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Alec Hardy and the mysterious heiress

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Rose Tyler had moved to Broadchurch just after her fateful day at Bad Wolf Bay after persuading her mother and her new stepfather she wanted to make her own way and receive very little help. She had found herself a job running the town's tourist Information office that was fairly well paid and she had made several friends including the woman who worked part time with her and the local female detective sergeant and the three of them went everywhere together but there was only one drawback – Rose had not told them who she really was.

Her stepfather had agreed not to interfere with her life, she went to visit her mother on a regular basis and they talked all the time on the phone but she had gone to Broadchurch because it was out of the way and no-one knew her name although the editor of the local newspaper that she shared offices with had her suspicions but had decided not to pursue it and had figured if the woman wanted to remain anonymous then so be it – unless something newsworthy came up and had decided to leave her in peace.

Now seven years after the events of Canary Wharf but in the alternate universe she was now in it was actually only four, something Rose could never get her head around and called it confusing to say the very least, she had a nice apartment near the seafront and her mother and younger brother had been down to visit several times. Officially she was now twenty seven but she knew she wasn't and had just had to accept it and the life Pete had invented for her but the one thing she couldn't accept was Pete's money and the fact she was heiress to his corporation except for an allowance he sent her every month.

She could have had a top job there but had refused it and knew that Pete had more or less severed his ties with Torchwood, just being a consultant and she couldn't work there either. Jake and Mickey had remained there but when Pete had married Rose's mother, he had called it quits. The only thing Rose didn't have in common with her friends was she was single with no kids and her friend Ellie had just had another boy who reminder Rose of her younger brother and sometimes regretted never having a normal life.

Her life with The Doctor had been far from normal but now she was having the one adventure he could never have but she was alone. Over the last few years she'd had dates with men who were on holiday or passing through, nothing serious, just to say she had tried to move on with her life when her mother questioned her about it but none of them had been like The Doctor, they couldn't make her laugh like he had done.

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Alec Hardy was not happy. His condition was worsening and he knew it and he hadn't needed all the extra hassle of going through his divorce and being told to lay low until the 'heat' died down from the disastrous case he'd been in charge of. He didn't want to think about it. He had been put on desk duty until a more suitable position had come up and now it had – just not in Scotland and worst of all, it was right as far as you could get down on the south coast of England and when he'd found out where exactly it was, he'd actually laughed or he would have gone crazy. It was the place he had visited with his parents when he was younger and they had argued all the time that he'd spend most of the holiday hiding under the golden cliffs. Now he was having to pack his belongings and move and be put up in a hotel until he either found somewhere more permanent or he gave up and if he wasn't careful, he would give up. Maybe he didn't care any more he'd told himself. Since his divorce he had become bitter and hadn't bothered about his appearance and he snapped at everyone, they would probably have been glad to see him leave.

So he got the train down from Glasgow, having to change at Exeter and made his way to the small seaside town. He checked into the hotel and unpacked his case and went in search of something to eat, having arrived too late for dinner. He found a pub down near the harbour that was still serving food and went in and ordered.

That was the night Rose and her two friends were having a night out.

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Ellie Miller had just got back from her holiday and was due back at work the following Monday morning. It was a Friday night and she was expecting some good news when she got back to work – she was hoping her promotion to DI would come through and she was sat in the local pub with Rose and her other friend Beth having sneaked out the house for an hour when a man with a scruffy beard walked past them and went up to the bar. Ellie shot a look at Rose, she knew her friend was always keeping her eye out for men who were just in town for a few days and she had often wondered why Rose was scared of making a commitment and only going out with those who were passing through town. Beth had seen him too and the pair of them were staring at Rose.

Rose suddenly became aware of her two friends. She had already seen him walk in and was already eyeing him but not because Ellie and Beth thought he might be eligible but because she thought she was seeing things. If she hadn't known it was impossible she could have sworn an unshaven version of The Doctor had just walked in. Naturally her friends thought she was indeed eyeing him up and were daring her to go up to the bar in pretence of something, they were always doing it to her and normally she would take the bait but before she had gathered her thoughts, the man had moved away and was now seated directly opposite their table with Rose facing him.

Rose wanted the ground to swallow her as the man continued to look across the room, not necessarily looking at her in particular but it seemed like he was.

Beth whispered to her. "Go up to the bar the next time he does and just accidentally nudge him or something. Come on Rose, it's what you normally do."

Ellie was grinning at her. It was alright for her, she wasn't the one facing him. Rose tried to move her chair casually but there was no room as the man took his meal from the bar staff and he was the one that moved just around slightly as he was aware he was being watched. Not that Alec minded being watched by a young blonde woman who had been staring at him for almost ten minutes since he'd come in and sat down and had a feeling she was watching him at the bar as well but just not when he was hungry and wanting to eat his late meal in peace.

The three women continued talking, Rose getting them to change the subject like Ellie's upcoming hopeful promotion and the other two soon forgot the joke until Rose saw him get up and go back to the bar, then Beth nudged her under the table with her foot and made Rose jump. Ellie burst out laughing and poor Rose was being stared at by the man at the bar who by now had sussed what the three women were up to. He had seen it before, just not with him. Rose almost died when he turned away from the bar and asked what she was drinking by raising his glass and pointing to her nearly empty one. He walked across to the table.

"Ladies, can I get you a drink?"

Ellie shook her head and said she had to go, which she really should and Beth also said she really should go as well and said a hurried goodnight to Rose who was left with an almost empty glass and a tall good looking man with a scruffy beard who reminded her of someone and who was waiting for her answer.

Rose suddenly found her voice. "A white wine spritzer please and sorry about my friends, they get a bit carried away sometimes."

He went to the bar and came back a few minutes later with her drink and a half pint glass and sat down opposite her. He knew he shouldn't drink so he was only having a non-alcoholic one but it looked like real lager and he usually got away with it when he was buying his own drinks. He'd been told that drinking and his medication didn't mix well and was only allowed one glass of beer or wine a week. He knew he would have to do something sooner or later and now, getting his medication was going to be difficult and he couldn't risk going to a local doctor and would have to try to talk his own into sending him a prescription down and then he would have to go out of town to get it. He had three weeks supply left then he would run out and so would his luck. Well maybe not all of it, he had just bought a drink for the blonde that had been watching him for about an hour.

"So, did I break anything up then?" he asked casually. "I mean you seemed to be having some sort of conversation when I was at the bar."

Rose had gone blush red and tried not to show it. "I'm really sorry about that, they're always the same. It's because they are both married and I'm not. You shouldn't have taken any notice of them."

"Well if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been offering to buy you a drink, would I?"

"I suppose not. Are you new in town or have you been here a while?"

"Just arrived today, got a new job here, well not a new job, a transfer." He didn't want to reveal just yet why he was in town. He knew though that if he could find anyone else to take him on it would be at least six months before he could transfer again and a bit of female company might make the wait seem less boring.

He decided to introduce himself, without his job title. "I'm Alec Hardy by the way."

"I'm Rose, Rose Tyler."

He looked at her over his drink, why did the name seem so familiar? He decided not to think about it and changed the subject.

"So do you live here or are you on holiday?"

"No, I live here, been here for four years now. I love it here. It's surprising how the place grows on you."

"Well I don't intend being here long enough for it to grow on me, as soon as I can get another transfer I'll be gone."

"You've only been here a few hours, it'll grow on you." Rose took another drink, hoping he would buy her a refill, it would be her third and she might forget about only going out with men who were passing through. He was cute, she had to give him that plus his Scottish accent and he was sort of passing through she supposed and interesting enough to hope he would ask her out again.

Alec still didn't want to give away why he was in the town and since he asked questions all day for a living he figured he would have some practice. He'd managed to get out of her that she was single before he'd even asked that bit, he knew what she liked to drink, that she lived in the town and therefore probably have a place of her own and she probably had a job. Not bad for asking no questions, he was thinking, wait until he really started asking them then.

"So how did you end up here Alec, you're a long way from home," Rose asked, swirling her drink in the bottom of her glass and trying to hint she wanted another one without actually asking. He wasn't getting the hint.

"Just lucky I guess. My bosses needed to send me somewhere and this was it." He watched her swirl her drink around and finally surmised she wanted another one and he thought he may be in with a chance here and his luck wasn't so bad after all. Six months here spent with Rose and it might not be as easy to leave than he'd thought. Buying her another drink might just be worth it.

Rose thought he wasn't going to offer to refill her glass and was about to give up and go home. Why had he even come over in the first place if he was only going to buy her one drink? Another cheap date then?

Just then Alec got up like he had been reading her mind. "Can I get you another one Rose?" he asked, reaching for her glass.

Rose finished it and handed it to him. "Thanks Alec."

"You don't have to keep saying my name, I really don't like it, everyone calls me Hardy."

"I can't keep calling you that, I'll have to think of a suitable name for you then won't I?"

Alec smiled and walked off to the bar. Rose was wondering if he would be around long enough for her to think of a name but a few came to mind, fuzzy bear being one of them along with a few others that couldn't be repeated in public. He came back with the drinks and sat down next to her this time. He may have a beard but she could smell his cologne and liked it. He not so subtlety moved his chair nearer and smelt her perfume.

"That smells nice Rose, what is that?" he asked as he brushed his finger against a strand of her hair that was misbehaving.

"It's called 'Peaceful' do you like it?" She had discovered it early on in this universe and nearly always wore it when she went out. She also noticed his finger was doing more than pushing a strand of her hair back as it was now touching her cheek as he absent-mindedly stroked it.

Suddenly he pulled his hand away, like he was afraid he was going to scare her off but instead, he got up and picked up both drinks. "Shall we go sit in that corner over there?" He nodded towards a corner seat that was just out of view of most of the pub.

Rose got up and she followed him over and he waited for her to be seated then slipped in beside her and casually put his arm around the back of the seat.

Rose was uncertain what to do, men usually came onto her but she was good at fending them off but she didn't want to do that with Alec. At this stage she would change the topic of conversation and talk about a second date but she didn't want this one, not that it was an actual date, to end. She had taken a drink and put her glass down when he touched her cheek again and this time, Rose touched his hand and held it there. He leaned over and tucked her hair behind her ear and lifted her hand, then very lightly he kissed her cheek.

He decided to push his luck and ask if he could take her home. "So Rose, do you live nearby?"

"Just down the other end of the Esplanade, about five minutes walk."

"Then can I see you home safely?" he asked hopefully, kissing her cheek again and just the tip of her ear which sent a shiver down her. He noticed.

Rose smiled and turned to him. "And just how do I know I'll be safe with you, Alec Hardy?" she teased, brushing his cheek and feeling how soft his beard was. It wasn't all prickly like she thought it would be so she kissed it gently.

He whispered in her ear that sent another shiver down her as he brushed his lips right up to her and whispered softly, "Shush, don't tell anyone but I'm a Policeman."

Rose stared at him and said, "Well in that case I'm sure you can see I get home safely" and just hoped he was telling the truth.