the end of a string all this time. It's because I was using Jake as an excuse while I figured out how I felt about you. Now I've figured it out and I'm letting go of my safety net."

Alec wondered now should he mention Torchwood? Would Rose volunteer to tell him about it? Would he be going too far to bring up the name? No. He wanted her to tell him in her own time, right now all he wanted to do was kiss her again and ask just what she had playing at, getting him all hot and bothered like that, playing hard to get when she'd known all along that Jake wasn't what he'd led himself to believe and that Rose had neither confirmed or denied her exact relationship with Jake by choosing to keep him hanging on and making him think the worse.

Had he made a mistake and should he have confronted her before now? He should have told her how he felt a week ago, or when he had the chance after she'd invited him for coffee that Sunday morning but Alec had thought she'd just split up with Jake. Well, what was he supposed to think but he was annoyed with himself more for not making the extra effort to find out sooner and saved himself from an extra week of torture. Rose had finally come clean about Jake but there was still the question of Torchwood. Would it come between them?

"Rose, I don't care how bad your past is, whatever it is can't be that bad, unless you're a wanted criminal or something but then I'd know and I'd have to take you into custody for interrogation," he half joked. "Then I'd enjoy questioning you officially."

Rose just laughed. "Inspector, I wouldn't expect anything less. Are you going to handcuff me then? Please?"

"I left my handcuffs in my other jacket," he laughed back and leaned forward again to kiss her again as Rose mumbled something about he could handcuff her any time and if it required a full strip search she was all for it.

He reluctantly got up to fasten his trousers, having managed to retain his shorts and helped Rose to her feet, still standing as close as he dare to her and put his arms around her waist as she adjusted her top and skirt then she wanted to fasten his shirt buttons, taking her time and running one finger in-between each shirt button she fastened. This was going to take a while Alec thought, hopefully. She left the top two buttons open and reached up to kiss the open space and placing her arms around his neck.

"Detective Inspector Hardy, you are not the only one who is going crazy you know. I want to continue this as much as you do but when you've heard what I have to tell you, you may not be so keen after all."

"Never, Miss Tyler, nothing you can say could possibly change what I feel right now. I so want you properly and if it means I have to wait then so be it."

Alec thought that it was best he leave right now before he lost total control and completely lost it, and then Rose might hate him and never want to see him again.

"I'll leave, for now but this isn't finished Rose, not by a long way. Do you like to go running by any chance, I go most Sunday mornings so maybe we can go together?"

Rose thought about it, she had a lot of experience of running but not specifically for leisure purposes, more like running from aliens and danger.

"I'd like that, shall we say 0700 or is that too early for you Inspector? The loser makes breakfast."

"You're on Miss Tyler so I hope you have plenty of food in."

"You're so full of yourself Inspector," she laughed but she was already planning on losing to him. "0700 sharp outside then but are you sure you want to be seen in public with me so many times?"

"Yes, I want to be seen with you and that first Sunday I was just being cautious considering a man had just left your house and I didn't want the neighbours talking about you."

"How considerate, Inspector but with you being in the Police they wouldn't have had anything to talk about really unless you already have a reputation?" she teased.

There she was, thought Alec, they were just about to make love to each other, on the brink and she was already back to teasing him and he loved it, got excited even by it and boy did she know how to tease.

He kissed her long and hard and finally said goodnight, telling her he wouldn't now be able to sleep and he'd probably lose the bet in the morning. As he walked down the small driveway, Rose was watching with a tear in her eyes. She was letting him walk off because she had to, not because she wanted to. She so wanted him to stay the night but she had no choice, she wanted him so badly, she would have to make some sacrifices and tell him everything. It was late; she should phone her step-dad before she did anything about it.

As Alec left, he was tempted to ask Rose if he could stay the night, no sex but just doing more of what they had just been doing because he so wanted to do more and just be with her but he decided not to push her and regret it later.

Just as Rose was about to phone Pete, who she knew he would still be awake, her phone beeped and a message arrived from Alec saying "Hi, Sexy, had a great time, hope you did too. Looking forward to more" with three xxx's at the end. She just replied "Me too and you're the one who's sexy." She got through to Pete and told him all about Detective Inspector Hardy, how she was developing feelings for him and wanted to tell him everything that he'd not been able to gain access to on the internet.

Pete stressed he wasn't sure it was a good idea though, Jake had told him how Alec looked like the Doctor and he too was worried about her. Rose assured him Alec was nothing like the Doctor, that he wasn't becoming a substitute and that he couldn't be any different if he tried. He may look the same but Alec Hardy was growing on her and she wanted to do something about it, fast.

She got Pete's blessing to give him limited information on the condition she left out details of Torchwood's methods of operation and the fact Rose from another universe, at least for now. Rose reluctantly agreed, one thing at a time. She would have to break it gently to Alec but felt some relief she could tell him something. Pete also agreed to lift a partial block on access to the Torchwood files, she could grant access using a special username and password that they allowed specially selected persons to use that only needed limited access. Rose felt much better when she got off the phone, after sending her love to her mum and brother and asking him not to tell her mum how Alec looked like the Doctor or she'd have her on the first train down to Broadchurch to give him a slap on the face. She would have done too if she'd found out just what they'd nearly done that night.

She had just got to bed when her phone rang. It was Alec and it was getting on for midnight.

"Hi, Sexy, did I wake you?"

"No, just getting ready for bed and you?"

"Just thinking of you, nothing much."

"Oh, so now I'm nothing much, Inspector, you didn't think that earlier on the sofa did you?" she teased.

He quickly defended himself. "Miss Tyler, you are baiting me again, stop it. I was tempted to ask you if I could stay the night with you."

"What stopped you, Inspector? Afraid you couldn't handle me?"

"Oh, nothing of the sort, I was just afraid we would go too far but I regret not asking you now. I suppose it's too late to come round?"

He sounded sad in a way she thought. She was sorely tempted to give in and say yes.

"Inspector, if you can't promise to behave then I'll have to say no and we're going running together in the morning anyway, can't you wait a few hours?"

"No and no I can't wait until the morning Rose, I want to be with you tonight, please, Rose I promise to at least keep my shorts on if you let me come round and I won't do anything you don't want to."

Rose took all of 30 seconds to relent.

"Okay, Inspector but you start anything more and I promise you'll regret it. I'll come down and let you in the kitchen door and don't let anyone see you, we must get a gate in between our two houses at this rate, or we will really get gossiped about."

She hung up and put her dressing gown over her pyjama shorts and top and went downstairs just as Alec arrived on the doorstep. She let him in and locked the door.

"Blimey, Inspector, were you already out of the door when you rang me?" she asked.

She never got her answer as he wrapped his arms around her then led her towards the stairs.

It was more than Alec could ever have hoped for when she agreed to let him go back round to her house at that time. He didn't want to have sex with her, not yet but he just wanted to feel her in his arms as he went to sleep, it had been so long since he had done that, he'd never found any woman he'd met that he actually wanted to do that with. He would have had a one night stand but not with Rose, she was special, not like anyone he'd ever met before and this was going to be different.

Rose set her alarm for 06.30 and woke Alec and after some persuasion and a good while just kissing he went home to get changed. He had kept his promise and kept his shorts on and they had just fallen asleep in each others arms. That was all he had wanted. While he was getting changed she had time to choose what she could wear to go running. She settled on a pair of running shoes, grey leggings and a white buttoned t-shirt with a pocket at the top. A short while later, she caught sight of Alec appearing on the street outside her house. He wore the same running gear as she'd seen him in last Sunday and he looked so sexy in them. She waved that she was ready to go, picked up her keys and mobile, stuffing her phone in the top pocket of her shirt, locked her door and joined him.

Alec greeted her with a sly, "Hi, Sexy, how far do you want to run this morning?"

"Name the distance, Inspector, just try and keep up with me."

With that, Rose headed across the street, through the gate onto the playing field and was away before Alec knew it. He soon caught up but not before he caught sight of Rose running and was enjoying the view. They played tag with each other all along the coastal path, each deliberately falling back and each knowing the reason why, with Rose enjoying the view of him in those shorts. Neither of them really wanted to win and they didn't want a tie either. Alec signalled to Rose to stop at a bench he could see in the distance so he got there first and sat down, head between his legs, catching his breath. Rose joined him 30 seconds later.

"I let you win," she said, slightly out of breath but not as much as Alec was.

"It's not over yet, Miss Tyler, we have to run back first."

"Oh, you never said it was a two part race, Inspector."

"Then why did you think I was winning? We have to get back before the loser is declared."

Rose was disappointed and it showed. They sat for ten minutes then Alec sprung up, grabbed Rose by the hand and said, "Right Miss Tyler, now the real race begins" and was off before she knew it.

Did he want her to lose? She doubted it somehow. She was two steps behind Alec most of the way back and he wasn't moving over to let her past like he did on the first leg of the race. Rose wondered if indeed he wanted her to lose so he wouldn't have to make breakfast or to prove a point. Rose was good at running but for the wrong reasons, Alec on the other hand did it for fun. They could see the gate that led to their street, the path suddenly became wider, should Rose make a run for it? Should she let it be a tie or let Alec's ego remain intact? At the last second Rose decided not to make a run for it and Alec won by two steps. They rested at the gate with Alec lifting his arms in mock triumph.

"You are so full of yourself Inspector," Rose grinned "Don't think I let you win, I have to concede you are slightly faster due to the fact your legs are longer than mine so you have an unfair advantage."

Alec turned to her.

"That's a poor excuse, Miss Tyler, if ever I heard one," he lauged and with that, he opened the gate to let her through and Rose at the last second saw the road was clear, made a break for it and ran across to her house, beating a slightly stunned Alec who didn't known the race was still on.

"Hah! I win, Inspector. I'll go get changed while you cook breakfast," she lauged as she raised her hands, declaring herself the winner.

"Just one second, Miss Tyler. You're not allowed to get changed, you cheated. I thought the race was over and you changed the rules. So you have to compromise and have breakfast with me the way you're dressed now. As consolation."

Seeing she wasn't able to argue herself out of that one, she nodded and followed Alec to the kitchen door. She'd not been in his house before but was surprised to find it well organised, at least the kitchen was. She sat down at the table while Alec cooked breakfast, offering to help but he said something about a bet is a bet regardless of any underhand tactics used to win. They both just laughed. She insisted on helping with the dishes though and he didn't argue. As they finished the dishes, he pulled the blind down on the kitchen window and he turned and put his arms round her waist and up the back of her t-shirt, feeling under her bra strap and she reached up and kissed him as she put her hand up the front of his t-shirt and pulling up her own at the same time, feeling her tummy on his bare chest.

He moved her over to a chair and pulled her down with him, undid the buttons on her t-shirt taking out her mobile and keys and putting them on the table and sliding down her bra strap and feeling her bare shoulder then kissed her neck. Rose undid his t-shirt buttons, put one hand up and inside feeling his chest and they kissed passionately. She slid round to face him, he pulled down her leggings leaving her sat on his legs in just her lacy underwear, feeling her on them, she could feel his bare legs under her, all the while kissing passionately, their tongues entwined.

As Alec very reluctantly let go and they adjusted their clothing and cleaned themselves up a bit, Alec going to get a pair of jogging trousers, it was still quite early so Rose decided perhaps now was a good time to come clean with him. After he came back Rose looked at Alec.

"Do you have internet access Alec, there's something I want to show you."

He shook his head.

"Then do you have a laptop? I could connect to my home wireless connection."

Alec went to get his laptop and they moved into the living room and sat on the sofa and she found her home network and entered the security password.

"I made a phone call last night; to get permission to tell you want you want to know, from Torchwood."

Alec had been right, she was involved with them but he didn't care.

"The reason why you couldn't find out anything about me is because of them, my files are sealed, to everyone. I know you tried to access them, I'm not mad with you because you did but it created an alert and they traced it to you, I was told about it. Alec, I'm not who you think I am. My name is Rose Tyler and my step-father is Peter Tyler, head of Vitex and Torchwood."

She stopped to let it sink in before Alec had the chance to turn and walk away and she wouldn't have to tell him any more. It should have been more than enough to scare anyone away. Only a select few knew the true nature of Torchwood, even the Police weren't privy to them except for a few very high ranking officers who were sworn to secrecy and that Torchwood helped out from time to time. Even then they were referred to as 'Special Ops'

"I had access to your files, Alec, from the Police database and other sources and I know all about what you told the press, including your ex."

Alec moved towards her, put his arm around her waist and said, "Then tell me the rest."

So she logged into the Torchwood account using the limited access her step-dad had given for Alec and showed him, telling him everything she was allowed to tell him, from start to finish. Well it was all true, just most of it was not in this universe but she would have to tell him the rest if he were to believe her.

Alec never moved, they just sat there, on the sofa and he listened. He moved his arms away from her and Rose's heart dropped into her stomach as she thought she had lost him. He sat back slightly and regarded her carefully. He knew there was more to it so he came right out and said it.

"I'm a Police Inspector, Rose, now tell me everything and don't leave anything out this time. I don't need shielding from the entire truth, I have high clearance so don't think you can tell me half of it and leave the rest so you might as well get it all over with. Now start from the beginning, leave nothing out."

Still sitting on the sofa, those thin leggings were getting to him but he resisted as he sat beside her, leaving a gap. Regretting she would be breaking her promise to Pete, she started from the top, leaving nothing out including the things she'd been told by Pete not to tell him.

Chapter 10

By the time she had finished, she had opened up her heart and her life to Alec Hardy, for all it was worth and from the look of shock on his face after she had finished, she was regretting it already and hoped the Torchwood Team would not have to come along and wipe any trace of her from his mind because that was the last thing she wanted. She had shown him on screen everything he needed to know, logging into her account, showing him pictures and documents as proof that Mickey, her mum and she were from another world and had travelled in time and space with a man calling himself 'The Doctor' and that she and Mickey had been there before. Then she showed him the images captured from the Tyler mansion on the night the Cybermen invaded and footage of what transpired, of Rose and the Doctor reacting together and Alec's face dropped.

Alec didn't know what to say or do. He'd asked to be told everything and that was exactly what he got. It seemed that Rose was pouring out words ten to the dozen, words he didn't necessarily understand had anything to do with the story she was telling him. Was she making it all up? Was it some elaborate story that Torchwood, if indeed they were real, had come up with? As he listened, he had believed the part of who her stepdad was, he had heard of Peter Tyler and it was possible because he had read that his first wife had died and he'd remarried. As for Rose, he believed she really had been just a shop girl before her mother remarried, she knew how to run the Gallery.

The part about her being from another universe was the killer though, how could he be expected to believe that and the fact she had travelled with a man who was from another planet as well as another universe and had changed his face and had looked like him, well that was even harder to swallow. Even with the photographic evidence, statements and stories by Mickey as he'd also recounted his dealings with the Doctor. Then Alec's face changed as images of the Tardis that Rose had sketched appeared on the screen.

The way Rose was looking at him as she finished, waiting for him to take it all in and to see his reaction was agonizing. What could he possibly say to her? Should he tell her he loved her no matter what? Should he question his or her sanity? Hers for telling him this fantastic story and his for actually listening and half believing. A million things were going through his mind as time to him seemed to stand still.

"That's a good one," he thought, "She's talking about a time traveller and I'm thinking about time standing still."

This Police Box that she called – what was it? It looked familiar but then not because he'd never heard of such a thing, there had been no such devices as far as he knew apart from one place – his dreams and now he'd seen a picture and knew they weren't dreams.

Then it slowly dawned on him, the box she showed him and described was blue. It hit him like a ton of bricks, how could she possibly know about the blue box? Why did she have pictures of it? The same blue box she described as the one he had dreams about when he was a child and he'd only ever told one person who was no longer alive – his mother. Now he knew he had to question his sanity. He knew Rose had been able to access his information but there was no way she could know about the blue box, describe its exact detail, inside and out and show him pictures of it because his dreams were coming back to him after all this time, thirty years later that she must be talking about and showing him the same blue box.

The one he would see in his dreams, where he woke up believing he'd been transported to other places, the dreams where he couldn't remember them completely, only parts of them and the dreams he'd forgotten since his childhood. The blue box would take him away from the constant arguments between his parents. It was all coming back now, travelling not only to other worlds but to different times, the memories were flowing freely as they ran away with him and he was standing now, only just aware of the look of horror on Rose's face as she watched him.

He didn't remember getting up, he was vaguely aware of Rose moving out of his sight and coming back with two cups of coffee and her handing him one. It was like he was in a trance, oblivious to what was going on except the thoughts rushing through his mind. The laptop was still open on the coffee table. Ever so slowly he became aware of his surroundings and sat down, placing the cup on the coffee table. Rose was now by his side and he now heard her saying his name.

"Alec, are you alright?" she said for the fifth time, getting no response which was when she went to make coffee. "Alec, please say something."

Rose was panicking, Alec was completely out of it, just sitting there, staring into the distance, not saying a word, not even a "Get out Rose" or even "I never want to see you again," nothing. Had she gone too far? She wouldn't have believed it herself if it hadn't happened to her, how was Alec supposed to believe it, why should he? After a few minutes of her finishing, Alec suddenly got up, she let him stand there, saying his name over and over until she got up and went to make coffee, handing a cup to him and him sitting down and her sitting beside him. He'd taken it badly, so badly she feared the worse and was resigned to think she'd been wrong in revealing everything and now Torchwood would have to cover up for her and Pete was definitely not going to be happy and she would surely get an "I told you so" at the very least. He wouldn't be mad with her though, she had believed Alec had feelings for her and Pete wanted her to move on.

Alec finally turned to her. "Rose, tell me again about the blue box, how do you know about it?"

Rose was startled. "You mean the Tardis? The Police Box?" she asked.

"If that's what you call it, then yes. How could you possibly know about it, I've never told anyone."

"Alec, the Tardis is from another galaxy in another universe, it doesn't exist in this one so how could you even know about it?" They looked at each other then Rose said, "Then you had better tell me how you suddenly know about the blue box Alec."

Then Alec told her about his dreams when he was younger, was only now remembering them after they had been buried and how he'd heard her describe in exact detail what it looked like, inside and out, seeing photos of it, with him describing how the columns were made of coral and the lighting from the console. Rose couldn't believe what she was hearing as Alec poured out how he would dream he had travelled places he couldn't possibly know about, places she had been with the Doctor but only since he'd changed. How he described times he had dreamt of travelling to.

Things he couldn't have read about in history books and may well have never taken place in this universe. Now Alec knew neither he nor Rose were insane because if they were, they couldn't both be imaging the same thing at the same time. More memories came flooding back. Alec had always been a boy in his dreams but he could do things, impossible things no child of his age could do. He could do clever things, know things, know all the answers, even remembering the parts that had faded with his dreams.

He looked at Rose who surely thought he was mad but she smiled at him and took his hand.

"Rose, I need time to take all this in, it's not easy coming to terms with all this information you've given me and my dreams resurfacing. I don't know what to think anymore. Please, just say you will give me time to clear my head. I'm not saying goodbye, at least not now. Please, I need you to say you understand."

"Alec, take all the time you need, I know it's all been too much but you did ask for it. I've held nothing back, you know everything. If you have questions, I'll gladly answer them. Just say you don't hate me and never want to see me again."

"I can't make any promises Rose, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry but it's all been just a bit too much. Just give me a few days to sort things out in my mind."

"Just speak to my stepdad, Alec, he'll tell you I'm telling you the truth. He was there, he rescued me from falling into 'The Void' and brought me here after he brought my mum and Mickey here."

Alec just stood there, not wanting to hear any more.

With that, Rose got up to leave, a tear in her eyes and closing down the program but leaving the password for Alec if he wanted access again. She had wanted to tell Alec everything before they both fell too deeply because then it would have been too painful. She had been all ready that morning to tell him how she felt about him and she was sure he was about to do the same after their demonstration of their affection to each other just earlier and coming so close to actually having sex.

She should have told him before she almost gave herself to him right on the chair in the kitchen. Thank goodness they stopped in time. They were having such a special time both this morning and last night and the way she had watched Alec run that very morning no wonder she was deliberately holding back behind him. Why did she have to go and spoil it by spilling out every single detail to him? Had it been better than just telling him a little? Then he would have still wanted to know more over a period of time anyway so yes, it had been better to get it all over with. Should she call the team and wipe Alec's mind so they could start over?

That wouldn't solve anything because it would start all over again and it wasn't fair on Alec, he didn't deserve that. They were both falling for each other in a big way and if Alec did love her, he would accept everything she had told him. It was a hell of a way to find out how he felt about her. If he didn't accept it, was it because he couldn't cope with it or because he didn't love her after all?

She walked the few yards back home, opened her kitchen door and cried her eyes out - again. When would she learn to stop falling for the wrong men? Just as she thought she had finally found some happiness, she goes and stuffs it up, was she fated to keep repeating herself over and over again? He'd sat there and listened to every word she said, seen the evidence in front of his eyes, then seen his exact double in front of him – had that been the final straw? Then his admission about the Tardis, how he'd described it before she showed him the pictures so it wasn't like he'd got the idea from them, he already knew. His shock when he'd seen the pictures, like his dreams were coming to life, he surely thought he was going crazy. No wonder he had needed time to sort things out and she was going to give it up to a point.

Chapter 11

With Rose gone Alec was left alone, still in his vest top and jogging trousers. He'd been happy that morning, Rose teasing him and making her breakfast even though she'd cheated. Who could blame her? They had all but had sex last night at her place and this morning right there in the kitchen they had just managed to stop themselves in time and she'd let him stay with her last night. Goodness knows what would have happened if they'd been on the sofa earlier. Then his world had come crashing down on him, old memories and dreams had come flooding back and Rose was to blame. He'd asked for the whole truth and that's exactly what he had got, whether he'd liked it or not. There was no going back now. He had to figure out exactly just how much he cared for Rose or if that was the end before it had really got started.

Just a few hours ago they had been so close; he could still taste her kisses as he remembered the touch of her bare skin, her touching his chest, wanting so badly to take her. It had been more than he could stand, he had so wanted her last night and this morning. The question was did he still want her? Did he still have the same feelings? What had changed, she was still Rose Tyler, the most beautiful woman he had ever met that had actually felt the same about him. He went to get changed properly and was still cross he didn't have internet access, he'd have to think about getting it somehow then he remembered that Rose had connected to her home network and checked it was still on. It was so he used the details she'd scribbled on a notepad and went through things again, at least the parts he was allowed, she'd wiped access to the main database.

He had to decide before it was too late if any of this really mattered to the fact he was smitten with one Rose Tyler, time traveller, woman from another universe who had travelled in the blue box from his childhood dreams. Was it a sign? A sign that they were meant to find each other despite being from two different universes? He would have to think long and hard before making any life changing decisions because if he was going to become romantically involved with Rose then his life was going to change more than he'd ever imagined.


Rose was in tears when she got home. In the few yards it had taken her to reach her door she could feel the tears on her face and as she sat on the sofa, the very place where last night they had been so relaxed, so sensual, Alec's touch on her bare skin and she burst out in tears at the thought of his kisses and letting him stay with her last night as they'd fallen asleep with each other. He'd not even tried to do any more and then just the same this morning. The first time she had ever really wanted someone since her thoughts about the Doctor and now she had made him turn against her.

She could finally have had the chance to move on with someone, someone who could grow old at the same rate as her, someone who could spend his life with her and she with him and for the first time she realized this man, Alec Hardy was not the Doctor and that she hadn't really noticed that she'd stopped regarding him as such. He was not a substitute, she was falling in love with him, a love she'd never felt before even for the Doctor. She wasn't being disloyal to him because she'd left it too late to disclose her feelings and although she knew the answer she'd not actually heard his words as he faded away back into his universe.

She had felt herself wanting Alec Hardy a lot sooner than she had ever done with anyone else, she had never really had a lover before, only boyfriends and she had been so young then, not really knowing the meaning of love until she'd met Alec because he was obtainable and she finally realised that was what she wanted, not the ghostly remembrance of those few minutes on a beach in Norway. Now she had lost both and a chance of being happy. Maybe she should just give in, move back to London and give Alec a chance to get on with his life without ever seeing her again but he'd asked her to be patient, to give him time and he was not saying it was over. She should be fair and give him some space, let him think things over.

She would stay and if she had not heard from him by the following Sunday she would ask Pete to get someone to take over and go back home. That was her final decision, no more dwelling on it. One week to make or break their new relationship and if it was break, if Alec came and told her it was over or completely ignored her then she'd go, have the decency to respect he couldn't accept her and what came with it. She had warned him and he'd wanted the truth, she had to live with it, with or without him and end up broken hearted – again.

Rose went to work the following morning, being grateful she didn't leave and get home as the same time Alec did. It was an uneventful week for Rose, every time she heard the doorbell go she would look up expecting Alec to be standing there calling her Miss Tyler again but it wasn't to be. She spent every night watching from the window as she saw Alec come home and even at that distance she could see he was hurting, the way he avoided showing his face. She would think about giving him more access to the Torchwood database but thought it better not to, she'd done enough damage already, she couldn't do any more to make him hate her if she tried. She tried to sleep but drifted to feeling Alec on her, touching her in all the right places, kissing her gently and caressing her. She would fall asleep eventually and wake up, her eyes still sore from crying. It was like losing the Doctor all over again, why did she keep doing this to herself? Why was she falling for a man who was his double when she was surely due some happiness with someone else but not with someone who looked like him?

Friday afternoon soon arrived and there was only one more work day remaining, Saturday. If she hadn't heard from him by then she was going to pack her things and go home on Sunday and have someone pick up the rest her things. It wasn't fair she'd asked him to accept everything at once, she should just leave and let him get on with his life. She didn't want to worry her mother, have her coming down and smothering her or urging her to leave right away, saying "I thought you were over that alien?" after she'd admitted to her he looked like the Doctor, which she'd begged Jake and Pete not to tell her Alec looked like him.


The same could be said for Alec except for one thing and it was called Ellie. He'd told her he was going on a date with Rose and he'd not gone round to her house for two Sunday afternoons, first saying he had 'plans' and making up some lame excuse which she saw through as she'd seen the two of them going out in Rose's car. She had seen them last Sunday morning meet outside Rose's house, seen them running back to the gate across the field and Rose's sudden spurt to what apparently seemed like a race between them and she'd even smiled, thinking Alec and Rose looked happy together as Rose jumped up and down, obviously being the winner. She had even seen Rose follow Alec to his house and not re-appear for a few hours. She'd thought things must be going well for the two of them and she was pleased Alec had found someone, even if she was blonde and looked ten years his junior. She had asked him how his dates had gone and mentioned she had seen them together on Sunday. Alec got cross with her, told her to leave it and that he didn't want to talk about it. Ellie was persistent if nothing else, not one to let things just go easily. She prodded Alec every opportunity she got and he would snap back at her, telling her she was like a dog who wouldn't let go of a bone, she would called him a miserable git and that he'd been better since he met Rose.

The office was back to calling him DI Grumpy again because he snapped at everyone, he was making everyone suffer because he was suffering inside, his mind in turmoil. They were all taking bets his girlfriend had kicked him out. He had sneaked home every night, hoping he wouldn't see her, sat in the darkness pouring again and again over the limited access he had to the Torchwood database, seeing if he could get anything new out of it, if Rose had allowed more information than before in an effort by her to help him understand more. She hadn't of course, he'd asked her to wait and it seemed she was respecting that. He lay awake at night, remembering those very close times they'd had together, still seeing her lying there on her sofa and in her bed, never touching her as they fell asleep, how beautiful she was, wanting to take her there and then but taking all his self-will to stop himself. Going back to being a misery and making everyone suffer especially Ellie who'd tried to take his mind off the subject after he'd insisted that she leave it alone, not entirely successfully.

By Friday afternoon, Ellie had had enough and decided to grab the bull by its horns, the bull being Alec Hardy and it wasn't going to be easy. She might even get suspended for insubordination but she didn't care, she couldn't stand it any more, seeing him like that. She could tell he was in turmoil but she knew he was in love with Rose by the way she had seen them together and the way he responded when she'd tried to talk to him about it. If he didn't care then he wouldn't be so grumpy, he would have gone to see Rose and told her it was over because that was the way Alec Hardy operated – straight to the point and no messing. This was totally out of character for him and she was having no more of his moodiness.

Ellie broke the silence which you could have cut with a knife.

"Go see her."

"What?" Alec looked up from holding his head in his hands - again.

"Go see her you idiot," Ellie snapped at him.

"I could you suspended for that," came the reply.

"If it means you go see her, I don't care, I'm not putting up with your moods any more – Sir, you're being a grump."

"Mind your own business – Miller."

"Misery guts," Ellie muttered under her breath.

"Leave now or I'll have you removed from the station," Alec snapped back.

Ellie stood her ground. "Not until you go see her."

"It's nothing to do with you, it's complicated," Alec insisted.

"What's so complicated if you love her?" Ellie wanted to know as she crossed her arms and looked at him.

"What?" Alec was surprised he'd given himself away.

"Are you blind – Sir?" Ellie only used the "Sir" bit when she was cross, in company or being sarcastic and they weren't in company. "Even my two year old could see you're in love with her so go tell her."

"It's not that easy. I told you, it's complicated, now drop it."

"No, not until you tell me what's stopping you," Ellie wouldn't let it drop.

"I can't, it's –" his voice trailed off.

Ellie crossed her arms and said, "I'm waiting. Spill the beans."

Alec looked up from a speck of dust he'd see on his desk, well it looked like a speck of dust or was it something in his eye?

"What if you were told something about someone and you were sworn to secrecy about it because it was so far fetched that you'd get locked up in a padded cell if you told another living soul?"

Ellie looked at him, waiting for him to continue.

"But then, the person that something was about had positive proof that it was all true but you still didn't want to believe it."

"Are you being serious Alec? What the hell are you talking about? Do you realise how ridiculous it sounds?" Ellie wanted to know.

"Always asking questions, Miller and I'm deadly serious. I was told something about Rose from her and she had concrete evidence it was all true but to anyone else, it would be so far fetched, you would sending for the men in white coats."

Ellie stared at him, then she laughed.

"Oh, is that all, thought it was more serious, I'll send for the padded wagon then."

"Ellie, I'm being deadly serious and I don't know what to do about it. Whether to walk away or not."

"Then go tell her you love her and accept it, at least you'd get carted off together," she replied.

"Yes, that's a big help. I'm so glad I asked your opinion, that's a load off my mind."

"Sarcasm isn't your best trait Alec," Ellie grinned.

He looked up from where he had been staring at some papers on his desk.

"I've not even started yet."

He got up, started pacing the room and kicked the chair.

"Better?" Ellie asked.

He sat down again. No he wasn't feeling better, not by a long way. She wasn't going to let this rest until he did something about it and he knew it. He sat down again and pretended to look at the computer screen, hoping Ellie would go away. She didn't, she just glared at him. She took a piece of paper and scribbled a note on it, 'Go see her you idiot' folded it, wrote 'DI Grumpy' on the top part and put it on his desk then left his office.

He didn't know that Ellie had been to introduce herself to Rose the previous night and telling her that Alec was behaving like a love sick puppy. There had been a knock at Rose's door and a woman was standing there who introduced herself saying she was Alec's DS and so Rose had invited her in. They talked for a while, Rose offering her tea and Ellie told her how much better the Inspector had been the last few weeks, even coming out of his shell he'd been hibernating in for so long and that he'd talked about her all the time. Ellie said she knew he still cared about her, she knew something was wrong but couldn't get any sense out of him. Rose thanked her for letting her know but there was very little she could do about it, she had promised to give him time. Ellie left after saying if they didn't smarten up she was going to have to poke her nose in where it wasn't wanted.

Alec suddenly noticed it was almost home time then saw the note folded up just out of his reach and saw the large writing on it - DI Grumpy, he didn't need to open it, he knew what it said. Ellie had already left to pick up the kids, what was the point in going home? Living next door to Rose was just a reminder. Maybe she wouldn't give him time and just go back to London, thinking he'd abandoned her. She would be home by now, she would see him come home, watching from the window again as he'd seen her every night that week, pretending he'd not noticed.
Her heart must be breaking by now, his was. She had trusted him enough to tell him everything and probably got into trouble with Torchwood for doing so. Would she still be there when he got home or decided he wasn't worth the heartbreak? She had obviously had her heart broken before, when she'd lost the man he resembled and she'd trusted him, grumpy Alec Hardy with her already broken heart and he'd shunned her, shut her out, putting his feelings before hers.

He silently hoped she would still be there when he got home, he should go say something, maybe the wrong thing but anything to break the unbearable silence of the past week. Maybe he should just let her go, let her get back to some sort of life she'd had, he still didn't know how he felt and it wasn't fair on either of them. What could he say to her that would make either of them feel any better? He still didn't know what he felt, how was he supposed to assure her that it was better they parted? He put on his jacket and left for the weekend. He got a lift home and when the car turned into his street, Rose's car wasn't there. His heart sank, she had gone. Surely not? How could he have been so stupid? Rose had real evidence she had been telling the truth and he'd ignored it. Ignored what his heart was telling him, the detective side of him winning, suspicion, doubt, fear of the unknown all taking over and he'd lost her for good.

She must have been so upset she had gone to seek comfort with her parents. There was no "To Let" sign outside her house but maybe they'd not had time or maybe Rose had to send for her stuff. He went inside his house, devastated. He should have told her, at the very least sent her a text asking if she was okay. Ellie had been right, he did love her and he was being pig-headed as usual. He had stuffed it up again, his one chance to have something good in his life after all he had been through and he'd blown it. He'd not been in love for such a long time and it showed.

Hardy, you're a complete ass, he chastised himself, you can't get anything right. He half-heartedly started to make himself something to eat, he had to eat, he realised starving himself wouldn't do any good. He wandered into his living room and sat down at the table, he usually ate in the kitchen but it had reminded him too much of breakfast with Rose, them clearing up together and being intimate again to the point of almost losing it right there on the kitchen chair.

Sat at the table in the window, he was wallowing in his sorrow when suddenly, Rose's car pulled up into her driveway, he dropped his knife and fork and before she could even get out of the car, Alec was on his feet and out the front door, his dinner forgotten on the table and grabbing his phone and keys on the way out and walked up behind Rose's car as she switched the engine off. Ellie's little intervention had done some good after all.

Chapter 12

When Rose got home from work Friday afternoon, she realised she hadn't done any shopping all week, she was going to have to face it, she was so in love with Alec she had neglected the basics. Going to work every day only helped a little, she was going to have to ring Pete and tell him she was coming home, how could she stay, living next door to him? It wasn't fair on either of them. Best go now before it got to the hate stage because if she saw him and he ignored her, she might lose it and make a scene.

She couldn't do that to him. He'd not even sent her a text message, she could bring herself to send him one but what could she say? Ellie's visit hadn't helped, it only made her realise he was hurting as much as she was. So she got back in her car and went to the supermarket to get some groceries until she decided to ring Pete and get someone to take over the shop and then she'd go home or somewhere other than here.

She had been sitting in the supermarket car park for what seemed like ages, her groceries spoiling when a tap came on the window. She looked up and recognised the local vicar but couldn't remember his name.

"Are you okay?" he asked, looking concerned. "Only you've been sat for a while, I saw you when I went in."

"Oh, sorry, I was just thinking. I don't think we've actually met, my name's Rose Tyler."

"Paul Coates, vicar," as he laughed and pointed to his attire. "Obviously. You run that little gallery in town don't you? I've been past it a few times. How are you settling in?"

Rose really didn't feel much like engaging in small talk.

"Fine but please don't think I'm being rude or anything but I really don't feel like talking right now, sorry," she replied as she was about to close her window but he stopped her.

"I'm not trying to play the nosey vicar but I can see something's troubling you, do you want to talk about it perhaps? My door is always open if you do. I know it's none of my business but maybe I can help. Some of my parishioners have talked about seeing you with a certain police detective lately, is this anything to do with him?"

Rose looked up at him. "Talk about perceptive vicars," she thought. "Really, it's nothing Vicar, we just need to sort some things out, that's all. I don't think he would appreciate being the subject of town gossip. Thanks for the offer though."

The Vicar looked at her. "Well, if you change your mind, you know where I am. Maybe he just needs a kick start. Everyone said how much better he seemed the last few weeks. I'll let you get your shopping home, Miss Tyler."

Miss Tyler, that's what Alec called her even after they started being intimate.

"Thanks, Vicar," she said as she drove off. She was going to have to do something, fast.

She hadn't realised that Alec would be home soon and see her car wasn't there and think she had gone. She drove back down her street and decided to pull into the driveway. She didn't know why she always parked on the road, it had become a habit. She had barely pulled on the handbrake when she saw Alec in the rear-view mirror. He just stood there at the side of the car, only just allowing her to open the door. She sat for a moment to compose herself but found she couldn't. Her heart was racing. What was he going to do? Tell her he never wanted to see her again or kiss her? She didn't want to know, did she? She had been going to call him and ask him how he was but he was just standing there.

Alec had picked up his keys and phone as he dashed out, the door locking behind him and the kitchen door already locked. It seemed like an age to him as Rose sat there, she was going to let him stew. After all, that's what he'd done to her, leaving her not knowing, not telling her how he felt. He should have accepted what she'd said, he was a police officer, trained to sniff out the truth and she had presented him with it and he couldn't see it. He couldn't see the love in her eyes as she'd watched his reaction to her story, the same love she had before on that Saturday night and that Sunday morning when they were being so intimate. He hadn't seen the tears in her eyes as she'd left last Sunday morning but he knew they had been there. He knew her heart must be breaking and as she sat there, observing him in the mirror, even then he could see the tears in her eyes.

Alec made the first move, went to open the door handle and the door swung open. Rose looked up, saw his hand reach out to help her out of the car.

"Rose," was all he said.

She accepted his hand, wiped her eyes with her other hand and climbed out, standing in front of him. He closed the door behind her, she nodded to the back door and moved around him, retrieving her groceries. Alec went to help, both silent as she put her bags down and remote locked the car. They continued to the kitchen door in silence as Rose opened it, taking the groceries inside and leaving the door open for Alec to follow. "That was a good sign," he thought. Rose continued in silence to put her groceries away, eager not to let any frozen food defrost. When the task was finished, she had no more excuses to stay silent.

Alec watched as she put everything away. He didn't know where she wanted stuff putting so he let her get on with it but as she ran out of groceries to put away, he wondered who was going to speak first. They had been apart for a week, a week of not speaking and although they had been playing games with each other when they had first met, his drastic decision to just come out and ask Rose out on a date had paid off. In a short space of time, though not short enough for his liking, he had melted Rose's heart and shattered it again in the space of a few days. "Nice work," he thought.

Rose had allowed herself to become attracted to the very man she should be avoiding, then forgotten all about it, at first teasing him, using Jake as a scapegoat, then relenting to Alec's tentatively asking her out on a date then her bold response in offering to make him dinner after only three dates only to completely blow the one shot at happiness she'd waited for. She had let it happen so fast, not knowing if either of them were ready then giving in to her feelings that were starting to develop for him and finally blowing it. As they stood there, face to face in her kitchen, neither of them speaking for fear they may say the wrong thing, she realised she had run out of groceries to put away and there was no way of avoiding the inevitable. It was now or never.

Then they both snapped at once and before either of them knew what was happening their lips met and they were kissing like there was no tomorrow. When they stopped for breath, Alec was about to speak first but Rose stopped him by kissing him again. When they stopped, they had moved without noticing and Rose was sat on Alec's knee on a kitchen chair as he had pulled the chair out from under the table with his foot and sat down, pulling Rose with him. He moved gently to let Rose sink down between his legs, her skirt draped over him. Her arms were round his neck, his shirt buttons were undone and her fingers were running through his hair.

"Miss Tyler."

"Yes, Detective Inspector Hardy?"

"I love you."

Rose didn't hesitate in replying, "I love you too Alec," as they went back to kissing again, passionately.

Rose had one hand down his back while the other was unbuttoning his shirt as their lips were just touching now. She was pulling his shirt back on his shoulders and then he was kissing her neck. His other hand was going up her back, under her top, touching the fastener of her bra.

She moved her hand to stop him. "Not here, Inspector," she warned him but Alec wasn't going to be put off, he just continued under the fastener, working his hand around her back. The hand Rose had freed was now moving up and down his bare chest as he continued to kiss her neck and although there wasn't much of a gap between the two of them, they were managing quite well considering.

Things were getting steamy now, Alec's breath was hot on her neck as he said, "I love you, Miss Tyler and I don't care about your past, or anything you told me. Just tell me one thing Rose is it all over? Do you want to go back there or stay with me, forever?"

"Yes, it's all over and I want to stay with you, in this universe, forever my Detective Inspector Alec Hardy because I love you."

With that, she suddenly moved Alec's hands from where they were, got up, closed the window blind and went back to where they had left off, making sure Alec's hands were exactly where he had left them.

"Better safe than sorry, don't want any nosey neighbours," she whispered in his ear.

Things just kept on getting better. Alec gently pulled himself away, Rose's lips still pressed against his, as he moved his to her ear and whispered, "Bedroom or sofa, my sweet Rosie?"

Rose observed him carefully, she didn't want him to stop, ever but replied "Sofa – for now, Inspector and I like the Rosie but only when we're alone."

He retrieved her top, placed it over her head and pulled it back down, then pulled his shirt back on, fastening a couple of buttons but leaving it loose. Rose got up, followed closely by Alec with his arms around her waist and led him into the living room, gathering any stray clothes. Alec let go, Rose pulled over the curtains then took his hand and pulled him over to the sofa, he twisted her around over the sofa arm and laid her against a cushion, pulling her top back off as he did so. Rose pulled off his shirt while Alec unfastened the cuffs and she slid it off his arms.

"Well, Inspector, I think now would be a good time for you to do some inspecting," she teased.

The excitement was rising for both of them, Rose was now moaning softly for him to do more now and pulling him towards her as he was thanking everything he could that he'd had that operation or she would surely have killed him by this point. All the sexual tension was gone, she was his for the taking, waiting for him to take her, pulling him in towards her as she removed her hand from his chest. Just seconds later, Rose was already gone with the thrill, as she told him she wanted him.

"I want to you, just say yes," he replied and with that she told him the word he wanted to hear, the word that gave him permission to take her – "YES!"

Neither of them wanted to stop.

Chapter 13

They spent what seemed like hours on the sofa, the only sounds were of them calling out each other's names and the low moaning sounds. Weeks of doubt as to Rose's availability, a week of not speaking were all gone. He had found Rose's weak spot and she his and they both fully intended they were going to make sure they kept each other on the edge. They had hardly spoken since Alec had followed Rose in from the street, actions after all speak louder than words and both had shown each other what no words could have said. He held Rose's underwear out to her having retrieved them from where he'd thrown them, teasingly asking her if she really wanted them back or if he could keep them as a trophy.

"Keep them, Inspector, I've got plenty more, you could start a collection," Rose replied, to which they both laughed.

She got up and pulled down her skirt a bit more as Alec went to retrieve her top from where he'd thrown it then put it over her head and pulled it down, feeling her as he did so. He put his shirt back on to which Rose pulled a face but she began to fasten his buttons.

There was a sudden look of shock on Alec's face as it dawned on him they had used no protection. Rose seemed to know what was the matter and said, "Don't worry, I've got that covered Inspector," to which Alec was relieved.

"How did you know what I was going to say?" he asked.

"I could tell by the look on your face. We didn't exactly have time to discuss it, did we?" She looked at him coyly, then moved towards him. "I think we need to talk, don't you? By the way, just out of curiosity, when you saw my car was gone, did you think I'd left without saying anything?"

"What sort of question is that, Miss Tyler? Of course I thought you'd gone and I was devastated because I was an ass and it was all my fault. I should have trusted you Rose and I'm truly sorry now that I didn't."

She took his hands in hers and placed them around her waist, then reached up to kiss him.

"Idiot," she whispered, "Though I was tempted to go because I thought you couldn't accept it and didn't want me."

They both realised just how foolish the pair of them had been but Alec has asked for time and she'd given him it but she was angry with herself for not even sending him a text to ask if he was okay and Alec was angry with himself for not doing the same.

They kissed some more, then realised it was still only quite early, Rose had got back at five thirty and it was creeping up towards seven thirty and they both realised they were hungry, Alec abandoning his dinner and Rose not even starting hers. He volunteered to drive down to the local Chinese so Rose gave him her car keys.

"Don't wrap my car round a tree on the way back," she teased.

After Alec got back and they had eaten, Rose lead him back into the living room and to the sofa but Alec stopped mid-way in the kitchen, wanting to ask her some more questions first. Rose remarked how he was always being the Policeman and did he never stop asking questions?

"Rose, I'm being serious, we really need to talk now because there's no going back after what we've just done together. I need to know you want the same as me, for our relationship to be stable and for people to get to know that we are together. I'm not keeping you a secret, we are both single adults with nothing to hide. It's not like we are having a secret affair but I'm a police detective, you are a shop owner, people will still gossip if we try to keep it a secret. How do you feel about it though?"

Rose looked at him, put her arms around his neck and said "I'm not keeping you a secret, Inspector, I don't care though if people see us together, they'd better get used to it." She kissed him then continued. "You had better tell me though about your ex, you haven't really said anything but you do know I've read your file. You won't get any trouble from that department will you because it didn't say anything about her since your divorce."

"There won't be any trouble Rose, she hates my guts and she turned my daughter against me even though I was cleared of any wrong-doing and I've tried to make amends. I've been working to try to win my daughter back but it's had no effect. Maybe it never will. I can only try and I hope that won't be a problem with you if she decides to have contact with me, will it?"

"Of course not, Alec, why should it? I'd never do anything to come between you and your daughter, even if it turned out she hated me for being with you, she would never turn me against you and I'd hope she wouldn't turn you against me."

"She won't, she's not like that I hope but even if she did hate you, I would never choose between her and you, she would have to learn to compromise and accept the fact I'm with you. She would never make me hate you and choose to leave you just to please her. She's getting older and she'll have to learn to live with it as much as I still love her, I love you more than I've ever loved anyone before. I thought I loved my ex and it was great for the first few months after we married but she turned sour on me when she was pregnant and I never really got her back. She lied to me and pretended things were okay just for our daughter's sake but she'd been having affairs for years and I was so wrapped up in my work and my daughter I was too blind to see it."

"I'm sorry Alec, I shouldn't have brought up the subject." She kissed him tenderly. "That's the end of it, if you want to contact your daughter, you have my blessing."

Alec took her by the waist, pulled out a chair with his foot, his hands everywhere, time passed and it was getting late. Rose still had to open the shop in the morning and after they adjusted their clothing, they went upstairs. Alec was aware he'd left food abandoned on his living room table but they would have to wait until morning. He was going to bed with Rose Tyler properly this time and that was all he cared about. Not cramped by the sofa, lying on top of her in her bed, he could really make Rose scream for mercy and he wasn't going to show her any under no circumstances. She would just have to scream and he didn't care if the neighbours heard. He was going to give Rose Tyler the night of her life.

Chapter 14

Alec and Rose's love grew stronger over the next week, including him taking lunch to her at the Gallery the day after they made up. Rose gave him her spare key so she could leave him in bed after it took several attempts for her to persuade him to let her go. They went for a run on the Sunday morning, then went out to lunch, minus the revelation of Rose's past and their love becoming more intense. They began to open up their pasts' to each other in more intricate details other than the shortened details Rose had told him. She told him how she had realised all too late that she had loved the Doctor and that now she didn't feel it was real love, not the love she felt for him and about the first Doctor she met, the one that saved her from the living plastic and from being destroyed by the Daleks. The one that she went back to rescue and how she became the Bad Wolf.

She told him bit by bit, every time they made love over the next week, one night at her house, the next at Alec's and Alec listened, never judging her, accepting the life she'd had before they met because it didn't matter now, she was with him and had left her old life completely behind and every time they made love it was with him.

The more she told him, the more fascinated he became because it was all tying in with his childhood dreams. More and more was coming back to him, remembering things that had faded with the dreams. It was becoming apparent to both of them that they had been much more than dreams, that somehow, Alec was connected to this in other ways. Connected somehow to Rose and her universe because as far as Rose knew from what the Doctor had told her all those years ago when they had first crash landed on this world, travel between the two worlds was impossible after the Timelords were destroyed.

The Doctor had told her they used to pop between realities but now they were no longer around it was only by accident they had got there. The Doctor said he would have known if any Timelords had survived and were living in that universe and as he didn't feel their presence it was assumed they had all been recalled to fight in the Timewar and not survived in any universe.

How could Alec possibly have knowledge of Rose's world if he'd never been there and never met Rose until recently? The only possible explanation would become apparent to them both over time but not until they had discussed in great detail every single event of Rose's past life and that was going to take some time to go through it with a fine tooth comb.

A week after they made up, on the Saturday morning, Rose was getting ready to go open the shop. Alec was still laid in bed, his top half uncovered and one leg sticking out of the sheet. Rose so wanted to get back in with him but she had a business to run. She had told him she was doing work for Torchwood as well and he'd asked her if he could help in any way.

"How about going out tonight, Rosie? Not that I don't enjoy being at home but people won't get used to us being together if we stay in all the time."

They had only been meeting at the Gallery at lunchtime when he could get away, with Alec bringing lunch for her and then they'd left the shop open and people had come in and out. They had already received a few stares as the locals recognised the detective but since they were in a shop, no sly remarks were ever directed at them.

"Fine Inspector," a name that Rose had decided she was going to stick to calling him despite their intimacy because she knew he enjoyed being teased. "Why don't you surprise me?"

"Then come round my place when you get home and I'll have something special waiting for you, Sexy," he grinned.

"Then we'll never get out, Inspector, will we?" Rose laughed.

"Cross my heart and by the way, I'm glad I have an actual heart to cross, that we will keep it low key – as much as we possibly can."

"Aw, I'm disappointed now, thought it was going to be something good," she tried to be serious as she blew him a kiss.

They had enjoyed coming home, talking a little, kissing and touching a lot and having some 'Fun' after dinner usually ending with Rose losing an item of clothing and Alec building up quite a collection of Rose's underwear which he couldn't bring himself to wash and give them back to her but he supposed he would have to eventually. She would have to go buy some more at this rate, he thought.

So Rose left Alec to get on with doing his laundry and cleaning, now she thought she might get some of her underwear back but she didn't mind him keeping them as 'Trophies' but not before a long lingering kiss where Alec almost tempted her back into bed and her having to adjust some of her clothing. She smiled to herself all the way to work. Just over a week ago, she thought she had lost Alec for good and now she was happy because she had realised that for the first time in her life she really knew what love meant and it had been him who had shown her it, not the Doctor, who she still thought about but a true, deep love she had never experienced before. Between her own foolishness and Torchwood, she had nearly ruined things.

Now they were talking things out, bit by bit, each of them trying to understand what they had experienced with Rose being strong for Alec who had clearly had his world rocked by his remembrance of his dreams. Rose had thought it fortunate that he hadn't dreamt about Daleks and Cybermen when he was younger although Alec had lived through the Cybermen invasion as they'd had them in Glasgow but not as much as London and of course he'd heard what had gone on there. She was helping him come to terms with the fact that it was more than just a dream, something much more and they were trying to work it out together what it was. They were helping each other, more than they ever imagined they could because it was helping Rose to close the deep wounds she'd had when she was first left there, thinking herself abandoned and years of heartbreak.

Alec talked more and more to Rose about the dreams in that first week, for the first time in his life, someone was there for him after he had kept it to himself, not even telling his mother in fear she would have him sent away if he told her too much as she had dismissed them as schoolboy fantasies and somehow he'd never entrusted them with his ex-wife because he didn't think it felt right. Now he had found Rose, she was the one person he could trust because she believed him, told him things, filled in details he'd forgotten. Just how were the two of them so connected and how could he have almost let her go because of it? It was like their lives were meant to cross, they were meant to meet and fall in love. What forces had brought them together?

Rose toyed with the idea that somehow, she didn't know how, timelines had been manipulated between the two universes but Alec's had happened when he was younger due to the fact that this world ran ahead of the other and somehow, something had gone back in time to when he was a boy or they had seeped through time. Maybe even they had been meant to be sent to him as an adult but somehow they got lost in time. Surely the Timelords didn't exist in this universe? Did the Doctor somehow manage all this when they crash landed all those years ago? Did he somehow come back and arrange this so she would meet Alec and finally be happy because he looked like him? Or was it something more simple, sheer coincidence? No matter what it was, their lives were now intertwined and they were inseparable.

Rose opened the shop and Alec brought her lunch. She let Carly out for half an hour so they could be relatively alone, then when she got back, they disappeared into the kitchen but left the door slightly opened and began kissing, Rose giggling quietly.

When she got home, she quickly got changed into a dress she thought Alec would like and took a spare pair of underwear with her in her purse, having had to buy some more. When had she started doing that, she thought to herself, "I'll have to start a collection of Alec's shorts at this rate" but he was always too fast at pulling them on despite her protests. She looked at herself in the mirror and left to go to Alec's. Just as she came out, she saw Ellie, who she had only just really started talking to after her little intervention and she stopped. Alec had told Rose that Ellie had talked some sense into him and she was partly responsible for him stopping being an ass and coming to his senses. She told him that Ellie had been to see her as well and told her how badly he was feeling. "Right, she's sacked," he'd laughed.

"Hi, how are things with you?" Ellie asked.

"Great, partly thanks to you for telling Alec he was an idiot, for which I'm grateful."

Ellie smiled. "If you two don't have any plans tomorrow, well Alec used to come round for Sunday lunch and the boys have missed him. I always make Alec eat too much anyway so you'd both be more than welcome."

"Thanks, yeah, I'd like that, we can talk about Alec and make him squirm."

With that agreed, they said goodbye and Rose knocked on his front door, telling herself she must get Alec's spare door key and not caring any more that the neighbours were watching, they could live with it.

Alec let her in and he looked troubled. "We still going out, Inspector?" she asked.

"What – oh yes, of course we are."

She could tell things weren't right.

"Come on, spill the beans, what's up?"

"Well, I was thinking some more, trying to put a few things together since it's mostly you who does that and well, Rose, I've reached a few conclusions that I want to talk to you about."

"First things first, Inspector, you promised me you would have something special for me when I came round and you're not being let off."

His mood changed with the thought of touching Rose despite her leaving him in bed that morning. Alec pulled the curtains over even though it wasn't dark and they both drew closer, putting their hands on each other and squeezing each other then Alec moving his hand round to the front of Rose and she was already in meltdown at his touch.
They stopped for a moment and Rose said, "Don't think about it, Inspector, because I've only brought one spare pair and I'm going to have to start confiscating your shorts if you don't watch out."

"Oh, promises, promises and to put the record straight, Miss Tyler, I've washed your underwear and they are in my bedroom waiting for you."

They both smiled, then resumed what they were doing then they finally parted, Rose quite pleased she was still in possession of her underwear for a change, Alec disappointed he'd not started a new collection. There was still a while to go before they went out to dinner as he had made a reservation. They sat on the sofa and Alec turned to her.

"Rose, this other universe you come from, is it possible they had somehow collided and visions of the Tardis seeped through to me as a child? Even though I know the events you told me about happened to you only a few years ago, that somehow they bleeded back through time to me and I saw them as dreams?"

Rose stared at him, it was exactly what she had been thinking as well as her other theories. How had he come to the same conclusion?

Chapter 15

Something indeed was binding them together and it was becoming more than a mystery to them both.

"Alec, I think the same, yes that's possible. The Doctor told my mum just before we got sent here that bits of this universe were bleeding into ours. Mum didn't understand what he was saying but she remembered and she told me that he'd said there were cracks between the two universes and that they were closing. The Doctor closed the very last crack in the two universes the day I left him at Bad Wolf Bay. Somehow, I was connected to the Tardis after I absorbed the Time Vortex and he was able to communicate with me to lead me there."

Alec was listening attentively to all she had to say. It was starting to make sense. Something was binding them together.

"Rose, do you think that the Doctor somehow arranged all this?" Rose was stunned as he continued. "I mean the planting of the dreams, because I sure as hell couldn't have come up with them on my own and me coming here and you finding me, what else could it be? I wasn't even going to have that operation, I would be dead by now and here I am, with you because I had nothing to live for but something made me go through with it. I know Ellie encouraged me but it was my decision, like somehow I knew I was going to meet you."

Rose was more than surprised. It was making perfect sense the more they talked about it. She would never have trusted anyone else with what she'd told Alec that Sunday morning when she thought she'd lost him.

"Alec, I don't know what to say apart from I think we've almost nailed it. What other possible explanation could there be? The Doctor cared about me, that I do know and he knew he couldn't stay with me forever, that was his curse. So what if instead, he wanted me to be happy and after I got sent here and he couldn't get through himself, with times being different here he somehow sent those images to you but they did go back though your timeline. How he knew to direct them to you I can't guess unless he somehow looked you up when we were here the first time, saw you looked like him then he decided to do something about it after he lost me. He did disappear for a while. He knew one day he'd lose me or have to leave me if he regenerated again so what better way than to find someone who looked like him? Maybe he even had plans if I'd stayed in the other universe for me to find the Alec Hardy there?"

Alec moved closer to her and put his arm around her.

"Then the Alec Hardy from your world would be a lucky man but tough, I've got you" he smiled and he turned her face to kiss her. As they kissed some more both thought the mystery was solved but it was far from over.

They went out to dinner, Alec had chosen somewhere really nice, not where they had their 'First' date. Rose had told him about her first date with the Doctor and that they'd had chips to which Alec called him a cheapskate and what sort of date was he and Rose said she'd had to pay anyway and that's what she'd said to him at the time. It was nice now she could open up to Alec without him being jealous. There was nothing to be jealous of really. By the time they had finished eating, Alec couldn't take his eyes off her and the skimpy dress she was wearing, revealing in all the right places except he was still trying to look down it and Rose let Alec drive home just so he'd keep his hands busy other than with her but every time they stopped he would put his hand on her leg.

They piled into Rose's house, switching the lamp on and falling over each other in the process, locking the door behind them and pulling the curtains. Alec had her over the arm of the sofa before Rose's feet touched the ground, her kicking off her shoes while she grabbed his belt and unfastened his trousers as he leaned over towards her, pulling her dress up as far as it would go then reached around her back to unfasten the zip. Then he lifted Rose's dress over her head, leaned down and fell on top of her, her legs over the sofa arm.

When they were both satisfied, Alec reached to kiss her, long and hard, his tongue entwined with hers as she dug her fingers into his back. As their lips parted, he raised his body slightly, afraid of crushing her but she pulled him back on top of her.

They slowly got up from the sofa, Alec claimed the start of his new underwear collection but Rose decided she wasn't going to be beat this time and grabbed his shorts in record time, both of them with them on the end of a finger and holding them out to each other. They fell together, laughing as Alec grabbed her and she squealed. They turned out the light, heading for the stairs, gathering their clothes in their arms, there was no point in putting them on and Alec now knew what it was like for Rose having to climb the stairs since she had his shorts amongst her clothing. As the reached their bedroom, they now called it that in both their houses because it now was, they fell into bed and Alec really let go. Rose briefly thought perhaps she should get the bedroom soundproofed.

Rose had told Alec that they'd been invited for Sunday lunch at Ellie's so when they woke early to go for their run, with Alec disappearing for a few minutes to get changed, Rose had relented and let Alec 'Borrow' his shorts back to get home at a price, a snogging and touching session which he agreed was a fair exchange, then they went for their run, Rose purposely watching Alec's behind when he ran on the way there and he watching Rose's on the way back, with Rose promising no more cheating. It was when they got back, they sat on the sofa together and Rose started up her laptop and logged into the Torchwood database with Alec watching. She had given him the limited access password and he had taken another look during the week but she had promised him that on Sunday morning she would show him more. She had thoughtfully removed the desktop wallpaper of the Doctor earlier in the week.

She showed him all the photographic and written confirmation of the things she had told him about because she and Mickey had recounted many of their stories again and Rose had managed to sketch some of the aliens they had encountered. Then came the crunch. Pete's computer had captured images of the Doctor when they had been in the Tyler mansion the first time around on the fateful night the Cybermen invaded and killed everyone there and captured his first wife. Although she had shown him them before it was still a shock to him as there, in front of Alec, on the screen, was his double, unshaven and slightly younger but definitely him. Then Rose showed him the photos she had taken of the Doctor, of her with him and the one she'd had on her desktop.

Rose watched his reaction carefully. This was it, make or break. Was he going to accept it or turn and run again? Alec quickly recovered this time, because he really did love her.

All he said was, "Well, Miss Tyler, you certainly have good taste in men" and putting the laptop to one side, kissed her passionately. Then he asked her, "Rose, who have you been making love to this past week?"

"Detective Inspector Alec Hardy," she immediately replied with no hesitation. "You, Alec."

"Then that's all I need to know, the matter is closed." He turned to her, she closed the program and turned off the laptop. Alec had one more question for her though. "Is that why you were shocked when I first saw you through the window of the shop? Did you think I was him?"

Rose looked at him. "Yes, Alec, I did at first when I saw you. I panicked, made Jake the scapegoat to give me time to see how I felt but it didn't take me long to realise you were very different and I realised it was you I loved."

"Then we won't talk about it any more. I love you, Rose Tyler and I'm not afraid to say it. I'm not afraid to spend the rest of my life with you if you'll have me and I will never doubt you again, I swear."

"Alec Hardy, I love you and I never want to go back to the other universe because I'm staying here, with you."

With that, they fell into each others arms and fell back on the sofa, tugging and pulling. Rose was still a bit tired so she snuggled in Alec's arms and chest and closed her eyes while Alec was content to run his hands up and down her legs through her thin leggings. This is where she wanted to be. Comfortable, happy and loved and at that moment, she knew she was all three.

Lunchtime arrived and Alec went to do a quick change and agreed to meet Rose at Ellie's. Rose got there first and introduced herself to Tom and Fred. She instantly took to Fred, he reminded her so much of her brother when he was younger. She offered to help Ellie finish getting lunch ready and they began finding out a little about each other. Ellie seemed more interested in what was happening between Rose and Alec but Rose was keeping quiet, only letting on that they were 'dating' and were now getting along just fine. She thanked Ellie again for her little intervention that had given Alec the kick start he needed but she didn't go into any details as to what had happened. All Ellie knew was that Rose had to tell him something about her past that didn't go down well. She knew they would work it out because Alec had been like a love sick puppy for a week. When Alec arrived, the two of them giggled, making him feel they had just been talking about him. They enjoyed a pleasant afternoon, with Alec kicking a football around with the boys and Rose thinking how good he was with them and that she was getting way too ahead of herself with that train of thought.

After the big lunch at Ellie's they decided to go for a walk rather than a run along where they had been in the morning, taking their time, talking and laughing with Alec grunting an "afternoon" to people he recognised along the way. He stopped suddenly as he came across a couple with a small baby in a pushchair and looked a bit flustered. The woman spoke first, looking down to see Alec's hand in Rose's.

"Afternoon, Detective Inspector."

"Mrs Latimer," he acknowledged. "Erm, this is Miss Rose Tyler, she's just opened a picture gallery here in the town," he stuttered, letting go of her hand as Rose grabbed it quickly back.

"Nice to meet you Mrs Latimer," as Rose reached out her right hand. She recognised the woman's name immediately after Alec had told her about the Latimer case.

The woman hesitated, then shook Rose's hand. "And you, Miss Tyler. I see you've already made a friend," looking at the pair of them. "I'm glad you've found someone, Detective."

Alec still looked a bit awkward as they said goodbye and he and Rose walked on. Rose asked him why he was so awkward with the meeting and he just shook it off and insisted it was due to the recent events and that he'd get over it.

They walked back to Alec's house, it was his turn to play host. Rose kicked off her shoes and made herself comfy on the sofa, hardly leaving room for Alec who was making drinks. He saw that she had done this on purpose, put the cups down, lifted her legs and sat down, still holding them up in the air. Rose let out a giggle, telling him he should put them down but instead, ran his hand up the back of one leg, despite her wearing trousers that afternoon. He got up to pull the curtains over, darkening the room slightly, just how they liked it.

"Bit early for a sofa romp, Inspector?" Rose teased.

"Never too early, Miss Tyler," came the reply "but you can drink your tea first if you want, you're going to need it."

They quickly had their drinks and Alec claimed another trophy.

"You can collect your clean ones from the bedroom whenever you want, Rosie, I won't charge you for the laundry," he teased her.

She soon had his t-shirt off and his trousers but decided to tease him by leaving his shorts. Rose found they had become much more adventurous on the sofa, they both enjoyed it immensely because of the limited room which made it so much better when they went to bed.

Afterwards, they watched TV for a while and Alec went out later for some takeaway, borrowing Rose's car again. She complained he drove it more than she did and he said only because she wouldn't let him be a passenger because he distracted her. They had talked some more about Alec's theory of his dreams, drawing to the conclusion that something had indeed drawn them together, for the good of both of them. They had both been so lonely until they met. They needed each other and Alec found he had needs more than he had let on to himself, denying any pleasure for so many years.

He'd blamed it on his workload but he now knew it was because he'd not met the right woman, his Rosie. Now he was accepting he could have a future with someone, if she'd let him and he was fairly certain she wanted the same with him. He had let someone into his very private world even the parts he'd not shared with his ex-wife and he was glad he'd finally been able to do so. It had lifted the weight from his shoulder that no-one else had been able to do and now he had someone to share the load with despite Rose having her own burden which now he was able to take.

They had become close in the space of a few weeks, now being even more intimate with each other. The odd touching discreetly when out, legs under the table and the kssing in the back of the shop all added to the excitement they shared together.

Chapter 16

Over the next few weeks it became apparent they were spending all their time together, in and out of each others' house alternatively, both having keys. Rose was having her house paid for by Torchwood so she was living rent free so she wondered how she could bring up the subject without ruining Alec's independence. A few weeks after they had made up after Alec's initial shock and spending a tortuous week apart, Rose found she wasn't the only one with the same idea.

One Friday night, she went to Alec's after work and let herself in after getting changed, planning a nice dinner for him with candles and everything when her mobile rang. It was her mum wanting to know if things had settled down, was Rose still upset and did she want her to sort Alec out for her? One thing her mother could do was sort out her men for her, good and proper, usually resulting in them getting a slap on the face. She assured her mother things were going well both with the shop and with Alec.

"Well at least I know where you are now sweetheart," she said. "And you're not travelling about all over the place and you're not with a 900 year old alien either," she added for good measure.

"Mum, don't bring that up again. I'm over the Doctor, I love Alec and it's not because he reminded me of him when we first met, he's nothing like him."

"Well it's about time we met him then, don't you think?" her mother said indignantly. "Or are you going to keep him tucked away?"

"I'll talk to him about it but I'm not promising anything. It's up to him." Then Rose added, "Why don't you and Tony come down for a few days, there's a holiday coming up soon and you could meet him then. Dad too, if he's not working."

Jackie thought about it. "I could get Jake to drive us down, we could stay with you."

Rose was horrified. How could she tell her Mum that Alec and her were sleeping together, he'd surely get more than a slap on the face then.

"Well, there's only one spare room, not much room for the both of you, maybe you could stay at the same hotel I did when I first arrived?"

"Nonsense, Rose. Doesn't Alec live next door? Tony could stay there, he's old enough now."

Now Rose had really put her foot in it. Three days of her mum's royal visit would really put the mockers on her and Alec's love life. She told her mum she'd ask Alec about it and get back to her. That appeased Jackie for the time being.

Rose continued preparing dinner for Alec who soon came home. He had hardly got his jacket off when she pounced on him, nearly knocking him off balance. He didn't mind, he now looked forward to coming home to have Rose waiting for him and he for her on Saturdays. They always lingered in the entryway, getting touchy feely with each other and kissing long and hard though no clothing was yet shed at this point, that came later. They sat down for dinner, Alec lighting the candles after pulling the curtains. They didn't like sitting in the window in plain view whilst eating. Rose nearly always wore a very low necked dress or top, the shorter the better as Alec so kindly put it. He liked looking at her whilst they ate. Rose was wearing a short, low necked black dress with a white trim. After clearing up, Rose decided to leave the subject of her mother's call until later, catch him in a good mood after their sofa time.

Just as Alec was about to push her down over the arm of the sofa he stopped.

"Rosie, sweetheart, you know were are always in and out of each other's houses all the time, well it's just, I don't want to rush you but maybe we should really think about if living next door to each other is really practical."

Rose took it the wrong way, she thought he was maybe getting cold feet over them spending time in each others' houses all the time and needed some time to breathe.

"Well, if you're thinking about moving, then where would you go? Do you need some time to be on your own because don't move just for the sake of that. You can have as much space as you want, I don't want to you think I'm smothering you."

She sat down on the sofa arm, Alec looking at her, puzzled.

"Is that what you think? Rosie, you've got the wrong idea. You're not smothering me, I love spending all my time with you. When you're out all day Saturday and we're both at work, that's way too much time away from you. I didn't mean to move away from you, I meant for you to move in with me, or me with you, whichever."

"Really Alec?" she laughed. "I was wondering how to tell you it was daft us both living next door to each other and taking it in turns. It seems great minds think alike, Inspector."

They both laughed.

"Then, my sweet Rosie, we had better start making some plans," to which she let herself fall backwards onto the sofa, grabbing him on the way down until he was on top of her with her legs still over the sofa arm.

He sat down beside her, his arm around her waist.

"Rosie, sweetheart, there's one other thing I wanted to talk to you about that's been worrying me. I didn't want to alarm you because it's maybe nothing but the last few nights, I've been woken with very vivid dreams, about the Police Box, dreams where I'm no longer a boy and last night, you were there."

Rose looked surprised to say the least.

"What's happening Alec? Have we been talking about it too much that your mind is running away with you? That means there is something else at work here, something we don't understand yet. We have to find out what it all means. If you keep having these dreams Alec, you should wake me when you do, you need to talk about them right away, you can't bottle them up."

Alec took her hand in his.

"I don't like to wake you, Rosie, I can handle them as long as I can talk to you later about them. This means that we are getting closer to the truth, maybe if I continue to have them now, I'll remember more about them, now I can actually talk to someone about them. It was because I hid them as a child that I forgot them, now I'll be able to make sense of them with your help because you've seen it all Rosie, you've been there."

She held on to him, he was stroking her back, her arm around his.

"Alec, we'll find out together, I promise, we'll figure it out."

Any thoughts about her mum's visit were pushed from her mind as they waited a while then went to bed before Rose fell asleep on the sofa. Alec wanted her to be very awake.

Rose went off to work the following morning, leaving Alec eating his breakfast once she had pried him out of bed. They made it a regular occurrence to go out on Saturday night, Alec was liking showing off Rose to anyone who dared to look at her. He hadn't noticed he'd been getting a bit possessive lately, not that he had to worry about her being distracted, he knew Rose wouldn't look at another man while she was out with him, they were quite sure of each other on that point. He was also sure she wouldn't look at another man full stop, or at least he liked to think so.

Before she went to work they agreed that before they went out, they would discuss their living arrangements and that Alec would bring her lunch. The Gallery was getting quite busy, the season just starting so the day went fast, brightened mainly by Alec's visit. Carly was getting quite used to being kicked out for half an hour so they could be relatively alone, she didn't mind, she got paid for it. She secretly admired the pair for being so coy that they didn't think she knew what was going on. She was sixteen and she knew about boys, she smiled on her way out. She also guessed what the two of them were up to in the kitchen upon her return.

It was almost closing time, Rose was getting ready to place her order on Monday morning when the doorbell rang. She wasn't taking much notice, Carly was there. Suddenly there was an "Hmm" and Rose knew it immediately, it was Mickey. She looked up to confirm it and there he was, larger than life.

"Rose, aren't you going to say hello?"

"Hello," she managed back. "What you doing here?"

"Nice to see you too. Thought I'd come down for the weekend and look you up since you never phone or text me."

Rose looked at Carly. "Carly, this is an old friend of mine from London, Mickey."


"Hi, Carly, nice to meet you."

"Why don't you get off, it's almost closing time?" Rose suggested as handed her wages over to her in an envelope. "See you next week," Rose called as Carly left the shop.

Mickey just looked at Rose. "Thought you'd be glad to see a friendly face around here. Did you miss me?" he grinned, waving his arms around.

Rose had begged her mum, Jake and Pete not to tell Mickey about Alec, she wasn't ready to tell him yet. All the time she had pined for the Doctor, Mickey had been silently wishing she would take him back but he never said anything. He thought she didn't know but she did. She couldn't bring herself to tell him she had fallen in love with Alec, the Doctor's double, she didn't want him to make a scene or worse. She didn't know how he'd react especially since she and Alec were practically living together and on the verge of doing so.

"You should have told me you were coming down, Mickey, I have already got plans for tonight. You can't come waltzing down here and expect me to…." She trailed off.

"What Rose? Expect you to welcome me with open arms? That's not me, I just expected you to be glad to see me, maybe spend the weekend together, cheer you up a bit. You must be lonely down here after all this time."

It had been almost two months and she hadn't realized, she'd been so wrapped up with Alec and his birthday was coming up and she was planning something really special for him. She had told Alec about Mickey but not the other way round. Now she was going to have to face the music with Mickey.

Mickey looked at her. "Is there something you're trying to tell me Rose? Have you got a boyfriend here or something?"

Rose looked at him sheepishly and managed a quiet "Yes."

"Oh, I suppose it never occurred to me really, you were in such a state when you left in a hurry. You never came back to say goodbye properly, you just got your stuff and had the rest sent down. I only knew you were staying because Jake told me. He said nothing about a boyfriend though. I thought you were still love sick over the Doctor?"

Rose decided it was best if she came clean, in part.

"Yes, I've found someone, he's a police detective inspector and his name's Alec."

Mickey was surprised when she admitted it so quickly, he thought she'd deny it and wasn't quite prepared for it. He was going to be in for a bigger surprise when he met Alec.

There was no getting around it. He'd come all that way, Rose had to at least introduce him but wasn't ready to disclose the extent of her relationship with Alec with him.

"We have dinner plans tonight, but you can follow me to my place and you can meet him, if you want."

That wasn't quite what Mickey was expecting when he'd come to visit. He expected a quiet, miserable Rose but had found the opposite. Rose called Alec to say she had a visitor and was bringing him to her house. Alec was already there but he had the sense to catch on and when they arrived, he'd gone home. He came round shortly after Rose got back and the fireworks erupted.

Not only was Mickey surprised when Rose said she lived next door to Alec but he suffered a shock when Alec knocked on the door, not using his key and Rose let him in.

"What the?" was all Mickey could manage, looking stunned. "How the hell did you get here and why did you change your name and what's with the beard?" he addressed Alec.

Alec and Rose laughed and she put him out of his misery.

"Mickey, this is Detective Inspector Alec Hardy from Broadchurch Police. Alec, this is Mickey Smith."

Alec held out his hand, he'd heard all about Mickey, knew he used to be Rose's boyfriend a long time ago and not in this universe. Anyone from her past in the other universe was ancient history in his mind, her life now was all he was concerned with.

"Nice to meet you at last, Mickey, Rose has told me so much about you."

Mickey stared in disbelief as if he was seeing things, he could be like that, Rose remembered. She went to make coffee, leaving them alone and hoping they would play nicely.

Alec made the first move. "So, Mickey, not quite what you expected to find then, am I?"

Mickey still hadn't found his voice. Alec continued.

"Rose thought exactly the same the first time we met, she thought I was him too. Before you look too surprised though, I know all about him, all about Rose's past and it's fine. I accept that she had a life before she came here, but her life is here now, with me."

Rose came back in, handed out the drinks and Alec put his arm around her, protectively, making it quite clear he had laid claim to her and though he was not jealous of Rose's past, he was telling Mickey in no uncertain terms that she was his now. Mickey seemed to be recovering slightly and looked Alec in the eye.

"I can see that, you're making it quite clear. For the record, I didn't come here to bring Rose back home, I came because I thought she was all alone and I can see I shouldn't have been worried. I'm sure she's in good hands, you being the Police."

Rose could see he was hiding his disappointment badly, she knew why he'd come. She was trying to make it easy on him by not telling him any more than he needed to know. Her life was indeed now with Alec, that she was sure of. She was over the Doctor, over Mickey and over with her old life. They talked for a while with Rose asking what was going on at Torchwood and did everyone miss her? Asking him if he'd got a girlfriend yet and how he should do after she had finally found someone. All the while, she and Alec were sat hand in hand on the sofa, he was stroking her arm then it was round her back and was looking quite at home and Alec was clearly marking his territory with one eye on Rose and the other on Mickey telling him silently that Rose was happy and he loved her.

Chapter 17

Mickey made his excuses and left after they made arrangements to meet him for lunch the following day in the town. Mickey was not happy when he left, who the hell did this Alec Hardy think he was? How dare he look like the Doctor, he might as well have been the way Rose was looking at him the way she used to look at the Doctor and was all over him and Hardy telling him in no uncertain terms Rose belonged to him. He might as well have a big flashing sign saying 'Rose is mine, back off" He remembered it well, that sickly feeling when the Doctor had regenerated and became a bit too pretty for Mickey's liking with Rose swooning all over him. But he'd lost her long before the regeneration happened when Rose ran off into the Police Box for the first time.

Now she had been smitten with his double, how could she? Didn't she see it? Now he knew he had to do something, Rose was making a big mistake and she couldn't see it. He had to stop her before she did anything stupid and he could tell by the way they looked at each other that they were sleeping together and they were trying to get rid of him. He'd not seen that look in Rose's eyes for a long time and he didn't like how it was for Alec and not him and if he couldn't have her, he sure as hell wasn't going to let this Hardy bloke have her.

Mickey thought he'd got over Rose after all this time but seeing the two of them together was too much. They'd had the nerve to hold hands in front of him, goodness knows what Hardy's other hand was doing behind her back. He drove off back to his hotel to think it over, what could he do to get Rose away from Alec? Try to break them up? No, that would make Rose hate him but if he did it in a subtle way, bit by bit, dig up the dirt on the detective inspector and making her see he was far from perfect, he might, just might do enough damage to put her off him at least, come back home and he would be there to pick up the pieces. Just like he'd done when he stood by and watched her heart break at Bad Wolf Bay. She'd not wanted him back then but now, having her heart broken again with the Doctor's double, she may let him back into her life. By the time he got back to the hotel he was starting to make plans.


When Mickey left, Rose had turned to Alec and apologised for dumping him in at the deep end. He knew about Mickey of course and wasn't in the least bit jealous, or so he thought but with Mickey paying an unexpected visit he wasn't prepared for, he'd been unable to stop himself from making it perfectly clear that Rose was now his and had proceeded to show it. Rose had not looked too happy herself at him showing up at the shop, let alone bringing him home but Alec thought she had done the right thing in introducing them and that Mickey would just have to man up to it and accept that Rose had chosen him and they were together, hopefully for the rest of their lives. He told Rose everything was okay and he loved her and that was it as she snuggled up to him and kissed him. They had held hands in front of Mickey, with him having one arm around her back.


Rose couldn't tell Alec enough that she was sorry about Mickey turning up just like that. She wasn't happy about it. She snuggled up to Alec, kissed him tenderly and Alec responded by telling her he loved her. She had told him about how Mickey was her boyfriend back on the other world but never expected the two of them would meet, she had purposely not told Mickey about Alec for that very reason. She had been able to tell that Alec had hardly been able to stop from being jealous even though he'd nothing to be jealous of, he knew she was his but he'd certainly made that clear to Mickey in no uncertain terms. While they had been holding hands in front of Mickey, she had tried not to smirk too much with Alec's other hand being busy elsewhere as he had purposely crossed his arm.


They went out to dinner as planned, their encounter with Mickey putting neither of them off. Alec complimented Rose when she came down from getting dressed to go out but was bitterly disappointed he wasn't allowed to go help her get dressed. He said he'd have to just settle for helping her undress when they got back instead. They tried a new Chinese restaurant further up in the town that he'd heard about and they had a nice evening out, Alec was driving so he only had one drink, Rose went full out and had two, saying he'd better not take advantage of her, he said if he did, he'd have to arrest himself. They had both laughed. As they drove home, Rose was quiet and he noticed it as they usually chatted about anything that came to mind. He said nothing until they got back, being his turn to have Rose in his bed. They had put off talking about moving in together with Mickey's visit and agreed they'd discuss it in the morning when they'd been for their run. Rose already had a few things at his house, including Alec's new collection of her underwear, her having taken the others home eventually and he'd started yet another collection.

When they got back, he asked her what was wrong, he wanted to cheer her up.

"Let's not talk about it Alec, let's just go to bed. It's not worth bothering about, really," Rose insisted.

"Rosie, come on, is it Mickey's visit that's upset you?" Rose looked back at him. He put his arms around her neck and began kissing it softly and whispering in her ear, "Okay, Sexy, I want you in my bed, now" and he lowered his arms to her waist and steered her towards the stairs, turning out the light on the way. He held her all the way up to the bedroom, only stopping to let her go into the bathroom, then he went through the bedroom door to wait for her. It only took her a few minutes to join him. Any sadness that had been there a few minutes earlier was gone, her beautiful smile had returned when she saw Alec standing there in just his shorts.

As she closed the bedroom door, Alec turned her around and unzipped her dress, letting it fall on the floor as she stepped out of it, kicking her shoes off as she let him help her out of her dress. He turned her around to look at her and let out a whistle then smiled from ear to ear. Without either of them speaking, he took her by the hand and led her over to the bed, pulled back the sheets then they fell onto the bed and Alec turned out the bedside lamp.

They woke up when Alec's alarm went off, which he'd set for them to go running, wrapped in each other's arms. Rose was spread out over Alec with her head just on the pillow, nuzzling his neck while he was supporting her from falling off him, he didn't want her to leave him. Alec turned off the alarm trying not to disturb her too much but she stirred slightly. As she opened one eye she saw him watching her. He gently moved her so he could kiss her he loved her waking up with him, her response as she was only half awake to let him touch her while kissing her. As they both woke up properly, Alec slid from under her and started to go get his shower, hoping Rose would join him after asking her if she was going to and getting no reply. "One day," he thought and wondered exactly why she never did as Sunday was the only time they really got up at the same time with Rose leaving later than him but before him on Saturdays. He was in for a pleasant surprise as the bathroom door opened and then the shower door as she squeezed in next to him.

"Room for one more Inspector? Move over," she teased as she pressed up to him.

He obliged by moving up to the shower wall so they could both be under the water wondering why she had chosen that morning to take the plunge so to speak. Not that he was complaining as she got as close as she could while he rubbed her back with the shower gel, having already rinsed his off. Slowing covering every inch of her with the gel then letting the water rinse it away was Alec's idea of the start of a perfect day with Rose and hoped there would be lots more Sunday morning starts like this in the future. He didn't even wonder any more why she'd not joined him before but wished she had done as he now he found how enjoyable it was.


Rose knew the reason why she didn't usually accept his invitation to shower with him, it was because of her dream, the one where she and the Doctor were lying in the sea making love. That was the only thing she had never revealed to Alec, how could she? Dreams of having sex with a 900 year old alien from another world, he would think it weird to say the least. No, she would have to keep those to herself, no matter how much else she told Alec, that was definitely not on the menu. Plus the fact she had been near the water when saying her last goodbye to the Doctor.

It was the last remnant of her putting off having a shower with Alec, one she wanted to be rid of for good. That morning seemed to her like just as good as any other so when she saw Alec disappear through the bedroom door, she waited a few minutes letting him think she wasn't going to join him again, then climbed out of bed, hesitated a few seconds, should she, shouldn't she? She had to get over this, if she was going to spend her life with Alec, he was going to be sorely disappointed if she couldn't even get in the shower with him after they had made love.

So, opening the bedroom door, having slipped on her robe, she tentatively opened the bathroom door, saw Alec's outline behind the shower door, draped a towel over the one Alec had already placed there, opened it and took off her robe and asked him to move over. Standing in the shower, pressed up against him, letting him cover her back in shower gel, any further thoughts of the beach went completely from her mind and she couldn't believe she'd been missing out on this for so long.

Both refreshed from their shower, kissing after the gel had been rinsed off Rose, Alec turned off the water and reached for a towel to dry Rose, taking his time as he did it. Their first shower together had been sensational and special, they had sealed their love even more. Rose had a smile on her face as he dried her, then he insisted she get dressed while he dried but she wanted to stay, just putting on her robe and watching him getting dried. He said he didn't trust her to dry him and that they'd end up taking another shower, a cold one if she did. They just laughed. They got dressed for their morning run together, walking across the street holding hands. They waved to Ellie who happened to be looking out of the window, it looked like little Fred had got up early again.

Rose meant to speak to Ellie later to offer her a break from time to time by looking after Fred for a while so she could do things on her own for a few hours. She had spoken to Alec about it and he agreed but they'd babysit together if it was in the evening. After their run, they were debating to put off their lunch with Mickey because they needed to let Ellie know they wouldn't be round soon so she wouldn't get anything ready. It was already half past eight and Rose was about to call Mickey when Alec stopped her.

"Sweetheart, Rosie, don't let him get to you, we'll go and if he gives you a hard time we'll just leave."

Rose put her phone down. "I don't want to start a fight with me playing piggy in the middle, Alec. I'm not a toy to be fought over. I saw you both yesterday and it was uncomfortable for me. I didn't tell Mickey about you for a reason. He was jealous over the Doctor, he even wormed his way into travelling with us when I made it clear I was no longer his girlfriend, he still followed me. I told him to move on and he didn't. He even came back for me when the Cybermen invaded my own world after he stayed in this one because he knew I didn't want him. He's as stubborn as a mule and he won't give in Alec, he'll keep doing this. So I'm not going to give him the ammunition, I'm not playing his game. I love you, Alec and nothing he says or does is going to change that. I know why he came here and it's not going to work, no matter what."

"Have you finished, Miss Tyler?" Alec asked.

Rose smiled at him. "I've said my party piece, Inspector."

"Good, then hand me your phone, please and I'll put an end to this right now."

Rose handed him her phone and he found Mickey's number.

"Please Alec, don't use your official capacity as a police officer to warn him off will you?" she begged him.

"Not unless I need to, Rosie, I'll just give him the facts and tell him you don't want to meet with him because it makes you uncomfortable and ask him to leave you alone in future. It's his choice. If he takes my advice and leaves then all well and good, if not, it becomes official, then it's out of my hands."

He dialled Mickey's number, Mickey sounded surprised it was Alec's voice, obviously expecting it to be Rose. Alec spoke briefly to him, relaying what Rose had said, that she'd been uncomfortable by his visit, that he should have called her first. Then he told him that Rose didn't want him to contact her again, not unless it was for business purposes. He told him they had cancelled their lunch date with him and that Rose was upset by his visit yesterday, adding that this was a friendly approach and that Mickey should respect Rose's privacy of not wanting him to visit again.

He told Mickey that Rose was now his and his concern, he was taking care of her now and he would take very great care of her. He also added that Rose had suspected the reason for his visit despite him stating why he had come. Rose, he said was adamant that nothing he said or did was going to change her mind about how she felt about himself, no matter what and if he had planned to do or say anything to persuade her otherwise then he may as well save his time and not bother trying.

He added for good measure that he would protect Rose from any attempts to upset her again and if it meant in an official capacity then he was willing to go to that extent. He said goodbye and pressed the end call button and handed the phone back to Rose then took her in his arms and held her there, not wanting to let her go, to protect her and promised her he would always protect her, no matter what. He'd lost her once for a week and that was far too long.

They went to Ellie's for lunch as usual, saying nothing to her about Rose's unwanted visitor. Alec decided he would recruit her help if necessary, if it got out of hand which he has a nasty suspicion it would. He was hoping he was wrong though but was prepared to go to great lengths to prevent Rose from further upset. She had been through enough, she didn't need this just when their relationship had become stable and they were thinking about moving in together. He smiled at Rose across the table reassuringly. He'd cheer her when they got back to his house. He would drop the subject for now, let her calm down a bit with a bit of their regular 'romp on the sofa' as he put it as he smirked to himself.

Chapter 18

When Mickey got back to his hotel after realising he'd not eaten all day, he lay on his hotel bed thinking of how many ways he could dig up the dirt on one Detective Inspector Alec Hardy. He cursed himself because in his haste he'd neglected to bring his laptop with him not thinking he'd have cause to need it. How wrong he'd been. It would have been the perfect weapon to dig up dirt on this 'Pretty Boy' Alec Hardy. He had resented meeting him, he looked far too much alike to a certain alien that he thought Rose had finally got rid of after being stranded here.

The light had been shining at the end of the tunnel bringing hope that there was still half a chance he could win her back but no, she had been adamant she wasn't interested, spending all her time pining for her Doctor. He should have given up, anyone else would but he was Mickey Smith and he didn't give up that easily, no sir. He'd had a rough couple of years trying to forget Rose when he'd chosen to stay and watch her fly off yet again with another man, knowing she only had eyes for the Timelord.

He'd looked after his old Gran, making her comfortable in her last years, something he'd not been able to do before and he'd told Jake in no uncertain terms he was definitely not Ricky so after that they had become best mates. Until Rose was in trouble in the other universe and he'd gone back like the idiot he was to save her, only to be shunned again when it was over. Well, not this time sunshine, no way, he was not giving up after seeing her with Hardy, that had been the final straw and he'd all but snapped right there and then in Rose's house.

He had fought to keep his cool, making his excuses to leave after nearly feeling sick just watching them together showing off in front of him. This was far more serious than it had been with the Doctor, Rose was in it too deep. He saw what they were like, she had never demonstrated any affection in front of him with another man before. He hoped he was not too late to be able to change her mind but just how could he do it that wouldn't leave her hating him for it, to make her come running back to him even after all this time.

It would have to wait until Monday, he'd find an Internet Café or the local library and access Alec Hardy's police files and do a search on him and if that didn't work, he'd use his Torchwood access to do it. He planned on ringing his London office on Monday to say he was taking a few days leave, they owed him months actually. He slept as best he could, going over it in his mind, sleep was often the time he had his best ideas. He had planned to go meet them for lunch on Sunday but thought he might bring it all back up and choke on it if he did. He'd wait until a decent hour and tell Rose he wasn't going to be able to make it. He'd put the time to better use and seek out places to get internet access for Monday.

He wandered around his room on Sunday morning, wondering where he could get breakfast, it was still early in the season and the hotel didn't seem to be offering food. He walked out of the hotel at around 0800 and spied a café across the street that was open so he sat down and ordered breakfast. He'd just finished when his phone rang to the sound of the Tardis, his ringtone for Rose which now seemed a bit cheesy.

"Hi, Rose," he answered, trying to sound like nothing was wrong.

Something was very wrong, it was not her voice, it was Hardy's. He listened in silence, letting the man speak. He was being told in no uncertain terms to get out of town before Hardy ran him out, permanently. He sat listening, not even able to utter a word and the man hung up saying something about protecting Rose. He just sat there staring at his empty plate, got up and walked out. He walked further down the street and crossed over to sit on a bench by the sea wall.

He got his phone out, to ring back and changed his mind. He knew Hardy wouldn't let him speak to Rose, not even read a text message, he'd not come up against this before with her. Somehow, the Doctor always allowed him to have some sort of friendship with her, even if it wasn't a close one but at least he still got to see her. The Doctor hadn't appeared to be jealous or possessive, unlike this Hardy bloke was turning out to be. If Hardy was trying to scare him off, he had another thing coming.

He didn't care if he was the police or not, Hardy was not running him out of town and it was only going to make him more determined than ever to get Rose away from this borderline possessive police inspector. He got up and wandered further up into the town itself, seeking out somewhere he could find a computer. He had all day now, lunch being cancelled which he was glad about. At least he didn't have to watch them showing off in front of him again, it made him sick thinking about it. Had they thought he'd not seen them the previous day? He might be an idiot but he wasn't blind. Having no luck of finding anywhere to put his plan into action, he trod back to his hotel, stopping at his car to get out a map. He'd have to go to a neighbouring town the next day.


When Alec and Rose got back to his house after lunch at Ellie's, she said she was okay and didn't want to talk about what had happened that morning and the previous afternoon. She was perfectly okay with Alec taking the phone from her to avoid her getting upset any more than she already was. She had become more dependant on Alec to look after her and she liked it. Having been on her own for so long, depending on her parents and friends, she had finally found someone who would really take care of her. How dare Mickey come down here with no warning and start her off all over again? Her heart had sunk when she had seen him standing there in the shop. At first she had tried to be civil but found she couldn't. Hadn't she made it plain to him so many times she was not interested in getting back together? Was the Doctor right calling him 'Mickey The Idiot?' Because that's what he'd been, he couldn't get the message no matter how plain she'd made it. Didn't he understand the concept of 'sometimes boyfriend?'

She had grown up, fast and moved on. That's what people did – normal people. They had boyfriends and girlfriends by the dozen by the time they were ready to settle down, they didn't necessarily take off with the first boy or girl they met, did they? She had some room to talk, she thought, "I've just got my first boyfriend in goodness knows how long and we have practically moved in together." They only had to decide who was moving where. "Bit rich coming from you, Rose Tyler!" She was thankful Alec had dropped the subject for now with him deciding to cheer her by having their now regular 'sofa romp.' They spent the afternoon, wrapped up on the sofa, catching up on a bit of news on the TV. Rose was doing her best to keep from getting upset again, Alec reassuring her he wouldn't let Mickey upset her again but promising he wouldn't get involved officially just yet.

Alec got up for work on Monday morning before Rose did, leaving her in bed for another hour or so, she didn't open the shop until 10am "Part-timer," he'd tease her. "Workaholic," she'd tease him back. He had decided he would look up a certain Mickey Smith when he got to work, just in case. He knew however this would be unlikely because he came from the other universe. It was still worth a try though and had mentally retained the password for the Torchwood database so he got to his office early and logged in before Ellie arrived. He got the basics, spotless record, fairly high up in the organization just ranking below Rose. That wasn't enough information though because his records didn't go back that far. He tried a broader search using the inbuilt Torchwood search engine but still nothing worthwhile came up. He didn't want to alert Rose to his search just yet even to get her access code. He closed the program and got back to work figuring he might have to take this higher. Perhaps it was time he introduced himself to Mr Peter Tyler.


Mickey Smith was on a mission. He got up early, went to find some breakfast and studied the map. There were a few nearby towns to choose from, he'd surely find somewhere with public internet access. He'd try the library but didn't have a membership card. He drove to the nearest town and parked up. Looking around for a bit he spied what he wanted. "Ha! Now I've got him," he thought triumphantly. "Eat dust, Mr Hardy." He paid for access and tried a general search, getting results from the police website. Usual stuff, nothing personal, pity. He was unsure as to the security of using a public computer to access the Torchwood database and only wanted to use it as a last resort. He would usually clear his internet history and any other traces on his own but didn't have the clearance on a public one. He would either have to wait until he got back to London or buy a new laptop.

All the time he was wishing something would come up on a search but he knew nothing about the man other than his name, rank and he was from Scotland, somewhere. He tried a few more searches and not gaining anything useful, left the shop. He could ring Jake, he surely knew about him but he was Rose's best friend and would alert her. He could ring the office, get them to search but they would probably report to Jake as soon as he mentioned her name – unless he didn't mention Rose's name. There again, Jake probably already knew about Hardy and was under strict instructions from her not to tell him anything. Think, think, think. When had he become so jealous to resort to such a thing?

Thinking back, he was only slightly jealous of the first Doctor, he wasn't exactly going to win any beauty contests but then 'Pretty Boy' had materialised and he'd started to get worried, worming his way into the Tardis to keep an eye on things. Only when he saw them together the first time they landed here had he realised he had lost Rose for good so he decided to stay. No, he decided, Rose is definitely not going to be any better off having a double as a substitute Doctor and he was determined to do something about it, whether she would come back to him or not. If he couldn't have her, neither could Alec Hardy. He hardly noticed he was being consumed by this, not normally being his nature but he'd been trod on too many times and was about to take no more. He was also not aware that Alec's name was being monitored by Torchwood at Rose's request.


Rose let herself out of Alec's house and went home to get changed. Ellie had already taken the kids off to school and private nursery. She was going to suggest she could maybe help her by dropping one of them off so she wouldn't have to rush around. It would give her a reason not to linger in bed thinking about how she was missing Alec when he'd only just left after she had 'Detained' him longer than she should have by saying they should try it wearing handcuffs. She went off to work as usual, hoping she wouldn't encounter a certain someone on the way or in the shop.

As she sat in the shop going through any new items from her London office on her laptop, she found a note from Jake saying he wasn't sure but he thought that Mickey was on his way to see her and telling her he'd not said anything about Alec. "Bit late, Jake," she thought, "Why didn't you just text me?" There was also a note from a team member saying that there had been some unusual search patterns coming in from two spots near her current location, one seeking information on a team member but had logged in using a recognised user name and password given for limited access and one seeking information on a certain Police Detective who had been flagged before trying to seek information on her that had not been directed from a secure Torchwood connection but on a general search engine.

She knew all information pertaining to team members was monitored, regardless of where they came from and she had asked Pete to clear Alec for limited access and as a matter of course, anyone seeking information on a newly added user was also monitored as well as her own request for it to be done. She knew only one person could have done this. She didn't want to worry Alec at this stage because he would have launched a full scale police investigation so she rang Jake. He was glad to hear from her.

Rose greeted him with a "Bit late for that piece of info you sent me Jake."

"Well, Rose I wasn't sure but he was asking about you on Friday but I didn't want to worry you in case it was nothing. I didn't tell him about you and Alec and so he didn't know he is the Doctor's double."

"Well Jake, it's too late, he's already here and he's met Alec so I need your help but don't tell Pete just yet."

"Just name it Rose, what can I do?"

She told him about the note she'd had about Mickey trying to access any information on Alec.

"Jake, I'm worried that Mickey is going to do something really stupid. He's got this jealous streak all of a sudden and I think he might be going to try to discredit Alec in some bizarre misguided attempt to try to split us up. I don't know what he'll do or what lengths he'll go to. Jake, can you block every single piece of information about Alec and flag it if Mickey uses his secure access code? He's only done a general search so far but if he gets a secure connection he'll log in and find out everything he needs to know and can you make it so only I can log in and get it?"

She knew Jake was clever with things like that but she also knew so was Mickey, he could find his way around passwords and codes as he'd hacked into the Lumic database when they first landed here.

"Rose, I can make it so that you can be alerted and block it with your own password, just use the link I send you to set it up. Something he'll never guess, something personal to you. Then when he comes across the prompt to log in, you'll get to know. If by some miracle he cracks the code, I'll make it so his access is withdrawn instantly without you having to do it. All Alec's files from Torchwood and any search engine will then be blocked but it will be to everyone, not just him. It can be lifted at any time though."

"That would be really great, can you do that, please?"

Jake could tell she must be desperate to go to this much trouble to protect Alec. He thought that since he left just a few weeks ago, Rose must have really fallen heavily for this bloke. "Good on her," he thought.

So Jake set everything up at his end, sent Rose the link and she came up with a very cryptic password that was very personal. That done, everything was soon in place. Jake said he should let Pete know roughly what was going on but Rose insisted for him to leave it for now. Just to tell him that Mickey was in Broadchurch and that she didn't want to see him and not to worry, Alec was taking care of it. She said goodbye to Jake telling him she owed him one. She felt a whole lot better when she got off the phone with Jake. She sent Alec a text, asking him if he wanted dinner at home, it was his turn to make it or go out somewhere. He replied by saying home and it was her turn but he'd split the difference if she made it at his house and help her if she promised not to wear a bra under her dress. She just replied, you're on, Inspector but you drive a hard bargain.

Chapter 19

Mickey had set off back to his hotel. He was about to get out of his car and thought about just going over to the shop and confronting Rose where he knew she would be on her own. He thought better of it, she would be straight on the phone to Hardy before he got in the door because the Police Station was just around the corner. He could go wait outside her house, wait for her to come home. It would take Hardy some time to get to her, he'd have a chance to talk to her at least, try to make her see what a big mistake she was making. He was disappointed he couldn't dig up any dirt but she wouldn't know that, would she? She probably hadn't even checked up on this bloke, she was blinded by him.

If Jake had known about him he would have checked up but might not have told Rose. Yes, he thought, that might just work. I could plant the seeds of doubt in her mind, just enough to niggle her, get her wondering. It wouldn't take much, he knew what she was like. Ask her questions even, like did she know he was married or divorced? Did he have kids? Did he have a bitchy ex-wife who would be seeking vengeance on her? Did he have any health problems? Would his ex dump kids on her? What was his work record? Had he any failed any cases?

The ideas were flowing like a waterfall and he was feeling very pleased with himself. He didn't need internet information after all, he'd get it all from Rose. He would have her so full of doubt, she wouldn't know which way to turn and beg him to help her. Yes! It was still early afternoon, he thought he'd seen a sign in the shop that it closed at 4pm and crossed the road to get a late lunch then he'd drive to Rose's house to wait for her outside her door. Little did he know her house was in the middle of the homes of two senior police officers.


Alec had remained worried about his beloved Rosie all day. He hoped she would be okay. He'd received a text from her containing her usual innuendos and sent her some back. He thought it would put a smile on her face. He knew she had her own ways of protecting herself, she could get support from Torchwood any time she wanted, Jake and Pete were just a phone call away. He knew she'd only use them when things got out of hand. The day went fairly quickly, he'd gone out a couple of times with Ellie on petty callouts that according to him didn't warrant two senior officers. Still it got them out in the fresh air for a while and he'd needed it.

Ellie went off as usual, leaving Alec with nothing to do but sit back with his arms behind his head wondering how Rose was doing. It was just gone 4pm, he still had over an hour to go. He could make some tea, no he didn't like the blend they used and should take his own after all this time. He could try to send a message to his daughter again for the 500th time, her inbox should be full by now, he thought. He could use his computer for personal reasons and look at maybe he and Rose finding a place together rather than move into one or the others' house, that would be nice, he thought, choosing a house together. He'd only had a flat with his ex before splitting and moving out to a place even worse, even had the same flat when his daughter came along.

It would take Rose's mind off things, move them along with their plans. Crikey, he thought, we never got back round to discussing it yesterday after what happened and now he was making plans for the both of them. He liked the idea, making plans with his sweet Rose. It was something he never thought he would do again, making plans to live with the woman he loved. He felt for certain she felt the same but he should wait and discuss it with her first before making any final decisions. Still, no harm in looking online at a few places, was there? If he wanted, he could use the laptop for his own use, it was in the police forces' interest after all to make sure he had adequate accommodation for his current situation. Plus he had saved them a fortune when he moved out of the hotel and got his own place.


Rose had a fairly uneventful day as well after her phone call to Jake. She wondered if Alec could get away for lunch but thought he'd be busy. She knew he would call round if he could. They had agreed quite early in their relationship that Alec would only call on Saturday lunchtime and the odd weekday lunchtime and she would only call in at the police station if he asked her to meet him there. She thought though that since he'd had reason to be worried about her he might have checked in on her or sent Ellie but she thought maybe they'd had other things to do. She wasn't exactly on the high priority protection list yet.

She locked up as normal, went by the supermarket to pick something nice for dinner and drove home. Alec had conned her into cooking though she was sure it was his turn so she said she'd compromise and go to his house again and cook there, then he could help her when he got home. She loved the thought that he was coming home to her, she'd never had anyone doing that before. Her youth had been filled with boyfriends that used her for some reason or another, she'd never had anyone around like Alec before and had not had the attention thrown her way like he did. He didn't need to buy her flowers and gifts though he always brought her a single rose if they went out somewhere where they had them for sale. He had bought her plenty of bottles of wine they had shared when it was their turn to be at her house. She hoped tonight over dinner that they would be able to discuss their moving in together. She was 100 percent certain that was what she wanted and hoped he felt the same.

Her face dropped as she drove around the corner of her street – Mickey's car was parked outside her house. She stopped just past the corner. She couldn't see Ellie's car so assumed she was busy with the boys. Alec was still at work, he'd be almost another hour. She sat with her hands on the wheel and the engine still running, not knowing what to do. Phone Alec? Phone Jake and get him to call Mickey and tell him to leave? If she phoned Alec the entire police force would be there in five minutes flat. She was silently praying that Ellie would turn up, she would try the more subtle approach like threaten to let down his car tyres.

Sitting there was getting nothing done. His car was blocking her driveway and she would block Ellie's if she pulled up in front of him. She either stayed where she was or pull in front of Alec's. She couldn't let Mickey know he lived there. She went for the latter, pulling in behind Mickey's car. She pulled out her mobile where she could get to it easily if needed. She got out and reached into the back seat to retrieve her groceries. Mickey just sat there. She walked past his car and down her driveway. She was tempted to tell him to get lost and that he was parked in her way. She didn't.

Just then the driver's door opened and he got out and he called over to her.

"Can we at least talk Rose?"

"I asked Alec to tell you I don't want to talk to you Mickey, why are you here?"

"Please Rose, just listen to what I have to say."

Rose put here groceries on the kitchen doorstep, he followed up the drive.

"You have two minutes then I'm calling Alec so make it fast."

She knew he'd be mad even giving two minutes for Mickey to explain why he was there.

"Rose do you really know what you're getting yourself into? I mean, come on, admit it, you only like him 'cos he looks like the Doctor," he laughed. "Same face, bit scruffy, come on, do you really know anything about him? You're just using him as a substitute and you know it, bet he's got a ex or a wife or girlfriend somewhere with a load of kids. He might be a Detective Inspector but exactly what's a Scot doing in a backwater town like this if he's that good, eh, has he been demoted or something? He wouldn't be here by choice, going out with a girl who's what, 15 years his junior. He's just using you Rose to make him look and feel good."

Rose glared at him, horrified he could resort to such low tactics, what the hell had come over him? This wasn't the Mickey she used to know, the same person who she used to go out with. This was a mean and nasty version of him and she couldn't understand what had made him like this. Was he so jealous he could only come up with this load of trash? Mickey was stood a few feet away from her. It would take her a few seconds to open the door and lock it behind her before he could stop her to come out with more pathetic statements, they were ludicrous to say the least. He had failed to get real information on Alec so he'd resorted to this and it failed to impress her. But what would his reaction be if she tried to get inside? Alec's number was on speed dial on her phone, one button and even if she didn't say a word, he'd be there in less than five minutes, two if he sent a squad car and then followed it but she didn't want to waste police resources on the now loser standing there.

"Mickey, you're pathetic, really," she laughed before she cried. "Who do you think you're fooling?"

She was turning the tables on him, she'd had enough practice in her time. She could argue with the best of them because Jackie Tyler was her mother and like mother, like daughter.

"Why don't you save yourself the embarrassment and leave now eh? Because I promise you, if you are still here when Alec comes round, I won't be responsible."

She wasn't going to let on Alec lived next door or about Ellie.

Mickey took one step closer.

"Listen Rose, I know things about him, I've read about him. He's a loser, Rose and he's just using you. He failed in Scotland and now he's hiding away hoping he won't get noticed by blending in and having a girlfriend. Rose, he's got to be at least 15 years older than you. It was bad enough you went chasing after a 900 year old alien but come on, a Doctor look-alike who's a failed police detective, please, just look at yourself, you're making a fool of yourself Rose, he's only after one thing – to get you into bed, have a load of kids with you and brag about it to his mates and treat you like a trophy."

With that Rose leapt forward and slapped him as hard as she could right across his face leaving a red mark and while he rubbed it, she opened her door as she had fished out her key while he'd been talking, picked up her bags and had closed the door in about 15 seconds flat. She'd had her mobile in her hand ready to press Alec's number while she'd been scoffing at Mickey's remarks and as she slapped him with one hand, the finger on her other pressed the button. She'd not needed to say anything, they had long arranged Rose's signal to Alec and if he got a silent call from her, he'd drop everything he was doing, regardless and would be there in five minutes if he knew she was at home otherwise she would be at the shop and she would go next door and wait for him or he'd trace where the call came from.

She leaned against the inside of the locked door as there came a knock and a "Rose" as Mickey was trying to get her to open it. Two minutes later she heard a police siren in the distance, she couldn't believe Alec had actually sent a police car! She heard footsteps outside, she went to the living room window to see Mickey leap into his car and drive off as the police car was coming down the street. The police car stopped just behind Rose's minutes later and she was relieved it was Alec on his own getting out of the driver's door as he locked it with the remote. Alec came up to the front door and let himself in, the light was still flashing on the car. Rose just threw her arms around him as he did the same.

"Rosie, what's happened, sweetheart? Was that Mickey just driving away?"

She nodded a yes to him.

"I'll go after him," he offered but Rose shook her head and just held on to him.

"He's not getting away Rose, I did warn him and now it's become police business because I had to run downstairs and pull a puzzled uniform out of that squad car to get here so fast and don't think it's funny Miss Tyler, this is serious," he told her as he began to see a smile on her face and then he started as well. He soon lost his grin. "I'm serious, I had to tell the officer there was an emergency at my home and he'll go in the station and report it."

Just then his works mobile rang. He answered it, turned away from Rose and assured the caller everything was under control, that he'd return the squad car post haste then hung up. He put his arms back around Rose.

"See, I told you," he smiled. "Geez, Rose, you scared the hell out of me when I got your silent call, I mean we had it in place but I never thought you'd use it, sweetheart. What happened, Rosie, tell me everything."

"Don't you think you'd better turn off that blue flashing light first, Inspector? she asked.

"Oh, forgot about that. You can follow me down to the station sweetheart and I'll drive us back. Forget dinner, you're in no state to cook, we'll pick up some Chinese on the way back."

It was still only just gone 5pm. Rose hastily put the groceries away that needed to go into the fridge before they got ruined and went out, locking the front door just as Alec drove off. A puzzled Ellie was just pulling into her driveway as she followed the squad car down the street. Rose waved to her and she could image little Freddie in the kiddies car seat imitating a police siren.

Rose waited outside for Alec to return the car and go finish up in his office having taken the stairs two at a time on the way down and leaving his office in a mess. An officer standing outside had seen her before with Alec and allowed her to wait. She saw him coming down the steps, got out of the driver's side to let him take over and walked around the car. He put his hand gently on her leg as she got in, reassuringly. Rose told him she'd left a puzzled Ellie in her driveway and she would probably be waiting for them when they got back, she must have seen it as Alec was driving the Police car. They called at the Chinese on the way back, taking a slight detour and sure enough, Ellie saw them as they got out of the car, curiosity having got the better of her.

Ellie was just about to speak when Alec called, "Not now Miller, give us an hour and we'll come and tell you all about it," as pleasantly as he could. Now Ellie knew it was trouble when he was back to calling her Miller outside of work.

They went inside, Rose put the rest of the groceries away while Alec dished out the food, having already retrieved half a bottle of wine from the fridge. They waited until they'd finished eating then Rose told him what had happened and about the pathetic statements Mickey was coming out with, saying that her seven year old brother could have beaten him. He'd been childish and immature and Alec said he was more determined than ever that this time was going to be the last. They went to wash the dishes and Alec asked Rose is she had believed any of it. She just burst out laughing.

"Are you serious, Inspector? Well maybe only the bits about you having girlfriends and kids all over the place and wanting me to have loads of kids with you!"

Alec held up his hands in mock submission.

"Okay, Miss Tyler, you got me on that one, I just wanted to add you to my collection, I've not got any girlfriends or kids this far south so how about we get started on the kids bit?"

Rose pretended to swoon and fall into his arms and said, "Oh, Inspector, I thought you'd never ask," she laughed and blew him a kiss. "Before you get ahead of yourself, the only thing your adding to your collection are my lacy underwear – later, because we have to go see Ellie before she knocks the door down demanding to be told what's going on."

Chapter 20

After a very brief round of kissing, they went round to see Ellie and Rose told her what had happened just now and about the weekend. Ellie said she was so sorry she hadn't been there to help Rose but was assured that her boys came first, no matter what.

"He's just acting like a child, Ellie. I went away without really saying goodbye and he just lost it, that's all. We'd been good friends up until I left, we used to go out when we were younger but we drifted apart for a while and I went away. When I came back we were friends again but I think deep down inside, he never quite got the fact that's all we were. I think he missed me, thought I was all on my own and when he saw me with Alec, he just blew up. He got over jealous and because of that, he made up some nasty stuff about Alec thinking I'd turn against him and go back. He had no idea what he was up against and how much Alec and I love each other."

Ellie was sat next to Rose on the sofa and put her arm around her, then looked at Alec.

"Well I'd say he was pretty clueless about you two, he's not seen you around here on Sunday lunchtimes."

Alec got up from the chair and came over to sit at the other side of Rose, making her move over and only just squeezing in and he put his arm around her too.

"Rose," he said, "You have the best Detective team in the whole of Dorset looking out for you. What more could you ask for eh?"

Rose let Ellie's arm slip down as she moved even closer to Alec who had moved forward and now had both arms around her.

"You're safe Rose and I give my word as an officer of the law, he'll never bother you again."

"And mine," added Ellie as she rubbed Rose's arm in support for her. "He's a prat, Rose and he's not worth it," she added. "And if you two don't have anything else to tell me then Alec, take her home and look after her. Oh, and when are you two going to get your acts together and move in together? You're wasting money renting two houses and move into Rose's so I don't have to break in a new neighbour will you?"

They all laughed. "Watch it, Miller," joked Alec.

They all got up and Rose gave Ellie a hug and whispered, "Thank You" to her.

If it hadn't been for Ellie playing Cupid, they might never have got back together again.

They left Ellie in peace and went back to Rose's house.

"Rose, you should ring your step-dad about this you know, you're his responsibility and so is Mickey's childish behaviour, he does work for him. If you don't do something it will get out of control and then I will really have to get involved professionally."

"I've already spoken to Jake and asked him to alert me if Mickey tries to really access your files anywhere and he somehow manages, his access will be withdrawn. I knew he was telling a pack of lies Alec because I know he'd not been able to find anything, the search was blocked because I'd asked dad to put an alert out for your name when I asked him about letting you have access."

"Clever girl, Rosie, as well as being beautiful of course but this needs to be stopped."

"I know, I'll get something done about it, Jake will probably come down now if he's not already on his way, that is."

"Well I think it will be better if we stay at my house now until it's all over and when you get home from work, go round to Ellie's until I get home."

"Yes Sir," she replied in a mock salute.

Plans were made for Rose to go out of the back door of the shop if Mickey appeared at the shop, given she'd have chance to lock the door and get straight in her car and drive to the Station. She had to go to Alec's when she got back and she was to ring and lock the doors or go straight to Ellie's providing she was in if she saw Mickey's car otherwise they agreed it would be reasonably safe. Before they settled for the night, Rose packed what she needed and they took it round to his house.

"Well I least I don't have to pack many pairs of underwear, Inspector, they're already in your bedroom," she laughed.

"Our bedroom," he corrected her. "Tomorrow, we'll talk about that, we can start looking for places if you like, choose a house together."

"I like both our houses, Alec it's going to be difficult leaving either but you're right, we should choose something together. We can just rent if you want, we don't have to buy one."

"Oh, I don't know, Miss Tyler, buying a house with you, although I'd have to get a mortgage."

Rose stopped dead and looked at him. Yet another reminder of the many discussion she'd had with the Doctor, that of discussing where to live after they were stranded on Sanctuary Base One.

"What's wrong, Rosie? You look like you've seen a ghost," asked Alec as Rose realised she'd been staring at him and realising she was talking about buying a house with Alec the same was she'd been talking all those years ago.

The coincidences were happening all too frequently for her liking. Some little thing he'd do or say, quite innocently, would jerk her back to those times and she didn't think they'd ever go away. There would always be something.

"It's nothing Alec, really, it's just it's such a big step, from having two houses and then living together permanently and I know now, that's what I need, something permanent, with you." She put her arms around his neck and kissed him. "Come on, Inspector, let's get my things to your house and get some sleep, I've had quite enough of this day."
She heard something from him that resembled a "who said anything about sleep?"


Mickey had heard the siren in the distance and turned away from Rose's door. Surely Hardy wouldn't have sent a squad car, would he? Had she rung Hardy's mobile without him noticing? More than likely as she'd slapped his face which still hurt. He had tried knocking on her door after she struck him but he knew she wouldn't come out now. He had to try another way to get to talk to her and to make her see reason. The siren got nearer so he leapt back into his car, did a u-turn and drove off just as a squad car came around the corner. As he sped off he was sure Hardy was at the wheel. Since when had he become a wanted person? Only since Rose became involved with a Doctor look-alike, that's when.

Now he was more determined than ever. He drove around for hours before he went back to his hotel to formulate another plan. He would have to somehow get in the Torchwood database whether he compromised it or not. He would have to be careful. If it meant buying a cheap laptop or something smaller – how could he be such an idiot? He had internet access on his phone but knew that wasn't as secure but it would have to do and he could delete the history afterwards. He went up to his room, he was feeling hungry but it would have to wait. He went to the Torchwood website and logged in.

He typed in 'Detective Inspector Alec Hardy' into the search box. He was immediately logged out. He tried to log back in and got 'user name and password not recognised' and knew that Rose had got Jake to block anyone who tried to search for Hardy. This was going to be tough one to crack. "Right, let's try this one," he said out loud. On the log in screen he put in Rose's user name as all Torchwood members had to use their names as part of the user name and he just happened to have seen her use it once but never thought he'd need it. He typed in her password and was redirected to another log on screen which he half expected knowing Rose would have suspected he'd try it. It was asking for a password. He tried 'thedoctor2005' which was when she first met him and got an incorrect password. There were two more attempts. He tried 'galifrey' where the Doctor came from but it was still incorrect. He had one more attempt. "Ha!" as he typed 'mickeytheidiot' and waited.

His phone went into meltdown as the screen went red with a sign in the middle saying "You failed to enter the correct password. Your Torchwood access as been withdrawn. Please refer to the Director" He'd blown it. Now everyone at Torchwood would be alerted as would Rose, Pete and Jake and a team would have probably been dispatched to Broadchurch to find him. He had to leave town first thing in the morning. He'd go back to that town, what's it name, Dorchester? It wasn't far and he could base himself there and plan something else because he was determined not to give up, not now. Rose had to see this Hardy was dangerously possessive, willing to get in a squad car just because she rang when he'd tried to talk some sense into her.

He had to convince her that he was only trying to help her by getting her away from someone who reminded her of her past, that she was still seeing the Doctor and Hardy was taking advantage of her, playing on her emotions and pretending to go along. Hardy was only after one thing and he'd made that quite plain right in front of his nose. What else would Hardy be doing with a girl ten or fifteen years his junior? Rose had been led astray, swept away with the fact he looked like the Doctor and she just didn't see it. It was his, Mickey Smith's job to make her. He stayed the night then checked out and got in his car to go to Dorchester, ignoring his phone when he saw it was Jake.

As soon as Mickey had typed in Alec's name, an alert went out to Jake and Rose was alerted by a text message while she was packing to go stay at Alec's when he tried to use her access which amused her rather than upset her, she knew Jake would handle it and never mentioned it to Alec who would have probably sent a SWAT team to the hotel Mickey was staying in if he'd known.


Rose got a phone call from Jake the next morning after Alec left her in bed. When she'd got up, she realised that this was no good, she should start getting up at the same time, having a shower with him every morning now she'd discovered just how enjoyable it was, making him breakfast and kissing him goodbye on the doorstep and she decided that from tomorrow, that was exactly what she was going to do. They were going to live together and that's what couples did, have breakfast together. She'd never had anyone to do that with before and she was liking the idea of it now they were making plans together.

Jake had news for her. "Mickey has gone off the grid, Rose, he's not answering his phone to me and he's not rung the office since his attempt last night to get into your account after he was locked out of his. You must have really come up with a good password but I'm going to come down there as a precaution and I've had to tell your step-dad what's going on, I'm sorry. He wanted to send a whole team down but I've persuaded him that between me and Alec we can look after you. I'm coming down tomorrow, I'll be down some time in the afternoon, I'll meet you at the shop so wait for me."

Rose breathed a sign of relief she was getting re-enforcements, not that she thought Alec wasn't more than capable but he had his work to do and as much as he wanted he couldn't be with her for 24 hrs day.

Alec got a message from Rose to saying Jake was coming down tomorrow to which he replied great but he's not staying with us, he can stay at yours and that was a load of Alec's mind because as much as he loved her dearly he couldn't be there 24hrs for her unless he took some leave and he wanted to save that to go looking at houses with her and perhaps persuade her to go away for a week. His birthday was coming up and although he'd never celebrated it over the last few years, he was looking forward to this one with Rose. "Might even get a shave for the occasion," he mused. "Yeah and that will confuse her even more – nice one Hardy."


Mickey was about to leave but as he drove down the main street he just happened to pass the side street where Rose's shop was. It was still quite early and she wouldn't be there yet. He did a turn at the mini roundabout and pulled into a car park just opposite. He had half an hour to wait but thought he might see her drive into the street or the car park. He saw her car pull into the street and assumed she had a parking spot here. He gave her ten minutes then got out of his car and crossed over.

He never saw Alec, who was standing outside the Police Station talking to Ellie who was just unlocking her car as they were about to follow some new enquiries on a case that had gone cold. Alec just happened to look across and spotted Mickey and couldn't believe his eyes and caught Ellie's attention and nodded in Mickey's direction. She caught on and got out and locked her car.

"Is that him?" she asked. Alec nodded. "Right, I could do with some excitement," she laughed.

"This is serious, Miller, let me handle this. I know she's your friend too but this is my responsibility."

They set off to walk the short distance to Rose's shop.


Rose got out of her car and let herself into the shop. She half wished Jake was coming down today but he had other things to do. She had locked the door behind her but a few minutes later there was a knock on the door. The mail had already arrived and she thought it might be a parcel or hopefully Alec paying her a visit but as she opened the blind to see who it was her faced dropped.

It was Mickey and she couldn't believe he had the nerve to stand there. He was saying, "Let me in Rose, I need to talk to you," through the glass.

She pulled the blind back down, she did not want to open the door and hoped he'd get tired and go away as he'd cause a scene and that's just what she needed.

The knocking continued and she fished into her pocket to get her mobile out to call Alec. Is this what it had come to, not even been able to open her shop without help from Alec? She didn't need to phone because she heard Alec's voice outside saying Mickey's name as he'd been so intent on getting her to open the door he'd not noticed the two detectives creep up on him. Rose opened the blind to see the three of them standing there and Alec just about to knock on the door. She let them in and locked it again, Alec half pushing a surprised Mickey into the shop.

"Want to you want me do with him Rose?" Alec asked her. "I could take him to the station for questioning for disturbing the peace."

Ellie just stood there with a grin on her face, she so wanted to ask him a few questions of her own but left it to her superior.

"Just let him go Alec, he's not worth wasting police time," Rose said as she disappeared into the back, she so needed coffee right now.

Ellie followed her and left the two men alone. Ellie explained Alec has seen Mickey cross the road and so they had followed him. Alec had his own agenda, he wanted Mickey gone and fast, like yesterday.

"This is your final warning and if you don't heed it, I'll have you escorted to the boundary, is that clear, Mr Smith? If you leave town now, I'll let you off with a personal warning, I won't get involved as a police officer – yet but I will if I have to. Rose has made it more than clear she doesn't want to see you. What's your problem? Why are you even doing this? Rose and I are very happy as a couple and I know ex-boyfriends tend to get a bit jealous but this is going on borderline obsession."

Just then, Ellie and Rose came out of the back, Rose putting two drinks down on the counter, Ellie holding hers.

Then she took everyone aback with her next statement.

"Mickey, you know I can have you thrown out of the organization and I will and worse than that, I'll have you ret-conned. You have two choices, leave now and never contact me again or I ring my dad – now," she told him as she picked up her phone and dialled Pete's number.

Chapter 21

They all stared at Rose as she made her threat, most of all Ellie who had no clue what was going on let alone what 'ret-con' meant and neither did Alec but he had an idea. He was preventing Mickey from leaving before Rose had finished with him. Mickey was feeling very uncomfortable under the Inspector's glare and knew his time was up. His plan had backfired and he knew it. Pete answered after a few rings.

"Rose, sweetheart, are you okay? Jake told me what happened, why didn't you say something? Jake's coming down tomorrow."

"I'm okay Dad, I've got the best detective team in Broadchurch protecting me," she smiled across to Alec. "Anyway it's all but over now, Alec and his DS are in the shop with me – so is Mickey and I need you to speak to him. If he doesn't leave town, Alec will have him escorted to the boundary and I've threatened to have him ret-conned."

She handed her phone to a bewildered Mickey. He looked worried as he spoke to Pete then handed her mobile back to her. Rose spoke to Pete again.

"Right Rose, I've told him he only has one last chance. I'm not having him back in the London office, I'm sending him to our office in Scotland but he's no longer a team leader, he'll have to earn that back. He has three days to pack his stuff and drive up to Scotland so I suggested he gets started. If he doesn't comply, he's out and he knows what will happen."

Rose knew too, she had meant it when she told Pete but didn't think it would be carried out. They took it very seriously.

"Thanks, I'll tell Alec to let him go then," she smiled at Alec again. She said goodbye to Pete, telling him she'd ring her mum later as he said she'd been nagging him to bring her down to Broadchurch after Rose had promised to speak to Alec about it.

Alec reluctantly opened the door to let Mickey out, giving him his sternest look.

"I don't want to see you in Broadchurch again, Mr Smith," he warned Mickey as he left. With Mickey out of the door, Alec went over to Rose and took her in his arms as Ellie took the hint and said she'd wait for him in the car back at the Station. The blinds were still down so Alec took the opportunity of locking the door and kissing Rose long and deeply, more than usual for that time of day. He figured she needed it.


Before Alec & Ellie had arrived, Mickey had crossed the road and stopped outside Rose's shop and tapped on the door. She had pulled the blind up then dropped it back down and she wasn't opening it so he tried to tell her he needed to talk to her. He'd been so intent of gaining access he'd not noticed two people walking towards him. He did when they stepped either side of him and a male voice he recognised said, "What are you doing here Mickey?"

Then he had heard the door opening without Hardy having to knock on it, wondering why was she opening it to him when he'd had no luck and feeling himself being half hauled into the shop. He just stood there, not being given a chance to say anything in his defence. Rose had carried out her threat and phoned Pete Tyler, Hardy had threatened to have him escorted out of town and he didn't know who the woman was but she was probably Hardy's partner. Rose wouldn't even let him explain.

Now he'd been ordered by the Director of Torchwood to leave his daughter alone or face his personal wrath and he'd been given a chance to go peacefully to the office in Scotland, probably the Outer Hebrides or somewhere equally remote or leave Torchwood and have his memory wiped. Not much of a choice. Rose hadn't even defended him, in fact she'd smiled at Hardy – twice and he seemed to be enjoying it. He'd been relieved to get off the phone and being allowed to leave.

He walked back to his car. He had two choices, go back to London and pack and drive to Scotland or defy Hardy and the Director of Torchwood. He decided to carry on his journey to Dorchester and stop and have a think about it, anywhere away from here and Hardy's scrutiny.


Alec insisted that Rose close the shop for the day but she said she'd rather work to get her mind off things. They agreed when Alec's lips finally managed to part from hers for her still to go to his house after work and wait for him. She promised to make it worth his while if he promised to bring another bottle of wine back with him and help her make dinner. They also agreed they needed to talk about looking at houses, especially now.

Alec left Rose and went back to meet Ellie. She grilled him when he got back to the car.

"So, Sir, was that the best you could do then? I mean, I thought it was going to be better than that, I thought you at least might rough him up a bit," she grinned.

"Not my style, Miller and besides, it wouldn't be good form for me to mess up a perfectly good suit in the process, let alone a shop. No, he's been told by someone much higher up than me that he'd better be gone and quick. Rose's step-dad is a very important man and Mickey works for him. Anyone who messes with a certain Peter Tyler does not get away with it lightly."

"Where do I know that name from? It sounds familiar. Tell me he's not the head of Vitex, please?" Ellie asked.

"One of the same, Miller, one of the same."

"Well I'll be…" Ellie stopped and looked at him in disbelief. "You mean that Rose is his stepdaughter and heiress to the Vitex corporation? No way! Alec – I mean Sir, you're thinking of living and moving in with her and she's - well - practically a millionairess and she's living in a rented house in Broadchurch? No way!"

She was laughing now and Alec was looking slightly abashed.

"Well, if you put it like that, Miller, I suppose so. Though I didn't know exactly who she was when we first met. You know I don't keep up with that sort of thing. Besides, after she told me all about her past and I was a complete ass about it, it didn't really matter. I was too far gone with her, it didn't really matter to us. She's still the same Rose to me."

"I should think so too, after what you both went through. I really enjoy playing cupid when it works out."


Rose was left alone, having opened the shop later than usual so she rang Jake and told him there was really no need for him to come down but he said he'd would anyway, just in case Mickey didn't take heed and leave. Rose supposed he was right. Since when did Mickey Smith ever do what he was told? She had some room to talk. How many times had she not done what the Doctor had told her – or by her mum for that matter. Pete had told Jake what had happened and insisted he come down anyway, so she told him he could stay at her house and that she would be staying at Alec's.

"Rose Tyler, if I told your mother you were staying with Alec she'd be down here in a flash slapping his face," Jake laughed.

Rose laughed too. "Yeah, wouldn't be the first time."

She hung up feeling slightly better just wishing the day would hurry up and be over so she could go home to Alec. She loved going home knowing he'd be there as soon as he finished work and they would be alone. Even thoughts of the Mickey episode were washed away as she thought of Alec. For the first time in her life she felt wanted. Not being used and not being just someone's friend – she was loved and she loved him, no matter what Mickey may have lied about Alec or if it had got much worse but she giggled to herself about how Alec had teased her when she'd said she believed the bit about the girlfriends and the kids and he'd wanted to get started on the kids bit. All in good time.

Rose indeed planned something really nice for Alec. She stopped at a little dress shop on her way home to treat herself (or Alec) before she went for groceries. Rose was planning on giving Alec more than one surprise that night. She was considering closing the shop on Saturday to spend more time with him then had thought she would get someone in to manage the shop instead and open six days a week so she was going to advertise for a part time manager. She and Alec could then perhaps go off for the weekend and she might have chance to persuade him to go to London with her to meet her parents and her brother. "Crikey, Alec meeting my mum, that's a terrifying thought," she laughed as she pictured her mum and Alec trying to get the better of each other and Alec getting a slap. "I could sell front row seats to that one."

She let herself in to Alec's house, parking in her own driveway and thought she'd prepare dinner before getting changed. Most of her clothes were now in his bedroom – no, she thought, in our bedroom so she got everything ready and put it in the oven and went to get changed, thinking she would defy the Inspector's insistence of not wearing a bra and leave that up to him to remove the offending article. She'd bought new underwear as well, getting a sly look from the shop assistant as Rose thought she'd maybe seen her and Alec out together. She stood in front of the mirror hoping he would like what he saw when he came home and undressed her after dinner which he usually did with his eyes across the table anyway. He didn't believe in waiting to go to bed.

She had just put on her dress when she couldn't believe Mickey's car was pulling up outside her house. Thank goodness she was at Alec's. She got her phone and quickly dialled Ellie and asked her to come round to Alec's saying Mickey was in front of her house. Two minutes later there was a knock at the door and she confirmed it was Ellie. She said she'd seen Mickey knocking on her kitchen door and calling her name. He was saying he knew she was in there are why wouldn't she open the door.

"Is he serious Ellie? He's had two warnings from Alec and one from my dad, he just doesn't get how serious this is. Did he see you coming in here?"

"I don't think so, he was too busy shouting at your door. Besides, he doesn't know you're here and that Alec lives here. Have you called him yet Rose? He'll be angry if you don't you know. He'll have half of Dorset Police up here in two minutes flat."

"That's exactly why I called you instead. You're more level headed about this than he is. Alec's emotionally involved and it's driving him crazy and I'm scared it's getting to him. Mickey may just be doing this on purpose to get Alec to lose his temper and accuse him of police brutality or something. I don't want that to happen because then Mickey will have won. He's trying to get a reaction out of us and if I call Alec then he will. He's trying to get Alec to look bad in front of me so I'll think he's a monster and leave him. I can't do that to him Ellie, I love Alec too much."

"Well if he's not gone by the time Alec gets back it will not be pleasant. Come on Rose, I'll come with you and let Mickey say his piece then I'll arrest him for wasting police time."

So Ellie and Rose ventured out of the kitchen door, locking it behind them. Rose had turned dinner off and grabbed her mobile and keys. Mickey was still leaning on Rose's door, she was hoping he'd not seen what direction she had just come from. Ellie was by her side.

"What do you want Mickey? If Alec sees you I won't be responsible for what he does. I won't be able to stop him. So say what you have to and go."

"I want to talk to you alone Rose, not with Hardy's partner, sorry, no offence but we've not been introduced."

"I'm DS Miller, Broadchurch Police and you are trespassing on private property. I must ask you to leave now or I'll arrest you. This is your only warning."

"Huh, you're own your own with no backup lady, so back off, this is between me and Rose. Rose, you need to get away from Hardy, he's no good, he's failed his marriage and failed in the Glasgow Police Department and he'll bring you down with him, he's using you and you're using him as a substitute, you know you are, you're only seeing what you want to see, leave him Rose."

With that, Ellie got out her phone and called Alec, he'd told her not to interfere, it was a personal matter and now he was coming out with all this stuff Alec needed to know. She stood blocking Mickey's way as she told Alec to pull out all the stops and get to Rose's house but no sirens this time please, he was lowering the tone of the neighbourhood.

She turned to Mickey. "You're going nowhere Mr Smith, you seem to be intent on telling a pack of lies about DI Hardy so you can tell him to his face. This is personal and I'm not going to waste my time with the paperwork because you're not worth it, I've got better things to do. I'm staying here until the Inspector gets here then I'll leave you in his more than capable hands to do what he wants. If he needs an alibi, he'll get one."

They stood in silence until a black SUV pulled up outside and Alec got out of the passenger seat. The car pulled off.

"He's all yours – Sir," said Ellie as she let Alec pass and went to stand behind Mickey. "So do you want me to handcuff him Sir?"

"That won't be necessary, DS Miller, you can go now."

"Yes Sir," Ellie grinned and went back down the driveway, laughing all the way back home.

Rose was opening the kitchen door and Alec, now standing behind Mickey gestured for him to follow her. He pulled out a chair and indicated for Mickey to sit down but he was stubborn and stood with his arms folded in the middle of the kitchen floor. Alec just said "suit yourself," as he took the seat opposite Rose as she was already sat at the kitchen table, having grabbed and put on a jacket as they came in.

"Right, I believe you've got some things to say about me to Rose and since they are about me, I think I have the right to hear them, don't you Rose?"

Rose nodded. Alec continued. "Before you get started, firstly, I'm bitterly disappointed you didn't take mine and Peter Tyler's advice and leave town. You've probably lost your job now. Secondly, how dare you follow Rose around, first to her shop and then come to her house when she's told you she doesn't want to see you? Do you have some sort of problem with me or just can't take advice in general, from your own director? From what I've heard about Mr Tyler, he doesn't make idle threats and one call from Rose and you won't even know what day it is. Before you take that as a threat, Rose was told about the conversation you had this morning and she knows you were threatened with having your memory wiped so that didn't come from me. What the hell do you want Smith?"

Alec was far past the state of any pleasantries by this stage and so was Rose. She let Alec do all the talking.

Mickey found his voice and spoke up.

"I want to speak to Rose alone, Hardy. I'm not speaking to her in front of you."

"That's never going to happen and you know it. You've got lies to tell, so say them to me. Rose, please go into the living room and get your laptop, I want you to record this and your stepdad might want to see it. I'm not going to say or do anything else until your webcam is switched on."

Rose went to get her laptop and connected it to the internet and made a secure conference call to Pete. Mickey knew he was cornered now, he'd underestimated how clever Hardy was, being the police and all. Had he been that stupid to think he wouldn't record this 'Interview' but to do it in front of Pete Tyler, well that was just plain crafty. Rose connected securely to her dad's call through Torchwood and moved the camera around the kitchen to show who was in the room. Alec did his usual 'Who's in the room' thing like he'd do at any other interview and introduced himself to Pete.

Pete just sat there at the other end, disappointed that Mickey had defied him and Alec Hardy, a senior police officer and had stooped this low and if that wasn't enough, he'd upset his stepdaughter again and that was something he wasn't going to stand for. He dreaded to think what would happen when Rose's mother got to know about it, Mickey Smith would be a wanted man in her eyes, on her hit list.

Chapter 22
Alec apologised to Pete for having to drag him into this.  He told him what Rose had said about it that morning and that he had a pretty good idea what 'ret-con' meant and that he wouldn't want to be on the bad side of Torchwood or he, Pete Tyler's for that matter.

Pete nodded his agreement and said where Rose was concerned no apology was necessary.  Mickey looked like he wanted to escape but Rose had locked the door and Mickey really wasn't a violent person to have a go at Hardy.  He just had to stand there and face the music.

Alec continued.  "I don't know how much Rose told you, about the lies that Mickey here has been telling her but that's up to her.  My main concern is that Mickey couldn't have possibly found out anything about me because I believe she had any information on me classified after a conversation with you a while back so I know he's lying."

He was referring to when Rose had asked Pete to let her give him access to the Torchwood database and Rose had told him eventually she'd had an alert put out on his name so that everything about him was blocked – to everyone.

"Alec, Rose didn't go into too much detail about what she'd been told and I too know they are lies.  She had Jake put a block on your name, he told me.  So Mickey, what exactly do you have to say for yourself?  What the hell are you playing at?  You do know you're finished with Torchwood now, I gave you a chance against my better judgement and you threw it back in my face.  Not only that, you defied Rose's wishes not to see her again and ignored a warning from a Police Officer.  Well?"

Mickey just stood there, what could he say?  He'd been caught and right in front of Pete Tyler so he couldn't accuse Hardy of anything, he'd had that covered.  What was he going to do now?  His plan had gone wrong and now he had to suffer the consequences and man up to it.  Didn't he?  He had no choice now and no job, he was finished.  He'd lost Rose for good now, just as he'd lost her all those years ago to a man whose double was now sat in front of him, looking at him then looking at Rose. She used to be his girlfriend before 'The Doctor' took her away then there had been hope when she'd had to come and live in this universe because she had been stranded here with no hope of ever leaving again.  She lost her precious Doctor but instead of finding another man, him preferably, she, out of over eight billion people on the planet, had to go find one and fall in love with another version of the Doctor.  Talk about dumb luck on both parts.

Mickey found his voice again and faced Rose with a questioning look on his face. Rose's face was blank, just starring at Hardy, looking to support him and letting him do all the talking.  How could she?  He was trying to help her and she couldn't see it, she'd turned against him, from their friendship and she was being led along by the Detective.  Even Pete Tyler, his friend and boss was against him, taking Hardy's side but he was only doing that because that's what Rose thought she wanted.  Well let them, let them throw him out of Torchwood, he'd start on his own, 'Mickey Smith Investigations'

He turned to the screen and faced Pete.  "I've nothing to say to you, what I have to say is to Rose and since she won't let me then I refuse to speak to anyone."

Pete and Alec looked at him.  Alec spoke first.  "Come on Smith you were trying to turn Rose against me why?  What have I done to you?  You didn't even know about me until Rose brought you here the other night since she and Jake never mentioned me to you and that's the exact reason why she didn't.  I accept you used to go out with her, she told me and it makes no difference.  That was years ago, she's moved on and that's what people do.  I know I look like this Doctor but I can assure you I'm nothing like him.  Rose realises that.  All I care about is my life now with her, nothing else.  What happened in the past is over and done with.  If I can accept that then why can't you?  She told me you were her friend but do friends really do that to each other, try to destroy their lives, try to discredit the person they are with now in front of them?  I feel sorry for you Smith, I really do because Rose wanted you to meet me and you threw it in her face.  She brought you to see her home and the new life she's built here for herself with me.  Everything from her past is over and done with.  We're happy together and nothing you say or do is ever going to change that.  Mr Tyler, I've finished with him so what you do with him is your concern.  He can leave now but I promise that if he comes back to Broadchurch I will arrest him and Torchwood won't be able to save him."

"Torchwood is finished with him too, Inspector.  We don't need him any more. Mickey Smith, your Torchwood access has already been withdrawn due to you trying to circumvent the Torchwood database after you were logged out and caught trying to use the username and password of Rose Tyler, a violation in its own right for using another member's access without their express permission and your employment with Torchwood is hereby terminated.  I don't need to remind you what happens to operatives when their employment is terminated.  Inspector, can I have a word with my step-daughter alone please?  You may want to escort Mr Smith from her house."

He didn't add that a Torchwood operative would be paying him a visit and he would be found wherever he was.

Alec nodded towards the door then at Mickey.  "After you, Mr Smith" and gestured with his hand for him to exit as Alec unlocked the door.  He escorted him past Rose's car and watched him get into his own and drive off.

When Alec and Mickey went out Pete asked Rose how she was doing as she had not spoken a word since the conference began.  He knew why she'd not spoken, it was because she'd not told him how serious the situation was or just how deep she was involved with the Inspector.

"You and DI Hardy, just how involved are you?"

"Dad, don't ask personal questions," she blushed.

"I can get your mother to ask you, then you're really in trouble.  So you'd best tell me and I'll break it to her gently," he laughed, trying to change the mood.

Alec came back in and smiled at Rose.  "I'll go and get us some food from the takeaway," he said, "are your keys at mine, they're not where they usually are?"

Rose nodded and said they were on Alec's dresser in the kitchen.  He gave her a kiss on the cheek (a first for him) and went out.

Pete raised his eyebrows and she knew what he was going to say.  They talked for a while, the first time they'd spoken face to face since he went back home.  He could tell Rose was still upset so he tried joking with her, keep her talking until the Inspector got back.  "His name's Alec, Dad, not Inspector, only I call him that, to tease him.  He's a good man, he takes care of me and yes, he lives next door and we are in and out of each other's houses all the time.  I was cooking him dinner when Mickey turned up."

"Dressed like that?" her step-dad noted.

She had forgotten in her haste to get changed and most of her dresses were at Alec's anyway.  Still, it wasn't that bad, she had to moderate herself by throwing a jacket on that was behind the kitchen door when she'd come in but it didn't cover that much, not her short dress anyway.

"Dad, don't know what you mean," as she went red.

"Still, he's good in a crisis, I'll give him that.  He handles himself well.  Most blokes would have decked Mickey if he'd dared to upset their girlfriend.  Still I suppose he has to be careful with his pacemaker.  Yes, I've read his files too, wanted to know what you were getting yourself in to.  Don't look too surprised."

Rose smiled. "Wouldn't expect anything less from you, Mr Torchwood."

"Don't be cheeky or I'll tell your mum what you were wearing for a night in with Detective Inspector Hardy," he joked.

Rose laughed again, he could always cheer her up.

"Jake will still be down tomorrow and if Mickey's still around and sees him he might think he's come to do the job and scarper with a bit of luck and I'd feel better if he was there because the Inspector still has his own job to do and mine is to look after you so he's coming down."

"I won't argue, I'll feel better having Jake here.  Thanks, you always come to my rescue."

"Yes, well it wasn't so long ago that you rescued me so we're even and you sort of introduced me to your mother so I still owe you.  Goodnight sweetheart, I'll give your love to your mum and Tony."

Rose said goodnight just as Alec's key turned in the kitchen door and he stood there with the takeaway cartons in a bag in one hand and locking the door with the other.  He said he'd rescued the dinner from the oven and covered it and he'd go back later to clean up.  They ate in silence, just smiling at each other, Rose had taken off her jacket and Alec said if she hadn't have done he would have done it for her.  He loved watching Rose as she sat eating and she still deliberately prevented him from looking down her low cut dresses.  Rose complained all her stuff was at Alec's and wanted to go back there later.  Alec said she wouldn't be needing anything.  They went back later though, just in case a certain person came back. They tried to forget what had happened during the day.  As they cuddled on the sofa Alec reassured her that nothing was going to come between them, certainly not Mickey.

He was glad Jake was still coming down the next day because one more encounter with Smith would push him over the edge and that would really do it.  He wasn't one for violence but he was tempted to make an exception.  No, Jake was definitely the best person for that job.  As they went to bed, the events of the day only made them want each other more like they were trying to prove to each other that nothing was wrong between them and as they fell asleep exhausted after their love making, they had proved just that.


Mickey had driven away and headed towards Dorchester again where he'd found a hotel with wi-fi and had bought a cheap laptop earlier in the day and then had decided to try one last time with Rose.  He'd believed it was worth it.  If he didn't get to talk to her this time he would have to try another tactic.  He'd got more than he'd bargained for when he'd got there, Rose and this woman Police Officer had crept up behind him from somewhere but where?  Why was Rose's car in the driveway, had she been to a friends' perhaps even the policewoman's house if she lived nearby.  No matter but he'd not been expecting to get boxed in and Hardy turning up and frog-marching him into Rose's house then him having the nerve to conference call with Pete Tyler then escort him off the premises.

He'd chosen to take no notice of his now ex-boss and try anyway but he'd failed.  He'd chosen to disregard the Inspector's warning mainly because he didn't like Rose's new boyfriend telling him what to do.  What does she see in him?  Does she really think he's the Doctor in disguise?  Then it hit him, was it the Doctor in disguise?  No.  He dismissed that thought almost immediately as being ludicrous because when they had been here before, he'd been told there was no Time Vortex here so there were no Timelords and the other things he'd been told when he was talking with the Doctor in the Tardis.  Then it hit him, he'd been trying to convince Rose that Hardy was up to no good but maybe he'd been targeting the wrong person.  He could get Hardy to leave Rose because he could be convinced that she was seeing the Doctor and not him.  Yes!  No, that wouldn't work.  He'd blown it and he knew it.  Well, he'd tried, no-one could accuse him of not trying.  Maybe they deserved each other.  Let her find out for herself then she'll seek him out begging him to be her friend again.  He'll show her.

He'd forgotten what happens to Torchwood operatives when they left the organization or maybe he was being complacent.
Chapter 23

A few weeks later, they had all but forgotten the incident with Mickey. Jake had stayed for a few days but got called away, Rose just assumed someone had caught up with Mickey and he was starting a new life somewhere. They started looking at houses because they wanted to choose something together, Rose said she'd live in a hut with him if she has to, Alec said he hoped it wouldn't come to that and that after all, money wasn't really an object considering she had no bills to pay and a more than generous allowance for her Torchwood work so they decided they would buy something but Pete intervened. He didn't like the thought of Rose or Alec for that matter being subject to a mortgage hanging around their necks so they made a compromise which once Alec got talked around to solved their problems and still made him feel he was paying.

Pete offered to buy a house for them and they would pay him back every month, just like rent but they would own it outright from the start, be real homeowners. They liked that idea so they started house hunting. Jackie was still pestering to come and visit so Rose relented, after telling her mother that she and Tony could come down and admitted to her that she had practically moved into Alec's house anyway, just going home occasionally while she gave notice on the place which was two months. Jackie said she'd be having a word with him about that. So it was all arranged and Pete said he'd try and join them.

Alec's big moment was coming – meeting Jackie Tyler and if he could just survive that then the rest would be a breeze. He had finally persuaded Rose to give notice on her house, she'd practically moved in with him anyway and they'd live there until they found one to buy. He was quite comfortable with the arrangement but had to be persuaded by Rose with her usual powers of persuasion including some unmentionable things into accepting Pete's offer to pay for the house.

Rose was happy now she'd moved into Alec's and they were already calling it their house but she'd held off changing her address on everything until they moved properly. She had advertised for a part time Manager and employed a woman called Clare to do four days a week to start off with a view to her taking over entirely if everything worked out due to Rose looking to move. She spent a few days going over everything and introduced her to Carly.

The second week Clare had been there, Rose sneaked off home early to spend the afternoon with Alec and thought she'd surprise him for his birthday and caught him off guard. Having promised to give him a birthday he'd remember, she'd gone off to work giving him a card and telling him he'd get his present that night and he'd said as long as she came with it. She didn't know Alec was planning something of his own for her return to surprise her because he knew the next weekend her family were coming down so he'd been into her house to tidy up for her and was just returning when Rose pulled into 'their' driveway.

Alec looked pleasantly surprised "Hi, Sexy, what are you doing home so early? Not that I'm complaining, far from it."

"Just thought I'd surprise you, keep you on your toes, Inspector, since it's your birthday," she said as she kissed his cheek.

They only now did that in public. He also had an even bigger surprise in store for that very evening.

"Ellie brought me a present around this morning, she said she was going to buy me an apron but thought better of it," he joked. "Seriously, why would she want to buy me one of those?"

Rose just giggled. "If you don't know, Inspector, I'm not going to tell you."

They went inside and the door had hardly closed and Rose just managed to pull the curtains across before he had her over the sofa arm practically knocking her off her feet in the process.

"Well this is a pleasant surprise, Miss Tyler," he managed to say in between kisses. "I could get use to this, having you here all weekend."

"Well, Inspector, be careful what you wish for," she teased as she grabbed his neck and started to pull off his T-Shirt as she then dug her fingers under his t-shirt trying desperately to pull it up.

After some time had passed, Rose managed to sit up, Alec reaching for his T-Shirt

"Rosie, I love you," he whispered.

"Alec, you're just an amazing lover, you always leave me wanting you even more," she whispered back to him.

"Rosie, my sweet, you'll be the death of me yet if you keep doing that to me."

"Yeah, but you'd go with a great big smile on your face, Inspector," she laughed.

When they finally cleaned up a bit, Rose told him things were going well with her new manager so she was going to take Saturdays off. Alec was delighted saying it wasn't before time either. He'd only met the woman once when he'd called in but she seemed to know what she was doing and he and Rose actually went out to a café for lunch. They could start making plans to go away at weekends if they weren't viewing any houses and talked about even going away for a week. Alec hadn't made plans like that for a long time but had come to an important decision that would change their lives forever that very evening.

After spending most of the afternoon on it, they got off the sofa, Alec said he'd made a reservation for dinner and told Rose to go choose something nice to wear, the shorter the better and if she needed any help he'd be only too happy to. She thanked him and assured him she would shout if she did. She took her time choosing something she thought he'd like having treated herself to some new dresses and sexy underwear (for his benefit, not hers) she thought. She knew this was going to be a special occasion for his birthday as he'd told her he'd not celebrated it for a long time, he'd had no-one to celebrate with all these years.

Now every birthday was going to be worth celebrating, she would see to that. She put on his favourite perfume and was just about ready when he came upstairs anyway. He stood behind her with his arms around her waist and told how beautiful she looked as he saw her through the mirror and turned her around.

"Don't you go making me having to get dressed up again, Inspector, that was the reason I didn't call you upstairs," she smiled.

"I wouldn't dream of it Rosie, my love," he grinned as he kissed her. "I just wanted a sneak preview before we went out. I have one more thing I need to do before we go out, we still have time then we'll get a taxi then we can have a birthday drink, sweetheart."

He kissed her once more, knowing it sent a shiver down her back when he did.

He disappeared into the bathroom Rose thought he was just trimming his beard and freshening up. She was still in the bedroom when he opened the bathroom door and walked across the landing. Rose stumbled back and almost fell on the bed. Alec stood there minus his beard and Rose stood with her mouth open in disbelief.

"Alec!" was all she managed to stutter out, still staring at him.

He looked just the same as she had see the Doctor all those years ago, minus the brown striped suit and the trainers. Alec was wearing a light grey suit and black shoes. Then there was the question of the spiked hair, Alec didn't have spiked hair, more like when she had first met the Doctor. In fact, Alec Hardy looked exactly like the image of the Doctor from the night Rose had been with him in the Tyler Mansion.

Rose swallowed and managed to find her voice after what seemed ages.

"You didn't have to Alec, really you didn't. You are already gorgeous and I love you with that beard. I love you with or without it and I never expected to ever see you without it but I'm more than pleasantly surprised, Inspector."

Alec walked towards her and she put her hand on his face, feeling his smooth chin, then she put both hands on his face and pulled him towards her and pulled him into a deep passionate kiss.

When she let him go, he had the same look on his face when she had kissed the Doctor while she was being possessed by Cassandra. He was just about to speak when she pulled him back and kissed him again.

"Well, actions speak louder than words" he was thinking. He managed to get away for a second.

"Rosie, sweetheart, I wish I'd done that before if I was going to get that reaction. The truth is, until I met you I had no-one to impress, no reason to take care of myself but now, well, now I have you."

They kissed again. Alec was the first to break it.

"Sweetheart, we have a dinner reservation in half an hour, I'll phone for a taxi and we can talk about this over dinner. I have something I want to talk to you about."

They went downstairs and Alec phoned for a taxi. All the while, Rose was staring at him, putting her hand on his face. She just couldn't believe the transformation. She had fallen in love with a bearded Alec Hardy and he had chosen to show his love by shaving it off and showing how he really looked underneath it.


He had been right, now he had reason to take care of himself. He had gone round to Rose's house after she had left, to clean up for her family arriving and had opened one of the dresser drawers to put something away and he had found a photo of her and the Doctor that she had shown him on her laptop so it wasn't like she was hiding it. She probably still felt uncomfortable reminding him constantly of how he looked. He had sat on her sofa thinking long and hard about the situation.

Any other man would have run a mile, he almost had done before he realised he loved her no matter what. He had come to realise he was head over heels with her before she even told him. So what? He looked like a man, an alien from another planet in another universe what's the big deal? Rose had been through so much and had poured her heart out to him, he didn't have to. She could have kept him in the dark, lived a lie but she didn't. She had trusted him with her heart and he had almost broken it again after she had already had it broken. She hadn't deserved the silent treatment while he'd been wallowing in self pity. What were his feelings compared to hers?

He decided right there and then in Rose's house he was going to stop being an ass about it and do something to please her, something that would change both their lives. He got up, locked her door and walked down into town. It was his birthday but what better time?

He'd got back via a taxi to finish tidying her house just as she arrived back early.

Chapter 24

The taxi arrived, Alec having unsuccessfully been able to keep Rose from kissing him until the cab driver beeped the horn. When they arrived at the restaurant, Rose was surprised it was the one where he had taken her on their first date.

"Old Romantic," she whispered in his ear as he was holding out her chair for her.

They even ordered the same food as they had done that first time. Alec reminded her that it was exactly three months since that first date. Rose said she couldn't believe it was that long and it seemed like no time had passed at all. Not that long ago, time had passed for her in an entirely different way, now spending it with Alec seemed endless. She stared across the table at him all the while, talking non stop about everything that came into her mind, about choosing a house, what neighbourhoods they were going to look in, how far it was to get to work for Alec, decorating only if needed, did they have enough furniture, they'd have to get new carpets and was sending Alec's head dizzy just listening to her.

"Rose, sweetheart, please slow down, my head's spinning listening to you. I'm going to order another drink then I need to talk to you."

Rose stopped and smiled at him. "Hope it's going to be about the other birthday present I have for you?" she teased. "Speaking of which, I have one for you to open now."

She went into her purse and brought out a small square box covered in silver paper tied with a pale blue bow. The tag read "To Alec, with all my love."

Alec undid the wrapping and opened the box. It was a small pocket watch with an unusual symmetrical design on the front. Rose had seen it when she was looking what to buy him. She has passed the antique shop a few days before and stopped to look in the window and seen it. It was old and very expensive but Alec was worth every penny it had cost. She had thought the design reminded her of the symbols on the console of the Tardis and could have almost passed for Galifreyan. She had never been able to read any of the stuff on the monitor.

"Turn it over Alec," she said.

He turned it over to see 'I love you' engraved on the back.

He took it out of the box and tried to open it but it seemed stuck.

He looked at Rose and said "Sweetheart, it's, well the most unusual gift I've ever received and I really don't know what to say. Where did you find something like this? I really love the design on it but sweetheart, it doesn't seem to open."

Rose looked dismayed. She had opened in the shop and it was fine or she wouldn't have bought it. She held out her hand for Alec to pass it to her. It opened and it had the same design on the watch itself although the wrong time as it needed winding.

"You're just all fingers and thumbs, Inspector," she laughed and handed it back to him. "It needs winding up, it doesn't run on batteries."

Alec looked at it, fascinated by the design and seemed slightly taken aback. He'd seen that design before.

"Rose, sweetheart, I've seen this design before you know."

"Yes, I thought you might, that's why I bought it for you. It's not what you think it is though, how could it be? I've seen similar but nothing like that before."

Alec fingered the watch, closed it and put it into his top jacket pocket, the chain just hanging out.

"Rose, it's the best present I've ever had because it's from you and it's perfect."

He reached out for her hand over the table top.

The waiter came along and cleared their dishes away and asked if they wanted to order anything else. Rose said she wanted some ice-cream so they ordered for two. While they were waiting, Alec took her hand again.

"Rose, there was one other thing I wanted to talk to you about but maybe not here, maybe when we get home when you give me my other present?"

"You can talk about anything Alec, you know that. We could move over to a quiet table and talk – after our ice-cream,"she replied as the waiter arrived with it.

They both smiled at each other. The restaurant was quite full and Alec was getting nervous over something, Rose could tell. Alec never got nervous, he wasn't the nervous type, was he? She wondered exactly what he was looking nervous about.

They moved over to a quiet table in the corner of the bar area and Rose insisted she only drink tonic water from that point, saying she wanted a clear head for later so Alec also got a non-alcoholic drink as this was a birthday he actually wanted to remember for a change having been trying to forget his birthday even existed until now. He wanted to remember this one only too well.

They sat hand in hand as far away from prying ears as they could. Alec got the watch out of his pocket again telling Rose it was the best and most wonderful present he'd ever been given. He'd regretted not knowing Rose when it had been her birthday but promised he'd make up for that next year. For the first time in very long time, he was making plans with someone, the woman he loved and long term plans at that.

As they sat hand in hand making plans, Alec decided to just come out with what he'd been wanting to say all night.

"Rose Tyler, you know you drive me crazy and have done since the day we met. I know it's only been three months and you might think it's too soon…" he trailed off.

Rose put her other hand in his and just said, "Out with it, Inspector, you're not one for beating about the bush so this has got to be a first for you, just tell me what you want to say."

"Rose, sweetheart, you made me happy again when I thought I'd never be, you told me your greatest secrets and trusted me."

He went into his inner jacket pocket and pulled out a tiny box and opened it.

Rose's eyes were wide open as she stared while he opened it, it was a diamond and sapphire ring, sitting on the tiny cushion and sparkling. She couldn't speak.

Alec looked at her and took her right hand and said, "I don't need you to answer me right now Rose, I just want to ask you to wear this and when we're both ready, I'll ask you again, properly, because I'm ready now" he told her as he slid it on to her finger.

Rose took his hand and steered it towards her left hand, held it out and whispered, "Then ask me now, Inspector."

Alec placed it on her left hand and said, "Miss Tyler, will you do me the honour of marrying me?"

"Yes, Detective Inspector Hardy, I will," Rose grinned as he placed the ring on her finger and kissed it.

There were completely unaware that there was a room full of people and no-one was taking any notice of them, thankfully. Rose looked at the ring on her finger and couldn't believe it, she thought she was dreaming. Alec actually wanted to marry her, Rose Tyler with her past life and all. That and he had gone out of his way to smarten himself up and shave his designer stubble as she called it to make himself look like the man she left behind so long ago now. He had no need to do that, she would have married him anyway. Knowing Alec Hardy, who wasn't a patient man, it wouldn't be a long engagement.

Excitedly they got a taxi home and after briefly kissing in the entryway Alec insisted she rang her mother, mostly because her mother had a reputation for slapping men and he didn't want to be one of them at any cost. He chased dangerous criminals for a living and he, Alec Hardy was scared of no-one, except Jackie Tyler and he'd not even met her yet, that came next week.

It was quite late and Rose wanted to leave it until morning and they would tell Ellie after their run and invite her and the boys out for Sunday lunch to celebrate. They didn't have a whole lot of people to tell really, except Jake who Jackie would be straight on the phone to demanding he goes down there and sorting out the man who dared to ask her daughter to marry him without her getting to pass her approving eye on him – or not.

Rose faced the music, knowing her stepdad will still be up.

"Rose, is everything okay sweetheart? asked Pete, sounding concerned. "The last time you rang this late there was trouble."

"No Dad, everything's fine, it's just I'm excited because we have something to tell you." She squeezed Alec's hand, the one that wasn't feeling under her dress. "Is Mum there, you might want to put this on the speaker, I'm not telling you twice."

Her mother's dulcet tones graced the speakerphone, "Rose, what's wrong sweetheart? That Alec Hardy had better not have upset you again or I'll come down there and slap him, hard," she said. "Well, I'm waiting, you'd better tell me now and before you continue, because if he's upset you again, he'll know about it."

Rose knew very well not to interrupt her mother when she was full steam ahead.

"No, Mum, he's not upset me, just the opposite. He's just asked me to marry him."

"WHAT?" came two voices together down the phone. "He did what?" asked Pete.

Her mother interrupted him. "He'd better not have got you into trouble Rose because then I will slap him and he'd better not think he's marrying you just for that reason either, are you listening, Alec Hardy?"

They were both grinning as Rose held out her phone and had put it on the speaker.

"Yes, Mum, he's listening, I think the whole of Broadchurch heard you."

"Engaged or not, Rose Tyler, you're not too old for a slap yourself you know. Well, what have you got to say for yourself, Alec Hardy?" Jackie continued.

Alec found his voice after the tirade that was coming from Jackie down the phone. Alec knew that Rose's parents weren't that much older than he was which made it slightly awkward and he knew she had told her step-dad how old he was but he wasn't sure he'd told her mum.

"Well, Mrs Tyler, I can assure you that I'm not marrying your daughter because I have to marry her, I asked her because I love her and want her to be my wife. When you come down here next weekend we'll have chance to meet and you will see my intentions are honourable."

"Yes, well and don't think I don't know you two are living together now either, Rose Tyler because your dad can't keep secrets from me. I got it out of him, eventually so don't try denying it. I suppose we'll be staying in your house when we come down then will we? Have you given notice on it? Is it clean and tidy if you're not there?"

"Yes, Mum, I've given notice on it and I'm living with Alec in his house until we find a place we both choose and the house is clean, Alec was round there today tidying up – on his birthday."

Jackie obviously didn't know about the arrangements that had been made for Pete to buy them a house so Rose thought better than to put her foot in it. Let her dad do that.

"Oh, it's his birthday, how old is he then?"

"Mum, don't – stop it. Can't you just wish him a happy birthday?"

"Sorry, happy birthday, Alec," she apologised, something she didn't often do with Rose's male friends. She continued. "Well at least he has a decent job I suppose so he can look after you properly. Are you going to rent another house or buy one? If you're going to buy one, I hope he can afford the mortgage payments, 'cos you're not paying for it."

"Mum, stop it will you? I wish I hadn't phoned now if I'd known. Leave him alone. I'm marrying him and that's it and he's still standing here so apologise to him – now."

"Sorry," came a small voice over the speaker, "But when it comes to my daughter, you can't really blame me."

Alec looked at Rose. "Is she always like that?" he smiled as he kissed her forehead. Rose nodded.

"I heard that, Alec Hardy."

They both laughed.

"We'll see you next weekend Mum. Have you told Tony that Alec's a Policeman? He'll go crazy."

She'd told Alec that her little brother had quite a collection of toy Police cars.

They said goodbye to Jackie and Pete then Alec took her in his arms.

"I'm still waiting for my other present, Miss Tyler and don't think you're getting away with it."

"Then come upstairs, Inspector and collect it," Rose teased him as she took his hand and pulled him towards the stairs. "You lock up and turn out the lights and I'll go get it for you."

Alec had never worked so fast and he was only thirty seconds behind Rose as she wandered into the bedroom.

Chapter 25

Rose stood in front of him in their bedroom, he'd not taken his eyes of her all night nor she him. She seemed settled with his new shaven face, like his beard had never been there. Once she got over the initial shock and finally stopped kissing him as the taxi arrived she'd found herself kissing Alec Hardy, all thoughts of the Doctor out of her mind. She had a face that she'd always wanted to kiss and it was Alec's. Now she knew for good that Alec didn't look like the Doctor, the Doctor just happened to look like Alec and he was hers.

Alec watched her as she undressed, he didn't always rip her clothes off, well nearly not always, he like to watch sometimes and since it was his birthday he decided it was one of those times. She had indeed something else for him because she was wearing something very special under her dress. She looked stunning in the new underwear she had bought on the way to work that morning, very skimpy knickers and an almost invisible bra, just very fine see-through lace, very low cut. As she kicked off her shoes she walked towards him and held out her hands to clasp his.

"Well, Inspector, are you ready to unwrap your present?" she whispered in his ear.

He turned her around and led him over to the bed.

As he turned out the light she whispered in his ear, "Happy birthday, Inspector," and he was hoping he'd survive to see another one.


Rose called at Ellie's on the way back from their run the following morning, showing off her new engagement ring and inviting her and the boys out for lunch. When Ellie finally let her out of a bear hug and agreed they made the arrangements. Ellie said he'd never live it down at the station now but she asked her to keep it quiet for now as they were going to announce it in the local paper to avoid any speculation and since they didn't really have that many people to tell anyway, it was the best way.

After lunch with Ellie, who thought Rose was out with a different man and took her all lunchtime to get over the fact that it wasn't his twin brother sitting across the table from her, they went for a walk along the cliff top and found the bench they had stopped at the first morning they had been running together and Alec sat her down. He took her hand in his and twisted the ring around on her finger and smiled at her.

"Miss Tyler, are we ever going to get over calling each other by these formal names, because it's going to sound strange calling you Mrs Hardy after we get married all the time. I know it's all teasing but still, we have to get over it sweetheart."

"Okay, I'll just call you sexy from now on then shall I?" She laughed as she looked at him and put her other hand on top of his. "You do know that when I first started calling you Inspector, I was also flirting with you, don't you? It started because at first I was annoyed with you, the first time I saw you through the window. I was annoyed because I was still pining after the Doctor and it wasn't fair that you were standing in front of me, looking like him. But I got over it a lot faster than I thought I was because I found myself falling in love with Alec Hardy, the man who I enjoyed teasing, making you dangle on the end of a string because I hadn't figured out my feelings for you but I still wanted to flirt with you. When I had and realised I loved you, well, I found I still enjoyed teasing you. The way you used to try to look down my dress when we went out to dinner, the way you always put your hand on my leg when you're driving and we stop, all made me want to tease you even more."

Alec took her hand and kissed it, then brushed her hair from her face and kissed her cheek. They didn't put on a public display of affection when they were out, that was very private to them. He helped her up and they walked back to the car they had left by the harbour pub, Alec remarking it was a pity they had to walk back to it as they were doubling back on themselves and that he still tried to look down her dress when they went out and that was never going to stop. Rose just said that she should think so.

As Rose kissed him goodbye the following morning, Alec promised he'd try to meet her to call at the newspaper office to announce their engagement. She was going to speak to Clare about her and Carly running the shop on Saturdays so she could have the weekends with her fiancé. "My fiancé," she thought as she waved Alec goodbye as his lift to work had arrived. "How did that happen so fast?"

She thought back over the last three months or so, well she'd been in Broadchurch just over three months, two weeks getting set up before that day Alec walked into her life. The day her life in this universe changed forever and probably the day his life changed too. Three wonderful months with Alec, well almost, after she nearly lost him but she had realised he had probably been in love with her before she realised she was in love with him. She had realised on the day she told him about her past because that was why she wanted to tell him, to have no secret past life, tell him everything and for him to accept it or not. Their love had won through in the end, a sign that they were meant to be together.

They both still thought something had drawn them together somehow, still not being able to figure it out completely. Alec was having fewer dreams, at least he wasn't telling Rose he'd had them so maybe it was a sign that they'd settled down and such things didn't matter so much now. Maybe the dreams had been placed there in Alec's mind in the past to bring them together and now they were, they weren't needed any more. Maybe even they hadn't been dreams at all, just images projected into the mind of a child lasting only long enough for them to resurface in later years when he'd found her, long enough to make them both realise they belonged together. But Alec had fallen in love with Rose before he even cared to admit it, before she told him about her past life and he'd remembered his dreams and more recently, he'd had them again but with him being an adult with Rose in them. Was this finally a closure for the two of them?

Rose opened the shop as Clare arrived and so she asked her if she would be happy to take over on Wednesday so the shop could open for six days since it was getting busy and to be in charge of Carly on Saturdays so she could have the weekends off. Clare saw her new engagement ring and knew the reason why she'd been asked. She knew of the Inspector, he'd been all over the news last year and said she was pleased for the two of them and she'd be happy to do more hours and she'd been hoping it may lead to a full time job as she needed the extra money for home improvements. Rose said she'd speak to Alec about it, she didn't really need to, it was Pete she had to convince but under the circumstances, as long as she did her Torchwood work, it didn't really matter, he'd approve anyway. The shop made more than enough money to cover wages and Rose would still take care of the business side.


Alec sent her a text to say he'd meet her at the newspaper office at 1pm, a place that wasn't his favourite after he had to reveal last year to them about his not so brilliant past but they had been fair and at least printed the truth for a change and it had altered many peoples' perception of him. He didn't have as many hostiles against him now, except his daughter and he was still trying in vain to sort that out.

"Maybe a visit to her?" he thought.

Ellie had kept her promise of not saying anything about his engagement to Rose, thinking better of it but he got more than a few stares when he walked in that morning, including his driver as he'd got in the car, who had not dared to say a word and was surprised that the Inspector greeted him with a "Good Morning, James, how are you this morning?" as he got in as he didn't even know the Inspector knew his name and he'd nearly stalled the car engine in the process.

He had even made Ellie a mug of tea as they talked in the break room and people were taking bets that he'd got his girlfriend pregnant as it had become obvious over the past few months that he had a girlfriend as the officer on duty outside the station had seen him with a blonde who looked half his age and had let her park her car and wait a few times and seen the Inspector take the driver's seat as she got out to let him and had seemed only too happy to see him. Some had even seen them at the harbour pub on more than a few occasion, sitting very close together in a dark corner. Rumours were rife in the office as to why he had shaved of his scruffy beard but they had the sense not to speak while his office door was open.

Alec walked over to his office followed by Ellie who invited herself in.

"So – Sir? What's with the new look then?" she spat out. "I didn't get chance to ask yesterday. It was obvious you two really wanted to be alone."

"Well, Miller, I now have a reason to look my best, don't I? Besides, Rose's family are coming down next weekend and I need to impress them. They're staying at Rose's house for the weekend so don't report someone breaking in and squatting, will you?"

Ellie smiled. "Well, it's not before time you made an honest woman out of Rose since you've been living together although these days it's very rare since people live together for years without tying the knot. Aren't you glad I give you that kick up the backside now – Sir?

Alec just grunted something at her and she left with a grin on her face. She planned to get all the gory details out of Rose later.


They met outside the newspaper office just after one and went in together, hand in hand, passing a surprised Beth Latimer and asking at the desk to place an announcement in the paper and proceeded to give the details of their engagement. Ellie's nephew, Olly saw them at the counter and came forward. He asked if he could have an interview with them but Alec wasn't so keen. He had still not quite forgotten what the press and indeed a certain Olly Stevens had done to him last year but he agreed to keep Rose happy. So they arranged for Olly to meet with them at the harbour pub after Alec finished work that evening.

Rose rang Clare to ask if she'd manage on her own the rest of the day and so she went home to get changed for the meeting later. She boldly kissed Alec goodbye outside the station and went to collect her car, just popping in to the shop to collect some things. She still had some tidying to do in her house for her mother's royal visit.

They met with Olly that evening and gave a short interview and he took a few pictures of them together promising he wouldn't alter any of the statement they'd given on threat they would tell his Aunt.

Rose got her step-father's approval to take on Clare full time the following week but to take her laptop out and do her work for Torchwood at home. Their house hunting continued now Rose had a bit more time to browse internet sites.


Friday morning – Alec's big day – meeting Jackie Tyler. He tried to pretend when he finally woke Rose up in her favourite way of being woken that he wasn't worried but he wasn't fooling her. She could tell.

"She's not that bad, Alec, despite your fears. You'll survive. Although what she'll make of you now, without your beard, I really don't know what to expect."

She kissed him as they went to the shower which they enjoyed every morning now.

Alec thought it the perfect start to the day, that and Rose kissing him goodbye on the doorstep, albeit the kitchen one so far but he was working on it being the front door.

They went downstairs and Alec turned to her.

"I know, sweetheart but you've told me such tales about her, she sounds like a formidable opponent. I catch criminals for a living but I wouldn't like to have to arrest her, Rosie. I'd be the one ending up being arrested for false arrest." he joked.

"Well, they'll be here by lunchtime and I'll get them settled in at my house, I'll go get some basics for them and then when you come home we'll all have dinner together. Can you pick up that toy police car for Tony I told you about and the rechargeable batteries please?"

She kissed his cheek and rubbed her hand down his face, she still couldn't get over his smooth face now he was shaving every morning and he'd kept the sideburns since they'd grown. She would have kissed him all day if she'd been able to, she found she couldn't leave him alone when they were at home.

Rose had just got back from getting some groceries for her family's stopover when her mobile rang. She put the groceries on the kitchen table. It was Jake. She'd not heard from him all week because he had been on an assignment and he'd just got back.

"Well, well, well, you kept that quiet didn't you, Rose Tyler?" Jake laughed. "Didn't even tell your best mate you were thinking about getting married."

"Well, that's because it was completely unexpected, I never even thought about it, I was already happy with him. Jake, will you tell me something? I won't get bothered by Mickey again anymore, will I?"

"I can promise you, Mickey has been taken care of and he's perfectly safe, he's started a new life, courtesy of Torchwood. He's started his own business, Mickey Smith Investigations, in Leeds and he's doing well. It's all over in that respect. Consider it an engagement present. Speaking of which, are you having an engagement party 'cos if you are, I'm coming down."

"We've not thought about it really. Maybe we'll come down to London and have one there, you know my mum likes organising parties and she won't let us get away with it. I'll ask Alec. I'll have to go, they'll be here soon and thanks."

Half an hour later, her step-dad's car pulled up into her drive and her mother was the first out, despite Tony's protest to be let out of the child locked door. She pulled Rose into an endless hug as they hadn't seen each other for three months. Pete finally let Tony out and he clung to his big sister's legs and she kneeled down to him and pulled him into a hug, then Pete joined in. They were all extremely happy to be reunited.

She let them in and handed Pete the keys and her mother put the kettle on in typical Jackie fashion, her answer to everything Rose had once remarked.

They spent ages catching up, her mum wanted the low down on her daughter's now fiancé and all the latest gossip from Jackie's new circle of friends she'd acquired since landing on this world. Rose promised to introduce them to Ellie later, saying how she was bringing up two boys on her own since her divorce and how she and Alec were planning on maybe going away on weekends now she wasn't in the shop full time but she'd decided to work a few hours a day over the lunchtime period just to get her out of the house and give her a reason to go out.

Tony had been told Alec was a policeman and couldn't wait to finally meet him, asking Rose if he wore a uniform and a helmet and did he drive a police car? Rose laughed at the idea, saying she could never quite picture him dressed like that but she'd seen him drive a police car once.

Rose excused herself and left them to settle in after lunch and went to prepare dinner at her new albeit temporary home, hoping her mother wouldn't go nosing around her stuff that had been left behind. She had brought most of personal stuff over including the newly discovered photos Alec had found when he told her he'd seen them and had decided to shave off his beard.

Alec arrived home to his usual greeting from Rose as she had told her parents to come round at six thirty so it wasn't too late for Tony. After a shortened version of their greeting each other, she told Alec that her mother may react a bit strangely to seeing him but not to worry, which didn't help him because he already was worried.

"Rosie, sweetheart, what if she hates me? It's not going to be easy for her to accept me now."

"She won't, she got over hating the Doctor long before we came here. She'll cope. She knows I love you, Sexy," she assured him as she kissed him again.

The front doorbell rang and Alec, putting on a brave face, went to answer the door. Jackie's mouth just fell open when he opened it to them and it took every ounce of strength from her not to slap his face right there on the doorstep.

They stood there in silence until Rose joined Alec at the door and said, "Well don't just stand there, come in. Mum, Dad, Tony, this is my fiancé – Detective Inspector Alec Hardy."

Chapter 26

Rose's parents were taken aback to say the least but Tony just pushed his way past to his sister and held on to her as he could see something was wrong. Rose led him over to the now newly draped with a clean cover sofa and sat him down and went to get the present they had got him to calm him down while Alec stepped aside to let her parents in, Jackie almost having to be led in by Pete.

Rose was sat by Tony as he played with his hastily unwrapped police car that Alec had put rechargeable batteries in and there were more charging up nearby, Jackie sat herself down next to her son and Pete took one of the chairs, Alec the remaining one next to Rose. Rose had left dinner to simmer on a low setting but was keeping an eye on the time. Alec reached out for Rose's hand across the space of the sofa and the chair and took hold of it, Jackie glaring at him in full battle mode. It was Pete who finally broke the silence.

"Jackie, sweetheart, I told you Alec looked like him, didn't I? Rose, you told me he still had a beard the last time we spoke about him, didn't you?"

Rose look across at Alec then back to Pete.

"Mum, it's not like you weren't warned and he only shaved off his beard last Saturday night, I never knew he planned to do it, or ask me to marry him."

Tony looked up from his toy at his sister.

"What does marry mean?" he asked her. "Alec, can I have a ride in your police car? If you're living with my sister, does that mean you're my big brother now? Mum, is Alec my brother now? I always wanted a big brother."

Rose thought he sounded just like his mother.

His mother looked at him and ruffled his hair.

"Well, we're just going to have to see about that, aren't we?" Jackie replied as she glared at Alec again.

Rose saw her opportunity to rescue Alec from her mother and told him she needed help with dinner. Her mother got up to offer her help but Rose insisted she and Alec did it, they were their guests. They closed the door to the kitchen and Rose put her arms round his neck and kissed him.

"That was a close one, Inspector," she said.

Alec nodded his agreement. "I still love you Rosie, it won't put me off. At least she's not slapped me yet," he smiled.

"Oh, there's still plenty of time for that, Inspector, she's not recovered from the initial shock yet," she teased.

"Well, I hope you don't take after your mother and start slapping me on the face but you can slap me elsewhere any time you like."

Rose just smiled back at him and patted his behind and started to get dinner out and Alec took a tray into the living room with a smile on his face.

During dinner, Jackie made her usual remarks, Rose kept glancing for Alec's reaction. He'd been nervous enough and Jackie wasn't helping. It was the first time he had sat down in a large family environment and it was showing. She smiled reassuringly at him as her mother kept going on about how domesticated Rose had got and was Alec helping with the housework and was Rose still working full time at the shop and how Alec should be supporting her and not making her work.

When Rose finally got a word in she informed her mother she had cut down to two hours a day, four days a week and yes, they shared certain household duties but she was now spending more time at home so there wasn't as much to do. She could tell Alec was getting agitated by the way his eyebrows were twitching, something again that reminded her of how alike he and the Doctor were but she was thinking less and less about it because there were Alec's little habits now, the man she loved.

Jackie went to put Tony to bed despite him protesting he wanted to stay and persuaded Alec to tell him stories about police car chases before he went to bed. Rose had volunteered to take him but Jackie insisted and then Pete suggested they all go round to make it easier so Rose said they would be round after they cleaned the dishes. Alone at last in the kitchen Rose smiled in sympathy at poor Alec who was clearly out of his depth.

"Aw, my poor Inspector, you really don't know what you're letting yourself in for, do you?" she smiled as she kissed him and unbuttoned his shirt.

He tried to stop her but not by much, unbuttoning her top in return. He closed the blind and pulled out a chair and sat her down on top of him.

"If your mother knocks at that door now, I'm a dead man," he laughed.

Afterwards, they went to join the others next door and made plans for the weekend but Jackie had her own agenda. Were they planning an engagement party? Where will they get married? When will they get married? Did they want to get married at the Mansion? Alec was trying very hard to keep up with all the questions while Jackie was looking daggers at him.

Rose suggested they didn't really want a big party, they would be happy just having a party before everyone left so Alec came up with the idea of all going out on Sunday lunchtime with Ellie and the boys and having sort of a party then everyone would be happy. Rose said she would ring Jake and see if he could come down on Sunday and they could call and ask Ellie in the morning and then in the afternoon she'd take her mum shopping and Pete and Alec could take Tony to the playground and take his new police car for a good run. Alec said he'd see if Ellie's boys wanted to go as well.

They all said goodnight and Alec and Rose went home with Rose saying her mum had ears that could hear a pin drop five miles away and so to keep the noise down to which Alec said he hoped she had earmuffs then because he wasn't prepared to tone it down just because her mother was next door. They fell into bed laughing, the events of Alec's nightmare first meeting with his future in-laws forgotten once he was wrapped up in Rose.


After surviving the evening with Rose's family, all Alec wanted to do was go to bed with his Rosie. He'd been nervous enough that morning when he went to work and it didn't get any better when he got home and they came round for dinner, except for the part of actually getting home and being with Rose who always made it worth his while to get home on time. He didn't know what the rest of the weekend had in store. If he thought he'd just survived the first day, it was nothing compared to what he was in for.


Rose went to invite Ellie and the boys to Sunday lunch as their engagement party then later she went shopping with her mum who had a million questions for her. She took her into the Gallery and introduce her to Clare and Carly, giving her a floral print to take home with her. They had agreed to meet up with 'The Boys' at the café across from the Police Station. Tom had declined to go with them because they were going where his dad used to take them but they took Fred, assuring Ellie they wouldn't let him have more than one ice-cream and Alec would carry him if he got tired.

They made their way home, getting a large taxi as Fred was getting tired and dropped him off and Jackie offered to help Rose with dinner and just as they sat down there was a ring of the doorbell. It was Jake, who had managed to get away earlier than he thought and he urgently needed to talk alone with Pete. The two of them went back to Rose's house and it was not good news when they came back.

Pete asked Jackie to take Tony back next door after they finished eating and when they left, they all went into the living room, Rose and Alec completely in the dark about what was going on but they wished they'd stayed in the dark because somehow, they didn't know how, Mickey Smith had regained some of his memories and was already in Broadchurch. He'd been spotted in London by a team member, after an alert went out for Rose and Alec when he'd done a general search on them, who had then had him followed and reported to Jake, who had driven down as fast as he could. Alec immediately put his arm around Rose as she looked to Pete and asked him how this had happened.

Jake said another team member was already on the way down and the one who followed him had him under observation. It seemed Mickey had not regained all his memories because he'd not noticed he was being followed. Pete said that Rose and Alec should continue with their plans tomorrow as normal but Alec said that they shouldn't go for their morning run. Jake however offered to go with them but they declined his offer, their morning run was a special time for them and they weren't willing to share it. They did however concede to Jake staying with them as long as he kept out of the way in the morning. They didn't want to alarm Jackie so they said they would just carry on as normal, hoping that if Mickey did indeed show up he'd have the sense of not doing or saying anything in front of her. Even Mickey was scared of Jackie, memories or no memories.

Pete went back next door and Alec rang Ellie to tell her what had happened and that they were still on for lunch tomorrow while Jake got his things from the car and settled in the spare room.

"I hope you two are going to keep the noise down tonight Rose," he joked, while Alec was in the kitchen talking to Ellie on the phone and making drinks.

"Ha, no chance Jake, just bring your earphones and music player and turn it up really loud," Rose laughed back. "Alec won't even keep the noise down with my mum being next door though she didn't say anything this morning."

Alec came back in and asked if he was the subject of their conversation thinking that would be twice they'd been talking about him then.

"You don't have to stop on my account," he said as he sat as close to Rose as he could get and putting his hand on her knees.

Jake was eyeing the pair of them. This was the first time he'd seen them together. He hadn't stayed long the last time Mickey was bothering them because he thought it had been resolved but as he saw the way they reacted with each other, he could understand why Mickey had come over all jealous all of a sudden.

A family weekend was about to turn into disaster and Alec had not seen Jackie when she got going but the following day was going to make up for that.

As they went to bed, Rose turned to Alec and asked him how he was feeling. Mickey was obviously on a dangerous mission to try to either discredit Alec in front of Rose or he was going to do something even more stupid.

"Alec, please tell me this isn't getting to you because I need you to protect me. I know Jake is here to do his job but I feel a lot safer with you."

"Rosie, sweetheart, I admit this is getting tiresome but it's not going to bother me and you shouldn't let it get to you either. I've got four weeks leave to come so tomorrow after lunch we'll pack some bags and just go away somewhere. We'll get the ferry over to France and go see Paris or we'll get a Zeppelin and go to Spain or somewhere. There are always last minute holidays if you're all ready and packed. I'll go on the internet and book one. Mickey still thinks you live next door so you're perfectly safe here and Jake's in the next room. If anything, you should feel sorry for Mickey if he wakes your mother up, then Jake won't have to deal with him."

Rose laughed with him.

As they stood in the bedroom, Alec just stood behind Rose and started to undress her, slowly. Sometimes he like to watch her and others he liked to do it which he knew she enjoyed the most so this was one of the times as he completed his task and pulled back the bedclothes. He also knew she liked to watch him get undressed and he figured she deserved it.

Jake just took Rose's advice and turned his music up as loud as it would go so he couldn't hear her screams as she was telling Alec she wanted more but it didn't help.

The following morning, after them trying to not make too much noise in the shower, Jake joined them for breakfast saying he could hear the two of them over his music last night and don't think he'd not heard them in the shower this morning. Rose just pulled a face and said he was only jealous because he was away from his boyfriend.

They had planned to go out for lunch taking two cars and that Jake could go with Jackie and Pete, much to Tony's delight and Rose and Alec would take Ellie and the boys, borrowing the child seat. Something caught Rose's attention the way Alec was putting the car seat in and placing Fred in it, just the way he did it, thinking that poor Alec had never even stood a chance with his daughter and now he was about to get a second chance at a real family, two people who really loved each other and they would soon be thinking about starting their own.

As they got to the pub for lunch, they didn't notice another car was following at a distance and it turned into the car park just as Rose and Alec were about to go in as Alec had been helping Fred out of his seat and Ellie had just taken him inside. Alec and Rose were outside, talking, Rose was saying her dad would insist on paying and Alec said it was their party and he should pay for it. They were stood in front of two wooden square plant holders marking either side of the path into the pub and Alec was just about to say something back to her and was still on the pavement as he suddenly heard the noise of screeching tyres and a revving car engine getting nearer and he turned as a speeding car was heading straight for him.

Chapter 27

Mickey didn't know what had happened to him. He had suddenly found himself in Leeds running a small office in one of the suburbs with a whole history behind him and he didn't know how it had happened. It started slowly, certain memories creeping through like suddenly remembering his old Gran and places that weren't familiar.

He didn't know that Torchwood had set everything up for him, given him a new background story, going back all his adult life.

Then he'd been on the internet one day, looking at the news and came across a small town paper in Dorset and seen the pictures of a police detective inspector who had just got engaged to a young woman from out of town who ran a shop there. The announcement came with a half page story about the couple, who had met in the town after Detective Inspector Alec Hardy had been there for the best part of a year and the woman had been there just over three months and they had met at her shop. It went on to say the woman, a Miss Rose Tyler, was the step-daughter of a well known London businessman who had married her mother just over eight years ago and the inspector was the detective who had solved the murder of a young boy in the town last year. One picture showed the couple holding hands and showing off her engagement ring.

Something about the story stuck in the back of his mind. He was sure he had seen the woman somewhere before but she was from London and he'd never heard of the town, Broadchurch so where had he come across her? He thought more about her, certain he'd known her in the past. The couple had looked happy in the pictures and made Mickey think how miserable he was, no girlfriend or even friends and a dead-end job solving petty problems of anyone who could afford his measly fee who wanted someone following or to settle a domestic problem. Still, somehow he was making ends meet and surviving courtesy of Torchwood which was unbeknown to him. He remembered arriving in Leeds but was there trying to forget his past.

He woke up a few days after seeing the article and it was like he'd been hit with a ten tonne truck. Rose Tyler. He knew that name. Then 'The Powell Estate' suddenly popped into his mind for some strange reason so he looked it up and found it had been a council estate in London but had been knocked down eight years ago.

Other names and places started to emerge, Hendricks Department Store, walking plastic dummies, green blobby creatures, bats of the flying variety, Madame Du Pompadour, Cybermen. He stopped at the name of Cyberman, those metal creatures that a long time ago had tried to take over and convert people in London and other places and had visions of other small, rounder metal creatures and a battle going on inside a building and Zeppelins.

His curiosity getting the better of him, he did a search for this Rose Tyler and got redirected to something called Torchwood so he did one for this Alec Hardy and got the same. "Must be some glitch on the internet," he thought. He decided he would take a few days off and go visit Broadchurch and see this Powell Estate and see if he could remember who this Rose Tyler was, maybe seeing her would jog his memory. He didn't know his searches had created an alert and someone would be watching out for him.

So he drove down to London, seeing a large space where tower blocks had once been and new houses and it didn't ring any bells. He drove around for a while thinking he could either drive straight down to Broadchurch or stay the night. He chose a cheap hotel and thought it better to drive down the following day, Saturday.

He arrived in Broadchurch and booked into a hotel on the main street and thought it strange that the woman at the reception desk said, "Hello, Mr Smith, back again?" and dismissed it thinking she had mistaken him for someone else. He walked across to the local newspaper office and asked if they had a copy of the paper announcing the engagement of Rose Tyler and Alec Hardy, saying he was a friend from out of town. He got a copy and sat in the corner of the Tourist Information Office and a woman came over to him.

He asked her if she knew the couple and she said only that he was a police detective and she ran a picture gallery down the road and told him where it was. He walked down and found the shop only to see a woman and a young girl inside and went in and enquired about Rose Tyler, saying again he was a friend of hers. The woman said she no longer worked on Saturday's and she was probably at home with her fiancé as her family had just arrived from London.

He left the shop and went back to the hotel and got a telephone directory but couldn't see either name listed. He went back out again in search of a late lunch and was sat in a café at the back when two women came in and one was Rose Tyler. They were then joined by two men with two boys, one looked seven or eight and one looked about two being carried by the tall man who looked like the man in the picture with Rose Tyler, this Alec Hardy. The older boy went across to the older woman, calling her mummy and the young woman took hold of the younger boy as he was put down and sat him down. He concluded that the young boy was theirs since there was no-one else with them. He sat there in the darkened corner and waited until they left.

They got into a large taxi and drove off. He followed them out of the café and saw the taxi drive up the hill. He knew the general direction, now he had to find them. He went back to the hotel and looked at a map and circled an area where they probably lived. This Rose Tyler was playing happy families with this man and he didn't know why but he felt like she needed his help to get away from Alec Hardy, the sooner the better because although he didn't know why, it was his job to get her away. Seeing them together though with a small child kind of made him start to have second thoughts. Maybe he'd been wrong about them after all, he seemed to remember his father not being there when he was younger and memories of being brought up by his Gran came back to him. Would it be fair to split up a family? Something though was still digging at him so he decided to sleep on it.

The following morning, his memories were becoming clearer, he was starting to remember things, of being here before and a street further up in the town. He sought some breakfast and set off to try to remember the street. He was just driving and suddenly, a street looked familiar to him. He drove down and turned around at the end. A blue car was parked in a driveway, he'd seen the blue car before so he drove on and parked up around the corner. He sat for what seemed like hours and by a stroke of luck, he saw the blue car, followed by another car turn the corner and drive away from him. He started his car and followed at a distance and saw them turn into a pub car park a few miles away. He saw another woman get out of the back of the blue car who took the small boy from the car after the man had let him out of the car seat and concluded maybe the small boy didn't belong to him and Rose Tyler after all. He sat there then revved up the car engine and put his foot down as the man was standing in front of a tall wooden planter.

What he didn't know was that the occupants of the car were aware he was in town and that another car was following him.


Ellie was just taking Fred inside the pub, Tom had gone in with the Tylers followed by Jake. No-one heard the noise of a car outside as the pub was quite busy, that is apart from Rose and Alec and Jake had just excused himself past Ellie as he realised he'd been parted from Rose as he was supposed to helping Alec look after her. Jake just got to the door as Rose was at the bottom of the short pathway facing away from him talking to Alec when Jake heard the sound of a car, looked past Rose at Alec who was just about to follow her when he saw a car coming towards Alec, just as Alec heard it and turned round to see it heading towards him as he was still on the pathway outside by the wooden planter.

Jake shouted, grabbed a startled Rose as he dashed towards her and spun her past him into the pub doorway, Ellie turning around to see what was happening and Jake continued out towards Alec and grabbed hold of him by the arm pulling him off the pavement and onto the pathway just as the front of the car bumped into one of the wooden planters, right where Alec had stood a few seconds earlier. Rose had turned round and was screaming "Alec!" at the top of her voice, Ellie was outside holding Rose back as Jake was still hanging onto him having pulled him safely out of the way.

The car reversed back, leaving a dent in the front and spun around only to be stopped by a black SUV in its way. The driver tried to reverse but was prevented by a car parked in the way and it was blocked in. Alec had sufficiently recovered to lead Jake back out as the car driver was desperately trying to get away with no luck. The driver of the SUV got out and nodded to Jake, he was the Torchwood member who had been following Mickey but had been held up a few minutes down the road. Jake was round at the offending car's driver door in seconds, yanking it open.

Alec was at the passenger door and the other man joined Jake. A stunned Mickey Smith was sat in the driver's seat realizing he was surrounded and there was no way out. Pete was just coming out of the pub realising there was a commotion outside, leaving Jackie telling her to look after the boys and Ellie had bundled Fred into her side when she went out. Jackie was now standing at the door having picked up Fred who was asking for his mum, the two other boys inside and Tom holding on to Tony who wanted to follow his mum and asking where Rose was.

More people were looking out of the windows as their attention had been caught and others were trying to get to windows to see what the fuss was about. The door had been blocked by Jackie and Pete and Jackie demanded that Pete tell her what was going on and that Rose was outside with Alec and shoved poor Fred into a bewildered Pete's arms and marched past him. Ellie was still hanging on to Rose but as Jackie appeared, let go and handed her to Jackie and took Fred from Pete, Tom and Tony were still inside so Ellie went back in to see they were alright. She didn't know whether or not to call for backup but she had seen enough of Jackie Tyler to know she was better than the entire Dorset police department and decided to wait to see what Alec would do.

Jake signalled for Mickey to get out of the car. He knew that he'd probably got back most of his memories and couldn't figure out how that had happened. Was his jealousy of Rose and Alec so strong that the procedure to wipe Mickey's mind hadn't had the desired effect? He'd have to have a rethink on that.

Mickey got out of the car and was now surrounded by Jake and his friend and Alec, Pete came out to join them, with Rose and Jackie standing at a distance. Rose so wanted to just go to Alec but her mum just whispered for her to let them get on with it. Someone inside the pub must have called the police not knowing there were two off duty officers already at the scene and sirens could soon be heard in the distance.

As soon as Mickey got out of the car and Jake had just asked him what the hell he was doing aiming a car at Alec and did he really think he'd get away with it, Jackie broke loose. Everyone was astounded as she lay into him, especially Alec who had been warned about her but had yet to be the subject of her wrath. He wouldn't have wished that on anyone even Mickey who had just tried to knock him over. Jackie's tirade came thick and fast much to the pub patrons' amusement just as a police car pulled into the car park. Alec got out his I.D card but as the officers got out they already recognised him. It was the very last thing he'd wanted, to get involved in a pub car park fracas even if someone has just attempted to put him out of the picture – permanently.

The officers got out of the car and saw Jackie was laying thick and fast into Mickey, who was now squirming something terrible at Jackie's tirade and they too were amused.

"Do you need any help, Detective Inspector Hardy?" one of them asked, looking at Jackie who showed no sign of letting Mickey off the hook and smiling to himself.

"No, I think we've got this covered, thanks," replied a very amused Alec who was hoping Rose really wouldn't take after her mother and nodded towards Jackie, who for a second saw the two officers and demanded to know where they had been when this lunatic had been aiming his car at her future son-in-law, pointing to Alec and trying to ruin her daughter's married life before she had even got married and saying she would then never have any grandkids. He explained to the officers briefly what had happened but no harm had been done.

Rose was stood with her hands covering her face, trying not to laugh at her mother's behaviour in what could have ended with her going in an ambulance with her fiancé to the hospital or worse but wasn't having any luck, Pete was just letting Jackie get on with it because unlike his first wife, there was no stopping this one when she got going and he knew better than to get in her way or face the music himself.

Jake and his friend were also looking amused and content to let Jackie get on with it, she was far more effective than ret-conning someone. The people inside the pub had got tired and gone back to eating and drinking when the police arrived. Ellie sat the boys down at a corner table, Fred surrounded by Tony on one side and Tom on the other and told Tom not to let either of them leave and assured Tony that his mum would be back in a minute and would he please help Tom to look after Fred? Tony had nodded his agreement and started talking to them about police cars.

Ellie came out to join them and she also knew the officers who had just arrived and they nodded to her. They said they could see everything was under control and assumed the incident had been caused by the car with a dent in the front of it and the driver, who was still feeling the brunt of Jackie Tyler's wrath had been the instigator although they were concerned that the inspector had been the intended victim of a hit and run but Alec assured them he was perfectly alright and that he and DS Miller would handle it.

They left bemused, having asked if the inspector wanted them to arrest the driver or leave him in the capable hands of his future mother-in-law and Alec knew what his fate would be when he got to work in the morning. He gave them a stern warning look daring them to say anything about this to the rest of the people in the station but knew it would be in vain.

Jake and his friend put Mickey, who had to be pried away from Jackie's clutches, in the back of the SUV, Pete went to park Mickey's car and said he'd drive it back down to Rose and Alec's house and someone would pick it up later and they drove off, Jake saying he'd collect his car later as well and Rose just ran straight to Alec's arms and kissed him, not caring who was watching, Ellie had gone back inside and Jackie was trying to shout at Mickey as he was driven off, Pete getting out of Mickey's car and trying to get her back inside.

"Some engagement party that turned out to be" Alec said to Rose as they went arm in arm back into the pub as he kissed her cheek and wondered what the hell he was getting himself into.

Chapter 28

They all tried hard to enjoy their lunch but they just wanted to get out of there. They all planned to meet back at Rose and Alec's house since there were now two more cars, with Pete following Alec, Ellie driving Rose's car with the kiddie seat and taking all three boys with her and Rose driving Pete's car back with her mother. They all crammed into the house but Ellie said she'd take the boys back and settle them then come back round. By the time she did, Rose and Alec had disappeared and she was hoping they weren't having second thoughts after the events of the day.

They had retreated to their bedroom mainly for Alec to comfort Rose and assure her that nothing had changed and for him to show her so.

"Rosie, sweetheart, I'm really sorry about all this," Alec apologised as he held her closely and kissing her. "It's all my fault, I should have arrested him weeks ago when he was here, for harassing you."

"Alec, it's not your fault, it's me, he must have been so jealous that the ret-con didn't work properly and he thought that was the only way to get rid of you. He never would have done such a thing, he's not a violent person, it's completely out of character for him. The ret-con must have confused him, gave him scrambled messages about when he was here before trying to break us up. He must have completely lost it when he saw us together outside the pub. He must have remembered my car and followed us. Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yes, I'm okay, though I doubt ret-conning him again will be as effective as your mother, I don't think that anyone in any condition would forget that," he laughed. "Just what am I getting into, Miss Tyler?" he added.

"Inspector, my mother is downstairs so keep the noise down," she replied. "Or it will be you that feels the sharp end of her tongue and her hand," she added with asly look on her face as she pulled him onto the bed.

Rose lay there, biting her tongue, trying not to make a sound as he did the same, kissing into her neck to stop himself making a noise so no-one downstairs would here their most intimate moments together and trying not to bite her neck and leave a mark but failing.

They finally went downstairs and Alec went to make them both a drink since Jackie had helped herself, Ellie had gone back home since she didn't know how long the two of them would be but had an idea it wouldn't be any time soon and had taken Tony round to play at her house, telling Pete to call if they needed her and that she'd have a word with the two officers who were at the pub to go easy on Alec at work. It had been embarrassing to say the very least.

Now it was Alec's turn to face Jackie but he wasn't going down without a fight, Rose was already in his corner for the fight of the year. Jackie looked slyly at Alec (who hadn't realised a purple mark had chosen to show itself on Rose's neck all of a sudden) with her best 'don't think I don't know what you were doing upstairs with my daughter, Alec Hardy' look. Jackie had been annoyed to say the very least that she had been kept mostly in the dark about Mickey stalking her daughter and was now demanding to know the entire story from start to finish.

Pete told her most of it, Jackie looking all the time at Rose asking why she hadn't told her about it. She demanded to know just what Alec had done to warrant such behaviour from Mickey, she had known him all his life, he and Rose had grown up together on the same estate in London and used to go out together, how Mickey used to mend stuff for her in the flat and then she suddenly stopped as she was about to mention a certain Timelord. She looked at Rose, then at Pete and Rose knew what she was going to say.

"It's okay Mum, Alec knows everything, even about us being from another universe and he's accepted everything, even about the Doctor so don't worry, he won't run away, not now. He knows I used to travel with him and how we got here. I trust him, Mum and he trusts me. Mickey was jealous because he lost me to the first Doctor then when he regenerated it got worse and well, coming down here, he got a shock when he saw Alec and it just sent him over the edge. Then when he started bothering us, Jake had someone wipe his memories and somehow he got most of them back but they were scrambled and he thought I was in danger from Alec and so he took drastic action. Mum, he could have killed or badly injured Alec and it's all my fault."

Rose started crying into Alec's shoulder, Jackie got up and pulled him away from her and took his place, putting her arms around her and rubbing her back, telling her everything was okay now. Alec had to be content with standing around the back of the sofa and touching her hair, one hand on the shoulder that Jackie's wasn't on, with Jackie glaring at him. That was when the fun started.

"How dare you put my daughter in this position, Alec Hardy, it's all your fault, looking like that Doctor, just when she was getting over him. You didn't have to stand with her when he faded away from her for the last time, listen to her crying herself to sleep every night and if that wasn't bad enough, you have to go and make her ex-boyfriend so jealous that he tries to kill you and set her off again and on top of that, she tells Pete you look like the Doctor but you have a beard and then you go shave it off and set her off even more and you nearly leave her a widow before she's even married and…."

Her voice trailed off, probably to catch her breath, Alec was thinking and saw his chance to retaliate in his defence.

Alec stopped her at this point by putting his hand up, just as Pete got up to try to calm Jackie down who had finally let go of Rose and was about to get up and probably slap Alec's face for getting her daughter in such a state. Pete got Jackie successfully out of striking distance of Alec and he went to sit on the sofa with Rose burying her head in his shoulders again as he put his arms around her, holding her tightly. Pete managed to calm Jackie down telling her to leave them be, they needed to be together and couldn't she see that?

Jackie just looked at the two of them together on the sofa, Alec's arms draped around her shoulders as she was still sobbing, wiping the tears from the side of her face, rubbing her back and kissing her cheek where the tears fell and she held back, realising her daughter needed Alec now more than she needed her. She had seen how Rose reacted when she was with the Doctor and now she was doing the same with Alec and despite the very clear difference between the two men, she could see that they were meant to be together no matter which universe they were in. Even she couldn't argue with that, she supposed. So she left them alone and went into the kitchen and came back with more tea. That was Jackie's solution to everything. The planet could be falling apart and Jackie Tyler would still make tea.

Rose finally managed to stop sobbing, her eyes blackened by her mascara but Alec didn't care. He'd told her she didn't really need to wear any makeup and she didn't often do so but it had been their engagement party and she wanted to look her best for him. No-one said much apart from Jackie mumbling on about it still being Alec's fault and just because he was in the police didn't excuse him from getting a slap. Alec put up with it just for Rose's sake despite him planning to maybe give her a warning but thought better of it. He'd seen a demonstration of Jackie in battle mode and planned instead to steer well clear of her. He was still sat next to Rose, she had told her mother in no uncertain terms to leave Alec alone and it should be Mickey she was slapping for starting all this in the first place.

No-one had thought about getting anything else to eat, it was early evening by now and several hours since their disastrous lunch. Alec was feeling it though and said he'd go down to the Chinese takeaway and rang Ellie to see if she wanted anything but she had fed the boys and she was okay and asked what time Tony went to bed. Alec set off for the food, only just squeezing into the car as Jake's was now parked next to Pete's in the other driveway and Mickey's squashed at the side of their car (Rose had put Alec on her car insurance since he seemed to drive it more than she did these days anyway.)

While he was gone, Jackie took the opportunity to grill Rose more about what had been going on but she didn't want to talk about it. She was still a bit upset and had only just realised she could have lost Alec permanently today through Mickey's stupidity. While Jackie went to make even more tea, she asked Pete what would happen to Mickey now.

"Jake will have Evan take him back to Leeds and give him a stronger dose before he goes and hope it works this time, sweetheart. I know it's not nice but it's for the best. It will just go on and it will get worse and something more serious may happen. They might do something more drastic like re-locate him somewhere remote but someone will keep a very close eye on him from now on. They'll keep him at headquarters and make him comfortable and Jake will send someone back to collect Mickey's car tomorrow. I could do one thing for him though, with your approval of course."

"Anything dad, I sort of feel responsible for all this still, for bringing it upon Alec and dragging him into this sorry mess,"said Rose. "I'm surprised he didn't just get into the car and drive off after it was over. I wouldn't have blamed him, I wanted to."

"He didn't run sweetheart because he loves you and I know he'll stick by you no matter what. Anyway, there was this one new young female doctor who I spotted who sort of kept looking at Mickey when he was around but Mickey never seemed to notice her, well I'm fairly certain I could get her to re-locate to Leeds, get her a job and everything and she could accidentally bump into Mickey. Then she could keep a very close eye on him and he might not want to try and remember his past. I think somehow, he knew he was trying to forget his past and that's what triggered it and he got mixed messages. If he has someone and not on his own, he'll get through it this time. He doesn't deserve it really after what he tried to do but it probably wasn't his fault and he really didn't know what he was doing."

"Will you ask Jake to do that then when he comes down tomorrow, ask him to keep him in London until you can speak to that woman?"

"Of course I will Rose, I'll take care of everything."

Pete got up and went to sit next to her, taking her hand with the ring on it and looked at her.

"I'm so proud of you Rose, we never thought you'd get over loosing the Doctor and here you are, engaged to a senior police officer. I never did have the chance to raise you, watch you grow but when you then your mother came into my life, then Tony, you made me the happiest man alive and now I can see you're doing the same for Alec and I've no doubt whatsoever he's the right man for you."

He kissed on her forehead and got up.

Jackie had been listening from the kitchen to the final part of their conversation. She hadn't known what an impact she and Rose had on the life of Pete Tyler. That he'd been lonely even when he'd been married to an alternate version of her and just exactly how different he had found her to be. The other Jackie had grown bitter and selfish and he'd found himself falling in love with her, the alternate Jackie within minutes of meeting her at Torchwood Tower in the alternate universe.

Jackie finally realised that her daughter was grown up, had got over her worse nightmare and was getting married but she vowed if that Alec Hardy ever upset her in the slightest, she'd make sure he knew about it.

After Alec got back, deciding it better to leave the car on the street or he'd drop all the food, they ate up, trying to forget the events of the day and Jackie declaring that she supposed that Alec wasn't all that bad if he could cope with all that had transpired today and that at least she knew where Rose was now.

Jackie and Pete went back to pick Tony up from Ellie's and Alec said goodbye to them as they were leaving in the morning and he had to go to work, something he wasn't really looking forward to if the two officers got there before him. Jackie even gave him a hug and a kiss on both cheeks, something rare for her with Rose's friends and something Alec was not expecting. Rose remembered when she had finally warmed to the Doctor and smiled, knowing her mother had made her peace with the Inspector.

When Rose and Alec finally got to bed, they just wanted to comfort each other after the harrowing events of the day. Rose wondered if seeing their picture together in the paper triggered some memory for Mickey and sparked him off like that. Alec agreed so they decided they wouldn't publicise their wedding plans and keep it quiet and maybe they could just slip away somewhere and get married without telling anyone. Rose said they could try but then Jackie would really get mad at him.

So they made a compromise, they would go sneak away somewhere and get married then have a big wedding reception at the Mansion and invite Ellie and the boys down when they got back. Rose said that sounded like a plan so they both agreed to go ahead with it.

Now continued in 'Married life with Rose and Alec'