I hate Christmas because.....

Wanting a relaxing break, Rose Tyler decides to visit Broadchurch, after trying to avoid meeting a certain Alec Hardy but she has to report she's in town as part of her safety arrangements. It's almost Christmas and Alec's daughter is going to be away so he decides to risk everything and ask Rose to stay with him but it doesn't turn out quite as he expected.

Chapter 1

Rose knew it was going to be hectic, the week running up to Christmas, it always was. What with her mother going overboard with decorations, a tree in every room (not killer Christmas trees) Jackie insisted and Tony having her making paper chains every evening when she got home, them strung everywhere and Pete was running out of places to put them, she knew she should be more enthusiastic about it.

How could she be though? That Christmas The Doctor had regenerated had been her best ever. The smile on his face as he'd stood in the doorway was one she'd never forget. Torchwood had come so close to perfecting a way of her getting back but as the years had passed, she had to face reality he would have changed by now and would he still feel the same about her?

She was interrupted by Mickey barging into her office – like a herd of elephants as her mother would say.

"Coming to the Christmas party next week?" he asked her for the hundredth time Rose thought.

"Mickey, I don't know yet, I told ya already. Anyway, I might take some time off, I've not much to do. I'm not gonna be rushed off my feet am I?" she asked him and told him at the same time.

"That's just an excuse to avoid going shopping with your mother," Mickey laughed.

"Would I do that?" Rose asked innocently. "Anyway, if I don't take any time off, I'll have Mary from HR onto me, saying she'll make my leave compulsory from now on."

"There is that," Mickey agreed. "So, where are you disappearing to?"

Monday morning, Rose said goodbye and told Tony she'd be back on Christmas Eve, five days away.

"But Rose, who's gonna make more paper chains?" Tony wanted to know.

"Leave them for now son," his dad told him. "Rose, don't forget to report to the police station when you get there," he reminded her.

"I know Dad," Rose smiled as Tony clung to her.

"Don't know why ya wanna go there," her mother was objecting. "All this time Rose, when the place has been in the papers three times."

"You know why," Pete answered her. "It's all over now and Rose would have had to stay out of the way."

"Well, there's that ban on reporting on her," Jackie huffed.

"Leave it Mum. Right, I'm off, see ya all in a few days," Rose told them.

Late Monday afternoon, the last of the sun was shining over Broadchurch harbour. The weather forecast had said there was going to be frost and ice later in the week but as Ellie Miller stood on the balcony of Broadchurch police station, she thought maybe it would hold off.

"DS Miller, there's a call-out for you," Frank called from behind her.

"What now?" Ellie complained as she finished her coffee.

Maybe she should take her grumpy boss with her, he'd been miserable since his daughter had told him she was spending Christmas with her mother. She would have invited him to her house but her father would only argue with Hardy over nothing and her boss didn't like him anyway.

Alec Hardy called her just as she was leaving.

"Where are you going?" he asked, glancing across at the re-instated detective constable who had almost ruined their last case.

"Nowhere you need to go," Ellie called behind her as she put her coat on, Alec wishing she would finally get rid of that orange jacket.

"Want me to come along Ellie?" Katie Harford asked her, getting up.

Alec was surprised his DS was still talking to her.

"Yes, take her with you," he urged Ellie, mainly to get her out of the office.

Ellie just made another face at him, Alec closing his office door.

"What's with him?" Katie asked on their way downstairs.

Ellie just shook her head and ignored the junior officer until they got to her car.

"He's the boss Katie, you'll do well to remember that," Ellie advised her.

Ellie disagreed it was something that required her attention as it was easily dealt with, she thought even the pouting Katie Harford could have done so. As they were on their way back, Rose had left the hotel, having been given a room overlooking the sea and her standing and staring out.

She knew one of the reasons she had never come here before was Bad Wolf Bay all those years ago. She'd been to Spain and Portugal several times because Tony liked the water parks over there but it was too warm there to remind her of when she'd had the worse day of her life, well second worse day, the first being when she'd been torn away from The Doctor in the first place.

She asked directions to the police station, walked down the side of the hotel and onto the seafront, then went behind the café on the corner and saw the odd-shaped building and a sign in front. She was surprised it was still open, a lot of stations were closing but she supposed it served the nearby towns and villages as well.

Ellie and Katie were just walking up the steps and stopped as Rose crossed in front of them, Katie nudging Ellie.

"Was I seeing things?" Katie wanted to know.

"No, better see what she wants," Ellie replied.

"If she's in town, maybe she'll keep the boss interested," Katie joked.

"Don't let him hear you say that, look what happened with that mysterious date he had last year," Ellie almost laughed. "You go upstairs, I'll see why she's here."

Bob, who was manning the front desk and who was hoping for a nice quiet end to his shift, looked up from his newspaper and almost dropped his mug of tea. Then he saw Ellie behind Rose.

"It's okay Bob, I'll see what Miss Tyler wants," she offered.

"Hi, glad you know who I am," Rose grinned, holding her hand out. "And you are?"

"Ellie, I mean DS Miller. Can I ask what you're doing here?"

"Yeah, I was just gonna take a break for a few days, my stepfather insists I let the local police know I'm in their town," Rose replied.

"We're aware of that," Ellie smiled. "None of us know when you're going to pay us a visit. Bob here will take all the details."

"Great. I know it's an odd question but can I possibly meet DI Hardy? I know he went through a lot when he was trying to catch that boy's killer and the trial. I mean I know you did but he was ill while he was doing it."

"Yeah, we all went through a lot. I'll take you up to meet him then, we're not that busy these days," Ellie replied.

"I was surprised there was still a police station here," Rose admitted as they waited for the lift.

"A lot of staff went but we're hanging on," Ellie replied.

Up in the CID, Katie had gone back on her own and Alec noticed Ellie's absence.

"Where's DS Miller?" he asked as he stood in his office doorway.

"Downstairs Sir, she was talking to someone who looked a lot like Rose Tyler."

"Don't make excuses up for her Harford," Alec advised her.

"I'm not Sir, I swear. We were just on our way back in," Katie defended herself.

Alec shook his head and went back in his office, Katie putting her head on the desk.

"Never mind Harford," Frank told her.

"You'll see when she comes up here," Katie replied.

Those left in the office, turned their heads at the sound of Ellie talking to someone.

"I'll just let him know you're here," Ellie was telling Rose.

"See," Katie told Frank sarcastically.

"What?" Alec looked up from his phone, trying to confirm Tess would meet Daisy from the coach on the 22nd.

"Ah, bit odd really but guess who Katie and I found downstairs?" Ellie grinned.

"Lady GaGa?" Alec replied half-heartedly and not wanting to play games.

Daisy going away was going to hit him hard and he was half wondering whether to book a hotel in Sandbrook and go crawling to Tess to let him gatecrash their Christmas dinner. His problem was about to be solved though not in a way he'd ever expect.

Rose chose that moment to ignore those staring at her and stood behind Ellie.

"I am being a nuisance," Rose insisted.

Alec sat up straight, well straight for him since Miller always told him to stop slouching and him grumbling that he couldn't even sit how he wanted, in his own chair in his own office. Ellie just grinned at him as he half attempted to stand up.

Then Rose realised what he'd just called her.

"Excuse me, I'm not who you just said," she told him indignantly as Ellie stood to one side.

"Yes, I can see that," he replied, for lack of something to say in the way of an apology.

"I'll leave you two to it," Ellie grinned, hoping the two of them would hit it off, then she wouldn't out of guilt of him being on his own have to invite him to hers for Christmas dinner.

For one, her boss and her father hated each other and Fred would insist on still calling him 'Hardee' like he did when he was two, which would throw Tom into hysterics. She was still mad at her older son for a few things, one being he almost took his dad's side at the trial a few years back and another for distributing adult material at school and getting suspended for it.

"Miss Tyler?" Alec almost spluttered and caught his knee getting up.

"Hi, am I disturbing ya?" Rose asked cheerfully.

"Not at all. Can I ask what you're doing here in Broadchurch?"

"Getting away from my mum, for one thing," Rose laughed, taking a seat as he gestured for her to sit. "Am I gonna cause ya any bother?"

"Not in the slightest," he tried to assure her, wondering if that was the real reason but it wasn't any of his business as long as she reported her presence in the town as per her father's instructions any police station had to extend her the courtesy of watching her while she was in their town.

Maybe it would keep Harford out of his hair for a few days, if he was lucky.

"Good then. I've left my details downstairs but is there anything you want to ask me?" she replied.

"It is quiet here at the moment," he tried to assure her. "You should not have any trouble with anyone asking you for autographs."

"Maybe except for your staff," Rose laughed as she knew they'd all be wondering what she and the handsome detective were talking about.

She had been determined not to compare him to The Doctor and so far, she'd succeeded. Whether being in the same town as his double she would find it hard to continue doing so was anyone's guess.

"Sorry about them," he apologised, staring back at Miller.

He was sure his DS would try to worm her way out of inviting him to spend Christmas Day with her again but at least he'd had Daisy last year.

"I get used to it, don't worry. I just thought I would say hello, I mean I'd heard so much about ya, with that recent case and then that poor boy a few years ago. You wanted to know why I was here? How long have ya got?" she smiled.

He felt like saying as long as she needed and they could discuss it over dinner but Daisy would probably object. Maybe there was a compromise though? Daisy was going off on the 22nd, she could brag to those she still knew that she'd had Rose Tyler over for the night.

"I know how you feel," he replied. "My daughter is going back to her mother's for the holidays. Did you say where you were staying?"

"Ah, The Traders Hotel," Rose replied, thinking it was a strange question. "I wish I'd booked some place else, it's a bit far out unless ya take a shortcut."

"Yes, I stayed there myself when I first arrived," he admitted. "I'm told it's had a change of ownership though."

He'd not been surprised Becca Fisher had sold up shortly after the vicar had left town.

"Well, I won't take up any more of your time then," Rose replied. "That café on the corner, do they do a good latte?"

"So my daughter says," he cracked half a smile.

"I don't suppose ya'd want to join me?" she asked hopefully.

"I have some work to finish but you go ahead and I will join you shortly," he suggested, thinking it was not a very good idea to go out at the same time as the famous Rose Tyler.

"Afraid to be seen with me?" Rose laughed, being used to it.

"Ah, it's a small town," he admitted. "Give me ten minutes or so?"

"Yeah, fine. I won't be offended but I hate being gossiped about," she teased him.

"So do I, Miss Tyler."

Rose went off, knowing she was being watched but was surprised a young woman caught up with her as she waited for the lift.

"Miss Tyler, DS Miller wanted to know if you need anyone with you while you're in town?" Katie asked her.

"Nah, I'm fine, it's not that busy but thanks," Rose grinned as the lift arrived.

"Can I ask what you're doing here?" Katie dared ask as Rose held the lift door open.

"I just hate my mother fussing over everything, including the decorations," Rose admitted. "I just needed an escape from it."

"I don't blame you. I'll have to see if my dad's still talking to me, I almost had him arrested a while back," Katie confided in Rose.

Rose went into the café and ordered a large latte and waited for Alec joining her. Both Ellie and Katie had stared as he'd stood in his office doorway, put his coat on and said he was going out for a while.

"Where is he going?" Ellie called over.

"Don't ask me but Rose Tyler was going to the corner café," Katie replied.

Ellie had a grin on her face.

"Do you think he's going to join her? I mean he should have learned his lesson over that internet dating site."

"Yeah, he should," Katie agreed. "I think his daughter put him up to that though."

"No wonder it failed then, goodness knows what she put in his profile," Ellie laughed. "Hold on, I'm going to call him."

Alec squinted at his phone as he pulled it out of his pocket, emerging from the lift on the ground floor.

"What?" he asked as it said 'Miller' on the display, in large letters.

"Are you sneaking out after Rose Tyler?" Ellie laughed.

"Stop it Miller," he told her as he went out into the cold late afternoon and it was almost dark.

"Ask her out then," Ellie continued, being egged on by Katie.

"I'm sure she's not here to spend her time with me," Alec disagreed.

"Well, you never know unless you ask – Sir," Ellie laughed.

Alec knew she only still called him that when she was being sarcastic. He thought even if Rose agreed, he was never going to tell his DS. He hurried to the corner and into the warmth of the café, seeing Rose sat by the front window.

"Can I get you a refill?" he offered as he put his coat on the seat.

"I'm fine for now, thanks," Rose smiled.

When he got back, he'd run out of things to say. Then Daisy decided to call.

"Dad, you are going to be in tonight?" she asked him.

"Why shouldn't I be?" he objected to even being asked.

"I thought there might be some office parties going on," Daisy was concerned.

"Not that I know of. Did you get a taxi there and back to the supermarket?" he changed the subject.

"Yes Dad, I got enough for a few more days. Have you decided to come with me?" she asked.

"I don't know yet but you still go ahead eh? I don't want to spoil things for you at the last moment," he replied.

"Well don't work late tonight then," Daisy warned him.

"Sorry about that," he turned back to Rose as he ended the call.

"I bet ya disappointed about no office parties?" Rose decided to tease him.

"Not really, they remind me of when I was at my old station. May I call you Rose?" he dared ask. Rose nodded. "Rose, would you like to join my daughter and I for dinner tonight?"

"Oh. Well yeah, I'd like that, thanks," Rose smiled. "I won't be intruding?"

"Not in the least. She will be going off the day after tomorrow so I don't want to leave her on her own, I mean were I to invite you out for a meal instead. That is if you would even consider doing it, I mean accept my invitation."

Rose was now wondering if she could ever separate Alec Hardy from The Doctor but she'd not been asked out properly for ages. She'd only accepted dinner dates dining out and then by men she'd met at her mother's gatherings or nights out.

"Yeah, I'd like that Alec, thanks. Just tell me where," Rose smiled.

"Ah, it's that cottage over on the east cliff. Take my phone number then call me when you get to it and I will come down, the steps can be difficult at night if you don't know them."

"Right, you'd best give me your number then," Rose agreed.

As Alec took her phone and put his number in, he hoped he wouldn't give anything away when he got back to his office. Otherwise, he'd never hear the end of it. How had he just managed to ask the Vitex heiress out to dinner?

Chapter 2

Rose herself was wondering how she'd accepted but he seemed nice and he was clearly shy about asking her. It seemed like he was going to be on his own for Christmas but what could she do about it, she hardly knew him and her mother always had warned her of picking up strays, including cats, aliens and men.

It was virtually unknown for Rose to get her name in the papers for dating anyone, mainly because Pete was strict over reporting and Rose actually going out except with friends from work. She said goodbye to Alec and since it was dark now, found the local cab company's number and got in back to the hotel, thinking maybe tomorrow, she'd enquire at the pub just on the harbour, at least she would have somewhere to park her car.

She had finally passed her driving test and Pete had bought her a neat little blue car for doing so, Jake having a sophisticated alarm installed for her. Rose thought it was more like something from 'Knight Rider' but had never said, since it had never been made here.

She had agreed to go to Alec's cottage at seven, hoping there was some lighting as he'd said how many steps there were. She got ready, drove down to the east cliff and dialled his number.

"Seems our guest has arrived," Alec noted as an unknown number came up on his phone.

"Want me to go?" Daisy offered.

"I'm not an invalid now," Alec reminded her.

Rose saw him coming towards her and started up the steps.

"Crikey, I bet you don't get many visitors," Rose laughed as Alec was just two steps above her.

"Ah, only my DS at two in the morning," he smiled back, remembering when Ellie went to give him some news.

Rose followed him up and he opened the door to the kitchen.

"We use the other door more than this," he told her for some strange reason. "This is my daughter, Daisy."

Daisy was busy making sure dinner didn't spoil, since she'd had it sprung on her that they were having a guest. She had covered her mouth when he'd said Rose was in town and that she was their guest.

"How did you manage that Dad?" she'd asked him after he got home.

"I just asked her," he replied without hesitation. "She's just in town for a few days, it was the least I could do."

They all sat down, after Rose stood at the window to admire the view. It was all going well as Daisy went to get the dessert, then started clearing the dishes.

"Want some help?" Rose volunteered.

"Oh, no, it's fine," Daisy insisted.

"So, what are you gonna be doing for Christmas?" Rose asked Alec. "I mean with Daisy going off."

"I may go back to Sandbrook, see if I am invited to join in," he replied, Rose thinking he looked sad. "It's not the same any more, my ex wife, well she took care of me when I had surgery a few years ago but I went back for a while and things did not work out."

"Sorry. Can I tell ya something? I hate Christmas really, it's only for my younger brother that I join in," Rose admitted.

"Really?" Alec asked, seeing Daisy had disappeared.

"Yeah, ever since we moved in with my stepfather. I miss being where we used to live, going to parties and not being asked to attend because of who I am," she admitted. "What about you?"

"Ah, maybe I hate it as much as you, since my daughter grew up," he confessed. "It's not the same anymore."

"No, it's not for me either. Back on our old estate, I had this friend and before we moved, he spent the Christmas before with us. It was the best one and I'll always remember it. He won a pink paper hat in a cracker and gave it to me."

Alec had to smile at the thought that the famous Vitex heiress was the same as everyone else.

"Did you lose contact with your friend? You sound like you are remembering him?" Alec was curious as to if she had a boyfriend and he shouldn't be contemplating asking her to spend a few more evenings with him.

"Oh, well he sort of went off when we moved here," she told him, having decided she wasn't going to tell him about her real past.

"I see then?" Alec mused. "It was well publicised when Pete Tyler met your mother. They say she bears a striking resemblance to his first wife?"

"Yeah, mum's not bothered though. I sort of introduced them," Rose smiled. "It's in mum's official biography."

"I can imagine but is that the real story?" Alec smiled back, wishing Daisy would come back and rescue him, since she was more up on these things.

There was no rescue coming though, since Daisy had seen the two of them getting cosy on the couch and they didn't need her being there. She thought it would be something to tell those who were still speaking to her when she went back to her mum's.

"Is any biography the real story, Alec?" Rose replied. "I read what happened after you captured Danny Latimer's killer."

"You got me," Alec admitted. "I asked them to leave certain facts out of the case in Sandbrook."

"I don't really blame ya, Alec," Rose laughed. "Listen, if ya don't wanna gatecrash at your ex's on Christmas Day, you could come back with me to our house. We have a big party the night before then just a few friends around on the day. Mum would just love trying to fatten you up."

"I wasn't aware I needed fattening up," Alec didn't know how to take it.

"Aw, I didn't mean anything Alec, it's just she insists on over-stuffing everyone. We have an early dinner then those who can manage it get served a buffet later on. There's usually only my other friend Mickey and now my little brother who bother much. Dad just gets a few bits and I go for the desserts," she admitted.

Alec was relieved that if he accepted her invitation, anything after Christmas dinner wasn't compulsory.

"Well Rose, thank you for the invitation, I will consider it and let you know before you leave," he told her as he got up. "Would you like more coffee?"

He was glad his coffee making skills hadn't been forgotten when he'd not drunk it again until recently.

"Need any help?" Rose volunteered.

"No, it's fine. When I've made it, maybe you can tell me more about this friend of yours you lost?"

"What makes ya think he's lost?" Rose wanted to know.

"The way you talk about him," Alec replied.

Rose waited for him coming back and wondered what he was getting at. Why did he want to know more? Did he think something had happened? She accepted the hot coffee from him as he sat closer this time.

"You sounded sad when you talked about your friend," he reminded her.

"Well, I suppose I did? He was a very special friend Alec, I don't really talk about him. The Christmas after that, the first we spent with Pete, there was no comparison between them. Did ya wanna know what happened to him?"

"No, it was not my intention to pry, Rose," Alec defended himself. "If I accept your invitation, I will try not to offer you a pink paper hat."

"It's okay, mum makes sure there are no paper hats of the pink variety in the Christmas crackers," Rose smiled.

Alec touched her free hand.

"You said another friend attended on the day though?" he wanted to know.

"Yeah, an old friend, we used to go out when I was a teenager but we remained friends," Rose replied.

What he'd really wanted to know was, did he have a rival? What was he thinking though? Rose Tyler had just invited him to her home for Christmas dinner, nothing more. Rose got up and went to look out of the window.

"I hope it's not got frosty out there," she turned back to him.

He got up to join her.

"There was a light sprinkling as we came up," he replied, going to the patio door.

Rose followed him over.

"Oh, everything's covered!" she gasped. "Will it be safe for me to get back down?"

Alec had not realised what time it was, since they'd been talking for quite a while or more like staring at each other. No wonder Daisy had gone off to bed. He knew he should offer to let her stay but the spare bed was in Daisy's room and she wouldn't be awake to ask if she was okay about it.

"Ah, you could have my room and I will sleep on the couch," he offered. "I normally turn off the heating but it can stay on tonight, I will be fine."

"Alec, I can't let ya do that. You could help me down the steps?"

"No, it would be dangerous, there could be some black ice," he insisted.

"Then how do you get down, if ya get a call-out?" Rose mused.

"The junior officers deal with any emergencies and besides, I have strong footwear," he indicated towards her flimsy shoes.

"Good point," Rose admitted, lifting her foot after putting her hand on his shoulder to keep her balance and Alec seeing a shiny surface under her shoe.

"You will never make it down in those, Rose," he smiled.

Rose had to admit defeat.

"I feel guilty, pinching your room," she smiled as she let go of his shoulder.

"I could go wake Daisy up, there's an extra bed in her room, her friend stays over sometimes," he offered.

"Nah, don't go waking her, I never realised what time it was," she replied.

"You can borrow one of my t-shirts," Alec then offered. "This way, unless you want to stay up a little longer?" he wondered as they passed the wall clock.

It was just after eleven but he was always up early, seeing Daisy off to school, though it was her last day tomorrow and getting to his office early to have some peace before Miller and Harford got there. He had often had to break up arguments between the young detective constable and his long-suffering DS since Harford had been allowed to return – on probation.

"It's been a long day," Rose insisted as he opened the door to the bedroom area at the back of the cottage. Then she closed it again before they entered.

"Listen Alec, I feel bad, about ya giving up your room. I'm okay sleeping in the lounge but, well don't take this the wrong way but while I'm in town, well maybe we can spend some time, together?"

Flashbacks of his near-miss with Zoe, the 'date' his daughter had arranged via a dating app and she'd forgotten to mention herself on his profile came rushing back to him.

"Well?" he wondered, placing his hand above her on the door. "Rose, I am flattered but you know I'm divorced and Daisy lives with me most of the time?"

"Alec, it's fine, really. Everyone has a past, ya should hear mine," she laughed quietly. "If ya wanna hear mine, I'll have to clear it with my stepfather, it's classified," she teased him.

Alec leaned down even further, coming face to face with her.

"Really? That makes me curious, Miss Tyler, who says she hates Christmas. Would you be inviting me to stay with you as a means of distraction?" he teased her back.

"Would you object?" she asked, putting her hands on his shirt collar.

"I may need a distraction myself, Rose. Up until last Christmas, I'd spent it mostly on my own and it is no fun. I will make a bargain with you. Spend some time with me during your stay and I will accept your offer. What do you think?"

"When ya say spend some time together?" she smiled.

"Well, that depends, does it not on if your definition is the same as mine?" he replied.

Rose reached up to put her arms around his neck and Alec prayed Daisy wouldn't pick that moment to try to open the door to reach the bathroom.

"Keep each other company?" she suggested.

"That would be very nice, Rose," he agreed as he looked at her.

"Yeah and for the record, I've not really had a boyfriend for a while," she admitted.

"The friend you no longer see?" he wanted to know.

"Not really, we were just very special friends. I mean everyone thought there was more but there wasn't, worse luck. I didn't want a boyfriend while he was around. Since I've been given the title of the Vitex heiress, I've had 'dates' but nothing serious. It was mostly to stop my mother complaining."

"Then would you mind if we start by kissing, maybe?" he asked.

"No objections from me," Rose smiled back.

Once settled in Alec's bed, Rose borrowing a spare toothbrush in the bathroom and trying to freshen herself up, Alec produced a spare t-shirt and they climbed into bed, light coming from the lamps outside that he didn't know how to turn off. Rose snuggled up to him and told him he should have turned the heating off, making her giggle.

"Shush," he warned her as she giggled into his shoulder, since she'd touched his hairy legs with her own.

"Sorry," she whispered back. "I'm a bit out of practise."

"It would appear so," Alec replied.

"I've not forgotten that much though," she objected as she tried to climb on top of him. "Want to test my theory?"

"I would be happy to," he replied as she landed on him.

After finding themselves kissing for a while, slowly at first, Rose settled on him and fell asleep. They resisted actually having sex, Rose claiming they had a few things to establish before they allowed themselves down that road, Alec agreeing though reluctantly. He'd never really bothered, he had got used to be rejected, first by his ex wife and then by various 'dates'.

When Rose woke up, she was alone. She stretched out then thought how she was going to face Alec's daughter when trying to sneak to the bathroom. She was about to get out of bed when Alec came back in, just in his shorts and t-shirt and carrying two mugs.

"Hi," Rose greeted him as he passed one to her then put his own down on the small bedside table. "Is Daisy up?"

"Yes and she knows you stayed," he replied. "She said for us not to bother creeping around and that she's grown up."

"That's a relief then," Rose sighed. "So, she's okay with it?"

"It would appear so but be warned Rose, by this afternoon, it will be all round her college that I'm dating Rose Tyler," he teased.

Chapter 3

Rose was horrified and passed her drink to him.

"I have to call my stepfather and warn him," she replied, trying to reach her phone.

"Relax Rose, I half expected it and so should you," he told her.

"Alec, ya don't understand. I have to warn him so he can stop anything getting in the papers. That's why I had to tell the police I'm in town. There's a reporting restriction on me but we get the odd local paper who think they'll increase their sales if they find something juicy on me."

"You mean like the Vitex heiress and the worst cop in Britain?" Alec raised his eyebrows and Rose wishing he wouldn't do that.

"Alec, be serious. I'm not bothered what you're labelled as, I'm bothered it could reflect on you," Rose replied as she brought Pete's number up.

"Rose, I do not need shielding from being associated with you, it does not bother me either. I knew what I was doing when I asked you out."

Rose stopped, with her finger on the 'dial' button.

"Alec, I don't care either but it brings out all the gossip. I had enough of it when I was pictured with men I'd never even dated but they'd sat at the same table during one of my mother's charity events," Rose replied. "I attracted so much attention at first because I'd come from nowhere. Pete had no family before."

"I know what happened Rose, it's okay, there is no need to explain but everyone will see us together. If you want to break this off now?" he asked her.

"No Alec, I'm not saying that. I want to be seen with you, yes but I don't want you all over the headlines for the wrong reasons."

"Well they can't be any worse than they were during the Latimer case," Alec smiled. "Rose, do not worry about it eh? Tell your stepfather if you feel the need to but being in the papers with you is a whole lot better than before."

"Well okay, I'll maybe call him later, just in case," Rose relented. "You sneaked off before I got a good morning kiss – Mister."

It was only a small bedroom so Alec got up first, grabbed his things and went off to the bathroom to get dressed, much to Daisy's amusement as she sat at the breakfast bar.

"Did Rose stay?" she laughed.

"Ah, yes. It was very icy to get back down to the car park, so yes, Rose stayed but there is nothing going on between us," he denied.

"I never asked, Dad," Daisy laughed.

"Well, don't spread the word that Rose is in town and she stayed," he warned her.

"Dad, I hardly talk to anyone, anyway. There's only Chloe and she's part-time, trying to catch up," Daisy insisted.

Alec was well aware Mark Latimer had left home and hadn't been seen for some time.

"Well, just make sure eh? Just because there is no newspaper in town any more, it doesn't mean to say there are no reporters hanging around."

"Hey, need a ride to collage Daisy?" Rose asked as she joined them.

"Really? That would be cool," Daisy agreed, Alec shaking his head and thinking why was he trying to keep his new friend out of the papers?

"Let me just grab some coffee then," Rose smiled.

"It's the last day today," Daisy smiled back. "I have tomorrow, then I go back to mum's until she either gets tired of me or I decide to spare her."

"Daisy, you don't have to go," Alec reminded her. "It was you who agreed."

"Mum's expecting me now. I can come back early and spend the new year with you?" Daisy offered.

"I invited your dad to come home with me for Christmas," Rose revealed. "How can I leave him on his own?"

"I could have got Tess to feel sorry for me," he muttered, half-heartedly.

"Dad, you know she won't," Daisy reminded him. "Not after you two argued over, well you know."

"Daisy, you can talk in front of Rose," Alec smiled, grabbing his keys and his phone. "Daisy got herself into some trouble, so I brought her here, to make a fresh start," he turned to Rose.

"Crikey, ya should've seen all the trouble I got into," Rose grinned. "Maybe we can talk about it tonight, yeah?"

"You don't want to hear my problems," Daisy insisted as she picked up her school bag. "Dad, can I get a taxi to school, I'm going to miss the bus. Can't you get a car all the time?"

"Give me five minutes and I'll take ya," Rose was sure she'd offered earlier.

Alec was sure as well, whispering it to Rose.

"Daisy, I'll go shopping later and we can cook dinner tonight," Rose offered. "We don't let the cook do all the work in our house. Daisy, think about coming up for the new year, yeah? We could call for ya on the way, I mean that's if your dad wants to come up for the new year?"

"That's if I survive Christmas at your house," Alec joked.

"So, does that mean you're coming with me?" Rose asked hopefully.

She knew she was only making an excuse for him to not be on his own and so he wouldn't realise.

"You won't get a better offer Dad," Daisy laughed.

Alec knew he wouldn't, even if he let her put his profile back on that dating website. He supposed he'd learned his lesson on that score, it hadn't been what he'd hoped it would have been, women seemed to be too picky – well maybe except for Rose.

"See ya tonight then?" Rose asked Alec as she got her coat from where he'd hung it last night.

"Just nod, Dad," Daisy laughed as she went to the kitchen door.

"Yes Rose, see you tonight?" he wanted to make sure and still not quite believing his luck.

It had been pure chance Rose had chosen the town to take a Christmas break.

Just as she made it to the door, Alec put his hand on her shoulder and whispered in her ear.

"Why not bring a few things over tonight?" he asked hopefully, kissing her cheek.

"Yeah, okay then?" Rose agreed, going to kiss his cheek.

As he watched them go down the steps, he thought Christmas wasn't going to be too bad after all.

After dropping Daisy off, Rose went back to the hotel and packed some of her things, not taking it all, just in case things didn't work out. She had hated every Christmas after she'd come here, despite her younger half brother and her mother telling her to cheer up. Now, she had something new to look forward to.

She hadn't expected Alec's daughter to take to her so easily though but the older teenager seemed to have already been a fan so that had been a relief. She hoped Daisy wouldn't use their new friendship to spread tales around the school that she'd spent the night in Daisy's dad's room.

Rose was about to warn her mother there would be one extra for Christmas dinner when Jackie called her.

"I hope you're gonna be back to take your brother shopping on Christmas eve?" Rose was asked by an indignant Jackie.

"Yeah Mum, I'll be back the day before but I have some news for ya," Rose replied, hoping her mother wouldn't faint at the news about Alec. "You'll never guess what?"

"I'm not in the mood for playing games Rose, I know how much ya hate Christmas these days, though I don't know why, with Tony around? Doesn't he make up for things?" Jackie asked, directing one of the servants holding an armful of garlands and looking lost and slightly flustered at Jackie, who was standing in the middle of the hallway. "Jasmine dear, get one of the men to hang those sweetheart or you'll never reach," Jackie spoke to the newest member of staff.

"Yes Mrs Tyler," the young girl replied, looking relieved and not fancying climbing the stepladder that Jackie was somehow avoiding while talking to Rose.

"How's Jasmine getting on?" Rose was concerned that her mother had employed the young girl who had been sent by the agency to cover for the holidays.

"She's terrified," Jackie replied. "Especially catching Tony when he's playing with his zeppelins," Jackie laughed as the young girl handed her load to a passing male servant. "I feel a bit guilty she chose to work over the holidays to let Maureen go see her family. Jasmine dear, go help the cook, yeah?" Jackie suggested as the girl stood there.

Rose had been happy that although running a busy household herself and not putting anyone else in charge, her mother had not changed her ways and treated all the staff equally, spending most of her time gossiping with the older staff and the cook.

"Mum, I was tryin' to tell ya, I met Alec Hardy, ya know, that detective. He asked me to dinner last night and well, he was gonna be on his own over the holidays so I invited him to stay with us," Rose broke the news.

"I thought ya were gonna avoid him?" Jackie wanted to know, watching the rest of the decorations being brought from one of the storerooms just off the kitchen.

Jackie already had Christmas trees up in various rooms but tonight, Tony was going to decorate one being brought into the house later on, freshly cut and delivered. It was his favourite thing to do but usually with Rose and she knew he was going to complain. She'd maybe have to get Jake or Mickey over to pacify him.

"I could hardly miss him Mum, I had to report to him, didn't I? One of the other detectives saw me and insisted. Hey, I just thought of something," Rose realised. "I bet she was trying to set him up with a date with me? Maybe she knew he was gonna be on his own?"

That had been exactly what Ellie Miller had in mind when she'd insisted on showing their visitor to Alec's office. She had got in early the next morning and although she didn't like Katie as a work colleague that much, she wasn't bad as a partner in crime when it came to winding up their boss.

"Do you think he fell for it?" Katie was asking Ellie as they made a drink. "I nearly gave the game away Ellie."

"I noticed. Yes, I think he may have done? It was just a spur of the moment thing really, when I saw her downstairs," Ellie replied, watching out for Alec to creep up on them, rather than stagger like he used to do. "Imagine if he gate-crashed at my house? He doesn't like my father swearing all the time at everything."

"Well I hope he's in a good mood and lets us have some time off for Christmas shopping then?" Katie replied. "I have to get something for my dad, even if he won't open the door for longer than two minutes."

"Katie, I'm really sorry you had to give him up as a suspect," Ellie apologised.

"It happens," Katie brushed it off. "I deserved that telling off you gave me, it was a stupid thing to do, not mention who he was. I'm still trying to make up for it."

"Yes, well. That's in the past now," Ellie replied. "Just watch for any signs Hardy had a good night last night."

"You mean that just had sex smirk?" Katie suggested.

Up until that point, Ellie had thought the junior officer had no sense of humour. Once Alec arrived and he'd been sat in his office for a suitable length of time, Ellie knocked on the door and sat opposite him.

"Did you want something Miller?" Alec asked her, wondering what she was after.

"Some of the staff were wondering if they can have a few hours off to finish their Christmas shopping?" Ellie smiled, thinking he'd never go for it, since he now seemed to hate Christmas.

"You organise it," he suggested, putting a folder down on his desk and taking his specs off. "Just not all at once though," he added when he saw she'd scored a victory.

"Of course not, thanks. Had a good night last night then?" she grinned.

"What's that supposed to mean Miller?" Alec wanted to know.

"Nothing? I just meant you and Daisy, with her going away tomorrow? She must miss her mum, with being here?" Ellie recovered.

"She came here to get away from her mum. It was just her turn to go back," Alec reminded her. "She's probably coming back before the new year."

He didn't want to say they might both be spending the new year with Rose.

"So, just the two of you, for the new year?" Ellie asked, just to make sure. "Decided what you're doing for Christmas Day? Only if you're really stuck, you could come to my house for a few hours? Fred would be happy to see you but Tom will probably only come down to eat. He's hoping he'll get a new phone or laptop for Christmas, fat chance of that though."

"You've still not forgiven him then?" Alec wondered.

"No, how can I? He lied to me and he made me look like a bad parent. It wasn't like I left him on his own, his granddad was there," Ellie replied.

"Don't go blaming yourself Miller, look what happened to Daisy and she had me and her mother around," Alec reminded her. "I thought going back to Sandbrook would make a difference but it never worked out."

"You won't give up on finding someone else then?" Ellie smiled, hoping he'd admit something.

"Stop fishing, Miller," he replied, not taking the bait.

"I just thought with us having a visitor in town – Sir?" she grinned.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Alec was trying to deny anything.

"Come on, you go out ten minutes after Rose Tyler leaves your office? Do I need to draw pictures – Sir," Ellie laughed. "Did you ask her out?"

"If you must know Miller, I invited her to join Daisy and myself last night for a meal," he admitted, since he knew she wouldn't stop until he told her.

Ellie couldn't resist doing a little 'Yes!' as she got up.

"So are you seeing her again?" she asked cheekily.

Was he ready to admit anything else, he wondered.

"She may come back to my cottage tonight," he replied. "I invited her over again, as to if she will accept remains to be seen."

"Did she invite you to her place for Christmas, since you'll be on your own?" Ellie asked as she was about to leave.

"Don't you have any work to do?" he asked as he himself got up, thinking he should go book off the days. "Tell the others they can have two hours and not all of them at once, understood?" he added.

"Crikey, what got into you?" Ellie laughed, since everyone had taken to call him 'The Grinch' every Christmas since he'd been back.

"Don't push it Miller," he warned her.

He went to book Christmas Day and Boxing Day, saying he didn't know what time he'd be in on the 27th and that he also wanted three days off for the new year, which was totally out of character for him. It was approved without question, since the HR department had been trying to get him to take the leave due to him since he'd come back.

That arranged, he sent a message to Rose asking her if she was free for lunch and to meet him in the same café. Rose smiled when she saw the message and agreed, thinking maybe she'd have a look around the few shops on the High Street first then make her way down. She left her packing and went down to the street, hoping to spot a café to get a late breakfast.

Alec went back to his office, saying nothing to Ellie about his planned leave. He thought he'd spring it on her later and tell her he was leaving early on the 23rd, then tell Rose they would travel to London in the evening when the traffic was lighter. Since there was more than Ellie of the same rank left in their division, he'd leave it to them to arrange cover, it would be their problem – or the chief's to settle any arguments.

He was about to go meet Rose when the chief stopped him.

"I see you're taking some leave Alec," he was asked by the new arrival. "Haven't you bothered taking time off before?"

The new chief had been brought in after the trial of the two young men, one of whom had been convicted of assault on countless women and what had happened with Katie Harford. It had been thrown back at the then chief for letting Katie in without looking into her background, Alec had only just escaped and been put in temporary charge until a replacement arrived.

"The occasion has never arisen Sir," he replied. "I am going away for a few days at a time."

"To be with your daughter?" the chief wanted to know. "I read your file Alec."

Alec thought it wasn't really a lie if he said yes.

"Ah, yes Sir, for the new year at least. I plan to spend Christmas with a friend," Alec admitted.

"Good man," the chief replied. "Family time is important. I expect you will see those with family will get some time off?"

"I am going to leave that to DS Miller to arrange," Alec replied.

"Speaking of DS Miller, I see she has taken young Harford under her wing?" the chief wanted to know.

That was news to Alec, he thought they hated each other, more than they did him.

Chapter 4

After lunch, Rose went up to the supermarket and then went to see if Daisy was home, having got her number.

"Daisy, I'm down in the car park," Rose told the teenager.

"Oh, I've got my friend Chloe with me," Daisy looked at her friend.

"Well I can come back?" Rose suggested.

"No, it's fine, come on up," Daisy replied, Chloe telling her she wanted to meet Rose.

"My mum will never believe me," Chloe laughed as Daisy went to let Rose in. "We can have a girls afternoon. Why is it a secret she's here anyway?"

"Because my dad hates Christmas at my mum's so he's going to Rose Tyler's house," Daisy admitted.

"Wow, I wish I was that lucky," Chloe replied as there was a knock on the kitchen door.

After spending a few hours laughing and joking, Chloe finding out Rose was just as ordinary as any other woman, Chloe left after taking a few photos with Rose and Daisy to prove she wasn't winding her mother up then Rose and Daisy set about making the evening meal before Alec got home.

"How come you accepted my dad's invitation to stay last night?" Daisy wanted to know.

"Are ya mad at him for asking?" Rose wanted to know.

"No, I'm glad he's found someone. My mum had a secret boyfriend for years, I'm only just getting to know him," Daisy admitted. "My dad knew though, they worked together."

"That's bad," Rose replied. "Mind you, I sort of did that with my old boyfriend. I met someone else but we were just friends but I expect he still got jealous."

"What happened to your friend then?" Daisy assumed they were no longer together.

"He went away, I don't really talk about it," Rose replied. "That's why I hate Christmas now, that was the last time we'd had a good time at home. We used to travel a lot."

"Lucky you," Daisy laughed. "Anywhere nice?"

"The stars," Rose teased her new friend. "Plus in time."

"No way!" Daisy laughed some more. "I bet you wish it was real?"

"Yeah, if only," Rose tried to play it down. "What would ya say if it was true and that my friend was a time traveller?"

"Well, you're the famous Rose Tyler, I suppose I'd have to believe you? I don't know what my dad would think though," Daisy replied after thinking about it.

"Shush, don't tell him," Rose urged her.

"Really? I don't know if I could keep that a secret though," Daisy had to admit. "Tell me more?"

They made some latte, Daisy having frothed some milk and sat down.

"My friend, he was called The Doctor and he came from another planet. He had a time machine, in the shape of a police phone box."

"What's one of those?" Daisy wanted to know. "Hold on, that wasn't in this world, was it? You came here because all of a sudden, you became famous when your mother married the head of Vitex and nothing was known about you. I remember my mum saying about it."

"Yeah, me and my mum were brought here. Were you told about the Cybermen? You won't like it if I told you how we really got here Daisy."

"I was told about them and what happened but I remember when they all suddenly went away. Did they go to where you came from?" Daisy asked her.

"Yeah. This friend of mine got us into the Torchwood on our world and we tried to stop them. They were trying to take over by rounding everyone up but the army fought back. My friend came up with the idea of trapping them between our two worlds and it was working, they were getting sucked in but one of the operating levers went off-line and I tried to put it back in place."

"So you nearly got sent with them?" Daisy was astonished but seemed to be taking it in her stride.

"Well yeah. I shouldn't have even been there. Pete Tyler and a team had taken over this Torchwood and he went over to help but he saw how bad things were and tried to get me and my mum out of danger. I wouldn't leave my friend though and I went back, mum nagged Pete to go after me. I'd just let go of the lever, the force was pulling me and he appeared just in time to catch me," Rose explained as best she could without mentioning Daleks.

That would send Daisy running to her father saying Rose needed certifying and locking up.

"Wow, that was lucky then?" Daisy sympathised. "So why didn't you go back when it was safe?"

"The gap closed very quickly, there was no more time. Pete said we barely got back. Daisy, there's a time difference between this world and my old one. We think it's about three years," Rose admitted. "Me and mum found ourselves three years older all of a sudden and there are other differences we've had to get used to."

"It sounds complicated," Daisy agreed.

"You have no idea," Rose smiled. "So, are ya gonna tell your dad to have me locked up?"

"Why?" Daisy wanted to know. "You're just the same as us aren't you? Hold on though, are you trying to say you replaced someone or something?"

"No, not me but back on my world, they're missing a Rose and Jackie Tyler and this world gained them," Rose tried to explain. "My mum replaced the original Jackie Tyler, who was killed by the Cybermen but that one never had me."

"That must hurt?" Daisy asked. "To know you never existed here?"

"Daisy, ya have to promise me ya won't tell your dad?" Rose wanted to know.

"I won't. You told me something about you, I should tell you why I'm here and not with my mum," Daisy told her.

"Tell me when you're ready, yeah?" Rose smiled. "We'd best start making dinner or get your dad to call and get a takeaway."

When Alec got home, after evading Ellie asking him questions, Rose greeted him at the same time as Daisy, making Alec smile. It had been a long time since he'd been greeted like that and he liked it. They had both let him put his arms around them and they had kissed his cheeks at the same time.

"So, how are you two getting on?" he wanted to know as Daisy went to stir something on the stove.

"Great, aren’t we Daisy?" Rose asked her and having flashbacks of her and Sarah-Jane laughing about The Doctor.

She wished she'd have got to know his former companion better.

"Yeah, we were talking about where Rose comes from," Daisy admitted.

Rose was hoping the teenager wouldn't let on about what world that was.

"I mean she came from nowhere to end up being adopted by the Vitex chairman," Daisy continued.

Rose was glad Daisy had done her homework. After dinner, Daisy excused herself to get ready to go off to her mother's but came back a few minutes later after speaking to Tess.

"Dad, I wish I didn't have to go back tomorrow."

Alec already knew the reason.

"What's your mother said now?" he wanted to know.

"She reminded me she'll have to take time off work to pick me up from the coach station," Daisy replied.

"Does she expect ya to go back on your own?" Rose was concerned. "What about here? Have you far to go to get on the coach?"

"It's fine Rose," Alec assured her. "It's not far, just on the harbour."

"Well we'll see ya off, won't we?" Rose asked him.

"I was going to," Alec smiled. "Daisy, I'll talk to your mum."

"Leave it Dad, please," Daisy urged him. "I wish I'd never agreed to spend the whole holidays there now. She'd going to be so mad you're picking me up for the new year. How am I going to explain where I'm spending the new year?"

"Tell her you're spending it with me," Alec suggested. "And a friend," he added, looking at Rose.

"Ya can tell her about me," Rose reminded him.

"I think it may take some explaining," Alec replied. "I will tell her I am spending the holidays with someone I met and leave it at that."

"Dad, you won't get away with it," Daisy reminded him.

Alec shook his head. How exactly was he going to explain Rose and how they had become so involved in less than 24 hrs? It had taken months to get to this stage with Tess, had he bitten off more than he could chew with this? Could he just come out and declare he was planning on spending the holidays with Rose and her family? Why not? Tess had no control over what he did but he'd been acting like she had lately.

Ever since he'd got her to re-open the Sandbrook case, which was one of the reasons he'd gone back for a while, she had been domineering and showing her true colours and when Daisy had got into trouble, she'd expected him to get her out of it.

He'd gone back to work at his old station, part-time and it had been difficult now Tess wasn't hiding her boyfriend. He'd been glad to get away because Sandbrook had no longer been his home, Broadchurch had taken that role.

"Well, she will have to get used to the fact she is not the only one who can make friends," Alec replied. "Just tell us when you are coming back," he told Daisy.

"If you're sure?" Daisy asked him. "I'll try and stay there until you collect me."

"Ya don't have to do that because I'm here," Rose told her. "Does she?" she turned to Alec.

"When are you coming back Dad?" Daisy wanted to know.

"Late on Boxing Day?" Rose suggested.

"Mum won't let me leave that early," Daisy sounded disappointed.

Alec thought he'd sit back and let the two of them sort it out. Just how had they got into it so easily? He certainly had got more than he'd bargained for. He'd thought Daisy would reject the thought of him having a girlfriend but it seemed as long as it was Rose Tyler, he would get away with it.

Finally, they were alone after Rose said all Daisy had to do was call and she could come back or they'd collect her.

"Sure you never had a sister?" Alec teased her after they'd kissed for a while.

"I wish," Rose laughed. "I thought she would hate me for coming between the two of ya?"

"It seems the opposite," Alec replied. "It seems you are a hit with her. Rose, why don't you get the rest of your things tomorrow? Then we can set off when I finish work on the 23rd?"

"Yeah, okay then? I have to take Tony shopping on Christmas Eve. He likes to walk around the mall and looking at the decorations, then he gets mum's present after he's seen Santa."

"That is a very nice thing to do," Alec smiled, remembering taking Daisy.

"Yeah, I love it. Alec, you're welcome to come with us, I'm not tryin' to leave ya out."

"You need to spend time with your brother," he insisted.

"He'll be fine with it, he wants to join the police when he gets older, he loves watching police car chases on TV," Rose laughed.

That agreed, Rose went off to get ready for bed, being prepared to stay this time. When they did get into bed, Rose got comfy on him and she took his hand, guiding it to her breasts.

"Rose, I wasn't sure just where we are in our new relationship," Alec told her.

"Alec, I've not been in one for ages either but we have to start somewhere," Rose replied, letting go of his hand and putting hers up the front of his t-shirt.

By mutual agreement, his t-shirt was discarded along with her pyjama top, Rose wishing she'd packed a nightdress instead but she had no idea she would be spending any time with him.

"Alec," Rose whispered. "I want more, if you do?"

With that, he pulled her onto him and went for her underwear and she for his shorts.

"You do know I had a heart problem?" he asked her.

"Yeah but you're okay now?" she replied.

"Yes Rose, I'm okay. I have had no-one to test if a good job was done or not," he admitted.

"Then maybe we can find out?" Rose teased him.

Alec survived Rose moving on him and sending him certain feelings, one being relief after all that time that he could still make a young woman giggle and call his name.

"You seemed to have enjoyed that," Alec remarked as Rose struggled to get her panties back on.

Now she wished she'd never worn them under her PJ bottoms.

"Yeah, it was really nice," Rose agreed, deciding to ditch the said PJ bottoms.

"Rose, you don't have to see Daisy off in the morning you know?"

"I want to Alec. She's been badly let down by her mother, by the sound of things. Imagine being told you're causing trouble wanting to be picked up?" Rose asked him.

"Well, that's the way things have been the last few years. Daisy got herself into some trouble," Alec admitted.

"She mentioned it. She can tell me, if she wants to," Rose offered.

"She seems to trust you, maybe she will?" he replied.

The next morning, they both walked Daisy across to the coach stop just on the harbour, Alec giving Daisy some extra money.

"Text me when you get there," he fussed over her, making Rose smile.

"Yeah and let us know when ya want picking up," Rose reminded her. "See ya soon."

Rose gave the teenager a hug as the coach neared the stop, letting Alec put her bags in the luggage compartment.

"Dad, don't let Rose get away, will you?" Daisy asked him.

"No, I don't intend to," he replied as they walked to the coach door. "Bye darlin', come back whenever you want, don't listen to your mother."

After waving Daisy off, Alec said he'd meet Rose for lunch and Rose was going off to collect her things from the hotel then to the supermarket to get a few groceries and presents for Alec and Daisy. Alec got to his office and called his ex wife.

"What have I been hearing about Daisy?" he wanted to know. "About you collecting her?"

"Alec, I have to break off work," Tess reminded him.

"So, you'd leave her to fend for herself, when she's come all that way? Really Tess?"

"Don't get that way with me Alec, you took her off," Tess reminded him. "While we're at it, are you planning on paying a surprise visit over the holidays? I need some warning if you are."

"So you can warn Dave more like," Alec replied. "So he can get out of my chair at the head of the table?"

"Stop it Alec. If you don't want to come then fine," Tess told him. "Who else is going to invite you then?" she gloated.

Chapter 5

"What happened to you Tess?" Alec asked, stunned that his ex thought that low about him. "As it happens, I met someone the other night and was invited to spend Christmas with them." 

He heard a laugh on the other end, Tess was scoffing at him. 

"Don't believe me then but Daisy has also been invited for the new year so she will be leaving early."

"What?" Tess asked. "She was supposed to stay here Alec, I made arrangements."

"So you can leave her at your mother's while you and Dave go out? You make her feel so welcome Tess," he replied.

"Well she was with you last year," Tess reminded him.

"Why do you really want her there Tess? To say you had your turn? Well, she will be old enough to decide for herself next year, we will see who she chooses, won't we," he threw it back at her. "If she stays, we will collect her on our way."

"Where are you going then?" Tess wanted to know.

Alec knew he'd made a big mistake but Daisy was sure to blurt out about her new friend.

"Up to London, to be with her family. What's wrong Tess, think I can't meet anyone else and get invited to spend the holidays with a woman?" he almost laughed.

"You, meet a woman?" Tess laughed, seeing Dave through the crowd of people who were busy swapping presents and knowing she should be telling them to get back to work. "She must be something Alec, you said you hated Christmas."

"Only when you turned sour and insisted we went out for Christmas dinner," Alec reminded her. "We used to just be a family Tess, when Daisy was younger."

"Yes Alec, things change. I saw where it was going so it was best we went to my mother's instead," Tess replied, not wanting to be reminded. "So, who's this woman then?" she asked, seeing everyone was now watching her.

"What woman?" Dave mouthed at her as he sat on the corner of the desk and everyone went quiet.

The whole office knew when Tess and Alec were having a fight on the phone, it was the highlight of the day, festive season or no festive season.

"You will find out soon enough, Daisy has already made friends with her," Alec replied, being his turn to gloat.

"She must be something then, if Daisy likes her," Tess remarked, mouthing for everyone to get back to work as she covered her phone and shooing Dave away.

"Aye, she is and Daisy is well impressed and do you know what? This new friend, she found me and accepted a dinner invite the other evening and when she found out Daisy was going to be away, she did not like the thought of me being on my own," he almost bragged, which wasn't like him but for Tess, he'd make an exception.

"How do you mean she found you?" Tess was furious she didn't know something for a change. "Was she in the police station reporting something and you chatted her up?"

She scowled at those close by who were still hoping to hear some more juicy bits of her conversation, making Tess wish she had her own office.

"Get back to work," she hissed at those who were pretending to do something.

Alec was pleased he'd got his ex wife all riled up. After all, she was the one who had been parading her boyfriend in front of him for years, which was partly why he'd not been able to settle when he'd gone back.

"Nothing of the sort," Alec replied, wishing he didn't have to do this. "I never expected her to accept my invitation but I took a chance and it paid off."

"Well, that's just like you Alec," Tess scoffed.

Alec had already had enough of explaining to her.

"You will see, if we collect Daisy," he told her. "I'm sure she will talk about it."

He was certain Daisy would brag about her new friend but how would she explain what Rose was to him? Was Rose just a friend or did both of them want more? Well he had committed to spending the new year with her, what then though? Would they part company and he and Daisy would get the train back to Broadchurch? Only time would tell.

He got off the phone with Tess, telling her he was needed for something, just to get her to stop going on at him and sent a message to Rose to say they'd meet for lunch and he'd give her the spare key for the cottage.

After lunch, Rose set about carrying her luggage up to the cottage and was enjoying the view of the harbour when all the lights started coming on. She could just make out Alec coming up the steps and went to greet him. They made something to eat together then sat on the sofa.

"What time can you get away tomorrow?" Rose wondered.

"I'd say around three but maybe we should be careful and avoid all the traffic?" he suggested.

"No arguments from me!" Rose laughed. "You can drive or I'll get all stressed out. By the way, we need to talk before we set off, you may not want to still go with me afterwards."

"Why, what have we to talk about?" Alec wondered.

"Ah, bit of a long story," Rose admitted. "What we've been mentioning really, about where I came from."

"Rose, it does not matter to me. I read about you, how you lived on a council estate. It would not matter to me if you still lived there," he tried to assure her. "Why is it so important that you tell me?"

"Alec, it should matter to ya," Rose replied. "It's not what ya think. Remember the Cybermen invading and what happened to them?"

"Please don't bring that up Rose, it was a bad time for everyone. Our station was put on immediate alert and we feared for Daisy, she was only small back then, a wee baby," he recalled. "You can't have been that old yourself Rose?"

"I was nineteen Alec. I'd gate-crashed a party at Pete's mansion, me and my friend posed as serving staff. We were there when the Cybermen smashed their way in and I had to watch the President get electrocuted by them."

"That must have been very traumatic Rose," Alec sympathised. "Why are you telling me all this?"

"That was when I met Pete Tyler. We were the only ones to escape, by dodging those monsters and we only got away because of a group of freedom fighters because another friend of mine was tagging along with them. Well, to cut a long story short, we went to try and stop people being converted and we succeeded."

"So it would seem Rose, we are still free," Alec smiled. "What else happened?"

"A lot. My friend and I were only visiting Alec," Rose confessed.

"What exactly do you mean by 'visiting'?" he wanted to know.

"My friend wasn't exactly Human. He was a time traveller, I used to travel with him. My other friend, Mickey was with us when we crash-landed here. After we beat the Cybermen, Mickey decided to stay, he told Pete about me, who he was to me and because we'd helped, he had the Cybermen under surveillance and went to help when they escaped to where I came from."

"Then how did you get here again, why come back Rose?" she was asked.

He studied her, watching as she looked back at him, taking his hand.

"The Cybermen were stopped Alec, my friend was trying to trap them between the two worlds. Pete had to get back so he took me and my mum with him but I wanted to help my friend so I went back. The gap was about to close and I was heading for it, I let go of a lever and Pete only just caught me and brought me back. We got trapped here Alec."

Alec reached out to put his arms around her.

"It's okay Rose, I believe you. Come here."

Rose let him hold her close.

"Alec, when I met you, I wasn't going to tell you," she admitted, putting her head on his shoulder.

"Well, I'm glad you changed your mind. My Christmas has not turned out as I expected. Have you by any chance told Daisy?" he wanted to know.

"Yeah, sorry," Rose apologised.

"I thought so, she thinks very highly of you," he replied. "So, you had a girl's afternoon?"

"Her friend Chloe was here," Rose smiled, looking up at him.

"I hope you waited until she had left?" he smiled back. "Rose, I had so many reasons to hate Christmas but now?"

"So did I Alec. I have one more thing to tell ya though," she admitted.

"I remind you of your friend? Now I know why you miss him Rose, he got left where you came from, did he not?" Alec asked her.

"Yeah but there was a tiny gap left for him to get a message to me but we had to travel all the way to Norway for me to get it."

"Well, maybe you can tell me about it, some day?" Alec replied. "When I said I remind you of him though? Just how much? I'm not his double or anything, am I?"

Now, Rose was worried. She put his hand on his heart.

"Does that still hurt Alec?" she asked him.

"Don't change the subject Rose," he objected. "Oh, I do look like him? Maybe you think I am him and that he somehow followed you? Did he have two hearts or something?"

He saw the look on her face. This was definitely not what he'd expected when he'd asked Rose to dinner the other night. Was he still interested in her, even if she thought he was somehow her lost friend?

"Alec. No, I don't think you're him. That's not why I'm here and we started getting intimate last night. There's no way he could get through and that's saying something for him, he could do anything. The things I've seen and done while I was with him, you wouldn't believe."

"Try me, Miss Tyler," he joked, going for a kiss.

"Well, that could take a good while," Rose laughed.

"Well, maybe you should wait for Daisy coming back, to save you telling it twice?" he suggested. "Just why did you tell her before me? Not that I am offended."

"I didn't think ya'd believe me," she admitted. "Anyway, just a warning. My mum may stare at ya and accuse you of being him."

"Thank you for the warning Rose, I will be ready for her then? Unless you want me to pretend to be him?"

"What? No, definitely not Alec, she'll go crazy if she finds out you pretended to be him. I thought you had no sense of humour. By the way, I think your DS and that other one were trying to set us up on a date."

It was his turn to say 'What?'. He knew Miller and Harford had been up to something, the way Rose had just appeared in his doorway the other day.

"It's okay Alec, ya should maybe thank them," Rose teased him.

Alec left it and thought maybe Miller was trying to make up for his disastrous internet date. When they got to bed, Rose decided to up the stakes and encouraged Alec to really find out how good a job the heart surgeon had done on his pacemaker. Alec really did wish he had two hearts when Rose let him flop onto his back after making her giggle again when they'd had sex.

"Hey, are ya okay?" Rose asked, concerned she'd gone too far when she'd got excited after wrapping her legs around him and working her way into a frenzy.

"I'm fine Rose, I think the surgeon did a fine job," he replied, recalling her laughter.

He thought Rose had rather enjoyed herself again, letting go and lying below him, holding onto his shoulders as he'd pleased her. He seemed to think she wanted to do more of that.

"That was really good Alec," she praised him. "That was definitely ten out of ten."

"Well, thank you for the compliment," he replied as she went to lie on him. "Am I to presume for the present that you want to be my girlfriend?"

"Ya want to get back at your ex wife?" Rose tried to recover as she landed on him, which didn't help.

"Rose, I am not using you to get back at Tess," he tried to tell her.

"I don't mind if ya do Alec," Rose assured him. "Ya can count it as being payback."

"If you are sure?" he wanted to know.

"I wanted to be my friend's girlfriend. everyone thought we were, except him," she admitted.

"You never told him?" Alec asked her, aware she was getting a reaction out of him in a certain place and she wasn't bothered.

"It never seemed important, then he was gone. Yeah, I want to be your girlfriend Alec but not just for the holidays."

"You want to come back here, live with me and Daisy in a cottage on the side of the cliff?" he wanted to be sure and wondering why he'd not sent her into overdrive the way that certain part of him was now reacting but she still hadn't responded. "You live in a mansion Rose."

"Yeah but I never wanted to Alec. I wanted to stay ordinary and be myself, not the Vitex heiress and my position at Torchwood," she replied, wondering if he knew what a certain part of him was trying to do and how she herself was resisting the temptation to respond.

"You can be yourself with me Rose," he reminded her, wondering how much longer until she gave in.

"I know Alec. Maybe we can look for another place when we get back?"

"You would give up your life in London?" he asked, wondering if she was about to melt again.

"Just for you and Daisy," she replied, seconds away from exploding again. "Well I think Daisy likes me."

"Trust me, she does. More than her mother right now."

"Then let's call for her on our way back?" she suggested as she moved on him slightly, Alec sure she couldn't resist any longer and her willpower was stronger than his.

He had never forced a woman in his life to have sex with him, especially twice in a row and only a few minutes had passed.

"Yes, we can do that," he replied. "I'm sure she will be glad of the rescue."

"Alec, speaking of rescues," Rose teased him. "I think you need rescuing."

"What gives you that idea?" he moaned as they met.

"Alec. Shut up," Rose moaned back.

Afterwards, Rose lay across him.

"I take it you no longer hate Christmas?" she was asked.

"Do you?" she replied.

"No Rose, not any more. How did you just resist so long?"

"That would be telling Alec, I have to have some secrets," she laughed.

"You mean you told me everything?" he doubted.

"Nah, I have to keep certain things back Alec, things that never happened in this world," she replied, moving onto her side. "Pete said it could be dangerous, if I told anyone."

"Then I respect that Rose. Maybe you can tell me what you are allowed?" he wondered.

"Yeah but can I miss out personal things?" she asked him as he kissed her neck.

"Of course Rose. Now, are you always going to be bossy?" he recalled her telling him to shut up.

"Ya can count on that," she joked. "No more hating Christmas, got it?"

"Yes Ma'am," he replied, knowing he'd never have it any other way.

The End!