Alone in the world with just a friend

Chapter 8

Alec made the call to Rose to tell her for now, it was safe for her to walk over to the station and ask for him and he would come out and meet her but Rose wasn’t so sure about it.

“It’s ok Rose, trust me, nothing will happen,” he tried to assure her when she went silent at his request.

“Yeah, you say that, how do I know your chief isn’t making you say that?”

He got up and went into the corridor since Elaine had just got through to her immediate boss.

“Ok, if it makes you feel better, wait there and I’ll come and get you, you have to trust me Rose, I’m not under any pressure to get you here under false pretences so they can lock you up. I know you are scared but what do I have to gain in turning you in eh? I don’t get a reward or a promotion, I’m not even eligible for a transfer out of this town, I’ve got nothing to gain by lying to you to get you to come in. Stay there and I’ll be there in ten minutes, just don’t let anyone in if you don’t feel safe and if she turns on me, don’t go with anyone who claims I sent them, not unless I tell you exactly who it is.”

Rose knew she had no choice, she had to trust him.

“Ok, I’ll wait for you. Alec, I never told you this but I was never like this, back home, I’ve never been as scared in my life, for being the double of someone who’s wanted.”

“I know but hopefully, this will all be over soon, my chief is talking to her bosses. If things change for the worse, I won’t bring you back here but try to relax.”

“That’s easy for you to say.”

Alec said goodbye and went back in Elaine’s office.

“I have to go collect her, she’s a wee bit nervous over this. What did the chief constable say?”

“He’ll trust my judgement, to a certain extent but he wants a full report and a DNA sample analysing. If she’s not the Rose Tyler who is wanted, the differences will show up but that’s up to the experts.”

“Then what if by some chance it’s almost identical?”

“They will study a certain number of common markers in the samples, thankfully, the other woman’s were still on public record before Torchwood was destroyed, if there is the slightest inclination there is very little difference, it’s up to higher powers to decide what to do. You’ve already taken her side Alec, if it’s proven she really is the one we want, there will be very little you can do about it. Don’t get attached to her, giving her a place to stay over the weekend was a bit irresponsible but I should have expected no less from you. At least I’ve only had one complaint about you over the weekend, it’s a refreshing change and it wasn’t from one of the female staff.”

Alec thought that had to be a first since his arrival eight months ago, he now wasn’t proud of the vast number of complaints about him that thankfully nothing had come of them. Rose must have done him some good then. He walked back to his cottage and decided she did need another friend if all went well and would call Ellie Miller and trust telling her at least some of Rose’s story, maybe not the bit about her appearing from nowhere but that was up to her as to how much she revealed. He knocked on the door, Rose anxiously looking out of the window through the slats of the window blind.

“Hey, are you ready to go?” he asked, kissing her cheek and running his finger down it in reassurance.

Rose tried to smile back at him, having had time to think after he’d left an hour or so previously. The kisses they’d shared earlier had been kind of nice but it couldn’t go beyond that yet, not until she was not in fear of running for her life and she’d tried to find something to repair the device but it needed a special tool, like she’d described to him and no-one here would have one and even the destroyed Torchwood may not have had one but what if Alec was right?

What it the Rose Tyler already here had a similar device and had drawn herself here and the Jake here could fix it? She put her jacket on and picked up the mobile Alec had bought her, the other one was in the kitchen drawer with the device.

“Best not walk into the station holding hands Rose,” he remarked as they’d walked across the harbour and were in front of the glass-fronted new apartments.

Rose thought in her own world she could have afforded to rent one of those but had chosen the blue chalet because Alec had needed to confront his fear of the water and she’d said there was no better way than stepping out on the decking every morning after she’d given him a good snogging and sent him on his way when he’d wormed his way back to work for a few hours a day before the trial had commenced.

She thought back to how annoyed they’d all been it had come to that when it was cut and dried but Ellie attacking her husband when he’d confessed hadn’t helped. She’d not even been there much during the investigation but the aftermath had hit them all hard. Then it had looked like he’d wanted Sandbrook reopening and she’d promised to help him but now, he would have abandoned everything and camped out at Torchwood until her return. How long had she actually been away though?

Alec was asking her something.

“Come on Rose, are you ready for this?” he asked as they stood outside the station.

“Yeah, let’s get this over with and hope I’ll be walking out and not dragged out to a waiting car to whisk me off to wherever.”

“You just answer her questions, don’t volunteer anything and stick to what we talked about and you’ll be fine. Just act all innocent in this because I know you are and you’ll have to give a DNA sample and I’m really sorry Rose but it’s necessary and it will prove you are not her, hopefully. There’s only a very slight chance it won’t. I’ll be with you in there but maybe not make it look like we are too friendly until we get the DNA results back but she knows you’ve been staying with me. If we get you through this, we can tell everyone else what we discussed before, you’re my new girlfriend.”

“Well you’ll have to come up with all the details, I don’t know what you’ve been up to here, do I?”

“Well, just ask any of the female staff and you’ll find out but that’s all over now Rose, I promise. I was just seeking out some company and it wasn’t my fault they didn’t appreciate how I tried to procure it.”

“Got a bit over-enthusiastic about it did you?”

“You could say that but it was all Tess’s fault,” he smiled as he held the door open.

“I’m sure it was,” she smiled back.

He led her to the chief’s office and knocked on the door, for a change. Elaine looked up and asked her to sit, Alec getting another chair and sitting beside her.

“You caused quite a stir on Friday Miss Tyler. I’m Chief Superintendent Jenkinson, may I call you Rose?”

Rose nodded and glanced at Alec for reassurance.

“I’ll get right to the point. As you are aware, there is another Rose Tyler out there somewhere who is wanted for killing her family and friend and destroying a top government agency and DI Hardy here says when he questioned you, you were totally unaware of any of this and claimed you’d been travelling around. So why come here, to Broadchurch claiming you know nothing of the events four years ago?”

“Like I said to him, I’ve been out of it, doing research for my employer, Dr Smith, we’ve been in the northern hemisphere for the best part of that time, in remote places.”

She couldn’t tell if the woman believed her or not as she continued, lacing in parts of her old times of travelling in the Tardis and nipping home for a few days at a time, even Alec looked stone faced as he’d no idea what she was going to come out with and it was best he didn’t since he wanted Elaine to know as little as possible about his and Rose’s ‘arrangement’ they’d come up with over the weekend.

A good while later, after coffee had been sent in, Rose was through answering the chief’s other questions.

“So are you prepared to give a DNA sample?”

“Yes, Alec explained to me that’s the best way of proving I’m not the one who’s wanted.”

“I’ll send a WPC in to do it when we move you to the interview room.”

“So are you keeping me here then?”

“We have to establish who you are and I have to submit a report. It’s the interview room or a cell Rose. It should take a few days to get the results back then I’ll consult with my bosses. If it’s proved you’re not her, you’ll be released.”

“Hang on, you don’t have to detain her here, I’ll take full responsibility for her until the results come back, she’s been with me all weekend Elaine, she could have run off on Friday but she stayed to be seen by you today.”

“Very well then Alec, she’s your responsibility until the results come back, don’t let her leave town.”

“Where would she go?”

“Yeah, where would I go? I came here because I mistook Alec for someone, got escorted from the coach and found out it wasn’t him but he still helped me when I thought I was going to get arrested for a case of mistaken identity. I wouldn’t try and get him in trouble by leaving town, I’ve nowhere else to go after I lost touch with my friend, Doctor Smith.”

It was sort of true and a story she planned sticking with at least as far as the authorities were concerned, it was easier than inventing the one about being Alec’s old girlfriend who’d just come back, something Alec would have to invent anyway since she knew nothing about this one.

“Besides, I’ve run out of money now since I can’t use my bank card without someone reporting me.”

“If you are cleared, your account will be released from the alert we have out, it’s just a formality. If you have any other ID such as driver’s licence and passport, they will be re-issued to you in person, accompanied by DI Hardy, who will be able to vouch for you.”

Well that was something she supposed and she wouldn’t be locked up until they decided who she was.

“I’ll do the DNA test in my office, no need to get anyone else to do it. Can she go then?”

“Yes and since you seem to have nothing better to do and it’s in your interest to keep an eye on her, it’s your job to look after her so take some time off.”

“I’d rather just work, I trust her. I’ll work a few hours during the day or I’ll drive her crazy,” he smiled.

“Yes, she has my sympathy putting up with you all the time Alec, try not to annoy her.”

Alec got up and gestured for Rose to do the same, opening the door for her. He led her upstairs to his office, getting looks from the others.

“Have you lot nothing better to do? Get back to work oh and spread the word, Roberts, the women can start walking around the station on their own now.”

Marie Roberts was relieved to hear that since she’d been cornered by him several times lately and no longer worked Saturday afternoons. It seemed the detective had found new prey and everyone would be relieved. She pitied the poor blonde now sitting on the sofa in his office as he made coffee and took two cups in after asking for a DNA kit.

“It’s just a cheek swab Rose, don’t worry and all this will soon be over.”

“I hope so. Do you want to meet for lunch?”

“I’ll just send this off and finish some paperwork then I’ll join you, why don’t you wait across the way?”

“OK, what was all that as we came in?”

“Nothing, well let’s say I used to seek a little female company and no-one wanted to oblige.”

“Why not? Is there something wrong with them?”

“Apparently there was something wrong with me but that seems to have disappeared, since you agreed to stay with me. You could have opted for the cell.”

“Yeah, I figured staying with you was the least painless.”

“So I’m just marginally better than being left for a few days in a cell?”

“I didn’t mean it like that Alec and you know it.”

“Rose, you’ll have to get used to my sense of humour, Miller used to tell me I didn’t have one.”

Rose smiled, the other Ellie had told her Alec much the same until she’d arrived in town. The Ellie Miller she knew had said what a grump he used to be until she’d walked in at the close of the murder enquiry and been with him when he’d come round after collapsing chasing the suspect. She hadn’t intended staying more than a few days for a rest but she’d stayed and on his release from hospital and moved him into her hotel room.

She remembered clearly the day she’d walked into the station and been shown to his office and here she was, sitting in the exact same office with his double, waiting for him to leave.

“Rose, you look miles away.”

“Yeah, it’s just this office. Can I leave now?”

“It makes you feel uncomfortable?”

“You could say that, it brings back too many memories, sorry.”

He got up from behind his desk and pulled the blinds down then sat beside her.

“It’s ok Rose, I told you and I know it’s not something you are going to forget easily. I’ll finish here and come over and meet you.”

He opened the door. “Roberts, escort my friend here downstairs will you?”

Marie knew who she was and wondered what she was doing with the station’s Casanova and why she was still free.

He kissed Rose’s cheek and said he’d see her soon, the door still open. She was led out and Marie chose to wait for the lift.

“So, are you with hard-ass then?”

“Excuse me? Do you always address your boss like that?”

“So you really are with him then?”

“That’s no-one else’s business if I am.”

“You do know his reputation?”

“He did mention it to me earlier and it’s all in the past now, he deserves a chance, now he’s got me as his girlfriend.”

There, she’d admitted it and whatever had gone on here, he’d been honest with her so far, she had no reason to think now she’d agreed to play the part, he’d carry on seeking other women’s company.

“Well don’t say you weren’t warned love. We’re all sick of him here, his ex warned us about him.”

So he’d been right, Tess did have something to do with women turning him down though she’d best not tell him, he was mad enough about it as it was and she didn’t want him having a show-down with his ex girlfriend and drag her into it. Fortunately, she’d avoided the other Alec’s ex-wife but she would have met her sooner or later if Sandbrook had been reopened.

Maybe though it would make him feel better to know it was nothing he’d done but he’d said that was all over now, well until she found a way home. She thanked Marie and said for her to wait and see before she judged Alec further and went to sit at one of the catering stalls opposite, a favourite place of theirs in the other world.

Alec was about to leave when Lawson tapped on his door.

“Sir, the chief wants you before you leave.”

“Why didn’t she call me?”

Lawson looked at him. Alec knew why she’d not called him. Surely they’d not got Rose’s DNA back already?

“So, she’s your girlfriend then?”

“What’s so surprising about that? We did spend the weekend together.”

“Nothing Sir. The chief said right away.”

Twenty minutes later, he’d joined Rose across the road and sat beside her.

“My chief had a call from her boss. There may be someone coming from London to interview you when your DNA comes back, just in case it doesn’t prove who you really are and I’m so sorry Rose but you may have to tell them the truth, of where you really come from. I’ll do everything I can to help you, you know that.”

“Yeah Alec, I know. We need to talk about this when we get back and think about trying to contact her.”

“I thought you didn’t want to?”

“I know but I may have no alternative. Do you want a drink or anything?”

“No, I’m fine, let’s go.”

As they walked back Rose told him that Marie Roberts had tried to warn her off. He wasn’t surprised. Once back he told Rose what his chief had said.

“I was right though, I thought they would send someone from the Special Branch, this is their sort of thing. You don’t have anything to worry about though, just tell them how you got here.”

“Seriously? They’ll lock me up, you said they don’t take kindly if you’re not from around here.”

“Rose, it’s the only way to prove you are not her if the DNA test is inconclusive. I don’t know if you had such a police department where you came from but this is what they do and unlike any other department, they don’t pursue people who don’t belong on this planet if they can prove they are human, they sort of took over from Torchwood on a much smaller scale.”

“So if I tell them, they won’t do anything like lock me up?”

“From what I know about them, then no but they may take a while to come to a decision, they won’t just say ok and let you go.”

“Then how long could it take?”

“I really don’t know, it’s hard to say but I’m sure when they do, everything will be ok. They’ll take into account you were interviewed with your co-operation and you are sort of in police custody, I’m sticking my neck out for you and my chief knows it, she’s already picked up on the fact I told those in my squad room you were my girlfriend though I tried to tell her it was just to save answering any awkward questions but I don’t think she believed me. What about you saying earlier, about contacting the other Rose Tyler, how will you do that?”

“She may find me, if she’s got a device similar to mine and it’s giving out a signal, it will be stronger here than on my world. Even if it is weak, it will be easy for her or the Jake here to find me.”

“Yes but you didn’t want them getting their hands on your own device, you did say she could still be responsible for what happened here and if she somehow got to your world, then what?”

She moved closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder, Alec kissing her forehead. She glanced up at him before she spoke.

“Alec, I have no choice, I want to be able to go home. What else can I do?”

He put his arm around her. “I know Rose, I know you do.”

All they could do now was wait for her DNA sample coming back and it that proved nothing, for Special Branch to arrive and risk telling them where she really came from. Alec knew that could go either way and she could wait months for them to conclude their investigation, they weren’t known for their rapid decisions. He’d only heard of rare cases where they intervened, if the police commission couldn’t get the facts from DNA testing and things were unsettled, the elite team were called in but were at least fair though time consuming.

Rose was leaning on his shoulder, she depended on him and if this wasn’t resolved when she got her test results back, he would have to guarantee she stayed where she was so now, he had to take things very slowly and not make her run away from him so he’d have to let her get close to him, if she wanted then if not, it was back to the cold showers every morning because he couldn’t bring himself to go look elsewhere and leave her alone every night, someone could still come after her from her own world and he’d never get to say goodbye to her or something worse could happen.

He hadn’t wanted to tell her that former Torchwood employees who had been on her father’s side were also still looking for the other Rose Tyler and they may not be as understanding as he was. If she wanted to remain here long enough to maybe get back home, she was best staying in the town where he could protect her and if word got out she was trying to contact either of the other two she could bring them down on her. Now he was going to have to warn her.

By the time he had, he wished he’d remained silent.

“I’m sorry Rose, I know you already have more than enough to worry about, I never meant to add to your problems.”

“It’s not your fault but thanks for telling me, I’d never thought there might be still people out there who had been loyal to Pete but won’t she also have some on her side?”

“Maybe but they won’t come forward. I expect a lot that were neutral still remain that way, there were employees whom from what I know about the power struggle towards the end who never made up their minds who to support. Who did you trust back on your world? You must know their names?”

“Yeah but I left when I moved to Broadchurch to be with the other Alec, I can think of a few though but how do I know I can trust them?”

“You don’t but you have to start somewhere and I’ll be the one to contact them. I can make some enquiries and say I’m leading a new enquiry to ascertain your guilt or innocent, not through official channels but they won’t know that. My chief told me to keep an eye on you, I’ll bring a laptop home and we can see if there’s still a record of who worked at Torchwood.”

“Right and if they were anything like ours, a lot of records would have survived, they were on a separate server and still accessible. I know how to get in to them.”

“Well you would, wouldn’t you?” he asked, kissing her cheek then stroking it.

“There’s a lot we can do Rose though it may take time but while we do that, if your results come back and you’re cleared, it’s only a matter of locating Jake Simmonds and getting him to agree to help your repair your device without wanting something in return.”

“Alec, we can offer him something in return.”

“What’s that?” he asked, nudging her for a kiss.

“Prove their innocence.”

“No way Rose, I told you that already. You have no idea what you are going up against. Forget it we’ll find another way.”

“What do you expect me to do? Offer a look at how mine should work so they can get their own working?”

“Have you thought theirs may actually work and they are no longer on this world?” Alec mused, more as an afterthought than anything else.

Then he saw the look on her face.

“Don’t say that. You know what that means?”

Alec shook his head and pulled her closer.

“It means she activated her device and mine was drawn to it, she may have gone on to my world in my place and I’m stuck here forever, no-one else can help me and if she killed her family, mine could be in danger. So, how do you think that makes me feel?”

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