Where were you that night?

Rose Tyler is in Broadchurch just as Alec Hardy arrives to take up his new post. They meet in the hotel bar on the night Danny Latimer is killed and go off to Rose's room just as Becca Fisher sneaks out to meet Mark Latimer. Rose goes home and is unaware Alec has been accused of killing Danny when she goes off on a dangerous mission. Can he get her to cover for him in time?

Chapter 1

It was meant to be a nice relaxing break in a small seaside town no-one had ever heard of and where Rose Tyler could have a nice relaxing time in a decent hotel where the owner was sworn to secrecy not to say who her latest guest was.

"Don't worry Miss Tyler," Becca Fisher was trying to reassure Rose on the phone as she made sure her booking had been accepted.

Not that Rose didn't trust her secretary to stress how important it was to keep her name quiet.

"Great then," Rose was somewhat relieved. "See ya on Monday then?"

"Yeah, everything will be arranged for your arrival. There's only one other person on second floor," Becca assured her.

That was just what Rose needed but she didn't expect to keep bumping into the other guest all the time and she couldn't stop the owner taking other bookings. She was only there until Saturday anyway, then the next week she was going with Jake and Mickey on a joint fact-finding mission to investigate some strange happenings in the Lake District where a strange mist was engulfing the largest lake.

She didn't have much information as yet, since the second team led also by Mickey were only observing by camping along the banks of the lake. She left Becca to make sure no-one knew she was arriving, with the exception of whoever was on the same floor as she was being put and went to join Jake and Pete in a video call to Mickey, who was about to set off back to headquarters.

"Why are you going off then?" Mickey wanted to know when Rose admitted she was going off.

"Mickey, I've not had a break since I last went away," Rose pointed out.

"Well this is hardly a holiday," Mickey objected and showed her the mist behind him.

"Ya said ya take turns going into the town," Rose pointed out as Jake just grinned and Pete pretended he wasn't interested.

"Enough you two," Pete then told them both. "Take your time coming back then?" he suggested to Mickey.

"I've seen enough of the lake, thanks," Mickey sulked.

"Well I leave on Monday until Saturday," Rose then insisted, mainly for Mickey's benefit.

"You two are gonna be a real bundle of laughs," Jake then joked.

"Make sure you keep them both apart then?" Pete suggested to him.

They finished the call to Mickey and Pete turned to Rose.

"What is it with you and Mickey lately?" he asked Rose.

Rose shrugged her shoulders.

"Ask him," she replied. "Maybe it's 'cos I beat him to the other assignment and got back before he did?"

"You know it's not that," Jake reminded her.

"You can settle it later and Rose, make sure you're focused for when you join the other team, understand?" Pete insisted.

Rose and Jake went back to her office and Jake wanted to know the real reason she was off with Mickey.

"He still wants me on the same missions with him," Rose complained.

"Come on Rose, he told me he was long over you, even before you came here," Jake disagreed. "Fine, don't tell me then?"

He let it slide and Rose decided to go home and pack for her trip down to Broadchurch. She had reckoned that should be far enough away that no-one in the press would guess where she'd got to.

Alec Hardy was just trying to find his way around Broadchurch, having accepted the transfer he'd asked for and assuring his almost teenage daughter he wasn't abandoning her. He'd got Claire Ripley out of the way of her husband finding her after she'd testified against him, not too far away but not where she'd find out where he was staying. Then he'd told her not to contact him again unless it was an emergency.

A week earlier, he'd been assuring her Lee Ashworth was out of the country but she hadn't seemed to believe him.

"So you're just leaving me here Alec?" Claire had asked him.

"You will be fine Claire. Just don't answer any unknown numbers," he tried to tell her.

"That'll be all of them," Claire had replied. "Will you come and visit?"

"It's best I don't Claire, it's not a good idea," he'd then told her. "We can't be seen together otherwise it will get back to Tess."

"Worried about the ex?" Claire had then teased him. "Fine, I'll stay away then? I'll have to go find a job though, will you vouch for me?"

He'd had to agree but had so far not heard anything but he had thought Claire was capable of talking her way into a job, having owned her own business. So on the Monday night, he arrived at his hotel and entered the dining room, just as Becca was fussing over he could only tell was a blonde.

"Is everything okay?" Becca was asking Rose as she'd sat at a table in the dining room downstairs.

"Yeah, thanks. I don't want any special treatment," Rose smiled. "I don't want to stand out."

"Of course not," Becca told her. "You've just arrived anyway. Let me know if I can get you anything?"

Rose wondered what that included? Becca though had been caught out by big spenders a week or so back and wanting to impress them, had roped young Chloe Latimer into getting some drugs for her but Chloe had taken her time and the guests had gone. Now Becca just hoped no-one would find out. Chloe though was waiting for her in reception.

"What do you want Chloe? I don't have any work for you," Becca greeted the teenager.

"I've not come about that," Chloe told her. "About that stuff you wanted me to get? I can't give it back."

"Well I'm sorry Chloe but what do you want me to do about it?" Becca wanted to know.

"Can't you get rid of it for me? I mean the person who my friend got it from will want paying," Chloe told her.

"Shush, we've got a police officer staying here and he's just gone into the dining room," Becca hushed her. "You'll just have to get your friend to give it back, I can't have it here just in case anyone wants some."

As Chloe looked disappointed and left, Alec had found a table just opposite Rose.

"Hi," Rose called across while she waited.

"Good evening," Alec acknowledged her back.

"Hey, would ya maybe wanna join me, since you're on your own as well?" Rose suggested.

Alec got up, carefully so he wouldn’t have another dizzy spell and went to sit opposite. Then he realised who she was but didn't think she'd want anyone else to know.

"I'm Alec Hardy," he introduced himself, offering her his hand over the table. "I think I know who you are."

"Yeah, I tend to get recognised," Rose admitted as she shook his hand. "I recognised you from that case in Sandbrook. Sorry the killer got away."

"It tends to happen when things go wrong," he also admitted. "So what brings you here?"

"Ah, trying to escape for a few days," Rose laughed as the waitress came to take Alec's order. "I have to go somewhere next week and I needed to wind down."

"Something you can't talk about maybe?" Alec wondered when they were alone again, knowing where she worked.

"Ya could say that," Rose answered him. "So why are you here?"

"Just taken a new job here, as the new DI," he replied. "I stepped on someone's toes though to get it."

"Ouch! That won't go down well then?" Rose grinned. "I take it that person doesn't know yet then?"

"No but I needed a transfer from where I was, things were not going too well there. Mainly it was a combination of my ex wife and the youngest girl's father," he told her.

"A bit toxic then?" Rose asked. "I'm here until Saturday, wanna dine with me every night?" she risked asking.

Alec had already thought he was taking a gamble sitting with her tonight. Why not though, he wondered.

"If I won't be intruding?" he replied.

"No, of course not or I wouldn't be asking," Rose told him. "I don't like eating on my own."

Their meals arrived and Alec decided if she didn't mind his company, maybe she'd consider extending it somewhat.

"So have ya found your way around yet?" Rose wanted to know.

"I'm being driven around for now, until I find my way," he admitted.

Well he wasn't really supposed to drive although he still had his driving license but claiming he'd not had chance to find his way around covered it up.

"I was gonna go exploring a bit tomorrow, I might go up to Lyme," Rose told him as they ate. "We could meet up when I get back, if ya want?"

"Yes, we could meet for a drink in the bar maybe?" Alec dared ask. "Maybe I could buy you a drink when we finish here?"

Rose agreed and was debating if she should have a bit of a fling with the cute inspector. He look like The Doctor in a lot of ways, including the unfastened top button of his shirt and his tie not on straight. She wasn't sure about the beard though but she wouldn't mind finding out if he was still kissable with it.

They went off to the bar, which was empty and sat in the corner, Rose hoping no-one would come in and recognise her. At least Alec would fend the locals off anyway and she could relax a little. If she went out with friends back home, she'd get any amount of men giving her the eye.

"Alec, can I ask ya something?" Rose wanted to know. "Ya can say no?"

"You want me to keep the local men away from you?" Alec guessed. "I would be only too happy to oblige, Rose."

"Great, that was easier than I thought," she admitted.

"Rose, don't get the wrong idea, please?" he asked her. "I expect you could attract as many men as you wanted while you are here?"

"I didn't come here to do that," Rose replied. "Anyway, what I really wanted to know was if I could spend the evenings with ya?"

"I would like that very much, if you are sure?" Alec admitted.

Maybe his luck was already changing in this small town? Could he admit there was something wrong with him to her though? His friend had told him to slow down, take it easy and relax when not working and he was sure the famous Rose Tyler could keep a secret in her line of work. Maybe he could offer to do more than keeping her company at mealtimes and having a drink?

"Yeah, thanks. So, I've got five nights here, maybe we could go out one night, I mean if ya want?" she asked cautiously.

"Maybe you could look somewhere up?" he wondered. "Thursday night then?"

"Yeah, I'll look forward to it then?" Rose smiled at him as she took his hand.

She saw the tell-tale sign on his wedding finger that he'd recently stopped wearing a ring.

"Ah, I'm divorced," he admitted as she looked down. "Last year actually. I also have a teenage daughter."

"Well I have a younger brother," Rose replied. "Don't believe what ya read in the gossip columns Alec, I'm not on the town every night. Most nights I just go home with my dad, play with Tony, eat and go to bed."

"I was over working, which led to my ex wife going elsewhere and my daughter growing distant," he admitted.

"Well everyone has a past Alec," Rose told him. "Wanna get a bottle of wine and come to my room?" she wondered as she heard several voices in the hallway, which sounded like they were deciding what to drink.

Alec knew he could maybe have one glass of wine, if he paced himself so he got up and asked Becca for a bottle of red wine. Rose preferred white but it meant getting a bottle of lemonade to go with it. Becca was eyeing them and wondered what they were up to and if the Vitex heiress had already got the detective in her sights.

She thought it was a shame really, since he was staying and Rose wasn't. She'd already agreed to meet Mark Latimer on Thursday night but she was having second thoughts about it. Now, Chloe would be getting suspicious and maybe the teenager was thinking of blackmailing her about the drugs she'd asked her to get?

"This one's quite nice," Becca told him as she came back a few minutes later with a dark coloured bottle.

"Put it on my bill," Rose suggested as she leaned on Alec, her arm now in his.

"Sure," Becca agreed. "Anything else?"

Alec said no and Rose led him to the lift at the far end. He wondered if she suspected there was something wrong with him.

"I can't be bothered with the stairs," Rose admitted. "I had a long journey."

Alec thought if that was the case, she'd soon be tired and toss him out. It just happened though that they were opposite each other, which made Rose laugh.

"Well I won't have far to go when you do get tired," he told her as she gave him her door key.

"Aw, I'll be fine for now," Rose assured him. "So, why did you really end up here then?"

"I thought I had said?" he asked her, to which Rose shook her head.

"Ya gave me the short version Alec," Rose grinned.

"Rose, I did not think you would want me to bore you with the long one," he replied as Rose went to the mini bar and found two glasses.

"Try me," she told him as he opened the bottle.

So as Alec explained what had gone on to bring him here, Rose sat on the bed while he sat opposite on the chair.

"More wine?" he offered as he finished telling her how he'd taken the blame for what happened.

"Yeah. Alec, ya have to tell the truth," she urged him.

"I can't have Daisy knowing that about her mum," Alec insisted.

"She's old enough now to understand," Rose disagreed.

"I was cleared, officially," he revealed.

"I should think so," Rose replied. "Do ya wanna sit over here?"

"I thought you were not going to ask?" he tried to smile, which he'd not done much of lately.

Rose offered her half-full glass to him and he put it on the bedside table.

"Are you sure you want to spend your time with me?" he wanted to make sure.

He wondered why she would be interested in him, out of any man she could choose?

"Well yeah, if ya want?" Rose replied.

"I would like that very much Rose," he had to agree.

Rose soon found out what it was like to kiss him, with him having a beard but Alec broke it off.

"Something wrong?" Rose asked worriedly.

"Rose, there is something you should know."

He took her hand and placed it over his failing heart.

"What's wrong with it Alec?" she wanted to know.

"Irregular heartbeat," he admitted. "I need a pacemaker. Rose, I could keep you company but it can't go any further."

"What? Geez Alec, ya can kiss, can't ya?" she asked.

"Well yes but apart from that?" he replied.

"Listen Alec, I didn't come here looking for anyone but you being here was a bonus," she told him. "I don't have a different boyfriend every week, that's the papers making it up. I think while I'm here, you are exactly who I need."

"Really?" he wanted to make sure.

"Yeah, you plum. Just tell me when to quit, yeah?" she suggested.

Rose soon put him at ease as she unbuttoned his shirt slowly and admired him.

"So, you're just hiding down here, same as me?" she asked as she pulled his shirt over his shoulders.

"Yes, I suppose I am?" he had to admit. "You can back out, if you wish?"

"Ah, don't think so," Rose put a wicked smile on her face. "Why don't we just see how far ya can go?"

"Really? It may not be far Rose," he disagreed.

"Well that's all I'm looking for Alec, trust me," she assured him.

After further kissing for a while, Rose said she really was tired and got comfortable, sprawling across him.

"Rose, I may make you jump during the night," he warned her.

"Just tell me what to do, yeah?" Rose yawned.

Alec wondered if having someone with him would stop the same nightmare he had from time to time?

Chapter 2

For the next few nights, they would meet in the bar then go eat and go to his room and on Thursday night, he wasn't looking forward to meeting the detective he'd beaten to the job the next day.

"Aw, she'll just be mad at ya for a while," Rose was telling him as they had gone to his room again.

"I hope that's all," Alec replied. "We have to work together."

"Then tell her why you're here?" Rose then suggested.

"I can't talk about it," Alec replied. "It's best left."

"Well ya have to at least try to explain," Rose then insisted.

"When do you have to leave?" Alec then changed the subject so Rose had to leave it.

"Saturday morning? I have to get to know what's been going on where I'm going," she replied.

"You said you could not talk about it," he reminded her.

"Yeah, except if the police ask me," Rose then teased him. "There's this strange mist on one of the lakes up in the lake district."

"When you say strange, is that in alien?" he wondered.

"That's what a team's tryin' to find out," Rose admitted. "Don't know why they want me there though?"

Alec took her hand and went to sit on the bed next to her.

"Then don't go?" he asked her, touching her cheek with his other hand.

"I have to. Hey, I said I'd come back," she tried to remember if she'd already said she would.

"Did you mean it though?" he wanted to know.

"Yeah. I can get some more time off or just work from down here. So are we going out tomorrow night then?"

"Oh, should that have been tonight?" he wondered.

"It doesn't matter Alec. Tomorrow would maybe be better?" she told him. "Call me when you're on your way back and I'll be ready and meet ya downstairs."

As they got as close as they could, they had no idea that the husband of his new DS was up at the hut on Briar Cliff and was trying to persuade his son's best friend he only wanted to help him when the boy had panicked.

"Danny, come away from the edge of the cliff," Joe Miller was telling the boy.

"Okay but I'm not going back inside," Danny insisted.

"Just come inside while I explain then?" Joe tried to encourage him, grabbing the boy's arm as Danny stepped back.

"I know what you want," Danny was telling Joe as he'd locked the door to keep Danny from running away again.

"I don't want anything," Joe was trying to convince the boy.

Before Joe had known it, he had backed Danny towards the wall and was holding him in place by the neck. Then to Joe's horror, the boy went quiet and limp, then the boy was slumped in his arms and he began to panic. After lifting the boy up when he'd unlocked the door, he'd carried him down the slope to where he knew Ellie's nephew kept a boat and was laying him on the beach a mile down the coast.

He'd then gone back to the hut and as he was cleaning the place up to get rid of any traces they'd been there, he saw headlights and ducked behind the sink at the back of the hut.

"Hey, back to the real world," Becca Fisher was telling Mark Latimer, who was totally unaware his son had just been carried from the hut he was now standing near.

"Yeah. Becca, Beth can't know about this," he told her.

Becca held her hands up.

"As if I would say anything? Really Mark? I'm good at keeping secrets, including who's now staying at the hotel," Becca insisted.

"Who's that then?" Mark grinned.

"Oh no you don't," Becca laughed. "Tell you something though, the town's new DI is interested in who it is, they've been going to his room every night. The maid complained she hadn't had to make the female guest's bed up the last few nights."

"Well as if I can't guess it's a single female then, or is it a married one?" Mark tried to find out.

"Like I'd tell," Becca laughed again. "So, was tonight a one off?"

"I don't know Becca? Beth and I are going through a tricky patch, I just needed to feel wanted for a change," Mark admitted.

"Well you are wanted Mark, don't ever think you're not," Becca insisted. "I'd best be off, call me when you decide what you want to do but we can't keep this a secret if you want to continue. You have to decide Mark, your family or me."

"That's not fair Becca, making me choose," Mark replied.

"It's just how it is Mark, we're both well known in the town to keep this a secret for long. Hey, did I just see a light coming from the hut over there?" Becca asked him.

Mark turned around to take a look. Joe was wishing they'd both hurry up and leave so he could go home. He just hoped neither Tom or Fred had woken up and Ellie had discovered he was missing, since he'd left his phone at home, she wouldn't even be able to call him but she'd be waiting for him coming back.

Either that or she'd go back to sleep and ask questions in the morning and they had to be up early with Tom having to go to school for the last day.

"I didn't notice a light," Mark was telling Becca. "I should be off then?"

"Hey, don't leave like this," Becca told him.

They had no idea Joe was watching them kiss goodnight for a good few minutes, though why he was glued to watching them, he'd no idea. He thought maybe he could blackmail Mark if he ever discovered he himself had something to do with Danny's death, once the boy was discovered in the morning.

Now though, he had to pretend this was news to him and Ellie would be leading the investigation, if she got her promotion in the morning when she returned to work. If she didn't, she would question where the five hundred pounds they'd been short on holiday spending money had disappeared to.

He just hoped when she was investigating what happened that she wouldn't find the money he'd given to Danny so he could pay for all the phone calls and buy something for himself.

Mark watched as Becca got back in her car and drove off. He then got in his own car but thought he'd drive around for a while until he decided what to do. Did he want to stay with Beth or not? Becca had been a lot more adventurous than Beth was, it seemed these days Beth was only trying to keep up the appearance she was still interested in him.

Early the next morning, Rose was woken by Alec's work phone buzzing away. She was still half asleep as Alec moved to answer it.

"Go back to sleep Alec, let them call someone else," she was telling him as he tried to crawl over her to reach it.

"It will be important, they know not to call me otherwise," he insisted. "Hardy," he just answered who had dared to call him. "You called me for that?" he said to whoever it was.

He hung up after telling the person to have a car outside his hotel in ten minutes.

"What was it?" Rose yawned as he got out of bed slowly.

"A farm break in. It seems other officers are already busy elsewhere," he told her.

"Since when was that important?" Rose wanted to know.

"I will see you later love, leave the key with reception if you want?" he just replied as he went to the drawer. "No watching me get dressed either."

"You're no fun," Rose yawned again but still watching.

Alec had to smile to himself as he changed his shorts, facing away from her so she only caught his rear.

"Maybe tomorrow before you leave eh?" he tried to console her.

"I'll take ya up on that then?" Rose smiled as she pulled the covers back over herself.

"I'll expect you to then," he replied. "I will see you tonight."

"Yeah, you go easy Alec, remember?" she wanted to make sure.

By the time he'd finished at the cliff top farm, a call came through for him to go down the beach and from there, things would only get worse for him. From arguing with his new DS on the beach to her now annoying nephew releasing the dead boy's name before an official statement had been put out, he knew he had to call Rose at some point.

"Hey," Rose greeted him as he waited for some news from forensics as to how and where the boy had died, since they'd determined he wasn't killed where he was found. "I heard the news, sorry."

"I won't be able to make our date tonight," he admitted. "I have no idea when I will get finished. I have a proper statement to put out later."

"Yeah Alec, I know. Don't worry about it, yeah?" Rose sympathised.

For some reason, he hadn't expected any less from her, the last few nights with her had been well worth it and she had promised him she was coming back when she got finished up in the lake district.

"Rose, I may not be able to see you off properly tomorrow, sorry," he told her as he saw Ellie Miller watching him.

He thought just let his new DS ask what he was up to. They'd not been able to agree on anything all day.

"Hey, don't worry about that either," Rose told him. "You won't be too late back tonight, will ya? Come to my room when ya do."

Alec agreed and as soon as he put his phone away, his DS knocked on the door.

"I need to go home and see my eldest, he was Danny's best friend," she reminded him. "I'll meet you at the press conference then?"

"Yes, fine," Alec had to agree. "I also need to go back to my hotel before then."

"Sir, we will catch the person, won't we?" she asked worriedly.

Alec nodded for her to sit.

"We will, they will make a mistake and we'll have them," he replied.

"You didn't catch the killer in Sandbrook," she reminded him.

"Wow. How long have you been going to bring that up?" he wanted to know. "Sandbrook was different, I don't want to talk about it."

"Maybe not but they got away," she also reminded him. "Was it him?"

"We were fairly certain but a mistake was made and evidence was lost. Go home and see your son Miller. I also have someone I need to see."

"Oh, your wife came with you?" Ellie wanted to know.

"What? No, not my wife, I'm not married any more," he admitted. "Never mind who it is."

"Well I won't keep you then, Sir," she replied. "Anyone would think it was against the rules to have a girlfriend, it's like you're trying to hide the fact it's someone famous, like Rose Tyler or someone. Actually, my nephew's sworn he's seen her around town but his editor told him he was imagining it."

"He probably was," Alec replied. "She won't thank him if he spreads rumours about her. In future, keep him in check during this investigation."

Ellie just huffed as she got up, having to defend Olly to him was going to be a pain if her nephew kept getting in her new boss's way all the time. Then she thought maybe Olly had been right but why would Rose choose Hardy to spend her time with?

Alec went back to his hotel and knocked on Rose's door.

"Hey, I wasn't expecting ya," she greeted him, putting her arms around his neck.

"Come to my room while I get changed?" he suggested.

Rose grabbed her phone and key then followed him across the hallway, Alec already going for a clean shirt. He knew he had to remember to leave his laundry out the following morning, this was his last one.

"Alec, if there's anything I can do, just say," she told him when she'd closed the door.

"There's nothing Rose, you go back tomorrow," he reminded her as he took his shirt off.

"Yeah, sorry. Alec, if I could stay, I would, you know that?" she reminded him. "Ask your chief to request some help with resources, my dad might agree to help."

"If we can't manage, I will. You will still come back though?" he wanted to be sure.

"Yeah, hopefully the town council who requested Torchwood's presence will soon realise there's nothing spooky about the mist covering the lake," she smiled. "Dad wants to get it over with, someone's been there a week already. If I could get out of it, I'd rather stay here than in a tent."

"I'm sure you would. Do what you have to do eh?" he encouraged her.

He fastened a few shirt buttons then went to put his arms around her, going for a kiss.

"You have made the last week more bearable Rose," he admitted.

"I'm glad I came here now but when I come back, I have things to tell ya," she also admitted.

"More spooky tales to tell love?" he joked, kissing her neck.

"Ha, you wish!" Rose laughed. "I'll have to get permission to tell ya, even you being in the police. I'll have to make you a general member, that means you get certain access. If I'm coming back though, I'll get dad to give ya more, if ya want?"

"Yes indeed I want to know more, I have always wondered what went on there," he smiled.

"So, ya into all that spooky stuff then?" she smiled as Alec went for his tie.

Rose decided to have a bit of fun with him, since it was their last night for now. He fastened his tie but she took over, leaving the top button unfastened and not knotting his tie fully.

"Rose, I'm going to be on TV," he reminded her, going to the mirror.

"Sorry. I'll be watching ya then," she tried to be serious.

They kissed goodbye and Rose went back to her room, telling him to call for her, even if it was late. She called Pete and he agreed she could tell him certain things.

"None of that you're not from here," Pete reminded her.

"I know, that can come later," she agreed. "Dad, there's something wrong with his heart though, I'm worried about him."

"Well you'll have to get finished early up in the lakes, won't you?" he advised her. "Sorry Rose but it's best you go, he can manage a few days without you."

Rose just hoped he was right. She watched Alec take over the press conference but reporters were not going easy on him and neither were the public who had managed to get in at the back.

"We heard you're from Sandbrook," one man shouted out loud. "You didn't get on so well there so what are you doing here?"

Others shouted their agreement so the chief called for hush.

"DI Hardy is the best person to find who killed Danny," the chief tried to tell them as there were more murmurings around the gym.

"Well he's new in town, if Danny was killed by a stranger," one man with grey curly hair shouted out.

"That's enough," the chief stood up this time. "This interview is over."

"Yeah, it would be," the man shouted back.

"Any more interruptions from you and you will be held in custody," the chief told him.

"You can't do that," the man next to him objected.

The chief leaned over towards Alec.

"Meet me back at the station Alec, that's not a suggestion," she told him.

Once back at the station, Alec didn't say anything and went straight to the chief's office.

"Really Alec, all you needed was another murder investigation on your hands," she told him.

"Do you think I don't know that?" he replied. "I didn't come here to find one."

"I'm sure you didn't Alec. Leave it for now, they were only venting their frustration, nothing like this has ever happened in the town before," she tried to assure him.

"I hope you are right. Besides that, I was with someone all last night," he had to admit.

"I will need a name Alec, if this goes any further," she warned him. "You mean to say you've taken up with someone already or did you bring someone with you?"

Alec thought for a moment. Rose was leaving in the morning and did she really want to admit she was with him? As long as it went no further, she would maybe agree as long as her name wasn't revealed to the public. Should he warn her?

He thought maybe it would be difficult to just come out and ask Rose to cover for him, it may put her off coming back. Then he remembered Claire, whom he'd re-located just down the coast after she was afraid her husband would go after her for telling the jury about him. He'd agreed to help her, hoping her husband would try to contact her. Claire now owed him, big time, he could contact her and get her to say she was with him.

Well that was half a plan anyway. The other half was trying to keep out of the newspapers so Rose wouldn't get involved but when she came back, everyone would see her anyway.

"Think very carefully Alec," the chief warned him further. "What's your next move?"

"Tomorrow morning, I was going to walk Danny's paper round," he admitted. "Then I am waiting for the CCTV retrieval. I am also waiting for the forensics team, since we have determined Danny wasn't killed on the beach."

"Well we need to find where he was killed Alec. Go get some rest, start fresh and early in the morning," she advised him.

Alec knew already he was going to have to leave early in the morning and not be able to see Rose off. He was sure she'd understand though. She was waiting for him when he finally knocked on her room door.

"Hey, you look tired," she had noticed. "Stay here tonight."

"I wanted to take you out tonight," he reminded her.

"It's okay Alec, you didn't know what was gonna happen," Rose replied.

They spent their last night together for the time being getting as close as they could and as they kissed afterwards, Rose told him she was going to miss him.

"I will miss you as well," he had to admit. "It was nice having someone to come back to."

"Yeah, it was nice, I mean you coming back," she told him. "How long has it been Alec?"

"A good while, even before I got divorced," he revealed. "Does that put you off? I mean the fact I'm divorced?"

"No, everyone has a past Alec, ya should hear my real one," Rose had to laugh. "My biography is a bit more polished than what happened before we met Pete."

"I'm sure it was Rose," Alec had to agree since there was nothing to say she'd had a privileged background and only been adopted by Pete Tyler.

"Why did he adopt you though?" Alec then wondered, since she was an adult.

"I can't tell ya yet Alec," Rose sounded concerned she would reveal too much about her past. "When my stepfather says it's okay, then I will. There is a reason but no-one usually asks."

"I was just curious," he told her. "We should get some sleep, I have to be out early in the morning to start the investigation."

"Yeah, I know. Alec, I'd stay until Sunday if I could but I promised my little brother I'd spend some time with him before I went off again," she yawned.

"Rose, don't worry about me eh? Go be with your family before you go off again," he agreed. "I can't put off going to walk the boy's paper round in the morning, see where he went."

"So it couldn't have been an accident then?" Rose wondered.

"No, he had to have met someone late last night," Alec told her. "Don't worry Rose, I will work it out."

"Promise me that you'll go easy," she then asked.

"I will, don't worry so much about me eh? You just be careful in case that mist is more than a mist," he insisted.

The next morning, they kissed goodbye and Alec went to get changed. Rose gathered the last of her belongings from the drawer and the bathroom and was going to hand her key in after breakfast.

"Dining alone?" Becca asked her. "Where's your friend?" she wanted to know, thinking she had best not to infer Alec Hardy was now Rose Tyler's latest boyfriend.

"Yeah, he had to make an early start," Rose replied.

"Sorry, I'm a bit short staffed at present," Becca admitted, having finished two maids this morning due to lack of bookings and Rose was about to leave. "Well it's been nice having you staying here," she added.

"Well I have to go somewhere but I promised Alec I was coming back," Rose also admitted. "Ya suppose you'll be taking bookings from the press though?"

"I had a few enquiries last night so yeah, I won't have much choice. I can keep them out of your way though if you do come back," Becca promised.

"Well I don't know when I'll be back," Rose replied. "I'll be back down with my key."

"I'll be around somewhere," Becca tried to sound cheerful, though she had extra work herself now.

Alec was already following a map that had been roughly drawn for him of Danny's paper round and had found himself on top of the cliffs. In the distance he could see a hut and thought it may be of interest, since it was listed as somewhere Danny occasionally delivered to.

As he approached the hut, he saw a woman with a dog also approaching from the other end and he was sure he'd seen her at the beach yesterday. He made a note to interview her once he found out who she was. Going up to the hut, he shaded his eyes to peer through the door and the window. He was about to call his DS but Rose was calling him.

"Hello Rose, not left yet?" he asked her as he stood back from the hut.

"I was just about to. Listen, I'm sorry I can't stay, really I am," she apologised.

"Rose, it's fine, really. When you came here, you had no idea we were going to meet," he assured her. "I will still be here when you come back."

"Promise me you'll be careful, okay?" Rose insisted.

"I promise. You keep yourself safe with whatever is going on up there," he reminded her.

"Yeah, I've faced worse than a strange mist, trust me," Rose laughed. "Bye Alec, these last few days have been great, you were just who I needed to spend my time with."

"It wasn't much Rose," he tried to deny. "I promise I will seek some help when the investigation is underway."

"Well promise me you won't do too much," she then insisted.

After they'd said goodbye, Alec then called for a car to take him back to the station. Since everyone had been called in on their days off, Bob on the desk thought he would give the task to DS Miller.

"He wants me to go all the way up there?" Ellie wanted to know. "Can't you send a patrol car?"

"Sorry Ma'am but everyone's busy, we're getting loads of calls, mostly about what happened at the media briefing," Bob replied. "They're not giving me chance to answer. Ma'am, what do you want me to tell people when they ask why DI Hardy is still in charge of the case?"

"Bob, you are not to admit anything to them, you tell them the accusations are totally unfounded," Ellie defended her still annoying boss. "It'll all blow over soon enough. I suppose I'd best go get him then?"

Once she had collected him, she stopped the car at the exit to the small car park.

"Sir, it's started already, people asking what you're doing in charge of the case," she admitted to him.

"Let them," Alec replied. "What do you think about it Miller?"

Ellie turned to look at him.

"Don't put me on the spot like that – Sir," Ellie got annoyed with him. "Truthfully, they just picked on you because you're new to the area and probably thought that you're single. It might help if you go to the local paper and admit you have a girlfriend and that you were with her the other night. You don't have to name anyone if you don't want to."

"It's too late, she's gone," Alec admitted, waiting for her to set off.

"Well surely you can contact her?" Ellie asked. "What are you hiding? Oh, it really is her, isn't it Sir?" Ellie had to smile.

"Keep that to yourself Miller," he replied. "Yes, it was Rose Tyler, we met in the hotel and we spent the evenings together. Now you know why I have to keep her out of this. Her stepfather won't be pleased and he'll have to pull the plug on any further reporting. She is going to be away somewhere next week and I won't be able to contact her."

"Well if you leave it too late, it will already have made the national newspapers and if not, it will have done by Monday. I wouldn't leave it too long to answer the accusation," Ellie advised him as she finally set off.

"There's a CCTV camera on the car park, get hold of the recording," he changed the subject.

"Fine, I'll do it when we get back but seriously, you need to do something before it all gets out of hand. What will you do if you can't reach her?" Ellie wanted to know.

"I may have a plan for that eventuality Miller," he admitted as he'd thought about it. "I can't say what it is right now."

"You mean you're going to get someone to cover for her?" Ellie wondered. "I can't say I approve of that, Sir."

"You don't have to approve Miller, I just have to convince members of the public if they keep going on about it," he replied.

"Is that even allowed?" she wanted to know.

Alec declined to answer, wondering if he could convince Becca Fisher to claim she was in Rose's place. That however was going to be impossible, as he was about to find out. He wasn't about to say Rose was coming back but maybe she wouldn't thank him for getting someone else to say they were with him instead of her.

When Alec got back to the station, the chief was waiting for him.

"My office Alec," she told him as he was getting out of the car.

"Tell me you have a solid alibi for Thursday night," she asked him again as Alec closed her office door.

"I do have, I just don't want to give a name until I have spoken to her," he reminded her.

"You may not have the chance Alec, the press will already be interested," the chief replied. "You had best get hold of whoever it is, for your own sake."

Rose got home and after playing with Tony, went to see Pete.

"Are you backing out then?" Pete wanted to know after Rose admitting she wished she didn't have to go. "This is right up your street Rose."

"Yeah, I know. When I get back, I'm going back to Broadchurch though," Rose insisted.

"I can understand that Rose but what do you know about him?" Pete asked her. "You should at least look him up."

"He's ill Dad and he doesn't want anyone to know," Rose admitted. "I can keep him out of trouble."

Pete thought that was just typical of the sort of person she was.

"Well arrange things with Jake when you get back then, work from wherever you are," Pete suggested.

"I think I'll stay away from the hotel, I might see about a caravan until the investigation's over. After that, Alec might not want to stay," Rose replied.

She had just left Pete when her phone rang and it was Alec.

"Rose, you saw that press conference last night?" he asked her.

"Well yeah. Why are ya asking?" Rose wanted to know.

"Did you not hear what someone asked?" he reminded her.

"Aw, it was just someone trying to get ya going," Rose dismissed it. "Don't worry, you were with me, remember?"

"That's easy for you to say Rose. You may be unobtainable," he replied.

"Well leave a message then?" she told him.

"I will have to do that then. Take care Rose and if it means anything, I really do want you to come back, I would like to spend more than a few days with you," he admitted.

"Yeah, I wanna spend more than a few days with you as well. I really like you a lot Alec," she replied.

"As I do you Rose. Bye for now."

Rose wondered why he'd brought all that up? Was he afraid to admit they'd been together that night and if so, to whom? The press and the public would just love to know she'd been in the town and had been in Alec's bed that night, she already knew that.

Chapter 3

So Rose went off to join Mickey and the other team, arriving at their camp site.

"What's the phone signal like?" was the first thing she asked him.

"Rubbish!" Mickey had to laugh. "We have to go into the town every time. Weren't you told?"

"Yeah but I thought Jake was joking," Rose admitted.

"No such luck," one of the team told her as she came out of one of the large tents.

"Yeah, we take it in turns to go into town," Mickey told her.

"Well I'll have to manage then," Rose begrudgingly agreed.

Back in Broadchurch, Alec had decided to call Claire and see if she would agree to cover for him. It wasn't going to be so easy for him though.

"What? That's asking a lot of me Alec," Claire had told him before he set off to work.

"Claire, I would not even ask if it were not important," Alec asked her.

"So are ya going to tell me who you were really with?" Claire wanted to know.

"I can't, I promised to keep her out of the investigation," Alec replied.

Claire let out a nervous laugh.

"Well you shouldn't have got involved with anyone then," she told him.

"It wasn't planned," Alec tried to tell her. "The woman was staying at the same hotel."

"You won't even tell me where you are," Claire complained. "Then you have the nerve to ask me to say you were with me."

"I've not admitted anything yet Claire," he defended himself. "I just have to say I was with you and it will all blow over."

"I'll have to think about it Alec. I mean, it may be in the papers and then Lee will know whereabouts I am," she replied.

That was rather Alec's point. He wanted to flush Lee Ashworth out and get him to make a mistake.

"Who are you hiding Alec?" Claire then wanted to know. "Anyone would think it was someone famous? Oh, it is?" she laughed. "Don't tell me it's someone like Rose Tyler?"

Alec was guilty by his silence.

"Claire, think about it then let me know by tomorrow. I have to go now," he told her, hoping she'd agree.

"Fine, I'll consider it but I want something in return Alec," Claire replied.

That was what he was afraid of, that she'd want something out of it.

"It depends what you want Claire," Alec replied.

"I'll tell you tomorrow when I give you my answer," Claire told him.

Alec had to agree to give her the time in the hope she would agree to cover for him. He knew Rose would probably be unreachable given where she was going and he didn't want her name dragging into the investigation. That wasn't going to be his choice though when the chief sent for him again.

"I'm getting pressure from above," she reminded him. "Alec, if you're not very careful, you'll be placed under arrest for non-compliance."

"I have spoken to her," he admitted. "She is reluctant to come forward."

"Really Alec, when your career and reputation are on the line?" the chief reminded him. "If you are charged, I won't be able to keep the press away. You will be detained in the prison in Exeter, just be careful in case there is anyone there who knows you are a police officer. We'll try and keep it quiet but word may get around."

"Do you think I am withholding her name on purpose?" Alec asked the chief.

"I hope not Alec, for your own safety," the chief told him. "You have until tomorrow morning, after that you will be formally charged on suspicion of causing the death of Danny Latimer and impeding a police investigation. If the chief constable agrees, we'll put a blackout on reporting and maybe just charge you with the latter. The chief may agree since you say you weren't alone that night."

Alec didn't like any of the prospects so he went to his office and got his phone out of his pocket and tried to call Rose. He just got her answerphone but decided not to plead with her that she would agree to him naming her if Claire let him down. Ellie decided to enter before he could stop her.

"How are things?" she dared to ask him.

"Grim," he admitted.

"Sir, I don't believe what was said the other night," Ellie told him. "How's your alibi coming along?"

"Not good Miller," he admitted. "I don't think she will co-operate."

"What will you do then?" she wanted to know.

"Hope I can persuade the woman I was really with to come forward but she can't be contacted," he admitted.

"Why wouldn't she help you?" Ellie asked.

"Why would she risk everything for me Miller?" he replied.

"I think you under estimate her," Ellie told him. "We got the CCTV footage from that camera by the hut."

She had forwarded the file to him so he opened it and waited to see what it showed.

"That looks like Mark Latimer," Alec said before Ellie could say anything. "Have him come in."

"Sir, he is coming in," Ellie reminded him.

"So he is. Let me know when he arrives then," Alec remembered.

"Sir, what did the chief tell you?" Ellie wanted to know as she was leaving.

"I have until tomorrow morning, then you may be interviewing me," he replied dryly. "Then you'll get the job you wanted Miller."

"No, I don't want it - Sir," Ellie replied. "I won't get any pleasure out of it."

"You've soon changed your tune," Alec remarked.

"I'll let you know when Mark Latimer arrives," Ellie told him instead of taking the bait. "I hope he has a good explanation as to why he was up there the same night his son was killed."

"So do I Miller," Alec agreed. "Miller, I know how bad it looks, for Mark and for myself but after you found his fingerprints inside the hut? That's proof he had been in there."

"Sir, it could be he just did some work up there," Ellie disagreed. "They may not have been from Thursday night."

Alec let her go and sat back in his chair, wondering where all this was going. He hoped Rose would go somewhere her phone could get a signal and call him back. After interviewing Mark Latimer and holding him until he also came up with an alibi, Alec was back in the chief's office justifying his decision.

"He's just the same as you Alec," the chief reminded him. "Think yourself lucky you're being allowed the extra time."

"Well I know I had an alibi," Alec defended himself.

"Then maybe Mark Latimer also has one and can't say?" the chief wondered.

"You mean he was having an affair?" Alec asked. "That's the difference between myself and Mark. I am no longer married."

The chief was trying to understand his reluctance to divulge who he was with that night.

"Alec, I know the reason why you are reluctant," she admitted. "You were with who was rumoured to be in the town at the time when Danny was killed. It was her, wasn't it?"

Alec thought if he admitted it, there went Claire's alibi. Would Claire let him down anyway? Maybe he should cut his loses?

"Then you know I can't say," he replied.

"Alec, you don't have to admit it to the press," she told him. "Just to myself and the chief constable, as long as your claim can be backed up."

"It can," Alec admitted. "You have to give me the time you stated."

"Very well but you've been warned what will happen Alec," the chief told him.

Up in the lakes, Rose had soon got bored either looking at the mist or monitoring it on screen.

"Geez, why do ya need me here?" she was complaining to Mickey as they took a break.

"Because Pete wants 24 hour monitoring," Mickey replied. "That's eight hours each team and think yourself lucky we got the mid shift."

"That's beside the point Mickey," Rose told him. "We still have to help the others out if needed. Well I'm gonna have to go into the town later, I might have got a message."

"Who from?" Mickey laughed as he handed her the binoculars.

"I thought I'd told ya who I met while I was away last week?" Rose asked him.

"Yeah but why would he be leaving messages?" Mickey wanted to know. "Are you planning on going back there?"

"Yeah, I said I would. He's really nice and he needs help," Rose told him.

Then she remembered she'd promised not to tell anyone what was wrong with him.

"You're gonna help him find whoever killed that boy?" Mickey wondered.

"More to keep him company. There's something else but I promised not to say anything," Rose added.

"Who am I gonna tell Rose?" Mickey asked her.

Rose wanted to change the subject.

"I'm giving up at the weekend if nothing's happening," she warned Mickey.

"Have you told that to your stepfather?" Mickey laughed.

"We've spent enough time up here," Rose replied as two of the other team came out of their tents.

"You can say that again," one of them complained. "When are we packing up?"

"Don't worry, I want to be out of here as fast as you," Rose told her friend.

"Got a new boyfriend Rose?" Chrissie laughed. "I heard it was that dishy detective down in Broadchurch."

"Who told ya that?" Rose wanted to know.

"I was just messing with ya," her friend laughed. "You mean it's true? Well who would have known that?"

"You mean you want me to think you guessed it?" Rose smiled. "I expect ya've been talking to Jake?"

"You got me," Chrissie laughed as she held her hands up.

"Geez, nothing's a secret when he's around," Rose told her. "Do me a favour if you're going into town and call Jake to ask if there are any messages for me?"

"Yeah, sure thing Rose," Chrissie replied. "Aren't you going into town yourself later?"

"I may do but I may leave it until tomorrow," Rose told her.

In Broadchurch, Alec was giving up relying on Rose for his alibi by the time he left work just after seven that night. He had one last chance to convince Claire to cover for him so he got a taxi down to where he'd hidden her from Lee Ashworth.

"I wasn't expecting you Alec," Claire greeted him as she let him in.

"I know but I really need your help Claire or I would not be here," he admitted.

"What's so important for me to say I was with you that night?" Claire asked him. "You're not a suspect are you?"

Then she saw the look on his face.

"You are?" she continued. "Crickey Alec, how did ya manage that?"

"Did you watch the media briefing the other night?" he asked her as he sat the wrong way round on a chair.

"That?" Claire laughed, getting her a frown. "Sorry but who takes notice of hecklers?"

"My chief is under pressure to quash the accusations," Alec had to admit. "I have until tomorrow morning and I can't get hold of who I was really with. I left messages for her to call me but she's in an area with no mobile signal."

"Then you'll just have to wait Alec," Claire replied. "Look, I'd help you out but I can't let Lee find out where I am."

"I know but your name would not be made public," he tried to convince her.

"Even so Alec, it's a lot to ask of me," Claire told him. "Look what happened when you got me to admit I was in that night with Lee?"

Alec didn't need reminding it had led to him agreeing to take her with him when he moved.

"Claire, Sandbrook was different," he reminded her.

"Was it Alec? What about when I woke up at that clinic and you were with me? I thought for a while you were Lee," Claire recalled.

"Claire I am sorry to call in favours for helping you, really I am," he tried to convince her.

"Let me think about it overnight then," Claire suggested. "Call me in the morning."

"Is that your final decision?" Alec wondered. Claire nodded. "Then it will have to do? What did you want in return?"

"I'll tell ya tomorrow Alec. If I don't help you then you won't help me, will you?" she replied.

He called for a cab to take him back and thought about asking for a car if Claire agreed to get him off the hook. If she didn't, he wouldn't be needing one, would he? He'd maybe get one phone call while he was being held while his transfer to Exeter prison was arranged.

All he could hope for was that Rose would get to know if he had to leave her another message and she would call the chief before he was moved. How the hell had this happened? When he got back to the hotel, he called Tess to warn her, just in case Rose now refused to help him as well as Claire.

"Really Alec, that was careless of you," Tess told him when he said the chief was taking it seriously. "You mean they're taking notice of one person?"

"Well others joined in," Alec reminded her.

"So how are you going to get yourself out of it? I take it you'd picked someone up either that night or just before?" she asked him.

"Well you got someone else," Alec remarked, trying to not let her get to him and hoping Rose would still call. "Yes, a female guest in the hotel. Satisfied?"

"Trust you to do that Alec," Tess scoffed at him.

"Well this one was different, she's coming back but I don't know when," Alec admitted. "She had to go somewhere, she never said how long for."

"Well good luck getting the chief there to believe you. Don't get yourself locked up Alec," Tess told him.

Alec thought it was just as well he hadn't asked her to supply him with an alibi. He didn't sleep much but did he ever? All he could think about was Rose coming to his rescue, like she had done when he wanted some female company but couldn't do much about it.

Rose had never complained he hadn't offered her much but that seemed the kind of person she really was. It was a far cry from the life the media inferred she led. He wasn't looking forward to going into work the next morning so he took his time. He waited for Claire calling while he ate his breakfast.

"Hey," Becca Fisher interrupted him. "Is everything okay?"

"Yes, why wouldn't it be?" Alec replied.

"Listen, if I know something and tell the police about it, will you be able to let me off that other thing?" she dared to ask him.

"It depends what you have to tell us," he answered her.

"It's about Mark Latimer," Becca admitted. "I'll come down to the station later then."

"Then ask to see DS Miller, I may be busy elsewhere," he admitted, thinking it was best to warn her he may not be there.

Rose and Mickey had been up early and Rose had told him she'd probably go into town with him later. She'd got no word that Alec had tried to contact Torchwood asking for her so she assumed things were smoothing over.

"So you're gonna call him?" Mickey asked her.

"You're jealous!" Rose laughed.

"Am not," Mickey tried not to sound offended. "I hope he's okay."

"Sorry. Yeah, so do I. I just hope I'm not too late when I do try and call him. I'm worried about him," Rose admitted.

"You only knew him a few days Rose," Mickey had to remind her.

"Promise not to say anything?" Rose asked him. Mickey agreed. "Some accusations were made about him at the media briefing."

"Seriously?" Mickey was surprised to hear. "And you're his alibi and stuck here?"

"Yeah. Mickey, I was with him the night Danny died but Alec's tryin' to protect me from the press. I sort of told him I wasn't bothered about it but it seems he's determined to keep his word," Rose admitted. "Pete can keep my name out of the papers. Alec probably knows that."

Alec tried to call Claire but she didn't answer. Claire was staring at her phone, having put it on 'silent' and was trying to ignore the display being lit up. She still hadn't decided if she was going to speak up for him or not. He'd had the nerve to ask her to cover for him when he'd been in bed with that famous Rose Tyler, though he hadn't been going to admit it was her.

She was sort of jealous but she really hadn't fancied Alec despite him being there for her when she'd gone to the clinic to terminate the baby she'd been carrying. She hadn't wanted to bring it up on her own and didn't want Lee making any claims towards the child. She had debated maybe to bring it up and say it was the result of a casual affair when Lee had been working away but she wouldn't have got away with it.

Her phone buzzed again so she put a cushion over it and went back to watching a nature programme on TV, she wasn't bothered what she was watching really. Maybe he would be on the news that he'd been arrested? Maybe then she may pick up her phone and tell whoever answered that he was with her? What would Alec give for his freedom?

Alec was annoyed she wasn't picking up so he called Rose's phone again, wondering why she hadn't thought he might be trying to reach her. He looked up the general number the public used for Torchwood and tried to leave yet another message.

"Sorry, DI Hardy but Miss Tyler is away on an assignment," the receptionist was telling him.

"I already know that but it's urgent I speak with her," Alec tried to tell the woman. "Can you get a message to someone who is there with her?"

"I will do my best when someone checks in," he was promised.

He had to make do with that but the chief was now standing in the doorway.

"You're trying to avoid me Alec," the chief told him. "Do you have a name for me?"

"Not yet," Alec had to admit. "I left several messages."

"Then you'll have to come with me, you leave me no choice Alec," she told him. "I really regret having to do this. It's best you just follow me downstairs, there won't be any fuss and only a few officers will be involved. If anyone asks where you are, I will get DS Miller to say you've been called away."

Alec wondered if he was supposed to thank her? He put his jacket on and put his phone in his pocket and waited for the lift with the chief. He wondered if she daren't risk using the staircase?

"I take no pleasure in doing this Alec," the chief told him again.

"Then give me more time?" Alec asked her as they stepped into the lift.

"I can't Alec, I'm sorry. You had your chance," she replied. "Two officers will escort you to an interview room. Do you want a solicitor?"

"Do I need one?" Alec wanted to know.

The two waiting officers followed Alec and the chief down the corridor, Alec glancing at the desk and seeing Becca Fisher standing there. Another senior officer from another department was waiting for them. One uniformed officer remained in the room and one went just outside.

"Alec Hardy, you are placed under caution," the man started to tell him. "Please surrender your warrant card."

Alec fished it out of his inside jacket pocket and placed it on the table. He was then asked to place any mobile phones on the table.

"I was told you can't produce an alibi for last Thursday night?" Alec was then asked. "You claim to have been with someone yet are not willing to name them?"

"If you knew who it was, you would know why I don't want her to get involved," Alec replied in his defence.

"Then you will be formerly charged. Your only suspect so far has just been released." Alec was further told. "I've just been told someone came to say they were with Mark Latimer that night."

So that was what Becca had been hinting at, Alec wondered. He was read his rights then asked a few more questions.

"Are you sure you don't want a solicitor?" the chief asked him again.

"I have nothing to say to one," Alec replied.

"Alec, do you realise how this looks?" the chief then asked him. "Do you want a phone call?"

"I already tried to call the person I was with," he told her again.

"Officer, take DI Hardy downstairs and see he gets a phone call should he want one. Alec, you had best co-operate until you can corroborate your story," they chief warned him.

"Will I stay here until I get hold of the person I was with?" Alec wanted to know. "I don't want anyone knowing where I am."

"I'll consider it, I'm not promising any special treatment Alec but in view of you having an alibi and just not willing to share the information, I may be able to keep you here for a few days. I'm sorry it's come to this," she apologised.

He was formerly charged and had to hand his personal items to the custody sergeant, the chief warning the man that no-one was to know Alec was being held. She did promise to keep it under wraps for now and if Alec wanted to use the phone he was to be allowed. He had memorised Rose's mobile number and just prayed she would get his messages sooner rather than later.

Chapter 4

Rose and Mickey were about to finish their watch and since no word had reached her that Alec had left any messages with Torchwood, she thought she had best check her personal mobile.

"Worried you've missed something," Mickey teased her as she picked her phone up off the small table.

"Hey, how come Jake got out of coming up here and why is there no signal out here?" Rose wanted to know. "Do ya think whatever that mist is, it's blocking communications?"

"Now who's been watching too many science fiction programmes on the telly?" Mickey laughed.

"Mickey, be serious," Rose tried to tell him.

"You're being serious?" Mickey asked her.

"Well think about it? There are mobile phone masts all over the place these days," she reminded him.

"Yeah, now I think about it," Mickey had to agree.

"Think about what?" Chrissie wanted to know as she approached them to take over from them.

"The mist causing communications not to work," Rose told her.

"Did no-one think of that?" Chrissie then asked.

"Well did they?" Rose turned on Mickey.

"Why ask me?" Mickey wondered.

"You were supposed to be in charge up here Mickey," Rose reminded him. "Don't we have any equipment to test it?"

"Well no," Mickey had to admit. "Jake knew we couldn't get a phone signal up here."

"Well we'll go into town and get him to send a booster. If the signal's being jammed for some reason, we have to get through it. Maybe once we have, the mist will disappear?"

"You mean to say the mist is being manufactured?" Chrissie asked.

"Could be?" Rose mused. "I'll check in with Jake and see what he thinks."

"He'll probably agree with you," Mickey told her as they got ready to leave.

"Great, maybe we can all go home then?" Chrissie asked. "Don't tell me it'll keep us here longer?"

"I really hope not," Rose replied. "See ya in a bit."

Once in the nearest town, Mickey went off to the supermarket and Rose remained in her car to call Jake.

"Did I get any messages?" Rose wanted to know.

"Yeah, after Chrissie had checked in," Jake told her. "Someone took one from Alec Hardy."

Rose checked her voicemail indicator and tensed up.

"I'll call ya back Jake, if he left a message at Torchwood, it must be urgent," Rose sounded worried.

She got no reply when she called Alec's mobile, having to leave a message but then she tried the police station.

"I'm sorry Miss," Bob told her. "He's unavailable at the moment."

Rose wasn't having any excuses.

"Then put me through to your chief then, tell her it's Rose Tyler and it's important."

"I would do Miss Tyler but she's gone out," Bob tried to explain.

"Well have her call me when she gets back then, take a note of my number," Rose then insisted.

Rose was really annoyed. It maybe meant if Alec was unreachable, something drastic had happened. She called Pete instead of trying anyone else.

"Do you think he's been arrested then?" Pete listened to what Rose already knew.

"It looks like it," Rose replied. "Can ya help him Dad? I know Alec was with me all that night."

"Well I won't ask how you know," Pete replied. "Okay, I'll call a law firm in the town and we'll get this sorted within the hour. The solicitor will call you to verify your story."

"Yeah, I'll wait here then. Dad, I was gonna tell Jake that we think now that the strange mist is interfering with communications."

"That's an interesting theory Rose. Why didn't Mickey come up with it?" Pete laughed.

"You'd best ask him. We'll need some more equipment sending, to boost the signal and get through whatever's stopping it."

"Just tell Jake what's needed then," Pete agreed. "Are you no nearer finding out what's causing the mist?"

Rose thought if she was, she'd be back in Broadchurch by now.

"No, it's still a mystery and putting people off visiting the area. There's plenty of people in the town though."

"Well maybe the right equipment will help?" Pete wondered. "Don't worry about Alec Hardy, I'm getting straight onto our legal team to contact someone already down there. Do you know why someone would try and point the finger at him?"

"Someone must have looked him up from that case in Sandbrook," Rose guessed. "It's no reason to arrest him though and he'd have said he was with someone that night. He was just tryin' to protect me. Look where it got him though?"

"That's no reason to lock him up," Pete told her. "I mean he's a respected police detective. Whoever started it needs investigating, it's hampering progress in the case. While he's been locked up, the real killer's getting away with it."

Rose didn't need telling that. The way the officer had spoken to her on the phone told her enough, that Alec was already being detained. Within an hour, she had received two phone calls. First was a local solicitor who was on his way to free Alec, if he was locked up and then Alec's chief.

"Miss Tyler, I was told you wished to speak to me?" Rose was asked by Elaine Jenkinson when she had been informed Rose had been asking for Alec.

"Yeah, have ya locked up Alec Hardy?" Rose asked, forgetting who she was talking to.

"I had no choice, he would not reveal the name of the person who could give him an alibi," the chief told her.

"That's because he was with me," Rose admitted.

"Well I've just been told a solicitor arrived for him and he will be released shortly. I never wanted it to come to that," the chief admitted.

"Well you were wrong to lock him up." Rose told the chief. "Why didn't ya believe he had an alibi?"

"I had to follow orders," the chief replied.

Rose was getting even crosser that Alec had been locked up all day, well she thought it was all day.

"How do ya think he felt, about not saying who he was with?" Rose asked her. "He was tryin' to stop me being dragged into it. Since when is a heckler believed over a police officer? Are ya gonna arrest the man who made the accusation?"

"We will be looking into that," the chief suddenly decided she'd better.

"Yeah, I should think so," Rose replied. "Can't ya get him for inciting a riot?"

"We will take the appropriate action Miss Tyler," the chief promised. "Nothing will go on DI Hardy's record."

"I should hope not," Rose told her, relieved that Alec wouldn't suffer from his wrongful arrest.

Mickey had appeared from the supermarket and had gone off to look around the shops so she went to find him.

"Did ya get it sorted then?" Mickey asked her as they came out of a shop.

"Yeah, I have to wait for him calling me," Rose replied. "I don't know when he'll get his phone back."

"So they really locked him up then?" Mickey wanted to know.

Alec had just been told a solicitor had arrived for him.

"I never called one," Alec objected as he sat on the bench. "Has anyone asked for me?"

"Yes, a while ago," he was told, noticing the officer had dropped calling him sir.

He got up before the man could lock the door again and was shown into one of the interview rooms.

"Ah, DI Hardy," the solicitor greeted him, getting up to shake Alec's hand. "I'm here at the request of Miss Tyler, who I believe you know? I've made a petition for your release on the grounds that you can now name the person you were with last Thursday night. Miss Tyler regrets she was not reachable earlier, otherwise I would have been here sooner."

"Well I am grateful you are here now," Alec replied.

Alec collected his belongings and went straight across the road to get a drink and something to eat, since all he'd had was a paper cup containing tea and a sandwich.

"Alec!" Rose greeted him when he called. "I'm glad you're okay. Why didn't ya tell them you were with me that night?"

"I know Rose but I was not happy at having to provide an alibi in the first place," he told her.

"Yeah, I complained to your chief about that," Rose told him.

"Then we had best hope it did some good?" Alec replied. "Any nearer solving your mystery?"

Rose wished she was. Then she would have been with him instead of being in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal and surrounded by a mysterious fog.

"I sent for some more equipment," she told him. "Hopefully we'll be able to get a phone signal then."

Alec hoped so as well. The equipment was picked up the next day and Rose and Mickey set it up. It didn't take them long to get it working and now they could use their phones and send data back to Torchwood. By the time Friday came around, Rose, Chrissie and Mickey were leaving and a new team were taking over but Rose didn't think they were going to find the cause of the mist any time soon.

She had told Alec she'd be joining him some time on Sunday but she decided to set off after lunch on Saturday.

"Rose ya've hardly been home," her mother began complaining.

"I know Mum but Alec's been through being singled out because some creep shouted something out at that press conference," Rose replied.

"I did see it," her mother reminded her. "You'd think the people of the town would have more respect for police officers."

"I was gonna surprise him by getting there tonight Mum," Rose admitted.

"Well be careful driving all the way down there," Jackie warned her.

Rose set off after promising her little brother he could visit her when she found somewhere other than the hotel and after taking a couple of breaks was stopping opposite the hotel just after seven. Alec had just eaten and had gone back to his room to try to call Rose to see what time she was arriving the next day.

Rose heard her phone ringing and decided to tease him.

"Yeah, I'll be with ya before ya know it," Rose laughed when he said he missed her again.

She got her smaller case out of the back of the car and entered The Traders Hotel, Becca just coming out of the bar.

"Miss Tyler," Becca greeted her. "I wasn't expecting you."

"Aw, that's okay, I'll be sharing with Alec. Is he in the hotel?" Rose wondered since when she'd spoken to him he'd not said.

"Yeah, he went up a short while ago. Can I get you something to eat?" Becca asked, thinking there went any extra income from the Vitex heiress.

She supposed she couldn't really stop them sharing since the detective was getting a double room paid for by the police. It meant though until they both left, she couldn't really let any reporters in.

Rose went up the stairs and along to Alec's room and tapped on the door. Alec was trying to watch the early news and count the hours until Rose arrived. Thinking it was Becca with some feeble excuse, he opened the door swiftly so he could tell her he was expecting Rose coming back tomorrow, if she was offering to keep him company. He was surprised to say the least when he saw Rose smiling back at him.

They lay on the bed kissing and Rose told him again how sorry she was for leaving him to deal with false accusations on his own.

"Rose, you could not have known what would come of it," he tried to tell her.

"I wouldn't have objected if ya'd told who ya were with Alec," Rose replied. "Want to help me with the last of my luggage?"

"How much have you got?" he wanted to know.

"Enough for a week. Why don't ya go back with me next weekend to meet my family?" Rose suggested.

"Really?" Alec raised his eyebrows as Rose rested her head on his chest.

"Yeah, ya not scared of meeting them are ya?" she teased him.

"Of course not but are you serious?" he wanted to know.

"Alec, the other week wasn't a holiday romance," Rose reminded him.

"I was not saying it was. You really want to stay here with me?" he asked.

"Well not in the hotel," Rose smiled. "Let me look for a place to rent. Leave it to me, yeah?" she suggested.

"Do I have a choice?" he wondered. "The police are paying for the room."

"Yeah, I gathered that," Rose replied. "So, about this problem ya have with your heart?"

"Rose, I am fine. Let me find who killed Danny then I promise I will do something about it," he told her.

"Well I'm gonna keep ya to that promise Alec," Rose told him.

"I just bet you will Miss Tyler," Alec had to agree.

The End!