A love forever (With baby)

Last in a the 'Lost love' series which followed Rose meeting Alec, leaving him when he wouldn't get himself fixed then her return, 6 months pregnant.  Now settled down with their baby son in Broadchurch, they travel to London for baby's first Christmas but Alec is feeling overwhelmed.  Will Rose calm him down or make things worse when a pink paper hat brings up the past?

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Last in a the 'Lost love' series which followed Rose meeting Alec, leaving him when he wouldn't get himself fixed then her return, 6 months pregnant.  Now settled down with their baby son in Broadchurch, they travel to London for baby's first Christmas but Alec is feeling overwhelmed.  Will Rose calm him down or make things worse when a pink paper hat brings up the past?

Please see 'A love goes away' and  'A lost love returns' before reading this last instalment

Scroll down to read each chapter

Chapter 1
Alec knew what an ass he'd been, driving the one good thing in his miserable life in Broadchurch away and he'd paid for it a hundred times over.  The months Rose had been away and he couldn't bring himself to send her a text or even leave a message on her answer phone and he'd been too much of a coward to call her mother and ask how her daughter was.

If he'd known or had an inclination Rose had been pregnant with his child, his son, Zack (they had decided against James, using it as his middle name in favour of a more trendy name) he would never have wallowed in misery for five months or so.  It had been the second best day of his life when he had been staring out of his rented chalet's glass door, the home he'd stayed in even after she had left and he'd thought he was hallucinating when Rose was standing there in the rain, back in March.

That was the day the Joe Miller trial had dealt the town a massive blow and he'd been ready to leave, ready to pack up and go find his daughter and was about to order a taxi to take him to the nearest train station.  When he'd seen Rose properly, going absent-mindedly into the kitchen and not noticing her baby bump, he'd never been so happy since Daisy was born and the day he'd knocked over Tony in his rush to ask Rose out on a sort of non-date, the day he'd first laid eyes on her.

Then, when she'd been in hospital and Jackie had forced his hand into getting married, he'd realized why he'd not asked her the last three months she'd been back because he'd feared she would take his son and he'd lose them both but here they were, preparing to go join Rose's family for Christmas.  Zack was six months old and a handful, Daisy had been for a visit and fussed over him a few times and she was coming for a few days over the new year when they got back from London.

Ellie had of course moved back into the family home shortly after the trial had ended and she'd made up with Beth which Rose was glad about when she'd heard what had happened while she had been making both hers and Alec's lives a misery all that time she'd been hiding in her room in the Tyler house.  Alec had tried to keep himself busy during that time, going over statements and suchlike to make sure nothing could go wrong but despite his best efforts, it had gone wrong.

He'd tried his hand at teaching recruits, being told to smarten himself up or find another job by the chief in charge but he'd not told her it was because his then broken heart wasn't in it and all he wanted was Rose by his side again.  Getting involved with the Sandbrook case had given him some purpose though he'd got more than he'd bargained for when being accused of having an affair with Miller, while he'd been sleeping and having sex with Rose all the time but he'd come unstuck because Rose had not been there to defend him for the night he'd locked up Joe Miller.

Rose of course had gone crazy when she'd found out and had got on the phone to Pete and then Sharon Bishop had got what she deserved because Pete had agreed they should not have that getting in the way once the baby came along.  Rose had regretted not going back to him sooner, letting him go through it all and facing his surgery alone but she'd laughed when Ellie had said Tess had turned up to take him home but he'd confessed she'd been surprised Rose had left.

All that now though didn't matter as he watched Rose feeding Zack, how he'd been persuaded to name his son that, he'd not yet worked out.  Rose had told him she had a friend from her old life called Jack and knowing what had happened to the town's newsagent, they'd thought it wise not to name the baby that.

"Do you want me to take him now?" Alec asked her as she put the towel on her shoulder to wait for Zack to get the wind out of him, something he was rather good at and had got Alec unexpectedly a few times, thankfully not on his suit jacket – yet.  Zack was now almost on solids but liked his milk.

"Nah, we're good.  What time's Ellie and the boys coming by?"

"Soon, I believe, maybe she's having trouble with, 'erm, Fred?"

Rose smiled.  All the times Ellie had said he'd minded Fred while she did shopping for him and he'd pushed him around when they'd been working on the Sandbrook case and he only just remembered the boy's name.

"Yeah, well Fred's probably insisting he wraps Zack's present by himself.  Speaking of presents, we still have to decide what we're getting him."

"Love, he's too young to even worry about it, it's not like he'll be opening his own, is it?" Alec asked, sitting up on the sofa to take the boy and not forgetting the towel, he'd learned his lesson.

As he settled Zack on his right shoulder, Rose reached over to kiss her son's cheek, then Alec's.

"Aw but he'll be taking notice so let's just get him something educational from the early learning centre?  We have Christmas Eve morning to go to the shopping mall while mum looks after him."

"Won't she want to come with us?" he asked, hoping the answer was a big NO.

"Have her missing spending the morning with her grandson?  Fat chance.  Tony might want to tag along, do ya mind?"

"No love, he's your brother, him I can put up with."

Rose smiled as Zack made a noise Mickey would be proud of.

Half an hour later, the doorbell rang and knowing Ellie loved nothing better than see her boss changing nappies, much to Alec's embarrassment, Rose went to let her in.  Ellie smiled.

"I see I've arrived just in time then?  Need any help Alec?"

Alec gave her a look that told her where to go, not so politely.

"Hardee!" young Fred squealed at him as he wriggled from Tom's grip, looking at Alec and holding out his arms. 

Alec was trying to fasten the blue patterned baby suit and concentrating on lining up the press-studs, unsuccessfully and hoping Rose would rescue him – who made these things?

"Hardee," the boy repeated, looking at Rose.

"Uncle Alec's a bit busy Fred, let's go see if we've any chocolate biscuits, unless he's eaten them all."

"Not before his tea Rose," Ellie warned her.

"Then have tea here, Alec can go to the takeaway, can't you love?"

Alec was all for getting away from this Chinese torture puzzle of fastening his son's suit.

"Seriously Rose, this suit's a bit much, can't you get him some pull on leggings?"

Rose smiled.  "Aw but it's not as much fun.  The worse cop in Britain not up for the challenge?  You've had six months practice."

"Yes but when he was in a smaller size, there were not as many.  What are you laughing at Tom?"

Tom was smirking.  "Nothing, Uncle Alec."  Tom did not usually call him that.

While Alec went to get what everyone wanted from the takeaway, Ellie took Zack, Fred trying to catch the baby's hand as he waved it around and giggling, Ellie asked what she'd bought Alec for Christmas.

"I'm getting him something when we go to London.  My mum's looking forward to spending some time with Zack.  We had a bit of a miserable time last year, I was upset about Alec and I hate to think what he was like."

"We didn't have an easy time either, trust me, did we Tom?"

Tom had stayed with his aunt and they'd all had dinner there though it had not been very cheerful so Ellie could imagine what the two of them had been like when they weren't talking.

"Don't you regret not telling him Rose?"

"Of course I do, I hate myself for it now and so does Alec, it wasn't easy for either of us, he was all I could think about and we were both stubborn."

"You could have sent him a card."

"He could have sent me one, to let me know he was still around.  My mum told me before I left she only knew he was still around because Pete was subsidizing the cost of Alec staying in the chalet.  She said Pete wanted to keep an eye on him so if I came to my senses I'd know where he was."

"Quite right too, honestly, the pair of you.  Zack has his eyes."

"Yeah, good thing he's not got his beard."

Even Tom laughed.

After the Millers left, Alec went to put Zack in his cot and switched the baby monitor on, a present from Jake.  They fooled around on the sofa for a while then Alec had something to ask her.

"Rose, now Zack is six months, don't you think we should be discussing a brother or sister for him?"

"Really?  We never discussed having kids, we both went into it without thinking of the consequences that night."

"Well I know that but now we are discussing it, I mean it Rose, I don't want to wait until it's too late to have another one or maybe two?"

"We could have twins?" she suggested, going for his trousers zip.

Tapping her hand, he told her to be serious.  "Well why don't you stop whatever you're on and we'll see what happens?"

"Mmm, okay, I will.  Do ya need any practice, lover?"

"I don't think so Rose, do you?"

The next morning, Alec was packing the car for the journey up to London and Rose had just finished feeding and getting Zack ready.  They were making a couple of stops, that was depending on traffic and Alec was hoping the roads would be quiet since the morning rush would be gone.  It was the 23rd which meant the Christmas rush may not have yet started, well he hoped not and had an alternate route already worked out if the motorway was busy.  It was a longer way around but at least they would be making more progress than sitting a traffic jam with a screaming baby who would want feeding and changing.

Alec was dead set against Rose getting out on the motorway to get in the back seat or climbing over unless it was an emergency and he hoped Zack would sleep most of the way.  Kissing his wife, they set off for the more or less straight route to London, making one stop without any hold-ups and since the baby was still snug in his seat in the outer suit Jackie had sent for him, they decided to carry on instead of stopping again.

They arrived just after one and Alec pulled up in front of the Tyler residence and he swore his mother-in-law had a sixth sense since she was out of the house before he'd put the handbrake on, waiting to get her mitts on her grandson.  He'd often wondered why she'd not opted to have another baby herself but that was non of his business, he just didn't like sharing his and Rose's.  He often thought back to when Jackie had grabbed hold of him when Rose was about to give birth and made him call the vicar.

It wasn't so much as he didn't want to marry Rose, he was afraid she'd turn him down for being such an idiot in letting her almost get away.  Rose had assured him over and over that she would have told him he had a son and let him see the boy but he wouldn't have been able to walk away after just one look, he knew that.  He also wouldn't have let Rose just leave again and he wouldn't have done had he not been in the hospital the morning she'd finally had enough.

"Rose!  You made good time sweetheart, let me get Zack out for you."

Before either of them could protest, Jackie had the door open and was unfastening the straps.  Alec knew he would hardly get him back from her now.  Rose was eyeing him as if to say play nicely.  Once inside and one of the staff had helped Alec get their cases and presents up to Rose's old room, where a cot had been brought in, he went to find them all in the kitchen.  Tony went straight for him.

"Alec!  Will you make paper stars with me after lunch?"

"I'm sure your sister is much better at that than I am?"

"You're just tryin' to get out of it Alec.  I'll help you Tony.  Zack needs feeding soon."

"I can do that for you Rose," Jackie volunteered, glaring at Alec and daring him to object.  She knew Alec was possessive of his son.

Alec shook his head and ate the chunky soup that had appeared in front of him.  This was his first Christmas with her family and he knew he'd never survive.  He was starting to regret not staying at home and just spend it with Rose, having been without her last year, three months after she'd left him, probably having as bad a time as he'd had, alone with only a phone call to his daughter.  It was going to be bad enough tomorrow morning, last minute shopping, why had he agreed to that?  Then she'd suggested Tony might want to go with them, probably so Jackie could wrap his presents and put them under the rather over-decorated silver tree in the hallway.  He'd not even seen the one in the sitting room yet.

He was just thankful it wasn't yet snowing or they could get stuck here after Boxing Day, when they'd planned to leave Zack overnight and go down to Brighton on their own, part of his present to her.  He saw Rose was watching him.

"Let mum feed Zack and we'll go unpack and sort out the presents."

"Yes, good idea love.  Tony, you must be getting all excited then, having your sister home for the holidays?"

"Yeah, she was all sad last year, weren't you Rose?"

Rose tried to brush it off but Alec knew he'd been to blame for that.

"Well she had you Tony and this year she has Zack, she won't be sad this time."

"No Alec, I'm not sad this year, I've got all I want for Christmas, you and Zack."

"Don't you two get all soppy on me," Jackie interrupted as she tried to finish her soup, one-handed.

"Mum, you can put him down if you want?"

Alec had left the buggy in the kitchen after getting it from the back of the car.  He'd found it difficult to assemble after the more simple one Daisy had been put in, sixteen years ago but once he'd got the hang of it, well getting a reward from Rose for getting it right, he never bothered about it now.

Alec had noticed Pete was missing.  Pete was still trying to get finished at Torchwood before it got to the late afternoon and seeing his grandson, something after last year he'd never thought he'd have.  He thought at one point Rose had been so upset she would think about terminating her pregnancy but he'd never said anything.  He was in a meeting with various department heads, Jake and Mickey as anxious to get away to see Rose and the baby as he was.

He'd known Mickey was disappointed when Rose had, without any warning, packed her things and announced she was going to find Alec and she'd only come back to go to the hospital for a scan and get transferred.  So they finally agreed to call it a day and Jake and Mickey hung back and waited for him.

"Can't wait to see Rose and Zack," Jake enquired as Mickey studied the floor.  "They come with Alec you know?"

"Stop it Jake.  I know that, don't I?  I lost Rose before she'd even met him, it's nothing new you know."

"I hope you're not gonna be a complete misery on Christmas Day?  We had enough with Rose being upset last year.  You're still upset she got married and weren't invited."

"No-one was invited Jake.  Alec finally did the right thing and married her, albeit as the baby was about to put in an appearance but better late than never," Pete joined in.  He neglected to say though that Jackie had played a big part in it.

He knew Mickey had never got over losing Rose, even back in their old world and he'd chosen to stay behind but he'd been keen enough to go warn them of the Cybermen and pleased when Rose had been brought here.  Then, they'd gone on holiday last year and Rose had stayed in Broadchurch – with the twin of the man Mickey had always been jealous of.

Alec had reluctantly left their son for Jackie to feed and fuss over him and retreated to their room, Rose thought to unpack but he had other ideas to make good use of the time, he knew exactly how long it took to feed, wind and change Zack.  They had a good hour at least.  He made his move on his wife, going up behind her and feeling under her t-shirt.

"Ah, you want to play?"

"Oh yes love, I want to play, after you've snogged my face off."

Just under an hour later, Rose had persuaded him that playtime was over and they had to get unpacked.  They went back downstairs to find they had company in the guise of Mickey and Jake.  Alec was not a big fan of Rose's one-time boyfriend, even though it was a long time go, especially when he was holding his son and making faces at him, watched by a smiling Jackie.

Alec often got the feeling that his mother-in-law had wanted Mickey to take that role but Rose had made it clear that had never been going to happen even if they'd not met.  In Alec's eyes, Mickey and Rose were about as likely as he and Miller having a non-existent affair, while Rose had been around.  It didn't stop him feeling jealous though.  Jake on the other hand was a different matter altogether and he could see the other man was dying to get Zack from his friend but Mickey wasn't about to let go.

Alec sat next to Rose, taking her hand.  Rose felt sorry for him, she thought it must bring back memories of him spending time with Daisy.  They had talked while upstairs of maybe trying for another baby for next Christmas, if they were lucky.  Rose had said that would be perfect.  Jake finally got Mickey to part with the baby, who was by now wide awake and probably wondering who was fighting over him so when Jake picked him up, Zack decided enough was enough, Alec getting up and taking him.

The baby immediately went quiet again, Rose had noticed how Alec seemed to be their son's favourite, when he was at home.  All Mickey could do was stare open-mouthed.  Alec and Rose retreated back to their room to settle Zack for a nap and just lay together for a while before facing the family dinner.

"You hate this don't you Alec?"

"No, what makes you think that?"

"This was a big mistake, we should have stayed at home, with Ellie and the boys."

Alec hovered over her.  "No love, you needed to be with your family, I know that."

"We could have invited Daisy to come with us."

"It was too much, she's only just getting used to you love.  If we have another addition to our family next year, we are definitely staying home."

"Yeah, I know, just expect my mum to come to us."

She saw the look on his face.  "Just joking teddy."

"I hope so princess, I don't think I could cope with that, it was bad enough before you had Zack."

Rose remembered him coming home just before she'd gone in hospital when he had been caught out trying to snog Rose as he'd realized he was being watched.

Alec went down later to get Zack's bottle and to see what time dinner was, he was going to make sure he got to feed his son this time.  Sitting in the rocking chair Pete had got for them, Alec sat patiently while the baby took his milk, Rose insisted no solids before he was put down for the night.  She sat on the edge of the bed, watching her husband.


"Nothing teddy, I'm trying to decide who's the cutest, it's a draw."

"I'm glad you see it that way princess."

The next day was going to test Alec's patience to the limits – taking Tony shopping on the busiest day of the year and leaving his son with his grandmother and he didn't know which was going to be the worse.  It wasn't like he didn't leave Rose and the baby while he went to work but leaving him with Jackie was ten times worse.  He knew he was never like this over Daisy, a nervous wreck every time he had to leave but it occurred to him it was the fear of losing the both of them when Rose came back into his life.

Apart from Rose's stay in hospital, they had never been apart since and he couldn't stand the thought of her even getting Miller to watch the baby while they went out but sometimes for his sanity he'd had to agree before Rose drove him crazy, as much as he loved her.  Playing with Zack after breakfast, Alec finally handed him over to Jackie, the latter giving him the look that said she'd raised two of her own and was quite capable of taking care of the child.

Alec just managed to find a parking space in the crowded shopping mall, Rose saying they should have got a ride there and be picked up, they wandered around the shops, splitting up to get each other something and Tony wanting to go with Alec, which Alec wasn't so sure about.  When they'd left Rose, Alec was looking in a jeweller's window at some watches as Tony looked at him.

"You won't tell Rose what I bought her, will you Tony?" he asked, asking the assistant to put the watch he'd chosen in a gift box.

"No, I won't tell."

"Rose will be better this year Tony, she won't be sad like the last one."

"I tried to cheer her up and so did Mickey, Mickey thought it was because it reminded her of another Christmas, before I was born."

"Which one was that then?"

"He didn't say but I think it was before mum met my dad."

Rose had never really talked about her past life much, she'd only told him the basics of growing up on a London council estate and about this Doctor she used to know.  Now he was curious as to why Rose had never talked about it.

"Well Tony, we have Zack this Christmas so she will be happy this year.  Time to go find her eh?  What did you get for him?"

"A train."

Alec chuckled to himself and ruffled Tony's hair.  "Good choice, every baby boy should have at least one train.  I expect you will help him with it?"

"Yeah, mum said dad should have helped me pick something else."

"Never mind, he'll be able to play with it next year."

While Alec and Tony were choosing Rose's present, Rose was debating between a tablet PC and digital recorder for Alec, he'd expressed a wish for either but she knew she would have to show him how to use the tablet, hers was different and he could only use it if the icon explained what each 'App' did so she asked the assistant in the electrical store which was the easiest to use for her technophobic husband and was shown a fairly simple model where if the user got stuck, they could get help.

She found Tony and Alec waiting in the café area and kissed Alec's cheek.

"All done love?"

"Yeah, you two look pleased with yourselves.  We just have to go get Zack's now, you can help Tony."

"Cool!" the boy grinned, hoping they would get something for him as well, he was now into jigsaw puzzles, much to his mother's dismay as she found pieces down the side of her plush red sofa all the time and had meant to have words with the staff for not finding them before she did.

Jackie was in her element looking after her grandson, Pete had retreated to his office to make sure everyone knew what they were doing while he was away but joined her in the family room as she was watching Zack playing with a soft toy.

"We could have had more Jaks, if you'd wanted?"

"I'm happy with Tony, never thought I'd have any more after Rose.  I wish we'd see more of Zack though, them being so far away."

"I know love, they come up as often as they can, with Alec's work.  We can go down for a few days once the caravan park opens, Zack might be crawling by then, Rose will have her hands full."

"I swear Alec gets jealous every time I pick the baby up, does he think I'm gonna kidnap his son?"

Pete laughed.  "Probably, it's just his way though, he's suspicious of everyone, well except Rose.  Just think though, last year, they were both over 100 miles apart and both miserable, I can't imagine what it was like for him, Rose was bad enough.  Even Mickey couldn't cheer her up."

"It probably reminded her of that Christmas with the Doctor.  I wish she would tell Alec about it but she's adamant he never finds out the truth.  Have you talked to Mickey and Jake, about not saying anything?"

"They know the drill, don't worry about them love, they won't say anything."

Mickey and Jake were not what they had to worry about.
Chapter 2
Once back from their shopping trip, Rose went to wrap her present to Alec and the ones they'd chosen for Zack, banning Alec until she'd finished wrapping his up.  He was left to wrap his to Rose in the kitchen, Jackie watching him, the baby asleep in his stroller Jackie had placed him in when he'd been changed.

"You know what a difference this has made to Rose?"

"I know that Jackie, we were both too stubborn last year."

"You could have called her, or me."

"You would have kicked my butt down the phone and told me to stop being pig-headed."

Jackie laughed.  "You know I would.  I don't know how many times I said that to Rose but it made no difference.  She hardly ate anything, she was still feeling sick, it should have gone by then but it wasn't just the baby making her feel that way."

"Jackie, if I'd had any idea there was a chance she was pregnant when she left, I would have come after her, even if she had thrown me out, it would have shown her I still cared.  Do you know why she left me?"

"Of course I do, you plum.  What made you go get fixed in the end?"

"When I collapsed again outside the chalet, it gave me a wake-up call and if Rose had not shown up when she did, I was going to see my daughter then get the train to London and see Rose.  Did she tell you I was all ready to leave?"

"Yeah.  You know Pete was subsidizing the cost of your chalet to make sure Rose knew where you were?"

"No, was he?  Why would he do that?"

"So Rose would know you were okay, Ellie would have told her if something had happened to you but Pete arranged with the police to pay the rest of the cost for you to stay there."

"I just assumed the owner was glad not to have it empty over the winter period, there were times I thought I'd have to get a boat to it, then I would have been stuck and I would have gone to the hotel for the night, you know I hate boats."

Jackie smiled.  Now she was glad she did kick his butt and got him to marry Rose, even though it was at the last minute.

Rose came in to join them, seeing their son asleep and risking getting a glare from her mother by sitting on Alec's lap and putting her arms around his neck.  It was only the fact that Tony had followed her in that stopped her giving her husband a proper snogging on the spot.

"Can you watch Zack a while Mum?"

Alec looked at her, what was she planning?

"You two go ahead, I was just saying to Alec you were a proper misery last year."

Rose got up, pulling Alec with her.

"Yeah, I don't need reminding of that thanks.  What time does the party start?"

"Party?  What party?" Alec panicked, hoping Rose was winding him up – again, something she was rather good at and made him love her even more.

"The Christmas party.  I skipped out last year, I had nothing to celebrate, it was all mum could do to get me down for Christmas dinner, she told everyone I had the 'flu."

"So you never told anyone the real reason then?"

"Well we were trying to keep it quiet, did you want it all over the papers that I was pregnant and wouldn't name the father?  Someone would have given it away."

"Oi you two, don't be late for the party, it starts at six, nanny will see to Zack after that, he can go in the old nursery, I'll have his cot put back in there."  She turned to one of the male staff, giving instructions.

Alec still couldn't get used to this kind of lifestyle.  Housekeepers, kitchen staff, a butler, well butler and part-time driver, a nanny for Tony though Tony seemed to think he was past that stage, she was only there once he came home from school but Jackie had got her in for the evening to take charge of the baby so Rose and Alec could have a quiet Christmas Eve and not have to get up during the night and Alec was fussing about it.

"I can see to my own son Jackie, he need not be in the nursery all night you know."

"Stop being a pain Alec, you and Rose deserve one night's break you know."

"Yes and we will when we go off, that is going to be bad enough."

"Why don't you two stay there another night?"

Alec turned to face her, horrified at the thought but supposed she had a point, they'd never really had a honeymoon as such.

"What do you think love?"

"Call the hotel, if the room's not booked the night after, it will be nice."

So Alec called the hotel, the receptionist saying that room was booked the following night but could change them to a sea view room for two nights but it cost extra.  Alec said he didn't care.

They retreated to their room, Rose saying for the nanny to knock on their door when she was taking Zack to the nursery, just before the guests were due to arrive, the cot had already been taken out as per Jackie's instructions and Alec laid Rose on the bed.

"So, we get three nights alone then?" he asked, leaning over her to kiss her neck.

Rose just smiled.  "Well, what you were saying before, about a brother or sister for Zack, maybe it's close enough for my monthly?"

"Really love?  Well don't you go having too much to drink tonight then will you?"

"Nah but this year we've got something to celebrate, don't we?"

She pulled him down, unbuttoning his shirt and admiring the view, much as he was doing as he pulled up her t-shirt.

"Were you really so bad last year Rose?" he asked, kissing her tummy.

"You have no idea but I just couldn't bring myself to do anything about it, I thought you wouldn't want anything to do with me."

"Then why did you wait five months to find out?"

"I was punishing myself, for leaving you without knowing you were okay, never giving you the chance to explain.  Alec, you know I can't ever make up for leaving, when you'd been in hospital that night but you should have got Ellie to call me, I would have gone straight there."

"We can't turn that back now Rose, it happened, that is all there is to it.  I survived, that's the main thing but I wished I hadn't, when I got back and you had gone, my life was over that day, until I looked out of the window that rainy evening in March and there you were."

"I was gonna call you but I thought if I did, you would tell me not to bother and to turn around and go home."

"I would not have done that love.  I would have come to find you, when I had been to see Daisy.  I was going to tell her that I may stay in London, had you agreed to take me back, if that was what you wanted but there you were, after the worst day I'd had since you left me."

"I'm so sorry Alec, I should have thought how it had affected you as well.  When Daisy comes to see us, I want you to ask her to come down more often, if she wants."

"Aye, I will, she's old enough now, if you are sure?"

"She's your daughter Alec, that's good enough me for me.  Now stop wasting time teddy."

"Anything you say princess."

The party was a success, Tony was allowed to stay up late until Pete had to practically carry the tired boy upstairs and Rose had gone to check on her son.  Alec was introduced to people Rose knew from Torchwood and Jackie was dragging him around, introducing her son-in-law the detective but failing to say he was the one where a killer had walked free because he'd been accused of having an affair with his DS.

They managed to get away just before midnight and made up for being apart the previous year, Rose giggling and telling Alec to keep his grunting down or the whole house would hear.  Alec was first up, quickly getting dressed in his joggers and a t-shirt and impatiently waiting to be admitted into the nursery to get to his son, something he made known he was not used to.  He picked up the still sleeping baby and took him back to the room that had once been Rose's and now theirs whenever they were to visit, seeing Rose was also still asleep and sat in the rocking chair.

Rose woke up and saw him holding Zack's tiny hand and smiled to herself.  She left him a while, she knew how much he loved these moments and would often catch him at home just laid beside her with the baby safely wrapped in his arms.

"You two okay over there?"

"Yes, we are fine, he went back to sleep after he had been changed but he will probably want feeding soon.  Are you going to try him with the baby rice you brought with us?"

He gave the still sleeping baby to Rose while he went to the bathroom, then got himself dressed, choosing the comic jumper Rose had bought him for a joke that had snowmen and santas on and a pair of black corded trousers she'd persuaded him to buy recently though she'd wanted him to get some tan coloured ones as well, getting her a firm 'no way' from him in the store.

He thought modernizing him was a bit of a lost cause but she never gave up, that was one of the many things he loved about her and since he had a young son and Rose would want more, he'd decided to drag himself reasonably up to date but still preferred the chunky blue jumper she had made him leave at home.  He had been reluctant to wear this one but it made her smile seeing him in it so it made it worthwhile wearing it for her.

Tony had already woken up and was downstairs with his dad, being told to wait for everyone else then he could open some presents before breakfast.

"I know what Alec got Rose," he told Pete.

"I bet you do but don't tell her, will you?"

"Nah, Alec said not to.  She won't cry this year, will she Dad?"

"No, she has Zack and Alec this time.  Mickey and Jake will be here later, did you put their presents under the tree?"

"Yes Dad and Zack's.  Alec said every baby boy should have a train."

Pete smiled and waited for everyone else to come down.  Alec arrived down first, carefully with Zack in his arm as he was now awake after Rose got him dressed out of his sleep suit.  He was followed closely by Jackie.

"Here, let me take him?" she offered as Alec made for the kitchen, passing a confused Tony who had been awake for ages waiting to unwrap his presents.

"Mum, my presents?"

"Oh, sorry love, yeah, let's open one or two.  Alec, you go ahead unless Zack can wait for a few minutes?"

Tony wasted no time, going for the one he knew was from Rose and Alec.  He was looking forward to this after Rose had hardly said a word last year.  Rose came to join them, eating her breakfast while Alec tried to feed Zack who wanted to spit out the new baby food and Alec didn't really blame him, he would never have eaten it either and so he had to get the bottle warmed up instead, his breakfast being kept warm for him.

Rose smiled at him as she finished her own and took the boy.  "Maybe we should just give him some porridge?"

"Very funny Rose."

Tony was waiting to be excused to go tear off more wrapping paper.  "Thanks for the present Alec, it's great."

They had got him a remote control police helicopter.  Jackie had frowned and was holding Alec responsible for any breakages such as her best vase in the hallway.  Rose swore those two had a frowning contest each time they met.

After the present opening, Alec losing his new pad to Tony who wanted to know what the different apps did after Rose connected it to the internet for him and then Tony decided he wanted to beat Alec at a racing game.  They helped Zack open his presents, the wooden train from Tony, a soft play gym from Jackie and Pete they could lay him in so he was secure and the things they had bought for him. 

Tony then got bored and went to fetch the puzzle he'd got the day before for helping them choose toys for Zack and he and Alec were soon taking over the coffee table trying to get it together since it was a double sided one, which Rose had thought was funny when Alec kept looking at both sides.  That was the calm before the storm as the staff prepared Christmas dinner, Jackie going off to supervise and Rose going up to get changed leaving Alec and Pete to talk.

"Jackie told me you helped pay for the chalet while Rose was away."

"Yeah, I suppose she told you why?"

"Yes, I may have wandered off once Rose showed no sign of returning, I thought I may as well stay there until the hearing was over.  I would have left if there had not been a trial, made my way up to London and seen if Rose would have talked to me."

"I think she would have done.  When she first came here, all she wanted was to go back to her old life but she came around, she's just a bit stubborn."

Alec smiled.  "Tell me about it.  You know I love her Pete and she'll want to tell her mother but we're thinking of having an addition to the family."

"That's great Alec, good luck with that.  Remember when she was in the hospital and you looked at me when Jackie told you to get a move on and marry Rose?"

"Only too well Pete, I wish I'd done it before but I was genuinely scared she'd leave again."

"Did it never occur to you that would have been the best way of keeping her?"

Alec raised his eyebrows and looked at his son, laying on the sofa kicking his legs.  Zack was staying awake longer now and if Rose were to have another, he would be still quite young and demanding but not old enough to get jealous.  Rose came back into the room, Alec whistled.

"Your turn to go get changed Alec."

"Can't I wear this jumper?"

She knew he really hated it.

Mickey and Jake arrived, along with Jake's friend Luke and Tony got excited all over again with more presents.  Mickey went to pick up Zack, who was wide awake and trying to eat Mickey's finger, Rose holding Alec back.  She took him to one side.

"Ease up teddy, no-one's going anywhere with him, relax."

"Easy for you to say.  Do you think I'm being over-protective?"

"Just a little bit Alec, he's safe enough.  We might be grateful next year if we have another."

"Then we definitely go for it?"

"That was the idea."

She put her arms around him and steered him to the sprig of mistletoe by the door, Jackie trying to get Tony's attention to avoid him seeing his sister snogging her husband.

Christmas dinner was announced, Alec taking his son from Jake and wishing they would stop playing pass the parcel with him.  A chair had been found for the baby, Rose hoping he wouldn't decide now was the time to take a nap.  All went well through the main course, then the desserts were brought in and the Christmas crackers, Tony wanting to pull one with Alec then Mickey held one out to Rose.

"Hey come on Rose, your turn.  What does this remind you of?"

Jackie glared at him.  "I mean the last Christmas we had back on the estate, we pulled crackers and you got a pink paper hat."

"Yeah, I know Mickey, leave it will you?"

Alec stopped trying to feed some cooled custard to Zack.

"Why would you want to forget it Rose, if it was the last Christmas in your old flat?"

"It doesn't matter Alec."

Tony didn't know that talking about his sister's past was going to cause so much trouble.

"Don't you like pink hats Rose?" Tony asked innocently.

"Yeah, she likes pink hats, don't worry about it Tony," Mickey answered for her.

Alec wondered where this was going and thought now was the time to find out.

"You never talked about it love, why not?  It was your life before you moved here then met me."

"I know but I'd rather just forget it."

Alec knew Mickey was a past boyfriend and wondered if there had been someone else.  He remembered vaguely of a conversation when he'd woken one night and they'd talked about not liking water and something about a Doctor but she'd never said another word about it.

"Rose, was an old boyfriend of yours there?"

Jackie stopped what she was doing, knowing there was going to be trouble.

"I don't want to talk about it Alec, this is not the time."

"Rose, when is it ever going to be the right time?  You never talk about your past, why not?"

Rose got up, throwing her napkin on the table and looking at Zack, who was rubbing his eyes.

"Zack needs a nap, I'll take him upstairs."

"I'll bring him up."

"No Alec, I want to be on my own."

"We need to talk Rose."

"Let her be Alec," Jackie interrupted as he got up, making Zack cry at being disturbed, Alec then trying to hush him.

"It's okay Mum, excuse us."

Once they put Zack in his cot after settling him, Alec turned to his wife.

"What was all that about Rose?"

"Nothing, really.  It just brought back memories of last year, without you."

"Don't give me that Rose, tell me what it is.  If it is another boyfriend you never told me about, it's fine, really.  I just wish you would tell me.  What was so bad about spending the last Christmas in your old place?  Did you not want to leave when your mother met Pete?"

How could she tell him?  She'd never said she'd been involved with both Cybermen incidents though he knew she'd worked for Torchwood but he'd assumed she had missed all that somehow and been one of the lucky ones and that the old Torchwood had long gone when Pete had taken over.

"Rose, you can tell me, I don't care about your past boyfriends, you married me.  How long ago was that now?  Wait, it was just before the Cybermen disappeared, were you caught up in that?"

"How could I have been Alec?  Mum met him after that, she just got lucky."

"You can say that again, you said she had no idea how she resembled the first Mrs Tyler, how could she not have known?"

"She just didn't, why should she?  Can we just drop this Alec?  I don't want to fight with you."

She stepped up to him, glancing over at their sleeping child.  Alec opened his arms and kissed her forehead.

"You were young then, back when the Cybermen were created, how did you avoid it all?"

"Me mum and Mickey, we never had those earpod things, mum hated the thought of them and she wouldn't let me have any either, said they were evil.  What about you?"

"Not in the police, well some of them wore them but not me or Tess.   We had Daisy to think about anyway and in Sandbrook they were not that popular, not like in London.  You are avoiding the subject Rose, was there someone else?"

"Yes.  I don't want to talk about him."

"Did you love him?"

"I was nineteen Alec, I didn't tell him, not until it was too late.  He left before I had the chance."

"He left you?  You saw him again, to tell him?  You walked away from me because another man left you?"

"No Alec, it wasn't like that.  He had no choice but to leave and I can't tell you about it, it's too personal and upsetting.  It took me a long time to get over it then some stupid detective almost sent my young brother flying after almost getting run over by a car and made me realize I'd been alone too long.  He made me realize I'd got over the man I lost and I fell in love with him and he wouldn't do a simple thing for me like get himself fixed so I was the one that left.  I left you Alec because I couldn't watch you getting any worse and because I knew even when you'd solved the case you wouldn't go ahead with it.  Tell me I was wrong."

"Why?  No, I would probably have made up excuses, at first but if you had told me you were pregnant, I would have got it done right away, you know that love.  Now, do you want to tell me who he was?  If not, this is over and done with, we will never talk about it again."

This was her chance to get out of it but was that fair?  She had to make her mind up.  She could live with telling him some of it but he'd want to know more, it would get complicated and he could leave her and Zack.  This was a new start for both of them, they were talking about trying for another baby already and they were happy and she would be risking everything by telling him.

"I was nineteen, the store I worked in got set on fire.  I got a job as a research assistant for a history professor and we travelled around together.  I got giddy, fell head over heels for him and almost made a fool of myself by inviting him for Christmas dinner, just before my mum met Pete when I kissed him under the mistletoe.  He laughed it off but just after that, the university pulled the funding and he had to go back to teaching and I never saw him again, then mum fell in love with Pete and we moved here."

"He moved away then?"

"Yeah, seems he wasn't big on long distance relationships and neither was I.  I was heart-broken for a while but then Tony came along, I dated a few blokes, can't even remember half of them, just to get myself in the papers as the new Vitex heiress having a night out of the town."

She hated herself for this but she had agreed with Pete if she ever met someone and she'd had no choice but to invent a story to cover what had happened, that was what they would say.  Pete must have known by the way they had suddenly left that it had come to that, six months after they had married.  She had hoped it would never had come to it but it had and she had to save her marriage to Alec at any cost, she had lost five months, almost six being selfish when she could have gone back to him and she hadn't.

She'd had no choice over the Doctor, the universe had been cruel but she had chosen to go back to the one man she loved in this universe and she'd almost lost him but she had come to her senses and she wasn't about to lose him a second time.

"Rose, princess, I am happy you could tell me this, now we will say no more about it.  We'll put the monitor on and go rejoin the others or shall I get the nanny to watch him?"

"What was all that earlier, you were looking daggers at Mickey."

"Well of course I was, he was looking just a little too cosy with my son."

Rose reached up and put her arms around the man she loved.

"I love you Alec but you've nothing to worry about.  Mickey will protect him and so will Jake.  Sure you want to join the others?  We could say we had a row and were making up," she teased, pulling on his tie.

"Rose Hardy, I do like the way you think but don't wake Zack."

"Maybe we can have the cot put back in the nursery then?"

"Why, are you going to be difficult to keep quiet tonight then?"

"Mmm, your guess is as good as mine on that score."

The rest of the holiday went smoothly with Rose and Alec leaving early on the 27th for two nights in Brighton which resulted five weeks later in Rose being late and getting a test, which she showed to Alec when he got home from work.

"Really?  Seems that extra night we had in Brighton may have been worth it, I had to pay extra for that room."

"Yeah, it was a lovely room Alec and looking out at the pier all lit up and the moon on the sea, it was really romantic."

"Glad you appreciated it love.  So, another addition to the family before Christmas eh?  We seem to be making a habit of it."

"Well don't get any ideas about the following one, that's all."

"No going off this time then?" he asked, putting his hands up the back of her t-shirt.

"Nope, no getting married when I'm about to have the baby either."

They had just shared a long kiss when they heard a noise behind them from Zack, who was laid on his play gym.  "Da da da."

Alec smiled and knelt down to tickle him.  "When did he start that?" he asked, picking him up carefully.

"He's been babbling all day, only had a couple of naps.  We went out for a walk to the esplanade, we saw Maggie and Jocelyn out for a walk, Jocelyn's getting worse now but she could just about see Zack, says how he's growing.  He was babbling away and she put a pound coin in his pocket, I've put it in his money box."

"About that money box your mother sent, why have a phone box painted blue?  Does she not know how to use one and I expect she thought it very amusing to have a police sign put on the top?"

Rose smiled.  Alec carried on with his list of grudges against his mother-in-law while playing with Zack's feet, making the baby gurgle and giggle as he tried to get away.

"Does she not know how one looks, it hardly has any windows in it and has a lamp on the top.  Really love, has she gone completely mad?"

Rose knew there had never been any police call boxes in this world and Pete had got a specialist model maker to make the money box with a slot in the top for coins and a rubber stopper.

"Did she have it made by the same person who made that shoulder bag of yours or did she get the idea from you?"

Rose had admitted in a moment of madness she'd had the bag designed for her by an upcoming bag designer, who had done very well for herself as Rose had endorsed her.

"No teddy, it was all her idea and you have to admit it's one of a kind, Ellie loves it, she wanted one for Fred but mum can't remember who she got to make it."

That wasn't quite true but Pete had warned they could become popular and one model Tardis in this world was quite enough – for everyone's liking.

The End!