Alec Hardy and rookie reporter

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During the Broadchurch murder, Rose Tyler becomes DI Hardy's secret weapon and comes across some information about a woman from the caravan site and is threatened unless she stops digging.  When she goes to DS Miller, she is told the police don't have the time so she digs deeper and is confronted outside her apartment.  She then goes to DI Hardy who is very interested.

During the Broadchurch murder, Rose Tyler becomes DI Hardy's secret weapon and comes across some information about a woman from the caravan site and is threatened unless she stops digging.  When she goes to DS Miller, she is told the police don't have the time so she digs deeper and is confronted outside her apartment.  She then goes to DI Hardy who is very interested.

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Chapter 1
A/N: For the purpose of this story Olly Stevens has left the local newspaper and Rose Tyler has taken his place.   Events in the story may take place in a different order and be speeded up. 

Rose Tyler was training to be a newspaper reporter and her father, well stepfather had secured her a place in a small Dorset town called Broadchurch.  Rose had been expected to join her stepfather at Torchwood but since they had been responsible for her ending up in this universe in the first place, she had been reluctant to join them.

So she had worked at Vitex for a while but she wanted a challenge so Pete Tyler had called in a few favours and someone had put him in touch with a local newspaper and after travelling down for an interview, the editor had taken her on after her star protégé had been accepted to a big city tabloid.

Pete had set her up in a nice furnished holiday apartment just on the harbour to see if she was going to actually stay there and Rose loved waking up every morning and seeing all the boats.

She had been in the town just over a week when she was given the task of covering the local junior school's sports day and so she set off to cover the event, figuring she had to start somewhere.  Rose had been promised a photographer but no-one had turned up so she chatted to the winners and took photos, making sure she had all the names right.

She was just talking to a boy, Tom Miller and taking some photos on her phone, when she saw a woman coming towards the boy, thinking it was the boy's mother but the woman just asked him if he had seen a boy called Danny and then the woman went to talk to a teacher.  Rose thought nothing of it and since the event was coming to a close, she checked she had covered the main events and headed back to her car.   It was going to take her a while to get back as she turned out of the road from the school at the roundabout onto the A35 to find traffic at a standstill.

There were always traffic jams on that part of the road, probably people on day trips going into Broadchurch and it was a hot day so since there were cars behind her, she indicated the opposite direction and just managed to get through.  Where she was going she had no idea but there must be another way into the town.  She pulled up a bit further back up the road and got out her roadmap, her satnav was telling her to turn around and go join the traffic jam and there was no way she was going to do that.  Rose liked nothing better than having a good argument with her satnav.

Luckily, she saw a turning on the map that led to a village and by the look of the map, she could follow it and come out at the other end of Broadchurch then she could double back to the newspaper office.

All went well, her satnav picked up the route and she was heading back into the town, figuring the traffic had probably cleared anyway by now but as she passed the hotel just as she came into the town, the road to the left, leading to the beach was blocked off with police cars stopping vehicles and pedestrians alike.  She needed to turn right so she wasn't too bothered but she wondered what was going on.  Finally getting back to the newspaper office, she told the editor, Maggie she had got held up by the traffic and the road to the beach was blocked off.

"Well," her editor said, "Let's see what you have from the school, sorry about Reg not turning up to it, it seems he had an appointment with a bottle of scotch last night."

Rose smiled, Maggie was always complaining about him.  "Lucky I took some on my phone then," Rose said, waving the phone in front of the older woman.

"Great, I knew there was a reason I took you on," Maggie smiled, grabbing Rose's shoulder.  "Now be a dear and show me how to download them then why don't you take a walk down to the harbour and find out what's going on?"

Rose downloaded    the photos and sent them over to Maggie's computer and put her phone away in her shoulder bag and got up again, passing a piece of paper with the children's names on them.

"You can finish the article when you get back Rose and if you call in the coffee shop, get my usual will you?"

"Yeah, sure Maggie, you're addicted to the stuff."

Maggie laughed, she liked the young woman.  An old friend from Fleet Street had asked her to take Rose on, the stepdaughter of the Vitex Chairman wanted to learn the trade, from scratch the old-fashioned way and she had agreed but had said she would cut Rose no slack and she was treated like everyone else and no-one was to know who she actually was.

That had been fine with Rose, who didn't want to bring any attention to herself.  Rose set off to walk to the harbour and the beach but when she walked around the corner, the road leading round was blocked off to traffic but people were still walking around so she joined the crowd and made it to the harbour, stopping to talk to the newsagent, who she had met just once and asked him what was going on.

"Hello Jack, any idea what's happened over there?" she asked, nodding her head in the direction of the beach.  Jack knew who she was, he didn't like the press but he knew she had just arrived in the town so as long as she left him alone, he would tolerate her.

"Police have been here since half past six this morning, then more of them came and then the ambulance, it seems they found someone on the beach first thing this morning."

"Oh, well in that case, I'd better go do some reporting then hadn't I?" she smiled, almost like some spark had been lit.

Jack could see that the newspaper editor was going to have her hands full with this one, she was much more lively that that Olly Stevens.  Making her way as far as she could before almost crossing the white and blue Police tape, she could see people in the distance, two ambulance crew, a tall man with a scruffy beard and a woman with brown curly hair and someone lying on the beach, covered by an ambulance blanket and from what she could see, it was not an adult.  She covered her mouth, it was a child, a boy by the look of it.  Then she remembered back at the school earlier, a woman had asked that boy, Tom something if he had seen a boy called Danny.

She didn't know the boy's surname but since his mother hadn't seen him at the school, it could be assumed he was at least missing, even if she was wrong about this.  She could see a white tent being erected and suddenly, the people on the beach moved aside as the tent covered the body.  She needed to see more, to report back and she watched as the tall man and the woman walked back towards the Police tape and Rose thought she has seen a ghost – the man held up the tape to allow the woman through, just a foot away from her and as he turned his head, he looked right at Rose as if no-one was there.

Rose would have sworn it was The Doctor, with a beard.   Rose wanted to call his name out but she knew it was impossible it was him, it couldn't have been and if he had been in this universe, he would have contacted her unless he had lost his memory of her somehow.  Rose turned around and saw them walking to a nearby car, the woman getting into the driver's seat and they moved off.  She had to find out who he was if he wasn't her Doctor.

Rose walked back to the newspaper office, remembering to get coffee for her boss and reported back to her.  When she mentioned she had heard someone at the school asking about a boy named Danny, Maggie took her glasses off and looked at Rose.

"Danny?  Danny Latimer?  His mother works here at the tourist office but she's been off since before you arrived, you won't have met her.  Was she asking where Danny was?  How could she not know he wasn't there, unless he went to school right from his paper round, she never said but if he wasn't at school and they found a boy on the beach – oh Rose, it could be him."

Rose was horrified to have a name put to the body she had seen on the beach.  "Did you know him?"

"Of course, I knew him, he came in to see his mum sometimes with his older sister, although I only really said hello to him.  Beth, his mother talked about him all the time.  If it was him you saw, Rose, we have to keep this quiet until we get confirmation,  The Echo works with the Police."

Rose nodded, it wasn't right to reveal a name on pure speculation.  Pete had been right, Maggie was very old school in journalism.

"I saw what looked like two plain clothes detectives or something on the beach, do you know who they would be?"

"Well, one would be DS Miller, she was due back from holiday and I think the other will be the new DI, I think his name is Hardy."

Rose went back to her desk to finish her report from the school sports day then forwarded it to Maggie for approval then she looked up Alec Hardy.  There were numerous reports about him, mainly from his last case, including a report from The Daily Herald by a reporter called Karen White, who apparently was on a witch-hunt with Hardy and had not painted him in the best light.


Alec Hardy had been on the cliff top, answering a call about a cut wire fence and diesel being stolen from a tractor, a job for uniformed officers, not him.  He had not come to this dismal town to investigate petty crimes but since the DS who was supposed to come back from holiday today had not official come on duty, it had been passed to him.  Then the call had come in, a body had been found on the beach beneath the cliffs.  He had just arrived when a woman came past the police tape and he tried to wave her off until she flashed a badge at him and started an inappropriate dialogue about him getting her job.  He had asked her if she really wanted to do this now and got her to tell him about the boy lying on the beach.

They had just left the forensics team to get on with their job and were going off to the cliff top to see if the boy had been thrown over.  As they were leaving the beach, he had caught a glimpse of a young blonde woman who had been staring at him.   Had he met her before?  Surely he would have remembered?

Rose was debating whether to contact this Karen White and ask her for the low-down on Alec Hardy but decided against it, it all seemed a bit one-sided and the woman had clearly had it in for the detective, making him out to be the villain for apparently losing crucial evidence, even though other newspapers had proclaimed his innocence in it all.  Ms White had been unforgiving and if she got her hands on this, she would probably make the score of a lifetime at Hardy's expense.

Whether he was The Doctor or not, Rose was determined the other reporter was not going to make a name for herself destroying the man's career.  She had only known her new boss a short time but she seemed fair and trusted that if this Karen White showed up in the town, she wouldn't give her the time of day.  Well at least she liked to think so.  Rose was interrupted from her thoughts as Maggie called her to her office.

"Rose, there's a press conference being held at the school later, be a dear and go cover it for me will you?"

Her first press conference, Maggie was putting a lot of faith in her.  This was an opportunity not to be missed.

"I'd love to.  I've been reading up on this DI Hardy, seems he got a rough deal on his last case."

"Yes, I remember that, they made him out to be the villain but he was proved innocent.  They must have sent him down here to lie low."

"Fat chance there is of that now.  If he's trying to lie low, he's just landed himself right in the middle of it.  Have you heard of a reporter called Karen White from the Daily Herald?"

"No, I don't think so.  Why do you ask?"

"She hung Hardy out to dry on that last case, wouldn't give him a fair hearing.  I expect she will want to come down here and dig her claws into him again."

"Probably, I'll keep an eye out for her, she won't get any co-operation out of us."

Rose was quite pleased with that.  Hardy may not actually be The Doctor but she was going to keep his nemesis out of his way as best she could and she had a feeling her boss wouldn't take too kindly to getting 'scooped' so it was up to her to give him a fair hearing.

She finished what she was doing and told Maggie she was going up to the school and made her way back where she had been earlier.  The media were gathering, she had to show her press pass to the officers on the door as the public were not being allowed in and she sat down on one of the rows of chairs facing a long table in front of some boards that had been put up with a 'Wessex Police' symbol on each one.

Then the door opened from the side entrance and in walked a uniformed woman, probably the Chief Superintendent, another suited man and followed by who Rose recognised as Alec Hardy.  The resemblance to The Doctor was uncanny, except for the beard, she had only seen him occasionally when he hadn't shaved for maybe a day, he had always shaved, probably trying to impress her, which he had, shame he never actually did anything about it though.

The three Police officials took their places and the woman stood up, thanking the members of the press for coming and handing them over to DI Hardy.   He sat there, staring into a TV camera and gave the cold facts about the body on the beach – Maggie had been right – it was Danny Latimer.  Rose listened in horror, hoping her boss had been wrong.  Then Hardy looked directly at her, well it seemed to Rose he was as he said his last words – we will catch whoever did this. Rose just prayed he would be able to keep his word this time but he had a secret weapon that he wasn't aware of – Rose Tyler.
Chapter 2
Rose was writing everything down since she was expected to make a full report but she was trying her best not to stare at the detective who had just got up to leave the room, looking like he couldn't get out fast enough.  Rose was tempted to go after him but what could she say?  That he looked like someone she used to know in another universe?

She had asked a few questions, the same as everyone else such as were other children safe and Hardy had looked directly at her, giving a lengthy answer not just to her but to the cameras and everyone else in the room.

She thought better of going after him and rushed back to the newspaper office and went to her desk to type everything out and handed it to Maggie.  It was getting late but the editor wanted to make a start but the news came on and they all stopped as the TV presenter handed over to the news conference from earlier that Rose had attended.  It was then that the whole town knew exactly what had happened that morning and it hit every single person like a ton of bricks.

Just before they left, a woman walked into the office and came up to the desk, most of the others had already left.  Rose went to see who had come in this late.

"Can I help you, the office is about to close."

"I'm Karen While from the Daily Herald.  Any chance I can get a desk here?"

Rose sincerely doubted it as Maggie came forward.   "Maggie Radcliffe, editor.  Sorry, we're a busy operation and if I give you a desk then everyone else who comes down here will want one.  If you're staying, there's a hotel across the road."

The woman thought this was going to be a real friendly town.  Maggie went back to her office and Karen thought she would try and make friends with the young woman behind the desk.  Rose wasn't having any of it, Karen White was Hardy's number one enemy and if she was going to help him, she was not going to get friendly with this reporter.


Alec Hardy had just got back from the press conference, he had been to his hotel to change for it, not that he had seen any point in it but he had made the effort.  Who had been that blonde woman who had asked him questions?  The same woman he had seen on the beach earlier that morning and she had been staring at him again.  He hoped it wasn't a friend of that Karen White, he'd seen her sneak in at the last minute, she had got there fast but being a vulture, she had probably flown down but how had she got to know?  He thought only press from the town and neighbouring ones had been informed, she must have bugged the Police Station.

Rose went back to her apartment, calling to get some food on the way back and later on, she watched a repeat of the statement Alec Hardy had given earlier.  The more she watched him, the more he looked like the Timelord.  She would have to get over this, if she was going to make it in the newspaper business.

The following morning, Hardy was walking Danny Latimer's paper round, he had set various tasks for the team, finding the missing phone and the skateboard.  He had noticed a woman walking a dog as he approached a hut on top of the cliff he found himself on and also noticed a CCTV camera, they both needed investigating.

Rose and Maggie were working on the story and she had set up a book of condolence on the counter, Rose had printed out a poster to put in the window with most people in the office already signing it, including Rose who hadn't known the boy or his family but she cared about people, that was what she did, with or without The Doctor.

Rose thought back to Karen White, thinking how she could protect Alec Hardy against her.  She knew Maggie had taken an instant dislike to her and it would be easy that if the woman wrote something damaging about him they could countermand it so Rose was going to go see Hardy and tell him that if he wanted to talk to the press, The Echo would do things properly.

A few days later though, she still had not got the chance to speak to him but she was doing some digging and came across something she thought might be of interest to the police and as Maggie had asked her to cover the press interview the Latimers were going to give, she saw her chance.  She took notes during the brief interview and waited outside for Miller and Hardy.

"DI Hardy, can I have a word?"  It was the first words she had spoken to him.

Hardy told Miller to get into the car but he stopped.  The woman that he had seen hanging around outside the Police Station, at interviews and on the beach was addressing him.  He thought that somehow she knew him or thought she knew him but until arriving here, he was certain they had never met before unless she had covered the Sandbrook case or she was in collusion with The Daily Herald reporter.

"I'm Rose Tyler, from The Echo and I have something for you."  She handed him a folder.  "It's information about that woman, from the caravan site, only in these reports, she goes under a different name.  Thought you might be interested."  She didn't want to tell him why she had been digging, Maggie had heard something about her and told Rose she should pass it on.

Hardy took the folder and handed it to Miller.  "Really Miss Tyler, we have a murder investigation to get through, we don't have time to follow people who are going by different names."  Miller handed the folder back to her without even looking at it.

Hardy just looked at her, then at Miller, shook his head and got into the car.  So much for that then.  Then he opened his window.

"Miss Tyler, if you're so interested in this woman, bring us something concrete, like she's involved in this investigation, then we'll talk."

The car drove off, leaving Rose standing in the car park and unknown to her, the woman in question was watching her.  Rose got back in her car and drove home, parking around the back of the glass and chrome building.

Hardy got back to his hotel, what was it about that reporter?  He couldn't stop thinking about her now but he didn't want to make it obvious.  He had seen her several times and earlier was the first time they had spoken, not getting off to a very good start.  His DS had persuaded him, well not persuaded, twisted his arm to accept a dinner invitation and he wasn't looking forward to it, what would he say to her and her husband?  They would probably talk shop all night.  He wondered where this reporter lived, she wasn't staying in the hotel.

He had received a report a few days ago from the same reporter via the newspaper, about the newsagent, Jack Marshall and they had brought him in for questioning, having to let him go since there was nothing to tie him to this case but trouble had brewed.  Rose had been to ask him questions, outside the sea brigade hut and had taken him to one side.  If she hadn't been a woman, he would probably have knocked her out cold but he had restrained himself and warned her never to come near him or his shop again.   A local plumber had seen the altercation and word had soon spread, resulting in the man taking his own life.

Maggie has been a bit annoyed with Rose but was just as guilty for telling her to go get his side of the story.  Rose was not pleased with herself when it was all over the daily papers, including theirs that the man had been hounded by half the men in town.

Two nights later though, Hardy had sort of half enjoyed his meal at the Miller home and made his way back to his hotel.  He had just opened the side door and saw the woman with the dog from the caravan site and she had shouted a 'Goodnight' to him from across the road.  Suddenly, his focus went, everything was becoming blurred as he got upstairs as quickly as he could but on entering his room, desperately trying to fumble for his pills, the pack was empty.  He got himself as far as the bathroom door and collapsed.

The next thing he knew, he was laid down and someone was holding his hand.  Rose had gone to his hotel in the hope of talking to him and had persuaded the hotel owner that he was expecting her.  Miss Fisher had no reason to believe otherwise but had tried calling his room and got no answer.

"Sorry Miss Tyler but he's not answering and he wasn't at dinner earlier.  Perhaps he's still working?"

"Yeah, he must have forgotten he asked me to drop by this evening, he said after nine."  It was already nine thirty.

Just then the phone rang.  "Yes Mrs Taylor, I'll go up and see what he's throwing around his room, he's usually quiet."

Becca Fisher turned to Rose.  "Seems he's in after all, the woman below just complained about a loud bang coming from the room above hers which is Hardy's room."

"Well can I come up with you then?  If he doesn't want to see me, you can throw me out."

Becca Fisher agreed and the two women went upstairs.  Hardy's room door was unlocked, Becca went in first and shouted "Hello" but got no answer.  Then she saw some legs on the floor of the bathroom and dashed inside, crossing to where she saw Hardy lying on the floor, a small pool of blood by his head.  She shouted out to Rose – "Quick, get an ambulance."

Rose dialled 999 and asked for an ambulance to come to The Traders Hotel, getting the room number and was asked some questions.  Becca checked his pulse, he was breathing but it was shallow and where the blood had come from.  Rose said he had probably hit his head as he had fallen.  Then they asked his age and personal details, Rose replying she had no idea, she was just visiting the hotel and they had found him lying there.

Becca asked Rose to stay with him.  "You stay here, I'll go let the ambulance crew in.  He'll need someone here if he comes around in case he has a serious injury.  I wonder why he collapsed?"

"I'll stay with him, you go down.  Can I call you Becca?  I'm Rose."

The other woman nodded and left the room.  It was then that Rose spied an empty blister pack with an unpronounceable name of a medication on the back.  He had clearly passed out because he had none left but why hadn't he got more from a local GP?   Surely he could have transferred if he was staying in the town.  She picked the empty pack up, she would give it to the ambulance crew so they would know what his problem was.

Rose heard a noise and the ambulance crew came into the room.  They checked his pulse again and Rose handed the empty blister back to one of the men.  "I found this beside him, maybe that was what caused him to collapse."

The man nodded and helped his team mate get Hardy onto a stretcher.  Rose turned to Becca.  "I'll go with him," she whispered as she followed them out and waited for the lift.

One of the crew asked who she was as she got into the waiting ambulance parked outside but she ignored them pretending she was upset and grabbed hold of Hardy's hand.  "He'll be ok won't he?  He forget to get his prescription, I told him to get it but it he didn't."

Rose hoped she was putting on a good show.  She found his wallet and saw a picture of a young girl, probably his daughter, she had read up about him, out of curiosity of course.   She was brought back down to earth.

"Sorry but who are you exactly?" a nurse asked her as the ambulance door opened and Hardy was being taken out and looking at Rose who was still holding his wallet, thinking she was just an opportunist looking to steal the man's belongings, as if she would be in the ambulance with him if she was.

"His wife," was all she could think of.

She followed the gurney he had been put on into the emergency room and was asked to wait outside, being handed his jacket they had taken off him in the ambulance so she took advantage of the time and found his driving licence, which at least gave his full name, his home address, which was now out of date and his date of birth.  18th April 1971.  He was 42 and she was 26, a hell of an age gap, he was a lot older than even her ex boyfriend was.  Still, better than when she was 19 and The Doctor was 900.   That hadn't bothered her.  Somehow, they had got round her age and birthday and they now coincided with her original of 1987 which made her actually older since there was a difference between this world and her own, this one running ahead, it was 2013 here and it made her head hurt thinking about it.

A nurse came out and crossed over to her.  "We've taken your husband into recovery, he'll be ok - this time but he needs that operation, he might not be so lucky the next time.  Were you in your hotel room when it happened?"

Rose couldn't lie.  "No, I'd been working, I work at the newspaper, just arrived in town, we haven't found anywhere else yet."  She was shocked to learn Hardy needed a potentially life-saving operation but she didn't know what for.  She had to be careful or she would get kicked out.

"So can you give him more medication?  He's not had time yet, I didn't know he was so low on it."

The nurse nodded.  "We'll have to keep him in but we've already got him on it, he'll come round soon.  Best be at his bedside when he wakes up."

Rose followed the nurse into a room and saw Hardy hooked up to some monitors, including a heart rate one and surmised his problem, he had a bad heart.  How ironic since the man he resembled had two.  She didn't know how long she should stay, she had to at least look the part so she settled down in the chair, thinking it was a good thing the nurse had not noticed neither of them were wearing wedding rings.   She heard a moan from beside her – Hardy was waking up.   She grabbed his hand.

"Hi sunshine, how are you feeling?" she asked, putting his wallet into his jacket pocket before he noticed she was looking through it.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, noticing he couldn't move and he was hooked up to some machines.

He did not want this reporter to know he had a potentially fatal heart condition.  Well not potentially fatal it would be fatal if he didn't take his medication.  How could he have been so stupid not to have some more sent down from his own GP back home?  Now she must know.

"You can thank me later.  Me and Becca Fisher found you when the woman downstairs complained you were making a noise, lucky she did."

"How did you get in here?"  He noticed she was still holding his hand.

He was thankful, he just didn't want her to think he was, she was the last person, well maybe not quite the last he wanted to know he had something wrong with him.   Why couldn't it have been just the hotel owner and not the nosy town reporter?  Still at least it wasn't Karen White, it would have been on the front page by now.

Rose smiled and let go of his hand.  "I looked through your wallet, there was no next of kin so I told them I was your wife.  The picture you have, is she your daughter?"

"What?  What the hell did you do that for?" he said angrily.  It was bad enough she was there and had seen him in a hospital gown, let alone telling the hospital staff she was his wife.

He tried to get up but Rose stopped him.  "You're ill, you need help.  Why didn't you have your medication?"

"It's Rose isn't it?  Please, you can't tell anyone, this is my career.  If anyone finds out, I'm finished."

She took his hand again.  "Don't worry, I won't tell a soul, I swear.  You have to get help, you can't keep on collapsing, you might not be so lucky next time, you could collapse while you're working."

Hardy seemed to relax.  "What were you doing in my hotel room?" he asked, letting go of her hand.  Her hand was warm and soft, it had been a long time since he had held any woman's hand just for the sake of it.

"I wanted to ask you for an interview and to ask you about Jack Marshall.  It doesn't matter now, you need to get some rest, I'll get out of your way.  I'm glad you're ok."

Hardy was thinking she was like no reporter he had ever met before.  "Wait, it might look suspicious if you leave just yet.   What did you want to talk about?"  The woman may have just saved his life, he could at least hear her out.

Just then, two nurses came in.  "We're going to move you to a side ward Mr Hardy.  Your wife can follow."

Rose nodded, she was expected to go with him.  She just hoped they wouldn't ask any awkward questions, like where their rings were and how long they had been married.   Once they got him settled, Rose closed the door.  It was late, almost midnight and she had come in the ambulance with him, her car was in the Trader's car park but she had told Becca it was there.   She had been able to call her while they were moving him.

"Never mind about what I wanted to talk to you about, get some rest.  If you like, I'll come and collect you in the morning.  I'll be back at nine."

"No, make it earlier than that, I have to get to work, make it eight.  Remember, please don't tell anyone."

"Don't worry, what am I going to say?  You should be more worried over the hotel owner."  Rose smiled at him.   "I should really go now."

Rose opened the door.  "Don't go discharging yourself before I get back, will you?"

Hardy held up his hand.  "Scouts honour."

Rose let out a giggle.  "See you in the morning, husband."
Chapter 3
Rose got a taxi back to her apartment, it would look strange going to a hotel car park at gone midnight.  She set her alarm for seven then she would go get her car and go pick up Hardy from the hospital.  So after a quick breakfast of tea and toast, she retrieved her car and looked for the ward Hardy was in.  She soon found it, she could hear him arguing with the staff.  It wasn't even eight yet, he'd not kept his word about discharging himself early.  Some boy scout he was.

She followed the voices into the small ward and went up behind him, putting her hand on his shoulder.

"Alec, what did I tell you?  I said for you to wait until I got here.   What were you thinking of?"

Hardy just turned around.  Then Rose spoke to the two nurses who were trying to explain he couldn't go until the doctor had seen him.

"I'm sorry, my husband is always in such a rush, thinks the world can't carry on without him, don't you darling?"  She gave him a quick peck on the cheek.  Then to Hardy she said "Why don't you let the nurses get on and get your medication to take with you?"

He was already dressed but as soon as Rose calmed him down, he sat in the chair by the nurses station.  "I'll wait."

He knew he had no option, he needed those pills, without them, his time was up and he had a murder investigation to complete.

"Tut tut, Alec Hardy.  Where do you think you were sneaking off to?" Rose asked when the nurses had gone.   "You were never in the scouts, were you?"

He had a guilty look on his face.  "I have to get to work, before anyone misses me."

Rose kept her voice low.  "Yeah, well they will miss you if you get back there and collapse again if you don't get your medication.  What is it with you?  You let yourself run out and when you get the chance to get some more, you want to leave without it.  How's your head?  You took a nasty fall last night."

She reached up and saw they had cleaned up the cut that had been there.

He couldn't answer her.   She was right, he needed it.  He wasn't going to admit she was right though.   "Ok, have it your way, I'll wait.  Do you have a car with you?"

"Yes, in the car park.  No-one knows I'm here, don't worry.  How are you feeling?  Do you want to tell me about it?"

Hardy looked up at her.   "You're supposed to be my wife, you should already know."

Rose smiled.  He was going to give nothing away.   If she was going to be a reporter, she had her work cut out with this one.

"Humour me.  Listen, anything you tell me, tell me as a friend, I'm not out to ruin your reputation, they don't call me Karen White."

Hardy looked up at her.  She did know the Daily Herald reporter.  "Why should I trust you.  All reporters are the same."

"No, they're not.  I'm just starting out, I'm not looking to make a name for myself, unlike some people.  You need a friend, someone who's in your corner.  Think about it and when you want to talk, call me.  You know where I work."

A doctor stepped up to them.  "Mr Hardy, you should not be out of bed.  I'll give you some more of your medication but you need that operation.  You'll have to discharge yourself, I can't take responsibility for you if won't stay and be treated.  You're taking risks."

He then looked at Rose.  "Mrs Hardy, try and talk some sense into your husband.  If you care what happens to him, he needs that pacemaker fitted – urgently."

Hardy was thinking of suing this doctor for telling Rose Tyler what was wrong with him but he wouldn't win – she was supposed to be his wife.

Rose was astounded, he was seriously ill and conducting a murder investigation, what was he thinking about?  Did his boss know?  She was going to have to keep one hell of a secret, she had promised him she would tell no-one he had even been in hospital.

"Fine," Hardy replied, scribbling his name on the discharge papers and picking up the pack of pills – 60 he noticed, they would last him another month.  With any luck he would be out of this town by then.  If he was going to be any longer, he would have to get his friend to send him more.

"Can I go now?  Come on Rose."

For a moment, Rose stood there.   It had been a long time since a man had said 'Come on Rose' to her.  She shook her head and followed Hardy down the hospital corridor into the car park.

"So which is your car?" he asked, standing in the doorway impatiently.

Rose pointed to a blue SUV type car and remote unlocked it.  Hardy got in the passenger side. "So how much did you find out about me last night, going through my wallet and my jacket pocket?"

"I was just trying to give the hospital some basic information.  I couldn't help but see the photo."

"Sorry.  She's my daughter, she lives with her mum, we're divorced."  That was all he was prepared to say.  She didn't need to know anything else.  "Drop me at the hotel please, I need to get changed and since your office is there it will be better for you as well."

Rose didn't know what to say.  She stopped outside the hotel and let him out.  "Alec, sorry DI Hardy.   Can I invite you to dinner tonight?  Give a us a chance to talk?"

"Why not, everyone seems intent on inviting me to dinner all of a sudden.  On one condition, I'm not giving you an interview."

"Fine, I wasn't asking you for one.  I live next to the Police Station, number 8, first floor.   Seven thirty ok?"

Hardy nodded.  "I'll find it."

Rose went to park up and walked into the newspaper office, knowing she was going to be late she had gone a few shops down and got a coffee for her editor.

"Sorry I'm late, got held up."

"Again?" Maggie smiled, accepting the coffee.   "Tell you what, why don't you follow up on this?"  She held out a piece of paper.

"Madge, who volunteers up at the hospital arrived this morning to see non other than DI Alec Hardy trying to check himself out.  He was having a real go at the nurses.  She said some woman came up to him and calmed him down, she seemed to be with him."

Rose tried not to blush the colour of her name.   "Oh, that's interesting then.  I'll put it on my list.  I want to do more digging on that Susan Wright or whatever her name is, if that's ok.   I told DS Miller about it but she wasn't interested.  Think I'll go pay her a visit, take what I have with me."

"Well you do that petal but be careful, she could get nasty."

Rose put the contents of the folder she had tried to give DS Miller and set off to the caravan site down the coast.  Pity she wasn't staying at the one just on the harbour but that would be too easy.  She located the caravan, asking at the gate house and knocked on the door.  She knew the woman had a dog and since it wasn't barking, the woman must have been out.  She wrote the woman's name on the envelope and fished out a small tub from her bag containing paperclips and push-pins and stuck it to her door.  It was up to her what she did with it but she expected the woman to pay a visit to the newspaper office.


Hardy had got back to his hotel room and got changed, feeling better than he had last night and wondering what he had done to deserve the attention of Rose Tyler that she had invited him to dinner at her place.  He knew the fancy apartments next to the Police Station were holiday rentals and there was no way that on her salary she could afford to live there so there was something fishy going on and he only accepted to find out what it was.  There was more to her than she was letting on, she was no reporter.  Not only was she offering him dinner and agreeing there would be no interview, she was offering her silence.  He knew eventually he would have to trust someone and who better than a reporter to keep his secret?

Rose was back at the newspaper office, pretending to follow up on the lead from the hospital.   "I'm going out again Maggie," she called, getting her shoulder bag.  "I'll go see if I can get him to talk."

She went around to the car park then wondered why she just didn't walk down to the harbour but she didn't see the very woman she had gone to visit lurking around the side of the newspaper office.  She knew she shouldn't, she had promised to help him so she would just come up with a story saying he'd bumped his head or something, which was half true anyway so she made her way down to the harbour to see if Hardy was around anywhere and was in luck.  He was just coming away from one of the food vendors along the side of the harbour.  He saw Rose walking towards him and instead of walking off, went to sit at one of the tables.

Rose sat next to him.  "Hello again, how are you feeling now?"

"I'm fine, can't stay away can you?"

Rose smiled.  "I'll just go get a coffee, if you don't mind, do you want anything?"

He just replied, "Tea, no sugar."

Rose came back with the drinks and put them down.   "We were seen at the hospital this morning."

"Great, that's all I need, who saw us?"

"Someone my editor knows but she didn't know it was me, I fooled Maggie by saying I would get the low-down about it so here I am.  Don't worry, I'll tell her there is no story but it will help if you get your side of the story in, we'll do it right."

Hardy took a bite of his sandwich.  "Maybe, I'll think about it.   I have a funeral to go tomorrow, Jack Marshall.  You wanted to talk about him last night.  So talk."

"I wanted to say I was sorry, it was partly my fault, I put my editor onto it, it got out of hand."

"It was not your fault, those men were out for blood and they got it, you didn't send them into a frenzy and hound the man to death."

"Yeah but maybe if I hadn't started it, he might still be alive."

"If it had not been you, it would have been that Karen White.  Do you know her?"

"No, thank goodness, she came into the newspaper office and Maggie sent her packing.  I know what she did to you, I'm not like that."

Hardy took a drink.  "That's what they all say until they write something damaging about you."

"Really, I'm not like that.  Look, I'm only learning the trade, it was my idea to learn from an old-fashioned journalist, Maggie won't screw you around.  She's fair.  Go to her and tell her, she'll give you a fair hearing."

"I told you.  I'll think about it."

Hardy got up.  "Thanks for the drink, I'll see you tonight, I'll try not to be late."

Rose smiled.  "You have no excuse, I only live next door."

Hardy stopped.  "Yes, about that.  It's a bit expensive for a trainee journalist, it's a block of holiday apartments."

"Yeah, I was waiting to see if I was going to stay here before getting somewhere permanent.  I have a rich stepfather who pays for it.  See you tonight, detective."

Hardy walked back to the station.  Tonight was going to be interesting.

Rose walked back to the newspaper office but just as she walked past the alleyway, a hand grabbed her arm and pulled her inwards.   It was the woman from the caravan site.

"Why are you so interested in me?  What has my life got to do with you?"

Rose turned to the woman. "I know your real name, it's Elaine.  What are you doing here?"

"I think you should mind your own business, if you know what's good for you."

Rose twisted out of the woman's grip and walked off.   If the woman was threatening her, then she really did have something to hide.  She went back to work, trying to forget about it.  She had a dinner to plan but only after Maggie asked about Hardy.  Rose felt bad about making up a story.

"I spoke to him, it was nothing.  He slipped and knocked his head on the sink in the bathroom."   She pretended to go back to work.

Maggie let it rest – for now.

Rose was just getting out of her car around the back of her apartment when she saw the woman who had confronted her earlier.  How the hell had she found out where she lived Rose wondered.  Rose pretended to ignore her.

"I got your envelope, you are going to forget everything you found out about me."  The woman came nearer, just so only Rose could hear her.  "I know men who could do things to you that you couldn't imagine."

Then the woman turned, untied her dog and walked off.

Rose stood there, her car door still open.  She recovered sufficiently to lock her car and made her way up to her apartment after retrieving her groceries.  She sat in the kitchen, knowing she should start dinner, she was expecting Alec Hardy at seven thirty and it was after six.  She would tell him when he arrived, there was no way she was going to take that type of threat and forget about it.

She put the ingredients on and went to get changed and stirring the rest of the sauce for the spaghetti bolognaise, waited for his arrival.  The doorbell sounded and she went to the intercom.

"Who is it?" she asked nervously.

A Scottish male voice came back at her.  "Alec Hardy, unless you were expecting someone else for dinner?"

Rose buzzed him in and waited until a knock came on the door.  Checking it was him she let him in and threw her arms around him.

He brushed them away quickly, taking hold of her arms.  Rose thought he was spurning her but he spoke quickly.  "What is it, what's wrong?  Has something happened to you?"

Rose nodded, the tears she had held back now on her face.  "That woman, Susan Wright, she threatened me, down in the car park."

Hardy put his arms back around her and Rose sobbed quietly into his shoulder.   "It's ok, leave it to me.  Now I know she has something to hide.  Tell me what happened Rose and call me Alec."

He kissed her forehead and led her to the sofa, pulling over the window blind.  It wasn't dark but the window overlooked the harbour and he was not going to have an audience in Rose Tyler's apartment.

Rose told him how she had press cuttings and other information about the woman and that she had tried to give the police that information.  Hardy recalled and wished he had done something now.  This young blonde woman was beginning to have an effect on him.  Rose got up.

"I have to turn dinner off or it will be ruined."

Hardy nodded and let her go, not realising he still had one arm around her shoulder.  He got his phone out.

"This is Hardy, I want a unit down at the caravan site down on the beach, number 3 and bring that woman, Susan Wright in for questioning and inform DS Miller.  I'll meet you there."

Rose came back out of the kitchen.  Just then, Hardy's phone rang.  It was Miller. "Sir, my boy Tom, he's just come home with Danny Latimer's missing skateboard, says a woman at the caravan site gave it to him.  I'm just going to take it into the station."

"Good, I want a word with her anyway, she's just threatened Rose Tyler, the reporter from The Echo.  I've sent a unit to her caravan.  I'll meet you at the station."

He hung up and put his arm around Rose's shoulder again.  "I have to go Rose, if I need you I'll send for you.  Give me your mobile number."

Rose gave him her number.   "Will you be coming back tonight?"

"It will be late when I get finished, best leave it.  I'm sorry you cooked for nothing."

"It will save, perhaps tomorrow night?"

"I'd like that.  Don't worry, she won't bother you again.  It must have been good, what you had on her.  She just made another mistake as well."

"Sorry I flung my arms around you, I was just glad you actually came.  I was going to tell you about it tomorrow."

"You should have dialled 999 and reported it.  We have someone picking her up right now.  She won't expect you to tell us but she knows she's just done something else.   She gave some evidence to DS Miller's son."

Rose walked to the door with him.  Hardy leaned down and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.   "Perhaps we'll have more luck tomorrow night?"  He kissed her cheek.

"Alec, you still have to eat.  Come back when you've finished at the station."

"I'll try, I'm not promising.  Don't wait up."

Rose smiled.  She would if she had to.   Hardy walked the few yards to the station just as they were bringing the woman in.  She glared at him as she was being led to the interview room.   Miller was already there, holding the missing skateboard then putting it in a large evidence bag and labelling it.  Hardy was handed a large envelope that Rose had pinned on the woman's caravan door.  When he opened it, he wasn't surprised the woman had threatened Rose Tyler.

Rose settled down knowing she had done the right thing.  She looked at the dinner she had cooked, she could cover it until tomorrow, if he didn't get back tonight.  She doubted it.  Men like Alec Hardy wouldn't be bothered with a trainee junior reporter but he might be interested in Rose Tyler, Vitex heiress but she had not wanted anyone in the town to know about her, only the newspaper editor knew about her.  She made herself some soup instead and settled down to watch TV.

Just after ten, her buzzer sounded again.  It was Alec Hardy.  She let him in.

"I didn't expect you to come back.  Have you eaten?"

"No but I think it's a bit late to be eating dinner, I'll manage."

"I can make you some soup, if you want?  I made enough for two, I had some earlier, it will only take a few minutes."

Hardy sat himself on one of the chairs and nodded.  Rose came back five minutes later with a tray containing chunky beef soup, a roll and a glass of water.  He accepted it gratefully.   Rose knew he couldn't discuss what had happened in the station so she never bothered asking.  Hardy ate silently, Rose went back to watching the news, no mention of the events that had taken place, it was old news now unless something major happened.

"Are you going to Jack Marshall's funeral tomorrow?" Hardy asked, wiping his mouth on a napkin.

"I don't think I should, I still feel partly responsible for what happened."

Hardy got up and crossed to the sofa, sitting beside her.  "You shouldn't, it was not your fault.  You didn't round up those men and send them after him.  You were not to know what would happen."

He found himself wanting to put his arm around her again to protect her but he knew he shouldn't.  It wasn't up to him though.  Rose moved closer and took his hand.

"Yeah, well if I hadn't handed them the ammunition – maybe he would still be alive?"

"Then what?  It was all over the newspapers Rose, you couldn't control that, it would have got out whether you had started it or not.  Stop feeling guilty about it."

He found that Rose was practically leaning on his shoulder as he put his arm around her and then she did lean into him.  He kissed her cheek and she put her arm around his slim waist, her other arm around his back.  Alec put his other arm around her waist and leaned down as she looked up at him.

"It's ok Rose, you were there when I needed you, let me return the gesture."

Before either of them knew what was happening, their lips were a fraction apart as Rose looked up and Alec angled his face towards her, looking into her hazel eyes.  Rose just rested her head on his chest, never letting go of his waist as she felt him comforting her but she looked up again and this time, she felt his lips touch hers lightly and giving in, she pressed hers back until they found the right angle and the kiss deepened.

Alec pushed her back gently against a cushion.  Rose pulled him down with her, her arms still around his waist as they continued kissing.  Alec, with his free arm, fumbled for the buttons on her white blouse and skilfully unfastened the top few, laying his hand on the exposed skin.   He knew he shouldn't, the slightest thing could set him off.   He remained calm though, more than he had hoped.

Rose broke the kiss and smiled, removing one of her arms as he tried to take his jacket off, Rose helping him.  His jacket removed, Rose took his tie off and began undoing the top buttons on his shirt and placing her hand on his chest, then unfastened the rest of them while Alec unbuttoned the remaining buttons on her blouse, revealing her black cotton bra.  Alec could not resist leaning down and kissing the exposed skin softly.  Rose giggled as she awkwardly tried to unfasten the cuffs of his shirt.

"Excuse me but should you even be contemplating this detective?"

Alec smiled.  He most definitely should not be but nothing was going to stop him from trying.  "Just be gentle with me."

Rose had his shirt down over his shoulders and was pulling him onto her, Rose moaning with delight.

"Alec, stay with me tonight," she asked, running her fingers through his hair as he laid on her.

Rose moved her hands from his hair onto his shoulders and reached to kiss his neck, leaving a red mark and giggling again that she had marked him.  Alec looked up and smiled and vowed he would pay her back for it.
Chapter 4
Alec felt calm, more than he deserved to be anyway.  He gently nibbled on her ear and her neck as Rose lay beneath him.  He had covered her with her blouse and pulled her up from the sofa, leading Rose to her bedroom.  Then she had stepped out of her black trousers and she had unzipped his, him holding onto her to keep his balance.  Alec had sat down, removing his socks and Rose was scrambling beneath the sheets and the bedspread.

He had crawled in after her, Rose had pulled him down onto her again and they kissed.  After that, Alec had flinched but was smiling although she couldn't see as he was making a rather large mark on her neck.

She had managed to suggest she left her underwear on, then he wouldn't get tempted to try anything he might regret resulting in her going for another ambulance ride with him.  Alec had no choice to but to agree with her, they would keep him in next time but it might just have been worth the risk, spending a night with Rose.

They had settled with Rose changing places so she was on top of him as they had experienced touching each other, she could feel him through the thin cotton material separating them from really connecting with each other.  Hardy was now sincerely regretting not getting something done about his condition.  Rose had moved on him in just the right way, he thought he was going to have an attack again but he calmed himself.

Rose had never been so turned on in her life with what they were doing.   Mickey had been child's play in comparison with what Alec Hardy was doing to her, illness or no illness, he was delighting her in unspeakable ways.  Now she lay under him as he was whispering in her ear and giving her another red mark she would have trouble covering up in the morning.  Not that she was regretting it.  She felt good.  Best of all, they had avoided rushing Alec to emergency again.

Rose was now stirring.   "Alec, I need to move before you squash me," she smiled up at him.

He moved over onto his side, Rose following.  She snuggled up to him as he pulled her close, kissing her forehead.

"I don't know why you put up with me, you knew I couldn't do anything.  Why would you want to try?"

"Maybe I just wanted some company.  It was rather nice even though some things were rather obvious."

She got up and went to get some clean underwear.  He was thinking she was going to throw him out, then he remembered she had asked him to stay the night and relaxed back onto the pillow as she turned out the bedside lamp and got back into bed.

"You weren't thinking of sneaking out on me again were you?" Rose asked, snuggling back down on him.

Alec just managed to say "Wouldn't dream of it" as he felt Rose relax onto him as she fell asleep.

The next morning, Rose made some breakfast and Alec said he needed to go back to his hotel to get changed before the funeral.   He persuaded Rose to attend.

"Don't sit with me though, not yet.  It's best that no-one knows until this is over."

"I'll only agree to it if you promise that if the rest of the press goes after you, you'll let me rescue you."

He had to agree, it wouldn't hurt to have the local press on his side.  They kissed goodbye and Rose got ready for work.  When she got there, Maggie was waiting for her with a copy of the Daily Herald in her hands.  The headline ran – 'Is this the worst cop in Britain?' above a picture of Alec Hardy.  That made Rose's blood boil, there was no doubt who had written that and Rose was now on the warpath.  There was no way she was getting away from that.

"You can't agree with this Maggie, surely?" Rose asked her editor.

"Of course I don't but unless you have something good to write about him I fail to see how we can do anything about it."

Rose was thinking hard.  Maggie was right, what could she do?  Then she had an idea and set to work, sending her article to Maggie.

"Oh this is priceless Rose, well done.  Attack the attacker."

Rose had written an article about Karen White herself and her witch-hunt on Alec Hardy.  Rose's headline had the same picture of Alec Hardy alongside one she had found of Karen White herself but hers was saying 'What has Karen White have against DI Alec Hardy?' and went on to say the woman had been hounding him since a case in Scotland.  The woman in question could hardly complain, she knew it was the truth and Rose had called Alec to get his reaction.

He had naturally wanted to stay out of it.  "So do you think I'm the worst cop in Britain Rose?" he'd asked, closing his office door.

He had been putting on a black tie that DS Miller had lent him.  Miller had smiled when she had seen the headlines.

"Oh yeah, course I do, I'll get a t-shirt printed," Rose replied.

"I can see I'm going to have to sort you out tonight Miss Tyler."

"I look forward to it.  I'll see you at the funeral."

Maggie had just come out of her office.  "Coming to Jack Marshall's funeral Rose?"

"I don't really feel like I should."

"Come on, it's not entirely your fault, I encouraged you to go after the story.  Let's pay our respects to say sorry."

Maggie was right, so was Alec.  They got into Rose's car and they drove up to the church, keeping back and out of the way of the other reporters and photographers who were hounding the Latimer family and Rose smiled when she heard DS Miller threatening them.  Rose was going to make mental notes and try and write something nice when she got back, not that she was proud of the way things had turned out.

Maggie went off to sit with someone she knew and Rose took a seat just behind Alec, who was sitting at the back.  She leaned over as she sat down and whispered "Hi husband."

Alec tried not to smile.  Becca Fisher came in and sat next to Rose.  "Hello Rose, I'm surprised you're not sitting on the bench in front," nodding over to Alec.

Rose whispered back.  "Any reason why I should be?"

Becca remained silent.  She'd had a feeling the reporter was not at the hotel the other night on the pretence of an interview.  Still, each to their own, Hardy was not her type, even more so now he had collapsed.  She was going to ask Rose what had actually been wrong with him but she doubted the reporter would tell her.

After the service, most people were going back to the Trader's but Rose wasn't going to bother until they got back to the newspaper office and Maggie sent her over to see what people were saying.  Rose had smiled, hoping Alec would be there.  He was.  Trying her best to stay away from him, she wasn't having any luck until she saw Karen White come in, then she crept up to Alec's side, slid her arm into his and in front of the other reporter, pulled him away into the sitting room.

"Were you trying to rescue me?" Alec asked as the other reporter glanced into the room but changed her mind.

"Wait until she sees what I wrote about her," Rose smiled.

"Can't wait."

Just then, a group of men walked into the sitting room so they made their escape.  The last thing Alec wanted were the townsfolk trying to guess if he was shagging the local reporter.  He would have done so gladly if he was able to.

Alec went off, seeing the local vicar talking to Tom Miller on the stairs and noting the vicar inappropriately had his hand on the boy's knee.  Just then though, he felt dizzy and almost stumbled until Rose grabbed hold of him and steered him away towards a seat before anyone noticed.

"Thanks.  You're always coming to my aid."

Rose whispered to him.  "Have you taken your medication today?"

Alec looked guilty.

"For goodness sake Alec, why did you get more if you weren't going to take them?  Have you got them with you?"

Alec nodded.  Rose left him and asked Becca for a glass of water.  The woman looked at her but Rose just stared back at her, daring her to say something.  She went back to Alec, who had sneaked two pills out while Rose was gone and no-one was looking and Rose stood in front of him so no-one could see.

"From now on, you take them every morning, no excuses."

"Yes, I know.  I suppose you'll be wanting to supervise that?"

"Yes I will so get used to it detective."

"Can't argue with that.  Am I invited to try to finish that dinner you made last night?"

"You most certainly are, 7.30 and don't be late."

"Yes Ma'am."

Rose smiled and took the glass and put it on a nearby table.  Just then, Karen White came back inside with Beth Latimer and Rose wondered what they had been talking about.  She turned back to Alec.

"Best go write my article now.  When she sees what I wrote about her, I guarantee she won't bother you again."

"Can't wait to read it then.  It should be interesting."

He had to let her go, he couldn't risk anyone seeing them together much, just the casual chat now and then, in public.  What he wanted to do when they were alone was a different matter.

She went back to the newspaper office to write her report and hoped Maggie hadn't noticed how long she had been or that she had been sat behind Alec.  If only they didn't have to keep it a secret.

Rose got back to her apartment, trouble-free this time, Alec had told her that Susan Wright had received a caution and warned to stay away from her so she was now awaiting Alec's arrival.  She was going to see personally he took his medication the next morning.  She had time though to call her stepfather.  He still worked for Torchwood, surely there was something they could do for Alec?

"Dad, I need a big favour," Rose had said after getting off the phone with her mother finally.

"Depends what it is Sweetheart."

Rose knew deep inside the man regarded her as his own daughter, they had bonded instantly since Rose arrived in this universe the first time.

"Just how many medical experts do you have at Torchwood?  Do any of them specialize in heart problems?"

"Rose, is there something you're not telling me?"

Rose let out a nervous laugh.  "No Dad, there's nothing wrong with me.  It's a friend of mine, he has heart arrhythmia and needs an operation."

"Who might that be Rose, you never mentioned you had made any friends.  Boyfriend is he perhaps?"

"Not exactly, well not yet.  He's the detective in charge of the murder investigation here, no-one can know or he'll get taken off the case, put on medical leave until he does something.  Please Dad, is there any way Torchwood can help him?"

Pete went silent.  "Well, remember that Doctor Harper I told you about, he's a genius with alien technology, especially alien medical technology.  He's had some good results with some agents who sustained injuries on missions, some were serious.  I'll talk to him, see if he can help.  If anyone can, it's him but I'm not promising.  We don't usually treat outsiders."

Rose wondered what was the point of having the stuff if they weren't prepared to use it.

"If he agrees, you'll have to bring your friend up here.  I'll have to check him out, see if he is trustworthy."

"He's a detective inspector, how much more trustworthy do you need?"

"He might well be.  Do you trust him?"

"Yes, I do trust him and I'm trying to help him.  His name is Alec Hardy.

Rose was sure she heard a chuckle from her stepfather.  "Oh, you mean the worse cop in Britain?"

"That's not fair, that reporter had been out to get him since his last case in Scotland.  She won't be so pleased when she sees the Echo's headlines in the morning, courtesy of yours truly."

"Rose, don't you get in a cat fight with that reporter, don't make me have to bail you out," Pete laughed, knowing full well Rose could fend for herself.

"Don't worry, my editor backed me up on it.  She was being totally unfair towards him, he doesn't need it.  She'll think twice next time before she writes something about him."

"Well just make sure she doesn't dig up anything on you or you'll have to leave and come back home.  You know what your mother's like for protecting you and so am I.  Does this Alec Hardy know who you are?"

"No, I just told him I had a rich stepfather who pays for my rather expensive holiday apartment when he pointed out that I couldn't afford to live here on a reporter's salary."

"Well perhaps you had better tell him, ask him before you drag him up to London, if Doctor Harper can help him that is.  Don't do anything until I get back to you, no need to get his hopes up.  He'll have to ask your friend a few questions before he sees him if he says he can help him."

"Fine but I was going to tell him who I was anyway.  He shared his secret with me, it's only fair I share mine with him.  There is one thing though, don't repeat this to mum or she'll be demanding you bring her down here."

"What's that?"

"Alec Hardy – he could be The Doctor's double."

"Rose, when are you going to stop seeing him everywhere you go?  It's not good for you.  Ok, I promise not to tell your mother yet but if he comes here, she's going to be mad you didn't say anything."

"Dad, if he does go up there, no-one must tell him.  I don't want him thinking I'm helping him because he reminds me of someone I lost."

"Just how involved with him are you?"

"It's too early to say. I'm sort of watching out for him shall we say, making sure he takes his medication and if it means I have to keep tabs on him then I will do.  He's coming to dinner tonight. I invited him last night but he had to leave when a new development in the case came up."

"Well just you be careful how much you get involved with him.  I know what The Doctor meant to you, even the first time I met you, I saw the way you looked at each other.  It didn't take a genius to work it out."

Rose smiled as she remembered what he was talking about.  The night the Cybermen had invaded.  They were across from Battersea Power Station and Rose was about to head off with Pete to infiltrate the cyber factory.  They had hugged, no words were needed.  They had both known.  Now she had found someone else but Alec was so different than the man she had lost.
Chapter 5
Rose was anxiously awaiting Alec's arrival.  She had so much she wanted to tell him, that he wasn't the only one who had a secret.   She couldn't just come out and say 'hey, by the way, I'm Rose Tyler, Vitex heiress' so she would let them finish dinner then ask him if he had any idea who she was.

Nervously, she answered the door buzzer when it sounded and let him in.  This time, she did kiss him.  When she let him go, he just smiled.

"I could do with a greeting like that every night.  Had a fairly boring afternoon today after the last few days.  What about you?  Ready to go to war with Ms White?"

"I'm not bothered about her, she's the one who should be worried, she might find it hard to swallow but she can't deny it's the truth.   Maggie did a bit more digging about, it turns out her editor was against her coming down here, she'll be back writing press releases when she sees our headlines tomorrow."

Rose liked nothing more than upsetting the press, even though she was now a member of it.  She had eluded the best of them in London more than once when out with friends and Pete had brought several injunctions against Fleet Street for daring to suggest Rose was not who she appeared to be.  There had been some controversy about where she had appeared from and how her mother somehow resembled Pete Tyler's first wife which Jackie had fervently denied she was aware of the first Mrs Tyler.  For that purpose, documents had been produced that she was Jackie Prentice before marrying the Vitex chairman.   Funny how no-one had ever known her though.  Jackie kept that very private, claiming she had just struggled as a single mother on a London council estate bringing up her daughter.   It was reasonably true.

Over dinner, which Alec said he would never have guessed it should have been eaten last night, they talked about the events of the last few days, even though he couldn't give her many details.  Rose said anything he told her would not be repeated and he said he trusted her.

"Rose, if anything does get out, I do know exactly who it came from," he joked as they finished dinner.

"Aw, you know I wouldn't kiss and tell Alec."   She got up to clear the plates away but he took her hand, pulling her onto his lap.

"I'm not fragile Rose, you can sit on me."

Rose responded by putting her arms around his neck.   "Never said you were."   She leaned down to kiss him.

"Why do you really want to be with me Rose?  You know having sex with you could put me in hospital or even worse?  Yet here you are, inviting me back to dinner again and ordering me around.  Why do I even let you try to boss me about?"

"Because you need someone to take care of you and I've just appointed myself to the task.  So you had better get used to it."

Just what he needed, a bossy reporter for a girlfriend.  He supposed she was the closest he had come to actually having a girlfriend.  He had better make sure she really wanted that title.

"So, what you're trying to say is you want to keep a close eye on me, make sure I take my medication and stay out of trouble?"

Rose smiled, her arms still around his neck but now taking off his crooked tie.  She had noticed how strangely, he had the same habit as The Doctor used to have, not tying it straight and the top button unfastened.  There were many similarities between them but Alec had his own little quirks she liked.  It was not fair however she should compare them.  They were from two different universes and two different planets, as different as you could possibly get and yet so alike.  She couldn't explain it.

"Yep, guess that about covers it.  Any objections?"  She now had his tie off, unbuttoned a few more shirt buttons and admiring the mark on his neck she had made last night.

She had managed to cover the ones he had made last night, thankful he had not made them any higher but it was only a matter of time until they both wanted them to be seen in public.

"Well in that case, you need a job title.  I think the term 'girlfriend' may just about cover it, any objections?"

Rose gave her answer as she kissed him deeply.   "None from me," she managed to reply.

"Didn't think so," came his reply as he got the two of them up and he led her to the sofa.  "Leave the dishes, I'll help you later.  You can start your duties right now.  I needs lots of attention, I've been rather lacking in that department lately."

"I would never have guessed," she smiled, leaning back against the cushion and disposing of his shirt over the back of the sofa.

Alec quickly pulled her t-shirt over her head, leaving her pink cotton bra, Rose reached for his trousers zip but he stopped her.  "Don't get me too excited just yet Rose, we have all night," he smirked.

Eventually though, they agreed to take it into the bedroom, Rose covering up enough to go do the dishes with a little help from who they had agreed was now her boyfriend.

"So since I have the job of being your girlfriend, that means it works both ways.  We still can't tell anyone though, can we?"

"No, not yet.  If we go anywhere, we'll have to go out of town.  It will be safer if we travel over into Devon, no-one will know us there.  It's not that I want to keep you a secret but if my boss finds out I'm sleeping with a reporter, it might cause problems."

"Well, you're not just sleeping with a reporter you know."

"What else am I doing?  Rose, you know we can't do anything else yet, I'll have to see how far I can go, without ending up in the A & E department.  I don't think they will appreciate me going back there after the last time."

"Well, we'll try and avoid that.  You have your medication now.   Keep on that, don't do anything stupid and let me worry about how far we go in bed."

He stopped drying the dishes.  "I still don't know why you're even agreeing to this arrangement.  A beautiful young woman like you, bothering with an older police detective with a bad heart.  Why Rose?"

"Stop asking me that Alec.  I wouldn't be with you if I didn't want to be.  You're the first man I have met in a long time that I actually want to be with ok?   I lost someone, he left me and I never found anyone else until I met you and yes, I fancied you that day on the beach, before I found out what was wrong with you and it didn't put me off.  It made me want you even more."

She threw the towel down she was wiping her hands on and ran back into the living room and sat down.  She had to admit it, she was falling in love with him.  She cared about him, cared what happened to him and knew he needed her.  Why couldn't he just accept that?   He was just as stubborn as a certain Timelord who couldn't recognise that she cared or that she had loved him and he had left her, on a beach in Norway.

Alec came back in and sat beside her, taking her hand.   "I'm sorry Rose, I'm just not used to having anyone care about me.  It's been a long time.  I got divorced because my wife was cheating on me with a male DS in the same station.  We had a daughter, Daisy, she's 15, lives with her mother only because I knew I was ill, otherwise I would have fought for her in court.   Instead, I had to let her go, had to let her think I didn't care enough about her.  My ex lost evidence in a case we were working on and I told everyone it was me that lost it, to protect her from finding out about her mother.  It turned out I did it for nothing.  I left and my ex moved in with the man she was seeing, taking Daisy with her so she knows anyway but she still thinks I abandoned her."

Rose put her arms around him.   "I'm sorry Alec, I shouldn't have done that.  I just want to be with you."

Alec folded her up in his arms.  He regretted just coming out with it but she needed to know.  "I'm sorry too Rose.  I didn't mean to tell you everything just like that but you can see why I'm reluctant to let anyone get close to me.   I do need you Rose.  Please?"

"It's ok.  There is something you need to know about me too."

"You mean that you're Rose Tyler, stepdaughter of the Vitex millionaire?  Come on, you forget I'm a detective.  Did you think I'd let you tell me you had a rich stepfather who paid for a place like this and not follow it up?"

Rose playfully smacked his arm.  "You looked me up?  You cheat!"

Alec smiled.  "Well you could have looked me up too if you had wanted to.  Although you wouldn't have got what I just told you.  I got cleared, back home but it was never made public.  The families of the victims still blame me."

"Then come into the office and give us your version.  Maggie will be fair to you.  She will even delay printing it until all this is over if you give us an exclusive."

Now was as good a time as any he supposed.  Giving it to Rose would make a name for her, in the newspaper business that is, she already had a name for herself.

"Ok, I give the story to you and you alone, it goes under your name but your editor can be present."

"Fine, she'll agree to that although I don't know how much longer I'll remain in that job.  It wouldn't look good, a police detective and a reporter, you said so yourself."

"It doesn't matter, once this case is over.  I'll be finished anyway until I can have that operation.  I was told I would have to have complete rest before I can be considered.  It meant I would have to stay either in hospital until they gave the go-ahead or someone looking after me full time, a private nurse or someone."

"Well, that's my job now although I may just have an alternative for you but it depends on a couple of things.  I can't tell you any more until I hear back from my dad.  Oh, I call him that because I have a six year old stepbrother, he's called Tony.  I told dad about you, he may know someone who can help you."

"I've seen specialists Rose, many of them.  They all say the same, no stress, stop working, have complete rest.  That's why I agreed to come here.  Everyone thought it was to get away from my last case but it was only a part of it.  The real reason was to lie low, take it easy for six months then go for an operation but it seems that fate conspired against me.   I'm just not meant to have that operation Rose and if you hadn't have found me the other night, it might have all been over."

Rose felt sorry for him.  "Don't say that.  You still have a chance if my dad can help you and now, you've got me because I'm taking you on whether you or your boss likes it or not.  Move in with me Alec, so I can take care of you."

"Rose, you hardly know me, I can't move in just like that.  I had to creep out of here this morning so no-one from the station would see me.  What would they say if I'm seen coming out of here every morning?"

"Since when did you care about what people think?" Rose laughed.

That was true but it would take a lot of explaining, he couldn't afford to live here on his salary, not when he would likely have to go on medical leave.  He was still trying to sell his house back home but it would have to be split with his ex unless his solicitor proved she wasn't entitled to it.  That was why he was in no hurry to sell it.  His belongings, what was left of them, were in storage.  He had still been living there until he had moved to Broadchurch.

They were just holding each other, Rose was waiting for his reply.  "Rose, I'd like nothing better than to move in with you but maybe we should just slow down.  Why don't I bring some things with me tomorrow night and see how it goes?  Or we could always go away for the weekend, go over to Torquay or somewhere.  I'll get off work early tomorrow and we'll drive over.  You book us a hotel for a couple of nights, if you want.  See how much you can put up with me."

Rose looked up.  "Is that a challenge?"

"I suppose it is.  Three days with me and you may regret what you're taking on.  Tell me Rose, what happened to you?  Who would ever leave you?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Rose, I've just told you what happened to me, why can't you say what happened to you?"

How could she tell him she had been in love with an alien who was in another universe?  It would have to be this universe's version of events, until Pete cleared him and even then she wasn't sure it would be a good idea to tell a man who was interested in her the full version.  Maybe it was best he never knew.

"I lost someone, like I said.  I left my then boyfriend to travel with him all over the world.  We travelled for two years, never doing more than holding hands, hugging, walking arm in arm.  We kissed once or twice, when we'd had a bit to drink but it was becoming obvious, at least I thought it was, that we wanted more.  I took a chance and told him I loved him and he left me, on a beach in Norway.  He hadn't wanted that kind of relationship.  I ruined it."

"Well to me, he didn't deserve you Rose.  What sort of man was he if he couldn't love you back?"  He stopped what he was doing and pulled her close.  "It's ok, I can see why you were reluctant to get really involved with anyone but I want you to know, it's not been easy for me to move on either.  Let's help each other."

"Yeah, I can do that although I think you need a bit more help than I do."

"Oh, is that so?  Well why don't we discuss this further in the bedroom?"

Rose giggled and allowed him to pull her up from the sofa.

Rose woke up the next morning, feeling happy again.  They had done more of the same from the night before, Alec keeping his briefs on but had almost given in at one point and would have done if she hadn't stopped him in time.  They agreed from then that they would just try a little more each time to see how far he could go.  She hated not telling Alec the whole truth but she was so scared of losing him.  If things worked out, her family and friends would have to deny the existence of The Doctor, would that be fair?

She was caught in the middle of the man she used to love, who could have said those words to her on the beach as he faded from view and the man she was now falling in love with, who if they had been from the same universe and planet could have been twins.

Alec was still asleep as she turned off her alarm but she knew he still had to go back to his hotel and get changed so she kissed his cheek gently and he stirred.

"Wake up sunshine, you have to go get changed.  I think you had better seriously consider my offer."

"What offer was that then?" he asked sleepily.  Then he remembered.  He wasn't quite ready to move in with his rich new girlfriend just yet.

"Oh, right."

Rose giggled.  "I'm serious, at least think about it.  Let's go away this weekend then and see if I can put up with you."

She got out of bed and got dressed, leaving Alec to get cleaned up in the bathroom since he had to go change his clothes.  She made him some breakfast, making sure he took his medication in front of her and asked him again about giving an interview.

"Yes, I'll come in, Monday night after I finish.  Why don't you pick me up at lunchtime from the hotel?   I'll go get a few things and we can be there in time for dinner."

"Great, I'll try and book us a hotel then.   I can't wait to find out how Miss White has reacted to this morning's newspaper headlines."

They kissed goodbye, Rose saying she would meet him in the hotel car park at one.  Now she needed to get the afternoon off without giving too much away.
Chapter 6
Rose walked into the newspaper office and spied Maggie with a grin on her face.  Good, she was in a good mood.  Maggie was holding the newspaper up, pointing to Rose's headline.

"Well done petal, that will teach her.  I doubt we'll be hearing from her again."

Rose took the paper from her editor.  "Well if you think that's good, I have another scoop for you."

"Do tell me more."

"Is it worth the afternoon off?  I have plans this weekend.  I've got a new boyfriend."

"Oh, I'm interested, tell me more.  Not about your scoop, about your new boyfriend of course."

Rose knew what she meant.  "I got an exclusive – with non other than Detective Inspector Alec Hardy.  About the case Miss White accused him of botching up."

"Really?  I need more Rose, tell."

Rose nodded to Maggie's office.  She couldn't risk being overheard.  They went in and Rose closed the door.

"Go on, tell me how you managed it.  Make it good and you get the weekend off."

Rose smiled.  "Maggie, I never agreed to work weekends, you asked me to cover that press conference last week as a favour.   Remember?"

Maggie laughed.  She liked Rose.  "Don't get much past you do I?"

"Well, I persuaded him to let us tell his side of the story.  He said on two conditions.  First, he gives the story to me to write, no editorial and second, we wait until this murder investigation is over.  Oh and also that other certain conditions are met, when you find out what he has to say."

"Ok then, it's a deal.  He speaks to no-one else, right?"

"Right, it's exclusive I can guarantee that."  She could, she just didn't want to share how she could.   Still, Maggie might get suspicious.

"Oh this is good Rose, just what we need.  He solves the murder then gives us a story of how he got through his last case.  Do you think he might tell how he solved this one, when he does?"

"I never asked him that."

"Go on, how did you persuade him to give it to us and why does he want you to write the story?"

Rose was saved by a knock on the office door.  It was one of the girls from the office.

"Yes Cheryl, what is it dear?"

"Miss Radcliffe, you might want to take this call for you.  It's from the editor of The Daily Herald."

Rose looked serious.  Was he furious she had dared to write about his star reporter?

Maggie picked up the phone and Rose tried to leave while she still could but Maggie put her hand up to stop her, pointing to a seat.  She spoke for a few minutes, Rose trying not to listen.  When Maggie put the phone down, she was not smiling.   Rose thought she may as well go back and pack her bags.  She had gone too far trying to defend Alec but she would do it again if she had to.  Someone had to stand up for him.

"So, am I fired then?" Rose dared to ask.

"Not exactly, he wants to poach you away from me.  He says you have more guts than even Karen White has and wants to approach you to offer you a job."

Rose didn't believe it.  She didn't want a job in the city, she wanted to stay here, with Alec.

"No way Maggie, I'm not going to go back to London, I've not done learning the trade yet.  I want to do it properly, working for you."

"You do know your stepfather could buy me out if he really wanted to?"

"Yes but he wouldn't.  He respects you and knows you'll teach me properly.  What could I learn from someone who employs Karen White?"

Maggie smiled.  "That's my girl.  Now about this interview with Alec Hardy, you were going to tell me why he agreed to it – in great detail."

"On one condition, that you tell no-one or I really will have Pete Tyler buy you out before you can say Broadchurch Echo."

Maggie smiled again, she knew the younger woman meant business.   "Go on.  Scout's honour."

Rose had heard that one before.  "OK, because the detective and I are friends, good friends."

"So is he your new boyfriend or is there another suspect for that role?"

"No.  Yes, he's my new boyfriend but please don't tell anyone yet.  We're trying to keep it quiet or his boss will ban him from seeing me.  It doesn't look good, a reporter and a detective, especially with all this going on."

"I agree but you did manage to talk him into giving his story to you.  He must trust you.  So is he any good in bed?"

"Maggie, I'm surprised at you!"  She knew her editor was not that way inclined but each to their own.  "Between you and me, he's actually quite amazing."

What else could she say?  That they hadn't had proper sex yet and it may kill him if they did?  What they had been doing was pretty good anyway and no doubt when he got well he would be amazing.

Maggie laughed.  "Ok. You've earned yourself the weekend off, go and enjoy yourself.  If I were you I'd go out of town though."

"We are, going over into Devon somewhere, I'm just going to find a hotel for a couple of nights.  He needs to get away from all this for a few days."

"I want all the gory details when you get back.  Now be a dear and go do some work before you go.  After you've booked your hotel."

"Thanks Maggie and don't worry, I'm not leaving to go to work at The Herald thanks very much."

"Well once the other papers pick it up, you'll get lots more offers."

"They won't tempt me, they haven't got Alec Hardy."

Maggie laughed.   "Get out of here Rose, you're wasting time, all the hotels will be booked up."

Rose finally found a hotel in Torquay for two nights, a bit expensive but she didn't care.  A hotel with a sea view was just what they needed.  She paid for it using her credit card, a generous limit befitting her name, one of the perks since the paper didn't pay very well.

Just before one, she was just finishing up when a young man came into the office and the girl on the desk let him though.  Rose wondered who he was.  It appeared Rose was sitting at his old desk as he came up to her.

"Hello, you must be Rose Tyler.  I'm Olly Stevens, you took my old job."

Rose got up.  Olly continued.  "I saw your piece about Karen White.   It wasn't very nice."

"Oh and that matters to me because?"

"She did some good work on the Sandbrook case.  Hardy failed those families."

"Well she wasn't very nice to him, she hounded him when he was cleared of any wrong-doing by his old police force.  There was no need to drag it up.  This case is completely different."

"Why are you defending him?"

Rose was about to tell him to get lost when Maggie came out of her office.

"Olly!  To what do we owe the pleasure?   I thought you were in Bristol?"

"I was.   Came down when I saw your new star reporter here was turning on a fellow reporter."

"Oh?   I'm surprised at you Olly.  I let Rose run that story.  So is that all you came down for?"

"Came to see my mother as well, she's not doing so good I hear and to see my Aunt Ellie.  How's the case going?"

"I can't discuss that with you Olly, you know that.  Any information we have is for our newspaper.  Rose here does our reporting.  Where were you at the last press conference?"

"My editor sent someone else.  I wanted to come."

"Well, having regrets about leaving now are we?"  Maggie put her hand on Rose's shoulder.  "Rose here just had an offer from The Daily Herald."

Olly was speechless.  He had applied and had been turned down.  Now this nobody had been offered a job there.  Well obviously, she was no longer a nobody, not when she had just brought Karen White down.  He had been an admirer of Ms White but Rose Tyler was a force to be reckoned with apparently.

Maggie then played her ace.   "Rose has also just got an exclusive interview with DI Hardy himself, haven't you Rose.  When did you say he was coming in?"

"Monday, early evening."  Rose was laughing to herself.   It seemed Maggie's ex star reporter had gone down the rungs of the ladder instead of climbing them.  Especially since he was having a go at her for Ms White's downfall.

"Well I'll be off soon.  See you all on Monday."

Now he had been given that piece of information, he was going to try to scoop Miss Tyler into an earlier interview with Hardy, beat her to it.  If she was sticking up for Hardy, he would stick up for Karen White.  Was there something going on between her and Hardy?  He worshipped Karen from afar, never having met her but Hardy and Rose Tyler were both in the same small town.  Maybe they were shagging each other and that was why she was so defensive but did Maggie know?

"Maggie, can I have a word before I go?" Olly asked.

Maggie nodded towards her office.   "What is it Olly?  You were a good reporter here, you were keen.  What happened to you?"

"I don't know Maggie.  I thought it would be good, working on a city paper but I don't get any good stories."

"Well I'm afraid I have a good reporter now, I can't take you back, not unless someone leaves and then I can't give you a leading reporter job.  Rose is getting that.  She's proved her worth and she's a fast learner.  Goodness knows how she managed to get Hardy to agree to come in for an interview and I don't want to know and neither should you.  We all have our own ways.  She's good."

"Yeah?  She's probably screwing the bloke."

"Olly, what's come over you?  You never used to be like this.   Are you jealous of Rose Tyler?"

Olly hung his head, he probably was now.  Maggie had never offered him the lead reporter job.  He would have to dig something up on this Rose Tyler and maybe the detective but he would have to tread carefully, his aunt Ellie was working with him.

"I have to go now.  Nice to see you again Maggie, give my regards to Lil."

Rose was just clearing her desk, getting ready to leave for the weekend.  She was going to go wait in the hotel car park for Alec, she had packed a weekend bag earlier and it was in the back of the car.  She saw Olly coming out of Maggie's office and waited for him to pass.

"See you on Monday Maggie.  Give me a call if there's anything urgent," Rose shouted back to her boss.

"Oh don't bother about that.  You have a good weekend.  Remember, I want details when you come back."

Rose smiled.  She would get details alright, just not the most accurate.  No wonder Alec had said for her not to tell anyone about them, what with another reporter lurking around plus she couldn't say there was something wrong with him.

Rose left the office and went to collect her car to drive it across the road to wait for Alec.  She had been tempted to drive down to the station and collect him but it was bad enough he had been coming out of her apartment the last two mornings so she sat in the car hoping Becca wouldn't see her or see Alec get into her car.  She did not know that Olly Stevens was watching from across the street and saw Alec go into the hotel.

Olly was going to try to catch the detective when he came back out but when he saw him come out of the side door, he decided to follow.  His suspicions were right, the detective was meeting Rose Tyler.  She got out of the car and opened the back door as Hardy went up to her and they kissed.  Not just a casual peck on the cheek either, Hardy had his hand on her bum and she had her arms around him and they were playing tongues with each other.  Olly grabbed his phone from his pocket and took a picture of them.  Then Hardy held his hand out for the car keys, she looked reluctant to hand them over – women never liked men driving their cars, probably because she would have to alter the seat again.

She had said something to Maggie about going away for the weekend, she must be going with Hardy.  Some women had no taste.  Olly ducked back around the corner as Hardy turned the car around but saw he had his hand on her leg.

Rose had greeted Alec when he came out of the side door with a holdall.  She got out of the car and without bothering if anyone was around, kissed him.

"Hi, ready to go?   I managed to get a hotel on the sea front for two nights.  Got a room with a sea view as well.  We can stop for lunch on the way.  I've put the postcode in the satnav."

She was about to climb back into the driver's seat but he held out his hand.  "I'm not sure you should be driving Alec.  Have you even got car insurance?"

He smiled at her.  "Of course I have Rose, I'm in the police, I'm covered to drive any vehicle.  Come on, let me drive, I'm tired of being driven around all the time.  I'll be perfectly alright with you here."

She handed him the keys reluctantly.  "Ok then but don't mess my seat up."

"Rose, in case you have not noticed, I'm a lot taller than you are.  You'll just have to move it back.  Anyway, I plan on driving all weekend."

He took the keys and got in, moving the seat back to Rose's annoyance.  She still wasn't sure about him driving but she couldn't cushion him all the time or she would drive him away, quite literally.  As he drove off, he put his hand on her leg and she smiled.

"Guess what Alec?   I got offered a job at the Daily Herald today!  Miss White's editor called Maggie, I thought he would be fuming but he told her I had more guts than Karen White did."

"You're not considering it are you, seriously?"

Rose laughed, turning the radio down, she liked it loud usually.  "No, of course not!  I told Maggie, why would I want to work the same place as Karen White?  We also had a visitor, Olly Stevens, he used to work at The Echo.  He came down to complain about my article.  The cheek of it."

"Olly Stevens?  My DS has mentioned him, he's her nephew."

"Yeah, he mentioned her.  He thought I'd been unfair on his friend, well I think they must be friends unless he just fancies her.  He asked my why I had turned on a fellow reporter."

"And what exactly did you say?" Alec asked, watching the traffic.  It had been a while since had last driven but at least Rose drove an automatic, the type he was used to or he would have been lost and let her drive.

"I said she had been unfair to you, never bothering to get your side of the story.  I think her editor might be looking to replace her – with me."

Alec smiled.  He could just see Rose in a London newspaper office, the city wouldn't know what had hit it.  "So what else did he have to say?"

"Nothing much.  Maggie proudly told him that I had managed to get you in for an interview, an exclusive.  She agreed to your terms by the way.  I think he was a bit pissed off by it.  Oh and she's going to offer me the lead reporter job when I get back after the weekend.  That's if I don't blow it."

"Why would you do that?  You seem to be her star reporter."

"Yeah, you might not exactly like the next bit."

Alec didn't reply.  He had spied somewhere to stop and have lunch – he was hungry.  They pulled into a roadside restaurant and went in to order, Rose holding his hand.  He was starting to like it, shame they couldn't walk around Broadchurch like that yet.  While they waited for their orders Alec asked what she meant.

"Well Maggie thought that since you wanted to talk about what happened before you came here, when you solve this case, you might want to say how you did it?"

"Oh, is that all?  Well in that case, I will reveal all my detective skills to the press then everyone will be able to solve the next major crime that takes place in the town."

"Great, I'll be sure to write it all down in a big book of 'How to solve a crime' by Alec Hardy."

Alec wasn't sure if she was joking or not as their food arrived and thought he had best not ask her.
Chapter 7
Once they arrived in Torquay, Alec being more at home with a satnav than Rose was, well at least he didn't argue with it like she did, Rose showed her credit card to prove she had made the booking and they went to their room.  Alec was impressed but said he was paying for everything else that weekend and he would fill up the car for the journey back.

After unpacking, Rose wanted to go for a walk on the beach and for the first time, they held hands for more than a few minutes.  Rose wanted to go on the Ferris Wheel but Alec said they would come back later when everything was lit up.  They walked back on the promenade, through the gardens and got back just in time for dinner.

Alec was glad he was still wearing a suit but it was all a bit posh for him.  Rose had changed into a pale blue dress, figure hugging he had thought when seeing her getting changed and she said she wasn't dressed for going back on any rides so she insisted on going back up to get changed again, hoping they weren't too late.  They finally reached the wheel and Rose led him into one of the gondolas as the wheel began its assent just as it was getting dusk and lights were coming on.  They were on their own and not caring if anyone was watching from anywhere, they kissed as their compartment just reached the top.

Rose giggled and held his arm tightly and held his hand as they descended.  Then they walked back through the gardens again, Alec taking his jacket off for her as she was only wearing a pink top.  He held it in place over her shoulders and once they reached the hotel, she gave him his jacket back.  They went into the bar for a drink, it was only nine thirty.

"That was great Alec.  Do you want to go out on a boat tomorrow?"

That was something he was going to have to explain to her.  "Well about that Rose, I can't go on boats."

Thinking he got seasick, she dropped the subject which Alec was thankful for so he quickly changed the subject before she started asking questions.

"We could drive a bit further, if you want.  To Paignton or somewhere."

"Yeah, that would be nice."  She touched his leg with her foot under the table.  "Do you want to go up to our room Alec?"

She was tormenting him, of course he wanted to go to their room, he was waiting for her to finish her second white wine spritzer.  He had opted for non-alcoholic, he'd had half a glass of wine with his meal although the food was a bit rich for him.  He wondered why Rose had chosen a fancy hotel like this but he supposed she had got used to this lifestyle.  He had no idea where she actually came from and she had no intention of telling him, well only the official version or that would be another man she lost.

They took the lift to the third floor and Rose was still giggling that they had kissed at the top of the wheel.  They got inside and Rose put her arms around him.

"That was fun Alec, can we go on it again tomorrow night?"

"If that's what you want, we'll go on it again."  It was the least he could do since he couldn't go on a boat with her.  He would be more than just seasick if he was to venture out on one.  He couldn't get over what had happened all that time ago.  It took him all his time to pass his swimming certificate when he joined the police but it had been a requirement.

Before he had realised, Rose was standing in front of him in her sexy underwear, waiting for him to get undressed.  He stood before her in his briefs, leaving nothing to her imagination and she licked her lips at him and walked up to him, standing on her tip-toes to reach him.  He lifted her up and they made their way to the rather large king-sized bed with the rich red bedspread.

Rose was almost afraid to get into the bed with its crisp white cotton sheets that she would never dream of buying and thought it must take a ton of starch to get them like that.  Alec wasn't interested in the sheets, just who was lying on them as he got onto his knees.

"Rose, I swear you wear a size too small bra just to get me going," he smiled.

Rose was reaching for the front of his briefs, tormenting him by touching the material.  She let out a giggle.

"You can talk, you were wearing boxers the first night now all of a sudden you're wearing tight fitting briefs."

Alec smiled.  He felt young again and so wanted to show her how he felt about her.  She was his lifeline, a reason to go on now.

"They're not tight, they're just snug."

Rose laughed, pulling him down on her.  "My turn tonight, you keep them on.  You know if you move in with me, we can take it in turns, until you're well again.  Mind you, next week won't be a problem it will be that time of the month again, back end of next week."

He looked up.  "I'm disappointed but I have been married Rose, it's not news to me.  I know you women go off things when it happens."

Rose stopped him from what he was doing.   What had his ex told him?   "Alec, wait on a minute.  I do not go off 'things' when I'm like that.  I might get a bit moody but I would never take it out on you in bed.  Where did you get that idea from?"  She had a pretty good idea but needed to hear it from him.

"I thought you were all the same.  My ex wouldn't let me anywhere near her.  Mind you, it got to the stage she wouldn't let me near her full stop.  She was seeing someone else.  She left me to deal with a twelve year old girl who was going through a phase.  Don't get me wrong Rose, I love my daughter but she caused me a lot of heartache.  Then suddenly, my ex announced she was leaving and took Daisy with her, leaving me with an empty house.  That was eighteen months ago.  We got divorced, she stayed with her new boyfriend and expected me to sell the house and give her half.  I'm going to get a new solicitor because there is no way she is getting a penny."

Rose smiled.  "Good for you Alec.  I can ask my dad to recommend someone for you if you like?  Anyway, I don't need to know any more.  The past is another country."  The Doctor had told her that.

Alec finished the task of taking off her underwear and was lying on her until Rose curbed his enthusiasm.  "Don't you go getting any ideas, I'm not driving you to the hospital."

Alec smiled.  She was very good at making light of his inability to 'perform' and most men would have taken it the wrong way.  She was exactly what he needed and she had come into his life at the exact right time.

Rolling onto their sides, they were both gasping at each other's touch and Rose fell asleep on him.  Alec was smiling to himself and decided he was going to take her up on her offer of moving in before she changed her mind.

After breakfast the next morning, Rose making certain Alec took his medication, they got into Rose's car and drove down to Paignton, walking on the pier, then Rose wanted to go on a steam train and since Alec couldn't go on river boat, they walked around for a while.  Alec wanted to buy something special for her so they went off on their own for half an hour, Rose buying him a new wallet since his other one seemed a bit well worn and Alec bought rose a rose pendant, saying he thought it was a bit cheesy but Rose loved it as he fastened it around her neck in the outdoor café they met in.  After getting the train back to Paignton, they drove back to Torquay.

After another night of exploring what each of them liked the other to do, Alec told her the following morning that he would call and collect the rest of his things on the way back and book out of the hotel.

"So is that offer to move in with you still open?" he asked as they were packing the next morning.

"Yep, think I was able to put up with you for the weekend.  Can I ask you something though?  What is it with you and not going on the water?  You barely walked near the sea when we went out.  Did something happen to you?"

"Rose, it happened a long time ago, I hardly remember it.  I just know the water scares the hell out of me.  I had to take swimming lessons again when I joined the police.  I didn't enjoy it.  I had to have someone in the pool with me."  He remembered it only too well, he just didn't want her to know.

"Then let me help you Alec, it would be a shame if we can't go in the water together.  I'll hold your hand."

He knew he would be safe with her, if they just walked at the edge of the sea.   "Ok then but going in a swimming pool or on a boat is entirely different, I'll have to work up to that."

"Ok, I'll help you.  We'll start when we get back to Broadchurch, we'll go for a walk on the beach and take our shoes off and walk in the water."

Alec panicked.  That had been the place where it had happened.   "Well maybe that's not such a good idea, people will see us together.   We'll go somewhere else."  He knew he had to get over this, if he was going to have a relationship with Rose, he couldn't keep hiding her from other people or hiding things from her.

Rose had already sensed there was more to it.  "It's ok Alec, I understand but as soon as this is over, people had better get used to seeing us around town together."

Little did they know people would see them the following morning, all over The Bristol Post, closely followed by other newspapers.   After checking out of The Traders Hotel, Rose found him some room for his clothes and then they had to discuss if they were going to stay there longer than the initial rental period Rose had taken the apartment for.

"It all depends how long it's going to take me to get my furniture down here and sell my house."

"Don't worry about that.  We can rent somewhere for now.  It also depends on how much longer you're going to be working on this case.  The sooner you solve it, the sooner we can go to London and get you well again.  I should hear back from my dad soon about it.  Let's stay here a bit longer then, until it's over and we come back from London.  When I talk to him, I'll get him to give me the name of a good solicitor and we'll get your problem solved.  In the meantime, staying here is the best option.  We need somewhere furnished."

"Well I'm doing my best about the case Rose.  I'm just waiting to get more evidence.  I can't talk about it, you know that.  If I could, I would gladly take any help from you."

Alec could only agree to stay where they were, it had been nice stepping out of the apartment and walking into the station the last few mornings.  He just hoped he wouldn't get questioned about it or he would have to confess he had a girlfriend.  It would surprise a few people to say the least.  He didn't have to tell them who she was though.  That wasn't going to be his choice to make.

Olly Stevens had gone back to Bristol on Friday afternoon, debating whether he had a story or not.  From what he had heard from his Aunt Ellie, she didn't get on very well with the detective so he wouldn't incur her wrath if he printed something about it.  He had been 'scooped' by Rose Tyler regarding the Hardy story so what better way to make a bit of a name for himself than to write about both of them.  Plus he was upset about Karen White, even though he had never met her.

His headline 'DI Alec Hardy – is this why Rose Tyler defended him against Karen White from The Daily Herald?' was going to be above the photo he had taken in the hotel car park, of Hardy with a well-placed hand on Miss Tyler's posterior.  He was going to write a piece about how she had been quick to defend him and now everyone knew the reason why.  What he didn't know was it was going to shorten his career even more, once Jackie Tyler saw it.

Rose woke up on Monday morning, hair all over the place that Alec nearly swallowed some when he woke up, something he was going to have to get used to since Rose now liked going to sleep on him.  She thought her alarm was going off at seven thirty but it was her phone.  It was Pete.  She answered him, trying to focus on the phonecall and not Alec getting up out of bed, blinking twice to concentrate.

"Morning Rose, I trust I didn't wake you?"  He didn't wait for her to reply.  "You might want to look at this morning's papers.  Really Sweetheart, you should be more careful where you kiss your new boyfriend."

"Dad, I don't know what you're talking about."

She was disrupted by Alec's phone ringing.  He went into the living room to answer his, fastening his trousers with one hand while trying to answer it.  It was Miller, telling him the same and how she was going to string her nephew up by the short and curlies when she got hold of him.

Rose had come out of the bedroom, after putting her dressing gown on and they looked at each other.  Rose mouthed – "I'm going to kill that Olly Stevens" and Alec pretending he didn't hear her make that threat.

Rose had been getting another lecture from Pete about kissing her boyfriend in public.

"Dad, we weren't in public.  We were in the hotel car park and he must have been spying on us.  Do you really think we would have kissed if we had known there was someone watching?  We've been trying to keep it quiet, that's why we went over to Torquay for the weekend, so no-one would know who we were.  Alec can't afford to be seen with me, not now.  Can you do anything about this?"

"Well I can get them to retract the story, say the photo came from an unreliable and questionable source.  I can claim it's not you but your mother is convinced it is.  If I were this Olly Stevens, I'd be more concerned about Jackie than me.  You know how protective she is of you.  Leave it to my legal department, it will all blow over by lunchtime.  Anything you care to tell me about this Alec Hardy?"

"He moved in with me."

"Well at least you admit it."

"Yeah, well I'm taking care of him, making sure he takes his medication."

Alec was now listening as she mentioned him taking his pills, he went to get some water to take them, since they were now both wide awake.

"I need to talk to you about something else.  Have you heard from Doctor Harper yet?"

"No. I'm still waiting.  Rose, I think we need to meet Alec in person.  Can you both come over this weekend?   I've already warned your mother who he looks like, she won't say anything."

"We'll try.   We were going to stay here, until Alec solves the case and he gets treatment.  Can you extend the rental on this place?"

"I don't know Rose, I'll ring them and try.  It might be already booked.  It not, try and find somewhere else and let me know."

"Alec has a house to sell up in Scotland, he's having problems though.  Can you get your legal team to talk to him about it?"

"Sure, just send me his mobile number and I'll get someone on it.  Is he thinking of buying a house down there?"

"Yeah, once all this lot is over.  He's going to have all his stuff sent down though to be ready.  I need one more favour."

"Go on, what now?"

Rose knew he was amused.   "If he can't sell his house yet, can you lend him the money to buy something?  He'll pay you when he completes the sale."

"I don't see why not.  I'll get the legal team onto it, see how much he's asking for it.  Meanwhile, if you find somewhere to rent, you'd better take it for a few months or you'll be moving again."

Rose laughed.   "There's always the caravan park, we could rent a caravan for a few months.  Then we don't have to worry about moving again.  I'll call in if you can't get an extension on this place."

"Fine.  Tony was wanting to come down and visit, why don't we come down this weekend instead of you coming up here?  We can book a caravan, Tony will love it.  There's one right near where you are isn't there?"

"Yeah and there's one a bit further down the coast, they have a proper fun centre for kids."

"I'll look into it.  Don't worry about the press Rose, just grin and bear it for a few hours, it will blow over."

"Great but Alec will have a more difficult time than I will.  I'm used to it.  I know why Olly Stevens did it.  I think he fancies Karen White and got upset about my article, like I was trying to defend Alec but I didn't take a photo of her snogging someone in a car park."

Pete laughed.  "Well when your mother meets Alec, you had better warn him about her temper.  I'll have to tell her to go easy on him in view of his condition."

"He won't want any special treatment but he might arrest her if she tries."

Pete was still laughing.   "Maybe, we'll see you at the weekend Princess.  If I hear from Doctor Harper, I'll give him Alec's number and they can talk."

"Thanks Dad, give my love to Mum and Tony."

"I will and you look after that new man of yours.  Though not necessarily in car parks."

Rose laughed but deep down she was fuming with the other reporter.  She had not stooped that low to bring up anything personal about Karen White but maybe she would retaliate against him.  She thought better of it and decided to leave it to Pete.  She retrieved Alec's number and put it in a text to Pete.

Alec was finishing getting washed and dressed.  Rose went to make breakfast.  As Alec came into the kitchen, he put his arms around her and felt under her dressing gown, kissing her neck.

"Quite a mess we've got ourselves into, Miss Tyler.  Now everyone will know I have a girlfriend without me even telling them."

"It's all being taken care of Alec.  Dad will have someone call you about selling your house and he'll give your number to Doctor Harper, he'll contact you directly.  My family are going to come down this weekend to meet you."

He kissed her cheek from behind.  "Great, I'm looking forward to it."

"Oh, you don't know what you're letting yourself in for Alec Hardy – just wait until my mum meets you."

Alec then indeed wondered what he was letting himself in for.  Apparently he was family now.
Chapter 8
It was all fun and games that morning.  Pete Tyler's legal team made the paper retract the story, being threatened with legal action over the photograph of Rose Tyler being an invasion of her privacy and soon, all the other papers had issued an apology.  Maggie had been amused.

"Well I see you had a good weekend then.  Why didn't you just stay at home?"

Rose knew what sort of grilling she was in for.  "Yeah well, Olly Stevens is going to be sorry when my dad's legal team has finished with him.  He'll be lucky if he's writing ads for the wanted column."

"Well I did try to warn him, I told him he didn't want to know how you had got Alec Hardy to come in for an interview."

"Well one good thing came of it, my family are coming down for the weekend.  I can't wait to see Tony again, I miss him.  My dad wants to meet Alec."

Alec had a similar morning, being given a warning by his boss not to mix his personal life with work and having to guarantee there would be nothing in print about the case.  He also thanked DS Miller for warning him.  They may not see eye to eye but she didn't have to warn him.   He was waiting for analysis of some evidence coming back to confirm his suspicions.

He insisted on them going back to anyone who didn't have an alibi the night the boy was killed and that included the woman Rose had a run in with.  She was picked up as she was in the newspaper office.  Maggie had asked her to come in and tell her story.  Maggie had decided this over the weekend and Rose panicked when she saw the woman come in.  Maggie noticed.

"Relax Rose, she's just here to tell her story."

Rose wasn't too sure but just as she was about to go into Maggie's office to interview her with her editor, two uniformed officers came into the newspaper office, followed by Alec.

The woman stood up immediately she was approached and looked at Rose.  "It was you, you lured me here so they could take me in."

Rose knew nothing about it, Alec had not said anything to her but there again, he wouldn't have.

"I'll get you back for this you bitch," the woman snarled at her.

Alec heard her.  "I'm adding threatening behaviour to the list of topics we want to talk to you about.  Remember, there's still an injunction against you if you go near Miss Tyler."

"Oh yeah?  Sticking up for your little girlfriend?  I saw that picture in the paper this morning.  You'll be finished here."

Rose could stick up for herself.  She knew all the later editions of the paper would be minus the article, it would be very difficult to follow up on it and now Alec was accepted by Pete, he would be defended as well.

"I don't think so.  If I were you, I'd really think about leaving town when the police have finished with you."

Alec had to smile to himself.  His big break was about to come though, he got information back and all he was waiting for now was a missing piece of evidence, he was no stranger to that.  It seemed to be following him from his last case.  He was not going to let it destroy him or his reputation this time around.  He had Rose.  What a difference she would have made to him if she had been around before he came here.

Sure enough, by the second edition of the newspapers, not a trace of the story remained.  Alec called Rose and said he would take her out and to be ready when he got back.  They had put off his interview for the time being but Rose knew most of it by now.  He was in a good mood when he rang the doorbell after work.

"Any chance I can get a key Rose?" he asked as they kissed after she let him in.

"Sorry, I only got one key but if we move somewhere else, I'll be sure to get two.  I'm just waiting to hear if we can stay or not.  I have this place for a couple more weeks.  How do you feel about staying in a caravan if we can't find anywhere?"

"As long as it's one of those large ones."  He was too busy kissing her neck to be bothered answering her.

"I asked dad, about lending you the money from what you would get from the sale of your house, until it sells."

"What?  And he agreed?  He hardly knows me."

"That's why they're coming down this weekend, to meet you and get the once over from my mother."

Alec didn't like the sound of that.  He already had one more mother-in-law than he knew what to do with.  That was part of the reason he left.  Still, if that was what it took, he was prepared to face the firing squad, to be accepted in Rose's family.  Jackie Tyler couldn't be any worse than his ex mother-in-law.  So he thought anyway.

They went out to dinner and Rose decided to come clean, about where she grew up, her mother being a single parent and how she met Pete Tyler and introduced him to her mother.  When they got back though, Alec suspected there was more to it.  They lay on the sofa, just kissing when he asked her about her first meeting with her now stepfather.

"I told you Alec, I was working as a waitress at one of his parties, his first wife's birthday, the night the Cybermen attacked.  I tried to help him get her back when she was taken by them.  I was there, when they killed the president, it was horrible."

She then went on to tell him how a group of freedom fighters happened to be there and how they had brought Lumic down.  She left out The Doctor though.  She had told Alec he was the one she went travelling with, the one that left her in Norway.  It was up to Pete if he wanted Alec to know the truth.  She had no control over it.

"So, as a result, they were all sealed inside factories.  Pete Tyler was behind that?"

"No, Torchwood was but while people argued, the Cybermen made plans and infiltrated Torchwood and used it to escape."

"So where did they go?   No-one ever found out what happened to them."

"I swear Alec, I can't tell you that.  I may be Pete Tyler's stepdaughter but even I am under orders to tell no-one."  She saw the look on Alec's face.  "You'll have to ask him about it, when he's checked you out.  Only people with the highest clearance know what happened to them.  He'll have to clear you."

"And what does he have to do with it?"

"Swear you'll tell no-one Alec." Alec nodded.  "He's now the head of Torchwood."

Alec's eyes widened.  "Really?"

"He has the money, the backing, the respect in business and he played a big part in bringing Lumic down."

"So did you by the sound of it.  So why don't you work there?"

How could she tell him?  "I didn't want anything to do with them.  I know where the Cybermen went and despite my dad taking it over and giving jobs to two of the members of the freedom fighter group, I couldn't accept it.   Besides, I wanted to go out on my own.  I worked at Vitex for a while."  That was all she could say.  The rest was up to Pete.

Alec lay his head on her shoulder as they curled up, he was kissing her neck.  "So tell me Rose, where did you meet that man, the one who left you?"

Now he had her and she knew it.  "I don't want to talk about him.  Rule number one, never mention the ex."

Alec smiled.  "I told you about my ex.  What's the secret Rose?   Oh, you met him when you were fighting Lumic, didn't you?"

She was going to dig herself into a hole and cover it so she would never get out.   "Alec, please, let's just drop this."

She knew he would leave her if she told him the truth.  Maybe he would leave her if she kept things from him, he would think she didn't trust him.  She looked into his deep brown eyes.  Alec Hardy had been lost, deserted, abandoned and she had rescued him.  He had been accused of something he hadn't done and lost his daughter.  He at least deserved the truth from her.

"I need to make a phone call, then I'll tell you."

It was already nearly ten but he stopped her from getting up.  "Leave it Rose, you can do it tomorrow but after that, no secrets.  You want me to meet your family, your stepfather will tell me.  I'm not going to ask you to break any confidence about anything.  I can guess though.  Come on, let's go to bed and we'll talk about this tomorrow, I'm so close to cracking this case wide open Rose, I may have it all wrapped up by this time tomorrow and when I do, you're going to get the exclusive."

"Wow.  That and what happened to you before, Maggie will be pleased.  Don't suppose you're going to tell us how you did it?"

Alec laughed.   "No, I'm going to put that in the big book of how to solve a crime."

Rose giggled as he pulled her up from the sofa.

"It's ok Rose, I understand, really I do.  It won't stop me from trying to guess though.  You forget my detective skills."

"Yeah?  Well forget about your detective skills, show me your bedroom skills."

She reached up to put her arms around him and he picked her up, carrying her to the bedroom.  This time, there was no doubt that one of them wasn't going to keep one article of clothing on as they quickly undressed each other and Alec crawled into bed after her, making Rose giggle as he lay on top of her.

"Don't you get too excited Alec, you have a murder investigation to finish and when you do, we go to London to get you well again."

"Oh I promise you Rose, you won't be disappointed when I'm well again and I've decided that whatever treatment is recommended, I'll go for it if it means I can be with you how I want to.  What do you say we get some practice in?"

Rose pulled him down and kissed him.  "Mmm, show me what you mean exactly."

Alec lifted her up slightly and parted her legs.  "Oh I'll show you Rose Tyler, I'll show you exactly what I mean."

Rose was murmuring his name, Alec called her babe as he tried to make more of it than the night before, getting so close and Rose the one who was getting all worked up in the moments of pleasure, Alec just lying there and letting her as he tried to calm himself up to the point he daren't make it last much longer, despite him wanting to.   Then he suddenly pushed her away gently, not rejecting her but Rose knew he had his limits.

Rose turned onto her side to let him recover, never saying a word.  She thought he had done rather well considering.  She never asked him what was wrong, she knew he would have continued if he was able.

"It's ok Alec, you don't need to say anything, we just both got carried away."

Alec thought that was an understatement.  He had recovered sufficiently to speak and he was calming down.  At least he hadn't passed out but he was taking his medication regularly now and it had made a difference.

"I'm ok, no need to get my pills, just let me have a minute.   I'm so sorry Rose, I was rather enjoying that."

Rose smiled at him.  So was she but she wasn't disappointed with him, she could never be that.

"It's ok Alec, I know, just rest a minute."

Alec reached over and pulled her arm across his stomach, intertwining his fingers with hers.  It was then he realised he really did love her, he had never met anyone like her, she was smart, compassionate and she was the least demanding woman he had known, she was selfless, always putting him first.  He would take her out the following night and tell her how he felt and if she loved him, which he was sure now that she did or she wouldn't put up with him, as soon as the case was over, he would be well again and Rose Tyler wouldn't know what had hit her.

They kissed some more, Rose settling down on him and they fell asleep but Rose had a nightmare, waking suddenly in the middle of the night and Alec tried to calm her.  For some strange reason, the memories came flooding back of that fateful day, back in Canary Wharf, the lever room and her letting go as the Daleks and Cybermen were being sucked back into the void.   She had let go and this time there was no Pete Tyler to rescue her, she was floating around in nothingness, the odd Dalek shouting "Exterminate" then everything went black.

She shot upright, trying to gather where she was then Alec was awake and for one split second she called "Doctor."  Then she realised what she had done as Alec looked at her, about to pull her close to comfort her.

Rose looked at him.  "Sorry, had a nightmare."

"You called out 'Doctor'."

"Yeah, I was dreaming about a doctor and about you," she lied.  She hated herself right now, for calling out to him instead of to Alec.

Alec wasn't fooled but he took hold of her, putting both arms around her.  "It's ok Rose, I think I know who this 'Doctor' is.  He's the one who left you, isn't he?"

Rose could only nod, clinging hold of Alec.  "Tell me Rose, you loved him, can't you forget him?  I'm here with you right now, I'm not going anywhere.  I'll never leave you.  Please Rose, tell me you can forget about him."

Rose still clung hold of him.  How could she tell him?

Then it all clicked into place, this 'Doctor', the Cybermen disappearing, Rose meeting Pete Tyler and him taking her in and marrying her mother.

"Rose, you know where the Cybermen disappeared to, you know because you come from where they went to, you came to escape from them.  You, your mother and this Doctor, you're all from there.  Is it a parallel world?  Is that where they went?"

Rose looked up through her tears.  Alec was so clever, almost as clever as The Doctor had been so she couldn't deny it.  "Yes Alec, it's all true. I'm sorry."

Alec didn't know what to think of it but he loved her and it was three in the morning, he had checked the time when she woke up in terror.

"You were having a nightmare about it, it must have been a bad time for you but if you come from there, when the Cybermen went there, how was it possible you were here before, it was three years between them getting sealed inside and disappearing completely."

"I can explain it all Alec but please, let's just go back to sleep, can we?"

Alec lay back down, turning out the lamp and pulling her close.  "Ok Rose, you can tell me tomorrow but for now you're safe, you're here with me, I won't let anything happen to you."

"I know.  I feel safe with you."  She did, for the first time since coming here, she felt like she belonged and she was loved by Alec Hardy, she loved him too.

They woke again at seven thirty, thankfully not this time by newspaper reports of their passionate kiss and Alec now had the habit of hogging the bathroom first, something Rose would have to get used to.  While he was in there, she called Pete, who she knew would be already up with Tony and told him that Alec had guessed most of it, asking if she should tell him the rest.

"Absolutely Rose, you should tell him, he deserves to know the rest of it.  I'd leave out certain parts for now though, most of it will already be hard to swallow.  I've booked a caravan for Friday afternoon until Monday morning and Doctor Harper should be calling Alec today at some point plus my legal team are preparing to have the money for Alec's house ready to transfer.  They'll call him to get his bank details, then if he signs the house over to us, we'll continue with the sale.  Unless you both plan on moving back to Glasgow?"

"Not that I know of, he wanted to get away from there.  So Alec will have the money and you sell the house and get the money back?"

"They thought it would be easier that way, saving messing around.  I'll have a courier deliver the papers to him, he signs and sends them back and the money will be in his account, the full asking price and if you find a house that's over his budget, don't bother with a mortgage, I'll put the rest to for you, if you're moving in with him."

"That's great, thanks.   I'll tell him.  This all started because I had a nightmare last night, that you weren't there to catch me and I fell into the void.  I've had it before."

"You never told us.  You have Alec now, tell him, he'll understand, I can tell he loves you."

"I love him dad, I want to put everything behind me now.  I know he'll help once he hears everything."

"I'm certain he will.  We'll see you Friday afternoon, we check in at four.  Come down."

"We will, thanks.  Love to mum and Tony and I love you too dad, you've always been here since that first time I met you."

Rose went into the kitchen to start making breakfast when Alec came in.

"I heard what you said Rose.  You'd best tell me everything starting with this 'void' whatever it is and why you thought you were falling into it."

He took a sip of the tea Rose had made for him and took a slice of toast as she buttered it, dipping a knife into the marmalade jar.  It reminded Rose of the time The Doctor had stuck his fingers into a jar in 2012, a habit he hadn't relinquished after they left.

"The void is the space between parallel worlds, you have to cross it to get between them.  They came to my world from here, crossing it successfully using technology from Torchwood but we sent them back, getting the void to suck them in, there was no technology here to get them back, it was destroyed so no-one could follow them."

"Then how did Pete Tyler get there?"

"Using another portable device that had been developed.  He took over after Torchwood had been abandoned.  We saved this world from the Cybermen, he followed them to help us, me and The Doctor. We got here by accident the first time we were here.  I have proof we were here, video footage from the night the Cybermen attacked, it was all filmed because Jackie Tyler, the first one, wanted it all recording, it was her 40th birthday."

Alec was trying his best to keep up.  Now was not the time to start believing that crossing into parallel worlds was possible, he had to take her word for it.

"So he rescued you and brought you here?  Why didn't you remain on your world once you had succeeded in trapping the Cybermen between worlds?"

"Because there was a Torchwood on my world with the same technology but when the Cybermen were being sucked into the void, one of them knocked the operating lever out of place and I tried to put it back.  I was holding on but I lost my grip, the void began sucking me in until Pete came back for me and grabbed me, bringing me here.  Then the gap closed and me and my mum were trapped here."

"Then if your mum came here, why did you stay behind?  It was safe here wasn't it?"

"Alec, it was my world, I had to do something.  The Doctor was going to stay behind and seal it off, Pete brought me here but I went back to help.  I loved him and I chose to go back to help him, knowing I would never get back here to my mum but it didn't work out, I could have been sucked into the void and I keep having nightmares about it."

Alec put his cup down and put his arms around her.  "Well you didn't get sucked in, you're here, with me and if you have another nightmare about it, you wake me and tell me.  I have to go now Sweetheart but you can tell me the rest tonight, after dinner because I want to take you out tonight.  Be ready when I get back, ok?"

"You mean you're just going to accept all this?  No questions?"

"I have plenty of questions Rose but they'll wait.  For now, just know this, I love you."

"I love you too Alec, I'm so relieved you accepted all this.  Oh, Doctor Harper will be calling you today and my dad's legal team will send you some documents to sign your house over to Vitex and get your bank details.  Once you've sighed, the money will be released to you, they'll take over the sale.   Dad said it would be the easiest way of doing it.  One question though, are you planning on buying a house here?"

"I suppose so, unless you want to move back to London?"  Rose shook her head.  "I didn't think so.  So we look for a house to buy, here or close by, that's if you want to buy a house with me."

Rose put her arms around him.   "Yes Alec, I want to buy a house with you, dad said if we like anything above your budget, he'll put the rest to, no need to get a mortgage.  How come you don't have a mortgage to pay off?"

"Because the house was mine, bought it before I got married, that's why I don't want my ex to get her hands on it."

"Well, let the legal team sort that out.  One of the advantages of being in with the Tyler family.  You'll get extra privileges now so get used to it."

Alec kissed her and was just about to leave.  "One thing Rose, this Doctor, are you over him?   I mean, he was trapped back on your world, wasn't he?  He can't get here can he?"  He was worried she would say otherwise and leave him.

Rose made an important decision, one she was going to have to live by, no matter what.  "Yes Alec, I'm over him.  I know he'll never get back here and I thought I would never get over that but I can now I have you, if you'll help me?"

"You know I will, I'll see you tonight babe, maybe you can get all dressed up and we'll go somewhere nice?"  He kissed her again and walked to the door.  "I'll miss living here, we'll have to find somewhere close so I don't have far to walk."

Rose laughed.  "Good because I need my car, you'll have to get your own."

Alec left and Rose got ready for work just before nine and she set off down to the car park.  Just as she was about to get into her car, two men came around the corner and since the car park was used by the public to get to the Police Station, she thought nothing of it until they walked towards her.  She got into her car and was about to lock herself in when the driver's door was forced open and one of the men tried to pull her out.  Knowing the Police Station was just at the other side of the gap, she reached out and tried to hit the horn on the steering wheel as the man tightened his grip and the other man had joined him, opening the back passenger door.
Chapter 9
Rose tried desperately to grab hold of the steering wheel while being pulled out of the car.  The Police Station was just yards away, someone would be outside.  She strained her arms and managed to grab her key fob, pressing the button to lock the other doors and set the alarm off.  Just then she was pulled out onto the ground and the other man picked her up by her feet and tried to bundle her into the back seat.  Then, the car alarm set itself off and the other man dropped her feet, trying to push her backwards onto the seat, the first man was reaching into the ignition to pull the keys out but it didn't stop the alarm.

The second man forced her back onto the seat as she tried to get up, he was trying to climb in on top of her, tugging at her trousers but just then, she heard a voice.

"Hey, you two."

Both men stopped and the one that was on top of her scrambled out.  Rose managed to sit up and saw a uniformed Police Officer standing at the gap between the Police Station and the car park.  He saw what was happening and the two men fled around the back of the car, dropping the keys on the ground and he chased after them, calling for backup.

Rose was just getting out of the back seat when three other officers came running towards her, two went after the men and the other, a WPC stopped to see if Rose was ok.

"Yes, I'm fine.  Can you just call DI Hardy for me?"

The WPC looked at her.   "I don't think it calls for his attention just yet.  Why don't you get your purse and lock your car and come with me into the station?  We'll get you a cup of tea and you can give us your statement.  Do you live here?" she asked, looking at the apartment block.

"Yes, I was just going to work.  You really need to call him, he'll be annoyed if you don't let him know, I'm his girlfriend."

The WPC thought she had best do as the woman said and radioed the control room for someone to send Hardy downstairs.  Rose was led into the station just as Alec got downstairs.  Not caring who saw him, he put his arms around her.

"Someone get a Miss Tyler some coffee.  Come with me Rose."  He took her hand and led her to an interview room and sat her down.

"I have to record this, I'm sorry.  Are you ok?  I got a report that two men attacked you getting into your car."

A knock came on the door as DS Miller came in with a cup and a statement sheet.  "Ok Miller, I didn't start without you.  I'm sorry Rose, DS Miller will have to conduct this interview but I'll be here.  They didn't touch you did they?"

Rose shook her head.  "No, I managed to set the car alarm off.  One of them pinned me down on the back seat.  It was that Susan Wright, she said she could get men to do things to me.  She blamed me when you took her from the newspaper office, you heard her.  I never told you that bit last time."

Alec was furious.  How could she not tell him the woman had made such a threat but it was Miller who was conducting this interview, he would talk to her about it later.  He just wanted to know she hadn't been touched.

"So Miss Tyler, you reported before that the woman made threats towards you and she was warned to stay away from you.  Why do you think she still came after you.  What did you uncover about her?" Miller asked her.

"I tried to give you everything I had gathered about her.  She used to go by another name."

Miller recalled.  She asked Rose some more questions, including if Rose would get the information for her and then left the room to organise picking up the woman.  Word came back the two men had been caught and brought in for questioning, claiming some woman from the caravan park had hired them to teach Miss Tyler a lesson.  A unit was dispatched to the caravan park just down the coast but the caravan the woman had been living in was empty.

Once everyone had left, Alec turned the recorder off and walked around to Rose's side of the table, leaning down to put his arms around her.

"Are you sure you're ok?   Neither of them touched you?"

Rose held onto him.  "I'm fine Alec, really.  Just a bit shaken up.  I should have expected it after yesterday.  You had to let her go didn't you?"

Alec nodded and held her tightly, kissing her forehead.  "I'm sorry Rose, I promised to take care of it and I didn't but if you'd told me what she said to you, I would have.  Why don't you go home, I'll come over later?"

"No, I'm going to work, I'm ok.  I'm going to tell Maggie my story and put Susan Wright's photo on the front page.  She messed with the wrong person."

"Rose Sweetheart, that's not a good idea, let us handle it, please?"

She reluctantly had to agree.  If Alec couldn't do anything, then no-one could, she had to trust him.  She was still going to tell Maggie though.  "Are you coming in for that interview tonight," she asked, getting up.

"I'll be there then, wait for me and be careful.  I doubt those men will be back and we'll put an alert out for Susan Wright."

"She also goes by the name of Elaine Jones.   I'll bring that information down for you."

She kissed Alec goodbye, insisting she was going back to work.  When she got to the newspaper office, Maggie had wondered where she had got to so Rose explained.

"I said be careful with her Rose, she's dangerous.  What did Alec Hardy say?"

"He was annoyed I never told him the extent of the threat.  I'm taking all the information I have on her down to him.  Why did you call her in yesterday after all you read about her?"

"I thought I would follow up on it, I didn't know.  I may just have stirred things up for you but how did the police know she was here?"

"I've no idea, Alec never said he was going to pick her up.  Anyway, they got the men that attacked me, she seems to have left town."

Just after five, Alec came into the office and asked for Rose, she got up and led him back to Maggie's office.  He told them everything, about his last case and his illness and said they could only print it after the families of the victims had been told because they still blamed him.  Maggie agreed and also agreed to keep his ex-wife's name out of it and it was to be written by Rose herself.

Rose left with Alec, driving the short distance back to the apartment and Rose went to get changed.  "Rose, I want you to more careful when you go out now, it's quite secluded around the back of here."

"I will Alec, I tried to sound the car horn but I couldn't get to it.  Where are we going tonight, out of town again?"

"No, there's a place up on the High Street I want to take you to.  We're not hiding anymore.  Word soon gets around anyway and half the town probably saw that photo before it was withdrawn.  I'm really close Rose, I think I know who it was but I just need one more bit of proof."

Over dinner, getting a few looks from some of the locals, Alec said that Dr Harper had called him and wanted to see him as soon as he could get to London and he had promised as soon as the case was over he would go for yet another examination.

"I promise you Rose, as soon as this is over, I'll get myself put on medical leave and go get whatever treatment I need.  Those documents arrived this afternoon as well, the courier was told he had to wait for me to sign them and take them back.  Your stepfather does not mess around.  I suppose I should check my bank balance, I might have to open a savings account."

Rose smiled, Alec had no idea just how fast he could move where she was concerned.  After they got back, Rose said she would check with Pete about the apartment.   She tried to forget the events of the morning but woke up, calling out for Alec this time.  He comforted her, both his arms around her and said maybe it would be best if they moved.  He persuaded her to tell Pete they would move out but Rose insisted they should wait until they had been to London and if they had to move out before then, they would book a caravan and leave all their things there.

Just after they got back to sleep, Alec's phone rang.  It was Miller.  Someone had broken into the hut where they believed the murder had taken place and she was on her way with some uniformed officers.  Alec of course wanted to go but Rose persuaded him not to.  If he chased the suspect, he could end up in hospital again and Miller had said she had it under control and there was no need for him to go to the site, she would call him if they caught whoever it was.

He couldn't get back to sleep, wondering if he was ever going to be fit to chase a suspect again.  He looked at Rose, she was sleeping peacefully on him, sometimes she would move away and they would move back to each other as soon as they woke up.   He couldn't help but marvel at her, she was far too young for him, she was only just over 10 years older than his daughter and he felt guilty.  Why was she staying with a man like him?

He thought back to what he had guessed and what she had told him, this Doctor still worried him, that if he somehow came back for her she would leave and go with him, where would her loyalty really lie, given a choice?  At this present time though, she had chosen to be with him and was going to help him buy a house in what seemed like was going to be his new home town, she seemed to like it here.  He was surprised just how fast events had taken place.  They hadn't even been together a week and they were making plans, his mother had always told him he would know when things seemed right and he had made a mistake marrying his ex but it was no mistake with Rose, he could feel it was right.  She was exactly what he needed.

He was drifting back to sleep again, Rose was moving slightly, trying to wriggle out of his grasp and he let her.  He supposed that was what she always did, if he had been awake before to see her doing it.  He smiled to himself, she would be back in his arms again in the morning and he was never going to let her go.  They were comfortable with each other, there was no awkwardness, no dancing around on eggshells, they were just getting on with it like they had been together forever, not just a few days.  They had got bolder each night, especially since their weekend away, it had brought them even closer and she had decided she could put up with him.  He didn't regret moving in with her for one single moment, she was good for him, gave him a purpose to carry on.  Thank goodness it had been her that took him to the hospital and not Becca Fisher.

After breakfast the following morning, Alec was going to make sure she got into her car safely and waved her off but with the two men who attacked her appearing in court that morning, he doubted they would try anything.  An alert had gone out for Susan Wright or whatever name she was going under and she would be brought back to face further charges against Rose.  Alec had told her she didn't have to appear in court but she was going to cover it for the paper and was meeting him there at one in the afternoon.  He also said it would be better if it didn't appear they were involved with each other.

Arriving at the court, she saw DS Miller and went to talk to her, having to pretend she had not been with Alec when he had been called during the night.

"Hello DS Miller, any news yet about the murder?" Rose asked hopefully.

"Why don't you ask your boyfriend Rose?" Miller smiled.  Rose looked at her.  "Oh come on, everyone in the station knows now, you told that WPC when you got attacked, no point in denying it now, is there?"

Rose smiled, it would be good to have it out in the open.  She still didn't have to admit he was living with her though.  "Well it's always good to get another view about it, he won't tell me anything about it."

"He's moved in with you, hasn't he?  Becca Fisher mentioned he had moved out of the hotel and he left with you.  I don't need to be a detective to work that one out.  That was why he got me to interview you yesterday, he couldn't interview his own girlfriend, could he?"

Just then, Alec came in, holding his phone.   "Miller, can you handle this, I have to go, something came up to do with the case."

He had received a call, the killer had switched on the missing phone and it was being tracked but he couldn't tell Miller.

"Sure, you go ahead.  Come on Rose, you don't have to give testimony if you don't want to, the officer saw it all and we have your statement."

Alec went off, following the signal that was leading him right to the suspect, arriving at the spot where the killer was standing, with the phone in his hand.  He looked up at Alec and just said, "I wanted it to be you who found me."

By the time Miller got back to the station from the court, the man had confessed and had been charged and was being held in the interview room.  Rose went back to the newspaper office, pleased the men had got suspended sentences for attempted assault and had been told to leave town.  DS Miller got a call to say the woman, Susan Wright had been picked up in Exeter and was on her way back for questioning.  When Miller got back to the station and found out Danny Latimer's killer had been charged, she had to be taken away after trying to attack him and was taken to be reunited with her two boys who had been picked up by the family liaison officer.

Alec called Rose to come down and get the story, she was the only one he would speak to, she had gone through most of this with him.

"Rose, you have the exclusive on this but you can't break it until I've told the family.  It was Joe Miller, DS Miller's husband, he confessed.  After I've told the family, I'll make a statement outside the Police Station at 6pm, you be there but have your editor standing by to release the name before the others get chance, I'm giving this to you."

After everything had died down, the press releases had gone to print, it was already well known that Rose had broken the story.  Before she left the office, waiting for Alec to come and pick her up, her phone had never stopped ringing, journalists asking how she broke the news before everyone else had been told.  Rose kept her silence well.  It was going to give her the name she always wanted within the press.  That and her follow up with the story about Alec's past.

Later that night, they lay on the sofa, watching the late news about the events of the day, Alec had something to say to her.

"Rose, I would not have got through this without you, you know that.  I just have to go in tomorrow, see the CMO and get placed on medical leave then if you take some time off, until we go to London, we'll go down to the caravan site and take that caravan, get everything moved in before we set off, if you want?"

Rose nodded, it would save them dashing back to clear the apartment, they could move out during the weekend, Pete wouldn't mind them moving out a week early to save time later.

"We'll book a caravan for say 6 weeks, it will give us time to find a house and get moved in, dad will be able to speed things up.  Have you sent for your stuff yet?"

"No, I'll arrange it tomorrow, get it put in local storage.  If you make that your last day at work, we can have some time together before your family comes down on Friday."

"Yeah, I'm sure Maggie won't mind, I've given her two great stories.  She's going to officially make me her lead reporter."

"You deserve it Rose, you really do.  Let's go to bed, it's been quite an eventful day."

It was just after ten and Rose had gone into the bedroom when the door buzzer sounded.  Alec answered it.  It was Ellie Miller.  He let her in and Rose went to make some tea, then left them to talk.

"So, I was right about you moving in with Rose Tyler.   She's nice, just what you need.  I heard you've gone on medical leave, you should have told me you were seriously ill, not that I would have gone any easier on you, you still took my job."

"I never wanted it to be easy.  Rose helped me, I owe my life to her.  She found me when I collapsed in the hotel, after I got back from dinner at your place.  No, don't ask me what she was doing in my hotel room, we weren't seeing each other at that time, she was trying to get an interview with me."

Miller raised her eyebrows, she was thinking he wasn't that convincing and wondered what would have happened if he hadn't collapsed and she had got into his room.  Would they still have got together or did Rose feel sorry for him?

"Where have I heard her name before?  She's not just a newspaper reporter, is she?"

"I'm not saying anything Miller, that's her business, I can't make any comments on who she is."

Rose had heard but didn't say anything, she knew Alec would keep her secret, just as she had kept his.  Alec got his medical leave the next day, getting told off by his chief for not declaring he was already unfit for work but saying his job would be held until he'd had treatment for it and he would be put on half pay.  Rose wound her other stories up and told Maggie she accepted the lead reporter job when she came back and would call her when Alec was well enough to go back to work, she wasn't going back until he did.

They went into the caravan park on the harbour the next day, booking an extra wide two bedroom caravan, complete with decking and a fully fitted kitchen, getting a good rate for 6 weeks and started packing to move into it on Saturday.  They had decided they would go back to London when the rest of the family left on Monday, Rose arranging to hand the keys to the apartment in before they left.

Friday soon came around, Rose's family were arriving, Tony immediately took to Alec, asking if he was going to be his big brother and Alec glancing at Rose who just smiled.  Alec knew one day he probably would be the young boy's brother-in-law, it felt right.  On Saturday, Rose suggested taking Tony out for the day to give her parents a rest and they took him down to the fun centre, Alec reluctantly buying some swimming shorts and just sitting on the edge of the shallow end of the pool after Rose convinced him he would be perfectly safe although he shied away from the wave making machine which Tony couldn't get enough of, pulling Rose down with him all the time that they were laughing really hard.  Then Tony persuaded Alec to catch him when he came down the slide, Rose warning him not to drag Alec under the water because he didn't like it.

Alec thought how good she was with her younger brother, she would be great with kids of her own but that was a long way off.  He had never thought he would be even thinking such a thing again.  After finally tiring Tony out, Alec took the boy to get changed, Tony playing games with him by pretending he didn't know how to get dressed and them both laughing that Rose had to go and find them and persuade her brother to get dressed properly and stop messing Alec around.  Alec said he didn't mind, Tony was easier than a twelve year old girl who didn't want to do anything.

Rose and Alec went back to finish their packing, having picked up the keys for the caravan when they got back from swimming and Jackie had a good look around, saying it was nicer than theirs and Pete pointing out they were going to be living in it for 6 weeks.  Sunday, a supposed relaxing day comprised of them moving their belongings down to the caravan and settling in, opting to sleep there to get used to it and Rose complaining about the mattress and the bed was too low down.

It was after midnight and she was tossing and turning and driving Alec mad as much as he loved her and it hadn't helped Rose had her period pain and had been grumpy before she went to bed.  So having enough, he woke her up.  Not a very good idea to wake an already irritated Rose Tyler.

"Rose," he whispered, "come on, I have an idea.  Get up."

Rose sleepily got out of bed and he took her hand.  "Are we going to sleep in the lounge Alec?" she asked, yawning.

"No. I have a better idea.  We go get the double mattress from the other bedroom and put it on top of this one, making it twice as high and thicker and hopefully more comfortable.  I looked earlier, it's the same size as this one."

Rose just wanted to go back to sleep, she hadn't been bothered any more, she had been lying on Alec eventually but something was digging in his back.  So they opened the bedroom door and walked through into the kitchen and lounge across to the other double bedroom and since it hadn't been made up, they somehow managed to drag the mattress off and carry it between them and negotiated the narrow passageway back to their room, Rose throwing the bedclothes off the mattress already there and putting the other one on top.

Finally getting sorted, they flopped back into bed and Alec felt the benefit of their combined efforts more than Rose as she promptly crawled back on top of him and fell asleep.  Alec wondered why he had gone to all that trouble when she used him as a mattress.  Lying with his arms around her, he smiled as she got comfy, knowing that despite her having pains she had still given him a thorough snogging earlier, within an inch of his life.  She had meant it when she had said she wouldn't ignore him in bed.

So Monday morning, they were going to follow the Tyler's up to London, calling in the rental agency to hand the key back for the apartment and Tony begging his mother to let him ride with Rose and Alec, them finally having to give in.  They arranged to make two stops on the way to give Tony a break and if he changed his mind about being with them, which he didn't but Alec wished he would, the boy was an non-stop chatterbox.  Alec had been surprised how well he had got on with Rose's mother, unaware she had been warned by Pete that if she started on him, the man may either end up in hospital with another attack or leave Rose and Jackie didn't want either.

So Jackie had to opt for somewhere between handling him with kid gloves and being wary of his intentions towards her daughter and since slapping him was out of the picture, as was mentioning he looked like a certain Timelord she used to know, the weekend had gone smoothly.  Once in London, Rose had opted for a quick tour before driving to the Tyler residence, Tony wanting to look at London Bridge for some reason only known to him, they pulled up outside the house and Alec wondered how Rose could have ever left.

They settled in Rose's old room, Jackie giving Alec the evil eye when he went in with her and Rose giving her mother a 'back off' warning, they unpacked and had a rest before dinner, Rose warning him that Tony would likely come bursting in without warning unless she put the catch on the door.  After dinner, Alec opting to play with Tony with his zeppelin collection, they curled up to watch TV and Rose nearly falling asleep, they said goodnight.  Alec had an appointment with Dr Harper the next morning at ten and Pete was going to get them both into Torchwood and introduce them.

The meeting went well, Alec thought that this Harper bloke was a bit of a joker and was eyeing Rose a bit too keenly but he knew he didn't have to worry on that score, he was taken into the examination room and hooked up to various monitors and was asked all kinds of questions that could have been got from his medical records.

"So Alec," Dr Harper said.  "Your most recent episode was about two weeks ago when you collapsed.  Were you taking your medication on a regular basis?"

Alec had to admit that he wasn't.  "I'd run out without realising.  I wasn't going to stay in Broadchurch, I got caught up in a murder investigation and didn't have time to get any more.  Rose found me and got me to hospital, I probably owe my life to her."

Dr Harper raised his eyebrows.  Lucky him.  He looked at Rose, who had been holding Alec's hand all the time except when he was getting undressed, no wonder the man wanted to get well again and who could blame him?  After a while, he freed Alec from the wires and diagnostic machines and waited in his office for them to come back out.  Rose was worried Alec was going to reject any suggestions that was put to him but he had promised Rose he would do anything to get well again.

Dr Harper suggested an alternative to surgery, something Alec would have to still wait for at least three months of complete rest for and even then it could be risky.  The alternative was a course of injections over 6 months, alien in origin although Alec wasn't told that and once completed, Alec could lead a normal life, no pacemaker required and he'd had success with other patients so Rose agreed with Alec that he should go ahead.  He had the first before they left, being told he would get stronger with each one.  An appointment was made for Alec, 30 days later and they spent the rest of the day playing with Tony.

Before they set off back to Broadchurch, they had a few days in London, taking a sightseeing bus and shopping in Oxford Street and the night before they were leaving, Pete loaned them his driver to take them to the west end for dinner and a show and it was over dinner that Alec produced a small ring-sized box and opened it, revealing a pink sapphire and diamond ring.

"Rose, I don't want you to think this is an engagement ring, it's a promise ring.  I'm asking you to wear it and when the time is right, I'll ask you to marry me."  He slid the ring onto her right hand.

Rose looked at it and squeezed his hand.  "It's beautiful Alec, why don't you ask me when you've had your last treatment?  In six months time."

Alec took the hint.


They found a really nice 4 bedroom house, just outside Broadchurch in the village Rose had taken a detour through when she had covered the school sports day, that fatal day of Danny Latimer's murder.  They had got back just in time to attend the boy's funeral, sitting together hand in hand in the church and afterwards, going back to the Latimer house and Alec introducing Rose as his partner and attending the lighting of the bonfire on the beach.

Alec had got all this belongings sent down and they stayed in the caravan until the house was ready, employing the services of a local handyman team to move furniture and put up beds and then getting patio furniture for the conservatory and once it was all ready, they were in just before they were due to leave the caravan, having to go back to London for a few days for Alec's next injection.

They went up to London for the Christmas holidays, Alec giving Tony his first remote control helicopter which went down really well, having to fly it outside at Jackie's insistence so nothing would get broken.  When they got back, they invited Ellie Miller and her two boys for the New Year, staying in by themselves on New Year's Eve.

Finally, six months were up. Alec went for his last treatment and going out again to see a play and have dinner, Rose wanting to go see her favourite actor in Richard II before it finished and getting in backstage to meet him and get his autograph thanks to Pete arranging it for her.  Alec looked at the actor, who looked suspiciously like him except he had long hair and no beard and when they were back at the Tyler house asked her if that was why she liked him so much, because he looked like the actor.

"No silly, that's got nothing to do with it.  I've got you, that's all I want."  She still hadn't told him he looked like The Doctor and couldn't bring herself to either.

"Well in that case Rose Tyler, will you marry me?"

He got down on both knees and produced an engagement ring.

All Rose could say was "Yes."

The End!