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Rose and the mysterious detective

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Rose Tyler meets DI Hardy outside her building then again at the local school summer fete but it takes her three weeks to find out who he is despite her friend Ellie telling Rose about her new boss.  Only when Rose catches the 'flu does she find out who he really is and Alec takes it upon himself to look after her.  Set in the AU.   







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Rose Tyler meets Alec Hardy outside her building then again at the Broadchurch local school summer fete but it takes her three weeks to find out who he is despite her friend Ellie telling Rose about her new boss.  Only when Rose catches the 'flu does she find out who he really is and Alec Hardy takes it upon himself to look after her.  Set in the AU.

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Chapter 1
Rose has been in the AU for several years, has left Torchwood to pursue a separate career after she was nearly trapped on yet another world with her team and just made it back.  Then the device they used was banned and the programme shut down with a severe penalty for anyone who dared to use it.  Rose had to abandon any hope of finding her Doctor again and leaves Torchwood and her new family home and settles in Broadchurch and with help from her stepfather sets up as a teaching assistant in the local primary school.  She soon made friends, including Ellie Miller.  In this story, non of the events of the series have taken place.

Beginnings of a friendship

Ellie Miller was not pleased as she set off for work, bumping into Rose as she left the school playground.  Rose had asked her what was wrong but didn't have time to talk, she had a class of 4-5 year olds to handle and Ellie's youngest was amongst them, he wasn't old enough to stay all day so he was just there in the mornings until the new term in September.  All she got out of Ellie was she had a new boss starting today and she wasn't looking forward to it, some grumpy male detective from Scotland, what the hell was he doing here of all places?  Don't they need detectives in Scotland?  Had they got too many and were palming them off down here?  Rose had given her a sympathetic smile as she escorted little Freddie and some other children inside the school.

Rose loved her new job, it was miles better than handling aliens and monsters and she was very popular with the children, they loved her stories, well they weren't actually stories, just cut down versions of her adventures back in her old universe travelling with the Doctor.  The teacher, Mrs Graham kept telling her she should write a book of children's stories and Rose thought she might actually do that during the long six week break that was coming up in a few weeks.

Thinking nothing else of Ellie's tale of woe, Rose was sat in the staff room, a few teachers were planning the annual school fete a week on Sunday, Rose's first one and were trying to rope her in.  She gave up and agreed to run one of the stalls with another teaching assistant, it was only one Sunday, she went running on Sunday mornings with her friend Beth but she would be there anyway so she would be running on her own.  She wondered how Ellie was getting on with her new boss and was probably already bossing him around knowing her.

She had quickly made friends with Ellie, she was more like a big sister to her when she had first arrived in the small seaside town last September and the year had gone quickly.  She'd had help getting the job, she might have fallen out with Torchwood but never with her step-dad, he had saved her life and brought her here to safety and had done everything in his power to re-unite her with the Doctor after they had travelled hundreds of miles so Rose could say goodbye to him.  He had put all resources at her disposal to find her way back but after the almost fatal disaster of their last field trip, the programme was banned and thankfully they had all made it back with two minor casualties, including Rose with a fractured arm after someone had forcibly grabbed her to save her life as the gap was closing and after that, it had scared the hell out of her step-dad Pete Tyler and that was the end of it, that and her mother threatening to divorce him if he didn't prevent Rose from trying again.

Rose had got set up with a nice quiet but never boring job, a nice flat on the seafront where her bedroom was facing the sea and life had been good for the past year, her nightmares of losing her best friend were subsiding, she thought it was the fact she was near the sea that reminded her of the beach in Norway where she had last seen him and if he ever found his way back to her, he would look for her near the sea.

She had tried dating a few locals but never got past a few nights out, no-one could compare to what she had lost.  They had just got to the 'comfortable' stage in their relationship, going just a tiny bit beyond the hugging, holding hands and kiss on the cheek stage when danger lurked around the corner to doing it all the time for no particular reason and just before that fateful day, they had kissed for the first time, right before they walked into her mother's flat and walked into the middle of a Cyberman and Dalek invasion, the Doctor promising they would talk about their kiss later but there never was a 'later', they had never been alone again.  That was what had made it worse, having to stand on a beach and say goodbye to him, telling him she loved him and he had just said it back when he faded from view.

They never got their second kiss or to hold each other, he was only a projection and Rose would have collapsed both universes just for one more kiss but she knew he loved her and would do everything he could think of to get back to her.

The afternoon bell sounded, back to work, she looked up and realised she'd be late if she didn't hurry and the kids didn't like to be kept waiting for their afternoon story.  Which one today?  The Slitheen or the Absorbaloff?  Or maybe where the Doctor came in singing when he rescued her from the clockwork droids?

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Alec Hardy had checked into his hotel, noticing it was not a bad place as hotels went then he'd gone directly to the Broadchurch Police Station to meet with his new chief superintendent, the only senior officer who had been brave enough to take him on when everyone else had turned him down.  It hadn't been his fault entirely, it was just on him to take the blame to protect his daughter, rather she hate him than her mother because he was not equipped to single-handedly look after a fast growing teenager.  His work load for one would dampen any efforts, which was why his wife had left him for another man in the first place so a quick divorce had been on the cards and he was looking for somewhere to lay low for a while, he just didn't reckon on having to drive hundred's of miles to be accepted.

Especially this place, near the water he hated so much, he would have to overcome that fear if he was to live here.  Six months at least until he could apply for another transfer so living in a hotel for six months did not sound appealing so the first thing he was going to do was find a flat to rent or failing that, a holiday rental he could take for six months, a bit more expensive but he might get a good rate, it was before the start of the summer holidays, someone might be desperate enough to let him have a place if they had been unable to take any bookings.  After his meeting and arranging to start the next morning, he went in search of the local letting agency and put his name down, hoping his rank would pull some weight and cut the usual delays but he needed something partly furnished, he'd brought very little with him.

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Rose had met up with Ellie and Beth for their usual Saturday morning catch-up in the café by the harbour and were laughing at poor Ellie who was complaining about her new boss, the Scottish detective who'd had the nerve to move here just to annoy her and was glad she was going away for three weeks just after the school holidays started.  Rose and Beth went out for their usual Sunday morning run the following day, agreeing they were both going to miss the following week with it being the fete.

It was a fairly normal week leading up to the school holidays for Rose.  She had seen Ellie a few times when she was bringing her young boy in and had just managed to catch up a few times when Ellie had got away to collect him at lunchtime.  Rose had asked how she was getting on with her new boss and Ellie said she had got to the stage where she picked fault with everything he did because he was picking faults with her and she couldn't wait until next Monday when she would be flying off on holiday.  Ellie had asked what Rose was planning on doing with her time off but she was undecided.

Rose thought about going home for a week to see her brother or have her mum bring him down for a week but her flat was too small for the two of them so they would have to stop at the hotel just down the road.  On the last day of the school term, most of the children had brought her cards and a few small gifts such as a bar of chocolate and she was sad to see some of them move up to other classes.

The following Saturday morning, Rose thought Ellie wouldn't make it to their usual meeting but she had been glad to get away from all the packing and was still complaining about her boss who was insufferably getting too sure of himself and was told he was now staying for at least six months after she had been in to see the chief asking if he would be gone when she got back.  Ellie said half the office wished they were going on holiday as well.  Rose and Beth were trying their best not to laugh then Rose was asked if she was going to the school fete the next day and said she'd been roped in to help with one of the game stalls.  After agreeing to meet them at the fete the next day, Rose went off to do her weekly shopping and was just pulling up outside her flat with her groceries when she saw a tall man with a scruffy beard, wearing jeans and a plain white t-shirt looking up at the building.

Rose thought nothing of it, she knew there was an empty flat just upstairs from her and that maybe the man was thinking about moving in but he looked a bit scruffy to afford the rents there, they weren't exactly cheap and Rose had only got hers through her step-dad arranging it and she got an allowance from him.  Taking no notice, the man walked back to a car parked nearby and drove off and Rose took her groceries inside.

Rose was up early the next morning, well she was used to it, she normally went running every Sunday morning with Beth along the coastal path but today was school fete day.  After setting up, she had a quick wander around before people started arriving and went to get a drink in the catering tent and saw the man who had been standing in front of her building the day before and wondered what he could be doing there so early, unless he was a parent or someone to do with the school.  Sitting down at a table, having a few minutes to spare, she sent a text to her mother and she was just putting her phone away when the stranger passed by her and suddenly turned back and sat on the chair opposite her and said "Hello."

Never asking her name, he began asking her about the coming day, if she was running one of the stalls and if she worked there.  Rose wasn't sure exactly what the point had been but just answered generally with yes or no and excused herself, saying she had to get back.  During the afternoon, she was watching out for him but couldn't spot him anywhere, who on earth was he?  It never clicked that he had a Scottish accent and Ellie's new boss was Scottish, well loads of people were on holiday, why would he stand out in particular?

The fete was going well, the children were winning prizes too easily Rose thought and they soon ran out so they closed the stall and Rose went off in search of Ellie and Beth.  She found Ellie and asked her if she was ready to go on holiday, being told they were all packed and were off first thing in the morning and Ellie said she hoped the grumpy detective she was working with didn't expect her to bring anything back for him and hoped working on his own would suit him better than working with her.  Rose patted poor Ellie on the back and said maybe she should try getting on with him by inviting him for dinner or something when she got back to which Ellie had replied with a 'fat chance' which had made Rose smile.  She knew Ellie was usually easy to get on with and made friends out of nearly everyone, she was popular with her colleagues and with parents at both schools, her eldest son being at a different one so Rose couldn't understand why she wasn't getting on with her new boss.

Ellie said you can't get on with a person who thinks they are right 100% of the time and gave no leeway and never listened to someone else's point of view and Rose supposed she was right, it was a two way street.   Wishing Ellie a good holiday, Rose decided she may as well go home since the fete was winding down but decided to have another cup of tea before leaving and now the catering tent were giving cakes away Rose had realised she'd had nothing since breakfast so she was grateful to be told to help herself.

That did not help when she sat down with three cakes on a paper plate and a plastic cup full of tea when the stranger with the scruffy beard appeared in the entrance to the tent and waited his turn to be served and all the cakes had gone, Rose having apparently over estimated how many she should take and now he was walking towards her and she daren't pick up one of the cakes and eat it.  He took the seat opposite her again, despite there being plenty of spare tables now and she wondered why he was picking on her when all she wanted was to scoff the cakes that although were fairly plain looked very tempting when she hadn't eaten all day.  Even the barbecue had sold out, she'd already tried without any luck and was going to call at the takeaway when she got back home.

The man just looked at her, then at the cakes, maybe he was hungry too, she was thinking, so she offered the plate to him and he took one of them muttering something that resembled a 'thanks' and Rose took one of the others.  The man asked if she'd had a successful day and Rose said she had and was ready for home but she still didn't know who he was nor did he ask who she was and it still never occurred to her he was Ellie's boss, the grumpy Scottish detective.  She was glad he was acting like a gentleman though, allowing her the remaining cake but it made her feel guilty while she ate it, he was watching her and Rose just wanted the ground to swallow her.  They talked about nothing, Rose had been used to doing plenty of that in her old life and before she had realised, the tent was almost empty and chairs and tables were being moved around them as they sat in the middle of the tent, both tea and cakes long finished.

She got up, the man got up with her and asked if she had her own transport and seemed disappointed when she said she had her car with her and said he'd walk her to where it was parked.  Rose wasn't one for being chatted up at a school fete, in the middle of the catering tent on a Sunday afternoon so she didn't regard it as such.  As far as she was concerned, he was just a visitor to the event or he was on the board of governors or something and was just keeping an eye on things.  She had seen him three times, twice that day and he'd been alone which meant he wasn't one of the parents.

As she was being walked to her car, several of her class came up to her to say goodbye, the parents shaking her hand and saying their child had enjoyed being in her class but eyeing the man she was with, like they knew more than she did – who he actually was.  Was she the only person in Broadchurch who didn't know?  He let her get into her car without saying another word, like he was just making sure she left and had reached her car safely and that was it, she didn't know his name, he still hadn't asked hers and she was no wiser as to what he was doing there than she had earlier in the day.

She had six weeks off now, to do what she wanted but what did she want?  No point in going off somewhere, she was already by the sea, maybe she should write her adventures down, make them into children's books, it would give her something to do and no-one would believe the stories were real if she left out any mention of the word 'Cybermen' and she had already done extensive research to double check nothing else had happened on this world that she had experienced on hers.

When she came out of her flat on Monday morning, she half expected to see the man with the scruffy beard standing outside but he wasn't, there was no sign of him nor was there all week, not that she was looking for him.  She thought she had seen him in the distance, going into the hotel down the street but it could have been anyone and never caught sight of him again all week.  Sunday morning, Beth rang to say she wouldn't be going running so Rose set off on her own.  It was a bit cloudy but it was early morning and she thought it would clear up and even when she reached the half-way point to set off back, she thought she would at least get back to the café before it did start to rain but she miscalculated the heavens opening and could see the café up ahead as she ran the last half mile or so and it starting pouring it down and there was no shelter until she reached it.  By the time she got there, she was soaked and as she walked through the door, he was just sitting there.

Chapter 2
Alec Hardy plays nursemaid

Alec Hardy had not particularly wanted to attend the local primary school's summer fete but since the DS he had been assigned on his arrival, who seemed to go out her way to make him miserable and contradict everything he said, was attending with her two sons, he was elected plus it would, he supposed, get him some fresh air and he could see what he was up against since arriving in the town. Not that he thought attending such an event was the duty of a Detective Inspector, surely it didn't warrant a senior officer present but the chief had insisted he make his face known around town since he was going to be stuck there for six months and people had better get used to having him there.

He'd placed his name down for a one bedroomed flat, just down the other end of the High Street and was waiting for it to be re-decorated and to hear if he had been successful in passing the usual checks but since he was in the police, didn't expect to be turned down for it, it was just a matter of it being ready to move in to.  He'd been told if successful it would be two weeks and until then, he was stuck at the hotel.  He'd managed to have a look around the flat and was surveying the outside of the building after the agent had left on the Saturday morning, when a car pulled up and he noticed a blonde woman in the driving seat and thought nothing else of it.

He had arrived at the school early the next morning and was wandering around, seeing a catering tent and went to get a drink and was just leaving when he had seen the woman from the car the day before and was going to walk past but decided to talk to her.  Not that she seemed to want to say much when he asked if she was helping with the fete and she seemed like she couldn't get away fast enough.  That was the story of his life, women always seemed to want to get away from him, including his ex-wife and things hadn't improved since.  He had walked around the school grounds, keeping his ID badge tucked into his shirt pocket at the suggestion of the head teacher he had introduced himself to upon arrival, she had said it was best not to let people know there was a police presence and only to mention the fact he was there purely in a non-official capacity if he was recognised or asked who he was.  Even the local school wasn't welcoming him, what was he going to do there for six months?

He was about to give up and go back to the hotel when he caught sight of the blonde woman again.  He had passed her stall several times and she had been busy with a crowd of young children so he hadn't had chance to speak to her again and didn't think she had even noticed him.  That was until he walked into the catering tent for a cup of tea and asked if there was anything to eat and saw the woman with a plateful of cakes.  So making a point of walking towards her with his cup, he hoped she might be willing to share.  She did.  She offered him one which he gratefully took but thought it unfair to take the other one that was left.

He had tried to talk to her, about anything but she was quiet, he was doing most of the asking, Sunday and he couldn't take a day off from interrogating someone.  He had hoped he could at least offer her a lift home but she had her own car so he'd offered to walk her to it and watched her drive off, thinking he might never see her again.

He didn't think he was going to get the flat he'd put in for, he'd heard nothing else about it, maybe they wanted to let it for a longer term and he'd get turned down, then he would have wasted two weeks but he got a phone call the following day to say he could pick the keys up on Friday so he could move in on Saturday.  Not that he had much to move so come Friday, he had paid the deposit and first month's rent and signed initially for six months with an option to extend and spent the last night in the hotel.

He hadn't seen anything more of the blonde woman, he didn't even know if she lived in that building, she could have gone in anywhere on that row of houses and just because her car was in front of one of them, the one he was moving into, didn't mean he'd see her.  Having packed his case and a few other things he'd driven the short distance and been out to get groceries without getting at least a glimpse of her.

Until the following morning, he'd driven down the road and ended up by the harbour, parking behind the café across from the Police Station and walked down the jetty, sitting on the low fence, as if watching the boats would make him get over his hatred of the water.  He had intended to walk a way up the coastal path, he was supposed to exercise but it looked like it was going to rain which was why he'd taken the car and he only had his jacket and a t-shirt along with a pair of more casual trousers and since the café was close, he headed for it just as the first of the rain came down.  Sitting just inside the doorway, he saw people running for shelter and their cars, some coming in the café, then a figure dashed past the window and the door opened.  It was the blonde woman from the school fete the Sunday before and she was soaking wet.

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Rose stood in the doorway, trying not to drip all over the floor, unsuccessfully.  She only had some change in her pocket plus her mobile and keys and now her polo shirt was soaking wet and she hoped her phone hadn't got ruined.  She had seen the man with the scruffy beard looking at her when she came in and he called her over.

"Looks like you didn't dress for the weather then, can I get you a warm drink?"  He got up and gestured for Rose to sit down but she was reluctant, since the seat was padded she didn't want to get stuck on it, not in front of him anyway.

She gingerly began to sit down and hoped she wouldn't be embarrassed getting back up, she was only wearing shorts, cursing herself for not wearing her jogging bottoms.  Her feet were also soaking, her sports socks squishing in the bottom of her trainers and a few minutes later, he was back with a mug of steaming hot tea and a towel which he had somehow managed to scrounge from a member of staff so she thanked him and began drying her face, then her arms and legs.  The tea warmed her up, not that it was a cold day, it was the end of July but the rain had been cold and unexpected.

She was feeling slightly better, now her face and arms were fairly dry and the man hadn't been watching while she was drying her legs, she hoped.  Her hair, however was a different matter, since the towel was wet, she'd had no success trying to dry it so she could only imagine what she must look like and was glad she wasn't wearing any make-up.

"So, are you feeling better now, you look a bit drier, you should go home and get a hot shower and get out of those wet clothes as soon as you can.  Can I give you a ride home?"

Rose was too wet to argue with him, it was still raining and she had no money on her for a taxi and would be embarrassed to get a taxi driver to wait while she went upstairs plus she would drip all over the taxi anyway so she said ok.  Not that she wouldn't drip all over the man's car.  So he got up, went to hand the towel back and help Rose out of her seat, she was grateful she didn't stick to it and the rain had eased off slightly and he said his car was around the back.  He unlocked the car and Rose climbed into the passenger seat, it was one of those big SUV type cars, black with lots of chrome and without asking where she lived, he set off down the esplanade then onto the High Street and a few minutes later, pulled up outside Rose's building.

"How did you know where I lived?" she asked, slightly panicking now she had admitted where she lived to a stranger, well not exactly a stranger, this was the fourth time she had met him.  He must have noticed her the other week when she had been coming back with her groceries.

He didn't admit anything and got out of the car, following Rose to the front door.

"Well thanks anyway, it was good of you to bring me back home" she said.

It had stopped raining, finally and she was waiting for him to go but he just waited and all Rose wanted to do was go get dried properly and change her clothes and she could feel a headache coming on, just what she needed.

"I would feel better if I escorted you to your door, make sure you're ok," he said as she got her keys out and followed her inside.

Opening her flat door, she hung around waiting for him to go but he wasn't budging.  Once inside, he hovered in the doorway without saying another word as Rose tried to close it.  "So, listen thanks again, I don't even know your name but it was kind of you to get me that drink and the towel and really I'll be fine now," she sneezed – great.

"Yes, you sound fine, you really should get out of those wet clothes, get a shower and get to bed.  You're welcome and my name is Alec.  I'll call back later to see how you are."

Rose was hoping he wouldn't, all she wanted to do was get dry and lie down, she had all the makings of a bad cold coming on and was thankful there was no work the next day.  "Well, thanks Alec, I'm Rose and really, there's no need to check on me, I can manage.  Bye then."

As she closed the door, he said "bye" back and Rose didn't see the disappointed look on his face.

He was determined he was going to check on her later, despite her insistence she was ok.  He walked up the next flight of stairs, sort of pleased she lived in his building and now he knew her name – it suited her, not that he had any notions of anything other than making sure she was ok of course.

Rose got out of her wet clothes and got under the hot shower, then still not feeling that much better, made some tea and went back to bed and fell asleep.  She was woken by the ringing of the doorbell and wondered how someone had got in without using the intercom on the front door and putting her dressing gown on and fastening the chain, opened the door.  It was Alec and it was four in the afternoon, she'd been asleep for over four hours and she really didn't fancy any company but she unfastened the chain and held the door open as he was trying to hand a packet to her.

"How are you feeling now?" he asked, looking down at her and noting she looked rather out of it.  "Here, I brought you these, have you eaten since you got back?"  He held out a famous brand cold and 'flu remedy and pushed the door open.

Rose wasn't in a state to argue with him as he shoved the packet into her hands and made his way inside.  "So, have you got any soup or anything?  You should eat something, fight the cold off and that cold remedy, my mother used to swear by it, they used to make them in a powder form but changed them to capsules, two of those now, two later tonight, you'll feel much better tomorrow."

He made his way into the kitchen and filled the kettle with water and switched it on and began opening the cupboard doors above the counter top and brought out a packet of instant soup, picked up a mug and emptied the contents into the cup.  Rose was just standing there in disbelief at the nerve of the man and just managed to sit down at the kitchen table as the kettle boiled and he poured water into the cup and passed it to her, then he pulled out the other chair and sat opposite her, something he seemed to be making a habit of.

Rose blew over the cup and took a sip and said, "Ow, that's hot" and put it down again.

"That's the point of it, it's supposed to be hot" but he picked it up and poured a drop of cold water into it and passed it back.

Rose could only stare at him and sipped the soup which admittedly did taste good as she'd had nothing all day, she normally made breakfast after she had returned from her run.  Alec picked the packet containing the cold remedy and got up again and got a glass of water, pressed two of the tablets onto the palm of his hand and passed them to her.

She took them from him.  "Blimey, those are rather large capsules, how am I supposed to swallow them?"

"Well, they're large because people used to take the powder and mix it with water or juice and drink it, now they have to get the contents of the small wrapper the powder came in and fit them into the two capsules so of course they're that size. Now just take them, no arguments."

Rose managed half a smile and said, "Yes Sir," then swallowed them with some difficulty, taking nearly the full glass of water to get them down.

Then she finished her soup and hoped he'd leave so she could go back to bed.  He picked up the empty mug and went to rinse it out and left the remainder of the tablets on the kitchen table.  "Right, back to bed then.  I'll check on you in the morning before I go to work but if you need me, I'll write my number down, just send me a message."

Rose didn't have the strength to argue with him, he had appointed himself as her nursemaid and she was in no state to argue with him nor to ask how he had got in the building but she supposed someone had let him in, which she would have to have words with the letting agency about as only the postman etc was supposed to be let in which cut down on nuisance callers and annoying takeaway leaflets.  It never occurred to her that the flat above hers may have been taken by him, she wasn't aware it was no longer empty.

He scribbled his number on a pad on the hall table and opened the door to let himself out.  "I'll make sure you get some breakfast before I go to work in the morning," he said.  "Bye Rose, I hope you feel better tomorrow and don't forget to take some more of those capsules later, in around four hours."  With that, he closed the door behind him.

Rose was left standing staring at the closed door, wondering what that was all about but she had been wondering about him since she first saw him the other week and he had a habit of talking to her then leaving, like he enjoyed bossing people around and then disappearing and despite now knowing his first name, still didn't know who he really was.

So she went back to bed, waking up later in the evening and managing to make herself a cup of hot chocolate, took some more of the cold remedy and woke up the next morning to the sound of her doorbell ringing again, at seven thirty.
Chapter 3
The boyfriend from hell?

She crawled out of bed, not feeling quite as bad as she had yesterday and put her dressing gown on and could only imagine it was Alec again, how was he getting in? Putting the chain on again and checking it was him, she let him in and went back to her bedroom to put on a pair of jogging bottoms and a cami top in place of her nightdress which was feeling a bit sticky anyway, she must have sweated most of the cold out of her during the night but she still felt a bit weak, that was probably because she had hardly eaten anything.

She came out of the bedroom and was about to go into the bathroom when she heard noises coming from the kitchen, most of them were curses of some kind or another and Rose smiled and went to freshen herself up, leaving him to get on with it since he'd decided to take charge of the kitchen and was glad she had been shopping on Saturday.  She emerged five minutes later and found toast, a plate of scrambled eggs and a cup of tea on the kitchen table and Alec was just scooping more scrambled eggs onto a plate for himself.  "Talk about making yourself at home," she thought, as he sat down opposite.

He'd not said a word since he came in and she really hoped she hadn't made a big mistake by encouraging him yesterday but she had felt dreadful then and been grateful for any help he had given but didn't want to end up with the boyfriend from hell like the one she had seen in a DVD recently, one she had only watched because there was an actor in it who she fancied, not, she told herself, because he looked a bit like the Doctor but because he had played a really good part in it.

Thinking she should at least say thanks as they sat eating, it was Alec who spoke first.  "So, I see you're feeling better this morning.  Hope it's not too early for you but I have to be at work at nine, someone is off and I'm working on my own."

He didn't reveal exactly what it was he did for a living and Rose's brain wasn't yet fully functioning to put two and two together to gather he was talking about Ellie. Nor had she yet figured out that Alec was the one Ellie had been moaning about before she went on holiday or his mysterious way of gaining entry to her building was due to the fact he lived upstairs.  He still had that advantage over her.  There again, he didn't know that his DS, the pain that was his partner, was best friends with Rose.  He was just glad that Miller was on leave for three weeks and he would get some peace and quiet and hoped she wouldn't do something stupid like bring him back a present when she brought everyone else something back.  That or do something equally stupid and invite him home for dinner or something to meet her family, he couldn't face that.

He turned his attention to Rose, who looked to him a whole lot better than he had seen her yesterday afternoon and not surprised she had not actually called him, the rest must have done her good, plus of course the cold remedy his mother always used to give him when he was younger.  He never took anything else if a cold had the nerve to take hold of him.

Rose put her knife and fork down and wondered whether to take the last piece of toast but waited to see if he was going to take it.  She wasn't used to this, a man sitting opposite her having made her breakfast for her and eating with her.  Not since being in this universe anyway.

He gestured for her to take it, since he was fairly certain she hadn't had anything to eat since he made her the soup yesterday and he could get more toast in the break room at the station.  "So, now you're feeling a little better, don't go overdoing it, stay in and go back to bed or lie on your sofa and watch TV and I'll come and make you something to eat when I finish work, say around seven.  Have you got something for lunch?"

Rose looked at him, thinking he was really trying to take over and she wasn't sure if she wanted it, not when she knew so little about him, what he did or even his surname and her stepfather would launch a full scale enquiry if he knew about her letting a stranger give her a ride home then look after her for two days while she was ill.  He'd have Jake down in a flash to sort the man out.

Alec got up to pick up the plates and take them to the sink.  It was already eight fifteen and Rose wondered exactly where he worked that he shouldn't be getting off there but instead, he put the dishes into the sink and began washing them.

Whoever he was, Rose thought he was very domesticated, unlike someone she had known.

"Alec, you don't have to do that, I can do it, haven't you got to go to work, you said you were working on your own.  Where do you work, in an office or something?"

"Oh, I've got time, it's only five minutes away and I do work in an office, sort of.  Not on my own entirely, the person that I work closely with is away on holiday so I'm working on my own as part of a larger office."

He tried to explain as best as he could without giving too much way.  He made it a point not to reveal he was a police detective to a woman he had just met, not until he had got to know her and most of the time, it put them off when they found out what he did and just now, he didn't want to scare this particular one away, not while she was still ill anyway.

He finished what he was doing and left the dishes to drain and went to pick up his jacket from behind the chair.  Rose noted he was wearing the same light grey suit he had been wearing last Sunday but he now took a tie out of the pocket and proceeded to put it on so wherever he worked, he needed to look smart.

"Do you want me to bring anything back for you later?" he asked as he went into the hallway.  Rose shook her head.  "Right I'll be off then, call me if you need anything oh, and you'd best give me your mobile number too, in case I'm going to be late getting you something to eat."

Rose scribbled her number on the pad and handed it to him, slowly as if she was debating whether or not to let him take it.  She was definitely not accustomed to this unusual way of meeting someone and only knowing their first name and he had invited himself to make breakfast for her and was going to provide dinner but when he came back tonight, she was going to find out who he was or tell him to forget about her and tell him not to bother her again, although that would sound ungrateful of her after what he had done for her, he didn't have to look after her, he could have dropped her off home and left her.

After saying goodbye, Rose thought she would take his advice and watch TV but after finding nothing that interested her, she switched her laptop on and thought about typing out some of the stories she had told the children over the last year. There had been plenty, in small instalments, so to keep their attention and thought back to the day she had met her first Doctor and when he had said "Run" and began to formulate her plan – a series of books called 'The man in the blue box' but she wouldn't use her real name, Pete wouldn't approve of that so she would use her mother's maiden name or the name the Doctor had assumed many times – Smith.
She had written down three parts of her first adventure before she realised she'd had no lunch and after she had made a sandwich, called her step-dad to find out if he knew someone who could actually publish them.

"So, you're actually considering publishing them?" Pete, her step-dad asked, trying not to laugh.  "Sounds like a good idea but be careful Rose, don't use any actual names and don't mention you-know-who by name, call him something else.  Mind you, it probably wouldn't sound the same if you changed his name.  Did you refer to him when you told the stories to your class?"

"Well yes but I never said where he came from, just he had like a magical machine that could go anywhere.  Well, it worked for HG Wells didn't it?"

"Who?  Never heard of him, Rose, you're rambling again, honestly, the things you come out with," Pete laughed, meaning to Rose she was speaking of someone or something not in this world and 'rambling' meant she should stay quiet and not speak openly about it.

One wrong thing about someone or something could mean disaster and she could alter the course of this world.  One wrong invention of something they weren't supposed to have meant it got locked up in Torchwood until it had been fully investigated but something like a book or any ideas was more of a threat, especially if it involved time travel.  Rose could not find anything anywhere on the internet that mentioned time travel or alien invasions, not that had escaped Torchwood's attention and been stopped or written off as a hoax, apart from the Cyberman invasion and Rose had no desire whatsoever to tell the children of those silver living nightmares.

"Never mind.  Anyway, if you can get me some contacts, I'm working on my first one.  Been a bit off it since yesterday, just a bit of a cold but I've taken something that's helped."  If she had been at Torchwood, she would have been given a 'flu jab and never have caught one in the first place.  She didn't want to mention her mysterious new acquaintance just yet, she might not be seeing him again after tonight if he didn't provide her with some answers.

At six thirty, she got a text message from Alec to say he was at the Chinese takeaway and did she like Chinese food?  Rose had to smile, he'd taken the easy way out and after he had cooked breakfast this morning too, which was quite promising but then the rest of the massage said he had been out of the office most of the day and not had time to call at the supermarket so she had to let him off.

Her doorbell rang ten minutes later, oh come on, how was he getting in?  Did he know someone else in the building?  Did he own the building?  If she didn't get some answers soon she was going to be really mad.  She wouldn't be surprised if he had a girlfriend who lived in the building but what was he doing making breakfast then bringing her dinner?  She let him in, he was holding takeaway cartons in a small carrier bag and under his arm was a bottle of wine and before she had managed to close the door, he was heading for the kitchen.  Rose had got two large plates out and he put the food cartons on the counter and proceeded to open them.  Rose got some glasses out and they soon sat down at the kitchen table, Alec pouring some wine for the both of them.

"So, I take it you're feeling a lot better now?  Did you take my advice and watch TV and take it easy?''

"Not exactly, though I did take it easy.  I've been toying with the idea of writing some children's stories so I started writing them down.  I'm going to see if I can get them published.  My stepfather, he may have some contacts who might be interested in them.  They've been a big hit with the kids in the nursery class."

"So, you're a nursery teacher then?" he asked, taking another sip of wine.

Rose was thinking she had made a big mistake but he had seen her at the school, it was reasonable he should guess what she did there, she hadn't told him much last Sunday.  "No, just a teaching assistant, that's all but I tell the children stories every afternoon after lunch and they always go down well.  The teacher suggested I write them down so now I've got six weeks to do it in."

"So, your stepfather is a businessman then?  What kind of business would that be?"

Rose wasn't ready to divulge that information, that she was the stepdaughter of one Peter Tyler, head of Vitex, not until he told her what he did and he seemed as reluctant as she was to say anything about himself.  Maybe if he had some more wine, she might get more out of him!

"Oh you could say that he's in the catering business, sort of.  You still haven't told me what you do yet?  Apart from working in an office that is.  Or is it a secret?''

Alec wasn't going to fall into her trap.   He enjoyed her company and as soon as he mentioned the word 'Police' she would throw him out.  No, he was keeping it to himself until he was sure it wouldn't scare her off.

He changed the subject and picked up the plates, Rose got up to help but he said for her to sit down, he'd clear up.  Rose suspected it was to avoid her question.  He finished washing the dishes then sat back down at the table and poured some more wine.

"So, I think one more day and you should be back on your feet again.  Why don't I check on you in the morning and make you breakfast again, then if I think you're ready, I'll discharge myself as your nurse."  He smiled at her over the rim of his wine glass.  "I'm sure you'll be glad to have your kitchen back in the mornings."

Rose didn't know what to say.  She had let him look after her for two days and now he was leaving and she knew nothing about him, no nearer than she was last Sunday to finding out who he was.  He put the glass down and reached over the table to take her hand.

"It's been my pleasure to look after you Rose but you won't be needing me any more."  He got up and took the wine glass over to the sink and washed it out and walked to the kitchen door.  "See you at breakfast then?"

Rose got up before he opened the door out into the hallway and the stairs.  "Alec, wait.  I just wanted to say thanks again, for looking after me."  She took his arm and reached over and kissed his cheek.

He smiled again.   "Goodnight Rose, see you in the morning."  He walked towards the stairs but Rose called after him.  "Alec, can I ask you something?"  He turned back. Rose continued.  "Why?  Why did you insist on looking after me?"

"Well, I couldn't just leave you, you were ill.  It would have been remiss of me to just abandon you when you couldn't look after yourself.  Goodnight again Rose."

Rose had one more question.  "Alec, just answer me one more thing."  He stopped at the stairs.  "How have you been getting in the building without ringing the intercom downstairs?"
Chapter 4
No more secrets?

Alec turned back and walked up to her.  "You really don't know?"  Rose shook her head.  "Rose, I live upstairs, I moved in last Saturday.  Have you not heard me moving around?  How did you think I'd been getting in?"

Rose smiled, she had been so far out of it yesterday afternoon and evening, an elephant could have been holding a disco up there and she wouldn't have heard it and since Alec was out all day today, how was she supposed to know?

"Right, I guess that answers that then.  Sorry, my brain is still a bit mushed up, must have been those capsules I was taking, which I'd better not take tonight since I've been drinking wine but I think I'll be ok now.  See you at breakfast then."

Just as he turned away, she kissed his cheek again and went back inside, pleased she had got one answer out of him and maybe she would get the rest in the morning.  He'd said she wouldn't need him any more after tomorrow morning though.  Did that mean he was only being friendly because he felt sorry for her catching a cold and now she was getting well he didn't want anything else to do with her?  She had been worried he was taking over but once he stopped calling in on her, would she miss him?

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Alec went back upstairs, he had given her one answer, was she going to get more out of him?  He had opted to get the takeaway purely because he was afraid she would think he was trying to take over her kitchen, he could have cooked something if he'd wanted but she was getting better and taking more notice so he'd thought it best not to overstay his welcome and tomorrow morning, he'd decided was going to his last visit.  That was until she had kissed his cheek – twice.

He had thought about her all day, hoping she had taken his advice and was resting but just why had he taken an interest in her in particular?  What would she want him hanging around for?  She was far too young and probably had a boyfriend already, he'd only be getting in the way and he might have to deal with a jealous lover, surely someone like her wouldn't be single?  Now she was taking more notice though, he would be careful not to make too much noise late at night but sometimes he got in late and would have to start treading lightly if he did.

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After Alec had left, she had time to think.  Did she want to see him any more?  Apart from maybe bumping into him on the stairs or outside?  Maybe she could repay him and offer to make him dinner tomorrow night, he couldn't refuse that, could he?  She was going to ask him in the morning.

Rose was woken at seven thirty again, did he really have to come down at that time?  She supposed so, since he had to go to work, the office he didn't want to talk about.  She took the chain off and let him in then ran back into her bedroom to get changed but he called after her.

"Rose, do you like poached eggs?" he asked.  Rose pulled a face.  "What about hard boiled eggs?"  She pulled a face again.  "Rose, they're all eggs why are you pulling faces?'' he laughed.  "OK, then I'll make you an omelette if you like, I'll see what I can find in your fridge, don't be long."

Rose thought she would miss him if he wasn't going to make her breakfast any more, maybe she should fake a relapse?  Get him to feel sorry for her again but that would be taking advantage of his good nature.  She slipped on a sleeveless t-shirt and her jeans and went into the kitchen.

Alec was just serving up the omelettes on a plate and a mug of tea was on the table. He put the plate down and Rose thought it looked really good.  She was getting her appetite back.

"So, what are you going to do today then?  More writing?" he asked, finishing his breakfast then clearing the plates.

"Oh, I thought I would go get some fresh air today, go for a walk down by the harbour, do a bit of shopping.  So do you think I'm fit enough to go out on my own then?'' she said, starting to laugh.

"Oh, I think you can be trusted to go out.  Tell you what, if you're going down by the harbour, would you like to meet me for lunch by any chance?  Say around one where we were on Sunday?"

"Mmm, ok then, if you can guarantee it's not going to rain again," she smiled.  "Alec, does this mean you won't be making me breakfast any more?"

"You don't need me taking up your kitchen any more Rose, I've had more breakfasts here than I've had in my own kitchen.  I'm sure you'll be glad to have it back to yourself and get up at a more decent hour instead of when I get up to make it."  He smiled back at her and reached for his jacket.  "So, see you at one then."

He walked over to where Rose was sitting and kissed her cheek.  Rose was surprised.  Did he want to carry on coming down and make her breakfast every morning or did he mean it, that he didn't want her to think he was trying to take over?  He was just about to leave when she called his name.

"Alec, can I make dinner for you tonight, to say thanks properly?'' she asked.

"I don't want to put you to any trouble Rose, having lunch out with me will be thanks enough."

"It's no trouble and I'd really like to, so how about seven?  We can finish that bottle of wine from last night."

He looked at her.  "Well ok, if you insist.  See you at one."

Rose decided at the last second to dash up to him and kissed his cheek.  "Alec, at least tell me your surname?"

As he was going out of the door he turned around and said "It's Hardy."

Rose watched him go down the stairs and had achieved another step in her mission to find out who he was.  Now all she had to do was find out what he did and where he worked.  She wished Ellie was around, she could have found out for her.  She could do a search for him or mention him to Pete but that wouldn't be fair, looking him up.  It was only lunch and her making him dinner.  She was just expressing her gratitude when she had kissed him on the cheek last night and hadn't meant for him to do it back nor had she meant to do that one just now at the last minute but the thought now that she wouldn't see him for breakfast again.

She decided she would go shopping after her lunch date with Alec, was it an actual date, she wondered?  So she would take the car.  She felt much better that morning, providing it didn't rain again.  That would teach her to go jogging when it was cloudy.  She was actually looking forward to meeting him but had no intentions of making anything out of it, they could just go out as neighbours and she was making dinner for him as a thank you for looking after her, that was all.  "Yeah Rose, just keep telling yourself that," she thought.

Making her way down to the harbour and parking behind the café, she looked for Alec's car but it was a bit early and she didn't know if he would be walking anyway since she still didn't know where he worked and had just got out when she bumped into Beth.

"Hiya Rose, I'm really sorry about Sunday, letting you down like that.  Did you still run on your own?  It turned out nasty anyway."

"Yeah, I went, got a cold for my troubles.  Got soaking wet.  I was all the way down the coastal path when the heavens opened and was drenched by the time I got here."

"Aw, poor you, are you busy?  We could have lunch."  Beth motioned to the café.

"Oh, sorry, I'm meeting someone, another day perhaps?"

"Male I hope, it's about time you got a proper boyfriend." Beth laughed.

Rose blushed.  Beth was always as bad as Ellie when it came to playing matchmaker, always trying to fix her up with any eligible male who came into the tourist information office where Beth worked.

"Yes, a man and before you get any ideas, he's my new upstairs neighbour, he moved in last Saturday and when I got caught in the rain, he was in the café and gave me a lift home.  Don't read anything into it, you're as bad as Ellie is,"  Rose laughed back.  If Ellie found out she would have him in the interrogation room pronto finding out his motives for taking Rose to lunch.  Ellie was worse than her stepfather.

"Have fun then you can give me all the gory details on Sunday, weather permitting."

They said goodbye and Rose hoped it hadn't made her late but he wasn't there when she got inside so she ordered some lunch and waited.  Five minutes later, a rather flustered Alec entered and sat down opposite, he seemed to like sitting opposite her and she couldn't figure out why.

"Oh Rose, I'm so sorry I'm late, I was out of the office and just got back.  Have you ordered?"  Rose nodded.  He touched her hand and said,  "Well I'll go order and tell them to put it on my bill, since I invited you to lunch or have you already paid?"

Rose said she had, it wasn't a café where you ate now and paid later, not like the other one across the harbour, Rose liked to go there usually, that was where the three friends met up on Saturday mornings.

"It's ok, really, you go order."  Just then, Rose's food arrived and Alec went to order.  She hadn't expected to have him pay for her lunch anyway, she was now used to paying her own way now she had money to spare as opposed to borrowing it from Mickey all the time or paying by psychic paper.

Alec came back and began talking, he seemed to do rather a lot of that, either that or Rose was still reluctant to say anything but she held up her end of the conversation when she got the chance, Alec could talk as much as the Doctor could.  Lunch over, Rose said she was going to get what she needed to make him dinner and he said he looked forward to it.  He walked her to her car then she saw him disappear across the harbour and never saw him walking back towards the Police Station.

Once back in his office, he contemplated trying to find out who she was.  She worked at the local primary school as a teaching assistant, the school had a website that would list the teachers and staff, surely?  No, he couldn't do that but he had told her his name, something he didn't usually do until he was sure they weren't going to run away when they'd learned his occupation but Rose was his neighbour, that was all and they'd just had lunch, that's all and he had made her breakfast for two mornings, she was just repaying him by making him dinner tonight, nothing more so why was he wanting to look her up to see who she was?

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Rose was daydreaming walking around the supermarket when she literally bumped into the local vicar.  "Whoa, Rose, are you ok?" the Rev. Paul Coates asked her when she realised what she had done and couldn't apologise enough to him.

She had been thinking ahead of herself, getting extra breakfast items when she didn't know if after tonight she was going to see Alec again.  Did she want to see him again?  She still didn't know the answer to that question.  "Oh, I'm sorry, I was miles away."  She carried on walking around and ended up at the checkout, just behind the vicar.

"You're not going to wheel that into me again are you?'' he laughed, holding out his hand to prevent the trolley getting any nearer to him.  "If you are, give me some warning this time."

Rose smiled back, she just couldn't get Alec off her mind.  He was just a neighbour, that's all, don't make such a big fuss but that had been her mistake all that time ago.  She and the Doctor had done the Harlem shuffle around each other for too long, pretending they were 'just friends' and had left it too late to become properly involved and now she was denying Alec was more than just a neighbour.  If he hadn't wanted to make more of it, why had he accepted her dinner invitation?  Why had he insisted they went out to lunch and offered to pay?  Or was he just old-fashioned?

One thing was sure, until she was certain she regarded him as more than a neighbour and until he told her where it was he worked, she was not letting on who she really was.
Chapter 5
Only a 'thank you' dinner?

Alec had been looking forward to having dinner with Rose all afternoon so it did not put him in a good mood when he had to go out to investigate a break-in with a young DC who was just out of training college and just passed his driving test and it was already after four in the afternoon and thought he was going to have to call her to say he was going to be late.  This was why he didn't date anyone on a regular basis.  Something would always get in the way.  Maybe Rose was different but he was going to blow any chance of finding out if he stood her up tonight when she had prepared dinner for him.

Huffing around asking questions after it had taken them twenty minutes to get there after the DC had managed to get a car for them as Alec was not going to use his own for the purpose, he didn't want anyone knowing what car he drove, he was hanging around while waiting for the business owner to arrive and thought it was going to take forever for the forensics team to get there and he didn't like the officer in charge to start off with and it wasn't helping that the owner was taking his time.

He thought he had better warn Rose he was going to be late, this was going to take forever but what could he tell her?  Should he ring or send a text?  He was not used to this, not at all and he was not good at making excuses to someone who had invited him for dinner.  It was more polite to call her and say he may possibly be late and was not cancelling on her and for her to just start preparing it later so it wouldn't be spoiled.  Yes, he should do that, that was the best way to do it, a text was impersonal, making it sound like he didn't want to go in the first place and he did, didn't he?  It was just a 'thank you' dinner but she would be making the effort to prepare it and the least he could do was let her know.

"Stop pratting around and call her," he told himself.  Honestly, he was acting like an idiot, he was a grown man, divorced, one teenage daughter and he couldn't call his young, very pretty and probably very available neighbour who had kindly invited him for what was probably a 'thank you for looking after me' dinner to say he was going to be late.

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Rose had got back from the supermarket and called her mother.  Big mistake if she wanted to prepare a nice dinner for Alec.

"So when are you going to invite us down Rose?  Tony's nagging to come down to the seaside, he wants to build sandcastles and go out on a boat.  I could get Jake to bring us down, we could squash up with you, you've got that bed settee your dad bought for you, me and Tony could share."

Just what she needed, her mother and brother staying and her just getting to know Alec, that would help – a lot, if he wanted to continue their meetings for breakfast. She had to come up with excuses – fast.

"Yeah, I'd love you to come down but it's a bit cramped here, I could book you into the hotel just down the road, it's only five minutes away, just for you to sleep in and that.  We can spend the days going out, there's plenty to do around here.  I'll ring the hotel and find out if they have any vacancies for you.  Why isn't dad coming with you?"

"Oh, he's got his head buried in something again, you now he never tells me anything.  Says it keeps me out of trouble if I don't know, like he doesn't trust me or something, like I'd say anything.  Don't understand half of it anyway.  What you been up to?  Pete said you had a cold, you ok now?"

Rose really didn't want to tell her mother that her new upstairs neighbour had been looking after her for two days and that he was tall, dark and sexy, talk about the firing squad.  "Oh, I'm ok now, took something for it."  More like took someone for it, she was thinking.

"Well I don't want you passing your cold to me when I come down, thank you very much.  So when shall we come down then, next week?"

That was a bit close for comfort, what if Alec did want to get to know her, how could she explain to him her family were coming down for the week?  She needed to put this off.

"Well, I'll see when they've got room at the hotel, that one is the nearest, I'll call in tomorrow and tell them someone will ring to confirm and pay for it.  If Jake's coming down, I'd love to see him, maybe he could stay overnight and we can all go out?  It's a long way to drive down and go straight back anyway with him doing it twice.  Do you want to share a family room with Tony?  I'll book you Monday to Friday with an extra room for Jake on the Monday night."

Jackie had to agree, it was the best she was going to get from her daughter anyway. Rose wasn't ready to say anything about Alec yet, it might all dry up after tonight anyway, he might eat what she made for him, say goodnight and hardly see him again.  She didn't know Alec was feeling exactly the same as she was, that he had been thinking maybe she only wanted to say thank you anyway then not want to see him again.  Neither of them had dating on the top of their list of priorities and had probably forgotten what it was actually like to go out on a proper date, let alone recognise all the signs that they were already in the first stages of dating and it looked like it was going to be a while longer before they figured out.  Rose should have known after her hesitation in saying anything to the Doctor that just because they thought they had all the time in the world it didn't mean they actually did have as Rose had found out to her cost.

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Alec had got up the courage to call Rose but found her number was engaged and he really didn't want to send her a text, it wasn't like asking her if she wanted something from the takeaway, this was delicate, not something he was good at, being delicate with a woman and it required diplomacy, tell her he was still coming for dinner and not to take it as he was turning her down.  He didn't want to turn her down, it might be the last meal he ate with her although she had sounded rather disappointed that he wouldn't be making breakfast for her any more.  He tried her number again and she answered, hadn't she noticed a missed call on her phone?

"Rose, hi, it's Alec.  Listen, I've had to go out of the office and I don't know how long I'm going to be."  It was already nearly five thirty, he had to finish up here, get back to the station and make a report and he was nowhere near finished yet.  "So if you've not started making dinner yet, do you want to start making it a bit later?  I wouldn't want you to go to all that trouble and let the food spoil while you're waiting for me.  I will be there, it just might be a bit later.  I didn't want you to think I wasn't going to turn up.  I'm looking forward to it."  He scowled at his DC who was looking in his direction, trying to overhear what he was saying.

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Rose had just got off the phone with her mother when she noticed a missed call from Alec but before she had chance to call him back, he rang again.  She thought that was it, he was cancelling on her, good thing she hadn't started getting dinner prepared then.  She answered but he wasn't cancelling, he was just saying he was going to be late.  Good, she could deal with that, him being late and not cancelling she would get to see him one last time.

"It's ok Alec, thanks for letting me know.  I don't suppose you know how late you're going to be do you?  I can get dinner prepared and keep it on a low heat until you arrive, it won't really spoil.  Call me when you're on your way back then."  She hung up, at least he had the decency to call her, most men wouldn't bother but Alec was different and she was only just noticing he was.

She went to get changed, what should she wear?  He had only seen her wearing casual clothes, time to get dressed up then and show him she owned more than jeans, jogging bottoms and t-shirts.  She surveyed her wardrobe, why she had brought so many of her dresses with her she didn't know, she never went out, maybe she should pack some away.  She found a pale orange strapless dress and held it in front of her.  No, too much for an evening in so she put it back.  Ah, a nice plain black strappy v-neck dress, just low enough not to show off too much, if she didn't lean over and just the right length to show off her legs - perfect.  All she had to do was keep dinner, Spaghetti Bolognese on a low heat for a while longer, set the table in the living room not the kitchen and put the candles on the table.  Then wait for Alec and hoped she impressed him.

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Alec finally got away from the station at six thirty and he was not pleased it had taken so long.  He left the DC to write the report up and drove the short distance home and not wanting to visit Rose in his work suit, went to get changed.  He had intended bringing her flowers and hoped he'd get some now at the service station further up the road and was just lucky they had some pink carnations left.  He found himself on Rose's landing and debated whether to just knock on the door without getting changed.  It was just on seven, he'd said he might be late, it would only take him five minutes to get changed and a quick wash, make it look like he had at least taken some time in getting ready.  He didn't want to appear over keen that he hadn't bothered taking the time.  It was only dinner, for her to thank him for looking after her.

He really hoped she would talk some more tonight.  She never said a lot.  Maybe she was just shy.  What could he talk about with her?  He'd not spent an entire evening with her before, he had only shared a takeaway with her last night not stayed too late.  He hadn't got dressed up, Rose was still wearing jeans and a t-shirt, very nice fitting jeans, in all the right places, not that he had been looking, just like he had not been looking last Sunday when she was drying her legs in the café, the legs that were wet and dressed only in shorts that clung to her and the t-shirt that was wet and he could see her bra through it, he'd not been looking at that either – not much.

Then there had been the two mornings she had answered her door in her nightdress and dressing gown, the short nightdress and dressing gown and the cami-top she had changed into that just covered her bra and he could see the top of her breasts, not that he had said anything about it and the sleeveless t-shirt this morning that had been very tight fitting, he could make out her bra through it.  He let out an involuntary shiver as he changed.  Where had that train of thought come from?

"You're going to be very late if you don't hurry, Hardy," he told himself as he put on a clean pale blue shirt, left it open at the collar and a pair of jeans or should he wear trousers?  "Get a grip and get dressed and don't keep her waiting."

Picking up the flowers, his mobile and his keys, leaving his wallet in his personal safe in the back of his wardrobe, he never knew just what he was getting himself into and as a trained Police Officer he never went into a situation where he could be compromised and have his wallet and ID stolen.  Last night was not a dinner date and he'd only had one glass of wine, not enough to be paranoid about being taken advantage of.  Right, did he need anything else?  It was seven fifteen, not too late. Should he get that packet out of his wallet?  Definitely not, it was just dinner with his downstairs neighbour, he wouldn't be needing that.

He bounded down the stairs two at a time and rang Rose's doorbell and almost dropped the flowers when she answered the door.  To say he was nervous was the understatement of the century but when he saw her, it all disappeared.  She looked stunning and as he handed her the flowers, he kissed her lightly on her lips, just a peck and told her she looked beautiful.

ooooooooo{silversurfer60}ooooooooo

Rose had been nervous too, that he wouldn't like her cooking or the way she was dressed or the assumption on her part that it was more than just a thank you dinner but as he handed her the flowers and had just almost kissed her, she let him in and went to put the flowers in a vase of water.  She called from the kitchen as she had gestured for him to go into the living room which she had tidied up, asking him to light the candles on the table but he came up behind her and said he needed something to light them with.  She turned around and he was standing close to her as she pointed to a gas lighter on the counter top.  He smiled and went to pick the object up, her heart was pounding faster than a Timelord's two hearts put together, then he went back out and she had to re-compose herself before she could put dinner on the plates.

As she was doing so, she called out for him to pour out some wine then she picked up the plates and walked into the living room.  He had pulled over the curtains but it was still fairly light.

"Are you sure you want those candles lit Rose?" he asked.  "Maybe I should have arrived even later?"  He proceeded to light the candles and took the plates from Rose, then held out a chair for her.

Rose had miscalculated just how low her dress neckline was as she ate her food and poor Alec could hardly concentrate on what he was eating.  She felt like just running to her bedroom and putting a t-shirt on over it.  She had overdone it, he was just wearing a shirt and jeans, the shirt was open at the top and she could see part of the hairs on his chest so it was just as well she didn't go for the orange strapless one then, he really would have been in trouble.  All through dinner, Alec was trying to lighten the conversation, anything to avoid the topic of them continuing to have breakfast together.

Alec offered to help clear the dishes, Rose insisted he didn't but as she turned and he followed her into the kitchen, he took them from her and placed them in the sink.

"Alec, was the meal ok?  Would you like something for dessert?" she asked.

Alec just moved nearer.  "Well, that depends what's on the menu and the meal was very good."  Then he leaned down and kissed her.
Chapter 6
Not part of the plan

He had not planned on kissing her, well not tonight anyway, it just sort of happened.  She had been standing there when he had gone to get something to light the candles with and then she had sat opposite him in that black dress he could almost see down and she had laughed when he said if he had known she was going to get dressed up he would have worn a suit and when she had asked him if the meal was ok then asked him about dessert, well that was it, he had lost any self control he had.  Rose hadn't played fair by just sitting there in that dress while he had been trying to eat the meal she made him.  He didn't really stand a chance.  He felt positive she knew it.

They stood there in the kitchen, Rose not knowing quite how this had happened, he was kissing her and she was quite enjoying it.  She had not expected it, not in the least, not even after the peck on the lips as he came in, or him bringing her flowers.  They moved without a word into the living room, Alec sitting her on the sofa then laying her back against the cushions then laying down next to her as she moved against the back of the sofa, kissing longer and harder as Alec reached around the back of her dress to unzip it, pulling down the thin straps to reveal her strapless bra.

Rose had begun to unfasten the rest of his shirt buttons and upon completing her mission by pulling it off, her hands went around his neck to pull him towards her, running her fingers through his hair, one hand straying to the front of his jeans, unbuttoning them as one of his hands was now down the back of her black thin cotton panties, trying to pull them down, the other unfastening her bra.  He moved her on top of him, her hand trying to unzip his jeans hindered by her lying directly on him, Alec trying to pull her dress down.

She clasped hold of the zip on his jeans and yanked it down, trying to pull his jeans down, Alec pulling her dress up until it was around her middle.  They both gasped as they first made contact with each other and he gently moved against her.  He stopped, a concerned look on his face – damn why hadn't he gone back and got that packet out of his wallet?

Rose wondered what had happened, she was ready for him and he'd stopped.  "Alec, it's ok, I'm on the pill, well injections so don't worry.  I want you Alec, please don't stop now." 

His fingers on her back, feeling around to her soft parts.  He looked at her.  "Rose, it's not that, I just forgot to bring protection with me.  I didn't plan this, you just looked so beautiful tonight and I couldn't resist you and I didn't think.  It's not that I don't believe you take the pill, I just want to protect you.  I don't make a habit of this you know, you're the first woman I've wanted to be with for a long time and why I carry those things in my wallet, I really don't know but I left them in my flat and right now, I really don't want to move, well apart from to move with you.  Can we just move together without going all the way?  I really want to do this Rose, I swear I do, I'm just worried for you."

"Alec, it's ok, this is more than I ever expected, it was like I just wanted to get your clothes off as fast as I could, this isn't something I planned either and I do want to do this, I want to feel you.  It's been a while since I've been with a man, not since I've been here, I never found anyone, until I met you.  Please Alec, just continue, just stop when you need to, I want to be able to feel you."

That was all he needed as they lay together, Alec being gentle, Rose making all the right moves until Alec felt he should stop before he went too far but they both felt their pleasure, Alec watching her face light up when she had hers.  They lay together again, Alec's arm tightly around her waist, kissing passionately, tongues now doing battle.  They finally stopped for breath and began laughing, Rose trying to move onto her side, Alec helping her but flipped her onto her back instead, hovering above her, Rose moving to his touch, guiding him to exactly where he would have the most effect on her, both of them smiling, Rose reached out to touch him, he flinched slightly but then relaxed allowing her to touch him and then leaned down to kiss her.

"Rose, I really wanted to do this properly, perhaps we can continue this another time?"

"We can continue it now in the bedroom if you want.  I trust you Alec, at least I would do if you told me more about yourself.  You know more about me than I know about you, so tell me, what is it you do for a living?"

Alec looked up and smiled, was she trying to trick him into revealing his occupation?  Tonight wasn't meant to happen, not yet, not until he was sure he could trust her.  She might be a teaching assistant but he knew nothing else.  He had a plan, well sort of a plan, a 'swap life stories' one anyway, she tells him one thing, he tells her something in return but Rose goes first.

"Rose, it's not that, I know you trust me but you shouldn't.  I really do want you, this was more than just nice and when I came down here, I could have brought something with me but I didn't think I was going to need it, I thought you would resist me if I came onto you, I wasn't expecting this to happen so soon.  I thought you'd want wining and dining first at least," he smiled, leaning down and kissing her again.  "Why don't I take you out to dinner tomorrow night, somewhere nice and we can talk about ourselves, properly.  You tell me more about yourself, where you come from, where you grew up, what you did before you became a teaching assistant and I'll tell you about myself, deal?"

Rose had to agree, she just had to know more about him and perhaps he was right not to come prepared, she might have even given him the famous Tyler slap on the face if he had dared to bring something with him and now she felt just a little bit embarrassed.  If he had come prepared she might have thrown him out for him presuming it was more than she intended it to be.  She wanted him to keep coming down for breakfast, now she knew she wanted to continue seeing him.

Rose ran her fingers through his hair and reached up to kiss him.  "Deal and if you want, I can make you breakfast in the morning if you come down at your usual time, that's assuming you want to continue having breakfast in my kitchen?  Don't worry, I'll let you know if I think you're taking over my flat."

Alec smiled and kissed her back then tried to move over to get off her without actually falling off the sofa, trying to pull his shorts and jeans up, cursing himself for not being a gentleman, Rose giggling at his attempt to correct his mistake.  Somehow or other, he managed to at least do the latter and eased himself up, ending on his knees and pulled her up with him, attempting to put her dress back over her shoulders by the straps but failing, so he grabbed his shirt and covered her shoulders, kissing them.

"I'm going to need that back before I leave," he said, smiling down on her, pointing to his shirt and fastening his jeans.

Rose smiled back and left to dash into her bedroom, discarding the shirt and her dress that was falling off her then grabbing her cami-top and clean panties and her dressing gown.  Alec was sitting back on the sofa, waiting for her and got up, taking the shirt off her that she held out and noting the gap in her dressing gown.

"Well, I think since you took my shirt off me, it's only fair you should help me back on with it," he said as he put one arm through a sleeve and then the other.

Rose began to fasten the buttons, placing a finger on his chest as she fastened each one then kissed his belly.  He didn't bother tucking in the shirt, he was only going upstairs then back down here for breakfast Rose was going to make for him in the morning.

"So, I'll see you in the morning," he said, putting his arms around her neck and kissing her forehead.  "And, just to make sure we are both on the same level, I told you my surname, why don't you tell me yours?  Make a start on telling me about yourself so I at least know who I had a very enjoyable evening with."

She couldn't hold off any longer in telling him her name, she could lie and give her mother's maiden name but why?  He wouldn't thank her for lying to him in the end and it would ruin the evening and maybe the chance of something else.  He was the first man she had met since she lost the Doctor that she had wanted to get to know, in that way.

"It's Tyler, Rose Tyler."

Alec looked at her, holding her back by her shoulders, causing her dressing gown to slip off them.  "Not the same as is Peter Tyler?  I didn't know he had any family, his wife died in that crazy episode in London over ten years ago, the one the authorities so carefully covered up, well maybe not that carefully but it was all hushed up.  Did he re-marry?  Then you have to be his stepdaughter."

Rose knew Pete had covered everything up as far as he was able, including the circumstances the first Jackie Tyler had disappeared in and subsequently declared missing, presumed dead like so many that night – mass hysteria causing numerous citizens of London to die or go missing after 'metal creatures' had taken over and then been captured and locked up.  Rose hadn't wanted to go into it when she arrived in this universe, Pete had just told her the basics, she was grieving the loss of the Doctor and when Pete married her mum, it was kept quiet, he kept Rose quiet to the public, she never bragged about who she was, even she wasn't told how he had explained it all, only Pete and Jake knew because Jake had helped him invent the whole cover story and the true nature of Torchwood was hushed, the public face being common knowledge, a research facility.  Even then Pete's true role in it had been hidden.

"Yes Alec, he's my stepfather and we don't make it public knowledge, not to anyone.  I don't question it.  He married my mum eight years ago, I have a younger brother now.  Please Alec, don't let it make any difference to you who I am.  I'm not famous or anything, I've had a quiet life, we don't make things public.  Please say you won't tell anyone who I really am?"

"I won't I promise, it makes no difference but if you have a rich stepfather, why are you working here?  In Broadchurch of all places?"

"I could ask you the same question Alec, what are you doing so far from home?'' she laughed.

"I got a transfer here, well, I asked for a transfer as far away as I could get from where I was and this was it," he laughed.  "Couldn't get that much further if I'd tried, well maybe apart from Lands End, but this is where I ended up and I have to make the best of it.  It will be six months before I'm even considered for another transfer and that's even if I can get one."  He was telling her what he could without actually giving anything away just yet.  Perhaps he'd tell her tomorrow night.

"Ah!" she thought, "Maybe I can guess what he does then, always wears a suit and tie, works in an office and not something where he can change jobs easily."  "So, do I get to guess what you actually do then?" she asked him teasingly.  Alec nodded.
Rose went through a list of possibilities to which he shook his head at each one and she got nowhere.  Whether she wasn't thinking straight or not, it never occurred to her mention the word police.  New man in town, works in an office, Ellie complaining about her new boss?  Nope, she definitely wasn't thinking straight!

"OK, I give in then, you can tell me tomorrow night since we're even and we know each other's surnames at least and you know who I am.  See you in the morning?"

"I look forward to it, see you in the morning."

He put his arms around her and reached down to kiss her, much slowly this time, like he wanted it to last, not as desperate as earlier when they were unsure of each other but they had moved past that now, moved on from the denial stage, that they were just neighbours.  Rose let him out and watched him go upstairs and went to get ready for bed, thinking somehow she had missed something about him.  She had gone through every profession that had come to mind, including variations but never did she even think it was Ellie's new boss, even after he had said he was working on his own because the person he worked closely with was on holiday.
Rose was so wrapped up discovering who he was, it had blinded her to the obvious and it hadn't helped she had been ill for two days or that she had been trying to figure out how he had been getting into the building.
Chapter 7
All secrets are revealed (well most of them)

Rose got up at seven to start making breakfast for Alec, then sent him a text to say not to be late or it would get cold and just before half past, her doorbell rang.  She had purposely left her long cami-top and pyjama bottoms on under her dressing gown, not bothering to get changed, there was very little point now.  Greeting each other with a kiss, they sat down to breakfast, arranged to meet at lunchtime if Alec could get away then Rose dropped a bombshell on him to say she had to check on hotels because her mother and brother were coming for a visit.

"It's just for a few days, Alec, I'm going to see if I can get them in at The Traders, it might be a couple of weeks off yet.  My brother has been pestering to come down, I've not seen him for a while.  He's only seven and he'll be off to bed once he's had his tea and mum will be with him so since you'll be at work, I'll still be able to see you."

Alec didn't seem too concerned about it, they were just getting to know each other and Rose had her daytimes free to spend with her family and spend the nights with him, he could cope with that.  He didn't want to appear too possessive after all.

"Ok then, maybe I could meet them, we could all go out a couple of times after I finish work, if it's not too late for your brother.  What's his name?"

"It's Tony, he's just gone seven and mostly he's just like an oncoming storm, he tears through the house like a tornado, especially when his uncle Jake visits, they tear about all over the place."  She saw Alec's face when she mentioned Jake.  "Oh, Jake just works for my step dad, he's not a relative or my ex - boyfriend or anything else, he's only a family friend but he's bringing them down so you can meet him and judge for yourself that you have nothing to worry about, absolutely nothing," she grinned.  She knew Alec would agree once he had met him.

"Well, that's ok then, if I get to meet him.  Right, I have to be going soon and I want a proper kiss goodbye before I leave."

He got up and Rose held out her hand to him and he helped her up.  Gathering her up, they started kissing, slowly and letting their lips linger.  He let go, untying her dressing gown and putting his hands under, feeling her skin under the thin material of her top as he put his arms around her and lifted the top, sliding one hand down her pyjama bottoms and kissing her again.

"So, if I can't make it to lunch, I'll call and tonight, if you're ready for seven, I'll take you somewhere nice. Is that ok?"

"Great, I look forward to it Alec and then, we both give each other some answers. Remember I said we keep our family quiet?  Well I'll have to tell my step dad you know about me, I don't normally tell people who I am but there's nothing to worry about, it's just so he knows, there are only a few people know about it and Jake is one of them, an old friend who I've known since I was little and then you."

"I understand Rose and there are some things you need to know about me but I'm afraid that they'll put you off when I've told you so I'd like at least to take you out to dinner before I send you running in the opposite direction.  Usually when I get to that part, women normally head for the nearest exit and can't get out fast enough."

Why was he warning her?  He didn't normally tell woman he was going to say something that might make them run, they usually did run.  Not to mention the fact he was divorced with a daughter, it never usually got as far as that.

"Alec, I don't think anything could put me off, after last night, not unless it was something really bad and then I would probably give you the benefit of the doubt, unless you were a criminal or something," she laughed.  Then her face went serious and Alec moved both his hands away.

"What's wrong Rose, why are you looking at me like that?"

Rose was staring at him.  "You're not are you?  You're not wanted for something?"

Alec saw the look of horror on her face as his hands dropped.  "Rose, of course I'm not wanted for something, what made you think that?"  He put his arms back around her waist and pulled her close again and kissed her.  "I promise, I'll tell you everything tonight and if you don't run away, well I'll make sure what I left in my flat last night is in my wallet.  OK?''  He kissed her long and hard and finally broke away.

"I really have to go now, I may have a job where I'm left to my own devices but it's noticed if I'm late."

Rose had to reluctantly let him go.  She would find out tonight anyway and she was determined that whatever he told her, she was not going to run.   She was through with running and through with being alone because like it or not, she was alone and though she knew she should never give up on getting back, she had to face the truth she would never see the Doctor again and even if she did, she might not recognise him any more.

They said goodbye and Rose got dressed, then rang Pete.  She didn't like reporting to him if she went out with someone, it didn't usually matter because that was all she did, just go out with them but not Alec, no, he was the one, she had never felt more certain about anything.  She could finally stop running and hiding and be herself with him but one thing was certain – she could never tell him where she came from, Pete would never allow it and she knew very well what would happen if she ever did and also what would happen to Alec.  She should have told Pete about Alec when she had first accepted Alec's help but she had no idea how it was going to turn out and that it would all change so quickly.

"Dad, I have someone I want to tell you about," she began, after asking him if her mum had mentioned she was bringing Tony down.  "I met someone the other week and he's just moved into my building and we've been spending time together.  He's taking me out tonight and although I don't know much about him yet, his name's Alec Hardy, he's Scottish and he works here in Broadchurch but he knows my name, he guessed I was related to you.  I had to tell him my surname, he told me his and he's promised to tell me the rest about himself tonight.  I've not told him anything else yet and I just wanted you to know.  We might not even see each other again after tonight anyway, he's going to tell me what he does for a living and more and he said I might not like it."

"Well make sure he tells you about himself before you tell him anything and you know not to tell him about what happened before your mother and I got married."

Rose knew full well not to say anything about her past, only the basics, growing up without a father, living on a London council estate and working in a department store, which Jake had been able to back up and establish a presence for.

"Remember Rose, you can never tell anyone, even if you fall in love with him and marry him, you have to keep your secret.  Only I can decide who knows about it and maybe when I've met him, I'll decide I can trust him but I tell him, not you and only about what he needs to know, not anything else.  Let me know what happens."

Rose assured him she would, then went out to pay a visit to the hotel and made a booking for the week after next, saying someone would ring to confirm and to pay, then sent a text to her mother while she was having coffee at the Bistro opposite the esplanade, facing the Police Station.  It was still early to be meeting Alec for lunch, there was over an hour and a half and Rose thought she would spend some time after her coffee to visit the picture gallery and choose a painting for her hallway.

She was gazing out of the window of the Bistro when she could have sworn she saw Alec coming down the steps of the Police Station, even at that distance, she could tell it was him.  He was walking with a woman, they were talking, then they went separate ways and Alec was joined by a younger man.  Rose thought she was seeing things, what was Alec doing at the Police Station?  He didn't look like he was under arrest or was he?  Was he a suspect in something?  She didn't want to know but she had promised to give him the benefit of the doubt so she had to keep her promise.  She couldn't say anything at lunch time but if he was out of his office at this time, would he make their lunch date?

Rose went to the gallery and found a nice print of the coast and put it in the back of her car.  It was almost time to meet Alec but she didn't know if he had returned and she couldn't just wait outside the Police Station so she made her way to the café.  Alec arrived on time, he can't have been that far then and he was still free if he had been in for questioning.  The woman he was talking to could have been his lawyer, the younger man didn't look like lawyer material.  There again, Alec didn't look like a suspect in anything but she remembered the story in that DVD she had watched, where the main character hadn't seemed like he was a suspect in anything and thought that looks could deceive.

He kissed her cheek as he sat down next to her, that was a first, it must be serious. She didn't mention of course that she had seen him earlier, she just acted normally, told him she had booked the hotel for her mum and brother and told her step dad about him.  Now Alec felt under scrutiny but it would be worth it if it made Rose happy.  That was all he wanted, to make a woman happy again, like when he had first got married.  After saying goodbye and a kiss on the cheek, Rose thought she would treat herself to some more sexy underwear now a man was interested in her, even if it was for only one night.  What was he going to tell her?  That he was a murder suspect, a swindler, a con-man or worse?  While she might be able to forgive him for some things, it wouldn't be easy to forgive something like that.  It still never occurred to her he actually worked there.

After attempting to write some more of her stories, she went to get ready, choosing a pink dress with a crossover strap, her new rather sexy underwear and was anxiously awaiting Alec's arrival.  Should she confront him before they went out?  How could she sit there all night, over dinner and look at him or spoil everything because she was having doubts?  If she hadn't seen him earlier, she wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place.  The doorbell rang, she was anxious to get this over with.  They kissed as she let him in but he could feel there was something wrong, he knew it didn't feel right.  He'd been out earlier in the morning, before he'd met her for lunch, had she seen him come out of the Police Station?

There was only one way to find out, dinner could wait.  "Rose, what's wrong?  That kiss wasn't like the one I remember you gave me after breakfast this morning, now that was some kiss goodbye.  I could get used to that.  Tell me what's bothering you."

Rose just looked at him, should she just come out and ask him what he was doing at the Police Station this morning?  Would he think she had been spying on him?  That she couldn't wait until tonight, when he was going to tell her what he did at work?  She would have to be tactful.  She pointed to the hall table where she had put the painting she had bought, she could use that as an excuse to change the topic of the conversation.

"Alec, I bought this today, do you like it?" she asked.  Alec said he did.  "Do you think you could hang it up for me in the hallway before we go out or perhaps in the morning?"

"You're avoiding my question Rose but yes, I'll hang it for you in the morning.  Are you going to tell me now or when we come back?  Because I don't think either of us would enjoy the evening if you're tense.  Is it because I won't tell you what I do?"

"Alec, it's not just that, I was out this morning, went into the Bistro across from the Police Station and I saw you come out Alec, with two other people.  Did you go in to report something or are you in trouble?  I need to know Alec, I promised I'd listen if it was something bad you did for a living but seeing you coming out of there, well you can imagine I've been thinking all kinds of things."

"Rose, why didn't you say something at lunchtime, we could have cleared all this up," he smiled.

Rose looked at him, he was smiling, why was he smiling, this was serious.  Their future relationship depended on his treating this seriously and he was laughing. Did he think this was a game?  He put his arms around her waist and his lips close to hers.

"I told you I would reveal what it is I do for a living after we had been out and I would have done but since I need to put your mind at ease so you don't think I'm in trouble or in danger of being arrested when we go out to dinner, I'll tell you now.  Come and sit on the sofa."

He led her into the living room and sat her down, sitting beside her and took her hand.

"Rose, I said when I told you what it was I did, you might change your mind about me but it wasn't in a bad way, it's nothing I've done or what has happened to me, it's because like I warned you, when I ask anyone out and they ask what it is I do, I tell them and they can't get away fast enough, even if I wait until the date is over, they go and I never see them again.  I wanted to tell you but last night, when we were about to have sex, it wasn't that I stopped just because I wasn't using any protection, that was true, I never have sex with anyone without wearing protection, I can't have any woman accusing me of anything because of my line of work but I also didn't want to go through with it because if you threw me out after I told you, it would have been hard on you, to have sex with me and then find out the truth."

Rose took his other hand and squeezed it.  "Alec, then tell me, it can't be that bad, surely?  I understand why you feel that way but honestly, I do take my own precautions and not just because in case I meet someone, it's also for health reasons but why do you think I'll run away or throw you out if you tell me?"

"If you still want to go out, we can do, before I tell you."  He saw her look that meant, 'Man up and tell me now before I go insane from waiting or you will get thrown out.'

"Rose, I'm a Police Officer, I'm actually Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, Broadchurch Police."
Chapter 8
New Beginnings

Rose stared in disbelief at him – how could she have been so stupid as to not have put the pieces of the puzzle together?  He had just arrived in town – Ellie's new boss had just arrived, Ellie's new boss was from Scotland – Alec was Scottish!  Ellie was on holiday, he said the person he worked with was on leave.  Why hadn't she seen the signs?  She had been ill but that was no excuse, she had been fine the last few days.  Alec was looking at her, holding her at arms length and staring back at her.

"Oh, you're – you're in the police, Alec you're a police detective, I should have known."

Alec let go of her, he knew this would happen, this was what always happened when he got close to someone, they ran for the nearest door, well it was him who was leaving this time, fast.  Thank goodness he had not actually had sex with her. He thought Rose was different but they were all the same.

He turned towards the door.  "Yes, I knew this was going to happen, despite you saying you would be fair and listen but I can see by your reaction, you don't have to say anything else, I'll leave now, you don't have to see me again."  He had just put his hand on the door handle when Rose put her hand on his to stop him.

"Alec, I didn't mean it like that, it was, well it was just that's not what I expected and I was surprised," she looked at him but his mind was made up.

He opened the door, pulling Rose's hand off his.  "You don't have to explain anything to me Rose, I'm used to this, that's why I didn't tell you before, I knew this would happen, it always does.  Goodnight Rose, you're welcome for the looking after bit I did for you, I'd have done it for anyone."

He went through the open door, started to climb the stairs, angry at himself for getting so close to her, for allowing himself to become attached to her, for allowing her to get to him, he was safer when he didn't allow anyone in, didn't let anyone know about him.  He should know better by now.

Rose was numbed.  She grabbed her keys, slammed her door shut and ran up after him, calling him, catching up with him as he reached his door.

"Alec, let me explain, please."

"No Rose, I've been through this too many times, I know rejection when I see it, go home Rose, I don't need your explanations, just leave me be."

She grabbed his arm again as he put his key in the door.

"Alec, I meant you're Ellie's new boss, the one she told me about, the Scottish DI, sent to annoy her."  She smiled up at him as he was halfway through his door.  "I should have known, I've been so thick."

He stopped and turned around at looked at her.  "You know Miller?  Rose, why didn't you say so?"

"She's my best friend.  How was I supposed to know, you're not a bit like she described you, tall, yes, skinny, yes, scruffy beard, which I just think makes you look incredibly sexy by the way, skinny, well not that skinny, just right and Scottish, well loads of people come down here from Scotland but she said you were a gruff, annoying, irritable git who was sent here to ruin her life when you think you're always right and she is so going to kill me when she comes back for telling you all this and getting involved with you."

She smiled at him.  "You are the most kind man I've met since I've been here, the way you looked after me and I really don't think you would have done all that you did for me just for anyone Alec, I saw the way you looked at me that Sunday morning in the café, you were dying for an excuse to take me home."

Alec blushed slightly, she had seen him look at her while she was drying those wet, luscious legs of hers and she was right, he'd cursed himself for not chatting her up properly at the school fete the week before.  He owed her an apology, something that was alien to him, he didn't do apologies but she deserved one, right now.

He grabbed her hand and pulled her inside his flat and closed the door, grabbed her by the waist and kissed her, right before whispering a "Sorry" into her ear and continued kissing her.  "You think my beard makes me look sexy?  I've never been told that before but I'll be having words with Miller when she comes back."

"Don't tell her I told you what she said," she laughed, holding onto his neck so he wouldn't escape again.  "She was so wrong about you, I just didn't picture it was you she was talking about, it wasn't a very accurate description, well apart from the beard, being skinny and Scottish, the rest didn't fit.  She's not normally like that, she makes friends with everyone usually, it's just she was getting ready for her holiday and you came along at the wrong time.  They were all told no-one was replacing the DI that had just left, not for a while anyway and it came as a shock that someone from out of the area had taken the job, which by the way, I'm glad you did."

They kissed again, like Alec was so relieved it was not the fact of what he did that had caused him to be paranoid.  He had been the one to leave, not Rose.

"Rose, I'm so sorry for walking out like that.  Every woman who finds out what I do always gets up and leaves, I wasn't going to go through that again, I was going to be the one who left this time.  Can you forgive me?"

"Alec, there's nothing to forgive, I can't blame you for not wanting to get hurt again.  It wasn't what you did for a living that attracted me to you, I didn't even know what you did, it was just I didn't imagine it was you who Ellie was talking about, after offering her sympathy for having to work with someone so insufferable," she laughed, running her fingers through his hair.

"Oh, so I'm insufferable am I?" he laughed back, reaching a hand onto her back and feeling her bra fastener.

Rose grabbed his hand and tapped it lightly.  "Oh no you don't Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, you promised to take me out to dinner, then you can tell me the rest and don't forget your promise of having something in your wallet, you're not getting out of it this time."

They went back to Rose's flat and she got the rest of her things, then Alec took her up into the town to a new very posh restaurant and they talked vaguely about where Rose had grown up and her childhood, then her mum just happening to meet Pete Tyler purely by accident (yeah, some accident of ending up here in this universe and being rescued from falling into the void with the Daleks and Cybermen) and Alec told her about his painful divorce and how he had found out about his ex-wife's affair purely by the events of the night some valuable evidence had been lost and his superiors and told him to lie low for a while.

He missed out fact he was contemplating heart surgery and that he shouldn't even be working, let alone thinking of having sex with her that could land him in hospital, that would put paid to his career until he did something about his condition, which, his doctor in Glasgow had said he had a 50/50 chance of survival if he went ahead but maybe Rose was what he needed.  His medication was working quite well, providing he didn't get stressed and did something stupid and having sex with Rose was about the most stupid idea he'd had so far.  He hadn't wanted it so badly with a woman he'd met recently as to risk it.  He would have risked the odd night or two as long as it wasn't too strenuous, mainly because he had been desperate and getting moody, which accounted for him being irritable and apparently a royal pain in the ass to his work colleague.

He should tell her, she deserved that much, this beautiful young women who had stirred feelings in him he had long since given up of ever feeling again on a permanent basis.  Back in Rose's flat, they only chose that because it was the nearest and Alec didn't think he could wait to get her back on the sofa until they had climbed another flight of stairs, they had hardly closed the door before clothes were tossed onto the floor, Alec fumbling with the clasp on her dress, then trying to get to his pocket to retrieve the tiny packet from his wallet, glad now he had thought to get some since being here, where no-one knew him at least and he might just get the chance to use them if he didn't tell anyone who he was but he regretted now not trusting Rose.  He had normally had a few too many drinks to be bothered letting on who he was which was why it resulted in his love interest leaving even when they had also had too much to drink.

Pushing her down on the sofa, with her wearing a very thin silky strapless bra, which was why he hadn't thought she was wearing one earlier and equally thin matching panties that just about covered some things and not others, Rose tugged at his shorts to pull them down a bit so they were even with hers as they kissed and moved their hands on each other, the elusive packet on the coffee table, Rose getting twisted around to land on top of him, pressing herself to his chest. After battling with their tongues, Alec pulled down her panties altogether as Rose scrambled to pull his shorts down, gasping as they felt each other again, still making them both tingle with excitement.

Alec had taken his medication just before he had gone to call for Rose, he was meant to take two or three a day, he had been managing with two but he was glad they were in his inside jacket pocket, he should warn her if it got too much for him, to tell her where they were.  How could he ask her such a thing? By casually saying "Oh by the way Rose, if I start having a heart attack, there are some tablets in my jacket pocket?  And it I get too bad, send for an ambulance?"  He didn't think so, he should stop this now and risk getting a bad response from her before it was two late.

"Rose," he managed, between her biting his lip again, someone would notice that tomorrow.  "You need to know one more thing and it's important, my life could literally depend on it."

Rose looked up with a shocked look on her face.  "What's wrong Alec, are you ok?  Is there something wrong with you?"  Then she looked at him with concern.

He told her everything, certain she would understand – and she did.  Telling her about his medication, she agreed she would see to it immediately and for him to tell her before he got too bad if she was getting him too worked up.

"Alec, you should have said something before, it wouldn't have put me off, I want you.  It won't stop us having sex, I'll just go easy on you but not here on the sofa, my bedroom, now and don't forget that packet and your tablets."

With that, she got off him, pulling her panties back on.  She had lost her bra ten minutes ago and she grabbed his shirt and put it on, pulling him up off the sofa.  He grabbed the packet, retrieved his tablets and followed her into her bedroom, turning out all the lights on his way and putting the chain on the door.   Rose was laid on her bed, Alec's shirt was half draped over her, open and Alec climbed onto the bed.

"I think you wear my shirts more than I do Rose but they look better when you wear them but I'm going to have to take that back."

Rose told him to come and get it off her then.  He pulled one sleeve off, then the other and still kneeling over her, Alec reached over to the bedside cabinet where he had placed the packet and his pills, he now thought he was definitely going to be in need of them, he picked up the small packet and opened it.  Rose silently stopped him, took it from him which caused them both to smile, Alec telling her to hurry up before he started without her.

Rose, not wanting to risk it, moved rather quickly after that remark and soon, he lay on her and began gently, not hurriedly, just slowly so as not to set his heart racing any more than it was starting to do but his medication was keeping him calm at the moment.  Rose was doing everything he wanted her to do, moving with him and not against  as she squirmed and shivered beneath him, calling his name and saying he was doing everything right.  Not wanting him to stop, both releasing their tension that had been building up as Alec fell on top of her with a groan that Rose thought he has collapsed on her until she could feel him moving and he began to say her name.

He moved over onto his back, breathing heavily, trying to calm his heartbeat without taking another pill, Rose had the sense to let him be for a few minutes, waiting for him to recover, which he did as he could feel his heart-rate slow down and he reached out his arm, inviting her to move on top of him.  They lay there for a while, Alec tracing his finger on her back, Rose with her arms around him, asking if he was ok.

Nothing was the same for them after that night.  Alec quickly regretted signing a six month contract for his flat, seeing if he could get out of it and move in with Rose.  He was lucky, they had no trouble re-letting it and he moved downstairs with Rose two weeks later, just after her mother and brother had gone back home.  Alec had met them, met Jake, Jake gave Alec his seal of approval, not saying he reminded him of the Doctor to Rose, thinking if she hadn't noticed, who was he to say anything?  The bank holiday was coming up, Rose and Alec were comfortable in her flat, Alec insisting on paying all the bills and eventually changing them all to his name and Rose even allowing him to put his name on the rental agreement.  He withdrew his application for another transfer and said he was staying, much to Ellie's dismay.

When Ellie had come back from holiday, just after Alec had moved in with Rose, she had noticed a vast change in the detective and cornered him in the break room, demanding to know why he had been pleasant to her while they had been out, not contradicted her and even made her a cup of tea and some toast.  Alec had told her not to knock it and to see her friend about it.  So she had, talk about twenty questions?  Ellie was mad at first, Rose was sleeping with the enemy, an unforgivable thing but she soon came around and invited Rose and Alec to dinner, even congratulated Rose on taming the prickly lion, Alec wasn't quite sure what she meant but let it go, not giving Ellie a roasting for saying he was grumpy and irritable for Rose's sake.

The Friday the bank holiday started, Alec took the day off and they drove up to London, seeing Jackie Tyler in her natural habitat, Rose warning her not to dare slap Alec or he'd probably arrest her and even Pete wouldn't be able to get her out of it.  Tony took a shine to Alec, asking him if he was going to be his big brother, Rose and Alec looking at each other, Alec taking her hand and replying to the boy, "Why not?" much to Jackie's amusement who could see her daughter was very much in love with this man, who had a strange sort of resemblance to someone from the past but no reference was made about it, they never spoke about the past or the man in the blue box.  Rose abandoned her stories, deleted them all from her hard drive using an unrecoverable program she got from Jake and was determined when the new term started, she wasn't going to tell them to the children any more.

The stories, she admitted, had been for her benefit more than entertaining the class, to remind her of what she had lost, the man she had loved and the life they had led, that glorious life of monsters, aliens and kissing and hugging in the Tardis after they had escaped from another bog monster or an exploding planet.  She didn't need them now, she still loved the Doctor, she would never forget him as long as she lived but she had to put him into a special place in her heart and keep thinking about him now and them, not see him all the time in Alec.

She never told Alec about her life in the other universe, the subject was forbidden, Pete had agreed that Alec was worthy of being told but Rose said she didn't want him to know, that part of her life was well and truly over.  It had taken her a long time and she wasn't going back, she loved Alec.  As for him, well, curiously, Pete had discussed his problem with a Torchwood specialist, who Alec had been told Pete had something to do with the famous Torchwood research facilities and Alec extended his holiday weekend and had gone for a visit after Pete invited him on a tour, stopping to see the head of medical research who had been trialling new heart medicine and asked Alec if he would care to participate in the trials.

For his love's sake, he had agreed to a months trial, Torchwood consulting with Alec's own doctor and after three weeks, he felt better than he had in a long time. His GP came down to Broadchurch to meet Rose, Alec had asked her to marry him and was surprised and overjoyed when she had said yes to him and Alec's GP was amazed at the results and said that as long as he kept on the 'miracle medication' as he called it, Alec could lead a normal life and wouldn't require surgery. So arrangements were made for a courier to deliver three months supply at a time to Alec of the miracle drug, which unknown to Alec but not Rose was a combination of the Torchwood genius medical team and alien technology (friendly aliens who had willingly given them cures for just about everything once it had been adapted for humans.)

By November, Alec was much better, living a normal life day after day, something Rose recalled that the Doctor had said he could never have but here was Alec, so much like him, living that life, thanks mainly to Torchwood and Rose's very tender care of him and a tiny bit of her couldn't help but suspect that her Doctor had somehow planned all this when he had left her on that beach that day.  Walking hand in hand with Alec every evening during the last of the summer sun reminded her of that day and sometimes she regretted not letting Alec be a part of that but this was her life now, with him.

They were married on Christmas Eve at the Tyler mansion, Rose borrowing her mother's wedding dress (after it had been altered slightly because Rose discovered she was pregnant after she failed somehow in all the excitement to get her injection and Alec had long since given up using protection) and Rose gave up her job when she was six months in preparation for the newest addition to the Hardy family.

Although Alec regretted not playing a big role in his elder daughter's upbringing, he had a second chance with his new wife.  Rose had told him from the very start that their age difference was nothing if they loved each other and that she was worried about keeping up with him now he had a new lease of life.

The following June, just eleven months after they met, Rose gave birth to a girl, who Alec said looked just like his beautiful Rose, they had moved into a house near the sea, a wedding present from Pete Tyler, Jake had come down to help them move and as soon as Rose and the baby were allowed out, Alec would carry her in a baby carrier along the sands in the evenings, Rose holding his arm tightly, her head resting on his shoulders as he stood with his baby daughter in his arms, his fear of the sea all but disappearing as he stood with his new family, making up for every second he had lost the first time around when he had been over-working, causing his heart problem in the first place and his ex-wife not trusting him enough to take care of a youngster.

Rose never did tell him the full story but it didn't matter, they had each other now and she doubted Alec would have turned away from her if she had told him but there was that niggling feeling in the back of her mind that her new life would be gone if she ever did tell him the truth.  No-one was there to tell him anyway, only four other people knew and it was good to have at least one secret Alec didn't know about Rose had thought, there was bound to one he hadn't told her – he did, his fear of the sea.

THE END!





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