He had finally booked his pacemaker operation and had managed not to tell his annoying ex DS he was going for it. So as Alec Hardy left the court building, his overnight bag having been left in reception, mainly so Ellie wouldn't ask him if he'd finally stopped being a knob and getting his pacemaker, he felt pleased he was one up on her and she'd only find out when she got out of court. No doubt she would be waiting though and throw another bunch of seedless grapes at him for daring to survive.
At least he'd managed to tell Tess the day before, though why he'd asked for all that information on the Sandbrook case, he didn't know but he'd left it in an envelope addressed to Ellie Miller with a note for her to promise she'd keep on at Tess to re-open the case and she owed him that much for being so annoying.
He got in the waiting taxi to travel the short distance to the university hospital at the same time Rose Tyler was about to rejoin the what she called pointless conference that her stepfather owed her big-time for and she expected a suitable reward, like a two-week all paid for holiday in a sunny resort.
She'd felt a bit off during the morning session, a pain in her side but had managed to get through it but her friend and assistant Sally, who had left UNIT to go work for Torchwood had told her over lunch she looked a bit pale.
"I'm fine Sally, honestly. Just one more day then we can go home, are you missing Alex?"
"A little. I'm glad I left UNIT though, it would never have worked out if we saw each other all day. No-one here you fancy then," Sally teased her.
"You have to be joking! There's not one here this side of fifty and I know I like older men but I have my limits. Do me a favour and ask at reception if they have any painkillers, I'll be okay for the rest of the day," Rose insisted, holding her side as she grimaced at another sharp pain.
"Rose, I think you should get them to call for a doctor, let alone get any painkillers," Sally was insisting, seeing Rose's face.
"You're worse than my mum," Rose tried to smile, thinking her friend may be right but she was a Tyler, they never gave in easily.
Everyone began to leave their tables in the hotel dining room when Rose tried to get up, doubling over in pain.
"That's it, I'm getting you to hospital," Sally told her, calling for a waitress. "Ask reception to call an ambulance, urgently," Sally ordered the woman.
"What's wrong?" the waitress asked as Rose collapsed on the chair.
"They'll find out when they get here, now go," Sally replied, getting a glass of water from the table.
Some of the other conference delegates wandered over.
"Is Miss Tyler okay?" one asked her.
"No, she's not okay, you'll have to manage without her," Sally replied, getting Rose's purse from the side of the chair then getting her own. "Rose, can you hear me?" she turned back, seeing Rose was leaning over the table and getting no answer.
"Looks like she passed out?" another man suggested, getting him a funny look from Rose's worried assistant.
She heard a commotion in the doorway, the waitress she'd sent out pointing two medics in Rose's direction.
"What seems to be the problem?" one of them asked. "What's her name?"
"She's Rose Tyler, THE Rose Tyler, she's here at a conference," Sally started to explain. "She had a pain in her left side then suddenly as she got up, she collapsed."
"Sounds like her appendix then?" the other medic suggested, trying to get Rose so they could see if her eyes were closed.
A mask was put on Rose as they got her on the trolley one of them went back for.
"Are you a relative?" Sally was asked. "We'll need some details."
"I can give you her basic details, she has private medical insurance. Don't you know who she is?"
"Yes, we do Miss but we still need her basic details," came the reply as they lifted Rose inside the ambulance.
"I'm going with her, I'll have to call her mother," Sally insisted, climbing in after them.
"We've radioed ahead, someone will be waiting for us to take her for emergency surgery," the medic who stayed with them told Sally, after they'd quickly examined her. "Her appendix has burst."
"She'll be okay though?" Sally asked worriedly.
She may have worked for UNIT but she had no medical knowledge.
"Don't worry about your friend, we're taking her to the university hospital, it's the nearest. You can call Miss Tyler's mother while we get her admitted."
Sally tried to relax on the way to the hospital and wished she was allowed to get her phone out but thought she'd best wait. A small team were waiting for Rose, having been told who to expect and had got her details of her medical records and insurance but until she was in recovery, she'd get the same treatment as anyone else in an emergency.
Meanwhile, Alec Hardy was laid on the hospital bed, wires all over him and was being monitored until the heart surgeon was ready for him, Alec wondering why there were so many delays like asking him stupid questions like who was his next of kin and who to contact to collect him when he was allowed home. He'd had to put Tess down, she was his closest relative and he certainly wasn't putting Ellie Miller down as his contact to collect him.
"We're taking you to the theatre now Alec," a nurse told him.
"You have all my details, if I don't make it?" Alec relented, thinking maybe he'd need them.
"Now, no talking like that," the nurse smiled as they took the brakes off the bed he was on. "You'll be in the recovery room before you even know it and be sitting up drinking tea."
"Is that a promise?" Alec replied, thinking she was being a bit over-optimistic.
As they wheeled him into the outer room of the theatre, putting a mask over his face, he felt the anaesthetic take hold and his last thought when he was told to think of something nice was seeing Daisy again and being able to do things without collapsing outside his riverside chalet or at the bottom of a cliff.
Sally was waiting outside the emergency room, talking to Jackie Tyler, who had gone ballistic at the news.
"Have ya told them who she is?" Jackie was insisting, wanting to get off the phone and call Pete and was going to tell him it was all his fault for sending her to Exeter.
"She's in good hands Mrs Tyler," Sally was trying to tell her. "They have all her details. Rose was feeling off earlier but she said nothing to me. Are you and Mr Tyler coming down?"
"When I can get hold of him," Jackie replied. "Then I'll have to wait for him picking me up, I don't know what time we’ll get there, the staff will have to go pick Tony up from school. Trust Mickey and Jake to both be away at the same time though."
Sally wondered what difference that would make? Did she think they could get her down any faster than her husband could? Mind you, she'd heard of Jake's reputation of him breaking speed limits and flashing his Torchwood ID at traffic officers.
"I'll be here waiting for you Mrs Tyler," Sally told her. "Rose wouldn't have known what was wrong with her, she passed out quite quickly but she must have been in a lot of pain and not said anything."
"Well at least ya got her to hospital quickly I suppose?" Jackie replied. "Why the university hospital though?"
"It was the nearest one, so I was told. It should be well signposted."
As Rose was undergoing emergency surgery and Alec was undergoing having his pacemaker ready to be fitted, Ellie Miller was just getting out of the courtroom and was checking her phone.
"What?" she called out loud, making people who were leaving look at her. "The stupid idiot," she continued as she read the short message 'Gone to get my pacemaker fitted – I don't want any grapes. If I don't make it, I'm at the university hospital and if I do make it I'll see you tomorrow.'
"Something wrong?" Ellie's sister asked her.
"Nothing much. I have to go," Ellie quickly replied.
Why the hell had he sent her a message when he knew she'd be back in court? She wondered where he'd got to though when he'd not followed her back inside.
Jackie had finally got hold of Pete and he was on his way back home after asking how long Rose had been ill.
"I don't know Pete, Sally just said she'd collapsed in the hotel dining room. Just get back as fast as ya can, goodness knows what time we'll get there?"
"Do you know how far it is?" Pete asked her, trying to close his computer down so he could leave. "It could be early evening before we get there. We're going to hit all the traffic. Look, I'll come home and call that helicopter charter service, it has to be quicker than driving."
"I told ya to get ya own Pete, what about using the jet?" Jackie asked him.
"Jackie, it's not meant for short distances and the helicopter can land outside the mansion," Pete reminded her.
"Oh, ya have to be clever, don't ya Pete?" Jackie huffed.
"Jackie, we have to get there as fast as we can love, Rose will want us there when she wakes up," Pete tried to calm her down.
Pete finally got off the phone and went out to his secretary, getting her to call the helicopter charter company and have one outside the mansion in an hour, he knew they wouldn't refuse him, seeing who he was.
Ellie was just leaving court when she thought she saw Tess going inside and called after her.
"Did you know about your ex husband?" Ellie asked her.
"Did he tell you then?" Tess replied.
"He sent me a text," Ellie complained. "Are you going to see him?"
"Trust me Ellie he won't want me there when he comes round," Tess insisted. "Why, are you going over?"
"Well someone has to, even if it's only to tell him what an idiot he is," Ellie replied. "What are you doing here?"
"I thought Claire may turn up again, Alec admitted she came here on the first day of the trial. She wasn't at the cottage Alec said she was in."
"I know, he gave her forty eight hours to leave, seems like she actually took notice then?" Ellie replied.
"Why the hell has he been helping her Ellie?" Tess wanted to know.
"How would I know? You know him better than I do Tess. I'd better get off to the hospital then?"
Just as Ellie left, Tess got her phone out to call Daisy.
"He did what Mum?" Daisy asked her as she got out of class. "Are you going to see him?"
Tess supposed she had no choice, what if he died on the operating table? How could she face Daisy if she did nothing? She turned around and headed back to her car, thinking it was a good thing Alec had text her where he was going and wondered what was in the message he'd sent Ellie Miller.
Sally was now pacing up and down the corridor, waiting to be admitted into the recovery room and seeing someone else on a bed also being taken in. She'd heard nothing else from Rose's mother but expected they were busy making the arrangements to get there and knowing Jackie Tyler, she'd probably insist her husband have the Torchwood jet on standby.
"Can I see her now?" Sally asked a nurse who was coming out.
"Best wait until she wakes up," the nurse smiled at her. "There'll be someone checking on her."
Sally supposed it was because she wasn't a relative? She'd like to see them trying to keep Jackie Tyler waiting outside. She saw what looked like a surgeon go inside but didn't know if it was Rose's or not, since there were at least two of them inside.
Sally didn't know it wasn't the usual recovery room though, which was full and they'd had to organise something fast for when Rose and Alec had got out of surgery. Alec's surgeon was checking on him, quite pleased Alec was holding his own and turned down the sound on the monitor so as not to disturb him or whom the surgeon had been informed was Rose Tyler.
"Nurse, go check in the other recovery room and see if there are any spaces now. Then get someone to move these two patients."
"Yes Doctor, I'll go see. What about leaving someone here?" she asked.
"They're both still out of it, we'll hear if Mr Hardy's alarm goes off but he's doing fine. He's hardly likely to get up and walk off, is he?" the surgeon smiled, not hearing of Alec's reputation for doing just that back in Broadchurch – twice.
The surgeon went off, as did the nurse but as she got to the other recovery room just down the corridor, she was called to help with some of the other patients who were just coming round and wanting to be out of there.
"I left two patients up in the other recovery room," she was insisting, not knowing as she was fairly new that it was just a spare room they'd got ready in a hurry. "I was sent to check if there were any spaces here for them."
"They'll be fine, have they just got put in there?" the sister in charge asked her.
"Yes Sister," she had to reply and being pointed to a woman who was insisting on getting out of bed.
"Then someone will check on them, go help that lady over there."
Half an hour later, after Ellie went to the wrong hospital and being mad Alec hadn't bothered to tell her where he was even going as she'd missed that bit, she was looking for a parking space, missing having her police sign. Sally had a message from Jackie that they were waiting for the helicopter to pick them up, since setting off by road was pointless at that time.
Alec woke first, hearing all was quiet when he'd expected if he did actually recover, there would be machines beeping away.
"Am I actually alive?" he almost laughed, aware someone was just at the side of him.
Things started to come into focus, seeing the white painted walls and thinking it was a bit on the cold side. Then he heard a noise at the side of him, what sounded like a female.
"Where am I?" he heard the woman saying. "It's freezing in here," she complained, since there was only a sheet and a thin blanket covering them. "What happened to me?"
"No point in asking me," Alec just replied, feeling the cold himself. Was he actually alive?
"I remember I had an awful pain in my side, maybe my appendix?" she wondered. "Oh, they can't have got me to the hospital in time," she realized. "What about you?"
"I went in for a pacemaker, seems they failed to bring me round?" he replied, taking it slightly better than Rose was. "I expect they'll be contacting my ex wife? Why are we not covered up?"
"Maybe they don't actually bother and they only do that on TV?" Rose mused. "Can you move?"
"I've not tried," he had to admit, lying still on his back since he still had some wires in him. "You would have thought they would remove the wires?"
"Yeah, ya would? I still feel dizzy, I'm not even gonna try but I don't suppose there's any point? My friend will have already called my mum, I wonder if they've been told yet, that I didn't make it?"
"I expect so. Someone will have to claim us before they move us. I hope there's no autopsy?"
"Geez, that gives me the creeps, I mean if we're still aware? Thanks for that, whoever you are."
"Alec Hardy, or at least I was," he replied, wishing it wasn't so cold.
"I was Rose Tyler, nice to sort of meet ya. Do ya think we're waiting to be called for you know what?"
"I expect so? Have you anything to be worried about?" he tried to joke.
"Actually, yeah, I have. They may not even call me, then what?"
"Of course they will call you, everyone gets called but where you end up is a different matter."
"Ah but not me. I suppose I can tell ya? I'm not from around here exactly."
"Of course you are, where else would you be from?" Alec replied, thinking the woman, if she'd been Rose Tyler was deluded.
"Another world. I came here by accident from a parallel world a few years back. I'm a Tyler by adoption."
She wondered why she still couldn't bring herself to tell the truth, since it no longer mattered.
"You mean you just arrived here?" Alec wanted to know, thinking she was definitely out of it.
"Yeah, I got here when the Cybermen escaped and came to my world. This man I knew, he sent me and my mum through because the Cybermen were taking over my world and he was trying to stop them. We were meant to go back when it was safe but the two worlds got shut off so we were stuck here. Pete Tyler was on this side, he took us in. Well, that's the short version," she added. "He never had a daughter so I was never born here."
"Well, then you may have a problem?" Alec replied, thinking she had no reason now to lie about it.
"That means I'll just sort of roam around then?"
"I'm sorry Rose but you may have to face it?" Alec replied, wishing he could at least see her.
Of course he'd heard of her but her past was a mystery but at least he now knew some of it.
"Yeah, guess I will then? Geez, what's gonna happen to me? Aren't I supposed to be looking down on myself or something?"
"You watch too much TV. Maybe it just takes some time? I expect my ex will be out there, arguing about me?"
"My mum will be when she gets here. I hate to think what time though, unless my stepfather hires a helicopter or something? My poor friend will be going crazy on her own out there."
"My DS will probably be out there as well," Alec admitted. "I sent her a message as she was going back into court that I was getting a pacemaker. I did not want her coming and fussing over me. We were in the middle of a court case, her husband killed that boy in Broadchurch."
"Yeah, I heard – sorry. I hope they convict him."
"It was not going too well yesterday, it could go either way," he admitted. "Did you leave anyone else?"
"Yeah, my younger half brother. No boyfriend though, I never got that close to anyone when I left my friend behind. Why do I feel so cold?"
"Maybe they lower the temperature in the room, to keep us in good condition?" Alec suggested.
"That's just creepy. What am I supposed to do Alec?"
He heard her start to cry and wished he could get up. Maybe he should try?
"Shush Rose, your mum may be here soon," he tried to comfort her.
"Yeah but I won't be able to talk to her, will I?" she replied.
"Sorry but at least you may see her?"
"Yeah, since they'll be calling you soon and not me."
"I wish I could stay with you, really I do but when someone is called, I don't expect they want to be kept waiting?" Alec mused.
"It's okay but thanks for the offer Alec. Maybe they'll add me at the last minute though?"
"Yes, you never know," Alec had to agree. "Can you hear anything out there?" he asked, since she was nearer the door.
They didn't know the corridor was hardly used from their end but further down, the nurse who was meant to be watching them was seeing the last of the patients out, waiting to be relieved. The sister finally came back in.
"Excuse me sister but those two patients I left in the other room? Can I go see to them now?"
"Yes, I suppose so, go see if they are awake then? Would that be Rose Tyler and Alec Hardy?" she asked, looking at her list as they were the only ones not marked as discharged.
"Yes Sister. Has no-one checked on them?" the nurse asked worriedly, since a surgeon had instructed her to get them moved.
"I expect someone made sure they were both still out, since nothing has been reported," the sister replied. "Well go see to them and take an orderly with you, bring them down here so we can get Miss Tyler to a private room," she ordered the poor nurse. "Find out if Alec Hardy has to stay in or if he can be discharged."
The nurse went off back up the corridor but Tess had been roaming around trying to find out where her ex husband had been taken.
"Excuse me, I'm looking for Alec Hardy," Tess told the nurse.
Tess had left Ellie sitting in the corridor with a still worried Sally Jacobs.
"Who are you waiting for?" Ellie asked Sally.
"My friend, she was rushed in with a burst appendix," Sally replied, well used to keeping Rose under wraps in public places. "I called her parents, they're trying to get here from London."
"The traffic will be murder at this time of day," Ellie replied, not knowing what time the woman's friend had been brought in. "Haven't they told you anything?"
"No, I expect they only tell relatives?"
"Well they should tell you if you came with her? I came when my ex boss sent me a text to say he was having a pacemaker fitted. Then his ex wife followed me and they've not told either of us. She's trying to find out where they've taken him, the surgeon just said he was okay and taken to recovery," Ellie explained.
"My friend's parents have already set off, hopefully it won't take them too long," Sally replied, not wanting to say they were on-route in a helicopter. "I should maybe go ask that nurse when your friend's finished talking to her?"
Tess was being told Alec was about to be moved.
"So, where is he exactly?" Tess asked when she was told the main recovery room had been full and they'd had to open up a spare one.
"He's just down there," the nurse pointed beyond Tess. "Are you a relative?"
"I'm the closest he has, I'm his ex wife," Tess huffed, not liking being reminded of the fact.
"Well when we get him moved, you can see him Mrs Hardy," the nurse replied. "Excuse me, I have to find an orderly to help me move both the patients."
"So you left two of them?" Tess wanted to know. "Why weren't they moved sooner?"
The poor nurse wondered who the woman thought she was, asking so many questions.
"We were making room for them. I should get going."
Tess turned around, looking for the room Alec was in but there were no signs of another recovery room and the curtain had been pulled across the door Rose and Alec were in.
"I thought I heard noises out there," Rose told him.
"Only because you wanted to," Alec replied, having to accept that he'd left his surgery too late but why did he feel normal? "Hold on, can you feel your heart beating?"
"What? Oh, I never thought about it. Should we be able to?"
"Well I'm not an expert but maybe not, if we have passed away," he replied, wondering if he should try to move. "Hold on, I will try sitting up."
He could feel whatever had knocked him out was beginning to fade. He slowly leaned on one elbow and looked carefully around, seeing the monitor and despite not wearing his glasses, could see a steady rhythm on the display. Now he felt like a complete idiot, the nurse or the surgeon had turned the sound off so as not to disturb them.
He sat up further, looking to the left and the door, with the curtain over. No wonder no-one had been in, they'd either been forgotten about or left to come around. Then he gazed over at Rose.
"Rose, try sitting up," he suggested, trying not to give her a shock and she be the one with heart failure.
"Why, what's the point?" Rose objected.
"Because I have signs on the monitor I'm not dead," he replied.
"What? Are you being serious?" Rose asked, feeling annoyed if he was joking.
"Yes, sit up and since I'm hooked to this machine, see if you can make it to the door. It seems we've been left here to recover."