A love goes away

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Prequel to 'A lost love returns' this gives the back story to Rose's decision to return to Alec Hardy when she leaves him because he won't get himself fixed. It follows how Rose Tyler and Alec fell in love when he almost knocks her brother over and the events leading up to her moving in with him to the riverside chalet in Broadchurch. Does not go into the murder investigation.

Prequel to 'A lost love returns', this story gives the back story to Rose's decision to return to Alec Hardy when she leaves him because he won't get himself fixed.  It follows how Rose and Alec fell in love when he almost knocks her brother over and the events leading up to her moving in with him to their riverside chalet in Broadchurch.

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Chapter 1
A/N: Background story to 'A lost love returns' which needs to be read after this to make any sense.  I wanted to go into more details as to Rose and Alec's meeting and what led her to leave him behind.

Rose and her family had been in Broadchurch two days, staying at the harbour caravan park and never realising they had walked into a murder town.  They had been too busy packing for their trip and stopping Tony going around the house like he was on fire, jumping up and down at the thought of dragging his big sister on the beach and getting his trainers wet, which he knew his mother would be mad about but he'd do it non the less.

So they had set off early on the Saturday morning, not bothering to listen to the news, Pete had checked the weather forecast for Dorset, it was nice and sunny.  Rose had been deciding what to take with her, having looked up the town of Broadchurch, not that it looked very lively when she had checked the two webcams on Thursday night when she'd got home from Torchwood.  There were only a few pubs on the harbour's edge and the caravan park's bar and entertainment complex, which meant she'd have to play bingo with her mother as Tony would want to join in the kids activities every night.

Still, it was a much needed break, going on holiday on her own wasn't much fun and there was no way she was ever going with Mickey again after a week in Spain last year, he'd shown her up by the pool and the local disco once too often.  They'd shared a two bedroom apartment for a week and that had been more then enough and as if anything could have made it worse, he'd snored all the way back on the flight home.  She'd needed a holiday just to recover from it!

So after checking in that Saturday afternoon, Pete wondering why there were police cars darting everywhere and hoping it was nothing, Rose had taken Tony across the road to the catering stalls opposite to get him an icecream on the Sunday afternoon after Jackie had made lunch in their wide-berth caravan then Pete and Jackie had gone up to the supermarket to get the rest of the groceries for their weeks stay.

Alec Hardy was far from pleased that he'd been in the town less than a week when he'd been summoned to a farm break-in then driven down to the beach to take over the scene of a young boy's murder, that was all he'd needed.  To make things worse, it was now Sunday afternoon, he should be taking things easy but he had a mountain of files on his desk and Miller seemed intent on at least spending Sunday afternoon with her family.

It had been bad enough for him that the psychic telephone engineer had uttered a load of nonsense about the dead boy being put in a boat but to have him come out about the pendant, it had almost caused another heart attack and he wasn't sure he could survive another one if it actually happened.  Keep quiet, he'd been warned, the paperwork will get filled in, take it easy.  Yeah, Alec Hardy taking it easy, that was a good one.

So looking out of the second floor balcony having gone to the upstairs canteen to find nothing he wanted to eat on the menu, he spied the catering stalls opposite, strode back to the lift and went outside, just as Rose was coming away from the icecream stall with Tony.  As Alec came down the steps, he saw her turn around, attending to her brother, or who Alec thought could be her son he supposed.  He thought she was the most beautiful woman he'd seen since he got to that miserable place with the water, the sun and the never-ending sky.

He checked the road one way but failed to notice a car as it pulled away from the lay-by opposite and got the sound of the horn plus a load on incoherent abuse from the driver, which caused Alec to say something back and shake his fist at the driver, saying he should be arrested for setting off and not paying attention and failing to indicate.  Not that the driver was the only one to fail to notice anyone as Alec landed firmly on the pavement, which led down a slope to the catering area.  Tony had got away from Rose, turned around to see if she was following and almost collided with Alec, narrowly avoiding getting the icecream all over Alec's coat.

"Sorry Mister," Tony managed to say before taking a lick of the cone, never bothering to see if any had got on the man's coat.

Tony turned back around to see Rose behind him, who had seen what had happened and was intent on blaming the man who'd almost got knocked over by a car and then himself almost knocked her brother over, despite Tony's back being to him at the time.  After all, the man had twice not been looking where he was going, he was an accident just waiting to happen in her opinion.

"What the hell are you doing?  Why don't you look where you're going?"

Alec wondered if she was talking to him, the boy or someone who'd appeared behind him, probably Miller come to spy on him.

"Excuse me, are you talking to me?"

"Well who do you think I'm talking to?  The invisible man?"

Alec was offended, who did she think she was?

"Well I hope you were not talking to me, Miss?  Or is that Mrs?  Perhaps you had better teach the boy to look where he's going?  He could have got that cone all down my coat.''

"What?  It was you who came dashing across that road, not looking to see if any cars were coming and almost getting knocked over, then you're clumsy and nearly knocked my brother over."

Well at least he had learned something he supposed but now she was in full session.  All he could do was stand and stare at her and wait until she had finished, then he was going to ask her out for a drink or two.

Rose was furious, who did he think he was?

"You're the one to blame, coming over the road like that, didn't you see my brother standing there?  If you'd been looking instead of being in such a hurry to get across the road, what was your rush anyway?  Not only could you have got that icecream all over your coat and knocked it out of his hand, you could have knocked him over and hurt him.  Well?  Aren't you going to at least say sorry to him?"

Alec was still waiting for the chance to get a word in, not that he was minding but she seemed to be loosing steam now, she had folded her arms and looked like she was demanding an apology from him.  Alec Hardy hardly ever apologised, well not in a long time, especially to his newly acquired DS, who had been a thorn in his side since they met on the beach on Friday morning and two days later this was the first chance he'd had to breathe.

"Have you quite finished?" he enquired, eyeing the boy who had gone to sit at a bench at the side of them.

Tony was swinging his legs and eating his cone, completely unaware his sister was now eyeing the man who had knocked him over and thought it was funny the way she had been telling him off.  It was like watching his mother chastise him for playing at being a police car when uncle Mickey would pretend he was a villain and let him chase him.

Rose had to admit she'd run out of complaints against the stranger.  She uncrossed her arms and put her hands on her hips, that Alec noticed were clad in tight blue jeans, covered by a blue floral top that had the top two buttons unfastened.  He prided himself on his powers of observation, especially when it came to young blondes, if they weren't called Becca Fisher that was.

Becca had already tried to lay the charm on him but he wasn't in the market to be chatted up by an Australian hotel owner who was obviously looking for a boyfriend.

"For now.  Well, say sorry to him then."

Alec turned to the boy who now had icecream over his face.  Rose got a tissue out of her pocket and proceeded to wipe it off, making Tony squirm and pull faces at her.

Alec decided to swallow his pride and bend his 'no apology' rule, since it had been partly his fault because he had been too busy staring at the boy's big sister before she'd had the chance to walk away.

"Okay young man, I'm sorry for almost knocking you over, it was entirely my fault but a word of advice."

He stopped as Rose was glaring at him again.  Alec wasn't going to win this one, he could tell so he changed his mind about giving the boy a lecture of looking where he was going and not where he'd been or turn to talk to someone.

"Right, we'll say no more then, since you were busy looking for your sister."

"That's okay Mister, did I get any of my icecream on your coat then?" Tony grinned.

"No, luckily.  What's your name young man?"

Tony looked at Rose, knowing his dad had constantly grilled it into him never to give his name to strangers without whoever was out with him's say-so.

"It's okay, you can tell him," Rose assured him as Alec went into his pocket to bring out his ID card.

"Tony Tyler, that's my big sister, Rose.  Rose, can we go to the beach now, you promised."

Alec looked over to her, had she accepted his apology?

"In a minute Tony, when I've finished talking.  So do you make a habit of dashing across the road to knock down small boys, or was this a first for you, Detective Inspector Hardy?" she asked as she read from the card.

She noticed in the photo he had looked less tired than the man now putting the ID back in his pocket.

"No, that was a first and I was distracted anyway."

"You were so distracted you almost got run over by that car?  What caused that then?  Did you want something to eat or drink so badly to almost get yourself killed or injured?"

Alec considered her words.  If he'd got himself knocked over, he'd be taken to hospital and his new chief would discover his secret he'd managed so far to keep quiet about but if he was unlucky, it would all be over for him.  It would anyway if he didn't get himself sorted and he would have to check how many pills he had left as in his haste to leave Sandbrook, he'd neglected to stock up on them.

"No, actually, I was in a hurry to talk to you, before you walked off."  There, he'd admitted it and now she would either laugh at him, slap his face and then tell him to get lost or accept his offer.  So far, she was doing none of them, which was maybe a good sign.

"What?  Why would you want to talk to me?  Have we even met before?  Have we contacted you?" Rose asked.

"Has who contacted me?"

"Torchwood of course, who'd ya think?"

"What the hell has Torchwood got to do with anything?"  Then it dawned on him.  "Oh, you're one of them are you?  Come to take over my investigation have you?  Well I've got news for you, Miss Tyler, that's never going to happen whilst ever I'm in this town and in charge."

"What's that then?  What investigation might that be?"

Tony had got tired of waiting, Rose was taking her time getting gooey-eyed over the man who'd just almost knocked him over.

''Don't be so coy Miss Tyler, you know very well what investigation I mean and you can forget it."

"I've got no idea what you're talking about.  Come on Tony, let's go."

"Hang on a moment, not so fast.  If Torchwood are in town, it can only mean one thing, you lot think this is not an ordinary death, that's the only reason you come in and take over a police investigation."

"I've got no idea what investigation you're on about, detective inspector and would I really be trying to take it over by bringing my young stepbrother along?  Really?"

Alec supposed she could have a point.  "Okay then, where are the rest of your team?  There's nothing here for you, I can assure you of that."

"I've still no idea what you're talking about and if you don't mind, I'd rather not find out in front of Tony, thanks very much."

"You mean you don't watch the news then?" Alec smirked, thinking he was one up on the pretty blonde who was getting annoyed with him.

"No, we only arrived yesterday afternoon and by 'we' I mean Tony and my mum and dad, no Torchwood team and should we even be discussing this in a public place?  We never announce our arrival to the whole town, even when we do take something over, which I can assure you we haven't."

"Really, you've not seen the news?  Don't you keep up on current events?  Some Torchwood agent you are then."

"Excuse me, who even said I was a Torchwood agent?  You just assumed I was."

"Well you are, are you not?  Who else would you be?"

He had her on that point.  "Well, assuming I were, I wouldn't come here on holiday with my family, who'd do that?"

''For starters, you, probably."

He could see she was about to blow up with him.  This was his excuse to ask her out, then if it didn't work out, he could just say he was trying to find out if the organisation really was involved or she was just here on holiday but who went to a murder town, with a young boy if they already knew what had happened?

"Have a drink with me, tonight and I'll tell you."

"Huh?  You almost knock down my brother, accuse me of being a Torchwood agent then have the nerve to ask me for a drink?"

"Is that a yes then?  Where are you staying?"

Tony decided he'd been left out of the conversation for too long.

"We've got a caravan, over there," Tony pointed, Alec turning to the left at the boy sticking his arm out.

"Then meet me in the club bar at eight and I'll tell you my theory as to why I think you want to take over here but I'll make it clear, you're not so don't even think you are."

"I had no such intention, so are you gonna tell me what happened here then or what?"

"You really don't watch the news, do you?  Watch it when you get back or get a copy of the local paper."

"My mum banned my stepfather from watching the news while we're here so I can't."

"Well watch it in the bar then, some agent you are."

Rose thought she had been more than patient with the scruffy detective with no manners whatsoever, even if he did look vaguely familiar but that still wasn't going to get him a date.  It would though get her out of playing bingo again since her mother showed her up last night, not that Jackie Tyler needed to win the jackpot game for the full house, without sharing.

"Okay then, my curiosity's just got the better of me, I'll meet you but it's not a date so don't even think it is."

"Of course not, Miss Tyler, if you say so but what makes you think I'm asking you out on a date?"

"Oh, so I'm not good enough to ask out for a date then, am I?"

"I never said that, geez, how does your brother put up with you?  Eight in the camp's bar or if you don't want to be seen with me, outside in the seating area and you can bring your own drink if you like."

"Cheapskate," Rose thought, taking Tony's hand as he was thinking about taking himself around the corner to the beach since Rose was arguing with this bloke.

"I might be there, just out of curiosity, like I said and how does anyone put up with you, you’re hard work."

Alec thought she'd seen nothing yet and he no longer thought Miller was the only irritating woman around here, Rose Tyler had come to town.
Chapter 2
Alec resumed his mission to get himself something to eat, opting for a healthy baked potato with cheese and salad and a pot of decent tea after Rose had left him without another word between them, Rose had firmly gripped Tony's hand again and she had walked back up the slope and around the corner of the wall that separated the catering area from the car park behind it.  He sat and waited for his meal, wondering just how he'd made up his mind to one minute be asking her out for a drink and the next telling her to bring her own.

She was irritating to say the least but she'd already seemed to think that about him and he thought Miller was bad enough.  If Rose Tyler was there in the capacity of a Torchwood agent though, did he really want anything to do with her?  Now though, he'd maybe given her ideas and if she hadn't been in town for that reason, she would go back and inform her stepfather, whom he knew was the director and talk him into sending a team down after all and muscle in.

Well that was not going to happen, under any circumstances, he was quite sure of that, even though the thought of working alongside her was somehow quite appealing as opposed to working alongside Miller, who clearly detested him, complained when he made himself a cup of tea and didn't make one for her and commented he should get his breakfast at the hotel and not leave crumbs of toast all over the break room.  Then Miller had been trying to find out what the crank telephone engineer had meant about the pendant and there was no way he was going into details and sharing that with her.

Rose had got around the corner onto the rest of the esplanade, lifting Tony onto the wide stone wall and holding his hand as he walked, purposely bumping into Rose and laughing, Rose bumping him back.  He suddenly stopped.

"Rose, I thought we were going onto the beach.  Was that man really a policeman?"

"Yeah, so he said.  He didn't hurt you when he bumped into you did he?"

"Nope, it would have been funny if I'd got icecream on his coat though, wouldn't it?"

"Well he wouldn't have thought so.  Come on you, let's find a way onto the beach then but take off your trainers or mum will go nuts with you, you little terror."

"Aw but it's more fun if I go in the water in my trainers Rose.  Did you like that man?  I think he liked you."

"Rubbish, he was rude and doesn't look where he's going," Rose huffed.

"I saw him crossing the road, that car nearly got him and he shook his fist at the driver," Tony replied, shaking his fist and pulling a face.

"I don't need a demonstration thanks."  Just then, her mobile rang.

"Oh hi Mum.  How's the shopping going?"

"For a Sunday, the supermarket's packed.  You two okay?"

"Yeah, take your time, we're just going on the beach, we got held up"

She wanted to say by a scruffy police detective but her mother would have asked too many questions.

"Rose, tell mum about that policeman," Tony interrupted, now sat on the wall swinging his legs again.

"What did Tony just say?" Jackie asked.

"Nothing, we were just talking to someone, that's all.  I need to talk to dad when you get back.  I know why all those police cars are over by the harbour."

"Rose, you know I banned you and Pete from watching the news, we’re supposed to be on holiday.  How do you know?"

"Because I just met a police detective, that's how.  I'll tell you when you both get back."

Rose hung up and carried on walking, should she get her stepfather involved?  Alec Hardy did not seem like the kind of man who would let Torchwood walk all over him and take over his investigation, he'd told her bluntly anyway that he wouldn't but the man did not look like he had much patience either, particularly for getting the case solved in the least amount of time.

She had noted he hadn't looked at his best, compared with the photo on his ID card.  Maybe there was something wrong with him but he wouldn't tell her, even if she did sneak off later to go meet him instead of being shown up at bingo again by her mother.  Settling Tony on the beach, after taking his trainers and socks off, she got her phone out to check up on one DI Alec Hardy, knowing full well her mother had banned her checking the news but not banning the internet altogether.

As Rose sat on the beach, watching out of one eye at her brother splashing up and down in the water, thankful she'd got him out of his jeans and her mother had put his swimming trunks on underneath and she'd stuffed a small towel in her shoulder bag, Alec was finishing the last of his tea before going back to the station and decided to get his phone out and look up one Rose Tyler, the irritating  blonde whom he couldn't stop thinking about and the way she had scolded him, she'd looked really sexy whilst doing it.

He got the usual public profile of Miss Rose Tyler, how she had been adopted when her mother had married the chairman of the Vitex corporation and current director of Torchwood, well the new regime.  Alec knew about the old one and to say he'd disapproved of them was a bit of an understatement, he'd detested them even before they had let the Cybermen vanish into thin air, which had taken three years so they'd really had no excuse in his book, it had been careless of them to say the very least.

He had thought at the time how could they have not noticed they had been infiltrated and been used to transport around five million Cybermen to wherever they'd gone, which according to the rumours, had been to a parallel world, not that anyone had actually believed that.  Well maybe he had – slightly but he was the product of being left to his own devices as a boy with a never-ending supply of comics about other worlds, all like their own.  So now, he could actually believe it but even this new version of Torchwood, he couldn't get past the fact a lot of members had got their jobs back and this Rose Tyler he'd just met, maybe she had got her old job back as well.

Getting nothing new on Torchwood, he put his phone away and decided instead of going back to the station, to take a walk along the esplanade.  Not because Rose Tyler and her brother had gone in that direction he'd almost convinced himself but because he could take a shortcut back to the hotel that way, despite it all being uphill and he really shouldn't be contemplating that in his current condition but if he walked through the streets, more gradually, it would save him walking all the way around.  Not that he thought he would bump into the irritating blonde again.

He passed the icecream stand, smiling to himself that if Rose's young brother had got one from there, he would never have knocked into the boy and Rose would not have scolded him.  Perhaps that would have been better, now he was never going to stop thinking about her and he was in no fit state to be doing anything about it, damn his heart condition.  He convinced himself he wasn't looking for her in particular as he walked along, peering over the wall that he couldn't see anyone who was right under it because the wall was so wide but he could make out someone sitting at the water's edge just a bit further along, by a stone jetty and what looked like could be a small boy in the sea.

Now he would be obliged to walk past where he wanted to start making his way back to the hotel, find the way onto the beach and go talk to her again, if she would even talk to him again.  He wasn't quite sure why he was actually doing this, she had yelled something terribly at him not that long ago, she might still be in a bad mood with him.  He came up to the railings that the wall gave way to and saw the gap, debating whether or not to get the pebbles in his shoes or just to take them off or to just leave her be, she might still be mad at him.

He stood leaning on the railing, looking at his watch.  If he went back to the hotel, there was nothing to do but sit and watch TV, pace his room or have Becca Fisher make a beeline for him but after she'd come in last  night and admitted Mark Latimer was with her all Thursday night when he couldn't account for his whereabouts, well it was looking even less likely he'd allow her to continue to chat him up.

He knew he had to go out again later, to the press conference at the local school though the family were not going to be present, he told them there was no real need for them to be there and considering the dead boy's father had only just been released on suspicion he couldn't produce an alibi for the night of his son's death, it was a wise choice.  Little did he know there was still going to be show-down, just not between the Latimers.

Tony was getting fed-up splashing on his own, Rose was playing on her phone so he sat beside her and grinned.  For his years, Tony Tyler was growing up fast, never knowing his sister to tear into someone like she had done earlier, she must have really liked the man.  As he got up, he turned around and saw Alec leaning on the railing as he put his phone away.  Tony waved and Alec felt compelled to half wave back.

"Who ya waving to?" Rose asked warily, as it wasn't like her brother to wave to anyone he didn't know, Pete was very strict.

"The policeman from earlier," Tony grinned back.

"What?  Where is he?"

Tony pointed in Alec's direction just as Alec decided he'd best move before he got yelled at again.  So as Rose got up from fastening Tony's trainers, Alec had already turned back to where he'd wanted to be.  Rose saw someone walking back along the footpath and shrugged her shoulders – she must have really annoyed him earlier then, now he definitely wouldn't show up at the camp's bar later but she'd still go, to see if he'd chickened out.

As Alec took his time walking back, wishing now he'd opted to walk the long way around as this route just led him halfway up the road where he would have gone in a round-about way, he thought he could have at least waited for Rose Tyler and her brother to get to the footpath before retreating, she would surely think he was now trying to avoid her, which he wasn't, not really.  He felt like a teenager again who had a crush on a girl who was way out of his league and if anyone was, it was her.

Over tea, Rose avoided telling her mother and Pete about her meeting with the detective who resembled her lost friend, not that it upset her any more, the sadness had passed, Tony had been the cause of that but she would never forget those times she had spent with both incarnations of the Doctor and if ever there came a day when she was told there was a way back, she would take it like a shot, even though the chances were he would have changed again, who knew how many times.

She had told Pete many times that she wouldn't give up and at one point, they thought they had found a way to her old world but before anyone had the chance to try, it was gone, the dimension cannon they had been testing had given up again though thankfully, no-one was lost.  Rose would have gladly risked it but Pete had banned her as Jackie would never have forgiven him and he'd might as well have gone with her.

While Jackie was getting ready to go out and Tony was watching some cartoons, Rose decided to come clean  about her meeting with Alec Hardy.

"I know why the police cars have been dashing around Rose, despite your mother banning me from watching the news, Jake called, he thought I needed to know."

"So are you taking Tony home?"

"No, we can protect him between us, he'll never be out of our sight for a second though I was debating sending for Mickey and Jake.  What did you want to talk about?"

"I met who I think is the lead detective earlier on, well Tony did, he almost collided with the man when we'd  been getting icecream.  Somehow, we got round to him thinking Torchwood had already arrived in town and wanted to take over, I tried to tell him we weren't but I don't think he believed me though."

"I won't ask how you got around to the subject and your mother would divorce me if I even contemplated getting involved, she's been looking forward to this holiday.  So what do you think?"

"I don't know, it's probably best to leave the local police to get on with it but he looked a bit out of his depth.  I looked him up, it's the same detective from that case in Sandbrook a while ago, he doesn't look well either."

"Maybe he'd just been reminded of what happened there, he can't be pleased about it.  Maybe you should make friends with him but I can't get involved, call Jake if you need anything on that score.  I intend spending the rest of the two weeks here driving your mother and Tony to all the tourist spots here and across in Devon and that's exactly how it's going to be.  It's up to you if you come with us but you said you wanted to go on that old tramway next Sunday."

Rose had been looking forward to that.  "Yeah, well he said he might call in at the camp bar around eight, so I was going to go see if he was there, he said he'd sit outside but I sort of went off without saying anything, he may not even show up."

Pete smiled.  "Any excuse for you to get out of playing bingo."

Jackie came out of her bedroom.  "Who's tryin' to get out of playing bingo?"

"Rose is," Tony piped up.  "She wants to go meet that bloke – Rose has got a boyfriend," he laughed, doing the last bit in a sing-song voice.

"What bloke?  The one you said you were talking to earlier?  Who is he?"

"It's nothing more than meeting him outside the camp's bar, thanks for ratting on me Tony, you just wait, I'll chase you with a crab the next time we go to the beach."

"Great, then can I keep it?"

"No you can't Tony Tyler, I'm not letting any crabs in the car with me," Jackie scolded him.  "Rose, don't make threats like that, you know what your brother's like.  Well, who is he exactly?"

"He's the local detective inspector here, I told you, he almost bumped into Tony earlier."

"I hope you didn't get icecream on his coat," Jackie quizzed the boy as she tried to wipe his face before they went out but all Tony did was pull a face and then to Rose, he pretended to be kissing the air.

Rose knew better than to take any notice, Tony spent way too much time with Mickey Smith.  While Tony was joining in the kids activities and Jackie was getting her bingo tickets, Rose connected to the camp's free wi-fi and sent an email to Jake, asking him to get more on Alec Hardy than the police website were willing to reveal about him and what happened in Sandbrook after the trial there collapsed.

Just as bingo was about to start, Rose made her excuses and walked through the bar next door and out onto the seating area.  It was getting a bit cooler so she'd brought a jacket with her but it was still light so she sat near the edge so she could see if Alec Hardy was walking in any direction.  Alec had just got out of the press conference and was in a foul mood – Karen White had flown in on her broomstick to annoy him and had already unnerved him without even speaking to him.  She had come in late, stopped to make sure he'd seen her and then just sat there having a staring contest with him, who'd won, Alec had no idea but he liked to think it was him.

He got dropped off at the other side of the harbour bridge and walked along the pavement and looked across to the seating area, already seeing Rose sitting there in a pale pink top and jeans, her legs crossed and looking extremely sexy.  He made his way across the road, mindful to look both ways this time since now, she was going nowhere and there wasn't a rush like earlier though why he'd almost got run over to get to her, he'd no idea.  It was one of  those compulsive things he did from time to time, such as marrying Tess Henchard almost seventeen years ago and divorcing her eighteen months or so ago, the best idea he'd had to date.

Now here he was, the gruff lonely detective, no friends in a strange town that was getting stranger by the minute, walking towards a young twenty-something blonde who had more money than sense and who had already yelled at him and he was thinking seriously of inviting her back to his hotel, tell her what was wrong with him and seeing if she would spend the night with him.  Yeah, like that was hardly going to happen, he thought as he reached the wall and approached her as she was looking the other way.

"Hello again Rose, I see you brought your own drink then?"

"Huh?  It was you who said to bring my own drink, detective inspector, so are you going to join me or what?"

Alec huffed and went into the bar, getting a bottle of non-alcoholic lager and walking back to her, pulling out the chair next to her and making her move her legs.

"You want to know what happened, here in the town or have you already looked it up?"

"Some of it, my stepfather already knew, someone who works for him thought he needed to know, because of Tony.  We're not leaving, we can keep him safe between us, he knows not to go wandering off, it's not easy being a Tyler since the press follow us almost everywhere we go, this seemed the best place to ditch them."

"I hate to spoil that theory but the press will be all over this, I've just been to a media briefing, they're gathering like vultures already."

"Yeah but they won't be interested in us now, besides, my mother has a full itinerary of places she wants to go, trust me, they'll never be able to keep up."

Alec almost cracked half a smile.  "I've had time to think and I don't believe Torchwood are here to take over, so shall we call a truce?"

"I'm not so sure, after your insinuations earlier, DI Hardy, though I would be willing to accept an apology."

Alec almost swallowed his drink the wrong way.  "You want me to apologise to you?  What planet do you come from?"

Rose was about to say one parallel to this one but caught herself in time.

"Fine then, don't apologise but you can't have many friends around here, considering you're new in town and you've probably already hauled in half the residents and the rest are on your hit list."

Alec was thinking what a smartass she was, then considered she was almost as bad as he was and he wouldn't mind getting to see her ass up close if he played his cards right.

"I'm getting around to it and as for having any friends, I'm not here to make any.  You're not offering to remedy that are you?"

Rose laughed.  "Nope, not in a million years, you are so full of yourself Alec Hardy."

"Good then, I don't need one.  Look Rose, go join your family, have a good time and forget about me, I have a murder investigation to get through."

"Yes, you do need someone, there's something wrong with you, isn't there?"

"How can you possibly know that?  Are you going to report me then?"

"No, I want to help you."

"Not as a Torchwood agent I hope?  I'll tell you now, I still don't approve of them even though they've changed.  I lost someone during the attack all those years a go, a cousin down in London who had just joined, he never went home.   His parents still don't know what happened to him, if he got turned into one of them or he was one of those who were just 'deleted'."

"I'm sorry Alec, my stepfather lost his first wife but you probably already know that but if you want, give me his name and I'll get someone to find out what happened to your cousin."

Alec laughed.  "Torchwood did not want to know, they already issued an apology to his family but they never fully accepted responsibility for what happened since that was under the old regime.   His parents were lucky they even got that."

"Well, now you know a senior Torchwood agent, I can get that information for you, all it takes is one phone call Alec, you can give closure to his family."

Alec considered it.  Why shouldn't he use her to give his still grieving aunt and uncle some peace of mind?  After all this time, they would finally know but was it better they thought he was still out there other than someone being turned into one of those metal monsters?  Still, as a police officer, he was duty bound to pass any information about what happened back then, regardless of it being good or bad and whether he was related to any of the victims.

"Okay then, I'll give you his name, on one condition?"

Rose thought in for a penny, in for a pound and he was giving in, slowly.  She could be his friend if he wanted  - or more.

"Go on then, what's the condition?"

"Come back to my hotel room with me because you are right, I am ill and I need someone I can trust and as much as it pains me to admit it, I trust you and I'm lonely Rose, will you stay with me and relax a bit with me, tonight perhaps?"
Chapter 3
Alec knew he was already pushing his luck but what did he have to lose?  She had already shown her temper earlier when he'd collided with her brother, though unintentionally but it was hardly avoidable at the time and if the young boy hadn't turned around at that particular moment, it would never have happened.  There again, Rose may not have yelled at him and he wouldn't be sitting here now, asking her to spend some time with him, in his hotel room, which from the look now on her face, could get him a slap on the cheek.

"Tell me you're not being serious?  You are, aren't you?  What makes you think I'd do a stupid thing like that?"

Alec thought she was being less than tactful but she hadn't come right out and said no, there was still a glimmer of hope and it was only around eight thirty or so but he realised he was hungry and the fish and chip shop opposite was open, not that he enjoyed eating them out of the paper but they should have some cartons.

"Look, I'm hungry, I just came from a media briefing so I'm going to go across the road, get something to eat then walk up to my hotel, you're more than welcome to join me.  You said you wanted to avoid playing bingo with your mother again."

"It will be over now.  I wouldn't mind some chips though, I could get some with you but I'll have to let my stepfather know I'm going off, he's very protective of both me and my stepbrother.  I'm not saying I'll stay with you but we could get some chips and go sit over by the harbour for a while, if you want?"

Well that was a start he supposed.  "Go ahead, I'll wait unless you want me to pay for your chips?"

Rose smiled.  "Well, you got out of buying me a drink, didn't you?  What sort of date are you then?"

Rose could have sworn she'd said that before, so long ago now but she supposed bits of her old life would always come back to her, it was inevitable.  Why she'd just agreed, she had no idea but sitting on the sea wall eating chips was not exactly a date she supposed.

Alec decided the least her could do was buy her a carton of chips if she were to agree to go with him.

"I suppose I could stretch to buying them for you and it's not a date.  Go on then, I'll finish my drink and wait for you."

Rose went off in search of Pete, she daren't tell her mother she had been asked to a Doctor look-a-like's hotel room for the night, chips, she might believe.

She found Pete at the bar and pulled him to one side.

"I'm off out for a bit, don't wait up for me."

Pete was not surprised since she'd been in a hurry to go meet this detective she'd already told him about.

"I won't ask where then.  I looked him up, he's not got a very good reputation has he?"

"I'm not judging him by that.  I asked Jake to look him up too, you told me not to ask you."

"Well maybe if you continue to see him, your mother will relent on that, in fact, I'm certain she will.  Go on, get out of here, have you got your key?"

She had the key for the other caravan door so if she went out on her own with Tony, they could get back in should the need arise.  She was about to leave, looking around and seeing Tony sat in the corner of the main room, playing with his toy cars.

"What do I tell your mother, should she ask?"

"Tell her I've got a hot date with a rather dishy police detective, she keeps on nagging me to find someone."

While Alec was waiting, he checked with the station that nothing had happened and was just taking his empty bottle and Rose's empty glass back inside as she came through the other bar.  Silently, Alec led the way across the road and had to wait for his order of scampi as Rose sat on the window seat.

Just why he was even contemplating asking her if she would actually go back to his hotel room, he had no idea and this had to be amongst the dumbest ideas he'd had in a while, the last one was accepting the job here on the premise it was a nice quiet coastal town where nothing ever happened.  He'd considered putting a complaint in that the chief here had got him to accept on false pretences and he should demand an immediate transfer with no questions asked but since he'd failed two families in his last job, he couldn't fail a third, that was not him, illness or no illness.

They got out of the takeaway and Alec led them across the road, around the corner onto the walkway and sat down.  It was getting a bit chilly but Rose didn't seem to mind as they ate silently.  All of a sudden though, Rose seemed to find her voice again.

"I used to hate the sea, I had to say goodbye to someone a few years ago by the shore but now, it just reminds me."

Alec wondered if it was male or female but by the look on her face, it was male.

"You don't have the monopoly on that, I hate the water as well."

"Well, go on then, what happened?"

"No, you first or don't you want to tell?  A boyfriend left you?"

"Something like that.  It seems like a lifetime ago now though, I've just about come to terms with it, what about you?"

"No, I don't think I'll ever come to terms with mine."

Rose smiled.  "Well look at us, the 'We hate the water' club."

"Is that why earlier on you were not in the water with your brother then?" Alec asked as he took Rose's empty carton and threw it in the trash can.

"It was you then, Tony was waving to you, he's not supposed to wave or talk to strangers, mum thinks everyone who tries to talk to him is either a kidnapper or a reporter, she doesn't know which is the worst."

Alec smiled, something she seemed to be making him do all of a sudden.  "A wise thing, to make him aware but I hope that does not include the police?"

Rose thought about it.  "I don't suppose so and I don't hate all water, I don't mind swimming pools, since I usually take Tony, which I promised to do in the morning.  So, about me, coming to your hotel?"

"I was being presumptuous, you are excused."

"Well that's a shame, you could have bought me a drink first though."

"You mean you'd actually come with me?"

"Yeah, what do ya think I meant?  Blimey, you ask me to your room after I yelled at you earlier and you give up that easily?  I've read up about you, just so you know, I wanted to know what I was getting myself into."

"I wouldn't expect anything less, Miss Torchwood agent.  Shall we?" he asked, getting up and offering his hand to help her.

As they walked up the road by the side of the caravan park, Pete had been in the doorway of the bar and had seen them walking arm in arm across the road and around the corner, smiling to himself.  At least she was finally moving on and not still clinging to Mickey like he was a lifeline between her life here now and her old one, even if it was with the Doctor's twin.

Pete had got word back from Jake, saying Alec Hardy had not been to blame for his last disastrous case and that Rose had nothing to worry about, so all Pete could do was hope Jackie would accept Rose would probably be spending the evenings here with the detective and not playing bingo and dancing with her stepbrother to all the silly kids songs.

Pete got back inside, Jackie knew Rose had been meeting the detective outside and when she'd not gone back in, smiled to herself but questioned her husband.

"Relax Jaks, you were the one that wanted her to move on, she is.  I've just seen them walking along together, arm in arm."

Tony looked up.  "Dad, is she with the man from earlier?  I like him, he's funny, he shook his fist and a man in a car that nearly run him over."

"Did he now?" Jackie asked as Tony proceeded to demonstrate, complete with facial actions.  "Why did he nearly get run over then?  Can't he look where he was going?"

"But Mum, he was running across the road when the car set off, I think he was trying to get to Rose."

"Why'd he want to do that?  Pete, who exactly is this detective?"

Pete had not yet revealed to his wife who Alec looked like and thankfully, she'd not watched the news.

"She told you who he was, I'm not saying any more in front of our son.  You're the one that banned us from watching the news but something's going on here and he's the lead detective.  He's a good man, just be thankful Rose is interested in him so don't spoil things for her eh?  I'll give you a clue though and don't bring this up with her, he may remind you of a certain someone."

Jackie could hardly believe what she was hearing.  They'd come all this way for Rose to find a double of her old alien boyfriend, did she know what she was doing?  She hoped so and according to what Pete had just told her, they were already walking up the road arm in arm but to where?

Rose clung onto Alec's arm as they walked up the road then turned left at the top and through the front door of The Traders Hotel, Alec leading her into the small bar, noting Becca wasn't at the desk but she was pouring out drinks when they went in.

"Hello detective, you missed your evening meal, you do know it's included?  Only you missed breakfast as well.  Who's your friend?"

Rose knew a rival when she saw one.  "Hi, I'm Rose, I'm with him and I'll have a white wine with plenty of lemonade, thanks.  Alec, is there somewhere else we can sit maybe?"

She didn't fancy being in full view of the barstaff and the man with grey curly hair sitting there plus two other couples in the small area.

Alec indicated to the room opposite, hoping Becca wouldn't object to him taking his 'guest' there.  Rose got the hint and sat herself down waiting for him bringing the drinks.

"I'll make an exception, seeing she's with you," Becca hinted, as if to say 'who's she when she's at home'?

Alec thought he was never going to live this down.  Word would get to the rest of the town he'd come in with a young blonde on his arm and where would that get him?  Well maybe the reputation he could still attract a  young blonde that she'd want to walk around holding onto his arm.

"So, will your friend be staying?" Becca asked him as he was leaving, following him out rather than ask in front of everyone.

"That remains to be seen, can you at least keep this to yourself, for the time being?"

Becca was slightly amused, the detective who'd been stone-faced since his arrival, thinking about sneaking a woman up to his room, who would have thought it?

He sat beside Rose on the red sofa and waiting for her to say she wanted him to take her back to her caravan.  She didn't.  Before Alec knew what was happening, his arm was around her shoulders and she was leaning into him, on her second drink.

"Mmm, Alec, you mentioned something about relaxing, in your room, is that offer still open?"

It was now approaching ten and Alec thought now was as good a time as any to entice her to his room but by the sound of it, she wasn't needing much enticing.  Dropping his empty bottle and Rose's glass onto the bar, getting a sly look from Becca and the man still sitting there, he showed Rose up to his room on the second floor.  He wished he'd been on the first floor, the stairs were doing him no good but it was time he took his pills.

Thinking there was no need to hide them in front of his new friend, he went to get some water.

"Tell me Alec, what's wrong with you?  Don't bother denying anything, in your photos you look better than you do now."

"Thanks, I really needed to hear that, am I so obvious?"

"I'm a trained Torchwood agent, I study people.  You need help Alec, you have to tell someone.  I'm here for two weeks, you can tell me, who else am I going to tell?"

He supposed she did have a point, she wouldn't gain anything by reporting him to his new boss.

Twenty minutes later, he'd told her everything, how he thought he'd become ill and how his friend was helping him.  Rose's own heart went out to him and it made her more determined to be more than a friend to him.

"So, when you asked me to relax with you, what exactly did you have in mind, considering having sex might actually put you in the hospital."

Alec smiled and stood up, taking off his already loosened tie and unfastening a few buttons.  Rose joined him, fingering the shirt collar.

"Whatever you're offering Rose, just how comfortable are you with men who admit having sex could possibly kill them?"

Rose smiled.  "They're my speciality, now are you inviting me to stay then?"

"If you want, it's not an obligation but if you want to stay, you can borrow a t-shirt.  I'm not asking you to have sex with me, well we can just have some fun, what do you think?"

"Oh, I'm way past due having some fun Alec, trust me.  Just let me use the bathroom but don't take that shirt off yet, I want to do that."

Alec was willing to do anything she asked at this point, it was way more than he'd expected.  Not only was the famous Rose Tyler in his room, she wanted to take his shirt off for him and stay the night with him, in the same bed.  As promised, Rose came back and fingered his shirt again, until she got to the last button and began pulling the shirt out of the front of his trousers.  He leaned down and kissed her neck, smelling her perfume, knowing already he was a gonner.  There was no way he was going to survive a proper night with Rose Tyler so all he could do was hope she would keep her word and go easy on him.

She wasn't helping his cause by now letting him relieve her of her pink top and leaning close to him so he could feel her against his chest as she put her arms around him and he continued to kiss her neck, just below her ear.  Suddenly she looked up at him and he stopped as she looked like she wanted him to kiss her.  He was only too happy to oblige and when he did, Rose reached her arms around his neck, pulled him down and deepened the kiss.

After Rose put Alec's t-shirt on and he'd unfastened her jeans, Rose climbed into bed and waited for him coming out of the bathroom, where Alec was splashing water of his face, thinking he would wake up somewhere and have been dreaming that the very alluring Rose Tyler was waiting in his hotel bed for him with nothing but a very skimpy figure-hugging pair of red panties and his spare white t-shirt that he vowed he would never wash again and best of all, he'd relieved her of her matching red bra, her hip-hugging jeans and watched while she put the t-shirt on.  If he survived this, finding Danny Latimer's killer would be a piece of cake.

While Rose was waiting in the middle of Alec's bed, she took stock.  She was lying there, propped up on the pillow, waiting for a sickly police detective who reminded her so much of someone but he was cute, a bit skinny but toned in the right places with a splattering of chest hair and he seemed very interested in her despite her yelling at him not that long ago.

The best thing was though, he knew who she was, what she did for a living and it didn't seem to bother him.  If she stayed tonight with him, it would be worth spending the rest of her holiday here in his company in the  evenings and sharing his bed and maybe, if he knew what she did, he would accept the rest, if it were to come up in conversation but she would let him bring it up.  She didn't want to scare him away, maybe he was her reward for being parted from her own world and the man she'd left behind.

Alec thought he had just had the best night in a long time as Rose was now sprawled across him, wearing just her skimpy underwear and he was still alive.  She had kept her promise and gone easy on him, going on top and making all the right moves.  He had held onto her hips while they had kissed, her arms under him and occasionally groping him as he swapped places for a short time and he'd half laid on his side but they had both enjoyed the sensations they'd given each other and had managed not to go the whole way, though Alec thought at one point he was prepared to risk it but somehow he'd managed to stop himself.

Now, Rose was making funny little noises and Alec smiled to himself, one arm around her waist and the other behind his head, thinking he was the luckiest man on earth, any earth.
Chapter 4
Rose was woken by Alec moving, making her jump and thinking he was having an attack but as he called something about water, she realised he was having one of his recurring dreams.

"Alec, wake up, are you okay?"

She tried to dodge him as he groaned.  "Alec, do you need your pills?"

He realised she was talking to him and who was with him.  "No, I'm fine and I apologise for waking you.  Now you know why I sleep alone."

"It's okay, I've had nightmares myself."

"What would you be having nightmares about?" he asked, as he noted Rose was putting his t-shirt on.

She snuggled up close to him and he put his arm around her.  "You'd never believe me if I told you what I have nightmares about Alec, trust me.  Try to go back to sleep.  I take it yours was about finding that girl in the river?"

"What else would it be about?  Someone pulled me out, after I went under from the weight of her, like I said, it won't ever go away."

"Sorry.  Mine won't either, you'd never believe what happened to me."

"Then tell me sometime, right now I need some sleep, after you kiss me again."

Finally, Alec fell asleep again but Rose was now worried, she thought her nightmares were bad enough but Alec had woken up in a cold sweat, just like he'd been pulled out of the river moments ago, he was terrified.  She knew now, she had to stay with him for as long as she was in town but what then?

Alec woke again to his alarm trying to move his new blonde friend who'd managed to tangle her legs around his.

"Sneaking off Alec?"

"No, afraid I would?  I need my pills before I do anything, I've just got in the habit of taking them when I get up, starting from today."

"You mean you didn't take them before?"

"Only when I need to but last night, I took them because you were staying.  Now see what you've done."

Rose got dressed while he was in the bathroom, Alec looking disappointed when he came out but looking slightly better than when he'd woken up during the night.  He'd shaved a day's growth off his beard, which pleased Rose as she fingered it.

"Shall we go find some breakfast or do you want to come down to the caravan and eat with us?  Mum always  makes loads, she'll be getting it ready soon."

"I don't think I'm ready to face the rest of your family yet," Alec joked, fastening his shirt, much to Rose's annoyance as she'd been enjoying the view.

"If I'm gonna spend the rest of my two weeks here with you, they need to meet you.  It's just breakfast Alec.  Say hello to them and you don't have to see them again if you don't want to."

Alec was going to hold her to that as they walked down the stairs, out of the side door and down the path that led to the Esplanade, much easier to walk down than up.  It seemed odd to Alec that he had to pass the police station but it was only just turned eight and he wasn't due for an hour but as Rose opened the caravan door, it reminded him of mornings back in his old house near Sandbrook as Tony was sat at the table, Pete was making tea and Jackie had a pile of toast on a plate and a pan full of scrambled eggs, Rose having called her to say they were on their way and to make enough for Alec.

"Mum, Dad, this is Alec Hardy.  Alec, you've already met Tony.  Well, sit down and eat, you need your strength."

Pete and Jackie looked at her as she had neglected to tell them there was something wrong with him.

By the following  Friday, Rose and Alec were inseparable, had spent every minute of Alec's free time together and even gone to dinner at the Millers, Rose making friends with Ellie much to Alec's chagrin.  Alec  knew if he didn't act quickly, she would be gone on Saturday morning so ignoring the fact he should have been going through statements, he'd arranged to meet her by the catering stalls overlooking the river and Rose had been pointing out again the blue chalet by the water's edge.

"Why do you keep looking at that damn run-down chalet Rose?"

"I think it's cute, just like you teddy."

Alec grunted.  "Stop calling me that when we're out, I wouldn't live there if it was the only place left in Broadchurch."

Rose pulled a face at him and sipped on her bottle of water, rather sexily Alec thought.  She should not be allowed to drink like that in public.

"So, tomorrow, you are getting ready to leave then?"

"You know I don't want to but I've got a job to do Alec and you still won't let me help you with the investigation."

"You know I can't let you get involved, not without you know what and I can't justify their involvement, the chief would never go for it."

"Yeah, well Pete won't let me stay, there's a lot to do when we get back."

"Why can't you do it from down here?"

"He'd never go for it."

"So you've not actually asked him?"

"No, why?"

"Hell Rose, because I want you to stay, that's why.  You don't get it, do you?"

Rose stopped and looked at him, the man who in less than two weeks had become her friend and lover, Alec risking everything most nights to prove he loved her but never got around to telling her so.  She had been the one who woke up when he had his recurring nightmare, kissed him until he fell asleep again, smirked when she tricked him into turning around when he was putting his clean shorts on, getting her a proper snogging for her troubles and he was the only person outside her family and close friends who knew where she actually came from and her worse nightmare of almost ending up in the void.

They had quickly become lovers after their first night together and Alec now relied on her to kick him into remembering his pills and constantly riled him to call the hospital and get himself fixed, to which all it got her was a 'I'll go when I've solved this case' and a 'Stop fussing, I'm fine' followed by a kiss.

"What don't I get Alec?"

They were sat at the last table, right by the wall, Rose watching the ducks on the river as he took her hand and she turned back.

"I love you, Rose Tyler, that's what.  Now, will you stay with me?  I need you."

Rose leaned forward and ran her fingers on his cheek, the beard growing back because she'd told him she preferred it that way because then she could call him teddy because she said it felt all furry when he kissed his way across her every night.

"I love you too teddy and yes, I'll stay but only if you rent that chalet over there."

"How I'm I supposed to do that?"

"Leave it to me but I still have to go back to London with them, to get my things and collect my car.  I'll be back on Sunday, I have to say goodbye to Tony, I can't just go back with them and come right back.  I'll find out how we can rent the chalet and we'll move in when I get back, you stay at the hotel until then, unless you want to rent a caravan for the weekend?"

"No thanks, I'll stay at the hotel then and if that's what you want, okay, that's what we'll do."

"Wow, I didn't think it was gonna be that easy."

"Just remember, you'll be going in there on your own if I have to get a boat to the door."

Rose smiled.  Now all she had to do was get Pete to let her work from her laptop and not go on any more missions unless they were on the Dorset coast or just over in Devon.  They'd all been out the previous Sunday to visit the tramway, Alec sitting upstairs with Tony and Rose had gone back down because it was too cold and hearing him and Tony laughing and on the dinner visit to Ellie's, she'd taken Rose to one side and said they made a great couple and how much better he was out of work because he'd been a total ass at the station.

"Well how ya gonna get out if it floods while we're in there then?"

"Easy, I'll just spend the day in bed, with you princess."

So Rose went back to London, packed her clothes, her laptop and spent the rest of the day telling Tony she was going back to live with Alec.  She'd said goodbye to Jake and Mickey when they'd gone around that night for a farewell dinner then driven down on Sunday morning, arriving back in Broadchurch in time for Alec getting back from a visit to the church because he wanted to watch for the killer at a special service for Danny, which Ellie thought he'd taken it too seriously.

Alec had met the owner of the chalet and was waiting for Rose to arrive, then when she'd emptied the car, they were going to the supermarket to stock up on groceries.  That got delayed as soon as she'd brought everything in and Alec dragged her into the bedroom.

"Mmm, I missed you princess, you weren't there when I woke up this morning."

"Don't remind me, I missed you too teddy.  You weren't tempted to invite Becca to take my place were you?"

Alec screwed his face up.  "No, I wasn't that desperate love."

He neglected to tell her though that he'd forgotten to take his pills, got back to his room the night before and collapsed on the bathroom floor while trying to get the pills out, resulting in the woman downstairs complaining to Becca about a loud noise and she'd found him and got an ambulance.  He'd discharged himself just after seven that morning and sworn Becca to secrecy on the promise of forgetting to process the  offence of her asking Chloe Latimer to get drugs for some guests.

As Rose was kissing his chest in her most favourite way, making a meal out of it, he just hoped she wouldn't see behind his ear where he'd cracked himself against the sink as he'd fallen.

Rose did see it though as he got out of bed, sitting down to put his socks on.

"Alec, what the hell did you do while I was away?"

"Oh, that.  Caught myself in the shower this morning, it's nothing love, I went down to reception, Becca fixed me up, don't make a thing out of it."

Rose got to her knees and crawled behind him, putting her arms around his neck.

"Okay teddy, if you say so, I missed you Alec, I love you."

He'd gone into his office for an hour after getting away from Rose, catching up on paperwork and Ellie saw what Rose had missed.  Ellie had spotted it and he said if she told Rose, she'd pull double duty for a week.  Ellie had pulled a face at him and told him to tell her himself.

"What the hell happened to you?"

"Morning to you too Miller, don't you start, I had enough with Rose earlier, she said she can't leave me alone for five minutes."

"Well she can't by the way you two were all over each other at my house, Joe swore you two were groping each other's ass when we left you in the front room, my kid's watch TV in there if you don't mind."

"Well no-one said they had to watch us Miller.  You wanted something?"

"It'll wait.  So is Rose staying then?"

"Not that it's anyone's business but yes, she's staying.  We just rented that run-down blue chalet by the river though why I agreed, I have no idea but it got her to agree to move in together so who am I to argue?  If you spread the word I'm shacked up with my girlfriend, you'll be back in uniform giving out speeding tickets – got it Miller?"

Ellie smirked to herself, Alec Hardy may act like a tough cookie but Rose Tyler had him purring like a kitten.

Several weeks went by, Rose and Alec's love for each other grew day after day but so did Rose's persistence Alec went for his pacemaker fitting which to avoid any arguments, Alec always backed down and said as soon as he'd put Danny's killer in prison, he'd go when the paperwork was done.  It appeased Rose somewhat but she was still worried about him but he mostly got away with it.   After four weeks since they'd got together though and Rose, despite taking precautions, neglected to remind Alec until her monthly actually came around and they'd been out one night, Rose getting slightly tipsy but they both agreed not much was likely to happen in his present condition and he told her not to worry about it but it didn't stop her.

A lot happened in those few weeks, accusations were flying about the sea-scout master/harbour newsagent resulting in Rose and Alec attending the man's funeral, Alec had been branded Britain's worst cop – which was rescinded when Rose stormed into The Broadchurch Echo's office and took a full page ad out and demanded it was syndicated to the nationals, which amused Alec as he already knew the Tyler family did not get messed with and apparently, the entire family regarded him as part of it, something he didn't bother arguing about.
Chapter 5
Fifty seven days after Alec almost knocked Tony down that Sunday afternoon, described by Alec as the best day of his life, Rose was feeling 'off' with stomach pains, waiting for her monthly but she was used to it being all messed up, her not being from that world and skipping three years ahead.

During their time together, Rose had told him everything, they had no secrets from each other and Alec was more than thrilled to discover all that time he'd spent as a boy had not gone completely to waste and had made Rose tell him everything.  He'd held her tight when she'd told him how she'd said goodbye to the Doctor on a beach in Norway and she'd in turn held him every time he'd woken up from his nightmare of finding Pippa in the river.

The only thing Alec kept back from her was the fact he had helped the main suspect's wife to re-locate down the coast and had someone who owed him watching out for her husband's return.  What Rose would have made of that, he didn't know but unless the past really did come back and bite him in the ass – she wouldn't find out but there again, he expected her to take it well, he'd done nothing wrong despite what Claire Ripley may make it look like if she were that way inclined.

So that morning, Rose hadn't sent him off with that 'just been well and truly snogged and shagged look' on his face, which everyone in the station by now had got used to and Alec never even bothered to hide it any more, the day went slowly for him, leads were followed, he'd had the vicar in and was smug that he'd managed to rile him the wrong way, getting him a warning from his boss not to upset the clergy in general and he'd not met Rose for lunch by the river, looking across at the home they shared.

Rose had not told him she half suspected she'd not got away with their passionate night four weeks ago but like he'd said, in his state of health, he'd have to get extremely lucky to get her pregnant but it was at the back of her mind though.  She hadn't been going to send him off with her usual farewell, they'd argued again about the case taking its toll on his condition, he'd told her not to fuss and he'd see the case finished, adamant he wasn't going to let another family down.

"Yeah, I get the bit you don't want to let Mark and Beth down but you've gotta think of yourself Alec, and me."

"I do think about you princess, you know I do but I'm nearly there, I know I am.  I just need the skateboard and for the phone to be switched on and I'll have him."

"Can't you just tell me who you think it is?  Is it Nigel?"

"You know I can't tell you, so stop playing the Torchwood agent and kiss me goodbye though I'd prefer a proper snogging."

"I told you last night, I'm feeling a bit off, you were lucky, you might be a bit disappointed you don't get to use more of your recent purchase again tonight though I hardly knew you were using anything."

"Must be a new type but I can assure you I was despite your protest I can't actually do anything.  I never hear you objecting darlin' do you?"

Rose blushed, she never objected, whatever he had to offer, that was how they were, Alec had nothing to prove to her, he'd do that when he was well again.  So Alec went off a little disappointed she'd not wanted to have their morning session and when he got to work he'd maybe yell at Miller again but he'd try not to, since she'd get right on the phone and ask Rose what was wrong with him, the two of them had become as thick as thieves lately and he swore Rose had told her about their sexual exploits, as women were apt to do.

She had stood by the door as he fastened his jacket.

"When are you going to give in Alec?  You've put it off for two months now, you can't keep saying you'll call them when you've done with this case.  One weekend, take this Friday off, the hospital have it all arranged, you can just walk in."

He put his arms around her but she shrugged him off.  It was tearing her apart even though now, he looked slightly better than when they'd first met.

"Come on Rose, look, maybe next weekend, I'm so close to finishing it now, I can feel something's going to happen today love."

"You been talking to that psychic again have you?"

"No I just do, it's all coming together princess, I know it is, any day now.  I might be late home tonight, I want to try and get a look at what everyone's been working on while they're not there."

"Well don't you be too late, you know I worry about you."

"Yes I do and I don't know why you put up with me when I'm such a misery."

"Yeah, neither do I, it's part of the job."

"Oh, I'm just a job to you then Miss Tyler?"

"Get out of here, you know what I mean."

"Geez Rose, sometimes I never know when you're being serious."

"Neither do I Alec.  Go on, you'll be late for work then you'll blame me and everyone will think I kept you in bed again."

"Now that I don't mind.  Okay, if it makes you happy, we'll talk about this when I get back, okay?"

"I suppose so but you're not taking this seriously."

"I am princess but you know how important this is to me now."

Didn't she just?  So Alec had gone off, not certain how they'd left things, he was far from happy about it

Rose tried to get down to going through the various reports Jake had sent her involving possible disturbances in Scotland and wondering why he'd thought she was interested in that, albeit Jake probably thought since Alec was from there, it would peak her interest somewhat.  She thought again about how they'd almost fallen out again at her last words before he'd opened the door to step out onto the decking, which for a change wasn't playing home to a family of ducks that he'd had to shoo away several times with the sweeping brush to Rose's amusement, getting her a scowl and a promise he'd get her back when he got home.

By the end of the day, not going quite to Alec's liking since he couldn't get away to meet Rose for lunch, Ellie had gone home but returned to the station after Tom came home with Danny's skateboard, units were dispatched to pick up the woman at the caravan park down the coast who'd given it to him, for the police and Alec to discover she was at the newspaper office after the editor called Ellie and the woman was being questioned.

She'd been let out on police bail but it was after eight, Alec had several missed calls from Rose, who'd been unhappy and turned off the stove after trying to eat something but she'd lost her appetite.  He wasn't answering his phone, she assumed he was interviewing someone and he'd call her back, she knew not to call Ellie or the station unless it was an emergency, they'd established that almost as soon as they'd begun their relationship.

By ten, Rose was officially worried but he'd said he wanted to see if anyone had missed something but she knew he should have called her, even if it was just to say he was sorry he'd missed her calls earlier.  She tried him again but it went straight to voicemail and Ellie would be home now and she didn't want to disturb her, all Ellie would say was he was a grown man and give him a bit of space but Ellie didn't know of their arguments that morning.

She gave up, went to the bathroom and then to their bedroom.  There was still no sign of Alec or her monthly visit from mother nature but she prepared herself none the less.  She couldn't sleep though, their heated discussion that morning, ending in him just going off and her watching him walk over the road bridge and then trying to get some work done.

By 2am, she'd given up all hope of getting to sleep, trying Alec's number again and kicking herself for not calling Ellie before she'd have gone to bed herself.  She called the station.

"Hi, this is Rose Tyler, DI Hardy's girlfriend, I don't suppose he's still there is he?"

The desk sergeant confirmed the detective was not on the premises.  He'd known the DI had been caught in some kind of skirmish, chasing a subject down a cliff path and into the boatyard but heard nothing else and assumed he'd gone home to his girlfriend but apparently, he hadn't.

"No, sorry Miss, he's not here, not that I know of anyway.  I can call his work mobile if you want?"

"No, I've tried them both, maybe he's just fallen asleep in his office, thanks anyway."

A dozen things were running through her mind.  He'd left her, he had to have done, because she'd gone too far that morning, she'd nagged him once too often and he was sulking in his office or he'd gone back to the hotel to think about it.  Well she'd make it easy for him because now, she could no longer stand by and watch this case tear him apart at the risk of him ending up in hospital over it.  Two months she'd given him, two months of her love and devotion to him, telling him everything about her past, even that she'd loved the Doctor but had never told him until it was too late and it never put Alec off.

He'd said he loved her even more for telling him and she loved him more every time he woke her up when he'd felt like he was drowning all over again though she'd helped him more than she ever knew.  He'd woken up, felt her comforting him and somehow, it never seemed so bad though he knew it would never completely go away but her presence lessened it somewhat.

By 3am, she was packing her cases, getting her laptop and things into her shoulder bag with the 'Police Box' design she'd had specially made that Alec thought was so her and dragged everything around to her car, locking the chalet door for the last time and putting the key under the pot with the windmill stuck in sand Rose had thought was amusing and Alec had moaned about.

Just after seven, Rose had pulled in front of the Tyler family home, just six weeks after she'd been back for her things and told her younger brother she was staying with Alec.  The boy would be devastated.  One of the maids answered the door and let her in, getting someone to fetch her things from the car.  Jackie had heard the commotion and stood at the top of the stairs as Rose rushed up.

"Rose, what are you going here?  Where's Alec?"

"I think he left me Mum, he never came home last night and he's not picking up his phone.  We argued yesterday morning about him getting his pacemaker," she sobbed into her mother's shoulder.

Pete had heard and come out, with his phone and preparing to dial Alec's number.

"No Dad, leave it, please, he's not picking his phone up, he doesn't want to talk to me, it's clear."

'Well he'd better talk to me," her mother huffed, taking Pete's phone out of his hand.

"Just leave it, please.  I just want to go to my old room and try and get some sleep, I've been driving for hours."

"Well how long are ya gonna leave it for Rose?"

Rose yawned, thinking back to when she and Mickey had waited five and a half hours for the Doctor on that spaceship.  It turned out to be five months, ignoring the ringtone for Alec's mobiles and the station when he eventually tried calling her and even Ellie, in fact anything that reminded her of him at all until she had been switching channels and accidentally heard his name mentioned in connection with the solving of the Sandbrook case and the killer of Danny Latimer had walked free.


The morning Rose had left, Alec had woken up in a hospital bed, aware Rose was not by his side, a bunch of grapes being thrown at him and tubes in his hand, not to mention the one in his nose, which he pulled out.  Then he noticed the pads on his chest and Ellie Miller glaring at him.

"What am I doing here, why have you given me grapes?"

"I was hoping you would choke on them."

"They're seedless Miller.  Answer the question, what am I doing here and what time is it?"

"It's just gone eight, you've been out cold and in case you forgot, you collapsed chasing a suspect last night.  You died on me, heart arrhythmia, you should have told me.  Does Rose know you're so ill?"

"Yes, she does but you can't tell her I was in hospital, she'll never forgive me.  We had a row before I left yesterday morning, she'll think I've gone for good and you can't tell the chief either."

Ellie picked up her shoulder bag.  "I have to report this, you're not fit for duty.  They told me, you've had this for eighteen months or more, why didn't you get yourself fixed and more importantly, why didn't Rose make you get yourself fixed?"

"She tried, that's what we argued about.  I have to get out of here, she'll be going crazy, she wasn't feeling well yesterday."

"Well maybe you got her pregnant you prat."

"Don't be daft Miller, she took precautions."  He'd forgotten about that night last month when she'd said nothing would have happened but he wasn't so sure now.  She'd had a bit to drink and they'd both been in a good mood.

Ellie stood in the doorway.  "Well you'd better get back to her then before she comes to her senses and leaves town.  I'm off to tell the chief, expect her to be waiting for you."

Alec didn't know which would be worse – the chief putting him on medical leave or facing Rose.  He had to face Rose first though.  Before he'd got dressed and discharged himself, Ellie was already on her way, debating whether to call her friend or leave Hardy to face the music but knowing Rose was a soft touch, he'd get away with it and then he'd be late because he'd be shagging her brains out.

Alec got a taxi someone was getting out of first to the station then walked back to the chalet but Rose's metallic blue Suzuki Sportage was gone.  He thought she may have just gone out looking for him or to the supermarket but he knew instantly something was wrong – the bedroom blinds were open and the door curtain was over since Rose had always pulled it closed.  He went to the pot where they kept the key and unlocked the door, a feeling of dread coming over him as her laptop was gone and the few things she normally had strewn around the place.

Their bedroom door just at the side was open, the bed was made and as he stepped in, her cases were gone from the top of the wardrobe and he collapsed onto the bed.

"Rose, what have I done?"

He tried her mobile several times but no answer, maybe she was driving but she had her hands-free kit so he tried Jackie's mobile he kept for emergencies but got the same and Rose hadn't given him Pete's or the house phone number.  He was devastated, thinking now he wished Miller hadn't called that ambulance when he'd fallen in the boatyard, although he'd been stupid enough to think he'd be able to chase after a suspect, especially when he knew who it had been.

No, his life might as well be over because if she got to know he'd spent the night in hospital without him telling her, since he'd kept his last visit quiet as well, there was no way she would ever take him back until she got over being mad at him or he went for the surgery.  Right now, he was too much of a coward to go get himself fixed, drive to London and tell her he'd got it done.

All he could really do was arrest whom he knew had killed Danny and wait for Rose to contact him, she'd come around in a day or too, she'd see it on the news he'd put Danny's killer away and then she'd come back or call him and she'd go hold his hand in the hospital.

The arrest was made, Ellie was devastated and her friend wasn't answering her phone, Hardy had well and truly stuffed that up then when Rose wasn't even answering her calls.  So as Alec was clearing out his office, looking at the sofa where he and Rose had made out on the few occasions she'd come to collect him when everyone had left, he made his way back to the chalet he'd shared with his love and swore if she ever came back, he'd be waiting for her.  He waited five months.

The End!

Continued in A lost love returns