Alec Hardy and the mysterious heiress

Alec Hardy had just been appointed to the Broadchurch Police department after no-one else would take him.  He has a secret to keep that his superiors can never know and he wasn't looking for a friend or an enemy and he found both.  Can his new friend Rose Tyler keep his secret when she is his enemy's best friend and can he keeps hers?  Set in the AU in the style of 'Human Nature'

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Chapter 1

Rose Tyler had moved to Broadchurch just after her fateful day at Bad Wolf Bay after persuading her mother and her new stepfather she wanted to make her own way and receive very little help. She had found herself a job running the town's tourist Information office that was fairly well paid and she had made several friends including the woman who worked part time with her and the local female detective sergeant and the three of them went everywhere together but there was only one drawback Rose had not told them who she really was.

Her stepfather had agreed not to interfere with her life, she went to visit her mother on a regular basis and they talked all the time on the phone but she had gone to Broadchurch because it was out of the way and no-one knew her name although the editor of the local newspaper that she shared offices with had her suspicions but had decided not to pursue it and had figured if the woman wanted to remain anonymous then so be it unless something newsworthy came up and had decided to leave her in peace.

Now seven years after the events of Canary Wharf but in the alternate universe she was now in it was actually only four, something Rose could never get her head around and called it confusing to say the very least, she had a nice apartment near the seafront and her mother and younger brother had been down to visit several times. Officially she was now twenty seven but she knew she wasn't and had just had to accept it and the life Pete had invented for her but the one thing she couldn't accept was Pete's money and the fact she was heiress to his corporation except for an allowance he sent her every month.

She could have had a top job there but had refused it and knew that Pete had more or less severed his ties with Torchwood, just being a consultant and she couldn't work there either. Jake and Mickey had remained there but when Pete had married Rose's mother, he had called it quits. The only thing Rose didn't have in common with her friends was she was single with no kids and her friend Ellie had just had another boy who reminded Rose of her younger brother and sometimes regretted never having a normal life.

Her life with The Doctor had been far from normal but now she was having the one adventure he could never have but she was alone. Over the last few years she'd had dates with men who were on holiday or passing through, nothing serious, just to say she had tried to move on with her life when her mother questioned her about it but none of them had been like The Doctor, they couldn't make her laugh like he had done.


Alec Hardy was not happy. His condition was worsening and he knew it and he hadn't needed all the extra hassle of going through his divorce and being told to lay low until the 'heat' died down from the disastrous case he'd been in charge of. He didn't want to think about it. He had been put on desk duty until a more suitable position had come up and now it had just not in Scotland and worst of all, it was right as far as you could get down on the south coast of England and when he'd found out where exactly it was, he'd actually laughed or he would have gone crazy. It was the place he had visited with his parents when he was younger and they had argued all the time that he'd spend most of the holiday hiding under the golden cliffs. Now he was having to pack his belongings and move and be put up in a hotel until he either found somewhere more permanent or he gave up and if he wasn't careful, he would give up. Maybe he didn't care any more he'd told himself. Since his divorce he had become bitter and hadn't bothered about his appearance and he snapped at everyone, they would probably have been glad to see him leave.

So he got the train down from Glasgow, having to change at Exeter and made his way to the small seaside town. He checked into the hotel and unpacked his case and went in search of something to eat, having arrived too late for dinner. He found a pub down near the harbour that was still serving food and went in and ordered.

That was the night Rose and her two friends were having a night out.


Ellie Miller had just got back from her holiday and was due back at work the following Monday morning. It was a Friday night and she was expecting some good news when she got back to work she was hoping her promotion to DI would come through and she was sat in the local pub with Rose and her other friend Beth having sneaked out the house for an hour when a man with a scruffy beard walked past them and went up to the bar. Ellie shot a look at Rose, she knew her friend was always keeping her eye out for men who were just in town for a few days and she had often wondered why Rose was scared of making a commitment and only going out with those who were passing through town. Beth had seen him too and the pair of them were staring at Rose.

Rose suddenly became aware of her two friends. She had already seen him walk in and was already eyeing him but not because Ellie and Beth thought he might be eligible but because she thought she was seeing things. If she hadn't known it was impossible she could have sworn an unshaven version of The Doctor had just walked in. Naturally her friends thought she was indeed eyeing him up and were daring her to go up to the bar in pretence of something, they were always doing it to her and normally she would take the bait but before she had gathered her thoughts, the man had moved away and was now seated directly opposite their table with Rose facing him.

Rose wanted the ground to swallow her as the man continued to look across the room, not necessarily looking at her in particular but it seemed like he was.

Beth whispered to her. "Go up to the bar the next time he does and just accidentally nudge him or something. Come on Rose, it's what you normally do."

Ellie was grinning at her. It was alright for her, she wasn't the one facing him. Rose tried to move her chair casually but there was no room as the man took his meal from the bar staff and he was the one that moved just around slightly as he was aware he was being watched. Not that Alec minded being watched by a young blonde woman who had been staring at him for almost ten minutes since he'd come in and sat down and had a feeling she was watching him at the bar as well but just not when he was hungry and wanting to eat his late meal in peace.

The three women continued talking, Rose getting them to change the subject like Ellie's upcoming hopeful promotion and the other two soon forgot the joke until Rose saw him get up and go back to the bar, then Beth nudged her under the table with her foot and made Rose jump. Ellie burst out laughing and poor Rose was being stared at by the man at the bar who by now had sussed what the three women were up to. He had seen it before, just not with him. Rose almost died when he turned away from the bar and asked what she was drinking by raising his glass and pointing to her nearly empty one. He walked across to the table.

"Ladies, can I get you a drink?"

Ellie shook her head and said she had to go, which she really should and Beth also said she really should go as well and said a hurried goodnight to Rose who was left with an almost empty glass and a tall good looking man with a scruffy beard who reminded her of someone and who was waiting for her answer.

Rose suddenly found her voice. "A white wine spritzer please and sorry about my friends, they get a bit carried away sometimes."

He went to the bar and came back a few minutes later with her drink and a half pint glass and sat down opposite her. He knew he shouldn't drink so he was only having a non-alcoholic one but it looked like real lager and he usually got away with it when he was buying his own drinks. He'd been told that drinking and his medication didn't mix well and was only allowed one glass of beer or wine a week. He knew he would have to do something sooner or later and now, getting his medication was going to be difficult and he couldn't risk going to a local doctor and would have to try to talk his own into sending him a prescription down and then he would have to go out of town to get it. He had three weeks supply left then he would run out and so would his luck. Well maybe not all of it, he had just bought a drink for the blonde that had been watching him for about an hour.

"So, did I break anything up then?" he asked casually. "I mean you seemed to be having some sort of conversation when I was at the bar."

Rose had gone blush red and tried not to show it.

"I'm really sorry about that, they're always the same. It's because they are both married and I'm not. You shouldn't have taken any notice of them."

"Well if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been offering to buy you a drink, would I?"

"I suppose not. Are you new in town or have you been here a while?"

"Just arrived today, got a new job here, well not a new job, a transfer."

He didn't want to reveal just yet why he was in town. He knew though that if he could find anyone else to take him on it would be at least six months before he could transfer again and a bit of female company might make the wait seem less boring.

He decided to introduce himself, without his job title.

"I'm Alec Hardy by the way."

"I'm Rose, Rose Tyler."

He looked at her over his drink, why did the name seem so familiar? He decided not to think about it and changed the subject.

"So do you live here or are you on holiday?"

"No, I live here, been here for four years now. I love it here. It's surprising how the place grows on you."

"Well I don't intend being here long enough for it to grow on me, as soon as I can get another transfer I'll be gone."

"You've only been here a few hours, it'll grow on you."

Rose took another drink, hoping he would buy her a refill, it would be her third and she might forget about only going out with men who were passing through. He was cute, she had to give him that plus his Scottish accent and he was sort of passing through she supposed and interesting enough to hope he would ask her out again.

Alec still didn't want to give away why he was in the town and since he asked questions all day for a living he figured he would have some practice. He'd managed to get out of her that she was single before he'd even asked that bit, he knew what she liked to drink, that she lived in the town and therefore probably have a place of her own and she probably had a job. Not bad for asking no questions, he was thinking, wait until he really started asking them then.

"So how did you end up here Alec, you're a long way from home," Rose asked, swirling her drink in the bottom of her glass and trying to hint she wanted another one without actually asking.

He wasn't getting the hint.

"Just lucky I guess. My bosses needed to send me somewhere and this was it."

He watched her swirl her drink around and finally surmised she wanted another one and he thought he may be in with a chance here and his luck wasn't so bad after all. Six months here spent with Rose and it might not be as easy to leave than he'd thought. Buying her another drink might just be worth it.

Rose thought he wasn't going to offer to refill her glass and was about to give up and go home. Why had he even come over in the first place if he was only going to buy her one drink? Another cheap date then?

Just then Alec got up like he had been reading her mind.

"Can I get you another one Rose?" he asked, reaching for her glass.

Rose finished it and handed it to him.

"Thanks Alec."

"You don't have to keep saying my name, I really don't like it, everyone calls me Hardy."

"I can't keep calling you that, I'll have to think of a suitable name for you then won't I?"

Alec smiled and walked off to the bar. Rose was wondering if he would be around long enough for her to think of a name but a few came to mind, fuzzy bear being one of them along with a few others that couldn't be repeated in public. He came back with the drinks and sat down next to her this time. He may have a beard but she could smell his cologne and liked it. He not so subtlety moved his chair nearer and smelt her perfume.

"That smells nice Rose, what is that?" he asked as he brushed his finger against a strand of her hair that was misbehaving.

"It's called 'Peaceful' do you like it?"

She had discovered it early on in this universe and nearly always wore it when she went out. She also noticed his finger was doing more than pushing a strand of her hair back as it was now touching her cheek as he absent-mindedly stroked it.

Suddenly he pulled his hand away, like he was afraid he was going to scare her off but instead, he got up and picked up both drinks.

"Shall we go sit in that corner over there?"

He nodded towards a corner seat that was just out of view of most of the pub.

Rose got up and she followed him over and he waited for her to be seated then slipped in beside her and casually put his arm around the back of the seat.

Rose was uncertain what to do, men usually came onto her but she was good at fending them off but she didn't want to do that with Alec. At this stage she would change the topic of conversation and talk about a second date but she didn't want this one, not that it was an actual date, to end. She had taken a drink and put her glass down when he touched her cheek again and this time, Rose touched his hand and held it there. He leaned over and tucked her hair behind her ear and lifted her hand, then very lightly he kissed her cheek.

He decided to push his luck and ask if he could take her home.

"So Rose, do you live nearby?"

"Just down the other end of the Esplanade, about five minutes walk."

"Then can I see you home safely?" he asked hopefully, kissing her cheek again and just the tip of her ear which sent a shiver down her.

He noticed.

Rose smiled and turned to him.

"And just how do I know I'll be safe with you, Alec Hardy?" she teased, brushing his cheek and feeling how soft his beard was.

It wasn't all prickly like she thought it would be so she kissed it gently.

He whispered in her ear that sent another shiver down her as he brushed his lips right up to her and whispered softly, "Shush, don't tell anyone but I'm a Policeman."

Rose stared at him and said, "Well in that case I'm sure you can see I get home safely" and just hoped he was telling the truth.

Chapter 2

Rose finished her drink and picked up her purse. He had decided it was worth the risk of getting a slap on the face and put his arm around her shoulder and risked kissing her cheek again and nuzzled her ear. He really liked her perfume. He was pleasantly surprised she didn't bother pushing him away. It had been a warm night and she'd not bothered to bring her jacket but as they stepped outside near the harbour-side, a cool breeze was blowing inland and Rose forgot how the weather could be cold at night even in June. She involuntarily shivered as they walked through the pub car park to the pavement to follow the road around to where she lived.

Alec decided he would play the gentleman and took off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders and Rose smiled. He knew he should really keep warm, he couldn't risk getting ill but he figured a five minute walk would keep him warm enough as long as she didn't keep him standing outside for too long. What he really hoped was that she would invite him in and maybe, just maybe he'd get to more than kiss her on her cheek. Not that he could do much about it, who was he kidding? He had taken his medication before leaving and he had his pills with him, he should be okay, he could take an extra one if needed. He was hoping he might need it.

With his arm around her shoulder and Rose clutching his jacket, he was silently wishing she wouldn't notice the strip of pills in the top inside pocket but they were small, she probably wouldn't. They walked past the Police Station and Rose smiled. Should she tell him that the woman she had been sat with worked there? She decided she would leave it, he would find out on Monday morning. It never occurred to her he might also be up for the job Ellie had put in for, he hadn't said what rank he held. Maybe he was Ellie's replacement and he would be working under her. That would be embarrassing, a male officer working under Ellie Miller, he wouldn't know what had hit him. Her friend was the bossy type which had got her where she was now and after taking time off after her son was born, she'd had to work fast to be in line for the promotion.

Rose didn't want to spoil the evening so she just asked if that was where he was going to work and hoped he might drop a few clues. They had just walked past the steps.

"So this is where you'll be working then Alec?" she asked, now kicking herself for stating the obvious.

Alec smiled. "Yes, I suppose, I got here too late to introduce myself, I'll have to call in tomorrow morning for a while, fill out all the necessary forms and so on."

He was just hoping they wouldn't insist on a medical exam but his friendly own doctor had given him all the correct reports so that should be enough for now but there would come a time he might not be so lucky. He was also worried about getting more of his pills. Without them his time would be up but he didn't think his doctor would refuse to send him more.

He was still with his arm around Rose's shoulder as they rounded the corner of the road that led out onto the seafront and a few minutes later Rose turned into a pathway at the side of a block of apartments and stopped at a door then went in her purse for her key, still trying the keep the jacket around her. Alec took hold of it and she let going just saying "Thanks."

She opened the door which led to a flight of stairs and stood with the door open, taking Alec's jacket off and handing it to him.

"Well, thanks for seeing me home safely and for the jacket, you must be frozen now, would you like some tea or coffee? It's the least I can do."

He was about to say something really cheesy like he would rather her warm him up but thought that would get him thrown out without another word and decided to opt for the warm drink. Putting his jacket back on and making sure his pills were still there he accepted her invitation.

"Tea would be nice, thanks," and let her lead the way upstairs, hoping she hadn't seen him checking his pocket.

Rose opened another door and put the light on. It was a rather spacious apartment overlooking the seafront and she crossed over to the window, looking out at the sea that was lit up by the moonlight and Alec went to stand beside her.

"Nice view, is that why you chose this place?" he asked as he slipped his arm around her shoulder again.

Rose knew why she had chosen it, she associated the sea with Bad Wolf Bay where she had last seen her Doctor, the man she had loved and never told until he was about to fade away and the reason she could never go out with another man on more than one or two dates but Alec was different, he could easily have been The Doctor and life just wasn't fair. Why did someone who looked like him exist in this world when he didn't? Why wasn't there a Doctor here?

Alec noticed the sudden change in her and backed off.

"Maybe I should just go Rose, you seem like you're somewhere out there, at sea," he mused.

Rose snapped out of it and pulled the blinds over.

"I'm sorry Alec, it's just the sea reminds me of something that happened long ago. Please stay, I've not made you that tea yet."

She put on her best smile that used to melt The Doctor.

Alec followed her through a doorway and into the kitchen.

"It's okay, the sea reminds me of something too, something not so good and I really don't know why I let myself get sent to live by it when I hate it so much. What about you, is it a good or bad something?"

He sat down on one of the chairs and watched her move around making the drinks. He'd kill for a cup of coffee but wasn't allowed to drink it and asked if she had decaff tea.

"Yeah, it's what I always use, I can't taste any difference but it's better for you and I only have soya milk, is that okay?" she asked as she went to the fridge.

"Fine, I prefer it, I'm sort of on a non-dairy product regime at the moment, you as well?" he smiled.

Rose laughed. "You could say that although it's a bit of a pain sometimes, I've had to find all the local caf s that serve decaff tea and then have to have normal milk in it, seems a bit double Dutch really."

Alec laughed. "I know what you mean. Maybe you can point out all the caf s that serve it then? I mean if it isn't any trouble."

Rose finished making the drinks and put one in front of him then sat opposite. It was now almost ten thirty and she thought when she had gone out earlier she would have time to call her mother and then get an early night, she had to work Saturday morning.

"No, it's no trouble, I can take you on a tour if you like, I know them all." She took a drink and looked at him. "You never said what brought you down here, apart from a transfer and if you don't like the sea, why accept it?"

Alec put his mug of tea down. How could he explain without giving the game away?

"Let me put it this way Rose, something happened a while back where I was and they made me lay low for a while and tried to find somewhere to send me but no-one would offer to take me on until the Chief Superintendent here in Broadchurch agreed to give me a six month trial and after that I'm eligible for another transfer but personally, I think she'll be glad to palm me off somewhere else when my six months are up."

He picked his cup up again, he was just beginning to warm up and knew he shouldn't have risked taking his jacket off but he couldn't walk her home and see her being cold, he had been willing to risk it.

Rose wondered what he could have possibly have done that no-one wanted him but didn't want to scare him off by asking him.

"Well I suppose that answers my question then, doesn't it?" she smiled, reaching across the table and taking his other hand. "So you're a long way from home, in a place you don't want to be and you don't know anyone?"

"That just about covers it since you put it that way," he replied, taking her hand and stroking the back of it.

Rose thought how sad and lonely he looked and how he was so like The Doctor, surrounded by people and yet so alone. "Well Alec Hardy, who doesn't like his first name, you may be a long way from home in a place you don't want to be but now you know someone, don't you?" she smiled.

Alec smiled back and got up. Rose thought he was going to leave but he pulled his chair around to be closer to her. "Thanks Rose, I could really use a friend right now."

He leaned forward and put his finger under her chin and pulled her to face him, pursing his lips towards her, waiting to see if she backed away. She didn't. She leaned slightly forward towards his lips.

"Can I take advantage of our new friendship Rose?" he asked.

Rose gave him her answer as her lips touched his and felt her heart flutter, then she deepened the kiss as she relaxed into his lips then slid across the chair to sit on his lap and put her arms around his neck as they continued kissing. She loosened his tie and unfastened the top button of his shirt.

He whispered her name into her neck as he began kissing it.

"Rose, I really do like your perfume," he said, then went back to kissing her neck.

Rose nudged him and sought his lips again and they kissed even deeper than before, she was leaning back as he sought a better angle until Rose broke away, out of breath. Alec was sort of relieved as he was beginning to struggle but didn't want to be the first to pull away, she might think he was losing interest and he was far from it.

He reached down to kiss her neck again, this time moving the straps of her top out of the way and exposing her shoulders, her top was loosening and he glanced down to see her the part of her that wasn't quite covered by her what he now knew was her strapless bra and taking advantage of the angle he had now placed her in, eased his free hand, the one that wasn't supporting her back and reached downwards to the top of her bra. Rose responded by freeing one of her arms and began trying to unfasten more of his shirt buttons one-handed and making very little progress as she was becoming more impatient to free him of his shirt.

He looked up from what he was doing.

"Rose, I really don't want to stop this but maybe we would be more comfortable on your sofa?" he dared to suggest.

Rose thought it was an excellent idea and got up, her straps still down over her shoulders as he leaned down to kiss one of them as he got up from the chair. Rose took further advantage and saw her chance to unfasten his shirt while she had both her hands free and made short work of it, touching the hairs on his chest. He would have picked her up and carried her into the living room but he needed all his strength to resume what they had been doing but carry it over onto the sofa so instead, he leaned down to kiss her and steered her across to the waiting sofa so she wouldn't notice. He felt his heart going a little faster but it was under control, there was nothing to worry about just yet. Maybe she would make him leave before it got beyond the kissing stage but he was determined to at least get her bra off and kiss the parts that were now showing even more.

He laid her down gently on the sofa against a cushion and sat over her, trying to get her pink top off without her noticing as she moved her hands across his chest and pulled his shirt over his shoulders, unfastening the cuffs and sliding it off. He succeeded, revealing her black strapless bra and he leaned over to start kissing the top of her as she put her arms around his back and pulled him down. He reached around her back and easily unfastened the clasp of her bra, pulling it away and taking in the sight of her and cursed himself for getting in such a bad state of health he couldn't do any more but he couldn't tell her that.

No, he would make her think he was concerned about him moving too fast for her and insist they took their time, that would keep her coming back for more. Just enough to keep her satisfied with the promise there would be more to follow but what if she did want more than he could actually offer? Well he would cross that particular bridge if and when he came to it.

Rose looked up, smiling at him as he teased her with one hand and the other hand trying to ease down her black trousers so he had more room to manoeuvre, avoiding her chest and nipping down at her tummy, trying to grip the other side of her trousers with his teeth and also trying to calm his now faster than it should be heart but he was still okay, he was just getting over-excited at the thought of her.

Rose was now also getting herself excited as he was showing more than a passing interest in getting her trousers off now he had got her bra off and began going for his belt and was unfastening his trousers zip and trying to get them down at the back. She eased herself up from the sofa so he could pull her trousers down more easily although she thought he was having more fun gripping them with his teeth and didn't want to spoil it for him but she was running out of patience, he was taking too long so he needed to get a move on. Not that she was going to let him go all the way, not tonight anyway but get this bit started and hopefully if there was a second time, get down to the more serious stuff.

Who was she kidding? She never let a man get to first base, not as long as she had been here, she never let them get further than the kissing her top half and a bit of touching that didn't involve intrusion lower down but after all this time, she was hoping she would find a man she actually wanted to go further with and just maybe if things went okay tonight, Alec Hardy might be that man.

Before they both knew it, Alec had succeeded in getting rid of Rose's trousers after she had wriggled out of them, tossing them away somewhere and Rose had got his over his hips and halfway down his legs and had pulled them off somehow and both of them smiled. Alec leaned down and began kissing across her tummy, just under her chest, he was still saving that until the last minute and hoped he'd last until he could get to them as he slid one hand further down to just under the waistband of her rather skimpy knickers and played his thumb over it, debating if she was going to stop him going any further but when she didn't, he moved his hand further down until he heard her moan as she let out a contented 'mmm' and he stayed just there before moving again and going to get what he had been saving before it was too late for him.

Rose knew she was going to give in to him, maybe not tonight but this was further that she had even got on a second date and tonight wasn't even really a date. Alec was smiling, looking down at her smiling face as she teasingly moved her hand from over his shorts and slipped it under, feeling his skin, then letting her other hand join it, digging her fingers into him.

Rose moaned again, digging her finger nails into him, making him moan and he thought he had died and gone to heaven. No-one had done this to him before, not even his ex-wife. Rose realised he needed to move and with a sigh moved her hands from his him and let him move off her but not before nipping his rear again that made him smile.

He moved over onto his back and tried to calm himself down. He'd not even had sex with her and he felt amazing apart from his heart that was now causing him some pain and he laid still, hoping it would pass and that Rose would think he was just getting his breath back and leave him be. He didn't know her very well.

When he had suddenly stopped and wanted to move, she wondered what was wrong until she realised it wasn't her, there seemed to be something wrong with him. She just hoped she hadn't caused it so she let him move over onto his back and let him have a minute to recover.

Chapter 3

Rose had sat up, pulling her top back on while Alec laid still, waiting for the pain to ease off. It wasn't too bad at the moment, he had stopped himself just in time but what would Rose think of him? Would she throw him out if he wasn't up to the job? He began to calm down but while he was doing so, Rose had reached out and taken his hand after she had moved onto her side up against the back of the sofa.

"Are you okay Alec? Is there something wrong?" She moved her hand onto his chest and could feel his heart pounding. Alec cringed. "Is there anything I can do?" she asked, moving her hand away in case she caused him further discomfort.

He took her hand back and raised her arm, kissing the back of her hand.

"I'll be okay in a minute Rose, there's nothing you can do, there's nothing anyone can do, it will pass."

"There's something seriously wrong with you, isn't there Alec? It's okay, you can tell me, I won't tell anyone else."

He needed to confide in someone, it just wasn't good to go confiding it to a woman you had just been getting intimate with a few minutes ago and been about to attempt to have sex with her. He saw the concern in her face. He really liked her and she looked like she could be trusted with his secret but not now, he could play it down or so he thought.

Rose took the hint he didn't want to talk about it, she was okay with it so she made it out that she wasn't bothered although she had been disappointed when he'd stopped.

"You do know I made an exception for you tonight, don't you?" she asked, feeling his chest again and that his heart was slowing down a bit.

He glanced at her as he slipped his arm around her waist and with a finger of his other hand, lifted her top back up. He so wanted to finish what he has started. He had spent too much time messing around getting her bra and trousers off and kissing elsewhere when that was all he'd wanted to do.

He leaned up slightly towards her mouth and nudged his way towards her lips.

"I'm honoured then. What exception would that be?" he asked as he brushed her lips with his.

He knew she was going to try to spare him the embarrassment of him not being able to go further. He should have been angry and insulted at the suggestion but he wasn't. At one time he would have been but not now and she was doing it rather delicately.

She whispered in his ear. "I don't usually invite men in after a first date and even on a second one, if there is one, they never get as far as you just have. If it's any consolation, I never have sex on a first date, you did rather well."

He could have taken that either way, as an insult implying he wasn't capable of getting her to have sex with him or a compliment he had succeeded in getting further than any other man on his first try. Did that mean she wanted him to try again? What if the same happened if he did?

"Rose, I'm not sure quite how to take that. I welcome that if it was a compliment but if you were expecting more, I must have disappointed you."

Rose looked at him. "I wasn't disappointed with you Alec, far from it. It was just that I let myself get carried away with it all and it's a long time since I've done that. I never found anyone that I wanted to be with for more than just a date or two. I think you rather excelled on that score."

Alec looked at her and smiled. Maybe he should just let things play themselves out.

"So do I get to try again maybe?" he asked hopefully.

Rose leaned forward. She kissed him tenderly and said, "Well I did promise to show you all those caf s serving decaff tea, didn't I?"

Alec smiled and appreciated her kindness in not making him out to be a failure. He let go and got up off the sofa, feeling slightly better than earlier and even better for being with Rose even though he'd not made as much progress as he would have liked to have done. He retrieved his trousers and hoped they hadn't got creased, he only had two suits and put his shirt back on. Rose offered to fasten his shirt buttons and he wasn't going to refuse that.

Rose put her arms around his neck after helping him tuck his shirt back in, Alec thought it was just another excuse for her to grope him again and hoped he'd get to return the favour at some point. He retrieved his jacket, thankful he'd not had to fight his way to it and fumble for his heart pills, she would have definitely have noticed then.

"So how about tomorrow night? Can I take you out somewhere?" he asked hopefully.

He knew it was best he left now before he caused himself further embarrassment. Now she did look disappointed that he was leaving.

"That would be nice Alec, I'd like that, there's a new Italian restaurant opened up in the town that I've been wanting to try, it's on the High Street. Where are you staying, at the Traders?"

"Yes, is that on the High Street, I just got a taxi there from the station."

"If you're staying at the Traders, watch out for Becca, you'll be fair game," Rose teased.

"Well I can look after myself and I'll tell her I've had a better offer," he whispered as he leaned down to kiss her neck. "Is it far to get back to from here?"

"Not too far, just take the road around from the Police Station, then left at the top, it's sort of the next road up from here. Why don't you get a taxi? You shouldn't be walking up there at this time of night, Police or not." She went to her purse and got her phone out. "Let me call one for you and you can kiss me goodnight while you're waiting."

Alec thought just how tactful she was being, was she a professional at this? He had let her down and she thought nothing of it, she deserved to know what was wrong with him but not tonight. Before he could protest, she had dialled a taxi and told them the address. She quickly put her trousers on and walked to the door, picking up her keys. It was already almost midnight and she hoped he wouldn't have got locked out and didn't like the thought of him walking up the road and along the High Street at any time, there was something seriously wrong with him and he wasn't admitting it. One thing she was good at was knowing people and how to get them to tell her things.

Rose walked him downstairs and opened the door so they could see the taxi coming around the corner and she reached up to kiss him, putting her arms under his open jacket and pulling him close.

"Goodnight Alec, thanks for seeing me home, it was really nice."

"Goodnight Rose. I don't suppose you're free for lunch tomorrow by any chance, then you can tell me your phone number and where to meet you later?"

Rose smiled. "I finish work at one, meet me in the harbour caf at one thirty, it's the caf near where we were earlier tonight."

Rose heard a car pulling up and kissed him again. He walked the short distance and got in the cab, waving as he did. The cab turned around and headed off. Alec thought his time here wasn't going to be so bad after all. He just hoped he could survive Rose Tyler.

The next morning Rose headed off for work, hoping Beth wouldn't ask her what she got up to last night after she and Ellie went off and left her. She thought about spinning a tale that he was horrible and she'd told him to get lost but didn't think it would work too well if they were seen around town together. Fortunately, the office was busy and they didn't get time to talk much until after twelve when Beth was tidying the leaflets and filling up the ones that were nearly gone and Rose pretended she was busy on her computer. It was part of her job to source local events as well as rely on printed leaflets they were sent and she would print anything worthwhile out and put it on the notice board, she had access to a printer in the newspaper office.

"Don't you pretend you're busy Rose Tyler, it won't work with me," Beth laughed, crossing over to Rose's desk and peering over her shoulder.

Rose quickly flipped the page onto something else away from the search engine where she had typed 'Alec Hardy' into the search field and hoped Beth hadn't seen it.

"Don't know what you mean Beth," she laughed, going back to what she had been doing.

There was a dance coming up at a pub just outside town, well not exactly a pub, a country club type and she thought she might get Alec to take her.

She pressed the print button and went to retrieve the printed piece of paper. Maggie, the editor had just come out of her office. Rose had hardly seen her all morning and hoped she hadn't been trying to figure out who she actually was although Rose was pretty sure the woman did indeed know and was keeping the fact she knew until something juicy came up about her and if she got involved with Alec Hardy, she might just have something to write about. Rose was going to have to be very careful especially since she suspected something was very wrong with him and him being in the Police and was sure his superiors wouldn't know anything about it or maybe that was why they had sent him down here, to sort of semi-retire and keep him out of the way until he decided to leave.

She felt so sorry for him, he didn't really look that old, in his late 30's or early 40's and since he had a beard it made it difficult to tell. Still, another hour or so she was meeting him for lunch and wondered how he was getting on. Maggie roused her out of her daydreams.

"Are you alright Rose, you looked miles away then," she asked.

"I'm fine, just looking at this poster I printed out, it's for a dance and I've not been to one for ages. I'm just trying to figure out who to get to take me."

Beth had joined them and just had to bring up the subject of last night and the man who Beth and Ellie had left her with when they had deserted her.

"I didn't think that would have been a problem for you Rose, after we left you with that tall, dark and rather scrummy male in the pub," Beth laughed.

Maggie was more than interested. "And who would that have been Beth?" she laughed, looking mainly at Rose who was caught in the middle with no means of escape.

"Ask Rose, we went off and left her to it. You know what she's like, stranger in town, walks into the pub, she eyes him up at the bar then goes to chat him up before the poor bloke knows what's hit him only last night she was a bit slow and he actually came over to her. He asked us if we all wanted a drink and me and Ellie scarpered."

Beth was trying not to burst out laughing but failing miserably.

Maggie was even more intrigued. Beth continued, trying not to choke at the same time.

"Come on Rose, spill the beans, what happened? Did you at least get his name and his phone number? Are you seeing him again?"

"Yeah, well I would have gone over eventually and he only came over because you kicked my leg under the table and made me jump, thanks," Rose replied.

Both Beth and Maggie had both burst out laughing.

"Out with it Rose or I'll get Ellie to drag you into the Police Station and beat a confession out of you. If we call her in you know you won't stand a chance," Beth laughed, pretending to go for her phone.

Rose did indeed know what Ellie would do, in no uncertain terms, Ellie did not take no for an answer and would get it out of her one way or another. Rose felt herself lucky when Beth got it out of her first and told her.

"Okay, his name's Alec and I'm meeting him for lunch, satisfied?"

Both Beth and Maggie shook their heads. Rose had to continue but she was not going to tell them Alec was here for a while and what his job was, Beth would call Ellie and it would spoil the surprise or whatever on Monday when she met him at the Police Station.

"He's Scottish, he's in town for a while and he walked me home." Seeing them with their arms folded meant they were not finished with her yet. "Okay, I invited him in for a cup of tea, he lent me his jacket while he walked me home and it was cold so I just wanted to say thanks." She could see she wasn't going to get away with it. Sighing, she gave them enough to keep them amused - for now. "Oh alright, we kissed for a while, on the sofa and I got his shirt off, now are you satisfied?"

She saw by their grins they were more than pleased.

What Alec would say when he was confronted by one DS Ellie Miller on Monday morning, his first day, she couldn't imagine.

"Please Beth, don't tell Ellie that bit yet?"

Beth looked at her friend. "Why not, that's more information than we usually get on a first date, are you slipping up Rose?"

"No, he was nice and I don't want you telling Ellie that bit just yet because she might just get a little.." She stopped and they both looked at her. "I can't say any more, I promised him, please don't tell her. You can tell her the next time you see her but not until after Monday, Okay?"

Maggie and Beth looked at each other and both said "Okay."

She just hoped they would keep their word but she hadn't given them his surname or why he was in town.

Rose went off to meet Alec at the caf down by the harbour and found him waiting at a table by the window. They ordered and Rose gave him her phone number and got his then after lunch, they walked back around the harbour and down past where Rose lived and stopped to sit on the sea wall. He turned to face her and brushed her hair back over her face and leaned down to kiss her. There was no-one around, not that they would have noticed anyway. He put his arm around her and she lay her head back on his shoulder.

"I wish you would tell me what's wrong with you Alec, maybe I can help you?"

"And I wish you could help me Rose but no-one can, it's not something that's going to go away, I've had to accept that, there's nothing that can be done unless I risk everything. I've already said too much."

He remained quiet and they sat, Rose's head still on his shoulder as the waves gently splashed against the sea wall. Neither of them said anything, Rose didn't want to push him away, he needed a friend and she was always willing to be someone's friend when they wanted one. She had befriended many people over her time travelling with The Doctor, people who had thought they had very little or no hope of facing a future or an enemy and she wanted to help him.

"Do you trust me Alec? I mean we've just met and you need someone don't you? Then trust me, let me help you with whatever it is."

He looked up and held her face in his hands, then put his forehead to hers. He needed someone, desperately, so why not Rose? She had a look about her. Then he kissed her cheek.

"I trust you Rose and I do need someone."

Rose put her arms around his neck and decided she needed someone as well, someone she could be herself with, Rose Tyler, the Vitex heiress and stepdaughter of Peter Tyler, one of the most richest men in the whole of Great Britain and had never told a single person since her arrival, not even her two best friends. If it was the only way to get him to tell her what was wrong with him, she would tell him her secret.

"Then if you tell me your secret, I'll tell you mine."

Chapter 4

Alec looked at her. How come someone like her would have any secrets and how did she know he was keeping one? Well obviously he was otherwise he'd have told her by now.

It was just a question of who was going to go first.

"Not here Rose, please, I can't tell you here. Let me take you out tonight and then I'll tell you but you don't have to tell me, not if you don't want to."

"A deal's a deal, at least where I come from," she smiled, touching his cheek gently. "I meant it Alec, you'd be surprised just how much a difference it can make telling someone your darkest secret. Tonight then and if you're taking me somewhere nice, I have to go home and get ready and choose something nice to wear. Nothing too exciting though, I don't want you getting jealous if everyone looks at me while we're out."

She kissed his cheek and got up.

He knew she was trying to be tactful, not just coming out with 'you may not survive if I wear something that gets you all excited', no, she was being more than tactful, she was trying to assure him it didn't matter to her and how many other woman would do that? None that he'd ever met anyway who had given up when all he did was take them home and maybe get a kiss or two out of them and he'd turned them down when they tried to get him in the bedroom after only getting their bra off and not even going as far as he had with Rose last night.

He'd been scared of going beyond the point that his heart wouldn't keep up with him. He had tried, several times after his divorce but to no avail. Now here was Rose, asking nothing of him but to be his friend. Well perhaps a friend with certain benefits and not only that, to keep his secret. He couldn't imagine what her secret was, he just hoped he wouldn't have to arrest her when she told him.

Alec got up and they walked hand in hand back to Rose's apartment.

"Will you be able to find your way back to the hotel Alec?" she asked as she stood at her door.

There she was, he was thinking, being tactful again, when would it end?

"I'll be fine, I found my way to the station this morning, there seems to be another way there, I think I walked the long way round, came out by a little square where the amusement arcade was. I crossed a street and wasn't sure where it led to, then I just walked around where we walked last night and found it."

Rose knew the longer way round, it was certainly flatter than the one she had told him last night but she hadn't wanted him to walk back anyway and would have confused him.

"So, I'll get a taxi up there and I'll meet you outside at seven thirty then?" she asked, turning back to kiss him. Then she added, "And this time, I'll remember to bring a jacket with me," she smiled.

He like the way she smiled, her face lit up.

"Oh I don't mind sharing my jacket with you, it did get me invited in last night," he smiled back and kissed her again.

Yes, she had been quite glad about that.

Alec walked back along the Esplanade and took the long way back. He was supposed to get some exercise every day but didn't want to face the road he had seen that led the shorter route and he knew Rose was trying to spare him. So far she had been nothing but amazing, not kicking him out when he couldn't do anything else last night. He had been waiting for his clothes to be thrown at him with a loud 'Get out' followed by a few choice names. His luck was changing despite having to travel 100's of miles for it to do so.

He got back to his hotel, seeing the restaurant a bit further up the road and getting the number to call them later to book a table, he didn't want to disappoint her, not with a dinner date anyway. As he was walking towards the stairs, he was caught by Becca, who Rose had warned him about.

"So, Detective Inspector Hardy, are you finding your way around town? Only if you need someone to show you, I have a night off tonight, maybe I could show you some of the local nightlife?"

Rose had been right to warn him.

"Sorry, I didn't quite get your name yesterday with my late arrival. I have a date tonight thanks, I'm taking someone to the new Italian restaurant just up the road."

Becca knew she and Rose were rivals, ever since she had arrived in town, Rose nearly always got the best ones then dropped them after a few dates. Becca thought she had room to talk though she actually did more with them if they were staying in the hotel than she suspected Rose did and wondered why they always ended up in her bed and not Rose's. Well if the other woman's track record still stood, Alec Hardy just might take her up on the offer.


Rose was surprised Beth had not ratted on her to Ellie and told her about Alec and had been expecting her to call. She had several dresses out of her wardrobe, trying each one in front of her. She didn't want anything too daring but wanted to keep Alec interested. She should have gone up into the town and bought a new one but it was getting late and the shops would be closing before she'd had chance to try any on so she tried a bit of mixing and matching and decided on a white low cut top and a black above the knee skirt that swirled slightly when she moved and put her favourite perfume on just before she left. Then she chose her red jacket and picked up her purse, waiting for her taxi. It wasn't far but she didn't want to walk, the long way round was too far but well populated but the shorter route was a bit desolate in the evenings although it was busy enough in the mornings and when she finished work.

Her taxi was late, it was seven twenty and she had called fifteen minutes ago, they were usually good and she was a regular customer. After another call they apologised and said there had been a delay and a cab was on its way. It arrived five minutes later and Rose forgot to call Alec.

Alec was nervous, why would he be nervous? He had gone up to Rose last night, ended up taking her home and making something out of it and getting another date and that was something he rarely got another date. He waited outside the restaurant and saw a taxi pulling up but it wasn't Rose and it was almost seven twenty five and he thought she wasn't going to turn up but he had to give her time, maybe she had been delayed.

Just on seven thirty, another taxi pulled up and Rose got out, kissing his cheek after she paid the fare.

"I'm sorry Alec, they forgot to send my taxi, shall we go in?"

They just made their reservation as the head waiter was about to let someone have their table but had given them a few minutes. If they had have done, Alec would have scratched their establishment off his list of places he could take her if she allowed him to date her again. Either that or he would have got his Police ID out and demanded he got his table. All in all Alec thought the last couple of days he had eased up quite a bit, his normal snappiness had almost disappeared and he was being polite, something new for him. Rose must be doing him some good then. If he wasn't careful he would lose his reputation of being Scotland's grumpiest detective - he knew what they all called him.

He thought Rose looked amazing and her hair had been swept back. She was wearing a white button down low cut cotton top and her black skirt raised up when she sat down, what was she trying to do to him? They talked over their meal, Alec revealing where he had come from and Rose, well she told him where she had grown up and lived until her mother had fairly recently remarried and she had a younger brother now, having grown up on her own. Alec said he had no-one except a daughter from his first marriage but he didn't go into it but he wanted to get that out of the way if Rose wanted to continue to see him, he wanted to keep on seeing her, more of her especially after last night, thinking about her lying on the sofa, kissing her soft parts.

Rose was asking him a question.

"Alec, you look miles away and you were saying that to me last night," she smiled, reaching for his hand across the table.

Alec took it and squeezed it. Rose wanted some ice cream and as they waited, Rose's face dropped. Ellie and her husband had just walked in and now the game was up. Rose couldn't believe it but maybe they didn't have a reservation and wouldn't see her sat with a stranger, well not exactly, Ellie had seen him last night. She had no such luck as they were shown to a table and had to pass by where Rose and Alec were sitting.

Ellie just had to stop and say something, didn't she?

"Rose, I didn't expect to see you here, are you going to introduce us?" Ellie grinned, looking at them in turn.

Alec got up and shook Ellie's husband, Joe's hand.

"Alec Hardy, nice to meet you."

Ellie had told her husband that Rose had probably claimed another of her victims and they usually didn't see her out with them. Ellie held her hand out, not going to be left out.

"Ellie Miller, this is my husband Joe and sorry about last night, we were just having a girls night out, we get a bit rowdy after a few drinks."

"That's okay, I just didn't want to break anything up. When you've finished your meal, will you join us for a drink?"

"Oh sorry, we can't we have to get back, we have a babysitter but perhaps another time?"

Ellie and Joe went off and Rose breathed a sigh of relief but would her friend be so pleasant when she found out on Monday morning that she might be working with him or even be in charge of him?

Alec sat Rose at the small bar area and got her a drink, the same as last night and they talked some more, just in general, things that Rose liked to do like shopping and watching movies and her favourite songs. Alec just wanted to take her home. He'd had his medication just before he left his hotel and had them in his pocket and this time, he needed to tell Rose because he intended at least getting as far as last night if not further, he had really enjoyed Rose groping him and wanted to make it last longer this time and maybe go back for seconds or even thirds but he didn't want to be greedy. He just had to stop messing around and keep himself calm but tonight he wouldn't be worried about her throwing him out so he could relax more and take his time and now she suspected something was wrong with him, she wouldn't expect too much from him.

They finished their drinks, it was almost nine thirty but a bit early to go back to Rose's apartment so Alec suggested a drink at the Traders and Rose liked nothing better than showing her victims off to Becca Fisher but Alec was staying there and it wasn't so much fun, she only liked doing it when they were staying some place else but she was willing to make an exception to show Alec off so she agreed and they walked into the Traders bar. Rose had forgotten it was Becca's night off but she was sat in the bar talking to probably one of the other guests. Rose found a table and Alec got their drinks, another non-alcoholic one for him and brought them to the table, opposite Becca, which wasn't that far away since it was a small bar.

They continued talking, Alec's arm around Rose as she held his other hand when they weren't drinking then Rose asked for another drink. Alec wasn't too sure it was a good idea but didn't say anything, she had been fine last night and he'd only seen her have three, she might have had more. After her third, she decided she'd had enough and whispered that she wanted Alec to take her to his room, it was nearer than her apartment and who was he to argue with her? They didn't see the look of envy on Becca's face as they left the room, she was getting nowhere with the bloke she was trying to chat up. She should have told Hardy no visitors, he was paying for a double room but regulations stated all guests must be registered but he was in the Police so she couldn't really say anything, he would be the one investigating. Sometimes life just wasn't fair to her.

Alec's room was thankfully on the first floor but by the time they got there, they had already stopped several times on the stairs to kiss and Alec now had her up against the door, kissing her neck as he got his room key out of his pocket. Once inside, he threw off his jacket then helped Rose off with hers but he was eager not to waste time tonight as he took it off and began kissing her neck from behind, then from behind he began unfastening the buttons on her top. Rose turned around and took his tie off then unfastened his shirt as he continued, taking off her top as she unfastened the cuffs on the sleeves and the shirt came off.

They crossed over to the bed, kissing as Alec eased her down, unfastening her bra as she lay on the bed then unzipping the back of her skirt, pulling it down. Alec was kneeling as Rose unzipped his trousers and pulled them down, noticing his shorts were slightly more tighter on him than last night as she helped him out of his trousers. Now in just her even skimpier knickers than last night, Alec leaned down to kiss her, leaning on just one arm then gently easing himself onto her. Rose could feel him through his shorts as she had more skin exposed than last night. Her arms were around his back but he moved one arm further down then went back to what he was doing.

Rose was smiling, trying to get to his neck and when he moved over, he dug further into her and she could feel him pressed against her, she could get to his neck and started kissing it. Rose was moaning his name and Alec, well he was doing fairly well and keeping calm, taking his time and not getting any kind of pain yet though he was getting a bit aroused, being so close and her hardly wearing anything, she might as well have let him take them off for her, maybe later if he was okay. Rose was letting him do everything he wanted so far and everything he wanted her to do.

Rose moved herself to let him and he pulled them down at the back as she did the same to him. He called her name as he felt his shorts being pulled down at the back and moved but stopped pulling hers down, he didn't want this to get too out of hand, he knew he couldn't cope with it and the last thing he wanted was to bring on an attack and scare her but he had a feeling she would know what to do but he still hadn't confessed to her what was wrong and she hadn't asked yet.

Rose had pulled his shorts down and could feel him on her skin and was slightly disappointed he had stopped trying to pull hers down but maybe he didn't want to go so far and she let out a gasp as he touched her through the thinness of her underwear and he looked up and smiled.

"Rose, if we're going to continue this, we have to talk. I do have a heart problem and you're the only other person who knows about it except my doctor and if I need them, there are pills in my inside jacket pocket."

Rose looked up at him. "It's okay, let's just take this slowly shall we?"

He nodded and lay fully on her as she pulled his shorts all the way down and they both let out a loud moan as he pulled hers down.

Chapter 5

As Alec just lay on her, he never attempted to do more and Rose was just happy he was okay with it, she had half expected it was his heart and he was seriously ill but he had now admitted it to her. All she wanted to do was help him, that was what she was good at after all. She let him just lie on her, enjoying the intimacy of his touch as he just nibbled on her neck and she squeezed his rear, making him moan even more. Then he suddenly moved to one side and Rose thought there was something wrong with him.

"Are you okay Alec?"

"I'm fine Rose, you don't have to keep asking me you know, you'll be the first to know after me if there is something wrong. I just thought it might be better if you come and lie on me, I must be squashing you by now," he grinned.

They changed places, mainly so he could get his revenge and grope her which made her giggle. Eventually, Rose was getting tired and said she should go home but her persuaded her to stay. She agreed but said she would have to leave early to avoid Becca but Alec said he didn't care, he had paid for a double room.

"Can I take you out for the day tomorrow?" he asked, as she snuggled into his side and kissed his neck.

"We could get the train down to Weymouth if you want, it's nice down there," she replied, running her fingers across his chest, being careful to avoid his heart.

He sensed her hesitation and took her hand, placing it there.

"It's okay, I'm not going to break. I take regular medication that helps but there's nothing else I can do, I'm too weak to go through an operation, I have to get somewhat better to be considered for it and I've been under too much stress, that's why I'm in Broadchurch, because I had a case went wrong on me and I took the blame and it made me worse but I couldn't tell anyone, I let them think it was the pressure of the case. Anyway, I was cleared but it affected my reputation and no-one wanted to take me on. I finally got a six month trial down here because they needed a new detective. I'm a DI, I never told you Rose."

Rose looked at him. How could she tell him that the woman he met earlier was up for the job? He wasn't just going to be working with Ellie, he was going to be her boss and Ellie was going to have her promotion turned down and she wouldn't take it well. She had to warn him.

"Alec, you should have said. That woman we met at the restaurant, the one I was with last night, she put in for the DI post, she was waiting to hear about it when she got back to work on Monday. She's not going to be happy."

"That's the least of my problems, I have to keep anyone from finding out there's something wrong with me. You have to promise me you won't tell anyone, I trust you Rose, I'm trusting you with my career."

He reached behind him and pulled his shorts back up and then Rose's.

"Well I told you I had a secret too, my best friends don't even know. My name."

Alec looked at her, why did her name seem familiar? He'd thought that last night but left it, he was too busy thinking what he'd like to do to her. He went along with it.

"What about your name?" he asked, leaning over to kiss her.

"Haven't you wondered about it?"

"Haven't had much time to wonder about it, I've been pre-occupied," he grinned.

Rose pretended to be offended he didn't recognise it.

"Tyler as in Vitex Tyler? You remember I told you that my mother remarried? She married Peter Tyler, he's my stepfather. Now you know why I didn't want to tell anyone, I came down here to get away from it, I couldn't cope with having nothing while I was growing up then having everything I needed just handed to me. I was young when he took on responsibility for me and now I make my own way, I just get an allowance every month. I never even told Ellie and she's like a big sister to me, she looked after me when I arrived here. She just knows I come from London and I've got a younger brother."

She had skipped three years of her life, crossing over from the other universe, suddenly becoming twenty three but her life had become adjusted to compensate for the difference and sometimes she didn't know which was the real her. It gave her a headache trying to work it out.

Alec just pretended he was surprised but he should have known. Peter Tyler, head of the Vitex corporation who had lost his wife to the Cybermen years back and had been in all the newspapers when he had remarried and gained a stepdaughter. He was surprised her friends hadn't realised but it was only a small town.

"Well if you keep my secret, yours is safe with me," he assured her, leaning over to kiss her. "We'll sneak out of the back exit in the morning, have breakfast and get the train to Weymouth. Are you going to keep those on all night?" he asked, pulling the waistband of her knickers.

"Well you pulled them back up," Rose giggled.

They fell asleep and Alec woke Rose up early the next morning and they went to find some breakfast, stopping off at Rose's apartment for her to get changed into a top and trousers and got a taxi up to the station. On the way to the other seaside town, they talked and Alec seemed to relax more and asked her about what her life had been like before but she didn't really have much to tell him. There was no way she was going to tell him about her real past, that was never an option. She would have to call her mother, tell her she had met someone but not tell her Alec looked like The Doctor and had a heart problem. He had told her what it was and that he needed a pacemaker but wasn't thought to be able to survive the operation unless he changed drastically by leaving the big city and leading a quiet life and stayed out of trouble.

Rose thought she was not the one to keep him out of trouble, her past record said differently but that had been a lifetime ago in another universe. Now she had someone to look after again. They sat hand in hand on the train until they reached Weymouth, walking along the seafront then stopping to get lunch. Alec made the mistake of telling her that he only had two suits and a few white and blue shirts with him so she dragged him into a store and made him buy some jeans, which he said he never wore but Rose thought his bum looked cute in them so he didn't mind, then some striped t-shirts and two casual shirts and a pair of trousers and while he wasn't looking she paid for them which he got a bit annoyed at especially as she sneaked in a black t-shirt with a star on it.

They were sat in the store's caf , Alec said he needed a rest after her dragging him around the shops and said he would pay her back for the clothes but she wouldn't hear of it, saying they were a present and he said for her to be careful he didn't arrest her for trying to bribe a Police Officer.

They both laughed. "Seriously Rose, you shouldn't buy things for me, I should be buying you things," he said as they finished their afternoon tea.

"Well I could give a list if you like?" she smiled.

"Do you want to go any place else while we're here? I don't suppose there are as many shops locally as there are here. Maybe you'd like to go buy yourself a new dress. We can go out tonight again if you like? I'll stay here and have some more tea and you go pick something nice."

He reached in his jacket and got his wallet out and handed her some money.

Rose stared at him, did he know how much she spent on dresses? That was her one weakness having grown up with second hand clothes and what she spent most of her allowance on. She saw the look on his face and knew he would be offended if she refused so she took it and got up, kissing his cheek.

"I'll get you back later," she whispered and left him to finish off the tea in the teapot.

Alec smiled when he saw her head off to the ladies department, hoping she wouldn't get anything that made him end up in hospital, especially if she bought some more underwear. He would have gone with her but had long ago learned women either liked to choose clothes on their own or they had to show their husbands or boyfriends every single item they tried on. He wasn't quite up to that. Now he was seriously considering asking his doctor what his chances of surviving an operation were now he had found Rose.

Rose headed off to see if she could find a dress she liked but didn't want to leave Alec waiting too long. The store wasn't one of her favourites but Alec had turned down two other stores before being coaxed into coming into this one, he seemed kind of old fashioned when it came to his dress sense hence her throwing in the black t-shirt and the jeans but he did look cute in the jeans and it seemed to please him when she had whispered it to him when he'd tried them on.

Just how had she managed to get herself a boyfriend? It started out as a drink in the pub, then dinner and now having a day out and going shopping with him and if that wasn't having a boyfriend then what was? She hadn't had a boyfriend since being here and her last one Mickey, they had known each other since they were kids. Alec was definitely her first real one and they seemed to get on well, he hadn't objected to being coaxed into buying some new clothes. If he was here for six months and then left, she could live with that, she had learned the hard way not to hesitate and let someone slip away from you. All that time travelling with The Doctor they could have been together instead of just being friends but that would have probably just made her worse.

Browsing the dress racks, she found two, a bit more money than Alec had given her but it was his way of saying he really didn't mind her buying his stuff for him and quickly took them to try them on. She was surprised when she opened the curtain and saw him sat outside the dressing rooms on a chair with his purchases but he was facing away from her. She called him, since no-one else was sitting there.

"Alec, do you like this one?" she asked as he turned around to see her wearing a slim fitting blue dress with curves in all the right places, was she trying to finish him off?

He would have whistled had there not been anyone around.

"That looks really good on you Rose," he said as he smiled at her.

Rose considered herself in the communal mirror.

"I'll just go and try the other one on, won't be long."

That was why Alec had never gone dress shopping with his ex wife, he knew how long they could take.

It was worth it though as she came back out in a stunning red dress that he was sure the money he had given her would not even cover half the cost but considering who she was he doubted she had looked at the price tag. He'd had very little to spend his money on since his divorce except try to bribe his teenage daughter into talking to him so his bank account wasn't exactly at zero but if he kept offering to buy dresses for Rose it wouldn't last long. He looked at his watch, half past three and the stores closed at four on Sunday thank goodness, she would have to make her mind up soon. Did this mean she was his girlfriend now? When had that happened?

He managed to say, "You look incredible in that one Rose."

Then he smiled at her as she turned away as it showed off her rear.

He'd arrived on Friday, late afternoon, gone to get himself something to eat, spotted Rose who was so bad at covering the fact she was watching him and going to try to chat him up at the bar and then taken her out to dinner and practically almost had sex with her last night and now, he was allowing her to choose new clothes for him, get him to try on a pair of jeans that he never wore, telling him he had a cute rear and buying him a t-shirt with a star on it and if that wasn't enough, he was waiting for her to try yet another dress on when he told her she looked good in the first one. Yes, she was definitely his girlfriend, that was what they did.

Rose had considered his remarks when he'd said the red one looked stunning and had said the first one looked great so which one did he want her to choose? She walked back to her dressing room and keeping the red one on, put the blue one in front of her. Then she had to make her mind up as the store announcer said they were closing in fifteen minutes and to make her way to the checkouts. Alec's face had lit up when he'd seen the red one so she hurriedly took it off and got changed, gathered both dresses, leaving the blue one on the rail, walking past Alec who picked up the carrier bags he'd been left with and followed her.

Rose had to walk past the underwear section so having five minutes to spare, she picked a matching pair of red knickers and bra in her size and waltzed off to the checkout and Alec was just glad she didn't ask him his opinion on them or she would have been going back on her own. Alec waited for her to come out of the line after she had paid, noting she used her bank card and not the cash which meant he'd been right about the price tag and figured she would find a way of giving him the cash back.

They made their way back to the railway station and had ten minutes to wait and Alec got some tea out of a drinks machine for them both and they sat in the waiting room. All the way back they were holding hands and discussing where they were going to go for dinner and Rose suggested the pub they had met in and promised her friends wouldn't be there. Once back in Broadchurch, they got a taxi to Rose's apartment with having all the extra carrier bags and while she was getting changed, Alec used the internet on his phone to see if his daughter had been trying to email him but she hadn't responded to his last one or his text message he'd sent before he'd set off early on Friday morning. She probably wouldn't talk to him at all now he had moved away, she had barely done so before.

Rose took her time getting ready, having a shower and drying her hair then putting on the new underwear she had just bought then the dress. She finished by putting a new perfume on that Ellie had brought her back from holiday then chose a pair of flat heeled black shoes. She looked at herself in the mirror. Yes, she was most definitely getting dressed up for Alec, she never went to this much trouble before.

Alec had been amusing himself looking up various places of interest in Broadchurch where he could take Rose on future dates and thought it would be a perfect excuse to visit her at work with a valid reason that he had just arrived in town, it was just across from his hotel. He'd seen her the previous morning when he'd gone to find the Police Station but hadn't crossed the road, she had looked busy. Now he was dreading facing the woman called Ellie who he had apparently taken the promotion from but if she was a friend of Rose's, she might be okay about it. Little did he know what that would entail. He had found a friend in Rose but he was about to make a bitter enemy of Ellie Miller.

Rose emerged from her bedroom and he looked up from his phone, almost dropping it on the sofa he was on. She looked amazing and this time he did whistle and got up.

Rose smiled at his reaction. "Are you ready to go Alec? It's almost seven or is it too early?"

Alec finally found his voice. "Could I just get some water first?"

Rose went to the kitchen and brought back a glass of water, she knew why he wanted it but she said nothing. Alec normally hid the fact he took anything but he had no need to hide in front of Rose now.

"Are you sure you only want to go the pub by the harbour Rose?" he smiled as he put the glass down and looked her up and down.

"Well you don't want to go back to the same place as last night do you? Unless you had somewhere else in mind?"

"I have been looking some places up, there is one just outside town, you don't need a reservation. Would you like to try it?"

"Alec, I don't expect you to take me somewhere fancy every night, in fact, I was thinking about making you a nice dinner here tomorrow night to celebrate your new job."

"I'd like that Rose. I think I'm going to need a friendly face to come back to after my first day especially if your friend is going to be hostile against me."

"I don't think she'll be hostile exactly, she might be annoyed but she'll get over it. So where are you going to take me?"

"Just call a taxi Rose," he said, going up to her and kissing her neck and smelling her new perfume. "That's nice perfume, what are you trying to do to me Sweetheart?" he asked as he went to smell it again and kissed lower down.

He was calling her 'sweetheart', only her mother called her that and he was sounding serious.

Chapter 6

Alec gave the address of the place he wanted to take Rose out for the evening, a pub in a small village a few miles outside Broadchurch and they went inside. It was very nice and Rose was impressed, Alec had been doing some homework. They easily got a table and Alec ordered her usual drink and ordered his usual as well and had admitted to her why he drank it.

"It looks like a normal drink, I just always buy my own when I'm out anywhere, no-one knows any different. What about you, do you always drink the same?"

Rose smiled. "Actually yes, I can drink more of these, the lemonade absorbs the wine, well in theory it does."

Alec laughed, so that was her secret, he would have to get the bar staff to put more wine than lemonade in next time. Not that he needed to get her drunk but it might be fun. Maybe he would have a real drink as well, he was allowed one and he'd not had any for weeks.

They had a nice evening out and Alec decided he'd have a real drink when Rose was on her third again. She did notice there was more wine in her last drink and gave him a sly look but said nothing and just drank it. He had got them to put more wine in. They got a taxi back to Rose's apartment and she didn't seem to be affected by it until they got out as the cold night air hit her and she couldn't open her door and started giggling. Alec laughed and took the key from her. He wasn't used to drinking either and he'd had two half pints of lager and was sure he might just need that extra pill tonight because he was sure as hell going to get Rose to let him try tonight to finish what he started.

He knew that he had to be at the Police Station for nine so he had already set the alarm on his phone for seven, then he would get a taxi up to the hotel and get changed. His new clothes were still in their carrier bags in her living room so he would have to take them with him in the morning. Rose had other ideas.

"Alec," she called out as they finally got in after kissing for several minutes outside her door and saying his name slowly as he kissed her neck. "Why don't you leave your new clothes here? I can hang them in the wardrobe for you then you can come straight here from work and get changed tomorrow night." Putting her arms around his neck and standing right up to him she added, "If you need any help getting undressed I'm willing to help you know," she offered as she took off his tie and unfastened his shirt buttons.

She kicked off her shoes and pushed him towards her bedroom, somewhere he'd wanted to go the other night. Now he would see it first hand.

They both undressed each other as they kissed but before he liberated her of her underwear he wanted to take a look. "Rose, don't forget where I told you my pills were, will you?" he smiled as she stood in front of him. "You are so beautiful do you know that?"

He couldn't resist picking her up and carrying her over to the bed. She was fairly light, it wasn't much of a strain and it was worth it as he lay her down and reached around her back and unfastened her bra. She reached her arms up and put them around his neck.

"I didn't really have too much to drink you know Alec, I was just having some fun with you," she said as she pulled him down onto her.

Alec pulled back the bedclothes and they scrambled beneath them.

"Did you set your alarm Alec?" she asked.

"Mmm," he mumbled. "Oh, it's in my jacket pocket," he laughed.

Rose giggled, hers was still in her purse. "Fine ones we are, one of us will have to get out of bed to turn them both off!"

Alec continued with what he was doing and Rose was groping him again, trying to pull his shorts down one handed without letting go. Alec was caught between kissing her and and trying to pull her underwear off and neither of them were co-operating with each other. They finally reached their goals as they each tossed the others' articles onto the floor and Alec lay on her.

"Alec are you sure you're okay with this?" she asked. "Only I could go on top if you want, just for now, we can just start off slowly and see how you are."

"Are you trying to say I can't finish what I started Rose Tyler?" he asked, trying not to sound offended.

He would have been with anyone else but not with her, not now. She was being tactful again.

"Nothing of the sort Alec Hardy, it's just that you might not be able to keep up with me," she giggled.

All of a sudden he flipped her over without any warning by moving onto his back and pulling her with him. He let out a groan but not from pain in his chest but with Rose lying directly on him and so did Rose.

"I'll show you who can keep up."

They got further than the night before as Rose did most of the moving on him, all he had to do was relax and enjoy himself which he was doing immensely, thanks to her and both of them moaned at the same time. Rose collapsed on him in a fit of giggles as he made her have feelings she had never experienced before having never gone the whole way with anyone including Mickey and knew she was going to eventually give in to Alec, the way he made her feel. Rose was having the same effect on him, never believing a woman would let him into her bed and not just want to get on with it. Rose was taking her time, enjoying every second of their intimacy and so far he was remaining calm.

That was exactly what he needed, to remain calm and she was the one keeping him that way. She was giggling, causing him to smile, not that she could see but she was happy, he knew that and he was the one making her happy and if she was, so was he. He tried going further when she calmed down and she let him until something gave and she stopped him and he knew she had never done this before.

Rose snuggled up to him when he came away from her, he wasn't used to being the one underneath but it was just as good under the circumstances, he would have collapsed if he'd been the one on top and Rose probably knew it and was sparing him the pain but if she wanted it that way, he could get used to it until such times he got better and he knew now he would and then he'd more than make up for it. Now he could start making plans, first an operation and then with Rose, if she would have him and the way she was now, it certainly seemed like it.

She was happily curling up on him, kissing his chest and feeling his heart beating slightly faster but so was hers. She didn't know if she had done the right thing, offering to be the one on top, what if he had really got offended with her suggestion? She had almost certainly spared him the pain of collapsing on her but she knew what to do, get him his pills and if he didn't calm down get him to the hospital but it hadn't occurred, he seemed reasonably okay but she'd had to stop him when she did or she would have regretted it, not that she didn't want it to be with him, she knew she did but not their first time together, not until she knew he was going to be okay and maybe have a life together if he was staying here. That maybe now depended on her as well as if his new job worked out.

She ventured further up his chest until she could kiss him, he reached down and met her lips in a long deep kiss, deeper than the ones they had shared earlier as he held her tightly in his arms. He could make out her features in the moonlight and he knew he was falling in love with her, how had he managed that? Two days ago he had left his tiny flat, put his things into storage and got on a train to a backwater seaside town after being rejected at nearly every Police force in Scotland and a lot of the others who had places for a DI until one chief had given him a chance and now he knew he was meant to come here all along to meet Rose, the woman who was going to save him from his past and make him believe he could now have a future.

Rose was falling asleep, exhausted and Alec knew it but he needed to tell her how he felt before she did and what she meant to him.

"Rose, Sweetheart, you don't mind me calling you that do you?"

Rose replied sleepily, "Mmm, I like you calling me that, only my mother calls me that," then she looked up in panic, she hadn't called her mother since Friday evening before she went out and now she had to tell her about Alec. "Oh, I'll have to tell her about you, I mean if you don't object, I think it's apparent we're more than friends, don't you?" she asked, tracing her finger over his stomach and making him flinch.

She could tell no-one had done that to him for a while, maybe never.

He knew she'd noticed when he flinched like that, he wasn't used to it, a woman hadn't touched him like Rose was doing for a long time, his ex had lost interest in him long before they had got divorced.

"I think it's safe to say that, I don't mind although I'm hardly one to be described as your boyfriend, my being older than you although man friend sounds a little odd so I suppose it fits the description for now," he mused. He was almost afraid to ask her if that meant she was his girlfriend but he supposed that went with saying. "Just as long as I can brag to everyone that you're my girlfriend," he added as he reached down to kiss her forehead.

They fell asleep but Rose woke up and had slipped off of him to go to the bathroom but when she came back she found Alec in a state and thought he was having an attack. He was half awake and calling for her in panic.

"Rose, where are you, please don't leave me, please," he was calling, reaching out to see if she was somewhere in the bed that he'd missed.

Rose had put her knickers and a t-shirt on before going to the bathroom and quickly got back into bed. He felt her presence and opened his eyes further and just made her out in the moonlight.

"Shush Alec, I'm here, what's wrong, are you okay? Tell me Alec," she said, letting him put his arms around her and slipping her arms under him.

"Rose, where were you, I thought you'd left me, please don't leave me."

He buried his face in her neck and she knew he'd been panicking when he'd either woken up when she got out of bed or noticed she was no longer lying on him.

What on earth had happened to him to get him in this state? What had his first wife done to him? He held her tightly like she was going to disappear again.

"Alec, I'm here, I won't leave you. I only went to the bathroom. Blimey, what happened to you? We need to have a serious talk tomorrow now please go back to sleep, you've got your new job tomorrow."

She had noticed it was two in the morning as she had slipped out of bed and picked up her phone.

"I'm sorry Rose, I panicked when you weren't lying on me anymore, I know you wouldn't just get up and leave me but I thought I'd done something to drive you away."

"You couldn't drive me away Alec, you can't get rid of me that easily, go back to sleep, I'm worried about you," she said sleepily and resumed the position she'd almost been in before getting up. "If I get up again I'll only be in the bathroom you plum," she added, a smile on her face.

He was a plum and he knew it, acting like a kid and panicking, she wouldn't have just left, it was her apartment, she would have thrown him out. He closed his eyes and put his arms tighter around her, one hand straying to her knickers and put his hand down them, feeling her skin. He knew he was going to be okay, Rose would look after him.

Just as she fell asleep she wondered what had caused him to get in this state, she'd like a word with his ex, how the hell had she treated him? He had flinched several times when she'd touched him, if he was used to having things done to him he wouldn't have and the way he had moaned the same as she had done when they had touched, if he was used to that it would have been nothing to him. Plus, he was settling for what he could manage and not let his animal instincts take over so he was used to being rejected. How had he survived with that heart of his and how long? She was going to get answers out of him.

She whispered softly, hoping he hadn't heard, "What's happened to you Alec?"

Since she was on top, Rose was the one to find Alec's phone when his alarm went off at seven, followed five minutes later by hers but she slipped back into bed as Alec opened his eyes. She looked down at him and smiled. Alec was feeling like a complete idiot for causing a panic last night but he didn't say anything, he didn't have to.

"Morning my sweet Rose," he whispered into her ear as she lay back on him.

Rose liked that, she was going to like waking up with him, maybe not every morning but it was quite clear that Alec did not seem keen on sleeping on his own anymore but he would be afraid to ask her if he could stay over every night and she didn't want him to be on his own, not if he was going to be like that. What if he had an attack when he was on his own? She couldn't think about it, she had to tactfully solve the problem, put her mind at rest and save his embarrassment.

"Morning softy," she said, stroking his beard. Alec looked at her. Why did she have to say that? How stupid she was after he'd woken up like that last night. She had to make a joke out of it. "Your beard, it's so soft, you were tickling my neck with it."

He seemed to let the reference slide.

"Rose, about last night, I owe you an apology for panicking like that. I do owe you an explanation and if you make me dinner tonight, I'll tell you what happened."

"Alec, you don't need to apologise, it happens to the best of us," she assured him, putting her arms around his neck and reaching up to kiss him.

She had spent many a night in the Tardis being comforted by The Doctor after having a nightmare about their adventures when they nearly hadn't got away and the sleepless nights she'd had when she lost him.

Alec responded but he felt like he couldn't just let it go, he owed her an explanation if she was going to stay with him and would she even want to after last night? He had behaved like a kid.

Rose got up and Alec followed, realising he didn't have his shorts on and grinned as he tried to slip out without her seeing him, like a teenager letting his first girlfriend catch him. It was too late, Rose had already caught a glimpse as she smiled back at him and threw his shorts across to the bed.

"Too late Alec, you'd better get used to it," she laughed. "Speaking of which, since your hotel is up in the town and my place is a few minutes walk, it doesn't make sense if you're going to stay over and have to go back every morning."

She went up to him, now he was wearing his shorts as she didn't want them to start anything else since he had to go back and get changed.

"What are you trying to say Rose?" he asked as he put his arms around her waist and sneaked a kiss.

"Well your new clothes are here, which I'm going to hang up for you when you leave so maybe if you go get the rest of your things from your hotel and you stay over, we could have more time in bed and I can make you breakfast every morning," she replied, snuggling up to him.

"So you're asking me to move in with you or just stay the odd night or two? I think I like the first idea better," he whispered as he kissed her neck.

"It doesn't make sense for you to go past the Police Station to get back to your hotel then go all the way back now, does it? Plus, I'm going to have to keep a very close eye on you, DI Alec Hardy, it now appears you don't like sleeping on your own."

He knew she had done it yet again. Sparing him embarrassment, letting things go, making him think what had happened didn't matter, like she did it all the time, who was she? He didn't like sleeping on his own, he'd done it since before his divorce and before his ex had left him for someone else and he'd hated it. Then Rose wondered why he'd panicked at the thought of her leaving him. He didn't need a shrink, he just needed Rose. He knew he should take her up on her offer but what if she hated him after living with him for a few days? No, she wasn't his ex wife.

"You're right, it doesn't. I'll go collect my things after work and get a taxi back here if you're sure about this? It's a big step and you hardly know me."

"I now enough Alec, you need someone to take care of you, you've been neglected and I need someone too, I have things I need to tell you."

She wasn't going to tell him the whole story, just she had lost someone, which she had and to show Alec he wasn't alone.

Chapter 7

Alec said he would get some breakfast at the hotel, he was paying for it and would book out when he got back later to collect his things. Rose said she would call and get another set of keys cut and reminded him about her friend Ellie.

"Don't worry about her Rose, I can handle her but I won't say we know each other just yet, I'll leave that to you."

Rose had a sudden thought. She had told Beth and Maggie about him, about getting him on the sofa and kissing him with his shirt off and if Beth told Ellie, even after she found out he'd got her job? She didn't want to think of it, it would embarrass Alec in the eyes of his DS. It was already seven thirty and Alec was about to call for a taxi to take him back to the hotel but she had to warn him.

"Alec, you need to know something before you go. I sort of told my friends Beth and Maggie, the newspaper editor about us, on Friday night after Beth asked me how I got on with you and they sort of know we kissed and I got your shirt off." If that didn't blow it, nothing would and she wouldn't see him again. "I didn't tell them your name though but Beth saw you at the pub on Friday night. I'm so sorry Alec but she might tell Ellie."

Alec looked at her. She thought he was going to be fuming but he started laughing.

"I knew you three were up to something on Friday night. They were daring you to go to the bar and chat me up, weren't they?"

"You're not mad? I mean when Ellie finds out, she'll use it to her advantage and you don't need that. I'm so sorry Alec but on Saturday morning I had no idea things were going to go the way they did, neither of us could have known. It was sort of a game we play."

"Then tell me later, I should go now or I'll be late on my first day and that will start me off right with my new chief. I'll see you tonight Sweetheart and don't worry, I know what you women get up to. I might be a bit late, I'll have to pack and check out."

"I'll make you something nice, Italian again, maybe a bottle of wine. Are you allowed wine?"

"Just one glass and I really must go."

He kissed her again and called for a taxi.

It took him only five minutes to get back to his hotel but Becca was already on duty when he arrived and saw him coming in.

"Good morning Detective, you must have been out early this morning."

She hadn't seen him since Saturday night, he must have sneaked Rose Tyler out of the back yesterday morning. Maybe she had changed her tactics and Hardy had stayed at her place last night. Ah well, there was plenty of time, Rose would get tired of him sooner or later, they all ended up in her bed when Rose had finished with them.

"Miss Fisher is it? No actually I wasn't out early and I'll be checking out later, I've made other arrangements, nearer to the Police Station. You can send my hotel bill there, they were picking up the tab until I started work. Now excuse me, I have to change and get breakfast before I'm due to start work."

Becca just swallowed. She could have done with the extra revenue, the Police had arranged for his stay and were going to be paying his bill and she was going to charge them for a single occupancy of a double room and it wasn't the season yet. She didn't know exactly where Rose Tyler lived but she could guess it was near the Police Station. Perhaps a bit of juicy gossip wouldn't go amiss but he was a Police Detective, best not, he'd know where it came from unless she heard it first.

Rose started hanging Alec's new clothes in her wardrobe, having to move some of her dresses up but she had them spread out anyway for easy access. She thought she might iron his new shirts that were in packets when she got back if the creases didn't come out of them. She never thought she would be taking care of a man, when she used to travel in the Tardis, the ship did everything for her but the last few years she had learned a few skills. She assumed Alec would be bringing his laundry back with him, she'd have to do that tomorrow. She set off to work and made a note to get some new keys cut and then later call at the supermarket to stock up on extra groceries, she couldn't let him take her out every night. She still had the cash he gave her yesterday, she would put it towards the groceries.


Alec entered the Police Station and got his new ID badge for Broadchurch Police and his work mobile from the front desk that had been left for him. He had filled in all the forms on Saturday morning but still had to go to the personnel department after he had been to see his new Chief Superintendent. He was just making his way upstairs when he heard a cheery voice behind him with greetings from the desk he had just left of 'welcome back' and 'had a good holiday' and knew it must be Ellie Miller and was glad he hadn't been seen. He had been told where the chief's office was and found it without any trouble and knocked on the door.

He waited to be told to enter and Chief Superintendent Jenkinson was sat behind her desk, waving him to sit down.

"Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, welcome to Broadchurch Police. I see you picked up your ID badge. You can keep your old one for now, if they don't want it back or if you return to Scotland it might be as well. So, you've had a few days to settle down are you finding your way about? Is your hotel to your liking? You will be expected to make a contribution towards it if you don't find a place of your own when your first two weeks are up. Any questions?"

They had already talked via video conference and they had got most of it out of the way. She had only hired him on his merits, not on the disastrous case that had caused all his problems and had believed he was grossly misjudged and should never have been blamed for the actions of the officer who had made the mistake, whether she had been his wife or not. She had learned he had subsequently been divorced and put on desk duty until he could be transferred and he had been waiting over a year after it was all cleared up and she had wanted to give him a break. She wasn't looking forward to facing DS Miller, who she had virtually promised the job to but she figured Hardy was a more deserving case and Miller would survive, Alec Hardy had been tossed to the lions but she was going to keep it quiet.

Alec spoke up. "I appreciate you taking me on and I'll try to keep up to your expectations Ma'am. I've found other accommodation so I'll be checking out of the hotel by morning, I've found something a few minutes walk away, I'll give the details when I visit personnel. I know this is a six months trial but if it works out, I would like to be considered for a permanent post, I've made a friend since I arrived."

Jenkinson was intrigued. Had he got himself a girlfriend? That she must see. According to his record he was divorced, the resident grump of the division in Glasgow and kept to himself. He had seemed less friendly on the video conference but he had been polite, probably relieved to be getting away and his colleagues glad to be rid of him and he was now her problem. She just hoped DS Miller and he would get on since they would be working together but if Hardy did have a girlfriend, at least he wouldn't be grumpy.

Jenkinson got up and said she would take him into the CID office and introduce him, then she remembered Miller and changed her mind so she sent him to personnel and said she would meet him there shortly instead. Alec left to go find personnel and the chief phoned Ellie's desk and asked her to join her. Alec went off to give his details and his new address, memorizing it after Rose had scribbled it down while he'd been waiting for his taxi, stuffing it in his pocket so he could give her an extra long kiss. Then he made his way to the squad room.

Ellie entered the chief's office and sat down. She soon stood up again as the chief explained she had given the job to someone else and she did not take it well.

"You gave the job to a man when you said we need a female DI? We don't have a DI, where did he come from?"

"DI Alec Hardy is from Glasgow, he's been transferred, he started this morning. He's waiting in the squad room. You'll be working under him so be civil please and before you say anything to him, he did not ask for this job, I chose him." She hadn't really, she had been asked to consider him and she had.

Ellie stood up and stormed out, Jenkinson went after her, she knew Miller had a temper. Alec was waiting, no-one was taking any notice of him as he went to the break area and made himself some tea, standing behind the door when the two women came in and Ellie didn't see him. He put his cup down and followed the chief, who got everyone's attention. Ellie looked round as she was sitting down the man standing there was Rose's victim from Friday night. Why hadn't Rose said anything, was she still seeing him or had she dumped him already?

"This is Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, he's your new DI. I expect you all to extend courtesy to him and follow his orders. You all report to him, he reports to me, no questions." She turned to Alec. "I'll leave you and DS Miler to get acquainted, she'll show you around. If you need a car, requisition one and we'll do our best but it's a small town, we can assign you a driver. DS Miller will drive you during the day. This is your office."

She pointed behind where they were standing, it looked better than his last one.

Alec opened the door, took his jacket off and hung it up on the coat stand by the door, Ellie Miller followed him, she was not happy. Not just because her best friend had failed to tell her that the man she was out with on Saturday night was a DI, or the fact he was her new boss but the fact it should have been her sitting behind the desk he was just sitting down at. Before she had time to say anything, he came out with a dozen questions.

"So, DS Miller, bring me up to speed. Latest cases, cold cases, local villains, local trouble spots and do you have decaff tea in the breakroom, I can't drink normal tea and I prefer soya milk."

That gave the game away, Rose with her endless cups of decaff tea and her soya milk, she had even persuaded the caf they went in on Saturday mornings sometimes to start getting it for her and she knew instantly Hardy was still seeing her friend.

"You could have told me Sir, when my friend introduced us on Saturday night. You got my job."

Alec only kept his cool because he had promised Rose, the now love of his life, that he would handle her friend.

"You heard the chief, I didn't ask to be here, I didn't know they were sending me here until a few days ago and as for your friend introducing us, I didn't think it was relevant at the time, I was not officially working and what I do in my free time is no-one else's business. Now answer my questions if you will."

That was the start of a great working relationship not. Ellie answered his questions, determined not to let the fact that Rose was her friend and was like a younger sister to her, she had taken her under her wing when she'd arrived in town four years ago and didn't know anyone and introduced her to Beth, encouraged her to make friends and egged her on when she wouldn't get a regular boyfriend to the point it was a game between the three of them. Now Rose was involved with this man, who had sneaked in and taken her job and she only half believed her superior officer but his name seemed familiar, she had heard it before but where?

He was looking at her. "Anything else Miller?" he asked, picking up some folders on his desk and getting a pair or rimless glasses out of his top pocket, putting them on one-handed.

"If you don't mind Sir, I'd rather you called me Ellie, I don't like being called Miller all the time, everyone calls me Ellie."

He considered it and decided he couldn't go for it, he never called anyone working under him by their first name, it was a personal rule of his ever since his ex wife had been on his team.

"No, it's bad policy, I expect you to call me DI Hardy or Sir when we're on duty."

He wasn't going to say anything about Rose just yet, she probably already knew or had gathered, he'd given the game away at decaff tea and soya milk, Rose had already converted him.

Ellie said no and huffed out. She might be Rose's friend but she wasn't going to be bossed around by her latest 'boyfriend' who would probably be her ex-boyfriend in a day or two, Rose was excelling herself this time. Ellie made a note to call Rose and ask her about it and why she hadn't warned her but if he was asking for decaff tea and soya milk then Rose had already invited him to her place which wasn't like her at all, she never invited them home. Rose was asking for trouble getting herself involved with him, she knew his name from somewhere and she didn't think it was anything good. She would have to do some research on him later. After lunch Alec decided he wanted to be shown around so he called Ellie in she and reluctantly took him around.


Rose had been given the third degree by Beth and Maggie as to how she got on with her new friend and had to admit that she had spent the weekend with him but not all the details. She had to admit to herself she was a little more than thinking she was falling for him, she had fallen for him in a big way and she thought he felt the same. She would have to find time to call her mother, this was going to be serious. After lunch, it was quiet and Maggie was in her office so Rose took the chance to ask Beth to keep quiet about what she had said about Alec, under the circumstances but without actually telling Beth who he was but Ellie would already know now so she saw no harm in it and shared.

"Beth, what I told you the other morning about Alec, I want you to promise you won't tell Ellie, not just yet, she might be a bit upset."

"About you and him on the sofa you mean," laughed Beth. "That's the best bit Rose. She'll find out sooner or later but honestly, I thought you would have ditched him by now, they don't normally last this long."

"Please listen Beth, when I told you on Saturday, things were different, I didn't even know myself I would still be seeing him and it's complicated now because then, I didn't know who he was or why he was here, I mean I knew his name and he had been transferred here but not what he did."

Rose looked around and made sure Maggie was in her office, she didn't want this to get published or her mother would have something to say if she read it in the newspapers before she had been told first hand.

"Beth, his name's Alec Hardy and he's the town's new DI, he got the job Ellie was after and she'll know by now. It won't have gone down well."

Beth was surprised to say the least. "You should have warned her Rose, how did he manage to get the job Ellie was promised?"

"Because he didn't know he as coming here until a few days ago. He'd put in for a transfer and was waiting for somewhere to accept him and the chief here took him on. I didn't know Beth, I only found out on Saturday afternoon, I went to lunch with him and he told me when he took me out to dinner later on, after we saw Ellie and Joe in the restaurant."

Beth laughed. "You mean she met him again and still didn't know who he was? That's just classic Rose, she'll be furious she met him twice and didn't know who he actually was.

Beth couldn't stop laughing.

"Yeah well, he told me on Friday night he was in the Police, when he offered to walk me home but he didn't say until afterwards he'd got a transfer here or what his rank was, I thought he might be replacing Ellie as a DS and he'd be working under her, not the other way around."

Beth was still laughing. "Oh this is priceless Rose. You have my word I won't tell her about you and him, you know but I don't know about Maggie. Still, you didn't give her the details you gave me so you should be okay for now. You put him in a compromising situation Rose, him being a senior Police Officer."

"Well how was I to know? I was only going to let him walk me home, then he asked me out on Saturday night but changed his mind to lunch as well. That was already more than I usually went out with anyone. Then he took me out for the day yesterday then took me out in the evening as well. I think he's the one Beth, I've never met anyone like him before. My last boyfriend, back in London, he never treated me the way Alec does, he never had any money to spend on me, to take me out but I never felt about him the way I feel about Alec. I'm making him dinner tonight."

"Well Becca's going to be upset with you as well, you know she always gets your rejects."

"Well we went into the Trader's after we'd been out on Saturday night so she saw us together. She's probably waiting for me to dump him," Rose smiled.

She wasn't going to add she was certain Becca had seen her and Alec go to his room or he was moving in with her. Her friends would find out sooner or later, preferably much later, when they had got used to seeing them together.

Rose finished work, got a taxi down to the supermarket where she got the keys cut and a taxi back home and set about preparing dinner for Alec. Once it was prepared, she called her mother and Jackie had been about to call her for not ringing over the weekend.

Chapter 8

"Rose, why haven't you called me all weekend, it's not like you. Are you okay?" Jackie Tyler asked her daughter.

"I'm fine, I was just a bit busy, I was out most of the time."

"That's nice Rose, did you go out with your friends?"

"No, I met someone, his name's Alec and he's in the Police."

Jackie couldn't believe what she was hearing. She had never known her daughter to have a boyfriend since Mickey and not in this universe either.

"So when were you going to tell me about him? What does he do in the Police?"

"He's a detective Mum, we get on really well. We spent nearly the whole weekend together, he took me out on Saturday night and yesterday we went to Weymouth for the day and he took me out again last night."

Jackie laughed. She was happy Rose was finally accepting she was stuck here.

"Blimey, you have been busy, you must really like him then. Well I'm glad you finally found someone. I hope you're going to introduce him to us if you plan on keeping him."

Rose was about to say no chance but thought better of it. Still, he knew who she was now, there would be a point where Alec and her parents would meet if he was sticking around and by the way things were going, he was sticking around.

"There's just one thing though, if you do meet him, he's not to know where you, Mickey and me come from. I don't want him to know and not about The Doctor either. I'll tell him I lost someone but that's it. Maybe one day I'll tell him but what he doesn't know doesn't hurt or so they say. I'm moving on Mum, isn't that what you wanted?"

"It's not what I want Rose, it's what you need. You need to move on, it's been four years here. Anyway, Tony missed you and wants to know if he can come down. I said during the holidays okay? If you're still with that fella of yours we can meet him."

Rose had to agree. "Yeah, fine, tell Tony I miss him."

Rose said goodbye and went back to put dinner on. She had forgotten to ask Alec what time he finished but Ellie usually finished at five. He had to go pack and get back so she figured he wouldn't be long, it was already five thirty, she had been shopping and taken longer than usual, waiting to get keys cut. When she had moved in the apartment she had asked if it was a one or two person place and had been told it was for two. She had overstretched and put her mother and younger brother up once when they arrived unexpectedly by getting a lift with Mickey who was on his way somewhere else and was back for them two days later. Tony had thought it was fun when they had turned up one Friday teatime and they had gone to the harbour to get fish and chips.

She had introduced Tony to Tom, Ellie's son and Danny, Beth's son and they had all played football on the field behind Danny's house on the Saturday afternoon while her mum went shopping, Rose was in goal and they ran circles around her. Danny's dad had taken a video of them all as the boys had mowed her over and they were all laughing.


Alec had a painful afternoon, constantly battling his DS over various points and trying not to set himself up for taking an extra pill. He got dropped off at his hotel and packed his suitcase, checking his bedside cabinet and dresser drawers and made sure he had everything. He had managed to put his laundry separate and felt guilty about getting Rose to do it for him, he would have to learn how to use her washing machine. He picked up his laptop case with his other personal belongings in, another shoulder bag and wheeled his suitcase out.

Becca gave him a funny look when he handed his key in. She was disappointed he was leaving and even more disappointed of the lost revenue.

"So, you know where we are if your new place doesn't work out. Are you renting somewhere?"

She was determined to find out if he was moving in with Rose, that would certainly be useful information if needed.

"You could say that a more suitable location came up quite near the Police Station, it makes sense."

He was giving nothing away.

Becca thought she would have to dig deeper. Alec called for a taxi, the rank across the street was empty so he waited outside the hotel. A woman was coming out of the newspaper office opposite the hotel who nodded to him. He surmised it might be the newspaper editor and hoped Rose hadn't described him to her. Knowing Rose, she had probably described him in great detail, especially since she had told two women she'd had his shirt off him. Just as long as she didn't tell DS Miller or state that she thought he had a cute bum.

Five minutes later, he was ringing the buzzer of Rose's apartment. He called on the intercom to say it was him.

"It's me Rose, can you come down and help me?"

It was getting near the time he should take his pill and Miller had driven him mad all afternoon.

Rose picked up her keys and went down to help him, taking the laptop bag and another small carry bag and Alec pulled up the case behind him. Rose could tell he was tired and took his case from him and took it into the bedroom. She went to check on dinner and made him some tea. He was laid on the sofa, the glass of water on the coffee table and his pills beside it, his jacket and tie off and his head propped against a cushion, his eyes closed. He looked a bit pale and Rose was concerned but he seemed to be just resting, it was his first day and he must have been doing battle with Ellie. She must get Ellie to ease up on him somehow without giving away what was wrong with him. She would have to make a personal plea to her friend to make friends with him for her sake as well as Alec's.

Dinner wasn't quite ready as she put the mug of tea down and sat in the space by his feet.

"Come here Rose," he said quietly as he moved his legs over and she lay at the side of him. "I'm going to have good days and bad days, you'll have to get used to that. Some days I won't be as bad as others and the good days, well I had them over the weekend with you. It's just with it being my first day, I'll be fine. Now give me one of your long kisses and stop worrying about me."

After their long kiss Rose got up and put his pills back in his jacket pocket and took the glass back to the kitchen. She served dinner and rather than call him to the table, she took his plate over to the sofa. He just looked at her and took the plate and she went back to get her own. He couldn't help but marvel at her, she had been amazing the last few days, taking him on and offering to look after him and never asking anything in return. Well he was going to do something in return although her reluctance to take money off him to buy a dress made it apparent it was going to be difficult to say the least.

They ate in silence as Rose had put the TV on so he could watch the news but after he finished his meal, complimenting her on it, he decided he was going to take charge.

"I'm not going to live here free of charge you know, I want to contribute towards everything. I know who you are now but it doesn't change anything so I want to pay towards the rent and the bills so I'll give you money every month and no arguments and Saturday mornings we'll go shopping together. Okay?"

Rose couldn't very well disagree, he seemed determined he was not going to be a kept man. Rose moved her plate and moved nearer to him.

"Okay, you're the boss," she teased, kissing his cheek.

"Just you remember that, Rose Tyler," he teased back, pulling her down with him.

They fooled around on the sofa for a while, Alec lost his shirt again, Rose lost her top and bra and then she went to sort out Alec's suitcase and his laundry and gave him the password for the internet and his new keys. Rose was falling asleep on the sofa later on while he was watching something and he knew she wouldn't give in and go to bed on her own, it had become clear neither of them could sleep alone any more.

"Sweetheart, why don't you go get ready for bed, then I'll switch everything off and be there in a little while, okay?"

He knew she would be waiting for him no matter if she was tired or not. Three days together and they knew each other well, how had it happened so quickly?

To Alec it just felt right, something that seemed natural, far more than it had been when he'd met his wife, it had taken them months of dallying before he'd even dared to ask her out yet it had taken a few hours of laughing and joking with Rose to ask to take her home, she was just so easy to get on with. She was fun-loving yet serious and was determined to take charge of him and look after him. He hadn't been looking for anyone to settle down with but he had found Rose. Maybe she was his reward for all the crap he'd had to put up with. How lucky could he have got meeting her? It was like she had been waiting for him.

Rose had been waiting for him, well not him in particular, she was waiting for someone to fill the gaping hole left by The Doctor and Alec was it. She had known it the second she had laid eyes on him that he was the one she had been waiting for all this time. Was it fair that she had been left here with no choice? Was it fair the man she loved was on the other side of the void? She had purposely rejected man after man who had crossed her path, including a repeatedly rejected Mickey who had tried to make up with her again in the hope one day The Doctor would make it back to her and then Alec had walked into that pub and she just knew. Was it fair on him?

Maybe it was fair on him, he was broken and Rose could fix him, like she had fixed a broken Doctor all that time ago. That was what she did, he had said so and he wouldn't want her to go on being unhappy. Maybe she was never meant to go back to the games station and save him and have him turn into the most gorgeous man she had seen in her life and fall even more madly in love with him. He had changed because of her and chosen a face she could love in return. Maybe that was why they had finally been torn apart causing the universes to collapse and they had somehow caused it by being together. She had always thought fate had been cruel to them, tearing them apart but was now paying her back by sending Alec to her. She could never bring herself to tell him why she had fallen in love with him, it would break his already fragile heart.

They fell asleep, Alec was holding her tightly like he was afraid she would disappear again and she had to squirm her way out of his grip so he relaxed a little, a smile on his face, his way of showing her he wasn't letting her go in a hurry and her way of saying she wasn't going anywhere well only to the bathroom. They had progressed a little further but he knew she wouldn't go all the way just yet and he was content with that, she would give herself to him when she was ready and was certain it was only because of his condition. They would just get comfortable with each other, Rose was finding ways of keeping his movements to a minimum and she didn't know what she was doing to him. She had jumped every time he groaned when she did something to him and she panicked but he had just laughed and said it was her and what she was doing.

Rose knew he had been badly neglected but didn't say anything to him. She could tell when she touched him or did something to him and experimented with different things so he had minimum effort but if he was like this now, just how much better would he be when he was well? Rose didn't think she would be able to bare it when he was.

Alec was woken by his work mobile just before 7am. He had to leave it on and was just getting used to it and had warned Rose about it. She said she was fine with it and wouldn't interfere if he had to go out in the middle of the night but he said that shouldn't be necessary, the junior officers would take the calls unless it was an emergency and then his DS would get the first call but it was ringing none the less.

Getting from under Rose was a challenge since she was sprawled across him and he disturbed her.

"Hardy," he barked gruffly into the phone as he finally got to it, annoyed that his morning snuggle with Rose was interrupted.

He listened carefully. "Send a car for me in 15 minutes." He listened again. "Yes I know I live next to the station but I'm not walking all the way around there. 15 minutes and don't sound the horn, have you called Miller?" he barked and then hung up.

Rose was sat on the side of the bed, wearing Alec's white t-shirt she had taken a liking to and he liked seeing her in since it showed her legs.

"What's wrong Alec? Do you have to go to work early?" she asked, getting up and getting him a shirt and his suit out of the wardrobe as he went to put clean shorts on and find some socks.

Rose had given him the second drawer down in the dresser and they had decided last night to each wear something before going to sleep since Rose was making a habit of getting up. He didn't answer her as he went to the bathroom and Rose got herself dressed. She wondered what could have happened to get him out so early and why he asked if Ellie had been called.

Alec hurriedly put his shirt and suit on, grabbing his tie from the living room where he'd left it last night, then getting some water from the kitchen and taking his pill. He was going to need it. Finally, he had a minute to spare to pick up his new keys, stuff everything in his pocket and turned to Rose, who had just let him get on with it, not wanting to delay him. He looked out of the window to see a squad car turning around and pulling up outside. That was going to give Rose a reputation and he didn't want anyone to know they were involved yet.

"Sweetheart, I'm sorry but I have to go, I've been called in and I don't know how long it's going to take and I might be late back. Please, don't tell anyone about us yet, apart from your friend Beth who probably already knows and especially not the newspaper editor. I have to go to a crime scene and if people know about us they might ask you questions. Rose, this is not the right time but I want you to know how much I care about you."

He kissed her and stepped back.

"I care about you too Alec, please look after yourself."

She kissed him again and he went out of the door.

Once he left, since she was already up, she got the laundry from the bathroom and loaded the washing machine, putting it on a quick wash program. She would have time to set the dryer as well at this rate. She set off for work, passing the Police Station and was about to walk up the road just after it when she could see something going on over the other side of the harbour, there were flashing blue lights all around and she assumed Alec would still be there and hoped he wouldn't get too stressed, he didn't need it. He had promised her he would keep calm and was going to contact his own doctor to see if he could be considered for surgery. She walked up the road and onto the High Street and went to work.

She had forgotten it was sports day at the local school and Beth had told her she was going to be late in and Rose had told her to wish Danny good luck and Tom too if she saw him as she hadn't seen Ellie. She had been surprised Ellie had not called her. She didn't know Ellie had been so annoyed she had avoided calling her friend until she calmed down or say something out of term such as why the hell she hadn't told her she was involved with who turned out to be her new boss. How embarrassing was that?

Two hours passed and there was still no sign of Beth who should have been back by now. Olly Stevens had come back in ages ago with reports and photos of the sports day and had shown Rose photos including Tom and she had asked where Danny was. Olly said he'd not seen him but he had seen Beth earlier and she had gone off in a hurry. Rose had laughed and said she had probably forgotten Danny's lunch and rushed back for it. It was now 11.30 and Rose decided to call Beth but just got her answerphone. She wasn't particularly worried and thought Beth just might be on her way in.

Suddenly, Olly dashed out and she wondered where he was going in a hurry and Maggie came up to speak to Rose.

"Rose, something's going on down by the harbour, I've just sent Olly down. Did you see anything on your way in?"

"No, I cut up the other road but I could see flashing lights over by the harbour, thought it might be to do with a boat or something, I didn't really see."

She was about to say Alec had gone out early on a call and remembered what he had said before he left. She did not want the editor knowing who he was and she was involved with him. Maggie probably already suspected she wasn't just the information officer for the town council.

Chapter 9

A/N The next chapters involve mainly Rose and Alec's relationship throughout the difficult investigation. I normally try to leave the details out in my other stories but Rose's closeness to those involved warranted some mention so I've kept it to a minimum as most everyone already knows the details and I don't want to repeat them. The focus is mainly on Alec's health problem, how it was kept quiet by him and Rose and how she helped him cope in the beginning and towards the end of the investigation. I would imagine in the series that if Alec had someone to look after him he would have faired better.


Alec was not having a good morning. He had been the first senior officer on the scene below the cliffs on the beach, the Police tape already up and a tent hastily erected to keep onlookers away. The summer season was barely starting so there weren't that many people around but news would travel fast despite attempts to keep it quiet. He wondered when he arrived where Miller had got to but she had a family, so Rose had told him and was probably on her way, she lived further away than he now did. When Miller did arrive, it was not pleasant. She knew the victim.

Correct procedure was followed, the victim's mother had somehow arrived at the scene and was escorted home by an officer and Alec would have to find out how she had known. Maybe it was a mother's instinct but Miller hadn't helped, she had all but told the woman it was her son. Alec concluded it was Rose's friend Beth, who she had told him about and had been with her and Miller last Friday night but he had not then been introduced to her.

Miller herself had caused a scene on her arrival, the same arguments as the day before and Alec was really regretting this now. Maybe he should sit back and let her do all the hard work, she seemed to want to take the case off him but he had to do this to prove his worth to the chief if he wanted to stay here with Rose. The morning wore on, he was thinking about Rose, if she wondered why he had been called out so early, she had not said anything to him but he knew she wouldn't be the type that would rant and rave at him for going out early or getting home late.

Then he thought this was going to be even more difficult because of Rose knowing the family but he couldn't tell her, not until he had been to see them and even after, not until they officially released the name, which would be later in the evening when a press conference would be called. It would be devastating to Rose and it would put him in a difficult position of her knowing the family and he being involved with her. They would have to keep their relationship extremely quiet, Miller already knew and so did her friend Beth and he hoped she wouldn't read anything into it but he couldn't let his chief or any of the other officers know about them. It was not going to be easy, he was in love with Rose and he had to tell her.

Maybe this would tear them apart, maybe Rose wouldn't be able to cope with the fact he knew things and could never talk to her about them even in bed and he was going to need her more than ever now. His hope of calling his friend and doctor was put on hold at least for today, he would have to try and call him tomorrow if he had time or failing that he would have to risk calling him out of hours and not for a friendly chat, his life may depend on it. He now didn't want to leave it too long but just how long this investigation was going to take he had no idea.


Rose was now officially worried about Beth. She had nipped out for some lunch and when she came back there was still no sign of her and still not answering her phone. She didn't want to call her home number, Beth might think she was checking up on her but it wasn't like her not to call. A while later Olly came back in and went straight to Maggie's office, which wasn't like him. He had often flirted with Rose but he seemed younger than her and it wouldn't be good if she went on a few dates with him and then saw him almost every day. She was tempted to call Ellie to see if she had heard from Beth but in view of her not calling last night, even to chew her out for not telling her about Alec, she thought Ellie might not be talking to her just yet.

There was a lot of activity at the back of the newspaper office and Rose wondered what it was Olly had been sent out for. Perhaps it was something down at the harbour after all, it had caused a buzz in the editor's office. Just after two, some people came in and were looking at leaflets and asking Rose questions when a young boy who was with them asked her why part of the beach had been closed off. Rose apologised and said she didn't know but would find out. She called her boss at the Town Hall but they said they couldn't tell her anything. That meant she had to call the Police Station but the lines were constantly busy.

The young boy had sat down near the window with his arms folded, refusing to leave until he was given an answer despite his parents trying to get him out saying the beach further down was open and apparently he wanted to climb the big hill. Rose needed answers so she had no choice but to call Ellie, she daren't call Alec.

"Hi DS Miller," Rose said cheerily. She never called her Ellie when either of them were working and Ellie knew Rose would never call on a personal level while in work. In her lunch break maybe but not during working hours. Rose continued. "I have some visitors here want to know about the beach and when it will re-opening."

Ellie didn't answer right away, she was probably talking to Alec or thinking about it.

"Sorry Rose but all I can say is there's been a Police incident and the beach will be closed at least the rest of the day, maybe longer."

With that Ellie said goodbye and Rose had to relay to the young boy the bad news that the beach would remain closed but suggested that the beach further down was open and they could walk along the esplanade to it and gave them directions. She sent a message to Ellie to say thanks and she was sorry for not telling her about Alec and asked if they could talk about it. Ellie replied saying it was okay and they'd talk when she had finished work. They never got their talk that night.

Rose set off home, wondering about Alec. If there was an incident she hoped he would let Ellie do most of the work, she was worried about him. She could still see flashing lights across the harbour but couldn't see much more and she didn't want to venture around for fear she would see him and give the game away. She hoped though that her friend hadn't been too rough on him, after all, when she met Alec on Friday night, Ellie would just think he was another of her 'victims' and wouldn't have thought anything about it but she still might not if Alec hadn't said anything about his relationship with her.

He hadn't said anything last night but he had looked tired so she had just left it. She reached her apartment and was tempted to send him a message but she hadn't yet established if it was okay to send him texts during the day concerning home or expressions of concern to his personal mobile, he'd not given her his work number, probably because he thought she wouldn't need it. It was something they were going to have to discuss but it was early in their relationship and things would get established over time and maybe he would call or text her first so they wouldn't need to talk about it. Rose set about making dinner and waited for Alec to call, she didn't put it in the oven as he'd said he might be late and if he was, it would keep in the fridge until tomorrow and she would make something for herself.

Then she sat down to watch some evening TV and the local news to see what had happened by the harbour. It was not good as she saw Alec's face on the news. There had been a death, on the beach apparently and it was being treated as suspicious. Rose couldn't take it in, Alec had a stern look on his face, well it looked stern to the casual viewer but she could tell that look, he was tired and pained and whatever had happened it had affected him. No details were given except it was an 11/12 year old boy and her heart leaped Tom or Danny. No it couldn't be Tom, she had spoken to Ellie earlier and although there was a strain in her voice which was understandable given the circumstances, she might have known who it was from Tom's school.

Still no word from Alec, it was after seven, the news had been repeated, Rose was hoping there would be more. No word from Ellie either or Beth, who she was now really worried about. She tried calling Beth but it went onto voicemail so in desperation she dared to call Beth's home number and her husband Mark answered.

Rose asked if she could speak to Beth, she was concerned that Beth hadn't been to work.

"Sorry Rose, Beth can't come to the phone at the minute, I'll tell her you called," Mark said.

Rose detected something in his voice, no, it couldn't have been Danny, the cheeky lad who always egged on Tom whenever they were out and saw Rose with yet another bloke and whose passion for skateboarding had roped her in many a time to keeping score in the home-made ramp competition with Tom in their street on her visits.

"Mark, is something wrong? Please tell Beth I'll get someone to cover for her if she's unwell or anything, tell her not to worry about coming to work, won't you?"

She didn't want to come right out and ask if it had been Danny Alec had been talking about, it was unthinkable.

"Thanks Rose, I'll tell her, she's just a bit under the weather, she'll be in contact with you."

Rose hung up but she wasn't convinced, something had clearly happened by the tone in his voice. She just hoped she was wrong and Mark was just upset that Beth wasn't well, they were very close, just how herself and Alec were getting but if by some cruel twist of fate it was Danny and she prayed it wasn't, things would be very uncomfortable with the Latimers and herself since the detective in charge was her boyfriend and Beth knew he was. She just hoped this was all speculation on her part but this wasn't what Alec needed, he had come here to stay quiet and this was not the way to do it.


It was gone seven, Alec had got a glass of water and gone to the break room to hastily take his pill before anyone saw him. If someone did, he'd have to pass it off as something as innocent as aspirin or something, this damn murder was giving him a headache anyway. Nothing much had happened since he came back from the press conference and after he had officially told the family. It was that part of his job he hated the most, telling a family a loved one had been killed or murdered that was the worst of the worst but a murdered child? He hated child killers with every fibre of his being and the last case he'd been on had mainly caused his illness.

He would get through this one better though because he had Rose now but he would have to go home and tell her it was Danny but not until they had released his name which they hadn't done yet except on that stupid social networking by that incompetent junior reporter, Miller's own nephew for which he'd chewed her out in front of the whole department for and didn't even regret it and he just prayed Rose hadn't found out but she would sooner or later so it was best it came from him.

He was sat at his desk, a minute to himself so he called Rose. She was relieved to hear from him.

"Sweetheart, I'm sorry I didn't call before, it's been mad here. I've no idea what time I'll be back, did you watch the news?"

"Yeah and if it hadn't been such terrible news I would have said you look great on TV but it's not the time. Who was it Alec? Please tell me it wasn't Tom or Danny."

He could tell she was close to tears but he couldn't tell her on the phone.

"Rose, just wait up for me, please? I'll tell you when I get back, I just have some more things to go through. Promise?"

"Promise. Please Alec, don't stay out too late, I'm worried about you. Did you take your pill?"

"Yes, I took it at my normal time, don't worry, I'm not going to start skipping them if that's what you think. I might have done before but not now. You have my word Rose, I'll not miss taking them even if anyone does see me, I'll tell them they're something else if I have to, I'm not risking it."

Rose was about to say who she suspected it was, given Ellie's reaction to her earlier and then Mark's but kept quiet. "Have you eaten anything Alec? I could make you something when you get back."

No, it's okay, Miller's out but I'll be leaving when she gets back, she went home for a while to put her kids to bed."

That bit of information at least confirmed it wasn't Tom but it didn't rule out Danny and he didn't want to tell her on the phone, it was looking very bad. She didn't need Alec's detective skills to work it out and she prepared herself for the worst.

"Just promise me you'll be back as soon as you can. At least you don't have far to walk. I'll wait up for you. There's something I want to tell you when you get back so don't be long."

"I won't and I know what you're going to say Rose and I was going to tell you when I got back but I guess it's as good a time as any." He stopped and got up, closing his office door then sat on the corner of his desk. "I love you Rose, you know that, don't you? You must know by now and I know it's not the right time, I wanted to tell you this morning, when you woke up but then I got that damn phone call."

Rose went quiet, he had said it first and now she knew without a doubt. Alec asked if she was still there.

"Alec, I love you too," she answered quietly.

"I know you do and it's okay if you call me or text me at work, if I don't answer it will only be because I'm busy in the middle of something so you'd best text and I'll answer when I can, okay?"

That was a great relief to her. "Yeah, okay. I'll see you soon then?"

"I'll be back when I can." He was about to say he loved her again when Miller opened his door, after not bothering to knock. He'd have to have words about that. "I have to go, see you soon."

He hung up, went back around to sit down and was presented with a package from Miller.

"What's this?" He pulled a face as he smelt something.

"Dinner, unless you want to starve, I doubt your hotel will still be serving at this time of night."

Alec thought he'd best keep quiet about no longer being in the hotel, she had dropped him off last night but he didn't tell her he was moving out. He unwrapped the package to find fish and chips and pulled another face.

"I can't eat that," he stated not wanting to tell her why.

Ellie took it the wrong way. "It's that or nothing, nowhere else was open. What kind of Scot are you if you don't eat fish and chips? Talk about being ungrateful," Ellie muttered as she took some chips in her hand.

True, he hadn't eaten since earlier and then only a salad sandwich so he unwrapped them more and took some fish and saw a smirk on Miller's face. Rose would go mad if he didn't eat and one time wouldn't hurt eating out of paper, he preferred them on a plate or a carton but he wasn't telling her that.

"So, was that Rose on the phone Sir? Was she checking up on you or were you cancelling a date? Only if you were I'd watch out if I were you."

She was about to say he'd lasted the longest she'd known of due to Rose's reputation but thought better of it.

Alec took some chips and held them in his fingers, he hated eating like this but thought Miller looked quite at home.

"None of your business Miller. Rose Tyler and I are seeing each other but if rumours get around I'll know where they came from so keep it quiet."

He went back to eating his fish and Ellie just smirked, she would so be having words with Rose over this. She didn't think Rose had it in her to keep a man this long, since Friday night to Tuesday night was a lifetime for her friend. She could understand his concern to keep it quiet considering Rose was a friend of the Latimers and it was going to be difficult for him to find the balance but she wasn't going to make it easy for him. If he hurt her she would make sure he knew about it, boss or no boss. Rose was her best friend, like a younger sister to her and she'd looked after her since her arrival here. If Hardy messed with Rose, he messed with her as well.

Ellie finally managed a quick 'yes sir' and went back to her meal, a grin on her face. He wasn't as tough as he made himself out to be and she was going to take advantage of that.

Alec knew it was a big mistake admitting about Rose but she would find out by either Rose telling her or Mrs Latimer bringing it up in conversation and he'd rather get it over with. No point in telling her just how involved they were yet and he had moved in with Rose but she'd find that out too when he didn't want a lift to the hotel.

They finished their meal and Miller went back to her desk. It was almost ten, he had more of a headache now and he just wanted to go home. Home, his first real home in a long time, someone who loved him to go back to, not an empty one bedroom flat or endless arguments and no travelling. How had he managed that? It had its disadvantages though, it meant he didn't have any excuses for being late. He got up after closing his computer down and took his jacket from the stand, turning the light out.

"Miller, go home. Have you spoken to your son? I need to speak to him at some point, get your husband to bring him in, arrange a time," he said, making it sound like an order, not a request.

"Why do you want to talk to Tom? I'm not happy about that."

"Because you said they were friends, Danny may have told him something."

She wasn't happy about it, she had already told her husband about Hardy, how bossy he was and wouldn't listen to her. Alec walked out without saying anything else and walked the short distance to his new home and Rose.

Chapter 10

Rose was relieved to hear Alec coming up the stairs and opened the door for him then flung her arms around him, giving him a long deep kiss.

Alec knew he could get used to this now.

"Hey, steady Rose or I may just need that extra pill tonight. If I'm going to get that greeting every night I'm glad I moved in with you. How about some tea, they don't have decaff at the station, now I know why I was always stressed out. Can you get me some to take to my office?"

"Sure, I've got a spare pack, you can take them tomorrow, keep them in your office, soya milk as well if you want it, it doesn't need to stay in the fridge." She kissed his cheek and began taking off his tie and unfastened his top button. "Do you want anything else? Something to eat?"

"No, your friend felt sorry for me and brought me fish and chips, in paper. I hate eating them out of paper. She knows about us, I told her so she wouldn't spread any rumours. No doubt she'll be calling you. Sit down Rose, I have something to tell you, the tea can wait."

Despite that, Rose went to the kitchen and made tea and brought it back and sat beside him.

"Rose, we need to be serious ok?" Rose nodded and sat up. Alec took her hands. "There's no easy way to say this and we haven't released any name yet but you deserve to know. Sweetheart, it was your friend Beth's son, Danny, I'm sorry. I'm sure she'd want you to know."

Rose collapsed into his arms and he caught her, holding her tight as she cried. She had known him over four years and had taken her younger brother to play with him and Tom when he visited. She had to ask Alec if she could tell her mother rather than her finding out via the media. Alec got up and got some tissues and dried her tears.

"I'm so sorry Rose, I wanted to be the one to tell you but that's all I can say, I can't give you any more details and I trust you not to say who it is until we release his name."

"Alec, my mum and my brother know him, they've met him a few times, the last time was a few months back when they came down for the weekend, we had Sunday lunch at Ellie's. We all played football on the field on the Saturday afternoon, I was in goal again, my mum was there after she'd been shopping and last year as well, they came down and we all went out. I don't want her to see it in the paper, she'll want to know why I didn't tell her."

She held on to Alec all the time, his arm was around her as he tried to wipe her tears.

"It's okay Rose, we'll be releasing his name, you can tell her tomorrow if you want but promise me that you won't say anything when you get to work and in future I can't tell you anything so please understand I won't be able to talk to you about the case and it's best if that newspaper editor doesn't know that it's me that's your new boyfriend."

Ross managed a smile, Maggie would be in her element if she knew the detective was her boyfriend.

"I promise and I understand you can't talk about the case to me but if it's too much, I'm here if you need me." She kissed him again, her face still wet with tears. "Do you think maybe I should go see Beth? I tried to call her but her husband answered."

"Maybe you should leave it for now Rose, let her come round."

Rose thought about it.

"Let's just go to bed Alec, I don't want to talk about it any more. Did you have time to call your friend?"

Alec had told her about his doctor in Glasgow who would send him more pills down but not that he was going to consider risking surgery.

"No, I'll have to try tomorrow. There's something else I want to talk about before we go to bed. I'm going to ask him if I can be considered for a pacemaker fitted. I know my chances weren't very good the last time but I've got you now, I want to know if my chances have improved."

"That's great Alec, I'm sure he'll be glad to hear that. Why don't you ask him to come down?"

"I will when this investigation is over, I'm not likely to calm down enough now, am I?"

"Don't worry, you've got me now Alec, I won't let you get too stressed," she whispered, putting her arms around his neck.

"Well what are you waiting for, I thought you wanted to go to bed? Then I can show you how much I love you because I do love you Rose." He reached down to kiss her again. "You go get ready for bed Sweetheart."

Rose waited in the bedroom for him and heard him come out of the bathroom, then he stood in the bedroom doorway. He looked tired and crossed over to the bed and sat down. Rose helped him get undressed and into bed and went to lay on him. He was annoyed to find she was still wearing something and helped her out of them, taking his time and kissing her as he did.

"I'm not that tired Rose," he whispered as he worked his way down, kissing her tummy and then her hips as he hovered above her when he had flipped her over. He look up like he was asking her permission. "Please Rose" was all he said.

Rose put her hands on the back of his head and guided him to where she wanted him to kiss her as she stifled a scream with his lips touching her all over. He looked up for just a second.

"I love you Rose," he said and went back to what he had been doing, their first time of being intimate in this way.

He was breathing steadily, his heart beating slightly faster but he knew it wasn't his condition that was causing it, it was Rose. He knew she was so beautiful but being like this with her now, it was worth risking getting over-excited and he kissed her, Rose was ruffling his hair with one hand and trying to reach his rear but falling short and getting his back. He knew she was trying to reach it, he loved it when she did so he shifted and moved onto his knees, without his lips leaving her and felt her hand on him, then her other hand. He reached around with one hand, guiding hers even lower and Rose let out a big sigh of contentment. He knew beyond a doubt he wanted to spend the rest of his days having Rose do that to him, no matter how much time he had left to spend with her and was more determined than ever to have that operation and spend as much time as he could.

Rose had let out a big sigh as he moved so she could reach his rear, she knew he liked it and was pleased when he had moved. She was determined she would make up for all the time he had been neglected. How could any woman just dump him like that? Maybe he had only got that way because of his work but if he'd had someone to go home to, someone to love him and look after him, he wouldn't have got in such a state. Well now he had someone and she wasn't going to let him be alone again.

"I love you Alec."

Alec reluctantly came away from her and they swapped places, Rose was now straddling him, moving on him and making them both moan as she reached down and began kissing across his belly then moving her hands across the hairs his chest, he was now moving both his hands on her rear then suddenly, he pulled her down directly on him and they both gasped as they came together. He knew it was only a matter of time before she would be willing to let him go all the way and wouldn't stop him but if she did, he wanted to be able to do it properly.

Rose slipped out of bed afterwards and put on her favourite t-shirt, Alec's white one she had pinched from him which he knew he'd never get back now and didn't mind in the slightest and started going to the bathroom while she was at it so she wouldn't have to get up again. Alec slipped his shorts back on and contemplated just how easily they had got into this routine and it seemed a lot longer than a few days they had been together. After Rose came back, they snuggled up and fell asleep and Alec thought he was the luckiest man in the universe. She was his and he knew it. He folded his arms around her protectively, he was never going to let her go.

When they woke the next morning, Alec had time for breakfast of egg on toast and tea and Rose packed him some decaff teabags in a container to take with him and a carton of soya milk with his name on it and he walked the short distance to the station, finding out he could cut across the back rather than go around the corner but there were some steps up from the rear car park and underground garage. He was considering asking about a car, he felt a lot better than he had been doing but since Miller drove him around all day and it was only a five minute walk, he thought he might just get one at weekends for his personal use so he could take Rose out. He would have to find out if he could park outside first though, there were some parking spaces but she might have to ask about them.

He was going to arrange to put money in Rose's bank every month to pay the bills, he was adamant he was going to pay his share. If he got a car at weekends, they could go shopping and go out for the day on Sundays. His driving license was still valid, just as well since he would never pass another medical and he reminded himself to call his friend. He was going to need some more of his pills but not yet, he had about two weeks supply left, he would have to call soon, he should have thought about getting extra before he'd left but it was a bit of a rush and he'd not got chance. He would have to get two months supply next time.

After going through the latest reports that had come in that morning, he sent a text to Rose saying he might be late again but he would try to be home for around seven and if not he would call. Then he rang his friend who said he would post a prescription to him next week and Alec gave him his new address and told him he'd got a girlfriend and had moved in with her. His friend had laughed and asked him how he'd managed that. Alec had just replied she was under his influence and had found him irresistible to which his friend had replied he would like to meet her and ask if she knew what she was letting herself in for. Then Alec asked the question, what were his chances of an operation?

"So what do you think? I know it wasn't good the last time you saw me about it but now, well I have Rose, she takes great care of me and I know I'm still in the same job but it's quieter down here, not as much going on and Rose has put me on a healthy diet, making me drink decaff tea and everything but there's just one thing. Did you see the news last night?"

His friend said he had and was waiting for Alec to bring up the subject.

"Yes, well, I might be in charge of another murder investigation but now I have Rose to go home to. I'm not on my own. I know I can't tell anyone what's wrong with me but she knows, I had to tell her, I trust her but no-one else knows. If you think I've got a good chance of surviving having a pacemaker fitted, I'd like to take it, for her sake. I have someone to live for now, she's changed my life and it's not even been a week. I would never have believed it, she's made a big difference."

"Well Alec, I'll have to come down and see you of course, maybe in a few weeks. Tell you what, I'll send you another prescription for two months supply before they run out, you get that investigation out of the way and I'll arrange to come down when all the fuss dies down a bit because I'll have to see you when you're not under stress so I can make a recommendation to the local hospital. Which one is nearest to you? Would that be Dorchester?" his friend asked.

"I would have thought so, I'll ask Rose. They have a local one here but I don't want to go to that one anyway. I don't know how long this investigation will go on for, I certainly hope it's not going to be two months otherwise my new boss won't let me stay here after my trial period is up. I've asked if I can stay permanently after my initial time is up."

"Well keep calm, don't let yourself get stressed and let that woman of yours look after you, she sounds like she's doing a better job than your ex wife anyway, I'd really like to meet her."

"She's very special, I've never met anyone like her before. Rose is one of a kind, unique and I really don't deserve her. I don't know what made her take me on, I was only going to have a drink with her and walk her home. Then she had to invite me in and make me decaff tea and that was it. I found I couldn't walk away from her. We spent all last weekend together and even when I told her what was wrong with me last Saturday evening, it didn't put her off and by Monday morning she'd insisted I move in with her. I just don't know what it is about her."

His friend laughed. "She's got you well and truly hooked my friend, that's quite clear. Just make sure your ex doesn't find out. I hear she split with that man she cheated on you with, she might make trouble if she knows you're moving on and found someone else."

"She's not going to find out is she? Who's going to tell her? It's not very likely I'm going to tell her is it?"

"Well I'm not going to tell her either, even if she asks me, I'll deny I know anything. Did she know how serious your condition was though? She could make trouble if she does, especially is she finds out you have a new girlfriend."

"No, she doesn't know, she knew I was getting pains but we had more or less split up by then, she won't think anything of it. If she confronts me I'll say she caused it, which isn't far from the truth. Her and that case I was working on were the two main causes."

"Well I'll send you that prescription and then I'll come down and see you. Tell that girlfriend of yours I'm looking forward to meeting her, she must be really something if she can keep you under control Alec."

Alec laughed, something that Rose had taught him to do again after he hadn't laughed in a long time. He said goodbye to his friend and stared at his computer screen. He could see people moving around outside, flitting from one desk to another, Miller was the closest to him, her head buried in piles of folders. He wondered whether he should make peace with her but he thought he'd better not. He needed her objectiveness to keep the case going, he didn't need her to be a friend. He needed Miller to remind him of who he was, a tough no nonsense detective who had been a wreck when he'd arrived here and Rose had made him better, made him believe he had a future, with her. No, he needed Miller to remain his enemy, the worse the better at work and if Rose wanted them to be friends outside work, he could live with that, for her sake.

The day went on, he fired questions one after the other at Miller and the others in the squad room, Ellie was getting more annoyed with him and couldn't understand what on earth Rose saw in the man. He was annoying, irritable, bad mannered, he had gone out to the break room three times, a small container in his hand which no doubt held decaff teabags, one of Rose's little trademarks and she had seen soya milk in the fridge with 'Hardy' written in felt tip pen on the sides and he'd never once asked her if she wanted a drink, even when they had been standing talking. She had even hinted as he made a cup and he'd just walked off. Rose certainly had her work cut out with this one.

They had been back out to see the Latimers, sent a family liaison officer to be with them and honestly, he thought Rose could do a better job. He and Miller had argued over everything, interrogation methods, questioning, you name it - they argued. They were both determined not to give in and when Alec got home just after seven, he just fell into Rose's arms and wanted it all to go away.

"Alec, let me talk to Ellie, please?"

"No, I want it to stay that way at work, it keeps me focused. I can't work with someone as a friend, that's not me. If you want us to see her outside of work, fine, I have no objections to that but I don't want her to go easy on me, I need her to remain objective about the case."

He just wrapped his arms around her as she took his tie off and opened the top button of his shirt.

"Why don't I ask her round then she can see we're together and you're living here, she can see that you're totally different at home as to how you are at work. Maybe tomorrow night after work, bring her round with you."

"I don't think that's a good idea, I haven't told her I live with you yet," he grinned, hoping she would let it go.

She didn't. "She'll find out sooner or later, Beth might bring it up that we know each other and when you start walking off in this direction, she'll know something. Has Beth said anything to you, about you knowing me and in being charge of the case?"

"No, not yet, I don't think it's sunk in yet. Did you get to speak to her?"

"No, I left it today, she has enough to cope with. She might think if she talks to me I'll tell you. I'll leave it a few days but I'll call her husband tomorrow, let him tell her I'm here if she needs me."

After dinner, they lay watching TV, Alec relaxed a bit more and they fooled around on the sofa now Alec had discovered where she liked to be touched as he slid his hand under her skirt. Rose took advantage and was straight down the back of his shorts and they kissed. Later in bed, he was on top for a bit then they changed places again and Alec knew he had to get his health back to show her what he was really capable of.

Falling asleep, Rose asked him if he'd contacted his friend and he said he had and that he was going to come down when the case eased off but he was sending a prescription for him. Rose said she would go get it for him when it arrived.

"Goodnight Rose, I love you darling," he whispered, when they had settled down.

"Night, snuggles," she giggled and that was the name she was going to keep calling him.

Alec smiled, he would have to think of a name for her, sweetheart and darling were too common for Rose.

Chapter 11

Rose smiled as she went to sleep. Why had she come up with that name? It was too late, she had called him it and he would get his revenge now. She should have told him that Maggie already knew who he was without being told, she had confronted Rose but had agreed to keep it to herself for now. She'd had a mixed day, starting off with telling her mother about Danny. Jackie was understandably upset, she had seen the evening news about the death of a boy in Broadchurch but no name had been given. Rose had asked her not to tell her younger brother.

"Please Rose, give my sympathy to his mother when you see her won't you?" her mother had asked.

"Of course I will. I know you wanted to bring Tony down again but I think you'd best leave it for now, he'll want to see Tom and ask why Danny isn't there and Tom will be upset as well. Plus half the beach is closed off anyway, Alec can't say how long for. He can't talk much about the case but he told me I could tell you, with you knowing him as well. I've not spoken to Beth yet, I'll let her be for a while, she's probably not come to terms with it yet."

Rose had rang off and set off to work. There had been a stony silence in the newspaper office when she entered and everyone had looked at her. Rose could have sworn no-one had heard her telling Beth about Alec, unless someone had overheard but she didn't say anything. Probably they were just in shock. She had rung the council office and asked for a temporary assistant, just saying Beth was unable to work and they said they would send someone.

Then Rose realised Beth was absent and there had been a boy murdered, it didn't take much to put the two together. Maggie had broken the silence and taken Rose to one side in the part of the office Rose was in.

"Rose, do you know if it was Danny?" Maggie had asked. "Only yesterday, Olly may have jumped the gun and started a rumour it was but I haven't printed anything yet. I won't do that until they release the name. Your new boyfriend, he's called Alec isn't he? Is he that detective in charge of the case?"

Rose could hardly deny it, how many Alecs had just moved to Broadchurch? Not that many. No wonder everyone had been staring at her when she had gone in. She had looked around to make sure no-one was around and they were enough distance from the counter.

"Yes he is but please don't say anything. He won't talk to me about the case, he came round last night for dinner but he couldn't say anything."

Rose was not going to tell her he had already moved in.

"Okay, I'll keep it quiet for now. If he knows where you work he's bound to think you'll get asked all kinds of questions so he probably won't talk to you about it but I was talking to Becca this morning, she mentioned he's moved out of the hotel. Becca's lost quite a bit of revenue with cancellations and him moving out, the Police were paying for it. I don't suppose you know which hotel he's moved to and why?"

"Crikey, is that all she's worried about?" she had asked, really annoyed that her hotel was more important than a young boy. Still, Rose had supposed it was the woman's livelihood but she could have been more sympathetic. "I can't tell you where he's gone, it's not for me to say. He's probably moved to be nearer the Police Station, if you think about it, it's a bit of a trek up here."

"Well I already thought he'd left anyway, I was locking up on Monday night and he was standing outside the hotel with a suitcase and two bags, probably waiting for a taxi. There are few hotels nearer by the harbour I suppose or even rental places, he's probably got a rental for the summer, makes more sense. A lot of the apartments near you are holiday ones aren't they?"

Maggie had been fishing for information and Rose hadn't taken the bait.


The weeks passed by slowly, well to Alec they did. The same could be said though for Rose, the tourists weren't coming it like they should have been so the council had only allowed Rose to have help for two hours a day over the lunchtime period. The case was no nearer being solved, Alec talked very little about it, rumours were going around that Rose was involved with the lead detective and Alec got the same, that he was involved with the woman from the tourist office and he had been warned by his boss not to pillow talk.

Alec had received his prescription, they had gone down to Dorchester and got it down there, everyone in Broadchurch was talking about them, well except for the few tourists who were oblivious. Rose would sometimes meet up with Ellie, Ellie and Beth weren't keen on talking to her, Beth more so than Ellie. Alec had a run-in with a journalist who had hounded him from his last case and Rose had upset the applecart in the newspaper office when she had found out and had almost scratched the female journalist's eyes out when she found out she was hassling her boyfriend, which gave the game away that she was involved with him. Maggie had to pull the two of them apart and banned the journalist from the office and told Rose she was on her side.

Soon it was all over the papers that Rose had defended the detective, who had been labelled the worst cop in Great Britain and Rose's mother had to get Pete to step in and threaten the tabloid newspaper if they didn't retract the story and take Rose's name out of it and issue an apology to Alec. The journalist suddenly disappeared without a trace, skulking back under the rock that Rose had thought she had come from.

Alec had been dead against it but she had somehow managed to persuade him to just go along with it. When her mother had seen it she had gone crazy and had been straight on the phone to Rose. The conversation had ended with Rose having to submit to giving a full account to her stepfather just how deeply she was involved with Alec. Fortunately, Pete was just as keen to see Rose happy again with Alec as her mother was, he had always thought she would never settle down in this universe. He had driven down one Sunday just to meet Alec, keeping Jackie away for the time being but had warned Alec that he still had to get past Rose's mother and if he could do that, he would become one of the family.

Things died down after about two months, the case was still ongoing but resources were pulled back and the tension between Rose and Beth eased somewhat, as did the tension between Alec and Ellie. Rose and Alec had been together all the time. She was there for him when he thought things were getting impossible and despite the media hounding him, their love life had become even more intense but Rose still hadn't given in to him and he hadn't questioned her about it and supposed it was all the pressure they had been under.

They had attended the funeral of the local shopkeeper who had been hounded into taking his own life, sitting together since most everyone knew about them. At the wake afterwards though, things got a little heated as Beth picked a fight with the hotel owner, telling her to stay away from her husband. Rose knew what had happened, she didn't need Alec to tell her that. They had sat together in the bar, the lounge was full of men, mostly the hypocrites that had driven the poor man to his death and Rose didn't want to be seen anywhere near them. They were staring at her and Alec but Rose didn't care. He was worth ten times what all those so called men were put together.

Ellie finally called a truce and invited Rose and Alec for dinner one evening, which Alec had reluctantly accepted for fear of driving the rift back between them that was slowly closing. They got a taxi to Ellie's house, Alec had the use of a car when he wanted it, keeping it in the Police garage but he wanted to be able to have a drink and Rose had said he'd be okay as long as he only had one.

Alec had picked up wine, flowers and chocolates for Ellie and some flowers for Rose and they set off. Ellie took all three offerings and let them in.

"So, I don't have to call you Sir all night do I?" Ellie laughed, grabbing hold of Rose and pulling her into the kitchen with her.

Alec just shook his head and looked at Rose.

"Was this your idea or his?" Ellie whispered.

Rose looked back, Alec was still standing in the hallway, saying hello to Tom who was sat on the stairs and asking him how he was getting on. Ellie's husband was in the kitchen, finishing making dinner and Rose had to admit it was all Alec's idea.

"No, it was purely him, I said you liked chocolates so he probably threw them in at the last minute. Lucky you, I just got flowers," Rose laughed.

She couldn't complain though, he often brought her presents of her favourite very expensive bar of chocolate and he would sneak a piece of it or he would bring her grapes, the red ones she loved and if they went shopping together, he would sneak off and buy her some sexy underwear that he thought he'd like to see her in, although he preferred her without any at all.

Ellie asked Rose to take Alec into the dining room and she sat down opposite him.

"Aren't you going to sit next to me pumpkin?" he asked, calling her by his pet name for her.

"Nah, I can't do this under the table if it do," she smirked, rubbing his leg with her foot. Alec smiled and said nothing else. "Plus, I can't look at you if you're sat next to me, can I?"

Ellie came in, followed by her husband and they began serving themselves to what they wanted. Ellie's husband was the chef of the house and it showed, Alec gave him his compliments and joked about Rose's cooking to which instead of her rubbing his leg got him a swift kick on the shin.

Alec tried not to make a sound but Ellie caught the look on his face and burst out laughing.

"You two are so obvious. Remind me if we invite you two again to sit you on opposite sides of the room."

They all saw the joke and began laughing.

"Oh, I'll make it up to him later," Rose promised.

"You all heard that," Alec laughed and allowed Ellie's husband, Joe to pour him some more wine.

He was only taking sips now and then, Rose was watching, which he knew was one of the reasons she was sitting opposite him. Well that and taking her shoe off and doing things with her big toe to his leg after they stopped eating by easing it up his trouser leg and then rubbing his leg with her foot. Alec was sure she would be caught out but she kept smiling at him like nothing was happening. She was bare footed, she hardly ever wore anything on her feet except those cute little socks with the pumpkins on she had bought at a Sunday market they had gone to up in Charmouth, which was why he called her pumpkin.

He thought she looked dead sexy in them and would tease her when they got home, taking them off one by one and tickling her feet which would send her howling with laughter and begging him to stop. He always said there was only one way to stop him. Sometimes she wore white cotton socks with her jeans but they didn't turn him on like the other ones did. If Rose wore the pumpkin socks when they went out on a weekend it meant more than just fooling around on the sofa when they got back. He was sorely tempted to go back to the market and buy her another six pairs while they were in the laundry.

Ellie went to check on her boys and Joe went to get dessert. Rose quickly got up to spend a few minutes snogging Alec and was sat down by the time Joe came back in, Alec wearing his stupid 'I've just been snogged' look. Rose thought he so looked like The Doctor when she ruffled his hair. He had tried to smooth it down, unsuccessfully and Joe just smiled, knowing what the two had just been doing. He was happy Rose had finally found someone.

They were all laughing by the time Ellie came back in, wanting to know what the joke was. Alec said to ask Rose, Rose poked him with her big toe under the table and put her shoe back on and that was the end of Alec's fun for the rest of the evening - until they got into Ellie's front room that was.

"Rose, I'll make some tea or coffee, do you want to take Alec into the sitting room? We'll just clear up then bring in some drinks and I got some of the carrot cake you like so much, if you have room for it?"

Rose grinned. "Always room for carrot cake Ellie." She got up and grabbed Alec's hand. "Sitting room's this way."

Alec knew the look on his girlfriends face, it involved a lot more snogging and she was playing dangerously, maybe getting them kicked out if Miller was that way inclined, friend or no friend, he was sure she had certain rules in her house such as no snogging her boss in the sitting room. Still, they hadn't been caught yet when Rose had been doing unspeakable things to his leg under the table.

In double time, Rose had him in Ellie's front room, pinned down on the sofa snogging the life out of him in 60 seconds flat. She had figured they had five minutes or so and she made good use of them. Four minutes later, Alec was trying to sort out his hair before he was seen with it sticking up all over the place, borrowing Rose's comb and looking in the mirror on the sitting room wall. Rose was grinning from ear to ear, having made a mark on his neck that would probably show the next morning to the trained eye, such as any woman Alec came across.

She didn't often mark him where it could be seen but when she did, he knew about it and so did any other woman. It was her way of saying he was hers. By the time their hosts came in with a tray of drinks and carrot cake, Alec and Rose were sat arm in arm, holding hands and talking about her mother and brother wanting to come for a visit.

Ellie was disappointed she hadn't caught the two of them snogging, she would have had so much fun with that, she could have bribed him for a week or so not to tell the rest of the squad. She more or less let Rose know she was sorry she hadn't caught them doing anything. Alec had drunk a little more than he should have done, well over a glass of wine, more nearer two and Rose, well he knew she'd had at least three and she was used to drinking spritzers which dulled the alcohol somewhat, which probably accounted for her snogging the life out of him for almost five minutes just before they almost got caught. He knew he was a dead man when she got him home and was going to take an extra pill, he was going to need it.

The way Rose was looking at him, a sparkle in her eye, he knew this was going to be the night except for one thing, it was her time of the month but it was almost up. They always cooled down for a few days before and afterwards to be on the safe side, just so Rose wouldn't give in but Alec had a feeling that was going to go out of the window. Something deep inside him knew she was really going to be his tonight. Then there was the bite mark, he could feel it starting to sting and when they got home, she would kiss it better and make it even redder. She normally bit him lower down so it couldn't be seen when he wore a shirt and when she did bite him there, it was usually on a weekend night so it had faded a bit by Monday.

Every woman in the station was going to know his girlfriend had marked him in the morning. He wished they had been invited to dinner at the Millers on Friday night, not on Wednesday, he had two days of sufferance at work to go through. Not that she wasn't worth it, she was and he was proud to be known as her boyfriend. He was going to talk to her about being more than his girlfriend when this damn murder investigation was over and before he went for any surgery. Until then, he had something else he wanted to ask her. He was going to ask her to be his partner, not just his girlfriend, his significant other or so the term went then just maybe when all this was over, he would ask her to marry him.

They were all laughing and joking, Rose was getting more impatient for Alec to take her home, she so wanted him right now. She didn't think it was the wine and the fact she wasn't used to drinking it neat but the way Alec was looking at her, undressing her with his eyes and had made her suspicious he was not going to stick to their rule tonight, of waiting until two nights after her period was over. She knew she should have taken something but the pill had upset her periods so her own doctor had advised her to come off it after she had tried several different kinds and didn't think an injection would do any better. She hadn't been bothered, she never took any men home anyway but it was one of the things stopping her from being fully with Alec but if she had to give in to any man, she wanted it to be with him.

She knew they wouldn't talk about it when they got home, they would either go for it or they wouldn't, there was no discussion to be had. Just before 11pm, Rose announced she was tired and the wine was getting to her, Ellie said she should have drunk coffee but Rose said she didn't want it to keep her awake. Alec had disagreed saying he didn't mind if she stayed awake all night and they had all laughed. Ellie rang a taxi for them and they said goodnight but Alec had to spoil it by saying "Goodnight Miller" as the taxi arrived and Ellie had burst out laughing as she watched them get in.

"Those two are going to have more than just a good night tonight," she remarked to her husband.

Ellie wasn't going to be wrong as the two of them got back home and Rose, barely getting in the door, had her dress off, kicked her shoes off and was standing in front of Alec in the latest set of very sexy underwear he had bought for her, the one with the almost see-through bra and the even more see through knickers to match. Alec was going crazy, he was definitely going to need his pills tonight.

Chapter 12

Alec just stood there, stunned. She had never looked so desirable as she did right then and he was going to do this even if it killed him.

"Just give me one moment Alec, I'll be right back," she said, going right up to him and unbuttoning his shirt and running her fingers through the hair on his chest then across his belly. Then suddenly, she reached up and kissed him then whispered, "Better keep those pills where I can see them Alec, I want you tonight."

Alec was left with a bewildered look on his face. Did she mean to throw their rule out? Surely not, it was beyond his wildest dreams, to have Rose, all of her, it was what he had wanted since he met her but tonight? Why pick tonight? She knew what it meant, that there would be a risk, he knew she didn't take anything and why and that was one of the reasons they had their rule and established a safety margin but now, was it because she'd had too much to drink or had she finally been worn down? He wasn't going to dwell on it, she wanted him and that was enough. He got undressed and got into bed and waited.

When she finally came back from the bathroom where she had been cleaning herself up and double checking she could go ahead with this, she had been fairly sure she was all clear but didn't want any surprises, she stood in the doorway wearing just a tiny thong and Alec just looked at her. This would be the night his fate was decided he would live to tell the tale or die a very happy man. She walked over to the bed and crawled over to the middle and hovered just above him, kissing across his chest and allowing him to pull down the tiny thong then laying gently on him. If either of them had drunk too much it was all faded now, Alec was completely clear headed and had never felt better in his life than he did now. He knew his heart was pounding but it was with desire, not pain and was under control.

Rose sat up, kneeling either side of him as he caressed her then she went to the opposite side of his neck to where she had marked him earlier but he moved her head, saying, "Kiss the other one better pumpkin."

She moved across and sucked and kissed on the mark she had made earlier and bit it again then moved up and sank her lips into his in an endless kiss that left them both out of breath. Alec sat up and moved his hands all over her, Rose reached behind him to grope him and he flipped her over.

"I want you Alec," she said as he moved her arms above her head and held them there with one hand and tracing her tummy with the other.

"Say how much you want me pumpkin," he replied, reaching down.

Rose let out a moan as he moved his other hand quickly down to her thigh.

"Mmm, want you so much snuggles, want you so much now."

"Pumpkin, are we going to talk about this?" he asked, stopping for a second and then watching as he gave her pleasure. He waited until she was able to reply.

Then she simply said "No."

That was all he needed. She had given him her permission. All he had to do was keep calm, relax and let nature take its course.


Alec had collapsed on his back wondering if he had died and gone to heaven because that was what it felt like to him. He was still alive though, trying to calm down after Rose had given him his pill when his heart wouldn't calm down after a few minutes. If it had been anyone other than Rose he would have never attempted it and anyone else would have walked off and left him probably. Rose had put her t-shirt on and had managed to get his shorts on just in case he didn't recover but he was slowly getting back to normal.

It had been more than worth it, it had been sheer bliss. Rose was watching over him, stroking his cheek with her fingers as he lay there. He lifted his hand to put his finger under her chin and pulled her towards him.

"Come here pumpkin," he said, pulling her towards him.

"Are you okay Alec? You had me worried. I did exactly as you asked."

"You did great Rose, I'm still here aren't I? I guess I'm tougher that I thought after all. Now do you want to talk about what just happened? There's no going back now you know."

"I didn't think it needed talking about, we both wanted it and it was as good a time as any. I wanted to show you how much I love you and you showed me how much you love me."

He nuzzled his head in her neck and began biting it then sucking it.

"Payback, pumpkin," he smiled.

Rose smiled, she wouldn't be bothering to attempt to cover it up in the morning, Alec would have to bare his mark as well. They kissed some more, Rose now lying on him and they gently made love again, Rose doing all the moving.

"Rose, you know I won't be able to do that every night, don't you? Earlier, that was something really special and until I have my operation, we'll have to do what we've just been doing. Are you okay with that?"

"Of course I am, what do you think? We'll manage until you get better, that was really amazing Alec."

"Rose, I want to ask you something. I want you to be my partner, not just my girlfriend, is that okay?"

"Yeah, although as long as people don't think I'm your work partner or something," she replied, settling down on him to go to sleep. "Maybe when we're out we'll stick to girlfriend, yeah?"

Alec smiled. "Sure pumpkin, if that's what you want."

He was going to stick to it to some degree apart from when her referred to her when she wasn't around, he wanted everyone to know.


A few weeks passed by, Alec thought he was getting nearer to the truth about Danny's murder but he had ruffled a lot of feathers and the town was unforgiving, people were turning against each other, Beth became distant with both Rose and Ellie, after Beth had invited Ellie and her family over for Sunday lunch and reporters had been watching. Rose found herself excluded because she was involved with Alec and they were no longer hiding it. They were constantly out together although most weekends, they went to one of the neighbouring towns to do their shopping and Sundays they would venture over the county into Devon, just to get away from the constant reminders.

Rose had invited Ellie and her husband back for dinner two weeks after they had been to Ellie's, getting her nephew to babysit again for a few hours. Ellie had asked Rose what had happened after they had left her house and Rose told her she wasn't going to kiss and tell. Ellie drew her own conclusions, she had never seen Rose so happy and knew she was deeply in love with the man who was her own personal nightmare of a boss. Seeing the two of them together at home though, Ellie had discovered weeks ago they actually lived together and had not been surprised to learn for how long, Ellie knew exactly where this was leading and knew the two of them would get hitched sooner or later even if at that point they didn't know it themselves although it had been in the back of Alec's mind for the past two weeks.

He had been waiting to get word when he could be assessed for an operation and wanted to ask her after they finally went the whole way. He knew they should wait until he was well because he couldn't give her another night like that until he was and they both agreed he wouldn't even attempt it again until after he had been seen by his own doctor and the hospital.

On the fourth week after their amazing night together, Alec had noticed Rose was late but didn't say anything to her. She had noticed and put it down to her hormones again and was used to her dates being messed up, even after she had stopped taking the pill. Alec had arranged for his friend to come down over the weekend, arriving Sunday morning and Rose was looking forward to meeting him but on the Thursday, Alec got a big break in the case and on Friday, the shock revelation came that the perpetrator had been caught, which finally tore the town apart.

Rose watched the news in shock, praying Alec would come home and tell her he had been wrong. He had broken protocol and called her after he had made the announcement someone was in custody and Rose just sat there. Just after seven, she heard the downstairs door open and two lots of footsteps on the stairs, he had brought Ellie back with him. Rose flung her arms around him then her friend and Alec went to make some tea. Ellie couldn't understand how she had not seen it. Rose said she couldn't have known. Ellie had been taken to a hotel just around the other side of the harbour and her sister and nephew were watching her boys.

Alec set the tea down and sat next to Rose.

"Rose is right, you couldn't have known, no-one could have. You never know deep down what's in someone's heart. If I'd been told before I came here that I would meet someone who would change my life, I would have told them they were a liar and yet, here I am with Rose. If someone had told you that you were living with someone capable of killing someone, you would have said the same. Both were unthinkable, I thought my life was over and I know Rose doesn't like me talking about our relationship but it's true, I've loved every minute of being with her and I would never have stayed."

Rose looked at him and took his hand and kissed the back of it, looking a bit blushed. They hadn't really talked about their relationship with anyone but she knew he was just trying to reassure Ellie.

"I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for her. You might as well know, it's no secret now the case is over. I'm going to take some medical leave, I have a heart problem that I'm going to get fixed because I have someone else to think about now, I've stopped being selfish."

Rose and Ellie looked at him, he'd not yet told Rose.

"When were you going to tell me Alec?" Ellie asked. "Don't tell me I still have to call you sir, I'm on suspension."

She looked at Alec and Rose.

It was news to Rose as well. "Yeah and when were you going to tell me?" Rose asked, nudging him.

Alec grinned at the two women.

"Monday morning I'm going to the chief and tell her. I have things to clear up tomorrow. They'll have to get someone else in. I was hoping to stay here after my trial period is up but that's up to her now if she'll have me back but I'll come back to clear everything up and present the evidence. You might want to think about asking for your job back Ellie, they'll need someone in charge."

"Well it's hardly likely to be me, is it? They'll have to draught someone in from another town. What operation are you having?"

"Hopefully a pacemaker, if I get the go ahead, waiting for my doctor to visit from Scotland."

"You've kept that quiet for three months? How did you manage that?" Ellie asked, then took a look at the two of them sat holding hands. "No. don't tell me, I can guess."

After Ellie left, Rose asked him if her mother and brother could come down now.

"I don't see why not pumpkin, I have to meet them at some point, don't I? Why don't you get them to come down next weekend, see if your dad can come down too, we can arrange for them to stay somewhere not too far away. How about at the caravan site on the harbour, they'll be close at hand and have more freedom, it's only a few minutes walk."

"That's a great idea, Tony will love it, staying in a caravan for a week he'll be able to tell all his friends. I'll call my mum."

"While you go do that, I'll walk up to the takeaway and get us some dinner unless you've prepared anything?"

"No, I was too engrossed in the news and then you rang me and came back with Ellie. Will you get my usual, snuggles?" she asked, leaning into him.

Alec went off to get a late dinner from the fish and chip shop near the harbour and Rose called her mother, who was delighted to learn they had caught the killer but Rose wasn't allowed to tell her who it was.

"Mum, you know I can't tell you, it will be announced officially. Anyway, Alec's going to take some time off, to see about having his operation and that's why I want you all to come down, to meet him properly but remember what I asked, no mentions of our old life."

Jackie knew the drill. No other universe, no Doctor, no time travelling or aliens and no being brought here because of the Cybermen. Stick to the story they had been here all along and she'd been lucky meeting Pete Tyler. Well she had been, it was more than luck.


Alec went back to work the next day, to clean up all the loose ends and got on quite well despite his DS being absent so he went ahead with his plan early to see his chief. His chief had been a bit sceptical at taking him on but he had just proved his worth and redeemed himself after taking so long to solve the rather complex case. He knocked on the chief's door just after five and was told to sit down.

"Ah, Alec, I was about to send for you. I know it was a difficult and complex case and no-one wanted this outcome, especially DS Miller. I've been in contact with her, she's taking some personal time to sort herself out but after everything has died down, she'll be able to re-apply for her job back. As for you, I rather think we would still be working this case if you hadn't broken it, you must tell me how you did it and not the reason you gave DS Miller, I'm sure you were just softening the blow for her but it can wait. Well done DI Hardy. I'd like to lessen the trial period I gave you and ask you to stay on, that's if you want to and I'm sorry I have to give you warnings about your girlfriend but with everyone knowing her, we couldn't risk it."

"I understand Ma'am and as for staying on, yes, I would very much like to do so but first, I need some medical leave."

The chief looked shocked. Had there been something wrong with him all this time? If there had been, he'd shown no signs of anything.

"How much medical leave are we talking about Alec?" she asked, knowing they were already one person down who she was waiting for a temporary replacement for.

"I'm not sure, I have to go for an operation," he replied, trying to avoid the words 'heart' and 'pacemaker'.

"When will you want this leave?"

"Maybe from next week, I'm waiting for word about it."

He was, he was just waiting for his friend to refer him to the hospital and hopefully not a long wait since Rose had got her stepfather to agree to pay for it and knowing the influence the man had, it wouldn't be much of a wait. He didn't want to say who Rose actually was, no-one still knew about her, not even Miller.

"It's a bit short notice but I'm sure I can arrange it, if it's an important operation. Have you been waiting for the case to solved?"

"Yes and it is an important operation I've been putting it off. Does the offer of the job still stand though?"

"Yes, of course it does. You have your operation and when you're fit, come back and see the CMO."

He hadn't thought about that, the CMO would have all his medical records from the hospital, something his friend in Scotland had sort of forgotten to send when Alec transferred. He thought he had better come clean and hoped Peter Tyler would keep his word that after his operation it wouldn't affect him. Apparently, Tyler played golf with the Police Commissioner.

Rose had successfully talked to her stepfather when he had come down to see them and they had explained to him that Alec was going to wait until the case was solved. Pete had been only too glad to help, he could see how much the two of them loved each other and said that he'd been trying to get Rose to accept money but she would only take an allowance each month and that the money was theirs, they just had to get whichever hospital he went to to send the bill to him.

"Well about that, Ma'am, there's something you need to know."

Alec told her he needed a pacemaker operation.

Chapter 13

Rose was waiting for him to come home, she'd had a really bad day and had almost walked out of the tourist office. If she'd thought people were looking at her the other week, they certainly were now. Maggie had taken her to one side and asked if she could tell her who it was, Olly was missing, well not missing, he had rung to say he was after a story and would be back later which had aroused suspicions and after the last three months, the whole town was suspicious of everyone, her and Alec included since Alec had arrived just days before the murder had happened and it was only Rose's alibi that had saved him from being questioned at a later stage.

The two of them had been seen together on several occasions over that weekend before Danny had died plus he had been seen outside the Traders by the newspaper editor at around seven thirty with a suitcase and two bags and the taxi driver had taken him to the seafront and dropped him off at a regular customer of theirs address on the night of the murder. Rose had to admit to his chief and no-one else that he had spent the night with her although at that stage, they had not admitted it to anyone else.

So the theory that Alec had arrived in town from nowhere had been quashed before it started. His chief had not wanted to question him, she had brought him down here in the first place but rumours had got around he was from out of town, a single man who had no friends and no real reason to be here so once the fire was doused, they had turned on someone else. Once it was established Alec had a girlfriend, the vultures went away.

Fingers had been pointed, rumours had been spread and an innocent man had been hounded to his death and if things could have got any worse, there had been the newspaper article that had got Rose's name in for the wrong reasons. Still, it was over now, the confession had been made and people had to get on with their lives, well except Ellie, her boys and the Latimer family. The name had still not been released, Alec would be making no announcements until a conviction had been made. Beth had found out she was pregnant but hadn't still quite made up with Rose because she had remained friends with Ellie. Ellie of course had to step back at being friends with Beth for professional reasons and Rose had to back off because she was living with the lead detective on the case.

All three woman had been torn apart from a friendship of over four years for Rose, longer for the other two and two families had been ripped apart. It had affected the whole town in different ways and a lot of home truths had come to light. For Rose and Alec though, they'd at least had each other and their love had grown stronger. Rose had no idea Alec was wanting to ask her an important question and Alec was dragging his heels, waiting for the right moment and waiting for all this to go away.

He had the ring, he'd got it while he and Rose had been shopping, they always had half an hour or so to do their own little things. Rose liked to go looking at dresses and underwear, Alec liked to buy her little trinkets or scarves or her favourite chocolate bar and they would meet for afternoon tea, sometimes at the store caf where they'd had their first shopping trip together, now Alec's favourite store, since he didn't have one before he'd met Rose. No, he just needed the push and the right moment to ask her and now, he was buzzing because Rose was late and he thought she was pregnant.

He'd not said anything but when they went shopping tomorrow, he was going to ask her to maybe get a test done or get a home testing kit. He'd missed out when his ex was pregnant with their daughter, she had shunned him and been selfish, saying she needed to be on her own and wouldn't let him near her in bed. He supposed that was when he realised she didn't love him anymore and had proved it after their daughter was born, they'd not had any more children and had grown apart.

When Alec got home, Rose cried into his shoulder, the realization of everything that had happened and plus she was worried she was late, thinking it was with all that had been going on.

"Rose, it's okay, don't cry pumpkin," Alec said, trying to sooth her. "Why don't we go out for something to eat? We'll just go to the caf at the fish and chip shop, eat in, yes?" He kissed her forehead. Rose nodded. "Good, go get changed and we'll set off."

It was almost seven, Alec had been finishing some paperwork after he had talked to the chief. She had got him permission to take medical leave but he had to go in on Monday morning to brief the replacement they were being sent.

He followed her into their bedroom and told her he was getting time off on medical leave and helped her get changed, well more like hindered her but it made her smile. He stood behind her, looking at her through the mirror, then putting his arms around her tummy.

"Still late?" he asked, running his hands over her belly and leaning over to kiss her neck, admiring his handiwork from the night before when he had left another mark.

Rose turned around, putting her arms around his neck.

"Yeah but it's not the first time."

She thought she knew the reason why she was so out of balance but had tried to dismiss it. She thought it was all the time travelling she did plus she didn't belong on this world. This world was running ahead of her own, she had gained three years somewhere along the line, no wonder she was so out of it. She couldn't explain that to him.

She chose a dress, making Alec let go of her, reluctantly but he insisted on fastening her dress zip, running his finger under the fastener of her bra, kissing her neck and saying, "We'll finish this later."

Rose just smiled and knew they would. They walked the short distance to the caf , just on the corner of the road Rose walked up and down every day on her way to work. It had become one of their favourite places when they didn't want pub food or to go into the town itself. Over their meal, sitting at the far end away from the counter, Rose told him what a horrible day at work she'd had but was pleased Alec had managed to get his leave starting on Tuesday.

She told him she had made the arrangements for her family to come down, she had called into the caravan park on her way home and booked them a large three bedroom caravan for next Saturday and rang Pete for him to pay for it. The manager had been quite surprised to find she was talking to Peter Tyler and finding out he was actually interested in maybe purchasing a caravan for further holidays as he had a young son. Rose had asked her not to let it be known they would be staying there. When Rose had left there, walking past the Police Station, she had been tempted to see if Alec was free but had walked the short distance home instead, sorting the laundry and ironing his shirts.

She had got quite domesticated during the last three months, taking care of Alec had done her good. They left the caf , it was still light so they walked along the quayside and sat down on the wall. Alec had his arm around her, it was getting cooler in the evenings, it was the first week of September and a breeze was coming in off the sea.

Alec drew her close and whispered, "I love you Rose," then kissed her cheek.

Rose put her arm around him and leaned on his shoulder.

"I love you too Alec. Do you realise it's been three months? Well three months last Friday to be precise since we met and three months last Monday since you moved in with me."

Alec looked down on her and smiled.

"I know," he whispered, leaning down to kiss her neck.

He almost asked her there and then.

He had his hand in his jacket pocket, fingering the small box that contained the single solitaire diamond ring he had bought and was so afraid to give her. What the hell was stopping him? He could kick himself. They were sat looking at the sea, the sun was going down, Rose had her arm around him, what better time was there ever going to be? Then it hit him, like a ton of bricks. He was scared, scared of losing her like the first night in her bed he had woken and thought she had left him, scared he either wouldn't be able to have his operation or he wouldn't survive it. He had to get over it because what if he left it too late? Wouldn't it be better to have Rose as his wife or at least his fianc e for a few weeks before his operation than none at all? Would it be fair on her if he didn't even ask her?

If he was very quick, he could get something done about it. He could go to personnel and make her his next of kin, stop his ex getting whatever he had to come, he knew Rose didn't need it but his ex didn't deserve it. Then he would get his solicitor to make up plans to leave everything to Rose, such as it was. After all that, he needed Rose's stepfather's help if he was going to pull something off. What that was he didn't know yet but he didn't have much time, he had to plan something for when her family came down next weekend, which didn't leave much time to spare.

Okay, that was half a plan, the other half was asking her to marry him. He told himself to get a grip.

Rose raised her head. "Let's go home Alec, it's been quite a day. Did you hear from Ellie today?"

"No, the chief spoke to her. She has her family, she'll be okay." He got up, pulling Rose with him. "You do know that if I didn't live with you, I wouldn't have a home to go to, don't you?" he asked, kissing her cheek.

Rose smiled and took his hand.

"Poor baby," she said, squeezing it.

Alec smiled back and they set off to walk home hand in hand. Over the other side of the square, just outside the amusement arcade, Rose could see Beth and her daughter and husband, sat on a bench eating as they passed. Rose was going to wave but Beth saw her and got up. She crossed over the road to stand in front of Rose.

"I'm sorry Rose, you too detective. I shut you out Rose, I was wrong to do that, I needed friends but I felt smothered by everyone who said they were my friend and all the time you were just trying to help."

Rose let go of Alec's hand and put her arms around Beth and the two friends hugged.

"I wanted to come and see you but I didn't think you'd want me to, not with Alec being in charge of the case. My mum said to say how sorry she was, she and Tony are coming down next weekend for a week, maybe we can get together? We haven't told Tony, he's too young to understand. Have you arranged the funeral yet?"

Beth looked at the detective, he had told them earlier that Danny would be returned to them.

"It's okay Mrs Latimer, you can make your arrangements but after Monday, I won't be in charge of the case, I'm taking some medical leave."

Beth looked surprised. She'd had no idea he was ill and she had given him some trouble. Alec didn't let her say anything.

"It's okay, you weren't to know, we kept it quiet but I need an operation, I was just wanting to give you some closure."

Beth turned to Rose but what could she say? She had driven her two best friends away, Ellie because of her position and Rose because she was with the detective. All she could say to Alec was "Thank you. You're both more than welcome to come to the funeral, we'll be making the arrangements tomorrow then."

"Then just let the funeral home look after things, they can collect Danny from the hospital. There's no need for you to do anything, they'll take care of everything."

Alec held his hand out to shake Beth's just as Mark and Chloe came over and Beth told them they could have Danny back. Chloe went to hug Rose and Mark shook hands with Alec.

"Thank you," Mark said, giving Rose a hug too.

"We'll get together soon then Beth?" Rose asked as they were leaving.

"Yeah, have a girls night out, we shouldn't really blame poor Ellie, I can't imagine what she's going through, I was mad with her last night when I found out but I'll call her. I'm pregnant you know, four months, like you can't tell now," Beth laughed.

"Yeah, I had heard." Rose laughed back.

She wanted to say she might also be but she wasn't sure, she would have to get a test done. Alec suspected but he was a detective after all, he would notice these things she supposed. She just hoped she was right and it wasn't her just getting messed around again. She knew full well what they were doing that night and the risk she was taking, no, the risks they were taking and now with Alec hoping for an operation soon, she just hoped if she was, the baby would know its father.

If Alec didn't survive, she would have a part of him but she wasn't going to think like that, he was going to survive, he had everything to live for before and now he hopefully would have an extra reason, that was why she was trying to get herself pregnant, for both their sakes. If he had been checking her out for signs, he was definitely keen on this. He hadn't talked much about his last marriage which was good in one way but she knew he'd been sorely neglected.

They said goodbye to the Latimers and walked the rest of the way home. Rose wasn't sure whether to bring up the subject but he had been looking at her in the mirror, staring at her tummy so he would surely bring up the subject soon. Maybe she should go get the test done when they went shopping tomorrow but should she take him with her? Yes, he deserved to know, she had decided on that night for a reason. She wanted him to have a family again and a reason to live and didn't want to wait. When he had his operation they would be busy making plans. She was getting way ahead of herself, she had to confirm it first. Alec never got the chance to ask her to marry him or to talk about what they both suspected but that didn't stop them when they got to bed.

The next morning, Alec borrowed the car for the last time and they drove down to Dorchester and on the way there, Alec asked Rose if she had anything special she wanted to do. They always looked around the shops first then went to the supermarket on the way back.

"Should there be anywhere special I want to go?" she asked, glancing across at him.

Alec didn't take his eyes off the road.

"Well, I thought there might be, with you being late, are you still late?"

"Yeah," she answered quietly.

She didn't want to talk about it in the car, why couldn't he have asked her last night? Men.

They parked up, Alec being cheeky and using the Police sign that came with the car and they walked around the shops, passing a pharmacy and Alec stopped outside.

"Shall we?" he asked as he went towards the automatic door.

The only question was did they get a home testing kit or go to the counter where they did tests while you waited. Rose looked at him and decided the test would be more accurate if they had it done while they waited. She asked at the counter and was directed to the rear of the store where she was handed a form to fill in and a sample bottle and paid the consultation fee. She filled the form and went to the ladies room and returned, handing in the form which Alec was holding and the sample and went to wait. They were told it would be about thirty minutes, there were other women waiting. Rose didn't see anyone so she assumed they were coming back. She and Alec opted to wait.

Alec was pacing the small waiting room after ten minutes so Rose suggested they came back and they went to some tea across the street and sat outside after telling the receptionist they would be back. Alec then decided he wanted to talk about it, he was getting jittery. When he thought back to when he'd found out his ex was expecting, he'd not had a lot to do with it with them both working, she had kept on working until forced to give up and even then, she had been in bed when he got home and not wanted him near her. He knew if Rose was indeed pregnant, things were going to be very different this time.

They waited another half hour and hand in hand they went back into the pharmacy and Rose gave her name to the receptionist and was handed the test results in an envelope.

They went to sit down and Alec took her hand and whispered, "Whatever the result Rose, you know I love you." as they opened it together.

Chapter 14

Rose was all fingers and thumbs as she held the envelope containing her pregnancy test results. It have been over four weeks since their first proper night together and she didn't know if she was late due to being nervous about being late or if she was indeed pregnant. Would they both be disappointed if she wasn't? Maybe she hadn't actually got pregnant that night but one of their many nights since, they hadn't even had their safety margin just before she realised she was late, it didn't seem to matter to them, Alec had never even mentioned it. He had just been content to carry on as normal even when he knew they should stop, he didn't think Rose cared either.

He knew he should have asked her to marry him last night, down by the harbour, would she think he was just asking her now because she was pregnant? No, she wouldn't think that, plus he had the receipt for the ring to prove when he had bought it, he was going to get it insured once he had given it to her and needed the proof of purchase but he'd had it in his jacket pocket for over a month and he couldn't bring himself to ask her. What the hell was wrong with him? Well to start, his first proposal to his ex hadn't quite gone as planned when she slapped him and told him it was too soon after going out for over a year but he'd been like a lovesick puppy and finally worn her down with flowers and messages and stopping her on the stairs in the Police Station several times a day until she finally said yes and they had got drunk that night and she'd ended up pregnant.

Rose had been so different, he knew she was right from the start then the night after the dinner at the Millers house, they hadn't even discussed it, it was like she actually wanted to get herself pregnant but why the sudden decision? Maybe she was afraid he wouldn't survive an operation and wanted his child to remember him by, that was so her. He had never known anyone like her, there was something special about her but he had one more test to pass, according to her stepfather, that of meeting her mother's approval and he would have to face that challenge next Saturday when they all came down for a visit.

Right then, better get to work on that marriage proposal because if Rose was pregnant, he didn't fancy facing Mrs Tyler and telling her he had got her daughter pregnant and wasn't prepared to marry her. Whatever the result was in that envelope, he was going to ask her this weekend. His friend was coming down tomorrow afternoon to see if he would recommend the surgery he needed and if he got the go ahead, he would ask her afterwards and if not, if his doctor told him to wait a bit longer or he couldn't go for it he would talk to her about it because no matter what, if he wasn't going to make it, he wanted Rose to be his wife when his time was up.

He didn't even know how long these pills would keep working, he had never discussed it. He'd got enough to last a few more days, his friend was bringing some more but what if they stopped working? Even worse, what if he had the operation and that didn't work out? No, he mustn't think like that because here was Rose, the love of his life, looking at him to open the envelope with her, tears in her eyes, now looking at him to open the envelope for her as she put her hand in his. This was it, his chance of a life and a family with Rose.

Rose looked at him, he seemed miles away. She was about to turn the envelope over to open it, it was one of the peel type envelopes that came unstuck easily but she was afraid to open it and wanted him to do it. No matter what the results were, negative or positive, she knew his love wouldn't falter for her nor hers for him, they would just have to keep trying while he was able or wait until after his operation. His friend was coming all the way down from Scotland tomorrow to see him, to recommend surgery or to recommend waiting a bit longer. She hoped Alec would have some good news for him and his friend would have good news for him in return.

The money for his operation was all there waiting for him, he just needed to get it arranged but Pete wouldn't tell Rose exactly how much money was in the special account he had set up for her after he had married her mother, she had refused to go anywhere near it but Pete had always said it would be there should she ever need it and if it was all going to be spent on one thing, it was going to be spent on Alec's operation, she would not have him go on a waiting list for a health service one that could take months. Alec had said the Police provided adequate health insurance for him but he would still have had to wait for approval and gone where they sent him, he didn't even know if it covered heart operations but he still wouldn't have the best money could buy.

"Alec, you open it, I can't look."

Alec was snapped out of his daydream as she passed the envelope into his hand. He let go of hers for a second to peel it open and took out the printed form. Her name was on the top, her date of birth, which Alec was seeing in actual print for the first time, they had exchanged personal details over the last three months or so, Rose sticking to her invented one but seeing it officially, she was still much younger than he was, she was 27, he was 38 but knew he looked older with his illness and his stupid scruffy appearance that had attracted Rose to him in the first place and he was sure she would leave him if he ever shaved it off fully but perhaps a trim further back than he usually went wouldn't go amiss once in a while.

He read further down for the results negative.

He looked at Rose and showed her, he couldn't look into her eyes, he knew there were tears in them. He took her in his arms, the envelope and the piece of paper still in his hands and led her outside and took her across the street again and sat her down, ordering more tea when the waitress came out to them.

"I'm so sorry Rose, we both wanted this but there's still a chance, it might be too early to tell yet. Why don't we come back next Saturday morning before your family arrives and you can take it again?"

Rose managed a nod, tears still in her eyes, she had really hoped the test would be positive but it wouldn't put her off, they would keep trying. She had never been as sure about anything, settling down and having a family with Alec, it was all that mattered.

"It's okay Alec, maybe you're right, it may be too soon."

Their tea arrived and they sat silently, Alec had his hand on her leg under the table, trying to think of ways to cheer her up though he doubted anything could.

"What time is your friend arriving tomorrow?" she asked.

"Around two in the afternoon. We can go out for lunch before he arrives if you like or invite him out."

"Can we go back to that Sunday market in Charmouth in the morning?"

If that cheered her up he was all for it.

"Yes, if you like, was there anything in particular you wanted to get while you're there?" he asked, sipping his tea.

Rose managed one of her tongue-in-cheek smiles he loved so much about her. She simply said, "More pumpkin socks?"

Alec smiled and leaned over to kiss her cheek. He knew she was trying to hide her disappointment, they both were. They left the town centre and drove to the supermarket, having their usual discussion about groceries then Alec had to go put some fuel in the car even though he was taking it back on Monday morning but he was going to rent one for a couple of weeks while Rose's family were there. He had to smile, he had left the car radio on, Rose's favourite radio station that played oldies and he had just gone into the kiosk to pay and turned around to see her moving around and singing along to some tune she liked and he had to smile, until he noticed everyone else in the filling station was watching her as well.

He paid for his fuel, having to say the fuel pump number and the cashier looking at him, amused. Was this what he was letting himself in for? Having people stare at her every time? He had slowly been registering sly looks from other men when they had been out but had brushed it off, she would never look at them once let alone twice and the women at the station had whispered about him, especially when Rose marked him and he couldn't cover them up with his shirt collar, something he swore she did on purpose as a warning to other women to back off, Rose had been marking her territory and he loved every minute of it.

Maybe he should take her out tonight, ask her then, no alcohol, just in case but she didn't need to drink for her to enjoy herself and neither did he although he still wasn't sure if it had been that the first night they had been together properly. He got back in the car and smiled, putting his hand on her leg before he set off. Rose just looked and smiled back at him.

"What?" she asked, wondering why he was smiling.

"You, Rose Tyler, you're amazing and you know you're far too young and too good for me."

"Then tough, get used to it snuggles," she replied as they drove off.

Alec just shook his head, grinning at her.

After unpacking the shopping and Alec watching the afternoon news, they fooled around on the sofa, just kissing and he asked if she wanted to go out that evening. This was going to be it, he was going to ask her tonight, somewhere nice, candlelit and where he wouldn't get interrupted. Rose had other ideas.

"Let's just stay in tonight Alec, can we?"

"Okay pumpkin, if that's what you want. Why don't I do the cooking, you just relax?"

He had made her breakfast on weekends but had never offered to cook an evening meal before.

Rose was impressed with his offer. The meals they bought were simple enough to prepare, Rose didn't do complicated. While Alec detested ready-made meals, he didn't mind it all being prepared in a tinfoil carton ready to put into the oven or a saucepan and ready prepared vegetable to put in the microwave oven or another pan. He got up, kissing her cheek and said to leave it all to him. He was thinking of a way to bring up the subject and sneak the ring box out of his pocket. If he kept it there any longer, Rose would become suspicious that he forever had his hands in his pocket. Either that or she would find it in his other jacket in the wardrobe, he had never taken it to work with him for fear of losing it. Now though he only had one more day to work, from Tuesday he would be off until his fate was decided.

He went into the kitchen and prepared everything, noting the cooking times, he would have about 45 minutes altogether and making a note when to put the vegetables in so it would be all ready at the same time. He saw Rose was resting on the sofa, her eyes seemed closed so he went to get changed into one of his t-shirts, he still preferred going out in a shirt and trousers although Rose liked it if he went out in his jeans sometimes, she liked to put her hand in his back pocket, it made him smile. So he put his jeans on, hoping it would please her and a red striped button-down t-shirt, not fastening the buttons and looked at himself in the mirror, rubbing his hand over his jaw. Time for a shave, Hardy, he told himself. Maybe not too much, just enough to see her reaction and not enough to scare her away.

He surveyed himself in the mirror, having taken a few days worth of growth off his beard and keeping a little of his sideburns, he realised he'd not looked like that for a considerable time. Would Rose like it? Maybe he should just go the whole way and get rid of it? No, he'd wait to see what she said. Sneaking back into the kitchen before Rose realised he was missing and finishing making dinner, he went to wake Rose when he realised she was still asleep. He looked down on her and knew just how much he loved her. Bending down over her and brushing her cheek, Rose opened her eyes and bolted upright, Alec having to dodge back so she didn't collide with his head.

"What's wrong pumpkin?" he asked as she sprang back as far as she could go, her legs curled under her.

She looked at him like she had seen a ghost. She thought she was seeing things.

"Alec? What have you done?"

Alec rubbed his chin. "My new look, do you like it Sweetheart?" he asked, moving her feet and sitting at the side of her, leaning over to kiss her cheek.

His new look tickled her cheek, his beard had been soft. She reached out her hand and touched his face.

"You look different."

"Good different or bad different?" he asked, running a finger under her chin and pulling her nearer for a kiss.

Rose had been over this conversation before, many years ago, another universe away.

"Just different."

The rest of the conversation from long ago was forgotten as she looked at Alec, the man she loved and who loved her beyond the shadow of a doubt. He was trying to impress her, make up for their earlier disappointment. She let him pull her closer and their lips touched lightly.

"Then I'll go serve dinner, do you want to eat here or at the table?"

Rose got up and followed him and sat at the table. Alec called in from the kitchen.

"We could have gone out you know, so now, if you don't like my cooking, you're kind of stuck."

Rose smiled. "I'm sure it will be fine Alec," she assured him.

He came back in with two candles in holders he had bought her a few weeks ago on one of their shopping trips, he'd got them out of the display cabinet and lit them with the gas lighter he'd brought from the kitchen, turning the light out. It wasn't really dark outside but at the back of the room it was. Now in just the candlelight, Rose thought he was up to something. He was. He went back out and brought in two plates and put them down then sat opposite her.

"You should have said you were getting changed Alec, I would have got changed too."

She was wearing a blue jersey dress and Alec thought it showed off her figure.

"You always look amazing pumpkin," he said, admiring her figure and trying not to drop what was on his fork.

Rose smiled, he always complimented her even when she was wearing her jeans and a t-shirt. When they'd finished eating, he cleared the table and got her favourite ice-cream for her, the lemon meringue one and Rose knew she was in for trouble and she wasn't even wearing her pumpkin socks, she had forgotten to wash them which was why she wanted to go get more.

Dessert out of the way, Alec put some music on and they danced for a while, her arms around his neck, first with his shirt unbuttoned then when he lost it somewhere along the line. Rose had gone to get changed while he had been clearing the dishes, putting on a short dress and discarding her bra and opting for just a pair of skimpy knickers that were hardly there and showed off her bum. As they danced, his hand slid up the short dress and feeling there was hardly anything there then decided there was too much there and put his hand down the back and they slid onto the floor, Rose stepping out of them and Alec scooping her up and laying her on the sofa.

He sat over her, pulling the short dress above her waist and leaned down to kiss her belly.

"What do you want pumpkin?" he asked as his hand moved.

Rose unfastened the button on his jeans and pulled down the zip.

"I want you babe," she said, pulling him down to kiss him.

Alec climbed onto her, pulling down his jeans with a little help and laying down on her, Rose putting her hand down the back of his shorts and pulling them down at the back.

"You got me," he said as she pulled them down and they touched.

They kissed then Alec scrambled to pull his shorts back up, leaving Rose rather puzzled to his action. He got up and pulled her dress back down, taking her hand.

"I think we should take this to the bedroom," he whispered into her ear.

They gathered their clothes and Alec blew out the candles and Rose led him into their bedroom.

As Alec lay under Rose after they had made love, he still hadn't been given the chance to ask her and although time wasn't really running out in one way, the time was getting nearer to meeting her mother and brother and if they went back to get Rose another test next weekend, he wanted it to be as his fianc e and then if the test was positive, he would have asked her before they found out.

There was still tomorrow, maybe when they got back from the Sunday market, before his friend arrived, he could take her to the beach after they got out of the market.

Chapter 15

Only after he thought Rose was asleep did Alec think back over the events of the day. He hadn't really asked her if she wanted to take the pregnancy test, she had just followed his lead and gone into the pharmacy and taken it and he knew she was just as bitterly disappointed as he was it had been negative. The last few days, waiting to see if anything was going to happen and when she was four days late, he assumed she would want to get tested even if she didn't say anything to him, maybe she didn't think she had to say anything, that he'd know, that was how their relationship was going, knowing what each other wanted and he was surprised just how quickly they had got into this and how easily. It was like they were naturally meant to be together but deep inside him he had this feeling there was more to Rose Tyler than she was letting on, apart from her being from an ultra rich family, she was living here in a one bedroom apartment with a Police detective when she could have had any man in her social circle and any job she wanted.

No, Rose was independent, he'd had a tough time getting her to give him her bank details to have half his monthly salary paid into her account, she said she didn't need it or want it but had relented when he said he'd be paying for the hotel anyway and he never would have thought about getting his own place. He hadn't intended staying any longer than his initial six months in a place he thought he was going to hate but now, he was contemplating settling down here, marrying Rose, if could get up the courage to ever ask her but if he did, he would have to eventually tell her his darkest secret he'd never even told his ex.

He was just closing his eyes, sad for his love that she had put on a brave face the rest of the day, saying they could keep trying but how much time did he have left? He would find out tomorrow if he could be recommended for surgery then the rest was up to him, to go ahead as quickly as possible or if not, to talk to Rose about the alternatives staying on his pills and hoping they would continue working so he could have a life and a family with her. He didn't want to dwell on the other alternative, that of having the operation and not surviving it. If he went for the surgery he would have to get Rose to understand the risks, it would either work or it wouldn't, they probably wouldn't be able to stitch him back up and send him on his way, he knew that much.

His arms were wrapped around her, he was drifting off to sleep, he thought she was just breathing normally but she wasn't. Rose was trying to hold back the tears without letting him know. She knew he was just as disappointed as she was, they had tried to both act normally the rest of the day. She hadn't expected him to make dinner, it had been good and he knew how much she loved that ice-cream but no amount of ice-cream could compensate. She didn't know what was going on with her body, she never had done when she had first arrived here, she had been so messed up with the time difference, she had joked to her mother that she was lucky she didn't suffer from it and it was like constantly travelling from different time zones and not being able to re-adjust to one in particular, a kind of constant jet-lag.

She supposed it was really and while The Doctor had tried to take her back home at regular intervals, she had no idea how long they had always been away, it could have been weeks, months or years. No wonder her body was all screwed up which explained her monthly periods being all helter-skelter. As she lay on top of Alec, the man she loved above any other in this world, feeling the hairs on his chest as he had his arms wrapped around her, making her feel safe even though she was supposed to be looking after him. She thought how easily she had taken on the responsibility of ensuring he was looked after, she knew he'd been badly neglected but they never talked about his divorce, just his daughter sometimes but he rarely mentioned her, she supposed it was too painful for him to even think about. Maybe she should do some detective work of her own and find his daughter and get her to at least talk to him, he'd said she always ignored his calls and texts.

When they had first met, Alec had just missed her birthday but had since made up for it and she with his since she missed back in April and as Rose lay with her eyes closed but not asleep, she just wished she knew for certain they would be celebrating both next year or even having Christmas and the New Year together. Then without her realising, a tear found its way onto Alec and he noticed but never said anything. He couldn't, there were tears in his eyes also, his love for Rose and he tightened his hold on her whispering he loved her.

Alec woke up, Rose had moved slightly so he carefully slid from under her to get dressed and bring her some breakfast, then they would go up the coast to the Sunday market and find those ridiculous pumpkin patterned socks she loved and which he loved to tickle her feet in them and then take them off and tickle her feet even more, it was their favourite weekend afternoon pastime, depending which day she wore them and they both knew it led to other things. On the day she chose to wear them, they would get back from wherever they had been as quickly as they could and Rose would kick her shoes off and lie on the sofa while Alec put everything away if they had bought anything.

Buying another pair of those socks would cheer her up, she was somehow always forgetting to put them in the wash which he was surprised at since she knew what wearing them involved. He made her breakfast and took it into the bedroom, she was already sitting up in bed, wearing his white t-shirt as usual and he now thought about buying another one, a button-down one since it obscured his view of her but he didn't expect she'd part with the one she had pinched from him the first few days he had lived with her. It was funny how she always washed that when she forgot her socks. Maybe if he bought a white sleeveless button-down t-shirt and wore it she might pinch it from him.

Rose got up and got dressed while he cleared breakfast away, after their morning snuggle and they set off for the Sunday market. Once there, Rose knew exactly where she was going, to the stall that sold those socks but when she got to it, she searched the table but there weren't any. She turned to Alec with a disappointed look on her face. Alec asked the trader about them and the woman said they were sold out but she might have some in a few weeks time.

"Don't worry Rose, we'll come back in a couple of weeks, why don't you choose something else?"

Rose looked at the patterns, they were really children's socks but they covered her size. She looked at some with bees, kittens, hearts, butterflies and other assorted patterns but she pulled a face at them until she saw a pair with cute teddy bears on that had 'snuggles' written on and she immediately snapped them up even though there was only one pair.

Alec smiled and took them from her hand and gave them to the woman behind the stall and paid for them, a big smile on Rose's face and a bemused look from the trader. Alec put the paper bag containing the socks into his pocket, alongside the ring box he was still carrying, which gave him an idea. They walked around the rest of the market, Rose picking up another brightly coloured scarf and Alec buying it for her, then they came to an antique jewellery stall and Alec stopped and picked up an old pocket watch and looked at it.

Rose saw the delicate pattern on it and it somehow looked familiar, just like the circular designs drawn on sticky notes on the side of the Tardis monitor. Rose just stared at it and took it from his hand.

"What's wrong Rose?" he asked as she stared at it, fingering it carefully.

The man behind the stall was watching the pair carefully and Alec saw he was and reached into his inner jacket pocket and showed the man his ID Card and the man relaxed.

"It's okay, I'm a Police detective, my girlfriend is just fascinated with it. How much is it?" Alec assured the man, thinking he would be less suspicious if it appeared they were going to buy it but Alec never carried a great deal of cash with him, just enough to buy things for Rose if she wanted anything.

The man held his hand out and Rose reluctantly handed it back, the stallholder intent on giving them his sales pitch.

"It's very old, a family heirloom probably, not mine though, it appears to be stuck but if you persist, it does open." He handed it back to Rose. "Are you interested in buying it for your boyfriend Miss? We can negotiate the price."

Rose looked at the back, it was plain with something written at the bottom she couldn't quite make out and showed it to Alec who got his glasses out and took the watch. "No, I can't read what it says but the pattern is intriguing, do you like it Sweetheart? I suppose I could wear it in my top pocket if we go out anywhere, is that what you had in mind?"

Rose nodded, holding her hand out to take it back but he held onto it.

"So if it keeps getting stuck, I suppose that's why no-one had ever bought it?"

The man looked at him but Alec continued to turn the watch in his hand.

"Let's see what's inside then."

To everyone's surprise, including his own, the watch opened with ease the first time, Rose opened her mouth but nothing came out as he opened it wider and showed her the inner workings, the same patterns but with three yellow/orange dials. Rose knew those patterns inside the watch were no coincidence, it was a Timelord watch or a watch from Gallifrey but how was that even possible? Had The Doctor been here or was he here, leaving this watch for Rose to find as a message. Right now all she needed was to see the words 'Bad Wolf' and she would break down.

Both Alec and the stallholder were watching her, taking no notice of the watch itself. Rose tried to recover from the shock.

"You'll have to excuse my girlfriend, she's not feeling quite herself today are you Sweetheart?" Rose managed to shake her head. "So, do you have a price in mind Sir?" Alec continued, handing the watch back to the man.

The man had been joined by who Alec assumed was his wife, who had been serving another customer, a money belt wrapped around her waist and who looked like she meant business.

"I can let you have it for say 100.00, it's worth a lot more but your girlfriend seems to have her heart set on getting it for you."

Alec didn't like the thought of her spending that much on him, he was old-fashioned that way but he could hardly pay for it himself since Rose wanted to get him it as a present. Before he could answer, Rose had spoken.

"I'll take it"

She went into her purse to get her wallet out and handed five crispy 20 notes to the man, who handed the watch back to her without another word, probably before she changed her mind.

Rose handed the watch to Alec for safe-keeping. Alec thanked the man and steered Rose towards a nearby tea stall and sat her down, going off to get the drinks. When he came back he sat beside her.

"Do you want to talk about that?" he asked, taking a sip of the hot tea and getting the watch out of his pocket.

"No, I wanted to get you something unusual and that was it. I don't imagine there's another one like that anywhere to be found. Even if you hadn't opened it so easily I would have still got it."

She held out her hand and he passed it to her.

She tried to open it but it took a few attempts.

"It must really like you, opening first time like that."

Alec looked at her. Rose didn't know what the writing meant, it had never been explained to her but it must be some sort of Gallifreyan writing, The Doctor was always scribbling things down, on those stupid yellow PostIt notes and sticking them everywhere. How could she say anything? Should she tell Pete? Maybe she should, if The Doctor was here, or another Timelord, Pete needed to know so he could alert Torchwood, it might not be a friendly Timelord, she had been told about a rogue one called The Master and he sounded pretty horrible. What if there were Timelords here, still alive and still in their own galaxy and their planet hadn't been destroyed but wouldn't he have sensed them during their time here? Maybe they were using a perception filter, like when the Tardis disguised itself.

Then a thought struck her alternate world, alternate Doctor. No, there couldn't be, why would a Timelord let a piece of their homeworld be sold and then re-sold in a market, surely they would take greater care of their belongings?

"Rose, are you okay?" Alec was asking her.

He thought the watch had mesmerized her.

Rose was dragged out of her daydreaming.

"What? Yeah, I'm okay. Sorry."

She drank her tea, handing the watch back to him.

"I'm going to get this valued when we get home, look it up and see if there are any more, the man seemed keen to get rid of it."

"Maybe he'd had it a while and just wanted to let it go to a good home," Rose smiled.

Her smile always melted him.

"Well maybe so but I'll have it valued anyway and maybe insure it, I wouldn't want anything to happen to it, since you seem to like it."

Yeah and have the engagement ring, stuck in his pocket for over a month insured at the same time, you idiot, just give her the ring.

"Do you want to look around any more stalls?" he asked, finishing his drink.

"Maybe just on the way back to the car, we should be making our way back, it's almost noon."

On the last but one stall before they made their way through to the car, there was a toy stall and Alec noticed a small grey bear that resembled the one on the socks Rose had just got. While she was looking at something else, he grabbed the bear and took it around the other side to pay the stallholder who asked if he wanted a carrier bag for it. Glancing up to see Rose looking at something else, he said he would and the bear was put inside the bag. He went back to Rose, who was looking at baby toys, a tear in her eye and he cursed himself for taking no notice at what she was looking at.

He put his arm around her and led her away.

"Please don't get upset Rose. It's okay to look at things, there's still a chance you might be pregnant, let's just wait a few more days eh?"

He pulled her to his shoulder and she put her arm around his waist and he with hers and they walked towards the car, Rose not noticing the carrier bag in his other hand. He unlocked the car doors with the remote and opened the door for her, handing her the white carrier bag.

"I got you something pumpkin, look inside."

Rose smiled and put her hand in the bag, feeling something soft and velvety and brought out the small grey bear that had a heart stitched on that said 'Snuggles'

Rose just let out a small squeak and flung her arms around him, kissing his cheek and drawing the attention of several people who were getting into their cars. Alec thought he was such a dunce, he could have sneaked in the ring if he'd thought about it but maybe he could use the bear later, in the middle of a market car park was not the most romantic place to ask the woman you love to marry you. They had just over an hour before his friend was due to arrive, maybe when they got back he could take her onto the beach and ask her, he was going to do it today if it was the last thing he ever did.

Then he had an idea. After taking her socks out of his pocket and putting them in the glove compartment, he set off but instead of turning left back home, he turned right and then down towards the beach car park, Rose looking at him. She had sat the bear on the dashboard when Alec pulled up, saying they could have a walk for a few minutes before they had to set off back. He always went to help her out of the car, it had become a habit even after Rose said she was capable of getting out herself, she knew it pleased him so she had started letting him but as she stepped away, he grabbed the bear and locked the doors.

Rose looked at him as he held the bear, wondering who was the cutest, Alec or the bear Alec won hands down. He led her onto the beach and towards the edge of the water. He hated it, any kind of water but he put up with it just for her, just as long as he didn't actually have to go in it. He held her around her waist, still holding the bear under his arm as he tried rather clumsily to fumble for the ring box and open it. Rose was staring out to the sea, lost in some train of thought, unbeknown to him, she was thinking of the day she had to say goodbye to The Doctor, the worse day of her life and yet the best day of her life here was meeting Alec.

Thankful she wasn't taking any notice, he had managed to coax the ring out of its box and held it between his fingers, ready to drop her hand for just a second to take the bear from under his arm, place the ring between its paws and hand it to her. The bear was perfectly posed, its paws more or less together with the heart in the middle that looked like they were holding it, just the spot to place the ring.

Then his perfect moment was ruined his mobile was ringing. He dropped the ring in his pocket and dropped her hand to get his phone out. It was his friend.

"Alec, I'll be with you in about half an hour, are you at home?" his friend asked.

"Well no but we can be back for when you arrive, if there isn't a black SUV parked outside, just wait, we won't be long."

He rang off to see Rose looking at him he had ruined it again and he was so close.

He could keep his friend waiting, he had to do this, it was now or never. He was lucky, Rose didn't seem to be quite there, she turned and looked back out to sea again.

"Was that your friend? We should get back."

He was determined, more than at any other time in his life he was going to do this so quickly, he fingered the ring again, held the bear and carefully placed the ring between its paws. Then he got her attention.

"Pumpkin, look at me," he said gently and held the bear very carefully out to her so the ring wouldn't fall.

Rose looked at him, then the bear and saw something glittering in the sunshine and moved her hand towards it, thinking it was a trick of the light until Alec very carefully lowered himself and got down on one knee, still holding out the bear. Rose covered her face with her hands, she couldn't believe this was happening. Alec was proposing to her.

"Rose Tyler, you are the love of my life, will you marry me?"

He picked the ring from between the bear's paws and held it out to her as she lowered her left hand, putting the ring halfway on her finger then he got up.

Chapter 16

Alec pushed the ring onto her finger and waited for her answer. Not that he had much doubt as to what it would be, he was fairly confident.

"Alec, I don't know what to say, well apart from yes."

Alec put his arms around her and reached down to kiss her. He hadn't realised there were people on the beach who had seen him down on his knees and after their kiss, picking her up.

They walked back to the car, holding the bear between them and smiling. He helped her back in, handing her the bear and she put it back on the dashboard. He had a feeling she was never going to let that bear out of her sight. They set off but found themselves in traffic on the way back, the usual place and Alec really didn't know why it was always happening in the exact same spot. Every time they got past there were no signs of what had happened. He wanted to put the Police siren on but Rose wouldn't let him. While they waited, Rose put her feet against the glovebox, toeing off her shoes and sat with her legs up and she was wearing a short skirt, as if he wasn't already not concentrating on what he was doing but it took his mind off the queue of traffic.

His mobile rang again and he connected to the hands-free set built into the car. The display read his friend's name. Alec answered.

"Alistair, sorry, we're stuck in traffic but we'll be there soon. If you walk across the road, there's a kiosk that sells tea and ice-cream, we shouldn't be that long. I want to put the siren on but Rose won't let me," he grinned, glancing over at his now fianc e and putting his hand on her leg, making her smile.

"That's okay, I just got here, I'll wait. You should have said you were going to be out, I would have taken my time."

"Well, we were on our way back but I had something important to do," he smiled, running his hand over her leg, Rose grabbing his hand and holding it there.

Alec lost his patience ten minutes later and they had only moved 50 yards.

"That's it, I'm calling the station," was all he said, finding the number in his contacts.

The desk sergeant answered and probably jumped up when he heard the detective's voice with its usual gruffness.

"Get someone out on the A35 towards Charmouth, there's slow moving traffic and I'm stuck in it now," he barked, looking over at Rose.

What would she think of him?

He was completely different at home to what he was at the station, everyone thought he was like a bear with a sore head.

The sergeant just said, "Right away Sir" and hung up.

Five minutes later, the traffic started moving and they passed a patrol car parked at the side of the road. Alec pulled in front and checking the traffic, got out, asking Rose to stay in the car. They were already late so he didn't seem to take long and was back in a few minutes. It had been a tractor, oblivious to the traffic building up behind it and the driver got a warning from the uniformed officers.

"You're just full of surprises," Rose said when they were almost home. "I mean with the bear, spotting that it had your pet name on it and finding those socks but the idea of giving me the ring with the bear, I almost cried, it was so sweet."

Alec smiled, Rose thought he was cute but she had never said he was sweet before, things were looking up. She looked at the ring on her finger, should he admit it had taken him weeks to get up the courage to ask her? Not a good idea. They pulled up outside their apartment and saw Alec's friend sitting in a blue car and he got out when he saw Alec and Rose. Rose retrieved her socks and her bear and Alec introduced them, first shaking hands with Alec then Rose.

"Alistair, this is Rose, my fianc e, we just got engaged. That's why we're late, well partly, there was a hold-up on the road, had to get a squad car out to it," Alec smiled.

His friend had not seen a smile on Alec's face for a long time and thought how much better he was looking, including his appearance, a striped blue t-shirt and jeans, this Rose was doing him the world of good, she had made him ten years younger.

"Nice to meet you Rose, congratulations, you'll have your work cut out with this one," Alistair laughed, holding out his hand to shake hers.

"Oh I can handle him, don't worry about that," Rose smiled back, taking Alec's hand and squeezing it, noticing Alistair was looking at the gesture.

She handed the bear to Alec and got out her keys to open the door. Alec blushed, Alistair smiled, he never thought he would see the day that the gruff Alec Hardy would melt in front of a woman like he was with this one, even when he had been pursuing his ex and plus holding the teddybear.

Rose went to make tea and some sandwiches for Alistair, for which he was grateful and they discussed the options Alec had and the various risks. Alec wanted her to fully understand what would happen, staying on the pills and being only occasionally to pursue strenuous physical activities (a polite way of saying getting down to the nitty gritty of sex) or risk the operation that would offer no alternative, well maybe a slim one if he survived the pacemaker fitting and it didn't work, they would try to revive him and if he lived, carrying on with the pills but the operation could make him worse and there would be no question of him retiring from the Police and they wouldn't be able to risk even trying for a family, it would probably kill him.

On that sour note, Alec went into the bedroom to be examined, Alistair had brought his medical bag with him and Alec wanted Rose to be with him but she said he would be better on his own and she had a lot to think about, which was why he didn't want to leave her on her own. They came back out and Rose looked at Alec. He was smiling.

It was Alistair that spoke to Rose.

"I can recommend him for surgery for the pacemaker, I'll contact the hospital in Dorchester, they have the best surgeons on hand and Alec said that you'll be paying for it. I'll make sure they know he's going private. I'll contact them as soon as I get back, you should hear in a few days time." Then to Alec he said, "In the meantime, if you've put yourself on medical leave, take it easy and let Rose look after you, it will improve your chances even more but as it stands, they've already improved since the last time I saw you. I think you're going to be stuck with him Rose."

Rose smiled and went to sit beside Alec on the chair, making him squash up.

Then to Alec, he said, "Just take it easy Alec, don't overdo it and you know what I mean by that, you should tone down your love life until after your operation."

They both smiled at each other, they knew they could manage if it meant he would survive the operation.

"I take it staying on the pills isn't an option then?" Alistair asked.

They both shook their heads.

Alistair left them, Alec had told him he was working the next day but was off after that and Rose's family were coming down next weekend. They went to see him off, Rose was worried about him driving back all that way but he'd said he was going to stop halfway and carry on in the morning.

They went to find some late lunch and rang Ellie to see if she and the boys wanted to join them but they'd already eaten but Ellie had some good news. They had moved out of the hotel and got a two bedroom caravan for two weeks, much less than the cost of the hotel until they could get sorted out and get in for their belongings and for Ellie to put the house up for sale when Police forensics had finished. Rose was pleased and relieved she hadn't left town yet and it would give them more room than being in a hotel. Rose told her that her family would also be staying at the caravan park so her boys would be able to play with Tony.

They arranged to meet during the week when Tom was at school, Rose was going to put in for indefinite leave, citing Alec was going to need looking after which was half true, she had put in for a week while her family were visiting but now he was going to be off, she didn't want to leave him on his own. He said he'd be fine for a few days so Rose said she would work Monday since he was and then start her leave at the same time.

The next day however was going to decide it for definite as Alec went to work. Rose felt fine in the morning but it had started out as an unusually hot day and when she got to the newspaper office she was dismayed to find they had a problem with the air conditioning and Maggie was waiting for someone to repair it. Rose struggled the first hour on her own then gradually began feeling worse. Maggie had sent someone to check on her and take her some cool water but she was sat almost in the window and the sun was shining directly on her no matter where she moved and she went to sit behind the counter when no-one was in or wanting any help. Then her assistant Mary came in and Rose could relax a bit but she went back to her desk and then felt her vision blurring.

Mary saw Rose gradually put her head on the desk and called her name. When Rose didn't respond she called over to the nearest person behind the counter to fetch Maggie. Rose was out cold by this time, despite bringing in a fan from the back office someone had been hogging so Maggie called for an ambulance. It was no secret now about Rose and Alec and she had been showing off her engagement ring but no-one had been given Alec's number so when the ambulance was on its way, Maggie rang the station and asked to speak to him urgently.

"DI Hardy? It's Maggie from The Echo. Rose has collapsed at her desk, there's an ambulance just arrived, they're taking her to the local hospital."

"What? What's wrong with her, is she okay?" Alec was screaming down the phone, cursing himself he had even let her go to work that morning. "I'm on my way, tell the ambulance attendant to make sure she has a private room, no question, understood?"

Maggie was a bit taken aback at his gruffness and the insistence she got her own room. Did he suspect what was wrong with her? If she had been ill before she set off, why had she come to work?

"Yes, I'll do that, they're just taking her out now, I'll go with her until you get there," Maggie volunteered, concerned now about letting her go on her own.

She hung up and picked up Rose's purse and got to the ambulance and asked to be let in. They asked her questions but she couldn't answer most of them and said that Rose's fianc would meet them at the hospital and she was to be put in a private room after she had been examined, thinking that was what Hardy had said.

They got to the hospital, Rose was still out cold but breathing normally and had just been taken into the emergency room when Alec came storming in. Maggie hadn't really seen much of the two of them together but when he entered, he immediately took charge saying Rose was to be taken into a private examination room and waved a piece of paper in front of the nurse which Maggie assumed was private medical insurance. She handed Rose's purse to Alec and said she would leave him to it. Just as she was leaving, Alec realised the woman cared about Rose and caught her arm.

"Thank you for looking after her."

"That's okay, I hope she's okay soon, I'll let the tourist office know."

Rose was taken into a private room and a nurse and a doctor came in to examine her. Alec was still filling out forms and fast losing his temper at the red tape, just wanting to get in the room with her. Maggie had said she suspected it was the heat, sitting near the window but Alec wondered if it was something else. Perhaps she was pregnant after all. Fortunately, Alec had put Rose on his Police medical insurance as his next of kin while he had been contemplating how to ask her to marry him but it was just showing off really. One call to Pete Tyler would fix anything and although she'd never said, she probably had her own insurance, they hadn't discussed it, it hadn't mattered but there were a lot of things he was going to have to find out about her now and she about him, some he didn't want to come to light.

Alec was finally through with the forms and waited for the medical staff coming out, rather impatiently. This was not doing him any good, pacing up and down so he finally took a chair nearest the door and tried to wait. After what seemed like an age, the doctor finally came out and spoke to Alec.

"Are you Miss Tyler's next of kin?" he asked. Alec just nodded.

"She'll be alright, it was heat exhaustion plus she's pregnant, about four to five weeks I'd say, we did some tests. We'll keep her in overnight to be on the safe side. You can go in now, she'll come round soon, she's just sleeping now. You can tell her when she wakes up. Then we'll move her into a private room on the ward. The nurse will keep checking on her."

Alec just stood there, lost for words. She must have either taken the test too soon or it wasn't accurate enough. He had been going to suggest she got a home testing kit and try in a few days but it was confirmed now. He must have been wearing the most stupid grin as people walked past and looked at him. The nurse came out and told him he could go in and she would be back soon.

Alec went in, she was just lying there in a hospital gown, her blonde hair slightly over her face. He pushed a strand back over and kissed her cheek. She didn't stir, she looked beautiful to him as he whispered, "I love you Rose, please wake up."

He sat as near as he could get the chair and took her hand then closed his eyes. Now he had to survive that operation and it would make him more determined than ever because now he had a real family to look after. Sure, they didn't exactly need the money but he prided himself on being able to provide financial support. He thought back on his last marriage, his ex and how it had always been about the money and the status, a detective's status, first when he was a DS then when he was promoted to DI.

He was toying with the idea of getting back to work and putting in for another promotion, he had been a DI for a while and his failed case had put paid to any progression in rank but since he had solved the Latimer case, he had redeemed himself and he had come clean about what happened with the previous one to the local press. He had just found out that morning that Danny Latimer's funeral was going to be on Thursday and hoped Rose would be okay to attend. She would never forgive herself if she couldn't be there. He had also arranged to have a rental car delivered the following morning, he had borrowed the Police one again to get to the hospital, he hadn't yet handed the keys in to the motor pool.

He had been briefing his replacement when the call had come through and nearly hadn't taken it when told it was the newspaper editor until he had been told it was urgent and Rose worked in the same office. He had torn out of his office shouting 'family emergency' as the new DI stared at him when he put his jacket on and was halfway out of the door. Somehow he had managed to keep calm on his way over and didn't know how he'd managed it.

Rose was stirring and opening her eyes, wondering where she was. One minute she had gone back to her desk and the next, everything was a blur. She had been out cold for over two hours. Someone was holding her hand, it was a familiar hand and she knew the touch anywhere Alec. His hands were always warm and hers fitted in them like a glove. He was stroking her cheek with his other hand.


He looked up from where he was staring at her new engagement ring, thinking up until yesterday, when he had got his act together and put it on her finger where it belonged, that he'd never see it there.

"Sweetheart. How are you feeling?"

"A bit dizzy. Where am I?" Then she smiled, realizing there was a plastic tube sticking out of the back of one hand. "Oh, how did I get here? I remember the room going blurred and I think my head landed on my desk. I must have passed out then I guess. How did you know I was here?"

"Maggie called me and I came straight here. They're going to keep you overnight, they'll put you in a private room on the ward."

"Alec, I don't need a private room, I'll be fine. Besides, it will mean a call to my dad then my mum will demand he brings her down here before Saturday," she smiled, knowing what her mother was like all too well.

"Don't worry about that, you're on my medical insurance from the Police department," he had to finally admit to her.

"What did you do that for?" she laughed. "You are a daft lump sometimes Alec, I have my own insurance."

"Well, we never discussed it, all we talked about was you paying for my heart operation. We have to sort all these things out now Rose, you're my responsibility now."

He wasn't going to tell her he'd had it for weeks while he cowered over asking her to marry him.

That was the finality, the moment of realisation for both of them. Rose could look after Alec's physical health and well-being but it was now quite clear who was really in charge and apparently it wasn't Rose. She would have to get used to that. The last thing she wanted to do was take that away from him, despite her position and paying for his operation, it appeared that was going to be his only exception.

"Get some rest Sweetheart, I'm just going to go back and finish up and hand the car back, I've got a rental coming tomorrow and then I'll get a lift back. I'll bring Snuggles with me to cheer you up," he smiled, kissing her cheek. "You know if you're going to call that bear Snuggles, you'll have to call me something else, don't you?"

"Yeah, babe," she smiled back.

Alec smiled and got up, kissing her forehead. Rose held her free arm out and grabbed his jacket lapel.

"Want a proper kiss," she complained.

Alec obliged. Then he realised he'd not told her. She had been out cold when they had told him she was pregnant.

"Oh, I'm sure you can come up with a better name than that, pumpkin," he said, kissing her forehead again and sitting on the edge of the bed.

Rose pretended to consider it.

"None that can be repeated in public," she grinned, pulling him for another kiss.

"Oh I don't know, you could try 'Daddy'," he smiled.

Rose's face was a picture.

Chapter 17

Rose held her hands over her face. They had been right, the test hadn't been accurate enough or just a few more days had made a difference. Alec leaned over and put his arms around her.

"Well, I guess we know now, don't we pumpkin?" he asked, kissing her again.

He'd stopped just as the door opened and the nurse came in.

"We'll take you to another room on the ward, Miss Tyler," she said, spying Alec sat on the bed and about to tell him he shouldn't be there then remembering who he was and didn't think he'd take any notice.

She went out and then back in with another nurse. Alec picked up her purse and followed them to the next floor and they settled her into a room. Alec then said he'd have to leave for an hour or so and Rose said she would call her mother when she'd had a rest, her head was still spinning, partly from passing out and partly from the news which they hadn't had time to discuss.

"I'll be back as soon as I can Sweetheart, just have a rest and we'll call your mother when I get back."

"Okay. You won't tell anyone will you?"

Alec laughed. He had no-one to tell, not even Ellie Miller, who had been the thorn in his side throughout the investigation and now was finally making his peace with her for Rose's sake above all and because Miller, sorry Ellie had not deserved what she had been dealt. Alec kissed her goodbye and went back off to finish his briefing and to see the chief before he left.

"Well Alec, I hope everything goes alright when you have your operation. I hope that girlfriend of yours will be able to cope with you," his chief said.

"Actually, we've just got engaged, yesterday. Thought we'd make it official since we've been living together for the last three months."

It just slipped out, they hadn't even told Rose's family yet, Rose had just wanted to keep it to themselves for a few days but he knew the chief wouldn't tell anyone he hoped. He also hoped his ex wouldn't find out, if his friend had been right and she'd split from her new boyfriend whom she had cheated on Alec with, she might stir up trouble but who was even going to tell her? Not him, he wasn't that stupid but if he were to contact his daughter and inform her he was re-marrying, she would get to know. Maybe he would have to contact his daughter afterwards though it pained him, that was if she would ever talk to him again.

All he had told his daughter before he moved away in a message to her was that he was being transferred to the south coast of England and she hadn't even replied to that. She could find out though if she wanted to, she only had to go to his old station. Alec had no-one else to say goodbye to so he handed his car keys into the Police garage, after checking nothing was left inside and asked for a ride home then to the hospital. He called in to get Rose a nightdress, well a fairly decent one, some toiletries and her teddy.

When he arrived, he was told visiting was over but he took no notice, he kicked up a fuss saying she was in a private room and wouldn't disturb the other patients. The Sister was called and Alec showed her the medical insurance and said since he was paying for a private room for his fianc e he should be allowed to visit and that he was with the Broadchurch Police, getting his ID out to prove it. Since the Sister wasn't getting anywhere and if she called the Police she would be calling him, unaware Alec was now on medical leave, she decided it would be wise to let him in. Pleased with himself, he went to her room. Technically, he was on leave but if they didn't know, he wasn't going to tell them, his ID was still valid.

Rose was asleep when he went in so he just put 'Snuggles' under the covers so she would notice when she woke up. If anyone was cute, it was Rose, she had always said it was him that was cute, in his jeans, his t-shirt and definitely just his shorts but she was the one that was cute in her short skirts, low cut and figure-hugging dresses and the t-shirt she wore that had once been his. The way she put her feet on the glovebox of the car after taking her shoes off, the way she smiled at him and the way every weekend afternoon she wore those socks and let him tickle her feet.

Now here she was, lying in a hospital bed when it should be him in a few weeks time, not her. She was supposed to be looking after him, she wasn't meant to be in here until they had confirmed she was pregnant and her having the baby. He sat down as close as he could and held her hand. After Alec had left the hospital, the nurse had brought her some tea and a tuna sandwich and she had fallen asleep.

She slowly opened her eyes, feeling something soft by her hand, the one that wasn't being held and knew Alec had come back.

"Hi babe."

She reached up for a kiss.

"Hi, how are you feeling? Do you feel up to maybe talking, we didn't have time to talk earlier. The doctor said they did some tests when they brought you in, it was the heat plus you being pregnant. Obviously the test they did on Saturday wasn't accurate enough or we were just a few days too early to tell. You're 4-5 weeks which, well, you know is about right. We never did talk about that properly, did we? I know the reason you gave me but was that it? The real reason?"

Rose held her arms out for Alec to hold her. He wrapped his around her.

"I thought I might lose you Alec, all that talk about operations and not knowing if you were going to make it. I once lost someone else that I loved, he didn't die, he's just a long, long way away and I couldn't bare to lose you as well. That night just seemed right, we were both in a good mood, we'd had a good night out, I was still a bit tipsy but I'd sobered up enough to know full well what I was doing and we both wanted it so badly. Don't get me wrong Alec, what we do now is still amazing but I wanted to be with you properly, even if it was only for one night, I knew you couldn't do it any more and we needed that first time together. That was my first time, in case you hadn't noticed," she smiled.

As if he hadn't. She was being coy about it.

"You're not mad with me, are you Alec?" she continued. "I mean for not talking about it before we did it?"

"No, why should I be? It just would have been nice to know you'd planned it but I wanted it as much as you did, you know that and I'm really sorry it was only that one time, I guess next time we'll have to wait until I'm well again."

"You mean the next time we have sex properly or the next time you get me pregnant?" she laughed.

"You just watch out when I'm well again Rose, you won't know what hit you," he smiled back. He was going to say Rose Hardy but it was a bit too soon. He still had to execute the rest of his plan getting married. Then he added, "The next time I get you pregnant, believe me Rose, the other part will come long before that. That's if you still want to when I'm well, you could be a few months along before then."

"What do you mean if? Of course I will, what makes you think I won't still want you?"

Then she realised, that was what his ex had done, excluded him when she was having their daughter, not wanting anything to do with him. Well that was never going to happen. She reached her arms out to him and put them around his neck.

"I love you so much Alec, the only time I won't want to be with you will be when I either get too big or I'm feeling sick and when I am, we'll find another way because you're in this for the full nine months detective, so get used to it, no worming your way out of it, this is our baby, not just mine."

She held him close, Alec felt like crying, not that he would let her see. He buried his head in her neck.

"I love you pumpkin and I'm not going anywhere, we're in this together." He kissed her neck then held her tightly again, never wanting to let her go. "So, we have plans to make as soon as you come home but you'd best ring your mother, you have two things to tell her now but best tell her we got engaged before you tell her about the baby," he smiled.

Rose made the dreaded call, it was all she could do to stop her mother getting the first train down or demanding Pete got someone to drive her down.

"Mum, I'm fine, Alec's taking great care of me."

"Then why are you in hospital?"

"I just came for some tests, I was feeling a bit dizzy, that's all. I didn't know until they told me, it must have been all the excitement of getting engaged."

Jackie had already asked how far along she was.

Jackie was most put out for not being informed they had got engaged when it actually happened but to find out in the same phone call that Rose was pregnant and she'd never even met this Alec Hardy, well, it was a bit much to say the least. She had to take Pete's word that he was a good man and that he loved Rose. She still had to give him her seal of approval and it looked now like she had no choice to accept him, since they were getting married and Rose was pregnant. A few months ago she would have never believed it, then this Hardy bloke came along and that was it. She never thought Rose would get over losing The Doctor, let alone start a new life. She had been warned by Pete that when she met him she was not to gawk at him, say he looked like a certain alien and not call him Doctor. Most of all, to say nothing about their past life.

Pete had also warned Jake and Mickey that the detective Rose was in love with bore a strange resemblance to the Timelord and they were to say nothing either. Pete thought though that Alec deserved to know some of the truth and planned having another chat with him while they were visiting. If he was worthy, he would take it all in his stride. Pete doubted anything would phase him.

After managing to get away from her mother, they talked about the baby, going to her own doctor and booking into the hospital and making sure she had a private room and then Alec going with her for all her appointments and scans. Alec was overjoyed, he'd never had this kind of involvement before and he was at a loss somewhat. He left just after eight, wanting her to get some sleep and said he'd be back to pick her up in the morning, he was having a car delivered at nine in the morning and he'd be straight over after he got it. They kissed goodnight, the first time they'd been apart, Rose didn't want him to leave which was why he had brought the bear.

"Don't worry Rose, I'll be back in the morning, Snuggles here will keep you company, just pretend you're hugging me." He kissed her again and she let go, hugging the bear. Alec gently kissed the bear and Rose held it to her lips. "See, I'm still here. Get some sleep."

Rose called for the nurse to help her to the bathroom, she was still light headed and unsteady on her feet, Alec had helped her earlier then after some tea and some biscuits, she settled down for the night, with the substitute snuggles, hugging the bear tightly. When Alec got home, he made himself something to eat, glad Rose had bought some fairly easy to cook meals but missed her being there. He was never going to survive being in hospital for weeks on end when he had his operation if he couldn't go one night. He now believed he knew why Rose had taken him in after that first night he had stayed.

The next morning, he waited for his rental car to be delivered, almost the same as the one he'd had before, Rose had liked the space it provided and the comfortable seats, Alec thought it made him look impressive and the rental wasn't that bad a deal for two weeks, enough to get them around this week and go any place with her family next week and maybe take her brother out and let her parents have a day on their own. Plus if Ellie's boys wanted to go out as well over the weekend, there would be room for them. He hoped Rose was going to give her friend the good news, not that he thought Miller approved of him, she was very protective of Rose but the news she was having a baby.

Rose was sat on the side of the bed, already dressed when Alec walked in to collect her and she got up to fling her arms around him and kissed him, then rested her head on his shoulder.

"Missed you last night, good job I had Snuggles here, we had a good talk," she smiled, picking up the bear and waving it at him.

"Be careful Rose, I've locked people up for less than that," he joked. "Can you go now?"

"Just waiting to be discharged and get a letter for my own doctor to get booked in for a scan. I don't want to know what we're having you know, do you?"

"Absolutely not, I want a surprise, I knew my ex was having a girl, not that it made any difference. I'm not going to talk about it, it's over with, she doesn't want anything to do with me so until she gets older and maybe changes her mind, there's nothing else I can do. If she contacts me then that's different. Don't feel sorry for me Rose."

Despite him saying that she did feel sorry for him and was going to make it up to him by involving him in everything, he'd be glad when it was all over she was going to make him work at it. Maybe not get pampered but enough to make him realise she wasn't like his ex. He would know every aspect about the pregnancy, every kick, every scan, rubbing her feet, the works. Mind you, he already did that - sort of.

Alec was called out of the room to collect Rose's discharge papers and came back to help her out, wanting to take her in a chair but she insisted they walked slowly, the bear tucked under her arm.

Alec made sure she was comfy on the sofa when they got home and Rose called Ellie, asking her to come over which she did. She had her youngest with her and Alec volunteered to take him across to the beach to make sandcastles and Rose whispered he was going to make a great dad which made him beam.

Rose told Ellie what had happened, her going for the test and being negative then Alec proposing on the beach and putting the ring on the bear's paws and then the visit from his doctor. Ellie took it all in, not believing things had happened so fast.

"Tell me about it Ellie, you think it's all happened so fast," laughed Rose. "Then I got to work yesterday morning, collapsed in the heat, got taken to hospital and found out I was pregnant after all. It must have been too early for the test to pick it up. I know you never really got on with Alec but there was a reason for that."

Ellie was intrigued. "You mean I had to put up with him for your sake?" she asked.

"No, because he told me he needed you to keep him focused, to question him and to disagree with him. He said he couldn't work with anyone who was a friend and I think I know why although he's never actually told me. Swear you won't say anything to him."

Ellie promised. Rose continued. She couldn't talk to Alec about it but Ellie was her best friend.

"I think maybe he used to work with his ex wife, then a case went sour and it was her fault. He didn't actually say much about it but it all came out recently as you saw in the paper, he never said he was working the case with her but I think he was and she betrayed him, at work and in their marriage."

"That explains it then I suppose. Still, he didn't have to be so grumpy with it, did he?"

Rose smiled. "Well he's never grumpy with me."

"He wouldn't would he, he was living with you all that time before you even told me, I'm really surprised at you Rose."

"You were in the middle of a murder investigation, he was your boss, what was I supposed to do? I tried to stay friends with you as best I could, I lost my friendship with Beth because of it and so did you. Danny's funeral is on Thursday, Alec and I are going. I don't suppose you can go, can you?" Ellie shook her head sadly. "If you like, we can take Tom for you, it starts at eleven, I expect his classmates will be going, we can call for him if you show us where your caravan is. Have you settled in there for now?"

"Yes, it's nice although the boys have to share but Tom goes in my bedroom until bedtime. They love it, we went swimming yesterday and this morning I took Fred into the play area earlier before we came here. The best thing is, they're all holiday makers, no-one knows us and I checked in under my maiden name."

"That's good, are you going to look for somewhere to rent or are you going to wait and sell your house?"

"I don't know when they'll be finished with it, it's taking longer than I expected. I don't think I could go back there, I think we'll just move away. I was going to see the chief about going back part-time maybe in Dorchester or somewhere in Devon, Exeter maybe, where they don't know me. Maybe I could rent a house in Dorchester until we get sorted, it's going to be difficult selling the house to locals but maybe someone from out of town will buy it."

Ellie got up and crossed to the window, watching for Alec and her son and saw two figures on the rocky beach just a little further down, a man and a small boy. She smiled, never thinking she would trust her ex boss to look after her youngest son. Rose joined her at the window and smiled herself.

"He's going to make a good dad, Rose, never thought I'd hear myself say that," Ellie admitted.

Rose put her hand on Ellie's shoulder. "You can talk to me you know, tell me how you're feeling, I won't tell Alec, it will just be between us."

"I can't Rose, I don't know how I feel except angry and betrayed. All those years together, how long had it been going on? Were there others? Another woman, yeah, I can understand that, perhaps as daft as it sounds, another man but a boy? Our best friends boy? He might never have been convicted before but how many others were there, was Danny the first?"

Rose could see her friend was getting upset and changed the subject.

"We're not going to ask what we're having, even when I go for a scan, we want it to be a surprise."

Ellie realised what Rose was doing, that was she did. Everyone who touched Rose could see how different she was. She was never judgemental, always willing to listen and she helped people and she had clearly helped Alec Hardy. Ellie often wondered who she really was.

"Who are you Rose?" she asked out of the blue.

"You know who I am Ellie, Rose Tyler, soon to be Rose Hardy, I'm happy to say." Rose laughed, wondering what had brought this on.

"No, there's more to you and if I was the suspicious type, well I am actually, I'd say you're hiding something."

Rose went quiet. All the time she had known Ellie and Beth she had kept the fact from them of who she was. It wasn't that she thought they would be friends with her for her money or her status, she knew they weren't, the three of them had a unique friendship. It was because she didn't like constantly being reminded and wanted to be left alone from media attention that came with the name. When she had first arrived on this world, Pete had put a press embargo on her and Jackie for months and it was only when he had married her mother did it all come to light with an elaborate cover story.

After the birth of her younger brother, Rose had gone off on her own and she liked it that way. Then Alec Hardy had walked into her life. She watched him in the distance, she could spot him a mile off, he seemed to be bending down and looking at something, probably showing young Fred a rock pool or something to keep the boy's attention. Ellie looked like she was ready to leave so Rose sent Alec a message to come back and they watched him pick the boy up and make his way back to the footpath. She wasn't sure he should be picking the boy up but he had been a lot better lately.

"Alec's waiting to hear about having an operation you know, did I tell you?"

"No, when's that going to be?"

"Soon we hope but I have a feeling he'll want us to get married before he goes for it, in case something happens."

"That's understandable, he'll want you to be provided for if something does happen, for you and the baby."

"I don't want to be provided for, I want him."

Now it was Ellie's turn to put her arm around Rose and suddenly her problems didn't seem so bad.

"He'll be fine Rose, he loves you and he's got everything to live for now."

They heard the door opening, never noticing he had since crossed the road and came in with the boy, who was clutching an ice cream cone that was to big for him. Ellie just looked at Alec and rolled her eyes to which he just grinned. Rose went up to him and put her arms around him.

Chapter 18

After Ellie and her son left, making arrangements to pick up Tom for Danny's funeral, Alec made Rose some lunch and they ventured out for a walk just along the coastal path and Alec sat her down, wanting them to have a good talk.

"Rose, we still have plenty to talk about. For one, we'll have to think about moving, rent a house somewhere and I'm talking about us because I'm going to either get over that operation properly or we'll make do but I'm not giving up, I might have done at some point but not now, I have a proper family to look after and you're both going to need me. Oh, Rose," he said, taking both her hands, "I wish we'd met all that time ago, before I made the biggest mistake of my life but you were only young back then and it would have been impossible but if I'd met you even a year ago, I wouldn't be in the mess I'm in now."

Rose brushed his cheek with her hand. She wanted to say she wasn't even in this world all that time ago. It wasn't fair, she wanted so much to tell him but knew it would drive him away and she had the baby to think about now.

"So do I Alec, I hate the thought of you going through all that on your own, I wish I could have been there to help you."

Alec put his arms around her despite people walking past, with their children and dogs.

"Rose, you have made such a big difference to my life, I couldn't ask for anything more than you being here now. We are having this baby so don't think you are going to get rid of me that easily, Rose Hardy."

Rose smiled, she could get used to that.

"Let's not wait then but Alec, if the pills you are on are working at the moment, why don't you put off the operation until after the baby is born? I mean, why take the risk? When you decided you wanted to go for it, we didn't know I was pregnant but now, we know for definite and it doesn't matter to me about, you know, what happens in bed, I just want you to be there, with me when the baby comes. I'm going to need you."

She snuggled up close to him and kissed his cheek, the only show of affection they gave each other while out but Alec didn't care any more, he reached down and kissed her lightly on the lips and thought just how amazing she was. He brushed a strand of her hair back and touched her cheek.

"Rose, I want to be a proper husband to you, I failed before, not through any fault of my own, I really tried but now, you gave me another chance. I want us to bring this baby up together, I have no intentions of leaving you on your own. We both know the risks Rose, we made the choice. I could stay on the pills a few years more, yes but I'd have to have the operation sooner or later and the longer I leave it, the less chance I'll have. It's best I have it now Sweetheart."

Rose had a tear in her eyes and just held on to him and had a thought maybe, just maybe, Torchwood had something that could cure him without having the operation but did she want to expose him to them? She knew very little about them except that they weren't as bad as those in her world and Jake and Mickey still worked there but Pete had very little to do with them. Alec was right, he should have it now, was it fair he could have a few years with them and then be taken but it was unfair he may never get to see his child. There was no ideal solution and she saw no way out but to go ahead with their plan.

"I just don't want our child to grow up without you, you know I lost my dad when I was only six months old, I don't want that happening to our baby."

Rose turned sideways and put her arms around his waist.

Alec got up and pulled Rose to her feet.

"Come on, let's get back home and tomorrow, we'll go down to Weymouth and go choose some wedding rings, then we'll go to the Town Hall and plan our wedding because we're not waiting Rose, I want us to be married before I have that operation. Now why don't we go home, you put on your new socks and we'll get comfy on the sofa for a while then I'll take you out later to celebrate?"

"Yeah, that's a plan but you forgot one thing, you haven't met my mother yet, she'll insist on a big wedding," Rose smiled as she took his hand.

"Well we'll just have to beat her to it, a small wedding here in town, next week while they're here. How about next Wednesday? That's as good a day as any. We can have a few days with your family, then go off for a few days, we could drive to Torquay or somewhere for our honeymoon or we can wait until a week on Saturday, before they go home, it depends when I hear about a hospital appointment. What do you think?"

They had reached home and Alec let them in. Rose decided this needed some thinking about.

"We can talk about it when I go put my new socks on. Will you load the washing machine please? And don't forget to put my pumpkin socks in, will you?"

Alec smiled. "You're the one that keeps forgetting to put those socks in Rose, not me," he laughed, going into the bathroom to get the laundry basket. "Anything else to go in?"

Since when had he got all domestic and doing the laundry? Since Rose showed him how to work the washing machine and the tumble dryer.

Rose went in and changed her socks, feeling the fluffy new ones on her feet and changing into her jeans and a sleeveless vest top, leaving off her bra and leaving the buttons open and went to lay on the sofa. They had a few hours before thinking about going out and it would be well spent. Alec came back in and smiled at Rose, lying on the sofa, her skin exposed over the vest top she was wearing, all the buttons undone and her jeans button open, a last minute touch when she had laid down. Rose smiled back and beckoned him to come and sit by her feet, wanting him to make a start.

He took the hint and leaned down to kiss her, catching one of her feet and making her jump. They both broke their kiss and laughed then he got down to the serious stuff which Rose enjoyed. First he tickled her feet then taking the socks off and doing it again only more gently, giving her a sensual pleasure as she lay, Alec sitting by her feet with her legs over his. Then he leaned down and lifted a foot and kissed it, making her giggle even more until she was squirming for him to stop. When he thought she'd had enough, he kept one hand on her foot, still touching her toes as she giggled then with the other hand, he reached for the zip of her jeans, pulling it down and pulling the jeans down over her hips, revealing her black lacy knickers.

Then he moved himself towards her and began kissing her tummy, thinking to himself how this time was different, their baby was growing in there and moved his hand down her knickers, pulling them down and kissing lower down as Rose reached to unfasten his jeans, Alec was helping by making a gap so she could get her hand down the back of them. Then, by mutual agreement, they rid themselves of their jeans, leaving Alec just in his shorts when he had already taken his t-shirt off and then he leaned down, taking a nip at her skin, showing through her vest top then kissing them, one hand on them and the other further down.

That was his cue to move her legs and free himself, Rose moving onto her side to allow him to lie in front of her then helping her climb on him, pulling his shorts down just enough for them to touch. They lay together, it was the first time since they had discovered she was pregnant and it was making no difference to them as they moaned each others names. Her hands were around his neck, then on his shoulders as they moved together, Rose moved back down and felt a wave crashing over her, Alec smiled as he felt her move, he knew what it was and he loved it when she did it. He felt it was all worthwhile, making his Rose happy.

When she recovered slightly, she lay on him, reaching to kiss his chest and raised herself off him slightly to run her fingers over it, whispering "Babe" as she did. Alec was still smiling, trying to figure out how he deserved this much pleasure, that she would go out her way to make him feel wanted, always giving something back instead of just taking. They would often lie on the sofa together, Alec just taking his t-shirt or shirt off and Rose would kiss him, not expecting him to do the same to her and sometimes he didn't, sometimes he was content with just letting her do it to him. Sometimes it was the other way around, they had a game of give and take, in no particular order, just enjoying themselves.

Rose eventually moved onto her side, Alec turning with her as they continued kissing. Then he got up, pulling up his jeans then pulling hers up leaning back down to kiss her and put his hand on her tummy.

Rose smiled. "You're not going to feel anything yet babe, it's too soon," she said, taking his hand and holding it there.

"I can wait, I'm going to check every day, just in case." Then he leaned down and kissed her tummy, "I love you both," he whispered.

Rose ruffled his hair and Alec grinned. "You're a big softy Alec Hardy, do you know that?" she smiled.

She had all but forgotten how much he looked like The Doctor until she saw his ruffled hair, all stuck up. She ruffled it some more.

"It's just as well I'm not going back to work, pumpkin, I'll have my work cut out straightening my hair."

"Maybe you should just leave it like that, it suits you," Rose smiled back, trying to stop him from smoothing it back.

Alec looked at her, was she serious? She was turning him back into a teenager. Then he thought about it, he needed to lighten up he was going to be a dad again and have to keep up with one, maybe more children, he needed to look younger. Rose was grinning at him, then she lay against his chest and curled her legs up on him when he sat down. He wrapped one arm around her to support her then pressed the remote on the TV, wanting to catch up on the news and Rose lay contented against him, occasionally kissing his neck and rubbing his beard. He hadn't shaved that morning and it was growing back a bit more but she didn't seem to mind, perhaps she preferred it that way but it had made him look and feel younger.

After dealing with the laundry, they went to get changed and Alec said he'd take them to the quiet pub again they had been to before and they set off after a short delay when he was hindering Rose by not fastening her zip and kissing her neck instead. They still had a lot to talk about and Rose brought up the subject of maybe buying a house but Alec thought he'd never get the finance. Rose knew she would but how to bring up the subject? Alec was very independent.

"We might get the finance if we use both our names, I'm certain you would just have to mention my name and they'll be falling over themselves to offer." Alec looked at her like she wasn't being serious. Rose noticed and added, "Or not. There is another way, get my dad to buy us a place and we pay him back, that way we'll own it from the start and if I have any money left over from your operation, it can go towards it."

"I need to think about that, I thought we'd just be renting."

"We'll have more choice if we buy Alec, if we want to stay in and around Broadchurch. When you go back to work, you don't want to be travelling too far. Did I tell you Ellie was thinking about going back to work?" Alec shook his head and took a bite of his meal. "She's thinking of moving to Dorchester or somewhere and getting a transfer."

"Good, she should never have left, it wasn't her fault her husband was a rat," he mused.

Rose looked at him. To think Ellie's husband had cooked them dinner a few weeks ago, which led to her and Alec's passionate night with her ending up pregnant and then inviting them back to their home just over two weeks ago. It was hard to comprehend. She didn't want to keep talking about it.

They drove home and when they arrived back it was after ten and Alec noticed someone sat on the sea wall opposite and the policeman in him took over. It looked like a young girl and she was sat staring at her phone, a large holdall at her feet. He got out of the car and pointed to the figure sat opposite.

"Alec, is that a girl?
' rose asked him. "She doesn't look very old, what's she doing here at this time?"

"I think we should go and check on her, unless you want to stay here?"

"No way, it will be better if I'm there, she won't be as scared."

Alec got his ID out of his jacket pocket and they crossed over the road. The girl looked startled as they approached, being lost in thought staring at her phone. She had dark clothing, jeans and a black hooded top with the hood pulled over and Rose was getting nervous, thinking the girl might be wanting to lure them over then someone else jump over the wall and attack them. Alec of course knew how to keep his distance and stood where he could see over the wall and keep just enough space so he could be ready if she launched herself at them.

"Dad?" the girl asked, seeing Alec under the street lamp and pulling her hood down revealing long brown hair, tied back.

"Daisy!" he exclaimed, holding his arms out to her as she got up and ran towards him. He caught her and she put her arms around him.

Rose was just standing, watching the reunion. "What are you doing here? It's gone ten, how long have you been here?"

"The bus dropped me off just after nine so I went to the police station and told them who I was. The desk sergeant told me you lived just around the corner so I figured I'd sit on the wall and wait for you. I was going to call you but I'm out of credit, just enough to send a text message but I was trying to think what to say. I didn't think 'Hey I'm sat outside on the wall opposite your apartment' was quite the best way. How did you manage to even get an apartment?"

Then she let go and observed Rose, who had been watching and not wanting to interrupt. Alec let go of his daughter and went back to Rose, putting his arm around her.

"Daisy, this is Rose. Rose, this is my daughter Daisy Hardy. Say hello Sweetheart."

Rose held her arms out to hug the girl, she was his daughter after all.

"Hi, it's really nice to finally meet you. Your dad had been worried because he could never get hold of you, he's tried all the time since he's been here."

Rose let go, allowing the girl to speak and she noticed the ring on Rose's finger.

"Oh, you're engaged," the girl smiled. "I suppose I would have found out if I'd bothered to answer your calls or replied to your messages," she said cheekily.

Alec smiled. "Come on, let's get you inside, how long were you going to wait out here? How did you know we were out?"

"Well you may be a detective but it doesn't take much to work out there was no car outside and no lights on upstairs. I saw a woman go around the side and a light came on under your place. The desk sergeant said yours was the one on the end. I would have given you another half hour and sent the message for you to call me. If you'd been in, you would have been across to me an hour ago to arrest me for loitering."

Rose could see the girl didn't get her mannerisms from Alec, nor her sense of humour although he had his moments when they were fooling around. Rose decided to take charge.

"Come on then, you can sleep on the sofa tonight then we'll figure out what to do with you in the morning. Does your mother know you're here?"

The girl stopped and stared at Rose. Alec picked up his daughter's holdall and stood behind her.

"Daisy, answer Rose's question please."

The girl turned around. "Why do you think I'm here, she doesn't care. She's too busy trying to get that loser Dave back he left her and she went running after him. She was missing shifts and she was never in. She just made sure there was food in the freezer and left me to it. It's been going on for weeks after he left. I don't blame him, she was smothering him after he moved in with us. I saved my money from my Saturday job the past few weeks until I had enough for a bus ticket down here. I left her a note on the table, doesn't look like she's found it yet, she's not rang and screamed down the phone at me yet. I've been travelling for ages, had to change and had to wait an hour, the bus stopped all over the place. I just had enough money to buy some food on the way down. Do you have anything to eat, I'm staving."

She put her arm in Alec's free arm and said, "Lead on, the sofa sounds great to me. In case you never noticed dad, I left school, mum wanted to send me to college but she wasn't around to do anything about it. Do they even have colleges here?"

They had crossed the road and Rose opened the door and they went upstairs, putting the lights on. Alec put the holdall down and Rose went to make drinks and some sandwiches for the girl, who flopped down on the sofa, clearly exhausted from her journey. She took the sandwiches gratefully and looked at her dad.

"You're not going to send me back are you?"

She saw the look on his face as he sat on the sofa holding Rose's hand.

"No, I'm not, you're sixteen now, you can make your own mind up but if you'd said you were coming, we would have been in and been prepared for you. You must be tired, I'll go get you a duvet and a pillow. This was just Rose's apartment, her mother and brother stay sometimes and she has spare bedding."

He got up to go to the linen cupboard in the bathroom, squeezing Rose's hand.

Daisy looked at Rose, figuring she was a lot younger than her parents and far too young for her dad.

"So how long have you two been together then?" she asked.

Rose smiled. "Just over three months and before you ask, your dad moved in with me a few days after he moved here." She wasn't going to discuss their arrangements with his daughter.

Alec came back with the bedding, one of his plain t-shirts and a pair of Rose's pyjama bottoms she never wore any more and put them on the chair arm.

"You can unpack tomorrow, get some sleep and help yourself to breakfast in the morning if we're not up."

The girl guessed there was only one bedroom then and her dad was not offering to take the sofa.

Chapter 19

After Rose and Alec got to their bedroom, they had to speak in lowered voices and Alec couldn't apologise enough, thinking Rose would be really mad his daughter had just turned up out of the blue with no warning but she wasn't and reassured him she wasn't.

"Rose, I'm really sorry about this, I had no idea she would track me down but having two detectives in the family, it's hardly surprising some of it didn't rub off on her. The question now is do I really send her back?"

Rose looked horrified. "No way Alec, you're not sending her back, you heard what she said. You can't send her back to an empty house, why do you think she ran away? Don't you think you should let her mother know where she is though?"

"Do you really think she cares? She would have called Daisy or at least shouted down the phone to me she had gone missing. She probably thinks she's in her room and will call tomorrow, I'm going to leave it for now, I know she's safe, let's see if her mother actually cares."

"Was it really that bad Alec?"

Alec looked at her. He had never really gone into great details about his divorce and Rose had never pressed him about it.

"Yes, it was. She left me taking Daisy with her. She moved into a rented house and moved her new boyfriend in within a few weeks, before the divorce came through. I gave up the house we were renting, we never got around to buying one thankfully and I got a one bedroom flat and put everything else in storage. She took some of it when I gave her the option. I never even told her where I was transferring to, what did she care?"

Alec looked tired and Rose could tell. "Come on Snuggles, let's go to bed and we'll decide what to do in the morning. Looks like we'll have to move pretty quick now and we'll have to rent somewhere for now, it will be quicker. Are we still going down to Weymouth tomorrow? We're not changing our plans are we?"

"No, we're not changing our plans. She can come with us, she knows we're engaged. What are we going to do about the funeral? She won't want to come with us."

"I'll ask Ellie if Daisy can stay with her for a few hours when we go pick Tom up."

Alec was cringing at the thought of Miller knowing he had a teenage daughter and had been married before but had to agree with Rose, this had been sprung on him and they needed help and Ellie was the only one he trusted, strangely. They kept their noise to a minimum because Rose was tired after her ordeal of yesterday and then trying to sleep in the hospital, which proved nearly impossible. Alec hadn't slept much either. The excitement he was going to be a dad again and proving he was incapable of ever sleeping alone again and the next morning, Rose woke up to Alec kissing her cheek and a cup of tea.

"Morning sunshine, your tea," he said, leaning over her in his t-shirt and a pair of grey jogging trousers Rose had got him to buy for emergencies. "I'll make you breakfast when you get up, Daisy's having hers and she insists she can fend for herself. She doesn't want to be fused over. We do have time for our usual snuggle you know."

He climbed back into bed and Rose curled up on him.

"I explained we were going out and she could come with us or she could stay with a friend of ours for a few hours. All I got was 'Don't you trust me or something' out of her."

"Well it's hardly surprising she has a bit of an attitude, being abandoned like that. We have to show her we can trust her, leave it to me."

Alec knew from that moment that his fianc e was going to take charge and accept the girl. Despite the small age-gap between Rose and his daughter, Rose was always acting beyond her age and he often wondered why that was. Little did he know it was due to travelling another universe and constantly being chased by aliens and monsters or rescuing people. She'd had to grow up fast and was no longer the shy nineteen year old shop girl she once was.

Rose got dressed to go shopping after he changed into his jeans and he went to get Rose her breakfast. Rose walked into the kitchen to find scrambled eggs and toast keeping warm under the grill. Alec's daughter was playing with her phone and Rose kissed Alec's cheek and said "Thanks" and sat down at the kitchen table. Daisy just rolled her eyes, as if she'd not had enough of her mother acting more her own age, she had to find her father doing the same with this Rose.

Rose finished her breakfast then called Ellie and explained quickly about Alec's teenage daughter turning up last night and Ellie had been sympathetic, saying they could rely on her not to say anything and if she wanted to come over any time, they could take Freddie out for the morning.

"Daisy, your dad explained we were going out today. He told you we're getting married. Well we were going to choose our rings today, we're going down to Weymouth then going to the Town Hall to fix a date. Please don't think you're not welcome, you weren't to know how things were. You can come with us, there's loads of shops down there, you should go get some credit on your phone and call your mother, let her know you're okay and if you want, you can go buy anything you need, we'll give you some money."

The girl thought about it. She had no idea her father had got himself a girlfriend and was getting married again. Who would have ever thought it? Her mother hadn't even thought about marrying that clown Dave and had the nerve to call her dad a loser. Well the laugh was on her mother, at least her dad had moved on properly and Rose seemed nice and she had been concerned about her. She thought she would give it a go but not give Rose an easy ride so soon.

"I'll come with you then, I left in a hurry and I'm not calling my mum, I've been gone over 24hrs and she's not even sent a text asking where the hell I am. She's probably not even been home yet. Can you call her Dad?"

Alec had to reluctantly agree, even if it was only to save him further anguish of being shouted at down the phone. He left the two women in the kitchen and went into the living room, finding his ex's number which he should have deleted a long time ago. Why he'd not called her when Daisy hadn't answered, he didn't know.

He pressed the call button and waited. He wished the ground would swallow him. He didn't even have to say anything as his ex's voice shrilled down the phone at him.

"I suppose that was your idea then Alec, Daisy left a note and said she's gone to live with you and not to try to get her to come back. So?"

"No, Tess, it was not my idea. She never answered my calls or texts, why would she have taken any notice of me? She's sixteen, not six and like you've only just noticed she's actually gone. And what's this about you not being around to enrol her in college, hmm? You took her away Tess, not me. You wouldn't let me see her, you never let me be part of her life even when she was growing up. I had to work shifts where I never saw her because she was going to school or she was going to bed. Anyway, that's not why I called, I'm not going through that again."

His ex went quiet. "Well if she's with you and she doesn't want to come back, you can put her into college. Where are you anyway? No-one at the station would say where you've gone. Did you tell them not to say anything to me? That's just typical of you Alec Hardy."

He really didn't want to get in another argument, it was mostly her that had put him in the condition he was in now. It was time to end it once and for all. He was moving on, with Rose but he wasn't going to tell her that.

"She can stay with me, I'm renting an apartment and I'll enrol her in college, don't worry, you won't have to do a thing. Just you go back to chasing that rat you took off with, never mind our daughter. Just because she's sixteen doesn't mean to say she doesn't need someone to take care of her but hey, I'll do that even if you won't. Don't bother trying to find out where I am."

He was certainly not going to tell her he was going to have an operation or he was getting married again. Maybe afterwards he might but only if he had to.

He went back in the kitchen and Rose and his daughter were laughing about something. He stood watching them as they noticed he was there. He went up to Rose and stood behind her, putting his arms around her and kissing the top of her head.

"Hope you're not laughing about me," he said, moving around and taking a seat.

Rose smiled at him. "Well, that would be telling, wouldn't it?" She was giving nothing away. "So, all sorted? Because we have a lot of things to discuss now and we were waiting for you to join us but I've told her you're waiting to go for an operation and we plan on getting married when my family comes down. Did I miss anything?"

Alec looked at her. She was taking this very well. Their plans could have been turned upside down yet Rose had remained calm.

"Why didn't you say you were ill Dad? You let me think the worse of you, that case, Mum lying about it wasn't her, why did you take the blame and make me hate you and it make you ill?"

Alec couldn't answer. He had put out a statement about what had happened and his superiors had cleared his record and he was now eligible for promotion and the whole sorry thing had been put to rest, with the exception that no conviction was ever made but it was now officially known Alec was not to blame.

"Daisy, I did it for you. Your mother and I had long since stopped caring about each other and it was nothing you had done, it wasn't your fault. She left and took you with her, where else would you have gone? I was getting ill and I couldn't have taken care of you so I made everyone think it was me to save you."

Daisy got up and hugged Alec. "You didn't have to do that, you got worse because of me."

Tears were now in her eyes as she hugged him and Alec got up, taking hold of her and let her cry. He looked at Rose who also got up and put her arms around them both. Now they were a family.

Rose broke the silence as they stood. "Oh and as for college, You should wait a while, you've missed the start of term anyway." She spoke to Alec. "When you go in hospital for your operation, I'll need to stay close by and just return home occasionally so I was thinking of staying in a nearby hotel until it's over then when you come out, well it will be a bit cramped so I'll find us somewhere temporary while we get moved. If we can't find a house to rent, there are plenty of caravans, Ellie had no trouble getting one. Daisy, you can either stay here or stay with me in the hotel."

The girl didn't have to think about it. "I think I would rather stay at the hotel with you, if that's okay?"

She dried her tears and sat back down again.

"Oh, so you've already got things organised have you?" Alec laughed. "When were you planning on telling me? Anything else you'd like to add?"

Rose looked at Daisy. "It's going to be cramped here, I mean a few nights won't be so bad but my family are renting a large three bedroom caravan for a week, they have a spare room, you could stay there at night. We'll all be together during the day anyway and we'll be eating together, you can stay overnight with them. Is that okay?"

Daisy just stared at her, then looked at her dad. "Well I can see why you're marrying her Dad, she's got you sussed to start with. What will your parents think, they might not like the idea of taking a stranger in."

"Then you don't know my mother, she'll spoil you to death. Anyway, you're family, she'll be insulted if you turned it down. I'm going to call her now and tell her, then she can ring the caravan park and add your name to their party. You'll love it there, there's a swimming pool and a club, Ellie's kids love it."

Alec and his daughter just looked at her.

"What?" Rose asked, seeing their faces.

"You. My daughter turns up at ten at night and you just take her in no questions asked. Why?"

He looked over at Daisy, who was taking it all in. She thought he rather had a point and couldn't see her own mother doing that.

Alec was distracted by the noise of the letterbox downstairs and went to retrieve the mail. He came back up with a letter that had the hospital logo on it and Rose couldn't wait for him to open it, wanting to snap it from him. Both women looked at him as he opened it carefully, then he showed it to Rose. The appointment was for Friday at 11am. It was surprising if you were willing to pay just how fast an appointment was made.

Daisy wanted to know how he had got one so fast, Rose had told her his doctor had only seen him last Sunday. Rose looked at Alec and decided the girl needed to know who she was. Rose quickly told her about who her stepfather was and the girl was at a loss. How had her father ended up with the heiress to the Vitex fortune?

Rose made her promise she wouldn't tell anyone, not even her friend Ellie. Ellie had of course met her family loads of times, she and Jackie had become good mates but Jackie never revealed anything about her family, mainly so she wouldn't find out about Rose, at her insistence she didn't need the family fortune to make friends.

Rose called her mother and explained about Alec's daughter and didn't get quite the reaction she had expected, somewhere along the lines of 'You either fall for an alien or someone who's divorced' but got neither.

"Well that settles it, of course she can stay with us, that makes her family. The poor girl, having to leave home like that. At least you were nineteen before you left home to chase after that alien of yours and fancy her mother making her think it was poor Alec who was in the wrong. I'd like to give that woman a piece of my mind."

She would too, given half the chance. Tess Hardy wouldn't know what had hit her.

"I'll get your dad to change the booking and add her to our party. Tony will love the company. So what's she like?"

"She seems nice but troubled which is hardly surprising considering she's been left to her own devices for goodness knows how long. She didn't grow up on a council estate like I did. Anyway, she can sleep on the sofa a few nights, then with you for a week and Alec's just got his hospital appointment through for Friday so he might be going for his operation soon. We'll talk about it when you get here, call me when you've booked in and we'll come down, it's only a few minutes walk. I need to talk to dad about something as well when you get here."

Rose said goodbye and went back to the kitchen to find them talking. Alec was smiling, something his daughter clearly wasn't used to.

"Rose, I was just saying to Daisy about your younger brother and I've not even met him or your mother yet. Is everything settled?"

"Yeah, she's only too happy to let you stay with them, they'll get you added to their booking. Are you two ready to go out?"

"I'm ready, I don't suppose I can have some spending money Dad?"

Alec smiled and went to his jacket pocket to get his wallet out and handed her some notes.

"Get your phone credit then you can at least call me and give Rose your number. We'll go off on our own if you want to have some time to get what you need, then we'll meet up. Rose and I are choosing our wedding rings and you need something to wear for our wedding, so does Rose so you two can meet up and go dress shopping and I need to get myself another suit."

Rose looked up, then at Daisy. "Oh, I was hoping you'd wear a kilt Alec, I'd love to see you in a kilt, what does he look like in one?"

"I only saw him wearing it once or twice at family get-togethers and not for a long time. What did you do with it Dad?" his daughter asked.

"It's in storage, I never thought I would need it down here. Perhaps I could hire one or have it sent down. I could ask Alistair to send it down or bring it down, I left the key to the storage room with the office."

"Well, I'll leave that to you to sort out, Daisy and I have our own outfits to sort out. It's a good thing I'm still the same size then I don't have to get a size up. Oh, that's a thing, I'm going to have to start buying new clothes."

She was horrified at the thought, having to get clothes that would fit her for another eight months or so.

Daisy looked at Rose, then her dad. "Did you two forget to tell me something?" she asked, crossing her arms.

Rose and Alec looked at her, a guilty look on their faces. Alec got up and stood behind Rose, putting his arms around her.

"Daisy, Rose is having a baby and when we get married, the baby will be your stepbrother or stepsister but only in name, we'll be one family and as far as you're concerned, you'll be our daughter just as much as the baby will be if we have a girl and we want you to consider the baby as your own sibling. I'm sure Rose's parents will accept you as their granddaughter when you meet them on Saturday. Anyway, after shopping we're going to go fix a date, we had next Wednesday in mind, if there are no complications but we still have things ourselves to talk about and arrange. We only got engaged last Sunday and Rose was in hospital on Monday, she fainted with the heat and we found out she was pregnant. So yes, it's all a bit rushed but with me having to have surgery, we didn't want to wait. Daisy, I've got to have a pacemaker fitted and it may not work."

He didn't know how to put it in a different way.

Rose saw that Daisy looked horrified.

"He's going to be okay, I'm paying for the operation, that's why he's got in so quickly and he'll have the best surgeons. There's only a very slim chance he won't get through it but we'll be married, I'll take care of you. Stop looking so sad you two, let's go shopping."

Alec and his daughter had gone quiet.

"Alec, while we're getting rings, why don't you have that pocket watch I bought for you valued at the same time?"

"What pocket watch?" Daisy asked.

"The one Rose bought me on Sunday, I'll show you it."

He went to get it out of his pocket and showed her it.

The watch didn't open a first, Alec took hold of it and it opened first time again. Rose shook her head.

"I told you it likes you," Rose laughed.

Alec showed the watch to his daughter who stared in awe at it.

"It's unusual but I'm sure I saw something like this once, when I was little. You had something similar scribbled in a notebook you had open on the kitchen table and I climbed on your knee and you said it was very old and you'd seen it in a book."

Rose stopped dead, hardly believing what she had heard. It was impossible, how had Alec seen it over ten years ago, she hadn't even been here then and The Doctor never said he'd been here before. Had he come back and gone back in time for Rose to find it and Alec to see the watch somewhere or had it been another Timelord? If only she had learned how to read it.

"Are you okay Rose?" he asked, looking concerned that Rose was feeling unwell again.

"Mmm? Oh, I'm fine. Just thought it was unique but maybe it isn't after all."

Alec put the watch away and they set off to Weymouth, stopping at the park and ride and getting taken to the seafront. They walked to the shopping area and Rose pointed to a statue of a golden lion at the street entrance. Daisy and Rose had swapped phone numbers and they agreed to meet back at the same point in an hour so Rose could take her dress shopping and they separated. Alec assured Rose his daughter would be fine on her own as they walked off and he had to pull Rose along.

"Stop worrying about her Sweetheart, she'll be fine, she's tougher than she looks."

He steered her towards a jeweller's shop in a side street where he had previously bought her engagement ring, weeks ago when she had gone off on her own and had carried around until he stopped being a coward and asked her. They looked in the window and they saw a few matching ones they liked but when they went inside, the one Rose liked they didn't have in her size and they didn't want to wait to get it altered, though how Alec had guessed her ring size she had no idea. So they settled on a Celtic design for Alec and a rose gold braided one for Rose. Then while they were getting them paid for, Alec insisting on paying for both, he asked if someone could value the watch.

While they waited, Alec saw a lovely silver heart necklace and insisted buying it for her as a wedding gift and they bought a similar one for Daisy for her to wear at the wedding. After paying, the assistant came back out and said the jeweller was just finishing his appraisal. The jeweller came out and addressed Alec.

"This is very unusual, I've never seen one like this before, where did you get it from?"

Alec wasn't about to say from a Sunday market. "It was a gift from my fianc e. You got it from an antiques dealer didn't you? " he asked Rose. Rose just nodded, fiddling with her ear, a bad habit she had picked up since she stopped wearing those hooped earrings years ago. Or was it because The Doctor had done it?

"So you don't know how much it's worth?"

Alec shook his head, looking at the time and wanting to go somewhere else before they met his daughter. He wanted to go book a few days honeymoon to Paris as a surprise for Rose but maybe he'd be better doing it when she had gone dress shopping.

"Well I'd says it's possibly worth around 250."

Rose didn't think it was that much of a difference to what she had paid. The jeweller passed it back to Alec.

"You wouldn't consider selling it? I could find a collector who would be more than willing to buy it from you."

Alec looked puzzled. The man at the market had been having trouble selling for 100 until Rose had been willing to buy it.

"No, I don't think so, it's not much more than she paid for it, I just wanted to get it valued so I could insure it."

The other man looked disappointed. "Your fianc e must be rich then to afford something like that?"

He looked at Rose.

Now Rose was puzzled. "What do you mean? I didn't pay a lot for it, it was just something I wanted to buy for him, we got it from a dealer at a Sunday market, it's not worth a lot."

The jeweller looked more puzzled than the pair of them until he realised.

"I didn't mean 250, I meant 250.000."

Alec swallowed and put the watch back in his pocket. No amount of money could tempt him to part with it, Rose had bought it for him and she certainly didn't need the money.

"Well thanks for the valuation, do we owe you anything?"

The other man considered but had been told they had bought two wedding rings and two necklaces so he declined. He assumed that was a no and they didn't want to sell it, it must hold sentimental value.

"If you change your mind, here's my card," he said, passing a business card to Alec.

They left the shop and hurried to meet Daisy, just in time to see her heading to their meeting place.

Chapter 20

They stopped and had tea in the store they always went in then Rose and Daisy went off in search of dresses and Alec was debating what to do about having his kilt sent down, it seemed Rose had her heart set on him getting married in it. He was certain she only wanted it to see if he would be traditional and smiled at the thought and realised just how much he loved her and would do anything to make her happy. He got out his phone and called his friend.

"Alistair, hi. I got my appointment, it's on Friday, that was quick."

"I told them you were paying and it was urgent and I thought you would be suitable for the surgery. I hope you won't let me down. Has Rose been looking after you alright?"

"Yes, of course she has and we've set a date, next Wednesday. Any chance you can come down? Oh and Daisy is here, she came down to find me last night, she ran away from home."

"I'd really like to Alec but I don't know."

"Well if you do, you could do me a huge favour and call and collect my kilt, Rose wants me to get married in it. It's in storage. I think she has her heart set it. Oh and she just found out she's pregnant, about five weeks."

"Congratulations, on both counts. Look, if I can't come down, I'll get your kilt for you and send it down by courier. I'll get to the storage place and you can authorise it. Good luck on Friday, they'll keep me informed."

"Thanks Alistair. I have enough medication to last me till I go for my operation."

Alec ended the call and went in search of a travel agency, to book a trip to Paris, either by zeppelin or via the tunnel and take the car. Rose and Daisy were having fun, looking for dresses and Rose didn't actually want a wedding dress but almost changed her mind when they passed the bridal department. Daisy was egging her on.

"Oh go on Rose, you need to wear a wedding dress, why don't you just hire one? Looking at you and my dad, I know you won't ever be wearing it again," she smiled.

"My mum hired a dress when she married my stepfather, she said the same, that she wouldn't be needing it again."

"Where does your family live, London?"

"Yeah, you'll get to go there, after your dad gets well again and he will Daisy. We'll talk about it when we get home. Now help me choose a dress or he'll have the entire Weymouth Police out looking for us. And don't think he won't."

Rose tried on a few dresses and finally decided to buy one, she could wear it at parties, it didn't really look like a wedding dress and Daisy found one she liked and was a bit surprised at the price. Rose said not to worry, it was a gift. Then she went to the lingerie department and laughingly told the girl not to look nor to tell her dad what she had bought for their wedding night. Daisy just giggled and asked if Rose was trying to kill him and they both ended up laughing.

"Rose, are you going to tell him what we were laughing at earlier?" Daisy asked.

Rose giggled as they made their way back to where they had arranged to meet Alec.

"Oh, let's keep him guessing, it will annoy the hell out of him. I used to have a friend called Sarah-Jane when I lived in London. She was a journalist and we both knew someone and we used to do the same to him. We used to laugh and giggle about him and he would get annoyed and try to find out if we were giggling at him. We never did tell him." Rose then when quiet, thinking of the time in the school when her and Sarah-Jane had been fighting over The Doctor.

Daisy noticed Rose's mood had changed. "You seem sad Rose, like you're remembering someone who's no longer around."

The girl was very perceptive for her years.

"Oh, they're around but I lost touch with them when I came here. It just reminded me of the fun we used to have. Not that I don't have fun with your dad. He makes me happy, of course he does, it's not that. Just looking back on old friends sometimes makes you miss them and wonder why you don't see them any more."

She knew the reason, they were universes apart and she would never see them again. She could live with that now, she had Alec and a baby on the way, something she would never have had if she had stayed where she was.

She grabbed Daisy by the arm and steered her towards where she saw Alec sitting outside a coffee shop and waved to him. Setting their carrier bags on an empty seat, she went up behind him and leaned down to kiss his cheek. Alec raised an arm to grab her hand and guided her to the seat next to him.

"I was about to put a APB out on you two, you took your time."

Rose smiled at his daughter knowingly as if to say 'I told you so' and the girl just smiled back.

"What have you two been up to exactly? How long does it take to buy a dress?"

Then he remembered the first time he had waited for her outside the store changing room and went quiet.

"We had two dresses to choose, remember?" Rose smiled at him and ordered a pot of decaff tea and a latte for Daisy.

"Someone has a bad case of the 'missing you' blues," his daughter smirked. "If this is what I'm going to have to put up with, you might as well spare me and send me home."

Rose and Alec looked at each other then the girl burst out laughing.

"Had you there, didn't I?" she laughed and accepted the coffee just brought to her.

Alec just smiled and shook his head. He had forgotten just how cheeky his daughter could be.

Rose changed the subject and poured her tea and asked if Alec wanted more.

"So what have you been doing?" she asked, spying a paper carrier bag at his feet.

"Nothing, apart from arranging a short honeymoon for next Thursday morning for three nights."

He didn't want to leave his daughter for too long on her own once the Tylers left. He wasn't going to tell her about the other wedding gift he had since bought her.

They made their way back to the park and ride stop and Alec drove them back home with a detour to the local Town Hall. They found the registrar and made an application for a special licence, explaining Alec was going for major heart surgery and they wanted to get married before his operation. The official was sympathetic and said he didn't get many special requests but they qualified and they gave all their details and soon it was all arranged for the following Wednesday at noon. The registrar said they didn't have to get married in the Town Hall if they could find a venue that was suitable and to just inform him if they did. It gave them something else to talk about.

They just had time to choose a wreath for Danny's funeral and arranged to have it delivered to the Latimer house in time for the funeral and Rose wrote out the card, a tear in her eye. It wasn't right, none of them should be attending his funeral tomorrow. Beth had contacted Rose when they had been on their way to the Town Hall and asked if Alec would say a few words on her behalf at the service and Alec had said he would be honoured even though he had never known the boy, Rose had been fond of him.

Rose was wishing now that she had more room, Daisy was going to have to use the sofa for the next three nights and came up with an idea before they finally went home and Alec went in and bought a fold-up bed from the catalogue store and some sheets to make her more comfortable. It took both Alec and his daughter to get it up the stairs though as Rose made room to store it in their bedroom while they were bringing it up.

They all went out for an early dinner and to give the girl some privacy, they went straight to their bedroom, planning on getting up early to get ready for the funeral and go pick up Tom and leave Daisy with Ellie and little Fred for the morning. Rose had hung hers and the girl's dresses in the wardrobe, in their white plastic bags and warned Alec not to peek or she would disown him.

The next morning, Alec was up at seven, trying now not to disturb two women and failing and brought Rose her morning tea and kissed her cheek.

"Morning pumpkin, how are you today?" he asked, getting back into bed for a snuggle and putting his arms around her waist and taking his t-shirt back off.

Then he put his hand on her tummy, expecting to feel something. Rose held his hand there. She hoped he wouldn't miss the first movement or kick, he would be so disappointed and she wanted him to share it. After they had kissed, Alec taking his jogging trousers back off, he got dressed and went to make breakfast and when she joined him he asked Rose if now they had got the fold-up bed if she still planned on getting a caravan when he came out of hospital.

"Yes, we can still use the extra space Alec and I don't want you to have to climb all those steps when you come home. When my family arrive, we'll go ask about renting one for a few weeks, we don't know how long you'll be in hospital so we can't book it yet plus, when I booked theirs, dad said he might be interested in buying one. Well if he does, if I can get him to buy one while they're here, we can use it when you come home."

Alec looked at her. "Rose Tyler, soon to be Rose Hardy, you are brilliant, do you know that?"

He kissed her cheek and held her hand.

He knew he should be making all these arrangements, to look for a new home and everything else and he felt kind of helpless but that was going to change when he was well again and he was determined he was going to be.

"Do you think he will buy one just like that?"

"Yep, he was keen because it means mum and Tony can come down whenever they want then without having to make any arrangements, plus he might rent it out when no-one's using it. Tell you what, I'll call him later and ask him and I wanted to ask him about what we discussed before, about a house eventually. When you come out of hospital it's going to be a while before we can go house hunting although we could just rent a house but if we have the caravan we can just stay there, keep this apartment on and wait without moving twice."

Alec looked at her and pulled her close. "Rose, whatever did I do before I met you?" he asked, snuggling his face into her hair.

Rose looked up at him. "Had an awful time by the sound of it. I know you didn't ask for any of this Alec but how things have worked out, everything just seems to fit into place and I just get these ideas. What's the point of having a rich stepfather if you can't take advantage of it? All the time since he married my mother, I've avoided being associated with money, I didn't want it. I spent all that time with nothing and my mother struggled to bring me up and when they got married, she welcomed it all but I didn't. I didn't want it to change me. I know he put money into an account for me but I have no idea how much and I never touched it and I would use every single penny of it to get you well Alec, you know I would."

She put her arms around his slim waist and tried not to get tears on his white shirt he was going to wear for the funeral. Alec leaned down and put his lips close to hers and kissed her tenderly.

"I love you Rose, not your money or who you are because you're giving up your name to take mine, Rose Hardy."

They kissed again and heard a 'Hmm' behind them followed by a 'Gross, go get a room' from the teenager standing in the doorway.

They looked towards the girl and smiled. Alec then said, "Well you had just better get used to it because there's going to be a lot more of it. Rose has come up with an idea of us all moving into a large caravan when I come out of hospital to save us having to move twice while we find a house to buy."

"Cool, I can't wait to have my own room again Dad," she said, reaching for the cereal and going to the fridge, thankful she had persuaded Rose to buy some normal milk, not wanting to put that soya stuff on her cornflakes.

Rose called Ellie to find out where her caravan was, Ellie said it was the first roadway after the reception building and about halfway up on the left, No.9. They set off and soon found it and Rose got out with Daisy to knock on the door and Tom answered, wearing his sea scout uniform. He let them in and Rose introduced them all. Ellie took an instant liking to Daisy, who immediately took to Freddie and Ellie told Rose not to worry about her, they would go down to the beach and let Freddie play.

Tom got in the back seat of Alec's rental car and managed a quick 'Hi' to him. Rose could understand Tom being a bit shy around Alec, he had put the boy's father in prison. They arrived at the church and Rose said hello to a few people she knew, Becca from the hotel, Maggie and Olly Stevens and his mother Lucy, who Rose had met a few times and was surprised to see the journalist she'd had a cat fight with, Karen White and wondered if she had invited herself. As long as she kept away from Alec she wasn't bothered and she made a point of fiddling with her engagement ring as she walked past holding Alec's hand, letting go for a second, Alec's other arm on Tom's shoulder in reassurance no-one was judging him for what his father had done.

They made their way towards the church entrance as the small coffin was being brought out of the funeral car and Rose let go of Alec to go comfort her friend Beth. Beth had insisted Rose and Alec sit near the front with family and friends so they waited for the procession to start and followed the family in, Alec still with his hand guiding Tom in and Rose now with her arm in Alec's other and he allowed then to go first because he had to go speak and Rose found herself sitting next to who she assumed were family members she'd not met since Mark's family didn't live in the area and she'd not met any of them or other members of Beth's.

The Reverend Paul Coates started the service with one of Danny's favourite hymns when he was small and soon Mark had got up, tearfully and spoke about Danny, then Alec was asked to say a few words, saying he'd never known the boy but his fianc e was very close to the family and had known him and used to referee skateboarding contests and play football with him and his best friend Tom, literally announcing his and Rose's engagement to the whole town, not that they were trying to keep it a secret but now it was official and Rose found herself trying to stop the tears falling down her face. She put her arm around Tom, he missed his friend too.

Alec sat back down again and Rose buried her face in Alec's jacket and started crying. Alec took both his arms and wrapped them around her, not saying anything except whispering a "shush" into her ear as he held her. Tom was now leaning on Rose with tears in his eyes as Alec extended his arm to reach the boy.

Everyone stood for the final hymn, 'Morning has broken' as Rose tried her best to join in, supported by Alec, then the funeral directors came forward and Alec moved nearer Rose to allow them to pass and deeply regretted he could not offer to help carry the small coffin. Both Mark and their friend Nigel had carried it on the way in but Alec knew his limits plus he hadn't known the boy. They got up and all three of them followed the family down the aisle, stopping in the doorway and Rose put her hand on Beth's shoulder.

Beth turned around and thanked Alec for his eulogy. "Are you all coming back to our house? You're more than welcome."

Alec spoke up. "We'll just drop Tom off then we'll come and join you, thank you."

"Oh, congratulations you two, it's about time," Beth managed to smile.

Alec led Rose and Tom to the car, getting stopped by Olly. "Can I do an article on you two getting engaged?" he asked hopefully.

"Well, we'll be in to the newspaper office to announce it officially, you can do it then, if you must," Alec offered, seeing it would mean a lot to Rose.

"Alec, we may not have time tomorrow, remember?" Alec nodded, his hospital appointment. "Perhaps Saturday morning, before my family arrives."

Olly agreed and they got away but were stopped by Karen White. Rose wanted to pull Alec away as fast as possible and the woman could see.

"So DI Hardy, congratulations. I don't suppose you want to give me an exclusive?"

Alec just shook his head and took Rose's hand but the journalist stopped them. She had been annoyed that he had given the local paper the exclusive to what had been his failed case and his illness but he shrugged her off and simply said, "You have a nerve after what you did to me" and led Rose and Tom away.

They took Tom back after calling Ellie and Daisy wanted to stay while they went to Danny's wake and they all agreed to meet at teatime by one of the outside catering stalls across from the Police Station at five. When they got to the Latimer house, Beth took Rose on one side.

"I meant it Rose, everyone could see you two were meant for each other. I'm sorry for what happened during the investigation and for shutting you out. Can we be friends again? I'm going to need some sympathy while I'm going through this pregnancy. I went for a scan but we didn't want to know."

Rose checked no-one else was listening. "We haven't told anyone else yet, just Ellie but I'm pregnant too, about 5-6 weeks. We can go to ante-natal clinics together. I've not had a scan yet."

Beth flung her arms around her friend. "Oh Rose, that's great. Now you won't be left out of our conversations," she joked. "Is DI Hardy pleased?"

"Beth, call him Alec, he's not working now, he's on leave. My family come down on Saturday, maybe we can all get together, you and my mum can catch up."

"I'd love to and I won't tell anyone."

"Well, we're going to announce it in the paper on Saturday so maybe we'll announce the fact I am as well, I don't know what Alec wants to do. We're only having a short engagement, we're getting married next Wednesday, which reminds me, we need to find somewhere for the wedding. I was thinking of having the reception at The George, by the harbour, we're going to call in tonight. I'll call you, we want you to come."

"We'd love to, just let me know the details, Mark can take time off."

Mark came up to them with Alec in tow and they took Rose inside the house and showed her the video on the TV he had taken when they had all been playing football and Rose just clung to Alec. It showed her in the goalpost Mark had put up, Tom, Danny and Tony all lined up behind the football, waiting to charge at her. It showed the people around, Ellie, little Freddie, Ellie's soon to be divorced husband, Nigel, Beth and her mother, Chloe, Jackie and Mark told Alec who they all were as he stopped the video for a moment. Then he set it going again as the three boys all looked at each other, Tom kicking the ball and they all ran towards Rose, knocking her down and all jumping on her and laughing and the onlookers howling with laughter.

Alec smiled and held onto her. "Best not let that happen again now" he said. Then to Mark he said, "We're expecting a baby" when he looked at them.

"Congratulations then," he said, shaking Alec's hand. "I'm sorry we were so rough on you when you were on Danny's case, we had no idea you were ill, we saw it all in the paper."

"Well, I just wanted justice for you, it's okay, we kept it quiet. It doesn't matter now, I'm on medical leave and waiting for an operation, it's no secret any more. We didn't just get engaged, we're getting married next Wednesday. Have you invited them Rose?" he asked.

"Yeah, I just told Beth."

After the video resumed, it showed the two boys skateboarding in the street, Rose standing there watching and shouting something to Danny. Rose hadn't realised Mark had been recording it.

They said their goodbyes and went home to get changed, it was just after three and Alec decided some sofa time was in order for an hour or so before they met Ellie and Daisy. Rose was still upset but he cheered her up as he lay her down after she took her dress off and just put on her pink vest top with the buttons open.

He moved her up against the back of the sofa and lay at the side of her and they began kissing, Alec trying to help her forget the day's events and the reminder of the times she had spent with Danny.

"Alec, thank you, for speaking like you did, it meant a lot to me. You would have liked him, he was cheeky but he would do anything for you, I miss him."

She cried into Alec's shoulder as he held her.

Alec began kissing her neck, then parting the vest top and leaned over to kiss there, reaching back and unfastening her bra and loosening it. "It's okay Rose, you can still remember him."

"Alec, there's something else I have to tell you. Danny is not the only friend I lost. Before I came here, I lost a friend. He didn't die but he's a very long way away and I know I never talked about it to you but now we're getting married, I need you to know."

Alec looked at her. "You mean The Doctor, don't you?"

How did he know? How could he possibly know? All the time they had been together she could never bring herself to talk about it. Then during the murder investigation it had seemed like the least of her problems and now his upcoming operation was prompting her to come clean.

Chapter 21

Rose looked at him the man she loved and who was the father of her baby. How could she have not told him? How had he suddenly known? There was only one explanation Pete must have told him.

"Alec, I can explain," was all she could say as she moved his hand away and tugged to pull her lacy knickers back up.

"There's no need Rose, I know. I had a good talk with your stepfather when he came to visit that time. He told me most of it and said you should tell me the rest. He told me you lost someone, someone you loved and was torn away from, when you and your mother first went to live with him and that he and your mother never thought you would be happy again. Then he said you changed when you met me. Why couldn't you tell me Sweetheart? Why didn't you say you had someone before you met me? I told you I'd been married before, we both had lives before we met each other. It wouldn't have made any difference to me you had someone before me. Tell me Rose, how did you lose him? Your stepfather didn't tell me much, except how upset you were and then you came to live down here. Then that night we first met and you were looking out at sea. Did he leave you on a beach? Did he leave you Rose?"

Inwardly she breathed a sigh of relief, Pete had not told him about the whole being in love with an alien in another universe story, she could still salvage this for now. She clung hold of Alec, her arms around him and the uncovered part of her touching his bare chest.

"I love you Alec, you know I do and it's true, I did love someone else, I never thought I could love anyone again. I came here to forget, that's why I could never go out with a man more than once or twice until I met you. When I met you, I knew you were different. You were just as lonely as I was."

She looked in his brown eyes that always melted her and knew how much she loved him, Alec Hardy.

Alec regarded her, tracing his finger between the undone t-shirt.

"I love you Rose, I need you to tell me that whatever happened is in the past. We've been together almost four months, we've never been apart except when you were in hospital and you never really went out with anyone before me since you've been here so tell me Rose, do you still love him?"

This was the crunch. A part of her would always love The Doctor but he wasn't here, he wasn't the father of her baby and he wasn't marrying her and she just hoped he would forgive her.

"No, Alec, I love you," she replied, tears in her eyes. "I love you."

She buried her head in his chest and cried.

Alec let her, holding her as close as he could without smothering her.

"I love you Rose, I'm sorry but I had to ask you. I was over my ex a long time ago, I'd been on my own and when I met you, I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I came all this way and within hours of getting here, there you were, letting me walk you home. I knew I was going to stay here, with you. Let's forget this now Rose, unless you want to tell me about it. We should get going soon."

"He was called The Doctor, Doctor John Smith but that was his nickname. He didn't leave me Alec, I told him I loved him but he went away, doing research in Norway. I went up there to see him, to ask him to come back but he chose to stay. I guess he didn't love me enough. That's why I came to live near the sea, we said goodbye on a beach."

Part of it was true but should she tell him the real truth? She wished Pete had warned her he had told Alec.

Alec knew she was holding back, something Pete had told him. He would leave it for now, he could live with it. She would tell him when she was ready but he had one question for her.

"It had something to do with those Cybermen, didn't it?"

Rose looked at him and nodded. Alec knew they had disappeared and no-one knew where they had gone. He was a very intelligent man and he didn't need things spelling out for him.

"You know where they went to, don't you?"

Rose nodded, tears in her eyes. "Then tell me later Rose, we should be going to meet Ellie and Daisy."

"We won't have chance, we won't be on our own again until Saturday night."

"You can tell me then and maybe we can put it behind us. If you can't tell me Rose, maybe having your stepfather tell me may be better."

"No Alec, I can tell you but you won't believe me."

"What makes you think that? I believe a lot of things Rose, especially about those metal menaces and everyone wondered where they had gone. Millions of Cybermen don't just vanish. Where did the go Rose?"

"What makes you think I know?"

"What do you take for Rose? I'm marrying you, you're carrying my baby, please Rose, don't hold back or lie to me. You can tell me, you know you can or do I have to get your stepfather to tell me where they went?"

Rose knew she couldn't hold out any longer.

"They crossed over into another universe Alec, my universe where I come from. I don't belong here Alec, my life was invented for me here, by Pete Tyler when he took me and my mother in. You'll have to ask him the rest. Me, my mum and a friend called Mickey all got brought here from another universe and there's no way back and even if there was, mum has Pete and Tony, she would never leave them to go back to nothing because that was what we had Alec, nothing. It was all true, about when I was growing up but it just wasn't in this universe. This is my home now, with my family and with you and our baby. The Doctor was a man I used to know, I fell in love with him but he didn't love me, not in that way. When the Cybermen invaded our world, he had to trap them in a space between the universes, sealing the worlds off and he had to stay there. I'll never see him again. That's everything Alec, I swear that's everything you need to know that I can tell you, Pete will tell you the rest because I don't know how he did it, he shields us from anyone finding out we don't belong here. If anyone finds out, they'll take us away."

That part was true and although Pete had connections to Torchwood, he was not in charge and a regime change could happen and Rose, Jackie and Mickey could be declared aliens and locked up so Pete had a very elaborate foolproof plan to protect the three of them and Rose had found out that was the reason he had distanced himself from the organisation and only a handful of loyal friends knew about them, including Jake and Dr Owen Harper, who had been brought into the inner circle to confirm they were completely human and no-one could possibly accuse them of being anything else.

As much as she loved Alec, it pained her know she could never tell him that The Doctor was not human. If it was known she had any contact with a non-human like that, she would be in danger. Very few aliens had visited this world, unlike where Rose came from and they had been dealt with by Torchwood and they didn't know about him.

Alec was looking at her, still holding her as she put her head into his shoulder.

"You asked for it Alec, my life and my mum's life depends on you. Now you know why I couldn't just come out and tell you. Mickey could watch out for himself but me and mum are under Pete's protection and he takes it very seriously. No doubt he'll talk to you before the wedding and not just the 'You're marrying my stepdaughter' talk either."

Alec smiled. "Well I still love you Rose and I'm happy you could finally tell me. Now come on, they'll wonder where we are, we're meeting them in half an hour and I haven't helped you get dressed yet," he smiled, running his finger down between her vest top again, making her shiver at his touch.

They got up, Alec helping her off the sofa and she put her arms around him.

"I'm sorry I couldn't tell you Alec but I didn't know how to. I thought you would run away."

He kissed the top of her head. "You are a silly sometimes Rose, what made you think I would do that? Why would I do that? There was I thinking keeping the secret of who you were was bad enough. I could have ran then if I'd wanted. What I want now is a life you and our baby and Daisy."

He kissed the back of her neck as she walked in front of him.

"Maybe when we do the newspaper interview, we should announce you're pregnant as well. The town needs a bit of juicy gossip after it was turned upside down," he smiled, putting his arms around her waist.

Alec helped her get dressed and they set off, seeing that Ellie and Daisy had just sat down with Ellie's two boys and they went over to join them. Rose ruffled little Freddie's hair as she sat at a table at the side of them and Alec went to order some food since they'd missed lunch and only had a few nibbles at the Latimer house.

"So, did everything go alright at the funeral? No fights?" Ellie asked, hoping she hadn't missed any.

Alec had just rejoined them, sitting next to Rose. "Well Rose nearly scratched Karen White's eyes out again but apart from that no," he grinned, putting his hand on her leg. "Don't forget you have something to tell Ellie, Sweetheart," he smiled.

"Well out with it then. Have you set a date yet?"

Rose looked at Alec. "You tell her."

"Yes, we have. Next Wednesday at noon at the Town Hall unless we find somewhere else to have it and the reception at The George if we can book it afterwards although we might be able to have the actual ceremony there. Now it's your turn Rose."

"What? You should tell her about your hospital appointment tomorrow." Alec gave her his look. "Okay, he's got an appointment tomorrow to see about his surgery." Alec gave her his 'That's not what I meant' look. "Well, okay then, you know I was taken into hospital on Monday morning, I collapsed at work with the heat."

Alec gave up and shook his head. How come she was so good at avoiding things? Had she had years of practice?

There again, he was thinking, since she'd been here and had to tell nothing but lies and half truths it was hardly surprising it had become second nature to her.

"No Rose, tell her the rest."

"Yes Rose, do tell me the rest," Ellie grinned, handing Freddie some chips.

"I'm surprised Daisy didn't tell you she's coming to live with us."

"Don't rope me in," the teenager laughed.

"Come on Rose, you're avoiding the subject," Ellie said.

"Rose, just tell her, she's going to find out when we go to the newspaper for that interview."

Alec didn't know Rose had already told Ellie she was pregnant.

Ellie was intrigued and raised her eyebrows. "You're giving an interview? What about? Your engagement or your wedding? Did Olly rope you into something?" she laughed.

"Well we're announcing our engagement to cover the fact we're getting married so soon. We didn't want to wait now Alec has his hospital appointment. Hopefully, he won't have to wait long for his operation and we wanted to be married when he goes for it."

"You're still not telling me something Rose Tyler, I can tell by the look on his face," Ellie laughed.

Tom was now sat feeding his baby brother since his mum was engrossed getting Rose to admit something she didn't want to tell.

"Come on Rose, just tell her, you know she won't let it rest," Tom laughed. Then the boy added, "Mum, Alec gave a lovely speech about Danny at the service, he even mentioned me."

Ellie ruffled Tom's hair and said, "Thanks Alec."

Alec nodded and looked at Rose, who was hoping they had forgotten she was supposed to be telling Ellie something. They all turned to look at her.

Alec took charge. "Tell Ellie exactly why you ended up fainting at work on Monday morning Rose." he said.

Rose looked at him, there was something about him that made her love and respect him and she knew he wanted everyone to know about them and he was the father of her baby because if he didn't, he wouldn't have agreed to the newspaper interview.

"You know I'm pregnant Ellie, I'm about six weeks. I didn't tell you how far along I was."

Alec looked surprised although he knew the two woman had been virtually inseparable before all this had started.

Ellie just looked at her then moved round to hug her friend. "That's great, congratulations, both of you. That wasn't so bad was it Rose? You wouldn't have hesitated so much a few months ago, would you? Why have you changed?"

Rose couldn't answer that. Everything had changed. Alec knew her darkest secrets, secrets she'd never even told Ellie or Beth and maybe she would have told Ellie before she'd even told Alec at one point, had she known him before everything had happened but now, she had been ripped apart from her friends and was just getting comfortable with them again although Beth still wasn't quite the same with Ellie.

"Why didn't you tell me on Tuesday? You never even said how far you were along. You're going to have to move now even faster that you thought."

Rose told Ellie their plans to moved into a large caravan until Alec was well enough to go house hunting after his operation.

"Daisy will be glad to get her own room, won't you Honey?" Rose asked, accepting her meal and taking a chip in her fingers.

Alec looked at her, for all her money and status, she loved just eating chips with her fingers while he had always detested doing it.

Daisy was not used to being called 'Honey', even by her mother. While her dad called her 'Darlin'' sometimes, her mother hadn't shown her that much affection since she was younger. She kind of liked it and Rose had only known her a few days. She knew almost since her arrival that Rose had accepted her into their family, since it became apparent her dad was smitten with her and marrying her and he showed Rose more affection than he did her mother for as long as she could remember.

"Won't I just," the girl answered, looking at her dad. "Caught them kissing this morning, yuck," she grinned, pulling an appropriate face.

Tom burst out laughing and Ellie just frowned at him.

"You two should know better," Ellie retorted to the couple sat on the next table.

Rose giggled and touched Alec's leg.

"Well I told her she'll have to get used to it," he grinned, touching Rose's leg back.

Poor Daisy just rolled her eyes, she was going to have to grin an bear it but she knew her dad was happy and after all he had been through, he deserved it and there was a long way to go for her to make it up to him for being stupid and ignoring him for something he hadn't done and had only been protecting her. The least she could do was put up with a bit of kissing. After all, Rose was soon going to be her stepmother and that was something she had never dreamed of her father being happy again.

Ellie finished attending her youngest son and turned towards Rose and Alec.

"I'm going to ask if I can go back to work, in Dorchester. I'm going down on Monday to see the chief down there and look at renting a house until I can sell mine. I think it will be a while before they've finished with it and maybe I'll never sell it, who would want to buy it after all that?"

Rose looked at Alec. "We need a house and Ellie's would certainly be big enough, maybe build an extension for another bedroom and maybe a conservatory" and Alec got the general idea.

"Ellie, get Jenkinson to get them to finish up, then go get the rest of your things and then we'll talk. Rose and I need a bigger place. We already have Daisy, we have one on the way and I doubt we'll just have one," he looked slyly at Rose, who wasn't objecting or contradicting him yet.

"Oh, I wasn't implying that you and Rose should buy it. I doubt the neighbours would be exactly welcoming, they know Rose and I were friends and they've seen you both come round."

"Yes Ellie but they don't know who Alec is."

"I've been on TV Rose, they know who I am."

"But you look different now, you've shaved your beard off a bit and do you think I care about what neighbours think? They might be a bit off but we'll be showing them we support Ellie and it wasn't her fault. I think it's a brilliant idea but we can't do anything yet, not until after your operation and we're into September now, not the time to be thinking of building an extension. The house has an alarm, doesn't it?"

Ellie nodded.

"Right, we'll have to sort the finance out, get a valuation and such and we can stay in a caravan until it's all ready."

Rose had spoken and Alec knew he didn't really stand a chance and couldn't object. Not that he would, he had been in the Miller house and it was certainly big enough and Rose had seemed at home there. Rose was the most compassionate woman he had met and the most forgiving. People must indeed be different where she came from.

"Okay then, we'll talk about it, there's no need to put your house up for sale yet Ellie, give us the first refusal on it and we'll get back to you. You can't do anything yet anyway," Alec decided.

"Thanks, I'll do that. I'd rather you take it than anyone else and don't worry how long it will be, I wouldn't be able to sell it that quickly anyway. When I get the word I'll clear everything out, I'll leave the fittings and carpets if you want but it needs decorating. Are you sure you'll be able to finance though, with you being off work?"

"Just you leave that to us to worry about," Rose put in, looking at Alec and not wanting to give the game away as to how they would finance buying a house, let alone Ellie's. "Just take your time but I don't think we'll want to move in until it's all done so if we go ahead, we'll buy the house and move in later when all the work has been done but that won't affect you Ellie."

"Why don't you just rent something temporary then or are you going to buy another house?" Alec asked, finishing his meal.

"No, I think I'll just use the money to rent a place, no sense in buying one. What will you do with your apartment when you go to stay in a caravan Rose?" Ellie asked.

"Oh, we'll keep it on, save putting everything in storage plus I can keep going back to use the washing machine and Daisy can use it to get away from us when we get all kissy," Rose laughed.

The teenager just shook her head.

They all headed back home and Rose decided now was as good a time as any to ask Pete for help if they were going to put in to buy Ellie's house. Speaking first to her mother, she asked to speak to Pete, hoping he was in a generous mood to buy a caravan so they could use it and purchase the house and they pay him back instead of a finance company. Fortunately for them, Pete was only too glad to help.

"Well we'll look at caravans when we get there and you can pick one out, well you and your mother, you'll have to get her approval since she'll be using it as well when she and Tony come down and as for the house, you say it needs some work and needs decorating, you won't be doing the decorating yourselves I hope, not with Alec's condition?"

"Well hopefully he'll be okay after the operation but no, we'll get someone in to do the lot. Maybe an extra bedroom and extend the kitchen and a conservatory, it will give more family room and then you can all come down the Christmas after next."

Pete laughed. "Well if we do, your mother will still take charge, you know that. She'll be asking soon if you're all coming up to us this year or does that depend on Alec? If he can't drive you up, I'll send someone down for you, Mickey might even volunteer although I've not seen him to tell him the latest news yet, he might not take it well. Does Alec know about him?"

"Only he was a friend and I had to tell Alec Dad, about where I come from."

She couldn't say anything else on an open phone line.

Pete knew very well what she meant. "Well, he needed to know sooner or later Rose, you are marrying him. Your mother said next Wednesday so I take it you want to do it before Alec goes for his operation?"

"Yeah, we thought it best just in case the worst happens but we don't want to talk about it, he's going to be okay. There's only a very slim chance it won't go well. He sees the specialist tomorrow so he'll be told the exact chances of it going well. I'll let you know what happens."

"Well don't worry about the cost Rose, whatever it takes, you know that and don't worry about the cost of the house, you go ahead when Alec gets his operation over with."

"Thanks Dad, we'll see you on Saturday. Alec and Daisy are looking forward to meeting everyone."

"I'm looking forward to meeting her and your mum and Tony are looking forward to meeting them both."

Rose said goodbye and went back into the living room and sat beside Alec, taking his hand.

"It's all sorted," she said, kissing his cheek.

Chapter 22

They asked Daisy if she wanted to go to the hospital with them the next day and she said of course she did and they talked further about Ellie's house and if they went for it, getting it all set up before moving in and agreed they would talk to Pete before making a decision and getting it valued once forensics had finished which prompted Alec's daughter, who had remained silent when they were discussing it earlier and how Ellie had said it would be difficult to sell to ask about it so Alec had to tell her.

"I'm sorry Daisy, there's no easy way of saying this but it was Ellie's husband who killed that boy and please, don't judge her, she knew nothing about it, she's trying to rebuild her life with her two boys and we intend to help her as much as we can. Most of the town will turn against her, that's why she's keeping a low profile and moving away, not too far away but her friends, including us and the boy's mother are sticking by her and hopefully, if she is seen being friends with her again, other people will start to forget. It's not been officially confirmed it was him but it's a small town and people talk."

The girl just looked at her father. "Poor Ellie, she's really nice, we went on the beach then she bought me lunch and when Tom came back, they went into the swimming pool and we talked, mostly about where I came from and how I was setting down."

Rose and Alec went to settle in their room early, they were setting off in plenty of time to get to the hospital, it was near the car park they always used so they knew where it was. Alec wanted to finish what they had started earlier on the sofa before they went out as he helped Rose get undressed and laying her on the bed in just her black lacy knickers and working his way down, as she pulled his shorts down. Alec took the hint and finished pulling the lacy garment down, throwing it over the edge of the bed, then with Rose laid in the middle he lay on her, not moving. He knew not to, that came later, Rose holding onto him as they kissed.

He turned her around, never parting as Rose lay on him, both whispering "I love you" as Alec started and she dug her fingers into his shoulders, riding out the waves of pleasure that came over her, Alec calling her name softly. They were both falling asleep, Rose spread out over him as she usually did but before they did, Alec had a question for Rose. He was still uncertain as to how this was going to go, would she go off him when the time got nearer to her having the baby?"

Rose was astounded at his question and reassured him again that was not going to be the case.

"Alec, I don't know what happened the last time but this is our baby and there is no way you are going to miss out so just forget about what happened before and concentrate on this."

She turned over onto her back and grabbed both his hands, putting them on her tummy.

"Keep checking Alec, I don't want you missing anything."

She pulled him down and kissed him.

"I love you and I don't know how much longer I'll be able to sleep on you like I do now but when I have to stop, I'll just lay across you like this."

Rose then moved herself across him on her back and he held onto her and they fell asleep, Alec whispering he loved her and wondering why she was so different.

They were all up early the next morning but Rose and Alec still had time to fool around in bed for a while. Daisy had decided to make loads of toast and scrambled eggs and had knocked on their bedroom door to tell them to stop shagging and get breakfast.

Rose had a fit of giggles as she heard her soon to be stepdaughter being cheeky and told Alec she had a point and to get dressed or he would miss his appointment. He reluctantly let her out of bed and they went to join the teenager, Rose blushing the colour of her name and Alec giving his daughter a 'don't be so cheeky' look.

They parked up near the hospital in Dorchester and found the department Alec had the appointment with and soon got in to see the consultant. He explained to them the pros and cons of the surgery after taking Alec into the examination room and declaring he was a lot fitter than previously thought to be, Alec citing it was his fianc e that had been looking after him and went into more details than his own doctor had done and asked the three of them if they wanted to discuss it and left them to talk about it.

It didn't take much discussing. Daisy asked if she had a say in it, thinking she would be left out.

Alec reassured her she wasn't going to be left out. He had already discussed with Rose she would take care of the girl if anything did happen to him, which set Rose off again.

"Rose, don't get upset again, please. It's only just in case, we have to have plans in place if the worse happens, you know that. I have every intention of getting through this, you both know that. Now are we all decided, that I go ahead with this?"

Rose and Daisy both nodded, both taking his hands. The consultant came back in and said he could schedule Alec for a week on Monday, to spend Monday going through some tests and to monitor him and prepare him and the surgery would take place on Tuesday morning at 8am. Rose and Daisy would look after him but he could carry on with the limited activities he was doing but no exertion and no heavy lifting. Rose thought it was a good thing they had already got that folding bed for his daughter although she had done most of the heavy work of supporting it going up the stairs.

They spent the rest of the day doing some shopping, last minute things Daisy would need to spend the week with Rose's family and let her go off on her own while they stopped for afternoon tea. It was then that Alec decided they needed to talk more about the girl.

"You don't have to do this Rose, I can tell my ex what's happening and send her back you know," he said, taking her hand.

"Don't say that Alec, I promised you I would take care of her. Don't worry about that, you are not sending her back. I may go back to London if things don't work out because I can't stay here, there would be too many memories and I'll need my family but she is not going back unless she chooses to."

Alec looked at her. "You are amazing Rose, do you know that? Anyway, I've made provisions for both of you and so there is no comeback from my ex, I want you to sign papers that say you are accepting responsibility for her until she's eighteen. Will you sign them? I've been in touch with my solicitors in Glasgow and they're going to send them down for you to sign and that my ex is to have no contact with me while I'm in hospital and if things go wrong, they will take care of everything, you won't have anything to worry about, my Police benefits cover insurance and they are all made out to you. You just have to contact the personnel department. Is there anything else?"

Rose shook her head. "No but you didn't have to do all that. My dad would have taken care of everything. I know you didn't want your ex getting anything though so I have to accept that but I know we're not going to need it so I'll sign anything you want. If your ex does contact Daisy she'll have to choose whether or not she wants to say anything and about college, I'll enrol her in one in London if I have to. Will those papers make me her legal guardian if something happens to you?"

"Yes, it's all been covered, they know what I want. Rose, I deeply regret having to go through all this but it's absolutely necessary, I have to know she'll be taken care of now."

"I know, don't worry, you just worry about getting through that operation because I'm not having this baby on my own unless it's the only way."

They held hands until Daisy came back to join them and told them both to cheer up and not be so gloomy. They took the hint and Rose said she was going to buy yet some more underwear and dragged the girl with her into the nearest women's shop and they both giggled like teenagers. Alec just shook his head and went into a nearby men's shop and bought some tight fitting shorts and thought two could play at that game, trying not to look embarrassed when paying for them.

They drove back home after calling for some groceries since Daisy had used all the eggs up that morning and they wanted some treats for when Tony came around and Alec and his daughter decided they were going to cook dinner and Rose went to put her feet up on the sofa and wondered how long she would be able to keep going at the pace she was. Thankfully she had found some underwear that didn't require her having to get a larger size but it wouldn't fit her for too long and she would have to start shopping for larger clothes soon but was thinking about leaving it until Alec came out of hospital, she wanted him to choose clothes with her. It would soon be autumn and she could hide under thick clothes and she might not show too much but did she want that?

Alec left his daughter to oversee putting the vegetables on and lifted Rose's legs and sat down, kissing her cheek and pulling her close. The TV was on, Alec had wanted to watch the news to make sure the name of Danny's killer hadn't been released but most of the town knew by now. All he had announced before he left was that a local man had been arrested and charged but you didn't need to be a detective to work it out. He pulled Rose closer so she was lying on him, not wanting to remind her of what had happened.

After dinner, Daisy volunteered to wash the dishes and they then all watched a film on TV then Rose and Alec got an early night. Rose had rung her mother to let her know how Alec had got on and when he was going for his operation and had asked what time they were arriving the next day.

Saturday morning, Alec woke Rose as usual and they agreed they would go to the newspaper office and give an interview to Olly, who when they arrived was keen to take photos of the couple and all the details although they kept quiet they were getting married the following Wednesday. Rose had decided to give details she was expecting, it wouldn't be able to be avoided soon so she persuaded Alec it was best to admit it. They then went to call at the pub by the harbour to ask about hiring a room for their reception but were told that a film crew were arriving so they wouldn't be able to hire the room out so they walked across to the other pub, where Alec had met Rose but they had a conference going on.

So they got back in the car and drove back up to the High Street and reluctantly stepped inside The Traders and found Becca behind the bar. She greeted Rose and congratulated the pair of them having heard Alec announce it during Danny's funeral.

"So, I no longer have a rival Rose?" Becca asked, eyeing Alec and being sorely disappointed she had failed to score on that point.

She was hoping Rose may have to explain that to the detective.

Rose didn't take the bait. "Well since we've just got engaged, I would have thought that was rather obvious. We came to ask if we could hire your lounge for our wedding reception next Wednesday afternoon from around noon? My stepfather will settle the bill, there won't be a lot coming, my family, the Latimers, Ellie and Alec's daughter. If we can have the wedding here as well if we're allowed, that would be great and if you lay on some food, just a buffet. If you need the money up front, I'll get my stepfather to call or I can give you a cash advance. What's your answer?"

Becca was surprised to say the least, especially when Rose mentioned the detective had a daughter. Daisy had gone off to look around on her own earlier and had taken Alec's door keys and had promised to meet them before Rose's family arrived. Becca had lost a lot of revenue during the summer and was barely keeping afloat but business was starting to pick up and having a room hired out would be a bonus plus the catering so she had to agree.

"Yeah, that's fine, I can arrange that for you. Why don't you call the Town Hall and ask, then I can arrange flowers and things for you?"

Alec was keeping quiet, he knew not to disrupt Rose as she was organising something unless she asked his opinion on something but he trusted she knew what she was doing and probably inherited it from her mother, from what Pete Tyler had told him.

Rose turned to Alec. "Yes, Alec, why don't you call the registrar and ask if we can have it here? It would solve our problems and can we book a room for two nights?"

Then quietly she whispered in his ear 'babe'.

Becca's face lit up. Rose explained. "Well Alec can use the room on Tuesday night then we can use it after the wedding, we'll be leaving early Thursday morning, Alec can bring everything with him and we can keep everything in it without us having to go back home. There is just one thing though, we're trying to keep it all quiet, we've only just announced our engagement."

Alec only half heard her plan as he had stepped out of the bar to call the registrar who had said it would be okay to go ahead and he would meet them there just before noon on the day. Rose quickly explained what she had told Becca and Alec said it sounded like a plan and saved him having to work it all out. Rose was definitely going to be the organiser in their new family.

That settled, they went back home and waited for Jackie's call to say they had arrived. Daisy had packed all her things again, leaving her dress for the wedding in the wardrobe, she was going to go back to get ready early on the morning of the wedding. Since everything was being arranged by Becca, who Rose knew had been bitter about losing out on Alec, she figured that giving her a free hand to organise things would help compensate for Alec moving out of the hotel early and would maybe over-charge a bit anyway but it was worth it.

Rose got a call to say her family had got booked in so they walked around to the caravan park and found where they were staying. Daisy had never seen one like it. Rose hadn't really looked at the caravan itself when she had booked, only that it was the most expensive model available so they had plenty of room. Jackie was organising Tony in his room, Pete was still getting things out of the car and when Tony heard Rose's voice, he came storming out of his bedroom almost knocking Alec over to get to her. He had been told by his mother he couldn't jump or climb on her but she sat down and he hugged her.

Jackie came following him out and stared at Alec and not to make it too obvious she then stared at Daisy but immediately greeted the girl with a hug and welcomed her to the family. Tony was by now looking at the two of them and Rose did the introductions.

"Mum, Tony, this is Alec and Daisy." Then she got up and held onto Tony. "Tony, Alec is going to be like a big brother to you, we're getting married, just like mum and dad are and Daisy is Alec's daughter and dad will explain how you will be related to her because I can't figure it out," she laughed.

Alec sat down next to where Rose was standing and held his hand out to the boy.

"It's very nice to meet you Tony, I hope we're going to be friends? Rose has told me all about you. Did she tell you I'm a policeman? She mentioned you like Police cars."

Tony's eyes lit up and he just said, "Cool. Have you been in any car chases?"

Alec smiled. "Not really I just go after the bad guys and leave the chases to the men who wear uniforms," Alec grinned at the boy and got a toy Police car out of his pocket and gave it to Tony.

Daisy was keeping quiet and looking around the spacious caravan, having gone up some steps to the decking and through a large sliding door, it was not what she had imagined. Jackie was taking it in her stride.

"You picked a nice enough caravan Rose, I think I could actually live here," Jackie smiled, still eyeing Alec who seemed to be bribing her young son.

"Glad you like it Mum. So Daisy, do you want to go get settled in?"

Pete had just joined them and Alec, now stood up and he were shaking hands.

Jackie found her voice and went up to Alec and reached up to put her arms around him.

"Nice to finally meet you Alec, welcome to the family."

Now she could see why Rose was marrying him he was that alien's twin brother but who was she to spoil her daughter's happiness by saying anything? Pete had obviously already accepted him and if he did, so could she. It wasn't like the two of them were ever likely to meet so what harm was there? All that mattered was that Rose was settling down, getting married and having a baby, her first grandchild, well first baby grandchild since she had already gained an unexpected teenage one, what was she going to do with a teenage granddaughter?

"Come on Daisy, I'll show you your room, it's just next to Tony's, ours is at the other end and you can call me either Gran, or Grandma Jackie, it's up to you but not Mrs Tyler, you're family." Then she turned to Alec. "As for you, well I don't know what you want to call me, you're a bit old to be calling me 'mum'," she laughed.

Rose smiled as Alec sat back down next to her her mother had accepted him. Bit of a far cry from when she had slapped The Doctor. Jackie made some tea and they all sat down, Tony had seen a playground so Daisy offered to take him, trying to get her head around him being her uncle, Alec having to explain to her that despite his age, he was Rose's brother and your parent's brother was your uncle and the girl arguing Rose was her stepmother so the debate was still ongoing. They had all laughed when she was trying to work it out.

Alec decided he would risk calling his future in-laws by their first name and they spent most of the afternoon talking and catching up until the two youngest members came back, then Rose called Ellie and she found the caravan and thought it was a palace compared with the one she had hired. They all walked around the corner to the caf and all piled in and Daisy went to sit with the Tylers, already feeling at home with them.

Rose and Alec excused themselves early and they all agreed to meet for lunch the next day, Tony and Daisy wanted to go to the club and Tom got his mum's permission to join them, Pete saying he would take the boy back and Jackie wanted to play bingo so they took advantage of having some time to themselves. Pete had agreed after lunch the next day, they would look at some caravans to buy, similar to the one they were in, Rose thought it was great, Pete asked if she had idea how much they cost and the house they wanted to buy probably cost less.

Once back home, it was still quite early so Rose went to get changed into just her vest top and a skimpy underwear, while Alec made some tea then he went to surprise Rose by going in and changing into his new shorts, (if you could call them that) they were more like briefs and he just hoped Rose would appreciate the trouble he had gone to and put his jeans on but left his t-shirt off, she would just take it off anyway and went to lie next to Rose after they drank their tea and they both watched a programme they liked.

Alec moved her up against the back of the sofa and she put her legs over him and they started kissing, Alec taking advantage of her hardly wearing anything and Rose got a surprise when she grabbed hold of his jeans and began pulling them down and could hardly feel anything there.

She just smiled and said to him, "Now you're getting it", making him smile.

The next morning after Alec brought her breakfast in bed, Alec said they should be making plans for the wedding since they had hardly talked about it with not being on their own and said he wasn't telling her where he was taking her on their honeymoon when she tried to get it out of him. All he would say was to bring her passport which got her all excited. Alec promised they would be back Sunday afternoon and Jackie would make sure Daisy was okay before she left.

After lunch, Rose and Jackie led them around the caravans that were for sale and found nothing as near as good as they one the Tylers were in until the salesman said they had one that an owner was selling directly but it was more expensive. They went to where it was sited and Rose fell in love with it. It had its own decking and a patio door at one end and when they stepped inside, it was beautifully decorated and the bedrooms were at either end like the one her family were in and an en-suite bathroom in the double bedroom.

They looked around and Rose said it would be perfect and the ground rent was paid for the rest of the season it was ready to move into, even Alec liked it and since he would be living in it when he came out of hospital, that was something. It had a full kitchen with a washer/dryer and the salesman said it could be fully maintained by the site and they could rent it out when they weren't using it but Jackie had doubts about that.

Pete and Alec went off with the salesman to see about the paperwork and contact the owner and Rose and the rest of them went to take Tony to the playground but he wanted to go swimming. Daisy offered to take him in so they went back to get their swimming gear and she sent a text to Alec to meet them at the swimming pool. Alec sent a message back to say Pete was signing for the holiday home, it was definitely not just a caravan and as long as he didn't have to go in the water and he had something to tell her.

Chapter 23

Alec indeed had something to tell his fiancée, he had so far managed to avoid any contact with water, except obviously the shower and the occasional downpour they had been caught in but his hatred of the sea or a river or any other body of water had not subsided and on the occasions they had been on the beach, he had just walked barefoot and had hardly gone in the water, somehow getting Rose to walk mostly in it. She had never suspected anything, never asked him to take her out in a boat even on the river next to the campsite they had passed on numerous occasions.

He would have to tell her eventually, he wouldn't be able to avoid the subject forever and once she had the baby, they would want family days out and Rose would be disappointed if he didn't join in any water activities. He knew that Rose could probably help him get over it but such things as taking his family swimming or a pleasure boat ride would become regular occurrences that he'd never had to worry about previously. He would have to enlist her help in overcoming his fear. He'd had to take a boat into the harbour to examine evidence in the Latimer case and he had not enjoyed it and never even got out, sending Ellie instead.

Now he had to face his fear or be left out of everything his young family would be doing and couldn't expect Rose to miss out. Pete finished the paperwork for the holiday home, he didn't have the nerve to call it a caravan and arranged to take delivery of it before they left, explaining his stepdaughter and her husband would be moving into it for as long as needed and all the arrangements were made. The salesman said the park closed to visitors from December to March but they had some residents who stayed all year round but facilities were limited. Pete also paid another full years site fees when the current one ran out. Alec marvelled at the man, he obviously trusted the operation would be a success and they would be using it for a few months. Knowing Rose, she would like it so much she wouldn't want to move out but it wouldn't be practical once the baby arrived, the bedrooms were at opposite ends.

After Alec caught up with Rose, they left the others in the swimming pool and said they would meet up later and they went to sit over on the harbour and Alec admitted his phobia about water. Rose was very sympathetic and brushed it off, saying she wouldn't have known if he hadn't told her.

"You would have noticed sooner or later, I couldn't have kept it a secret much longer. Didn't you wonder why we never went swimming or on a boat? I can swim but I don't enjoy it. Will you help me Rose?"

Rose took his hand. "Well, you can start off easily, we can go on a large boat or a ferry or we can walk into the sea holding hands or you can take Tony swimming, down the coast where they have a water park and he loves it down there, we could take him and Daisy tomorrow, give mum and dad a break. What do you think?"

He knew he could rely on her to ease his fears.

"Well I'd best go buy some swimming shorts then Sweetheart," he said, putting his arm around her. "Do you to make everything sound so easy?"

He didn't ask if she had a swimsuit since she had obviously taken her brother before when he had visited. Rose said they would call up in the town in the morning to get some swimming shorts then go collect the two of them and take them down to the fun centre just outside town and Tony liked to go collect shells and pebbles so they would make a day of it. Tuesday was going to be a busy day, hairdressers for the three women and Alec panicking if he was going to get his kilt and they were going to have to pack what they needed and Alec would take it with him on Tuesday night, so they went back to rejoin the family and they all went to get something to eat.

Jackie was asking all kinds of questions over their evening meal, where they were going afterwards, if everything was arranged and Rose had assured her it was all taken care of and she didn't know where they were going except Alec was staying in the hotel on Tuesday night and then they were both staying there. Rose called Beth and told her the time and where it was although she was not keen on going to the venue but would go to see her friend get married. Ellie had already been told and was assured Fred and Tom were welcome although she would have to get Tom out of school early and get him back again but Rose wanted him to be there.

They arranged to pick up Tony and Daisy at ten the following morning and Tony was looking forward to it, it was his favourite place. When they got back home, Alec said he would call his friend and have his kilt sent down by courier and Alec had talked to Pete about getting Ellie's house valued when she got the keys back and he would take care of it all since Alec would be in hospital and Alec had thanked him, just getting the usual 'you're family' out of him and thought it must be standard across the two universes since it had been explained to him.

Once that had all been settled and they went through everything, Alec insisted on pampering Rose and laying her on the sofa and showering her with kisses. In just a few days they would be married and depending on what happened with his operation, it might be a short marriage but neither of them were thinking like that, they were trying to stay positive by making plans, some of them already in motion such as a temporary home for them and buying a house. Alec didn't want to say too much but while Pete was discussing buying the holiday home, he had hinted he may not want them to contribute towards the house which meant either Rose had enough money of her own or Pete intended buying it for them.

Alec had always been able to hold his own even when his ex hadn't been working but wasn't used to having enough money to never worry again and it seemed that Rose hadn't really taken to it, only allowing any contact with it now for him to pay for his operation and get them a new house. Maybe she never would have used the money had they never met. What would he have done though if he'd never even met Rose? Would he have gone ahead with his operation or just let himself go? Had he anything to live for before he met her? Maybe if his daughter had still shown up, which she might have done, that would have been the only reason.

Lying on the sofa, holding his soon to be wife close, kissing her shoulders and working his way down, kissing her skin uncovered by the pink vest top she was wearing and Rose kissing his neck, he realised just how close to coming to an early end he had been and he wasn't even forty yet. He knew he didn't deserve her, she could have had anyone she'd wanted, the rich, the famous but no, she had chosen an ordinary Police detective, an unhealthy one at that but if everything went well, he could lead a fairly normal life. Not as well as he'd want but enough to raise a second family, properly this time, no being left out in the cold or kept away, they would raise their family around him, not the other way around.

As he gently worked his way down, kissing her tummy and trying to see if the baby was moving yet, he slid his hand under her white lacy knickers, whispering she should have worn her thong and Rose saying he had to work more at these which made it worthwhile.

"Rose, promise me for the next few days when we come back and just lie on the sofa, not to wear anything underneath, please?" he asked, slipping them over her hips.

Rose whispered back, "Okay, seeing it's you" and carried on kissing his neck and easing down his shorts.

The next morning after breakfast, Alec called his friend, who promised to go get Alec's kilt out of storage and Alec rang the storage depot to expect Alistair who had promised to get someone right there to collect it and Alec should get it by the following morning, much to his relief, he wanted a wedding night to remember and it would please Rose no end if he wore it. They went shopping to pick Alec some swim shorts and Rose tried on her costume, finding it still fitted much to her amazement and an appointment came through for her to go for a scan, the hospital had sent her one and she still had to go to her own doctor but it would have to wait until Alec was out of hospital, there was only a week to go before he went in.

They collected Tony and Daisy and they all went down to the fun centre, Alec taking charge of Tony and he soon found himself getting roped into catching Tony at the bottom of the water-slide, Daisy taking him up and following just behind him. Tony thought it was funny when the girl almost collided with them, Alec getting out of the way just in time. Rose was just lounging around holding onto a rail and swimming on her own, letting Alec get used to the water and he seemed fine to her, he just kept looking around to see where she was.

Tony got tired of the slide so he and Daisy went to the wave machine and Alec made his way over to Rose.

"They seem to be enjoying themselves," Rose remarked as he came towards her.

There weren't a lot of people around and Alec could watch the two youngsters from where he was, jumping over the waves. Rose smiled.

Alec took her hands and they waded out into the middle of the pool and she began splashing him.

"So who doesn't like water then?" she teased, then whispered, "You're not shy in the shower are you?"

Alec raised his eyebrows. "What do you mean by that Rose? Are you suggesting we start showering together? What are you trying to do to me Sweetheart?"

He knew if he got in the shower with her he would be finished but she still smiled at the thought and so did he.

"When you get better Alec," she whispered in his ear then splashed him.

Alec had to retaliate and it turned into a splashing match, then the other two family members came to join in, Alec picking up the boy and dumping him in the water and splashing him. Rose and Daisy were both laughing until Alec turned on his daughter and said he would get Rose later. They came out for some lunch and Rose decided to stay by the edge of the pool on a lounger and Tony wanted to go on a slide that required adult supervision and for Alec to go with him. That decided it for him, he had to go or let the boy down badly before he was officially his brother-in-law.

So he put on a brave face, followed Tony and Daisy up to the top of the water flume and hoped for the best, sitting the boy directly in front of him. Rose watched them come down and land in the water and disappear under for a few seconds before they both came up laughing. Tony was wanting to do it again. Rose waved and they waved back before Tony grabbed hold of him and dragged him back. Daisy went over to sit with Rose and she sent the girl to get some drinks so she could call Alec over when he'd escaped taking Tony on a third time.

Alec came over, followed by a reluctant Tony until he found his sister had got his favourite drink so he sat down for a while, chatting away. He was due to be starting school next week, starting later with him being new and Daisy told him she was going to college soon, hopefully after Tony asked what a college was. Alec ruffled the boy's hair and said it was a school for people who wanted to learn more than they actually did at school so the boy settled for the answer.

It was after three when they finally got Tony out and then only with the promise they would go find some shells and he wanted to know why Rose couldn't bend down and help him, Daisy was doing it. Alec said for him to get his mum to explain and all Tony said was his mum told him he couldn't jump on Rose anymore and wanted to know what was wrong with her.

"Tony, you know what babies are don't you?" Alec asked him. The boy nodded, looking at his sister. "You were once a baby and your mum carried you in her tummy for nine months then you came out and started growing, you have a birthday every year. Well Rose has a baby in her tummy too and when the baby's ready, it will come out and you'll be able to see it and it will have a birthday every year as well."

Tony seemed to understand and went off with Daisy

"Thanks Rose, I wish he'd have let his dad explain it to him," he laughed. "You didn't offer me any help there."

Rose laughed. "You seemed to be doing well on your own babe," she said, kissing his cheek. "You also did well considering you don't like the water. What happened?"

Alec had to admit why and his darkest secrets were revealed it was something from his last case.

They took Tony and Daisy back and sat having afternoon tea in the Tyler holiday home. Rose got a message from Ellie to ask if she could come over, she had heard she was being handed the house back and she had been to see the chief in Dorchester and was going back part-time starting on Monday and had got Freddie in a local nursery there. All she had to do was find somewhere to rent and she was confident she would find somewhere.

Ellie wanted to discuss the options, what they intended doing about buying her house and since she knew Rose's family had something to do with it, she wanted to confront Rose about it and Rose finally had to admit to her friend who they were at Pete's insistence. Ellie came over and the younger ones went over to the playground while the adults talked.

"Ellie, I'm sorry I never told you, I couldn't. I wanted to be accepted for who I was, not what I had been accepted into. Mum took to it easier than I did, I didn't want to be part of it and she kept quiet because of me but now you know. Dad's paying for Alec's operation and he's just bought a holiday home here so we can use it when Alec comes out of hospital. You need to speak to him about us buying your house."

Ellie was astounded by the revelation. She knew they had money but not who they were. After all this time, it took some taking in and Rose had to convince her it made no difference to their friendship.

"It wouldn't have made any difference to me anyway Rose, if you'd have told me but you kept it hidden well." Then Ellie looked at Alec. "How long have you known Alec?"

"From the beginning but I think our circumstances were a little different Ellie, " Alec laughed, holding Rose's hand.

"Ellie," Jackie said, "We didn't say anything because Rose asked us not to. She just wanted to go out on her own. We never had money when Rose was growing up, she didn't take to it, she just wanted to carry on. Yes she told Alec but she loves him, that's different. Rose wants to buy your house, it will be perfect for them bringing a family up."

Ellie considered if she felt any different she didn't but she felt she should.

"Okay, I'll forgive you then, so what are you planning on doing?"

It was Pete who spoke up. "I'll get things started, get a valuation and hire someone local to oversee it. You get everything out when you get sorted and I'll get a builder in to do the extension and the conservatory they want, get some plans drawn up then get the decorators in. I'll get a local agent to organise it all. Alec's going to be laid up a while anyway, there's no rush so leave it with me and I'll let you know who I've appointed. It will be a cash payment Ellie, you'll get the market value. Are you going to buy another house?"

"No, I don't think so. I'll rent something, I don't want to move the boys again. I'm going to start looking on Thursday, I'm going to extend the caravan for another week. So I'll see you all on Wednesday at noon then at The Traders. Are you getting your hair done Rose?"

Rose looked up from her trance of running her fingers around Alec's hand and looking at her ring.

"Oh look at you two," Ellie laughed. "I knew that night you two left my house you'd end up getting married, I just didn't think it would be so soon."

Jackie and Pete both laughed as the two of them looked at each other.

"Well I'm just glad Rose is settling down at last. Pete, do you want to go find everyone, it's almost time for dinner. Do you want to join us Ellie?"

"Thanks, we'd like that."

Pete went to find the others and Ellie relaxed a little, forgetting what it was like to have a serious conversation with adults. While they waited, Rose whispered to Alec he should talk to Pete tomorrow about her revelation and what she couldn't tell him and Alec said he would, while she was getting her hair done.

It had been agreed on Tuesday night, they would all go out early and Alec would stay with Jackie and Pete a while and Rose and Daisy would go home to get ready for the following day. Pete was going to collect them after he got Jackie and Tony to the hotel and Jackie would keep an eye on Alec, not that she didn't trust him. Alec said he wasn't coming out of his room until an hour before the ceremony so Jackie said she was going earlier.

After dinner, Rose wanted to go back with her parents, she'd not had chance to talk to Pete about Alec's watch yet and didn't want to alarm him if she was completely wrong but she should talk to him about it now he knew about The Doctor. Perhaps though two days before your wedding wasn't a good time. Rose and Pete went to the kitchen area while Jackie watched TV and Alec read Tony a story, Daisy was in her room and Rose explained about the watch and how Alec had it valued.

"Blimey Rose, you could buy your own house with that kind of money," Pete joked.

"It's not funny Dad. Don't you see? If it was worth that much, why would a trader be selling it at a Sunday market? I think we were meant to find that watch. It gets stuck when anyone else tries to open it but Alec opens it first time, every time plus, why would the jeweller place such a high price on it? No, there's something more to it and the patterns on it, Mickey has seen them too and mum. If they see it they'll know right away where it came from. I have to tell Alec. I think The Doctor is here or he's been here or if not, a Timelord has been here. Some could have escaped here or they could still exist in this universe."

Pete needed to think about this. If Torchwood got to know about it, they would take Rose and the rest of them in for questioning. Since the Cybermen incident, Torchwood did not take chances. That was why Pete was careful over The Doctor and protective of his family and friend.

"Don't you see Rose, if he or a Timelord are here, they are in danger. Torchwood won't sit by and let him get on with it like apparently he used to do on your world. You suspect it's Alec, don't you? You think he's the Doctor in human form and something changed him. Answer me Rose."

What could she say? Ever since she bought Alec the watch it was in the back of her mind. Alec was The Doctor. For some unknown reason he had taken human form, was hiding or changed for some other reason or he was this world's version of him, doing the same but how had he got here? Had he fallen through time, found a way back to her or had this world's Doctor been drawn to her and Alec, well he had been drawn to her, he had been here before so had he been left here as a child? Or had he made himself a child, grown up, got married and had a daughter and came down here to find her, his Rose Tyler?

Then there was his heart. If he had altered himself, something had gone wrong and made him ill. The watch could cure him but then, he would be in danger from Torchwood, what could she do? Have him totally well again as a Timelord and get him locked up or let him suffer and perhaps not survive an operation? Either way, she couldn't make this decision for him.

"Yes Dad, I do think so and I'm putting him in danger."

"No you're not, not while he's hidden but if he opens the watch and it somehow changes him back, he'll be in danger then and I won't be able to protect him, we'll all be in danger Rose, including Tony. It's that or he risks his operation, I think the transformation went badly wrong, maybe not at first but over time. You have to talk to him Rose, now."

"It's too late Pete, I heard you both and I think I'm owed an explanation, don't you?"

Chapter 24

Rose stared in horror just how much had Alec heard?

"Alec how long have you been there?" she asked, looking at him leaning on the partition that led to the kitchen area.

They had been so busy talking in hushed voices so as not to disturb Jackie watching her soaps, they hadn't noticed him.

"Long enough Rose. You actually think that I'm somehow this Doctor? How could you possibly think that? And you Pete, you knew him didn't you? How could you have known him if he was from Rose's world? Either you went there or he came here or both. You'd better tell me everything and as for you Rose, it doesn't take much to guess that I look like him. Is that why you're with me?"

"Alec, how can you even say that? That's not why I'm with you, you should know that. I wish I'd never even seen that stupid watch now. I asked you to get my dad to explain everything to you because I didn't think you would believe me."

"Then I think you should start from the top tell me everything and let me judge for myself."

Alec sat down opposite Rose and looked at Pete to give him answers. Jackie had heard what was going on and came to join them.

"You lot had better keep your voices down. I don't want Tony to hear this and Daisy doesn't need to know either so keep them out of it. Alec Hardy, if you think for even one second that Rose doesn't love you for who you are, you are sadly mistaken. You want to know if you look like him then yes, you do but we've accepted you for who you are, not who you look like. So just shut up and listen before you make any judgements."

When Jackie took charge, everyone knew she meant business, including Alec, apparently. Pete looked at Rose who just nodded. It was her story to tell but she had always trusted him and had told him everything, including the fact that The Doctor could regenerate, where he came from and about what she knew about the time war.

Pete started with the Cyberman invasion, how Rose, Mickey and The Doctor had helped him and how when they learned they had crossed into Rose's universe, he and some friends had gone over to help there. Then he told him about The Doctor sealing off the two worlds and how Rose was heartbroken she couldn't get back to him and had to accept her life was here, not by choice.

"We've all made the best of it. I don't know how much Rose told you but she went through a lot, having to accept this life and her only escape was forgoing the status bestowed on her when I married her mother and the fact that she had her memories. Rose, tell him what you think about the watch Sweetheart."

"I heard what she said about the watch. So it means that Doctor wasn't human as well as not being from this universe and now you're saying I'm him and I'm not human. You think I'm ill because of it."

"Alec, when I first met him, he didn't even look like you, he could change and if he could do that, he was capable of hiding himself and you could be him and never even know anything about it. We have to find out where that watch came from."

"So if I open this watch I could turn back into him and I'd be locked up? If I don't open the watch, I might die. Not much of a choice, is it? I've opened that watch before and nothing happened."

"Maybe it's just waiting, for the right time."

Rose went quiet.

Everyone looked at her. Alec got up and picked up his jacket and put it on.

"I can't deal with this, I need some space."

Alec opened the door and walked out into the cool night air. It was the second week in September, it was almost ten and he walked down the roadway, past the main building then past the Police Station and across onto the harbour pathway, sitting down on the corner of the Esplanade on the round seating area, putting his head in his hands.

What the hell was going on? Rose thought he was an alien she had been in love with, in another universe and he would either die or go back to being that alien and be locked up or sent away by this Torchwood. Either way, he would lose what he had Rose, the baby and his daughter. What hurt the most was he thought she loved him for who he was a broken detective that she had fixed.

He didn't know how long he was sitting there, staring at the sea, he never saw anyone walk past. He turned around to face where their apartment was, well what had once been their apartment, it was really Rose's, they had never changed it to both their names. He would have to go and get his things, there were no lights, Rose would probably stay with her family. He would have to go collect his car and Daisy and book them into a hotel and cancel his operation, he had no hope of ever paying for it.

He looked up and saw two uniformed officers walking up towards him, they had just come out of the station. The male officer approached him and recognised him.

"DI Hardy? Sir, what are you doing here at this time of night? You shouldn't be out here alone. Do you live nearby?"

Alec didn't look up. "Sir, have you been drinking?" the female officer asked him, about to call it in to the station.

"No I haven't been, I'm not allowed to drink. Just be on your way, leave me be."

"You know we can't do that Sir, we'll have to escort you home, we can't just leave you here. If anything happened to you, we would be responsible."

"Fine, yes, okay, I live just over there." Alec pointed across the road. "You can stand here and make sure I go in if you want, I don't need escorting."

He got up and headed across the road, certain he was being watched and headed to the door, letting himself in - to an empty apartment again, the story of his life. He didn't bother putting the lights on, he just stood at the window, staring out to sea like Rose had done the first night she had brought him here. He never noticed two people looking across at the building.

No wonder she had been staring at the sea, it was the beach, she had said goodbye to that Doctor there, or had she said goodbye to him there? Was he actually this Doctor? How could he be? He remembered being a young boy, coming here on holiday, school, friends, his never-ending argumentative parents and his mother passing away. His father never spoke to him after that. He remembered meeting Tess, going out with her, proposing to her twice, his daughter being born then everything going sour on him. If he was really this Doctor, would he have put up with all that?

Maybe the answer did lie in that watch and he thought he had never seen it before Rose had bought him it but Daisy was right, he did now remember drawing it but where he had seen it, he had no idea but he doubted it was in any book. He got his laptop out and connected to the internet. He'd never be able to sleep now anyway and typed 'Pocket Watch' into the search. He got over six million results, so much for that. He changed the search to images and scoured down the page nothing. He tried different variations of the search, old pocket watches, unusual pocket watches, he tried them all.

He was about to give up and right at the bottom of the page was his watch or an identical one. He eagerly clicked on the page, it was someone's online journal but it wasn't up to date, it was five years since it was last updated Rose had been here almost five years. He read through the pages, someone had been travelling and had found an unusual pocket watch on the beach at a remote place in Norway - D rlig Ulv-Stranden. That was where Rose had said goodbye to The Doctor, almost five years ago. Alec didn't know the exact place but he was now fairly certain that it would have been there.

He looked at the time, it was after eleven, over an hour since he had walked out and left Rose, the one he thought was his true love, the woman who had made him better, made him feel wanted and was carrying his child. Hell, he couldn't think straight since he met her. She made him happy, she made him realise it was not him who had failed at his last marriage. She had given him a chance at life, another family and he had lost her. He cursed himself as he turned off his laptop, he would have to stay tonight, get the fold-up bed out and use that in case Rose did come back, though he doubted she would. He couldn't sleep in their bed anyway, he would be calling out for her all night.

He had just gone into the bedroom when his phone rang it was Pete. It meant Rose was either too upset to talk to him or Pete had taken charge and was about to tell him he was an ass for walking out or tell him to get the hell out of his stepdaughter's life for good.


Rose had watched Alec walk out. It was after ten and Pete persuaded her it was not a good idea to follow him.

"Let him be Rose, he needs time to think, it must have been a shock."

"But what if something happens to him? What if he collapses?"

"He looked okay Rose, just give him some time, he'll be back, just stay here."

"Dad, go after him, please, you have no idea how vulnerable he is."

"Rose, he'll be alright, just let him have some space."

Rose wasn't happy about that. "Dad, please, just go after him."

Jackie looked at her husband. "If something happens to him, Rose will just blame you."

"Where do you live Rose?"

"Just walk past the main building and go straight up and around the corner, past the Police Station. It's the apartment building on the front, No.2. Please Dad, don't let him get far."

Pete put his jacket on and set off after Alec, following Rose's directions but seeing no-one ahead of him. He followed the road around the corner and came across the block of glass-fronted apartments and looked up, Rose had said theirs was the first floor one but no lights were on. He tried the intercom but got no answer and decided Alec must have gone somewhere else. He set off back around the corner, seeing no-one, not even the shadow sitting across the road as two officers were approaching. He went back to the campsite and to tell Rose he couldn't find Alec.

"He has to be somewhere. Maybe he's gone down the harbour side, we like to walk down the Esplanade and sometimes over the other side of the harbour."

"Rose, he could be anywhere, his car is still outside, he wouldn't go anywhere without it, he has to come back for it and for Daisy."

Rose suddenly thought of the girl, in her room and oblivious to what was going on. As if she knew, the girl came out of her room.

She had decided to call Jackie 'Gran' and stood staring at everyone around the kitchen table, noticing her dad wasn't there.

"Where is he? Where's my dad? Was it him that went out, I heard someone a while ago but I thought you had both gone, Rose?"

Jackie looked at the girl. "It's okay Sweetheart, your Dad went out, I'm sure he'll be back soon. There's no need for you to worry."

The girl wasn't being fooled. "What do you mean he went out? At this time of night? Rose, did you two have a fight? He only ever went out when he had a fight with my mum. Where is he, is he safe out there?"

Pete spoke up. "I went to try and find him but I never saw him anywhere, I was just going to go out again."

"Leave it to your granddad Daisy, he'll find him, won't you?" Jackie queried, looking at Pete.

Daisy looked at him. "If my dad walked out, he won't come back that easily, he would stay out for hours, I know him and what about his condition, what if he's taken ill? You can't leave him out there."

The girl sat on the sofa and hung her head. Rose got up and went to her.

"Daisy, this is not over you, please don't think that. I had some things to tell your dad and he didn't take them well. His car is still here, he'll come back for you, maybe not tonight but he will, he won't leave you."

"I don't want him to come back if you don't come with us Rose, you and dad are my family now. Dad can't look after me as he is now, you know that. You have to go find him or at least call him. Please Rose, you love him and he loves you, talk to him."

Rose thought she had done enough talking. She got her jacket and looked at Pete.

"Let's go find him Dad."

"Rose, you can't walking around at this time of night in your condition," her mother pleaded.

Rose took no notice and headed for the door.

"I'll go on my own if I have to."

Pete followed her out. "Shall we take the car?"

"No, you can't get down there by car, I know where he might be."

They walked the way Pete had gone earlier and instead of going around the corner, walked ahead but they could clearly see no-one was there. Pete mentioned seeing the officers earlier and Rose said it could have been Alec they were heading towards. Pete couldn't apologise enough.

"It's okay Dad, you weren't to know."

Rose turned towards her apartment but there were no lights on. She never thought he was stood back, looking out of the window.

They walked all the way back around the harbour, through the empty car park and around behind the harbour caf and the flats attached to it then all the way behind a row of houses. Alec was nowhere to be found. They started walking back towards the camp and Rose wanted to try the Esplanade again and further down from where they lived. Pete had to agree but now it was after eleven. They had a good view and no-one was to be seen on either side. Pete even looked over the wall onto the beach and they had checked the shelter by the kiosk.

There was still no light on in Rose's apartment.

"He could be sitting in the dark Dad, try calling him, please."

Just across from her apartment, Pete got out his phone and called Alec's number.


Alec answered his phone, knowing what Pete would have to say to him. He had hurt Rose, just as she had hurt him by telling him all those things that he didn't want to know. How could he believe it? Him, Alec Hardy a Timelord. He didn't even know properly what one was.

All he said when he answered was "Is Rose okay?"

Pete put his hand over the phone. "He's answered." Then to Alec he said, "Where are you? Rose is worried about you and so is your daughter."

"I'm in the apartment, I can see you both," he replied, standing at the window and pulling the net curtain back.

Rose's head shot up and saw him and put her hand over her mouth, stifling a scream.

Pete handed the phone to Rose. "Alec, are you okay? We were worried about you, we've been out for ages looking for you, around the other side of the harbour too."

"I'm okay Rose. You can come up if you want, I'll go get my car and go find a hotel for the night, I'll collect my things and Daisy in the morning. Tell her I'm sorry, she'll have to go back home. I can't look out for her. I'll leave my keys on the table."

"Alec, wait until I come up, please? I don't want you to leave, not at this time of night, not ever. Just talk to me Alec, that's all I ask."

"Okay, I'll listen but it's best I leave Rose, though maybe not tonight."

"I'll be up in a minute, I'll just give dad his phone back."

She hung up and handed the phone back to Pete.

"I'll be okay, I'll call you in the morning or I'll be round. Tell Daisy he's okay."

Pete hugged his stepdaughter and watched her walk across the road and waited until she went inside. Then he saw the curtains being drawn and a light going on. Then he walked off back towards the camp and hoped the two of them wouldn't be pig-headed and would see they were hopelessly in love with each other and nothing else mattered.

Rose put the light on when she entered the living room. Alec went to the bedroom and he wheeled out the folding bed. Rose looked at him. What could she possibly say to him?

She let him pull down the bed, then he went back to get the duvet and the pillow. He took his t-shirt off and went into the bathroom and Rose waited. He came out a few minutes later and took his jeans off.

"I thought you wanted to talk Rose?" he asked, sitting on the edge of the sofa and unrolling the duvet.

Rose thought she would rather watch him get undressed but it was not the time.

"I'm sorry, you weren't meant to hear all that."

"Just what was I supposed to hear Rose? Just that you think I'm a Timelord, disguised as a human with a bad heart and opening the watch will cure me? Then what hmm? I get carted off to this bloody Torchwood and they lock me up or send me somewhere? What am I supposed to do Rose? Just tell me what will happen?"

She couldn't. "I don't know what will happen, maybe nothing. They have to find you first, dad can protect you and us."

"And then what? I wait for them to find me, to find us? No Rose, I can't live like that. I wanted you and the baby and Daisy to move into Ellie's old house and have a family again. I loved you Rose, for the first time in my life I knew what it was like to be loved back. Now you want me to become someone else. Did it ever occur to you that if I was The Doctor, I did this for a reason? So I could be with you. I don't know Rose, I really don't but I wanted a life with you and our little family. Why can't I have that? It all boils down to one thing, I live as The Doctor, if I am really him or I risk dying on the operating table. I don't call that much of a choice. Do you?"

Rose sat on the chair. She was tired from the day out and all the crying she had done and the wandering around looking for him. She just wanted to go to bed - with Alec.

"Alec, you asked if I fell in love with you because you look like him. Well I didn't. I fell in love with Alec Hardy because you are you. You make me happy, you look sexy in those jeans of yours, you never even wore them before I met you, you drive me crazy to the point all I want to do is kiss you all day. You bring me tea in bed every morning, you get back in bed and we fool around and you get annoyed when we get interrupted. You buy me sexy underwear, you tickle my feet and we're having a baby together because that night we both knew what we were doing. What more reasons do you need? How else can I prove to you that it's you I love? I thought you had accepted where I came from and that I was over The Doctor? You may have been getting jealous over yourself."

Rose managed a smile at that thought. So did Alec.

"Let me think about it Rose, it's too much. We'll talk in the morning, you should get some sleep."

He got up off the sofa, lowered himself onto the folding bed and pulled the duvet over him. Rose got up and turned out the light and went into the bathroom. Tip-toeing past him, she went into the bedroom and closed the door and started crying. She got into bed, in the middle where they always slept, they didn't have sides. She tried to drift off to sleep, cursing the day she laid eyes on that stupid watch.

Alec wasn't asleep but he couldn't let Rose see the tears in his eyes. He loved her, he knew beyond any doubt he loved her but how could things ever be the same again? Should he tell her what he found on the internet about that blasted watch? He finally fell asleep but woke up suddenly over two hours later and found he was alone. He reached out, there was nothing but empty air and his hand touched something hard. He didn't realise it was the sofa as he called out loudly.

"Rose, where are you? Please Rose, please don't leave me."

Chapter 25

"Rose, where are you?" Alec called again, just beginning to realise what was happening, as if he had forgotten where he was and she wasn't there.

"Alec, I'm here, shush," she said, taking his hand and standing over him.

"Rose, oh Rose, I'm sorry." he said, grabbing her hand and sitting up, making out her figure in the dim light. "Help me Rose, I can't sleep on my own."

She could have told him that.

He pulled back the duvet and moved onto his side, indicating for her to get in. Rose went to turn out the light and came back, getting in at the side of him and he put his arm around her as she rested on his shoulder, thinking it was a good thing they had bought a decent folding bed and not one of the cheap ones. Rose could feel him nudging his head, trying to reach her lips and she reached up and met his with her own.

Rose woke up the next morning, the sun was just coming through the window and she realised she was almost lying on Alec and there was no room and remembering they were in the fold-up bed. She looked at Alec, his eyes were closed and she wished last night had never happened. If she hadn't talked to Pete about it, Alec wouldn't have overheard and they would be in their own bed, snuggling up and making love again. She didn't think it would be a good idea to still be there when he woke up again but he had known she was there, they had kissed for a good while before going to sleep.

Maybe he had just accepted it but it didn't solve the problem about what he was going to do. Only he could decide that and he had been right, he had opened the watch several times and nothing had happened. Maybe she had been right the watch was waiting, maybe until he was actually dying and it would restore him to a Timelord but how he was going to explain that to the hospital, she had no idea. The Doctor was always good at talking himself out of things but going from having a bad heart and on death's doorstep to having two hearts - that was going to take some explaining.

Maybe when he had made himself human, he was not aware on the zero tolerance of Torchwood towards aliens. Whether it was her Doctor or The Doctor from this universe, Alec Hardy was innocent in all this. They couldn't just forget it though, he knew and had to decide what to do. She tried to get out of bed but a hand caught hold of her.

"Rose, you weren't thinking of sneaking out on me were you?" he asked, a smile on his face.

"I didn't think you would want me here after what happened, I came out because you were getting upset again, being on your own. Don't you get it Alec?"

"Get what Rose? That I can't sleep alone? Yes I get that. Do you think that's why I stay with you?"

"The question is more like is that why I stay with you? Because I can't bear to think of you on your own, no-one to care about you, no-one to be there if something happens to you. That's just it, I love you because of all that. I care for you Alec, I care what happens to you and if you can't see that, then I'm sorry, it's what I am, I care about people. I don't care if you are The Doctor or not, I love Alec Hardy."

Alec looked at her. How could he doubt her? He had been pig-headed again, back to his old self and he was hurting Rose more than she was hurting him. He pulled her close and sought her lips.

"I love you Rose. It is why I stay with you, I can't be on my own."

Rose thought that even if Alec wasn't who they thought he was, he was exactly the same. Alec had been lonely and so had The Doctor.

They kissed again and he pulled her on top of him, fingering her pyjama top.

"Are you going to keep this on?" he asked playfully, tugging at the hem.

Rose wriggled around and allowed him to pull it off, she was still wearing the pyjama shorts as he went for the waistband.

"This is Daisy's bed," she whispered as he tried to pull them down.

"She won't be needing it any more," he whispered back, pulling them down over her hips.

"She will." Rose stopped.

It had been planned Daisy would stay with Rose tonight, the night before their wedding. Was there even still going to be a wedding?

Alec sensed something was wrong. "What is it Rose?"

Then he got it. Tomorrow was their wedding day.

"Oh, Daisy was supposed to be staying with you tonight to get ready for ."

He was going to say the wedding but didn't know if she still planned on them going ahead with it.

Then he moved her aside and started getting out of bed, throwing her pyjama top at her. Rose looked at him and thought he was going to get dressed and leave. Instead, he held out his hand as she put the top back on.

"Wouldn't want to mess with Daisy's bed, would we?" he asked, offering to help her up and catching hold of her to steady her.

Rose looked at the clock on the wall, it was seven fifteen and her mother wouldn't be up until after eight, whether she was getting ready for a wedding or not. She allowed him to lead her back into the bedroom and he put his arms around her neck and started kissing it.

Then he whispered, "Is the wedding still on Rose?" and began kissing her shoulder.

Did he think they could just forget what had been talked about last night? Rose looked at him. It had happened, he knew everything about her past and he had questioned her. He had questioned why she loved him and had questioned why she was with him and most of all, he doubted her. He doubted her motives for being with him.

Rose moved her head away from him but she didn't want to argue with him. He looked at her.

"What's wrong now?" he asked, looking hurt she had moved away from his advances.

Was he going to have to start all over again?

"Alec, you're acting like nothing ever happened last night and it did, what you were told could change your life, it could change all our lives and you want to forget about it?"

Alec sat on the bed. Yes, he did want to forget about it, he wanted things to be as they had been before he found out he might be a Timelord and he might just be putting everyone he loved in danger but hey, he wanted to know if the wedding was still on and he wanted to be back in bed snuggling Rose to death and never talk about this again but he knew he couldn't.

Rose sat beside him and took his hand.

"This isn't going to go away Alec, as much as we want it to. You would have begun asking questions, about my past eventually. You would have got curious about that watch and one day, you might have opened it and it would have been the day you changed back to who you were before and as much as I hate to admit it, you might not have even been him, you might have been another Timelord that I had never met before and I could have been married to a monster. Not all Timelords were good, that I do know and I'm not saying you are, I'm not even saying this is all true but you could have opened it, been The Doctor from this universe and not loved me."

Alec looked at her and then at the ring.

"Would I have asked you to marry me if I didn't love you Rose? You lost The Doctor, I understand that, I can even accept I happen to look like him, okay, your mother just about summed that up last night, that I've been accepted for who I am, not who I look like but how can I ignore the fact that I'll either have to change back to whoever I was or die?"

"Alec, The Doctor faced life and death decisions all the time. Sometime sacrifices had to be made and I stood by and let them happen because the sacrifices outweighed what the alternative was. I've faced things you can never even imagine Alec and not good things and if you think the Cybermen were terrifying, they were just the tip of the iceberg because there were far more menacing threats out there. They were petty compared to other monsters and aliens I faced with The Doctor and you know what? I wouldn't have changed any of it because that was what we did. Sometimes you have to accept what you've become, not what you used to be. You are Alec Hardy, the man I love more than anyone in this universe and I don't care if you used to be someone else. It's your choice if you accept who you used to be and go back to it."

Alec didn't know what to say. She was right. He was Alec Hardy, complete with a bad heart, a teenage daughter from a failed marriage and a woman who loved him and was having their baby. Did he want to lose all that? He remember his life from being young, would he have invented all that? Would he have chosen to become ill or had he made himself ill on purpose, to remind himself he had to go back and stop living this invented life. Then there was this time machine, who would invent such a fantastical story as that? Rose had been in it, she had travelled in it, Jackie had been in it (well she wouldn't make up a thing like that, he was certain about it) and Pete had seen it. Pete had travelled to Rose's universe and he had brought Rose and her mother back with him and taken them in and protected them.

It didn't alter anything though, he either stayed as he was or risked everything including Rose and the baby. He looked at Rose, who was looking into his eyes like she was searching his very soul, waiting for him to say something. Just like yesterday when he made the sacrifice to put his fear of the water out of his mind and go take Tony on the water slide, he had to make a decision again.

"Rose, if I promise you I'll stay being Alec Hardy, no matter what, will you still marry me tomorrow?"

Rose never even hesitated. She wanted Alec and she wanted him to stay being Alec.


"Even if it means I might die if I don't open the watch if I'm meant to at the right time because I won't put everyone in danger. You're right, sometimes you have to make sacrifices for those you love and I could never put you and our baby in danger, even to the point of risking my own life. I love you Rose, I can't live without you, even if it's not for much longer. You have to promise me though, that whatever happens, you won't make me open that watch."

Rose put her arms around him and kissed him.

"Don't say that, you have everything to live for. We have a least half an hour before my mum will start ringing."

She pushed him down on the bed and they scrambled to get under the covers, Rose taking her pyjama top off as they did and Alec wriggling out of his shorts and pulling her pyjama shorts off. Rose lay on him, sighing like they always did when they touched and he pulled her directly on him and she called his name and said she wanted him.

Rose slowly moved off him and onto her side and pulled a face. Alec almost took it the wrong way until she smiled again and grabbed his hand, pulling it on her tummy. Alec's face lit up.

"Did the baby just move then? Did you get a twinge?" he asked excitedly, keeping his hand there and waiting for it again.

He felt another movement as both their hands were there, Rose's on top of his and they both laughed.

"Yes Alec, it moved. We can't keep calling the baby 'it', we have to find out what we're having when I go for the scan."

He leaned over and kissed her again. Then he went serious.

"Does this mean you can't lie on me anymore?" he asked worriedly.

"No, of course not. The baby's just reminding us it's still there and not for me to overdo it so we'll have to be gentler."

Now it was his turn to pull a face. Rose laughed.

"Don't be silly Alec, it just means I can't do as much moving as we like to, you're going to have to do a bit more work but from Monday, you'll be in hospital and when you come out, which don't think you're not or you'll have me and my mother to answer to and believe me, you don't want to mess with her, you'll have to take it easy for a while anyway so it won't be too bad. Let's just take advantage while I can still move."

Alec smiled. Despite him being a complete ass last night, they were still good.

"Well since you put it that way, I suppose we'll just have to make do and thanks for the advice, about not having your mother on my case. I'll be gentler Rose, I promise and you don't have to be the one who always moves, we'll manage. Now I have to go take my pill before we really do have to cancel the wedding."

They kissed again, Alec reluctantly took his hand away from feeling the baby move and went to get dressed, turning around and letting Rose see him before he put on some clean shorts, which always made her giggle when he did it. Rose put her dressing gown on and right on cue, Rose's mobile rang at the same time as Alec's. One was Jackie Tyler and the other was Daisy and they weren't calling who you would have thought they would be. Alec went out of the bedroom in just his shorts to face his nemesis, Jackie Tyler.

"Alec Hardy, I hope you are with my daughter and you've apologised for being a total arse for walking out on her last night. What did you think you were doing?"

Alec couldn't get a word in to put up a defence as she so kindly replayed all he had put them through last night, upsetting Rose, upsetting his daughter, having Pete and Rose trawl the streets looking for him. Finally, thankfully she ran out of breath.

"Jackie, can I speak now?" he asked. Getting no reply, he continued. "Yes, I know what I am, I'm stubborn, I'm pig-headed and I am an arse for walking out because I couldn't handle it but she's here, with me, talking to Daisy who was I know, just as upset as Rose was. I'm sorry Jackie, I really am but we've talked it out, we're good and the wedding is still on."

Jackie finally found her voice. "Well thank goodness for that. You have a lot to learn about the Tyler women. I hope you two have kissed and made up then, Rose has a hairdressers appointment at eleven so make sure she isn't late. What are you going to do about what was said last night?"

"We still have things to work out but we will, I know I was hasty, I should have talked about it instead of walking out. I can't live without her, I know that much and we'll tell you later what we've decided so far. I have to talk to Daisy, I don't know what she thinks of me right now. I used to walk out when I'd had a row with her mother."

"I think she's still talking to Rose. We'll see you for lunch at one, don't be late. You had better come down and get that car."

"Yes Ma'am," Alec joked.

All he heard from Jackie was a 'don't be cheeky or I'll slap you' and went to see if Rose was still talking to Daisy.

While Alec had been facing his future mother-in-law, Rose had been trying to assure the teenager this was none of her fault. Daisy had been pouring her heart out down the phone to Rose, who had called her back to save the girl using all her phone credit.

"Daisy, listen to me. I told you last night, you are not the cause of this. I told your dad some stuff about me and my past and he just didn't take it well, that's all, I swear but we've worked it out, well most of it. We're still getting married because we love each other. We didn't have an argument, well not what you would really call an argument. He just couldn't accept some of the things I told him but they weren't bad things, just hard to face things. They don't concern you in any way, please don't ever think that."

The girl had stopped sobbing down the phone. "Okay, if you're sure everything is alright between you and my dad. Everything was going so well though, I couldn't believe he'd just go like that. Are you still going to get your hair done?"

"Yeah, course I am so I'll meet you there at eleven. He'll have to walk down to pick up the car." She heard him walk in and go to the wardrobe to get his jacket and a shirt. "I'll see you there. Do you want to talk to him?"

She handed her phone to Alec.

"Daisy, I'm really sorry, I'll see you shortly, I'm coming down for the car."

He hung up and gave Rose her phone back.

"I suppose you got a real lecture from my mum then?" Rose grinned.

Alec continued getting dressed, trying to decide if ever getting on the wrong side of Jackie Tyler was ever going to be worth it and decided he would rather interrogate people all day long who didn't want to talk than to be faced with her interrogating him again.

Alec put his shirt on and tucked it in, knowing if he went near Rose, she would pull it out again.

"You could say that. She told me I was a arse and I was. I don't know why you put up with me Rose."

He sat down to put his shoes on and Rose sat on the bed beside him. She put her hand on his arm.

"Shut up and kiss me before you go down and get the car and bring some breakfast back."

She never gave him chance to resist.

While Alec went to get the car and call and bring some breakfast back, she began getting everything out she knew they were going to need for the next few days but waited for Alec to get the cases out, laying garments out on the now made bed and opening the drawers, throwing underwear out and frowning because there was still some laundry to be done. Quickly, she took the dirty clothes into the bathroom, threw them into the laundry basket and took it all to the kitchen, just as Alec came back.

"Rose, you shouldn't be doing that," he said, putting two cartons onto the kitchen counter.

He began putting the washing in the machine and put the washing tablet in the drawer and setting the machine while Rose made some tea.

"Was Daisy alright when you called in?" Rose asked as she sat at the table and Alec got two breakfast sandwiches out of their containers.

"Yes, I didn't stay long, your mother was frowning at me, I thought she was going to slap me."

Rose smiled. It wouldn't be the first time she had slapped one of her friends.

"Don't take it personally Alec, she's slapped the best of them. She used to slap my friend Mickey all the time and she even slapped The Doctor and he wasn't even my boyfriend."

Alec looked up. "Who is Mickey?" he asked, taking a bite of his sandwich.

He had found a caf that grilled their sandwiches, not fried them like grease was going out of fashion.

"I told you about him, he came with us, from the other universe. When we were back there, he was sort of my boyfriend but I'd known him all my life, we weren't serious. You were my first Alec, you know that."

It didn't make him feel any better though and he thought he was over that.

"Yes, I think you did mention him and yes, it was fairly obvious I was your first Rose."

He smiled reassuringly at her.

"Can you help me pack the cases when we've finished? We need to leave them open to throw things in when they're washed and dried though. What time are you checking into the hotel?"

"Later this afternoon, some time between after lunch and dinner then after dinner, you're coming back here with Daisy and I'll go spend an hour or two with your family, I suppose I'll get to tell Tony a bed-time story again."

"He likes you, he doesn't ask everyone to tell him stories and you did win him over with that Police car."

Just then the buzzer sounded and Alec went to answer it.

"Delivery for Alec Hardy," a voice came over the intercom.

Alec went down and came back with a large flat box his kilt and the accessories that went with it and he hoped the shirt didn't smell stale. He took it into the bedroom, not wanting Rose to see it. To his dismay, the shirt did look a little 'off' so he took it out to air. Rose stood in the doorway.

"Can I see?" she asked, trying to catch a glimpse as he put the lid back on the box.

"No, you won't let me see your dress so play fair. I have to freshen up the shirt though, I'm going to put it in the dryer for half an hour."

He went to the kitchen and put the dryer on and went back to the bedroom to help Rose with the packing. She had arranged to put her passport in the purse she was taking with her and Daisy would give it to her mother until after the ceremony and then Pete would take it up to their room for her while photos were being taken and the food arranged.

Just before eleven, he dropped Rose at the hairdressers, her mother and his daughter were waiting outside with Pete and Tony. Alec was going to follow them back to the caravan and he and Pete were taking Tony to the playground and would have a serious talk, now including what had happened last night, probably and Alec knew he was going to get a stern talking to for his behaviour. He figured he deserved it.

They all met up for lunch, Alec admired Rose's hair, she had it twisted into loose curls but she was going to change it slightly in the morning and they sneaked off afterwards, all agreeing to meet up at seven for dinner. Once back in their apartment, they had to face talking some more about what had happened because Rose wasn't certain what was going to happen.

"Alec, do you want to talk about what happened last night? Have you any questions?"

"No. Your stepfather said it would be best left alone. I told him I had made you promise not to get me to open the watch, no matter what and he agreed with me. Rose, I want to give him the watch for safe-keeping, I don't want to be near it."

"Alec, I bought it for you. I had no idea it was going to cause this much trouble."

"Don't lie to me Rose, I know what you said. You suspected when you saw it, didn't you? You knew it had something to do with The Doctor when you saw it, I saw the look on your face and the way you snapped it up."

Rose couldn't argue with him. "We need to look it up, we can tell if I'm right or not. I could be completely wrong about the whole thing, I could have lost you over nothing Alec."

She moved up to him and put her arms around his waist, under his jacket and he put his arms around her.

"I did look it up Rose."

She looked up at him. Alec continued. "It was found on a beach, in Norway five years ago."

She didn't give him chance to continue. "D rlig Ulv-Stranden."

Alec looked at her. She knew. "It's true then, you were there but how was the watch found there? Why didn't you find it?"

"I don't know Alec, maybe it was left there, after we went home."

Chapter 26

A/N: Please don't PM me with inaccuracies about Rose's pregnancy, it's only a story! Everyone is different.

That got Rose thinking again, there was so much going through her mind right now, impossible things, like The Doctor had come back, he had thrown the watch through the gap as she was leaving, as a message to her and a dozen other things. None of them made any sense. She was going to marry Alec, whether he was The Doctor, a Timelord or not because she had promised she would never get him to open the watch even when his life might depend on it. What would Daisy think if she refused to help him if he was dying? If the girl knew she could restore him, how would she explain to her that her father chose to die instead of putting them at risk?

That was who Alec was, a man who put his loved ones first and that was so The Doctor, whether he was him or not and it was going to be hard not to break that promise if something did happen. What were the chances of two men from different universes being so alike if they weren't the same person?

"So, have you anything else to add Rose? Anything else you need to tell me because I want to forget this now. We know the watch was intended to be found and for it to get to you, maybe even to me but the important thing is what we do with it and we've decided to forget about it. At least I have anyway and I hope you have too."

Rose nodded, she had no choice, she wanted to marry Alec tomorrow and finally move on but whether she kept her promise to him remained to be seen. If it came down to it and she had to make the choice, what would she do?

"I'll get the laundry out of the dryer, we'll finish packing then we can have an hour to ourselves before we drop everything off at the hotel and go meet everyone."

Rose reached up and kissed him. "Sounds like a plan to me."

They finished packing, Alec put the cases by the door and carefully laid his dress shirt in the box with his kilt and waited for Rose to get changed, taking his shirt off and his trousers and lay on the sofa. He smiled when she came out of the bedroom wearing her pumpkin socks and just his button-down white vest which was too big for her. He held out his arms for her to come and lie down and he moved over to her feet, going to tickle them. All the events of the previous night seemed to be forgotten as he took her socks off and then moved his hand under the vest top.

"This is our last time together before we get married Rose," he said, as she hooked her legs around him.

Afterwards, Rose got into her dress and Alec changed into his suit and they took everything down to the car and checked into The Traders and took the cases and the box up to their room that Alec was going to occupy on his own tonight. Alec went to hang his dress shirt up, careful Rose didn't see his kilt and Rose hung a few dresses up that would crease plus she got out what she would need for the following night. Alec hadn't noticed she had packed the bear and she crept up behind him, flung her arms around his neck and waved the teddy in front of him.

Alec laughed, catching her and spinning her around, kissing her.

"I didn't want you to be on your own so I brought Snuggles."

Then he knew just how much he loved her and how everything could have easily been over.

He took the bear from Rose as she kissed the top of its head, just like Alec had done when she had been in hospital and said, "I'll still be with you tonight Alec," as he put it on one of the pillows.

Just as they were leaving to go meet the others, she smiled at him.

"You're not going to get tempted and invite Becca in are you?"

Alec looked at her, horrified at the mere suggestion but he played along, he knew she was only toying with him.

"Are you serious Sweetheart? She'd have me in hospital before the night was over, she's too much for me. She's really not my type. I'm going to come back and lock myself in until morning. No doubt your mother will be calling me at the crack of dawn to make sure I haven't walked off again."

"Are you sure you'll be okay? You could have used Daisy's room in the caravan since she's with me tonight. It might be a bit cramped but at least you wouldn't be on your own. Then you could just come back here in the morning to get ready."

"Why didn't I think of that? Wouldn't it be a waste of a room for tonight though?"

"It doesn't matter, we've checked in now, it will save time tomorrow. Just ask mum if you can stay with them tonight, then she can lock you in the caravan and make sure you don't escape."

"Yes, your mother would just love that, wouldn't she?" he laughed, taking her by the waist.

"At least I wouldn't be worried about you all night and if something did happen, you could call out and there would be someone there."

There she was again, she didn't want him to be alone the night before their wedding but it wasn't that she didn't trust him, he knew she did, she was concerned, especially after last night that it would get too much for him again. Just then Rose's mobile rang. It was Mickey.

"Rose, I just heard, you're getting married, are you serious?"

"How did you find out, did my mum tell you?"

"Well of course she did, you didn't. Were you going to tell me afterwards?"

"Mickey, I don't have to explain myself to you. You knew Alec and I were together, mum told you."

"Yeah, well I only found out when I rang Pete earlier and he said he was on his way to meet you for dinner and you were getting married tomorrow. Don't I even get an invite?"

Alec was looking for her to tell him what was going on.

"If you insist, you and Jake are welcome to come down. The wedding is at The Traders hotel at noon. I just didn't think you would want to come."

Alec was looking concerned and hoped her ex-boyfriend wouldn't cause any trouble. He knew she used to go out with him in the other universe but he wasn't looking forward to actually meeting him, especially at their wedding but if it appeased Rose, then he would put up with it. He just hoped his ex hadn't got wind of it and she turned up.

Rose hung up and put her arms around Alec's slim waist. She was secretly hoping he might put on a bit more weight after his operation, she was worried he didn't eat enough on his 'healthy' diet. Alec was eyeing her.

"Sweetheart, did you have to invite your ex to the wedding," he half joked.

Rose looked up at him. "You're not jealous are you babe?"

Alec just shrugged his shoulders, teasing her. "Who, me? I'm not the jealous type pumpkin."

Rose knew he was putting on a show of not caring but let it go.

"If you're going to stay with my mum and dad, do you need to take anything with you?"

"No, I'm fine, I'll come back early in the morning. That's if they'll let me stay."

Rose smiled. She knew where she would rather him stay, where he would be safe.

"Don't worry about that, mum will be keen to keep an eye on you, especially after last night."

Alec just muttered, "Wouldn't she just" and picked up the bear and followed Rose out of the room.

Jackie, Pete and Daisy were waiting for them in the restaurant. Tony was staying over in Ellie's caravan, Tom had volunteered to sleep in the lounge area for the night and Ellie was going to stay in her room to let him get to sleep then she was dropping Tony off after breakfast, figuring the Tyler caravan would be in turmoil in the morning. She was blissfully unaware of what had happened the night before or she would be telling Rose she had been right about him all along. She had only made peace with him for the sake of her friend and the fact he hadn't judged her for what her soon to be ex husband had done.

Alec drove the short distance to the restaurant, Rose made a point of leaving 'Snuggles' on the dashboard and they went to join the others. Pete ordered some champagne and Alec allowed himself half a glass, Rose had one and Jackie had more than her fair share. Daisy was also allowed half a glass as Pete toasted the happy couple and officially welcomed Daisy to the family.

Jackie started crying that her daughter was finally getting married and managed to keep quiet about she was glad Rose wasn't really marrying an alien but they still didn't know for certain, non of them did, even Alec. Alec had tried to put it in the back of his mind, it was too much with the wedding and his operation coming up and he didn't want to work himself up to having to postpone his surgery and explain to his daughter that everyone else thought he wasn't really Alec Hardy. He couldn't even accept it fully, let alone a sixteen year old.

Daisy made an announcement, she wanted to call Rose 'Mum' at home and amongst family which pleased Alec as well as Rose although Pete said it may confuse Tony. Alec said everyone was going to confuse Tony, especially when the baby arrived and started calling the young boy 'Uncle'. Everyone laughed and Pete said they would tackle that at the right time and forgoing official titles might just have to work in their household, under the unusual circumstances. Daisy still insisted that technically, Tony was her step-uncle and therefore it didn't count but Alec tried to explain that would not be the case when the baby came along. She went back to think about that one.

Jackie agreed to let Alec stay the night so she could keep a watchful eye on him and Alec took Rose and Daisy home and Rose gave her the keys to get in while she said goodnight to Alec, not wanting the temptation of letting him in or she wouldn't let him leave. After making sure he had his medication, they stood in the doorway downstairs and Rose snuggled under his open jacket.

"Does this remind you of something Alec?" she asked as she got nearer.

Alec smiled and kissed her forehead. "Yes, it wasn't that long ago either was it? So much has happened in three months, I would never have believed it. Thank you Rose, for believing I wasn't a lost cause and for making me better, enough to have the operation and whatever happens, it will have been worth it and if it's the worse, then at least I will have been married to you."

"Don't talk like that Alec, you're too stubborn to quit on me."

She rested her head on his chest and could feel his heart beating, one of the reasons why she always went to sleep like that.

Alec then also knew that was why she slept like that, it was so her, keeping him safe even while she slept.

"I love you Rose and tomorrow, we'll be married. I know it's all happened so fast but it just seems right and I'm so sorry about last night, I shouldn't have run off like that. You're right, I was being an arse over it, you didn't deserve any of this and I should have been more understanding. It was your life before you came here, you can't just forget it and if you had the chance, I know you would do it over again but I can't get past you thinking that somehow, for whatever reason, that I might be him. I know I was broken Rose, you fixed me but I can't depend on some stupid watch. Maybe it's just a symbol, to remind you of your past and what you can do."

That had to it, Rose was thinking. "Yes, Alec, maybe you're right. Let's just forget it, we have a wedding to go to tomorrow."

They kissed goodnight and Rose watched him walk back to the car. It was still early, not even nine but Rose knew she couldn't spend any more time with him or it would be defeating the object of not seeing the bride before the wedding. Daisy was making hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows and had chosen a girly movie to watch and they curled up on the sofa, arm in arm. Rose went to bed just after eleven, setting her alarm for seven, knowing her mother would be ringing, tomorrow Jackie would not be lying in bed all morning, she would be up bossing poor Alec around and drilling him about rings, honeymoons and he'd better look after her daughter properly.

Rose tossed and turned, wishing she had kept the bear but Alec needed it more than she did. She thought about him lying in the narrow single bed in the caravan, the bear tucked in with him, wishing it was her he was holding. She had put on his t-shirt and her pyjama bottoms, knowing he wouldn't be there in the morning to take them off after he had brought her morning mug of tea. It was just gone two, Rose woke up with a sudden pain and called out for Alec, then realising he wasn't there.

Daisy came rushing in. "Mum, are you okay?"

Rose didn't process what the girl had said.

"I'm getting pains but it will probably just pass."

"Do you want me to call my dad or gran?"

Rose thought about it but the pain was already passing. "It's okay, don't bother them. I'll call the hospital in the morning and tell them, it's probably all the excitement, or those marshmallows."

Daisy smiled. Perhaps her stepmother had too many of them after all.

Rose tried to get back to sleep, not having much luck but the pain was passing. It was probably the baby moving around. She decided to check with the maternity unit in the morning and not bother Alec until after the wedding. When her alarm went off, she just changed into some loose jogging trousers and a t-shirt and went to wake Daisy.

Alec had a similar night, well except for the pains as Rose had got them but he'd woken up at roughly 2am, knowing instinctively something was wrong with Rose. That was the bond between them. It seemed to subside so he went back to sleep, holding the bear tight and telling it he wished it would turn into Rose. After he had left Rose and his daughter, he'd spent a couple of hours talking to Jackie and Pete after trying to sneak the bear in, getting a funny look and explaining it was Rose's idea, Jackie telling him some of the things Rose used to get up to and Pete enjoying the stories as much as Alec. Alec told them about when he had first started in the Police and how he had quickly risen in the ranks.

Jackie had gone to bed just after eleven and Alec and Pete had talked a while longer, Pete now giving him the concerned stepfather of the bride talk, Alec had been expecting it but he didn't bring up the subject of his foolish behaviour of last night. Pete figured they had sorted it out and it didn't warrant bringing it up again.

Ellie had been right, the next morning was chaos as Jackie took charge of Alec, bundling him off to the hotel to get ready with instructions that he stayed in his room until she got there after she had been to see Rose.

Once in his room, he paced up and down, counting the minutes until he had to get himself ready. He went for a shower then got himself dressed, looking at himself in the mirror. He had wondered whether to get rid of his beard altogether, not knowing the effect it would have on Rose but decided to keep it to a minimum like he had been doing. Making sure he had his medication with him, he went to sit down to await Jackie's arrival.

Rose rang the maternity ward and explained about the pain last night and was told she was probably just experiencing movement and if she was still concerned, to call into the unit or go see a nurse at the health centre she was registered with. Rose waited for her mother to come and finish off her hair and then when she had finally left, Rose put on her dress, hoping she hadn't gained any weight since she had bought it. Daisy got her dress on, zipping each other up and Rose hoping the girl wouldn't see what she was hardly wearing underneath and she slipped on the shoes she had bought and put on the necklace Alec had bought her. Pete was arriving at eleven thirty after dropping Jackie and Tony at the hotel and collecting the bouquets and his button-hole and staying with Alec for a while.

Pete finally rang the buzzer and Daisy went to let him in.

"Is Alec okay? Was he getting nervous?" Rose asked anxiously.

"He's fine, I've just left him. He'll be too worried about what your mother will do for him to be nervous about getting married, " Pete laughed. "I never thought I would see this day Rose, you getting married. I have to ask you, it's my duty you do love Alec, don't you?"

Rose looked at him. "Yes Dad, I do love him."

"That's all I need to know."

Daisy wondered what her dad was letting himself in for. They got into Pete's car and arrived at 11.50 and he let them out and drove around into the car park. Ellie and the boys weren't there yet, she was getting Tom from school and Rose hoped she wouldn't get delayed. Beth was there though, along with her husband and her daughter, who had dragged her boyfriend along and hoped Rose didn't mind. Then just inside, she could see her mother, talking to Mickey and then she saw Jake but couldn't see Alec.

The registrar came past them, acknowledging Rose just as Pete joined her and she supposed Alec was already in the room they were getting married in. Her mother was supposed to be keeping an eye on him then she realised Tony wasn't there and figured he was with Alec. Alec didn't know anyone enough to ask them to be his best man so Daisy was going to stand with him and pass them the rings.

Pete led Rose inside, Ellie arrived just as they were standing outside the room, followed by the Latimers, they followed Jake and Mickey and Rose and Pete hung back, Jackie greeting her daughter and taking Rose's purse from Daisy. They all took their seats, it was just on noon as Rose looked in the large mirror and saw Becca sat behind the reception desk and waved her over. Becca smiled and whispered she would be happy to witness the wedding but would sit at the back. They had finally buried the hatchet, Rose had won with Alec Hardy, who was now officially off the market.

Daisy followed Rose and Pete, standing behind and taking her bouquet and then went to stand by Alec, who turned to his bride-to-be after passing the rings to his daughter. He thought he was dreaming, he thought Rose looked beautiful and her hair was different than it had been the day before. She smiled at him, Pete let go of her arm and passed her to Alec. Rose looked at him, standing in his kilt and full regalia that came with it then the registrar and his assistant called for attention.

They exchanged their vows and their rings, kissing fervently as they were pronounced husband and wife and went to sign the register, Pete signing as Rose's witness and Ellie signing for Alec. Jake was videoing the ceremony and Jackie was crying, holding onto Tony who didn't understand what his sister was doing standing at the front of the room holding both of Alec's hands and repeating the things the other man was saying.

The registrar announced them as Mr & Mrs Alec Hardy and everyone clapped as they walked towards the door, Jake going ahead of them to record them and waiting for them to stand and kiss again. After going out onto the patio and having photos taken, Alec found himself confronted by Olly Stevens, who had been sent over by his editor when she had seen people stood, all dressed up, in front of the hotel and had seen Beth and who she thought looked very much like Rose.

Alec agreed to a photo and the announcement, asking him to keep it quiet for a while. He didn't want it announced, it would only add to everyone's misery if something went wrong with his surgery. Olly said he would speak to his editor. After the reception, Rose and Alec finally had chance to slip away, agreeing to meet everyone later. Once outside their room, Alec decided if it was one of the few things he could do, he was going to carry his bride through the door.

He closed the door with his foot and carried Rose over to the bed. Rose giggled when the bear was sat on one of the pillows. She thought her mother would have given Alec some stick about it. He went around and unzipped her dress, letting it fall to the floor as he kissed her neck, turning her around and taking her in, standing there in the sheer lingerie she had bought with the dress, just covering up the bare essentials. Alec could only stare at her and look her up and down, running his hands over her hips and down her legs.

"You looked so beautiful in your dress Sweetheart and even more beautiful as you stand there now. I have something for you, another wedding gift."

He let go of her and went to the top dresser drawer and brought out a gift wrapped in silver paper with a red bow. "Open it Sweetheart."

Rose opened it, revealing a box, took the lid off and took out a silver frame, one space for baby's first photo and one for the first scan picture. She put her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.

"It's perfect Alec." She kissed him again then went to put it on the dresser. "My turn now."

She looked at him in his traditional Scottish attire and helped him take his jacket off then unbuttoned his shirt while he took off his shoes and pulled his shirt from under his kilt. He took off the sporran, putting his medication on the bedside table and Rose looked to see how to unravel the kilt. He showed her and she began to pull the material from around his waist. She wasn't surprised he had gone with tradition. He reached around to unfasten her bra and pulled her onto the bed on top of him, pulling off her remaining garment.

"You do know we're supposed to wait until tonight, don't you pumpkin?" he asked, turning her onto her back and running a finger along her tummy.

"I won't tell if you don't," she smiled. "Besides, I missed you last night, you have to make it up to me."

She reached up to kiss him.

He began kissing then running his hand on her tummy. "Are you sure you're okay Rose, did you wake up in the early hours of this morning?"

"How could you know that?"

"I woke up, for some reason."

"I got a pain but it passed. I called the hospital but they said it was probably the baby just turning over. Feel it Alec."

She placed her hand over his and he felt movement. He smiled down at her then leaned down to kiss where his hand had been.

"Are you sure it's okay to lie on you? I could just move aside a bit."

"Mmm, I'm sure we'll manage somehow. Are you sure you want to do it this way?"

Alec smiled. "It's our wedding day Rose, you shouldn't expect any less from me," he replied, kissing his way down.

As he lay so he wouldn't hurt her, he showed great restraint so he wouldn't end his wedding day in the emergency room but it wasn't him that was going to end up in hospital. He came away from her, Rose's legs were wrapped around him as he moved to kiss her, being careful not to put his full weight on her. Suddenly she cried out when she tried to move onto her side as Alec helped her from the bed. She held her tummy, waiting for the pain to pass.

Alec grew concerned. "What is it Rose? Did you get the pains again?"

Rose managed a nod. She lay back down again. "I think we should get you to the maternity ward Rose, you shouldn't be like that."

He quickly got dressed then put some clean knickers on Rose followed by a bra top she had in the drawer then pulled on a t-shirt and some leggings she had left out for the next day. He left her on the bed and got her phone and called the hospital. They had established that she was to have private treatment before she had left the week before, Alec had been to arrange it, showing his medical insurance which included any interim treatment during her pregnancy.

The ward sister told him to bring her in if he was concerned and he helped her on with her shoes and got her downstairs. Becca was surprised to see them then noticed Rose didn't look quite right, she was leaning heavily on Alec.

"Is Rose okay? Can I get anything for her?"

Alec shook his head. "No, I'm taking her to the hospital. She's six weeks pregnant Becca and she's getting pains. Don't you go telling anyone."

Becca shook her head. She knew better than to cross the detective now Rose was his wife. He sat Rose down on a chair in the entryway and asked Becca to stay with her while he went to get the car.

"Are you okay Rose?" Becca asked her.

Rose was clutching her stomach, waiting for the pain to pass but it didn't. Alec pulled up outside and Becca saw him getting out and she helped Rose up. Between them, they got Rose into the car, Alec thanking Becca and he drove her to the hospital's maternity unit. He saw an orderly and asked for a chair for her and they took her up to the maternity ward. Going up to the desk, Alec calmly said he had rung earlier.

"I'm Alec Hardy, I called about my wife, she's getting pains. She's down as Rose Tyler."

The nurse checked her notes, seeing the man had private medical insurance and directed the orderly to take her to a cubicle.

"We were expecting you. I'll have a doctor with her in a few minutes, you can go wait with your wife Mr Hardy."

The nurse followed them in and pulled the curtain around and helped the orderly get Rose on the bed and put a blanket over her, Alec now holding her hand. Then they left, Rose was still clutching her stomach with one hand.

"You'll be okay Rose, you and the baby will be fine."

Rose looked up at him with tears in her eyes, hoping he was right but the way she felt, she didn't think so.

Chapter 27

A few minutes after Rose was admitted, a female doctor came into the cubicle, pulling the curtain back around.

"Miss Tyler, how are you feeling now? Do you still have pains?" She gently moved Rose's hand from her stomach. "Let's have a look shall we? Is this your first?"

Rose nodded. Alec regretted not having the chance to change Rose's details to her married name but he had hardly had the time. It was just before four, they had only been married for four hours. It was not how he had been planning on spending their wedding day. He had planned after they had consummated their marriage they would fool around for a while and relax until they went to meet everyone for dinner. He had not expected this. He sat quietly, having to let go of her hand while she was examined.

The doctor stood up and reached for a piece of equipment to listen to the baby's heartbeat. Alec was hoping that whatever was wrong with him wasn't hereditary. She finally looked up and smiled, much to Alec's relief.

"Everything is fine Miss Tyler or is it Mrs Hardy? The baby is just a bit over-active. You should try to lie still, don't make any sudden movements. Get your husband to help you out of bed and out of chairs and go easy on your sex-life. The baby just gets uncomfortable when you make sudden movements. I suggest you rest as much as you can. If you like, I can send you for a scan while you're here, they can fit you in."

Rose looked at Alec, who just nodded.

"I'll send someone to collect you but I don't think you'll need to stay in, unless you want the rest?"

Rose looked at the name badge of the Doctor. It read Dr. Martha Jones.

"I'd like to have the scan but I'd rather just go, we just got married."

She smiled at Alec and reached for his hand.

Dr Jones looked at the two of them. "I should have guessed. I'll arrange the scan, you can wait here then you can go afterwards but remember what I said. You can take paracetamol when the pain gets bad, it won't harm the baby. Are you around six weeks?"

Rose nodded. Dr Jones continued. "It's just the time the baby starts being active. Just tone down your marital activities."

Rose didn't figure that was going to be a problem since Alec was going into hospital himself on Monday.

"Thank you Dr Jones. While we're here, can I change all her details or should we wait until I get the medical insurance changed?" Alec asked.

"You would be best waiting, saves any confusion."

She was about to leave when Rose stopped her. "Doctor, we were planning on going away tomorrow for a few days, can we still go?"

"How are you travelling?"

Rose was about to find that out herself.

"We go by car and train, is that okay?" Alec asked, trying not to admit where they were going.

"That should be fine."

She said goodbye and said the nurse would arrange to take her to have a scan.

Alec took his wife's hand. "You gave me a scare Sweetheart," he said, squeezing her hand. "I guess we'll have to go easy from now on then?" he smiled.

A nurse came in and gave Rose two tablets with some water and took her down for a scan. As they waited, Alec asked if she really wanted to know what the baby was, saying it might be too soon to tell. When Rose was taken in and the scan was conducted, the nurse showed them the baby on the screen and Alec felt relieved and marvelled that he was actually getting to see his child.

"Can you tell us what it is yet?" Rose asked, knowing Alec wanted to know as well now.

"It's a bit soon yet but the next time, we'll be able to tell. You'll get a follow up appointment. You can have a photo of the scan if you like."

They both nodded.

Rose got cleaned up from all the gel on her tummy with help from an enthusiastic Alec and they waited for a photo of the scan, being handed it in a folded card. Alec got it first and his face lit up. They just got out into to waiting area when his mobile rang it was Jackie, they had left Rose's phone in the hotel in all the rush to get out. Alec wondered what was so important that his now mother-in-law was disturbing them on their wedding day. He didn't want to alarm her and have her waiting at the hotel for him to explain why he hadn't called her when he had rushed Rose to the maternity ward.

"Your mother, do you want to take it?"

Rose just mouthed 'coward' and took the phone from him, hoping her mother wouldn't listen to the background noises.

"Mum, what are you calling me for? You interrupted something."

"Don't be cheeky madam. I know where you are, why didn't you or Alec call me?"

"What do you mean you know where we are?" She held her hand over the phone and said, "I'm going to kill that Becca Fisher."

Alec just smiled. Arresting his new wife for murder was not in the plan but there again, nothing had run to plan since midday.

"Don't give me that tale Rose Hardy. The newspaper editor was just leaving her office and saw the woman from the hotel and Alec put you into the car. She called Ellie's nephew and Ellie called me. Then Daisy admitted you woke up with pains last night."

"It's nothing, just a twinge. Alec was concerned and brought me to the hospital, I'm fine. They gave me a scan and everything is okay."

It was now almost five and they were meeting in an hour to eat early so Tony could go with them.

"We'll still meet you at six."

Her mother was satisfied for now but she knew they would have more explaining to do. Alec called in the pharmacy near the hotel to get Rose some more painkillers and Rose managed a weak smile to Becca as they went in.

"Rose, why don't we just go get changed and then wait down here until it's time to go?"

Rose nodded and let Alec help her up the stairs.

Alec took the scan photo and put it in the frame he had bought, smiling to himself. He had missed everything when Daisy was born and before. Now he had every intention of seeing this through, as if that was the only reason.

They went to meet the rest of the family, Alec now regarding them as one big family but he still felt a bit uncomfortable with Jackie, she wasn't much older than he was but since Rose wasn't that much older than his daughter he had to admit it was a wholly unusual situation. Rose had accepted Daisy as her daughter and Jackie had accepted him. Well he hoped she had. She hadn't slapped him yet, Pete had warned him.

Pete had some more announcements to make, the keys for the holiday home were to be left with the sales office at the caravan site, everything was arranged. He had appointed a local agent to value Ellie's house when she got the keys back and providing an agreement was made, the purchase would go ahead and the agents would appoint a local reputable builder and decorator and Rose and Alec would be able to approve the plans once Alec was over his operation. They would get an estimated move in date once all the work was given the go ahead but they had said they had no plans to move in until the new year.

Saying goodbye to everyone they agreed Daisy would get their apartment keys from Pete when he had collected the things they left in the hotel the following morning and she would be okay until Sunday afternoon when they got back from their honeymoon. They had a drink in the hotel bar, both non-alcoholic and went to their room, Alec setting an early alarm as he told Rose they had a way to go in the car before transferring to a train and Rose wondered why they weren't getting the local train.

They were more careful that night than they had been in the afternoon, he didn't want either of them spending their honeymoon in hospital. He lay Rose gently down in the middle of the bed, taking all her clothes off except her knickers and she helped him out of his shirt and trousers. He had tidied everything from earlier, packed everything away they were taking and left a holdall with their laundry that Jackie was going to wash for them and packed his box with his kilt and everything. He had checked they both had their passports and he had all the tickets and the hotel reservation details and was all ready to make an early start after breakfast in the morning.

Once in bed, he hovered over his new wife, gently kissing her all the way across her tummy and they made his way down, Rose was gasping at his touch, he always made her melt into jelly when he did and he knew it. He moved onto his side, taking her with him as she hooked her legs around him.

When they finally moved, Alec laying on his back and Rose still on her side, he ran his hand across her tummy, feeling a gentle movement and was pleased they had found a way to still be together without distressing the baby. Rose lay slightly on him and pressed her tummy to him so he could experience the feeling more closely. Rose smiled at him.

"Don't want you to miss anything babe," was all she said, snuggling up to him. "Did you pack the bear?"

"Yes, pumpkin, I did pack the bear, are you going to take him everywhere with you?"

He was talking to himself as he felt her breathing gently in his arms.

After breakfast, they packed the car and headed towards what Rose thought was Southampton but they drove past there on the motorway and Rose thought they were going to Dover but they turned off and headed towards Folkestone and she realised they were going to the Channel Tunnel terminal. Rose had learned in this world the tunnel had been operating much longer than in her own and apparently far more efficiently. Alec had made sure they arrived in plenty of time to park the car and get to the passenger terminal, he had opted not to drive around Paris. They had put everything into one large suitcase and a large holdall and Alec went to check in and they were soon through customs.

Once on board the train, they sat quietly throughout the journey, holding hands and whispering, tucked away behind the door so no-one would notice them if they came past. Alec was stealing the odd quick kiss or two when no-one was passing, Rose had her head on his shoulder as he held her. Rose discreetly had her hand under his t-shirt that was also hidden under his jacket, causing him to smile when it strayed down the back of his jeans and when he was certain no-one was getting up, had his hand on her tummy, feeling the baby moving.

Once they arrived in Paris, they got a taxi to their hotel, where Rose discovered their room looked out at the river and they spent the rest of the afternoon talking a little walk along the river and sitting, Rose was feeding the ducks with breadcrumbs Alec bought from a street vendor.

The next day, they went up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, had lunch at one of the restaurants then went for a boat ride, Rose promising him she would make it worth his while to take her and she kept her promise when they got back. On Saturday, they went down one of the tree lined avenues in an open carriage and went shopping, buying some expensive French perfume and chocolates for Ellie and a gift set for Daisy, a model of the Eiffel Tower for Freddie and a French sports holdall for Tom, which they used to put the gifts in until they got back to the hotel. Then on Saturday evening, Rose wanted to see the tower all lit up so they took a carriage ride and stopped by the fountains, Alec taking photos and they went back for dinner.

Rose didn't want to leave on the Sunday morning and Alec promised they would come back. They got a taxi to the station and made their way back through the tunnel and were back home in the late afternoon, Daisy had spent the morning with Ellie but was glad to see them. The preparations were made for Alec to be admitted to hospital the next morning, his things he would need were packed in a holdall, Rose and Daisy packed trousers and t-shirts and underwear for a week, the teenager did all the washing from their time away and after dinner, they all sat talking about what to expect.

Alec ended up comforting both of them when they started crying.

"Rose, Daisy, you knew this was coming, please don't get upset." He held them both close by his side. "Nothing is more important to me than you are both here, you know that. I don't want you getting upset at the hospital either. So while I'm getting tested or whatever, you two go book into the hotel and when you come back, we'll have some time together. You are going to be there on Tuesday morning when they take me down aren't you?"

Both women nodded. Alec took Rose into their room so Daisy could get to sleep and have some time on their own before the next morning.

"Rose, I want you to promise me you won't even think about getting me to open that watch if things start to go wrong. Promise me."

Rose couldn't, as much as she loved him and as much as she knew the consequences either way to let him die or let him be caught by Torchwood. They had talked to Pete about it, Pete held very little authority over Torchwood, the director was a friend but that was all. His friend couldn't sway the organisation to ignore an alien threat even if the said alien was friendly. Pete had put it that not all aliens were a threat but it was their policy and no rules could be bent and he had seriously thought about ousting the current director and installing himself but he couldn't put his family under scrutiny for the sake of something that might not even happen Alec may not even be a Timelord, Doctor or not. It had not been established that Alec was just Alec and nothing else. There was only ever going to be one way to find out for him to open the watch in his time of need because they had all agreed the watch was going to remain passive until the right time and that time was going to be if Alec faced a life or death situation.

Would any of them be able to sit there and watch him die? Rose knew deep down inside she couldn't but could she risk herself, the baby and her family? Perhaps even Alec's ex wife even though she didn't know her and maybe even Ellie and the boys for associating with him. Even worse, anyone who had contact with him as Alec, the Latimers, his work colleagues, even the Police wouldn't be exempt from the grasp of Torchwood, they took their role very seriously. Rose wondered what else had happened that she didn't know about to bring the organization to such strict rules apart from the Cyberman invasion but she supposed that since five million Cybermen had vanished over a three year period, it was embarrassing to say the least and someone had to take responsibility to see something like that never happened again if aliens were ever caught.

"Alec, I will try my best to keep that promise, that's all I can say. Daisy will be there and if I have to, I'll tell her about the watch and what it could possibly do and we will make the decision together. I can't leave her out, I can't begin to tell her I stood by and let you die if there was a way to save you. That's all I can do and I just hope you understand it has to be that way. If we are undecided or one of us disagrees with the other, I'll let my dad make the final decision. If he says no, then we will abide by it."

"I can accept that then Rose, if that's how it has to be. I shouldn't put the final decision on you, it isn't fair, I know that. This is only the worse case scenario, I hope it never even comes to that. I'll sign a paper at the hospital about switching off any life support if you or your dad decide not to get me to open the watch, I can't ask you to tell them to do that. If I don't make it long enough to be put back on life support, I'll make sure they let you in then if you are getting me to open the watch, you'll have chance but how you will explain it, I don't know."

"Just you leave that to dad. Jake and Mickey are Torchwood agents, they are on our side and they have something that will make the operating room staff forget what has happened. Dad can have them in the hospital for when you go for your operation on Tuesday morning."

Alec looked at her. "Just when were you planning on telling me this Rose?" he asked, a surprised look on his face.

Rose smiled back. "Oh since when the whole thing came up. I know you don't want to open it Alec and if you're conscious, I won't force you to but if you're not and the three of us make the decision for you to live, then the plan will be executed. Then they will get you out of the hospital, they have loyal friends who will help, they'll get us back to the caravan park, we're booked in under Tyler and dad will phone the local newspaper and stop the wedding story going out and arrange so everyone thinks you made it and was transferred to the local hospital afterwards. You will still be Alec Hardy, no-one will be any wiser as long as you keep a low profile, which if you are The Doctor, will take some doing but you will know what has been going on probably."

Alec couldn't believe what was happening, they had plotted to keep him alive even when he had been willing to die to keep them all safe.

"And what will happen if I'm not your Doctor, if I'm him from this universe or another Timelord?"

"Don't worry, Jake and Mickey will take care of everything. If you're not him from my world or this world and you turn nasty, they'll take you back to Torchwood. If you are him from either universe, you'll probably still love me and we can at least talk about it and decide what to do."

"But Rose, you'll lose me, Alec Hardy, your husband and the baby will lose its father."

He leaned down to brush her cheek with his fingers.

"No Alec, I'll still have you. I know I will, The Doctor cared for me and you'll still care for me, for us even if you become him. You can still live and act like Alec Hardy, if you are stuck here, without the Tardis, we can still have a life together and if you are this universes' Doctor and the Tardis is here, then we'll figure out what to do. If you don't want us with you anymore, then we'll leave but Daisy will have to know the truth. We'll just go away, back to London and I'll take her with me."

Alec pulled her close and kissed her. "But what if you let me die Rose, how will you get over that?"

"I'll have the baby and Daisy and the baby will know all about you and how brave you were."

She began crying, not wanting to think about it.

"Let's get some sleep, I don't think we can talk about this any more than we have done, everything seems to have been covered and I'll have no choice but to go along with it since everything has been planned although you could have asked me first. I should be annoyed." He kissed her forehead.

Rose put her arms around his waist. "Are you?" she asked, looking up at him.

"Get into bed and I'll show you just how annoyed I really am," he smiled.

He wanted to be annoyed but he couldn't be, they were his family, Pete Tyler had influence and he respected the man and expected nothing less from his loving wife. They were just trying to protect him and keep him safe, which should have been his job.

The next morning, they waited for the rental car to be collected and Ellie was picking them all up at nine since she was going to start her first day at her new job and was settling Freddie in his new nursery. She dropped them at the hospital and wished Alec good luck. With three holdalls, they went to the ward and Alec checked himself in, getting funny looks at all the luggage, Rose explained she and Daisy were checking into a nearby hotel later to be close to Alec.

Alec got settled in his room and they were allowed back in then just after two, he was having some tests done so Rose went to check the two of them into the hotel, a twin room since neither of them wanted to be alone when they weren't at the hospital, which would be every hour possible when they didn't need to sleep and Rose left 'Snuggles' on Alec's bedside cabinet, much to the amusement of the staff when they came in.

They all spent the rest of the day together, they were taking Alec to the operating room at seven in the morning to prepare him but before they left for the night, Daisy gave them a few minutes alone. Rose and Alec kissed as best they could since he was now wired up and a breathing tube was in his nose.

"I love you Alec, you have to get through this, I don't want us to have to make that decision tomorrow. Jake and Mickey will be standing by to get a helicopter down here, they can be here in an hour and if you get through the operation, Jake will stay just in case something goes wrong afterwards, we'll say he's your cousin from Newcastle."

Alec smiled at took her hand, kissing the back of it. "You have it all covered don't you pumpkin?"

"Yep, I've always had to think on my feet, you tend do that when you're running from monsters and aliens."

"Well let's just hope we don't need any of it, that all that planning goes to waste. I'll see you before I go down in the morning. I love you Rose, I've got every reason in the world to live and if you think I'm worth risking everything for, then it just makes me love you even more."

They kissed again and Rose left him for the night, going back to the hotel and trying to get some sleep. She knew she wouldn't be able to but she kept still so as not to disturb the baby and start the pains off again. They were both up at six, had a quick wash and got dressed and were in the ward just before six thirty, the hotel was only a few minutes walk. They got a strange look from the staff but weren't stopped, one of the nurses had seen they had 24hr access.

Alec had been woken at six, he was still hooked up to the machines and he smiled when they entered the room. Rose went straight to kiss him and Daisy took his hand, kissing his cheek. He tried to be cheerful but none of them felt like it.

"Don't bring me any grapes when I come round," he joked, thinking back to when Rose had been in.

Rose took his hand. "The only thing waiting for you apart from us will be Snuggles. I hope you didn't tell him anything you wouldn't tell me?"

"No, just that I love you both and the baby."

They all held hands until the nurse came in to prepare to take him to the operating theatre. Rose and Daisy followed them down, Rose holding hands with Alec whenever she could until they arrived outside the theatre and the nurse said she would be back in a minute. Rose didn't waste a second as she kissed Alec as well as she could then called the girl over, who had tears streaming down her face.

"Don't you two go crying, you're not getting rid of me that easily, I'll see you in the recovery room when I wake up. I love you both." Then touching Rose's tummy he said, "I love you two little one."

The two women hugged each other as Alec was wheeled into the theatre, praying it wasn't the last time they would see him alive. His fate was in the skilled surgeons hands, the best in their field of expertise, Pete had seen to that. No amount of money had been spared, not when it came to Alec's life. As he became less conscious, Alec thought how lucky he was, having his daughter back, having a loving beautiful wife and a family that all cared for each other. Then everything went blank.

Chapter 28

A/N: I am no medical expert, I have no knowledge that the facts of Alec's surgery are true so please, don't write me a lecture about it!

Rose and Daisy watched as Alec was taken into the operating theatre and took seats just opposite. One of the surgeons came out to them, explaining they would do everything humanly possible to get him through the operation alive and his chances were good he would survive, there still being only a very slim chance he wouldn't pull through. Rose thanked him and asked the surgeon that if Alec wasn't already out cold, to tell him she loved him.

Rose said she was going out to call her mother and let her know he had gone in. She also called Pete.

"Dad, is everything arranged?" she asked, not wanting to say out loud what it meant.

Pete knew. "Yes Rose, Jake and Mickey are waiting to hear from me, they've both told work they are going on a mission of some kind on their own, some strange goings-on on the Dorset coast. They have with them what they need. In fact they both insisted on making their way down there and should be there soon but they won't come into the hospital just yet, they'll wait close by."

Rose knew both Mickey and Jake were fiercely loyal to herself and Pete and knew despite the fact she and Mickey had split up, they had remained close and Mickey wouldn't let anything happen to her, or her husband. When he had been introduced to Alec and his daughter, he could see the man loved Rose very much and he could give her everything that he himself couldn't. Mickey could never see himself settling down, especially not with Rose.

"Thanks. I'd better get back to Daisy. I hope we never have to put our plan into action but if we do and we need you to make the final decision, it's something we will all have to live with for the rest of our lives."

"Don't worry Rose, if I have to, I'll make the right decision for everyone."

That's what Rose was worried about, would it be the right decision for Alec? With a plan in place, why couldn't he live? Then she realised why not, what if it was a rogue Timelord that had been in hiding? What if she had been married and been in love with a Timelord who was not good, what did that make her and the baby? If that was the case, would she have loved Alec any less? If that was how it was going to turn out, she would have Jake use something on her to forget and only remember him as Alec and that she had lost him. She was sure her stepfather would agree with that. Her mother and Daisy would be told that anyway, she would keep the girl outside while Jake and Mickey dealt with it.

She would then have to mourn her husband, never knowing any different and Daisy would mourn her father just as she should do. Rose felt certain though that no rogue Timelord could masquerade as Alec, he was too good. He was a good loving man to her, she had heard what his former colleagues had thought about him but that had been before she had met him, they wouldn't think it if they saw him now. She had changed him, just like she had changed The Doctor and if Alec had really been hiding, he would be The Doctor and no-one else. He was too good to be anything other.

Rose went back through the doors and rejoined her stepdaughter. It was strange, she had just got used to their new relationship with being away after the wedding but they had bonded quickly and now they sat arm in arm, waiting to hear one way or another about the man they both loved, as a husband and a father. Rose had the pocket watch safely in her pocket, scared to even leave it in her purse for fear of losing it. Alec's life could depend on it and she needed it close by to give it to him in a split second. She hoped she wouldn't have to use it or explain to Daisy about what the watch was and how it could save him, she didn't know how the girl would take it, she might run off again.

As stepmother and stepdaughter leaned on each other, neither of them getting much sleep last night, they could have talked about a dozen things but remained silent until Daisy couldn't stand the silence anymore.

"I thought I had finally found a family, after all this time. My dad was never around when I was growing up and I hated him for not being there. Then I found out it wasn't his fault, my mother had lied to me, she had kept him away, kept him working when we should have spent time together and she never told me he was ill or he had covered up for her to protect me. Now I hate her Rose, I really hate her and now I may lose him forever. It's not fair."

Rose put her arm around her and let her cry.

"I never knew my real dad, he died when I was six months old and if I got the chance to go back in time to see him, let him know how I had grown up and let him see me, I know he'd be proud of me." It was true, she had been back and met her own dad, just for a few hours. "I know your dad is proud of you, he never gave up when you never answered his calls or texts. He said you would come round when you were ready. He said he'd rather take the blame because he knew he couldn't take care of you and that your mother kept him away from you, even before you were even born. He loves you Daisy, we both do. Now come on, let's just wait to see what happens before we both start crying."

The girl smiled at her new stepmother. Rose just hoped she could keep up her brave face, she wanted to break down and cry, she just wanted Alec to walk out of there, a big smile on his face and kiss her. She had kept her phone on silent, in case Jake or Mickey tried to contact her and so she wouldn't waste any time calling Pete if needed. She had no idea how long these operations took. The surgeon had explained the different scenarios of what could happen, about reviving him if the pacemaker didn't work or anything else that could happen.

Rose wanted to get up and pace the silent corridor but Daisy wouldn't let her.

"You have to keep calm, you have the baby to think about, don't forget. Have you discussed any names yet?"

The girl was obviously trying to keep her stepmother's mind on something other than the man lying on the operating table.

"No, not yet, we decided we would find out what I was having when I have my next scan. Did you see the scan photo?"

Of course she had, her dad had never put it away when they had got back from their honeymoon, it was pride of place on the shelving unit. The girl let it slide, she knew Rose was nervous.

"I've never seen a scan photo before, the baby looks so tiny. I wish I'd had a brother or sister when I was growing up, I was jealous of all my friends. Now I realise mum and dad drifted apart long before I was old enough to know. Seeing you and him together, I know he never had that with my real mum, they never looked happy like you two do. You didn't have to accept me but you did, all your family did. Now whatever happens, I'm staying with you, I'll help you with the baby when it arrives."

Rose hugged her new stepdaughter and they both had tears in their eyes.

"We'll bring this baby up together, the three of us, he'll be fine. Daisy, if the worst happens, which I'm certain it won't, let's just say, I have a trick or two up my sleeve."

The girl looked at her. Rose continued. "Don't be alarmed, it's nothing sinister, I guarantee but I have something that could make him well again but he might be a bit different."

"Do you mean you have access to some experimental drugs or something?" the girl asked, keeping her voice low.

"Or something. I can't tell you yet but you know your granddad is very rich, he's got the best heart surgeons in the country in there with your dad, money is no object and he has access to things you could never imagine. Let's just wait and see."

Rose seemed to give the girl some form of hope as they sat there arm in arm. She didn't want to alarm the girl by saying she may have to make the decision with her. She had taken the first step, maybe she should take the decision out of their hands and place it solely with her stepfather. He was in a better position to decide than two distraught women after all. That was when she decided that was exactly what she was going to do unless her heart was so broken, she opened the watch anyway and risked unleashing a great threat to the entire world. It would be like opening Pandora's box or saving Alec and she didn't know which it would be. It all boiled down to the same, whichever way she looked at it - there was no ultimate solution.

She would lose her husband or put the world at risk but Jake and Mickey would be on hand to contain anything that went wrong, Pete knew that but if the Timelord that emerged was really so bad and overthrew the two Torchwood operatives, what then? Could she honestly risk it? Should she just abide with what Pete decided?

She didn't know, she just wanted a chance to have her husband back, well again or not. It seemed an endless wait and she could feel herself dozing off, Daisy was leaning on her arm for support. Rose looked at her phone, they have been waiting nearly three hours. She remembered the time she and Mickey waited five and half hours for The Doctor to come back and smiled to herself.

The door opposite opened, a nurse came out but didn't walk over. Rose looked back at her phone again, looking at Alec's photo on his contact details, smiling at her and holding the bear. She had taken the photo on the Sunday afternoon they got engaged, replacing the other one of him. She smiled and touched his face, silently saying, "I love you Alec."

The door opened again, Rose nudged Daisy and the surgeon came over to them.

"Mrs Hardy, we've done everything possible for your husband."

Rose didn't want him to finish talking, she was holding onto her stepdaughter who couldn't look at the man in front of them as she raised her hand to her mouth.

The surgeon looked at them, seeing he had caused them some distress.

"Oh, I'm sorry, it wasn't meant to sound like bad news, he's going to be okay. What I should have said is we've done everything we can do, it's up to him now. We've inserted the pacemaker and he's not rejected it so far. It was a bit touch and go, I won't deny that but we resuscitated him and he responded, we had him on life-support while we connected the pacemaker then when we came to revive him, he didn't respond at first then the second time, we got his heart started. It seems he was a lot stronger than anyone thought. I expect him to make a full recovery, he's being stitched back up then he'll be taken to the recovery room, someone will show you where it is when we've settled him. He'll have to be kept sedated for another twelve hours so as not to cause any distress. You can stay with him."

Rose couldn't find her voice. "So if you keep him sedated, when he comes round, he'll be okay?"

"As far as we can tell, it may take a bit longer for it to wear off, you might not be there when he wakes up."

Rose was about to say how wrong he was. They would stay all night if they had to.

"We'll be here, when he wakes up. How long will he have to stay in hospital?"

"It's hard to tell, a week, maybe two. We have to monitor him 24hrs a day. We wouldn't want to send him home and something happen to him. We have to be sure the pacemaker is working properly. He may have to remain on some medication for a while."

Rose didn't care. All her anguish and doubt had almost disappeared. He wasn't out of the woods yet. Rose thanked him and asked him to thank the entire team and went to the vending machine to get some tea and a latte for Daisy.

"Listen, when he gets into recovery, why don't you go back to the hotel, get some rest then when you come back, I'll get a few hours sleep in the chair in his room?"

The girl didn't like that idea. "No, if you stay, I'm staying too. You sleep in the chair, I'll keep watch over him."

Rose just hugged her.

They were taken to the recovery room, Alec was still wired to the machines and they were told not to be bothered about them. When he finally came round, just over twelve hours later, Daisy was asleep in the chair and Rose was curled up beside him on the side with no machines attached. The nurse had been in and not had the heart to move her.

She woke with a start, realising Alec was moving.

"Hi, I thought this was my bed or did you sneak me back home?" he smiled.


Once Alec was declared fit, Rose and his daughter took him straight back to the holiday home. It was the second week in October, warm enough during the day but cooler at night. When Rose got her other appointment for a scan, the previous one being cancelled while Alec was in hospital, they discovered they were going to have a girl. They stayed in the holiday home, work started on their new house, after they all approved the plans and Jake came down just before Christmas to take them up to London to spend the holidays with the rest of the family.

Tony was delighted to have them all with him over Christmas. He had strict instructions from his mother not to jump on either Rose or Alec so poor Daisy got it all. She had never been in such a big house with servants doing all the work and had never experienced a Christmas like it. They all went up to Trafalgar Square for the New Year celebrations and Rose and Alec were just celebrating the fact they were still together after all the doubts they'd had just a few months before.

Beth Latimer, Maggie the newspaper editor and the rest of the town never did find out exactly about Rose Tyler now Rose Hardy, about her past life, her family and the status that came with it. Alec eventually went back to work to a promotion but was tied to his desk for three months until he was declared fit. They all moved into their new house, inviting Ellie and the boys and the Latimers to their house-warming party, taking no notice of the stuffy neighbours who thought they recognised Alec as the detective who had led the murder investigation and started rumours about how strange it was he was living in the same house that had been under scrutiny. Rose gave birth to a girl in May, a sister to Daisy, who babysat her little sister at every opportunity giving Rose and Alec plenty of time to themselves and she got enrolled into the local college and took up childcare.

They never found out the significance of the pocket watch and both Rose and Alec were glad they had never had to put it to use. Maybe it was only a reminder to Rose, of who she used to be but she was sure that somewhere out there, whether it was Alec or not The Doctor was watching out for her. It would always remain a mystery until maybe one day, the time would come again for Alec to have to open it and who knows?

The End