Alec Hardy and the missing heiress

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Rose Tyler has been missing for over four years, presumed dead after she went in search of her own world and never came back.  Mickey and Jake both went after her and also never made it back. Her parents and brother went into seclusion after they lost her.  She turns up on the beach in Broadchurch and Alec Hardy helps her get her life back together again.

Rose Tyler has been missing for over four years, presumed dead after she went in search of her own world and never came back.  Mickey and Jake both went after her and also never made it back.  Her parents and brother went into seclusion after they lost her.  She turns up on the beach in Broadchurch and Alec Hardy helps her get her life back together again.  Set in the AU.

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Chapter 1

Rose checked where she was, somewhere in the middle of a large city, not London and definitely the wrong universe where the Doctor had been.  She glanced at the readouts on the display of her version of a time vortex manipulator, well it had a better name but it reminded her of Jack.  She had 45 minutes to wait for the device to recharge itself and once activated, it would take her back to Torchwood and after waiting a few days, she would try again.

There were an infinite number of possibilities but they had perfected the art of not landing on the same world twice.  People were passing by without giving her a second look and so she made her way to a doorway to wait to go back and found herself in a book store.  Since she couldn't carry any money with her, all she could do was look, then when the device was recharged, she would go to a quiet corner and disappear.  The time soon passed and she went around the back of a bookshelf and pressed the button, expecting to see the familiar surroundings of the dimension cannon room and the technicians that worked there.  Sometimes they were a few metres out and they would end up in the next room but there was a failsafe built in so you didn't knock yourself out by ending up facing a brick wall or under the wheels of a truck.

After a few seconds, she felt the familiar motion then before she opened her eyes, she could hear the sound of waves and seagulls.  She opened them and found herself on a beach, wherever it was, looking out to sea.  She turned around and faced steep golden cliffs and turning left, she could see crowds of people not far away, a harbour with lots of boats and some buildings in the distance.  She was wearing black trousers, a purple t-shirt and a blue leather jacket and it was rather hot so tucking the device away, she got out her phone.  Great, the battery was almost dead but she was sure it had been fully charged when she had left.

She would have to go find a public phone-box and call the special number or her stepfather and find out where she was and get someone to come and rescue her.  She had her debit card with her at least so she could at least spend the night wherever she was, she had no idea what time it was but the device always landed her relatively close to when she had first left.  Maybe she should just try to get back using the device, it should still get her back but three jumps in such a close time-frame were not advisable so the phone call it was going to have to be.  At least the phones took plastic.  She often wished she had psychic paper, it was like having universal credit.

She reached the edge of the beach and walked around some houses and saw the harbour, to her left was a café and a row of what looked like apartments, to her right a church hall tucked into a corner with a pub almost next to it, two shops, a gap and another two shops, one a newsagents and the other said 'Harbour Stores'.  She had no idea where there was a phone so she would have to pull the old 'My car has broken down in the car park and my mobile is dead' routine again.

She walked into the newsagents, a man came out of the back.  "Can I help you Miss?"

"Yeah, sorry.  Do you know where there is payphone around here?  My car broke down, I need to call the breakdown company."

"The only one I know of is across the bridge and into the caravan park, there's one just inside the complex."

"Thanks.  I know this sounds stupid but I was having trouble with my car up on the main road and I didn't notice where I was turning in to and just got it into the car park when it gave up.  Where am I?"

The man chuckled.  "Dear, dear, driver's these days.  Didn't you see the sign?"

"No, I was too busy trying to let my car break down in civilisation rather than on a busy road since I'm tired and hungry and my phone is practically dead but hey, I looked to see where I was driving into."

The man straightened his face.  "Cheeky cow," he thought.  "You're in Broadchurch.  No-one comes here by accident, there's only one road in and one road out."  He thought she looked vaguely familiar.

"I need to let someone know where I am, then I'll call for breakdown recovery. Thanks."

She turned round to leave the shop.

"Are you calling a mobile number?"

"No, just my mum."

He picked up the portable phone from behind the counter.  "Call her, go on."

"Thanks Mister."

"It's Jack, Jack Marshall."

"I'm Rose, thanks Jack."

She didn't make a habit of admitting who she actually was considering her position.  She dialled the mansion's number but got a disconnected tone so she redialled, same again. "Weird," she thought, trying to remember the number for emergencies at Torchwood and not wanting to risk her phone going dead altogether when she got half the number.

She remembered it and dialled it, thankful they had adopted a freephone number but she got the same 'Out of service' tone.  This was definitely weird, she had been at Torchwood not much more than an hour ago, they would have told her if the number had changed, just in such cases like this when the traveller got sent a bit off course, much like the Doctor's driving skills.

Trying not to panic, she smiled at the man and said,  "They must be out, thanks anyway, I'll go to the payphone.  I need to go use a cash machine anyway."

"No cash machine around here love, only in the caravan park and it charges you or in the amusement arcade and that charges more than the other one does.  What are we coming to that you have to pay to get your own money out of the bank?  It's like regression, not progression."

Rose couldn't agree more but this wasn't getting her anywhere fast.  She would just have to pay to use the machine or go find a hotel, get a room and use the phone there and that sounded like a good idea.  She thanked the newsagent and went back outside, taking her jacket off.  Looking around her, there were a few pubs that looked like they had accommodation and she walked over to a big white one tucked just across the car park and saw they had a cash machine, Jack mustn't have known about that one.  She walked up to the reception and asked for a room.

"Do you have a credit or debit card Miss Tyler?" the receptionist asked.

Rose handed her card over and the woman put it into the machine.  Apparently in this town, they didn't trust you to pay up when you left.

The woman took the card out of the reader and re-inserted it and tried again.  "I'm sorry Miss Tyler, it's been declined and there was a message telling you to contact your bank."

"But that shouldn't happen, there's always money in that account."

"If I try again and it fails, they will void the card anyway.  There's no branch in town now I'm afraid, they closed it a few years ago, nearest one is in Dorchester.  I'm sorry, maybe you can come back later?"

Rose was disappointed the woman hadn't recognised her name, she was easily recognisable to most people though they tended to leave her alone and always went after her mother.  Rose checked the time on the clock above the reception desk.  It was 2.30 pm and she had left Torchwood around 10am so she had landed a few hours out but it was nothing to worry about.  She never bothered about the date, why should she check that?

Apologising to the woman, she stepped back out into the sun and looked around.  If her debit card wasn't being accepted, there was a huge problem.  Had Torchwood been compromised in the short time she had been gone?  It was a Torchwood debit card, she never carried her personal one on missions nor a personal phone, you never knew where you were going to end up and they were easy to trace.  If you were captured on another world, you had to blend in and hope you could talk yourself out of it.  She'd had enough practice on her travels with the Doctor.

There was only one thing she could do under the circumstances, go find the local police station.  They had limited knowledge of Torchwood plus Pete Tyler was a public figure and a very influential man and Rose was his stepdaughter.  Her unusable debit card should be enough ID plus the Torchwood number in her phone, if someone would charge it for her.  She had two other numbers, Mickey's and Jake's, for absolute emergencies whilst in the field but with no charge on her phone, she couldn't even call them for help.

Looking around, she had no idea where the police station was so as there only seemed there was one road leading across a bridge over the harbour, she followed it, passing the amusement arcade in front of which was a green complete with a bus shelter, a row of catering stalls and realising just how hungry she was but once at the police station, she could get all this sorted out in no time at all.  Passing over the harbour, noting to her right that there was a river with plenty of birds on it and a bright blue waterside chalet stuck out from three other chalets huddled next to each other and across the other side were rows of caravans.

Once over the bridge, there was a mini-roundabout, a road going straight ahead where she noted was a fish and chip shop, reminding her again how hungry she was and to her left, still the harbour area where she could see more outdoor caterers and a seating area and to the side of the road, some new-looking fancy apartments then just past there she could see the road curved to the right but no sign of the police station.  She thought she must have somehow missed it or it was in another part of the town, surely they had one here?

She crossed over the road towards the harbour, the road ahead seemed to lead alongside the caravan park and some houses further up and wondered how to get to the rest of the town or was this actually all there was.  She saw some public toilets and realised she needed them, not liking them very much once inside and afterwards, smelling the food cooking, she knew she had to eat soon or pass out although why she was so hungry when she'd had breakfast prior to leaving on her latest mission to get back to her old world and the Doctor, she had no idea.

She turned left along the edge of the harbour and she could hardly believe her luck when across the road and up some steps she saw a welcoming blue sign lit up at the side of a door to a round fronted building saying 'Broadchurch Police Station'.  She crossed the road and bounded up the steps thinking at least when she said who she was, they would be courteous and offer her tea and biscuits while she got sorted out and Pete would get her some emergency funds and she could go back to that hotel and wait for someone to collect her, probably tomorrow and she could get some food.

A uniformed officer was just coming out and held the door for her and she went up to the desk.  The desk sergeant looked up.

"Good afternoon Miss, may I help you?"

"'Erm yes, I hope so.  I seem to be lost.  My phone had died on me and I need to contact my stepfather.  I'm Rose Tyler."

The sergeant dropped his pen and stared at her.  "I think you had better take a seat Miss Tyler, while I call a senior officer."

Rose smiled and stepped over to a chair just by another door.  At least they knew who she was and she wouldn't have to explain but why call a senior officer?  Was she that important that he couldn't call Pete for her?

The desk sergeant picked up the phone.  "DI Hardy Sir, I think you and DS Miller should come down here, Rose Tyler just walked in."

"What?  What do you mean she just walked in?  On her own?  No-one with her?  We'll be down in a minute, make sure she's looked after."

"Yes Sir, right away."  He turned to the female officer behind him.  "Ask Miss Tyler if she wants a drink while Hardy and Miller get themselves down here."

"Yes Sarge."

Rose asked for coffee and if they had any biscuits she would be more than grateful for some.  The WPC went off to the canteen, puzzled as to why the woman was getting special treatment.  In the year she had been assigned to the station, this was a first time except if someone had fainted.  The desk sergeant got up and crossed over to Rose.

"Our two senior officers will be down in a moment.  Are you alright Miss Tyler?"

Rose was about to say nothing that a good meal and some sleep wouldn't cure but kept silent about it. "Yeah, I'm fine.  This is Broadchurch, yeah?  Where's Broadchurch?"

"It's in Dorset Miss, on the south coast of England."

"Right."  Only over 100 miles away from London, this was new.  The dimension cannon never threw anyone off this far before and hours out as well.

The WPC came back with coffee and a plate of biscuits and handed them to Rose who said, "Thanks."

Just then, the door to the side of her opened and a tall man with a scruffy beard and a woman with curly hair stepped through and saw her with the mug in her hand.  Rose put it on the chair beside her.

The woman spoke first.  "Miss Tyler, are you alright?"  Rose nodded, trying to swallow the half biscuit in her mouth and not splutter crumbs all over the place.

"I'm DS Miller and this is DI Hardy.  Come with us please."

Rose picked up her mug of coffee and the biscuits and followed the two officers, not really getting a good look at the man but he looked vaguely familiar though Rose saw the Doctor in every man so it was nothing new to her, unless he came up to her, gave her a big hug and said 'Did you miss me?'  She even swore the first time she had seen an actor on TV, David something or other, that it was him and had long since stopped bothering so much, concentrating on it being her going to find him, not the other way around because she could break the rules, he couldn't.

She was led to an interview room, a less formal one and the woman put a file onto the coffee table, in front of Rose.  The man had another folder under his arm and got his notebook out.

"Miss Tyler, we have a few questions, if that's ok?" Hardy asked.

Rose nodded.

"You have to understand, we have to establish you are indeed who you say you are.  Anyone could come in here claiming to be Rose Tyler so please, answer a few simple questions."

Rose loved his Scottish accent, it so reminded her of their time with Queen Victoria.  "Ok, go ahead but will it take long?  I'm really tired and I'm starving.  I could eat all these," Rose replied, pointing to the nearly empty plate.

The other woman smiled, wishing Hardy would just get on with it instead of messing about like he seemed to like to do.  She had only known him a week and he was a right royal pain in the ass.

"We'll try to keep it to a minimum.  Please tell us your full name, your address and date of birth."  Hardy picked up another file he had on his lap and opened it.

Rose could understand, although no-one had yet tried to impersonate her, well not to her knowledge.  She gave the answers and he consulted the file.  She knew full well that a full life history had been invented for her, right from medical and dental records to school reports and other essentials and a DNA sample on record, just in case.  Torchwood took no chances and everything had been covered.

"Miss Tyler, can you tell us the last thing you remember, before you arrived in Broadchurch?"

"Yeah, I was in London, at Torchwood, preparing to go on another mission.  I don't know how much the police know about our organisation so I can't tell you much else.  We have this on-going project, myself and two others go on these special missions using this device we have and when we've completed them, the device brings us back to Torchwood but it seems to have gone wrong and I ended up on the beach, in this town.  Funny though, it's not usually been that off before and it threw me ahead a few hours as well."

Hardy consulted his file and looked at Miller.  Rose looked at both of them, wondering what the other file was, it seemed quite thick and since she didn't have a criminal record, doubted it was about her but there again, her home telephone number was unobtainable, the Torchwood number was out of order and her debit card was no longer valid, despite her being one of the wealthiest women in Britain so in the few hours she had been thrown forward in time, anything was possible.  Had Torchwood been invaded or taken over?  Were her family in danger?  She could now be wanted for their demise or something or for crimes against the state, who knows what could have happened in those few hours and come to think of it, the dimension cannon had never been known to be that off.  What was going on?

"What's going on?  I tried my home telephone number, the newsagent was kind enough to let me use his telephone and the number I use to contact Torchwood in emergencies was out of order.  My mobile battery is almost out and it was fully charged before I left this morning so I can't ring anyone else and why is it so hot out there?  Are you having a heatwave or something?  It's April isn't it?"

Miller got up and went to sit next to Rose.  Rose moved over.  "Oh my…" she clasped her hands over her mouth.  "Has something happened while I've been away, my family, are they ok?  Oh no… tell me, what happened, has Torchwood been invaded or something?  Is that why I landed a few hours in the future and the phones were out of order?  The device brings us back even if something's happened at Torchwood, so we don't get stranded.  Please, tell me my family are ok."

Miller put her hand on Rose's shoulder and took her hand.  "Rose, tell us the date."

Rose looked at her, tears forming in her eyes.  "28th of April 2009, why?"

Hardy moved forward and pushed the file in front of her.  He got up and sat at the other side of her.  "I'm sorry Rose.  It's the 25th of July and it isn't 2009, it's 2013.  You've been missing for over 4 years and your family, as far as we know have disappeared and no-one knows where they are."

Rose broke down and Ellie Miller folded her arms around her and let her cry.
Chapter 2
Jackie Tyler had been devastated when her daughter hadn't returned from her latest mission.  Pete had come home and had given her the bad news, sitting her down in one of the smaller living rooms after making sure Tony was being amused in his room.  He didn't want the young boy to be upset just yet, there was still hope she would come back.  Rose had been missing for eight hours.

"Jackie, Sweetheart, there's no easy way to say this but Rose didn't come back from her latest mission this morning."

Jackie knew what Rose had been doing, it had been explained to her that Rose was going through different universes looking for the Doctor using a device the Torchwood team had come up with.  She also knew if Rose did find him, she wasn't coming back.

"Maybe she's actually found him then yeah?  She wouldn't risk coming back to tell us then go back again, we knew that."

"I know Jackie but what I'm trying to say is there are no indications she did find the right universe.  We get readings too, the same ones as on the device she uses and there were no traces of him.  Don't ask me how it works, it just does.  I'm going to send Mickey and Jake after her tomorrow, they just got back from their own missions.  I'll send them to the same co-ordinates as Rose went this morning, they should be able to find her if they split up.  She may have just had trouble with her device and it's not charged up.  She knows how to keep herself safe."

"Well I hope that's it then.  Just for a minute I thought she had actually found him."

Pete sighed.  "So did I Jackie, so did I."  He put his hand on his wife's shoulder.  Jackie put her hand on his.

"I nearly lost her before, remember?  When you went back for her before the walls closed, I never could thank you enough for that then that stupid device started working and I could still lose her again.  Pete, she said she wasn't going to stop until she found him."

"I know but how do I stop her?"

Jackie knew neither of them ever could.  At least there was hope she would be back tomorrow or even sooner, she may have just lost track of time and be back by now.  Torchwood would let Pete know if she did.

"It could be that she was a little off course, sometimes the co-ordinates make you land a bit off," Pete offered in consolation.


The next morning, Pete went into Torchwood to brief Mickey and Jake.

"Right, we've set the co-ordinates to where we think Rose landed.  Split up and arrange a meeting place.  If you can't find her then try again, she can't have got far and she wouldn't wander off, she knows someone will go looking for her, she'll get back to where she arrived.  We don't know exactly what time it was she landed in local time, it could already be a few days ago but she will be looking for you.  Good luck boys, bring her back."

Mickey put his hand on Pete's shoulder, he knew how close he and Rose had got since she had been here.  "We will Pete, don't worry."

The devices activated and Mickey and Jake both vanished.  That was the last Pete saw of them.

He gave them a few days, never powering down the dimension cannon, having it running day and night, ever since Rose didn't come back.  Every night he had to go back and tell Jackie the three of them were still missing.  Mickey and Jake were like part of their extended family and it upset both of them that they had gone after Rose and they themselves were missing.

Pete ordered a full overhaul of the dimension cannon, to make sure that Mickey and Jake had gone to where Rose had landed.  All the read-outs indicated they were correct and they should have landed almost in the same spot, maybe a few hours out but not by much.  They all knew the portable devices took 45 minutes to re-charge and had a failsafe that even if the dimension cannon was suddenly shut down, they would get back but Pete wanted it manned in case they did come back and it would give extra power.

Jackie was distraught, waiting by the phone to hear they had all returned.  Tony started asking where his sister was, he was used to her going away for a few days but the days turned into weeks and there was still no sign.  Pete ordered that no-one else went through, he admitted it may be a fault with the device, that somehow it was throwing them out of time.  He discussed with the technicians that personnel may be brought back in the future or even the past but they reckoned not by that much, a few years maybe but if they came back in the past, they would have turned up by now.  The most they reckoned was four years.

They all knew the dimension cannon wasn't needed in order for them to get back safely so after six months, he had the project shut down and dis-assembled.  He didn't want the temptation of anyone wanting to go on a rescue mission.  Every single Torchwood member would have volunteered without hesitation.  Pete lost interest in everything, he sold Vitex, making a killing on it and spent all his time at Torchwood, to be on hand if they came back.

Nine months went by, Jackie spent the days fretting for her daughter, knowing now that when Rose used to go travelling with the Doctor, it was nothing compared to this.  The Doctor always brought her back although it had been painful when she had been missing for a year.  She had begged Pete not to give up, to send people after them but she knew he couldn't, it would mean even more losses.

Eighteen months went by and the Tyler family were tortured.  Tony was unsettled, not being old enough to understand why Rose hadn't come back home.  Jackie thought it would somehow have been better if Rose had found their old universe and was travelling again with the man Jackie knew her daughter had loved, even though she never admitted it and neither had he.  The way they had looked at each other, no words were even needed and Rose had thrown herself into her work after saying goodbye to him on that beach.

Jackie thought that Rose's mission to get back would help her deal with being in this universe.  While she herself had settled and embraced it, Rose hadn't.  Pete was making preparations and didn't tell Jackie until everything was in place – Torchwood was being disbanded, never to return.  His reckoning was if the place hadn't come up with the dimension cannon, Rose, Jake and Mickey would still be here and lives wouldn't have been thrown into turmoil, Jackie would have her daughter and Tony would have his big sister.  He knew how important that was to Rose, having grown up on her own and she had been determined Tony would not be the same.

So without a word to his wife, Torchwood was taken apart, bit by bit, the military organisation known as UNIT standing guard as equipment was taken apart and transferred to UNIT headquarters, under the command of The Brigadier and Colonel Mace being in charge of the moving of the equipment.  It took almost another year before everything was either moved or safely disposed of, Pete had thought it necessary, even if the three of them did ever make it back, no-one was going anywhere again.

During that time, he set up three accounts in each of their names to be activated only upon presentation of a DNA sample held on record.  Senior police officers, already with some limited knowledge of Torchwood were gathered and put on alert that if any of them made it back, they would be treated accordingly and his plan to furnish them with a bank account and new ID issued put into force.  Being who he was, the police were willing to oblige, since he played golf with several police commissioners.

Eventually, when everything was ready, Jackie was made aware that he had made adequate provisions upon their safe return and they would be taken care of and he would be informed as soon as possible but Jackie wasn't going to just disappear without a fight.

"That's all well and good Pete but if we move out of here, how will Rose know where we are?"

"Don't worry love, the police have it all in hand.  As soon as any of them show up, we'll be notified through the media.  You know what it's been like Jaks, we're followed everywhere, there's a new report every week and it leads nowhere.  I'm taking us somewhere out of the way.  I've put the house up for sale and we're moving out, to a luxury villa up in the hills overlooking Majorca.  It's got a large swimming pool, sauna, play area for Tony, gated access, three large bedrooms and the resort even has its own security.  There are only a dozen or so properties, there's a golf course and a club and they're all English.  Don't worry, if Rose shows up, they'll let us know but I can't let you torture yourself day after day, listening to the news and reading the papers and I know it's unavoidable so we need to leave it all behind."

"But Pete, I feel like I'm deserting her, giving up on her."

"We're not giving up on her nor Mickey, nor Jake, we'll get to know the moment they come back.  Jackie, it could be years for us but only a few hours for them, we think the devices had malfunctioned and maybe thrown them into the future somehow, we reckon not more than four years.  We could wait here and be miserable, being asked to give interviews and pleas for any information or we could go and wait for her return in a more sedate location where no-one knows us."

Jackie knew he was making sense.  They were all miserable, especially Tony and going somewhere like Pete was talking about sounded nice but it wouldn't take her mind off what had happened.  He was right, one phone call would be all it took to be reunited and Rose would understand why they'd had to do it, she herself hated being in the news.  So cases were being packed, a removal van was taking their personal belongings and they boarded a zeppelin to Majorca because Tony liked them better than planes, he had quite a collection of models, to try to come to terms with the fact that Rose may never return or they would have to wait a while longer for her if their theory had been correct and she had been thrown into the future.

As they left the country behind, police forces were informed to be alert if any of them walked into one of the stations, their superiors were to be informed immediately and a plan of action put into place to inform Peter Tyler.  One such police station was Broadchurch, a small seaside town of the south coast where Chief Superintendent Elaine Jenkinson was having one of her senior officers, DS Ellie Miller put together a dossier of reports of Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith and Jake Simmonds and if they walked into any police station, any officer would recognise them.

In a police station somewhere in Britain, Detective Sergeant Alec Hardy was also being charged with the task of putting together a folder, though he didn't see any purpose other than if they actually showed up they could be shown how people had been looking for them.  The official story was that the three had gone on a secret government mission and their whereabouts were unknown, possibly suffering a loss of memory but to the authorities, the true nature had been revealed.  Alec Hardy had no patience for government types, they always went on 'Missions' and very rarely came back but something about Rose Tyler made him feel sorry for her family, her leaving a young brother behind made him think of his daughter.  His marriage was breaking up and he was afraid he was going to lose her.

He had applied for a promotion, having passed the relevant exams, to become a DI, a kick in the teeth for his impending ex-wife and she was already jealous of the fact he'd passed and was in line to receive the said promotion, right in the middle of a case of one young girl being murdered and one still missing.  She had said he didn't deserve it since he was clueless over this case.

So the day Rose Tyler walked into Broadchurch Police Station was a relief, after over four years of being missing, numerous attempts to gain information as to her possible whereabouts brought into play at regular intervals to keep the public interested and the odd article in some newspaper or magazine being published on the editor's whim to drum up new readers.  He had received a phone call on his mobile from the desk sergeant and had been informed she had just walked in, on her own.

He had shouted for Miller.  "Get in here Miller and find that dossier on Rose Tyler."

"What?  You mean she's been found?"

"She's not only been found, she just walked into this station and she's waiting downstairs."

Miller picked up the folders and passed one to Hardy, Rose Tyler's personal file, the other full of press cuttings and reports.  They left Hardy's office and walked down the stairs to welcome back Rose Tyler with the news that her family had gone into seclusion and Torchwood was gone.

"Some welcome home," Miller retorted to Hardy on the way down to meet her.
Chapter 3
DS Miller looked up at Hardy.  "If you like Sir, I can take her up to The Traders or somewhere, let her get some rest and something to eat?"

"No, we need to explain to her what happened.  Is that ok Miss Tyler?"

Rose nodded.  Hardy open the thick folder on the table.  "May we call you Rose?" he asked.  Rose nodded again.

She picked it up and looked through it to see newspaper clippings and reports, all saying she was missing and dating back over four years.  What the hell had happened?  Rose got out her phone.

"My friends, you can call them but my phone needs charging up but you can find them easily."

"Would that be Mickey Smith and Jake Simmonds?" Hardy asked.

"Yes, have they been looking for me?"

Ellie Miller took her hand.  "I'm sorry Rose, they went looking for you and they never came back."

Rose got up.  "No, Pete would never send anyone after me."

Hardy stood up and guided her back down.  "Please, let me explain.  I'm sorry Rose.  You disappeared over four years ago, no-one knew where to apart from you had gone on a mission for Torchwood.  When you didn't come back, he sent them both, thinking that you had either lost track of time or the device you were using had failed.  He sent them to split up and find you and get you back, they took a spare device with them.  We were told the nature of your mission and that you were travelling to different places on research but apart from that, that's all we know about what you were doing.  Pete Tyler kept everything else under wraps, the public were not even told that much.  A massive full-scale hunt was launched for you in case you came back and ended up in another part of the country, hurt or had lost your memory."

"Rose, we need to get you somewhere safe, until we figure out what to do.  It's unfortunate that our chief superintendent is away on a conference over in Exeter, she won't be back until Monday but I'm going to go inform her now that you're back safely," Miller said, getting up.

"I have no money, my debit card was refused.  What am I supposed to do?"

"Rose, when you disappeared, he cancelled your accounts and all your ID as a precaution, in case anyone had kidnapped you or were holding you for ransom.  He disbanded Torchwood, after he closed the project you were working on and all Torchwood accounts were closed.  He made provisions for you and your friends if you ever came back and that the police were to establish your identity using a DNA sample held on record.  As soon as that's been established, we can authorise the bank to open the account for you and get you new ID but until then, we can put you up somewhere."

"Sir, I'm going to go call the chief then I have to go back to our other case," Miller addressed Hardy.

"Am I keeping you from something else?" Rose asked.

"It's ok, we'll manage.  I'll go get a DNA testing kit," Miller said.

"I'll do it, you inform the chief.  Miss Tyler, I'll be right back.  Please, just wait here."

Rose nodded.  She had nowhere else to go and her ID had to be established, the sooner the better.

Miller went off and Hardy came back a few minutes later and administered the test, putting the kit into a sealed bag.  "It's going to be Monday before we get this back."

Rose laughed.  All this technology.  Hardy saw her face.  "I'll try to get them to rush it but we are in the middle of a murder investigation."

"Oh, what happened?"

"A young boy was found murdered on the beach last Thursday.  Did you not see the tents?"

She had not been taking any notice.  "So what happens now?  Do I just wait until Monday, holed up in a hotel room?"

"Rose, it's best you don't go wandering around too far.  The town is full of reporters over this murder and they'd just love it if you turned up after all this time.  Let me take you up to the hotel, I was staying there, I know the owner.  She'll trust you to pay when you get sorted out.  Are you hungry?"

"I'm starving, I had to pass all those food stalls on the way over here, I'd kill for some fish and chips."

Hardy smiled.  The least he could do was take her to get some.  "Come with me then, I've missed lunch myself."

He took her back to the front desk.  "Tell DS Miller I'm taking Miss Tyler for something to eat and I'll let her know where I'm taking her."

"Yes Sir."

"Oh, and I want a complete media blackout, no-one is to know Miss Tyler is here, understood?"

"Understood Sir.  The chief has already called back and said the same.  She'll be back on Monday and you and DS Miller are responsible for her until then."

"Just great," Hardy thought.  Couldn't she have waited until this investigation was over?  Now he had a murderer to find and an heiress, well if the DNA sample was real and it proved she was who she claimed to be, to look after.

They crossed over the road and he sat her down in front of one of the catering stalls she had passed earlier.  It was getting on for almost three thirty and Alec went to order two lots of fish and chips and some tea and coffee.  While they waited, he asked how she was holding up.

"Oh, you know, I come back after all this time and end up in a seaside town I've never heard of, eating fish and chips and my family and friends have gone.  Apart from that, I'm tired and I'm going to be shut up inside a hotel for the next few days while your chief comes back.  What am I going to do Detective?"

"It's Alec.  I didn't mean for you to sit in your hotel room over the weekend, I just mean for you to keep a low profile and the hotel is right opposite the newspaper office.  What was I thinking of?  You can't stay up there, they have rather a keen junior reporter on staff and if he sees you, that will be it."

"But don't I want people to know I'm back?"

Alec looked up as their food arrived.  "Yes but we need to control it.  The chief will call a press conference and we'll issue a statement on your behalf and answer their questions.  We can't just throw you into it."

Rose considered his words, he was right.  She hated giving interviews at the best of times, never mind where she had been for over four years.

"I tried a hotel, over the other side of the harbour but they never even offered to let me pay when I leave."

"No, it's the holiday season although it's quieter than it should be, so I'm told.  You would think they would welcome the trade."

"You said you used the stay at the hotel you were going to take me to.  Did you move to another one?"

"No, I was there a week and then I found a holiday chalet to rent, it was cheaper than the hotel so I got the chief to agree to rent it for me.  You can just see it from here."  He nodded over towards the river.

Rose smiled.  "Do you mean that blue chalet?  I saw it on the way to the police station.  It looks so quaint.  What's it like?"

"It's ok, no-one to bother me and only a five minute walk to work.  The only drawback is you can only get to it across a bridge or go the long way round and back down a field.  Still at least there are no cars parked outside."

They finished their meals silently.

"Right, we need to find you a hotel then.  They should accept you, I'll say the police are paying.  You should be ok walking around the harbour area, there aren't that many tourists around and they won't be looking for you.  That's unless you want my spare room?"

He was only joking.  Rose didn't think he was. "I'll take it, I don't want to be on my own.  That's if you don't mind?  I mean will it be ok?"

"Just as long as Miller or my chief don't find out.  The chief did say I was responsible for you.  Do you need anything?"

"Just some toiletries and things, do you think I can get some clean clothes?"

"I have a washing machine, you can borrow some things while I wash your clothes.  Don't worry, I used to be married, I've seen women's garments before."

Rose giggled.

"We can go down to the harbour stores, they'll have what you need."

Hardy's phone rang.  "Hardy.  What Miller?  Yes, she's fine and if you look out of the window, you can even wave to us," he said sarcastically.  "I'm going to go get her a few things and settle her down.  Tomorrow I'll try and get her DNA results back early and I was going to ask her to come back to the station tomorrow, she can look for her friends on the internet.  If she came back, there's a chance they may show up too."

Rose hoped so.  Hardy brought out his wallet and gave her a £20 note.  "Here, consider this a loan, you can pay me back."

They walked back across the harbour and crossed over the road, Rose seeing the blue chalet again and they walked towards the store.  Hardy waited outside.  She gathered what she needed and went back out to see him talking to the newsagent.  Not knowing, Rose greeted Hardy.

"I've got what I needed, are you ready to go?"

Hardy wished she hadn't said that.  Now Jack Marshall would think she was his girlfriend.

"Oh, you found someone to help you then?" Jack asked, a smirk on his face.  Hardy was the last person he had expected to offer help to anyone, even a young attractive blonde.

"Oh, DI Hardy offered to take me up to the hotel he was staying at."

"What about your car?"

Hardy looked at her but didn't say anything, suspecting she had used a broken down car as a cover story.  Well that or she had lied to him and Miller.

"Being taken care of, thanks."  She began walking off before he asked any more awkward or embarrassing questions.

Hardy caught up with her after shrugging his shoulders and muttering "Women."  He led her to the side of a pub and over a bridge across the river and through a gate to the blue chalet.

"It's nothing much but you're welcome.  I have to go back and finish some paperwork, I'll leave you the key in case you want to take a walk."

"No, I'm fine, I'm just tired.  Can I watch some TV?"

"Sure, why not? I suppose you've got four years of soaps to catch up on."

Rose laughed.  "No, not me.  My mum's the soaps fan.  Back before she remarried, she'd watch them all day when she wasn't doing someone's hair.  She used to be a hairdresser."  Rose was about to say back on their old world but no sense in letting anyone else in on that.

"Well if you're a secret fan that's fine by me, my ex used to watch them, especially one about a bunch of idiots from the east end of London.  I'll be back around six and there's tea, milk and sugar if you want a drink and I can fetch something back for you if you don't like what's in the fridge.  There's not a lot of storage space for frozen food, I tend to buy when I need something but I can go get something else."

"No, I'm sure it's fine Alec, I don't want to put you to any trouble.  I don't suppose you have a laptop with an internet connection do you?  Only I could start trying to find my family and my friends."

"Sorry, no internet but you can come to the station tomorrow and look.  You can borrow my phone if you like, if that helps. I'll leave it for you anyway, it's my personal phone, it has my work mobile in it.  Call me if you need anything."

"Thanks.  Alec, are you going to tell DS Miller where I am?" she smiled.

"No, mainly because her nephew is the nosy journalist around here.  Just leave her to me."

He got his personal phone out and Rose looked at the screen and the size of it.  "Blimey, phones have got bigger rather than smaller.  Seems like I've missed out on a lot and where's the screen and how do you turn it on?"

Alec picked it up and showed her a button on the side.  The screen lit up.  "Just swipe your finger across it.  Didn't you have phones like this four years ago, if you were in Torchwood?"

"Well maybe they were around but I never had one.  I'll work it out."

Alec left her the key and went back to the station.  He was met by Miller.

"So what have you done with her then?"

"Don't worry, she's safely away from prying eyes, for now.  How did those interviews go?"

"Aren't you going to tell me where she is?"

"What difference does it make?  She's fine, I got her something to eat, I lent her some money to buy a few things and tomorrow, I want you to take her shopping to get her a few new clothes."

"What?  Who's going to pay for it?"

"Oh come on Miller, you know who she is without the DNA results.  Why would someone who looks like her just walk in after all this time and claim to be Rose Tyler?"

"For starters, someone who's down on their luck, nowhere to stay, no money and happens to bear a strong resemblance to her."
Chapter 4
Hardy wondered if she had a point.  He shook his head.  "For what reason?  No, I believe her.  She was talking about her mother and she didn't know how to use a smartphone, I lent her mine for now so she could call if she needed anything."

"Sir, don't you think we have enough with Danny's case?  You can't follow her around everywhere."

"Miller, she's a very important person, she's been missing for over four years, we can't just leave her to fend for herself until she gets some answers.  As soon as her ID is established and she feels more confident then she'll go her own way but until then, it's up to us to look after her and make sure she's well treated.  What do you think Pete Tyler would say if he left it to us in the event she turned up that we had just abandoned her in some hotel room until the chief gets back on Monday?"

"We can't just leave Danny's killer out their either.  Let someone else keep an eye on her, one of the WPC's can do it."

Hardy raised an eyebrow.  "The chief told us to look after her so fine, I'll do it on my own.  Get Frank to help you with any enquires when I'm not around and I'll take her shopping tomorrow."

Miller laughed.  She could just imagine him taking a woman to a dress shop.  "Oh don't be stupid.  I'll take her but I'm putting the receipts in and I'm not taking her anywhere fancy.  I've been short of cash since we came back from holiday, Joe took money out of our spending cash without telling me, for household things he said and he's not even finished painting the bedroom yet, I've no idea what he spent it on."

"How much?"

"None of your business – Sir."

Hardy was now wondering - £500 had just been found under Danny Latimer's mattress.  No.  Miller left his office and he picked up his work phone, hoping no-one had been trying to call him on the one he left with Rose, it could be embarrassing if his daughter actually did call him or his ex decided Daisy needed something she thought he should pay for.

While he had been debating the topic of Rose Tyler with Miller, Rose watched some TV then went to sit outside, watching the birds land on the water and watching the odd rowing boat go past.  There was a boat hire platform a few yards away and she thought it would be nice to take a ride, if she was going to be stuck here for a while.

She was appalled at herself for imposing on Alec Hardy but he had offered and she really didn't want to be shut inside a stuffy hotel room with loads of diners sat around her, staring at her.  He had shown her a single room at the back of the chalet and left her a pair of shorts, a pair of grey joggers and an olive green t-shirt and told her he would wash her clothes and leave them to dry later on.  She looked at what he had left her but the clothes he had lent her looked too big but she had little choice.  Although she had only been gone a few hours, she felt she had been gone for four years.

The mobile he had left her had rung twice but no names had come up and she decided not to answer them, he had said his work number would come up.  There was also a text message but she hadn't opened it, probably from one of the missed calls.  She sat outside with her eyes closed, enjoying the sunshine.  She had got nowhere on the internet but it was very difficult to use with it being such a small screen, it was best she left it until tomorrow and hopefully, her ID would be established and she would be able to go buy a laptop and a mobile internet device and start her search.  They had to be somewhere.

Just after six, Alec came back and had caught her napping on the sofa after tapping on the door.  At least she had locked the door he had thought.

"Hi, you have some missed calls," she greeted him, waving his phone as she picked it up from the coffee table.

"Had a nice nap?  I thought you were looking for your friends?"

"You can hardly find anything on that phone, how do you manage to use them?"

Hardy smiled.  "You'll get used to it.  Do you want something to eat?  We could go out or I could go out to one of the takeaways or I can make us a ham salad?"

"Mmm, ham salad sounds good, since I had those fish and chips earlier then maybe we could go for a drink next door?  I think I need one."

He thought there would be no harm in it, he didn't think there would be anyone he knew there.  He didn't know it was one of the drinking holes of the town's trainee plumber and his cronies.  They walked across the bridge and into the pub and Rose went into a side room since she could hear a lot of noise coming from the bar.  Alec walked up and since he had only met Nigel Carter, didn't think anything of it. After all, what was wrong with a detective going into a bar for a drink?

Alec ordered a non-alcoholic lager and a white wine with lemonade and Nigel turned around on his bar stool, expecting to see him with Ellie Miller.

"You with someone then?" Nigel asked, grinning.

Alec just paid for his drinks and shook his head.  He heard someone say that he thought he was too good to talk to them.  He thought he probably was, since he had hauled Nigel in after he failed miserably to provide his boss with an alibi for the night of his son's death.  After a couple of drinks, Rose was feeling better and began telling him a bit more about herself and where she came from.  She was trained not to give secrets about Torchwood even when she had been drinking.

They walked back across the bridge, it was lit by the reflection of the street lamps in the river but Alec let her go first.  It was after nine thirty and Rose was feeling tired.

"Alec, is it ok if I get a bath or a shower?  Only I'll probably sleep better after a good soak.  It's been rather a stressful day."

"Go ahead, I'll get you some towels and I'll make you some tea when you've finished.  DS Miller will take you shopping tomorrow and get you some new clothes, until you get your bank sorted.  If you leave your things out, I'll put them on a quick wash, I have my own things to do."

"Thanks Alec."  She passed by him and stopped, kissing his cheek.  Then she disappeared into her bedroom and picked up the change of clothes.  "I'll throw my stuff out, ok?"

Rose relaxed in the bath, pleased there was some bath salts there.  There was a overhead shower so she picked up some shampoo after a good long soak and washed her hair.  Feeling much better, she planted the towel on her hair and walked into the kitchen, in time for Alec making some tea.

"Better now?"

"Much, thanks.  So you're all alone then?  No wife, girlfriend?  Only it wouldn't look good if they walked in right now."

Alec smiled and handed her a mug of steaming hot tea.

"No, I guess not.  Did you leave anyone behind?"

"No, not when I made a jump this morning and came back four years later.  I used to have someone but he's gone now, that was who I was trying to find."

"So what exactly were you doing and don't give me the official version because you know it's long past that now.  You don't disappear for four years going on a normal mission, someone would have seen you."

"How do I know I can trust you?"

"Have you got anyone else you can trust?"

"No, I don't suppose so, well not any more."

"Look, I'll tell you my secret and you tell me yours. Deal?"

"Ok, deal.  You go first."

Alec sat at the table by the window, looking out of the window at the lights reflected in the river.  Why exactly he had chosen a riverside chalet when he hated the water so much?  He didn't know but it was the nearest place he could get within easy walking distance of the station and he had to get over his fear of the water which stemmed back to his last case.

"My bosses don't know I have a health problem.  I took this job to stay out of the way after my last case went wrong and instead, I ended up with another murder on my hands.  Your turn."

"Wow, I don't think I can top that.  Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.  What's wrong with you anyway?"

"Heart problem that's not going to go away, well not unless I change and this isn't helping."

Rose frowned.  "Yeah and I'm not helping either, sorry.  I'm taking you away from what you should be doing, finding a killer."

"Don't worry about it.  Now tell me what exactly you were doing."

Rose got the device from her jacket pocket.  "We were using these to cross dimensions, going to other universes looking for someone.  It must have thrown me into the future because it's designed to bring us back within a few hours of when we left.  It must have corresponded with the main device being powered down somehow, forcing me into the future.  It's designed to bring us back even if the main device is shut down.  Pete must have ordered it to be closed down after we disappeared.

"Yes, he told us a device you had been using was closed down and if you ever returned, a plan was to be put into place, my chief will explain it to you when she comes back.  Until then, you should stay out of the way of the media.  If word gets out you're back, they won't leave you alone and believe me, the place is crawling with them."

"Right but it's going to be difficult.  Can't I go out at all?  I was sitting outside earlier."

"That's fine, they won't be looking for you but if word gets out, you could find yourself being photographed or even have reporters following you and you need to avoid that, until you adjust."

While they had been talking, Nigel Carter had seen them leave together and thought he recognised the blonde woman Hardy was with and meant to look her up.  He called Mark Latimer though to tell him he had seen Hardy out with a woman and he told his wife, Beth.  Beth meant to ask Ellie Miller the next day if the detective had a new girlfriend he had not told anyone about or if she was his ex-wife.

Rose finished her drink and checked her hair was almost dry.  Alec had put her clothes on a quick wash and on the airer her trousers and underwear were drying, the tumble dryer just finishing its cycle.  "Your things will be ready for morning so get some sleep Rose and tomorrow, you can start searching for any signs of your family and your friends."

"Thanks Alec and I owe you an apology, for barging in on you like this, I was being silly.  You can take me to a hotel tomorrow if you want, I won't make a fuss over it."

"No, it's fine, Miller keeps thinking I spend too much time on my own anyway, I'm glad of the company.  You're no bother, just don't tell her you're sharing with me, ok?"

Rose smiled.  "Don't worry, I'll tell her I'm staying next door, she won't know if it's one of the pubs or the caravan park."

Alec was beginning to like her, she was just as devious as he was.  "Goodnight Rose."

Rose got up and turned to him, kissing his cheek again, he was the only friend she had on this world and she wished now she had made more friends when she had arrived here but she had been so busy trying to get back, she had thrown herself into the project.  If only she could remember some of the names of people in the lab, just to let them know she was safe.

Alec was starting to like how friendly she was, that was the second time she had done that but he knew as soon as her parents turned up, she would be gone.  Rose got into bed, disposing of the joggers and curled up under the duvet, the distant lights shining through the slits of the blinds.  She thought it was rather a nice chalet, probably quite old and she had loved the model boat in the front window.  She drifted off to sleep and began to dream of her family, how she had said goodbye to them that very morning, her mother and Tony at breakfast and Pete shortly before she left.

Had she known what was going to happen, she would have said goodbye properly or not gone at all.  It had been a freak accident, the device had malfunctioned and thrown her ahead but four years?  She couldn't think what her family had gone through in that time and Mickey and Jake also being missing, they had been just as much Pete's responsibility as she was but sending them both on the same mission to find her?

Alec was woken just after 1am.  He could hear Rose calling out something, he couldn't make it out but her voice became louder, like she was saying no to something.  He got up and opened her bedroom door to see her thrashing around, saying something about 'The Void' and Cybermen.  He knew of those deadly menaces from years ago and thought they had all escaped somewhere only to be set loose on another unsuspecting planet.

Rose was tossing and turning and it was doing her no good.  He sat beside her on the bed and caught her arm.  "Rose, it's ok, hey, wake up."

Rose woke with a start, grabbing his hand.  "Alec?"

She clambered towards him as he moved to sit on her pillow.  "You were having a nightmare about the Cybermen and something about The Void."

He found himself holding her as she clung to him, the remnants of her nightmare still in her mind.  She put her arms around him and rested her head on his chest.  "It's ok Rose, you're safe."

Then he realised, the Cybermen to everyone else were seven years ago but to Rose, it was only three.  No wonder she was having bad nightmares about them, they were still fresh in her mind.

He put his arms around her as she kept hold of him, making no attempt to move away.  He kissed her hair and ran his hands over her back and he noticed she had ditched the joggers.  She looked up at him.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you Alec."

"It's ok.  At least you weren't on your own.  Do you want to talk about it?  It must have all be recent to you, everyone else has tried to forget.  What's The Void Rose?"

"I don't want to talk about it now.  I'm ok, really."

"Well ok, can I trust you not to think about them again only I've been told I need my beauty sleep."

Rose smiled.  She doubted that.  He tried to move but she kept hold of him.  "Alec, please stay, I don't want to be on my own.  I'll tell you about The Void tomorrow but please, don't leave me on my own."
Chapter 5
Alec lay beside her, still holding Rose as she fell asleep.  He couldn't help but feel sorry for her, losing her family and friends, them being there and then gone a few hours later and he couldn't begin to understand how it had happened, even after she had shown him the device she had used.  She had said they had been looking for someone but was it just a friend or more?  What had she meant about crossing dimensions?  He'd read such things in comics when he was younger but had grown out of it a long time ago.  Was it all true?  Rose seemed under the illusion it was.

Rose went back to sleep, feeling safe in Alec's arms even though she had only just met him.  He was so much like the man she had been searching for, it was quite uncanny but he probably didn't believe the travelling to other dimensions bit though.  She woke up to the sound of an alarm going off in the distance and felt someone stirring beneath her.  She was still lying on Alec's arm and she felt him trying to free it, moving herself so he could.

He leapt out of bed into his room and the alarm went silent.  He didn't come back in, instead hurriedly getting dressed then knocking on her room door.

"Rose, your things are dry.  Miller will take you up to the shops later to get some clothes.  Here, take this so you can buy what you need, she was complaining she was a bit short of cash, she's just come back from holiday and overspent."  He put £50 on the bedside table.

"Thanks Alec, you'll get it back.  I just need a change of clothes and something for bedtime, hopefully I might get sorted out today anyhow.  Do you think my DNA results will come back?"

"Like I said we're in the middle of a murder enquiry so it may take a bit longer.  You get dressed, I'll make some egg on toast for us."

The chalet Alec had rented was rather spacious, considering and it reminded Rose of the Tardis, bigger on the inside as she went back into the kitchen area.

"So what time should I go down to the station?  Will your chief want to talk to me on the phone?"

"No, I don't think so, we've already told her and she'll be back on Monday morning.  You can come in whenever you like, I'll get a laptop set up for you.  You do know how to use one don't you?" he grinned.

"Cheek, I'm from four years ago, not forty.  Do you think you can find a charger for my phone?"

"I'll ask, it's an old model, most of them use a mini usb lead nowadays, saves the need for multiple chargers.  Will it still work?"

"I don't know but I only had those two numbers in it but if they made it back, they may still have the same ones.  They may be looking for me."

"I'm sure they are Rose and so will your family.  As soon as we hold a press conference and they get to know you're back, you'll be able to talk to them.  Things may seem bad for you right now but it will get better.  Just tell the desk sergeant I'm expecting you and someone will bring you to my office when you get there."

He got up and put his jacket on.  "I'll see you soon, just relax for a while, there's no rush.  Miller will take you shopping after lunch."

Rose got up to clear the table, then put her hand on his arm as he pulled his mobile from his pocket.  "Thanks Alec, for staying with me last night and I do owe you an explanation.  I'll tell you tonight though you'll think I'm even more crazy."  She reached up and kissed his cheek, then touched it with her fingers.  "See you later Alec."

He wished she wouldn't keep doing that, he was getting to like it too much and last night, letting her go to sleep on him, maybe he had been a bit hasty to volunteer to comfort her but she had clearly had a rough time over the Cybermen and could have somehow been involved with the whole episode though she would have been much younger, far too young to play a major part in it.  Miller had plenty to tell him when he arrived in his office, about the murder, the suspects and about Rose Tyler.  He had a laptop brought in and set up and briefed the office about Rose's visit.

"I don't want any of this getting out, that includes you Miller, at least this time if it leaks, I know where it's come from.  As for the rest of you, I want you to extend every courtesy to Miss Tyler.  To her she's been gone a few hours but to the rest of the world, it's been four years.  I can't explain what happened to her, I don't think she herself understands it but she has lost everything within that few hours, her home, her family and her friends.  The chief will see her on Monday and make a statement to the press.  Until then, I've put her somewhere safe to keep her away from prying eyes.  She will be coming in soon to try to locate her family and friends and when her DNA results come back and she's established her identity, she'll no longer be our concern until the press conference.  That's all."

Miller doubted that.  He was male and he'd put himself in charge of a young blonde female, sparks would fly.

"Sir, when do you want me to take her out to get some clothes?"

"After lunch, give her time to search for her friends.  I've lent her some money so you don't have to pay out anything and before you ask where I've put her, she's close by, I've not put her in The Trader's, it's too near the newspaper office.  Try not to bump into your nephew while you're out.  Why don't you take her down to Dorchester, out of the way?"

"Great, just what I needed.  Ok, I'll take her out of town if it makes you happy.  Are you still coming over for dinner on Tuesday night then?"

"What?  Maybe, it depends on if Miss Tyler has found her family.  I can't just leave her on her own."  He now regretted accepting the invitation.

"Fine, bring her with you then, I'm sure my husband will be thrilled to meet her."

"You haven't told him she's come back have you?"

"No, not exactly but he'll know if you bring her as your date."

"She's not my date Miller.  Anyway, everyone will know by then so it won't be a secret any more."

Miller left, muttering something about even a blind person could see he had a 'thing' for Rose Tyler and wouldn't be at all surprised if she had shacked up with him already, though what she saw in him, goodness knows.

Rose had cleaned up and was making her way to the station, hoping she would find some clues as to what had happened.  She hoped once she had got her bank sorted out, she would be able to buy a laptop and get some internet access and do some more searching.  She wasn't going to accept that her two friends were gone forever and she knew her family were out there, somewhere.  Tony would have grown, she had missed four years and she wouldn't look any older than when she left, not 24hrs ago.  It was all unreal to her.

Being shown into Alec's office, Miller following her in, she sat down opposite him and Miller tapped in the laptop password and then left, saying they would go out later.  Rose was aware she was getting a few stares from people in the office but she had been declared missing four years ago so she wasn't too bothered.  She smiled across at Alec.

"I hope I'm not disturbing you, I can move somewhere else if you want."

"No, it's fine, you carry on, just call if you need help."

"Did you tell her where you put me?"

"No and she won't find out, she never comes to visit.  She invited me for dinner, next Tuesday night.  If you're still here, would you like to come with me?  Only I'm not very good at that kind of thing."

"Sure, why not?  If I'm still here.  If they've gone off to live on some remote island, I'm not so sure I'll be joining them anyway, I love my family but I can't hide away but maybe they'll come back."

After two hours of getting nowhere, Alec leaving her while he and Miller went out, all Rose had found was more information on her own disappearance.  She was pleased Pete had not offered a reward, people would have gone crazy giving false information and Torchwood used to have more than enough resources of their own to find her.  All she could conclude was that they had thought she had found the Doctor and not come back.

Ellie Miller knocked on the door, Rose turned around.  "DI Hardy said do you want to join him for lunch, he's across the road, he said where you were yesterday."

"Right.  He could have just called me instead of sending you up, sorry, it's Ellie isn't it?"

"I was coming back anyway, I'm off to meet my family.  Did he ask you to go with him to my house on Tuesday night?"

"Yeah, if I'm still here, why?"

"He's been trying to squirm out of coming, you're probably his scapegoat, he's a bit of a recluse.  Did he take you out last night?"

"Why, what's wrong with that?  I'm not a prisoner or a suspect."

"No.  I didn't mean it like that only someone I know told his boss, who told his wife who then told me."

"Small town gossip first hand.  Guilty."

Rose got up and picked up her jacket, she regretted bringing it now but she had some money and Alec's phone in it.

"Best go meet him then, unless there's any objections?"

"Look Rose, you've been away for four years, I can understand that but don't get caught up with the first man you meet."

"It's not been four years for me though.  I don't think it would be as bad if it had been that long but it's kind of strange, getting used to it.  Alec's helping me, that's all.  As soon as I get sorted and my family come back, I'll be off your hands."

"Rose, wait.  Look, I really didn't mean anything, you're vulnerable right now, don't let him take advantage, that's all."

"I won't but I think it may be me that's taking advantage, not the other way around."

Rose went downstairs and across the road, seeing Alec studying the menu at a table, she thought he looked cute in his rimless glasses.

"It's more complicated when you don't know what you want, yesterday was easy to choose."

He passed the menu to her.  "I was just waiting for you, what took you so long?"

"Ask your DS, she was giving me a lecture.  Seems we were spotted last night, in the pub."

"I knew that Nigel would open his big mouth to someone."

"You knew someone had seen you?  So much for keeping quiet then."

"Don't worry, they don't know any reporters.  I know who he would have told."

Rose told him what she wanted and he went to order.  As they talked over lunch, he told her Miller was taking her down to the next town to go shopping so no-one would spot her.  Rose smiled.

"Bit late now, it will be all over town by Monday."

Lunch over, she told Alec she would wait outside for Ellie.  She wondered what she was supposed to have done, was Ellie implying something was going on between her and Alec?  She had only just met him but had imposed on him already and last night, when she'd had the nightmare, he had been there to comfort her and she had taken advantage of him.  It was easily done though but she would have to be more careful, she didn't want to get in the papers for all the wrong reasons.

It wouldn't look good if she suddenly reappeared and was linked to the detective working on a murder case.  Ellie picked her up and they drove out of town and Ellie suggested they went to the superstore where Rose could get mostly everything she needed for a few days and they were soon back.  She got Ellie to drop her off in the pub car park and waited until she had driven away before crossing the bridge and into Alec's cottage.  After getting a text from Alec to say he would be late back and he would bring some food with him, she tried again to get on the internet on his phone to see if she could find anything.

Alec came back with groceries and made dinner, then they watched some TV, Rose had got some pyjamas so she didn't have to borrow his clothes again.

"Do you have to work tomorrow Alec?  It's ok if you do, I just wanted to go for a walk around that's all."

"I have to in the morning but we can go out in the afternoon.  I'll borrow a car and we'll go out of town."

He knew he shouldn't really drive but if someone was with him he would be ok and he'd make sure he took his pills.  Besides, half a day out would be nice.  He wondered if he should mention his health problem to Rose but she wouldn't be here for long.  Once she got settled, she would go off with her family or go back to London.  Why would she want to stay here?

"Are you going to tell me about the void Rose?"

"The void is the space inbetween worlds, there's nothing there, it's just empty space."

"Then why were you so afraid of it last night?"

She couldn't tell him it was because she nearly ended up in it along with the Daleks and the Cybermen.

"What has that got to do with the Cybermen Rose?  That was a long time ago.  Was that where they all went when they vanished from here?"

"Well sort of, eventually.  They infiltrated the old Torchwood and crossed the void into another world and from there, they got sent into the void."

"Then tell me more since Torchwood's gone, again apparently."

She tried to explain without telling him how involved she had been.

"There's more isn't there?  Otherwise, you wouldn't have got so upset.  Were you there Rose?  Did you get involved with it, when they tried to take over here and when they disappeared?"

"Yes."  There was no point in denying it, there was no-one to stop her.

"I'm not from here Alec, I'm from the world they tried to invade when they crossed the void.  Pete Tyler was involved and so were Mickey and Jake."

She quickly explained she had accidentally got to this world, then gone back only to have the Cybermen invade her own.

"We were brought here, me and my mum because we were just being kept safe but before we could get back, the walls were sealed and we got left here.  I've no-one here Alec, we left everything behind.  You think I'm crazy, don't you?"

"I remember them all too well, I believe you, you don't belong here, that's why you were trying to get back and you left someone behind."

"Yes, a very good friend who I loved but he's gone and I'll never get back now."

Rose decided it was time to go to bed and said goodnight, again kissing his cheek and he really wished she would either kiss him properly or stop teasing him.  He was about to get his wish as she woke him again in the early hours of the morning.  He heard her calling out again, something about Slitheen, whatever that was and someone called Jack.  Was he a past boyfriend?  He was awake and she was still calling out "No" and it was getting louder so he got out of bed and went into her room.

She was tossing and turning with her arms raised.  He sat on the pillow and reached over, stopping her.  She woke up with a start, wondering what was going on.

"Rose, it's ok, what have you been dreaming about?"

"Alec."  She scrambled over to him, clinging hold of him like she had done the previous night.

He held her close.  "It's ok Rose, at least I understand some of it now but you have to try and forget everything, you're safe now."

He rubbed her back as she put her arms around him.  He kissed her hair and let her cling hold of him.  His heart was beating a bit faster than it should be but her pyjama top had come unbuttoned at the top and he was holding her close, it was to be expected.  She looked up at him.

"I'm sorry, I'm making a habit of this.  I'm not normally like this."

Alec smiled.  "It's ok, take your time.  Do you want me to stay with you again?"

Rose nodded and he got under the covers, awkwardly since she wouldn't let go.  "Rose, I have to go get my mobile, I'll be back in a second."

He prised her arms off him and went to retrieve his mobile.  He was back in no time and snuggled back down under the covers as Rose settled on him again.  She had been used to this when she had travelled with the Doctor, it had not meant anything other than him comforting her after a monster had chased them or something else had happened.  Alec was very aware of her exposed skin, trying not to think about it as she got comfortable on him, she never even seemed to notice.

Suddenly, she reached up and kissed his cheek.

"Rose, that's very nice but I wish you wouldn't keep teasing me."

"I wasn't aware I was teasing you.  Do you want me to stop doing it?"

"Not exactly."

"Then what Alec?"

"Just kiss me properly next time."

Rose smiled.  "Ellie warned me about you."

"She did, did she?  What exactly did she warn you about?"

"Not to get involved because you're the first man I've met in four years, well sort of."

"And what did you say to that?"

"She warned me not to let you take advantage of me."

"Yes but what did you say?"

"I said it was more like I was taking advantage of you.  I mean I imposed myself on your hospitality last night and you stayed with me when I woke up and here you are again and you've not yet taken advantage of me."

"You mean this time you didn't have a nightmare, you just wanted me to come into your bed again?"

Rose was grinning.  Alec couldn't see her but he knew she was.

"The thought never even crossed my mind Alec.  I really was having a bad dream and I'm glad you came in again."

"You are?"

"Yeah, you can chase the monsters away."

"Like the Slitheen, whatever they are, what were you doing before you came here?"

"Fighting monsters on a daily basis, what else?"

"You didn't answer my question, what are Slitheen?"

"Big green ugly bog monsters who take human skins and fit into them to make them look like us."

"And you've seen them?"

"Yes, Alec, first hand, twice."

"Well you must have found this world very boring when you came here then."

"No, Torchwood handled a few aliens that the public didn't get to hear about."

"They did, did they?"

"Hmm, can I go back to sleep Alec?"

"Only if you give me a proper kiss or I'll make you talk about bog monsters all night."

"Then I'll have to check if you have a zip around your forehead."


"That's how you can tell a Slitheen.  See, I've taught you something already.  You are now officially a member of Torchwood, there's only two members, you and me."

"Fine.  Do I get any special privileges?"


"How about that kiss?"

Rose reached up to him. "Well that's one of them."

She kissed him lightly on the lips and after a few seconds, the kiss deepened as he kissed her back until they both had to stop for breath.

"And what other privileges do I get as a Torchwood member?"

"Take your t-shirt of and I'll tell you."

He did as he was told and Rose began kissing his chest, he was trying to calm himself down and may have to resort to taking an extra pill if she kept this up.

"Rose, what else did Miller warn you about?"

"Mmm?  Oh, nothing much."

"What do you mean nothing much?  What exactly does that mean?"

Rose was too busy kissing her way over the hairs on his chest to bother answering him at the same time as trying one-handed to unfasten the rest of the buttons on her pyjama top.  When she had, he knew why she wasn't answering him and suddenly flipped her over onto her back.

"Really Rose, zips on their foreheads?"  Rose giggled.

He dived down to do to her what she had just done to him, parting the pyjama top.

"Mmm, this is going to have to come off Rose, it's getting in the way."

Rose just giggled some more as she wormed her way out of the top and Alec flung it over the headboard.

"How many other monsters have you come across?"

"Not now Alec, you need your beauty sleep, remember?"

Alec smiled and went back to what he was doing.  He had a feeling it was a lot and providing he survived tonight, he wanted to hear about them.
Chapter 6
The next morning, Alec silenced his alarm and left Rose to go get ready for work, even if it was only for a few hours of going over reports and he thought while he was there, he would research more about Rose's disappearance since when he had originally complied a dossier about her four years ago in another station, he'd never read it properly and it was police business.  He needed to know everything now because it was no longer a case of looking after her until the chief got back and then leaving her to get on with it.

He was beginning to get involved with her and he would be having words with Miller on Monday morning because she had no business warning Rose off like that.  He put the kettle on and started making breakfast just as Rose came out of the room they had been sharing and muttering something about she needed the loo.

"Breakfast is ready Rose."

"Thanks, I'll just be tick," she called as she shut the bathroom door.

She came back out, having made herself decent and now wearing her pyjamas.  "What time will you be back Alec?"

"Around one, I'll borrow a car then we'll drive up the coast and we'll have some lunch then we can have a walk around, if that's ok?"

She passed his chair and stopped to kiss his cheek.  "I told you to stop doing that Rose," he teased.

She did it again.  "Only in bed but not if we're out."  She kissed him lightly on his lips.  "You're too kissable Alec."

Breakfast over, he set off to the station.  Just as he left, getting a proper kiss for his troubles, he said he wasn't expecting any callers but to ring him if anyone did turn up.  Even though it was a holiday cottage, he'd had some unwanted salesmen from out of the area and complained to their companies, threatening to arrest them the next time someone called and he hadn't even been there long.  Once in the station, he cleared anything from the murder investigation before looking up Rose.  He found plenty.

After Alec had left and she put on a new t-shirt with the new pair of trousers she had bought, she loaded the washing machine after getting Alec's stuff as well.  Taking his phone, she went to sit outside, enjoying the morning sunshine and watching the birds land on the water and the early morning rowers in boats.  It was just after ten and she went back in to check the laundry, hanging things to dry then went back outside, just as Ellie Miller came through the gate.

"Oh hi Ellie, I was just tidying up for Alec, he said I could do my laundry so I did his as well.  Do you want a cuppa?"

Ellie knew Rose Tyler was fooling no-one, doing his laundry and tidying up indeed but she was going to play along, the woman would trip herself up eventually and anyway, it really was non of her business if the two of them were already shagging each other.  It might even get her grumpy boss to lighten up and stop antagonising her.

"Yeah, I was hoping to catch him though, has he gone to work?"

"Yeah, he wanted to go through some reports or something though I suspect he's looking me up as well.  It has been four years for you lot."

Rose switched the kettle on and Ellie knew by the way Rose found things this was not the first time she had been in Hardy's kitchen or probably his bedroom.  Rose was thankful she had closed her bedroom door earlier, Ellie probably already thought she and Alec were sleeping together after what she had said yesterday.  She knew Alec hadn't been pleased his DS was interfering with his love life.

"Anything I can help you with Ellie?"

Ellie looked away from the window.  "No, it's fine and you're probably right, he's maybe trying to get some insight into your disappearance.  Look Rose, I didn't mean anything yesterday and if you've moved in with Hardy, that's your business.  All I was trying to get at was the fact that others might read something into it, you suddenly coming back and shacking up with the detective whose station you just happen to walk into after all this time.  Just be careful who sees you together until after the press conference, then it won't matter as much."

"I get what you're saying Ellie but there's nothing going on between us and yes, I know what I'm in for once the press conference takes place and I'm trying to stay out of the way until then.  Alec thought I would be spotted if I stayed in one of the hotels so he offered me his spare room and that's all there is to it, I've been sleeping in his spare room.  He said no-one would look for me here and I don't want a fuss until it's time for me to face the press under the right circumstances, not some lone reporter looking for a scoop."

"My nephew's a reporter, did he tell you?"

"Yes.  Do I have to worry about him finding out about me being here?"

"I wouldn't do that to you Rose, that's not fair."

"Sorry, it's all very confusing for me.  I'm trying to deal with it the best way I can."

"I know.  Don't tell him I've been spying on you."

They both laughed.

"He's taking me out of town for the afternoon anyway, he's borrowing a car."

"I didn't even know he could drive, he has me taking him everywhere, the lazy git.  I might just let him take himself around from now on instead of him using me as his taxi driver."

"You don't like him much, do you?" Rose asked, drinking her tea.  She would have to go get some coffee.

"No, not really.  I came back from holiday expecting a promotion to find out he'd taken the job instead.  The chief said something about she'd been forced to take him on because he needed to leave his last one.  It doesn't make it right though, pushing people out.  I was banking on that promotion, I wanted to build an extension onto my house."

"I'm sure he didn't take it on purpose Ellie, maybe it was the only job suitable for him if he was already a DI before he came here.  Maybe he didn't know someone else was in line for it, you can't blame him entirely if your chief's hands were tied."

"Maybe you're right but they could have found somewhere else for him.  I swear I know his name from somewhere but I can't think where from."

"No point asking me, remember?" Rose smiled.


After reading what he could about Rose in the time he had left, Alec got a call saying there was a car waiting for him and could they have it back on Monday morning before the DS who normally drove it came in for it?  He thought he just might keep it and let the DS use his own car, he was going to need it to take Rose around if need be.  He drove back to the chalet, using the pub car park and Rose let him into the chalet, greeting him with a kiss.

"Any visitors while I was out?"  He kissed her back.

"Just your DS, she was looking for you."

"What for?"

"She was fishing, to find out if I had taken her advice or not."

"What?  Cheeky cow, what did she want to do that for?"

Rose laughed.  "Relax Alec, it's ok, we came to an understanding."  She kissed him again.

"What sort of understanding?" he asked, putting his arm around her neck and kissing it.

"That if a certain reporter was to put into print that I was shacked up with the lead detective in a murder investigation two days after my return, we'd know who to blame."

"Oh, I already warned her about that, not that we were shacked up together as you so aptly put it, that was before you and I did actually share a bed for the second time but she got the general idea."

"Good, we're all on the same page then."

Alec drove them up the coast where they had some lunch and a stroll along the sea front and then Rose wanted some ice cream, going to sit across from the harbour.

"We should have brought some things with us, we could have stayed here overnight," Alec mused, wiping some ice cream from her nose.

"We still could, we don't need much luggage to check into a hotel do we?"

Alec smiled.  She was definitely too young for him.  "So you want me to buy you some more clothes?  At this rate, you'll wipe out your new bank account before you even get it."

"Very funny Alec, trust me, it won't.  We'll go get an overnight bag, I'll get a couple of things and we'll go find a hotel or don't you trust me?"

"No, I don't trust myself.  It started off innocently last night, I know you had a another bad dream but I shouldn't have taken advantage of you, Miller was right."

"No she wasn't, you were not taking advantage of me, she's not in charge of me or you, we can do what we like.  Are you regretting staying with me last night?"

"No, not entirely.  I'm just saying, she may be right, it may seem to other people that I was taking advantage of you."

"Rubbish.  Fine, if you want to back off, as soon as I get my bank sorted out, I'll book into a hotel and you won't have me to worry about."  She got up and started walking off.

Alec knew if he survived this murder investigation, he would never understand women.  He had never intended to tangle with Rose or any other woman for that matter, it had just happened.  "Rose, wait on."

He caught up with her, taking her hand.  "I'm sorry and no, I don't regret last night, not at all.  I just regret it's under these circumstances that make it difficult.  I just don't want you being put under any pressure, when you find your family, you have to decide if you're going back with them, I don't want to be the one that holds you back.  It may be only a day or so for you but they've had four years of missing you."

"Don't you think I know that Alec?  I told Ellie, I wish it had actually been four years for me, it would have made it easier.  I'm so mixed up right now Alec and you're all I have.  Maybe I did let myself get carried away last night but I don't regret it.  It's not like we did anything wrong."

He put his arm around her and sat her down on a seat carved out of the rocks facing the sea, away from prying eyes.

"Rose, I know you're all mixed up and Miller putting ideas into your head isn't helping either but you do have a choice to make.  If you want to go with them, I understand.  As for last night, there was a reason why I didn't want to take full advantage of you.  It's because I don't think I can."

"Why Alec?  Don't you like me that much?"

Alec smiled, something he had done more of the last few days that in the last two years.

"Oh Rose, no, it's nothing like that, I like you very much, it's something physically wrong with me that prevents me, it has nothing to do with not liking you.  It's just I've never told anyone and I can't let my boss find out."

Rose put her hand on his cheek and leaned across to kiss him lightly.

"Why didn't you say something?  Who am I going to tell Alec?  What's wrong with you?"

He had to tell someone, his own GP was miles away.  "It's my heart, there's something wrong with it and I need an operation, a very expensive one that will have to wait for two reasons.  One, I have to finish this case and two, I have to wait to have it on the health service, my medical insurance won't cover it."

"No Alec, you shouldn't wait for it.  Have you even put in for it yet?"

"No, I told you, when I'm done with this case and not before."

Rose couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"You can't put a case first Alec, you have to think about yourself, there are others who can solve the murder.  Why is it so important to you?"

"Because my last case before coming here, I let people down by letting a killer get away and I'm not doing it again, not this time."

"Oh my!  Alec, you can't be serious?  It's not worth risking your own health, let someone else solve this case.  Ellie was really mad you had taken her job she was promised."

"Yes, I'm all choked up about it.  I owe it to the Latimers to find who killed their son Rose, no-one here is more qualified than I am, they've never taken on a murder investigation before, they're out of their depth."

"That's no excuse not to take care of yourself.  Fine, solve the murder and kill yourself in the process if you want to be stubborn.  Just don't expect me not to care about it."

He knew he was going to lose this argument.  "I don't doubt it, you're just as stubborn as I am.  I'll get something done when this case is over and if you're so concerned about me, you can have the job of keeping me out of trouble.  That's if you decide not to go off to some remote island when your parents come back for you."

"They've been without me for four years Alec, they'll know I'm back and that will be enough.  I don't have to go and live with them.  I'll tell them I picked up a detective with a bad heart and taken the responsibility to see you get your operation, they'll understand that, I was always being told to take things more seriously than jumping dimensions looking for someone I lost."

"Rose, I know you've lost everything but you'll soon have your family back and they may even know where your friends are, just concentrate on that.  I know you'll never get your other friend back but you know he's still out there somewhere, don't ever give up hope.  Until then, you have me, ok?"

Rose snuggled up to him.  "Yeah, I do, don't I?  Shall we go and find a hotel now or do you want to go back?"

"We'll go find a hotel after we go get what we need."

He helped her up and they walked arm in arm up along a narrow street, finding a luggage shop and then a clothing shop where Alec got a t-shirt and some boxer shorts and Rose got a dress to wear to go out and another t-shirt and some underwear, Alec pretending he was keeping track of what she owed him and Rose playfully swatting his arm.  They stuffed the carrier bags into the overnight bag and went off in the car in search of a B&B or a hotel with a vacancy sign outside and found one just out of the main town and Alec pulled into the car park.

Getting just a double room, Rose went to get changed and they were just in time for dinner.  Rose wanted a drink after dinner so sitting in the bar, they decided to go over into Devon the next day and that night, just sleeping in their underwear, they got closer, still not wanting to test Alec's abilities in the bedroom just yet.  They had kissed and he had relieved Rose of her bra and kissed her exposed skin, Rose doing the same then they had got as close as they could still wearing one item each and had fallen asleep.

Rose had insisted he didn't hide the fact he was taking his pills and he agreed he wouldn't keep any secrets about his health from her.  In return, Rose had told him a bit more about where she came from, how it wasn't that much different except for the zeppelins and how her world still had the monarchy, bragging that she had met Queen Victoria which Alec didn't quite believe after revealing that the man she had lost was a time traveller.

"Seriously Rose?  You expect me to believe you travelled in time?"

"Well how do you think we got here the first time the Cybermen invaded?" Rose had insisted before they went to sleep.

"Well I suppose it does explain it but I thought you had used the same method as they did to get to your world."

"Well we did, sort of, we just used a time machine to do it, it accidentally got here, it fell out of the void and into this world."

"So this friend of yours what was his name?"

"He was called The Doctor and he was a Timelord.  I travelled with him and you're taking all this very calmly."

"Only because I'm not supposed to get excited and you've already excited me enough since your arrival.  I have no choice than to believe you, anything's possible and you shouldn't even be here."

"I know, my friend told me he liked impossible and so do I."

The next morning after breakfast, they drove further up the coast, Rose almost forgetting her problems and Alec remembering what it was like to have some female company where they didn't argue all the time.  On the way back, Alec explained what would happen once the chief superintendent had seen her tomorrow.

"Will you be with me Alec?  I want you there when I have to go to the press conference."

"I'll be there, don't worry.  We don't want the press to know where you're staying so we'll probably hold it at police headquarters to throw them off.  If they know you're in Broadchurch, they won't leave you alone and if they see you at my place, well I don't want to think about that.  Best not tell the chief about us though, we'll have to try to stay as just a lost heiress and a detective watching out for you."

Rose put her hand on his leg and assured him she would.  "Will you be able to speak for me?"

"I'll try.  I'll speak to the chief, tell her you trust me, I think she'll let me take the lead.  I'll speak on your behalf at the press conference, answer any questions so we'll go through that tomorrow, call the actual press conference on Tuesday.  Tomorrow, your DNA results should come back as well and I'll take you up to the bank."

"It will be good to have my identity back.  It's not easy being a nobody and I should know.  I never told you, when I first came here, I found out that there was no Rose Tyler ever born on this world."

Alec touched her knee and gave it a squeeze.  "I'm sorry Rose, I didn't know.  How did you cope when you came to live here?"

"Cover-ups, Pete was already establishing a new Torchwood after the old one fell, it was easy enough for him and my mother took the place of his wife that died during the attack here, they eventually fell in love and got married for real, rather quietly, not many people know the truth.  I grew up on my own, then mum had Tony, they had to explain me and it wasn't easy."

Alec smiled.  She had lived in a world of cover-ups but still had a real family, a real mother and half-brother.  He was just dying to hear the rest.
Chapter 7
Alec woke Rose just after seven, squeezing out from under her to get dressed and start making breakfast.  He knew he had a meeting with the chief first thing and he wanted a word with Miller, telling her in no uncertain terms to stay out of his love life, now he had all the makings of one.

He made some tea and went to put it on the bedside table, kissing Rose lightly on the lips and thankful he'd set the mug down as she pulled him down to snog him.

"Mmm, morning Alec."

"Morning to you too, beautiful.  It's been a long time since I was greeted like this when I woke up.  Breakfast is on and you should get dressed because I want you ready to come to the station with me.  I'll go in and see the chief first, she'll want to be briefed then we'll go over all the questions the press may ask and you can write out your statement, I'll read it out for you if you want.  Then all being well, we'll go to the bank.  Miller should have already informed them of your return so it should be straightforward."

"Mmm, Alec, will I have to answer any awkward questions about where I've been staying the last few days?  I mean Ellie knows, or she suspects there's something between us, will she say anything?"

"Don't worry about her, I'll deal with her.  She shouldn't go meddling with my private life nor yours.  Come on, we have to be there for nine and I have other work to do first."

"Then go without me, I can walk down on my own.  I'll be fine and I haven't seen any reporters around the last few days.  Can we go shopping later on?  I don't mind drinking tea but I miss having coffee."

Alec smiled, he was a big fan of tea but shouldn't expect Rose to drink it all the time.

"Yes, we can go shopping, after we've got everything sorted."

He left Rose to get dressed and went to rescue the scrambled eggs and put the toast on.  He called out to Rose as she went into the bathroom.

"We can get other things for breakfast if you're tired of eggs?"

"Yeah, some cereal would be nice or some porridge.  You must have grown up on that," she grinned.

"Are you inferring something Rose?"

No answer.  He smiled to himself.  He was liking having her around and hoped that although her family would have missed her, they would understand if she wanted to stay.

As they were about to leave, Rose deciding to go with him, he reminded her of a few things so as not to make it quite so obvious they were sleeping together.

"Remember Rose, no holding hands once in the station, no hints we're together until after the press conference.  We don't want people or the press to get the wrong idea.  The same applies when we're out anywhere for now.  If anyone asks, I'm just helping you to adjust to being back.  Then we have to explain your absence and that's not going to be easy to do."

"We could say I lost my memory, that I was living close by and things started to come back to me and I came to you for help."

"Maybe, if we can't think of anything else.  The police know what happened but we can't explain it to the public, even if they have heard of Torchwood and it's gone, we can't let them know you were crossing dimensions, they would have you locked up and even I couldn't protect you.  It's best you're just the Vitex heiress that has been missing for four years, everyone was sympathetic, sent messages of support to your family and offering to help find you.  When they disappeared, people understood they wanted to be on their own but the odd sighting of you came up every now and then though we now know it wasn't you but we can't tell them that."

"So everyone will crawl out of the woodwork and claim they saw me in Tesco's six months ago?"

Alec smiled and put his arms around her.

"Oh yes Rose, all the usual cranks will come out with their tales of how they saw you on the London underground last week with a dazed look on your face."

"Well I'll just have to say that I've been in Broadchurch for the last four years, otherwise why would I turn up to your police station?  I could have been living in a cottage up the coast, working in the local village store or something."

"We'll think of something although we'll know the truth along with the authorities, my chief will know the relevant people to inform, the bank already know but they're unlikely to say anything, the arrangements were made with your stepfather and he will have been very clear with them no-one else was to be involved.  That's why your DNA had to be verified, now you can get your life back."

"It's so weird though, I've not really been gone yet I have, it was like when I was travelling, we could be away for days and he would take me back to my mum and only a few hours had passed, she never even knew I'd been away.  Well except for one time when he got it wrong and I'd been away for a whole year, she had my ex boyfriend arrested for my murder."

"Really?  You'll have to tell me some time but we have to get ready to go."

They had one last kiss before leaving after breakfast, deciding not to hold hands as they walked across the bridge and towards the station.  Leaving her in the room where she had been on her first visit, getting her some coffee sent in, Alec went to talk to his chief, bumping into Ellie on the way.

"You've been called too?  Well mind you keep mine and Miss Tyler's personal lives out of the frame, we're just friends, I've been helping her to adjust, it's not been easy for her."

"I know that, what do you take me for?  If you and her are shacked up it's not my concern though what she sees in you is anyone's guess, each to their own I suppose."

Alec was about to retaliate with she had some room to talk with her choice of husband but they had reached the chief's office.  It would wait.

They discussed the various aspects of Rose's return, Alec doing most of the talking and said he'd taken the responsibility of her welfare personally and she had been well looked after.

"I hope you didn't leave her shut up in a hotel room over the weekend Alec?" the chief asked, looking at the report he had put on her desk on Saturday morning before he left.

"No Ma'am, I kept her informed of what would happen and kept her entertained.  I borrowed a car and drove her up the coast yesterday to get her out and I also gave her some money to buy some new clothes until she gets the bank sorted.  I trust her DNA results have come back?"

"Yes and as expected, she is Rose Tyler without a doubt so it's important that she has been treated well.  We don't want her stepfather making complaints about us mistreating her."

"No fear of that," Ellie retorted, to which Alec looked daggers at her.

The chief looked at them both.  "Good, I should hope not though it is quite commendable of you Alec as to take on personal responsibility for her.  I trust you would have extended the same if she had been male?"

Ellie sniggered to herself as Alec sat still.  "Well never mind that.  I'd like to talk to her now, if you could go fetch her Ellie then you'd better get back to the Latimer case, it's not going to solve itself.  Alec, stay please and Ellie, if you need any assistance, get one of the other DS's to help you, I want DI Hardy to remain on this, if he's made friends with her it will lessen the trauma of facing the press for Miss Tyler if she already trusts him."

"Yes Ma'am."

Ellie left to get Rose, thinking Hardy had probably already become more than a friend to Rose Tyler judging by the other day.  They'd had the whole weekend together and someone had complained he had lost his police vehicle and was having to use his own since it disappeared from the garage when he'd gone for it, to be told it had been requisitioned by a senior office, Hardy being the only senior officer who Rose had said was taking her out.  She wouldn't be surprised if the two of them hadn't stayed in a hotel while they were away.

When Ellie had left, the chief questioned Alec's motives for getting personally involve but didn't judge him.

"So Alec, where have you stashed Miss Tyler then?"

"She's safe and comfortable and not far away, I've spent a good deal of time with her, it's not interfered with my other duties if that's what you're getting at?"

"No.  I didn't expect it would, I told you to take good care of her and it's up to you how you do that and how you choose to spend your off time.  Just bear in mind though, once her family find out she's alive and well, she'll probably go off with them so don't get too attached to her.  She's had to deal with a lot and I'm sure you've helped her deal with it, it can't have been easy for her.  Did she tell you anything of how she ended up on the beach?"

"Yes, Torchwood were using some device to travel distances, it must have developed a fault, throwing her four years into the future.  It probably coincided somehow with Torchwood shutting down the project.  She said the device was programmed to take her back there but there was no Torchwood or main device to go back to.  I thought of telling the press that she lost her memory and it just started to come back but I don't know how we would explain who she thought she was or where exactly she's been.  It would have to be close by, for her to come into this particular station and she remembered her name but not who she was."

"Well I'll leave that for her and you to work out.  I've spoken with the chief constable, a press conference has been called for noon tomorrow over at police headquarters in Exeter, best not let them know where she's being kept.  You'll have to omit which station she walked into and where she's going to wait for news of her family.  The press are devious as you're already aware.  There's already enough of them here."

"I'm aware of that."

A knock came on the door and Ellie came back in.  "Miss Tyler's here Ma'am."

Rose entered the room and Alec got up, indicating for her to take his seat and pulled the other one closer as she did, sitting down again.


While Alec and the chief had been talking, Rose had finished her coffee and was looking at Alec's phone.  He had diverted some of his calls to his work mobile and she didn't want to know who was calling him, it wasn't any of her business.  Ellie came into the room and she looked up.

"Hi Ellie, I guess I've been summoned then?"  She tried to sound cheerful but wasn't looking forward to it.

"Rose, Hardy is getting possessive about you, just watch yourself."

Rose had just about had enough of Ellie's interference.

"Leave it Ellie, stop trying to warn me off.  If Alec and I are involved, it's not yours or anyone else's business, ok?"

"Fine, don't say I didn't warn you but I looked him up, I knew I had heard his name before.  He messed up a case, before he came here, that's why he took this job.  He's bad news Rose."

"No he isn't and he told me about it so stop meddling where it's not wanted."  He hadn't gone into details but she knew a case was still haunting him or he would have taken more care of himself.

"Let's just see your chief and then once the press conference is over, you don't have to see me again.  If I want to see Alec I will, no-one's going to stop me."

Ellie led the way silently and knocked on the chief's door, then went back to the murder enquiry.  She was still going to watch out for Rose, make sure Hardy didn't hurt her and if he did, there would be hell to pay.

"Miss Tyler, nice to finally meet you, I'm Chief Superintendent Elaine Jenkinson.  Please feel free to ask any questions DI Hardy hasn't answered for you."

"Well I think he just about covered everything except I'm waiting for my DNA results, have you got them back?"

"Yes and I apologise for the delay, DI Hardy probably explained we have a murder investigation going on, it's something that as a small town, we're not used to.  I'll call the local branch of your bank, which is unfortunately down in Dorchester, let them know the results are back, he can take you down there if that's alright.  I trust you've been comfortable over the weekend?  I apologise for not being here on your arrival."

"I've been well looked after, thanks.  Will Alec be able to go to the press conference with me?  When is it?"

"Yes, he will go with you, it's tomorrow at noon over in Exeter.  We thought it best not to let on where you're staying.  Hopefully, the press will spread the word and your family will be located as quickly as possible, I'm sure they're anxious to have you back.  In the meantime, after your comeback is announced, the press will try to find where you're being kept so you may get some unwanted attention but just try to avoid answering any personal questions.  I'll let the two of you go over the questions you may be asked and I'll be there tomorrow as well.  The press may gather you're in Broadchurch though if DI Hardy speaks for you."

"Yeah, I get that but I'll feel more comfortable if he speaks for me, it's still confusing for me."

"That's only to be expected.  He told me how you ended up on the beach, some sort of device Torchwood was using.  We were briefed when you first went missing, your stepfather said something about you crossing dimensions, is that true?"

"Yes, we were looking for someone and when I went missing, two of my friends went looking for me and they got lost as well.  Has there been any news of them?"

"No, I'm sorry, we've not heard anything.  I'll let you two get on with the press statement and if there's anything you need, just ask DI Hardy."

Rose got up.  "Thank you all for your help."

The chief shook hands with Rose then Alec took Rose back to his office.  They went over the questions the media were likely to ask, deciding that Rose had been close by and living just up in the next village not knowing who she was and not disclosing any details as to what she had been doing, it was classified for her protection.  That saved them having to make up a cover story.  After lunch, Alec drove Rose down to the bank in Dorchester, waiting outside while she talked to the bank manager who was only too happy to have her as a personal customer.

After arranging for a credit and debit card in her name to be sent to her care of Alec at the Broadchurch Police Station, the manager also arranged for a cash advance and for her to go back if her cards had not arrived by Wednesday.  With money now in her pocket, Alec took her shopping first to get a purse then to the dress shops, him forgetting what it was like to wait for a woman to try dresses on and wait outside the dressing room and fetch another size for her while holding her previous purchases and trying to pretend he wasn't with her.

After getting suitably attired with several dresses, trousers and t-shirts, two pairs of shoes and some new skimpy underwear for Alec's benefit she told him, it was after 5pm when they made their way back to Broadchurch.  After calling at the supermarket on the way out of the town and Rose grabbing a large jar of coffee, a jar of her favourite hot chocolate and some marshmallows, some squirty cream and her favourite cereal, Alec got what he thought they would need for the next day or so but the way Rose was acting, it looked like she wouldn't be leaving any time soon which pleased him no end.

Unfortunately for Alec, he was spotted on the way out by non other than Beth Latimer and her daughter.

"Detective, I didn't know you shopped here?"

"Yes, well I was already down here on business."

Rose was just catching up to him having stopped to look at new mobile phones and deciding she would be best waiting since they would want her name and address and she didn't have a permanent home just yet and she didn't want to be discovered and didn't want a pay phone either.  She hadn't noticed Alec was speaking to anyone and walked up behind him, putting her arm around him and smiling.

"Alec, I think I'll wait for a phone."

Then she realised the woman and the girl stood opposite him and the trolley full of carrier bags were talking to him.

"Oh, you're with someone, sorry.  Hi, I'm Beth and this is Chloe."

"Hi, I'm Alec's – friend, Rose."

"Hi.  Nigel said he had seen you with someone the other night.  Didn't tell us you had a girlfriend Detective did you?"

"Yes, well, we have to get going now."

"Forgive me for asking but shouldn't you still be at work instead of shopping?  How are you getting on with finding my son's killer?"

"Mrs Latimer, this is not the time or place to be asking about that and no, I shouldn't be at work, I have been working, I started early and finished early and half the station is working around the clock to bring the person responsible to justice.  Now we really have to be going."

"So you're not denying she's your girlfriend?  Only Nigel reckoned he knew her from somewhere.  He couldn't place her though but I recognise you now I've seen you, you're Rose Tyler."

Rose panicked.  Alec spoke up.  "Mrs Latimer, I'd appreciate it if you didn't say anything just yet, there's going to be a press conference tomorrow where everything will be explained as to her re-appearance, until then, the less people who know about it the better."

"So you've been helping her instead of finding out who killed Danny?"

"No, it's been the weekend and we've had people working around the clock on the case, I'm not the only one who is.  I can't work 24/7 on the case, I need time off and if you watch the news tomorrow, it will all become clear."

Beth addressed Rose.  "So you come back after four years, right after my son has been killed and just happen to walk into the same police station that's investigating his death and they all leave what they're doing to look after you?"  Then to Alec she said "And why are you shopping with her?  Can't she look after herself?  Is she your girlfriend now?  My boy is going to get shoved under the carpet because Rose Tyler comes back?"

"Mrs Latimer, I can assure you that's not the case.  I had to bring her down her on business, I'm officially off duty.  No-one is working any less on Danny's case."

"Yes but now the press will be all over her and my Danny gets put on the back page."

"I'm sure that won't be the case.  Of course people are still interested in what happened."

Rose decided it was time to defend herself.  "Mrs Latimer, I don't know what happened, it wasn't my intention to take away any publicity from you.  I had no idea what had been going on.  Please, just watch the news tomorrow and it will all be explained.  I really am sorry for your loss.  Come on Alec, let Mrs Latimer get on with her shopping."

Rose took hold of the trolley and began wheeling it out, Alec following after saying "Sorry" to Beth.

"So much for keeping my return quiet then.  I don't think anyone will be surprised by the time we get to the press conference tomorrow at this rate," Rose mused to herself as Alec tried to catch up with her.
Chapter 8
Once back at the chalet, Alec asked what had got her so annoyed with Beth Latimer.

"Are you kidding Alec?  Ok, it's terrible she had her son taken from her but to accuse you of not caring about it?  Does she actually want you to work yourself to death?"

"I'm sure she didn't mean it like that Rose, she knows no-one can work around the clock but she's very fragile right now."

"Yeah?  Well so am I Alec.  I'm not asking you to stop working on finding the killer, I know how important it is and once this press conference is over, I'll let you get back to it."

"Rose, it's ok, we have people already working on it, there's a lot to get through, from the crime scenes, witness statements, alibis and a whole lot more and what people don't realise, especially those directly involved is what is going on behind the scenes, they just think of what they can actually see and if that doesn't seem like much, it seems like the enquiry is getting nowhere.  Helping you adjust is not lessening the investigation, they are just one man down, me and as soon as you're settled, I'll get back to it but we won't stop until we find who did it."

"I know Alec."

Rose put her arms around him and they kissed.  That night, they gently made love for the first time, Rose opting to go on top so as not to exert Alec and promising him she wouldn't let him go too far so that it would give her time to get registered at the local health centre and get some protection.  Alec offered to do that himself the next day so they agreed their first night they would just take it slowly but Rose was still worried it might cause him some problem with his condition.

The next morning after fooling around, they set off for Exeter and the press conference.  Alec had prepared all the information the media would want and they went over what Rose was going to say.

"Actually Alec, I don't think I'll say that much, I just want to ask for help finding my family."

"I know Rose, I'll do most of the talking, speaking of which, you may have to get through that crowd of reporters before we even start."

He had stopped at the entrance to police headquarters and hoped no-one would see them as a swarm of reporters and news journalists, cameras and all were gathered around the outside of the building.  They had purposely got there an hour early for Rose to meet the chief constable before being put in the spotlight and Alec himself had never met the man, the need never arising.  He saw a car behind him and found it was his own chief, who got out of her car as Alec leaned out of the already open window.

"Alec, drive around the other side of the building, reverse out and follow me, we can go in the underground car park and you can take Miss Tyler up in the lift.  The press aren't being let in for another forty five minutes.  We'll take her to an interview room and we can go over everything."

"Fine, I'll just follow you then, ok Rose?"

Rose nodded.  The chief got back in her car, seeing how relaxed Rose Tyler looked in Alec Hardy's company and thought there had to be more to it and as for him keeping her safe, it was probably at his place, in his bed.  She couldn't really blame him and there was nothing to stop them, no unspoken rules that said someone who had been missing for four years couldn't hook up with the police detective who was helping her.  She wished them luck because in less than an hour, Rose Tyler would take her rightful place back in the world and Alec Hardy's life would never be the same if was involved with her.

Once at the police garage entrance, they were found a parking space and the chief took them to where Rose would be made comfortable until the press conference.  She was introduced to the chief constable, who asked her to just go through again how she found herself on Broadchurch beach.  Rose looked at Alec, who nodded.  When she had finished, they were left alone for a few minutes while the conference was being set up.

"Come on Rose, I'm sure you've spoken to the press before now, haven't you?"

"Well yeah but never when I've been missing, there were a lot of questions when I first came on the scene as Pete Tyler's daughter, that took some explaining I'll tell you."

Alec smiled.  "I can imagine.  Well hopefully you won't have long to wait to get them back.  It will go international by the morning unless they've settled in outer Mongolia or somewhere equally off the beaten track."

Rose laughed.  "No chance, my mum likes her home comforts and she'll want to remain somewhere there's a strong British presence, they could be in Spain or somewhere like that."


Alec went to sit next to her, Rose leaning on him and they kissed briefly.

"Best not get caught, I think my chief already suspects something, though she didn't exactly say as much."

Rose smiled and sat back and Alec went back to where he had been sitting, hoping there were no hidden cameras anywhere, it would be all he needed to be caught on camera snogging the returned former Vitex heiress.

They were called to go into the auditorium to face the press, Alec's chief indicating for Rose to follow Alec then led the way in.  The press went crazy as she entered, the noise from the TV cameras and all the commentators, the flash of cameras clicking, journalists shouting Rose's name and firing question after question at her, never giving her a chance to reply even if it was her that was going to speak.

Alec's chief remained standing and addressed the assembled media.

"I'm Chief Superintendent Jenkinson from Wessex Police and I'm sure it has become apparent as to the why you have all been asked to come here today."

They had put out a media statement to all the press that a major announcement was about to be made of interest to everyone in the country and also abroad and that an appeal was to be made.  When the noise finally died down, she continued.

"I'm now going to hand you over to Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, who will read a statement on Miss Tyler's behalf and answer any questions then Miss Tyler will make an appeal for information about the whereabouts of her family."

Alec stood up, looking calm and focused, he had done this many a time, when children had gone missing and been safely returned, when they had not, which wasn't so pleasant and when they were still missing, it was all the same.  The press wanted to hear everything.  Rose just looked at him, he looked tired and she was worried about him despite what everyone else could see.

"Miss Tyler walked into a local police station in the Dorset area at around 2.30pm last Thursday afternoon with no knowledge of what had happened to her and we have since determined the facts which still remain confidential to protect her."

He went on to give a few more details and opened the floor to questions which came thick and fast to which a certain journalist from London who had been hounding him since his last case found her stride and stood up, asking the ultimate question to which she was told in no uncertain terms the answer.

"Karen White, The Herald.  DI Hardy, if you are in charge of the transition of Miss Tyler back into the world, are you still working on the Danny Latimer case?"

Alec stood his ground.  "Miss White, that has no relevance here, keep your questions to the matter at hand."

Rose was smiling, that had told her.  Alec continued to answer within the limits they had agreed.  A certain other reporter from the Broadchurch Echo was also in the audience and saw his chance.  He had spoken to Nigel Carter, who had seen Alec and Rose getting cosy in the pub and Alec went crazy with him, Rose thought he was going to end up getting taken to hospital.

"Olly Stevens, Broadchurch Echo.  DI Hardy, is it true after her arrival, you were seen with her in a local pub in Broadchurch?"

Everyone looked up.  Alec was fuming.  So much for keeping her whereabouts a secret.

"I can't make any comment on that, it's pure speculation on your part.  If you want to listen to small town gossip, it's down to you.  Miss Tyler is being kept at a secret location until her family have been informed of her return."

Other journalist were stirring.  Olly retaliated, already tired of being on the wrong end of Alec's temper and his aunt's.  "Then why was she seen with you in a local supermarket near Broadchurch and also by the local newsagent, twice in one day, the second time a short while after you say she walked into the police station."

Alec could have floored him, if he'd had the strength.  Now he was going to have to move her.

"Miss Tyler asked the assistance of the local newsagent shortly after her arrival in the town and the second time, she was being escorted to a local hotel of which there are dozens and I'm not prepared to comment on her being in any supermarket except to say she has to eat."

Even his chief smiled at that.  Olly was not going to be outdone.  He'd asked his aunt Ellie what the press conference was going to be about but to no avail except her mentioning she thought the detective was getting a bit close to a new arrival in town.  Olly saw his chance to score a goal.

"Then is it true she's staying with you at your rented home in Broadchurch?"

The rest of the press erupted, as did Alec.  All cameras were now on him and he wanted to storm out but that would be admitting guilt.  He knew the nephew of his DS was just a pain in the neck but he had gone too far this time.

"No, that is not true and I don't know where the idea has come from except maybe your mind.  You're not going to find out where she is staying despite your speculation, so I ask the other members of the press to disregard that question as the over keenness of a young local reporter.  As I've already stated, there are dozens of hotels in the area and if you were to ring around them all, no-one would admit to having her staying there, she is not registered under that name."

Alec just hoped he had convinced everyone.  "I will now let Miss Tyler give an appeal for anyone who knows where her family are staying."

Rose got up, the camera lights shining in her face and everyone in the large room looking at her like she had appeared from nowhere, which she had apparently.  She remembered all too well when she had first arrived, Pete trying to explain where she had come from and it had taken a great deal of deliberation to finally all agree to the same story.

Before she realised, she had thanked everyone in the police, especially the chief and Alec and had made a heart-felt plea that if anyone knew her family's whereabouts, to phone the number on screen, which was the Broadchurch Police Station, who would then call Alec.  Alec led her out after she stopped for a few moments for more photos, as if they hadn't taken enough.  He led her back into the room they had come out of, Alec asking for a few minutes for her to get over it.  As soon as they were alone, he put his arms around her and Rose reached up to kiss him.

"That wasn't what I expected.  Mrs Latimer must have said something or he wouldn't have known about the supermarket.  Will we have to move now Alec?"

"Maybe, no-one knows where we are anyway, I bet he got some idea from Miller, I'll be having words with her again."

"I thought we were invited to her house for dinner tonight?  I was a bit off with her yesterday morning, when she took me to the chief's office."

"We don't have to go but all the reporters basing themselves in Broadchurch will be looking for you now, we'd best start going out of town and you'd best not walk around on your own."

"Yeah, ok.  Can we go now?"

"I think the chief constable might want another word, with me, about the accusation."

"I'll tell him it was my idea."

"No, I let you stay, it's down to me."

He opened the door and they went to join the others.  The chief constable did have something to say, he'd already chewed out Alec's chief.

"What are you playing at Hardy?  Don't you think it's rather inappropriate to be giving Miss Tyler a place to stay?  Why wasn't she put up in a hotel?"

"Because she wouldn't have been safe there.  My instructions were to look after her until my chief came back and I did.  It was never stressed where that was to be.  Miss Tyler was upset, tired and didn't want to be on her own, I offered to let her stay with me and she accepted, she could have refused."

"Can I say something?" Rose asked.

The chief constable nodded.  "Of course Miss Tyler, if that's what you want but we have some excellent hotels here in Exeter, we can put you up there until your family return."

"I don't want to stay there, I want to stay with Alec, I mean DI Hardy.  I feel more comfortable with him, I don't want to be left alone.  I have no-one until my family contact me, he's the only person I trust.  My stepfather won't be very pleased if you insist I go somewhere I don't want to go."

"Of course Miss Tyler, whatever you want.  I was only thinking you would be more comfortable and now there's the question that the press may descend on where you're currently staying."

Alec defended his decision.  "It's rather secluded, it's not easily accessible except for a bridge or down a field and not many people know about that.  I can get her in and out with minimum fuss, leave my car in the pub car park across the bridge."

"If you think you can keep her from prying eyes, then do so but I would like you back on the Latimer case as soon as Miss Tyler's family have been found."

"Of course Sir, that was my intention.  Now I should get her back ahead of the press or maybe a detour, give them chance to get there first, they have no idea where I live, even the reporter from Broadchurch doesn't know exactly where that is."

Rose wasn't too sure about that, Ellie knew where he lived but surely she wouldn't risk his wrath by telling her nephew?

He took Rose back to the garage and they drove off to get some lunch then Alec said they would take their time driving back, calling in at a village just up from Broadchurch and taking a walk on the beach.  While they were walking, Rose took his arm.

"Maybe we should think about moving, until it blows over."

"What about your family?"

"I told you Alec, they'll understand if I want to stay with you but let's just wait and see, it could take a while anyway."

"Do you want to go to the Millers for dinner tonight?"

"She might not be talking to me Alec," Rose laughed.

As if she had heard, Alec's phone rang and it was Ellie.

"How did you get on?  I heard my nephew was trying to make a name for himself.  I swear I'll kick him where it hurts for that and I never told him, he's just guessing.  Who did you see at the supermarket?"

"Beth Latimer but I didn't think she would say anything."

"You two still coming over tonight, only my husband is looking forward to meeting the famous Rose Tyler and he's been cooking all day.  She was a bit off with me yesterday but it's probably just nerves."

He asked Rose if they were still going or not and Rose shrugged her shoulders.  "I didn't think I would still be welcome Alec."

"We'll be there.  Did you say anything to upset her Miller?"

Ellie thought carefully before answering.  "I might have said something, about you."

"Miller, what do you think is going on?  Just leave her alone and stop telling her I'm bad for her, she can make her own mind up on that score."

"Yes Sir."

Alec smiled at Rose and hung up.  "Let's go to the store we saw where we parked and get her a bottle of wine and some chocolates and some for you too of course."  He leaned down to kiss her then took her arm.

After getting a bottle of wine and two boxes of chocolates, Rose getting her favourites and Alec discreetly popping in a packet of something for later, Rose dying to giggle, they drove back to the chalet and parked in the pub car park, Alec putting a police sign on the dashboard.  She went to get changed and Alec went through his messages, troubled that his ex had bothered to call.  He called her back quickly to discover she had of course seen the press conference and wanted to know if it was all true, was Rose Tyler staying with him?

"Oh come on Alec, don't bother denying it to me, you might have fooled that reporter but not me."

"So what is it to you?  It's got nothing to do with anyone so yes, she's just staying here, nothing more.  Her family will be in contact with her soon and she'll be gone."  He still wasn't certain she would stay once they showed up but he was hoping she would keep her word, even if she went off for a few days, she would come back.

"Well when are you going to bother seeing your daughter?"

"I've tried, she won't answer her phone."

"Then I'll get her to call you at the weekend, if you can tear yourself away from your house-guest."

He had just hung up when Rose came out in one of her new dresses.

"You look good Rose.  I hope you've got some of that new underwear on under there?" he smiled, putting his arms around her waist.

"You can find out later, shouldn't we be setting off?  Who were you talking to?"

"Oh, just my ex, don't worry.  She wants me to talk to my 15 year old daughter which I would gladly do if she would answer her phone once in a while."

Rose smiled, remembering what she was like as a teenager, without the phone.  On the way to Ellie's, Rose said she was going to go get a phone the following day and asked if any calls had come in with any information.

"Not yet but it's still quite early on yet, some foreign channels may not have put it out on the news.  Don't worry, I'm sure it won't be long."

They arrived at the Millers and Ellie opened the door, staring at Rose's new dress.

"Wow, you got dressed up, sorry, I should have said."

"I'm not really dressed up but considering you've only seen me in trousers and t-shirts, I do wear dresses occasionally."

Alec handed the chocolates and wine to Ellie.

She shouted to her husband.  "Alec and Rose are here, they brought presents."

Ellie had seated them opposite each other, Rose teased him throughout their meal, rubbing his leg when she took off her shoe, watching him trying not to smile.  Ellie must had done it on purpose, to see if there was anything between them so after they finished, Alec getting away with not having his glass refilled as he was driving, they went into the front room and when they were alone, they kissed.

Rose giggled.  "I think she's trying to catch us out.  Do you think she has a hidden camera?" Rose asked, kissing him again.

Alec smiled.  "Oh yes Rose, I think she just probably could if we don't sit down and pretend nothing's just happened."

They sat on the sofa, kissing and moved apart when they heard footsteps outside.  Ellie came in with a tray.

"Am I interrupting anything, I hope?"

"Mind your own business Miller," Alec laughed.

"Oh come on, you're not fooling anyone so just admit it."

"So what if there is Ellie?" Rose chipped in, moving up towards him as Ellie put drinks on the coffee table and took his hand.  "She's right Alec, people had best get used to seeing us together, I'm not hiding."

Ellie signed.  There was going to be no keeping the two of them apart by the looks of it and she bet this month's salary that the two of them had just been snogging before she entered the room.  She just wished now she had actually caught them.
Chapter 9
A/N: The next two chapters are a little bit of a weepy so get your tissues out!

Alec drove them back to the chalet, he was feeling a bit tense, not wanting to let on to Rose he was actually feeling a bit off.  He wasn't sure if it was the glass of wine he had drunk with his meal or the press conference earlier.  Press conferences always got him, especially after the Sandbrook fiasco and his subsequent failure to solve it and letting the killer get away, it had all added to his illness but he had Rose now, she would help him feel better.

Rose had noticed on the way back he was quiet and after snogging in Ellie Miller's front room, she was surprised.

"You ok Alec?  You seem a bit off."

"Mmm?  Oh I'm fine, just the press conference earlier, don't worry."

"You did take your pills didn't you?  Before we set off?"

"Yes, maybe I shouldn't have had that wine though, it will soon wear off."

They arrived back at the chalet and he leaned on Rose, pretending he was supporting her but he knew that was a lie.  He should warn her what to do when he felt like this.

"You go inside Rose, I'm going to sit out here for a while, get some air."

"I can stay with you."

He put his arms around her and kissed her neck.  "I like that perfume Rose, it smells like roses.  Is that your favourite?"

"No actually, I got it for you, I thought you'd like it.  My favourite one, I can't get here.  Maybe I should make my own and sell it?"

"Maybe, that could be your new vocation, now you can't go dimension hopping any longer."

"Yeah, if I could remember what was in it."

Alec smiled and sat on the garden chair outside the chalet, watching the coloured lights strung across the harbour that were reflecting in the river.

"It's lovely out here Alec but don't stay out too long will you?  I'll just go to the bathroom then I'll come back out and drag you to bed, we have some more of that brilliant snogging to do."

She leaned down and kissed him then went inside.  Alec closed his eyes for a few seconds but when he opened them again a few minutes he must have passed out as he found himself lying on the deck.  Quickly getting up, he brushed himself off, thankful he still had his jacket on and sat back on the chair.  He was also thankful he wasn't driving, with or without Rose in the car.  He would have to hand the car back now, he knew it.  Before Rose had shown up, his symptoms had been getting worse but the murder investigation was the only thing preventing him and maybe Rose was right, was it worth it even after Sandbrook?

They had been getting on without him the last few days while he had been looking after Rose, they could still solve it and now she was here, he didn't want it to be the death of him.  Rose had given him more determination to get himself sorted, case solved or not.  It just may take the rest of them a bit longer to solve the case but they would get there eventually and what good would it do them if he didn't take care of himself and get some proper treatment?

He got up, feeling a bit light headed but better just as Rose came back out.

"Time for bed Alec and I did have more wine than you so you can take advantage of me."

Alec smiled and grabbed her by the waist.  "You can bet on that Rose."

Once inside, he went to the bathroom and felt dizzy again, propping himself up against the wall.  He should call out to Rose, tell her to get him into bed, he'd be ok once he got in beside her.  Now he had someone to rely on, someone who could get him help in the middle of the night instead of him waking in panic most of the time like he had been doing prior to her arrival.  He had used her bad dreams as an excuse to be in her bed, he hadn't needed to stay with her for her sake, he'd stayed because he didn't want to be alone and he knew it.  He should come clean with her and he would, in the morning and he would call the hospital and get an appointment.  He'd already ignored one letter after his last episode and he'd only been in the town a few days at the time.

He wandered into the bedroom he now shared with Rose, she had taken over his wardrobe and he used the one in the spare room because his was the largest but he hadn't minded.  He expected her to go on another shopping spree in the next few days now she had some money.  He should tease her about paying him back and ask her where she intended putting it all if she was staying.

As he lay above her, kissing her exposed skin and refusing to take off his shorts, saying he was going to take his time and torment her but the truth was, he was frightened if he started something now, he wasn't going to finish it.

"Alec, are you sure you're ok?  Maybe we should leave this tonight, get you a doctor's appointment tomorrow.  Are you even registered here?"

Alec looked up.  "No, not exactly, I'm still with my old one, I can get him to pay me a visit at the weekend but I'm sort of under the local hospital, I was there last week."

"What?  Why didn't you tell me?"

"Well not last week, just after I arrived, I fell in the bathroom of the hotel, the owner found me and called an ambulance."

"Alec, you should have said and you moved in here, on your own where no-one could find you?  Are you completely mad or do you have a death wish?"

"Rose, don't go on about it, I'm fine and I have you now.  Nothing has happened since."  He hated lying to her but he didn't want to worry her, she had enough with her family still being missing.

"Alec, go get a t-shirt on and some joggers or something, just in case, I'm worried about you now."

"Rose, it makes no difference and I will put something on, when I'm finished with you.  Now stop fussing and come and lay on me."

After carefully showing each other their feelings, Alec went to do as Rose had asked and Rose put a vest and some pyjama bottoms on and Alec agreed that was what they would do before they went to sleep until he got a hospital appointment, which he was going to arrange in the morning but when he woke up the following morning at just after six, he didn't feel so good.

Rose was still asleep, the early morning sunlight peeking through the blinds shone on her hair and she looked so beautiful and peaceful, like she didn't have a care in the world but she had, her family still hadn't turned up and now she was worried about him.  He slipped out of bed to go to the bathroom then as he turned to go back to the bedroom, he felt dizzy again but before he could call out for Rose, he felt himself slip to the floor with a thud.

Luckily, Rose heard it and went rushing out, seeing him in a heap on the floor.

"Alec, talk to me!"

She knew better than to move him so she hastily felt his pulse, it was barely there.  This time he wasn't getting up after a few minutes.  She grabbed her phone and dialled for an ambulance, telling the operator where they were and to come down the field behind the chalet and through the gate at the end.  She also gave his name and that he had been in the hospital before but they were going to take him to Dorchester and have a heart unit waiting when she told them what was wrong with him.  She quickly threw on a pair of trousers and a t-shirt, got her jacket and put Alec's mobile into the pocket with her own, grabbed her purse and the key and looked out of the back window to see the ambulance making its way down.  She unlocked the door as they pulled to a stop.

The medics came in and put a breathing mask on him, asking her a few questions about him, Rose explaining she hadn't known him that long but the ambulance crew told her not to worry, they had stabilised him and carefully picked him up and carried him to where they had left the trolley.  Rose locked up and followed, climbing in the ambulance after them, grabbing hold of his hand.

"Will he be ok?"

The paramedic smiled at her.  "We've got him hooked up to the monitor, we have a team ready when we get to the hospital.  We picked him up the last time, he discharged himself the following morning, he's stubborn that one.  Is he your husband only I swear he was with another woman last time."

Rose had some explaining to do.  "Oh, we were staying at the hotel and I was out, she was the hotel owner, thought it would save an explanation.  She told me about it.  It was a bit confusing.  I went crazy with him when he came back."

The rest of the journey was quiet apart from the machines keeping him alive and the siren and soon they were getting out of the back of the ambulance, a team waiting for him as they wheeled him inside.  Rose was prevented from going into the emergency room despite her protests and saying who she was.

"I'm sorry Miss Tyler but even if you were his wife we couldn't let you in.  Please, just take a seat and the doctor who's attending to him will be out to let you know what's happening," a friendly nurse told her.

It was now just after seven and Rose couldn't sit down.  Alec's work phone would be ringing soon, it would be Ellie wanting to know where the hell he was.  She thought about turning it off but decided not to, her parents could be ringing.  She heard shouting and saw a lot of movement inside the room they had taken him in and she heard beeping and then there was nothing.  She tried to look through the glass partition but there was a crowd around him but she could see there was nothing on the monitor.  She froze, feeling sick.  She couldn't lose him, he was all she had.

Just as suddenly, there was a beep again and the lines began to move again with a call of "He's got a pulse" from someone.

Rose sank down on the nearest chair.  Alec's work mobile rang, the display said 'Miller'.

She got up and walked to the opposite wall so she could see what was going on, pressing the call button.  "Hello Ellie."

"Rose, where's Hardy, we have a lead."

Rose remained silent, watching through a gap in the crowd of nurses around Alec, watching the monitor.  "He's in hospital Ellie."

"What?  Which hospital, what happened?"

"Dorchester I think, I'm with him, I wasn't taking much notice.  He collapsed in the bathroom just after six so I called the ambulance."

"What's wrong with him?"

"I can't tell you Ellie, he made me promise."

"Rose, don't hold out on me, he's my partner and even though we don't get on and probably hate each other's guts, you have to tell me."

"I can't, he's in the emergency room and when he comes out and he finds out I told you, he'll be mad and he's all I've got Ellie, I can't lose him."

"I understand that.  So he won't be in today?"

"Guess not, I'll call you back when I know more, it may be just concussion."

"So what am I going to tell the chief?"

"Can't you just cover for him?  Blame it on me, I'll take full responsibility for it."

"Be it on your own head then, I'll try and stall.  Call me back when you know more."

"I will."

Rose had just put the phone away when one of the doctors came out.  "Are you with Alec Hardy?"

"Yeah, is he going to be ok?"

"You knew he had a heart problem?"

"He told me what it was."

"He needs an operation now or we won't be able to bring him back next time.  He died for a few minutes, we were only just able to revive him.  I've sent for a specialist but he's having to come from Exeter, it will be about an hour before he gets here.  Did you know how bad he was?"

"He didn't tell me much but he was going to ring this morning to get an appointment."

"You're Rose Tyler aren't you?  I saw you on the news yesterday, DI Hardy was with you.  I'll be honest with you, he should have made that appointment eighteen months ago and normally we would refer patients back to their GP but in these cases, we have to keep sending reminders.  It seems he was too stubborn to do anything about it.  If he has a pacemaker fitted now, he only has a 10% chance of surviving, well he did have, he's got even less now he just had another major attack.  Did he have any other symptoms?"

"Last night, he seemed a bit off but we'd just been to that press conference so he put it down to that, then this morning he collapsed in the bathroom and before you say anything, yes, I'm staying with him, it was just better that the press didn't learn that."

"I'm not here to judge you Miss Tyler, that's between you and him but you need to be aware he might not make it.  If he had gone for the operation when he was first diagnosed, he would have had a better chance.  If there's anyone you need to contact, you should do it now."

"I'll look through his phone and I should contact his boss.  I don't know if he had made any preparations for this, he never said.  Can I see him?"

"We'll just move him into a side room until the surgeon arrives, you can have a few minutes with him, he'll be in and out of it, he may not wake up fully or not at all."

"Will he know I'm there?"

"Maybe, he may be just on the verge but may not be able to speak, he might be able to squeeze your hand.  All you can do is be there and hope he knows.  I'm sorry but we've done everything we can do, it's down to the surgeon, he's one of the best, we alerted him when the ambulance crew informed us, we have Mr Hardy's records and it's down to him to fight back but if he knows you're there, it will give him the strength to do so.  I'll have a nurse take you to him."

Rose was stunned.  No family, no friends and maybe no Alec, how could this be happening to her?  Torn away from her own time through a freak accident after being brought to another universe she never felt at home in, she had finally found someone who she could fall in love with and he was about to be taken from her.  What was it with this universe?  Was it payback because she shouldn't be here and the world knew it?  She remembered the Reapers, how they 'cleansed' the world after she saved her dad from being knocked down by a car, was this what was happening since she didn't belong here, they were removing everyone who mattered to her?  She felt hopeless but the Doctor had always taught her never to give up and she was not giving up on Alec Hardy.

She sat back on the chair, waiting to be taken to see Alec and got his phone out.  She scrolled through the numbers and found one of 'Tess' and wondered if it was his ex.  She should know if it was going to be bad news but she didn't know just how badly they had separated and he might be really annoyed if he survived and found out she had been told.  She decided to wait until it actually happened, the woman couldn't do anything anyway and the last thing she wanted was his ex wife pacing the corridor with her.

A nurse came out and told her to follow and Rose was led into a small room with various monitors, Alec hooked up to all of them.

"Don't take any notice of the machines, they look worse than they actually are, he's holding on.  You can stay until we take him to the operating theatre, we'll be alerted if we're needed."


Rose sat down, noting his things were under the trolley, not that there was much, he'd not got dressed properly, only wearing what she had made him put on last night.  She took his hand and squeezed it and he opened his eyes.

"Rose, what happened?"

"Shush Alec, you need to rest.  They're going to have to fit that pacemaker so no arguments.  You'll be as right as rain."

"Don't lie to me Rose, I won't survive it."

"Yes you will or you'll answer to me Alec Hardy so stop talking like that.  What chance do you have if they don't fit it?  I need you, you're all I've got.  Do you want me to call anyone?"

"No and don't call Tess, unless I don't make it, then you'll have to but don't take any crap from her either, tell her who you are, that you were my girlfriend.  There's a number to ring in my phone, it says 'Bambles' and it's my solicitors but they're not called that, it was to stop prying eyes.  They'll take care of everything.  Don't worry Rose, I'm going to fight this."

He closed his eyes as Rose let out the tears she had been holding back.  "I love you Alec."

He didn't reply but the monitors were still beeping away, he had just drifted off again.  She would look up the name he had given her while she waited outside the operating theatre because she was not leaving.  She had turned off the phone before going into the room and now she was going to have to call Ellie because she deserved to know now, it wouldn't make any difference.  If he survived, he would be off work and if he didn't, well everyone would know plus, her mother could still call and she might miss it.

About forty minutes later, Rose not letting go of his hand, he had twitched a few times, Rose wishing she herself would wake up from this bad dream, it was ten times worse that having nightmares about the Cybermen.  Some staff came in to prepare to take Alec for surgery and a nurse handed Alec's clothes to her.  Everything else was back at the chalet.

"We have to take him now, the surgeon has arrived.  You can follow us down to the theatre, you can wait outside."

Rose followed them silently, Alec's clothes had been put into a large carrier bag, she tried to get near enough to hold his hand but it was impossible.  They stopped outside a double door and Rose took the chance to grab his hand.  She didn't know what to say except "I love you Alec," then kissed his cheek.

As the nurse came back, he squeezed her hand and said  "I know, I love you too Rose."

Then they wheeled him through the doors and Rose didn't know if she was going to see him again.
Chapter 10
Rose went to sit down before she fell down, she hadn't felt like this since Bad Wolf Bay when the other day she had walked into the police station and been told her family were gone, hiding themselves away.  She wondered why her mother hadn't kept the same phone number, in case she called but if they were living abroad, that would explain it.

She took out Alec's work phone and turned it on, finding 'Bambles', hoping she wasn't going to need it but it wasn't looking good.  There were two missed calls, one from Ellie who either couldn't wait or ringing him to tell him to get in before the chief fired him and one from the station, probably the chief herself saying he was fired.

She rang Ellie back, lost for words.  "Ellie, Alec's in surgery."

"What?  I thought he just keeled over and hit his head or something?"

"It's a bit more than that and I can tell you now because it doesn't matter.  It's his heart and he's got to have a pacemaker but they don't think he'll survive, he's left it too late."

"Where are you Rose?  You shouldn't be on your own, I'm coming down now.  I'll have to tell the chief."

"I know.  I'm in Dorchester, sorry about earlier, just ask for the theatre.  Any news about my family?"

"No, not yet, sorry. I'm setting off as soon as I see the chief.  Have you called his ex?"

"No, he told me not to, unless he doesn't make it then not to take any crap from her.  He thought she would carry on at me.  I've got his solicitors number."

"Crikey, he must have known then, how long has he been hiding this?"

"I don't know exactly, since his last case I think."

"Stupid idiot, why would he do that?  Anyway, I have to go, I'll find you when I get there.  I'll have the calls diverted to my phone if anyone calls about your family."

"Thanks Ellie, I just wish my mum was here."

"I know, maybe they've heard by now?"


Rose hung up and crossed to the drinks machine, finding she had no change, typical.  She walked to the end of the corridor and saw a café and went to get coffee and a Danish and sat where she could see the door to the theatre but it would be some time before anyone came out, he'd just gone in and they would have to prepare him first.  She wished she was in there to hold his hand.  No wonder he had felt off last night, she had suspected something was wrong and had taken ages to get to sleep, worried about him.  Why had he chosen a remote chalet when he was like that?  Now she had to explain it to Ellie and he would be annoyed about it.

She made her mind up that she was going to think positive, make plans for the both of them when her parents showed up.  She would take him to recuperate somewhere warm and lay down on the beach somewhere.  Finishing her coffee, she made her way back and sat opposite the door and waited for Ellie.


When Rose had answered Alec's phone, Ellie had known they were up to something at that time in the morning, there was only one reason she would answer and her suspicions had been correct and even though she thought Rose was living with him, she wouldn't be answering for him so when she had said he was in hospital, she hadn't thought much about Rose being secretive.  She thought Hardy was being an ass and not wanting anyone to know what was wrong with him and hadn't said a word about it but that last call, that Hardy was dying probably, it had sobered her up.

She knocked on the chief's door and broke the news.

"Ah, Ellie, where's DI Hardy?  No-one's seen him this morning and he was told to get back on the Latimer case, where is he hiding?"

"Ma'am, I've got some bad news, he's in hospital"

"What?  What's wrong with him?"

"He collapsed this morning at home, Rose Tyler was there and called an ambulance.  It's his heart."

"What?  How did that happen and more importantly, why was nothing picked up when he came here?  I'll be having words with the CMO for not checking his medical records."

"Maybe it was never declared, Rose seems to think he's had a problem since Sandbrook."

"Foolish man, why didn't he do something?"

"If he survives, I'll be asking him.  I'm going down to Dorchester, Rose is on her own and she shouldn't be."

"Yes, I agree.  You go to her.  Anything from her family yet?"

"No Ma'am, I'll have DI Hardy's calls sent to my phone.

The chief's desk phone rang.

"What?  Well don't keep them there, bring them to my office.  Did they ring earlier?  They did?  Then why wasn't I informed?"

The caller tried to tell her they had tried Hardy's phone but had got no answer and Mr Tyler had insisted to know where his stepdaughter was and something about not wanting to know the consequences of not telling him.


In a private resort just outside Palma, Majorca just after six on the previous evening, Jackie Tyler was sitting in the large living room, patio door open watching Tony play with his toy zeppelins.  Pete was in his study, going over his latest investments, even though he had sold Vitex, he had shares in them and was making a tidy sum with that and the other companies he had a stake in and they could easily keep up the lifestyle they were used to.

The wall-mounted TV was on low volume and Jackie was glancing at a magazine she got from the English grocery store she frequently visited when they went into the town, the housekeeper was preparing dinner and Tony seemed content.  Jackie still missed Rose badly, hoping that when she had vanished, she had at least made it back to the Doctor or if not, Jake or Mickey had made it back and they were looking out for her.  Pete had tried to explain that if Rose was in the future, which they suspected, they would catch up with her.  It was no consolation though, at least the Doctor had brought her home for visits, she'd never been gone this long.

Jackie had questioned moving away but Pete had assured her Rose would be ok if she came back and it wouldn't take long to find them.  She just happened to glance at the screen to see a man with a beard, the name 'Detective Inspector Alec Hardy' flash on screen.  She had seen him before, news that a boy had been murdered just over a week ago in a seaside town in Dorset and thought it was an update to say they had caught the monster who had done it.  Jackie thought what she'd like to do to the person responsible if she got her way and felt sorry for the family.  She also thought how much he looked like a certain alien she used to know.

She turned up the volume and heard him make a statement.  "Rose Tyler walked into a local police station at around 2.30pm last Thursday."

"Pete!  Come here quick, they've found Rose!"

Pete came running out.  "What?  Are you sure?"

"Listen."  Jackie turned up the volume.  Alec was now answering questions including the one about Rose staying with him.

"The cheek!  Rose wouldn't do that, he's supposed to be just talking for her."

The screen showed Rose, trying not to smile.  Tony had seen her.  "Rose!  Where is she Mummy?"

"She's safe Tony, let me hear the rest."

It showed Rose preparing to make a statement.  "If anyone knows where my family are, please, call any police station or the number on screen."

Before she had finished, Pete was on the phone to the airport, never mind a zeppelin, to get three seats on the next available flight which was at six the next morning and then he'd had to use his name to get those in first class but he didn't care, Rose was back.  Jackie was dialling the number on the screen, being used to putting the dialling code in first.

She was answered by the desk sergeant at Broadchurch Police Station. "This is Jackie Tyler, you know where my daughter is."  It wasn't a question.

The sergeant had been polite and asked her to hold but everyone had left and Hardy wasn't answering his phone so after she put Pete on the phone, he told him that Rose was in Broadchurch and that DI Hardy was looking after her and she was in a nearby hotel.  Jackie went to pack two cases, throwing Tony's things in with theirs and Pete said they should get some sleep after dinner and set off for the airport early the next morning.  He also arranged for a car and driver to meet them at the airport in London to drive them down.

Knowing where they were they were two hours in front of Britain, they would arrive at roughly the same time they set off and Pete said it would take two or three hours to drive down there and they would find a hotel after they had seen Rose but Jackie pointed out they would all be tired and maybe they should get some rest.  Pete said they could sleep on the plane and Tony would sleep on the car journey anyway so Jackie agreed to find Rose first.

"Did you hear that cheeky journalist saying Rose was staying with that detective?" Jackie asked Pete as they went to bed.

"I can't see that being true, maybe he was a local reporter and had seen the two of them together, Rose wouldn't be that daft would she?"

"I don't know, he looks a bit like the Doctor."

"Maybe he does but she's only been there a few days and I want to know why we weren't informed sooner.  Why wait until today to inform the press?" Pete wanted to know.  Then he added, "Maybe they were letting her settle down, I can't imagine what it was like for her."

They were waking Tony up just before four in the morning, bundling him into a taxi to go to the airport and booking into the VIP lounge, getting ready to board the plane to be reunited with Rose.  They were greeted with a driver holding up their name when they arrived and they made a stop on the way down for Tony and to get some breakfast.  Finally, they were dropped outside Broadchurch Police Station with two cases and a holdall, Pete said they would arrange for a hire car later.  Pete walked up to the front desk but it was Jackie who spoke.

"I'm Jackie Tyler, now where is my daughter?"

The desk sergeant called the chief and was instructed to show them to her office.  He had tried calling Hardy last night but he hadn't answered and he wasn't going to get on the bad side of Mr Tyler.


Pete, Jackie and Tony were shown into the chief's office and Ellie stood up, shaking hands with the two of them.

"I'm DS Miller, I work with DI Hardy and this is Chief Superintendent Jenkinson."

"Where's Rose, where is she staying?  That reporter implied she was staying with that detective, is that true?" Jackie asked.

The chief spoke up.  "Ellie, will you get a drink for Mr and Mrs Tyler and asked a WPC to take care of their son for a few minutes while we talk?"

Tony clung hold of his mother.

"It's ok, I've got two boys.  What's your name then?" Ellie asked the boy.

"Tony Tyler."

"Well Tony, while your mum and dad find out about your sister, let's go get you some juice and then you can come back?"

"OK.  Is that ok Mum?"

Jackie nodded and let him go, Ellie taking his hand.

"Mr and Mrs Tyler, your daughter is safe and well but she's currently not in Broadchurch.  I've just been informed that DI Hardy has been taken to the hospital in Dorchester and is in a critical condition and Rose is with him."

"What?  How do you mean she was with him?  When did that happen and why is she there?" Jackie demanded to know.

"Mrs Tyler, it's not for me to judge who your daughter spends her time with but she has become very attached to DI Hardy and I believe she was actually staying him.  They denied it for the sake of the press, which I don't blame them but she had been through a lot, coming back and finding out she had been missing for over four years when she found herself down on the beach, thinking it had been a few hours."

"I understand that and it does sound a bit like her and if she had no-one else, she would get attached to him.  What's wrong with him?" Pete asked.

"I'm not sure, DS Miller was going down to the hospital, she didn't think Rose should be on her own.  It's his heart."

Jackie gasped.  Trust Rose to find herself someone who's got something wrong with his heart when she used to have someone who had two of them.  Ellie came back in, leaving Tony with a WPC.  She was carrying a tray with tea and biscuits.

"DS Miller, you're going down the hospital, can they go with you?" the chief asked.

"Of course, it's not a problem, I can take you there. I'd call Rose but her phone, or rather his phone might still be off.  He's just gone into surgery a short time ago.  She doesn't know if he'll survive."

The chief was surprised at that.  How had he got through his last medical in that kind of condition?

"Then can we set off now?" Jackie asked.  "She needs to know we're here for her.  If she's made friends with him, she'll be gutted if the worse does happen."

"Just have your tea Mrs Tyler, he'll probably be in surgery for a while.  I'll try his phone."

The chief tried but there was no answer.  "She's probably only picking up when it's DS Miller, they've become friends.  Do you want to try Ellie?"

"We'll just go down when you're ready.  Do you need to find a hotel or have you already booked one?" she asked Pete.

Pete answered.  "No but we'll find one when we've seen Rose.  I'll hire a car when we get down there. It's not far is it?  I saw a sign when we came down, if we had known, we could have got dropped off there."

They finished their drinks and collected Tony, who was telling the WPC all about his toy zeppelin collection.  They loaded their luggage into Ellie's car and set off.


Rose was waiting for Ellie's arrival, wondering if she should call back but she had turned the phone back off, not wanting any distractions and she certainly didn't want to take a call from his ex.  Alec had been in almost an hour, what was taking Ellie so long?  Had she got caught sneaking off and had to go back to the case?  Maybe she had tried to cover for Alec and had to explain or just come clean with the chief.  It didn't really matter now.

Ellie was driving down to Dorchester, Tony chatting away in the back to his mother and Ellie smiled.  He reminded her of Tom at that age.  Pulling up in the hospital car park and using her police sign, she told the Tylers to leave their luggage then she would get it for them when Pete had a car delivered.  They walked to the main desk and enquired where Alec was, Ellie showing her ID badge.  They were directed past the café and Ellie saw Rose sitting outside a door she assumed was the operating theatre.

Rose looked up as she heard footsteps approaching, she had been staring at the floor, thinking about the first night Alec had got into bed with her when she had been having nightmares.  Then she heard a familiar voice.


"Mum?"  She got up and threw her arms around her mother.

"Are you ok Sweetheart?  What happened?  How did you get involved with him?"

"Please Mum, not now.  Where have you been anyway?"

"We went to Majorca, got a villa there in a resort.  Why did it take so long for us to find out where you were?"

"I'll explain everything later, all I want to do now is concentrate on Alec getting out of there alive."

Pete had stepped up, leaving Ellie to hold on to Tony, who had wanted to run to his big sister.  Rose gave him a hug.

"Trust you to find someone who looks like the Doctor," he smiled.

"I told you, I stopped all that a long time ago.  He doesn't know and I'm not telling him, ever.  I've been with him since I arrived here, he's been looking after me and I blame myself for him being in there but he never told me just how bad he was."

"Someone wants to see you," Jackie nodded towards a nervous Tony.

Ellie took his hand and led him to Rose and she scooped him up.

"Wow, you've grown, look how big you've got."

He gave her a big hug.  "Where have you been Rose?  I missed you."

"I missed you too Sweetheart, I've not really been anywhere, dad will explain it to you but right now, my friend is in there and he's very poorly."

"Are the doctors making him better then?"

"I hope so Sweetheart, I hope so."

"I'll take Tony and find a hotel order a hire car and come back.  Ellie was good enough to bring us down here."

"Thanks Ellie and I'm sorry I was off with you."

"It's ok, you were worried about him.  Any news yet?"

"No, not since they took him in."

"Well I'll take your dad to a nearby hotel and get back to the station, call me when you can, good or bad.  I'm here for you Rose, don't forget that."

"I won't Ellie.  Will you stay with me Mum?"

"Don't be daft Rose, of course I'm staying."

Ellie took Pete and Tony off to find a hotel and Pete said he'd be back and he would also get a room for Rose so she could be close by.  Jackie then asked her where she had been staying.

"Alec got a rental cottage by the river, you probably saw it, that blue chalet?"

"Oh yeah, I saw that, it looks nice.  So you've been there since you got back?  How did you get there?"

"The device, it landed me on the beach and I went to the police station when the numbers I had no longer worked.  I'm tired Mum, I got woken up at six when Alec collapsed."

"Sorry Rose, let me go get you something to eat, yeah?  Oh I've only got Euros, sorry.  I'll have to get Pete to go get some."

"It's ok Mum, I can't eat anything, I had a coffee earlier."

Jackie sat beside here.  "Well I'm not leaving either until he's out, I want to meet him."

"You'll like him Mum, he's Scottish and he's been taking good care of me and before you ask, yes, we're together, we just didn't want to spill it to the press."

"I didn't say anything did I?"

"You didn't have to."  Rose leaned back on the wall.  Jackie notice the carrier bag.

"Alec's things, he was only wearing a t-shirt and joggers, he'd just got up.  I heard him fall on the bathroom floor and I rushed over to him.  He's been ill for a while but he never told anyone, he was working on a case."

"I know, I saw him on TV.  I always watch the English channels in case there was anything about you, we only heard at six yesterday evening."

They sat in silence for another hour, arm in arm.  Jackie knew Rose would never leave until she knew what had happened.  No-one went in or out of the operating theatre which Rose didn't know if was good or bad.  Jackie supposed Pete would be sorting out a hotel and a car and would come back though a hospital was no place for Tony to be waiting around and wondered if there was somewhere else she could take him.  She knew Rose needed her.
Chapter 11
Rose got up and began to pace the corridor.  She had some change now and got two teas from the machine, for some reason she hated coffee from the machine way back in her old world and didn't expect it to be any better here.

"Rose, sit down Sweetheart, you're not doing him any good you know.  Tell me about him."

"I told you already, he's Scottish, he's divorced with a teenage daughter who doesn't talk to him.  He's 38 and a detective inspector, I can't tell you much else, he's been very quiet about what happened in the past, something about a case that went wrong before this one.  He blamed that for his health problem.  He never admitted he was so ill.  He told me he had to be careful and he was going to get help but he collapsed on me.  I can't lose him Mum, I can't go through that, not again."

Jackie rubbed her back, like she always did.  "He'll make it Rose.  Do you love him?"

Rose nodded.  "I don't now how it happened so fast, it's only been a few days but somehow, it was like I was meant to be here and meet him, that jump forward brought me to him.  It's the first time being here has made any sense."

"I know you never settled like I did, that you couldn't accept it, that's why you never stopped but now you've found someone, maybe you will.  You can't go off again anyway."

"I know that.  I'll have to get dad to tell me what happened, Alec reckoned that when he shut the device off, it took me forward at the same time."

"But Rose, he shut it down six months after you went missing, they kept it going 24 hrs a day in case you came back, he had people looking all over for you."

"Oh, then maybe it only threw me six months in the future and when he closed it down, it threw me off even further."

"You'll have to ask him.  Did they say how long it would take to fix him?"

"I don't know if they can, he's got a less than a 10% chance of surviving, they're trying to fit a pacemaker.  They've revived him once when he came in, they don't know if they can do it again."  Tears she had been trying to hold back were now falling down her cheeks.

Jackie turned around to face her.  This was the second time Rose had broken down after losing a man and if his regeneration counted as leaving her, it was the third time.

"He's still got a chance Rose, not a very good one but it's there.  What is it with you and older men?"

Rose thought that was obvious, having no dad to grow up with but she had no excuse now she had Pete back again.  Maybe she had latched on to Alec because he was older and was taking care of her but it hadn't stopped her falling in love with him.  Did she really love him yet or was she just saying it because that was what he needed to hear before going in there?  If he survived, it was clear she would have to decide and quickly.

Still no news, Jackie was trying to get Rose to eat something.  It was now almost eleven and he'd been in over two hours but she knew they couldn't rush this and most of it was preparation and keeping him alive.  It had been the worst experience of her life, watching the monitor earlier go still then come back to life again.  She would give anything to be in there with him, holding his hand, to let him know she was there.  He was so much like the Doctor, lonely and dependant on her.  She hoped he also had the Doctor's stubbornness.

Pete still hadn't come back and Jackie supposed he was waiting for a hire car to be delivered and keeping Tony entertained.  Rose had told her she still had no phone and she was using Alec's personal phone, it was probably the last thing on her mind.  Rose was leaning on her mother's shoulder, her eyes closed.  She was still tired with getting woken up early, it was late when she had got to sleep, they had just been lying together after they had put some clothes on, kissing.

Her eyes snapped open as she heard a door being opened opposite and a nurse came out, walking over to them.

"Miss Tyler?  The surgeon will be out in a moment to talk to you."

This was it, she knew it.  Alec was not coming out on his own.  Jackie tightened her grip on Rose, who was preparing herself for the worse.  If the surgeon was coming to talk to her, it was surely bad news?  A few minutes later, a man in a theatre gown came out, taking his mask off and stood in front of Rose and Jackie.

"Miss Tyler, we've done everything we possibly can.  His heart stopped after we fitted the pacemaker, it took several attempts to re-start it, there had already been a lot of stain with his last attack earlier."

Rose stood up and ran to the ladies room, feeling sick.  She knew it was all over, she didn't need to hear any more.

The surgeon watched her run off.  "Mrs Tyler?  She didn't let me finish, he's ok, we brought him round so perhaps you want to go and tell her.  I'll give you a few minutes, we're just finishing, we'll take him into intensive care, she can come and see him, I'll have a nurse fetch you if you just wait here.  It could be a while, we have to set up the machines and we're going to keep him sedated for another 12 to 24 hours to make sure."

"Thank you.  What's your name?"

"I'm Mr Graham, senior cardiologist at Exeter hospital.  It was touch and go, I'm told he should have had this done eighteen months ago, he's very lucky.  Maybe having someone to come back to finally gave him the will to come back.  I'll talk to her later when we've got Mr Hardy settled in ICU."

The surgeon went back inside and Jackie picked up the carrier bag and went in the ladies room after Rose.  Rose was sat on the floor in the far corner, hugging her knees and sobbing loudly.

"Rose, it ok, he's still alive!  You rushed off before he'd finished telling you.  Ok, so that wasn't the best way of putting it but that's how they talk I suppose."

Rose looked up.  "Are you certain Mum?"

"Of course I'm certain.  Why would I lie to you?  It was touch and go, they're putting him in intensive care when they've finished.  Someone will come and get us when he's settled, he's being kept under sedation for now.  The surgeon will talk to you when they've got him settled."

Jackie helped her to her feet.  "Get cleaned up Rose, then you can go and see him."

Rose managed a weak smile and grabbed a paper towel to dry her red face.  "Doesn't mean he's not out of danger though, does it?"

"I don't know Rose, it's up to him now but he knows he has you, that's probably made all the difference.  You have to think positive, for his sake."

They came out of the ladies and went to sit back down.  Jackie said she would call Pete and find out where he was while Rose went to see Alec.

"You should call Ellie and let her know, she was worried."

"I know.  The funny thing is, they didn't get on before this and she tried to warn me off him."

"I'm sure she was just watching out for you."

"Yeah, I know that now.  She didn't make it easy, with me just turning up and discovering I'd lost four years and my family and Alec was the only one who really cared."

"I'm sure she cared as well Rose but if Alec had taken it over, maybe she thought she was trying to protect you from being overwhelmed."

"She said something about him getting obsessive but he was just being friendly, maybe she didn't realise.  We were at her house last night for dinner and Alec thought she was trying to find out just how close we were."

Jackie smiled.  "Did she find out then?"

Rose smiled back.  "Well we did snog in her front room but she didn't catch us, unless she had a hidden camera."

Jackie laughed.  At least Rose had cheered up since she had arrived.

Pete had been busy after Ellie had dropped him and Tony at a hotel just around the corner from the hospital and had booked a double room for Rose and a family room for them and arranged for a hire car to be delivered.  Getting Tony some lunch after settling in their room, he waited for the car.  He didn't want to take his son back to the hospital, Rose was clearly involved with this police detective and as much as she loved and had missed her family, she needed to concentrate on him getting through his operation.

He had been horrified to discover what was wrong with the man she had found, that he had let himself get so bad and he was sure if he hadn't been rushed to hospital in time, he wouldn't have made it.  Tony was sat on his bed watching cartoons on the TV and playing with his toy zeppelin and Pete tried calling Jackie.

Back at the hospital they were still waiting for Alec to be moved when Jackie's phone rang.

"Pete, he's ok, he's out of surgery, isn't that great?"

Jackie sounded enthusiastic even though she had never even met the man.  It was enough Rose was with him.  "They're just taking him to intensive care."

"That's good Jaks, Tony's had his lunch, I think we'll stay here for now, we're just around the corner.  I got a room for Rose."

"I don't think she'll be leaving just yet, I'll stay as long as she wants.  I've tried to get her to eat but she won't.  I've got no English money either."

"Ok. I'll come back round and make sure you've got some, there must be a bank close by, Tony and I will have a walk and I'll get coffee and sandwiches for you both."

"Thanks Pete, see you soon."

A nurse came looking for them and took them to the ICU, Rose being allowed inside while Jackie waited with Alec's things.  The first thing she did was kiss his cheek then sat on the chair, getting as near as she could and taking the hand that wasn't attached to the machines.  Jackie watched her through the glass in the door, smiled and sat back down to wait for Pete turning up.

A nurse came in to check the readings and smiled at Rose, who had just closed her eyes, still holding his hand.

"Am I in the way?" she asked, yawning.

The nurse shook her head.

"How long will he be out for?"

"It's hard to say, maybe 12 to 24 hrs, the surgeon will advise you, he'll be in shortly.  I have to stay here now, sorry.  Don't mind me, lots of people sit holding hands with their loved ones.  It helps when they wake up, to feel someone is there."

Pete arrived with lunch for them and he knocked on the door to the ICU, taking Rose by the hand and leading her out.

"Rose, you'll not do him any good if you don't eat something.  He's right there, he's not going anywhere.  Have you called Ellie Miller yet?"

Rose shook her head, swallowing the bite of sandwich she had taken, not realising she had been so hungry.

"Then now's the time."

Rose finished her lunch and switched Alec's phone on.  She should have grabbed the charger she supposed.  She retrieved the number and used Pete's phone instead.

"Ellie, it's Rose, he's ok, he's going to make it."

"That's good news Rose.  Are you staying down there?"

"Yeah, my stepdad got me a room where they're staying, thanks for taking him.  Alec's in intensive care, I'm going to stay as long as I can but I haven't got anything with me."

"I'm sure they can go get some things for you if you ask them."

She got off the phone and Pete said they would go back to the chalet and throw some clothes into a bag and pick up a charger.  So giving him instructions how to get to the chalet and the key, they went back to Broadchurch and Jackie said they would put the things in her room and she would come back later.  Rose then went to sit at Alec's bedside and waited for him to wake up.  She turned the chair around to face him and took his hand, rubbing her thumb over it gently.

"Please wake up Alec, I need you," she leaned down and whispered in his ear.

The nurse came over, bringing the more comfortable armchair instead of the plastic one she was using.  She smiled at Rose and took the other one away.

"How long can I stay?"

"As long as you like Miss Tyler.  The surgeon has left now, he was called away but the doctor who assisted him will be here soon.  Mr Hardy will have round the clock care until he regains consciousness and then he'll be moved to a single room and monitored."

Rose had just closed her eyes again when she heard the door opening and the nurse touched her shoulder.  Rose got up and walked over to the doctor.  He explained that the surgery had gone well but they had trouble reviving him a few times and the final time it had been a few minutes but he had fought back.  He assured her she could stay as long as she wanted but advised her not to stay overnight and to leave her details if she was leaving.

Pete had found access to the chalet and Jackie had gathered what she thought Rose would need, noting she hadn't taken long to buy some new clothes and that she had probably been sharing a room with the detective judging by the look of things.  Pete found a phone charger and Rose's old phone, wondering why she hadn't bought herself a new one yet.  Tony was admiring the model boat in the window.

Rose had fallen asleep, lulled by the sound of the machines that Alec was hooked up to, his chest still bare and shaved slightly.  She was leaning her head on the side of the bed, slightly on his arm.  She wanted him to know she was there.  Jackie came back, persuading her to go to the café with them after she left Alec's personal number she was using, charging the other phone up.  They left Rose alone again, Pete promising to come back for her to walk her to the hotel later on.

Rose was finally persuaded to leave just after nine, saying she would be back at seven in the morning and was promised if anything happened or he woke up, they would call her.  She couldn't sleep, seeing his face lying beside her and smiling at him.  She had set the alarm for six thirty and was in the hospital just before seven but he hadn't woken up.  Taking some tea in with her, she turned the chair back to face him again and waited for him to wake up.  She got as close as she could and linked her hand with his.

While her eyes were closed, the nurse checked all the readings and the doctor came in and put something in his drip to wake Alec up slowly.  His eyes started to twitch and slowly he took in his surroundings, aware something was on his arm.  It was Rose's head and she was asleep.  He smiled weakly and the nurse noticed, coming over to check on him.  He just pulled a face that said "Ssh!" and the nurse smiled.

Rose woke with a start and lifted her head, a hand squeezed hers.  "Hey, you're awake at last."

"Hey yourself.  How long have you been asleep there?  Did you stay all night?"

Rose got up and moved the chair, leaning over and kissing his cheek.  He moved his head, indicating he wanted a proper kiss but he still had a breathing tube inserted so it was rather awkward.

"No, I got a hotel nearby.  Alec, my family came back."

"That's great Rose.  I'm really pleased."

He had just survived against all the odds and now it was time to find out if his new love was going to stay.  He needn't have worried.

Meanwhile back at Broadchurch Police Station, the murder investigation was going on, Ellie doing her best but out of her depth and knew now, she was not ready to become a DI but she was in charge until Hardy came back, if he ever did.  That depended on if Rose was staying, her family had moved away, it seemed she would go back with them.  Her phone rang, saying that Beth Latimer was downstairs, wanting to see her.  She walked into the interview room.

"Ellie, what's going on?  I tried to call DI Hardy but got told he wasn't available.  Is he still with that Rose Tyler?  Why is she more important than finding my son's killer?"

"Listen Beth, it's not like that.  We're all doing the best we can and no, he's not with Rose Tyler.  Well not exactly."

"Then what's he doing then?  He should be out there, bringing the killer in and now, the headlines are full of Rose Tyler, my Danny's been forgotten so don't tell me he's not with her, I saw them together and they looked very friendly towards each other."

"Beth, I can assure you, it has nothing to do with Rose Tyler coming back."

Beth got up and went towards the door.  "If I find out what they said about her and Hardy is true and he's with her instead of working, I'll tell every newspaper about it."

Ellie could understand her anger but not when Hardy had just survived an operation.

"Beth, listen to me.  I know you're angry but taking it out on them won't help."

"Don't think I don't mean it Ellie because I do.  I can understand her family missing her but it doesn't take a senior detective to look after her."

"Beth, he just got out of heart surgery, leave him out of it."

"What?  Are you serious?  He was leading the investigation and there was something wrong with him?  Oh that's just great.  You can't even put a decent detective on the case?"

"Listen here Beth, no-one knew there was something wrong with him, he never let on and it's probably the stress of the case that's made him worse so don't you dare think that no-one cares."

Ellie got up and stormed out of the room, leaving Beth to think about her words.

When Jackie got to the hospital, Rose and Alec were talking quietly, holding hands after Rose got up from leaning on his shoulder when she heard the door opening.  The nurse had just left them since it wasn't doing any harm and the man had just survived against all odds.  Rose introduced her mother to Alec, Jackie managing not to come out with he looked like someone they used to know, Rose had made it quite clear no-one was to tell him.

Pete came in later to take Rose back to the hotel, after they moved Alec to a private room on Pete's instructions, he still carried quite a bit of weight despite being gone a while.  The next morning, Alec was looking a lot better and having some breakfast when Rose walked in.  He still had a few wires in him but not as many as he did have and he was able to take his breathing tube out during the day so Rose pulled the curtain around and they managed to get some serious snogging in.

Just over a week later, Alec was allowed back home to the chalet, under orders to take it easy.  He was getting dressed after Rose had gone to get him some more clothes and Pete was waiting outside, having moved Jackie and Tony to a hotel in Broadchurch, the one right next to their chalet.  Rose was sat watching him.

"Something to say Rose?" he asked, fastening his shirt.

"I missed you Alec, you died on me, a few times."

"So I've been told.  I'm sorry I scared you.  I'll make it up to you as soon as I'm completely well."

"I know you will.  So, how about two weeks in Majorca yeah?  As soon as you can travel.  We'll go by zeppelin, spend a few days with my family then move down to a hotel in Palma and just relax by the pool."

"I'm not going in the water, you know that?"

"I'll get you to change your mind but you have to tell me what happened to make you frightened of it."

"I will, one day and I'll just be happy watching you in your bikini.  Now let's go home."

"We'll have to move soon you know, unless you want to spend the winter there?"

"I don't think so, especially if the river rises up, we could go floating down it overnight and I told you, I don't like water."

"Then why did you even take it?"

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Rose smiled and they went to get his discharge papers, Rose had already taken his other stuff back home and had got a new mobile, meaning to get a photo of Alec to put on the screen and his phone number.  The car had been returned to the station and he was keeping his mobile for now.  Ellie was no nearer finding out who had killed Danny Latimer and they were now almost four weeks into the investigation.

Alec was under strict instructions not to get caught up with the investigation from Rose but allowed Ellie to come round and talk to him and Rose had got a laptop and mobile internet and Alec used it to keep up to date with what was happening, to stop him going crazy at home.  He was allowed out so they would just go and have dinner with Rose's family and a walk around the harbour and after two weeks, Jackie and Pete decided to go back.

"You're coming over then?" Jackie asked on their last evening.

"Yeah, soon as Alec can travel.  He was determined to see this case through but I'm not letting him do much, am I Alec?"

Alec shook his head - he was working things out.  He may not be able to go out much but he could think, take a look at the case from the outside and it was all coming together.  He just had to bide his time, now he had some.

The End!

Continues in  'The missing heiress returns'