When they got back to Broadchurch, Rose was in a slightly better mood. The day out had cheered her up but it had brought back memories of shopping trips as Weymouth had been the favourite shopping place for both of them – minus the ride on the carousel, which she had to admit was totally unexpected and not something her Alec would have done spontaneously.
Alec told her not to bother cooking anything, he’d go up to the Chinese later and get a takeaway which prompted Rose to tease him.
“Thought you didn’t live on take-outs Alec?”
“I’ll make an exception. I wouldn’t want to spoil the nice day we spent out, that’s all. You did enjoy yourself did you not?”
“Yes, thanks for that. I think I needed that but it’s back to reality tomorrow though. We need to talk about that.”
“We’ll talk after I’ve met with my chief but be prepared for the worse. I might convince her but she may report it to her boss and him I can’t guarantee.”
“In my world, my stepfather played golf with most of the police chiefs. Now I’ve got no-one to protect me.”
He put two cups on the coffee table and sat next to her.
“Yes you do, you have me and I’ll do everything I can. It’s been four years Rose, most people have forgotten your name and didn’t even know what Torchwood was until it got destroyed and then they were not that fussed about it. What did the Torchwood on your world do besides dimension hopping?”
He took her hand and she didn’t resist, like all the fight had gone out of her and she was accepting she was stuck here with her lover’s double, just when she’d told herself that was never going to happen.
“That was something separate, which was why I couldn’t get out of it and why Pete’s influence carried no weight. Yvonne was a law unto herself and only the board combined could oust her and up until I got sent off again, they’d had no cause to.”
“I can’t understand why you would want to be blasted to another universe anyway, what made you do it?”
Could she tell him she was trying to get home?
“It seemed quite appealing at the time and plus, wherever those Cyberman went to, we owed it to the people there to help them since someone from our world invented them.”
Alec didn’t quite believe her but let it go.
“Yes but you said Torchwood did not invent them but they took responsibility for them. Why?”
“The old regime let them infiltrate so easily and take over and eventually, the last of the Cybermen destroyed it so they couldn’t be followed. Pete and a few others took over using the technology left behind and they began looking for where they’d gone.”
Not quite true but she didn’t think he was ready to accept the rest of it.
“Come on Rose, do you expect me to believe that? If you want my help? Tell me the truth and don’t leave anything out, who am I going to tell?”
So with Alec taking a break to go to the takeaway an hour or so later, Rose told him everything except the part where she’d been there before and been forced back again and that she was not ready to tell him, maybe later, if he stuck by her.
“I knew it. So is that it? You left a member of your team behind and you were trying to find him? Was he your boyfriend?”
“Sort of, we were very close and my mum said everyone knew he was apart from us and she threatened on more than one occasion to knock some sense into us. That was why when I met the Alec in my world, I wasn’t going to waste any time because you never know how long you’ve got to tell someone that you love them. You think you have all the time then things can change before you even get the chance to say goodbye never mind tell someone you love them.”
Alec put his arm around her and pulled her onto his shoulder.
“I’m so sorry Rose, really I am and now you’ve lost someone else. I know it can’t be easy for you and I’ve just made things worse by looking just like him.”
Rose thought it couldn’t get any worse if she said he looked like the Doctor as well but decided to spring that on him another time, he’d heard enough already, perhaps too much. He’d already accepted he looked like the actor but she’d not told him she’d suspected it was him, playing the role of a detective.
“I told you, it’s not your fault. I should never have come here but when I got on that coach, I still wasn’t thinking right and I really thought he’d be here. It wasn’t until I was halfway here before I accepted this could be the wrong world, I wasn’t taking too much notice before I did have time to let it sink in. I even thought my Alec had somehow come home and had sent a police escort to meet me.”
“So he was in the habit of sending an escort was he?” Alec smiled.
Rose dug him playfully in the ribs.
“No, not really. When I think about it, if he’d found out I was on that coach, he’d have got in a car and stopped the coach wherever he met up with it or called the coach company to tell the driver to wait for him.”
“Can’t really say I blame him, I never thought of that but there again, hauling you off a coach would have got attention, your Alec would have got away with it.”
“Yeah, he’d have hauled me off then snogged me senseless in front of everyone,” Rose mused, aware this Alec’s arm was around her shoulder.
She was too messed up with this to stop him but knew she should, before it became more than him trying to just comfort her but he was only trying to help. It could have been a lot worse she supposed but she had to remember he’d admitted already he’d not had a girlfriend in a while but she wasn’t ready for that.
Alec laughed. “I know you miss him Rose but there’s no harm in us being friends, is there? You said you and the one you lost were more than just friends but I just want you to know, I’ll give you some space, it’s up to you just how friendly you want us to be. Now, are you sleeping on your own tonight?”
“I should let you have your bed back, you only offered me your spare room.”
“I don’t mind, it’s comforting and saves me running into your room when you scream in the middle of the night.”
“Sorry but I was dreaming no-one was there to bring me home when I let go of that lever. I haven’t thought about that for a long time, my Alec kept the nightmares away because he had his own.”
“He was haunted by finding that girl in the river, wasn’t he?”
“Yeah, what about you, how did it affect you?”
“It did, for a while but it went away, I suppose we’re both very different. If you’re sleeping with me again, I bought some pyjama bottoms, thought my hairy legs would put you off.”
He grinned and kissed her forehead. “You go get ready for bed then and I’ll bring you some hot chocolate up, you should have said last night you preferred that to tea.”
“I would have done but I didn’t want to offend you when you started making the tea. Thanks Alec, you really don’t have to go to all this trouble.”
“I may not be after tomorrow. Even if my chief believes you, a lot of others in the station know who you are, it could still get difficult but I’ll try to warn them off. You just stay here in the morning and I’ll call you, since you know the way.”
“Yeah, been enough times. Do you have an Ellie Miller here? She was my best friend where I come from.”
“Yes, she’s on maternity leave, actually she invited me for dinner next week, if all goes well, I’ll tell her I’m bringing someone and I think it will be best for both of us if I say you’re my girlfriend, it will save a lot of explaining. Just say you’ve been back home for a visit.”
“How long have you been here?”
“About eight months or so, I came here last July and thought it was the most boring place they could have found for me.”
“So you had no murder to solve?”
“No, I’d had enough in Sandbrook thanks very much. Your Alec stepped right into another murder? No wonder he was so ill then, it can’t have helped. Best not say you’ve been away then, we can have just met.”
“Yeah, well that’s sort of true, I’ll leave you to fill in all the details, I’m off to bed though I’ve not made my mind up yet which one.”
“I’ll be disappointed if you choose yours but it’s up to you, the offer still stands for you to use my spare room but tomorrow, just remember it might be a single bench in a cell and although I’ll try my best, I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get you out. My chief may call you in then have you arrested but if I think there’s any danger of that, I’ll warn you to stay away but it may not come to that.”
“I hope it doesn’t, I’ve never been a wanted person before though once, I went missing for a year and my mum had my ex boyfriend arrested several times for my murder.”
Alec smiled. “You must tell me more sometime. Don’t worry, I’ll do everything I can to help you, whatever it takes and if it means getting you out of Broadchurch, then so be it.”
“I know, thanks Alec, you’re a real friend and if it’s ok, I’ll stay with you tonight, if it’s my last night of freedom but if you try anything, I will be getting arrested for kicking your ass out of bed, got it?”
He got up and gave a mock salute, holding out his hand. “Whatever you say Rose, I promise to behave. I’ve missed waking up with someone in the morning.”
While Rose was in the bathroom, she took stock of her current situation. Alec had tried to explain as far as he knew, what had happened in the power struggle for Torchwood and how this world’s Rose had fallen out with her parents but when she thought about it, it seemed a bit extreme she would destroy her home and her family along with it. Maybe this Alec was right and someone else was responsible but that wasn’t her job to find out who had but maybe if she did, she wouldn’t be in fear of tomorrow.
Her only hope was to contact the Rose Tyler or Jake here and offer to help clear their names in return for maybe helping her get home but what if she was right and if this Jake helped her, he could be helping himself to getting any devices they had working and then them going to her adopted world or her original one. Could she actually risk it, if this Rose was actually guilty of at least destroying Torchwood? Maybe she’d not killed her family, maybe that was retaliation or a very bad coincidence.
She heard Alec tapping on the bathroom door – just as impatient as her own Alec. This one wasn’t accustomed to sharing.
“Come on Rose, how long does it take you?”
“Quit asking or I’ll take longer, you’re such a grump Alec.”
“Only when I’m wanting to use the bathroom. Geez, how did your Alec put up with you?”
Rose opened the door, now wearing her pyjamas as there was no way she was getting undressed in front of him.
“He learned the hard way and he never complained as much as you. It’s all yours, don’t wake me when you get into bed.”
“What the hell’s wrong with you all of a sudden? Look, I’m sorry, ok? I’m not used to sharing.”
“Then I’ll let you have your bed back shall I?”
“I didn’t mean I didn’t want to share my bed with you did I? Ok, that’s maybe why Tess left me so next time, I’ll just use the bathroom first then you can take all the time you want.”
Rose looked at him. “There might not be a next time Alec. I’m sorry too. You’re my only friend and I’m pushing you away.”
He held out his arms. “It’s ok, forget it. I know how long you women can take in the bathroom. You go ahead, I won’t disturb you when I get into bed.”
“I don’t mind, I’m just tired and irritated and I shouldn’t take it out on you. If I drive you away then I really will be on my own.”
“You won’t drive me away Rose but tomorrow, if all goes well, you’ll be free to do what you want.”
“So if your chief believes me, I am on my own?”
“If you really want to be?”
“No, I don’t like that idea at all. I still need you Alec. You won’t throw me out will you?”
“No, I won’t do that, don’t worry. We’ll get this sorted Rose, I promise.”
“What if we can’t? Say she does believe me, what then? I’ve got no money, no ID and I still share the same name.”
“Then I’ll get my chief to agree to issuing some sort of statement you’re not the one who’s wanted and make sure all the authorities know.”
“I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into Alec?”
He kissed the top of her head. He knew exactly what he was getting into and he’d never felt more excited at the prospect of having something to do other than bide his time to yet another transfer and get away from this boring town. This was exactly what he needed, pretending Rose was his girlfriend and no-one would be any wiser and he was the only friend she had as she was totally reliant on him.
Maybe that was where he’d gone wrong in the past. He’d tried too hard, especially with Tess until he’d worn her down and they’d moved in together but here was Rose, alone and vulnerable and totally dependant on him but best of all, she trusted him. He could take advantage of her but he wasn’t going to and she would be the one he could be himself with. He didn’t have to impress her, he didn’t have to chase after her, she as here, sharing his house and his room.
In any other situation, he would have taken her out a few times, see if she ran away which she probably would, like all the rest of them but Rose was different, even if she’d not found herself in this mess through no fault of her own. How was she to know that when she’d landed on this world, another woman with the same name was a wanted person?
Rose was laid on her side when he got into bed and turned out the lamp.
“Are you really tired Rose?”
“Yeah, a bit but is there anything you want to talk about?”
“Me? Oh, I thought this was all about you?″
Rose digged him in the ribs again, not so playfully this time.
“Hey, what was that for? I may need to retaliate for that.”
He pulled her towards him and went to tickle her but she raised her arms, trying to fend him off.
“Oh no, you are not getting away with that.”
They finally called a truce when Rose said she gave in, then got him one more time.
“Thanks, I think I needed that. Goodnight Alec.”
“Any time Rose. I know you start off over on your other side but somehow, you creep over to mine. Any reason?”
“Nope, should they be?”
“Maybe you could save some time? This could be your last night here Rose.”
Rose felt him move closer and in the dim light could make out his features as he put his arm around her, pulling her head into his shoulder then nuzzling her cheek. Rose wasn’t entirely sure about this but it felt comforting and she needed it but the last two mornings, she’d woken up thinking it was her Alec that had his arm around her, protectively like he’d always done since they’d been together but now, she was fully awake and not moving in her sleep instinctively towards the man she had loved in another world.
“Alec, I’m not ready for this.”
“Shush, I know. Just relax Rose, it’s ok. I know how much you must miss him but I don’t want you to think I am him.”
“I don’t, don’t go thinking that. I know you’re not him. This is nice but it can’t be anything else, not now.”
“Are you saying never?”
“No but maybe my device is giving off a signal, even a weak one and they’ll come looking for me eventually, they’ll track me down and then what? No Alec, I can’t get close get you.”
“How long are you going to wait? Is it not better to make the best of things while you do wait? It could take months or even years. I’ll stay by you Rose, for as long as you want but how would you feel if I met someone else and you didn’t like it?”
“I’ll not get in your way, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“But I would be leaving you on your own and you’d hate that, hell, I’d hate to do that to you but I can’t wait forever. Ok, I know I’ve waited a while, getting over Tess but did you ever think you’d end up on another world and find another version of your boyfriend? It’s against all the odds Rose, just think about it.”
“I have thought about it. When I lost that friend of mine, I thought no-one would ever replace him then years later, I met Alec but it took me a long time to stop seeing my friend in him and do you know why?”
“Because he looked like him? Geez Rose, how many versions are there of me out there? That’s kind of creepy, do you know that? Looking like that actor was bad enough, I’m surprised you didn’t think I was actually him.”
“I did, when I first met you. What better way was there to get out of being associated with the other Rose Tyler?”
“True but why a detective?”
“Because he’d make a great detective, he played one in a drama series about a Scottish detective who went to a northern England seaside town. It was sort of a musical drama, it was good.”
“You’ve seen it then?”
“No, as if I’d actually want to watch that? My girlfriend at the time was a fan.”
“Yeah, sure, if you say so.”
“Do you want me to tickle you again? You are asking for it you know?”
“No, no more tickling and I know you’re trying to take my mind of things, thanks. I just can’t give up and accept things, not without giving them a chance to find me. Pete rescued me when I stayed to help my friend, mum sent him after me and she’ll do the same this time, she won’t let him sit by and do nothing and neither will Alec. They’ll have teams out trying to find where I’ve gone and someone scanning for my signal.”
“I get that Rose but how long will it be for you, compared for how long it will be for them to realise you are missing then try and find you? I’m just trying to say, I can make things better for you by being here, that’s all but I can’t help it if someone does take an interest in me, despite me saying to everyone you’re my girlfriend. I just don’t want you to think I’ve abandoned you. I can make this so much better for you, if you want and you can draw an imaginary line and resolve never to cross it. I’m sure your Alec couldn’t blame you, when you thought you’d never see him again.”
“Maybe not but I’d know so I’d never be able to tell him and if he discovered you have the same name, I don’t know what that would do to him, he might never forgive me and take me back.”
“Then you’ll just have to tell him I’m that actor, won’t you?”
“Only if I have to, it may not be him that comes and he may not be the one you have to convince. Ok, I’ll be your girlfriend but that’s all though as you pointed out, we may not have that problem tomorrow.”
“I won’t let them lock you up, we’ll get out of town if we have to. I’ll come with you.”
“Yeah, then you’ll be wanted for helping me.”
“I’m sure it will be worth it, I can’t see you getting locked up for something you had nothing to do with. How can it be you when you’ve just arrived?”
“Just how friendly is this world towards those who have just got here?”
“Not so good since Torchwood went down, that was part of the argument. From what I heard, Rose Tyler wanted to make it easier to welcome those from other worlds who found their way here, Pete and that Mickey Smith opposed her.”
Rose thought that was a bit ironic since Pete had hidden them all, Mickey when he’d stayed behind but she’d not yet told Alec that bit though she’d admitted she’d been to another world to help them with the Cybermen but she’d also admitted she’d been to lots of other worlds.
“Still no reason to blow up a building and kill your family over it, wasn’t there an investigation?”
“Not really, the president wanted it wrapping up as quickly as possible. Pete Tyler was the vice-president, Rose Tyler turned against him, case over. I wouldn’t have thought they would even look anywhere else.”
“Maybe someone should get then to take another look?”
“Hey, you had better not mean me, I am not getting involved in that. I have enough with you, thanks very much. Do you know what they would do to me? I’m sorry Rose but that came from the president herself and even though I don’t agree, I can’t go up against them – no-one can.”
“Sorry, I wouldn’t ask you to, I was just saying and it’s nothing to do with me, I’m just the one that may well have to hide while I’m here.”
Alec leaned forward, kissing her cheek and pushing back a strand of hair.
“You may be worrying over nothing Rose and all I can do is make your stay here better, for however long you are. So, you agree to say you’re my girlfriend then?”
“I said didn’t I? Can I go to sleep now?”
He kissed her forehead and she raised her head, their lips just a fraction apart and Alec touched hers very lightly.
“Goodnight Rose and try not to worry, I’ll take care of you no matter what happens tomorrow.”