Alec was still waiting for her to come to bed, she’d left the bedroom silently when he’d come out of the bathroom, noticing she was wearing his t-shirt again and seemed to like it better than her pyjama jacket, probably because she still didn’t entirely trust him and she felt safer as he wouldn’t be tempted to unfasten the buttons so easily.
Rose came to her senses and he heard her come out and she stood in the doorway.
“You’re not thinking of creeping back to your room are you?” he asked, pulling back the duvet.
The heating was at a comfortable level, it was still late March so he just lay there with the duvet half off while he let her make her mind up. She leaned on the doorframe looking at him. He was just as cute as her Alec had been and if she were to confess, maybe a little bit cuter without all the extra hair on his chin, he was always smiling and joking and trying to wind her up, much like the Doctor used to do but this was so wrong and she knew it.
Alec knew she was in turmoil between him and his double on another world, how could he make it any better for her though? Nothing he could do or say could make her mind up for her, it was down to her in the end. She seemed to have sobered up somewhat to how she’d been earlier, a bit chatty in the car on the way back and they’d been laughing as he tried to wind her up about knowing her drink limits and how she’d thought he’d answered Ellie’s question about punching that obnoxious bloke on the nose though she’d not really known what had happened, only that Alec was obviously trying to impress her by defending her.
He seemed the defensive sort of person, totally different in his ways and she was just about getting used to it. Alec watched her, patting the space at the side of him.
“Are you going to stand there all night then?”
“No but I just don’t know about this. What you said a while ago, I know I’m never gonna win this one, what am I supposed to do?”
“Come over here then while you decide then, not that you don’t look pretty standing there but maybe I can help you decide?”
She closed the door behind her and got into bed, laying on her back and Alec turning onto his side with his free arm hovering above her, wondering if she would push him away.
“I told you, I just want to help you Rose, I can’t tell you what to do, you’d hate me if I tried. Let’s just sleep on it eh? You could come and snuggle up to me while you make your mind up though.”
“Yeah, that’s gonna help a real lot, thanks,” she smiled, turning out the bedside lamp.
Alec risked putting his arm across her, pleased she’d not swatted it away.
“Are you going to face me then? I look forward to my goodnight kisses you know?”
“Yeah, I know you do, you must have missed them a whole lot more before you met me then?”
“Maybe but I’d miss yours more if you were to stop though. You won’t, will you? I mean while you make your mind up, you won’t stop kissing me?”
“This isn’t easy for me Alec, you know that. Will you help me?”
She turned towards him and leaned into him and kissed him lightly on the lips but found herself making the kiss last longer as Alec moved onto his back and took her with him. They kissed again, more fervently, each kiss getting longer by a few seconds as he put both his arms around her and she put hers around his neck.
Before either of them realised, she was lying on him as she melted into him until their lips finally parted and she leaned on his shoulder. He moved her slightly and took his t-shirt off, his removing it nothing to do with the room temperature, pulling her back for another round of kissing. He never attempted anything more, he knew she’d give in to him in her own time and now they were getting somewhere at last, he could bide his time and not scare her away.
She surprised him by settling on him and falling asleep with his arms still around her, nestling her head in the crook of his neck. He smiled to himself to see she was beginning to relax with him and had not tried to get away to sleep on her side like she had been doing and he could live with that. When Rose woke up, Alec was brushing her hair out of her eyes and kissing her forehead.
“Hey, feeling better?”
“Yeah, hi, I should move.”
“No need, not on my account, stay there as long as you like, this is nice and there’s no rush, is there?”
“No, don’t suppose there is, since you’re working part time,” she teased, kissing into his neck.
“Do that again and I’ll get you back.”
He pushed her over onto her back and leaned over her, going for her neck as she pretended to keep him at bay.
“Not offering much resistance, are you?”
Rose giggled and ruffled his hair then putting her hand on his shoulder, let him kiss her neck. That turned into another full-blown kissing session as Rose nudged him and he turned towards her.
“You’re beautiful Rose,” was all he said before tucking his arms under and scooping her up, both her arms around his neck as they began kissing, more than last night and leaving Rose breathless a good while later, a big smirk on Alec’s face. They changed places several times, Alec daring to lift the t-shirt she’d borrowed up slightly and put his hand under the hem at the back, Rose still offering no resistance, she knew she should be feeling guilty over this but she was still enjoying it more than she should be.
They were only interrupted by Alec’s phone ringing, him trying to reach it as Rose was still kissing his neck.
“I have to get this love.”
It was the chief and it was later than he’d planned on getting out of bed, they’d got carried away with what he had found most enjoyable, a long snogging session.
“Yes Elaine, I was aware you would be getting Rose Tyler’s DNA results. Is that today?”
“Yes Alec, where have you been hiding? Be in my office in an hour and bring her with you, I expect she’s still in your bed?”
“Jealous Elaine? We’ll be there in an hour and I hope it’s good news for her.”
“I can’t tell you over the phone but if it wasn’t, you being our senior detective or not, uniforms would have already been knocking on your front door Alec, believe me but it doesn’t mean she’s off the hook either, I’ll tell you both when you get here.”
“Fine, I’ll tell her, when I let her out of my bed,” he added for good measure, since she’d already made her mind up he and Rose were already screwing around with each other – if only he thought.
Rose smiled as she got out of bed, knowing his boss must have made some snide remark about them sharing a house and let it go.
Just under an hour later after a hurried breakfast, Rose was sitting in Elaine’s office waiting her fate but since she wasn’t in handcuffs and being escorted to the cells, she figured it couldn’t be that bad. Alec had been able to tell her very little on the way over but held her hand over the short distance and had stopped once up the steps and outside the main entrance.
“Remember Rose, whatever happens, I’m behind you all the way, even if she tells me to back off, I’ll risk it for you.”
“Even if there’s still some doubt? If it was certain, I wouldn’t be standing here now but it may not be settled.”
“I know, let’s see what she has to say eh? No sense in worrying too much, the worse that can happen is the test was inconclusive and someone from Special Branch may be on their way to interview you and that in itself means they’re still not sure about you. I won’t let anything happen to you, I promise.”
She’d heard promises from other men, the Doctor to say he’d get her and her mother from the original Torchwood Tower and Alec to say he’d take care of her after she left the Torchwood in her adopted world to look after him.
“I know Alec, I’ll be glad to get this over with, come on then, let’s face the music.”
Alec squeezed her hand before letting go, thinking maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to walk in hand in hand but changed his mind after opening the door, whispering, “We’re in this together Rose, remember that.”
Now, Elaine Jenkinson was looking through the folder in front of her, studying again the results of the DNA testing. Her expression was giving nothing away and Rose thought she was good at reading people.
“So, am I under arrest then?” Rose queried, wanting to break the unbearable silence.
Alec remained quiet, it was Rose’s liberty at stake but it also felt like it was his, he was getting way too deeply involved with this, he was falling for her and he knew it. Rose Tyler taming the unswayable Alec Hardy, that had to be a first but he was struggling uphill against a gale force wind knocking him backwards to get to break her down and it had showed no signs of abating until just an hour or so earlier. He thought they were finally getting somewhere after days of him trying to get through to her she was probably here to stay and it would take a miracle he didn’t believe in to get her home.
“No, you’re not under arrest yet but neither are you entirely done with this. Your DNA is a close match, I’ll be honest with you, it’s an 85% match, the criteria for a positive match is 87% so it’s inconclusive. To that end, as far as the Wessex Police are concerned, you’re free to go but I’ve been told members of the Special Branch team want to interview you further. Someone will be here in the next day or so, they’ll interview you here initially then they may take you back to London for further tests, DNA can be altered by the right surgeons and with the other Rose Tyler’s money, she could have paid for it.”
“Wouldn’t she have lost everything when she went into hiding?” Rose wondered.
“We’ve no idea but I would have thought if she’d planned it carefully, she would have got funding in place and routed her bank accounts to a safe haven, maybe even Wales or Scotland, she won’t give up her lavish lifestyle to go on the run.”
Rose would have gladly given up her fairly new status to go back to her original world.
“So until then, is she free to go?” Alec asked.
“Yes, I’ll call you when Special Branch get here unless you want to give me Rose’s phone number?”
“No, I don’t think so, no offence Elaine. It’s safer no-one but me has it.” Then he remembered she’d given it to Ellie Miller but didn’t think there was really any harm in that.
“Good. Meanwhile I’ll take the alert off your credit card and Alec will help you get your ID back, it’s just a formality but you may find you start attracting attention again so be careful. You’ll be safe with your driving license but I’d hold off renewing your passport and your bank account for now and you may want to think about going under an assumed name.”
“Can’t we help her with that Elaine? The police relocate people all the time.”
“Alec, we only do that with witnesses, not because someone happens to resemble someone else, you should know that. Everyone thought you were that actor researching a role when you first came here or have you forgotten?”
How could he? It had been embarrassing to say the least which was probably when the women in the station began taking notice of Tess.
“So she’s on her own then?”
“I didn’t say that Alec, I’m sure you’d be more than willing to look out for her but I need you back at work full time, starting now. What’s this I hear about you making phonecalls about her?”
“I was trying to establish if there was a possibility anyone else had seen her recently, why?”
“Stop wasting time and police resources Alec, you know full well if you start digging it could have serious consequences if it were to reach London and with Special Branch coming to town, you had better back off or they’ll be questioning you as a sympathiser. Seriously Alec, you are on very shaky ground and I don’t care what your real intentions are, back off.”
“I was only trying to prove Rose was innocent Elaine, it was in police interests to do so.”
“Maybe in yours but contacting former employees of Torchwood is not the way to go about it. I won’t take this any further but if you insist on carrying on, then I won’t be able to keep it quiet.”
“Don’t tell me, it was Lawson?”
“I’m not saying anything Alec. Let’s just say certain telephone numbers are being monitored and don’t think about emailing them either, that’s even worse.”
She had him there but even with that, he’d have to be very careful. Maybe he could be sneaky and go to an internet café or the library to do it but it was still going to take some time and he wouldn’t be able to go back for the replies ff he actually got any so he’d have to set up a fake email account. Maybe Rose would be better off doing that herself, it would give her something to focus on, not that he now wanted her to leave.
“Right, I’ll just take Rose home and I’ll get back to work, any objections?”
“No but take her to your office first and sort out her driving licence, if she even had one and leave the rest for now, I’ll inform the banks and other places to take the alert off her bank cards, without your passport, you won’t be leaving the country Miss Tyler.”
“Where would I even go? There may still be disgruntled Torchwood employees out there looking for me.”
“You’ve managed for the last four years to stay under their radar, what makes you think they will come after you now? How have you been staying out of everyone’s way?”
“She doesn’t want to talk about that Elaine, do you Rose?”
Rose shook her head. She didn’t know this woman – Alec did and that was good enough for her, he obviously did not want to tell his chief as much as she was about to tell Ellie Miller.
“No, I don’t want to go into that if it’s all the same to you. Can I go now?”
Alec took her back to his office and began the process of getting her driving licence sorted, never even having asked her if she actually drove or not but it would serve as ID.
“So, how do I get my other documents then?”
“Well, that depends on what happens after Special Branch have finished with you. If like you say the other Rose Tyler is gone, you can assume her ID, get another birth certificate but I’d be careful with the passport until we get things sorted. There may still be an international alert out for you, Pete Tyler had many friends. You might want to think about changing your name though.”
“It’s all I have Alec, please don’t make me lose that.”
“Ok for now, let’s get started then. I’ll also print out a statement saying Wessex Police have done a thorough investigation and we’re satisfied you’re not a person of interest, that should satisfy anyone who comes after you and anyone else who may be interested. What about your credit card?”
“It’s sort of universal, Torchwood came up with it, it fools any cash machine or terminal it’s from a well-known bank, it adapts, never raising suspicion and instantly taps into any unused accounts. Don’t ask me how it works, it just does but I’ve hardly used it, just when I arrived last Friday. I got some cash out a while back when I was stuck on another world but I couldn’t use the money when I got back, it had a different head of state on the banknotes.”
Alec smiled, at least they shared the same president here but she’d not spoken much about it and he’d left it alone, no sense in bringing politics into it, things were bad enough but he for one did not want to go up against Harriet Jones, she was unscrupulous and anyone with any sense stayed on her good side, well unless you were the other Rose Tyler – apparently.
“Well with the alert for any bank or credit cards in your name being lifted it should make things easier for you but if you were dimension hopping, would it not have been better to not to have your name on it?”
“Good point Alec, I’ll be sure to raise that question if I ever get back. This is all well and good but it’s not getting me home.”
“You enjoyed my company that much this morning?” he smiled, doing that thing with his eyebrows again.
“You know I did but I can’t just give up that easily Alec, you know that and now your boss has told you to back off trying to contact anyone who may be able to help me.”
“She never told you to back off Rose, I’ll buy a laptop and you can get an email address that’s secure and you go through the list on your own or go to the library and do it.”
“Yeah but I can’t sit around waiting for someone to contact me, can I?”
“That’s why you’ll get the replies at home Rose, geez and you’re supposed to be a top agent.”
“Ok Mr smart-ass, you need to join the library to be able to use the computers and I’ve no ID remember?”
“No, anyone can use them, you’re not at home now Rose.”
“Oh but I can’t just sit there sending mass emails from there can I?”
“No, you send a few at a time and check them when you get home.” Alec shook his head again.
“That’s gonna take forever Alec. I know, we could get one of those mobile devices then every time you reconnect, you get a different IP address and if we use a pay and go one, we don’t even have to give any details, just use it.”
“Right, we’ll do that then, we’ll go and buy a cheap laptop and set it up, I can’t keep bringing my work one back every night and you can get on with it during the day. Tonight we’ll compose the email and you can start tomorrow.”
That settled, Rose said she’d see him across the road at one to meet Ellie and went off to get a much needed strong coffee, they’d never even got around to discussing how much Rose was going to tell her but she’d let him be the judge of that. She hated being so dependant on one man, even when she was with the Doctor and the other Alec she’d had some independence but now, she only had one, maybe two she could trust out of how many billions there were on this world.
Alec called to say he’d be a bit late and not to start without him so she greeted Ellie, taking a table furthest away after ordering some food for both of them.
“So, what have you got to get Alec’s permission to tell me then?”
“It’s not a case of needing his permission Ellie, I trust him and he only wants what’s best for me, it’s complicated. I’ve got no-one Ellie, I only have Alec and if I lose him, I don’t know what I’d do, I’m totally alone apart from him and maybe you, if you don’t get up and leave when we’ve finished.”
“Finished what love?” Alec asked, coming up behind her and kissing her cheek and running his thumb on her shoulder a bit longer than was necessary, partly for Ellie’s benefit.
“Telling Ellie what she wanted to know, about where I’ve been hiding myself. Is it ok to talk here?”
“It’s as good a place as any I suppose. Let’s wait for the food first eh?”
At least this Alec liked his food, as opposed to the strict diet the other one had been on but she supposed that may have changed if he’d gone and got himself fixed to go to try and find her.
Alec decided he should start off by asking Ellie where she thought Rose had been hiding to keep out of the controversy of what had happened.
“Well it must have been difficult for you when it all kicked off, didn’t you get hauled in by mistake back then, if you were in London?”
“Let me ask you a question Ellie, did you take any sides before it happened?”
“No, it was nothing to do with me, nothing to do with the police either, it was an internal Torchwood struggle though some people had their own opinions.”
“Then you’re open-minded?”
“Depends. You’re stalling Rose and as for you Hardy, what sort of hold have you got over her?”
“I’ve not got a hold over her, she’s free to do whatever she wants, she’s just been cleared, she’s not the one who is wanted. I’m just watching out for her, she can leave if she wants.”
“I don’t want to leave him Ellie and I was telling the truth when I said I thought he was someone else, I thought he was my boyfriend who was playing some sort of game, coming back here until I realised I’d missed one vital thing.”
“What was that? That you came to your senses?” Ellie laughed.
“Hey, I’m offended at that Ellie Miller, do you think it’s beyond the realms of possibility I can get myself a girlfriend?”
“She told me she’s not really your girlfriend so stop keeping up the pretence.”
“Ellie, I’m not pretending any more, he’s been really good to me, I can be his girlfriend without putting on a show. Anyway, that’s beside the point. The thing I missed on the way down on the coach was, I don’t belong here.”
“In Broadchurch? You thought he was your boyfriend who was running away from you then?”
“Not exactly. I did live here and I was in London four years ago and I haven’t been hiding anywhere, I wasn’t here.”
“You’re going around in circles Rose, just get on with it.”
“Tell her Rose, I think we can trust her.”
“I just got here on Friday and I don’t mean here in Broadchurch, I mean here, as in this world.”
Ellie almost dropped her mug of tea. “Tell me you’re kidding?”
“Nope, it’s no joke Ellie, I found myself here on Friday morning, a short time after I’d set off from my own world, my family and another version of Alec, my Alec, who was about to ask me to marry him and I’m stuck here.”
“Ok, I’ll go for it, I want details.”
“Not here, come over to our house and Rose will tell you everything, I have to go back to work now.”
Alec was upset she’d had to go mention him again and the fact she was about to marry him. He shouldn’t be feeling so jealous but he was and he knew it wouldn’t get any better, especially after the brilliant snogging session earlier before Elaine had called and spoiled the moment. Rose had hardly mentioned the other one for a while, not by name anyway though she’d hinted a few times but having her say it to someone else, it hurt.
“So you left another one of him behind somewhere?”
“Yeah, that’s why I came here, I thought something had gone wrong and although I left him in London, I thought he’d come back here and it was only on my way down I realised what must have happened.”
“Then tell me how you got here?”
Alec kissed her goodbye and said he’d see her later and he’d call and get another key cut while she got dinner ready. Rose waited for Ellie to get settled and told her of her arrival on Friday morning and her shock that her family could have been lost.
“So, do you believe me then?”
“Well it’s a bit far-fetched if it’s not true and trust me, Alec Hardy is not one for sob stories, he must believe you, even if it’s only to get a girlfriend.”
“That’s not fair Ellie, he’s grossly misunderstood, his ex made him like that and I’ve a good mind to sort her out, once I get things sorted.”
Ellie laughed. “He told me she was a piece of work but I never quite believed him though but you obviously do?”
“Why shouldn’t I? If the other women have pre-judged him, it’s hardly his fault, if she didn’t treat him right it’s only natural he behaves differently around me, I never judged him.”
“Yes you did, you judge him by your Alec’s merits but you can’t see that. They may be two completely different people but I’ve worked with this one, he was disagreeable, annoying and the office Casanova.”
“Now who’s judging Ellie? People change, he was in a strange town, no girlfriend and his ex was out to ruin any chance of him getting one, it’s not surprising. He’s changed, I know he has, he takes great care of me and I trust him.”
“Well don’t say you weren’t warned, that’s all. Look, I’m not saying for you to leave him if he’s the only person you trust but just be careful Rose.”
“Yeah but I think I may lose him anyway, I can’t just forget the Alec I left behind but this one is getting serious and I don’t know what to do.”
“You’re stuck somewhere you don’t belong, I get that but you have to make the best of a situation I suppose, though I personally wouldn’t have chosen Alec Hardy but you were drawn to him, it’s only natural you went to him for help, a familiar face. I suppose I’ve got a double as well then?”
“Yeah, you were my best friend, sorry. I don’t know what I should do Ellie, I mean I want to get back to my own Alec, I miss him but this one is growing on me and I’m beginning to take this pretending to be his girlfriend seriously, well like I said, I’m not really pretending any more.”
“So he’s worn you down then? Just be careful Rose, I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“I’m walking a fine line Ellie, I have to do something, I have to survive here.”
“What about getting home?”
“Know anyone who can open up watch-like devices and repair them?”
“Not really but have you tried?”
“Where would I go? It needs a special tool to get the back off, something only Torchwood would have, if ever they did.”
“Maybe they never went dimension hopping Rose?”
She hadn’t been able to bring herself to say she suspected the real Rose Tyler was long gone, probably by four years.
When Ellie had left, Rose felt slightly better though not by much so she waited for Alec coming home and watched some TV. After he got back with another key and picking up a bottle of wine and a takeaway, they set about composing the email Rose was going to send out, a few at a time and being careful how they worded it until Alec was satisfied it wasn’t giving anything away about her and just enough so if anyone was against the other Rose, there would be no way of tracing it back to her. Then all they had to do was for Alec to go down and get a new laptop and mobile internet and set up a new account in his name at a popular email provider and use disposable email addresses that went into the same account.
Alec was waiting in the bedroom for her, wondering if they would have a repeat of what had happened that morning, it had been very nice on his part and he hoped Rose had felt the same. Tonight though, she didn’t linger in the doorway, she’d had time to think and if a bit of snogging kept him happy, she could live with that, anything else though was on hold, maybe permanently, only time would tell.