Share this!

A rose in New York - Part 2

Part 1 can be found here - there was a problem with Blogger publishing such a long story

Chapter 23

The action switches to London and Broadchurch

Alec was quiet all the way back on their journey to Broadchurch, was he ever going to see Rose again?  She would be pampered by her mother the moment she got out of the car, he'd known that and at that time of night, he didn't fancy being asked a lot of questions as to his intentions towards Jackie Tyler's daughter.  Ellie was half asleep in the back seat, staring at Alec's head and still wondering how he'd managed to get himself tangled up with the stepdaughter of one of the country's most influential men, not that it seemed to bother him.

Ellie couldn't wait to see her two boys again, Fred was beginning to fret for her, she'd never left him so long before and Tom was just getting used to being around her again, it hadn't helped her win him back completely.  Had Danny still been around, he may have opted to go stay there but that was now out of the question, she was still a little sceptical about Mark's good intentions in light of what had come out at the trial but the same could be said for her and Hardy.

Perhaps if she'd never gone to his hotel that night and got him to go meet her in a public place, Joe would have been convicted but he was out of the picture now, for good and under threat if he ever came back to the town.  If she was going to settle down again, she could put any thoughts out of her mind about it being Alec Hardy. He was too taken with Rose for her to turn his head, she couldn't compete with Rose Tyler.

As Rose was being driven off, she was still crying, Pete trying to put his arm around her but she shook him off.  He knew he and her mother were going to have to make even more allowances for her now, she was going to need her mother more than him and her therapist but maybe even more help from Alec Hardy.  He wished he'd seen what was happening sooner, when Hardy had the nerve to kiss Rose in front of everyone which was why he'd told the detective he wanted to talk with him, not only about a possible job within Torchwood but about Rose, if she wanted to go down and stay in Broadchurch.

Jackie was in the family room, trying to at least get her young son to lie down even if he wouldn't go to his room, the part-time nanny had given up and gone home, Jackie assuring the young woman it was no fault of hers her charge wanted to wait up for his big sister coming home.  She hadn't told Tony what had happened to Rose, only that they'd had to stay away longer than planned and he'd pestered her every day they had been delayed.  She'd not even had Jake or Mickey there to entertain him either, it had been a very exhausting time.

She heard noises outside and Tony was up in a flash and out of the door before Jackie could stop him since he was only in his pyjamas and dressing gown but it didn't stop him as Mickey came in from outside first, followed by Rose then Pete and Jake, the driver being helped by one of the staff who had been waiting for their return.

Tony ran past Mickey and almost knock poor Rose over.

"Rose!  You're back, goodie.  Daddy, did you bring me a present?"

"Tomorrow son, it's time you were in bed.  Now kiss your sister goodnight and be a good boy and let your mum take you to bed, I'll be up in a minute."

Giving Rose another hug as she bent down, he let Jackie take his hand after she had kissed her husband.  Then she turned to Rose.

"Rose, I'll be back down in a minute, wait for me, yeah?"

"Yeah Mum, I'm off to the kitchen to get a drink anyway.  Night Tony, I'll see you in the morning, I'll come and watch the football with you."

"Will you?  Great.  Dad, will you take me to bed?"

Pete took off his jacket and picked up his young son, heading for the stairs.

He figured the two women wanted to talk anyway.  Rose and Jackie found Mickey and Jake already in the kitchen.

"Thanks for bring my daughter home you two."

"Our pleasure Jackie.  We'll just have a drink then we'll be off." Jake told her.

"Come round for Sunday lunch, both of you."

They knew it was an order, not a request.

"So, was that man so like the Doctor then?"

"Mum, I don't want to talk about it, please.  I'm tired, I didn't get much sleep coming back."

Mickey thought when he'd seen her, cradled in Alec Hardy's arms, she'd looked like she was fast asleep.  He still didn't know what had delayed the two of them several times and how easily she had taken to the detective.   He'd expressed his concerns a few times to Pete but he'd put it down to her just regaining her freedom.

"Sorry sweetheart, you can tell me tomorrow.  So, that detective, Alec was it?  Why didn't he come back with you?"

Rose was going to say that if he had, she would have been asking why he'd come with her and dumped poor Alec in a remote part of the house.

"He had to get back, he's got tons of paperwork to do but if you want to meet him, he's coming up next weekend."

"So your dad says he's been helping you?  Just how much then?"

"Leave it Mum, Alec was the one who realised where I was being held, it could have taken the others a lot longer to find me and Kilgrave, he could have been alerted and moved me before I was found."

"Well remind me to thank him for that then.  Well, you'd better get off to bed Rose. Are you two leaving?" she asked Mickey and Jake, Mickey resting his head on the kitchen table.

"Come on Mickey, time to go home mate, your girlfriend will have forgotten what you look like."

As much as Mickey had tried, his latest girlfriend, Sam, was no match for Rose.  At the back of his mind, he always hoped Rose would see some sense and take him back, even after all this time.  If she found out though, she would shoot him down in flames and he'd always thought should the dimension cannon ever find a way for her to go back to just after she'd left, she would go back to the Doctor.  Now she had found a hero in Hardy, maybe he'd be the one to go back.

As Rose climbed the stairs to her room, she wondered if Alec had got home yet but it was over a hundred miles and he had promised to call her in the morning, at a reasonable hour he'd said.  Football was at eleven, Tony liked to go to the local sports ground so she hoped Alec would ring before they set off.

The next morning, Alec was still awake at his normal time despite being late home. He'd insisted Ellie was dropped off first, then he'd directed the driver down to the harbour and got dropped off in front of the pub, crossing the footbridge to his chalet and remembering when he'd got home after the trial that time to find a broken glass pane, for some strange reason.

He made himself some breakfast but by nine, he was climbing the wall, wanting to call Rose.  He lasted until half past and brought up her number, hoping she was awake.  She was, in the kitchen having Tony make her laugh going around with the New York model police car.  She saw Alec's number flash up on her phone and got up before answering.

"Alec, hi, how's Broadchurch?"

"Same as I left it.  How are you coping?"

"Fine, I'm going with Tony and dad to the local football match."

"I wish I'd stayed then.  Your mother has not smothered you to death yet?  If she has, maybe I should come up and arrest her?"

Rose smiled.  "Yeah, that would be serious enough to have you drive all that way when you've only just got home.  You'd do that for me?"

Alec went quiet, this was not going to help her get back to her normal life nor helping him keep his promise to stay away until Friday.  At this rate, he wouldn't last until Tuesday, let alone her.

"Yes, I promised to be there for you and I will, on Friday.  Are you tryin' to lure me there early by any chance?"

"You'd started it Alec.  I'll try not to give you an excuse but I'm making no promises.  Will you call me during the week?"

"Yes, if you want me to?  I trust I will get reports of your progress?"

"Yeah, Pete's going with me in the morning, he'll make sure she passes the relevant parts on but you do know you won't get all of it?"

"Such as?"

"Come on Alec, you know what.  The parts about what happened between me and Kilgrave that were personal, I don't even know if I can face them now, I just want to forget them."

"You will, in time but talking about them will help."

"I don't know, maybe I just want to bury them, along with all my other past memories."

"Yes and that is how he got to you Rose, you know that.  Talk to your therapist, then anything you can't tell her, then tell me when I come up there."

"You'd listen to me?"

"I have so far, I've not run away, have I?"

Rose didn't answer.

"Rose, talk to me."

"No Alec, you've not run away, I'm the one whose been running, from my past. You're right, I have to face this."

"Not on your own Rose, you have your family."  He stopped before adding "And me."

"Thanks Alec.  I think I can face it better knowing you're there for me."

"Always Rose.  Now take that brother of yours to the football and give his team a cheer for me eh?"

"Yeah, I will.  Sure you don't want to come up early?"

"It's very tempting Rose but I have to say no, you know why.  I will talk to you very soon, take care."

He hung up, this was doing neither of them any good and he knew it.  He was going to be the one to give in, not Rose at this rate. Maybe today he would go see the chief and tell her he wanted to take that leave early, he'd planned on saving it until after next weekend and maybe get Pete Tyler to talk to his boss and get him as much time as Rose needed to recover, it wouldn't be good if she arrived expecting his attention and he had to work.

He walked the short distance to work, asking if the CS was in.

"No, she said she wouldn't be in today Sir," the weekend desk sergeant told him as he looked at the pile of messages he'd been left.

"Give them to DS Miller when she comes in."

"Yes Sir."

The weekend desk sergeant was fairly new, he'd got a transfer while Alec had been on medical leave but knew of the DI's reputation for not wanting to be bothered with messages.  Alec went to his office he'd been away from for almost a week, not expecting to be away for more than a few days.  He checked his emails and sat back in his chair, thinking about the call to go to the chief's office last week and his reaction at being told Rose Tyler had gone missing.

He knew why he'd been so interested in finding her, after Lisa had been missing for so long and having his hopes dashed she was still alive somewhere but it had been confirmed the body Tess had discovered was the missing teenager and her uncle had ended up confessing, unlike Claire Ripley who because of her, he and Miller would have to make another trip to Sandbrook though this time, he was booking the motel himself.

That was a thought, the hearing was going to be next week sometime, if Rose was there, he'd either have to take her with him or leave her.   He'd have to find out but if it was Monday or Tuesday, maybe he could delay Rose's arrival by a few days, she would understand.  He'd told her how important it was that it was settled, that no-one got away with what had happened, Joe Miller walking free had been enough.

Rose had been to the match with Pete and Tony, cheering his team on, it was only the local reserves that were playing at home but Tony enjoyed himself.  Mickey and Jake were already there and Jackie had cornered Mickey and found out Alec had kissed Rose in front of the whole restaurant before they had been flown home.

"Rose Tyler, I want a word with you," she called out when Mickey and Jake had left.

Rose knew that tone and so did Tony, who ran to his dad.

"Come on Tony, she doesn't mean you."

"But Daddy, why did she call Rose like she does me when I've been naughty?"

Pete smiled and took his son into the kitchen, leaving Jackie and Rose in the family room.  Pete knew Mickey had said something to Jackie.

"What's wrong Mum?"

"You know very well what's wrong Rose, you snogging that Alec Hardy, in public. How long have you known him?"

"Blame Martha Rogers, she told him to kiss me."

"Don't blame someone else.  Who's Martha Rogers?"

"Richard Castle's mother, we were all out and Pete was giving one of his speeches, as he does and Alec was trying to pay attention but she caught on and told him to just kiss me, so he did."

"I take it you didn't object then?  Had he tried before?"

Rose was guilty by her silence.

"Really Rose, what were you thinking sweetheart?  That man kept you prisoner for over a week and the minute you get set free, you're off snogging his twin."

"Mum, it wasn't like that, you only got half the story and I bet it came from Mickey."

That wasn't a question.

"That's not the point Rose, would you have told me?"

"I said Alec was coming up next weekend and when he does, I'm going back to Broadchurch with him."

"Why'd ya want to go there?  You know what happened last year and that Alec Hardy, getting caught up with his DS."

"Mum you know better than to believe what's in the papers, look what they keep saying about me.  I've seen them together, there is no way that was true.  He really cares about me, he wants to help me get over this."

"Well you're doing nothing until you've seen Doctor Harper and your therapist.  I'm surprised your stepfather has gone along with this Rose, after all you've been through.  You know what happens when you see anyone who looks like the Doctor. We had to keep you away from the TV and papers about Alec Hardy last year."

"You think I don't know that Mum?  Alec's different, I know he isn't the Doctor and I knew Kilgrave wasn't.  Maybe I've finally come to terms with it."

Jackie doubted it.  If Rose was taken with this Alec Hardy, there would be no stopping her.  Ever since that day in Norway, she had known Rose had truly loved that mad alien and every time she had broken down over it, she had to pick up the pieces and carry on.

Monday morning soon came around, too soon for Rose as Pete drove her to Marsha Hunt, psychotherapist and trusted by Torchwood for treating agents with psychological problems.  She knew all about Rose, where she had come from and was sworn to secrecy.

As Rose waited in the outer office while Pete had gone in to fill Marsha in on the latest episode, she flicked through a magazine which of course had to feature an article about herself though thankfully, before her ordeal.

"So Mr Tyler," Marsha was saying.  "How has she been since she got back?"

"Quiet and trying to get back to normal.  She went with us to watch the local football match, had lunch with us then played with her brother but her mother and I are worried she's burying her true feelings this time and she won't let it go. You got the report I sent you from New York?"

"Yes, Rose and I have a lot of work to do so I've made time for her.  Two hours every morning until Friday, then I'll give you my opinion."

"That sounds reasonable and you'll send your reports to the police detective I mentioned to you?"

"Of course though if Rose doesn't want something to go in them, it stays out, I have to respect her wishes.  Why exactly is he involved?"

"Ah, that's something else Rose has to tell you, I won't spoil the surprise.  I'll send her in shall I?" Pete smiled, half getting up then changing his mind.

"Sounds intriguing, I'm sure Rose and I have a lot to talk about."

"Oh yes, most certainly.  I'll just have a word with her before I send her in, she's not driving yet so I'll have someone collect her, maybe Jake or Mickey, she won't trust anyone else yet, she needs familiar faces around her.  I'll tell you this much though, I thought she would be nervous to come here but I think she realises she can't do this on her own.  Oh and there's one more thing you should know.  That police detective, he's the double of Rose's abductor."

Marsha let out a deep sign.  "Well, this is going to be interesting, especially as you said she may have been under the illusion Kilgrave was the Doctor.  So, has she taken to this police detective?"

"He's called Alec Hardy, you may remember him from the Broadchurch case last year?"

"Oh yes, I remember.  She's not confusing the two then?"

"You're the expert Marsha, you tell me and yes, you could say she's taken with him.  That's what her mother and I are worried about, that she's using him as a buffer.  He's a nice enough bloke, he's stuck with her since she was found but I have a feeling she's latched onto him for the wrong reasons.  She won't tell anyone what happened with Kilgrave, he must have really got to her."

"Well that's why I'm here – to find out how deeply he affected her but it sounds to me like she should be talking with Alec Hardy, if she trusts him."

"He's no psychologist Marsha and he admits it.  When I leave here, I intend calling him, see if she's already told him anything but I doubt it.  They spent some time together in the hotel, I really wanted Ellie Miller to get close to her, that was why I let her tag along with Hardy but she got caught up in seeing how the New York police work and only spent a couple of hours alone with Rose, in the spa.  The rest of the time, Rose wouldn't let go of Hardy's hand or his arm, she even fell asleep on him on the flight back."

"Sounds like she's going to take some getting away from him."

"Personally, I don't think it's doing any real harm and hopefully, by the time she's finished here, she'll see she can let go but she's invited him to stay next weekend, I dare say he'll be upset if she calls him and tells him not to bother and that she realises how foolish she's been."

"It's not uncommon for a victim of a kidnapping to form a bond with their abductor or the person who finds them, as long as she knows the difference between them."

"Well she's not treating Hardy like he was her captor, quite the opposite.  Hardy even had the nerve to kiss her in front of everyone and her mother got to know."

Marsha smiled – she knew Jackie Tyler very well, she had helped her come to terms with living in an alternate world.

"Yes, I can imagine her reaction when she found out.  I take it she heard about it from Mickey?"

"What do you think?  Who needs the daily papers when he's around?  After all this time and several girlfriends since Rose, he still watches out for her, then he wonders why he can't keep anyone around."

"Well, it's Rose we're concerned about, I think I've learned enough, don't let me keep you any longer.  Will you be bringing her every morning?"

"No, I'll get Jake to bring her, she's not driving yet and I don't want to leave her alone.  We had a bit of a scare before our flight took off, Hardy got paranoid and thought Kilgrave was leaving the country."

"Sounds like I need to see him too."

Pete laughed and got up, putting his coffee cup down.

"I know I can rely on you Marsha, you know her just as well as we do, you know she's not had an easy time since coming here but I don't think it's quite the same as you treated her the last time.  She's holding back, I know she is and it will hit her in the face and I'm afraid it will take a long time, we might not be able to keep her under wraps this time."

"Leave her to me Mr Tyler, I'll do my utmost to make sure that never happens.  I'll contact Alec Hardy myself, since he wants to see the reports, see what he's made of her and if he's willing to help in her recovery."

"He's already implied he's willing to help, he's prepared to take some time off and take her back to Broadchurch with him, I'll square it with his chief, see he gets as long off as needed, without him taking it as leave.  I trust you will back me?"

Marsha got up and they walked to the thick wooden polished door.

"Yes, he might be just what she needs and who knows, she might finally stop seeing the Doctor everywhere she goes."

"Well that's one way of putting it but I never told you there was yet another one but he's out in California, no fear of him coming into the picture though she met him.  He got himself involved, since Kilgrave looks like him."

"Poor Rose, I can see I'm going to have my work cut out. I will of course send a copy of Rose's reports to you at your office. Will Doctor Harper be seeing her?"

"Only if she wants to return to work but I have a feeling she will delay that, if she intends spending some time down in Broadchurch."

"This is very unusual, what are the chances there are more men that look like the Doctor?  I mean apart from the obvious then there are two detectives and a psychopath who holds women hostage, how many more are there?"

Pete smiled, he hoped Rose would never find out, there were already enough. They shook hands and Pete went out and saw Rose reading a magazine and smiled at her.

"Right, I'll leave you in Marsha's capable hands then.  Don't hold out on her, will you Rose?"

"Does she know about Alec?"

"Just you made friends with him but I suspect it's a bit more than that?"

"Maybe, it depends if I get brainwashed into either forgetting about him or he realises I've been using him to forget what happened to me."

"Rose, he won't think that, he just wants to help you, we all do love.  Go on, you might as well get this over with, I'll send a car for you in two hours, make sure you wait and don't go off on your own eh?"

"No but I wanted to go shopping later but I'll go home and get mum to go with me, we can go to the shopping mall before Tony gets home."

"Good, there's nothing like shopping therapy though it tends to get more expensive than Marsha's services, especially your mother's credit card bill.  When you get back, I need to talk to you, about if you'll be going back to work."

"That depends on how I get on here, doesn't it?  What if I'm declared mentally unstable to be a team leader again?  I'm not staying a diplomat."

"Just be honest in there, don't hold back your feelings."

"Who for?  Kilgrave or Alec?"

She turned around and knocked on the door, hearing a 'Come in' and turned to Pete.

"My feelings won't change for Alec, no matter what happens in there."

As she closed the door behind her, Pete nodded to the receptionist and went to his car, hoping he'd not got a ticket but was back in time.   He drove to his office in Torchwood Tower and took the lift and found Mickey and Jake waiting for him.

Mickey had called Jake, saying Pete was completely ignoring his misgivings about Rose getting involved so quickly with Alec Hardy.  While they were waiting in Pete's outer office, Jake had questioned Mickey's motives.

"You're being paranoid mate, Rose knows what she's doing and you still owe me for those bets, pay up."

Mickey begrudgingly went into his trouser pocket and brought his red wallet out that had some football team logo on, Jake could never make out what it was, Mickey hardly ever got his wallet out and unzipping part of it, brought two twenty pound notes out, since he'd called to get his dollars converted back to British money earlier.

"Ok, you were right, on both counts, so what?  That's exactly what I'm on about, Hardy's taking advantage of her state of mind."

"Huh?  Yeah, whatever, so that's why she snogged him back in the restaurant, in front of everyone?  Did you really have to blurt it out to Jackie?"

Mickey tried not to look his friend in the eye.  "Well Rose would never have told her."

"And you thought you should?  It was between Rose and Alec, no-one else.  She knows who he is and I'm surprised you've not brought up the fact that only a few weeks ago, he got accused of having an affair with Ellie.  Did you not see the two of them around each other?  They barely tolerated each other but when he was with Rose, he was totally different.  Rose needs someone like him, to show her they're not all out to leave her or kidnap her."

Mickey was about to answer back when Pete walked in.

"Can I do something for you two?  I take it you're not here on a social call?"

Despite them all being friends, Jake and Mickey knew who was boss.

"Mickey's trying to make me subscribe to his theory," Jake told Pete as they followed him into his office.

"Leave it Mickey, I told you, there's no harm in it though I do see your point, maybe it is a bit early for her to get involved with Hardy but after her last two breakdowns, she finally has someone solid to turn to.   He's not going to fade away on a beach or be someone she's imagining is the Doctor, she knows who he is and she accepts it.  Just let her get on with it Mickey, I know you're concerned for her. She won't be back at work for a while so just give her some space."

"Fine, if that's what you think she needs and I am concerned about her."

"Forget it Mickey, you just want her back," Jake told him, helping himself to another coffee.

"She won't come back, I already know that but it doesn't mean I don't care about her."

Jake offered Pete a cup, leaving Mickey to get his own.

"Then don't crowd her man, it won't do any good and she'll just resent it.  Now you know why she always comes to me."

"It's not a contest you know Jake," Mickey huffed, folding his arms.

Pete smiled, they were both fiercely loyal to Rose but Mickey never really stood a chance, especially now.

"Ok you two, enough, this isn't helping Rose.  Your concern is duly noted Mickey but if you go off telling tales to her mother, she won't thank you for it, you should have heard Rose yesterday, when you told her mother about the restaurant."

Jake couldn't help but splutter out his coffee with laughing.  "Told ya Rose would be mad when she found out."

Mickey just pulled his usual face.

"Go on, get back to work, I know I owe you for helping get Rose back but Torchwood doesn't run itself.  I have to call Alec Hardy."

Mickey got up but Jake remained.  "Can I have a word?"

"Sure, what are you waiting for Mickey?"

As soon as he'd left, Jake got up and paced in front of Pete's desk.

"If Rose needs someone to take her around and down to Broadchurch, if need be, count me in."

"Thanks Jake, I appreciate that and so will Rose, I don't think she should be left to go out on her own just yet but Alec's supposed to be collecting her, he's coming up on Friday."

"Yeah I know but if Rose isn't ready to go back with him, I'll take her down."

"Well you can start by collecting her in around an hour, she wants to go shopping with her mother."

"Well your driver can take them, no-one would be stupid enough to go after Rose with her mother there," Jake smiled.

Pete thought he'd like to see someone try.

Chapter 24

Meanwhile, Rose was not having such an easy time in Marsha Hunt's office.  After the pleasantries, the Afro-Caribbean psychologist had offered her another coffee and had asked about her health in general but then, had asked her to recall the events of the day she was kidnapped, from her point of view.

Marsha had of course received a full report from Pete's view of the events and thought she would be seeing Rose's mother pretty soon, he'd mentioned how Jackie used to get stressed when Rose went off with the Doctor but at least she had known who her daughter was with, albeit an alien in a blue box but Rose, fortunately had never been kidnapped before.

"So, Rose, up until that first morning Kilgrave was holding you, you had no other reasons to believe he was planning to try and get you to do as he said and comply with his every wish?"

"Nope, he was very charming, he'd given me my own room, a vast wardrobe full of everything in my size and he'd been out to get me some breakfast.  What I didn't know was while he'd been out, he'd got a newspaper seller to pour hot coffee on himself and told someone to go step under a bus."

"Yes, I've read the reports from the New York Police.  What I want you to do Rose is tell me in your own words how you felt."

Rose sat back on the leather recliner, she didn't want to do this but she had to get it all out if she stood any chance that by Friday, she would still feel the same way about Alec.

"I thought he was going to let me go, that it had all been a big mistake but by the end of the day, he was creeping into my mind and I tried to fight it, really I did but the way he looked at me, it was like he was battling to get into my mind and I've had tough training to keep people out, trust me.  Did my stepfather tell you about 'Bad Wolf'?"

"Yes, I know all about that, that's what probably gave you the extra resistance against him but let's forget about that for now.  So what happened in the evening?"

"I came out of my bathroom and he was in my bed, in just his shorts and he expected me to get in with him.  He just assumed I'd accept it and since at the time I was still a bit confused, I got in.  Then he started kissing my neck and it progressed from there but he knew I was trying to resist him, I think he enjoyed the challenge.  Geez Marsha, he's the one that needs a psychologist, not me."

Marsha smiled.  "Sorry Rose I know this is going to be painful but you have to tell me everything that happened.  If you say something doesn't go in the report, then it won't, you can take my word on that.  I'm here for you and so are your family and from what I've heard, your friends."

"Don't forget Alec.  You know about him?"

"Your stepfather mentioned him but for now, I want you to concentrate on Kilgrave, can you do that?  Tell me how you felt when he started kissing you."

"Do I have to?  Ok, it was pleasant enough, he didn't get rough with me if that's what you mean."

"From what I can gather, that was not his intent.  He wanted you for something else, to gain enough knowledge to get control of Torchwood.  When did you realise that?"

"The next day.  I knew he wasn't holding me because he wanted a girlfriend but that next morning, he told me he wanted something in return and it got me thinking.  I'd been on missions where I had to pretend to be someone's girlfriend so I was going to treat it no differently."

"So all throughout your capture, you played along with him?"

"Yeah, what else was I supposed to do?  He was so like the Doctor, Marsha, it was unbelievable but there was no way he knew about him but maybe he'd read I'd lost someone and thought I would be grateful someone wanted to fill the vacancy?  I don't know, do I?"

"Ok Rose, let's take a short break from Kilgrave.  What were your plans for getting away from him?"

"He kept the door locked but he'd let me out on the balcony then he said I could go out for two hours, to the department store.  He had two men working for him, the ones who kidnapped me and he told one of them if I wasn't back in two hours, the other one would jump or something, I wasn't taking notice but I knew he meant it."

"So you were back on time?  Did you speak to anyone while you were out, try to alert them you were being held captive?"

"How could I?  For all I knew, he'd said something else to the man while I was getting ready, I couldn't risk anything.  I knew I had to get back in time, he could have told the man to smash the car up, with me in it.  It was dreadful Marsha, that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something was going to happen, to me or the people who were working for him.  Don't you see?  I was responsible for their safety and maybe anyone else around me, if he'd told that man things, if I tried to talk to anyone or I wouldn't get back in the car."

"It's ok Rose, I understand you feared for your own and everyone's safety.   Before you leave, maybe you can tell me about Alec Hardy?"

Marsha saw the change in Rose's mood right away as she put a smile on her face.

"He found me.  He saw one of Kilgrave's men on the balcony and pinpointed where I might be though he only saw him for a few seconds, they still had to search two buildings but he spoke to me, Kilgrave got wind something was going on and he'd gone but he'd locked the door."

"How did you react, when you saw Alec?  Did you think it was Kilgrave who had come back?"

"No, Kate Beckett told me who she was and he told me who he was.  He was the one who told them to get the building manager to open the door."

"How did you feel when Kilgrave left?"

"Relieved but he'd left the two men on the balcony, telling them to jump if I tried to follow him and he threatened the housekeeper.  I was worried Kate would try to get me out before they were safe."

Marsha had to marvel at the young woman, she'd been held for over a week, subjected to Kilgrave's depraved sense of what it meant to have a girlfriend yet given the chance to leave, she'd opted to possibly save three lives.

"I'd heard of Alec before, through that boy's death in Broadchurch but my mother wouldn't let me see him on TV or in the papers after she found out he looked like Doctor."

"So he was there in the apartment with you?  How did you react to him?"

Rose thought back, Marsha would think she was crazy but that's why she was here anyway.

"I let him take me downstairs, once I knew the others were going to be safe.  I wanted to sit with him in the car but Mickey and Ellie got in the back with me but he helped me out of the car, when we got to the precinct.  Mickey was gawking at the press so Alec took charge."

Marsha had also read that over the next 48 hrs or so, she'd been clinging to Alec Hardy like they were glued together.

"Well, time's up for today Rose.  Who's collecting you?"

"Probably Jake, I'm a bit mad with Mickey."

"For not helping you out of the car?"

"No, for telling my mother Alec snogged me in the restaurant before we came home."

Marsha had to smile.  "I can imagine her reaction.  I'll see you tomorrow and in the meantime, just relax, take things easy and play with that brother of yours, he must have missed you."

"Yeah, he did, mum never told him what happened.  I have Friday to look forward to anyway."

"Because you won't have to see me again?"

"No because Alec's coming up for the weekend."

Marsha saw Rose out then went to finish her notes, adding Rose still seemed serious about the detective whom she had believed had rescued her.   The entire New York Police Department had been out looking for her and all she had seen was him.  Pete's concerns about his stepdaughter were well-founded by the looks of it, Rose was well and truly fixated on this Alec Hardy.  It was time to call the Scottish detective and find out just how far he was willing to go along with this and if it bothered him.

She retrieved his phone number, it was after twelve by now and she hoped he wasn't out at lunch.  He wasn't, he was trying to still catch up with a week's reports of petty crimes while he'd been away and wished now he'd taken up Pete Tyler's offer of a job.  He peered over the top of his specs as his phone buzzed in his pocket, his personal one and saw a London number, wondering if it was Rose calling him from her home phone but then thinking she was due to see her therapist today.

"Alec Hardy," he answered, reasonably quietly, unlike when he answered his work phone.

"Ah, this is Dr Marsha Hunt, Rose's therapist.  Is this a good time for me to talk to you about her?"

He looked at his slightly open office door and got up to close it.  There was no need for anyone else to know how badly Rose had been affected by her kidnapping.

"As good as any I suppose.  What can I do to help her?  I admit, I've been slightly at a loss, her taking to me right away had not been part of the plan, I expected her to run in the opposite direction."

So had Marsha.  "I just wondered how she had reacted to you, having just seen her. I wanted to make sure it was not all in her mind or one-sided.   The last thing she needs right now is for another man who looks like the Doctor to disappear from her life."

"Is that what she thinks or is it what you all think?  Dr Hunt, I am going nowhere until Rose has come to terms with what happened to her, I can assure you of that. What does everyone take me for?"

"I didn't mean anything by it, it was a simple question.  My concern for Rose is genuine, I've seen her through several episodes where she's thought the Doctor had returned in some form or another and when she travelled to Norway to see his hologram on the beach.  Were you told about that?"

"Mr Tyler filled me in with most of the details including the trip to Norway and the time this dimension cannon device, whatever that is, almost got them back to where she came from.  So, like I asked before, what can I do to help her?"

Twenty minutes later and two 'Go away's' to Ellie Miller, who had knocked on his door asking if it was about Rose, he had agreed to read the reports he was going to be sent and give his input, officially but he'd told Marsha he was not putting anything personal in them.

"I quite understand Alec, there will be certain things Rose wants me to keep out but I need to ask you something.  If she tells you anything in confidence, would you reveal it to me?"

"What sort of a question is that?  No, I would not, not if Rose asks me not to tell anyone.  Look, I know she is very delicate at the moment and we spent some time in the hotel together but it was mostly innocent on both our parts but Rose seemed to find something calming about me though lord knows why.  She is a very caring person and she has been through a lot and to be honest, had she not been so delicate, I would have made advances towards her, what male wouldn't?  I backed off somewhat, she was the one to make advances on me and I tried to tell her that if she felt the same way by Friday, we would talk about maybe taking things a little further."

"I see.  She mentioned you were going to visit her on Friday, she's looking forward to it but you do know her mother is very protective of her?"

"Is that meant to put me off?  I have been warned about Mrs Tyler, by an expert."


"Who else?  I have no intent of rushing Rose into anything, let me make that perfectly clear.  I don't know how Kilgrave treated her, she won't talk about it and quite right, that's your job but I have told her, anything she can't tell you, she can tell me."

"Well, that was the answer I was looking for, she needs someone like you around and I'm glad you feel that way.  She told me how you kissed her in the restaurant though I'm not sure that was such a good idea."

"I wanted everyone to know that despite what had happened to her, I was not holding that against her.  She's a very young and pretty woman and no doubt every man in there was wishing it had been them.  If Rose needs someone, than I would prefer it was me."

After Rose had left Marsha's office, Jake nipping inside to collect her, he drove her back to the Tyler mansion, hoping to get a few things out of her.  They had hardly spent any time alone since she had been freed and although he was concerned about her, he wasn't about to go to the lengths Mickey had.

"So, how did things go then?"

"For a first session?  Fine I suppose.  You're not going to go all Mickey on me are you?"

Jake laughed as they stopped at some traffic lights.  He was still nervous though, Alec had set then all off over the flight delay incident, he'd have to thank the detective for that when he came to visit.

"No, I won two bets with him."

"I knew you two were up to something.  Go on, tell me what for?"

"Never, you'd beat me up.  I told him you'd be mad for him telling your mother about you snogging in the restaurant."

"Yeah, remind me to thank him.  You coming shopping with us then?"

"No way, I know better than to get involved when your mother goes shopping."

Jake had just dropped her home and Jackie was waiting in the kitchen.

"So, how did you get on then?"

"I don't want to talk about it, for a first sessions though, not as bad as I thought."

"You used to tell me everything Rose."

"I know Mum and I will, I just need some time so why don't we go down to the shopping mall?"

"Well have some lunch first and you can tell me more about Alec Hardy, since you seem infatuated with him."

"I'm not infatuated with him, I really like him Mum, he's not the Doctor, he's not Kilgrave and he's been through as much as I have.  Someone from that other case is trying to protest her innocence so it's still not over for him."

"Neither is this for you and going on about him isn't helping you."

"Yes it is Mum, you don't get it, do you?  Alec isn't going to fade away on a beach, he's real, I'm not seeing things.  Maybe he's the one I've been looking for?"

"As a replacement?"

"No, he's much more than that, he's solid and I'm not imagining him.  When Kilgrave was holding me, I thought about the Doctor, a lot, to get me through but when I saw Alec, I didn't think the Doctor had come to rescue me and that has to count for something."

"Maybe but you've not finished talking to your therapist yet."

"She's not gonna get me to change my mind about Alec, no-one is."

"Then you'd better find out how he feels about it then."

"I'm going to, when he comes up here."

"Yeah, if you don't get some sense talked into you before then.  Don't you think you're rushing into this?"

"How long am I supposed to wait then?  If I take too long, Alec will be the one who changes his mind and I'm not gonna let that happen.  Mum, he's the best thing that happened to me, since I lost the Doctor and he knows about me, he knows where I come from and he didn't run away.  That also has to count for something."

"Maybe, I'll give him a chance then."

"Good and don't you go giving him a slap either."

Jackie laughed.  "Well that depends on how he treats you, don't it?  finish your lunch and I'll treat you to something nice, on Pete's credit card."

"Yeah, he said there's nothing like shopping therapy, even though he cringes when he gets your bill."

After Alec had receive the phone call from Rose's therapist, he put his jacket on to go find some lunch but Ellie was waiting for him and followed behind.

"What was all that about?" she asked.  "If it was about Rose, I should have been in on it."

"Why Miller?  You were too busy trying to impress Castle."

They had reached the lift and Ellie stood in his way.

"I was not, you never gave anyone a chance, hogging her all the time."

"Excuse me, while you were playing detective with Beckett, I was trying to calm her down."

The lift arrived, even though it was only one floor, a habit Alec hadn't got out of since being back.

"Some calming down, snogging her in public, well done Hardy.  So, are you going up there then?"

"On Friday so I'm finishing at noon and driving up there."

"Well I had something to tell you, while you were on the phone.  We got an appeal date for Claire Ripley, next Monday in Portsmouth."

"Good, I hope she's satisfied now, not that she stands much chance."

"I don't know, if she drags all that stuff up that you were hiding her.  We were certain about Joe, remember?"

"Don't drag that up again Miller," he scoffed, getting out of the lift.  "Don't let me keep you."

"I've nowhere to go, I was just going over to one of the food stalls, I'll tag along with you.  Have you spoken to Rose?"

"Yesterday morning, I thought I would call her tonight, see how her first session went."

"What did her therapist want?"

"How do you know who was on the phone?"

"Come on, don't deny it."

"She wants to know what I think about Rose's frame of mind.  I said I would do anything to help."

"Including bringing her down here?  Maybe she could do with another spa break?"

"With you?" he grinned, deciding what to get to eat.

"You'd look funny at a health resort."

"She's better off here Miller," he declared, deciding on a baked potato with cheese and salad, he'd had enough rich food at the hotel in New York.

"With you I expect.  I want to help her as well you know?"

"I know and you can, be her friend while she's here, she may talk to you more than she does me, or her therapist."

"About what?" she asked as she paid for her order after Alec got his.

"About what happened in that apartment with Kilgrave."

"I doubt it, she kept very quiet about it, she didn't look like she wanted to be reminded of it.  Didn't she say anything to you?"

The catering assistant came with their drinks and Alec went quiet until the man left.

"Well, they've managed to keep it out of the papers over here at least, let's keep it that way, no bragging to your nephew."

"He already knows where I've been, he's been helping with Fred but I never went into too many details, unless my sister said anything."

"You had better hope not, I don't want loads of reporters waiting for her when she does arrive.  With that hearing on Monday now, I'll have to leave her behind, she'll not be too happy."

"She'll understand, won't she?" Ellie asked as their food arrived.

"I hope so Miller, she'll have to get Jake to bring her down.  Did you get a time?"

"Ten I think, hopefully it will be over in a day, if not we'll have to find somewhere to stay."

"Aye only this time, I'll make my own booking."

"I said it wasn't my fault, it was that stupid receptionist, getting it mixed up with another Miller for the following night, you can't blame me for that.  We managed, didn't we?"

"Aye but the less people who know about it the better, it was bad enough with the insinuation."

"Well you'd best not tell Rose."

"There is nothing to tell, Miller."

He was interrupted by his phone ringing but this time, he was pleased to see it was Rose, who had decided to call before she went shopping.

"Rose, hello, I trust everything is well?"

"Yeah, just got back from my first session with my therapist."

"Did it help?"

Rose didn't answer right away.  "Not really, she wanted to know how I felt about things now and if I knew the difference between you and Kilgrave."

"You already told me that you do.  Let me call you back eh?  I'm in an outdoor catering area, not the best of places, people can overhear."

That was directed at Ellie, who was all ears.

"Yeah, course you can Alec, I'm just going shopping with my mum, I'll be back in a couple of hours."

"Sure, I will call you later then, have fun shopping."

"Yeah, nothing like a bit of retail therapy, it did wonders for my mum when we first got here."

Alec smiled and said goodbye, getting him a look from Ellie.

"Just look at you."

"What?" he asked innocently, finishing the rest of his pot of tea.

"You are totally gone on her, you never talk to anyone like that."

"I may do, just not to you, possibly."

"Come off it Hardy, Jake won two bets off you."

"Over what?"

"You and Rose, snogging in the restaurant for starters.  I heard them while you were talking to Castle's mother and daughter, I bet she was in on it, getting you to do it.  You didn't take much persuading, did you?"

"Stop it Miller, we should get back to work, I have to go see if the chief is free, she was in a meeting earlier."

"Probably on a vid-call to Pete Tyler."

"Why would she be?"

"Come on Hardy, what was all that him offering you a job?"

"I'm not going to take it, not unless Rose does not want to come down here and Daisy is just starting to talk to me again, if I move to London I may lose her again."

"I don't know, she may want to visit you in London, maybe coming here has put her off?"

They got up and walked back across the road, Alec stopping outside.

"You go on up, I'll stop by the chief's office and you were wrong, about my daughter coming here, she's coming the next holiday weekend."

"Wow, she's spending the whole weekend with you, in your chalet?"

"I'm working on it Miller, I know it's not practical, with a teenager.  I may have to go rent a caravan for a few days, if they are not all booked up."

"Will Rose be gone by then?"

"She said she would go back home for the weekend but I want her to stay, if she agrees."

"Don't tell me, you invited her to stay with you?"

"No, the pub across the footbridge, my place is not practical. I may have to go to the agency, see if they have something bigger."

"The chalet next door?" Ellie smiled, nodding to two constables passing them.

"Amusing Miller.  No, maybe a house or apartment on the way out of town, I will have to take a look.  Anyway, I want Daisy and Rose to meet but I will have to spend some time alone with Daisy, that was why she was coming here, to get used to me being around again."

"Do you think she will take to Rose?"

"I hope so Miller, I don't want Rose to come down here for nothing.  I'm going to be taking some time off, to look after Rose, at her stepfather's request.  I hope he will have talked to Jenkinson about it, he called earlier."

Alec recalled the conversation with Pete just after Jake had left his office.

"Alec, glad I caught you. I know this is asking a lot but you said you were planning on taking some leave?"

"Yes, my daughter is coming to visit anyway, I was hoping she and Rose would get on."

"I would have thought so, I hope this hasn't ruined any of your plans?"

"No, I can change them.  What did you have in mind?"

"Just look after Rose, when she goes down to visit, I'll square it with your boss, no need to take it as leave."

"Then consider it done, if the chief agrees.  I hope you know I will do my best, to see Rose gets help with her recovery?"

"I know you will Alec, she's very vulnerable right now and she doesn't need someone who will run away though you don't seem the type that would.  What about that hearing?"

"It will not interfere with Rose coming down here, I may just have to delay her arrival."

"Well you get that over with and I can delay her going back with you, I can always get her therapist to recommend a few more sessions."

"Well if it is arranged for Monday, I can always go back up for her."

"No need Alec, Jake volunteered to take her down."

"I thought he may.  Well, you can count on me and I want you to know, I'm doing this to help her but she needs to sort out her feelings, I told her she must wait and see if she still feels the same on Friday.   You need to know if she does, I won't leave."

"She has that effect on everyone Alec and the fact she already singled you out is a sign she wants to move on but Kilgrave got to her, we have to make sure there are no lasting effects."

"I understand and if she wants to move on, then I'm happy to help her, don't think I will disappear on her, I care about her."

"So you demonstrated Alec but I'll let that slide, you did have some encouragement.  I dare say knowing Rose there had been a few more similar occurrences?"

"I won't lie to you, she did take me by surprise, it was not unwanted but she knows if she wants to take it further, she has to prove she can think it over for a week."

"Well her mother is looking forward to meeting you on Friday and do yourself and Rose a favour, don't give in and arrive early, she needs that time."

"I know that.  She will get the time she needs."

"Good, I knew you would see things that way.  Leave your chief to me."

So as Alec knocked on CS Jenkinson's office door and waited, he hoped she would see Pete's point of view and that she wouldn't make things difficult.

Chapter 25

Alec was summoned into Elaine Jenkinson's office.  She had already received a call from Pete Tyler and had been a little surprised Hardy was wanted to be instrumental in the man's stepdaughter's recovery.   She'd received a preliminary report of Rose's rescue and was amused to see how big a part Alec had played in it.

"Alec, take a seat.  I expect you're here about Rose Tyler?"

"Yes, have you spoken to her stepfather?"

"It's all arranged Alec, you are on special assignment, again or rather a continuance of going over to New York but until her arrival in the town, I expect you to still perform your duties."

"I can do that but I need to leave early on Friday, to go collect her."

"Has she no-one to bring her down?"

It was the sort of reaction he'd been expecting.

"Yes but I promised her I would go up and escort her down personally."

"Is there something I should know?"

"Not yet.   She took a liking to me whilst we were in New York, there is nothing to it though I cannot guarantee things will not change.  She is upset and needs her family around her and if things do change, it will be because she had the time to think about it."

"I'm glad you are seeing sense Alec, it wouldn't look good if your name was linked to hers for the wrong reasons.  Make sure Ellie doesn't let on to that nephew of hers."

"I have already mentioned it to her, if something does get out, we know he will be responsible.  Maybe it would be better if Mr Tyler puts out a press statement."

"I'll leave that with you Alec, I dare say you will be talking to him?"

"I spoke with him earlier but you already know that.  I can talk to him when I go collect Rose."

"Well it will be best if the papers get it out of the way before she leaves London, we don't want them laying siege to the town again.  Have arrangements been made for her?"

"I will ask her when I talk to her later, she has several more therapist appointments before Mr Tyler will let her leave London.  He asked me to make sure I did not arrive earlier than planned."

"Well I can see to that, there are a few unsolved crimes around here that require yours and DS Miller's attention, I've passed them on to her."

As he left the chief's office, he thought at least she'd agreed to go along with it, it was better than using up all his leave or taking it unpaid.  He had no idea though how long it would take and as much as he was looking forward to having Rose here for a few days, then a few days with Daisy, he didn't know how long it would be before he would be begging to go back to work.  Being on medical leave had driven him crazy and had it not been for getting his contact to send him the Sandbrook files and him digging through them, he may have forgotten his fear of the river.

Pete had decided to finish up early and go and try to talk to Rose, see how her first session went after he'd left her. Tony had expressed he wanted him to pick him up from school anyway.  Jake had stopped by his office and said he couldn't get anything out of her.

"She didn't want to talk Pete," Jake had told him.

"I'm sure you tried Jake.  Do you think she will talk to Mickey?"

Jake laughed.  "After he told her mother?  I don't think so, do you?"

Pete smiled, it would take some forgiving on Rose's part.

"I think we should put some sort of press statement out, what do you think?"

"I'm surprised it's not already been picked up on, the press are a bit slow on the uptake."

"I'll have my press team put something together, say Rose went missing for a few days in New York but she'd been shopping and stayed with a friend."

"Yeah, sounds like a rich heiress goes on a shopping spree kinda thing."

They both laughed and hoped Rose would also see the funny side, it may lighten her mood.

Meanwhile Rose and her mother were enjoying themselves in the shopping mall, they almost didn't get home in time for Pete coming back with Tony and they arrived just as Rose and Jackie had got inside, a pile of shopping bags in the entry-way.

"Someone's been having fun then," Pete remarked as Tony ran to Rose.  "It will make it easier to tell you what my press team has come up with Rose."

"Did you bring me anything back Mummy?" Tony asked Jackie, who was sorting out which were hers.

"I got you some t-shirts, if we go visit Rose when she goes to stay with her new friend."

"Has she got a new boyfriend?  Have you Rose?  Have you got a new boyfriend?  Can I meet him?  Is he a policeman?  Mummy, can we go visit?"

Rose wondered where all the questions came from for such a young boy.

"Tony, I've not even gone yet, I just got back from that trip with Dad," Rose assured him.  "You'll meet Alec on Friday, he's coming to visit."

"Where does he live?" Tony asked her, diving in the carrier bag his mother handed him.

"By the sea, mum and dad can bring you down for a few days, not this bank holiday but the next one, Alec's grown-up daughter is visiting the first one."

"Are you sure it's a good idea, you being there at the same time?" her mother asked as she had separated her carriers from Rose's.

"I have to meet her at some point, Alec's going to find a place for them to stay, where he is is too small, so he says."

"Where are you gonna stay then?"

"At the pub by the side of where he is now, he's gonna send me the details, he might be able to go in and book it for me."

"I talked to him earlier Rose," Pete told her.  "He's arranging to take some leave. You can ask him to call in and book it but all costs are on me, tell him when you talk to him."

"I might see if he can rent something bigger then I don't have to stay too long at the pub.  He mentioned about a caravan, if he can't find anything."

"There are some really nice caravans now Rose, not like that bank holiday weekend in Clacton when you were twelve that Jimbo lent us, do you remember?" Jackie asked her, taking no notice of what her son was doing.

"Yuck, that was awful, we had to sleep on the seating area and the floor wobbled every time you moved.  You wouldn't use the cooker or the fridge and you sent me to get water every morning."

Rose smiled, remembering that the rest of the weekend wasn't that bad.

"Yes, well I want to talk to you about that Rose, when you've put your purchases away.  Who paid?" Pete asked.

Jackie had a guilty look on her face.  She might have been this Pete Tyler's wife a few years but she still couldn't get used to not being on a tight budget.

"Well since it was mainly for Rose's benefit, I'll let you off but Jackie, try to keep it down eh?"

"You can't take it with you, Pete Tyler," Jackie laughed, taking the empty carrier from Tony, who had stuffed the contents of the bag into one with her things in, while she'd not been looking.

"Tony Tyler, now I have to sort them out.  Come on, before your nanny gets here, we'll go put them away."

Tony grinned and followed his mother upstairs.  Pete turned to Rose.

"Right, so how did it go with Dr Hunt?"

An hour later, Jackie staying out of the way, Rose was interrupted by her phone ringing as Pete had told her that if she was going to share a place with Alec, she'd better make sure she still didn't think everything that had happened to her would magically disappear.

"Can you excuse me Dad? It's Alec."

"Sure, go ahead and tell him it doesn't matter about the costs, if he finds somewhere."

Rose nodded and walked off.  "Hi Alec, sorry, I was talking with my stepfather."

"That's no problem Rose and I apologise for earlier, Miller was with me and we were outside.  So, how did your first session really go?"

"You could have talked in front of Ellie, I wouldn't have minded."

"Well it was not just her, I did not want the rest of Broadchurch to hear me asking how things went."

"Ok, for a first session, did she call you?"

"Yes, she said you had just left.  I can't say what we discussed though.  How does your brother like having you back?"

"Fine, mum went and told him I was coming to stay with you, now he wants to visit though I did mention it the other day but now she went and confirmed it, I won't hear the end of it now."

"Well it will have to be after Daisy's visit.  That reminds me, I have to call her, I have to tell her you are going to be here."

"How do you think she'll react?  She thought it was just gonna be the two of you."

"No matter Rose, I don't expect you to go home just for her sake. I may take the easy option though and just go rent a caravan across the river from me, then it will not be so much of a rush finding something before Friday. I will go to the letting agents though, get them to let me know if something suitable comes in."

"Alec, you don't have to leave your chalet for me. I can stay at the pub."

"My chalet is no place for a growing teenager, my bedroom door barely closes.  No, I will go to the caravan office in the morning and book a three bedroom model for next weekend then you can come and join us.  I will make sure there are two double bedrooms, Daisy can have the twin room or whatever the other one is. Would you like me to book a room at the pub for you?"

"Mmm, please.  Book it in my name though, a double, dad's paying.  Just breakfast, I can eat with you, we can stay in your chalet until bedtime, then you can walk me back or you can stay," she teased.

"Now Rose, let's not get too far ahead eh?  You still have a long way to go yet in your recovery."

"I know that but maybe I'll make a quicker one when you arrive?"

"Quite possibly Rose but we have an agreement.  I intend sticking to it but I have some news.  The hearing is next Monday, in Portsmouth, you may have to get to Broadchurch on your own a day or two later."

"Oh, is it so soon?  Well, it's important, I know that and you have to attend.  How long are you expecting it to last?"

"Hopefully only one day.  I may be able to go back for you."

"Nah, Jake will bring me down, I'm not talking to Mickey."

"So I heard, Miller informed me he told your mother about the restaurant."

"You mean he squealed on us more like, the rat.  He was always doing that, when I went travelling with the Doctor, just 'cos I went off and left him.  Never mind though, it's all in the past now, just like with what happened with Kilgrave."

Well she was hoping it was but something deep inside was telling her she'd not got away with her first time with him.  What would Alec think though?  If she told him, he would go off her – rather quickly or would it make no difference?

"Yes, what happened with Kilgrave is in the past but you have to accept you still need help.  I will call you again tomorrow, I will book you a double room, I expect you will need it for your clothes."

"Yeah, you and Jake at the airport, I'll have you know I restrained myself when I was packing to go to New York."

Alec smiled to himself, if that was restraint, she would need a bag like the one belonging to Mary Poppins, or a Tardis, so he'd been informed if it was indeed bigger on the inside.

"Then I had better get a reasonably sized caravan with extra space, had I not?"

"Very funny Alec.  I can always go back for more anyway, I'll just pack for a couple of weeks, I'll maybe ask Ellie if I can do my laundry at her house."

"I have laundry facilities in my chalet, for a long as I keep it though I may give notice on it, if you either like the caravan or something else comes up."

"Pete said he'd cover any cost, don't let price hold you back.  Maybe you could get a caravan with a balcony and includes a washing machine?  Oh and you could look at holiday cottages, that are already furnished."

"Anything else?"

"Nah, don't think so."

"I was joking Rose, I expect you want your home comforts?"

"I can rough it, if I have to."

"In a caravan?"

"Long as it's not like the one me and mum were talking about earlier that one of her old boyfriends lent us."

"You must tell me about it sometime."

"Don't worry, mum will.  I'd best let you call Daisy then."

"Yes, I had been trying to put it off.  She knows I went to rescue you but nothing else.  I have to tell Tess as well, I don't want Daisy asking if she already knows."

"Bye then, you'll call me tomorrow, won't you?  Do you know how to video chat?"

"I believe so, I will try that tomorrow then, not that you need reminding what I look like, unlike my daughter."

Rose smiled to herself.  "Yeah, I know what you look like, not who you look like. Everyone thinks I'm gonna break down, when I see you again."

"Are you?"

"Nope, Marsha asked me if I thought you were Kilgrave come back, when you found me."

"What did you tell her?"

"That you told me who you were."

"You believed me."

"Yeah, Kilgrave didn't have a Scottish accent, did he?"

"So I have been told.  I think you need to talk about a lot more than the differences between Kilgrave and myself."

"That comes later, she's just touching the surface, I know how this works, trust me."

"I just bet you do but don't hold back Rose, this is more serious than those last times, I have been told about them, well some of it."

"You mean the last time I went looneytoons and thought a bloke I saw on the news was the Doctor?  Or the time there was that court case where that man got away with some murders then the barrister got accused of killing him?"

"Isolated incidents Rose, goodness knows how many more there are out there who look like me or rather the Doctor.  I bet if you were to look back in history, there will be more."

"Yeah, that's a great help Alec, aren't you the one having an identity crisis?" Rose laughed.

"No, I can deal with it better than you can.  You were torn apart from him, through no fault of your own, it is bound to have a lasting effect on you.  Your mother was right to keep you away from the news when I made the headlines."

"I followed the case on the radio and the papers, as long as she cut your photo out. She tried to tell me there was a discount coupon on the other side, like I was gonna believe that."

Alec let out a laugh, something he'd been doing more of since meeting Rose, a few days ago.  Maybe he should have looked her up before all this had happened.  Yeah Hardy, nice one, as if she wasn't bad enough already.

"She was doing it for your own good Rose, you know that now.  You never answered my question though.  How could you not think I was Kilgrave coming back?"

"Really? Well, for starters, Kilgrave wouldn't have your accent, he certainly wouldn't have called he was a detective and Kate would have seen through him.  He couldn't have fooled everyone.  Alec, don't do this to me, please."

"Sorry, I had to ask."

"No, you didn't."

He knew he'd blown it now, she may never talk to him again.

"I said I was sorry Rose.  You are going to get worse than that from your therapist you know?  She is going to ask you the difference between Kilgrave and myself and possibly the Doctor."

"You think I don't know that Alec?  I told my mum, maybe this was what I needed, a wake-up call."

"What is that suppose to mean?"

"That I will keep seeing the Doctor everywhere I go but now, I hope I have at least one who won't disappear on me.  Do I?"

"Yes, you do Rose, for as long as you want.  Your stepfather asked how I felt about it, I assured him I was going nowhere."

"Even if Daisy doesn't like me?"

"Ah, then I may have to give it some further thought."

Rose went quiet and he realised what he'd said.  Since when did he keep trying to be funny?

"Rose, I was joking again.  Miller said I have no sense of humour."

"And you're trying to prove her wrong?  Geez Alec, you shouldn't be trying to prove the point with me."

"I know and I apologise once more, maybe now is not the right time to try that sort of thing.  You can tell me off, good and proper when I come to see you."

"Yeah, I'll hold you to that.  You owe me, big time."

"Yes, I do and I will pay in full, you have my word but since I have just discovered I may indeed have a sense of humour, I shall try to bury it again."

"Not on my account.  Sorry Alec, it just got to me."

"I'm the one who should be saying sorry.  I am going to keep doing this, you will have to keep telling me."

"Yeah, I will.  I wish you could come up sooner."

"Oh, you still want me to come and visit after I proved what an idiot I can be?"

"You're a lovable idiot Alec, don't change on my account."

"I will try not to.  See how things are a few days eh?  You still need that time Rose."

"Yeah, you're right, I have to be sure I'm over it but it's gonna be a long few days."

"You can do it Rose, I have every faith in you.  Maybe now, it will all finally be over, you will get over your ordeal and come to terms with the Doctor not being able to get to you."

"I hope so Alec, it's all I've had the last few years, thinking that he's come back and somehow been hiding from me but maybe I can come to terms with it, if you help me?"

"I will be only too happy to help you, whatever it takes.  Bye Rose, I will talk to you tomorrow and don't worry about getting on with Daisy."

"Bye Alec, don't forget to vid-call tomorrow."

Alec hung up and stood by the window, staring across the river and wondering if the caravan sales office was still open.  No, he could leave it until morning, couldn't he?  He had to call Daisy before she read anything in the papers about Rose's rescue but he hoped Pete would come up with a suitable cover story, probably about Rose going on an unscheduled shopping trip.

He went to sit outside on the garden chair, the one he'd sat on when Tess had brought him home from the hospital, not that long ago.  She'd said she was going to sleep on the sofa but she'd squeezed into the spare bedroom though Daisy would instantly turn her nose up and ask if he was joking.

He retrieved her number and waited to see if she would answer.

"Hey Dad, not calling to put me off coming down there are you?"

"Should I be?  That is your mother's job.  You may still change your mind, I have something to tell you."

"Your shack fell into the river?  I didn't want to stay there anyway, can't you find something else?  I mean, who lives in a shack?"

"Excuse me, it's been my home for several months now, why is everyone picking on it?"

"I was just kidding Dad, geez, chill out.  So, what have you got to tell me then?"

"You now I told you I went to New York, to help find Rose Tyler?"

"Yeah though there's been nothing in the news about it, are they trying to keep it a secret or something?"

"Yes but there will be a press statement soon.  That was who I was calling about, she wants to pay a visit to Broadchurch."

"Oh, is that all?  She'll be staying in the best hotel, won't she?  Dad, no, don't tell me. She's not staying in your shack?"

"No, she is not staying in my chalet.  She is going to stay at the pub next door for a few days."

"Phew, that's a relief, mum said how run down your place is, she was surprised it's still standing.  So, she's going to be in your town for a few days, what's that got to do with me?  Wait a minute, you don't mean she's going to be there while I am? Dad."

"Calm down Daisy.  Yes, she will be here when you are, she is coming down early nest week, I am going to see her in London this weekend and I had planned on bringing her back with me but I have to attend a court hearing in Portsmouth on Monday."

"Yeah, mum mentioned it, she's really annoyed that stupid bitch Claire Ripley is trying to get away with it.  Are you going to come and see me, since you're not going to be far away?"

"Well if the hearing is only on for one day, I was going to go back and collect Rose but if DS Miller and I have to stay overnight, I will drive over and see you."

Daisy began to giggle.  "Well don't give anyone the wrong idea after last time, will you?"

"Not you as well?  You know that was the defence in Joe Miller's trial, trying to get him off?"

"Yeah and it worked, didn't it?  I'm just having you on again Dad, really.  So, is there something else I should know?  You and Rose Tyler maybe?"

"She's just a friend Daisy but I want you to meet her.  She has been through a lot, she was help captive for over a week and she is coming here to help her get over it."

"With you?  Come on Dad, why Broadchurch?"

"There are some things you need to know."

"Why didn't she run away when she saw you?"

"A very good question but she stayed and now she wants to come down here.   I'm going to rent a large caravan Daisy, I'd like for Rose to stay with us, if you agree. Her stepfather does not want her to stay on her own for too long, a few nights, she will be able to cope.  I know this was meant to be for us to get along again but Rose really needs our help."

"Yeah, it's always one thing or another Dad, there was Pippa and Lisa going missing, then you left."

"You know why that was, Rose is different, she has to live through it and you are old enough now to know that being in the police, things get to some people more than others.  So, are you still coming down?"

"Yeah, though mum will try and talk me out of it no doubt but it beats spending the bank holiday weekend with that loser Dave, he'll probably spend it at the pub.  I swear if he moves in with mum, I'm running away from home."

"Aye, I don't doubt that but don't worry us by going missing, if you are going to run away, come to me."

"You mean that, really?  Even if Rose decides to stay?  What's she like anyway? Mum reckons she's a bit stuck up, having all that money."

"No, she is not stuck up, she grew up with nothing before her mother met and married Pete Tyler.  Mind you, she had enough luggage with her for a short trip to New York."

"Well, I'll give her a go, see what she's like but if we don't get on, will she go back to staying at the pub?"

"If you don't get on, I will talk to her about it.  She has a younger brother so she is used to being around younger people, you should get on."

"I'm not that young Dad.  So, I'm still coming down, despite you trying to put me off but you can tell mum."

Tess had to pick that time to walk into the kitchen.

"Tell me what Daisy?  Is that your father?  He'd better not be putting off your trip to Broadchurch, Dave and I are going away for the weekend, he's telling that no good wife of his he has to work."

"I don't know why you bother with him Mum, he's never gonna leave her."

"That's none of your business Daisy Hardy.  If that's your dad, I want to talk to him."

Alec was listening with interest, he could have told her that Dave was just using her to get away from his nagging wife, even after all that time.

"So, what are you telling Daisy that you don't want me to know?"

"That I may have got myself in deeper than I thought, with Rose Tyler."

Tess had to laugh. "You are joking Alec, you and Rose Tyler?  You were supposed to just be going over to find her so Daisy said though you could have talked to me about it, not get involved with her."

"I am not involved with her, well not like that, not yet anyway.  She went through a lot Tess, she needs someone right now, who is not going to hold her captive or run away from her."

He quickly explained about her losing the Doctor and how he looked like both her lost friend and her captor.  He thought it best to leave Carver out of the equation.

"Well, you'll have your work cut out then, if she's taken a shine to you.  You'd best not stuff it up, had you?"

He felt like saying her leaving him for an older, more robust man was not him stuffing things up.

"I have no intentions of letting things go wrong.  Daisy has agreed that if Rose is still here when she comes down, she will try to get along with her, Rose knows Daisy is going to be here."

"Well I hope you're not going to offer her your sofa, or your spare room?"

What did everyone have against his chalet?  He could have died in there a few weeks ago and no-one would have found him for days, he knew that now and when he'd passed out on the decking, he could have fallen into the river.  Why did he still insist on punishing himself?  Maybe Rose was his reward for everything he'd been through and maybe in a strange way, he was this universe's way of compensating Rose for the loss of the Doctor.  He certainly had some big shoes to fill by all accounts.

Chapter 26

Over in New York, Kate and Castle had enjoyed a fairly peaceful Sunday, compared with the previous one when Rose had been missing.  Emmett had got back to Gracepoint, still puzzled as to how lucky old Alec Hardy had managed to get tangled up with Rose so quickly and trying not to feel jealous.  He wasn't going to let up though, he had the advantage over the New York police, he had more time to spare and he wanted to find out more now he had more facts about Kilgrave.

After Kilgrave had left the apartment on Friday morning, he'd found himself feeling betrayed, just when he'd thought he had Rose where he wanted her, she must have had it all arranged, well rather Torchwood had, that if they had a member who was compromised, a fake site had been set up.   He should have known but he'd been convinced Rose was being reasonably compliant with him for fear he would do something to the others.

He'd also had a nasty suspicion that the police were closing in on him and that making one of the men stand above the balcony would have drawn some attention as he'd seen the police cars attending the incident with the taxi drivers arguing just down the street.  No, he had made a wise decision and maybe he would go look for Hope again, she had to be somewhere.  The last person at the moment he needed to come across was Jessica Jones but sooner or later, he'd have to come to terms with her though she probably thought he was dead.

Tuesday, Rose was back at her therapist's office, recalling more details about how Kilgrave had treated her.

"So Rose, tell me slowly how you felt when he took you out to the park.  Did you feel he was watching you all the time?"

"Yeah, he was, he never let go of my arm or my hand and when we went on the carousel, he sat behind me, his arms were around my waist.  The only time he let go was for me to visit the ladies room, then he said he'd send someone in after me and I believed him."

"So, what about the following day?  How did you travel?"

"We got taxis, don't ask me if he paid or not, he held me behind him all the time and on the way back to the apartment, he kept my head into his shoulders when we were almost back, we could have been anywhere."

"Now, I want you tell me about the first night you spent with him, properly.  How did you feel?"

Rose thought this was getting a little too personal.  "Do I have to?"

"You have to get it all off your mind Rose, it will only build up and get in the way if you want to form another relationship."

"You mean with Alec?"

"With anyone Rose, not just present but also future relationships."

"I treated it like an assignment, I already told you.  I tried to resist him as long as I could, really I did but he knew I was stalling.  I've no idea what he would have done."

"When did he start wanting you to take the lead?"

"The next morning, he wanted to get me in the shower.  Is this really necessary? Will this go in the report?"

"Not if you don't want it to, you only have to say."

"I just don't want Alec to know Marsha, I really like him."

"Because of who he looks like?"

Rose hesitated.  "No, not just that but what if he's the one?  The one who will help me finally get over the Doctor and I scare him away?"

"Do you want Alec to be the one?  I won't put this in the report.  Have you told him how you feel about him?"

"He told me to give it a week then we'd discuss it again.  Didn't I already tell you that?"

Marsha ignored her, writing this down in her private notes.  Rose still had some fixation with the detective, on day two.  She needed to see how Rose changed her attitude over the next few days.  If she was still keen on him, then maybe he was the one that would help her.  He had already said he was more than willing, if she wanted his help.

Alec was kept busy, the pile of folders on his desk were like a chain around his neck and Miller wasn't helping.  He got up and put his jacket on – he needed some air, even if it was sea air.

"Sir, are you following up a lead?" Ellie asked as he placed the pile of folders on the corner of her desk.

"No, I just need to get out, you carry on."

Ellie followed him out into the corridor.

"It's Rose, she's getting to you."

"Is that a question Miller?" he asked, pressing the lift button.

"No, I think it's more of a statement.  What if she doesn't want to see you again?"

"Whose side on you on Miller?"

The lift arrived and he stepped inside, pressing the 'Hold' button.

"You have to face it Hardy, she could have a complete breakdown and have to get proper help."

"Very comforting Miller, I talked with her last night.  I also spoke to my daughter and told her Rose might be here when she arrives."

"I bet that went down well?"

Alec nodded and released the button.  Perhaps he hadn't thought this through properly, what was he thinking of?  Daisy was just showing signs she wanted a father-daughter relationship and Rose was getting over been forced to spend time with Kilgrave and she still had the Doctor heavily on her mind.  He was the last one she needed.

He walked across the road and went to one of the catering stalls but wasn't aware he'd been spotted by the town's reporter.  Olly Stevens had got a few things out of his mother as to his aunt's sudden trip away and leaving her boys, his cousins behind.  Alec had just sat down and was waiting for his pot of tea when Olly stood in front of him.

"DI Hardy, have you got a minute?"

"What do you want now Stevens?  Can't I have five minutes peace?"

Despite the question, he pulled out the seat opposite.  "My mother told me my Aunt Ellie went to New York with you, care to give me five minutes to tell me why?"

Alec's drink arrived and the assistant gave Olly a look as if to say he should order something.

"There is nothing to tell, it's confidential.  We were on a special assignment, co-operating with the New York Police Department."

"Why would the NYPD want two English detectives?"

Alec poured out his tea and wondered how long he could go without telling the irritating reporter he went to rescue Rose Tyler.

"I told you, I can't tell you what we were doing there.  Look out in the next few days though, there may be something of interest to you."

"What does that mean?"

"You're the reporter, figure it out.  Now, it's time for you to leave, if you are not going to buy anything."

Olly got up, seeing the catering staff watching him since Alec was sat in the area reserved for customers only.  He was determined to get something more out of the gruff detective since his aunt had told his mother not to say anything.  What did Hardy mean though?  Maybe he should go back to the office and check recent press statements, maybe the Tyler's were in the news again.  That would be something, Alec Hardy would be the last one to get caught up with the Vitex heiress, she was in the news almost every week but the last two weeks, things had been quiet.

Maybe she'd been over to New York and needed two detectives to escort her or better still, she'd got herself kidnapped and Hardy and his aunt had gone to find her.  Still, he'd have to wait for confirmation, Mr Tyler would shut him down if he wrote anything and he was more scared of the Vitex chairman than he was Hardy.

Alec looked at his phone, it wasn't even noon yet and Rose may not be out of her morning session, though he didn't know what time she started.  He put the phone away, finished his tea and got up and decided he'd take a walk up the High Street and visit the rental agency, see if he could find something with three bedrooms for next weekend but he was pushing his luck.

He had to pass the caravan office so thinking it would save him a walk and maybe some time, he stepped inside.

"Can I help you Sir?" a young woman asked him.

The woman behind her stepped forward.  "It's ok Sarah, I'll attend to the inspector. How can we help you today?"

Twenty minutes later, Alec had booked an extra wide three bedroomed caravan for the following Thursday and put his daughter's and Rose's names down as staying there so they could get free passes for the club and swimming pool plus Rose could leave her car if she decided to ever go back and drive it down. If he didn't get to collect her after the hearing in Portsmouth was over, Jake would more than likely bring her down.

He just hoped now he'd paid from Thursday to Tuesday morning, Rose would want to stay with him and being who he was, the assistant manager had agreed if he wanted to extend his stay, it could be arranged.  He supposed the woman thought it would be a feather in her cap if the police would be paying for however long he chose to stay there, it was money in the bank.  It would be easy enough to get his housing allowance transferred, though with it being the holiday weekend and he'd had to pay the cost himself, he hoped if Rose decided she liked it she would pay towards it.

Pete had told him money was no object as long as Rose was happy and a caravan was marginally better than his chalet, at least the bedroom doors would close but he wished he could have taken a proper look though the woman had kindly shown him some photos on the website of the model he'd chosen with two double bedrooms and he'd been told one bed in the twin room could be removed if he asked.  He wandered back to the station, pleased he'd at least got that sorted, now all he had to do was reserve a room at the pub for Rose's arrival and call her later.

Rose had been picked up by Mickey from her therapist's office and on the way back, he asked her if she was now talking to him.

"I suppose so Mickey but if you pull another stunt like that again, I'll disown you. What you go and do it for anyway?"

"I said I was sorry Rose, geez, how many more times?"

"You're still jealous, admit it."

"No I'm not but after everything you've been through, do you really need another Doctor look-alike?"

"I don't consider Alec like that, Marsha already asked me if I was using him as a substitute and I'm not, he's much more."

"Me and Jake had a bet going, that you'd run a mile when you saw him."

"Well who lost then?"

She didn't really need to ask.

"I'm still going down to Broadchurch, with or without Alec taking me on Monday. He's got a hearing to attend but he'll come back up for me, if it only lasts a day, if not, I'll go down anyway on Tuesday."

"Do you want me to take you?" Mickey asked as they arrived at the Tyler mansion.

"Nah, Jake can take me.  I might ask Alec if he's staying in Portsmouth overnight where his hotel is and meet him there, then he can take me down to Broadchurch. I think I'll ask him when he calls me."

Mickey knew she was still determined to go with the detective and wondered if any of them were going to be able to convince her she was wrong about all this, that Alec was the last person she needed right now.  Rose thanked Mickey and opened the door to find Tony had come home from school.

"Hey, what's wrong, why are you home Tony?"

Her mother chose that moment to come out of the kitchen.

"I had to have him picked up, he screamed the place down when there was a fire drill.  Honestly Tony, you've had them before, what was it this time?"

"Don't know Mum, I just got scared when everyone was going back in."

Jackie knew what it was. Pete and Rose had been away almost two weeks then Rose had let on she intended disappearing for however long she decided and it wasn't helping.

"Aw, never mind, did the fire brigade arrive?"

"Nope, it was just a drill Rose.  Are you going away again?"

Rose led him to sit down.

"Tony, I made a new friend, I just want to spend some time with him, that's all.  You know I go away sometimes."

"Yeah but you and dad don't always go together."

"Well dad's staying this time and we promise you can come down and see me next holiday if I'm not back."

"Ok then, are you going to the seaside?"

"Yeah, it should be a bit warmer then, it will still be a bit cold now anyway.  Maybe you can meet Daisy, she's Alec's daughter."

Jackie was listening with interest, Rose was really getting caught up in all this and it would all come back to slap her in the face when she came to her senses.  She knew her daughter was still holding back, the last time she had seen a man who looked similar to the Doctor, well she didn't want to think about it.

After lunch, Rose went to her room to have some time to herself before Alec called, which she was looking forward to.  She thought she was getting nowhere with her therapist, why had Marsha wanted to know how she felt when Kilgrave wouldn't let her out of his sight?  She was looking up 'Broadchurch' online when her mobile rang, an international number. It was Kate.

"Hi Rose, I thought I would check and see how you were doing.  So how's things?"

"Going slowly. Have you caught Kilgrave yet?"

"Sorry no but we had a few more leads.  Hope went back home to her parents, they came to collect her, they drove all the way from Omaha.  Fingers crossed she won't wander off again but there was something else.  Did Kilgrave mention anyone called Jessica?"

"Not that I remember.  Who is she?"

Kate didn't want to go into too many details.  "We're not sure, we're still looking into it, Hope mentioned her but she's still well out of it.   How are you doing?"

"You'll be getting that report from my therapist but I've told her to leave some things out."

Kate was dying to know what they were and were probably the juicy bits.   Castle had said to her before the call that maybe Rose was still attached to Alec Hardy. Kate had disagreed though and putting down the phone, turned to her husband.

"So, get anything out of her?" he asked.

"No, not much, she was very quiet.  I think you might all be wrong Castle, if she was still seeing Hardy, she would have been talking about him."

"Did you ask her about him?"

"You have a lot to learn, she would have volunteered the information, I wouldn't have to ask her."

"Maybe she kept quiet, if her therapist has been asking her questions about him? She probably doesn't want anyone else telling her she doesn't need another man who looks like Kilgrave and the friend she lost."

"Maybe you're right.  If I talk to her again, I'll ask her.  Take that smirk off your face Castle, I still think you're wrong about them."

"Did you see that kiss he gave her?  That wasn't a spur of the moment thing Beckett, they'd kissed before.  She never fought him off."

"Well your mother encouraged them though Rose didn't look too flustered but I don't think she was actually expecting him to kiss her in front of everyone."

"Then you have to at least agree to the possibility there was something going on between them."

Kate couldn't really argue on the point.  She had to ring Alec anyway, to make sure he was going to forward the reports, what there were going to be of them by the sound of it, if Rose was going to leave some of it out.  She retrieved the number and waited for him to answer.

Alec was back in his office, counting down to when it would be safe to call Rose and thinking he was almost as bad as she was.  What had happened to him over the last few days?  He'd told Rose to think about it but he was doing exactly the opposite, he didn't want to think about it, he wanted it to be Friday morning so he could pack a weekend bag and drive up and see her.

He knew if she hadn't been so vulnerable he wouldn't have left her to think about it for a week, he would have stayed when she'd asked him to and waited with her while she went to see her therapist.  What had he been thinking, leaving her to mull it over when he already knew she'd made her mind up about it but he had to prove to himself that she was doing it for the right reasons and he wasn't being used as her escape from what had happened to her.

She would be better off knowing that he did care about her rather than her wondering whether he did or not.  He had to tell her tonight, before she went off the idea completely and he didn't want her to do that.  He was rather annoyed that the hearing was on Monday but it was better than getting her down here and leaving her alone or even considering taking her with him.  His phone rang and he squinted at the screen, unhappily it wasn't Rose.  He would have to assign another ring tone for her and maybe sneak a photo from the internet until he could take one of her for himself, since they'd not really been at that stage when they had parted.  Hell, she still may not want to be at that 'stage' when he went to see her.

This was doing neither of them any good but the phone kept ringing and he snapped out of it.


"Hello Alec, it's Kate Beckett."

"Hello Detective Beckett, what can I do for you today?"

"Oh, I just wondered how things were.  Have you spoken to Rose?"

"I spoke to her yesterday, I was unsure what time her sessions with her therapist were so I've not called today."

Kate knew it, he wasn't that keen by the sound of it.  Maybe he was having second thoughts after all.

"I just spoke with her, she was reluctant to say anything or maybe she thought she couldn't talk on the phone."

"Ah, maybe that was the problem, she never said much to me last night either but I will be seeing her on Friday, with any luck.  That's if she doesn't scream down the phone she never wants to see me again."

"Oh I don't know, judging by that kiss in the restaurant."

"What is it with everyone?  I heard Jake and Mickey talking at the airport about it, seems Jake won a bet, according to Miller."

Kate had to laugh, if Rose had any designs on him, he was completely at a loss as to the effect he'd had on her.  She wasn't going to be the one to tell him either.

Alec said goodbye and said he would forward the reports to her personally then he decided he couldn't settle until he checked up on Rose.  The effect she was having on him, well he'd never felt like this when he was chasing after Tess, it was more like they had just latched onto each other at the station because they were both new there and she was shying away from Dave but thirteen years later, he had worn her down and was still married though she didn't seem to care any longer.

He closed his office door, noticing Ellie with her head stuck in the file of folders he'd placed on her desk earlier.  He found Rose's number, it should be safe enough to call her now, it was mid-afternoon.  Rose was having fun with Tony chasing her around the hallway with his new police car that she didn't hear her phone ringing so her mother answered it, not noticing who was calling and thinking it was Mickey or Jake.

"Rose, glad I caught you," Alec's Scottish voice came down the phone.

"Are you now?  Why wouldn't you be catching Rose then?  Is that Alec?  I want a word with you."

He knew it could only be her mother.  "Ah, Mrs Tyler, may I say how nice it is to finally get the chance to talk to you?"

"What do you mean?  If you want Rose, she's playing with her brother, he almost lost her you know?"

He was about to say he was there but thought against it.  "Yes Mrs Tyler, I am aware of that, I was there when she was found."

"I know you were, I suppose I should thank you for that.  What I want to know is why she didn't run away from you."

He wasn't sure himself and supposed he'd not find out until he got Rose to tell him.

"That is a very good question.  Maybe because she spoke to me through the door and I told her who I was.  I expect her therapist will have asked her the same question.  Would you be kind enough to get her for me?"

"Well I still want to talk to you when you get here, taking her away again.  Tony's already getting upset 'cos she's going away again, I had to bring him home from school."

"I understand that Mrs Tyler but it is Rose's choice, she asked me to bring her down here.  She mentioned her bother was wanting to come down and see her."

"Well it will be all I can do to stop him wanting to go off with her, they're very close, Rose grew up on her own."

"So I have been told.  I will try to explain to him that she won't be that far away and that he should get you to bring him down during the late May holiday."

"I've already had to tell him that we will, if Rose is still there.  Did she say how long she was gonna stay?"

"She never actually said but when I mentioned my daughter was coming to stay next weekend, she wanted to meet her.  was just going to book Rose's accommodation for her, at the pub near where I live."

"A pub?  Are there no decent hotels there?"

"Yes but they are up in the town and since Mr Tyler asked me to look after her, they are too far away."

"Oh, he did, did he?  What about when you're working?"

"I am taking some leave, at Mr Tyler's request."

He wasn't going to say he was the one who suggested it in the first place and used it to his advantage.

"Well you make sure you do look after or when we come down there or she comes home, I'll want to know why."

"I will take very good care of her, I promise you.  Now, could you get her for me?"

Jackie seemed satisfied with his answers and walking out with the phone in her hand, almost collided with her son.

"Tony, stop that now, you are not a police car.  Rose, why are you chasing him?"

"Aw but Mum, I'm chasing Rose, she's the baddie."

"Well she can stop, she has a phone call."

"Who is it Mum?"

"Find out, here.  Now I have to calm Tony down."

Rose took the phone and saw Alec's name, hoping he hadn't heard her mother saying she was playing the baddie or that he'd been put through a grilling by her mother asking his intentions towards her daughter, it may just put him off.

"Hi Alec, sorry about that.  How are you?"

"Me?  Just fine, I should be asking you that question.  Having fun chasing your brother around?"

She wanted to tell him she needed the exercise, since she no longer chased monsters with the Doctor or ran away from them.

"Yeah, he came home from school early, there was a fire drill and he got scared but I think he just missed me.  Now I'm going away again," she told him sadly, finding a corner seat away from her mother's ears.

"You could always stay you know?"

"Are you trying to get out of it?"

"No, why, should I be?"

"I was joking Alec.  No, I still want to come down there and I hope you've booked me somewhere?"

"I will call on my way home.  Since I will be away on Monday, I will book it from Tuesday night but I also booked a caravan, for the three of us, from Thursday night so you can either stay at the pub until Daisy arrives or we can move into the caravan on Thursday night, if you want? Am I being too presumptuous?"

"No, it's fine, I'll see how I feel.  Did you get a three bedroom model?"

"Yes, two double bedrooms and Daisy can have the twin room.  I booked it until Tuesday morning but I can keep it longer if needed."

"Aw, I wouldn't mind staying in your chalet but if you're insisting on booking me a room at the pub?"

"Rose, you have not even seen my place, the bedroom door barely closes or have I already told you that?"

"I don't remember, you may have done.  Ok, book me a room for two nights then and like I said, you can walk me over. Don't forget, I only want the room and I'll have breakfast with you."

"We can go over to the café."

"Aw, aren't you gonna make breakfast for me?"

"Now Rose, we still have to discuss that, when I get there."

"Then come up early."

"You know why I can't, need I remind you every time I call?"

She knew he didn't have to – it was for her own good, well so everyone kept telling her anyway but she was beginning to think it was for his sake as well as hers.  Was he getting cold feet about all this?  She had sprung herself on him almost immediately she'd laid eyes on him and people were right to think she didn't know what she was doing.

"Ok, no, you don't need to keep reminding me Alec.  I just hope I can survive until Friday then."

"You will, you have plenty to keep you busy."

"Yeah, Pete wants to talk when he gets back, I expect it's about what we went there for in the first place and then he'll be asking me the same thing as my mother – am I completely mad making friends with you after what I've just been through.  Do you think I'm crazy?"

He should say yes.  "I don't think you are crazy Rose, you just need to step back and give yourself some time to adjust to being home again."

"I can do that down in Broadchurch you know."

"Yes, you could do it here then come Monday morning, I would have to go off and leave you so it's best I still come up there and you wait until I finish at the court."

"If you insist but can we compromise? You go to Portsmouth but leave early Monday morning, then if you finish, you come back for me and if not, I'll come and meet you there on Tuesday afternoon. It won't take you more than two days, will it?"

"It should be over in one day, it depends on what Claire has to say for herself."

He knew Claire Ripley would try her best to worm her way out of her sentence for her part in the events of Sandbrook, including him hiding her from her husband and the accusations she made in the interview when she threw the missing evidence bag at him during Joe Miller's trial.  He just hoped the defence was not Sharon Bishop, she would walk all over him again and if whoever was defending her found out he'd been to New York to help find Rose, it would be interesting what they made of it.

"So, do you agree then?"

"Yes, agreed, we will do that then but one thing Rose.  Has your stepfather put out a statement yet?  Miller's nephew tried to find out earlier what I was doing in New York.  When he sees you here, he will be asking question."

"I'll ask Pete when he gets back, that may be what he wants to talk about as well.  He may just tell them I went on an impromptu shopping trip."

"Well judging by the luggage you had, that is quite believable."

"Gee thanks Alec, you're as bad as Jake.  Did you know those two had been betting about us?"

"I was aware of that, yes. I believe one of them was if I was going to kiss you in the restaurant, well so I can gather.  I had a call from Detective Beckett."

"Yeah, she called me and asked if I'd heard of a woman called Jessica."

"Had you?  Was she another of Kilgrave's victims?"

"She didn't say much, I'd not heard him mention her though he may have talked about Hope, he kept going on about having to tell one of them what he wanted all the time.  That's probably why he wanted to keep me, because…"

She trailed of, not wanted to admit to him she had been a willing participant. Would it change his opinion of her if she admitted as much?

Chapter 27

Alec was getting concerned about her.  What if she broke down over the phone or while she was in Broadchurch?  How would he cope if he had to call her stepfather to get her some help?

"Rose, you need to calm down, don't think about it.  We all know why he wanted you – to get him control of Torchwood.  He could have kidnapped any woman for the other reasons.  The fact you were taken in by him because of who he looked like was pure coincidence, he could not have known.  Did he get any information about the Doctor from your Torchwood files?"

Rose pulled herself together.  "No, he couldn't get into my file, that's probably when he started getting suspicious.  He was out on the balcony, he could have see a police car."

"Rose, there was a police car there, two cab drivers got into a fight, we went to join them."

"Why would you do that?"

"Because someone reported that her mother was going out early in the morning and not saying where she had been all day.  We believe she was Kilgrave's housekeeper.  That was when I caught a glimpse of a man on a balcony for a few seconds."

"Alec, he made that man stand on a planter then changed his mind.  He must have thought it would attract attention."

"It did Rose, it narrowed down the search, the woman's daughter followed her to that street but lost her, when we got there, the drivers were arguing.  One of them remembered you getting out of his cab."

"So that's how you found me?"

"It was only for a moment, we still had to search two buildings."

"So you drew the short straw and got the building I was in then?"

"That was my lucky day Rose, it was everyone's lucky day."

"Alec, I don't know what he would have done to me, if he'd not left."

"Don't think about it Rose, it's over now."

"What if I never get over it Alec?"

"That is exactly why you are seeing your therapist and why you have to see her the rest of the week.  There is something you should know."

"What's that?"

"I care about what happens to you Rose, I promised your mother and your stepfather I would look after you when I bring you down here but I can't do that if things are not right, if you still cannot come to terms with what happened."

"Yeah, I know, you're right Alec, I have to see this through.  I know you care about me, you all do but it doesn't make it any easier to recall everything he did to me. Everyone's expecting me to break down in tears but I'm really trying not to."

"I already said that if there are things you can't talk to your therapist about, then you can talk to me."

"Thanks Alec, it means a lot to me, that you really care."

"Everyone cares about you Rose, your stepfather told me you bring out the best in people."

"Aw, he would say that.  Am I keeping you from anything?"

"No, just from being bored going through some unsolved cases whilst we were away.  Remember to ask your stepfather about the press statement."

"I will Alec and don't worry about that reporter, I can deal with him."

"Rose, he broke the news about Danny Latimer before we released any information, he will not think twice about putting you in the newspaper's headlines, it is just the kind of story they need to boost their sales."

"I'm used to being in the headlines Alec, it's nothing new to me."

"Maybe not but you being seen down here with the worst cop in Britain may not be what you are used to."

Rose had to smile, her mother had told her about that last year.

She decided to tease him.  "You think I'm not used to having my name linked with hopefuls from Britain's got talent?"

"I've no doubt you have but they are hopefuls."

"Don't go puttin' yourself down Alec, you are somebody, unlike them and none of it's true anyway.  Pete's forever putting out retraction statements, they only do it to sell newspapers.  They'll go crazy when he tells them I went missing.  Maybe he should withhold that information and just say I went shopping?"

Alec let out a laugh.  "Yes, they will believe that.  Is there any need to tell what really happened?"

"Well everyone in New York knows."

"You forget Rose, you are not well known over there, no-one will remember we were showing your photo around, we showed Kilgrave's sketch more though if my photo is placed alongside yours, people may remember.   It's a big city though, we only concentrated on the area around the accident."

"Yeah, they maybe won't remember then, I'll talk to him when he gets back.  I'd best let you get back to your boring unsolved cases then."

"I gave them to Miller."

"What is it with you two?  Can't you call her Ellie?  She helped you put Sandbrook to rest."

"Yes, she was a great help even though I told her not to get involved.  We are still only just on the verge of being friends but she offered me her refurbished loft, when I came back from visiting Daisy."

"You turned it down then?"

"Yes, I did, it could lead to many complications now we are both re-instated.  Well she may get the wrong idea and as for the rest of the town, well there was enough gossip when we got accused at her husband's trial."

"Why, what happened?"

"I will tell you when I come and visit although I thought you would have read about it."

"Mum kept me away from most of it, I expect she didn't want to bother me with things that weren't to do with the actual trial though she did mention something about that the other day, I told her you two barely spoke."

"Then I thank you for coming to my defence.  I'd best look like I am working, since I go on leave from Friday.  No doubt Miller will be bossing everyone around whilst I'm gone."

"I'm surprised she's not been telling everyone she was working with Richard Castle."

"She followed him around enough, she was trying to impress him," Alec reminded her.

"So, will you call me again tomorrow?"

"Yes, you could call me though, when you get out of your appointment."

"Aw, I didn't want to disturb you Alec."

"Believe me Rose, you would be rescuing me, trust me."

"I will then, when I get back tomorrow but will you call me later, when you get home?"

"Sure, if that's what you want, then I can tell you I've booked a room for you.  Your mother wanted to know why I wasn't booking you into the best hotel in town."

"She can be such a snob when she wants to be, honestly.  I'll be quite happy for a couple of nights in the pub near you.  If you don't think I'll be ok there, you could keep me company," she teased.

"Now Rose, don't start that again eh?  We have a lot to discuss when I come up to see you.  You don't want to move too fast."

"I know but how fast is too fast?  I got kidnapped Alec, I chose not to look at it as being kidnapped, I chose the easy way out and it's over – end of story.  Why does everyone think I've been affected so badly over it?"

"You may just be denying it to yourself but you have to look at it from other people's point of view, we were all concerned about you."

"Including you, I hope?"

"Yes, including me.  The kisses were very nice Rose but maybe that was something you were rushing into?"

"You didn't seem to object at the time and no, I wasn't doing it because I missed Kilgrave."

"I never said you were, like I said, they were very enjoyable and I was a little surprised by them."

"So why didn't you stop me?"

"I never said I wanted to stop you Rose and if when I do come up there you still want to carry on with them, I would not object."

"Good, you're more than likely to get them but they were just sweet tiny kisses."

"Well if that was just a sample?"

"Yeah, you could say that, just be prepared."

"I will look forward to it then, providing by Thursday night you are not calling me to say you never want to see me again."

"I wouldn't do that Alec, I'm still talking to you and it's already Tuesday."

"So it is and you only have three more days to go.  I will set off if you call me when you finish your appointment on Friday morning, not before."

"Well make sure you're ready to leave then 'cos I will be calling you."

"I don't doubt it.  Now, I had better go do some work, I am not on leave yet."

"Sorry, I kept you talking.  Call me later then?"

"Yes, I will call you later."

They said goodbye and Alec decided he'd had enough of climbing the wall and picked up his jacket but not before Ellie knocked on his door.

"Leaving again?"

"Close the door Miller, if you are going to give me another lecture about pursuing Rose Tyler."

"What have I said?" Ellie asked innocently.

"You don't need to say anything, since we got back you have been giving me that look."

"What look?  I'm just concerned about her, that's all."

"Well if you are, when she comes down here, keep that nephew of yours away from her."

"He doesn't take any notice of me, look what happened over Danny and Joe? You're the one who should read him the riot act."

"I tried earlier but he would not take no for an answer, I just hope Mr Tyler puts out a suitable statement very soon."

"I'm sure he will though whether he'll mention us or not is another matter.  I never told Lucy much and I swore her to secrecy though if he bribes her, I'm not responsible."

"Well Rose assured me she can handle him but I don't want a horde of reporters here when she arrives.  I am going to meet her in Portsmouth, after the hearing if we have to stay overnight.  If we do, I am going to drive over to see Daisy for a few hours and I'll make my own hotel arrangements, thanks very much."

"I never said anything did I?  Geez Sir, stop going on about it."

"It was very bad timing Miller, neither of us needed it and I don't want people talking about something that never happened if they see Rose with me.  Goodness knows how the town's residents will react when they see us together, they may think I am cheating on you so I want you to make friends with her right away, to prove the accusations were false."

"Oh come off it, everyone already knows it was a ruse to get him off, no-one actually believed it.  That's why you turned down my offer of renting my loft."

"Yes and well you know it and you should have known better than to ask me in the first place.  What were you even thinking?  When I left, I had no idea if I was coming back or not but it would never have worked out had I stayed.  Now I am trying to rebuild a relationship with Daisy."

"Well you're making a great start, inviting Rose down at the same time."

"Daisy is old enough to understand that if she wants to start seeing me again, I may have a girlfriend.  Rose is just visiting Miller, she does not know how long she will be staying and while she is here, I want her to feel at home.  I just rented a large caravan for us all over the holiday weekend and before you say anything, there are three bedrooms.  I will be keeping my chalet for now, Rose will take a room at the pub for a few nights until I get the keys then if she wants to stay, she will find herself somewhere to rent."

"What if she already thinks she's your girlfriend?"

"Then we will deal with it, I am not opposed to the idea but she may not want that anyway."

"Well judging by the way she kissed you back in the restaurant, she already thought she was your girlfriend and you took your time saying goodbye to her when we were coming back down here.  Don't you think she needs some space?"

"I am trying to give it to her, she is the one who keeps encouraging me to go up there early.  Trust me, it is taking everything I have to not give in and go up there now."

"She really got to you?  So you weren't just playing along when she wouldn't let go of you?  Who started it?"

"I could blame her but it was mutual though it did start out innocently but by the time we were going out to the restaurant, it was becoming apparent and I had already invited her to come here but when she fell asleep on me on the way back, well I knew she felt comfortable with me."

"Is that all?"

"It was innocent Miller, she trusted me though lord knows why she never ran away but I am grateful that she didn't.  I told you, I will not object if she wants to take it further but only time will tell on that score.  She seems determined she will not change her mind though."

"Yeah, well if she does, you're going to be very disappointed and Rose might feel guilty that she led you on."

"I don't think she is leading me on Miller.  She does not seem traumatised by her ordeal."

"Well you'd better hope she's not secretly under the illusion she's still with Kilgrave.  Any news on him anyway?"

"No, Detective Beckett called earlier, there is nothing new from their end.  I am surprised you have said nothing about our delay in take-off."

"You mean when you got paranoid?  It was the last thing Rose needed."

"I was suspicious, who would not have been?  He gave up too easily for my liking, he just left, according to Rose he got nervous when he looked down into the street and saw the police officers sorting out the two cab drivers.  We arrived just after them, that was when I saw the man on the balcony, it seemed strange that a man would be towering above the balcony at such a height and although it was only for a few seconds, it was enough to arouse my interest.  It paid off, she was found a lot sooner than searching every building in the street."

"Well from what Mickey was saying afterwards, he was a bit surprised she latched onto you right away.  We could tell she was disappointed when you went to sit in the front of the car."

"Was she?  I never noticed.  Mickey was not helping though, staring at all the reporters who had gathered outside the precinct.  That was the only reason I helped her out of the car."

"Yeah, I bet it was, come off it Sir, it was only an excuse.  She never let go of you after that, she wanted to keep hold of you even in the captain's office."

"You are exaggerating Miller, she knew to keep it professional in there."

"It didn't stop her in the break room though, did it and you, sitting and staring at her while we were in the spa.  I hope you were watching her and not me?"

"What do you think Miller?"

Ellie was thinking it was just as well she wasn't the jealous type.  What had she been thinking by suggesting he rented her loft?  She must have been having a brainstorm, he'd never move in there in a million years and Lucy had been right. After she had got back on Sunday morning she had gone to pick up the boys and Lucy had asked how it had all gone but she hadn't been fooled by the fact her sister had been off for almost a week with her boss and things had not improved between them.

Lucy had said she'd bet a week's wages from the newspaper that Hardy would make Rose Tyler his girlfriend when Ellie mentioned she was coming down for a visit and she'd had to make Lucy swear she would never tell Olly.   She was a bit surprised her sister hadn't wanted bribing to keep quiet, considering she'd been lent some money to give a statement as to what she'd seen the night Danny had died and that had come back to bite her in the ass, thanks to Olly bringing the defence barrister's junior home with him to shag her.

"Right, I'm off to book that room for Rose, just provisionally, in case she does change her mind.  She wanted to know why she couldn't stay in my chalet."

Ellie let out a laugh.  "She'll find that out when she sees it.  Did you tell her your bedroom door doesn't close?"

"Yes, I told her.  She can stay with me in the evenings, then I will walk her back. She won't want to be on her own all night in her room."

"You'd best watch out she doesn't keep you there, if she can't let you go."

"Stop it Miller, I have no idea how she is going to be when she arrives, she may realise she's been too caught up in things and was just relieved to have someone else around who wasn't Kilgrave and making her do things she didn't want to."

"She already said she did as she was told.  I wonder what that included?"

"She said she treated him like he was an assignment but if he was trying to control her, he may have got to her more than she is admitting.  We can only hope her therapist will be able to get her to admit how much he did affect her."

"Well it won't do her any good if she bottles it all up.  What will you do if she goes off her head while she's down here?"

"Send for help but I will try my best to calm her down, you may have to help me."

"I'll do what I can, no-one deserves to go through what she and those other women went through."

"Detective Beckett asked Rose if she had heard of someone called Jessica."

"Was she another victim?"

"Maybe but Rose had never heard him mention her.  She may have been an old girlfriend, best not worry too much about it."

"Well she should mention it to Carver, he's determined to get to the bottom of all this.  If anyone's obsessed with Kilgrave, he is.  I can't imagine what it's like, having an evil twin."

"He is also my evil twin, just in case you had forgotten but Rose is my main concern and we are thousands of miles away from where it happened, let the two other detectives get on with it, they will keep us informed."

"So how is Rose going with her therapy sessions so far?"

"She has not said much but she may tell me more in person.  Anything she says to me though will be confidential, it will not go in any reports."

"I should think not, if you want her to trust you.  When you talk to her again, tell her I'll be there for her as well, she may tell me things she can't tell you."

"Such as?" he asked, wondering how this was becoming the longest conversation they'd had since solving the Sandbrook case.

"Well to start with, how she felt about Kilgrave while she was with him, she's hardly likely to tell you, is she?  Well not if she wants to get friendly with you."

"Miller, it was only a few innocent kisses, don't blow it out of all proportions.  I do not know if she wants to be serious or not at this stage."

"Well she must be keen if she's trying to get you up there a day or two earlier.  Are you going to give in?"

"No, I can't Miller, for both our sakes.  What am I supposed to do?  I do not want her mother and stepfather thinking I am taking advantage of her, not how she is now.  If this had never happened to her and I met her, well I would not be holding back, put it that way."

Ellie laughed again.  "Do you seriously think you would have ever met her?  I mean if we'd never gone over to help find her?  Would Mr Tyler have ever asked you if you didn't look like Kilgrave and that Doctor she lost?"

"Well I did look like him but maybe if he had known about Carver before he asked me to go over, he may have called him instead."

"Yeah, then she would have been let down when he flew back home, at least you're a whole lot closer to where she lives, he's thousands of miles away.  She would have been even worse off."

"Would she?  Maybe she would have been better off, not having a constant reminder."

"Just listen to yourself.  Just because your ex wife turned you down again.   Have you never even considered you are just what she needs?"

"You are being ridiculous Miller but I'll leave Rose herself to be the judge of that. We can think all we like but she is the one who has to live with it.  If she never got over losing the Doctor, she may have just taken to Kilgrave because of that fact but the last thing I want is for her to do the same to me.  It is mainly about her but if I get too involved with her then she realises, well let's just say I have had enough of being let down, I have to be sure she is doing it for the right reasons."

"We all have to take a chance, look at me.  I didn't know Joe was going to turn out like he did.  I took a chance with him and look where it got me?"

"That's different, Joe had a choice to do what he did, the Doctor had none, he was defending the other universe and maybe that is why it was so hard on Rose, because the choice to stay with him was taken away from her when she was brought here."

"Yeah, I know it was difficult for her but how can you be sure she's not the one who will help you get over Tess at the same time?"

"Maybe we can help each other, who knows?  I am still not giving in and going up there early though, we both have to give it some time."

He finally put his jacket on and left his office, wondering if he was doing the right thing by staying away but if he wasn't, she would either be mad at him when he got there on Friday or be all over him even more than she had been in New York.  He was rather hoping it was the latter because the more he thought about her, the more the idea was growing on him that he wouldn't let it all be one-sided on her side.  He could do worse than taking up with the Vitex heiress and no-one could accuse him of going after her money.

After he had called at the pub across from his chalet, having been reluctant to give Rose's name and booking it under his name saying it was for his girlfriend who didn't want anyone to know where she was staying, he got himself something to eat and sat outside, wondering how boring Rose was going to find the place once the novelty wore off.   He resigned himself to being her taxi driver to neighbouring coastal towns and the usual tourist spots and thought he should make use of the generous data allowance on his phone and look up places to take her next week. Then he had to find places suitable to take Daisy on the Sunday and Monday that she wouldn't think were gross and too old or too young for her since she was almost sixteen now.  Did teenage daughters at that age actually want to be seen at any venue with their father, let alone their father and his potential girlfriend?

He supposed Daisy would be more at home going bowling or some equally teenage friendly activity and as far as he knew, there were no skating arenas locally so she was out of luck on that score.  Maybe Saturday afternoon, he could set her and Rose up in the swimming pool and do some more research.  That was a big question though, if Daisy refused to be seen going around with Rose, he couldn't force them to get on but Rose made friends with everyone, so he'd been told.

He decided now was the time to have a serious talk with Pete Tyler about what he was to expect if Rose did want to be his girlfriend, even if it was only for the duration of her stay but what then?  Who would be more disappointed if it didn't work out, Rose or him?  Miller was actually right, for a change, it would also affect him if she refused to see him again.  He dialled Pete's number and waited.

Pete had been discussing Rose's return, well the media version with Jake.

"I tell you Pete, just put out she was on a shopping trip, even Alec agreed she had plenty of luggage for such a short trip."

Pete laughed at the thought.  "Well this was slightly different, if anyone finds out he and Ellie went over there."

"Then don't say anything, Rose isn't likely to is she?  She's not gonna admit what happened to her, no-one need know.  Have you come up with anything yet?"

Pete passed his pad over to Jake, who quickly read the short but reasonably believable story.  Jake nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, that sounds about right, Rose getting carried away and returning to the hotel late at night and wanting to stay after the meetings.  Are you leaving Alec and Ellie to fend for themselves, to explain their absence from work?"

"I'll tell them if they need a cover story, we can help them come up with something suitable, Alec's quite sensible, he'll not blurt out the fact he went to find Rose, how embarrassing would that be?  A detective looking for her when she was bargain hunting in a large department store then partying all night?"

Jake laughed as Pete's phone rang, seeing it was Alec.  Jake indicated he should leave but Pete put his hand up for him to remain.

"Alec, we were just talking about you.  Not calling to change your mind about a job offer?"

"No Mr Tyler but now you mention it, if Rose will not come down to Broadchurch with me next week, I may take you up on it though, if she still wants to see me but not leave home."

"Very well, we can use a man like yourself in our organisation, any job you want is yours, just say.  Jake would be only too happy if you want into his security department, he's in charge but you could have equal responsibilities, he'll be willing to share them, won't you Jake?"

Jake nodded his agreement.

"I will bear that in mind then, I was calling about Rose.  We never really discussed how you and her mother feel about her taking up with me.  Are you opposed to the idea that she may want to make me her boyfriend?"

Pete laughed, as did Jake as Alec was now on speaker.

"No Alec, you'll get no arguments from me but her mother, I'm not so sure about, you're on your own on that score but I will try and talk to her, to explain it's Rose's choice, which it is at the end of the day."

"Very well then, I was worried you would both object to the idea but that has eased things somewhat in my mind.  I am not opposed to the idea, if it makes her happy."

"Her mother tells me she's done nothing but talk about you non-stop, I think Jackie will be glad to finally meet you."

"I spoke to her earlier, she answered Rose's phone and I assured her I would take great care of her daughter, if she wants that."

"I'm sure she does Alec, Rose needs someone like yourself, she needs some stability in her life right now, someone who won't hold her against her will or be separated from her.  When you come up though, I would like to show you something, the night Rose and the Doctor saved me, when the Cybermen attacked, I have CCTV footage of what happened and of Rose, with the Doctor.  You may be put off when you see how they acted together."

"Then I look forward to seeing it but don't think it will put me off, I am prepared to watch it.  If like you say, Rose needs someone constant in her life, I am more than willing to take on that role.  I would not do anything to hurt her."

"I know you have only good intentions towards her but the ultimate test will be to get past her mother, you've not seen them together yet."

Alec smiled to himself.  "I have faced worse, you have not seen my daughter and her mother together either."

Chapter 28

Friday morning, Rose was getting ready for Pete to drop her off for what she hoped was going to be her last session with her therapist.  She was just finishing breakfast after saying goodbye to Tony when her mother was staring at her.

"So, he's coming up to see you later then?" she asked, noting half the plateful of scrambled eggs had been left untouched.

"If you mean Alec then yeah, I have to call him when I get out of my session, he said he wouldn't set off until I do.  I'm sure he thinks I'm still gonna change my mind even when I've telling him all week that I won't."

"I thought you would have come to your senses by now Rose."

"You've been saying that all week Mum, I know full well what I'm doing.  It didn't work when I was going off with the Doctor and it won't work now either, I'm going down to Broadchurch and that's it."

"Well he'd better look after you, that's all I can say."

"He will Mum, I'm sure of that.  He's asked me half a dozen times this week if I've changed my mind, he's convinced I'm gonna scream down the phone at him that I've been wrong and I don't want to see him again.   By the way what did you say to him when you answered my phone the other day?"

Jackie declined to answer at first.

"Come on Mum, if you were tryin' to put him off, it's not worked."

"He's not got over the weekend yet, has he?  He might be the one doing the running off bit."

"No he won't, don't think that."

Pete chose that moment to enter the kitchen, having dropped Tony at school, who'd not wanted to go since he's been told by Rose her new friend was a detective.

"Rose, you made it really difficult to get Tony into the car this morning you know?"

"Sorry Dad, he's just excited that Alec's in the police.  I hope he doesn't expect him to have a marked police car."

"Well are you ready to go then?  See what Marsha has to say, she might still want to see you next week."

"I can only go on Monday, I'm meeting Alec in Portsmouth on Tuesday, after he finishes at the court.  It's all arranged with Jake, Alec's gonna call me and then wait for me and take me down to Broadchurch.  I hope I can make friends with Ellie, she seemed a bit distant when we were in the spa on Saturday afternoon."

"I'm sure she'll be fine with you, she hardly knew you, she probably didn't know what to talk about."

"Alec says she never stops at work, he says she over-compensates because he's quiet."

"She had plenty to say according to Kate.  Never mind that, we should get going."

"Yeah, the sooner I can get out then I can call Alec to tell him to set off."

Rose got up, unaware her mother was shaking her head at Pete.  They'd already had several conversations about Rose's fixation with Alec Hardy and Jackie would have bet anything it would have worn off by now but there she was, keen to get her session over with for him to get up here for his visit.  Jackie had noticed the change in her daughter over the last week, every time Rose mentioned the detective's name, she seemed to brighten up.  As she watched the two of them leave, she just hoped the said detective would be able to live up to Rose's expectations.  He wasn't the one who would have to pick up the pieces – again.

Meanwhile, down in Broadchurch, Alec had packed enough things for his weekend visit plus two clean shirts for the hearing, if it lasted two days even though in his mind it shouldn't be taking place at all.  He'd also been down to the superstore in Dorchester and got two pairs of black jeans, some new shorts, three plain t-shirts which he'd gone mad and got three different colours and two sweaters, a red one and a light blue one.

He'd also got his hair trimmed and had even packed his shaving kit.  If he was going to be seen with Rose in public where everyone knew her, he had to look the part and also when Daisy arrived, she wouldn't want to be seen with the old scruffy dad she'd seen the last time.  He had just called into the station to pass a few hours and finish up some reports, then once Rose had called, his two holdalls were in the back of the car parked out back, he would set off and make his way steadily up to London and hoped the in-car satnav would get him to the address Rose had given him.  It was going to be a long morning due to the fact when he had called Rose last night, something was still worrying him.

Friday was the day Rose had agreed to wait until before making her mind up if she was over-compensating for getting away from Kilgrave and he came to realise he was the one who would be the biggest loser if she called the whole thing off.  They had talked twice a day over the last two days, Rose calling him when she got home from her therapist, then he had called her in the evenings and last night, she had sounded excited at the prospect she had survived the agreed time and he would be joining her but at the back of his mind, he was waiting for the let down.

During his phone call when he'd got home last night, she had told him her brother was looking forward to meeting him and that on Saturday, they could go out for the day.

"So Alec, where would you like to visit?  I expect a river cruise is out of the question?" Rose had asked him.

"Very amusing Rose you know it is, we can find something else to do instead.  You can choose if you want."

"Ok, I'll have a think about it.  So are you all packed?"

"I went clothes shopping earlier, Miller keeps remarking I only own two suits and half a dozen white shirts.  I am going to prove her wrong when I get back.  She wants to make friends with you, if you are willing?"

"Yeah, sure, I can be friends with her though in the hotel spa, she was questioning my motives for taking a shine to you."

"Well she would but I have warned her to back off with the questions and keep her nephew out of your way."

"Well that press release should have kept him busy, did you see it?"

Alec had to smile as he stopped from his packing, sorting his things into two separate holdalls, one for the weekend and one if he had to stay overnight in Portsmouth.

"Yes, I saw it this morning, your friend Jake is very inventive or did it come from your stepfather?"

"A bit of both I think. Is it believable then?  Mum said no-one would go for it."

"Oh I think it will keep the media quiet for a while, the wild Vitex heiress taking on New York.  I will maybe see you tomorrow then, all being well."

"Yeah, you will, I'm really looking forward to seeing you again, I kept my end of the bargain."

"So you have Rose and I will keep mine when I see you."

"Then why do you sound so worried?  Are you afraid I'll change my mind in the morning?"

"The thought had crossed my mind but if you are completely sure that is what you want, I will be there."

"It is what I want Alec, weren't you even tempted to come up today, or yesterday?"

He'd been tempted to drive up after he'd talked to her on Tuesday and didn't know how he'd managed to survive.  He had to deny it though, he'd been getting worse than she was.

"Now Rose, we both managed to keep to our plan, be thankful the time is almost up eh?  I trust your mother will put me in a remote part of the house?"

Rose let out a laugh, she might still do.  "There are plenty of guest rooms Alec, I'll make sure she doesn't stick you in the servant's quarters."

"Do you even have servant's quarters?"

"Nah, not any more.  We don't have many live in staff, just the housekeeper and head of the staff, they have rooms on the upper floor at the back of the house. Tony has a big playroom up there, dad got him a giant train set and a racetrack, he's just got 2 police cars for the thing, he'll have you playing with him."

"Then I look forward to it though it sounded the other day like he was having more fun chasing you around."

"Yeah, he had the New York police car dad got him, he was chasing around tryin' to catch me.  I'll have to tell him to go easy on you."

"Why?  I'm fine now."

"You won't be when Tony has finished, trust me.  Should you be running around so soon after your surgery?"

Alec thought about it.  "Maybe not then, I will stick to the racetrack.   Maybe he can show me it when he gets home from school tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I'll tell him then.  You do know you have to pass my mother's inspection? She will stare at you a bit but take no notice of her, she'll get over it."

"You mean the fact of who I look like?  Don't worry about it Rose, it's fine, I accept the fact I look like him, it will not prevent me from keeping my promise, that we can talk about maybe taking our relationship a little further, if that's what you want?"

"Yeah, I've been thinking about it all week and now it's almost time for you to visit, I was getting a bit nervous."

"What for?  Over me finally arriving?  You have nothing to worry about from me, I can assure you but we do have to talk about what happens next."

"Yeah, that's what I was getting nervous about, that you wouldn't still want to take things further."

"Well, I am just as nervous as you are, believe me, I have been waiting all week for you to tell me you never want to see me again."

"Blimey Alec, it sounds like you need to meet with my therapist.  Did you really think I'd do that?"

"What am I meant to think Rose?  I am just as unsure about this as you are."

"Then when you get here, I will prove to you I've not changed my mind."

So now, Rose was at her last appointment for the week, trying to tell Marsha how she felt about what happened to her and not hold anything back.  She was holding back though, there were things she could never talk about.

"So Rose, Alec is coming up to see you later on today?" Marsha asked her.

"Yeah, I have to call him as soon as I get out of here, he sounded worried last night."

"About what exactly?"

"That he's unsure I'm not going change my mind, I don't know, maybe he's just as worried about where this is going as am I?  I can't imagine what I've been putting him through all week."

"All relationships are unknown Rose, you should know that.  You said you and the Doctor never told each other how you felt.  So why did you tell Kilgrave you loved him right from the beginning?"

"I didn't really love him Marsha, I was only pretending."

"Were you anxious to tell him because you left it too late to tell the Doctor?"

Rose thought about it, maybe Marsha was right and maybe now, she was rushing into something with Alec, before he got away.  Still, everyone was telling her she had to get over her ordeal and Alec was just as good as anyone else to help her do exactly that.  Was she using him though?  Only time and seeing him would tell her that.

Marsha was looking at her for an answer.

"No, I don't think I was, I treated it like an assignment, I had to make it look good enough to fool him and it worked."

"Weren't you afraid it would go too far?"

"Of course I was but I knew I could never really love him, I knew he was just using me."

"Then tell me Rose, what would you have done had he not left when he did?  How long could you have kept up the pretence?"

Rose knew she was being backed into a corner.  "Well I never had to find out, did I? I knew where it was going, it would have been so easy to let him take complete control of me but I knew I couldn't let that happen, everyone would have been in danger, Torchwood, the whole world.   It was down to me to stop him and believe me when I say I've stopped both worlds being taken over more than once but Kilgrave, he was creepy."

Rose stopped for a moment and saw Marsha writing all this down.  Alec was going to read that.

"He wanted to do it through gaining control of Torchwood, using me to do it.  I had to let him think he was winning, by any means necessary.  I get it now Marsha, he didn't love me and maybe I was too quick telling him I loved him and trying to make him think I wanted him but when I think about it, yes I know who he looked like but there was no way I thought he was the Doctor and I don't think Alec is either."

Marsha knew she would never get any more out of her patient but she had done her job, Rose was not about to break into thousands of pieces like she had done on previous occasions which was good news for her parents but she maybe would never see Rose Tyler in her office again.  Was that such a bad thing though?  She looked up to find Rose studying her.

"So, am I through then?"

"Yes and no, I would like you to volunteer to come and see me for an hour on Monday morning, to tell me what happens with Alec."

"So you want to know if we both survive it and if we're still talking?  Do I need to see you about that?"

"Yes, I will see how Alec affects you, when you have spent the weekend in his company.  Do you have any plans?"

While Rose had been explaining what she intended doing over the weekend, Alec was just leaving his office and was giving Ellie her orders, not that he thought she would take any notice.

"Anything else – Sir?" Ellie asked, wishing he was gone already and thinking he was stalling.

"Yes, don't get your feet under my desk.  If this works out and Rose settles down, I will be back in a week or too.  She said she is willing to be friends with you so when we get back from Portsmouth, I will let the two of you get together, before Daisy arrives."

"Then bring her to dinner at my house, how about Wednesday night?"

"Fine, I will tell her, I'm sure she will be happy to accept."

"I meant the both of you, you idiot, not just her."

"Oh. Well I would have thought you'd had enough of me dining with you."

"You made me salad, big deal.  When I found Claire later, we had chips.  I'm not as good a cook as Joe was but I can rustle up something, nothing fancy though."

"I'm sure Rose does not always eat fancy food, given her humble beginnings."

"Maybe you should call at the takeaway to save me cooking then?" Ellie laughed.

"We could eat that at my place Miller.  Right, I am just waiting for her call then I am setting off."

"Getting all giddy are you?"

"Stop it Miller.  If you must know, when she calls it will be to tell me to set off or to forget it and right now, it could go either way."

"Admit it, you'll be upset if she calls it off, won't you?"

"Honestly?  Yes, I would and do you know what Miller?"

Ellie shook her head.

"If she says to forget it, then I am still going up there to talk to her, to tell her I will wait if she needs more time.  I spoke with her stepfather, there is a job waiting for me at Torchwood and I will take it for however long Rose needs but I am not walking away from her, she has had enough of men who leave her, I have to prove to her I am the one who will stay, no matter what."

"I should think so as well, if you'd said you'd forget about her and hide in your office, I would have kicked you into the middle of next week – Sir."

"Aye, I would have let you as well because I would be a fool to let Rose get away.  I told Mr Tyler if she wishes to remain in London and see me, then that is where I will stay.  He will be willing to find me some accommodation until she is ready to tell me if she wants to move on."

"What about your daughter's visit?"

"She can always come up to London though I will have to lose the payment on the caravan but Rose is more than worth it."

Ellie got up and stood at the side of him.

"I'm not going to hug you, don't worry.  Just bring her back and if she needs someone to complain to, about you, then I'm all ears."

"I will tell her that, she is sure to find the thought amusing."

As he got up, his personal phone rang to the tune of what he had learned was one of Rose's favourites after they had talked the other night for over an hour about their likes and dislikes then she had told him how to assign it to her contact information.  He still had to ask if he could take a photo of her though, he'd felt guilty about just downloading one from her many interviews and pages dedicated to her social life.

"Is that Rose?" Ellie asked, amazed her boss knew how to put a ringtone on his phone when it normally just had the basic ringing one.

Alec nodded and squinted to make sure he hadn't assigned the tone to everyone in his contacts.  Ellie got the hint and closed his office door.  Rose had said goodbye to Marsha, who had said she would see her on Monday morning at ten and for her to call if she wanted to cancel and Jake was waiting in the outer office.

"Ready to go?" he asked, putting down a magazine that had an article about Rose from before her trip to New York.

"I just have to call Alec, to tell him to set off, I've kept him dangling for the last few days, I need to put him out of his misery."

Jake laughed as Rose retrieved the number and held the door open for her.  He had been just as concerned as anyone about his best friend but he'd also felt sorry for poor Alec, the detective didn't know where he stood with her when he'd listened in on the conversation the other day.  Now Rose had a smile on her face as she waited for Alec answering her call and trying to put her seatbelt on one-handed, the phone in her other hand.

"Rose," he finally answered after Ellie left his office.

"Hey, did I catch you at a bad time?"

"No, I was just telling Miller not to get comfortable in my office."

"Yeah, I can imagine her reaction to that.  So, are you all ready and packed?"

Alec let out the breath he had been holding all week, it was what he'd been waiting to hear.  Maybe he wouldn't have to take that job at Torchwood after all?  That all depended though if he stuffed things up over the weekend.

"Yes, I will be leaving shortly.  I hope the directions you gave me are accurate?"

"Yes, just follow the satnav, you do know how to use one?" she teased, smiling at Jake.

Jake thought he'd never see her like that again, it was the same smile she'd had on her face when she had hugged the Doctor before following Pete into the cyber factory.

"I will have you know I have used one before."

"Yeah, when they were called road maps.  Relax Alec, if you get lost, I'll send Jake to rescue you."

"I'm sure I can find my way.  If I don't get caught in any traffic, I should be there in a few hours, I will just make a stop halfway."

"If you call at one of the motorway stops, can you pick up a present for Tony?  Just a police car model or something, he'll love you forever if you add to his growing collection.  He's not got a motorway patrol car yet."

"Then I will do my best to find one for him.  I will see you soon then."

"Yeah, you drive carefully Alec, I want you here in one piece."

She caught Jake with a smirk on his face.  Jake would have bet any money Alec was looking forward to their meeting just as much as Rose was evidently was, judging she still had a smile on her face.  He just wished he didn't have to get back to work so he could see them greeting each other after almost a week apart, he didn't envy poor Jackie putting up with her until his arrival.

"Yes, I will drive carefully Rose, I did take the police advanced driving test."

"Yeah but did you actually pass it?" Rose asked, remembering the ride on the back of the Doctor's old scooter back in the 1950's.

"I will let that slide Rose Tyler, I will prove it to you when I take you back to Broadchurch, if you still want to come?"

"Why wouldn't I?  You're not getting out of inviting me down there that easily Alec. See you soon then."

Rose hung up and pulled a face at Jake as they turned into the Tyler's driveway.

"Take that look off your face Jake, whatever bets you have with Mickey are about to get settled.  Who bet one of us would back out?"

"Who'd you think Rose?  I've made a small fortune out of Mickey lately."

"So he thought I'd go off the rails and refuse to see Alec again?  Remind me to slap him the next time I see him."

"I don't think Sam would be pleased about that, do you?"

"She already doesn't like me, I don't know what I've ever done to her."

"Nothing, you used to be his girlfriend, that's enough reason for her.  Here we are then, have fun."

"Thanks Jake, for picking me up most of the week."

"Well Sam would have been on your case if I'd let Mickey collect you more than once.  Did your mother tell you she's invited us all for Sunday lunch?"

That was news to Rose.  "I expect she would have got around to it before Sunday. Does that include Mickey's girlfriend?"

Jake laughed.  "Does he go anywhere with out her?  Well except to New York, she was well pissed off over that."

"Did she expect to go with him when he was working?  Anyway I can prove to her now once and for all I'm not interested in getting back with Mickey, I intend showing Alec off to her."

"I hope poor Alec knows what he's getting into?"

Since Jake was now parked outside the front door, she gave him a dig with her elbow.

"Yeah, so do I Jake, what if he doesn't?"

"I was joking Rose, Pete told him all about you, just be yourself with him, he's crazy about you."

"Oh, you're such a romantic Jake.  How did Simon react to you going away?"

"He understands how it is with work and that I'd do anything where you are concerned but he's not jealous like Sam is."

"Well she'll soon see what a stupid cow she is, won't she then?"

She unfastened her seatbelt and leaned over to give Jake a peck on his cheek.

"See ya on Sunday then."

Jake watched her walk quickly towards the house, no, he'd not seen her like this since her first visit.  He'd seen the footage from the night the Cybermen invaded the mansion, the way Rose and the Doctor had looked at each other and he'd seen the same look in her eyes as they had waited for the plane home.  Alec was going to have a huge gap to fill in Rose's life and if he ever hurt her, Mickey and himself would be down on the detective like a ton of bricks.

As Rose entered the house, half expecting Tony to bowl her over, she went into the kitchen to find her mother taking yet another cookery lesson and Rose knew she was going to have to be the one to try it.

"Rose, I'm glad you're home sweetheart, try this new soup recipe Valerie has been teaching me.  Where's Jake?"

Rose was about to say he'd escaped her cooking again but since Alec was arriving in a few hours, thought she'd better not, she wanted her mother to take a liking to Alec despite his looks and treat him differently to how she had treated the Doctor.

"He had to get back to work Mum, he was only let off to pick me up.  Alec's setting off to make his way up here, I just spoke to him, I hope you're gonna be nice to him?"

"Really Rose, what do take me for?  You've done nothing but go on about him all week, I'll make the effort.  So, just how different is he, to the Doctor?"

Rose thought she could talk about Alec for the next few hours but she couldn't come out with all his good points all at once.

"Do ya want a list?" Rose asked as the soup bowl was placed in front of her and trying to guess what it was, it being a sickly looking orangey-yellow.  "What is this?" she asked, feeling her stomach turn over, for the second time that day.

"It's carrot, swede and sweet potato, with coriander.  What does it taste like?"

Rose picked up the spoon and moved something green floating on top that reminded her of the pond in the back garden.  She gingerly raised the spoon to her mouth, prepared to make a brave face and then say she really fancied some chips but it didn't really taste that bad, considering the Doctor's jokes about her mother's nut cutlet.

"It's ok Mum, I'm just feeling a bit off, I'm sure it's just nerves, with Alec coming up today."

"Oh look at you Rose, you've been like this all week.  One minute you never stop talking about him and the next you're as nervous as a kitten.   You're exactly like you used to be when himself was around.   He'd better not disappoint you when he gets here."

"I might be the one who disappoints him Mum, what if he's only doing this to please me?"

Jackie laughed, her daughter still had a lot to learn about men, especially those who now looked like that alien.

"Have you heard yourself Rose?  Of course the man's tryin' to please ya, he's going out of his way to prove to you not all men go off and leave ya.   Look what he's prepared to do, he's taking leave, to spend time with you down in that seaside town, he's risking upsetting his daughter by having you there at the same time and Pete says no-one even asked him to, he said Alec told him he was taking some time off before he even suggested it.  Pete says Mickey's done nothing but moan about Alec since you got back, so don't you say Alec doesn't care enough and he's got some other motive for doing it."

Rose pushed the bowl away half finished and took the fresh crusty bread roll and breaking it in half dipped her knife in the butter dish.

"Have we got some tonic water?"

"What's wrong with you, you left your eggs this morning, you can't live on toast and half a bowl of soup."

"Yeah, I know Mum, I told ya, I'm just nervous about Alec that's all, I'll be fine when he finally gets here, honestly."

Jackie just hoped she was right, Rose had it really bad for Alec Hardy, just as much as she had when the Doctor had gone and changed his face that Christmas that had resulted in them being here but she couldn't blame him entirely.  A lot of good had come out of it, Pete, Tony and now Rose had a man with a face who reminded her of what she was missing only this time, she seemed to be coping better than she had done with the two others she'd seen on the TV and in the newspapers.

Maybe Alec was exactly the man Rose needed, stranger things had happened, maybe now she would settle down, even if it was in a place no-one had heard of before all that trouble had kicked off there last year.

Rose made her excuses, picked up her shoulder bag after getting a bottle of tonic water from the drinks cooler and went to her room, hoping Alec would call when he made his stop halfway or maybe he'd just stop long enough to get a drink then carry on.

In the motorway service station, just over sixty miles away, Alec was sitting looking at his phone, debating whether to call Rose or not.  Which would make her worse?  The fact now he was nearer he was just as apprehensive about their reunion as she was or the fact he felt like pulling off the motorway at the next junction and go cowering off back to Broadchurch?

He finished his sandwich and the last of his tea and got up, made his way to the men's room, picked out the gift Rose had advised him to get Tony and two boxes of chocolates and then went back to his car, sitting for a few moments to take stock. Whatever he decided once he started the car was going to change his and maybe Rose's lives and hers had been turned upside down so many times, once only recently but was he the right person to change hers for the better?  He started the car, put his seatbelt on and switched the satnav on, which told him to turn around when possible and he wondered if he should follow it's advice quite literally rather than it meaning he was facing the wrong direction in the service station's car park.

Putting the car into the 'Drive' position, he made his way around the complicated exit road and waited to join the motorway traffic, which for mid-afternoon was already building up.  He glanced at the satnav, five miles to the next junction – was he going to pull off or carry on?

Chapter 29

Try as Rose might at wanting to be left on her own, she finished the bottle of tonic water, not really feeling any better and got changed into her black trousers and a pink top then made her way back to the kitchen, hoping her mother wasn't making more surprise meals she wanted her to try out.  Smiling at the cook and her assistant, she went to get some bread then went to the large fridge and found some tuna and sweetcorn in a plastic tub.  Making the sandwich, she found a cup of tea waiting for her on the table.

"Thanks Mavis.  No offence but my mum's soup left rather a taste in my mouth."

"I keep tryin' to tell Mrs Tyler she doesn't need to cook but she won't hear of it.  She said an old friend of yours used to complain about her cooking," Valerie explained. "Can I get you anything else Miss Rose?  You didn't want your eggs this morning, was there something wrong with them?"

"No, it was entirely me, I met someone while I was in New York and he's arriving soon, I'm like a schoolgirl waiting to meet a boy I'm not supposed to see.  I'm just nervous, I've not see him for almost a week and I just hope he's not gone off me."

Valerie and Mavis smiled at each other.  The young heiress was love-struck and bad with it.

"I'm sure everything will be fine when he gets here. Your mother says he reminds you of the friend you lost, maybe that's why you're so nervous?"

One thing Jackie Tyler still liked to do even though she was married to one of the richest men in the country was gossip about her daughter.  Rose just wished it wasn't to the kitchen staff but her mother wasn't the stuck-up kind of lady of the house.

"Yeah, I'll be fine when he gets here, just as long as you don't let my mother cook something for him.  Did she tell you about all her kitchen disasters before we moved here?"

The two other women smiled sympathetically at Rose, hoping once this mysterious man arrived, her mood would lighten somewhat.  Back on the motorway, Alec had found himself seeing the last sign in half a mile for the turn-off and decided what the hell, what did he have to lose?  Rose had been through so much and he was thinking of taking the coward's way out, just like Kilgrave had by never telling her what she meant to him.

Over the last week, they had made a couple of video calls though Rose had to be the one to make them and when he'd seen that smile on her face, she had made his recently mended heart melt.  What was he thinking of, letting her down, it made him no better than Kilgrave.  He carried on driving, London getting closer and when he saw the next sign for the end of the motorway, he knew this was going to be the hardest part of the journey, making his way through the city itself.

Rose had found her mother in the smaller sitting room, watching something on TV.

"Sit down Rose, you're making me nervous."

Rose had been standing in the doorway waiting for the doorbell ringing.   It was just after three, she wondered where Alec had got to, if he was setting off just after she put the phone down, a little after twelve and wondering if he would have to call for Jake's assistance.

"I thought he'd be here by now."

"Stop worrying Rose, honestly, give him time, he's not used to the London traffic and it's Friday, it will be busy even at this time.  It's a long way from the motorway you know?"

Rose went to sit on the chair nearest the door and curled up in it.  What the hell was wrong with her?  Between her stomach doing somersaults and worrying he'd turned around or not even set off, she was going crazy.  At this rate, she would be going back for another week in therapy if she didn't calm down.  At the back of her mind, she was anxiously waiting to see if her monthly arrived on time next week, she had a really bad feeling that it wouldn't, which was making her even worse.

It had been two weeks now since her first time with Kilgrave and she'd know soon enough if anything had actually happened, she should not have let it go that far but she'd been unable to stop him, he could have got really angry with her if she'd pushed him off of her.  He had just assumed that was what she wanted and that being who she was, would take her own precautions, which she would have normally done had she not been stupid enough to miss her monthly injection. How was she supposed to have known she was going to get kidnapped by the Doctor's evil double and be forced to have sex with him?

If Kilgrave has not been so fixated with controlling her to take over Torchwood, she could have gone for him but had she not been kidnapped, she would never have met Alec and right now, he was the one good thing that had come out of it. Now, he would be here soon and she didn't know whether to be mad at him for making her wait all week or kiss him.

Alec looked at his satnav, it telling him there was just over a mile to go before he reached Rose's house and he was stuck following a bus on a busy road and couldn't get around it.  Honestly, how many bus stops did they need on the route, it had stopped every two minutes; why didn't people just walk and place the stops at more reasonable distances?   Still, he didn't live there, thankfully so he had room to talk.  The instructions from the satnav told him to take the next left, which once he was around the corner, he found himself in a more pleasant location with trees lining the road at either side and large houses behind fancy gates.

He glanced down at the screen, it was indicating a red mark for the number Rose had given him and it was almost at the other end of the road and he wondered if the device had purposely brought him down the busy road he'd just turned off. Suddenly, he got the message "You have now reached your destination" as he slowed down and stopped in front of large black iron gates that were open and with just enough space to turn in since he'd just stopped short of the turning.  He followed the driveway and saw the large house, which Rose had teased they called 'The Mansion' and the large black painted garage at the side which had probably at one time been used as stables and he pulled up in front of the two steps that led to polished wooden glass panelled door.

Rose had already got up and thought she could hear a car coming along though her mother had said it could be anyone, the gates were always open during the day, the staff came and went, deliveries were always arriving and Tony would be coming home from school soon but something made her look out and she saw a black SUV type car coming to a stop after a few minutes.  Before Jackie knew what was happening, Rose was out of the door and without even waiting for the doorbell ringing beat the maid who had seen someone getting out of a car.

Alec retrieved the bag with the gifts from the passenger seat and got out, seeing Rose standing in the doorway.  Before he knew it she was almost knocking him over, leaping at him from the top step.  Now he wished he'd not been so stupid and glad he had driven on without turning back.

"Alec! Hi, you didn't get lost then?" she asked, one arm still around his neck as he tried to keep hold of the white plastic carrier bag but he gave in and passed it to Sarah, the maid who had followed her out and put both his arms around her as she reached up to kiss his cheek.

"I got stuck behind a London bus before I turned into your street, I swear that satnav brought me that way on purpose."

"Aw, poor you.  Well come on in then, where are your things?"

He prised Rose's arms from around his neck and went to the back of the car.

"I can leave the smaller bag in, it was just in case I have to stay overnight in Portsmouth.  Is your brother home yet?"

"Any minute now, his nanny picks him up from school.  Do you want something to eat?"

"No, I'm fine for now, I made a stop. I have that present for your brother."

He put his holdall down and took the carrier back but Sarah just picked up his holdall.

"It's ok Sarah, just take it to one of the guest rooms will ya?  Make it the one on the corner opposite my room then I can show him later."

"Yes Miss Rose."

With her arm around Alec, Rose led him inside after he remote locked the car, him asking if it needed moving.

"No, someone will move it later for you into the garage when Pete gets back.  Come and meet my mum."

This was one thing he'd been nervous about, after speaking to Jackie on the phone, thinking it was Rose.  Jackie had been watching them through the window, knowing she was never going to get Rose to part with him now.   Before Rose led him into the sitting room, she stopped him, checking they were reasonably alone.

"I missed you Alec."

"I missed you too Rose," he told her, putting the carrier bag down as she put both her arms around his neck and reached up.

He leaned down and kissed her, not like they had done in the hotel but more like when they had surprised everyone in the restaurant.  Rose was breathless and smiled when he let go.  Jackie had seen what was going to happen and closed the door but Tony decided at that moment to see whose car was parked outside.

"Rose!  Is your friend here?"

"Yeah Tony come and say hello to Alec."

Alec picked up the carrier bag and brought out the box containing a motorway police car.

"Wow, thanks.  Are you really a policeman?"

"Yes, I'm a detective so I don't wear a uniform and I'm on holiday.  So you must be Tony?"

"Yes Sir, Rose said you were coming today but she didn't say you were on holiday, she said she was going on holiday.  Are you both going together?"

"Well Tony, I am taking your sister down to where I live for a while.  Did she say you could come down and visit?"

Tony was admiring his latest addition to his police car collection.  He nodded and was dying to go test it out on the play track in his bedroom and looked at his nanny.

"Tony, do you have homework today?"

"Yes Nanny.  Alec, will you come and play with my racetrack later?"

"Yes, I would like that, Rose can show me where it is, after you finish your homework."

He ruffled the boy's hair and watched Tony pick up his school bag and follow his nanny upstairs.  He went into the bag and brought out one of the boxes of chocolates, handing it to her.

"For you but first, I want another kiss."

Rose was only too happy to oblige, hoping her mother wouldn't catch her.   He let go of Rose and she led him to the sitting room where Jackie was waiting for Tony bursting into the room and looked up when it was Rose and Alec.

"Mum, this is Alec."

Alec let go of her hand, getting the other box of chocolates out.

"Mrs Tyler, a pleasure to meet you.  These are for you."

Jackie looked surprised and accepted them.

"Rose talks about you all the time, I hope you're not gonna let her down?"

Rose stared at her mother.

"That is not my intention Mrs Tyler, I will do my best to see she is happy."

"Good then, I'll hold you to that.  So, you're taking her down to Broadchurch then?"

"After the weekend, I have a court hearing on Monday, Rose will be joining me on Tuesday."

"Did you book her a hotel then?"

"I booked her a room nearby, it will be comfortable enough for her.  If Rose wants to stay, I'm sure she will find a holiday apartment or a cottage to rent."

"Well as long as she's not staying in the chalet she told me about."

"Mum, don't be like that, I'm sure it's fine but Alec's rented a caravan for when his daughter visits him."

"Rose, tell me you're not going to stay there as well?"

"Why not, there are three bedrooms, I don't want to stay in the pub by myself all night.  I'll be fine, don't fuss.  Come on Alec, I'll show you where the kitchen is and the dining room then your bedroom."

"I was planning on talking to your stepfather when he gets home."

"Yeah, he wants to talk to you as well, he'll be back later.  He said you wanted to see that video of the night I was first here."

"Yes, very much so."

"You may change your mind once you've seen it."

No, I need to know more about it, to understand why you came here.  You have a lot to tell me Rose."

"Yeah, I do, I'm sure my stepfather didn't tell you everything."

"He told me what I needed to know in order to find you and to understand how important it was to get you back.  Excuse us Mrs Tyler, I will see you at dinner."

"Oh call me Jackie, we don't stand on ceremony here.  We don't always eat in the dining room either, Rose, did Jake tell you I've invited him and Mickey for Sunday lunch?"

"Yeah, he mentioned it, when were gonna tell me?"

"I just did, didn't I?  I expect her ladyship will be in attendance?"

"If you invited Mickey then yeah.  In case you're wondering who we're talking about Alec, mum's referring to Mickey's girlfriend Sam, she doesn't like me."

"Is that so?  What did you do to her?" Alec was curious to know.

"I used to go out with Mickey, in the other universe but our cover stories had to make it appear it was here.  She's convinced I'm gonna steal him back from her."

"Are you?"

"Nah, it was a long time ago.  Once she meets you, she'll know she has nothing to worry about."

"So you intend showing me off then?"

"Better get used to it, we did talk about it."

"Rose is in the media all the time, where have you been hiding?" her mother asked.

"I do not read the gossip columns Jackie, I leave that to DS Miller."

"Well like she said, you'd best get used to having your photo on the front page of the glossy magazines and the Sunday supplements, it will make a change from seeing her photo alongside someone she's never met.   Honestly Rose, you need a word with Pete about that, have you seen the latest one?"

Rose shook her head, convinced Alec would make a run for the door.

"It's about when you were in New York, it was in this morning's Herald."

"Not by a reporter called Karen White by any chance?" Alec asked.

He wondered where she had been hiding, considering her absence from Joe Miller's trial but he was sure he'd glanced once or twice in the direction of the gallery and seen her at the Sandbrook trial but she'd left him alone.

"I don't think so, it was about Rose going off, I told Pete it wouldn't fool everyone."

"So what does it say then Mum?"

"That you were seen with some detective from a place called Gracepoint, wherever that is?"

"You mean Emmett Carver?"

"Yeah, sounds like him, who is he?"

"Mum, he got involved with trying to find me, he's another one who looks like the Doctor.  How did they know about him?"

"They could have mistaken him for me Rose," Alec offered.  "At least they never said it was Kilgrave.  When they see you around London and Broadchurch with me, they will change their story."

"I hope so, poor Emmett, getting dragged into it.  He's thousands of miles away, why would they say I'd been seen in New York with him?"

"Maybe whoever wrote it got their wires crossed?" Jackie suggested.

"Like Alec said, thankfully it wasn't Kilgrave they mistook him for.  Come on, I'll show you around then Alec."

Over in Gracepoint, Emmett Carver was just collecting his morning newspaper from his front doorstep.  He had moved into a two bedroomed single storey house on the outskirts of the town so when his daughter came to visit she wouldn't have to stay in the hotel.  Gemma Fisher from the hotel had tried several times since he left to get him to take her out on her night off but he had declined but he had dated one of the civilian secretaries at the precinct for a few months before she had been transferred and it had fizzled out since she was now a few hours drive away.

He put the paper on the counter-top and made his coffee, now he could drink it again and rescued his toast from the toaster.  When he finally sat down and was about to open the paper, his phone rang.

"Miller, what do you want?"

"Good morning to you too Emmett.  Have you seen the Journal this morning?  No, don't answer that, you're not shouting down the phone at me so you haven't.  I just wanted to say I had nothing to do with it, my nephew is solely responsible for picking up the story from your friend at The Globe, not that he's talking to her, he must have thought the people of the town would be interested.  Are you listening to me?"

Emmett was holding his mobile under his chin with his shoulder and straightening out the morning edition of the local paper.  He didn't need his glasses to make out the headline – 'British heiress to the Vitex fortune seen in New York with detective from California who was branded the worst cop'.  He went on to read the rest of the story by none other than Renee Clemens, who had picked up the press release that Pete Tyler had put out and decided that since Emmett owed her a story, she would make one out of it after he declined when the Solano case had ended.

"Are you still there Emmett?" Ellie asked him, trying to give her youngest son Dylan his breakfast.

"You don't actually believe this trash do you?  Rose Tyler is in the news all the time, no-one even knows who she is, no-one cares." 

"You never talked much about what happened when you went to help find her."

"There was nothing to say Miller."

He wanted to say Alec Hardy had already beaten him to it but she wouldn't understand and what if he hadn't?  They were thousands of miles apart, she was a famous person in her country and she'd never come to live in a place like Gracepoint, hell why was he even still living in Gracepoint, he could have stayed in San Francisco.  He picked up his other phone and called the newspaper, asking for Renee Clemens, who had been expecting his call.

"Don't tell me, you're calling to confirm my story?" she asked hopefully.

"No, you do realise her stepfather could have your newspaper shut down?"

"Tell me about it, I just got hung out to dry by my editor, she says I should have confirmed the story before print but why else were you in New York?"

"I was there helping the NYPD, you don't need to know the rest."

"Then you wonder why you end up in the headlines.  Anyway, I have to come up with a follow-up by tomorrow morning saying it wasn't you and that it was the Scottish detective and they weren't painting the town."

"Good, now we have that cleared up, there is something you can do for me.  Ever heard of a guy named Kilgrave?"

"No, tell me more."

Emmett was quite pleased with himself, Renee could do a lot more digging than he could and she would prove useful plus she owed him bigtime.  He at least owed it to Rose to find out more about the man who had kidnapped her, he could always live in hope that she might visit the town some day – preferably without Hardy tagging along.

Rose left Alec in Tony's attic room playing with the racetrack after she had shown him the kitchen and they'd had tea and toast since Alec was now feeling a little hungry and dinner was at seven.

"Have fun you two.  Alec, are you sure you don't want to see your room yet?"

"I will go find it, I need to hang up my shirts, maybe I should have brought in that other holdall after all."

"Give me your keys, I'll get someone to bring it up and put your car away."

"Well ok then but don't you go moving it," he agreed, going in his jacket pocket that he'd hung on the end of the banister.

"Come on Alec, I want to race you," Tony called out.

Rose gave Alec a peck on the cheek and left them to it, finding one of the staff to get Alec's other holdall and put his car away.  Pete arrived back just after five and asked if Alec had arrived.

"You had a bet with Jake as well then?" Rose smiled.

"I don't know what you're talking about Rose," he joked back at her. "I wanted to talk to him."

"He says he still wants to see that footage from the party.  He's up in the attic playing with Tony."

"Trying to impress us?" Pete asked, seeing Jackie in the doorway.

"What'd ya think Pete?  Of course he's tryin' to impress us.  He's only here to take Rose back down to that out of the way seaside town."

"No he's not Mum, he wanted to meet you and if I wasn't ready to go with him next week, he would have stayed until I was but I am ready to go.  How many times have we had this conversation Mum?  About me going away."

"Rose is right love, Alec told me he was prepared to stay, if Rose didn't want to leave.  You have to give him credit for not saying to forget it if she decides to stay. I made him another job offer Rose, shared responsibility for Torchwood's security with Jake."

"Jake agreed?"

"Yes but it was only because he was confident Alec wouldn't have any need to actually take me up on the offer.  Has he?"

"Nope, I'm going down on Tuesday.  Marsha asked me to go back on Monday anyway, to tell her how the weekend went.  You'd best go rescue him from Tony Dad or he'll be up there all night."

Pete gave her a hug and went to rescue Alec and finding them going head to head in a police car chase, waited until Alec let Tony beat him, well so it looked to Pete.

"That's two to one Alec," Tony was beaming.  "Dad, Alec's really good at car chases."

"So I can see.  Tony, go find your nanny, it's time for your tea."

"Yes Sir.  Will I see you later Alec?"

"I'm here all weekend Tony."

Tony let his dad switch off the track then went back down to his room.

"Alec, I believe you wanted to see the footage of Rose and the Doctor, from the night the Cybermen invaded?"

"Yes, very much so, I need to see how she reacted with him."

"You're making something out of nothing Alec, she's just proved she's over her kidnapping and I spoke to her therapist earlier, she's been talking about you all week and nothing has changed her mind.  Trust me, she doesn't think you are Kilgrave or the Doctor but I warn you, if you watch them in that video, you will see how close they used to be."

"That is exactly what I wanted to see, to see if she looks at me the same way."

"She does Alec, I saw the two of you in the hotel and that little stunt you pulled.  If you didn't think she liked you, you wouldn't have done that."

"I just wanted to prove to her not all men were like Kilgrave."

"Or the Doctor?  He had his reasons for not telling her, Mickey told me some of it and the main one was Mickey himself.  I expect at the back of his mind, Mickey was in the way, even when he stayed here."

"It may be the Doctor already knew it would never last, if he was a time traveller."

"Rose told me he never jumped ahead in someone's timeline Alec, he can't have known he was going to lose Rose like that, he would never have knowingly let it happen even if he couldn't tell her that he loved her.   Anyway, come and see the film for yourself, then see what you think."

"If that's intended to put me off, I can assure you it will not work."

Rose was waiting in the dining room with her mother after saying goodnight to Tony, who was giving his nanny the run-around.

"Where have those two got to?" Rose wondered out loud as the staff were waiting to bring in their food.  "Did we have to eat in here tonight Mum?"

"Well we don't want Alec to think we eat in the kitchen all the time."

"Don't be such a snob Mum and next time, don't ask Alec if there are any posh hotels in Broadchurch either.  I would have stayed in his chalet but he insisted I would be more comfortable in the pub next door."

"Is that why you're gonna move into that caravan with him?"

"What's wrong with a caravan Mum?  He wants his daughter to get used to me being around and that's the best way of doing it, I've got my own room, I'll be fine.  I hope dad's not tryin' to put Alec off in there."

"Well he said he wanted Alec to see what you and the Doctor were like, I could have told him that.  Pete says Mickey's done nothing but complain all week."

"Well Mickey can just keep out of it, if he wants that stupid girlfriend of his to stick around, he's going the right way to lose her.  I'm gonna have to show her on Sunday that I'm going off with Alec, just let Mickey object in front of her, she'll slap him silly."

"Yeah, he's askin' for trouble with that one.  Where did he meet her?"

"How do I know?  He'd have been better taking up with that new female junior doctor Owen took on a while back, I think her name's Martha.  I caught her a few times giving him the eye during mission briefings."

"Well you should give her a nudge then, it won't take much the way things are going, I swear he's only going out with her 'cos he's scared of her."

Pete and Alec were talking after Alec saw the film of the night the president was assassinated, Alec seeing that for real for the first time.  It hadn't been widely broadcast, just that he had died during the invasion at a private residence, it was never revealed it was in the house he was now in.

"How can you bear to live here now?" Alec asked him, rubbing his face and missing his beard which he'd trimmed that morning and Rose had never even said anything about it.  Maybe she was saving it for later.

"There was a lot of commotion afterwards, I was trying to get my company back from Cybus Industries, I had a lot of repairs to do, the windows had been smashed by the Cybermen and if not for the fact most of London were running for their lives, I could have lost the house that night.  There was a lot of clearing up to do, the police were already here when I got back and they'd taken most of those who had died, including the president himself.  I got asked a lot of questions, I can tell you."

"I can imagine.  Well, I am still here, my opinion of Rose has not changed, I can see why she took to Kilgrave and to me though I can't recall ever having sideburns.  As long as her therapist can assure me Rose is over her ordeal, then I will treat her as she deserves to be treated, as my girlfriend, if that's what she wants."

"Good man, I'm glad to hear it and there will be no objections from me but you've already met her mother."

Pete patted Alec on the back and suggested they went to find Rose and Jackie. Rose was getting nervous, thinking Alec had already packed and left without saying goodbye, she wouldn't blame him if he did.  She heard talking in the hallway and looked up from her soup, not the kind her mother had made earlier and smiled as Alec took a seat beside her, taking her hand and kissing the back of it.

"Everything ok Alec?"

"Yes Rose, everything is just fine and I just wanted to say, officially, I am sorry for making you wait for a week before I came to see you, can you forgive me?"

"Yeah, no need to ask, you're forgiven.  Bet you wanted to give in though?"

"Yes, I only nearly lasted until Tuesday, it took some fighting not to give in but I was only doing it for your good."

"I know, you had to be certain.  So, how about we go out for the day tomorrow then?"

"Yes, I was hoping to suggest we also went out in the evening and maybe stayed in the centre of London, maybe see a play or a film?"

"Yeah, I'd like that, we could look things up after dinner?"

"I'll leave that to you, I will find us some rooms at a hotel near the centre of London."

Jackie was taking it all in, just what she needed - Rose with a boyfriend who was older than she was and who was taking her away.

Chapter 30

Jackie was giving Alec the eye as they all chatted over dinner, Rose wanting to know what he'd thought about the video.

"Weren't you surprised to actually see him?" Rose asked Alec.

"After seeing Carver and Kilgrave?"

"Still, you've met Emmett, you've only heard some of the things about the Doctor."

"I think Alec was a little surprised," Pete declared "but he knew what to expect."

"We can talk about it later Rose, I have a lot of things to ask you."

"I'll tell you anything you want to know Alec but just answer me one thing."

"As I said Rose, later.  Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and unpack."

"Did you find your room?"

"Yes, I was pointed in the right direction after I left your stepfather but then I realised you would be waiting so I just went to see where it was."

"Do you need any help?" Rose smiled as Alec pulled the chair back for her.

"No, I'm fine, really.  I will come and find you and while you wait, why don't you find us somewhere to go tomorrow?"

"Yeah, ok, I'll be in the conservatory, just ask where it is."

Pete and Jackie just looked at each other as they left arm in arm.

"So he didn't run then?"

"No Jaks, he didn't.  I'm satisfied he won't be leaving any time soon.  Maybe now Rose will finally settle down."

"I hope you're right Pete, she's been through enough, then the kidnapping, he'd better not upset her."

Out in the hallway, Rose and Alec were at the bottom of the stairs.

"Don't be long will you Alec?"

"I will try not to be and I really am sorry Rose, for making you wait."

"Aw, it's ok, see ya in a bit then?"

She reached up and kissed his cheek but he caught her and kissed her.  He went off to the room he had been given and started unpacking his shirts, hoping they weren't too creased but he expected if he asked, they would be ironed by morning. How could Rose ever want to leave this place and go stay in a caravan with him and his daughter, whom she didn't even know and had only known him for a week? That was it though, she had just accepted him, no questions asked and had accepted that his daughter should still visit him.

After all she had been through, she wasn't demanding his or anyone else's attention, in fact she just wanted to be left alone despite her saying she wanted him to arrive early but what if he had done?  Would it have only made things worse between them?  He knew he had made the right decision making them both wait those few days instead of giving in on Tuesday when he had been tempted, it would have done neither of them any good.

He finished unpacking and bumped into Jackie, who despite having a nanny, had been to check on her young son.

"You have a fine son there Jackie, did your husband tell you I let him win on the racetrack earlier?"

"No, he never said anything but thanks all the same, he seems to like you though and if you let him win, he'd tell you, you must have been good at covering it up."

"It was no problem, I used to play video games with my DS's older son.  It was his best friend who died last year and he went to stay with his aunt and cousin when it was over but then they moved back to the family home a few weeks ago and I have been going to check on him."

He didn't want to say that it was then when Ellie had suggested he moved into her loft.

"I hope you're not gonna let Rose down."

"I have no intentions of letting her down, I care very much about her."

"Good, then you'd best go tell her 'cos she's been driving me mad all week, talking about ya."

"She said she would be in the conservatory."

"She spends a lot of time in there, Pete had it built so she could sit in it to think about when she used to go travelling the stars, in the other universe.  What did you really think when you saw her and the Doctor together?"

"That he was a very lucky man to have her travelling with him and he should have done something about it.  I don't intend keeping her guessing if I care about her or not."

"Have you even told her yet?"

"I did bring it up earlier but that is why I am going to find her now.  I hope you do not mind me taking her off tomorrow?"

"I half expected it but no sneaking around while you're here, I expect you to behave in my house, at least until you tell Rose how you feel about her.  Then it's up to her, though I always discouraged her from sneaking her boyfriends into her room, she thinks I never knew when Mickey used to stay late.  Don't worry about him though, she's been over him a long time, since before we came here.  He still got in the way of her and the Doctor though, even when he wasn't around but she'll have to tell you about that, it's not up to me to tell."

"I will let her tell me herself, I won't ask her about it.  Now I should go and find her."

Jackie gave him directions to the conservatory as he followed her down the stairs and she went off to watch something on TV.  He found Rose, it was now getting dark outside and she was sat on a wicker chair, just the blue and white fairy lights surrounding the windows. She looked up from her pad where she had been looking at hotels after deciding she wanted to see a film and seeing what time it was showing.

"Hi, thought you'd got yourself lost."

"No, I was talking to your mother, she gave me the no sneaking around lecture."

"Trust her, sorry about that."

"No apology needed, I may have deserved it."

He sat beside her and after she put down her pad on the wicker and glass table, he took her hand.

"I just wanted to say, how much I care about you Rose.  I wanted to give in the other day and come up and see you, it took everything I had to stay where I was."

"I know Alec and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to go down and find you but you're here now, that's all that matters.  Did you think I never noticed your new haircut?"

She got up and went to sit on his lap, putting her arms around him, ruffling his newly cut hair.

"Don't forget the beard."

She leaned down, his arms now around her and pulling her close.  She touched his cheek then his beard.

"I've not seen you with it any thicker but I'll take your word that you've just trimmed it again."

After they had kissed for a while, Alec asked if she had found somewhere to go the following day.

"Yeah, I want to go see a film, it starts at either six or eight in the evening, we can eat before or after."

"What about hotels?"

She leaned over to get the pad and turned the screen back on.

"There's one just a few minutes away, they have rooms."

"Then make a booking, I will pay when we get there."

"One room or two?" she teased, touching his cheek again.

"That is up to you entirely.  Why not wait until morning to decide?"

"I thought you'd had the no sneaking around lecture from my mother?"

He took the pad from her, placing it on the chair she had been sitting on then put both his arms around her.

"Do I look like the kind of man who takes notice of someone's mother?"

After another hour or so, Rose turned off the pad and getting up, pulled Alec up with her and he grabbed her waist.

"So which room were you put in then?" she asked.

"A corner one?"

Rose smiled and leaving the pad, they walked out arm in arm to see Pete just coming out of his study.

"Working late Dad?"

"Seems you need another press release, unless you want your name linked with Emmett Carver?"

"No, he's not Alec," she smiled, squeezing Alec's hand, Pete watching with interest.

He just hoped Alec would take no notice of Jackie's no sneaking around policy, not that Rose had ever invited a man to stay before.  He'd been surprised that Alec hadn't taken up the offer to stay last weekend though but it would have distracted Rose from seeing her therapist.  He'd received the preliminary report from Marsha, who was quite pleased that Rose had seemed to shake off her ordeal and yet not gone off the idea of seeing Alec again.

"So are you two going to heed your mother's advice Rose?" Pete asked as they headed for the stairs.

"For now, we're gonna stay out tomorrow night, Alec's taking me to see a film, we're gonna book somewhere in the morning before we set off."

"Then wherever you decide to stay, just charge it to Vitex, my treat.  Get one of the staff to take you into town and someone will pick you up on Sunday morning.  Don't forget your mother invited Jake and Mickey for Sunday lunch."

They had reached the top of the stairs and Rose turned to Pete.

"Thanks Dad, goodnight then."

She gave him a hug and then Pete held his hand out to Alec.

"Look after her Alec."

"I will."

Pete went off to check for the last time on Tony and Alec led Rose around the corner, stopping outside the first door.

"So this is your room then?" Rose teased him.

"You have never been in before?"

"No, when we first arrived here, I was given the room I'm in now."

"Which is?"

"Just across there, come and see.  It's where I heard the Doctor calling me through the void, I never wanted to move out after that."

"You expect to hear from him again then?" Alec asked, putting his arms around her waist, nudging her to put her arms around his neck.

"I can but hope but I think by now, he may have regenerated again, it's been a while."

"So he does not stay very long in one regeneration?"

"No and he may not want to be reminded of the past, I was lucky he wanted me to stay the last time."

"Your stepfather said you had seen him change, it must have been a strange sight?"

"You could say that, I thought it was a trick and demanded he changed back.  Are you gonna walk me to my door then and kiss me goodnight?"

"I was hoping you would ask that.  After you."

They walked the short distance and Rose opened her room door.

"Well come in then, don't let my mother catch us kissing out here though I think she almost caught us when you arrived."

"I'm sure she did.  I will come in but just to kiss you goodnight though."

"I'm disappointed now."

"Then by morning, you should decide how many rooms you are going to book."

"I've already decided."

"Then are you going to tell me?" he asked, kissing her cheek then her neck.

"What do you think?"

She pushed him up against the half open door, making it close and going for his shirt buttons.

"Do you want to talk about this Rose?"

She shook her head and carried on, pulling the shirt out of his trousers.

"Then don't say I never gave you a choice."

Rose reached to his shoulders, pulling at the shirt but Alec went for the hem of her t-shirt.  Before either of then knew it, Alec was unfastening her bra as she fumbled with the buttons of his shirt cuffs, the shirt hanging down over his arms as they tried to continue kissing.  The shirt fell onto the floor and Alec went to pull her t-shirt over her head but she grabbed his hand.

"Sorry, I got carried away."

"It's fine Rose, it was just as much my fault as it was yours.  Here, let me fasten the clasp again," he offered.

"I'm gonna keep doing this you know?" she apologised, pulling her t-shirt back down as he squinted to fasten the tiny clasp, knowing he hadn't had as much trouble unfastening it one-handed, something he'd not forgotten how to do after so long.

She turned around and smiled at him.  "I'm really sorry Alec, it's just, well I thought I was over it."

"Rose, no need to worry about it, it was very pleasant, far more than I expected."


"Yes, really.  Just let's take it easy eh?  If you feel like getting carried away again, you will get no objections from me, ok?"

"Yeah, thanks.  Do you want me to fasten your shirt?"

"You seemed to have enjoyed taking it off love.  I had best fasten it before I leave, in case your mother catches me leaving your room."

"Yeah.  Can I come and wake you in the morning, or you could come and wake me?"

"Yes, I would like that very much and I don't want you thinking you are going to put me off either.  I know what you went through and I also know you were trying to fool your therapist into thinking you were over it."

"I thought I was, honestly."

He finished fastening most of the buttons of his shirt, Rose just being able to see some of his chest hair and could kick herself for not raking her fingers through it while he had his shirt off.  She had only glanced at him as the shirt buttons had come undone and wished now she had paid closer attention to detail, like how fit he was despite only recently getting over major surgery.  He held his arms out and folded them around her, Rose laying her head on the partly opened shirt.

"I'll say goodnight then and if you want to book two rooms tomorrow night, then fine but if you want to share and you get scared again, I will go down and book another room or sleep on the chair."

She looked up at him.  Why was he putting up with her?

"I'll be ok, I may panic a bit but there's no need for you to do either, I'm really sorry Alec."

She reached up and they kissed.  "Maybe I was just getting used to being on my own again and now I realise I do want to be with you but I'm scared Alec."

"There is no need to be scared of me Rose, I will take care of you, if you want me to?"

She nudged further into his arms and let him hold her tightly.  "Come and wake me in the morning?"

He leaned down to kiss her forehead.  "It will be my pleasure as long as your mother does not catch me leaving now or knocking on your door in the morning."

"She's never up before eight and her bark is worse than her bite and besides, my door isn't locked, Pete doesn't allow it, after what happened here.  Just come in when you wake up."

"As long as you don't scream the place down."

"I won't promise.  What time do you normally wake up?"

He stopped running his fingers through her hair and kissing along her neck.


Rose smiled as he continued what he was doing.  If she wasn't very careful, she would drive the only man she had cared about since being here away.  Alec looked up, wanting to tell her that until a very short time ago, he used to wake in the middle of the night after having the nightmare of drowning while pulling Pippa out of the river but he didn't have them now and he would have liked to think it was because he had met Rose but they had stopped when he'd somehow survived his operation.

Now he knew why he'd survived, it was because Rose was still scared after what she had been through and she was now depending on him to get her through it and he wanted to prove to her he wasn't going to take advantage of her like Kilgrave had done.

"I will set the alarm then.  Goodnight Rose."

"Night Alec, I promise I'll be ok tomorrow night."

"You were just nervous when you ran out of my shirt buttons."

He gave her one last kiss then opened the door, checking Jackie wasn't around. Rose stood in the doorway as  he reached his room and he waved back at her.  She closed her door and went into her bathroom, looking at herself in the mirror.  Why had she let herself get carried away only to stop him as he was about to see her breasts and take off her t-shirt?   The memories of what Kilgrave used to make her do came flooding back and she felt a tear in her eyes.

She had to get over this or she could never have a normal relationship with Alec and now, she wanted that more than anything, he was just who she had been waiting for all this time and unlike Kilgrave, he was prepared to wait for her.  Just how long, she didn't know and she just hoped he wouldn't get tired of waiting.

When Alec had got back to his room after finding the bathroom, he changed into the sleep shorts he'd picked up while he was clothes shopping and the white t-shirt he'd bought for the occasion.  He got into bed after setting his alarm for seven hoping it wasn't too early for Rose but he was having second thoughts about just walking into her bedroom unannounced and risk her either screaming the place down and her mother bursting in or she would throw him out once and for all.

There again, he could always live in hope that he'd given her the final push to get over Kilgrave and the Doctor and she would be all over him, like she had been earlier, which had been very nice to say the least.   He closed his eyes, recalling almost seeing her breasts before she had tried to turn away from him, the brief glance he'd had made him realise how much he missed having female company. Hopefully, he'd get a better look in the morning, if she was still laid in bed in what he hoped had pink satin sheets and she was wearing a pink clingy silky nightdress that didn't hide much either at the front or the back.

All week he had laid awake, wondering what it would be like to wake up with her and now, he had almost got his wish, she had asked him to go wake her up and not bother knocking on her door but he was dead meat if her mother caught him. Maybe they should have left it until the following night but he really wanted to get a closer look at what he'd narrowly missed out on earlier and he was sure Rose had liked what she had seen after getting his shirt off.

After Pete had left Alec and Rose in the hallway, suspecting Alec would defy Rose's mother or Rose would defy her, Jackie had been sat in bed reading while she had been waiting for him.

"I hope you made sure Alec went to his own room Pete?"

"Oh leave them be Jaks, Rose is happier than she's been since she arrived here, don't spoil it for her eh?  Trust me, Alec only has good intentions towards her."

"Well he'd better, that's all I can say but if I catch him coming out of her room in the morning, I won't be responsible for my actions."

"Then you wonder why they're going off to a hotel tomorrow night?" Pete grinned, getting into bed.

The next morning, Alec was awake long before his alarm was due to go off but it was far too early to risk Rose being awake or at least for him to sneak in and risk getting his face slapped for climbing in beside her while she was still asleep and putting his arm around under her waist and run his fingers of his other hand on her leg, under her nightdress.  He lay awake, wondering if she wore anything underneath, his imagination running riot and what he'd do were she not or of if she was wearing the skimpiest of briefs how it wouldn't take too much effort to slide his fingers under the legs of the infuriating garment then slide them…"

He shook his head, hell, was he setting himself up for another heart attack?  He'd not had thoughts like that for a long time and Rose was now responsible for them resurfacing.  Had he ever had thoughts like that with Tess?  By six forty five he was itching to get out of bed, he'd already taken off his t-shirt before going to sleep, he'd been too warm under the duvet and he thought how much warmer it would get under Rose's and then pull down the straps of her nightdress and kiss her delicate breasts he'd not stopped thinking about since he'd woken up.

He shook his head again and slipped on his t-shirt, wondering if he should put on one of the pairs of jeans he'd recently bought or since it wasn't that far, to make a dash for it and get into her room before someone saw him – he had no idea if the staff would be wandering about at that time in the morning or if Tony would be up and around.  He quietly opened the door and made his way to the bathroom, wishing his own room had one since Rose appeared to have her own but it probably wasn't practical to give every guest their own.

He delayed as long as he could, he'd already turned off his alarm, his phone still in his room, why would anyone be calling him when it was the weekend and he was on leave?  If Daisy did call, he could ring her back.  Making dead sure he had the right room, he carefully opened the door.

Rose had been awake for ages as well, she had already been to the bathroom to freshen herself up in anticipation, if she didn't get scared and slap Alec into the middle of next week for getting into bed with her.   She had gone to sleep in her pink silky pj's but after getting up, had looked at herself in the mirror and gone through her underwear drawer and found a pair of pink silky knickers and the very revealing nightdress she'd bought to cheer herself up and hesitating for a moment, took her pyjama top off and put the nightdress on.   Feeling how good it felt, she put the matching knickers on and surveyed herself in the mirror again.

She was feeling a little better than yesterday, maybe it had been nerves after all and now, she climbed back into bed and waited for Alec to sneak in.  It was already light outside but the room was bathed in a pink and blue light from the curtains and the décor as she lay back on her pillow and closed her eyes.  She felt herself feeling giddy at the thought of Alec climbing in quietly beside her, thinking she was asleep and than feeling his hands on her, wondering if he would dare try to wake her by kissing her almost exposed breasts and running his fingers under the hem of her silky just above the knee nightdress then with his other hand, pull down the straps and finally climb on top of her.

"Hell, where had that thought come from?" she wondered, as she glanced at the clock beside her bed, it was almost seven, what was taking him so long?  Her mother wouldn't be up yet, Pete might be but he wouldn't say anything to discourage Alec except to warn him once again about her mother but that wouldn't put him off, if last night was anything to go by.  She wished now she had let him continue, he was not Kilgrave, she had to carve that into her brain and if she wanted him to stay, she had to accept that and the fact Alec was very keen on her, despite her being forced to be with Kilgrave.

Her heart was beating fast and she wondered if he had chickened out but she heard a faint sound from the door as the doorknob clicked and then she heard it click again and could tell he had entered her room.  She lay half on her side, making the nightdress ride up slightly and the top pull down, exposing even more of her breasts and she thought she was going to burst if he didn't hurry up and get in bed with her.

Alec had hesitated for a few seconds outside Rose's door – did he go in or not?  If he didn't, he could always say later he didn't want to wake her but if he did go in, there would be no turning back, she would expect to share a room with him tonight and hopefully when they got back to Broadchurch but not in his chalet, Rose would get her wish for him to stay in the room at the pub with her when he walked her back at night and he would gladly do so.

He turned the doorknob, his heart seemed to be beating loud enough to wake the whole house, let alone her mother, whom he imagined could hear a pin drop half a mile away and would certainly hear the click it made.  He pushed the door open wide enough to slip through, all the things he'd been thinking about earlier rushing through his mind, wanting to do them all at once.  He closed the door behind him and since he'd elected to stay bare footed, crept over to her bed.

He stared at her with her blonde hair fanned out on the pink pillowcase, there was no thick duvet as had been on his bed, just a pink floral sheet and a red counterpane half covering her body, her left breast almost out of the top of the nightdress, as though she was not wearing anything and he knew right then he had fallen for her in the biggest way imaginable and he would win her over, help her come to terms with what had happened to her and prove his love for her.

As he pulled back the bedclothes carefully, he could see her leg, the nightdress haven ridden up further as she had at the last second as he'd closed the door pulled it up, perhaps a little too much but she remained with her eyes closed as he took off his white t-shirt and leaned over to kiss her neck.

"Rose," he whispered in her ear, tucking a strand of her hair back and kissing it gently.

"Mmm, Alec?  Hi."

"Good morning my fair Rose, did I wake you?"

"Mmm but it was nice, good morning to you too Alec."

She reached out her hand to touch his chest, just falling short of the slight scar he still had.

"Does it bother you?" she asked as he took her hand and kissed the back of it.

"No love, it does not bother me.  Have I told you how beautiful you look this morning?"

Rose shook her head and took her hand back, now leaning on one arm and giving Alec an extremely good look at what he had been dreaming of touching earlier.

He pulled the bedclothes over himself slightly and leaned over her, Rose turning onto her back as he pulled the strap of her nightdress down over her shoulder and smiling at her, placed a kiss there.  Rose ruffled his hair with one hand and touched the waistband of his shorts with the other.

"Don't be afraid Rose, I am not going to force you to do anything that you feel uncomfortable doing or you don't want me to do to you."

"I know you wouldn't hurt me Alec.  I want this with you."

Now leaning on one arm, he traced the strap on her other shoulder with his finger and pulled it down, staring at her pale pink delicate breasts and leaned further down, moving his hand onto one of them gently as Rose put her hand on the small of his back.

"May I?" he asked.

Rose nodded and he touched the breast he was holding with his fingers and working the top of the nightdress down, revealing her full beauty and placed a light kiss on the other one.  Half expecting her to scream for him to go away, he explored more of her exposed skin and somehow without falling over, he placed his other hand on her hip as Rose freed her other hand and put it on his chest.

"Alec, you will be patient with me, won't you?"

"Of course I will love, there is no need to worry, I am not going anywhere."

He continued kissing both her breasts, Rose's hand remaining on his back but as he moved to lean directly over her, placing his leg at the other side of her, her hand slipped further down and keeping his balance somehow, he took her hand and tried to get her to put it down the back of his shorts but she pulled away.

"It's ok Rose, shush, don't panic."

He moved his leg back and turned onto his side, watching her, her breasts still exposed as she still lay on her back.

"Why are you being so patient with me Alec?" she asked him, pulling up her nightdress straps, much to Alec's disappointment but he'd had more than his fair share of kissing them repeatedly.

He touched her shoulder gently and pulled her towards him.

"Come here Rose, come and lie on me eh?  You want to know why I am patient being with you and willing to take this as slowly as you want?"

Rose nodded and put her hand on his chest, Alec taking advantage and putting one arm around her waist, pulling her closer and tempted to place the other one on her rear.

"Because I am falling for you, Rose Tyler and I will be right here, no matter how long it may take for you to feel the same way about me.  I would be honoured if you would consider being my girlfriend?"

Rose felt a tear in the corner of her eye.  "I really don't deserve you Alec.   I would love to be your girlfriend, if you'll have me as such."

"Aye, I would be indeed honoured," he answered her, stroking her arm.

Rose grabbed his hand, putting it where he wanted it in the first place and half climbed on top of him and freeing her other hand, pulled one of the straps back down, so she touched his chest, making him smile.   It may take him a while but she was beginning to trust him and he didn't intend screwing it up.

Chapter 31

They had spent the best part of an hour just kissing and Alec not daring to upset Rose, now she had just agreed to be his girlfriend and only allowed himself to keep his hands where she wanted.

"You'll have to sneak back to your room soon, don't let my mum catch you."

"I don't have that far to go, maybe she won't notice me."

Rose moved onto her side, pulling the straps of her nightdress up, as if Alec hadn't already felt her breasts on his chest but she wasn't ready for him to actually see them close up just yet.

"You don't have to be so shy Rose, you just laid on me for almost an hour.  I should go and get dressed."

He reached to retrieve his t-shirt from where it had fallen as she reached for his shoulder.  He leaned back and pulled her closer.

"You are trying to get me caught Rose, do you want your mother to throw me out?"

"Aw, she won't do that and we're stopping out tonight anyway, aren't we?"

"Yes, so how many rooms did you say you were booking?"

He pulled her over and she giggled as her nightdress strap came down.


"Never apologise for that Rose, I know that you were probably made to parade in front of your captor."

"Yeah, I'd rather not think about that, thanks.  It's going to take some getting used to Alec, I don't mind you catching a glimpse now and then, by accident."

"Well I hope you a lot more 'accidents' then eh? You don't seem to object to seeing me without my t-shirt, since you are delaying me putting it back on. Do you want to check if the coast is clear for me?" he asked as he managed to reach his t-shirt.

"Take your time puttin' that on."

"See what I mean?  Enjoying your morning entertainment?"

Rose nodded as she tucked her legs under her and he gathered the t-shirt to put his arms in it, then she watched as one arm then the other went in and he pulled it slowly over his head and slowly down over his chest.   Rose felt a shiver down her back, how dare he put his t-shirt on so sexily when she was afraid of doing anything about it?  That was the problem though, he looked like Kilgrave, apart from the scar on his chest and now, Kilgrave's legacy was she would always think of him while looking at Alec, unless she could somehow get him out of her head.

"Alec, if you do that every morning, stuff getting my own room."

Alec smiled back at her, sitting on the edge of the bed.

"If that's what you want Rose, then I am more than willing to oblige.  I will see you downstairs, do you have breakfast in the kitchen?"

"Yeah, luckily mum doesn't make us eat it in the dining room, neither does she cook it, thankfully.  She'd made this weird soup for lunch yesterday, I can still taste it."

He leaned forward and kissed her neck, daring to move one of her straps and kissing her shoulder.  Rose ruffled his hair and smiled.

"I can definitely go for this every morning.  I didn't feel that good yesterday, even before my mum's soup but I feel better today, I think I was a bit nervous about you arriving."

"Are we being honest with each other?"

Rose nodded as he continued.

"When I made a stop, I was almost tempted to take the next motorway exit and turn around.  You are not the only one who has been nervous Rose."

"I guess we both got over it then?  I'm glad you didn't change your mind.  We still have a lot to talk about."

"We have plenty of time love, I should really go now, I think I just heard your brother out there."

"Dad will have been taking him downstairs, his nanny has the weekends off.  Now's your chance before mum gets up."

"Then I go reluctantly.  Perhaps she has her doubts about me and my intentions towards you?"

"Well tomorrow night, she'd better have made her mind up about you, hadn't she?"

She put her arms around his neck and pulled him into a kiss.  He got up and walked to the door.

"See you at breakfast then I will pack a few things for tonight."

"Put them in with mine, no sense in taking two bags, just bring your things in before we go out.  Do you want to call the hotel?  If I say it's for Rose Tyler, reporters will be camping outside, they'd love to see me with Emmett Carver."

"Well if they see you with me, they may still think it is him, unless your stepfather's story has reached the dailies?"

"They usually take notice of him, they know he can put them out of business if he wants to.  If you book it in your name, I'll get dad to have the bill paid before we leave."

He pulled her off the bed, Rose trying to pull up her strap on her wet shoulder then he put his arms around her waist.

"I will call then but I would have thought you would be used to it, having your name associated with men all the time.  Just as long as they get my name right and not mixed with Carver's."

"Well you'd better get used to it Alec, now they have something to write a story about."

"So your stepfather is not revealing you were kidnapped?"

"He didn't think it was a good idea, not with it being over in New York."

She suddenly became aware of voices out in the hallway.

"Stay here, my mum's on the prowl."

She opened the door slightly to see her mother talking with one of the staff.

"Which room did you put my daughter's friend in then?"

"The one on the corner Mrs Tyler, is there a problem?"

"Yes, there is a problem, he never answered when I knocked."

"What's wrong Mum?" Rose asked, trying to sound innocent and forgetting she was in the nightdress, not her pyjamas.

"Have you seen him this morning?"


"Just answer me Rose, he'd better not be in your room."

"Oh come on Mum, he just got here last night, leave him alone will ya?  He's probably in the bathroom or he's downstairs."

"We'll he'd better be there when I get downstairs or have a good excuse.  What you doing dressed like that?"

"Like what?" She looked down at her nightdress.  "Oh, thought I'd have a change."

Her mother shook her head and went back to her room.  She turned back to Alec.

"You have ten minutes at most to either come out of the bathroom or be downstairs, your choice."

He kissed her cheek and headed for his room.  Rose got herself dressed and retrieved a weekend case and then realising she was hungry, went downstairs but Alec wasn't there and neither was her mother.  Alec had hurriedly put on another t-shirt, his jeans, socks and picked up his toiletries bag and headed for the bathroom but came out as Jackie chose that moment to come back out of her bedroom.

"Oh, so that's where you've been, what took you so long?"

"Were you wanting to use the bathroom?"

"No, we have our own but I knocked on your door."

"I was having a shower."

"Without wetting your hair?"

"It dries quickly, I should go find Rose."

"I've got my eye on you."

"I can assure you, you have nothing to worry about, I will take great care of your daughter.  She has agreed to be my girlfriend."

"Well I'm glad you got that settled, you have no idea what's she's been like since she came back you know.  She's been driving me crazy."

"Well she admitted she has been nervous over my arrival, I was just the same."

"Well it's a good thing you never changed your mind."

He was afraid to tell her he almost did.  Tony was asking Rose all kinds of questions when Alec entered the kitchen.

"Alec, will you come and watch football with us in the morning?" Tony asked him.

"Sure Tony, if your sister wants to come?"

"Yeah, we can all go, it's just the locals, you don't need tickets.  Why don't we give you a morning off Dad?"

"Will you both be back in time?  It starts at eleven."

"Well if we get picked up after breakfast, we'll be back, won't we Alec?"

Alec was making the hotel reservation and was waiting for someone to answer the phone.

"You could have done it online Alec."

"I do not trust internet bookings.  Ah, yes, I want to make a reservation for one night, in the name of Hardy."

He just got away with saying he wanted one room when Jackie walked into the kitchen.

"You two still going off then?" she asked Rose, as Alec had his breakfast put in front of him.

"Yeah, why wouldn't we?"

"Your mother seems to think you had changed your mind.  I already told her you have agreed to be my girlfriend."

"That's great Rose, isn't that good news Jackie?" Pete asked.

"Rose has got a boyfriend!" Tony chanted, getting him a scowl from his mother.

"You eat your breakfast Tony."

When they had finished eating, Rose said Alec should bring his things to her room. As he knocked on her door though, he made sure Jackie wasn't around.

"Come in Alec, don't mind my mum, she'll get over the initial shock, now you've told her anyway."

"There seemed no point in hiding the fact.  Let me take that for you."  He fastened the weekend case and put it by the door.  "Have you arranged for us to get into the centre of London?"

"Yeah, what time can we book into the hotel?"

"Any time you wish, we can book in and then you can show me around."

Rose reached up to kiss him just as there was a knock on the door.

"If that is your mother, you will be going on your own."

"Aw, don't worry, you're dressed this time."

"Don't joke about it Rose."

Rose opened the door, relieved it was one of the maids.

"Excuse me Miss Rose, your stepfather wanted to know when you wanted a car to take you into town."

"Oh, make it an hour and have someone come for my case."

"What about Mr Hardy's things?"

"We're putting it in one case but don't tell my stepfather that in front of my mother or I won't hear the end of it."

"Of course not Miss Rose."

Rose closed the door and smiled at Alec.

"Stop grinning you.  Good thing it wasn't my mother, she would have barged her way in.  Then we'd have had some explaining to do."

"I said I had already told her you agreed to be my girlfriend."

"Don't go thinking that would stop her.  Have you heard anything back from Detective Beckett?"

"Not since a few days ago, I expect the leads have gone cold and they are going to leave it to Carver to sort out.  He seems keen on getting to the bottom of it.  I doubt he was pleased about seeing his name in the paper alongside yours."

"Well it will be in the newspapers now that I wasn't seen with him and the person who wrote it will have to admit they got it wrong.  Have you been in contact with him anyway?"

"No, should I have been?" he asked, putting his arms around her and going for her neck.

It had been unexpected, Alec was hoping she would begin to relax around him and not get scared every time he made a move.  Rose knew she had to get over it, that Alec wasn't like Kilgrave, he didn't demand she got undressed in front of him or make any first moves.  She leaned her head into his shoulder and put her arms around his slim waist.  She wondered how he kept himself in good shape considering he'd been ill up until recently.

"Let's just forget about it Alec, we have a day out to look forward to.  No going near the river then?"

"Rose, I see the river every day when I come out of my chalet, as long as I do not go on the water, I can live with it.  I was never like that, before the incident.  Maybe you can help me get over it eh?"

"Yeah, if I go in the sea when we get to Broadchurch, maybe you can take your shoes off and walk in the water with me?"

"For you, I will try.  Did you get a look at the morning papers?"

"No, mum was hogging them, seeing what Pete had put in about me."

"I caught a glimpse, he put something like you have met Carver briefly while he was visiting New York and the meeting had been taken out of context.  I believe the reason for him being there was he was included in your talks to promote Torchwood's willingness to work with the police."

"Good, now when we're seen out today, no-one will bother me.  I think Pete mentioned he may call Castle on Monday and get an update as to what's going on over there.  Do you want to take my case downstairs?  You could take your own holdall if you wanted?"

"You don't want to unpack my shorts or are you afraid I may unpack your underwear?" he smiled, kissing her neck one last time.

"I don't mind you seeing my underwear, I'm just a bit reluctant to let you see me in it, Kilgrave used to make me try everything on."

"I'm really sorry for what you had to go through Rose, just tell me if you are uncomfortable with anything."

"You'll be the first to know but I'll try and get over it.  I was thinking, maybe Pete would agree to me seeing a hypnotist, so that when I'm with you, I'll get over what Kilgrave made me go through."

"You could ask him but maybe he does not want you discussing it with anyone else, since it involves Torchwood."

"I'll ask him before we leave for Broadchurch then.  Can't I go to Portsmouth with you?"

"It's best you don't get involved with it Rose, I do not want your name dragging into it love, if Claire sees you there, she may start to spread a few more of her lies and I don't want that."

"Ok, if you think it's for the best, one more day won't make a difference.  You are staying Sunday night?"

"Yes I am and not in the guest room hopefully?"

Alec picked up her case and they went downstairs, Tony running towards them.

"Are you going out Rose?"

"Yeah, I'll be back in the morning.  We have football to go to, remember and Mickey's coming for lunch and so is Jake."

"Is Mickey's girlfriend coming?  I don't like her."

"You and me both but Mickey seems to like her, just stay out of her way like I do, yeah?"

Tony nodded and gave her a hug.  "Bring me something back?"

One of the male staff interrupted them.

"Your car is ready when you are Miss Rose, if you are ready to leave?"

"Yeah Steve, you can put my case in the back, we'll be out after I say goodbye to my mum."

"I will wait in the car Rose," Alec told her, fastening his jacket, Rose noticing it wasn't his suit jacket but a blue and grey one and he'd put his red jumper on with a red t-shirt underneath, the weather still wasn't that warm.

Rose had elected to wear her black trousers and a cream top and had brought a black velvet jacket down with her but she couldn't help thinking the trousers felt a little tighter than normal. Maybe she was just eating too much.  With Alec waking her up earlier, she'd not had time to notice that she didn't feel as bad as she had the last few days, maybe her nervousness was wearing off.  She also noted how jeans seemed to suit Alec, they showed off his bum.

After telling her mother she would be back in the morning and Jackie making a fuss, saying she'd better make her mind up if Alec was actually going to be her boyfriend or not, she joined Alec in the car.  He decided since he was being driven, he could sit in the back with Rose.   They arrived in front of the hotel Alec had booked, it was just after eleven and he retrieved Rose's case from the driver, who asked what time they wanted collecting in the morning.

Alec then took Rose's hand and walking up the few steps, approached the desk.

"I made a booking for tonight, name of Hardy."

"Yes Sir, room 501, I will get someone to show you the way.  How will you be paying?"

"Someone will call to make the payment before we leave in the morning."

The receptionist was looking at Rose, who was looking nervous as she twisted the button on Alec's jacket sleeve.  A porter approached them and picked up the small case and took the key from the receptionist, Alec holding back as they walked to the lift.

"If there are reporters outside when we go out, there will be trouble."

"You're playing detective again Alec, relax."

"Easy for you to say, you are used to it."

The porter led the way out of the lift on the fifth floor and through a door, their room being the first.  Alec thanked the porter as he opened the door and placed the case just inside the room.

"Anything else I can do for you Sir?" the man asked, waiting for Alec to give him the customary tip.

Rose nudged him as she looked around.  Alec went in his jacket pocket and took out his wallet, getting a small note out and handing it to the porter.

"Can you arrange for a bottle of champagne later tonight, say around ten thirty?" Alec asked quietly as Rose went to the window.

"Yes Sir, my pleasure.  Should I arrange for some flowers for the lady?"

Alec was definitely out of practise, not that he and Tess had stayed overnight in a posh west-end London hotel at any time during their courtship or marriage.

"Yes, can you get a dozen red roses in an arrangement, so she can take them with her in the morning?"

"Leave it with me Sir."

"Don't put them on the bill, have then charged to my room separately."

The porter nodded and closed the door, hoping he would get to see them out in the morning, he was sure the man who'd just tipped him was with Rose Tyler.  Maybe the papers had been wrong about her being in New York with an American detective, this one was definitely Scottish and had been in the news himself twice recently.

Alec then went to join Rose at the window, putting his arms around her waist and kissing the top of her head.  Rose grabbed his hands and turned around to face him.

"This is more like it.  What were you up to just then?"

"Nothing my love, just arranging a little surprise for later when we get back.  So where are we going?"

They had decided to go see the early showing of the film Rose had chosen as they'd had a late lunch but it hadn't stopped Rose from getting popcorn and a drink before going into the auditorium and offering to share.  Alec was just thankful she had not 'supersized' either of the containers but it hadn't stopped Rose from eating once they had found a restaurant that was still open nearby.

He was relieved she hadn't opted for a fast-food franchise selling chicken and had settled for chicken but served rather more tastefully and at tables without hordes of teenagers throwing things on the floor or even throwing things at each other and leaving without clearing the table nor had there been kids having 'parties' and climbing over the partitions to each other.  He was one to talk though, Daisy had liked to pay visits to the franchise when she'd had the opportunity.

"Did you enjoy the film Alec?" Rose was asking him as he was deciding what to order and remembering what Daisy had taught him when they'd met up during one of his rare visits home a few weeks ago.

"Yes but we could have watched it without wearing those glasses for almost two hours."

"You can't watch a 3D film without them, it would look weird.  Are you gonna order?"

"Whatever you are having, I will go to the counter though when I went with Tess and Daisy a few weeks ago, someone took the order."

Rose smiled.  "Are you sure they worked there?  Must have been a new thing they were trying out then.  Are we going back to the hotel after we've eaten?"

"It will take us the best part of an hour here, then we have to walk back. I would like us to be back around ten, for the surprise I have arranged."

Rose took his hand. "You didn't have to go to any trouble Alec."

"It was no trouble, I meant for us to make the most of our day out."

It was almost nine thirty when they walked back into the hotel.

"I just want to check my requests have been taken care of.  Why don't you sit here and wait?"

Rose nodded while he went to the desk and he was assured the flowers were already delivered to their room and the champagne would be with them at ten thirty.

"Could you make it ten?"

"Yes Sir, of course.  I have the bill for the flowers and the champagne has also been put separately, as you asked for.  May I just ask, is that Rose Tyler you have with you?"

"Yes but if I find any reporters out front when we leave in the morning, her stepfather will know about it."

As he took her hand and they got in the lift, he wished now he'd ordered some chocolates for her as well but maybe she would think he was overdoing things, for a proper first date, which it was when he thought about it. This time, he'd opted not to kiss her in front of the whole restaurant.

Rose had a surprise of her own though when Alec let them into their room.   She'd had the whole day to think about this, about getting undressed down to her underwear in front of Alec and if she didn't get over her fear now, what chance had she of ever getting over it?  She had chosen another new nightdress that came with a negligee and while Alec pulled the blinds closed, she got it out of the drawer and held it in front of her, looking into the wardrobe mirror.

"Am I going to get the pleasure of seeing you wearing that?" he asked as he walked towards her.

"Yeah and I'm sorry about this morning, for trying to cover myself up."

"Well I will forgive you but it was unfair while I still had my t-shirt off."

"I'd never have known you'd been ill, you keep yourself fit."

"Well I used to walk a lot and while I was working the Sandbrook case with Miller, I would push her son around in his stroller.  I just wanted to clear something up, about those accusations that Miller and I were having an affair."

"Alec, I'm in the news all the time, you've seen what they can do.  Don't apologise for something that wasn't true, I believe you and even if by some remote chance it was, it's none of my business, I didn't know you then.  Do you want to help me?"

She indicated for him to pull the short zip of her cream top down and he leaned round to catch it, her fingers moving away as he grasped the flimsy material.  He let go and she pulled one short sleeve down then the other.

"Do you want to do that in the bathroom?" he asked, trying not to sound disappointed that she still might do.

"No, I have to get over this."

She pulled the garment over her head, shaking her hair as she did, Alec just staring at her as the top landed on the chair and she stood in just her black lacy bra.  Then she put her hands on the waistband of her black trousers and began pulling them down slowly, stepping out of them.  Alec just wished now he'd delayed the champagne.

"Do you like the flowers I got for you?"

"They're lovely Alec, don't let me go without them in the morning, will you?  What else have you arranged?"

"You will find out very shortly. You look beautiful Rose, how could you ever have agreed to be my girlfriend?  You could have any man you wanted, you know that."

"I don't want just any man Alec, I've spent all this time here on my own and do ya know what?  It's my turn Alec, to choose to be with someone else, the Doctor has gone, probably regenerated and he said himself he has to move on.  Well I'm moving on, I've cried over him, I've imagined I see him everywhere I go and I will never forget him but I have to think about myself."

"I know you can't just forget him Rose and I would never ask you to but please, give me a chance to prove I am not him and I am not Kilgrave.  Now is your chance to start again Rose, with me, if you'll have me?"

He picked up the delicate lace topped nightdress and offered it to her.   She smiled at him and held her arms out for him to let her put it on but then she surprised him by turning around.

"Get my fastener?"

"It will be my pleasure and please Rose, don't be afraid of me eh?"

As the fastener came undone and she pulled both straps off her shoulders, he stood back as she slipped the nightdress over her and let it fall into place, turning back to him as it rested just above her knees.  She tossed the bra on top of the blouse then Alec picked up the negligee and held it for her to put her arms into, kissing her neck.  She leaned into his shoulder, fingering his jumper then boldly took the hem and began pulling it up, taking his t-shirt with it.

She stopped halfway, Alec thinking she was panicking but she put her hand on his belly, making him smile.  As she was about to resume pulling them off, there was a knock on the door.

"Ah, the other surprise I had arranged."

His jumper and t-shirt fell back down and he went to the door, seeing a different porter with a small trolley, on which was an ice bucket with a small bottle of champagne and two champagne glasses.

"Your champagne Sir, may I open it for you?"

Alec gestured for him to come inside then thought this was going to cost him another five pounds but it was for Rose, so what if it did?  Her stepfather was paying for the room after all.

The porter opened the bottle, Rose was sitting by the window and Alec was glad she had fastened the tiny button on her negligee and after he gave the man a tip, Alec poured two glasses and took them over to her.  Handing her one of the glasses, he took her hand and helped her up.

"To you my love, may I say how beautiful you look?  Would you allow me to take a picture of you, to remind me of the occasion?"

"Aw, you don't have to ask.  I want one of you, without your jumper on, when I've finished this champagne.  I wondered why we didn't go to the bar on our way in. Here, take my glass, I'll open the blinds for a minute."

He enthusiastically took her glass then went to his jacket to retrieve his phone.  She was actually willing to pose in her nightwear for him, how lucky was that? When he turned back, she had also taken off the negligee and was standing in front of the patio door.

"Just a second Alec, there is one condition."

"Oh and what might that be?" he asked, find the camera 'App' on his phone.

"That I finish taking off your t-shirt and jumper first."

He put the phone into his jeans pocket and crossed over to her.

"Then who am I to refuse such a request eh?  Do you need some help?"

Rose shook her head as she lifted both garments, her fingers brushing his skin as he helped her by lowering his head then tossing them onto the chair.  Rose couldn't resist running her fingers down his chest.  He took her hand, kissing the back of it.

"Later love, let me take that photo of you."

He was about to take it when she told him to stop, Alec thinking she was backing out but he couldn't believe his luck when she smiled and pulled down one strap then the other of her nightdress, revealing more of her cleavage.

"Now that is just a perfect end to a perfect day out with the woman I love."

Chapter 32

Alec was glad she hadn't heard what he had just said – he still didn't think she was ready just yet to hear him declare his love for her and he wasn't ready for rejection or frightening her away when she had agreed to spend the night with him.

"You look stunning Rose," he told her as she smiled at him, the backdrop of the distant London lights behind her.

"Aw, thanks.  Did you just say something else, before that?"

"It was nothing, I was just thinking out loud."

"You called me love."

"Do you object?  Is it too much to assume?"

"No, it's fine, I just don't know what I should call you."

"Alec is just fine though I never really liked my name, until the first time you said it.  You do not have to give me a pet name."

Rose pulled the straps of her new nightdress up and walked close to him, fingering the buttons on his shirt.

"I hope you're not wearing a t-shirt under that?"

"There is only one way to find out, if you are ready?"

"I have to get over this Alec, you know I have or I never will, I'll be forever reminded of what happened.  I think that's what he does, he gets people so scared of him that they can't forget him."

"Then you need help, maybe another few sessions with your therapist, from whom I am wanting to read the reports."

"I asked her to leave some of it out of her report, not just about how I felt about Kilgrave."

"Then tell me how you feel about him, or maybe how you feel about me?" he asked, putting his arms around her.

"I will tell you Alec, I promise, when I sort everything out in my mind.  Kilgrave tried to brainwash me, into thinking I was in love with him and it's only my training that kept him from doing that completely but I had to make it look good though.  He knew he hadn't worn me down completely but it was enough."

"Rose, it does not matter to me, I know you were just trying to get through it and you did what you had to do, it's over now, just try and forget it and I will help you with that, I promise."

Rose pressed her head further into his shoulders and put her arms around his back.

"Not interested in if I have anything beneath my shirt?"

"I can tell you haven't.  I was just being silly."

"It's fine Rose, just take your time eh?"

She moved her arms and took hold of the bottom of his shirt, pulling some of it out.  "Well best make a start then?"

As she undid the buttons slowly, she finally got to where the shirt was loose and pulled out one side then the other.


Rose shook her head, reaching for the cuffs then he pulled the shirt down over his arms after she pulled it open.  Reaching around his neck, she pulled him down for a kiss.

"Alec, you're right, let's take this slowly.  You could carry me over to the bed."

"Then I will gladly do so," he smiled, catching hold of her and lifting her up.

As he lay beside her, one arm under her and the other holding her hand, he waited for her to make a move, then he realised Kilgrave must have made her do that.

"Rose, you're not feeling uncomfortable with me are you?"

"No, it's fine, I just want to lie with you for a while, can we just do what we did this morning?"

"If it makes you happy, come and lay on me."

Alec thought he was doing quite well as they kissed and she moved a little until they both moved at the same time and she backed off.

"Sorry Alec."

"Don't keep apologising, there is no need, you just have to get used to me."

"I want to, honestly."

"I know love, it's fine, it was bad timing but you can trust me, I would never hurt you.  I'll keep my shorts on, why don't you just relax and take those things off?" he asked, touching her rear.

Rose knew she had to at least give him that much or they would get nowhere fast.

"OK, just for a while.  Why are you being so calm?"

He wanted to tell her it was because he hated what Kilgrave had done to her, what she had been put through but instead, he helped rid her of her underwear, tossing the skimpy garment onto the floor but then he surprised her by trying to get her onto her back and her letting him.  He hovered over her, kissing her neck and Rose with her arms around his then ruffling his hair.

Alec was quite pleased when she finally pushed him on his back again and settled on him but when they woke up, Rose began to panic.

"Hey, it's ok love, you're with me, Alec."

"Oh, sorry, I thought I was back in that apartment with, never mind, I'm here with you now.  Morning Alec."

"Good morning Rose, I'm just happy you did not call me Kilgrave.  Are you still missing something by any chance?"

"You're not thinking of taking advantage are you?"

"Can you blame me for trying?"

"No, I don't suppose I can.  Can I trust you if I let you take off your shorts?"

He wasn't going to turn the opportunity down.  "Oh yes Rose, you can trust me."

Rose knew if she didn't get this over with now, she would never get past it and while he seemed contented with what had happened last night, he would grow tired of waiting and she didn't want to risk it but time was passing by and they were due to be picked up after breakfast.

"May we continue this tonight Rose?"

"Mmm, yeah, I'd like that.  I should go get dressed."

"No need to leave is there?"

Rose wanted to tell him how Kilgrave used to enjoy watching her but never said anything as she got out of bed and crossed to retrieve her clean underwear.  Alec smiled, he'd just got her past what he hoped was the only hurdle of her wanting to be with him.  After breakfast, they were collected from in front of the hotel but neither of them saw a lone photographer in the hotel doorway opposite as Alec carried the case and helped Rose into the car, Rose turning to kiss him back after they'd stopped on the steps.

When they got back, Alec was given directions to where Tony liked to go watch football, Tony holding both their hands as they went in and wanting to sit on Alec's lap.  While they were still out though, Mickey and his girlfriend had arrived early for Sunday lunch and Jackie caught them talking about Rose.

"What you talking about Rose for?" she asked Sam.

Sam looked at Mickey, who just shrugged his shoulders.

"I was just saying, with Rose being away then Mickey went over to New York, well the papers don't tell you everything."

"How would you know?  You only look at those trashy magazines.  Didn't you read her stepfather's statement?"

"She was on a shopping trip – don't make me laugh and then she was with that American detective."

"She wasn't with an American detective, didn't you read this morning's papers?  She was with the detective from that case last year when that boy was killed.  The papers got the two detectives mixed up, they look a bit alike.  Anyway, they'll be back soon, you can see for yourself."

"Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it, if you ask me, it was just one of her tricks to get Mickey over there."

"Give it a rest Sam, I didn't go over to see Rose and Detective Carver was there but Rose was never interested in him and she's not interested in getting me back, trust me."

Jackie shook her head and went back to the kitchen to supervise lunch but heard Tony come in and knew they were back, maybe she should warn Rose that Sam was going on about her again.  Still, she'd soon find out over lunch, she just hoped Alec would find it amusing that Mickey's girlfriend still thought Rose wanted him back.

While Rose, Tony and Alec had been out, she had been talking with Pete and trying to find out what was in the therapist's reports but Pete had said he was sure Rose had left half of it out.

"Oh, she will have done Pete, trust me, she's always been like that, always hiding things.  Look at when she went off with the Doctor, months I worried after her, then she went missing for days at a time."

"This is nothing like when Rose went off with the Doctor, she was taken against her will and she had to make the best of it.  She could have chosen to be a victim or comply with him and you can't blame her for choosing to deal with it how she did. If she'd chosen to be a victim, we would never have got her back, not the Rose we all love, she would have been changed."

"How do we know she hasn't been changed Pete?"

"Because she's picking up the pieces on her on this time, not like the last few times and she has Alec to help her.  Give him a chance Jackie, he can do her a lot of good and she can finally move on."

"Well I hope he does, goodness knows how many times I've had to pick up the pieces."

"We all have Jaks."

Jackie had walked out of the kitchen to see Tony taking off his jacket and handing it to Alec.

"Football was great today Mum."

"Good, now go get changed for lunch.  Rose, be warned, Mickey got here early but Sam just wanted a gripe."

"Where are they?"

"In the family room, you might want to go some place else."

Alec smiled at Rose as her mother walked off.  Putting his arm around her, Rose leaned into him.

"I swear that Sam is paranoid, why does she keep thinking I want her boyfriend?  I was nineteen when I stopped going out with him properly."

"You left him to travel with the Doctor, you told me.  She is just insecure."

"She's not the only one but I'm not accusing you of going back to your ex or you really were having an affair with Ellie."

"Perish the thought," Alec smiled, kissing her forehead.  "It was Kilgrave who made you paranoid Rose, that's what he intended to do.  Don't go letting him win, get over it and prove he's not won.  If this girlfriend of Mickey's wants to make something of it, she will have to get through me first, I'll not let her start an argument with you.   Now, we just go into your favourite room and wait for lunch to be served and maybe your mother might point her in the right direction and she will see how foolish she is."

Her mother just happened to be coming down the stairs.

"Mum, we'll be in the conservatory until lunch, maybe you can let Mickey and Sam know?"

"What are you up to Rose?"

"What makes you think I'm up to something?"

"You think I don't know you?"

Rose just smiled and took Alec's arm.

"If I see her, I'll tell her, I hope she doesn't catch you two snoggin' like you were when he arrived."

Rose led him into the conservatory and closed the door, pulling the slatted wooden blinds over, Alec thinking they looked just like ones in his chalet but these would be more expensive.  She turned and put her arms around him.

"What did your mother infer back then?" he asked her.  "Are you always causing trouble?"

"Nah, don't worry, I was just tryin' to prove to snooty Sam she can keep Mickey. He's a friend but after the stunt he pulled I'm not so sure."

"Ah, the telling your mother about me kissing you in the restaurant?"

"Lucky guess, did Pete tell you?"

"Miller inferred but someone may have mentioned it, was it you?"

Rose was too busy fingering his buttons on his new t-shirt he'd chosen to wear.

"Not here Rose, someone may still come in."

She looked up and smiled.  "That was the idea and it would be even better if it happened to be Sam."

"Your mother is right, you are being very sneaky Rose."

"That's my middle name.  Now, why don't we look like we're busy, just in case?"

"How can I refuse?"

It was a shame Jackie never bothered going to find Mickey and Sam, she got waylaid by Tony on his way down the stairs.

"Mummy, Alec's really cool, for a policeman."

"Is he now?"

"Yeah, he carried me on his shoulders when our team won.  I wanted to go get something to eat but he said wait for lunch."

"A good thing too, now go tell your dad it's almost time for lunch."

"Where's Rose?"

"Never you mind about her, she's with Alec."

Jackie didn't want her young son barging in and catching the two of them.  They all met twenty minutes later in the dining room, Mickey and Sam sat side by side, Jake next to Mickey, Pete at the head, Jackie and Tony on the other side, leaving Rose to sit next to her brother and Alec opposite Pete.  Sam was staring at both Rose and Alec.  Rose had enough of her staring.

"Something wrong Sam?"

"Leave it Rose," Alec leaned over and whispered to her, getting him a look from Jackie.

"Don't think I don't know what your game is Rose, getting Mickey over to New York."

"In case you didn't know, Jake and my stepfather were also there."

"Where did you really get to?  I don't believe the story that was put out.   Are you that American detective then, Alec or whatever your name is?"

"No, I'm not American, that would be whom I believe is my counterpart over in California.  Can you not distinguish between accents?"

Rose tried to suppress a giggle, getting a look from her mother.

"Well who does she think she is, questioning where I went?  Are you blind or something?  Alec and I are involved with each other, you can keep Mickey, sorry Mickey, I don't mean to offend you but have you told your misguided girlfriend how long ago we stopped going out?"

"I've tried Rose, trust me.  Sam, get over it or you can forget the whole thing, I'm getting fed-up with you going on about Rose all the time, she doesn't have to explain herself to anyone let alone you."

"Why are you taking her side over mine and most of all why are you talking to me like that?  Take me home right now Mickey Smith."

Sam got up, throwing her napkin onto the table, seeing Rose with a smile on her face.

"Don't think you've won Rose."

"I already have Sam, bye, hope I don't see you again for a while.  Just out of interest, why did you accept mum's lunch invitation, was it so I could kick your ass again?"

Alec was doing is best not to smile.  "Leave it love, she has obviously made her mind up, maybe Mickey has not told her about the night we left New York, when I did this in front of everyone?"

He leaned over, put his arm across to pull her closer and kissed her like he'd done in the restaurant, Jackie gasping as he dared to kiss her daughter in front of her, Jake scrambling to get his phone out as they carried on, Tony was laughing so much he almost fell off his chair, his mother scolding him.  Sam flung her chair behind her as she got up, Mickey remaining where he was and Pete had a smug look on his face and was satisfied if Alec dared to kiss Rose in front of her mother, he was ok in his books.

"Mickey, are you taking me home or not?" Sam yelled from the doorway as Rose and Alec finally parted, Rose with a big smile on her face.

"Why don't you get a cab Sam, why spoil Mickey's lunch?" Rose asked her, trying to recover from the shock and avoiding the look her mother was now giving the pair of them.

"Huh, then I might just do that, this is your last chance Mickey."

Mickey carried on finishing the remainder of his almost cold Yorkshire pudding, pouring more gravy on it, which was also not as hot as it had been earlier.

Sam soon realised she was going to be leaving on her own.  "I'm really leaving, right now."

"You still here?" Rose asked, taking Alec's hand under the table.

"Don't be daft Sam, sit and finish your lunch," Jackie told her, wiping Tony's face with his napkin.

Sam saw she was no longer the centre of attention and sat back down as the staff came in to start clearing the table.  As soon as everyone had eaten their desert, Tony rushed over and sat on Alec's lap.

"Ha, you kissed Rose in front of mum!  Are you her boyfriend now?"

"Tony, I think I may have been Rose's boyfriend since we met, what do you think Rose?"

Tony wriggled around and took his sister's hand then took Alec's making them both smile.

"Are you going to be my big brother Alec?  It would be so cool, I've always wanted a big brother."

"Hey, are we not good for you Tony?" Jake asked him, trying to sound serious.

"Yeah but you can't be my brother, Alec can, can't you Alec?"

"Well, I can be your friend for now, we can work up to me being your brother, maybe, one day eh Rose?"

Rose didn't know how to answer – that was going to be dependant on a lot of things, her getting over her ordeal with Kilgrave, finally coming to terms that despite her love for the Doctor, she had to make a life for herself here and hoped that if they did ever find a way, he would forgive her and be happy for her but most of all, it depended on Alec himself.  She knew he had accepted her past, who she was, where she had come from but was it all too much for him and how long would he be prepared to wait until she could bring herself to be with him properly?

Then there was that nagging feeling still in the back of her mind, why she had been feeling 'off' for a week, since her return.  She had tried to pass it off to her mother and Alec that it was just being back and his arrival but it wouldn't fool anyone for long.  She knew she couldn't talk to her mother, not now, she had always been able to go to her but not after she had gone off with the Doctor and hidden how she had felt about him.  Maybe when she finally got to Broadchurch, she might be able to talk to Ellie.

Everyone went their separate ways, Mickey made his excuses and said he was taking Sam home but Rose caught him as Sam went out to the car.

"Mickey, I'm really sorry about that but she was asking for it."

"Yeah, I know Rose and as for me going over to help find you, it's what we do. We're both trying to make lives for ourselves here and honestly, I thought you never would but I knew if you did, it would never be with me.  I think Sam knows it's over now, I'm gonna tell her, she wants me to choose between her and my friends and I can't do that and I know neither you or your mother like her."

"She's insecure, you don't need her Mickey, I know that Martha Jones fancies you, have you seen her in meetings?"

"Stop playing match-maker Rose, I already know.  I may make things a bit easier for her."

"You'd best go before Sam lets all the tyres down on your car," Rose nodded towards Mickey's soon to be ex girlfriend, who was standing with her arms folded, waiting for him to unlock the doors.

"Good, then I can get your new bloke to arrest her for wilful damage."

"Get out of here Micks," Rose smiled, giving him a hug to put the finishing touches to his relationship.

As he walked towards the car, remote unlocking it, Rose thought she had best go rescue who was now fully established as her boyfriend from her mother, whom she was sure was going to give Alec, almost the same age as she was, a lecture about showing himself and her daughter up in public.

Alec had been getting the full works, well apart from the customary face-slapping, which even the Doctor had not escaped.

"Well that was quite a display you put on in there, whose benefit was it for then?" Jackie demanded to know as Pete grinned and told Tony they could go watch one of his favourite films.

"Aw but Dad, I want to hear mum telling Alec off for kissing Rose," the boy complained as Pete took his hand and tried to lead him away.

"You go with your dad Tony Tyler, this is not for you to listen to."

"Bye Alec, see you later?" Tony asked him.

"Sure Tony, I am not going until tomorrow morning."

Rose was somewhat relieved to learn that as she walked back in, her mother had obviously been having words with him.  She led him to the conservatory but Jackie called him back.

"You never answered my question."

"Leave him Mum, we're not hiding anything, it was just for Sam's benefit and you'll be pleased to know Mickey's breaking up with her, she's a bit of a liability."

"You can say that again but it doesn't get you off the hook Alec, just mind what you get up to in front of Tony, it will be all over the school playground by tomorrow lunch time and Rose has already been in the papers too much since she came back."

"Mum, no-one's gonna take notice of kids larking around in the playground."

"We'll see about that, won't we?  It's bad enough they say you were with that detective from wherever, what are they gonna make of this?"

"I can assure you Jackie that no matter who they link Rose's name with, we will make it clear she is with me."

"Well they'd better not find out about that mind-controlling creep who held her for over a week."

"They won't Mum, Pete will never let that be made public, even in New York and if they print something over there, Kate will let us know.  Come on Alec, we have things to decide now, about where I'm staying when we get to Broadchurch."

They went off arm in arm, Alec saying it had better be him she was staying with but not until they moved into the caravan.

"Then you stay with me in the pub, you booked a double room, didn't you?"

"Yes and though everyone knows me, we should get away with it, if you want everyone to know that is?"

"I told you, I'm not hiding but you know what the papers have been like this week, can you put up with it?"

"Just watch me, I've been in the news for far worse things than being your latest boyfriend.  Let them print stories and photos about us, just as long as they don't mix me up with Carver."

After they had joined everyone for a light meal later, Alec moved his things out of the guest room and packed everything except what he was wearing the next day.

"What time are you leaving?" Rose asked him, her arms around him.

"I will leave around seven, just in case I get caught in any traffic, then I have to get to the court building.  I will call you when I get out and hopefully, I will be coming back for you."

"No, if you get out, just book the hotel as planned and I'll get Jake to bring me down, no sense in you coming all the way back here."

"Jake will have to."

"He was gonna take me to Broadchurch."

"You have a good friend there and he made quite a bit of money from Mickey over us."

Rose smiled.  "Yeah, he was quite pleased about that.  What you said to Tony earlier, you know, him asking if you were gonna be his big brother?"

"Rose, that is something for future discussion eh?"

"Yeah, you're right.  Let's go and say goodnight and have an early night, you never know what's gonna happen tomorrow, with that court case, the press will be all over you.  I'll start calling you Emmett shall I?"

"That is not funny Rose, I already have an identity crisis."

As they lay together after they had got as close as Rose was comfortable with, Alec still determined that nothing that Kilgrave had made her go through was her fault, they fell asleep, Alec's phone alarm set for six so he could have some breakfast before he left and Rose had argued she was going to see him off.

After she made him some breakfast, it being too early to ask the kitchen staff, they walked out to Alec's car, him putting his luggage in the back.  Then he put his arms around her.

"I hope I will see you later?"

"Yeah, so do I and I am gonna go see my therapist this morning, to tell her how the weekend went."

"How did it go?" he asked, kissing her neck.

"How'd ya think?"

"I have to set off now love, I'll see you soon and I will wait for you in Portsmouth but I was planning on driving over to see Daisy.  You could come with me?"

"Would you rather I waited until tomorrow anyway? You should see her on your own, before she meets me."

"Aye, do you mind love?"

"No, of course I don't mind, it will be bad enough for her having to share you with me next weekend. Go on before you hit all the morning traffic."

He pulled her into a long lingering kiss just as the gates opened for the newspaper delivery boy, Rose hoping he'd not seen much as he cycled up the drive otherwise it wouldn't be just Tony's school where they would be the topic of conversation.

"Call me later yeah?"

"I promise and please Rose, don't take this the wrong way."  He stopped as the paper-boy cycled past them, got off his bike and went to the door.

"What shouldn't I take the wrong way then?"

"I'm in love with you and I know what you have just been through, probably having to constantly tell Kilgrave you love him but he never said it back to you did he?"

Rose waited until the paper-boy said "Hi Rose" and got on his bike, cycling back down the driveway.

"He made me Alec, he made me feel that if I didn't, he'd do something drastic."

"I know, I understand how it was and no matter how long it takes for you to be able to say it back to me, I'll be waiting until you can.   Bye Rose, you come down tomorrow as planned."

"Bye Alec, I'll do whatever it takes to be able to say it back to you but right now, it's all too fresh in my mind."

He leaned down to kiss her again then letting go, he took her hand and kissed the back of it.

"I really have to go.  I love you, Rose Tyler."

She watched him drive off and out of the still open gate, then went back inside and picked up the paper from behind the door, just catching a glimpse of her name. Thinking nothing about it, being used to seeing her name in print and so would Alec, now he had declared he loved her, she went back to her room to think about what he had just said.  Just after eight, Rose answered a knock on her room door to see her mother standing there, holding out the newspaper.

"Care to explain this?"

She thrust the paper into Rose's hands, Rose trying to take in the headline 'Rose Tyler now seen with the Broadchurch detective – just who exactly is she dating?' and two photos, one of them kissing outside the hotel and the other of him with his hand on her helping her into the car.

"Well, I'm waiting, how do you expect your stepfather to get you out of this one?"

Chapter 33

"It's nothing Mum, at least they got his name right."

"Is that all you can say?  How is Alec going to cope seeing himself on the front page of all the tabloids?"

"He's been in them before Mum, he says he can cope with it and I believe him. I'm still going to stay in Broadchurch with him, it will all die down once we both leave London."

"Well I hope you're right Rose, for both your sakes.  I think Pete is already onto the PR people.  So you're going away again?"

"I'm not going that far Mum, bring Tony down in a few weeks, after Alec's daughter's been to visit."

"What if you don't get on with her?  What if he has to choose between the two of you?"

"Well she's old enough to understand that her dad has a new life now.  I'm sure she'll be grown-up about it.  I'm gonna get ready for my last session with Marsha."

"You decided to go then?  If Mickey picks you up, ask him how it went with Sam."

"I don't think he'll want to tell me, I'm the one who caused them to break up."

"Rose, it was doomed when it started, trust me, he's never gonna get over you."

"Well he'd better, lord knows how many times I've told him to and I'm gonna be away for a while, give him a chance without be being around."

Pete gave her a ride to her therapist's office and said he'd send Jake to collect her.

"So are you going down there tomorrow?" he asked while they waited.

"Yeah, if Alec does get finished today, he wants to go see Daisy, before she meets me on Saturday.  I can't deny him that."

Rose was told to go in to see Marsha, who had only half been expecting her to turn up.

"Glad you could make it Rose.  So, how was your weekend?  Not disappointed were you?"

"Just the opposite, I feel much better and when I get to Broadchurch, Alec's got us a caravan for a while then if we can't find somewhere bigger, I'm gonna tell him I'm happy to share his chalet by the river."

"Well your mood has certainly changed since last week.  Have you been thinking about Kilgrave?"

"Who?" Rose smiled.

"Well it seems Alec has done you more good than my sessions with you have, maybe he's in the wrong job?  Call me if you need to but I'm going to put in my report you seem to have recovered sufficiently enough to start to move on from your ordeal.  Well good luck with Alec then."

Rose said goodbye after thanking Marsha and called Jake.  While she waited, she picked up a magazine from last week, glad to see she hadn't been in it.  When Jake arrived, they made the arrangements to get Rose down to Portsmouth.

"So you're gonna wait for his call, if he has to go back to the court?"

"Yeah, he'll extend his stay in the hotel and wait for me, he doesn't want me near the court."

"I should think not either, you two being in this morning's papers.  Has Alec seen it?"

"I've not spoken to him since he left earlier, he said he'd call when he could."

Earlier that morning, Alec had made it to the court in plenty of time and had sat at the concessions stand drinking tea, waiting for Ellie to arrive and to be called inside the courtroom.  Ellie had just got there ten minutes before they were due in.

"Alec," she greeted him, sitting opposite.  "Have you seen all those reporters out there?"

"No, is it that newsworthy or is there another hearing on today?"

"No, haven't you heard?  I got a text from Olly, I've just read it.  Seems you and Miss Tyler were seen out on the town yesterday, coming out of a hotel."

"What?  Can't we even have a night out now?  How did the press know I was even here?"

"Don't be stupid Hardy, they know your involvement with this case, they don't have to be the brain of Britain to know you'd be giving evidence to keep Claire locked up.  You know if her solicitor gets hold of this, she may get off?  I hope Rose isn't coming down to meet you?"

"Of course not Miller, I want her as far away as possible, I'm not dragging her into this."

"You may not have a choice.  Come on, we're being summoned.  If she gets off, this is your fault."

After sitting and listening to Claire's defence, Alec thankful the solicitor hadn't realised the hordes of reporters were outside waiting for him, the judge adjourned for lunch and said he would give his deliberation when they resumed.  Alec was hoping none of them would go outside.  He soon got his phone out and called Rose, who was waiting to hear how things had gone.

"Just waiting to hear what the judge thinks of it but I have bad news, there are loads of reporters outside."

"For what?" Rose asked, hoping he would take it in his stride.

"For me, who do you think Rose?  Miller said her nephew warned her there was something about us in the papers this morning."

"I know, my mum found it and I'm sorry Alec, I really am that I couldn't warn you but you would have been driving, then I went to my appointment."

"It's ok love, don't worry, I'll sneak out of a side exit and go behind them.  I'll get Miller to distract them."

"Well they should be gone when you get out, Pete's been working on it and if they answer their phones, they'll get the order to move off and leave you alone."

"I know it's always going to be like this Rose," he told her as Ellie came back with two drink cartons and two sandwiches.  Ellie was indicating she wanted to talk to Rose.

"Miller wants to talk to you."

"Hello Rose, how are you doing sweetheart?" she asked as she grabbed the phone.

"I'm fine Ellie, I got through all my therapy sessions."

"Good for you.  I bet the papers didn't help though, there were a load of reporters here when I arrived, my nephew tipped me off."

"So you haven't actually seen it?"

"No but no doubt Olly will fill me in on the details, something about a couple of incriminating photos."

"Yeah, you could say that, they at least printed it was Alec I was with, I was supposed to have been with Detective Carver last week, when I was in New York."

Ellie laughed, Alec wagging his finger he wanted his phone back, she was hijacking his time talking with Rose.  Ellie didn't take the hint.

"Think yourself lucky they only said it was Carver, it could have been much worse, at least Carver is reasonably well known and has a checkable history, unlike someone else we know of."

"How's things with you Ellie?"

"The same, I hope I'm back in time for Tom getting out of school or I'll have to send him a message to go to my sister's.  I'll see you when you get there then, your boyfriend wants his phone back."

He gave Ellie that look of his.  "Sorry about that Rose.  I will look at the papers when I can but don't worry about it, if they said it was me."

"Thanks Alec and good luck, I hope it's over for you there today."

"So do I but if her defence sees I have been photographed outside a hotel with Rose Tyler, Claire will get to know about it and start all her accusations again."

"What accusations Alec?"

"I can't tell you on the phone but it was when we arrested her, she was playing games."

"Don't worry about it then, I don't need to know."

"You will, if it is in the papers.  Can you ask your stepfather if he has put the word out for them to back off?"

"Don't worry, he will.  You're part of the family now."

He ended the call and turned to Ellie.

"Don't you go saying anything to her."

Ellie shook her head and finished her lunch.

They went back inside the courtroom and listened to the closing arguments of the prosecution and defence, Claire's being that she was unfairly treated, had trusted Alec to keep her safe from her husband and he had let her down.  The judge had dismissed that since Alec was off-duty at the time and on medical leave so she had tried to pin the blame entirely on her husband but the judge then ruled she had free will and could have blamed him from the start and not changed her story several times.

Just when Alec thought they were going to get out, the defence called a new witness – DS Tess Henchard.  Alec looked up in surprise, no-one had bothered telling him she was being called for the defence.

"DS Henchard, my client states that you only re-opened the case at the request of DI Hardy, your ex husband."

Tess looked surprised and Alec knew this was just as much a surprise to her as it was to him and Ellie.

"New evidence came to light, he had asked me to re-open the case but I refused."

"Then why did you suddenly change your mind?  Was it because he had asked you to go back to him?"

There were murmurs around the room.

"No, the defendant presented DI Hardy with the stolen evidence bag containing Pippa Gillespie's pendant, the one she was wearing when she was killed."

"But is it true the evidence was stolen from your car, not DI Hardy's as first stated?"

Tess looked across at Alec and he hoped she wouldn't still resent the truth coming out but it seemed Claire was a common enemy.

"DI Hardy was cleared, back when the case was dismissed.  I have since admitted the evidence was taken from my car.  There is only one way she could have had it and given it to DI Hardy, she was the one who stole it."

The judge called for order as the murmurings got louder.

"You are excused DS Henchard and might I say Mr Cole, by calling her as a witness for the defence may have proved your client's downfall.  Claire Ripley, you are proved to be guilty of aiding and abetting your husband, Lee Ashworth and I can find no grounds to uphold your plea.  You will serve the full sentence handed down to you with no further grounds for appeal.  The court is dismissed."

Everyone stood as the judge left and Claire looked at Alec and Ellie.

"You've not heard the last from me Alec, nor you Ellie," she shouted as she was led away.

Tess approached the two of them.

"Well that went well," Tess remarked.

"It was a joke, it backfired on her," Alec stated.  "Right, I am going to find a hotel then go meet Daisy as arranged.  Are you going back to Broadchurch?" he asked Ellie.

"Yeah, you're staying then?"

"I promised her I would meet her before she comes to stay with me this weekend. Tess, I will see you when I collect her."

"I'm surprised you can't wait to get back to your new girlfriend.  Don't look at me like that Alec, Daisy's told me everything.  Seems your little jaunt to New York paid off then?"

"It's not like that Tess, Rose is still recovering.  Don't go talking to the papers, she's been through enough."

"Didn't think I saw this morning's?"

"We are not going to keep it a secret if that's what you are getting at?" he told her as they walked out and he got his phone out of his pocket.

"I should hope not Alec.  I'll see you later, nice to see you again Ellie."

Alec went to a quiet corner and called Rose.

"Hey, you're out then?" she asked.

"Yes, it's over, she stays locked up but she only got five years for being an accomplice, she will make trouble when she gets out, trust me."

"Don't worry, Pete won't let her cause a scandal, he'll protect us and Ellie.  So, you off to see Daisy then?"

"I pick her up at six.  I'm going to the nearest hotel and book in for the night, why don't you come down and wait for me?  I'll tell them to expect you shall I?"

Rose did not need a second invitation.

"I'll be down as soon as I can, I'll call Jake now and see if he can come over.  I'll go get packed."

"I know you will but don't bring that much."

She ended the call and retrieved Jake's number – he wasn't at all surprised to learn she was going down a day early.  They arrived in front of the hotel Alec had rung her back about and Jake was helping her with her luggage.

"You have more here than you took to New York Rose," Jake laughed as a porter came out to help.

"I should think so, I don't know how long I'll be staying here.  Thanks Jake, for putting up with me since I got back."

He gave her a hug and walked into the hotel lobby with her.

"I'm fine now Jake, you should get back."

"No, I'm not leaving until Alec gets back, your stepfather's orders."

She was about to say she wouldn't get kidnapped again but since reporters had been after Alec earlier, she decided to leave it.  She walked up to the desk, followed by Jake and the porter.

"Hi, my boyfriend should have told you I was arriving, Alec Hardy?"

The receptionist looked at the screen in front of her.

"Yes, room 405, he left the key for you."  She took the key and handed it to the porter.

"We should get something to eat Jake, see if we can get a bar snack or we passed that takeaway down the road," Rose said to him as they waited for the lift.

"Thought you'd lost your appetite?"

They arrived on the forth floor and were led down the corridor.  The porter stopped outside room 405 and opened the door, putting Rose's luggage just inside, then looking at Jake.

"Oh, he's not staying, well only until my boyfriend gets here."

Jake got a two pound coin out of his pocket and gave it to the porter, Rose remembering Alec handing the porter in the London hotel a five pound note but this was Portsmouth, not London.  While they had been still travelling and settling Rose in, Alec had been cornered by his ex wife while waiting for Daisy to get ready.

"Don't have her back late Alec, she has school tomorrow."

"I won't, I have to get back, Rose is arriving in Portsmouth tonight."

"Couldn't wait then?  How did that happen so fast anyway? Last week she was in the papers over some American detective, who funnily enough looked a lot like you."

"That was a mistake, she only met him just before we left but her stepfather couldn't say what had happened."

"Daisy thought it was amusing but this morning, really, did you have to get your photo on the front page coming out of a hotel?"

"Yeah Dad, that was a bit embarrassing at school," Daisy joined in as she entered the living room.

"Aye, well that probably will not be the end of it but hopefully her stepfather will keep most of it under control.  Ready to go?"

Over their evening meal in what had become his daughter's favourite eating establishment, he asked if she was still going to visit him.

"Yeah, I want to meet her, not everyone gets the chance.  I told the girls at school, when they saw your name alongside hers, they didn't believe me."

"Well I hope you are not wanting to meet her just to impress your friends?"

"No, you do intend getting yourself in the papers again?" she laughed.

He took her home, gave her some money to buy her coach ticket and a bit to spend then drove back to the hotel after sending a message to Rose, who was sat down the road in a takeaway with Jake, eating a pizza between them.

"That Alec?" Jake asked, taking the last slice.  He knew she was still off a little, she didn't want to toss a coin for it and she was drinking flavoured water, not her usual fizzy drink.

They made their way back to the hotel and Jake ordered some coffee, he had a long drive back to London.  Alec arrived a while later and Rose got up to greet him.  He held out his hand to thank Jake, then Jake hugged Rose and left.

As they climbed into bed, Alec asked about their arrangements once they got to Broadchurch.

"I hope you're gonna stay in the pub with me?" Rose asked, snuggling up to him after they had got close.

"Well I did book you a double room and we have already been in the papers.  The reporters had gone earlier, when I got out of the court but I don't want to run to your stepfather every time, I can deal with them."

"We'll deal with them together Alec.  I thought I wasn't gonna see you until tomorrow."

"Well I was going to suggest you came tonight but I had to be sure I would be finished at the court first.  Why was Jake still here?"

"Pete still doesn't trust me to be on my own."

"Well we are all still worried about you being on your own."

"What do I have to do to prove I'm fine on my own?"

"It just takes time love, don't worry, you will be going out on your own soon enough.  Daisy was rather impressed about this morning's photos in the papers."

"Was she?  I'm glad she didn't take it the wrong way, she could have cancelled."

"Well she could but she will probably want proof she spent the holiday weekend with Rose Tyler," Alec chuckled, nuzzling her neck.

That got Rose squirming and wanting to do it back to him and she started to giggle when he let her.  He was relieved she was beginning to relax with him, she'd seemed a bit tense when he had got back but she hadn't been expecting to see him. Did she think he was crowding her though?  Had a week apart been enough?  There again, she had been the one to suggest they shared the room in the pub, she was starting to trust him.

They set off to Broadchurch the next morning, Alec not daring to comment on the amount of luggage she had but wondering where she was going to put it in the caravan.  They arrived a few hours later, Rose wanting to make a stop and claiming she'd drunk too much coffee but she had her suspicions what it was.  It was well over two weeks since her first sexual encounter with Kilgrave and she didn't want to wait until her monthly was due but she was too scared to do anything other than wait, unless she could confide in Ellie.

Alec stopped in front of the pub and said they should leave her cases in the car and just bring her personal stuff in.  Alec collected the key then told Rose to stay in the bar while he went to get her cases.  As she waited, she looked around at the few people already in, just after eleven and wondered if he knew any of them.

They went up to what was to be their room for two nights then he suggested they went to one of the catering stalls to get something to eat but Rose didn't want to tell him she was feeling a little queasy again.  Sitting by the river and looking at Alec's chalet, which he pointed out, he told her they should go walk up to the mini-market and get the essentials.  They were about to leave when Ellie rang him.

"We are opposite my chalet, I'm sure Rose would like to see you."

"Tell her I'll be there in five minutes."

He waited for Ellie to arrive then said since she was there and had got herself a coffee and sandwich, he'd go get the groceries himself and let the two of them talk. He was about to leave, leaning down to kiss Rose's cheek when she stopped him.

"Alec, can you get me a bottle of tonic water?"

"Sure, anything else?"

"Mmm, maybe a jar of hot chocolate?" she smiled.

He went off and Ellie burst out laughing.

"Look at the two of you, you've got him running in circles Rose."

"Nah, I just missed him last week, I didn't think I was gonna last."

"Neither did he, I thought I was going to have to slap him and boot him all the way up to London.  I take it things are going well between you?"

"Yeah but I can't bring myself to be on my own or to make the first move.  Has anything else been said about those photos?"

"No, not that I've heard anyway.  How are you feeling though?  He said you'd been a bit off and now you're having him get tonic water.  What's wrong Rose?"

Rose looked around and across at the chalet he'd pointed out, where they would spend the evenings then walk across to the pub.

"Ellie, don't tell Alec but I think I might be pregnant."

Ellie let an "Oh."  After she recovered, she continued.  "You mean Kilgrave I presume?"

"Yeah, me and Alec, well we haven't got that far yet, I'm still a little unsure, I wanted to make sure I really have feelings for him, that I'm not still suffering the after effects of my capture."

"Well I can get you a testing kit, if you want but you have to tell Alec, he's taking responsibility for you.  I'll come over after I get off work then."

Rose was about to reply when Alec stood in front of them with a plastic carrier bag.

"Ready to go?"

Rose nodded and got up.

"I'll see you later Ellie, bring what we just talked about."

"What were the two of you talking about then?" Alec asked as Ellie put her arm around Rose then left.

"Let's go to your chalet and I'll tell you."

Alec put the few groceries away then went to sit beside Rose but before he could ask her, she surprised him by flinging her arms around his neck and going for a kiss.  Alec pushed her down against the cushion as they continued, his hand edging under her t-shirt and she surprised him again by grabbing his hand and guiding his fingers.

"Rose, are you ok love?" he asked as they finally broke the kiss and she tried to get up.

"Yeah, just missed you."

"So what did you and Miller talk about and what is she bringing later?"

Rose was still reluctant to tell him, he would surely tell her to get out and he never wanted to see her again.  She made her mind up to tell him, he'd find out in a week or so anyway.

"Rose, whatever it is, if it's about Kilgrave or me, you can tell me love.  I care about you Rose, I know you've been through a lot but I want you to know I love you. Please tell me why you are feeling this way."

"I think I'm pregnant Alec."

He took it better than she hoped he would.

"Is that why you've been so reluctant with me?  Why you can't tell me that you love me?"

Rose nodded, taking hold of his arm.

"Rose, you need to find out for certain, is that what Miller is bringing later?"

"Yeah, after she finishes work. I have to know Alec, before it's too late."

"Too late for what?"

"To get rid of it, I'm not keeping it, how can I?  It's part of him, he's genetically altered and can be passed on, I can't risk it."

Alec didn't know what to say, except she was being sensible towards it and had not yet broken down.

"Your stepfather was right, you have been hiding something.  Can you not tell your mother?"

Rose shook her head and buried her head in his chest as they sat up.

"Then let's just wait until Miller gets back, then we will figure it out."

He got his phone and called Ellie.

"Miller, she told me and I need you to start looking at clinics in the area, where her privacy won't be compromised."

"I could say she's a victim of an attack or maybe an abusive boyfriend."

"That would not be far from the truth, would it?  Kilgrave was abusive, he took advantage of her not being to fight back without fear for herself and others."

"I'll get there early and I can call while she's with me.  Has Olly been bothering you?"

"No, why?"

"He was asking questions earlier, he caught me on my way back to the station.  He asked if it was true, about you and Rose, he might pay you a visit."

"Thanks for the warning then, I'll tell Rose."

"Alec, can I have some more tonic water please?"

"Sure but hopefully, Miller will get you to the clinic tomorrow."

"I'd rather you took me."

"I know but it won't look good.  We'll get through this, it will all be over soon, if you are right about this.  That's why you couldn't bring yourself to be with me, in case you weren't, you're not taking precautions are you?"

"I missed my shot before I went to New York, I meant to have it when I got back but when I did get back there seemed no point, I wasn't going to see you for a week and even then, I didn't know what was going to happen, if either of us would back down.  I'm scared, what if the clinic want all my details and my mum finds out?"

"You can't hide it Rose, you have to tell her, before you go."

"Maybe I'll tell her after or she'll be on the next plane over there looking for him.  If he thought he couldn't control all of me, he's no chance with my mum."

She looked up at him and smiled and they were about to kiss again when a knock came on the door.

"Ellie's early," Rose ventured as Alec got up.

It wasn't Ellie, it was her reporter nephew.

"DI Hardy, have you time to talk?"

Olly couldn't help but see Rose as she got up.

"So it's all true then?  Can I have the exclusive true story?"

"Not now, she's only just got here.  We'll call at your office tomorrow or the day after, if and only if she agrees."

"It's ok Alec, we'll go.  Hi, you must be Olly then?  Ellie told me about you."

"Oh, when was that?"

"Earlier, she saw us eating lunch and with us being in the papers yesterday, she said you warned her about it."

Alec was just glad she didn't blurt out it was when they were over in New York rescuing her.  Olly was pleased with himself as he walked off and Rose giggled.

"Chill Alec, better him than your old friend Karen White."

Ellie arrived just after four and took Rose to the bathroom, reading the instructions out to her and leaving Alec in the living room.  Rose went off, complaining about the way the test was and Ellie told her she wasn't the only one, she herself had experienced a bit of a scare after a fairly recent night out in Weymouth with Claire but she wasn't letting on to Rose, not that Rose would have told Hardy.

Rose came out, put the test on top of the washing machine and they went back to find Alec pacing the room.

"Geez Hardy, anyone would think it was yours," Ellie laughed, as she sat down in the chair.

Rose went up to Alec, who held his arms out to her.  The time the instructions had said couldn't have gone any slower and with still five minutes to go, all three of them were climbing the walls.

"You go and get it Ellie, I can't look," Rose told her.

"Two more minutes then I'll go check.  I have a number to ring back, I called earlier and asked if they needed full details.  They do but it's completely confidential, they'd get a bad reputation if they betrayed the confidence of women who went to them who had nowhere else to go.  You'll be ok there Rose, they'll take good care of you, I'll take you myself."

"I want Alec to take me."

"That's not a good idea Rose."

"I can tell them he rescued me.  Well he did, sort of."

"Rose, the way you reacted, you'd think he was the only one there."

"Yeah and I'm sorry, I never thanked you properly for being there."

"No need to apologise Rose, you were upset, we all know that.  I don't want a reward if that's what you're thinking.  I never even asked about that promotion, not that I've heard of any jobs going.  Right, I'll go get it then shall I?"

Alec nodded and Rose huddled into his shoulder.  A few minutes later, Ellie stood in front of them.

"I'm sorry Rose, it's positive, just over two weeks."

Chapter 34

Alec folded his arms around Rose while Ellie went to dispose of the testing kit.

"It will be ok love, Miller will call the clinic for you."

"I can do it Alec."

Ellie came back in the room.  "If you let me do it Rose, I can get you in a lot quicker though I can't do it in an official capacity, I'll have to say you're new in town and didn't know where to turn and I agreed to help you."

"Call them then, let's get this over with.  Will you take me Alec or would you rather Ellie did?"

"I'll take you, Miller's looking after the office until I go back.  I hope you have not claimed my desk?"

Ellie smiled and shook her head.  "Wouldn't dare.  Right, I'll call them shall I?"

"Tell them they're not gonna get me to change my mind and keep it.  Ellie, what do I do if they try?"

"Calm down Rose, I'll make it clear to them you want nothing to do with it and if you go with Alec, say you're in a new relationship or something."

"Thanks Miller, that will boost my reputation."

"What reputation?  Oh you mean the grumpy town's detective who has no friends one?"

Rose let out a laugh.

"See, even Rose thinks it's amusing, it's marginally better than being the worse cop in Britain."

It seemed to cheer Rose up so he let it slide as Ellie retrieved the number of the clinic from her notebook and went into the kitchen to make the call.  A few minutes later, she had her hand over the speaker.

"Rose, they can't get you in until next Tuesday, with it being the holiday weekend. They can see you if you want counselling but for the procedure, it's next Tuesday afternoon at two, down in Dorchester."

"Did you tell them how far on I am?"

"Yes and that's why it's not an emergency as such. What do I tell them?"

Rose looked at Alec.  "Yeah, if that's the earliest, I've had enough of counselling thanks very much."

Ellie made the arrangements, saying another officer would more than likely be bringing her, which annoyed Alec since when they got there, he'd have preferred they didn't know who he was.  He said as much when Ellie rejoined them.

"Don't be daft Hardy, you've been all over the news, of course they'll know who you are.  Besides, I never gave your name, you could say Rose has taken a shine to you over the weekend."

He was about to say something witty back to her as she left when his phone rang.

"Hi, Alec, it's Kate Beckett, how's things over there?"

"Fine, hold on, I will put you on speaker-phone, Rose is with me."

They caught up on the latest news from New York, not that there was much to talk about.  There were still no signs of Kilgrave but Kate had some bad news.

"Rose, that girl, Hope, she ran a way again, we think she's back in the city."

"I hope Kilgrave doesn't find her then.  Do you think he still has some influence over her?"

"I honestly don't know. Her mother rang to say she left a few days after they got back, Castle's trying to find her since I can't get involved and more reports are coming in of unusual incidents across the city.  I'll keep you informed if there are any sightings but he's very elusive and he's keeping a very low profile.  He's probably upset he didn't get his hands on Torchwood."

"I dread to think what would have happened if I'd had no resistance at all.  Did you find out who that Jessica was?" Rose asked.

"Well Castle did look into it, she could be Jessica Jones, her name's come up a few times.  It seems she's another PI and she might talk to him.  Have you heard from Detective Carver?"

"No, he's probably busy seeing how many more men look like him," Alec suggested.

Kate said goodbye and Rose turned to him.

"Alec, what are we gonna tell Daisy when she arrives?  She's gonna notice if I rush to the bathroom and throw up all the time.  I'm not gonna be able to help myself if I do."

"That's why you still wanted to come down here, before your mother started asking too many questions."

"Yeah, sorry.  Can you talk to Daisy?"

"I will tell her when she arrives, I can explain what happened.  She told her mother by the way."

"Oh.  She won't tell anyone will she?"

"No except to moan about me getting a new girlfriend but she will leave out the details.  Shall I make you something to eat?  Maybe an omelette and some salad?"

"Yeah, that would be great, I'll try and keep it down."

They stayed in the chalet until just after ten then crossed the footbridge and into the pub, Alec recognising a few of the locals but just got their room key and another bottle of tonic water and they went upstairs.

"Still feeling off Rose?" Alec asked as they got comfy.

"Not as bad, it's worse during the day.  I'll ask Ellie how much worse it's gonna get, so you can be prepared."

"I've been through it before Rose, don't feel you have to hide anything.  We'll manage until Tuesday.  Maybe we can find some place else to take you?"

"Won't they do it at the hospital?"

"Only in emergencies, I personally have never dealt with any but I did take someone to a private clinic."

He was reluctant to say it had been Claire, he wanted to keep Rose out of that. Claire had tried to make something of it and he'd been afraid she would bring it up at the hearing but thankfully she'd not.   The next morning, Alec woke up to find Rose wasn't laid on him and heard a noise in the bathroom.

A pale Rose came out ten minutes later.  "I don't think I can wait until Tuesday Alec, can you call Ellie and see if there's anywhere else?"

"Come back to bed Rose, I'll go down and get your breakfast for you."

"Yuck, I don't think I can eat anything."

"Well you can't starve yourself in protest and what would you do if you were actually wanting a baby?"

Rose got back in beside him.  "Adopt?" she smiled, snuggling up to him.


"Nah, it wouldn't be that bad if I did actually want one, it would be worth it then. I'll manage some tea and toast but can we go back to the chalet for it?"

"You are paying for breakfast, I can go down and get it."

After they had kissed, he got dressed and went downstairs, saying Rose wasn't feeling well and getting them to agree to giving him a tray for two, he tapped on the room door for Rose to let him in.

"What we gonna do today?" Rose asked, eating her last piece of toast with some marmalade on.

"Does that stuff make you feel worse?"

"I thought Scottish people grew up on marmalade and porridge?" she managed to smile.

"Not at the same time.  We said we would go to the newspaper, remember?"

"Oh yeah, we did.  We'll get it over and done with, keep him from pestering us and poor Ellie.  I was sorry to hear that Hope had gone back to New York, I expect Kilgrave will find her."

"Maybe not, it's down to the NYPD to sort anything out, maybe Castle can find the Jessica he mentioned and she will catch up with him?"

When Rose felt a bit better, they walked across to the newspaper office and admitted it was them coming out of the hotel after a night on the town and that the previous reports she was seen with Emmett were false but Olly had to go ask her why she was really in New York and where she had been when it had been reported she was missing.

"I can't tell you that, the reason my stepfather put out the statement still stands, I need my privacy."

"Sure, it's just people follow you, they like to know things about you."

"Well me admitting Alec and I are involved should keep readers happy for a while."

Alec then drove them up to the next coastal town and they had lunch, well Alec did, Rose just picked at hers then after they got back, they sat outside by the river for a while.

"You know I hate the water," Alec reminded her as he sat on the doorstep. "It also reminds me of when I passed out on the decking, a few months ago."

"Did you tell Ellie?"

"No, she fusses more than you do.  I got up and went to make my will.   Something like that makes you realise time is running out.  Anyway, I am still here."

Rose got up from the garden chair and made him move over, taking his hand and leaning her head on his shoulder.  She fingered his beard then pulled him into a brief kiss, aware people were passing by and could easily see them.  She knew he was waiting for her to say she loved him and she was fairly certain she did, it was just that niggling feeling she wasn't quite over Kilgrave but would she ever be?

She had let the Doctor get away from her, could she risk Alec getting tired of waiting to hear her say it?  She should at least tell him how he made her feel but maybe not when you were still carrying your abductor's child.

"You make me happy Alec, for the first time since I've been here."

"I'm very glad you feel that way Rose and maybe when you get through with the clinic, you can bring yourself to say something else?"

"I'll try Alec, I want to say it but I'm still mixed up, with this baby still inside me, I feel I'm still not free.  Shame Ellie couldn't find anywhere else for me."

"They were too far away, we move into the caravan tomorrow. It does not make any difference to me Rose, I know you are still holding back because of that and I know in a few days time, you will feel you are finally free.  I am not going anywhere Rose, I love you."

He leaned over to kiss her again, both of them unaware a reporter from a national newspaper had arrived in the town after learning Alec had met Rose in the hotel in Portsmouth on Monday and persuaded his editor to allow him a few days to get pictures and a story.  The reporter had been passing, not knowing where Rose was staying but had stopped at the other side of the river, behind a small building by a wall and spotted Alec then getting out his camera had zoomed in on them and seen them holding hands then kissing.

It wouldn't take him long to locate the town's local reporter and do a deal with him, a collaboration and get the story of the year of how the Vitex heiress was settling down in a small Dorset coastal town with a police detective who had cheated death several times and solved an old case he'd been accused of botching up.

Alec made them a light meal of ham salad, which Rose managed to eat then they made their way over to the pub, sitting in the bar area for an hour then going upstairs.

"You should get packed Rose."

"Yeah, I never unpacked the other case, you can help me."

She packed everything apart from what she needed the next day, Alec saying he would go back to the chalet and pack in the morning.

"We should go shopping before we move into the caravan," Rose suggested.

"Maybe an hour or two before we collect the keys.  Then we can just get the extras on Saturday morning before Daisy arrives, if you feel like going again."

The next morning, Alec was about to go get Rose some breakfast when he pulled back the curtains, seeing around a dozen or so people with cameras and microphones in the car park opposite.  He hurriedly closed them again and turned to Rose.

"Stay here love, I'll go get some breakfast, you have to call your stepfather."

"Why?  What's wrong?"

"Don't open the curtains, there are reporters out there."

"How did they know where we were?"

"Maybe they think we are still in the chalet, we would have to cross the footbridge or go around in the car.  Maybe someone spotted us last night but if I find out it was Miller's nephew, I won't be responsible for my actions."

Leaving the curtains closed, Alec went to fetch breakfast, asking if there was another way out of the pub and being told there was a back way but he'd still get spotted crossing the footbridge to fetch the car so he decided to call Ellie and get her to go around the back then drive them around and back down the field behind the chalet.

She agreed to pick then up at half past nine and she said he should look at the morning papers.

"What do you mean Miller?"

"There are a few pictures of you and Rose on the doorstep of your chalet and if I find out Olly took them I will disown him but really Hardy, you should be more careful where you kiss your girlfriend."

Jackie Tyler meanwhile was not being so lenient with her daughter.

"Honestly Rose, you're making a lot of work for your stepfather's PR team, they can hardly keep up with all the reports you're getting yourself in.  He's on the phone right now but you'll just have to either face them or make a run for it."

Rose was about to say she didn't feel much like running.

"Alec will think of something, he's just getting breakfast for me."

"In the pub?  Did he sneak over before those reporters got there or something?  No, don't tell me, he stayed with you? Rose?"

"So what if he did?  I'm not a kid Mum, you wanted me to get over the Doctor and what happened to me.  Alec's helping me.  Is Pete there?"

"He's waiting on the phone while the PR department find out what papers the reporters are from.  How did they find you?"

"Alec thinks they found him, after the court case he had to attend on Monday.  How did he know they were gonna follow him?"

"Well you should be more careful."

"There were people passing by, it could have been any of them taking the photos."

Alec came back with breakfast and told her his plan, that they should go out of the back door, Rose would get into Ellie's car and he and Ellie would put her luggage in then drive them around to his chalet.  Thankfully, the footbridge wasn't swamped with reporters or it would give way and they hadn't figured out how to get to the back of the chalet – yet.

"We will be fine once we are in the camp," Alec told her.  "The reporters should have gone by then if they take notice of your stepfather."

"I hope so, I don't feel like facing them but why did they follow you?  How did they know I was here?"

"They must have just got lucky when they saw you outside with me yesterday. They had better not find out about your current situation."

"My mother would go crazy, she was bad enough just now.  She found out we shared a room."

"Well it's not like you had anything to tell her.  I know what's getting in the way and I want you to know it makes no difference to me.  I want to be with you Rose."

"I know and I do care about you Alec, really I do and once I get this sorted out, I won't feel guilty."

"There is no need to feel guilty, I know how you feel about me, you just can't say it yet.  Don't let Kilgrave win Rose, if you can't express your feelings for me or anyone else then he has.  You have to let it go and I know it's not easy but tonight, maybe you will let me show you?"

"Maybe," Rose teased, taking his hand.  "Right now, we have to worry about sneaking out – I hate this part.  I'm not gonna hide you Alec, if that's what you're thinking?"

"I think nothing of the sort but we gave that interview and it should have been enough."

"Maybe it's not been printed yet?  Why don't you call the newspaper office and get them to put a rush on it or get Olly to put it on the paper's social media account."

"Then why didn't I think of that?" Alec asked, putting the breakfast things on the tray.

"You take that downstairs and I'll call him, have you got his number?"

Rose soon sorted things out.

"I'll do it now Miss Tyler, a reporter approached me yesterday afternoon but my editor told me not to co-operate, she didn't want your stepfather on the phone to her.  I'll put out that I have an exclusive interview that will be released tomorrow."

"Yeah well tell them I'm giving no more interviews about it.  Alec will call the station and have them removed, when we've sneaked out."

"Good luck with that then."

When Alec got back, she told him that Olly was putting it on a certain social media site and asked why he didn't get on to the station to get the crowd cleared.

"I can't call them every time Rose, it does not work like that.  They will move soon enough when they find we are gone, we could let them see us be driven away, they will not know we are only going a few yards away."

Rose put her arms around him.  "Then you say I'm the sneaky one.  Is Ellie calling when she's waiting?"

"Yes, I'll take these down shall I?" he asked, pointing to a suitcase and a holdall, which he'd crammed his laundry in with hers.  "I'll come back up for you, Miller will be another twenty minutes yet."

They had just handed the key in, no-one around to get their bill and Rose was waiting in the bar when Alec's phone rang.

"I'm waiting around the back for you two," Ellie told him.

"We will be right out, get Rose into the car then you can help me with her luggage. How did I ever get myself into this?" he muttered.   Holding the phone to his ear with his shoulder, he had picked up a case handle after placing a holdall on top of it and was trying to find someone to ask where the back door was as he'd only seen a side one.

"Excuse me, where is the back door?" he asked one of the staff.

"Through the kitchen but patrons are not allowed, you have to use the front or side exit Sir."

"Do you know who I am?" Alec asked indignantly, putting the case upright.  "Do you see that crowd outside at the front of the pub?  They are reporters and they are waiting for me and my girlfriend."

"Oh, sorry, I've not been in the town very long.  Are you both famous?"

"You could say that I suppose.  Now, about the back door?  We have a friend who is waiting for us so we are not seen."

Finally, Alec was out of the back door, Ellie asking what had kept him.

"You are joking Miller, the idiot who was on duty would not allow me through the kitchen.  I'll get Rose and her other luggage, I would have brought her first if I'd not had trouble."

He went back in and got Rose, ushering her out through the kitchen and left her with Ellie while he went to pay the bill though Rose was meant to be paying it but he just wanted her out.  They were soon pulling away from the back of the pub though they didn't have to pass any reporters on the way, much to Alec's disappointment and Ellie made her way up the road out of town then turned into the field behind his chalet.

As Rose got out, Alec helping her, she apologised to Ellie.

"Sorry about that, I didn't want to face them again."

"Rose, there's no need to apologise, it's not your fault but unless you do something, you're going to keep getting attention."

"They will soon get tired of hanging around," Alec told her as he gave Rose the key and he and Ellie got the luggage out of her car and into the back of his.

"No sense in taking it into the chalet, just bring that holdall with the laundry, I'll put it on before we go get the caravan keys, I have a few things to pack."

"You mean your other grey suit?" Ellie laughed, closing the back door of her car.  "I have to get to work now, send me a text what number caravan you're in, I'll call and see Rose later.  How's she coping?"

"She's still a bit upset, I don't think it has fully hit her yet.  She was hoping she would get somewhere today, now I have to explain to Daisy about it."

"She'll probably think it's yours, the way you're fussing over Rose."

"Rubbish Miller, I was not even in New York then, was I?  Detective Becket  called, they are no nearer finding Kilgrave but they think that woman, Hope, has gone back."

"She must be still under his influence somehow, how long does it last?  I thought someone had to be close to him?"

"Obviously not, if she's gone back, it's been well over a week now."

"No wonder poor Rose is all mixed up and now this pregnancy.  So she's not told anyone apart from us?"

"No but she told you before she told me, did she feel it necessary not to tell me first?"

'You're a bloke, of course she's going to tell another woman first.  Why can't she tell her mother though?"

"I am trying to find out, there must be some reason."

"Maybe she would try and talk her into keeping it?  I'll talk to her later, see if I can persuade her, she needs her mother, not us."

"Aye.  I'd best get back to her."

"Seriously Hardy, no wonder she feels like no-one trusts her on her own," Ellie laughed as he locked his car.

As he got around to the chalet, relieved she was indoors and not in full view so any stray reporters could see her, she was sat on the sofa.

"We should go get some groceries Alec."

"We will wait until the reporters have gone but I will walk back up to the other store we just passed and get some milk, we can't even get across to the catering stalls, they have that area well covered."

While he set off to walk to the store, Rose figured out how to start the washing machine and was about to call Pete when he called her.

"They should back off soon Rose, we've sent word out to all the papers.  How are you coping love?"

"Fine, it's nice down here.  We move into the caravan later."

"Is there something else you want to tell me?  Something you can't tell your mother?"

"Such as?"

"Why you've been feeling off and why you were in a hurry to leave the other day?  I won't tell her.  Do you need some help with something?"

"I'm fine, it's being taken care of, honestly.  I have Alec and Ellie."

"But not your mother?  Why can't you talk to her Rose?"

"You know what she's like, she was bad enough earlier when she found out Alec had stayed at the pub with me last night."

"Just last night?" Pete laughed.  "I saw the way he looked at you, even in New York. He cares about you very much."

"I know but something's stopping me from telling him how I really feel."

"Kilgrave?  Or maybe it's still the Doctor?  Rose, they are both gone and I know how close you came to getting back but you have a chance with Alec, don't lose it."

Chapter 35

Rose thought about what Pete had just told her.  She should really take his advice and let it go, she was never going to find another man like Alec, not in this world. Had she just met him and not Kilgrave it would have been easy to fall in love with him but Kilgrave still had some hold over her and everyone knew it, especially Alec himself.

He had promised he would help her get over it so she should at least let him and give him some help by making it easier for him, he had already told her several times he loved her, despite her not being able to say it back to him.

Alec got back from the store, saying he couldn't see if there were still any reporters outside the pub.

"I spoke to Pete, they should be going soon, they won't dare take no notice, he can shut the papers down if he wants.  I think he knows there's something wrong with me though."

"Will he tell your mother?" Alec asked, putting the groceries away for the time being but leaving the milk out.

Rose shook her head, trying to put her arms around his neck without stretching up, Alec leaning down slightly.

"He'll expect me to tell her but how can I?  If I do, she'll demand he brings her down here."

"Will she try and stop you?"

"I don't know Alec, she'll only want what's best for me and ending it is the best thing for me.  What if I have it and it turns out to be like Kilgrave, can I take the risk?"

"No, I don't think you can Rose, that would make you responsible for anything that happens but there again, you could have more influence to stop that from happening but recently, in the Latimer case, there was a woman who said she witnessed her own son put Danny's body on the beach, even though it wasn't him as we now know, she was ready to accuse him and do you know why?"

Rose shook her head again, Alec kissing her forehead.  "Because she was married and her husband abused their two daughters and she had her son taken away from her because he told the police she knew what was going on.  She was afraid her now grown-up son had turned out to be like his father.  So yes, you are doing the right thing Rose and Miller and I are right behind you and so would Pete, he witnessed first hand what Kilgrave is capable of."

"It's so hard to know what to do for the best Alec, I feel so guilty."

"You shouldn't be love, you have to think of yourself, carrying that baby another eight months, you will grow to hate it.  I'll get Miller to take you to meet Beth Latimer, she was pregnant when her son Danny was killed and she didn't want to keep her baby.  She can tell you how it felt."

"But she kept it didn't she?"

"Yes and now she feels guilty about not wanting it, you can't win Rose, no matter what you decide, you will always wonder if you were right or not."

"That's a great help Alec," Rose sighed, leaning against his chest and feeling his newly-mended heart beating.

Alec knew what she was doing, she'd laid on him that way, like she wasn't quite sure if he was now ok or not.

"Go sit down Rose, I'll make us some tea then we can talk about it.  I'll call Miller and ask her to set it up, preferably before Daisy comes down to see us.  How are you feeling now anyway?"

"Yuck, how da ya think I feel?"

Alec called Ellie, who was certain talking to Beth would help Rose understand she wasn't the only one to go through it.

"Tell Rose I'll come and collect her around five, then I'll take her up to Beth's for an hour.  What time do you get in the caravan?"

Alec could have sworn he'd told her once.  "After three, you take Rose there and I'll go to the main supermarket, then I have to call Daisy to make the last minute arrangements."

"What are you going to tell her, about Rose?"

"The truth, what else can I say?"

Later, Rose decided she'd had enough of being cooped up and wanted to go for a walk.  They crossed the bridge and found everyone had gone thankfully and they walked across the road and along the stone pier.  Alec decided to lighten her mood by telling her when he and Ellie had to go examine Mark Latimer's boat, he couldn't get out of the one he was in.

"Seriously?" Rose laughed. "What did you tell Ellie then?"

"That there was no point in contaminating the boat any more than we needed to. She knows why now though, after visiting Sandbrook and where Pippa was found."

"Did you go to the other girl's funeral when they found her?"

"No, it was while I was in New York, they wouldn't release her right away, they had to make sure there was a solid conviction and there were delays."

"I kept you away from it?"

"No, I would not have been welcomed anyway, I would have gone to pay my respects, so would Miller."

"Can't you call her Ellie, after what you two have been through?"

"She may take it the wrong way, or shout at me."

"Try it, you never know, do you?"

Just before three, Alec took his things to the car, Rose emptied the cupboards and fridge and they drove around to the caravan site, parking halfway up the first roadway and walking back.

"We should have left the car where it was," Alec complained as Rose held onto his arm.

"Well we might be lucky and be on this row, did you get a look at the interior?"

"Yes, the woman was very helpful over it when I explained I needed two double bedrooms as well as a twin."

"I bet she wondered why you were being so fussy," Rose laughed as they passed the front of the entertainment centre.

"Well I could not say who was staying with me, I never even knew then if you were still coming down, did I?"

Alec soon got the keys sorted out and a map, Rose being right and the caravan was only a few yards up from where he had parked.  They found theirs and Alec backed in, Rose remarking it was a one-way road which rather annoyed him.  Rose wanted to unpack her things but Alec stood in the doorway through to the bedrooms.

"So where am I putting your cases then?  Which one of the double bedrooms do you want?"

Rose squeezed past him and opened the twin room, closing it again.

"Daisy is going to be claustrophobic in there."

"She will be fine, I did warn her.  She is only sleeping in there you know."

"Yeah, I know but she'd like a double room better.  What would she think if we shared?"

Alec let go of the case handle, going for her waist.  "Are you going to take the whole wardrobe up?"

Rose giggled.  "Well, 'erm, yeah, of course I am but you can squeeze your things in the drawers and use the space in the twin room for your shirts and suit but let's see which is the biggest bedroom."

They opened the next door, the room seemed quite small so Alec opened the next one and it was much bigger.

"I don't know how they design these things, in so little space."

"Timelord technology?" Rose suggested.  "It's bigger on the inside, like your chalet."

"Rose, my chalet is not bigger on the inside, trust me.  So, you are having this room then?"

"Only if you share?"

"We can both use the wardrobe, there are two sides or do you need both?"

Alec brought the cases in and they soon had everything away, then Rose went to close the curtains and lay on the bed.  She held her arms out for him to join her.

"I have to let Miller know where we are, she is calling for you, remember?"

"Yeah, then send the text, we still have time."

He quickly sent the caravan number to Ellie and took off his jacket, Rose then fingering the hem of his red t-shirt.  He lay beside her and went for her neck, Rose putting her arms around his then changing her mind, put one on his back, pulling his t-shirt up.  It wasn't long before she managed to get him to take it off and he pulled her top off at her shoulders, kissing them.

"Don't squash me," Rose giggled as he went to gently lie on her, kissing his way around the front.

All too soon, Alec said he should put his t-shirt back on as it was almost time for Rose to be collected.

"Are you sure you want to do this Rose?" he asked, straightening her t-shirt.

"I have to Alec, I need to talk to someone who's been through it."

"There are no guarantees it will make you feel any better.  Be careful what you tell her though."

"I know, Ellie will explain it to her, that we have to keep it quiet.  I'll tell her we parted on bad terms or something, just like Ellie told the clinic."

"That's really not far from the truth love, it did end badly for you while he got away with it."

"I'm sure Kate and the NYPD are doing their best to find him.  They have Emmett as well."

Alec was about to say that would make the world of difference but he heard a car outside.

"Seems your ride is here."

He gave her a kiss then made his way to the nearest door so Ellie wouldn't go banging on the other one.

"This way Miller," he called as she came around the corner.

"What are you doing there Hardy?"

"We were unpacking."

"Yeah, of course you were.  Hello Rose, got everything unpacked?" she asked as Rose came out of what had just become their bedroom for the long weekend.

"Yeah, just about. I'll just be a minute, I need the bathroom."

"Oh, I remember what that was like, I couldn't go anywhere when I was having Tom."

"Yes, we really needed to know that," Alec said sarcastically.

"Take no notice of him Ellie.  I'm trying to get him to stop calling you Miller all the time."

"Good luck with that," Ellie called after her as she closed the bathroom door.  "So, is she ready for this?" Ellie asked Alec as they went through the kitchen area and into the lounge.

"As ready as she could be.  I just hope it helps her."

"She's always going to wonder if she made the right choice."

"I've already told her that.  Best tell Beth Latimer what you were telling the clinic, a bad relationship or something."

"I get it, stop worrying I'll tell Beth all Rose's secrets.  Anything to report between the two of you?  I meant to ask, how did you get into the pub this morning without being seen?"

Alec was guilty through his silence.

"No, you weren't?  You were already there?"

Alec raised his eyebrows.  "You as well?  Her mother already said that."

"Has she told her yet?"

"No but her stepfather knows something is going on and if Rose is not careful, he may let on to her mother."

Ellie wasn't wrong.  Back in London, Pete had got home and spent an hour helping Tony with his homework and Jackie had cornered him.

"Have you spoken to Rose?" Pete asked, picking up a newspaper from that morning.

"Only earlier, when you were on the phone sorting that lot out.  Really, what did the two of them think was gonna happen, smooching on the doorstep of that shack?"

"They're in love Jackie, only Rose doesn't know it yet.  Have you seen her like this since she got here?"

"You know I haven't Pete but they have to be more careful.  First there was them coming out of a hotel, now this.  What are you telling the press?"

"There'll be press release saying she is currently dating Alec, that will settle them down and that she is only staying temporarily.  No-one will find them in that caravan site."

"Did she sound off with you?"

"No, should she be?  She's just getting over being kidnapped Jaks, she still needs time to recover and doing that with Alec is the best thing for her.  She'll come round, with his help and Ellie's there.  You'd like her, she's very down-to-earth."

Ellie and Rose had arrived at Beth's house and Ellie introduced them.

"Wow, I never thought I'd have Rose Tyler in my house.  I thought Ellie was having me on when she said you were here in Broadchurch but when I saw the morning paper?  I can't imagine the inspector getting all cosy with you on his doorstep."

Rose had to smile to herself – what had he been like before he had met her?  A right old misery by the sounds of it.

"Yeah, well let's just say he's changed a bit, Ellie said he was a real grump prior to his operation but it's to be expected, if he was suffering all that time and could never tell anyone.  So this is Lizzie then?" Rose asked, peering at the sleeping baby in the portable cot.

"Yeah.  Ellie said you're in a bit of a predicament, you wanted to talk?"

"How much did you tell Beth, Ellie?"

"That you made a decision and don't know if you're doing the right thing or not.  I'll make some tea shall I while you fill her in on the details," Ellie suggested.

"Right.  Well since you know who I am, you know this is confidential, you can't even tell your family.  I don't want my mother to find out, well not unless it's absolutely necessary anyway and there's only one reason that will happen – if something goes wrong.  I met someone, had almost two intensive weeks with him and it ended very badly."

"Doesn't it always?" Beth smiled, wondering if that was the real reason the heiress disappeared whilst in New York.  "I can see why you wanted to stay quiet about where you'd been.  So was it that Detective Carver you were supposed to have been seen with?"

Rose couldn't do that to the poor man who just happened to be linked with her name and shared the same face with her captor.

"No, it wasn't Emmett, it wasn't Alec either, it's a bit confusing but here's the weird bit, the bloke I met looks like both of them.  His name was Kevin, we met, I went off with him and forget to tell my stepfather, it was like a soppy love story.  I was completely wrapped up in it and I had no idea Pete had launched a full-scale hunt for me until it all ended and I got back to the hotel, hoping they hadn't thrown my things out and Pete was there along with my two friends, Alec and Ellie and half the detectives of the NYPD were organising a search for me."

"Wow, I bet your stepfather was pleased when he got the bill for it?" Beth laughed.

"What do you think?  Anyway, he managed to sort everything out, he's friends with one of the detective's husband and she smoothed things over but I felt so stupid when I got back, I've never done anything like that before in my life."

She had – with Jimmy Stone but she was very young, very foolish and he'd been so drunk most of the time he had failed to do anything, which he had blamed her for but that was in her old life.

"So what about you and DI Hardy?  How did that happen?"

"Good question Beth, we all want to hear the answer to that one.  Well Rose?" Ellie asked, handing out the mugs of tea.

Rose knew she was being ganged up on.  "Easy, when I got back, he looked so like Kevin but I knew he wasn't yet I took an instant liking to him and while I thought everyone was really mad at me for scaring them, they all thought I'd been held against my will."

Ellie had to suppress a laugh, she was very good at this, had she had plenty of practice, going around with that Doctor?  It was so good, she herself almost believed it, it was better than what her stepfather's PR team had come up with.

"So why are you here?  You got pregnant?" Beth asked.

"Yeah and now I feel so used, it was like he held some sort of spell over me, like I didn't want to ever leave him and now, I don't know why I went along with it."

Ellie was taking it all in but she still didn't have an answer why Rose and Hardy had become an 'item' so fast, only Rose knew the answer to that question and she wasn't telling.

"Ellie made an appointment for me, at the clinic in Dorchester but they can't see me until Tuesday and if my mother finds out, she'll want me to keep it.  It was a mistake Beth, a very stupid one because I failed to get my monthly injection before I went off to New York, I never intended meeting anyone, we were only meant to be there for a few days."

"How did you meet this Kevin then?" Beth asked, staring at her baby daughter.

"Outside my hotel, I'd gone back early to get ready, we were going out with my stepfather's friend and his wife.  He was standing outside and asked if I was Rose Tyler, he was English and thought he recognised me.  You know how it is, he flattered me, asked me to go for a drink with him and I ended up in his apartment."

"So you never even told your stepfather?" Beth asked.

"I know, it was just so stupid and I'm surprised he forgave me but they were so worried about me, being missing in a large city."

"Well it got me and Hardy a trip to New York," Ellie mused, sipping her tea.  "Not that we got to see much of it, well I didn't, Hardy did all the leg-work, since he looked like this Kevin."

Rose threw a glance at her friend, she wasn't supposed to mention that.

"So you knew who Rose had gone off with?" Beth asked Ellie.

Ellie knew what she'd just done.  "Well the doorman spotted her, we didn't know until me and Hardy arrived at the hotel and the doorman said she'd gone off with Hardy."

Rose thought Ellie caught on almost as quickly as she did.  Ellie continued.   "So Hardy went out with the detectives from the NYPD, to see if anyone recognised him, Rose isn't that well known over there."

"You had a full-scale search going on for you then?  So how did they react when you walked into the hotel?"

"Relieved but Pete was just glad my mother hadn't caught a plane to go over.  That's why he made a big deal out of me not knowing what I was doing, that I'd been so taken with Kevin, he'd held some influence over me so to appease him, I just went along with it.  I paid for it though, I had a week in therapy," she grinned.

Ellie had to admire the young woman, if she herself hadn't been party to knowing the true story, she would have believed it.

"I can't tell you what to decide Rose, Ellie knows I didn't want Lizzie after I lost my Danny, I wasn't ready to let him go but something made me keep on going.  You should go see Paul, he's the one that told me a baby was what I needed, not what I wanted and he was right, she brought me and Mark around to see she wasn't a replacement for Danny, she took some of the grief away.  Would you still want a termination if you'd not met DI Hardy?  Is he the reason you don't want it?"

Rose hadn't looked at it that way but it was possible she was being hasty because of it but Kilgrave was evil, he could have passed that onto this baby trying to grow inside her.  She couldn't risk it, even by carrying it and adopting it out, which if she stayed with Alec, would cause no end of complications.  Then when the baby grew up and if he or she turned out the same way, she would be responsible for everything that happened.

"Yeah, I think I would, like I said, it ended badly.  Kevin walked out on me without a word, told me to be gone when he got back or he wouldn't be responsible for what happened.  He got tired of me Beth, he had his bit of fun then dumped me.   Do I really want a constant reminder of that?"

Beth shook her head, feeling sorry for Rose.  Having money didn't always have it's benefits.

"What do you think Ellie?  What have you told the clinic?"

"Well I haven't given her name yet but they'll ask for it when she gets there, if they don't recognise her when she walks in.  They have to be confidential about it or word will get around and no-one will trust them.  I said more or less what Rose just told you, a failed relationship that turned sour.  If Rose wasn't who she is, how could she bring it up on her own, being left with bad memories that will constantly remind her of what happened?"

"I suppose you're right Ellie.  What does DI Hardy think?"

"He's been very good about it, he and Ellie are the only ones who know but my stepfather suspects.  I'm surprised my mother didn't catch on before I came down here, I was just itching to escape.  Alec said whatever I decide, he'll support me but how can I keep it Beth?  That's why I don't want to wait any longer than I have to, we only found out for certain last night."

"It sounds like you need proper counselling Rose, I'm not the one to be asking but there again, I battled through on my own, Mark was insisting I kept her.  Once I went for a scan, it made all the difference but your circumstances are quite different, you've got a new man and I can't really blame you for the way you feel about it."

"Don't judge me Beth, it's not only because of Alec, I have to think about my position but if I keep it, Alec will do something really stupid and claim it's his, no-one would be any wiser as for the dates, they're close enough for me to have met him but I won't let him do that.   There is another reason Beth, honestly but I swear I can't tell you what it is."

Ellie decided to stay quiet, it was up to Rose whether she told Beth, a stranger, the truth or not.

"I believe you Rose, really I do but I'm not being judgemental, you have the money and a powerful stepfather to cover things up for you, most women don't have that.

"It makes no difference Beth, we'd still know it isn't Alec's and I can't have him taking the responsibility and at the moment, we haven't even got that far in our relationship because if I'd been wrong, I still wasn't taking any precautions, I had this feeling I was pregnant just as I met him but I never told anyone.  If my mum found out now, she would probably blame him anyway."

Ellie had heard enough about Rose's mother to know that at least was true – this Jackie Tyler was fiercer than even the other one had been.

Twenty minutes later, they were back in Ellie's car, just sitting outside the Latimer house.

"Did that help?" Ellie asked.

"Not really.  Maybe I should have told her the truth?"

"Well you did, more or less.  Did Hardy really say that?"

"We never talked about it, it was for her benefit and don't you go saying anything to him either.  He's very supportive though, I think he'll stand by me but I don't want it getting in the way and it will, imagine what he would have to go through if I keep it?"

Chapter 36

Alec was anxiously waiting Rose's return from the Latimer house – what if she had been persuaded by Beth Latimer and Miller to keep the baby?  The consequences were huge on this, it would affect both of them, Rose was not on her own with this. Yes, she was partly to blame for offering no or very little resistance against Kilgrave, he could have turned really nasty on her and she could have been ordered to jump off the balcony or take her own life and she'd done everything she could to keep others safe.

No, the blame was entirely on Kilgrave, he had no need to treat women like he did, Rose hadn't been the only one to be caught up in his game of using them then throwing them way but was it his fault his parents experimented on him?  There was no easy answer to the whole situation Rose had found herself caught up in, she'd done the sensible thing and gone along with it mostly, resisting in her own way and had sacrificed herself to keep Torchwood and others safe.

He heard a car pull up and looked out of the front window, seeing Rose and Ellie just sitting there, wondering what had come of the conversation.

"So, what have you decided?" Ellie was asking Rose as she saw Alec peering out of the window.

Rose averted her eyes away, talking to Beth hadn't made things any easier and maybe she should follow the advice and talk to someone professional about it.

"It's not fair on Alec, he doesn't deserve this."

"Listen Rose, Hardy knows what he's getting into, he knew that day you were found and you latched onto him within minutes of meeting him and what you told Beth, well I'm surprised you didn't tell her the whole thing, you only left out a few minor details and I almost thought it was true.  You did what you had to do to get through it and taking up with Hardy was your best option afterwards, he'll do you more good than a dozen experts."

"I know Ellie but it's not fair, I can't win.  It's like when I was with the Doctor, he made impossible choices Ellie, ones with far worse consequences than either bringing a possibly evil child into the world or terminating it before it has the chance to become a person.  How can I possible choose?"

"Only you can make that decision Rose, poor Hope never had a choice at all, look what he did to her?  How many more women have come forward since we left New York?  We don't know how long he'd been doing it, taking women and using them for his sexual gratification.  The only good thing about the way he did it, well if you can call it good is that he had them so far under his control they didn't suffer until afterwards."

"That's good?" Rose half smiled.  "They're still suffering Ellie, they remember some of it.  I can't talk about it any more and I feel so sorry for them but I have myself to think about."

"Yes, you do Rose, do what's best for you, not what other people want.   Beth's situation was completely different, she had a husband and it brought them closer after Lizzie was born and they thought they would never be the same again but you and Hardy have a future together and while I'm sure he'll do that stupid thing you mentioned and claim it's his, you'll both know it's a lie and it will tear you apart.  You lost your best friend all that time ago, don't let Hardy go."

Rose turned to face her friend.  "Thanks Ellie, you're right, I have to go ahead with it and I have to at least tell my stepfather, he'll understand why I'm doing it but I'm not so sure about my mother."

"You need to tell him, if something goes wrong, they'd take it out on your boyfriend.  Now get out of my car and go tell that idiot you love him, have you told him yet?"

"No and he's told me he loves me but I can't bring myself to say it back because Kilgrave used to make me say it over and over again and it meant nothing.  I have to be sure I love Alec for the right reasons."

"Rubbish Rose, I've seen the two of you and don't you go giving me the 'we were unpacking' crap you came out with earlier."

"Oh, is that what he told you?" Rose smiled wickedly.  "We were just fooling around, honestly, we've not got that far yet, I suspected I was pregnant right from the start, I had my first real time with Kilgrave and I'm not proud of it Ellie and I thought Alec would be upset."

"If he loves you Rose and he's prepared to accept what happened, it will make no difference.  Don't you go telling him this or pregnant or not, I'll make you suffer."

"Tell him what Ellie?"

"That when we were trying to put Sandbrook to rest, well I got this stupid idea he wanted to make something of it, you know?  It was really, really stupid of me then when he got himself fixed, I offered him a place to stay and he took it the wrong way."

Rose couldn't resist laughing.  "Yeah, he told me and he told me you awkwardly had to share a motel room.  I'm sorry, I shouldn't be laughing and I don't think it was stupid but he told me that working with his ex taught him not to get involved with someone he works with, what with his ex going off with a male DS."

"I know all about that.  It was me, I got the wrong end of the stick, I even had him looking after Fred for me.  I missed Joe, I was looking for a replacement and I did do something stupid Rose, I had a one-night stand with a bloke I met in a Weymouth bar, when I was trying to get the truth out of Claire Ripley but luckily, nothing came of it.  I didn't even fancy him, he wasn't good-looking or anything, I just needed to feel someone wanted me."

"It happens to the best of us Ellie.  I should go, Alec's gonna come out any minute wanting to know what I decided, I can't do that to him and I do love him, I'm just afraid to tell him."

"Then go out tonight, somewhere really nice and tell him.  If you don't I'll have something to say about it."

Rose gave Ellie an awkward hug as Alec watched Rose get out of the car and wave after her friend and he couldn't resist opening the caravan door for her, helping her up the caravan step.

"I should get them to put a ramp on this caravan," he told her as he closed the door.

"It won't be for long, we're only here until Tuesday was it?  Did you miss me?"

She slid her arms around his slim waist and held him close, his arms going around her back.  Then she looked up and smiled, indicating she wanted a kiss.

"This is very nice love but what happened at Beth's?" he asked, trying not to sound so impatient, not that she wouldn't have seen him peering through the window.

"It was nice to talk to someone who had been through it but it's still down to me, isn't it?"

"Yes love it is and whatever you decide, I'm here for you.  Now, let's go get something to eat or shall I make us something?"

"No, can we just go to the bar or something?"

"Sure, whatever you want, you just don't want to try my cooking."

"You can make me breakfast in bed in the morning?"

"Really?  I'm sure I can't go wrong with eggs.  You can have a lie-in anyway, nothing special is happening tomorrow and Saturday, Daisy doesn't arrive until around noon, I can get her to go to the supermarket with me, I'm sure her eating habits will have changed since she was twelve."

"Is that how long it's been?"

"That's when things started to go wrong at home, we both knew it wasn't working and I let it go, it was the easiest option, then Sandbrook happened and that was it really, it didn't take Tess long to take advantage of it.   We were both working on the case, I never saw it happening but maybe I did and ignored it."

"Can't say I've ever had that happen, unless you count the Doctor totally ignoring my advances on him," Rose mused, leading Alec to the seating.

"Well he was an idiot to not have noticed, especially if you made it clear to him, like you did with me."

Rose giggled.  "Don't know whatcha mean."

"Yes you do, don't play the innocent girl in distress routine with me Rose, you saw me and you went straight for me."

"You thought I was under the illusion you were somehow Kilgrave or the Doctor."

"Maybe at first but when you would not let go of me, I began to wonder.  It was not easy for me you know, letting you go back home while I came back here.  The not knowing if you would say you never wanted to see me again."

"I am sorry for that Alec, I had to be sure and all the time, deep down, I was praying I hadn't got pregnant but I couldn't stop him Alec, I'm not so sure I wanted to."

"He had you under his influence Rose, I can't blame you for what he made you do."

Rose curled up beside him and put her arms around his shoulders, Alec going for her neck.

"I thought you wanted to get something to eat?" he asked, kissing his way around.

"Yeah, I hope I can keep it down, I'd best not have too much, just a snack or something.  Ellie said I should at least tell Pete, I'll call him when we get back."

"Do it now then you don't have the excuse you are tired when you get back."

"I'm not ready Alec, what do I say to him?"

"Who is the most understanding of the two of them – your mother or your stepfather?  He was there Rose, he's bound to be more understanding than your mother but it's up to you."

He got up and passed her phone, which she'd put on the table when she'd come back in.

Getting through to Pete, she asked if he was on his own.

"Just hang on a second, I will be but why are you being so secretive?"

"Because I don't want my mum overhearing – it's to do with Kilgrave."

"Well in that case, it's just as well, she'd sort him out if she got her hands on him.  Go on then, what have you got to tell me?  Everything ok with you and Alec?"

"Things are fine between us, I expect mum insinuated to you we were sharing a room at the pub when the reporters were there?"

"She never stopped about it and there will be a statement issued on both your behalves, if that's ok with Alec?"

"He'll go along with anything to get his name out of the papers, it was a waste of time going to the local one.  Well, I'd best get it over with but please, don't tell my mum."

"I think I can guess though how your mother missed it is beyond me.  Kilgrave got you pregnant, didn't he?"

"Yeah, I found out for certain on Tuesday night, Ellie got me a test and she's got me in a clinic next Tuesday."

"Will they keep your identity confidential?"

"Yeah, Ellie wouldn't give them my name over the phone, just that I had a failed relationship or something like that, she didn't go into too many details.  I'm not gonna let them talk me into keeping it."

"I don't expect they could even if they tried, Ellie will take care of you, she'll make sure they don't talk you into keeping it if you don't want to."

"I asked Alec to take me, he knows it may be awkward but I want him to be with me, just in case anything goes wrong.  If I have a bad experience, I'd rather he was there."

"Well whatever it costs, just send the bill to the accountants."

"I don't think so Dad, what will they think?" Rose smiled across at Alec, who held his hand out as she was pacing the living area floor.

She sat down beside him.  "I don't want to use one of my cards either so I'll get Alec to pay, I'll give him the money back, since he's paying for the caravan."

"You own me for two nights in the pub Rose," Alec informed her.

Rose giggled, holding her hand over the phone.  "Don't worry, I'll pay you back, you think I'm not good for it?"

"What's Alec saying?" Pete asked.

"Nothing, it's just when we had to sneak out of the pub this morning.  There was no-one around to pay for the room so he got me in Ellie's car and went back to pay."

"You had to use Ellie's car?" Pete asked, amused at the thought of the pair of them trying to avoid the reporters.

"Alec's idea was for Ellie to collect us from the back of the pub, drive us around to his chalet and hope the fuss would die down."

Pete had to let out a laugh.  "I bet that was fun but you should have heard your mother going on about you two smooching on his doorstep."

"Don't even go there Dad, I can well imagine and she'll never let me forget it.  Are you all still coming down next weekend?"

"Tony's never stopped going on about it, I'll have to make the arrangements."

"We can call at the office tomorrow, if you want a caravan?"

"Why not?  Tony won't like being in a hotel and they'll have a kid's club, won't they?"

"I expect so, we're just off to the bar to get something to eat, if I can keep it down."

"I'm surprised your mother didn't suspect something, not much gets past her. Look Rose, I'm not going to pry into how it happened, I know you're sensible and take precautions, even though as far as I know you don't go out with that many men."

"It was my own stupid fault, I missed my appointment for my injection, I was tryin' to finish up work before we went off."

"Well, I'm not judging you for being dedicated to your work Rose.  Have you heard from Kate?"

"Alec did, I don't think much is happening, except Hope went back to New York, according to her parents.  If Kilgrave finds her again, she'll go back to him, he has a power over people that we don't understand and maybe somehow, it's become stronger?  Maybe it never wore off, like it did with me, I was the lucky one."

"Thank goodness you did have some resistance or I'd be under his influence as well, the whole of Torchwood would be under his control and as much as everyone is well trained, he'd have found other ways, like he did with you, threaten friends and families of employees.  That's how he does it Rose, he uses people's fears of what will happen to those around them."

"Then Kate needs to find someone who he can't get to, who doesn't have any family or friends to make them fear him.  On the other hand, maybe someone from his past, like that Jessica that was mentioned, if she got away from him, she might be able to resist him and stop him."

"I'll give Kate a call, see what she thinks.  Have you heard from Detective Carver?"

"I've not, Alec, have you heard from Emmett?"

Alec shook his head, certain he'd already told her that.  "Why would he be calling me?" he asked, putting his arm around her.

"We'll let you know if we do.  We'll see you next weekend, I'll send you details, about a caravan."

"Best not get us one next to yours," Pete joked.

"Yeah, we'll be back in the chalet by then."

"Will we?" Alec asked, surprised at the suggestion.  "I told you Rose, it's not practical for us."

"Why not?  You lived there," Rose protested. "Bye Dad, I'll talk to you soon and I'll let you know what happens at the clinic and don't worry, I'll be fine with Alec there."

Pete said goodbye and went off to find Jackie.

"Oh, where did you get to Pete?  Tony said you got a call, was it from Rose?"

No, Jackie didn't miss much but she'd come unstuck over her daughter being pregnant.

"She was calling to say she'll find out about a caravan for when we go down next weekend.  How long are we staying?"

While Rose and Alec walked down to the bar, over in Gracepoint, Emmett had found some interesting facts about Kilgrave, including a certain Jessica Jones.  He picked up his desk phone and called Kate.

"Detective Carver," Kate greeted him.  "I'm surprised to hear from you.  Got any news for me?"

"Actually, I have plenty.  I'm sending you what I dug up on a Jessica Jones, she's a private eye now."

"We know, Castle's trying to find her, we don't know where her office is."

Emmett thought it was nice of her to keep him informed but he wasn't finished. "Well I can help you there, I have the address."

Pleased with himself, he forwarded the files he'd accumulated and sat back in his chair, looking smugly at Ellie Miller.  She had repeatedly called him out for pursuing what had happened in New York, threatening to go to the chief if he didn't quit spending all his spare time on it.  He had argued it was in a lot of people's interest, including his own and Alec Hardy's, to get to the bottom of it but he was mainly doing it for Rose, because she deserved to know why she had been taken and held against her will and Kilgrave was still getting away with it.

Kate had sent him a report that Hope was back in the city though she hadn't yet been spotted by the NYPD and Emmett suspected Kilgrave had already got to her. The young woman obviously had no resistance to the man who'd held her before he'd got to Rose.  Ellie spotted he was looking pleased and tapped on his door.

"You look like the cat who got the cream," she remarked, sitting opposite him.

He was going to say he would be, if the report had been true about being seen in New York with Rose Tyler but that was never going to happen, Hardy was the lucky one there.  He'd seen the news headlines when he'd switched on his computer that Rose was holed up in some pub in the Dorset coastal town and the pictures of her kissing Hardy.  The reporters had not been idle while waiting for the two of them to make an appearance, they had got straight onto their papers' social media accounts, taking photos of the pub and then later, someone had spotted Alec's chalet but it was all closed down and the curtains and blinds pulled over.

One lucky reporter though had been seeking refreshments and seen Rose sneaking around to the front of the chalet but there had been no Alec, he'd been around the back at the time, talking with Ellie.  Emmett shook his head, the world was a far smaller place than it was before the wonders of modern technology and a lot more private with it.

Back in Broadchurch, Rose and Alec were talking over their meals, Alec despairing at Rose eating potato wedges with cheese and beans while he'd opted for something more substantial but she seemed to be enjoying it.  He thought he may as well have gone across to the takeaway and they'd eaten in the caravan but Rose wanted to find out if there was a club for the kids.

"I am not going in there Rose, it's full of screaming kids," Alec had insisted, as Rose had wanted to go to the bar in the entertainment centre instead of the main bar.

"Then we'll go back later, at least Tony will make some friends while he's here."

"How long are they staying?" Alec asked, trying not to stare as she picked up the potato wedges with her fingers and dipped them into the 'mess' as he had called it of beans stuck together with cheese.

Rose smiled back at him and put the two wedges into her mouth, seeing the look on his face.

"What?  Old habits die hard you know, me and Mickey used to do this all the time back home."

"I never said anything, did I?" Alec asked, eating his own meal, more dignified than Rose was about it.

"Don't tell me you never ate chips out of a packet or anything and dipped them in beans or gravy."

He shuddered at the thought of what he and his few friends had done when he was in his teens.  "Maybe," he admitted.  "Anyway, I was asking how long your family were going to stay?  If we are asking about getting them a caravan, maybe we should keep the one we are in for another week or so?"

"You really don't want me in the chalet do you?  Why Not?"

"You really want to know?"

Rose nodded, taking the last two wedges and swirling them in the remainder of the cheese and beans.  Alec thought if she wasn't going to be sick all night, it would be a miracle.  He was glad he'd had the sense to pick up an indigestion remedy that could be taken during pregnancy while he'd been at the supermarket earlier, she was going to need it by the look of it.

Rose was still waiting for an answer.  "Is it because of what you told me, about collapsing there?"

"Yes and no.  You're very vulnerable right now and being next to the river, it scares me love, if things get you down, you could go rushing out and slip into the water and I can't go in after you.  Well I could but I can't get over my nightmares Rose, I don't think I ever will, not by jumping in a river after you.  Maybe a swimming pool but not in a river.   You have to see it from my point of view, I promised to look after you and I can't do that if I am constantly worried about what you may or may not do, if things start to go wrong."

Rose felt really sorry for him.  "I understand that Alec, really I do but there's no need to worry about me, I'm fine about it."

"You say that now, what about afterwards eh?  When you get back after being at the clinic and things have not gone so good?  I can't risk it.  I know we spent a few hours there but I've been with you and I will always be worried about going off and leaving you, when I have to go back to work.  As much as I would love to stay off while you are here, I can't, I will have to resume my job at some point."

"Then come and work with us," Rose suggested.

"I can't do that Rose, it's not me, I'm a detective, pure and simple and I can't change that.  I'm not into being diplomatic or chasing the unexplained."

"That's not all we do," she smiled back at him.

"Ok, maybe not but live in London?"

"We could set up here, keep an eye of the south coast."

"Maybe in another lifetime Rose but I have to decline.  Who else would keep Miller in line?"

They made their way out and Rose wanted to cross over and sit by the harbour for a while.  Being dark and he couldn't really see the water, he allowed her to lead him to the circular seating area.

"I really like it here Alec and you're right, living in London isn't all it's cracked up to be.  You wanted to know why I couldn't say something to you."

"Yes, I did but take your time, I can wait."

"I don't think you can because if I don't get it out of the way, I can't move on and I want to, I really do.  You heard about how I got here?"

Alec nodded. "Well, did Pete tell you about us going to Norway, so I could say goodbye to the Doctor?"

Alec put his arm around her and she leaned on his shoulder.  "Yes, he did, so what has that to do with you not being able to tell me?"

"Because he never said it back to me Alec, I told him, I waited until the last possible moment to tell him and he faded away and then, Kilgrave got hold of me, looking exactly like the man I had loved and he made me tell him I loved him when I didn't.  You have to understand Alec, I had to be sure."

"And are you?"

"Yeah, I'm sure because you've proved you love me by standing by me when I told you what Kilgrave did to me and you're still here.  I love you Alec."

Chapter 37

They walked the short distance back to their caravan, Alec wondering now if they should keep it for the time being, he really didn't want Rose anywhere near the water on her own, he still couldn't come to terms with what had happened but maybe Rose could help him get over it.

"You made me very happy," he told her as they got back and he opened the door. "I know it's been difficult for you but I do understand your hesitation."

"Yeah, I'm sorry I couldn't tell you, things have been so crazy.  There are things I have to tell you though, about what happened to me, not all of it was entirely Kilgrave's fault, I went along with it."

"Only because you had to Rose, what would have happened to you had you not?  If you'd had no resistance, like the other women, he would have got control of Torchwood, then the whole country, if not the world would have been in danger, who knows what he would have unleashed?  No Rose, I do not care what you had to do to get through it, it's over Rose, I love you and it's not going to get in the way.  Tell me if you must but I don't need to hear it."

"It would make me feel better if I did," she told him hanging her jacket up by the other door.

"There is no need to do it now love, it can wait or you can tell me bit by bit but one thing I did want to know?"

"Mmm, I thought you said it could wait?" she smiled, putting her arms around him.

"Well yes but I can't believe you really did have your first time with him, was there no-one else?"

"You mean Mickey?  No, we weren't like that, we just fooled around and the Doctor, well we didn't even think about it, I suppose we were both scared of losing each other as a friend.  He backed off every time we had a moment when we might have kissed, the only time I ever snogged him I wasn't even in control, I'd been taken over."

"Well he does not know what he was missing.  So, is that the worse you have to tell me then?" he asked, going to kiss her neck.

"It's one of the worse but the things Kilgrave used to make me do, getting dressed and undressed for him, trying new underwear on and making me do things to him, I can't bear to think why I went along with his demands."

Alec held her closer, making her rest her head on his shoulder.

"There is nothing I can say that is going to help you forget it.  You have to get over it on your own, whatever happened to you, happened for a reason.  You were thinking of others and not about yourself and that is what your stepfather told me about you, that's what you do Rose, he said you got it from the Doctor."

"Yeah, things tend to rub off on you when you travel with him.  There's one more thing, about what happened when I did travel with him."

"I don't need to hear it Rose, it's your past life and if you want to tell me about where you went and what you did, then fine.  I don't need all the details."

That settled, Alec made a drink while Rose went to get ready for bed, still a bit unsure about doing it in front of him even though he'd got most of her nightwear off the last two nights.

"Here, come and sit down, how are you feeling?" he asked as she came back to the living area.

"Not too bad, at least I kept those potato wedges down."

"Yes, I'm a bit surprised at that, if you need anything, just look in the kitchen cabinet, I got something just in case."

"You did?"  She decided she was going to have a bit of fun with him.  "Were you sure I would tell you tonight?"

"What?  You mean you were feeling ok or that you could finally tell me you love me?"

"Well both but that's not what I meant."

"Then what did you mean?  Oh, I meant I got you an indigestion remedy, just in case.  What did you think I'd got?"

Rose giggled and finished her drink, unfastening the tie on her dressing gown.

"You thought I had bought something else?  Really?" he asked, watching her.

"Well yeah, since you didn't know until the other night why I was a bit reluctant with you, I thought you may fancy your chances."

"Rose, I would never take advantage of you like that."

"Chill, I'm just kidding you.  I told Ellie, I just forgot to go get covered before I went away, that's all.  How was I to know I was going to meet a psycho Casanova?"

"Who?" Alec asked, leaning forward and putting his arms under the dressing gown.

"Never mind, let's go to bed and hope there are no press outside the caravan in the morning."

Alec decided if Rose wasn't quite willing yet to get undressed in his presence he would show that he was as he took off his t-shirt and began taking off his trousers, Rose propped on one arm, watching him.  He sat on the edge of the bed, trying to take his socks off, Rose giggling.

"Really Rose?" he asked, raising one eyebrow at her.

"You had a t-shirt on last night when you got into bed."

"Yes, that never lasted long, did it?  Did I spoil your fun in trying to get it off me?"

"Nah, it saved time.  I want to try Alec, if you want?"

"To get over being with Kilgrave?  I can live with that, I won't pressure you, we can take it easy."

Alec got into bed, turning out the light beforehand and Rose turned onto her side, praying she wouldn't start feeling sick after what she had eaten or that she'd embarrass herself but she soon forgot about all the things that could get in the way as she got carried away with the sensations and even forgot how good it had felt with her captor.

Alec laid afterwards, his arm under a now sleeping Rose, thinking how lucky he was that she had soon changed her mind and trusted him, he could have just as easily had to wait a lot longer before she could leave it all behind her.  They'd not gone too far but he had made her get excited that she had asked him not to stop and he himself felt some relief from the tension that had been building up between them since they had met.

Alec woke first the next morning, slipping out of bed and smiling to himself that Rose would be annoyed she'd not caught him changing his shorts.  Putting the kettle to boil, he prepared some eggs and put the toaster on then went to try and wake the sleeping Rose.

"Hey, wake up love, I've put breakfast on for us."

"Hi.  Oh, I don't know if I can eat anything other than toast."

"After the potato wedges you had last night?"

"Don't remind me, it was just comfort food."

He leaned over to kiss her.  "Well I hope that wasn't comfort sex last night?"

He just managed to dodge a pillow being thrown in his direction.

"Hey, you got some jeans, they suit you, they show off your bum."

He wiggled in her direction and went off to rescue breakfast.

Rose followed him but headed for the bathroom, Alec hoping she wasn't going to be in there all morning.  He planned on taking them out for a relaxing day, he'd been looking up places to take her and thought she might like to go to visit the swanery down in Abbotsbury.  Rose came out of the bathroom, looking rather pale.

"Come and eat something Rose, then you'll feel better."

She sat opposite him at the table and picked up the mug of tea and a slice of toast, pushing the eggs to one side.

"I already told you love, starving yourself won't make it go away."

"Alec, I can't wait until Tuesday, please, can't we do something?"

"Then call your stepfather, he has all the resources to find somewhere that can fit you in."

"What about the hospital, can't you say I'm the victim of an attack or something?"

"That would entail the police getting involved officially and while Miller may be willing to go along with it, she would be the one to have to take you and it would go on file.  Your stepfather won't be able to keep it quiet if someone at the hospital recognises you, after all the media attention you've been getting of late."

"Are there no private hospitals around here?" she groaned, finishing the tea.

"Yes, you are going to one on Tuesday.  I'll call Miller, have her look and see if there are any she missed.  Rose, I would take you any distance necessary if it made you happy.  I don't want to seem like I'm trying to delay it, I'm not but maybe you will just have to stick it out until they can see you."

"Call Ellie then, get her to ring them back and tell them who I am and it has to be done today.  I don't care how much it costs as long as they keep my identity secret."

He knew she wouldn't let this rest now, not when they had come the closest yet last night.  He picked up his phone and got Ellie's number, she wouldn't be at work yet.

"Miller, can you get back onto that clinic for Rose?"

"Why, is she ok?" Ellie asked as she handed her youngest son to the childminder, whom he was just settling down with again after staying with his aunt whilst she had been over in New York.

"Can you talk?"

"Hold on a sec."

She went back out to her car and asked what he wanted.

"Rose is fine physically but she's panicking Miller."

Rose had gone back to the bedroom to get dressed but he suspected she had really got back into bed.

"Poor thing, she's not holding up well then?"

"No, she's not.  She asked why we should not move back into my chalet and I had to tell her it was because I was afraid she might fall into the river, her being upset."

"Quite right too Hardy, something may happen if you go out.  Look, I'll get back onto the clinic again but I may have to tell them who she is, unless she wants me to do it through official channels and she's been in the papers enough."

"We know that Miller and yes, she has already agreed you can give her name.  I would rather it be there, they may still keep it quiet even when they discover who she is."

"Well leave it to me then, I'll try and persuade them to see her today, she may have to pay more."

"Do you think she is worried about the cost?"

"Well no but has she told her stepfather?"

"Yes, I made her call him last night, he was very understanding.  I just hope he has held out on her mother but we would know by now if he had failed to do so."

"I'll call you back then, one thing though, did she have something to tell you last night?"

"Yes, she did, now can you just get this sorted for her?"

Ellie smiled to herself, it was like Hardy was a completely different person since Rose's arrival in the town.  Even last week, he was off with everyone but that was only to be expected since he'd not known his fate.   It could have gone either way for the both of them but things were working out nicely, well except for a minor problem.  She started the car and decided if he wanted her help, she was going to take over his office for the duration of his absence, whether he liked it or not.

Alec was right, he went back into the bedroom to find Rose had curled up again and was asleep.  He leaned over and kissed her cheek then left her for a few hours, she wouldn't want to go out now, not with this.  He just hoped Miller could persuade the clinic to make an opening for her because he hated seeing his now girlfriend this way and if Kilgrave was ever found, he hoped the man would pay for what he had done to her and the others.

Ellie got to the station, being stared at as she went into Alec's office.   She didn't want anybody to know who she was making this call about, she'd made some enquires but kept Rose's name out of it, for those who had cared to listen, she could have been asking about anyone.

Someone finally answered the phone, it was just gone nine.  "Ah, this is DS Miller, Broadchurch police, I called the other day."

"Yes, I remember.  You were helping someone who was having a bad time after a failed relationship."

"Yes but it's become more urgent than that, is there any way you can see her today?"

"I'm very sorry DS Miller, we're all booked up for procedures today and we are closed on Monday.  We can fit her in for counselling, if you think that may help?"

"No, she's adamant she doesn't want counselling.  Would it make a difference if I told you who she was?"

The woman listened carefully as Ellie revealed Rose's identity, making it clear she was not to repeat the name she was told out loud.

"I understand DS Miller.  So, she feels she can't wait another few days?"

"No, she's in a really bad place right now, her stepfather knows but she hasn't told her mother and I know she's been in the papers, though I've not seen the latest edition."

The head nurse of the clinic had, it had been the talk of the staffroom since everyone arrived.

"Well I can understand, since she's made a statement to end all the speculation and if she and DI Hardy are in a relationship that she wants to get this resolved quickly, before the media catch hold of it.   Goodness knows what they would make of it.  So she had just got out of a very bad relationship when she met him?"

"You could say that.  Money is no object, as long as her anonymity remains intact."

"Well we would lose our reputation if we revealed who she was though I can't promise other patients will keep silent.  Would she be willing to come this evening, after the clinic closes?"

Ellie knew the answer to that.  She arranged Rose would arrive at five thirty and the minimum of staff would be in attendance and would be greeted at the rear entrance by the head nurse herself, who was always willing to gain a little extra cash.  After saying it would be Hardy himself bringing Rose, Ellie went to make herself a well deserved drink.  Passing by a few desks, she picked up the morning edition of The Herald, where a certain Karen White had probably choked herself having to leave the headlines as Pete had instructed.

'Rose Tyler confirms relationship with Alec Hardy' the headline ran.  Ellie picked the paper up and getting her drink, went back to his office to see what the Vitex chairman's PR team had come up with, hoping it was better than the one where it had been explained where she had got to in New York, Rose's version to Beth last night had been more plausible.

Rose had just woken up again, seeing she was alone.  She got dressed and tried to make herself look presentable, unaware Alec had already called Ellie and he'd got a call back, telling him to have Rose there for five thirty and to make sure Rose knew it was going to be expensive.

"I don't care what it costs Miller and neither does Rose, I can't see her like this all weekend.  She'll be off anyway with feeling sick over the weekend, I will just have to explain to Daisy she went ahead early with it, or cancel her visit."

"How many times have you already put her off Hardy?"

"I know, besides, Rose's family are coming down the next holiday weekend.  She will understand.  I'll tell Rose when she gets up, she went back to bed."

"I don't blame her but at least she'll get it over with tonight, why don't you find a place to stay down there and let her rest?"

"That's not a bad idea Miller, I'll get on to it, you'd best give me the address then."

"Didn't I already give you it?" Ellie asked, retrieving her notebook where she had scribbled it down the other day.

Alec hung up and picking up Rose's data pad, connected it to the internet and looked up hotels in Dorchester, finding one near the address he had made a note of.  He called the number and made a booking for the night, saying he couldn't give an estimated time of their arrival but he made sure he kept Rose's name out of the conversation.

"Hey sweetheart," he called out as he turned off the pad when he heard the door opening.  "Feeling better?"

He soon got his answer when Rose fled to the safety of the bathroom, Alec getting up, concerned.  He tapped on the door.

"Rose, can I come in?"

"No, just leave me alone."

"I have news, if you let me in."

He heard the catch go and pulled the door open, Rose leaning over the small sink in the corner.

"Miller got you in, half past five tonight."

"Great, if I survive until then.  Aren't they closed at that time?"

"They made an exception when Miller told them it would be more than worth their while.  If you want me to pay on my bank card, you had best do a transfer before we set off.  Oh, I booked us a hotel room nearby, you won't feel like making the journey back here when you get out."

"How long will it take?"

"I'll be honest with you Rose, I took Claire Ripley to one near Southampton when her husband was arrested.  She was there a few hours but maybe everyone is different though?"

"Yeah, knowing me they'll keep me all night, this baby won't want to give up."

"Nonsense love, I'm sure they will let you out when you recover."

"Did Ellie say what they would do?"

"No, she never went into details, I never asked any questions when I took Claire, I just waited outside and made it clear I was not with her, well not in that sense anyway."

"Why didn't you say something before?" Rose asked, drying her face on the towel after she splashed some cold water on it.

"I didn't think you needed to hear about it.  I should have said something, I admit but this is slightly different Rose, she was a willing participant whose marriage was tricky at best, she admitted she thought he was grooming the two girls."

"One was only twelve Alec, how sick is that?"

"Well it was enough at the time for her to turn on him but she was holding out all that time, she was trying to protect herself, not him.  Anyway, this will all be over tonight so I will pack us an overnight bag and put it in the car later. You will need a dressing gown and slippers for the clinic though so have you a spare one?"

"Yeah, in the wardrobe.  You can leave now Alec," she hinted as he leaned on the door.

He was making a bad habit of keeping women talking in the bathroom.  Rose managed a light lunch, Ellie had called her and said no food or drink two hours before the procedure but she couldn't answer Rose's question of the method they would use.

"I can't tell you sweetheart, they never said but since it's in the evening and they're working overtime, I expect it will be the quickest way possible.  Don't worry it's not the 60s any more, they have far safer ways these days."

"What am I getting myself into Ellie?"

Alec saw the look on her face and took the phone off her.  "She'll call you later Miller."

"Yeah, tell her I hope everything goes well."

Alec held Rose tightly to his chest, kissing the top of her head.  "What did she say to you?" he asked.

"Nothing, it's just the reality of it, that it will be all over tonight."

"Well you wanted to bring it forward."

"I'll pay on my own card Alec, before I go in."

"Well, I would offer but paying for hotels and this caravan has made a dent in my bank account."

"Yeah, I still owe you for the two nights at the pub."

"No you don't, I was the one who insisted you did not stay in my chalet."

"Well can we move back in there after the weekend?"

"Caravan not good enough for you?" he teased.

"Well maybe for the next weekend, when my family come down."

"I thought they were coming the next holiday?"

"Oh, I never went down to the office did I?  Best have a walk down and to answer your question, I don't think Tony wants to wait that long, he can take the day off on the Monday, it's only for the weekend."

"Maybe you can put them off?"

"Nah, it's fine.  You're not putting Daisy off are you?"

"No, I thought about it though but it would be wrong, I've kept putting her off.  If you feel like a walk, we will go down to the office then we can take a walk along the esplanade."

"I should call Pete and tell him."

"I can call him for you."

"No, I have to do this, maybe he'll suggest they leave coming down here?"

They stopped at the sales office after Rose had called Pete, Rose sending him the details but Pete was undecided about going down now, Jackie would surely pick up there was something wrong with her daughter.  He retrieved the website details from Rose, her having said they had vacancies next weekend and went off to find his wife before he went to the office.

"Jaks, I just heard from Rose about us going down next weekend."

"Oh, I thought it was next bank holiday?  What about Tony?"

"Yeah, that's what she was asking.  Do you want to leave it for a few weeks then?"

"Yeah, might as well, then we can go for a week."

Pete put on his best smile. He'd got out of Jackie being mad at him if she found out about Rose but Rose would surely thank him for bringing her mother down for a week instead of a weekend but it would give her time to get over things.  He'd been a bit surprised she'd said she wanted Alec to take her but it was understandable.

Alec had led Rose to the end of the short esplanade and they had sat down.

"See that big house up there?" he pointed.  "The prosecution barrister from Joe Miller's trial lives there, well at least she did."

"I bet the view is amazing."

"Miller seemed to think so, too much sea for me."

"Says you who used to live by the river."

"You win, we will go back to the chalet, since you never asked the office if we could stay in the caravan but I warn you, there is no room for your clothes."

Rose turned and kissed his cheek, touching his beard, which he had missed trimming that morning.

"Growing it back?"

"I missed it.  Any objections?"

"No, if you keep it that length.  We should get that bag packed and think about making our way to Dorchester."

"It's not that far Rose."

"Well we can find the hotel first, save finding it afterwards."

"Fine, we'll do that then.  Are you getting nervous?"

"It shows?  Yeah, who wouldn't be, I'm not doing this lightly Alec, I have no choice.  I told Ellie that if I'd said I would keep it, you'd do something really stupid and say it's yours."

"It would appease your mother, she would find out."

"I can't do that to you Alec, I just can't.  You've been so good about the whole thing."

"What can I say?  You are worth it Rose."

They went back to the caravan, Rose getting her clean dressing gown out and a nightdress, a pale pink silky one for the hotel but didn't think it would be appropriate and picked up a pair of fluffy pink pyjamas instead.

Alec stopped her.  "You are not wearing those."

"Stop it Alec, I'll be a wreck tonight, I need my comfort clothing, just tonight, I promise."

"Well it will make no difference to me, just so you know.  Pack them then, I know you are still worried about what I think."

"Yeah, I'm doing my best to get over it, really I am."

He put his arms around her.  "I know you are love, let me help you?"

He pulled her to the bed, it was only a little after two and he laid her down, hovering over her, resting on his hands.  He lifted the floral top she was wearing and kissed her tummy gently.

"You remember what I asked you?  About how you would feel if you really wanted a baby?"

Rose nodded.  "Yeah, I said it would be worth it but don't get any ideas, I'm not going down this road again in a hurry and when I get out of the clinic, I'll need to get back to normal before we can even, you know.   I'll have to find the local family planning or go register at the health centre."

"Then you want me to wait?"

"Well until I feel better, I never said you couldn't be the one to take the responsibility, did I?" she asked, pulling him down.

"Then I will make that my number one priority when I go shopping again."

"With your teenage daughter?" Rose laughed as he went for her tummy again.

Chapter 38

As they drove towards Dorchester, Alec could see she was getting nervous but he didn't know what he could possibly say to make her feel any better about it.  Yes, she had accepted it was partly her own fault for getting in this state, she'd admitted that even though she'd tried to resist Kilgrave, she'd given in but only because of what she feared he might do.  There was no easy way out of this, he didn't want to say the wrong thing and she'd do something stupid, like he feared she might throw herself in the river in an attempt to take the decision out of her hands.

He knew she hadn't wanted to wait even another few days, despite him telling her umpteen times it didn't matter to him the baby she was carrying wasn't his, she had done what she had to do and there was no going back.  He found the hotel which he'd booked for them and sitting Rose down, went to the desk and checked in, just signing his name and since he'd never officially changed his address put his chalet down since it would look odd putting the caravan site but they were still undecided as to where they would live.

For all he knew, Rose might get in a very low mood and demand he take her back to London or she'd call Jake to pick her up, it could be the end of what they'd shared the last few days.  He just hoped she wouldn't end up in therapy again.  He found the room, putting the bag on the chair by the door, Rose crossing to the window, which overlooked the garden.

"Seems comfortable enough," Alec remarked, checking the bathroom though why that was the first thing people did when they stayed in a hotel was beyond him.

"Yeah, was this your idea?"

"Miller suggested it but she was right, you may feel too uncomfortable to drive back to the caravan tonight, it may be late anyway."

He went to join her at the window, putting his arms around her waist and kissing her cheek.  "I would have thought about it though, probably."

Rose smiled and turned to face him. "I'm not gonna change my mind Alec."

"I know love, I am not even going to suggest it.  Why don't you transfer the funds to my account and I can settle the bill for you?  They may want you to pay afterwards and if someone from your stepfather's accounts department see it, it may get back to your mother."

"Yeah, I'll do it now, how much will it cost?"

"Oh, I have no idea.  Maybe we should leave it then?"

"Well if I pay on my debit card, it won't go to the accountants, there's enough in to pay whatever it is but the bank will know."

"Then maybe you should go to the bank and withdraw some cash?"  She leaned on his shoulder.  "Rose, I'm sorry, I wish I had enough to cover it though I can go up to a certain amount, it all depends."

"Then let's see how much they charge?"

All too soon, Alec was pulling into the car park of the clinic after they had just laid on the hotel bed holding each other, Rose having broken down at the reality of what was about to take place.  He drove around the back, hoping most of the staff had already left, it was almost five thirty.  The rear door opened and a uniformed nurse came out as Alec got out of the car.

"DI Hardy?" she asked, recognising him from the Latimer case.

"Yes, I will just get Miss Tyler, I hope you can trust your staff not to reveal she has been here?"

"Yes but if she pays by card, it will go on her statement, unless you're paying?  DS Miller never gave many details as to if the police were involved officially."

"No, she was doing it as a favour, Rose is too distraught to think about finding somewhere where she won't be noticed."

"Well no-one will hear it from us."

Alec went to help Rose out of the car, she usually got herself out but she was still upset.  The nurse led them inside to the reception area.

"You can pay now or later, I've prepared a bill for you but it depends which method of treatment you want to use.  Since it's evening and one method may take several hours,  I would expect you just want to get it over with?"

Rose nodded as the consent forms were handed to her.  She had to put Pete as her next of kin but put Alec down for contact, well since he was there with her.

"I want him to be kept informed during the procedure, if things start to go wrong.  I would have preferred the other method but since you pointed out it's late."

They were led to a changing cubicle, Alec waiting outside and taking her clothes that had been placed in the basket, then they were led to a waiting area.  Rose was called in and was given a quick health check and the nurse listened to her heartbeat, then she was asked some questions about allergies and her general health.

Alec was pacing up and down, to the amusement of the head nurse.

"Nervous?" she asked, much as he'd asked Rose on the way there.  "She'll be fine, we'll take the greatest of care of her, it's not like the old days when it was all back street and illegal.  If she'd come along on Tuesday, she would have been given the option of the other treatment but everyone is different, that could take anything over two hours though she's not that far on."

"Could she still not go for that?" Alec asked, not wanting Rose to suffer.

"Well she could but it's up to her if she wants to ask for it, it can get quite painful, almost as bad as labour itself, I'm sure she won't want that."

"Maybe not then, let's see what she has decided."

Rose came out and sat beside him.  "Well, that's the easy bit over then, now for the hard bit."

"Do you have any questions Miss Tyler?" the nurse asked.

"How long does it take?"

"Not long, it's straightforward enough, there should be no complications.  You read and understood the admittance and consent forms?"

Rose nodded, clinging hold of Alec's arm.  "Can we have a few minutes?"

"Of course, just go through that door over there when you're ready.  That is unless you prefer the non-intrusive method?"

"Is it too late to go for that?" Rose asked, looking at Alec.

"No, we are prepared for either, I'll let you discuss it but please, try not to take too long."

When she had left, Alec took Rose's hand.  "It's up to you love but if you ask me, the quickest would be the best way, you already feel bad enough and if you take too long, they may have to operate anyway."

"Yeah, you're right.  Walk me to the door?"

They walked across and Alec leaned down to kiss her.  "I wish you had been with me when I had my pacemaker fitted."

"So do I, you'd have had it fitted a lot sooner, never mind you passing out on the decking."

"Don't forget when I collapsed in my hotel room."

Rose held him tighter.  Alec knew she didn't want any of this so he let go of her and pushed the door slightly.  He walked her inside, the table waiting for her looking like something from a torture chamber, Rose wondering if they were going to knock her out or make her watch.  The nurse saw she looked worried.

"Don't be scared Rose, it looks worse than it is.  Graham here is going to put you to sleep and monitor you, Mary is going to hold your hand until you go under and I'll be doing the procedure."

The two staff smiled at her, Graham with a needle all ready to use on her, the breathing mask close by.

"I want Alec to hold my hand until I go under," Rose declared, being helped onto the table that was more like a chair at present.

The nurse nodded and handed Alec a green gown to put over himself, which he quickly did.  Once Rose was settled, he took her hand.

"I'll be right here when you wake up love."

"Yeah, I know you will," Rose smiled back as the injection started to take effect.

Alec let go as the mask was put over her and feeling he no longer belonged there, he took the gown off and went to the door, glancing back as the small but efficient team started going about their tasks.  He went to sit down, no-one else was around but whom he presumed had given Rose her pre-op came out of the office and gave him a smile.

"Don't worry, she'll be out in no time."

He hoped she was right.  He got his phone out of his pocket and got Ellie's number.

"I didn't expect to hear from you," Ellie told him, trying to feed Fred.

"She's had to go for the surgery, she wasn't that keen on the idea of suffering for hours using the other method."

"Like I told Rose earlier, it's all done routinely these days, she'll be fine."

"Easy for you to say, I just left her in there Miller."

"What was the alternative?  Have you called her stepfather?"

"I will, it's up to him if he tells her mother or not, best wait and see what happens."

He hung up and got Pete's number, waiting for him to answer.  Pete was in his study having just got back from Torchwood, he only went in a few hours a day to oversee operations and was thinking of cutting it down to a few days.

"So, she's in there then?" Pete asked, thinking that was rather obvious.

"Yes, are you going to tell her mother?"

"Call me back when it's over, I haven't made up my mind yet."

He got up and went to find Jackie, not knowing what to do for the best.  On the one hand, Jackie would be livid if he hadn't told her and something went wrong but if it did, Rose wouldn't thank him.  He was spared as his phone rang again, it was Castle.

"Hey Pete, how's things?"

"Fine Rick, how's things with you?  Have you found that Jessica yet?"

"That's why I'm calling.  Carver had a bit of luck and sent some details to Kate, I think I've found her but it will have to wait until Monday now, I have a phone number, I'm gonna give her a call and arrange a meeting."

"Well I'd be grateful if you kept Alec out of it, maybe Carver too but you need to tell her what happened to Rose and about Hope."

"Leave it to me Pete, I'll keep them out of it as much as I can but she may ask questions such as how we got on to him."

"Well as long as Carver stays where he is and Alec remains here, there shouldn't be any problems.  It's Kilgrave you should feel sorry for if she catches up with him or if my wife gets hold of him."

After saying goodbye to Castle, Pete went to join his wife and son in the kitchen, Jackie fussing over the boy.

"Now you've done it Pete."

Pete had a nasty feeling she'd found out about Rose but wanted to confirm it.

"Done what?" he asked innocently, ruffling the boys hair.

"Did you think you'd get away with it?"

"What are you talking about?"

"I saw the website you were looking at, that caravan site and next weekend, what did I tell you about Tony?"

Pleased he had got away about Rose, he agreed he would make the booking for the next holiday weekend, for a week.  Rose owned him that much.  He picked up the pad he'd left earlier that Jackie had switched on and changed the date, noting there were still some vacancies.  Now all he had to do was wait for Alec calling him back and tell him they were closer to finding Kilgrave although the damage had already been done.

Back at the clinic, Alec had sat himself down, head in his hands.  He couldn't lose her, not now and statistically, these procedures had a very high success rate, well according to Miller but what had she been filling Rose's head with?  He sat up, eyes fixed on the door where he'd left Rose, the love of his life because she was now, he'd not known why he'd been spared when he should have died on the operating table himself or several times before, as far as he knew Rose hadn't heard about the night he'd chased Miller's husband and been rushed to hospital, she would be horrified.

It had only been an hour but it seemed a lifetime before the door opened and Rose was being wheeled out.  Alec was up like a shot, rushing to her side.

"How is she? D id everything go ok?"

"Yes, everything went fine, we'll just take her to the recovery room, you can go with her.  It's best you're there when she wakes up.  She'll be out for an hour, maybe less and as soon as she feels well, she can go.  If you come with me, we can settle what you owe."

"Yes, by all means but you may have to wait for her to pay, depending on what the charges are, being out of hours."

"I only agreed because of who she is, we don't normally do this sort of thing but DS Miller said it was most urgent and judging by her nervousness when she came in, she may have changed her mind by Tuesday."

"No, I don't believe she would have, it would have only made her worse, being left over the weekend."

They had reached the reception desk, Alec being handed a piece of paper with a breakdown of the costs.  Seeing the total, it wasn't that bad, considering so he got his bank card out and trusted Rose wouldn't want him to pay for the hotel in the morning, there was still a week until payday.

He got the receipt and went back to where it was indicated Rose would be, the other nurse sitting at a desk.

"You can sit by her bedside until she wakes up, it helps if you take her hand, she'll wonder where she is."

Forty minutes later, he felt her moving.  He'd sent Pete a message as well as Ellie to say she was out of the theatre, Pete sending him one back to say they needed to talk later.  Alec hoped it wasn't about the fact he'd had to tell Jackie Tyler.

"Hey, you're still here."

"Where would I go?"

"Did you pay?" Rose asked, trying to sit up but still feeling dizzy.

Alec sat on the bed, supporting her.  "Yes but you are paying for the hotel tonight Rose.  How do you feel?"

"Weird but I don't really feel sick any more.  Can I go now?"

The nurse was just bringing her a cup of tea.

"Drink this first and take your time, we don't want you getting dizzy, do we now?" the nurse smiled.  "Can I get you anything?" she asked Alec.

"Tea would be appreciated, it's been a long wait."

The nurse went off.

"Did you call Ellie and Pete?"

"Yes, Pete wants to talk to us, when we get back to the hotel."

"Don't tell me my mother found out?"

"Not as far as I know, it must be something else, she has not been calling you.  How do you really feel love?"

"I'll be fine but I'll probably have a scar."

"Well that is the least of your problems, I promise not to notice."

"Yeah, well just you remember that and the fact I'll be rather delicate for a while."

Rose was allowed to leave and they went back to the hotel, Rose forgoing the evening meal but insisted Alec still ate, just catching the dining room being open.

"Have some soup," Alec insisted as the waitress brought his.

Rose nodded in agreement and Alec passed his across.

"Mmm, smells good since I've not eaten properly for ages."

"Have you been living on potato wedges?" he asked, raising his eyebrows as his own soup arrived.

"So, what did Pete want?"

"We should find out later.  Let's hope it's not to say your mother has found out.  Are you ever going to tell her?"

Rose shook her head.  "Would you have told her, if she'd called you?"

"I may be a detective Rose but I have my limits."

They went back to their room, Rose feeling a little sore as the anaesthetic wore off completely and Alec insisted she got undressed and into bed even though it was early.  He put the TV on low volume and called Pete back.

"So, she's ok?" Pete asked him.

"Do you want to speak to her?"

"No, just tell her Castle may have found Jessica Jones, Carver came up with a few things so Castle is trying to arrange a meeting with her.  I've asked him to keep you out of it Alec."

"For which I am grateful.  Let us know if he gets back to you."

An hour later, Rose was asleep, Alec sat up on the pillows comforting her.  All that mattered was now, she could maybe put it all behind her.

The next morning, they got back to the caravan, Alec making a fuss over her. Daisy called to say she was setting off and Alec insisted Rose rested on the seating area while he tidied up and they made a shopping list.

"So, are you going to let Daisy choose her own food?"

"If she wants to.  No tonic water then?"

Rose threw a soft cushion in his direction.  "Don't go reminding me of that.  We really need to talk now, did you think I wouldn't want to?"

Alec sat down again, pretending to throw the cushion back at her but holding onto it.

"I had no idea how you would feel love but if you want to talk, then that's what we will do.  Do you want to go home?"

"Why would I?" she asked, moving across to him.  She leaned into his shoulder as he put his arms around her.

"I thought maybe you would want to see your mother after all."

"I'll see her when she comes down, I've put them off until the next holiday, I hope."

"Then there is nothing to talk about, is there?  We just have to decide where we go when we leave here."

"Don't you trust me by the river?"

"Well I do now, I had my doubts though.  I was only thinking what was best for you.  Now, can we leave all that behind?"

"Yeah, I know I've got you to help me.  Shouldn't you be walking over to meet Daisy?"

"Yes, I will bring some lunch back, potato wedges perhaps?"

"Don't you dare, just something light though maybe?"

"Anything you want love and I will explain to Daisy on the way over."

He kissed her goodbye and walked the short distance to the bus and coach stop, just across the bridge.  Daisy had said goodbye to her mother, Tess asking her about how she felt, meeting Rose.

"Who wouldn't want to meet Rose Tyler?  I still can't believe she's really dad's new girlfriend, you should have heard all my friends yesterday when they'd been in the papers."

"Yes, well your father is quite capable of getting in the papers on his own without her help.  I bet he never even gave that statement, it will have been written by her stepfather's PR team and as for that rubbish about what happened to her in New York?"

"Leave it Mum, I'm sure they'll tell me the truth when I get there.  Here's my coach, I'll see you on Tuesday."

As she made her way to Broadchurch, she wondered why her dad had been so mysterious when he'd last called to make the final arrangements that he had something he wanted to talk to her about but she didn't know since then that things had changed.

Alec had been going to tell her that Rose was pregnant, the result of her being held captive but that was no longer the case though Rose would still not be her usual self over the weekend.  As the coach turned off the main road and made it's way to the harbour, Alec was sat on the wall by the bus shelter, Beth Latimer, who was out for a walk with her baby daughter seeing him.

"Waiting for someone inspector?" Beth asked.

"Yes, my daughter is coming for a visit, she will be here soon."

"Oh I think Ellie mentioned something about it.  Where did you two get to when you both left town, Ellie wouldn't say much."

"We were on a special assignment, we can't discuss it."

"So, it's true then?  Rose wouldn't say much when Ellie brought her to see me."

"Yes, no doubt you will see us around the town together anyway, we are not going to hide the fact now the press have been given a statement.  Ah, I believe this is the coach I have been waiting for."

"You and Miss Tyler should come over for Sunday lunch sometimes, maybe next week?"

"I will ask her and thank you for talking to her the other night."

Daisy was just getting up, seeing her dad talking to a woman with a pram.  She got her bags from the rack as the driver called out their destination and she made her way to the front, Alec standing by the steps waiting to help her.

"Daisy, welcome to Broadchurch."

He gave her an awkward hug as they moved away from the coach.

"You're not taking me to that chalet are you Dad?" Daisy asked as they walked to the gap leading to the footbridge.

"I have to call in for a few minutes and check the place, Rose may want to come back here when you leave."

He opened the gate and Daisy followed, wondering what the appeal was, her mother hadn't been very favourable about it after she'd brought him back from the hospital.

"Take a seat Daisy, I won't be long then I have something to tell you."

"Don't tell me, you've not got her pregnant already have you?"

"Why do teenagers always ask such stupid questions?  No, I did not but it's something to do with that.  When she was being held in New York, well she got involved with the man who was holding her."

"So she is pregnant?  You're still with her?"

"Rose went to a clinic last night and aborted it but don't you dare tell your mother."

"Wow, that's a hell of a secret to ask me to keep Dad."

"Well even her mother doesn't know about it, only her stepfather, myself, my DS and now you."

"So is she ok?"

"She will be now it's over."

Well at least he hoped she would be but once the dust settled, then what?   They walked across the road bridge and into the caravan site, stopping for food and to pick up Daisy's entertainment pass for the weekend.

"So will Rose be ok to go out and things?" Daisy asked as they approached the caravan.

"Maybe not today but you and I are going shopping after lunch, I don't want her walking around the supermarket."

"So I get to choose what I want then?" the teenager laughed.

"Aye but there's not much room in the fridge I can tell you, I'm going to have to buy tinned and packet food mostly so no filling the freezer compartment with pizzas."

"Yes Dad, whatever you say but maybe we can just eat out?"

"We will see what Rose wants to do.  You are ok with this?"

"I have to be, don't I?  Don't worry, I'll not tell mum about what happened, I expect you want to keep it out of the papers?"

"Rose has been in them enough lately."

"I thought she would be used to it."

Alec turned at the side of their caravan and opened the door, Rose was still laid on the seating but sat up when the door opened.  She was still feeling sore but that would soon pass, the worse was over now but when she thought about having to go the whole weekend, she shivered.

"Rose, we're back sweetheart," Alec called as Daisy went in first.

"Hi, nice to see you at last," Rose greeted the girl, wondering if she'd go for a hug or not.

"So have I got one of those awful twin rooms?  I've been looking caravans up online."

"No, you have the smaller of the two double rooms, Rose and I share so get used to it," Alec told her.

The teenager rolled her eyes, just what she needed, her dad and his girlfriend getting smoochie with each other all weekend, she may as well have stayed at home and watched her mother and that loser Dave.  Alec dished up the food then he and Daisy went off to the supermarket and Rose took the opportunity to call her mother.

"Well you've been quiet all week," Jackie remarked as Jake was chasing Tony around the house.

"Not much to say, been settling in.  The caravan's nice enough, better than being stuck in a hotel room."

"So what's his daughter like then?"

"She's a teenager Mum, what ya think she's like?" Rose laughed.

"Well I hope the two of you get on or the weekend's gonna seem a lot longer for all of you.  Got any plans?"

She had no idea, they'd not even talked about where they were going to go because until yesterday morning, they were going to have to take things easy but tomorrow when she felt better, that would no longer be the case.  She was sure there would be plenty of places to keep Daisy amused.  Up at the supermarket, Alec was being careful what he chose, due to lack of storage and his dwindling bank balance.  Rose still hadn't got around to paying him back, not that it hadn't been worth it but it was something he'd not expected and after paying for her hotel and the caravan, he would be glad when it was payday.

After Rose talked to her mother, she went on the internet and to her bank account. Alec had begrudgingly left her his account details so she transferred the amount she owed for the clinic plus some extra for the nights in the pub.  Alec had been right though, it was best the clinic didn't show up on her bank account but maybe they had a discreet way of it not showing up on bank statements.

They had a quiet few hours to themselves after Daisy and Alec got back then walked down to the club bar later on, Daisy wanting to call and see the swimming pool she planned on using.

"Want to come with me tomorrow?" she asked Rose as they peered through the windows, Alec pulling faces at the thought of going in.

"Can we leave it until Monday?" Rose groaned, not really feeling she could show herself off yet.

Daisy went ahead of them.

"I'm not doing very well, am I?" Rose asked Alec, putting her arm in his.

"It's not the easiest of things for either of you, she will come round."

"When she's ready to leave?" Rose smiled back as the teenager turned around in the entrance to the bar.

When they all got back, Rose decided to have an early night.

"You two have a lot to talk about, I'll get out of your way."

"Rose, it's fine, you can stay, can't she Daisy?"

Daisy just shrugged her shoulders.  This was not what she'd been expecting her first weekend with her father to be like since he'd left home and it was going to be a long and difficult one for all of them.  She'd not decided about how she felt yet, Rose wasn't really that much older than she was, maybe ten years or so and it was taking some getting used to but the man her mother was playing house with was older, her dad had to be about the same age as Dave was, maybe just a bit younger.

She still wondered how her dad and Rose had taken to each other, he'd only been going over to New York to help find her, not shack up with her when they got back so how had it happened so fast?

Alec followed Rose into their bedroom, putting his arms around her.

"I won't wake you when I come to bed love," he told her, kissing her neck.

"It's ok, you can do but maybe no mucking around yet?"

"Still feeling delicate?"

"Yeah a bit but I'll be fine in a few days then I'll find the health centre and get covered."

"There is no need to rush you know."

"I know but I made you think you'd be waiting for ages."

"It does not matter, I can wait a bit longer, until it's all sorted.  I took your advice and didn't sneak anything in with the shopping."

Rose smiled, letting him kiss her shoulder.

"Well if we go out tomorrow, maybe I can distract Daisy for an hour or so and you can sneak off on your own?"

Alec just smiled to himself as he nuzzled against her.  Any doubts she was going home or say she didn't want to be with him were fast disappearing and he was thankful she was talking about them finally being together properly, once she had recovered from what happened last night.  The sooner she forgot about Kilgrave and the sooner he was caught by either the police or Jessica Jones the better and as he kissed his gorgeous girlfriend, he didn't much care how it ended as long as Rose could leave it all behind her.

Chapter 39

Alec talked with Daisy for a while, just catching up but she wanted to know how it had all happened so fast.

"So you and Rose, she took a liking to you because you looked like her kidnapper?"

"Something like that.  I thought the same at first, that she was clinging to me because she was scared of letting go but it's more than that Daisy, she lost someone else before and she never got over it.  When she was kidnapped, it all came back to her and she was more vulnerable.  I hope I have helped her get over both."

"Aw, you can be so sweet when you want to be Dad," his daughter teased. "Seriously though, didn't her being pregnant put you off?"

"We only found out when she got here, by then it was too late, I had fallen for her in a big way, like I wanted to protect her and make it all go away for her.  If she had wanted to keep it, I would have stood by her."

"Because you lost your own family?  I know what happened between you and mum and I don't blame either of you.  I was so angry with you when you just left but I know it would never have worked out.  Have you ever asked mum to go back to you?"

He thought back a few weeks just after his surgery, wishing he'd got himself fixed when he found out, maybe he could have salvaged his marriage.

"Promise not to laugh?"

"You did!  You actually asked her?"

"I just said maybe we could try again, she shot me down in flames, in front of my DS."

Daisy tried to suppress a giggle, getting her a look from Alec.

"You should go to her," Daisy declared, getting up.  "Was it difficult, her deciding what to do?"

"Yes but she's strong, she got over her ordeal, she did not need reminding of it.  We can go out tomorrow, if she is feeling better, you can choose where."

"As long as you don't both treat me like I'm twelve and we go to a theme park."

"Are there even any around here?"

"You live here Dad."

"Well I never had to take anyone around before and keep them entertained for two days."

"Gee Dad, what are you going to do if I decide to spend the summer here?"

"Work?" he grinned.  "No, that's what tore us apart in the first place and I promise you now, that will never happen again."

"What about you and Rose?"

"What about me and Rose?"

"Are you going to choose her over me?"

"Why are you even asking that?  I thought you seemed to get on well."

"I'm trying Dad, really I am but when we arranged for me to visit, you didn't even know her and now, you're sharing a room with her.  I'm not sure it's a good idea I come for the summer, I don't want you to have to choose between her and me."

"See how you feel before you leave.  Rose is not at her best right now, she's still upset over yesterday.  Give her a chance eh?"

"I'll try, just for you, just don't go getting all kissy in front of me."

"I will try my best though Rose may have other ideas."

He let his daughter go and then crept into the bedroom he now shared with Rose. In the light from outside, he could see how vulnerable she really was, that Kilgrave had taken advantage of her and unknowingly, brought back the painful memories of her losing the Doctor or had he somehow known about him?  He'd never dared ask how many people knew about her past but it couldn't be that many, Pete Tyler wouldn't want it widespread that his stepdaughter had loved an alien from an alternate universe, let alone a completely different planet.

Rose was stirring as he slipped into bed, he'd remembered to keep his t-shirt and shorts on in case Daisy was wandering around at the same time.

"Mmm, Alec, everything ok?"

"Go back to sleep love, Daisy and I are good."

Rose rolled onto her back, pleased she wasn't feeling sick but still feeling a bit sore.

"I'm awake now," she teased, running her finger down his chest.

Alec grabbed her hand and raised it, kissing the back of it.

"Daisy is going to try and get along with you but it's not easy for her to accept how important you are to me."

"Yeah, I know and I'd never ask you to stop seeing her, you have a lot to make up for."

The following morning, Alec was up first and was just putting a light breakfast on a tray for Rose when she came out of the bedroom.

"Not dashing to the bathroom this morning I see?" he asked as she stood behind him and put her arms around his waist, leaning her head on his back.

He took her hands and carefully turned around, putting his arms around her.  He was about to kiss her when he heard Daisy's door open and they both let go.

"Morning Daisy, did you sleep ok?" Rose asked, taking a piece of toast.

"I hope you are going to eat more than that today?" Alec asked her as she walked off to the table.

It was Daisy who was doing the groaning that morning.  "Did I interrupt you?" she asked, seeing something had been about to take place.

"No, should you have been?  Rose and I did enough sneaking around and look where that got us?  All that speculation in the papers so we are not going to hide any more."

"Mum was pretty annoyed over that, she said you're capable of getting in the papers on your own, without any help.  Is there any breakfast for me?"

"Yes, just wait for the toast, there are eggs in the pan."

He took the tray with his own and Rose's over to the table.

"I'm starving," Rose complained as she grabbed her own plate.

"I am very glad to hear that.  Now, where are we going today?"

After agreeing to go down to Weymouth, Alec was pleased Rose and Daisy decided to have some retail therapy which left him free for an hour or so.  He didn't really want to push his luck in the bedroom but since he was on his own, he went into a pharmacy and noting they had self checkout, got what he thought he may need, should Rose be feeling better soon.  The last thing he wanted was to be responsible for Rose suffering further discomfort when she had just got over one pregnancy, albeit an unwanted one.

He had wondered how she felt about that now, assuming she wanted to be in that situation at some point but if she did, it had to be on her terms and he wasn't going to rush her.  It would be nice though to start another family, he was still young enough to enjoy raising a child or two with Rose.  He had been prepared when she found out she was pregnant to support her and raise the child as his own but it had been up to her in the end but he was glad she had been sensible about it and done it properly.

He was sat outside a coffee shop waiting for the two of them to show up when he got a call from Ellie.

"You have nothing to do on a Sunday?" Alec queried.

"Very funny Hardy.  Just wondered how Rose and your daughter are getting on."

"They seem ok so far, they have gone shopping.  I did warn Daisy not to take advantage of Rose's bank balance."

"You know she'll probably completely ignore that?  How's Rose feeling now?"

"She seems a lot more cheerful today, at least she did not come out of the bedroom and go throw up in the bathroom."

Ellie laughed.  "Well tell her I called.  I bumped into Beth, she said she saw you waiting by the bus stop yesterday."

"Yes, I was waiting for Daisy to arrive, Rose was still resting."

"Maybe you'd all call in, when you get a minute?  Rose hasn't met Fred yet."

"You think seeing a wee boy will make her feel any better Miller?"

"Oh, I hadn't thought of that but he's two, he's not a small baby."

"I will ask.  They are just heading this way, with a pile of shopping bags."

After lunch, Alec pleased to see Rose finally eating something, they put the shopping away and went for a walk along the sea front then drove back to the caravan.

"Can we all go out tonight Alec?" Rose asked, leaning her head on his shoulder and noticing Daisy was watching.

"Don't you two go showing me up," Daisy groaned.

They managed not to, just enjoying the entertainment after Rose played a few games of bingo, to Alec's amusement.  They got back and decided they would venture over into Devon the next day and go to a few seaside towns instead of staying in one place but while they were out, Rose teasing Alec with her icecream cone, Daisy trying to pretend she wasn't with them, he got a call from Kate, since it wasn't a holiday over in New York.

"Hi Alec, just thought I'd fill you on the latest news.  Castle has just gone to meet with Jessica Jones, she agreed but he hasn't told her why."

"That should be interesting then, let me know how it goes."

"Who was that?" Rose asked as he took the remainder of the cone, Daisy pulling a face.

"Can't you get your own Dad?"

Alec made a face at her, the teenager rolling her eyes.

"It was Detective Becket, Castle has a meeting with the mysterious Jessica."

"Really? He tracked her down then?"

"Well they had some help from Carver.  Did I not tell you?"

"You may have done, I've been a bit out of it.  I wonder how that will go?"

Back in New York, Kate had called Emmett after she finished talking to Alec.

"So it paid off then?" Emmett was saying as Kate told him about the meeting.

"Yeah, I should have gone with him but he insisted she would be more likely to talk to him than a cop."

"Let's hope so.  Let me know if you need anything else, I keep being reminded of my obligations here in Gracepoint but I want as much as anyone to catch Kilgrave after what he put Rose and those other women through.  Have you found that other girl yet?"

"No but her parents are here, I'm just going downstairs to meet with them, they were in missing persons, someone misdirected them."

Kate hung up and told Ryan she was going downstairs.

"Want me to come with you?"

"I'll manage.  How's that other case coming along?"

"You still think it's all related?"

"We can't rule it out Ryan, what are the chances?  I still think Kilgrave's behind it, it's all too similar."

"The captain's getting pretty mad at us."

"So I noticed but even if it's related or not, we have to catch whoever is responsible, whether it's him or someone else."

Kate went downstairs and asked where Mr and Mrs Shlottman were.  The desk sergeant looked puzzled.

"I thought you sent someone down already Detective?"

"No, I said ask them to wait.  Where did they go?"

"An officer told them to follow him, that was ten minutes ago."

"Was anyone with him?  A man dressed in purple?"

The sergeant shook his head.  "Detective, have you any idea how busy this place gets?  Missing persons sent them down here to wait for you, since you put the word out.  If an officer took them off, then they are out of my hair."

Kate had to smile since the man's hair was thinning.

"Well if they come back, let me know."

"Sure thing detective and if I see a man in a purple suit, I'll call you myself."

Kate headed for the elevator and wondered who could have directed Hope's parents and where, surely Kilgrave wouldn't dare interfere or would he?  They were partly responsible for Rose leaving him, he must be out for revenge but if he knew Hope's parents were in town, that meant she was back with him.  He hadn't wasted any time replacing Rose in that respect.

Meanwhile, Castle had reached his destination, wishing he'd got a cab and hoping his car would be where he left it and intact when he came back out, if he ever got out.  Taking the rather smelly elevator, he found the floor he wanted and had been directed to the far end of the hallway, seeing a roughly boarded door in front of him.  This Jessica Jones seemed to keep rough company.

A man with a glazed look on his face came out of a door as he approached the one before Jessica's office.

"Hey man, you looking for Jessica?"

"Yeah, is she in?"

"She's not seeing anyone, why don't you tell me what you want with her?"

"Ah, well, I did arrange a meeting with her, she's expecting me."

"Go ahead then but if you wake her up, she'll just yell at you, it's early man."

"It's not that early, she said eleven, it's that now."

Castle looked at his rather expensive watch, wishing now he'd worn a cheaper one.

"Nice watch man."

"Yeah, now if you'll excuse me, wouldn't want to keep a lady waiting."

The man just left and brushing Castle's shoulder, shuffled down the hallway.  Castle found a piece of wood amongst the cardboard that covered the doorway and knocked, hoping this wasn't a big mistake.  He got no answer so he knocked again, hearing a glass breaking from inside.  This was not a good sign.

"Quit knocking and get the hell out of here," a woman's voice yelled as he was about to knock again.

"Jessica Jones?  We had a meeting, I'm Richard Castle."

He heard footsteps and then a catch clicking, the door opening a crack.   He just managed to see a young face looking at him, he rather thought she didn't look old enough to be a PI.

"You're Jessica?"

"No, I'm the Queen of Sheeba, who else would be holed up in this dump?  I suppose you want to come in then, mind the glass."

Castle looked around at the sparsely furnished room and the two bottles on the desk, one empty.  Jessica Jones was very young, very slight and wearing worn out jeans and a leather jacket that looked two sizes too big for her as did the t-shirt.

"So you're the famous Rick Castle?  Welcome to my humble office.  So what couldn't you tell me on the phone?"

"Ever heard of Rose Tyler?"

Jessica laughed.  "You're a PI and you're coming to me about a missing person?"

"She's not missing any more, she's safely back in London."

"Oh, I must get a newspaper more than once every two weeks then," she said sarcastically, reaching for the half full bottle and taking a swig.  "So what about her?"

"The papers never said what happened to her.  She was kidnapped by someone I think you used to know?"

"Go on."

"Goes by the name of Kilgrave."

Jessica almost dropped the bottle as she placed it on the desk.

"Get out, now."

"Hold on, I need your help in finding him.  He held her for almost two weeks and brainwashed her into doing what he wanted."

"He always does, there's no escape but he's dead, I saw him get run over by a bus."

"I'm sorry Jessica but he's very much alive and not only did he hold Rose Tyler, he got her pregnant and goodness knows how many more women he's done the same to including a young girl called Hope.  We have to find him and stop him."

Jessica picked up the bottle again.

"I can't help you Castle, leave me alone, I've moved on.  If he's alive then no-one can help you, not even me."

"You're our only connection to him, Rose said he'd talked about you to her."

"If she's pregnant, tell her to get rid of it, before it consumes her, she'll never be free."

Castle had argued with Pete that she needed to know the whole story and Pete had reluctantly agreed to reveal Rose's current state of health but he'd not yet had the chance to tell Castle Rose had indeed terminated the pregnancy.

"So she's gone back home then?" Jessica asked as an awkward silence fell.  "Pity, I'd liked to have met her.  Bring her back and I'll help you."

"She would never agree to that, she's met someone else, a detective who came over to help find her."

"Good for her but it's no deal if I don't meet her Castle."

Castle thought it would be wise as yet not to reveal who this detective resembled.

"I'll try and set it up then, it may take a few days to get her back over here."

"Take your time Castle and tell her to take my advice.  He's got these powers and they could be passed on.  How many more women are there?"

"We don't know."

"Who's the 'we'?"

"My wife, she's an NYPD detective, she was assigned to Rose's disappearance when it was established a death and other incidents were connected."

"Don't tell me.  He made someone step under a bus?"

"Yeah, that and other things but Rose did sort of resist him to some degree."

"She didn't do a very good job, did she?"

"He threatened people to get her to do as he wanted."

Jessica put the bottle down.  So she was right and her nightmares that had been resurfacing were coming true.  All the feelings he was watching her, the whispering of her name in empty spaces that she'd thought was the whiskey and all the shadows he could have been lurking in.  If he was back, everyone around her would now be in danger after she left him for dead, why couldn't he have just stayed that way?

Castle left and once safely out of the district, relieved his car was still in possession of all it's wheels, he called Kate.

"We're on but there's just one thing."

"What is it Castle?  I've got bad news, Hope's parents went missing from downstairs, Kilgrave may have got to them."

"Yeah, I've got bad news too, Jessica wants to meet with Rose, in person."

"Castle, she'll never go for it and if Alec comes with her?"

"I know Kate but if it's the only way she'll help, we have to at least ask Rose if she'll agree."

"OK, I'll call Alec and fill him in, you can call Pete.  Even if she does agree, he might be dead against it."

"Yeah but if it finds Kilgrave, we have to try."

"Now I'm worried about Hope and her parents, if they walked out, Kilgrave may be setting them up for something.  Did you tell Jessica about them?"

"No, I just told her about Hope, not too much but I had to tell her something else."

"What Castle?"

"I'll tell you tonight, I can't tell you on the phone but I have a message to give Rose, Pete will have to tell her."

"Ok, be secretive then but you tell me tonight."

"You can bet on it."

So Kate picked up the phone to call Alec again, unaware over in England it was a public holiday and Rose was still teasing him about the cone.

"It's Detective Beckett again," Alec informed her as she tried to get him not to answer.

"Alec, it's Kate again.  Castle had some luck with Jessica but she'll only agree to help if Rose comes back over here."

"What?  After what happened?"

"What's wrong Alec?"

Alec held his hand over the phone.  "They want you to go back."

"Are they crazy?  Alec, I can't go back, not now."

"Calm down Rose, let me find out why."

Kate quickly explained the meeting Castle had told her about.

"So she won't help unless Rose goes back?"

"No, sorry, she was most insistent according to Castle, he's calling her stepfather right now, no doubt Pete will then be calling her."

"I'll get back to you when I've talked to Rose about it but I can tell you now, she's shaking her head.  I'm not happy about this."

"None of us are Alec.  Let me know what she decides."

"Ultimately it will be up to her stepfather but if she does, she will not be going alone."

"I should hope not but if you come with her, Jessica may not be so kind with you."

"I'll take that into consideration but if Rose does go, then I go with her."

Pete was having a similar conversation with Castle.

"Alec will want to go with her," Pete told him, trying not to let Jackie hear that Rose may have to go back.

"I know that Pete but it's the only way Jessica will agree to help us and by her reaction, she thought he was well and truly out of the picture.  She's motivated but I think having Rose there will help because she escaped, much like I imagine Jessica did.  I have some bad news as well."

"More?" Pete asked as he caught sight of his wife.

"Yeah, Hope's parents turned up but they've gone missing, Kate thinks Kilgrave somehow got to them and is either using them to threaten Hope or he's got other plans for them and they won't be good."

"I'll call Rose, she'll be upset even with Alec there and if they go, I'm sending Mickey and Jake with them."

"Understood, I'll tell Kate.  Good luck with Rose."

He was going to need it and with Jackie, who had found him.

"What was all that about?"

"Nothing love, I have to call Rose.  Someone over in New York may be able to find Kilgrave but Rose may have to go back."

"No Pete, you can't send her back there, she's just gettin' over it."

"You think I don't already know that Jackie?  If there was any other way but there isn't but it's up to her."

"Well don't send her there alone, even with Alec."

"You really think I'd do that?  Come on Jackie."

He got hold of Rose as they were all heading for the car, the afternoon being spoiled as Daisy had wanted to know what was going on.

"You can't be serious Dad?  After what Rose has been through?" Daisy was asking him.

"Daisy, if we could avoid it then we would but you have to understand, that man has to be found and be stopped, goodness knows how many more people will be hurt if he's not."

"It's ok Daisy," Rose told her.  "I know you're concerned about me but your dad's right, he has to be stopped at any cost and if it means going back, then I have no choice but to go."

Rose's phone rang and Alec remained in the car park, turning the car engine off.

"Rose, I take it you've heard?" Pete asked her.

"Yeah and Kate's right, I have to go back.  Can you make the arrangements for me and Alec?"

"I'm sending Mickey and Jake with you, why don't you both come up here on Wednesday and you can all go over together?"

Rose said she'd get back to him and Alec set off back to Broadchurch.

"So I guess that's settled then?"

"What?" Rose asked, staring out of the passenger window.

"We'll have to keep the chalet for now, no sense in looking for somewhere else when it's paid for."

"Is it?  You never said."

"Well when I say paid for, the police pay it until I tell them otherwise, they take my share out of my pay.  No sense in changing it."

"Why not just keep the caravan instead?  Surely that's cheaper then you won't have to pay anything?" Rose wanted to know.

"Well we could ask when we get back I suppose, then call at the station after Daisy leaves tomorrow."

"You weren't going back to that shack were you Dad?" Daisy asked.

"Seriously, what's wrong with that chalet?" Rose wanted to know, since everyone seemed determined she wasn't going to ever live there with Alec.

"I told you Rose."

"Yeah and that's over now Alec."

"We do not know how long we are going to be in New York."

"Well all the better reason for letting it go Dad," Daisy informed him.

"We will see about it tomorrow, if the station will agree to transfer from the chalet to the caravan."

Rose turned to him.  "Can't see them objecting if it costs them less money, not really."

No-one felt like going out that night and since Daisy was leaving in the morning, she wanted to pack her bags.  Alec stood in the bedroom doorway.

"What Dad?"

"Nothing.  I hope this did not put you off coming down again?"

"Should it?  I know you hadn't planned on this Dad, about Rose and what happened to her but I can see she's crazy about you.  Don't worry, I'll come back but not until the long school holiday, will I be able to find a job for the summer?"

"I'm sure you will and if not, you can help out at the station or something or maybe hang out with Rose?"

"Yeah, it's a good bit off yet, I'll think about it.  Good luck over in New York then and I'll have to tell mum you've gone back but I won't say anything about Rose."

"Good.  Sure you and Rose don't want to play bingo again?"

Daisy laughed.  He was so different to how she remembered him before he'd left, he seemed happier to start with and he was clearly in love with Rose to the point he was acting like a teenager around her.

When he got to bed, Rose having already gone, he debated trying his luck again but maybe it was a little too soon for Rose.

"Alec, you can ask me if you want?"

"Ask you what love?" he asked, taking off his t-shirt and pulling his shorts down very slightly, hoping she may catch the hint.

She reached over to him, half laying on him and draping one leg over him that he knew she wasn't wearing anything underneath what he could only imagine was the nightdress she had been going to wear the other night.   He placed his hand strategically on her behind only for her to put her hand on top of his.  Thinking she was going to warn him off, he tried to move but she stopped him.

"Just ask me."

"Rose?  Would you allow me to get some use from the purchase I made the other day?"

"Mmm, I'd be disappointed if you didn't but you may have to be patient with me."

"Naturally.  Let me up then."

He thought against asking for her help, he was slightly out of practice and Rose was doing her best not to giggle at his shyness.

"Quit stalling Alec."

"Hold on a second, these things are not easy you know?"

"Are you out of practice?"

"You could say that.  Having sex could have killed me before and Tess went off me before she began fooling around."

"Well I'd say that was her loss then."

As he finally accomplished his mission, Rose whispered something in his ear about was he sure he'd got the right size.  Flipping her onto her back, he hovered above her as he pulled up her nightdress.

"Care to find out how good a fit?" he teased, balancing on one elbow and touching her thigh with one hand.

He felt her shiver and hoped this didn't bring back bad memories of being with Kilgrave for her.  On the previous occasions, she had laid on him so as not to unsettle her but now was the time to find out if she was well and truly over it but with the revelation they were going to have to go back to New York and possibly face him, he wasn't so sure.

Rose overcame her shyness, placing her hand on his rear and he gently lay on her until they touched.  It felt like a bolt of lightning to both of them, it was different from what they had previously shared because Alec knew she was really trying her best to know it was him and not her abductor she was going to make love to.  He thought she must have already made the decision it was going to be tonight they had their first time, since she'd not kept her underwear on.

Now to him it didn't matter she'd had her first real time with Kilgrave and had suffered the consequences for it, in his mind it didn't count.  All that mattered was that Rose was opening up to him in more ways than one and was encouraging him as she called his name.

When he was all done, he called her name.  "Rose."

She couldn't say anything, she was still recovering.

"Are you ok love?" he asked, moving away so he could get out of bed and leave the least mess.

"Mmm, yeah, I'm fine.  That was so good Alec."

"I didn't hurt you did I?" he asked, trying to think how he could dispose of the offending object he was about to relieve himself of and taking a handful of tissues from the box.

Rose guessed what he was up to.  "Don't let Daisy catch you with that."

"She has probably already heard and has her earphones in with the volume turned up," he replied, trying to find his shorts without Rose thinking he was after her, not that he wasn't, he just didn't want it to seem so obvious he wanted more without having to go though the preparation ritual first.

"Can you pass me a pair of knickers?" she asked, Alec knowing she had a grin on her face without even being able to see.

He pulled his shorts up and went to the drawer, putting the small light on and glancing through the mirror at who was now his, not that she hadn't been since they'd first met but now it felt like she belonged to him.  She had whispered his name in his ear as they'd made love gently and she'd not pushed him away or told him to get off her but what made him the happiest was she had finally told him she wanted him.

Chapter 40

The next morning, they both went to see Daisy off, Rose giving her a hug.

"So we'll see you again soon then?" Rose asked her as the coach approached the bus shelter.

"Yeah, if you insist.  Look after her won't you Dad?"

"You can count on it," he replied, giving her a hug as the coach door opened.

They waved her off then went to the station, Ellie surprised to see them both as Alec walked into his office.

"Don't go getting comfortable in there Miller."

"What are you two doing here?"

"Catching you at my desk, what do you think?"

"Take no notice of him Ellie, he's being a grump because Daisy just left."

"How are you feeling Rose?" Ellie asked, not even attempting to get up as Alec scowled at her.

"I'm fine Ellie but we have some bad news."

Rose went to sit on the leather sofa, Alec taking the opportunity to sit next to her after pulling the blinds over.

"Rose has to go back to New York," Alec informed her, still annoyed she looked at home behind his desk.

"How come?"

"Because Castle found Jessica, she wants a meeting.  She won't help if I don't go."

"Sorry Rose, I know you didn't ever want to step foot there again.  How will meeting you persuade her to help?"

"Kate seems to think she's already motivated to help but she probably wants to meet someone else who managed to escape.  She probably thought she was the only one, we have a lot in common."

Pete had called back earlier and filled Rose in on a few things, now her mother wasn't lurking around and had said Jessica had given her a warning.

"Well if it catches him but what will it do to you?" Ellie asked her.

"Never mind me, I have Alec going with me and Pete's send Mickey and Jake with us."

Alec was surprised that Mickey could be dragged away from his girlfriend but had they already parted company?

"Are you sure it safe to go though?"

"Is anything safe Miller?  We are not keen on it but we have little choice.  Rose is prepared to go if it puts an end to this."

Alec left Rose talking to Ellie while he went to the personnel department.  They'd called and asked if they could keep the caravan they were in until further notice and that the police would call to make the payment arrangements.  That sorted, he found Rose and Ellie drinking coffee.

"Come on Rose, we have to go make sure we have cleared out the chalet."

"They agreed?" Rose smiled, though she was slightly disappointed.

"They agreed and we have to drive up to London tomorrow don't forget."

"Why don't you both come round for tea?  You can meet Fred," Ellie asked Rose as Alec helped her up.

"Yeah, I'd like that.  What time?"

After agreeing on six, Alec not looking forward to having a tea party with a two year old, even though he'd looked after the boy on several occasions, they went to clear the chalet of Alec's few remaining items of clothing and a few personal effects.  He dropped Rose at the caravan then went to take the chalet key back, even though there were still a few more days remaining but they had no use for it now.

Once they got back from their trip, they could take their time finding somewhere permanent to live, if this didn't tear them apart for good.  While he was out, she began packing again though she had things back in London she still needed to sort out and since they'd be going by commercial airline this time, she was restricted what she could take.

Her mobile rang and it was her mother.

"Hi Mum, we'll be with you before lunch tomorrow."

"I wish you were staying Rose."

"I'm happy here with Alec Mum.  Being here with him makes sense of me coming to this world now, I never thought I would find a reason."

"I know, it's just you going away again."

"He has to be stopped Mum, you know that.  I'll be fine, I'll have plenty of company."

"I want a word with you when you get back."

Rose had an awful feeling her mother had found out her secret.

"Sure Mum, Alec will want to talk to dad anyway, about the arrangements for my safety.  They won't let Kilgrave get anywhere near me."

"I hope not.  See you tomorrow then?"

Just before six, Alec drove them to Ellie's.  He'd hardly been there since he'd arranged the meeting of Claire and Ashworth, mainly because the way Ellie had been asking him about renting her loft, he was afraid she'd make something of it but with Rose with him, he wasn't so bothered.

They went in and Rose made a fuss of Fred, who insisted on calling Alec 'Hardee' since when he'd looking after the boy and pushed him around, that was what he'd heard his mother call him.

"Aw, he's so cute Ellie.  So where's Tom?"

"Hiding in his room, he'll be down when I call him for tea.  It's not much but it will save you cooking or getting takeout.  Ready to go tomorrow?"

"Yeah though we hadn't planned on going back so soon.  Alec thought I'd go running back, didn't you?" she asked him, putting her arm in his as Fred climbed from her over to him.

Fred decided he'd had enough of being ignored by Alec and got down as Tom appeared.

Ellie greeted the teenager.  "Tom this is Rose, Alec's girlfriend."

"The one you went to find?"

"Yeah, that's me.  Hi Tom."

"Hi.  Did you enjoy New York?"

"I didn't see much of it but I went to Central Park and on the tramway."

Alec was relieved Tom had not asked any awkward questions and getting through tea without any incidents, they made their excuses to leave.   Rose finished the packing and went to join Alec in the lounge, curling up beside him.

"I'm not keen on going Alec."

"I know love, best to get it over with eh?  Last night was special though."

"Yeah, it was.  I thought I'd be scared Alec, after what happened to me but you made me realise that Kilgrave was just using me, he didn't love me."

"I hope that's over now?"

"Yeah, it's over, that part is because now, I will always know it's you."

She snuggled up to him and he leaned down to kiss her.  "Shall we have an early night?"

"Yeah, we have a long drive tomorrow."

"I never meant to sleep Rose."

"I know, I was just teasing.  Let's use the rest of the food up in the morning before we leave, I'll cook."


"Yeah, you've been looking after me lately, it's time I looked after you."

"Maybe tomorrow you will have time to go get something sorted?"

"I'll see if I can get to the clinic or to Torchwood, mum wants to talk to me though."

"You think she has found out or guessed?"

"Maybe, I'm sure she wouldn't have been so calm though if she had.  Maybe she's just trying to find out how serious we are?"

"Aye, maybe.  Why don't you get ready for bed and I'll make you a drink?"

"I've got a better idea," she teased, touching his cheek where his beard was starting to grow again.

"You want me to shave again?  Forget it Rose, I don't want Jessica Jones to mistake me for Kilgrave, do I?"

"No, I suppose not then, she might beat you up, or worse."

"Exactly but someone has to be with you when you meet her."

"I won't be in any danger with her Alec, we're on the same side, she'll feel she can trust me, if she's been a victim."

"Yes, she probably was, she was also someone who got away, as you did, she will want to know how you did it."

"Pete will only let me tell her so much, let's hope it's enough.  He had to agree to tell Castle about the pregnancy, I hope he's told him it's over."

"He will have done but you had better hope he only told his wife, not half the twelfth precinct."

Rose fingered his beard again.

"I wasn't implying you shaved again, don't you want to know what my idea was?"

She put her hand up the front of his t-shirt, making him jump.

"Oh, you want my t-shirt off now Daisy is no longer here?" he asked, moving his arm so she could lift it.

"Well yeah but I meant about me going to get ready for bed while you make a drink.  Maybe we'll have a drink then we both go to the bedroom together?"


"Yeah, I can't hide from you forever Alec and I know you have more respect for me than Kilgrave had, that you appreciate me."

"Yes I do and nothing would make me happier than you trusting me while you undress in front of me.  You are sure about it?"

"Yeah, I know Kilgrave was only using me to get to Torchwood, I also know it amused him I could resist him to some degree but it's over Alec, I don't want to be reminded of it any more."

"Then we won't discuss it again."

When they got to bed, Alec setting his alarm early so they could have breakfast, Rose volunteered to help him prepare for the 'ritual' as he called it but he turned her down.

"It's not that I don't want you to, you know I do but I don't want it to remind you of what happened."

"How can it?  In case you forget, he never used anything though it wouldn't have killed him if he'd bothered to ask if I did."

"He must have figured being who you were, you would take something."

"Who I am?  I told him that I wasn't one for having a new boyfriend or any other man every week, he chose to ignore it."

"I know love, forget it, I should not have brought it up, I'm sorry.  You can help if you want?"

Rose just got into bed, leaving Alec, now wearing his shorts sitting on the edge of the bed.  He had well and truly stuffed it up, on their second sexual encounter.  She changed her mind and reached over, kneeling behind him.

"Sorry Alec, I've spoiled the mood now."

"No, I put my big foot in it, I am the one who has spoiled it.  I should not have discouraged you, you are only trying to get over your shyness."

"Aw, it's ok, I was only offering because you were messing about last night."

"Hey, I was not messing about last night I will have you know," he objected, turning round and seeing the cheeky look on her face.  "You are trying to wind me up."

"Me?" she laughed, throwing her arms around his shoulders and making him put his arms around her waist.  "Well go on then, I wouldn't want you to have wasted your money."

"You still want to?"

"Yeah, I do, so quit stalling."

"Yes ma'am."

As they lay afterwards, Alec stroking her arm, he asked if she was ok with things as they were now.

"Yeah, I'm happy now Alec, thanks to you and don't be shy about asking me next time."

"Well hopefully we will not need them eh?  I mean once you get covered again."

Rose was grateful that since being on another world, their methods were slightly more advanced than her own, providing of course you kept your appointment but it meant she was completely covered, even just before and after her 'off' days.  She had even found she didn't feel as cranky as she'd been before, as Mickey could testify when they'd gone out together.  She wasn't going to tell Alec that – a girl needed a few days rest.

After breakfast the next morning, Alec left a spare caravan key with the office and confirmed they were keeping it, Rose had asked Ellie to drop in and make sure they had the essentials for when they got back, if they were going to be late.  Rose wanted to call at the drop-in clinic, hoping she wouldn't have long to wait and was in luck after filling in a short form giving her own doctor's details and her temporary address, which she put as the caravan.  After making a stop, they were arriving at the Tyler residence just on lunchtime, Rose hoping that her mother wasn't trying out new soup recipes again but her stomach now felt somewhat better than it had been.

Tony was still off school and barged his way to Alec, who picked him up.

"Hey Alec, you're back.  Can I come down and visit soon?"

"Why not ask your mum eh?"

"Go on, leave Alec and let him in Tony.  What about me?"

Tony let go of Alec and rushed to Rose, who bent down to hug him.

"See, I told you I'd be back soon but only for today, I have to go somewhere tomorrow."

"Again Rose?"

"Yeah, sorry, there's something I have to do, well something Alec and I have to do that affects a lot of people."

"Ok then, are you going to stop someone bad?"

"Yeah Tony, we're off to stop someone bad who's hurting people.  Now, why are you off school?  Another fire drill?"

Tony laughed. "No silly, it's a teacher training day."

"Why do teachers need training days?" Alec wondered out loud.

"Maybe to catch up on the latest teaching methods?" Rose laughed as her mother came out of the kitchen.

After lunch, it was up to Alec to keep Tony amused while Rose and her mother went into one of the sitting rooms.

"So what did you want to talk about Mum?"

"You.  You didn't seem well before you went off with Alec."

"I'm fine Mum, I was just tired and getting over my ordeal.  Ask Alec if you don't believe me."

"Don't worry, I will.  You're not hiding something are you Rose?"

"No, I'm not hiding anything Mum, you'd know."

At least that was true now, a good thing she'd not been asked that question a few days ago.  That had been a subject she'd not been able to tell her mother, which was quite something.  She had always imagined meeting the man of her dreams and falling in love then having to keep the biggest secret of all but she'd never reckoned on meeting someone like Alec and he already knew about her.

Pete got home and summoned Alec into his office, the same office the Doctor had seen the schematics for the Cybermen all those years ago.  He had already shown Alec the footage from that night but Rose was now trying to put that behind her and he already had accepted it, well he seemed to have done.

"So Alec, how's Rose really holding up?  I know she'll put on a brave face for her mother."

"She's doing as well as we can expect, given what she has been through.  Has her mother guessed yet?"

"No, thankfully, we should be grateful for that.  I take it you're not happy, having to take Rose back?"

"No, are you?  She's chosen to go Pete, you know as well as I do, no-one can stop her.  I've only known her a few weeks but she's become the second most important person in my life, just marginally behind my daughter, well only just but I can't choose between them, I need both of them in my life."

"She knows that Alec, she would never ask you to choose."

"Aye, I know she won't and my daughter knows the same now they've met but having to go back to New York was not part of our plan, we were debating where we were going to move to, now that will have to be put on hold."

"I know Alec but if there was any other way, Kate would have taken it.  Think how many more people it will affect if he's not found and stopped.  Did she tell you Hope's parents went missing?"

"Rose mentioned it, she said you'd had a warning for her but I take it you never told Castle it was already dealt with?"

"I never got chance, best no-one else knows but it may come to light when you go over there.  You all leave tomorrow morning, Jake and Mickey will meet you at the airport and I'll take you two there myself."

"Thanks Pete, I'm sure between the three of us plus the NYPD we can keep Rose safe from Kilgrave."

"Lets hope so Alec, I'm trusting you with my stepdaughter.  Jake and Mickey will be there as a precaution and while she trusts them, she will be relying more on you.  It's a big responsibility."

"Yes and one I intend taking seriously Pete.  If this Jessica Jones wants a meeting, it will be on my terms, no-one else's."

"Well be careful, she may go after you, looking like you do, I don't think Castle mentioned who you resembled."

"I can imagine it will be a shock to her, I will be taking either Jake or Mickey with me, purely as a precaution."

Pete smiled – Alec was a tough cookie but he took no chances.  Alec went off to find Rose, who was in her room.

"Packing again love?"

"Just sorting out, I won't take that much with me this time, we won't have time for the pleasantries.  I want to be there and back in the least time."

Alec went to put his arms around her.

"I agree love, the quicker we get there and back the better, we leave in the morning.  I hope I do not need a separate room tonight?"

"Mum's been told, you don't have to sneak around but what exactly did you tell her the last time?"

Alec smiled, thinking back to the Saturday morning and if he'd fooled Rose's mother or not.  He leaned down to kiss her.

"She caught me with the bathroom door open, I told her I was in the shower.   I don't think she entirely believed me, since my hair was dry."

Rose giggled.  "No, I doubt you did.  Still, she didn't throw you out."

"No, not yet.  So what did you and your mother have to talk about?  Did you tell her?"

"No, how can I tell her now?  I've never hidden anything from her in my life, well except when I first met the Doctor but she found everything out eventually."

"I can imagine her reaction.  Did she ever go inside his ship?"

"Yeah, a few times, the last time as we went to Torchwood on our world.  She warned him about landing her on Mars."

"So, what are you taking with you then?" he asked, fingering a piece of her flimsy underwear then putting it down as he remembered Kilgrave used to do the same, so Rose had said.

"It's ok Alec, I'm over that but it's not your size or colour."

"Very funny Rose.  I will try not to keep doing these things."

"It's fine, really, how do you know what he did?"

"I would do the same, naturally but would be kinder about it."

"He started threatening me, just before he left."

"You never said love," he said softly as he pulled her closer.

"Yeah, I never told my therapist either but he did, he threatened if I didn't quit stalling getting him into Torchwood, I wouldn't like what he did to me."

"I'm sorry Rose, you should have told me."

"It's ok Alec, really.  Are you going to help me or watch as I pack my underwear?"

"I would prefer to see you wearing it, when the time comes.  I am not going to make you try it on for my gratification."

"So I don't have to parade for you?"

"I would never make you do that.  If you feel you can delay getting dressed or undressed and let me see you, that will be enough for me.  I will of course do the same for you, should you wish me to do so?"

"Aw, you are so old-fashioned.  Lets agree not to ask each other?  Let's just do whatever we're comfortable with and see what happens yeah?"

"Yes, agreed love.  Are you getting changed for dinner or whatever you call it around here by any chance?"

"I may be, stick around."

"Then I look forward to watching, should you feel you can get changed in front of me."

"Yeah, there will be times when I might rush off or turn around."

"I know that love, it's fine, honestly and to show you it is, I will take my time for you, should you care to be watching and as for that misunderstanding, with that article last night, I am sorry."

"So am I Alec, I probably missed a treat there."

"Aye but I am going nowhere Rose, when you feel able, I will try to remember to invite you to help, I won't mind if you say no."

"Then I won't mind if you ask me, I may say no the first few times but don't give up asking, will you?"

He kissed her cheek.  "No love, I won't stop asking.  There is no rush anyway, now you have got yourself sorted.  Did you bring that nightdress with you, the one from the other night?"

"Yeah and I have a few more you've never seen but it will be a few days before I'm covered."

"Then I can't wait for you to wear them, perhaps you can show me one tonight?"

"I'd be happy to Alec.  Now let me finish packing."

After a family dinner, Alec agreeing to read Tony a story, they went to Rose's room to talk about their plans when they got to New York.

"Your stepfather has put me in charge, Jake and Mickey are there for your protection and you will not be left alone even for a few seconds."


"This is serious Rose, Jessica Jones may hate Kilgrave but she will have her own agenda and you may not be a part of it.  She will be doing this to get her own revenge on him, we cannot be certain she is concerned for anyone else, no matter how they have been affected.  If she is concerned, then all the better."

"I just don't want him to keep doing it Alec and if he's got hold of Hope again, I dread to think how badly he'll be treating her, after I got away from him."

"I know love, you can't keep blaming yourself because the second he got what he wanted, he would have thrown you out or worse."

"I know he didn't care about me Alec, I'm under no illusions on that score.  The thing is though, he doesn't have to be like that, he could change if he wanted to but he's angry and he thinks by controlling people it makes it easier for himself but it doesn't, not really.  He's like the Doctor in a lot of ways but he never used people the way Kilgrave does, everyone wanted to help the Doctor, he treated everyone fairly, even his enemies."

"I'm sure he did Rose, you don't have to convince me.  There are still things you have not told me about him, maybe you can make a start eh?"

So Rose began to tell him a few things about her travels with the Doctor, starting from when she first met him, Alec just listening and asking a few questions.  When they were getting ready for bed, Alec was being a gentleman and averting his eyes when she asked him to unfasten her bra but she turned around and caught him by surprise.

"Like what you see?"

"Oh yes Rose, I like what I see, this is a rather pleasant surprise."

He picked up a black nightdress from the dresser and handed it to her so she smiled at him.  Slowly, she took it from him and gathering it up, pulled it over her head and let fall into place.

"You look gorgeous love."

"Thanks.  Here, let me help you with your shirt buttons."

"Take your time, I want us both to enjoy this."

The next morning was chaos, Rose opting to have her breakfast in her room as it was proving impossible to try and get Tony sorted and it was making the both of them worse.  Alec took a tray from the kitchen, something he was getting used to lately but Pete caught him on his way out.

"She's hiding then?"

"Aye Pete, I could not persuade her to come down no matter what when she heard Tony and believe me, I tried."

Pete could imagine the man had but he had come to know what Rose was like when she was being stubborn.

"Well tell her not to be long, we have to get to the airport.  I've booked the same hotel as last time, you get a cab to the hotel and Kate will have someone pick you up tomorrow morning to meet with Castle, he won't tell her where Jessica is holed up."

"Does he think I am going to let Rose go on her own?" Alec huffed.

"He knows you won't Alec but he's just taking precautions while he sets up the meeting.  Hopefully it will be somewhere neutral."

"I can't see the woman going for a friendly coffee shop chat.  What have you learned about her?"

"Not much, just what Kate forwarded to me from what Carver sent her.  You can thank him that Castle located her."

"I'll be sure to send him a thank you note then.  Why is he so bothered?"

"Alec, Rose has that effect on everyone she meets, well apart from Kilgrave, apparently.  A lot of what the Doctor taught her rubbed off and even when she was left here, she got on with it, apart from the breakdowns.   You're worried she'll have another one, aren't you?"

"The thought crossed my mind Pete.  I'd best take her breakfast, she was bad enough when I left her but at least she was dressed."

Pete smiled and patted Alec's shoulder.  "If anyone can get her through this, without another breakdown, then it's you."

"You are placing a lot on my shoulders Pete."

Back in Rose's room, she was pacing the floor, looking at the luggage by the door. Should she back out of this?  What was taking Alec so long, had her mother pried the truth about her aborted pregnancy out of him?  No, he was a trained detective, he asked questions, not answered them but her mother never gave up, if she had got her claws into him.  The door opened and Alec was balancing a tray in one hand containing a covered plate and two white mugs, Rose guessing one was tea, after what he'd said about never drinking coffee again.

"I thought you'd got caught by my mum," Rose told him as he put the tray on the dresser.

"No love, Pete was asking how you were.  I said you were nervous."

"That's a bit of an understatement Alec, I really don't want to go back."

He put his arms around her.  "Eat something love, it's going to be a long day.  You have Jake, Mickey and me to watch out for you, nothing is going to happen to you, I promise.  He won't get anywhere near you."

"He doesn't have to Alec, he can use people to get to me, much like I imagine he did with Jessica and now Hope.  Did Pete find out anything else about her parents?"

"Not as far as I know," he told her, taking the empty plate from underneath the one with bacon and eggs then putting the toast from the rack on it and dividing the breakfast items.

"Sit here love and eat, before it goes cold."

Rose reluctantly did as he asked and he brought a chair over to join her.   He looked at her through the mirror and knew she was going to need all the strength she could gather to get on that plane in a few hours.  They had just finished eating in silence when there was a tap on the door and whom Alec assumed was a sort of butler asked if he could take their luggage as Mr Tyler was ready to leave when they were.

He let the man go and Rose got up.

"Come on Rose, you can do this."

"Yeah, I know Alec, it's just like another mission but look where the last one got me?"

"That was different love," he assured her, Rose putting her thin jacket on her shoulders as he helped her.  "Last time, you did not have me with you."

As they walked hand in hand down the stairs, Alec looked around and wondered if he would ever come back here.  There were a dozen things could go wrong in New York, including him going back to Broadchurch on his own because Rose never wanted to see him again but the one that filled him with dread was where Kilgrave got his hands on her for good this time but he was never going to let that happen, even if it meant dying, he'd almost died several times in not even a year, it was no different.

He'd been spared every time, each time he'd been told he had technically died, well according to Miller on his last hospital visit but she'd probably at the time been glad to get rid of him but now he knew there was something bigger going on. He didn't know how but he now believed the Doctor had somehow arranged all this, either from the other universe or he'd done it while waiting for Rose to arrive in Norway, where the man had not even been able to get those three words out in time but Rose had been determined he'd said them as he faded from view.

Why had the man taken so long to get on with it and tell Rose he loved her?  Yes, this was most certainly his way of trying to make up for the disappointment she must have had on their journey back home.  He couldn't imagine how she had felt nor how the Doctor himself had felt but maybe there had been a tiny gap left between the universes that hadn't closed and he was on the other side, pulling the strings so to speak and it was purely luck that he'd found a sickly detective inspector who was ready to meet his maker because something had kept him going.  Something had brought him round each time he'd been ready to give in to the inevitable and something had made him take the plunge and survive.

As they got into Pete's car to drive to the airport, Jackie clinging hold of Rose like she was going off to another planet again, Alec saw tears in Rose's eyes, just like the night they had landed from her ordeal and she'd been driven off and left him watching her.  This time though, he was never going to let her out of his sight and if Kilgrave thought he was going to win her back, he was going to have a hell of a fight on his hands.

Rose was his now and no man, super-powers or not was going to take her away from him.  Her being abused and pregnant had not even put him off and Jessica Jones needn't think she was going to talk Rose into thinking he or the Doctor were Kilgrave's evil twins but they had all better leave Carver out of the equation.  He didn't need to be involved in this, not that Rose would have her head turned by the other detective, would she?

Chapter 41

They met up with Jake and Mickey at the airport that shared a terminal with the main zeppelin port for the London area.  Pete gave the two of them a quick briefing that Alec was ultimately in charge and they were to back him up.

"Understood boss," Jake told him.  "We get it and getting Rose home safely is our top priority, none of like her going back there."

"Least of all Rose herself Jake.  You got the details that Carver sent?"

"Yeah, sounds like this Jessica Jones is a real character, I hope she can handle Kilgrave.  I take it Alec's not too keen to meet with her?"

"You could say that.  Maybe you'd better both go with him to the meeting?" Pete grinned.

"Nah, I can handle her," Jake grinned back.

"I hope so.  You're quiet Mickey," Pete told the pacing man.

"I had a date arranged with Martha from medical."

"Ah, you took Rose's advice then?"

"Yeah, then I get dragged off to New York again.  Then people wonder why I can't keep a girlfriend."

"Don't have that problem mate," Jake patted him on the shoulder.  "Look at those two over there," Jake pointed to Rose, leaning on Alec's shoulder and him holding her hand.

"I'm gonna throw up if those two do that all the way there," Mickey complained.

"Face it mate, she's never been as happy since she got here," Jake observed.  "See you soon Pete."

Pete went over to say goodbye to Rose and Alec.

"Just bring her back Alec, then we have some talking to do.  You find somewhere to live in Broadchurch, let me take care of the details."

"Thanks Pete, we appreciate that, don't we Rose?"

"Yeah, thanks Dad.  If things go bad, you need to tell my mother, about what happened."

"I will, don't worry though, you'll be back in no time."

They were soon boarding the plane, being in the VIP lounge had it's advantages and they were seated in the first class compartment, Pete wanted Rose to be as calm as possible on the way there, sitting with screaming kids and noisy passengers wouldn't be good for her at this stage.  In the end, no matter how seriously they took her security, it was down to her to talk Jessica into helping them.

As they were on the plane, Castle had received word from Pete they were on their way.

"Great Pete, I'll call Jessica and arrange the meeting for tomorrow then.  I'll try not to make it her office, it's a mess."

"You do that Rick and there's something else you need to tell her, that Rose already got things sorted, she went to a clinic last Friday."

"I'm relieved to hear that then, it's one less thing to worry about.  It can't have been easy for her."

"No, she was supposed to wait until Tuesday but Ellie got her in early, she had to say who Rose was though.  I hope no-one leaks the news to the press, it's the last thing we need.  I think it would have got out by now though so hopefully, that's the end of it.  I put a statement out about the two of them, it should keep the press quiet."

Castle turned to his wife, who was listening to his conversation at the breakfast bar.

"They're on their way Kate, Jake will call when they arrive and I'll set up that meeting."

"Are you sure you want to meet her again?"

"It's Alec you should be worried about, I never told her who he looks like," Castle grinned, accepting a cup of coffee.  You won't want to see them at the precinct will you?"

"No, I don't think so but I'll have to let the captain know they're in town, in case things take a turn for the worse.  I have to get going, I've got a meeting with a detective who says there might be a connection with recent events in Queens."

"Fine, I'll catch up with you later."

When the plane landed in New York, Pete having booked them through the VIP arrivals, they got a taxi to the hotel, Rose sitting inbetween Jake and Mickey as Alec knew he wouldn't get in the back, it had been uncomfortable the last time, when Rose hadn't wanted to let him go.  As the taxi pulled up, Alec was apprehensive and it showed as Jake leaned forward to pay the cab driver.

Mickey got out to join Alec on the pavement, the hotel being set back slightly while Jake got Rose out, then Mickey went to help the driver with their luggage, all of them had just packed what they needed and Rose was the only one with a case.

Jake picked up Rose's case, Mickey her holdall as Alec took his, then they escorted her into the hotel, Rose grinning.

"I feel like I'm in witness protection or something."

"You are," Alec reminded her as they got inside and he began to relax slightly.

He thought Kilgrave would be a fool to have someone watching the hotel, they were not informing anyone except Captain Gates of their arrival but over in Gracepoint, Carver had been alerted as to their arrival, since he had an idea this Jessica Jones would want a meeting.

"Miller, get in here."

Ellie Miller looked over at her boss, what was he up to this time?  If it was about Rose Tyler again, she was going to throw up, he was getting obsessed with her.

"Not Rose Tyler again Sir, Really?"

"She's gone back to New York Miller and that only means one thing."

"Which is?"

She wished he would pay as much attention to what was going on in the town and the unlikely rumours her friend Beth was meeting secretly with the local clergy, not that it was no secret after the trial and the revelation Mark was playing around with Gemma Fisher at the time of his son's death and Beth had been consoled by her old high school friend.

"I sent Detective Becket some information, which seems to have been acted upon but she said she'd keep me informed.  Castle must have found that Jessica Jones."

"Who's this Jessica Jones?  Maybe they don't want to alert Kilgrave?"

"That's rather obvious Miller.  I'm gonna get the next plane over there.  She's someone else who got away from Kilgrave, she must want to meet Rose."

"Did it occur to you that you were never told she was coming over for a reason?" Ellie queried, wondering who was going to pick up the cost of a return flight.

"Maybe Beckett will call me and I can say I'm on my way?"

Ellie shook her head, one of these days he would decide where his loyalties lay, in New York or Gracepoint.  He must have made a big mistake in agreeing to come back to work here after he got himself fixed, maybe he should just get a transfer to New York and be done with it.  He was spending more time sorting out their problems than the local ones, like the biker gang on the outskirts of town that were giving them a headache.

Alec let himself and Rose into their room, the one he'd had on their previous visit. Jake and Mickey were either side, getting their own rooms this time and once inside, he pulled the blinds over.

"You've been nervous since we landed Alec."

"It showed?" he asked, going to put his arms around her.

"You're making everyone nervous, including those two.  Chill Alec."

"I can't 'Chill' as you put it, not until we're back home."

"In Broadchurch?"

"If that is where you want to make your home, then yes and if it's with me, then all the better but this could break us apart."

"Is that what's bothering you?"

"Well, one of the things.  I just hope Carver does not show up."

"Why?  Oh, you think if he does, he'll attract my attention?"

Alec was guilty by his silence.

"Stop that right now Alec Hardy, that is not going to happen, even if he tries. You're the only one I want, he lives in California, why would I want to go live there?"

"It's not much different from Broadchurch, where he is now."

"You're worry over nothing Alec, honestly, where did you get these ideas from?"

"When he made an appearance, why would he be bothered eh?  Face it Rose, you could have any man you wanted, you got away from the Doctor's evil twin and you took up with me.  Why?"

Rose stepped away and looked at him, what was wrong with him?

"Is this because I couldn't tell you I loved you right away?"

Alec avoided her stare.

"It is, isn't it?  You know why I couldn't and it's done with now.  How could I look at you and tell you I loved you when I was hiding the fact I thought I was pregnant?  I thought we were over that?"

"So did I but if he turns up here, so help me Rose, I will get the truth out of him."

"You're worry over nothing, give me his number, I'll tell him not to bother coming shall I?  I hope you're not gonna be like this until we go home?  All being well, we'll be leaving on Saturday, if she only wants one meeting and no, I don't want to go sight-seeing, I want to go home, with you and find a house or an apartment and live with you, in Broadchurch not in Gracepoint."

She went back up to him and put her arms around his waist.

"I love you, Alec Hardy and they call Mickey an idiot.  You can't see what's in front of you, you spend too much time playing detective."

"Oh, I do, do I?  Maybe you can teach me how to 'chill' then?"

"I'm sure I can so quit being an idiot and tell me how much you love me."

They went to join Mickey and Jake for dinner then over a drink, they made their plans.  Kate had contacted Alec and told them where Castle had arranged for them to meet Jessica who had insisted only Rose and Alec went, which didn't please any of them but she'd had more news for him.

"I knew he would not be able to resist coming here," Alec told her, looking at Rose as if to say he told her so.

"Well he never said where he was staying but he wants in.  I told him it was up to you."

"The woman will never go for it, two of us being there and looking like Kilgrave. Where are we meeting anyway?"

"A diner not far from her office at two tomorrow afternoon, she wants to check you out first.  That means she'll know what you look like, things could get ugly Alec."

"You think I don't already know that?  She won't cause a scene in a public place."

"Don't be so sure about that, I've been in contact with a detective in another part of town, things are already turning ugly, trust me."

"So she stays quiet all this time then goes on the rampage?"

"Seems Kilgrave brings out the best in people."

She had sent Alec the address and they had agreed Jake and Mickey would wait outside while the meeting took place, just to make sure she didn't turn on him, or Rose for that matter but most of all, to keep an eye out for anyone who looked like they were for hire and would attempt to grab Rose again.

As they got to bed, Rose wanted to assure Alec she was not interested in Emmett Carver but as she was getting undressed, Alec got a call from him, which put Alec in an even better mood.

"Carver, do you know what time it is here in New York?" he asked wryly, trying to pretend the other detective was not in the same state as they were.

"You know where I am Hardy, Beckett will have already told you.  How's Rose?"

"She's fine, apart from being nervous at being back but we want to put an end to this so we are here.  What are you doing here?  Only Rose and I are meeting with Jessica Jones."

Personally, Alec didn't want Emmett Carver within ten feet of Rose but that wasn't likely to happen.

"Then are her friends with her?  I'll wait with them, I take it they'll be going with you and waiting outside wherever you're meeting?"

Alec thought the detective was as persistent as he was.

"If you insist but they are not going for your protection, nor mine if it comes to it, they are there purely for Rose's safety."

Carver almost laughed, it was a shame they'd not been with her in the first place, then she wouldn't have been kidnapped.

"I already know that Hardy, I don't expect them to watch out for me.  Send me the address will you?"

Alec reluctantly did so, only because if Jessica wanted to vent her rage on a Kilgrave look-alike, she may pick on Carver instead of him but he knew what he was up against, it would go one of two ways and he hoped it would be the least violent one.  Rose was watching him as he put his phone down.

"You were saying?"

"About what?" he asked, taking his shirt off and wondering how Rose had managed to sneakily get into bed without him noticing and cursed Carver for making him miss it.

He wondered if he would still get to try his luck again tonight and how soon Rose wouldn't need him to prepare himself if she still felt like she wanted him now he'd made a complete idiot of himself about Carver.   Now he knew why Tess had left him.

"Are you gonna sit there all night?" Rose asked him as he debated what to do.

"Sorry love, about earlier."

"It's ok, it'll keep happening.  Why d'ya think I never keep a boyfriend and no, it's not because they don't remind me of the Doctor, it's usually them thinking they don't stand a chance with me but d'ya know what?"

Alec shook his head and taking his socks off, got into bed.

Rose leaned over to him, putting her hand on his stomach and making a pattern with her thumb.

"It's them who don't give me a chance to be who I really am, not the Vitex heiress. They don't believe I came from nothing, they thought I'd had money all my life and I could choose any man I wanted, just like you think.  I'm the one who needs a chance Alec, a chance to be normal and I am with you, I can be myself without being the famous Rose Tyler."

She moved away and lay back but Alec moved and hovered over her, pulling down the sheets and seeing the pink silky nightdress that was very low cut and very thin clear straps.  He cursed Carver again for almost ruining everything, why shouldn't he be the one who bagged Rose Tyler as a girlfriend, someone had to.

"Do I get a second chance?"

"What for?"

He thought that was perfectly clear, for being an idiot.

"Well do I need to go through that damn ritual?"

He slid his hand under the sheet and placed it on her leg, noting how short the nightdress actually was.

"I missed you getting changed."

"Yeah, you did, you were so busy wondering what Emmett Carver had that you don't to take any notice."

"I'm a bloody idiot Rose, why do you love me?"

"Come here and I'll show you and you won't be needing anything tonight."

"Really?  Are you covered already?"

"Well probably not but we can make a start, just don't get too carried away."

"Oh no Rose, I will try my best not to but I am not making any promises."

"That's good enough for me but I might still resist you."

"Then I will take that as a sign to back off, I am willing to be told when to quit."

"Good, now no more talking about Carver or Kilgrave and take that jealous look off your face, detective inspector, it doesn't suit you."

When Alec had managed not to get too engrossed to notice Rose was wanting him to back off, he lay awake holding her, just like he had done on the plane a few weeks before.  He never thought they would be back so fast and a lot had happened in that time, him spending the best part of a week doubting he would be going to visit her then the trauma for her of the discovery she'd been pregnant.

Now, he should count himself a very lucky man she still wanted him after all that and then he'd topped it off and more or less accused her of having eyes for Carver. Yes, he was a bloody idiot for almost ruining his chances, she had chosen him.

The next morning Alec purposely delayed getting dressed and made Rose giggle, which Rose assumed was his way of saying how stupid he felt for making a fuss over nothing.  Well if not, it was his way of saying he had just as much to offer as Carver, were the other detective to try his luck.

Over breakfast, Jake wanted to know what was going on between the two of them, Alec looking more upset at being here than he had the day before.

"Don't tell me, it's 'cos Carver's in town?"

"Lucky guess Jake," Alec muttered into his cup.

"Seriously, what's he even doing here?"

"Your guess is as good as mine, maybe he's making up for something, maybe he's got his own Sandbrook to haunt him, how would I know?"

"You never even checked up on him?" Mickey wanted to know.

"Why should I?  He's thousands of miles away."

Jake sniggered, Alec was jealous, there was no doubt about it.  He'd seen the look on Alec's face every time Carver had talked to Rose and the minute they had got on the plane home, he'd blamed the other detective for the flight delay.

Mickey elbowed his friend.  "Quit smirking Jake, just look him up."

Rose wanted to relax by going to the spa for an hour or so and persuaded a reluctant Alec to go with her.  Jake wanted to keep watch, which got him a firm 'No' from Rose, who wanted to enjoy just having Alec lay beside her.

"Were you watching closely last time, when I was in here with Ellie?" she asked him, smiling at the thought.

"What do you think Rose?  I was not there to watch Miller."

Rose smiled and reached her hand out to him. Alec squeezed it back and knew they were still ok, he'd not completely ruined everything after all.   Over lunch, Jake went over the plan.

"So you and Rose get there a few minutes early, me and Mickey should be able to spot Jessica, she'll be looking for Rose and if she's done her homework, she'll be looking for a bearded version of Kilgrave."

Alec's phone interrupted them.  It was Kate.

"Sorry to bother you Alec but I have some bad news.  Jessica may not show today, Hope's parents were just killed – by Hope."

Kate filled him in with the details and how Hope had been charged with their murder.  They had been leaving Jessica's office after Jessica had rescued the young woman from Kilgrave's clutches but unknown to anyone, Kilgrave had only recently left her and must have already instructed her that if she left, she was to kill them.

"Do you think he planned it then?" Alec was asking Kate.

"Yeah, he must have done but it's not in my jurisdiction, I can't get involved since it took place in another part of town.  Jessica will probably be trying to help her, she's not responsible for her actions but she'll have a tough time proving it.  I'll help where I can but I can't interfere with an ongoing investigation."

Rose was appalled with what had happened, it could just have easily been her had she not had at least some resistance to the man who had caused all this.

"Castle's trying to find out if the meeting's still on, I'll let you know, there's still a bit to go yet."

"Fine, I will wait for your call before we set off."

They all went to sit in the bar, Alec getting tea and the rest of them coffee, he was just glad they didn't have to go back to the twelfth precinct and Castle's expresso machine.  He got another call to say the meeting was still on, it seemed Jessica now had a stronger motive for helping them and maybe once she'd met Rose, they would all be able to go home but Alec somehow doubted that.  He'd not called Carver to cancel, though he should have but the man would have insisted on still meeting with Rose anyway.

They arrived at the diner with ten minutes to spare, Alec convinced Jessica was already watching from a vantage point, he would have done were the roles reversed.  Emmett was just getting out of a cab, not wanting to meet Jessica on her way in on his own.  He wasn't stupid enough to think having a beard would protect him now, he'd also heard the bad news from Kate and was under no illusion the PI would be even more determined to find anyone who resembled Kilgrave and deal with them as she saw fit, which would involve violence.

Emmett joined Jake and Mickey, introducing himself as Alec told him who they were.

"We should get inside, Jessica will be here shortly, she is probably already watching and seeing two of us may send her over the edge," Alec told the others. "You had better sit with your back to the pavement Carver, we don't want her dragging you out into the middle of the street."

"Thanks for the concern Hardy.  I'll follow you back to your hotel after your meeting.  Someone get me a coffee, I'm gonna need it."

As if on cue, a waitress came out and took their order and Rose and Alec left them, going to find a table near the door in case Alec needed a quick exit but not by a window just in case Jessica made another one.

Jessica had been watching the ensemble with amusement.  Rose Tyler was clinging to a tall thin man who could easily pass for Kilgrave apart from the fact this one had a better dress sense, if nothing else and Rose looked very apprehensive as he'd led her inside.  As for the three remaining men, one she couldn't see the face of but was around the same height and build as Hardy and Kilgrave, she supposed he was the third one Castle accidentally led her to believe there was, he'd not needed to say anything.

She observed the dark-skinned one, he wasn't a threat and looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but outside and the cute one had his shoe on the wrong foot, he stuck out a mile.  What sort of company did the Vitex heiress keep these days? She'd expected half a dozen armed guards with her, she must think Hardy and her friends could protect her, if Kilgrave were to go after again, if he was feeling on a roll after getting that young kid to kill her parents.

That had been sloppy even by Kilgrave's old standards, what had he hoped to gain by it?  Get her locked up, what was the point when he'd let her go once, then let Rose Tyler go.  As she walked across the busy street, she passed by Jake, Mickey and Emmett, Jake looking at her and Mickey smiling at her and her accidentally nudging Emmett's chair and making him half turn, enough for her to confirm Kilgrave was one of triplets and he didn't even know it – or did he?

Rose was ordering yet another coffee, Alec frowning at her – no wonder she was all pent up since arriving in the city where she had been kidnapped a few short weeks ago.

"Calm down Rose, this is doing you no good," he scolded her as the waitress took their orders and giving a questioning look at Alec as he asked for decaff tea.

"How can I Alec?  I should never have agreed to this."

"Well you did because that's what you do love – you care about what happens to others.  Do you think that's Jessica?" he asked as a slightly built woman in a black leather jacket entered and looked around.

His question was answered as she headed for them and pulled a chair over, sitting with the chair the wrong way round and leaning over the back.

"Good thing you've got a beard Hardy or I would have thrown you through the window," Jessica greeted them.  "So you're what's all the fuss is about?  I just left Hope, she's devastated now she's coming out of Kilgrave's grip."

"I'm so sorry about that Jessica, really I am.  I expect you blame me for that?"

"Hold on, Rose is not to blame for anything Kilgrave told Hope to do," Alec butted in as their drinks arrived and Jessica waved the waitress away when she looked in her direction.

"Maybe if you'd stayed at home in the first place, her parents would still be alive."

"You can't be sure, how did she know about Kilgrave?  Anyway, you wanted to meet her so here she is, I will leave you two to talk but there are four of us, don't even think of trying anything," Alec warned her.

Jessica grinned. "You mean another Kilgrave wannabee and those two clowns?"

"Those two 'clowns' as you put it are top Torchwood agents, don't let them demonstrate.  Rose, I'll be at the next table."

"Yeah, ok Alec, I'll be fine, Jessica and I have a lot to talk about."

Alec went to the next available table and sat facing them, he wasn't going to let Rose out of his sight as he imagined the others outside were peering through the window blinds.

Jake was getting nervous when he saw Alec move to another table.

"I don't like this Mickey, why has Alec moved?"

"Sit down Simmonds, you're not going to do any good by barging in there," Emmett told him, grabbing Jake's denim jacket as he got up.

"Easy for you to say Carver, you don't know her like we do."

"Maybe not but I care just as much as you do what happens.  Hardy's watching her, he won't let her leave without him and if they get up, we all block the way, agreed?"

Jake and Mickey nodded their agreement, Mickey smiling to himself Carver actually made sense.

Twenty minutes later, Rose was saying goodbye to Jessica.  They had made their peace and Rose had agreed to stick around until Sunday, in case Jessica wanted to talk to her again.  Jessica left on her own, stopping by the table occupied by the others.

"Don't worry, I didn't beat your friend up in there, if he's with Rose he's no threat to me."

With that, she disappeared across the street.

Alec had gone back to sit with Rose.  "So, what did she want?"

"You weren't listening?" Rose smiled, taking his hand.

"Just tell me Rose?"

"Outside, I'm not repeating it twice."

They went to join the others, Rose quickly telling them what Jessica had told her about Kilgrave.

"So she thought he was dead?" Jake asked.

Emmett already knew that and made it obvious.  "Tell me something I don't already know.  Rose, here, sit down."

Rose took his seat and Emmett got another chair from the next table, to the dismay of the two people already sitting there.

"He made her do horrible things, she couldn't resist him either at first but she got the strength from somewhere and while he was talking to her, he was hit by a bus and she broke free.  She believes now he survived by getting someone to donate a kidney and a surgeon to patch him up.  He's getting stronger though, from what she can gather."

"What will happen to Hope?" Mickey asked her.

"Jessica's getting a friend of hers who's a top lawyer to defend her, all the incidents that have been going on will all point to the fact she's partly innocent.  She was just unlucky enough to be caught with the weapon used to kill them, she'll have to serve some time but she may get leniency.  Jessica asked if I would appear as a witness that I was also under Kilgrave's influence."

"You agreed?" Alec asked her, taking her hand and watching for any signs from Carver.

"She'll contact me, if needed, they may not even allow it but we have to stay for a bit longer, just in case.  I can't let Hope face it on her own, it wasn't her fault."

They all went back to the hotel, Mickey going with Jake as Emmett got in the taxi with Rose and Alec, getting him a look from the cab driver.   Once back, Jake reported in to Pete, who agreed Rose should try and help.

"Let me talk to her Jake."

"Dad?  I have to stay and help her, she's got no-one apart from Jessica."

"I know love, you should stay but Kate can't get involved, it's completely separate from your kidnapping case and what Kilgrave himself was involved with."

"Yeah, I get that. I just want to help her Dad."

"Take all the time you need and I've got my legal team locating a good lawyer over there, in case you are needed to appear in court.  I'll give them Alec's number, they'll call him shortly."

"So are you sticking around Emmett?" Rose asked him.

"I have to get back, it was very nice to see you again Rose but perhaps next time it will be under more pleasant circumstances?"

"Yeah, I hope so.  Will you have dinner with us all tonight, we can go out somewhere."

"I would like that."

"Count us out Rose, we're not dressed to go anywhere fancy," Jake laughed, pointing to his attire.

"Speak for yourself Jake," Mickey huffed, making Rose laugh.

Alec went to the desk and picked up a few leaflets and gave them to Rose.

"Choose one and I'll let him know where and when."

Rose smiled and took them from him.  She soon decided and Emmett made a note of the time and place and getting up, took her hand and kissed the back of it.

"Until seven thirty then?"

He let go, getting a 'back off' look from Alec.

Chapter 42

As they were getting ready to go out, Alec wishing Rose hadn't been so keen to invite the other detective, whom he was seeing more and more as a rival despite Rose's insistence, she noticed his mood.

"Something wrong?" she asked as she got him to fasten the zip on her red dress.

"Nothing love, red suits you."

"Aw, thanks.  I wasn't sure you'd want to pay me any compliments."

"I am getting used to it love, I just thought it would bother you if I did."

"I'm over it now Alec, I like the way you watch me, you sometimes try to avert your stare."

"Do I really?  I never noticed.  It's not that I don't want to stare at you, I thought it would make you nervous."

"No, it doesn't honestly.  It took some time but I really don't mind and I've still got this habit of being careful and half turning, I'll try and get over that as well."

"Then I look forward to it.  Ready to go?  I will get the doorman to get a cab for us."

"Yeah and don't go spoiling this by getting jealous, I'm coming back here with you, not going back to Emmett's hotel, everyone's had enough of me disappearing on them."

"Yes, I think they have.  I know I'm an idiot for entertaining the notion.  I sometimes forget how friendly you are with people, that's all."

"I know you plum.  If we don't hear from Jessica tomorrow, we'll arrange to go home on Sunday."

"Well that lawyer your stepfather told you about is just waiting for a call, if you need to go give a statement."

They got into the cab and Alec gave the address, having got some U.S currency earlier from Jake.  Emmett was waiting for them, Alec being apprehensive and making sure he wasn't wearing a purple suit or anything else purple before helping Rose out of the cab.

"Glad you could make it Emmett," Rose greeted him.

"I called ahead and made a reservation, I hope you didn't make one Hardy?"

"Aw, call him Alec, just for tonight," Rose teased him.

"I will try to remember that Rose.  I'm not keen on my name either, seems our parents were rather making a point."

When they'd got seated, getting some stares from other diners as Rose sat in the middle, Rose asked Emmett about Gracepoint.

"So you made it your home?"

"As good a place as any, I expect you did the same with Broadchurch, err, Alec?"

"You could say that.  I attempted to reconnect with my daughter, after I got myself fixed but it never worked out, there was still a job for me so I went back. Then I got the call to help find Rose."

Rose took his hand.  "Paid off though, didn't it?"

"Yes Rose, it did pay off."

"So are you two settling down there?"

"If that's where Rose wants to live.  We were just deciding on a place when Rose was asked to come back here.  Why are you so interested anyway?"

Rose looked at him.  "Don't be like that Alec, I'm sure Emmett is curious about how this ends, aren't you?"

"It's not just the fact Kilgrave looks like us, that's bad enough but what he's doing? Anyone at any time could mistake us for him, have you even thought about that? Kilgrave's likeness is all over town and the two of us are here, having dinner.  I only came to offer my support to Rose, since she wasn't expecting to have to come back, I'll be going back to Gracepoint tomorrow and my offer still stands, if you both want to come and visit the town.  I'm told the sea-life is abundant, whales and suchlike, not my thing."

"Aw, that would be great.  Well Alec's got your number, if we fancy a trip, we'll call you."

Alec was about to come up with at least a dozen reasons not to but thought better of it.  They finally left the restaurant and were waiting for their cabs to arrive and Rose decided if Alec was going to carry on his little sulking game, she'd give him something to moan about.

"Bye then Emmett, it was really nice seeing you again."

"You too Rose, take care of her Hardy or you'll answer to me."

After an awkward hug that turned into him kissing her cheek, Emmett got into the waiting taxi and Rose waved after him.  It wasn't like she was ever going to see him again, was she?  Once back at the hotel, Mickey and Jake were sat in the bar.

"Waiting up for me?" Rose smiled, sitting next to Jake.

"Nope, you're a big girl Rosie and Alec's with you.  How did it go?"

"Ask Alec."

Even Jake could see something wasn't right between the two of them but thought better about asking.  Alec brought some drinks over and Rose moved across but he went to sit next to Mickey.

"I think we've had enough tonight, right Mickey?" Jake suggested.

"You may have done," Mickey replied but then saw the look on Jake's face that meant there was trouble in paradise.  "Oh right, maybe I should call Martha and explain why I missed our date."

"She'll forgive you, they don't call her Sam.  Night Rose, Alec, see you at breakfast."

"Yeah, night Jake and Mickey, I'm sorry you missed your date, it wasn't like I had much choice."

"Yeah, forget it Rose, no worries."

The two of them left and Alec remained where he was, leaving Rose to get up and sit where Mickey had been sitting.  She put her arm in his and leaned on his shoulder.

"Are you mad at me for some reason?"

"Should I be?"

"He's gone Alec, not that you had anything to worry about, it was just a meal.  We're not going through this again are we?  I don't know what you're thinking but you can stop thinking I would leave you for Emmett, I hardly know him."

"You didn't know me Rose and the day after you were rescued, we were kissing in the elevator."

Rose nudged him.  "Well you didn't need any encouragement from Castle's mother in that restaurant, did you?"

Alec felt himself getting hot under his collar and tugged on his tie, the top button was already undone though it had been fastened when he'd gone out, he didn't always have the 'scruffy' look that Miller told him he always had.  He finished his drink and let Rose's arm go.

"Coming upstairs or do I get another room?"

"What?  Are you crazy?  You said you don't get paid until next week, you can't afford a room here," Rose teased, stopping him getting up.

"You paid me back, remember?"

He got up and held his hand out.  He had to get over this or he would accuse every man she came across of trying to steal her away from him and accuse Rose of encouraging them.

"Come upstairs Rose, I have something to say to you then you can decide what you want to do."

"About what?"

"I'll tell you but not here."

They rode the elevator in silence, normally they would have been kissing but Alec wasn't in the mood.  Maybe he should just go back to Broadchurch and let Jake and Mickey take care of her but he had promised her stepfather he would take the lead on this and what had he already told her?  Something about him not going anywhere and trying to prove not every man left her yet here he was, thinking about doing exactly that but it would only prove to her he couldn't be trusted to keep his word.

If Rose still wanted him after what he had to say, then she was willing to take a chance with him, she'd already told him she could be herself around him, what more did he want from her?  She'd told him she loved him, that should be enough but no, Carver was getting the better of him, he'd not even felt jealous of Rose being with Kilgrave, mainly because he'd never had to face him but he kept having to face Carver.  Why did Rose have to be some damn friendly with everyone?

They got to their room and Alec opened the door, letting Rose in first and as he closed it, he turned around and Rose was on him, kissing him for all she was worth. When they parted, Rose had a big grin on her face.

"Why couldn't we have done that in front of Emmett?  He knows he's no chance with me, he whispered to me you were a very lucky man, I bet he'd give anything to trade places with you right now."

"I just bet he would.  I know you can tell us apart Rose, that is not what is bothering me."

"Then what is?  I thought we agreed this was finished, all this insane jealousy.  You want to talk about being jealous?  Have a talk with Mickey, why'd ya think he stayed on this world the first time we came here?  He knew he couldn't compete with the Doctor and he stayed so we could make something of it but we never did. I'd never do that to you Alec and I hope you won't even think about going home and leave me to go chasing after Emmett.  Well?"

Alec took his tie off and threw it on the back of the chair.

"What the hell is wrong with you Alec?"

"You want to know?  Having an ex wife who as soon as she saw the chance, she took it because I was too buried in my work and then the Sandbrook case.  What about if I get another serious case, in Broadchurch and I'm working all hours?"

"Then I'll get Ellie to kick your ass and send you home, she has her two boys to think about.  Nothing is worth giving up your home life Alec, you should know that by now."

"Aye, maybe I do but you don't know what I'm like Rose, once I sink my teeth into something, I don't let it go."

"You are now, you're thinking of leaving and going back without me, I know you are.  Please Alec, just think about it.  I want to go back with you, find a place to live and one day, when I've come to terms with having a baby I never wanted, I want to try again, with you.  I'm not against having kids you know, with the right man."

"You're not?"

"You're being a big idiot Alec, that's what I love about you, you are so different."

"In what way?"

"Lots, how long have you got?" she asked, daring to go for his shirt buttons.   "You're not gonna need to have your ritual tonight, inspector," she told him, turning around for him to unzip her dress.

He obliged and unzipped her, taking her bra fastener at the same time.  He kissed her back then turned her around, Rose letting him pull the dress and straps over her shoulders.  She let him continue to take the dress off for her, Rose wriggling out of it as it fell to the floor, her bra on top of it.

"I'm sorry Rose, I had plenty to say but that does not matter now."

"So you still love me then?" she asked, parting his shirt as she undid the last button and pulled it out of his trousers.

She didn't stop there, unfastening his belt and going for the zip, Alec not stopping her.  He watched her face light up when she realised he was willing to play along, it wasn't like when Kilgrave had made her do the same, she wanted to do it with the man she knew she loved, despite him being a complete moron earlier.

After pulling his trousers part way down, they retreated to the bed and while Rose clambered under the sheets, Alec had kicked off his shoes and before he had chance to take off his socks, Rose was putting her arms around his neck from behind.

"Can't wait eh?" he asked, raising his eyebrows and trying to wriggle out of his trousers.

"Don't want me to see your legs?" she teased.

"You may still run at the sight of them close up, you've only see me from behind."

"Then stop being a plum and get on with it, facing me.  You might want to save time and take your shorts off at the same time."

"I may just do that, if you close your eyes."

"Forget it, you owe me for being jealous earlier."

Rose could only smile as he slowly finished the job and leaving his shorts on, crossed back to the bed after placing his trousers over the back of the chair.

"Care to help?"

He soon got his answer as she reached over and got to her knees.

"Mmm, what have you been hiding?" she teased, going for the waistband.

"There is only one way to find out."

"Are you gonna stop thinking I'll leave with Emmett in the morning?"

"Only when he gets on that plane and you are still here."

He cheated slightly as she tugged on his shorts by kneeling down but they had made a start on Rose's getting over being abused and Alec's worries he'd never find anyone to replace Tess.

The next morning, after fooling around, Alec decided he couldn't just sit around the hotel and with three of them looking after Rose, they would go out, Jake and Mickey agreeing they would just follow the couple from a safe distance once they got out of the taxi.  While they were having lunch, Rose's phone rang and since only Jessica's would show as a number and not a name, Alec answered it.

"Is she there?" Jessica asked.

"I will put you on speaker."

"Rose, I just got out of the precinct, Hope's arraignment is 10am Monday morning, I'll text you the court details.  I have a friend who is going to defend her but the police have a solid case."

"She will be there," Alec told Jessica, as much as he wanted to leave the country as quickly as possible, he knew Rose wouldn't leave without wanting to help.

"Her stepfather has appointed a lawyer to speak for her, I'll give him the details. Rose will only go on the stand if necessary."

"Understood, I'll tell Hope's lawyer, tell them the name is Geri Hogarth, he'll know who she is.  Another thing though, tell Rose, Hope's pregnant.  She just told me, it must have happened before Kilgrave dumped her the first time."

"Jessica, tell her anything and I mean anything I can do to help, if she needs money to abort it, just let me know."

"I will Rose, don't worry and I'm not blaming you for what happened, I've found others who have been abused by him that weren't as lucky as you."

After that, Rose just wanted to go back to the hotel but Alec insisted they still went to Liberty Island to see the statue, something Rose had wanted to visit and Alec hoping there was a lift to the top.  Once back at the hotel, Jake called Pete.

"Then Rose should help her, if she wants help.  Why has she only just admitted it, why not when Kate talked to her?"

"She was probably afraid to say anything Dad," Rose told him.  "I was in a better position but I wasn't sure about it, it's a big decision to make."

"I know love, just do what you can and don't worry about anything, that lawyer got back to me, he said he's meeting you just before the hearing, just tell him to speak on your behalf, my legal team have sent him all the details of what happened to you."


"Sorry Rose but if you want to help her get off, it has to be everything.  You'd best be prepared to make a press statement, I'll email it to Jake later and you can have Alec or the lawyer read it out for you but your mother is going to find out so you'd best call her, let her hear it from you."

"She'll never talk to me again, she was bad enough when I wouldn't tell her where I'd been when I went missing for a year."

"She will, I'll tell her it was just as much my idea as it was yours."

"She'll blame Alec."

Alec smiled and took her hand.  "It does not matter if she blames me or not, I helped you, I was the one who took you.  I accept the responsibility."

"Good man.  Right, best get on with that press release then, maybe we'll be lucky and it doesn't reach here?"

"Fat chance of that Pete," Mickey told him.

After dinner, they all went to Rose and Alec's room to read over the press release, Alec agreeing it would be best if he read it on her behalf, since he had been one of the officers to find her.  Kate had called after Pete told Castle of the hearing and apologised she couldn't get involved that much.

"The most I can do for you is tell Detective Clemons we are still pursuing Kilgrave for your kidnapping and the death of the man who stepped under that bus but since Kilgrave wasn't seen pushing the man, we can't charge him with that and several other incidents."

"Yeah but Kate, Kilgrave was there because he was getting breakfast for me."

"Rose, you can't keep blaming yourself for what he did," Kate assured her.  "I've sent him details of the incidents we believe Kilgrave is responsible for but I have some more disturbing news.  Did Jessica tell you what happened last night?"

"No," Alec told her.

"Kilgrave walked into Clemon's precinct and made them all hold guns to each other while he taunted her."

"You are kidding," Mickey told her.

"I wish I were but it's true.  He told me Jessica walked in claiming she'd killed one of her neighbours but he only remembers everyone laughing when they were all pointing guns at each other and the proof Jessica said she had was gone.  You can fill in the gaps."

"Seems they've both been busy then," was all Rose could say.

"I'll let you know if I hear anything else, good luck on Monday, I wish I could be there but Clemons still insists it's nothing to do with Kilgrave.  You do know the press will be there?"

"We have it covered," Alec told her.  "She is more worried over what her mother will say than what the press think of her."

"Yeah, speaking of which, Castle told me, sorry about that.  If we'd found you sooner?"

"I'm not blaming you Kate, I did what I thought best by going along with it, I should have kicked his ass."

"You chose to save others Rose, that's what counts."

"Didn't do some of them any good, did it?  I didn't save Hope or that man stepping under the bus."

"Leave it Rose, it's done with now," Alec assured her.

Rose turned to him when he'd ended the call.

"I have to tell my mother, can you leave me for a few minutes?"

"I will be next door in Jake's room, I want to read that press statement again. Tomorrow, we will just take it easy."

"Yeah, maybe we can all go to central park or something?" Mickey suggested, getting him a nudge from Jake.  "Sorry, I forgot."

"Idiot," Jake goaded him.  "That's the last place she'll want to go."

"I didn't enjoy it last time, maybe you two can take me on a boat and we'll all go to the zoo?"

"Then we will take you to the zoo," Alec assured her, not too sure about the boat part.  "You will be safe enough with the three of us."

"I know that Alec.  Now I have to make the worst call of my life."

Alec left with Jake and Mickey, going to Jake's room and Rose picked up her phone – this was not going to be easy.  Jackie had been waiting for her son coming back with his dad from a trip to the local park, something Pete enjoyed immensely, now he had a family.  She heard her phone buzzing and saw Rose's name.

"Rose!  How's things over there?"

"Fine Mum, they took me out today and we're going to the zoo tomorrow.  I just hope Alec doesn't throw Mickey to the lions.  Mum I have something to tell you and I don't want you to get mad with Pete or Alec."

Jackie listened, not quite believing how she'd not seen all the signs.  Well she had, she just hadn't thought Rose had got that close to Kilgrave.

"Rose, why couldn't you tell me?  After all we've been through?"

"I'm sorry Mum, really I am but it wasn't like when I first went off with the Doctor and I couldn't tell you.  Alec took me to a clinic that Ellie arranged, it was all over in a few hours."

"You still should have told me, I'm really disappointed you felt you had to hide it from me."

"I thought you would be on the first plane to New York to find Kilgrave."

"You're lucky I'm not blaming Alec."

"We knew you'd say that and do ya know what?  Alec was prepared to take the blame and say it was his, that's how much he loves me.  I'm not saying Kilgrave was entirely to blame, I knew what I was doing.  I had to pretend I wanted to be with him, even though I knew it was wrong."

"I know it wasn't easy for you Rose, do you really have to stand up in a courtroom and tell a judge what happened to you?"

"I have to help her, she has no-one except for Jessica and she's hardly in a position to pay for the treatment.  She's already got Hope a good lawyer and besides, I may not have to speak, dad's got me a lawyer and Alec will read out any statements for me, if the press get hold of it."

"Well I hope so, goodness knows with all that's been in the papers lately and them saying it was that American detective you were with."

"I know Mum, Emmett must have thought it was amusing but it didn't help Alec, he got all jealous all of a sudden.  I'm just glad Emmett's gone back to Gracepoint before Alec got any worse.  Don't tell him this but I thought he was gonna actual leave me over it.  We all went out last night and well, it was all I could do to convince Alec I wasn't gonna be on the plane this morning with Emmett.  I don't know where he got the idea from."

"Well finding out he has two doubles can't have helped."

"No, probably not.  I don't know Mum, he's still a bit unsure but maybe he'll be ok when we get back."

Alec came back ten minutes later, asking how the call had gone.

"Well she didn't go crazy with me, I should have told her.  Are we gonna be ok Alec?"

He went up to her and put his arms around her.  "Yes love, we are going to be fine and I am sorry.  Now Carver is back where he belongs, I realise I was an idiot – again.  Why do you keep forgiving me so easily?"

"You really are an idiot Alec, do you know that?"

"Then let me make it up to you?  Just you and me out tomorrow, let those two just tag along behind, for their satisfaction."

"Yeah, we'll tell them in the morning.  So, about the statement?"

The next day as promised, Jake and Mickey tagged along and Alec could only watch as Jake took her out on a boat.  He knew now that he had to get rid of the hatred he had for going on the water but it was deep-rooted in him.  While they were waiting, Alec turned to Mickey.

"Have you got a problem with me?"

"What?  No, not personally."

"You did everything you could the last time we were here to put Rose off me, including complaining to her stepfather."

"Forget it Alec, I was only watching out for her.  I can see she's crazy about you even though you've been a bit off since we got here."

"You think coming back here was easy for her?"

"No, I can imagine not.  I expect you'll be glad to get her away from here?"

"The sooner the better.  They look like they are enjoying themselves," Alec nodded to where Rose and Jake were heading back to the platform, Rose laughing.

"They were best mates, when Rose got here.  Trust me, if Kilgrave comes anywhere near Rose while Jake's around, you won't have to worry about him getting away with anything else."

"Kilgrave seems very powerful, he's getting uncontrollable now, Rose has to be watched every second, no exceptions no matter how much she protests."

"Oh, she'll protest alright, trust me.  Here they come."

Rose bounded up to where Alec was sitting and threw her arms around him.

"Aw, you should have come with us.  When we get back I'm gonna help you get over your fear of going on the water."

"Then I will do all I can.  Ready to go to the zoo?"

When they got back to the hotel, Alec wanted to go over the statement with Rose to see if she wanted to change anything.

"No, I think that covers it, just in case there are any reporters there.  Surely it will just be a judge though?"

"Yes and court officials but it's a high profile case, it was already on the media websites last night, Jake showed me while you were talking to your mother.  They were not too kind either."

"I feel really sorry for her, I just want to help her."

"I know you do love.  Lets have an early night eh?"

Rose smiled.  "To sleep?"

They had an early breakfast and made their way to the court, Jessica was pacing up and down when not talking to a woman who Rose thought must be the lawyer, then a man stepped forward and greeted Alec and Jessica walked off.

"You must be Hardy?  I'm Lester Tate, I've been asked by Miss Tyler's stepfather to represent her but she's not under any obligation to take the stand, a statement has been prepared for her."

"I was already told that.  Do you need to know anything before we go in?"

"Just a few things, is that ok Miss Tyler?"

Rose nodded and Alec sat her on a green leather backed bench that he thought was standard for courtrooms everywhere.

"So when Kilgrave held you prisoner, you choose to go along with what he wanted?"

"At first, I thought he'd only keep me for a few days but it got more difficult to pretend with him."

The lawyer wrote in his notes.  "So is it correct that he got you pregnant?"

Rose looked at Alec, who nodded.

"Yeah, it's true and it's partly my fault, I had to make it look good, he kept threatening his staff."

"But not you?"

"Not at first but he started."

Pete had already made it clear that Torchwood was to be left out, unless it was necessary and Rose was accused of it being all her own fault.

"Just one more thing Miss Tyler.  This Kilgrave, he left on his own?"

"Yeah, there were police down in the street and he got worried."

"Why do you think he just left you there?"

"He knew who my stepfather was, he didn't ask for a ransom as far as I know but I wasn't with him all the time, he could have made demands for money, my stepfather won't tell me anything."

"Thank you, we should go inside now and please let me do all the talking."

Alec helped her up and took her hand.

"Come on Rose, then we can all go home.  Are you two staying out here?" he asked Jake and Mickey.

"Yeah, just in case Kilgrave tries anything, we're ready for him."

"Hopefully he won't be that stupid but since he walked into a police precinct, who knows?"

Everything was going smoothly as the charges were read out against Hope, her attorney going on the fact she was held against her will and hypnotised into killing her parents.  The judge however was somewhat sceptical.

"You expect me to believe that Hogarth?  What are you even doing defending this case?"

"Your Honour my being here is not relevant, surely?  I have a character witness who was held by the same man, she was also under his influence.  You may have heard of her, Rose Tyler, the Vitex heiress?"

The judge looked up from his scribblings.

"Really?   Can't stand the stuff personally, my kids however live on it.  I can see she's present.  Miss Tyler, are you prepared to stand as a witness that the defendant was held against her will and made to kill her parents?"

Rose's attorney stood up.

"I will be representing Miss Tyler your Honour."

"Go ahead Mr Tate but I may still ask her to take the stand."

"Of course your Honour but I have one request."

"I wouldn't expect any less."

"That any members of the press will be asked to leave.  Miss Tyler has been good enough to testify for the defence, we should allow her some privacy."

"Very well, any members of the press will please leave the courtroom now. Anyone remaining who reports on this will be in contempt."

A few men got up, Alec could spot them a mile off but a young woman in a plaid jacket remained where she was.  Alec had his suspicions but something made him think she wasn't there to support either Rose or Hope.  He leaned forward and got the attorney's attention.

"She's a reporter, trust me," Alec told him quietly.

"Your honour, Miss Tyler's friend has pointed out that one member of the press still remains."

Renee Clemens had been doing research and successfully persuaded her editor a trip to New York would be fruitful but how had she been found out?  Then she looked again at the man with Rose Tyler, it must be the double that Carver knew he had but something had told her Carver may show up here and he had done but she'd somehow missed him.

"May I remind anyone of the press remaining of the consequences?"

Renee got up, determined she was going to get a story out of this, Rose Tyler had hardly been out of the news lately and most of it had been with the man she was now with.  Rose's attorney read out the prepared statement then passed it to the court bailiff to be passed to the judge.

"Thank you Miss Tyler.  I see no need for you to take the stand, it's quite clear this man, Kilgrave, if that's his real name, held some influence over you and the defendant.  Ms Hogarth states he has held several other woman and used men in various roles, that is yet to be determined.  The defendant will stand."

Hope got up, still looking in a daze but Rose thought it was only to be expected. She smiled over at the girl but got nothing back.  Hope was held over for trial on two counts of murder in the first degree with a date to be set.  Rose was disappointed but Alec had told her on the way there that was likely to happen.  As they got outside, Mickey was talking to the woman Alec had spotted inside.

"Mickey, don't talk to her," he warned him.

"Really Detective Inspector Hardy, did you have to get me thrown out?" Renee asked him.

"You know of me?"

"You're Carver's double, we have history.  So, can I get the exclusive as to why Rose Tyler and yourself are caught up in all this?"

Alec looked around, the other members of the press already watching them.

"What's your name then?"

"Renee Clemens, San Francisco Globe."

"A long way from home."

"You can talk, you came over to find Rose when she went missing, I've been helping Carver."

"So he got that information from you then?"

"Some of it, I made it easier for him to find and I knew it would all kick off, that's why I'm here.  So, exclusive?"

"Not here, I have a statement to read out, since your friends over there are about to eavesdrop."

Alec read the statement out and agreed Renee would meet them at their hotel in a few hours time.

"Can we go home then?" Rose asked as they crammed into a taxi.

"Yes love, we can go home and I'm sorry she did not get off but she has the best of help and Jessica.  We can't get further involved.  I will call her, you have her number?"

"Yeah but I wonder why she walked off?  No wonder Hope was looking around."

"Maybe she found who she was looking for?" Mickey offered from the front seat.

Alec only put up with him for Rose's sake.  Renee caught up with them and Alec made it clear she didn't give the story to anyone else.

"Not even the Gracepoint Journal?"

"You've been there?" Rose asked.

"Yeah, I reported on the Solano case, it was just like the one in Broadchurch, what were the chances of that?"

"Very slim and too alike for me," Alec told Renee.

Jake had gone off to make the arrangements to go home the next day but Rose got a call from Jessica.

"So you're leaving then?"

"Yeah, I'm sorry I couldn't do any more for Hope."

"You tried, thanks.  No offence but the sooner you leave, the sooner I can deal with Kilgrave."

"We'll be gone tomorrow."

Alec didn't want to say anything but he suspected Jessica's absence was caused by the man himself.

"Have you found him yet?" Alec asked, since she'd said she was going to deal with him, not find him, which suggested she had already done so or he'd found her.

"Go home Hardy, I can deal with him, he's no longer yours or Rose's problem."

"If you have found him, hand him over to the authorities."

Chapter 43

The events of 'Jessica Jones' have been dramatically changed, speeded up and been cut down.  For those not fortunate enough to have seen the series, only the basics are covered.

"Keep out of it Hardy, I'm telling you.  He's more dangerous than ever now, the sooner Rose leaves, the better."

Now he was having second thoughts about going back.  If she was on to Kilgrave, he wanted in and he knew Jake and Mickey would feel the same way but how could he expect Rose to go home on her own?  She wouldn't and her staying here would put her in danger.  He had to give her a choice.

Alec called Jake and told him to come to their room and bring Mickey.

"So, are we all agreed? Rose, we should get you on that plane tomorrow, let us deal with Kilgrave."

"No way Alec, you're not getting rid of me that easily.  If you all stay, then so do I so forget packing me off home."

"Jake, call Pete and tell him we are staying then change our flights again.   I'll call Jessica back and tell her we're in, she won't like it though so it will have to be on her terms.  Rose, call your mother and tell her you'll be a while longer eh?  Stop her from worrying."

"What about me?" Mickey asked, eager to get back for his postponed date with Martha Jones.

"Mickey, ah, right."

"No, not again, you're as bad as the Doctor was, leaving me out."

Rose couldn't help but laugh, remembering how Mickey always missed out.

Jake patted him on the back.  "Never mind Mickey, we won't leave you out altogether.  Best get busy on the phone again, they'll not be happy."

When Jake and Mickey left, Alec turned to Rose.

"Are you sure about this?"

"Yeah, we can't leave Jessica to deal with him on her own.  Call her back and tell her whatever she wants, money, legal, anything and if she's spoken to Hope, about her baby, then if she needs money for that, I can help."

Alec called Jessica back.  She wasn't pleased and warned him to stay out of her way.

"Well keep back and if I need your help I'll call.  Keep Rose in the hotel as much as you can and when she has to go out, keep your wits about you.   I've seen him, he's completely off his head and trust me, when I have enough, I'll hand him over for causing the death of Hope's parents but don't you dare tell anyone, especially Castle's wife."

"Agreed but if it gets out of hand, you may have no other choice."

"Yes I do."

Alec thought he could take that one of two ways but didn't think she would get the NYPD involved.  The next week was torture for all of them, Rose spending her time in the spa and having a swimsuit from a sportswear shop delivered, went down to the basement swimming pool, Jake keeping guard with Alec.

They got a few calls from Jessica, Alec opting to keep Kate out of it and trusted Pete not to say anything. Jake and Mickey were monitoring the news websites, finding a lot of things that indicated Kilgrave was busy and Jessica was chasing him around, sometimes seemingly helping him.  Rose was shocked with some of the events but they'd promised to keep out it, Alec didn't think it would be good if Jessica were to mention she knew Rose and made him go looking for her.  It was best Kilgrave thought Rose had gone home and was out of his grasp, which was probably why he was so crazy at the thought not only had Jessica got away from him but so had Rose.

By Saturday, they were all climbing the walls.  They'd kept to the hotel, only Jake and Mickey taking turns to go fetch anything they needed from local stores, saying Alec was best keeping indoors if Kilgrave was on the loose but it was becoming obvious he was getting careless and letting himself be seen.

Kate had guessed they were still in town and Alec hadn't denied it.

"Alec, just go home, there's nothing you can do if Jessica's not telling you anything."

"We need to be here, Rose needs to put this behind her or she can't move forward, none of us can.  We are staying out of the way, she just wants to be here."

Kate could only agree Rose needed some closure and said as long as they stayed out of trouble, they were just tourists extending their visit.

"I'm sure Rose will appreciate your concern.  When this is over, she will probably want to meet with you again."

"Yeah, as long as I'm not arresting any of you for Kilgrave's demise.  Just keep her safe."

That was going to prove more difficult than any of them could imagine as things took a turn for the worse.  A few days later, Rose got a call from Jessica.

"He's been holding me Rose, at the house I grew up in, I've just got away from him. I got Hogarth to promise she would make sure Hope was looked after, it's over and she's being released in a few days, too much has been going on for them to hold her responsible."

"Well that's some good news then.  Does she need a place to stay, money?"

"No, I have it covered.  I'm gonna go collect her, Kilgrave doesn't know about it."

"Are you sure?"

"What do you take me for Rose?  I have a plan but I'm gonna need some help to pull it off."

"What?" Alec asked as she revealed exactly what it entailed.  "Absolutely not, Rose is not being used as bait."

"Fine, I'll stick to plan B then but you wanted in."

"Yes but not like that, you are playing a very dangerous game."

"I always do Hardy, I'll be in touch then."

Three days later, Kate broke some bad news to them.

"I'm sorry Alec but Hope took her own life a few hours ago.  She'd just got out of prison, seems Kilgrave beat Jessica to it and she chose not to let him win."

It was Alec who broke the silence after Kate told him that Detective Clemons was also dead.

"You are letting him get away with this?" Alec asked her.

"There's nothing I can do, it's out of my hands, the captain won't get involved."

Alec was not pleased.  "Is that how they do things out here, not stepping on anyone's toes?"

"Calm down Alec, you can't do anything, you not here in an official capacity," Rose reminded him.

"I should go see the captain."

"She won't let you work the case Alec, please, just leave it."

He put his arms around her, Rose leaning into him.

"I don't care what happens to Kilgrave but if he comes after you, I won't need any help from Jake or Mickey."

"I know but just be careful, he may not take having a twin as well as you did."

Kilgrave already knew he had at least one double, since he had come across a copy of the San Francisco Globe but he thought Rose Tyler had been long gone.  There had been no clues as to when the interview had taken place, it could have been before she left and as for the statement this Alec Hardy had fed the press, that left no clues either.

Did Hardy think he was going to get away with believing he'd not been discovered? It was clear Hardy was keeping Rose under wraps and now he had to put his plan into action.  He was toying with getting Jessica's 'sister' to join him on his little trip to a far away Caribbean island but now, he needed to find out if Rose really was in town or still back home.  There was only one way to do that and Jessica was about to take the bait.

Rose got an unexpected call a few days later, they had been in New York two weeks and Alec was on edge, just waiting for something to happen.  It did as Jessica said she needed to see her, the same place as before.   Alec reluctantly agreed but only if Jake and Mickey were also present.

"Sorry to drag you out but I didn't want Kilgrave to find out where you are or even that you're in the city."

"He probably already knows," Alec told her as their drinks arrived, the waitress looking at Jessica, who had refused.

He thought she probably only drank out of a bottle, she looked a wreck but chasing Kilgrave would do that to a person.

"So what did you want a meeting for?"

"To warn you, he knows Rose is in the city."

"You told him?"

"No, he must have seen the news reports and gathered they weren't from when she was here before.  Either that or he got to that reporter you gave the exclusive to. Why her?"

"Long story.  So Kilgrave knows she's in town and you bring her out into the open? You could have warned us by phone."

"I wasn't sure he knew until a short time ago.  Be careful, both of you, he knows about you Hardy, he may come after you, since you're with Rose.  I have a plan to track him down, I have help but you may get dragged into it."

"If that's what it takes."

"You can still leave."

Rose looked across at her.  "Yeah but I'm not, I'm gonna see it through until the end."

"It may mean you meet him again, I have to get him to trust you, to think he's won then go for him."

"The same plan as before then?" Alec asked, not liking it.

Jake and Mickey had remained quiet but Jake was dying to say something.

The plan was put into place and Jessica went off, not liking having to use Rose as the bait but it would only work with her.  Rose had agreed to be picked up by Jessica and her adopted sister outside of the hotel when Jessica had lured Kilgrave where she wanted him but things were about to change.

Kilgrave was taunting Jessica and she knew it so when he called her to meet him at the Port of New York, Jessica saw it as her chance.  Alec was waiting downstairs as Jessica pulled up outside the hotel.  Rose kissed Alec goodbye, they had already talked while they were waiting.

"You don't have to do this love."

"Yeah, I do Alec or I'll never be free.  I love you Alec, I'm coming back then we can go home, to Broadchurch and find a house."

"Aye, we'll do that, preferably before Daisy comes for the summer.  I can put her off though, if you want?"

"No, she has to get used to me, I'm gonna be around for a while."

"Good, I love you too Rose, just be careful eh?"

"Yeah, no following me, I don't want to have to rescue you."

So as Alec waved her goodbye, Jake was waiting for him inside.

"Don't worry, I put a tracking device on her jacket."

"You did?  Good man, let's go find out where Jessica is taking her shall we?"

In the back of the car, Rose was observed by Trish Walker.  She had seen billboards all over town with the radio presenter's face on.

"So how did you get caught up in this?" Rose asked.

"Jessica needs help, I know what Kilgrave's capable of."

"Yeah, so do I.  We'd better not be walking into a trap."

"He called me, says he's leaving," Jessica told her, holding back the rest of it.

"Just like that?  What's the catch?"

"He expects you to go with him."

"What?  Take me back to the hotel, right now."

"Chill, I'm not gonna let that happen, I have a plan."

"Well it had better be a good one or if you think Kilgrave is bad enough, you've not seen Alec in a temper."

Jessica let out a laugh.  They arrived outside the port building, which was open, making Jessica suspicious.

"Wait here you two while I check this out.  When I call, Trish, bring Rose inside."

"How will we know you're not being made to tell me it's safe to go in?" Rose asked as Jessica went for the door handle.

Jessica leaned over and whispered in Trish's ear.  Trish nodded and Jessica got out.

"She'll be ok, won't she?" Rose asked.

"Don't worry about her, she's tougher than she looks."

Suddenly, they could hear the sound of guns firing and Rose wanted to get out of the car.

"No, we stay here, no matter what.  If anyone walks towards us, we're out of here."

"We can't just leave her in there," Rose protested.

"Yes we can, that's what she wants and if she goes, she'll take Kilgrave with her."

After what seemed like an age, the firing stopped.  Trish's phone rang twice but she didn't answer.

"Come on it's safe, let's finish this then we can all get our lives back."

"I hope you're right, Alec and I have plans to make."

"You really love him when he looks like Kilgrave?" Trish asked as they walked towards the entrance.

They stopped as they saw two lines of police officers, all staring forward, guns in hands.

"This is creepy," Rose observed as they passed by, Trish leading the way.

"Everything Jessica told me about Kilgrave is creepy.  Come on, he must have ordered them to stop and let us in."

"So he really expects me to go with him?  No, wait.  He doesn't want me, he wants Jessica and he's using me?"

"She already knows that."

"Alec is gonna be so mad I got used again, we'd just got over it and to answer your question, I love him because he's not Kilgrave."

They turned a corner, an expensive boat tied up and Jessica standing by the gangway.  She moved and Rose could see Kilgrave.  Trish almost bumped into the back of her.

"Rose, how nice of you to join us," Kilgrave greeted her, stepping past Jessica.

"Let her go Kevin."

"Ah, you do care!  Come over here, it's been a while."

Rose stepped forward as Jessica turned around, Rose desperately hoping the other woman had a plan and it had better be a good one.

Back at the hotel, Alec, Jake and Mickey had tracked Rose down.  Jake was going to follow the signal with Alec, Mickey was calling Pete then Kate, telling her Rose had willingly gone with Jessica and another woman to find Kilgrave and she had stopped at the port building but to come by herself, not involve the entire NYPD, in case Kilgrave were to expect their arrival.

Alec and Jake got into the taxi, his data pad still settled on Rose's signal.

"She's definitely there Alec, unless she's left her jacket."

"When did you put that on her?  No, forget that, what are you even doing with it and how did you get it past customs?"

"VIP lounge?" Jake grinned at his new friend.

Alec was annoyed he'd never thought of it but why had he agreed to let her go on her own?  He didn't entirely trust Jessica despite her claiming Rose wouldn't be in any danger.  It didn't take that feeling he had in the pit of his stomach away, not until he was with her.

Back at the port, Trish had gone silent, Kilgrave controlling her like the police they had passed.  Jessica had broken his grip and Kilgrave was taunting her.

"You see Jessica, you're not the only one."

"Tell me something new Kilgrave.  You got what you wanted, she's here."

"Ah but the scene's not complete yet.  Where's you new boyfriend Rose?"

"Leave him out of this Kevin, he's nothing to do with it."

"Oh but he does, I never knew I had a twin."

Rose thought if only he knew half of it, he wasn't quite as clever as he thought he was.

"I never thought he'd let you come here on your own, he trusts Jessica here?"

"No, he trusts me.  What do you want Kevin?"

"You, come here kitten, it's been a while since you kissed me and told me you love me.  You do love me, don't you Rose?"

Rose could feel that same probing he'd done before, trying to get into her mind and make her say and do things but this time it felt stronger.  What had he been doing?  Had he extended his powers?  This was going to take some fighting and she wished Alec was here, maybe actually meeting his double would throw Kilgrave off his game?

Kilgrave seemed pleased at the effect he was having on both Rose and Jessica and was toying with the idea to take them both off with him, which would make things interesting – the two women in the world that could resist him to a certain degree. Rose was trying to resist him but she felt herself wondering would it be so bad, staying with him and keeping the world safe.

No, she loved Alec Hardy, the not so gruff now detective who live in a town he'd made his home after all he'd been through and she wished somehow he'd show up though it would also put him in danger.  She was about to get her wish.  The cab containing Alec and Jake had just dropped them off and Jake didn't like it.

"There's something going on Alec, be careful."

"You don't have to tell me that.  Do we have to go through that building?"

"Let's see if there's another way but we may have to climb over a fence."

Alec never thought he'd be doing that again but if it got him to Rose, the love of his life, he was prepared for anything.  Kilgrave was whispering something in Rose's ear, Jessica couldn't tell what it was and could only assume it wasn't good.  Jake helped Alec through a gap he'd made in a wire fence, they could see some figures and a boat in the distance.  Jake made a shushing motion to Alec as they made their way using some boxes as cover.

Kilgrave wasn't so stupid that he'd not expected the Scottish detective to rescue his new girlfriend.

"Come out Hardy and whoever's with you."

The spell he had on Rose was broken at the mention of Alec's name.

"Alec!  Stay where you are, don't come any closer, he'll take your mind over."

Jake had reckoned if they kept a safe distance, it would lessen the effects, from what he could gather.  He just hoped Mickey had warned Kate and her two friends.

"Very clever Rose, you worked that out did you?  You do know when we were out, only those within a few feet of us were in danger?"

"Yeah, I know that but those nearer were, like the people you had working for you."

"Did those two clowns jump then?"

"No, they didn't."

"Don't tell me, Hardy came all the way over from that dingy little seaside town to rescue you?  How touching.  Nothing to say Hardy?"

Jake was shushing him again, which got him even more annoyed but the man was a top agent and he'd already agreed Jake would do all the rough work, were it needed.

"Seems your boyfriend's deserted you Rose.  Come here love or I'll step closer to him and you know what will happen?"

Rose stepped up to him, Kilgrave reaching his arms out to her.  She let him fold them around her shoulders, trying to look back but Kilgrave prevented her.

"Now then Rose, no looking at him, what's the difference?  We look exactly alike."

Rose was dying to say Alec was kinder, more considerate and cared about her, unlike him.

It was all Jake could do to hold Alec back.

"Don't Alec, it's what he wants, another step further and he'll be able to control you."

"No he won't."

"You don't know that, Rose is doing what she thinks is best, for both of you.  You have to trust her and not believe anything he might make her say."

Alec knew Jake was right, she had got away from him before but at what cost?

Kilgrave was saying something to Rose, Alec couldn't hear and she had her back to him.

"Now come on board with me, forget Hardy, forget Torchwood, they're just toy soldiers anyway."

Rose tried to move but he stopped her.

"Not so fast, first you turn around and tell him you're going with me, that it's me that you love, not him.  When you've done that, kiss me."

Tears were welling up in her eyes, this was going to be painful for both her and Alec but it had to be done, she couldn't let Kilgrave control the man she really loved.  Kilgrave allowed her to move.

"Alec, I'm sorry but I'm going with him, I love him."

"I understand Rose, you do what you have to do."

Alec sank back behind the boxes, he couldn't watch this but Kilgrave called him out.

"Why are you hiding?  I want you to see Rose loves me, I'm more her type, what would she want with a detective when she can have me?  Oh, wait a minute, you think I don't know about the other one?  Quite interesting, my parents must have cloned me when they used to knock me out with those drugs."

Rose heart leaped, she hoped he meant Emmett, not the Doctor.

"You think I didn't know about that other detective, the one the papers claimed Rose was with?  A guy could really have an identity crisis you know.  Why choose Hardy over Carver Rose?"

"I don't know Kevin maybe because he was so far away?  No-one could replace you Kevin, I only went with Alec because he looks so much like you."

"There, you heard her say it Hardy.  Stop wasting time Rose, just give me a kiss and we'll be gone."

He leaned down and pulled her closer and Rose found she couldn't resist him, she had to make it look as good as it did before but this time she was breaking Alec's recently mended heart.  Things had been bad enough when Emmett had been in town and they had just got over it this past week or so.  Now if she did get free of Kilgrave, the damage would be irreparable, they might never be that way again, depending how Alec took it.

"Kilgrave, I just want to say one thing to Rose, before you take her off with you."

"Oh very well then, get on with it, you're trying my patience."

"Rose, just remember when we first met, that I could tell you I loved you before you could tell me."

She knew then he would still love her, despite her action just then.  She turned around and saw Jessica watching, surely she didn't think she meant it?  At least Alec wouldn't be in any danger from her, she knew who he was.  Kilgrave seemed to have forgotten about Jessica but she was about to remind him.  She'd been observing, waiting for the right moment and she knew she couldn't let Kilgrave take Rose off like that.

"Kilgrave, wait.  You don't really want Rose, do you?  It's me you want, not her otherwise you wouldn't have bought that house for me and tried to get me to stay with you.  You would have gone after her, not me."

"Very clever Jessica but had I known Rose was in town, I would have got to her sooner, maybe I could have had the both of you.  Oh, I heard about Hope after I left that restaurant, she was weak anyway."

Jessica thought she was going to get him for that, the girl had died for nothing.

"Leave Rose and I'll go with you."


"Yes, now let her go first, I can't run anywhere, you have the place surrounded."

"True.  Very well, come here.  Rose, sorry love but Jessica's right, it's her I really want.  Not upset are you?"

"No, if that's what you want Kevin."

Kilgrave let her go and she walked backwards, not daring to turn her back on him in case he could actually reach Alec.

"Go on then, go back to him, if he'll have you.  Did he know about us?"

"Yes Kevin, he knows."

Rose reckoned she was far enough away and turned around, Alec waiting for her. She ran to his arms and he folded them around her.

"Alec, how did you find me?"

"Ask Jake, he put a tracker on you."

"Thanks Jake, I'll kick your ass for bugging me later."

They could hear sirens in the distance, Alec could have sworn he'd told Mickey to pass on they were to arrive quietly and he hoped there were only two cars, not the entire precinct.  He didn't know about all the officers out in the hall.  What they didn't see was Jessica about to walk up the gangway, suddenly turning around as Kilgrave said something to her and Kilgrave falling to the ground.

Jake had seen her turn around and was just stepping out when the other man collapsed in a heap.  Suddenly, there were voices behind them, Kate calling out "NYPD" and followed by Ryan, Esposito and Castle, Rose amused to see he had 'Writer' across his vest.

"Too late, he's dead," Jessica told Kate as she approached.  "Nice of you to join us Castle."

"Rose, come on, let's get you out of here, you didn't see what happened and neither did I," Alec told her.  "Neither did you Jake, stay out of it, there's nothing we can do."

"She killed him," Rose stated, not quite believing it.  "We can't just leave her Alec."

"Yes we can, her friend saw the whole thing, it was self defence.  Where did all that lot come from?" he asked as loads of police officers came around the corner.

"Kilgrave must have told them to greet Jessica, we heard gunfire earlier."

Since it wasn't Kate's district, she had to hand over to the police already there and she approached Rose and Alec, Jake looking around.

"Get her out of here Alec, go on, don't get involved.  If I'm asked, you're just innocent bystanders.  Are you ok Rose?"

Rose nodded, not sure what would happen once they left.

"Castle, take my car and get them out of here, I'll get a ride with Ryan and Espo."

She tossed her car keys to Castle.  Alec followed him, Rose holding his arm, not daring to let go.  When they were out of sight, Rose stopped.

"I didn't mean what I said Alec, you know that, don't you?"

"Yes Rose, I know you never meant it.  Now can we please go home?"

"To Broadchurch?"

"Wherever you want Rose.  We should go get some sleep, we fly out in the morning, Jake rearranged our flight."

Alec helped her into the back of Kate's car, getting in beside her and Jake moving his seat forward.

"An early night?" she asked.

"Well I did not entirely mean an early night to sleep."

Jake smiled with amusement – they were going to be ok, it would take more than Kilgrave to split them up but something worried him, what Kilgrave had said to Alec.  Had Kilgrave's parents really cloned him when he was a boy?  It was a chilling thought but one that would have to be put on hold.


They got back to London and spent a few days at the Tyler residence then back to Broadchurch.  It had made no difference to Alec what she'd told him back at the port, Kilgrave had made her say she didn't love him.  The summer holidays came and went, Daisy stayed the six weeks, spending a few days helping out at the local paper while Ellie's sister was off looking after Fred, who wouldn't settle with his new childminder but Lucy didn't mind, she was getting well paid for it.

Come the end of September, Alec took another break and he drove them across to Torquay for a long weekend, a ring in his pocket unknown to Rose.   On the Saturday evening, they had got back from a day out in Plymouth and Alec took her down to the beach.  Rose fortunately was wearing sandals, as was he for a change and he'd bought himself some 'long shorts' as Rose had teased him, to which she'd bought him a t-shirt with '007' on it, Alec saying he wasn't going to wear it but she'd talked him into it.

As they walked on the warm sands, Alec suddenly stopped and toed off his sandals, prompting Rose to do the same and holding his hand out, helped her and took them from her.  Then he surprised her by pulling her into the sea.

"I told you it was just like standing in the shower," Rose teased him.

"Yes, you did and maybe with a bit of encouragement, the next time you go swimming, I may go in with you."

"I look forward to it."

"Well, I can make a start," he told her, walking until the water reached over his ankles, leaving their sandals on the beach.

He turned towards her and held his arms out.

"Rose, you know I love you and we've been through a lot but now, nothing would make me happier if you would wear this."

He went in his pocket and brought out a pale pink box and disregarding he was standing in water, got down on his knees.

"Will you marry me, Rose Marion Tyler?"

Rose covered her mouth, she had not been expecting this and he was right, they had been through a lot, just weeks after they had first met.

"Well, yes but are you sure?"

"Rose, no-one is sure about anything are they eh?"

"I suppose not.  So, put the ring on my finger then?"

He took it out of the box and placed it on the tip of her finger, Rose wiggling her hand as he hesitated, he couldn't quite believe she had actually said yes, after him being such an idiot over Carver but compared to the now deceased Kilgrave, he'd been a picnic to deal with.

He kissed the back of her hand then scooped her up, swinging her around and holding onto her as she put her feet back in the water.  Rose was looking at the sapphire and diamond ring on her engagement finger, the afternoon sun making it glitter.

"It's perfect.  Did you actually ask Pete's permission?"

"Of course, I did not want any objections, your mother was mad with me for going along with taking you to that clinic, I was not going to take any chances on this going wrong."

"Aw, she forgave you, if she hadn't she would have slapped you by now."

"I would just love to see her try."

"She slapped the Doctor, did I tell you?"

"I believe you did love.  Now, we go back to the hotel and you can video call her and show your ring off."

"You have to carry me back to the shore."

"I would be delighted to carry you all the way back to the hotel, if you wanted? Just one thing though, we are not taking our honeymoon in Gracepoint.  Clear?"

"Gotcha! We can have an early night, after dinner and we've celebrated?"

"To sleep?"

"Nope, definitely not to sleep and I'm not entire opposed to going through feeling sick all the time, it might be worth it."

"Really? I didn't think you would want to, not so soon?"

"Well we have to make a start sometime, don't we?"

He put her down on the sands and knelt down to help her with her sandals, Rose ruffling his hair as she let him fasten the buckles.

"Hey, stop messing, it takes me a long time to get it like it is."

She ruffled it some more, grinning at him.

"Right, you are asking for trouble."

"Ah, trouble's just the bits inbetween.  It's perfect you asked me to marry you, here on the beach."

"We could have stayed in Broadchurch if you had wanted that," Alec remarked, trying to step into his own sandals and Rose helping him keep his balance.

"Do ya think it really is possible the Doctor saw you all that time ago and arranged for us to meet?"

"Oh Rose, anything is possible, it makes sense, you being trapped here."

"Nah, I'm not trapped here, not any more.  I'm home Alec."

The End!

No comments:

Post a Comment