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The hidden Rose

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Rose Tyler comes to Broadchurch to avoid her new status of being the Vitex heiress when someone discovers there was no Rose Tyler ever born and threatens to expose her as an alien in a xenophobic world so Pete enlists the help of a small town Police force to keep her hidden, putting Alec Hardy in charge of it.  There's just one catch – he's to be her new husband.





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Chapter 1
Set in the AU.  There has always been a question of how Rose was so easily accepted into the alternate universe so maybe she wasn't?  The inspiration for this story comes mostly from some of my other stories so some parts may seem familiar as I have expanded on them.  Did you wonder what Alec Hardy had been doing while waiting for the trial to start?  Inspired by 'You only live twice' where James Bond gets married to go undercover and Alec Hardy putting Claire Ripley into unofficial witness protection.

There was a lot of discussion going on in the Tyler residence, particularly from Jackie Tyler, who was more than upset at her husbands decision – to send Rose away.  Neither Jackie or Rose had got used to this world running ahead of their own, both had lost three years of their lives, Jackie had given birth to a boy, Tony and in their world, it was 2013.

Pete had stuck to both his new wife and his now stepdaughters' original birthdays, Jackie objected at first since she was only 40 but since she had replaced the original Jackie who had been 40 before she died and whose birthday party had been crashed by the Cybermen, Pete argued she couldn't just come back as the same age.

Rose's new life in what they affectionately called 'Pete's world' since Rose and the Doctor accidentally crash landed and Rose and her mother's sudden unexpected return several years ago thanks to the Daleks and Cybermen had never been easy.  While Mickey and Jackie had taken to life here like ducks to water, Rose had not had an easy time.

An elaborate plan had been put into force just after their arrival, Jackie had been easy to take the place of Pete's first wife though she was not happy about the woman's treatment of him and had said it was a good job she was no longer around.  The problem was Rose.  There had never been a Rose Tyler ever born for her to replace.  They had come up with all kinds of reasons for her sudden appearance from adoption to a secret child but they had decided for the matter to remain a secret and a press blackout had been put into place.

Pete Tyler had the money and the power to do it and only a selected few, being Mickey and Jake and a Dr Owen Harper at Torchwood knew the truth.  Now they were faced with another dilemma.  Someone had sent an anonymous letter to Pete saying they knew Rose was not who she appeared to be and it didn't appear to be coming from the press.

Pete had Jake run some discreet enquiries to the top newspapers and even Mickey had been roped in but they could not find out where the accusations had come from.  It appeared whoever it was didn't want a big payoff or using physical threats against her – they were threatening to have her declared an alien and have her thrown in prison for the rest of her life as this world did not take too kindly to anyone not born on this world since the Cybermen invasion.

Just after the invasion and they were all locked up, the governments of the world had made a treaty that anyone not from earth would be tried and imprisoned and would not get the benefits of what was on offer from a now peaceful planet.  Torchwood was instrumental in the treaty – for allowing the Cybermen to infiltrate them and escape and no-one cared where they had gone to, they were just glad to be rid of them so the organisation had been rebuilt by Pete Tyler with the help of Jake and Mickey and Pete was able to cover up the fact he had rescued Rose and Jackie from certain death on the other side of the void.

While Torchwood had free reign, world government approved, they had to submit a report every year that any alien threats had been dealt with and any intrusions curbed and that any alien beings had been sent packing with a warning never to return and so far, they had been successful.

The truth was, people were scared after the Cybermen so easily took control and they had forgotten it was a human that had invented them.  It had caused the governments to panic that they would be a mass protest if things were to get out of hand again but Pete knew the truth, he knew who had invented them and had himself disposed of the culprit but he couldn't admit it publicly, only that he had been a part of it because they had taken his wife, who had come back a changed woman and gone into hiding for three years.

Now Pete and Jackie Tyler were faced with losing Rose, one way or another.  If whoever had threatened to expose her after all this time got enough evidence, Rose would be taken and tried and they would never see her again so after summoning Jake, Mickey and Owen Harper to his office, Pete had come up with a plan – to hide her.  Now, everything was in place and Pete had called in some huge favours, mostly from personal friends with influence and one of them was the chief constable for the Wessex area.

Without giving too much away, he had told the man that Rose was in danger but not exactly what from.  He had just said someone was threatening her and that she needed to go into hiding and the chief constable knew exactly the place to send her – the place where a young boy had just been killed and after a two month investigation had just been solved by who had been dubbed 'The worst cop in Britain' who had redeemed himself but was now declared unfit for active duty and just been placed on medical leave three days ago and was still in the town.

So the chief constable had called Chief Superintendent Elaine Jenkinson and told her to tell the said lead detective on the case not to leave town and to be prepared to still earn his keep and be kept on full pay for a special assignment and for him to find a place to rent and move out of the hotel he'd been put up in and it would be paid for.  What he didn't say to her was what it was about and who was paying for it.

The chief constable had not had a pleasant conversation with the chief superintendent on the same morning Pete Tyler had told Jackie and Rose about his plan after being told of the idea of Rose being installed as a witness to the care of a police detective who had been placed on medical leave with a serious heart condition.

"But Sir, Alec Hardy is not fit for work," Elaine Jenkinson had declared after her boss had said he had a special assignment for the detective.  "Furthermore Sir, he's had several heart attacks while he's been here and told no-one, not even his then partner.  She was the one that found out and told me, I had him medically declared unfit for duty, he's cleared his desk and is now just hanging around until the end of the week to attend the boy's funeral."

The chief constable was not going to be swayed.  It sounded like the detective was just the person he needed for the job.  DI Alec Hardy was a maverick, a loner and now it seemed he was very good at keeping secrets and giving nothing away, he had just eluded them for goodness knows how long over his health and solved a major murder investigation.

"I'm well aware of the Elaine, he's just what I need.  You do know we're prepared to keep him on full pay and pay for him to rent a holiday cottage or something for the duration of this assignment, it's that or we put him in the police training college giving lectures, I'm sure he won't want to be just sitting around until his last case goes to court and that could be months away.  Has he got anywhere else to go?"

She thought about it.  Perhaps not knowing Hardy.  He would hardly be welcomed back to the Sandbrook area after the last time, she had been the only one prepared to take him on and if she had known, would have refused and given the job to Ellie Miller but she would still be one officer down, now Miller had been put on leave to sort her family problems out.

"So what kind of special assignment are we talking about Sir?  He can't do much except maybe some paperwork and he won't be happy sitting behind a desk."

"That's not what I have planned for him.  I need him to look after a very important person."

Elaine laughed.  "What?  Hardy babysit someone?  That should be good.  Is it someone who's wanted or a witness that needs protection?"

That gave him an idea he could put to Pete Tyler, he was sure the man would agree.  After all, they couldn't just tell anyone but Hardy himself the true nature of his assignment.

"Yes Elaine, you've got me there, it's a kind of unofficial witness protection assignment, just you, me, Hardy and the witness's family will be in the know about it.  Only Hardy will know the truth so I need to come down there when the witness arrives."

So Elaine got off the phone after being told exactly what he wanted and called Alec Hardy, she thought she had seen he last of him.

"Alec, how are you doing?"

"Why should you bloody care Elaine?  You threw me out, before I could finish the case and look where that got you?  You could have let me finish it properly instead of me going behind your back."

"You did finish it and went behind my back and you deserved the credit for it but that's not what I'm calling you for.  The chief constable wants to meet with you, he has a special assignment for you."

"What?  I thought I was out, you seemed to make that quite clear."

"I know but he's chosen you just because of that, he says you're just what he needs.  All your expenses will be paid but he needs you to move out of the hotel and find a rental place as soon as you can, a two bedroom holiday flat or house so you need somewhere fairly close, he wants you to look after someone, a witness from what I can gather, he won't give me the details.  He wants to meet with you on Friday, the witness is being brought down here first thing."

"Bloody hell Elaine, how I am I supposed to find somewhere in three days?"

"Get what you can Alec, it's being paid for, money is not the object."

"Why me and why here, in Broadchurch?"

"Because we've just been in the news, the whole country knows what happened here and he figured this would be the last place anyone would look for someone who was being protected."

"Well maybe if that bloody nosey town reporter wasn't still hanging around, all it takes is for him to come snooping around.  Miller's still in town, I suppose he might leave when she does.  Well I'd better go find somewhere then.  It beats sitting around on my arse for weeks on end in a hotel while they debate the finer points of Joe Miller's incarceration though if it was up to me I'd hang him from the town hall and just let the mob at him, like they did with Jack Marshall."

"Yes, well I expect Ellie would be the first in line then, after you.  Just do what's needed Alec, there's no need to get approval, just get whoever you rent a place from to bill us and tell them you need it indefinitely so make sure it's free and move in as soon as you can.  Make sure it's fully furnished.  Have you done anything about your health yet?"

"Why should you bloody care?  No, I'm waiting for a letter from the hospital, since the CMO has referred me again."

"Are you going to go along with it?"

Alec laughed.  "Well since you've just volunteered me to babysit someone, I don't have a choice though if it kills me, you'll have to find someone else."

"Well, I'll let you get on with it, be in my office 9am on Friday morning.  When is the funeral for Danny?"

"Thursday.  I was planning on leaving afterwards anyway."

"Well not any more, if anyone asks, you changed your mind."

"How do I explain there's another bloke suddenly living with me?  I'm not telling anyone I'm gay or anything, I'd have to say it was my cousin or something."

Elaine laughed.  "I don't think that will be a problem Alec, it's a woman."

"What?  Oh thanks Elaine, just what I need after getting rid of Miller.  Just let me die now."

"I don't know who it is, the chief constable wouldn't tell me but she's someone very important and it can't be handled through normal channels, so you're on your own.  The police will have no part in it, that's why he chose you.  He did tell me this much though, it's been decided her cover will be that she's your new wife."

The phone went silent, Hardy was stunned.  "Repeat that?"

"I said the cover story will be that she's your wife, to give her your name so no-one will suspect anything and ask her name and so we don't have to invent one for her.  You'll be given all the details on Friday but from what I gathered, the plan is that you got married just before you came here, in secret and she stayed behind to keep out of the way and you've been going back when you could."

"Bloody hell Elaine, Tess will go crazy when she finds out.  Do you know what I went through with her before my divorce?  She accused me of having an affair with one of the girl's mothers and the wife of the chief suspect.  What the hell am I going to say?"

"That's your problem Alec, I take it that it wasn't true then?" Elaine smiled to herself.  Who would want to contemplate having an affair with Alec Hardy?

"No it bloody wasn't, she was the one having the affair, under my nose and with the full knowledge of the entire Police Station, which makes it even worse.  I suppose I'll have to admit she was right.  How long have I supposed to have been married?"

"Again Alec, that's up to you but maybe just before you came here, that's two months so maybe three months might be safe enough, you work out the details.  There is one more thing.  She doesn't know it yet, she thinks she's just going to be sharing a holiday home with a Police Officer, she probably thinks with a female detective and if Ellie wasn't so wrapped up in her own problems, the chief constable would probably have put her with Ellie."

Alec Hardy put his phone down and rubbed his face.  Geez, what had he ever done to deserve this?  Daisy had just acknowledged his existence when she returned one of his calls, just to say well done for catching the boy's killer, Tess had actually done the same and had told him she was now in charge of the division he used to be the head of and that they had moved in with Dave.  Well hooray for them, he could now top that, apparently he'd just got married again.  He just hoped she wasn't an ugly cow who was twice his age and had half a dozen kids all under the age of ten.

Well if that was the case, Elaine would have had him renting a villa not a two bedroom holiday let but the woman still might be ugly or twice the size he was and she still might have kids.  He would find out on Friday morning what his fate was going to be.

ooooooooo{silversurfer60}ooooooooo

Back in the Tyler house, Rose was talking her mother into being calm.

"It's ok Mum, it's not like I'll really be gone.  Remember that year I went missing?"

Jackie remembered it only too well, she'd had Mickey hauled in for questioning more than once.

"Mum, I won't be far away and I'll call you all the time and I'm sure dad can arrange so I can at least spend Christmas with you all if it's not been sorted."

"I'm not sure about that Rose, not unless we all go away somewhere in secret.  You have to distance yourself completely away from us, you need to be given an unregistered phone, Jake's setting one up and he's also setting up another bank account for you and new ID.  Once you're off the radar and things die down you can come back."  He still didn't know how he was going to explain she had disappeared suddenly.

Pete had just got off the phone after being told that Rose would have to change her name, which he half expected and thought of using either Smith or Jackie's maiden name but when being told who the detective was and that she would also have to take his name, change her first name and pretend they were married, he had his doubts.  He also had to keep this fact from his wife, Jackie would go spare, she had picked on the poor bloke during the murder investigation but never once mentioning who he looked like.

Rose hadn't taken much interest either, only she was glad the killer had been caught.  When he had heard his friend's suggestion, they had come up with the idea between them but Pete still hadn't given the true reason, only someone was threatening her and had convinced the other man it was pure jealousy at her status and was probably an old school friend getting revenge that she had suddenly come into money.

Still, the chief constable knew that Pete had taken to Rose like she was his own, never really knowing how that had come to be but suspecting she was his illegitimate child from a previous liaison or she had been born before the couple had got married and been adopted out and then been reclaimed, he really didn't want to know.

Jackie was still being comforted by Rose, who seemed to be taking it somewhat better than her mother.

"Rose, you do understand why we're having to do all this, don't you?" Pete asked, taking Jackie from her and putting his arms around her.

Rose nodded.  She knew what the alternative was and wished now she had been able to remain in her old world or that the Doctor would actually come back for her.

"I know Dad, I know there's no other way and it's heartbreaking.  I thought we could be one big happy family, now you two have each other finally, just like it was meant to be but I guess that's the price we all have to pay.  This world is balancing itself out, I'm just not meant to be here.  It was bound to happen sooner or later."

"You know I have Mickey and Jake trying tirelessly to get this stopped, don't you?  They won't stop until they find out who's responsible.  Those two will do anything for you Rose, you know they will.  You're like a sister to Jake and as for Mickey, well you know him better than I do.  There are a few things you need to know before we go on Thursday night, well early Friday morning.  We need to be at the place you're going to before nine in the morning.   So we'll set off around five, have a couple of stops on the way."

Rose nodded and sat of the leather sofa.

"Just take what you need Rose, you can buy anything else.  You'll get a new bank account in your new name, just a cash card, no debit card but you'll get online banking.  Your accommodation is paid for, no rent to pay.  It will be furnished, everything you need and if you get bored, you can take up your drawing again."

"Can't I get a job?  Maybe as a volunteer or something?"

He hadn't thought about that.  Since it seemed she was going to have a sick detective to look after, it was right up her street and she would have her hands full.  "Well I suppose if you want to do some charity work where they ask no questions but don't answer any personal questions, just the minimum."

"Pete, what's her new name going to be?" Jackie sobbed.

"Jaks, I can't tell you that.  From now on you only call her Sweetheart of something like that, I'll get you her new phone number.  Rose, the phone won't be that secure so don't call her mum over the phone and when you call me, just be careful.  I'll call you first, just call me if there's a problem.  I'm putting Owen Harper as your sort of go-between.  You're going to be his niece if anyone asks."

Rose liked Owen Harper, he was dependable and Pete and Rose trusted him.  He wasn't that much older than her but the term 'niece' didn't have an age limit on it.  You could be four years old and be an uncle under some circumstances.

So they had an early dinner on Thursday night, telling Tony nothing of what was going on.  They would tell the boy that Rose had to go away for a bit and that she would see him soon, he was used to her going away on missions.  Just after 4am on Friday morning, Rose was getting dressed for a car journey, where to, she didn't know.  She was just glad she was staying in this country though Pete hadn't actually said she was, they could be going for the ferry, a zeppelin or towards the channel tunnel.

With her new ID and bank cards she wasn't allowed to use in a envelope she took another peek at her new name.  She was apparently going to be called Claire Hardy and she made no association with a certain detective who had a few days ago been in all the newspapers and TV news as being the detective who had brought a boy's killer to justice.
Chapter 2
Just before 5am, Rose was downstairs, carrying one case and Pete another plus a large holdall and a laptop bag.

"I hope I'm not going anywhere where there's no internet Dad and they've got good cell phone reception."

Pete smiled, despite the time.  Her whole world had been turned upside down but she was still practical.

"I'm sure you'll be just fine Rose, I'm not taking you to the back of beyond.  I chose somewhere you'd like, just a small town.  I'm really sorry, you know that.  If there was another way, I'd take it in a second.  Jake and Mickey will carry on trying to find out what's happening, the person responsible can't hide forever, they will make another move but since there will be nothing for them to prove, we'll expose them.  Just lie low while we work on it and once we neutralise the threat, they'll be nothing to worry about."

"Have you got any idea how they even got hold of the fact I'm not from around here?" she asked as they put her belongings into the back of Pete's Jaguar, getting in the passenger seat.

"No, I thought I had it all covered but there must have been a tiny flaw in what I did and I deeply regret that.  It wouldn't take much if someone were to go digging that deep.  All they have to do is follow the trail.  We're just hoping they haven't got much and are just bluffing, it's been a few days since they contacted me.  I got Jake to trace the postmark but they could have driven 100s of miles to post it.  If they had done it via email we might have had more luck."

"Yeah, well I hope it doesn't take long.  You said you had some things to tell me.  Why couldn't you do it in front of mum?"

"Because the less she knows the better.  I know she won't tell anyone but I was worried she would get too bothered about it and let it out accidentally.  Rose, I'm taking you to that seaside town in Dorset, the one where they just caught that young boy's killer – Broadchurch."

"What?  Why choose there?"

"Because it's the last place anyone would think of looking for you.  You've seen your new name?"

"Yeah, what of it?"

Pete decided he would keep that little surprise for later.  Surely she had figured out who the detective looked like by now?  Maybe she had given up seeing the Doctor everywhere she went.

"You'll be sharing a holiday home with a detective down there, one who's been put on special assignment.  You'll just have moved to the town, no-one will know any different.  Just blend in."

"So there's nothing for me to worry about?"

"Absolutely not.  Just look at it as an extra long holiday.  Hopefully it won't be for too long.  I pulled in a favour from the chief constable down there, he's willing to loan us one his detectives to look after you.  What exactly that entails, I have no idea."

He did but it was too soon to tell her and he didn't want to crash the car when she screamed at him.  That was the reason he had not told her at home.

"We meet the chief constable at nine and he'll introduce you to the detective but only the two of you will know the real reason you're there, he just thinks you've been threatened, I haven't told him why but whoever's looking out for you will have to be told."

They made a couple of stops and Pete was pulling into the car park just opposite the Police Station just after 8.30am.  An outdoor café around the corner was open so they went to get some coffee and Rose had a few last minute questions.

"What if I don't get along with this detective?  Will I be able to move out?"

"If you really have to but if things get bad, I can get you someone else.  I don't know where you'll be living yet, the detective was finding somewhere and keeping it quiet.  Only the chief superintendent here will be the other person knowing where and she's only being told what I told the chief constable.  So are you ready for this?" He finished the last of his coffee.

Rose shook her head.  With Pete behind this, she knew she was going to be safe but wasn't sure who she would end up staying with.  She just hoped she wasn't going to sharing with the female detective whose husband had just killed that boy but she had two kids so it wasn't likely to be her, maybe they had more than one.  Pete had told her on the way down, the details had not been released to the general public.

So Pete and Rose walked into Broadchurch Police Station and Pete said he had an appointment with the chief superintendent.  They were asked to take a seat and while they were waiting, Alec Hardy walked in and went up to the desk.

"Jenkinson wants to see me, tell her I'm here."

The desk sergeant thought they had got rid of him.  "Yes Sir, she's popular this morning."  He nodded to Rose and Pete.

"Well I know my way, just let her know.  Has the chief constable arrived yet?"

"Yes Sir, he's already in her office, she said for you to go straight in when you arrived."

Rose had been taking no notice, looking at her new phone and trying to figure it out.  Pete recognised the man who had just walked in, he didn't look ill but how did someone with a heart problem actually look?  He was regretting this now, how was Rose going to take it?  He looked at her and smiled.

"Cheer up Rose, it could be worse, I could have taken you to the Outer Hebrides.  You wouldn't have got a phone signal there."

Rose managed a smile back and took his arm, putting her phone away.

"Well I'm about to be taken away from my family but at least I can a signal on my phone."

The desk sergeant came around to them a few minutes later.  "This way Mr Tyler, the chief will see you now."

Alec Hardy had woken up that morning in his newly rented house, just behind the pub on the harbour.  A two bedroom terraced house that he'd managed to find where the back gate of the small garden led to the bank of the river.  It was either that or that run-down blue chalet that looked like you could only get to via a boat and there was no way he was taking that.

He had moved in the previous afternoon after getting them to agree to let it early, saying it was police business.  They knew who he was and were not going to get tangled up with him.  They had wanted payment in advance but had told them to send the bill to the station and got the keys.  When they asked how long he wanted it for, he had told them no idea but probably until the court hearing of Danny Latimer's killer.  At least it gave him an excuse to stay but he'd had to declare if there was going to be more than him staying there when he'd asked for two keys.

That was the first test when he'd had to admit his new wife would be joining him.  If he was going to have to do this, he may as well start but he would tell whoever it was he had been paired up with in no uncertain terms it was only for show.  When he walked into the station and saw two people sitting opposite the desk, he had noticed a young blonde sat playing with her phone but had not got a good look at her, maybe she was the witness.  He could have done worse, it could have been Miller.

He knocked on the chief's door and waited to be called in.

"Ah, Alec, there you are, in good time.  Alec Hardy, this is Chief Constable Williams."

Alec remained standing and extended his hand. "Sir."

They shook hands.  "Sit down Hardy.  Your chief tells me you're on medical leave, how are you feeling at the moment?"

"Fine Sir and I really don't know why I had to be invalided out of the force, I can still serve, maybe on lesser duties.  That was why I agreed to this.  I can't sit around doing nothing all day, that's not me."

"Good man, that's what I wanted to hear.  You're just what I need for this job and what I'm about to say stays in this room.  Hardy, I want you to look after someone as the chief told you.  Her name is Rose Tyler and she's not actually a witness as such, she has been threatened."

Alec looked at the chief constable, then his own ex-chief.  "Are you serious, Sir?  Hasn't Pete Tyler got enough resources to look after his stepdaughter?"

"It's not a case of that Hardy, by keeping her in London she remains in danger, that's why I was asked to help in this matter.  Pete Tyler is a very important man and yes, he has the resources but they are all Torchwood agents and stick out as such.  No-one will suspect she's with a detective on medical leave.  Think about it, the situation is ideal."

"Does she know?"

"No, not yet, she still thinks she's being left with a female officer.  Jenkinson, ask Mr Tyler and his stepdaughter to come in if you will."

Alec's doubts about it being someone who would ruin his already tarnished reputation at least had been lifted.  He had heard of the Vitex heiress and wasn't surprised she had been threatened.  She was constantly in the news with reporters trying to guess where she had come from.  It had only been a matter of time before someone had got a case of the sour grapes and thought they were more deserving of the title and money than she was, especially when Tyler declined to admit where she had come from.

Pete and Rose were led to the chief's office and went inside.  Alec looked up and offered Rose his seat, something he never usually did and she accepted it.  The chief stood up.

''Mr Tyler, Miss Tyler, this is Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and he will be looking after you."

Rose looked up at the detective.  "You just caught that boy's killer."

"Yes Miss Tyler."

"I thought you were leaving me with a female officer?  What am I supposed to do now?"

"Sorry I disappoint you.  It wasn't my idea," Hardy replied.

The chief interrupted.  "I should leave now, I can't be any part in what happens now.  Please, take however long you need.  Sir, I'll be in what was DI Hardy's office should you need me, someone will find me."

Elaine Jenkinson shook hands with Pete and Rose and wished them good luck.  She knew Rose Tyler was going to need it though she looked like she could take care of herself.

The chief constable took over.  "Miss Tyler, we had to let you think you were getting a female officer.  DI Hardy here is on medical leave which makes him the best person for the job.  No-one will suspect the fact he's seen around with you whereas someone on active duty may arouse suspicion.  I've left it to him to fill you in on the minor details but there is one thing – to make your arrival here more believable, we've come up with a cover story for you sharing the same rented house."

That was when it hit Rose.  "I've got to share with him?  I thought since I wasn't getting a female detective, I'd get my own place?"

Pete spoke up.  "Rose, I need to know you're safe and DI Hardy here will make sure you are.  When the chief constable leaves, we're going to tell him the exact nature of the threat.  It's already been agreed that he's the only one who needs to know what's going on and he's already agreed that what we tell him is totally confidential and he's aware of the methods Torchwood can use, even on the police, to ensure he tells no-one."

Rose smiled.  Yes she knew what they were capable of.  Alec raised his eyebrows to say he was well aware of it as well.

"So how is this going to work?  How is he going to explain me living in the same house?  Am I supposed to be his girlfriend or something?"

She looked directly at Alec.

"No, you're going to be my new wife."

Rose could probably be heard outside.  "What?  Who's stupid idea was that?"

The chief constable could understand her concern.  "Sorry, it was partly my idea and your stepfather's.  It's the only way.  We didn't want to have to invent a reason for you staying in the town and we considered all the alternatives and came up with the story you and DI Hardy had just got married prior to his arrival here and when he got caught up in the murder investigation, you stayed away and you were meeting outside the town to keep your marriage out of the papers."

"Well that's just great.  So he's supposed to have married me, Rose Tyler."

Pete answered her.  "No, your name was Claire Riley, everything you need is in that envelope I gave you, the sealed one.  You married three months ago, just before DI Hardy came here and there was no-one at your wedding.  Your fake marriage certificate is also in that envelope.  You and he can work out the finer points, where you met etcetera.  You saw the name on your ID and bank card, it says Claire Hardy."

"And I'm just supposed to get on with this?"  Rose asked.  "I thought that was just a name you had made up for me."

Hardy spoke up in his defence.  "You're not the only one who has to get on with this, Claire.  So you had best get on with getting used to being called that and the few people you talk to about your invented past, the better.  We can fill in the details but you shouldn't tell anyone anything without telling me first and if you mess up, tell me as soon as you can."

"You have no idea detective, my whole life was turned upside down when I was adopted, you have no idea I've been through this already, I know the drill."

"Good.  Then we won't have a problem and call me Alec or you really will have people looking at us."

Pete and the chief constable were already amused, they were acting like they had been married for years.  Pete, Rose and Alec were left alone in the chief's office after Pete thanked his friend for his help.  That just left him to tell Alec the truth, of why someone was threatening his stepdaughter.

Rose began to smile.  "My mum is going to so annoyed with this, you should have heard her when she saw you on the news," she said to Alec.

Pete smiled as well.  "Sorry Sweetheart but she won't know and you can't tell her, you know what's she's like if she even gets a hint of this, she'll have you doing it for real."

"Well I hate to break it to you but that's never going to happen.  I'm in enough trouble as it is, I'm sacrificing a lot here.  My 15yr old daughter was just starting to talk to me, can you imagine what this is going to do to her?  Hell, my ex wife has just started talking to me again after she accused me of having two affairs, more or less at the same time.  How am I going to explain you?"

"So you're divorced are you Alec?"  Pete asked.  "How long ago?"

"Not long enough.  Now I have to come up with a reason I met and married Rose, who is now Claire.  I really don't know how I ever got caught up in this but I wasn't ready to stop being a cop.  I got the chance to stay on, so I took it, I can't sit around doing nothing.  So you'd better tell me the whole story."

"Any chance of a coffee only this may take a while," Rose mused, sitting back on the chair.

Alec went around the desk, picked up the phone and asked for some hot drinks to be brought in.  Once they had them, Pete took charge and gave Alec the full story of how Rose came to be here, just missing out the fact she had arrived by an unconventional method the first time and refusing to reveal about Jackie and Mickey.

Alec took it all in.  When Pete had finished, he sat back in the chief's chair.

"That's quite a story Mr Tyler, no wonder she's been threatened.  You have no idea who it is?"

Pete shook his head.  "I've got two of my best people working on it.  There are only a few of us, now you who know the truth.  To that end, from now on, I'm no longer her stepfather.  Her contact will be a man from Torchwood, Dr Owen Harper who will pose as her uncle.  Claire has no other living relatives and we've set up records going way back.  It was only because of who she is that she was targeted.  We'll keep whoever it is busy, give them no reason to believe Rose has dropped out of sight."

Alec got up and paced the room.  He had limited knowledge that Torchwood were behind the disappearance of the Cybermen but for them to cross to a parallel universe?  He had somewhat agreed with the governments of the world, it was dangerous to have anyone other than someone born on this planet living amongst them but did Rose Tyler qualify as an alien?  She was as human as anyone here.  He actually felt sorry for her.

"Well Mr Tyler, I can assure you that you won't have to use Torchwood methods on me.  I'll take care of her.  Have you been told why I'm on medical leave?"

"Yes, I'm well aware of your situation and in return for your help, I'm willing for the treatment you need to be brought forward, you won't have to wait the normal length of time although I can't put you in for private treatment but you'll receive a letter shortly with a date."

"There's no need, I'm not in a hurry."

"Hang on, no-one has told me.  What's wrong with you?" Rose interrupted.

"I need a pacemaker."

"Oh, that's just brilliant, I get left with a detective who's got a bad heart.  What happens if someone chases me?"

Pete laughed.  "Rose, you should be used to running by now.  You can look after each other.  Right Alec, you'd better come and get her things out of the car, I'll give you the keys, I can't be seen going with you.  It was all deserted when we arrived."

"I've rented a place, it's only a few minutes walk.  How will you get your keys back?"

"Don't worry, just get the luggage and I'll have your chief send an officer over with you to bring them back."

"So this is goodbye then?  You can't come with me?" Rose asked.

"No Sweetheart, I can't.  I'm sorry."

They both got up and hugged.  She had said a tearful goodbye to her mother last night and had read Tony a story and kissed him on his forehead.

Alec got up.  "We'd best go Claire, I'll have to go get some groceries, I didn't know what you liked.  It can be our first public appearance."

"You're going to enjoy this aren't you?"

"Not particularly, I told you I'm going to have a lot of explaining to do.  I've been here for two months, you're going to be hard to explain.  Oh and you'll be needing this."

He went in his pocket and pulled out a gold plaid design wedding ring.  "I've billed it to the police department, I had to go out of town for it."

He passed the ring to Rose.  She looked at it.  "You might as well do it properly Alec."

No way was he doing that.  She took the hint and put it on.  "No engagement ring?"

Alec raised his eyebrows.  "What do you think?"
Chapter 3
They were just about to leave.

"Alec, can I just have a few minutes with my stepfather?" Rose asked.

Alec nodded.  "I'll wait downstairs then we'll get your things and walk down to the place I've just rented."

Alec closed the door behind him.  Well at least she was nice enough and she was someone he could have imagined chasing after if he had been well enough.  The offer of getting his surgery sooner rather than later was not something he wanted to take the man up on though.  He had planned to leave it until he got worse but what would his chances be then?  He walked downstairs to his old office and told the chief they had finished.

"I'm going to get her things out of the car, I'll take a uniform with me to return Mr Tyler's car keys.  You might have told me who she was Elaine."

"Sorry Alec, it was a precaution and I didn't really know much.  I take it you're pleased that she's just your type?"

Anything that was willing to take him on was now his type, well he had some limits though.

"She's ok I suppose.  What the hell am I going to do with her?  Won't anyone recognise her?"

"I doubt it, there's still too much going on down here for people to actually care who your new wife is.  The locals are still caught up in Danny's death and the tourists will start coming back, just to see where it happened so I doubt anyone will spot her. That was the whole idea.  I know she's been in the papers a lot but I've been assured that a cover story will account as to why she's suddenly gone out of the media's eye.  There's no need for you to be concerned by that, you have some explaining of your own to do."

"Don't I just?  I'd best go wait downstairs for her, she was just talking to her stepfather.  So you didn't know any of this?"

"Only what the chief constable told me.  If you need anything, just contact me, Mr Tyler is picking up the tab on everything.  We'll just send all the bills to him.  I take it you found a suitable place to rent?"

"Yes, just wait until he sees how much it costs.  I had to get a fully furnished holiday home but I think they were just glad someone had taken it, with things being quiet.  I managed to get them down on the price for a long term period so if she leaves soon they might be a bit upset."

"She might want a car as well, I expect that will be taken care of.  If you can think of anything else, just say."

"Right, I'll be out of your way then but there is just one thing.  Since I'm doing this as a favour to the chief constable, can I come in for a few hours a day, just to get me out of her way?  I can go over the Latimer case for you or re-open old cases."

The chief laughed.  He hadn't even got started yet.  "We'll see Alec, just take some time off first and have your operation."

Alec thought that was her way of saying no to him.

"Well Rose, this is it, so what do you think of him?  Does he remind you of someone?" Pete asked when Alec had left the room.

Rose smiled.  "I don't know what you mean Dad.  Seriously, I'm over it, I have happy memories of him but to think I see him everywhere, he wouldn't hide from me if he came back, not knowingly.  Was it your idea to pick him to look after me?"

"No, it wasn't, I just got told he was the best man for the job and he is.  That's what you do best Rose, look after people but I'll try and make sure he gets that surgery soon, if he'll go for it.  He looks stubborn."

Rose laughed.  "That's what I do best, deal with stubborn people."

They hugged again then Pete went to the door.  "I'll have a rental car delivered to you but I don't know where you'll be so I'll have it sent when you give them the address.  I'll have them call you to confirm delivery.  It may be tomorrow now.  Anything else?"

"Yeah, when can I go home?"

"He'll take care of you, he seems a good man despite his faults.  Don't judge him too harshly, he's just been thrown into it as much you have."

"I know, I'll go easy on him, if he wants.  Just tell mum and Tony I love them and give Tony a goodnight kiss for me every night and tell him I'll be back soon."

"I will, now don't keep your new husband waiting.  I'll follow you but I'll wait until you've gone.  Bye Rose, take care of yourself and there is no way we're stopping until this is over, don't ever think we're deserting you."

"I don't.  I know it's for my own safety as well as mum's and Tony's.  You could all be in danger as well."

Rose walked down the stairs and found Alec talking to a uniformed officer.

"Right, come on Claire, let's go get your things.  You, come with me then bring these keys back here and give them to the desk sergeant."

"Yes Sir."

They crossed the road and got everything out of the back of the car.

"Sure you've brought enough?"

"Yes, I can buy anything else I might need since I don't know how long it's going to be."

Alec leaned close.  "Be careful what you say Claire."

Rose looked at him.  Right, he was going to get the full treatment then.

"You know.  I meant until we find something more suitable Fuzzy, it's not like we can afford to stay in that holiday home forever.  Come on, show me where you've picked then we have a lot of time to make up for.  Are you leaving the car here for now?"

Alec picked her laptop bag up and put it on his shoulder.  She had more than a laptop and charger in there, he was certain.

"Yes love, I'm leaving it here for now.  Officer, can you take these keys and leave them with the desk sergeant until I come back?"

The officer took them, looking confused and thought the detective had gone loopy since he'd said the exact same thing before they had come outside.

Alec balanced the large holdall on the largest of the cases and took the handle, leaving Rose to wheel the medium sized case.  It took them about five minutes to cross the road, walk over the bridge then make a left turn at the side of the river and around the back of the white painted pub.  Then Alec led her to a row of white painted houses and stopped outside the second one and put the key into the door.

Inside the open plan living area, Rose was surprised how nice it looked, a black stove fireplace, a TV in the corner and a sofa against the back wall.  There was a table and four chairs just at the start of the kitchen.  She walked into the kitchen area and looked out of the window and saw a wooden garden table and four chairs.

"It's nice, very chic.  What's it like upstairs?"

"Go take a look.  You'll have to help me with your cases, I had enough with mine yesterday."

"Sorry.  It's just you don't look like there's anything wrong with you, I'll have to remember."

"I'll let you off this once.  When you've unpacked, we'll get a taxi up to the supermarket, it's a mile or so up the road, on the roundabout."

"I'm getting a car delivered tomorrow, I couldn't bring mine, it was too risky."

Alec picked up the heaviest suitcase then put it down, he wasn't going to bring on another attack, not since he had been in hospital a few days ago.  Rose noticed.

"Let me take some stuff out and carry my things a few at a time, then we can carry the empty case up."

Alec managed a weak smile.  She was going to be impossible to hate.  After a few trips, Rose managed to get the smallest case up as Alec took her holdall.  He had been gracious and given her the double bedroom, taking the twin room for himself.  Rose liked the modern bathroom.  She stood looking out of the bedroom window, not realising he was watching her.

"Fuzzy?  Really? Is that all you could think of?"

Rose giggled and turned around.  "Sorry, it's just you've got a fuzzy beard and where I come from, The Fuzz was a nickname for anyone in the police."

He saw the irony of it.  "Yes, well, I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me pet names in public, especially in front of someone I used to work with.  I'll leave you to put your things away and I'll go switch the kettle on and make some tea.  If you want coffee, we'll have to buy some.  We have no bills to pay here but as for shopping, you pay for whatever extras you want.  I take it you have a bank card in your new name?"

"Yeah, don't worry about that, I'll get some cash out, I only have a cash account so no-one could trace my movements."

"Do you think whoever is threatening you would go that far?"

"Pete doesn't know to what extent they'll go to, he was being cautious.  If you have a debit card, if I need anything, I'll give you the money back so don't worry.  I don't want to be forever stuck in front of a cash machine.  He put money into a new account for me, a monthly allowance so there will always be money in there but not too much, to avoid suspicion but it won't run out."

"Well I've been told to send any bills that are incurred to my chief who I suppose will forward them to your stepfather but from now on, we don't mention him.  Who is this Owen Harper?"

"He works for Torchwood and he's part of this.  He'll call me once a week and make sure I'm ok and report back to my dad.  I can call him if there's anything urgent.  You'd better take my mobile number and I'll need yours and I'll give you Pete's, just in case though it's not stored on my phone for obvious reasons.  We have a lot of details to go through if we're going to carry this off."

Alec wondered what exactly he'd got himself into.  "I'm confused you switch between calling your stepfather dad then Pete."

"I thought we weren't going to mention him again?" Rose remarked as she was trying to avoid taking her lingerie out of the case and displaying it to her pretend husband.

Alec noticed.  It wasn't like he hadn't seen women's underwear before.

"Ok.  He likes me to call him dad in front of my little brother but I often refer to him as Pete in front of friends and sometimes, when things get bad, I like to call him dad.  My own died when I was six months old, I grew up without one."

Alec put his hand on her arm.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't know and I can't know any more things about you, it's going to be confusing enough as it is.  We have a lot to establish.  You've got to reinvent yourself again and it's not going to be easy so don't talk to anyone about it.  Maybe it's best if you say you have no family, only your Uncle Owen."

Rose took his hand.  "Thanks Alec, you're being very good about the whole thing."

"It comes with the job, Claire."

"That's all I am to you, just a job so I'll stay out of your way when we're both here.  You don't have to spend all of your time with me, the Police Station is only a few minutes away."

"Yes, well I asked if I could go back to work but my boss told me I had to have my operation first.  Maybe someone you know might be able to get her to change her mind?  Ask your Uncle Owen to put in a word for me."

Rose smiled and squeezed his hand.  "I'll see what I can do, husband.  Now let's go get those groceries and some lunch, I had breakfast at around seven this morning, we set off at five and I'm tired."

ooooooooo{silversurfer60}ooooooooo

Before Pete Tyler left the Police Station, he asked to see the chief again.

"Ah, Mr Tyler, I hope everything has been settled.  I don't need to know all the details."

"Yes, everything's sorted.  I don't know how much you were told.  Alec Hardy though, I'm a bit concerned about leaving her with him.  I mean the man had a health problem yet he still solved that case and then he got thrown out.  I'm surprised he even agreed to do this."

"So am I Mr Tyler.  I didn't want to throw him out but I had no choice.  The man seemed intent on keeping his health a secret and I'm sure he can be trusted.  As for him getting his operation, I doubt he'll be in a rush to go for it.  Your stepdaughter may be able to persuade him otherwise though."

Pete smiled.  If anyone could twist the man's arm, Rose could.  He said goodbye and went back to his car, glad he had got an all day parking ticket, it was almost eleven and it had taken some time to explain to the detective.  He changed his mind about getting in and went back to the café across the road.  He sat by the window, staring across the harbour and wondered where Rose was going to be staying.  He was surrounded by holiday apartments and he was sure there were hundreds of places she could be.

The café was quiet, tourists were only just starting to come back so he called Jake to say Rose had been delivered safely.

"Any news yet Jake?  Tell me I've just done this for nothing and I can bring her back?"

"I wish I could, Director but I can't."  Jake only called him that when they were being serious.  "Believe me, I'd like nothing better than to tell you we've got to the bottom of this.  How did she take it?  About finding out she's supposed to be married?"

Jake smiled to himself.  He knew exactly how she would have taken to it and would loved to have seen her face when she saw who he looked like.

"She took it fairly well.  I didn't tell her until we got here, I didn't want to crash my car.  She said she had stopped looking for him but I don't believe her, some part of her will always be with him."

"Yeah, I expect it will.  I haven't told Mickey yet, have you told Jackie?"

"No way Jake, you know how much of a coward I am for that, I'm not stupid.  Jackie is just content she's safe for now, with who she still thinks is a female detective.  That's how it has to stay.  I dare say Mickey would be just as much upset if he found out.  Do me a favour and call that car rental company we use and have a car delivered today or tomorrow to her will you?  You know her last car, get her one similar.  Give them her new number and have her confirm where she's staying and don't get the address from them, just have the accounts department pay them, no questions asked."

"Yeah.  I'll do that now.  Anything else Boss?"

"No Jake, I think that's all.  Let's hope we've done a better job this time around."

"It's not your fault Pete, you know that.  I'm just as much to blame, I thought it was airtight.  We have to get whoever is doing this and we will.  Neither me or Mickey will stop.  You on your way back?"

"Yeah, I don't want to leave Jackie alone tonight.  We'll have to tell Tony she's gone away for a while and you can arrange for her absence."

"Yeah, will do, leave it to me."

Pete was glad he had taken Jake on, he was his second in command and one day, he would take over.  That was if Rose never went back and even then, she might just turn it down.

He finished his call with Jake and sent a message to Rose's new mobile that she would get a call from the car rental company they always used.

ooooooooo{silversurfer60}ooooooooo

When Rose and Pete had set off that morning, Jackie Tyler had promised herself she would not get upset.  After all, she was used to her daughter travelling with the Doctor and going off for long periods, including that year she went missing.  Jackie had been at her wits end, frantic that something bad had happened to her and now, she was going away again and even Pete's assurance she would be well looked after had done nothing to console her.

Jackie had opted not to say goodbye that morning, it would just make things worse and they would both end up crying so after she had heard Pete creep out of their bedroom to take Rose away and just like back on their own world, she had no idea where Rose was going.  Tony had sat at breakfast, asking where his dad and sister were and Jackie having to tell him his dad would explain it when he got back from school.  She was too upset to take him to school herself, Pete always took him and she had to get Pete's part-time driver and one of the staff to take him.

Pete had given her Rose's new mobile number but she couldn't call her all the time, not like she used to do.  She just hoped whoever this maniac was, they would soon get tired of playing games and leave them in peace.  They were finally all a family again, after all this time and this world might not be her real home but they had finally got it right.  She couldn't blame Pete, it wasn't his fault this world had got so paranoid about aliens.  She had seen those Cybermen up close and almost been turned into one and the other Jackie hadn't been so lucky.  No wonder this world had been glad to get rid of them.

Back in Broadchurch, Rose had just had a message to say a car was going to be delivered and she would get a call.

"Good news Alec, I should have a car soon.  Maybe we should put off going to the supermarket until it arrives."

"I'll go over to one of the takeaways and get some lunch if it doesn't arrive soon."

"Thanks."

Rose had finished unpacking and was about to set up her laptop and check her emails.  Then she realised, her email account had been changed.  This was going to take some getting used to.  She shook her head in frustration.  Alec noticed.

"Come on Claire, it's not going to be that bad."

"Please, don't call me that when we're on our own."

"Sorry.  It's not a good idea to keep switching between the two, I might forget and call you that when we're out or someone may overhear."

"Well why don't you just say it's your pet name for me?  Please Alec, all I have is my first name, you can't take that away from me."

He looked at her.  She was right.  Her name, her home and her family had been taken away and she had been left a long way from home.

Ok, Rose, have it your way.  If I say it outside, give me a kick and tell me not to call you it."

Rose smiled.  "That should be fun, I might just enjoy that, Fuzzy."  She reached over and ran her fingers through his beard.

"And don't call me that in public either or I may have to retaliate.  Now, we need to establish some facts.  Where we met and why exactly we got married so fast and don't go saying because we had to.  If you're going to be here a while, saying your pregnant won't cut it."

"Well I could say you swept me off my feet and I couldn't resist you.  Mind you, staying away while you were in the middle of a murder, people might say I didn't support what you were doing."

"We'll cover that when we have to.  The only one we're going to have watch out for is my old DS, Miller.  If she finds out I'm still in town she might find me.  She's going to be harder to convince than my ex."

"I'll let you do all the talking then.  Oh, you'd better give me your mobile number."

She got her phone out and held it out to him.  He took it and typed his number in.  Rose stored it in the empty address book and turned the camera on.  Alec was now stood by the window.

"Smile Alec!"  The camera clicked.

"Hey, what was that for?  I hate having my photo taken."

"To put on your contact number.  Why else?"

She saved his contact information and applied the photo she had just taken and since her new phone had the standard screen wallpaper, she took another photo as he moved, catching him making a face and saved it.  Then she pressed the call button and his phone rang.  He looked at it and saved it, seeing as she was waving her phone at him.

Then without warning, he pressed the camera button without her noticing he was taking a photo and applied it to her details.  Rose smiled.  Alec went out for some lunch after Rose received a call asking where the car was to be delivered to and was told it would be with her around 4pm.  Not wanting to wait that long, they decided to get a taxi to the supermarket and make sure they were back in time.

Rose had retrieved all her new documents out of the envelopes and had put her new birth certificate and marriage licence in the top drawer of her dressing table.  She memorised the security number of her bank card and put her new driving licence into her purse.  She had a little cash on her but if she was going to give Alec money for the things she wanted, she would need more.

"Rose, I'll pay for the groceries, you just settle up when we get back.  Ok?"

Rose wasn't listening.  "Rose, did you hear me?"

"What?  Oh yeah, ok, makes sense."

It was just their luck they decided to go shopping as Ellie Miller had dropped her youngest son at her sister's house to go shopping.  She had moved out of the hotel they had been put in and found a small flat up in the town.  Her boy Tom was going to stay with his aunt as he hadn't yet come to terms with what had happened and blamed his mother.  Ellie had been able to move in straight away, her house was still being gone over by the forensics team and she was in no hurry to go back there yet.  She had just managed to get her car back but she was still on leave, pending her getting officially cleared.

She had no intentions of going back to the town's Police Station and was going to apply to a neighbouring force for a different job.  She didn't think she would be able to cope with any situations such as she had just gone through.  She really hoped Hardy had left town today.  Last night, she had met him overlooking the beach as fires had been lit in memory of Danny and he'd said it was all over for him and he was out.  Alec had told her nothing of what had been planned, he couldn't.  She had said she had found somewhere to live but they had only talked a few minutes.

So Ellie was surprised as she pulled into the supermarket car park to see Hardy get out of a taxi with a young blonde woman who she could see was wearing a wedding ring as her hand was on the door handle.  Wow, what was Hardy doing with a married woman going into a supermarket?  She decided not to say anything and took her time following them in so he wouldn't think she was spying on him.  She was going to, she was intrigued.

Luckily for her, the two of them seemed engrossed in what they were doing.  She observed the blonde in the coffee aisle, Hardy shaking his head at something, then the woman got a jar of hot chocolate and then she saw them move from aisle to aisle, Hardy still shaking his head and the woman putting things into the trolley, which was now getting full.  Ellie wondered what was going on, surely it wasn't all for her?

"Claire, we only have limited room, we'll come back next week.  We've got all we need.  Now let's just get the frozen food and get out of here, I've had enough."

"Ok, just a few frozen things, there isn't a lot of space there either."

They headed for the checkout and Alec knew he was doomed as he saw Miller heading the same way.

"Well fancy seeing you here, you shopping for a month?  Aren't you going to introduce me Alec?"

She had stopped calling him Sir on the night her husband was arrested.

"Miller, right.  This is Claire.  Claire darlin' this is my former DS, Miller, sorry, Ellie"

Ellie was still non the wiser as she held out her hand to Rose.

"Hi, nice to meet you, Alec told me all about you."  Rose just hope the woman wouldn't ask exactly what he had told her, truthfully, she didn't know much.

"I wish I could say the same of you.  Who exactly are you?"

Alec wished the ground would swallow him.  "Miller, this is Claire, my wife."

Ellie opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out.  Alec saw his chance to escape but he had to pay for the groceries, which he was dreading and hoped she didn't have all expensive tastes and would pay him back.

"What?  Since when?  You told me you were divorced."

"I am, Claire is my second wife.  Before you ask, I'm not discussing this in the middle of the supermarket."

"Wow, how did that happen?"

"Not now Miller.  Come on Claire we have to get back."

Ellie was more than used to him being rude to her after working with him for two months.

"I thought you were leaving town?" Ellie continued as she followed them but joined another queue.

"I never exactly said that, I said I was done and I am, with the police for the time being.  Claire just arrived today."

They were starting to put their groceries on the checkout conveyor belt, which gave him an excuse to stop talking as Rose took most of them.  They got out before Ellie but had to use the freephone to call for a taxi but Ellie stopped Alec.

"Don't be daft, I can take you back wherever you're going.  I take it you're no longer in the hotel?"

Alec shook his head, looking at the bags of groceries and other things Rose had picked up, he was looking forward to splitting the bill when they got back, down to the exact penny for the things she had got for her own benefit, some he didn't even want to think about such as nail polish and lip gloss.  He had already seen an assortment of toiletries in the bathroom.

"Of course I've moved out Miller, would I take all this lot back to the hotel?  We've rented a place behind The George pub, by the harbour."

"Oh you mean that row of white cottages?  They look really nice.  Do you like it there Claire?"

"I only arrived this morning but it's nice, he sent me photos of it."

"So where have you just moved from?  Where has he been hiding you for the last two months?"

They were putting the last of the carrier bags in the back of Ellie's car and Alec took the trolley back and retrieved the coin he'd had to put in to unchain it.  Rose was getting into the back seat, Alec got in the front.  Rose supposed he was just used to it, since she had been his DS, she probably used to drive him around all day, poor woman.  She wondered how the two of them had survived two months of working together and hoped she would get on better with him.  At least Ellie Miller had got to go home at the end of the day, she was going to be stuck with him.
Chapter 4
Alec directed Ellie to their new rented house and wanted to be rid of her as soon as he could, this was going to be awkward.  He had hoped Miller would just be on her way but as Rose went to open the door, Alec having given her the other key before they had gone out, Ellie seemed intent on being invited in.

There was still about an hour before the rental car was due to arrive and as they took their shopping inside, Ellie followed them in.

"I always wanted to look inside one of these, it's nice.  I've just got a two bedroom flat above a shop up in the town.  Did I tell you Tom had decided to stay with Lucy?" she asked Alec, putting two bags on the table.

"Well I expect he's a bit upset, you did put his father in prison."

"So did you but he's not taking it out on you.  Come on then, why did you never tell me?"

Rose looked at Alec, she was saying nothing and didn't know what he had planned. They just seemed to be making it up as they went along, something the Doctor had been extremely good at.

"It wasn't anyone's business.  I was divorced, before I met Claire.  I wasn't here to make friends.  I went back when I could and we met up out of town, I didn't want your nosey nephew dragging her into this.  Besides that, I'm hiding the fact from my ex since she accused me of having two affairs while we were still married.  Claire's been through enough."

He didn't want to elaborate without consulting Rose.  Rose just buried herself with putting the shopping away and she switched the kettle on.  The least she could do was offer the woman a drink since she had saved them getting another taxi.  Alec sat himself down, hoping Miller would let it rest.  Ellie just looked at Rose.

"Oh come on Alec, put poor Ellie out of her misery and tell her how we met."

He knew she was taunting him.  How the hell was he going to get out of this?  Rose seemed more capable of coming up with a story than he was.  Rose went over to sit next to him and put her arm around his back and reached over to kiss his cheek.

"Don't be shy babe, just tell her."  She lowered her other hand and began fingering his shirt buttons.

Alec tried not to look too uncomfortable.  He'd not had chance to lay down the law yet, about not fingering him in public or even when they were on their own.  This was purely business, nothing else.  He thought that two could play at that game, though he was somewhat out of practise.

Ellie was watching with amusement.  Hardy had showed no interest in women so far, including a certain hotel owner.  Rose continued to fiddle with one of the buttons until it came undone.  He quickly took her hand away and fastened it again before she could do anything else.

"Claire, what have I said?  We have company.  Sorry Miller, we've been away from each other for too long."

"Yeah, we were planning on doing some catching up when we got back, weren't we babe?"

Alec raised his eyebrows.  What was she doing with her hand behind his back?  Miller couldn't even see around there.  What was she up to?

"I was going to let you tell her darlin' you're much better at it than I am.  Tell her how I swept you off of your feet."

He got his revenge by putting his arm around her shoulders and began rubbing her left shoulder as he could now feel her hand directly on his back.  She was obviously trying to get him to say something so he put his hand under the collar of her t-shirt.  She flinched slightly but Ellie didn't seem to notice.

"Oh you two are so obvious, it doesn't take a genius to work it out.  You two met, fell madly in love with each other and I'd guess you were only married a few weeks when Alec came here.  It beats me how you stayed apart for so long.  No wonder you were always sneaking off.  Did you both live in Sandbrook?"

Alec had a decision to make.  "No, Claire was staying in a caravan down the coast, not the site where that woman lived, just a small site, ten minutes away."

"Then how come she never came up when you were in hospital?"

"Because I didn't want her to get upset.  If things had got worse, I would have sent for her.  I wasn't even in long."

"Alec, did you never tell her how serious it was?" Ellie asked.  She could tell by his new wife's face that she didn't know.

Alec had to lie.  "Yes, she knew and it was a difficult decision.  One we both made together, didn't we kitten?"

Rose had put her hand back on his chest again, clenching another shirt button.  Just what had happened to him?

"Her number was in my phone, you would have rung her."

"How would I have known she was your wife?  Sometimes I wonder about you."

Alec fished his phone out of his pocket and one-handedly found Rose's number and showed it to Ellie.  There she saw the photo Alec had just taken.

"Well I still wouldn't have known.  I might have called your ex instead."

"Well it never happened so forget about it."  He knew Rose wouldn't once he had got rid of Miller.

She didn't.  She got up and made drinks, making a point of selecting a different mug for Alec and smiling at him as she handed it to him.

"I still forget to get you a special mug Alec, remind me when we go out tomorrow."  She put her other arm around his back again and leaned on his shoulder.

Ellie finally got the message and got up to leave them.

"Well if you two want to make up for lost time, don't let me stop you.  It was nice to meet you Claire, maybe we can get together and go shopping one day.  I'll introduce you to my youngest boy, Fred.  Actually, if you're not doing anything, maybe you could look after him sometime?"

"What about your sister?" Alec asked, removing Rose's hand from his shirt button for the umpteenth time.  Why couldn't she just finger her earrings instead?

"It means I have to face Tom, he's not too happy but he needs to spend some time with his little brother though maybe not have me going round all the time.  I'll let you two lovebirds go back to what you were doing since you can't keep your hands off each other."

Alec got up and Rose grabbed his hand for him to help her up.  She grabbed him by the waist again, Alec trying to battle her hand away from his bum and failing miserably.

"Yeah, it could take us a while.  You know Alec, maybe we could look after Ellie's boy, it will give us some practice.  Speaking of which, I'll wait upstairs for you while you see Ellie out."

She planted a sloppy kiss on his lips.  Alec tried not to let out a muffled reply of 'get off me' and instead put his arm around her waist and under her t-shirt and kissed her back.

"Bye Ellie, see you soon I hope."

Ellie was not going to miss the chance to watch them both practically make-out in front of her.  Other people's love-lives were now more interesting than her own.

Rose disappeared into the kitchen area but she didn't go upstairs.  Instead, she waited for Alec  to chew her out over her little display but he had taken the role just as seriously as she had so she wasn't entirely to blame.  She heard him come back in.

"Claire, your car has just arrived, you need to sign for it darlin'."

Rose knew he was only saying that for the benefit of the person delivering the car.  It was just before four and Rose went out.  Pete had chosen one almost the same as her own, even the same colour but a later model.  After showing her driving licence and the man was satisfied he had delivered it to the right person, Rose asked if Alec wanted to go out again.

"No, I think we have a few things to talk about."

Rose smiled and went back inside the house, putting the car keys at the side of the TV.  She looked at the paperwork and saw Alec's name had also been added as an additional driver and showed him.  He just nodded and put the papers down and surprisingly put both his hands around her waist.

"You and I have to get a few things straight, Claire Hardy."

Rose knew what was coming, she had started it but he had played along.

"You can't blame me for that, we had to make it look good.  So why don't you take your hands from around my waist for starters?"

"Anyone can see through the window Claire."

"It's a dead-end Alec, who's going to be passing by?"

"The neighbours and you can see in here from the street.  I know you were trying to convince Miller we were newly-weds but did you have to stick your hand directly on my back?"

"She was watching, it had to look real.  It got rid of her didn't it?  Anyway, you didn't have to rub my bare shoulder, did you?"

"You had to expect some payback and I suppose 'babe' is better than 'Fuzzy'.

"Well 'kitten' didn't help, thanks a lot.  You can let go of me now."

Alec let go.  "Well the next time you put your hand on my back and try and get it under my belt and down the back of my trousers, make sure you finish what you start, 'kitten'."

"Yeah?  Well next time, don't kiss me back unless you want to get snogged to death."

"Well I wouldn't have kissed you back if you'd not started it and the next time you try to grope my arse be prepared to get yours groped back and leave my shirt buttons alone or you'll be sewing them back on again.  Why can't you play with your earrings?"

"It wouldn't have had the same effect.  I'm off to have a nap before we start making dinner, will you wake me in an hour or so?"

"Sure.  We could go out for a drink later, I should show off my new wife."

Rose smiled.  At least he'd not be that annoyed over her little display of affection but that's all it had been.  They were just playing a part and neither of them could afford to play this game for real, she knew that but she was rather disappointed she'd not made it past his belt.  He was  sort of cute and it could have been a lot worse, he could have got really mad with her over it.

She went upstairs and kicked her shoes off and lay on the bed, leaving her room door slightly open so he could come up and wake her up.  That was when it all hit her all at once.  This was going to be her new home for however long it took but she had every faith in Pete and her friends to get it sorted.  The worse thing was going to be missing her mother and brother, she couldn't even have any photos of them.  Without realising, she had tears already on her cheeks and she tried to close her eyes and have a rest.

"Rose, come on, wake up."

Rose stirred, realising someone had a hand on her shoulder.  Alec touched her cheek and saw it was still wet.  He sat on the edge of the bed.

"What's wrong?  You can tell me, I'm supposed to be your husband."

Rose turned onto her back.

"I know how difficult this is for you Rose and I understand you're upset.  I didn't mean to upset you earlier."

"You didn't."

"I thought you were upset I wouldn't let you grope my arse," he grinned.

Rose managed a smile and sat up, hugging her knees.  Alec put his hand on top of hers.

"I've started dinner, I put the spaghetti on to boil and the rest of the ingredients into another pan.  I hope you're hungry, it's almost seven."

"You shouldn't have let me sleep for so long, now I won't sleep tonight."

"Well we can soon fix that with a few drinks, not that I can drink, I'm not allowed and the last time I had a few glasses of wine, I ended up in the hospital."

Rose put her other hand on top of his.  "How can you live like this Alec?  Not knowing?"

He pulled her hand away.  "This isn't about me Rose, this is about keeping you safe.  Now I have to go rescue dinner."

He took her hand and squeezed it then lifted it up and kissed the back of it.  "Come on, you'll feel better after you've eaten, then you can go drown your sorrows and I'll even pay.  Speaking of which, I worked out how much you owe me for the extras you bought, I hope you get a generous allowance."

He let go of her hand and got up then held his arm out and helped her up, remembering to get out of her way so she wouldn't grab his bum again.

"Thanks Alec, I'll be down in a minute.  Do I need to dress up for dinner?"

"No, not unless you're trying to impress me.  Get changed to go out later if you want."

Alec went to rescue dinner while Rose went to freshen up.  She looked at her tear-streaked face in the mirror.  How could Alec live like that?  No-one to care if he lived or died and not even caring about himself.  From what Ellie had said, he'd almost died the last time yet a simple pacemaker operation would make him well again.  Right, if he was watching out for her then she was going to make sure he got it.

She was surprised how good a cook he actually was.  After helping him with the dishes, Rose went to get changed and they walked across to the pub.  Fortunately for Alec, Rose was only drinking white wine and lemonade and by her second one, she was ready to leave but not before he made sure some of the people he recognised from Danny Latimer's funeral and from around the town had seen him.

When they got back, Rose went to make some hot chocolate and made one for Alec, presenting him with a mug full of hot chocolate, cream and topped with marshmallows while he was watching the late news.

"Am I supposed to drink this or eat it?"

He picked a marshmallow out with the spoon.  Rose smiled and curled up next to him on the sofa.  She had been to her room, put her pyjamas and her silky pale blue robe on, complete with her blue soft soled slippers.

"Do you want to talk about it Alec?"

He looked over at her.  "About what?"

"Well I'm supposed to be your wife and I didn't know you almost died less than a week ago."

"It was a week ago, yesterday and I'm still here.  I don't want to talk about it."

"Well what if someone else asks about it?  What am I supposed to say?  You might not like it Alec but you have to tell me.  Why won't you have the operation?  My dad said he can get it rushed through for you.  Why are you putting yourself through this?"

Alec pulled another marshmallow out and held it on the spoon towards Rose.  She took it.

"Maybe because I don't want to have the operation, 'kitten'.  Look, you want the truth?  I may not even survive an operation.  So now you know."

"You're scared.  What's the alternative Alec?  Ellie didn't say how you almost died, what happened?"

Alec put his empty mug on the coffee table.  "I was chasing who I now know was Miller's husband, I collapsed, she called an ambulance and I recovered.  End of story."

Rose put her mug down and moved right next to him, putting her arm in his.

"What about if I come with you?  For your operation.  It has to be better than just waiting for something else to happen."

"In case you had not noticed, I'm no longer working so I won't be chasing any more suspects.  Now I'm off to bed, thanks for the chocolate but maybe next time, leave the marshmallows out?"

He moved her arm and got up.  "Goodnight Rose, don't worry so much about me, I'm fine now."

Rose held her arm out and he helped her up.

"I know what you're getting at Rose.  Nothing is going to happen, I promise.  I'll make sure I take my medication, I learned my lesson and now I don't have to hide it."

She reached up and kissed his cheek.  "Goodnight Alec."

She picked up the mugs to leave them to soak overnight.  "Oh and about earlier, I hope you didn't think I was getting too familiar with you, it was just for Ellie's benefit."

"Of course it was though I think you might have enjoyed it a little too much and you were a bit enthusiastic."

Rose blushed and left the mugs in the sink.

Alec was up first and making breakfast when Rose finally came downstairs, trying to sneak a piece of toast and being told to wait for the eggs.  He was dressed in casual trousers and a light grey t-shirt.  Rose had opted for her jeans and a t-shirt.  Rose wanted to go shopping for other things rather than just groceries so Alec suggested they went to a neighbouring town since he wanted a few things now he was staying.

When they got back, Rose wanted to go for a walk around the harbour and on the seafront but said she would go on her own.

"No, I'll come with you, you shouldn't walk around on your own."

"Why?  No-one knows I'm here."

"Yes they do Rose, you can't trust anyone.  Someone may recognise you, at least if I'm with you I can convince them they're wrong.  People will think twice about confronting who you are if we're together.  That was the point, for you to pose as my wife.  I know you need your space but not when it comes to going out.  If you need time on your own, from Monday, I'll leave you on your own and find something to do.  I'll bluff my way back into the station, somehow."

"Alec, I'm not trying to get rid of you.  I thought you'd be glad to get away from me, getting dragged around the shops this morning."

Alec smiled.  He'd had to wait outside a shoe shop that was busy while she tried on half a dozen pairs and only come out with two and it had got too much for him.  She had just grinned at him and kissed his cheek.  They walked across the harbour and onto the Esplanade, sitting at the end eating icecream.  Rose got some on her nose and Alec wiped it off, both of them laughing.

They looked like any normal couple who were there on holiday, no-one would have guessed they were just pretending.  Their second test was about to begin as the Latimers were walking along the seafront.  It had been Chloe that has spotted them.

Beth stopped in front of the couple, Alec was just wiping some more icecream from the side of her mouth.

"Detective, I thought you were leaving town?"

"I was, I was going to fetch Claire.  Mrs Latimer, this is Claire, my wife."

"Really?  Why did you never say anything about her?"  She held her hand out to Rose.  "Nice to meet you Claire, I'm Beth."

Rose shook her hand.  "I was so sorry to hear about Danny.  Alec just wanted to keep me out of it, we haven't been married long."

Alec shifted awkwardly.  Chloe looked the most surprised of all, to see the gruff detective with a young wife who didn't look much older than she was.  They left the Latimers and walked further along until the path gave way to a track that led uphill or just went a little further until  it stopped.  Rose didn't think it was a good idea to have Alec climb the hill but he said he was ok.

The track led them up to the cliff top hut where Danny was killed and Rose recognised it, it had been on the news after it had been announced the killer had been caught.  They stood just below the hut, Rose took Alec's hand.

"You didn't have to bring me up here Alec, you should have said something."

Alec remembered running down the other path going straight down to the beach late at night and collapsing at the bottom.  He wasn't going to let on to Rose about it though.  She wouldn't let this rest now, she would be on his case about getting something done about his condition.

They found a bench and sat down, facing the golden cliffs in the distance.  Rose took his hand again.

"Are you ok?  The climb up wasn't too much for you?"

"No. I'm fine, you don't have to fuss over me all the time.  You wanted to know why I wouldn't choose an operation over putting up with my condition.  I want to go on my own terms, not on an operating table, ok?"

"No it's not ok, not with me.  Someone once told me that you never give in, you fight.  You can fight this Alec, why suffer while you're doing it?  So you might last a bit longer but what happens then?  At least with an operation you can control it."

"I collapsed, just down there by the boatyard, last Thursday night.  I thought it was all over as I lay there.  Miller was telling me the ambulance was on the way.  She told me not to make her give me the kiss of life then everything went black.  They told me my heart stopped for almost five minutes and it scared me Rose.  They told Miller, she told the chief and I was out.  I barely finished the investigation."

"Then that gives you every reason to get better Alec.  Do you want to keep collapsing until one day it's all over for you?"

"No-one cares Rose, don't get involved."

"Well tough, I am involved whether you like it or not.  I can't sit by and let you do this to yourself.  What would people think of me?"

He hadn't thought of that.

"I'm supposed to be your wife Alec, it's my job to care what happens to you.  Now tell me about the other times and don't hide anything from me, including what's wrong with you."

Alec had to admit what had happened the night he had been to the Millers and what his condition was.  Rose was appalled at the state he was in.

"And your ex wife doesn't care?"

"She doesn't know and she's not going to.  She can't know about it or about you.  That part of my life is gone.  Are we going back now?  It's your turn to make dinner tonight.  How about doing chicken and rice?"

Rose smiled and linked her arm with his, leaning her head on his shoulder.  "I can do that.  I might have come from a wealthy family but I know how to cook, we didn't always have money and servants."

He leaned over and kissed her forehead.  "Come on Claire, let's go home and after dinner, you're buying the drinks."

They walked back down the path arm in arm and Rose promised she wouldn't try anything else while they were out.  She didn't promise not to do anything when they got back – Alec Hardy was fair game and in the same house.
Chapter 5
That was the problem, Alec Hardy was fair game despite Rose knowing he was there purely to protect her and he was seriously ill.  What was she even thinking of?  They had flirted last night and maybe in front of Ellie Miller if she admitted it to herself.  No Rose, get him out of your head, he's not for sale at any price.

Maybe she had gone a bit overboard while they had been out, Alec had behaved impeccably and patiently outside shops, nodded at the right time and approved of most of her purchases and had offered to drive them back home.  Rose had thought no harm in it, he seemed relatively calm and she was keeping a close eye on him for any signs he was struggling and it wasn't very far.  She thought he must feel very out of it, the detective who had just against all odds solved a complicated murder investigation, now reduced to looking after the Vitex heiress who to him must look like a spoilt brat with more money than sense.

Maybe they could have a little fun though, even at home.  Doing a bit of silly flirting now and then would keep it interesting but she couldn't allow herself to actually take it too far, he might collapse on her and continuously going on about him getting his operation was just going to drive a rift between them and he would start to resent her and maybe asked to be replaced.  That would certainly be a short marriage then.

On the way back to the house from their walk, they stopped by one of the food stalls because Rose wanted to try the waffles with cream, Alec sitting watching her and nursing a cup of tea.  It was just gone five and he told her she wouldn't eat her dinner.

"I'm not a kid Alec, dinner is two hours away," she said, finishing the last of the delicacy that had been topped with whipped cream and strawberry sauce with chocolate sprinkles.

Alec shook his head.  Why was he even bothering?  She was too young to pass as his wife, hell,  she didn't look any older than Daisy and the way she ate the waffle, well that was just downright suggestive if ever eating a waffle like that could be called such a thing.  No, he had to concentrate on the job at hand – he was babysitting her, pure and simple.  She was sort of in his care and Pete Tyler wouldn't appreciate him ogling after his stepdaughter when such a trust had been put in him.

If he wasn't very careful, he'd end up teaching raw recruits instead of going back to being a DI and he'd be put on the bottom of the list for pacemaker operations.  He told himself if she flirted with him again, in public or not, he was going to put a stop to it.  He couldn't stay around her all week, today had been bad enough, having her holding his hand, his arm, her kissing his cheek for waiting outside the shoe shop and the way they had walked back from the hut arm in arm.  Even the way he had just kissed her forehead, there wasn't even anyone around to fool so why had he done it?

Then there had been earlier, when she had asked his opinion while they had been out about a shade of nail polish, what the hell did he know about nail polish?  This was getting far more complicated than he had bargained for.  They had come away from Dorchester with an assortment of accessories to join the rest of her things in the bathroom and he had already noticed there was a packet containing the pill tucked away in the bottom of the bathroom cabinet.

Maybe she had left a boyfriend behind in London but if she had, why was she openly flirting with him?  He didn't want a jealous boyfriend hot on his heels when this was all over.  She had even let him drive home to pacify him and had not shown him up too much in front of the Latimers.

Now she was staring at him, smiling.  "Alec, you could have rented that blue chalet for us over there, it looks nice."

Alec turned around, he knew the one she meant.  "No way Claire, you probably need a boat to get to it, I don't do boats.  Are you finished?"

She got up and put the carton into the litter bin then leaned down to kiss his cheek.  He wished she would stop doing that.  When they got back, Rose finally got her email account sorted and registered for online banking and sent a general email to Pete saying all was well.  She got one back saying Uncle Owen would ring her on Monday.  She also told Pete that Alec was going crazy at home and asked if he had any suggestions to keep him from climbing the walls.  Pete said he would see what he could do.

She decided not to say anything to Alec just in case.  Pete also asked her to give their address to Owen.  She was interrupted by a bored Alec who had been watching the news.

"We could go out tonight, if you wanted?"

"Yeah, that would be nice.  I'll go get changed. Do you want to use my laptop to find somewhere?  We could get a taxi up into the town."

"No, I'll drive, you have a drink.  Pass your laptop here."

He stared at the small touchscreen laptop that was probably more powerful than the computer he had used in the station.  He noticed she had transferred a picture she had taken of him was on the desktop, she must have sneaked another one of him when he wasn't looking.  It seemed he might have a problem.  Maybe she did find him attractive after all or maybe it was just for show, either way he would have to bring up the subject.  He couldn't just lead her on but she would be disappointed if he turned her down flat so he had a bit of a dilemma.

He looked up restaurants and pubs in the local area and found one up in the town near the sports centre and called the number and reserved a table for seven thirty, that should give her time to get ready.  He didn't know Rose very well.  Just after seven, he was still waiting for her to come back downstairs as he had been up and put a clean shirt on and a tie and his jacket.  He had shouted her several times in the last ten minutes.

He went upstairs and saw her bedroom door open and Rose standing in front of the mirror.

"You look nice Rose.  We should set off soon, I'll have to find somewhere to park."

"Just get a taxi then if you don't know where it is."

He noticed she was struggling to fasten a silver chain around her neck, it was rather delicate and she kept missing.

"Come here, let me do that."

He took his rimless glasses out of his pocket and perched them on his nose.  Rose could see him through the mirror, sticking his tongue out to see the delicate catch.

"Who makes these things?" he cursed, missing it for the second time.  "Haven't you got anything else to wear?"

"Yeah but my mum bought me this when we first arrived here."

"We?  I thought only you came from the other universe?  What are you holding back?"

She had let it slip and there was no getting out of it.  "Pete thought it best not to tell you.  He didn't just rescue me and take me in, he brought my mum too and the first time I was here, my friend Mickey came with me and he stayed."

"Great, I'm not babysitting them as well, I have enough with you Madame."

Rose turned around and smiled.

He had finally fastened the catch and saw the necklace had a key on it.  Jackie had bought it for her to remind her of the Tardis key and it held great sentimental value to her.  Alec wondered what it signified.

"Did you leave a boyfriend back home Rose?"

He thought it might have been a romantic gesture.  "Who is this Mickey then?"

Rose stepped up to him and noticed he did his tie exactly the same as the Doctor used to, not quite neat although his top button was at least fastened.  She went to adjust the tie.

"Just a friend, he used to be my boyfriend, back in my own world but he stopped being that a long time ago.  Don't get jealous, Fuzzy."

She fastened the tie as tight as it could go without choking him.  Her hands remained on his shirt and he pulled them away.

"Don't you start unfastening the buttons, 'kitten' and from now on, anything you start, you'll have to finish."  He hoped that would warn her off and put his glasses away in his top pocket.

Rose thought he really shouldn't be tempting her.  He drove them up to the restaurant and they arrived just in time.  It was just his luck that Olly Stevens had invited his new girlfriend out for a meal having borrowed some money from his aunt for babysitting.  He thought the detective had surely left town by now and wouldn't be able to get out fast enough but there was Hardy, with his hand on the small of the young blonde's back, helping her into a seat.  Then he noticed the woman was wearing a wedding ring.

Olly could have sworn the detective had said he was divorced and his ex wife had lost some evidence.  This was going to be interesting.  Alec was paying attention to making sure Rose was comfortable and allowing her to read the menu first, ordering a glass of wine for Rose and allowing himself half a glass but had some water brought over.  The meal went well, Rose tried not to show herself up by not saying too much, just where they might go the following day.

Alec had seen the reporter and was just glad he wasn't with Karen White and hoped he wouldn't have the nerve to come over to their table.  He didn't but approached Alec as he got up to help Rose as she said she was going to the ladies room.

"DI Hardy, have you got a minute?"

Alec shook his head, now it would be on the front page of the town paper.  "Not now Stevens, I'm no longer on active duty, I've no comments to make about the case."

"I wasn't asking about that.  It's none of my business but is that your ex wife you're out with?"

"You're right, it's none of your business.  Now hadn't you better attend to the person you're out with?"

"Is she a friend?"

"Go away Olly."

Olly knew he was hiding something.  Alec didn't want her picture in the paper or it would all be over and he would have failed.  Just one slip-up and whoever was threatening Rose would be down and going after her.  Alec called after the reporter.

"If one word is printed in that paper of yours, you'll be lucky to get a job delivering newspapers let alone writing for them."

Olly didn't like the detective to start off with, even more so for what he had done to his uncle.  He decided to leave it for now and mention to Maggie that the DI was still in town with a young blonde, a married one at that.  He didn't know what he was messing with.  Alec thought if Pete Tyler found out the reporter was going to put something about their new arrangement in the press, he would order a clampdown.  Rose came back and smiled at him.

"Shall we go across the road and have another drink Alec?  It's still quite early."

The only place across the road was The Traders Hotel and he didn't fancy going in there.  Becca Fisher might just let out that he had asked her to spend some time with him and that wouldn't go down well to say the least.  She would want to know why he had asked her to stay with him and explain why in the ambulance there was no indication he was still married.  Alec knew he would come unstuck now if the two of them met.

"No darlin' let's just go back to the harbour and have a drink down there."

He helped her on with her jacket and they drove back home then walked to the pub a bit further down.  It was getting a bit chillier in the evenings now, it was late September and Alec thought he may have to find out how the central heating worked, he didn't want Rose complaining the rooms were cold, otherwise it might give her ideas to want to share with him.  When he thought about it, he had gone into this without thinking it through properly, Rose was going to take some explaining.

He just hoped he could get to Becca Fisher before the two of them actually met.  He didn't want Rose to slap his face in public and storm out, threatening to divorce him when they weren't even married.  Maybe he should just tell her, it wasn't like she owned him.  They were sat having a drink when he thought now would be a good time to bring up their pasts.  It wasn't one of his best ideas.

"So, Claire, anything else you want to tell me?  What about that man who stayed behind?"  He didn't want to go into too much detail while sitting in a pub.

"No, we were just friends, we used to travel together.  I liked him, a lot but it never turned into anything though not for lack of trying on my part.  Should we even be talking about this Alec?"

"I just wanted some idea.  You may as well know, the reason I didn't want to go to that hotel up in the town.  I stayed there until a few days ago."

"Oh, that could have been embarrassing, since you didn't tell anyone about me.  I mean you told me the name of the hotel but I didn't know it was that one."

She closed what gap there was between them and put her hand on his knee.  "You didn't have a run in with the female owner or anything, did you babe?" she smiled.

Alec looked at her.  "Well, you were staying away and I did get drunk one night, I may have asked her to stay but she refused."

She pretended to be annoyed with him but it had nothing to do with her what he had done but she wondered why he had been turned down, unless it was because the woman knew he was ill.

"So, did you tell her what was wrong with you then?"

"Yes, she went to the hospital with me when she found me collapsed in my room when another guest complained about the noise of me falling on the floor.  I was going to tell her to call you kitten but it didn't come to that."

She decided to play him along.  "So even after that, you got drunk and asked her to stay?  What if she had said yes?"

Alec was too quick to answer.  "Well I knew she wouldn't, why would she when she had seen me in hospital?  I didn't want her getting suspicious when I didn't ask her out.  I thought I would get it over and done with.  You're not mad at me are you love?"

Rose saw her chance.  She put her arm in his.  "You have a lot of making up to do, I should get jealous but I know you love me and you were just lonely.  You could have called me, I would have sneaked in.  You do love me, don't you babe?"

She reached up and touched his beard then kissed him just for a second, not expecting him to kiss her back but he didn't resist.  He took her hand.

"You know I do."

It was all back-firing on him.  How was he going to stop this from escalating?  They were only two days into this and he was never going to last however long it was going to take.  Rose could sense he felt awkward and felt guilty for putting him on the spot.  It wasn't like he had actually said it.

"Then let's go home Alec." She finished her drink.

When they got back, Rose decided she had best go straight to her room or she might have some explaining to do.

"No hot chocolate tonight Rose?"

Alec had switched the TV on and was flicking through the programme guide.

"I thought I'd just go to bed before I say any more stupid things.  Sorry for earlier."

"What for?  Come on Rose, don't be, make me some if you're switching the kettle on but no marshmallows tonight."

Rose went to prepare the drinks and made his differently, then passed it to him.  Then she asked him to unfasten her necklace and he said he would do it later since the light wasn't very good, he had just switched the lamp on.

He saw she didn't look very comfortable.  "Not curling up tonight?"

"What?  Oh, well it might be awkward in this dress."  She threw her shoes off as Alec moved over so she could put her feet up.

"You were just playing a part, don't make anything of it, it will keep happening.  Just maybe cut down on the kissing though, I told you if you start anything, you'll have to finish it the next time.  I don't mind if you grab my hand or hold onto my arm but don't ask me awkward questions and don't keep trying to kiss my cheek all the time."

"Sorry.  You could have warned me though, that you'd asked the hotel owner to sleep with you."

"I didn't exactly come out and ask her that.  I asked her if she wanted to relax with me after I asked her what she did when she was off duty.  She turned me down. Why are you so bothered about it?"

Rose was picking the marshmallows out of her cup and eating them.  He shook his head.  She was far too young.

"Listen, I won't ask you anything else about your boyfriends and you don't ask me what I did before this all got started ok?"

Rose nodded.  "Just warn me though if something is going to get awkward for you and as for kissing your cheek, I have to keep up appearances, what would people think if I ignored you all the time?"

"Ok, cheek kissing and hand holding are allowed in moderation when we're out but don't ask me questions like you did earlier, it makes it sound like you're insecure."

"It makes it sound like I missed you."

"Maybe but try and avoid it and next time we have a visitor, don't make it look like you're trying to get my shirt off.  If you want me to take it off, just ask."

Rose giggled into her nearly empty mug.

"But that wouldn't be nearly as much fun.  I'm off to bed and don't expect me to give you a goodnight kiss on the cheek then."

She got up and he grabbed her hand and smiled.

"Ok, maybe that might be allowed."

Rose leaned over and put her empty mug down.

"Make your mind up Alec."  She kissed his cheek.  "Oh and don't forget to unfasten my chain for me."

"I'll be up in a minute, there's more light on the landing."

"I might be in my pyjamas by then, or my nightdress."

He knew she was teasing him.  "That's not going to work Rose.  Look, it's not that you're not attractive, you are, you're very attractive and I would be mad to turn you down under different circumstances but I have a responsibility towards you and I promised your stepfather I would look after you.  Apart from that, I would jump at the chance.  I don't mind you flirting with me but that's all it can be, you're far too young for me."

Rose stopped.  "Mickey was older than me, the Doctor, well he was a lot older than me so I guess you could say I like older men, I can't help but flirt with you Alec, you're too easy to flirt with."

She began loosening his tie, balancing herself on the edge of the sofa then unfastened his top button and tightened his tie so it hung loose.

"There, you look more comfortable like that, don't change or smarten yourself up just for my benefit.  While we're at it, you can kiss me goodnight as well, it works both ways you know."

Alec grabbed her arm and pulled her forward, putting his hand on her cheek.

"I know Rose but you might not be quite so comfortable with it if I don't get an invitation."

Rose smiled.  "I wouldn't mind.  Ok, we can give each other a kiss on the cheek goodnight, you don't have to ask."

He leaned forward, a fraction away from her cheek.  "When we get upstairs, you might cheat."

He veered away from her and got up, offering her his hand.  She took it.  He turned the TV off and Rose went to put the kitchen light on.

"You can unfasten my chain now if you want?"

He stood under the light and got his glasses out.  The chain was far too delicate for his large fingers but after a few attempts, it came undone and Rose held her hand out for it.  It landed in a heap on the palm of her hand.  Then Alec went in front of her as he took his glasses off and turned back to her.

"It would have been more fun if you'd been wearing your pyjamas or your nightdress."

Rose had liked the feel of his fingers on the back of her neck, they were getting into dangerous territory, one they might not be able to back out of.  He stepped back up to her, opening her hand and looking at the chain and the key.

"So, what's so special about the key Rose?"

"It's difficult to explain, it's just something between my mum and me."

"Maybe you'll tell me one day?"

"Maybe."

Alec put the stairs light on and Rose turned out the kitchen one, following him up until they were standing outside the bathroom.

"Goodnight Alec, I'll make breakfast in the morning."

Alec smiled.  "Only if you bring me it in bed."

"Did you get breakfast in bed in the hotel Alec?"

"No, I told you, she turned me down, I got no special treatment.  Forget it then."

"I didn't say no, did I?"

"You didn't say you would either."  He put his arms around her waist.  "I was just trying my luck.  Did it work?"

He leaned down and kissed her cheek, his beard tickling it as she felt it touch.  He whispered in her ear.  "Goodnight Rose."

Rose leaned on him then reached up, her hands on his arms and kissed his cheek. "Goodnight Alec."

He still didn't let go.  "So breakfast in bed tomorrow then?"  He kissed her forehead.

"Be careful, Fuzzy, that might be classed as more than the allowed goodnight kiss."

"It might, you could get your revenge."

She let go of his arms and he let go of her waist.  "That might not be such a good idea, you told me not to start anything I couldn't finish."

She began to loosen his tie again.

"You're treading very dangerously, kitten.  You may want to back off while you still can."

She moved her hands but he grabbed them.  "I only said you may want to back off."

He loosened his grip and she took a shirt button at random and began to twist it.

"You told me not to play with your shirt buttons."

"I said in company."

"You said if I tried to grope your ass again, I'd get payback."

"Yes, I did and you will."

"Promise?"

"I always keep my promises."

The said shirt button came undone, leaving a gap and she took hold of the next one down which just happened to be the one that was almost tucked into his trousers. She twisted the button and was able to pull his shirt out, leaving it loose then unfastening that one, started on the next one down, leaving just one more and she could now see he had a smattering of hair on his chest, not too much.  His tie was still loose around his neck and he pulled it over his head, still knotted.  Rose took advantage and finished the buttons but not yet putting her hands on his chest.

He was just seeing how far she was willing to take this.
Chapter 6
Rose stood there, her hands still on the edges of his shirt.

"Well?"

"Well what?"

"I think this has gone far enough, don't you?  Unless you actually want me to take my shirt off, I said you only had to ask."

"Wouldn't have been as much fun that way.  I should go to my room now."

"Really?  You didn't have to be so dramatic about unbuttoning my shirt, I'm capable of doing that myself.  Ok, that was the only time I make an exception to you finishing what you started, next time you won't be so lucky.  You've had your goodnight kiss on the cheek.  See you in the  morning, with my breakfast.  I'll have some toast with strawberry jam and tea."

He moved her hands off his shirt and turned around to go into the bathroom, leaving Rose standing there confused.  What the hell had just happened?  She shook her head and went into her room.  He had let her unbutton his shirt and neither of them had done anything about it.  Good thing she hadn't gone for the zip of his trousers then.  She heard him come out of the bathroom and close his door.

Now in her pyjamas, she crept silently into the bathroom and locked the door.  She told herself to get a grip but she had liked what she had seen so far and it was going to be difficult not to be tempted to rip his shirt off him the next time.  Finally getting into bed, she fell asleep, pretending they had actually taken it further and he was lying there with her.  All was well until she woke up screaming.  Alec was there in a few seconds.

"Rose, what's wrong?"

The door was open and the landing light was on.  He sat on the edge of the bed and Rose clambered over to him.  He was wearing just a white t-shirt and some sleep shorts and Rose clung to him.  Those damn Cybermen again, one had grabbed hold of her in the lever room and she was hurtling towards the void and the Doctor was too late to save her.  She didn't answer him.  What the hell had brought that to mind?  It had been ages since she had nightmares about that day.

"Rose, tell me what's wrong.  It's ok, I'm here now."

Rose glanced up at him.  "Sorry I woke you Alec, I'm fine now."

She was still visibly shaking.  She knew she couldn't fool him.  "Just something that happened before I came here, I thought I was over it."

"I know Rose, it's ok.  Try and go back to sleep, it's three in the morning.  Shall I tell you something?"

Rose nodded, still keeping hold of him.  "I still wake up from that day I found that girl in the river, from the case before last.  I went under trying to get her out.  I wake up and I'm soaking wet from sweating it feels like I've just been dragged out of the river a few seconds ago.  I can't forget it Rose, I don't think I ever will.  Now it's your turn."

He was still holding her, resting his chin on her forehead, occasionally kissing it, his arms wrapped around her.

"I dreamt about the Cybermen and the other creatures that were there the day I came here."

"What other creatures?"

"The stuff of nightmares.  Believe me Alec, you don't want to know, just be glad they never came here."

Torchwood had already confirmed that in the history of this world, no Daleks had ever made it through, much to her relief.

"What really happened that day Rose?  Don't tell me the altered version, I can sense there's something more.  Pete didn't bring you here voluntarily did he?"

Rose shook her head.

"Then there was your mother and that Mickey.  You said Mickey stayed here the first time but your mother came through with you the last time.  I guess Pete brought you both here and you went back and something happened, didn't it?  Pete said something about the space between worlds, where the Cybermen got trapped and now these other creatures."

Rose was still shaking.

Then it dawned on him, why she was shaking.  "Oh Rose, you nearly went with them, didn't you?"

Rose was crying again, seeing the Doctor with the terrified look on his face, then Pete grabbing her.

"Rose, I'm sorry, come here."

He lifted her chin and looked into her tearful eyes and even in the dim light he saw the sadness there.  This was something she would never be free from, just as he would never be free from the river.  He leaned his lips a fraction away from hers. Rose closed the gap and their lips met briefly before she pulled away.

"You said you wouldn't let me off next time, from finishing what I started."

"I started that so it doesn't really count."  He pressed his lips against hers and she responded, just briefly again but he kept repeating it until each kiss lasted a second longer than the one before as he shifted to get more comfortable than sitting on the edge of the mattress.

He finally let go.  "Go back to sleep Rose, I'm just going to stay here until you do.  I wish someone had been there for me when I woke up from my nightmares."

"I would have been, if I'd known you then.  How long has that been Alec?"

"Over a year ago but yours have been longer, haven't they?  I reckon that's not the first time, is it?"

He was still holding her and her arms were still around his waist.  She shook her head.

"Well you can tell me about it in the morning although I think it's going to take some time, you have to fill in the parts your stepfather left out.  I hope you didn't wake the neighbours Rose, they might think I was murdering you or something?" he smiled at her.

"What?  A police detective?  No, I'm safe with you.  You can go now, I'll be fine."

"Are you sure?  I could stay a bit longer."

She withdrew her arms and went to lay back down again.  "Well if you do, don't make me finish anything I start."

"Would I do that?" he asked going to a sitting position on top of the covers.

"You left the light on Alec."

"Right, I didn't expect you to keep me here so long."  He got out and turned it off then came back.  He got back on the bed again.

"This seems weird Alec, you can't stay on top of the covers all night."

"Well I'm not getting in, I don't trust you, I've only got my sleep shorts on and I only bought them for your benefit, in case I bump into you going into the bathroom."

"Or for when I wake up from a bad dream?"  Rose's arm found its way across his stomach.

He turned onto his side and put his arm over her.

"Don't be daft Alec, just get in, I promise to behave."

"Well in that case, I won't bother, if you're going to behave," he joked, fumbling with the covers.

He kissed her cheek again as she snuggled up to him, he was still on his side.

"Still think this is weird, kitten?"

Rose was already asleep, safely tucked into his side and he smiled.  He knew they shouldn't be doing this, everything he had told himself had been blown out of the window.  How was he going to resist her now?  First he was doing penance for not solving his previous case then when he thought he deserved some redemption, Rose Tyler, or rather Claire Riley had walked into his life and now they were supposed to be married.

He never really stood a chance against the young blonde the minute she walked into the chief's office, he had offered her his chair, something he never did, he had given in to all the extras she had insisted on in the supermarket and last night, he had told her she looked nice before they had gone out.  What was he supposed to do now?

He couldn't even sneak away, her head was on his chest, her arm around him and his last attempt to move just now had resulted in her gripping him even tighter.  He had just managed to turn onto his back.  She must have been through a hell of a lot more than he had and she was not letting on but he knew some of it now, those Cybermen had almost taken her with them as they had been sucked into what Pete had called 'The Void' and maybe Pete had rescued her at the last second.

He had thought Pete had just transported Rose and her mother here and that was that but Rose must have gone back for some reason, maybe because that Doctor had stayed behind and if Rose had been in love with the man, she wouldn't have taken kindly to being forced to stay where she was and let him handle it on his own.  One of the Cybermen must have caught her, Pete had said they were operating some levers controlling the void.  Rose must have been terrified, no wonder she had woken up screaming.

Rose woke up just after eight, Alec was still asleep on his back, making a funny noise and Rose stifled a giggle but he heard her as she moved away from him onto her back.

"Hey, are you laughing at me?"

"Nope, what made you think that?"  She moved onto her side and put her arm across him.

He grabbed her hand and put his long fingers between hers.  "Want to talk about last night?"

"I thought you wanted breakfast in bed?"

"That can wait.  I think I know what happened Rose, it would be enough to make anyone wake up screaming.  You should see me when I wake up from mine, the same one over and over again.  Sometimes I'm just lying, on a cliff top and water is pouring out of me and other times I'm under the water, being dragged out by someone as they take the girl from me."

Rose reached over and kissed his cheek but he stopped her.  "No more Rose, no more pretending."

He pulled her over and turned his head, moving onto his side.  Rose settled her head under his arm, her arm still across him.  She smiled at him.

"Who says I've been pretending Alec?  At least you get to keep your name.  I can't imagine what that must have been like for you, finding that girl in the river, it must have been horrible."

"It was but you're changing the subject.  This pretending isn't going to work, is it?"

"Maybe not on my part but we've only just got started, you may be glad to get a divorce by the time they get whoever is threatening me."

"No, you'll probably divorce me first, Tess did."

"That's not fair Alec, I'm not her.  How can you compare me to her?  The woman obviously didn't know a good thing when she had it."

Alec laughed.  "You didn't know her then."

"You must have loved each other at some point, how did it all go wrong?"

"I don't want to talk about it, we just drifted apart, that's all and she found someone else to console her."

"Sorry.  I didn't mean to pry.  I'll go make you your breakfast."

She moved away from him but he pulled her back.

"I meant it Rose, not just because I don't think I can pull this off any other way, I can't but because I'm letting you get to me and I shouldn't.  You're far too young for me, people would never believe I married you for anything other that I can't keep my hands off you and since you seem to be able to play the part better than I can, I can't pretend to be keeping you at bay when I want to…."  He stopped as Rose was looking at him.

He was the one to let go.  "I should go get dressed.  I'll have breakfast downstairs."

Rose got out of bed, putting her robe on.  "No, stay there, I promised you breakfast in bed."

She knew he was getting flustered.  "I'll be back in a few minutes."

"When I said breakfast in bed, I meant in my own, not yours."

"Yeah but you didn't know you'd be comforting me from a nightmare, did you?"

She left him to think about it.  He thought it had been rather nice, waking up next to someone, to see a smiling face there.  Just for a second, he thought of the other Claire, as he was comforting her but it wasn't the same.  That was when Tess had accused him of having an affair with her and had accused him of acting inappropriately but she was still in love with her husband despite what had happened and he could never have got involved with her, not when her husband was the prime suspect in a murder investigation.  Rose was different.  She was single and so was he now, well technically.

Rose was watching for the toast to pop out of the toaster, the kettle had just boiled and she was making him tea and a coffee for herself.  What exactly was he going to say?  She thought he had rather enjoyed their flirting and when she had woken, it was nice to see someone there, she hadn't been with another man since Mickey and then not in this universe.  She knew she was long overdue in that department.  Before she had come downstairs, she had called into the bathroom before she forgot her morning ritual.  She didn't know why she still bothered to take anything but she may be thankful of it one day.  The way Alec had just spoken, maybe that was going to be soon but did she actually want that with him?

As soon as this was over, her mother and Pete would expect her to go back home and Alec could tell everyone it had just been an act to keep her safe from a threat.  He would forget about her, have his operation and move on, she would go back to working for Torchwood, dealing with the odd stray alien and persuading them to go home, rather quickly when they considered the alternative.  Now she was experiencing it first hand, knowing what it felt like to be told to get back into their spaceship or transportation device and go home – only she couldn't.

If it hadn't been for the fact Pete could protect her, she would have been handed to Torchwood and then handed to the authorities, tried and found guilty and locked up in solitary confinement, she knew the law, she'd had to threaten a few hostile aliens who thought they would get an easy ride and enjoy the fruits of the earth.  There would be no home comforts, no visits, nothing, just endless days sat in a cell with three meals a day and an hour's exercise in the yard when everyone else had gone inside.  She knew what it would be like, there was no parole, no escape, unless the Doctor made it through and rescued her.

Once though, before the Cybermen, earth authorities had made it easier.  Torchwood had free reign, at least in Britain, what they did with aliens and integrated the humanoids into society but they had all be rounded up and sent home or 'Re-housed' in prison, maybe the odd one or two might have escaped under the radar and were still living there, well disguised.  She knew two of them very well.  Pete thought he had hidden her well but even he couldn't protect her from that.

Maybe Alec could help in some way, figure out who held such a grudge as to expose her.  She was aware the toast had popped up and was buttering it and putting strawberry jam on it and placing it on the tray with the drinks.  Alec was waiting, sitting up against the pillows.

"Thought you'd got lost, I was going to organise a search for you."  He took the tray from her while she got back into bed.

She reached over for her coffee and a piece of toast and took a napkin.  "Just took as long as it needed, I didn't leave the country Alec."

"Ok, what's wrong with you this morning?"

"Nothing."  She thought better of it.  "It just bothered me, that's all.  I've never had anyone to talk about it with me, mum and Pete told me to forget it and move on so you might as well tell me the same."

She took another piece of toast and Alec looked at her.  "I'm not going to judge you Rose, I know more than anyone that nightmares don't just go away when you want them to.  If you want to talk about yours, any time, I'm here, I'll listen to them and when I have mine, you can be there for me, deal?"

Rose had her mouth full and nodded.  "Yeah, deal.  Sorry I snapped at you, I'm not used to sharing breakfast in bed with anyone."

"Never?  So this is a new experience then.  I'll let you in on a secret, neither am I."

"Even when you were married?  For real I mean, not pretending."

"No, we often worked different shifts or Tess was up already with Daisy, we hadn't been married long when Tess had her.  I expect that was where we went wrong, she had a hard time with her, Daisy wasn't an easy child, she was very demanding, it took it out of us I suppose.  Anyway, enough about me.  What about you and this Mickey?"

Rose giggled and took her last bit of toast and held the napkin underneath.  "There wasn't much Mickey and me.  We grew up together and he started being my boyfriend when I was about sixteen, I left him to go with a would-be singer who abused me until I finally had the guts to leave and Mickey took me back.  Then when I was nineteen, I met the Doctor and began travelling with him, leaving Mickey behind and we never really got back together, even when we came here."

"So you've had no boyfriend for a long time?  I thought I was bad enough, at least I got accused of seeing someone else, two at the same time.  Really Rose, you expect me to believe you've not had sex in all that time?"

"You've some room to talk by the sound of it, you got turned down fairly recently from what you said, when you were supposed to be married to me."

"That was an oversight, I didn't know at the time I was going to be pretending to be married to you, I can't see into the future you know.  If someone had told me then that in a few weeks time I would be sitting up in bed, eating breakfast with a young, very attractive blonde who hasn't had sex in years, I would have locked them up.  Hell, I would have locked myself up for even thinking such a thing especially when I can't do anything about it."

"What do you mean Alec?"

She put her empty coffee cup down, the rolled up napkin inside the cup and Alec put the tray under the bed so he wouldn't trip over it trying to escape explaining the mess he'd just got himself into.

He lay back, propping up the pillows.  "Forget it Rose.  Are we going out today?  If we are, I'm driving."

"Oh no you don't Alec, explain yourself.  Look, I know about you, remember?  Do you think this is all about me not having sex?  Ok, I've been flirting with you, I enjoyed flirting with you, unbuttoning your shirt last night was the most exciting thing I've done in a long time and I'd do it at every opportunity I got, company or no company, I wasn't pretending on that score, I can assure you.  Yeah, I miss having sex but I've accepted that's not going to happen until I find someone I care about, I'm not going to throw myself at the first man who asks me and I've had plenty of offers, thanks very much."

She sat up with her hands around her knees and rested her head on them.  Alec reached over and took her hand.

"I never said you did Rose, I meant I don't expect you to stay in with me or go out with me every night.  If you meet someone, take that ring off and go have a good time, I won't get in your way."

"What?  Are you kidding Alec?  Why would I want to do that?"  Then she realised what he was getting at.

"This is your way of saying I shouldn't waste my time flirting with you because you want to do something about it but you don't think you're capable and it's starting to get to you, isn't it?"

He moved his hand but she grabbed it.  "Why would I want to go out and look for someone else Alec?  You could do some flirting back you know."

"Such as?  If I were to do some flirting back, what would that consist of?"

"Blimey, it must have been a long time ago.  Give me your ex wife's number, I can assure her you definitely didn't have two affairs.  Well to start with, you could try looking down my dress when we're out, put your hand on my leg and run your fingers up and down.  You could offer to unzip my dress when you unfasten my necklace and get me up against the wall and try to kiss me."

"And would you slap me for even trying?"

"I guess you won't know until you try, will you?  And I don't just mean when we're at home, try to look like you can't keep your hands off me when we're out, even if it's just in the pub.  I don't want you to have to arrest yourself in the supermarket."

He suddenly flipped her onto her back and pinned her arms down, a fraction away from her mouth.  "You mean like this?"

His lips crashed onto hers that she managed a squeal but after a second gave in and kissed him back.  He finally let her go and began to get out of bed.

"Well maybe up against the wall next time."  It was a start she supposed.

Alec took the tray and he took it out silently.  Feeling a bit amazed at himself that she had let him do that, he went into the bathroom and rinsed his face, looking at himself in the mirror then ran his fingers through his thicker than usual beard.  He brushed his teeth then looked at the razor.  Maybe a trim might be in order.

Rose was still recovering, no man had kissed her like that before, well not when it had really been her, she had a vague remembrance of being possessed by Cassandra and snogging the Doctor on New Earth, though it would have been more enjoyable if she wasn't being compressed at the time.  There had been plenty of other opportunities after that but one of them had always backed off.

Well if Alec Hardy wanted a repeat of that, he was most welcome though his beard needed a bit of trim but she wouldn't tell him that, it was up to him.  He was still very kissable.  She got dressed and waited for him coming out of the bathroom, being careful to avoid him.

ooooooooo{silversurfer60}ooooooooo

Sunday morning, back in the Tyler household, Jackie got up as usual and after two full days of not having Rose around, she was missing her more than she had done when her daughter had disappeared in a blue box and gone off with an alien, a real one, not just someone from a parallel universe.

Trying to appease young Tony had proved difficult, Pete having to explain to the boy that Rose had gone away yet again, this time very early in the morning and was sad she'd had to leave him again.  Jackie pleaded with her husband to give her some indication where he had taken her daughter so he at least told her she was on the south coast of Britain and was being looked after and had everything she needed.

"Pete, can't we just happen to go there, just for a day out?"

"Maybe, next weekend if this isn't sorted, we can meet up somewhere neutral but we'd have to set off early and tell no-one where we were going.  Let me see if I can arrange something but I can tell you this, the detective who's looking after her is very capable.  Jackie, I wish I could tell you I knew when this is going to be over but I can't.  Owen will be keeping in touch with her and I'll get him to ask her to meet us somewhere, maybe next Saturday."

He thought about telling her who the detective was but Jackie had made it quite clear what she had thought about the man, only relenting slightly when he had solved the case then criticising how long it had taken him.  She had thought Rose and the Doctor could have done a better job.  How would she react when told they were living in the same house?

The house had been quiet the last few days, Tony was usually running circles around his big sister but had just chosen to stay by his mother and play with his toy car collection and didn't even want to play football when Jake came around to see Pete.  Mickey had also been around to see them the previous afternoon and had gone away in an even worse mood when Pete had admitted Rose was staying with the Broadchurch detective.

Mickey had scoffed at first and that had turned into anger.

"What Pete?  You left her with the worst cop in Britain?  What were you thinking of?"

"Don't say anything Mickey, it's the last place anyone would think to look for Rose, it's almost too perfect.  A town still reeling from the murder of a child, the detective who took two months to find the killer and he's ill, there's no-one more suitable to look after her."

"You do know who he looks like?  What's it going to do to Rose?"

"I've met him, remember?  Rose is ok with it.  He's on medical leave but I'm going to have a word with his boss, see if he can work a few hours a day to keep him happy.  No-one will ever think she's hiding down there and you can't tell Jackie that Rose is sharing with him, she thinks it's a woman detective."

"Oh yeah, that somehow makes it ok?  You leave Rose in the same house as a Doctor look-alike, a brilliant plan.  What if she falls for him or something?  You know Rose and how she takes pity on people."

"Don't be daft Mickey, it's purely business, she knows better and if she thinks he looks too much like the Doctor, she'll stay well away from him."

Mickey was still not happy when he left.  He had a good mind to get out of Pete where she was staying and pay a visit but that wouldn't help, if someone noticed, Rose would be in danger of exposure and he would have brought it on her.  Mickey was right to think Rose was falling for the sickly detective.

After taking her time, Alec was waiting in the car for her, not giving her chance to refuse to let him drive.  At least it was an automatic, that was something.  He thought it might look a bit too conspicuous, a flash rental car for a detective on medical leave.  They would have to explain what it was that Rose did for a living.  Rose climbed in beside him and put her hand on his newly trimmed beard, turning his head and giving him a peck on the lips.

"It suits you, maybe you want to keep it at that length?  So where are we going?"

"Just the next town up, we can have a walk around then have some lunch.  I'm sure you'll find some shops to keep you amused."

"I'll have to go the cash machine, I'm tired of that already, how did we cope without debit cards?"

"Well if you find something, use mine and you can pay me back.  You still owe me from yesterday, when I used my card in that last shop you were in."

Rose blushed, she had forgotten about that.  "I'll sort it, sorry.  You should have said."

They drove to the main road out of town but Alec hadn't noticed that Olly Stevens had been lurking outside the amusement arcade and had seen him turn the car onto the harbour road.  He had been there because his boss had said they may have to down-size the newspaper office and there was an empty property next door to the arcade, just a one up, one down with a kitchen and toilet at the back but Maggie had said it seemed promising if it came to a pinch.

Now Olly thought it was more than a coincidence the detective was seen with the young blonde again, this time in daylight and on a Sunday.
Chapter 7
After a pleasant day out, Rose and Alec made their way back to Broadchurch.  Rose offered to drive back and thought Alec had looked tired after she dragged him around the shops on the hill, buying a few trinkets much to his dismay, prompting her to go to the cash machine outside the mini-market.  Then she had found a bargain store and he'd just sat outside and waited for her.  She had come out with chocolate and biscuits, a load more bottles of nail polish, hair ornaments, some CDs and DVDs and a few household items they had forgotten in the supermarket.  Alec just shook his head and allowed her to give him a peck on the lips and carried the bag for her.

She had also found a canvas shoulder bag and Alec had bought a few more plain t-shirts, in case he was sleeping with Rose again but he wasn't telling her that.  It had been lucky he had left one on last night, he'd been too warm despite it being a bit chilly outside, the house was quite cosy really.

After some afternoon tea, they were almost home when Alec wanted to make a detour to the hotel he had stayed at to see if any mail had been left for him.  He had changed his address and filled out a form to have his mail forwarded but if the hospital were going to send for him, he may as well have the option of turning them down.  Rose parked just across from the hotel, outside the closed newspaper office.

"Just wait out here darlin', no need to come in with me."

He wasn't ready for Becca and Rose to meet just yet and hopefully they wouldn't, not that he had anything to worry about.  Rose sensed what he was up to but didn't say anything.  Alec crossed the road and went up to the hotel reception desk.  Becca was surprised to see him, thinking he had left town when he had booked out on Friday morning before ten.

"Detective, I didn't know you were still in town?  Nowhere else to go?  You can have your old room back if you want, it's still empty."

"No thanks, I've made alternative arrangements.  Did any mail come for me after I left?"

"As a matter of fact it did.  I was going to return it tomorrow or take it down to the station."  She reached behind her and brought out an envelope, clearly marked with a hospital logo.  "There you go, thought it was important."

"Thanks.  By the way, I wanted to apologise to you, for that night I asked you if you wanted to relax with me, it was wrong of me."

Becca laughed.  "No-one's ever apologised for that before, what's the occasion?"

"Just clearing my conscious, you might hear some rumours around town about me."

"Oh and what might they be?"  Becca was amused.

He had to think fast.  "I just didn't want you to think there was something wrong with me, not hitting on you and never bringing women back, it was foolish of me. The truth is, I can tell you now, I got married again and I was missing my wife."

Becca burst out laughing.  "Seriously? Why didn't you just say?  I don't see a wedding ring.  How long have you been married?  You're not just saying that to get out of it are you?"

"No, definitely not.  We'd only been married a few weeks, she was going to move here then I had the press on my back with Danny's murder.  We wanted to stay out of their way.  She's just joined me, that's why I moved out.  Her name is Claire."

"What would you have done if I hadn't turned you down?"

"I knew you would, I'd just come out of the hospital.  Besides that, I'm not really your type, am I?"

"No, not really, it was a daft idea detective, you knew I'd had an affair with Mark Latimer, what made you ask me?"

"I told you, it was just for show.  If you'd accepted, I would have faked another attack."

"Thanks"

"I'd best get going,  Claire is waiting outside for me."

"You should bring her in for a drink sometimes, I'd like to meet her."

"Maybe, as long as you two don't compare notes.  She knows by the way, she thought it was amusing."

"You could have brought her here, you were paying for a double room."

"I know but the press were staying here.  We met up at weekends and when I could, she was only ten minutes away, we managed."

"Yeah, sure you did.  Would it have been so bad to sneak her in?"

"I didn't want to risk it with the cameras.  Why do you think I came back late?  I wasn't working all the time."

He was glad that was over as he walked out.  Becca followed him to the door and saw him get in a blue car, a blonde in the driver's seat.  Who would have guessed it?

When they got back Alec opened the envelope.  The specialist wanted to see him, in four weeks time, enough time for him to make his mind up and he tried to hide the letter but Rose grabbed it from him.

"No secrets Alec."  She saw the date.

"That's just plain stupid Alec, don't they care?"

"I'm sure there are more deserving patients than me waiting for the operation Rose."

"No, not as far as I'm concerned there aren't.  Where's that then, Exeter?"  She glanced at the appointment.  "What about nearby hospitals?"

"I expect they're busy as well.  Just leave it Rose, it will give me time to think about it.  It says if it becomes urgent I'll get priority."

"Yeah, well it might be too late then.  When Owen calls me I'll tell him, you won't be waiting four weeks."

"I told you Rose, I'd rather wait, at least until I know you're safe."

He put his arms around her waist and took the letter from her, tossing it on the sofa.

"Care to have another discussion about my flirting with you, kitten?"

"What about me Alec?  Don't you think that I need to know you're safe as well?"

"I'll be fine, you're more important than me."

Rose shook her head.  "No I'm not Alec, my friend once said he'd never met anyone who wasn't important.  I think the same.  Now shut up and do some more flirting with me and I'll tell you how you're doing."

He leaned down and kissed her neck.  "Nice perfume Rose."  He kissed it again, moving further down.

Rose freed her arms and began to unbutton his shirt.

"I told you that you wouldn't get away with it after the last time.  Don't you think you'd better close the blind?"

Rose let go and pulled down the roller blind, Alec stood still having moved his letter off the sofa, he thought it might get crumpled if they fell onto it.  Rose went back and he put his arms back around her waist, waiting for her to make her next move. He wasn't wearing a tie today so she had started at the top button and worked her way down, looking up at him now and then until she reached and pulled the shirt out of his trousers and finished the last button.  That was the point of no return.

Alec unfastened his shirt cuffs then put his arms back around her waist and under her t-shirt, then he kissed her neck again and whispered, "Don't say I didn't give you chance to back out of this, kitten."

Rose put her arms around his waist and raised her head.  "Did I say I wanted to back out?"

Their lips met briefly then Alec deepened the kiss, Rose responded, her arms going up his back.  Alec let go, his hands going up her back.

"How am I doing?"

"Mmm, you're a bit rusty, you should have been trying to unfasten my bra at this point."

He got the hint as his hands went further up and unclasped her bra, leaving it to fall loose against her t-shirt.  They kissed again, Alec steering them to the sofa and he pulled her down, stretching out so Rose was partially on top of him.  Rose loosened his shirt off his shoulders and glanced at him.

"Nice Alec," as she ran her fingers over his chest hairs.

He pulled her t-shirt up and pulled the bra away until they touched then he grinned, looking at her.  "Not as nice as you."

He manoeuvred her so she was almost on her back and began kissing her bare skin, her arms were around his shoulders and she began kissing his neck, making a mark.

"I'll get you back for that kitten."

He moved slightly and began kissing her neck as Rose freed one of her hands and began running a finger down his chest.

They stayed like that for what seemed ages, it had been almost four when they had finally got back and now they were snogging away on the sofa, Rose had got back on top of him, his shirt now off as was her t-shirt and she was now struggling to get her hand under his belt.  Alec looked up at her, how on earth had he managed this? They were only supposed to be flirting, he was definitely out of practice but she seemed content and he wasn't going to take this any further.

After all, this is what couples did on a lazy Sunday afternoon after a day out, they 'made out' on the sofa, didn't they?  He couldn't remember exactly but he recalled him and Tess spending a drunken Saturday evening doing the same, on the fluffy rug on the living room floor just after they were married, resulting in Daisy making an appearance nine months later.  That was the beginning of the end with Tess still trying to balance home and a career having gone back to work after maternity leave, roping in her mother to take care of their daughter.

No wonder he had missed so much and why she blamed him for not spending any time together.  Rose was now lying in his arms, making circles with her finger on his chest.  His heart was going a bit faster than it should but with her close proximity it was hardly surprising and he didn't really need an extra pill just yet.

"Rose darlin' we should think about making dinner if we're staying in."

"Mmm, yeah but this is just too nice."

She buried her head in his chest again, feeling his heart going fast and looked up.

"Are you ok?  Is this what you're like?"

"I'm fine Rose, really.  Don't worry about me so much. You made me feel better already.  This is about you, not me.  You're the one that needs looking after.  If go in hospital, who's going to look after you?  There's a chance I won't come out again."

"So that's why you don't want to go in?  Alec how can you even live like this?  You never said how bad it was."

"Well now you know and if you want to help me, let me decide when it's time for me to go in, like I said, I want to go on my own terms when my time is up."

"You can't keep on like this Alec, not knowing, it's not right."

"I know it isn't, I've learned to live with it.  Right now, your safety is my main concern, never mind me."

"No Alec, you don't know me well at all, I won't let you do that.  I won't let you use me as an excuse for not getting proper help when it's been offered, you may not last another four weeks then I'll have to live with all the guilt, for preventing you going in.  I'm not going to help you to an early grave Alec.  Just don't expect me to sit by and watch you get worse or collapse again.  If you want to help me, then get well again."

Alec tried to move but she had him pinned down.  "Let me up Rose, one of us has to start dinner."

"I've spoiled the moment anyway, you're so stubborn Alec Hardy."

"Yes, that's why you married me apparently and I'm not mad at you Rose, I'm just used to doing what I please, this is going to take some getting used to."

"You were doing ok a few minutes ago, until I dampened your ardour."

He stayed still and pulled her close again.  "Who says it's been dampened?  You just wait until after dinner."

Rose smiled and kissed him again.  "I'm sorry Alec.  Maybe this is why we were both apparently drawn to each other and fell madly in love."

"I expect so.  This shouldn't be happening Rose, I don't deserve someone like you for real."

"Yes you do, you've been through hell and back, with your last case and that other one still haunting you and so is your illness.  From now on, I'm going to look after you properly whether you like it or not."

"Oh, so you're going to put me on a healthy diet and boss me around are you?"

He kissed her again and moved her up to the back of the sofa.

"We'll see who's the boss around here, Claire Hardy."

He leaned down to kiss her bare skin again, taking his time as Rose ruffled his hair.

"Don't you mess my hair up kitten, I don't want to look like I just got out of bed."

Rose giggled.  "Oh believe me Alec, if I'd just let you out of bed, it would be a lot messier than that, care for a demonstration in the morning?"

Alec raised his eyebrows.  "Rose, you know I can't do anything, this is going exactly nowhere.  This is just about my limit.  Where does that leave us?"

"Let me worry about that Alec, you said you didn't want to pretend any more, neither do I so from now on we take care of each other."

She wrapped her arms around him and looked into his brown eyes.  He was so much like the Doctor and she was trying so hard to get him out of her mind but she really was falling in love with Alec Hardy, for all the wrong reasons and he was right, they shouldn't be here doing this.  They kissed again and only stopped when there was a knock at the door.

Rose jumped and Alec almost fell off the sofa.  "Who the hell is that?  It had better not be someone trying to talk to me about religion or asking for money."

Rose smiled as he snarled and fished for his shirt from the back of the sofa and struggled to get it on since Rose had pulled it off and the sleeves were inside out.  Another knock came, this time louder.

"Just pretend we're not in Alec, they'll go away," Rose whispered.

Rose retrieved her t-shirt and put it on, hiding her bra behind the cushions.  Alec was still trying to sort his shirt out, cursing Rose for leaving it like that but time had been of the essence to get it off, she wasn't bothered about him struggling to get it back on.

"I'll go," said Rose, hoping whoever it was wouldn't notice she wasn't wearing a bra.  To her surprise, it was Ellie Miller, standing with what looked like a two year old or so boy with curly hair.

"Hi Claire, is Alec at home?  I thought there was no-one in for a minute.  Hope I'm not disturbing you?"

Rose could hear Alec cursing, he was trying to fasten his shirt buttons and getting them wrong, finally giving up with the bottom ones and just tucking the remainder into the front of his trousers, the back still hanging out and the top two open.  He didn't suppose Rose would mind later though, she appeared to like taking his shirt off.

"Yes you were disturbing us Miller, it's Sunday afternoon, I've just spend the best part of two months away from my new wife and you come barging in."

He stopped when he noticed the boy, who was clinging to his mother.  "Is this a social call because if it is, you could have picked another time."

Rose moved back to let Ellie and her son in.

"This is Fred, thought you'd like to meet him Claire, we've just come from my sister's house.  Fred, say hello to uncle Alec and this is auntie Claire."

The boy opened his arms and ran up to Rose.  She bent down and picked him up, ruffling the boy's hair.

"Hello Fred, nice to meet you.  You know uncle Alec, don't you?"

The boy nodded and held his arms out.  Alec had no choice but to take the boy before Rose lost a grip on him but looked like he himself was going to drop the boy.

"Yes, now she's met him, can you take him back?"

Both women giggled and Rose took the boy back.  "Uncle Alec's being grumpy isn't he Fred?"

The boy nodded again.  She was so going to get it later but she carried on.

"Come on Fred, I just got some chocolate biscuits for you, never mind grumpy uncle Alec."

She sensed him watching her walk off carrying the boy.  The truth was, he reminded her of Tony.  She hadn't agreed any family details with Alec but she thought it best she had no family, things may get complicated.  She got the boy a chocolate wafer and he ran back to his mother.

"So do you have any family Claire?" Ellie asked.

"No, just an uncle, I've no-one left and I don't talk about it, it's too upsetting."

"Claire darlin', you'd better get dinner started."  Ellie looked at him.  "We had an early lunch, we went out."

"Why don't we all go over to one of the food stalls, Fred likes eating chips out, don't you Fred?" asked Ellie, taking the wafer from her son.  "You can save that for later, let's go have tea out shall we?"

Alec saw there was no escape. Rose excused herself, she was still an article of clothing missing.  Alec fumbled awkwardly to fasten his top two buttons.  Ellie gave him a funny look.

"Oh, I definitely interrupted something didn't I by the look of it?" she grinned.

Ellie had a very good idea why Claire had made a hasty retreat to their bedroom, she was probably missing something.  She walked over to the wicker chair by the window, Fred following.  Alec silently prayed neither she or Fred wouldn't find Rose's pink floral bra behind the cushions but it seemed perfectly natural the two of them would be fooling around on the sofa, married or not.

"So what was the actual purpose of your visit Miller?  Did your nephew happen to mention he saw us out last night or that he was lurking by the amusement arcade this morning as we drove past?"

He had seen the reporter, he had just chosen to ignore him and figured if Miller had just come from his house, he would have asked if she knew who the woman was.

"Of course he did, he's a reporter.  It's your own fault for keeping her a secret.  It's a small town, people are still affected by Danny, they need some juicy gossip to snap them out of it and you're apparently it.  Did you think you could hide her forever?  Olly is just annoyed none of this came out when you agreed to that interview."

"Tell me you didn't give him Claire's name?"

"I might have mentioned I'd met her, why?  It's not like she's a secret any more, you've been seen out with her.  How can you hide your wife?"

"Oh for goodness sake Miller, tell your nephew to keep away from her.  Claire's been through enough."

"Why, what happened to her?  Oh don't tell me she was involved in the Sandbrook case?"

It would have been an easy way out for him but not if Miller and his ex ever got together.

"No, we met just after that.  Claire understood what I had gone through, she had just lost her parents and she needed someone.  I'm a lot older than she is but it didn't matter, we got married six months after we met, we were good for each other then this came along and we had to spilt up, keep our lives separate.  The press were hounding her because her parents were well off and she was left some money.  I didn't want anyone knowing about her, you know how people are.  You have a bit of money and everyone crawls out of the woodwork with their hard luck stories.  It was safer for her to move close by but now all this has died down, we're trying to make a life here."

"Sorry, I'll talk to Olly and ask him not to make anything out of it, I had no idea."

"No idea about what Ellie?" Rose asked, standing by the kitchen sink.

"Nothing darlin' are you ready to go out?"

Alec went towards her and put his arms around her, holding her close.

"I was just telling Miller what happened and why you've only just appeared.  I just wanted to keep you to myself, I didn't want to share you with the world."

He kissed her cheek and whispered, "Just go along with what I say kitten."

Rose put her arms around his waist.  "Yeah, it was hell staying away from you all that time when we'd only just got married but it's ok now, just as long as I don't end up in the newspapers as DI Hardy's mystery blonde."

She reached up and gave him a peck on the lips.  "Come on, you can treat us all to some fish and chips."

"Fred will have some of mine.  You should have seen Alec the first time I brought him fish and chips back wrapped in paper Claire, his face was a picture."

Rose could imagine.  "Yeah, wish I'd seen that babe, didn't know you were so fussy." She kissed his cheek.

"Yes, well, all that grease was no good for me and it still isn't.  It just clings to the paper, I'm ok with cartons."

Ellie laughed and got up, noticing just a bit of a bra strap peeking out from behind a cushion from where she was standing and knowing why Claire had rushed upstairs and why she had answered the door.  Oh to be a fly on the wall, those two snogging and groping each other on the sofa.

They walked over to one of the food stalls that were still open and sat just by the wall overlooking the river.  Alec got conned into buying the food and the drinks and now he was going to have to be the one going to the cash machine.  Fred was sharing with Ellie and Rose was making a fuss of him by giving him some of hers as well.  Alec couldn't imagine what this was like for her, he knew she had a younger brother and must be missing him already.

They all got up and waked into the amusement arcade, Rose having some change and holding Fred up to one of the machines where you rolled a coin down and a pusher piled up coins until they dropped and they all cheered when some fell down and Fred went to collect them, showing his mother.  Then Alec held onto Fred as Rose and Ellie had a game of table hockey, Rose winning then challenging Alec who was a bit reluctant but saw no harm in it, it wasn't too strenuous, what they had been doing on the sofa earlier was more energetic.

Rose won again but he said he had let her.  She didn't believe him and gave him a hug and Fred wanted picking up as well.  They walked Ellie back to her car and said goodbye, she had promised to talk to Olly first thing in the morning before he made something out of seeing the two of them and Alec agreed she could tell the reporter that they were married but keeping it quiet.

What none of them knew was the said reporter was already editing his online column for the next morning and had surmised that Hardy was having an affair with a married woman but when he had done some digging, he had come across a London newspaper from the day before with a picture of Rose Tyler, Vitex heiress along with the caption that Miss Tyler was taking a well earned break from public life and was going to live and study abroad, destination unknown, to study sociology and science.  The paper cited that science had been her long term interest and that the members of her Torchwood team would miss her but when she returned would be taking over as head of exobiology.

This universe now had been used to having an organisation that took care of any stray aliens and left them to get on with it and Rose Tyler was well know for her dealings with such aliens but the mere suggestions she was one herself had never been brought into question until Pete had received that letter.  Pete had been quick to issue a statement to throw the press off the fact she was suddenly out of the picture and had hoped it would work.  He hadn't known how long Rose was really going to be away but her return could be just as easily explained by her returning to study at home because she was homesick.

It all added a credibility to her disappearance and as Olly Stevens looked at the article, he was almost convinced but the way she had been dressed, the way Hardy was looking at her, it could only be her.  Maybe she was just having a few days away before she went off to study but wasn't she a bit old to be a student and why was she wearing a wedding ring?

Then it struck him.  Maybe it was a cover up and Tyler had been trying to hide his disappointment that she had married a failed, sickly police detective and had disowned her.  So he changed the wording of his story – 'Rose Tyler marries police detective who solved the Broadchurch murder and is disowned by her adoptive family'.

Chapter 8
They had said goodbye to Ellie and Fred and walked hand in hand the few yards to their rented home.

"I think we have some talking to do kitten don't you?" Alec asked, unlocking the door.

Once inside, Rose retrieved her bra from earlier and put it into the washing machine.

"Maybe, depends what you want to talk about.  That was nice earlier, really nice and who knows where it would have gone if Ellie hadn't interrupted us.  I think your flirting skills are impeccable though maybe there's a difference between flirting and seduction."

"You didn't seem to mind at the time as I recall, you took my shirt off and invited me to unfasten your bra.  If you want to forget about it, it's fine by me."

"Who are you kidding Alec?  No, you don't want to forget it and neither do I, I could go for more of that."

Alec closed the distance between them and put his arms around her neck, mainly because he didn't want to be tempted to unfasten her bra again.  He leaned down and kissed her neck.

"It went too far, I should have stopped myself."

"No, you deserve a bit of attention, we've both been sorely lacking it by the look of things.  Let's just maybe take this a bit more slowly."

"We're supposed to be married Rose, I can't keep asking you if something is ok, especially when we're out or in front of Miller, she might find it a bit odd.  I think she spotted the strap of your bra sticking out earlier."

Rose smiled.  "Well she is a trained detective, she should have done and the fact your shirt was sticking out at the back and the buttons out of place.  What did she expect on a Sunday afternoon?"

"Do I have to keep asking you anything Rose?  Do I need your permission to put my arms around you and kiss you?"

"No you plum, not in company."

"I didn't mean in company."

"Oh, 'course not, excuse me.  I'm not used to being married.  Let's just see how it goes shall we?  It's still quite early, we could go to the pub.  Maybe a different one?"

"If you like.  Becca invited me to take you up to the Traders for a drink, she wanted to meet you and I smoothed things over with her.  I'm really sorry about that, you have every right to slap me for it."

Rose thought about it.  "So did she come on to you or was it the other way around?"

Alec stiffened and slackened his hold on her.  "It was entirely me, I don't know what I was thinking.  I was just lonely but I should have known better really, she provided an alibi for a suspect."

Rose giggled.  "Really Alec?  You should have known better then."

"I know, don't remind me.  Forgive me kitten?"

"Mmm, maybe if you let me meet her and compare stories about you?"

Alec looked horrified.  Rose giggled and gave him a peck on the lips.

"I was just winding you up, you're such an easy target.  I'll go get changed then we'll get a taxi up there or you can drive, I'm getting sloshed tonight."

She let go of him and went to get changed, leaving Alec to wonder how he was going to get out of this.  They drove the short distance to the hotel and Alec just hoped they wouldn't talk about him too much.  Becca was delighted to meet 'Claire' and looked at the detective.  What had he been thinking about when asking her to stay in his room when he had a wife like that?  She put it down to the fact he was on medication and just escaped a serious heart attack.  If she had taken him up on his offer, he would have ended up there again without a doubt but she had learned her lesson with Mark Latimer's wife.

The main reason she had said no was because it was undetermined if Hardy was married or not or at least had a girlfriend wherever he had come from and she had been right.  She didn't expect he made a habit out of it.  By the time Rose and Alec were leaving, Rose and Becca were talking like old friends, much to Alec's dismay as mostly it was about him.  He just hoped Rose could hold her drink and not blow their cover but since her hands were now all over him, he didn't think that was going to be a problem.

Rose was certainly playing a good part and he thought he had behaved suitably as the new husband.  It was becoming even more difficult to only pretend they were married as Becca left them and Rose began snogging him openly as they were sat in the corner.  Becca was about to break them up but Alec decided it was time for them to leave when Rose began playing with his tie and trying to bite his neck again.

Once home, he made her some hot chocolate, remembering the marshmallows and the cream and Rose seemed to sober up a bit.

"Are we sharing tonight Fuzzy?" Rose asked, picking out a marshmallow and eating it, rather sexily Alec thought.

"I don't know kitten, can I trust you?"

Rose shook her head, offering him a marshmallow, he declined.  "Nope, you most definitely cannot trust me.  What would people think if we weren't sharing after being apart for two months?"

"Well no-one's going to know are they?"

"They will if I tell them my husband won't sleep with me," Rose teased, dipping her finger into the cream then holding it out to him.

Alec licked the cream from her finger and Rose gave him a wicked smile.

"I'm not going to behave tonight Alec, it's up to you but you'll be missing out if you decline my invitation.  What was that you said to me earlier?  You didn't want to wait to be invited."

"I may have said that at some point.  Did it include sharing a bed with you?"

Rose giggled and finished her drink.  "Most definitely babe."

She launched herself at him, took his mug and put hers and his on the coffee table then pushed him back against the cushions.  Alec was taken by surprise as her lips crashed onto his, leaving him breathless when she let him up, he had that thoroughly snogged look on his face.  Rose smiled, satisfied with the result.  She vaguely remembered that look from before but not from him and soon dismissed it.  That was the look she wanted to see on Alec's face every time from now on.

She grabbed hold of his hand.  "Come on, the debate is over, you're with me tonight Fuzzy."

Alec thought who was he to argue and turn down such an offer?  After going to his room while Rose took her time in the bathroom, he put his sleep shorts and a new t-shirt on, expecting to lose that at some point, then when he went in the bathroom, Rose ditched her pyjamas in favour of a floral flattering nightdress, the top was lacy and barely covered anything but since she intended being in bed before he got there, she wasn't that bothered but he caught her putting her clothes away.

He came up behind her and put his arms around her waist and kissed her neck, then she spun her around, looking at her.

"You're weren't going to go hide under the covers were you kitten?"

Rose shook her head.  Why was she hiding?  He had seen her half naked earlier.  She put her hands on his chest, fingering the cotton t-shirt.

"You're one to talk."

Rose let go of him and pulled the covers back.  Alec got the hint and took the t-shirt off, leaving it over the back of the chair then he turned out the light.

"So where do we go from here Rose?  I know I wanted to stop pretending but we should have some rules.  You know I can't do anything about this even if you wanted me to.  Kissing like we did earlier is about my limit."

"Then maybe you should let me get you an earlier appointment and get yourself fixed before we come to that stage.  Alec, I know how you feel, really I do and I'm not ready for that sort of commitment yet.  I'm not someone who can just fall into bed with the first man I meet, well not unless he's cute like you are but it's been a long time for me as well.  Let's just get to know each other then when you've had your operation, we can talk about taking it further, if you still want to."

"Ok, I'll keep my shorts on then, if that's what you want, I'd probably give out on you anyway though I can't say I've ever tried, I just assumed it would do more harm than good if I was to attempt anything else."

Rose giggled. " What?  You've never even tried?"

"Well no, why would I?  I've never found anyone anyway and I really wouldn't have got that far with Becca, I would have panicked and she would have left and she would have hated me."

"I wouldn't hate you, if you ever feel like trying but maybe just not now.  Now shut up and snog me because that's something you really are good at."

"Really?  Well I'm glad I'm good at something."

He turned onto his side and Rose leaned into him, his arms around her.  He could tell she wasn't wearing anything under her nightdress but he had to push that thought out of his mind, at least for now and lifting her chin, their lips met.  Kiss after kiss, moving onto his back with Rose on top, then he lay just above her, the nightdress riding up even more as she moved him on his back again, he was having a difficult time not just lifting it up completely.

He could feel her through his cotton sleep shorts and he was sure she could feel him and it was not easy just keeping his hands on her back.  He flipped her over again, kissing her exposed skin and giving in, pulling the straps of her nightdress down, exposing even more of her.  He had her arms pinned down but she struggled to get one free and indicated she wanted him to kiss her lower down across her chest.  He was not going to miss the chance.

Then he felt her fumbling with the waistband of his shorts and smiled to himself.  So much for taking this slowly then.  He kissed her all across her chest, then her tummy as she had freed her other hand and was fingering his hair and had got her hand where she wanted it.  His hand wandered around her back, then lower down and began inching the material of her nightdress up slowly until it was hardly covering her.  Rose let out a contented sign and her hand went lower, so did his as he moved up and they kissed some more.

They changed places again, Rose now sprawled across him, kissing his chest as he kissed her neck, both his hands now on her bum and she squeezed her hands under him and down the back of his shorts.  Finally she settled on him and felt sleepy, kissing his chest as he held her tightly, then she was nestled in his arms as he kissed her forehead.

"Had enough already kitten?"

"I was going easy on you, I've plenty more left in me but where's all the fun if we do it all at once?"

"You have a point.  Goodnight darlin', maybe we can do some more of this in the morning and I'll bring you breakfast."

Rose was already asleep.  She wasn't going to have any nightmares tonight, wrapped up safely in the arms of the man she was already falling in love with.

ooooooooo{silversurfer60}ooooooooo

Pete was up at seven as usual, to check his emails, preparing himself for the day ahead and more recently, having an alert set up if Rose or Alec's name came up anywhere, if any search had been done for them or any newspaper articles about either of them.  Apart from his statement late on Friday that Rose was going abroad to study, nothing had appeared and he hoped that would work and whoever had threatened her had got the message that they weren't going to be able to touch her.

He still hadn't fathomed out exactly what they had wanted, were they really after Rose or after him?  Was it a disgruntled ex business partner or employee of Vitex or even someone who had been fired from Torchwood?  Only a few knew of Rose and Jackie's existence in another world, they had been told the same story as the rest of the population and no-one there had ever questioned it.

Rose had been popular, especially her dealings with actual aliens and did she actually count as an alien?  Just because she wasn't born on this planet didn't necessarily make her such, she was still human and tests would prove she was but it would be what the Doctor had called background radiation or 'Void Stuff' that would give her away and all of them had been across  the void, all except for Tony.  If Rose was caught, they were all in danger and he couldn't let that happen at any cost.

So keeping Rose safe and out of the way had been his only option and it wasn't easy, they were all missing her already and it had only been a few days.  Pete switched on his laptop and immediately got an alert, following a link to The Broadchurch Echo's website and there to his  horror was the headline Olly Stevens had so kindly put together the previous evening.

Olly had finished his article and was ready to publish as soon as he got up the next morning, which was just before seven.  He would have done it the night before but he had sent it to his editor and she had just emailed him back with her approval but had warned him who was up against, Pete Tyler could make or break his career.  Then he had added a few more touches to spice up the story.

Pete read the article, hardly believing what he saw.  The article's headline was bad enough but the ludicrous story that Rose had married the detective without her adopted parents approval and she had run off with Hardy to live in the town where he had taken two months to solve a murder case and he had kept her hidden.  Then the reporter had added that the detective was ill, had another case before the last one that he'd failed on and had been at death's doorstep twice while being in the town.  The article concluded that Rose had married the detective out of pity and out of spite for the couple who had taken her in and had done it to escape from under Pete Tyler's shadow.

Pete was on the phone to the newspaper as he was reading the last sentence, getting the run-around that the editor was unavailable until he said who he was and if she didn't take his call, the newspaper would be out of business within the hour.  A rather apologetic Maggie Radcliffe had a very unpleasant conversation with him.

"I'm sorry Mr Tyler, I had no idea he was going to alter the story.  The one he sent me was just about DI Hardy getting married and the fact he had not revealed anything about his new wife.  I had no idea who she was.  I'm on the editor's page now, I'm just removing the story."

She was pressing the 'Delete' button as she spoke and the article disappeared from in front of Pete as he refreshed the web page.

Pete knew it was already too late, someone else may have picked up the story and he wanted to know how long it had been live.  He could hear the editor shouting to the offender.

"Olly, get your ass over here now.  What were you playing at?  That was not the story you sent me, when did you publish it?" Maggie asked him as Olly came through the door.

"About half an hour ago, what's wrong with it?"

"Are you kidding, here, you talk to Peter Tyler."

Olly declined and went to his desk to see his article was no longer online.  There went his big break then but maybe Maggie had just stopped him committing journalistic suicide.

Maggie went back to her conversation.  "I'm really sorry about that Mr Tyler, I'll personally see that no-one else has picked up on it, I'll have him check every single news website to make sure it's not been re-printed but they usually asked if they can share before they do.  It's only been on about half an hour and no-one had requested it yet but I'm not sure about the social media sites, there was a 'Share' button on the article, I'll have those checked as well and have it removed."

Pete was still not appeased, he felt like going down there and hanging the reporter over the edge of the tallest cliff.  Now he had to warn Rose.

"I'll leave that with you then but warn that Olly Stevens that the next time, he won't get off so easily.  What was he thinking of?  Now those who have seen it will think Rose and myself and my wife have a really bad relationship when in truth it couldn't be better.  Did he not see the article that Rose was going to study abroad?  She was in Broadchurch for a few days, she and the detective had met and got married and were trying to keep it quiet.  That was all they needed.  The Story of her going away was to throw the press off."

"I really can't apologise enough Mr Tyler, Olly will be lucky to get a cleaning job here if he does it again, I can assure you.  Please give my apologies to Miss Tyler if she's been caused any distress over the article.  I'm having other websites checked now."

Maggie mouthed to Olly if he had found anything but he shook his head.  He had to make sure he did a good job or he would bring down the wrath of one very angry Vitex chairman.  He was a bit miffed though, it had been a good story but it would become apparent it was purely fabricated on his part so perhaps it was just as well he had been caught out but it wouldn't deter him from trying again, he would watch out for the pair of them at a later date when this had died down and see if she actually was only staying for a few days.

Once Pete was satisfied, he rang Rose to warn her.  He had arranged to only contact her if there was trouble and if the person threatening her had also had an alert for her name, they could have already seen the article before it was removed and could be already on their way to Broadchurch.  He had to tell the two of them to pack a bag and get out until he could get Jake and Mickey down there.

He dialled Rose's new number that Jake had set up, it should be fairly secure and if the person who was after her was making their way to Broadchurch, he should be safe enough as long as no great detail was gone into.

Alec woke and heard a phone ringing, it wasn't his.  He tried to get his dead arm from under Rose and managed to turn over and grab the offending object, there we no contact numbers apart from his in her phone but it was obvious Pete Tyler and her 'Uncle Owen' would have her number.  He just hoped he could explain why he was answering her mobile.  It was almost 7.45 am and Rose was stirring, trying to grab hold of him but he pulled away, thankful he could see the screen of the phone.

"Yes, who is it?" he asked, trying not to sound 'Grumpy' as Rose had called him to Miller's young son.

"Alec?  It's Pete.  Why are you answering the phone?  Where's Rose?"  He had to risk calling her that, it didn't matter now.

Alec was thinking up a valid reason and failing.  Pete wasn't about to listen to his excuses and surmised the pair had already shacked up in the same bed, it was non of his business what his stepdaughter did although he wouldn't be telling her mother any time soon.

"Never mind any excuses, wake her up this is urgent and it can't wait.  You two have to pack a bag and get out as fast as you can, your cover has been compromised.  Someone from the local paper published an article about the two of you and now it's been released where she is.  I've already had the article taken down but it may be too late.  Whoever is after Rose could be on their way to you even now."

Alec couldn't believe what he was hearing and knew the source of the article, he would string that reporter up by his unmentionables from the Town Hall spire.

"I understand Pete, thanks for the warning, I'll take her somewhere safe.  I'll call you back on this number when we arrive.  Are you sending anyone down?"  He meant from Torchwood.

"Yes, two of Rose's trusted friends, Jake and Mickey as soon as I call them but get her out now, I'll have Jake contact you when they arrive but they'll stay in the town until they determine if anyone is looking for her.  I can't risk her staying there, it will be a few hours before they can get there and I have no idea how far the person who is after her is going to be coming from.  Just pack enough for a few days and lie low, if the person can't find her, they'll go away and hopefully, two very highly trained operatives will be able to spot anyone who is asking questions about her.  It may just draw them out into the open and Jake and Mickey can neutralise the threat. "

"She's waking up, I'll tell her.  I know who wrote the article, I should have said something.  So whoever is after Rose, they know about me as well now?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so, the reporter must have a personal grudge against you, he made quite certain your name was mentioned more than once.  It might not be safe to use your debit card  so just get Rose to get enough cash for both of you.  Hopefully this will blow over and you can go back.  Don't bother putting her on the phone Alec, just tell her we'll take care of the problem and you take care of her although since you've answered her phone at this time of the morning, I expect you're already taking this marriage lark seriously."

"Do you want me to apologise for taking to the role?"

"No, what you two do is your business, not mine but don't make another certain person aware of the fact."

Alec knew who he meant – Rose's mother.  He would have to deal with her sooner or later, maybe sooner than he had expected.  After assuring Pete he would take the greatest of care of Rose, he hung up and woke Rose properly.  She had heard how serious he had been.

"Come on Rose, we have to leave right now.  Just pack what you need for a few days into a suitcase and I'll throw my things in, get anything you need from the bathroom into your shoulder bag and be downstairs as fast as you can.  Our cover has been blown by that smart-arse reporter of a nephew of Miller.

"What?  What reporter?" asked Rose, getting out of bed and already throwing underwear and other things into a pile on her side of the bed.

Alec retreated to his room, having hastily gathered his clothes and taking his medication.  If he forgot that, it was over for both of them.  Five minutes later, he was in the bathroom gathering what he needed and Rose was knocking on the door telling him to hurry up.  Finally, he was throwing everything into the already crowded suitcase and so he grabbed a holdall and put his t-shirts and his underwear into it and hoped he could manage with the jacket he had on and two pairs of trousers, he could always buy more.

By the look of things, Rose didn't want to part with anything.  Just ten minutes or so after Pete's warning, bumping into each other a few times and Rose gathered her stuff from the bathroom cabinet, Alec was carrying the case downstairs, grateful it wasn't as heavy as it had been when Rose had arrived.  Rose took the holdall then going into the fridge, put food in the freezer that might spoil and disposed of the rest of the milk.

Making sure everything was turned off, they locked the door and Alec put the case and holdall in the back of the car, looking around to make sure no-one was watching.  It was only just gone eight and the street was deserted.  Alec took a moment to take hold of Rose as she was about to get in the car.

"Are you ok Rose? I'll explain everything when we get out of here.  Are you sure you have everything?"

"Yeah.  How did this even happen Alec?"

"That stupid reporter, Miller's nephew.  He thought we'd make a good story, Pete's had it removed but it's probably already too late.  He doesn't know where whoever is after you is coming from but it's probably from the London area or further north so we'll head over into Devon, we'll go to Torquay or somewhere.  We'll stop and have some breakfast on the way when we get far enough away.  I'm sorry Rose, I should have said something about him."

He folded her into his arms and they kissed briefly.

"I'll drive us out of town and we can swap when we stop for breakfast.  We'll talk about it when we get there and call Pete back."
Chapter 9
Just over half an hour later, Alec was pulling into a diner just on the main road towards Exeter and they went to sit in the corner so they could talk.  Alec took her hand over the table.

"Ok darlin'?  I think it's time to explain."

He told her what Pete had said about their cover being compromised, missing a few things out she wouldn't like.  Rose listened as they ate, she was thankful for the coffee.  Alec blamed himself, he should have told Pete and warned him about the local reporter.

"It's not your fault babe, I don't blame you for any of this.  How were you to know he'd do something stupid?"

"I should have done, he did something before.  He broke the news of Danny Latimer's death before anyone else despite Miller telling him we couldn't confirm it.  I should have warned Pete."

"Alec, it was the weekend, there's no way of knowing the reporter would be working on such a ridiculous story.  I wonder what Pete told his editor?  He probably threatened to close the paper down."

Alec smiled.  "Right, you can drive the rest of the way, it should only take about an hour.  Did you bring your laptop?"

"Yeah, don't worry.  You probably shouldn't use your debit card."

"Pete warned me about that, I won't though I expect it's ok to get cash out."

"I'll sort that out, we're only going to need to pay for a hotel, we'll pay cash.  So Pete said he was sending Mickey and Jake down?"

"Yes, he hoped that they would be able to spot anyone asking about you.  It may be the break we need, Olly might have done us a favour."

"I'll ask what's happening.  Maybe you're right, this might be over sooner than we thought."

Alec didn't want to think about what would happen.  He hoped she wouldn't just walk away.

A little under an hour later, they were driving into Torquay and Rose found a long stay car park while they looked up hotels.  It was still early, not even ten and Alec expected if they found a hotel they may not be able to book in yet.  Rose decided to not risk leaving her laptop in the car so she made room for it in her shoulder bag, Alec amazed just how small and light it was really.  They found a café with internet access and Rose looked up places to stay and found a few suitable ones, Alec said he didn't want anything fancy.

Rose called one of them not far from the seafront and was told they could book in at two in the afternoon and she booked a double room under the name Pete had given her just to be safe and since they were paying cash, it didn't really matter.  She made sure they had a car park and gave them the registration number so they could give her a parking permit.  Alec said they should go shopping in case they had forgotten anything when they had left in such a hurry.

Just after two, Rose drove them to the hotel just off the seafront and they booked in, going straight to their room that overlooked the swimming pool and Rose was delighted they had an indoor pool and had already been to buy a swimming costume but Alec had declined.  He said she should relax after their hurried departure from Broadchurch.  Once unpacked, Rose put her laptop on to charge and they called Pete.

"Are you two ok?" Pete asked, not using any names now.

"We're both fine.  Are Mickey at Jake there yet?" Rose asked.

"They should be there soon, send me the address and I'll tell them to stake it out or send it to Jake."

"There's a hotel just in front called 'The George'.  They should be able to get a couple of rooms there.  If anyone finds out where we've been staying, they'll be on hand."

"Don't worry, whoever this is, they've just made a big mistake, this is just what we need come to think of it.  I'm just sorry you had to leave in a hurry.  How are things between you two?"

"Don't be nosey," Rose laughed.

"I'll tell you know who and you can explain that to her.  Seriously, things must be good if he answers your phone early in the morning.  You two really have been playing house and taking it seriously."

"Maybe we have, just a little bit, what's wrong with that?  We had to pass some serious tests, we had to make it look good."

Pete laughed.  "Let me talk to him will you?  Don't worry, I'm not going to warn him off.  Have you got a secure connection where you are?"

"No, it's the hotel wifi but Jake put me that secure messenger program on."

"No matter yet, just put him on."

Rose passed the phone to Alec.  "Yes Pete, what is it?"

"Are you sure you two are ok?  I know her only too well, she'll just say that."

"We're fine, we managed to pack everything we needed though I think she would have brought more given the chance.  Any news yet?"

"No, I'm waiting for Mickey and Jake to tell me they've arrived.  You two stay where you are for now, it might take a few days, tell her there's more money in the bank to pay for the hotel, don't worry about the house, it will still be paid for, you need somewhere to go back to when all this is over.  It seems my little ruse about her going away didn't work.  I put out a story she was going to study abroad.  I've spoken to the editor of that newspaper, told her you two got married and you were trying to keep it quiet though I don't know how you'll explain it when you get back, if it's all over.  Maybe the two of you can have a big fight."

Alec looked at Rose, lying back against the headboard, smiling at him.  "I don't think that will be a problem, we'll think of something.  I hope you're not regretting leaving me in charge of her?"

"Why should I?  What you two get up to isn't my concern but just make sure you treat her right, if you don't, it won't be me you have to worry about, she'll vouch for that.  I should have known when I left her with you.  How are you feeling anyway?"

"Not too bad, even rushing around earlier, she's been taking extra care of me."

"That's my girl, she always thinks of others.  That's why I can't understand why anyone would want to go after her, everyone loves her."

Alec looked at her again.  "I can see why.  Don't worry.  If I start getting any worse, I'll let you know.  I did get a letter for an appointment, it was for four weeks."

"Well I can do better than that.  You just get her through this and turn up at the hospital, they'll see you, which one is it?"

"Exeter but I'd rather wait though, she's already protested about that."

Pete laughed.  "Yeah, she would.  Well don't leave it until it's too late, whatever happens.  I can assure you, there will be no confrontation, Jake and Mickey will be staying down there for however long it takes, no-one threatens my family and gets away with it.  I don't know how much she's told you but I waited a long time to have one and now I have, no-one's taking it away from me.  Jake will call Rose when they get there."

"Thanks Pete, I'll put her back on."

He passed the phone to Rose and she leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss.

"Hi, don't worry about us, we found a really nice hotel, I'm off for a swim soon and there's a sauna and a spa."

"Yes well you two just relax for a while, there's nothing else you can do.  I'll talk to you soon, just wait for Jake's call."

Rose put her phone down and Alec lay next to her, holding his arms out.  Then it all hit her and she began to cry.

"It's ok kitten, they'll take care of it, you're safe now.  No-one knows where we are." He held her tight as she sobbed into his shoulder.

It was still a few hours until dinner so he suggested she went for a swim.

"Will you come down with me Alec?" she asked, calling from the bathroom.

"Of course, wouldn't miss a chance to see you in your swimsuit darlin'."

He whistled when she came out.  He handed her dressing gown but she slipped her jeans and t-shirt over the top.

"I'm not going down in the lift like that thanks very much."

Alec smiled.  She had grabbed a large towel from the bathroom and threw it playfully at him.

"So you're not going to join me then?"

"You know I can't go in the water Rose."

Rose looked sad.  "I know babe but it's a swimming pool, not a raging river.  I'll be there, nothing can happen."

"You don't understand Rose, it makes me want to throw up when I go near any water.  I couldn't even get into a boat during that murder investigation, I had to wear a life-jacket and then I wouldn't get out of the one I was on to go examine some evidence that was found.  I know you'd be there but it doesn't make the dreadful feeling I get go away.  I know you're disappointed."

Rose put her robe down and took hold of him.  "You could never disappoint me Alec and I do  understand, I'm just trying to help you."

She reached up and they kissed.

"I know you are kitten."

Just then her phone rang and Alec picked it up, he wasn't risking Rose answering it.  It was Jake.

"Rose, your voice has changed," he joked.

"Very funny.  That must be Jake or Mickey so which one?" Alec grunted back down the phone.

"It's Jake, is she there?  You must be the famous Alec Hardy then?  I hope you're looking after her."

"Of course I am, what do you take me for?  Have you arrived in Broadchurch?"

"Yeah, in that hotel you recommended to Pete.  My room looks onto a back street and there's a row of white cottages, is one of them yours?"

"Yes, the second one in, is anyone hanging around?"

"Can't see anyone.  Mickey and I are off to get something to eat then we'll have a nosy around.  Anything we should know?"

"No except there may be a woman and a young boy, about two years old, she may knock on the door, she's a friend.  I used to work with her, her name is Miller."  Rose scowled at him.  "Ellie Miller, she's made friends with Rose."

"Right, we won't bother her then but you may want to tell her you've gone away for a few days so she doesn't keep coming around.  If anything happens, I'll let you know.  You can give me your number if you like."

Alec gave his number.  "Do you want to talk to Rose?"

"Yeah, put her on."

He passed the phone.  "It's Jake."

"Hi Jake, is Mickey with you?"

"Yeah, grinning like a Cheshire cat as usual but not so much since your new husband answered your phone."

He looked at Mickey, whose face had turned sour.  He did not like the idea of Rose even pretending to be married, let alone to the Doctor's twin.  What was it with Rose and her 'Pretty boys'?

"Don't worry Rosie, we'll take care of things, you just relax."

"Easy for you to say, you don't have someone who's just been given a clue as to where you've been hiding going after you.  What have I ever done Jake?"

"I don't know Rosie, if I did I'd tell you.  We'll keep an eye on your place, watch out for anyone who's been asking about you and pay a visit to that reporter who blew your cover.  What the hell was he playing at even making up a story like that, did Pete tell you about it?"

"He told Alec, he's not gone into the finer details yet, we were too busy trying to leave town and find a hotel, I'll get him to tell me."

Alec was already shaking his head, he didn't want to tell her what that scumbag of a reporter had said about her or him for that matter.  The nerve of Olly, to suggest Rose had only married because she had felt sorry for him and to spite her family.  He couldn't tell her that bit, it would break her already shattered heart, she was already suffering enough by being torn  away from her home and family.  He knew that what they had shared was not her feeling sorry for him, he was falling in love with her.

"Well I'll leave you in his capable hands then.  You two shagged already?" Jake laughed.

"Jake, mind your own business," she laughed back, looking at Alec.

If only, they hadn't got that far yet though if she had her way, she was going to prove to Alec he was still capable of having some sort of sex, whether they went all the way or not, she was going to sure as hell have a very good try, maybe not tonight but very soon, the sooner the better.

"I'll take that as a yes then, good on ya Rosie.  I'll call you tomorrow, don't worry, we'll get this moron."

"I know you will, you know I trust you, thanks Jake.  Give my love to Mickey and no, don't put him on, he's worse than you.  Bye Jake."

Mickey had been just as much over-protective as Jake had since she had been in this universe, despite Rose rejecting him when he had suggested they started dating again.  She put the phone down and turned to Alec.

"Come on or I won't have time for a swim before dinner and I really need this.  You can tell me about that article later."

"You won't like it Rose, it wasn't anything nice.  If Jake is going to pay the reporter a visit, I hope it gets violent."

Rose smiled, now she had an over-protective detective watching out for her, one she was falling more madly in love with by the minute.

Once at the poolside, which was deserted until a lifeguard came in and sat at the far end in a high chair, Alec relaxed on one of the chairs and held her towel and her robe ready for when she got out.  There were no changing rooms so he had stood in front of her while she took her jeans and t-shirt off, staring at the revealing swimsuit and wishing it was a bikini and he could get in the water with her but they were in public and what he wanted to do once they got in the water was not for public viewing, he would likely have to arrest himself.

Now he was watching her swim a few lengths and wishing he could get over his fear.  He had been fine until that dreadful day he had found that poor girl in the river.  He wondered if Rose could ever help him get over it.  Maybe when this was all over, he'd take her away somewhere, to a private villa with their own swimming pool and give it a try.  What had he to lose?

Once Rose had got dry enough to slip her clothes back on, she went back to get changed, choosing one of the dresses she had hastily packed and over dinner, they went over their rushed departure.

"Ellie's going to wonder what happened to us, have you got her number?"

"I'll give it to you though why you'd want to call her I don't know."

Rose smiled.  "She was trying to make friends Alec, she can't have that many now if the whole town has turned against her and her own son isn't talking to her.  It can't be easy for her."

"Maybe not but she knows how I felt now when I arrived there, no-one would talk to me."

"That's not fair Alec, this is her town, you were a stranger there, she isn't.  How can anyone blame her for what happened?"

"She blames herself just as much for not seeing it.  I should have seen it as well, I was invited to dinner with them, I sat across the table from him and didn't know."

"Yeah but she lived with him, imaging how it felt."  Rose went quiet.

She had room to talk, she was deceiving Alec by not telling him her true feelings she'd had for the Doctor and who he was but that part of her life was gone and now, maybe she could finally start a new one with Alec, as herself, not Claire Riley.  Still, that was slightly different from lying in bed with a child killer.

Alec noticed she had gone quiet.  "Claire darlin' are you ok?"

"What?  Yeah, I'm fine, I'm just a bit tired that's all what with getting woken up like that this morning, it's been a long day.  Let's have a drink then go to bed."

Alec helped her up and whispered, "We could forget the drink and just go to bed kitten."

It made Rose smile.  "Very tempting but it's still early and I think I need one."

Rose had two drinks, telling Alec to go easy on the lemonade in her wine and Alec just having a non-alcoholic one he was just about getting used to.  The wine was starting to get to her as she began leaning into him and fingering his shirt buttons.  He decided it was time to leave as much as he liked showing her off to everyone, what would the other guests think?  Since when did he actually care what other people thought of him but a young blonde who apparently couldn't keep her hands off him was maybe a bit too much.

So he had to keep moving her hand by holding it and she kept trying to get away and do it again, it was quite clear she wanted his shirt off him.  He led the way to the lift, they were on the third floor and he'd had enough of climbing stairs at the Traders when he'd stayed there and he wanted to be in a reasonable condition for what Rose had in store for him because he had a feeling she deserved more than he'd previously offered her.  It was obvious to him now that she felt the same way as he did.

Rose wasted no time getting his shirt off once their room door had closed, she had that longing look in her eyes, the one that said she wasn't fooling around this time.  Alec wondered how this had happened so fast, from just fooling around on the sofa yesterday afternoon and hoped it wasn't just the fact she was now in even more danger of being found.

He just wanted to be certain she knew what she was doing.

"Rose, just stop a second will you?" he asked as she reached for the zip of his trousers, already trying to get her hand down the back and under his shorts.

"Nope, don't want to stop babe, I want you."  She reached to kiss him again, standing on her tiptoes since she had kicked her shoes off.

"Yes, you're making that quite clear kitten but you know my limits."

"Don't care, I still want you.  Don't put yourself down Alec, you're more than capable, I know you are, I'll go easy on you.  That's if you want me?"

"Of course I want you Rose, you know I do."

She reached up and put her arms around his neck.  "Then stop messing about Alec and get me out of this dress."

He let go and unzipped the back of her dress, letting it fall to the floor.  She stepped out of it as he lifted her up, her arms still around him.  Then they kissed again as Rose let go, going for his trousers again, this time he let her.  She didn't hesitate to put her hand down the back of his shorts then he lifted her up, her hand still there.

"Rose, you're going to finish me off at this rate."

Rose giggled.  "Oh no you don't, you're not giving up on me Alec Hardy."

He put her on the bed gently.  "Oh believe me Rose, it won't be voluntarily.  At least not until I've finished doing all the things I want to do to you."

Rose smiled as he reached around to unfasten her bra.  He was kneeling over her, taking the garment and throwing it on the floor.  Then with a wicked smile, he leaned down and began kissing her exposed skin.  She was already trying to yank his shorts down at the back, giggling to herself, wearing just as wicked a smile as he was.  She pulled him down on top of her, she thought he was surprisingly heavy considering how slim he was.

Then she whispered, "Want you babe."

He could feel her reach for the front of his shorts and decided to help her rather than hinder her by raising himself up slightly.

"Well you just keep your knickers on kitten or you might just regret it."

Rose looked at him. "No I won't, I'm serious Alec, you know I'm falling in love with you."

He took her hands as he threw his shorts on the floor to join her bra.

"I'm falling for you too kitten."

Then he leaned back on her and kissed her.  Rose could feel him laying on her as she let out a gasp.

It wasn't long before they were beneath the covers, Rose had got her way and lost her last item of clothing and was lying on top of him, doing all the moving around.  They were calling each others' names as Alec discovered his sex life wasn't quite as over as he'd thought thanks to Rose being gentle and understanding with him, not expecting anything other that was he was comfortable with and not wanting him to overexert himself.

After what seemed like hours of kissing, cuddling and stifled yelps of delight from Rose as they moved around, Alec had Rose on her back, holding her arms above her head as he kissed  her all over.  Rose was just about recovering from the sensations he had made her feel.  There was a dim light coming from the window, casting shadows on her.  Alec was gazing down on her, looking up from what he had been doing.

"You're beautiful Rose and it's too late now, I've already fallen for you.  I love you, Rose Tyler."

Rose took hold of his face, feeling that his beard was growing back again, hardly surprising since they had left home in a hurry.  Someone wanted to take her away from her family and now Alec and she couldn't allow anything to happen to him.

"Yeah, it is too late Alec, you're mine now.  I love you too."

He leaned down again and they kissed.  "No-one has told me that before, not properly."

"What?  No-one has told you you're beautiful?  Not even any of your boyfriends?"

Rose thought of the one time her first Doctor had said she looked beautiful when they had met Charles Dickens but that had been followed by a swift 'Considering you're human' so it hadn't really counted.  Even when he'd regenerated, he had never said anything.  All those wasted moments they could have been together and neither of them had done anything about it.  Now it didn't matter, she had just made love to Alec Hardy and he was hers.

"No, I was never like this with anyone else and I only really had two boyfriends, one was Mickey and it was never really that romantic.  The other one, well I just put that down to a bad experience, I thought all boys were like that and I didn't know any better.  I got out when I could but he used me, he emptied my bank account and went off with my best mate, after he slapped me around a bit."

That wasn't quite true but if she told Alec, he'd rip a hole in the universe and go back and find the bloke and he would probably beat the hell out of him.

Alec couldn't believe that anyone could ever hurt her, then he remembered why they were hiding.

"You don't think one of your old boyfriends is the one trying to find you, do you?"

"No, how could it?  I haven't had one while I've been here.  Besides, Mickey and I are still friends and the other one wouldn't have the brains.  I only went with him because he was in a band and I had the chance to leave home, I was only sixteen, it didn't last long.  I left school to be with him but when I got here, I made up for what I had missed, went back to college."

Rose got him to move so she could go to the bathroom and get cleaned up.  Then she put on a clean pair of knickers and tossed Alec his shorts.

"Does this mean you've had enough tonight kitten?"

"No, it means I'm saving you from certain death if you carry on like you have been doing.  I'm a long way from having enough of you, I want you to last a bit longer."

Alec smiled.  "I could always take another pill and I don't know how I'm managing to keep calm.  What have you done to me Rose?"

Rose got back into bed and settled on him.  "You just needed someone to believe in you again, to make you realise that it wasn't all over for you.  Well now you have, you're stuck with me."

"I've no objections to that kitten, I hope you know exactly what you've taken on."

"Oh I do Alec, I definitely know what I've taken on."

Chapter 10
While Alec and Rose had been having dinner and Rose had been getting slightly drunk, Pete had been pacing his office after talking to Jackie.  Thankfully, she had been unaware of the article that had appeared online that morning and hopefully, it would have only been read by a few die-hard locals who were up that early.

He'd heard nothing back from the editor of that clown who had made up such a ludicrous story and surmised the reporter did indeed have a grudge against Alec. He had successfully assured Jackie he had spoken to Rose and they were spending a few days out of town, mentioning nothing that he had sent Jake and Mickey down there.  He was however hoping that whoever wanted to see Rose being taken into custody and locked up for the rest of her life would now take the unexpected bait and show up in Broadchurch, where Mickey and Jake would be waiting.

They knew exactly what had to be done.  They would take the person responsible back to Torchwood where the same would apply as to Rose, they would be locked up only maybe they may be treated just that little bit kinder.  Pete and his two trusted friends had been at a loss to identify who would want to do this to Rose.  He had only said to Alec that everyone loved her, she was popular at Torchwood, had lots of friends there and had her mother's passion for helping charities.  He knew the man had fallen for his stepdaughter.

The only thing wrong was that someone didn't want them to be a happy family but where would it stop?  Would Jackie be the next target, then Mickey and maybe himself?  No, this was going to end and soon.  He hadn't told anyone but another letter had arrived that morning, postmarked Friday.  The letter had said that they knew Rose had left London and had made it easier to get to her now she was no longer under Pete's protection and that they would be closing in and more proof had been found as to where she had come from and when she was found, she would be handed over to be dealt with.

Pete had thought that wherever she was handed to, usually Torchwood, he may still be able to get her out of it but when the accounting came, he would have a lot of work to do to assure the government that she was of no danger to the universe.  He couldn't put her through that.  Maybe whoever it was would bypass Torchwood altogether since she worked for them and it would be known that Pete would do everything to save her.  The few aliens that had been uncooperative and stayed had been handed over to another government agency, one which was relentless in their task and was part of The Home Office.

Anyone handed directly to them got no reprieve and no hearing and only the president himself or herself, whoever was in power had the ability to interfere and grant any amnesty and as far as Pete knew, none had ever been granted.  Pete himself was not in very good favour with the latest one since Harriet Jones had been ousted, he had supported her and the new president hadn't taken kindly at being opposed by such a prominent businessman when Pete had refused to switch sides when it became apparent that she was going to lose.  So now politics were not going to help him or Rose if she was ever caught and handed over.

His only option was capturing the person responsible for the threat and locking them up or wiping their memory but there was a chance that wouldn't be a long-term solution.  He had talked to Jake after they had got settled in the hotel Rose had told him about and knew Jake had spoken to her and all they could do now was wait and see if anyone showed up.

Jake and Mickey had settled in their rooms and Jake was the one to get the room facing where Rose and Alec had been living for the last few days.  Jake had laughed at Rose's reaction at his suggestion the two of them had already been shagging and knew they must have been.  He thought it was about time she found someone and if he had to look like the Doctor to get her into bed, that so be it.

The next morning, thankfully without any phone calls telling them to leave town, Alec was watching Rose get dressed after they had sex again.  He hadn't realised just how lovely she was until yesterday and the thought that no-one had paid her such compliments bothered him.  Who had she been hanging around with?

"Like what you see babe?" she asked.

Alec could only nod, laying back in bed with his arms folded behind his head.

"Oh yes kitten, why don't you come back here and I'll show you how much I appreciate watching you put your sexy underwear on?"

Rose smiled as she was about to put her jeans on.

"Then I'd just lose them and have to start all over again."

"Yes but it would be worth it to watch you get dressed all over again."

He got out of bed and went into the bathroom.  He felt good this morning, better than he had in a long time and it was because of the woman he had just had fantastic sex with last night and just a few minutes ago.  They had woken up and he had divested her of her underwear again and then she had laid on him, giggling and pretending to protest until she had got him in the same state of undress as she was.

Then it had just been natural they had fallen together again, Rose being just as gently with him as the night before.  He wondered how he had managed before she had walked into his life a few days earlier.  They went down to breakfast then walked to the railway station and got a train down to Paignton, Rose deciding they both needed to relax after the day before and their panic drive across into Devon.  Once there, they walked along the pier and then Rose discovered a steam train and wanted a ride on it.  They stopped and had a late lunch then made their way back for the journey back to their hotel.

Getting back to Torquay, Rose wanted to go for a walk along the harbour and got Alec to take her on the giant wheel.  It was when they got to the top and it stopped to take on other passengers that Rose turned to him.

"I love you Alec, I'm so glad it was you that Pete left me with."  She hooked her arm in his and held his other hand.

"So am I darlin', I had no idea who I was going to be taking care of but I'm glad it turned out to be you.  You're far too good for me kitten."

They didn't care who was above or below them as the wheel descended, they kissed all too briefly and when they got off, walked off hand in hand back to the hotel.  Neither of them had heard from Jake and assumed nothing was going on back in Broadchurch and were too wrapped in each other to even talk about it.  When they walked into the hotel and got their key, they were like twins joined at the hip, arms around each other which got them a smile from the receptionist who assumed they were on their honeymoon but thought Alec looked a bit old for his new bride.

They had forgotten all about calling Ellie until Alec's phone rang with 'Miller' on the display.  He passed it to Rose as they got into their room.

"Ellie, hi, I was going to get your number from Alec."

"Hello Claire or is it Rose Tyler?"

Rose's face dropped and she handed the phone to Alec.

"She knows Alec."

"What?  How?"  He took the phone from her.  "Miller, how do you know who she is?"

"I shouldn't even be talking to you two but I wanted to know why you'd led me on.  Olly had some visitors at the newspaper, said Peter Tyler had sent them over the article he had published.  He told me it was taken down not half an hour after it went online and Maggie Radcliffe had him going over every single news site making sure no-one else had picked it up then made him check the social networking sites, it took him all day."

"Serves him right then, he shouldn't tangle with Pete Tyler or his family.  He's lucky he's not facing libel charges because every word was a complete lie."

"What?  All of it?"

"You don't know Miller.  You just assume because he's your nephew he's innocent.  Now her life has been put in danger because of him."

"What do you mean?"

"She was under my protection Miller, someone was threatening her and now thanks to him, we've had to leave Broadchurch."

"I had no idea.  Is she ok?"

"What do you care Miller?"

"Of course I care you idiot.  How was anyone supposed to know?"

"The chief knew, Pete Tyler asked for her help, she assigned me to it since I was on medical leave, it was less suspicious than someone on active duty.  If your stupid nephew had listened to me when I told him to back off, we wouldn't have had to leave."

"Sorry, so who is she in danger from exactly?"

"Well we don't know that or Pete Tyler would have done something about it, wouldn't he?  Now she's been put in even more danger by that idiotic nephew of yours who led whoever it is right to our doorstep."

"So you've left town?  No point in asking where you are then?"

"You're damn right Miller.  Maybe next time he'll think twice before writing a lot of trash."

"So you two aren't really married then?  You were putting on a hell of a show."

Alec stayed silent, looking at Rose.

"Oh, it wasn't an act, was it?" Ellie laughed.

"What do you think Miller?  I take it now you know you'll keep this whole thing quiet?  Like I can trust you with your nephew?"

"I'll deal with him although I think those two Torchwood agents scared the hell out of him."

"It was a stupid thing to do, how did he think he was going to get away with it?"

"I don't know but I'll find out.  Tell Claire or Rose, whatever, I'm sorry and maybe when you get back we can still be friends."

"I'll tell her, she wanted to be friends with you, I told her she was mad."  He smiled at Rose as she put her arm around his waist and kissed his cheek.

"Thanks.  You both make a convincing couple, the bra behind the cushion on the sofa was a nice touch, you had me fooled."

"Well you caught us out, hooray for you, we weren't expecting company."

"Well that was obvious.  Pity I wasn't a few minutes later, who knows?"

"Shut it Miller.  By the way, those two Torchwood agents are very good friends of hers so don't cross them.  They know you might pay us a visit and will leave you alone, just don't let them know who you're related to."

"Point taken.  I'll see you both when you get back, enjoy your holiday."

"Some holiday when we're more or less on the run.  Whoever is after her may have slipped up though, Torchwood will be ready for them."

Alec hung up and put the phone down, his arms now around Rose.

"Well I guess we won't have to put an act on around her when we get back then?" Rose asked.

"No kitten, I guess not.  Now come here, we have some time before dinner, let's have a bit of relaxation."

"Mmm, I'm all for that.  I was thinking of going to the spa in the morning, care to join me?"

"Why not, I can do that as long as it doesn't involve water."

Rose smiled.  "Not the last time I checked and we can go in the sauna as well."

"Fine, just what I need, to get all hot and bothered over you."

He leaned down to kiss her again, putting his hand up the back of her t-shirt.  Rose smiled.

"Oh, you want to play do you?"

Her only answer was Alec picking her up and placing her on the bed.

ooooooooo{silversurfer60}ooooooooo

While Alec and Rose had enjoyed their day out, Jake and Mickey had indeed paid a visit to Olly Stevens to make sure he understood the severity of tangling with Pete Tyler and to say he had foolishly put her life in danger and may even face libel charges.  They left with his assurance he would stay away from the couple who had now had to leave the town thanks to him.  They also spoke to Maggie asking her to keep a tighter reign on the reporter and to maintain the couple's cover that they had just got married.

After checking around, the two men went back to the hotel and set themselves up in Jake's room and waited to see if anyone showed up at the cottage.

"Wish Rosie had left us the key to their cottage, we could have laid on a nice surprise for whoever is after her, don't you think Micks"

"Sure, I could think of a thing or two.  Wait until I get my hands on them, they'll wish they never even tried.  What do you reckon Jake?  Do you think they'll go after Jackie?"

"Yeah mate, more than like go after you as well so we need to catch this moron.  No-one threatens my mates.  Pete says we stay here as long as it takes.  If no-one shows, they didn't see that stupid article about them.  Pete reckons they will have had an alert out for her in the media and hoped that story about her going abroad would throw them off but now that idiot spoiled that, it may have all died down.  He didn't say if he'd heard anything else from them."

"He just might not be telling us Jake, you know what Pete can be like."

"Well we wait and see.  A few days by the sea won't harm us, we'll go out later, have another nosy around."

Just then Jake's phone rang.  It was Pete.

He had read the letter again and realised what the meaning of it was.  It had said they knew she was out of London on Friday, the day he had taken her to Broadchurch which meant she could have been watched since her arrival there.  He hurriedly told Jake he thought whoever was after Rose may have been in the town since her arrival and may even have followed them.  It stood to reason they may have been followed again so he called Alec.

"Sorry you two but I think you may have already been followed."

"What?  Seriously?"

"I got another letter, I didn't think much of it until I realised it was posted on Friday, second class and that was the day I took Rose away.  Either they followed or somehow they found out and now the reporter confirmed it.  I think they are definitely already in Broadchurch and looking for her."

"That's all the more reason for staying here isn't it?" Alec asked, looking at Rose lying on the bed in her underwear.

Rose was fingering the hem of his unbuttoned shirt and he moved her fingers and she pulled a face.  He covered the phone.

"Be serious Rose."

Pete ignored what he heard Alec saying and was already laying out his plan.  "I think you two should go back and stay in your cottage and let Mickey and Jake watch out for you.  We won't draw out whoever it is if you remain away.  Make tomorrow your last day wherever you are and go back if they haven't shown themselves by then.  Jake's turned up nothing yet."

"Ok, I'll tell her but she won't like it."

"None of us do Alec, especially me.  Don't let her out of your sight for a minute, I think they might be waiting until she's on her own, since she's with a Police Detective.  They don't know you're on medical leave.  They'll want to confront her and scare her, probably by threatening you or her family and she has strength in you."

"What do you think they'll do?"  He looked at Rose who was already getting dressed for dinner.

"As I said, threaten to do something to you or her mother or even Tony to get her to go willingly.  Then probably take her directly to the Home Office department that deals with aliens that Torchwood usually deliver them to if they don't co-operate.  I don't think they will be too bothered how they do it."

"Well that's not going to happen, she won't leave my side for a minute if they're going to use me as bait to get her to go with them.  Do you think there's more than one or somebody working alone?"

"I wish I knew Alec.  Can you put her on for a minute?"

Alec passed the phone, Rose now was looking worried.  Whoever was after her might threaten Alec and she wasn't going to allow that.

"Dad, do you think they'll get to Alec?"  Alec put his arm around her shoulder.

"It's a possibility Sweetheart but don't let it get to you.  They may wait for you two to split up and use Alec to persuade you to go with them, that's all.  If you know he's safe, they won't be able to use that tactic.  Stay there tomorrow then go back to Broadchurch, Jake can protect the both of you better there.  He's in the ideal place, watching your house and between us we'll come up with a plan to catch whoever it is."

"I hope so, I'm getting tired of hiding."

"I thought you'd be enjoying a few days with your new husband since you didn't have time for a honeymoon," Pete laughed.

Rose saw the funny side.  "Yeah, you should see the looks we're getting from the other guests when Alec can't keep his hands off me in the bar," Rose smiled.

"Oh you little minx, it's the other way around don't you think?" Alec protested, tightening his grip on her waist.

Pete was chuckling on the other end.  "Oi you two, don't go having a lovers tiff while I'm listening or I'll get your mother to sort him out."

"We'll make our way back on Thursday Dad, don't worry, I won't leave him for a second until we get back."

"Be serious Rose, you're in love with him aren't you?"

"Yeah, how did you guess?"  She looked at Alec.

"I know you and don't say anything but I also know who he looks like, just be careful you're not in love with him for the wrong reasons."

"I'm not.  Tell Jake we'll be back on Thursday morning at some point."

"He'll probably call you tomorrow anyway.  He was complaining that you could have left the key for your house."

"It might have taken some explaining."

"Yeah, you with three blokes when you've just supposed to have just got married.  I see your point."

Rose let out a worried laugh and said goodbye and Alec put both his arms around her.

"Don't worry kitten, I won't leave you for a second."

"I'm more worried about you, what if they take you to get to me?"

"They won't do anything to me, they'll just tell you that.  Maybe when we get back we can use that to our advantage."

"What do you mean?"

"I have a plan kitten and it might just work.  Now let's have some dinner, you get totalled and I'll take advantage of you when we come back.  What do you say?"

She reached up to kiss him.  "Sounds like a plan to me but you don't have to get me drunk to take advantage of me, you are supposed to be my husband."

"Yes, about that Rose, what happens, to us when all this is over?  Are you going to pretend to divorce me?"

"Shut up Alec, we're not really married, how can I divorce you?"

"Well technically, we've told a few people we're married, will Pete put out a story that we were only pretending like we told Miller?"

"I suppose but you know stories can come true.  I won't be Claire Hardy any more."

"Well we'll maybe have to remedy that though it won't be as Claire.  When the time is right of course."

"Of course.  Until then, husband, let's go eat, I'm starving."

Despite the news Rose may now be even more at risk, they walked into the dining room hand in hand and Rose kept hold of Alec all night in the bar until they decided that Rose didn't really have to drink to show how she felt about him.  After another very passionate night now neither of them wanted to hold back, Rose was just falling asleep on him, dressed only in a thin nightie and Alec in his shorts, disappointed she had insisted he wore them in case of any emergencies.

"Alec, when we get back we have things to talk about."

He kissed her forehead.  "I know darlin' you can tell me all about where you come from for a start."

"I will Alec, I promise and I have other things to tell you as well, about when I used to travel, with the Doctor."

"You loved him didn't you?  Only he didn't ever say if he loved you.  If he had any sense at all, he would have done but there was a problem, wasn't there?  A reason why he never told you."

"How can you know that?"

"I'm not stupid Rose, I can work it out.  He was afraid to get close to you because he knew you'd leave him one day, stop travelling with him and break his heart."

"I wouldn't have left him out of choice.  When Pete went back for me, I didn't leave him there because I wanted to.  I went back because I loved him, I would have left my mother here and gone back to him but it wasn't meant to be.  Alec, it wasn't a Cyberman that nearly pulled me into the void, the lever I was operating got hit by a Dalek and I had to let go of the clamp I was holding onto to put it back in place, the void was seconds away from closing but it was too strong and my hands slipped.  The Doctor was screaming my name as I was pulled towards it, his face was twisted in horror until Pete appeared in front of me and grabbed me."

"Geez Rose, no wonder you have nightmares.  Why did you never tell me how bad it was?"

"I never told anyone, not even my mother.  Only Pete knows because he saw it.  I made him swear never to tell her."

"But you could have told me, don't you trust me enough?"

"Of course I do but you and your bad heart, I didn't want to upset you."

"Well it's too late for that. Rose, you're not alone now, you can tell me anything.  I'll go for that operation, as soon as this is all over because I love you darlin' and I want to be with you fully, not give up halfway.  That's not enough for me now."

"It's not enough for me either Alec, I want to go all the way with you, you'll be my first."

"Really?  You mean you never have, you know?"

"No.  I told you, with Mickey it wasn't really romantic, I was lucky if I ever got a Valentine's card from him and his idea of a romantic night out was watching football in the pub."

"Oh my poor kitten, you've been badly neglected.  Wait until we get back and I get well, you might regret making me go for that pacemaker.''

"Never.  I love you, Alec Hardy."

"I love you too kitten.  Now about that spa tomorrow, do they do a couples one where you're naked?"

Rose pretended to nudge his side and giggled.  "Maybe.  You up for it then?"

"Count me in kitten."
Chapter 11
They both felt happy when they woke up the next morning even though they knew they had to go back and face the inevitable.  Sooner or later, Rose's enemy would show themselves and confront her, Alec thought they were cowardly, picking on a young woman who had done no-one any harm and had not even wanted to come to this universe in the first place.  She had nowhere to go back to and from his understanding, even attempting to get her back would be disastrous, for both universes.  Pete had not fully explained it to him but he had a good idea.

Scientists had been studying it ever since the Cybermen had disappeared, mainly to ensure no-one could follow them or they could ever get back but they didn't know which universe or where else they had gone to and didn't really care as long as they never actually came back.  Alec had heard in the course of being a Police Officer that attempting to cross the space between other universes would lead to a repeat of a few years previous to the Cybermen disappearing with global warming leading to flooding on a massive scale and everyone had been relieved when it had gone back to normal levels.

What Pete hadn't told him was Rose and the Doctor's part in stopping the Cybermen in the first place, he hadn't thought that necessary as part of his plan of the detective taking care of her.  Now Alec was wondering how Pete had known to go over and help her world get rid of them and decided to bring her and her mother across to live here.  He knew she must have been here before after mentioning about that Mickey staying here.

Maybe Torchwood once had a way of keeping an eye on what was going on and followed the Cybermen who just happened to end up in her universe.  It had been believed that the old regime had allowed them to infiltrate Torchwood and that was how they had escaped but maybe a few loyal members had tried to stop them ever coming back.  Just how Rose had been caught up in it all, he had no idea.  She was here, he was in love with her and there was no going back.  He wouldn't let anyone take her from him, not now.

He moved her gently and tried to get out of bed before she noticed but her hand caught his arm.

"Now who's sneaking off?"

"Sorry, I was only going to the bathroom."

"I'll let you off then I'm going to just lie here and watch you getting dressed for a change."

"You might regret that."

"No way, I'm looking forward to it, I haven't even seen you properly yet."

"Well be careful, it might lead to us missing breakfast kitten."

"Promises.  You're so sure of yourself, you think you're so impressive."

"You'll see kitten and don't say I never warned you."

Rose was not going to be disappointed with him when he came back and he was going to tease her about it.

"Told you, now you can't say you haven't see me."

"Mmm, now we can move on with our relationship because I want more with you."

"I know, you've already told me that."

"I mean for us to actually be more physical with each other but I'm a bit shy in that regard."

"Well maybe now you won't be."

"You'll have to be patient with me Alec, I mean I want to, with you.  It may take a bit of time."

"Take all the time you need kitten, let's get all this over with first.  Now come here and we can take the first steps."

"We'll miss breakfast."

"So what?  Aren't I worth it?  Anyway, we still have time so stop wasting it, kitten."

They just made breakfast before it stopped being served and Rose went to book a spa session for three that afternoon.  Alec took her shopping, telling her to buy a nice dress and some new shoes for that evening and he would take her out but Rose said she would rather stay in.  He waited outside the changing room while she tried some dresses on, finally getting his approval and she had to keep assuring herself he was still there by showing him each one and calling out to him.

He wondered if she thought he was going to disappear through a wormhole or get kidnapped the way she was acting.  After finally agreeing on a dress and finding a new pair of shoes having left her other new ones behind, they had some lunch and were passing a barbers shop and Alec wondered if he should go get a trim and maybe lose his fringe that had gone a bit wild.

Rose saw his hesitation.

"Go for it babe, I'll sit and wait for you."

"You won't wander off on me?"

Rose shook her head.  "No, I promise."

A short time later Rose was approving of his new hair style.  "It makes you look younger Alec," she said as they walked out.  Despite being in a busy shopping street she whispered in his ear "and sexier."

Alec smiled and kissed her cheek, taking the shopping bags from her.  "Just you wait kitten."

Rose was about to call in the local branch of her bank to get enough cash to pay for the hotel in the morning when Pete called her.  Before she answered, Alec suggested she got him to pay the bill in the morning before they left.  They sat on a nearly bench just by the seafront and Rose wondered what he wanted.

"Rose, Jake and Mickey may be on to something.  Put Alec on will you?"

Rose handed the phone to Alec.  He listened and kept glancing at Rose who was wondering if they were going to make their spa appointment.

"Ok Pete, we'll be back in the morning then and we'll put Jake's theory to the test.  By the way, we were wondering if you settle the hotel bill for us, we booked under her name, we'll call you in the morning with the hotel name and where we are."

"Sure Alec, I'll have my accountants call and settle it when you call me so do it before you check out.  I'll talk to you in the morning, give my love to Rose."

"I will Pete, when this is all over I'll bring her home."

"Maybe she won't want to leave."

"I didn't say she would be staying there, I'm hoping she'll stay in Broadchurch with me."

He turned to Rose to see her smiling – he already knew her answer.

Their spa session was relaxing for them, finishing with a sauna then Rose had brought her swimsuit with her and Alec sat by the pool watching her.  He was amazed at her, he thought she was so young and beautiful, the way her hair was wavy, just below shoulder length and she was far too good for him but she had said she loved him.  He waved as she turned to do another lap, he was holding her clothes and a towel.  As she came back, she stopped, still in the water.

"Shame you can't come in Alec, the water is lovely."

He got up and crouched down at the edge of the pool.  "One day kitten I may let you talk me into it, if you promise not to let go of me."

Rose smiled and held her arm out as she climbed out of the pool.  He watched her for a few seconds then put the towel around her shoulders.  The lifeguard was just leaving and nodded to Alec.

"Feeling better kitten?"

"Yeah, I feel great.  What were you talking to Pete about earlier?"

"Just a little plan Jake came up with.  I also have an idea and they might just both work when we get back, there's only one problem."

Rose was getting dried.  "What's that?"

"Well Pete didn't want me to say anything but he did say you'd get it out of me one way or another."

She moved closer to him.  "You can bet on that Alec, so what's it to be?"

"Ok but you won't like it."

Over dinner, Alec told her what Pete and Jake had planned and Rose agreed it was their best chance to draw out the person who was after her.  He was right though, she didn't like it but had to trust the people who cared about her.  Their last night in the hotel consisted of Alec actually having some wine at dinner and Rose having a few more later until she was giggling she want him to take her to bed.  Alec was trying not to let her show him up and make it obvious she only had eyes for him. Still giggling when they got to their room, Rose pointed out that since they were supposed to be married, Alec had never carried her through the door.

"You really want that?"

Rose swayed and nodded.  "Ok, maybe we can put it off but I was just pointing it out, make it more realistic."

"You're all for being realistic kitten aren't you?"  Alec used the keycard to open the door.

Suddenly, he lifted her up and Rose let out a squeal.  "Who am I to argue?"

Rose had her arms around him and he kicked the door closed with his feet.

"Happy now?"

Rose replied with a kiss.  "Mmm, have I told you how much I love you?"

"Not today kitten, why don't you show me instead?"

He put her down and she went to the dresser.  "We should finish packing Alec."

"In the morning, it won't take long, I'll set my alarm earlier."

So instead, she took her new nightdress she had bought at the same time as the dress and went into the bathroom.

"Why are you hiding Rose?" he queried.

"I'm not, I want to surprise you, that's all."

Alec took his jacket and shirt off, looking in the mirror of the dresser at his new haircut.  What was she doing to him?  First he shaved his beard off a bit then she has him getting his hair cut.  What next, would she have him wearing jeans and t-shirts?  Tight jeans at that?  So when she came out of the bathroom, showing a bare leg first then following it with her hip, he thought she wasn't wearing anything, well he hoped she wasn't wearing anything.

Then he saw a glimpse of the burgundy nightgown he had seen her grab from the rail when she went to pay for the dress.  It was split down the sides and just about covered her top half, leaving nothing to his imagination.  He had already removed his trousers and had folded them over the back of the chair.  Rose turned out the bathroom light as he went up to her and ran his fingers first down her leg then put his arms around her waist.

"You are gorgeous kitten and you really are going to finish me off if you keep dressing like that."

He leaned down to kiss her exposed skin.  She still smelled of the fragrant oils from the spa and it was getting to him and he didn't think he could wait much longer.  He had to convince her he would be ok to take things a lot further than the last few nights.  Lifting her up again, he carried her to the bed and turned out the bedside lamp.  Feeling she was wearing nothing underneath, he slid into bed beside her and she rolled onto him and he put his arms around her, lifting the garment.

They kissed and Rose helped him out of his shorts, both making a contented sigh as they touched.  Then with Rose moving on him, they came together until finally, he had got her on her back and was about to attempt the impossible.  Rose was sensing what this was leading up to and suddenly grabbed his arms.

"No Alec, I won't have you ending up in hospital, this can wait."

He was looking at her, propping himself up on his hands, still touching her.

"I want this Rose, I want this with you."

"I know Alec, so do I, I want you to be my first but not like this.  I want you to be well again, I don't want this to finish you off.''

"You are so worth it Rose.  Ok, we compromise, you go on top and you do all the work but this is not how I wanted it to be, you know that."

Rose put her hands of his newly cut hair and ruffled it.  "I know Alec, I love you."

They rolled over again until she was on top and moving her nightdress even further up, Alec pulled down the straps and kissed her shoulders.

"You smell amazing Rose, I love you too darlin'."

The next morning, Rose didn't know how she felt apart from amazing.  Despite her being the one on top, they had broken down the final barrier between them after he asked her one more time if she was sure about it.  She had never been as sure in her life.  Alec's alarm had gone off  and he had cursed it had woken his Rose, now he could call her that.  He knew she was his.

"Morning kitten, how are you feeling?"

Rose was still curled into his side as he was lying on his back having squinted to turn off the offending noise.

"Mmm, I feel good babe.  We have to finish our packing and let Pete know where we've been staying."

He turned towards her, pushing a strand of her hair out of her face and kissing her nose to which she pulled a face as he made it wet.  She responded by rubbing her nose on his arm to dry it.

"We have a few minutes, come here."

She slid her legs against his and he pushed her onto her back and began kissing her exposed skin.  She put her arms around him as she nuzzled into his shoulder.

"That was amazing last night Alec, I'm glad you were my first.  I thought I would be scared but I wasn't."

"There was nothing to be scared of kitten, I wouldn't have hurt you.  You could have stopped me at any time you know."

"I didn't want to.  When I was with Mickey, it never felt right, I didn't want to, with him and until I met you, I never thought I would.  Was it good for you as well?  I mean I know you wanted to be the one on top."

"That can wait, the main thing is I didn't collapse on you and I might well have done if you hadn't stopped me.  I'm glad I was your first.  I had noticed your pills in the bathroom cabinet you know, were you just waiting for the right man to come along?"

Rose smiled, looking up at him and running her fingers through his hair.

"Yeah and I found him, babe."

Alec smiled back and kissed her again.

"Was your ex wife your first Alec?"

"What kind of question is that?  Actually no and I wasn't hers.  I haven't been with a woman whose first time it was, I'm honoured."

Rose raised her arms above her head and he pinned the down, kissing her shoulders. "You, kitten were more than amazing and we really should get going now.  We have things to talk about when all this is over because we have some decisions to make.  I wanted to ask you, are you going back home afterwards?"

She looked at him.  "Only for a visit and you're coming with me, after your operation to meet my mum and my brother.  There are some other things too, about where I came from.  I had been here before, I got here by accident, when the Cybermen took over."

"I suspected that Rose, how did you get here?"

"We fell through the void."

"What?  Literally?  Nothing can survive in it, you would have died."

"Not if you were inside something."

"Inside what Rose, who was that Doctor?"

"He wasn't human Alec, he was a time traveller, I used to travel with him."

"Are you joking with me Rose?  Do you know what that sounds like?"

"You think I'm crazy don't you?  Just ask Pete, he can back me up and Jake and also Mickey, Mickey came with us once or twice, how do you think he got here first?  He stayed behind because he saw I was in love with the Doctor."

"Right, I'm sure they can back you up Rose.  No wonder someone is after you, don't you see what they want?"

Rose shook her head.

"Rose, they don't want you, they want him.  They don't want to throw you in prison, they want this Doctor, they want you to get them across the void to him and capture him or maybe worse.  Because he came here that first time and could travel, they think he can come back to get you and they can use him to take them where they want.  Don't you see Rose?  If he can travel in time, think what someone with an agenda can do?"

"Oh Alec, why didn't any of us see that?"  She was already trying to get to her phone.

"Because that's what I do Rose, I'm a detective."

"And now you're in danger too."

"No, they only want to capture you, to tell them how to get to him."

"That's not true Alec, now they don't need me."

"What?  Of course they do.  You were close to him, he'd do almost anything for you otherwise you would have had a dozen boyfriends since you've been here."

"Alec, you don't understand.  They don't need me because they can get to the Doctor or at least they think they can."

"What?"  Then it dawned on him.  "No Rose, don't even say it, don't think it.  I look like him don't I?"

Rose never answered as she pressed Pete's number.  Alec was already getting dressed, slamming the bathroom door shut.  She knew he was annoyed.  That was why she was never going to tell him.  Now she had put him in even more danger than if it had just been her someone was after but he was right, she was no longer the target.

Alec was storming around in the bathroom, of course he looked like her precious Doctor, why else would someone like Rose Tyler be with him?  Alec Hardy was not good enough for women like her, he was nothing to her.  He was just a detective, a sickly one being brought in to protect a spoiled little rich girl who was about to be tossed to the lions for non-conformity, for coming from another world and she hadn't fallen in love with him, she had found the man she had left behind.

He gathered all his things from the bathroom cabinet and listened at the door as she spoke to Pete.

"Dad, we have a problem.  Whoever is after me isn't, they want Alec."

"What?" Pete asked.  "Why are they after him?  You met him after I got the letter."

"Yes and you got the second one before they probably worked out where I was and now they've see his picture, they know who he looks like."

"No, no, no Rose, they don't want you any more do they?  Who worked it out?"

"Alec did and now I've lost him, he knows.  I love him Pete, I don't care who he looks like, it's him I love.  Him with his bad heart, his failed case, his fear of the water and the fact he's scared of going for his operation.  I wanted to be there for him, I wanted to stay in Broadchurch with him.  Now he's in the bathroom thinking I used him because of who he looks like and I've put him in danger."

"No Rose, if he loves you, he'll see that.  Just get back to Broadchurch as fast as you can and don't let him go back alone, Jake will be waiting for you, go into the pub and meet him and Mickey there.  They won't let anything happen to him, I promise.  Whoever threatened you wanted you to get them to the Doctor, didn't they?  Don't they know you can't get back?"

"They think I have a way or now, they think he's here and been here all along.  They'll be looking for him now.  If they find out Alec's isn't him, I dread to think what they'll do.  I can't let anything happen to him."

"Don't worry Rose, nothing will happen to him.  It has to be someone from Torchwood who's doing this but why?  Why threaten to expose you?"

"I don't know Dad, why threaten me when they want him.  Maybe Alec's wrong."

Alec had heard it all, maybe she did love him, he should give her the benefit of the doubt and he wasn't in a position to defend himself, he needed help.  He opened the door fully.

"I'm not wrong Rose, you know I'm not and so does Pete."

He held out his hand and Rose passed him the phone.  He held his hand over it.

"We'll talk about us later Rose."  Then to Pete he said,  "I worked it out Pete, now what do you want me to do?"

Pete told him the same as he'd done to Rose, to get back and meet Jake and they would work something out.

"Whoever it is will have noticed you've not been around the past few days.  Don't let on, just go back as a married couple who have been on a late honeymoon.  They will have seen your photo and if not, they know your name and will have identified you.  They will think you're him going under another name.  All these threats haven't been about Rose."

"I know Pete.  We're in The Redhall Hotel in Torquay, if you can settle the bill, I'll pay you back."

"You don't have to Alec."

"Yes I do because now, I don't know what's going to happen between me and Rose."

"Well that's up to you two but know this Alec, she's not with you because of who you look like."

"Maybe not but it hurts to think she might have considered it.  I'll talk to you soon."

He turned to Rose who was now getting dressed.

"We'll take the things to your car then have breakfast.  From now on, we don't leave each other alone until we meet Jake.  Geez Rose, I'm, a bloody Police Detective and now I'm the one who's on the run from someone who thinks I'm somebody else.  I think I preferred looking after you, I don't like depending on anyone else especially now."

Rose kept quiet.  What could she possibly say to him?  If he had been listening, he knew how she really felt but maybe it wasn't enough.  They silently packed everything, Rose double-checking the bathroom then giving Alec the car keys.  Then he went to reception and found the bill had already been taken care of and they went for breakfast.  Rose found she had lost her appetite.

If she had kept her big mouth shut, this would not be happening but she just had to tell him, after all the promises she made to herself that no matter what, she would never tell anyone about her real life but she thought Alec was so different, the way they had been the last few days and now she had given herself freely to him and she would never get that back.

The fact he looked like the Doctor had never crossed her mind after that first night she had woken up from that nightmare, it had seemed so natural that pretending to be married and fool Ellie would progress to other things.  Now she knew she was going to lose him.  She didn't even know what the plan was, maybe Jake and Pete had cooked it up between them but as long as he was safe, that was the main thing.  She couldn't let anything happen to him.

Alec stared across the table at her.  "Rose, eat something, it will be over an hour before we get back and we've no milk or bread or anything, remember?"
Chapter 12
Alec might have his doubts about her sincerity in their new relationship but he wouldn't see her like this.  Rose took some toast and some jam, leaving the cooked breakfast on the plate.

"I meant eat properly.  Is this some kind of protest?  Just because that was all I asked for that morning doesn't mean you have to do the same."

"I'm not hungry Alec.  How can I eat?"

"I told you, we'll talk about it when we get back.  Right now, we have enough to worry about.  I heard what you said to Pete."

"I thought you were in the bathroom."

"I was, I was just coming out.  I changed my life for you, I cut my hair, trimmed my beard, hell, I was going to get the operation just for you."

"You shouldn't do that just for me Alec, you can't keep putting it off forever."

"Yes I can, why would anyone care?"

"Stop being so pig-headed Alec, do something for yourself for a change.  Why do you have to do something to please anyone else?"

"I am pleasing myself, I choose to wait.  I told you, I want to go under my terms and I won't let some idiot who thinks I'm someone else let me change my mind."

"You don't have to go at all Alec, you'll get well again."

"Will I?  Can you guarantee that?"

"Pete can get you the best surgeon.  If you don't waste any more time, you have every chance.  If you leave it, the chances will be less favourable."

"It won't make that much difference.  I put it off to solve the Latimer case, that's done now and I survived, I'll last a bit longer without it."

Rose knew she wasn't going to win this one the mood he was now in.  He was just like the day they had met, not even a week ago – mean and moody and yet she had fallen in love with him in two days.  Alec looked at her, how could he think she could possible fall in love with him?  The drive back to Broadchurch was difficult.  Rose had insisted on driving because he was too wound up and they were supposed to drive into the pub car park where Jake and Mickey would be waiting.

The two men were sitting on the wall across from the pub, watching who went into the street.  They could see both ends of the street, watching for any single occupied cars or anyone lurking around.  Pete had told Jake what had happened and expected that Rose and Alec wouldn't exactly be in the best of moods when they got back, even if they were still talking, which he doubted.

Pete had known instantly Alec was not ok with what he had been told and was surprised since he'd taken the whole Rose being from another universe quite well but seeing as he now thought he knew why Rose had fallen for him, it was understandable.  Rose had sounded happy the last few days, the way they had talked and the way Alec so easily answered her phone that morning.  He was just hoping the man would see past it all and see what a good thing he had with her.

All the way back, things were churning through Alec's mind.  What had he been thinking letting a young woman into his life?  He got the part she needed protecting, she had done nothing wrong that warranted being locked up, it wasn't as though she wasn't human and he wanted whoever was threatening her to be caught.  He was going to ask her to stay with him but now what?  Live out his life with her seeing him as another man or could he get past it?  He really didn't know at this point.

As Rose drove into Broadchurch, she headed for the pub car park and saw Jake and Mickey sat over on the wall, drinking coffee by the look of it.  Mickey was admiring some motorbikes that had been parked up and Jake was playing with his phone.  Rose had called him to say they had set off and what car she was in.  He had said he knew, he had organised it.  Mickey put a big grin on his face as she pulled into the car park, until he saw her passenger.

Jake walked over and stood by the passenger door then shook hands with Alec as he got out.

"Nice to finally meet you Alec, I hope you've been taking good care of Rosie."  Jake had decided not to bring up the fact they may have already fallen out.

"Good to meet you too Jake though you probably only recognised me because you've met my apparent double."

"No, I saw you on the news about that boy here.  Listen Alec, you need to know I'm on your side, we're here to look after you.  You've been looking after her, now it's our turn.  Don't let the fact you look like someone get in the way."

"I don't know what you've heard Jake, things have changed."

Jake decided now was not the time but if one thing was certain, he wasn't leaving until these two had snogged the life out each other and made up – in front of him.  Alec got back in the car and Rose drove around the corner and they got out, acting just like a couple who had been on holiday and having an argument.  It had been Pete's idea for them to be having a go at each other, then Alec would storm off and Jake and Mickey would follow him.

Two other Torchwood agents had just arrived and were waiting with a van to take whoever emerged back to London.  All they had to do was hope that person was watching and would take the bait.  Having an argument was not going to be a problem for them as Rose started it when she got out of the car.  Jake could see them from where he was sitting and was chuckling to himself that they would be shagging their brains out by the end of the day.  He would have had a bet with Mickey but she was his ex-girlfriend and didn't think it was a good idea.  Mickey was at the other end of the street in their car.

The plan was Alec would walk in Jake's direction, Jake would follow him when he got ahead.  Alec would walk past the caravan park, around past the Police Station turn in at the side of the café next to it where it was secluded.  Jake had already taken a walk around there earlier while waiting for them to arrive.  Hopefully, he would be following two people, it was too busy by the harbour for anyone to attempt anything but Alec wouldn't be in any danger.  Mickey was going to drive around at a distance and park on the Esplanade and out of the two other agent left, Chrissy was going to stay with Rose as soon as anyone watching had left.

Whoever was after Alec, Jake was hoping he would recognize them because it had to be someone from Torchwood who knew about the Doctor.  He just hoped Pete and Alec had got this right and it was about him and not Rose after all but they had everything covered.

Alec had slammed the car door in a temper so Rose had done the same.

"Did you have to drive all the bloody way back Claire?  I could have walked faster, Geez, why did I marry such a slow driver?"

"Huh?  You criticise my driving when you'd get done for speeding even when you're a copper?  And why did you marry me Alec?  Just to shag the life out of me?"

"I never heard any complaints from you when we spent the first day in bed."

"Only 'cos you wouldn't let me out, I didn't want to hurt your feelings."

Alec was getting the case and the holdall out, slamming the back door shut.

"It's a rental car Alec, don't damage it."

"Why not, you can bloody afford it."

"So you married me for my money?"

"Really Claire, is this what it's all about?  Right, you can take the bloody case in, I'm off for a walk after spending twice as long in the car as I need have done if I'd been driving."

"Fine, take you bloody time Alec."

"I will, don't you worry Sweetcheeks, don't wait up."

Alec threw the holdall on the ground and threw the car keys at her.  Rose caught them.  If they thought they had put on a good performance for Ellie on Sunday, this topped it.  Rose thought he was over-acting a bit but maybe this was how he really felt and he wasn't acting.  Maybe he was going to leave.  Not now, obviously but he would come back, pack his stuff and leave and she didn't want that.

She wanted to go over and hug him and make up but she knew she couldn't, not until this was over.  At the other end of the street, Mickey was watching and it was heartbreaking for him.  It had been bad enough seeing her with the Doctor's double but to see them arguing was worse.  Rose was standing there, shielding her eyes from the sun despite her sunglasses, even though summer was over.  She watched him put his jacket on from the back of the car and he turned around and walked off.

Chrissy had seen from the end of the street and wanted to go comfort her friend but she couldn't.  Jake watched Alec walk towards him then noticed someone had come out from behind the pub and get into a car.  Jake speed-dialled Mickey and told him.  He thought it was a co-incidence that Alec had just gone storming off.  Mickey drove past Rose, Chrissy got out of the van and went towards Rose, who had locked the car and picked up the holdall and put it on the case.

She wasn't going to hang around, Chrissy was going to pretend to just knock on the door and let poor Rose struggle up the path and up to the door.  Rose had tears in her eyes and she wasn't pretending.  Alec was walking past the caravan park, having crossed over the bridge.  His mind wasn't with it, he didn't care if Jake or anyone else was following or not.  He had argued with her and it hurt, maybe as much as finding out she had been in love with his double on another world.

Jake had the car in sight just up ahead, it had passed Alec as he crossed the road that led up into town and expected the driver would stop and try and get Alec over on some pretence, probably ironically outside the Police Station.  He hoped Alec would know better than to fall for it.  The driver would probably pretend to be lost or tell Alec that Rose had been captured or hurt but Alec knew she was safe, two more agents were watching her.

Chrissy had knocked on Rose's door and had been greeted by her tearful friend.

"Oh Rose, that looked so convincing, are you ok?" Chrissy asked Rose.

"No, I'm not.  I think he meant it," Rose replied tearfully.

"Oh it will be ok, Jake told me what Mr Tyler said, it will blow over."

"I hope so, I love him."

Mickey had been driving slowly, he could see Alec, then Jake and the car Jake had described had gone around the corner.  If the driver was trapped on the esplanade, there would be no way out for them.  Sure enough, the car stopped on a yellow line opposite the Police Station as Alec drew level with it, the driver opened the window and called out.

"Hey, you're Alec Hardy.  If you want to see your wife again, get in the car."

Alec knew Jake was just a few yards down the road.  All he had to do was wait.  The man had just made a very big mistake.  Alec pretended to be looking to cross the road.  He knew the man would have to turn the car around, there was no other way out.  Alec could see Jake crossing over and hoped if the man drove off, Mickey would be waiting around the corner but as Alec crossed behind the car, the man was opening the passenger door despite someone else walking up, which was Jake.

Jake sped up, grabbed Alec by his shoulders and spun him around and got into the car, Mickey drove up and Alec got in his car and they drove around the next corner to turn around and Mickey got out and Alec got in the driver's seat.

"Go straight back to Rose Alec, don't stop.  Whoever that was has no use for Jake.  What did he say?"

"That I had to get in if I wanted to see Rose again."

"Huh, don't worry about that, she's with Chrissy.  They're probably talking about you right now mate.  Right, I'm off to join Jake, hopefully that bloke will have got a parking fine by now.  Remember, go right back home and kiss that girl because she's crazy about you."

"Yeah, she's crazy about a bloke in another universe that I happen to look like."

"Don't do this to her Alec.  That's not fair, that bloke never told her he loved her and she was devastated.  Don't do the same or I'll have plenty to say about it."

Mickey got out of the car and saw a Police Officer looking at the two men in the car.  Mickey waved to the officer.

"Sorry Officer, they were waiting for me," Mickey called to him, crossing over the road and getting in the back.

The officer went back up the steps as Alec came slowly around the corner and saw Mickey getting into the car.  All he had to do was go back and face Rose.  He drove off and parked in the pub car park since Mickey and Jake were staying there and walked the few yards but stopped at the entrance to the path.  He knew Rose may be watching out of the window so he put on a brave face and walked up to the door, getting his key out.  He didn't expect her to fling herself at him and throw her arms around his neck.

"Alec, I was so worried.  Are you ok?"

He was so surprised, he actually found himself kissing her back when she pulled his head down and pressed her lips against his.  He was only just aware that a woman in black fatigues was sitting on the wicker chair by the window.

"Don't mind me, you must be Alec.  You were right about one this Rose, he's hot."

"You said I was hot?" he asked, trying to prise her arms from around his neck as she hung onto him.

Rose blushed.  "I might have said words to that effect though Chrissy might be over exaggerating."

"Am not, you said he was such a hottie in bed and that you…"

"Chrissy, stop right there!"

Chrissy just smiled.  Her phone rang and she answered with a "Be right there."

"Have to go kiddies, be good and make up.  Alec, it's been nice to meet you, look after each other."  Then as she got up, she gave Rose a hug then whispered as she passed Alec, "She loves you so don't be an idiot."

Jake had got who he identified as Nathan Price, who turned out to the brother-in-law of one Angela Price, the woman who had been part of The Preachers and he didn't want the Doctor to take him to the other universe, he wanted revenge for the Doctor getting his sister-in-law killed.  He had done some research and it had led him to the two of them.  At first he had been content to have Rose locked up but he had seen Alec on the news during the Latimer case and he had finally got enough evidence to go down there and confront him but wanted both of them now and it had been pure luck that Rose had ended up in the town.  He was going to use Alec to get to Rose then go after the other members of The Preachers.  He went for Rose first because of who she was.

Mickey and Jake had got back to Chrissy and Brian who were going to take him back to Torchwood and just wipe his memories of what had happened to who Jake, Mickey and Rose had known as Mrs Moore.  Jake couldn't understand how the man even knew what the Doctor looked like but he had been desperate and had worked his way into Torchwood as a consultant.

After Chrissy left, Rose heaved the case upstairs and was sorting out the dirty laundry they had stowed in the holdall to keep it separate and putting it into the hamper in the bathroom, Alec was pacing the living room.  She was surely packing her belongings up there and would likely leave after she sorted her clothes and packed.  He made his mind up to confront her.  He walked upstairs and observed her from the bedroom doorway of the bedroom he had comforted her in the second night and joined her the third.  Then he thought back to their Sunday afternoon, fooling Miller.

"Are you packing Rose?"

"Should I be?"

"Then I will."

"Don't be daft Alec, where would you go?

Just then Rose's mobile rang, it was Jake.

"Can I come round or are you two having a lovers tiff?"

"Bring some coffee and a tea for Alec, we've no milk."

"Yes boss."

Then to Alec she said, "Jake's coming round, probably to tell us what's happened."

"You're safe now, you can go home."

"Yeah, I miss my mum and my brother.  Oh, you need this back."  She took the ring off and handed it to him.

He looked at it and put it in his jacket pocket.  "Your stepfather paid for it, you could keep it or sell it or whatever."

"No girl sells her wedding ring Alec.  I could keep it, to remind me of the man who helped save me."

"I could have got you caught.  Why did you never tell me Rose?"

"I couldn't.  That part of my life was over.  I told you he never said he loved me."

"Because he knew you wouldn't stay with him.  You said he wasn't human, was he?"

"No Alec, he wasn't"

There was a knock on the door and Alec went downstairs.

"Come on Alec, I've got my hands full here," came Jake's voice.

Jake and Mickey were both standing there, a cup in each hand.  Jake handed a carton tea to Alec.  "That's yours.  Where's Rosie?"

They let themselves in, Jake flopping on the sofa and Mickey in the chair.

"She'd better not be packing because of some silly squabble you two had."

"It wasn't a squabble Jake.  She never told me, that's totally unfair."

"Listen here Alec, I've known her a long time, Mickey's known her even longer.  If she didn't tell you it's because there was no need for you to know.  All the time I've known her, she's never talked about him, never said she misses him or tried to get back.  Tell him Mickey."

"It's true Alec.  She was broken that day she came here but she got over it.  There was one tiny gap left between worlds and he used it, to send a projection and he said goodbye to her.  She said it was the worse day of her life but she went back home, knowing he was still out there and that made her feel better.  Ask her who she would rather be with.  Someone who's in another universe or someone who's in front of her."

"But all she sees is him."

Mickey laughed.  "Have you heard yourself Alec?  So what?  I had a twin when I came here, he got killed by the Cybermen in front of my eyes.  My old gran was still alive here and I took his place and until the day she died she thought I was him and I never told her.  She died while I was at her bedside and I even let her call me Ricky and did that bother me?  No.  Because that was what she wanted, who was I to take that away from her?  I lost her in my world, I had another chance.  So you look like the Doctor, big deal.  Get over it Alec."

Jake looked at Alec.  "He's right.  Here, take her coffee upstairs before it goes cold.  We'll wait but don't make too much noise.  Tell her you love her."

Alec took the cup and drank from his own.  "Are you going to tell me what this has all been about?"

"When you two have made up and not before so get upstairs."

Alec went upstairs and Rose was sat on the bed, her arms hugging her knees.  She was crying.

"Here, Jake got you this.  Everyone's been giving me some friendly advice."

"Yeah?  What might that be?  To stop being stupid and go get your operation?"

"No, to stop being stupid and tell you I still love you."

He took the ring out of his pocket.  "So is this it Rose?  Are you going back with them?"

"The house is still paid for, you can stay here."

"Not without you, not after we spent that afternoon on the sofa."

Rose let out a smile and drank her coffee.  Alec sat on the edge of the bed and put his carton down.  He put his hand on hers.

"I'd only stay if you did or I might go and rent that blue cottage and get a boat to it every night."

She smiled again.  "Come on Rose, that was meant to be funny, it deserves more than a smile.  They might let me swap."

"You wouldn't even go in a boat Alec, you're too sacred."

"I wouldn't be if you were in it with me and I wouldn't be scared of having the pacemaker fitted if you were with me either."

"You wanted to go on your own terms, remember?"

"These are my terms.  I'll have the pacemaker fitted if you stay."

"That's blackmail Alec, emotional blackmail."

"Of course it is kitten.  I'm sorry."

"So am I, for not telling you.  I don't think you're him Alec, I know you're not.  I was saying he was wasn't human.  He was a Timelord, a time traveller and I travelled with him.  When I first met him, he didn't even look like you, he could change his appearance and by now, he's probably changed again.

"I think you'd better take this slowly Rose, it's going to take some getting used to. nBefore you  tell me, Jake has to tell us what happened."

"Right so are we good then?"

"I suppose so.  Who else is going to put up with me?"

"Ellie Miller?"

"Please, don't make me any worse.  We have some explaining to do to her."

"She'll wait.  Sweetcheeks? Really?"

"It's no worse than you with the 'Fuzzy' bit."

"Yeah but Sweetcheeks?  You call me that again and you really will be getting a divorce and we're not really married."

"Ok, got it.  Now are you really going to pack?"

"Only to go back home to see my family and get you into a top London hospital for your operation, in a private wing.  I'm not having you going on the waiting list."

"Ok, you spoilt little rich girl, maybe I will be marrying you for your money after all.  You did accuse me of it."

"That was for show Alec.  Hang on, who said anything about getting married?  You have to win me back first."

"I have to win you back?"

"Yep, you have to start flirting with me again."

"Stuff that Rose, why don't we pick up where we left off this morning?"

All Jake and Mickey heard was Rose screaming Alec's name, Jake with a grin on his face wishing he had made that bet, he would have won.

The End!

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