No Rose Tyler ever born here

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Rose Tyler comes back from another dimension jump to an empty Torchwood Tower. Everything and everyone is gone and she barely gets out.  She goes to what had been her home to find the original Jackie still alive and Pete has never met her but he takes pity on her and gives her some money.  She sees Alec Hardy on TV and thinks he's the Doctor and makes her way to Broadchurch.

Rose Tyler comes back from another dimension jump to an empty Torchwood Tower.  Everything and everyone is gone and she barely gets out.  She goes to what had been her home to find the original Jackie still alive and Pete has never met her but he takes pity on her and gives her some money.  She sees Alec Hardy on TV and thinks he's the Doctor and makes her way to Broadchurch.

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Chapter 1
An insight into what would happen if Rose comes back from another dimension hop to find she really never has been born on that world and she thinks that she, the Doctor and Mickey had never visited the first time and never met Pete.  Jake doesn't know her, Rickey is still alive then things get complicated as she realises the truth.  Apologies if this seems a little like some of my other stories but it is quite different and I wanted to explore other aspects of a similar idea.

Rose Tyler re-adjusted the settings on the wristband of her personal transporter as she stood on a busy street.  Another failed mission, another parallel world that wasn't hers and another failed attempt of getting home and finding her Doctor. Two jumps a week, that's all she was allowed by Pete and the Torchwood team, it had been a long seven years.  It had taken them four years to even get the dimension cannon to work safely and several team members had gone to test it.  Only then had she been allowed to use it and then a measly twice a week.

What was she meant to do the rest of the time she had wondered after getting the go-head from the project leader.  She had soon found out as it meant a day of physical check-ups from that creep Owen Harper, who seemed to take a bit longer than was absolutely necessary she thought and another day of painstaking reports to several department heads.  That took a whole week plus the actual getting ready to go.

She had said goodbye that morning to her mother and stepbrother Tony and gone off with Pete as usual.  Then she had stepped in front of the device to try yet another time to get back home, each of them knowing that if she found it, she wasn't coming back unless the Doctor brought her back so each time she went, Pete and Jackie's hearts almost stopped until she actually came back.

Torchwood's policy of carrying no ID was worrying though but Pete had made her see the importance, in case there was another Rose Tyler on the world and she wouldn't get kidnapped or held by the authorities as an impostor though she never stayed that long to actually get in that situation and would never reveal who she was.  She was always out in 45 minutes anyway and her device looked like an ordinary wrist watch to the untrained eye.  The only problem was if she ended up getting tangled up with another alternate version of Torchwood that were not so friendly.

So the minutes ticked by as Rose found a nearby bench and waited out her time, carrying only a simple card that was a bit like psychic paper that allowed it to be scanned and could get her basic items like food and water if she needed it, up to a limit of the local currency of roughly ten British pounds.  So she sat with an egg mayonnaise sandwich and a bottle of plain water, checking the read-out on her device for signs of a Timelord or anything that would indicate she had the right universe.  She knew it wasn't, it was London but the cars and buses, which were blue, not red, were on the other side of the road.  She threw her trash into a nearby bin and waited for the beep, it sounded just like any alarm going off so getting up, she stepped into a shop doorway and vanished.

She hadn't expected this as she opened her eyes.  The place was trashed, cables scattered around the place, very dim emergency lighting lit the large room.  There was no dimension cannon, just two levers that looked very familiar to her since she had let go of one and ended up on Pete's world.  She smiled.  She could have actually got back home, albeit by mistake but the signs were good.  It was feasible that Torchwood would have been closed down after the army of ghosts and the Cybermen fought mankind and the Daleks.

She was a long way up though and hoped there were no alarms set to go off at unwanted visitors such as the Cybermen returning.  She crossed to the window and looked out, the river and the buildings below looked familiar and there were no zeppelins in the sky that she could see but private ones had been on the decline after the Cyberman invasion and the demise of Lumic.  It was all a good sign.  She made her way to the stairwell, even if there was emergency power, there was no way on any earth she was going to get into a lift even though she remembered something about her mother saying how many floors it was down.

She took her time, landing after landing and making no attempt to look through any of the doors she passed on the way down, after what seemed like an age she got to a door marked 'G' and pushed it open.  There was a deserted reception area, thankfully as she had thought on the way down that it was just the top floor that was deserted and the rest of the building had been occupied, what with, she dare not think.  It could have been taken over by aliens, an unfriendly faction bent on taking over the world or simply the military.

If the building had been abandoned after the invasion, there were now plenty of signs of it.  The main doors were chained and padlocked, from the outside, rubbish littered the whole floor, telephones were off their receivers and outside, Rose could see security vans parked.  Whenever it had been abandoned, no-one was clearly getting back in.

Luckily, Rose knew a little known exit through the underground car park, if this building was identical to the one she had used just over an hour ago and went back to the stairwell and went down two more flights of stairs and through another door.  Luckily, the underground car park was deserted but through the mesh of the grill, another security van was parked on the ramp.  Fortunately for Rose, it was facing away from the interior, they were not expecting anyone coming out and Rose went to the furthest corner and just prayed the fire door was not alarmed or chained from the outside but hopefully, it had been overlooked in the haste to secure the building.

Rose was a little surprised that the building had not been cleared out completely and been re-occupied, it was a prime piece of real estate.  If she remembered rightly, the door from the outside did not actually look much like a door and the inside bar to the fire door was painted in camouflaged paint for it to blend in with the wall.

She reached it and held her hand out in the dim light filtering through the grill and found the metal bar.  It was a bit on the stiff side as she tried again but it wasn't budging.  She didn't want to make a noise though she could hear some music coming from the van radio and hoped it would cover any noise she was going to have to make in order to get out as she tried to get up the courage to put all her weight behind her and force the bar downwards.  She felt a slight pain in her side as with one final shove, the bar slid home and the door opened, even though the hinges were also stiff and some grass had grown behind it, she pushed her way out, rubbing the side she had favoured to get out.

She was going to have a bruise there later and would also have to get some painkillers for it but she was out and at the back of the building and no security vans in sight.  She quickly ran over to the next building after closing the door to so no-one would be alerted, she had no intentions of going back inside anyway and if she did, there was nothing she could do and made her way carefully to the front. There were a lot of people going in and out and some taxi cabs were just pulling in so as a woman got out, she got in the back seat and gave the address of what had been her home, hoping she was wrong about this not being her world and her mother would pay the taxi fare when she got back and for some unknown reason, Pete had ordered a complete shutdown of their operations and everyone had left in a hurry and that was why there was a security detail, since she had only seen the top and ground floors.

She doubted it mind you, she had already reasoned this was not her world but didn't want to think negative at this point until she met with Pete Tyler.  After all, it was just as feasible somehow, she had gone back in time to when she and the Doctor had been here the first time and Pete knew her but how would she get back to her own time?

She told herself just to concentrate on getting to Pete and had told the cab driver someone would pay when they got there but as they finally arrived and turned into the driveway, the driver told her as she was getting out he would put in on Mr Tyler's account.  Good, at least there was a Pete Tyler here.  She had glanced at the radio on the dashboard, it was just after 11am.

She was about to get her key out of her pocket but thought better of it if this was the wrong place.  She caught sight of who she thought was one of the servants and tapped on the door.

"Can I help you Miss?"

"Yeah, is Mrs Tyler in?"

This was bad, the girl should have recognised her.

"Just a moment please."

The girl went off.  The decorations were different, the sideboard looked a different shade of varnish and the paintings were different.  Suddenly, a small Yorkshire terrier came bounding towards her, yapping, followed by a "Rose, come here darling, come to mummy."

Rose looked in horror as a woman who looked like her mother stepped from one of the rooms.  The dog on Pete's world had that name, her name and the Doctor had laughed at the joke.  She saw Rose standing in the doorway and the maid spoke to her.

This Jackie scooped up the dog.  "What you want?  Who are you?  Well speak up then, lost your tongue?"

"Mrs Tyler?  Is Mr Tyler at home?"

"What do you want with him?  Who are you?  Pete, get out here now, some blonde bimbo wants you.  You been picking them up again?"

With that, she patted the dog on its head and turned away.  Rose knew she was not in Kansas anymore.

Pete Tyler heard his wife yelling.  He wouldn't mind if it was actually true but he had never strayed although he had been tempted a few times.  He had actually moved out a while ago and only came by to use his old office now Torchwood was gone and he missed being in the spy business, concentrating instead on his own company.

He came out and saw the young blonde woman in the doorway who was looking hopefully at him.

"Yes, what is it?  I'm rather busy."

"Mr Tyler, can I talk to you?  It's about Torchwood."

He grabbed her arm and pulled her inside.  "Shush, don't speak about that out here. Come into my study."

Rose followed him.  "So who are you then?" he asked, closing the door to the room she had been in on numerous occasions.

Rose looked around, instead of the laptop and tablet, there was a thin screen built into the desk, which he hurriedly covered with a sheet of paper.

"I'm called Rose, my surname isn't important but do you know me by any chance?"

"No, should I?  Funny, that's the name of my wife's dog."

Rose had heard that before, this could still be the same Pete Tyler, before he had met her.  If it was, all she had to do was wait a few months and he would open Torchwood and she could get back to her own time.

"Then can I ask you, your wife, has she had her 40th birthday party yet?"

Pete laughed.  "You mean her 39th don't you?  She made it very clear everyone had it wrong, even gave me a real roasting for getting the banners and the balloons wrong but that was a long time ago, it was back in 2006, seven years ago so what's your point?"

Rose's heart slumped.  This was not that Pete Tyler.  "Then at your wife's 39th party, did you see me there, dressed as a waitress?  I was with a tall man dressed as a waiter."

"Not that I remember but like I said, it was a long time ago but you seem to know me.  Go on."

"Mr Tyler, did that party get interrupted, violently?"

He looked at her.  "Everyone knows that was the night the Cybermen invaded, my wife and I barely got out.  All those people were captured and if that band of misfits hadn't stopped them no-one would be alive now."

It stood to reason the Cybermen had visited here, on their way to her old world but this clearly wasn't it or her adopted one.

"Then let me ask you this.  The group who stopped them, they were called The Preachers?"

"Come on, get to the point, everyone knew who they were, they became national heroes, even the President gave them amnesty and gave them an award."

"Yes but Torchwood was still active and the Cybermen used it, to leave this world."

"What?  That was classified, how do you know that?"

"Because I was with Torchwood but not on this world.  They crossed over, into mine."

She wasn't going to complicate things and say she had also come from one before that.

"Then how did you get here?  Listen love, anyone who gets caught if they haven't surrendered any ties with that organisation, gets locked up.  All the old regime had to swear in front of the President to relinquish all knowledge and ties with it and everyone did, except a few extremists who are now on the run.  You're not one of them are you?  'Cos if you are, I have a duty to turn you in."

"And turn yourself in Mr Tyler?  I saw your computer screen."

"You wouldn't dare, do you know who I am?"

"Yeah, on my world, you were my stepfather.  I don't want to turn you in so now we have a trade-off.  I got stranded here, we were experimenting with crossing parallel worlds and I ended up on this world, with no way back can you help me?"

Rose was fighting the urge to break down and cry as she worked it out but she had to be strong to get help.

"I can't help you Rose, whatever your name is.  There are a handful of us, that's all. No-one gets back into Torchwood Tower, it's guarded.  How did you get here?"

"I just landed, a short time ago at the top of the tower and walked down the stairs and I do know how many floors there are, I counted them.  I got out through a secret door at the back, the same as in our Torchwood.  There's no power in there."

"No, just emergency generators.  I hope you're not asking me to get you back in?"

He suddenly realised that was exactly what she wanted.

"No, not ever, I am not going there to get arrested.  I might not still be in love with my wife but I won't put her at risk, they take your families as well if they catch you.  Take my advice Rose, don't ever mention that name outside these four walls, if anyone hears and turns you in, they get a very large reward.  I'm lucky, I can hide it, I have the name and the power."

He went into his desk drawer and Rose thought he was going to pull a gun out but he brought out a cigar box and pulled out a false bottom.

"Here, take this money and leave London.  I take it you have nothing of your own?"

"Just what I'm standing in and a card that will let me spend a bit of money at a time but it won't last now I can't get it topped up."

She had already almost used half of it on the last parallel world.

Pete counted out £100.  "I know it's not much but if you get out of London, somewhere where it's cheap to live and get yourself a job, you'll be ok."

Rose had the money thrust in her hands.  Was that all she was worth?  She had been worth a small fortune.

"What am I supposed to do?  I don't belong here, didn't you hear that bit?"

"Of course I did but what do you want me to do?  I can't help you Rose.  Look, I can do one thing for you.  If indeed another man who was me on your world was your stepfather, which would make you a Tyler, if my wife found out, she would divorce me and it's bad for business so I can't pretend to be him for you but if you use the name, as long as you don't say I am, I won't pursue any legal action, ok?"

That was the best she was going to get.  She couldn't even go to Jake if he had never met her and there would be no Mickey here, just a Ricky so that was no use, she was well and truly on her own.

"Look, I'll have my driver take you to the coach station, just get out of London and remember, don't talk to anyone about Torchwood, don't even mention the name and if people ask if we're related, just say it's coincidence, everyone knows we have no kids, she never wanted to spoil her figure and we left it too late."

Rose looked at him.  "My mum married Pete Tyler in my world, I have a seven year old stepbrother, it's never too late to start a family."

Pete actually smiled at her.  "Well if I were ever to have had a daughter, I would have called her Rose, unlike that yapping menace my wife calls a dog.  I think it's best you leave and if you need a job reference, you can put me down, I'll vouch for you although I'm taking a big risk, not knowing you.  This could all be an elaborate ruse to trap me but you don't look like the type really."

"Thanks and thank you for trying to help me.  So there's no way I can get back in there and try to get back to my own world?"

"What's that thing on your wrist?"

"Oh, it's supposed to take me home, after a mission but it's stopped working, I don't know why.  It's suppose to recharge itself but this universe is out of sync somehow."

She remembered how the Tardis wouldn't work in Pete's world but the device had always worked, wherever she had landed and it was well over 45 minutes and should be charged.

"Look, even if you could get back in the tower and I got power restored, you could still end up anywhere, right?  You could be far worse off than you are now.  I'm sorry, I really am but I'm afraid you're stuck here."

Rose got up and Pete opened the door for her after calling his driver.  A car was waiting outside and this Jackie Tyler was glaring at her.  Rose didn't envy the man explaining things to her.  Pete walked her out and shook her hand.

"Dave will take you to the coach station.  Good luck and I hope you get sorted."

Rose got in the back seat and the car drove off.  She had barely been able to take things in and her head was still reeling with the fact she was totally out of her own universe.  If she could find someone she could trust to help her get her own device working again, she still might make it back but just who could she trust?

The car stopped outside the coach station, Rose noticed instead of Victoria it was called Elizabeth.  She was going to have to be very, very careful.  She looked at the destinations board after thanking the driver.  She had £100 and so she had to find the cheapest fare and the cheapest place to stay and find a job until she could get her device repaired.

Suddenly distracted from studying where she was the most likely to find a job, she looked at the TV screen and had to blink twice.  There, on the large screen was the name Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and looking again, there was a man she recognised, albeit with a hint of a beard, as the Doctor.  Under his name was the place the broadcast was coming from – Broadchurch.

Was the Doctor really here and using another name?  There was only one way of finding out and maybe Broadchurch was as good a place as any to find a job so she went up to the counter and bought a one way ticket and sat in the waiting area to board the coach to find out if this Alec Hardy was indeed the man she had lost and he had been searching for her all this time and had also got stranded here.
Chapter 2
Once on the coach, it was now getting on for 1pm and Rose thought it had seemed more like a lifetime.  Just a few hours ago, she had said goodbye to Pete before stepping in front of the device and disappearing, thinking she would be in time for lunch.  She had used some of the money Pete had given her to buy the bus ticket and a not so healthy burger and chips, dimension hopping always made her hungry and now she was regretting it.  She had about £70 left, maybe enough to get a couple of nights in a cheap B&B if she could find one if she couldn't find this Alec Hardy.

What she planned to do when she actually found him, she had no idea, if he was the Doctor though, he would welcome her with open arms or he could actually be a real detective and then what?  Did she tell him who she thought he was or just walk away?  There was no getting back now, her device still hadn't charged and unless she found someone to help her repair it, she was going nowhere else, she was stuck on yet another world she didn't belong in.  How did she keep managing it?

She decided that if this Alec Hardy didn't want anything to do with her, she would try to get a job where they didn't ask any questions then go back to London and try and persuade this world's Pete Tyler to help her get back into Torchwood and see if there were any spare vortex manipulators lying around though she suspected everything would have been removed when the place had closed down.

The next thing she knew, the driver was calling out 'Broadchurch' and she was the only one getting off and Rose surmised that since the word 'murder' had been accompanied by its name on screen, people would have changed their holiday destination in a hurry.  She got a few stares as she got up and thanked the driver, who asked if she had any luggage.  Rose just shook her head.

She had been dropped by a bus shelter at the edge of a large patch of grassed area in front of an amusement arcade, a white painted pub just to the side and she was just across from the harbour.  It was now almost four in the afternoon, the coach had taken ages and she was dying to use the loo and thought about nipping into the pub but spied a sign for the public ones across the other side of the road and followed it.  When she came out, she hit lucky and found herself staring at the sign for the Police Station.

She walked up to the desk.  "Hi, can I see Detective Inspector Hardy?" she asked hopefully.

The desk sergeant shook his head.

"Sorry Miss, he's out.  Is it to do with the Latimer case?"

Rose vaguely remembered the boy who had been killed may have had that name.

"No, it's sort of personal.  Do you know when he'll be back?  Can I wait for him?"

"I don't know if he will.  Maybe you'd best come back tomorrow Miss."

It was all very well him suggesting that, what was she supposed to do until then?  Have a look around the back to see if there was a 1950's Police Box parked up somewhere?  It would be the best place to hide the Tardis, if he really was the Doctor.

"Can I wait a little while, to see if he comes back?  Oh and is there a tourist office anywhere?"

"It's up in the town but it will be closed now.  On a day visit are you?"  He was still writing something down, Rose just hoped it wasn't about her but why would it be?

"Oh, it's just that I've only just got off the coach, I've got nowhere to stay tonight.  Are there any cheap B&B's around here?"

The sergeant looked at her as if to say does this look like the tourist board?

"Try the pubs on the front or try the harbour newsagents, they have ads in the window.  Bit late to be organising somewhere to stay at his time, didn't you think of that before you set off?"

"I came at the last minute."

"You a friend of Hardy's?"  The sergeant didn't think the gruff detective would possibly have any friends, yet alone a young blonde.

"Not exactly, that's why I came here, I think I used to know him shall we say."

"Please yourself if you wait but you can't stay long if you have no real business here, my boss will want to know why you're waiting and why I let you.  Have you travelled a long way?"


"Might have guessed.  You want a cuppa Miss?" he asked, opening the counter.

"Thanks, just milk."

He came back and handed her a mug of tea, it looked a bit strong but she was in no position to argue with him so she just took it and said "Ta."

Just before five, Rose had been to the ladies again, she never usually went so often and put it down to nerves and the fact she'd had a bit of a shock being torn away from her adopted world.

"I'd best be off then, thanks for letting me wait.  If he comes back tonight, can you tell him Rose Tyler was looking for him?  I'll come back tomorrow morning."

"Yes Miss, if he comes back tonight though I doubt it now."

Just then, the main door opened and a woman with brown curly hair came in, followed by Hardy and Rose got up.  The woman made for the door to the stairs but Hardy strode up to the desk, pointing to Rose.

"Sir, that woman there's been waiting for you."

Hardy huffed and turned around.

"Well, what do you want, I've not got all day."

"Doctor?" Rose asked, sitting back down before she fell down.

"You want a doctor?  This is a Police Station, whoever you are," he huffed again in his Scottish accent.

"Rose Tyler and I don't need a doctor, I just thought you were someone I used to know."

Rose thought he was either a very good actor, well he looked like one from her world or he really didn't know her and it wasn't him.  She was just waiting for him to start acting all goofy and sweep her into one of his bear hugs.

"Well I'm not so stop wasting my time, Miss Tyler, I have work to do."

He was about to open the door to the stairs when he turned around.  The desk sergeant was taking no notice, his responsibility had ended now Hardy was here.

"Wait a minute, are you related to Peter Tyler, from Vitex?"

Hardy was thinking it would be just his luck for someone who was related to one of the most powerful men except for the president to walk into his station and if he refused to help them, would bring down the man's wrath.

Rose could have taken advantage of it but had promised Pete Tyler she wouldn't and he was the only man who could possibly help her get back home so she didn't want to cross him.

"No, I'm no relation, people ask me that all the time, it's an occupational hazard.  Has anyone told you that you look like someone else?"

Hardy huffed again, just who was this irritating blonde who was trying to infer she knew him?

"Not recently.  What has that to do with anything?  I really don't have time for this so be on your way, wherever you came from."

He still had his hand on the metal handle of the door.

"Detective, I can't go home, I need your help."

Rose sank back on the chair and covered her face, she was fast losing it and she hadn't done that in a long time, the Doctor had taught her to be strong but this clearly wasn't him.

He changed his mind and grabbed her arm.  "Come with me."

He led her to an interview room with a leather sofa, two chairs and a low table with magazines, obviously meant for less formal interviews.

"Care to explain just what you meant by that last statement Miss Tyler?  This isn't the lost and found department you know and I don't know what your little game is, coming in here and pretending you know me.  Now give me one good reason why I shouldn't book you with wasting police time?"

"Book me then, at least I'd get a cell for the night."

"What do you mean?  Where are you staying?"

"Nowhere.  I was in London, I saw you on TV and I thought you were someone I used to know but now I know you're not so if you let me go, I'll be out of your way, then I won't be your problem, will I?"

"And where were you intending on going?  If you've not got anywhere to stay, where are your belongings?"

Rose wanted to say in another universe but that may have been a bit too much.

"I haven't got any, I just got on a coach and came down here.  If it turned out you weren't who I thought you were, I was going to stay a few days and then go back, what to, I don't know.  I don't belong here."

"In Broadchurch or London?" Hardy mused.

"Both.  I don't belong here, in this world so lock me up and tell me I'm mad or something because it really doesn't matter.  You told me to go home, I can't, not unless I get some help."

She risked everything and revealed her device on her wrist.

"You think this is a watch that doesn't work any more?"  The screen was blank.

Hardy hardly glanced at it.  "You tell me."

He was now sat opposite, he was feeling tired and he really needed his pills right now but not in front of a stranger.

She remembered Pete's warning about speaking the name Torchwood but it really didn't matter now, at least in prison she would have roof over her head and three meals a day.

"I worked for Torchwood."

"What?  You do realise I could have you taken and tried right now?"

"Yes but you won't."

He was getting more irritated with the blonde by the minute.

"Humour me and tell me why not."

"Because you have a secret as well."

Her dealings with many people had taught her well and he wasn't a well man.

"You're hiding the fact you're ill and you'd lose your job."

"How could you possibly know that?"

She had read all the signs and didn't need any devices to tell her but she still wasn't sure what was wrong with him but she had him and he knew it.

"Let's just say I know enough and I need you to trust me with what I'm about to tell you.  You keep my secret and I'll keep yours, deal?"

"No, not until you tell me you won't mention that name again in here, do you know what they do to people like you if you don't declare yourself?"

"Yes and I do know Pete Tyler, well sort of.  I met him this morning, he warned me."

"Then why are you risking yourself to tell me?  What makes you think I can help you?"

"I don't know but I've no-one else to turn to, Pete Tyler gave me a warning and £100 and told me to get out of London while I still could and never tell anyone I was related to him."

"You said you weren't."

Hardy was getting agitated and if she knew there was something wrong with him, what had he to lose?  She was hardly in a position to tell on him so he went in his jacket pocket and got some water from the dispenser in the corner.

"Don't gloat Miss Tyler, it was a lucky guess on your part.  Know anything else about me you care to threaten not to share in return for my help?"

Rose smiled, the first time since she had left her mother and brother that morning.

"Are you ok?"

"I will be, these aren't a long-term solution but until I find that killer, it's the best I can do."

"I'm not related to this Pete Tyler though he said he wouldn't take legal action if I used the name.  He was my stepfather – on a parallel world."

Hardy almost choked on the water he was just swallowing his pills with.


Rose thought he was almost as bad as the Doctor she had hoped this Alec Hardy was.

He recovered sufficiently.  "Tell me you're having me on.  I've got enough there's a child killer out there, I don't need this crap.  So you're an alien?"

Rose smiled again.  "Not exactly but I used to know one, one who looked identical to you in actual fact but no, I'm just as much a human as you are, one with maybe a dodgy heart?"

Hardy frowned and put the empty plastic container on the table.

Rose continued.  "This non-working device on my wrist, it enables me to travel between dimensions, parallel worlds and it's broken, it won't recharge and I'm stuck, I can't get home."

Hardy smiled, something extremely rare for him as defined by his new colleagues calling him grumpy-arse behind his back this last week.

"So you're a dimension-hoping alien?"

"I'm not an alien so get that into that thick Scottish head of yours.  I'm asking for your help detective because I've got hardly any money on me and I don't belong here, I need to get this repaired and get home.  Please, I have no-one else to trust."

"What about Peter Tyler?  Won't he help you again?"

"He wants nothing to do with me, he's scared they'll arrest him and his wife if he associates with me."

"Why would he think that?  They only arrest family members, they don't arrest you if you turn someone in."  Then it dawned on him.  "Oh, Mr Tyler has something to hide, doesn't he?"

"Hmm, I can see how you became such a great detective.  He doesn't want to risk anything and besides, Torchwood is well secured, there's no getting back in.  I can prove where I came from."

"I'm sure you can Miss Tyler but I'm tired and I'm hungry.  Have you eaten today?"

She thought about the burger and chips from the fast food outlet that tasted bad whatever universe you were in, funny it had the same name though.

"Had a really bad takeaway before I got on the coach.  Can you help me find somewhere to stay that doesn't cost much?"

Hardy laughed.  "Around here, you are joking?  Come with me and I'll get you something to eat then we'll see about your accommodation.  I have a room up at the Traders hotel that I'm paying double for so I'm entitled to double food.  By the time we walk up, the dining room will be open, I'll talk to the owner."

"Won't she ask questions?"

"I'll think of something, just don't go telling her you're my wife or something equally as stupid.  Then you can tell me more and I'll ask if there are any single rooms."

"I can't afford to stay in a hotel."

"Well you can't sleep on a bench by the harbour, how much money have you actually got left?"

"Not enough, I thought it would be cheaper than London down here.  I was obviously wrong."

"Why do I always get them?" he muttered to himself as he indicated for her to get up.

"It's the holiday season, everyone puts their rates up and in case you've not noticed, no-one had been coming here for the past week, it's a murder town, all except the rubberneckers and the vultures who are also known as the press.  I was lucky, the police are paying for my room and the owner daren't put the price up or they'll move me."

"So you've just arrived here as well?" she asked, getting up and moving his arm that he hadn't realised was still on hers.

"Yes, just not from a parallel world."

They walked up the long way round, up the road that ran behind the Police Station and were soon up on the High Street.  Hardy turned into a hotel and told Rose to wait by the door, there was no-one in reception but a woman came out of the dining room.

"Detective, you're early this evening.  Want your key?  Do you know when the beach will be re-opened by any chance?"

"I can't tell you that Becca, sorry, it's a slow process.  I have my friend with me, she's just arrived from London and as I'm paying for a double room, is there any chance I can get her something to eat?"

"Sure, we're not exactly busy in case you hadn't noticed.  What's your friend called?"

She looked over at Rose who had flopped down on the sofa opposite.

"Rose."  He had to think about that for a moment.

"Does she need a room, we're not exactly sort of space."

"No, not yet, I don't know how long she's staying."

He took his key and waved Rose to join him and they walked up the stairs.  It wasn't quite time to eat and he wanted to talk to her again.

Rose sat on the chair once they were in his room.  It was fairly large compared to some hotel rooms she had been in.  She looked at the comfortable double bed and didn't realise just how tired she was and she didn't know where she would be sleeping tonight.  She thought Alec Hardy was going to ditch her as soon as he had seen she was fed.

"Come on then, you have half an hour to convince me you're from another dimension and then I'm going to take you down to the police cells and lock you up until morning for vagrancy and put you on a bus to the next town, then you won't be my responsibility."

"I told you, you might as well lock me up now so why did you bring me here?  Just so you could show me where you'll be sleeping tonight and I'll be on a cell bench?"

"Ouch, that was a bit below the belt Miss Tyler."

"You told that woman my name was Rose, you were actually taking notice earlier."

"I'm a trained detective but it doesn't mean I have to keep calling you by your first name, in fact, I don't have to keep using your name at all, there's only the two of us, you know I'm talking to you, even if I'm not looking at you."

"I suppose you have a point, detective."

"Don't be sarcastic, it doesn't suit you and you're wasting time because I will take you back down there if you don't talk to me."

"You had Cybermen here, didn't you?  A few years ago."

"That proves nothing."  He sat on the edge of the bed and took his tie off, unbuttoning two buttons.

"I know where they went.  They used Torchwood to cross dimensions.  They started off in another parallel world, landed here as sort of a stop-gap then they carried on – to where I come from."

"Go on, you've got my attention."

"Did they try to take over your world?  I reckon they tried to convert some of the population here with a 'Free upgrade' then when they had enough, they took over this world's Torchwood and carried on their journey, going from world to world and amassing an army.  They appeared from nowhere, didn't they?"

Hardy looked at her and shook his head.  "You really are from a parallel world Rose Tyler.  Yes, they tried to convert the population but they were stopped, in London."

"I know that, Pete Tyler told me, by a group who called themselves The Preachers who sent them on their way."

"I expect that's what they did since they all got locked up, so we were told."


"So Peter Tyler never told you that bit?"

Rose shook her head.  She had assumed on the way down here, they had simply been stopped and prevented from coming back by closing down this world's Torchwood, what else could have happened?

He could see by her face she was surprised.

"They were stopped, that was true and they did eventually use Torchwood to get away but they were all rounded up and locked in factories, until people began to question it, saying they had rights and they used to be like us and all that time, they plotted their escape and used Torchwood to do it.  The Preachers just made sure they never came back.  So you don't know as much as you think, do you?  We're not supposed to talk about it but you already seem to know most of it."

"Well yeah but now I'm not so sure I'm on the wrong world detective."

"What do you mean?"

"Well that was more or less what happened on the world I thought I'd just come from and they can't have done that on two of them.  Tell me, was there a John Lumic on this world?"

Hardy stared at her.  "That's classified and if you think you'll get locked up for mentioning Torchwood, that's a tea party compared with anyone knowing what Lumic did."

"Ohmy…." The realization hit her like a ton of bricks, this was her adopted world but it had somehow been changed.  It was like she, Mickey and the Doctor had never been here and things had taken place on their own, without their intervention.

She got up and was about to run off when he stopped her.

"Oh no you don't, where do you think you're going?  If I don't protect you, your life is over, especially if you know about Lumic."

"Then what about you?"

"I'm allowed to know, all the police are but they're not all as friendly as me, I'm all that's between you and life in prison."

Rose flopped back down.  She was hoping to find her old friend but now she was totally at Alec Hardy's mercy.  She had got out of the frying pan and into the fire and there was nothing she could do about it.
Chapter 3
Rose sat back down on the chair, she was tired, hungry and had nowhere else to go.

"I'm only staying because you promised to take me to dinner."

She sat defiantly, her arms crossed.  She would not let him see she was already defeated.

"Whatever you say.  Then shall we go?"

Rose got up.  "And what then?"

"We'll see about that after we've eaten.  Don't worry, I'm not going to hold you prisoner or anything but since you've nowhere else to go, maybe you could stay here a while?"

"What with?  No money, remember?"

"Then get a job."

"Just how am I supposed to do that?  I don't exist here.  Pete Tyler and his wife never had children.  He said I could use his name, he's not exactly going to rush out and adopt me.  Look, can we talk about this later?  My stomach's rumbling."

"Fine but I want to hear the rest of your story afterwards.  You said he was your stepfather, where you came from."

"Detective, in case you weren't listening a few minutes ago, this is my world, or rather my adopted one."

"You seem to have left something out, enlighten me.  What do you mean your adopted one?"

"I refuse to take this any further until I've eaten detective."

"Ok, let's go."

Over dinner, Hardy told her about what had happened in the town in the last week since Rose had no idea what had been going on.  Then quietly, he admitted what was actually wrong with him over a drink in the empty bar.

"So can't you get help?"

"Yes but not until after I solve this case, then I'll get something done but now, you've just added yourself to my problem, while-ever you're in my town."

"Fine, then I'll do what you threatened to do, get on a bus and leave."

"At ten in the evening?  Are you crazy?"

Rose thought he had a point.  "Well first thing in the morning then but it doesn't solve my problem.  It's all very well, you sitting here and buying me a drink but it's not finding me any place to stay tonight, is it?"

Hardy thought about going out and paying Becca for a single room for the night but not when he had a perfectly good room of his own, he could put up with the blonde for one night.  It was fairly warm and if he slept on top and her in the bed, it was a perfectly reasonable arrangement and if indeed she did opt to leave in the morning, she would be out of his hair.

"Drink up, you have some more explaining to do Miss Tyler."

"Fine, I never wanted a drink anyway, I'm tired.  So where are you going to dump me, in one of the cells?"

"No, my room."

"What?  Now you're the one who's crazy if you think I'm staying in your room tonight."

"I can think of a dozen witty remarks to that comment but I'm really not in the mood right now.  It's a cell or my room, your choice and as you've seen my room and my rather comfortable bed, I'd say that comes out on top."

Becca was nowhere to be found, another girl was just sat behind reception so he never bothered asking if his visitor could stay the night and the hotel owner had probably assumed that she would since she had stayed for dinner.

Hardy went into the dresser drawer and brought out a clean white t-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts in a packet he hadn't got around to opening and tossed them over to her.  It was now after ten and since he didn't sleep much and had to be up at seven, he decided it was bedtime.

"You can wear these tonight, go get changed in the bathroom and wash your underwear, if you put it on the radiator it should be dry by morning.  You can sleep in the bed, I'll sleep on top, there's an extra blanket in the wardrobe and it's not that cold.  Just make sure you don't snore."

Rose caught the items he offered her.  "Excuse me, I do not snore, just make sure you don't.  Geez detective, you're skinny," Rose remarked, holding up the boxers she took from the cardboard holder, tossing back the remaining two pairs.

He just raised his eyebrows at her.  "Get changed then we'll talk."

"I'd rather talk first, still wearing my clothes, thanks."

She sat on the edge of the bed, wishing she could just lie down and wake up in the morning to find this had all been a nightmare, like the recurring one she had of losing grip of the lever and being caught by her real stepfather and being brought to another world against her will.

"You said earlier, your adopted world, care to explain that?"

"Ok, shortened version since you already think I'm certifiable.  Cybermen, escaped the factories, mapped themselves onto my original world, Torchwood here stopped them coming back by closing the gap they made.  Me, in my original world, stopped them taking over, tried to close another gap, I got taken into the world they came from which apparently is this one but it's different, it's changed."

"Ok, I'm with you so far, elaborate."

"Ok.  Me and two friends came to this world although now it appears we didn't, like we haven't been here, that's why things have changed.  Keeping up?"

Hardy nodded.

"We got here by accident, found out about the Cybermen, the hard way, the Preachers helped us stop them and they got locked inside factories.  Still with me?"

Another nod but he was getting annoyed and wished she would just get on with it.

"Me and one of my friends went back, one stayed to help lock up the Cybermen.  The Pete Tyler we met helped in the background, keeping a low profile.  Torchwood was still going strong with the government's blessing but the Cybermen assassinated the president, I saw it with my own eyes.  The Cybermen, like you said, plotted to get out while everyone was arguing, using this Torchwood to do it, taking it over.  Pete Tyler and the Preachers stopped them getting back here, found out where they had gone, which was my world and used portable devices, similar to mine to come and help us."

"Ok.  Let's say I believe you, so far.  The president never got assassinated, he retired."

"Yeah, well not in my version, like I said, I saw them put a hand on his shoulder and electrocute him.  Anyway, me and my friend were already at the Torchwood in my world, we found out that ghosts that were suddenly appearing everywhere were actually Cybermen, Pete and his friends arrived and since they had blocked off their world, we had to trap them between worlds.  Something went wrong, another shall we say hostile enemy was also involved and they were fighting each other.  Pete Tyler brought me and my mother here but I went back to help my friend.  At the last minute, something happened and I almost got pulled in with the Cybermen, Pete came back for me at the right time and I got trapped here."

"But if you were safe here, why did you as you describe it, go dimension hopping to different worlds?  Were you trying to find the Cybermen?"

"No, I wanted to get back to my old world, to the friend I left behind."

"He was your boyfriend?"

"Something like that.  It took us four years to build a device to go through to parallel worlds, we developed these portable devices to take us back but mine's stopped working, they only work on other worlds not my own."

Then it hit her.  "I can't get it repaired, I'm already there and Torchwood is my only hope.  Something went wrong detective, something has changed and I never came here the first time, me or my friends.  That's why Pete Tyler doesn't know me, he never took over Torchwood after the Cybermen disappeared.  He never followed them and came to help us, never brought me or my mother here and his wife survived.  She got turned into one of them, I saw her.  He stopped them, maybe or maybe it was just the Preachers on their own.  Don't you see? Torchwood were so dangerous because they let the Cybermen take over too easily so they were banned along with anyone who worked for them."

Hardy was staring at her.  She was well out of it if she believed all this and if he believed it, he needed locking up alongside her but right now, they both needed to sleep.

"Look Rose, I understand what you're trying to say.  You believe you came back, to the right world but it had been altered.  Isn't that a bit 'Back to the future' like?"

"Yeah, somehow, someone or something changed it, me and my friends never came here or if we did, we never met Pete Tyler and never helped stop the Cybermen.  That means my original world could have been overtaken by them."

"I seriously doubt that, if you were still there to stop them but then how did you get here?"

"It's a paradox, an endless paradox."

Rose slumped in the chair at the realisation of what they had just talked about.  Her real mother had either ceased to exist or she was back in their original world, maybe changed into a Cyberman so she still didn't exist

"Go get changed Rose and get some sleep.  It's Saturday tomorrow, we'll figure out what to do with you."

"You mean take me to the nearest funny farm and have me put in a padded cell?"

"Maybe, I've not decided yet but you tell no-one else about this, do you understand me?"

Rose nodded and picked up the things he had offered, walking to the bathroom.

"If anyone asks, I'll say you're my ex girlfriend trying to make up with me and don't you say otherwise.  At least until we've decided what to do with you."

"I can make my own decisions thanks detective."

"Don't keep calling me that, it's Alec though I really hate the name."

"I could always call you Doctor."

"That I don't need.  Was the 'Doctor' the one who got left behind, the one you were trying to find?"

Rose just called out a 'yes' as she closed the bathroom door.  He waited for her to come out of the bathroom, debating whether to call Miller and ask her to escort this woman out of the county first thing in the morning.  Why should he care?  So she didn't belong in this world, what was that to him?  He should turn her in but technically, she hadn't worked for this version of Torchwood and how would he explain that to the president's committee?  Plus, if he helped her, he would put himself in danger, police or not but if Peter Tyler could remain hidden all these years, it would be easy and no-one knew her.  That was half the problem though, she had come from nowhere so therefore she had no ID and she had told him Tyler had no offspring.

In the bathroom, Rose got changed into the t-shirt which was too big and the shorts that weren't that bad a fit she supposed and she ran some hot water and used some liquid soap the wash her underwear, putting them on the radiator when she had rinsed the soap out.  It would be embarrassing when the detective went in though but he had suggested it.  Maybe he had been married at one point.  She looked in the mirror, she looked pale and tired, both hardly surprising under the circumstances.

Then she sat on the edge of the bath and found herself bursting into tears as it finally hit home.  She was in the right universe and totally alone, apart from the sort of friend she had just made.  Now she had to rely on him, at least until morning, to decide her fate. Would he really hand her over or just get her out of town?

Hardy was waiting to use bathroom twenty minutes later so he went to knock on the door.

"Rose, are you ok in there?"

No answer but he could hear water running.  Rose was trying to wash her red face where she had been crying.

"Rose, open the door please or I'll have to force it, how long does it take you?"

The Doctor had never complained how long she had taken in the bathroom.

She went to open it.  "Ok, keep your shirt on Alec, I'm out."

He looked at her.

"Have you been crying in there?"

"Why should you care, you'll be putting me on a bus in the morning."

She crossed over to the bed and pulled back the sheets as he closed the bathroom door.  She laid on her back but when she heard the door open again, she turned onto her side.  Alec got the blanket out and turning out the remaining bedside lamp, covering himself with the blanket, lying looking up at the ceiling.

"Goodnight Rose, you'll feel better in the morning."

"No I won't, how will I?  This isn't going to go away Alec, I'm stuck in a world I don't belong in and to make it worse, it's beyond all recognition.  I might as well just let myself get caught."

"Don't say that, believe me Rose, I've seen what they do to people.  They think they'll never get caught then they tell the wrong person and before they know it, they are in front of a hearing.  There's no plea, no remission, it's life.  If you are found guilty of knowing what Lumic did and you haven't sworn to renounce everything, everyone got one chance to turn their backs, if they didn't take it, that was it, no second chances and well you don't even want to go there, it's ten times worse.  There's no getting out, ever.  Those Cybermen destroyed our way of life, made everyone paranoid that they would come back."

"They're not coming back Alec, ever.  They're in a place called The Void, the space between worlds.  The device we used wasn't big enough for them to get through, that was if they ever found it.  Goodnight Alec, do what you have to in the morning, it doesn't matter now.  I don't exist here."

What was she trying to do to him?  He was actually starting to feel sorry for her, it must have been a hell of a shock to her if it was true.  She had probably been watching too much television or Back to the future.  He laid on his back and tried to get to sleep.  It was deadly quiet except for background noise coming from outside and he could swear he could hear a soft sound of sobbing.  He turned over onto his side, to face Rose's back and put his hand on her shoulder.

Rose shrugged him off but he persisted.  "Rose, turn around, please?"

She remained where she was.  He tried again.  "Come here Rose, it's ok.  I promise I won't put you on a bus in the morning, alright?  Not unless you agree to go."

"I told you, I'll get out of your way in the morning."

"And where will you go?  Look Rose, even if you succeed in getting into Torchwood, what then?"

"I don't know, I'll think of something.  The Doctor told me never to give up."

"Turn around Rose."

She hesitated a moment then felt his hand on her shoulder again, higher up where the t-shirt gaped open.

"Don't get any funny ideas or you'll get my elbow in your ribs, bad heart or no bad heart Mister."

Alec chuckled.  "Really Rose, is that the best you can do?  I'm ill, what can I do?  Come here.  Hit me if you want but you need a shoulder to cry on, come and take it all out on me."

She slowly turned around and he opened his arms, Rose fell into them and let the tears flow.

"It's ok Rose, get it out of your system.  I hate to admit this but I actually believe you.  It makes no sense to me, this is the way things have always been for me, well since the Cybermen but since you apparently weren't even here then you wouldn't know.  You know all the changes, so tell me, tomorrow."

"I thought you were putting me on a bus?" she sobbed, wetting his t-shirt sleeve even more.

"Let's just say I had a change of heart, on one condition, you tell me everything and don't leave anything out.  Your family, how you got here the first time and why you were trying to get back to your friend.  My t-shirt's soaking wet now and you've got my other only clean one until I get my laundry back."


He tightened his hold on her and kissed her hair.  "Get some sleep and after breakfast, I'll take you shopping for some new clothes, just a change mind you so don't get any ideas, well except for maybe something to sleep in so I can get my t-shirt back."

Rose managed a bit of a giggle.  He moved an arm and moved her hair back out of her eyes.  He could just make her features out from the lights outside.  He touched her cheek and tried to brush back her tears from the side of her face that wasn't buried in his chest.  It felt good, holding a woman close, there had been no-one in his life since his ex wife.  He put his hand on her shoulder again, touching her bare skin as the t-shirt was too big for her and hanging off.  He shifted her slightly so she wasn't lying on the wet patch of his own t-shirt.

She looked up at him as he reached to kiss her forehead, her face still half buried.

"Rose, listen to me.  Get some sleep, we'll figure everything out in the morning, just relax but you have to stop crying because I'm going to move you to the other side, I don't want you sleeping on my wet t-shirt, ok?"

Rose nodded.  "You stay there, I'll move over."

He gently moved her so she flopped onto his pillow and climbed over her.  Then she moved onto her side to face him and he took her back in his arms again.

"Stopped crying now?"

"Yeah, thanks."

"Good otherwise I may have to take my t-shirt off then you really are in trouble."


Rose was vaguely aware she was lying on someone but couldn't remember where she was until she felt something prickly on her forehead.  Then she realised it was the detective who she had thought was the Doctor.

"Morning Rose, how are you feeling now?" he asked, trying to move her to get some feeling back in his dead arm.

Rose scrambled away from him, realising at some point he had got under the covers and she could feel his hairy legs.

"Don't bother, you've been sleeping on me all night."

"Sorry.  What time is it?"

"Seven thirty, breakfast is eight until nine so if you want to get a shower, go do it now.  When we've eaten I'll take you down to the superstore to get some clothes.  While you're getting your shower, I'll arrange to pick a car up for the weekend."

Rose was trying to extract herself from the tangled bedclothes.  "Should you even be driving in your condition?" she asked, stepping onto the carpet and aware the t-shirt she had borrowed hardly covered her legs.

It was too late, he had already seen but wasn't going to make a fuss over it, she had laid on him all night after all and he knew for a fact there was nothing under the t-shirt since her bra was hanging over the radiator and he had woken to feel her breasts on his chest, a very nice feeling at that and feelings he definitely should not be entertaining further down in his shorts but he couldn't get attached to her and if he did, he couldn't follow it up.

"You sound like my GP, I've already had the 'If you don't change your lifestyle you'll end up dead' speech so I don't need another one from you.  To say you were upset, you slept like a log, you never woke once."

She disappeared into the bathroom and checked her just about dried underwear but it would have to do until she got some more.  Stepping under the hot shower, she began to wake up properly, aware she had been lying on the detective all night and probably giving him awkward feelings but in his condition, he was hardly able to force her into having sex with him, he'd probably end up in the hospital or worse.

Getting dressed, she felt better and towelling her hair, went back into the bedroom to find he was still in his boxer shorts and t-shirt, waiting to use the bathroom.  He had been a gentleman and let her go first.

"I won't be long then we'll get breakfast.  I'm picking a car up at ten so we'll walk down to the station but I need to stop by my office, I never finished up last night thanks to someone telling me tales from beyond the universe."

"You said you believed me."

"I do but I can't use that as an excuse for not finishing my boring paperwork.  Come in with me and I'll introduce you to my DS, you could use another friend as long as you don't tell her what you told me."

"Is that such a good idea?"  She looked around for his comb, spying it on the dresser.  She picked it up.  "May I?"

"Sure, you'd best get some of your own toiletries while we're out, I'm sure you don't want to use my deodorant and I object to you using my shaver to shave your legs."

Rose smiled at the thought of him actually having a razor.

"Don't go laughing, yes I have a razor, I just choose not to use it so often these days."

"Never said a word, did I?"

"You didn't need to."

Ten minutes later, having taken his clothes into the bathroom, he emerged.

"Right, breakfast and leave it to me to tell the hotel owner, just agree with what I say and don't get all mushy over me in public, got that?"

Rose gave him a mock salute.

They were just leaving and since Rose didn't have her jacket on, her rather sophisticated watch was showing, even if the screen was blank.

"I'd take that off if I were you, it might get stolen or arouse suspicion.  I don't know about where you came from but wearable technology is not all that common here, someone might take a fancy to it and you can't keep it covered up all the time."

She pulled the purple band over her wrist and looked at the black screen, just wishing it would spring to life and take her home but maybe this really was home, there would be no other reason the device would stop working.  No-one had bothered explaining to her how it worked exactly, just that it did, not the ins and outs of it.  There would be no-one to repair it, no-one had that kind of knowledge, only the top minds of the few who had invented it and if they existed here, they would be changed or in prison.  Now she was a prisoner, not locked up but on this version of the world she had come to live in with only one ally – Alec Hardy.
Chapter 4
Alec Hardy knew Rose was going to be difficult to explain, especially after last night both in the hotel and the Police Station.  First they had to get past Becca Fisher.

"Morning detective," she called, Alec hoping he could sneak past without too much bother.

"Ah, yes, my friend, well actually my girlfriend, decided to stay, she's taken me back so since I'm in a double room, I take it there won't be any problems?"

"I don't expect so though she'll have to go on the register, what's her name?"

Rose decided she could speak for herself.

"It's Rose Tyler and no, I'm not related to the chairman of Vitex."

Alec just rolled his eyes and headed for the dining room.

Rose signed her name and wondered why Alec had said nothing else.

When Rose joined him, he offered her some advice.  "Don't volunteer any information Rose, think carefully.  We have to establish your cover story for you being here.  The desk sergeant at the station may be a bit more difficult to convince.  How long did you wait for me yesterday afternoon?"

"About an hour or so, he made me a cup of tea when he asked where I'd come from.  I just told him I used to know you."

"Well that makes it easier, if anyone else asks that saw you yesterday, we can say I left you and you came crawling back."

Rose stifled a giggle.  "Thanks, am I supposed to get all flustered by the fact you actually took me back?"

"Yes, if you must.  Just be careful you tell me everything you tell anyone else and don't give them too much."

"Ok. You're the boss."

"Rose, this is not a game, I'm being serious.  We have to establish a past for you as well.  Coming from London, that should be easy enough, stick to where you were brought up, what you did until you came here, just leave the things out about coming here.  How much money did you say you had?"

"Not enough.  So I stay in your room with you for now?"

"Yes, what's wrong with that?  Come on Rose, we're both adults, you've nothing to worry about from me.  Anyway, you could do worse and you can easily fend me off though you did seem to enjoy sleeping on me last night."

Rose felt flushed.  "Sorry but it was your own fault, you were just too comfy.  I'll try and sleep on the mattress tonight then."

Alec thought she didn't have to go to that extreme, he had rather enjoyed it.  "Don't try too hard then," he muttered under his breath.

Rose pretended she hadn't heard him, her hearing was quite good.  They walked down to the station and she followed him to his office since it was Saturday, Ellie Miller was at her desk as were a few others, thankful it was quite a bit quieter than last weekend when all hell had broken loose.  Ellie saw Alec trying to sneak Rose into his office without introducing her.

She followed the two of them in, tapping on the door.  "Sir, I didn't know you were interviewing anyone this morning.  Shouldn't you be doing that downstairs?"

Rose was sitting on the leather sofa, amused the woman thought she was a suspect.

"Miller, this is Rose, Rose, this is DS Miller and for your information, Rose is not being interviewed, she's with me."

Rose smiled and gave a little wave.  She held her hand out but the woman remained where she was.

What was Hardy playing at?  Did he have a one night stand last night and had brought his conquest in to show her off?  The blonde woman didn't look like a lady of the night and they didn't really have them in Broadchurch anyway.  She doubted that Hardy would know what to actually do with one given the chance.

Alec saw the look on the DS's face.  "Get your mind out of the gutter Miller, Rose is my girlfriend."

"What? Seriously?"  She turned back to Rose.  "Is that right?"

"Don't sound so surprised.  She came down to join me after regretting letting me come down here on my own.  Isn't that right Sweetheart?"

She was so going to get him back for this.

Miller just huffed and went back to her desk after giving him a lecture about bringing his girlfriend to work.

"It's only for an hour Miller, stop fussin'.  Go ahead and report me if you deem it necessary but she stays."

Rose smiled.  "So much for making friends then?"

After he collected the car from the underground car park and getting told to have it back before nine on Monday morning, Alec drove them to the nearest superstore and told Rose to go off to the ladies department and get only what she needed.  She selected two pairs of trousers, two tops and some pyjamas and some underwear.  Alec looked at the pile in the shopping trolley.

"Enough?  What about some more shoes?"

He pointed to her flat heeled black slip-on shoes.  She left him standing to wander over to the shoe department.  He had selected a pack of two plain t-shirts and some proper sleep bottoms since he was now sharing and noticed she had been a bit embarrassed about his hairy legs.  She wasn't the only one.

The task completed and opting to pay at the department's checkout rather than the main one, they went to the electrical department to get her a cheap tariff mobile phone so he could at least keep tabs on her come Monday morning and made sure there was enough credit on it since she would only be calling him, then once he took her to get the toiletries she needed, making her pay for them herself, they went to get a drink in the store's café.

He got the phone out of its box and put three numbers in it, his work and personal mobile numbers and the number for the station.

"I've put you these numbers in Rose and I've got this number so if none of these show up, don't answer it.  If anyone does ring, it will just be one of those annoying accident claim menaces who probably have already been alerted a number has been activated.  I swear the phone companies sell the numbers on, how else do they get them?  I reckon you shouldn't need to use the station's number, just try my personal one but if I don't answer and it's urgent, try the other two, the desk sergeant will find me.  I'll try and answer you unless I really can't interrupt what I'm doing and I trust you won't call me just for the sake of it?"

Rose shook her head and took the phone.  She thumbed through the different 'Apps' and found the camera and activated it, holding up the phone.  Alec was drinking his tea and was just putting the mug down.

"Smile Alec!"

He blinked.  "What for?  You think this is fun for me, having to babysit you?"

"Thanks a lot, is that all I am?"

He swallowed another swig of his tea.  "Sorry. I didn't mean it to sound like that but you're an added worry in this already difficult and complex murder investigation and I don't need this extra…."

He stopped before he said something he might regret later.

"Burden?" Rose finished for him.

"No, I did not mean it like that.  Look Rose, we have to figure something out, before Monday morning because I have to get back to the case and goodness knows what hours I'll be working and you'll be on your own in the hotel until all hours and I'll have to wake you up to get in my room.  The way things are going, you'd be better off with a room of your own so I won't disturb you but that hotel's a bit pricey, I get mine paid for."

Rose took it the wrong way, he did want her out of his hair.  "Fine, just dump me somewhere else and forget about me.  When's the next bus?  What was the point in getting me a phone with your number in it then?"

He was getting deeper into this than he was comfortable with.  "Oh right, may as well if you don't need anyone to look after you then.  I'll look forward to booking you in the morning for sleeping in the bus shelter shall I?"

"Well I wouldn't want to be a 'burden' to you or anything."

She put the phone into her pocket and was about to get up.

"Rose sit back down.  Think about it, who else is going to help you?"

"Well you don't want to."

"That's not fair and you know it.  I'm doing my best here, it's not easy for me, I'm in a really bad place right now with this case and my health.  Look, stay, in my room and I promise I'll get back at a decent hour so as not to wake you.  You can watch some TV until I get back.  Tomorrow, I'll take us out for the day, let's just forget the problem for a few hours.  When we get back, we'll go for a walk on the cliff top and then just sit for a while."

Rose nodded and finished her almost cold latte.

"I have an idea, I'll ask on Monday if they'll pay for me to stay somewhere else, self catering, a holiday home or a caravan.  It has to be cheaper for them than paying for a double room in a hotel.  What do you think?"

"Ok, long as you get two keys but how long for?  Can I go get another latte, that one's cold?"

Alec smiled.  "Well you were the one messing about taking a photo of my ugly mug and then putting it as my contact picture on all three numbers I gave you then putting it as the phone's wallpaper."

Rose blushed the colour of her name, she didn't think he'd been looking.

"Don't look so surprised Rose, I'm a top trained detective, not that you would think so at this present moment though I have to admit.  Come on, let's get back and we can call in at the caravan park by the harbour and see how much a two bedroom caravan will cost the police authority.  If it's a lot cheaper than the hotel I think they might jump at the chance to save the general population a vast amount of money."

"Why don't you get somewhere permanent?"

"Because I'm probably not going to stay here.  A place of my own, I'll have to admit defeat and settle down and I don't want that.  Besides, once I've solved this case, hopefully quite soon, I'll probably get passed on to another area."

"They might want to keep you here, if you do a good job?"

"No Rose, I've been sent here as punishment for screwing up my last big case.  The chief here just drew the short straw, I've already been asked to step back and let DS Miller take over the case."

"Don't they think you're capable of solving it?"

"Not after the fiasco of Sandbrook."

"Why?  What happened there?"

"Come on Rose, everyone knew what happened there."

"I'm not from around 'here', remember?"

He did and was thankful she had not said from this world.  "Sorry.  No Rose, as soon as it's over, I'm done here anyway, they'll find out about me and put me on medical leave until I do something."

"Then you need someone to look after you."

"No, I don't need anyone, it will be all over.  I'll get worse, over time until they can't do anything for me and I'll just deteriorate and fade away."

"Don't talk like that Alec.  What about an operation?  You said you'd get something done about it."

"They don't reckon much for my chances anyway.  Why put them to all that bother?  May as well save them some time."

Rose was horrified.  "What are you talking about?  You can't just give up."

"Watch me, or rather don't watch me if it bothers you that much, not that you'd want to.  Why should you care?"

Rose was now furious and would have slapped him and walked out, except for a few minor details such as she had nowhere else to go, he had bought her some much needed clothes and she had less money than when she came in.

"I'm supposed to be your girlfriend, I'm supposed to care."

"And do you?  Really?  I thought you were getting another drink?"

"I've just changed my mind.  I do care."

"Why should you, we just met yesterday."

"It doesn't matter.  Fine, tell everyone I'm not really your girlfriend, would you rather tell them I'm your self-appointed nurse?"

"You wouldn't."

"I will unless you stop talking like you're not going to get through this."

"I'm not going to get through this so stop getting your hopes up and mine for that matter.  We'll just stay at the hotel then."

"I'd rather stay in a caravan, some of them are really nice plus I saw it's only a few minutes walk from the Police Station, you won't need to leave so early and I'll have something to do.  I can cook you a meal for when you come home and make your breakfast.  I can't sit around and do nothing all day."

"So you want the job of taking care of me, for however long I have left?"

"I hope you mean that as in the town?"

"Not necessarily."

"Then I'll just have to persuade you otherwise, won't I?  I can be very persuasive when I want to be."

She had got the Doctor to agree to many things on their travels and only had to give him her smile and sway her hips for him to melt and she got her way, which had got them into even more trouble when they became lovers.  She missed him, terribly and her own heart still ached for him but here was this Alec Hardy and he needed her too.  She didn't want to betray her Doctor but now she had no way out of this reality she had just found herself in.

Alec just sighed and got up, picking up the carrier bags under the table and passing some to Rose.

"Come on then before I change my mind though why I'm letting you talk me into this, I don't know."

"You mean you'll look at some caravans?"

"If I must, better than Becca Fisher asking me questions about you I suppose and getting stared at in the hotel dining room.  I missed dinner three times last week anyway and I suppose I can always crawl back to the caravan site easier than walking up that road."

Driving back to Broadchurch didn't take long, normally there would be traffic jams at both roundabouts but no-one was turning off for the town and as they drove in and along the harbour, Alec turned into the car park in front of a pub and said they should leave the car there and walk across the bridge to the caravan park.  Everyone was suffering with recent events, normally at the very beginning of August, it would be heaving but only a few people were booking in and most of them didn't have any kids with them.

They waited their turn and Alec asked about two bedroomed ones and was told to take his pick, they had plenty, ready to move in to.  They looked online at the layouts and decorations and were spoilt for choice and settled on a two double bedroomed one complete with a fully fitted kitchen that cost less than the hotel as the manager was just trying to fill the vacancies.  They were told they could book in today but Alec put it off until Monday, paying a deposit and saying the police would be paying and to send the bill to the station.

The manager was then not that pleased until he said it was for an indefinite period of time and the police would be only too pleased to do business with them so it was all agreed and Alec would give the details when he got back to work on Monday.  They drove back to the hotel to break the news to Becca, who was not happy.

"Sorry Becca but I need my space, being here is just not practical when I get back at all hours and Rose is just stuck in our room until I get back.  I have to think about her as well.  I'm sure things will pick up for you, once the press start rolling into town."

"Well I hope you're right.  When will you be leaving?"

"Monday evening I should think unless Rose can manage everything on her own but we can't get in the new place until the afternoon anyway."

He wasn't going to tell her where they were going until she mentioned it.

"Where do I send any mail to?"

"What Mail?"

She reached behind her.  "This came for you."

Another damn hospital appointment.  Why had he let on to his own GP he had moved into the hotel when he saw him the other night?

"Fine, just forward everything to the station then."

Rose smiled.  Tough guy.

Rose hung up her new clothes and put her toiletries in the bathroom then they went to get a late lunch across the road in a café that was still open and Rose spotted a market just opposite.

"Can I go over and look around on my own for a bit?" she asked, seeing his face.

"Sure, why not?  Got some money left?"

"Yeah, a little.  Once we get moved, I'll see if I can get a job, in one of the pubs or maybe one of the catering stalls, long as they don't need my work record.  If I need a reference, I've already got someone."

"You could put me down as well."

Rose laughed.  "I can't put my boyfriend as a reference."

"Why not?"

"Because people will see us going around together, that's why."

"Hadn't thought of that, not that we'll be going around holding hands or anything.  You don't have to tell everyone you're with me."

"No, 'course not," she grinned.

Alec went back to the hotel and Rose wandered around the little market, getting something to tie back her hair, a wallet and a cheap bottle of nail polish then decided to explore a bit further down the road and found a charity shop.  Since she hadn't bought that many clothes at Alec's expense, she figured there was no harm in looking around and maybe picking up a dress or two so she browsed the rails in her size and was surprised when she looked, there was one identical to the one she had worn for the last party her mother had hosted and far from the price she had paid for it when she never looked at the price tags.

The woman behind the counter looked bored, probably grateful someone had actually come into the shop, even to pick up dresses and put them down again.

"Nice isn't it?" the older, auburn haired woman admitted.

"Yeah, I used to have one like this, before…" she stopped as she remembered what Alec had told her.  "Before I came down here."

"You on holiday then?"

"Not exactly, I came to join my boyfriend, he's just moved down here."

"You must be rich then, a dress like that would cost a small fortune, don't know why it was given away, it's a designer label."

Rose looked at the red and white floral dress.  She had worn it just a few weeks ago, one of her mother's charity events when Mickey had attempted to ask her out again and she had let him escort her as a friend, not his date.

She looked at the price, £9.99 and thought it was easily worth ten times that amount, she barely remembered how much she had paid from a top London store.  It was like the dress had been waiting for her.  She thought it might impress her new friend but she only had a limited budget if she didn't find a casual job on Monday.

"I'll take it.  Since I'm new in town, do you know anywhere that's hiring?  Anything will do.  My boyfriend will be working and I'll go nuts in the hotel on my own."

"Sorry love, everyone's laying people off.  Why don't you look in the paper tonight?  You might get lucky.  We're looking for someone to volunteer if you're interested, just two days a week though, it would get you out."

She thought about it, it would get her some experience and she would have something to put on a job application form and she couldn't depend on Alec all the time, she always paid her way.

"I'll think about it, can I put my name down?"

The woman went under the counter and brought out a two page form.  "Fill this in love and bring it back, tell them Liz gave it to you.  I'm only here on Saturdays.  I shouldn't be here today really but I'm fed up of moping around at home or at my daughter's house, my grandson just died last week."

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know who you were, I was told what happened but I only arrived yesterday, been a bit out of it.  My boyfriend left me to come and work here and I got mad and told him to just go and he went off in a huff after begging me to come with him.  Took me a week to finally come to my senses and take him back so I got on a bus yesterday to find him."

"Well at least you're here, he must be something, if you've come to find him.  What does he do here?  There aren't that many jobs going, like I just told you.  Did he get a transfer or something?"

The woman was ringing up the sale in the cash register and putting the dress in a carrier bag and Rose was getting her money out of her newly-acquired wallet she had bought in the market.

Rose thought she may not be wise to reveal just who he was, considering he was investigating the woman's grandson's death.

"So the boy who died, Danny was it?  You must miss him.  I have a younger stepbrother, he's seven and I miss him like mad since I went to live with my boyfriend."

"Yes, I miss him, just let me get my hands on the sod who killed him, he won't need a trial."

"I'm sure the police are doing their best to catch the person responsible."

"You wouldn't think so, it's been over a week but one of the detectives, she's a close friend, she'll see us right.  Don't know about that grumpy one who's supposed to her boss, if you ask me he could do with tidying himself up a bit and getting a shave, he's worse than that detective on TV, that Columbo."

Rose would have found it amusing if the man she was describing wasn't supposed to be her new boyfriend.

Rose was just putting the change in the charity box chained to the counter.

"You never told me your name love," the woman added.

"Oh, it's Rose."

"Nice to meet you Rose, good luck with the job hunting.  How long are you going to be here?"

She thought about what Alec had said, when he solved this case, what then?  Maybe that was now down to her, maybe for some strange reason, that was why she had been brought here and torn from her family and friends – to get Alec Hardy through this and get him to save his own life.  He wasn't going out of his way to do so on his own.
Chapter 5
Rose made her way back to the hotel, getting a sly look from Becca, who'd had her eye on the detective since his arrival and was a bit put out his old girlfriend had turned up out of the blue and was going to be sharing with him for the rest of his stay.  She could have done without the loss of his patronage though, it had come as yet another blow to her.  Becca had realised her mistake with Mark Latimer and maybe that was their punishment, the loss of Danny.  She'd had to go to the Police Station last night to provide an alibi for the boy's father, who had been hauled in earlier that day and had told him last night, it had been a mistake and to go home.  While she had been out, Hardy had apparently invited his girlfriend to stay and now there was nothing she could do about it.

Rose knocked on his room door.  "Hi, miss me?" she asked, putting the carrier bags on the chair.

"Thought you had no money?" he asked, eyeing her purchases.

"Didn't cost much, I can't afford to shop in the top stores any more," she replied, pointing to the name of the charity shop.  "But I did bag myself a bargain, I found a dress I used to own in my old life, not that it's any compensation for being here."

"In Broadchurch or in general?"

Rose smiled, he was getting his own back for her earlier remark.  She figured neither of them wanted to be here.

"Well, I'm off to put some clean underwear on and my new dress and maybe I'll feel a bit like my old self again, then I'm going to paint my nails and comb my hair properly, not that I wasn't grateful for borrowing your comb this morning."

She hung up her dress and kicked off her shoes.  Alec had been relaxing, trying to read a book he had picked up and still had his specs on.  Rose was just glad they were rimless ones and not the tortoiseshell ones the Doctor had worn.  He took them off and rubbed his eyes.  Just what had he set himself up for?  Rose Tyler was the last thing he needed at the present time.  He didn't need a girlfriend or a nurse to keep tabs on him and she had just become both overnight.

Maybe he should trust Miller and bring her in on this, this was way over his head, keeping Rose's secret was going to take some doing.  He would think about it and decide on Monday. Rose was looking at him.

"What?  Do I still remind you of your boyfriend?"

"Yeah, sorry."

With that, she got up and ran into the bathroom and cried.  Alec gave her ten minutes, she had not taken her new dress or her new underwear in with her and he knew she was in there crying.  He got up and knocked on the door.

"Rose, please come out and talk to me?"

"No, I don't want to talk, that won't get me home."

"Please, just open the door.  What do you want from me Rose?  Do you want me to promise I'll get you back?  Because if you do, I can't, I'm sorry Rose, it's not in my power to do so and I wish I could say it was.  What you are asking is impossible.  Please just come out and tell me how I can make your stay here better for you, that, I can do.  I can help you Rose, I'm probably the only one who can."

Rose was listening to what Alec had to say.  This wasn't really his fault, he had just the misfortune to look like her boyfriend.  It wasn't his fault she had seen him on TV and made her get on a coach and find him and he had at least tried to help her.  He deserved to be heard so she opened the door.  She went right up to him, looking in his brown eyes, identical to the Doctor's.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't take it out on you.  I know you're trying to help me."

He held his arms out suddenly and she fell into them as he pulled her close, kissing her hair.

She put her arms around him as he spoke again.  "I know I've been mean to you, it's just my nature, no wonder my wife left me."

Rose rested her head on his chest.  "It's ok Rose, just cry if you want but it won't change anything.  You're stuck here, whether you like it or not and you can do it the hard way or the easy way, that's up to you.  I can help make it less of a shock to you, if you want?"

Rose looked up at him as he took one hand and tried to brush her tears away.

"You're getting into the habit of wetting my shirts Rose," he smiled, as she buried her head in his chest again.  "You've gone very quiet."

"What is there to say Alec?  I want to go home, to my family and friends and now that's very unlikely to happen unless I can persuade Pete Tyler to re-open Torchwood."

"I don't think even he can help you there, they won't let him, they won't even let anyone in the building, just in case anything left there can be used."

Rose looked up.  "You mean they never cleared it out?"

"Not entirely, that's why security is tight and there's no power."

"But I can get in, do they have patrols inside the building?"

"I don't know much about it really.  If you got inside, what then?"

"No idea but if I got to the top floor, I might get the levers operational again, try to get back to my own version of this universe."

"You could finish up in this void you told me about, it's too dangerous."

"I have to try something."

"Look, help me, with this case and then I'll go up to see Peter Tyler with you but you can't go just barging in there, not knowing what you are doing, how will you even know what to do?  Did you learn how your device worked?"

"No," she admitted to him in a whisper.

"I didn't think so.  What are you thinking?  You can't go in there blind Rose, even if you can somehow get some help, someone who vaguely knows what they are doing, then what?  You said this is your universe, where will you go?  You could come back to a much worse version of it than the one you're in.  You said something or someone changed it, you need to find out what or who changed it."

Rose looked up, he was starting to make sense.  He kissed her forehead.  "Friends Rose?" he asked.

Rose nodded.  "Why don't you go get changed then we'll eat and I'll buy you a drink?  Or do you want to go out?"

"No, it's fine.  You can let me go now, if you want?"

He leaned down and brushed another tear from her cheek.  "Who says I want to let go?  I don't want you disappearing on me and what I said, about putting you on a bus, let's just forget that, I didn't really mean it.  You need a job, right?"

"How am I going to get a job Alec?  I asked at the charity shop even and got a two page form to fill in with job history and school etc, what can I put down?  That's not even for a real job."

"Well, we'll just have to invent your history, I'm sure your stepfather invented one for you when you arrived in your world?"

"Yes but he had a computer genius working for him who hacked into everything and invented my schooling and everything."

"Then we'll have to do it again.  Think Rose, can you remember how he did it?"

"No, I just got everything handed to me, bank details, passport, driving licence and social security number.  I'm nothing Alec, I was never born here, I don't have a birth certificate."

"Well, what if you had been an orphan found and brought up by the church or something?"

"Alec, you should not be trying to help me invent a new life."

"Rose, the police do it all the time, witness protection."  He stopped and held her at arm's length.  "That's it Rose, I get you in a relocation scheme, a new identity but it may take some time, they only do it for the protection of a material witness in a high profile case."

"Alec, you are investigating a high profile case."

"What?  Oh, yes, so I am.  The only problem is, people now know who you are.  So, we're back to square one."

Rose looked at him and put her hand on his chin, smoothing it over his beard.  "Nice try Alec, I do appreciate it, really I do but it won't work."

"Then just go to the Town Hall, tell them you need a new birth certificate.  Tell them your mother never registered you when you were born and you only just found out."

Rose smiled.  "Should you even be suggesting all these things, detective?  So let's say they actually fall for it, what have I been doing all this time then?"

"Oh.  Right, just say you were looking after your sick mother, they won't do that much checking up."

"But I can't put down my mother was Jackie Tyler and my father was Pete, he won't go for that."

"Then say your mother was single, use her maiden name."

Rose looked at him again.  "Actually, Pete might go for it, he was separated from his wife anyway, if she accused him of having a daughter, she wouldn't let on, she would be too ashamed.  She's only staying with him in name for the status, if she divorces him, she won't get anything out of it, I bet that's why she's still there.  She must have wondered why I went to see him, he could say I came to tell him I had found out he was my father."

"You could be on to something.  Maybe, after I wrap up this case, we can go see him?  Surely he could at least let you use his name, if you want nothing else out of it and you're not after his money."

"I don't care about his money, I never did.  Yes, I sort of liked the lifestyle, not as much as my mother did and I chose to work to earn mine but it's not like I have a lot of choices, is it?"

He had slipped his arms back around her as he angled his face.  "You said you wanted to look after me, do you still want that job?"

Rose nodded.  "Then you're hired, we can discuss payment later but I'll look after you, until we get this sorted out.  There are two bedrooms in that caravan, plenty of room to stay out of each others way and I'll be out all day.  I'll get another TV so you can watch it in your room at night if you don't want to watch what I do, not that I watch much anyway or I can just go to my room but you can look after me, cook my meals and see I take my medication and make sure I'm ok before you go to bed and if I wake up and have one of my turns, get me more medication or get me to hospital.  What do you think?"

"There are a few things."

"I might have known.  Go on then."

"You don't tell anyone our little arrangement and you still say I'm your girlfriend and you won't shove me in my own room at night just so you can get all broody and sulk."

"You drive a hard bargain, Rose Tyler.  For your information, I do not get 'Broody' and sulk."

"If you say so.  So you're not going to lock me in a cell or put me on the next bus out of here?"

"No, I've invested time and money on you, you might as well stay, for now.  Rose, I know it's difficult for you to accept what's been thrown at you.  Yesterday morning, you were happy and with your family and now your life has been thrown upside down.  We have to get to the cause of it but right now, I have to get this case out of the way then I can give you my full attention.  Ok?"

"Yeah, ok, we can be friends, can't we?"

"Yes, we can be friends but don't get attached to me too much, I'm still not going to do anything about my other problem anytime soon."

"Oh yes you are, Alec Hardy, you're not getting out of it that easily.  I'm not going to all this trouble of taking care of you just for you to give up on me.  You'll have to do better than that."

"So you're going to be tough on me then?"

"You can bet on that, detective.  When you've solved this case, I get my ID sorted out then I get you in the operating theatre for whatever needs doing to you."

"I need a pacemaker but they don't think I'm strong enough to survive.  Just let me fade away Rose."

"No.  I'm not going to do that, I'm gonna kick your ass into the hospital and then when you get out, you can help me get back to my version of this world.  If I have to put up with living here, then so do you, you don't get to take the easy way out."

"You know you look cute when you're being bossy?"

"You looked cute when you were reading, with your glasses tipped over your nose."

"I reminded you of your boyfriend, sorry."

"That's not fair Alec, I don't want you to remind me of him.  I lost him, over seven years ago and I was stupid to think I could ever find him again, insisting I went to all those other worlds to try to find him because I couldn't accept he'd gone from my life.  Look where it got me for all my troubles."

"It got you here and…."  He trailed off, looking into her hazel eyes.  Then he leaned down, putting one finger on her lips.  "It brought you to me, to kick my butt into stopping feeling sorry for myself because I was going to give up, after this case was over."

"I know you were and I'm not going to let you do it, so get used to it."

"I think I just might."

He moved his finger and brushed her lips with his own, very lightly.  Rose leaned into him as he angled his face again and let him angle her chin.  Then taking her arms from around his waist, she put them around his neck.

"I need you Alec."

"I know, I'll take care of you Rose."

Finding the right angle for both of them, they deepened the kiss until Rose was lost in it, forgetting all about the misery she had found herself in yesterday and concentrating on the feelings she was now getting for this man.  Alec broke the kiss momentarily to pull her onto the bed and laid her down, climbing on top of her.  Then he resumed, her arms still around his neck.  Rose looked up at him, moving an arm to ruffle his hair, then changed her mind, it was what she used to do to the Doctor when they had made love after an adventure or just for the sake of it.  She couldn't do the things she used to do to him to Alec but she found she couldn't help herself.

He moved her arms and pinned them above her head with one hand, pulling up her t-shirt with the other and leaning down to kiss her tummy, Rose was smiling at him.

"Alec, are you ok to do this?"

He smiled back.  "With you looking after me my angel, I can do anything you want though I might have a few limitations but we can deal with those."

He went back to what he was doing, now with both hands on her, trusting she would keep hers where he had left them.  He knelt over her, his hands smoothing across her stomach and her hips then leaning on one hand, felt around her back to unfasten her bra, the one that had been drying in the bathroom last night and even then, he had imagined seeing her in it and taking it off her, he found he wasn't so much out of practice that he couldn't unfasten it one-handed.  He pulled it away, revealing her skin then pulled up her t-shirt further.

Rose moved her arms and pulled the t-shirt off, taking her bra with it.  Alec smiled, she was perfect in every way, worthy of his imagination last night as he had held her and knowing she had nothing under his t-shirt she had been wearing.  He leaned down to kiss her exposed skin as she reached for his shirt cuffs then his shirt buttons.  He looked up and smiled.

"I knew I should have brought my handcuffs back with me last night."

Rose laughed.  "Yeah, shame you left them in your office drawer then, you could have got them this morning, if you'd wanted."

"Oh Angel, I had no idea what was going to happen or I would have done.  Do you really want this, with a grumpy arse like me who tried to run you out of town."

"Shut up Alec and go back to what you were doing."

She tugged on his open shirt and pulled it down over his shoulders until it fell down his arms and he dived back down again to kiss her top half, then his fingers reached to the button on her black trousers then the zip as Rose reached for his.

"It's nearly time for dinner Rose," he smiled as he rose back up and pulled down her trousers.

"You can take me out later so I can show off my new dress, if this is going to take some time or maybe we can save it until later?"

"Well we have almost an hour before we can still get served, may as well let the police get their money's worth out of paying for me to stay here."

Rose giggled, something Alec thought he would never hear from her since all she had done was cry since he had met her as she reached for the zip of his trousers.

"Later Angel, I want to kiss you some more first."

"Mmm, ok then it's my turn, if you think you can handle it."

"I'll show you what I can and cannot handle, Rose Tyler."

Rose giggled again as he began to uncover her hips and went to kiss her even lower down.

"I think dinner can wait a little while longer Alec, don't you?" she asked with a contented sigh.  "Make me forget what happened to me Alec."

She put her arms around his slim waist after running her finger down his torso and through the hairs on his chest as he looked up for a second.

"I can help you, if you trust me Rose."

"I do trust you Alec, you're the only man on this version of my world I can trust, even above Pete Tyler, he's not my stepfather, I know that but I have to try and persuade him to take on that role until I find out what happened and find a way to fix it and put things right.  Will you help me?"

"I'll help you Rose but I can't promise I'm going to make it easy for you to leave."

"Well I can't promise you I won't stop nagging you to go get that operation so we're even.  After dinner, you can tell me all the reasons you want me to stay."

"Why?  If you have your own goal of getting out of here?"

"Then make my time here count for something Alec, I'm not going anywhere until I know you're well again."

"You mean I'm not going to get rid of you that easily?"

He leaned down to kiss her chest again.

"The sooner you solve this case, get yourself sorted, the sooner you'll get rid of me but I thought you just said you weren't going to make it easy for me to leave?"

"I'm not but I can make it better for you to stay, for the time being but as to you nagging me about an operation, that remains to be seen."

"It does, doesn't it?"

She let out a squeal as he made a mark on her.

"I am so going to get you back for that later."

"I'm counting on it Angel."

He promptly made a mark on the other as she gave in and ruffled his hair.  Why did he have to go and play at not being fair?  She remembered many nights when she and the Doctor had similar conversations about how long she was going to stay with him and her trying to tell him she was never going to leave him, especially since they had got intimate and now Alec Hardy was doing exactly the same, making it difficult to want to go home but she didn't belong here, they both knew it and he was making things difficult by doing her all-time favourite thing of making his mark on her and kissing it better and she was ruffling his hair.

Just for a few moments, she could pretend it was really him and forget about getting back to what she had called her home the last few years.  As she lay with Alec now kissing her soft skin and admiring his handiwork, she moved her hands over his back onto his shoulders.

"Alec, can you really help me, you know, to make life here a little more bearable?  I can't promise I'll want to stay, you know that?"

"Well I could have fun trying to persuade you though.  Listen Rose, let's just have this weekend, I've no work, barring emergencies, we can go out tomorrow.  No talking about parallel and alternate worlds, no talking about me getting my operation and you trying to find your way back to where you belong, just you and me.  How about it?"

Rose tried to prop herself on her elbows, now just wearing the silky knickers Alec had also seen drying in the bathroom last night, wishing again he could see her wearing them and then taking them off of her as he knelt either side of her, putting his arms around her as she let him take hold of her now he was supporting her, she put her arms around him, leaning her head on his bare chest as he straightened himself up to tower over her, holding her tightly.  He turned her head and leaned down to kiss her again.

"Yes Alec," she managed after a long, lingering kiss.  "Just a day out, the two of us, now make me forget."

He pushed her down again, staying where he was and pulling her trousers all the way off then running his hands on her legs and his fingers straying under the edges of her underwear.  Rose flinched at his touch and saw him smiling as he reached inwards, touching a sensitive spot.  Rose reached her hands out to the zip of his trousers again.

"Later Rose."

He leaned over her and began kissing under the edge of her underwear, fingering the material to move it out of the way as he reached lower down.  Rose let out a low moan as he hit the spot and she ruffled his hair again then she took hold of his shoulders and as he moved the material again, she lost all coherent thoughts.  All that mattered was Alec kissing her where she needed him to be.

Chapter 6
They finally went down to dinner, ignoring the look from Becca who was about to tell them the dining room was closing.  Rose had showed great restraint at getting Alec back for marking her and had quickly freshened herself up and put on her new dress, Alec zipping it up for and fastening her bra, something that was easier at taking off than putting back on again he had thought at the time and Rose giggling at his attempts.

When they got back to the room they were sharing, Rose did finally get her revenge, biting his neck and ruffling her hands through his hair as they called each other's names, Rose staying on top so he didn't have too much moving around to do this time although he had managed quite well earlier, almost making them miss dinner.

Rose had seen his concern as she allowed him to take her bra off again and she began kissing his bare chest and pressing herself against him, making him growl as he pulled down her silky knickers over her hips and she moved to let him take them off.  Then with some help, she had coaxed him out of his shorts.

He smiled up at her.

"You know Rose, I needn't have bought those pyjamas for you and the pyjama bottoms for myself had I known this was going to happen."

"Well neither of us exactly planned this, did we?" she replied, kissing his chest again as she laid down on him.

Then she let out a moan of her own as she touched him, wondering just how he looked if she were to glance down and look at him in the light coming from outside but decided she would leave that treat until morning, if he let her see him.

"Rose, you know I can't do anything other than this, are you ok with it?"

"Yes Alec, I'm ok with whatever you feel you're able to do, I don't want you to feel uncomfortable and start getting pains.  I would be failing in my duty of looking after you if I had to get you to the hospital.  Wouldn't I?"

Her hands was on his shoulder as his rested on her and then her arms pinned down under him as they began kissing, deeper than earlier so as Rose almost forgot to breathe.  To her, it was the best feeling since she had arrived.  As they tossed and turned, Alec eventually getting her onto her back and kissing her all over again, he then proceeded to give her the best feeling of her new life.

He could just make out the look on her face as she came down from it as he lay on her.  Rose smiled and tried to return the favour but he stopped her.

"No Rose, you can't, as much as I want to, it's just not good for me, anything could happen to me if I let myself go.  Please, just let me do it to you, it's enough you were enjoying yourself."

"That's not fair Alec, why can't you feel the pleasure as well?"

"It's not your fault Rose, I never planned on taking things this far with a woman.  It never mattered to me.  The most I had hoped for was maybe some kissing and what I've just given you, I never expected anything in return."

"It's still not fair though, why do you have to miss out?"

"I told you.  If I'd got really desperate and picked a woman up in a bar or something, I'd have made sure they were drunk and only wanted to fool around, then I would have made my excuses and got out if I had gone home with them."

"You can't keep on like this Alec, it's not right.  You're lucky that's all I want at this present moment, I've not got over the shock of being here yet."

"Is that the only reason Rose?  Are you sure it's not because you still think about your boyfriend?"

Rose tried to sit up but he pinned her down.

"That was uncalled for Alec.  Let me up."

"No, not until you tell me just how involved you were with him."

"Why should you care?  I thought you just wanted to fool around?  Yeah, I can go for fooling around, I'm just not going to have sex with you because I don't want you collapsing on me."

"Really?  You're concerned about me?"

"Yes, you big idiot.  Ok, you want the truth?  Yes, me and the Doctor, we had sex, lots of sex, every opportunity we got and it was fantastic.  Happy?  Now let me up and I'll go find a park bench to sleep on."

"Stop it Rose, you're not fooling me for a minute.  You're hurt, I know that and you're lost and if I could put you on a bus or a train and send you home, believe me, if that would make you happy, I'd do it without a moment's hesitation but I can't.  The sooner you face that the better.  I know the first chance you get, you'll try and leave this version of the world and go back to your own and leave me behind.  What do you want me to say?  That I'll help you even if it means you'll get killed in the process or locked up for the rest of your life?  I'm not going to do it Rose, I'm not going to help you end up in that void or in a version of your world that's far worse than this one."

Rose looked at him.  He turned onto his side and reached for his shorts and threw her knickers at her.

"I've moved so get up while you can."

Rose remained where she was.  She had been wallowing in self pity and had no idea of the impact if was having on him.  She put her underwear back on but made no attempt to move as Alec went to the bathroom, probably to blow off some steam that had been building up.  When he returned, he sat on the edge of the bed, debating whether to put his pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt on and go sleep on the chairs.

Rose reached out for his arm but he shrugged her off.

"What do you want from me Rose?  A ticket back home?  You said you wanted to look after me.  If you no longer want the job then fine but if you do, you need to know what you're up against."

"I'm sorry Alec."

"Yes, well so am I but if you want help getting home, you need Pete Tyler, not me.  He doesn't care about you like I do.  He can stand by and watch you fade into oblivion and not know if you've made it back or even care if you've made it back.  I do."

Rose touched his arm again and this time he left it.  He got up and crossed to the dresser and got out one of his new t-shirts and thought about tossing Rose her pyjamas then putting it on, he sat on the bed again.

"I do want the job Alec, I can't survive here without you and I've been selfish.  You think I'm using you, to get back home, don't you?"

"The thought had crossed my mind.  Is it true?"

"Honestly?  I don't know any more.  Come back to bed Alec."


"Because I do need you and you've got a clean t-shirt on I can wet again if I start to cry."

"You'll have to put it in the washing machine when we move into that caravan, you're making extra work for yourself."

He got back into bed and Rose suddenly got out, fishing in the drawer for her pyjamas and hurried putting them on.  Getting back into bed after hurrying to the bathroom, she tried to snuggle up to him.  He gave in and put his arm around her.

"I'm sorry Rose but it's a constant battle with you.  I told you I wasn't going to make it easy for you to leave but if that's what you want, then I won't stop you but I won't help you either.  Getting back may not be possible and I won't stand there while you make the attempt.  Not when I know there is only the slightest chance you'll get there and I'll never even know."

He kissed her forehead as she put her arm around him.

"How do you think my family and my friends feel right now Alec?  My stepfather watched me disappear in front of him.  I should have been back in less than an hour.  He had to go home and tell my mother and my stepbrother I never came back."

"I'm sorry Rose, I never thought about that.  Look at it this way then.  You were prepared to go and find your Doctor, they may think you did that.  If you had found him, you would have stayed, you said so, so right now, they might not think that you are lost, they might think you're with him."

Rose hadn't thought about that.  "I suppose you're right."

She reached up and kissed his cheek.  "Can we call another truce?"

"For now but I'm not sure how many truces I can give you, if you're determined to leave."

"I told you, I'm not leaving until you're well."

"Well you might get fed up of looking after me, you know how grumpy I can get."

"Yeah, can't you just."

Rose settled on him and was falling asleep in his arms.

"Alec, what you said, about them thinking I'd made it back."

"Mmm? What about it?"

"I can look at it and think the same."

"What?  By pretending you did make it back and I'm him?"

Rose whacked his arm. "That's not fair Alec."

"Why isn't it?  That's what you set off to do, to go back to your boyfriend, isn't it?"

"I can't just pretend you're him."

"Why not?"

"Don't be daft, you're nothing like him."

"In what ways am I not like him?  Well except for him being a Timelord and having two hearts which right now I'd settle for having one whole one and maybe I don't have the same accent or I have a beard, I could lose the beard, not the accent."

Rose had told him about the Doctor over dinner.

"It's not the same, I know you're not him Alec."

"You thought I was when you walked up to me and called me Doctor."

"I was way out of it Alec, I had just found out I was on another version of my world or at the time, thinking I was in the wrong one altogether."

"How do you know you're not?  Apart from your device not working, how do you know?  We could have been wrong about this being another version of your world."

"I don't think so Alec otherwise the device would have activated and taken me home."

"You're so sure about that?"

"Yes, that I am sure of."

"So you never considered that you had actually made it back home?"

Rose looked up.  "Are you crazy Alec?  For one, that Jackie Tyler back in London is definitely not my mother, for another, my real dad died when I was six months old and we didn't live in a house like those two have."

"It could be an alternate version of your own world, one where you never met the Doctor and your dad is still alive but they never had you.  In fact Rose, you could be on any world with that scenario, if you think about it so say you get back to Torchwood and get power, then what?  Where do you set the co-ordinates to hmm?"

He was right.  Getting to Torchwood was not the answer.

"Ok, so I agree, I won't try to get back into Torchwood and either get shot on sight or zap myself into the void or the planet of the zombies."

"Finally Rose, you're seeing some sense.  Let's get some sleep and try to figure out how it was changed and try that way because I won't let you get zapped.  Tomorrow, we have a day out and forget about it."

Rose was already asleep.

After breakfast the next morning, Rose missing out on seeing Alec getting dressed, he drove them down the coast, past Weymouth and down to Poole, walking around the seafront and the harbour, eventually linking arms then after lunch walking hand in hand since no-one knew who Alec was.  Rose thought it relaxing even though Alec thought there were too many boats and too much water, revealing his dislike for it to Rose for the first time.  They got back to Broadchurch and walked along the esplanade and went to sit on a bench after Rose dragged him up a hill overlooking the harbour.

"It's a lovely view from here of the town Alec.  How can you not help like living here?"

Alec just huffed.  "Maybe it's because it's beside the sea?"

Rose smiled.  "You're on an island Alec, you're bound to come across it sooner or later."

"Very funny Rose, don't remind me."

They went back to the hotel and Alec put everything except what they were wearing the next morning into his large suitcase and Rose put the laundry into a carrier bag to keep it separate.  Alec still had laundry to collect the next day and Rose was going to get it and squeeze it into the remaining space.

"Can we not talk about you going off or your old boyfriend tonight Rose?" he asked as she came out of the bathroom to find him in bed with his t-shirt and his pyjama bottoms on.

"Ok, since it's our last night in the hotel and you'll get some peace and quiet tomorrow night."

"So we're going to be sleeping in separate rooms then?" he asked as he pulled back the covers for her, wishing she was not wearing those damn pyjamas but he had started it by coming out in his chosen sleepwear.

"I thought that was the whole idea Alec though I don't want to spend all night in there so whatever you watch on TV or listen to on the radio, it's fine with me.  We'll just sleep separately."

He was wishing now he had not made that suggestion, thinking of sleeping on his own now didn't seem like one of his best ideas.  He also had another decision to make, that of letting DS Miller in on his mission of looking after Rose Tyler and risk her reporting the fact he was harbouring a member of Torchwood.  It was a risk letting her in on it but he would have to tell Rose first.  After all, it was her that would be locked up if Miller was that way out and wanted the reward.

"I'm not so sure about that now you mention it."


"Well what if I need you during the night?"

"Are you planning on?"

"Well I don't know, do I?  I might and you'd be at the other end of the caravan.  Maybe we could still share?"

"Well, I'd have to think about it.  Are we going to argue every night about me trying to get back or how close me and the Doctor were?"

Alec thought about it.  "No, not if you don't want to.  About last night, I'm sorry about that, you were right, it was uncalled for."

"Do you still think I'm using you?"

"No, not any more.  I promised I'd take care of you and I still mean it Rose, if you want me to.  No matter where you are you can be sure of one thing."

"What's that?"

"You have me, for however long you want to stay with me.  Now do I get a hug at least?"

"You can have more than that if you want.  Alec, about last night, I'm sorry for blurting all that out about me and the Doctor, I was just upset."

"I know, I'm sorry too.  I can't give you that Rose, not unless I get well."

"So isn't that an incentive?  Because no matter which way you look at it, the chances of me getting back to my version of this world are millions to one, let alone me getting back to my original one so I guess you are kind of stuck with me until I find out what happened and who knows how long it's going to take?  I can't promise I'm gonna stay forever Alec but we can make the most of the time we have, if you want?"

"Do you mean that Rose?  No more talk of Torchwood or anything?"

"No, I promise as long as you don't keep comparing yourself to him?"

"Ouch!  Ok, I promise.  Now come here and let's make up."

All they did was more of Alec lying on her, never attempting to do more than kiss her lower down and making her feel like she could forget her problems.  As Rose fell asleep, she tried not to compare poor Alec with the Doctor but the way he had just snogged the life out her didn't help.  She knew she had to get over it, the way things were going, she was going to be stuck here for a very long time and as she used to say, being stuck with Alec Hardy wasn't going to be so bad, if she had to be stuck with him, he was right.  She could do a whole lot worse but sleeping with him and waking up with him, well that wasn't so bad either.  As a mattress, he wasn't half bad.
Chapter 7
Alec had to go back to work the next morning, after persuading Rose to let him go, which wasn't easy.  After breakfast, Rose collected Alec's clean laundry and said she would meet him at the caravan park at three and she would get a taxi down to save him coming to collect her.  Alec decided to put off telling Miller about Rose for the time being but admitted to her his girlfriend had just come to join him since she never allowed him to fully explain it on Saturday morning and it wasn't easy talking in front of Rose.

"I didn't believe you at first, you having a girlfriend," Ellie mused.

"It's not beyond the realms of possibility, you seem to have little or no faith in me.  I was married, before I met her.  She came along at just the right time but I wasn't having an affair with her so don't even suggest it Miller."

"Never said anything – Sir.  That's your business.  How come she never arrived with you then?"

Alec had to be careful here.  "She didn't want me to leave where we were living, we argued, I came down anyway because no-one else would take me and I really am sorry about taking your job."

That came as a shock to Ellie, she had not expected him to apologise, Rose Tyler must be doing him some good.

"Well maybe you can introduce me to her properly then, since she's staying.  Is she at the hotel with you?"

"We're moving out today, got a caravan next door.  I have to go see personnel about getting my accommodation changed, they should still pay for it since it's cheaper than the hotel.  I don't know how long we're staying, certainly until the case is over.  Maybe she'll want to go back to London."

He had already agreed they would go back and see Pete Tyler, even if it was only to persuade him to either agree to adopt Rose or get her some new ID.  The rest, he still wasn't sure about but he hoped he had talked her out of jumping into oblivion.  He'd never forgive himself if she stepped in front of another device and disappeared.  She had made a big impression on him in a short space of time.

He called her just after one to see if she was ok, he was out but said he would be back to meet her and told her to get some lunch and he would give her some more money later.  He and Miller were out making more enquires and he told her he needed to get back in time to pick up the caravan keys.  The personnel department had been only too happy for him to move from the hotel.  He met Rose, who had called a taxi and given in the key to Alec's room and she was just getting out of the taxi as he walked the short distance from the station.

"Just in time Alec," Rose called, as the driver got the case out and she got the carrier bags and his holdall out of the car boot.

Alec paid the taxi driver and they went to book in, getting a map of the site and finding they were on the first roadway.  They walked up to find it and Rose noticed there was a pathway to the site supermarket so after she unpacked, debating whether to have her own room or not and Alec telling her not to be so daft as to even think of having her own room, they walked across to get a few groceries to put them on until they could get to the main supermarket back up on the main road.

Alec decided they would eat out in the camp's bar and they settled down to watch some TV after Rose had sorted the laundry, a bit upset it was only a washing machine and not a dryer and Alec was worried about his shirts.

"I'm quite capable of ironing your shirts you know," Rose called from the kitchen area and trying to avoid the whole load tumbling onto the floor.

"Rose Sweetheart, maybe we should just send them to the laundry or is there one on the site?"  He got the booklet out that they had been given.  "Yes there is one but it will be closed now, you can take everything over in the morning and use their dryer.  Oh and I didn't have time today but I'll get you some more cash, take this for now."

He reached for his wallet and got £50 out and put it on the coffee table.  "I was thinking about your problem of ID, if Pete Tyler won't agree to help you."

Rose was putting the laundry into one of the larger carrier bags, hoping it wouldn't be beyond ironing in the morning after its run through the dryer and sorting out things that would dry on the airer that had been provided.

"Alec, let's face it, if Pete Tyler won't let me adopt his name, even after I convince him I don't want his money, unless you know any criminals that could fake me some, I'm rather stuck."

"That's not a bad idea Rose, I'll look up my long list of counterfeiters and get them to make you a priority shall I?" he grinned.

"Be serious Alec.  Anyway, they would be too scared it was a sting operation and you might lock them up if you approached them."

"Not if you did though.  I mean it Rose, it has to be worth you trying to get a birth certificate.  Look, tomorrow I'll get you a laptop, they have free WIFI here.  Why don't you try all the London registry offices, see if any of them had a fire or lost all their records, before everything went computerised and pick one, then go in and say where it was?  They'll have to issue a new one if they can't check up.  All you need is a nearby hospital, they won't check up either."

"Alec Hardy, I'm surprised at you!"

"Well do you have any better ideas?  If you have, I would just love to hear them."

Rose put the bag of wet laundry on the other counter top and flopped on the seat beside him, taking his hand.

"No but I feel like I'm a criminal myself, having to resort to this.  Let's just face it Alec, I can get on without having any ID.  I'm not planning on leaving the country, I don't really need a bank account and I'm not planning on having to use any social security offices or get a job, well not yet."

Alec squeezed her hand then put his arm around her.  "There are still jobs you can get without declaring them, if you know where to look.  As for a bank account, I can maybe help you there."

Rose looked at him.  "What are you up to?"

"I can apply for a joint account, takes two minutes online.  They won't do any checks if we don't go into the branch and do it all online.  What do you think?"

"I think you are far too good to me and maybe I can show my appreciation later?  Since you insist I share your room."

"I did not insist, you agreed to it.  Why don't you go do some more shopping tomorrow?  If you're going to stick around?  I can meet you at the Town Hall and we'll see how you go on about getting a birth certificate.  You probably only need your mother's name and where you were born."

"Then it's still no good Alec, Jackie Tyler would be furious if she found out."

"Well she won't will she?  They're not exactly going to ring the famous Jackie Tyler up and ask her if she knows she has a daughter?  Are they?  They don't care Rose, it's just a job to them.  You probably just fill in a form and they look it up.  If the records office was burnt down or something, they can't check, can they?"

"I suppose not.  I could go to the library and use their computers to check?"

"No, best not.  Besides, you need a library card.  There's no rush, I'll pick up a laptop tomorrow and we'll do it when I get back.  Then I'll apply for a joint bank account, just as long as you don't wipe me out filling your wardrobe?"

Rose whacked his arm.  "I'll have you know, Alec Hardy, I had more money in my bank account than you earn in a year."

"I just bet you did, you poor little rich girl."

He suddenly turned and pushed her down on the cushions but realised the curtains were still open so he just leaned down and kissed her.

Rose smiled at him.  "Don't want an audience do you?" she hinted, trying to push him off.

"No-one can see in and if anyone does, I'll arrest them for prying into someone's caravan."

He put his hand up the front of her t-shirt, smoothing it across her tummy then up to her bra.  He inched his fingers under the wire and felt her soft skin, then leaned down to kiss her tummy.  It was still quite early in the evening so he just pulled her t-shirt up and crawled onto her legs, pushing her bra up and began kissing her there.  Rose made a soft moaning sound then she moved onto her side so he was next to her as they kissed, Rose unbuttoning his shirt, then he pulled her almost onto him as she put her arms around his neck.

They began kissing, Rose pressing into his chest, making him feel his heart was going faster than it should be, which was nothing unusual for him these days but it didn't panic him, not so much as he had to get up and take some more pills.  It was getting dark before they realised, the TV was still on, giving a little light and he had pulled her trousers down after getting up to pull the curtains across before he did and now she had unzipped his trousers though he was still in possession of his shorts, not daring to go any further or they would have some cleaning to do of the seating area.

They both came back to awareness that it was getting late and getting up, Alec pulled his zip up and Rose her knickers and trousers and pulled her t-shirt down over her still unfastened bra.

"I'll make us some tea Rose, unless you want hot chocolate?"

"Mmm, hot chocolate please, with milk in it.  Can we go to the big supermarket tomorrow night?  We could get a taxi there and back.  Did you not ask about another car?"

"I'll ask tomorrow.  We may be able to get a laptop at the supermarket, though I don't know if that one does them.  We may have to go down to the catalogue store in Dorchester to get one.  The sooner we can do that research, the sooner we can start to get your ID and I was joking about getting fake ones."

"Really?  You had me fooled."

Alec brought the drinks over and sat beside her, pleased they had made no marks on the seat.

"Rose, I talked to Miller today, set her straight about us.  I can introduce you to her properly if you like?  I don't like me being the only one you know."

"Won't she ask too many questions?  About where we lived and everything?"

"I can be with you and tell her the whole story, that way you'll know what I told her or I can tell her the truth, about where you really came from?"

"Is that such a good idea Alec?  What if she turns me in?"

"Then we'll just have to make sure we can trust her.  Anyway, technically, you didn't work for this worlds' Torchwood so it doesn't count and we won't tell her you think this is an alternate version of your world.  We'll just miss out that bit and say you're stranded on a parallel world and can't get back.  We'll leave here before we do anything about getting you back anyway so she won't wonder where you've gone and we won't tell her you were from another world originally.  I think telling her you're on the wrong earth will be enough for her to take in.  What do you say?"

"Ok, let's bring her in on it but I still get some ID, that's not changing and if she asks, then I have to blend in don't I?"

"Ok. I'll sound her out in the morning and I'll arrange a meeting but we tell no-one else.  If she's ok with the idea, I'll bring her back with me tomorrow night."

That settled, they went to bed and this time, Alec wasted no time in removing her underwear.  Rose insisted she be the one on top and he was in no position to argue with her.  He never attempted any more than just letting her lay on him, feeling him under her and but he was going to suggest they try to get a bit further, only if she wanted to though.

The next morning, since Rose was making him breakfast and he literally only had to walk out of the caravan site and through the station door, he took a shower and Rose just narrowly missed him getting into his clean shorts as there wasn't a lot of room in the bedroom and he had taken his clean clothes into the bathroom with him.  She was going to be having words with him about that since they both went to sleep in their underwear now they were in a caravan.

Rose found the launderette and hoped Alec's shirts would be ok and when they came out, they only needed a bit of a press, she was relieved there was an iron supplied.  Alec called Ellie into his office after they went over a few new leads that had come in and they had been to revisit a few people they had previously interviewed.

"Sit down Miller.  I know this has nothing to do with the Latimer case but I want to bring you in on something.  It's about my girlfriend."

Ellie grinned.  "You seeking advice then Sir, are you a bit out of your depth with her?  I thought you lived with her before you came here?"

"That's not quite true but we had to tell people that.  What do you think about there being other worlds out there, ones just like this one?"

Ellie stared at him.  "I don't think we should be discussing this here, do you?  You don't believe all that rubbish about where those Cybermen went to do you?"

"The question is Miller, do you believe it?  Think about it, they had to go somewhere.  Why not a world identical to this one?"

"We all have our theories and I know those responsible got shut down and all but a few turned themselves in."

"It's not about that but if there are other worlds out there, isn't it just remotely possible?"

"I suppose so.  We all know who got closed down even though no-one ever dare mention their name but those who didn't turn themselves in, they were wrong not to do so.  Why they never gave themselves up during the amnesty period, which was long enough considering what happened and the then president was more than generous is beyond me and it's only right they get caught and be punished.  He could have had them all locked up instead of giving them a pardon, just because they believed in one deluded man.  Are you going somewhere with this Sir?"

"Yes, I just wanted to judge your reaction and I agree with you 100% on they should give themselves up but what if, say on another world, there was another version of that organisation that were not responsible for what happened?  What then?  Are they just as guilty for what happened here?"

"Well no, of course not, not if they weren't part of it.  It was only the ones here, those who followed that madman so no, I wouldn't hold them responsible for what happened here, assuming of course I believe there are other worlds out there."

"What if I had proof?"

"Go on."

"Come to my new place after work and I'll tell you."

"So does your girlfriend subscribe to your theory then?  Have you brainwashed her?"

"Not exactly but I didn't need to."

"Oh?  Then I'm intrigued.  Ok then, I'll hold off calling the funny farm and give you the benefit of the doubt.  Since you've moved practically next door, I'll walk down with you and listen to what you have to say.  Just as long as you don't belong to some strange religious cult who believe in aliens."

Alec just raised his eyebrows at her.  "Don't be daft Miller."

Rose had already convinced him such things existed.  Her old boyfriend was one of them.

Chapter 8
Ellie Miller walked the short distance with her boss to the caravan he was renting with Rose and found her watching TV.  It was too early for Rose to be making dinner but it was already prepared but since she didn't know how long it was going to take to explain about her sudden arrival here and didn't quite know how to explain it to her but Alec was right, she needed another friend, a woman because she couldn't talk to Alec about things only women talked about to each other - men being one of the subjects and who could she go to if she and Alec had a fight?

"Rose, you've met Ellie Miller in a more formal situation but I've managed to persuade her I'm not completely crazy so it's all down to you now.  Tell her what you told me when you came looking for me."

Ellie looked at him.  "I thought she was your girlfriend before you came here?"

"I told you, that wasn't completely true Miller.  Just listen to what she has to say.  Rose, why don't I make some tea and you start to tell her?"

"Ok but I don't know where to start.  How much did you tell her Alec?"

"Just about other universes and Cybermen."

"Oh, well that's half of it then.  Ok do you want the short of the long version?  If you want the long one, I hope you've nowhere else to go."

"Just get on with it, I had enough with your boyfriend here giving me the run-around earlier."

Alec nodded and went to make the tea.

Rose started with her setting off from home the other morning and going to her office.  Then she dropped the bombshell - it was on another world.  By the time she finished by telling her about her going to find Pete Tyler and then spotting Alec on TV, Ellie was on her second refill of tea despite Rose telling her nothing of where she had come from originally, ending on her thinking Alec was a man she used to know.

"So let me get this right, you were travelling to other worlds, just like this one to find someone?  Then you came back, to the wrong world?  You're both completely mad."

"Did you not hear what she said Miller?  She needs our help, to get back.  Pete Tyler won't help her because of what Torchwood did.  I was her only hope, she thought I was the man she was searching for."

"But you're not, that's quite clear and if she's on the wrong world, how could you be?"

"Everyone has a double, I'm his, apparently but that's the awkward part, Rose did some research when she got here, when she found she couldn't get back.  There was never a Rose Tyler born on this world, her parents in her own world were Pete and Jackie Tyler but this world's versions never had her.  She doesn't exist here.  You can't report her Miller, they would still lock her up as an alien or something.  Can we trust you or do you want to walk away?  If you do, I'll deny what we told you and say Rose has been with me all the time like I'm trying to establish."

"Well if you're both making it up, it's a bit far-fetched so I'm going to say I'm probably as mad as you for believing it.  You couldn't make something up like that I suppose.  What can I do to help?"

Rose was relieved.

"Just be her friend Miller, that's all we ask, we can't do anything just yet.  We have to go back to London and try to persuade Pete Tyler to help her by at least helping her establish some ID and see if we can get her transporter device working.  He may know someone who's willing to help."

"So did Pete Tyler work for Torchwood?"

Rose could at least protect him from that.  "No, not this Pete Tyler, just the one on my world, my stepfather.  Mum had me before they got married."  She couldn't tell Ellie the truth, no matter what.  "This Pete Tyler only agreed to help me because the Cybermen had been here as well.  He felt sorry for me."

"Then how do you know he'll help you again?"

Rose looked at Alec and took his hand.  "I don't.  I only have Alec and maybe you, if you'll help me, just be my friend.  I'll drive him crazy if I don't have anyone else to talk to."

Ellie rolled her eyes.  "I feel sorry for you having to put up with him.  So you two are living here, together then?"

"What's wrong with a caravan Miller?  It has two double bedrooms and whatever our sleeping arrangements are, they're none of your business.  So will you just be her friend?  We don't ask any more of you other than that.  I know we're both busy and I have to leave her during the day but maybe you can call her if I can't?"

"Why not?  Ok, I keep my distance though, for now.  I suppose I can invite you both to dinner on Thursday night though, you can bring her as your girlfriend if that's the cover you're using, you may as well stick to it and establish yourselves.  What have you got planned Rose?"

"Nothing much, just cooking for Alec, doing a bit of shopping and the laundry and watching TV though tomorrow, I might go down to the beach if it's a nice day.  Alec's going to get a laptop sorted out and there's internet access here so I can start maybe looking for a job that doesn't require a long work history.  Pete Tyler said I could use his name and if I need any references for anything."

"Well I would think that would be the least he can do for you but from what I've heard about his wife, I wouldn't go crossing her."

Rose knew what she meant, she had crossed her already, in both realities.

"I know, she's not a bit like my mum.  Would you like to stay for dinner Ellie?" she asked, letting go of Alec's comforting hand.

She felt safe when she was with him but he was now leaving her for hours on end so she had to get used to it.

"I have to get back but thanks.  Hope you two like Mexican, it's my husband's speciality.  He'll probably do chicken.  My kids love it."

"How old are they Ellie?" she called from the kitchen area.

"Eleven and nearly two.  My husband stays at home to look after him.  Hey Rose, you could be a child-minder or something, did you think of that?  Looking after kids in their own homes.  If Pete Tyler gives you a reference, you wouldn't have much to worry about."

"That's a good idea Miller, why don't you enquire about it love?  You'll need to be vetted but I could arrange that for you, do a CRB check then you just need some insurance and get the local council's approval.  You could provide after school care for parents who work and are worried about their kids being on their own.  You could put an ad in the local paper."

Rose suddenly didn't seem so dejected.  A few hours a day would be perfect and she would be back to get Alec his dinner.

"Isn't there a club on site here?" Ellie asked.  "You could try there first, provide care for parents who want a few hours to themselves."

"Yeah, I'll ask at reception in the morning, thanks Ellie."

"I knew you would come in useful for something Miller," Alec grinned.

"Wow, Alec Hardy giving me a compliment.  You must be doing him some good after all Rose.  Look, if you need another reference, you can put me down, you can't put him down and if you need the CRB doing, I'll get it done for you."

Things were starting to look up for Rose.  After Ellie left and agreeing a time for Thursday evening, they went for a drink in the site's bar and a walk around the harbour.  Alec sat her down on one of the benches and Rose rested her head on his shoulder.

"See, things are not nearly as bad as they were a few days ago.  Now you have two referees for a job or anything else you need and if you ask tomorrow about childcare on the site, there's no need to go to the council.  We'll go get a laptop tomorrow then you can see about your birth certificate and a bank account, you might be able to get one of your own, there are the one's you pay a fee and they don't do any checks on you or we could still go for the joint one."

"Maybe we'll just stick to that for now Alec.  I couldn't do all this with you, you know that?"

He put his arm around her and she put hers around his waist.  "Think nothing of it Rose, I help people all day long but you're just a little bit more special.  Now let's go back or do you want to stay out a bit longer?"

She looked up and kissed his cheek.  "Let's just stay a bit longer."

They made their way back after sitting a while longer, just holding onto each other and Alec made some hot chocolate, Rose saying he made it just right and she felt a lot happier when they went to bed but had one request of him.

"Alec, when you get out of bed in the morning, don't be in such a hurry to get changed in the bathroom."

"Why, you don't want to see me getting changed do you?" he mused.

"Well that was the idea, you watch me so it's only fair I get an eyeful of your bum."

"You'll regret it, Rose."

"No I won't.  I've felt it so I want to see it and not just in the light coming from outside."

"Well don't say I didn't warn you and if you have nightmares that are worse than dealing with the Cybermen, don't blame me."

"Oh Alec, nothing can be so bad compared with them and other species I've encountered, believe me.  Now come here and let me at least feel it so I have something to look forward to in the morning."

"Only after I've finished with yours Angel."

He leaned down to kiss her then went to lay on her, kissing his way down.  At least now, with the prospects of a job and her making one new friend, she hadn't talked about going back to where she came from all night.  That was a good sign, maybe she would forget it all and just stay with him.  He could do worse than having an outsider as a girlfriend, he might even fall in love with her or had he already done that?

Rose got her wish the next morning although he refused to turn around, telling her she would have to earn that privilege, Alec said he would borrow a car and they would go down to the electrical store down in the next town and choose a laptop and get it all set up and they would get a takeaway when they got back or eat out.

Rose was going to ask at reception about if they had anyone providing childcare and had suggested to Alec that if they had no-one and were not prepared to actually employ her, she would go through the checks and register with the council and use the site's playroom and have the parents pay per hour if the site wasn't already using it.  Alec thought it was a good idea.

So Rose set off for reception and asked for the manager and was pleasantly surprised.

"Well Miss Tyler, it's a bit quiet here and normally, someone would come in and provide childcare and we've had a few requests so if you want to use the playroom, you can charge parents and we'll let you use it free of charge, if you can provide a CRB check and a referee.  Don't worry about insurance, it's on our premises.  When can you get the check done?"

"I'll go up to the Police Station when I leave here and as for references, I can give you those now."

"Excellent.  Why don't you leave them with us, bring in your CRB check before Friday and we'll put a notice up over the weekend?  You can open when you like, maybe have two sessions.  The playroom's unlocked anyway, parents bring their bored kids in and often complain they have to stay while they could be doing their shopping or something.  Maybe you could charge a nominal fee for supervising them, we'll give you a badge so they don't think you're just anyone."

"Great, thanks."

She scribbled down Ellie's number she had given her, leaving Pete Tyler out of it for now then once outside, called her new friend.

"Hey Ellie, thanks for the idea in the site's playroom, I gave them your number, they might call you for a reference.  Can I come up and get a form for the CRB check?"

"Sure, I'm at my desk, just ask for a form then bring it up to me, I'll help you fill it out."

"Thanks.  Is Alec in his office?"

"Yes, don't worry, I can fill the form in for you.  You remember your way up, don't you?"

Rose smiled.  She made her way to the station, got the form and asked if she could go up.  The desk sergeant nodded and she was soon sat in front of Ellie's desk, which unfortunately faced Alec's office.  If he had seen her, he didn't let on despite her being in there the other day and those present knew who she was.

Ellie filled the form in for her, putting Pete Tyler's address assuring her it would be ok, he had said he would provide a reference for her after all and put her date of birth then filled out the rest of the form for her.

"I'll have it back tomorrow for you, I'll get DI Hardy to bring it to you tomorrow night.  Don't worry, it's just a simple check anyway, just to make sure you have no criminal record or outstanding warrants, no court judgements against you.  You don't have anything you want to tell me do you?"

"No but you already know that, DS Miller."

Rose was aware people could overhear if she said anything else.  The form was sent for processing and Rose asked if Ellie wanted to have lunch with her.

"I think you should ask your boyfriend first, he might get offended."

Rose looked across at the man who had volunteered to take her in.  He was reading something on his computer screen, his sexy rimless glasses perched on his nose.  She smiled at Ellie and asked if it was ok to go in.  Ellie nodded, she wasn't prepared to come between Hardy and his new girlfriend, pretend or not, she had seen them holding hands, they had to be more than friends.

Rose tapped on the door and went in.

"Rose, had a productive morning?" he asked, indicating for her to sit on the sofa and getting up to close the blinds.

He went to sit next to her and kissed her cheek as she told him the news.

"That's great, see, I told you things would get better.  Miller will rush things through for you and even if you don't make a great deal of money out of it, it will give you something to do."

"Oh I don't know Alec.  If I get six kids at a time, I can make something out of it and I'm not really doing it for the money.  Care to join me for lunch later?"

"Sure, meet me across the road around twelve then.  Do you want me to bring Miller?"

"If you insist, detective.  Afraid you won't be able to keep your hands off me?"

"I refuse to answer that, it might incriminate me."

He kissed her cheek and got up, taking her hand.  "See you later Angel, what are you going to do this afternoon?"

"Maybe go for a walk on the beach.  Don't forget we're going to Ellie's tomorrow night.  Do you mind if I go buy a new dress without resorting to charity shops?  Not that there's anything wrong with them but the one I went to didn't have anything else I liked."

Alec sighed and went in his jacket pocket for his wallet.  Getting £20 out, he gave it to her.  "Why not but that dress you got the other day looked really good on you.  Perhaps you may need a job after all, to keep you in dresses."

Rose reached up to kiss him.

"Thanks, I'll make it worth your while later."

"Well if you want to do that, get some new skimpy underwear to go with it."

"Then you definitely wouldn't be able to handle me Alec."

"Don't bet on that Angel.  See you soon."

He kissed her back then opened the door, getting a stare from Ellie and the rest of the office.  Ellie had unfortunately filled the rest of the office in on Alec's new girlfriend but at least they now thought he was actually human.
Chapter 9
After managing not to talk too much about Alec's impending doom and Rose's predicament that night after dinner Rose had made and a walk along the seafront, Rose went shopping the next morning, choosing a simple yellow and orange striped dress that just had a square neckline with thin straps and a yellow thin cardigan that she found in the market on the High Street.  She had seen Becca Fisher outside the hotel who had asked how they were getting on.

"Oh hi Rose, how's the new place?" Becca had asked after leaving the board she was writing the menu on.

Rose wasn't sure how much Alec wanted her to know, being a small town and she being the owner of a bar and hotel.

"Fine, we've got settled.  Has business picked up any?"

"Well yeah actually, got a load of reporters coming in now DI Hardy has left, I couldn't very well have him bumping into them at breakfast so I suppose he did me a favour by moving out really.  You two made up then?"

"Oh yeah, we're good, going out for dinner tonight, someone Alec knows from here.  Best get back, I'm meeting him for lunch."

Alec joined her across from the caravan site in the outdoor catering area.  There were a few people around but nowhere near as busy as it should have been.

"Hi.  Becca Fisher was just telling me she's expecting some reporters turning up, has there been any new developments?" Rose asked as he sat down after ordering some food for the both of them.

"Not that I know about.  I should have the police check for you later, then we'll go get that laptop, I can set it up before we go to Miller's house."

They had decided to leave it last night since Alec was a bit late back.

Rose took his hand.  "Why do you insist on calling her Miller?" Rose laughed.

"I just feel awkward using first names with someone I work with, well since I had to work with my ex who wasn't my ex at the time.  I don't trust people enough now, not people I'm supposed to be able to trust anyway."

Rose let go of his hand, he promptly took it back.  "I didn't mean you Rose, you're about the only one around here I actually do trust.  You didn't think I meant to include you, did you?"

Rose was not so sure.  She had come into his life and thrown all this at him.  She was homeless, almost penniless and a nobody.  He saw the look on her face.

"Honestly Rose, we're not starting all this again are we?  I thought we were over that?  I'm sorry, I should have said that it excluded you, it does exclude you, that goes without saying."

"Does it?  Alec, I don't know what to tell people, whether not to say anything at all and try to avoid any questions or if we've supposed to have made up or I'm leaving again.  I'm so confused right now, like with Becca, she asked if we'd settled, I didn't know how to answer her.  Have we settled Alec?"

Their food arrived and they ate in silence, Alec throwing the odd glance her way, just to assure himself she was eating and wasn't going to be throwing chips at him.  She pushed her plate to one side and stared at him.  Just her luck to find a Doctor look-a-like in a world that was hers but wasn't.  What were the chances of that?  She would have said millions to one against but it was more than that.  To end up on her adopted world, one without any recognition it actually was and find him of all people within hours of her getting back.  She wondered if there was actually another Alec Hardy, in the real version of this world.

"I'm just like Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  I keep thinking this has all be a nightmare and I'll wake up in my own bed back home or I've fallen asleep by a river on a summer's afternoon."

Alec stared at her.  "Be careful what you say Rose, I've never heard of anything you've just said."

She was almost as bad as her mother had been when they had been brought across by Pete.  Most people had laughed and blamed it on her ordeal with the Cybermen.

"Sorry, just take me to the nearest psychiatric ward and leave me there."

Alec managed a smile.  He couldn't fix this, no matter how much it pained him to see her like this.

"We'll talk about it later Angel, I have to go back to work now.  Just be extra careful yes?  If anyone's going to get carted off it will be me for believing you.  If you do get picked up for talking weird, they'll bring you to me anyway so don't worry too much and about the other thing, you can tell people we're good and you are my girlfriend so no more arguments, ok?"

Rose nodded and Alec helped her up.  They walked to the end of the walkway and up the slope, across from the Police Station.  He could see Miller looking out over the balcony.  Just let her say anything, he thought.  He kissed Rose goodbye, properly and went back up the steps and across to the entrance.  Rose stood and watched him and waved to Ellie, hoping Alec was able to trust the woman with her secret after what he had just said.

Ellie kept her word and handed Alec the CRB check during the afternoon, then he left early to collect Rose from the caravan after borrowing a car and they drove down to the nearest electrical store and chose a laptop.  Rose had chastised him for driving again but he said there was no way he was going down the Dorchester on a bus.  Once back, Alec quickly set it up while Rose was getting ready to go to the Millers house for dinner.

"I hope Ellie won't tell her husband about me when we get there.  Do you think we should take some flowers or something?"

"We can call at the mini-market on the way there, get some chocolates or something, if that's what people do.  I'm out of practice."

"Oh I don't know, you don't do too badly with me," Rose smiled, putting her arms around his slim waist.  "You need fattening up, Alec Hardy, do you know that?"

Alec grinned.  Just what he needed, a woman to tell him he was far too skinny.  "I do not need 'fattening up' as you so kindly suggest.  I'm just well toned if you care to look properly."

"I will, when we get back and no snogging me in someone else's house, get it?"

Alec pretended to sulk.  "Got it though I'm bitterly disappointed Rose, you can't blame me if I try though."

"Then I'd be disappointed if you didn't.  Shall we go?"

She took his arm and led him out and after calling at the mini-market just outside town, Rose picking chocolates and wine for Ellie and some for herself plus some marshmallows she wanted for her hot chocolate, they knocked on Ellie's front door.  She let them in, Rose spying a young boy sat on the stairs and they were shown into the dining room.

"Tom," Ellie called.  "Have you done spying on us?  Then come and say hello to Rose, she's new around here and she's DI Hardy's girlfriend."

Alec grimaced, thinking it was a good thing school was out or it would be the playground gossip the hard-ass detective had a girlfriend.

"Hi Tom, nice to meet you.  I have a brother, a bit younger than you.  Do you like football?  Tony's mad on football, dad takes him to nearly every home game near us."

"Yeah, I follow Bristol Rovers, who does he support?"

"Chelsea though I never go, it's not my thing.  You never said Alec, you a football fan?"

"Not really and I would have told you before if I was so it wasn't really worth mentioning."

He was going to be having to tread very carefully if she was going to continually come out with things he had never heard of or she didn't know about him.  He just hoped he could keep up with her, like the two references earlier but it had amused him, this Alice and this Dorothy sounded like they could be other versions of Rose herself and he meant to ask her more later, in bed.  He hadn't said anything but he had picked up something from the checkout while Rose had been choosing chocolates and marshmallows, he didn't know if she took her own precautions or not and you could never be too careful, him being a detective, despite his current condition.

So far, over the last few nights, it had been pretty tame but they had both just been getting comfortable with each other, mainly her getting comfortable on him and using him as a mattress but he hadn't minded, it was nice to wake up with someone who didn't demand anything from him – like they had to have sex when they wanted and not when he wanted and Rose hadn't yet asked in that department.  Well he was going to at least make the effort and give her the option, surely he wasn't that bad that he couldn't at least attempt it if she wanted to?

"So you two, how long have you actually been together?  Ellie said you'd just come down here to join him," Joe Miller asked.

Rose looked across at Alec, they had not gone into specifics of their supposed love affair.

"That's quite a story actually, she was a bit coy with me at first, took me ages to convince her I wasn't that bad, despite me being a policeman, weren't you Angel?" Alec replied for her.

Rose blushed the colour of her name.  "Yeah, he wore me down then suddenly announced he was going to work away, I didn't want to go, we'd just got settled where we were.  Then I realised it was no good, I had to come after him, surprise him."

"Yes, I got a bit of a shock when she was waiting for me the other night, I can tell you."

They both inwardly breathed a sigh of relief and hoped Ellie wouldn't say anything stupid.  Joe tried to pour Alec some more wine but he said he was driving to which he was told it was a poor excuse and next time to get a taxi.  Rose decided she was going to have Alec's share.  After her third, Alec thought maybe he would get some use out of his extra purchase.

"So are you planning on staying down here then Rose?" Ellie asked, after showing them into the front room and leaving them alone for five minutes, Alec having pinned Rose on the sofa and snogged her senseless for most of the time, despite her almost fighting him then telling him off, a big stupid grin on her face.

"You are so going to regret that later," she had promised him.

Alec had just grinned back.

"Yeah, at least while Alec's working this case, got no reason to go back have I?  Gave up where we were living and here I am.  I didn't have much to bring, never really went for fancy things.  We had furnished accommodation, didn't we?  I couldn't really afford it once Alec left me so before the month was up, I handed the keys back and got the coach down here."

"So what did you do Rose?" Joe asked.

He had her there, what was an accurate job description?  Dimension hopper?  Defender of the Earth?  Time-Traveller or Torchwood agent?  Well the last one would get her locked up even if the others didn't.

"Hairdresser, same as my mum."  Geez, Rose, you can do better than that, she thought.

"Do you miss your family?" Ellie asked, then could kick herself for being so insensitive, that was something she would have expected Hardy to come out with.

"More than anything.  I hope we'll get chance to go see them soon, when Alec's not so busy, they haven't even had chance to meet him yet."

That was something, would her mother approve of Alec, him looking like the Doctor?

"I'm sure they'll love him though."  She grabbed his hand and squeezed it, him squeezing hers back.

She could picture her mother gawking at him and giving him a slap, asking where he had been for the last few years and why he had left her daughter crying on a beach in bloody Norway.  Then she would have hugged him and called him her daft alien, just like she always did once she had found out their exact relationship and told them it wasn't before time either.

They said goodbye and thanked their hosts for dinner and they drove back to the caravan.  It was getting late so Alec said they would do the bank application when he got back the following evening and told Rose to start looking into her birth certificate.  When they got to bed, Alec asked if she'd had too much to drink.

"I have not had too much to drink for your information.  We were trained not to give any secrets away when having a drink I'll have you know.  Besides, I had to make it look good since you got out of it easy with you driving."

She put her arms around him, looking up at him.  "Mmm, I still have to think of a name for you yet, I can't go calling you 'Sexy Bum' when we're out.  Why is it so difficult to think of pet names for men?  It's easy for you, there are loads of pet names for women, I rather like what you call me."

"Oh, which one would that be?  Angel, Sweetheart or love?"

"All of them, babe."

"Oh right, so you've picked one for me then have you?"

"For now, it's as good as any I suppose.  Don't you even think I'm anywhere near drunk Alec Hardy, I saw what you bought earlier."

"You did?  You were choosing chocolates and marshmallows."

"For a detective, you missed the fact there was a great big security mirror I saw you sneakily making your purchase through."

Alec knew he had been caught out.  "So there's no chance I might get my money's worth then?" he asked, nipping at her ear.

"I'm just not ready yet Alec, please understand that.  It's not you, it's me, I have to get over certain things."

"I do understand Rose but you have to let go for now, you can't keep on thinking you're betraying him by being with me.  What if you're stuck here forever?  I can only wait so long Rose, maybe I don't have as much time as you do."

"Don't say that, you're gonna be fine once you have your pacemaker and stop hiding that letter you got from the hospital Becca handed over last Saturday."

"She told you where it was from?  I'll be having words with her."

"No, I saw the tell-tale logo on the envelope, you're not the only one who can be sneaky you know.  Give them a call, see what your options are then we'll decide what to do."

"You mean I'll decide don't you?"

"Nope, we're in it together because if I'm stuck here in this reality, I'm not doing it without you.  You're keeping me from zapping myself into another one."

"Am I now?  So if I get that pacemaker, you won't zap yourself, ever?"

"I'm not saying ever Alec, I'm saying I'll find a safer way of trying to get back.  I might have you but I have a family somewhere Alec, you know that and I might never see them again but I'll not stop trying, just that I won't make a start until you're well again and I know you're ok."

"And then what Rose?  You'll just go off and leave me?  What's the point in me getting well again then, if you're going to do that?"

"There's every point Alec, you'll be ok and that's good enough for me, it should be for you as well."

"Did it never occur to you why I didn't get something done Rose?  I had nothing to get better for, until you came along and gave me a kick up the arse and made me stop feeling sorry for myself.  If you're going to leave, I'll save the health service the time and money and no, I'm not trying to bribe you."

"Huh?  Not much you're not.  I guess it's stalemate then isn't it?  Neither of us can win this Alec, you're determined not to get better and I'm determined to get back home, there's no compromise."

He let go of her.  "No I guess there isn't is there?  We could have something good Rose, me and you, not here in this caravan, obviously but maybe a rented home, overlooking the sea or up in the town.  I'd get well again, we could settle down, I'd take care of you, financially and try to help you come to terms but hey, if you want to stand in front of some stupid device and have your atoms scattered over time and space or into the void, don't let me stop you, just don't expect me to help you or watch you, that's all.  I guess I'll go sleep in the other bedroom then."

It wasn't a question.  What was she thinking?  Yes, she was desperate to get back home, any home, even if it wasn't her original one but to expect Alec to get well for her sake then still talk about getting back.  She was the one who was being heartless.

Chapter 10
Alec got out of bed and put his t-shirt on, they hadn't got round to taking off their underwear, thankfully, he thought.  He was going to at least attempt to get further in bed than they had been doing for the last few nights.  He had known her almost a week, a week that had changed his life and turned it upside down – Rose Tyler had left him in turmoil and he was fast falling for her.  He'd just admitted to her he wanted to take care of her on a long-term basis, what more could he offer?  He had told her in no uncertain terms he would not let her scatter her atoms into oblivion, void or no void, it wasn't something he wanted to watch and deep inside her, she probably knew that.

He opened the bedroom door, there was just a little light coming in through the window, Rose just turned onto her side and she heard him go out.  Then she realised she had driven away the only man who had been kind to her and if she didn't act fast enough, he would be gone by morning and she would be homeless.  The police would stop paying for the caravan and she didn't have much money again.

She got out of bed and put her vest top on and her pyjama bottoms, the ones he had teased had been a waste of money because she had never even worn them.  Tomorrow she was meant to go back to the site manager and hopefully have some sort of a job.  She opened the door and found the kitchen area light on and Alec coming out of the spare room with a duvet and a pillow, throwing it on the seating area.

He had gone in, looked at the empty bed and knew he couldn't sleep there, not without her.  Tomorrow he would pack his things and tell the police he had changed his mind and go back to the hotel until he remembered Rose had said there would be reporters.  She would probably be on the first bus out of here in the morning anyway, she didn't have much to take with her so he would leave early and she would be gone when he got back.

How could she even still think about putting herself in danger?  Ok, she missed her family and friends but was it worth risking her life to get back?  She could end up in yet another reality, a far crueller fate to await her where the Alec Hardy of that one was mean and nasty and not just grumpy.  One who would use her and maybe even abuse her and she would be at his mercy.  If he himself had been well, would he have been so patient with her?  He knew he wouldn't have been.  She was gorgeous, intelligent and independent but she was also broken and so was he.

He looked up as he realised she was standing by the bedroom door after he threw down the bedding, folding it like a sleeping bag.

"What?" he asked, turning the duvet corner down and trying to decide which way to get into it.

She didn't answer.

"Turn out the light when you go back in, since you're there.  I'll make it easy for you, I'll leave early so you can pack your things and go back to London then you can do what the hell you like.  I don't want to know if you disappear into that damn void or not so don't give Pete Tyler my number just for him to tell me you've gone."

Rose was about to go turn out the light as he finally got under the duvet, stretching out his long legs and wishing he had put his pyjama bottoms on as the seat material felt funny as the duvet had moved.  She turned it out and turned to go back then changed her mind and ran over to him, sitting at the other end.

"I'm sorry."

"So am I Rose."

She pulled up the duvet by his feet but he moved over.  "Come here Rose."

He pulled the duvet back and he moved up against the back of the seat and she crawled in beside him, holding on so she wouldn't fall off.

"I need you Alec."

"I'm sorry I said all that.  I care about you Rose, don't you get that?  Isn't that enough?"

Rose was clinging hold of him and was already asleep.

When she woke up, she almost fell off the seat had Alec not still be holding onto her.  It was early, just gone seven and she wondered where she was for a moment, suddenly realising Alec was awake.

"Hi," she said, rather gingerly, half forgetting their fight last night and why she had chosen to sleep in the lounge and not in bed, on top of him.

"Hi, you didn't have to sleep here last night you know, there are two beds in here."

"Well you weren't going to sleep in one so neither was I.  I guess I'll go pack then?"

She tried to get off the seat but he held her.

"No Rose, where would you go besides back to London?  Then what?"

"Persuade Pete Tyler to let me in Torchwood or at least adopt me in name so I can get on with trying to find a way back."

"Have you ever thought there is no way back Rose or do you refuse to believe it's even remotely possible?"

She lay back on the pillow they had managed to share as he propped himself up.

"I suppose it's remotely possible, yeah but if it isn't?  Do I give up Alec?"

"I'm not saying to ever give up Rose, I'm being selfish because I don't want you to go so don't feel you have to take notice of what I say.  Stay with me?"

He leaned down and touched her nose with his.  "We still have an hour before I have to get ready for work."

"I'll stay with you and it's me that's being selfish, I didn't think what it was doing to you.  I promise, I won't bring it up again in front of you and I'll do some research on the laptop to see what differences there are here and see if I can figure things out, if that's ok with you?  I guess I'll have to accept things for now but I want you to get well again, please, don't let me be the only reason you're thinking about it."

"Well you were the only reason but I suppose I can do it for my daughter, not just for you.  I never thought how it would affect others.  You do know what you're letting yourself in for, don't you?"

He sought her lips and kissed her lightly.  She responded by grabbing the collar of his t-shirt.

"We could go back to bed?"

"And spoil the fun of you holding on to me to stop you falling off?" Alec smiled.

"Don't say I didn't warn you."

Alec carefully climbed onto her, taking his t-shirt off and pulling her pyjama bottoms down but leaving his shorts on since he didn't really fancy cleaning up later.

He called her name as he lay on her, her legs wrapped around him.  Then he looked down and smiled.

"I was going to ask you, last night, if you wanted to make use of my buying something?"

"Oh.  I'm sorry Alec, I really am and I didn't mean it, it's just difficult.  What you said though, did you mean it?  About taking care of me?"

"Of course I do, what do you take me for?  I wouldn't just go off and leave you to fend for yourself or be at the mercy of Pete Tyler.  We'll get your ID sorted one way or another.  You could have done worse than finding me though.  I was thinking the Alec Hardy in your own version of reality could be twice as bad and be totally fit.  I'm rather tame at the moment so make the most of it because if I ring the hospital and they put me right, well just watch out, that's all I'm saying."

"You're so full of it Alec Hardy and what makes you think I'd want another version of you anyway?"

He kissed her again before making her squeal.  They hurriedly got dressed then Rose made him some breakfast, their problems put on hold for the time being.

As he was eating, he asked if she still planned on getting that job.

"I have to Alec, it will help establish my ID.  I'll look to see where I can put down as my place of birth.  Do you think they will notify Pete Tyler if I put him down?"

"I seriously doubt it.  Why don't you try ringing him and ask?"

"Well I didn't exactly ask him for his phone number before I left and what if she answers?  I really don't like her.  I met her, the other one, when we went there the first time."

"There's still a lot you haven't told me yet, don't you trust me?"

"I'll tell you, if you really want to know.  It's been a week now, I can't believe it, that this time last Friday I was at home."

"Then this can be your home for now.  We'll stay here a few weeks, I'll call the hospital and get an appointment then when I get out, we'll look for somewhere else, unless you are thinking of going to London?"

"You said there was no point Alec, you're right, the answer's not at Torchwood, I guess I already knew that.  I'll try and get Pete's number somehow or can you get it for me?"

"I'll try and I'll text it to you if I get it.  I suppose I'll have more luck at getting it than you will.  So, definitely no zapping into the void then?"

Rose nodded. "Ok, I promise.  I never thought how it would affect you."

She got up and put her arm around him, kissing his cheek.  "Go on, you don't want to be late."

"Rose, I practically live next door, how can I possibly be late?"

He got up to put his arms around her.  "Give me a big sloppy kiss before I leave then.  Meet for lunch?"

"Yes, call me or send a message if you send me Pete's number.  I'm off about that job."

He let her go.  "Good luck Angel."

Rose cleared up, put the laundry on then got the CRB check and walked down to the office.  She was in for a disappointment.

"I'm sorry Miss Tyler but head office won't allow anyone who doesn't work here to run the playroom.  All I can do is offer you an application form but I seriously doubt they will take you on just in that capacity and business is extremely slow for this time of year but you're welcome to try."

"Well thanks anyway, I'll take the form if I don't get anything else."

She had been looking forward to it so it was down to her to advertise her services so she went back and connected to the internet and went to the local paper's website to look at the wanted ads.  She knew it was too expensive for her to put one in of her own so the following morning when they were going shopping, she would put a card on the supermarket's notice board.  Then she remembered there was a newsagent just by the harbour and thought she would go to the shop and buy a packet of postcards and leave some in the High Street as well.

Child-minding seemed the best option so she went to the council's website and looked up childcare.  She couldn't believe all the trouble a person had to go to in order to register but she supposed people had to be careful so maybe that was out, plus she found out insurance was needed so it wouldn't be worthwhile if she were to just do it in someone's home.  She couldn't bring them to a caravan.  Disappointed with that, she began searching for all the registry offices in London to see if any of them hit the news in the past but had no luck there either so a call to Pete Tyler it would have to be.

If she just explained she didn't want his money, maybe he would let her use him to get all her ID.  Alec called just after eleven to see how she was getting on.

Alec could tell she was upset.  "So it didn't work out then?  Never mind love, just keep looking, don't give up.  I have that number you wanted but promise me you'll wait until I get back, I don't want you getting upset if he refuses to help you any further.  I'll ask around the station, see if anyone needs childcare or taking to school after the holidays.  We don't have childcare here, maybe I can ask the chief?"

"Don't get my hopes up again Alec, I've had enough this morning."

"Come on Rose, cheer up.  Why don't I bring some food back and we can snuggle on the seat for half an hour.  Would that help?"

"Yeah, it would.  Just bring back whatever you're having."

After Alec got back for lunch, drawing the curtains and having a serious snogging session, Rose felt a little better.  She promised she would do nothing else until he got back.  He tried to cheer her up further.

"We'll go shopping in the morning and don't worry about getting a job too much as long as you promise not to be buying new dresses all the time, ok?"

"Ok, no dresses for now but you have no idea how large my wardrobe was back home."

He put his arms around her, her head resting on his chest.

"Rose, if you were used to buying dresses all the time, I have news for you.  These are only small wardrobes, you would need one that's bigger on the inside."

Rose smiled to herself – if only he knew.

After taking the wet laundry to get dried, the time came for Alec to come home, Rose was watching out of the window.  Dinner was on and she had just a t-shirt and jeans on, opting to try and please him by wearing nothing underneath but a skimpy pair of knickers she had bought at the market.  She greeted him with a long kiss and since dinner wasn't quite ready, she used Alec's phone to call Pete Tyler.

He offered to call on her behalf but she said she had to do this on her own.

"I don't mind doing it for you Rose, you know that?"

"Yeah but I don't want you involved Alec, he might report you to your chief."

She dialled the number and a man's voiced answered with "The Tyler residence, may I help you?"

Rose just hoped he hadn't already left if he wasn't actually living there any more.

"Can I speak to Mr Tyler please?"

"Just hold the line.  May I say who is calling?"

"Just say it's Rose, he'll know who it is."  Well at least she hoped he did.

"Rose Tyler, I didn't expect to hear from you again so soon.  If you've run out of money already, I'm afraid I can't help you."

"I don't want your money, I need to ask you something else."

"Go on."

"I need to establish my ID and I can't do that without a birth certificate."

"So what do you need my help for then?  Oh, wait a minute, you want to use my name for one, put down I'm your father.  Do you know what my wife will do if I do that?  Believe me, I don't even want to go there.  You've met her, you know what she's like.  Do you know how long she went on at me after you'd left?"

"I'm sorry.  I had nowhere else to go.  Look, I don't want your money, I have someone who's helping me with that, sort of but I can't get a job unless I have proper papers, social security and all that.  Can you help me get them?"

The line went quiet.  "Can I get you on this number?"

"Yeah, it belongs to a friend I've made, he's called Alec."

"Not Alec Hardy, the detective on that case down in Dorset?  Are you serious?  Do you know what kind of trouble you'd be in if he found out?"

Rose looked at Alec. "He already knows and he's ok with it.  I thought he was someone that I knew when I came down here but he offered to help me."

"Listen to me Rose, listen very carefully.  Don't trust anyone, you are just asking for trouble.  Did you read up about him?  He lost evidence in the last major case he was on and they supposedly vindicated him but I don't think that was anything other than sweeping the whole thing under the carpet, him being a senior officer.  Get out Rose, while you still can, he'll be watching you and he'll just turn you in."

"Then what am I supposed to do?"

"Call me back on Monday morning and I'll see what I can do over the weekend.  I'm sorry, that's all I can tell you.  Just get out Rose."

She hung up and looked at Alec, who had gone to stir the pan on the stove.  Should she take Pete's advice and leave him?  Did she trust a man in London who she had met just once and was her stepfather's counterpart in this version of the world or did she trust Alec, the man she was falling in love with, the double of the man she lost all those years ago?  Some choice.

Chapter 11
"Well, what did he say Rose?" Alec asked, making sure the pan didn't boil dry by turning it down.

"He told me to call him back on Monday."

"Well that's good, isn't it?"

"I'm scared Alec, of Pete Tyler, this world and what could happen to me.  I don't know who to trust any more."

She sat down.  Alec turned off the stove and sat beside her, putting his arm around her.

She shrugged him off but he persisted.

"What did he say Rose?"

She let him close his arms around her.  If he was going to turn her in for a reward, he would have done it a week ago, not taken her in and shared a bed with her – unless he was being sadistic and wanted some pleasure out of it but he was sick, what would be the point in doing that?  Did he need the money to pay for an operation?

No, she had already seen the letter he had been trying to hide from the hospital.  It had said it was yet another reminder he had to book a date for a pacemaker fitting and he would be accommodated almost immediately since it was vital to his survival so that was that, he didn't have to pay for it.  She leaned her head on his chest.

"I'm glad you made me wait until you came home Alec.  I'm really confused right now.  What you were saying, about not trusting anyone enough to use their first name, you call me Rose so you must trust me, right?"

"Of course I do Rose, there, I've just used it again so there you go.  I trust Miller, to a certain extent and you should trust her too, you need all the friends you can get.  She won't turn you in.  So what if someone does turn you in?  They have records of who worked there and you were not one of them, your name is not on the list."

He let go of her then scooped her up and spun her around.

"That's it Rose!  I've been so wrapped up in this murder case I didn't see the obvious, don't you get it?"

He took hold of her again and kissed her, leaving them both out of breath.

"Rose, say something."

"I'm not on the list of Torchwood employees so what?  I'm sure anyone left who's trying to dodge being caught will have changed their names by now, it doesn't mean I'm off the hook, does it?"

"Yes it does because they're in hiding, whether they have changed their ID or not, they are in the system and the authorities don't waste their time looking for them so they stay hidden, until one of them makes a mistake and gets found out by someone wanting the reward and even if they have changed their names, there's a graphic record of the outstanding employees.  You're not one of them Rose, you're free.  Besides that, the rest are in deep hiding, they have to be, they would not walk into a town at the centre of a major murder investigation and hook up with the lead detective, would they?  Not unless they were totally stupid and think they could hide in plain sight."

"I suppose.  So I've no need to worry on that score?  Then why did Pete Tyler not tell me that when I went to him?"

"I don't know, maybe he doesn't fully trust you are who you say you are.  Ok, so Pete Tyler is hiding in plain sight but from what you told me, he didn't play a big part in Torchwood and he did help get rid of the Cybermen and stopped half the population of London just walking in there to get turned into one.  I don't think they would do anything to him if he did get caught out so I don't know why he thinks he's in danger."

Rose looked up at him.  "Ok.  So that's one less thing for me to be worried about but tell me what they do if someone is turned in?"

"Well I've never dealt with one personally but from what I know, they are turned in to the police, questioned by a senior officer who then puts a report into the chief then it goes higher.  If that officer has grounds for holding them, they get sent to London and handed over.  If they are innocent, they are turned free."

"So basically, I'd get turned in to you?  Why didn't you say so?  I've got nothing to worry about then have I?"

"Oh Rose, if I had been thinking straight on this, the last week would have gone a whole lot better.  Well when you actually stopped talking about zapping yourself into the ether.  So what are you going to do about Pete Tyler?"

"Leave it Alec."

"Come on, what did he say?"

"He'd work on it over the weekend but he told me to get as far away from you as possible and not to trust you."

"Did he now?  I think me and Mr Tyler will be having words if he bothers to call you when you don't call him back."

"Let him Alec.  If he can get me some ID then let him.  I'll meet him somewhere or whoever he sends.  If this world's version of Jake is working for him, he'll be the one to do it.  Maybe I should just contact Jake?"

"No, not if Tyler is already doing so.  Just leave it until Monday Rose, see what happens if you don't ring.  Maybe that Jake will contact you.  Tyler wouldn't dare ask you for money for doing it since he knows you have none but he might make you pay some other way, like going to work for him.  No Rose, I'm not letting you do that, we'll find another way.  Besides, it's me who will get the call and I'll say you changed your mind.  I still reckon you should try on your own, put down your real details and see what happens.  If it doesn't come up on computer, computers do go wrong sometimes."

"Yeah, they do, believe me.  Let me finish making dinner then we have some serious catching up to do from last night because suddenly, I don't feel half as bad as I did earlier.  Minus the going home bit but maybe you're right Alec.  I was told never to give up but I also told my mum once, everyone leaves home in the end.  Just answer me one thing Alec, that's all."

"Anything Angel face."

"Will you always look after me?"

"Seriously?  For as long as you want.  How long are you going to stay with me Rose?"  He put his arms around her neck.

She nestled into his chest.  "For as long as I'm here."

He kissed her forehead.  "Well that's good enough for me, now let's eat shall we or do you want to go out?"

"No, I want to eat then cuddle up with you watching TV."

"Sounds like a plan.  There is one way of avoiding needing a birth certificate for anything."

"What's that?  Not having a driving licence or a passport?"

"Well that's some of it.  Just lay low Rose, I'll get that bank sorted then as long as you don't keep going on a spending spree like you're still the Vitex heiress, we'll manage as we are.  Once this murder investigation is over, things will get back to normal and you can look for a part time job.  Maybe you can work for yourself then no-one will start to ask questions."

"You still shouldn't be encouraging me Alec."

He smiled.  After dinner and more than making up for the night before, they spent the weekend going around the area, across into Devon and come Monday morning, Rose was feeling 100% better than she had since she had arrived.  Alec was debating whether to call Pete Tyler or not but thought for his girlfriend's sake he would leave it and see if the man contacted him.  He didn't.  So he went home and told Rose, he had heard nothing but the next morning, he had a visitor.

He was in his office when the front desk called him.

"Sir, there's a man wants to see you, says it's about your girlfriend."

"Well who is it then?" Alec asked impatiently.

"Says his name is Jake Simmonds."

Alec knew Rose had mentioned a Jake.  "Send him to my office then."

"Yes Sir."

A few minutes later, a man with spiky blonde hair was being shown into his office by Frank, since Miller had gone out.

"Shut the door," Alec told him, getting up.  "I'm Alec Hardy.  I've half been expecting you.  Did Peter Tyler send you?"

"Yeah and everyone knows who you are.  Don't worry, I haven't come here to make you or your girlfriend disappear.  Pete wanted me to check you out, before he helped Rose.  You do know he warned her to stay away from you?"

"I'm aware of that but I love her, why would she want to leave me?  She has no-one else, I'm all she's got right now.  You won't get to see her unless I allow it."

"Pity, I would have liked to have met her, since Pete sent me down with this."

Alec got up, afraid the man was going to pull some sort of weapon from his jacket pocket.  He would rather die right now than tell this man where Rose was.  Instead, Jake took a large folded envelope out and put it on Alec's desk.

"Everything she needs is in there but Pete's a bit disappointed she never called him yesterday.  Perhaps you can ask her to call him and thank him at some point?  Don't worry, everything's legit, Pete still has friends in high place, these documents will pass any test and shall we say, it's something of a hobby of mine.  He wanted to help her, despite her just walking in and presenting herself and he told me what happened.  He just can't get involved with her himself so I'm going to leave you my number and if she needs anything else, tell her to call me.  You have no idea the trouble he had with his wife after Rose's visit, he's still trying to appease her."

"Well I'm sure Rose appreciates that Jake.  You have to understand, she had nowhere else she could go when she found herself here.  You can tell Pete Tyler, the other thing she asked him about, she's changed her mind for now.  I've talked her out of putting herself in danger, she'll find another way.  That's if I don't persuade her it's impossible for her to ever get back to her own reality.  Do you believe her?"

"The question is Alec, do you?  I think Pete does, to a certain extent, those Cybermen went somewhere, probably to another universe so it's possible she got here by accident.  She said she had been here before and knew him but he knows he's never met her but somehow he felt sorry for her.  So do I get to meet her since I'm supposed to be a friend of hers from wherever she came from?"

Alec thought about it.  The man had just driven from London to hand over the vital papers Rose needed to survive here.  Hang on, had he just told this man he loved Rose and he had never even told her?  He would have to rectify that later on and tell her but first, he had some things to do.

"I'll call her and if she wants to meet, we'll go across the road and get coffee or tea and you two can talk but I'm not taking you to where we live."

"So you two live together then?  Pete suspected she was romantically involved with you but I expect it was inevitable if you're the only person she actually trusts."

Alec dialled Rose's number.  "Sweetheart, are you at home?  I've got someone with me who wants to meet with you."

"Who?  It's not Jake is it?"

"Yes, he brought something for you.  Do you want to meet outside the station and have coffee with him?  I can't stay long though."

"Yeah, I'll meet you in ten minutes then, it's a public place, I'll be ok."

"Right and when I get back tonight, I need to talk to you.  I'll bring this envelope he gave me, you can take it home with you.  See you in ten minutes then Angel."

Alec thought he should be embarrassed calling her pet names in front of a stranger but to hell with it, she was worth it.

Alec led Jake across the road and they sat at one of the tables after ordering tea for himself and two lattes.  He saw Rose walking over to them and they both got up.

"I take it Jake needs no introduction?" Alec asked, kissing her cheek as he held the chair next to him for her and their drinks arrived.

"Hello Jake.  I know this may seem weird to you but you were my best friend where I come from."

"I'm honoured then, I don't have any best friends, well apart from Ricky.  Things must be very different for you and also difficult but maybe what I brought you will help.  Pete sends his apologies for not getting personally involved but you met his wife."

Rose smiled and took Alec's hand he offered.  Jake could see the two of them were totally gone on each other.  Alec finished his tea and left Rose to talk to Jake.

"I'm just in my office if you need me Rose, call me and I'll be here in a few minutes.  As for you Jake, just know I won't let anything happen to her so just mind how you treat her.  Understand?"

"I get it but what do you think I'm gonna do?  I'm on her side just as much as you are.  She's done nothing to me, I just came here to help."

"I'll be fine Alec, don't fuss.  I'll see you when you get home ok?"

He got up and kissed her briefly.  Rose watched him walk off, knowing she was falling deeper for him.

Jake looked awkwardly at her, the envelope lying on the table where Alec had left it.

"Another drink Rose?" Jake asked nervously.  Talking to women was not one of his strong points and certainly not one with a boyfriend like the formidable Alec Hardy, who had taken the role very seriously.  "You don't have to be scared of me you know, I'm here to help.  When I told Ricky I was coming down here, he laughed that I was offering to help you but I told him you had helped us, in another lifetime.  I don't expect you want to go into too many details about it though, Pete told me what you told him.  How are you really coping?"

"I wouldn't be if it wasn't for Alec, he's made it more bearable but he already had enough to worry about, with this murder to solve.  You're not that much different to the Jake I know."

"Thanks, I think. I'll give you my number, I meant what I said.  Now you can live a normal life, if you want.  Listen Rose, despite Alec, don't give up on getting home."

She said goodbye to Jake, after taking his number and picking up the envelope.  She couldn't believe she now officially existed and the relief of Alec figuring out she wouldn't get turned in for associating with Torchwood made things even better, apart from the rather obvious.  She emptied the contents of the envelope onto the table once she got home.  A birth certificate stating her parents as Jacqueline Tyler – Hairdresser and Peter Tyler – Salesman and hopefully no questions would be asked if they were the same as the famous ones.  There was a driving licence, passport and her social security number and she didn't want to know how all this had been possible in only a few days.

Alec came back, Rose was cooking dinner and he asked if everything was ok.

"Yeah, fine, I've put those documents away for now.  I can start looking for a job soon but I was thinking maybe out of town but I might need a car.  Maybe we can hire one?"

"I'll see what I can do.  After dinner, let's go for a walk, I have something I want to say to you."

Rose panicked.  This was it now.  She had her ID, she could get her own bank account and fend for herself.  He was going to say he was leaving or wanted her to leave, he thought she didn't need him any more but she knew she needed him more than ever and if that was what he was going to say to her, she was going to tell him she loved him.

Alec looked at her while they were eating.  She was beautiful and hanging out with a sickly detective inspector whose life could be over in a matter of months if he kept ignoring those appointments and maybe he wouldn't even see this stale case out.  It had been four weeks and he was nowhere nearer finding Danny's killer than he had back then, Rose was the one who was keeping him going.  He needed a miracle and had hoped Rose was it but watching her now she had her ID back, maybe she would decide she no longer needed him so he was going to tell her what she meant to him and tell her he loved her and beg her to stay with him – not just until his operation, which he was now going to do something about at last but beyond that.
Chapter 12 
Rose stalled after dinner, gathering the dishes and placing them in the sink but Alec wanted to get it over with.  They had done nothing but fight over Rose wanting to zap herself out of existence or get on the next bus out of Broadchurch nearly every day but she had seemed happier after her visit from Jake.  It hadn't made him happy though, not now she didn't need him any more.

He'd had enough so he walked up behind her and made her sit with him.

"Rose, we need to talk, now.  I'm happy you got your ID sorted, I really am but what about us?  You're happy with me aren't you?"

"Yeah, I'm happy with you, why do you ask?"  She didn't want to think about what he was going to say.

"Why?  Because you've got things sorted, that's why.  You can go anywhere, be accepted and make your own way, you don't need me any more to gain those things."

Rose took it the wrong way.  It was just what she had feared.

"Fine, I'll go then since you don't think you need to look after me any more.  I'll be gone in the morning."

"What?  You think I want you to leave?"

"You've been trying to get rid of me since I arrived."

"Maybe at first but you know now that's not true any more, I don't want you to leave Rose."

"You don't?  Why did you just say I don't need you any more then?"

"I was just saying, you're free to do what you want but I was hoping you would decide to stay?"

Rose was gob smacked.  "You mean that?  I thought you wanted me to go, that now I have all my ID, I'd be out of your hair."

"Oh Rose, I thought it would be you that wanted to leave, to get out of my way?"

"No Alec, I don't want to leave and I am happy with you.  Now I have my ID, I can get a job and pay my way and look for an alternate way of finding out what happened to me but you know I can't stay forever.  I promised I would stay as long as I could and I will, if you want me to?"

He leaned over, putting his arms around her.  She leaned into his shoulder.  "I thought you wanted rid of me, that I wouldn't want you to look after me but I do Alec, I still need you, I can't do this on my own and no, I'm not still thinking of zapping myself so don't you even think it.  I just can't give up altogether though, you know that?"

He kissed her forehead.  "I know but it doesn't mean I accept it, I'm still going to try and make you change your mind you know."

"I know.  I love you Alec."

"I love you too Angel.  Let's finish the dishes then we'll go out if you want?"

"No, I'd rather stay with you.  I was thinking of maybe registering at the health centre, see if I can get put on something, I don't want to just fool around with you any more Alec and I don't want you to be the one to take all the responsibility."

"That's the best news I've heard.  You know though that nothing will probably happen?  I'll still have to go easy."

"I know, don't worry about it, I'll be happy with what you have to offer."

"Rose, you just made me very happy.  Let's make a deal?"

"What kind of deal?"  She put her arms around his waist.

"That you won't do anything about trying to find out about what happened and try and put it right without telling me first and if you find a way, I'm going with you."

"What?  Are you crazy Alec?  What if, like you said, I end up somewhere really bad?"

"Then I'm not going to let you go alone because if you do end up somewhere really bad, you may not find anyone to help you."

"I know that but I can't let you get involved in it, not while you're so ill."

"Then what's the harm in waiting until I get something done?  A few weeks won't make much difference, will it?  Wait for me and I'll go with you.  Does that device carry more than one person?"

She should tell him no but she couldn't lie to him, not now.

"Yes, it does, in case of emergencies.  It won't work unless the person's whose genetic code is programmed in is touching it, so no-one can steal it but as long as I'm touching it then yeah, it can transport two people.  When it's working, it gives me all kinds of readings like what universe I'm in, we never go to the same one twice, well so far we haven't.  I was told that no matter what, it would always take me home but we never thought that reality would change when I did come back."

"I'm sure you didn't but why didn't they think of that?"

"It was one in a million chance of it ever happening probably and they didn't see it.  If I get back, they'll know but my world, well my version of it, ran ahead of where I came from originally so maybe they don't even think I'm missing yet."

"Now you are talking 'Back to the future' Rose."

"Well I used to go around with a time traveller, what do you expect?  I could never keep up, my mum used to go crazy, I stayed away for a whole year once, she had my ex arrested for my murder half a dozen times."

Alec smiled.  "So have we got a deal then?  I've got nothing to stay for, even my daughter won't talk to me any more.  I'll solve this case, get myself sorted then we'll find a way together and don't go getting any ideas about leaving me behind."

"OK, deal.  You wash, I'll dry."

When they got to bed, Alec finally got the chance to use what he had bought the other night.  Rose was really gentle with him and tried not to let him over-exert himself by doing all the moving around but she discovered new sensations she had never experienced before and Alec surprised himself though he hated having to excuse himself after he came away from her to go get cleaned up.

Rose was giggling.  "It's not funny Rose and you'll probably have to wash the sheets now, it's a good thing there's a mattress protector on this bed.  If I could do this properly, you wouldn't be having me running off to get cleaned up."

"Ho!  You think you're impressive then do you Mister?" Rose laughed, settling on him after cleaning herself up with some wipes.

"I am impressive."  He was going to say the fact he had a teenage daughter was proof enough of that but thought better than to bring that up after just having sex with his current girlfriend.

After making sure he was ok, Rose fell asleep on him, happy they had finally got settled that she wouldn't push on him the fact she still wanted to leave but as for him going with her, that was crazy and Alec was making another life-changing decision and he had finally agreed to face the hospital because before they both fell asleep he said the only way she was going to get rid of him was if the operation didn't work.

The next day, Rose found the local health centre, getting a form for herself and Alec, not sure if he wanted to stay with his own doctor or not and found they had to wait to be approved anyway and went into the town to look for a job after going to get a check-up from the nurse and being told she could go to the family planning clinic without an appointment.  She felt better than when she had first arrived here, almost two weeks ago.  From having nowhere to go and nothing to her name to having a boyfriend who had just told and shown her he loved her and she was now officially a member of society wasn't bad going.  She got a couple of application forms and took them back to the caravan, deciding she would just have to put down she had not worked for a while and see what happened and putting Ellie and Pete Tyler as references.


So six weeks later, they were celebrating being together two months and Alec planned a night out, booking a table at a Chinese restaurant up in the town and telling Rose to treat herself to a new dress for the occasion.  It was shortly after the funeral of the harbour newsagent, which Rose had attended with Alec and not denying they were together and Rose had found she could take the pill, she had no luck with it before, it had upset her and Alec was quite relieved the pressure had been taken off him.  He had called the hospital and they had gone up to Exeter that afternoon to see the consultant who had told him his chances were quite good considering they weren't that good when he was first referred.  Alec put that to Rose's tender care.

Alec had booked the day off, despite Miller's protests and Rose had gone to get changed and they had been talking on the way back about his options.

"So, it's decided then Rose, I go, the day after I close this case then?"

Rose called from the bedroom.  "Just as long as it's going to be sooner rather than later.  I mean it Alec, they did say that.  All you have to do is call and they will fit you in."

She came out in her new blue dress and he whistled.

"You look great.  I have something for you."

He went in his jacket pocket and brought out a gift box.  Opening it, there on the padding was a rose shaped pendant but that wasn't the only box in his pocket, he just thought it was too soon.  He put it around her neck, fastening it and kissing her neck.

"It's lovely Alec, thank you."

"It's not to cheesy is it Angel?" he asked.

"No, it isn't, it was a lovely thought."  She turned and put her arms around his neck.  "I love you Alec."

"I love you too Angel, now let's go before I decide to order take-out and have you all to myself."

"Sounds like a plan to me."

Alec smiled.  She was always happy to just stay in and cook dinner for him or if he was going to be late, he would pick something up and get a lift home.  After their night out and calling in at the Traders for a drink, they got a taxi back to their caravan and Alec really felt like asking her in the restaurant but would she feel like he was pressuring her into something more permanent?  They hadn't discussed further about the possibility of him going with her, if she ever got her device working and found her way home.

He knew if they ever did, there was no coming back and there was probably already a Alec Hardy on her version of the world but he could live with that.  He would have to see his daughter, well try to before he went but would she actually miss him?  She'd not tried to contact him despite him leaving numerous messages for her.  He was going to try to persuade Rose to go with him to see Daisy and introduce them, they had been together for two months and had stopped fighting about her going off, much to his relief.

The following day, numerous suspects had been rounded up and re-interviewed and Alec thought he was getting somewhere when one certain caravan owner pointed the finger at who she claimed was her long lost son and they were both in custody.  Ellie had been asked to bring in Tom's laptop and Alec, knowing he had just been handed it by the local vicar, in bits, was going to let the young boy explain how he had threatened to say things about the Reverend Coates.  He hadn't let on to Ellie that certain things were not adding up and he had a good idea now who was responsible and it wasn't looking good for the Miller family.

If he was right, it would affect the whole community, who were now desperately hoping it was an outsider and not one of their own.  Rose and Ellie had become good friends, keeping Rose from going crazy as she was no nearer getting a job, having interviews but getting turned down for having no experience.  She had even asked at The Traders but Becca could hardly keep herself afloat.

Karen White from The Daily Herald had picked on Alec again and splashed across the front of the newspaper after seeing them at the funeral that the worst cop in Britain he had been seen with a mysterious blonde on his arm and everyone was speculating since her name turned out to be Rose Tyler, if she was related to the Vitex millionaire.

Rose knew nothing of it until Alec called after he got to work and saw the paper in the break area when Ellie picked it up.

"Have you see this Sir?  Isn't this what she's been trying to avoid?" Ellie asked, concerned for her friend.

"Oh for pity's sake, doesn't that woman give up?  I'd better ring Rose and warn her, if the press find out where we're living, they'll be waiting for her to make a comment."

"There should be gates on that caravan site, anyone can just drive in.  Hopefully someone might notice a hoard of press vans or cars going in."

Before Alec had chance to call, his phone rang.

"Alec Hardy."

"Ah, the worst cop in Britain.  Have you told Rose to avoid calling me by any chance?" Pete Tyler asked, out of curiosity.

"No, she thanked Jake but didn't feel she should bother you any further.  I take it you've just seen the headlines?"

"Yes and since I don't have her personal number and I have yours, perhaps you would care to explain why her name is now associated with mine?  My wife is going ballistic and threatening to get herself a divorce lawyer, not that it wouldn't please me but it's not good for business and we have an arrangement."

"It's not directed at Rose, it's directed at me, that reporter has been hounding me since my last case and she's just picking on anyone who's with me and that just happens to be her, unfortunately.  I suggest you ring the paper and threaten legal action, you can do them far more harm that I can, the editor will take notice of you."

"I've already got my legal team on it, disowning Rose.  I'm sorry detective inspector but Rose has to understand I can't get involved in this, it's nothing personal and that was why I had Jake come up with that stuff for her.  I wanted to help but just not too much."

"And for that, she's grateful, despite you warning her away from me.  Did you think she would take any notice?"

"No, not after Jake came back and told me she was totally gone on you.  Just tell her to be careful and what she told Jake, about the other thing, has she decided not to pursue it?"

"Yes, I talked her out of it, we're looking into other things, once I get this case out of the way, which I'm sure won't be long now.  I'll tell her you called."

Alec ended the call and dialled Rose's number but it was engaged, which was strange but she had left the number with her job applications and thought she may have been offered something.

She hadn't.  She had been on the internet and seen the headlines and was just trying to call Alec when his phone was engaged and since it wasn't exactly an emergency, it didn't warrant calling the station.  She left it, thinking he would see the missed call.

"Rose, we're you trying to ring me Sweetheart?" he asked when he finally got through. "Have you had a job offer?"

"No. I saw something on a news site, have you seen it?  About you and me from the funeral and Pete Tyler?"

"Yes, he just called me.  It will blow over, don't worry, his legal team are on it."

"Alec, you have no idea how much that used to happen before over one thing or another.  I knew she was up to something, she was watching us all the time.  Are you coming home for lunch?"

"I can't, I'm really busy right now, I have two people in for interviews but I won't be late home, I promise.  Don't give up on the job hunting.  Maybe we can go to Dorchester again tomorrow and try there again?"

"Yeah, ok.  I love you Alec."

"I love you too Angel, I have to go now."

He was going to be seeing her before he got home.  Just after three thirty, he decided to let his two suspects out on police bail and have them followed, see if they were hiding anything but that wasn't what was going to help him see Rose early.  They were watching the two leave the station, he had nodded to two plain clothes detectives for them to follow when two uniforms came up the steps and the WPC seemed to have a small child in her arms.

He sent Ellie down to see what was going on and she soon called him.

"Sir, you'd better come down here.  A small boy around 12-13 months has just been found on the beach, someone called and when the officers went down, no-one knew who the boy belonged to, there had been no-one around in that area, just down past the end of the Esplanade, going towards Briar Cliff."

"So tell me again why that takes two detectives Miller?" he asked, hoping to get away early and spend some time with Rose in view of the newspaper report.

"Because Sir, we called child services and they can't get anyone here, everyone's out or left for the holiday weekend and the chief has already left, you're the senior officer here.''

"Hell," he thought.  "Elaine Jenkinson has more time off than me and I'm ill."

"Ok, I'm on my way down."
Chapter 13
When he got down to the more pleasant interview room, Ellie and the WPC were fussing over the young boy, trying to get him to drink some milk and have a biscuit.  The child was well dressed, didn't look dirty or mistreated and his blonde hair was almost neatly combed except there was a breeze outside so it was understandable.

"So what did child services expect us to do with the boy then?" Alec asked.

The boy got away from Ellie and clutched at Alec's legs.

Ellie tried not to laugh, too much.  "He seems to like you, maybe you remind him of his dad Sir?" she offered.

"I take it there have been no reports filed in the entire area of a missing toddler then?" he asked hopefully as the boy tugged at his leg to be picked up.  Ellie shook her head.

Alec sat down and the boy held his arms out so he picked him up and sat him on his lap.  Ellie offered the paper cup to him.

"He's too young for that Miller, you should know that."

"Of course I do but we're all out of baby cups – Sir," she quipped back at him.

The WPC smiled, she was used to the pair of them as was the rest of the station.  "Sir, can I get back to work now?" she asked.

"Yes Williams, you can go but have someone go out and get some baby things and ask the CMO to come down if he's still in the building or has he already left as well?"

"I'll go," Ellie offered.  "But what are we going to do with him until Tuesday?"

"Well you could always take him, couldn't you?  You've got two boys."

"Have you forgotten we promised to take Tom and Fred camping this holiday weekend, Sir?"

"Oh yes, sorry.  Well I'll have to call Rose, see if she can come over while we figure out what to do with the boy but can you pop into town and get what he needs?"

"I'd do better at the supermarket.  I'll get disposable nappies, a change of clothes, all the usual stuff.  If Rose is coming over, why don't you two keep him for the weekend?  After all, you are the senior officer around here," she giggled.

"Are you enjoying this Miller, by any chance?"

"No, not at all.  I'll take him while you call Rose."

He handed the boy back to Ellie but he started to cry.  "I'll call her," she offered.

Rose answered.  "Oh hi Ellie, you're not going to keep my boyfriend working late are you?" she laughed.

"Not exactly but can you come over to the station for a few minutes?"

Rose panicked.  "Is everything ok Ellie?"

"Yeah, it's just something came up."

The young boy was making noises in the background.

"Do you need me to watch Fred or something?" Rose asked, being curious.

"No but I would appreciate it if you came now and so would your boyfriend."

"Ok.  Give me a few minutes then."

Alec pulled a face, indicating  the toddler needed changing.

"Go now Miller, just go to the camp shop around the corner and get some nappies and some baby wipes and see if they have a cup for him.  Go on, I can watch a baby until Rose gets here and tell the desk to send her in here if you don't see her on your way out and I want the name of the moron who says child services can't come out and see a baby who's been left on the beach, what's wrong with those people?"

"No idea Sir.  Will I get a refund if I get receipts?"

"Yes of course you will but you'll have to pay for my suit trousers cleaning if you don't get a move on," Alec replied, putting the boy back on the floor and handing him the half eaten biscuit.  "What do babies this age eat?"

"Don't you remember Sir?" Ellie teased, enjoying this immensely as she picked up her shoulder bag and checked her wallet.

"Well you've done it more recently Miller.  Go on.  Don't be long and don't say anything to Rose if you happen to see her."

"Right.  Hope you two didn't have any plans then?"

"She was just going job hunting down in Dorchester, she hates not doing anything."

"Well she'll have plenty to do this weekend now."

Ellie left, leaving Alec to watch the boy, who was smiling at him and Alec really hoped Rose had some practice at changing her younger brother's nappies when he was that age because he himself had hated changing his daughter's and it was a long time ago.

Ellie was just going out of the main entrance as Rose was coming up the steps.

"Oh Rose, go right in, he's in the end interview room, I've told the desk to expect you.''

"What's going on Ellie?  There's nothing wrong with Alec is there?"

"Should there be?  No, he's fine and you'll find out.  I'll be back in ten minutes, just popping to the shop around the corner."

Ellie was so tempted to tell her but savoured the thought of Hardy explaining to his girlfriend of almost two months they would be looking after a baby for the long weekend.  She wished now he had not sent her out, she would love to see that one.

The desk sergeant waved at Rose, since she was a regular visitor and she walked down the corridor to the room at the end, the one she had been in when she had arrived here all those weeks ago and Alec had thought she was crazy.  Maybe he still thought all this was a nightmare he was going to wake up from.  She opened the door and stood there.


"What?  Your brother is called Tony."

The boy looked up and held his arms out and Rose went scoop him up, the boy putting his small arms around her.

"Where did you find him Alec?"

He could see the boy obviously knew her but she may look like his mother.

"Lucky guess with the name Rose but how can he be your brother?"

"He can't be, I know that but he looks exactly the same as Tony at that age and he knows his name."

"But you can't tell anyone that Rose, think of what it would imply?"

"I know, sorry but where was he found Alec?"

"On the beach, someone reported he had been left or he'd just appeared there, no-one saw anything, not that they ever do, they're too afraid with this murder case and what happened with Jack Marshall."

"Yeah, I suppose.  Is someone on their way from welfare to collect him?  Do you want me to watch him for you until they do?"

She put the boy down, also noticing he was wet.

"Miller went to get some nappies and wipes and a few more things.  No-one is coming for him until Tuesday, it's obviously not important enough for them to work overtime since he's in a Police Station."

"Oh.  Well is Ellie gonna take him then?" she asked, getting down on the floor with him.  "This is so weird, it could easily be Tony, I suppose he's this reality's version of him then, just he's been born later but how is that even possible if he's not Pete and Jackie's?"

"I've no idea Rose.  Don't say anything to Miller about it, that's all.  As for his name, the boy doesn't actually think his name's is Tony, it was how you said it probably.  You can't just name him yet.  The Millers planned on going away this weekend, remember?"

"I know Alec and I know it isn't him, it can't be."

The door opened and Ellie came back in with everything she thought he would need for now.

"Blimey, that shop's expensive Rose, I hope you don't get all your groceries there.  The CMO has left, sorry."

"It's a convenience store Miller, you pay for the privilege of having it virtually on your doorstep.  I should have known, is there anyone left here?"

Ellie was about to call him a smart-arse for the umpteenth time but maybe not in front of Rose or the child.

Rose grabbed the wipes and nappies and went to where two chairs were joined together and began to clean the boy up.

"He's gonna need feeding properly soon, we'll get him back to the caravan and I'll make him some veg and mash it up, my little brother used to love that and I'll put a bit of the mince I've been doing.  I'll take him back Alec and you can call in reception, see if we can hire a cot and maybe a pushchair for the weekend.  Just tell them we're looking after him for the weekend."

Alec and Ellie looked at each other as Rose seemed to take charge.  Alec wondered if he was going to be able to get her to hand the infant back come Tuesday morning.  He called into the caravan site's reception, they already knew he was a Police Officer and he explained they'd had to take a child into emergency care over the holiday weekend and he got a cot and thankfully a stroller and struggled back to their caravan, shouting for Rose to come and help him.

"Great, at least the poor boy will be able to sleep and we can take him out.  Don't know about a car seat though, do they have them too?"

"I never even asked, I'll go back then I'll go down to the supermarket or do you want to go?"

"We can all go if we get a car seat but if not, I'll feed him then nip down, you can keep him amused.  How did this happen Alec?  Who would want to go and leave a child and then not even bother trying to find him?"

"Maybe he got here the same way you did Rose?"

"Seriously?  I don't see any device on him Alec."

The boy was watching the TV, not that he understood but Rose thought the cartoons were a safe option, Tony always loved them.  Alec finished with the camping cot, putting the mattress in the bottom and was figuring out how to put up the pushchair.  Rose demonstrated.

"Some detective you are."

"It's different to the one that Daisy had.  Don't get smart."

Rose smiled and kissed his cheek.  At least he'd got the cot up.

"I don't think it will fit in the bedroom Alec but we'll have to move the other bed to one side somehow and get the cot in the other room or leave him out here and get help in the morning."

"Well I think we may just leave him where he is then," Alec remarked, pointing to the boy who had fallen asleep on the seat.

Rose went to sit beside him and pulled his blonde hair out of his eyes.  Then she kissed his forehead.  "I'd better go to the supermarket then, get him into a sleep suit without trying to wake him but he must be hungry.  I'll get some proper baby food in case he wakes and some follow-on baby milk.  He can't be much more than a year, 13 months at the most.

"That was what Miller reckoned.  Shame she was going away this weekend."

"What?  The great Alec Hardy not up to the challenge?" she joked, putting her arms around him and kissing him.

"Of course I am, I'm just a bit out of practice.  You know they'll just take him on Tuesday and put him either in a children's home or with a foster family, don't you?"

"What are you trying to say Alec?"

"Well I am a senior Police Officer, maybe they can make us foster parents, temporarily until they find him a proper home, they can rush it through."

"Then what Alec?  We keep him a month, maybe two then they take him away and give him to someone else?"

"Then what do you want Rose, do you want to keep him?"

"We live in a caravan Alec, it's not practical to keep a baby living here and welfare would never approve anyway."

"Let them decide that Rose, do you want him in a home or with foster carers who just do it for a job until they find someone to adopt him?"

"No, of course not.  I'd better get going.   Are we going to leave the cot here for tonight then?"

"He might wake up soon anyway if he's hungry.  I'll finish making dinner while you're out.  I take it you know what to buy 13 month old infants?"

"I helped mum raise Tony didn't I?  We have to call him something, welfare will probably ask but if someone adopts him it will save the poor boy getting confused.  I don't really want to name him after my brother, what's your middle name?"

He rarely used it, preferred to be called Alec J Hardy.  "It's James but it doesn't suit the poor bairn."

"I used to have a friend called Jack and now it's quite a popular boy's name again."

"Right, then go get Jack some food and clothing and anything else you think he'll need over the weekend and tomorrow we'll see if we can hire a car seat or we'll be either walking everywhere or have to get taxis.  Don't get too much, I won't get the money back from the welfare people."

"So what did they actually say about him?"

"I didn't speak to them, just that we were the police and we were more than suitable to take care of an infant over the weekend but I would have thought they would have emergency carers for this type of situation."

"Maybe they were all busy.  Someone might turn up tomorrow, the station knows we've taken him."

She gave him a kiss and Alec gently lifted the sleeping boy and lowered him into the cot, remembering his daughter at that age and how much of her life he had missed when his wife began to work different hours and he had to work nights.

Rose went up to the supermarket, got a trolley and made her way to the baby department and was glad no-one really knew her or as she got to the checkout she would have some explaining to do.  Alec had got her on his bank account, Rose had opted not to open her own to save him transferring money across but she tried to keep the cost down and getting only the things the boy would need until Tuesday.

Alec had dinner ready when she got back and Jack, as they now called the sleeping boy, had not stirred and Rose was reluctant to get him changed.  As they cleared the dishes, Alec's phone rang, he having forgot to turn down the ringer volume and the boy stirred slightly but didn't wake.  Alec went to the far end of the caravan.  It was Ellie.

"How's the camping trip Miller?"

"We've not set off yet, can't find the lanterns so we might leave it until tomorrow now.  How's the baby?"

"He's fine, he fell asleep and we've called him Jack, for now.  What exactly did welfare say about him?"

"Nothing much, just they would send someone over on Tuesday, never even asked any details, I think they were a bit over-worked, what with this murder enquiry going on and people getting scared for their kids.  How's Rose taking all this?"

He walked into the bedroom and closed the door.

"She's reminded of her brother, she's taking it very well at the moment, even named him after her friend she left behind.  What do you think of it Miller?  Maybe on Tuesday when we have to take him back to the station, she won't be so keen on handing him over.  Well not if they can't promise he'll get a good home."

"You know I would have taken him if we hadn't been going away.  Maybe we can offer him a home, I'm sure they'll be glad to cut out all the paperwork."

"What's wrong Miller?  Don't you think I'm capable of taking care of a child?  I raised my daughter.  Are you and Rose conspiring against me?"

"Not at all – Sir.  I was just saying but there's nothing to stop you and Rose offering to adopt him."

"I'm sure there's a long waiting list and all kinds of checks to go through."

"Not if you're a Police Officer and they're overstretched, waiting list or not, you'll get first priority if you ask, save them a lot of work.  It might be just what Rose needs, have you thought about that?"

He had but he didn't want that to be the only reason she stayed.

Rose had managed to get the boy into a sleep suit and he had woken up and was drinking some milk out of a baby cup this time.  He was sitting on her lap and eating some ready made food she had spooned into a plastic dish she had bought for him.

"That looks better than the dinner I made Rose," he joked, patting the boy's head.

Jack looked around and gave him a goofy grin.

"That was Miller checking up on Jack.  She said that welfare never even took any details."

"Well if they're not bothered, what's to stop anyone from just keeping him?"

"The same as your situation Rose, you have to be in the system and tomorrow, I'll have someone go through the police database from around the country and see if anyone has reported him missing.  It is possible someone may have just left him behind, if there were a group of people, a family might think another member had taken him in another car and they may not even realise until they get home, they could have travelled a long distance."

"Maybe but if so, they would have stopped for a break, it's been a couple of hours now.  Besides, they would have noticed an empty child seat, surely?"

She ran her fingers through Jack's hair, wishing she had picked up a brush for him but supposed she could get a few more things tomorrow.  If they had to, they could walk up into town and get whatever else was needed.  Jack was now more playing with his food than eating it so Alec took the bowl away and Rose took the boy to the shelf by the kitchen and changed his nappy.  The boy rubbed his eyes, indicating he was still tired and reached up for Alec to pick him up as Rose fastened his sleep suit.

Alec took the boy and sat down with him, Jack's chubby little hands reaching for his chin and Alec catching hold of them and pretending to put a hand in his mouth which made the boy giggle.

"You'll have him awake all night if you get him giddy Alec."

She sat at the side of them and put her arm in Alec's, resting her head on his shoulder.  Jack crawled over to her, still halfway on Alec as he passed him over and was surprised when the boy said "Ma."

Rose was also taken by surprise and pulled him close, kissing his cheek.  Alec put his arm around her shoulder, his other one around Jack.

"You want to keep him don't you Rose?  Miller said it shouldn't be that difficult if they're busy.  We just have to prove we can give him a good home."

"What about your condition Alec?  I can't raise him on my own if something does happen to you, not that I think it will but just suppose."

"You'd get support Rose, I've been on to my solicitor already and left everything to you, all my benefits from the police, they'll take care of you and Jack, if we keep him and Ellie will help you.  Plus, if we adopt him properly, we'll get an allowance for him, they won't just leave you.  Let's think about it over the weekend, see how things go."

Rose hadn't realised but Jack had settled against her shoulder and had fallen asleep.  Alec gently moved the boy, kissed his forehead and got up, taking him and putting him back in the cot.  They watched some TV with the volume on low and went to bed just after ten.

"You'll have to keep quiet tonight Rose, don't wake Jack."

"Huh?  You do all the grunting and groaning, detective so you're the one who's gonna have to button it."

"Only because you grope my ass Rose, which you're so very good at by the way.  Had plenty of practice have you?"

"Only with you babe and since you're nearest the door, you can go if he wakes up.  Just give him some warm milk and change him."

"Yes mommy," he smiled, reaching to pull the straps down on her nightdress and kissing the soft flesh that was revealed.

"Don't call me that just yet."

They fell asleep in each others arms, the door propped open so they could hear Jack if he woke.  When Rose woke up just after seven, Alec wasn't there so she put her robe on and walked out of the bedroom to find Alec stretched out on the long seat, Jack in his arms, both with their eyes closed but Alec opened his as she approached, motioning her to be quiet.  She leaned down and kissed him.

"I love you Alec."

"Love you too, mommy."
Chapter 14
After baby Jack woke up and Rose changed and fed him, Alec went down to see if he could hire a car seat and was in luck.  They were usually in short supply but the camp was quiet so following the instructions, he managed to get it attached to the back seat and Rose carefully put their new addition into it, giving the boy a kiss on his forehead.  Jack tugged on her hair and giggled.

Rose smiled back and went to tickle him, making him giggle even more.  She had packed a small bag with nappies, wipes and a change of clothes just in case and Alec had put the pushchair in the back.  They were about to leave when Ellie rang Rose.

"Hey, how are you getting on with the baby?  I was told you'd named him Jack but I'd be careful, the other one has barely been buried and people don't forget so easily."

"Ellie, it's no-one's business what we name him and besides, welfare may find his real parents over the weekend so it doesn't matter.  We're just going down to the superstore, get a few more things for him until Tuesday but Alec doesn't want to spend too much but I'm gonna get him a few toys, something to sleep with.  He was really good last night, he must have been tired."

"Who, the baby or your boyfriend?" Ellie laughed.

Rose saw the funny side, fortunately for Ellie.  "Both.  I thought you were going camping?"

"Just leaving, thought I would check up but if you need any help you can still call me."

"Ellie, I helped my mother raise my younger brother, I can do this and so can Alec.  What do you think our chances of keeping him are?"

"You're serious then?  That's great.  Just look after him, show the people who turn up on Tuesday you're capable of doing a good job and you should get considered, especially with DI Hardy being who he is although this murder investigation might go against him but if he gets the chief on his side, I don't see any problems.  I'll be back Monday afternoon, I'll call over.  Can you put your boyfriend on?"

Alec was pacing up and down waiting for Rose to get off the phone and Ellie Miller was the last person he wanted to talk to on a Saturday morning.

"What is it Miller?"

"Sir, I was just going to say it's a lot for you two to take on, that's all.  I know Rose still isn't settled yet."

Rose was now sitting in the driver's seat, she never allowed Alec to drive and now he had no chance of getting behind the wheel.

"Maybe you were right, this is just what she needs to help her.  See you on Tuesday."

After getting to the superstore, Jack was big enough to be fastened into the trolley seat and was giggling, Alec was fussing over him as Rose steered the trolley around.  They got some groceries and more baby supplies and Rose went off to the toy department and got him a teddy and a few toys and some more clothes.  Alec wasn't happy she was spending so much.  While they were getting a drink, Alec decided to bring up the subject of maybe applying for adoption.

"They might want to give us a trial first Alec, foster him first but yeah, I'd go for it but what about you?  What if they find out about you?"

"They won't will they?  The paperwork is being taken care of.  Look Rose, don't worry about things, I'll make sure you're well taken care of."

He picked up Jack's baby cup and passed it to the boy.  Jack giggled at him. "Da!"

Rose smiled.

"Well it would be a shame to have him call me that all weekend then have to give him to someone else, we'll just have to convince whoever comes to see him we can do the job.  If they say we can look after him, we'll go ahead with the adoption procedure and get my operation.  I want you to promise you'll still go ahead with it if anything happens to me.  We still have something else to talk about but we can't do that here."

"I know Alec.  Now have we got everything?  I'd like to take Jack to the beach when we get back."

"Sure but I'm not going in the water."

"We'll see about that, won't we Jack?"

Jack just held out his cup to Alec.

The weekend passed all too quickly.  Baby Jack had enjoyed playing in the sand and Alec had enjoyed seeing Rose in her swimsuit just as much as Rose enjoyed seeing Alec in his swim shorts.  They had bumped into the Latimers, who were enjoying a rare afternoon out on the Monday and Alec had to explain what had happened and that they were just looking after him.  The two Latimer woman made a big fuss of the boy and Beth wished them luck with keeping him.

Jack wouldn't settle when he had been fed and was ready for bed.  Alec had tried walking him up and down the caravan, Rose had warmed him some milk so Alec suggested putting him in the pushchair and just going for a walk along the seafront so Rose had wrapped the boy up and they walked past the Police Station and along the Esplanade.  Reaching the far end they sat down, Jack finally beginning to close his eyes.

Alec turned to Rose after bending down over the boy.  "We could do this every night for the rest of the summer Rose, if things go well tomorrow."

She took Alec's hand.  "I know but best not get our hopes up by too much.  Who knows what will happen tomorrow.  What sort of questions will they ask?"

"Well you have that CRB check and I'm a senior Police Officer, I won't have to pass any more checks.  Did you remember to register to vote like I told you?"

"Yeah, did that when I went to the clinic the other day."

She leaned her head on his shoulder, Jack was facing them and almost asleep.  "Let's get him back Rose, we still need to talk in private."

Once back in the caravan, Alec had no trouble putting him into the cot and covering the boy up.  The bed in the spare room had been moved on Saturday morning and they left the door open so they could hear if the boy woke up but apart from him waking around seven they'd had a few quiet nights.

Rose and Alec sat with the TV on low down the other end of the caravan, Rose with her legs tucked under her and cuddling with Alec.

"You know what this means Rose?  This is your last chance to think about this you know.  If we see welfare tomorrow, we're committing to look after Jack.  What about you trying to find your way back home?"

She reached up to kiss him.  "I know Alec and I know we've argued over me going back but you wanted me to stay, now you've got your wish."

"But what about you, your family?"

"Let's face it Alec, like you said, I may never get back, I may end up somewhere ten times worse and I can't let you come with me to even try.  On my own, yeah, I would have tried but I can't expect you to follow me.  I love you, I want to stay with you and Jack."

"Good because I didn't fancy having my atoms scattered or ending up in the void and I can't stay here without you, not now.  I'm going to ring the hospital tomorrow and get booked in, after we see the welfare officer.  Have you even thought about how Jack got here?"

"No but whoever left him, they were either fools or desperate, to leave him like that.  Maybe it was someone who couldn't cope and had no family or was ill.  He can't just have been deposited there."

"Couldn't he Rose?  You told me about what you dealt with at your Torchwood, maybe he came through a rift in time but we'll never really know, will we?  All I know is we can make his life here better if no-one has claimed him and since I haven't had a call, I take it that no-one has reported him missing, I left instructions for them to call me."

Just then, there was a tap at the door and he looked at her.  "Maybe I spoke too soon."

He got up but Rose assured him.  "It will be Ellie, she said she would come around."

It was Ellie and Alec let her in.  She had a sneaky look at Jack, who was fast asleep with his new blue teddy and a rabbit sat in the corner while Alec made some tea.  After she left, Alec asked Rose to go outside on the decking.

"Rose, this isn't how I wanted to do this and I should have done it earlier, when we were out or maybe on the beach."

He got the box he had been hiding in his jacket pocket out and opened it.  There on the pad was a solitaire diamond ring.  Rose clasped her hands over her mouth.

"Rose, I didn't want you to think I was going to propose to you to get you to stay because we'd been fighting over it and you haven't mentioned it for a while but when Jack turned up on Friday and we've talked about asking to keep him, well I think the time is right, don't you?  So, Rose Tyler, will you marry me?"

Rose was still blinking in disbelief.  Alec took the ring from the box and placed it on her finger halfway.

"Yes Alec, I'll marry you and I would have done even without Jack coming into our lives and I wouldn't have thought you were just trying to keep me here, you wouldn't do something like that.  I know I've given you a hard time and I was stubborn but you've proved to me it's impossible to be sure I'll get back to the right place.  Like you said, there are 1000s of possibilities and 1000s of dangers awaiting if I even try.  Just maybe, time is so different here, they won't even have missed me yet but I can't forget them."

"I know Angel.  We both found each other when we needed it the most and now we've got Jack and I just know they'll agree to let us keep him, I think we were meant to find him somehow.  What were the chances he would be found on that beach and everyone had gone home?  They're almost the same chances of you ending up in this version of your world, it's unbelievable."

"I know you make sense Alec and I'm so sorry for what I put you through."

"It's ok Angel, let's just put that behind us and think about the future, with Jack.  Now let's watch TV a while longer, I'll make some hot chocolate and we'll have an early night.  Then when welfare turn up in the morning, I'll bring them back here to show we can take care of him, that he has a good home and don't get upset if they turn us down.  There's no point in taking him to the station, it may upset him and they will want to see where he's been staying."

"Ok but I will get upset if they say no Alec, you know that now.  I feel differently to what I did on Friday."

"So do I Rose."

After their hot chocolate, they got into bed, both of them checking on Jack and gently made love so Alec wouldn't get too worked up since he had to go back to work and keeping Jack would be mainly up to him.  Jack woke early but Rose got up and got his breakfast just after seven after playing with him for a while and soon it was time for Alec to set off.  He got a call from his chief just after eight.

"Alec, I've just been informed about the small boy that was found.  Are you coping with him?"

"Yes Elaine, Rose and I have had him all weekend, he's fine.  He's happy and well taken care of.  Can you believe welfare couldn't send anyone over on Friday.  Holidays or not that was no excuse."

"I know Alec, it was very remiss of them.  I'm sure you'll bring that up against them when they arrive.  Will your girlfriend be bringing him in before anyone arrives?"

"Not exactly.  I'll have them come down here to see where he's been staying because we've talked it over and we want to keep him."

Jack was making giggling noises as Rose played at giving him his milk.

"He sounds happy.  Well if they said we were capable of looking after a child all weekend, I'll turn the tables on them when someone finally shows up.  If you want to keep him, I'll back you up."

"Thanks, I appreciate that.  I might need a couple of days off at the end of the week, just in case we have any meetings to attend if we go for foster carers or adoption."  He couldn't just say so he could get an operation and hoped when he rang later they could fit him in.  Jack deserved a proper home and family.

When Alec came to say goodbye to his new family, Jack wanted to cling hold of him.  He kissed the boy's forehead and told him he would see him later and passed him back to Rose.

"Don't worry honey, daddy will be back later."  She kissed his cheek.  "Say bye bye."

She took his little hand and waved it.  Jack giggled.  Alec waved and kissed Rose.

"Just be ready, I don't know what time it will be.  Relax, it will be fine."

He kissed her again and left for work.

He tried not to let it bother him as he walked into his office.  It was just before nine, he had checked with the desk and there were no messages from welfare and he was reluctant to call them just in case they said someone was on their way to collect the boy because he didn't want anyone collecting him.  This was their chance, Rose had finally agreed she was now going to stay and not put herself or him in danger and he was happier than he had been since they had met.  Ellie came into his office and sat opposite him.

"No sleepless nights?  Mind you, babies tend not to wake up too much during the night at that age."

"I do remember Miller, it wasn't that long ago.  No word from welfare?  They're taking their time over it.  What if the boy had been in danger?"

"I suppose they think because he's with a Police Officer it's not urgent.  If they're not here in an hour, I'll call them but it was only an emergency number on Friday, maybe no-one had even passed it on yet."

"Yes, well it doesn't make it any easier for Rose, sitting back there and wondering if I'm going to turn up with someone who's going to take Jack away from her.  She was happier over the weekend than I've seen her since we met."

"Admit it Sir, it makes you happy as well, not just seeing Rose happy but you've taken to the baby as well."

He knew all his pretence of being gruff didn't fool his DS.  "I might have been Miller.  Go call them will you?  I'd rather get this over with, I don't want to make things worse."

He knew he couldn't give Jack up without a fight and neither would Rose.  He saw Ellie pick up her desk phone and dial a number from her notebook and stood behind her.  She knew he was nervous and both he and Rose would be devastated if someone took the boy away.

She got through and asked for someone to talk to her about the baby who had been found on Broadchurch beach on Friday afternoon and was put through to the supervisor.

"Oh hello, this is DS Miller from the Broadchurch Police, I reported a small boy had been found on Friday afternoon and the emergency supervisor asked us to look after the boy over the weekend."

"A young boy, around a year old?"

"Yes, that's the one.  Our senior officer and his girlfriend have been looking after him and he just wondered what was happening over the situation."

Alec interrupted her.  "That's fiancée Miller, I asked Rose to marry me last night and she said yes."

Miller almost choked, covering the mouthpiece of the phone while she had been put on hold.  "What?  She said yes?"

"Don't sound so surprised Miller and no, I'm not asking her just to keep her here or for Jack, I've had the ring for a while now but it seemed the right time."

Ellie was about to think of some witty remark but the welfare supervisor came back on the line.

"Sorry to keep you waiting DS Miller but no-one seems to have taken many details on the report from last Friday, just the fact a baby had been found and was being taken care of at the Police Station.  If a senior officer has taken the boy in, there's no reason why the boy has to be moved just yet.  I'll ask someone to call round this afternoon.  Did you say he and his girlfriend?  That would be DI Hardy would it?"

His reputation had proceeded him.  "I stand corrected, he informed me she's his fiancée, they got engaged and he neglected to tell me.  I know her quite well but I've been away over the weekend.  I'm sure she would have told me.  So what do you want me to tell them?"

"Just someone will come and access their ability to take care of the child if no-one has claimed him.  I see no reason to put the boy in emergency care if they can offer a good home to him, if they're prepared to take care of him.  Is DI Hardy there?"

Ellie passed the phone to him and moved so he could sit down.

"Hardy.  What did you want to know?"

"Just your assurance the boy is being cared for and if the visit is satisfactory and you and your fiancée can provide a suitable home, we can place him with you until we can find someone to adopt him."

"If it's all the same to you, we can save you the trouble, we were going to apply to adopt him."

By now, the whole office was listening and anyone who thought Hardy was a grump soon changed their minds.

"I'll make sure whoever calls is aware of that and brings the necessary paperwork but after the assessment, you'll need to have the boy examined and we will see him on a regular basis.  You'll get full support from us plus an allowance then he will be put into the system.  Does he have a name?"

"Yes, we've called him Jack."

After the welfare supervisor gave him a time for the visit, arranging for them to meet at the station and interview him first then take the worker to meet Rose and Jack, Alec went back into his office and rang Rose to tell her the good news – that they may be no objections to them keeping the boy.

Chapter 15
A/N: Don't quote me on practices about fostering or adoption, it's just for the purpose of the story!

Alec went back to work after giving Rose the good news and Rose had made sure the caravan was tidy and Jack had been awake, Alec making a fuss of him and calling him a cheeky monkey which had made the boy laugh and call Alec 'Da' again.

"He's getting used to us now Alec, I hope everything goes well later.  Will they have a lot of questions?"

"I hope not but my chief said she would back us up, since welfare were not falling over themselves to make the effort to look after him.  I wonder if they would have bothered today if Miller hadn't called to ask if they were going to pay a visit?"

"Maybe she should have left it, we could have just said he was ours."

"No we couldn't Rose, don't say that, you know the trouble you had to go to, I want things to be right for Jack."

"I know Alec, I'm sorry, I just want to be able to keep him, I'm just nervous."

He handed Jack back to her, the boy grinning and clinging hold of her.  He didn't seem to mind who was holding him though overnight he seemed to cling more to Alec since he was the one who normally got him out of his portable cot while Rose got his breakfast and who he went to sleep on.

"Don't worry Sweetheart, you'll do fine, just be your usual self and answer their questions.  If we're asked, we'll say we're looking for another place, this is just temporary.  If we get to keep him, I'll call the hospital."

"You're still going ahead even if they take him, aren't you?"

He didn't answer but kissed Jack on the forehead which got him a giggle then kissed Rose.  He didn't have to wait long once back at work, Ellie knocking on his door then informing the chief the welfare officer had arrived.

"I'm Mrs Brooke from child welfare and you are DI Hardy?"  She showed him her ID, something he looked at very carefully if she was contemplating parting himself and Rose from their new arrival.

"I'm sure you have a lot of questions so why don't you start by answering one for me?  Why was the child left all weekend with myself and my fiancée?"

"From what I was told, the police were handling it and we're short of foster carers at the moment.  To that end, I'm authorised to appoint you and your fiancée as temporary foster carers with a view to you adopting the child though we do have people on the waiting list to adopt babies, especially as young as, what did you name him, Jack?"

"Yes, my fiancée named him since there was nothing on the boy when he was found and we've searched the police database, no-one has reported him missing so we can only assume his parents or maybe a single parent could no longer look after him and left him a place he would be easily found but not be observed doing so."

"Yes, you're probably right.  I'll need to see the boy and your fiancée and where you're living but it's just a formality, to make sure you have adequate accommodation for a growing child."

"We're just renting a two bedroomed caravan at the moment, just a few minutes away.  We've been looking for somewhere over the weekend and my fiancée has found a few we were going to look at."

"Fine, let's go then shall we?  We can fill out the paperwork when we get there.  We'll handle all the legalities but if you want to adopt the boy, further checks will need to take place and we'll have to offer other interested parties the option before you."

"Is that really necessary?  If we are going to invest in clothing and other baby supplies and not to mention what it could do to the boy if you take him away, he's grown attached to us.  I can assure you, we're quite capable of raising a child, I have a teenage daughter from a previous marriage."

"Well those on our waiting list should be offered first, what would they say if we gave you priority over them?"

Just then Alec's chief knocked on the door.  "Not too late am I?  I'm Chief Superintendent Elaine Jenkinson.  If you're prepared to let DI Hardy and his girlfriend look after the child, then taking the boy away again after a week or even less will do more harm than good.  I might even put a complaint in to the council about your lack of enthusiasm for coming to see an abandoned infant late on a Friday evening just because it was the holidays.  It wouldn't look good on the front page of the daily newspapers."

Alec had to smile to himself at the nerve of his chief but she did have a point.

The woman shifted in her seat.  "Well, we are busy and like I said, there a lot on the waiting list but we also give priority to those who have been fostering.  I'll give you a month's trial and if all goes well, we'll begin the adoption process though that should just be a formality since the court will appoint a welfare worker, which will probably be me.  In the meantime, we don't generally make it known when a child is being fostered if it has been made known they intend to adopt.  Let's go see your fiancée then."

The chief looked at Alec as if to say he should have told her of his latest status and was surprised to say the least that Alec Hardy had been well and truly caught.  Rose was pacing up and down with young Jack in her arms, not wanting to go out on to the decking for fear it would look like she was anxiously waiting although she was.  Jack had his toy rabbit he sometimes slept with and was chatting away to it in baby talk, which probably if the Doctor was here, he'd be able to actually translate knowing him.

Jack was making her life bearable again, despite promising Alec she wasn't going to 'zap' herself as he put it, she knew she could never settle there and though she had grown to love the man who had taken her in and would be forever grateful to both Alec and this world's Pete Tyler, she would never give up trying to get back but the arrival of the baby had put a different light on the matter and now all that remained was to see Alec get well again and adopt young Jack.

Maybe Alec had been right, when she had said that in her own world, no-one may even have realised she was missing yet.  If there was a three year difference between her own world and Pete's world, there could even be a thirty of fifty year gap between that and this reality.  Alec was also right on another point, where would she end up if she got the chance to try?

Jack heard the door opening and who he had come to know as his dad's voice and as Alec showed Mrs Brooke in first, he was trying to get out of Rose's arms and to Alec.

"Hey sport, are you trying to get away from your mum again?" Alec asked, taking the boy before he landed on the floor as he wriggled out of Rose's arms.

The boy dug his head into Alec's neck. "Da!"

It was Mrs Brooke that spoke first.  "Well he certainly seems to know who you are Mr Hardy.  Are you sure you didn't make a mistake and he really is yours?" she smiled.

He tried to hand the boy back but Jack was having none of it.

"He's a real daddy's boy I'm afraid.  Hi, I'm Rose, Alec's fiancée and that is Jack.  Come on Jack, let daddy sit down."

Rose sat down with Alec next to her and the boy happily crawled and settled between them.  It seemed although he favoured Alec, he liked sharing as Alec ruffled the boy's blonde hair.

"So Miss Tyler, your fiancé was telling me you have a younger brother whom you helped to raise and he has a teenage daughter.  Have you met her?"

"No, not yet, she lives with her mother and I've not had the pleasure.  Does this have a bearing on us keeping Jack?"

"No, not at all.  Can I call you Rose?"

"Sure.  What do you want to ask me?"

The other woman got some files out of her large shoulder bag.  "Can I see where Jack is sleeping?"

Alec handed the boy to Rose.  "This way.  We had the bed moved and we've hired a portable cot and a pushchair from the reception but if we can keep him, we'll go first thing tomorrow and get a proper cot plus we hired a car seat for him."

The woman followed Alec, trying to find fault but she couldn't, not that she had many options since they really were short of carers and the council refused to recruit more, tending to try to get more people to adopt than provide emergency care.

"I'll need a medical report as soon as possible, maybe you can register him with your family practise Rose?  As for him not having a name, that's made things difficult since we don't know if his birth has been registered even so under these circumstances, we usually leave the birth certificate until after the child has been adopted, then just present the adoption papers.  He'll then be put into the system."

"How long will that take?" Rose asked anxiously.

"It's just a formality, the adoptive parents are not usually turned down if everything is in order, it just takes a judge to sign and since no-one will be there to object and the child is too young to speak for himself, he will be made a ward of the court if the application is turned down, which I don't see happening.  I'll fill out all the paperwork, come and visit every week and in four weeks time, we can schedule a hearing for the adoption."

"So you're not going to offer him to anyone else for adoption then?" Alec asked as Jack was pulling on his beard.  He might have to think about getting it trimmed or shaving it off altogether.

Rose looked worried.  "You weren't going to offer him to someone else were you?" she asked, holding onto Jack.

"No, I'm not, I can see he's quite happy here.  I'll just need you to sign some papers."

The welfare worker finally left after telling them they could, if needed, introduce the young boy as Jack Hardy though officially they would have to show the fostering papers to any doctors or other services but since Rose didn't think they would need them they would manage and they were given a form to claim a fostering allowance which would buy him a new cot, pushchair and car seat plus toys and clothing he needed badly and they were left some vouchers for the superstore to be used on baby goods.

Alec said they would go down as soon as he went back to finish some paperwork and tell Miller the good news.  After getting what they needed, Alec opting to put the rest to and get the essentials while they were out, Rose took Jack into the toy department and chose some educational ones as well as things she remembered Tony used to like at that age.  Alec had gone to the car with the trolley to load everything up and he was just going back inside when he ran into the Latimers.

Beth went off to find Rose to congratulate her and invited her over for coffee the following morning.  It was while they were getting a drink in the store café that Alec told her his news.

"I called the hospital Rose, next Monday."

"So soon?  Are they confident things will be ok?"

"As confident as they can be.  I spoke to the consultant, she just said I had finally seen sense.  We can't tell the welfare officer but if you want, I can delay it until the adoption is finalised."

"No, you should go ahead, you'll be fine Alec.  Won't he Jack?"

The boy just made noises and grinned at Alec.

"There, Jack agrees with me," Rose smiled.

"You speak baby now do you?"

"Yeah, got a first class degree in it I did."

"Of course you did, didn't she Jack?"

"Ma!" was all the boy replied.

They managed to get the new cot up and Alec said they would leave the car seat until the next day and then he would take everything back they had hired.  Rose took Jack up to the health centre the following morning, remembering the fostering papers and the boy was declared to be in good health when given an appointment at the baby clinic.  Alec was able to join them since she had to go back and he got more than a few funny looks from people who recognised him.

It wasn't long before the local paper became interested but Alec told the town's nosey reporter they weren't giving any interviews until the adoption was finalised and asked the editor to keep it quiet until it had all gone through since they didn't want anyone complaining they were ahead on the list of adopting young babies.

The day before Alec was due to go to the hospital, Jack had settled in his new cot and Alec wanted a serious talk.

"Rose, you know I've left everything to you and Jack.  I've talked to my chief and Miller, they will back you up to go ahead and adopt Jack, don't let anyone take him away from you, promise me."

"I promise Alec but have you told them where you're going tomorrow?"

"Yes, I told my chief I wasn't going to make a fuss about it, she put me on immediate medical leave, I'll have a week off when I come out of hospital but I'll consult on the case then go back part-time.  All my benefits will go to you and they'll take care of you, the caravan will be paid for and if you want to move out, you'll get help.  Don't worry Rose, I'm not giving up, I'm just preparing for the worse.  I'm not going to let them keep me in so don't go anywhere."

"I won't.  I love you Alec and so does Jack.  We can be a real family."

"Just promise me Rose, don't let Jack go and stop thinking about zapping yourself because you may not say anything but I know it's still in the back of your mind."

"I know but I've been thinking less and less since we found Jack.  I'll have to tell Mrs Brooke won't I?  Because we both have to sign the adoption papers."

"Rose, we already signed, it's the judge that has to sign it off but if adequate provisions have been made, it should make no difference.  Don't worry, everything will be fine.  Neither Miller or Elaine will let them take Jack away from you, he's already been a hit at the station when you brought him in.  Now let's have an early night and hope Jack doesn't wake up, we have an early start in the morning."

They needn't have worried about being late since Jack woke up at six thirty and Alec lay with him again, he could have sworn the boy had an internal clock and woke early just so he could get some attention while Rose got dressed and got the boy's breakfast.  Then he went to get dressed while Rose fed the boy and put egg and toast on for the both of them and Jack decided Alec's scrambled eggs were tastier than his cereal so Rose said she was going to start making extra.

"There's no reason Jack can't more or less have the same as we do now Rose," Alec said, putting some more of his egg onto a teaspoon.

"Well you're the expert Alec but I think he rather enjoys sharing yours."

"Just put extra on my plate tomorrow morning then," he grinned.

Rose didn't want to say he might not be here in the morning but it was something neither of them wanted to think about.  So Alec got Jack into his new car seat while Rose got everything they might need if she and Jack had to stay in Exeter overnight.  They had agreed that if the hospital absolutely insisted, he would stay in overnight and she and Jack would book into a nearby hotel and if the worst happened, she would call Ellie and she would come over and drive them back as she would be too upset to get back on her own.

They parked near the hospital and Alec found the department he needed, then they had to wait for him to be seen.  Jack was being kept amused with a new toy Ellie had got for him and Rose had plenty of books in her shoulder bag.  After Alec went for his pre-op, he was shown into the ward and a nurse told Rose she could put Jack into the nursery if she wanted.  Alec said it would be for the best, if the worse did happen and she was distraught, it would upset Jack so as there was time before he went for surgery, Rose dropped the boy in the nursery and was told he would be well looked after and not to worry how long she would be so leaving spare nappies, she went back and had a few minutes before they came for Alec.

When she got back she got a surprise.  Alec had asked for the hospital chaplain to be called and wanted him to marry them before he went to the operating theatre.

"Rose, I know we never talked about this but please say yes.  I want you to have my name if I don't make it.  It will be legal, won't it?"

The chaplain assured them it would.  "I want Jack to have my name as well, that way, they can't take him away from you.  We don't have long before they come for me."

"Yes Alec, I want to be your wife but you are coming back or I won't forgive you."

Alec smiled and took her hand and nodded to the smiling chaplain who had done this numerous times with patients who thought they weren't coming back.  So with two nurses as their witnesses, they had the shortened version and were declared as husband and wife, the formalities would be taken care of later, no matter what the outcome.  They just had a minute to pull the curtain around and kiss for a short time before they were interrupted.

"I love you Rose, I'm coming back.  If I don't, kiss Jack for me and tell him about me, tell him I love him even though it's only been a week."

"Tell him yourself Alec Hardy, you'd better come out of there.  We should have had him with us."

"He's too young to understand Rose, he'd just get upset."

They had arrived outside the theatre and he was waiting to go in.  He motioned her forward and they kissed again as the theatre door opened.

"I love you Alec."

"I love you too Angel and Jack.  If I don't make it, remember how much I love you both."

"Nonsense Mr Hardy, you'll be back in the ward and your wife and son will be waiting for you before you know it, " the theatre sister said, smiling.

Both Rose and Alec thought she had better be right.

Rose paced up and down, wondering if she should go check up on Jack after she called Ellie to say he was in the theatre and they had just got married.

Ellie was delighted for them.  "Wish I could have been there though, the great Alec Hardy getting hitched.  He'll be fine Rose, he's got every reason to get through now he has the two of you.  Did you put Jack in the nursery?"

"Yeah, we thought it was best.  Did you know Alec was planning on this, us getting married?"

"No, he never said a word to me, it would have been you he told, not me Rose."

"Yeah, I suppose.  I'll call you when I have some news."

Rose sat down again after getting some tea to calm her down, not that it helped much.  Just over an hour later, the theatre sister came out.

"Mrs Hardy?  I did get that right before didn't I?  Only I heard someone had called for the hospital chaplain and I thought it could have only been for you two.  Is your son ok, is he in the nursery?"

"Yeah but he's not our son, not yet, we're going to adopt him soon, we're just fostering him, is Alec ok?"

"Oh yes dear, he's just fine, the surgeon's just stitching him up then we'll take him to recovery then back to the ward.  They wouldn't send me out if something had gone wrong.  Just wait there and I'll send someone to get you but best leave the boy where he is until his dad wakes up.  How old is he?"

"Thirteen months, his name's Jack."

"Aw, they're lovely at that age.  How long have you had him?"

"Just over a week.  We're just waiting for the adoption papers to go through."

"Well now the boy will have a good loving home and your husband will be able to teach him to play football, ride a bike and throw his toys all over his bedroom!" the sister smiled.

Rose went back out of the corridor to phone Ellie for her to tell the chief.

"See, I told you he's too stubborn to leave me in charge for more than a week."

Rose was shown into the recovery room, a curtain around him and she went to wait for him to wake up.  When he opened his eyes, his first words were, "I must have died and gone to heaven Rose Hardy, you're still my angel."

"Hi, how do you feel?"

"I'm here aren't I?  I can put up with a bit of a pain if I'm still alive.  When they take me back to the ward, go fetch Jack."

"Ok but if they want you to stay in, don't argue in front of your son."

"Who says you're going to be the boss in the family?"

"Me and you're in no position to contest that at the moment."  She leaned over to kiss him.

While they took him back to the ward, Rose went to collect Jack, who had been playing with some bricks and Rose made a note to buy him some and soon, he was lying in Alec's arms on the bed and falling asleep.  The surgeon recommended Alec stayed a few hours and could go home later in the day and since Rose had picked up the boy before the surgeon had come in and he was now asleep in her lap, Alec had to agree.

Chapter 16
They got back home just after six, giving Jack his tea then Alec sat outside with him for a few minutes after taking his medication.  Alec never would have believed he could survive but put it down to Rose and Jack and when they got to bed, Rose strictly moderating their activities, he told her what he had thought when he had been going under the anaesthetic.

Over the next few weeks, they had regular visits from Mrs Brooke and on her final one, the day before the adoption hearing, she wished them luck.  Rose had located a two bedroom house on the road just out of town to rent and they had moved in the week before, Jack liking his new room painted blue with animal stickers around the walls on one side and cars and trains on another.

They all arrived at the court, along with Ellie and the chief and everything went smoothly, the chief speaking up for Alec and Ellie for Rose and the judge signed, making Jack officially their son.  They had got a marriage certificate though it was a bit awkward since they got married in a hospital but it wasn't unheard of.  So when they got the adoption papers, they went to register Jack as their own.  Both Rose and Alec were beaming when they got home.  All Alec wanted now was to get this case solved and get the town back to normal.

The day after Alec made the arrest of Danny's killer, he got home and found Rose feeding Jack but not looking too happy.  She'd had a call from Jake saying Pete Tyler wanted to talk to her.

"What's wrong Rose?"

"I'll tell you when Jack's gone to bed.  How's Ellie?  She's not called me, tell her she should come round."

"I will.  Now where's my kiss?"

He picked up Jack, still messy from his tea and putting one arm around Rose, kissed her first then trying to avoid getting covered in food, kissed the boy's cheek.

"Never thought I'd be doing this," he whispered to his new wife.

"Neither did I Alec.  Why don't I clean him up and you can play with him for a while?"

After they got Jack to bed, she told him Pete Tyler wanted to talk to her.

"Why didn't he call me then?" Alec asked, laying her down and kissing her exposed skin.

"Because you would have refused to let him speak to me maybe?"  She ruffled his hair and pulled him for a kiss.

"Well, I'll call him, see what he has to say.  If he's offering money now, you're not taking it, we manage with the allowance we get for Jack."

"I know."

Alec called Pete Tyler's number.

"Detective, nice of you to call back but I really wanted to speak to Rose, is she there?"

"Yes but you tell me first, I'm her husband now, we got married a few weeks ago."

"Then congratulations to you both, now she'll probably turn me down when I had some good news for her.  I thought about Torchwood, in the right hands and what it could do for the country and after some arm twisting, I got the president to allow me to re-open it and I wondered if Rose was still trying to get back where she came from?"

Alec almost dropped the phone.  Could he tell her?  Would she leave if he did or hate him and leave anyway if he didn't?

"Just hold on Pete, now you're willing to help her after all she went through or do you just want her to be your guinea pig and try out your devices?  Do you know how long it's taken me into talking her into staying?  We're happy now, we got married and just adopted a young boy, what are you trying to do?"

Rose was astounded at Alec losing his cool but had she heard correctly?  There was a chance she could finally go home?  But this was home now, her, Alec and Jack.

"Let me talk to him Alec, please?"

He reluctantly handed the phone to her.

"You've found a way back, to where I came from?"

"Possibly, I've had people working on it for the last week, we only took over then and it took some doing, Jake's in charge of security and we've taken care of the way you said you got out, thanks for that Rose.  Anyway, if you want to come up and try, we're looking for volunteers, it's still largely untested and there are no guarantees but you knew that.  You did me a favour really, I proved that in the right hands, my hands, we can make Torchwood good."

"Well good for you then, it's nice of you to consider me for the task but how do you know where you're sending people?"

"We don't, we were hoping to get the readings from your personal device, in order to get you back."

"It doesn't work, I told you that."

"Yes but now we have the equipment to maybe repair it."

"And then what?"

"You get back home and we can cross dimensions."

Rose dropped the phone, Alec picked it up.  "What did you say to her Tyler?"

"Nothing, just that we can get her device working and send her home."

"You're lying.  I don't care how important a person you are, leave her alone."

Rose found her voice.  "He wants to use my device to travel to and from my version of this universe."

"No, absolutely not, I'll destroy it first.  Can you imagine what that would imply?"

Rose took the phone back.  "I hate to disappoint you but it will only work for me."

"We can adapt it, just think, you can go home."

"I am home, I have a husband and a son now and my other family is still out there somewhere but I'm not going in blind or putting my family at risk, not for anything.  You'll never get it working, if anything went wrong, it won't activate if it's the right universe.  It's just the wrong version of my universe, I thought I'd told you that?"

"You did but we have technology you've never imagined."

"Don't be too sure of that, you have no idea how our Torchwood worked.  No, I'm not allowing you to get hold of it.  If you start crossing dimensions, that's bad enough but crossing different versions of it, it's suicide, you're going in blind, you can't control that."

"You'd be surprised, Mrs Hardy.  So you don't want to co-operate to get back home?  How about five million pounds?  Enough for you and your new family to get by for the foreseeable future.  I'm not a cruel man despite me turning you away, how do you think you got that adoption so easily and I delivered those papers for you?  Hell, I even made sure the best surgeon attended your husband, I've been keeping a very close eye on you through my sources.  I risked everything going to the president to rescind the ban on Torchwood and all those still out there who didn't surrender have been pardoned so don't think I'd threaten you with that, I just thought you may figure you owe me for all I've done, behind the scenes."

"And I'm sure we're both grateful for all you've done but I can't allow anyone to get hold of it, I'm sorry Pete, nothing would make me give it to you."

"He wants to use your device?  Doesn't he realise how dangerous it is and how many people could be sacrificed?"

"Pete, you need to know something.  When the Cybermen vanished, they did go to another world but then, they were sent into the void."

"What's the void?"

"It's the space between worlds.  If you send someone without setting the co-ordinates correctly, that's where they could end up."

"Oh, I see.  You were willing to risk it though, at first."

"Yes, but my husband showed me it wasn't worth it.  You may find a way to get my device working but I'm not prepared to send myself or anyone else into the void.  He told me, not so long ago that if I still wanted to send myself home, he was going with me, even if it meant following me into the void and I believe he would have done it too but everything has changed, for both of us, we have a child to bring up now, together and I am grateful for everything you've done."

"That's fair enough, we'll find another way, there's plenty of equipment here, we can go to other universes, maybe just not other dimensions but if you change your mind, I'll still pay you."

"We don't need your money thanks and I'll never change my mind, even if by some strange reason it begins to work, I'm not going anywhere, this is my home now, with Alec and our son."

Rose handed the phone back to Alec and he put his arms around her.  "Is that true Rose, you weren't just saying that for Pete Tyler's benefit?"

"Yes it's true.  I know my own family are out there somewhere Alec, I just don't know where and maybe one day, they'll miss me and will perfect a way of trying to get me back.  This is the second time I've been ripped away from my home and the first time, it never made any sense, I never thought I would feel I belonged there and I didn't when I first came here but now I do.  You made me feel this is where I belong."

"I love you Rose, you know that.  What if, one day, someone comes to take you back?  What will you do?"

Rose put her arms around his waist.  "You seriously need to ask that?"

"Well let's hope we never have to put it to the test.  Now Jack is officially ours, how about a brother or sister for him?"

Rose looked up and smiled at him.  "Seriously?"

"Well yes, I'm not joking here and don't forget Daisy is coming down this weekend to meet you and Jack, now she's decided to forgive me.  She told me I'm not a grump any more.  We'll have to bring Jack in with us over the weekend."

"Well I'm looking forward to meeting her, I'm sure she'll fall in love with him.  We'll have to move again, if you know, we have another addition to our little family and if Daisy wants to come down on a regular basis."

"We can afford to move.  You know, if Pete Tyler wants your device, we could always use the money."

She swatted his arm.  Alec pretended to be hurt.  "I was joking honey, don't be like that."

"I want you to destroy it Alec, promise me.  I wouldn't trust anyone if they got it working.  Think of the harm it could do?  Ok, we used it, to get me back to where I belonged, no-one ever stayed more than forty five minutes and we never went the same place twice."

"Ok, how do you want me to destroy it?  Smash it with a hammer, throw it under a train or let me run over it with the car?"

"Take your pick as long as this world's Torchwood doesn't get hold of it."

They went to bed, Alec then went to check on Jack, happy now he knew she wanted rid of that infernal device as she lay across him, stroking her back on the uncovered part with her nestled in his arms, her head in his shoulders.

"I love you Rose."

"Love you too and if you want, I can stop taking the pill once I get to my monthly."

"You don't want to wait then?"

"Well no, Jack would be almost two, it will be a good age gap, having them close together."

"Who says I only want one more?"

"Well trust a man since you don't have to go through it all."

"I'll be with you every step of the way, you know that.  It's what got me through my operation Rose, you and Jack, a chance to be a family and you marrying me."

He was talking to himself as she never answered.  Just as well, now he didn't have to admit that if she ever cared to actually turn on her device, she could go home.  He had discovered quite by chance the device was lit up and had turned it off so every time she had seen it, she thought it was still dead.  Maybe, just maybe she actually knew.


2 years later

It was Jack's birthday, well his official one, the day they found him.  Rose was organising a party for him when Alec finished early to pick him up from the playgroup that he went to three afternoons a week and Jacob was playing in his playpen with his favourite toys.  Jacob was thirteen months and looked just like his dad, to which Alec had said "Poor kid" when Ellie had remarked about it.

The cake was just having three candles put on it, the jelly was set and the ice-cream in the freezer was Jack's favourite and his presents were wrapped and Alec was picking up his main present of a pedal police bike before the boy was collected, safely tucked in the back of the car.   Rose just hoped Jack would be in such a hurry to get out of the car to his party he wouldn't notice his dad sneaking out the bike and heading for the kitchen door with it.

Beth and Ellie were both bringing the guests, young Lizzie and Fred, who thought he was too old to be going to a party but was persuaded when he was told there would be games and cartoons and Rose had really been hoping young Jacob would have a nap but there was little chance of that.  Just under an hour before Alec picked up the birthday boy, he called to make sure everything was ready.

"Hi Angel, you ok babe?"

"Yeah, I just wish your other son would take a nap, I don't want him falling asleep at the party.  You leaving work soon?"

"Yes, with half a dozen or so presents from various people who actually remembered.  Ellie left to go get Fred so she'll probably be there before us.  How was Jack when you dropped him off this lunchtime?"

"Giddy to say the least.  He still thinks he's getting a normal trike for his birthday, I didn't let on to him."

"Good, just come and get him out of the car while I sneak his real present in the back door.  I love you darlin' I won't be late, I promise."

"Love you too, miss you."

"Miss you too."

The party was a complete success, Jack had even blown the candles out on his cake all by himself and he got lots of presents as usual and was finally persuaded that he couldn't ride his police bike in his bedroom.  Daisy had finally arrived after her coach had been delayed and Alec had to go back out to collect her so she wasn't late and they were all sitting in the lounge after the boys were in bed.  Daisy was now in college and wanting to follow her parents into the police.  She had finally been told the truth about Rose and had accepted her stepmother was from another version of their world.

A few days later though, after the weekend and Daisy setting off back home on the Monday morning and promising to come back before Christmas, Rose had an unexpected visitor.  There was a knock on the door.

"Jake!  What are you doing here?  You missed Jack's birthday."  The Jake from this version of the world had kept in touch occasionally.

"Who's Jack?  Hello Rosie, you took some finding you know.  Haven't you got anything to say to your old best friend?"

"What?  OMG, it's really you?"

"Well who did you expect, my double from this reality?  We figured it out Rose, when you didn't come back, six months ago."

"I'd only been gone for six months?  It's been over two years for me.  I'm married now, got two kids, well Jack's adopted but Jacob here is mine and Alec's."

"Alec?  Is he Scottish with a beard?"

"How did you know?"

"Lucky guess."

Rose shifted young Jacob on her hips.  "You'd best come in, I'll call Alec."

She put Jacob down and the boy toddled to Jake.  "You could have called him after me.  So where's Jack, how old is he?"

"Three a few days ago, he's at playgroup, I pick him up at three."

"Alec?  You'd better come home, we have a visitor."

"It's not Jake is it?  Has Pete Tyler sent him again?"

"Well it's Jake but not the one you know."

"What?  Stay right there, don't go anywhere.  I'll collect Jack early, it's half two anyway.  How did he get there?  Never mind, just wait for me."

Alec arrived, with Jack and Jake explained how when Rose went missing and they couldn't track her device, a team worked around the clock to figure out where she had got to.  Jake had been surprised when Alec had walked in and young Jacob had gone straight to him to be picked up and had now fallen asleep in his dad's arms.  Rose looked at the two of them and just prayed Jake wouldn't open his big mouth and ask Alec if he minded looking like the Doctor.  They had got beyond all that.

"So are mum and dad and Tony all ok?  And Mickey?

"They're fine, they all miss you.  Why don't I take some photos of you all?"

Jack never missed a chance to have his photo taken, much like the man she had named him after.  Jacob managed to open his eyes for a few minutes then after a family photo Alec put his youngest son down and Jake took one of Rose kissing Alec's cheek and he doing the same to her and of course Jack didn't want to miss out and Jake ended up taking a video of them.  Rose recorded a message to everyone, telling them she missed them all so much and when the boys were old enough, she would tell them how she had got there.

Jake wanted to talk to Rose on her own so while she made some tea in the kitchen, Jake had some questions for her.

"Does he know Rose?"

"No and don't you dare tell him either or I will never forgive you Jake.  He doesn't need to know, he's a good man and a terrific father, he's got a grown-up daughter from his first marriage, she's called Daisy.  She was down a few days ago for Jack's birthday."

"I'm pleased you're happy Rose but I did come here to take you back, I never expected all this.  I tracked you down, your signature is different from everyone else's in this reality but I couldn't pinpoint it at first, I was looking for your device."

"Alec destroyed it, he said it was too dangerous, I could end up in the void or somewhere far worse than this and the Torchwood here, they wanted to use it to go to different realities, the Pete Tyler here offered me millions for it but Alec ran over it with the car, he said there was no way in hell this Torchwood were getting hold of it."

"Are you sure he ran over it?  I picked up some faint signals not that long ago."

"Time is different here again, you may have picked them up but it was over a long time ago, the day I found out I was having Jacob.  He took it out and ran over it with the back wheels of the car and he still has the bits in the shed, said he couldn't find anywhere to dispose of it that Torchwood may not be able to put it back together, it didn't work anyway so why did you pick up signals?"

Jake now knew Alec had lied to her, the device had been functioning, the man had tried to keep her here but she was happy, who was he to destroy that happiness, a happy family.  She deserved that much.

"It must had just echoed back Rose, it wouldn't have been anything that could have got you back."

"Alec said he couldn't stand the thought of me getting zapped into the void, it took him a long time to make me see that and finally, he said if I still insisted, he was going with me and it made me realise he loved me and I was being selfish about it and I really could end up in it or a cruel version of the world and be on my own.  I was in danger of getting caught here, Torchwood members were in hiding, well those that didn't surrender and get a pardon but this Pete Tyler persuaded the president to let him re-open it, that's why he wanted my device.  I went to him for help when I got here."

"Then how did you meet Alec?"

"I saw him on TV.  He knows he looks like him but not what he was and you can't ever tell him, it would break his heart.  We finally got over that."

"And you thought when you saw Alec it was the Doctor?"

"Yeah.  It took us a while to stop fighting, for me to stop trying to get back and when we found Jack, that was it.  Alec needed a pacemaker and the day he went into the hospital, we got married so I could keep Jack."

"He looks just like Tony at that age, your mother will just freak out."

"I know," Rose smiled.

Jake eventually left, choosing not to just disappear in front of them and when they got to bed, Alec had a question for her.

"You could have gone, you know that?"

"Why would I want to?  I've got you and the boys.  Now how about a sister for them, not a grown up one?"

"Really?  Well what are we waiting for?  Just one problem, we'll need to build an extension or a loft conversion or we could move again."

"I don't want to move Alec, you know that.  Can we afford an extension?"

"I'll see about it, let me worry about that."

They kissed again and Rose settled on her husband.  Alec stayed awake, rationalising his decision to agree to help Pete Tyler in certain ways that Rose would never found out and to get the extension they wanted just needed one phone call, the same way the house was getting paid for – telling Torchwood how they could safely cross dimensions because if they were determined to do it, he wouldn't stand by and let them zap themselves into oblivion just as all that time ago he hadn't been prepared to let the woman he loved do it.

He knew Rose had every reason to stay here and now her other family knew where she was, everyone was happy.

The End!