Don't sleep in the subway

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Alec Hardy leaves Broadchurch to report to New Scotland Yard but gets lost after a mistake with his hotel booking. Rose Tyler is on her way home from Torchwood and finds him studying the underground map and asks her for directions to another hotel.  She takes pity on him and takes him back to her flat and he ends up staying, rather reluctantly after they argue and he leaves her. 

Alec Hardy leaves Broadchurch to report to New Scotland Yard but gets lost after a mistake with his hotel booking.  Rose Tyler is on her way home from Torchwood and finds him studying the underground map and asks her for directions to another hotel.  She takes pity on him and takes him back to her flat and he ends up staying, rather reluctantly after they argue and he leaves her.

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Chapter 1

Inspired by the 1967 song of the same name by Petula Clark but this story follows the ups and downs of Rose and Alec Hardy's turbulent relationship.  This takes place after Joe Miller's trial and Hardy had got in a taxi to the nearest railway station.  If you haven't listened to the song recently, I recommend you do so as it will become an intricate part of the story in the later chapters.  You can easily find it on YouTube and I will be including some of the lyrics in the story.

Rose had been in a late meeting with one of the other department heads at Torchwood Tower and since she no longer drove there, opting to use the nearest underground station that conveniently took her around the corner from her apartment in Waterloo, it was easier than getting caught crossing the busy bridge in morning and evening traffic.  It really wasn't that far so she put her earphones on and found some music to pass the journey and was soon going up the escalator and making her way to the exit closest to where she lived.

Alec Hardy had been staying in a small hotel near where his daughter still lived with his ex but had been summoned to London to attend a series of meetings to decide his future though why he couldn't have stayed teaching recruits or got his old job in Broadchurch back, he didn't know, probably because his bosses down there didn't know what to do with him now his old case had been solved two weeks ago.  It would be some time before the culprits would be prosecuted and they wanted a solid conviction, it being taken out of his hands but he would have to appear in court and he hoped it would go better than Joe Miller's farce of a trial.

His train had been delayed and it was almost eight before he had got to Waterloo station and found the entrance to the underground, which he hated but it was only two stops to where he was supposed to have a hotel reservation but as he called the hotel, he was told he wasn't booked in until tomorrow night.  Just his luck, what was he supposed to do?  It was being paid for and it was too expensive to stay the night paying for it himself and why should he when he had been summoned?

He put his two holdalls down and looked at a nearby transport map that had adverts surrounding it and the names of nearby accommodation.  Rose was just about to pass him by as he suddenly turned to get his bearings and ask someone how near one B&B was to the station and it just happened to be Rose.

''Excuse me Miss, could you tell me where the Alexander Hotel is?''

Rose stared at him, only because she thought she was seeing things but she saw him everywhere so it shouldn't have come as quite a shock but the subject of the meeting she'd just had touched on the subject and had reminded her of him.

''Oh, it's not far but you need the other exit, across the other side, then across the bridge but it's a bit of a trek on foot.''

''Then why does it say it's in Waterloo if it's across the bridge then?'' he asked impatiently.

''Because it still comes under the district, there are nearer ones, there's the Travelodge just at the other side of the railway station, by the river.  You'd best ring first, it's still a walk and it looks like it's raining again, just for a change.  Did you look at any of the others?''

''I thought somewhere was booked for me but they made a mistake and I'm not booked in until tomorrow night, fools, can't they get a simple booking right?''

Rose thought how like the Doctor he sounded when he'd put on the Scottish accent, minus the beard though.  She thought she recognised him though, despite him looking like the Doctor.

''Excuse me but aren't you that detective from the trial where that man just walked free?''

Alec thought it was just his luck that he had chosen an inquisitive woman to ask where he might find somewhere to stay for the night.

''Well you have me at a disadvantage then, since I'm so famous.  Yes, I'm Alec Hardy though I doubted anyone in London would have been following the case.''

''Yeah, well it involved a young boy, I've got a younger brother so it interested me and those two girls, you caught their killers.''

''Yes, that's all very well but it's not finding me a place for tonight.  Is there nowhere nearer than across the bridge?''

''Sorry, like I said you could try the one by the railway station, have you just come from there?  I'm Rose by the way.''

''Then if I wasn't cold, tired and hungry I would be glad to meet you Rose but I'm really not in the mood right now.''

''Listen, I live just around the corner, I could call for a takeaway and you could use my internet to find a place, it's ok, I trust you.  You mean you don't know who I am?''

''Enlighten me once I've eaten, lead the way.  If I can locate a place tonight, I have somewhere to go tomorrow night.''

They stepped out into the drizzle, Rose had forgotten her umbrella as they hurried around the corner and down the road, Rose leading them into a doorway of a large block of apartments.  Alec thought she wasn't kidding when she said she lived close by.  They passed a reception desk and to a lift, Rose pressing for the second floor. Once inside, they took off their coats and Rose went to get a takeaway menu.  While they were waiting, Alec was looking at room prices which weren't cheap for just one night, the price of staying in London he supposed and Rose saw him shaking his head.

''Well if you have somewhere to go tomorrow night, you could sleep on my sofa bed, if you want?  My friends stay over sometimes, I have spare bedding and I do trust you, you being a detective.''

''You should not be so trusting, Rose Tyler, I worked out who you were, what would your stepfather think?''

''That I was helping out a police officer?  It's just for one night Alec.''

The doorbell rang and Alec insisted on paying for the food and while they ate, he decided since it was still raining to take her up on her offer, it wasn't nearly as bad as having to awkwardly share a bed with Miller he supposed.

''Ok, I'll sleep on your sofa if you're sure you don't mind?''

''No it's fine, honestly.  Have you got anything in your luggage you need to hang up?''

Alec grimaced at his other suit and shirts that he had packed earlier, thinking he'd already be in his hotel room.  Rose hung them up.

''I get up at seven, you can get a shower if you want and I'll tell you how to get to New Scotland Yard, if that's where you're going?''

''Yes, I have a series of meeting for the next few days, to discuss the Sandbrook case and why another child killer walked free from court, I don't expect they'll go easy on me.''

''That wasn't your fault, how were you do know?  My dad says you could have that case re-tried on the grounds of a hostile defence lawyer or whatever, I can't remember what he actually said.''

''So you did follow it?  What about all the screw-ups?  No, it was my fault, I should have been more careful after I arrested him but he's been served local justice though I'm not going to tell my superiors that.''

Rose smiled.  ''I should let you get some sleep, after your journey.  You're welcome to use the bathroom first in the morning, I like to take my time, I can go to work whenever I want.  You'd be best taking a taxi in the morning, you might get lost on the bus, I mean since you've saved money on a hotel tonight.''

''For which I'm grateful.  I can at least make you tea or coffee in the morning, which?''

''Coffee, milk, no sugar and thanks.  It's really not necessary Alec, I'll go get the bedding, the sofa just pulls out.''

Alec took his stuff into the bathroom and changed into his t-shirt and wondered if she would offer to do his laundry but no, he had to leave in the morning.  Rose was wondering what his fate would be, it hadn't seemed fair the killer from Broadchurch had got off after the defence team pulled everyone apart.  She was determined to speak to her stepfather and get him to talk to the police commissioner and get them to go easy on him, Alec had just survived a heart operation, he'd admitted he had been ill during the case, what did they expect?

Rose could hear him moving about as he woke her by closing the bathroom door. She was not used to having many overnight guests except if she had a very late night and Jake or Mickey escorted her home and stayed.  Alec was uncomfortable on the sofa, wondering how people slept on the things and realised he had closed the door to the bathroom too loudly.  Rose got up and opened the bedroom door, forgetting to put her robe over her pyjama top and shorts.  It was just after one and she knew if he kept doing that, neither of them would get any sleep.

''Are you ok Alec?  Do you want to talk?''

''No, I want to sleep but this sofa is a killer, how do your friends sleep on it?''

''They're usually hammered so they don't take any notice.  We have a few beers on the way back, when we've worked late and yes, they are male friends, one is my ex boyfriend and the other is a mate, he has a boyfriend.''

''Who you have in your apartment is none of my concern.  I recently got accused of having an affair with my married DS and to make things worse, we accidentally ended up sharing a motel room.''

Rose stifled a giggle.  ''That's none of my business either Alec, try to get some sleep, you have a busy day tomorrow by the sound of it.''

''Yes, right, sorry I woke you up, goodnight again.''

He tried to settle down, his long legs sticking out of the end as he realised and turned onto his side.

''So you and your DS, in the same room, did you share the bed?'' she giggled.

''It's not funny Rose, can you imagine if the defence team had got hold of that piece of information?  Now half of Broadchurch thinks it's true and why I left town, she has to live there.''

''Oh come on Alec, it is a bit funny, I mean what were the chances just after it had been insinuated?  What were you doing in a motel room, if you don't mind me asking?''

''Following some leads on the Sandbrook case.  Are you going to stand there all night?''

''No, sorry.  So you and your DS, it was just two colleagues?''

''Yes but you don't have to believe me.  I slept on top of the bed by the way and she threatened to hit me if I snored.''

Rose giggled again.  ''And did you?''

''No, do you want me to prove it?''

''No thanks.  Ok, if you promise not to snore and you bring that duvet and sleep on top of the bed, you can share.  I'm gonna be honest with you here, I used to have a friend I travelled with and we shared all the time in some situations and before you ask, no, we were not involved, worse luck.''

Alec tried to get up again off the sofa, he'd not had a better offer and Rose was an improvement on Ellie Miller, not that there was anything wrong with her but she was still married, had two boys and still lived in the town plus, they'd been accused of trying to frame her husband, there was no way he was going to get involved with her for real, the accusations were bad enough.  Perhaps Rose Tyler would mend his somewhat fragile reputation and he could certainly do with releasing some of his tension.  It was only for a few nights, if she offered to put him up again, he had no idea where he would be offered a DI's position, that was if they either didn't reduce him in rank like they'd done with Miller or dump him a place worse than Broadchurch.

He picked up the duvet and headed for the bedroom door, Rose already laid on her side.

''Close the door Alec and if you do snore, you'll regret it.''

''Then if and I'm only saying if I do snore, you'd be entitled to find a way to stop me.''

Rose smiled to herself.  She could use some male company and as long as he was only here a few nights, they might just have some fun.

''Then I dare you to snore Alec,'' she teased, turning to face him as he laid on top of the duvet and trying to get under the other one he'd brought with him.

''I never refuse a challenge Rose.''
Chapter 2
Rose giggled as he let her climb on top of him and brushed his lips with her own. Alec responded and they kissed again, he pushed her onto her back and she put her arms around his neck as he unfastened her pyjama top and she relieved him of his t-shirt.  Now he was going to test how well he'd got over his surgery a few weeks ago though sometimes he was a bit sore if he touched where the stitches had been when he showered.

''Go easy on me Rose, I just had major surgery.''

Rose tried to heed his words but at one thirty in the morning and contemplating having sex with a man she had only met a few hours ago, she was just happy to let him take his time, first kissing her then pulling down her pyjama shorts.  She didn't care what time it was though, not being with a man for quite a while as they gently made love, Rose feeling sensations she thought she had forgotten and some more.  Alec was more than pleased with his decision to go ahead with having his pacemaker fitted and if Rose really did know about him she knew why he was going easy.

They woke the next morning to her alarm and she told him to get a shower if he wanted and she would make some breakfast after they kissed and Alec lay on her again.

''Have you thought about making any decision as to where you'll go, when your meeting's over?'' she asked as he joined her for breakfast of egg and toast.

''Not yet, they may even fire me for going behind their backs and conducting a murder enquiry while I was on medical leave but if they do, I'll just go to the press myself and blow it wide open, that they had the clues under their noses and never saw it, it took someone who hadn't been involved with it in the first place and someone on their last legs to solve it, I'd say it would make an interesting story.''

Rose smiled.  ''Well if you need any help, you only have to say, I do have a famous stepfather you know.''

Alec took it the wrong way, putting his fork down.  ''Do you not think I can do this on my own?  They hung me out to dry, I redeemed myself with two cases, well one anyway, they had better take notice of me.  Thanks for helping me out last night but that's it, I don't need anyone's help.   I'll gather my things and be on my way.''

''I'm sorry Alec, I'm just used to helping people, I didn't mean to infer you couldn't sort out your own problems.  I'd like you to stay with me, while you're in London, please?  I'll give you my spare key and the code to get in.  I'm normally home for five thirty, I got delayed last night so why don't you meet me at the subway station at five fifteen and we'll go get something to eat?  Then you can decide tonight if you want to go find that hotel or not, you can leave your things here.  What do you think?''

''Ok then but no more talk of helping me get another job or out of any kind of trouble I may be in, understood?''

''Absolutely, I get it, loud and clear.  Why don't you cancel that hotel reservation? Where was it anyway?''

''Somewhere near Victoria, I have the address, I'll call them and tell them I won't need the room tonight but I'll have to think about tomorrow night.''

''Ah but tomorrow night, I could cook you a nice meal and you can tell me how your meeting went.  Which is first anyway?  Your cases or where they'll be sending you?''

''They'll discuss the cases and tomorrow, I'll find out my fate, if I remain a DI or get busted back to DS.  They'll tell me what my options are, where there are vacancies and I'll have to choose one.  I suppose I could go back to Broadchurch if they'll still let me, it was out of the CS's hands this time.  I'll just choose the highest ranking one I expect.''

''Do you want to stay in London or go home, wherever that is?''

''Stay in London?  Well I suppose it will be better than getting sent to Sheffield.''

''What's wrong with Sheffield?''

''Nothing except that was where Danny Latimer's killer went.''

Rose pulled a face.  ''Oh, right, bad place to get sent to then?  How long will you have to think about it?''

''Probably not long enough but I expect I'll get help with housing costs if I stay in London.''

''There are a few empty apartments here, you could ask about one.''

''I don't think the budget or my salary will cover the costs Rose.''

''Well you can stay here as long as you want, if you decide to stay in the city and we'll make some arrangement until you find a place of your own.  So I'll write down the address and you can get a taxi back, can you remember the way to the subway station?''

''Yes, why wouldn't I?  It may have been dark and raining last night but I know where you brought me and I'm not in the habit of going off with young blonde women whom I talk to in subway stations.  It's only the second time I've even been in one and the first time I would rather just forget when I came with my ex and our daughter for a visit.''

''Well I'll be setting off soon, walk me there and you can get a taxi outside, it won't take you long to get there, unless you get a bus pass and want to try your luck on public transport?''

''No thanks, I'll give that a miss.  Look Rose, I'll stay tonight but I don't know about any longer.  Once I make my choice where I'll go, I'll be expected to start on Monday and I'll have to travel there and get settled.''

''Well if you stay in London, there won't be any rush, will there?''

''Rose, I don't like owing people, ok?  You accept a favour and someone wants one back.''

''I don't want anything from you Alec.  I felt sorry for you last night, I admit it but don't mistake that for doing you a favour.  Good luck with your meeting though and if they have any sense, they'll see you as a brilliant detective who solved two murder cases when you were at death's door and if they don't, they're a bunch of ungrateful idiots.  Will the commissioner be there?''

''I seriously doubt it, don't you?  I'm not important enough for him to attend, today it will be other senior officers and tomorrow, either the disciplinary committee or the recruitment officer.''

''Pity, you might have got somewhere with him.''

''Why, is he a friend of yours or your stepfather's?  If he is, forget it now, I don't need any help.  Are you ready to leave?''

They left the apartment and Rose led the way back to where they had met last night, pointing out there were two entrances but she always used this one except on Sunday nights when for some strange reason the shutter closed at ten, some strange by-law she assumed, not that she used it on Sunday nights.  She gave him a quick kiss after exchanging mobile numbers and pointed to a taxi rank across the road.  She smiled all the way to work for the first time since she had been on this world and it showed once she got to her office.

Alec arrived in plenty of time for his meeting, thanks to Rose bundling him out half an hour earlier than he needed to be.  After being shown into a meeting room, the board of senior officers asked him various questions of how he had put it on himself, being on sick leave, to solve an old murder case.  He kept his answers simple, the main one being he knew who one of the killers was and it had almost killed him trying to bring him in.

As for the other subject of how Joe Miller had also walked free from court, after lunch, which was provided for him, Alec talked his way out of it stating the defence team and been over zealous in digging up the dirt and they had got lucky.  One officer though wasn't going to let it go so easily and gave Alec a hard time.

''We have the transcript of the trial DI Hardy, you showed numerous signs of gross misjudgement such as allowing the wife of the suspect to attack him and allowing her to visit your hotel room and spend over two hours with you, alone.''

''With all due respect Sir, she was angry, anyone would have been and as for her being in my hotel room, I had been kicked out while she had been seeing to her two boys, they were not left alone, they were asleep and she was there when they woke up.  We were two colleagues trying to make sense of what had happened, is it against the law for two people who work together to talk?  That defence team were digging up every little thing they could find and twisted it to suit their purpose.''

''Well that's as maybe but if the mistakes hadn't been made, they would have had nothing to dig up, would they?''

Another officer spoke up.  ''I tend to agree with Hardy, the defence team were using underhand tactics to get their client released, they would have done so had they had the ammunition or not, regardless of if it had been Hardy or any other officer. The suspect obviously decided he wasn't going to own up and he was the one that got lucky and got the jury to believe his defence.  We will reveal our findings tomorrow DI Hardy but at present, I'm sure my colleagues will agree so far, you did a good job on catching two killers and an accomplice on the Sandbrook case, let's hope we have better luck convicting them though the CPS thought they had a solid case on the Broadchurch one.''

The previous officer spoke again.  ''Yes, then let's hope so, I reluctantly agree, you did good work on Sandbrook and redeemed yourself, despite not doing it officially but DS Henchard has spoken up for you which I'm sure surprises you.  She told us you tried to get her to reopen the case and when missing evidence came into your possession, you handed it directly over the South Mercia Police and she conducted the initial interviews with you at Broadchurch Police Station.  Thanks to her, no action will be taken against you on that count.''

''Thank you Sir.  I await your findings tomorrow then?''

A female office spoke up.  ''You were lucky it was your ex wife who was on that case, someone else may not have taken it so kindly you interfering with a case you were no longer involved with.''

Alec leapt to his own defence.  ''If you'll pardon me Ma'am, that has no bearing on why I wanted to solve the case.  I was not going to let it go, I thought it was going to kill me and it almost did and I know why I survived, to bring those two girls killers to justice, the fact it was my ex wife, whom I have no interest in ever getting back together with since she made that quite clear before the case was solved, is just a coincidence and she was the original reason the case was shelved.  I'm sure she was as keen to get off the hook about it as I was.''

Alec thought he had well and truly stuffed up any chance of remaining a DI now, he'd be lucky to be kicked back to DC.

Rose was having quite a good day as Alec was in his 'meetings' or as he thought 'grillings'.  Jake had noticed the change in her mood as they discussed another alleged sighting of alien activity that had turned out to be another prank.

''What's up with you today Rose, you're in a good mood.  Did you get lucky last night then and you weren't gonna tell me?''

''You could say that but it was more like in the early hours of this morning.  I met someone on my way home last night but I'm not sure how long he's staying.''

''I want details Rose or I'll tell your mother.''

"Rat on me would you?  Ok, short version, he's a police detective inspector who just solved an old case that had got away from him after another man he arrested walked free when his defence lawyer told a pack of lies to the jury.''

Jake laughed.  ''Why didn't you just say it was that Scottish police detective who looked like your old boyfriend from the other universe?''

''Is it that obvious?  Don't you dare tell my mother Jake or I won't forgive you.''

''Ok but she'll find out sooner or later, tell her before she reads it in the morning papers under the usual headlines you were snogging some bloke at a party.  Does he know who you are?''

''Yes but he doesn't like it.  He's staying with me tonight and after that, it depends where he gets transferred to.  I'm gonna try and talk him into staying in London somewhere but he hates the fact that he owes me for letting him stay last night.''

''So where did you meet him then?''

''Waterloo underground station.  The hotel that was arranged for him didn't have him booked in when he was about to set off for it, he'd called for directions.  Then he tried to find another hotel and asked me where there was one.  I recognised him and took him back to my place to get something to eat and find a place but you know the prices around there.''

''Yeah, that's why I bunk with you instead of trekking halfway across London when we get to your place when we're hammered,'' Jake grinned.  ''Are you gonna tell Pete?''

''Why, if Alec's leaving?''

''What if he stays?  You can hardly keep hiding him.''

''He might not want to stay with me though, even if he remains in London.''

''Who are trying to fool Rose?  Yourself or me?''
Chapter 3
Alec retrieved Rose's address and got someone to call a taxi for him.  It was only just gone four and over an hour before she had said for him to meet her where he had been looking last night for somewhere to stay.  He had barely had time to process the events last night, the woman who turned out to be none other than the Vitex heiress should be more careful who she picked up in tube stations late at night, he could have been anyone but if she had followed the cases he'd recently been involved in, she knew what she was letting herself in for, not that he'd particularly wanted to be picked up except the idiot who had supposed to have got him a hotel room had messed up.

He should show his gratitude he supposed, if they were going out for a meal, he should pay and since he had cancelled his room for tonight with the option to call tomorrow if he still needed the room, after all, it was the least they could do since it had been confirmed the room had been booked, it was them who had got the booking wrong.  Letting himself into her apartment, not even getting challenged from the man on duty but he'd used the code, he sorted through his clothes and studied the washing machine, set it on a quick wash he expected was the best choice and pushed the start button.  He had also picked up the few items in the laundry hamper and hoped nothing of hers would spoil or he'd be sleeping in the underground station tonight.

Just how he had been persuaded to go with her last night, he couldn't fathom but he was making himself at home in her kitchen and needed to leave in twenty minutes to go meet her.  She was something though, very pretty and very shapely as he had discovered once he threw the spare duvet off and climbed on top of her.  At least now he knew a good job had been done on his pacemaker but having sex at one thirty in the morning was something he had never imagined when he had got the train to London late yesterday afternoon and been delayed.

He'd chosen a later train on purpose to avoid the busy period, getting one just after six that should have arrived at five thirty but there again, he wouldn't have turned around and met Rose.  He knew he couldn't really get involved with her long term, a few nights to relieve the sexual tension that had built up now he was well again but since she had invited him to stay tonight, was it worth messing around tomorrow and booking into the hotel for just one night?

He set off just after five, leaving the washing machine to finish its cycle, Rose could show him what things went in the dryer besides his shirt and underwear, she probably would cringe he had put her knickers in with his stuff to wash, let alone pick out what needed drying but she knew he'd been married and probably would be more surprised he'd known what program to use.  He silently thanked the manufacturers for the foolproof setting of 'Quick Wash' that covered a multitude of garments without having a degree in science to work the machine.

Rose had an uneventful afternoon, chatting with Mickey about maybe putting together a team to go around various police stations and getting more of them interested in having a liaison with Torchwood when cases came up that were unusual and baffled them.  Some stations already called Torchwood if something unexplained came along but Mickey wondered what had brought up the subject, Rose never mentioning she had picked up a police detective last night.

''Come on Rose, what are you really up to?  Are things really that slow around here or do you have an ulterior motive?''

''I may have, haven't you spoken to Jake today?''

''No, should I have?''

''Well ask him then.  Ok, I'll own up, I sort of met a police detective last night on my way home, he's cute and he's staying at my place while he's in town but if you tell my mother, I'll open up the void and shove you in myself, clear?''

Mickey grinned.  ''Oh is that all?  Thought it was something serious like you'd met another Doctor look-alike.''  He saw her face.  ''No, don't tell me.  I thought that actor was married, did he just come back on the singles market?''

''No but I'll just say two words, Broadchurch and Sandbrook, any clues?''

''He's here, in London?  What's he doing here then?  Did he get kicked out?''

''Not exactly, he's having to attend some meetings and they're deciding where he's to go, well pending a few things like if he doesn't actually get kicked out and I'm trying to talk him into getting a job in London, if he wants to stay but he's very stubborn and doesn't want my help, of any kind except for him staying with me for now.  If I can get him to remain here, he might volunteer to become his new station's liaison officer with Torchwood, then we'll have something more in common.''

''Well good luck with that Rose, if he stays, I won't be going round to persuade him, that's on you.''

''Yeah, well even if I get him to stay in London, I don't know if he'll stay with me even though we did sort of get a bit carried away with ourselves last night.  Now I have to go see Pete and face the music and try and get him to agree not to tell my mother until there's something to tell her.  Alec doesn't want my help but Pete can call in a few favours that don't directly involve me and hope Alec never finds out. He's taking me out to dinner tonight to say thanks for letting him stay.''

''How come you met him anyway?  Didn't he have somewhere to stay?''

''Yeah but someone messed up and he asked directions to another hotel, he was too tired and hungry to argue with me when I said he could come to my place.''

''Well he wouldn't have stood a chance against you, would he?  Being a Doctor double and all, was that the only reason you invited him back with you?''

''No, it wasn't.  He was lost and I knew who he was.  He wasn't going to get a better offer at that time of night, was he?''

Rose went off to see Pete, filling him in on her idea of recruiting more interest in the police stations around the city, Pete thinking it was a good idea.

''There is something else Dad.''

''Isn't there always Rose?  Go on, got a new boyfriend have you?  Jake already let the cat out of the bag or should I say the detective inspector out of the bag.  Jake's right, you should be careful who you invite back to your place late at night but since he's a respectable police detective, I'll spare you the lecture.  So what did you want to ask me?''

Rose relayed the fact Alec was reluctant to have any help in why he had been summoned to police headquarters, outlining that she didn't think he deserved any comeback for solving a case whilst not on active duty and was wanting him to stay in London.

''Well that's up to him Rose, maybe he doesn't want to get involved with anyone just yet but I can call the police commissioner, I won't bring you into it but I could point out that maybe they could lean more towards offering him a post in the city rather than other parts of the country but just maybe, Alec wants to go back to Scotland, did you think of that?''

''No but I think he might like to be at least offered his old job in Broadchurch back but maybe not just yet, say in around six months time, when the dust there has settled so to speak but until then, I know for a fact he doesn't want to be sent anywhere near Sheffield so if some of the posts were further north and around there, it may make London more attractive.''

''I'll see what I can do.  Why don't you bring him to dinner on Thursday night, if he's still around?  I'll tell your mother not to make a fuss, that he's just a friend and no-one will say anything to him, everyone knows not to bring up anything about yours and your mother's pasts.''

''Well he did say he'd have to leave, depending on where he was accepted but I can try to get him to stay another night.  I might take some time off, he has another meeting tomorrow then he has to decide on Thursday so if I take the day off, I can meet him and take him around London before we come round for dinner.''

She left Pete to phone his friend and call in a few favours and to put to the commissioner about getting more stations to become interested in working with Torchwood.  Rose gathered her things just before she was leaving and answered the phone to Alec, who was about to set off.

''Hey Alec, how did things go?  You haven't been thrown out yet have you?'' she joked.

''No, not yet but I think I came close.  Are you leaving your office?  Where are you anyway?''

''You really don't know much do you?  Canary Wharf, it's not far and I'm just leaving now.  I think maybe I should go get changed before we go out.''

''Is that really necessary?  I had lunch but it was too fancy for me, I'm not used to eating rich food, is there somewhere that just does normal food?''

Over a more tradition pub meal to Alec's liking, they talked some more, Rose laughing that he had dared to speak up for himself and bring up the fact his ex was glad to get off the hook as well when he told her.  They relaxed more around each other, Alec's arm around her shoulder as they moved from a table into a quiet corner and him telling her about Broadchurch and what had driven him to solving his old case.

''So, you get to know tomorrow if they're going to wipe the slate clean?''

''Yes, depending on how many of them think I'm worth letting off, there were five of them, an odd number so it will go with the majority but only two seemed to be against me, not by too much though, I think they were coming round to my side. After that, I go find out my options of where I can be sent.''

Rose decided to risk it without giving too much away.  ''Well, I hope there are a few around here for you to choose.  When will you have to decide?''

''I'll have to let them know on Thursday morning, go fill out a few forms I suppose, then I'll be on my way.  You'll be at work.''

''I can take the day off, we can have lunch and I'll show you around.  My stepfather wants to meet you, I think he might want to try to recruit you himself.  Don't think of sneaking off without a goodbye, will you?''

''Seriously?  Why would I want to give up police work to go work for your stepfather?  No, I wouldn't go off without saying goodbye, I didn't mean it like that.'' He knew better than to use the word 'Torchwood' in public.

''It's just another option Alec and don't worry, I couldn't use my influence with that if I tried, you can be certain of that.  He's invited you for dinner on Thursday night regardless so don't make any plans to leave before Friday, it's only a days delay if you're determined not to stay in London.''

''It's not that Rose, I have to accept somewhere for at least six months and for that, it's not worth paying for an expensive place to live in the heart of London, even if it's a cheap hotel, I've seen the prices around here and getting a flat or an apartment for a short term would be just as expensive.''

''I told you, you can stay with me as long as you like, no strings.  When we get back, you can look at the map of the underground to see how you can get to various police stations without making any changes, that's if you want to consider something here.''

''I don't know Rose.  When I set off here, I had no idea I was going to meet someone who was determined to make my mind up and stay here, I reckoned a few days here then move on somewhere, maybe even back to Broadchurch eventually but not now, it's too fresh in people's minds.  It's a lot to think about.  Are you ready to go home?''

They walked back and after Rose went to get changed into her pyjamas, they smooched on the sofa and Rose was determined to get him to make his mind up and stay and if he didn't, it wouldn't be because of anything she had not done, she would make him want to stay not only for a job but with her.  She was in no hurry for Alec Hardy to leave as he unbuttoned her pyjama top and began kissing the exposed skin, all thoughts of him leaving, at least for tonight out of both of their minds.
Chapter 4
After breakfast and a few kisses the next morning, opting to fool around in bed for a while though, Alec walked the short distance to the underground station with Rose, debating if he should get a day ticket and use the bus as Rose said he could get one in the station ticket office but when he saw the queue, he changed his mind.  He'd been told he could claim the taxi fares back anyway since he had informed the personnel department he wouldn't be requiring the hotel and would rather claim the travel expenses back, which was fine with the woman he spoke with.

He waited to be admitted into the meeting room, seeing he had a missed call from Rose wishing him good luck with his meeting and sent her a text to say thanks and that he would get back early and go find the grocery store and make her something nice for dinner, not that he was much of a cook before he'd rented his chalet back in Broadchurch and even then, he'd lived on salad and plain food but he reckoned he could rustle up a fairly simple meal consisting of pasta and some kind of sauce.

Rose got the message as she emerged from the tube station and smiled, sending a reply to say she was looking forward to it but there were plenty of ingredients in her cupboards and the fridge.  So Alec decided he would still go to the store Rose had pointed out the night before and get her something nice for dessert instead and maybe pick up some wine and chocolates for her, not flowers though, he'd learned his lesson after having dinner with the Millers.

He was called inside the meeting room, trying to gauge the looks on the faces of his superior officers, mostly retired chiefs by the looks of them who served on these types of committees.  He was just thankful he wasn't facing internal affairs for interfering with a police investigation he was no longer in charge of but maybe Tess had lent a hand in that, her way of saying sorry for landing him in the mess that nearly killed him and letting a killer walk free but more likely to be for covering up the fact it had been her that had screwed it up in the first place.

''Hardy, take a seat. I'll come straight to the point, we'd just like to go over a few things if we may?''

Alec had been dreading that, he remembered the trial a few weeks back when they had called Ellie Miller back to the stand and look where that had got them.  The only good thing to come out of that was the town had dispensed a better and more fitting punishment than the court could ever have done.  Joe Miller was in fear of his life if he ever dared to set foot in Broadchurch again and so he should be.

He was asked a few more questions, mainly about Sandbrook and why he had enlisted the help of his ex wife and his ex colleague but it soon turned back to Joe Miller walking free and the fact he had worked closely with the suspect's wife to the point the defence had grounds to accuse them of having an affair in the first place.

''Well all I can say is DS Miller and myself know in our own minds no such affair took place so if that's what the media and people want to believe, then more fool them they have nothing else to worry about.  We're both trying to move on now and people in the town who knew us know it wasn't true.  Is this line of questioning relevant?''

''We just wanted to clarify a few points and since you so vehemently deny such an affair, we tend to be on your side and take your word it was a tactic used by the defence to get a guilty man off the hook.  Just out of interest, what happened to him when he was released?''

Alec wasn't going to give the game away.  ''I wouldn't know Sir, I was conducting interviews alongside DS Henchard right after the trial ended, then I left the town the day after, it wasn't my concern.  Guilty suspects get away all the time, that's the legal system for you.  We put in a lot of hard work on that case and then when you see it crumble in front of you, you lose faith in it.''

''Quite.  I think we are all in agreement you did everything you could to get a conviction so therefore, there will be no comeback on you, for either case.  The previous mark on your record for mishandling the Sandbrook case has been rescinded and no charges will be brought against you.  You have a clean slate Hardy, make sure it stays that way.  I suggest you pay a visit to the recruitment department, they're expecting you.  I think you'll find more chiefs will be willing to take you on this time around, once you're cleared by a CMO for duty but you'll get that from the station who takes you.  Until then you'll remain on medical leave.''

''Thank you Sir.  I'll discuss my options with them.''

Now it was time to make his mind up and start afresh, did he want to stay in London, maybe with Rose or not?  Since his meeting was over, he saw no point in delaying the inevitable and find out where he could be sent, just as long as it wasn't where Joe Miller was.  He found his way to recruitment and waited for the officer in charge.  Unknown to Alec though, the chief constable had already spoken and suggested that Alec would be more than suitable for a number of vacant posts in the City of London and that he would be wasted in other parts of the country.

The Commissioner had received a call from the Vitex chairman and Director of Torchwood late the afternoon previously and agreed that they could approach other stations to encourage them to get more involved with the organisation, mainly to prevent other attacks such as with the Cybermen.  He had also listened to Pete's interest in a certain detective inspector who was facing an enquiry into his last two cases and Pete had pointed out the gall of the man to solve a case while he had been seriously ill and also solve a case that had gone cold and didn't he, the commissioner at least owe the man for doing so?

So the commissioner had contacted the senior officer leading the enquiry to tell him that Hardy was cleared of any misgivings and to be offered a reprieve and his record cleared regardless of any other committee members' personal feelings on the matter.  Then the recruitment officer was instructed to push for Hardy to remain in the area and make it sound more attractive and offer a promotion if he stuck it out for six months and to be offered his job in Broadchurch back with a higher ranking if he wanted it.

If Alec had suspected Rose had anything to do with the options being laid out to him, he would have got up and stormed out but when some kept coming up that were in places in the North of England he'd never even heard of and cringed at the name 'Sheffield', the ones closer to London and the surrounding areas sounded like a better choice.

He narrowed them down to just three.  One was down in Brighton but there was the sea again and better Broadchurch than a town with a funfair on the pier and loads of teenage weekenders riding their scooters up and down the seafront, at least Broadchurch was missing that factor.

He had reluctantly looked at the underground map with Rose last night, after she sorted the laundry and even kissed him for doing hers and thankful he hadn't opted to put her silky bras and knickers in the tumble dryer and blown the thing up.  He had studied where the police stations were in regards the various tube lines and two he could get to directly in just a few stops if he wasn't to be offered the use of a car or no-one would collect him.

One was in the south east of London, somewhere Rose suggested was the last resort but Alec claimed he had walked the beat in the toughest parts of the Glasgow estates but Rose seriously doubted he could still handle it and the other in South Kensington and to his surprise, he found himself saying he would consider the Brighton and the South Kensington posts but deselected the other London one in favour of one near a certain famous tennis tournament venue but thought that may be put in reserve as well, since it was a fair distance.

He thought the one in South Kensington had been thrown in for good measure but he had revealed to no-one where he had stayed the last two nights, merely stating he had been forced to find somewhere on his own on Monday night and there was no way he was revealing who he was sharing a bed with, surely Rose wouldn't dare to get her stepfather to intervene?  Still, it was his choice, there were other places, he'd just narrowed it down and would staying with Rose be so bad?

She had offered but he would only accept on his terms, which he would lay out clearly over dinner that he was going to prepare for her before she got back.  Maybe he should swallow his pride and let her in his very private life, he could do a lot worse if he really thought about it, asking Tess if she wanted to make up being amongst his worst ideas he'd had in a long time but maybe the accusation of him and Miller had done some damage on that score but did he really want to make up with his ex?

So after telling the recruitment officer he would come back in the morning and make his choice and asking when he would need to start, the officer saying he would have to report to his chosen station on Monday morning for a medical examination then it was up to the chief there to give him a start date, he took another taxi back to Rose's apartment and wondered if he should get the tube to Canary Wharf and pay her a visit in her office.

He decided against it, he probably wouldn't even get anywhere near her without security stopping him so he let himself into her apartment and put the TV on after checking the ingredients he wanted where in her kitchen.  He decided he'd go down to the store just around half four then walk back to the tube station and wait for her again.  Then he was going to tell her over dinner he would stay at least tomorrow night and have dinner with her mother and stepfather and tell her he had narrowed his choices down.  Then he would sit back and see how far they were both willing to take this.

It was true when he told Rose he wasn't looking to make friends or find a lover/girlfriend, he had resigned himself to being alone, he'd done it for the last few years, never really being tempted apart from Becca Fisher and what a mistake that would have been, what had he been thinking that night?  That if he was going to die he would rather do it in bed but what would his daughter have thought, in bed with a woman who had provided an alibi for Danny Latimer's father, he must have been mad plus he couldn't have followed up, even if he had managed to actually have sex with her, what then?  Would she have bragged about it or been too embarrassed?  He dreaded to think she would have confessed to the vicar.

Well if Rose wanted him to stay beyond tomorrow night, he could do a lot worse than to accept her invitation but he had a reputation of being moody and grumpy to uphold, that was all he'd had over the last few years and he was reluctant to part with it, even for the petite blonde but he was going to lay down a few rules she had to play by and there would be no exceptions under any circumstances, no matter how much she didn't like it and if she thought the last two nights had been tame, she had better watch out because he'd only been letting off some steam since his divorce and now he really could satisfy a woman if he really wanted to but she had to ask him, he was not going to beg her to let him go all the way.

Just before four thirty, he went to the local grocery store or 'Express Store' of a popular supermarket chain where the prices were slightly up on the larger stores but Alec figured that was why they were located on your doorstep, a replacement for all the corner shops that had been on the decline for decades.  He selected a bottle of red wine, a nice box of chocolates and an Italian frozen desert that he would have to leave in the fridge to thaw out before they ate, then at the last moment, he picked up a discreet packet and hoped the assistant wouldn't make a show of deliberately delaying putting it in the carrier bag and display it to the rest of the queue behind him.  He wished the store had a self-checkout.

He also hoped Rose would actually let him make use of the contents of the package, it had been a long time since he'd had to buy anything but even if she did take her own precautions, he could never be too careful, he had learned women could be very sneaky when it came to a certain time of the month for them, hence his daughter making an appearance nine months after he and Tess had got hammered and they had both forgotten or not cared at the time.  He walked steadily back up the road to the tube station and stood by the same board that seemed to somehow have become their meeting place and he grimaced at how he had so easily become a creature of habit over one woman.
Chapter 5
While he was waiting for Rose to emerge from the escalator, he was wondering if she was expecting him to be there even though he had said he was going to the grocery store.  Just before five twenty, he thought he saw the top of her head, well it could have been anyone with blonde hair, how did he know it was actually her?  He was beginning to get familiar with her even though he'd only known her a couple of days, well not even that he supposed. He wondered also what sort of day she'd had, she hadn't told him much about what she did, except deal with the unexplained and unusual and she was second in command after the deputy director, a friend of hers called Jake, whom Alec had made his mind up to find out if he had a rival or not, the way she had spoken about them getting drunk and him staying over.

Rose had spent most of the day drawing up a list of police stations Alec may possibly be interested in after Pete had revealed to her that the commissioner had been swayed to offer jobs locally to Alec without arousing his suspicions and been told nothing that if he stuck it out at a post for six months, he'd get some sort of promotion and even his old job in Broadchurch back.  He was to be told that when he'd accepted a London post, just in case he thought he was being bribed.

She had also been selecting a team to visit the police stations but finally decided it should be her, Mickey and her friend Gwen.  Rose often wondered what had happened to the Torchwood in her old world, if it had survived but she had quickly become friends with Gwen Cooper, having kept her maiden name and how much different she was from her double, Gwyneth, the serving girl who had sacrificed herself to save the world from the Gelth.  She had told Mickey about her but no-one else, especially not Gwen.

She'd been to see Pete again, he was looking forward to meeting this Alec Hardy whom he'd stuck his neck out for with the police commissioner.

''So Rose, have you anything else to report about your new friend?''

''No, not yet, I don't even know if he wants to be more than friends.  He told me last night he'd not come to town to find anyone, he thought he'd have his meetings and get sent off somewhere.  If he stays, we might have something to talk about and if I can get him interested in Torchwood, I won't have to keep any secrets from him, well apart from mine, mum's and Mickey's, I don't ever want to tell him that.''

''Are you ever going to trust anyone though?  Keeping secrets from a boyfriend and I know up to press you've not had anything serious but maybe Alec is just the one you need?''

''Maybe, if he sticks around, he's even making dinner for me tonight, he's really quite sweet though he has a tough exterior, well he likes to think he has but I've got him sussed, he's a pussycat really who thinks he's a lion.''

Pete smiled, pleased Rose was dating again and if it had to be with a newly reprieved police detective, then so be it.  Jackie had been told to expect Rose's friend for dinner on Thursday night and not to ask any awkward questions such as when they were getting married, which Jackie would surely bring up at some point. They were all well rehearsed as to the events leading to him marrying Rose's mother and that was what they had to stick to, unless Rose wanted otherwise. Maybe Alec Hardy really was the one she would finally tell and that was why she wanted him to stay and get interested in Torchwood, to prepare him for more than the tale of the defeat of the Cybermen and for Rose to finally tell someone outside their extended family of where she had come from.

So Rose had finished up and cleared her desk, making sure she had no appointments for the next few days and her secretary under instructions not to disturb her personal time off unless the world was at risk from falling into the void or two universes were about to collide but only one universe was of concern to her but now she had met Alec, did she still want to find a way back?  They had given up on finding a way to cross dimensions when a device had back-fired on them and injured a few people in the process, though not seriously.  Pete had then banned any further attempts and Rose had agreed it wasn't worth getting anyone lost or killed.

She called in to see Jake on her way out, his office was on the ground floor, being head of security and deputy director.

''Watcha Jake, just to let you know I'm taking some time off, I'm gonna show Alec around London tomorrow afternoon, then he's meeting Pete and my mum and if he doesn't run away when he gets the famous Jackie Tyler glare and her 'what are your intentions towards my daughter' speech, I'm gonna ask him if he wants to go off for the weekend.''

''Wow, who are you and what have you done with Rose Tyler?  You look happy for a change, he must be doing you some good then but I hope he doesn't break your heart or I might have to break a few limbs of his.  You go for it Rose, have a good time and I'll try not to call you.''

''Yeah, you'd better not but I want you to meet him, if he's staying and don't you come along pretending to be my boyfriend again like you did the last time, even though I was trying to dump Sam at the time.''

Jake laughed. ''Well he was a jerk, I figured I'd have some fun with him but I've read up on Alec Hardy and he seems a good man. Go on, get out of here.''

So as Rose let herself be carried up the escalator, she was trying to glance ahead to see if Alec was standing by the board that had suddenly become theirs so she was smiling to herself as her eyes were getting level so she could see someone standing there and happy to see it was Alec as she stepped off and walked towards him.  She felt like she was in some sort of old-time movie as she reached him and he held his arms out to greet her and she didn't even care when he reached down to kiss her lightly.

''Hi, have you been waiting long for me?'' she asked as she took his arm to leave.

''Five minutes or so but it was better than standing here on Monday night when I had nowhere to go and you rescued me.  How was your day?''

''Fine but most of it's classified and I can't talk about it, well not in public but tomorrow night, I can get Pete's permission to tell you a few things, if you want?''

''Very much so, I'd be very interested in hearing anything.  I have dinner already prepared and while you get changed, I'll finish getting it ready then we need to talk.''

''Sounds interesting, I take it your meetings went well?''

''You could stay that I suppose.  I got let off without a rap on the knuckles and told I could pick any station I wanted but I narrowed it down to three.''

''That's great Alec, I'm really pleased for you, I'm glad they had some sense.  So are you going to tell me?''

''Over dinner but there's something else first.''

''Now I'm the one who's intrigued.  Does this mean you might consider staying?''

Alec smiled to himself, should he discuss it yet?  ''Let's just say a lot of the offers were in the north but at present, Sheffield was the leader.''

They had reached the apartment block and Rose stopped him.  ''You're not being serious are you?''

Alec had suddenly developed a dry sense of humour, since Miller had repeatedly kept telling him he didn't have one.

''Well it would be one way of making his life even more miserable that he'd crawl under a rock and hide.  I could keep harassing him all the time.''

They had reached Rose's apartment and Alec went to chill the wine in the fridge and defrost the dessert and was trying not to let her see the chocolates or his last minute purchase, quickly hiding it at the back of the bathroom cabinet while Rose, after kissing him for what seemed like ages, had gone off to the bedroom to get changed.  He went back to the kitchen, turned the heat down on the stove and stirred in the pasta sauce, following the directions on the back of the package and wishing now he had selected the jar of ready made instead but this looked slightly better.

Rose was now standing at the kitchen door, watching how domesticated he looked, as compared to a certain Timelord she used to know but the Doctor could make do when he wanted to impress her but she was fairly certain he'd had some help from his ship.

''That smells good Alec, did you get used to cooking when you lived in Broadchurch?''

''Well I never got cookery lessons from my ex wife so yes, I suppose I might have picked up a few things living on my own.''

He had left the chocolates in the living room, on the coffee table and he quickly realised he should have given her them by now.  He carried on and took a seat at the kitchen table and Rose sat opposite him.

''Sorry there are no candles, unless you have some already?''

Rose smiled and went off to the living room and found a candle holder her mother had bought her, never glancing at the coffee table.  She had said nothing about the remark he'd made regarding Sheffield and hoped he was joking, did he really want his revenge on the man who had walked free that badly enough to get sent to the same town?

She lit the candles and went to get the plates as Alec said it was almost ready and he went to get the wine from the fridge.  He could see the look on her face and decided to come clean.

''I was joking Rose, about Sheffield.  As if I'd want to be in the same county as him let alone the same town.  I'm going to make my mind up by morning.''

''Need some help?''

''I need to do this on my own, last time, I had no choice but to go to Broadchurch and I'm not going to be herded into another position, if that's what they are trying to do but I had a lot of choice, most of them in the north but there are a few in London. That's what I want to talk to you about.''

Rose's heart was beating faster than normal, now he was going to tell her he was leaving and thank her for taking him in.  Well if he was, she was going to make it difficult for him.

''Before you say anything, if you've made your mind up, would you like to go off somewhere with me for the weekend?  We could go to Brighton or somewhere, stay a couple of nights then if you're leaving, we'll be able to remember we had a good time before you do.  What do you think?''

''Brighton was one of the places I got offered.''

''Really?  It's only about an hour away, it's nice down there, maybe, you know, we could still see each other, if you decide to live there.''

''I never said I was going to accept it, it's not like Broadchurch and it may be ok for a weekend but I don't think I'd like to live there, too much sea and sand.''

Rose smiled.  ''But would you go back to Broadchurch, given the chance?''

''It was as good a place as anywhere I suppose but like I said, not at present.  Let me get you some dessert and some more wine and I have something else for you.''

They retired back into the living room, Alec never mentioning the other places he'd been offered and he picked up the box of chocolates.

''For you, as a thank you for letting me stay and the reason I was going to turn Brighton down was because I was offered one close by, South Kensington to be precise but as I said prices of accommodation are quite high so if I take it, did you really mean I can stay with you?''

''Yeah, I wouldn't have offered, would I?  You made me think you were leaving.''

''Did I?  I never said I was.''

''You never said you were staying either.''

''If I stay, there are conditions.''

''There would be, I wouldn't expect anything less from you.''

He pushed her back against the cushion and put his hand on her leg, reaching for the zip of the dress she had changed in to.  He pulled the dress off her shoulders, revealing her red silky bra and began kissing above it after he helped her unbutton his shirt, awkwardly unfastening the cuffs as she slid the shirt down his arms.  They kissed again as he reached for her bra fastener and unlike the night before, she allowed him to take it off and he began kissing his way across her.

''Rose, you are just too perfect.  It's been a long time since I went to bed with a young woman, why do you want to be with me?  You could have any man you wanted.''

''I don't want just anyone, I want you, do you need to know why?''

''I have to understand why you helped me the other night.  I need to know why you want me to stay here, in London.''
Chapter 6
Rose was lost for words, how could she even describe her feelings for him?

''Alec, the other night, you looked so lost and tired and I did know who you were, isn't that enough?''

''It doesn't help me understand the reason you invited me to stay with you and you could have fought me off on Monday night you know, if you'd wanted to, thrown me out yesterday morning.  If you don't want to tell me, ok, I won't ask but maybe you'll tell me when you're ready?  If I stay, you'll have to get used to me, I can be grumpy in the mornings.''

''Huh, you've seen nothing until I get grumpy when it's that time of the month, which fortunately for you is almost two weeks away in case you were going to ask and don't think I didn't see what you tried to sneak in earlier Mister, I'm a trained Torchwood agent.''

''I'll remember that then, am I going to get any use out of them?''

''I'm covered on that score at present, maybe a bit nearer the time?  That's if you're staying?  So what else are you laying down the law on?''

''I'm not laying down the law as you put it.  Rose, I've been on my own for two years, I've got set in my ways and I'm not used to having anyone around who I don't fight with.  My ex and I used to constantly fight, my DS in Broadchurch used to fight me, I can't help it, it's my nature.  I also get very moody, so I've been told.''

''Ha, got you there, I'm the queen of moody I am, you'll have to fight for that title. Anything else?''

Alec thought he was already defeated, his grumpy and moody disposition had kept him going all this time and she was taking it away from him, or was she?  Maybe she was just trying to point out he didn't have a monopoly on it.

''Well in that case Miss Tyler, you may just find you have a fight on your hands, are you up to the challenge?''

Rose smiled and pulled him down for another kiss.  ''You can bet on that, DI Hardy. Truce?''

''For now until I think of something else except to say I pay towards the rent for however long I have to stay at that station and I pay towards any bills, right?''

''Gotcha.  How long did they say you had to stay there then?''

''Six months, then I'm eligible for another transfer but I'm tired of that Rose, I need something permanent and I thought I'd got settled in Broadchurch, then I more or less was forced to leave.''

''You could apply to go back in six months, can't you?''

''Maybe and don't you get any ideas you are going to help me or I'm out of here.  I've made it plain Rose, I don't need yours or your stepfather's help, I can find my own way.  So are you going to tell me more about Torchwood?''

''When you've met Pete, I think he wants to talk to you first but we are toying with getting local police forces interested in setting up a liaison with us, your new station would be one of them, would you be interested then?  It would mean I can tell you things and you wouldn't think I was leaving you out when we're together.  All station chiefs will be asked for names to be put forward and one would be chosen from each one, you could put your name down.''

''Would I have an unfair advantage though?''

''Not necessarily, it will be down to Jake to check out each name put forward so if he doesn't think anyone's suitable he'll reject them, he has the final say.  I'd like you to meet him, to prove he's not an old boyfriend.''

''He's not?''

She pulled him close and whispered, ''You're barking up the wrong tree.''

Alec half smiled with relief that he didn't have a rival until she added, ''It's Mickey you have to worry about but we split up a long time ago, we just work together now.  Pete gave him a job when I got adopted, as a favour to me, that's all.  I'm sure you've read my life story about my rise to fame?''

''Yes and I suspect a lot of it was covered up.  It might fool the rest of the population but I'm more inquisitive than most people and I will find out what it is.''

Rose was about to say good luck but thought better if she didn't want to drive him away altogether.  ''Why are you so sure I'm hiding something?  We all have our secrets, I bet you have a few?''

''I did have until the press got hold of them but maybe I still have one left the reporters didn't get their grubby little hands on.  So we're even then unless you want to tell me now?''

Rose smiled and tried to pull the dress back over her.   ''I don't think so, a girl has to have something to fall back on.  If you volunteer to be part of the liaison with Torchwood, I may tell you one day.  Just as consolation, non of my boyfriends have ever even asked, they were too busy trying to make their name as Rose Tyler's current fling.''

''Well I hope I'm not going to be one of them, in a long line of flings?  Given our current situation of you offering to let me move in with you, I take it you've not moved any of them in with you before?''

''No, you're the first and you are not a fling, now that I know you're staying.  I thought maybe you would still leave, especially when you said Sheffield was at the top of your list.''

''Well Miller told me I had no sense of humour, I was just trying to prove her wrong. Do you really think I would go there, or Brighton?''

''Well how about that weekend in Brighton, so you can see what you're missing? While you go sort things out tomorrow, I'll book somewhere, in your name and you can pay.  Then you can't accuse me of hi-jacking the whole thing.''

He got up and pulled Rose off the sofa and zipped up her dress, remembering she was still without her bra.  After putting his arms around her when he had slipped his shirt back on but left it unbuttoned, he kissed her neck.

''Ok then but I'm not changing my mind about it and I know you're used to paying your own way but so am I and I'm not open to arguments about it.  You had best get used to it, if we go out or off for the weekend, I pay.  I may have a while to wait before I can start work anyway, it's up to the CMO, it may be too soon.  You can show me around London.''

''We can do that tomorrow, you have your meeting and I'll come up and we can go into central London, have some lunch and get a tour bus for the afternoon.  Then we come back and get changed then we go for dinner at my mum's.  You are ok with that, meeting my family?''

''I suppose I'll come across them sooner or later.''

''Well, I'll have to explain you, sooner or later.  Who do I introduce you as?  So far I've only told Pete you're a friend and that's what he's told my mother, so do you want to correct me, maybe?''

''So what did you have in mind?'' he asked, as she moved her hands onto his bare chest and ran her fingers right where it made him flinch.

Rose smiled, she had his weak spot.  ''Well I think we're more than just friends, maybe I'll introduce you as my lover or my boyfriend but to save you getting a slap from my mother, I'll stick to boyfriend maybe?''

''I should think so, I've not even met her yet.  Don't get me wrong but don't you think you're introducing me to them at bit early?''

''I can put it off, if you're not yet up to the challenge.''

''Me?  I just put three killers away, well I hope so, I can handle meeting your mother Rose, don't you think?''

''Do you want another drink or maybe we could go out for one?''

''I would rather stay in, why don't you go get changed and we'll get comfortable on the sofa?  I'll clear up while you go to the bedroom, then you can open your chocolates.  Should I buy some for your mother, to take with us tomorrow, or maybe some flowers?''

''Flowers would be nice but just not from the supermarket, we'll find a florist while we're out, maybe we can skip the bus tour and just go around on foot.  I'll make my way up to Victoria shopping mall, you get a taxi up there and meet me in the cafĂ© then you get can some new clothes.''

''What's wrong with the ones I have?''

Rose giggled and put her arms around his neck.  ''All stuffy work shirts and plain t-shirts?  You need to make yourself look younger Alec, if you want to keep up with me?''

Was she joking?  How was he ever going to keep up with her?  Rose went to change into a strappy silk nightdress and robe while Alec cleared the dishes and poured out some more wine.  Then he wondered if she had meant about him using the discreet purchase he had made.  He didn't think she would lie about a thing like that, she had nothing to gain and maybe he would save them for next week, if he was indeed still there but he had to finally take a chance with someone, why not Rose?

Just as long as she got it clear he wasn't going to be living off her name and the first sign of her wanting to take over, he would be gone, he'd had enough of that with Tess.  The first sign she showed of getting him any favours done, that would be it, he'd managed so far, he wasn't going to be dependant on her.

He had to whistle as Rose laid on the sofa waiting for him coming out of the kitchen, her robe unfastened and revealing a pale blue low-cut knee-length nightdress, her legs stretched out, inviting him to lay beside her.  He took off his shirt and Rose moved to the back, turning onto her side, she had put on her favourite perfume as he smelled it when whispering in her ear.

''You look beautiful Rose, you may be right, I might have trouble keeping up with you.  Come here.''

They relaxed on the sofa, kissing, one of Alec's hands on her leg and the other pulling off her robe and sliding down the straps of her nightdress, kissing her neck and shoulders as her perfume got to him.  He never took the nightdress off her, electing to kiss around the covered parts, saving the rest for later.  He knew it had been a long time since a woman wanted him, especially a young blonde woman and he was way past due being with one.  As he leaned over her as she had her arms around his neck, enjoying the feeling of him touching her and kissing lower down from her neck, she ruffled his hair and whispered his name.

''Alec, let's take this to the bedroom, please?  I don't want to fool around tonight, I want you.''

He helped her off the sofa and turned out the lamp, following her into the bedroom.
''I'll just be a moment Rose.''

Rose giggled.  ''I told you, you don't need what you bought earlier, I trust you, you've been ill for two years, who have you been with?''

"You don't need to remind me Rose, are you trying to say something?  I was only thinking of you, you said you'd not had a boyfriend for a while, I thought maybe you didn't take anything, I don't expect a woman to be the one to take precautions.''

''That's very sweet of you Alec, I may not have had a boyfriend but I can't be too careful, being who I am and I wasn't trying to tell you anything, why would I?  You were ill Alec, you don't have anything to prove to me and I know you've been holding back because you just got yourself fixed.  If you want to prove you're well enough again, I'd be more than happy for you to prove it with me.''

''How can I refuse an offer like that?  Just promise you won't be disappointed.''

''I couldn't be disappointed with you Alec, I'm more worried it will be me that disappoints you.  I'll tell you one of my secrets, to keep you interested.  It's been a long time since I was with a real man who I wanted to do more than fool around with, the others, they were just boyfriends but I never let them go too far, you'll be my first.''

''Then I'm honoured and I'll do my best not to disappoint you but maybe we'll save the best for later, I want to take my time with you.''

''Good and I really don't mind if you use what you bought earlier, if you don't trust me.''

''I do trust you Rose, the only thing that bothers me is I'm slightly out of practice.''

''Oh?  Then allow me to refresh your memory or don't bother with them, your choice.''

''I didn't mean with them Rose, why don't we just see what happens?''

''Mmm, fine with me, now stop talking and come here.''

''Are you trying to boss me around?'' he asked as he took his trousers off and put them over the chair.

''Nothing of the sort, I know you don't like being bossed around.''

''Good, you learn fast.  You start bossing me around and I'll go find my own place, maybe even take that job in Sheffield.  I mean it Rose, I'll stay with you only on the condition that you don't interfere with what I do and not try to get me favours such as getting my old job in Broadchurch back, I'll do it on my own in six months, if I still want to go back but I want somewhere to call home and I don't think London is going to be it.''

''You'd rather make Broadchurch your home?  I never said London was my home either, just because I grew up here doesn't mean I'll never leave.  Everyone leaves home in the end.''
Chapter 7
They eventually went to bed, Alec calling Rose's name and making her telling him she wanted him, not bothering with the purchase Alec had slipped in his shopping basket at the last possible moment to save embarrassment but no-one knew him in London, not everyone would have seen him in the papers and on the news, Rose had just got lucky recognising him, he didn't feel like he was famous, well except for the wrong reasons.

They had breakfast the next morning, Rose keeping him in bed longer than he intended since she had apparently booked some time off to spend with him and since she had insisted she booked a weekend away and left him to pay for it, he could live with that, it would give them both a chance to be seen out with each other but he suspected he would be showing her off more than she would be showing him off, it was easy for a young blonde to get an older man interested in her but an older man getting a young blonde?

Just let those miseries in Broadchurch police see him now, especially Miller, maybe they should stray over to the town and accidentally run into his old colleague but that would be too self-indulgent even for him, the time would come he may possibly get offered his old job back and he would be surprised if Rose was still with him in six months time, well a month would be a challenge for her especially if he remained a grump and wouldn't let her do anything.  Yes, he would give her a month and if she still wanted to be his girlfriend after all he threw at her, the other five months would be a breeze.

It remained to be seen if she was actually a worse grump than he was, Tess had been a cow when she had her time of the month, he'd been tempted a few times to just leave her to it and sleep on the sofa since she just turned her back on him and told him to get lost if he even so much as laid a finger on her to even get her to turn around and face him.  He just hoped Rose didn't give him the same treatment or he may leave anyway if he could afford to rent something near his new station, what would be the point in putting up with another moody woman who wouldn't entertain him just because of nature's way for four days or so every month?

He swore Tess had taken longer than that but Rose had said he could use his purchase nearer her time so that was a good sign, wasn't it?  Alec got ready to head off to see if he could take the South Kensington post and what his chances of eventually going back to Broadchurch were and wondering how the seaside town had grown on him after all he had been through there that he actually wanted to go back, it wasn't to see Miller, that was for sure.

As for Rose putting up with him, well if she wanted the job, providing she stuck to her agreement she wouldn't interfere, he could do worse than the Vitex heiress and apparent Torchwood agent and learning about the secret organisation first hand could be interesting to say the least.  Maybe if his new boss wanted volunteers, he could submit his name and see if Rose's friend would pass him and also so if she dared to interfere with the process.

He had to admit to himself he was going a bit far with the whole non-interference agreement but that was how he wanted it, he couldn't change the way he felt about accepting help from any source.  The chief in Broadchurch had felt sorry for him when he'd had nowhere else to go and risked Ellie Miller's wrath by giving him the job meant for her and that was the only and last exception he was going to make after it became impossible to stay where he was and they could only keep him administrative leave for so long.

He took Rose's advice and called a cab to take him back to New Scotland Yard and he said to give him a hour or so and he would join her at the shopping mall and he really hoped someone would pay him back for all the taxi receipts he had in his wallet but he'd have to pay for the one to meet Rose on his own unless he took the bus but Rose had told him he'd have to get a ticket before he boarded the bus or maybe he could just get Rose to meet him outside when he'd finished, she had mentioned she had a car down in the underground garage so why she didn't use it for work was beyond him.  Maybe it was because of crossing a busy bridge she found it easier to use the tube station.

After Alec went to wait for his taxi, Rose got her laptop out and looked up hotels in Brighton and found a reasonably priced one on a discount site for two nights and called them since Alec said he wanted to pay for their weekend away.  She wondered why he was so insistent he got no help in securing a new job or with anything else.  She just hoped he wouldn't find out that she'd asked Pete to put in a good word with the police commissioner or he may leave her.

She had panicked the night before, he had caught her out when he'd asked why she had taken him home when she had found him in the tube station, she couldn't even explain it herself really.  Something had come over her, probably from all that time being with the Doctor and Alec looked so lost and she had known she couldn't have just left him there.  She hadn't expected for him to remain though, even after she'd offered as he seemed very independent.  She thought she'd lost him when he'd mentioned Sheffield though.  Now at least he was staying but only if they survived the weekend and he never found out that jobs in London had been made to sound more attractive than the others.

Maybe though he'd change his mind and go for the Brighton one but could they cope with a distance relationship?  If they didn't get on over the weekend, it wouldn't even matter, he would be gone and that would be it.   She wondered how he had got like that, that he didn't want any help so she had a bit of time and logged into the Torchwood database and looked him up.  She was about to leave, regretting she had said she would meet him at Victoria and thinking there weren't that many shops up there, given the mall was above the railway station, when Alec called.

He'd finished his meeting and was less than pleased to be told that once he'd completed six months somewhere in London, he'd get put in for a promotion but it was added that the offer was to anyone, not just him as more officers were leaving to go out to the suburbs.  When he asked about South Kensington though, the recruitment officer pointed out he would have to get two different tube lines to get to it, something Rose hadn't pointed out at the time when he admitted he was staying in Waterloo.  He was told that there was one station quite close by and a car could be provided without involving him having to take the tube but Rose had warned him about the areas so he said he would manage on the tube and if he got lost, he would call someone and his girlfriend would take him on Monday morning. Well he hoped he could talk her into it if they survived the weekend.

Rose answered the phone.  ''So is everything sorted then?'' she asked as she rode the lift down to the parking garage.

''Yes, everything is fine but I'll need you to take me there on Monday, if you will? Should I stay here and you come and collect me?''

''Yeah and we'll go shopping somewhere else, there's not much at Victoria, we'll head to one a bit further out where there's some parking.  Just wait where I can see you, I won't be long, depends on traffic.''

''Do you know where you're going?''

''Really?  I know how to drive around London Alec, don't worry, I'll try not to get lost.  I drive a blue Nissan, just watch out for me and try not to make it look like I'm picking you up for the wrong reasons, you being outside police headquarters.''

''I'll try my best, just try not to look like you are picking me up for the wrong reasons or I may have to arrest you.''

''Very funny Alec, though if I remain in your custody I don't mind, don't forget your handcuffs.''

She easily spotted Alec when she reached her destination and set the satnav for a nearby shopping mall, parked up and he followed her inside, Rose heading for her favourite coffee shop.  The mall had a cinema and she asked him if there was anything he wanted to go watch, they had the rest of the day but Alec wanted to get what they needed and maybe discuss his possible liaison with Torchwood before they went to her parents house for dinner.

So Rose said she would select some flowers that Alec could present to her mother and buy a boat for Tony's collection he liked to play with in the bath then Rose went off to buy yet another new dress and Alec said he'd give in and buy a couple of non-work shirts and some more t-shirts but only because she'd asked him to.  They agreed to meet up at one, Alec not knowing what he was going to do for almost two hours and said if he got bored he would call and come and find her.

He did, while Rose was in a dress shop trying to decide between two dresses she liked so she told him to go to the dressing room area and she would wait for him.  Alec was soon going to regret sitting outside after she showed him one dress she had tried back on again, a red flowery one that clung in all the right places, well to Alec it did then she came back out in a blue and white patterned one and Alec let out a low whistle.

He was standing in front of her, his purchases on the floor by where he had been sitting.

''That one Rose, it looks good on you and I'm not just saying that because I've been waiting twenty minutes for you, you are more than worth it.  Why not treat yourself and get both?  You can take one with you for our weekend away, to wear on Saturday night and I'll take you somewhere nice."

''Ok, why not?  Aw!  Thanks for waiting for me, I'm more used to my mother being with me, I'm not used to having a man waiting and paying me compliments.  My last boyfriend ran at the words 'Dress Shopping' and would go hide somewhere. Before that, I never had the money to buy dresses unless it was for a wedding or something.  I'll let you in on another secret, I never used to wear dresses or skirts until Pete adopted me, proper tomboy I was, ask my mum tonight.  All I wanted for my twelfth birthday was a red bike despite the fact I lived in a block of flats.''

Alec smiled.  She didn't look like a tomboy in that dress, she looked great.

''I can well believe that Rose but don't you want some shoes to go with that dress? Isn't that what women do when they treat themselves?''

It was Rose's turn to smile.  ''Well if you insist but maybe we should have lunch first or we won't eat when we go out later, will we?''

She paid for both dresses, Alec asking if she wanted to return to the car but she said she would manage and it was too far to go so they ordered lunch and talked while they waited.  Alec couldn't believe how he'd easily got into this with her after less than week, Rose chatting away about everyday things, that she was going to go to the drug-store to get some new perfume and he had to tell her which one he liked as she tried the testers and what colour nail polish she should get, Alec saying he would trust her judgement on that score.

He thought they were just like any other couple out shopping for the day and to all intents and purposes, they were but she was heiress to a fortune and he was a detective fresh out of the operating theatre only a few weeks ago, they were no ordinary couple.  So while Rose was trying on shoes, Alec decided he'd get a pair of black comfortable trainers that looked more like shoes for the weekend away, Rose smiling as he sat trying them on next to her as she stood looking in the floor mirror.

Both finished, they went into a toy store and Rose explained her young stepbrother had an armada of boats he liked to take in the bath with him and for a novelty, she bought him a pirate one that she was certain he didn't have already, well on her last visit then their last call was the florist, Alec hardly believing the flowers there cost three times as much as the supermarket, where not that long ago he had got those for Miller when he'd gone to dinner and now knew why Rose had insisted her mother deplored them from supermarkets, knowing where her and Rose had come from.

Their shopping finished, Alec leaving the decision of the nail polish to his newly acquired girlfriend, Rose drove them back before the afternoon traffic built up and they'd get stuck in it.  When they got back Rose asked how he had really got on about his new job.

''Well I got a shock when I was told if I stuck it out for six months I would get a promotion.  I thought your stepfather had played a part in that until it was said they were offering it at any station I chose if I stayed in London, maybe to everyone.  It's not a promotion as such, just a higher pay grade.''

''Yeah, well if you stick it out and you decide to stay, you could afford a place of your own, if you ever get tired of living here.''

''You sound like you are trying to get rid of me Rose, after all you did to try to persuade me to stay.''

''Well you were the one that kept going on about Sheffield.  Brighton I could cope with, I may have moved down there myself if you'd asked me to.''
Chapter 8
Alec put the new shirts away he'd taken out of the carrier bags and stepped over to her as she about to sit at her dresser to paint her fingernails, putting his arms around her and leaning down to kiss her neck.

''Then why did you not say so Rose?  Brighton would have been better than Sheffield but maybe when I've done six months here I'll consider it, if they fill my old job back in Broadchurch.''

''Aw but you'd be disappointed if they did, admit it.''

''No, I'm not admitting anything and if I find out the offer of a promotion for sticking it out in a London police station is only relevant to me, I will move to Sheffield, got it sweetheart?''

Rose turned to face him slightly and he leaned down to kiss her.  ''Got it, grumpy.''

''Less of the grumpy or I may start calling you moody.''

''Grumpy and moody, we'd make a good team, like hope and glory, shiver and shake.''

''Which one of us is shiver?''

Rose sat still, remembering the last few words her and the Doctor had shared before she was almost sucked into the void.  Alec noticed.

''Rose, what's wrong?''

''Nothing, sorry, I was just being silly.  It reminded me of a friend, that's all.  I lost him when the Cybermen escaped, he was one of those who tried to stop them.''

Alec crouched down in front of her.  ''Then I'm the one who is sorry, for reminding you.  Do you want to talk about it or is it classified?''

''Forget it Alec, I don't want to discuss it now.  Wait until you've met Pete and if he says you can have limited knowledge of Torchwood, then I'll tell you, ok?''

''Right but I want full access, not limited since I'm now your boyfriend.  This friend of yours, were you close, was he a boyfriend?''

''No, we were just close friends but it didn't make it any less painful when I lost him. I hate talking about it that's all.''

''I'll leave it for now Rose but I want all the details.  I know some of what happened when it was thought those silver monsters had got out of the factories because a few idiots thought they had 'rights' but no-one was told where they went to or how many there actually were, did anyone ever count them?''

''Around five million so I was told, I didn't work at Torchwood then, I'd met Pete once and me and my friends helped him stop what was going on.  Then my friends got word the Cybermen were infiltrating the old Torchwood but it was too late, they were making their escape.  If you want to know more, Pete has to clear you, he won't be happy if I tell you everything.''

''Fine, I'll look forward to it then.  You can polish your nails now Rose, I'll get out of your way so you can get ready but I want you to feel comfortable with me, you don't have to hide away but if you're not ready, it's fine.  I'll go make some tea and bring it to you, should I dress formally tonight or wear one of my new shirts?''

Rose smiled, picking up the brush from the bottle of red nail polish since she had chosen to wear the red dress.   ''We don't stand on ceremony Alec, I can assure you of that.  A word of warning though, my younger brother will be around, just give him the boat and he'll be your friend forever.''

After Rose's nail polish had dried, Rose asked him to fasten her dress for her to try to prove to him she didn't want to appear shy as it turned into a snogging session that almost made them late.  Alec had elected to wear one of his new shirts and as Rose was let into the Tyler residence, no longer having a key, they were greeted by Tony, closely followed by Jackie.

''Rose!  Did you bring me a new boat?'' an excited Tony asked, looking at Alec and wondering who he was.

''Alec has one for you, say hello.''

''Hello, I'm Alec nice to meet you Tony.  Rose told me about your boat collection, I hope you haven't got one of these already.''

He held out the toy store carrier bag to the young boy then offered the flowers to Jackie.

''Mrs Tyler, these are for you, Rose said they were your favourite.  I'm Alec Hardy.''

''Blimey Rose, where did you say you met him?  Call me Jackie, welcome.  Pete will be along in a moment, he's on a phone call.  Tony, off for your bath, your nanny is waiting for you, then you can come back down and say goodnight.''

''Rose, will you take me to the boat race?''

''Which one?  Never mind, mum will tell me, when is it?''

''Next month, on a Saturday, you won't be working, will you?  Can Alec come too, will you Alec?''

Alec just looked at Rose, at least one member of her family had already accepted him.

Pete joined them in the dining room, Tony was brought back down to say goodnight, thanking Alec for the pirate ship and said it was the coolest one he had and could he have a police boat the next time?  Alec patted the boy's head and said he would see what he could do.  During dinner, Pete wanted to know all about Alec's recent reprieve of solving two cases so close together and asked what his plans were.

''So Alec, Rose said you're staying with her, did you find a post in London?''

''Yes, South Kensington but it will another six months before I can move again and the prices are quite high to rent something on my own, I was getting used to renting a place down in Broadchurch.  If everything works out, I may see about going back there.  I expect you read about the killer walking out of court?  In case you were wondering, the locals dished out the justice that he deserved and as for the other case, they won't get away so easily.''

''I'm glad to hear that.  So when do you start work?''

''I have to attend a medical exam first but I'm hoping to start fairly soon, I've had enough of being off work and doing things unofficially although I think solving the Sandbrook case that way gave me more satisfaction.''

Rose was sitting next to him and squeezed his hand.  They hadn't talked much about his recent closure of a case that had almost killed him more than once.  After dinner, Rose and Jackie went off to have a chat and Pete remained to talk to Alec, to let him in on some of Torchwood's operating methods, some which Alec wasn't surprised about such as how under certain circumstances, they could just walk in and take over without any questions.

''Rose wanted me to volunteer to liaise between my new station and Torchwood, she said I'd have to be checked out first.''

''It's just a formality but I don't expect you want any favours doing so I can't just let you in, unless you express a definite interest but since the other stations will have to look for volunteers, it would look odd if they weren't asked, you do understand? Rose said you were just a friend, has something changed?''

''On my part, yes, she's something else but like you said, it wouldn't look good if I were to start work and then I was asked to put my name forward, unless you choose me yourself and not ask for volunteers, just pick out likely candidates.''

''I see.  You really want in?''

''Yes, I want to know what happened to Rose, she said she lost someone and she won't tell me.''

''Alec, Rose went through a tough time for a long while, the man she lost was very important to her and she never got over it properly, maybe you can help her?  I'll let her know she can tell you but it's up to her in the end, if she wants to share, I won't stop her.  If you want the liaison job, I'll get Jake to clear you without putting your name forward and I'll get him to let the team know not to look for volunteers, let the chiefs put forward who they think is the best person and Rose can explain to your chief you've already been cleared.''

''Thanks.  I've told Rose I want no favours though, we have an understanding, or at least I hope we do.  I didn't intend staying in London but Rose showed me it wouldn't be so bad, I didn't want to be sent north and I can't go back to my old job, I can't face the town yet, I feel like I let them down.''

''No you didn't Alec, I followed that trial, you were tricked by the defence team.  Did you know the prosecution and the defence once worked together, they're bitter rivals, it just made the defence more determined to win, even if they believed he was actually guilty.  They dug up more dirt than they needed to, including some on you.  Just think yourself lucky they didn't pick up on the fact you were hiding your illness whilst conducting the investigation.''

''I suppose when you put it that way but it doesn't make it any better for the people who were left to pick up the pieces, that was why I left, well that and to visit my daughter and despite her mother admitting the truth, it didn't help but that's teenage girls for you.''

Pete smiled.  ''Well don't ask me, Rose was twenty three when I married her mother so I missed out but she was only twenty the first time I met her and I knew she was someone special.''

Pete hated lying about Rose's age but on her arrival she had to suddenly gain three years, much to her annoyance as it wouldn't all add up to her first visit then disappearing for three years and coming back the same age.

''Then consult her mother, I'm sure she would be happy to fill in all the details,'' Alec smiled.

Pete let out a laugh.  He'd read the detective didn't appear to have a sense of humour.  Rose was getting nervous, wondering how Pete and Alec were getting on. Her mother had already grilled her about Alec, what she knew about him and how serious they were and Rose had to confess she really didn't know.

''That's just it Mum, I'm not sure.  One minute everything's fine and the next, he's still teasing me about going to move to the north.  He's made it very plain if he finds out I'm trying to help him get back to work and staying in London, I know he'll leave.''

''What's he got against getting some help?''

''He wants to make his own way, to prove he can.  His last job was chosen for him when no-one would take him.  Now he's got a choice and he wants no help.  We're going off for the weekend, to Brighton, to see how we get on.  What's up with you anyway Mum?  I expected Alec to get a slap when he mentioned he lived with me.''

''Come on Rose, you've never moved anyone in with you before, I'm just happy you found someone, even though, you know?''

''Yeah, I know but I have to get over that, after dad banned anyone from trying to get those devices working properly when two team members never made it back.  If the Doctor ever gets to this world again, it will only be because something bad really happens and he may have changed by now anyway.  Alec will remind me of him, that's all, I don't think Alec is him.''

''I know you don't but just hope he never finds out, if you're not gonna tell him.''

''I'm not gonna come right out and tell him, am I?  I'll just break it gently to him how much he reminds me of my lost friend then see how he reacts.''

''Well I'm not gonna say anything and neither will Pete.  Do Jake and Mickey know about Alec?''

''Yeah, I warned Jake not to put him off like he did with poor Sam, not that I wasn't looking for an excuse to dump him but Jake was less than subtle about it, Mickey would have done less damage by pretending to be still jealous.''

''So I heard, trust Jake to come up with such an idea, did you ask him?''

''No, I left it to him but he thought it was hilarious to throw a scene at that party. Good thing no reporters were there though, they would have splashed it on the front page as 'Rose's Tyler's ex boyfriend makes fuss at party'.  I have already warned Alec about him and told him there's nothing for him to worry about.  I think I'd better go rescue him, he must be getting the full works but he wants to be told everything and I have no idea how I'm gonna get out of telling him how we got here, I have a feeling he won't settle for the official version, even if he still does leave me, I just wish I knew where I stand with him.''

''Well you'll both work it out, think of it as a challenge and besides, if you tell him and he leaves, Pete will take care Alec doesn't tell anyone else.''

''I know, I want to trust him but I can't work out why he's so against me helping him.  I would have already said something if it hadn't been for that.''

''Well you have to trust someone with your secrets Rose, you're not gonna do any better than a police detective, are you?''

''I don't suppose so, I'll tell him over the weekend, see what happens.  If he gets over the whole 'from another universe' thing, I'll be halfway there.''

''Maybe you should leave out the part about travelling with an alien though,'' Jackie laughed.

''Maybe you're right, for now but he knows he reminds me of someone, I've told him I lost someone, he won't let it rest now.''
Chapter 9
They were both quiet on their way back to Rose's flat, Alec wondering whether to ask Rose if she could now tell him about her past, not the official versions and more importantly, about the man she had lost, since Pete said it was up to her if she told him, Pete had sworn he would never interfere.

Rose was still wondering why Alec could be so gentle and loving in bed but so fierce when it came to insisting he would leave her at the first indication he discovered she had helped him secure a job or made it sound more attractive for him to stay in London.  Just what was it with him?  She dare not come right out and ask him though, for fear he would just pack and leave but she came to the conclusion it was his way of coming out of a long illness and getting divorced from his apparently cheating wife.

Since Rose had booked time off work, neither of them set their alarms for the following morning but Alec woke up early anyway, something he had got used to after waking up from his nightmare he was drowning over and over again, though not so much these days since the killers had been locked up.  He had thought just let some fancy solicitor get them out of it and he now swore if they did, he would forget his pride and ask Pete Tyler to get something done about it but that would mean the convictions were not solid enough and he just knew his unusual methods of discovering the truth were less than conventional and he'd had to hand the whole thing over to Tess.

At least she had agreed to give him some credit for it though, saying if he was asked to say he just consulted on it to save getting him in more trouble than he probably already was but now he'd just been cleared on it so he may get some of the glory after all but it hadn't been about that, it had been about Ashworth being smug and thinking he'd got away with it.

As Alec waited for Rose to wake up, one arm under his head and the other, Rose was sleeping on, he was debating his decision to take it out on her, to drill it in to her he wasn't going to accept her help just because she could help him.  It could have been different if she wasn't famous, any woman could have been the one he'd asked directions that night but it had to be her, out of the millions of people in London, at that exact moment he had turned from looking at that board, it had been Rose Tyler.  Was it his destiny to meet her, his reward for all the crap that had come his way the last few years?  Maybe it was but if he kept on having sex with her one minute and the next he was telling her he would go to work in Sheffield after all?

Why had he become so bitter lately?  He should be happy he'd just solved the case that had got away from him, treated Rose differently, she didn't deserve to have him in her bed then him saying he would leave if he suspected she was helping him.  He made his mind up, he would take her somewhere nice tomorrow night in Brighton and tell her he was sorry, not all women were like his ex, or Claire Ripley. Not all women used men to their own ends or cheated on their husbands, he shouldn't class Rose as one of them who did.

He felt Rose moving on his arm and tried to lean over to kiss her as she moved into his side.  She was a beauty, there was no mistake about that and she could have easily thrown him out on Monday night when he had come on to her and when he had been so insistent on leaving the next morning, something had made her ask him to remain with her and something had made him want to, with certain conditions.  He knew he had to at least lift some of them, if he wanted her to open up to him about her past.

''Hi beautiful, you woken up properly yet?'' he asked, kissing her neck instead so she wouldn't back away from him.

''Hey, yeah, I'm awake, how about a good morning snog?  You were amazing last night Alec, did I tell you?  I'm sorry I've been so shy in that department but last night, I felt differently, now I know I can tell you things but I need something from you first, before I tell you.''

''Such as?  Do you want another demonstration of my capabilities?  If you do, I'm more than happy to do so, you only have to ask.  Speaking of which, about us, having sex, do I need to actually ask you if you want to?''

''No, do I have to ask you?  We can give each other subtle hints or otherwise.  If I don't really feel like it, especially next week when I start to feel a bit off, I'll let you down nicely, I won't kick you out and if you're not in the mood, we'll just do some snogging, let's not make a big deal out of it.  I'm in the mood now, if you are?''

Was she kidding?  Rose continued as Alec pulled down the straps on her vest top, it had already worked its way up, showing her tummy as he pulled back the covers, putting one hand on her bare skin and leaning down to kiss his way across.  Rose ruffled his hair as the other hand was on the waistband of his shorts, Alec's other hand trying to ease down her underwear over one of her hips.  Suddenly she tried to flip him onto his back, pulling her with him, Alec taking advantage and relieving her of the offending piece of underwear but leaving on her vest top, ran his fingers across her tummy.

''I'm sorry Rose, for what I said, for keeping on about leaving to go to Sheffield.  I'll stick the six months out then see what happens, I'll stay here or try for my old job in Broadchurch back but only if you want to come with me, if we're still together.  I've been an ass Rose, I don't deserve you.''

Rose leaned down to kiss him.  ''I know you don't want any help Alec, I'll try my best not to offer any but it's what I do.  That friend I lost, that's what we did, we helped people and a lot of it rubbed off on me and now I'm in a better position to help even more people but I promise not to interfere with your new job.  What has Pete already told you?''

''Later Rose, come here love, I want you.''

As they both forgot about Alec being told exactly what Torchwood were about and Rose telling him about her painful past, Alec was just getting used to all the old feelings he used to have as Rose lay on him after they had both satisfied each other, kissing and hands all over each other.  Neither of them wanted to be the first to stop and Alec knew just a few weeks ago, it would have finished him off for good.  Had he somehow known he was going to meet Rose?

After a late breakfast, they packed what they needed for a weekend away and Alec insisted on doing the driving down to Brighton, finding the hotel and leaving the car there after they informed the reception.  Rose wanted to go for a walk on the pier, the first time they had really been out together during the day apart from the shopping trip and halfway along the pier, they stopped to sit out and have a late lunch.  Rose of course wanted to go into the funfair, Alec was sure she was going to drag him on some of the rides but they just walked around.  She did try to get him to win a cuddly toy on the shooting range but he said he had an unfair advantage, given he'd had firearms training, which made Rose giggle and said she wouldn't tell on him.

So walking back down the pier with a large pink elephant that Rose was going to name grump after him, they went to book into the hotel, getting a funny look from the receptionist whom Alec hoped wouldn't think Rose was anything other than his girlfriend.  He knew he was going to find it difficult to convince people of their exact relationship but now, he didn't really care what people thought, Rose was with him and that was that.  They stayed in the hotel for dinner and a few drinks, Alec saying he would look up places to go the following night where they could have a meal and a drink and he asked her what she wanted to do the following day.

''Maybe we can have a look around the shops and in the afternoon, have a drive somewhere?''

''Fine but I'm doing the driving, I quite like your car, at least it's an automatic, unlike Miller's.  I borrowed it once and I kept crashing the gears, she never forgave me.''

Rose smiled and put her arm in his, leaning on his shoulder.  She had chosen the blue patterned dress and Alec thought it looked better than when she had tried it on in the store.  The rest of the weekend went well, apart from Alec getting dragged around the shopping arcade much to his dismay, waiting for her trying yet another dress on as though she didn't have enough in her wardrobe already but she insisted she wanted to look nice for him tonight since he had already seen her wearing the other one she had brought with her.

During their meal later on, Alec was figuring out how to apologise to her for being a complete ass in the way he had been treating her.

''Will you take me to my new job on Monday morning Rose?'' he asked hopefully as they waited for their dessert.

''Yeah, maybe I should just go on the tube with you, to get your ticket and show you where to change though I think it's only one stop.''

''Well you never told me I would have to change when we looked places up the other night but no matter.  I got offered one nearer but you warned me about them, remember?''

''Yeah, sorry but I'll go with you because it's a fair way to drive in morning traffic. Once I drop you off, I'll wait close by then we can go up into the centre, take that tour bus.''

''If you insist but I may have a while to wait to go back to work, no sense in getting a weekly ticket, I'll just get a day one.  If I have some more time off, I could take you down to Broadchurch for a few days, if you want me to consider going back to work there?''

''I'd like that, yeah but how about we go somewhere for a week or so?  I could book a last minute holiday if you like?''

''What?  Sitting by a pool all day that I can't go in?  Sorry Rose, I still can't face going in water just for the fun of it, it's all still too fresh in my mind, especially after just locking up the killer.''

''Not even to see me in my bikini?  We could rent a villa, have our own pool and well, I wouldn't need to wear one then, would I?''

Alec smiled at the thought, maybe she would make it worth his while to sit with his feet in the pool and what harm would he come to with her there?  She wouldn't let anything happen to him, he would be safe enough with her.

''I'll think about it, let's see what happens on Monday first.  Do you want to go to a bar or something?''

''Mmm, maybe one where we can dance?''

''Really?  You want to go dancing?  I'm not up to that modern stuff that passes for dancing, in case you haven't noticed, I'd stick out from the crowd.''

''Well just look up bars on your phone, maybe a piano bar or somewhere that plays smoochy music, if that's more to your liking?''

They eventually found somewhere a five minute walk from their hotel and went inside, the music indeed being more to Alec's liking as Rose found a table and he went to the bar, Rose asking for a fruit cocktail she had seen on a poster in the doorway.  Alec wondered if she was going to drink it or eat it when he asked for one and was presented with a tall blue glass complete with a straw-type spoon and a paper umbrella.  He took the drinks over and Rose smiled at him, noticing two men on the next table were already eyeing her and daring them to come over.  Rose was aware she was being watched and leaned over to kiss Alec, putting a smile on his face and he then took her hand, pulling her back.  The two men soon turned their attention elsewhere after Rose and Alec kissed again.

Rose had another cocktail, between getting Alec up to dance and holding tightly onto him, both of his arms around her waist, straying to her rear and making her smile.  When they walked back to the hotel, first crossing the road and looking across at the pier all brightly lit up and them kissing briefly, they went back into the hotel arm in arm and up to their room, Alec deciding he was really going to make it up to her and tell her he loved her.  If she felt the same then all the better and if not, he deserved for her to kick him out for the way he had treated her since they met but judging as they stopped to kiss outside their room door, he didn't have to worry on that score.

Neither of them knew it was the calm before the storm.
Chapter 10
They had a passionate night, Alec finally admitting he was falling in love with her, thinking he was safer than just coming out just saying it and waiting for her to tell him to get out, Rose admitted she was falling for him but there were a lot of unresolved problems with their new relationship, Alec's reluctance at accepting help and Rose's past and until they could get over that, they were both hiding the fact they were hopeless about each other.  Alec didn't know if she was ever going to tell him about the man she had lost so he decided he would come out and say what he wanted.

''Rose, you know I'm falling in love with you but I know there's something holding you back from telling me.  You can Rose, you can tell me how you felt about him, I won't judge you but your stepfather said he was never coming back so what's that all about?  How can he be so certain?''

''It's impossible, that's why, what did Pete tell you?''

''That this man, I believe everyone called him The Doctor, he was the one who tried to stop the Cybermen and he got trapped where they went.  Pete said there was no other way of preventing them from coming back so this end had to be sealed off and don't worry, I didn't run at the words 'parallel universe', it's plausible, they had to go somewhere.  Did Pete not tell you I learned that much?''

''No but he had to tell you so much to enable me to tell you the rest.  Yes, I loved the Doctor but we never got the chance to show each other how we felt, the Cybermen broke out of the factories before we both realised we were more than friends and he went off, not knowing it was the last time we were going to see each other.  You want to know why I insisted you stayed with me?  It's because he left me and never came back and after that first night we spent together, you were going to do the same.  Do you know what it's like Alec?  To never tell someone you love them and thinking there will always be another chance to say it and there isn't, it's gone before you know what hit you?''

Alec knew he didn't, how could he have been so stupid to keep repeatedly telling her he'd leave if she tried to help him and she was still here, she was still with him because she couldn't take it again after he had made the advances on her and agreed to stay.  If it had been a one night stand, they would both have known it but they both knew it hadn't been, she could have rejected him and forced him to sleep on the sofa bed but she had let him in with her and responded to his touch and she had given him feelings he thought were long gone.

''I'm sorry Rose, for saying I'd leave if you help me.  I really don't want your help but I won't get so mad if you try to get me in with Torchwood, ok?''

Rose looked up at him and smiled.  He was running his finger across her tummy, still covered with her thin vest top she liked to sleep in, inching his fingers under the material.

''You're young and beautiful Rose, why are you wasting your time with me?''

''You mean you don't know?  You, oh great detective, don't know when a girl fancies you like crazy when you turn around and ask them for directions to a hotel.  You don't need to ask why I stay with you Alec and I'm falling for you too, this weekend has been great so far, no more question, ok?''

''Ok sweetheart, no more questions and no, I don't know what it's like to have someone taken from you without them knowing how you feel about them and I can't possibly know how that makes you feel, not knowing someone loved you back. I was only saying I was falling for you because I didn't want to scare you away but it's too late Rose, I've already fallen in love with you.''

''You have no idea Alec, what it's like to be sealed off in a world you don't belong in and for the first time since I got left here, I feel like I belong, that there was a reason for it.  Did Pete tell you how I got here?''

She wasn't ready to openly admit her mother and her friend were also from out of town, so to speak.

''He told me vaguely, you went to help your friend and almost got trapped there yourself but you mean you come from that parallel universe, don't you?''

''Yeah, do you think I'm crazy?''

''No, I think it's a miracle you survived from what your stepfather told me, you almost got caught between worlds, where would that have left you?  If you knew you might not get back, why did you go?''

''I told you Alec, that was my home, Pete brought my mother here and I was willing to go back and risk losing her to be with the Doctor, to tell him I loved him but the Cybermen and something far worse were too fast and I never got the chance.  He managed to get a message through a tiny gap that was left and I finally told him but the transmission was lost before he could reply.  Do you know how that made me feel?''

''I'm sorry Rose and no, I can't imagine how you felt, not knowing.  I've been a complete ass Rose, telling you I'd leave you but I had no idea that happened to you when you were still upset.  I'll make it up to you, I promise.  Just say you love me.''

''I do love you Alec but how was I supposed to feel when you kept saying you'd move out if I tried to help you?''

Alec smiled at her.  ''Well it depends what you try to help me with, I had more than enough help with the chief in Broadchurch who took me on, I hope my new post, I've done it on my own merits.  When we go back tomorrow, why don't we call and see your family and your stepfather can tell me if I've been cleared for Torchwood?''

''Ok, I'll call my mum before we leave, we can have Sunday lunch with them.''

''So it's all settled then?  I won't mention leaving again, unless you want to throw me out for being a complete ass?''

''You can make it up to me, don't worry, I'll make sure you do.  Just why were you stubborn?''

''Like I said Rose, a bitter divorce and a failed case can do that to a person.  You'll need to soften me up a bit.''

The next morning, they packed after breakfast and decided to take a detour along the coast and arrived at the Tyler mansion just before two, just in time for lunch. Tony wanted Alec to play with his police cars with him, Rose watching how good he was with her young stepbrother and all was well until Mickey decided to join them as they were all sitting around the dinner table.

Alec stood up as Mickey came in, sitting himself down opposite Rose and at the other side of Tony.

''Uncle Mickey, say hello to Alec, he's Rose's new boyfriend, he's a Policeman.''

''Yeah Tony, I already know, about him being a Policeman.  I thought you two were just friends Rose?''

Alec decided he could speak for himself.  ''Well Rose and I have just come back from a long weekend, we're not just friends.  She told me all about you, in case you were wondering.  Mr Tyler, have I been cleared yet over Torchwood?''

Pete looked up.  ''Yes, I was going to call you tomorrow.  If you're not taking up your new post yet, ask Rose to bring you to meet Jake, he'll need to speak with you first, to give you some idea of the information you can receive and what he says goes, even Rose can't get you any higher clearance so don't ask her.''

''I won't, whatever I'm allowed but I will ask this Jake if at some stage I can get a higher clearance, once I have proved myself.''

''That's up to him but he may ask Rose at some point if she trusts you enough and if she does, I'm sure he'll consider it.  Being Rose's boyfriend doesn't give you privileges within Torchwood.''

Alec smiled at Rose and took her hand.  ''I should hope not.''

Mickey knew any hopes of getting her to go out with him were well and truly blown, the way she looked at Alec Hardy, he could see the way she used to look at the Doctor like that and wondered if the man had any idea he was her old boyfriend's double but he wasn't going to disturb the hornet's nest on that count or Rose would never forgive him.

They left just after six, Rose calling at the store to get a few things since they had been away and settled down to watch something on TV Rose liked but just before nine, Alec decided he had something to ask her.

''I know we agreed no more talk about you helping me but one thing still bothers me.''

Rose snuggled up closer to him, her legs curled under her and his arm around her back, under her t-shirt, debating if it was worth his while to unfasten her bra strap or if she really wanted to watch the next programme she had just changed the channel for.

''Mmm, what's that then?  I said I wouldn't interfere with your new job Alec and I won't, it's all down to you.''

''I hope that does not mean you had anything to do with the selection process, does it?''

''How do you mean Alec?''

He moved his arm from under her t-shirt and sat up.  ''The question is, why were so many of the vacant posts in the north, mostly around Sheffield?  Then the ones around London, most of them outside the city and not viable to travel to every day, like the one in Brighton.''

''You could have travelled to Brighton, we could have still seen each other.''

''Yes but I didn't know that, at the time, that you'd be maybe willing to move there with me and come to think about it, the posts were meant to attract me back towards London by them saying I'd get a promotion at the end of it.  What did you do Rose?  Did you get your stepfather to talk to the commissioner?  Is that why you asked if he would be there, at the committee hearing?  Well is it?''

He got up and looked at her, taking the TV remote and turning it off.  Rose would normally be annoyed that her favourite show from the U.S had been interrupted but she just looked at him.

''What are you implying Alec?  That I was trying to keep you here?''

''Well were you?  You made it plain enough you wanted me to stick around, did you go behind my back and get them to make the offers around London more viable by having the rest in a place I distinctly said I never wanted to go near?  Well did you?''

Rose didn't know what to say.

''You did, you made sure I stayed in London, getting offered a promotion though they were clever enough not to tell me until I accepted I suppose but all the same, how many was I not offered Rose?  How many in Scotland for starters or other counties?  I can't believe you Rose, after what I said, right from the beginning, you went to Pete and got him to steer my selections to London.  How could you?''

He walked to the hall stand and picked up his jacket.  ''How can I trust you Rose?  I'll pick my things up tomorrow and leave the key downstairs, this is too much, you took the one thing I had left, my independence of having a choice after I was forced to leave Sandbrook and then Broadchurch, to choose where I wanted to make a life, maybe even with you.''

With that he opened the door before Rose could get off the sofa.  She picked up her phone and tried calling him but got his answerphone.  She grabbed her jacket from next to where Alec's had been and the key from the hook and without switching off the lights, let the door lock behind her but there was no sign of him and the lift was on the ground floor so she headed for the stairs, wondering if he would head back to the tube station, it seemed the most likeliest of places he would go since there wasn't much around and he had no idea where any hotels were.

She knew the nearest entrance closed early on Sundays but Alec wouldn't know that, would she even get in that way?  She hurried out of the building, still no sign of Alec but he'd had a good few minutes on her.  It was raining again, which was just about right she thought, they'd had nice weather in Brighton over the weekend but as she turned the corner and headed for the tube station entrance she just prayed he was looking at the board again.  She turned the corner, thankful the shutter was still open and looked to her right and there stood Alec, his hair all wet and plastered back and his thin jacket wet, he'd not even grabbed his overcoat in his haste to leave.

She walked calmly up to him.  ''Alec, where are you going at this time of night?''

He turned around at the sound of her voice.  ''I have no idea, why would you care?''

''I do care Alec.  Come back, even if it's just for tonight, you can't stay here, this entrance will be closing soon.''

''So, it doesn't matter if I go catch a train, does it?  Go home Rose, forget about me.''

''I can't and you are so stubborn, Alec Hardy, what is it with you?''
Chapter 11
Alec stood there and stared at her, then down at the wet floor where he had been standing for a few moments studying the board with the names of hotels all around the edges scattered in with car repairers and dress shops.

''Why are you still here Rose?  Just go.''

''I told you Alec, just come back tonight, we don't even have to talk if you don't want to, you're soaking wet and you'll catch a chill so soon after having your operation.''

''It doesn't matter, it's all over for me now, I can't accept that post in South Kensington now, I didn't even get it on my own.''

''Yes you did, don't you see Alec?  You chose the place and I admit, I tried to get them to steer you towards taking a post nearby.  Maybe I was being selfish because I didn't want you to leave but that's not why I fell in love with you.''

''I know why you fell for me Rose, I don't need to be a bloody detective to work that out and your friend Mickey didn't have to say anything, it was the way he looked at me throughout lunch, it was written all over his face.  I'm this Doctor's double, aren't I?  Don't deny it Rose, there's no point.''

''I would have told you, eventually but I don't care about that, it's you I love Alec.''

''How can I ever believe you Rose?''

They were interrupted by a voice behind them.

''Is everything alright Miss?  Is this man bothering you?'' a uniformed man enquired.

Alec went in his inside jacket pocket and pulled out his old Wessex Police ID card.  ''DI Alec Hardy, Wessex Police.  It's fine, you can go.''

''Sorry Sir, we get quite a few incidents and my bosses would finish me if the young lady had come to any harm whilst I'm on duty.  The exit will be closing in ten minutes, after that you'll have to walk around the other side.''

''Fine, I'll take note of that.''

The man walked back towards the ticket office that had the window blind halfway closed.

''Go on Rose, go home, I'll find somewhere, don't worry about me.  I've been an idiot to think you wanted a newly reprieved detective who can't even get a job on his own.''

''You just don't get it Alec, that's exactly what I want.  So what, you bear a resemblance to the friend I lost, the friend who I never knew if he'd said he loved me back on that awful day but you, you told me you love me and that's exactly what I needed to hear.  Please come home Alec.''

''That's just it Rose, it's your home, not mine and I can't afford to live in London, not on my salary.  No Rose, it's best you go.''

''Well I'm not budging until you do so tough and yeah, so it's my apartment, what about it?  We can look for somewhere together, nearer your new station but you chose that station Alec, not me.  You could have gone anywhere you wanted, even to Brighton or Sheffield but no, you chose the one nearest to me so you must have wanted to stay.  You did.  Didn't you?  You wanted to stay with me but you're so pig-headed that you don't want to admit it.''

''Maybe I am Rose, so why stay with me?''

''Because I love you, Alec Hardy now let's get out of here before we get even wetter having to walk all the way round.  I'll go to the rental agency in the morning and we'll look for something together, you can pay half.''

''What can I say to get rid of you?''

''Nothing so tough, now let's go home and get you dried, you look like a drowned rat.''

''Geez Rose, thanks for that, that's a great way of getting me to stay with you.''

Rose smiled.  She saw the man approaching them as Alec stepped nearer to her.

''Are you two leaving or catching the tube?'' he asked wearily, probably waiting for the two lovers to finish having their tiff, like he didn't see enough of them and the man looked old enough to know better.

Rose held out her hand and Alec took it.  ''Yeah, we're going, thanks. Goodnight.''

''Goodnight Miss, hope you two have worked things out?''

''We're good, aren't we grumpy?'' Rose replied, trying to sound optimistic.

Alec shook his head as if to say 'Women' and looped his arm in hers as they went outside into the damp London night, hearing the shutter closing behind them.

''Well since I don't know where the other entrance is and I've got nowhere else to go, I guess I can go back with you and less of the grumpy, I thought you'd called your pink elephant that?''

''You're still the original and best but like I said, you've got nothing on me when it's my monthly.''

''Who says I'll still be around when it's your monthly, I may find somewhere else to go.''

''Who are you kidding Alec Hardy?  You would have stood staring at the board all night if I'd not gone after you, it's 'our' board, our meeting place.''

''Maybe, I suppose we've met there a few times.  It's stopped raining, things are looking up.  Ok, I'll stay tonight, on the sofa bed, no enticing me into yours.''

''Excuse me, I did not entice you into my bed, I merely suggested you weren't comfortable on that sofa and you just happened to agree me with, moody shorts.''

''Oh I did, did I Miss filthy rich?  Well you are not going to win tonight.''

''We'll see but you need to get dried first, you should have a hot shower or you'll catch a chill, didn't you get any advice after your surgery?''

They had almost reached the apartment building.

''Yes, I seem to remember staying away from young blondes being at the top of the 'avoid' list.''

''Huh, well you didn't take much notice of that then, did you?  Do you ever take advice?''

''In a word, no.''

Rose smiled as she opened the door.  ''Didn't think so, tough guy.  Admit it Alec, you would have stayed there all night.''

''No I wouldn't, I would have come back when I'd run out of steam, when I'd blown off some of the annoyance I had but you still interfered Rose, won't you ever stop?''

They got into the lift, thankfully it was still on the ground floor.  ''I'll try, no promises and as for you looking like him, I don't see him in you, I gave up seeing him in every man I met years ago.  If he came back, he wouldn't hide from me, we were good friends, he wouldn't go around pretending to be someone else.  Can't you understand that Alec?''

''I'm trying to.  Just give me until morning to work things out, then see what happens.  I may take your advice and get that shower before I catch a cold, I don't want to go back to the hospital.''

''Good, you're seeing some sense.  I'll make the sofa bed up for you then?''

''Well if you promise to behave, I may forgo the sofa.  As for us sharing an apartment, I'll have to think about it but if it has two bedrooms, I suppose there's no harm in sharing costs, if you want to move.  Won't you have further to travel?''

''Not much and you could meet me every night when you finish work.''

''I could but we'll have to find another meeting place.  Look Rose, I was mad with you but you went against my wishes.''

''I know, I'm sorry but I did it before you said you would stay, I just didn't want you to leave, I've had enough of men leaving me.''

''I know too and I'm sorry about that.  I'd best go take that shower then?''

He kissed her forehead and Rose knew they were going to be ok.  She went to get him some clean towels as he took off his wet clothes, throwing them in the laundry hamper and putting his trousers on the radiator rail. While he was in the bathroom, Rose got into her nightdress and put her dressing gown on then went into the living room and put some music on and poured two half glasses of red wine. She curled up on the sofa again and waited for him.  He came back out in his sleep shorts and white t-shirt and sat beside her, moving her legs and taking the other glass.

''Ok, tell me about him, how much alike are we?''

''Really Alec?  Ok, not much.  He isn't Scottish though he could put on a good accent if he needed to and he never had a beard and he was totally mad.''

''Well there we are then, I'm not mad, at least I don't think so except to let myself get picked up by a blonde in a tube station.''

Rose let him take her glass and she moved over to him.  ''Yeah, you seem to be making a habit of it.  You didn't have to choose to work here Alec, you could have turned them all down and they would have told you there were more vacant posts, they seem to be keen on filling the London posts and I swear Alec, I never meant to interfere directly, Pete must have said something to the commissioner, I knew nothing about it.''

''I suppose I have to believe you then.  Just promise no more Rose, ok?''

''Yeah grumpy, ok.  Come and dance with me?''

''In my shorts and t-shirt?''

''Yeah, why not.''

He helped her up and held her close, just as Rose's favourite song began.

You wander around on your own little cloud
When you don't see the why or the wherefore
You walk out on me when we both disagree
'Cause to reason is not what you care for
I've heard it all a million times before
Take off your coat, my love and close the door
Don't sleep in the subway, darlin'
Don't stand in the pouring rain
Don't sleep in the subway, darlin'
The night is long
Forget your foolish pride
Nothing's wrong
Now you're beside me again
Alec held away for a few seconds and shook his head.  Why had he been so annoyed with her?  It wasn't like he'd had a destination in mind when he had arrived in London for his fate to be decided.  Rose may have had good intentions, helping him decide and he really didn't want to get sent to Sheffield.  Maybe he could forgive her just this once.  He leaned down to kiss her cheek.

Then he whispered, ''Did you choose this on purpose?''

Rose smiled as the song continued.

You try to be smart, then you take it to heart
'Cause it hurts when your ego's deflated
You don't realize that it's all compromise
And the problems are so overrated
Goodbye means nothing when it's all for show
So why pretend you've somewhere else to go
Don't sleep in the subway, darlin'
Don't stand in the pouring rain
Don't sleep in the subway, darlin'
The night is long
Forget your foolish pride
Nothing's wrong
Now you're beside me again
The song came to an end and Rose reached up to pull on his neck and they kissed, making Rose tingle all over.  Alec whispered again.

''I'm sorry Rose, will you forgive me?''

''Nothing to forgive, from now on, you're on your own, grumpy.''

''Then we'll see who's grumpy next week then, won't we?''

''Oh so you'll still be here then?''

''Maybe we'll find another place by then, somewhere we can move straight in to. You can give notice on this place, it doesn't mean you have to stay here.''

''So you're gonna take advantage of my status then?''

He steered her back to the sofa and laid her down. ''I still love you Rose but you have to let me make the decisions, ok?''

''Ok, you're the boss.''

''Just you remember that.''


So Alec took up his new post two weeks later after the CMO recommended a two week delay in his start date and Rose booked them a week in a Spanish resort and Alec actually ventured into the pool on the second day.  The first week they had gone on various days out, including an overnight stay in Broadchurch because Rose wanted to see it for herself and fell in love with the place.  Alec knew they were going to go back once his six months in London were up.

They had found a two bedroom apartment on a short term lease, not far from the police station though the second bedroom was hardly used unless Jake stayed over, having 'escorted' Rose home late at night when meetings had run late and Tony had the odd Saturday night stopover.  It was the second week in September, six months after they had met, Alec was a bit moody because it had been a year since he caught Danny Latimer's killer and they had gone out for the evening.

''Are you ok Alec?  It's a year, isn't it?  Since you caught Danny's killer?''

''Sorry darlin' it's just a lot has happened since then but you were the best thing out of all of it Rose, you know that.  Just another week and I can put in for another transfer, are you leaving it up to me where we go or if we stay?''

''I like it here even though it's a longer ride on the underground but it's worth it but we could choose together, like we did this place?  Do you want to go back to Broadchurch?''

''I can't go back to work there Rose, it's not right.  Miller got her old job back but she won't get a promotion, not after what happened.  You could fix that, if you wanted to.''

''You taught me not to make decisions for people Alec, that's double standards, I'm surprised you suggested it.''

''She's more deserving than I was Rose.  Besides, I've got some leave to come then it will be back to Exeter for the Sandbrook trial, once we get a date for it, you are going with me?''

''Yeah, why wouldn't I?  Anyway, why did you bring us out tonight, any reason?''

''I don't know Rose, is there?  Do you have something to tell me by any chance?''

Rose almost blushed the colour of her name, if he could have seen her in the dim light of the candles, the place was very romantic and he'd figured she may have something to tell him, she had been moping around the last few days and he could tell she was late.

''Well maybe but I'm not sure yet, I'll tell you when I've got something to actually tell you.''

''Oh no you don't Rose, I'm a detective, I know when people are trying to hide something.  You're late, aren't you?  I know you've been prepared the last few nights so don't pretend like it happened, I know you Rose.''

''Can't keep anything from you, can I?  Ok, I may be late, if you put it that way.  I'll go find out tomorrow, come with me?  I'll take the day off and we'll drive out to that shopping mall and go to the pharmacy, can you get time off?''

''Sure I can, the chief there is big on family.''

Six weeks later
''Rose, come on, have you got everything?''

''Yeah, just checking, don't want you leaving a packet of anything in the bathroom cabinet, not that they did any good last time, they only work if you wear them grumpy.''

Alec came up behind her and glanced at her reflection in the cabinet mirror, feeling around her waist.

''Yes and I would have if you had not been so impatient when we got home that night either, geez Rose, talk about me keeping it in my shorts, you can't keep your hands out of them.''

Rose giggled and turned around, putting her arms around his neck.  ''Well you were partly to blame, wearing those tight ones I like to see you in so much, still, it takes two.''

''Yes is does so let's get going, we have a long drive ahead and I'm going to have it all to do, I don't want you driving on the motorway in your current condition.  We'll make a couple of stops on the way, now come on, we have to go.  We'll come back up to spend Christmas with your family, we already agreed on that but there is one thing Rose, I promise not to get mad but did your stepfather have anything to do with me getting that job?''

''Not again Alec?  No, you already asked me, you wanted to go back there and besides, the trial starts before you take up your new job, we'll barely have time to settle.  I'm nervous about meeting your ex though, do you think Daisy told her much about me?''

''Only how much she likes you, which may not exactly help your case in Tess's eyes but she'll be civil to you, even if it's only for Daisy's sake.  We'll go and see her on Saturday, then the trial starts on Monday and don't let it get to you, those three are going nowhere but back behind bars and don't listen to anything Claire Ripley may say, she's a nasty piece of work and she may imply a few things.  I told you what the defence did in Joe Miller's trial, well that's nothing to what she may come out with about me but if we stick together, with you at my side, she'll be laughed at.''

''Well you know I can get Pete to put a reporting blackout on it if we need to so you have to let him do it if it gets too bad, agreed?''

''Just this once.  Now come on or you'll be having this baby here.  I love you Rose.''

She reached up and they kissed, Alec running his hand over her tummy, then he leaned down and kissed it.  ''You too little one.''

They went down in the lift for the last time, Alec already having stowed the rest of their things in the back of what was now his car since he had banned Rose from driving unless he or Jake were with her and Jake hated Rose driving him around so she didn't get much of a chance.  As they left London behind and headed for the south west coast, Alec hoping there were no traffic jams because Rose was not in the habit of being able to wait if she needed the bathroom, the motorway was clear, which was why he had chosen to wait until mid-morning.  Rose glanced over at her partner and lover, the father of the baby she was carrying and smiled at him, putting her hand gently on his leg and getting a smile back.

They were listening to Rose's favourite radio station that played the oldies when she let out a little squeal as their song began to play, both of them singing along to the chorus.

Don't sleep in the subway, darlin'
Don't stand in the pouring rain
Don't sleep in the subway, darlin'
The night is long
Forget your foolish pride
Nothing's wrong
Now you're beside me again
The End!

Acknowledgement: Lyrics to 'Don't sleep in the subway' were written by Tony Hatch and no copyright infringement is intended, the lyrics inspired this story and fitted so well with it, it was just too irresistible!