Last train to Broadchurch

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Rose Tyler had been attending a conference in Glasgow for her stepfather just before Christmas. Trying desperately to find any way to get home, she takes a long route but ends up sitting next to Alec Hardy on the long train journey and gets stranded in Broadchurch in a snowstorm. Set in the AU.

Rose Tyler had been attending a conference in Glasgow for her stepfather just before Christmas. Trying desperately to find any way to get home, she takes a long route but ends up sitting next to Alec Hardy on the long train journey and gets stranded in Broadchurch in a snowstorm. Set in the AU.

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Chapter 1

A/N: All train routes, times and stations are mostly fictitious, Rose probably could have got back home another way if she'd wanted!

It was the last thing she had wanted, travelling up to Glasgow right before Christmas in the place of her stepfather, Peter Tyler, chairman of the Vitex corporation and multi-millionaire. She would have thought he would have sent her by zeppelin but since she hated the things and had never got used to them since being in this world, she was rather relieved and the train journey up hadn't been too bad, at least she'd not had to change trains.

After almost a week attending the boring conference, Rose wishing now she had opted to go work for Torchwood instead of Vitex but she couldn't come to terms with what their counterparts in her world had done and been half responsible for her being in this world in the first place so it had been her own fault really. Pete had promised her a big bonus for going in his place as vice-chairperson, one of the perks of being related to the boss. She was really his PA and loved her job.

The day before the conference was meant to end, the weather started to take a turn for the worse and Rose rang about her train and was told it may be cancelled and to check back the next day. She was surprised they had not ended the conference early but most of those attending were local. Lucky them.

It was the 23rd of December, Rose had called the train booking line the night before and been told all trains directly to London were being diverted and they could get her on the train from Glasgow Central leaving at 7.50am but she would have to make two changes, one at Plymouth and one in Dorchester with a delay of over an hour at Dorchester for a connecting train. So having an early breakfast and arriving at the train station thirty minutes before it set off, it had started to snow, the kind of really wet snow, more like sleet and she had got out of her taxi under a canopy thank goodness. She wheeled her case onto the platform, showing confirmation on her phone that her train journey had been altered at the ticket office and collecting her new ticket and boarded the train.

She found her seat, an outside one unfortunately but she would be able to stretch her legs or so she thought. She had not be able to reserve a seat in the quiet compartment or even first class, the train was booked solid, she'd been lucky so putting her case on the luggage rack, she settled in her seat. The train was starting to fill up and people were already standing in the entryway opposite the open doors. She looked at the seat next to her, still vacant it was reserved for Hardy. People were taking their seats, others were wandering down the carriage looking for unreserved seats and making rude remarks when passing and seeing an empty one and a name on it.

The reservation slip did say the seat was reserved from Glasgow and she wondered if the person was actually going to show up. Just ten minutes before departure, a man stopped and looked at the seat number and the name and then at his ticket. He was tall, well dressed in a suit and black overcoat and had a beard, the scruffy sort.


Alec Hardy felt he'd had a wasted journey. After the terrible nightmare of the Latimer case, he had been persuaded to go for a pacemaker fitting and against his better judgement had agreed and to his surprise he had actually survived. So still on medical leave until the new year, he'd decided to make the journey up to Glasgow, see his father who he didn't really get on with and try to see his daughter. She had agreed to meet him but hadn't shown up at the coffee shop in the shopping mall and was refusing to answer his calls. All that way for nothing. His present for her was still in his holdall.

He'd spent two nights at the Glasgow Travelodge and had made his way to the station for the train back to Plymouth, cursing it was not stopping at Exeter then on to Broadchurch that was now his home. He had even rented a cottage down by the beach, just one bedroom, he had no need of company and he could walk to work when he went back. It was meant to be a holiday cottage but it was fully furnished so he had nothing to buy and he'd got a good deal for six months and it was cheaper than the hotel, then he would decide to rent somewhere more permanent, it would be too expensive to rent it during the summer but he had it until next April. It was funny how he had hated the place when he'd arrived but was now more at home there than he was in Glasgow. His illness had made him change.

He arrived at the station, knowing he had a reservation on the 7.50 am train to Plymouth and walked down the length of the train to find his carriage. He saw a young blonde woman sat next to the seat that had his name on it.

"Excuse me Miss, that's my seat, may I?" he asked politely.

He put a holdall on the rack above the seat and Rose got up to let him in. Rose decided to be polite. She had noticed how tall he was and was going to have difficulty sitting in the cramped space for hours.

"Why don't I take the window seat, it will be easier unless you prefer to sit there."

The man agreed, waiting for her to move up.

"Thank you, I appreciate that, there is never enough room on these trains. Are you getting off before Plymouth?"

"No, but I may need to pass you once or twice to use the rest room. It depends on how much coffee I drink on the journey."

The man smiled. "That's quite alright, I'll make sure no-one steals your seat while you're gone."

The man spoke with a soft Scottish accent and to Rose seemed decent enough. He took his overcoat off and put it on top of his holdall.

They had just got settled when there was an announcement the train had been delayed by ten minutes due to the train in front but Rose thought nothing of it. She connected to the internet on her phone using the free wi-fi on the train and looked up as to what time they would arrive in Plymouth, hoping she wouldn't miss her connecting train but she had half an hour to spare. A ten minute delay was not pushing it to a last minute dash.

The man noticed her engrossed in something and she told him their estimated time of arrival.

"Just great," the man grunted, "I have a connecting train to catch."

"So do I. I have to catch another train to Dorchester, then another one to London. It was the only way I could get back home. Are you going visiting for Christmas?"

"No, I'm going back to where I work, I've just been visiting, if you can call it that."

"I'm going home, just been to a conference, lucky me. My little brother will be so disappointed if I don't make it back home in time."

Ten minutes later, the train pulled out and Rose thought at least they had got moving. It was still snowing but the railways were more efficient here than back on her own world where one leaf of a line would cause severe disruptions. That theory was about to be put to the test.

The stewardess came round with a drinks trolley, Rose getting coffee and the man, Hardy getting tea. Rose thought since they were going to be stuck together for a few more hours, she would introduce herself.

"I'm Rose by the way, I know your name is Hardy, I saw it above the seat. People were looking for empty seats before you got on board."

"I'm Alec but you can call me Hardy, I don't really like my first name."

"Nice to meet you Alec Hardy."

She wasn't in the habit of giving out her surname, her name was everywhere and she didn't like being recognised and tried to keep a low profile.

Her phone rang it was her mother.

"Yes Mum, I'm on a train but I'm having to take a detour via Plymouth, it's snowing up here."

"That's what I'm calling for, it's really bad down here. They say on the news there are severe travel disruptions. Your dad's working from home today. I was hoping you hadn't set off yet, he could arrange to get you back, send a helicopter for you."

Rose heard her stepfather in the background telling her mother not to be daft, neither helicopters nor zeppelins could fly in this weather.

"I'll be fine Mum, I should be back by this evening. I'll call if I get held up. Bye, love to Tony, tell him to be good."

Rose ended the call and smiled at the man next to her.

"It's not looking good down south, severe travel disruptions. Where are you getting another train to?"

"Broadchurch, I'm getting the Dorchester train as well."

"At least you'll be home then, I still have to get to London and if I get delayed by too long I'll miss the other train, it will be late when I get home. Since my original travel plans have been changed, I'll have half of London to get across when I get there just to get home. If the weather is as bad as my mum just told me I could be in for a long journey."

The man just smiled at her. "You might be best staying over in Dorchester and continuing tomorrow, the weather may improve."

"Maybe but it's not that long to London from there, it's faster than going by road."

"That's if the trains are still running."

"Thanks, that's all I need, for the trains to be cancelled."

Alec Hardy didn't know if she was joking or not.

"So, what do you do in Broadchurch then?" she asked, wanting to be nosey plus she had never heard of the place.

"I'm a police detective. It's a small coastal town in Dorset. I was only supposed to be temporary but I kind of got stuck there."

Rose was about to say she knew the feeling of being stuck somewhere she didn't want to be. She wanted to be back on her own world, travelling with the Doctor and enjoying kissing him after they had got out of trouble again and the hugs they shared when she was scared of something. She missed him still terribly but after all this time he would have surely regenerated again and she might not accept him this time, he might have a completely different personality and he may not be her Doctor any more.

Rose was staring out of the window, the train wasn't going nearly as fast as it should be doing, she was going to miss her connecting train and goodness knows how long she would have to wait for the next.

"Rose?" Alec was asking, seeing she looked miles away. "I was asking you what you do, in London?"

"Sorry, I was thinking that if this train goes much slower we'll miss the connecting one and I won't get home tonight. I'm a PA at my stepfather's company."

"Sounds important."

Rose smiled as the countryside whizzed past, fields covered in snow and towns and villages in the distance. They had stopped in Newcastle then at Leeds and the weather wasn't getting any better. People had got on and off, the train got busier and the stewardess with the trolley was stuck two carriages down.

Alec volunteered to go get some drinks, Rose promised no-one would get his seat even though people were eyeing it, she purposely pulled up the armrest and moved into the middle of the seat, glaring at a surly looking man stood behind a woman. If she were to let the seat go, it wouldn't be to him, some gentleman he was. Alec came back and handed her a cup and had brought some chocolate wafers back.

"They had run out of sandwiches, sorry," he apologised as Rose devoured the snack.

"I'll just have to wait until I get to Dorchester and hope I have time to grab something, if this train ever gets to its destination. By the way, that man down there was eyeing your seat while you were gone," Rose grinned, wanting to have a bit of fun.

"He was, was he? So he would have taken my seat and left that woman standing? Not very chivalrous is he? Let's see if he'd be so polite if he knows I'm a policeman."

Rose giggled again as Alec put his drink in the holder and brought his ID out of his jacket pocket, stared at the man and held out his warrant card and his badge. The man in question shifted a bit, looked at the floor then turned around the other way. It was all Rose could do to keep from laughing out loud as she covered her face with her hand and put her other hand on his shoulder then leaned on his arm, stifling her laughter. Alec was grinning too, pleased he had impressed his fellow passenger.

After that, they talked a lot more. Rose had been impressed by who had turned out to be, a detective inspector in the Broadchurch Police and soon he was telling her of his wasted journey to see his teenage daughter and his brush with death and having an operation. They were talking in lowered voices by this time, the armrest still raised and Rose sitting closer to him. She felt at ease with him more since he had revealed who he was and knew she was safe with him.

They had just left Bristol when Rose realised they would only just catch the connecting train providing there were no more delays, they had just over five minutes to spare so as the train was approaching Plymouth, the guard announcing apologies for delays and that those connecting with other trains were assured that they would be waiting for them, Alec got up to get his holdall and coat down and passed Rose's to her and the small holdall she had with her laptop and things in so they were ready to get off.

They made their way to the luggage rack and retrieved Rose's case, then Alec looked to see what platform their train went from and found it was just over the bridge and it was delayed. On arriving at the platform having spent over ten hours on the train and Rose only been able to get up again once it left Bristol since her first visit to the restroom was a nightmare of trying to get back to her seat. They enquired if it was the train to Dorchester but the guard told Rose it was terminating at Broadchurch because of the weather and she would have to get a bus that would be waiting as a replacement service to Dorchester but all tickets were valid because of the situation. She had no idea now if she could even get a train to London once she got there, it was now after six in the evening and thought once she got to Broadchurch she should find a hotel for the night.

Once on the train, which was cold as it had just started from Plymouth and been brought in as a replacement train, Alec put Rose's case on the rack for her and they found a seat together as the train was already quite full and he had just fitted her case on for her having moved another up that was taking a lot of room up. Rose knew she wouldn't have been able to do it on her own and was thankful he had stayed with her.

"I'm going to call my mum, I might have to stay in Broadchurch tonight. Do you know any good hotels?"

"There's The Traders, I used to stay there when I arrived there. I've still got the number, I'll call for you."

So Rose called her mother and said hopefully she would be back sometime the following day and not to worry, she had met a police detective on the train and was sitting with him and she was fine.

"Well just make sure you're back tomorrow, it's Christmas Eve, Tony's been asking every five minutes when you're getting back and you be careful, police detective or not, he's a stranger."

"Mum, I've been sitting on a train with him for over ten hours," Rose laughed, smiling at him as he looked at her, not good news she gathered as he held the phone. "I'll let you know what's happening but my phone needs charging up, I didn't think I would be late home."

If she had gone direct she would have been home hours ago, in a nice warm sitting room playing with her brother and making paper Christmas decorations instead of sitting next to a quite handsome male detective on a freezing cold train. There again, she wouldn't have met Alec Hardy.

"Sorry Rose, they're all booked up for Christmas and people that were stranded. I'd try another hotel but my phone has very little charge on it either, I thought I would be back by now and not need it. We could try when we get there, I'll go with you, there are a few hotels down by the harbour."

"Thanks for trying Alec. I'll just have to try when I get there but I need something to eat, I'm starving."

Alec had managed to get them some sandwiches at Bristol as the train had pulled up by a kiosk and he had gone out to it as it was just at the train door and he'd asked the guard if he had time since there was supposed to be a seven minute stop and he had been back in three.

They were halfway to Broadchurch when the train came to a stop at some signals in the middle of nowhere. An announcement was made the train was delayed due to a broken down train between their current location and Broadchurch.

Rose was totally fed-up. She was tired, she was hungry and would kill for a decent cup of coffee. She couldn't believe they had stopped in the middle of nowhere.

"Can you let me out Alec, I need the restroom."

More like she wanted a good cry and didn't want to do it in front of him.

She was back in a few minutes, she had managed to keep her emotions in check but they still hadn't moved, the signal was still on red. Alec saw she looked tired and as he let her back in her seat and took her hand and squeezed it.

"Are you okay Rose?"

"Not really, I'm tired, I'm hungry and I'm cold."

The heating had not improved despite people complaining to the guard. She had her coat and her gloves on but was still cold.

Alec removed her gloves and started warming her hands with his.

"You'll feel better with warm hands," he smiled as he rubbed them.

There weren't all that many people on the train now, most had got off at the last stop but they still kept their voices low.

Rose managed a smile back. "Thanks Alec, I'm glad I was sat on that other train with you. I could have been sat next to that creep who tried to steal your seat."

Alec laughed and continued to rub her hands until she pulled them away.

"I'm fine now, thanks."

She put her wool gloves back on and since no-one was sat opposite them now, she turned and kissed his cheek.

It was now seven thirty, they had been stuck over half an hour and Rose was certainly not going to get back home tonight and since she was cold and tired, she would settle for anywhere warm Broadchurch had to offer.

"I know a place that does great fish and chips and it's open late," Alec said suddenly, taking her hand again and stroking it absent-mindedly.

She didn't try to move it. "Sounds good to me, they don't do accommodation do they by any chance?"

She was staring at the blankness but only saw their reflections in the window, there was nothing else to see.

"You never told me your other name Rose, you have the advantage."

"It's Tyler, Rose Tyler."

"Well Rose Tyler, if you don't mind me being so forward, you can sleep on my sofa tonight after I take you to the best fish and chip shop in Broadchurch. That's if your mother hasn't warned you about sleeping on a stranger's sofa that is."

Rose laughed. "Well she did warn me about strangers but we've know each other for nearly twelve hours and if that train had stopped at Exeter we would have been in Dorchester by now. I wonder why it didn't stop there? It stopped at Bristol."

"Well yes but then I would have had to go to Dorchester and then get back to Broadchurch and I wouldn't be enjoying your company right now on a freezing cold train, would I?"

He squeezed her hand again.

"I suppose not. You had to go mention food didn't you?" she smiled, taking her hand away and locking it through his arm.

Alec smiled, it had been a long time since he hadn't had to work at talking to a woman to persuade them to go home with him and here was this Rose Tyler, accepting his offer of sleeping on his couch. Maybe when they did get back, he would offer her the bed and sleep on the sofa himself.

"Well, I programmed the timer on the central heating to go on at six this evening so at least the house will be warm. You can get warmed up, take a nice hot shower if you want and I'll find you a warm duvet and a pillow and tomorrow I will personally drive you to Dorchester to catch a train to London. That's after you ring the station in the morning and check the trains are still running. It's still snowing out there."

"Thanks Alec, I can get a bus down to Dorchester, you've done enough already."

"Rubbish, I would be failing my duty if I didn't see you get a train tomorrow. Anyway, they might be even running from Broadchurch tomorrow if it doesn't get any worse."

"Are you kidding, have you seen it out there?"

"No, I can't see anything out there, except for our reflections. When I was a wee boy, I used to think there was another train at the side of the one we were on and our doubles were on it."

Rose giggled. "Me too!"

She moved up closer and he put his arm around her.

"I promise you Rose, I'll make sure you're home to spend Christmas with your family."

"Yeah, thanks. What about you? How are you spending Christmas?"

"Well I have this friend, well she was my work colleague, she lives just outside Broadchurch now, she invited me to spend Christmas Day with her and her two boys. She's on her own this year, her husband has just been found guilty of murdering a young boy from the town. Do you not get the news in London? Don't you know about what happened in the town?"

"No, when was that?"

"A few months ago, it was all over the national news, I was on TV and in the newspapers. I was the one who found out he was guilty."

"I had no idea Alec. The poor woman must have been devastated."

"She was, especially with two young boys, one is barely two years old, the other was the murdered boy's best friend."

"It must be terrible for them. Is she getting over it?"

"She moved out of town, she actually works for Dorchester Police now. We helped each other really, she encouraged me to go for a life-saving operation, I've just got over it. I'm on medical leave until after the new year."

"You look okay what was it?"

Alec leaned his head closer, like it was still a secret.

"I had a pacemaker fitted."

Rose looked at him in horror. He was treating it so casually.

"But you are alright now, aren't you?"

He put his lips up to her ear and said, "Yes, I'm fine now."

Chapter 2

It had been forty five minutes and Rose thought if they didn't move soon they would be stranded there all night and need rescuing. Suddenly, the train engine revved and they started moving, slowly and they passed the green light of the signal. The train guard made an announcement, the train in front had been cleared and they'd had to wait for a unit to come out and clear the snow.

They finally arrived in Broadchurch, it was just after eight and it was still snowing. Alec got the only taxi left down to the harbour and they got out in front of a row of cottages. They had been going to call at the fish and chip shop but it was still open so Alec gave Rose the key to the cottage and got her case and the holdalls out of the boot of the car and asked the driver to take him back.

Rose entered the cottage and found the light switch and pulled the luggage inside. It was nice and warm just as Alec had promised. She went to the rear of the cottage to the kitchen area and filled the electric kettle with water and switched it on, getting two mugs from the cup holder and finding the teabags. Ten minutes later, a knock came on the door and she let Alec in, holding a paper carrier bag containing two cartons. Rose almost snatched one out of his hand as he put them on the counter-top.

"Someone's in a rush," he laughed as she opened the carton and took a handful of chips.

He decided he should be the one to make the drinks as Rose sat at the kitchen table and he handed her a mug of tea.

"Thank you Alec, I don't know what I would have done without you, really. I can never say thank you enough. You knew how to keep me warm and calm on that train."

"Well, you learn a few things in the police. Where have I heard your name before? Tyler?"

Rose kept quiet. "I need to charge my phone than I should call my mum, let her know I'm safe. She's a bit of a worrier."

"After we've eaten, I'll plug the phones in to charge and you can go get a nice warm shower, then I'll dig some spare bedding out. You can have the bed if you want it."

"No, I'll be fine on the sofa, I've put you out enough already. I don't want to cause any more trouble for you."

"Oh you're no trouble Rose, really. I don't get many guests."

"What about your friend, was she working with you on that investigation when all along it was her husband?"

"Yes but she had no idea. Like I said, we helped each other. I helped her get another position and she talked me into having surgery."

Rose looked at him, her appetite almost satisfied as she finished her meal.

"Are you are her just friends? Or is there something more?"

Alec laughed at the thought him and Miller. Not in a million years.

"No, just friends. I don't think she could quite forgive me for arresting her husband and having him locked up. That's a bit personal Rose, what about you. Boyfriend back in London is he?"

Rose blushed. "Sorry, I'm just tired. If you can charge my phone for me, I'll go get a shower and take some clothes to change into. Thanks."

Alec finished his meal and Rose passed her phone to him along with the charger. She opened her case and got out a pair of pyjamas and a dressing gown and a clean pair of underwear, thankful she had got the hotel to do her laundry for her the day before.

"Bathroom is just at the top of the stairs, you can't miss it. I'll just get you some towels and use the bathroom before you go in."

"Thanks Alec." She looked up from her case with the night clothes in her arm and caught hold of him. "You didn't have to do this." Then she kissed his cheek.

Alec was the one who blushed.

"Who are you Rose?"

Rose knew the game was up.

"Promise not to tell anyone." Alec just nodded. "You're not the only one who's made the papers Alec. Tyler, as in Peter Tyler? Ring a bell?"

Alec looked at her. "No way, you're that Rose Tyler?" he laughed. "So I sit next to The Rose Tyler for over twelve hours and I didn't know who you were."

"Yes Alec and you asked me if I ever watch the news."

Alec took her things off her and put them on the chair arm.

"Well it's a good thing I looked after you then or I'd have your stepfather on my case, wouldn't I?"

"Wouldn't want that would we?" Rose laughed.

Alec moved closer and brushed her cheek.

"Are you feeling better now?" he asked, brushing his lips against her ear, making her shiver, not from the cold.

"Mmm, I'm good, thanks. Just tired now."

"Take the bed Rose, I insist. I'll be fine on the sofa. I'll bring your case upstairs while you're in the shower then you can go straight to bed. Don't worry, I've fallen asleep on the sofa before, when I came out of hospital. I fell asleep while my friend was here so she let herself out and tormented me for a week about it. She thought it was funny."

Rose smiled. She leaned forward and kissed his cheek.

"You're a good, kind man Alec Hardy."

"Well just you try telling that to my ex," he laughed.

He moved away and picked up her clothes.

"Here you go, enjoy your nice hot shower Rose."

She took them and was just heading for the stairs when her phone rang. It could only be one person the one she had forgotten to call.

"Mum," she said as she put her clothes down again. "I was going to call, I was just charging my phone, the battery was almost out."

"Where are you? Have you got lost or something?"

"No, the train was terminating at Broadchurch and there are no more trains tonight. It was after eight when we got here. They had a replacement bus to Dorchester, to get a train to London but I had no idea if there were any running, there was no-one to ask and if I'd got there, I could have been stranded there. It's awful down here Mum, the train was stopped for forty five minutes, it was freezing. We got to Broadchurch but Alec had called a hotel and it was full, then both our phones ran out of charge so he couldn't find any more and there was only one taxi at the station so I'm here, Alec offered to put me up for the night on the sofa."

She knew her mother was going to blow up and say something.

"Before you say anything, I told you he's a police detective, a detective inspector and I'm perfectly safe. It was that or risk getting stranded in Dorchester and I was cold, tired and hungry."

Her mother finally recovered sufficiently to say something.

"Well just you be careful. I suppose at least now you know him if you travelled all that way together and he is in the police. What's his name?"

"He's called Alec," Rose replied, looking at him as he had just come back downstairs with a duvet and a pillow. She was not going to give his surname, she knew her mother would get Pete to do a full-scale search on him if she did.

"Well you tell that Alec he'd better look after you. Ring me tomorrow and tell me what's happening, won't you?"

"Yeah, I'll find out how to get home. Alec said he'll drive me down to Dorchester if there are still no trains from Broadchurch."

"Broadchurch? Where have I heard that name before?" her mother asked.

Rose took that as a cue to say goodbye before she had to give a full explanation and she was too tired to comply.

She left her phone charging and went up to the bathroom, stepping under the hot shower and feeling much better now she was warm again. Putting her pyjamas and her robe on, she put the towel to dry and walked into the open bedroom. It looked cosy and the double bed looked welcoming and she could hear it calling her.

Yawning and fastening her dressing gown, she thought she would go down and retrieve her phone just as she heard Alec coming up the stairs and was just about to close the door when she saw him standing at the top of the stairs and turn the corner.

"Everything okay Rose? I just came to get a few things for the morning."

He crossed over to the wardrobe and took out a white shirt on a hanger then go to the dresser drawer.

"I'll be out of your way in a minute, you look like you need some sleep."

He got what he wanted and laid the shirt on the back of the chair by the door.

"I'll make you some breakfast in the morning, all part of the service. No extra charge," he smiled. "I'll have to go out and get a few things though, I've not got much in, just enough milk for morning tea, I've been away for three days. I'll bring you some up, is seven okay? I'm usually up at seven."

"Thanks, that would be great since my phone is still downstairs."

"You were coming back down to say goodnight, weren't you Rose?"

"Of course I was Alec, it would be rude if I hadn't," she smiled back at and stepped closer to him. "Goodnight Alec."

She gave him a quick peck on the lips and started to pull back but he caught her and pulled her closer.

"Goodnight Rose."

He leaned down and looked at her and kissed her back.

He left the room after picking up his clothes and Rose heard him going back downstairs and she closed the bedroom door. She was thinking there weren't that many men like Alec Hardy around who didn't want to take advantage of her. Was she disappointed though?

When Alec was back downstairs, he made himself as comfortable as he could on the sofa, smiling to himself. His first company in his temporary home and the first time since his illness a single woman had been in his bedroom even if he wasn't up there with her. She was tired and he didn't want to take advantage of her.

Rose woke the next morning to a tap at the door followed by a 'Can I come in Rose?'

She looked at her unfamiliar surroundings then remembered the man she had met on the train yesterday Alec Hardy and smiled to herself.

"Just a second Alec."

She reached for her dressing gown and told him to come in, sitting up in bed.

"Good morning Rose, I take it you feel much better today?" he smiled, putting a mug of steaming hot tea on the bedside cabinet.

He crossed to the window.

"There was a lot more snow after we got back last night, you should see it out there now."

It was still getting light outside but the refection from the snow was making it seem brighter than it actually was. Rose didn't want to see it, she had to get back to London and thought now there would definitely be no trains running.

"I'll have to call Dorchester train station, see if the trains are running. If not, I'll have to give in and get dad to send someone down for me which could take a lot longer than it usually would. At least I'm a lot nearer home than I was yesterday I suppose but it's still a good way."

"About 140 miles or so taking the motorway but it's getting to the motorway that will be the hard bit. Whoever he sends will have to get through London first then it could take twice as long once back on normal roads, then you have to get back. I'd be worried about you."

Rose looked at him, he was now perched on the end of the bed.

"I'll be fine, dad will send his personal driver down, Dave, he's a professional driver, drives in all kinds of weather."

Alec edged a bit closer, drinking his tea.

"I'd still be worried. I'd rather see you home safely myself, I did promise you that you'd be back there to spend Christmas with your brother. How old is he?"

"He's seven, he's called Tony and he's mad about police cars and bikes."

Alec smiled. "Well trains or no trains, I've decided to deliver you personally to your little brother so after breakfast, which we'll have to go over to the caf for, we'll go get some more milk, make some sandwiches and a Thermos of hot tea, I'll put some warm clothing and the duvet in the back of the car plus the snow shovel and some boots and we'll set off."

Rose stared at him. "Alec, you don't have to do that, it's too far."

"Nonsense, you could invite me to stay over, return the favour," he smiled.

"Well my mum wouldn't let you drive all the way back anyway. I don't know what to say Alec, except you're the kindest person I've met in a long time."

She put her mug down and leaned over, catching his arm. He was only wearing a t-shirt and some sleep shorts as she slowly moved to her knees. Leaning over, she put her hands on his shoulders to steady herself, then brushed his lips, feeling him put his arms around her waist to steady her.

"Thank you Alec, for being a gentleman last night."

She felt a little resistance as she tried to kiss him but she soon found he was kissing her back. She fell back against the pillow as they continued kissing, Alec still on the top of the covers. As their kisses deepened, Rose fumbled with the duvet, trying to pull it back for him to get into the bed with her. He helped her yank the duvet back and landed at her side, half on top of her. Rose tugged at the hem of his white t-shirt and they pulled it over his head as he began unbuttoning her blue flowery pyjama top, until it was undone, feeling the softness of her skin under his fingers.

"Rose," he whispered, "The caf doesn't open until nine," he continued, leaning down to kiss her further down and caress her where the pyjama top was open, moving it back at each side.

Rose pulled him further over, putting her hand on his bare chest then putting her arms around his neck as they touched, still kissing.

"Alec," she whispered in his ear.

Alec was now almost fully on top of her, reaching for the waistband of her pyjama bottoms as she felt his hand on her stomach and she moved herself to allow him to inch them down bit by bit as she wriggled, then taking one hand from his neck, she assisted him as they came down over her hips then she wriggled some more and she felt them come down her legs and he pulled them off, slinging them over the headboard. He moved his hand over her tummy, kissing his way from one side to the other.

"Rose," he said softly, looking up at her and entwining his fingers with hers as he pulled her hand away from his neck again.

Then still holding her hand, he reached back and caught the waistband of his sleep shorts, pulling them down at the back. Rose allowed herself to assist him as they pulled the shorts down over his hips and down his legs. Alec moved onto his side a bit and they pulled them off awkwardly as he fell onto his back, pulling Rose with him. She took advantage and lay on him after kissing his bare, slightly hairy chest and smiling at him. Then she saw the scar over his heart.

"Does it still hurt Alec?" she asked, hovering her finger over it.

"Not any more, come here Rose."

He took her hand and held it over his heart. Rose could feel it beating regularly.

"I had an irregular heartbeat, it almost killed me twice but I came to my senses and decided to do something about it, with a little help but the important thing is, I'm still here and I met you."

He pulled her back down and they continued kissing, Rose now spreading her legs over his, feeling him beneath her as she moved gently on him. Both moving together, Rose could feel the heat building up, all those years she had never been with a man, trying to forget her past life but secretly hoping her Doctor would come back and finish telling her he loved her. All the years of longing to be touched again, not clumsily like when she had been with Mickey when she was only nineteen but properly, by a real man a man such as Alec Hardy, a stranger she had met yesterday on a long train journey and who had offered her shelter when she had been stranded.

"I'm so glad I got that train yesterday," she moaned as she moved on him again and felt a jolt of pleasure running through her as she instinctively knew she was getting close to boiling over.

As if he could sense she was nearly at her breaking point, Alec flipped her over onto her back, running his finger down the skin exposed by the pyjama top, he wasn't interested in removing it yet, she was so close, he could feel her trembling beneath him. Now he was about to test how much of a success the operation had been, the first woman he had taken to bed since before his illness and after his divorce, not for lack of trying, rather unsuccessfully to seduce a woman to sleep with him, he'd just not been capable of it.

He smiled down at her. "Oh Rose Tyler, so am I."

He could feel her beneath him as he made his move. Then they were both lost in the passion, Alec grasping hold of her, pushing himself as she held onto his back, making scratches as she fought to stifle a scream, calling his name. They were both tumbling over the edge and falling down the other side in a free-fall. They both felt something give and Rose knew she has crossed the line, unintentionally but not regrettably, she had never dreamt of going over that line with Mickey, he had not been the one. She just hoped it had not been the wrong time to have given in.

One final push by Alec and they both collapsed, Alec still lying on her, Rose's fingers buried in his back, both of them trying to regain their breath. He nudged her, reaching inbetween the pyjama top and kissing her there. Her hands were now around his neck as she buried her head, kissing the crook of his neck.

"That was amazing Alec. Not bad for someone who was ill, you've made quite a recovery."

She started ruffling his hair and messing it up.

Alec looked up from what he was doing and smiled.

"You were amazing too Rose. It was your first time, wasn't it?"

"How did you know?"

"Because I've not been with a woman who had her first time with me, I could tell. You could have stopped me, if you'd wanted to."

"Who said I wanted you to stop? It was too good to get you to stop."

"Would you still have done it if I had just been taking you to catch your train and you'd probably never see me again?"

"No, I don't think I would have but you were fantastic."

"Well it has been a while, I've been too ill to even attempt it, it could have killed me. I asked the local hotel owner where I used to stay but she turned me down because she thought I would collapse on her. She had to take me to hospital once when I collapsed on the bathroom floor."

Rose looked shocked. "It was a good thing she found you then, you maybe owe your life to her."

"Yes, I probably do."

Rose moved over, getting from under him and he turned onto his side.

"Stop being so gloomy Rose, I'm still here and I've still got it," he smiled, moving onto his back and taking her with him.

They kissed some more, Rose moving around on top of him.

"Alec, would you like to spend Christmas with us?"

"I'd like that Rose, if you're sure your parents wouldn't mind the intrusion?"

"No, they'll be thankful you brought me back but I'd better warn them I'm setting off back by road. Tony will love you with you being a policeman. I'd best give you some warning though."

"What warning would that be?" he asked, reaching up to kiss her.

"You look a bit like someone we all used to know. A friend of ours, he disappeared over seven years ago, just before Tony was born. I used to travel around with him as his research assistant, he was a doctor. Not of medicine but of just about everything else. I travelled with him on his research projects for two years, then he disappeared, the same time those Cybermen disappeared. We all thought his disappearance had something to do with them. He was always fascinated with them, trying to find out how they had been invented and how they turned people into them and we think he got too close."

"Maybe I can help you Rose, try to find out what happened to him for you. What was his name?"

"Doctor John Smith, he was an independent researcher, didn't belong to any university or anything. He had a group of backers, including my stepfather. When we weren't travelling he used to spend his time with Pete Tyler, that's how me and my mum met him and how Pete married my mum and adopted me. Believe me Alec, we tried everything to find him, my dad spared no expense. I keep telling myself he'll show up one of these days. No-one knows where the Cybermen went, he could still be their prisoner or something. They didn't have access to turn any more people into them."

It was as near to the truth as Rose had ever tried to get, a story concocted by Pete himself and had become second nature when having to explain her past. Alec seemed to accept it and she hated lying to him but she had just met him. Alec held her close.

"I'm sorry Rose, it sounds like he meant a lot to you. Were you and he?"

Rose shook her head. "No, we were getting close, all that travelling together but we were just friends, worse luck. I think we were both scared of spoiling our friendship to get involved with each other."

That was very much the truth and it still hurt.

All those times she and the Doctor got so close and one of them always backed off usually him.

"I'm sorry Alec, I didn't mean to get all sad on you."

Alec looked down at her and smiled.

"It's okay Rose, I understand. It's difficult losing someone. My wife left me for someone else and she's never coming back, at least you still have a hope, even after all this time. Come on, let's get dressed and we'll go over to the caf when it opens. Then we'll pack up and get ready to go. I'll have to stop and fill up the car before we set off, I was only expecting to go to Dorchester."

"Then drop me off in Dorchester, I'll call the station."

Alec looked offended. "You'll do no such thing. What if the train stops again and you get stranded? I'd never forgive myself. No Rose, I'm taking you to your front door and you promised to let me spend Christmas with you. It's been a long time since I had a family Christmas, it's more than enough repayment for helping you."

After kissing again, they got dressed and Alec packed some warm clothes and they managed with difficulty to walk across to the harbour caf which thankfully was open just after nine. Alec sent Rose back while he made his way to the harbour stores, getting back almost fifteen minutes later with a carrier bag with milk, four ready-made sandwiches and plenty of chocolate biscuits and Rose made a Thermos of hot tea.

Alec packed the car, called Ellie Miller to say he wouldn't be over the next day, put a duvet and a blanket on the back seat, put a pair of boots into the back of the car with his newly packed holdall and Rose's case and her small holdall and Rose called her mother to say she was setting off and Alec was driving her all the way home. Her mother tried to protest, saying Pete could send someone down for her but Rose said she wanted Alec to meet her and Pete, he had saved her from being stranded in a strange town last night.

Chapter 3

Alec called at the supermarket to fill the car up with fuel and they set off, taking it slow as it was still snowing and they saw a gritting wagon up ahead and hoped it would stay there until they got to the motorway but it turned off at the roundabout leading to Dorchester. The road wasn't too bad, it was a well used one and there was more slush than anything, it was still a bit hard going even though Alec's car was a four-wheel drive. He said they should make a couple of stops on the way and check the latest travel news to see what it was like on the other side of Southampton.

Once they got on the motorway, traffic was slow moving and Alec suggested they made their first stop three miles up at the motorway stop. Three miles and forty minutes later, Alec pulled in outside the building, trying to park as best he could and daring anyone to challenge his parking skills. Rose went to the ladies room while Alec went to get some drinks, opting to save the Thermos in case they got stuck. While she was in the ladies, she called her mother again.

"Hi Mum, we're on the motorway, just stopped. How's the weather there? It's still snowing here, it took us forty minutes to get three miles. Alec reckons it will sometime this afternoon when we get there. You don't mind him staying for Christmas do you?"

"Well since I don't have any choice in it then no. Did you tell him the usual story? Anything I should know?"

"Just one thing, he sort of looks like someone we used to know."

"Oh Rose, when are you going to stop?"

"Please Mum, it's not like that. He only looks a bit like him, he's different in lots of ways. He's Scottish for one thing, he has a beard and he's a detective inspector. His name's Alec Hardy, if you want to look him up."

"Don't worry, I will. Just have a safe journey, both of you. I'm looking forward to meeting him to see just how alike he is."

Rose said goodbye and hurried back to Alec.

"Sorry, just letting mum know where we are. She's looking forward to meeting you but I hope you don't expect a reward for my safe return. The best you can hope for is Christmas dinner and maybe avoid getting a slap from her. She's prone to slapping my male friends. She even slapped Doctor Smith once when he kept me away from home longer than he should have."

Alec smiled. "Thanks for the warning I'll be ready for her. Are you ready to go? We'd best make a move and we'll stop again later unless the roads are clear."

Two hours and two traffic jams later, making use of the sandwiches and the still warm tea, they were making their way across London, which was just as bad as usual on any afternoon but soon, the satnav in Alec's car had directed them across town and they were pulling into a reasonably cleared tree-lined road where the Tyler residence was situated and Alec turned into the newly cleared driveway leading up to the house and Alec just whistled.

"I guess I should not have expected any less Miss Tyler," he laughed as he pulled up outside just after 2pm.

Rose smiled and kissed his cheek.

"Thanks for getting me home Alec."

Before she was barely out of the car, her mother and brother came rushing out, Tony almost knocking her over.

"Rose, you're home, yeah!" Tony shouted, grabbing hold of his sister. Then he looked warily at Alec who had gone to the back of the car to get their luggage. "Did you bring me something back from Scotland?"

Rose was tempted to say she had brought Alec back from Scotland but her young brother wouldn't understand.

"Yes, I got you something. Tony, Mum, this is Alec and you can thank him for bringing me home."

Jackie Tyler observed him as he held out his hand.

"Mrs Tyler, nice to meet you and you too Tony. Rose has told me all about you. You like police cars."

The young boy nodded, keeping hold of Rose so she wouldn't go away again. Jackie got over her initial shock that the man stood there could have been the double of the alien she used to know and could see why Rose had taken up with him and there would be no stopping her daughter now. Maybe he was just what Rose needed.

"Nice to meet you Alec, thank you for bringing my daughter safely home and for looking after her last night. Now come on inside, it's freezing out here."

Rose took her small holdall and Alec brought his holdall and her case inside, leaving them in the entryway and allowing Jackie to lead them to the kitchen where a late lunch was waiting including hot soup and rolls and Rose and Alec tucked in.

"Alec, someone will show you to one of the guest rooms later. Rose, when you've finished, we've still got time to do some last minute shopping."

Jackie slyly motioned towards Alec who was helping Tony break his roll as he wanted some soup as well. Rose got the hint, she had made a new friend and had no present for him.

"Alec, will you be okay for an hour while mum and I pop out to get a few last minute things?"

"You go ahead, I'll be fine. I'm sure Tony can keep me entertained." He patted the small boy on his head. "Can't you Tony?"

"Can you make paper chains Alec? Rose and I always make paper chains on Christmas Eve, don't we Rose?" Tony asked.

"Well I can make them with you if you show me how?" Alec replied, smiling at Rose.

It reminded him of Christmas with his daughter nearly ten years ago when she was seven.

"Everything's ready, I was waiting for Rose to come home. She's late back," the boy complained.

"I'm sorry Sweetheart, the train I was on was late and I missed the other train back to London, they had stopped running because of the snow."

"Dad and I made a snowman yesterday, do you want to see it Alec?" the boy asked.

"I'd like that Tony, let's finish our soup first shall we?"

Rose had wondered where her stepfather had got to that he didn't come out and greet her when they had arrived.

Just then he put in an appearance.

"Rose Sweetheart, you're back, safe and sound." He put his arms around Rose as she stood up. "And I believe we have you to thank for that, Alec is it?"

"Yes Sir, Alec Hardy. Nice to meet you Mr Tyler."

"Please, call me Pete. You're a DI from what my wife told me about you. Sorry, where are my manners, please finish your lunch."

Pete took one of the empty chairs.

"Dad, Alec's going to help me make paper chains and he's coming out to see the snowman," Tony said excitedly.

Pete looked at Alec. "Do you have family Alec?"

"Yes, in Scotland, I have a teenage daughter who lives with her mother but I never see her. I went up to try to see her but she never came to meet me. That's how I met Rose, on the train coming down and you know the rest. She got stranded in Broadchurch, that's where I live now and I put her up for the night. When she told me she wanted to be home to spend Christmas with her family I thought I would bring her home personally. I was going to spend Christmas on my own anyway."

"Well you're more than welcome to spend Christmas with us Alec."

Jackie came back in wearing her coat and throwing a thick quilted jacket at Rose.

"Come on Rose, the driver's waiting for us, I reckon we have about an hour before the shops all close."

They arrived at the nearby shopping mall and Rose quickly chose a police car with extra rechargeable batteries for Alec to give to Tony, bought a nice blue-faced watch for Alec and Jackie got Alec a wallet and cuff-link set, a rather pricey one but Jackie never looked at price tags any more. After checking her mother had plenty of gift wrap, they made the short journey home and went into the kitchen to wrap the presents and put them under the tree. Rose then went to find Alec, who was knee-deep in paper chains and Pete was fast running out of space to hang them.

The boy came rushing over to his mother, singing Alec's praises and telling her he was a real policeman and he'd seen his badge and everything. Alec just smiled and got up from the floor, putting his jacket on.

"Your son makes a mean snowman Mrs Tyler," Alec stated as he went to stand next to Rose.

Jackie was beginning to see why Rose liked him so much.

"Please, call me Jackie."

Rose whisked him away to another sitting room and thanked him for entertaining her brother, purposely standing under some mistletoe and kissing him. They had an early family dinner to be with Tony, then came the time to light the Christmas tree and Tony as was usual got to put the star on top, Alec lifted him up this year, then Tony was allowed to switch on the lights. After getting both Rose and Alec to read him a story, after he danced around the family room singing Christmas songs with Rose, they all said goodnight to him as Jackie took him upstairs.

"I got a little something for you to give to Tony, so you didn't feel left out, plus there's something for you under the tree as well," Rose said to Alec when they were finally alone in the smaller room.

Alec put his arms around her.

"I can't tell you what this means to me Rose, being a part of a family again. Thank you."

He leaned down to kiss her.

Just then, there was a knock on the door and Pete stood observing them.

"Are you coming in to watch the film you two? Alec, we all watch a Christmas classic film together on Christmas Eve, will you join us?"

"I'd be only too happy to. Can you give us a minute?"

Pete nodded, looked at them and left.

"I don't think I ever remember having a Christmas like this, you have a lovely family Rose."

They kissed again under the mistletoe and walked out of the room hand in hand. Just before they went in, Alec stopped her.

"So I stay in the guest room tonight? I was shown it while you were out."

"I suppose so, since my mum put you in there, don't want to let anyone catch you sneaking around."

He nudged up closer to her and put his arms around her.

"Yes, well I don't want to get on your dad's bad side do I?"

Rose giggled. "It's not him you have to worry about so don't get caught."

"Was that an invitation Rose?" Alec smiled, kissing her cheek.

Rose never answered as she took his hand and led him inside. They sat together on the sofa and finished watching the film.

Rose announced she was tired from the journey and from yesterday and they said goodnight. It was also a tradition that the youngest Tyler got everyone up at seven on Christmas morning, first waking his parents then jumping on Rose's bed. He had not been told which was Alec's room but the boy was resourceful. Rose had to warn him.

Standing outside her bedroom door, they kissed for a while and Alec asked if he could go in. Rose opened the door behind her and they tumbled in, Alec lifting her off the floor.

"Alec," she managed to say between kisses, "Come back later when they've gone to bed or my mother will really slap you."

"If you insist but I'll be back in an hour."

"Good but I'll warn you, Tony has us all up at seven and he'll come and find you. Don't let him find you in here."

"Then I'll set my alarm for six-thirty," he grinned, giving her one more kiss.

Sure enough, there was a tap on her door an hour later. It was just gone eleven and no-one stayed up because they wouldn't get any sleep once Tony was around, he was like a miniature whirlwind.

Rose was already in bed but she let him in. She was now wearing a short blue cotton nightdress, almost tartan in design on the sleeves and the edges and as he came up to her, he slid his hand under the hem. She helped him off with his shirt and trousers and they got into bed, Rose lying on him as he pulled her nightdress over her head and flipped her onto her back.

"Alec, did you set your alarm?" Rose asked as he kissed her cleavage, now uncovered as opposed to last night when she had kept the pyjama top on.

"Mmm, yes, don't worry. I just hope it can't be heard in your parents room."

He went back to what he had been doing.

Rose giggled. "No, they're two doors down on the opposite side. Best be quiet though, my mum has very good hearing."

"Well I'd best find a way to keep you quiet then."

Alec kept his word as they kissed, pulling his shorts off and Rose lay on top of him, moving on him then he flipped her over as Rose tried to stifle a scream, biting into his shoulder instead.

Alec lay on her, kissing her neck and thanking the surgeon who had fitted his pacemaker for doing such a good job and whoever put Rose on that train yesterday morning. He hadn't told her but he'd managed to buy her a little something while he had been at the harbour stores earlier before they had set off and had got Pete Tyler to show him where the gift wrap had been left and had got Rose a large box of chocolates and a bottle of wine for her mother and had enlisted Tony's help wrapping them, telling the young boy it was a big secret. He had got a tin of children's biscuits he had bought the boy out of the back of the car and had waited until he left with his dad to start making the paper chains.

As they lay quietly, Rose moving on him and making soft sighing noises as she kissed his chest and then changing places, Rose trying not to make a sound but failing and just managing to bury her head in his shoulder, her legs wrapped around him. After they fell over the edge again, they both fell asleep after Alec moved onto his side and Rose curled up around him.

Rose felt happier than she had done all the time she had been here and knew she had to tell Alec about her past one day but not now, he might leave after Boxing Day and she might not ever see him again but something deep down told her that would never happen. There again, she had thought her and the Doctor would never part.

Rose was woken by Alec trying to get from under her as she had moved onto him during the night.

"Shush Rose, go back to sleep, I have to go now before your brother finds me here," Alec said, kissing her forehead and moving her back onto her side.

She reached out for him and pulled him back for a kiss then giggled.

"Yeah, who knows what he'd tell mum, he's got a very vivid imagination for a seven year old. I think he's been talking to his two uncles too much. They're not his real uncles, just family friends. One used to be my boyfriend when I was nineteen but I grew out of it."

Alec looked at her. "I don't need to know Rose, it doesn't matter to me. Now I really must go before I really do get a slap from your mother. I'll see you downstairs."

They kissed again and Alec hurriedly got dressed and checked no-one was in the hallway. Twenty minutes later, her door flung open and a very excited Tony jumped on her bed.

"Come on sleepy, it's Christmas, I want to open my presents," Tony demanded, pulling back the duvet and Rose glad she had put her nightdress back on after Alec had left.

"I'm coming, I'm coming," she protested. "Why don't you go find Alec? You can play guess which room he's in."

Yeah, Alec was really going to thank her for that later on.

The boy retreated down the hallway in search of new prey but Alec had been forewarned. They all met downstairs, Tony always waited for everyone before gifts were tossed around the floor, no-one ever bought anything breakable the way Tony upturned everything looking for his, even if they were in a neat pile. Anything that was delicate was put at the other side of the tree out of the way but they never really bought each other expensive gifts, they saw no need of it, non of them had anything to prove. Alec had been warned to put the bottle of wine for Jackie out of the way.

Alec was delighted he'd been included even though he had been a last minute guest and opened the present from Jackie, thanking her and then the present from Rose, which he set the right time and replaced the one he was wearing saying he would keep this one for best. Rose was surprised at the chocolates and finally managed to pry Tony away from the police car to get his breakfast. Jackie had bought Rose a nice pink fluffy jumper that she said she was going to wear later for Christmas dinner.

Mickey had been invited for Christmas dinner but Rose wasn't very happy not to have been informed until he turned up and he stared at Alec but all was soon settled and they all enjoyed themselves, until Alec gave Rose a pink paper hat and she got up from the table and rushed out, upset because that was what the Doctor had done the first Christmas he had regenerated. All the memories had come flooding back and Jackie had to go after her, Pete explaining that sometimes, Rose missed her friend because the first Christmas they had all spent together he had given her his pink paper hat.

Alec could only feel sorry for her, he wasn't mad or felt rejected, it was only natural since she had told him he looked like her friend. He was feeling how lucky he was not to be spending the holidays on his own again and if Rose thought he looked like this Doctor John Smith, he was flattered but it was obvious to him that they had been more than friends, despite Rose's insistence they had never done anything about it. He thought it may have been one-sided on Rose's part and the man had got scared and disappeared on his own and the Cybermen had nothing to do with it, just using them as cover to avoid a confrontation.

Well in Alec's eyes, the man had been a fool to run away from someone like Rose Tyler, he should have manned up to it and tell the woman how he felt about her, it was obvious Rose had feelings for him, never mind risking their friendship. That was when Alec realised he was falling in love with her and if he wasn't careful, their friendship would go the same way and he couldn't let her heart be broken again but did she want him or did she want her friend back? He had until the day after tomorrow to decide. He could go back to Broadchurch and never see her again or ask her to go with him.

If she didn't want to go with him right away, he could live with that, he could come back the odd weekend, he was only going back to work on light duties for three months, he would be able to travel back to see her but what if she didn't want to see him again? What if she really just wanted her friend back? He would have to give her the choice and the chance to make her mind up.

Jackie came back in on her own and everyone looked at her.

"She won't come back in, she's in the family room. Alec, go see if you can talk to her. Did Pete tell you what we think caused her to run out?"

Alec nodded but it was Mickey who spoke.

"I'll go talk to her Jackie."

He got up but so did Alec.

"No, I'll go, I'm the one who caused it."

"It wasn't your fault Alec, you weren't to know," a voice from the doorway said.

Everyone looked at Rose, who now had red eyes and was holding the offending paper hat. Tony had gone to sit on his dad's knee, wondering why his sister had gone running out. Alec got up and went towards her and led her back to her seat next to his. He whispered in her ear.

"I'm sorry Rose, I had no idea."

He took the hat from her and put it on the table.

The Christmas pudding was brought in but Rose's mood didn't lighten much, the damage had been done so after everyone was sitting back in their chairs, Mickey suggested they all go outside and have a snowball fight. Pete and Jackie shook their heads but Tony was up in a flash, grabbing Mickey's hand and pulling him from his chair. Rose laughed and grabbed Alec's hand and pulled him up but Alec protested, saying he only had a thin coat but Pete said for him to borrow his quilted one by the door and Rose dragged him out and showed him a brown quilted coat that looked too big for him and found him a pair of gloves.

Tony and Mickey were already out, rolling their ammunition and lining them up, it was quite apparent they were going to be a team so Rose led Alec across the driveway and they began making theirs, the driveway to be the line. Pete stood in the doorway and declared he was going to be the referee. Jackie was watching from the upstairs window, wanting both Tony and Rose to win but she knew her daughter would naturally let her brother win, she always did and hoped Alec would play along.

As they were rolling the last of their snowballs, Rose went up close to Alec and whispered, "I always let Tony win so aim most of them at Mickey, he won't mind."

Alec nodded and she gave him a kiss on the lips and said "Thanks."

Tony was anxiously waiting to be told he could start throwing his snowballs at Rose and Alec and saw them steal a quick kiss and nudged Mickey and went "Yuck" and Mickey started laughing. He knew Rose was happy again and that was all that mattered.

The fight began and as instructed, Mickey got most of them but so did Alec as Tony directed most of his away from Rose for a change but Mickey seemed intent that Rose wasn't going to escape so easily and Rose misfired a few and caught Alec who retaliated and chased her, trying to put a snowball down the back of her neck and Tony and Mickey laughing when he caught her and she tried to wriggle away from him. That made her determined to do the same to him and Tony came to help her and so Rose lifted Tony up and Alec let the boy catch him and got a very icy snowball down his back.

Then as was customary, Pete had to judge who had won and since Tony had got the last snowball down the back of Alec's neck, he was declared the winner. Mickey picked the boy up and Tony was raising his hands in triumph and Rose was patting him on the back, Alec was just laughing saying he had let himself be caught which made Rose turn and put her arm through his and kiss him whispering a 'thanks' again.

They all went in to get dry, Jackie making them leave their shoes and boots in the hallway and all but Mickey went upstairs, Jackie leading her son to get changed and daring Alec to follow Rose into her room but when she was out of sight, Alec slipped back after he put a dry shirt and clean socks on.

Rose let him in, still giggling from earlier but Alec didn't want to spoil it since she had been upset so he just put his arms around her and said he was sorry for earlier. Rose lay on her bed and Alec let her cry, holding her close as she sobbed into his shoulder.

"It's alright Rose, I understand. Seeing you here with your family, with Tony, it reminds me of when my daughter was his age and it makes me sad too. Let's help each other eh?"

Rose nodded and allowed him to take off her new pink jumper after he turned the catch on the door so no-one would wander in. They made up for they had missed out on earlier then Rose said she wanted a nap before the party tonight.

"What party? Wasn't that a party earlier?" a surprised Alec asked, looking up from kissing the uncovered parts of her.

"Mum and dad always have a big party on Christmas night, they can't have one on Christmas Eve because we spend time with Tony and he's up early. It's just friends and work colleagues. You don't have to come if you don't want to, it's not compulsory."

Alec thought about it. If he wanted to continue seeing her, he would have to get used to the kind of life she led. He knew she had been adopted when her mother had remarried but he nothing about her past. There again, Rose knew nothing about him yet her and her family had accepted him so he could make some allowances for her.

"I'd love to come Rose, if you want to be seen with me."

Rose smiled and pulled him back down to what he had just been doing and she fell asleep. Alec woke her two hours later and said he'd leave her to get changed for the party and sneaked out of her room after they had kissed again only to find himself face to face with Jackie Tyler who had just come out of her room.

"And where have you just come from Alec?" she asked, now in full Jackie Tyler mode.

Alec knew he'd been caught but he was a police detective and was used to being the one who asked all the questions. "Just making sure Rose is okay. I really upset her earlier, I didn't mean to. She told me what happened to her friend. I know she cared a lot about him."

Jackie looked at him. "Alec, I don't know just how involved you two are but she was heart-broken when he disappeared, I don't want to see that happen to her again. She was happy when she arrived back yesterday, she's not been that happy since it happened. Maybe you're just what she needs right now but don't break her heart Alec Hardy or you'll know about it. If you're going to sneak around, don't do it behind my back. She's old enough to know what she's doing so just try to make her happy while you're here. If you're going to leave after tomorrow, say goodbye to her properly, don't disappear on her without saying goodbye, she's had enough of that."

"I promise I won't leave without saying goodbye. I wasn't going to, that wasn't my intention. I was going to ask her to think about going back with me."

"Oh, well, in that case, you need to ask her and talk to Pete, he's still responsible for her even though he's not her real dad, they have an understanding and a bond between them. Rose lost her real dad when she was six months old and now she's making up for lost time and Pete never had any children of his own and he treats her as if she was his."

"I see. I'll be sure to talk to him then Jackie. I was just going to get my jacket then escort Rose down to the party."

Alec saw that as his means of escape. He hadn't planned on having a talk with Pete Tyler about his stepdaughter but now was as good a time as any if he was going to ask Rose to live with him in Broadchurch. Well maybe not actually with him at first, maybe she would want her own place but eventually, not living 140 miles apart.

He collected Rose, who he said looked beautiful in a red silk dress with thin straps and Rose introduced him to her friends and they had some photos taken together after she assured him it wasn't the press, just for her mother's albums. They danced and drank champagne and Alec got them some food from the trays and they sneaked off to one of the sitting rooms, standing in just the moonlight and kissing by the window, watching the snow.

Chapter 4

It was then Alec decided was the right moment to tell her how he felt.

"Rose, this is the best Christmas I've had in a long time and I know I have to go back the day after tomorrow, I'm sorry. I have to have a medical exam and fill in all the forms to go back to work, on the 3rd of January, just light duties for now but it's a start. I can come back, for the new year, if you want me to?"

Rose kissed him again and put her arms around his waist, under his jacket.

"Yes, Alec, I want you to come back. Please, don't just leave and not come back."

"Then while I'm gone, I want you to think about something. I want you to consider coming and living in Broadchurch, with me or get a place of your own, I don't think I could go for a long-distance relationship unless there's no other way. Think about it Rose, I don't need an answer from you right away. It's a huge decision, leaving your family. If you can't come down right away, I can come up on weekends for a while, I'll give you all the time you need. Please Rose, just think about it and let me know before I leave and I'm not sneaking around tonight, your mother told me not to bother, she saw me coming out of your room earlier."

Rose smiled, trust her mother to catch him, he being a detective and all, you'd think he would be a master of sneaking around but Jackie Tyler had him bang to rights on that score.

"Give me some time to think about it then Alec, it's all happened so fast. Come back down for the new year and we'll see. I might be able to persuade my dad to let me work away from the office, it's mainly his appointments and the press releases I handle, I can do that from anywhere but leaving my family, that's the hardest bit. When I travelled before, there was only me and my mum and she'd go crazy when I was away but she has Pete now and Tony but it still won't be easy."

"Rose, I know you were hurt when your friend disappeared but I'm not going anywhere. I'm not afraid of showing my feelings towards you. I want you to come and live with me, let me take care of you. I need you Rose, I never realised just how lonely I was."

They stood in the moonlight, holding onto each other, Alec kissing her hair. The door opened slightly, followed by a knock as one of the maids announced her mother was looking for them as the guests were starting to leave. She said goodnight to everyone and held onto Alec's hand as they climbed the stairs. Alec went to get most of his things and came back and they fell into bed together, tumbling over and falling deeper over the edge of the precipice as Alec wasn't afraid to show her how he felt about her.

He felt for the first time since his nasty divorce and his ex-wife's betrayal, he had finally found someone to care for. It just happened to be Rose Tyler, the Vitex heiress and one of the most mysterious women he had ever met from her humble beginnings to being the topic of the society pages but he was determined, if she agreed to move to Broadchurch to be with him, non of that was going to matter, he was going to look after her.

They had a lie in the next morning and joined the rest of the family for breakfast then they took Tony to watch the local football match and when they got back, they built another snowman with Alec's help. After lunch, Jake came round with his friend with presents for Tony and Rose introduced him to Alec saying yes, he does know who he looks like. Then Tony wanted to play games and Rose told Alec that whatever he did, never to volunteer to play Twister with the boy.

Alec had laughed and suggested they play a video game instead and for Tony to teach him how to play although he had played games with Ellie Miller's son Tom and he had already called Ellie and apologised for not being there and that he had met someone and was spending Christmas with her and her family and Ellie had said she'd been happy for him, saying she would like to meet her.

No party that evening, they all watched some TV then Rose and Alec went off to another room, Alec never asking if she had decided what she wanted to do. When they got to bed, Alec said he was going to set off after lunch and still spend the morning with them and he would say a proper goodbye to her and be back on the 30th.

The next morning, they were fooling around and Alec suddenly got serious. He wanted to tell her something.

"Rose, this has all be great, it really has and I don't want to spoil it but I need you to know something before I go. I am coming back and I'm not afraid to show my feelings for you. I love you Rose."

Rose felt tears in her eyes. After all this time, someone was telling her they loved her, not like Mickey had done, abbreviating it, Alec had said the three words and he wasn't afraid to say them.

"Alec, I love you too."

They all said goodbye to him, leaving Rose standing by his car, all wrapped up so physical contact was awkward but Alec put his coat in the back of the car and unfastened his jacket and pulled her up to him as she slipped her arms around his waist.

"I'll see you in a couple of days, keep that brother of yours out of mischief won't you?"

Rose nodded as she wet his shirt with her tears. She knew it was only for a few days but if she didn't go back with him the next time it would be much worse. They kissed goodbye and Alec got into the car, Rose telling him to drive carefully and to call her when he got home. Pete had taken photos of them on each of their phones so they had put them as their contact photos.


As promised, Alec came back on the 30th and there had been a big party on New Years Eve, not getting to bed until nearly two and not hiding the fact they were together and the next morning after Alec had woken Rose to show her he loved her in a way that was quite obvious after she giggled and said she wanted to be on top and Alec being the one who was surprised how good it felt, they took Tony to the shopping mall to buy him some football boots for school and they had lunch out.

The following day however, Alec had to leave again in the afternoon, he was due to start back at work and Rose still hadn't decided she could go off and leave her family. A few days was nothing but she owed everything to Pete Tyler, she wouldn't be even here without him she would have been lost in the void. She said a tearful goodbye to Alec again and he promised he would be back as soon as he could and they would talk every night on the phone until Rose made her mind up.

A week after Alec had left, he was unable to get away, there was a small crisis going on in Broadchurch and a lot of staff were off sick with the 'flu and Rose wondered why in this world they had never found a cure for it but luckily, Alec hadn't caught it but it meant he was on call-out instead of one of the junior officers. He said all being well he'd be up the next weekend and didn't want her to come down in case she caught it.

Two weekends later, he came back again after the last successful weekend and they had planned to go out for the day but Tony got sick and Rose didn't want to leave him so they tried to cheer up the boy. Rose was still debating about going back with him but he didn't pressure her, he knew she had to make her own mind up and move on her own accord. They had kissed goodbye again and the strain was beginning to show in both of them and Alec reluctantly left but he knew she was going to break soon, he was still prepared to wait for her.

On the Monday morning, Rose was prepared for her monthly visit from Mother Nature but she was late. She was anxious because Alec had just left again and put it down to that but by Wednesday, there was still no sign it was going to happen and she knew that the morning she had spent with Alec on Christmas Eve, she had picked the wrong time to finally give in and during her lunch break, she went to a pharmacy near work and did a test. It was positive and she was four weeks and since it all added up, she knew when it had been. She had never taken anything, she'd had no intentions of meeting anyone like the way she had met Alec on that train. If she was going to get a boyfriend at all, she would have gone and got a shot from the medical centre or the health clinic.

She got home and called Alec, not telling her mother and not wanting to tell Alec on the phone. He answered.

"Hi Rose, I was waiting for your call love," he said cheerfully although he was thoroughly fed-up, wanting it to be Friday so he could go see her.

"Hi babe, I miss you too. I was thinking, why don't I come down and see you this weekend for a change, then we could go somewhere on Saturday, you can show me around."

"Fine, I'll be finished work at four, I'll meet you in the harbour caf , where we went for breakfast that time. If you get here early, just come to the police station and ask for me."

"Yeah, okay but I'll try and get a train that gets there around four, I'll get a taxi down from the station now the trains are back to normal, I shouldn't have to change."

Then Alec decided he wanted to show her off and that he could get himself a girlfriend if he tried.

"Come down earlier and ask at the desk for me and I'll give you my key to get in then we'll meet at the caf ."

"Okay then, I'll do that if I can get there earlier, I'm going to take the day off tomorrow anyway, I wanted to talk to you without any interruptions or distractions."

"Sounds serious Rose, have you finally decided to come and live with me?" he asked hopefully, looking at the pictures, one of Rose and one of them both together he'd taken off his phone and had got printed out on one of the machines up in the town at the photo shop and had got frames for them.

His friend Ellie Miller had called to see him while she was in town saying Rose was very pretty and they looked happy and had asked Alec what the woman ever saw in him. Alec hadn't been able to answer, he still didn't know what she ever saw in him. Now he was maybe going to get an answer out of her and hoped she'd decided to give in and come and stay with him.

After talking a while longer, they said goodnight and Rose went to find Pete.

"So Dad, if I decided to go live in Broadchurch, can I work from there? I mean it's mostly phone calls and emails and online bookings and stuff and I need tomorrow off, I'm going down to see Alec instead of having him drive up here all the time but I might stay a bit longer. You don't mind do you?"

"No, take all the time you need. You need to work things out between you, it's obvious you're crazy about each other. You can work from down there but not just yet eh? I'll get Sally to cover for you. Rose, I know you were still upset about losing the Doctor but since Alec's been around, you've been a lot happier, he's done you a lot of good, even your mother likes him and that's saying something. I heard she had a tough time dealing with her daughter travelling with an alien."

Rose laughed, remembering all the times she had taken him back to her mother's flat with her and she had watched him like a hawk in case he got any funny ideas. Maybe that was what had been stopping them before she had lost him, he could face any foe except Jackie Tyler.

"Thanks, I think I might stay the week and get him to bring me back next weekend if things work out. If they don't I'll be back tomorrow night. There are things I need to tell him, bit by bit and the first thing might send him running."

"Rose, don't tell him about your life before you came here, not on your own. Do it when we're all here, that way, he can't think you're making it all up. Promise me?"

"I can't. If I tell him the first thing and he's okay, he still might run when he hears what the rest of it is. I have to at least tell him some of it."

"Okay but don't say I didn't warn you. I'll see you before you go."

After breakfast the next morning, Rose talked to her brother and said she was going to visit Alec and would bring him back next weekend with her. If things didn't work out she wouldn't be the only one who would be heart-broken, Tony had become very attached to Alec. The boy had even asked him if he'd be his best friend and he looked up to him.

So Rose got dropped off at the railway station, getting a return ticket just in case, it wasn't much more than a single one anyway and was in Broadchurch by two, getting a taxi to the police station. On her arrival, the desk sergeant asked if he could help her.

"I'm here to see DI Hardy, he's expecting me."

The desk sergeant said he'd check. Coming off the phone, he said the DI's office was on the first floor, turn left and through the door at the end and someone would direct her. She did as she was told, leaving her case behind the desk and soon found where she wanted. A woman was just coming out and saw Rose's visitors pass. Rose asked for Alec's office and was shown in and the woman knocked on his door.

"Rose, come in, have a seat," he smiled, much to everyone's shock as they all turned.

Alec pulled the blinds over and once he was sure no-one could see them, kissed her.

"I missed you love, I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this, only seeing you at the weekend. How's Tony?" he asked, finally letting her go.

He sat her down then sat beside her.

"I hope you're going to tell me now that you're going to stay?"

"For a week, yes. I got some time off and I thought I'd give it a try, if you want? See if we can put up with each other for a week without anyone else being there and if we can, you can take me back next weekend and I'll bring the rest of my stuff down."

Alec put his arms around her and pulled her close.

"I'm willing to try if you are, it's all I ask."

"There is one thing Alec, when you get home, I need to talk to you, seriously because there are things you need to know about me."

"That's okay Rose, whatever it is, you need to know about me too. You can get your own place, if you want, I don't mind."

"I'd rather just stay with you, if you want me to?"

Alec kissed her again.

"Does that answer your question?"

He got some keys out his pocket. "Go unpack your things then I'll be back just after four and we'll go get something to eat over at the caf , unless you want to just meet me there?"

Figuring it would be easier to tell him then just leave without the unpleasantries, she opted to wait for him, it would only take her five minutes to tell him and get his reaction.

She took the keys, kissed him goodbye and collected her case, walking across the wet harbour still with some traces of snow and let herself into the cottage. It was nice and warm and she took off her coat and made herself a drink, noticing the photos he'd had printed and smiling, she had done the same. Then she realised just how much she loved him and if he really loved her, he would accept she was pregnant. Maybe it wouldn't be what he'd expected, it was not planned but no matter what he said, her mum and Pete would stick by her.

Just after four, there was a knock on the door but when Rose opened it, it wasn't Alec. It was a woman with curly hair and a toddler in her arms and Rose reckoned it must be Alec's friend, Ellie Miller and wondered if Alec had told her she was arriving today and the woman had come to check her out.

"Hi," the woman said. "You must be Rose. I'm Ellie and this is Fred. Can we come in?"

Rose stood aside and Ellie put the boy down and he started running to the kitchen area, Rose looking around then following.

"Can I get you something?" Rose asked, getting a cup and some water for the boy who was standing looking at the sink.

Ellie noticed. "Alec keeps orange juice in the cupboard for when Fred visits."

The woman passed her and went to the cupboard under the sink and got the juice.

It made Rose wonder just how many times the woman had visited.

"Alec didn't mention you were coming down when we spoke the other day, you live in London, don't you? Oh don't mind me, Alec and I used to work together until I moved down to Dorchester and he had his operation. I used to come and check on him when he got out. Then he called me up on Christmas Eve and told me he'd met someone and was spending Christmas with her family. I was surprised to say the least. He did tell you about me?"

Rose managed to get a word in.

"Yes, he told me. I thought that was him just now, I got his keys earlier. I only called him last night to say I was coming down, thought it was time I got a look around the place since I'm maybe coming to live here."

She thought she would throw that in for good measure. It was no secret, she had told Alec she would try it for a week and since by now everyone in the police station knew Alec had a girlfriend, there was no harm in telling her. If this Ellie Miller had any remote designs on Alec Hardy, she might just as well forget them as of now. Not that Rose was the jealous type much.

"Oh, that will be good, I won't have to worry about him then. Since his operation I've been keeping an eye on him then he started disappearing every weekend saying he was off visiting his new girlfriend. I could hardly believe it when he told me."

Ellie picked up the photo of her and Alec.

"You look happy, was this taken outside your home?"

Rose nodded. Just then, there was another knock on the door, she opened it and was relieved to see Alec. Still keeping him on the doorstep, she reached over to kiss him and whispered, "You have company" as she put her arms around him to kiss him again, knowing she could probably be seen from inside as well as anyone looking from across the harbour car park and beyond who just happened to be looking over.

Alec took his coat off and Rose made them all some tea, she had really been hoping just to tell Alec and then possibly leave if he told her to go. It was after five when Ellie left and Alec asked Rose if she had unpacked yet. She had to make an excuse up.

"No, not yet, I made a drink and I just sat down watching telly, I'll do it later. Can we go get something to eat?"

"Yes, we'll go over to the pub next door. Do you want to go get changed?"

"No, I'm good."

It was too late to set off back tonight anyway, if he threw her out and so she might as well have one last meal with him. She could go get a room next door then if need be.

They walked around to the pub and ordered some food and Rose wondered if she should just tell him now or wait until they got back but since her suitcase was there figured it would be best to wait. Alec began talking about trying to get a few days off from Wednesday and he'd take her a few places before he took her back home to get her things.

"We'll have to look for another place before April or I can see if I can get a good deal where I already am and there are lots of places to go when the weather gets warmer. You'll love it here Rose." He could see she wasn't paying attention as she picked at the remainder of her meal. "Come on Rose, I thought you were going to try living here. Are you tired? Do you want to go back home to my place? I should say our place if you're going to stay," he smiled, taking her hand. "You're very quiet, what's wrong?"

"Can we just go? I need to talk to you. I wanted to tell you something when you got home but your friend turned up. She's jealous of me."

Alec laughed. "What? Ellie is jealous of you? How do you mean?"

"Oh come on Alec, you should have seen her face drop when I opened the door and how she invited herself in and knew where you kept the orange juice for her son. Then she picked up my photo, it was if she hadn't believed I was real, like you'd just planted the photos there. Then she said she had hardly believed it when you'd said you were going to visit your new girlfriend every weekend, except when you had to work. Did she come down and see you that weekend or did you go see her?"

"Rose, what are you talking about? Ellie is just a friend. I put her ex husband in prison, do you seriously think she would have anything to do with me? Would I even want to have anything to do with her other than being a friend when I have you? Look at me Rose, she came to keep an eye on me after I got out of hospital, that's all, I swear. Would I have come up every weekend and ask you to come back with me, to live with me? Rose, if Ellie Miller is jealous of you, it has nothing to do with me, she's never said anything of that kind."

"Then why did she make herself feel at home and look at me like I didn't exist?"

"I don't know, maybe she didn't believe me but where did she think I went every weekend?" he smiled, taking her hand.

Rose began to see how foolishly she had reacted.

"I'm sorry Alec but it did seem rather odd, what was I supposed to think?"

Alec leaned over and kissed her. "I didn't mean for you to be jealous, she just said she wanted to meet you but I never told her you were coming down, I'm not usually in at this time, I'm always on my way to see you. She must have seen the lights were on. Oh come on Rose, there's nothing to be jealous of, it's you that I love and she knows it. It's just her way, she's a DS, it's in her nature to check people out."

Alec put his arm around her and pulled her head onto his shoulder.

"Sorry, I over-reacted. I'm pregnant Alec, four weeks, I was late and I took a test yesterday, I've not even told my mother yet. That's why I wanted to come down."

She looked up at his surprised face.

"You're what? You're pregnant? Four weeks? That would make it?"

He stopped to process her statement.

Rose took a sip of her drink and pulled away while he thought about it. There was nothing more she could say. They had both been responsible, they had both gone into it with their eyes open. No drinking, no pressure, just two people who had made a train journey together for twelve hours and a man who had offered to help out a young woman when she had become stranded in a snowstorm.

Alec put his hands in front of his face and spread his fingers out, looking at her from between them.

"That would make it Christmas Eve morning or Christmas Eve or even maybe Christmas night."

He let it sink in. There was no doubt about it, the baby was his.

He didn't know whether to laugh or cry. His ex had accused him of being unable to give her another child and it had been her all along, an excuse to get rid of him. They had fought and argued over it many times when one of their friends announced another on the way and she had got jealous saying it was his fault there was something wrong with him. She had lied, stopped him from going to clinics to see if it was him and had refused to go herself the lying cow. She had manipulated him. She just didn't want any more and had probably not even come off the pill when they had talked about having another when their daughter was just turned five.

All those years he had blamed himself and that, on top of the lying over his last case and it all coming out it was her that had lost the evidence, not him and he had taken the fall for it. She had divorced him in the end, saying all kinds of things about him and dragging it up in court she had wanted another child but couldn't have one and glaring at him. She might as well have just come out with it, she had all but said it and it didn't take a detective to see what she was getting at.

Huh, it hadn't been him, Rose had just proved that. It was unexpected, yes, of course it was but she had travelled 140 miles to tell him, not making him go to see her, not telling him on the phone. He sat back, still covering his face.

Rose was getting worried, there had been only silence since his last words. She picked up her purse from the side of her and got up.

"Where are you going Rose?" Alec asked finally, looking up at her.

"To get my case if you'll go open the door. I can see if I can get a room here."

Alec grabbed her arm and pulled her back down.

"Why would you want to do that?"

"That's why I didn't unpack Alec. I thought you'd be angry because I never told you I wasn't taking any precautions. I didn't take anything because I've not had a proper boyfriend in seven years and I had no intentions of getting one any time soon. You would have had every right to be angry with me. Now can I go get my case please?"

Alec got up and they walked back over to the cottage and he let them in.

"Do you know why I brought you back so easily Rose?"

"Because you want me to leave. So I'll leave."

She wasn't even upset or angry, she already knew, he didn't have to say anything.

"Thank you for looking after me on that train Alec and for everything since. Tony will miss you and so will I. If you want access to the baby I won't stop you, I'll let you know what I have."

Alec let her finish talking and walked up to her. Holding his arms out to her he said, "Come here Rose."

Rose stepped nearer to him. Alec closed the gap.

"I love you Rose Tyler, I want you and the baby, here with me. I was just surprised because before I got divorced, my ex couldn't have any more children and she blamed me. I spent years thinking there was something wrong with me and you, you got pregnant, by me. This is wonderful Rose, you have no idea what this means to me."

He wrapped his arms around her and she looked up at him.

"Then why did you just let me make a fool of myself?"

"I know better than to interrupt a Tyler woman, I'm not stupid Rose," he laughed.


Eight months later, Rose was getting labour pains and Alec had rushed her to the local hospital at nine in the evening, having phoned ahead. Her contractions were getting more regular and judging by the noise she had been making Alec said her mother would be able to hear her in London, which earned him a slap on the face followed by a rather passionate kiss much to the amusement of the nursing staff in the delivery room.

Alec said he would go call her mother while the staff were helping Rose get undressed and she told him if he wasn't back in 60 seconds he was dead meat. He heeded her warning, just telling Jackie Tyler her daughter had gone into labour and he'd call back he was under orders to get back in the labour ward, pronto.

Throughout the labour, he stood behind her, encouraging her to push, holding her hand and mopping her brow and after an hour of false alarms, she gave birth to a boy, Jamie Hardy. Alec held his newborn son with pride, beaming at the staff and thanking them, getting a nurse to take a photo on his phone of them both holding their baby. While Rose was being moved to a private room on Jackie's insistence, Alec sent the photo to Jackie and Pete and then to Ellie.

Alec laughed when sending it to her and how Rose had got jealous the day she came down to tell him she was pregnant but she never left his side once they went back to collect her belongings. Ellie Miller sent him a message back saying congratulations but she had lost her best friend and potential boyfriend, not that he had even known the reason why she had stuck around and seen him through his surgery, the day Rose Tyler and Alec Hardy got on the 7.50 am train from Glasgow Central to Plymouth and then finally boarded the last train to Broadchurch.

The End!