Follow

On the run


Torchwood is taken over by Yvonne Hartman and although Pete tries to protect Rose, she starts to order an enquiry into where she came from as he has convinced Yvonne and everyone else that Jackie is the original one, recovering from being held by the Cybermen.  Rose has been harder to explain and to avoid being imprisoned and taken apart to see how she ticks as she can't be sent home, he sends her off to Broadchurch so no-one can find her.







A re-write of one of my other stories 'The hidden rose' mixed in with other ideas from a few more!  Gets a bit 'Timey-Wimey' so dates may seem inaccurate but remember the alternate universe is three years ahead!
 Scroll down to read each chapter
Chapter 1
Yvonne Hartman had worked her way up from being Pete Tyler's PA to being deputy head of Torchwood in less than two years. She had taken over from Jake Simmonds, who had never wanted to be the deputy director but he and Mickey were the only ones Pete could trust with his family secrets.

The new Tyler family had more than a few secrets though, the latest edition, six year old Tony Tyler had no idea who his mother and half-sister really were and no-one planned on telling him, well not now anyway. To him, Rose really was his sister and everything that had happened in the past was to stay buried in the past and a whole new life had been invented for Rose in more ways than one.

Rose thought it was going to be easy, once her mother had decided to stay with Pete but to anyone outside the residence, she was the original Jackie, back from an almost full recovery but to cover the fact she didn't quite act the way the other one had done, it was agreed the Cybermen invasion had more than a little effect on her personality.

Rose worked at Torchwood after she completed her education and training, under Jake's guidance and the two of them had become best friends. Jake would do anything for her or Jackie so when there were rumours Yvonne was going to take over from him, a few plans had to be put into place.

Now, the time had arrived and Yvonne was going from strength to strength, gaining new supporters at every meeting she fervently addressed.

"So, who's with me on this?" Yvonne had asked one morning, Jake, Pete and Mickey sitting at the back and hopefully out of earshot. "Who agrees that any aliens who have not declared themselves should lose their liberty?"

She got a few mumbled 'here, here's' from the older members who had come back when it had been safe to do so after Pete took over and now, he thought he was being betrayed.

Torchwood was a haven for 'Aliens' who had either planned to come to earth after being persecuted on their home planet or been stranded by one means or another and after being held in quarantine for six months, were allowed to integrate into society, well the humanoid ones anyway. Rose and Jackie had been spared, Pete being able to protect them but now, Yvonne was on the warpath, for reasons only known to herself and her new inner circle of advisers.

As the meeting broke up, the three of them tried to slip away quietly to discuss how they were going to handle this, Rose being of the most concern as everyone, including Yvonne laughed off Jackie's little 'turns' when she came out with something the other Jackie wasn't known to have done. Yvonne had learned all she could about the director's wife and had so far been convinced she was actually recovering nicely from her three year ordeal where she'd not known who she was and Pete had thought she was dead.

That was where Rose had come in. Now, she was in danger because once Yvonne started digging into anyone with a mysterious past and she ran out of real aliens, she would start on others and being the director wouldn't spare Pete's family.

"You could send her away Pete," Mickey suggested as they went to his office to discuss things in private.

"What good's that gonna do?" Jake asked, shaking his head.

"Let's not be hasty, it's not come to that yet and if Rose disappears, it will raise more suspicion. I think though we can put a plan into action, if things begin to escalate. There's something I have to tell you two and you have to swear to me not to tell Rose."

"About you hiding her?" Mickey asked.

"No, about me hiding someone else for almost four years."

Mickey and Jake looked at each other.

"You mean Jackie?" they both said together.

Pete smiled. "No, she's been here longer than that. Remember when we got those strange readings that stars were disappearing, then they came back?"

"Yeah, no-one even noticed, well except for the experts and they all blamed us for it," Mickey laughed.

"Too right they did," Jake joined in. "They thought we were doing some experiments at bending the fabric of space. Don't know how they came up with that one," he laughed.

"Joking aside, there was something to it that even our experts don't know," Pete admitted, unlocking his desk drawer and handing a folder to Mickey. "The stars were going out, not just here but in every other universe, including where you come from."

"What? You mean we could have got back? Did you give the go ahead for that cannon thingy?" Mickey asked.

"Hang on Pete, I should have been told," Jake objected, wanting Mickey to hurry up and read the contents of the folder.

Mickey was staring, not believing what he was reading.

"What we were blamed for happened unnaturally, we had nothing to do with it but there were consequences. Not grave ones but rather a pleasant one, well for those of us in the know and no Mickey, they are not written down, as if I'd put something like that in a report."

"So what's the big secret?" Mickey asked, flicking through the pages containing details of where and when the stars had gone out but Pete had left a few important details out.

"Well, you know this universe runs ahead of yours Mickey? What if, the stars going out originated from your world and when they were put back into place, time caught up?"

"What? How do you mean by caught up? As in no time had passed?"

Pete tried to explain. "Back in 2009, when you, Rose and Jackie arrived here, it was 2006 in your world, right?"

"How do I know?" Mickey laughed, handing the folder to Jake.

"Well trust me, according to Rose it was and if she found out we were having this meeting, she'd be mad. So, what if by the stars going out, something happened for just a few minutes and both worlds caught up with each other and something could get through and someone got left behind."

Both Jake and Mickey looked at him again. "The Doctor?"

"Not exactly but close. Imagine something happened to him and he has a clone."

"I remember now," Mickey interrupted. "Rose and I were with him on that spaceship and he had his hand cut off and grew another one. Had that something to do with it?"

"According to what I was told, someone called Jack found it and somehow, another Doctor grew out of it but that's a tale for another day. He knew enough to contact me and I've been helping him."

Mickey wasn't surprised. "You didn't want Rose to find out?"

"Can't say I blame you," Jake agreed. "Imagine if she had, he'd be in just as much danger right now as she is. So, how long's he been here?"

"Like I said Jake, just over three years. You wouldn't recognize him now though, he settled in Glasgow for a while, established a cover story and then he relocated recently."

"Not here?" Mickey asked.

"No but don't you watch the news?" Pete laughed.

"What? You mean that detective Rose tried so hard to ignore last year?"

"Exactly, though why she didn't drive down there to check for herself is beyond me. Maybe she finally gave up hope?"

"No, she wouldn't Pete, trust me. She's more scared if it is him that he'll be exposed," Jake told them. "So, what now?"

"We leave things for now, I'll contact him and see if he's willing to help her, should it come to it but until Yvonne either backs down or we oust her, he has to remain as he is, he has to convince the world he is actually Alec Hardy. Jake, I want you to sound out those who are undecided about Yvonne's ideas and those who suddenly turned. Mickey, you have to keep quiet about this, Rose can't know. I'm going to contact him now and see how he's doing and we have to come up with a convincing story for Rose."

"Well good luck with that," Mickey told him, hardly believing what he'd just heard.
He'd been the one to stop Rose falling apart all this time, making her laugh, taking her on holiday when she didn't want to go with her mum and he'd been the one to never complain when she only wanted him as a friend.

Rose was in her office, going through some reports and had stopped to browse the news items, seeing the trial of the man who'd killed that young boy was over and he'd walked free. She couldn't imagine how everyone felt about it, those closest to it and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't for one moment believe that the lead detective, Alec Hardy could possibly be the Doctor in hiding, he was so different and Scottish.

The Doctor couldn't do a Scottish accent for more than a few minutes at a time, which had got them banished by Queen Victoria to start with, then there was the beard but she had to admit it was a good disguise if it really was him but he wouldn't hide from her.

Pete picked up his mobile, his private one and called the detective whom he'd helped a few years ago. Now, Alec Hardy was on his way to Sandbrook because he was expected to go see the teenager who'd kept encouraging him to sort himself out.

"Alec, how are you doing?" Pete asked him as Alec packed his things to leave his riverside home of the last few months.

"Pete, to what do I owe the pleasure of your call?"

It had been agreed that they would keep contact to a minimum.

"I may have to call in a few favours, concerning a certain someone."

"I thought we'd agreed she would never know?" Alec asked him.

"Something's going on here, I can't talk about it on the phone. We have to meet."

"Well I was going to visit Daisy, you could meet me in Sandbrook."

"Still seeing her and Tess?"

"They are all I have at present Pete, you know that? How is your daughter anyway?"

"She's fine, a little edgy under the circumstances, which is what I wanted to talk to you about."

"You know how difficult this is for me Pete, not being able to see her?"

"You think I don't know that Alec? We agreed it was the best thing for her and when the time is right, then we'll see."

"Are you telling me the time is right then? Has something happened?" Alec asked hopefully.

"You could say that, yes. You go ahead and visit Daisy, she was a big part of your life and you can't let her down. Whatever's going on, don't let it spoil your plans but I'll meet you on Friday night, I'll tell Rose and Jackie I have a meeting to attend."

"How is Jackie these days?" Alec asked, throwing his shaving kit into his wash-bag and thinking maybe it was about time he used it.

Rose would be appalled he'd grown a beard and let it get wild. When he'd first arrived in Broadchurch, at least it was manageable but even Ellie Miller had told him he was almost unrecognisable, which had been the idea to throw Rose off the trail. He was still annoyed Miller's husband had got off and had to be content in the fact the town would now probably deal out a suitable punishment. If he'd still had the Tardis, he would have thrown the man into a black hole.

"She's not aware of what's going on, Rose herself barely knows how serious things are getting but she'll hear soon enough and we have to be ready to move things along."

"I see then. Well you can count on me Pete, I would have never got by without your help, you know that. Do Mickey and Jake know?"

"I just told them. Things are plotting against us Alec, we have to be ready at a moment's notice but Mickey got confused when I told him how you'd arrived," Pete laughed.

"Mickey the idiot. Did Rose tell you how that name came about?"

"Yeah, she brings it up now and then, to his embarrassment though he's grateful she doesn't call him Rickey. See you Friday night then, give my regards to Tess."

"Aye, I'll be sure to do so. She's also grateful for what you did for her and Daisy."

"Well she helped you, it was only fair after all."

Pete hung up and Alec went back to packing, his taxi would be arriving shortly but Ellie knocked on his door.

"Thought you'd have gone by now?" she asked, letting herself in.

"Ten minutes or so. So, did you deal with him?"

"Yeah, all taken care of. Are you coming back?"

"Don't tell me you'll miss me Miller?"

Ellie smiled. "Fred will, I won't, well not that much. See, you'd never have solved that case without me, would you?"

"Okay, I admit you were a big help. What do you want, a medal?"

"Hell no. So what will you do when you get the all clear to go back to work? Will you come back here?"

"I may do, I still don't think Cate Gillespie likes me that much and they'll be a lot going on over there, Tess will need to concentrate."

"You'll distract her that much?" Ellie laughed. "There's one thing I don't get between you two. She never even bothered when you got accused of that affair and she brought you back here insisting she looked after you, even though you're divorced."

Alec knew he was going to have to be very careful, things between him and Tess Henchard were not all they seemed to be and he didn't want anyone, especially Ellie Miller nosing around too much. Now it looked like he would be coming back, if Pete Tyler had anything to do with it. He could only guess something was wrong with the story they'd come up with for Rose, Jackie was safe enough as was Mickey but if someone who worked at Torchwood dug a little too deep, well even Jake's work would come apart.

Rose was going to need his help after all, it had saddened him how Pete had explained to him that his appearance would do her more harm than good and his timing always was a little off but how he'd arrived had been unusual to say the least, that little fluke the other him had detected when they had been in the Tardis after dropping everyone off.

The last few years had been difficult, knowing where Rose was but Pete keeping her out of the news and refusing to discuss how he'd adopted her that he'd not even trusted him with the story they'd come up with but he knew they were claiming Jackie was the original one, even though Rose had been upset by her.

Now it seemed he was going to get the whole story and so was Rose, well if Pete agreed or maybe he thought she would be better discovering it on her own, that he was her Doctor's twin, or clone, whatever. Even after all this time, he still loved her as much as the day he'd cruelly left her on that beach in Norway.
Chapter 2
While Pete was talking with Jake and Mickey, Yvonne had not been idle. She had seen Pete and his 'friends' talking on their way out and wondered what they were up to. She turned to one of her advisers, someone who had recently turned against Pete.

"So Steve," Yvonne faced the young, slim man. "Now you're in my inner circle, time to tell me a few things."

"Err, what kind of things Yvonne? I can call you Yvonne now?"

"Stop being so nervous. Things like the low-down of all Pete Tyler's remaining supporters to start with. Do you think you'll be able to turn Jake and possibly Mickey?"

Steve didn't expect to have to 'turn' any of his former friends. He'd been well in with both senior Torchwood agents and especially Rose and he'd dared to ask her out a few times, just to the organization's charity event and the last Christmas party and she'd seemed to enjoy his company though Mickey had looked daggers at him on both occasions. Then he'd learned the two of them used to go out together when she had been adopted by Pete Tyler.

That alone had been a bit of a mystery, where she'd come from but she'd gradually talked a bit more to him about her past though now, Yvonne was expecting him to talk.

"Well, I'm waiting," Yvonne reminded him as the others left as she waved them out. "You lot, don't sit around all day doing nothing. I want a list of all the aliens we've repatriated back to their home worlds and a list of those who had nowhere to go. Get on with it."

"Yes Yvonne," came the united responses of the three remaining advisers, Gwen Cooper being one of them.

Gwen and Rose had been friends but Rose had never confided in the Welsh woman. Rose had been bridesmaid at Gwen's wedding and when she had tried to set Rose up with one of the groomsmen, things hadn't been the same. So when Yvonne was looking for allies, Gwen hadn't taken much persuasion and had been one of the first.

"What do you want me to do Yvonne?" Gwen asked as she dawdled.

"The real story of Rose Tyler? Yes, I know she never confided in you but she must have given you some hints as to where she came from?"

"You already know where she came from, it's in her official Torchwood biography," Gwen dared answer.

"Like I'd believe what Pete put out about her when he accepted her into the family. There has to be more to it, dig a little deeper Gwen and you and your husband might get a nice fat bonus."

"Yes Yvonne, I'll see what I can find out shall I?"

Gwen and Rhys had been wanting to get out of their tiny flat in the middle-class area of London and Yvonne had promised the next vacancy at Torchwood Cardiff was hers, though that had been going on for weeks after that Japanese woman, Tosh something had been fired for taking Torchwood property home. The fact that the 'property' was something that had fallen into the woman's shoulder bag was immaterial to Yvonne, she had ordered her dismissal and that was the end of it.

"Yes, you do that Gwen," Yvonne yawned. "Right Steve, out with it."

"I don't know what you want me to tell you Yvonne. I had two dates with Rose. We were dancing and doing the rounds, her adopted mother was fussing over her."

"In what way? Like a real mother?"

"Yvonne, the woman was missing for three years, she's still a little out of it," Steve tried to explain.

"Yes, I know her story Steve, you can do better than that surely? So, did she fuss over Rose like her real mother would have done?" Yvonne wanted to know.

"I wouldn't know about that Yvonne, I hardly knew my mother, with her being a consultant in her own practice."

"Psychology wasn't it? You want sympathy? Well it's too late now to get close to Rose again unless?"

"Unless what? She knows I've come over to your side."

"You could have a sudden change of heart? I could let it be known that I was displeased with you and threw you out of my little inner circle. You could go back to her and tell her you're sorry, then Pete will let you back in."

"But I don't want to leave your side Yvonne."

Yvonne shook her head. Really, what had Rose Tyler ever seen in him?

"It won't be for real, you can play both sides and still report back to me. What did she find so appealing about you?"

"Not that much, I've only been out with her twice Yvonne and I was hardly alone with her. The other few times, Mickey and Jake have been there, when a few of us went to the pub after training sessions. Mickey glared at me, I think he's still jealous."

"You don't say?" Yvonne mocked, getting nowhere fast. "Why do you think that is?"

Steve didn't want to say. "Maybe she's over him but not the other way around? Or maybe because Martha in medical won't give him the time of day?"

"Well, I'll just have to make her pay a little interest in him then, won't I? Do you mean that new doctor who worked at UNIT?"

"Yes, that Martha. Owen likes her, that might have something to do with her ignoring Mickey."

"Well Owen can find someone else, I need Mickey occupied. Well go on then, anything else?"

Steve couldn't think of anything except Rose had stared at him when he'd first arrived, like he reminded her of someone. Who that was he'd no idea, how many tall, slim men had she known who wore a brown pinstriped suit and whose hair looked like he'd just got out of bed?

"Well, there was one thing, she was very reluctant to talk about how Pete Tyler had adopted her."

"That's hardly surprising though, how many grown women get adopted after they reunite a couple who'd been apart for three years? Well, off you go then, you're fired from my services, officially from now so make it known around the building and hope Pete will take you back."

"Do I have to Yvonne?"

"Stop complaining, the others will know you're just playing a part, I won't let them think you've defected so soon."

"Thanks Yvonne, that's slightly better. Maybe I should speak to Jake first, see what he thinks?"

"If you must. Why are you still here?"

Steve got up. "Sorry, I'll go find Jake then. Just one more thing. You're not really mad with me are you?"

"What do you think?"

Steve gave her a grin and went to open the door, hoping she'd keep her word and the other's wouldn't think he'd left on his own.

Yvonne had a lot of work to do if she wanted people to betray Pete Tyler and join her but going by the meeting earlier, she was beginning to sway any doubters that Pete was losing his grip on things, especially when she was gaining new supporters every day. Her 'no such thing as a friendly alien' policy would soon be in force and those still on the planet would have to give up their status as 'visitors' and swear allegiance to Torchwood and the country they were living in or go back home and those who couldn't go home would be imprisoned.

Well that was a start anyway, that would keep Torchwood busy while she went on her real mission – get the aliens to think she was on their side then pounce on them. She reckoned it would maybe take a few weeks to locate all those who'd escaped first, then round up the others but she was certain some of them had been clever and covered their tracks well, without Torchwood's knowledge.

Maybe they had been clever but she was ahead of them, some had some help from Torchwood, that she was also sure of, maybe from those high up and she meant to find out to what extent. If she suspected Pete Tyler himself had anything to do with it, well she had enough of the board on her side to get rid of him, even if she couldn't actually prove it.

The next thing she wanted to do, after getting Martha Jones interested in Mickey so Steve could make a move on Rose was examine closer the circumstances leading to Rose's adoption. It had been very strange how suddenly, after three years, Pete's wife, whom he'd thought had been turned into a Cyberman had somehow been liberated and found in a private nursing home.

What Yvonne didn't know was the original Jackie Tyler had indeed been 'upgraded' and that Pete and Rose had been forced to leave her to her fate and escape from Lumic. That had given Pete the idea for her double to take her place and that Rose had been watching out for her and supposedly realising who Jackie was, had contacted Pete.

Only Jake and Mickey apart from them knew the truth, Jake going to great lengths to plant false records if Torchwood were to look a little deeper but now, it looked like all his work had been for nothing. What they didn't know was that Yvonne actually believed the story of Pete finding his wife and rewarding Rose for it, which was what Yvonne was really interested in but Pete hadn't confided in his two trusted friends just how much he was worried for his stepdaughter.

Pete had ended his call to Alec Hardy and called for Rose to come to his office. Rose helped herself to another coffee and sat opposite him.

"How are you doing sweetheart?" he asked as she sipped her drink. "You always make that too hot," he smiled.

Rose tried to smile back. "So, what happened at that meeting and why didn't you want me there?"

"You know why Rose, you know where Yvonne's leading things?"

"Yeah and you're letting her," Rose replied bitterly. "Sorry, I didn't mean it like that."

"I know love, it's getting to everyone, well almost everyone. I'm really sorry Steve turned on us."

"He's easily led. He may remind me of someone but there the resemblance stops. I know it's not your fault but she's running away with things, who knows where she's gonna stop?"

"When she runs out of aliens love," Pete admitted reluctantly. "That's what I need to talk to you about. I may have to send you and Mickey on another mission."

"Again? Anywhere nice?"

"I can't tell you that love, it's just in case things get a little too out of hand with Yvonne. To everyone else you and Mickey will be going to investigate something but don't worry, he won't really be going with you, it's just for show. It will just seem that way. Just you be prepared to have to go at short notice."

"Yvonne's getting that bad? You never said."

"I know, I'm sorry but I didn't want to worry you but after that meeting, well anything could happen. How are you doing, really?"

"I feel like staying at home these days but mum would drive me crazy. Besides, If I stopped coming in, it would look like I'm worried and I have something to hide."

Pete smiled. "You are worried and you do have something to hide. Let me find something else for you to do? How about you and Mickey going on a fact-finding mission?"

"Yeah, just what I need, finding more aliens. Won't Yvonne be doing that, if she's trying to round them all up?"

"Yeah, I expect so. Just cut your hours then, do something else? How about we start work on that dimension cannon? You could go to training sessions, keep out of the way?"

"Won't she think I'm trying to bale out?"

"Sorry, never thought of that but why don't you and Jake look into it, just in theory? She can't say anything about that?"

"I don't suppose she can? Yeah, it'll take my mind off things. I envy Tony these days, he's no idea what's going on and he'll be upset if I go away."

"You can just tell him it's work again. Why don't you go have an early lunch and I'll talk to Jake? Just leave it all to me eh?"

"That's all I can do. I thought I was doing some good when I passed all the tests to come and work here. Did I tell you about Yvonne back you know where?"

"Yes, you did and how your mum escaped, several times."

Rose's message tone beeped and she glanced at it.

"It's Steve, says he wants to meet me for lunch. Who does he think he is? He's got a nerve."

"Maybe things with Yvonne didn't work out for him after all? Maybe he wants to make up?"

"Well he's no chance. How can I face him now, how can I trust him? I'm glad I never really got close to him."

"Yes and I know why, really Rose, I'm surprised you never went to check out that detective, he looked more likely than Steve."

"That sickly detective? I just saw that murderer got set free. They must be so disappointed."

"I expect so but maybe the town will deal with him in their own way? Small towns usually do. Did you watch the rest of the news?"

"No, you called me," Rose grinned.

"Seems he solved that old case of his, those two cousins."

"Good, I'm pleased for him. At least something good came of it. Was the missing cousin alive?"

Pete put on a grave face. "No, sorry love, they found her body in a church yard. I can get you the details if you want?"

"No, I'll catch up with it. I wonder if he's still ill?"

"Why not find out eh? Go on, tell Steve you'll meet him, what have you got to lose?"

"My sanity, what I have left of it?"

Having one man close by who dressed like the Doctor and one sickly detective inspector over a hundred miles away wasn't her idea of coping with the loss of the real one but she'd no idea how things were going to turn out in a short space of time.
Chapter 3
Steve was waiting in the almost deserted canteen. It was a bit early for the lunchtime crowd so he'd got a seat by the window that looked across the docklands and Canary Wharf itself. The canteen had an envious view, Pete himself had chosen the location where the view wasn't obscured by the other office buildings.

Rose had told him briefly of the other Torchwood back in her world, he'd only seen parts of it but she'd been able to tell him enough. The levers that the Cybermen had used to transfer themselves to her world had been dismantled as had the equipment and now, they were still toying with another device, found in an abandoned warehouse that had been used to store the metal monsters.

They could only assume Lumic's Cybus Industries had been going to use it to transport the Cybermen once the whole planet had been converted or 'upgraded'. Now Pete was in two minds to put the device together and see if they could get it working but if Yvonne did find out, she'd want it for herself and he could never allow that.

To her knowledge, the project had been tried and it just wouldn't work but maybe he could use that to his advantage? Let her think that it could be salvaged, then she might forget about going after Rose? So as Steve waited, he checked his emails, one was from Yvonne outlining what she wanted him to do.

He had hated turning on his friends, especially Rose as he had seemed to be getting somewhere with her a few months ago at the staff Christmas party. In fact, she'd kissed his cheek under the mistletoe and they had been caught, everyone cheering, well except for grumpy Mickey Smith, who obviously still carried a torch for her.

He hoped Yvonne would get Martha interested in Rose's ex-boyfriend.

Yvonne had got straight on the phone to Doctor Martha Jones, who had only been there a few weeks. It was very unlikely though that she would be easily swayed so a face to face meeting was needed.

"Ah, Miss Jones, or should I call you Doctor Jones?" Yvonne asked her as Martha had stared at her phone wondering why the deputy director herself was calling.

"What can I do for you Miss Hartman?"

"Come to my office after lunch, I need to talk to you on a rather delicate matter."

"Oh. Well of course, I'd be happy to assist you with any personal medical issues. I can understand how busy you are to come down to medical."

"No, it's nothing like that, it's a personal matter but not medical. I don't believe we've met properly yet?"

"Sorry Miss Hartman, I assumed it was medical, my mistake. I'd be happy to come and see you. Is 1.30 agreeable?"

"Yes, I look forward to it but I can tell you why I wanted to see you. Have you met Mickey Smith?"

Martha had and wished she hadn't. He'd done nothing but stare at her during the last few meetings, when that rat Owen had sent her instead of attending himself. She'd quite liked the head of medical until he'd tried a few innuendoes on her and now, she tried to avoid being left alone with him, which wasn't easy. It had put her off men and Mickey Smith was included.

"Yes, we've met. Is there something wrong with him?"

"You tell me? We'll talk when we meet later."

Martha went back to work wondering what it was all about and why the deputy director needed her in particular. Then she hoped she wasn't intending to use her to turn Mickey over to Yvonne's side. She herself was undecided but if she had to make a hasty decision, it was better to be on the winning team whoever that was so if asked, she would have to be tactful and then go with the winning side and say she voted for Yvonne if she won.

Rose decided not to go back to her office. The text from Steve said he was waiting in the canteen, well not that the catering manager liked it being called that. She saw him by the window and went to join him.

Steve stood up as he greeted her, remembering the kiss on the cheek.

"Hello Rose, thanks for agreeing to meet me. Can I get you something?"

"Tea would be nice, I've had too much coffee already this morning."

"Right, tea it is, be back in a tick. You won't leave will you?"

Rose gave him a smile. "No, you're safe to assume I'll wait. I want to know why you had the nerve to text me."

Steve was hoping she wouldn't try any of her advanced combat moves Jake had been teaching her on him.

"Ah, that I will gladly explain, if you'll let me?"

"I'll think about it while you're getting my drink."

Steve went off, hoping she meant it, Yvonne was asking a lot of him, trying to cosy up to her after betraying her adopted father's trust.

Rose got out her phone and sent a quick message to Jake saying if there was a disturbance in the canteen not to bother sending anyone from security.

Jake had sent a message back telling her to be careful who she picked a fight with but when she replied with "Steve wanted to meet' she got one back saying he wasn't cleaning up the mess.

That had made her smile so as Steve headed back to the table, he thought she was smiling at him.

"There you go, I brought milk and sugar," he indicated to the tray as she took her drink.

"Just milk. So, what do you have to say for yourself?"

"Sorry? It was a stupid thing to do, I admit but she's very persuasive. If you weren't the director's adopted daughter, it could have happened to you."

"What? You think that would have made me take her side? She's so wrong about this Steve. Ever since Pete took over, Torchwood has been sympathetic towards our off-world friends and it cost him a lot of trouble persuading the new president, considering the last one was executed by the Cybermen."

Rose had experienced that first-hand but Pete had destroyed the recordings of that night, which had upset Rose since she and the Doctor had been together.

"Okay Rose, best keep it down? I came to apologise to you and to ask if you'd speak to the director for me? I was gonna talk to Jake but he was busy. Yvonne kicked me out, she thought I was still on his side."

"Did she now? Are you? You turned so easily Steve," Rose told him, looking around as a few more people came in. "Pete and I were hurt by that. I let you take me to the Christmas party, my adoptive mum liked you, she said I should give you a chance. You never asked me out again."

"That was because Mickey was staring at me all night. I thought he was going to hit me."

Rose had to smile at him this time.

"He wouldn't have, he just wanted to make sure you weren't messing me about."

"Twice? It was enough to put anyone off."

Rose knew Mickey could sulk and had been doing so since her arrival but he'd been a good friend, despite them having to tell a different reason other than he'd been jealous of the Doctor as to why they broke up so quickly. Steve Roberts was the only man she'd been remotely comfortable in allowing him to accompany her to two Torchwood events.

"Well never mind that now, it's too late."

"To ask you out again?" Steve asked disappointedly.

Rose knew she could never fully trust him or any other male in the building, not now.

"You want me to talk to Pete, to get him to trust you again?"

"Would you? I'd be really grateful, if you could. Maybe you'd let me take you out for a drink sometime?"

"One thing at a time? Okay, I'll mention it to him at home tonight but don't get your hopes up?"

"No, I won't. Thanks Rose. So, what about Jake and Mickey?"

"You're on your own with those two."

Alec was on his way to Sandbrook, his home until last July when Pete had relocated him again. It had been a long morning, getting to court early and the jury coming back almost right away with a 'not guilty' decision and he thought they'd already decided before being sent out. He knew the town wouldn't have wasted any time in catching up with Joe Miller but he couldn't be seen doing anything.

The train arrived and Daisy had said she was coming to meet him, like he'd forgotten where they lived. The few meetings he'd had with Tess over the failed case of theirs, they'd had to pretend they were bitter towards each other but it was a case of it being the opposite. Tess had almost given the game away the other day when she'd collected him from the hospital because he never expected Ellie Miller to turn up.

"Hey, you're here!" a blonde teenager called out at the end of the platform as she made her way to him.

"Hey Daisy, thanks for meeting me."

"No probs, 'Dad'. I suppose I have to start calling you that again?"

"Aye, just when we're out but you can call me 'hey you' if you prefer?"

Daisy laughed and offered to take his shoulder bag as he tried to get hold of his case handle.

"Staying long?" Daisy asked as they wandered out into the courtyard. "Mum's over there, complaining she had to take time off to pick you up, well to anyone who cared to listen."

"Still working then? I mean the old 'I hate you Alec Hardy' thing."

"Oh yeah, she says it works like a charm," Daisy laughed as Tess got out of the car and waved.

She greeted him with a 'I hope you know I had to miss lunch because of this' but whispered, "Welcome back Alec," as they put his luggage in the back.

"Must have been a late lunch, it's after two," Alec snapped back for the benefit of those who may remember who he was and they were supposed to be divorced and were being civil under protest.

"Don't start Alec, just get in the car."

"Nice to see you too Tess."

Once in the car and Tess had checked the road was clear, she drove him back to the house, where she'd offered to let him stay in the spare room, well his old room. To everyone that knew them, she was only letting him stay because of Daisy but the truth was, she was grateful for all Alec Hardy had done for her and her daughter, well with some help.

"So, how's things back in Broadchurch? I just heard he got off," Tess asked him, watching Daisy in the mirror. "Yes Daisy, you can ask him."

"Ask me what?" Alec wanted to know.

He'd grown fond of the blossoming teenager, she'd only been twelve when he'd first met her and Tess.

"How are you feeling after your surgery?"

Alec glanced in the mirror.

"I'm fine Daisy and yes, I am grateful you gave me the push."

"Good, I told you it was nothing and to stop pretending you didn't really need it. So did Mr Tyler get you the best surgeon?"

"I expect he did, he knew I was going since the hospital were charging him. I left all the arrangements to him after our last discussion."

"That was last year," Daisy laughed. "Why did you wait so long?"

"I got caught up in the murder case Daisy, what was I supposed to do, just leave a bunch of amateurs to get on with it?"

"Calm down Alec, you're supposed to be taking it easy, remember?" Tess reminded him.

"Yes, sorry. So, how's school?"

"Okay, lucky for you I had a training day so I could come and meet you. Shame I have to go back tomorrow."

"Studying is important. Need any help?"

"I've got it covered but thanks for the offer Alec."

"Since when have you been calling him that?" Tess wanted to know, turning into their street.

"Oh come on Mum, I can't call him dad all the time, well not in company and I'm old enough now, aren't I? You don't mind, do you, Alec?'

"I don't know, I'll have to think about that," he joked, Daisy seeing him doing that thing with his eyebrows and knowing he was.

"Aw, stop teasing me," Daisy laughed. "I made your room up for you, how long did you say you were staying?"

"A few days, I have to meet with Pete Tyler on Saturday."

"Oh, has he been in touch with you?" Tess asked as they stopped in the driveway.

"Yes, he called earlier, wants a meeting. He won't say much about it on the phone."

"Trouble?" Tess asked as they got out. "Daisy, help your dad with his things while I get the door."

"Come on, let's get you sorted," Daisy laughed as Tess left them to it. "So when we go out, I expect it's back to the old routine?"

"Afraid so, sorry. Only when we're out though eh?"

"Yeah, I had plenty of practice before you left. I'm really sorry that man got away."

"He's been dealt with. What's for lunch? I've got my appetite back now."

Alec had pretended for their sakes that he was on a strict diet. The surgery he'd agreed to with Pete had been precautionary, he could have got by but it seemed this new body wasn't playing nicely and getting used to only having one heart had been difficult to say the least. So Pete had sent a Torchwood heart specialist to keep an eye on him and to keep him advised because Pete couldn't let anything happen to the man who had arrived on this world against all odds.

Rose would never have forgiven him if this duplicate Doctor has not survived and she'd found out. Now Alec was getting all flustered at the thought of seeing her again and he hoped she'd forgive him for staying away at Pete's insistence. In the last few hours since it seemed she would have to hide, if he'd not had the pacemaker fitted by another surgeon who was in Torchwood's employment, he would have felt his single heart going as fast as if he'd still had two.
Chapter 4
Rose made her way back to her office after Steve gave one last plea for her to forgive him.

"So, you'll think about it then?" Steve had asked her again, after Rose gave in and got something to eat and stayed longer than she'd intended.

"Yeah, I said I would but expect him to be suspicious, you having another sudden change of heart."

"Well I said I was sorry Rose and I really wanted to ask you out again, it was just Mickey putting me off. Maybe when you've forgiven me for deserting you and Pete?"

"Maybe, I'll have to think about it but you still have to get past Jake."

"I know, he's tougher than Pete. How's that little brother of yours?"

Rose thought it was a strange question, since neither she nor Pete talked about family at work.

"He's fine why?"

"Just wondered, that's all. I take it you don't discuss work once you get home?"

"No, not normally. Any reason you brought it up?"

Steve knew she was starting to get suspicious, Yvonne's plan to get her to confide in him was never going to work. In the email he'd had earlier, she had outlined she wanted him to get into the family home, see what her adopted mother was really like, since he'd raised a few questions, such as Jackie Tyler fussing like Rose's real mother, whom as far as Yvonne knew had perished in the Cyberman takeover.

Pete's idea of swapping roles seemed to have worked so far, Rose's real mother became the original Jackie Tyler and vice-versa, a complicated story but they had all agreed it was for Rose's protection more than anything. It had saddened Jackie that Pete's wife had been about to leave him when she'd been captured but she hadn't deserved the fate she'd received, being turned into one of them and Pete coming face to face with her and having to leave her.

Steve was looking at her. He knew she had many secrets and she would never let her guard down, well not with him anyway.

"I was trying to prove to you I was still interested in you, had all this not come along."

"You mean you never saw any of it coming?" Rose smiled.

"Did anyone?"

"Pete did, months ago but I can't talk about it, you have to prove we can trust you again. I have to go now."

Steve stood up, a few people watching as it was well known to those who were undecided and those who had already taken sides that the two of them were opponents.

"What you lot looking at?" Rose asked as she became aware she was the centre of attention.

They all suddenly became interested in what they were eating and not in what she was doing. It was one of the things she hated about still being there but her sudden absence would cause another stir and Yvonne would begin asking questions.

"Take no notice of them Rose, see you around maybe?"

"Maybe, I'm making no promises."

As he watched her leaving, he risked sending a message to Yvonne – 'I think I may be getting somewhere with Rose'. That would keep Yvonne off his back for a while at least but he knew it wasn't going to be easy. It was up to Yvonne to deal with Mickey but Jake was going to be somewhat more difficult.

So as Rose tidied her desk, she got a message from Jake asking if it was safe to visit.

"So, what did he want? To ask you to feel sorry for him?" Jake asked as he helped himself to coffee.

"Something like that. I still don't trust him, he says Yvonne kicked him out."

"I'll make some enquires, see if he really has been, I still have my spies in her camp."

"Are you sure Jake? I think he's faking it. I mean how long was she planning it all? It must have been months before it all kicked off."

"No-one noticed at first, everyone thought she was just following orders, until Pete made it clear it was not his idea."

"I know Jake, I was there, she just took everyone by surprise."

"I should have seen it coming," Jake regretted admitting. "Pete should have fired me."

"Don't say that Jake, you and Mickey are the only ones left that he trusts. Anyway, I'm not letting Steve get to me so forget it. Has Pete spoken to you about sending me away?"

"Yeah, earlier. I've got to come up with a way of not alerting Yvonne, I also have to find out who's still on our side if push comes to shove."

"You mean those who've just gone onto her side?"

"Exactly and Steve isn't one of them Rose, I think she got to him earlier and he was just too scared not to go along."

"He asked about Tony. I mean he hardly knows about him."

"That will have been Yvonne. So, he's playing both sides is he?"

"Seems like it, as if I'm gonna fall for it?"

"Maybe you should see how far he's willing to go? Did he ask you out?"

"Yeah but why has he waited until now if he's defecting again?"

"I'll talk to Pete, see what he wants me to do about Steve. If he asks, are you willing to go along, see if Steve really has come back to our side?"

"If I have to. You mean find out what he's up to?"

"Why not? We'll play him at his own game shall we?"

"Then yeah, count me in, I'm going nuts here, I can't trust anyone apart from you and Mickey."

"He's been moaning about Martha Jones again, she completely ignored him earlier and at lunch."

"Do you think she's turning into an Yvonne supporter?"

"I hope not," Jake grinned. "He'll be insufferable if she does."

"Then why doesn't he actually ask her out, what's stopping him?"

"You and Steve?" Jake laughed.

"Come off it Jake, you know about me and Mickey and not what the official break-up story is either."

"Yeah, I saw him looking at you two that night, way back. He looked at you and Steve like that at the Christmas party."

"Yeah and don't I know it? Steve said he thought Mickey was gonna deck him."

"I'd have loved to have seen that. Right, some of us have work to do."

"Yeah, going around pretending to be the head of security," Rose smiled.

"I am the head of security, which I only wanted to be to start off with. Did Pete mention anything he had in mind for sending you away?"

"No but he said it could be sudden, if things get worse."

"Things will get worse, trust me. You have to be ready Rose."

"I know Jake but it's not gonna be easy, leaving mum and Tony."

"Pete knows that, he'll send you somewhere where you'll be comfortable and at ease."

"Long as it's not Cornwall again with Mickey," Rose smiled.

"You had fun didn't you, all those quaint Cornish customs?"

"You mean Cornish icecream and cider?"

"Both together?" Jake joked.

"Get outta here Jake," Rose laughed.

Jake could always cheer her up, even when Mickey couldn't.

While they were talking, Martha was in Yvonne's office, wondering why it was so secretive.

"So, Martha, we meet at last? Don't look so nervous, I'm not going to ask you to choose sides, well not on the spot anyway. No, I wanted to talk to you about Mickey Smith."

"Oh. Well what about him?"

"Don't you like him? I've seen him watching you at the last few meetings. I want you to approach him, tell him you fancy him or whatever."

"With all due respect Miss Hartman, I'm not looking for a boyfriend. Just before I came to work here, I broke off an engagement."

"I'm sorry to hear that Martha, really I am but I need Mickey to be occupied, as part of my plan."

Martha knew the woman wouldn't reveal what that was until she was ready to take over. In the few weeks she'd been there, she was regretting moving from UNIT but working there with her ex-fiancé wasn't possible, even though he went away a lot. There were too many reminders of what she and Tom Milligan had shared and too many people had known about their break-up. She decided getting on Yvonne's bad side was not a good way of furthering her career.

"I'd be only too happy to help then Miss Hartman but you won't need my decision as to whose side I'm on right away, will you?"

"Of course not Martha, you have to consider all the facts, I appreciate that. None of the others who joined me made their minds up right away but they came around to my way of thinking."

"What do you want me to do?"

Pleased that Martha agreed she would pursue Mickey, Yvonne sat back in her chair and thought she was almost there. Just a few minor details like persuading other senior members that Pete Tyler's way of dealing with aliens was not the right one and all it needed was for a group of them, like the Cybermen to agree to join forces and the whole planet would be in danger.

She knew of course there was no actual danger of that but they weren't to know and Pete would not be in a position to stop her spreading rumours. Once she started on the undecided members, it would be the end of Torchwood as it was now. Pete would have his work cut out to retain the majority vote that was keeping him as the director and soon, that position would be hers.

She was pleased with her progress so far, being taken on in a minor role but ever since her cousin had been taken by the Cybermen all those years ago, she'd blamed the organisation that had allowed it to happen then helped them escape and now she was finally going to get her revenge.

Jake had gone back to Pete to fill him in on Rose's lunch date.

"So, he's up to something then?" Pete asked.

"Rose seems to think so. Pete, she doesn't need this, not now."

"You didn't tell her what we were planning?"

"No, of course not. If she finds out, it'll be from Mickey, not me. By the way, Martha ignored him again at lunchtime."

"Again? When's he going to realise he gives up too easily?" Pete laughed.

"Like he apparently did with Rose? Still, it's believable and I think he actually prefers that version to the one where she dumped him for you know who?"

Pete had to laugh at the thought. "Well, keep your eyes and ears on everyone except those we know are really on our side though we might have to have a rethink over some of them."

"Yeah, seems like it if Steve's pretending to want to come back. If it had been anyone else, I might have believed it but Yvonne kicking him out?"

"Yeah, it's very unlikely, I agree. I'll talk to Rose tonight, I take it she told him she'd talk to me?"

"Something like that, yeah. She asked me about you sending her somewhere, if it comes to it. I said you'd send her somewhere nice."

"I will, you know where I have in mind and he's agreeable. I think it's time those two were re-introduced, don't you?"

"I thought you weren't going to tell her?"

"I'm not, it will be better if she finds out for herself who he is, don't you think? She might be mad with me for not telling her but there again, she might be totally against it and not accept him if I do tell her."

"It's not an easy decision Pete, how do we know which is the better option? How did it all start anyway, how did he know you could still help him and that you would believe him?"

"I went up to Scotland, to Aberdeen. He'd managed to get a ride on fishing boat and he called me from there. I told Jackie and Rose I had a conference to attend. You can imagine I was a bit sceptical?"

"I remember you saying something about a weekend conference but you should have told me what was going on."

"I didn't know if I was doing the right thing, when he contacted me but when he knew things, things only he himself could have known I had to start believing him."

"Such as his first visit here?" Jake mused to himself.

"Exactly, things only he could have known. When I got his call, he'd no money or anything, I told him to book into a comfortable hotel and make sure he got something to eat. Rose had told me the other Doctor didn't need much food or sleep but when he said briefly on the phone that he was the Doctor's twin brother, I somehow doubted he'd be exactly the same."

"So how close is he, apart from the obvious?"

"He only has one heart, which became a problem just after I left him. He wanted to stay up there, as far away as possible from Rose, until she'd accept him at least but I persuaded him to move to Glasgow. That was where he met Tess Henchard and her daughter Daisy."

"Yeah, he's supposed to be divorced with a teenage daughter? So they weren't really married?"

"No, I got him the paperwork and the divorce papers after a reasonable time to establish a relationship of sorts."

"So how did she get involved?"

"Alec, or rather the duplicate Doctor, well I got him some ID and a job in the Glasgow police. He said he'd posed as a detective chief inspector a few times and could pass as one but I thought that was a bit ambitious in reality. We checked various names and came up with Alec Hardy and he agreed before I left him in Aberdeen. I'd got him a rental car before I left and taken some cash and a company credit card from Vitex, until he got his own bank account through."

"You should have come to me Pete," Jake told him.

"It was nothing personal Jake, sorry. I thought the less people who knew the better, not that you'd have told Rose. It was difficult persuading him not to drive down to see her so at first, I got him a transfer to Sandbrook though I messed that up somewhat," Pete smiled.

"Yeah, like a real murder to solve. He didn't do that bad but did that make his illness worse?" Jake asked.

"Somewhat but he was never really in any danger, he was the one that kept putting off doing something about it. I believe Daisy gave him the final push. When they got to Sandbrook, where Tess had come from originally, they pretended to be married but she met someone, since there was never anything between the two of them so Alec stepped out of the way and I arranged for it to look like a divorce."

"So you moved him to Broadchurch, to get out of the way?"

"Yeah and I messed that up as well. Either that or he was really unlucky, walking into another murder."

"Well I'm sure he thanked you for that?" Jake grinned.

"Yeah, he never spoke to me again except to tell me he wanted to go ahead with the surgery, then it was through his friend Alistair, who'd been keeping an eye on him for me."
Chapter 5
Rose was glad to get home that evening but as Pete drove them back, he asked how she was doing.

"You mean considering Steve wants me to go out with him? I was never that keen on him you know?"

"Tell that to your mother when she saw you kissing his cheek under the mistletoe at the party," Pete grinned.

"Crumbs, why did everyone take it so seriously?" Rose moaned.

"Maybe because no-one had ever known you to have had a boyfriend? Well not since Mickey anyway."

"I could get one, if I really wanted one. Just because Steve dresses like the Doctor and messes his hair up doesn't qualify him for the role."

"I know that love, really. Jake seems to think you should take Steve up on his offer, to see what he's really up to."

"I told Jake I'd go along, just to have something to do. You're trying to keep me out of it all."

"Can you blame us? I don't know why Yvonne started all this but I know where it's going. Keeping you safe is our top priority, you know that? If I thought you'd get away with staying at home, I would insist on it but it's just not practical."

"Yeah, mum would drive me crazy. How soon can you come up with an idea to get me sent away somewhere?"

"We're working on it love but it takes time. We have to come up with something believable. Jake thinks we should try the cannon project, like I suggested to you. You could take another class in temporal mechanics or whatever, learn how the thing works."

"If you think it'll do any good? Did anyone figure out how it was supposed to work then?"

"No, the Cybermen forgot to leave the operating manual," Pete tried to lighten the mood before they got home.

"Well if they had, it would be in code anyway," Rose smiled back.

"Well it would have given our code-breakers something to do eh? Right, no mentions of this to your mother, she's been bad enough lately."

"Yeah, if she thought Yvonne was going after me, she'd march to her office and give the game away. She only just gets away with the 'I've had my memory scrambled by the Cybermen' routine."

"Well at least we were able to establish a few more facts about her than we were about you," Pete reminded her as he drove up to the front of the mansion he'd almost given up and sold.

"I'm glad I never moved out now," Rose admitted as they stopped.

"We understand love, really we do and we weren't trying to get rid of you when we suggested you got your own place. We know why you wanted to stay, you thought if he tried to contact you again, you would have a better chance. We know you've not given up entirely."

"Then why did mum want me to go out with Steve?"

"Is that the only reason you won't go out with him? I mean before he turned on us?"

"I can't explain it, some things I can't let go of."

Rose knew they both understood, after they had taken her up to Norway, what now seemed like a very long time ago. After a family dinner, Pete wanted to talk to her again.

"So, are you agreeable to string Steve along, find out what he's up to?"

"What do I tell him? That you'll let him back on our side?"

"Tell him I'm thinking about it and that you'll go out on a date with him."

"If I have to. As long as Mickey doesn't get to know about it."

"Leave him to me. You never know, Martha might change her mind about him?"

"Yeah, I wonder why she keeps ignoring him?"

"I heard from personnel that she broke up with someone before she left UNIT. Mind you, Owen doesn't help, he's got a reputation."

"Don't I know it? I almost slapped him when he tried to get me under the mistletoe that first Christmas party I went to. That was one time I'm glad Mickey was watching."

"Well you were supposed to be going out with Mickey back then," Pete laughed. "It went a long way to establishing your 'break-up' didn't it?"

"Yeah, the beginning of his jealous streak or should I say the continuation of it?"

"Your mother said she had him hauled in when you went missing for that year," Pete smiled.

"Yeah, she keeps reminding him now and then. Anyway, back to Steve. If he asks me out again, I'll go but I'm not getting involved with him."

"I would never ask you to, it's only to find out what Yvonne's up to. She must have told him to get to you and report back. Might as well use it to our advantage and if you give in too much, they'll both get suspicious."

"You won't really let him back though will you?"

"Don't worry, you just leave that to me eh?" Pete asked, giving her a hug. "By the way, I have to go off this weekend, the police commissioner wants a golf rematch and I promised I'd meet him in Southampton so I'll be away Saturday night."

He thought that was rather more believable than another conference.

"Yeah, you should be telling mum, not me," Rose smiled.

Friday at Torchwood, nothing much had happened. Rose tried to get away from Steve when he caught her outside in the corridor, stating she'd told Pete and he'd not decided anything.

"So how about a drink tomorrow night then?" Steve asked hopefully, leaning on the wall and blocking her way.

"Maybe, I'll let you know."

"Then can I pick you up, say seven thirty?" he suggested, thinking he may get invited in since that was what Yvonne had wanted.

He'd had a call from Yvonne earlier that morning.

"So Steve, getting anywhere with Rose?" Yvonne had asked.

"Well, not since yesterday but I'll catch her later, see if she'll go out with me, even if Pete won't let me back on his side."

"Good, make sure you pick her up and take her home, I want to see how she reacts with Jackie. Take some flowers and chocolates and be polite so you'll get asked back. I also want you to make friends with the boy, he might be more willing to tell you things."

"Yes Yvonne, I'll see what I can get him to tell me, without him running to his mother. Anything else?"

He was beginning to warm to the idea of maybe having Rose as his girlfriend, she'd had no-one since she broke up with Mickey and that had been almost over when she'd first gone to work there. To those who hadn't known they actually were going out, it seemed very unlikely they'd ever got together in the first place but he'd not heard the rest of the story, only how Rose had told Mickey to get lost and that it had been the worse relationship she'd ever had but it hadn't stopped Mickey still going around putting other men off.

Rose though at the time hadn't seemed bothered in getting a replacement, which was why it had taken him some time to get up the nerve.

Rose was trying to dodge his question. "I'll send you a message, now excuse me?"

"Won't you join me for lunch today?"

"And have everyone staring again? No thanks, not until a few facts have been established."

"Ah you mean if I'm genuine or not? I understand, really. You want to be sure of a few things?"

"You can't really blame me, can you?"

Rose finally got away and went to Mickey's office, if you could call it that, it was worse than his old flat from their old world.

"Hey Rose, guess what?" Mickey greeted her, pushing a pile of junk off his desk.

Mickey thought being the head of research and development entitled him to have a messy office, things had to be 'tested' after all.

Rose tried to find a chair that she thought was clean.

"Go on, surprise me?"

"Martha actually smiled at me when I went for a break earlier."

"Wow, put it on the six o'clock news. I wonder what's come over her?"

"Don't be like that Rose, if Steve were to ask you out again, well Jake explained what the plan was. I won't stop him."

"I should think not, sometimes I just don't think you get it Mickey, you're not my protector, I can look after myself where men are concerned."

"I never said you couldn't."

"Oh so you looking daggers at Steve was nothing?"

"Let's just forget it. Anyway, I'm going to go talk to her at lunchtime, if she's on her own."

"Well good luck then. For your information, I'm only agreeing if Steve does ask me out so we can find out why he's turned back from Yvonne's side. Jake's supposed to be finding out why she kicked Steve out."

"I heard some of her supporters saying something about he was too much of a liability, he was too weak for her liking. He might have been useful to her at first but if she's got everything she can out of him, that will be why she ditched him."

"You don't say Mickey?" Rose yawned. "Ya think? Of course that's what they want us to think. He's running out of things to tell her so he needs fresh information and what better way to get it?"

"To come back to our side, yeah I get that Rose, thanks. Did you like him, before he deserted us?"

"Maybe, if he'd asked me out but someone was putting him off. I swear if you spoil our plan, I'll send you back home without the aid of anything."

"I won't, I know how important this is to Pete. We have to slow things down before it gets out of hand and Pete doesn't have enough support."

"Yeah, we all know that Mickey and you be careful with Martha. How do ya know she's not already considering joining Yvonne? Maybe she's put her up to it?"

"Rose, don't say that. Then you talk to me about laying off Steve."

"Mickey, we know why Steve's doing it, how do you know Martha's not being used to get to you?"

"Martha's only been here a few weeks and Yvonne wouldn't bother with her."

"Wouldn't she? To keep you out of her way? Think about it and talk to Jake before you do anything hasty but if she starts asking you whose side you're on, well just don't say I never warned ya. This is gettin' stupid, Yvonne's trying to split us up."

Mickey thought about it. Why had Martha suddenly smiled at him that morning when she'd been ignoring him since her arrival?

"Sorry Rose, this is getting to all of us and you're right, why would Martha suddenly change her mind? I'll go talk to Jake but if Yvonne thinks she's going to win, she has another thing coming. No-one uses me and gets away with it."

"That's more like the old Mickey. If Yvonne is using her, do what I'm doing, to keep Torchwood the way it should be, not Yvonne Hartman's way. She'll stop at nothing and if that means dividing us up, she'll do it."

"Yeah, I know that. She gets Martha to keep me occupied while she gathers more support. I wonder if Martha knows she's being used?"

"Maybe not but if she's not decided whose side she's on yet, she'll be trying to keep her job. Look what Yvonne did to poor Tosh in Cardiff? Then there was the way Gwen took her side too easily, I bet Yvonne promised her a transfer back?"

"Well you and Gwen falling out may have helped there Rose. What was wrong with that welsh rugby player?" Mickey joked.

Rose leaned forward, picked up a paperclip and threw it at him.

"Shut up Mickey. Anyway, let her think it's working, just don't give the game away."

Mickey decided to think about Martha over the weekend.

Saturday morning, Pete was packing an overnight bag after telling Jackie.

"Why this weekend Pete" Jackie asked as he retrieved his set of golf clubs, just for show but maybe he'd get in a round or two.

"He was in the area at a meeting so he thought he'd stay a bit longer. It's only overnight love. Did Rose tell you she might be going on a date tonight?" he asked, so she wouldn't go on about it.

"With Steve? I thought he'd turned on you?"

"He has, Rose is trying to turn him back. We need people like him, he's been close to Yvonne, he can tell us what she's up to."

"Won't he know Rose is just using him?"

"Not if she's careful. He wants her to put in a good word with me for him but we know he's playing games with us. Anyway, it will get her out for a couple of hours and she may actually enjoy it."

He wanted to tell her why he was really going off but not yet and it may still take a while before it all came out.

Over in Sandbrook, Daisy was sitting with Alec at the breakfast table as Tess cooked and was asking him how long he was staying.

"I may have to go back at short notice, sorry darlin'. Maybe you could come for a visit?"

"Yeah, that would be good. I'm old enough to go on the train or the coach, you could meet me. Are you going back to that shack as mum calls it?"

"It is a shack, really Alec."

"Well I was thinking of maybe taking a caravan, the site's open again and I really need to be somewhere flat with no stairs if I'm on my own," he told her, laying it on.

"Aw, poor Alec. Don't go back then?"

"I can't Daisy and you know why? You and your mum have your own lives now, you don't need me in your way all the time."

"You're not in the way Alec," Tess told him as she handed him and Daisy their plates. "As far as Dave is concerned, he knows you need to keep in touch with Daisy. You've no idea how hard it is to pretend we're an arguing divorced couple."

Alec smiled. "You didn't do bad in front of Ellie Miller though?"

Tess saw the funny side. "Well it worked, I had to put on a good show. What time are you meeting Pete Tyler?"

"He'll sent a message when he's on his way. I think he wants to go play golf first. He sent a message to say that was his excuse to his wife."

"I'm surprised he didn't want to bring her with him? They say the way those two made up after she came back, it's like she's a completely different woman. Then when she had their son, well it sparked the rumours even more. Don't you remember Alec?"

"What?" he asked, trying to squint at the newspaper headlines without getting his specs out, Daisy screwing her face up trying not to laugh at him.

"Put your glasses on," she hinted.

"I don't need them for the large print," he insisted. "What don't I remember?"

"About Jackie Tyler, when it was reported she'd been turned into a Cyberman."

"I was not around then, was I?" he asked, trying to remember what he'd supposed to have been doing at the time and hoping Tess would give him a hint.

He and Pete had already come up with an elaborate story but sometimes, it took some keeping up with.

"Oh, I forgot, you were the head of that Norwegian task force. I meant when she came back after three years of Pete thinking she was dead. It must have been a shock, her getting her memory back?"

"I expect it was, I never really followed up on what happened after they escaped to wherever they went."

"They went to a parallel world," Daisy joined in.

"I don't know where you get your ideas Daisy Hardy," Tess shook her head.

They had agreed that Tess would go back to her maiden name but Daisy would keep his, since Pete had gone to a lot of trouble.

"She could be right Tess, where else would they go eh? They never found out properly, it was all speculation and they could not have vanished into thin air. Do you think they are somehow trapped between worlds or something?" he smiled, knowing hopeful, that was indeed where they still were.

"Read too many comics as a boy Alec?" Tess teased him.

"Aye, something like that, eh Daisy?"

"Don't ask me, you never talked about your past except Norway. What was so special about living in Norway? It must be freezing up there all the time?"

"You get used to it."

"Rather you than me. Anyone would think you're trying to hide something," Daisy smiled, reaching for his top jacket pocket and bringing out his glasses.

He took the hint and put on the rimless glasses he'd chosen when he'd had to admit he really did need them for the finer print, despite Rose saying he wore them because he was showing off. He was hiding something and spending ten years in a small Norwegian town was a perfect cover story, since no-one would bother checking up and he could pronounce the name though no-one else could.

"So you think Mrs Tyler is a fake then?" he asked, trying to keep up.

"I didn't say that, I just said it was a bit strange, her coming back like that then Pete adopting the young woman who'd looked after her when he found out her mother had actually been killed by them."

Pete had told him the story they had put out to cover Jackie and Rose's arrival, which now was under a sort of investigation by the deputy director of Torchwood. It was only a matter of time before Rose's real past would be unravelled if this world's Yvonne Hartman had her way and he was going to do everything he possibly could to stop that from happening by volunteering to keep her safe, since getting involved directly could also put him in danger of being exposed.
Chapter 6
Pete arrived in Sandbrook and Alec was waiting in the hotel bar where Pete was staying.

"Thanks for meeting with me Alec, how are you doing?" Pete asked as they sat in a corner away from everyone.

"Not bad now, you can thank Daisy for giving me the push I needed but it could have waited."

"Maybe but for how much longer?"

"Well, you did not come here to talk about me. How's Rose doing?"

"Still edgy, she's asking when I can safely send her away and that's not like her. I take it you read up on what's going on?"

"Yes, after your call, with you giving me access. Yvonne sounds like she's a real piece of work? How did she get on so fast?"

"We still don't know but she joined us highly recommended but she must have had this in mind since she started there."

"Do you know what brought it on?"

"My best guess is someone she knew or was related to blames us for what happened, you know, during the Cyberman attack. Maybe it was more personal but she's out for revenge and we should have seen it coming."

"You can't blame yourself Pete, you told me Rose's cover was almost as solid as Jackie and Mickey's. How's Jackie coping with it?"

"She doesn't know how serious it is but Rose is beginning to realise. I've got Jake and Mickey working full time on either ending this or getting Rose out."

"Well I can go back any time, just say. Did Rose tell you about the Yvonne on our world?"

"Yeah, she got taken and Jackie escaped. It could just as well been her."

"Well it wasn't so just be grateful Pete. I can't imagine what was going on when I sent Rose back with you then she came back. Thanks for that by the way, I had never been so scared in my lives as when Rose was heading for the void."

"Thank her mother Alec. She can be very insistent. As soon as we come up with something that will get Rose out of the firing line, we will but Yvonne will be watching closely. She's already got herself a spy in our camp by the name of Steve. He took Rose to the Christmas party last year but that's as far as it went. Don't take it the wrong way, there's been no-one all the time she's been here but she's letting him take her out tonight."

"I see. Well if she knows she's being spied on?"

"Yeah, she'll treat it as a fact finding mission, to see what he's up to and if Yvonne's sent him or not."

"And if she didn't? Is Rose seriously considering going out with him?"

"I can't tell you that Alec but I doubt she'll trust him now. Relax, if things blow over before I have chance to send her to you, I'll insist she takes a break and I'll bring her down myself. The rest is up to you two."

"How do you think she will react, when she sees me?"

"She's seen you on TV. She did quite well, considering."

"I see then. Can you let me have more access to Torchwood's files?"

"I'll try, you're down as police access, I'll see if I can increase it. I'll get Jake onto it. Just keep trying, you'll see a difference if I can get you in. How are Tess and Daisy?"

"Fine, though I think Tess gets a bit stressed when I'm around. She says it's not easy pretending to argue all the time."

"I can imagine," Pete smiled.

"So, is this man the only spy Yvonne has?"

"No, we think there's another, going after Mickey. He had his eye on someone, a new doctor who came from UNIT."

"Would that be Martha Jones by any chance?"

"You read up on her?"

"No, I used to travel with the other Martha Jones, after I lost Rose. The circumstances leading me here were somewhat unusual, maybe Yvonne realised something was going on that night?"

"I doubt it, she read the official report. It was well covered, trust me. I doubt it had anything to do with her coming to work with us. I think maybe she did lose someone, even though that was the old regime."

"Well once she has rounded up all the off-worlders, she may waste no time going after Rose then? You need to get her out Pete, you may not have as much time as you think?"

"I know that Alec, I'm hoping Jake will have come up with something. We have this device, called the dimension cannon, we think the Cybermen were going to use it once they'd finished 'upgrading' everyone. As far as we can tell, it measures different timelines, they were probably going to go back and invade another world and wipe out future generations."

"That would have been a disaster but you would have thought the more they converted, the better, surely?"

"No necessarily, they could achieve the same goal, made sure they got people before they had the means to fight back, like in Victorian times? There would have been no resistance."

"Well no, not unless I happened to be there?" Alec smiled. "So, what were you trying to get it working for? To send Rose back?"

"We did think about it but what would she be going back to? It's very experimental in theory but we can't get it working. I'd ask you to take a look but not now and besides, Rose has never mentioned anything about going back, not that she's accepted it's impossible."

"So, are you going to tell Yvonne you got it working, to get her off Rose's case?"

"We thought about it. We could use the excuse of Rose being absent to train for such an event. We may still go with it."

"Well, if she finds out about me, she may not be that keen though? I mean that would be the only reason she is remotely interested in it, is it not?"

"How did you guess?" Pete smiled, indicating to Alec to have another drink.

Alec shook his head. "So, I'll make my way back tomorrow night, just in case? I still have the key for my old place, not that it's suitable for company, I will see if I can get something else."

"Why, what are you renting? Don't worry about the cost, get a holiday cottage or apartment, I'll pay the difference."

"Thanks, I appreciate that. Can you get me back to work, even for a few hours?"

"Don't you want to spend time with Rose?" Pete asked, getting up.

"It's not that, she will get suspicious, me being there all the time. If I am out for a few hours a day, it will make it look like I'm not there just to watch her."

"I see. Makes sense I suppose. Sure you don't want another?"

Pete went off and Alec began to wonder how soon it would be before he saw Rose again. Since Pete's first call, it had got him missing her even more and he was thankful that Tess had not taken a liking to him romantically but even when Rose was around, he'd have to keep up the pretence because he had a feeling Pete wanted her to discover who he was for herself, which made sense.

They talked some more, then Alec said he should be making a move.

"So, what are you going to tell Tess?"

"The same as when I met her, that I was waiting for someone. She believed me when I told her I had lost someone and that I was sure she would come back."

"Well, you're about to get your wish, one way or another because if all this does die down, you deserve a chance with her. I can't predict how she'll react though, that's up to you. She may see through your disguise right away but if she doesn't, try giving her a few subtle hints," Pete smiled.

"Ah, you mean like wearing a brown pin-striped suit and trainers?"

"No, don't do that, Steve wears one and his hair's a mess."

"Really? Does she think he's me, in disguise then?"

"No, in fact she said the other day about it. Jackie's always on at her about getting a boyfriend and Rose said because he dressed like you used to, it doesn't mean he's going to get the job. Well, I'll be in touch with you shortly, we'll have to make a move sooner or later and having Rose out of the firing line gives us room to breathe."

"You can count on me Pete you know that?"

"Yeah. How does it feel Alec? Being well again and the prospect of seeing Rose soon?"

"You have no idea how long I have waited for that and I think if I'd not been ill, well I would have gone against your wishes and gone after her, it's been a bad time for me. When I arrived here, well I was not sure you would even help me but when you asked me to stay away from her, well it was one of the hardest things I've had to do, trust me."

"I know I asked a lot of you Alec but I had my reasons. Getting you established here was as important as their backgrounds and you getting to see her so soon, well you can imagine what it would be like now if that had happened? At least we've got you something solid."

"You mean like an ex wife and a teenage daughter? I hope Rose does not really believe it?" Alec smiled.

"Not once she finds out but until then, she has to be as convinced as everyone else so if she meets Tess, tell her to lay it on a bit thick eh?"

"I'm sure she will, she is well practised on that score though Daisy may give the game away, she finds it amusing."

"I bet she does? Well, it was nice meeting with you again, I hope to see you again shortly. I will deliver Rose myself, if I break Jake or Mickey off what they're doing, well it may give Yvonne the advantage. I can explain going away."

They got up and shook hands. Pete continued.

"Whatever you need Alec, your job back, a car, a place to stay, just call."

"I will, thanks. I will let you know where I choose but I may stay where I am until I get word."

"Good, then I'll know where to find you. Bye Alec."

Alec made his way back to the house he'd shared with Tess and Daisy for the short time he'd been with them. Pretending to be married hadn't been so bad but Tess had known from the start there was nothing romantic about their relationship, it was purely business, well platonic, like he'd been with Donna. When he'd arrived in Glasgow after Pete had persuaded him it was better than where he'd arrived from Norway, he'd retained his rank of DI and Tess had been his DC.

She had been troubled, finding herself stranded after a relationship broke up, leaving her and her then twelve year old daughter in a dismal B&B and her having to rely on the school's club for such pupils whose parents worked. That had given Alec the idea of a cover story, that and living in Norway for the last ten years or so, which got him out of being involved with both Cybermen events.

Tess had readily agreed, being told the minimum and they had moved into his comfortable two bedroom flat, Alec promising to get her back to Sandbrook if when they went back, they told everyone they had been married for the last thirteen years or so, before he'd supposedly moved to Norway.

That had saved a lot of explanations and no-one had bothered to check, Tess coming out with the excuse they had kept it all secret and saying she didn't want to talk about it but it had got talked about when they broke up so Pete had to find him somewhere fast and Broadchurch had been it.

Pete called Jackie to say he'd won at golf and would be back the next morning, saying his friend had insisted they had a large meal and a drink but he'd already said he would probably stay.

"How did Rose's date go?" Pete asked when he called just after ten.

"She's not back yet but that Steve's up to something Pete, I swear he is."

"How do you mean?" Pete wanted to know, not wanting to say he already suspected the man was up to no good.

"Well, he arrived at the front door and Linda let him in and he'd stood there with a big bunch of flowers and a big box of chocolates when he said Rose was expecting him. Then he asked if I was around, saying the flowers were for me and gave the chocolates to Rose."

"Well what's so strange about that?"

"Well Tony came out to see what the fuss was all about and Steve brought a car in a box out of his pocket, patted Tony on the head and asked how he was doing at school."

Pete had to laugh. To Jackie though, he couldn't say that was exactly what he would have expected. Yvonne had instructed him to go after easy targets, Jackie and Tony.

"So, what did Tony say to him?"

"Nothing much, he just grinned, took the car and tore the carton and said he hadn't got that model. Steve looked disappointed."

"Jackie, just relax love, he was only trying to make friends, to put Rose at ease with him, he's trying to convince her he's not her enemy. Rose knows he has a lot of convincing to do."

"So he's just using me and Tony, to convince her?"

Pete had to admit it. "Sorry but yes, I'll tell you why when I get back but don't worry, Rose can look after herself."

"I know, normally but all this is getting to her. When's it gonna end Pete? When are you gonna get rid of Yvonne?"

Pete had only told his new wife half of it, she'd be even more worried otherwise.

"I'm working on it love, it's not that easy, I wish it was. If I could go in on Monday morning and fire her, trust me, I would but it's now down to the board, she's wormed her way in and I let her."

Jackie felt sorry for him being in that position.

"It's not your fault Pete, no-one saw it coming. Mickey said him and Jake are as much to blame for it. I won't ask Rose how things went if she comes back before I go to bed. She'll tell me if she wants to."

Pete knew the two of them were very close but Jackie also knew when to back away. It hadn't been easy for Rose, she'd not wanted to get close to anyone after her pretend break-up, very publicly with Mickey, since she'd not supposed to have known him prior to becoming a member of the Tyler family.

While Steve had been waiting to pick Rose up, after she'd sent him a message to say she would go on a date with him, he'd rushed out to the florists and bought an expensive mixed bouquet then found somewhere to buy some expensive chocolates but if it got him invited back to the Tyler residence, he'd not think about claiming the cost back on expenses.

So he'd got out of his sports-type car and rang the bell and was greeting by one of the maids, Linda, who'd been told Miss Rose was expecting someone.

"Good evening sir, are you here for Miss Tyler?"

Steve had thought that was rather obvious.

"Well, yes, she's expecting me. Is Mrs Tyler around?"

"I'll go fetch her, if you'll wait here please?"

Steve stood in the fancy hallway, a sweeping staircase to his left and looking around, paintings and floral decorations. He heard talking and the maid came back out, followed by Jackie.

"Good evening Mrs Tyler, I trust you are well?"

Jackie had eyed him suspiciously, since Rose had changed her mind from the morning when she'd said she wasn't sure about her being asked out.

Jackie had asked why.

"Why Mum? He turned on us, that's why. Dad trusted him and he went to Yvonne's side, goodness knows what he's told her about me and the rest of you."

"You only went out with him twice Rose, what's he gonna have to tell her? You were careful, weren't you?"

"Of course I was Mum. Why d'ya think I never went out with anyone else? I can't let anyone get close to me, not now anyway and besides, he's only asked me because he's run out of things to tell Yvonne."

"That's not fair Rose, maybe he's not asking you for that reason?"

"Dad and Jake think so. I'll just have to see, won't I?"

Rose had heard the doorbell and looked at herself in the mirror. She really didn't want to do this, things were bad enough. She'd regretted saying she'd go but there was no other way to find out if Steve was genuine or not. Maybe he was but if so, did she want to get involved with him?

In some ways he reminded her of the Doctor even though he didn't really look like him apart from his suit and the hair, that detective down in Dorset looked more like him but from what she'd seen and heard about him, he was definitely not who she would have liked him to be. She picked up her small strappy shoulder bag and her jacket and made her way downstairs, to see Tony going off with something and Linda taking a bunch of flowers to the kitchen.

"Rose, there you are," her mother called as she looked up. She was well rehearsed in showing no emotion in company.

"Yeah, I heard the doorbell Jackie, thanks. Hi Steve, are those for me?" Rose asked, nodding at the chocolates.

"Ah, yes. Hello Rose, you look very nice," Steve managed, holding out the chocolates.

Rose took them and put them on a sideboard.

"So, where are ya taking me, I hope it's not anywhere fancy, I hate fancy food," Rose stated, looking at her mother.

Rose hated being hostile but if Steve were to report back to Yvonne that she and her mother were too comfortable with each other, that would be the end of it.

"You never complain when me and Pete take you somewhere fancy, Madam," Jackie replied.

"Only 'cos it's expected of me, why else do ya think I put up with it?"

"Sometimes you're very ungrateful, Rose," her mother told her, knowing this was only for Steve's benefit, thankfully.

Before Rose could say anything else, Jackie went back where she'd just come from. It wasn't easy for either of them to pretend they weren't really mother and daughter but it had to be done for both of them to survive. Very little was known as to how Rose had been welcomed into the family after she'd supposed to have reunited Pete with his wife and they all intended for it to stay that way so as Rose left with Steve, she was determined he was going to get nothing out of her and she would get everything she needed to tell Pete they were right about him.
Chapter 7
Steve had been the perfect gentleman all evening, from opening the car door and helping Rose into the passenger seat of his sports model car, since it was high up and he didn't want her to stumble to opening the door of the restaurant he'd made a booking at, hoping she would turn up.

He also bought her a single red rose from the small reception desk and had poured her two glasses of red wine, which Rose normally drank white but she had to make an exception at the Italian restaurant.

"This is very nice Steve, it seems expensive," Rose commented as they waited for the desert, Rose's favourite Tiramisu.

"I figured you were worth it Rose, considering I only asked you for a drink at first. So, do you go out a lot then?"

"No, just with Jackie and Pete whenever she feels like it. She's always wanting to celebrate something or other."

"I heard you reunited her with Pete?"

"Yeah, it took me a long time to figure out it really was her. Then it took me a while to convince Pete. We don't talk about it much. When she got back home, Pete couldn't think of a way to thank me so at first, he asked me to leave where I was working and stay and look after her, then when he found out I'd lost my own mother, well the rest is history."

That was the part Steve was most interested in and she didn't want to talk about it. Just his luck then. He knew he couldn't just go empty-handed to Yvonne on Monday so he had to get more information.

"Another glass of wine?" he asked hopefully.

Rose knew how to handle her drinks.

"No, I'm fine, I prefer white, with lemonade."

"Well maybe we can move to the bar area after desert?" he asked as the waiter approached them.

Before leaving, the waiter asked if everything was to their liking and Steve thought the man was flirting with Rose.

"Yes, it's fine. If you don't mind?" Steve asked, hinting the man should leave, since he seemed to be Italian and he was eyeing Rose.

"Of course, excuse me."

Rose saw the look on Steve's face. Why was he so jealous? Was he really interested in her? If he was, he was out of luck, how could she trust him now?

They eat their desert then getting up first Steve held Rose's chair while she got up and they moved to a corner table in the small bar area.

"I hope you enjoyed your evening Rose?"

"Yeah, it was nice to have some other company for a change. Jackie and Pete are always talking about how things used to be, before, you know?"

"Before what? Before she was lost?" Steve asked, hoping she would talk or did she know the purpose of this date? "So you never knew them, before you got them back together?"

"Well no, what would they want to do with me? I lived with my mum on a council estate and I worked in a shop, until mum was taken that night. I was convinced she'd come back but when she didn't, well the council were good and I claimed some special benefits, for those who had lost relatives then I thought if she was still out there somewhere, hospitals or homes were a good place to look but I tried everywhere, except a few private homes that were being used for those who had been caught up in things. I managed to get a job eventually at one of them and Jackie was one of the patients."

"So you made friends with her?"

"Yeah, she remembered some things, when I told her my name, she said her dog was called Rose."

Steve tried not to smile but Rose knew he thought it was funny, just like the Doctor had done.

"Sorry. So it took you a while to figure out who she was? Didn't the staff know?"

"No, things were pretty hectic, people were being found all the time. She didn't remember where she'd been before she got sent there but someone must have recognised her at some point to send her there but private homes were being subsidised since the health service homes were full. When I began to realise, I tried to help her remember and I got bits out of her, enough to think about calling her husband."

"So how did he react?" Steve wanted to know.

"You can imagine how many 'I know where your wife is' calls he got every day?" Rose smiled. "All the scroungers coming out of the woodwork but as I got more out of her, I managed to convince him to visit but she didn't recognise him at first. It took a lot of work, trust me."

"So he rewarded you by adopting you?"

"Yeah, it had been a while and in my spare time, I searched for my mum and he felt sorry for me."

"Was she against it?"

"No, not really. Her memory started coming back and I'd looked after her but sometimes she lapses into what Pete calls her old ways. They were on the verge of divorce before she was taken but having got her back, well then Tony came along. He doesn't know, he thinks I'm his real big sister but he knows something was wrong with her."

Steve hadn't learned anything not already in the official statement so he knew he had his work cut out, if he had to face Yvonne on Monday. He thought he could always claim Rose slapped his face and told him to get lost.

"Well, I suppose that was no compensation for losing your real mother? What about your dad?"

"He died when I was a baby. Mum brought me up on her own." At least Rose thought she could tell the truth on that score. "What about you, have you worked anywhere else?"

"I lived in the country, no Cybermen, they were stopped before they left London. Then I heard Pete had taken over Torchwood and I was still at university so I applied for a job. I've not worked anywhere else. I suppose I'm a bit boring really?" Steve smiled.

Rose wasn't really that interested, she was only trying not to let it be all about her.
"What made you take Yvonne's side? I mean if you joined because Pete took over?"

"Honestly? She started to make sense, after what happened before. How do we know others aren't plotting against us?"

"Why should they? They have the same rights as everyone else, what more could they want? If we went to their planets, would we get treated the same?"

Rose knew for a fact in most cases they would be but there were hostile planets out there.

"Well that's never going to happen, is it? Some space exploration we've come up with yet everyone wants to come here? What makes the earth such a popular place to aim for?"

Rose wanted to say because she was here, the Doctor had been the magnet back in her own world, now it was her and maybe Mickey and her mother, not belonging there but the other two had been easier to cover up.

"Well something made them come here but you know how most of them arrive?"

She was referring to the rift but that couldn't be discussed in public.

"Yes, I know Rose but Yvonne is right, it could get out of control."

"When has she said that?"

Steve knew he'd slipped up. "You know what I mean, it's heading that way."

"So, that's her next move? That's what's got her going?"

"Yeah, I expect so but it's no secret Rose, we all know that's where she's going with this. She'll put it to everyone eventually, when she's ready."

"Well now we know what to expect, don't we? I think I want to go home now."

"Right, yeah, of course. Are you still mad at me?"

"You said you wanted to come back to our side? You've not helped your case."

"I said I wanted to come back because she threw me out. I can help Pete, I can tell him what's going on, I have plenty of information he could use against her. Maybe I could talk to him when we get back, outside of work?"

"He's gone playing golf with his friend, he won't be back until morning but I'll tell him."

"That's fair I suppose? See what he says. Can you put in a good word for me?"

"I'll think about it but how do I know you won't do the same with telling Yvonne?"

"Rose, I'm hurt by that remark," he told her, helping her up. "What do I have to do to prove it?"

"I don't know, that's up to Pete, not me. Thanks for dinner Steve."

Steve had to hurriedly think of some excuse to get inside the Tyler mansion again, he had to get something to tell Yvonne or he really would be out. He couldn't really give up on what he believed in and he knew Yvonne was right, the aliens could already be plotting against the human race and Pete was willing to still accept them.

Rose kept quiet on the ride back. What had he expected from her? To turn her back on Pete? Well that was never going to happen.

Steve drove through the gate when Rose used her remote to get in, having remembered to take it with her or disturb one of the live-in staff.

"Do I get invited in for coffee?" Steve had the nerve to ask.

"I'm not sure I should but if you don't mind drinking it in the kitchen? I don't want to disturb mum, she might have gone to bed or be watching TV."

Rose let them in and led him to the kitchen but as they approached it, he stopped and took her arm.

"Remember you almost kissed me under the mistletoe?"

"That was because it was tradition Steve and everyone made such a big deal out of it."

"Don't you like me that much?"

"I'm still not sure about you Steve but after the party, well you never asked me out again and it's been over three months."

"I told you it was because of Mickey but I think he likes Martha in medical."

Rose knew he did and was thinking about the warning she'd given him about Martha Jones.

"So does that mean you want to ask me out again?"

"Well, that was the idea? How about next Friday? We could go see a film and have a drink?"

"I'll let you know, it depends what Pete thinks about your offer to tell him things about Yvonne."

Steve got closer. Rose thought he wasn't that bad but he was no replacement for the Doctor. He thought trying to steal a real kiss may be worth a slap on the face.

Rose considered for a few moments and wondered what she had to lose, if Steve was for real and he wanted to be a spy in Yvonne's camp, she was going to do the same to them and Mickey. The kiss was just short and sweet but Rose didn't want to get too close to him.

"I'll see you at work on Monday then?" Steve asked, pleased with himself.

"How about Sunday lunch tomorrow? I'll talk to Pete when he gets back and text you if it's okay. Don't worry, Jackie won't be cooking, she has staff to do that. Do ya still want that coffee?"

"No, I think I'd best get off home but thanks. Yeah, lunch would be nice."

"We eat at two, I'll only text if Pete disagrees. Jackie's always saying I should get myself a boyfriend and stop hanging around with Tony all the time."

"Good advice. Night then?"

"I'll see you out. Goodnight Steve."

Steve went off thinking he may be finally getting somewhere and would it be so bad to have the Vitex heiress as his girlfriend? If Yvonne was agreeable, he could give Pete some information as to what she was up to, things she was already planning but he knew deep down that Yvonne had more potential in the organisation than Pete did, more and more people were joining her side every day and it was now only a matter of time until she went to the board with the intention of ousting the now director and taking his place.

Where would that leave Rose, Smith and Simmonds though? Would it be such a good idea to be seen going out with her should Pete lose power? Still, he could make the most of it while it lasted, if she'd not had a boyfriend since Smith but what had she seen in him?

Rose had gone to make herself a drink when her mother wandered in.

"I thought I hard voices? Where is he then?"

"He went home. I invited him to lunch tomorrow, thought I'd best warn you, if dad agrees."

"Why wouldn't he?" her mother asked, filling the kettle with water.

"Steve's Yvonne's spy in case you'd forgotten? You know dad hates us pretending we're not a real family when we're at home. It's bad enough at those parties you're expected to throw spontaneously."

"You think I enjoy them? Lucky for me the other Jackie was supposed to have had her memory wiped 'cos I don't know half of what the guests are talking about and thankfully, they don't talk about the night she was taken."

"Well that's because dad told them all it might give you a relapse," Rose smiled.

"I know it affects you too sweetheart, you and the Doctor being here that night. Do ya really like Steve?"

"A little bit, if he'd not betrayed dad's trust. He blames Mickey, for not asking me out again but I'm not sure that's the only reason. I think he was with Yvonne when she first started drumming up trouble, before Christmas. A lot of people think that's why she left just after it started, she didn't want to be seen socialising with everyone, that she thought it would look like she was already trying to lure people to her side."

"Well I don't know why she had to even start all that anyway. What have the aliens done to deserve what she has planned?"

"We don't know half of it yet but if dad agrees to let Steve back, we may get to know? He's already told me something, I have to tell dad when he gets back. It may just let Steve in."

"How about you Rose? Pete using you like that?"

"He's not using me Mum, honestly. I said I'd go along because he's trying to keep me out of it and I hate not being able to do anything. If I can do anything to help, including letting Steve take me out, then I'll do it but I'm not gonna let him be my boyfriend, not until I know we can trust him."

"You have to trust someone Rose. Pete called a while ago, he won at golf."

"Good for him. I'll take my drink upstairs, have you checked on Tony?"

"Not yet, you go, yeah?"

"The only good thing about all this is I get to pretend he's my real brother but I suppose he is?"

"Don't ask me out it works Rose, I suppose he is really, apart from Pete having to adopt you but I know how complicated it is. I don't pretend for nothing you know, in front of people."

Rose smiled. "Yeah, it's not easy for any of us Mum. We're happy though."

Alec had got home from his meeting with Pete and Tess was waiting up.

"How did it go then?" she asked.

"Fine, I have to go back to Broadchurch tomorrow night."

"Does he know you told me, about Rose?"

"I thought it best not to mention it but you deserved to know Tess."

"Don't worry Alec, I'm not jealous, why should I be? We'd still be in Glasgow if it wasn't for you. You're a good, kind man Alec and I'm glad Daisy talked some sense into you."

"Miller thought it was strange, how you went to collect me and fussed over me, considering we're divorced."

"Well, we do enough fighting in public, which is to expected but I know that's why you chose to move away. So, is she coming back?"

"Aye, hopefully not too long, things are changing all the time."

"I'd like to meet her? She'll have to meet Daisy I suppose, you can't just abandon her."

"I never intended to Tess, don't worry. I'll have to tell Rose it was all a cover story."

"Don't you think you should tell Daisy the full story?"

"Why?" Alec smiled. "She feels sorry for me spending ten years living in Norway."

"Very funny Alec, you're letting her. Anyway, don't let me keep you."

"Thanks, for being so understanding Tess."

"Don't thank me yet, you're on your own when Rose does come back to you. Why has she been hiding all this time anyway?"

"Pete thought it best, until the time was right. She may not have accepted me, coming back to her like I did. You're the only person apart from Pete that I trust with this."

"I know, your secret's safe with me."

"You've been very calm about it all. I thought you were going to say something to Daisy when we were talking about where the Cybermen went."

"Well I couldn't let on, could I? Besides, I'm really not sure about Mrs Tyler," Tess smiled.

Alec saw the irony in Tess's statement. If he hadn't met both versions of Jackie Tyler, he wouldn't have been sure either. He was glad though that he'd brought Tess in on some it, all this time waiting for Pete to say he could see Rose again he would have gone crazy if he'd not had someone to confide in. It was all very well for Pete, he wasn't the one who had missed Rose so much both before and after he'd arrived unconventionally on this world but he saw his point.

Entering into Rose's life again after so long without taking precautions would have put them both in danger, if Yvonne ever worked it out that he was the one who had helped liberate London from the Cybermen but he did wonder what Pete had come up with on that score. Maybe he just left Rose and himself out of the story, there was no-one left from that night to say any different. Well so everyone concerned thought.
Chapter 8
The next morning, Pete returned home and Rose was waiting for him.

"So how did your date go?" he asked her.

"He went to a lot of trouble, taking me to a fancy Italian restaurant. I invited him for lunch today, if you don't object?"

"No, it will give me a chance to see if he's genuine or not. You're not serious about him are you?" Pete asked, thinking it would be a shame if she was then he took her to Alec Hardy or rather the Doctor's twin brother.

"I don't think so. I warned mum."

"Good, at least she has an excuse if she makes a mistake eh?"

"I heard that Pete Tyler," Jackie laughed as she entered the sitting room with Tony.

"Mum, why do you always use dad's full name when you're telling him off?" Tony asked innocently.

Rose had to smile.

"Never you mind Tony," his mother told him. "So, is Steve coming for lunch then, I'll have to tell the cook to lay an extra place."

"I guess so," Pete told her. "Let's see shall we? Tony, we'll have a guest for lunch, best behaviour, yes?" his dad asked him.

"Yes Dad, I know. Mum, will you be forgetting things again?"

Pete patted his son's head. "You just look after your mum if she gets asked some questions eh? You know she forgets things?"

"Yeah and she says stuff that no-one's heard before. You are getting better, aren't you Mum?"

"Of course she is son, she just needs a bit of help, that's all," Pete answered for her.

"What about you Rose? Are you helping mum?" Tony asked her.

"We are all Tony. It's only Steve that's coming, the one from last night."

"Is he your new boyfriend?"

Pete looked at her.

"I don't know yet, let's wait and see? Want to go play football for a while?"

"Yeah, okay Rose. Mum, are you coming to watch?"

Steve decided that since Rose hadn't sent a message telling him not to bother, he may as well stop off and buy a bottle of wine for his hosts. He was just getting ready when his mother stopped him.

"Are you seeing that girl again Steven?"

"Yes and her name's Rose, Mum."

"Is she the one from the Christmas party?"

"That's her, Pete Tyler's adopted daughter. I told you about her.

"Then why did you do nothing about it, before now?"

"That's a good question Mum but we're on opposing sides at work. Remember I told you about everyone being divided?"

"She is? Well she's bound to take his side. Why don't you go back? If you ask me, that Yvonne's a trouble-maker."

"She's the deputy director Mum, if I go against her now, well it would be very bad for me. You know I've not worked anywhere else."

"I was so proud of you when you got that job at Torchwood. You shouldn't turn your back on your friends though. You should ask Rose out properly."

"I'm thinking about it, trust me. I just have to find a way so I can keep my job and win Rose over."

Steve found the gate of the Tyler mansion was open and stopped just by the side of the house next to the latest model silver Lexus 'Pete 1' and thought the man liked to show off then he remembered Rose had said Pete had been away playing golf somewhere but had that been an excuse for a secret meeting with people he was trying to get on his side or some other secret meeting?

Steve had been away at boarding school all those years ago, not at uni like he'd told Rose he'd been. His father, Steve Roberts senior had been high up in Torchwood, before it was a sanctioned organisation like it was now, which Pete had been responsible for. Then four years after his father had been killed by the Cybermen, he'd put himself through university and got in at the newly re-formed Torchwood to find out where his father had been the night the Cybermen invaded.

His mother had never told him the full story, she said she was too upset and that his father had never said where he was going that night but he suspected it was to do with Torchwood or something related to it and he'd found out Pete Tyler had been backing their work secretly, which he now knew had got the man where he was today. Yvonne though was about to spoil that, which was why he'd been easily persuaded to join her – after she promised she would find out how his father had been killed because she had lost someone that night and held Torchwood responsible for letting the Cybermen escape.

All he could do was continue to spy for Yvonne and hope she would discover the truth but he already knew Pete had something to do with it, Jackie Tyler back then was notorious for holding parties and the night everyone had been captured or killed, it was her birthday party because he remembered his mother saying she was supposed to have been going but she'd not been well. His father had said he wouldn't bother going either but he'd gone somewhere else. Now it was all making sense, of sorts.

He had to find out more about the Tylers, especially Rose and where she fitted in all this because her story of looking after Jackie somehow didn't fit although Yvonne seemed to believe it but she'd not lost her father, just a cousin. He got the bottle of wine he'd called for and went to knock on the door.

Tony had worn Rose out so she'd gone for a rest and he was still excited about having company for lunch, especially someone new. He was used to Jake and Mickey always calling round and bringing him presents, which usually got them told off by his mum.

"Mum, is Steve going to Rose's new boyfriend?" Tony asked as she wiped his face again.

"I don't know Tony, she never said. Now, you know how to behave in company? You call him 'sir' unless he tells you to call him Steve and we don't talk out of place."

"I know Mum, we don't talk about when you were away, do we?"

"No, we don't now go find your sister, tell her Steve will be here soon. Don't forget to bring that car down that he bought you."

"I won't, I'll go get it. Can I ask him to see my car race track?"

"Maybe not today, I think your father wants to talk to him."

"Is it about Rose?"

"Maybe. You'll understand when you get older. Go on and don't go getting dirty again."

Tony went off to find Rose and wandered upstairs, knocking on her door, waiting and hearing a 'come in' from her.

"Hiya Rose, did you get tired after playing football?" he grinned, sitting on the bottom of her bed.

"Come here you little monster," Rose smiled, moving towards him and going to tickle him.

"Are you nervous, about Steve coming for lunch?" Tony giggled when she stopped.

"No, not really. It's just lunch Tony, don't take any notice of mum fussing around. You know she likes to ask a lot of questions?"

"Yeah but she just told me to behave and not to talk too much."

"I know it's difficult Tony but mum doesn't like being reminded of what happened to her. You know it gets her confused?"

"I know. I don't want to upset her, honestly."

Rose pulled him for a hug. "I know you don't and when you get older, they'll tell you why mum was away."

They were on their way downstairs as Steve was being let in and Tony started giggling and nudged her.

"Is he going to be your boyfriend Rose? You never had a boyfriend except Mickey and I don't remember him being your boyfriend."

"We'll have to wait and see, Mickey keeps putting him off and now there's something else besides him having to pass mum's test."

As they were having lunch and chatting about things in general, Alec was getting ready to leave Sandbrook. His train was at five thirty and Tess and Daisy were seeing him off. Daisy stood in the small bedroom's doorway, studying him.

"I wish you didn't have to leave so soon."

"I know but I have to try and get my job back, at least part-time. I've had enough rest these last few months. How are you getting on with Dave?"

"Okay I suppose, though he's not as enthusiastic as you are when it comes to doing anything as a sort of family, not like we used to, before you and mum were supposed to have divorced. Can I ask you something?"

Alec indicated for her to sit on the bed. Daisy trusted him and he supposed he'd been a better father to her than the jerk who had dumped them in Glasgow but Tess had never said it that had been Daisy's real father or not and he'd never asked.

"Is it about my surgery because I am fine now."

"No, I know you're fine now. It's about Mr Tyler. I know he helped us move back from Glasgow, I mean I was only little when we moved there and mum didn't like it much but why did he help us? He helped you get moved from Norway, right?"

"Yes, we'd met and he said if there was anything he could help me with, to say."

"So why did you move suddenly?"

"It got too cold," Alec grinned, fastening his case and wishing now he'd just left most things at the chalet but he'd not expected to be going back or seeing Rose so soon.

Daisy smiled. "Really, is that the best you can do?"

Alec raised his eyebrows, an old habit of his, well in this regeneration anyway.

"Daisy, I am not trying to hide anything from you, not this time and I'm sorry me and your mum never told you how ill I was until I almost died. Pete and I, well we'd met a long time ago, before I went to Norway and then I met his adopted daughter Rose."

"So you got involved with her? The story is that she never knew them, before that time."

"You have to promise not to tell anyone because if you do, she and her family will be in danger."

"Wow, it sounds serious then?"

"It is. It goes back to the Cybermen attack. She and I were there that night, we got out and we helped Pete but his wife went off screaming somewhere. Then the Preachers came along, took us with them and Pete revealed he'd been the one helping them by giving them information. Eventually, we freed those who had been captured but a lot of people died."

"Including Mrs Tyler?"

Alec didn't know where he was going with this. All he could do was hope if she and Rose ever met, Rose would go along with yet another version of what happened that night. He'd told Tess most of it, about coming accidentally from another world, going back and letting Rose be brought here when the Cybermen had crossed over but he'd not told Daisy before.

"I honestly don't know, I wasn't there all the time but Pete wanted to thank me for helping. Rose was there that night, with me but we went our separate ways and no, she didn't meet Jackie Tyler in a home. She was never found and Pete met Rose's mother, they could have been twins."

"Wow, so she's not the original one? Does mum know all this?"

"Yes, she does and I said I was not going to tell you but you're old enough to know."

"So all this time, Rose's mother's been married to Pete Tyler? Why the cover story?"

"Because now, if it all comes out, well there are people who may make a scandal out of it."

"So what about Rose?" Daisy could tell by the look on his face. "Oh. You two were friends, romantically?"

"No, just good friends and now I'm back, well Pete wants me to back off until he's had time to see how she feels about it. My coming back after being away so long, well she might not forgive me."

At least that part was true he thought.

"You want her back though? All this time, you thought about her. Is that why you never got close to my mum?"

"Partly and mainly because she made it perfectly clear it was only to get back here. I think she'd had enough of men at the time and when she started seeing Dave, I got out of the way. It was only fair she had a chance with him."

"They're getting nowhere fast though. I mean he's separated but he won't do anything about it. Maybe mum should give him a shove?"

"That is up to her. You can't tell anyone Daisy, Pete is the head of a very powerful organisation, not just Vitex and if certain people were to learn the truth, it would ruin him. I'll tell your mum I've talked to you about it but don't go discussing it. Just forget about it, that's why we never wanted to involve you."

"I get it Alec, really. Thanks for trusting me."

"Aye, well, you probably saved my life by giving me that push. Now we are even."

Daisy went off to get ready for the trip to the train station and Alec took his things downstairs. Tess was in the kitchen, clearing up after a late lunch.

"I had to tell Daisy a few things," Alec admitted.

"Oh. What sort of things? Just so I don't trip myself up with her?"

"The story I first told you."

"Oh, well if that's all, I think I can remember it. So, when will Rose be with you?"

"Soon, I hope but he wants me to let her find out for herself who I am so I'll have to be careful and Daisy won't be able to visit for a while."

"Do you think she'll guess?"

"I hope so, I won't make it difficult for her. He did say I could drop a few subtle hints though," Alec smiled.

"You seem so different now," Tess observed, putting the last of the dishes away. "Not only looking better after your surgery but since you found out you'd finally get to see her again."

"Tess, you have no idea what that means to me, after all this time. I can't just tell Daisy what I told you but maybe one day, when it's all over?"

"You mean Rose not being in danger of being found out? Just keep her safe Alec, that's all you can do."

"I know that but that's not me, taking the back seat. I should be there for her now, before things get out of hand."

"Then you'd risk yourself, barging in there, you know that?"

"Maybe it would be worth it?" he asked sadly.

"No, how can you help her then Alec? She's going to need you to get her though this, who else can?"

Alec knew she was right, what good would it do Rose if he himself were to be investigated by Yvonne Hartman? He knew enough of the one from their world to know she meant business and when she started on Rose, it was up to him to make sure nothing happened to her because apart from Jake and Mickey, who were already busy trying to protect her, there was no-one else Pete trusted.

Tess and Daisy took him to the train station and walked onto the platform with him.

"Call soon Alec, let me know how things are?" Tess asked him.

Daisy had her arm looped in his.

"Yeah Dad, are you going back to work now?" Daisy asked, looking around to see if there was anyone she knew.

"I hope so, I've done enough lazing around for a while."

"Maybe I could come for a visit, in the summer holidays?"

"Aye, maybe, if you can put up with me eh?"

The train pulled in and Daisy picked up his shoulder bag and helped put his things in the doorway, then kissed his cheek.

"Bye Daisy, thanks for looking after me," he told her as Tess stepped up.

"Bye Alec, let me know when you get back."

"Aye, I will." Then he remembered they were supposed to be enemies in public. "I expect you're glad I'm leaving?"

Tess got up close to him. "Bye Alec, take care."

Then she went back to Daisy as he stood in the doorway, the train guard ready to close the doors.

Alec gave them a wave and went to put his luggage in the rack and found himself a double seat, expecting to have to share at some point. The ticket collector came round and Alec asked if they would call out when the train arrived in Broadchurch.

"It's all automated now Sir," the man told him pointing to the display above the door.

"Does it talk to you as well?" Alec asked dryly.

"Yes Sir, so if you have your eyes closed, you'll still know. I've never had to turn anyone off because they've gone past their stop," the man grinned.

Alec thought there was always a first time but it wouldn't be him and his still superior hearing. He did think though he'd been somewhat cheated with his vision, his 'brainy' specs as Rose had called them were now needed for real, on the finer print as he'd insisted to Daisy. He tried to get as comfortable as he could and began thinking about Rose, how close he was to seeing her and according to what Pete had said, she would be grateful to go anywhere out of Yvonne's clutches, even to Broadchurch.

How was he going to handle this though? He couldn't come right out with 'Rose, it's me' when she first arrived. No, he had to get her to trust him first, pretend that Pete had told him all about her past and that he believed it and wanted to help her. One thing though, now he'd finally been given another chance with her, he was going to finish the end of that sentence he'd started and when the danger was over, he wasn't letting her go this time.
Chapter 9
Lunch over, Rose asked Steve if he wanted to walk down to the pond with her.

"So, this is quite a big estate then?" Steve asked her.

"A few acres. Pete has patrols at night, lucky you didn't see them last night?" She saw the worried look on his face. "I was joking with ya. They were told someone would be bringing me back and as long as you went out of the front door, they would have left you alone."

"So they would have been onto me had you shown me out of the kitchen door?" Steve tried to joke.

"Aw, I'd only have done that if you'd tried anything else."

"So the kiss wasn't so bad then? I've never known you to have a boyfriend, well at least while I've been at Torchwood anyway. How come you dated Mickey?"

"I'd just arrived here, Pete already knew him of course and Mickey was just trying help me settle in. He got too much though, I could hardly breath sometimes."

"He was jealous even then?"

"You could say that. Are you the jealous type?"

"If I said yes?" Steve joked. "No, it's been a while since I had a girlfriend, well not since university, well nothing serious. You don't trust me though?"

"I want to, honestly but with things being as they are."

"I totally understand. It's just bad timing then?" He took a chance and sat her on the wall surrounding the garden pond and fountain. "So, if I were to try again?" he asked, leaning over.

Rose wasn't so sure but it had been a long time since she let anyone get close.

"I'm not sure Steve, it's just how I feel. Pete wanted to talk to you later."

"I guessed that was why you invited me? I want to be your friend Rose, really I do but we've been on opposing sides and I know it's not easy for you to trust me. Maybe we should leave this for now but I want you to think about going out with me, once Pete agrees to let me back."

"Yeah, I'll think about it. We should go back now."

"Yes but if Pete does agree, say you'll go out with me next Friday night?"

"We'll see yeah? I'm not saying no but what if Pete does let you back? Everyone knows we were on opposing sides."

"Let them talk, why should we care? Yvonne's not bothered about me now, I'm out as far as she's concerned and she wasn't interested in anyone's relationships outside work. As long as we keep it low-key, no-one will notice."

"They did the other day."

"So what? You told them off," Steve smiled.

"Well they shouldn't be so nosy, should they?" Rose grinned.

While Rose was out with Steve, Pete was considering letting him back onto their side, just to see how far he would go. He knew Steve would be playing both sides but giving a bit of false information to Yvonne may have its benefits. If she thought he was spying for her, she would expect him to offer to work both ways and no-one was going to win this. He got his phone out and called Jake.

"Sorry to bother you on a Sunday," Pete apologized.

"No worries where Rose is concerned. I was just taking a few hours off but I think we should go with the training exercise for the cannon project."

"That's what I was calling about but we have another problem. Steve's here, trying to make friends with Rose."

"Oh. I thought she'd have seen through him?"

"She had but I'm not so sure now. They went out last night, then she invited him for lunch and I've not had chance to talk to her properly."

"She won't let him get too close to her, not until she's sure. How did your meeting with Alec go?"

"Fine. He was clearly delighted at the prospect of seeing Rose again but will she be willing to go off if Steve checks out?"

"Then we have to either delay the decision to let him back or get Rose away quickly. She'll think our concerns are founded and we need to get her away."

"Right, next Thursday then, I take her there, give Alec time to find somewhere else to rent, he's in a riverside chalet at the moment, not the best of places for either of them. We'll know by then if Steve checks out but I've been thinking about him."

"Why? Whether you can trust him or not?"

"No, he somehow seems familiar, I never thought about it until recently."

"In what way Pete?"

"I can't put my finger on it. It's like he was so enthusiastic when he first came to work for us but he was one of the first to turn to Yvonne's side. Does she have something on him?"

"I'll do some digging on him then? Maybe she promised him a promotion but it's all turned sour on him?"

"Maybe. I'll call Alec tomorrow, he was travelling back tonight. If I give him something to work on, finding a place by Thursday, it will keep him focused."

"I can't imagine what it's been like for him. How has he managed all this time?"

"I've no idea Jake, it must have driven him crazy. If it had been anyone else, he wouldn't have had so much control over it but now, Rose is all he'll be thinking about. If he needs help, he's only got to call."

"Yeah, count me in if he needs anything. Do you want me to go with you?"

"No, me being missing will be hard to explain but you should start making arrangements to have people back in to go over the specs of the device. We know we won't get it working but it will give Yvonne something to keep her occupied. Make it known that we'll be training people up for it, if we do get it working and you'll be in charge. We can send Rose off for a few days relaxation to cover it then hire that training facility again and that will explain her absence."

"What about Mickey? He'll be expecting to be included."

"I have something else in mind for him, leave him to me and Yvonne won't get suspicious either. Right, I think I heard Rose come back in, time to see what Steve's really up to."

"Well whatever you decide, he can't know we're planning on sending Rose away."

"Don't worry, he won't find out from me."

Rose was just making some tea when Pete found them.

"Steve, Rose said you wanted to talk to me?" Pete asked him.

"Well yes. Yvonne's got no use for me any more, she threw me out."

"When you say no use?"

"I meant that she wanted me to try to get others to join her."

"What others?"

Steve tried to look away. "Mickey and Jake."

"Rose as well?"

"No, she never said anything about Rose, she knew that would be no good."

"Tell Pete what you told me, last night," Rose encouraged him.

"About Yvonne? Mr Tyler, I think what Rose means is that I told her that Yvonne may be trying to persuade everyone things are getting out of control."

"What did she mean by that?" Pete asked him. "Does she mean me in particular?"

"No, I'm sure she never meant that. I think she meant the amount of aliens already here and if more were to keep coming, it would get out of control."

Pete somehow doubted that was what Yvonne actually meant.

"Okay, I'll discuss it with Jake and Mickey during the week but I'm making no promises. You may as well know that I'm considering restarting the cannon project."

Pete thought that was as good a way as any to get Yvonne interested.

"Really?" Rose asked, trying to make it sound that he'd not mentioned it before.

"Well I've been doing a lot of thinking, we might be able to get some of our visitors back, those that claim they're from a parallel dimension. It'll take a lot of testing before we really use it for that purpose but maybe that will keep Yvonne happy, to see we're doing something to get them back?"

Steve now thought Yvonne might be pleased with that news, if she got it before everyone else.

"So are you putting it to the board?" Steve asked Pete.

"Well let's see what the experts make of it first? They were keen at first but when they were getting nowhere, they soon gave up but I think it's worth another shot. It might even solve a few problems?"

Rose didn't know if that was directed at her or not but thought it a ploy to get Yvonne off their backs and give them some breathing space.

"I don't want to get involved again," Rose insisted.

The thought of making something unworkable actually work was bad enough but it would need testing and however much she longed to see the Doctor again, Pete would never send her until it was fully tested.

"That's a shame Rose, I thought you'd be first in line," Pete smiled. "We'll discuss it later but I want you and Jake to get ready for some training."

"Do I have to?"

"It will include a spa break, to get you ready."

He thought he may as well get everything into place for her sudden disappearance and if Yvonne found out, it would cover their tracks nicely.

"Well in that case?" Rose grinned, thinking at least if Pete still planned on getting her out of Yvonne's firing line, at least it might be believable.

"Seriously?" Steve asked. "You plan on going ahead, trying to get it working again and you send Rose to a health spa?"

"Things are tense at the moment Steve, you know that," Pete defended his decision. "Anyone involved in the training needs to be focused and all this who's on whose side is doing no-one any good. Besides, I'll have to clear it with the board but I have to make sure it's viable to put to them and Rose is due some leave."

"Yeah, it's been a while since I had a break Pete, the last time I went away, it was only for a week in Cornwall last year."

"Well I'll get onto it tomorrow but you could be off by next weekend."

Rose knew what he was doing and was willing to go along with it but if he was sending her to a spa, she'd be bored after a few days and wondered what he really had in mind.

"So will you be discussing this at Yvonne's next meeting?" Steve dared ask, a bit disappointed that his plan to take Rose out would be put on hold.

"I expect I'll bring it up, I'm not going to keep it a secret. I've always been open about my plans, that's just Yvonne brainwashing everyone. Right, I'll leave you two to it.
Are you going out tonight?"

Rose looked at Steve.

"Maybe we can go see a movie?" he suggested. "We could go to the multi-screen, see what's on?"

"Yeah, that would be good. I'll go get changed then?"

Pete was hoping she wouldn't get too attached to Steve because if he was right and there was something off with him, it would upset her plus in a few days time, she'd be with Alec, where she really belonged. He'd not liked keeping them apart all that time but now things were the way they were, he was glad he'd insisted Alec had kept his distance. He just hoped Rose would soon realise who Alec actually was and that he'd make it easy for her. She had once told him the Doctor had a terrible Scottish accent but he'd seemed to have perfected it since being here.

When Rose got back from the cinema, Steve just dropped her at the front door, daring to steal a goodnight kiss.

"See you at work tomorrow then?" he asked as Rose felt herself go red.

"Yeah, I enjoyed that film. Looks like Pete's spoiled our plans for next Friday night?"

"Seems so but when you get back?"

"When I get back he'll have me training, trust me."

"Well that depends, on Yvonne's reaction."

"I would have thought she'd welcome it? If it means sending some of the aliens back?"

Rose knew if they really did get it working, Yvonne would take it over and use it to her own ends, not for anyone else's and certainly not to send the aliens who'd been stranded back but that was down to Pete to stop her, if it worked. At least it would give Yvonne something to keep her occupied and hopefully it would make her look foolish when someone didn't come back but whoever she sent didn't deserve that.

"Well I suppose it should please her something's being done about the alien problem," Steve admitted, getting edgy and wondering if she'd invite him in.

Now Rose knew she was getting away, she thought it would give her time to think about how she felt about Steve. She also thought Pete wouldn't tell Steve if he was back in or not.

"Yeah. Night then, thanks for taking me out again."

"No problem, thanks for inviting me to lunch. I'll see you tomorrow, will you have lunch with me?"

"If I get chance, Mondays are usually a bit hectic, reports coming in over the weekend."

"I'm sure they are. You do a good job Rose, really you do but have you thought of doing something else?"

"How do ya mean? I don't just process alien visitors you know? Someone else said that to me on Friday. Gwen sent someone from her department, wanting a list of those I'd processed. I mean what was all that about?"

Steve already knew, Yvonne had told Gwen to get a list of those who hadn't registered though how she was going to do that, he'd no idea which was why Gwen had sent someone to see Rose.

"Do you register everyone?"

"What? Of course I do. How can you ask that?"

Rose knew he was trying to get information to give Yvonne tomorrow. Her being head of alien processing, for want of a better title, since there wasn't an official one and she did several other jobs between processing anyone who came to light was the perfect cover for herself. That was what was so wrong with Yvonne's outlook on things.

It was all very well her being against those who failed to declare themselves but half of the time, arriving on earth they were scared of being discovered until they'd met others and been assured Torchwood was their friend, not their enemy. Yvonne was going to drive them away from declaring themselves but maybe that was her goal? If it was, there was going to be trouble.

"Sorry Rose, I didn't mean anything by it. So what would Gwen's department be getting involved for?"

"I don't know, you tell me? I'd best get inside then, see you tomorrow?"

"Yeah, night Rose and think about lunch?"

Rose went inside and looked for Pete. He was in his study since Jackie was watching a programme he hated.

"Something wrong Rose?" Pete asked as she stood in the doorway of his study, the same one all those years ago the Doctor had seen the schematics for the Cybermen.

"Yeah, can we talk?"

Pete switched off his screen and indicated for her to sit.

"What's wrong? Is it Steve?"

"Yes and no. I think he just told me something else. Dad, we've got more trouble than we thought. I forgot to tell you that Gwen sent someone on Friday, for a complete list of declared aliens."

"Why would she do that?"

"Yvonne? It has to be. She's up to something Dad, something big."

"We have to get you away Rose so Wednesday, we tell everyone you're going to prepare for the cannon project. That gives us a week and then we say you're training at a private facility until you are ready."

"That may fool others but will it fool Yvonne?" Rose sighed.

"We'll keep her busy. I've got a task for Mickey, so he won't complain he's being left out. I'll have him try to talk to those who are undecided because it's leading to a showdown sooner or later. I'm just going to decide when it is."

"Well good luck with that but Yvonne's clever, she may already be plotting something big. Steve asked me if everyone who's come forward has been officially declared."

"Did he now? Do you think Yvonne put him up to it? What was he trying to suggest? That there are those out there you've not processed or turned a blind eye to or is there another reason?"

"She knows or she suspects that's why I was given that job."

"We don't know that yet love and she's not come directly after you just yet."

"Yeah but you're worried enough to send me away. Where are you sending me anyway? Two days at a health spa will be more than enough."

"Don't worry, it will be somewhere safe where Yvonne will never suspect, if she doesn't fall for the training mission. Pack on Wednesday night, we'll leave mid Thursday morning when the traffic is lighter."

"No clues then?"

"It's best you don't know love, in case Steve asks you any more questions."

"He wants me to have lunch with him tomorrow. Do you want me to stay away from him?"

"That's up to you, if you can handle things?"

He was hoping she would stay away from Steve for two reasons. He didn't want her to get too attached to him because she would be less willing to trust Alec and get close to him enough to discover who he was and the second reason being he'd heard back from Jake after asking him to look into the family of a past employee, one who was killed the night the Cybermen invaded and he had been right, young Steve Roberts did seem familiar and he should have realised.

If he'd known who Steve was, he would have spoken to him about that night and now he knew Steve blamed him for his father's death or disappearance even if he'd not know where he was that night. Everyone blamed Torchwood for them getting away and maybe that was the problem Yvonne had but she would never admit it. Should he say something to Steve or not?
Chapter 10
On his way home, Steve was going through what he had to tell Yvonne the next morning, which was plenty and the deputy director would be well pleased her little ploy was working. Ever since Yvonne had indicated for him to get close to Rose and find out what he could about her and the Tyler family, he'd quite liked the idea of her agreeing to go out with him.

At first he'd been reluctant to join Yvonne, then somehow she'd found out how he'd lost his father that night and she'd promised to find out what had happened but the more he asked, the more she had tried to put him off. Now though, he had enough for her to finally tell him, her saying when he did as she asked and found out what Pete was really up to he'd know the truth.

Alec had got back to his riverside home and began to unpack his things, again wishing he'd just left them here but he'd not known how soon he was going to have to come back. Now he had just four days before he would see Rose again and he had to find them somewhere else to live before then and on his way back, the caravan park was looking good temporarily.

There again, Rose might like living in this place, he thought to himself as he tried to put his case away in the smaller what passed as a bedroom. No, it wasn't practical to remain there, Rose would be having to squeeze in and out of the tiny spare room that he himself would never fit in. First thing in the morning, he was going to go see his ex boss and ask for his job back and if she refused, then Pete owed him.

Rose had left Pete and gone to her room after saying goodnight to her mother.

"How did it go then?" Jackie asked her.

"Fine, we just saw a film, nothing else. I'm not seeing him again, well only at work. He asked me out on Friday night."

"You said no?"

"I don't know yet Mum, honestly."

Rose didn't know if Pete had told her mother or not, about sending her away.

"I wish you'd start seeing someone Rose, I worry about you sometimes."

"I know Mum but I'm fine, honestly. I think I'll take a few days off and have a rest from it all."

"Good 'cos I think Pete was gonna send you away until all this blows over anyway. It can't be easy for you at work?"

"You can say that again Mum. Yvonne's bound to make a move sooner rather than later but I hate going off and leaving it for dad and Jake to sort out."

"That's what they want Rose, they know it's not been easy for you."

"Well I still don't like it, having to leave and now, I don't even know if I can trust Steve."

"He left Pete's side too easily for my liking."

"Yvonne must have had something on him or promised him something but how has everything got out of hand in three months or so?"

"No-one can answer that," Pete interrupted. "Rose, don't worry about being sent away, there's no need to feel guilty about it."

"I know but it doesn't stop me. What are ya gonna tell Tony?"

"The same as I tell Yvonne, you're training for a mission. He'll miss you but I'll tell him how important it is. I'll take you somewhere nice and quiet where no-one will bother you."

"Well no-one knows her anyway Pete, thanks to you keeping her out of the newspapers."

"Well when I was doing that, I never thought it would come in useful later. Jackie, I think Yvonne is trying to find out the truth, about Rose's adoption."

"I already guessed that Pete, why else would ya be trying to keep her safe. What else does that madam want?"

"She wants Torchwood Mum, or it's downfall."

"She's not getting either Rose, not if I have anything to do with it anyway. She may think she's winning but she's not. Rose, I checked up on Steve, or rather Jake did."

"Already?"

"Sorry but I think I know why he turned against us so easily. His father worked at the old Torchwood and he was here that night when the Cybermen invaded. I don't know what happened to him, whether he was killed or captured."

"That wasn't your fault, we were running for our lives," Rose assured him.

"I know but it doesn't make things right, leaving everyone to their fate."

"Listen to me Pete Tyler," Jackie told him. "I may not have really been here but you would never have left your first wife if you'd been able to find her, it wasn't your fault she went running off and probably trying to hide from them and it wasn't your fault the Cybermen broke in either. That madman Lumic was the one to blame, not you."

"Mum's right, he had it already planned, he must have done. Mickey said they saw them being unloaded from a truck, that was why there were so many of them and Lumic must have planned for no-one to get out alive. So, only three of us made it but we don't know how many were saved in the factory."

"I know, you're right but when I saw the other Jackie, I thought there was a chance she could be saved."

"We were just too late but she wouldn't have known anything about it, she was under Lumic's control."

"It didn't make things any better Rose. Never mind that now, getting you out of harm's way is our priority."

"Can't you tell me where you're sending her?" Jackie asked.

"Sorry love, the less you know the better but she'll be well looked after, I'm not leaving her on her own."

"Are you sending Mickey with me 'cos if you are, forget it. It was bad enough last year on holiday."

"No, I'm not sending Mickey with you but you didn't complain when he offered to go with you."

"You didn't have to put up with him trying all the local traditions, like only drinking cider."

That made Jackie laugh.

The next morning, Steve was waiting in Yvonne's outer office for her.

"Someone's keen this morning," Yvonne observed as he got up and followed her into her large office. "So, what have you got for me then?"

"Plenty Yvonne. Now will you agree to tell me what happened to my dad?"

"Maybe, well don't take all morning, I have other things to do. Did you take Rose out?"

"Twice and I think I'm getting somewhere with her."

"You've already said that Steve. Is that all you have?"

"No. Pete's thinking of reopening the cannon project and he's putting Rose on it and that means Jake as well."

"Really? He'll never get the board's approval."

"He seems to think he will, he's sending Rose on a break to prepare her for training."

"Is he now? Trust him to put Rose onto it. Did he say anything else?"

"A few things but isn't it a bit odd he's sending her away first?"

"I suppose so but nothing surprises me at the way he works. What about Jackie Tyler?"

"She was a bit distant towards Rose. I got invited for lunch yesterday and on Saturday night, well from what I gathered Rose doesn't like going out with them much nor Jackie's parties."

"So you were wrong about them at the Christmas party?" Yvonne asked, pouring her morning coffee and not offering Steve one.

"Why didn't you stay that night Yvonne?" Steve dared to ask.

"Really? Have everyone wondering if I was going to approach them to join my side? I know I was only just starting to make my feelings known about the way Pete ran things but everyone was getting to know about it. So, how is he going to get the project past the board?"

"He's bringing that team back first to go over it but he wants Rose to be ready. She said Gwen sent someone from her department to get a list of processed aliens."

"Did she suspect anything?" Yvonne wondered.

"She thought it a bit strange but she didn't say much. I asked her if everyone who declared themselves was officially processed," Steve admitted.

"What? You idiot, what did you ask her that for?" Yvonne asked, sounding annoyed.

"I thought she might admit to me some got through the net."

"Well, I would have asked that myself if I'd thought she was going to admit it. I take it she was suitably pissed off with you for even asking?"

"Yes, just a bit. She agreed when she gets back from training she might consider being my girlfriend though."

"Well maybe she wasn't that annoyed with you then? Keep on at her, take her to lunch but if she's being sent away, you don't have much time so don't waste it."

"I know. Now about what happened to my father?"

Yvonne reached into her desk drawer and pulled out a file marked 'Steven Roberts senior' and put it on the desk.

"It's all there Steve. You've done well for yourself, getting where you are today but that doesn't mean I'll let you back in officially, you have to get back in with Pete and if it means using Rose, then do it but after you read that, you may not want to have anything to do with him. If that's the case, I really can't use you any more, you'll be on your own. It's your choice Steve."

Steve took the folder and thought he'd best go back to his desk to read it and not do so in her presence.

"Thanks Yvonne, for getting me this, you don't know what it means to me, to find out after all this time. Is everything in here?"

"Of course it is, I've not left anything out, well maybe one thing. There would have been security footage that night but a lot of it was lost, there's only footage of what happened from outside the building."

"So my dad was at the Tyler mansion that night then?"

Yvonne nodded. "There's a memory card with what we could retrieve of it, Pete must have destroyed the rest but it shows people arriving and getting out of cars and how the Cybermen got in. You can see your father getting out of his car."

"He should have told my mother he was still going there that night. What happened inside?"

"It's all in there Steve, I had someone do some digging. Pete didn't remember to destroy everything but you can't blame him for trying. We found out some private videos were taken that night and they show Pete talking to your father and the president being killed. I'm not releasing it to anyone else, not yet and don't tell anyone or you know how we deal with people?"

"Of course not Yvonne, I just want to know what happened. My mum deserves to know."

"I'll make an exception then. Well get back to work then, don't let me stop you?"

"Yes Yvonne and thanks for this, it means a lot to me."

"You can thank me by getting back on Pete's side and work on Rose. Did she tell you anything about herself?"

"Not really, she doesn't trust me enough yet."

"Get her to trust you, that's the key to getting to Pete and the others. Getting her on our side would be the icing on the cake."

"She's very loyal to him. I expect she's grateful for all he's done for her?"

"I expect so but get her to tell you where she came from, where she grew up and her real mother, if Jackie isn't it."

"There's no way Mrs Tyler is Rose's real mother, they're so different and Rose complains about her."

"We'll see, if we can get Rose on our side. Take her to lunch."

"I already asked and she's not said no yet," Steve admitted.

"Good, if she's going away you'll have to work quickly. Did she say where she was going?"

"To a health spa apparently then to a training facility."

"Jake's secret training ground? Rose will know where it is, get her to let her guard down and find out why Jake's so secretive about it. It's like he does it to annoy me, just because he thinks he doesn't have to answer to me."

"I'll try and find out but it won't be easy and I only have a few days."

"Well get on with it then and if it means neglecting your duties, just do it. Tell anyone who objects that you're trying to get back in my good books, everyone will know by now that I've kicked you out."

"Yes Yvonne, I really hate everyone looking at me like they did on Friday. I hate being left out."

"You're not completely out, not yet but you still have to prove to me you can be useful."

"I can be Yvonne, honestly."

"I hope for your sake you can be."

Steve made his excuses and went to the office he shared with the rest of his department. Shelley Bates had always fancied Steve but these days he only had eyes and time for Rose Tyler. She let him sit down and put the folder on his desk then got up and stood in front of him.

"You're late Steve."

"So? I had something to do first thing."

"Siding up to Yvonne or Rose?"

"Neither if you must know, it's personal, Shelley."

"Be like that then but I heard you need all the friends you can get, now you're out of Yvonne's inner circle."

"Where does that leave you? You can't make your mind up," Steve retorted, a bit annoyed she'd decided to come over to him but the head of department was on his way to a meeting.

"I'm considering all my options, I'm not jumping into it like you did all of a sudden after the Christmas party. We should do that, weigh things up carefully and see who's right."

"Well I wasn't going to get left behind, was I? You may not have as much time as you think Shelley and neither do the rest of you. I saw you all looking when I was talking to Rose the other day and no, I've not been let back on their side."

"If you want back in, Pete will check you out first," one of the others told him.

"I already know that Jimmy, thanks."

"You'll get nowhere with Rose, not until Pete says they can trust you. How about lunch?" Shelley asked him.

"I don't think so, thanks."

"Please yourself but you'll be in for a long wait with stuck-up Miss Tyler."

"She's not stuck up and I'm not having this conversation with you."

He heard the others sniggering and decided to put the folder in his desk drawer. He didn't want anyone nosing around while he was reading what really happened that night and he'd waited all this time, he could wait a few more hours. He'd been right though, Pete did have something to do with it and if he found out that Yvonne had managed to get the information so easily, it may just get him back on Pete's side.

Did he want to be though if Pete's security had been breached so easily on the night it had happened and Pete had known all these years that his father had been there and had never said anything? Maybe Pete didn't know the man had a family, his father had never really talked about Pete Tyler to his knowledge. It still was no excuse for Pete not bothering to find out about those who had died that night in his home.

No, Pete had been too busy getting his company back, transforming Torchwood and adopting a young woman who'd looked after his wife, whom he'd thought was dead. Why did Pete get his wife back when his mother had lost her husband and he'd lost his father?

Rose had been called to Pete's office and was on her way to join Jake and Mickey, who looked like he always did, in a huff especially when he'd heard that Rose had seen Steve over the weekend. Before she'd arrived, Jake had mentioned it to Pete.

"Back down Mickey," Jake had told him. "She's doing it for a reason. Tell him Pete."

"All the same, why is she pretending she likes him?" Mickey huffed, folding his arms.

"Calm down Mickey," Pete told him, tired of Mickey getting so jealous. Just wait until he found out she was going to be entrusted so soon to the care of the Doctor's twin and not Alec Hardy, who everyone else believed he was.

Pete had decided not to say much else about the arrangements he was carefully making with Alec and Jake.

"Mickey, I asked her to find out what Steve was up to and that was the best way. Relax, I'm sending her away on Thursday."

"Who's going with her?"

"No-one, I'm taking her to Alec."

"So soon? I mean I know we talked about it but is it wise? What if she discovers who he is?"

"That's rather the point mate," Jake laughed.

"Easy for you to say Jake, she didn't leave you to go after his twin."

"Let it go Mickey and as for Steve, I'm delaying letting him think he's back in until Rose is safely out of the way. Mickey, I have another job for you."

"Why can't I go with her Pete?" Mickey complained.

Jake burst out laughing, "Seriously? Isn't that why you stayed here the first time?"

"Stop it Jake," Pete smiled. "Mickey, Yvonne would get suspicious anyway, I'm going to let it be known that Rose is taking a break prior to her going back on the cannon project."

"Yeah mate and you going to a spa with her will give the game away," Jake pointed out.

"Mickey, I want it to be known she's taking a break then going training and I want you going around openly, so Yvonne gets to hear that you're finding out who's still on our side."

"What? She already sent someone after me."

"Good and I want you to get Martha to help you," Pete told him.

"How do ya mean?" Mickey asked, a bit puzzled.

"Let her report back to Yvonne you've been sent by me to sound out all my remaining supporters, to see who's likely to remain and who will defect."

"Do I have to? I mean I like Martha but to let her use me like that?"

"We may as well take advantage of it Mickey," Pete told him.

"Yeah, everyone's having to make sacrifices," Jake reminded him. "I thought Rose was coming to this meeting?"

"I delayed her arrival. Mickey, do you agree to go along with it? We're doing this for Rose and she's not to know where I'm taking her or who will be looking after her."

"Reluctantly, yeah. I expect that will be the last place Yvonne would look for her but I wish it wasn't with him."

"Get over it Mickey, she won't even know who he is when she gets there, except for him being a detective," Jake chided him.

"She'll find out though, he won't be able to hide it from her, not after all this time," Mickey complained.

Pete sighed. "Alec knows what he has to do Mickey. He won't put her in further danger and he'll let her find out for herself who he is."
Chapter 11
While Rose was on her way to Pete's office, she ran into Gwen, which was rather awkward.

"Oh hello Rose."

"Hello Gwen, coming to spy on me yourself today?"

"What are you on about?" Gwen asked her.

"Sending someone to my office for a list of processed aliens. What was that all about?"

"Yvonne wanted it and I can't go against her," Gwen had to admit.

"I should have known. Still on her side then?" Rose asked, knowing what the answer was going to be.

"Yeah, she promised me a transfer back to Cardiff."

"Don't make me laugh Gwen, you know that's never gonna happen? Why didn't ya say you don't like it here, there are easier ways to get back home."

"Like what? Joining your side?"

Rose knew the Welsh woman wanted to go home. "I can talk to Pete or why don't you go to the personnel department?"

"I can't, Yvonne's already told them not to process any transfers without her say-so."

"Has she? Oh, then tell your assistant not to suggest I find something else to do then."

"Who suggested that?"

"You know it was Craig."

"No I don't, what did he say that for?"

"Then who told him to say it? Has he been going missing lately?"

"Maybe, I can't keep track of everyone who leaves the office."

"Yvonne can't trust you then, can she? What has she got you doing?"

"I can't tell you or she'll kick me out like she did your new boyfriend and poor Tosh."

"Steve is not my boyfriend, I don't trust him enough. If he wants the title, he's gonna have to earn it. I'm sorry about Tosh, I know you used to be friends."

"She was there when I got recruited. Still, Yvonne's word is final, we can't argue what's fair and what isn't."

"Then help us get rid of her Gwen. Think about it and if you decide, I'll get Pete to over-ride Yvonne's decisions."

"Get Tosh her job back? If she gets back, I won't get my transfer."

"You can't have it both ways Gwen but maybe someone in Cardiff wants to come back here? I know you thought you'd make a go of it here but if you really want to go back?"

"I'm not spying for your side Rose."

"I'm not asking you to Gwen but think about it. I'll talk to Pete, see what he says."

"Don't you go telling anyone I'm considering it, Rose Tyler," Gwen warned her.

"Why would I do that?"

Rose carried on to Pete's office and apologized for being late.

"We might have someone coming back," Rose grinned as Jake got her a coffee.

"Good, who's that then?" Jake asked, handing her the mug.

"It's not hot enough Jake, you put too much milk in."

"You always leave it to cool," Jake smiled.

"Who have you been talking to, Steve?" Pete asked.

"No, Gwen, I just bumped into her. She wants to go home and Yvonne's put a block on transfers."

"What? She can't do that without my permission," Pete told her. "Since when?"

"I didn't know about it either but she has. Did you know about Tosh?"

"Who's that?" Mickey wanted to know.

"She was Gwen's friend in Cardiff. I don't know what happened but I think Yvonne fired her from what I can gather."

Pete shook his head. "She's started then, undermining my authority and getting employees scared of her so they'll think twice about joining our side."

"I offered to help Gwen get back, maybe get Tosh her job back," Rose told him.

"I think I remember her. I'll see what I can do but Yvonne might have already shut me out of personnel issues."

"Can she do that?" Mickey wanted to know.

"She obviously thinks she can," Jake offered.

"I asked Gwen why she sent someone to my office the other day. She said Yvonne wanted a list of processed and registered aliens and I should have mentioned that Steve actually asked me if I processed them all."

"Meaning?" Mickey asked.

"What do you think Mickey?" Jake replied. "Yvonne put them up to it. Was he trying to say you withheld some of them?"

Pete saw the look on Rose's face. "You should have said before Rose."

"I know but I thought nothing of it at the time, I shouldn't have let it go, sorry."

"Never mind that now, we have to be extra careful. Rose, tell Gwen to make arrangements to go back to Cardiff, she'll get her transfer but I don't know when. It will give us some leverage to get her onto our side and Jake, call Cardiff, tell them to contact Tosh and get her back but don't let Yvonne know, I'll sort it out. Rose, are you having lunch with Steve?"

"I wasn't planning on it."

"Can I persuade you to? I want you to tell him I'll make my decision and let him know but he has to do something for me."

"Such as?" Rose asked.

"He has to stop spying for Yvonne. Watch his reaction, see if he's likely to do so."

"Okay. So what's this meeting about then?"

"First I want to know what else Steve's asked you over the weekend."

Rose recalled her conversations with Steve, excluding some personal details.

Steve was trying to look busy until lunchtime. The department head, Simon had come back from his weekly meeting with others who ran departments and had been surprised Yvonne had been absent. Yvonne had been plotting how she could use the cannon project to her own ends, should Pete get approval. The last time it had been tried, she didn't have enough power to take it over. Now things were different. She was going to sit back and wait until he got approval to make a start then make her move and that would be Pete's downfall.

If she took over his pet project, everyone who was undecided would join her because she would make them see that what he wanted to use it for, which according to what else she'd got out of Steve was to send stranded aliens home and what she wanted it for were two entirely different things.

So she'd let Pete do all the hard work of talking the board into going with it and then just walk in, either before or after he got some results because he wouldn't let her find out when he had some. She hadn't been surprised that Rose and Jake were going to lead the project, it actually made it easier because if Steve got his way and Rose became his girlfriend, she'd be bound to talk about it to him.

Yvonne had missed the meeting with the department heads, let them squabble amongst themselves about budgets and their staff. She had better things to do now.

When Rose left Pete's office, Mickey went after her.

"How are you holding up Rose?" he asked as they waited for the lift.

"I'll be glad when Pete sends me for training."

Pete had warned all three of them to act normally and any reference to Rose's time off were to only be discussed as her preparing for training.

"So, what about Steve then?" he asked as they got in.

"Stop it Mickey, what's Steve got to do with you? I went out with him because Pete asked me to – end of story. What's your problem?"

"What about the Christmas party then?"

"That was months ago, he never bothered until now and that was down to you. I thought you were over that?"

"I was. I thought about what you said, about Martha. Pete wants me to go along with what Yvonne has planned."

"Good, as long as you know and you won't catch me trying to put her off. Back off me and Steve Mickey, I'm warning ya. For Pete's plan to work, we both have jobs to do."

"Yeah Rose, I get it. So you don't know where you're going on your break?"

"No idea but if it's a health resort, I'll leave after two days," Rose smiled.

They went their separate ways and Rose sent a message to Steve, who had still not managed to read the folder Yvonne had given him. When he got a message telling him Rose would meet him for lunch, he breathed a sigh of relief.

"What are you looking so pleased at?" Shelley wanted to know as he put his phone away.

He saw the others watching him. "Haven't you got anything to do?"

Shelley pulled a face and went back to work. She had wondered what was in the folder he'd brought in with him earlier and she knew if he didn't read it here before he left for the day it was instant dismissal if he tried to take it home. Whatever it was about, he didn't want anyone else to see the contents. Maybe she should try and sneak a look when he went off to meet Rose Tyler, the message had to have been from her. What did she have, well apart from being the director's adopted daughter but would he be the director for much longer?

Rose was waiting by the window for Steve, having given up trying to get any work done, not that much had come in over the weekend, thankfully and she could do it later. Pete would have to get someone to cover for her anyway. She'd seen Gwen in the ladies room and told her what Pete had said and she'd agreed to think about leaving Yvonne's side.

"Well I hope it won't be long Rose," Gwen had told her when everyone had gone out.

"It won't be, you just have to trust us."

"I'll try but if Yvonne wants anything doing, I'll have to go along with it for now."

"We know that, don't worry, Pete won't hold it against you."

Steve had waited for the others to leave before getting the folder out of the drawer. It was a shame he couldn't take it home but since Yvonne's arrival, no-one dare take anything home with them without express permission and somehow, he didn't think he'd get it. He skimmed through the clippings from the press, nothing there he'd not already seen then the written reports Yvonne had put together but as he was about to put the media card into the slot on his laptop, Rose reminded him they had a lunch date.

Putting everything away in the drawer, he locked it and pocketed the key and hurried before Rose got tired of waiting.

"Hi Rose, sorry, I got delayed," he apologized.

"Must have been important since you were the one to ask me in the first place?"

"Yes, it was fairly important but it can wait. I have something I want you to tell Pete."

"Tell me then?" Rose insisted.

"Not here, since we don't know where everyone stands. Meet me after work over in the wharf bar?"

"I came with Pete, how will I get home?"

"I can take you, surely you've been out after work before, in fact I know you have," Steve smiled.

"Yeah and Jake or Mickey always took me back."

"I promise not to have you home late? We could grab a bar snack?"

"Is it an excuse for another date?"

"We had dates?" he smiled again.

"Call them what you want. Okay, a drink, that's it then you take me home."

"Well you can't blame me if I try to extend that?"

Earlier that morning, Alec had walked across to the police station after checking the chief super was going to be in her office. He knocked on her door and let himself in.

"Come to ask for your old job back?" Elaine asked him as he sat opposite.

"Yes, any chance?"

"I rather thought you'd be coming to see me sooner or later. Did Ellie mention she was coming back this week?"

"No, I've been away for a few days, to see my daughter."

Over the last few years he'd got used to calling Daisy that. He supposed she was filling the role after he'd lost Jenny. He'd been saddened by Jenny's death even though Donna had tried to convince him it had not been his fault but she'd been trying to defend him and lost her new life because of him. It was something both he and he twin had to live with.

"Well Ellie came to see me on Friday, I've just approved her transfer back from Exeter. She'll be reinstated as DS, if I let you back, I want you to share responsibilities with her until the CMO signs you as fit for full duty. Come and see him tomorrow morning first thing, I'll tell him to expect you but light duties only, understood?"

"Yes, I get the picture. I have to look for another place to stay, the price of that chalet will go up soon and I'm expecting some company."

"Your daughter?" Elaine asked.

"No, she's still in school. I reconnected with an old girlfriend while I was away, she's coming for a visit."

Elaine had to smile at the thought of him having an old girlfriend.

"You kept that quiet Alec."

"I was not going to spread rumours. Besides, it was before I came here and we met quite by chance when I went back."

"Well it's non of my business, you don't have to explain it to me but Ellie Miller might not be quite so understanding."

"Great, just what I need to convince her to come back to me."

"I'm sure you'll mange Alec, just make sure she doesn't know about those ridiculous accusation during the trial."

That was a thought, Alec mused to himself. Did Rose know what had been suggested at the trial? He supposed she read the news and springing it on her that she was going to pose as his girlfriend to explain her presence was going to take some doing but maybe Pete could help him with that? If he got Pete to explain to Rose that was the best way of protecting her, she'd have to agree to at least go along with the idea in public but as for when they were alone?

How long would it be before he caved in and began dropping hints as to his true identity? He hoped it would be the moment Pete drove off but he'd waited all this time, he could hold on a little longer but he had a lot of making up to do when she did discover who he was. He had to make it look convincing for Rose to pass as his girlfriend, especially if Ellie Miller was coming back, which he'd not reckoned on having to pass her scrutiny.

He left Elaine's office and went to ask about a car and if he could claim the cost back if he hired one, since he'd never handed in his license while he'd been off work. Pete would have got him it back even if he had, since he'd said he was bringing her down and she'd need to get around.

Rose had video called Pete to say Steve wanted to meet after work.

"Do you want Jake to be there?" Pete asked her.

"No, I'll be fine. I might grab something to eat, I'll see what he wants."

"Good, he might have more news from Yvonne's camp. She'll have learned about my plan to start the cannon project again so I've arranged for the team to come back tomorrow and discuss it but I'm not going to rush things, I think a few days discussion first is in order."

Rose tried to smile. "I'll get what I can from him but I'm not happy about this."

"I know you're not but just hold on a few more days for me to get things in place. If Steve goes to Yvonne and tells her my plan, it will keep her mind off other things but she might begin to see through it. Don't worry, once I send you away, you won't be coming back until it's all over."

"I just hate leaving you to deal with it."

"I know love but it's what we do. I told you, you won't be alone, I'll have someone watching out for you."

"A stranger?"

"No, someone I completely trust, an old friend of mine who owes me and don't worry, he knows what he's doing."

"Like a bodyguard or something?"

Pete smiled. "Or something. Are you starting to like Steve?"

"I thought I was but now you pointed out I was stupid to trust him when he asked if I missed any aliens out."

"You weren't to know love, he tried a trick question but you gave him the right answer. See if Yvonne makes anything out of it. She's called another meeting in the morning, probably in light of me saying I was bringing the cannon project back but I would have thought she'd want to keep that to herself for a while."

"Yeah, sees a bit odd she'd want everyone to know about it? I would have thought she'd wait to see if it falls flat on you again, then she'd have a reason to pull you in front of the board."

"Maybe you're right, maybe it's just another 'who's on my side' rally?" Pete smiled.

"Well I think we might have got Gwen back, she said though until we get her out, she'd have to do as Yvonne asked but she might warn us."

"Let's hope so. Just be careful with Steve, now I know who he is."

"Do ya think he knows what happened?"

"No, at least not yet anyway, he still wants to see you."

Pete was hoping Steve would back away, if he found out what happened that night because he didn't want him holding Rose back once she'd been taken to Broadchurch otherwise Alec would have his work cut out convincing Rose who he actually was.

At home time, Steve tried once again to watch the security footage of that fateful night but Shelley was watching him.

"Thought you'd be keen to get out?" she asked him as she put her jacket on.

"Why's that?" Steve asked her.

"You and Rose with your heads together at lunchtime."

"It's no-one's business who I have lunch with."

He decided he'd get in early in the morning and watch the recording, he couldn't risk being caught watching it or sneaking it out. Now to tell Rose what he'd discovered and if that didn't get Pete to trust him, nothing would.

Alec had been to the rental agency to ask about a bigger place but nothing suitable was available yet. There were a couple of apartments on the harbour but he knew he shouldn't be doing steps just yet so they were out, then there were two cottages but the owners were asking too much and he didn't want to ask Pete just yet to help with the cost, just in case Rose refused to stay with him either before or after she found out who he really was.

So he'd called at the reception desk of the caravan park and asked how soon he could rent a caravan for a few weeks on an ongoing basis and to charge it to the police. He came away quite pleased he could get a three bedroom model but not that the other two rooms had single beds and someone was going to be cramped, unless he could convince Rose to share and in her state of mind, it wouldn't take much convincing if she'd agree the best way of protecting her was to go along with his idea of her to pose as his girlfriend.

Rose was waiting in the bar across from Torchwood Tower, looking at the time on her phone. Had Steve changed his mind? Why did she keep having to remind him they were meeting when he'd seemed so keen over the weekend? She was about to send yet another message when she saw him walk in. He made his way to the bar where she was just drinking tonic water and kissed her cheek.

"Sorry, it seems to be one of those days today."

"Yeah, tell me about it. So, what did you want to talk about?"

"Yvonne gave me some information this morning, about my father."

Rose knew Pete had been right and he was now about to dump her and leave Torchwood.

"What about him?"

"I know some of what happened the night he died but that's not why I asked you here. Rose, Pete has a serious security problem that he needs to know about."
Chapter 12
Rose listened while Steve told her why he'd gone over to Yvonne's side. He'd decided whatever he found on the media card that Yvonne had just held him to ransom over, he should have gone to Pete in the first place and got the information.

"So she did use you, she kept you hanging on to find out about that night? Didn't you realise what she was doing?" Rose asked him as they ordered some food and moved to a corner booth.

"I was so angry Rose, I thought it had all been Pete's fault but I've only read part of it and Yvonne said the media card contained images of my father going into the house and some of him talking to Pete."

"Pete said he didn't realise who you were but there again, it was a long time ago and he told me he didn't know your dad all that well. It was all so secretive back then and Pete was only a secret backer."

"I realise that now. How can I apologise to him?"

"He wants you to stop spying for Yvonne."

"That won't be easy Rose, she won't let me off the hook that easily. She'll expect me to still play her game, especially now she's given me the information I wanted. She told me if I can't decide how I feel it about it, I'm out permanently, she'll have no use for me. If I tell her I want nothing to do with you and Pete, she'll have someone watch me."

"Yeah, that wouldn't surprise me. She's already sent someone after Mickey. I think he might go along with it."

"You mean Martha? Yeah, I thought she would do that. That only leaves Jake and Yvonne knows he's the key to all this, she knows it will take drastic measures to turn him. She thought you'd be difficult as well."

"I am, I can't let my personal feelings get in the way though."

"You've been stringing me along then?" Steve tried to smile as their food arrived.

"Sorry Steve, I had no choice but we can be friends? Now tell me about the security breach?"

"No, I should face Pete myself and ask for his forgiveness for turning on him. I can't ask you to do it. Let me take you home after this and I'll tell him face to face."

"Okay then, he'll listen to ya. I'm really sorry, about leading you on."

"Yeah, so am I, I really like you Rose, before the Christmas party but Mickey was always hanging around."

"He tends to do that. When we broke up, I fancied someone, not from work but Mickey tried to get in the way. That's why I never seemed to have a boyfriend."

"Maybe when all this is over? I'd like to still be friends though?"

"Yeah, I can do that. Look Steve, I'm sorry about what happened to your dad but from what Pete told me, Lumic sent those metal monsters to kill everyone that night. Pete was lucky to get out and you've no idea what it was like for him when he couldn't rescue his wife. He doesn't talk about it much, so as not to upset her but you've seen she's come a long way since she was found."

"She seems to like you anyway, well from what I saw at lunch. You have your differences though?"

"Doesn't every family?" Rose smiled.

"I had to go home to help my mother. She was frantic when he didn't come home."

"I was the same when my mum went missing. We got separated while we were out, people running around everywhere. It took me ages to get home, there were roadblocks and everything and then a few of us saw the Cybermen were pulling people out of their homes, those without earpods."

"I never wore them, we weren't allowed."

"I took mine out, I heard a buzzing in my ears and I hurt myself pulling them out. I think mum never had time. I don't want to talk about it."

"I understand Rose. I still have to watch what happened that night, Yvonne said it showed the president being killed."

That had never gone away, Rose could still see it clearly amongst the images of the others being 'deleted' that night. She couldn't even admit she was there.

"My mum was lucky, we lived just outside London then. We had to sell the house when he died," Steve continued.

"I had to get help. Let's change the subject?" Rose suggested.

Things were getting personal and she didn't like where this was going.

"So where's Pete sending you, before you go for training?" Steve asked her.

"Sure you won't go telling Yvonne?"

"Don't be like that Rose. I'm not going to give her any personal details."

"Sorry. I don't know, Pete won't say. I suppose if he told me he'd think I'd object but it'll be somewhere I can't get back on my own so easily."

"So you'd run away, if it was boring?"

"Yeah, what do ya think? What you have to tell Pete, is it bad?"

"Bad enough but you know some of it, I gave you a clue."

"About there being images of that night?"

Steve nodded. That did get Rose worried. If someone had recorded the events, it may show her and the Doctor being there. She wasn't supposed to have known Pete back then and she didn't want Yvonne questioning that or who was with her. Steve was right, they did have a problem.

They left the bar and Steve retrieved his car from the underground car park at the same time Jake was leaving.

"Late night Steve?" Jake asked him as he prepared to drive off since he'd left Rose inside the bar.

"Just collecting Rose, we went for a drink after work."

Pete had told him but Jake didn't let on.

"Just you make sure she gets home then."

"I will, don't worry. Sometimes I think you get more jealous then Mickey does," Steve smiled.

"It's my job to look after her, I take it seriously."

Rose sent Pete a quick message to say Steve needed to talk to him urgently and Pete knew something was wrong. He'd already alerted Jake Rose had said Steve had something to discuss so Jake got another message as he let Steve go.

Rose saw Steve pull up from the bar window and went out, since it had been raining anyway and she'd only a thin jacket with her. Steve drove her home, trying not to get lost and they arrived without incident. Pete had been alerting Jackie.

"So if Steve's dad was here that night and he's found out, what do ya think he'll do?" Jackie asked him.

"I don't know but Rose seemed to think it was urgent he spoke to me. If Yvonne's already been digging up the past though? You and Rose are going to have to be very careful."

"We know that Pete. What if she got footage of that night? She'll notice I look different."

"No, no-one else who knew the other Jackie have realised anything different."

"Only because you don't let anyone close enough Pete. What about Rose though? If Yvonne finds out she was here that night?"

"Don't worry, I can cover that if I have to. Rose was only posing as a servant, I can claim I never even knew about it."

"That's all very well Pete but it puts Rose right in it. How does she explain it?"

"I won't just leave her to explain it Jackie, we'll come up with something. Maybe we'll tell the truth, that she wanted to see how we lived?"

"Yeah but it's a bit risky Pete, that would make it look like she went looking for me, to get back in?"

"Well we'll sort something else out. Best go see to Tony eh, before Rose gets back."

"Where are ya sending her Pete? Will she be safe?"

"I already said she'll be safe love. I've got someone who's going to look after her very carefully."

Jackie went off to supervise Tony's bedtime and hoped Pete was right but if he wasn't sending Rose off with Mickey or Jake, just who was going to look after her? It must be someone else who Pete trusted. It didn't stop her from still worrying about her daughter's safety, should Yvonne discover the truth.

Rose led Steve inside and they went to Pete's study. Pete had very carefully got rid of all the evidence of what had happened in the house that night but if Yvonne had retrieved phones and cameras, that was beyond his control but how had she found out who'd been there that night? His first priority though was that neither Rose or the Doctor were on anything that had been recovered but had that been the case, Rose would have already been questioned over it.

He thought the only way Yvonne had got a list of who had been there that night was the security company he'd used, which had been taken over by Torchwood. That had to be it and he should have known Yvonne would find any excuse to bring up the past. If he'd known about Steve sooner, maybe none of this would have happened but he had thought he could trust both of them.

Rose knocked on his study door and he switched off the screen.

"So Steve, it seems like I owe you an explanation then?" Pete asked him.

"I know some of it, enough to know you couldn't have prevented what happened. Lumic got hold of your security arrangements that night, from someone within the house."

"I know that now. I only just realised who you were, I only knew your father from my dealings at the time with Torchwood, I'd no idea he had a family. I know there's nothing that can make up for not knowing. So, what did you have to tell me?"

Steve looked at Rose. "Just to say Yvonne somehow got hold of videos and pictures that were taken that night. I've not seen them yet, I've not had time and I'm not stupid enough to try to get the files out of the building."

"I know you're not but I need you to get a copy of them to me. You have Rose's email address? Send them securely to her, she'll get them to me. Why has Yvonne kept all this to herself? She could have gone to the board if she'd wanted."

"I don't know Mr Tyler but I only got the file this morning, I asked her months ago after she promised to find out what happened that night. I'm sorry I trusted her over you."

"That doesn't matter now Steve, at least you told me," Pete assured him.

"Is there something on those files that could cause trouble?"

"I'll know better when I've seen them but if Yvonne had enough, she wouldn't waste any more time. She's planning something bigger than we originally thought."

"We suspected that," Rose joined in. "I'm sorry Steve, I didn't want us to be on opposing sides."

"Neither did I Rose. What do you want me to do Mr Tyler?"

"Leave things as they are for the next day or so. Yvonne can't find out you came to me with this. I take it she'll still have a copy of what she gave you?"

"I would imagine so, she never said. She'll be asking me what I think about it. I have to decide if I still want to provide her with information."

"Yes, I expect she will. Rose, I'll need your help."

"Whatever you want. Do ya want me and Steve to act like friends?"

"Let it get back to Yvonne that you're making some progress with Rose Steve, at least for the next few days. Rose, tell anyone who asks you that you're considering taking up with Steve when you get back from your training. I'm going to jump the gun and say I expect good results from the preliminary tests of the cannon project and that I'm setting up the training for you and Jake."

"Yvonne won't be pleased," Rose smiled.

"I hope she isn't. Let her try and take it over before the results are in, which I will make sure are delayed."

"You're not expecting them to be good then?" Steve dared ask.

"I can't say at this time Steve, there may be factors that were overlooked before. Besides if I tell you anything, Yvonne may have her ways of getting it out of you, sorry."

"It's okay Mr Tyler, I don't expect you to fully trust me. I'll get those files to Rose first thing, before anyone comes into the office. Is there anything you want Yvonne to know?"

"No, not yet. I know those files are not going to be easy for you to watch Steve. How do you think you'll feel afterwards?"

"I honestly don't know. I was so mad before, that nothing was proved but I expect Torchwood got everything covered up, for their employees?"

"I wasn't part of it then but you're probably right. Did Torchwood make all the arrangements?"

"I think so, I don't remember having to do much. We were never told where he was found, I expect they took over from the police?"

"I wasn't here, when I returned, the security company were assisting the police and securing the house. At that time I didn't know if anyone had escaped or not, I was trying to find out what happened to my wife."

"I can't blame you for that. Well I should be off, I've got a lot to think about. Rose, will you walk me out?"

Pete nodded to her. "Go ahead Rose, I think you can trust him now."

Rose walked to the door with him. "I'm sorry things didn't work out but you know why I have to step back?"

"Yes, you're going to be away in any case but I'd like to resume this, when you get back?"

"I don't even know when that will be Steve. Yvonne may take over while I'm away and there might be nothing to do when I get back. Something's going to give soon."

"I know and I'm glad we're back on the same side, at least outside work but maybe the next few days, we can look like we're thinking about it?"

Rose smiled. "Yeah, I can manage that. Night then, I'll wait for your email in the morning but don't let anyone see you."

"I won't. Goodnight Rose and I'm really sorry."

Rose went back to Pete's study.

"Something wrong?" Pete asked her.

"I was just worried, if there was something on those recordings."

"You mean you and the Doctor? We would have heard by now if Yvonne knew."

"Maybe she never looked at them?"

"She will have done, before she gave a copy to Steve. Just as a precaution, I want you to take Wednesday afternoon off, in case Yvonne decides to challenge me and haul you into her office."

"She wouldn't dare do that."

"Don't bet on it Rose, we don't know how far she's willing to go yet." Just then, Pete's phone buzzed. It was Alec. "Sorry, I have to take this."

"Sure, I'll go find mum then."

Pete waited until the door was closed and answered.

"Alec, I was about to call you."

"I was just letting you know I had to take a caravan, I hope Rose won't mind?"

"I'm sure she'll just be glad to get away. We've had some new developments. What are you doing about where you are now?"

"I will go give notice in the morning but I have to sort out payments with the personnel department."

"Don't be out of pocket Alec, just tell me what's needed. When are you moving?"

"I pick the keys up tomorrow afternoon, then I will move across on Wednesday. What time will you be here on Thursday?"

"Getting anxious then?"

"Pete, I've been waiting a long time to see her again, my patience is wearing a little thin. Does she talk about me?"

"Sometimes, with her mother. It's all good things though, things you used to do together and Jackie will laugh at the time she slapped you, before you changed."

"I still remember that, it hurt. Have you given Rose any hints as to where you are taking her?"

"No and it's best I don't but we might have a problem. I just found out more footage of that night you and Rose were here may have come to light."

"When will you know for certain?"

"I'll know tomorrow but if Yvonne had seen Rose on it, she'd have questioned it by now."

"Are you sure about that? Maybe she is saving it all up?"

"I hope not. Anyway, we've got two people back on our side, well hopefully. It's a slow process even when they turn from us in a few seconds but it's a start."

"That it is. I'm going to need your help, convincing Rose to stay with me."

"She'll stay Alec, trust me."

"Even if she thinks you're playing a cruel trick on her?"

"You mean she'll think I've taken her to Broadchurch on purpose? She's seen you on TV Alec, she won't make anything out of it. She might object a little but that will soon blow over. It'll be down to you to convince her to stay."

"Well I had an idea, which is why I need your help. I want you to tell her the best way of not drawing any attention to herself is to go along with my plan that she's an old girlfriend I have recently met up with again."

"Really? Well it's not that far from the truth, is it? She might be willing to play the part, at least in public, the rest is up to you. Anything else?"

"Yes, I will need a car, unless you are having one sent down for her?"

"No, I don't want her driving around, I'll have one delivered to you on Wednesday, just send me the details where you want it dropped off. I'll put Rose's name down, just in case but I'll have to use a local firm through Vitex, I can't risk using the usual firm. I'll tell them to call you."

"Thanks. Just one more thing, do you think she will be upset with me, when she finds out?"

Pete had to smile. "Alec, she misses you. She may not talk about it but I see it all the time. She'll forgive you."

"She might forgive him but what about me?"

"Alec, it will make no difference to her, trust me. You're exactly what she needs right now, especially since I think things are going to start getting worse over the next few days. I'm not sure but I think I might bring her down on Wednesday night, when the traffic is lighter. If not it will be mid Thursday morning. We'll leave early and make a couple of stops and I'll text you our arrival time. Where's a good place to meet?"

"The café over on the harbour is about the best place. They know me in there and I can easily convince them I'm waiting for someone."

"Right, I'll find it."

"Just turn left at the mini roundabout when you reach the harbour, there's a big car park and you'll see the café. Pete, just keep her safe until you get her here."

"I will, you can trust me on this," Pete smiled to himself.

Alec saw the joke, remembering seeing the moving posters on his first visit here all those years ago. He went back to packing what he didn't need for the next few days. Now the time was approaching, he found himself more nervous than he'd been in all his past lives put together.
Chapter 13
So many things were going through Alec's mind now. At one time he'd have processed them all at once and though he still had many advantages, his recently mended heart was going like he still had two. He'd not really needed the surgery but between Daisy reminding him and his friend who he knew Pete had sent to keep an eye on him, he'd given in and now it was just as well.

He took out his phone and sat on the end of the bed, looking at the few pictures Pete had given in and sent him a few years ago. He'd really tried to keep from asking about her all the time but Pete had been more than generous in helping him out and now, his patience had paid off.

Rose had gone to find her mother, who had been settling Tony for the night and had just sat down to watch TV.

"How are you doing sweetheart?" Jackie asked her.

"How do ya think Mum? Sorry I wasn't here to eat with you, Steve wanted to talk."

"I know, Pete told me. Rose, when's all this gonna be over?"

"I just wish I knew Mum. We just have to be careful but Steve's back on our side now."

"Well that's something I suppose. He seemed nice enough."

"You know I can't get involved with anyone from Torchwood, not now."

"Maybe when you get back and this is all over?"

"Maybe Mum, who knows?"

Rose had no idea what things were going to be like when she got back from wherever Pete insisted she hid herself away.

During the day, Yvonne hadn't been idle. She'd called Martha back to her office.

"So Martha, have you spoken with Mickey yet?"

"Yes Miss Hartman, we're going out tomorrow night."

Martha had seen Mickey during their coffee break. Mickey had thought about it and after Rose had gone back to her office had decided if Rose said she was seeing Steve to find out what Yvonne was up to, then he could do the same.

"Good. You know what to do?"

So when Martha had left, she wondered how Steve had taken the news about how his father had died. It hadn't taken much to put together the folder she'd given him, since Pete had used the same security company now merged with their own but Jake hadn't even noticed.

After Rose had left Pete's study and he'd spoken with Alec, he'd call Jake.

"I don't know how she did it Pete, if I'd known?"

"She must have had the information for a while, I'm not blaming you Jake. It would have been easy for her but why had she been digging into it, before Steve went to her?"

"Do you think she lost someone as well Pete?" Jake asked him.

"Maybe? It would explain a few things. Maybe that's why she came to work at Torchwood, to get her revenge?"

"Yeah but who for Pete? I'll see what I can find out then. If that's true, we're still in for a rough time, she won't stop now."

That was what Pete was afraid of. What had got Yvonne started on all this? He was going to find out the next day.

Steve got there early and quickly attached the media files to a secure email to Rose. Then he looked at the stills from that night. There was Jackie Tyler picking up a small Yorkshire terrier and a tall man in a black suit who looked like he was laughing and at the side of him, someone with blonde hair he couldn't see the face of. He bet Yvonne had the software to find out who it was, if she could be bothered. He saw his father talking to Pete and didn't want to look at any more.

He forced himself to open one of the video files and saw the Cybermen coming out of the back of a truck then marching towards the house. They seemed to be waiting for orders then lining up, began to smash windows and climb inside. He heard screaming in the background and then the video stopped. He opened another from someone who had been inside and saw the president apparently talking to Lumic, then a Cyberman reached out but then he saw the same man from earlier, someone behind him who couldn't be made out but the same blonde hair. Rose had blonde hair but she claimed she never knew the Tylers back then though it could be any blonde.

Another video showed everyone running around and he saw Jackie running off, screaming and the man in the black suit grabbing hold of a woman in a black servant's dress but he couldn't make out who it was still, it could really have been a member of staff that night. There was no more footage from outside except who looked like Pete Tyler jumping out of a window and running after someone as two figures turned the corner.

Had it been Rose on that video? If it was, it would explain a lot of things like why Pete had adopted her but what had happened to Jackie? Pete would be very interested in what was being sent to him though, if it was Rose and Yvonne still had a copy but had Yvonne actually seen them? He had just finished when his co-workers began to take their desks, not saying anything to him.

Mickey had been debating whether to cancel his date with Martha when a message came up on his screen that all senior members should attend a meeting at eleven. Rose got one as well but waited for Pete to tell her if she should go or not. She'd not looked at the files Steve had sent, she had safely forwarded them to Pete, who had immediately called Jake to his office.

"How did she manage to get these?" Jake asked, seeing the Doctor clearly and who could only be Rose. "What if she's seen them?"

"Well there were a lot of extra serving staff from the agency that night, only Jackie knew who she used and asking her is out of the question, at least as far as Yvonne is concerned. As for that being Rose? Lucky for her she's a lot smaller than whoever took the videos, I wonder who it was?"

"I wonder if it was Steve's dad? That would be a bit ironic," Jake smiled.

Even he could see how Rose and the Doctor had looked at each other but luckily, the video was just a general one of everybody in the reception area and the bottom of the staircase. Pete smiled as he saw the Doctor with a grin on his face then trying to look serious, Rose had told him it was because the first Jackie had called for the dog, who had the same name as Rose.

"It could have been anyone's phone but back then, not everyone had camera phones that took video but Yvonne will know. She won't be telling though. Jake, I'm trusting you can find out whose things were recovered from my house that night?"

"I'll get right on it then. Best warn Rose. Did she see the videos?"

"She sent them directly to me, which was just as well. Did you get the message about Yvonne's meeting? Senior staff only this time."

"Yeah, best go, we might find out what she's up to. Is it wise Rose attends?"

"It will look suspicious if she misses another one, Yvonne will already know I'm sending her away."

Pete sent Rose a text to attend and then one to Mickey, telling him to collect her and not say why as he'd told Rose to wait for him. Rose looked up when Mickey arrived.

"What's all this for? Pete told me to wait for you."

"Don't ask me, I just got told to call for you. Have I missed something?"

"Maybe. Steve found out from Yvonne where his dad died. Mickey, he was there at the mansion that night, Yvonne gave Steve some video files."

"Have you seen them?"

"No, I forwarded them to Pete then I destroyed them after Steve sent me them to pass on."

"So Pete's not said anything about them?"

"No, not yet. He might have been discussing it with Jake. Come on then, let's get it over with. I hate Yvonne's meetings, I always feel she's looking directly at me."

While they were preparing for Yvonne's meeting, Yvonne herself had been busy going over the events of that night at Pete's mansion. Who exactly was that tall man in the black suit? Was he just one of the staff? If he was, what had he been laughing at and who was he with? She'd used some rather expensive software to try to enhance the video but whoever it was couldn't be identified in any of the shots.

She'd ordered a search of any events from that night to be analysed to see if after the house had been invaded they had shown up somewhere else. Very little was known about that night, except a small group had infiltrated Lumic's base in Battersea power station and set everyone free. She did suspect though that the blonde was Rose Tyler but if that was so, the whole story of how she'd been adopted was in question.

She had already called a meeting of the most senior staff and she was going to use it to get some answers. She left her office and made her way to the conference room and noticed Rose, Pete, Mickey and Jake were all sat together and the rest were sat at the other end of the large table, those being the remaining board members.

"Why have you called this meeting Yvonne?" Pete wanted to know.

"I thought I'd save you the trouble of taking your latest idea to the board Pete. I did hear right? That you want to try the cannon project again?"

There were some mumblings from the board members.

"Is that so Pete?" one member asked as the others nodded.

"Yes Jeremy, I would have brought it to your attention, when I had something to tell you. Why bring this up Yvonne?"

"Got a team already working on it?"

"Yes, they've been assembled but so far they are only in discussion."

"Why now though?" Yvonne wanted to know.

"I've been thinking about it for a while now. I think it might solve a few problems you seem to be having with our alien visitors."

"What problem is that Yvonne?" another member asked, scribbling something on the large pad that had been provided for each person.

"You know what my problem is Ian, the amount of aliens we take in each and every day," Yvonne huffed.

"That's not quite right Yvonne," Rose interrupted. "We don't get aliens every day."

"Yes, I know that Rose, I was speaking figuratively," Yvonne replied, looking directly at Rose.

"That's what we do Yvonne," Mickey chirped in.

"I don't think we need reminding of the fact that's what Torchwood is mainly about Mickey, we do get involved with other things though," Ian replied.

The other four board members mumbled their agreement.

"So why are we here?" Pete asked again.

"I've ordered an enquiry into how many aliens we've taken in and also to find out those who have failed to register. Rose?"

"I've processed every one of those who have come forward. That's another department's job to find those who haven't come forward."

"All of them?" Yvonne questioned, raising her eyebrows.

"What are you getting at Yvonne?" Pete interrupted.

"Isn't it true that you want this cannon project to send those back who claim they come from parallel worlds?"

"How could you possibly know that? That's confidential Yvonne," Pete replied.

"Really? You're telling the board it's confidential?" Yvonne smiled.

Pete knew Steve had told her.

"Sending your spies seems to have paid off," Pete remarked snidely.

"What's the point of all this Yvonne?" another member, Simon wanted to know.

"Ask Pete what his real intention is," Yvonne huffed again. "To sneak aliens back who never came forward or didn't get processed, why else?"

"Is that true Pete?" Simon asked him.

"Of course not and Yvonne has no proof. Tell us how you propose to seek out any humanoid aliens who've not declared themselves?"

"It's something I'm working on," Yvonne had to admit.

Pete thought if anyone was jumping the gun, she was.

"Well don't call Rose's role in this into question until you can prove something," Pete told her.

"I wasn't singling her out Pete, why are you being so defensive? While we're all here, I have a few questions for you and Rose."

"What are you on about Yvonne?" Pete asked.

"An employee asked recently what happened the night the Cybermen invaded, his father was amongst those who were killed. I got hold of some footage from that night."

"You broke protocol Yvonne, you should have come to me with that," Pete reminded her.

"I was doing the employee a personal favour and besides, the information came from our security department."

"Not from me it didn't," Jake objected.

"Yes, I thought you'd be a bit upset Jake. Still, I found something very interesting, from your house Pete."

"Just hold on Yvonne," another member of the board, Julian interrupted. "How has this to do with sending any aliens back home? We've sent all those back who can actually get back and Pete's idea of using this cannon project to send more back seems like a good idea."

"Yes, it may do Julian but think of the indications?"

"I don't get your point Yvonne," the last member of the board Lee asked.

"Ask Pete, I think he should admit why."

They all looked at poor Pete, who had no idea where she was going with this.

"Really Yvonne? There is nothing to explain and we don't know if the project is viable yet."

"You gave up before?" Yvonne questioned him.

"Yes, a few years back."

"Then I ask you again, why now and why are you putting Rose and Jake in charge?"

"Because they were involved before, that's why," Pete sighed. "Why do I have to explain myself to you?"

"Because of what was on those videos from that night. I'm sure you remember it well?"

"Don't you think he went through enough that night Yvonne?" Rose interrupted.

"I noticed something very interesting Rose. You didn't happen to be there that night did you?"

"What? No, I wasn't there that night, what makes you think I was?"

"Well there was someone there who could have easily been you."

"Do ya know how old I was back then? What would I have been doing there? I was with my mum that night, we got separated and I went looking for her, dodging armies of Cybermen. I thought she'd made it home but she hadn't. If you were helping someone find out what happened, how come you never helped anyone else?"

"Calm down Rose, it won't bring your mother back," Pete told her, patting her arm.

"Yeah I know but whoever you were helping Yvonne, you're not helping the rest of us deal with it."

"I never said I was but I'm going to get to the truth, I think there's more to this than Pete wanting to help our visitors get home. Rose, you should come and talk to me, tell me what happened that night."

"I don't talk about it."

"Don't you want to clear yourself?"

"From what?" Pete asked for her. "Rose is out of bounds Yvonne, she doesn't answer to you."

"Has she got something to hide?" Yvonne scoffed.

"No, I have nothing to hide. It's okay Pete, I'll talk to her but when I come back from my training."

"What training is that?" Simon wanted to know.

"I'm putting Rose and Jake on training from Thursday, pending the initial results," Pete told him.

"If you don't get any results?" Yvonne wanted to know. "Still sending Rose away?"

"I know you've had someone spying on us Yvonne," Pete replied.

"I have to get my information from somewhere," Yvonne defended herself.

"Rose is due some leave, she's entitled to some time off, to prepare for training."

"Very well but I still want to talk to you Rose, if you agree. If not, I could make it compulsory, with the board's approval."

Jeremy spoke up. "I think we'll all be interested Yvonne. Rose, you will submit yourself to questioning by Yvonne."

Rose looked at Pete, who looked back at her.

"I'll expect you first thing tomorrow morning Rose," Yvonne told her, looking pleased with herself.

"Fine, I've got nothing to hide," Rose told her defiantly.

The meeting broke up and the four of them went to Pete's office, Pete with his arm around Rose.

"You've got nothing to worry about yet, just tell her the same story we've been telling all these years," Pete advised her when they got there.

Jake handed her a coffee, hot as she liked it.

"You'll be fine Rose, you've had enough practice," Jake assured her.

"Yeah, don't worry," Mickey joined in.

Rose wished they didn't have so much confidence in her.

When Jake and Mickey left, Rose said she didn't feel like keeping her lunch date with Steve.

"You should keep it Rose, everything has to appear normal. We can't have Yvonne any more suspicious than she already is."

"How did she get those videos?"

"I have Jake finding out, his team are good but we think she got them from the security company I used who got taken over by Torchwood. Jake never suspected anything, she was clever."

"But she didn't work here then," Rose pointed out.

"She could have easily found out where everything went from that night, she also found out who was there and I'm sorry I never got the chance to tell you about the videos."

"She still has no proof it was me."

"I know but just try to keep calm. When your 'interview' is over, Jake will take you home and you pack. You're still going ahead with your break and your training."

"Are you going to get the team working on the cannon to delay any findings?"

"There might be no need for that love, there might be nothing left to find they didn't know from last time but we'll not be telling Yvonne that. She did exactly as I predicted she would."

"You mean you knew? What about me?"

"I have every confidence in you Rose, you can hold your own against Yvonne. Your mother thought I was going to let you deal with it on your own but I've given you a bit of help. I've shall we say 'located' two or three people who will say they remember you from that night, if she cares to did deeper. Just tell her where you were, I'll make sure she finds them. They will vouch you were distraught you'd got separated from your mother, Jackie Prentiss and they left you by the estate."

"Thanks, that'll be a big help. Do I say I can prove where I was?"

"No, let her find out for herself. Once she's finished questioning you, she'll did deeper, trust me."

"Yeah but what will she find? Was the Doctor on the videos?"

"I'm afraid so, the only good thing was you couldn't be recognized. I think he suspected someone was filming the event and kept you behind him when the president was talking to the Cybermen."

"I thought he didn't want me to see what was going to happen."

"You go ahead and meet Steve but don't tell him you won't be here tomorrow, just in case Yvonne asks him anything."

"You still don't trust him?"

"I trust him more than I did, put it that way but if you continue to see him, that's up to you. Just one more thing before you go. Whatever happens in Yvonne's office, if you feel she's getting to the truth, tell her you want me or Jake present but don't walk out, that will make her think she's getting near to the truth."

"I might not be able to keep from doing that. I know it'll make her come after me more. Can't you tell her she has to have someone else there?"

"I'll try and see if the board will appoint an independent overseer, that's all I can do. Someone who wasn't affected by that night and someone who's not decided who they support yet."

"I'll have to settle for that then. I'd better go meet Steve. I take it someone will do my job while I'm away?"

"Yeah, Mickey will take over, he's always complaining he's bored," Pete smiled.

Alec had kept his appointment with the chief medical officer, convinced he was going to get told he'd no chance of returning to work.

"How are you feeling, Detective Inspector Hardy?"

Alec tried to seem enthusiastic. "Keen to get back to work. Am I fit enough?"

"It seems you are, your pacemaker appears to be functioning as it should be."

Alec thought if only he knew. He got out of the medical room and sent a message to Pete. He got one back saying Pete was worried about Rose, the videos were as he'd feared and Alec was in them or rather his twin was.
Chapter 14
That got Alec worried. He had hoped Pete had got rid of all the images of that night, after he became involved with Torchwood but Yvonne had dug it up from somewhere. Still, he looked totally different now, tucked away in the back of beyond as Jackie would have put it so kindly. He'd made a wise choice to have a makeover and now it had paid off but it was still disturbing to discover images had been found.

He wondered if Pete would bring Rose down on Wednesday night or even sooner, in view of what had been discovered. How was he going to react when he saw her though? He'd have to keep in character at least outside to people who knew him so maybe from now on he should act like his girlfriend was coming to join him and make sure he got his story straight as to how he'd persuaded her to give it another go.

Pete was right though, it wasn't far from the truth, of sorts. Rose had been like his girlfriend, it was just the two of them had never admitted it and had they stayed together, Jackie would have knocked some sense into the pair of them. He couldn't seem that keen though, not at first, Rose had to come to him, to accept him and to trust him.

Rose had gone off to join Steve for lunch, who had got there first and was by the window high up in Torchwood tower.

"I thought you'd changed your mind?" he greeted her as he half got up.

"I had a meeting then something to discuss with Pete."

"You're going away?" Steve asked her.

"Partly, it was confidential."

"I get it Rose, you can't talk about it. You got my email?"

"Yeah, I got it. Has Yvonne contacted you?"

"No, not so far. I think I might have outlived my usefulness."

"Aw, your career as a spy comes to an end?" Rose smiled, looking at the menu and the day's special.

"To be honest Rose, I'm glad to be out of it, I never wanted it that way. All I wanted was to find out what happened to my father."

"I wanted to find out what happened that night as well but I didn't go to Yvonne."

"I'm sorry Rose, really I am. I thought we were going to be friends?"

"I'll have to think about it, something else has come up, because of you, spying for her."

"Can't we just forget it? Yvonne's powerful Rose, she would have found things out without my help, trust me."

"Maybe she would but it would have taken her longer."

"Isn't it better to get it over with? Are you eating or not?" Steve asked as Rose put the menu back.

She got up. "I think I'll just have a drink and a sandwich, I'm not that hungry. I'm gonna take it back to my office, I have work to do."

Steve knew she was upset and he'd caused most of it. He got up and followed her.

"Let me walk you back?"

"No, I'm fine, I just need some time to think about all this."

"Then I'll maybe see you tomorrow? You missed your break this morning, were you working?"

"No, I told you, I had things to do. Why all the questions?" Rose asked, taking a sandwich from the chilled cabinet and a bottle of orange juice.

"I'm just concerned, that's all. You'll feel better when you've had your break."

"Maybe, I'll just have to see, won't I?"

Rose swiped her employee card and Steve watched her walk off. He knew he liked her and now he'd totally screwed it up because he'd gone to Yvonne's side instead of sticking with Pete. She'd never give him a chance now, she was out of his reach and thanks to Mickey, he'd delayed going after her when she'd gone to the Christmas party with him. She'd looked even more appealing in her green cotton dress and her black ankle boots, her hair loose for a change and he wished he had the courage to go after her and tell her how he really felt about her.

Rose tried to get back to work but she was worried about her upcoming meeting with Yvonne in the morning. How had Yvonne even guessed it had been her in the videos? There were a few applications to process but her mind wasn't on the job at hand and it was a good way to get Mickey to take over so she called him.

"I know you're stressed Rose," Mickey told her when they'd finished between them.  "Why don't you go home, get Jake to have someone drive you back?"

"No, I'll wait for Pete, I wouldn't want Yvonne getting suspicious. Pete said I had to leave early tomorrow and get packed."

"Sounds like a good idea. You'll be fine, you have to trust Pete knows what he's doing."

"I do trust him Mickey, it's me I don't trust. I've never been questioned while I've been here and Yvonne's determined to get to the truth, about if that was me or not that night."

Rose rested her head on the desk and Mickey got up, trying to put his arm around her shoulder but she shrugged him off.

"You're not on your own in this Rose, you know that."

"Sometimes I feel like I am Mickey."

Alec had been to give notice he was moving out of the riverside chalet and said he'd be handing the key back early.

"Is something wrong with the rental?" the woman asked him.

"No, nothing wrong, I'm having someone coming to stay with me, the place is just not practical. Trust me, if you saw the size of her wardrobe, it would need one that was bigger on the inside," Alec joked.

The woman just looked at him. No-one was used to the grumpy detective making jokes.

"Oh, well in that case, if you're moving out, you don't have to pay any more rent, shall I cancel it with your personnel department?"

"Yes, I already told them I was moving, I will just be doing it a day early."

Relieved he wouldn't have to ask Pete for help, he made his way back to the chalet for probably the last time to find Ellie Miller waiting outside for him, with her youngest son.

"What are you doing here Miller?" he asked, trying to sound like his old grumpy self but now Rose was coming back, that was going to be difficult.

"I missed you too Hardy. I heard you're back at work from next week?"

"Bad news travels fast then? Are you back in your old house?"

"I was before you went away, I dragged Tom back, remember?"

"I was in hospital."

"No you weren't. You're such a pain in the ass Hardy. I saw the chief super earlier, she says we have to share responsibilities until you get the all clear."

"Well that won't be long if I get my way Miller. Shouldn't you take your son home?" he asked, nodding to the half-asleep youngster.

"We just came from my sister's."

"Is she not working at the newspaper office?"

"Only part-time now, things are getting a bit tight at The Echo, Olly does most of the reporting directly online now. We're you paying attention at the trial? He was never off his phone."

"I had other things to worry about than watching your nephew. Did you want anything else?" he asked, wanting to go take his things over to the caravan and settle in, there was no point in staying here tonight and at least he'd be able to close the bedroom door for a change.

He'd been horrified that after Tess had brought him back, the bedroom door was open and Ellie Miller was staring at him when he'd woken up the following morning.

"Going somewhere?" Ellie asked as she lay Fred back in the stroller.

"I'm moving out by morning, I can't stay here."

"You've managed up until now, what's the hurry?" she asked, sitting on the bench since he wasn't letting her inside.

"I'm expecting a visitor," he had to admit. "I met up with an old friend while I was away."

"Male or female?" Ellie grinned.

"You will find out, won't you? Female, we went our separate ways before I left Sandbrook. She was there for a visit last week and we bumped into each other."

"Oh, this is a surprise, you kept that quiet," Ellie laughed.

"What was the point in mentioning it? I never knew she was going to be there, it was just a coincidence. She arrives on Thursday if you must know though she may come down on Wednesday night."

"Do I get to meet her?" Ellie asked, trying to get over the initial shock.

"I expect you will see her around, if she can put up with me."

"Just how close were you? Was she your girlfriend before or after you split with Tess?"

This was getting more complicated as it went on. Why hadn't he thought about it before opening his big mouth?

"After, Tess was the one who was cheating, not me. I need to get going, I am walking across to the caravan park."

"You got a caravan for the two of you? Very cosy."

"It was all I could get in the time I had. Did you bring your car?"

"No, I walked. It's my day off, I'm tired of driving, I need some exercise. I can manage a holdall or something, you'll need to make two trips anyway."

They set off, Alec dragging two cases so he wouldn't have to go back but he'd go round in the morning before he handed the key in. He wouldn't be sorry to leave really, it had been better than the hotel though. He'd had his eye on the house on the cliff but there were too many steps for his liking.

As Ellie handed his holdall to him, Fred woke up.

"See you on Monday then?" Ellie asked him as they stopped in front of where he'd been allocated.

"Yes, I don't know what time I will be there, I expect I'll need to get back into things slowly."

"You didn't do too bad while you were off. Sure you don't want me to go over that old case with you?"

"No, I sent everything back, let Tess deal with it, it cost me enough. I will have enough when my visitor arrives."

"So, who is she then?"

"Her name is Rose."

Ellie had just walked off when his phone rang. It was the car rental company asking what time he wanted the car delivering in the morning so he settled for some time after ten after asking if they knew where the caravan park was and gave them the number and which roadway it was on.

As he looked around inside, it was very nice, a private one by the looks of it and located the heating system to take the chill out of the rooms. He'd thought about how they were going to play this, he had to get Rose to go along with already knowing him, which she did, just not as Alec Hardy. Given that when he checked the other two bedrooms they weren't that cramped, he thought Rose might insist she'd manage in one but he could point out it would look odd there being two lights on at night if they were supposed to be together.

It wouldn't be the first time they'd shared though under different circumstances. Now all he had to do was call and get a few more groceries and sit and wait for her and it was going to drive him crazy.

Rose finally got home wishing she could just leave now to wherever Pete was going to stash her. Jackie noticed her mood as soon as she saw her.

"What's happened Rose?"

"Just Yvonne. She wants to interview me tomorrow morning."

"What for? Pete? What's going on?"

"She got hold of some video from what happened here that night and the Doctor was on it and who Yvonne is convinced is Rose."

Jackie covered her mouth in shock. "Did she see me on it?"

"No, just the back of you running off and screaming. The Doctor was also in a photo but that's not what this is about. Yvonne accused Rose of being here that night and when Rose tried to deny it, she ordered her to attend an interview about it. She also implied why I wanted to reopen that project."

"You have to put a stop to it Pete," Jackie pleaded with him.

"I'm trying Jackie, trust me. Rose, when you finish with Yvonne tomorrow, you come home and pack, we are going to make an early start on Thursday morning, we may even go tomorrow night."

"Yeah, whatever you think is best. I have to explain to Tony myself."

"He's in his room playing with his racetrack," Jackie told her.

Rose went off and Jackie went to let Pete put his arms around her.

"I'm worried about her Pete. You said it wouldn't come to that."

"I'd hoped it wouldn't Jackie but something's pushing Yvonne. We just have to find out what's driving her and put a stop to it. When this is over, we may have to make a few changes to Rose's story. I think if she was in those videos, we should admit she was here that night and when it all kicked off, she got you out then went to find her mother."

"Pete, can't we just admit I'm her real mother?"

"Jackie, at least this way it's half true, think of all the hard work we've put into this? To come up with another story altogether would take some planning. I'm sorry Jaks, I just can't put you and Rose through all that. It's best we stick to what we know and don't worry about Rose, she can hold her own with Yvonne. I got the agreement of the board members to appoint an independent advocate to sit in on the interview. I don't know who it is though but it will be someone impartial but able to end it if Yvonne goes too far."

"Well don't expect Rose to sit there and let Yvonne go on at her."

Pete smiled and kissed Jackie's forehead. "Don't worry love, Rose won't let her."

Rose was having a car chase with Tony, letting him win.

"Aw Rose, you were too slow," Tony laughed as his car crossed the finishing line.

"Yeah, you get more practice then I do. Listen Tony, I'm gonna have to go away for a bit. Remember before when I did that special job at work?"

"Yeah, you were away for ages."

"Well I have to do it again, for a bit longer this time, sorry."

She bent down to give him a hug.

"When are you going Rose?"

"Soon, early the day after tomorrow."

"Before I go to school? Dad always takes me though."

"I know but dad has to take me, maybe you can go with mum and one of the staff, yeah?"

Tony nodded. "Can Mickey or Jake take me?"

"You can ask. You know I don't want to go away."

"Are you going on holiday with Mickey again?"

Rose smiled at him. "No chance, he was bad enough last time."

Mickey had gone to meet Martha across at the wharf bar. Martha was also having second thoughts about this after Yvonne had said she wanted to know all about it the following day. She smiled as Mickey walked in and tried not to think about why she was doing this.

Steve had gone home, wondering why Rose was avoiding him all of a sudden. She'd been all for having lunch with him but had suddenly left after saying he was the cause of something else coming up but what had he supposed to have caused? Now he had to face his mother and tell her what happened that night but he'd found out with a price to pay – betraying Pete Tyler and losing Rose.

The next day was going to be trying for everyone as well as Rose and none of them were looking forward to it.
Chapter 15
Rose was quiet all the way to work the next morning, having dropped Tony at school because again, Rose didn't want to go on her own and she was in no hurry to get there.

"Just answer her questions Rose," Pete advised her.

"Who do you think the board will appoint as advocate?"

"I've no idea, they must have someone in mind. Let me know what time the interview is."

"Yeah, as soon as I get to know. I'm letting Mickey take over."

"Just as well, I doubt you'll be able to concentrate once you get back. Just clear your desk and your calendar before you go then come to my office, I'll have Jake arrange for someone to take you home."

"Thanks. Well, best go prepare for it then, get it over with. Where you're taking me, I hope it's nowhere remote?"

"No," Pete smiled, "It's not remote. Worried you won't be able to use your phone?"

"Well I don't want anywhere that's famous for loss of signal do I?"

"Trust you but try to keep your calls to a minimum, just in case. The person who's looking after you will keep in touch with me."

"I wish you'd tell me where I was going? Who's looking after me?"

"You'll find out tomorrow. Someone will have to take Tony to school."

"He wanted Jake or Mickey," Rose smiled as they arrived in the underground car park.

She was dressed more conservatively today, a white blouse and black trousers with her ankle boots. Jake greeted them in reception.

"I found out who's sitting in during your interview," he told Rose.

"Anyone I know?"

"Rose, you know everyone," Jake smiled.

"Not personally," Rose managed to smile back. "So, who is it?"

"Oh, only Owen Harper. Seems he was all they could find who won't take sides in all this. The board are aware of the struggle for power."

"They saw enough of it yesterday," Pete told him as they waited for the lift. "Jake, see Rose to her office and have a car ready to take her home when I call."

"Sure. Ready for this Rose?" Jake asked as he dropped her off at her office. "I have to get back to work, sorry. Pete's given me a few things to do."

"Yeah, sorry. Don't let me hold you up. I'm just gonna cancel a few appointments and tidy my desk, Mickey's picking up any applications that come through when the assessment team have finished."

"That'll keep him from complaining he's got nothing to do," Jake laughed. "He had a date with Martha last night."

"I wonder how they got on?"

"Better than you and Steve? He looked miserable yesterday when you left the canteen."

"I have to think about it Jake, after what happened. How are you gonna go about this training?"

"I'll be making arrangements as though we're going ahead, just let Yvonne try and stick her nose in. I wonder how Pete's team's getting on appraising the cannon project?"

"Slowly if he has anything to do with it," Rose tried to joke.

"He'll delay the results as much as he can. Has he said how he's covering being off tomorrow?"

"He's the director, he only answers to my mum."

Jake smiled. "Good thing she knows about it then?"

Jake went off, leaving Rose to pour herself a coffee and switch her laptop on, going through her calendar for the next week, cancelling meetings and informing departments Mickey was taking over her while she was on assignment for the director. Gwen was one of those who got the memo, wondering if Rose was going to keep her word and help her get home.

Then Rose got an on-screen message to be in Yvonne's office at eleven and not to think just because Pete was sending someone to sit in on the interview that she would go easy on her. Owen had been surprised to be asked to such a meeting and had said yes out of curiosity. He didn't have much to do with Rose, he kept his distance after the Christmas party when he thought she was going to deck him in front of everyone then she'd gone off with Steve Roberts.

He just counted himself lucky she let him off lightly, with all the training she did. Now he had been summoned to an interview Yvonne was conducting, which could be very interesting, considering Yvonne had never dared go after Rose until now so what had changed her mind? He was on no-one's side though, despite Martha looking like she was also about to give in since she'd been talking to one of the technicians about a date with Mickey Smith but did that mean she was about to join their side or try and turn him over to Yvonne's?

He saw Martha and went to ask her how her date had gone.

"I'm not discussing it with you Owen, it was personal."

"It was that good then? Please yourself but I'm putting you in charge down here, I have to attend to something."

"Such as?"

"I'm not at liberty to say," he smirked.

Yvonne wouldn't thank him for spreading rumours she was challenging Pete Tyler by going after his adopted daughter. Good luck to her, he thought as he tried to get some work done before he was summoned. Why was she after Rose though? Yvonne must really have something on her to dare to interview her, the last time such an interview took place, his deputy had left without warning and Martha had come along. He doubted Yvonne had the power to fire Rose but she could make life very unpleasant for the blonde.

Yvonne was going through the files she'd let Steve have, looking for any traces of proof it was Rose who had been there that night but there was nothing. She'd also got nothing back with proof of whoever was there had shown up anywhere else. They'd obviously escaped but had they got caught by the Cybermen?

As for Rose's story of her trying to find her mother, she'd got people trying to corroborate that, if Rose had been sneaking through the streets dodging Cybermen, someone would have noticed her. She wasn't in a hurry though, she was more concerned about the man in the black suit because she'd run his image through the database and he hadn't been in anyone's employ so was he a spy for Lumic? Whoever he was, he'd disappeared off the face of the earth. He did look vaguely familiar but she couldn't place him.

Jake went back to escort Rose to her interview ten minutes before she was due in Yvonne's office.

"Are you ready?"

"Not really but we knew this was coming. I wish I could have put it off but she made it a directive, backed by the board."

"Never mind, once you get out, she'll maybe make some more enquires and we're ready for her."

"Pete mentioned something," Rose told him as she got up. "Let's not keep Yvonne waiting then?"

Owen got there a few minutes before Rose did and it was well known they didn't like each other very much so Yvonne knew the board had chosen him deliberately.

"No point in asking why you're here?" Yvonne asked him, swivelling in her chair.

"It seemed interesting and it gets me out of medical. So, why are you interviewing Rose? Fancy a career change?"

"If that implies Pete will try to have me fired, it'll take more than me interviewing Rose. Tell me Owen, you were in on that idea Pete had for that dimension cannon, weren't you?"

"That was before your time Yvonne. Been doing some research have you?"

"You could say that. Did you consider the safety of those who might use it, if it checked out?"

"Every aspect was covered Yvonne and it was shelved. So, why are you asking? Surely it's not being reconsidered for testing?"

"Why, would that be bad?"

"I can't comment Yvonne, I've not got the slightest idea how it's actually supposed to work, that's not my department."

Yvonne knew she was getting nothing out of him as she was informed Rose had arrived.

"Thanks for coming Rose," Yvonne greeted her.

"I told you I've got nothing to hide. Hello Owen."

"Not going to slap me this time?"

"Not now Owen, this is business," Yvonne reminded him, having heard of what happened at the staff party and glad she'd left early.

Yvonne continued. "Don't take this personally Rose, I wasn't trying to dig into your past, it just came up while I was doing some research."

"No? What research was that then?"

"That's not relevant at this time. Needless to say though, some footage came to light as you've already heard about that calls into question who was present the night the Cybermen invaded Pete Tyler's mansion."

"Really Yvonne?" Owen asked her. "Why bring up the past?"

"You're supposed to be observing," Yvonne snapped at him.

Rose thought Owen was there to rescue her from any awkward questions but that was clearly not going to be the case.

"Even so Yvonne, it was a long time ago. What has Rose got to do with that?"

"That's confidential Owen but as I said, some video came to light and that Rose may have been there that night, not where she said she was."

"Which leads to what exactly?" Owen wanted to know.

Yvonne was growing tired of his interruptions, she'd not known who the board were sending after being told Pete insisted someone observed but Owen was being a complete pain.

"Rose, just tell me where you were that night, you said you had nothing to hide."

"I told you, I got separated from my mum, people were either standing still having been brainwashed by their earpods or running around screaming when the Cybermen came marching down the street. I got caught up in it and when I got away, mum was gone. I tried to make my way back home, with some help but my mum wasn't there. So, how could I have been where you said I was?"

"Can you prove you weren't?" Yvonne asked.

"How can I after all this time? I never stopped to ask anyone's name you know?" Rose asked her sarcastically.

Owen had to smile, this was more like Rose. Rose continued.

"I went to report her missing the next morning, I waited hours, they were queuing down the street. People were upset, trying to comfort each other then we heard the police were sending everyone to the community centre, the council were setting up in there."

"So there are records then?" Owen asked.

Rose nodded.

Owen started to get up. "There you are then Yvonne, check the records. This is all a complete waste of time."

Rose couldn't agree with him more.

Yvonne also half got up. "Sit down Owen, this is not over yet."

"You, Yvonne, are overstepping your authority," Owen told her, standing directly in front of her. "Pete Tyler is still in charge around here unless I missed something? Rose, can you assure Yvonne you were not present at the Tyler residence the night everyone except him and possibly a few others got away?"

"I wasn't there Owen. I saw the videos she had, it wasn't me."

Rose wasn't really lying, she had been a different person back then.

"Report what you want to the board Yvonne but this interview is over. You're obviously on some kind of witch-hunt, I've heard about you wanting some changes around here in the way we deal with alien visitors but why drag up the past? The Cybermen are well and truly gone. Oh, hang on, I get it," Owen laughed.

"Get what Owen? What happened that night has every bearing, if something is being covered up."

"What exactly do you think is being covered up?" Owen asked her. "You think if Pete does manage to get some results from that dimension cannon, it will work both ways, that more aliens will find their way here?"

"I don't think it works like that Owen," Rose told him. "From what I was told last time anyway. What are you expecting Yvonne? That it's a two-way street and anyone who uses it will bring aliens back with them?"

Owen had to smile. "She has a point Yvonne. Let's wait until we start seeing some results, if Pete has a team on it. They're the experts, not us. As for Rose being involved in both the events of that night and her being part of the cannon project, she took part in it last time so it makes sense, since she is familiar with it. From what I remember about it, it was only capable of measuring timelines on parallel words, in theory but nothing ever came of it. What are you expecting?"

"I have read what the theory behind it is Owen. What if it does start working? Are unregistered aliens going to be secretly let go?"

Owen laughed again and sat down, looking at Rose. "Rose, how many unregistered aliens are there?"

Rose shrugged her shoulders. "That's not my department Owen, I just process them. It's not my job to chase up any who are hiding but Yvonne doesn't seem to get that if there are any hiding, more should be done to encourage them to come forward and declare themselves. If they think we're the enemy, that's not gonna happen, is it?"

"I agree Rose," Owen told her. "Now you see why I won't get involved in internal politics. This can go on forever, no-one is going to win or lose, except the aliens already here and declared. Are you quite finished Yvonne? I can't see any point in pursuing ghosts from the past and getting Rose to admit something she wasn't a part of."

Yvonne knew she would get nowhere, unless she got more proof which she was now determined to get more than ever.

"Very well, I'll leave it for now, you can go Rose."

"I should think so, what are you playing at Yvonne?" Rose asked as she got up. "Don't you think everyone went through enough that night? Did you lose someone?"

"I'm not answering that, whether I lost someone or not is not any of Torchwood's business."

"Then why drag others into it? I know who you were trying to help and picking out one person to help when you could have helped others just to further your cause is out of order and yeah, I don't care if you are the deputy director, Pete's still in charge and now you've dragged up unpleasant memories for him. Now he has to stop his wife finding out, she's still coming to terms with losing her memory and how she almost died that night."

Owen felt like saying she was brave to confront Yvonne when the woman was obviously out to discredit both Rose and Pete.

"Yes, I get that Rose but I'm not going to apologise and yes, I may be only the deputy director and if anyone else spoke to me like that, they would be out. Think yourself fortunate you have Pete to defend you. This isn't over so don't think it is but I'll wait and see if anything comes of the project but you're wasting your time training for it."

"It won't be if we get to use it," Rose replied defiantly.

She knew if ever it was successful, Yvonne would take it over in a matter of days but it wouldn't matter, Pete wouldn't let her get the use she wanted out of it. She got up at the same time as Owen.

"I knew it was a mistake, the board sending you this morning," Yvonne told him.

"Nice to have seen you too Yvonne and don't keep trying to recruit my staff to your side, down in medical, we need to remain neutral."

"Are you insinuating I've already tried Owen?" Yvonne asked him, putting some folders onto a pile.

"You may have done and I'm telling you, my staff are off limits. I'll take it further if I have to. Come on Rose, let's get out of here."

For once, Rose was going to follow his suggestion. Once outside, Rose went to sit on the leather couch by the lift.

"Come on, I'll buy you a coffee," Owen smiled at her.

"It's free for senior staff but thanks anyway, I should go let Pete know I managed to escape."

"I'm still on no-one's side Rose, this changes nothing but Yvonne was out of order. What did she think she had on you?"

"Footage from Pete's house the night the Cybermen invaded it. Pete said Lumic sent them to kill everyone because the president wouldn't sanction his creations and he just happened to be attending a party Jackie was throwing. Yvonne claimed it showed me in the videos but whoever it was, she can't prove it was me, I was miles away at the time."

"So she saw someone with blonde hair and immediately thought it was you? Why? I've read how Pete adopted you for finding his wife but Yvonne's going a bit far. I know we've had our differences but Pete wouldn't cover up a thing like that and I know you got the wrong idea at the Christmas party – sorry. Are you still seeing Steve Roberts?"

Rose shook her head. "Not exactly, he was spying for Yvonne, that's how all this started and now, how can I trust him?"

"So it was him she starting digging into the past for? He lost someone that night?"

"Didn't everyone one way or another? He lost his father, I lost my mum but who did Yvonne lose?"

Rose got up when the lift arrived and went up two floors and Owen remained, going back down. She waved to Pete's secretary and was waved into Pete's office, which was housed in what had once been the lever room, giving him an unrivalled view of London but it gave Rose the creeps every time she saw the large window where millions of Cybermen and Daleks had been sucked through on her world while the void was open.

"You're still here then?" Pete smiled as she flopped into the chair.

"Owen rescued me, he said it was a complete waste of time. She won't let it rest though."

"I know she won't and we'll be ready for her. I'll call Jake to take you to the front entrance, he'll organize a car for you."

"I have to go back to my office first."

"Nonsense, I'll have someone fetch your things for you."

He picked up his desk phone and called Rose's secretary and made the arrangements with Jake.

"I'll be up in half an hour, a car will be waiting for her but I've got something you should both know," Jake told them.

When Jake got there, Mickey was with him.

"I did some digging into who Yvonne might have lost," Jake informed them after Rose told them briefly what had taken place. "Seems she lost a close relative, a cousin called James and guess who he looked a bit like?"

"No way?" Mickey quizzed, as if Pete telling him the Doctor's twin or whatever was posing as a Scottish detective down in Dorset. "So you think she believes that was him there that night?"

"She never said anything about who she thought was me being with anyone," Rose told them and accepting another drink. "Maybe she's not realised?"

"Come on Rose, if it was her cousin?" Jake asked her.

"Yeah, I had cousins but if I went back now, would I recognized them? Maybe she'd not seen him for a while?"

"Rose has a point Jake," Pete agreed. "Maybe the Doctor seemed familiar to her and she might be trying to find out who he is but it also depends if she knew where her cousin was that night. If she doesn't, she'll try and put a name to who it was at the party and like I said, if she thinks it was a member of the serving staff, she's out of luck asking Jackie what agency she used."

"Conveniently," Jake laughed. "Right, are you ready to leave?" he asked Rose, who didn't look like she wanted to go anywhere at present.

"Yeah, I'll start packing but for how long?"

"A couple of weeks, just to be on the safe side," Pete answered her. "With you out of Yvonne's reach, we can get to work bringing her down and we will, I can assure you."

"Yeah Rose, just leave it to us," Mickey joined in. "Once you're safely away, we can really get down to it, we won't have to worry about you."

"You two know where I'm going, don't ya?" Rose asked.

"They had to be told Rose, in case either of them are needed for any reason," Pete replied.

"What about whoever's supposed to be looking after me then?" Rose wanted to know, wishing she didn't have to go at all. "This is all Steve's fault."

"No it isn't, she would have got around to it anyway. I want you safely away from all this Rose, things are going to get ugly, especially when she finds out I had the first results from the tests I ordered. They're actually looking promising. Seems a few things may have been overlooked."

"When are the practical tests taking place then?" Jake asked, thinking they may be training for real.

"Not until all this is over, trust me. I'm going to insist they look into everything in theory before any kind of practical tests can be made and that includes them taking it apart to see how it works and getting a separate team in."

"That could take some time then?" Jake grinned. "Sure Yvonne will wait that long? Won't she go barging in and bring her own team in?"

"She'll certainly try, which will also delay things when I take it to the board, since it was my idea to restart it in the first place and Yvonne's trying to muscle in. It will take them time to decide who's going to take charge, that's even before anything can really start. I think we can safely say it's going to be interesting."
Chapter 16
Jake escorted Rose downstairs, Rose remaining silent. Jake knew she wouldn't relax until she was away from the city and he didn't envy Pete when Rose found out where she was going and who was looking after her. Now though they had another possible problem, Yvonne's missing or deceased cousin, James Smith. He'd not had time to look into it but he was going to.

"So, glad to be getting away?" Jake asked her on the way down, having putting an over-ride on the lift so it wouldn't stop.

"Yeah though I wish I'd some idea where I was going. So you think Yvonne's cousin looked like the Doctor? How did you find that out?"

"Are you worried Yvonne will find out I've been digging into her family? I can handle her but don't read too much into it Rose, you thought Steve looked a bit like him."

"Only the way he dresses for work. There was that detective down on the south coast I saw on TV last year."

"Yeah but he had a beard and I saw him recently in the paper, it was even thicker. You have to face it Rose, everyone has a double, even on your world you said you'd seen that actor."

They reached the ground floor and Rose handed her employee card and ID to him as they walked to the door.

"I hope they don't think I'm being escorted from the building?" Rose smiled.

"You'd just love that Rose," Jake grinned as the driver of one of the courtesy cars got out to open the door for her. "If you were being thrown out, you'd be calling a cab."

Rose turned to give him a hug. "Thanks Jake, see ya soon?"

"Yeah, look after yourself, I'll see you for training."

"Yeah, hopefully. Bye."

She got in and Jake watched her drive off, answering his phone.

"Has Rose left yet?" Mickey asked him.

"Yeah, why?"

"I just bumped into Steve, he was asking about her."

"Mickey, she doesn't need Steve right now, she thinks he's brought all this up."

"I know but she doesn't need you know who either."

"Of course she does Mickey, that's exactly who she needs. I just hope she doesn't freak out when she meets him but I'm worried about the other one now," Jake told him as he made his way back to the security office.

Back up in Yvonne's office, she was furious that Owen Harper had got the better of her, since he'd claimed he wasn't taking sides and she'd heard he'd tried to get cosy with Rose while Steve was off getting her a drink at the party. Now, she was going to have more people finding out what happened that night and what happened to James because her relatives didn't want to talk about it. If he'd not be caught by the Cybermen, then where had he disappeared to?

Rose was in the back of the car on her way home, thinking about what Jake had said about Yvonne's cousin. She'd not seen a photo because Jake had said he'd not read that much about him but if he looked like a younger version of the Doctor at the time he disappeared, surely Yvonne would have caught on unless she really hadn't seen him that much?

When she got home, she found her mother in the kitchen and made herself a sandwich, getting a look from the cook's assistant. Jackie had just left her, knowing it wasn't easy for her to be going away and left her to go get packed. Tony went to find her when he got home from school, standing in the doorway.

"Will you be leaving early Rose?" he asked her.

"Yeah dad wants to miss the heavy traffic. I'll be home before you even miss me."

"Huh? How can you do that Rose?" Tony grinned. "Have you got a teleport?"

Rose laughed. They'd never told him about other universes and her time-travelling adventures and now it was just as well. He went off to his room and Rose finished her packing, joining them for the family evening meal.

"All ready then?" Jackie asked her.

"You know I don't want to go away mum, you know I'll miss you all."

"Mum, Rose said she's glad Mickey's not going with her this time," Tony grinned. "What did he do Rose? Tell mum."

"Mum knows about Mickey, he was just a bit too enthusiastic about joining in the local Cornish customs, like dragging me to all the quirky little events."

"Such as?" Pete asked, trying to steer the conversation away from Rose's departure.

"Just silly little things, watching local events, trying local delicacies, him drinking cider all the time and him saying we had to get into the spirit of things."

"Well you'd have done the same if you'd been in Spain or somewhere," her mother reminded her.

After they'd finished, Rose went to spend some time playing with Tony then went to find Pete.

"Everything's ready for her down here," Alec had told him when he'd called.

"Good, we'll set off around seven, make a stop halfway and we'll be with you around ten. Things took yet another turn today though. We found out Yvonne lost a cousin that night and from what Jake could find out, he looked a little like you."

"As if things weren't bad enough already. So she sees the video with me in it and thought she recognized me?"

"Not exactly, she may not have seen him for a while and may be still trying to find out where he was that night."

"So did Rose get through her interview then?"

"Yeah, luckily I got someone to sit in on it who stopped Yvonne going too far, someone who didn't like Yvonne very much to start off with but refuses to choose sides. She won't let it go so easily though. We're going to have to keep her busy with the cannon project."

"Good, as long as it keeps her from going after Rose."

"There's something else though, something Rose can't know about."

"You mean besides me?" Alec asked, looking out at the wet roadway since it had been raining and he had to go out so people saw him in the bar but he might just leave it for now.

"I had Jake do some more snooping and if Yvonne finds out I know, well, let's not even go there. Part of her plan to round up those who either never declared themselves to us or if given the chance to go home and they refuse, she's planning on locking them up, which was half suspected or even worse, maybe have them shall we say 'examined' to see how alike they are to us, well the ones that appear to be human anyway."

"Can she do that? Will the board agree?" Alec asked worriedly, now Yvonne might be trying to find out if he was her cousin.

"It might take some debate but the more people she gets on her side, especially if she comes out public with this, well they'll have to at least consider it."

"I thought you had the casting vote, should it be needed, if the board are divided?"

"That was the idea of having only six board members, I would be the decider but one's been off the last few weeks, his wife had a new baby. We may have to call him back in and he won't be pleased if it's because Yvonne's coming up with new ideas on how to handle what she calls the alien problem."

"Well at least Rose will be out of the firing line. How will you handle it if Yvonne insist she goes back?"

"Leave that to me Alec, I can handle her. She can't demand I bring her back and she won't have a clue where to find her. I don't think it'll come to that until she gets more information and don't worry about her trying to find out where you went to or who you were. She thinks you were one of the staff and she'll get nothing out of Jackie."

"Have you spoken to Rose yet, about what I asked?"

"No, she's with Tony but I'll go through things with her, don't worry but I can only tell her so much, without letting on."

"Yes, I get that but it will make things easier. Maybe you should leave the part out about posing as my girlfriend until you get here? Does she know that Yvonne's cousin was meant to have looked like me?"

"It was unavoidable but she seemed to take it well."

"That gives me a chance then?" Alec asked, a smile on his face.

That was going to make things easier when she arrived, he thought. Now he just had to remain calm when he saw her and not be all over her.

Rose had just got to Pete's study.

"Sit down Rose, there are a few things we need to go over, about where I'm taking you."

"No clues then?" she managed to smile.

"You'll know soon enough but it's down on the south coast, if that helps? Anyway, about the person who'll be looking after you."

"What about them? Male or female?"

"Male. Someone I've known for a while who I completely trust and he knows everything about you."

"An alien or someone who's not declared themselves?"

"I can't say love, you know that? I want you to feel you can trust him as much as I do, okay?"

"Yeah, if you trust him, I'll trust him, unlike Steve. I wish I'd never let him take me to that party and try to get close to me the last week or so."

"You weren't to know how it was going to turn out. Don't let him put you off men."

"I think I've had enough of them for a while, unless he's cute."

Pete didn't know how to take that, she'd pointed Alec out on TV while he'd been trying to solve Sandbrook and the death of Danny Latimer but she'd never said how seeing him had affected her.

Rose was awake before her alarm went off the next morning. Her things were ready for one of the staff to take down after a quick breakfast and Jackie had got up early to wave them off.

"Bye Mum, don't worry about me."

"How can I not worry about you if Pete won't tell me where you're going?"

"Hush Jackie, you know it's for the best. If you get asked, you can honestly say you were never told. Things aren't so good now, Yvonne may get around to asking you."

"Well she'll get nothing out of me, I'll have another memory relapse, won't I?"

Rose had to smile, wishing she herself had that advantage. For the first hour of the journey, most of it was across London which was why Pete had set off early to take some of the wait of getting caught in traffic jams, then they were on the motorway heading for the south coast and it became apparent to Rose that their destination wasn't Brighton or the south east. When they were getting close to Southampton, Pete pulled into the motorway services and said they'd take a break.

It was only just after eight thirty, the traffic was moving but a bit slower than normal and after taking a thirty minute break, Pete reckoned they'd arrive around ten so while Rose went off to the ladies room, he sent Alec a text.

Alec had been up since seven, pacing the living area of the caravan and then gone out, pacing the esplanade and never noticing the waves were hitting the rocks piled up at the other side of the wall. For the beginning of April, the weather was unsettled but he just leaned against the wall, trying to come to terms with finally seeing Rose after all this time.

His thoughts were interrupted by the local vicar, Paul Coates.

"You're out early this morning inspector," Paul greeted him.

Alec thought he was very observant for a clergyman.

"I'm expecting a visitor later and I wanted to clear my head."

"Oh, a female friend?"

"How did you guess? Yes, a female friend I've not seen for a while, well before last week and I took a chance and asked her to visit while she was down this way."

"An old girlfriend?" Paul asked, sitting next to him.

"Have you spoken to DS Miller? She thought it was beyond the realms of possibility I could have a girlfriend after my divorce."

"I never meant it as such, it's just I don't often see you sitting around at this time."

Alec's phone buzzed when he got Pete's message. He squinted to read it, remembering what Daisy had told him.

"On her way?" Paul asked.

"Yes, about an hour or so away and I admit I am somewhat nervous."

Paul got up. "Well good luck then, maybe I'll see you around with her?"

"I expect so, if she decides to stay. It's been a while since we saw each other, before we reconnected again."

He decided to get up, go smarten himself up and wait in the café for their arrival.

Rose was just coming out of the ladies room when saw Pete on the phone in a corner. She realised he was talking to Jake.

"Then tell Yvonne I'm entitled to take a day off when I feel like it," Pete was telling him.

"Yes, I tried but she's calling a meeting later and there's no-one to stop her."

"Well what's it about?"

"She says everyone should know if you're getting the cannon project going again. She also said it was convenient you were off the day Rose was taking a break."

"You go in my place, well I know you're going anyway and tell her she has no right to question my absence and everyone will get to know about it when there's something to report. Why has she even brought it up? Rose wouldn't have said anything about it."

"Maybe not deliberately but Yvonne might be jumping to conclusions. I'll see what she says, unless you're gonna be back after lunch?"

"I doubt it, I have to settle Rose in first," Pete replied, watching her looking at some magazines in the newsagent's.

They got back in the car and Rose asked what he was talking about.

"Just Yvonne stirring up trouble again. Seems she can't wait to share the news about the cannon project."

"Does she think that's gonna get her more supporters?" Rose asked him, fastening her seatbelt.

"It may do, in the present climate around the place, just be glad you're out of it."

"I hate leaving you to deal with it. I should be standing up for myself."

"Under normal circumstances I'd let you but she's getting too near to the truth and we can't risk it. Jake will deal with it while I'm away and when I get back, I'll have to try and undo any harm she's done."

They came off the motorway and Rose looked at the signs, one for Bournemouth and Poole and one for Exeter and since Pete didn't take the turn-off, she assumed they were going towards Devon.

Alec had been back to the caravan, trimmed his beard to more like it had been when he'd arrived in the town and made sure the place was tidy. He hoped Rose would agree to stay there after the trouble he'd gone to but he'd told the rental agency to keep him informed if any houses or cottages became vacant. He put his coat on and walked slowly across the harbour towards the café and hoped it wouldn't look too obvious he as waiting for a woman to arrive. Who was he kidding though, even the vicar had noticed.

Rose hadn't even tried to guess where Pete was taking her, she had to trust he knew what he was doing.

"No guessing?" Pete smiled, glancing at her.

"You'd just say no. We passed a few turn-offs but I saw one for that place that was on the news last year."

Pete said nothing as he saw the next sign 'Broadchurch 1 mile' and the roundabout coming up. He indicated to turn left and Rose knew.

"I should have known. You're getting that sickly detective to look after me?"

The second roundabout was coming up and Pete took the exit for Broadchurch.

"He's not sick any more Rose, he recently had a pacemaker fitted and he's still off work until next week then he's going back part-time because he thought you'd want a few hours a day to yourself."

"Yeah, I don't want to be in his way," Rose signed, wondering why Pete had chosen this place as they passed some houses and came to a corner.

Pete followed the road and saw the mini roundabout Alec had told him to look out for then he turned left and across the car park, a few yards from the café.

"I'll go get a ticket shall I? How long for?" Rose asked.

"An hour should do, we have to get you settled in."

Alec was watching out of the window, drinking his second cup of tea and glad the staff were used to him and Ellie Miller going in with her young son while the trial had been going on. He'd taken delivery of the hire car the day before and returned the chalet key so that he wouldn't get charged another day for it. He saw a car drive towards the café and pull up and he had to smile when he saw Rose in the passenger seat then get out, studying the ticket machine.

It was all he could do to stop himself dashing out, picking her up and spinning her around, like they used to or like his twin had done.

"Just one thing, before we go inside," Pete told her as Rose returned with the ticket. "While he's looking after you, I want you to do exactly as he says. He's gone to a lot of trouble to establish a cover story as to why you're here. You're to pose as his girlfriend, who he reconnected with recently after you went your separate ways before he left Sandbrook. He'll fill you in with the details, it's just for show."

"Could have been worse I suppose, I could have been his ex wife or something. As long as it's just for show?"

"Well, that's not for me to say how authentic you think you should both make it. Just don't talk too much about it until you decide how you're going to play this. I've known him a while Rose, he's a good man and he's just getting over his illness so he needs looking after as well."

"I did read about him, that he was ill but when did he get himself fixed?"

"A week or so ago, there's no need to worry too much though."

"How can I not worry, if he's just getting over it? Is this why you brought me here?"

"Partly, plus he wanted to meet you. Let's not keep him waiting then?"

They got out and crossed the rest of the car park, Alec watching out of the window and Rose trying to look inside as they reached the door and Pete went to open it. Inside, Alec wished he still had two hearts because this was the moment he'd been waiting for from long before he arrived here and she was finally here.
Chapter 17
Rose had butterflies as Pete held the door open for her and Alec got up. He looked just like the Doctor when he'd been having a lazy day or they'd been holed up somewhere overnight and just like the photos she'd seen in the papers or on TV.

She held back, letting Pete go first.

"Alec, nice to see you again."

"Pete, good of you to bring her. Hello Rose, glad you decided to take up my offer?" Alec greeted her, going to put his arm around her and kissing her cheek since there was hardly anyone in apart from the far corner.

"Hi Alec, how could I resist the offer of a few days by the sea?" Rose replied, having been told to go along with whatever he had planned.

"Here, sit down, I will go get you a drink," Alec offered.

"I'll go Alec, you and Rose catch up."

Rose wondered what they were going to catch up about and thought of leaving him to take the lead.

Alec sat next to her, pushing the tray to one side. "Good journey?"

"Yeah, not too much traffic. So, how have you been then?" Rose asked, trying to play along even though no-one was taking any notice.

"Fine, now you are finally here," he smiled. If only she knew. "Hope you don't mind staying in a caravan, it was all I could find, once you had accepted my invitation."

"Fine, no I don't mind, you should be avoiding the stairs. You're going back to work?"

"Yes, just part time, it will give you chance to look around on your own."

Then he leaned over and kissed her cheek whispering, "Just go with it, I'll explain later."

His beard felt soft on her cheek and she tried not to blush, since they had supposedly been an item back in Sandbrook. If he was going to keep taking liberties, he'd have a lot of explaining to do but something about him made her think he was going to be easy to get to like despite her saying she was off men.

Pete came back, looking at the two of them. "We'll have this drink then you can show us where you're staying."

He couldn't let on he already knew. The assistant came over with a tray of drinks but Alec refused any more when Pete offered.

"I've been here a while," Alec explained. "I was nervous about your arrival Rose, since we only had a few days last week. I thought you would change your mind, about coming down."

"I thought it was worth the risk Alec," Rose assured him. "It was great bumping into you while I was there but you did surprise me by asking me."

"Not much of a surprise eh Rose?" Pete asked her. "You've done nothing but talk about him all week." Rose was so going to get him back when they were alone.

"Has she now?" Alec asked, raising his eyebrows and Rose hoping he wouldn't continue to do that.

"Oh yes, trust me, when she got back home she was really happy she'd bumped into you again."

"Well, it was unfortunate how we ended things, still, that's the past, eh Rose?" Alec asked, putting his hand on hers.

Rose thought his hand seemed warm, unlike when she and the Doctor would walk or run hand in hand but she had no right to compare Alec with the Doctor, that was unfair and she had to stop right now.

Rose decided to play along. "Yeah, let's just forget it, I'm here and if I didn't want to give things another go, I'd have stayed at home."

"Believe me Alec, she would have done," Pete agreed.

They finished their drinks and Alec got up, holding Rose's chair for her, making her think she was going to enjoy this but she wasn't here to enjoy herself, she was here to hide. Getting in the back of the car, Rose let Alec direct Pete along the harbour and into the caravan park.

"Do I need to book in or something?" Rose asked.

"No, I already did it for you, you get access to the entertainment centre and the swimming pool."

"Great, I'll be making plenty of use of the pool, when you go back to work."

Alec was almost wishing he hadn't asked to go back to work but he was supposed to have been affected by the events of finding Pippa in the river. It had affected him and it had put him off going in the water though he would make an exception in Rose's case.

Pete pulled into a parking space where Alec indicated, just across from his caravan. Rose thought it looked different to the others and said as much.

"It seems to be a private one, I've got it for a few weeks, I did not know how long you would be staying. I will keep checking with the rental agency to see if anything is vacant."

"No, it's fine here, honestly. Don't go to any more trouble."

"It's no trouble, is it Alec?" Pete asked him as he went to the back to get Rose's luggage out, Alec going to open the caravan door.

"Go inside Rose, we'll get everything," Pete told her.

"I hope he's not gonna keep doing that," Rose said quietly. "I mean kiss me on the cheek every time."

Pete smiled. "Rose, you're supposed to be his ex girlfriend who's giving him another chance. Go on, we've got this."

Alec was just coming back over the roadway. "I put the heating on, it still gets a little chilly in there."

"Thanks. Do we need to go shopping?" Rose asked as Alec got a case out of the back. "Should you be carrying that?"

"I'm fine, no need to fuss," he insisted as he followed her inside.

Rose looked around. "Yeah, I like it, it's nice. How many bedrooms?"

"Three, two twin rooms and one double and about that. We need to discuss certain things, if we are to be believable at making up."

Rose was about to say something when Pete left a case in the doorway.

"Just your two holdalls and your laptop bag Rose," Pete called.

"I should go help," Alec excused himself, not sure how she would react at his suggestion they shared to make it appear they were back together.

Rose sat on one of the chairs at the round table as the rest of her things were brought in, taking the laptop bag from Alec and being embarrassed.

"Put everything in one of the rooms Pete, we will move it later," Alec advised him and led the way to the first bedroom door, since he'd put his empty cases into the other one.

"Right, you two should discuss things that are nothing to do with me such as your living arrangements. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you where I was bringing you Rose, you do understand?"

"Yeah, I think I would have freaked out, no offence Alec."

"None taken and I apologise for throwing you in at the deep end, so to speak. I could not think of an easier way to account for your sudden arrival and no-one here knows what happened to me back in Sandbrook. So since I was back there recently, it seemed the ideal opportunity."

"I can go along with what you have planned, you've gone to a lot of trouble. You can explain things to me later. Dad, what was Jake calling you about back when we stopped? Can you talk in front of Alec?"

"He knows everything Rose, well almost. It seemed Yvonne noticed my absence and decided to take advantage of it by calling a meeting. She wants to go public with the project, well internally anyway. That will lead to other things."

Rose remained seated. "Like her going for your place as director?"

"We knew she was going to try."

"With you being away, which is my fault."

"Don't say that Rose, I had to get you away safely."

"Yeah and while you're doing that, Yvonne plans her takeover."

"She can't do that without the board and one member is on leave but she can gather enough supporters to insist a board meeting and he'll have to come back for it. Anyway, no need for you to worry about that, you're on leave, not training."

"I am worried though, about what she'll come out with."

"You need to remain calm and let Pete and your friends handle it," Alec told her, sitting opposite.

"Alec's right, let us worry about it. All she can do is gather supporters and I'll have Mickey and Jake working against her."

"Will you keep your promise about Gwen and get her transfer?"

"I'll get right onto it, leave it with me. Well, I should be setting off back, go see what damage Yvonne's managed in the last few hours. Don't worry Rose, just try and relax a bit."

"Can I talk to you, before you go? Alec, do you mind?"

"No, go ahead, I will be in the bedroom, take your time."

When he had closed all the doors, Pete went to sit next to Rose.

"Worried?" he asked. "You never said how you felt about him looking like the Doctor."

"I know and it's not fair to compare them and I won't but I know you think I'll be more settled here, with Alec than anywhere else. How did you get to know him?"

"Ah, he needs to tell you that but I've known him a few years, I trust him enough to tell him what's going on and where you come from."

"Wow, if he's the only one who knows then you must really trust him. I wonder how serious he's gonna take this old girlfriend lark?"

"Only as far as you want Rose, he's just getting over being ill and you know he recently got divorced?"

Pete hated fooling her but until Alec convinced her who he really was, there was no other option than to go with the cover story they had come up with between them. Now it was up to them to sort things out and he wondered how long it would take her to realise.

"Can I come out now?" Alec asked twenty minutes later, most of which he'd sat on the bed, a hundred ideas going through his head yet again, asking himself the same questions. Would Rose settle with him, when would she guess who he was, would she guess who he was without him giving a few hints? Would she demand she had the double bedroom to herself?

"Yes, I think Rose and I have gone over everything, haven't we?"

Rose was not ready for this but just who had she been expecting to be looking after her?

As Pete was getting ready to leave, Jake and Mickey had finally got out of the urgent meeting Yvonne had called in Pete's absence.

"Pete's not gonna like this Jake," Mickey was telling him as everyone filed out.

"Tell me about it mate, I tried to warn him earlier. Let's go back to your office and call him."

Yvonne had been both pleased and annoyed Pete was absent when she'd arrived, since his car wasn't there when she'd parked up and even though he sometimes dropped his young son at school, he was usually already there so she'd checked he'd picked up his ID card with reception to be told he was taking a leave day.

So, she'd wasted no time getting her over-worked secretary sending out messages to all heads of departments to meet in one hour and had called Jake.

"Yvonne, he's entitled to a day off now and then," Jake had defended Pete.

"Well it's strange it's the same day Rose was taking some time off, can't she go on her own?"

"Maybe Jackie wanted to go with her and he took them both? She was talking about going to a spa."

"I suppose that's viable. I take it you'll be at my meeting?"

Reluctantly Jake had said yes and now they were in Mickey's office debating what to tell Pete.

"Let's wait for him to call," Mickey suggested. "He'll either be driving or settling Rose in. I wonder how she's taken it, being with you know who's double?"

"I expect she'll take it in her stride, she's seen him on TV. It's poor Alec I feel sorry for, seeing her after all this time. I mean he knew where she was, what she was doing and she never knew about him."

"Well Pete said he had to establish a cover story for him like he did with Rose but I don't get why he told Alec about Rose."

"Well he couldn't tell her, Alec had the patience to wait though how he's managed? If she's gonna be mad with anyone, it'll be Alec, for not insisting she knew."

"Maybe? Anyway, what are we gonna tell Pete, about what Yvonne's just come out with?"

Yvonne had waited for everyone to settle down before telling them what she'd called the meeting about, which as Jake had suspected was mainly about Pete's way of doing things.

"Now, Pete Tyler has decided that not only should we continue to welcome new visitors, he wants to reopen the dimension cannon project."

There were murmurings around the room. Yvonne continued.

"I wasn't here the last time but from what I gather, it sends the person standing in front of it to other worlds, other dimensions and goodness knows who'll they will bring back with them, as if we don't have enough with crashed spaceships, transporters and the rift."

Jake stood up.

"That's not it's purpose Yvonne," he told her.

"Well you would say that Jake. What's to stop that from happening though?"

"Pete wants to try and get those home who have been stranded here, from when the Cybermen were messing around trying to escape."

"Yes and where did they go? Not one person here knows that, the original members of Torchwood were all but wiped out when the place got invaded, or so we were told. There are no records, everything was destroyed so if Pete starts this project, who's to say the Cybermen won't come back?"

Jake thought so that was why she was so interested?

"The cannon will be strictly monitored Yvonne, nothing will get through without us knowing."

"Maybe not but can we risk it?" Yvonne asked, getting agreement from around the room. "Isn't it true the device was found in one of the factories they broke out of and was brought here?"

"Yes but we have no proof they got it working Yvonne. If it had worked, they would have used it instead of what the other Torchwood were trying out."

Jake had learned that like the Torchwood in the other world, the old regime had been trying to harness the void as energy but very few people knew about it, Pete had managed to keep it quiet and anyone who'd survived had not wanted to bring up the past.

"And what was that?" Yvonne wanted to know.

"No-one knows that and if anyone did, they'll not admit it now. Besides, the Cybermen destroyed everything. Pete found out and got a security team in to secure the building and began salvaging what they could."

"Well who's to say that if the cannon project works, the Cybermen won't home in on it?"

"Precautions will be taken Yvonne, Pete's got people seeing if they can get it working, nothing's been decided yet. Why have you even brought this up?"

"You're questioning me? I think everyone has the right to know and where is he anyway?"

Everyone had looked around.

"Since when has it been a crime to take a day off?" Jake replied.

The meeting had then broken up but Jake knew she wasn't finished yet.

Pete was just leaving the caravan, Alec saying they should go out and see him off, establishing she was staying. They all got outside, Alec deciding this was as good a time as any to see how Rose reacted.

"Bye Rose, Alec will look after you."

"You can be sure of that Pete. Come on love, let him on his way eh?" Alec turned to her, putting his arm around her waist and forcing her arm around his back.

It made Rose flinch slightly, since he was only in his white shirt and he was just as slim as the Doctor had been. Alec noticed and tightened his grip on her.

"Bye then, have a safe journey back," Rose told him as Alec squeezed her even tighter.

They stood as Pete crossed to his car, Alec kissing Rose's cheek.

"Just follow my lead until we go back inside," he said quietly as Pete reversed the car.

"Okay but you have some explaining to do."

Still holding onto each other, they waved as Pete drove up the roadway then Alec turned and put his other arm around her waist, kissing her forehead then nudging her so their lips met briefly.

"Come on, you have to unpack," he reminded her, leading her back inside.

"Are you gonna keep doing that?" Rose asked as he closed the door. "I thought we were just getting back together again? Just how involved were we supposed to have been?"

"It has to look good," Alec replied, facing her. "Do you object because if you do, say now and I'll know how to play this."

"You mean I'll know that I'm playing hard to get? If we just met up again recently, it must mean we never really wanted to split up then? So how are ya gonna explain that?"

"I'm working on it but to save all the speculation, can't we have just made up?" he smiled.

Rose considered it. Did she want to spend however long she was going to be here for debating if they were on or off? It would simplify things.

"Okay, how about after you asked me to come and visit I decided I'd give you another chance but you have to win me back?"

Alec thought about it.

"That's fair I suppose? So if I indicate to show a little affection, you are going to pretend to be shy about it?"

"Well yeah, that'll work for a while," Rose grinned.

"I hope that's not going to take too long?" Alec smiled back.

"We'll see, just don't expect me to go around snogging you all the time and we'll get on fine."

"Agreed. So, now that's out of the way, about our sleeping arrangements?"

"Have you taken the double bedroom?"

"Well yes but it's a large one, enough for two people and we are supposed to be making up."

"Huh? Well I suppose you have a point, it'll look odd if more bedroom lights are on but I can get around in the dark. Show me the twin bedrooms then."

Alec tried not to show his disappointment and maybe she was only joking? If he came out and told her who he was, would she change her mind?

"I can take the twin room Rose, you can have the double, if you choose not to share."

He opened the room where all her luggage was, there was one bed by the window and one opposite right up against the wall and the window was steamed up.

"Ah, the radiator in here must have been turned off," he suggested, going to look at it.

"Don't bother, I don't really like it anyway, sleeping by the window or the wall. What's the other one like?"

"Ah, just as bad," he replied as Rose turned and almost bumped into him.

The other room had twin beds side by side.

"I expect I can manage in the other room," Alec offered as Rose made him move again and she went towards the door at the far end.

"Yeah, this one's nice, plenty of room for two," Rose smiled, nudging him since the curtains were open and they were facing another caravan window.

Alec noticed and went to put his arms around her neck, resting them loosely.

"Ah, that's a yes then?" he smiled, kissing her cheek again. "Does my beard bother you?"

"No, it's soft. Let's just get one thing straight, I'm not looking for a boyfriend, right?"

"Right, I'll remember that but do you feel like you could pose as the girlfriend I've just made up with?"

"Yeah, just don't try anything though."

"No indeed, Pete told me of all the training you do. Let's get your cases in here, the wardrobe is quite large but I've not taken all that much room. I will have to go pick up a few things tomorrow, we should also get some groceries, I only got enough for a few days. Do you want to unpack before or after we go get some lunch?"

"Before, get it over with. Is there somewhere I can hide my laptop bag?"

Alec had smiled when he'd taken it out of the back of the car. She must have had it specially made since the design was that of a blue police box, he'd been told they never had them here.

Rose had seen him looking at it. "So, did Pete tell you everything?" she asked.

"Almost, he said you would fill me in on a few things. Rose, there is no need to hide anything, I know where you come from."

"A London council estate?" she smiled, sitting on the bed.

"Yes, just not from around here, so to speak."

"You believe it?"

"I have to, there is no proof it's not possible."

"So, is that why you agreed to hide me?"

"Yes, that and the fact Pete helped me and I've been wanting to meet you."

Rose tried not to blush. Alec thought she had no idea how long he'd been waiting for this and now, they were on their own but at least Pete could now concentrate on getting Yvonne to stop going after Rose, in whatever way he could.
Chapter 18
Alec set her cases on the bed and left her to unpack, happy she had at least agreed to share a room with him but he was still unsure she would stay. He tried to sit still but when she didn't appear an hour later, he knocked on the bedroom door.

"Rose, are you okay?" he asked, opening the door slightly.

It was enough to see her cases were open and she was sat on the side on the bed.

"Hey, what's wrong?" he asked, pulling the curtains over just in case anyone was actually looking.

"It just hit me, that's all," she replied sadly as she sat next to her, putting his arm around her.

Rose let him pull her close and rested her head on his shoulder.

"Well you are not alone in this, you know that. I understand what you are going through, I felt bad when I never solved the Sandbrook case, I felt like everyone had turned against me."

"Was that when you were supposed to have met me?"

"That's not a bad idea, we can use that," he smiled. "Come on, I know if you have something to eat you will feel better."

"Not back to that café?"

"No, we can eat just opposite then go for a walk."

"Great, maybe I will feel better when I've eaten?"

He got up and offered her his hand, which she took.

"I thought you wanted people to see us together?" Rose asked, pointing to the curtains.

"You were upset, I did not want anyone thinking we had our first fight."

Rose nudged him, trying to smile.

"I will help you when we get back. Just try to look like you are enjoying my company if anyone who knows me sees us."

"Who says I don't like your company? We should pull the curtains back, give the neighbours something to talk about."

Alec wondered if she was being serious but this was more like the Rose he remembered, though he couldn't let on.

"An amusing thought, maybe another time? We should let people see us together first. So, we walk across the road and eat or we can go up into the town."

"Across the road's fine though what about by the river?"

"There is limited seating there and besides, it overlooks where I just moved from."

"You lived by the river?"

"Yes, until I moved here, when Pete called to say he was bringing you today, I had no time to find another place."

"You could have stayed where you were, I wouldn't have minded. Pull the curtains back, we can hug if you want?"

"You mean I don't have to keep asking you?"

"Nah, I suppose not. Just one thing though, no kissing in public yet."

"Ah, good point, I was only trying to demonstrate earlier but like you said you could pretend you are considering taking me back, if anyone were to ask. A good test would be if you were to meet DS Miller."

"The woman whose husband just got let off? I bet she's a bit upset?"

"You could say that. You will get chance to meet her when I go back to work. For the next few days, we should get out as much as we can and establish you are staying."

"What about when I can go home? Will we have to break up again?"

Alec hadn't thought about that. He soon recovered.

"I hope not? We can agree something."

Rose smiled and he knew she was playing with him.

"Gotcha! Aw come on Alec, if I don't joke about it, it'll just make me feel worse," she told him, going to open the curtains.

He saw his chance and went up behind her, grabbing her waist and kissing behind her ear.

"Want to joke around do you?"

Rose tried not to wriggle away but if he was going to be spontaneous, she had to get used to it and maybe she wasn't that bothered.

"We were going for lunch," she reminded him, trying to turn around. "Are you gonna keep doing that?"

"Well only if you insist?"

"Don't get carried away. Maybe I'll have the energy to tackle this lot when we get back?"

Alec let go, reluctantly. "I said I would help, if you want?"

"I'll manage, not that I've got anything to hide, except my lingerie."

"I was married Rose," he had to lie, not that Tess had let him in the same bedroom so Rose being willing to share was a first, well for this version of him anyway.

"Yeah, so I heard, sorry."

"No need to apologise, it ended badly. It does not mean to say it put me off women."

"I noticed," Rose smiled, going to the bedroom door. "Which is why you had supposed to have met me and we'd better come up with a story we can both go with. Have you talked to anyone?"

"Just Miller, she wanted to know where I was going last week."

"Why don't you call her Ellie?"

"I was making it a point not to use first names after working with Tess. Now she won't let me use her first name."

Rose tried not to laugh but he noticed. At least she was cheering up. They cut through by the side of the shop and the amusements then crossed the road. Once seated in the outdoor catering area, Alec went to order some food and left Rose his phone so she could call Jake to say Pete was on his way back and giving him Alec's number if he wanted to talk to her.

"So, how are you settling in?" Jake asked, just getting back to his office.

"Fine it's nice here, not too many people around. How's things back there? Pete said she'd called a meeting?"

"Just what we expected, I'll tell Pete when he calls. So, did you get mad at him for taking you there?"

Rose glanced across at Alec, who was just placing their orders.

"It was a bit of a shock but he seems nice enough. I never expected to meet him in person though."

Jake wondered if she'd even realised yet but it had only been a few hours. Even so, he thought it wouldn't take her that long, especially if she got a few hints.

"Well you take care of yourself and relax while you can. Where are you staying?"

"A caravan, it's quite nice really."

"So have you claimed the largest bedroom?" Jake laughed.

"Need you ask?" Rose replied, thinking maybe she shouldn't say they were already sharing. "I'd better go, he's just ordering some lunch. Tell Mickey I'm fine."

"Will do, you just enjoy your break and leave Yvonne to us."

Rose ended the call as Alec took a seat opposite, Rose handing his phone back.

"I could have used my own phone but Pete wouldn't let me."

"Best not, in case Yvonne orders it to be tracked, maybe today or in the next few days. It was best you left it at home. You can call your mother later if you want?"

"Yeah, maybe tonight, she'll hardly have had the chance to miss me yet."

"I'm sure she misses you already," Alec assured her. Knowing Jackie, she would have missed her the second she got in Pete's car. "So, I know about you," have you any questions?" he asked, hoping her first one would be are you the Doctor?

"Well I probably know all I need to for now? There's only how you arrived in Broadchurch."

"A transfer when things went sour on me. Pete helped but before that, he got me out of the Glasgow police when I decided I never really liked it there. It was complicated, it would only bore you," he smiled as the catering assistant brought a tray with their drinks.

He was hoping she wouldn't ask too many questions, he really didn't want to tell her his cover story.

"Is that why Pete asked you to look after me?" Rose asked when they were alone again.

"As I said, I was quite willing, he told me a lot about you."

"Yeah, just about everything, so he said. So, after lunch we go for a walk on the beach? Can we call at the shop on the way back?"

"Sure, did you forget something?"

"Just a few extras, since you seem to drink tea, I bet there's no coffee?"

"I would have bought some if I had known what brand you drink."

"I'm sure I can get some. I'll have to get some cash, Pete gave me a company debit card, just in case Yvonne got inquisitive."

"Good, you still have to take precautions against her finding out where you went. Pete is just trying to prevent her finding out, should she choose not to accept you are just taking a break."

"Yeah I know. I still hate having to hide away."

"You will have to try and get used to it, it worked for me," Alec smiled.

"Says you who had the reporter down on you the moment you took too long to solve the case."

"That was one reporter. Did you agree with her?"

"No, she had it in for you, no-one actually believes what she wrote."

"Then I am glad to have so many people on my side."

Their food arrived and they ate in silence, Alec not sure if she'd changed from talking while eating, like they'd done in the Tardis or trying exotic foods on different planets. Then he had an idea to get her talking about her past.

They left the catering area and walked around the corner, finding access onto the beach. They walked for a while, up towards the hut and the boatyard where he'd collapsed that night chasing Joe Miller and they stopped by some rocks.

"Feeling better?" Alec asked her as he sat beside her.

"Yeah, it's surprising what some fresh air can do. Are you okay? I mean you're just getting over heart surgery."

"It was not so dramatic really, it was just a pacemaker insertion, nothing major."

"Even so, you waited a long time? I mean you said in that interview last year that there was something wrong with you and you've only just had it done. Why did you wait?"

How could he tell her he could have survived without it? He'd only been advised to have it done but he'd done too good a job at convincing everyone he was ill and the collapse on the way down the hill had been mainly because he'd lost his footing. He'd hated lying to everyone but what could he have done? It had got him sympathy from Tess and Daisy but got him fired from his job. His friend, whom Pete had sent to watch out for him had not succeeded in getting him to have the surgery yet Daisy had. He had grown fond of her and now she almost knew the truth.

"A lot of reasons, once I stopped working, I was in no real hurry and I thought I would never survive anyway, what was the sense in going ahead? I took a gamble and it paid off, fortunately."

"It's still no excuse but you're here," Rose smiled, taking his hand. "So, about me being your girlfriend. We should have a few ground rules."

"I thought we had?" he smiled, squeezing her hand that was a little cold.

"Well yeah but if you're gonna keep going around telling people I am and you have to ask me for a kiss or indicate I should kiss you, I'll have to come up with a reason. Maybe when you introduce me, you should say you're trying to win me back?"

"The fact you came back would indicate that, surely? Rose, I'm not trying to put pressure on you but I have had enough failures of late, can't we do this the easy way?"

"You mean pick up where we were meant to have left off? That'll cost you extra."

"Oh? In what way?" He saw a smile on her face. "You are playing with me, I fell for that. So you agree?"

"Honestly, I don't know. I told ya I wasn't looking for a boyfriend. Just before I came down here, I let someone get too close and now, he's partly why I'm hiding."

"What happened? Did he take Yvonne's side?"

"Yeah, he used me, to try to play both sides and now, well Yvonne's gathering more strength and she's gonna take over."

"You don't know that yet, Pete can still stop her."

"Can he? I know the board members have remained neutral but who knows for how long? You don't know her Alec, she came from nowhere and worked her way up to deputy director and now, well we think she joined us just to bring Torchwood down. She thinks she was the only one who lost somebody because of what happened and now, well did Pete tell you?"

"Tell me what? That she lost a cousin who looks a little like me? Yes, he mentioned it and now she'll be trying to find out about the man in the videos from that night but that was not me."

"I know Alec, now you're in danger as well but at least you can hide behind that beard. Maybe you should grow it a bit thicker?"

"I shaved some of it, for your arrival. You think I should grow it back?" he asked.

Rose nodded. "That may put you off kissing me, then people may not believe our little game."

"If you don't, who's to say she won't associate her cousin with you, that he went into hiding?"

"Because I also have a cover story that you need to hear about. Tess and I were not really married and Daisy is not my daughter, she is Tess's, I helped Tess get back to Sandbrook when she ended a relationship with another Scottish detective. She agreed to go along in exchange for getting back then she found out there was something wrong with me and to make it look like we were breaking up, Pete arranged everything and I came here, to keep out of trouble."

"That didn't work, did it? So who are you?"

"I'm still Alec Hardy but I have an excuse for not being involved that night, I was in Norway."

"What? How come?"

"I was working there, a police task-force and I met Pete. He said if I needed anything to get in touch with him and I wanted to go back to Scotland but when I met Tess, she was unhappy and I decided to help her so I got Pete to arrange transfers for us both. When we got back, she met Dave then those two cousins went missing and we decided it was the perfect excuse to pretend to get divorced."

"That sounds complicated. So she was supposed to have been in Norway with you?"

"No, I was away a lot. It does not matter now, it's over."

"It still sounds complicated. Why are you telling me?"

"Because I know your story is just a cover. I know who you are Rose, I know where you come from."

"You already said that. So, what did you expect me to tell you that Pete wouldn't?"

"Whatever you think I need to know? I know you lost someone and you did not come here without a fight."

"I don't want to talk about it."

"You lost someone close, I know that. If you want to talk about it, just say. We should set off back, the tide is coming in and we'll get cut off. Fancy walking up that cliff path?"

"I can but what about you?"

"I had another attack running down it, when we were chasing a suspect who turned out to be Joe Miller. It's not a fond memory for me, I thought I was going to die."

A shiver ran through Rose. How could he have put off his surgery for so long when he'd been in danger? Now he was in danger again from Yvonne because if she found out about him, she would find her as well. Some plan of Pete's then but she expected he'd had this arranged before the revelation of Yvonne's cousin looking like Alec and the Doctor, as if one wasn't bad enough. At least Yvonne would never get to the Doctor, well not yet but if she took over the cannon project? Did she already know who he was?

No, Yvonne couldn't possibly know or she would have said something but if she saw Alec's photo?

"Alec, we need to talk to Pete. We should leave here."

"Calm down Rose. Why should we leave?" he asked, putting his arm around her shoulder and kissing her cheek, which was cold.

"Don't you see Alec? She'll try and find out where I've gone, then she'll be looking into who was on that video and if she thinks it's her cousin?"

Alec saw his chance. "Is there something you are not telling me? Pete said you lost someone and I know you were here that night. I know you were with that man who Yvonne thinks is her cousin so you know it was not him. So who was he Rose?"

Rose got up suddenly. Why had Pete told him? How much did Pete trust Alec? It must go deeper than what they had both told her.

"You're right, we should make a move and walk up the path, we won't make it back along the beach," she told him.

The tide was almost at the rocks they were on.

"You are changing the subject but yes, we should make our way up the path. I will be fine, no need to worry. We will finish our talk later."

Rose didn't want to finish it. Why had he even brought it up? Did he suspect he was the Doctor's double and what had Yvonne's cousin got to do with it? If he'd disappeared that night then why hadn't he come back and just how alike did he look to both the Doctor and Alec? She needed to talk to Pete as soon as they got back to the caravan.

Alec took her hand and led the way around the boatyard and towards the path he'd run down that night. Slowly, they made their way up until they reached the hut and sat on a bench at the top.

"Are you okay?" Rose asked him.

"Fine though I could not have done that before. You are fitter than me though, due to your training. Pete said something about when you were younger, you liked gymnastics?"

"I won a bronze medal at school," Rose smiled, remembering telling her first Doctor when she was rescuing him.

"Your mother must have been proud? Is that why you like doing the physical training?"

"Yeah, I suppose. What's that hut? Is that where that boy died?"

"Yes, sadly. Surprisingly, people still want to rent it," he told her, nodding to the cars. "We should make our way back."

"Yeah but can we stay out a bit longer? I don't think I can face unpacking just yet."

"We can go get a drink, sit by the river if you want?" Alec suggested.

"Thought you wouldn't want to be reminded of where you lived?" Rose smiled as he got up and offered her his hand.

"You seemed disappointed earlier."

They walked back over the top of the cliff and came out just above where the prosecution barrister from the Joe Miller trial lived but Alec wouldn't have been surprised if she'd put it up for sale and moved away. They walked back down the hill leading to the esplanade and past the police station and towards the catering stalls by the river.

It was almost three thirty and Alec wondered how the time had past so quickly while they had been walking and talking. He'd been so close to getting her to admit about not leaving him by choice but if he pushed the subject too much, she would back away from him. She was right though, he was in danger of being found out but he had to trust the cover story he and Pete had come up with would pass Yvonne's scrutiny.
Chapter 19
Back in London, Yvonne had been busy after her hurriedly put together meeting when she'd found out Pete was absent and had called her inner circle, noticing Gwen's absence.

"Where is Gwen?" she asked one of the others.

"She got a call from her husband, she went home."

"Is he ill or something?" Yvonne wanted to know.

"She never said."

"Never mind, she'll be out when she does come back if she does it again. I have tasks for each of you," she told those remaining. "Please yourselves who does what. First, this folder contains information about a cousin of mine who went missing the night the Cybermen invaded. Find out where he was that night, who he was with and the second folder contains stills from Pete Tyler's house that night. I want to know who the man is and who is hidden from view. Now get on with it."

She held the folders out and one of them took them, opening the folder containing the photos of Rose and the Doctor.

"That looks like Rose," one of the women said as she glanced at the blonde hair.

"Well it's up to you to prove it, she denies she was there that night. Find out who's with her, if it is Rose. Call all the staffing agencies and see who Mrs Tyler used that night."

"Why not ask Mrs Tyler?" one of the men suggested.

"Because she lost her memory, when she was taken by the Cybermen. I saw her running off that night on the video, she escaped somehow but she was wearing earpods, there's no way she didn't get herded to Lumic's factory. I want one of you to find out who was there that night, see if there were any other survivors and if you find any, show them the photos, see if they know who that man was."

One of the others had opened the other folder. "Yvonne, are you joking with us?" he dared ask.

"What are you talking about?" Yvonne huffed.

"Is this your cousin? He looks a bit like that man in the other photos."

"I already know that but why would James be posing as a waiter? He had a very good job at the university. Well don't just stand there, get to work on it and while you're at it, see how many more men look like them but don't include that actor, I don't want his agent onto me."

She got annoyed as they all left, could she trust them to find out? Just how many more men looked like her cousin but if she could get to the bottom of it, it may lead to what happened to James. Two hours later, while Rose and Alec had been talking on the beach, Yvonne got some news.

"Yvonne, there's a detective down in Dorset, he looks like both the men you asked about."

"I've already seen him on TV, he's not James, trust me but he could be the other man we've been looking for. Find out if he still works down there and where he was that night."

"Yes Yvonne, I'll get on it and Gwen called, seems she's been summoned back to Cardiff."

"What? Who authorized that? I ordered a block on all transfers without my say so."

"She never said but maybe it's just as well, she may have made friends with Rose again?"

"That or Pete's eliminating my followers one by one? If he thinks he's going to keep doing that, he can think again. Pass that job you were doing to someone else, I've got another for you. Find out how many people were asking for transfers, I'm going to call personnel and find out when Gwen's went through because Pete Tyler can't have arranged it so fast if he'd taken Rose somewhere. I bet he did it through Jake."

Jake was turning out to be a formidable opponent, if Pete gave him free reign to do as he wanted. She just had to start being more forceful and if Pete didn't watch out, it would start with Rose because if it was her in that picture, that called into question her whole background.

Pete had got back home to find Jackie on edge.

"Pete!" she almost cried out when he walked in. "Is Rose okay? Can't you tell me where you've taken her?"

"You know I can't love but she's fine and she's in safe hands with someone I trust. Do you want me to go pick up Tony?"

"Yeah, he was most upset neither Mickey or Jake turned up to take him this morning, he said he'd told Rose."

"I'll tell him I'm sorry but I needed both of them at work early, I had a feeling Yvonne was up to something and I was right."

"What's she gone and done now? When's all this gonna be over with Pete?"

"All we can do is be one step ahead of her and now Rose is safely away, we can do that."

Well that was the plan anyway but now things were getting complicated. On his way back, he'd called Jake and found out what had happened at the meeting so now he had to call him back for an update.

"I haven't found out much more Pete," Jake told him. "I did arrange that transfer you asked for, Yvonne's gonna be steaming about that."

"Good, one less person on her side, we have to break her hold over everyone so concentrate on this cousin of hers. If we can convince her supporters she's doing this for personal reasons and she doesn't really care about the organization, they might think twice."

"Maybe," Jake replied. "It might have the opposite effect though, it might get her more sympathy."

"Which is why we need to find out more about her cousin. Jake, we know he's not the Doctor but if Yvonne begins to suspect Alec, maybe we need to get him and Rose out of Broadchurch, at least for now?"

"Maybe, she might already have read up about Alec though, I mean with him being in the news? We may not have to worry about that."

"Let's hope not."

Pete had just gone to his study when Mickey called.

"What's wrong Mickey?" Pete asked.

"Did you get Rose settled?"

"Yes, I just got back. She'll be fine. I know what you're doing this for, just because I chose not to send you with her but I had my reasons. Did you make a start, on what I asked you?"

"Yeah, it's gonna be slow going though."

"Well, just make a start and between us, we can bring her down."

Rose and Alec were sitting by the river, well Rose was. He had ordered some drinks, taken them to the table and gone back, smiling back at her as he waited for something, Rose wondering what he was up to.

She saw him taking a white carton and holding a plastic fork, thinking it was some chips but he put the carton on the table and opened it, revealing a hot waffle covered in cream and strawberry jam with a layer of melting chocolate underneath.

"I thought this may cheer you up?" Alec grinned, handing her the fork.

"Aw, thanks Alec, it looks really nice."

She took the fork and tried cutting off a piece, Alec wishing he'd brought a knife as well.

"Mmm, it's gorgeous, here, have a bit," she offered, taking another piece awkwardly.

Alec pretended he didn't want any but she insisted, giggling as people walked past and he knew she was making an attempt to play the part. He gave in and took it off the fork, Rose getting some more for herself. She offered him some more but he declined so she gave up though she continued to tease him.

"I got it for you, I could have got one for myself," he told her.

"It's more fun sharing. Speaking of sharing?"

"What about sharing?" he asked nervously as people walked by and seemed to be looking at them rather than the birds on the river.

Well he'd wanted to get some attention that he had a girlfriend but Rose seemed intent on making sure they were noticed. He rather thought he should arrest her for eating the waffle the way she was.

"I meant sharing a room, it was a little unexpected, me just coming back," she continued, for the benefit of anyone who happened to know Alec, who was trying to stop watching her finish off the said waffle.

"You said you wanted to make up Rose, you do, don't you?"

"Well yeah, I said I did. We can just take it slowly though, yeah?"

"Yes, we can do that if that's what you want? Ready to go and unpack?"

"Yeah, I just want to call and get a few things," she told him, the afternoon sun getting in her eyes.

Just then, Ellie's sister Lucy was just leaving the newspaper office, it was one of the days the place was actually open. She saw Alec talking to Rose and got her phone out.

"Ellie, did you know Hardy was back?"

"Yes, he's back at work on Monday, why?"

"Well he's a few hundred yards away from me and he's sat with a young blonde, they seem to know each other very well."

"He said he was expecting some company, she must have turned up then? What's she like?"

"As I said, young and blonde, how did he manage that?"

"I saw him the other day, he said he'd met up with her while he was away. They knew each other before he came here."

"How come he never mentioned her to you then?"

"Come off it Lucy, why would he talk to me about his love life? Still, if they broke up, maybe he didn't want to be reminded? I'll find out when I get back to work, if she's still here."

"Oh, I can do better than the Ell, I don't have a son as a reporter for nothing you know?"

"Stop it Lucy, don't go barging in there, he won't thank you for it."

"Too late, he's seen me. I have to go say hello now," Lucy laughed.

"Lucy, just be careful what you say to him," Ellie warned her.

Alec had tried not to notice Miller's sister so he turned to point out his old chalet to Rose.

"It was that blue one, just there," he was telling her, making her turn to look and him going to stand behind her, his hands on her shoulders as Lucy approached.

"Thought that was you inspector," Lucy greeted him, making him turn and Rose trying to see who he was talking to.

"Who else would it be?"

"Ellie said you were back. So, who's this?"

Rose managed to turn around, Alec's hand still on her shoulder.

"Hi, I'm Rose, Alec's girlfriend. So, who are you?"

"Ellie's sister, Lucy. You've not met her yet?"

"I only just arrived this morning, didn't I Alec?"

"Yes, she just got here. We knew each other in Sandbrook and we met up again last week while I was there. Ready to go?" he asked, stepping away.

"Yeah, I still have to unpack but he insisted we came out. Nice to meet you Lucy."

Now Lucy had something to tell Olly when she got home, now he'd finished going after that barrister's assistant.

"You didn't have to shield me from her," Rose insisted as they walked back across the road bridge. "We were supposed to be establishing me as your girlfriend."

"I did, as I recall. Rose, her son is the local newspaper reporter, do you want to be on the front page?"

"Oh, good point. Perhaps we'd best stay out of his way then?"

"That was the idea. Don't worry too much, he has his nose stuck in his phone mostly these days. Just be careful, if you see anyone taking photos on their phone. Maybe you should get some sunglasses?"

Rose stopped as they approached the shop.

"Maybe I should get a dark wig as well, since Yvonne was convinced that was me in the video? Pete did tell you?"

"Yes, I think maybe you did as well?" he smiled as they entered the shop and Rose picked up a basket.

He thought she was there to buy more than coffee.

"We will go to the supermarket tomorrow," he reminded her as she picked up some chocolate-chip cookies.

She just smiled at him and put them in the basket with a jar of coffee, a jar of hot chocolate, a bar of white chocolate and some apples.

"Perhaps we will not need to go?" he smiled back at her as she went to the checkout.

Then she got her card out to pay but Alec went to get his wallet out. "You can owe me," he said quietly as she put the basket down. "Got everything?" he asked as the items were put into a carrier bag.

"Yeah, did you want anything?"

The store assistant looked at him as he paid. He knew what she was getting at but he wouldn't be seen buying what she was insinuating, not that he'd had any use for such an item in his four or so years of his existence. He'd never really loved a human woman when he'd been a full Timelord, except for Rose but it had never got as far as a physical love though he'd thought about giving in a few times. Now, he was almost as human as she was and she seemed to have no idea who he was. Maybe it would be better if she never did?

"One thing at a time eh?" he whispered to her as he got his change.

Rose nudged him and give him her famous smile, the one he had missed so much. She took his arm and they walked outside but she still didn't want to go back.

"I want to go sneak a look at the swimming pool, just for a minute. We can look through the windows."

"Well if I had known, we could have brought our passes with us. I'm sorry Rose, I can't go in the pool with you, it would remind me of that river."

"That's why you chose to live by it? As a reminder you let the killer walk free?"

"Yes, can you blame me? Maybe I will let you talk me into it though?"

"Yeah, I might just do that," she told him, peering through a window. "It looks nice, I'll go on Monday when you go back to work."

"You could tomorrow afternoon, I could sit and watch?"

Rose nudged him but smiled, going to kiss his cheek. He thought he was maybe making some progress. After putting her few items away in the cupboard, Rose thought she should go tackle her unpacking but Alec asked if she wanted to call Pete.

"I'm never gonna get unpacked at this rate," Rose admitted as he found Pete's number.

"You were the one who kept putting it off," Alec reminded her.

Pete had already retired to his study, having just got back from getting Tony from school.

"Hello Alec, everything okay with Rose?"

"She is fine but worried. She now seems to think that Yvonne will associate me with her cousin."

"Yeah, we already thought that but if she's made no moves so far, just be careful, she may already be aware of you and dismissed it but now she's seen those photos and videos, she might have someone look into your past."

"Then we had best hope my cover story holds out?" Alec told him. "If she begins to question it, I take it that things can be verified?"

"Yes, no need to worry and if she contacts Tess?" Pete asked him.

"She knows what to say. We knew it may be questioned one day and Daisy knows some of it now. I told her after you asked me to look after Rose for you."

"Perhaps that's for the best? I have Mickey going around casting doubt on Yvonne's motives and Jake's working on a few things. Can I talk to her?"

"Sure. Here Rose, he wants to talk to you."

He passed his phone, getting a smile from her. "I will let you two talk," he offered, going off.

"No, you can stay. Pete, like Alec said, I'm worried Yvonne will go after him."

"No need to, I don't think she will, he's been in the news, she will have already seen him and realised he's not her cousin which also rules him out of being at the mansion that night. She'll be too busy trying to find out if that was you in the photos so I've got Jake on a few things. He said you called him earlier."

"Just so he could get Alec's number, don't let him give it to Mickey or he'll be calling every five minutes."

Pete laughed. "He's just concerned about you and he's a little annoyed he didn't go with you."

"He smothers me sometimes. Now you know why that breakup was so believable."

Alec looked at her. "I'll tell you later," she mouthed to him as she covered the phone.

"Yes, why do you think I left him out?" Pete laughed. "Any other concerns?"

"No, I was just worried about Alec."

"Well he'll be fine, at least for now. Just take it easy love, I'll tell your mother you called."

"I'll call her tomorrow then."

Alec noticed she didn't look too good when she handed his phone back. He went to put his arm around her.

"Why don't I help you unpack then we will go out to get something to eat?"

"No, I'll be fine, I'd rather stay in now."

"Well you were the one who did not want to come back," he smiled.

Rose let him pull her head onto his shoulder.

"Yeah, I guess it was because I have to accept I have to stay here, that I can't go home."

"Not yet but I am sure it will not take them long. We could go out later?"

"I'll think about it. Well, I guess I'll go make a start, again."

Alec moved his arm to let her up but she turned back and fingering his beard, kissed his cheek.

"Thanks, for being so understanding. I don't blame you for telling me you know everything but there are some things I can't talk about, not yet."

"I understand but when you are ready, maybe you can tell me who you were with that night? I know he's not here now, did you leave him behind?"

"What makes you think he's not here?" Rose asked, thinking he was pushing their new friendship.

"Yvonne would not be wanting to know who he is, if he was still here. Talk to me Rose, I can help."

"No, you can't and yes, I left him behind, not willingly. Pete should have told you how I got here."

"He did but he said some things were personal to you. Maybe it will help?"

"I'm not ready Alec. I should go unpack."

"Rose," he called out as she walked away. "Please don't look at it like you are stuck here."

"I don't."

Alec thought who was she kidding? He watched her as she opened the door to go through to the bedrooms. Surely he was dropping enough hints without coming right out with saying who he was? Maybe she just didn't want to accept the possibility he had somehow made it to this world to find her but hiding away for four years or so had not helped his cause.
Chapter 20
Rose tried not to think about the conversation they'd just had. How much had Pete actually told him? He wouldn't tell Alec about the Doctor, surely but Alec knew he looked like him, though no-one had actually come right out and said he could be his double, so could Yvonne's cousin for that matter.

What bothered her the most was it hadn't affected her, Alec looking like the Doctor. It should do, she still missed him and had led to her making a big mistake of letting Steve get close to her just because he had a similar taste in suits. She could trust Alec though, he was about as opposite as anyone could get from acting or dressing like the Doctor.

She had already stopped comparing him, that wasn't fair on either of them, he didn't deserve to be compared but the last few hours, he'd come out with some strange things. She shook off the thoughts and finally got unpacked, squeezing everything in then taking some things she didn't actually need yet and carrying them to the spare room Alec had shown her first.

She looked at the small room, thinking it was only really for kids but Alec had been prepared to take it. So far he'd been the perfect gentleman but they still had to share a room. She smiled as she thought back to inside the store, she'd not meant what she'd said in that way but she knew how he'd taken it.

"All done?" he asked as she opened the door to the kitchen area.

"Yeah, I put some stuff in the spare room, can you move my cases?"

"Sure and there is a lockable cupboard where you can keep your laptop. That's an unusual case you have for it."

"Just one of my daft ideas and having plenty of money. I don't take it out in public that much."

"Something from your world then?"

"Yeah, how did you guess? The police used them before mobile phones and radios, well those on the streets."

"Why your interest though?" he asked as she sat down, putting his arm on the back of the seat.

How much more of a hint did she want? Maybe he was pushing too hard though so he needed to back off before she packed and got a taxi to the nearest train station.

"Alec, there are lots of things that don't exist here, this world developed ahead of my world. Did Pete tell you this world runs about three years ahead of mine? Did he tell you I'd been here before?"

"Yes, he told me you helped liberate London and tried to save his wife. He also said he'd only known you for one night and he completely trusted you and your friend. He wanted a way to repay you but you left before he had chance to apologise for not believing he was your father on your world."

"Yeah, well there was a lot going on that night, when I thought about it, it was a bit hard to swallow. So that was how my mum got him to go back for me?"

"What do you mean Rose?"

He couldn't let on he knew too much.

"Pete brought us here, when the Cybermen invaded our world but I went back to help my friend. I almost got trapped between the two worlds and Pete saved me and brought me back here. I was so angry at first, until I realised how much trouble it would cause him, just for bringing us here."

"What about this Mickey? You said you broke up with him."

Was he jealous? Rose wondered.

"That was part of the cover story, Mickey came here that night with us and he stayed."

"Why would he do that?"

Rose shook her head, leaning back against his arm so he rested his hand on her shoulder.

"I wondered that, why he chose to leave. I thought it was because his gran was still alive here but I know that wasn't the real reason. He left because he knew he'd never get me back, not while…."

She stopped, before she mentioned his name but Alec would find out sooner or later.

"You and your friend? He thought he was in the way?"

"Yeah, I was too stupid to realise and then he was gone. You want to know who he was?"

She shrugged his hand off her shoulder and got up, surprising him.

"We should start making dinner, what have you got?"

"Some pasta and a jar of sauce?" he asked as she stood there.

He got up and followed her to the kitchen area, Rose searching for a saucepan while Alec got the food out of the cupboard. Rose filled the pan with water, trying to figure out how the cooker worked, Alec lighting it for her. Then he realised they looked like they'd had a fight to anyone passing by the kitchen window and walked towards her, holding out his arms.

"I am sorry for dragging all that up Rose."

"It's okay, you weren't to know. You're worried the people opposite will think we've been fighting?"

"The thought crossed my mind. Let me put the pasta in then we can make up?"

That done, he went up to her and held out his arms again, Rose accepting and leaning on his chest.

"Better?" he asked.

Rose tried to look up at him realizing she was resting her head just below his heart.

"Does it hurt? I mean where the pacemaker was inserted?"

"No, it hurt for a few days but it wore off. I hardly know it's there, except I can do things I could not do before."

"You mean like chasing suspects?" she smiled.

"Yes, that and other physical activities. I suppose I should join a health club."

"Then come swimming with me tomorrow? There are life guards and I can stay close by."

"Then I will consider it. It would not hurt if you put your arms around me."

"To make it look good, if anyone cares to be looking?" Rose asked him, thinking this was just a ploy on his part.

"Well yes, plus it would make it more enjoyable. You need some practice."

"Yeah, I suppose I do? I miss hugging."

"You did a lot of it?" he asked, remembering all the hugs they had shared especially after escaping from something.

The last ones he remembered were from the visit to the 2012 Olympics, which from his point of view maybe still had not taken place but time was all over the place for him now, goodness knows how his twin had managed it. He'd been surprised to find they had landed in Norway and time had merged, so to speak with no repercussions and no-one knowing about it.

"Yeah, before I came here. I'm sorry I got annoyed about you asking but it's all so personal, I never talked to anyone else about it."

"Well, if you have not had a boyfriend, then it is hardly surprising, even if you said it was in this universe. Forget I asked."

"No, you deserve to know but we'd better get on with dinner?"

They went about various tasks, Alec trying to resist bumping into her in the small kitchen area and Rose smiling as he turned sideways to pass her. They finally sat down, after he asked if the meal looked okay and he opened a bottle of sparking water he'd picked up the day before.

"I would have bought wine but I have to avoid it for now," he told her as he poured the liquid into her glass.

"I'm not one for drinking wine with a meal, unless I go out," Rose replied.

"Ah, old habits die hard then? You came from a council estate, I expect it was very down to earth?"

"It may have been different here? The estate existed but I think it's been transformed now, mum looked it up. Pete had to make sure I could say where I came from had existed but couldn't be checked on now. You have no idea how our lives have been complicated."

"Yes, I do know, remember? Pete had to cover for me."

"Why did things get so complicated? I know why mine and my mum's stories are but you? How did you arrive in Norway?"

This was getting too complicated, Alec thought.

"I took a job, nothing sinister about that, then I wanted back into civilization. If Yvonne checks, she will see that I left Tess and Daisy for long periods."

"So, you've never really had a girlfriend, pretending to be married?"

"Now who is getting personal eh?"

Rose smiled, twirling the pasta on her fork.

Alec thought she must be beginning to see his story didn't add up? Would Yvonne think the same though? She would surely check out his past, even if it was only to see if he was her lost cousin, who he certainly wasn't. He'd had enough of the other Yvonne Hartman. She must have been converted, he'd never got chance to ask Jackie.

"Sorry, well you more or less asked me. No more personal questions?"

"I have never had a girlfriend, I too lost someone."

"To the Cybermen?"

"No, after that. She was the reason I went away."

"You didn't have to tell me. When Pete brought me here, after I went back, I screamed for the device I was wearing to take me back. Then I went to the wall, where the gap had been and I swear I could feel he was at the other side."

Of course she had felt him – he'd done exactly the same with her. It must have been even more heartbreaking for her, he'd at least had a time machine to try and get to her. Up until this version of him landing here, he'd done virtually nothing about it and his other self never would, not now and he may have already regenerated, he had no way of knowing.

"I went to Norway when the job was offered, I had nothing to stay for but then I decided I'd had enough of the self-pity."

"Do you regret you and Tess not getting together for real?"

Alec raised his eyebrows. "Do you regret not taking Mickey back for real? It must have been difficult, for both of you. Did you give him any indication you wanted him back?"

Rose put her fork down. "Do ya think I just used him? To make everyone believe it was for real?"

"Did you? Come on Rose, I am only asking what you were asking me about Tess. Yes, we used each other, Tess to recover from a bad relationship and me to hide myself away from getting caught again."

He'd almost said to hide the fact that like her, he was hiding for a reason.

Rose was about to get up but he put his hand on hers.

"Yeah, I used Mickey, just like I'd always done since I met the man I lost and Mickey took it. How is that taking advantage if he just won't go away?"

"I see your point Rose but have you considered giving him another chance?"

Ever since she had left him, he'd always wondered but he already knew the answer.

"Alec, if you've met someone you cared about and lost them, you should know why. I'll clear the dishes."

"Wait, I'm sorry Rose but maybe we are both as bad as each other? Maybe it is time to let go?"

If he didn't make a move now, he never would. What did he have to lose? He needed to know how she had really felt about being brought here and leaving him behind. Was she willing to give him a chance as Alec Hardy?

He took a chance and got up, going to her side of the table and holding out his hand. Instead of getting up, she moved over to let him slide in beside her, him being mindful and pulling the curtain as he did so. This was not for the neighbours to watch as he slid his arm around her and pulled her close.

"What do you say? Are you willing to give me a chance?"

"I said I wasn't looking for a boyfriend," she resisted as he fingered her hair and put it behind her ear. "Well not unless it was someone cute."

"Do you think I am cute?" he smiled as she reached out to touch his cheek.

"Mm, maybe without this but right now, you need to keep it so Yvonne won't think you're her cousin or my lost friend."

"Who was he Rose?"

"Who was your girlfriend Alec?"

How was he going to get out of this without giving the game away? Then he remembered seeing photos of an actress who had a strange resemblance to Reinette.

"Her name was Sophia, she was French."

"Well I can beat that," she smiled. "He was called the Doctor and he was a Timelord. She wasn't any relation to a member of the French aristocracy by any chance?"

"Not that I know of. A Timelord? Really? Sounds important?"

"He was a time traveller, I used to go with him. That's how we got here the first time."

"Well I had wondered," he told her, kissing just below her ear.

Rose was beginning to like him doing that.

"You don't seem all that bothered. I mean you find out you look like him, he's not only from another world but he was from another planet."

"Well I have to believe it possible, you coming from a parallel earth. So that's why Pete can't let Yvonne find out about him?"

"Can you imagine if she did? Then she would go after you because she would think Pete's hiding you and I helped him. Maybe she suspects something and that's why she's going on about aliens and why she's so interested in the cannon project."

"So, this cannon, how is it supposed to work?" he asked, kissing her neck.

"We're not entirely sure. The theory is, it measure timelines and when someone stands in front of it, it sort of bends the space around them and they arrive at that point but they don't know how accurate it will be, it's all guesswork. If we're in front of my world time wise, how far are we in front of other worlds? They don't know if it will be our time or the time on the device of whatever world someone will arrive at."

"Ah, well, how do you know where someone is being sent?"

"Good question. Pete says he wished the Cybermen had left the operating manual."

Now she was really liking having him kissing her neck.

"You recovered it from the Cybermen?"

"Yeah, they found a better way, stupid Torchwood as it was back then. They let their guard down, people here were saying the Cybermen used to be us and shouldn't be badly treated and they took advantage, plotting to make their getaway. Obviously, they couldn't get the cannon working either and some members of the old Torchwood felt sorry for them."

This was nothing Pete had not already told him but he had to let her think he was hearing it for the first time.

"Then maybe you can tell me more, later?" he asked as he stopped and ran his finger on her cheek.

Rose felt a strange feeling coming over her as she looked into his eyes, eyes that looked so familiar yet were impossible. He'd been right though, maybe that was what was holding her back and this universe had conspired to throw Yvonne at her to drive her away and meet Alec.

"The rest is boring, trust me."

"So, what would you rather talk about?" he asked as she finally took the hint and put her arm around his neck.

Then, just like earlier when they had been saying goodbye to Pete, their lips met briefly only this time, Rose didn't try to back away. After a few short sweet kisses, Rose began to relax, Alec pushing her back to the corner and Rose putting both her arms around his neck. When they parted, Alec went to get up, pulling her with him.

"Leave the dishes, we can do them later," he insisted, pulling her across to the long seat and sitting beside her. "We should go out later, establish ourselves."

"I'd rather stay in tonight, do you mind?"

"No, we can go out tomorrow and if we go to the swimming pool after we have been shopping, people will see us."

"Yeah, about shopping. Are we going local?"

"I thought we would go to the next town, I need a few things."

"Yeah, fine but are you sure you should be doing so much? Aren't you supposed to be taking it easy?"

"I'm fine Rose, I need to get back into doing things."

"Such as?" Rose smiled, touching his cheek.

"You seem to think I have not had a girlfriend since I met Tess."

"Did you?"

"That would have led to a quicker divorce. It was only when she met someone I decided it was not fair to get in her way. I never met anyone, well maybe apart from you, since we were supposed to have met before. I thought no-one could replace my last one so when Tess just wanted an escape, we stuck together more as company."

"It must have been some breakup she had?"

"I did not ask a lot of questions."

"What about now? You said maybe we should both let it go?"

"I meant it but first, we should just get to know each other."

Alec thought if he could get her to relax around him, she might start to realise he was not that much different.

While they had been making dinner and Rose was unpacking, Olly Stevens had returned home.

"I saw something interesting today sunshine," his mother told him.

"More interesting than the vicar and Becca Fisher?"

"Possibly. Did you know Alec Hardy had a girlfriend before he came here?"

"No way Mum, did you see him when he came here? He was a wreck."

"Because he left her behind or she left him, your aunt never said. She just said they made up recently and now she's in town to give him another chance."

"It won't last Mum, you've seen what he's like?"

"Not interested? She's young and blonde."

Olly had recently had his fill of women and his mother finding them snooping through private papers.

"So he goes away, comes back and she turns up and you're not interested?" Lucy went on.

"Mum, I don't think Hardy's love life is going to sell enough papers to keep us going. Maggie's hardly there most days."

"I already know that, she cut my hours. Please yourself then but you'd best hope you don't lose your job."

"I know that, I'm thinking of taking up that job at The Herald."

"Things are bad then."

After they had washed the dishes, Rose wanted to watch TV.

"While we're out tomorrow, we should get some DVDs" Rose suggested as she went through the TV Guide.

"That's fine for one time, you should get a box set," Alec smiled, hoping she would choose anything other than a crime drama.

"Yeah, something that has like twenty series," Rose smiled back, nudging him.

"Great, that means either a soap or an American crime drama. I know I work in law enforcement but I would not want to watch twenty series of it on TV."

"Not all at once," Rose laughed as he tried to reach the remote control.

They found something they could both watch but just after ten, Rose was having trouble staying awake, leaning on his shoulder, his arm around her.

"Why not go get ready for bed and I will make a drink?" Alec suggested as she moved slightly.

"Yeah, okay, I'll have some hot chocolate, with some milk in until I get some cream."

"You put cream in it?"

"The whipped cream, from a can. I couldn't find any in the shop."

"Whatever you want," he smiled, turning to kiss her cheek.

Rose went off to the bathroom and hearing her come out, Alec went to switch the kettle on, deciding he would have tea. Rose went to get her pyjamas from the drawer, then her dressing gown and some flat slip-on shoes. He heard the door opening as he was making the drinks.

"I will bring it over to you," he offered as Rose watched him.

"You're honoured you know? I normally make my own drinks."

"I would have thought you were used to having them made?"

"No, we always make our own, well mostly. Mum spends more time in the kitchen talking to the staff when Tony's at school. He'd like you, he wants to be a policeman when he gets older, he'll be asking how he joins."

"Then if I meet him, I would be most happy to tell him but he will probably go onto something else."

"He's wanted to be one since he was old enough to talk. Is that what you wanted to be when you were younger?"

"I kept changing my mind. Did you want to be a gymnast?"

"No, not really, I just ended up working in a store, until it blew up one night."

"I trust everyone had gone home?"

"There were no mentions of any casualties, thankfully."

Rose had never found out if the man she was taking the lottery money to that night had got out or not. Why was she telling him this? Why did she feel so at home with him? Was it because the Doctor had never done 'domestics' and Alec was more than willing? Why when she looked into his brown eyes didn't she feel guilty?

"So what happened after that?" he asked.

"I went travelling, until that day the Cybermen arrived on our world. Trust me, nothing can ever replace that."

He wondered if she was doing the same as he was, seeing how far they would both go before she realised who he was. Was Rose trying to see if he would admit it? Pete had said he should give her some hints and he thought he'd already given her enough for one day. Rose finished her drink and he took the mug from her.

"You go get settled, I will wash these then use the bathroom. Do you need it again?"

"Yeah, I'll only be a couple of minutes."

"Maybe you can tell me all about the travelling you did? Where did you go?"

"He had a time machine Alec, where do ya think we went?"
Chapter 21
Rose went to get into bed and was settling down when Alec came in, rooting in a drawer for a t-shirt and the joggers he'd bought. He was about to leave again.

"Where are you going?" Rose asked.

"To get changed."

"Oh. I thought maybe you'd changed your mind and you were going to the spare room?"

"There is no heating on in there. I know this is difficult but I can go in there if you want me to?"

"No, it's fine, I really don't want to be on my own right now. I just miss home, this is different than going on holiday."

"Then think of it as a holiday, while I go get changed."

He was soon back after thinking about what was going on. He'd got changed in the bathroom, since he didn't want to put on another light, it was essential everyone thought they were together and it was getting easier. The kisses had been nice, something he'd thought about since the day he'd arrived. His twin had been a fool, well so had he, for not taking things further but now, there was no guilt to stop him, no regeneration to get in the way. Regeneration was a lottery, you never knew what you were going to get but he had thought he had Rose to thank for this one.

He hung up his shirt and folded his trousers then got into bed, reaching for the light switch. There was some light coming from outside and Rose was watching him. He stretched out his arm and Rose went to lean on his shoulder, Alec kissing her hair.

"You will feel differently in the morning."

"Yeah? How is not being able to go home gonna be better in the morning?"

"Then like I said, relax and enjoy your holiday. Why can't you do that?"

Rose realised what this was probably doing to him, he had gone out of his way to make her feel at home.

"Yvonne knows about you, that's why."

"Rose, she would not dare come after me, what can she do, she can't prove I was there that night because I was in Norway."

"Even back then? How long were you there?"

"It does not matter how long I was there, Yvonne cannot prove otherwise. You should get some sleep."

"We went to Norway, after we got here. There was a tiny gap in the universes, enough for him to get a message through."

"You saw him again?" Alec asked as Rose moved closer.

"A projection, for a few minutes. So, where in Norway we you based?"

"Bergen but we travelled at lot."

"We were near there – Bad Wolf Bay or Darlig Ulv Stranden as the locals call it. We stayed overnight before we drove back."

"You drove all that way?"

"Pete and Mickey did, we had to make a few stops, mum was having Tony. It was about six months after we arrived, mum got away with it, they said it was because they had almost lost each other, that it gave them another chance."

"Then it all turned out for the better?" he asked, convinced she must suspect something now, what were the chances the two of them had been in Norway at the same time?

Rose kissed his cheek and he pulled her almost onto him, Rose letting him. They began kissing then she went to lie on him, resuming as the kisses deepened. It was Alec who stopped.

Rose was concerned. "Is there something wrong with you?"

"What? No, there is nothing wrong, I thought maybe it was too much for you?"

"No, it was nice but maybe I was getting a bit carried away?"

"You need to relax, can you do that?"

He could tell she was still tense though but as they began kissing again, he felt her tension go slightly. He had expected more resistance from her but he was pleased she wasn't fighting him. Maybe she'd had enough of being on her own. Rose fell asleep , snuggling into his side but when she woke up she was on her own. Then she heard a noise in the bathroom but she hoped he wasn't getting dressed. He wasn't as he returned and got back into bed.

"Good morning Rose, how are you feeling today?"

"Better, thanks. I thought you'd sneaked off before I woke up."

"No, I did not want to wake you, there is no hurry today."

"Mm, I thought maybe we could pick up where we left off last night?"

A while later, Rose was watching him get out of bed. He'd lost the joggers he'd worn and Rose's pyjama top was undone by a few more buttons. Alec went to get his shirt from the wardrobe then to get some clean shorts. Rose started to get out of bed.

"You get dressed here, I'll be a while," she told him. "Or maybe I can stay for the show?"

"Very amusing Rose, would you really stay if I said go ahead?"

Rose tried not to blush as she fastened the buttons that had somehow come undone, not remembering who had done so as she had laid on him.

"This need not change anything Rose, if you don't want to get involved with me."

"It's not that Alec, it's just the way things are. Yvonne won't stop until she finds out who was in that video and who was with them. She'll keep trying to prove it was me and even if she realises it's not her cousin, she'll go after me."

Alec went up to her after putting his clothes on the chair.

"Then she has a lot to prove and while she is doing that, she can't actually make any accusations."

"Don't be so sure Alec, Yvonne could make a start, she'll have people working on it."

"Then we will be ready for her, we have our cover stories. We could help each other. Why not take advantage of the story I came up with? That we knew each other before?"

"That doesn't explain anything if she believes that was you that night, if she discovers it wasn't her cousin."

"I was not even in the same country." He stood opposite her, one hand on his hip and one rubbing his beard and very aware he was only in his t-shirt and shorts. "We should just wait until we get word she is coming after us. There is nothing else we can do. If she looks into my past, Pete made sure it was checkable."

"He did with mine too Alec but it doesn't stop me worrying," Rose told him, going to put her arms around his neck.

He put his arms around her waist, going for a kiss.

"Worrying will just make you worse. We should just carry on as we would normally do, until Pete contacts us."

"Yeah, you're probably right and I'm sorry, this isn't fair on you."

"Rose, I would be Yvonne's target even if you had not come here. I will call Pete later to see if there is any news, if that helps?"

Rose nodded and he wished she'd not fastened those few buttons.

Pete was already on his way to Torchwood, ready for what Yvonne might throw at him today. Jake had got there early after Pete had called him and Mickey was trying to do Rose's job then get on with the task Pete had given him, that of seeing who he could find who was on the verge of supporting Yvonne and trying to change their minds.

As soon as he arrived, Pete went through his messages but was disturbed by one of the board members.

"Pete, I just wanted you to hear this first. There are rumours that Yvonne is going to call a meeting of the board, regarding the use of the cannon project."

"Why would she do that?"

"Well none of us were present at her meeting yesterday but my secretary just mentioned about it."

"Well it's probably only the same as Jake told me."

"No Pete, she's friends with one of Yvonne's inner circle, you have no idea what Yvonne's having them do."

"Did she say what that was?"

"Not much, just looking for those two in the photos and videos and also anyone who was at your place that night who might have escaped."

"So that's what she's up to? She's convinced Rose was in those photos."

"I know, remember? I can't take sides Pete, you know that but she is going to bring trouble."

"Thanks for the warning Ian and I appreciate you can't take sides, publicly but what if the other board members are swayed?"

"Then Torchwood itself would be in danger, not to mention you and Rose. If Yvonne becomes more powerful, it won't be the Torchwood we know any longer. It will stir up trouble amongst the aliens who have so far been here peacefully because they will no longer be protected from being exposed. I don't just mean in this country either, she seems to forget they are all over the place."

Pete got back to checking his messages and found some were already disturbed as to the influence Yvonne was gaining but those expressing their concern were the ones who wouldn't commit in public, which Pete thought was a shame, he could really use their support. He picked up his mobile and called Alec, who was trying to get Rose to make a shopping list.

"I don't make shopping lists Alec," she was trying to tell him.

"You have the servants doing it for you?" he asked, clicking the pen annoyingly.

This was why up until landing here, he'd not done domestics.

"Are you insinuating something?" Rose asked, staring at him.

"No. I know where you come from, remember? Pete said you never took to it but I cannot imagine you and your mother going around the supermarket and being recognized."

"We do and we don't get recognized, well I don't, I was hidden away in case you forgot? As for mum, she came back a changed woman, which she goes to great lengths to keep up appearances. If she slips up, she has an excuse."

"What about you?" Alec asked, wondering if he should just abandon this.

"I'm used to hiding things Alec, I spent all that time hiding the fact I was with a time-traveller from my mum. It took her a while to accept that was what I did. She only believed me when a green alien exploded in Mickey's kitchen."

Alec tried not to laugh. He remembered it was one of the Slitheen who had been about to dispose of Mickey and Jackie, he recalled telling them how to deal with the problem.

"Sounds like you did a good job hiding it then. Back to shopping? Are you going to wander up and down the aisles to see what you want?"

"That's what I normally do but I don't go down every single aisle Alec," she grinned.

"Well I will soon find that out for myself. If we bump into anyone I know, let me do the talking."

"Yes, Sir," Rose mock saluted.

He was glad to see that despite her current situation, she was still taking it fairly well. Then his phone rang.

"Pete, how are things back there?" Alec asked him.

"Not too bad yet. How's Rose? Is she settling down?"

"Nothing some shopping will not cure," he smiled as Rose pulled a face at him.

"Tell her to just go easy, you're only in a caravan," Pete laughed. "There's nothing new except Yvonne maybe trying to sway the board to see things her way. All I can do is hope they stick by their promises not to take sides."

After he spoke to Rose for a few minutes, Pete had called Jake and Mickey to his office.

"So you think she's gonna make her move soon?" Jake asked.

"Yes, whether she has any real evidence of a cover-up or not. Let's hope she doesn't go after both of them, though I think Alec can deal with it on his own but as for Rose? She's already very fragile but I don't think she will give in without a fight."

"Let's hope not Pete," Mickey told him. "Did Alec say how she was dealing with being with him?"

"Still jealous?" Jake teased him.

"What's to be jealous about her being with a Doctor look-alike?" Mickey sneered at him.

"She's safe enough with him for now," Pete reminded him. "How are you doing with those who are on Yvonne's side?"

"I caught a few first thing in the canteen," Mickey replied, trying to forget. "I think going after those who have only just decided might be best, those who have been with her a while might be less willing to listen."

"How are you gonna persuade them to turn back?" Jake wondered.

"Remind them that it only took casting doubt on Pete to turn their loyalty to her. Who's to say she will do things any better?"

"I suppose you have a point?" Jake agreed.

While they were having their meeting, Yvonne had summoned her close supporters, who'd been working non-stop since the day before.

"There's no-one we can find who was at Pete Tyler's house that night," one of them told her.

"Well did you get the guest list?" Yvonne asked.

"Sort of, it was all unofficial Yvonne, Mrs Tyler used to like big parties and didn't mind if anyone brought someone with them. We know Steve Roberts senior was there and we've identified some of the others but not been able to contact their families yet. Do you want us to talk to Mrs Roberts?"

"No, Steve already told me what she knows, for now. There's no point in talking to the families, they've been through enough. Are you sure everyone who was there in the photos and videos were all killed? What about the rest of the staff?"

"I'm going through a list of catering companies," one of them offered. "None of them so far have sent any staff to the Tyler house."

That got Yvonne thinking. "You're not going to find them that way," she declared.
"How do you mean?" one of the women asked.

"I mean maybe they were posing as staff to gate-crash for some reason? Or maybe it was Rose and she wanted to meet them, to see how they lived if she came from a council estate? Maybe either her mother or father looked like Pete or Jackie? Find out who her mother was, what she did before she died or went missing that night but why would Rose lie?"

That was a very good question, Yvonne thought, a valid one. She'd been going about this the wrong way. Just supposing the man in question had been the one to suggest going there, to find out if Pete really was involved with Torchwood back then? She'd found out Pete had covertly been giving information about Lumic and had been one of Torchwood's financial backers though he'd also kept that quiet but it would explain what Steve Robert's father had been doing there that night.

"Right, one of you concentrate on finding out about Rose's mother, Jackie Prentiss, it's a coincidence she was another Jackie and find out who Mrs Tyler was before she married Pete. Maybe it was Rose who was looking for something that night?"

She got a chorus of 'Yes Yvonne' from them as they all left.

Steve Roberts was missing Rose already even though he knew she'd gone on a spa break and wishing she'd invited him. He got a message from Yvonne and made his excuses to leave the office, getting some funny looks.

"I tell you, something's going on with Steve," Shelley told them after he'd left.

"Just because he fancies Rose doesn't mean he's up to anything," one of the women told her.

"She's not been here since Wednesday morning," Shelley quipped back. "She just takes time off whenever she feels like it."

"Well she is related to the boss," one of the men told her. "Speaking of bosses, where's ours?"

"Don't know, no-one's said anything," someone else answered.

"Maybe he got on Yvonne's bad side and she fired him, hopefully," Shelley laughed.

On his way to Yvonne's office, Steve had made a decision. He was not going to spy on Rose again and while she was away, he had the perfect excuse but when she came back, Yvonne would try and fire him and the way things were going Pete wouldn't be able to help him. He'd heard that Gwen had got her transfer and wondered how she'd managed it, it wouldn't have been out of the kindness of Yvonne's heart, Pete must have intervened.

He knocked on Yvonne's glass office door after her secretary told him to go in.

"You wanted to see me?" he asked nervously.

"Yes, any idea where Rose went?"

He wondered why she'd not asked him that yesterday.

"She mentioned a spa break, that's all I know. She wouldn't tell me exactly where though, maybe she went with Mrs Tyler?"

"I somehow doubt that, her not being Rose's mother if things are to be believed."

Steve was beginning to wonder himself though the woman had given no indication in front of him that she was Rose's real mother.

Yvonne continued. "See if you can contact Rose, ask how she is and she might be willing to tell you where she's gone."

"Is it important, to find out where she is?" Steve dared to ask.

"Yes, if she isn't really taking a break. Maybe she's just trying to avoid me?"

Steve wouldn't really blame Rose if that was what she was doing.

"About that Yvonne, Rose is really mad at me, I don't think she'll want to speak to me let alone tell me where she is."

"Then tell her you're back on their side," Yvonne suggested.

"I already tried Yvonne, I don't think she believed me. Sorry Yvonne but I'm out of this, I can't do it to her any more."

"You've outlived your usefulness anyway, if you can't get close to her to find out the truth."

"What truth Yvonne? Are you going to fire me because if you are, I quit. I'll go to Pete, he won't let you dismiss me."

"After you turned on him? Don't be so naïve, he used you as much as I did, admit it."

"Maybe he did but Rose made me see it was worth it and now she blames me. I think that's why she went away."

"To avoid you?" Yvonne laughed at the thought. "She's not had a boyfriend since Mickey, so I've been told. What makes you think you had a chance? No, I think it was her at Pete's house that night and she was with that man in the black suit and she lost him. She's either waiting for him to come back for her or she can't accept he was lost. Now thanks to you, I've no way of knowing."

Steve knew she was tying to trick him but if it made Rose talk to him again.

"Okay Yvonne, I'll see if she'll talk to me but this is the last time. I want to know if she was there that night as well, maybe she spoke to my father, maybe she saw the Cybermen kill him or capture him?"

Yvonne knew he was hooked, he'd do anything to get to the truth of his father's death.

"Then we both have the same goal? I won't fire you, for now but you'd better get something for me and since Rose isn't here, you're not really spying on her, are you?"

Steve went off, thinking about the other night when Rose had almost kissed him. Where had she gone? She wasn't with Jake or Mickey, he'd seen them both. Maybe Jackie Tyler was Rose's real mother, what was that to him but why was it so important to Yvonne and what had it all to do with her cousin, apart from her thinking for some reason it was him who was there that night?

Now though, she seemed convinced it was another man entirely but even so, what did this mysterious man have to do with things? If Rose had really been with the man that night and had lost him wouldn't she have also been trying to find him? No wonder she was so reluctant to let anyone get close to her then.

After Steve had left her, Yvonne began to think about what she'd just said. It was a shame Gwen had managed to sneak off but maybe there was someone else Rose had confided in? First things first though, she needed to have positive proof Rose was there that night and she was going to get it, one way or another.

Down in Broadchurch, the shopping was finally finished without any real fuss since the vicar had seen them together but Paul had chosen not to go over and introduce himself to the young blonde who was smiling at Hardy as she put things into the trolley. Alec had seen him and had been thankful he'd kept his distance.

They'd had some lunch and Rose had wanted to go try out the pool, Alec making excuses he'd no swimming shorts since he couldn't find any in the superstore.

"It's the wrong time of year," he'd insisted as she got her swimming costume out of the drawer.

"Well maybe we can go to a sports store tomorrow?"

"Maybe we can? I can come and watch you though darlin'" he whispered in her ear as he put his arms around her waist.

"Yeah, you can look after my towel for me."

"That would be my pleasure," he told her, going to kiss her neck.

Rose was enjoying the closeness of him and still wondering why this was so easy to let herself be drawn to him. Maybe she had been without a boyfriend for too long and what was the harm in at least trying to enjoy herself while she was here?

Alec could sense he was getting to her, which would make things a lot easier for both of them when she found out who he really was.
Chapter 22
Rose was enjoying her time in the pool but thought it would have been better if Alec had joined her. Her hesitation was fast fading, he'd made her feel at ease even in a short space of time. She'd only felt like that with one man before and Alec was so much like the Doctor but had his own funny little ways of doing things as she'd found out since meeting him.

She got out of the water and Alec got up, holding her towel out to wrap herself in.

"I'll just go get changed then we can go get a drink," she told him, wiping her face on the soft beach towel.

"Sure, maybe you want another waffle?"

Rose smiled at him. "If I get another waffle, I'll need to go to the gym."

"Ah, I do not think so love. I will wait outside, it's too warm in here."

"Never noticed," Rose laughed as she looked at him in his new black jeans and a blue and white striped t-shirt he'd bought while they were out.

He picked up his jacket and watched Rose walking off. Why had he never done anything like this before? Maybe what had been said about the Timelords was true – they were too stuffy and full of themselves but no more - he was only part Timelord and the human side of him was going to win Rose Tyler. He wasn't going to hold back like the other him had done, look where that had got him?

He watched the glass door for Rose coming out and heard his phone ringing. It was Pete.

"Alec, is Rose with you?"

"I am just waiting for her Pete, she went swimming. Is there something wrong?"

Pete didn't know how to tell him. Mickey had some very disturbing news for him when he'd reported back and Steve was asking to talk to him so he was waiting for them all to arrive.

"Mickey has been asking those who just went to Yvonne's side. They all say the same thing, she has some sort of plan, for Torchwood and they all said it's time for change."

"I see. I will warn Rose when she comes out. This Steve, she talked about. Was he getting close to her?" he asked, feeling a touch of jealousy.

"I said he's nothing to worry about Alec. She just let him take her out, to see what Yvonne was asking him to do. Him wanting to talk to me must mean Yvonne's asking something else. I'll keep you posted but don't worry too much just yet, it may be nothing but if the board get involved, well I don't have to tell you what that means."

Alec was just putting his phone away when Rose caught his arm.

"Watcha! Who were you talking to?"

"Pete. Something may be going on but he said not to worry yet. All we can do is let them handle it Rose, no sense in letting it get to you. If Yvonne calls your past into question and insists you return, don't go, she cannot make you."

"Maybe it would be best if I resign then?"

"No, it will make it even more like you are guilty of something. Just let Pete handle it. Do you want to go back to the caravan?"

"No, let's go sit out for a while? I thought you knew people around here? No-one's said anything apart from Ellie's sister."

"Be thankful her son has not been snooping around. I saw the local vicar while we were out but he never said anything. I wonder what he was doing down there?" Alec thought as they crossed the road.

"Maybe he didn't want to be bothered while he was shopping?" Rose smiled as they reached the tables.

"Maybe? Just a drink then?"

"Yeah, just a latte thanks. Do you want to go to the club tonight?"

"If you want to play bingo?"

"I've not played bingo for ages, mum says it wouldn't do her image any good, going to a bingo hall."

Alec smiled at the thought of Jackie Tyler shouting 'Bingo' at the top of her voice. When he got back, he asked why.

"Alec, I said that was where me and my mum had been that night – to play bingo and the other Jackie wasn't famous for going out on her own. She has to act like the other one, it's not easy for her. I was lucky I suppose, I didn't really have to pretend to be someone else, Pete stuck mostly to my original story."

"Well I would say this world was a poor one before you happened to come along," Alec smiled.

"Aw, thanks Alec," Rose blushed as their drinks arrived. "Don't you drink coffee?" she asked him.

"Sometimes, I suppose I got used to drinking tea."

"My mum's a great fan of tea drinking, trust me. She still sometimes stays up to have her last cup. When everyone's out she just sits in the kitchen talking to the staff."

"So none of them remember the other Jackie?"

"No, everyone got taken that night, those that survived. Pete told me that when he got back, the police and the security company were there, the alarm had been triggered but everyone had gone when they got there."

"Well Yvonne must think someone got away, she is trying to find whoever did escape. Pete reckons she is going to make a move very soon. If she calls you back, she will keep you there."

"I know where this is leading Alec. I don't need to be a detective to work it out and neither does she. She's gathering her evidence to present to the board."

"Well none of us likes where this is going. She won't do anything until Monday at the earliest and that gives Pete time to counteract what she is trying to do. He said Mickey was having no luck trying to win supporters back. Pete is afraid the board will start to turn."

"They're supposed to remain neutral. I'm not sure it's in their contracts though and if it isn't, then nothing will stop Yvonne. This is getting scary Alec."

"I know love, just hang on and wait for Pete to get back to us. We may have to leave here, just as I get my job back."

"I don't think she'll go after you too much, it's me she wants."

"Yes but if she determines it was you who was there that night, with someone who looks like me, who knows what she will do?"

Back at Torchwood, Steve, Jake and Mickey had all arrived in Pete's office.

"So Steve, what's going on?"

"Yvonne asked me where Rose was. She's not at a spa, is she? You sent her away to avoid Yvonne and it's all my fault. Rose blames me, doesn't she?"

"I don't know Steve, she said she does but it's really my fault, for letting Yvonne get too far. I should have seen it coming."

"How could you have seen it Pete?" Mickey asked him.

"I'm the bloody director Mickey, it's my responsibility. If something happens to Rose, I'll get the blame."

"Then Mrs Tyler is Rose's real mother?" Steve asked, not that he hadn't already gathered that.

"Yes and you have to swear on your own mother's life that Yvonne does not find out," Pete warned him.

"I'm through with Yvonne. She took advantage of me and I'm sure she's using that on others. I started her off, trying to find out what happened that night but tell me one thing. Was Rose there that night?"

Pete looked at Jake and Mickey. They could certainly do with Steve back on their side, he knew a lot of the undecided staff.

"I'll tell you on one condition. You help us get back control of those who left and talk to those that you know. Tell them how Yvonne used you, show her for what she is."

"Okay, consider it done. I want to help Rose, I might still have a chance to redeem myself with her."

Pete didn't have the heart to tell him Rose may have already got herself involved with Alec, from what he could gather. She wouldn't be able to resist the fact he looked like the Doctor and wasn't about to go off and leave her. He wondered if she'd begun to figure out who he was yet.

"I can't comment on that Steve, that's down to her and you can't call her either, she doesn't have her phone with her, in case Yvonne dared to put a trace on it. She has gone away but not to a spa. She's down in Dorset."

"Dorset's a big place," Jake butted in, meaning Pete shouldn't say exactly where, since he wouldn't tell Jackie where her daughter was.

"She's safe though? You have someone watching out for her? I mean since Jake and Mickey are here, you have someone you can trust?"

"Yes Steve, Rose is safe. I have an old friend looking after her, he won't let anything happen to her. I'm not going to ask you to spy on Yvonne any more but I have to be assured you won't report back to her."

"I told you, I'm through with Yvonne's games. So, what about Rose that night?"

"Yes, she was there. She helped me get out and went to help me look for my wife, my first one."

Jake wasn't so sure about this but Steve could maybe do more than Mickey was doing now. For one thing, Mickey was senior management, Steve was lower down and had a lot of friends.

"I'll help you, tell me what I can do? Can you talk to Rose for me? Ask her to at least call me so I can tell her that I'm sorry? That man who was with her though, who was he?"

"Sorry, I can't tell you that Steve but he was not Yvonne's cousin. He helped us both escape and helped liberate those in Battersea power station, when the Cybermen were trying to convert them."

"So he was part of that group then, the preachers?"

"So were me and Mickey," Jake told him.

"And Rose?" Steve asked him.

Jake took a chance to get Rose out of this. "Yeah, Rose was part of it. They stepped back when it was all over, we don't talk about it."

"Well that answers a few questions anyway, thanks Jake. So, will you talk to her for me?" he asked Pete.

"Steve, I'm making no promises she will want to talk to you. You caused some of her problems. I'm not saying you're entirely to blame for her going away but there again, I can't make her talk to you."

"I understand that Mr Tyler but if you could tell her I'm sorry I got her worried enough to have to go away."

"I'll tell her when I call again. Now, can you give Mickey a list of your friends who may listen to you? Everyone knows you switched sides but if they see that you're back, it might help?"

"Come back to my office Steve," Mickey told him. "How did you manage to sneak away from your desk?"

"I used Yvonne as an excuse, they're all used to me being called to her office and she'll deny I was there whether I went or not."

"So you can move around freely?" Jake asked him, thinking they could use that to their advantage.

"Well yes, they won't dare ask Yvonne if I was in her office. So you want me to talk to my friends?" he asked Pete.

"If you can do that, we might get enough people questioning her motives. If she talked to you about any of her plans, you should tell them."

"Aren't you going to ask me?"

"No, you'll tell me if you want to, the spying game is over."

They all went off and Pete tried to get some work done, not that he'd done much the last few days, worrying about Rose.

Rose and Alec had gone back to their caravan, Rose putting her swimsuit to dry.

"Where do you want to go tomorrow Rose? Maybe we could go down the Weymouth? There are plenty of shops to keep you amused," Alec smiled.

"That's not all I do Alec. I don't go shopping all the time."

"And when you do? You go to all the top stores?"

"Not always, I love going in the discount stores, there was nothing like that back on our world as such."

"How long ago was that exactly?"

"In my time or time here?" Rose smiled.

"Now you are trying to confuse me."

He was still trying to work out how his other self had managed to get him here when he had.

They sat talking for a while then made something to eat together though Alec wanted to take her out.

"Maybe we can go out tomorrow night?" Rose asked as they cleared the dishes.

While Alec was clearing the last remains away, he put everything back in the cupboards and since the blind was open, decided to sneak up on Rose by going up behind her and putting his arms around her waist. Then he whispered in her ear.

"Alec, we're supposed to be clearing up," Rose responded when he suggested she left what she was doing and kissed him instead.

She tried to shrug him away but he wouldn't let go, kissing her neck.

"Putting on a show for the neighbours?" Rose continued.

"Nothing of the sort though that is an idea," he replied, trying to turn her around.

Rose brought her hands out of the water and tried to flick some soap bubbles at him but he dodged away.

"Right, Miss Tyler, you are now in trouble," he smiled, grabbing hold of her other arm.

"Ha, I'll get ya next time."

She let him pull her nearer though her hands were still wet. With his other hand, he grabbed a towel and gave it to her. Rose accepted it with a smile and tried drying her hands.

"Have you quite finished flicking water at me?" he grinned as she handed the towel back.

"For now, afraid I'll wet your t-shirt?"

"Come back here and I will tell you."

"This isn't for show is it?" she asked as he pushed her hair behind her ear then kissed her cheek.

"I am past putting on a show for the neighbours."

Rose felt herself pressing up against him as he kissed her forehead then touching her chin gently, pulled her face closer and kissed her lightly but Rose responded immediately and they shared their first full kiss that lasted longer than they had been doing. Rose felt flushed when they parted and he led her to the seating, Rose laying back against a cushion.

"That was some kiss Alec," she smiled at him as she put her arms around his neck.

"Yes, it was most enjoyable, I was afraid you would back away."

"I didn't want to, it's been a while. Alec, I don't want you to get the wrong idea about me and Mickey, we didn't really go in for the romantic side of things. I was really young, I stopped going out with him when I was nineteen."

"Rose, you don't have to explain yourself to me you know? I know you have not been out with him for a long time and that story Pete put out was just that. I am concerned though about this Steve he mentioned."

"Alec, that was to get to know what Yvonne was up to, nothing else."

"Good, then we will talk no more about it but did he think the same?"

"How do I know? Just leave it, I'm here with you, not Steve. Do you know why I let him take me out?"

"You just said."

"He reminded me of my friend, the way he dressed, nothing more. I want to tell you about him but I'm scared you'll back off."

So that was the problem? "Rose, you don't have to talk about him unless you want to. Pete told me you were close but there was nothing romantic."

"Not for lack of trying on my part but he held back. He told me because of who he was he couldn't spend the rest of his life with me but I would have settled for staying with him while he could."

He already knew that from her reaction that night, so long ago now.

"Who was he Rose?" he asked, leaning down to kiss her again.

"I told you, he was a Timelord call the Doctor."

"I meant to you Rose," Alec replied as their lips parted.

"My best friend who I never told I loved him until it was too late."

He could see in her eyes that she meant it but why was he still putting her through this? He made his mind up that if she didn't begin to guess who he was by the following evening, he was going to try and tell her, even if it meant losing her forever.

"Maybe he knew? Rose, you can't have known you were going to be parted."

"He warned me Alec, he said something was going to happen but we never did anything about it."

"You could not have known the Cybermen were going to invade your world. You would still be together if not for that and I would never have met you. Rose, how do you feel now, about me? Does it bother you I look like him?"

Rose tried to get up but Alec stayed where he was.

"I don't know Alec, I mean I saw you on TV but I never thought I'd meet you. You remind me a lot of him but no, it doesn't bother me, I'm not gonna compare you, that's not fair. You're completely different."

He should stop her and he knew it but at least she was being honest with him.  "Then we will leave it at that, yes? Are we going out?"

He was just getting up when Pete called. Pete had got home and found Tony was playing up, wanting to know when Rose was coming back, which had set Jackie off.

"Have you managed to calm Tony down?" Jackie had asked him when he came back downstairs and Tony's nanny was getting him ready for bed.

"I think so. I told him if she wasn't back by next weekend we would go see her."

"Is that safe?" Jackie wanted to know. "Can't we go this weekend then?"

"Give her time Jackie, she has to come to terms with this. You never bothered when she went off with Mickey last year."

"That was different Pete and you know it. Why is Yvonne even doing this?"

"I wish I knew but we're getting nearer to finding out. It's all connected to what happened here that night, I'm sure of it now. All that going on about other aliens by Yvonne is just a decoy, she doesn't care if they stay or not. She wants to know if the Cybermen are coming back and she thinks using the cannon will be a signal to them that they can come back and take over."

"Is she right though Pete? Will they come back? I saw enough of them, remember? They took that other Yvonne away and probably turned her into one of them and this Yvonne gives me the creeps every time I see her."

"I know love but no, the cannon can't possibly be used by the Cybermen to bring them back, it doesn't work like that or so the experts say. I'm still waiting for their initial reports which I should get on Monday. The device can't be used from anywhere else, so I was told the last time."

"Well I hope you're right Pete but why are you training Rose and Jake for it? Rose still wants to go back, doesn't she?"

"She did but she's not said anything this time. Maybe she's finally accepted that even if she does get back, he may have changed again? Anyway, I have to call the person who's looking after her, do you want to talk to her?"

"Yeah, why hasn't she called me though?"

"She left her phone here, I thought it was safer and she probably thought you wouldn't answer if it was an unknown number. I'll talk to her first then I'll come back and you can talk to her."

"Why are you being so secretive Pete? Why can't you tell me where she is?"

"Jackie, I trust you but I don't trust the staff and you talk to them all day. One wrong word while they're out could give away where she is. I know you wouldn't tell them intentionally but it could slip out if her name comes up."

"They don't ask me about her Pete."

"Not now but when she's been away for a week? I promise, this will end soon, one way or another. All you need to know is she's being looked after."

"That doesn't make me feel any better about it Pete."

"I know love and I'm sorry. I won't be long."

That left Jackie wondering where Rose was hiding that Pete didn't want her to hear the conversation with whoever was looking out for her.

Alec had answered his phone that he'd left on the coffee table.

"Hello Pete, anything wrong?"

"Not any more than earlier. Is Rose there?"

Alec turned to look at Rose, who was still leaning against the cushion.

"Hold on, I will put the speaker on."

Rose sat up and kissed his cheek.

"Steve's back on our side for good this time Rose," Pete told them.

Alec was getting worried about this Steve person.

"Can you trust him now?" Rose asked.

"I think so, Yvonne's gone too far with him and he realises it. He's going to try to talk his friends into either not joining Yvonne or turning away from her. He's going to work with Mickey. He asked if you would call him."

"I don't want to talk to him Pete, how can I trust him now? Anyway, it's too late, I'm Alec's girlfriend now."

Alec smiled. His planned had worked nicely but he hoped she wasn't just saying that.

"So, you two aren't pretending then?"

"Nope, when I got here yesterday I wasn't sure I wanted to go along with his idea but if I'm gonna be here for a while, I need Alec as much as he needs me and I don't want to just pretend to be his girlfriend. We still have to work out the finer details though, about how we were supposed to have met."

"We can do that Rose," Alec assured her. "We will just have a quiet weekend then and see what happens on Monday."

"Well I told you about that warning I got earlier, let's hope Yvonne doesn't stir up any trouble over the weekend," Pete replied. "Rose, your mother wants to talk to you, hold on while I go get her."

Alec knew what Rose and her mother were like when they got talking and expected Rose wouldn't want to be bothered going out afterwards. He was wrong as twenty minutes of Jackie fussing, Rose finally got away.

"Sorry about that Alec, I thought I'd get away with telling her I'm okay, she just likes to fuss."

Alec already knew that, first hand.

"It's fine. Still want to go out?"

Rose surprised him by saying yes but wanted to get changed.

"Rose, we are only going to the camp bar, there is no need to get changed. You look fine."

"Well okay then, just for one drink I don't suppose it matters?"

"What about bingo?"

"I think we'll have missed that by now. Help me up?"

She held out her arms for him to pull her up but he grabbed hold of her as he did.

"So tonight, when we get back, are you going to make me get changed in the bathroom again?" he asked.

"That depends. Are you gonna wear those joggers again?"

"You did not seem to like them that much this morning."

Rose tried not to blush. They went out for an hour or so, Rose wanting to watch the evening's entertainment which Alec didn't like very much but she seemed to be enjoying herself but when they got outside, Rose wanted to go for a walk on the stone pier. They got to the end and sat down facing the cliffs.

"It's really nice here Alec," Rose told him as she rested her head on his shoulder, his arm around her.

"I did not think so when I came here but I suppose it does grow on you? Rose, when it's safe for you to go back, are you going to do so?"

"You think I'm just gonna jump at the chance to go home?"

"Well I would expect nothing else, since you did not want to leave."

"I wanted to leave Alec, trust me. I'll have to go back when it's safe though but maybe, well maybe you can come with me?"

"I have just got my job back, I can't leave just like that."

"Then take a few days off?"

"I can't do that either Rose, I won't be satisfied just taking you home then leaving again."

"What makes ya think that I'll let you come back on your own?"

"What? You want to come back here, with me?"

"Well that was the idea, unless you really want to move to London or you don't want me to come back?"

"Rose, I would love for you to stay here and when this is over, we can tell the truth, that you were hiding from something."

Alec shifted his position and they kissed, the moon shining on the sea and casting light on the cliffs.

"We should go back now," Alec suggested.

"Can we stay a while longer? We should look for another place to live."

"Well, we will get this over with first then look for something."

"What about that white house over there," Rose pointed to the east cliff.

"Think of the trouble getting up there eh?" Alec smiled. "There are a lot of steps up to it, I already asked about it."

"That's a shame, I bet you get a nice view from there?"

"Aye, maybe but it is just not practical. You could go and take a look though?"

"We could both go? What about those cottages on the beach?"

"That pink one?"

"No, the one in the middle."

"I did not see it while I was in the rental agency, maybe it is privately owned?"

"Well since I've no phone, I'll go use the free wifi on Monday in the bar."

"That will give you something to do," Alec smiled, kissing her cheek.

They sat a while longer in silence then Rose wanted to go back.

"Why don't you get changed for bed and I will make some drinks?" Alec suggested.

"Okay but are you still getting changed in the bathroom?"

"Only if you want me to?"

"We have to make a start, trusting each other enough."

"Then I will be the one to show you I am not shy about getting undressed in front of you. I know you are shy."

"Maybe just a little. You can help me get over it."

"By me going first?" he smiled.

Rose went off to the bathroom while Alec filled the kettle and switched it on. He leaned against the counter and thought about maybe trying to tell her tonight but how would she react to the news? Maybe he should delay it a little longer but did he want them to get close just for her to pack and leave? Would one night with her be worth her going away again?
Chapter 23
Rose went off to get ready for bed, debating if she should stick with her pyjamas or risk wearing a nightdress. Should she be even thinking about it, she wondered, looking at a pale green nightdress she'd packed. She had to start somewhere, if Alec was just going to sleep in his t-shirt and shorts but she rather hoped she could relieve him of his t-shirt at some point so it was only fair she ditched her pyjamas as long as she kept her underwear on but would he think she was being too keen?

Her mind made up, she put her dressing gown on and went to back to the kitchen area where Alec had just made the drinks.

"So, do you mind, I mean you being the one to get ready for bed in front of me?" Rose asked him.

"I don't mind, if it helps," he replied passing her hot chocolate to her, having remembered to put a layer of cream on top.

"Yeah, I just have to get past certain things. I mean when I was on my way here yesterday, well I never imagined Pete was bringing me to you, for you to be the one to look out for me."

"I was only too happy to help. You being willing to go along with my idea was a bonus but did you mean what you said to him? That you do really want to be my girlfriend?"

"Oh, maybe I shouldn't have told him that? He'll tell my mum now."

Alec imagined Pete would and that would get him a slap from Jackie for bringing her here.

"Is that such a bad thing?" he asked, watching her lick the cream off the spoon, very seductively he thought.

"That depends how she takes it. She slapped the Doctor once and he wasn't even my boyfriend and I can't count all the times she threw Mickey out. She never really liked him until the time some monster was after them. Did I tell ya the Doctor could change? I mean when he was dying or badly injured."

"I don't believe you did love," he replied, noticing she had opted to wear something else other than pyjamas as they sat down.

"He didn't look like you when I first met him, if that's any consolation. I think I made him change but I don't remember much."

So she'd worked it out, he thought.

"Maybe he wanted to change, I mean if you were just friends?"

Rose looked at him. Alec wondered how many times she'd thought about it. He had wanted to change but he didn't want her to take the blame for it when he'd chosen to stop her mind from burning. That now made him wonder what had happened to Donna, she wouldn't be able to withstand the time vortex in her head either.

"Maybe but I didn't want him to do it just for me, he used another of his lives up for me."

"Maybe he thought you were worth it? When you say lives though? Just how many did he have?"

He knew he'd never told her but wanted to know what she thought about it.

"He never said how many he had left but when I left him, it was ten, I met him in his ninth. Is it important?"

"No, I was just being curious love. So, we go out for the day tomorrow, yes?"

Rose wondered why he'd suddenly changed the subject but he'd thought maybe he should stop asking questions before she really did throw him out.

"Yeah, just to look around for a while. Alec, I didn't mean anything, when I said Pete would tell my mum, I wasn't trying to put you off."

"I know and it will take more than your mother to put me off."

Who was he kidding? Jackie Tyler had given him a few looks when she'd thought about what they'd been doing on their travels.

"Good but you'd better be prepared when you eventually meet her."

"Pete said she is a force to be reckoned with," Alec smiled as Rose actually began drinking her hot chocolate rather than play with it.

"You've no idea Alec. So you've no family, well apart from Daisy I suppose. How did she take it, you pretending to be her dad?"

"Fairly well though it took some getting used to. No, I have no family Rose, just me."

"Aw, then I suppose you were glad when you met Tess and Daisy?"

"They were some company for me. You though must have left friends and relatives behind?"

"Yeah, mum still misses her friends as much as I miss mine and since the estate here was pulled down, we don't know how to contact them but suddenly claiming to be someone's relative's not a good idea."

"So what about those belonging to the other Jackie?"

"She just claims loss of memory and they take pity on her. Lucky her," Rose replied sadly.

She put her mug on the coffee table and went to take his arm, curling her legs up under her.

"Sorry, I did not mean to bring up your past like that. Sometimes it does help to talk about it. You must miss the travelling part?"

"Yeah. Pete thinks that's why I wanted in on the cannon project, to get a chance to go home or at least see different worlds but all they'll be are other versions of this world and my own, it's not really the same thing."

"I don't suppose it is then," Alec had to agree. He also missed the travelling but suspected he'd coped with it better than his twin had when he'd been grounded a few times.

Alec went to lean back against the cushion, taking her with him and they kissed.

When they parted, Rose smiled at him.

"Shame you're not wearing a shirt," she grinned.

"Why is that then eh?"

"I could have unfastened a few buttons."

"Then I will be sure to wear one tomorrow, just for you but if you ask nicely, I could maybe be persuaded not to wear a t-shirt in bed tonight?"

"I might take you up on that then."

Suddenly, she decided maybe she should show him she meant it as she gathered the bottom of his t-shirt and put a finger underneath, touching his belly and smiling at him.

"Ah, now you are going to tease me?" he asked, grabbing her hand and guiding it under the garment.

He thought she would pull her hand away but she didn't, letting his hand rest on top of hers, holding it in place. Then he leaned down to kiss her again.

"You go get into bed while I clear up," he offered when they'd stopped, still keeping her hand in place.

"Yeah, okay. Don't be long, will ya?"

"No, I won't then maybe you can enjoy the show?"

"I didn't mean to be silly this morning."

"I don't mind but if I do, I expect some kind of participation on your part. Maybe you can stay in the bedroom in the morning and get dressed?"

"I'll think about it. Just be patient with me?"

"Sure, if it makes you feel more comfortable."

While Rose got settled in bed, Alec was wondering where this was leading. Was she ready to relax more with him now? Would he spoil everything by revealing who he was or would it make her want him even more? As Alec Hardy, Rose was very interested in him so how much better would it be for her to make the discovery, she still obviously wanted him back as the Doctor.

Rose had to smile when he got into the bedroom and didn't go to get his t-shirt out of the drawer and with only the light from the dressing table lamp, he took the t-shirt off he'd been wearing and hung it up in the wardrobe, Rose staring at his back. She'd propped herself up on the pillows to get a better view as he unzipped his new jeans, Alec smiling back at her.

"What?" Rose asked as he stopped.

"You are rather enjoying this, are you not?"

"What's not to enjoy? Why have you stopped?"

"Is it too soon to ask for some help?"

"It's not that I don't want to but maybe it is a bit to soon?" Rose replied, wondering why he'd asked.

"I thought so, sorry."

"Is this some kind of audience participation sport?" Rose just grinned.

"It could become that," he smiled back, taking his jeans off but turning suddenly to fold them on the chair.

Turning out the lamp, he got into bed and Rose snuggled up to him but it wasn't long before he pulled her on top of him and things became more intense as they continued kissing and Rose could tell he wanted more but was she ready? Alec was aware he was showing signs he wanted more from her and thought she would back off.

"Is this too much?" he suddenly asked.

"Mm, maybe I should move a bit?"

"If that's what you want? Or maybe we can see where this leads?"

Rose thought if she didn't respond now, she never would. She'd been thinking about his questions while she'd been waiting for him and some had seemed a bit odd but maybe he'd just wanted to understand her better, he obviously wanted to make something out of this.

He eventually pulled down the straps of her nightdress and had pulled it up at the front, making Rose feel guilty that she'd not let him take it off but it did seem rather more pleasant. She fell asleep in his arms, Alec smiling to himself they had got so close. He just had to hold out until tomorrow night, she would surely give in to him but when they woke the next morning, he got a pleasant surprise as when she got out of bed to go to the bathroom, she went to the drawer and got out a vest top and turning around, removed her nightdress and put on the top.

"Well good morning Rose, that was unexpected," he admitted as she snuggled up to him again.

"Morning Alec, I figured it would be more practical than me wearing a nightdress."

"Well I did not want to presume anything else last night, it was extremely pleasant."

"Yeah, I thought so too and I'm sorry, about hesitating but you keep talking about my past."

"I had to find out what Pete would not tell me, to understand your reason for being here, on this world."

"I know that Alec but to ask me about the Doctor? Yeah, I loved him, he's gone and I still miss him but he's probably changed again by now and maybe he's forgotten all about me."

"He would be a fool to forget about you Rose. He was also a fool for not telling you how he felt about you."

"Why would you say that Alec? I know why he never said anything, because of who he was."

"That is no excuse Rose, he must have known how you felt about him."

"Maybe he did but we were both to blame, I left it too late. I told him at the last possible second and never gave him chance to reply. I spent a lot of time crying over that and I swore I'd never let anyone get close to me again."

"You have though, or at least it seems like you have and I am not going anywhere Rose."

"I know that but just think about it, I'd never have come here if Yvonne wasn't out to prove something about me."

Alec wondered if she was any nearer to realizing. "Oh, you never know, you may have come here on holiday?"

"I don't think Mickey would like it here but Pete might have brought mum and Tony here."

"Would you not have come with them?" he asked, kissing her shoulder.

"Maybe I suppose. You might have left by then though."

"Well, I am here and so are you, it seems to me you were supposed to come here and meet me."

"You mean this world's trying to make up for something?"

"If you want to put it that way? Can't you just let go of the past Rose and accept what you have? Can't you accept I'm here, with you and I want to be with you? You must know that by now?"

He tried to judge her reaction.

"Yeah, I think I do Alec and I don't know what's holding me back."

"Guilt I expect? Try not to let it love, you have to let go sometime, can't you let go with me?"

Rose was about to give him her answer as she looked at him. She knew he really liked her and she was strangely attracted to him since they'd met. Maybe he was right, it was time to let go.

"Yes Alec, I want to let go, with you."

She sat up slightly and let him help her take off the vest top she'd just put on. He pushed her onto her back and hovering over her, smiled at her.

"Just relax with me, we don't have to go too far, just as far as you want. Why don't you leave your underwear on for now?"

Rose nodded and took his hand, guiding it to the waistband of his shorts, helping him pull them down slowly. Then she let go of his hand, putting her arms around his back and he lowered himself down. Rose let out a gasp as they touched through the thin cotton material of her underwear.

"Just relax love," he whispered, looking down at her and smiling, resting on his hands.

Rose tried to do as he asked of her, wrapping her legs around his as they touched again. As she felt the sensations, she dug her fingers into his back and he took it as a sign she was okay so far in what they were doing. It had been a lot longer for him than it had for Rose but some things you never forgot as he dared to take one side of her underwear and move it slightly.

Rose gasped again and he thought she was going to resist but when she didn't, he went for the other side, lowering them inch by inch until the were below her hips. Then he reached to pull his shorts off as Rose let go of him with one hand to help him. They moved over onto their sides and he helped Rose with hers.

"Sure about this?" he asked her.

Rose nodded, smiling at him. "Yeah, I want this, Alec."

Flinging his shorts over the side of the bed, Rose's underwear followed and he rolled onto his back just as they both felt the sensations they were giving each other. When they had both toppled over the edge, Rose moved onto her back and he lay on his side.

"Now that was a good start to our relationship, don't you think?" he asked as she lay there.

"Yeah, I don't know why I was so shy. Maybe all I needed was the right man?"

"Then I am honoured it was me. Rose, you may already know how I feel about you but I still want to tell you."

"I know Alec, it's just I've been trying to deny it. I don't know why I couldn't let go."

"Well you have and I am very happy you did so with me. Now you can relax more around me."

"Yeah, I want to but we can't forget why I'm here, in Broadchurch."

"We can for the weekend, nothing will happen."

"I hope you're right. Can we go out for breakfast?"

"Sure. Have you worked up an appetite eh?" he teased, going to kiss her cleavage.
Rose then watched him get out of bed and retrieve his shorts, throwing her knickers at her.

"Um, cute ass Alec," Rose giggled, catching her underwear before it landed on the floor at her side.

"Well now I am looking forward to maybe catching a glance of yours," he called back, going to get some clean shorts.

Rose giggled and realizing her underwear was damp, decided just to put on her vest top and hope it covered her. Alec had noticed as he got another t-shirt out of the wardrobe. He knew he should maybe turn away for her to get to the drawer but he watched her anyway, catching a glimpse of her.

"I will catch you next time," he told her, putting his t-shirt on.

"Maybe I'll let ya?" Rose giggled.

"Then let me take you out for a meal tonight? We could go to that pub up by the roundabout."

"Yeah, that sounds nice. Maybe we should just get a taxi, then you can have a drink."

"Sounds good to me," he told her, fastening his jeans.

Rose was just stepping into her clean underwear as he stood watching.

"Very cute Rose," he told her as she stood straight. "Now we are even. I will go make a drink or do you want to wait?"

"No, I can wait. They do breakfast in the bar, I noticed last night."

"Yes, that was where I went the last two mornings. I will let you get dressed now."

"Aw, don't wanna stay for the show?"

"While it is very tempting, I feel you should get used to me first."

"You saw me in bed Alec," Rose reminded him, going to get a clean bra.

"Need some help then?" he asked hopefully.

He was pleasantly surprised when she said yes. They couldn't resist another kiss as Rose turned around. They finally got out of the caravan just after nine and went to get breakfast, walking hand in hand into the bar. Rose went for a seat near the window, looking out at the cloudy sky.

"Should we leave going to Weymouth until tomorrow?" Rose asked as she looked at the breakfast menu.

"It may clear up, we can still go love. Hungry?" he asked as he decided what he wanted.

Back in London, Yvonne had decided to go to work, not wanting to waste any time in getting Pete out of his job. She'd called a late meeting of her inner circle and learned a few interesting facts when everyone else had left for the day and the night team had taken over key jobs.

"Well, what have you got for me?" Yvonne asked no-one in particular.

"I have something," one of the women ventured. "That night at Mr Tyler's house, the security company were called in and so were the police."

"I already know that thank you."

"Well the security company was merged with Torchwood's Yvonne."

"Meaning? Get to the point."

"Mr Tyler came back from somewhere, I managed to get some of the reports."

She put a folder on Yvonne's desk and stepped back.

"Why has no-one else found out anything?" Yvonne wanted to know.

No-one answered.

"So, where had he been then?" Yvonne asked, picking up the folder.

"It's all there Yvonne. Mr Tyler told the police he'd been looking for his wife, that he and two others had got out. His wife had run off screaming."

"I saw that on the recording. So did he tell them anything else?" Yvonne wanted to know.

"No, just reports that someone got into the Cybermen's base, Battersea power station and the place blew up when people came running out and screaming."

"So Pete Tyler comes back hours after the invasion, what does that mean? Anyone?"

"That he was part of what went on?" someone asked.

"Of course he was. Go back and find out for Monday, first thing."

"What about Jake?" Yvonne was asked.

"What about him? He can't be everywhere can he? If you talk to the right people."

Yvonne had read the file although it didn't contain much more than she already knew but it gave her something to take to the board. So on her arrival the next morning, the weekend staff being surprised to see her, she set about gathering all the information ready to call an emergency board meeting first thing on Monday morning and try not to alert Pete she was doing so.
Chapter 24
Down in Weymouth, Rose had gone off on her own for an hour and Alec had gone to buy himself a few things. After spending time on this world, he'd got used to having to feed and clothe himself instead of depending on the Tardis to do it for him. When they met up again, Rose had various sized carrier bags from several different stores.

"Bought enough?" he asked, Rose handing some to him.

"For now. What did you buy?"

"A few t-shirts and some underwear, something more appropriate to wear in bed."

"Can't wait to see you try them out then," Rose smiled. "I got some new underwear too and some more tops. We should take these to the car, then we can go for a walk. Did you know they do boat trips to the Channel Islands from here?"

"I don't know if I could go on a boat Rose."

"Aw, you'll be fine, they're quite big. Does it still bother you, about the river?"

"Sometimes but if you want to go, I could make the effort. How long does it take?"

"I don't know, I just saw a poster for it. We could go find out, take a walk down to the harbour?"

They got to the car and then walked back towards the harbour but Rose was disappointed when they got there.

"You must have seen an old poster Rose," Alec told her when they found out the ferry no longer ran from the port.

"Is Poole further away? I saw a sign for it on the way to Broadchurch."

"Yes, then it will be four or five hours, it would be easier to fly there."

"Ah but not as much fun," Rose smiled.

"Fun for who?" Alec asked, quite relieved because he really didn't think he could sit still on a boat for five hours.

Rose looped her arm in his and tried to take his sunglasses off. "Whatcha doing with these on?"

"The sun came out, you were probably in the stores."

Rose chose to ignore his remark as they came to the carousel. She gave him a little sway to say she wanted to go on. He figured if he couldn't go on a five hour ferry trip with her it was the least he could do. Helping her on one of the horses, he got some money out of his wallet then got on behind her. When the ride was over, they went to a nearby stall and got a drink.

"We should make our way back soon," Alec told her, trying to remember when the parking ticket was up.

They got back to the car and set off and were almost near Dorchester when Alec's phone rang. Rose picked it up before he connected the hands-free device, thinking it was Pete but the display just read 'Miller'. Rose answered it without thinking.

"Alec's phone."

"Oh, hello, you must be his girlfriend?" Ellie replied, a bit surprised she'd answered.

"You must be Ellie Miller? I met your sister. Something I can do for you?"

"I was going to ask if you wanted to come round for lunch tomorrow?"

"Oh, I think we were going out, hold on I'll put you on the speaker. Alec, we've been invited out for lunch tomorrow."

"What's the special occasion Miller?" Alec asked, being a bit suspicious his DS wanted to see Rose for herself.

"Does there have to be?" Ellie huffed.

"Alec, maybe we can go round later? What about afternoon tea?" Rose asked.

"Fine then," Alec replied, thinking the two of them would meet sooner or later.

"That wasn't so difficult Alec," Rose smiled at him. "What time Ellie?"

"Say around five? Lucy said she'd met you."

Ellie had seen her sister that morning to try to make arrangements for her to have Fred some of the time.

"I thought you could do with the extra money Lucy," Ellie had told her sister earlier.

"Well it's not my fault Maggie's spending more time with Jocelyn these days," Lucy had complained. "I don't know why she doesn't just sell up."

"Who's going to buy a local newspaper business?" Ellie had asked.

"How would I know? Anyway, have you met Hardy's girlfriend yet?"

"No, I was thinking of inviting them round tomorrow. I trust Olly's stayed away?
"
"He doesn't seem that interested, don't know why though. I think he's still upset."

When Rose and Alec got back, Rose went to try to hang up a new dress she'd bought and put her new underwear in the drawer.

"Going to try that dress on for me?" Alec asked as he stood in the bedroom doorway.

"I was gonna wear it tonight."

"Then I look forward to seeing you wearing it. We could go some place else, apart from the pub restaurant."

"Know anywhere?"

"I could look up a few places, if you want?"

"Yeah, okay. I'm off to take a shower then I'll get changed."

"It is a shame that shower is not big enough for two."

"Yeah, guess you'll have to wait your turn," Rose smiled.

Alec knew she was teasing him.

"Or wait until we get a proper place to live eh?" he asked, going to put his arms around her.

"Maybe? So, you go find somewhere for us to go while I get ready then."

"Trying to get rid of me?"

"No but it may take a while for you to find somewhere."

"Then I will attend to it and when we get back, there is something I want to talk to you about."

"Oh. Is it about when it's safe for me to go home?"

"Partly. I wanted to know if you were serious, about coming to live here."

"Why wouldn't I be? I'm not gonna just leave you Alec. I know what it's like to be left behind, remember?"

He knew all too well, it had not been easy for him either and being so close to getting her back for the last few years made him more determined he wasn't going to let her go that easily.

"I know and I was not suggesting you would go off and leave me. What about your work though?"

"I can work anywhere and by the time Yvonne's finished, there might not even be a Torchwood."

"You and Pete think that's what she's after? Disbanding the organization?" he asked, Rose leaning into him.

He didn't like the idea of Rose working for them but in Pete's hands, it was being used for good but he couldn't quite forgive them for being responsible for him losing her in the first place.

"Yeah, why else would she join if she lost her cousin and she holds Torchwood responsible? I didn't want to go and work there at first either but Pete convinced me I could help the transition of others who'd got stranded here, just like me and mum."

"Then you are doing a good job, if Yvonne thinks you are a threat and she wants to get to the truth. Her priority then will be getting Pete out of the way."

"Yeah, he knows that. All that time he's taken to make Torchwood turn away from what they used to do, Yvonne thinks she can just walk all over him. I feel sorry that she lost her cousin but taking Torchwood down isn't gonna bring him back."

All Alec had thought about after Rose had been taken was bringing Torchwood down but all that had remained was Jack's little group in Cardiff.

"It sounds like a lot of people working there lost someone, maybe Pete should go on the offensive and find out for himself what happened to Yvonne's cousin, to see why she blames Torchwood."

"Everyone blamed Torchwood, so Pete said. Next time you talk to him, you should tell him."

"Yes, I will but until then, I am preventing you getting ready to go out."

"I don't mind," Rose smiled, kissing his cheek.

"I should maybe shave on a regular basis?"

"Nah, it's just right, trust me. Alec, I don't want you to think I chose to be with you because of who you look like."

"I don't think that Rose, don't ever think I do. I know it must pain you to be reminded of him but I take no offence that you are thinking of me as a substitute."

"You're not a substitute Alec, you have to believe that. Maybe we would have met at some point, had Yvonne not been after me."

"I would certainly have hoped so. You have to believe Pete did not tell you about me for a reason."

"Yeah, he thought I'd go off the deep end. He thought I wouldn't be able to cope with it."

"Then we should discuss this later eh? You go get your shower and I will look for somewhere nice to take you."

As Rose got into the shower, she couldn't help but think their conversations were heading in one direction, that of forever talking about the Doctor and the differences between him and Alec that were to her becoming less and less but she couldn't help thinking why Pete had really kept him away from her.

Was it really because he'd thought she wouldn't be able to cope or was he hiding something? While Rose was in the shower, Alec sent Pete a message - 'I think Rose is close to guessing'.

Pete had enjoyed a day off, taking Tony to watch a local game of football and getting told off by Jackie for taking his son to a certain fast food restaurant but then got away with it when he said Tony had the healthy option and still wanted his tea when it was time. While Jackie was off supervising his bedtime, he answered Alec's text with 'Maybe you should speed things up?'

Alec thought Pete was probably right so if she didn't realise tonight, he had to tell her but should that be before or after they got intimate again? It had been a pleasant surprise that morning when Rose had committed herself for a relationship with him but now he was half human, he had to get used to giving in to the urges he'd so far managed to keep in check. How had his twin coped around her without giving in?

Alec had bought her a silver chain while he'd been looking around the shops and waiting for her so he got the small box out of his pocket and after a suitable length of time went into the bedroom.

"I have something for you," he told her as she sat at the dressing table having dried her hair.

He opened the box and brought out the fine intricate chain, hoping he wouldn't get clumsy while trying to fasten it for her.

"It's lovely Alec, thank you," she told him as he leaned down to put it around her neck.

"Maybe you should get something to go on it? I was at a loss what to choose."

"It's lovely on it's own."

"Aye, well if I had bought a silver rose you may have thought it was a little cheesy?"

"No, that would have been a nice thought."

"Then when we go out tomorrow I can rectify my error? I booked us a table at a French restaurant up in the town, I will order us a cab to take us there."

"Yeah, then you won't have to worry about driving back. It's been a while since I went out properly."

"So, you did not go out with this Steve then?"

"Only for a pub meal after work. I said for you not to feel jealous Alec."

Since the name kept coming up in Pete's conversations, how could he not feel a little jealousy?

"I will try not to be."

"Alec, you're here, I wouldn't be with you if I didn't want to be. I said I was only thinking about going out with him, I can't ever trust him now anyway."

"Because he used you?"

"Yeah and because up until this morning, I couldn't let go of my past. You changed that."

"Then I am glad you trust me enough to have let go. When you are ready, I will call the cab company. I will enjoy showing you off tonight. Need some help zipping your dress my love?"

Rose tried not to blush. When they arrived at the restaurant, Alec never turned his attention away from her unless it was necessary and then for only a few seconds.

"This is a nice place, have you been here before?" Rose asked as they waited for the main course.

"When would I have wanted to come to such a place on my own?"

"Sorry. So you never really made any friends here?" she asked.

Alec shook his head. "I was invited for a meal at the Miller's house, that was about it," he admitted, resting his chin on his hands.

He couldn't decide whether he should mention inviting Becca Fisher to spend some time in his room with him or not but he'd not expected her to accept the invitation. He'd just been trying to prove he was a single male looking for some company.

"There is one thing though," he continued, waiting until after the waiter put their plates in front of them. "I asked someone to keep me company when I first arrived here."

Rose tried not to giggle. "You did?"

"Well it was only the owner of the hotel where I was staying, she turned me down."

"She obviously doesn't know a good thing when she sees it then?" Rose smiled back at him.

He thought she was taking the news very well.

"I was ill at the time, she said she did not want me collapsing again on her. She found me in the bathroom a few days before, I got dizzy and bumped my head."

"Yeah and you still left it before you did anything about it? Why did you wait so long Alec?"

"I told you. Can we change the subject Rose? I am here, with you and to me, that's all that matters. I wanted to meet you a long time ago but Pete thought you may not react to me very well back then."

"I could have helped you Alec, when you were ill. Didn't Pete think of that?"

"You would have to ask him, not me. Now, it is just as well with all this going on. If Yvonne had found out you knew me, all this could have happened before."

"Maybe so but at least she'd know you're not her cousin."

When Yvonne had got home that day, she decided to go pay a visit to her aunt and uncle, figuring they may have neglected to tell her a few things about James. She'd not bothered them recently and if she was going to drag all this up, they deserved to know but her aunt didn't take it very well.

"Why are you bringing all this up know Yvonne?" her aunt asked her as her husband tried to comfort her.

"Because I'm in a position to find out what happened to him, don't you want to know?"

"Yvonne, we accepted James was gone and like your aunt said, why now?" her uncle wanted to know.

"Because Torchwood were partly responsible for what happened and I want to get to the truth."

"We weren't the only ones to lose someone that night Yvonne," her uncle reminded her. "We don't expect any special treatment."

"You should want those responsible to be accountable for it."

"Yvonne, would you be doing this if the Cybermen were still locked up?" her aunt asked her tearfully.

"Things could have been worse Yvonne," her uncle tried to tell her. "If they'd remained locked up, they would have escaped eventually and tried again. We should be thankful they left. We may not have our freedom now if Torchwood hadn't helped them escape. Wherever they went, I feel sorry for any other world they went to, they may not have been so lucky. Leave it Yvonne, for your aunt's sake. James wouldn't want you dragging it all up."

Yvonne was disappointed they weren't very happy about her trying to get to the truth. No, she had a duty to James to find out what had happened, maybe she should try contacting the detective who resembled him, to see if by some chance James had lost his memory that night like Jackie Tyler had done and had no recollection of who he had been, just who he was now.

She had read how he had been in Norway at the time of the attempted takeover of the planet and that he had an ex wife and daughter. Maybe she should try his ex wife first and see how true it all was. First though, getting Pete Tyler out was her priority.

Mickey had been sitting in a bar in the centre of London waiting for Martha Jones to show up. Before he'd left work the night before, he had called her and invited her out for two reasons. One because he really did fancy her and two because she was on the verge of joining Yvonne, who had sent Martha to try to turn him. Now, he owed it to Pete and Rose to try to turn Martha to their side, she could be a good ally.

He saw her enter the bar and getting up, waved her over.

"I wasn't sure you'd come and meet me, after the other night," Mickey admitted.

"Neither was I Mickey. I owe you an apology, it was Yvonne's idea and I'm sorry."

Mickey went to get some drinks and while he was away, Martha decided she wasn't going to play Yvonne's game any longer. Two hours later, Mickey was dropping her off outside her flat and debating whether to get back in the cab or get out and hope Martha would ask him in.

"Thanks Mickey," Martha told him, kissing his cheek. "See you on Monday?"

"Do I get invited in?" he asked hopefully.

Martha felt sorry for him. "Yeah, pay the cab driver then?"

So she had broken off a relationship with another doctor who'd decided she wasn't worth staying at home for. Did that mean she was off men for good as long as they weren't called Owen Harper?

Rose and Alec were waiting for a cab to take them back down to the harbour.

"That was really nice Alec, thanks," Rose told him as they waited in the doorway since the rain had come back.

"My pleasure. Maybe we should go somewhere tomorrow where we can stay out of the rain?" he suggested.

"Aw, maybe the sun will shine tomorrow and you can wear those sexy sunglasses again?" Rose smiled back at him.

"If the sun is shining tomorrow, you can bet I will wear them just for you love," he told her as a taxi pulled up.

They both got in the back again and Alec continued to whisper in her ear.

"So you think I look sexy in my sunglasses?" he asked, since he'd had two glasses of wine to keep up with her.

"Well yeah, I didn't mean the sunglasses on their own."

"I should hope not," he smiled, putting his arm around her and kissing her cheek.

They arrived at the caravan park and Alec directed the cab driver and paid the fare as he got out, helping Rose who have moved over.

"Still want your hot chocolate tonight?" he asked as they got inside.

"Nah, not tonight, you're in a good mood."

"Well it is a while since I enjoyed an evening out, with my girlfriend."

"What about before the one you broke up with?"

"No-one serious," he had to lie.

He hoped she wouldn't ask for details, since he had none.

"What about Sophia then?"

"Rose, let's just leave it eh? I do not ask you about Mickey. We had a pleasant evening out and now, I just want to lie on the cushions and do some serious kissing. Can we do that?"

"Yeah, I'm all for that. You said you wanted to talk though."

"Not about my past girlfriends. I want to talk about what we have. We do have something?"

"Yeah, I think we have Alec. You're the first man I've felt anything for in a long time."

"You are the first woman I wanted to get close to Rose, come here."

He sat down, pulling Rose onto his lap, taking his jacket off.

"See, I wore a shirt, just for you," he smiled as Rose began to take off his tie.

She unfastened his shirt buttons, slowly and ran her finger where each one had been, making him smile and kiss the back of her hand. He leaned back against the cushion, Rose crawling after him and she continued to unfasten his shirt. He reached round to unzip her new dress, pulling it over her shoulders.

He so wanted to tell her right there and then who he was but if she was going to be angry with him for not telling her sooner, he wanted one more night with her. They began kissing and Rose kicked off her shoes, laying in his arms as they continued until it became obvious to both of them they should move to the bedroom as her dress came off.

Alec managed to get up first, Rose trying to clutch her dress but he surprised her by helping her up and taking it from her helped her put it back on but didn't zip it back up.

"You go ahead, if you need the bathroom, I will wait in the bedroom," he told her, kissing her again.

When Rose got out, he was sat on the edge of the bed in just a pair of shorts he'd bought while they'd been out, quite different to the ones he'd been wearing in bed. When he got up, Rose looked at him.

"I thought I would make an effort," he grinned.

"Yeah, I can see that, nice."

"I will be right back."

When he'd left, Rose got out of her dress again and hung it up, wondering if he still wanted to talk about something important or if he was going to leave it. When she thought about earlier when it had crossed her mind why Pete had never mentioned he knew Alec, the thought was still there. Why would Pete do that, especially when Alec had been involved in two high profile cases.

Alec was looking at himself in the bathroom mirror, wondering if he should shave off his beard but if he happened to get photographed for any reason, Yvonne would be onto him so for now, it had to stay. Turning out the light, he went back in the bedroom to see Rose lying on the bed in her pink skimpy underwear, propped up by the pillows.

"Turn the light out Alec," she called softly as he closed the door.

Before he did, he got his phone and took a picture of her, then he kneeled on the bed and Rose sat up. He pulled the bedclothes back and she moved over then he followed, Rose reaching her arms out.

"Now, where were we eh?" Alec asked as he put his arms around her.

"You tell me Alec. I want to be with you, properly."
Chapter 25
"That was amazing Alec," Rose told him as he lay on his back, having untangled himself from her.

"You seemed to have relaxed somewhat from this morning," he replied.

"I didn't think I'd be able to but you made it easy. I feel really good now."

"Then I am glad I made you feel that way. Come and lie on me, I want to tell you something."

Rose rolled over and put her arms under him.

"That was your first time, was it not?" he whispered.

"How did you know? Me and Mickey, well we just fooled around, it was nothing serious."

"I had gathered that. You were waiting, for the right man?"

"I guess I was. Alec, I know why I was so hesitant."

"Let me guess? You regretted not having anything with this Doctor of yours?"

"Yeah, I suppose I did. When I got here, I couldn't bring myself to go out with Mickey again, I mean he'd have taken me back but I left him, to go with the Doctor. Now I'm glad I waited."

"You are very special Rose, do you know that? As for not being able to show the Doctor you loved him, he must have known?"

"I expect he did but even if Pete's team gets that cannon working, it could be years before we find my world again and he'll have changed and maybe found someone else. I promised I'd stay with him forever and I broke that promise Alec."

"Well, now you have another chance, with me, if you want it? You don't have to promise forever, just as long as you've got. Tell me something though, did he tell you he could not stay forever with you?"

"Yeah, how did you know? I know what he meant now, he said he'd keep on changing and maybe he thought if he changed again, I would leave him."

"Maybe he got lucky, when he changed the last time?" Alec asked, hoping he was giving her some vital clues. "What if though, he could have promised he would never change again?"

"That's not possible Alec, if he didn't change when something happens to him, it's all over."

"You told me he changed only if he's dying and you said you made him change once but what if that were to be the last time?"

"What are you getting at Alec? What did Pete tell you? Come to think of it, why did he never tell me he knew you, when you were on the news last year? Why was he hiding you from me and don't say it was to protect me, I could have coped with who you look like, I'm coping now."

"Yes, you are love," he told her, kissing her forehead. "Rose, you know how I feel about you, can you trust me?"

"Yeah, I trust you Alec."

"Then do you love me?"

"Alec, I care about you, very much but I don't know right now, I'm still a little scared of telling a man that I love him. I told the Doctor and he faded away right in front of me."

"I know that Rose and I know it is difficult for you to say it again but I am going nowhere, I am not going to fade from view if you tell me. I will say it first then, so you know you can trust me. Rose Tyler – I love you."

Rose tried to look at him in the light coming from outside. Why had he said it like that, shouldn't he have said 'I love you Rose' or 'I love you Rose Tyler?' What exactly had Pete told him of the time in Norway and wasn't it a coincidence Alec had been in Norway at the same time? She tried to move her head.

"Alec, I know you mean it but something's been bothering me. Something you said about being in Norway. You never told me how long you'd been there."

Alec thought she must have surely worked it out by now, that was what she did.

"You really want to know?"

"Well yeah, you never talk much about it and how you got to Scotland."

"I told you, I met Pete and he offered to help."

"That's no answer Alec, why would he offer help, when he'd just met you? Oh, he already knew you? What did you mean by what if the Doctor never had to change again?"

"Rose, have you not worked it out yet?" he asked, moving her hair.

Rose did move this time, to prop herself up on her elbow and fishing for her underwear. He thought she was going to get up and leave but with some difficulty, she put her underwear on and he managed to scramble back into his rather brief shorts.

Then she lay back on him again. "This isn't getting us anywhere Alec, why don't you just tell me your real story? Were you ever in Norway?"

"Yes, I was in Norway, at the same time you were."

"How did you get there? Did you really take a job there, to forget a French girlfriend?" Rose asked him as Reinette came to mind.

"Honestly? No," he replied, rubbing her arm. "I got there by accident Rose."

"Has it something to do with when the stars all disappeared that night?"

"You got me. Yes."

Rose dare hardly to think this was even possible and why Pete had kept it all so secret. As if someone might overhear her, she moved to whisper in his ear, thinking she was completely mad or he would think she was completely mad.

"Doctor?"

"Yes Rose, it's me, well partly me. What I said, about not changing again, I meant it. I have one life now, I'm part human."

"What? How did that happen and why become Scottish?"

"Well, that is a long story. How long have you got?"

After some explanation as to how he came into existence with some help from a temp from Chiswick, Rose finally believed him.

"So some of what you came up with was true?"

"Well yes, Pete had to make sure it was all above board, certain things were established," he told her, still in his Scottish accent.

"Why didn't Pete trust me, to tell me about you?"

"Think about it Rose. You were in charge of processing aliens, I would have had to declare myself and now, if Yvonne gets a hold of this, well I do not need to tell you what would happen? How many species have gone through Torchwood? There were never any Timelords here as far as I know or maybe they were wiped out long before I came here the first time but once Yvonne discovers what they were?"

"Oh Alec, you're still in danger if she decides to check you out and now you're with me, that makes it worse still. She'll know it was me at Pete's that night and she'll assume I was with you. You have to call Pete in the morning."

"I already alerted him you may be about to guess who I am. We still have to be very careful Rose, you know that and that's why I have to keep up the pretence."

"You couldn't do a Scottish accent," Rose reminded him.

"I have had years of practice."

"So when you found there was a gap, how did you know you had the right world?"

"He did a scan for you, you still have void stuff," he grinned.

"Well for once, he got his landing right," Rose smiled. "So, Pete couldn't tell me about you, what did he think I was gonna do, announce you or something?"

"You will have to ask him the reason but it was for the protection of both of us, he would not have kept us apart if it had not been necessary."

"Yeah, I don't suppose he would but when was he gonna tell me? Would you have come to tell me?"

"I was thinking about contacting him, after I solved my last case but then Daisy reminded me I was not completely fit and I wanted to be, before I saw you again."

"You were really ill then?"

"I did not take to having one heart very well. Pete sent someone to keep a eye on me, someone he could trust. There is so much I have to tell you but it can wait until tomorrow. So, now, how do you feel about me staying as Alec Hardy?"

"Well, you fooled me, the test will be when Yvonne really goes after you but that's the least of your problems."

"You mean you are mad at me?"

"No, I mean when my mum finds out, she'll slap you back to the other universe, cannon or no cannon."

"Ah, yes, your mother. Can I just plead I lost my memory?" he smiled.

"No, she has the patent on that. We can't tell her just yet anyway, not until this is over."

"I know, that gives me time to come up with something."

"Just tell her what really happened, then she'll blame Pete. Every year since we've been here, pink party hats have been banned in the house."

"I can understand why you did not want to be reminded of that first Christmas we spent at your mother's flat. The year after, I met Donna, when she was about to get married and a giant red spider was intent on spoiling things. I told Donna that I'd spent the previous Christmas with you."

"So I have her to thank for you being here then?"

"Well her and the Daleks I suppose. Then there was my other companion, Martha."

"Not Martha Jones?"

"How did you know that?"

"She works at Torchwood, Mickey fancies her but she was being used by Yvonne, to get to him."

"Ah, he still lives up to his name then?"

Rose nudged him. "You still have some explaining to do."

"Yes, you should get some sleep and we will go out tomorrow and I will tell you some of the things that happened after you came here. Rose, when I saw you letting go of that lever, I would have given all my remaining lives to stop you."

"I know, it's okay Alec, I don't blame you for it. Pete came back because my mum reckoned he owed me for trying to save his first wife."

"I know, I gathered that. Rose, I am so sorry for not telling you when we first met but I wanted you to find out for yourself."

"Yeah, I may not have believed you. I do love you Alec, as a Scottish detective and a Timelord, well part Timelord anyway."

"I know, I love you too Rose. The human part of me made me realise a long time ago there was never going to be anyone else but you I wanted to be with. There was no Sophia, I made her up."

"Based her on that French tart Reinette did you?"

"Now Rose, don't be so rude. How was she to know that you were in love with me?"

"You knew then?"

"I knew the moment I stepped into your mother's flat on that Christmas day, the way you looked at me."

"Then why did you let Reinette become so important?"

Alec was thinking it was a good thing she'd never seen the other women snogging him. There had been nothing on his part, not since as Cassandra Rose had kissed him on New Earth but if he'd refused Reinette's advances, she may have ordered his head to be chopped off and he'd grown attached to how he looked and didn't even know if he could have regenerated or talked himself out of it.

"She was in danger Rose, I could not have left her to those clockwork droids, could I?"

"I don't suppose so if you put it that way."

"I came back for you, when you thought you had lost me. That has to count for something? Can we please forget that now? Can I be with you as the Doctor as well as Alec Hardy or are you tired?"

He moved her onto her back and kissed her cleavage, Rose going to ruffle his hair.

"I always wondered what you'd look like if you didn't shave," she told him as he looked up and went for her underwear.

"I thought it would put you off."

"Never," she replied, pulling him for a kiss. "Is there really no difference between you and him?"

"No, apart from being half human. I remember everything up until he left me here."

"Did he say anything?"

"Yes, to find you and tell you I love you and I am sorry that took so long."

After they had made love again, Rose fell asleep in his arms and Alec thought back to the time he'd arrived on this world. The three of them had dropped off their passengers, Martha had gone off with Jack and he'd suspected the captain would talk her into joining Torchwood Cardiff. His twin seemed to notice however that he wasn't pleased at being accused of wiping out the Daleks again, they'd just spring up from some other time period so how could they all be gone and more importantly, they wouldn't be missed.

What had his twin been thinking? Would he rather have left them and Davros to come up with another way of wiping out the universe? That was the difference between them, he could do things the other him would hold back on and he thought he was going to get some sort of punishment for it.

As they had flown back into the time vortex, he'd had an idea.

"Is there still a gap?" he'd asked his twin.

"What do you think spaceman?" Donna had laughed.

"Donna, how do you know there's a gap?" his twin had asked.

"That transfer was both ways Doctor, can't you two dumbos see that? Get out of the way, let me check something."

Not used to being bossed around, the other Doctor had let Donna loose at the controls. Then she pointed something out.

"Donna, there's not much of a gap," he'd told her when she moved away and he'd joined his twin, staring at the monitor.

"There's just enough to get you through, if that's what you want?" his twin had told him.

"There can't be two of us here, well three really," he'd grinned. "Rose is still out there, one of us owes her a happy ending."

"Well you'd better hope she's found no-one else dumbo," Donna laughed. "Are you two slow or what?"

"Let's do it then, hold tight," his twin had told him, thinking it would be a miracle if they landed, let alone take off again but unknown to Alec, which he'd guessed later, somehow the disturbances in the universes had enable them to land in sync with the alternate universe. They'd said their goodbyes and Donna remained in the Tardis, to warn if they were about to get cut off.

"Tell Rose, don't leave her to guess what I was going to say that day I left her," the other Doctor had told him.

"I won't, I have no reason to hold back, have I? Do you really think I'm dangerous, being left on my own in the other universe?"

"That's not relevant now, go find Rose, she needs you."

"You don't? You were a fool, you know that, leaving her to guess how you felt about her. Got anything to say to her?"

"Tell her I love her, now I really have to go," his twin had told him as Donna had shouted, "Get back in here now spaceman," at the top of her voice.

He'd watched his twin step back inside the Tardis after handing him his sonic screwdriver and psychic paper and patting his shoulder.

"Don't waste any time, you've not got forever to tell her now," his twin had called back.

"I know, I won't waste it."

As the Tardis had faded away, he'd known for the first time what it was like to be totally alone. He'd made his way off the beach and flagged down a passing car, saying his friends had played a joke on him and gone off without him then he'd used the sonic screwdriver to fool a payphone into letting him make a call and got the number for Pete, trusting the man would welcome him back.

When Pete had finally arrived in Bergen, he'd no idea how much time it was going to take to establish himself but going against Pete's wishes was a bad move. Pete had the power, no matter who he was to declare him an alien and maybe lock him up and this time, he'd no Tardis to escape in.

The other reason he'd waited was because he'd no idea how Rose would react to getting only half of him back but as he fell asleep, Rose wrapped in his arms, he knew now he couldn't have waited much longer to see her, despite risking being found out. She had welcomed him back, not even questioning how he'd come into being or that he was a clone or whatever. Now though, there was no way he was going to mess around with the human ritual of 'dating', he was sure Rose would totally agree with him.

The next day, after making breakfast together, they set off for Devon and stopped in a small town, walking along the beach.

"Are you happy now Rose?" he asked as they sat on the sands.

"Yeah. What did Pete say when you called him?"

"He was not surprised it had not taken you long to find out. Maybe Jake and Mickey had a bet eh?"

"Knowing those two, yeah. So Pete told them?"

"He had to but he can't tell your mother, not yet. Yvonne may still want to talk to her."

"Good luck to Yvonne, if she thinks she'll get anything out of her. Mum's an expert at playing the memory loss victim, trust me. Alec, there's so much I want to know."

"I will tell you, there is a lot. You should know that the Martha Jones I travelled with, well she was a little jealous of you at first. I told her she was not replacing you but in the end, she left because she knew I would never change my mind about it and let her."

"You let me go on, about Reinette."

"I know but Martha was different, she ended up saving me, more than once and she still stayed even though she knew she was getting nowhere with me."

"You don't have to explain it Alec. What about Donna?"

"She was just the opposite, you can thank her that I am even here."

"Do you think he'll ever come back, you know, to check?"

"Maybe, one day but only if he thinks you won't recognize him."

"You'll know him though?"

"Yes, I will be able to recognize him Rose but he has no reason to come back, has he?"

Rose leaned forward and touched his cheek. "I think I understand Alec, he never wanted me to leave, I know that. Now he doesn't have to worry about me wondering what he was going to say."

They wandered around the few shops that were open then had lunch in one of the pubs before making their way back and calling at the caravan since they were too early to go to Ellie's house. Olly had been out around the harbour area and had seen Alec's car turn into the caravan park and being nosy, decided to follow and took a chance as to which row of caravans he was staying in. As he found the car, he debated with himself, was it worth the risk to get a story of the mysterious blonde his mother had talked about?

Maybe she was right, maybe the paper wouldn't be saved by putting the detective's love life on the front page?

They arrived at Ellie's house just as Fred was throwing a tantrum, Ellie trying to calm him down.

"Come on Fred, Hardee's coming to see you."

The young boy looked at her.

"That got his attention Mum," Tom observed, trying to catch up on his homework.

"Yes, well just because he spent a lot of time around Hardy, doesn't mean he's stopped missing his dad. I know you do Tom but you can cope with it better than Fred can."

"I know he's not coming back here Mum but when I'm older, well I might want to see him, to get him to tell me why he wouldn't own up to what he did to Danny."

Before Ellie had the chance to answer him, the doorbell rang and she was no nearer making the sandwiches and putting out the cakes than she had been half an hour ago. Well Hardy and his new girlfriend would just have to take her as they found her.

"Hi, come in," she told them as Fred came up behind her.

"Hi there, what's your name?" Rose asked him as he tried to hide behind Ellie.

"It's Fred," Tom told her from the kitchen doorway. "I'm Tom, are you his girlfriend?" Tom pointed to Alec.

Rose turned back to him. "Yeah, I'm Rose, nice to meet you Tom."

"Tom, take them in the front room while I finish making tea," Ellie asked him.

"Oh, are we too early?" Rose asked, sure they'd been told five. "Can I help?"

Leaving Alec to pick up young Fred, since the boy was now holding onto his legs, Rose followed Ellie into the kitchen.

"So, he kept you quiet," Ellie told her as she got two cakes out of the cupboard.

"We didn't want to make a fuss I was coming back."

"No, I meant that he knew you in Sandbrook," Ellie replied, showing Rose where the knife was to cut the cakes.

"We broke up Ellie, why would he mention me?" Rose replied, hoping that Ellie wouldn't want too many details. "We met when I just happened to be back in the town the same time as he was and he asked me out."

"So, were you serious, back then?"

"Can we change the subject? I feel like I'm being interrogated," Rose smiled.

"Sorry, old habits. I'm glad he has someone though, he's been through a lot, I mean with his surgery. Did you ever meet his ex?"

"No, they'd separated when I first met him. I heard what happened, at the trial, sorry Ellie."

"I'm just getting used to it, I mean before the trial, I thought he'd get sent away and we could carry on but then he changed his mind, after all we went through."

"It must have been difficult, seeing him in court. Alec didn't say much about it but I know the defence gave you two a hard time."

"Yeah, like me and him would ever have got together, before or after Joe's arrest. Maybe if you'd still been together it would have made them seem ridiculous."

"Yeah, I followed the trial, it got me thinking about him, I suppose it helped me take up his offer of coming here."

Rose just hoped Alec would back her up.

"Are you staying then?" Ellie asked her as she made the drinks.

"Seems so, maybe we both just needed a little time apart and to get out of Sandbrook?"

Alec was having a hard time with young Fred, who had wanted to sit on his lap and read to him. Tom thought it was funny.

"He likes you reading to him," Tom observed.

Rose and Ellie were taking things into the dining room, Rose wondering how Ellie was coping raising two young boys on her own.

"Can you tell them tea's ready?" Ellie asked Rose as she was about to go back into the kitchen.

Rose went off and saw Fred pointing to something in a book Alec was holding. Alec looked up and smiled at her.

"Having fun, uncle Alec?"

Tom also looked up, grinning.

"Tea's ready. Hey Fred, want to come with me?" she asked him.

When they had finished, Rose volunteered to clean up.

"You've done enough, you're supposed to be a guest," Ellie reminded her.

"Ellie, it's what my mum taught me. It's something I never forgot."

"See Tom, remember that next time," Ellie laughed.

When they were about to leave, Ellie went to see them off.

"I hope we can be friends while you're here Rose?" Ellie asked her.

"Yeah, me too Ellie, it was nice to meet you. Fred's really cute. Thanks for inviting us."

"Maybe we can meet up, during the week? That's if you're going to be around?"

"Yeah, I won't be going far and he's only going back a few hours a day, aren't you Alec?"

Now though, Alec wished he wasn't going back at all and was considering delaying it. He was worried about Rose, now the truth had come out.
Chapter 26
Rose noticed Alec was a bit quiet on the drive back.

"Did you feel uncomfortable there?" she asked him as he drove down the High Street.

"I was afraid she would ask too many questions, about our past relationship."

"Well maybe when all this is over, we can tell her the truth, that I was hiding."

"Just you or both of us?" he asked as they reached the mini roundabout and turned into the caravan park.

"No-one has to know who you used to be Alec, what's the point? You and Pete went to a lot of trouble to hide who you used to be."

"You mean you don't mind me remaining as Alec Hardy then?" he asked as he reversed into their parking area.

"I'm getting used to it," Rose smiled, touching his leg.

He put the car into 'park' and leaned over to kiss her cheek.

"I guess I can live with it. At least there is no need to pretend we are together. How do you feel about having me stay as a Scottish detective?" he asked, unfastening his seatbelt.

"You pretended to be other people in the past, what's so different this time?" Rose replied, getting out.

"Well, for one, I could go back to being me. Now, it is too dangerous, with or without Yvonne."

"We should check in with Pete, do a vid call."

"Then we will do so, just to settle a few things. Maybe you should tell him any concerns you have?"

"What concerns?" she asked as Alec unlocked the door.

Alec was about to answer when he saw Olly standing at the edge of the caravan.

"Go inside love," he told her as she turned to see what he was looking at.

"Who's that?"

"The local reporter who is about to be run out of town, unless he goes away."

"DI Hardy, do you want to give me an interview?" Olly dared ask.

Rose took his advice before the reporter decided to snap a photo of her, it was all she needed.

"No and take my advice Stevens, there is no interview to give. Are you so desperate for a story right now?"

"Who's your girlfriend? She looks vaguely familiar."

"Then why are you even asking?" Alec wanted to know.

"I was thinking of including you in a story about how the town is picking up the pieces after the trial. You wouldn't be the only person in it. Care to participate?"

"No, I am sure others have a better tale to tell than I do. You are wasting your time here."

"Just tell me, is she your girlfriend, from when you were in Sandbrook?"

Alec thought if he said yes, the annoying reporter might go away. As long as he didn't take a photo of Rose or asked her name, she should be safe enough, for now. On the other hand, this may get to the stage Stevens would want to make more out of it and Yvonne surely had someone watching for the smallest sign of where Rose had been hidden away.

"She was my girlfriend, back in Sandbrook, we broke up and then met again last week. That's it, nothing mysterious about it."

"Then what's her name?" Olly persisted.

"None of your business. Now if you will excuse me, I have been out all day."

"Just one more thing. How are you coping with the fact the defence pulled you apart at the trial? I mean about the mistakes and the accusations?"

Alec shook his head. He wondered how he'd got away with being asked those questions, going away had been a good idea.

"Really? You came here today, Sunday to trip me up? I have nothing to say of interest to your readers and I can't talk about the trial. You know what happened in the end. As for my private life, it is just that – private."

"Is she staying long?" Olly asked him, hoping to get something.

"That remains to be seen and depends on you. If you keep following us, she may leave then trust me, you will not want to stick around, I will make you as miserable as I will be if you drive her away."

Olly already knew what the detective was capable of and thought about what he'd just been told.

With that Alec pointed his finger at the reporter. "Stay away from her, do you understand?"

Olly nodded, not that the warning was going to stop him mentioning in the article he'd come up with while waiting for Alec coming back after he'd seen the two of them drive away not long after they'd got back earlier.

"What was all that about?" Rose asked Alec when he went inside and Rose was just making a drink.

"Leave it Rose, he won't bother you. I did not want him asking any awkward questions about us. What did Miller have to say, while you were in the kitchen with her?"

"She wanted to know why you never mentioned me. If she says anything to you, well tell her I didn't take much persuading to come back to you."

Alec put his mug of tea down on the counter, indicating Rose to do the same. Then he put his finger on her chin.

"You did not need any persuading, did you? Did you know, in your mind, that it was me? Did I not give you enough clues?"

"Alec, it's been a long time, I didn't know what to think. Maybe I was scared, of falling in love with you, because I'd promised I was never gonna leave you, as the Doctor and I broke that promise."

"Rose, I think you would be forgiven, you gave that promise in another universe, he would have never held you to it if he'd known what was going to happen."

"You knew, before it did that something was going on, you told me."

"It was just I sensed something but I did not want to accept it was possible I may loose you one day. Let's leave that now eh?" he asked, putting his arms around her.

"No more putting on a show for the neighbours then?" Rose smiled.

Rose showed him how to make a video call to Pete, who was in his study.

"So, how are things with you two?" Pete asked, seeing that look on Rose's face that told him she was happy to have the Doctor back, well part of him.

"Fine Pete but Rose and I have some concerns now. I think I should delay going back to work, for a number of reasons."

"You said at first you thought Rose would need some time to herself. That's no longer the case, is it?"

Alec looked at her. "No Pete, for one thing, the local reporter has been nosing around, I don't want him trying to guess who she is."

"I can handle a reporter Alec," Rose informed him.

"Let Alec deal with him love," Pete told her. "If you think you should stay off, I can get Alistair to raise a few objections, health wise?" Pete offered.

"Alec, I think you should go back, you'll go crazy staying off," Rose assured him.

"I'll be fine, I'll find something to do."

"If you are sure Rose? Then I will go back but have him ready to step in and claim I am overdoing things, just in case."

"I will do, don't worry. I'll call him tomorrow and keep him advised. Anything else?"

Rose looked at Alec again. "Are you telling mum? I mean about where I am? I know you can't tell her about Alec, not yet anyway."

"Best leave it for now eh?" Alec asked, not fancying his chances with Jackie Tyler just yet.

"I agree with Alec love, you know she likes to talk to the staff? Best be on the safe side, we've all worked hard to protect you. Hopefully, by tomorrow we may have a few more people back on our side. Mickey was seeing Martha again and Steve may have met with some of his friends."

Steve had met some of his friends the night before but he'd only managed to convince a few of them he was deserting Yvonne, properly this time. He'd gone home disappointed he'd not been able to do more but it had been a start.

Rose had persuaded Alec, once Pete had hung up that he should go back to work as planned and use the medical excuse if they needed to leave town.

"Well okay Rose, I will do it, just for you but the first sign of any trouble, we will pack and go somewhere else, agreed?" he'd asked after a long kissing session.

"Yeah, agreed. I'm sure everyone's doing their best for us Alec."

"So am I love. No harm in having a contingency plan though eh?" he smiled as he tried to sneak another kiss.

When they got to bed, they never realised it was the calm before the storm as they showed their love for each other. As they lay afterwards, Rose realised she was going to be out of action in a few days time.

"I understand Rose," he told her as she broke the news. "It was just bad timing."

"Well I take precautions, something I get from Torchwood that covers me even just before and after."

"You will have to go back?"

"Nah, it lasts three months, I've still got another two before I need another one. It's compulsory, something Yvonne introduced to reduce the number of female staff having 'off' days, it makes you feel less grumpy with it."

Alec smiled, Miller would have loved for him to take something to make him less grumpy when they had worked together.

"I remember what you could be like in the Tardis. Even Mickey stayed away from you."

"Thanks. I'll have plenty to keep me occupied, I should go take the laundry to get done and I'll top up the groceries."

"We can go when I get out of the station. Have you enough cash on you?"

"Yeah, don't worry, I can pay my own way. I never imagined you'd get used to paying for things with actual money."

"I should be insulted by that remark Rose but I will let you off, this time."

The next morning, Alec prepared to go back to work, reluctantly. He still didn't like the thought of leaving her on her own but Rose assured him she would cope.

"Come and meet me and we will have lunch, say around one?" he asked, knowing she would cope better than he would, now he'd finally got her back.

"Yeah, okay," Rose called back from the bedroom as he was about to leave.

She was stuffing all the laundry into one of Alec's holdalls, since they were large enough. He saw her struggling through the door with it and went to take it from her.

"I will walk across with you love. Why don't you leave it and we will collect it later?"

"I wasn't going to watch the machine go around Alec," she smiled back at him.

He left her outside the launderette, kissing her cheek. "See you at one, across from the station?" he asked. "Watch out for the reporter, don't let him take any photos of you."

"I know the score Alec, I'm not gonna put myself in any more danger. Have a good morning and don't go bossing Ellie around."

"She will be the one trying to boss me love."

Alec went off back to work, something he'd missed and walked through the door just before nine.

"Morning Sir," the desk sergeant greeted him as he signed in.

"I am suppose to remind you I only do four hours, chief's orders. I expect she told you to throw me out if I attempt to do more?"

The desk sergeant gave him a funny look. "Yes Sir, she told me. I have some messages for you already and the chief wants to see you when you've settled back in your old office."

"Is DS Miller back yet?" he asked, looking at the sign-in sheet and thinking he should maybe get his specs out of his pocket.

Just then, Ellie walked in, looking a bit flustered.

"What?" she asked as he looked at the wall clock. "I had trouble settling Fred with my sister and I'm not late, it's only just nine. Geez Hardy, I thought having a girlfriend would put you in a better mood than you used to be. Did she kick you out of bed?"

"Hush Miller, why don't you announce it to the entire station?" he huffed.

The desk sergeant smiled to himself – it was just like old times, those two berating each other before they started work but he was interested in the fact that the hard-ass detective appeared to have gained a girlfriend from somewhere and wondered who the unlucky woman was.

"Still keeping her a secret then?" Ellie huffed back as she signed in and put down the time as 0900 even though now it was two minutes past.

"Seems I do not need to, your nosy nephew was around when we got back yesterday evening. Did you send him?"

What? Why would I do that?' Ellie asked him as he went for the stairs. "Are you supposed to be climbing stairs yet?"

"Stop fussin' Miller, you are worse than my girlfriend and my ex wife put together."

"They'd get on fine then. Did they ever meet?"

"Don't be so daft Miller. I met Rose after I left Tess or she left me, whatever way you want to look at it."

Ellie was amazed he was walking up the steps and talking at the same time.

"I asked Rose but she didn't want to talk much, about how you met."

"Can you blame her?" he asked as they reached the first floor.

He reached his office, everyone looking at him. Surely they had been told he was back or were they staring at them both walking in together after those ridiculous rumours? He went to make himself a drink and looked at the folders on his desk, thinking maybe this had been a mistake. He didn't need to stay being a detective, he could do anything he wanted now. That though would be down to Rose and what happened at Torchwood.

Pete had got someone to take Tony to school, he wanted to be early that morning, before Yvonne had chance to do anything but she was one step ahead of him. He'd seen her car in the garage and called Jake.

"Get Mickey and meet me in my office," Pete had told him.

"Is this about Yvonne arriving early?" Jake asked, getting ready to leave. "Hold on a second."

Jake looked at something that had been flagged on his monitor.

"Someone's been accessing files from your old security company Pete."

"Yvonne must have wanted some information, probably about that night. How did they get in without you knowing?"

"They must have done it after I left, I'm putting a lock on it even if it might be a bit too late. Sorry Pete. I should have thought about it."

"Yeah, we all should Jake, don't go blaming yourself. Do you know what they accessed?"

"I'll check before I come and join you. Have you heard from Rose?"

"She's fine and she knows."

"Might have guessed. She's okay with it?"

"Yeah, she seems to be. Did you and Mickey have a bet?"

"Us?" Jake laughed. "I'll just find out what's been looked at then. Do you know who else came in early this morning?"

"Do I want to know?" Pete asked him, getting into the lift.

Mickey was interrupted by his phone buzzing while sitting with Martha having an early morning cup of coffee.

"So, are we seeing each other again?" Martha was asking him.

"I'd like that Martha. Just as long as you're not going to report it to Yvonne."

"I wouldn't do that Mickey but I'm still not sure about joining your side. Would it help if I stayed neutral?"

"I have to get this Martha, can we meet later? Hi Jake, why are you calling so early?"

"Did I interrupt something then?"

"Yeah but I'm not telling you what."

"I don't want to know. Meet us in Pete's office and Mickey, don't talk to anyone."

"On my way. What's the rush?"

"You'll find out. Something's been going on over the weekend or Friday after we left."

"Trouble?" Martha asked as Mickey got up.

"What? No, nothing to worry about. I'll see you later?"

"I don't know Mickey, maybe we need to think about this?"

"Whatever you want Martha, I have to go."

Pete was wondering why the board members had all arrived early but maybe Yvonne was finally making her move, trying to keep it quiet. He knew he couldn't possibly call them and ask if Yvonne had called a meeting but maybe Ian would be forthcoming. Ian though had already left his office and didn't want to admit anything when Pete called him.

Just as Mickey got there, Pete was just ending the conversation.

"Come on Ian, I thought you would help me out? Has Yvonne called a meeting?"

"You know I can't comment on that Pete. If there was a meeting, you would have been notified."

"Not if Yvonne wanted me kept away from it. Just do one thing for me, whatever Yvonne comes out with, think about how things used to be, before I took over then think to the future, with Yvonne in charge."

"Sounds serious Pete?" Mickey asked as he sat opposite.

"Yvonne's going to make her move, I can feel something's not right. Ian just denied it but I'm sure she's called a meeting of the board."

"She can't get a majority Pete, one member's still away."

"No, Jake said he arrived first thing but she can, if she wants to, cast a vote for me, under certain circumstances such as if my directorship comes under question."

"How has she done all this so fast?"

"I don't know Mickey but I think she's been planning this for a long time before she joined Torchwood. Jake said someone's been in the files about the security company I used that night."

"Did they find anything?"

"Jake was checking but whatever they got, it's not looking good for us."

The board members were all sat waiting for Yvonne, who was gathering all her evidence to present. She'd had all her inner circle at work early but the board were getting impatient.

"Why have we been called early, does anyone know?" Julian asked.

"It must have been important, I got a message and she knows I'm on leave. She wouldn't have done that otherwise," the new father told them.

"You've missed a few things while you've been away, she called a meeting last week," Ian told him. "She even called Rose into question."

"She's really confident then?"

He was about to get his answer as Yvonne walked in. Twenty minutes later, after presenting her case, Yvonne sat down.

"You present a very strong case Yvonne," Ian told her. "You know we can't choose whose side we're on?"

"I'm aware of that and I'm not asking for you to choose sides but you have a decision to make. Can you really leave Pete in charge when he and Rose are covering something up?" Yvonne pleaded.

"Let me get this right, you claim that's Rose in those videos and photos which means she knew him before she claims to have found his wife in a nursing home? Just because she was there doesn't mean she knew him," another board member stated. "Did you find out who that man was who was with her?"

"I believe it's Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, the one who solved that boy's murder last year. His story is he was in Norway at the time but I don't believe it."

"There are rumours you believe it was your cousin," Ian told her.

"What would my cousin be posing as a waiter for? I think Alec Hardy was under cover, spying for the original Torchwood to see if Pete was on Lumic's side."

"Why would the original Torchwood send a detective?" she was asked.

"I found out there was a lot of arguments going on, just like now and sides were being taken. Don't forget, Torchwood was very hush-hush back then and Lumic didn't come to us."

"Pete wasn't even with us then as far as we were told," Ian argued.

"His company was bought up by Cybus Industries. I think somehow, Torchwood employed Hardy to find out the truth," Yvonne replied.

"This is pure speculation Yvonne," someone objected. "Can we get back to the matter in hand? Perhaps you could retire while we vote on terminating Pete Tyler as the director?"

"As deputy, I'm entitled to stay and in his absence have the casting vote should a majority not be reached," Yvonne informed them. "I did read up about it before I came here."

"I've no doubt you did Yvonne," Ian sighed. "Very well, those in favour of Pete Tyler being made to stand down, make it known."

Yvonne looked around as all but one of them raised their hands, making it a majority and everyone looked at him.

"I need further proof, that Pete's covering something up."

"It doesn't matter, you're in a minority," Yvonne smiled.

"That may be but you forgot one small detail Yvonne, the board still has to appoint a new director."

"I'm the deputy, that role falls to me and I do have proof. I think Rose was there that night, maybe not with Hardy but because Pete Tyler resembled her deceased father and when she saw Jackie Tyler running off and screaming, decided that she would find her to integrate herself into the Tyler household."

"You have proof?" she was asked.

"I don't need it, she's part of the Tyler family now, it worked and furthermore, I think she did it for a reason. To cover up the fact she herself doesn't belong here and Pete knows about it."

"When you say she doesn't belong here, you mean she's not of this world?" Ian asked.

"Exactly, what better way to cover it up than find someone from Torchwood to do it for you?"

"Yes but back then, Torchwood didn't deal with aliens like we do now," Yvonne as informed.

"Yes and if she did her research afterwards she would have found Mrs Tyler and waited until Pete got established, then made her move."

"Then where did she come from?" someone asked.

"The question is, when she found Jackie Tyler, why did Pete go along with it? He could have thanked her and sent her on her way. No, there's more to it and now, Pete's getting worried I've found out and has sent Rose into hiding."
Chapter 27
Pete was pacing his office, knowing something was about to happen so when his office phone rang, he knew the time had come. Ian had been voted to break the news.

"Pete, we need to see you in the boardroom right away."

"You said there was no board meeting Ian, so why am I being called there?" Pete asked angrily.

So the board had turned?

"Sorry Pete, it wasn't my idea, Yvonne was most insistent you were not invited."

"So, she made her move then made you call me to tell me?"

"If you come and meet with us, you'll have a chance to speak for yourself, we have some questions for you."

"So, she got her way? Have I been voted out?"

"In theory but you have the right to defend yourself. We got a majority vote but since one member abstained, the others decided it made sense to hear your side."

"I'll be with you shortly then but I insist Yvonne is barred from the meeting."

"Sorry, that's not possible, it was all I could do to let you have your say, they took some persuading."

Ian went back into the boardroom. "He's on his way."

"I don't know why you want to hear his side," Yvonne complained.

"Actually Yvonne," Julian informed her, "there is precedence for a director who has been voted out to make a plea."

"I must have missed that then," Yvonne replied sarcastically.

Pete just had time for a quick call to Jake.

"Jake, our worst fears are about to be realised. I'm on my way to the boardroom."

"Understood Pete, I'll tell Mickey and we'll put our emergency plan into play."

Back in the boardroom, Yvonne was making it clear that the job of director should automatically go to her.

"Yes, we know that Yvonne," Simon told her. "We should hear what Pete has to say and if we're not completely satisfied, then the vote has been taken and will be implemented. Then the board will appoint you as director."

"Such formalities Simon," Yvonne sneered. "Do what's best for the organization, relieve Pete of the role of director because he can't be trusted."

"You may have presented your case for his removal thoroughly Yvonne but some of it may be explained," Lee told her.

"What's to explain?" Yvonne huffed.

"There may be a reason, if indeed that was Rose at his house that night, I'd like to hear his side."

"I thought you voted him out? Having second thoughts?" Yvonne laughed.

"No but he was the one who got Torchwood started again, we should hear him out."

Yvonne thought she should have known most of the board members were spineless. Everyone looked up when the door opened and Pete stood there.

"So, it's come to this has it?" Pete asked defiantly.

He knew if it wasn't for the fact both Rose and Jackie were in danger of being exposed, he'd just give up and let then get on with it.

"Sit down Pete," Ian invited him. "Yvonne has made a good case for you being removed so I need to ask you some questions."

"Well, go ahead, I've nothing to hide, unlike Yvonne."

"What are you talking about?" Yvonne asked indignantly.

"We're not here about Yvonne," Simon reminded him. "Tell us what really happened at your place that night. Was that Rose or not that Yvonne claims was there?"

Down in the security office, Jake was putting the emergency plan into action. His job was to call two people who would testify they saw Rose that night searching for her mother more or less at the same time she was meant to have been at the party. Not much was known about that night, not in the sense of when the Cybermen had been let loose and herded most of the population of the city to their doom and as far as anyone knew, the attacks on the mansion had taken place afterwards. There was no-one to argue with that, since it had been utter chaos that night.

Pete was doing his best to remain in control.

"How do you expect me to remember who my wife used as catering staff that night, you know how long ago it was?"

"Very convenient," Yvonne quipped.

"If you don't mind Yvonne, I'll ask the questions," Simon chastised her. "So, your wife made all the arrangements that night? Who was responsible for the security arrangements?"

"Really? You saw the video, the Cybermen didn't enter through the front door, they smashed their way in, alarms wouldn't have stopped them. Lumic sent them to assassinate the president and anyone else who was standing in his way," Pete replied.

"Including you?" Yvonne interrupted.

Simon frowned at her again.

"My views on Lumic are not relevant. He'd bought my company at the time, had I known what it was leading to, I would have prevented it but all the big companies were being taken over, he would have got it one way or another. Where is this leading and why have you already made your minds up to remove me?" Pete wanted to know.

"Why don't you just admit it Pete?" Yvonne asked, getting tired of all this. "Admit Rose was there that night, with that police detective, Hardy. He was sent to find out what was going on, by Torchwood."

"What? You thought it was your cousin Yvonne," Ian asked her.

"I told you it wasn't my cousin, keep up Ian. Admit it Pete, Rose is one of those, not from this world."

All the others including Pete looked at her.

"That's a serious charge Yvonne," Julian told her. "I hope you have proof?"

"Ask Pete, he's been covering it up all this time though why did it take three years for you to bring her to work for Torchwood? Establishing a cover story were you? Oh, I forgot, yes, you were."

"Can you explain it Pete?" Simon asked him.

Without getting deeper into this, Pete had no easy answer. Simon continued.

"Yvonne, since you're so confident about all this, we are appointing you the temporary director of Torchwood, pending a full enquiry to which you Pete will fully co-operate. Yvonne, consider yourself the temporary director and I mean only temporary until this is all resolved. I am not prepared to fully believe all this but it does need looking into and I want an independent overseer."

"Well it won't be Owen Harper, that's for sure," Yvonne stated. "He tried to get Rose out of her last interview. Very well, appoint someone if you must but it won't alter the facts. I want Rose to submit herself to appear in front of the enquiry."

"No, she's off limits Yvonne," Pete warned her. "Anything you want to know comes from me."

"Why should we believe you when you've covered her past up?" Yvonne asked him.

"You've no proof yet," Ian reminded her. "I agree with Pete, he should answer your questions first and the board will appoint a member to sit in on the enquiry, which will be held on Thursday. We will also find someone else to conduct it, you of course will be able to ask all the questions you want. Pete, if the enquiry is not satisfied, we will have to ask Rose herself to appear."

"Only if she really has to," Pete answered him.

The meeting broke up and Pete went to clear his office, saying he would be working from home since there was no real point in him being there.

"I expect to take over your office after lunch," Yvonne gloated.

"You've not won yet Yvonne, don't get too comfortable," Pete told her.

"Don't be too sure of that. You should have told me where you're hiding her."

"I am not or ever was hiding Rose. Where she is does not concern anyone here, she's just taking some time off."

"As I said, very conveniently. Don't let me keep you from clearing your office."

Pete sent a message to Jake to meet him and to bring Mickey, since there were only a few hours in which they could make a start getting rid of Yvonne for good.

"It's all my fault," Pete admitted when Jake and Mickey arrived and he was putting his personal belongings in a storage box his secretary had brought in.

"How could you have known what she was capable of?" Jake asked him.

"Yeah, don't go blaming yourself Pete," Mickey agreed. "You're not thinking of bringing Rose back are you?"

"No, of course not. That would be playing right into Yvonne's hands. How did you get on with what I asked Jake?"

"It's all in place, no worries. Just tell Yvonne that we anticipated her move and I decided to look more into what happened that night. We already know certain facts and established that she went to report her mother as missing."

"Will that stand up to close scrutiny?" Pete asked him.

"I hope so, Yvonne's clever. I've not been able to find anything else out about her cousin though. He worked at the city university, as a lecturer on physics, he was well respected and one of the youngest to get a doctorate. I managed to find a few photos of him and he could be Alec's and the Doctor's double."

"Is there nothing we can do to throw Yvonne of Alec's scent?" Pete asked him.

"I'm trying Pete, honest I am but now Yvonne's got it in her head he was a spy for Torchwood, I don't think she'll be easily fooled."

Pete sat down. "I have to call Alec and warn him they might have to leave town."

"If Yvonne looks for him, she'll know he's been warned," Mickey told him.

"Mickey's right Pete, they should stay where they are for now. She's no idea Rose is with him," Jake agreed.

"Yvonne thinks they were both together that night, so she'll soon catch on that's where Rose is. No, they have to get out of there or Rose does."

"She won't leave Alec that easily," Jake told him.

"Does she know who he is yet?" Mickey asked.

"Yeah, she found out last night. I'd better call him and warn him they may have to move," Pete replied, getting his phone out.

"She won't dare go after Alec, he doesn't answer to Yvonne and she's no proof he was there that night, not yet and she won't get any. Pete, your last act as director should be you strictly forbid anyone from Torchwood, including Yvonne from going after him and Rose. You should implement the third emergency act," Jake told him seriously.

"What's that?" Mickey asked, since no-one had bothered to tell him. "You were deputy director before Yvonne so explain it to me."

"Simply put it means that under special circumstances, anyone who is suspected as being alien, including humans from other parallel universes who never declared themselves can be exempt from any prosecution and imprisonment for failing to do so but there's one snag," Jake tried to explain.

"You don't have to remind me of that," Pete replied. "It means Mickey that in order to do that, the director has to admit responsibility and may themselves be subject to prosecution. It was made as a sort of failsafe but when I first introduced it, the then board members wouldn't accept it, with all the policies being new and off-worlders were coming here in droves to declare themselves."

"So it's you or Rose then?" Mickey asked.

"I'm afraid so. Not much of a decision, is it? Let's just see what happens. Jake, contact Gwen in Cardiff, now's the time to remind her she owes me for her transfer."

"What do you want her to do?" Jake asked.

"If there's going to be a takeover, I want Torchwood Cardiff to declare their independence so if they have to, defy Yvonne's orders so if Rose and Alec have to leave Broadchurch, they have somewhere to go, where she can't touch them."

"Won't Yvonne suspect something?" Jake asked. "Besides, Rose may not be all that happy about hiding in Cardiff, she and Gwen still weren't getting on before Gwen left here. What about Alec, if he's just gone back to work?"

"I've still got my contacts in the police, through Vitex. His job will be held, I'll get him out on medical grounds, that he admits he went back to work too early."

"I'll go get on with it then," Jake grinned. "How do you want me to introduce those people who are willing to say they saw Rose that night?"

"Just have them ready, Yvonne will go digging now, I'm not going to make it difficult for her on that score. Mickey, any luck in turning anyone back to our side?"

"I thought I'd got Martha but she wants to remain neutral," Mickey replied. "I'm not getting that far, sorry."

"Just keep trying, that's all you can do but I want you ready to go to Broadchurch, just in case they need to get out of there fast."

"You got it Pete, just say. I don't think Martha wants to see me out of work again anyway."

"Sorry mate, I know you like her," Jake tried to console him.

Jake and Mickey went off and Pete had to warn Alec, who was having a hard time getting back into things, especially when Ellie kept interrupting him.

"What now Miller?" he'd asked for the third time in two hours. "I know the chief said to share responsibilities but you are taking it way too seriously."

"Geez, you've not changed that much Hardy. If you go quiet in here and look like you're nodding off, it's my duty to make sure that's all you're doing and not having a relapse."

"Well I can assure you I am doing neither, these reports just don't make any sense so why are they even on my desk?"

"The chief probably thought you'd want to ease back into things. They're just reports of what's been going on while you've been off and we've been at the trial."

"Do I really want to know what's been going on? Has anything new come in?"

"A few petty thefts, some disturbances up on the estate, oh and something you might actually find interesting," Ellie grinned, sitting opposite him without being invited.

Alec thought she was taking liberties after they had been solving the Sandbrook case together. Now he wished he'd not bothered making friends with her. The old part of him who'd been Alec Hardy all this time was still very dominant and he was putting on a show for Rose. It wasn't going to be easy to be both Hardy and the Doctor to Rose and no-one else. To everyone around him, he still had to appear to be the grumpy DI the town loved to hate.

"So, what do you find interesting then Miller?" he asked, taking off his rimless specs and putting them on the desk.

"Well, it's a memo that came from regional, about Torchwood."

"What about them? You mean the alien chasers? Why would we get a memo from them?"

"If you give me chance, I'll tell you. Your girlfriend must be mad to take you back."

"Maybe she has more patience than you do Miller? Well?"

"Hang on, I'll go get it."

Alec shook his head and rubbed his beard. If Torchwood were sending memos to regional headquarters, Yvonne was making her move to take over, he doubted Pete would have sent it. His personal phone buzzed and he squinted at the screen thinking maybe he should see about wearing contact lenses and cursing the fact he was having to admit it.

Ellie was still searching for the memo that had been put on her desk so he answered it, getting up to close the door and making sure she saw he was on the phone.

"Pete, I was about to call you. Seems we received a memo from Torchwood, my DS just told me about it."

"Well it wasn't from me Alec," Pete assured him, pouring himself a much needed coffee. "I called to tell you that Yvonne has been made the temporary director, pending an enquiry."

"We expected that Pete. How worried should I be, for Rose?"

"Yvonne may call her back despite me telling her Rose is off limits. Don't worry, things are being put into place but it may take some time, we can't just shove things under Yvonne's nose for her to find fault with why she found out so easily. We have to have everything ready for her to find out on her own but I have to face an enquiry on Thursday, with Yvonne, a board member of their choosing and a independent arbitrator who will make any final decisions."

"Well we half suspected that also," Alec told him, waving Ellie away and pointing for her to leave the memo on his desk. After she did so, he waited for her to close the door again. "What did she have to say about Rose?"

"She came out with what we thought she would, that Rose wasn't from around here and I covered it up. I've no idea how she worked it out but now I come to think about it, she must have another spy, one who knew about that night."

"What? Who would that have been? There were only us three that got out of your house that night."

"As far as we know Alec, what if someone else got out?"

"Yes but if they did, how do they know who me and Rose were? We were under cover as serving staff, Rose never spoke to any of the other staff and I only talked to one. Oh, I asked her a few questions."

"What did you ask and who was it?"

"A woman called Lucy, I never got her other name. She was Spanish or something and maybe my curiosity got the better of me. I asked who the president was."

"Alec, you should have told me," Pete sighed. "Did you ask her anything else? Do you think she got away?"

"She must have done. I asked her when Rose left the kitchen but I never thought she had made anything of it."

"It may have been enough to imply you didn't know who he was and if Yvonne found her though the staffing agency? Anyway, it's too late to worry about that now and besides, Yvonne still thinks you were sent by the old Torchwood or Lumic to spy on me. So, what's the memo about?"

Alec put his specs on and read the short but to the point memo.

"It says Torchwood is under new directorship and the new director expects full co-operation from the police if any aliens are found who have not been registered, including any officers. She does suspect me then?"

"Maybe she's just taking precautions? Anyway, I think you and Rose should be prepared to leave, I've got Mickey ready to come down and help you and Jake's contacting Torchwood Cardiff, I helped one of them get a transfer back and one re-instated so we have two allies there who can easily turn the other team members into standing up to Yvonne's new directives."

"You want us to head for Cardiff? Is that such a good idea?"

"Yes because if Gwen and Tosh agree to help, they can deny you are in the area and the others have never seen Rose. I'm asking them to go independent, I'll back them financially, I'm just waiting for Jake to get back to me but I have to be out of my office by one so I'll be working from home."

"Well I am meeting Rose at one, I will tell her when I get to meet her. How long do you think it will take Yvonne to go after her?"

"Not yet, at least I hope not anyway. I'll get Jake to keep her busy, maybe let her into a few security details. I think she's forgotten about the cannon project for now so I can't keep her busy with that but I'll get the team working on it to let certain things be known. All I can do is keep appealing to the board that Yvonne is power-mad and will become unstoppable unless they stop her first. I think I got through to a few of them, she's only in charge temporarily."

"Do you think you can persuade them, that she's going off the rails?" Alec asked him, more worried about Rose than he was about himself.

"I'm certainly going to try Alec, you just look after Rose, there's nothing else you can do but hopefully it will be at least Thursday before Yvonne makes another move to bring Rose back but can you try and find out if Yvonne sent that memo to every police force or just your area?"

"Aye, I'll get Miller onto it, don't worry, I won't say why. She will think I am doing it just to annoy her," Alec replied, suppressing a grin since Ellie was watching.

"Are you?" Pete laughed.

"Miller thinks I came back to annoy her, I would not want to disappoint her, would I?"

He finished the call then dialled the number of his spare phone he'd left with Rose, who had turned her nose up at it and had wanted to know why she couldn't get a new pre-paid one while they'd been out, to which he'd just told her there was no point since he had one he didn't use.

Rose had been for a walk on the beach and was waiting around to go meet him for lunch.

"Hi Alec, something wrong?" she asked him, sipping her latte and looking at where he used to live, wishing he'd stayed there.

"Just be careful Rose, Yvonne's got her wish, she is in temporary charge of Torchwood, Pete just called me. He did everything he could but the board ruled against him. He has told her you are out of bounds but we doubt she will take any notice. Are you okay love?"

"Just peachy, what do ya think? Did Pete say anything else?"

"About what love?"

"About an emergency protocol."

"What would that be eh?"

"One where he can save me but could put him in prison."

"Would he go that far Rose?"

Rose didn't answer. Would Pete go that far to protect her, even for her mother's sake? Her mother would also be in danger if he did or didn't use the emergency measure, it would come out that she wasn't the original Jackie Tyler so where would it all end?
Chapter 28
"Rose, are you still there love?" Alec asked her worriedly.

"What? Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to scare ya. I don't know Alec, he'd put my mum in danger as well if he did."

"Then he has somewhat of a dilemma then? Let's hope he does not have to implement it? I'm going to leave early, where are you?"

"Looking at your old chalet. You should have stayed there."

"Rose, sweetheart, it was not very big on the inside, there was barely room for my things let alone yours. We should stay where we are but Pete wants us to get out of town."

"Where to? I've only just got here, are you gonna say we broke up again?"

"No love, he meant both of us. He thinks Cardiff is a good place, because he now has two allies there."

"Gwen and Tosh? I suppose he has that advantage since he got them both back there. Shall I wait here for you?"

"Give me half an hour, I will claim it was too much for my first day back. Miller has been staring at me all morning to make sure I don't collapse on her."

Rose had to smile. "She's responsible for you Alec."

"Yes, well she is going too far with it for my liking. Do you know how difficult this is for me, still playing the part of the grumpy detective?"

"Aw, poor babe, maybe you should just give in and be nice to everyone?"

"That would make everyone suspicious of me, even if my girlfriend has just come back to me. I will see you soon and Rose, just be careful who you talk to, I think I may have inadvertently caused Yvonne to get more information."

"How do a mean?" Rose asked, looking around to make sure no-one was taking any notice of her.

"I will tell you when I see you. I love you darlin'."

"I love you too Alec, I wish all this was over."

"It may well be if Pete can now convince the board Yvonne has gone too far, he is laying some traps for her but he says it takes time."

"Yeah, they had to be sure she'd take the bait before putting everything in place I suppose?"

"Well we will just have to wait, she will trip herself up now she has free reign."

Rose turned around from looking at the birds on the river and thought she saw Olly across the road but he was walking away. Had he been watching her? No, he couldn't have been, she'd been facing the river for at least twenty minutes, wondering what it had been like for Alec living there on his own with no-one to care about him.

Why had he chosen to live there if it reminded him of finding the young girl in the river? So many things had been going through her mind that morning, finding out who he really was and why he'd been kept away from her. She would have called Pete but he had enough on his plate with Yvonne going after him, that could wait until this was over but how long would it take?

Jake had finally got to talk to Gwen.

"What do you want Jake? I thought I was through with Torchwood London?"

"Miss me that much Gwen? I take it you are back at work then?"

"I just started back this morning. So is Pete Tyler collecting a debt?"

"What makes you think that?" Jake laughed.

"Come on Jake, I know he didn't get me back here for nothing, he wanted something in return and since I made it clear to Rose I wasn't coming back to his side, what does he want?"

"Is Tosh with you?"

Gwen looked over at the young Japanese woman's work station, Tosh with a pen in her mouth and deep in thought.

"Hang on a minute."

Gwen got up and motioned Tosh to one side by the lift platform they sometimes used to get outside by the fountain. The noise of the water that cascaded down the side would cover any conversation and the other three didn't seem all that bothered. Gwen's transfer had been sudden, her counterpart had been summoned back to London so it was a straight swap as far as anyone was concerned.

"What's wrong Gwen, why are you being so secretive?" Tosh asked her.

"I've got Jake on the phone, you know, head of security."

"Yeah, he got me back in. What does he want?"

Gwen put him on the speaker and he outlined what Pete wanted them to do.

"I knew they'd be a catch for coming back," Gwen complained. "How are we going to talk the others into it?"

"That's down to you two, you both owe Pete big time."

"Tell that to my husband, he had to go back to London to clear the flat and give notice on his job. He just hopes he'll get his old one back."

"Then send me the details where he used to work, he'll get his job back," Jake assured her.

"Trying to bribe me Jake?" Gwen smiled.

"You can let him try Gwen," Tosh told her friend. "It was you who wanted to go to London, it's no-one's fault if it didn't work out for you. What do you want us to do Jake?"

"Pete's prepared to back an independent Torchwood Cardiff, you have to persuade the others that without Pete in charge, things will get very bad. As for those who come through the rift, you'll get extra funding if you keep them from relocating to London, let them integrate themselves in Wales."

"You mean not declare themselves?" Gwen asked.

"No, they declare themselves to you, not to us. Until we get Yvonne out, she can't complain you're sending too many. You heard what she was trying to do Gwen."

"Yeah, I had no choice though, she was stopping my transfer back."

"Well you don't have to come back to our side, just try and make up for it by getting the others on your side, to becoming independent."

"Why do you want us to be independent?" Tosh asked him.

"Because I'm gonna be asking you something else, when the time comes and that depends if you can pull it off. You have until Thursday."

"That doesn't give us much time," Gwen told Jake. "Suzie might go along with it, she doesn't like Yvonne much but I don't know about Ianto, he still misses his girlfriend, when she got turned into a Cyberman in London."

"Yeah, it was funny how he blamed Torchwood then decided to move back here and work for them," Tosh mused.

"Not much point in going on about it Tosh, he'll never tell us," Gwen told her.

"You'd better leave it with us Jake, we'll see what we can do but I can't promise. Why all of a sudden though and what's the rush? Can't you give us a clue?"

"If I have to. It concerns Rose."

"You should have said, I would have refused to even think about it," Gwen informed him.

"You can repay her for getting you that transfer Gwen, how else do you think you got it?" Jake asked her.

"Give her a chance Gwen," Tosh pleaded. "She got me reinstated."

"I'm not asking you to be friends with her again but she and a friend of hers may need some help," Jake revealed, trying not to give too much away.

"Ha, that's a laugh, Rose Tyler needing my help," Gwen giggled.

"It's important or Pete wouldn't be asking for you to pay him back for your transfer," Jake reminded her. "It might not even happen, it depends on what Yvonne does next but even so, your branch could become independent again, like it used to be."

"Just think Gwen," Tosh told her friend. "Being independent and not having to get approval. I could work on that defence system."

"Well I'm glad you're happy about it then," Gwen grinned. "Okay Jake, I'll let you know how we get on but if they say yes, I want to know what's so important we break away for."

"You'll be told and thanks, both of you. Yvonne won't waste any time getting her feet under Pete's desk, trust me. She'll start throwing her weight about and she won't forget you got your job back Tosh or that you Gwen got your transfer but I doubt she'll kick you both out, she's got other things to worry about."

"Such as?" Gwen asked him as Suzie was looking across at them.

"Just leave that to me, I've got more than enough to keep her running around in circles."

"Then why didn't you stop Yvonne taking over then?" Gwen asked him.

"It was all part of the plan, let her think she'd won, why else? I can tell you this much though it goes no further. Rose is at risk along with a friend of hers."

"At risk of what? No, don't tell me? No wonder she was so defensive the other day."

"Defensive of what Gwen?" Tosh asked her.

"I'll tell you later Tosh but I'm right, aren't I Jake?"

"Like I said, keep it quiet. You owe her and Pete."

Up in Pete's office, he was telling Jackie he was on his way home.

"She got you out then?" Jackie asked him.

"Sorry love but it's for the best, now we can really get to work."

"You mean you knew what was going to happen?"

"Of course I did Jackie, we talked about it love. We needed to let her think she'd won and now we can start bringing her down. The only thing is though, she might make another play for Rose so I might have to move her."

"From where Pete? Why won't you tell me where she is?"

"I'll do better than that, pack an overnight bag, we'll go see her tomorrow."

"What about Tony?"

"We can't upset him Jaks, we'll tell him we're just going to see someone. If he talks at school he's been to see his sister, well you know what kids are like in the playground. He'll have told them she's gone off for a few days but if he mentions where it is?"

"Yeah, I get it Pete but I don't like it."

"I know love, I'll get Mickey to come over for the night, that'll cheer him up."

"I didn't want to bother ya but he was asking about Steve."

"Well just tell him that with Rose being away, Steve hasn't bothered to call. He's too young to understand anyway."

"Don't be too sure of that Pete. He was teasing her about Steve being her boyfriend," Jackie laughed.

Pete smiled to himself, his young son was very bright. He was just picking up the box when Yvonne stood in the doorway. He'd not bothered with lunch, he thought he'd get something when he got home.

"Finished?" Yvonne asked him as her secretary stood with two boxes in her hands and Yvonne motioned for her to put them down and go get the rest.

"It's all yours Yvonne and like I said, don't get too comfortable," Pete told her.

He knew in the other world that his office was where their lever room had been and Rose had told him she still didn't feel comfortable being there and staring at the window the Cybermen and Daleks had been sucked into the void through.

"You don't want my old office then?"

"What do you think Yvonne? I promised my wife I would spend more time at home, I can work from there. Who's taking over as deputy?"

"Well it won't be Jake, he's lucky he's keeping his job and so is Mickey, since I can't fire them until I get the job properly. The board made a few stipulations to my taking over."

"I'm glad they had some sense then. Just give my secretary another job."

"Don't worry, I don't hold her responsible, her job is safe as well. I'd say goodbye and good luck but I don't want to appear to be sentimental."

"You were good at your job until I made the mistake of promoting you and recommending you took the deputy director's job from Jake."

"I would have got it eventually, Jake didn't seem sorry to let it go. I'll see you on Thursday and don't think I won't find out where you're hiding Rose."

"You're welcome to try Yvonne, you won't find her."

"Then if she doesn't appear when asked to, we'll all know you're hiding something, which I knew all along. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how she landed that job."

"You got lucky Yvonne, you sent your spies after her but you still have no actual proof. I could say you've been right all along but until you have solid proof, I still deny it publicly."

"The truth will come out Pete and when it does, Torchwood will be all mine and the first thing I will do is order all those who are still at liberty to be rounded up and detained. That will include anyone who has been hiding in plain site and I don't just mean Rose either. You might deny it Pete but it was Rose who was there that night, I found a witness."

"Really? You might want to talk to Jake, he found witnesses as to where Rose was that night."

"Only because you put him up to it. She can't have been in two places at once."

"Then we'll see who the board and the enquiry believe then shall we? You really haven't done all that much research into other events that night Yvonne, have you? You've been fixated on what happened at my place."

"What does that mean?" Yvonne asked him as she began to take the contents of the boxes and place them on the cleared desk.

"Well for one thing, you can't even find out where your cousin was that night, can you?"

"That was low Pete, leave James out of it," Yvonne turned on him. "I'm trying my best to find out what happened to him, I have people working on it. We're not all that lucky our loved ones came back to them three years later. Ask Steve Roberts how his mother felt when her husband, who had been at your house that night didn't come back."

"I didn't know his father that well, I never knew he had a wife and a son, until very recently."

"Well there wasn't only him who didn't go home that night Pete."

"I'm aware of that Yvonne or have you forgotten Rose's mother didn't go home that night?"

Yvonne stopped what she was doing, standing with her hands on her hips.

"Why are you keeping up the pretence Pete? Jackie is her mother, admit it."

"Wouldn't you just love that Yvonne?" Pete laughed. "Speculate all you want, Jackie lost her memory, you'll get nothing out of her."

"So you say, maybe she's just putting on an act so she won't get asked any awkward questions. Do you happen to know Alec Hardy?"

"That detective who you think was your cousin? Not personally, no."

That wasn't really a lie, Pete thought, since Alec was the name the clone Doctor had assumed on his arrival on this world.

"So, you claim it wasn't him who was spying on you that night?"

"As far as I know, we never spoke that night so I wouldn't be able to say if whoever it was, was Scottish or English or anything else. What are you getting at?"

"Oh, maybe the fact you're covering something else. I have a witness to say they both arrived at the same time claiming they were from the catering company but my witness had never worked with them before."

"So, they were new?"

"The man didn't know who the president was, care to explain?"

Pete had to laugh. "Yvonne, there could be a dozen possible explanations to that, the one that comes to mind is maybe he was joking with your witness?"

Yvonne went quiet for a moment. "Or maybe with coming from Scotland or anywhere else, he wouldn't have known who he was? I'm not through with this Pete, you can bet on it."

"Oh, I will Yvonne, don't you worry. You tell Jake how he can contact your witness and he'll tell you where you can contact the two he found for Rose, see what the board makes of it."

"Isn't it time you left? Oh and Jake may be independent and not have to answer to me but don't think you can use him to get any information, if he gives you any, I can have his contract terminated. I know about that little clause you put in, that he can only be fired by a permanent director but I will get that title soon and if he crosses me, he'll be out. Besides, he will be going against company policy, no information to outsiders, since you don't seem to want to remain working in the building and another thing you should know."

"What now Yvonne?" Pete asked wearily.

"I'm having all access to the police and other officials revoked, as soon as I can order it and anyone found giving access will be suitably punished or fired. Don't think Mickey will escape either."

"Is that it? I'll be off then but as for me not working here, I told you, I will be keeping an eye on things from home so don't think about locking me out."

"If you must but you won't have the access you're used to and Jake is still banned from telling you things you're not entitled to know any longer."

"Jake knows the score."

With that Pete tucked the box under his arm and said goodbye to his secretary.

"Don't worry Kate, Yvonne's going to find you another job and I'll be back."

"I hope so Mr Tyler. Will my salary be reduced? Only I have two teenagers who think money grows on trees."

"Don't worry, I'll make up any losses, I'll make sure it's made up if I'm not back by the end of the month."

"Thank you and I'm glad she didn't ask me to stay, you know I stuck by you."

"I know Kate, why don't you finish off and show your replacement the ropes then leave early, I'll let Jake know."

Mickey was in his office, going through some applications that needed processing and wondering how Pete was coping. How had they let Yvonne get so powerful? He'd not had much to do with the Yvonne back in their old world but from what he'd been told by Jackie, she'd come to a sticky end. If he were to be that way inclined, he'd wish it had been her that had disappeared, not her poor cousin.

So when he got a call from Yvonne, it was hardly surprising.

"How are you doing with Rose's job?" Yvonne asked him.

"Fine, I've been doing it since she went away. Want to check up on me?"

"If I wanted to do that, I have my ways," Yvonne retorted.

"Like sending Martha after me?" Mickey asked.

Yvonne wondered where she'd gone wrong on that score. Maybe Martha really hadn't got over her breakup with her ex fiancé after all?

"It's no fault of mine she doesn't like you that much Mickey or did I hear wrong that she turned you down?"

"Fine, was there anything else Yvonne?"

Yvonne thought if she could get away with it she'd have him out as well.

"Yes, don't get any ideas about trying to sneak out information to Pete, you know the consequences?"

Mickey knew full well, he didn't need reminding.

"You've only still got a job because of your contract," Yvonne continued.

Yvonne sat in what had been Pete's chair, thinking that maybe somewhere, in another universe, her counterpart would have already attained such a powerful role. On the other hand, she thought, maybe another version of her had been unlucky enough to have been turned into a Cyberman.

Back in Broadchurch, Alec put the folder he had been looking at on the pile and put his specs away.

"Miller," he called as he picked up his jacket. "I'm off to see the chief then I am leaving for the day."

"Never thought you'd stick to the hours you were told," Ellie told him.

"I know my limits, unlike some people. See you tomorrow."

"If you say so. What's come over you?" Ellie asked as she stood in the doorway. "I thought your girlfriend coming back would make you less sour?"

"Things are not always as they seem Miller. I want you to find out about the memo we got."

"What for?"

"I want to know if we were the only force to get it, find out from the other counties."

"Why would I want to do that?"

"It's important Miller, trust me."

"If you say so. I hope you're not like this with Rose?"

Alec hoped the rest of the office weren't listening, if Miller was going to announce the name of his girlfriend to them, they were going to have to be extra careful from now on.

"You seem to think I'm like this with her?"

"Are you?" Ellie asked, taking the memo back to see who had signed it.

Alec just raised his eyebrows, something he thought should have given Rose a clue who he was.
Chapter 29
Ellie went back to her desk, wondering what he was going on about while Alec went to the chief's office.

"Alec, I had expected you earlier," Elaine told him as he sat opposite.

"Someone placed a large pile of folders on my desk," he replied dryly.

"You weren't expected to go through them all in one morning Alec. Was everything okay?"

"Fine, though fours hours sitting at my desk is not me. Can't I go out if DS Miller comes with me?"

"It may be okay with me but getting her to drive you around may prove difficult. I noticed you'd asked about a car?"

"No need, I rented one when my girlfriend arrived, she's paying for half of it."

"I see then. Well if you can get Ellie to agree, you can follow up on the still open cases. Still no chasing potential suspects though, understood?"

"Yes, I get it, Miller has been fussin' over me all morning, did you tell her not to let me die on her?"

"She may have taken it seriously, I'm sure you've made it clear for her to back off?"

"You could say that. Anything else?"

"Just one thing. Did you see the memo we got from Torchwood? Seems they've had a change of regime."

"What has that got to do with us?"

"The chief constable wants us to be more vigilant, if we suspect there are any aliens living amongst us, that we should co-operate with Torchwood and pass any information onto them. It seems in return, they will more than grateful."

"You mean financially? How do we know if someone has not been registered?"

"He says they are prepared to send us a list of those in each area we can check against."

"So, it's not just our area?" Alec asked, thinking Ellie would be more than annoyed if he found out before she did.

"He never said but why would it be only our area?"

Alec had a feeling he knew why – because Yvonne suspected something. Either she thought Rose was hiding here with him or worse, she suspected he didn't belong here any more than Rose did. He had to warn Tess she might get a phone call about it.

Pete got home and told Jackie they would set off in the morning, see Rose and stay overnight at the nearby pub.

"Why can't we stay with Rose?" Jackie asked him.

"Because she doesn't have the room, she's staying in a caravan."

"What for? Couldn't you put her in decent hotel?"

"Don't be daft love, that's the first place Yvonne would look. I think she's about to guess where Rose is so I'll have to move her."

"How did she find out Pete?"

"Because of who I left her with."

"What do ya mean? Who did you leave her with?"

"You'll find out tomorrow love. Now, how about some lunch eh? I missed out today then I'll go collect Tony and tell him we're going away tomorrow and I'll get Mickey to stay with him."

Yvonne had decided to get to work right away so after she'd sent that memo to the Wessex police as a warning to Alec that she was looking for him, if as she had suspected he was like Rose and not from around here, she called her close supporters for a meeting.

"What have you got for me? Anyone?"

"Sorry Yvonne, I mean Director, nothing new has come in, only what we had for you earlier," one of them told her.

"Have you got the details of that witness?"

"Yes, her name is Lucy Cortez and she still works for the agency. She was the only one to get out that night, that we know of anyway."

"Well now you've found her, you might find some more and find out what happened when the police got there, see if they held any other personal belongings that weren't returned to the families. Pass that name on to Jake and make sure you get details of the witnesses he's supposed to have found to say Rose was elsewhere that night and find them. Well get on with it then."

"Yes Director," they all said at once.

They were all exhausted, they'd worked non-stop to get as far as they had done over the weekend to have it all ready for her that morning and now she'd attained the position she'd wanted, they all knew as soon as it was permanent, she would drop them. They also knew until that happened, they had to do as she wished, they were all under some sort of threat but as they left and waited for the lift, one of the men spoke up.

"Lucky for Gwen she got out of here."

"Yeah, I wonder how she managed that?" the other man replied, pressing the button again and hoping Jake hadn't prevented it from reaching the top floor now Pete was out, he wouldn't put it past the head of security.

"We all know Mick, she used to be friends with Rose, Pete must have wanted something in return for getting Gwen out."

"Well we're all stuck with this," one of the women, Sheila told them. "We all thought Yvonne would reward us for getting her Pete's job."

"Yeah, some reward, my boyfriend almost left me over the weekend," the other woman Linda told them.

Pete had called Mickey and told him he and Jackie were going to pay a visit to Rose.

"So can you come over tomorrow evening and stay with Tony?" Pete asked him.

"Yeah, I'll keep him occupied. What are you telling him?"

"Just we have to go somewhere, we'll leave after I drop him at school, just don't tell him we've gone to see Rose, if he asks."

"I thought you were gonna move her?" Mickey asked.

"I may do, I don't know yet but Alec told me something disturbing. His office got a memo from their headquarters, it was from Yvonne saying she expects their co-operation in surrendering any unregistered aliens."

"So she does suspect him then Pete?"

"What do you think Mickey? Maybe she's just fishing to see what she catches?  Alec's trying to find out if it was just the Wessex police or in general but we already know the answer. She's letting him know she's onto him."

"Well if you move them, Yvonne will know for certain, won't she?" Mickey suggested.

"What else can I do Mickey?" Pete asked him. "I can't let her send someone after them, can I? I have to call Jake, see how he got on persuading Gwen and Tosh that they owe me."

Pete ended the call and got through to Jake, who'd just had a conversation with one of Yvonne's supporters.

"I have that name of the woman who made those claims for you," Jake told him. "I gave the names of those two witnesses for Rose, let's hope they can stand up to Yvonne's scrutiny."

"Good, contact the woman who was serving that night, see what she actually remembers. Alec said she was foreign, maybe Spanish, we can use the fact she didn't understand what he was saying."

"Yeah, that's worth a try, we could suggest he meant something else or someone else. You should ask Rose if she remembers her."

"I'll get Alec to ask her, she might remember something and she's more likely to tell him, they can talk about it."

"Let's hope she can remember then. I spoke to Gwen and Tosh though Tosh was more willing than Gwen was until I pointed out a few things. It's up to them now."

Over in Cardiff, Gwen and Tosh had talked about the phone call.

"I knew it Tosh," Gwen was telling her friend. "I knew there'd be a reason I got my transfer when Yvonne refused. What do you make of the news Yvonne got the director's job?"

"We saw it coming, Suzie doesn't like her so I think we'll be able to talk her into agreeing but Ianto? Then there's Matt."

"Well we know why he's here, he was upset that his friend Gareth asked that girl he liked out before he had chance a while back, he couldn't get out of there fast enough," Gwen reminded her.

"Well, let's go ask them or should we wait until Ianto goes to lunch?"

"Dare we? You know what he's like since Yvonne decided we needed a team leader."

"Well if we agree he stays team leader? I don't want the job, do you?" Tosh asked her as Ianto indicated they'd been by the lift platform for too long.

"What's the secret?" Ianto asked as they returned to their work stations.

"The big changes in London, I just got a call from Jake."

"Why would he be calling you?" Ianto asked her.

Gwen looked at her friend. "Because not everyone's happy Yvonne just got made temporary director, if it wasn't for Jake, I'd have still been in London."

"Yeah and I'd still be out Ianto," Tosh joined in.

"Well what did he want?"

Rose had waited for Alec to join her, finishing her drink and sitting on the wall near the caravan park so she'd see him. He saw her first as he came down the steps of the police station, Rose staring at the ground.

"Hello, waiting for someone?" he grinned as he crossed the road leading to the caravan park.

"Hi, what took you so long?"

He kissed her cheek as she put her arm in his.

"Had to go see the chief first, I almost forgot. I had a call from Pete, he's out."

"Yeah, you said."

"Well, we got a memo from Torchwood, I think Yvonne maybe on to me."

They walked across the road and found a table, Rose picking up the menu.

"Do you think she'll send someone down here or wait until you give yourself away?"

"Pete said she had a witness from that night. Do you remember I mentioned someone called Lucy?"

"Oh yeah, when I didn't believe there was a president. She's still around?" Rose asked as she chose what she wanted.

Alec went off to order and was soon back.

"Seems I made a mistake asking who he was. Yvonne must have called all the agencies."

"Well Pete or Jake can maybe say she misunderstood you?" Rose asked him as their drinks arrived, Rose taking her orange soda. "She wasn't English, if I remember."

"We may be able to use that, I should have been more careful."

"We didn't know we were coming back, did we?" Rose smiled at him, reaching for his hand.

"That is no excuse, I should have seen at least you were coming back."

"You said not everything is fixed, remember?"

"I ignored all the warnings."

"Don't go blaming yourself for this Alec," Rose assured him.

He smiled back at her as their food arrived. He did blame himself for her being here but as usual, he'd done nothing to prevent it. He now wondered what was going to come of this, even if Pete managed to get rid of Yvonne, she'd surely do some damage before she left.

They finished lunch and went back for Alec's car to go get a few groceries but after Alec had left his office, Ellie found out it was only their area who had received the memo, which she thought was rather strange so she called Alec as he and Rose were in the supermarket.

"I already found out Miller," he told her as he let Rose go ahead with the trolley.

"Well thanks for telling me. So what's it all about, why us?"

"Come round to our caravan when you get out, number eight on the first roadway and tell no-one, understand?"

Rose had walked back to him. "You're gonna tell Ellie?"

"She will start to ask questions, you can trust her, after what she has been through."

"If you think so. Maybe it would be better to have her on our side but Pete won't like someone else knowing."

"We'll tell her what we have to love, you worry too much. We will just tell her Yvonne has it in for you, no need to mention about me."

"Well okay, we won't tell him just yet but what about Ellie's nephew? I thought I saw him earlier, I don't know if he was watching me or not."

"I warned him to stay away from you. Was that while you were waiting for me?"

"Yeah but I was facing the river for a good while. I'd have loved to have stayed in that chalet you used to have."

"Rose, when this is all over, I will rent any place you want."

"Including the blue chalet?"

"If that is what you really want love. Now, we should finish here and get back."

Ellie got finished at the station and made her way across to the caravan she'd been told Alec was staying in. Rose saw her passing the window as Alec was making a drink.

"She's here Alec, I'll let her in," Rose told him. "Come in Ellie," she greeted Alec's DS.

"Hello Rose, what's all this about?"

"Alec will explain, have a seat."

"Miller, Rose and I did not meet in Sandbrook," Alec started, bringing two drinks over.

"I don't need to know where you two met, what does this have to do with that memo from Torchwood?" Ellie wanted to know as he brought milk and sugar over.

"Well it was more interesting than that. Heard of Pete Tyler?"

"Of Vitex? Tom used to drink nothing else until his dad stopped him. Didn't he adopt the woman who found his wife?"

Rose did a little wave. "Yeah, that would be me, hello!"

"Oh, you're that Rose? You could have said something Hardy."

"I couldn't. The reason we got that memo is because Torchwood thinks Rose isn't who she or Pete Tyler claims she is. The new director has a personal vendetta against Pete Tyler and she's going after Rose. That's why Rose is here, she's sort of hiding."

"You seem to be good at hiding people, first Claire and now Rose. So why exactly has the new Torchwood director got it in for you?" she asked Rose.

"Who's Claire?" Rose wanted to know.

"The witness I was looking after in the Sandbrook case, she's locked up now," Alec tried to explain. "Back to the point Rose."

"Sorry, don't mind me. She thinks I had something to do with her cousin disappearing the night the Cybermen invaded."

"Did you?" Ellie asked, Alec raising his eyebrows at her.

"No, I was trying to find my mum but she's gone crazy so Pete sent me down here out of the way until it's all sorted."

"So by sending that memo, she's letting you know she's on to you?"

"We think so Miller," Alec told her.

"So what's all this about handing over visitors then?"

"Work it out Miller."

Ellie put her mug down and turned to Rose. "She thinks you're one of them?"

Rose nodded, since she'd not actually accused her of being one yet.

"You are kidding? Don't you have proof where you were that night? We were lucky down here, they never got as far as Dorset, thanks to those who stopped them. Why does she think you don't belong here?"

"I don't know Ellie but you can see why Pete wants me out of her way?"

"So what are you telling me for?"

"Because if anyone asks, you've not seen her," Alec replied.

"What? Most of the town will have seen her by now."

"Only that she's with me, the new director won't send anyone to ask around the town, not yet anyway. If things get too bad, we will leave town."

"Both of you?" Ellie asked. "Why is she with you then? Did you know each other before?"

"I knew Pete, I owed him for helping me."

He saw no sense in revealing Yvonne was also after him but Rose was looking at him.

"She may go after Alec, for helping me," Rose told Ellie.

"So that's what was meant about officers? She's telling you she knows you're helping Rose? What's being done about it? I mean it's not true is it?"

"All you need to know is the new director thinks so. Can we rely on you not to admit you've seen Rose, if you are asked?"

"You're asking a lot Hardy but I'll do it, for Rose."

"Thanks Ellie and any time you need a babysitter for Fred, let me know."

"Well maybe when all this is over, he's being looked after by my sister and I have to go pick him and Tom up."

"Thanks Miller. We don't want you getting into trouble over it, if it gets to that, when it's over, Pete will get you your job back and he'll make sure you don't lose out financially."

When Ellie had left, Alec went to put his arm around Rose.

"Pete has to know we let her in on some of it, I don't want her to be out if Yvonne takes action."

"Yeah, you'd best call him then. Do ya think we'll really have to go to Cardiff? I mean it was fun until that earthquake."

"I am sure that nothing like it has happened in this world love."

"No, there were no Slitheen here," Rose smiled, leaning on his shoulder.

Before Jake left for the day, Gwen got back to him.

"Jake, we're all in though Ianto took some persuasion. Pete had better back us, Ianto's calling Yvonne, she won't be happy."

"That's great news Gwen, we don't want her to be happy. What's he gonna tell her?"

"He said he'd tell her we can't go along with her regime, that we're going independent. She can't fire us can she?"

"No, she's not bothered, you'll be out of the way as far as she's concerned though she may blame you for it."

"I can live with that," Gwen laughed. "Did you get my husband his old job back?"

"First thing in the morning Gwen, I promise."

Yvonne was not pleased when she receive a phone call from the Cardiff branch and told Ianto as much.

"I suppose Pete put you up to this?" Yvonne asked him.

"We've been discussing it and we all feel we can't go along with your ideas," Ianto bravely told her.

"Don't tell me, Gwen put you up to it then? I knew I shouldn't have trusted her. Very well, you are no longer recognized as a branch of Torchwood and all ties will be severed. You will no longer have full access to any information and all access will be withdrawn shortly."

Ianto didn't bother telling her all the information they needed was already stored on their own server, something he'd thought to do when he'd taken the job.

Back at the Tyler residence, Pete had called Mickey to make sure he was still coming round the following evening to keep Tony company.

"Yeah, I said I would, since Martha won't see me again. I thought she liked me."

"Sorry Mickey, I know you did but maybe she'll feel differently when all this is over eh? If she feels she was used by Yvonne, you can't really blame her for backing off, just give her a bit of time."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right," Mickey had to admit. "Have you heard the latest from Yvonne? She's revoking all outside access including to the police."

"I know, that means Alec won't be able to find out anything, I've only got limited access as well so let's hope he doesn't need it. She's also sent a warning to him."

"In what way?" Mickey asked.

"Just a subtle way of telling him she's onto him and she suspects Rose is hiding down there. Don't worry, she's just fishing."

Pete just hoped he was right as he joined Tony and Jackie, who was trying to tell him they had to go somewhere tomorrow. Tony wasn't being fooled.

"Are you going to see Rose?" he was asking her.

"Tony, Rose is getting ready to do some important work," Pete tried to explain to him. "She doesn't need any interruptions from us. Don't worry, she'll be back soon. Mickey will come over when you get out of school tomorrow."

"What about Jake?" Tony asked.

"Jake's very busy but I'll ask him to call in and see you, okay?"

Down in Broadchurch, Alec had decided to take Rose out for few hours, getting something to eat in the camp bar after getting a message from Pete to say he should try and cheer her up and that he was bringing her mother for a visit but that left him wondering if Jackie would realise who he really was. Would she be glad to see him or slap him back to the other universe?
Chapter 30
Before they had gone out, Alec had called Tess to warn her that Yvonne may be asking questions.

"Sorry Tess, I was hoping to keep you out of all this," he apologized.

"We knew it was bound to happen Alec, if she calls, I know what to say but how come we've not had such a memo from Torchwood?"

"She's sending a message that she knows I am hiding Rose with me but there is no proof at the moment. No doubt she had people working on getting her the proof. Whatever you do, don't let her talk to Daisy."

"I won't but why would she want to talk to Daisy?"

"We don't know how far she will go to get what she wants," Alec told her.

"I thought she'd got what she wanted? What's Pete Tyler doing about it?" Tess asked him.

"Everything he can behind the scenes, he is having to rely on his closest friends inside the organization. They are all working hard to resolve this and bring Yvonne down but they could not do much until she took over. Now they can really start casting doubt on her motives."

Tess suitably warned, he turned his attention to Rose, who had been to get changed to go out.

"Tess has been warned love, she won't say anything and I had a message from Pete. I told him we'd had to tell Miller some of it."

"Let's just forget about it for tonight, I'm hungry but we can make something?"

"No, we will go out, Pete said to cheer you up."

He'd told Pete he wouldn't say anything about her mother coming for a visit until the morning, just in case something came up and they had to cancel. Rose didn't need to get upset if her mother didn't arrive but at least they could act normally in the caravan. When they got back from the club and a walk on the east pier, which was all lit up with white string lights and Rose once again looking at the white cottage on the cliff, he decided once this was all over, he'd see about either renting that or his old chalet.

They got to bed and Rose clung hold of him.

"Let's just get some sleep eh love?" Alec asked as she made no effort to do anything else.

"What? Just because Yvonne's onto us doesn't mean we have to stop everything."

"I know but I thought maybe we could talk?"

"About what you did when I came here?"

"If you want and I have some apologizing to do."

"For what?" Rose asked him, reaching for a kiss.

"Lots of things, Martha for one."

"Did I tell ya Mickey likes her?"

"I think you mentioned it love. I met her after I stopped drifting around feeling sorry for myself that I'd let you go like that, I don't know exactly how long it was in your time but when I snapped out of it, I got back as close to when you'd left as I could."

"So how did ya meet her then?"

"In a hospital, there was something going on and I got myself admitted to find out. She fancied me," he sniffed, a grin on his face.

"Well who can blame her?" Rose giggled.

"I thought you'd be jealous?" he asked, half disappointed she was taking it so well.

"That wasn't technically you, was it? Besides, you're here with me now."

"Aye, I am love," he agreed, kissing her forehead.

"So, where did you take her?"

"To meet Shakespeare and I took her back to New Earth."

"Whatcha do that for?" Rose asked him, snuggling onto his shoulder and it taking all he had not to lift up the thin nightdress she'd decided to wear.

"I found out who the face of Boe was."

"You did? When you say was?"

"He gave his life to save everyone from a disaster, well those who had survived the first one. It turned out it was Jack."

"Seriously? How could it be him, I mean I know he had that vortex manipulator but still?"

"Remember when you absorbed the time vortex to save me?"

"Vaguely, I don't remember much except I made you change."

"Well it seemed Jack was shot by the Daleks and you brought him back to life, permanently."

"Oh, did I, really? So how come he died saving the people on New Earth?"

"Rose, it was in the future, he just died of old age. He had no regeneration unlike I had."

"I suppose it was inevitable then? Did you see the Daleks again?"

"In the 1930's, four of them survived and were trying to send a message for reinforcements. Then again, when the stars were going out but I wiped them out, that's why he didn't want me with him."

"The other you? Why not? It's not like they're gone for good, they never are so I'd say how could you have wiped them out?"

"Only their leader, Davros possibly escaped along with Dalek Caan."

"Then you can't have wiped them out then, can you? Besides, there's only one way of really wiping them out."

"What would that be love?" he asked, moving the strap out of the way so he could kiss her shoulder.

"To go back and stop them being created in the first place."

"I tried once, it did not end the way I intended. That is an entirely different story and one I don't want to think about. Are you tired?"

"No, are you?" Rose asked, reaching for the waistband of his shorts.

While they had been talking, Martha had been on her own, thinking about Mickey. He'd not stayed overnight when he'd last taken her out but they had done some kissing which she had thought he was rather good at considering he'd split up with Rose quite a while ago but now, she wasn't sure it was such a good idea and she wondered if she was really over Tom Milligan.

While she'd been working at UNIT, she'd got him a job there and regretted it as he was still always volunteering to go off somewhere when he was needed. So she had taken the job at Torchwood despite her mother objecting that she shouldn't have anything to do with them after what had happened to her cousin, Adeola, who everyone had said they could have been twins.

After breakfast the next morning, Pete took Tony to school and said he would see him the next day.

"You be good for your nanny and Mickey, won't you?" Pete had asked him.

"Will you bring me a present back?" Tony asked him.

"Sure, another car or a boat?"

"A boat, Steve got me a car. Will he come to see us again?"

"I don't know son, that depends on your sister," Pete replied as honestly as he could.

"He was asking a lot of questions Dad."

"I know Tony, he won't be if he does come round again. Now don't be late for school eh? Your nanny will collect you then Mickey will come and play with you."

Jackie was finishing packing for their overnight stay, wherever that was and wished Pete had given her some clues. Before he went back to collect Jackie, Pete sent a text to Alec, who was about to set off for work, when Rose would let him go.

"I have to go love," he told her as his message tone beeped on his personal phone.

He looked at it and saw Pete was about to collect Jackie then they were setting off and knowing how Jackie liked to make stops, said they'd be in Broadchurch some time after twelve.

"Was that Pete?" Rose asked him, trying to look.

"Yes and he has a surprise for you, that should cheer you up. He's coming for a visit and bringing your mother."

"Oh, well yeah, that's a big surprise. I mean I didn't think he'd bring her down."

"Well he probably figured you needed to see her eh? Meet me across from the station with them."

"Will it be okay, for them to be seen here?"

"Should be safe enough, Pete will have thought about it love. I really have to go now, I don't want Miller getting in before me, do I?"

"Do you two have a contest to see who gets in first or something?" Rose grinned.

"It almost became that yesterday morning, it kept the desk sergeant amused if nothing else."

"Does my mum know he's bringing her?"

"I expect so but he may delay telling her where they are heading for, until they are almost here. He said something about she likes to talk to the kitchen staff."

They kissed goodbye and Alec set off with just five minutes to spare but it didn't take five minutes to cut through to the road and into the station but he saw Ellie coming from the car park behind the building and got to the door at the same time. Alec thought it was just his luck, everyone would think they had done it on purpose.

When they got upstairs, Ellie pulled him to one side.

"The chief told me to take you out, if you wanted to go anywhere. What's that about?"

"What does it sound like? I can't sit at a desk all morning Miller."

"Get someone else to take you out, Pete or Frank."

"You are supposed to be responsible for me, remember?" he reminded her as he tried to get away, having seen some of the staff glancing their way. "Are you finished? You are doing nothing to dispel those rumours about us, I don't want my girlfriend asking me any awkward questions."

"Don't worry, she didn't seem too bothered when I mentioned someone else. Did you not tell her?"

"No, there was no need until you brought it up," Alec complained.

Pete and Jackie were heading across London towards the motorway, Jackie glancing at the buildings and signs.

"So, where is she Pete? Who am I gonna tell?"

Pete thought she did have a point now they had left but what about when they got back?

"Okay love, you still have to be careful when you get back though. She's in that seaside town that was in the news last year."

"You mean Broadchurch? What were you thinking of Pete, that detective's down there, or he was. Wasn't he ill?"

"He's fine now, don't worry."

"You mean he's the one who's looking after her? Are you mad Pete?"

"Who better to watch out for her?"

"What about Yvonne, he's in the police. Won't she be watching places like that?"

"I told you Jackie, I might have to move her if Yvonne starts getting too close to guessing. Jake and Mickey will keep me informed if they think Yvonne's close to finding out."

"Well I hope so."

Pete was glad Jackie had decided to remain quiet for the rest of the journey and as they stopped about an hour away, he sent a message to Alec to say where they were. Alec took the time to let Rose know.

"I've just be tidying up, I hope she doesn't ask to see the bedrooms."

"Worried she will find out we share?" Alec smiled, looking across to Ellie, who was trying to ignore him.

Ellie was just wondering why no-one had said anything to her since they had both come back when Frank got up and walked over.

"What's with him since he came back Ellie?"

"What do you mean Frank?"

"Never known him to actually smile while he's on the phone."

"He's got a new girlfriend and no, those accusations were not true," Ellie replied before he even asked.

"Never said they were. So who is she then?"

"How do I know? He's hardly likely to tell me, is he?"

Rose was just answering Alec's question.

"Well she's bound to ask if there's anything between us. Did Pete say if we should let on who you are?"

"Your mother will know Rose, trust me, we won't have to tell her."

"You might get away with it, she might think you are actually a Scottish detective."

"Well we can only hope then that I do get away with it, maybe it will be better if she does not find out?"

It was just around twelve as Pete drove along the harbour to the caravan site and turned in, Jackie looking at the harbour.

"Tony would like it down here with all those boats Pete."

"Yeah, I know. Wait until we get inside the caravan before you make a fuss over her yeah?"

"I know what to do Pete, I've been pretending she's not my daughter for long enough," she told him as he parked opposite.

Rose was looking out of the window and went to open the door. Jackie was out of the car before Pete, him thinking his warning had fallen on deaf ears.

"Rose! How have you been?" her mother asked, keeping her distance.

"I'm fine. Alec only told me this morning that you were coming down. Come inside then you can meet him for lunch, he finishes at one."

"Well I want to make sure he's looking after you Rose, I may not be your real mother but I'll still tell him if he's not."

"I'm sure you will Jackie. Had a good journey?"

Once they were inside, Rose pulled the front curtain across and gave her mother a hug.

"I missed you sweetheart, it was almost as bad as when I didn't know where you and the Doctor were."

"I'm sorry Mum but you're here. Where are you staying? You've not come for just the day have you?"

"I booked a room across at the pub," Pete replied. "We'll all have dinner there tonight. So, has Alec been looking after you?"

"Yeah, he's taking it all very seriously," Rose smiled, boiling the kettle again.

"Not too well I hope?" her mother asked. "Tell me you've not got involved with him sweetheart."

"I'm pretending to be his girlfriend, we have to make it look good."

"What about Steve then?"

"I told ya, I was only thinking about it. Alec told everyone we'd split up but then got back together while he was away last week. It's working so far. We have to seem convincing, we don't want anyone asking questions."

"You knew about his little plan Pete?"

"Of course I did Jackie, it was the best way of protecting her. He could hardly do that if she was fighting him and they argued all the time."

"Where's your bathroom Rose?" her mother asked her.

"I told you to visit the ladies room when we left the last stop Jackie," Pete laughed.

When Rose had shown her where it was, she sat beside Pete, who put his arm around her shoulder.

"How are you holding up love?" he asked her.

 "Okay, considering. Are we gonna tell her about him?"

"Best not, unless she guesses. I have Jake and Mickey working on this and I have my say on Thursday."

"Who do ya think they'll get to sit in on the enquiry?"

"Alec told you about it? Someone neutral but it won't be Owen, well at least I don't think so. I'll do my best to talk the board into seeing they made a mistake, you know that? Did Alec ask you about that serving girl from that night?"

"Yeah but I never talked to her."

"Seems he said too much eh?" Pete smiled as they heard the bathroom door open.

"Rose, which is your room sweetheart?" her mother called out.

Rose quickly got up before her mother started opening any doors.

"The double one, why? Really Mum, does it matter?"

"Rose is right Jackie, as long as she's comfortable. Rose, don't bother with the drinks love, we'll get something when we go out. Your mother's looking forward to meeting Alec, aren't you Jackie?"

As they were setting off, Alec had just got back from a quick trip to interview someone from one of the unsolved cases.

"Well, happy now you've been out?" Ellie had asked him as they got out of her car.

"If it beats sitting at a desk. Why was that case even assigned to us anyway?" he asked.

"Seems someone thought it was funny," Ellie replied as they walked to the front door.

"I will leave you here, I am meeting Rose, her adoptive parents were arriving this morning, her mother has to meet me yet."

"She's not met you yet?"

"There was no reason, was there?"

He crossed the road and sat on the wall, seeing them come around the corner and that Rose was waving to him.

"You soon made friends with him then?" Jackie remarked.

"She has to make it look good love," Pete reminded her.

Rose smiled as Alec got up and walked towards them.

"Hey, look who's here," she told him, looping her arm in his and kissing his cheek.

"Hey sweetheart, I knew they were coming, remember? Mrs Tyler, nice to finally meet you," he greeted Jackie as Rose put her head on his shoulder and her arm around his back.

Jackie stood with her mouth open for a moment, trying to recover from actually seeing who she thought was the detective from the Danny Latimer case in person.

"Don't you Mrs Tyler me, I hope you've been looking after her and what's with being so cosy with her?" Jackie asked him.

"Jackie, leave him alone, they're supposed to be making it look realistic," Pete told her.

"Yeah, we'll there's being realistic and showing a bit too much enthusiasm if you ask me."

"Shall we go for lunch?" Pete suggested before Alec got a reminder of the famous Jackie Tyler slap on the face.

Still holding onto each other, they went to find a table, Jackie scowling as Alec helped Rose, kissing her cheek as he held her chair.

"Do they really have to do that?" she asked Pete as they approached.

"You wanted her to be happy," Pete replied, holding a chair for Jackie.

"I am happy, we both are. You might as well know, we're not pretending," Rose informed her.

"I might have known. You'd better not be taking advantage of the fact you're meant to be looking after her," Jackie told Alec.

"Shush Jackie," Pete told her. "Remember what we said."

Jackie soon caught on. "I meant now she's come back to you, you'd better treat her properly."

"I am looking after her, tell her Rose."

"He is, honestly, don't worry about me."

As if to show her mother she meant it, she took Alec's hand.

"I'll have whatever you're having Alec."

"Fine love. Pete?"

Pete got up and they both went off to order, leaving Rose and Jackie to talk.

"Are you sure about him Rose? I mean you hardly said a word about him before."

"I'm sure Mum, he does make me happy and I really should have told you why I was coming here."

"I know why you're here Rose."

Rose just hoped her mother wasn't about to give the game away.

"I told Alec I'd give him another chance, remember?"

Jackie sat back on her chair, knowing they couldn't talk any more out in public so she had to be satisfied for now.

Pete and Alec were at the counter waiting to place their orders.

"So, how's it going then?" Pete asked him.

"Fine, now she has relaxed a little around me."

"She guessed on her own then?"

"Mostly, though she was a bit hesitant to say anything."

"That's hardly surprising really," Pete told him as the people in front moved away from the counter.

After lunch, they walked on the pier and Rose went to sit with her mother while Alec and Pete talked.

"Any news today?" Alec asked him, as no-one was around.

"Not yet, Jake would have called if there had been. Yvonne will be trying to get more evidence on you and Rose. Sorry I dragged you into this Alec."

"She would have got around to me sooner or later Pete. Does Jackie suspect who I am?"

"You'd know by now if she did, trust me. Maybe we'll wait until all this is over, she's just happy to see Rose again."

Alec turned to look at the two of them, seeing them talking like they didn't have a care in the world, this or the other one but he knew they weren't out of the woods yet. Yvonne wouldn't rest until she got to the truth and he just hoped that Pete could turn everyone against her like she had done with him because he wanted a future with Rose, now he had none of the guilt the other him had felt.

He had made up his mind he wasn't going to waste any time, as soon as they were in the clear, he was going to do the right thing and as her to marry him before it was too late.
Chapter 31
Back at Torchwood, Yvonne had gone to her new office and had called Jake.

"Well, anything to report?" she asked him.

"Such as? If you want me to betray my friends, forget it Yvonne."

"Well after Thursday, it won't matter. I'll get the job permanently and you'll have two choices."

"Well I won't pick the one where I serve you Yvonne. Don't be so sure of yourself once Pete gets his say."

Yvonne wasn't finished though. "Gloat all you want Jake. Have you followed up on that witness yet?"

"As if I'd tell you?"

"She knows what she saw and heard that night, I'm having her brought in today."

"Then I want to sit in on it and ask her a few questions of my own," Jake told her.

"So, where are the witnesses for Rose?" Yvonne asked him.

"Any time you want to talk to them, just say. Why don't we wait until Thursday, when the enquiry is held?"

"Why not, I've got nothing to hide."

Jake thought she was still planning something big but if they both talked to the witnesses before the enquiry, it would be over and Yvonne would win. He'd been surprised she'd agreed to wait.

Unknown to Yvonne though, the board members had been having their own meeting.

"So, who's going to sit in on the enquiry?" Ian asked them.

"I'd say you," Simon laughed.

"No other volunteers?"

The others shook their heads though there was still one of them absent.

"I'll do it then but aren't you afraid I'm too close to Pete?"

"In what way?" Lee asked.

"We were good friends before all this."

"We know but you can stand up for yourself in front of Yvonne."

"Well I'm glad you have confidence in me then but why did you all agree with her in the first place?" Ian wanted to know.

"We have to listen to both sides and while Pete is in doubt, we can't leave him in charge."

"So you believe Yvonne, that he's covering something up about Rose? I've known him a long time, before his wife came back and he was different back then, before the Cybermen took over Torchwood to escape."

"Maybe Yvonne is wrong but people will do anything for family," Simon told him.

Ian knew he could be right but he couldn't imagine Pete changing that much.

Pete and Jackie had gone to check into their room at the pub across the river from the caravan park, leaving Rose and Alec to talk.

"She seems to have taken it all well," Alec told her. "I thought she would have guessed by now."

Rose snuggled up to him, folding her legs under her.

"Just be thankful she hasn't but if you keep giving her clues she will."

"You mean like I did to you love?" he smiled, kissing her forehead.

Just after seven, they walked across the road bridge and entered the pub, Jackie and Pete already seated and Pete waved to them. While they'd been waiting, Jackie had loads of questions.

"What's gonna happen when Rose has to go home Pete?"

"She won't just leave him Jackie, maybe she'll want to stay here?"

"She'll soon get bored and what about her job?"

"I doubt she'll want to go back to it, she probably won't want anything to do with Torchwood after this and we can't really blame her either. What makes it worse is that now, everyone will still wonder if what Yvonne claims is true though I don't know if the word has spread yet. Jake said her old friend Gwen guessed."

"Was she the one who got married and Rose fell out with her?" Jackie asked.

"Yeah but Rose tried to make it up to her by getting me to send her back to Cardiff. It paid off because if I have to, I can send Rose there and Yvonne won't be able to touch her."

"So she has to go on the run in Cardiff?"

"Well anywhere in south Wales but it may not come to that if I can satisfy the enquiry on Thursday. I have some tricks up my sleeve."

"Well I hope so. Here they are," Jackie pointed out.

On the walk over, Rose had clung hold of his arm.

"Can we talk about anything other that what's happening back in London?"

"Sure, as long as it's not about me," Alec smiled.

"Aw, I'm sure she'll want to know all about you," Rose smiled back.

"Well you had better hope she does not ask too many personal questions."

Jackie did have plenty of questions as they finished their meal and moved to the corner.

"Pete said you used to live in Norway," Jackie suddenly came out with. "Don't talk to me about bloody Norway, we had to go there once."

"Rose has already told me and I know it did not end the way she wanted it to. I am going nowhere Mrs Tyler, I have already assured Rose of that."

"Well I hope you don't go back on that, she's had enough of being let down. So how much do you know?"

"Mum, he knows everything now, he already knew some things."

"So you told him about her Pete?"

"I had to, so he could watch out for her Jackie. Rose just filled in the rest."

"So what did ya do up in Norway?"

"Can we change the subject Mum? Why so many questions?"

Jackie just huffed in response. "Charming. Tony misses you Rose."

"I know Mum and I'll be back when it's safe but I'm only staying away to keep the both of you being asked any awkward questions by anyone Yvonne sends."

"You mean like Steve? I know what he was up to when he came around for Sunday lunch, Yvonne sent him to spy on me, to see if I was really your mother."

"Rose already knows that love," Pete reminded her. "Alec, I told you before, don't read too much into the fact Steve has been paying attention to Rose, will you?"

"Certainly not," Alec smiled, taking Rose's hand. "She told me why she had gone out with him. If she had not been known to have had a boyfriend since her supposed split with Mickey, she was just putting on an act to make everyone think she was still interested in men."

"Yeah but I never found anyone and I was beginning to like Steve, until he turned on us," Rose told him. "I've already said I was only thinking about going out with him Alec."

"I know, you do not have to explain it to me again Rose."

They all walked outside and crossed to sit on the harbour wall.

"I can see why you like it here Rose," Pete told her. "Alec, how are you coping, living by the water after what happened?"

"Why, what happened?" Jackie had to ask.

"Mum, he doesn't like to talk about it," Rose defended Alec.

"It's fine Rose. I had to carry one of the cousins from the Sandbrook case out of the river."

Jackie put her hand over her mouth. "Sorry, I never knew. It was you who found the youngest one then?"

"Yes and while it is something that will never go away, I find living by the sea not as bad as it used to be. I lived by the river until Rose arrived here," he told Jackie, turning around and pointing.

"Well if you ask me, you were punishing yourself for no reason. Good job Rose came along, at least she's taken your mind off it."

Alec squeezed Rose's hand. "Aye, she has that."

"Yeah, I put you in danger from Yvonne as well."

"Forget it Rose, if I look just like her cousin, she would have still been interested in me. You coming here has made no difference to that but it has made a difference to me."

"If you two are gonna get soppy, I'm going back to our room," Jackie stated.

Pete had to smile. "Yeah, we'll be off. We'll meet you after breakfast Rose, we'll come over to your caravan before we leave."

"Alec goes to work for nine," Rose told Pete.

"I can delay if I want Rose. I will stay to say goodbye."

Pete and Jackie went off after Jackie insisted she hugged her daughter but Rose wanted to stay out a while longer.

"Ellie will ask questions if you're late in the morning," Rose told him as he put his arm around her.

"Then let her, I told her you were expecting visitors. Ready to go home, I mean if you consider the caravan to be your home?"

"The Tardis used to be my home," Rose smiled at him.

The next morning, Alec was awake before Rose and turned over to watch her as she had somehow moved away from him. He touched her cheek gently to wake her.

"Hey sweetheart, time to get up," he reminded her, going to put his hand under her nightdress.

"Hey, we have to get up, my parents are coming over," Rose told him, taking his hand.

"There is still time darlin', now come back here."

They were just finishing breakfast as Pete's car pulled up opposite. Jackie noticed they were clearing up as Alec let them in.

"Well, I have to be going, I will leave the three of you to talk. It was nice meeting you Mrs Tyler."

"Stop with the act Alec, I know what you're up to," Jackie told him.

"What do ya mean Mum?" Rose asked her, thinking her mother knew who he was.

"It's just the same as that Steve, trying to find out things like if I am your real mother or not."

"Mum, he knows about us, there's no reason for him to ask you questions."

"It's fine Rose, I can understand her being hesitant to accept me."

"So he knows about you know who?" Jackie had to ask.

"If you mean the Doctor, then yes, I know everything," Alec replied, fastening his tie.

Rose went up to him to finish it off.

"He even wears his tie the same way," Jackie noted.

Rose moved her hands away, revealing the tie was not straight.

"Oi, are you lot not telling me something?" Jackie continued. "When were you in Norway then?" she asked Alec.

"Mum, he's already late, just leave him will ya?"

"Well he can at least answer me. What are you hiding?"

"Jackie, sit down love," Pete told her. "Alec, do you want to tell her or shall I?"

Alec delayed putting his jacket on, he was already late and waiting for Ellie to ask where he'd got to. Well either that or she'd have taken over his office.

"It may be better coming from you Pete," Alec replied, putting his arm around Rose's shoulder and leading her to sit opposite Jackie.

"Something happened Jackie, back in your world. Alec is the Doctor's twin or clone, whatever you want to call him and he got here when the Daleks were trying to take over your own universe."

Jackie was speechless, clasping her hands over her mouth and gasping.

"I knew there was something funny going on, when you brought her here Pete. So how does that work then?"

"Jackie, I'll tell you when we get home but you can't tell anyone, right?"

"Why would I put them both in danger Pete?" Jackie asked him. "So, how did he get here? I thought we were cut off?"

"We are but there was just enough time for the other Doctor to get him here, to Rose," Pete tried to explain.

"You said something about the stars went out that time," Jackie remembered.

"It was just after Jackie, we found there was a gap and I owed it to Rose to come back to her," Alec told her. "I made my way across to Scotland and that gave Pete and I the idea of a cover story. Well, Rose can fill you in, I really have to go now. Walk me out Rose?"

They went out of sight of the window and Alec turned to her.

"That went down better than I thought," he admitted.

"Yeah, she seems to have taken it well. See you at one then?"

"Yes, bye love."

While they were outside, Jackie was trying to recover from the initial shock.

"You should have trusted me Pete," Jackie was telling him.

"Rose only found out the other night Jackie, we wanted her to find out for herself."

"You kept them apart Pete, why?"

"To keep them both safe, or so I thought but it's paid off, Yvonne can do all the checking she wants, I still believe their stories will hold."

"Well I just hope you're right Pete, how long's he been here?"

"That can wait Jackie, let's just spend some time with Rose eh?"

While they had all been talking, Yvonne had been preparing all the questions she had to ask at the enquiry the next day. She'd received a message that it was to be Ian who was representing the board but they were withholding the name of the person who would be conducting the enquiry.

The day before, the board members had been unable to think of anyone so they had all met up again.

"I say we get Owen Harper again," Lee suggested.

"No, we need someone else other than him," Simon told him.

"Well I can only think of one other person," Ian spoke up.

"Well, are you going to tell us?" Lee asked.

"You'll find out, when I've contacted the person," was all the reply they got.

Pete and Jackie were on their way home and when they'd gone, Rose was still tidying the breakfast things away when she thought she saw Olly pass by the kitchen window. She quickly pulled down the blind and went to get her phone when there was a tap on the door and she knew she'd been right. She knew she should alert Alec but he would go crazy if he knew the reporter was bothering her.

Olly had been debating whether to go after Alec or not and to heed the warning not to go after his girlfriend but the temptation was too much so he'd gone around the back of the caravan hoping to catch a glimpse of her and to see if she was on her own after he'd seen two people come out.

Rose hesitated a second then sent a message to Alec saying the reporter had turned up. Alec was not happy when he got the message and as he'd not been in his office very long, he thought he'd best not go out in a hurry. So he sent a message back telling Rose not to answer the door then retrieved Olly's number.

Rose was stood by the door waiting for Alec's reply but she heard Olly's phone ringing. Olly knew he'd made a big mistake.

"DI Hardy, what do you want?" Olly dared to ask, as if he didn't already know.

"Get away from my girlfriend and my caravan before I sent officers round there to remove you."

"I was just passing," Olly tried to defend himself.

"On your way where exactly? I warned you Stevens."

"I'm tired of you bossing me around Hardy, why don't you let your girlfriend speak for herself? I do know who she is, I just saw Pete Tyler leaving."

"Well good for you, now go away and leave her alone, she's here for a reason," Alec told him.

"What would that be?" Olly asked.

"Like I am going to tell you? Just leave her, I will not tell you again and if I see anything in your paper about her, well you had better hope I get to you before Pete Tyler does."

"So, she's hiding from something?" Olly wanted to know.

Rose could hear Olly's side of the conversation and could guess Alec was warning the reporter off.

"If you know who she is, you know where she works? She is not hiding, I met her while she was based in Sandbrook and broke up until we met while I was back there recently."

"So you've known each other for a while?" Olly asked.

"We decided to give it another go, so if you scare her off, well I already told you what would happen," Alec replied, hoping the reporter would go with the same story he had told everyone else.

"So is she your girlfriend then?"

"She is now, Pete Tyler thought this would be a good place for his wife to meet me."

"You've never met Mrs Tyler before? How come?"

"There was no need, Rose and I split up. Now I am giving you one last warning, stay away from her and do not print anything, understand?"

"I'll keep it out of the paper for now but I don't see why it's all so secret."

"Would you want your girlfriend all over the front page?" Alec asked him.

Rose then saw Olly walk away and breathed a sigh of relief as her phone rang.

"Alec, he's gone, what did you say to him?"

"Nothing love, I just pointed out a few more things to him. Did he get a picture of you?"

"No, I don't think so. I thought you'd warned him the other day?"

"Seems he needed reminding."

"Maybe I should get Pete onto his editor?"

"He saw Pete and your mother leaving, that's what got his interest. I can deal with him."

"I hope so, one photo or mention and Yvonne will know where I am."

Yvonne was already discussing Rose with her close advisers.

"So, has anybody found out anything more about Rose?" she was asking them.

"I checked where she claims she grew up, everything has changed, there's all new houses and no-one recognized her except this old woman who said her name right away," Linda told her. "I just got back."

"What? That it was Tyler before she was adopted?" Yvonne asked hopefully.

"No, just that it was Rose and that her memory wasn't as good as it used to be and Rose used to live in the flats."

"So, she could be mistaken then?"

"Yes Yvonne, she didn't seem all that reliable."

"What about the witness from that night?" Yvonne asked.

"I did as you asked Yvonne, she's coming in tomorrow morning for the enquiry but wanted to know if it would get her into trouble with the agency," Sheila told her.

"Why should it?" Yvonne wanted to know. "Well, anything else? What about Hardy?"

"What about him?" Mick asked.

Yvonne shook her head. "Did anyone call his ex wife?"

They all shook their heads then Mick dared to speak again. "We thought you might want to do that yourself Yvonne?"

"Do I have to do everything myself?"

They all left and Mick stopped the others by the lift.

"I think we all made a mistake, agreeing to help Yvonne."

"You don't say?" Sheila sighed, leaning against the side of the lift.

"How do we back out though?" Linda asked. "She's got something on all of us, she must have, she's got me."

The others nodded and looked at the floor.

"Yeah, she got me too," Sheila admitted. "So, anyone got any ideas how to get out of it?"

"Go to Pete?" Mick suggested.

"Don't be daft, he's still out and what if we stop helping Yvonne?" Nigel asked, pressing the lift button again. "I've got my family to think about."

"We know that Nigel but what else can we do?" Mick asked as the lift finally arrived.

"Well I say we at least try," Linda told them. "Let's go see Jake."

"Not all at once?" Mick asked. "Won't Yvonne get suspicious if we all go?"

"Yeah, he's right," Sheila agreed, leaning on the mirrored wall as she hated the speed the lift went at and they all jerked forward when it came to their floor. "I wish someone would fix that lift," she tried to grin without throwing up.

"You suggested it Mick, you go see him after lunch, we'll cover for you," Nigel suggested.

"How are you going to do that?" he asked, scratching his head and wondering what he'd let himself in for.

"Well go during your lunch break then, everyone knows Jake doesn't take one," Linda suggested as they reached their new office Yvonne had set them up in.

"We'll all get fired if Yvonne finds out but she's acting like she's obsessed with Rose and this Alec Hardy," Sheila told them as she put the code in to enter.

Mick stopped in the doorway. "Okay, I'll go and if Yvonne says anything, tell her I've gone about these witnesses for Rose. I must be mad."

"We're all mad, for being so keen to please Yvonne," Nigel told him.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time, Gwen did the right thing getting away," Sheila spoke up.

"Well it was nice getting out of my old office, I just hope I'll get my old job back, I don't know what the others in my old department will think," Linda said worriedly.

"That you've seen sense?" Sheila assured her.

Pete and Jackie were on their way back when Jake called, Pete pressing the hands-free button on his phone.

"I'm on my way back Jake, any news?" Pete asked.

"Not yet but a few things are going on though. The board have assigned Ian to the enquiry but I don't know who else yet."

"Well that's good, we go way back, I might be able to get him to see things my way," Pete replied. "Maybe we can avert it, if we find out who else will be there?"

"Maybe? Anyway, seems someone went to visit Rose's old neighbourhood and was asking around but not about that night. I got Yvonne to agree we'd wait until tomorrow to ask any questions, she's getting her witness in for the enquiry so I've contacted the two who agreed to say they'd seen her and they should be able to answer any questions. It was chaos that night."

"Yeah, it was. Alec was calling Tess to tell her to expect a call from Yvonne, I don't know Tess that well but she'll be more than a match for her."

Yvonne's secretary was getting Tess's station number since she didn't have a mobile number for her and made the mistake of addressing her as DS Hardy.

"No-one calls me that," Tess objected when being asked to hold for the new director of Torchwood.

Yvonne's secretary relayed the message.

"Miss Hartman, I have DS Henchard on the line, she doesn't like being called DS Hardy."

"I see, then I'll have to be careful, won't I?" Yvonne pressed the 'Talk' button and spoke to Tess, who was already annoyed the new Torchwood director had not done her homework and got her name right.

"DS Henchard? This is Yvonne Hartman, the new Torchwood director, can I ask you a few questions?"

"What kind of questions?" Tess asked, pretending she knew nothing about Yvonne's hostile takeover. "Why are you calling me?"

"The questions are about your ex husband, Alec Hardy. I apologise my secretary got your name wrong. I read he'd been living in Norway at the time the Cybermen invaded?"

"That's a long time ago Miss Hartman, a time we all want to forget. Why are you asking?"

"I came across some information that implies he was elsewhere that night, I wanted to confirm the person in a certain film that has come to light wasn't him."

"Of course it wasn't him, why would it be? Where was he supposed to have been?"

"In London, at the residence of Pete Tyler."

Tess had to laugh at the woman's statement. She knew all about where he'd been that night.

"Well that's a laugh, what would Pete Tyler be asking a detective to be at his house for? I think you have been misinformed, I know exactly where he was that night."

"Oh? You do?"

"Yes, Daisy and I were paying him a visit, we lived in Aberdeen and we took it in turns, it was ours to go visit him, he travelled around a lot. He was based in Bergen, that's where we used to meet but most of the time he was in some unpronounceable town. Anything else?"

Yvonne was trying to think of something but why would Hardy's ex wife lie if it had been him?

"No, I think that covers it, it must be my mistake."

Tess thought that was an understatement, going up against Pete Tyler and Alec Hardy was indeed a mistake – a big one.
Chapter 32
When Tess got off the phone, she decided to tell Alec he'd been right.

"I had an idea she would not pass up the opportunity," Alec told her.

"Well I hope she believed me, if she digs any deeper I'm not so sure your story will hold. I told her we used to travel to see each other and that can only be stretched so far, she's bound to ask questions like where you used to be based."

"Don't worry, Pete has it covered, just like the story he put out for Rose. Thanks for doing this Tess."

"It's the least I can do. By the way, we've still got the three we arrested on remand, can I count on you when it comes to trial?"

"As long as I am still around, then yes. Rose and I may have to move in a hurry."

"Crikey, is it that serious?" Tess asked him.

"It could be, we don't know how far Yvonne will go."

"Well she had the nerve to call me herself so I believe she would. Well good luck Alec and don't worry, she'll get nothing out of me."

"Thanks Tess, that's one less thing to worry about."

He decided not to go out, even when Ellie kept turning around to look at him, as if she suspected he was going to call her. Rose had decided to stay in, just in case Olly was still around somewhere but went out half an hour before she was meeting Alec to call at the shop for more milk, since Jackie had two cups of tea each visit.

Back at Torchwood, Mick had been elected to go tell Jake they were ready to help bring Yvonne down after they had discussed it further once back in the office so Jake was surprised when Mick stood in the doorway.

"Tell Yvonne she's wasting her time," Jake told him casually as he stared at his monitor.

Mick closed the door behind him. "We've been talking Jake, we all think Yvonne is obsessed with getting to Rose. Personally, I've got nothing against Pete or Rose and neither have the others. You got Gwen her transfer, didn't you?"

"Yeah so what do you all want? Transfers out of here?"

"No, just the assurance they'll be no comeback from helping Yvonne plus our old jobs back once she's out."

Jake stopped what he was doing. "You'd better not be wasting my time."

"I'm not, we're serious. We were only helping her because she has a hold over us and we felt obliged. Well? Can we make a deal?"

Jake sat back to think about it. Could he trust them? While Pete had been off, he made all the decisions.

"Well, what can you tell me?"

They soon negotiated terms as Mick told him everything Yvonne had been having them doing.

"Here's what I want you to do," Jake told him after they agreed. "Carry on as normal but tell me everything she has you doing."

"Fine as long as she doesn't get to know."

"She won't, trust me. If Pete gets his job back tomorrow, you're all safe and you'll get your old jobs back. If Yvonne wins, you're on your own."

After Mick left, Jake called Mickey then went up to his office.

"Do you trust them Jake?" Mickey asked him.

"I see no reason not to and if we know what Yvonne's asking of them, we have the advantage. This is just what we need Mickey, it's the turning point. I'm just waiting for Pete to call me back, he was almost home."

Thinking this was the best news they'd had for a while, Jake went to collect some lunch then went back to his office but Yvonne wasn't having a rest. She'd thought how her 'team' were somewhat slow so she called in her reserves, the ones who were keen to serve her but were on the outside though just as keen as her inner circle had been.

Now she thought she could no longer rely on them, it was time to call in the reserves but only the men. She looked at the three she'd chosen, not even bothering to ask their names.

"Do you know why I've called you?" she asked them, just after lunch.

They all shook their heads but one spoke up. "Whatever we can do for you Yvonne, just say."

"Yes. Well I know what fields you all work in, which is why I have chosen you three in particular. You are all trained in surveillance and that's what I need although you are also trained in finding people. I want the three of you to read these reports I've had put together and then I want you to go down to Dorset, Broadchurch to be precise and find Rose Tyler and DI Alec Hardy."

"Rose?" one of them asked. "I thought she was on leave?"

"What do you think? She's hiding, well Pete's hiding her, down in Broadchurch and that detective is doing the hiding, I'm certain of it so I want you to bring them back by tomorrow morning to appear in front of an enquiry."

"Yvonne, if I could point out," another man spoke up. "We specialize in bringing any aliens in who have contacted us but aren't so sure they'll be accepted."

"I know that. You don't need to worry, I doubt you'll get an resistance. Hardy's a detective and if I have to, I'll call his chief and get help in the matter and as for Rose, well she kept telling me she had nothing to hide. Now read the files then once you get there, find out where they're staying."

"Yvonne, it's over a two hour journey down there," another objected.

"Well you'd better hurry up then. Find out where they are then get them here first thing in the morning, I want them here by ten thirty at the latest."

"So can we claim for rooms?" the first one asked.

"If you must or you can bring them back tonight and keep them in the hospitality suite under guard, suit yourselves, I don't care which."

They all nodded they understood and took the files but as they were leaving, Sheila was on her way to see Yvonne about their witness. Saying nothing, she got out of the lift and went into Yvonne's outer office. Mick had got back to them and said Jake was willing to take them all back as long as they kept him informed so she knew she should tell him she'd just seen the heavy mob leaving Yvonne's office.

She just hoped Yvonne would trust her enough to say something but she already had a good idea why they'd been there – to go after Rose, wherever she was.

As soon as Sheila got out, she waited for the lift and once in, selected the ground floor and hoped her stomach would survive the ride. Once there, she made her way to Jake's office, not really caring if anyone noticed or not. She knocked on Jake's door, which was closed for a change as he'd been talking to Pete.

"So, they're deserting Yvonne then?" Pete had asked Jake after he got back.

"Yeah, I was right to make a deal, I just saw Sheila come into the outer office," he told Pete, seeing Sheila on the monitor.

"Well see what she wants but now we've got eyes and ears in Yvonne's camp, things will get a lot easier. Let me know what she wants."

"Will do Pete."

He hung up and shouted for Sheila to enter.

"Well, well, that didn't take any of you long, did it?"

"Jake, stop joking around, I have something to tell you. I saw three of the retrieval team leaving Yvonne's office not so long ago."

"So? What about it?" he asked, pouring another coffee.

"Don't you think it's a bit strange?"

"In what way? Maybe there are some rogue aliens out there?" he grinned.

Then it struck him. Who was now the number one suspected alien?

"I'll deal with it and thanks for coming to me with this, I'll make some enquiries."

Back in the office the 'retrieval' team shared, the three selected by Yvonne were discussing things.

"No way is Rose what Yvonne claims," one of them said.

"What about this Hardy? I saw him on TV recently but in these photos, well it could have been him there that night for all we know?" another one told them.

"We'll take two cars, you two can escort Hardy, I'll bring Rose, she won't be any trouble," the last one said.

The other two laughed, making some of the other staff turn to look.

"You do know half the male staff are scared of her? What about all her training?"

"She must be scared of Yvonne if she's hiding you idiot. I can handle her, she might even get friendly with me, you never know?"

"Don't make us laugh, she must be shagging Hardy if she's staying with him."

"So? Word is she's not had a boyfriend in years, she'll be dying for another man."

"Well Yvonne won't be pleased if Rose files assault charges against you and if Hardy finds out, you're done. No, I'll bring her back."

"So you can have a turn with her?"

"I've got a wife, why should I? Well it will take us over two hours, we'd best get going or we'll hit all the traffic on the motorway."

"How are we going to find out where they're staying?"

"Yvonne can find out." He picked the phone up and called Yvonne. "We're setting off, any ideas where they might be staying?"

"You're asking me?" Yvonne laughed. "You've got a real nerve. Use your imagination, ring some of the hotels and ask for Alec Hardy or failing that, try the local paper. Small towns usually have nosy reporters."

Jake had wasted no time talking to Pete again.

"We can't read anything into it just yet Jake, it could be nothing. Have you confronted any of them yet?" Pete asked him.

"No, I was about to but they'll deny anything and Sheila will be compromised. I have a contact in their office, I'll see what he knows."

"Good, do that then Jake, I don't want to scare Rose until I have to but she knew they may have to leave in a hurry. Get back to me then I'll call Alec, he should be out of work by now."

Alec had taken to looking out from the balcony to see if Rose had got there early and saw her sitting on the wall so he sent her a message to turn around and gave her a wave. Ellie had seen him go out and guessed what he was up to – seeing if his girlfriend was waiting. She'd never seen him acting like a teenager before and if she wasn't amused by it she would have thrown up.

When she had been to collect Fred the night before and dropped him off earlier, Olly had been hovering around to see if his aunt and mother had been talking about Hardy. His mother had noticed that morning.

"What are you hanging around for sunshine?" his mother had asked him.

"Nothing Mum, I don't exactly have to get to the office on time any more."

"So who's answering the phone then?" Lucy asked him, taking Fred from Ellie.

"It's on the answer machine but Maggie wants a meeting today, to discuss the future."

"Seems there's not much to discuss eh Fred?" she asked her small nephew.

"I don't know, we already do most of it online, Maggie might do a bit more outsourcing."

"Well I hope she asks me, I can work from home when I've taken Fred to nursery, make sure you tell her for me."

Ellie had been taking it all in. "I hope you've not been following Hardy and his girlfriend around Olly?" she asked him.

"You already told me not to," Olly replied, making a fuss over Fred.

"Well just make sure you don't, he's already a pain."

"Thought he'd be more amicable with having a girlfriend," Lucy laughed.

"Well he's slightly better if he wasn't always making excuses to call her or sneak off early to meet her."

"You're just jealous Sis."

"Of her? You actually think there could be anything between me and Hardy? Please," Ellie defended herself.

So as she watched him lean on the glass balcony and give a little wave, the only jealousy she felt was the fact she had trusted her husband and now she was totally alone and wishing Claire had never got her drunk that night and she'd got stuck with that bloke who hadn't been that good.

After lunch, Rose wanted to go for a walk on the beach and took her shoes off to go in the water.

"Come on Alec," she called back to him. "It's just standing here, I'm not going in."

"You go ahead love, I'm just here, holding your shoes," he grinned.

"Next time I go swimming, you promised you'd try to go in the water with me," she reminded him.

"I know and I will try."

"You could make a start?"

As she turned back around, he thought maybe she was right. He awkwardly toed off his shoes after putting hers on the pebbly beach then taking his jacket off, sat down to take off his socks then as he got up, he reached for her waist and kissed her cheek. Rose turned back around to put her arms around his neck and they kissed, not caring if anyone was around.

"I love you Alec but I wish you were the Doctor again."

"I am still him Rose, never forget that. I may have chosen to be someone else but underneath, I am still the same. You know I can never go back to being him, not permanently, that's how it has to be – the price for being here, with you and it is so worth it. I love you, Rose Tyler."

He leaned down to kiss her again and just for a moment whispered in her ear in his own accent that Rose had loved so much about him. Rose looked up at him and smiled, it was the first time since she'd discovered who he was that he'd talked like that.

"I know you can't go back to being your old self, I learned that a long time ago when I wanted you to change back to the other you, the one I met in that basement. It doesn't matter to me if you're the Doctor or Alec Hardy, I still love you. Hey, you're standing in the water!" Rose laughed as he lifted her off the ground.

He spun her around, laughing in his old voice. "I was genuinely put off when I had to carry Pippa out of the river, honestly Rose but maybe I got too serious about it, to show people I was just as affected as everyone else was."

"Yeah, I get that Alec but just do things gradually and that way, people will think you're tryin' to overcome it."

"You always were brilliant Rose, you do know that? There were so many times I wished you were with me, so many times I needed you. I told you about Martha, that she wanted to start something with me?"

"Yeah, you said. I'm not jealous, if you say it was all one sided on her part."

"It was and when we went to meet Shakespeare, well we were trying to figure something out and I thought about you, that you always had an answer and when I told Martha, she took it the wrong way and got mad with me."

"Didn't that put her off?" Rose asked as she landed back in the cool water.

"Seems not, she told me it was my fault for wearing a tight suit and going back to ask her to travel with me."

"Some people can't handle it," Rose giggled.

"You were the only one I asked twice, did I tell you that?" he asked, pulling them out of the water as even he'd noticed it was cold.

"I think you might have done. How are we gonna dry our feet? Does your suit jacket have trans-dimensional pockets?"

Alec smiled at her and got her to sit down on his jacket then sat beside her.

"When I was created, well, I wasn't wearing anything and had to get Donna to fetch my spare blue suit from above the door, it was just an ordinary one."

"You had a blue suit?" Rose laughed.

"Hey, I thought you would be more worried I was naked in front of Donna? I should be insulted by that," he joked.

Rose nudged him and leaned back into his arm that was around her shoulders. Their feet dried, Alec put his shoes and socks on then went to help her up.

"We could go get waffles and tea?" he suggested as she reached up to grab his hand.

"Yeah, then we can go have some time on our own, we can pull the curtains over."

"The neighbours should have got the idea by now love," Alec laughed.

As they sat by the river, Alec wishing he'd never moved out of his riverside home as Rose was staring at it again, Olly was sat in the office having met with Maggie and he saw the two of them teasing each other with something he couldn't make out. The phone rang and he answered cheerfully.

"Broadchurch Echo, how can I help you?"

Yvonne had decided since her retrieval team were on their way, she could find out for herself if Hardy was still in town.

"Yes, this is Yvonne Hartman, the director of Torchwood. You've heard of us?"

Olly swallowed, not believing who was calling him. "Yes, I've heard of it but why call us? We're just a small local paper."

"I'll come to the point, I'm calling about a certain DI Alec Hardy. Do you know him?"

"Yes, my aunt works with him. Why are you asking?"

"Does he happen to have anyone staying with him by any chance?"

Olly so no harm in answering a few questions, if it got him a big story such as to why Torchwood, the alien hunters, were looking for Hardy.

"I've seen him with a blonde woman, why?"

"Ah, would she be called Rose?"

"I'm not sure, he sent her inside when I approached them but I saw her sitting by the river yesterday lunchtime on her own. What's this all about?"

"I'm conducting this interview," Yvonne reminded him. "Do you know where he's staying?"

Olly had to think about this, not only had his aunt warned him about staying away from the detective but now Torchwood, a very powerful organization who could wipe the newspaper and him off the face of the earth was asking the opposite. He decided to see what she wanted, since he thought Pete Tyler was the head of Torchwood but that explained why he'd been leaving Hardy's caravan earlier that morning.

"No Miss Hartman, I'm not sure where he's staying now, he went away the week before last and the woman joined him last Thursday. Maybe they met while he was away, he doesn't like me very much, he won't tell me anything."

"You're a reporter, it's your job to find things out about people. Why didn't you go after a story?"

"Miss Hartman, you don't know him. If he warns you off, trust me, you stay away."

"Never mind, I have enough for now. Don't tell anyone I called and you might get a nice contribution to your paper but if you warn Hardy, you can say goodbye to your career as a reporter."

Olly thought she meant it as he put the phone down. He saw Alec teasing Rose again and thought if Torchwood were asking about them, then that was Rose Tyler, the adopted daughter of Pete Tyler and that's why he was leaving their caravan and he'd been right all along – she was hiding for some reason. Why would she be hiding though, was it only because Pete had been thrown out of his job or was it something else?

He put the phone back on the answering machine but as he was doing so, he saw Rose being helped up by Alec and they walked off. Olly knew if he followed them to their caravan, Hardy would go crazy so he did the only thing he could, he called his aunt. If he said something to her, then the Torchwood director couldn't blame him, could she?

Jake meanwhile had some of his security staff watching the monitors for Yvonne's 'hit squad' leaving the building and when his phone rang, he was told they'd left in two cars. He called Pete and told him.

"They must be splitting up, one to get Alec and one to get Rose," Jake told Pete.

"I'll call Alec now, tell them to get out. When did those men leave?"

"About ten minutes ago, just after half two. They won't get to Broadchurch much before five, they'll hit some traffic around Southampton Pete. Just tell Alec to get Rose out of town and over into Devon or somewhere. They have plenty of time unless those men are going to take a helicopter or something."

"I doubt it Jake, Yvonne won't know we're onto her. Oh, hang on, Alec said something about a nosy local reporter had been snooping around. If Yvonne's smart, she'll call the paper and ask if they've seen Alec. Right, carry on with what you were doing, I'll alert Alec and Jake, let Mickey know and have him ready to go wherever Alec's taking Rose."

"Understood Pete, just make sure they're both safe."

Olly had got through to Ellie, who wasn't pleased he was calling her at work.

"What now Olly, I'm busy."

"I think I just did something stupid," Olly admitted.

"Tell me something new," Ellie replied, getting up to make a drink.

"I had a call from the new director of Torchwood. It seems Pete Tyler is out."

"I already knew that, she sent a memo around yesterday, she wants the police to co-operate more with them but I can't tell you anything else."

"You don't need to Aunt Ellie, she just asked me if I'd seen Hardy and his girlfriend and she asked me if I knew where they were staying."

"What? I hope you didn't say anything Olly?"

"No, despite Hardy warning me earlier to stay away from his girlfriend. I know who she is, she's Rose Tyler."

"I already know. So, what do you think the director wanted with Hardy?" Ellie asked though she already knew and abandoned making a drink and went into Alec's office, getting a few stares but this wasn't for the office gossips to hear.

 "I know what Torchwood does, they go mostly after aliens and the new director asking questions means she thinks one or both of them are a threat in some way."

"Listen carefully Olly. You don't say a word to anyone or tweet anything, do you understand?"

"You mean I'm right? It's Rose, isn't it and they've already told you? Is she one of those?"

"You know I can't say that but the director thinks she is, they're not confirmed anything to me but I said I would help her, if anyone came after her. I think someone must be on their way down, I have to warn them."

"Miss Hartman threatened me, she said I'd be finished as a reporter if I warned them."

"Well you won't be, I will and there's nothing left for anyone to take from me. Hardy told me Rose had people trying to bring Yvonne Hartman down, just pray they do."

Yvonne was pleased she'd got confirmation where Rose was and called one of the team she'd sent after her and Hardy.

"Where are you?" Yvonne asked, only about half an hour after they'd got going.

"Just making our way to the motorway."

"Is that as far as you've got? Get a move on or you'll get stuck in traffic. When you get there, try the local pubs and hotels and one of you go to the police station and ask who knows Hardy well enough to know where he's staying. Tell them if they don't co-operate, I'll call the chief myself and make it a direct order."

"Yes Yvonne." The man turned to his co-worker when the call had ended. "This should be easy but Rose is mine."

When they'd got back to the caravan, Rose wanted to fool around as she pulled the curtains over and Alec had taken off his jacket and stuffed his tie in a pocket.
Rose was about to take off her jeans but he stopped her.

"In a rush are you?"

Rose smiled back and went to lie down on the seating, kicking off her shoes. Alec went to sit by her and took his own shoes off, Rose holding out her arms. She giggled as he raised her t-shirt and began kissing her tummy.

"Rose, when this is over, well I want to spend the rest of this life with you, if you'll have me?"

"Ask me properly, when this is over," she told him, ruffling his hair.

"I will but I wanted to make sure you would say yes."

"What made ya think I wouldn't?" she asked, trying to unbutton his shirt.

The shirt hanging loose on his shoulders, she touched his chest, seeing the faint scar from his surgery.

"I should have been there when you had this done."

"Rose, it does not matter love, I know you would have been there if you had known. Pete was only doing what he thought was best and I wanted to be well before you saw me again."

"It wouldn't have mattered, I could have helped you."

"Shush love, there is nothing we can do about that now," he told her as he unfastened the button on her jeans and pulled down the zip, touching her as he did so.

It sent a shiver all down her as he took his time and pulled them down just enough to touch bare skin. Then he reached for his own zipper, stopping Rose from helping him and placing her hand where he wanted it, putting one of his own on top then moving her hand, making her smile.

He pulled his own trousers down and was about to reach the gap in his shorts and reached to move her underwear out of the way when Rose tried to move her hand.

"Ah, no, you just keep that right where it is."

"I wish we'd done this before, when we were in the Tardis," Rose told him as another shiver went through her.

"So do I love and I am so sorry we never did. Now, we have a lot of making up to do. Did I tell you that the transfer worked both ways between me and Donna?"

Rose shook her head as he moved her hand again, both feeling the electricity building up between them.

"No, what does that mean?" Rose asked, trying to stare at his obvious bulge.

"Well, she got a Timelord brain and I got some rather obvious human traits," he grinned.

Rose giggled again. "Yeah, I can see some of them but I could use a better view."

"Ah, then I am only too happy to oblige, when I am done with you."

Raising himself up slightly, he felt for the gap and let go of her hand and Rose wasted no time in going for it at the same time.

"Need some help?" she smiled as he felt her hand touching him.

He moved his hand then held hers in place just as he had with her then leaned down to kiss her.

"Be the Doctor, just this once?" she asked, her eyes slightly damp as they both felt the pleasure.

"Rose, it would be my pleasure to be the Doctor just this once for you but we should not go too far, considering where we are."

He reached for her underwear at the same time as Rose went for his shorts and they were just about to touch when Alec's phone rang, Alec cursing. He was going to ignore the phone, thinking it would be Ellie wanting to interrupt anything she thought was going on.

"Alec, answer it, it could be important."

Adjusting his shorts, he sat up and saw it was Pete and put it on the speaker.

"Alec, sorry to bother you but you and Rose need to get out of that caravan as quickly as you can."

"Someone is coming for us?" Rose asked, trying to pull up her jeans while still seated and trying not to giggle at the still obvious bulge in Alec's shorts.

Alec realised what she was looking at and was thankful the call had no video. Putting the phone on the table, he zipped himself up.

"Yes," Pete told them, hearing the panic in Rose's voice. "She's sending a retrieval team and they won't care how they take you both back. You have an hour or so before they'll reach where you are, if they don't stop or get caught in traffic and I have a feeling they'll look around the harbour first. Get across into Devon or Cornwall, find a small town or village and get a room there until either me or Jake calls you."

"We will but how did this happen?" Alec wanted to know.

"Yvonne got tired of waiting, I think if she gets you both back here before the enquiry can stop her, she wants to see if she's right and that neither of you belong here," Pete told them solemnly.
Chapter 33
Ellie was trying to think of an excuse to go out and warn Alec, thinking it would be better if she told him in person that Olly had been approached by Torchwood. Then she thought to hell with it, she was in charge when he was absent and he never needed an excuse either before or after he'd met Rose Tyler.

"Frank, I'm going to follow up on something, call me if you need me."

"Right Ellie, I mean Ma'am," he corrected himself, half grinning.

Ellie decided to let it slide as she picked up her jacket and put her shoulder bag over her head. Back at the caravan, Alec was trying to keep Rose calm.

"Right, this is what we will do. We pack a bag, enough for two days and leave everything else here. For one thing, Yvonne may be out tomorrow and there will be no longer any need to hide. Secondly, if she's not out, we can sneak back or get Miller to collect our things, I will call her and give her the key if we are not able to come back."

"Pete will send Jake or Mickey down, don't get Ellie involved, she has her kids to think about," Rose pleaded with him.

"We will see. Right, I will pull all the other curtains across, you go pick out what you need and Rose, we are not giving in, I am just going to keep you safe," he assured her, holding her tightly.

"Yeah, I know Alec. Go get a bag from the spare room then or do we need two?"

"Best with two, it looks more authentic when we check in somewhere. We will head over to Devon, somewhere on the coast, somewhere small."

"Whatever you think, I'll get started in the bathroom. Want your shaving kit?" Rose managed to smile, putting her chin on his shoulder that reminded her of when they'd got stuck on the sanctuary base.

"Hey, we are not going to get separated, we just got started love. I have something else to tell you but it can wait for now, something that happened after you left."

"You're not gonna tell me you accidentally got married or something?" Rose tried to joke.

"Not that I know of love. I can't talk for the other me since I left."

Rose went about getting enough clothing for the two of them while Alec got the holdalls and began putting the items from the bathroom in a small zipped bag. Alec was about to take one bag out to the car when there was a knock on the door.

"They can't have got here already can they?" Rose panicked from the bedroom.

"I doubt it." He peered through the window and saw it was Ellie. "It's okay, it's just Miller."

He unlocked the door to find Ellie with a stern look on her face.

"I have something to tell you, can I come in?" Ellie asked him.

He moved back and she entered the caravan.

"What's with the curtains Hardy? You and Rose been busy?"

"None of your business Miller," Alec told her, being used to taking that tone with her that he knew he had to stop.

Rose called out, bringing the other holdall out awkwardly. "Oh hello Ellie, why are you here?"

"Olly got a call from the new director of Torchwood. She asked if he knew where you were."

"So, Yvonne was smart enough to call the newspaper then? We know Miller, someone is on their way here, that is why we are leaving."

"What do you want me to tell the chief?"

"Just something came up, I'll be back in a few days, hopefully. You could always say I went back too soon?"

"That might be more believable Hardy. What can I do to help?"

"Take the caravan key and if I call, meet us somewhere with the rest of our things."

"Alec, I don't want Ellie getting involved," Rose told him.

"What can happen to me? I've nothing left Rose, my life won't ever be the same again. You two still have a chance but tell me one thing. You're not from around here, are you Rose?"

"Short story Ellie, Rose is from a parallel universe, she got here when the Cybermen left here and they invaded her world. Does that make her an alien?" Alec asked her.

Ellie was stunned he'd used her first name so she knew he was telling the truth.

"I believe you Hardy and no, it does not make Rose an alien but I take it the new Torchwood director does not see things the same way?"

"You could say that. We really have to go but before we do, keep the key and if need be, someone we can trust will contact you."

"One of your friends from Torchwood Rose?" Ellie asked.

Rose nodded. "Yeah, Jake or Mickey. Thanks Ellie, I know you don't know me very well but it's true, the Cybermen did invade my world but they were dealt with, they're not coming back. When this is over, I'll explain everything."

"Rose, don't forget your laptop love," Alec reminded her, getting it out of the cupboard.

Ellie looked at it. "Now I believe you, what's a police box?"

"Not now Miller," Alec told her, making Rose smile.

"I'll tell you when we come back and thanks again Ellie."

Alec took the two holdalls out to the car and Rose put the laptop bag over her shoulder.

"Well good luck, if they come looking for you, they'll get nothing out of me or Olly and I'll talk to Tom, just in case. Just stay safe, both of you."

Rose went to give her a hug as Alec started the car.

"Bye Ellie and if your boss fires you, don't worry, it won't be for long, Pete has lots of contacts in the police."

Rose followed Ellie out as Alec got out of the car to put the laptop bag in the back.

"Come on love, we should get going. We'll call Pete when we cross over into Devon," Alec told Rose as he took the key and locked the door. "The key for the other door is inside on the kitchen counter."

"It's only a county away Hardy, wouldn't you be better going somewhere else?"

"Trust me, it will be far enough," Alec told her. "They only have until tomorrow morning to find us and take us back. After that, it will be all over one way or another and if Yvonne wins, we won't be coming back."

"You'll disappear somewhere?" Ellie asked.

"Completely, which puts you in line for my job."

"I don't want it this way, not now."

Alec just nodded as Rose got into the car.

"Won't they be able to trace your car?" Ellie called after him as he went to the open driver's door.

"No, it's rented under another name. Bye Miller."

Ellie watched them drive up the roadway and started making her way back to the station after putting the key in her pocket. She made her mind up that no matter what anyone threatened, she'd not tell them where Hardy and his girlfriend were heading but Devon was a big place.

The three men Yvonne had sent after Rose and Alec had made one brief stop near Southampton to make their final plans.

"Right," the one who wanted to take Rose back told the other two. "We split up, one of you take the police station, the other try all the hotels by the harbour and I'll go to the newspaper. Whoever finds Rose, she's mine, I don't care what either of you say."

"Who made you the boss?" one of them asked.

"I'm the senior agent and what would you be wanting with her? As far as I know, you've never even had a girlfriend."

"That's beside the point," the married one told him. "You'll have your work cut out with Rose, you know her reputation."

"I can handle her, I brought a little something with me, just in case. If we find them tonight, we'll head back to London and I'll find somewhere quiet to pull off the road, she won't know about it until it's over."

"Yvonne will go crazy if you hurt Rose," he was reminded.

"Who cares what Yvonne does? She'll be in charge after tomorrow, trust me, she won't care how I get Rose back. You two just worry about Hardy but from what I read about him, he just had heart surgery, he'll be a pushover."

"So, what about when we get them back to Torchwood?"

"They won't be our problem, will they? We'll have done our job and if she remembers, that's her word against mine and right now, who's going to believe her?"

They set off again, they were just over an hour away from Broadchurch but Rose and Alec were already on the main road out of the town, stopping at a diner to get a drink and to go over things.

"I need to fill up the car love, since we don't know how far we are going, there's a filling station behind us," Alec told her as they sat opposite each other and taking her hand across the table.

"Yeah, we should get as far as we can, nowhere big though, just another small coastal town or maybe it would be better inland?"

"No, I want you to relax Rose and a noisy town will not help. We will book in somewhere under another name, no-one will check then leave in the morning. After that, we will wait to see what happens."

"Well we'd best find somewhere as soon as we cross the border, we don't want to check in too late."

"I will look at the satnav when we go back to the car. Whoever she sent will have no idea where we are staying so it will take them a few hours to check the hotels and maybe go to the station and if Ellie has already left, no-one will give out her details, they will call the chief."

"What if Yvonne makes her co-operate though?" Rose asked. "She already sent them a memo saying she expects police co-operation."

"Yes but the chief will not co-operate under threat, that I am sure of. Besides, they won't spend all night trying to get any information but they may call at the caravan site."

"The reception closes at six Alec," Rose smiled. "Doesn't give them much time does it?"

Alec smiled back. "No love, it does not. Yvonne must be desperate to send them after us, what does she hope to gain?"

"Enough evidence to lock us away? Maybe worse since it seems she suspects you as well."

"We don't know that love, do we?" Alec tried to assure her. "Ready to go love?"

"Yeah, I'll just use the ladies room."

"I will go pay the bill and wait for you, I am not letting you out of my sight."

Rose had to smile. "Not even when you visit the men's room?"

"Very amusing Rose. That is something I have had to get used to, it was not easy."

"Something else you got from Donna? Don't worry, I won't wander off if you have to go, we left in a hurry."

Ten minutes later, Alec had filled the car up with fuel and Rose had called in the shop to get a few things.

"No using your card Rose," Alec had told her as she'd got back out of the car when he'd moved it from the car park.

"Yeah, I've got enough cash for now, how about you?"

"I will have to risk it, Yvonne will be looking out for you, not me just now. We will call Pete and have him send some cash or another card if we need it and he can pay for the hotel."

"Yeah, he won't mind. He might send Mickey down tomorrow anyway, he can bring something. I won't be long. Let's hope Yvonne doesn't put our faces on TV as wanted."

"Don't joke about that love, I had to go on the run once before."

"Again?" Rose smiled as he selected the fuel type. "I'm dying to hear about it."

Once they were back on the main road, Alec saw the sign for Exeter, one he'd passed numerous times on his way to the court then he saw a sign for Sidmouth and knowing it was on the coast, decided it was as good a place as any since it was getting late in the afternoon. Rose noticed where he was going and trusted he thought they would be safe there.

Once in the town, he drove along the sea front and turned into the driveway of a hotel with a 'Vacancies' sign and found a parking space.

"We will check in for one night and leave all the talking to me but Rose, I am going back to my own accent so don't seem surprised. I will be using another name."

"You mean John Smith?" Rose tried to smile, now it was all sinking in she really was on the run from Torchwood's heavy mob.

"Well I suppose that will draw even more attention? How about Jack Harkness?"

"Yeah, what was Donna's surname?" Rose asked him as they got out and he went to retrieve their bags.

"It was Donna Noble. So, ready for this?"

Rose nodded and taking a bag each, Alec with Rose's laptop bag over his shoulder and locking the car doors, they walked hand in hand into the small but tasteful looking hotel.

They soon got booked in, giving as little information as necessary and putting Alec's old address in Sandbrook down in the register, they made their way to the first floor, Rose having asked for a seaview room. Unpacking their things for the night and next morning, Rose looked out of the window, Alec going up behind her.

"Come here Rose, I think you need a hug?" he asked her in his old accent.

"Can we go for a walk after we've eaten?" Rose asked him.

He kissed her cheek, moving a strand of her hair behind her ear. "Anything you want, we're safe enough here, they will have no idea we are not even in Broadchurch for a good few hours."

"We'd better hope not. Earlier, before we got interrupted, it was nice."

"Yeah, it was, wasn't it? You were right, we should have done that in the Tardis but that was the old version of me. I told you, I picked up some of Donna's traits and I'm more human than Timelord now. I have so much to tell you, about what I did after you were gone."

"Well, we'll have plenty of time as long as we don't get caught."

"I intend telling you everything but we've been a bit pre-occupied since you discovered who I am. Let's go get something to eat, then when we go for a walk, I'll tell you some of it. First, I'd better call Pete."

While they had been booking into the hotel, the three men who had been sent by Yvonne had met in the car park by the harbour café, begrudging paying for two hours parking until it was free after six. They went into the café to make their plans.

"This is what we'll do," the one who wanted to take Rose back told the others. "I'll go to the newspaper office and get information from the local reporter, Rose is a young attractive blonde, he'll have noticed her. You two, one of you go around the hotels and the police station. Give me your car keys," he told the one who had driven down on his own.

They were handed to him, reluctantly as their drinks arrived.

"If I find Rose, I'll make my way back to London but you might get there before me, if you get my meaning?"

"You've got it easy then?" one of the others remarked. "Hardy won't go easily."

"Yes he will, all you have to tell him is I've already got Rose with me and we're on our way back."

"He'll want to see her or talk to her," the other one pointed out.

"Okay then, he can talk to her, just call me."

"How are you going to get Rose to go with you?" he was asked.

"Easily, I'll threaten her with Hardy or her little brother, it doesn't matter which. She'll soon be out of it when I give her something."

"There's a caravan site over there, do you think they're hiding in there?" one of them asked.

"Rose Tyler in a caravan? Don't make me laugh. Mind you, Hardy might have rented a house somewhere, find the local letting agency and call them. Tell them you're an old friend who's in town looking for him. Do I have to do all the thinking around here?"

"That's rich coming from you, asking Yvonne questions," the one who had driven down with him laughed.

He got a funny look back. They split up, the one who was after Rose not having to go far to the newspaper office, where Olly was passing some time updating the newspaper's blog.

"Oh, hello," Olly greeted the man in the dark suit. "Can I help you with something?"

"Yes, I'm looking for Alec Hardy, do you know him?"

"Try at the station, this isn't the tourist information centre any more," Olly quipped back.

The man stood with his arms folded. "Do you think I'm joking? I'm from Torchwood, heard of us?"

Olly thought if the man was out to scare him, he was out of luck. His aunt had already warned him that the new director would send the heavy mob and this was only one of them.

"Yes, I've heard of you, I spoke with the director and I'll tell you what I told her, I have no idea where he is since he took up with his new girlfriend and I'm not exactly popular with him, he's had it in for me since he arrived in the town last year. I tend to stay away from his private life."

"I would have thought if Hardy had a girlfriend, you'd be interested, given he was accused of having an affair with a work colleague?"

Olly saw no sense in admitting his aunt was involved. "It's nothing to do with me, it was reported and dismissed by both of them, my editor didn't take it any further, it was just the defence trying to get a guilty man off. Sorry, I can't help you as to where they're living, try the hotels."

"I'm sure my director already mentioned there could be a nice reward for helping us find them?"

"I'd really like to help you but what do you want me to say? Go ask at the police station, if it's so important you find him. Now excuse me, we're closing."

The man took the hint and left, not happy about being given the brush-off by a young reporter and saw his colleague coming out of the pub a few doors down.

"No luck?" he was asked.

"The reporter's not talking. Where's our other friend?"

"Gone to the police station, it's just over there apparently, tucked behind those holiday apartments. I wonder how he's getting on?"

"That's up to him. I know I said Rose wouldn't stay in a caravan but let's go try before the office closes."

"She wouldn't stay there, have you seen the Tyler mansion?" the other one told him.

"If you're on the run, this will probably seem like a palace to her."

Before Alec had left, he'd called the reception and told them he and his girlfriend were going off for a few days and that if anyone asked, they'd no idea when they were coming back. Then he'd asked if they gave out caravan numbers and was assured the information was confidential so when the two men walked in and said they were looking for a friend, the woman Alec had spoken to came forward.

"It's okay Sally," she told the younger woman. "Who were you asking about exactly?" she asked the two men.

"We're friends of Alec Hardy, is he staying here?"

"We can't give out any information, whoever you are. If we did that, we'd be out of business. Sorry, I can't help you."

"I really didn't want to do this," he told her. "We're from Torchwood, heard of us?"

"No, what are they? Some sort of insurance company or something?"

"Don't be smart, we're known everywhere and we're looking for Alec Hardy, it's a case of national security."

"Have you got some ID then?"

He went in his jacket pocket and brought out a small wallet, showing it to the woman.

"He was staying here, he booked out earlier."

"There, that wasn't too hard was it? So where did he go?"

"We're a caravan site, not a hotel, we don't asked for forwarding addresses. Try the police station, he works there."

"I already have someone asking there. What caravan was he in?"

"I can't tell you that, it's being made ready for the next visitors."

Sally was sat at the other desk wondering why her boss was telling these men someone had just booked out but since Hardy was a detective, she shouldn't have been surprised, maybe the two men were reporters from a big London newspaper and were trying to fool them. At the station, the other man was having no luck either with the desk sergeant so he called for backup.

The one who was after Rose stopped asking questions and answered his phone.

"Don't tell me, you're getting nowhere either?"

"How did you guess? The desk sergeant said Hardy left around one and he's no idea where Hardy's staying. I think the whole town's stonewalling us."

"You don't say?" he turned to his colleague. "Come on, we're wasting our time here." Then to the man at the station he added, "Meet us across from the station in five minutes."

When they met, they sat on the wall.

"What are we going to tell Yvonne?" the one who'd been in the station asked.

"Nothing yet, we have until around eight in the morning to find them, they can't have got far," the one who seemed to be taking the lead answered him. "We go back to that pub by the car and get some rooms for the night, Hardy might surface later on but I'm sure he's still in the caravan park and he's told them not to say anything so first, we'll walk around and look for anything out of place, like hire cars."

They got up and walked back to the caravan site but stopped on the corner.

"We don't want those in the office to see us, we'll find another way in so let's walk up this road, see if there are any gaps," he continued.

They found a gap by the shop and looked around at the caravans.

"Look for any with curtains pulled over and we'll split up."

They went in different directions, the one who was after Rose narrowly missing Alec and Rose's caravan and half an hour later met up on the top road leading out of the site.

"We have to report this to Yvonne," one of them said.

"Are you volunteering? No, let's go book into that pub and find the number of the local letting agency before they close."

"Why? We've got no answers from anywhere else, why should they tell us if Hardy's renting anywhere?"

"Yvonne will go crazy if we go back empty handed," the other one told them.

"Who says we will? We're finished if Yvonne gets the job permanently but if we don't show up with Hardy or Rose, Yvonne will be the one who's finished."

"How do you know?" he was asked.

"Think about it, why send us after them if they weren't crucial to Yvonne's cause? No, we can't give up because if Yvonne's out, all those who supported her will also be out and would you want to stay under Pete Tyler's rule?"

The other two shook their heads.

"Right, let's get to it then, Hardy may not be as smart as he thinks, he won't go far, they've maybe gone further up in the town. I saw a map in the caravan office, this isn't the only part of Broadchurch so if we follow the road by the caravan park, it should take us up into the town."

"Then what?"

"We look around, that's what and if we don't find them, we find that reporter again and anyone who works with Hardy and see if they were told anything and if we have to, we start doing what we do best."

"What about that other detective who worked with Hardy?"

"The one he got accused of having an affair with? What was her name again?"

"I think it was Miller, she should be easy to find."

"Maybe we've been asking for the wrong person?" the one who wanted Rose grinned.
Chapter 34
Ellie had been totally unaware anyone had actually been in the station asking for her boss until she was leaving just before five.

"DS Miller," the desk sergeant called to her as she came from the stairs doorway.
"Someone was asking about DI Hardy."

"When was that?" Ellie asked.

"About half an hour ago but he left so I didn't want to bother you."

"You didn't tell him anything did you?"

"No Ma'am, of course not but he was asking question like what time DI Hardy worked after I said he'd left for the day. I did tell him he'd be in at nine in the morning. Is there something wrong?"

"No, don't worry about it. If anyone comes back in the morning, tell them Hardy's taking a day off."

"Is he?" the desk sergeant asked. "He's only just come back."

"I think he's stuck on his new girlfriend," Ellie grinned. "Were you asked anything else?"

"Only where Hardy lived, I said I couldn't give out any personal information, Hardy would bust me back to the school crossing patrol."

"Well just you remember that if anyone comes back. Did they say who they were?"

"No, just a friend of Hardy's, which I find hard to believe."

"I don't know, since he met his girlfriend," Ellie quipped.

Back at the hotel Rose and Alec were in, Alec had called Pete.

"So you think the both of you are safe for now?" Pete asked him.

"Yes, I used another name but I dare not use my bank card or Rose's too much. Can you call the hotel in the morning and pay for the room?"

"I'll get Jake to do it. Do you want me to send Mickey down?"

"Wait until we see what happens first, there may be no need. I got DS Miller to take the caravan key, if we can't go back, Mickey can get it from her and clear the caravan out. Any more news?"

"No, not as far as I know. If Yvonne's team are on our side, Jake will get to know what she's up to, if she still trusts them. I notice you've dropped your accent, any reason?"

"Yes, I booked in under the name of an old friend of ours, Rose is using another name. We're in room 103 at the Belmont hotel in Sidmouth if Jake's going to pay. Any chance of getting a bank card in another name or from Vitex?"

"I'll get one sorted and have it sent by courier to wherever you're going next. Have you got enough money for now?"

"We'll manage, there's always the trusty psychic paper," he grinned at Rose.

"I'll call Jake and let him know where you are, just try and relax until morning, Yvonne's mob will still be going around in circles back in Broadchurch."

"I hope so Pete, they can ask all they want at the station, I have them all well trained. I'm not so sure about the reporter though, he doesn't seem to like me much."

"That's because you talk to him wrong Alec," Rose reminded him.

He ended the call and went up to her. "Best call me Jack when we go downstairs," he whispered, kissing her cheek.

"Aren't you having an identity crisis? I'll have to get used to being called Donna so you'd best tell me about her."

"She was brilliant, it just took someone to show her she was and I dread to think what happened to her after I stayed here."

"What do ya mean?" Rose asked him, leaning into his shoulder.

"That transference was a two street Rose, she got some of my Timelord qualities, such as my mind and I don't think she will have been able to handle it for long. He may have had to take it from her."

"Oh. So she'll forget what happened?"

"Maybe, it depends how he did it but he would have been gentle with her, she was our best friend, not like Martha. Donna was a real mate, someone to have a laugh with, which I can assure you was what we needed after we lost you. You though, you were more than a friend, we both knew that. I have so much making up to do."

"I missed you so much, that was why Pete tried to get that device working, so we could go find you. He wouldn't have let me use it though until it was safe. Now, if he gets back in power, he'll dismantle it and destroy it."

"That device sounded a bit dodgy if you ask me love," Alec laughed. "Who would stand in front of it and have their atoms scattered to another universe?"

"Me, to find you. It doesn't scatter atoms as far as we know, how could the Cybermen have used it, they were metal?"

"Ah, good point. Well anyway, like you said, no-one would have known where and when they would be sent to, if it wasn't known how the time differences were, you could be sent back hundreds of years."

"Exactly, that's why the Cybermen wanted it, to go back and invade the past and convert everyone when the population was less and they had no means of fighting back."

"I get that Rose, then they would have taken the device with them and gone on to other realities, wiped everyone out but if Yvonne gets her hands on it? She'd used it for personal gain, to steal inventions and information from other worlds then send an army out to conquer."

"Would she go that far?"

"If she's anything like the Yvonne Hartman from our world but not only that, think of the consequences? Stepping through to different realities, well it would be like on our world before the Timelords used their authority to stop things like that. Other worlds thought we were too strict but they were just safeguarding them from being conquered. Think back in history Rose, if alien invaders or someone from another world had tried to shape yours?"

"Well when you put it that way? Pete won't try to get it going now, it was under guard and it was only meant for me to get back to you."

"I know love but even so, it's a dangerous thing and best destroyed. Come on, I'm starving now I actually have an appetite."

Back in Broadchurch, Ellie had got home after collecting her two boys and wondered where her boss and his girlfriend had got to and hoping it was far enough away. Curiosity got the better of her while Tom was helping his younger brother.

"Hardy, where did you get to?" Ellie asked him as he and Rose were leaving the dining room.

"Far enough away hopefully," Alec replied, hoping no-one noticed his Scottish accent.

"Someone was asking for you at the station but they got no information."

"Good, let them keep trying, the longer they are asking questions, the less time they have to find us. Did they contact Olly again?"

"He didn't say anything. So how much time do they actually have?"

"Only until around ten in the morning to get us back to London so I'd say they are somewhat limited. Even for an elite team, it will take some doing, they must have thought we would give little or no resistance."

"They didn't do their homework on you then, did they?" Ellie laughed.

"Well we are not safe until after the deadline, then it won't matter one way or another. If Yvonne wins, she'll have every spare agent out looking for us, which is why we have a backup plan. She'll not get her hands on either of us but Pete Tyler may do something very stupid to stop her going after Rose."

"That's hardly surprising though, given the alternative."

"Yes but it will put her mother and brother in danger and Rose won't allow that to happen. Anyway, we will have to deal with that if it actually happens. I'll contact you tomorrow when we find out which way it went."

"Do ya think Pete will use the emergency plan?" Rose asked him as they went back to their room.

"You know him better than me love, he never mentioned it though."

"Maybe he's still thinking about it?"

After Pete had talked to Alec, he'd called Jake and Mickey to the house for a meeting and told them what he was considering doing.

"You can't be seriously thinking of doing that?" Mickey asked him.

"He knows what he's doing Mickey, we have to trust him," Jake replied.

"I never thought I'd even consider using it," Pete told them. "It's that or Rose and Alec can never return because Yvonne is not going to get her sticky hands on either of them. I'll make provisions for Jackie and Tony but I have to discuss it with Jackie first. I'll decide in the morning before I leave for the enquiry. It's not something to be taken lightly and Yvonne may not even know about it, it's not widely known."

"Even so, you have to think about Jackie and Tony, how it will affect them," Jake told him.

"I will Jake, it's the choice I have to make and I wish I didn't have to but Rose cannot reveal the truth and neither can Alec, he's still half Timelord even though he appears more human than his twin. Jake, call Gwen in the morning and have her on standby to meet them if they have to dash over to Cardiff."

"Yeah, will do," Jake replied. "I can't imagine what this is doing to poor Rose though."

"She's safe with Alec, he won't let anything happen to her."

Mickey shook his head. "I should be looking after her as well."

"Alec said to wait and only meet them if things go badly. He's left the caravan key with his DS, you'll have to go down there and get all their belongings and meet them in Cardiff."

"Just say Pete, I'm not staying there if Yvonne gets her hands on Torchwood, trust me. She can do what the hell she likes with it, I'm out."

"What about you Jake?" Pete asked him.

"I'll leave whoever takes over as head of security a little going away present," Jake grinned. "I'll wipe all the computers clean except for the older records before Rose arrived, not that there are many but all the stuff Yvonne got about her will go."

"Good. What about you Mickey? What about your department?"

"Nothing much Yvonne can use against Rose but I've just been thinking. Jake, all Rose's records that go back to prove she was born here, why aren't they standing up to Yvonne's scrutiny?"

"Excuse me? You're questioning my work?" Jake huffed.

"No, don't take it like that but think about it, there has to be a reason why Yvonne is doubting it so think. How long has she been planning this, I mean getting proof Rose doesn't belong here and what has she got against Rose personally and now the Doctor?"

"Good point Mickey. Jake?" Pete asked.

Jake rubbed his hands over his face. "You mean somehow she's got some inside information? From who? It can't be from Steve, can it?"

"No because it all started before then, it must go back to the first time you were here Mickey, think back."

The three men in Broadchurch were having a late meal having got rooms for the night and they were debating what to tell Yvonne.

"I'm surprised she's not rung us yet," one of them stated.

"Why would she bother?" the one after Rose replied. "She'll expect to see the pair of them appear at the enquiry and when they fail to show, well we're all done."

"Maybe not," the other one said. "Call the night staff and get a trace on Rose's phone."

"Don't be so stupid, do you think Yvonne's not already done that? Rose won't have her phone with her if she's got any sense. No, we need something else."

"Getting a trace on Hardy's phone?" the other one suggested.

"Now who's being stupid? He'll have two, a personal one and a work one but he'll have turned off the GPS tracer, he's a detective. Come on, we'll go walk around the harbour and ask a few questions then we'll go back around the caravan site and ask around there, someone will have noticed a Scottish accent in the club."

Meanwhile, Yvonne was working late, not trusting her advisers to do the delicate work of putting the final touches to her presentation that Rose Tyler and Alec Hardy did not belong here. When she had finally worked it out as to why they were both going to great lengths to avoid being picked up and as to why Pete had hidden her with Hardy, she'd done a little more research and now she was questioning as to why he would stay in Norway while his wife and daughter remained in Scotland.

She'd thought that somehow, they were also trying to fool everyone and maybe they'd not been married after all and Hardy had bribed the woman to make up such a story. No, a lot of things were not adding up in her mind and she wasn't going to rest until Pete, Rose and Hardy all appeared in front of the enquiry in the morning and she hoped the three men she'd sent down to Broadchurch were as good at their jobs as they claimed to be.

Rose and Alec were already making their plans, Alec stretched out on the bed and Rose messing with the TV remote. He reached out to take it from her when she failed to find something.

"Leave it Rose, just put some music on," he told her in his old voice, which Rose was having trouble coming to terms with.

"Fine, there's never anything good on at this time anyway. Sorry, I'm just all on edge."

He reached out his other hand to her. "I know, everyone is but you have to try to relax. It's all down to Pete now, he knows what he's doing. We can't do anything until morning. Didn't you want to go for a walk?"

"No, it'll be getting dark soon."

"All the more reason, come on, we'll have a stroll along the seafront."

"We're not in Blackpool you know," Rose smiled as he got up.

"I was there when they first lit up the illuminations, way back in, well whenever it was."

"Maybe they'll have a Tardis as a display?" Rose joked.

"Not in this world I hope or we are in trouble."

"No, I meant back home. I couldn't resist the laptop bag though."

"No harm, it'll just look like a novelty item. Come on, some fresh air will do you good."

"I'm still having trouble getting used to your old voice again, are you keeping it?"

Alec stopped and got his jacket. "Want me to get rid of my beard too?"

"No, I like it – it's very you," Rose smiled going for her own jacket.

"You used to think I looked like that actor back home."

"Yeah, there's another one here, I still never got to meet him though."

Alec put his arm around her. "Never mind, you got me back."

"Yeah, everything comes to those who wait."

"I suspect you were not patient in waiting?" Alec smiled.

After walking hand in hand down the seafront, they wandered down the main shopping area, a few places still open and Rose stopped to look in some windows.

"I never bought you anything to go on your chain," he told her.

"Never mind, you can do that when all this is over. It will be over, won't it Alec?"

"Yes, even if we have to hide in Cardiff, that'll be the last place Yvonne will look for us."

"Cardiff's not so bad and there are plenty of places nearby. Anyway, we might not even need to go."

"That all depends on what happens tomorrow."

As Rose was getting ready for bed, Alec wondered what the next day would bring. They would either be really going into hiding until Pete found a way of getting rid of Yvonne or it would be all over for Pete or Rose because neither of them would put Jackie or Tony in any danger. He knew if given the option, Pete would negotiate terms with Yvonne to save Rose from imprisonment but would the new director be satisfied with Pete's surrender?

If she was sending someone to take them back to Torchwood, it seemed Yvonne Hartman had only one agenda – that of getting all aliens out of the way, friendly or not and regardless if they actually looked like aliens or not. As Rose came out of the tiny bathroom, he got up and went to put his arms around her.

"Rose, there's something I need to tell you."

"Can't it wait?" Rose asked, stifling a yawn as she put her head on his shoulder.

"No love, it's important. I should have told you way back that I loved you and I'm sorry I never did but some things happened after you left, not only including Martha taking a liking to me."

"What kind of things?"

"There was another Timelord, on earth and yes, I know I said they were all gone but he'd been hiding and he got his hands on the Tardis and went back to our time, just after we first met. Remember Harold Saxon?"

"What? The defence minister? Wasn't he campaigning for the leadership of his party?"

"He was and he became prime minister and it was all my fault. Rose, he captured me, Martha and Jack, held Martha's family prisoners to serve him and let some metal creatures from the end of the universe loose and they killed half the earth's population."

"You mean they're all gone, back in our time?"

"No, I managed to reverse everything but I was held captive for a year and it made me realise how vulnerable I was and how much I missed you. I so regret telling you I could never stay with you and when Jack found my hand, I knew there was a reason for it."

"Jack found it? That's what you grew out of."

"Yes and everything that was the other Doctor was transferred to me with one exception – I don't have the guilt he had because of Donna. She made him better, just like you made the old me better and I can spend the rest of my life with you, if you'll have me?"

"Of course I will, you daft thing and it hurt when you said that to me but I get now that's not how you meant it. You meant that you'd change again and you thought it was going to be hard for me to accept it."

"You are so brilliant Rose, as always but it made me realise I shouldn't have put it that way. When all this is over, I'll make it up to you, I promise."

"I know you will Doctor. Can you be him tonight, not Alec Hardy?"

"For you, anything. I love you Rose."

As they lay together afterwards, Rose wished he still had two hearts, then he would have never got ill.

"How did you manage, when you were ill?" she asked him, running her finger on his bare chest.

"It was never that bad Rose, it slowed me down a bit, that's all. If I'd still been in the Tardis, I would have been fixed in no time at all. I suppose I got a bit carried away with the whole thing really but I wanted to be completely well before you saw me."

Rose tried to prop herself up. "It wouldn't have made any difference to me, why did you and Pete hide it from me?"

"To keep you safe Rose, I agreed with him at first but then it got more difficult. I can't tell you how many times I just wanted to come and see you and maybe we were both wrong but just think about it? It would have made Yvonne even more suspicious that her cousin had gone missing and I surfaced as your boyfriend."

"Yeah, I suppose so when you put it like that. So, we have breakfast in the morning then we move further into Devon?"

"No, I think a better plan would be to travel up towards Bristol, that way, we're closer to Cardiff, should we have to go there. We can hang around here in the morning, wait and see what happens. If Jake or Mickey call instead of Pete, we'll know it's gone against us."

"What does Yvonne hope to get out of all this? It can't be all about her cousin."
"It's consuming her love, the board will see that if she condemns Pete or you to life imprisonment but I hate to say this – she might not be satisfied with Pete surrendering himself for your safety."

"I never thought of that. I hope he doesn't do it then, I can live with being on the run."

"We've done it before. How many times have we escaped captivity? Then don't even mention being banished by Queen Victoria."

"You still owe me a tenner for that."

Alec smiled to himself. "Yes, care to come and collect it?"
Chapter 35
The next morning, there were a lot of apprehensive people including Rose and Alec, who had woken up and were kissing for a good while, Pete was trying to think how to explain to Jackie that he could save Rose from being hunted down and maybe imprisoned but would have to risk the same himself and Jake and Mickey were hoping neither scenario would happen.

The only person who was actually happy it was the day of the enquiry was Yvonne, she had waited a long time for this and she was finally going to get to the truth even if no-one else wanted it. She had given up with Steve, it was obvious to her he'd gone crawling back to Pete's side but that was mainly because he had it bad for Rose so she decided she was going to have some fun with him before the enquiry took place.

As for her close advisers, she could no longer trust them either, the way she had been questioned and she'd not heard anything from the three men she'd sent after Rose and Hardy so she'd called one of them just after eight.

"So, are you on your way back with them?"

The one who wanted Rose had made the other two go out at seven that morning and they'd just returned from searching the caravan site for the third time, having no luck asking around last night and the other two were sitting at the breakfast table listening to his side of the conversation.

"We tried Yvonne, there's just no sign of them. We got nothing out of the reporter, the desk sergeant at the police station gave us the standard answer that he couldn't give out any information about Hardy and we thought they may be holed up in the caravan park but no-one remembers them."

"You morons, you're supposed to be the best there is and you can't bring two people back?" she asked angrily.

"With all due respect Director, Hardy is a detective, Rose is a trained Torchwood agent."

"That's beside the point. Find them and get them here before eleven or don't bother coming back. Go back to the newspaper, give that reporter anything he wants to tell you where they went, he must have some idea."

"Yes Director, we'll get right on it."

"Yes director," one of them mimicked.

The man slammed his knife and fork on the plate, making other diners look at him.

"Shut it you moron, come on, it's over two hours back to London and we have until eleven, we all go back to the newspaper office and lean on that kid reporter."

"No, I'm not getting heavy with some junior reporter, forget it," the married one told him.

"Then don't bother going back to the office, we're all through if we go back empty-handed. If we fail, that's it, Yvonne will have us evicted as soon as we arrive in the underground parking lot. Come on, we don't have much time then we'll go back to the police station and throw our authority around, which you should have done last night," he looked at the other one.

"We'll have to break some speed limits to get back in time," one of them pointed out.

"Do you think I care? Use the sirens you idiot and if anyone stops us, we call Yvonne, she'll clear it and she'll know we're on our way back."

"What if Hardy resists?"

"Do what you have to do, stick him in the back of the car if you have to."

"You mean use something on him?" the other one asked as they stepped outside.

"What do you think? Now I won't have time to teach that blonde a lesson, thanks to you two being incompetent."

"Don't go blaming us, we all did the jobs you dished out, maybe you should have gone to the police station?"

"Come on and we'd better hope the reporter makes an early start. If we fail, I suggest we get back to London and call for our cars to be retrieved, I hope neither of you left anything in the office, we won't get in, Yvonne will see to that."

"What if she's out?" one of them dared to ask.

"Don't be stupid, Pete Tyler will know we've been after her when we suddenly disappear."

"That's it," the other one said. "Someone warned Hardy we were coming."

"You don't say? Okay, so someone told Pete we were coming down here and he warned them. Who knew?"

"Anyone in the office could have overheard us," the other one pointed out as they approached the newspaper office, seeing Olly coming away from a food stall with a coffee carton in his hand.

"I think I know who it was, we passed one of Yvonne's advisers near the lift, I bet she turned on Yvonne and told Jake."

"Then should we tell Yvonne?" the married one asked as they stopped.

"She'll figure it out on her own, come on, we don't have much time."

Back at the Tyler residence, Tony was trying to be persuaded to let one of the staff take him to school since Pete wanted to talk to Jackie.

"But Dad," Tony objected, copying his mother and folding his arms. "I thought you'd take me again?"

"Sorry son but I have to talk to your mother, I'll come and get you later."

"Promise?" the young boy asked.

"Sure, off you go, don't be late eh?"

Pete just hoped he'd be free to keep his word. When Tony had gone, he put a brave face on and told Jackie they had to talk and she wasn't happy when he'd told her.

"That's your plan to get Rose out of this?" Jackie asked him.

"Sorry love, that's it, I have no choice. Jackie, I made a promise I would keep you both safe, I am not handing Rose over to that woman, even if she promises to go easy on Rose and Alec. I can't trust her, not now."

"Don't do it Pete, find another way."

"I've tried Jackie, there is no other way. I've made provisions for you and Tony, Alec will take care of Rose, Mickey will get them a Vitex credit card, Yvonne can't touch the company. I have people over in Cardiff ready to help them, they'll be safe there."

"But there's a Torchwood there Pete."

"There was, they went independent a few days ago, backed by Vitex. I've been putting a plan together, it's almost in place. I've had people defecting from Yvonne's side who are keeping Jake informed of what Yvonne's been doing, I'm just going to call him before I go face the enquiry."

"You might not come back Pete," Jackie told him tearfully. "I thought I'd got you back Pete, after all that time."

"Shush love, it could still go my way, I'm not just going to give up and go quietly. I have Ian on my side even though he can't do it publicly, he's trying to get someone to head up the enquiry who will be neutral and not take Yvonne's side without a fair hearing."

 "Who will he get Pete?"

"I don't know Jackie, honestly."

Ian had been on the phone again the night before, trying to persuade the one person he could trust to head up the enquiry who Yvonne wouldn't say it was all fixed. So he was about to try one last time.

"So, I'm the only one you can think of?" the brigadier asked him.

"Sorry Sir but yes, you have no interest in Torchwood's internal power struggle but you are a fair man."

"I told you last time, I'm not the one you want, I've retired from all that, I promised my wife. You should talk to my daughter, she's in charge of UNIT now."

"I know that Sir but she's busy enough and it will only take a few hours of your time. I can send a car for you, the enquiry starts at ten."

The brigadier went silent. "Just a few hours? So just why is Pete Tyler out then?"

Ian quickly explained without giving too much away.

"A power struggle eh? Pete Tyler did a good job, raising Torchwood from the ashes so to speak but I can't just assume his side."

"I know that Sir, that's why we need you, to listen to both sides."

"Very well but I will make my own way there, my wife will go mad if she sees a car coming to collect me. Tell your people to expect me."

"Thank you Sir, we're all most grateful you agree to attend."

"So, what's this Yvonne Hartman like then? I don't know much about her."

"She's determined she's going to remain the director after the board put her in temporary charge."

"Is she now? So she's very sure of herself?" the brigadier asked, hoping he could sneak out for a few hours.

"You could say that Sir."

"Then UNIT had better watch out for her eh?" the brigadier joked.

His mission accomplished, Ian decided to pass the remaining time until the enquiry sitting with his feet up and drinking coffee to keep him awake, since he'd not had much sleep when the brigadier had refused to attend. He hadn't known who else he could trust not to take Yvonne's side, maybe she was right in some ways, they were going soft on aliens but to suggest Rose was one of them was outrageous to say the least.

Jake had been in early, as had Mickey, making provisions to walk out should Yvonne get the job on a permanent basis. They had met briefly for Jake to fill Mickey in on his plan.

"So you know what to do Mickey?" Jake asked him.

"Yeah, leave it with me, I'll get down to them as soon as Pete tells me where they are, I'll go collect that credit card from Vitex and collect a case that Jackie's packing for Rose."

"Good, Pete wanted to give Jackie something to do rather than dwell on the fact he might not be going home. I really hope all this is unnecessary and Yvonne's out."

"So do I Jake, Rose will have to go live in south Wales and just us going there could put her in danger."

"Gwen will take care of the arrangements, I just have to call her. Best get to work so all I have to do is press a button and everything will be wiped from the records and trust me, they won't get it back."

"You mean about Rose?"

"No Mickey, I mean about everything," Jake smirked.

Yvonne was almost done, making sure she had nothing missed out after the disappointment of a retrieval team had failed to get Rose and Hardy but she was running out of time. She decided not to call her advisers, just in case they'd defected to Pete's side, which she had begun to suspect. She was just taking a few minutes when her phone rang.

It was one of the team she'd sent down to Dorset.  They had been around the camp again after cornering poor Olly.

"So, come on then, you must know where they are?" the one after Rose had asked him.

Olly had barely got through the door when the three men had gone in behind him, Olly recognizing the one from the day before. His aunt had called him earlier and reminded him not to say anything about Rose or Alec, to which he'd asked why it was so important.

Ellie knew Alec wouldn't be pleased but she had to tell him part of it.

"Olly, all you need to know is that the new director thinks she has something on Rose."

"Such as?" he'd dared to ask.

"She thinks Rose doesn't belong here," was all she said.

"What? She thinks Rose is one of those, an alien?" he asked as he was leaving the house.

"Shush, don't repeat it," Ellie scolded him. "Of course she isn't but the new director thinks because Rose has run away that she's hiding something. Promise me if you get approached again, you won't say anything."

"I'll try not to Aunt Ellie but if they threaten me?"

"All they can do is threaten your job or the paper, they don't know we're related. Pete Tyler won't let the newspaper go under or you lose your job, just go with it."

"Well okay but the paper might not last much longer anyway, the way things are going."

"Well if Pete gets back in, I'll talk to Rose, she'll get him to show how grateful he is for you covering for her."

So now, Olly was trying to talk his way out of admitting he knew more now than he had last night.

"Look, I know where you're from, I honestly can't tell you anything, Hardy doesn't talk to me, he avoids me. He threatened me the last time I saw him."

"Then tell us where you saw him," one of the others asked him.

"Across from the police station, in the outdoor catering area the other lunchtime, Rose was meeting him. He stopped me and warned me to stay away from her."

He just hoped they believed him.

"Why was he warning you away from her?" he was asked.

"He said she was trying to avoid the press and I wouldn't like it if my girlfriend was on the front page."

The one after Rose got closer to him. "You'd better not be lying, Stevens," he told him.

"I'm not and I'm not covering for them, it's non of my business why Torchwood wants them. Have you considered they already left town?" Olly replied.

"It had occurred to us, which means they were warned. It had better not be you who warned them. Come on you two, we're wasting time here, let's go back to the station and see if Hardy's either turned up for work or if he's rung in to say he's taking some time off."

Olly breathed a sigh of relief when they left and called Ellie.

"Aunt Ellie, those men are on the way to the station, thought I'd warn you."

"I'll be ready for them, I just got here. I'll just remind the desk sergeant."

Ellie turned around and walked up to the desk. "That man may be back, with his friends, asking about Hardy."

"Well I can't tell them much, Hardy's not turned up yet anyway, is he taking some time off?"

"I'll find out," Ellie offered, getting her phone out.

She called Alec's number, he and Rose were making sure they had everything from the room they'd stayed the night in.

"Got everything?" Alec asked her after he'd talked to Ellie to tell her to say he wouldn't be in for the next few days as he thought he'd maybe been a bit too keen to come back.

He knew Pete would smooth things over, should he be going back.

"Yeah, so are we staying around the town?"

"For now but maybe we should head somewhere else?"

"If you think we should? I'm trusting you Doctor."

"I know love and you can go back to calling me Alec for now, best not call me Doctor in public eh?"

"I wish I could but I've sort of got used to Alec and the Scottish voice."

"Yes, I'll have to go back to that for now. We'll head for Plymouth if we've not heard anything by noon then wait for Mickey or Jake to call. Then we can head for Bristol and across into south Wales."

"I really hope this is all for nothing," Rose sighed, as Alec picked up the two holdalls.

"So do I love, remember that sanctuary base? When you said being stuck there with me was not so bad?"

"Yeah, we can always look at it as another adventure."

"That's my Rose. Come on, let's hope the room has been paid for."

He handed the key in and the woman at the desk said someone had paid over the phone for the room so Alec thanked her and led Rose outside. All they could do now was keep their heads down and not draw attention to themselves but the men Yvonne had sent had either not known they'd left town or had just discovered the fact and if they had, they had run out of time.

Back at the station, the three men were just walking in after reporting in to Yvonne, who had shown her displeasure, the desk sergeant recognizing the one from yesterday.

"Can I help you?" he asked.

"Has DI Hardy come in to work this morning?"

"Can I ask why you want to see him?"

"Just answer the question," the one after Rose told him.

"Listen, I know where you are from but don't take that tone with me, I could have you all arrested. DI Hardy is not in the building as yet but he has just come back from medical leave, he works any hours he wants and no-one questions him."

"What was wrong with him?"

"I'm not at liberty to say. Can DS Miller help you?"

They knew they were out of time, even if Hardy walked into the station right now, he wouldn't be with Rose and he wouldn't tell them where she was in the time they did have.

"No, she can't help us. Come on you two," he turned to them.

Once outside, they had to admit defeat.

"There's no way we'll get back in time," the married one said.

"Well even if we're late, it has to be worth waiting a while longer to see if he shows?"

"They were warned, they had to have been and I bet I know who by," the bossy one told them.

"Who would that be?"

"Who did we see coming out of the lift before we set off?" he replied.

"Should we tell Yvonne?"

"What for? That's not going to get Rose and Hardy to come with us, is it? We can wait all we want, they won't show up."

"Why don't we try seeing the chief?" the married one suggested.

"Seriously?"

"She might order that DS Miller to comply with us."

"Do you think Hardy would have told her where he was going if he's hiding Rose?" the bossy one scoffed.

They all walked across to where they had left their cars and stood by them. All they could do now was go back, leave their cars and walk away, it was over for them.

Back at Torchwood, Yvonne was hoping for some good news that her suspects were on their way back but when she got no answer when she tried all three of them, she knew they had failed.

Knowing that was the case, she took a folder out of her desk drawer, the one marked 'Confidential' that Sheila had brought yesterday. Inside were details of emergency protocols that allowed an outgoing director or senior member to give themselves up if someone being accused of being an alien and not declared themselves were to remain free in exchange for the person defending them. She now wondered if Pete would go that far.

She hadn't known about it until she'd asked her advisers if there was anything that might prevent Rose and Hardy being held captive, at her discretion, which would be a long time and would include a full physical examination to determine if they were actually different or not but even if it were to be proved they were both of this world, there was still no reason to let them go. They could have been born on a parallel world and be human and be just as dangerous.

As soon as this was over, she would launch a full-scale hunt for the two of them and they wouldn't be able to hide anywhere because if they were from a parallel world, they couldn't get back unless the cannon was capable of working and how could she let them go? They had to have come from somewhere and wherever it was, it could have been where the Cybermen had gone and could she actually unleash them back in this world?

No, Rose and Hardy had to remain here, locked up and if they continued to be undetected, then if Pete surrendered himself, would that be any consolation? Maybe not but it would give them a reason to give themselves up, especially is she made it known she was going to treat Pete Tyler the way aliens would be treated and see how long they remained in hiding. Then, she would go after the other aliens, registered or not because Yvonne Hartman was a purist through and through and wherever her cousin was, this was for him.
Chapter 36
Steve was surprised when Yvonne summoned him to her office just 30 minutes before the enquiry was supposed to start. The Brigadier had arrived and had been given a pass and Jake was escorting him to the conference room, having been informed by Ian he was to be the one conducting the enquiry.

So as Steve arrived at Yvonne's office, he wondered if she was making a last-ditch attempt to find out where Rose was.

"I can't help you Yvonne, I swear I don't know where Rose is," he told her as he stood in front of her desk.

"I know where she is, no thanks to you. I thought you were getting close to her before she left?" Yvonne scoffed.

"So did I, she said when all this is over, well she may consider going out with me."

"Well it's a bit too late for that, she's holed up in Broadchurch with that detective."

"What detective? What are you talking about?"

Yvonne smiled. "The one from that case down there last year, the one who also just put another three killers away, well two killers and an accomplice. I'm still convinced he's my cousin, hiding himself away but that's beside the point. I've had men out looking for them, they left town, you didn't warn them did you?"

"What? Rose goes off without telling me where she's going and you think I warned her you were sending someone after her?"

"Why wouldn't you, if you think you stand a chance with her? Seems like Hardy's beaten you to it, she's bound to have taken up with him if he's hiding her."

Steve paced up and down. Rose had betrayed him telling him she'd think about going out with him and some detective had beaten him to her. He still had no actual proof, Yvonne could just be trying to get him worked up and she was doing a very good job so far but he wasn't going to show her.

"How do I know you're not just saying that Yvonne?"

"It's director, remember that. Well it will be in a few hours time when she fails to show at the enquiry to answer the accusations against her. You could still help me Steve, if you want to? How do you fancy Rose's old job?"

"Mickey's taken over."

"Don't worry about him, he's done here after today, one way or another and so is Jake. Tell me what you really know about the Tyler family Steve, don't you remember anything your father used to tell you?"

"Yvonne, I was away back then, I can't help you and I'm sorry, if Rose has really taken up with Hardy, it's my own fault for betraying her trust. I'll be out one way or another, if Mr Tyler gets back in, he won't forget what I did but I really hope you lose Yvonne, you destroyed more lives than the Cybermen did."

Yvonne just smiled. "Oh I don't know, those who followed and supported me will get their rewards and you can tell your friends they're out as well."

"What friends?"

"Don't deny you put them up to it?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, Director."

"Please yourself but you won't be around to see all the changes I have planned."

"Trust me, I don't want to be."

Once outside her office, Steve leaned against the wall, wondering what havoc she was going to cause if Pete Tyler was really out. Did he really care that she'd made up the tale about Rose? He decided to get the truth out of Jake, there wasn't much point in going back to the office except to collect his things. If it was true though, Hardy looked like the man in the videos, was Hardy the one who was disguised? Maybe he was Yvonne's cousin and that was why she was so mad he'd taken up with Rose but there were still a lot of unanswered questions he would never get to know the truth about.

Pete had set off for Torchwood, he got one of the staff to drive him, he was still unsure he would be coming back but he wouldn't give up without a good fight and hoped Jake had some good news for him and Mickey had been around trying to still get the undecided on their side. Mickey had been trying to talk to Martha again but she'd walked off, telling him she wasn't picking sides and she was probably leaving.

"Sorry Mickey, I can't do this, I'm not over Tom yet and I'm handing my notice in today."

"Martha, don't leave because of me."

"I'm not Mickey, I didn't sign up here to get caught up in a power struggle and if Yvonne wins, I can't pretend I was always on her side."

"She won't win, Pete still has a lot of supporters and some have left Yvonne. Stay for a while?"

"No Mickey, I should never have come here after what happened to my cousin, Yvonne's not the only one who lost someone that day the Cybermen left."

"She lost someone before that," Mickey told her.

"Oh, I thought it was the day they all finally marched in here to escape?"

"Hang on, where did you hear that?"

"I must have got it wrong Mickey, I have to go now."

Jake had gone back to wait for Pete, who was just arriving at the front entrance.

"Yvonne was going to send someone else but I told them I was still in charge around here, at least until the enquiry's over," Jake greeted him. "Have you heard from Alec this morning?"

"Just briefly, they were leaving that hotel. So, who did they get?"

"You might be surprised Pete, things might not be as bad as they seem but everything's ready. It took some doing but there won't be much of Torchwood left for Yvonne to be in control of."

"Good thing, since when she's finished no-one will recognize it anyway. Have you see Mickey?"

"He was talking to Martha earlier, shame I couldn't hear what it was about," Jake grinned as they took the lift to the conference room.

Ian had got up from his desk to walk to the enquiry and gave his secretary a sealed envelope.

"Mary, if I don't come back after this stupid enquiry, make sure Simon or Julian get this letter."

"Sir?" she questioned.

"I've made sure you'll keep your job but if Yvonne gets control, I'm out of here. There will be no-one to stop her and if you have any sense, you'll get out as well."

"Sir, is it true, the rumours about Rose?"

Ian shook his head. "Only in Yvonne's mind, she's lost it. Heaven help anyone not on her side after this morning."

"She can't be, can she? I remember when Rose started here, she seemed so pleased to be helping those who had just arrived on this planet. You don't think it was because she didn't belong here?"

"No Mary, I've known Pete Tyler a long time, he wouldn't hide her but now, I can see why he's trying to protect her from Yvonne."

"Sir, I heard some talk this morning that Yvonne sent the retrieval team after Rose and the man she's hiding with."

"It wouldn't surprise me in the least. Did they say who she was with?"

"Some detective down in Dorset, I only heard in passing. It was Yvonne's inner circle, I think they deserted her."

"Good, they may have come to their senses and turned on her, maybe they told Jake all her plans?"

"Sir, if I may suggest? You were always on Mr Tyler's side but your position wouldn't allow you to show it."

"Yes, I never wanted any of this and I have no idea where Yvonne is getting all these ideas about Rose and aliens in general, they've so far been only too happy to comply in order to stay here. Once Yvonne turns on them, it will be catastrophic and the Cybermen will seem like a bunch of amateurs. Well, I should get going, I'll be back even if it's only to clear my desk."

The Brigadier was being served tea by one of the secretaries and being watched by one of Jake's trusted men so when he and Pete arrived just before Ian, Jake nodded to the man he could leave.

"No doubt Yvonne will bring one of her mob with her," Jake whispered as he opened the door.

The Brigadier looked up when he heard voices. "Mr Tyler, good to see you again."

"You too Sir, I trust you are being looked after?"

"Yes, sorry we have to meet again under these circumstances. How is your wife doing, I take it the process of her recovery is slow?"

"She's getting there Sir but all this is not helping. How much were you told?" Pete asked him, accepting a drink.

"Enough. This is not right Pete, it took you a long time to get Torchwood where it is today and I know we keep things separate but even so. I heard this was mainly about your adopted daughter?"

Pete was about to answer when Ian arrived and introduced himself.

"Thank you for agreeing to this Sir," Ian told him.

"I am intrigued as to why someone would want to take over. Where is the person in question?"

Yvonne was on her way with another man she thought she could trust.

"If those three clowns show up without Rose, evict them from the building," Yvonne was instructing him. "Have you heard back from Broadchurch police station yet?"

"No Director, DS Miller hasn't returned my call as yet."

"Well interrupt me if she does. Try calling her again or failing that, get her chief on the phone, those morons I sent weren't forceful enough."

"Yes Director, I'll get right on it."

Ellie was sitting at Alec's desk, wondering why the temporary Torchwood director would get someone else to call her when it was now obvious she was running out of time to get her hands on Rose and Hardy. She'd spoken to Alec briefly to say the three men had been around asking for him again as they were sitting in a coffee shop trying to keep out of the rain.

"We should make our way to Plymouth soon Rose," he was telling her as she stirred the froth of her latte. He took her hand across the table.

"Yeah, it's not likely to stop raining for the rest of the morning, I wanted to look in those little shops."

"No good buying anything love, not until we know where we are going," he reminded her.

"I know Alec, sorry, it was just something to do."

He heard his mobile and fished it out of his pocket. "It's Ellie Miller."

Rose smiled, since he'd remembered to call her Ellie.

"I just wanted to warn you, three men came in looking for you but they were told nothing and the desk sergeant told them not to go throwing their authority around."

"Did they not ask to speak to you?"

"No, they left from what I was told. Are you two okay?"

"Rose is very edgy which is to be expected. Well, the enquiry will be taking place shortly, Yvonne is out of time. We still don't know if she sent anyone else after us though."

Rose's face went serious. "Did ya have to remind me of that?" she asked him.

He covered the phone. "Sorry love."

"Well I doubt it," Ellie was saying. "Someone just called me from her office and I got a message to call back, I'm debating whether to or not."

"Don't get involved Ellie, stay out of it, she will twist whatever you say around. You have your two boys to think about, you should not have been dragged into this."

"Too late Hardy, I already am if she's asking for me. Just don't let yourselves get caught if it all goes the wrong way."

Yvonne was almost at the conference room door when her adviser's phone rang.

He just said "I'll tell her" back to the caller. He turned back to Yvonne. "Sorry, DS Miller has not called back yet, someone from the station called to say she's too busy sorting out the mess Hardy left when he failed to show up for work."

Yvonne kicked the wall. Why was she surrounded by incompetents? This DS Miller must have got information from Hardy and she could only guess he'd got it from Pete Tyler. Well let them run all they wanted, once she had full control there would be no hiding place for them. She composed herself and sent the man away after telling him to hand his employee ID in at the front desk.

She wasn't much happier when she walked though the door to find Pete, Ian and The Brigadier all laughing. She recognized him right away and had she known Ian was going to choose the veteran UNIT commander, she would have gone to Broadchurch herself to find the fugitives. Without real evidence and Pete Tyler defending Rose, she would have her work cut out. Now she'd found out about the little known clause he'd tried to introduce, she wondered if the board would go for it.

"Ah, Yvonne, just in time," Ian greeted her. You know the brigadier?"

"I know of him. A word Ian." She took him to one side. "So this is what you were up to?" she asked him.

"You really are over-extending yourself in the role of temporary director Yvonne. You wanted someone neutral, who else is qualified? We couldn't just drag anyone in off the street. Like it or not, present your case for Pete surrendering Rose and possibly Alec Hardy, if you're still after him."

"All I want is to find out if he's my cousin or not, he could have lost his memory but if he isn't and he's helping Rose?"

"Yvonne, it can't be him nor that man who was at Pete's that night, you're letting your personal feelings get in the way. Let's get on with this."

"Just one thing. You know about Pete's emergency protocol?"

"I'm aware of it, it was never fully accepted but if he uses it, we have to consider it."

Pete was waiting for them to finish talking. Jake had said he'd be in his office and he'd pull the plug if things went Yvonne's way. Now the showdown was about to start and it would be a battle of wills – him defending not only Rose and Alec but the freedom of every other alien on the planet, not that he for one minute considered Rose, Jackie or Mickey as aliens.

Yvonne decided she was going first and presented her arguments that she believed Rose Tyler had come from somewhere other than this world.

"Where's your proof Miss Hartman?" the brigadier asked her, scribbling some notes.

He'd seen some aliens in his time but not someone who looked identical to the rest of the earth's population.

"Well I would have had some if Pete wasn't hiding his adopted daughter or is she?"

"What?" Pete asked. "I have all the papers to say I adopted Rose, for finding my wife."

"Come on Pete, that was just a cover-up, admit it."

"Why would I cover anything up Yvonne?" Pete asked her. "Brigadier, you've seen aliens in your time, not including those who look like us. If someone, as Yvonne states, comes from a parallel universe, are they to be classed as aliens, if they are human?"

"That's a very good question but how do they get here? I assume there are some here?"

"Well Yvonne seems to think there are," Ian joined in.

"Why else would Pete have someone working on a device that can cross dimensions into parallel worlds? He said he wanted to use it to send anyone back who claims to have come from one."

"We have to give anyone who makes such a claim the chance to go home Yvonne and besides, we've not even established the device actually works yet."

"You've been stalling Pete, trying to sneak those who claim to be from elsewhere off the planet who've not declared themselves. You only wanted to get it working to let Rose escape."

The Brigadier was taking it all in, these two, well Yvonne, really had it in for him.

"We all know why you want us to get it working Yvonne, to go see what's out there. We want to send anyone back who's trapped here, why wouldn't we?"

"You want to help Rose get away, that's why she came to you, when she found out who was in charge here."

"That's not how it happened Yvonne and you know it."

"This is all very interesting you two but can we get to the real proof as to why you should take over Miss Hartman?" the brigadier asked her.

"I would have the proof if he surrenders Rose and Alec Hardy."

"Who is this Alec Hardy?" the brigadier asked.

"He's the one Pete's hidden Rose with," Yvonne smirked.

"Is this true Mr Tyler? Why is she not here anyway? Surely she wants to clear all this up?"

"She tried Sir but Yvonne didn't want to hear the truth so I sent her away."

"I know where you sent her Pete, to that dreadful seaside town that was in the news last year."

"I know you sent someone down there Yvonne, they were seen leaving the building."

"You mean you turned my trusted advisers against me," Yvonne huffed back.

"Who exactly went looking for Miss Tyler and this Alec Hardy? Wasn't he the one involved in that murder case?" the brigadier wanted to know.

"She sent what we call a retrieval team after the two of them and now she's upset they never found them," Pete replied.

"Sounds like they are too clever for you Miss Hartman. So let's get down to the real reason I'm here shall we?" the brigadier asked. "Mr Tyler, you refute the allegations your adopted daughter is hiding because she is really from another world? I was under the impression aliens had to register with you?"

"That was Rose's job and a good way of disguising the fact she herself was from another world. What better place to hide?" Yvonne asked.

"Still, Miss Hartman, you have no actual proof? What do you propose to do to get proof, take her apart?" the brigadier wanted to know.

Pete had a bad feeling that was exactly what Yvonne had intended doing but who would she get to do it? Certainly not Owen Harper, that was for sure. He also had a bad feeling she already had a 'team' of experts ready to do so.

"If necessary, unless she submits herself for a proper interrogation as to why she's hiding," Yvonne replied.

"That's just it though Yvonne," Pete interrupted. "You don't want anyone here, humanoid or otherwise, admit it. Why did you even take a job here? Was it just because you lost your cousin? If so, you're not the only one who lost someone to the Cybermen."

"Is that what all this is about?" the brigadier wanted to know. "Is this all personal on your side Miss Hartman?"

"What if it is?" Yvonne asked. "I'm representing all those who lost someone to the Cybermen."

"Were you asked to?" the brigadier asked her. "Those metal creatures got away, hopefully they won't be going back and there is only one man to blame for them and it's not Mr Tyler."

"He wants to let them back or let others keep coming here, when is it all going to stop? It's only a matter of time if this device works that aliens will take advantage of it and at the same time, it will help those not registered to get away."

"Miss Hartman, I've dealt with more 'aliens' in my time than you've had hot dinners. UNIT dealt with them a long time before Torchwood became involved and most of them were sent on their way, why don't you want to help send them back?"

"I would do, if they came forward but why is Rose hiding, if she's not one of them?" Yvonne replied.

"Like I said Miss Hartman, you have no proof she is indeed from another world. I know it's been said the Cybermen went somewhere, using Torchwood resources, how do you know they did not go to some other unsuspecting dimension and invaded them? Would you blame anyone who was trying to escape them if they used the same means of coming here?" the brigadier asked her.

Pete thought he was too clever for his own good, no wonder he was well respected.

"Sir, if I might say something?" Ian dared ask.

Yvonne looked at him but said nothing.

"Sir, Yvonne has presented this case before in front of the board and convinced them that Pete was hiding something and using his position to protect Rose and at the time, I had to agree with their decision but it's quite clear now she's only after one thing."

"What would that be?" the brigadier asked him, looking at his watch.

"To destroy Torchwood as we know it. It was set up originally to watch for anything alien, after Queen Victoria encountered an alien disguised as a werewolf but she never gave the whole story. Since then, the organization has flourished into what it is today, to keep the planet safe from alien attack by welcoming visitors rather than have them being hostile."

"Get on with it Ian," Yvonne yawned.

The brigadier frowned at her. "I want to hear more," he told her. "So by them registering, you can keep a track of them? It seems Miss Hartman thinks those not registered are hostile but if they were, surely after all this time we would have known? The old Torchwood failed to see what Mr Lumic was doing I suppose but he wasn't alien, was he? It seems to me there is no real solution here Miss Hartman but driving them underground will not help."

"Exactly Brigadier, what if they plot against us and turn on us and Pete keeps letting them come here?"

Steve had gone down to Jake's office and asked what was going on with the enquiry he'd heard about.

"Can't tell you much Steve," Jake told him as he stared at the monitor.

"It's about Rose though, isn't it? Yvonne just called me to her office, I'm really afraid for Rose now, Yvonne will stop at nothing to get to her if she wins."

"We already know that Steve, don't worry, she's in safe hands."

"With that detective? Yvonne tried to get me jealous enough to get me to admit I warned Rose to get out."

"Did she now?" Jake mused. "She's just getting desperate because a team failed to find Rose. If Yvonne wins, a plan will be set in action, Rose will be safe and yes, she's with Alec Hardy but what their relationship is I've got no idea."

"Yeah, I should have known Rose wouldn't trust me any more. Yvonne was trying to use that against me but I'm just going to clear my desk and I'm resigning, Pete won't have me back even if Yvonne's out."

"Steve, he won't hold that against you, Yvonne fooled a lot of people and they'll all see her for what she is – power hungry. Stay for now, if Pete's back in, he'll make it known if he's letting everyone off for turning on him."

"How can I stay here if Rose comes back?" Steve asked him.

"You might not have to find that out, she might not want to come back. You could apply for her job, Mickey won't want it, he has to keep his desk tidy."

It had finally stopped raining down in the small Devon seaside town where Rose and Alec were waiting for any news.

"Come on Rose, I will get you something for that chain I bought you," Alec told her. "Where is it anyway?" he asked, noticing she wasn't wearing it.

"In my jewellery box back at the caravan, sorry. We were in a bit of a rush."

"I know love, sorry. When I said to Miller about Yvonne sending someone else after us, I did not mean to scare you but we have to consider she may have expected the other three to fail."

"Knowing Yvonne, that's exactly what she'd do but maybe she'll just wait to see if she does actually win? We'll have more to worry about than her sending one person after us."

Alec already knew that and that was what he was afraid of. How could he keep her safe with every Torchwood agent and anyone else Yvonne would recruit coming to find them? Rose would never be able to go home again and have to change her identity and even if he asked her to marry him, he was also wanted as Alec Hardy, a name he'd thought he was safe with when he'd taken it four years ago.
Chapter 37
The enquiry had been adjourned for a while for refreshments as the brigadier had to stop an argument between Yvonne and Pete when he'd gone on about her last statement.

"I do not let them keep coming here Yvonne," Pete had defended himself. "If they find themselves here through no fault of their own, what do you expect Torchwood to do about it? You know those that can go home do so with encouragement from us and the use of our technology."

"Yes but you do nothing to get those back who don't seem to want to go," Yvonne argued back.

"That's what the cannon project was for Yvonne, for those who said they came from other worlds like ours."

"Well you're not doing much about it from what I heard," Yvonne scoffed back.

"We have to make sure it's viable," Pete told her.

What he wasn't telling was the fact they had stopped working on it until it was established Yvonne wasn't going to be in charge of it and Jake had plans in case she did win. Yvonne was getting dangerous in her dealings with their alien visitors, who knew what she was likely to do?

"I think we all need a break Mr Tyler," the brigadier decided.

Ian got up to get the poor secretary back in and went up to Pete.

"Sorry I can't say too much Pete," Ian told him. "Yvonne seems determined I'm here just to observe but I wanted you to know, I'm resigning if she wins this."

"I understand Ian and thanks for getting The Brigadier in for this, we might stand more of a chance with him."

"Well Yvonne didn't seem too keen to see him here."

Yvonne was at the far end of the room trying to find out if Rose and Hardy had been found.

"No Director, nothing yet," her secretary told her.

"Well let me know if DS Miller decides to return my call."

Ellie had taken Alec's advice and got someone to call Torchwood back to say she was too busy. Alec was right, she shouldn't have let herself get involved with this but she was and she was damned if Yvonne Hartman was going to get her hands on Rose. Rose and Alec were sat in the car, Alec messing with the satnav. Rose put her hand on his.

"Maybe we should just head for Bristol?" she asked.

He looked up from the display. "Maybe? We still have half an hour on the parking, how long is that enquiry going to take?"

"Pete won't give up without a fight Alec, he'll use that clause if he has to, the board know about it even if they never agreed to it."

"Even if it puts your mother and Tony in danger?"

He looked around and saw someone driving around looking for a parking space had stopped to see if they were leaving so he just shook his head and the man drove off, probably cursing, not that Alec actually cared at this present moment. He knew he could get a call at any moment to say which way things had gone.

"He'll make a deal if he has to, that they get kept out of it. We still can't go back though, we can go back to pack then we'll have to move somewhere else."

"Just when I get my job back. Well, I will find something else to do, maybe go into teaching?"

"History or physics?" Rose managed to smile.

"I think I had enough of history, being back in 1913 for three months. I said I had something to tell you."

"You mean about Martha looking after you?"

"There was a nurse there, well a matron, we almost got involved."

"You didn't though?"

"No, I changed back and she didn't like me very much for doing so. There's something else, we all went to this planet, Messaline, me, Donna and Martha and they used these sort of looming machines, a bit like the Timelords used to have and well, they took a tissue sample from me, well from my twin and they used it, to create someone."

"Wow, that means you became a father doesn't it?"

"Yes, it was different from when I was created I suppose or is it? I grew out of his spare hand, that machine stole a tissue sample and reproduced a fully grown woman out of it. Donna reckoned she was my daughter but I'm not so sure what it made her."

"Then where is she Alec?"

"She died, saving me. That's what people tend to do, sacrifice themselves for me when I never really ask them to. Now you know why my twin was keen for me to stay here when I suggested there might be a way."

Rose reached for his hand. "He sent you back to me Alec, for that, I can never thank him."

"I'm sorry I waited so long Rose."

"It's okay, you're with me now and I put you in danger."

"Yvonne would have tried to find out about me eventually. There's only her to blame."

"What was her name Alec?"

"Donna came up with Jenny, Donna said she was a generated anomaly which she was I suppose? She had two hearts but it wasn't enough to save her."

"I'm sorry Alec. Let's just set off, there are people looking for spaces."

"I wish you'd have been with me Rose, that was the worse day of my lives when Pete grabbed hold of you and brought you here."

"How do ya think I felt Alec? Let's just go."

Back at Torchwood, the enquiry had resumed but the brigadier knew no-one was going to win this without his intervention so just after eleven thirty, he stopped Yvonne as she was arguing the Cybermen could use the cannon to come back.

"I'm sure that is not what it's intended for Miss Hartman," the brigadier told her. "What did Mr Tyler mean about testing it, is it actually working?"

"No Sir, it's not working and if it were to start, safeguards would be put in place to stop anyone using it from this end or wherever it leads to," Pete replied.

"So you don't actually know where anyone would end up?" the brigadier asked Pete.

"It measures different timelines, events and we can deduce if a world has been invaded and shut it down immediately before the Cybermen can take advantage of it. As for knowing exactly where the co-ordinates would lead, we've no way of knowing exactly what world it would be."

"So how can you claim you want to send people back who say they come from another world?" Yvonne wanted to know.

"We would get certain facts from them and see from the readings we get what matches there are. Every world would be different, different historical events and developed in different ways. We would feed all the information from our visitors into it and see who can be sent back, after proper testing."

"Well I am satisfied there is no danger from the Cybermen coming back Miss Hartman," the brigadier informed her. Then he scratched his head. "Oh, I get it now Miss Hartman. Sending your people through to clarify a particular timeline could have it's advantages?"

"I don't know what you mean Brigadier," Yvonne claimed.

Pete knew she was now going to come unstuck. "Come off it Yvonne, even the brigadier can see where you're going with this. You want to take advantage and see what you can get out of unsuspecting worlds."

"Is that true Yvonne?" Ian asked her.

She knew she'd been found out but that wasn't her only intention. She had thought recently it was viable the Cybermen had taken prisoners with them who had not been converted, to show wherever they went to that it was possible to become like them without actually becoming one. Maybe her cousin had been one of those captured and forced to go with the Cybermen and Alec Hardy was just a detective but Rose was definitely not from this world, the way she was hiding.

When she didn't answer, Ian got up. "Yvonne, answer the question because if you don't, I will assume Pete's right and I'll have to call the board together to discuss your future. Is it true you want to use the cannon for your own ends?"

"Pete obviously does, he wants to find the one Rose came from and send her back and if a few lucky visitors get back at the same time, hooray for them."

"That's not all though is it Yvonne?" Pete asked her. "What are you going to do with all those who can't get home?"

"Yes Yvonne, I'm sure the board would also want to know that. If you intend locking them up, then we will have more problems than we can deal with. Brigadier, you can see where this is going?" Ian asked him.

"Yes indeed and it seems to me that Miss Hartman is the one you should be worried about. This thing about Miss Tyler was just a ruse, wasn't it Miss Hartman?"

"Not exactly, you see I think Rose came from the world the Cybermen went to."

"So you think as the Cybermen invaded her world, she just used the way they'd got there and got lucky?" Pete asked her.

"You know more than you're letting on Pete, you helped her get here, didn't you?" Yvonne wanted to know.

"How could I have done Yvonne?"

"Yes Miss Hartman, how could he have done?" the brigadier asked her.

"Easy, the night of the Cybermen attack, you went missing for several hours with two people who look suspiciously like Rose and this Alec Hardy."

"You thought it was your cousin Yvonne, you've changed your tune," Ian told her.

"I came to my senses and realised my cousin wouldn't have got involved let alone pose as a waiter but what did Alec Hardy do before he went into the police?"

Pete thought if only she knew. "So now you're convinced it was those two?" Pete asked her.

The brigadier was listening with interest. "That does not alter the fact you want to use this cannon device for your own purposes Miss Hartman and I'm here to determine the future of Torchwood. It seems to me that Miss Tyler and Detective Inspector Hardy being present on the night the Cybermen invaded is immaterial. If no proof can be presented that Miss Tyler does not belong on this world and Hardy is not your cousin, the only thing that matters is who has control over Torchwood."

"That's where you come in Sir," Ian reminded them. "They've both presented their arguments and the board has already agreed to go with your ruling Brigadier. Now Yvonne's true motives have come to light, which she's not denying, then her being given free reign to go ahead needs a rethink of the board. She only got put in temporary charge since she was calling Pete's ideas of running things into question."

"Yes indeed," the brigadier supported him. "I think the board should indeed go over their decision to put Miss Hartman in charge permanently. Miss Hartman, it seems you have some ulterior motives for wanting Mr Tyler and his adopted daughter out of your way. However, making these unsupported accusations against them does nothing to add to the credibility."

"Well I would have had proof had Pete not kept any secrets," Yvonne huffed, knowing she was losing this.

"Still Miss Hartman, you also have no proof that Mr Tyler is hiding anything, least of all Miss Tyler." He turned to Ian. "I suggest you get the board to convene this afternoon and inform them I recommend that until such times Miss Hartman can get concrete proof of her accusations that she be removed from the position of temporary director. Whether you want to remove her as assistant director is down to the board to decide."

"Thank you Sir, I'll inform the other board members," Ian told him. "Meanwhile Yvonne, as the representative of the board, you are hereby relieved of your duties and on immediate suspension while the board discusses the situation."

"You can't do that Ian," Yvonne protested.

"Yes, I can actually, the board said they would trust my judgement on any outcome of this farce of an enquiry you forced to take place. Pete, will you join us in the boardroom, say at two?"

"Yes, I'll be there and Yvonne, clear your things out of my old office."

"You've not won yet Pete, trust me," Yvonne told him.

"Yvonne, it's over and you are out of here when the board gets the brigadier's recommendations," Ian interrupted her. "Sir, may I tell the board?"

"Yes, that's what I just said. I'm very disappointed Miss Hartman, I would have thought you would have made sure you had hard evidence before it came to an actual enquiry. I can see why Miss Tyler went into hiding when you have been making things difficult for her."

Pete had sent a message to Jake to have Yvonne escorted from the building when she had cleared her office under guard.

Jake had sent a message back just saying 'with pleasure'.

The brigadier got up to leave when Jake arrived with another of his security team.

"Take the brigadier to the car park Chrissie, I'll escort Yvonne personally to get her things."

Chrissie nodded and waited for the brigadier, who was talking to Pete.

"Sorry we had to drag you into this Sir," Pete was telling him.

"Yes, well it got me out for the morning but power struggles are not really my thing, unless of course aliens are the ones trying to take power. Give my best wishes to your wife will you?"

"Of course Sir, thank you."

"So, where is your adopted daughter, down on the Dorset coast with the detective?"

"Somewhere, I'm not exactly sure where they are now. I was only trying to protect her, Yvonne seemed to have it in for her."

"Well if you ask me Mr Tyler, Miss Hartman seems a little too power hungry for my personal liking. It seems to me losing her cousin affected her mentally and she was out for any kind of revenge she could find. Did I tell you I almost lost my own daughter that night?"

"No Sir, I don't believe you did. Perhaps you could tell me about it sometime?"

The brigadier smiled. "Since Miss Hartman is on her way out, just between me and you, was your adopted daughter at your place that night?"

"Ah, that would be telling Sir but it wasn't Alec Hardy or Yvonne's cousin who was there with whom Yvonne thought was Rose."

"So it was a case of mistaken identity then?"

"Yes Sir, Yvonne just couldn't accept she was wrong, it was consuming her."

"Then I trust she'll be taken care of? I've heard what Torchwood can do to those who are asked to leave under certain circumstances?" the brigadier smiled, looking at the waiting Chrissie.

"Indeed Sir, it will be taken care of."

Ian had already left to round up the other board members and to arrange a hastily convened meeting. Jake had left with Yvonne and another security team member whom he'd called to join him. Pete took the opportunity to call Alec but since he was driving, Rose beat him to putting the handsfree on through the radio speaker.

"Dad?" she asked at seeing 'Pete' on the screen.

"Yes Rose, it's all over - Yvonne's as good as out, pending my reinstatement. It's just a formality, Ian's talking to the board right now."

"That's good news Pete," Alec told him as he pressed the button anyway.

"Can we make our way back to Broadchurch then?" Rose asked Pete as Alec pulled the car into a lay-by.

"Yes, Jake said the three men she sent for you have disappeared and besides, they have no authority now. You can go home Rose."

Alec stopped where he was after Pete said he was just staying to attend a board meeting, where he hoped to get the director's job back. Despite them being in full view, Alec took his seatbelt off and turned to Rose.

"We can go home now, no more hiding."

"Yeah, we should call Ellie and tell her. Can we go back to London as well?"

"We can go at the weekend and now, we can look for somewhere to live, if you want to stay in Broadchurch?"

"I like it there, even though I've had to pretend to be your girlfriend."

"You did not like pretending to be my girlfriend?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I'd rather be your real girlfriend Alec."

They made their way back to Broadchurch, calling for a few groceries and Rose invited Ellie to call round after work.

"So it's all over?" Ellie asked as Alec made some tea. "What did she hope to gain from it all?"

"To get Rose to admit she does not belong here," Alec replied.

"Does she?" Ellie teased.

"I'm here Ellie," Rose joked. "You deserve to know the truth Ellie, you helped us. I come from where the Cybermen escaped to. Pete and some friends came to warn us but it all got out of hand because there's a three year difference between the two worlds. When I got here, I found myself three years older."

"What about Jackie Tyler?" Ellie asked.

"What about her? It's a very long story Ellie that I can't tell you, Pete went to a lot of trouble and it almost got us into a mess."

"I understand, I'm just glad you two aren't hiding any longer. So were you really together before all this?"

"Rose and I knew each other before, that's all you need to know," Alec told her.

When Ellie had left, Alec wanted them to go out to celebrate but Rose just wanted to sit outside the camp bar. As it was getting dark, he led her across to the harbour and sat her down at the end of the stone pier.

"Rose, now this is all over, we have some decisions to make."

"You mean about where we live and if you're still gonna be Alec Hardy?"

"Yes, amongst other things. I meant it Rose, I could go into teaching, change my name."

"No, this is what you do Alec, you help people and teaching's good but you make a great detective."

"Do I? I suppose I was just unlucky getting two murder investigations?" he smiled.

"Yeah, trust you."

"So, I stay as Alec Hardy then? You like my accent?"

"I love your accent, you do it much better than the other you."

"What about my name?" he asked, touching her cheek gently with his finger.

"I like it. It's better than James McCrimmon."

Alec smiled. "Then how do you feel about sharing it? Marry me Rose."
Chapter 38
Two months later
 
Rose and Alec had agreed to let her mother throw a big engagement party at the mansion for them and Ellie had travelled up to London to attend, being assured someone would look after young Fred. Since they didn't really know that many people in Broadchurch, they had also decided to get married at the mansion and had chosen a September wedding.

So on the afternoon of the engagement party, Ellie had arrived and Jackie was making a fuss over young Fred.

"Your mother is going to spoil him Rose," Ellie mentioned to her.

"Aw, you should have seen her when Tony was that age. I'm glad you decided to come up."

"Well since your fiancé came back to work, he's done nothing but go on about it, how could I avoid it? When are you going back to Broadchurch?"

"Tomorrow, we have loads to do with moving."

"I'm surprised you haven't bought a house, it's not like you can't afford one."

"We will, eventually, we just wanted something quick and we got lucky though if I'd had my way, we'd have got Alec's old chalet back."

"I heard that Rose," Alec interrupted them. "Trust Rose to go for a house in a road called Poppy Way," he complained to Ellie.

Rose smiled and put her arm in his. "So when we have kids, flower names are out then?"

Alec raised his eyebrows.

Ellie had to laugh. "It's like nothing's ever been wrong with you two. Olly asked for an interview when you get back."

"Yeah, we know Ellie, seems only fair since he got threatened by Yvonne's henchmen. I hope Tess and Daisy are gonna get here soon," Rose replied.

"I'm surprised you get on with his ex Rose," Ellie commented as Alec went off to catch Pete.

"Why shouldn't I? She doesn't want him to be miserable, it was a mutual split. Anyway, Daisy wants to come and stay with us and we have to decide on a bridesmaid dress for her and I've been meaning to ask you if you think Fred's old enough to be a pageboy?"

"As long as he doesn't have to do anything other than hold your dress he should be fine. What about your brother?"

"He's the ring bearer, Jake's looking up the role and instructing him but we've got a few months yet. As soon as this engagement party's over, mum will be re-booking the caterers for the wedding."

"I still don't get something though Rose and I can't get an answer out of Alec. Is Jackie your real mother or not?"

"I can't tell you Ellie, honestly, Pete won't allow us to say anything and it's caused enough problems already. It's all really complicated and how Yvonne unravelled everything, we don't know. Pete still suspects she had other help."

"So what happened to her?" Ellie wanted to know as Fred finally escaped Jackie smothering him and was looking for her.

"She was taken care of, she works at Vitex now, she still remembers things like her cousin went missing but some of her memories were wiped. I wonder what happened to him though?"

"One of life's mysteries? Fred, I'm here," she called to the young boy. "He's never seen such a big house. So, who was here that night? Was it you and Alec?"

Rose smiled. "One of life's other mysteries Ellie."

As everyone began arriving for the engagement party, Rose and Alec were still in her room. It was the first time he'd been back to the mansion since all those years ago.

"So, this is the room you heard me calling your name in?" he asked, fastening the zip of her blue silky dress.

"Yeah, I thought I was going mad and it took me a while to realise I wasn't hearing things. Maybe if I'd realised it was actually you earlier, you'd have had time to finish that sentence?"

She turned around and began fiddling with his collar.

"Don't go getting lipstick on that," he smiled. "No, I don't think he would have finished that sentence even if he'd not run out of time. He was afraid if he told you, well that things would never have been the same again and he would lose what he had with you."

"He must have known how I felt about him, I mean you? This is really awkward Alec, you were him."

"You think you are the only one who is confused?" he smiled. "We should be going downstairs to greet the guests."

As they walked down the staircase hand in hand, everyone who had already arrived began clapping and Tom turned to his mother.

"She knows a lot of people Mum."

Ellie just smiled. "It's a different world Tom. A lot are people she used to work with and family friends of the Tylers. They're not her real parents Tom, she lost her mother a few years ago, to those Cybermen."

"Poor Rose. She looks happy with DI Hardy though."

"Yeah, she does. Go on you can have a sip of champagne when Mr Tyler gets everyone's attention."

"Ladies and gentlemen," Pete called out just as Rose and Alec got to the bottom of the staircase. "Raise your glasses to my beautiful adopted daughter Rose and her fiancé Alec. Alec, I believe you wanted to say a few words?"

"Yes, thanks Pete. Rose and I were parted for a few years but I never gave up getting her back and when she consented to marry me, well it made me the happiest man in any universe. So, I hope you will come to the wedding?"

Everyone raised their glasses and Ellie was quick to take Tom's glass away after a sip.

Rose wasn't happy to see a lot of the guests from Torchwood were ones who had been on Yvonne's side but Pete had explained how without help from some of them turning on Yvonne, they might never be having this party.

After Yvonne had been escorted from the building, Pete had called everyone into the staff canteen and made an announcement that surprised rather a lot of them but he'd made sure those who still couldn't go by his regime got severance pay. A lot of staff had fallen under Yvonne's spell without realizing what she was really up to.

Now though, things had been getting back to normal at Torchwood, Rose and Alec had gone off for a few days to recover and he'd proposed properly on the beach in Torquay.

Steve though wasn't amongst the guests Rose noted. Then when she looked again, he was sitting in a corner. Alec had been caught by Owen.

"You're a lucky man Alec," Owen told him.

"Yes, that I am. Rose said you stuck up for her against Yvonne, thanks for that."

"Yes, well I was determined I was not going to take sides but Yvonne was trying to turn my staff and I told her they were off limits. I'm glad it's all over. Did you know about Steve?" Owen asked, indicating to where Rose had found him.

"She told me it was nothing serious, it was before we met."

"Ah, then what about that tale Pete made up, or was that your idea to say Rose was an old girlfriend of yours?" Owen asked him.

Alec declined to answer and went towards Rose but decided she needed to explain to Steve the reason why she was marrying a detective she had supposedly met while she was in hiding.

"I didn't think you'd come to my engagement party Steve," Rose told him as she stood in front of him with a glass in her hand.

"I wanted to see if it was true. You never forgave me for deserting Pete's side, did you?"

"It's not that Steve, I didn't intend to fall in love with Alec while I was hiding."

"Don't give me that Rose, you already knew him didn't you? He just admitted it. I don't know who he really is but he was here with you that night, wasn't he?"

Rose nodded. "It's a long story Steve and I never intended to lead you on. I hoped I'd see him again one day, that's why I couldn't get close to anyone. I lost touch with him after that night, I never thought I'd see him again. Pete knew where he was and thought I'd be safe with him when Yvonne was after me."

That was the nearest she was prepared to tell him.

Rose was surprised that Gwen had travelled from Cardiff with her husband.

"Rose, congratulations. Thanks for getting me home."

"No worries Gwen, I know it was all Yvonne, she brainwashed a lot of people. I'd love for you to come to our wedding, in September. I forgot to ask Pete, are you officially part of Torchwood again?"

"Yeah but Ianto wanted a few changes," Gwen smiled.

The engagement party was a success and the next day, they all got ready to go back to Broadchurch and Sandbrook, Fred still looking around the large house.

"So can I get on with the wedding arrangements?" Jackie wanted to know.

"Yeah, hey Daisy," Rose called the teenager. "I'll send you any links to bridesmaid dresses I like then we'll come up to Sandbrook and you can try them on."

"What about your dress Rose?" Jackie asked her.

"I might get it while Daisy's getting her dress, we can go up there one weekend. Anyone seen the papers this morning?"

"Ask Pete, he was the one who released all the engagement details."

"I just wondered if they stuck to what he told them?"

"Never mind Rose, you don't need to know what the papers wrote," Alec assured her.

"Ellie said Olly wanted an interview, I think we owe him after he covered for us. Let him scoop all the nationals."

"If that's what you want love? I will just go say goodbye to Tess."

"Well," Tess told him. "You certainly got what you wanted? I have to admit, I found it a bit difficult to believe you could wait for someone that long."

"She was worth it Tess. We will see you when Rose and Daisy have decided on dresses."

Rose was saying goodbye to Tony.

"You keep practising with Jake, won't you?"

"Yeah, I won't drop the rings Rose, honestly. Dad says it's a very important job."

"Yeah, it is and you'll do it great. Wait until dad goes to hire your suit for the day."

"Yuck, do I have to wear a suit?"

Rose smiled. "Hey, you think wearing a suit is bad enough? What about Mickey and Jake?"

"Alec always wears one, doesn't he? That's what auntie Ellie said. She says she bets he used to sleep in it."

"Well I don't think it ever came to that Tony, maybe he fell asleep when he was ill wearing it?"

They all said goodbye and Alec asked Tom if he wanted to ride with them some of the way back, since they were planning on taking a break.

"How are you settling down again Tom?" Alec asked him.

"Fine thanks, mum's still trying to get the painting finished."

"I thought it was done?" Rose asked.

"Nearly, she wants to do the loft out now and rent it out."

Over the next few months, Rose was constantly talking to her mother about cakes, flowers and food during the day while Alec was at work and about their own plans when he got home then a week before the actually day, their honeymoon already booked, the time came to go get the wedding license. So the Saturday morning before the wedding, they drove up to London to visit the registry office, Alec's 'divorce' papers in his inside jacket pocket and he hoped Pete had done a good job with them.

"I'm sure he did Alec," Rose was trying to assure him as they decided they would go there first then stay overnight at the mansion as Jackie had several sample wedding cakes she wanted them to try.

Getting into the outer office, they were asked what forms they wanted and went to fill them in while they waited for the assistant registrar.

"We could have got Pete to do all this," Rose said wearily, looking at the form. "Why couldn't we do it online anyway?"

"Seriously?" Alec raised his eyebrows. "Rose, this is something we are only going to do once, my first marriage never really counted, remember?" he asked, leaning closer so no-one would overhear.

"Yeah, I know Alec, sorry. I guess I'm used to Pete doing everything for me since I've known him."

"You are just nervous, relax love. Don't worry, everything will go smoothly, I just present my divorce papers and we get issued a marriage license. You should be more worried about what your mother has planned."

"You mean trying to keep us apart the night before? Good luck to her with that."

"We should follow tradition love. Maybe we can compromise?" he asked as he ticked the box that said he had proof of his divorce.

Rose had ticked the box to say she was single and never been married and they both finished at the same time, the forms on the clipboards handed in at the desk.

They still had to wait for their turn but sat hand in hand, Rose looking around at two other couples filling in forms.

"Are we next?" she asked Alec.

"I would imagine so, since we have finished filling our forms in. Stop being so nervous, we have been in far worse situations than getting married."

"Yeah, you're right, sorry. Who would have thought getting married could be so complicated? We should have gone somewhere and got married without telling my mother."

"She would have just made us do it again," he smiled as a couple came out of the room opposite.

"What's taking so long?" Rose wondered.

"Well, they have to check we are both free to marry and at least now, we don't have to wait weeks before we are issued a license. I imagine years ago, letters had to be sent to other registry offices, now, it's all done at the push of a button."

A man came out and took a folder from the counter.

"Tyler and Hardy?" he asked, looking around.

Rose was up like a shot, pulling Alec with her. The registrar smiled at her enthusiasm.

"This way please, I'm Mr Graham, the assistant registrar. Please, have a seat."

Everything was going well as the man checked their forms and entered the information into the database and asked for Alec's proof of divorce. Then he looked at the screen and back at the forms, picking up Rose's.

"You are Rose Tyler?" he asked.

"Yeah, why? If you want to know if I'm adopted by Pete Tyler then yeah, I am, it's all there."

"Yes, I am not questioning your adoption Miss Tyler, I have accessed your adoption details. What I am questioning is why you ticked you are single and never married, you have your divorce papers?"

"What?" they both asked at the same time.

"I have double checked, if you are Rose Tyler who got married to a Mickey Smith around a year ago."

"What?" Rose asked again, Alec looking at her. "I never married Mickey, not in a million years."

"Well it says here you were both married in a small town in Cornwall in a community ceremony along with several other couples. The man conducting the proceedings entered your names as two of those of those who took part."

"Rose, can you explain this?" Alec asked.

"What do you think? No, I can't explain it, it must be a mistake."

"There's no mistake, it seems it is common for couples to get married as part of an ancient Cornish tradition in this particular town, well more like a village and a certificate of sorts is normally issued. You never saw one?" the registrar asked her, thinking it was a good thing another assistant registrar was also in that morning.

"No, I never knew anything about it. You say a Cornish village?"

Alec recovered slightly. "Rose, you said you and Mickey went on holiday to Cornwall, your mother keeps joking about how he threw himself into the whole thing, all the traditions. Do you not remember anything?"

"Oh crumbs, yeah, I remember we went to this like village green and loads of couples were getting married."

"Well Miss Tyler, it seems you and Mr Smith became part of it. Do you remember giving your names?"

"No, I never gave my name but now I think about it, Mickey was talking to someone. I'm gonna kill him if he gave my name."

"Rose, you must have been included and afterwards, Mickey thought the man just wanted to know who had been there," Alec offered, taking her hand.

"It seems a reasonable explanation Miss Tyler but the question remains, do you have something to say it was annulled or you are divorced?"

"How could I when I never even knew I was married? I think I need to talk to Pete about this."

"You don't say?" Alec mused. He addressed the registrar. "We will be back when we get this sorted but there is only a week to our wedding and if you say they got married in Cornwall, then who do we contact?"

"I can give you the details of who conducted the ceremony, seems the weddings still go on every Sunday during the summer. I'll print the details out for you, you can leave your forms here and I'll put them aside until this is resolved. Well good luck with getting it sorted," the registrar told them.

Once outside, Rose sat down, not quite believing this was happening. Alec sat beside her, taking her hand.

"We will set this straight Rose, Mickey probably does not know either."

"How can he deny it when he gave our names? What did he think he was being asked for? I saw him talking to a man but I was looking around, everyone was so happy but we never actually said the vows or 'I Do' well I didn't anyway and I'm pretty sure Mickey didn't. How can they say we're married if we never said anything?"

"Mickey may have been handed a piece of paper and never realised what it was?" Alec offered. "Well, we should go find out."

"My mother will kill him when she finds out. Let's go to his place first, then we'll call and tell Pete."

"There will be no magical way out of this Rose, not how Pete dealt with mine and Tess's because it never happened. It was just unfortunate you were caught up in it. Maybe you got too close to the ceremony?"

"Yeah, I remember, we were on the village green, well on the edge and the crowds were surrounding the green at the other side of the path. It was busy when we got there so Mickey said we'd just stand there."

"There must have been a certain distance that people were included Rose. You were not to know."

"I should have realised Alec, when everyone else were keeping their distance. Mickey was throwing himself into everything while we were there."

"I already know love. You should call him."

Mickey was tidying his apartment, having finally persuaded Martha to give him another chance. She was now working at UNIT, leading numerous missions as the chief medical officer but he was surprised to see Rose was calling him.

"Hey Rose, are you two in London?"

"How did ya guess since we said we were coming to get the marriage license? We need to come and see you."

"Me? What have I done?"

"Think back Mickey, what did you do? Does Cornwall ring any bells?"

They arrived at Mickey's tidier than normal apartment.

"Oh," Mickey managed. "What about Cornwall?" he asked as he let them in.

Rose flopped down on the sofa after making sure nothing was hidden behind the cushions, like his smelly socks.

"Mickey, we went to that village, remember? The one where couples were getting married," Rose sighed as Alec remained standing.

"So? What does that have to do with anything?" Mickey asked, eyeing Alec as if him being the Doctor hadn't been bad enough.

"Because you idiot, you and Rose got married," Alec told him, loosing his Scottish accent. "We are one week away from the wedding and you failed to tell Rose you thought you may have accidentally got married."

"I don't know anything about it, I swear," Mickey protested. "How did the registrar know?"

"It was recorded," Alec told him. "Maybe before computers were popular, it never mattered because it would not have been legally binding if you never actually said the vows but now, everything is accessible and the person conducting the ceremony put it out online. Don't forget these days, people can get married anywhere and it will be known to anyone who cares to look."

"I'm sorry Rose, I had no idea," Mickey tried to apologise. "So we've been married over a year and we never knew?"

"Don't get any ideas Mickey 'cos I'm way past being annoyed with this, you can explain to my mother we may have to delay this wedding."

"I wasn't suggesting anything," Mickey tried to tell her. "So what do we do?"

Alec got a piece of paper out of his pocket.

"This is the town and the name of the man who conducted the ceremony. You need to contact him and tell him it was a mistake and you need something to prove it."

"But won't it take a while, if we have to get divorced?" Mickey asked.

"You'd better hope it doesn't Mickey or you'll have to answer to Jackie, when I've done with you," a more than annoyed Alec replied.

Chapter 39
Alec was still pacing Mickey's living room as Mickey glanced at the piece of paper.

"I remember something now, this man asked our names, I thought he was just wanting us to be witnesses."

"Did you sign anything?" Rose asked him, dying for a drink but not of Mickey's coffee.

"I might have done, how was I to know otherwise? Be fair Rose, it was a bit unusual."

"Well, you had better contact him, now," Alec told him, Rose trying to get him to sit down.

"Yeah, 'course," Mickey stuttered as he looked for his phone. "Anyone want a drink?"

They both shook their heads, Alec remembering Mickey's coffee-making skills from his time in the Tardis.

"Quit stalling Mickey and just sort it out. Now we'll have to wait around until Monday to go back to the registry office," Rose told him.

"Then I will have to call the chief and tell her we have been delayed in getting back. Well?" Alec asked Mickey as he held the phone to his ear.

"There's no answer, maybe he's only in his office on Sundays?" Mickey replied.

"Don't be daft Mickey, he's a wedding officiator on Sundays but he probably has another job," Alec told him.

"Well there's no answer wherever he is on a Saturday. I'll have to try tomorrow. What time were we in the village Rose?"

"How do I remember?" Rose snapped back.

"Try and remember love, it will give us an idea as to when the man might be in his office, if he goes there to prepare for the ceremony. Mickey, do you remember getting a certificate of any kind?" Alec asked him.

Mickey shook his head as he put his phone in his pocket.

"Oh, hang on, it was after lunch, we'd just come out of the pub, I think it was called The Smuggler's Arms or something, it might have been around two."

"Then try the number tomorrow after one, if not, try the pub and see if he's there," Alec suggested. "Rose, I'll call Pete and explain."

"No, I'll do it, it's my fault for being so stupid," Rose offered.

"Then maybe you should explain it in person? That includes you Mickey," Alec pointed to him.

"I've got a date this afternoon," Mickey objected.

"Well tough Mickey or do ya want me to tell Martha you're married?" Rose huffed.

"How did you know it was with Martha?" Mickey wondered.

"Mum mentioned you were trying to get her to talk to you again, I don't think she'd be too happy to learn we got married, even by accident."

"She's not the only one," Alec added. "I know neither of you knew about it but still, this is serious Mickey. Are you sure you were never handed a piece of paper?"

"Not that I remember, maybe the couples were supposed to hang around to get them when he'd got all their names. There was only the pub nearby, maybe he did it from there?"

"Well get the number of the pub and ask if he's there Mickey," Rose suggested.

"You heard her Mickey, if you didn't get the certificate, he may remember you," Alec offered.

"Maybe it's not legal then?" Mickey hoped.

"It still is, if he entered into the records," Alec replied, seeing Rose was far from happy about this.

Mickey was on his phone trying to find the pub and was answered by a gruff man with a Cornish accent who obviously had no telephone manners.

"Smugglers Arms, what you want?"

"Ah, hello, is there a Silas Howard there please?"

The man just shouted "Si, it's for you, don't you answer your blasted portable phone?"

There was a noise in the background and Mickey hoped he'd got the right person.

"This is Silas Howard, who's this?"

"Oh, hi, my name's Mickey Smith and my friend and I attended one of your Sunday weddings last year."

"So? Are you wanting to get married? If you do, just be on the village green tomorrow afternoon but that's the last one until next April. I don't normally get anyone asking about them."

"No, you got it wrong, we came to one last year and accidentally got married by mistake."

Alec thought that was rather obvious it had been a mistake.

The man laughed loudly that Rose could hear.

"You did? Hey everyone, a bloke here says he got married by accident last year."

Mickey could hear all the 'didn't we all' comments in the background.

"So what do you want me to do about it?" the man asked.

"Well, I want it annulled or whatever, we just found out. We never got a certificate."

"Oh, I remember you, you'd disappeared with that rather lovely looking blonde who was standing with you in the wedding area. Thought she was a bit too good for you."

"Hey, thanks mate," Mickey huffed. "So what do we do about it?"

"Well you'll both have to come back here and see me after the ceremony tomorrow afternoon."

"Will we get divorced then?" Mickey dared to ask.

"Not exactly, even though you never collected the certificate, it was legally binding. You'll have to wait until after the wedding ceremony then stand in front of me and say you want the marriage to be dissolved."

"Is that all?" Mickey hoped, thinking it was simple enough.

"Well you have to state in front of everyone why you want it annulled."

"Seriously?" Mickey asked, looking at Rose.

"Yes, why do you want it annulled? Has the marriage been consummated?"

Mickey let out a loud "No, we haven't," hoping Rose hadn't heard.

Alec had a good idea what the answer had been about.

"Well in that case, it's easy enough, you have to 'un-marry' your partner in front of witnesses then sign the form."

"Is it instant?" Mickey asked him.

"What's the hurry, after over a year?"

"It's awkward, she didn't know we were married."

"Oh and she wants to marry someone else? I can see that's awkward but it's assumed that when you stand on the village green, you want to get married."

"No-one told us that and we weren't at the front," Mickey argued. "So if we sign this form, we get divorced. Does she have to wait?"

"No, it's instant, there's a 'get-out clause' but I will have to check it's valid, couples are meant to come back within a certain time, it goes back a long way."

"You don't sound so sure? Are you the local historian or something?"

"I was born here but I went off to university and studied all the local customs, it goes back hundreds of years when pirates would try to steal the local women and would fall out a week later, well the men would. Be on the village green at two tomorrow and if your partner wants to marry someone else, tell her not to stand too near because if she's still married, it won't be legal."

"Got it," Mickey replied, looking at the other two.

"So, we set off for Cornwall then?" Rose asked. "My mum's gonna be upset we can't try the cakes."

"We have to set off Rose, it's a long way," Alec advised her. "We can stop off home then travel the rest of the way in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Mickey, do you get something to say you're divorced?"

"Oh, I forgot to ask but I suppose so. I'll meet you there tomorrow at two."

"Come down with us," Rose offered.

Alec didn't look too happy about that. "Rose, we have time to call and see your mother about the cake. We should tell Pete about this."

"Don't worry, I'll be there, how was I to know that by standing on that village green we'd got married?" Mickey asked.

"Well everyone else was stood back Mickey, that should have been a clue," Alec told him, still in his own voice.

Once at the mansion, they went straight to find Pete and explained the situation. Pete found it amusing.

"Best not tell Jackie," he advised them. "Rose, go pick out your cake love and you'd better come up with a reason to leave early."

"Well Pete, we have to go all the way to Cornwall then come back up here on Monday to get the marriage license," Alec told him.

"Can't you finish doing it in Broadchurch?" Pete wondered. "Why did you go get it here anyway, everything's on computer."

"We had to give the final word on the cake anyway," Rose answered. "Come on Alec, don't say anything to my mum about this."

"No way Rose, you know I'm not that brave."

The cake chosen, they made their excuses to leave.

"I thought you were staying?" Jackie asked them.

"Something came up Mum, we have to get back. We'll see you on Thursday anyway."

They set off back home, planning on getting a few hours sleep then setting off early to the village down on the tip of the Cornish coast. Mickey had set off and booked in at a local inn for the night and met them the next morning.

"It will all be over in a few hours Rose," Alec assured her as they met at breakfast just after nine when Mickey had sent a text to say where he was staying.

"Yeah, I hope so. We'd better get something on paper to say it's done with Mickey, mum's ordered the cake. Alec, maybe we should stop by and see Daisy tomorrow on the way back from London?"

"She won't be expecting us Rose, we were meant to have been getting the license yesterday. You'll see her on Friday when she arrives and you're trying your dresses on."

"Yeah, aw, you should have seen little Fred on Friday when I met Ellie, he looked really cute."

"Well Tony didn't seem too happy about wearing a suit, we go get them on Friday afternoon when he gets out of school," Mickey told them.

After a walk on the beach, they met up with Mickey again just after one. He had spoken to the officiator again and been told that the man would announce after the ceremony if there are any couples present who want to dissolve theirs.

"So did he check up to see if we were eligible?" Rose asked.

Mickey wanted to say no but it wouldn't make any difference, Rose would still go off with Alec and live with him whether they were married or not.

Arriving at the village green early, the three of them stood firmly on the other side of the path and waited for the couples who were getting married to gather on the actual green.

"I can see how you got caught up in this Rose," Alec observed, holding her hand.

"Yeah, it was really nice, shame we can't get married here."

"I would have thought once was enough?" Alec smiled.

Rose nudged him playfully. As the ceremony got under way, she wondered how she and Mickey had been counted as amongst those getting married but since they had been right at the back, no-one would have noticed they weren't saying anything or holding hands. At the final words, the officiator spoke again.

"Anyone who wishes to dissolve a marriage conducted here, please step forward."

Rose let go of Alec's hand and grabbed Mickey's arm, pulling him forward. Alec had to smile, she was taking no chances. As the officiator asked them the questions, they both answered they wanted the marriage, such as it had been, to be over.

Early the next morning, they had to make their way back up to London to finish getting their license but Rose had one request before they went back.

"Rose, the estate is different now, you said so," Alec objected.

"I just wanna see it one more time Alec, please?"

They saw the exact spot the Tardis had landed in the playground of the other world and where she and Mickey had tried to open the heart of the Tardis.

"Want to go see your mother?" Alec asked her as they got back in the car.

"She thinks we got the license on Saturday, we don't want her thinking something went wrong."

Wednesday afternoon, Alec was instructing Ellie before he left as she was taking over for the next two weeks or so.

"Go on, get out of here and take your girlfriend out tonight," Ellie urged him.

"We are going out tomorrow night, Pete is treating us all at a top London restaurant. We will see you on Saturday."

"Yeah, we're setting off first thing, it takes longer to get across London. Is she getting nervous?"

"Not that I noticed, except when we went to get the license. I think it finally hit home we are getting married after all this time."

"Well, if she gave up on ever seeing you again, it's hardly surprising," Ellie told him.

He decided to take Ellie's advice and told Rose to get changed and they would go out, Rose agreeing readily.

"I guess we won't have to keep up any pretences now, everyone knows we're engaged," Rose smiled. "There's just one thing though."

"Oh, and what is that?" he asked as he watched her struggle with her dress and she finally turned around.

"You'll have to stop switching between accents when we have kids, you'll confuse them."

"Well, which do you prefer?" he asked her.

"Honestly?" she asked as she turned to put her arms around him. "I'd love you to be the Doctor again Alec but you've been here over four years, you took to being Alec Hardy and you're a great detective. I think I want you to stay as him, there's still a danger someone knows about when you were here the last time."

"Maybe, if Yvonne was getting information from outside Torchwood but from who?"

"It could be anyone Alec, maybe we're not meant to know?"

"Maybe we should just forget about it, there is no need to run any more. In a few days time, you will be Mrs Hardy, how does it make you feel?"

"A bit nervous, you've supposed to have done it before."

The night before the wedding, Pete had invited Jake and Mickey, who had persuaded Martha to join him and Tess and Daisy had arrived, her and Rose having tried on their dresses.

"How do I look Rose?" the nervous teenager asked as she stared in Rose's mirror at herself.

"You look perfect honey, you're more nervous than I am."

"When mum first told me she and Alec were pretending to have got married, I thought she was mad but he's the only dad I've really known."

"I'm not tryin' to take him away from you Daisy, you know you're welcome to come and visit whenever you want."

"Yeah but when you have kids of your own?"

"You think that will stop us from seeing you? Yeah, we plan on having kids but we'd never shut you out. You know about Alec, where he comes from?"

"Yeah, we had a discussion, I know some of it. You knew him then, didn't you? That's why you went into hiding."

"Did he tell you?"

"I guessed some of it. You look beautiful Rose, no wonder Alec loves you."

Daisy went off to get changed for dinner and Rose stood looking at herself. Not that long ago, she had no idea the Doctor was in the same universe and they could have been together but Pete had done the right thing in view of what had happened. She got herself out of the dress since Daisy had unfastened it at the back and got changed for the dinner party.

Alec was pacing the reception area waiting for her. He'd been banned from what had become their bedroom as soon as Rose had dragged Daisy when she'd arrived. Tess caught him watching the stairs.

"Worried she'll back out?" Tess asked him.

He turned around as she spoke.

"No, she won't back out. Everyone thinks I was married before but this is just as daunting to me as it is to Rose. We always thought before that we would never settle down and now, well we are. The thought used to terrify me Tess and you have no idea how pretending to be married to you helped me get over that."

"You helped me get over Daisy's father, that was him who left us up in Scotland."

"I thought it was but I did not want to say anything. Does Daisy know?"

"She does now, since you decided she needed to know about you. Never mind about me, you have a lot of catching up to do."

After dinner, they all split up, the men going to another room and the women staying in the smaller sitting room. Martha had been invited to stay.

"I hope you didn't think I was on Yvonne's side?" Martha asked Rose as they helped themselves to drinks.

"I know you tried to stay out of it, don't worry about it. How's your job at UNIT?"

"It's great, very challenging. Don't get me wrong, I mean I liked it at Torchwood but it was a mistake, I know that now."

"Well I'm not going back, I've been keeping myself busy."

"I should think so, with a wedding to plan," Martha smiled.

Tess was heading towards her.

"Hey Tess, I hope you didn't think I was hi-jacking Daisy earlier, I just wanted to make sure her dress fitted."

"I know that Rose, she's been so excited these last few weeks. So, are you ready for this?"

After Rose got to her room, there was a knock on the door. She had just got into her nightdress and thinking it was Alec, she opened the door slightly and grabbed an arm and found Mickey standing in the doorway. Rose ran to grab her dressing gown.

"Sorry, I thought it was Alec sneaking around."

"No, just me," Mickey apologized, leaving the door open. "I came to say sorry, for that mix-up."

"It's sorted, don't worry about it. Now, if you don't mind, I'm expecting Alec."

"Not sticking to tradition then?"

"Yes, if you must know. We arranged he'd come and say goodnight."

Alec had gone back to his room to satisfy Jackie and was approaching Rose's room door when he saw it was open. He'd just stopped off to pick up the gift he'd got for her that he wanted her to wear at the wedding, a chain with two silver hearts. He caught a glimpse of who looked like Mickey.

"Rose, what is he doing here?" Alec asked as Mickey heard his voice.

"I was just leaving. I came to say sorry for that mix-up."

"Well now you have, I would like some time with my future wife."

Martha was just coming out of the room she'd been given to find the bathroom and saw Mickey coming out of Rose's room.

"Mickey? What are you doing?"

"Nothing I was just talking to Rose," he defended himself as Alec tried to get in the room.

It was too late as Jackie heard what was going on and despite Pete telling her to leave it, had to go see for herself.

"What's going on? You'll wake Tony. Mickey, what are you doing out here?"

"He was coming out of Rose's room," Martha spoke up.

"That's typical of you Mickey, Rose is finally getting married and you have to try and stop her," Jackie complained.

"Mum, stop it, Mickey just came to apologise for something," Rose tried to tell her as Alec rubbed her shoulders. "If anything had been happening, Alec wouldn't be here now, would he?"

"Well what is Alec doing here? He's not supposed to see you until the wedding breakfast," Jackie huffed as Pete tried to lead her away.

"You're having a wedding breakfast?" Martha asked, forgetting what she'd just seen.

"I think everyone should just go to their rooms," Pete hinted.

"Yeah, what world do you come from?" Jackie huffed.

"I've never heard that before," Martha huffed back. "Oh, Yvonne was right, wasn't she?" Martha asked, covering her mouth.

"Of course not Martha, don't be so daft," Mickey told her.

"You're all from another world?"

Tess had come out to see what was going on. She saw Alec with his arm around Rose, who was leaning on his shoulder, Mickey standing in Rose's room doorway and Pete trying to hold an angry Jackie back.

"What's happened?" Tess had to ask.

"Nothing Tess, just a misunderstanding," Alec finally spoke up. "Pete's right, everyone should go get some sleep, we have a big day tomorrow, nothing has changed."

"Well that includes you, don't think I don't know you were tryin' to sneak into Rose's room," Jackie told him. "What happened, caught Mickey in there?"

"No Mum, Mickey never came in my room, he moved to let Alec in," Rose tried to explain.

"Well what was Mickey apologizing over? What's he gone and done now?" Jackie asked.

"Nothing Jackie, forget it," Mickey spoke up.

"Well it must have been something. You'd better not have been tryin' to get her to change her mind Mickey Smith, you know what she was like when we came here."

"Jackie, that's enough love eh?" Pete asked her, eyeing Martha.

"You are her mother, aren't you?" Martha asked.

"It's all over now Martha, there's no need to go telling anyone," Pete told her.

"I wasn't going to but all that hiding, why not just come out and admit it?" Martha continued.

"You saw what happened, Yvonne may not be the only one trying to get to the truth, she may have had help," Pete explained.

"Is that true?" Tess asked. "You're all still in danger of being found out?"

"We could be Tess," Alec told her. "Martha, most of what we came out with is true, it has just been altered slightly."

"Are you really a detective or were you here that night?"

"No, I was not here," Alec answered truthfully.

Well it wasn't actually him that had been here, was it?

"Well, I suppose I have to believe that?" Martha asked. "Mickey, I'll stay for the wedding but you have a lot of explaining to do."

Pete managed to lead Jackie away and Mickey was about to follow Martha when Alec stopped him.

"So, what were you doing here?" he asked Mickey.

"I just wanted to say sorry for that mix-up, I never knew."

"She knows that Mickey but you should have said something before, not by going to her room."

"Well you can talk? I know it was always you she wanted, all that time ago, why do you think I stayed here? I wasn't trying to split you up."

Mickey went off to his own room and wondered why Jake hadn't joined in.

Rose went back in her room, Alec's arm still around her.

"Some kiss goodnight this turned out to be?" Rose managed to joke.

"Well, if that's the worse that can happen? Ready for tomorrow?"

After the wedding breakfast, Rose went off to get her hair done and get into her wedding dress, Jackie watching her.

"I still can't believe it's really him Rose."

"Well it is, sort of and I don't care, the Doctor sent him to be with me, I'm not throwing that away. I wouldn't have been happy with anyone else."

"We all know that sweetheart. I'd better go see to Tony, he wasn't happy about wearing that suit. I saw Alec going to his room, don't let him sneak back in before you go downstairs."

Alec was in the room he'd been given for the night after checking on Daisy.

"You look lovely Daisy," he'd told the teenager.

"Thanks, you should see Rose's dress, it's gorgeous. Are you going to shave?"

"I thought about it but Rose wants me as Alec Hardy with a beard and that's what she's going to get. It would not be fair to give her a constant reminder of what we used to have. This is a fresh start for both of us."

"So you didn't have a beard when she knew you before?"

"No, never. Well, I had best go get myself ready, maybe then Tony will keep his suit jacket on? I wonder if Ellie Miller has arrived, Rose will be upset if not."

Ellie and the boys were already downstairs, Ellie trying to get the youngest to stop wandering around since the house was buzzing with activity even though the ceremony was taking place in the marquee outside but finally, Pete was standing in Rose's bedroom.

"Well this is it love, what you've been waiting for."

"Yeah and I'm not mad because you kept us apart for all this time, if Yvonne hadn't have gone after us, someone else would but do ya think there is someone else, still out there?"

"Well if there is, hopefully Yvonne being dealt with will be a deterrent."

Alec was pacing the packed marquee, Jake trying to stop him.

"Quit pacing, anyone would think you were nervous," Jake joked to him. "Still keeping the beard?"

"Yes, Rose deserves to have who I became, not who I used to be."

"Tell you what, Rose wouldn't care right now," Jake smiled as he caught sight of Pete, Daisy and young Fred, who was being shown how to pick up the train of the wedding dress, Rose standing there with her bouquet and opting not to wear a veil.

The tiara holding her hair in place sparkled under the lights in the small reception area of the marquee and as she looked up and saw Alec, smiled and took Pete's arm. All the events of those first few weeks they had been reunited all disappeared in the few seconds she walked the short distance to the minister who was waiting in front of the nervous groom, Alec remembering how she had looked the first time she'd been all dressed up when he'd upset her.

Now he was going to make up for not only letting her go but for everything else as she joined him and took his arm.

"You look beautiful Rose."

Rose smiled back and leaned over to whisper, "If you say for a human, this is going to be a very short marriage."

The End!

No comments: