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A ripple in time

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Sequel to 'Pretend to be him' which should be read first.

Rose has gone on another mission to try to find the Doctor when they are getting signs they have found the right universe.  She stands in position to go but instead of her surroundings fading then she normally closes her eyes, she is still in the same place - or is she?  Alec Hardy, who she had fallen in love with after trying to come to terms that he's not the Doctor who had run off and left her comes dashing towards her with a two year old girl in his arms who is struggling to get to her.

Now they are faced with keeping the secret of a ripple in time to stop Torchwood discovering what happened to her and using it to their advantage.



Sequel to 'Pretend to be him' which should be read first.

Rose has gone on another mission to try to find the Doctor when they are getting signs they have found the right universe.  She stands in position to go but instead of her surroundings fading then she normally closes her eyes, she is still in the same place - or is she?  Alec Hardy, who she had fallen in love with after trying to come to terms that he's not the Doctor who had run off and left her comes dashing towards her with a two year old girl in his arms who is struggling to get to her.


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Chapter 1 
Recap – from 'Pretend to be him'

Alec Hardy had pretended to be the clone Doctor when Rose claimed she knew him but after a week, he gave up and told her the truth.  Rose went off on holiday with her family to think about it but went back to him and he'd just had an alien pacemaker inserted but a gap had opened to her old world and Rose still wanted answers.

As she now stood in front of the cannon device, Rose ran back to Alec, kissing him once again.  "I'll be back before you know it Alec, don't worry."

"How can I not worry Rose?" he asked her as she was handed a small device to enable her to move or get back.  "What if it closes?" he asked, referring to the gap that had appeared.

"It won't, we can keep it open to get her back, don't worry Alec, she'll be back," Jake tried to assure him.

All Alec could think about as Rose prepared to go was an old TV programme he used to watch where someone had stepped into a machine and vanished but he couldn't look as he heard a noise and turned away.

~~~~{ silversurfer60 }~~~~

Rose slipped the portable device in her jacket pocket, knowing it was fully charged and would give her chance to get back instantly should she land in a bad place or dangerous situation.  What her mother and Mickey had used the last time had been an older model but she had been moved by the controller from landing in front of Donna's mother and grandfather and at the time, she was glad someone else was in control.

As the thought of hopefully landing near the Tardis buzzed through Rose's mind and the cannon made the noises she remembered so well, she saw Alec turn away and almost cried out for the controller to stop her transfer to what had been identified as her old world but at that stage, it was impossible to stop without endangering herself and ending up in the void or worse, scattered into atoms.

Thinking whatever was at the other side, if it wasn't the Doctor, she would have her device take her right back to Alec and hope he would forgive her.  As her surroundings began to fade,  she closed her eyes to lessen the effects as she had done before and waited for the dizziness to wear off and she should be maybe on a street on in a building, wherever the Tardis had opened the gap.

Not at first hearing any sounds, she opened one eye cautiously then not quite believing it, opened the other.  The machines were stacked up as normal in front of the spot she had apparently not moved from but seemed to be on receiving mode, since she'd been present many times when Jake or Mickey were expected back from a mission, usually around an hour or sometimes a lot less but this was a new one on her, not going anywhere.

The technicians had their backs to her and she looked for her stepfather, Alec and Jake but it was Jake who appeared from behind a bank of computers plus she noticed the armed guards were missing.

"What's going on Jake?" she asked as he dashed up to her.

"Rose?  Where the hell have you been?" he asked, going to give her a hug as if he couldn't believe it was her.

"Get off Jake, quit fooling around, I ain't been anywhere.  Did it malfunction or something?  Where's Alec and Pete?"

"Since when did you call your dad Pete?" Jake grinned, letting her go.  "Don't worry, Alec's gone nowhere, he's in the briefing room, you've been gone four hours, you know food and drink aren't allowed in here and they needed a break."

Rose assumed he meant Alec and her stepfather but she did call him Pete from time to time so she looked at her friend.  She blinked again in case her brain had been scrambled.

"Jake, I went nowhere, honestly.  I stood there as usual and opened my eyes and you came dashing towards me and where are the guards?" she asked him, getting her device out of her pocket but then she saw the look on Jake's face and hurriedly put it back in before he could see it.  

Something wasn't right and she knew it.

"Guards?" Jake laughed.  "Where have you been?  Did you get where we thought it was?"
"Where did ya think I went?" she asked, not sure about this.

"Now who's joking?  That world we located, you forgot?" he asked, not giving anything away.

She was about to answer when the briefing room door opened and her heart skipped a beat.  Maybe it was just her imagination and Pete and Alec were about to come back out but she almost panicked when what looked like a two year old girl in a white floral dress was struggling to get away from her dad – Alec.

"Where have you been sweetheart?" Alec asked as he approached her and he handed the girl to Jake, who made a face at the youngster, making her laugh and say 'Yake'.

Alec went to put his arms around her and tried to kiss her but Rose held him off.

"Sorry, I'm just a bit confused, just give me a minute, yeah?" she asked him as he looked at her.

"Hey, it's fine Rose, it has happened before, I know what to expect when you come back love, take all the time you need.  Maisie got hungry so Jake had some food sent down.  You have never been gone this long before though, where did you get to eh?"

Rose was wondering the same thing as he kissed her cheek and went to rescue Jake from the squirming two year old but as he grasped her, she got free and went running over to Rose.

"Mummy!"

Rose instinctively bent down to lift the girl even though it had not yet been established who she was but wondered where her stepfather had got to.  Alec could see Rose was struggling so he took the girl back.

"Come on Maisie, let your mum have some space eh?  Rose, I will take her back in the briefing room while you gather your thoughts, then we will go back to your mother's," he offered.

"Yeah, I'll be fine, I'll just give my report to Jake," she replied, not knowing what to say and since that was what she normally did, it would be fine.

She watched them walk off then Jake led her to the window, Rose looking for any tell-tale signs she was on the wrong world.  How had she suddenly gained a two year old daughter in those few seconds?

"What happened to you then?" Jake laughed.  "Had your brain scrambled?  Was that on the way there or the way back?"

"Jake, be serious.  I never went anywhere and whoever that is, it's not my Alec or is that girl my daughter," Rose had to admit, thinking now, if this was Jake, he'd called some guards to escort her to Pete's office at the very least.

"Rose, it's just the effects of the cannon, it'll wear off.  Need I remind you what else you've come back saying?" he asked her.

"I need coffee," Rose declared, since she'd had nothing after leaving the mansion earlier and now, it was supposed to be four hours later.

"There's coffee in the briefing room, Maisie was getting hungry, it's after her lunch time and Alec wouldn't take her up to the canteen in case you came back.  That man would wait forever, I swear Rose.  He wanted to go after you and he would if it hadn't been for your daughter, I've never seen him like that before.'

Rose was taking it all in.  This was not her version of the world she'd just been in, not ten minutes ago.  If she said anything else, she'd get locked up but she'd left another Alec behind, one who had pretended to be the clone Doctor for over a week and she was not going to play the same game as he had.

"Jake, you have to believe me, my brain didn't get scrambled that much that I don't remember going anywhere.  Take me to Pete's office."

"Rose, what's wrong with ya?  You only call him Pete when you talk to others about him and you know he works from home now that Owen's taking over," Jake told her.

Rose stared at the river below, at least it looked the same, now zeppelin's were almost out of fashion and there were no Daleks or spaceships in the sky.

"I forgot but I need to talk to him.  Jake, please, you have to believe me, I don't belong here," Rose pleaded with him.

"I'll get a car to take you back to the mansion, you can talk to him when you get back but he'll just say the same Rose.  You were away a lot longer than normal, he'll think it affected you, same as me and Alec," Jake replied, getting his phone out.  "Go get changed and I'll have a car waiting downstairs in twenty minutes, your things are in the ladies, since your husband and daughter took up residence in the briefing room," he grinned.

Husband?  Rose panicked, suddenly noticing a mark on her finger where two rings should have been.  How long had she supposed to have been married – to Alec?  Well probably at least two years judging by the young girl and how long had he watched her going on missions, which Pete had stopped four years ago?  No, she was in the wrong world and unlike Alec, she couldn't fool all of them like he'd done so well.

As he held his phone, he hinted towards the ladies room for her to get changed.

"I know where it is Jake," Rose tried to smile.  

Alec came out of the briefing room as Rose disappeared through the door, the girl wanting to go with her.

"No darlin', wait for you mum coming back then we will go see your nanna and grandad," Alec told her.

Jake went up to him.  "Are you worried about her?" he asked Alec, who was holding the toddler to the window.

"She's been confused before when she's come back Jake, she'll come around.  What did she say to you?"

"That she went nowhere but that's never happened before," Jake grinned as Maisie tried to go to him.

Alec leaned back on the ledge.  "I know but we all saw her go Jake, should we be worried?"

"Let her speak to her father, he'll convince her it's just an effect of the travelling between dimensions Alec.  Best not let her mother know though," he replied as Maisie messed with his hair.

"Yake, down," the girl told him as she saw Rose come back out.

Rose had found some clothes she presumed were hers but not what she'd been wearing when she'd arrived, at what she now gathered was a different to this one Torchwood Tower.  A million things had been running through her mind, the first one was where the hell was she and what mission had she supposed to have been on?   Then she'd taken the device out of her jacket pocket and tried pressing it but nothing had happened but what did she expect?

She put it in her shoulder bag and hoped Jake wouldn't mention it because if she was on another world, no-one could get their hands on it.  Alec had picked up Maisie again as she'd tried to run to Rose.

"Come back tomorrow for your debriefing Rose, when you can think a bit clearer," Jake told her.  "I'll report to Owen that you were a bit off when you came back but he'll expect a full report from you.  You'll need to be here anyway, he makes his decision tomorrow."

"What decision's that then?" Rose asked as she took the toddler from Alec and Maisie buried her head in Rose's shoulder as Alec went to kiss her cheek.

Rose looked at Alec and gave him a smile, it wasn't his fault she didn't know him or the girl.  He did look different when she looked at him properly, how had she not noticed he now had a strange resemblance to a certain Scottish actor when he wasn't playing a part?

"I know you don't want it Rose," Jake told her.  "You knew this was coming and we discussed it when your dad stepped down.  You know Owen's been against the project since that mission of yours went wrong."

She was about to ask which one that was but thought better of it.  She couldn't discuss this if she was on the wrong world but this had never happened to her before – well apart from finding herself back on her old world briefly then being told she couldn't stay.

"Well I'm glad it will all be over love," Alec told her, trying to take the girl from her.  "Come on Maisie, say bye to uncle Jake."

"Bye Yake," the girl repeated as she went to Alec.

"Bye Maisie, see ya later.  Don't worry so much Rose, you'll feel better tomorrow.  You're almost as bad as when we used to get totalled at the pub with Mickey," he laughed.

Rose thought she could at least relate to that as Alec took her hand, holding Maisie in his other arm and they crossed to the lifts.

"Jake's right love, you'll be fine tomorrow, I'll cheer you up tonight, we have something to discuss."

"We do?" Rose asked as she pressed the lift button again, Alec trying to stop her.  

Well some things hadn't changed.  A car was waiting, with a child seat in the back and Alec fastened the young girl into it, allowing Rose to get in at the side.   Rose assumed it was a Torchwood car since the driver never asked where they were going and Alec was watching her through the mirror.  Then it dawned on her – she was in a mirror universe of some kind, altered when she didn't go anywhere and the world changed around her.  Either that or it just seemed like she'd gone nowhere.

At least this Jake had mentioned Mickey, maybe he'd believe her?  Why did he keep saying about her stepfather though and why had he given up being the director.  They drove across London on the circular road Rose noted which took a bit longer but avoid all the traffic lights and eventually pulled into the grounds of what until recently had been her home.

She expected Tony would be at school when just her mother came to greet them, grabbing a sleepy Maisie as soon as Alec un-strapped her and smothering her with wet kisses.

"Here's my baby girl then?" Jackie cooed at her, the girl looking at who Rose now gathered was her husband and Maisie's father.  "Has she had her lunch Alec?"

"Yes, while we waited for Rose, there was a delay with one of the computers," he lied, looking at Rose.

Rose was grateful he'd not given her mother any cause for concern but if he'd seen her go off before, he was probably used to it.

"What about you Rose, have you eaten?  I got the cook to save ya some soup," her mother continued as they went inside.

"Thanks, yeah I'm a bit peckish so I'll go get some then.  I'll catch up with ya."

"Want some company love?" Alec asked, slipping his arm around her shoulder and kissing her cheek as they followed her mother inside.

Rose wondered how to refuse without offending him.  "Yeah, I need to talk to you Alec."

"I hope it's about what I want to talk to you about?" he smiled back.

"You two, no snogging in the kitchen," Jackie called after her as they went off.

Alec had a guilty look on his face that Rose could spot a mile off – even if it wasn't her Alec, whom she had just been getting used to now he wasn't pretending to be the duplicate Doctor with memory loss.  The cook saw them enter and went to get two bowls of soup from the large pan on the stove and the assistant brought some crusty bread to the table as they sat next to each other.

"Thanks Sarah," Alec acknowledge the young woman, still holding Rose's hand.  "This will help you feel better love."

"Yeah, I'm probably just hungry but then I have to go find Pete," Rose replied, feeling his hand on her leg.

"Love, why are you calling your dad that, there is just the two of us," he asked her.

Rose thought she was lucky his name was still Alec, she could hardly tell him apart from the actor now.  Apart from him wearing a very fetching red casual sweater that looked very expensive and a pair of jeans, there was something about him now and it wasn't the fact that only yesterday, he'd had an alien equivalent of a pacemaker inserted.  She also didn't remember packing the clothes he was wearing, which now, he had rolled up the sleeves as the soup bowls were put in front of them.

"Thought you'd eaten earlier?" Rose asked him, just for something to say.

"We shared, Maisie had most of it," he smiled, blowing to cool the hot soup.  "I bet your mother is making a fuss over her by now.  Anyone would think Maisie was hers."

Rose finished her lunch in silence, Alec waiting for her as some tea was brought over.

"Well, you should find your dad then, he'll be in his study I expect?" Alec suggested, Rose now noticing his strong accent had softened slightly.  

Now she was beginning to think he wasn't really Alec Hardy.

"Yeah, probably but Alec, I don't remember anything about what happened today, I stood there and never moved, I swear I didn't."

"It's okay love, the effects will wear off, Jake said so and he's the expert.  Maybe you went on one mission too many eh?" he smiled, kissing her cheek.  "You know what I want to talk about Rose, now Maisie is two?"

Rose didn't need any further hints.  If he didn't believe her, she'd be forever fending him off trying to make another baby with her and she didn't even remember this one, now probably trying to get away from her grandma.

"Can I talk to my dad on my own Alec, do ya mind?" she asked as he ran his finger under her chin and tried to kiss her.

She couldn't resist just touching his lips softly, just enough to keep him happy for now, since the kitchen staff were across the room pretending to be doing something and not watching them.  Rose expected they were used to them given her mother's warning, well who was now her mother and since everyone had said Pete was her dad, she figured she'd accepted him as her father.

The only thing bothering her now was the fact she may have swapped places with another version of herself but there had been no Rose Tyler born on what she now called home which made her think this was yet another world or it had been altered.  She didn't know which was the worst but she had to somehow convince them and get back – her Alec would be getting frantic by now.

Rose got up, Alec, trying to beat her to it.

"Remember where his study is love?" he smiled.

"Yeah.  Why don't you go rescue Maisie from her gran?" Rose asked, thinking that would be a good idea.

"You know she likes being called nanna, though I had no idea why but since Maisie is her only grandchild, well for now?  Maybe we can go out tonight?" he suggested as they stood in the hallway.

"Yeah, I'd like that Alec, why don't you find us somewhere to go?" Rose suggested as staff passed them, Rose not recognising half of them and Alec was putting his arms around her to try to kiss her again.

At least if they went out, it would avoid him talking about having another baby and if she got drunk, he wouldn't be trying but that was only one night.  What about when they got back to Broadchurch, well even if that was where they lived but it was clear they were only visiting here so she wouldn't mention home for now.

Rose went off, hoping Pete's study was just around the corner and since the door was closed she assumed he was busy so she tapped on it and waited.

"Come in Rose," Pete called.

"You were expecting me?" she smiled, closing the door behind her.

"I had a call from Jake, he was worried about you love," he replied, getting up to give her a hug.  "Now, what's all this about you disappearing for over four hours and when you get back, you claim you never went anywhere eh?" he asked, indicating for her to sit.

"Yeah, I could have sworn I went nowhere Dad, Jake told me how long I'd been away.  You have to get Jake to check the readings again."

"He will love, don't worry but you have to give your report tomorrow of where you went and what you saw, he's only letting you off because you were confused when you got back and now, he'll have told Owen and that will give him an extra reason to close it down for good.  You already know he wants to Rose," Pete told her.

"Will you come with me tomorrow and speak to him for me?" Rose asked, since Owen may listen to him.

"Well I can try love, just for you.  You and Alec behave yourselves in the kitchen?" he joked.

"Yeah, he doesn't believe me either Dad.  So, you're not the director any more?" she dared to ask before she continued.

"Blimey Rose, you really did get scrambled?" Pete laughed.  "No, I gave it over to Owen last month, you and Alec were there.  You know I lost faith in it after the incident but I only stayed on for you, you didn't want to give in, even after you had Maisie.  When Alec told me you two were thinking about having another, well I thought if I retired, you'd give up as well, since you knew how Owen felt about the project."

"You gave up because of what Alec told ya?" Rose asked, wondering if Alec now worked for Torchwood and they lived in London after all.

"Well he hinted and it's a long way for you all to travel every time it's your turn to go Rose.  I know his boss understands he goes with you but she may not be all that happy about it and now I'm no longer in charge, she may stop him taking the time off and he'll have to stay behind with your daughter."

"Dad, you have to believe me, I don't belong here," Rose broke down, tears in her eyes.  "I didn't go anywhere, I wasn't married to Alec and we never had a daughter, I swear it's the truth."
Chapter 2
Pete got up and went to put his arms around his daughter – well from his perspective she was and he could tell something was wrong.

"Calm down love, don't go getting all upset eh?  Jake said you were really out of it when you came back and that's the longest anyone's ever been away, even when you all gave us a scare last time.  Now, tell me exactly what happened while you were gone so long."

"You don't get it, why doesn't anyone believe that I didn't go anywhere?" Rose sobbed as Pete handed her a large tissue from the box on his desk.

"When you say you went nowhere?  Do you mean you think you stood there and you never moved?" he had to ask, certain she would realise that could never happen again.

"That's exactly what I mean and neither Jake or Alec believe me," Rose told him tearfully.

She looked at him – he seemed concerned but so had Jake and Alec and she'd got nowhere with either of them.

"Rose, love, it's happened before, it just takes a few hours for you to become orientated again but you had to have gone somewhere, otherwise how did everyone see you vanish in front of them, well except Maisie.  Alec makes sure she's not facing you but if Owen doesn't close down the project, that's going to become awkward anyway, explaining it to her when she gets older," Pete replied.

"Well everything faded, I think, I always close my eyes but I felt the dizziness," she tried to explain.

"Dizziness?" Pete queried.  "You've never mentioned it before Rose but every trip is different, I expect it's just a side effect but it doesn't matter once Owen makes his decision.  I'll come with you tomorrow, just this once and try to explain to him you don't think something's right but it will only speed up the inevitable, that he's right to scrap it."

"He can't, not until I get back," Rose sobbed.  "Don't you believe me?"

"I want to Rose.  Let me go get Alec, then you can tell us in great detail what you think happened," he suggested.

Rose could only nod her agreement.  If Alec was now supposed to be her husband, even though they'd only got back together a short while ago, she needed his support.  Pete patted her shoulder and went off to find Alec, wondering what had come over her this time.

Alec had been wondering the same thing, this wasn't like his wife when she came back but he knew he had to make allowances for her, after the fatal incident over two years ago, for which he knew she had never forgiven herself.  As he sat with their daughter playing with a floor puzzle, he looked up as Pete walked in.  He'd only just got Jackie to go supervise the kitchen staff to give him some time alone, she drove him crazy when she wouldn't leave Maisie alone for a second but he'd known what he was up against, Rose being her only child. 

It was something he'd had to accept when Rose had discovered she was pregnant, the second happiest day of his life, after Rose agreeing to marry him after a whirlwind romance and him getting used to the publicity of marrying Pete Tyler's daughter but being in Broadchurch had lessened the press's enthusiasm somewhat.  He looked up as Pete entered.

"Is the coast clear Alec?" Pete grinned, seeing Jackie was absent, probably bossing someone around that a picture was a millimetre out of place somewhere in the house, he thought.

As much as he loved her, she could drive anyone crazy without realising but he made allowances, after she'd had a very upsetting experience four years ago now.

Alec got up, leaving Maisie with a puzzle piece in her small hand.

"I think so, how's Rose?" Alec asked, now picking up Maisie who had seen her granddad.

"She's very distraught Alec, I've never seen her like this since the Mickey incident," Pete replied, trying to tickle his granddaughter and making her squirm.  "You know Alec, I never thought she'd get over that."

"I know Pete, what with that not long after her mother, well you know?  We all thought it a blessing in disguise when it was decided we couldn't let Rose continue after that and medical banned her after her physical when they expressed their concern for her and Maisie's health.  Is she going back for a medical tomorrow?" he asked Pete.

"Yeah but she insists on seeing Owen first.  Jake wouldn't normally let her go straight after she comes back but she was very upset, so he said, I just spoke with him.  Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to be absent today but since it won't be going on for much longer, I thought it best to stay away."

"You did the right thing Pete," Alec told him as Maisie wanted to be put down again. 
He ran after her as she headed for the still open door, grabbing hold of her and making her laugh.  He knew she loved running around the mansion but she wouldn't have got far, the staff were used to him chasing her everywhere and would block her way or pick her up if they didn't have anything in their hands at the time.

"Did I Alec?" Pete asked him, wondering if he should have delayed his retirement.  "If I'd stayed a while longer, maybe Rose wouldn't be feeling like this?  What do you think?"

"She can't keep relying on you to be there Pete, that's why I go with her, to see her off and be waiting for her.  I knew what I was taking on when I married her.  Come on Maisie, we'll go find your nanna while I go see mummy," he told the toddler, who was hanging onto his neck with one hand and holding the other out to Pete.

Pete loved his little granddaughter to bits and he'd partly stepped down so Rose could spend more time with her, instead of making trips to London to take her turn going from dimension to dimension in case they had all be very wrong about Mickey.  He had hoped she would give up after barely getting back that time but it had made her even more determined, now there was only her and Jake, who now both insisted they went alone, not wanting to be responsible for any more losses.

After leaving Maisie with her grandmother, who instantly tried to give her a biscuit and some milk, which the girl didn't seem to want, Alec followed Pete to his study but stopped him on the corner.

"Pete, maybe I should talk to her alone?" he suggested, keeping his voice down.

"I don't know Alec, if she wants to tell us what she thinks happened, she should tell both of us.  She'll have to repeat it to Owen and Jake tomorrow as it is.  I've never seen her like this, even before she met you.  It was always one of them leading a team and they'd come back and make their reports, we've never had to deal with this.  She's convinced she never went anywhere."

"I know, she looked totally confused when I saw her.  No-one seemed to know she'd come back, I was busy with Maisie and not looking at the screen, Maisie saw her and pointed, it had been so long," Alec told him.

"I know Alec, keeping Maisie calm is always your priority, no-one expects you to remain while Rose is gone, if she's longer than expected.  Right, let's find out what really happened.  I asked Jake to start a full inquiry from an hour before she went off and after she got back, in case there were any fluctuations no-one noticed.  I'm not totally out yet, not until the end of the month.  I expect you and Rose will be there?"

"Rose would not miss it Pete.  I'm sure everyone did their jobs," Alec assured him, placing his hand on Pete's shoulder.  "She accepted the risks long before I met her, she told me everything."

"I know she trusts you Alec or she wouldn't have married you," Pete smiled, making a move towards his study.

After Pete had left her, Rose tried to calm herself down.  She'd never felt like this since she'd tried and failed to find the Doctor until she'd seen him on that deserted street, then he'd been shot by a stray Dalek and she'd thought she'd lost that version of him.  She knew why he'd just healed himself instead, since he must have known why she'd come back but that was no excuse for trying to get his clone to stay with her though.

She took another tissue, not wanting this version of Alec to see her crying but opening her eyes and finding out she was married with a two year old daughter was not what she'd been expecting.  She felt like Alice down the rabbit hole and now, she would have to be very careful what she said, if she was on the wrong world or an alternate version of her original or adopted one, one word or action could put herself and those worlds in danger.  If Pete, or now Owen realised she'd come from somewhere else, what would they do to her?  How could she trust anyone, well maybe apart from this very different Alec?

Maybe admitting she was wrong was the best way, just let them humour her then go along with what they said, even though she knew she was right.  The other Alec had been very good at it, so if he could get away with it, maybe she could make it work?  How could she pretend she was married though?  She'd have to convince Alec to keep it quiet, if he actually believed her.  She heard the door opening and in walked Alec, who went straight to her, putting his arms around her as she got up.

"Hey sweetheart, what's all this?" he asked, seeing the tissues in her hand.  He made her sit down then wheeled another chair next to her, pulling her into his shoulder.  "Why don't you take your time and tell us exactly what happened eh?  Don't worry about Maisie, your mother has her though how we will ever get her back is more difficult," he smiled at her.

Rose looked up at him.  This Alec didn't seem like he'd ever been ill.  He looked a little younger but maybe that was because he hadn't been haunted by an ex wife, a teenage daughter, whom she'd just accepted as they existed after his first tale of memory loss and the fact he'd let a killer get away from an old case.  His hair was styled differently but maybe he tidied it up for work and his beard looked like he did actually shave a bit off every day to keep it at the 'scruffy' stage.

In other words, he looked even better than the version she'd left behind – or had she?  It wasn't fair to compare them, she'd not compared Alec with the clone Doctor after she'd accepted he'd not meant to deceive her so long and she'd accepted she'd let him.

"Alec, I'm still confused, can we go through it tomorrow, at Torchwood?" she asked, mainly so she'd get her story straight and not mess up a second time.

Alec looked across at Pete as Rose buried her head in his shoulder again.  She thought his red sweater felt so soft, she wondered if he'd bought it himself or it was a present and she could tell he had a t-shirt underneath.  The jumper sleeves were rolled up and she'd got a good look at the expensive 'smart' watch on his wrist, probably another gift.

Now he bore an uncanny likeness to the actor she admired and would have loved to have met him before he'd got married but she doubted now he'd exist, since Alec now appeared to be his double.

"Rose, you can talk to us, we won't say anything to Owen about this love," Pete assured her as she glanced at him.  "Jake said when he saw you there, you knew him so that's a good sign," he smiled.

"I know who you all are," Rose replied, a bit put out they were doubting her ability to recognise them.

"We're not saying you didn't love," Alec assured her, resting his chin on her head and still holding her.  "I'm sorry I was not there when you came back love.  You were gone a long time.  We're not saying you don't know who we are, are we Pete?"

"Not at all but according to Jake, no-one realised you'd come back, there was no indication like there normally is.  The cannon was in receiving mode, as usual but from what he told me, no-one got any warning a signal had been picked up you were coming back."

"So how does that work?" Rose dared ask.  "I mean how do ya know when someone's coming back?"

She dare not admit about the device in her shoulder bag, which was in the kitchen hung over the chair and she hoped no-one would go nosing around.

"Never mind that now Rose," Pete insisted.  "Sometimes when you come back, your perception of things isn't as it should be, it wears off after a short while.  We'll get you checked out tomorrow and see how you are then.  Now, what do you remember after you stood in front of the device?"

Alec let go of her, just taking her hand and looking where her rings should be.

"Left those in your purse love?" he smiled, holding her ring finger out.

"Yeah, sorry, I forgot, it's in the kitchen under my jacket."  Well she assumed she'd find two rings in it, since there were two marks.  "Well I was waiting to go, everyone was busy as usual, Jake was watching and Alec.." she trailed off, not knowing how this Alec had watched whoever they thought she was go.

"I did as always after we began taking Maisie with us," Alec started to explain.

Rose thought she'd skip that bit then.  "I closed my eyes, felt something happening but when I opened them, I'd not moved."

"Jake said something about you thought he was joking?" Pete questioned her.  "You told him the same as what you told us but earlier, you told me you don't belong here, what was all that about?"

He thought since Alec was here, she wouldn't want him to mention the rest of it.

"I was just confused Dad," Rose tried to bluff, resigning herself to playing the other Alec's game  - for now.

"Well you go off and relax for now and we'll face Owen tomorrow.  Jake will fill him in with what he thought had happened and you saying you didn't think you'd been anywhere but don't expect him to find anything," Pete warned her.  "This has never happened before but Owen's fair and he'll listen to you before any final decisions."

"How can you feel you don't belong here love?" Alec asked her, playing with her fingers and Rose not daring to stop him.

"I don't know Alec, things seem different somehow," she tried to bluff.

"Not between us I hope?" Alec smiled at her.

"No, never Alec, it's not that.  It's just weird, that's all.  Maybe I'm just mixed up?" she asked, hoping to get away with it for now but how would she cope once they were alone?

"Come on, go have a rest before Maisie's teatime, maybe a nice relaxing bubble bath?" Alec suggested, seeing Pete raising his eyebrows.

"I don't need to hear that Alec," Pete grinned.  "Go on Rose, Maisie will be fine, I'll go rescue her from her nan.  I'll take her for a walk around the grounds for a while, since she was stuck in the cannon room this morning."

"Thanks Pete," Alec told him, thinking the youngster would need rescuing from being force-fed with custard cream biscuits Jackie insisted she only got for her granddaughter.

He swore his daughter would hate them when she grew up.

"Yeah, okay, maybe for a while then?  Alec, do ya mind if I go upstairs on my own?" Rose dared ask.

"I'll come upstairs with you but you get your bubble bath, I'm worried about you," he replied, rubbing her arm.

"Alec's right love, we're all worried about you, you shouldn't be on your own for too long," Pete agreed.

Rose wanted to disagree but it would just make them both worse.

"Fine then, I'll get my things from the kitchen," she replied, letting Alec help her up.

"You shouldn't leave things in there," Pete warned her.

Rose always used to do it, it was a habit and wondered about the staff in this version of reality.  The cook had looked the same to her though they'd not spoken, her mother spent most of the day gossiping with her and the cleaners.

"Sorry Dad, I was a bit out of it when we got back."

"We understand Rose, really we do but it's a big house, the staff wander around, letting deliveries in and suchlike," Pete told her.

It was well after three now and she wondered when Tony was going to come bursting in with his nanny chasing him to go get changed but something else was worrying her, something Alec had said about her mother thinking Maisie was hers.  She wondered about it, as Alec led her back to the kitchen and he picked up the black velvet jacket that Rose couldn't even remember she'd been wearing that morning or not and got her shoulder bag from the chair, handing it to her and putting the jacket over his arm.

Rose hoped he didn't comment that it felt heavier than normal, if he made a habit of handing it to her.

"Mrs Stevens, we'll be back down for Maisie's tea in an hour or so," Alec told the cook.

Rose thought neither she nor her mother called Elsie that.  The cook just nodded and went back to what she was doing.

"I'll have it ready for her Sir," the cook replied, turning around and looking at Sarah as if to say that was her job.

"Don't worry love, you'll feel better after your bath," he told her, taking her hand and leading her to the stairs.  "Sure you don't want me to join you?" he smiled as they walked from the kitchen.

"I won't be much company," Rose tried to smile back, hoping she had the same room or she'd have to let him go first.

She wondered if she dare mention Tony or why they were talking about Mickey earlier, something about an incident.  Even though he'd stayed behind where they originally came from, she had a dreadful feeling he'd been left behind somewhere or been trapped.  She knew nothing of what this version of Torchwood's missions had been about.

She couldn't even ask, since she was part of it so she'd have to be careful what she said and hope she could gather some useful information.  She wasn't liking this one bit as thankfully, Alec opened her bedroom door, well it was still hers even though she'd more or less moved to Broadchurch recently.  She had no idea where Maisie was supposed to be sleeping, since there was no cot.

She supposed she'd find out about Tony when they went back to the kitchen later but how was she going to cope with a two year old girl who thought she was her mum?  She'd had plenty of experience bringing Tony up with her mum but she'd never had to make decisions for him and either her mum or Pete had the final word on everything.  She'd have to assume Alec would take that role.

Alec went into the en-suite bathroom and began running the water, picking up an expensive bottle of bubble bath and putting a generous amount in as Rose stood in the doorway.

"Well, get undressed love," he encouraged her, as steam began to rise from the bathtub and the bubbles began to pop.

She could see he intended staying for the show, much like the Alec she'd left behind or had she left him behind?  What if somehow as she'd stood there in front of the cannon, things had changed in an instant? 

"Want me to leave you?" Alec asked, putting his arms around her.

"Do ya mind?  Just while I make some sense of what happened today?" she asked, hoping he'd go for it.

"Take your time but when you come out, maybe you won't be in such a hurry to get dressed eh?" he asked, kissing her neck.

Rose could only let him.  If she didn't keep him on her side and neither Jake or the team from the cannon project could find anything that could explain how she felt out of place, she'd be all on her own, since Pete didn't think there was anything wrong with her.

No, while she couldn't fake memory loss, she could at least go along with most of it even though this Pete and Alec were different and it appeared Pete really was her dad.  She'd not seen much of her mother, Jackie had been too engrossed in smothering her granddaughter.

As Alec closed the bathroom door after kissing her lightly on the lips, which Rose had let him, she checked the water temperature and got undressed then stepped into the tub, hoping if she closed her eyes and opened them again, she'd been imagining all this.
Chapter 3
As Rose was trying to relax in the bath, Alec sat on the bed, wondering whether to leave her to come round on her own or try his luck getting in the bath with her, it was very tempting since they were only on their own at night or rarely, Maisie was taking an afternoon nap at weekends.  Since they had a ready-made babysitter who never wanted to hand their daughter back, maybe Rose would be happy to oblige, well normally she would.

Now though, he was worried about her being out of it when she'd suddenly appeared after being away for so long.  He was going to leave her for half an hour then go in and offer to warm up the water then strip down and get in with her, it always made her happy.  Well either that or showing himself off wearing the bright red thong she'd bought him as a joke just after they'd met and she always giggled and helped him get rid of it before they got into bed.

He had just changed into a shirt he knew Rose liked to see him wearing and was debating whether to put a tie on when his phone rang and he frowned it was Ellie Miller, probably asking when he was back at work, as if she wasn't used to him going off.

"What's wrong Miller?  Can't cope without me?" he greeted her.

"No, I just wondered when you two would be back?"

"You know these things take time?" he replied, wondering what Rose was going to wear later, after they'd given Maisie her tea, which Jackie insisted on joining in.  Shame they were at her parents, she had to dress more moderately.

"Not yet, she has to go back tomorrow, new boss," Alec bluffed, not wanting to say anything was wrong.

"Right.  I was going to say if you get a babysitter, maybe you two wanted to come to dinner?" Ellie asked, sounding disappointed.

"You know Rose does not like Brian, ever since she had that run-in with him," he reminded his DS.

"That was years ago Alec, she has to get used to him," Ellie replied.

Alec wondered what she saw in the forensics team leader, given a few years back she'd found it odd he'd asked her out while she was still married.

"Rose does not forget.  I should be back at work the day after tomorrow, we'll probably leave tomorrow afternoon, if I can get Jackie to give us our daughter back."

He could tell Ellie was dying to laugh.

"Maybe you should consider moving to London then?" she asked, trying not to laugh.

"Stop it.  When we get back, go easy on Rose, she had a tough time."

"Oh, something went wrong?" Ellie asked, trying to get Fred to stop chasing the dog and grabbing the spaniel's ear again.

"We are trying to find out, her father has ordered it looking into, which may take some time.  He's not retired fully yet, thankfully," Alec replied, not sure he should say any more.

If Rose wanted to tell her friend more, she would.

"Well I'll call her when she gets back, I didn't know if she was still giving her report?" Ellie asked him.

"It's not that, she feels uncomfortable, with your new partner being around," he replied.

"Alec, I've been seeing Brian for over two years, he's hardly my new partner," she laughed, trying to smack Fred's hand away from the dog's tail, now wishing she'd never 'rescued' the poor animal. 

Poor Rufus would have been better off staying in the rescue centre, since the dog seemed to know what time Fred got home from school and tried to keep out of the almost five year old's way.

Rose was trying to forget she'd come back to a changed world, or was it a complete new one?  That seemed a bit far-fetched considering she was meant to be married to the man she'd recently accepted was not the clone Doctor and told him she loved him for who he was, not who she thought he'd been.  She'd had a miserable holiday, Tony just compensating for it but the minute she'd got home, she'd gone to try to make up with Alec.

No, this had to be another version of her adopted world, or maybe she'd got through to her old one and there, Torchwood had been taken over by another Pete?  She dismissed that thought, that wasn't possible and even so, she'd somehow gone into the future, she'd not even checked the date.  Had she moved forward around three years, given she knew the girl was two or had events taken place earlier than she remembered?  It was totally confusing and made no sense to her in her present state of mind.

Alec knocked on the bathroom door, bringing Rose back to the present.

"Hey love, fallen asleep in there?" he asked, putting his head around the now open door.

"No, I'm fine, just trying to make some sense of everything.  Can I ask you something?"

He went to sit on the corner of the bath, hoping she may invite him to join her, not that he usually had to ask her but she still seemed a little off balance.

"Sure love, anything.  Ellie just called, she wanted us to go to dinner but I said she'd be lucky, considering you don't like her boyfriend," he smiled, trailing his finger in the water and touching her foot, making her flinch.

Rose wasn't quite sure how she was supposed to react, since she'd never taken a bath or a shower yet with her Alec, they'd not had the option considering they were in a caravan.  She settled for letting him play with her toes, she could live with that for now, since he seemed to think it was normal to invite himself to watch her.  Then she realised the bubbles were subsiding.

"What did you want to ask me love?" he reminded her, admiring her through the fading bubbles.

"Just do you believe me Alec?  That I didn't go anywhere?"

"Rose, it was over four hours for us love, I watched you go but maybe Jake will find something to explain it eh?  I want to believe it was only a few seconds for you but we sat around for the usual time you are gone and Maisie was fretting so I took her in the briefing room.  Maybe Jake knows?  Have you thought that wherever you went, time went faster and it only seemed a few second to you?" he suggested, leaning over and running his finger up the front of her leg.

"That must be it then?" Rose had to give in, hoping Jake could come up with solid proof but she had some proof in her purse that she couldn't show anyone, well maybe except for Alec, if he didn't move his finger above her knee or he'd get a smack.

"Good, you are making some sense love.  Need help getting out or do you want me to run some more hot water and get in with you?" he smiled, Rose thinking if she wasn't very careful, she could think he was her version of Alec very easily.

Maybe he was though in some strange way, what made them different?

"Can you reach the towel for me?" she just smiled at him, hoping that would keep him satisfied for now, seeing this was some kind of contact sport for him.

He smiled back and reached for the pink and while fluffy bath towel, holding it up and reaching for her hand as she tried to grab the handrail.  Hoping he didn't see much, she turned round and got out backwards as he held her arm and wrapped the towel around her, Rose quickly tucking the corners in.  He surprised her by suddenly going to kiss her neck.

"You get dressed, I will empty the bath.  Then we will go give Maisie her tea before your mother takes over completely," he told her, trying to turn her around.

Rose nodded her agreement, giving him a peck on the lips while trying to hold the towel in place.

"Want to wait for me?" he grinned as Rose picked up her other clothes.

"Hurry up then," she teased him, knowing it would take a while to get rid of the water and rinse the bubbles away but maybe he'd just cheat?

She hoped not as he went for the bath-plug and she hurried to her underwear drawer, hoping she'd at least get that on before he got out which she just managed as he came out.

"You started without me love," he smiled as she choose a dress she would have never bought herself, it looked very expensive.

She'd never taken advantage of her new status, always favouring a certain budget clothing store but splashing out now and then for a special occasion but even the budget store had gone a bit up-market in the last few years.

"Do you really want my mother feeding Maisie?" Rose smiled back, wondering who had actually picked the name out, since the other Alec's daughter was called Daisy.

She also wondered if he had been married before, if he had, the woman must have been certifiable for letting him go.

"Maybe not?  Your dad was going to rescue her and take her for a walk, maybe tire her out a bit.  She was upset when you were so long earlier, we all were but they all had their jobs to do and you came back so suddenly."

"You think you were surprised?" Rose asked, turning for him to zip up the blue floral dress with the designer label.  "Try closing your eyes then opening them to find you haven't even moved."

"I know you think that is what happened love but Jake will go through every minute of it.  If something unusual did happen, he'll find it," Alec tried to assure her.

"I know, sorry but dad didn't sound so optimistic," Rose had to admit as he kissed her neck again.  "Can we talk later, when we've put Maisie to bed?"

"We were going to talk already love, about adding to our family," he thought he was reminding her.

That was what Rose thought he'd been talking about earlier and she was afraid he wanted to make a start tonight.  How was she going to put him off without offending him?  She still had to get past who was now her mother first though as they went downstairs to find Pete had just returned from his walk, carrying a tired Maisie.

"Here's mummy," Pete told her as she held out one arm and was rubbing her eye with her other hand.

"Want daddy," the girl told him, going for Alec.

Rose gathered she was a daddy's girl then.

"Teatime Maisie," Alec told her as he took hold of her.  "You had a good time with granddad then?"

The girl clung hold of him, eyeing Rose then surprised her by reaching for her, not deciding who she wanted and clung hold of both of them.

Rose walked into the kitchen, wondering why Tony was missing out and no-one had even mentioned him, unless he was staying for some school activity but maybe he was older and she'd missed out on a few years and she didn't like the idea.  Jackie had got to the kitchen before them, fussing over something as Alec carried the toddler in and sat her in her chair, which she was getting too big for Rose thought.

She dare not say anything as Alec fed the girl, cutting up her food and Rose wondered if it was a family event, since Pete was still there but if they didn't get to see her much, it was maybe understandable.  There was still no sign of Tony even just after five when Alec suggested they go to watch some cartoons then play with her in her room, on their own, to which Jackie huffed.

They finally got the girl to her room, Rose not daring to ask about Tony and thinking maybe he was away but it was becoming obvious that he was one of those who had changed and it saddened her to think he might not exist here.  She'd been surprised Ellie wanted to invite them to dinner, when they'd left to get Alec's heart problem fixed, she'd gone off somewhere.  It was taking some getting used to but she had to accept this was what she had been dreading, that one day, everything would be torn from her again and she'd be plunged into yet another version of the universe.

Alec then led her to their room.

"Come on sweetheart, tell me what's wrong?" he asked as she sat on what had been just her bed.

"It's just taking some getting used to Alec, all these changes for me."

"What changes love?" he asked sympathetically, putting his arm around her.

"I can't explain it Alec, things have changed for me, you have to believe me."

"I'm trying Rose, really I am.  Maybe you should wait until tomorrow and let Jake try and find something?"

"He won't be able to change things back the way they were Alec," Rose sighed, giving in and resting her head on his shoulder.

Maybe this was her Alec who had changed along with everyone else?

"Then tell me what else you think has changed?  Have I changed, to you?" he asked, trying his best to understand.

It had worried him, the way she'd been acting around everyone, keeping her distance and he knew it wasn't like her.

"No, you've not really changed Alec, well except maybe you look a little different?"

"In what way?" he smiled, kissing the top of her head.

"Your hair, the way you're dressed and well, you look younger."

"Really?" he smiled.  "Come on, dinner will be ready and you know your mother hates it when we are late?"

"Do we have a baby monitor in here?" Rose asked, concerned for the young girl.

"Rose, one of the staff has it until we go to bed, then your mother takes it.  She insists she goes and sees to Maisie, we've tried to get her to stop.  We'll go see Owen tomorrow then set off back home tomorrow afternoon, I have to get back to work and Maisie is missing nursery."

"We live in Broadchurch, yeah?" Rose asked, hoping they weren't still in a caravan with a toddler.

"Yes love, your dad bought us that house when we got married.  You really are confused Rose.  We can talk later and you can tell me what else you think has changed but to me, nothing has.  I still love you darlin'," he told her, kissing her cheek.

Then he touched her chin gently and indicated he wanted a kiss, which Rose couldn't really avoid without arousing his suspicions she wasn't his wife.  When they got downstairs, there was still no sign of Tony and Rose dare not even mention her four year old brother to her parents but another couple were seated at the dinner table that Rose didn't recognise so she assumed they were friends of her mother and Pete, who now appeared to be her real dad.

"You remember Geoff and Sylvia, Rose?  Sylvia was asking about you.  Shame Maisie's gone to bed but maybe she can pop up and see her later?  Oh, this is Rose's husband, Alec, he's a detective inspector," her mother added to her guests, sounding like she was showing off.

This didn't seem like her mother at all, this Jackie sounded like she'd have turned her nose up if her daughter had married anyone less.  The man got up to shake Alec's hand.

"Good to meet you Alec, Jackie told us about you, a pity we were out of the country for your wedding, we were told it was the society event of the year.  Rose, how are you dear?  Recovering from that nasty shock a few years ago?  Your father told me all about it."

Rose could only nod and allow Alec to hold her chair for her.  He must have got used to it, hanging around her mother, well this version of her mother, the other one never went for airs and graces.  After dinner, Jackie insisted she dragged Rose and this Sylvia whoever she was to the toddler's bedroom, which Rose had been relieved hadn't ever been Tony's room but as Jackie cooed over the sleeping girl, Rose was having serious doubts there was a Tony.

"Excuse me, I think I'll go to bed now Mum, will you tell Alec?" Rose asked her.  "I still have a bit of a headache from earlier."

"Yeah, you go ahead, your dad said you were a bit mixed up when you came back," Jackie replied.  "Rose went off on one her trips again," she spoke to Sylvia, Rose wondering who the woman was.

"Still disappearing on everyone then?" Sylvia smiled, dying to disturb the sleeping girl.

Rose wondered if the entire country knew about what she did, well what she used to do if Owen got his way.  Now she wished she'd insisted Pete dismantled the project and had never stood in front of it that morning – as Queen Victoria had put it when she and the Doctor had met her, 'This is not my world' and neither was it Rose's.

The only person she could really trust was Alec but when she'd told him the things that had changed, would he turn against her?  How could she try and explain she'd mistaken her Alec for a time-travelling alien and she herself came from an entirely different world?  He'd surely either tell her she was imagining it all or tell Pete and if he found out, well she didn't know how this version of Torchwood treated aliens.

She went to her room and was about to call it a day and get ready for bed when Alec walked in.

"Starting without me love?" he asked as he took the shirt off he'd changed into earlier, one the other Alec probably wouldn't have been seen dead in but she thought it suited this one.

He wasn't wearing anything underneath either as she couldn't help but look.  This Alec had clearly never been ill, she didn't even need to ask as he offered to unzip her dress.  She turned around before he pulled the dress over her shoulders.

"Alec, can we talk now?" she asked, him holding her shoulders.

"Why don't you get ready for bed and we'll have an early night?" he suggested.  "I know your trips always make you tired love but this time, you seem really upset and I want you to tell me what it's all about.  What upset you?  Where did you really go that was so bad you did not want to tell anyone?"

"Alec, I told you, I went nowhere.  Why don't you believe me?" she asked him as he pulled her into his shoulders, Rose thinking this was not appropriate since this wasn't technically her Alec.

"Rose, you have to accept it love, you were gone far longer than before, even that other time you don't like being reminded of.  If there is an explanation, Jake will find one.  Why don't you use the bathroom first and I will cheer you up?" he smiled.

That was what Rose was afraid of.  "Okay, I'll be right back, just have a bit of patience with me Alec."

"Rose, I am always patient with you love, I understand what you go through, standing in front of that device which if you ask me, should have been scrapped after your last scare.  Why did you carry on with it after Maisie was born?"

"Did I give up?" Rose asked, trying to keep hold of her dress.

"Yes, only because medical would not clear you, not just because you were pregnant and what happened but your mind was not on it love," he explained.

"What happened Alec?"

"You told us never to mention it again and you threatened to divorce me if I did," he smiled.  "Do you want to retract that statement?  If you do, I want it in triplicate."

"Quit fooling Alec, just tell me what happened.  I promise not to divorce you.  Has it occurred to anyone I might have had some sort of memory loss?" she asked, thinking she could get away with it to save a lot of grief.

"We gathered that love, that's why we are making allowances for you but surely you've not lost that much?  You know everyone," he replied, wishing she'd just take her dress off.

"No, who were that couple at dinner?  I didn't recognise them," she replied.

"You met them on holiday, before you went to Broadchurch and met me love.  Your mother kept mentioning them but you told her to stop going on about their nephew James after you met me.  You dated him for six months Rose, you'd broken up with him and ran off to Broadchurch after getting your father to get you a job as a consultant with the police.  That was how we met.  Mind you, we fought for over a week before I got you into my hotel room," he grinned, going to kiss her neck and having another try at getting her dress off.

"Well sorry but I don't remember that version of meeting you Alec.  Yeah, I met you, I thought you were someone I used to know and you fooled me into thinking I was right for over a week," Rose had to admit.

"Really?  Very amusing Rose, this James looked a lot like me, without the beard.  Rose, you are all mixed up love.  Did I tell you that you looked gorgeous tonight and you still smell of that bubble bath?" he smiled, touching her cheek.

"Yeah?  Well you put enough of it in when you were filling the bath," Rose had to smile back.  "So I went out with a bloke who looked like you?" she asked.

This was too much like what had really happened, with a few minor differences but it still gave her no answers about Tony and Mickey though.
Chapter 4
Rose went off to the bathroom and Alec continued to get ready for bed, leaving just his shorts and thinking he'd best not put Rose's favourite briefs on just yet, she still seemed very upset about her experience that morning.  To him and everyone else, she had been gone a long time but he was no expert in how the cannon worked though he meant to get some answers the next day by taking Jake to one side.

Rose looked at herself in the mirror.  She didn't even know at this stage if she looked different to everyone else and this was a terrible mistake, that she was someone else or they all thought she was another Rose Tyler, well now apparently Rose Hardy.  She had to convince Alec, he was all she had.

She left the safety of the bathroom and Alec smiled at her.

"I'll be right back love, want me to cheer you up?" he asked, going to put his arms around her neck.

"Yeah, though can we talk about something else rather than a new addition to our family?" she asked nervously.

He kissed her cheek.  "For now, I know you are just as keen as I am now Maisie is two.  I know you are just confused but you will soon come round."

"Have I done it before?" Rose asked, trying to get some answers.

"Only when you had that terrible experience while you were having Maisie, we don't talk about it," he replied, letting go.

"Did I threaten to divorce you again if ya did?" Rose smiled.

"No love, once was enough," he smiled back.  "It was agreed it would never be mentioned."

"Well since I can't remember, maybe you could tell me some of it?  I'll need a check-up tomorrow, won't I?  If Owen's dropping the project, I won't need to get banned from going again, will I?  I need to tell you something first."

"Sure love, I won't be long, you get into bed eh?" he suggested, wondering what had really come over her.

He knew she liked having discussions about having another baby but before her departure that morning, they'd decided to have a final one and set a goal, preferable to have another before their daughter's third birthday.  They had only put it off because of Rose's commitment to the project and he knew he should have been firmer over it but he knew it made her happy, it gave her hope concerning her best friend.

Rose quickly found a vest top and pyjama shorts and got into bed, figuring she must have worn them at some point and hoped he'd keep his shorts on once he got in.  She couldn't cope with trying to fend him off, she did have a headache and he'd probably take it the wrong way so she had no choice but to try and convince him she had some mysterious kind of memory loss.

Alec indicated for her to lie on him once he got in, Rose not sure about it but it was looking more and more like this was a changed version of her Alec, there was no indication she'd landed on yet another version of Earth.

"So what did you want to talk about love?" he asked, kissing her neck.

"That I lost some of my memories today.  Do you think it's possible?"

"Let's leave that to the experts eh?  I know something is wrong Rose and I want to help you, what do you remember?"

"Most things except more recently and my version of past events being different.  Do ya think I'm crazy Alec?"

"No love, Jake said it could have an effect on you and it will wear off," he assured her. 

"Yeah but when Alec?  How can I live with everyone telling me one version when I think it's another?"

"How do you mean love?" he asked, looking at her in the moonlight coming through the window.  "You mean while you were away, you think things changed?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I mean.  I remember things differently, haven't I been trying to say that?  What if I didn't move Alec, that everyone and everything around me moved?"

"Like a ripple effect?" he asked, letting Rose move and leaning on his elbow over her.

"I was in the middle Alec, everything around me rippled.  What happened to Mickey?  I need to know."

"He died, on a mission, saving you and your unborn child, Maisie.  You were so upset, they wouldn't let you go on any more missions, they were concerned for both of you but when she was old enough, you started again because you refused to believe he was gone."

Rose sat up in bed, Alec doing the same and putting his arm around her.

"I'm sorry love, you wanted to know and now, I know there is something not right about this.  Since we got back earlier, you have been looking at your parents differently and hardly talking.  What is it?"

"Pete was my stepfather, now he's my real one," Rose admitted.

"That's not the only thing is it Rose?  Is someone missing?"

"Yeah, my four year old half brother – Tony.  My real dad died, mum met Pete and they got married and had Tony.  Can't you see Alec?   The ripple shifted things, me at the centre, you just outside and the further out it went, the more things changed.  I left Mickey on another world."

Well that part was true and so far, no-one had even mentioned she hadn't been born here and it had to remain that way.

"You have to tell them tomorrow Rose, Jake is working full out to find a fault with the cannon," Alec told her.

"How can I Alec?  You can't recreate a ripple, no two are the same.  If I told them, they'd lock me up."

"No, your father wouldn't let them do that to you," he tried to assure her.

"Well nothing's gonna change things back, is it?  I can't tell them and you have to promise me Alec, you're all I have now, they'll either not believe me or have me put away for testing, to see what I know from my version.  Can't you see Alec?  If Owen closes the project, they can still get information from me, I'll never be free of it."

"You are serious?  Okay, say that's what happened, you closed your eyes and everything and everyone rippled around you, whether they were present or not and as the ripple got weaker, it changed things more radically, like your missing brother and what happened to Mickey?" he asked, wanting to make sure he'd got it right.

"Yeah, how can I make something like that up Alec?  Why would I lie to you?  You've changed but for the better."

"Really?" he asked, Rose trying to tell if he was smiling.

"Yeah.  Sorry but the Alec I knew had a bad heart, that he'd just had fixed plus an ex wife and teenage daughter, called Daisy."

"Ah, so that explains our daughter's name?  I wanted to call her Daisy but we thought maybe we shouldn't keep to floral names so we compromised.  I was never married before I met you Rose, I had a few long term relationships but the last one, we grew apart.  Then I arrived in Broadchurch and I met you, that was the reason we didn't get on at first, I was not ready for anything else at that time."

"So why'd ya give in then?" Rose asked, lying back down again.

"You were most persistent love.  Then I found out you were running away from a failed relationship though at the time, you failed to mention I was the double of your ex."

"So how did ya feel when you found out?"

"It should have bothered me but by then, I'd already fallen under your spell and we agreed to forget about it.  Is that how you remember things?" he asked, lying on his side again and his fingers going for the hem of her vest top, Rose putting her hand on top.

"More or less, I'd not seen mine for four years and when I saw you, well the other you on TV, I thought he'd come back but had lost his memory.  When I found out, I had to go off and think about it but I went back to him a few weeks later and told him I loved him."

"You mean you told me, well your version of me.  Did you think of something else though?" he asked, trying to move his hand.

"Such as?  I've lost enough Alec, I can't lose you as well."

"Well a ripple takes time fading away Rose, maybe everything will merge, as the water does when it's all died down?"

"You mean I'll forget what my version of events were?  It's all I have Alec, I can't let it go just like that."

"I would never ask you love but you may have no choice, it will happen naturally, over time.  Look at it as a giant ripple, the whole world will have changed, it could take a while.  I agree Torchwood should not know about it, they may try and recreate it and change things again and again and only they will know about it.  Rose, this is very dangerous, you know that?" he asked, putting his hand on top of hers.

"I never thought of that.  If they kept doing it, they'd gain all sorts of advantages because they'd put a bubble around Torchwood and watch everything else change and eventually, they'd gain all sorts of knowledge.  Alec, what was the reason we went on missions?"

As things were now making more sense to him, he figured she hadn't actually lost her memory but had been altered, well maybe that wasn't quite accurate, more like everyone else's had?  He quickly tried to explain, since he only knew about it after he'd got to know her.  It was different, as Rose suspected, to her version, which had been to find the Doctor but now, she had to keep that part out of it as it was clear the Doctor had never been here.

"Well my version's not that much different," Rose admitted to him when he said it was one of exploration.  "So when someone went off, it was to see if anyone wanted to contact us?  Sounds a bit like Stargate to me."

"What's Stargate love?" he asked, trying not to laugh.

"I suppose it's better than space travel, a sort of wormhole?  How was it controlled though?"

"Jake never explained it to me love.  You were just insistent I was with you every time and recently we started taking Maisie with us and Pete arranged with my chief I would get time off to go with you.  Rose, you have to go with the story you lost some of your memories."

"I know that and I thought it had been bad enough when the other you had done it," Rose sighed, relaxing her grip on his hand and him taking advantage of lifting the vest top.

"So, am I still your Alec?" he asked her, trying to lie on her.

"Yeah, at least I think so, well I hope so 'cos I need you Alec.  You're the only one I can trust, if Pete's stepping down from Torchwood, even if he does believe me, there's nothing he can do and he might mention it to Owen.  I have to face them tomorrow, what do I do?"

"Say you are still confused and it will all start coming back to you, what else can you say love?" he asked, making it clear he wanted something.

"What about you Alec?  Doesn't it bother you?"

"Why?  You are still my Rose, to me, you have not changed, well apart from your recollections of what we had.  Maybe you need a gentle reminder?" he asked, going for her breasts.

He pulled her vest top up and began kissing her gently, propping himself up and making her put her hands on his shoulders.

"Yeah, maybe I do?" she had to give in, going to rake her fingers through his hair, that she thought was already messed up.  "Alec, I can't just be with you, not until I get used to it."

"Why not love?  It always relaxes you when you've been away.  Well just tonight then, while it all sinks in but now, you just have to trust me we have done all this before."

He continued kissing her breasts and neck then rolled onto his back, pulling her vest top over her head so he could see her in the moonlight, then he pulled her closer for a kiss.

"Rose, relax love, we can't change this, as much as you may want to, not without involving Torchwood and we both agree it would be disastrous, if they found out what happened.  They could keep trying until they recreate it and I hate to think what it will do to you.  If they find nothing, go along with it, don't insist they keep trying."

"I know Alec," Rose had to admit, leaning on his bare chest.  "I gave it up four years ago, it stopped working for some reason and they got it going suddenly.  I wanted to find Mickey."

That was all she could do.  Alec had accepted what they thought had happened and she'd put her old world and the Doctor in danger if she told anyone, even Alec.  He seemed fine with the fact she'd loved another version of him because that was who he now was but she dare not risk telling him she thought he'd been a Timelord with a time machine.  It may be too much and he'd turn on her and tell Torchwood.

Stopping short of actually having sex, Rose put her things back on and Alec pulled up his shorts, though reluctantly.

"I only wear shorts when we are visiting your parents, in case she calls us to see to Maisie," he informed her.

"What about at home?" Rose giggled.

"Ah, there I have time to slip into my shorts if I have to see to her.  You do it during the week, I do it at weekends.  Here, we are always worried your mother will come barging in without bothering to knock, she is somewhat out of practice dealing with a two year old who will not go back to sleep."

"Yeah, I remember what it was like with Tony, all the sleepless nights and she wouldn't get a nanny in at night, only during the day.  I miss him already Alec, you can't ask me to just forget him."

"I would never do that Rose but you have to be careful.  You will only get away with so much, you will have to start remembering things so you will have to follow my lead and I will help you as much as I can.  Okay?"

"I have no choice, have I?  Sorry, I didn't mean it like that but now, I have two lots of events to deal with."

From Alec's point of view, that was true but she really had three, how could she let go of the last few years she'd been on this world and the twenty she'd spent on her own world?  Could she risk telling Alec?  Maybe when she got used to him again but not yet.

"Get some sleep love, there will be plenty of questions for you tomorrow.  What about your father?  You told him you don't belong here," he reminded her.

"Yeah, I know.  I'll have to admit I was confused and most of it's coming back.  I'll have to let Jake carry on though or they might get suspicious."

Rose fell asleep, Alec just holding her and rubbing her back and shoulder and wondering if she wasn't really imagining all she'd just told him, it was quite a tale even for her.  She'd been genuinely upset about this brother she thought she'd had and losing Mickey, who as far as he knew had only ever been her friend so there was someone else she'd lost but who?

He had been jealous when he'd found out he looked like her ex but he'd swallowed his pride and accepted it and it had paid off when she'd said she'd marry him, something he'd never got around to with his other girlfriends.  Now, he knew he had to protect her because even he didn't know what Torchwood could really do if they thought she was someone else and not his wife.

When she woke up, Alec was missing so she assumed he'd gone to rescue Maisie from her grandmother, who Rose thought went a bit over the top in the role.  She could tell by her mother's insistence she took charge of the toddler that she'd not had any more but she couldn't ask about it.  She'd not wanted to accept it last night but it was now a reality, she'd lost Tony and Mickey and gained a husband and a daughter.

Just when she'd thought things were finally going her way and she'd found the Doctor's twin, he'd left her and she'd found Alec but now, reality had changed and even if Torchwood continued running missions, which Alec wouldn't want her to go on after this, she could never tell them why she really wanted to go.  Now though, this reality had changed, there may be nowhere to go, all the equipment was set for this reality, not her old one.

She got dressed then went across to Maisie's room to see Alec asleep in the rocking chair, the girl asleep on his shoulder and him just in a t-shirt and some other shorts.  She heard a door opening down the hallway and who was now her mother coming out.  Rose closed the door quietly.

"Shush Mum, Alec got her back to sleep."

"I know that, I heard them and he should have let me see to her," Jackie huffed.  "He was just going in, how did he know?"

Rose wondered what sort of arrangement they'd come to.

"He was maybe seeing if she was awake Mum, I'm sure he was just trying to avoid you being woken, it's still early."

"Well you have some explaining to do Rose, giving us all a scare yesterday, being away for so long.  Where did ya go?"

She was about to try and answer when Alec came out with Maisie, who wanted to go to Rose.

"Mummy, I'm hungry," the girl told her.

"You get her dressed love while I get dressed," Alec suggested as Jackie went off at the sight of him.

"Yeah, come on you, what are you wearing today?" Rose asked, used to saying that to Tony.

At least she'd had some experience but what about when the girl got older?  They were just about finished when Alec came in, Rose surprised he was dressed in a pair of jeans again and a red and black jumper that Rose almost burst out laughing at as it reminded her of a comic character.

After breakfast, having to leave the girl with Jackie again, they all set off for Torchwood, Pete asking how she was doing today.

"Rose is feeling much better today," Alec answered for her, holding her hand in the back of Pete's car.

"Yeah, I'm not as fuzzy today," Rose had to agree.

"Feel like answering a few questions when we get there?" Pete asked, looking through the mirror at her.

Alec squeezed her hand.  "It's not all come back to me yet, I still don't think I went anywhere though Alec thinks he can explain it."

Alec glanced at her, surely they'd agreed it was dangerous to say anything?

"Yeah, so what do you think happened Alec?" Pete asked as they drove into the underground car park when they arrived.

"Maybe we should wait until we have our meeting and Rose has her medical?" Alec asked, hoping he was wrong about her changing her mind.

"Yeah, save you saying it twice," Pete laughed, pulling in the deputy director's parking space.

Rose was wondering who that job would go to once he finished properly and hoped she'd be out of by then because she was handing in her resignation as soon as she'd spoken with Owen – whether the project was finished or not.  There was nothing she could do about recreating the ripple without them taking advantage so now, this was where she was.
Chapter 5
As they were admitted to the building, Jake already informing security on reception they would be arriving, Jake came out of his office to greet them.

"Feeling better today?" he asked Rose as they waited for the lift to go down to medical.  "Sorry Rose, we have to do this first, you should have had it yesterday."

"I know Jake, I'm sorry I was so upset," Rose apologised.

"It's happened before, no worries.  How's Maisie, left her with her nan again?  You won't get her back if you're not careful."

"We know Jake, I'll bring kidnapping charges against her if Jackie does not let her leave with us later," Alec joked.

Well Rose thought he was joking, or maybe he wasn't as the lift took them down to the sub-basement, somewhere Rose remembered from her old world where the sphere had been.  Thankfully, the med lab wasn't in that room or she would have freaked out.  She'd never gone down there since she'd arrived on what had been her adopted world, thankfully, the med lab had been on the floor above.  Jake left them at the door, saying he'd see them in Pete's old office, now Owen's.

Why wasn't Rose surprised to find Doctor Martha Jones was in charge?

"Hello Rose, been avoiding me?" Martha asked her, looking at Alec.

"Rose was a bit out of it yesterday when she got back," Alec defended her, now glad Rose had persuaded him that meeting with the new director meant he should change into a shirt and tie, not that his tie was ever straight.

"So why are you two here?" Martha continued, indicating for Rose to get on the examination table and getting the machine to test her blood pressure and pulse.

"We're having a meeting with the new director," Pete replied, not being used to answering her questions.

"Yes, I got the report from Jake yesterday but you shouldn't have left before seeing me Rose," Martha chastised her.  "You might have got away with it when Doctor Harper was in charge but not any more.  So how are you feeling?"

"Better but if you were to ban me from any more missions, I won't fight you on it," Rose grinned as Martha got her stethoscope out of her pocket.

"You've nothing to worry about, you seem fine but since you seemed a little off, I'll do a quick brain scan," Martha replied five minutes later.

"Hold on Doctor Jones," Alec objected, thinking that wasn't a wise move.  "She was a little fuzzy, it's wearing off, right Rose?"

Rose saw what he was trying to do.  So did Pete.

"I've still got some power around here Martha, that's off limits, for now," Pete ordered.

Martha held her hands up.

"Okay, I get the message, sheesh, anyone would think Rose was hiding something.  You're not are you?" she turned back to Rose.

"They are unpleasant and unnecessary," Pete reminded Martha.  "Never mind protocol, I'm over-riding it, it's only needed when something has happened and nothing did."

"So I heard.  Really Rose, you claim you went nowhere, that's not possible," Martha replied.

"Well believe it or not, that's what happened," Rose insisted.  "Can I go now or do ya want to fry my brain with that thing?" she asked, pointing to something that could have belonged in the chamber of horrors.

"You can go for now.  Jake mentioned something about you feeling dizzy though, as you were setting off?  Has that happened before?" Martha asked her as Alec helped Rose up and she fastened her blouse buttons, Rose noticing he was taking a good look at her ivory coloured satin bra.

Rose wondered how many more times he was going to do that in company, it didn't seem to bother him.  She quite liked the idea, since she'd just been getting started with the other version of him.  That wasn't fair though, she thought, she couldn't compare them, they were just different versions, a bit like the Doctor and his twin in some respects.

"No, just that time," she lied, Alec raising his eyebrows.  He could tell she was trying to get away with answering any awkward questions.

"I see.  Well if there is a next time and you feel dizzy, let me know.  The new director makes his decision soon doesn't he?" she asked Pete.

"He does and at the moment, I'm all for it, after what happened a few years ago, before your time Doctor Jones," Pete replied.

"I read the reports and I agree, it should have been scrapped then," Martha told them.  "Why carry on, if someone was lost?"

"Because he may still have been alive Doctor Jones," Rose spoke up.  

"Rose, leave it love, it just upsets you," Alec told her.  "We know you couldn't go back to that universe, they may not have forgotten."

Rose needed a few details on what had supposed to have happened that had got this Mickey killed.  He saw she was getting out of her depth in this.  

"We know you thought by leaving it, they would forget, if the ban on going there was ever lifted.  We know you did the rest of the missions you were assigned in his memory after Maisie was born, that he would not have wanted you to give up because of what happened," he told her.

Rose was getting to know more about how these missions had been operated but it wouldn't matter if she never found out – she wasn't going on any more, if another time ripple ever did get created, she could be taken somewhere completely different that could leave her worse off.  She couldn't take the chance, this version would blink out of existence and she still might not get her old one back.

"Come on love, leave it," Alec encouraged her as he helped her on with her black velvet jacket.  "We should get to our meeting and get you home, we have to pack and get your mother to part with our daughter."

Rose smiled at him and put her arm in his.

"Yeah, she never wants to let go.  Thanks Doctor Jones, I probably won't be back."

Well she hoped she wouldn't anyway as they walked out, Pete leading the way back to the lifts.

"Seems you got off lightly," Pete mused.  "I won't be able to protect you much longer Rose, not once I leave."

"I know, thanks.  Dad, about what I said yesterday," Rose started to tell him.

"Forget it Rose," Pete replied as the lift arrived and he put his code in for the top floor.  "I know you were out if it, just like when we lost Mickey.  So Alec, ready to tell Owen your theory?"

Alec whispered in Rose's ear.  "What's my theory then?"

Rose just nudged him and whispered back, "You'll think of something."

He wondered what she was up to and didn't think she'd really let on what they thought had happened.  Jake had already been summoned to what was now Owen Harper's office and they had been talking.

"Jake, I know you were loyal to Pete and to Rose but I run a different ship," Owen had told him.  "Want to stay head of security once I take over officially?"

"Why wouldn't I, Director?" Jake grinned at him.

"Well as long as you show your loyalty to me, I see no problems.  So, Pete's not going to stay on in some capacity then?" Owen was asking him.

"That's up to him but if Jackie has anything to do with it?" Jake laughed, both of them knowing she'd never liked the idea of her husband and only daughter working there when Pete had taken over, ten years ago.

"We both know what brought Pete to take over, enough said," Owen reminded him, wondering where they'd got to since Martha had to see Rose first.  "Is Alec with Rose?" 

"Do you really have to ask?  He was being very protective when they arrived," Jake replied.

"More than usual?" Owen wanted to know.

"Yeah, a bit but after yesterday, who can really blame him?"

Rose, Alec and Pete had just got out of the lift and Alec stopped.

"Pete, can I just have a word with Rose?" Alec asked him.

"Sure, I'll let Owen know we're here and remember, you call him 'Director' now," Pete smiled.  "He's not as informal as I was."

Alec nodded and sat Rose on the leather sofa outside Owen's outer office, thankful the partition was frosted glass.

"So, what's my theory then?" Alec smiled at her.  "You are not seriously going to tell him what we think happened, are you love?"

"Don't be daft Alec, no, what we first thought, or rather you thought.  You said maybe the place I went, time passed so quickly, it seemed to me I'd not even been anywhere," Rose grinned at him.

"Rose Tyler-Hardy, you are amazing," Alec smiled, going to kiss her but eyeing the CCTV camera in the corner, which thankfully didn't pick up any sound – or did it? he wondered, now Pete was almost out.

"Do I use my full name?" Rose asked warily, since he was looking at the camera.

"No love, it's on our marriage certificate though but you drop it most of the time, on all your documents, except that and Maisie's birth certificate, she's just a Hardy," Alec smiled at the thought.  "Before I met you, I never thought I would make a good dad."

"Aw, you're a great dad.  I almost cried this morning, when I saw you in the rocking chair with her.  If my mum hadn't come out of her room, I would have done, it was really touching."

"I wasn't asleep Rose, I just had my eyes closed but she woke up as you closed the door," he smiled, helping her up.  "Ready for this?  Just answer his questions Rose, don't try and explain what happened, let them suggest things and try and go along with it, even if it didn't happen that way." 

"I'll try Alec but maybe I'd best stick to the memory loss where I can?  I can't tell lies."

"I'm not asking you to lie Rose, Pete and I will try to cover where we can but the rest is up to you but remember, the new director is about to close the project love, don't give him a reason to keep it open eh?"

He held her close and kissed the top of her head.  Owen was watching on his monitor, since Pete had come into his office alone.

"Where's Rose and Alec?" Owen asked, pressing a key to bring up the lift area on his screen.

"Let them have a minute Owen, it seems Doctor Jones had more than a medical planned for her," Pete told him.

Jake raised his eyebrows.  "Something left from your term of being medical director?" he asked Owen.

"I may not be full director yet, Jake but be careful what you say," Owen reminded him.

Pete was beginning to think he'd made a big mistake letting his deputy take over and hoped Rose had the sense to take what was being handed to her -  a way out.  He knew she'd been upset yesterday but she'd never come back claiming she didn't belong here, that was a new one and he hoped Alec had been able to calm her down.

He thought Rose had been very quiet since her somewhat extended stay on the last world she'd visited and withdrawn at dinner last night but maybe the cause of that had been she didn't like being reminded in front of her husband that she'd dated the Noble's nephew James, whom they had taken in when he was a teenager when his parents had died in a car crash and his bossy cousin Donna had made him so shy that he'd never really had a girlfriend until he'd met Rose.  He knew her mother had designs on Rose marrying James, being a college tutor but he suspected a detective inspector was just a notch up.

Alec opened the door to Owen's outer office and nodded towards the inner office door, Pete's old secretary nodding back.

"Hello Rose, Alec, go right in," she told them.

"Ah, there you are," Owen greeted them, Jake getting up to give Rose his seat.  "Glad to see you two weren't making out in the waiting area?"

"Then I regret we never provided you with some entertainment, Director," Alec replied sarcastically.

Rose tried not to giggle as Alec accepted a chair from Jake, who then got one for himself.

"Right, down to business then?  I just got your medical report, no ill-effects from your trip yesterday Rose but you refused a brain scan, any reason?" Owen asked her.

"Seriously?" Rose asked.  "Who'd want to submit to that, it belongs in the torture chamber."

"Calm down Rose, you'll only give him an excuse to use it," Alec told her, leaning towards her.

"Only if it's really necessary, don't make it an order Rose," Owen replied.  "You still have to go to Jake's office to make your full report of what happened but what concerns me is you claim you never moved.  Everyone saw you, including your husband so how do you explain that?"

"Alec thinks he knows what happened," Pete butted in.  "Now's your chance to prove how good a detective you are," he turned to Alec.

"Is that so?" Owen asked Alec, putting Rose's medical report on his desk.  "Well, let's hear it then?  Maybe we should offer you a job?"

"You are joking?" Alec replied.  "You think I would come and work here when you let my wife continue to go on missions instead of closing the project down?"

"Alec, it was her choice," Pete reminded him.

"It may have been but I was never happy with it, I only agreed because she lost her friend," Alec replied.

"Yes, I know your objections Alec, I heard them enough," Owen replied.  "So why are you here Pete and why this meeting?  You don't normally bother."

"This time it was different," Jake spoke up, wondering if he really wanted to stay as head of security, if the project was being scrapped.  "We got all the usual readings but when Rose claimed she never moved, I ordered a full breakdown of everything before and after she stood in front of it."

Pete hadn't expected Jake to take responsibility for the directive he'd made, one of his last ones along with telling Martha Rose was off-limits for a brain scan.

"So it was you who ordered it?" Owen questioned him.  "I thought that would have come from you Pete?"

"Jake knows his job," Pete replied, thinking he now owed Jake yet again, after the incident with Mickey.

"Have you found anything yet?" Owen asked him.

"Not so far but there's a lot of data to go through, for anything unusual, it'll take some time," Jake replied.

"Well you have until Thursday, another 48 hours, I want a full report on my desk by 9am, understood?"

Rose thought that wasn't quite 48 hrs but who knew how time passed here?

"Don't ya want to hear what Alec thinks then?" Rose spoke up.  

She now realised it was Tuesday, she couldn't remember what day it had been where she'd just come from the day before.  She also still had no idea how much time had passed either, it was 2016 here which should make it three years but maybe it didn't work like that?

"Yes, we'll get to that Rose but first, describe to me in your own words what you think happened," Owen told her.

Rose sat back and went through standing in front of the device after getting ready, closing her eyes and when she opened them, from her perspective, she'd not moved.

"So you still maintain you went nowhere then?" Owen asked her.

"You think I'm making it up?" Rose snapped, not caring he was the new director, it may hopefully get her fired because she didn't want to be a part of this version of Torchwood's way of doing things, it wouldn't get her back to the other reality, if it still existed.

"No-one's saying you made it up Rose," Pete defended her before Alec erupted.

"They had better not be," Alec joined in, taking Rose's hand and Rose glancing at the rings she'd put on last night.

She had wondered if he considered they were still married but he'd made that clear in bed though she'd had to get him to stop.

"We may as well hear what you have to say Alec," Owen told him.

"Have you considered wherever Rose went, time passed so quickly she had no chance to register her surroundings so when she came back, with having her eyes closed, it seemed she had not moved?" he suggested, hoping that would cover things nicely.

He could have believed that himself if she'd not been so insistent she didn't belong here plus all the things she'd told him.  Now though, who was to say that wasn't what had actually happened?  Who was to say she'd not imagined she'd had that life while she'd been away?  No, it was a bit far-fetched even by Torchwood's standards and he knew he used to watch too many Star Trek episodes, one where a captain had lived a full life while he'd been unconscious came to mind.

"Interesting theory Alec," Owen finally spoke up.  "Well Rose, I can see why you married him?  I suppose it does explain things then?  Jake, I still want a full report and the number of that world she was sent to.  I'll make my decision as to the closure of the project on Friday but so far, this has not helped the cause of keeping it running."

Rose was glad to hear it.  If that had been her version of Torchwood's mission, contacting other worlds for so-called 'friendly' negotiations, she'd never been a part of it.  She wondered what the success rate was, just out of curiosity.  She supposed their reason for using it was better than it being to conquer or start a war with.  She still had yet to find out how this version of Mickey had died but she was meant to know, only Alec could tell her.

"It will be no great loss if you close it," Alec told him, getting up.  "Are we finished here, I want to get Rose home."

"I suppose so, since Rose can't actually recall anything.  Rose, you still have your report to write though.  Jake will let you know what the results are when he's told me, Jake, no telling her first."

"Yeah, I get it, Director," Jake replied, thinking Pete would never have said that but there would have been no need.  "Come on Rose, get it over with then you can go home."

"One more thing before you go Rose," Owen stopped her as she got up.  "If I close the project, are you resigning?"

"That was the idea, after I make my report, you'll be getting my resignation email," Rose replied as Pete went to the door.

"Even if we keep it going?" Owen asked her.

"You heard what she said," Alec answered for her.  "She's through with it, she has her daughter to think about and we are planning on extending our family.  Going in front of that machine limits the chances of that.  What is she does not come back next time?"

"Don't say that Alec," Rose turned to him.

"After what happened to Mickey?" he asked her.  "Have you any idea how difficult it was to watch you disappear Rose?  Then you say that brain scanner was horrific, that's nothing compared to the noise that thing made as you vanished before they found a way of quietening it down.  I would not have brought our daughter with us had they not done so."

"I'm sorry Alec, I had no idea," Rose told him, seeing he was upset about it.

"Yes, well, I only put up with it because you thought you owed it to your friend to carry on, in light of him saving you and Maisie, before she was born."

"Seems like you two still have some issues?" Owen noted.  "I'll expect your email then Rose but there's no coming back, once I've accepted it."

"What do you mean once you've accepted it?" Alec asked worriedly, thinking it would be all over as soon as she'd sent it.

"I'll have to consider it, I may yet decide to keep the project and she signed for five years," Owen reminded him.  "She only had extended maternity leave, which is far more than was allowed," he turned to Pete.

Alec may have known that but Rose didn't, though she couldn't actually say as much.

"Then she refuses to go on more missions," Alec replied.  "Nothing now will make me bring her back."

"If she breaks the contract, I needn't remind you of the consequences Alec, she knew what she was getting into."

"Remind me," Rose spoke up.  "I'll claim I didn't know what I was doing, the legal team will have to get involved."

"No need to worry Rose," Owen told her.  "They will get involved and if you claim you weren't thinking straight at the time, I'm sure Doctor Jones will be delighted if you consent to a brain scan."

Chapter 6
Alec stood up to defend her.  "There is no way Rose will submit to that barbaric contraption, why has it not already been banned?" he wanted to know.

"It can still be very effective," Owen grinned.  "Have you something to hide Rose?"

"No, she has nothing to hide but we all know what that thing does and Rose has had enough of having her head scrambled from the cannon.  Did you not hear what was said – that's she's still confused?" Alec asked him.

"I'm sure he heard that Alec," Pete tried to calm his son-in-law down.  "I don't want Rose to submit to it either."

"Then before you step down Pete, have that thing taken apart, it's worse than the cannon," Alec told him, Rose trying to get him to sit down.

"You are lucky I let you in these meeting Alec," Owen reminded him.  "It's your call Pete, you still have final say in some things before you retire, if you want to assert your authority?"

"I may just do that Owen, Rose is out of bounds concerning the brain scanner and as for her not being let off the rest of her missions, there are provisions for that," Pete replied.

"I thought you'd bring that in Pete," Owen told him.  "Would you have done it for anyone else?"

"Rose being my daughter has nothing to do with it Owen, she has a young daughter to think about and what if she gets pregnant?  She may not be so lucky next time, that's how we lost Mickey.  I'll wait for your final decision on the cannon, keep it if you must but Rose gets her resignation accepted."

"I'll think about it, anything else?  You know we wouldn't be having this conversation normally so something must have happened.  Rose, I look forward to your full report and don't miss anything out," Owen told her.

"Well you won't get much of a report," Rose replied.  "Like Alec said, things must have happened so fast, I didn't think I'd been anywhere."

"Well the computers will say differently to that, won't they?" Owen smiled, sitting back in his chair.  "What do you have to report about that so far Jake?  Have you identified where she went?"

Rose looked at the new director.  He was the man who only a short time ago had saved the other Alec's life and now, both of them were completely different – Owen for the worse.

"The data's still being gone through, we have extra now," Jake replied.

"Well you still only have until Thursday morning, you'd better go get on with it.  Do you need Rose to remain here?" Owen asked him.

Jake glanced across at Rose, wondering how she was keeping herself together.

"No, she can go after she's made her report.  I expect she just wants to go home?  Rose, let's go get on with it then?" Jake asked her.

"Come on Rose, the sooner you get it done, the sooner we can take Maisie home," Alec encouraged her.  "I'm warning you, Rose is not coming back to carry on using that cannon device, she's through and you know you can't hold her to any contracts after what just happened, I'll get another medical opinion if you even try," he warned Owen.

"She'll have to get Doctor Jones's approval to be examined by anyone outside Torchwood Alec," Owen told him.

"Then they will see what she was going to use on Rose and condemn it," Alec replied, helping Rose up by holding his hand out.

Rose was already liking this new defensive version of him but was it fair she'd accepted him already?  What if he was right and the world had changed around her and he was an altered version, how could she be sure it was the same Alec she thought she'd left behind?  The Doctor would have some explanation but she was very unlikely to ever see him again now though, how would he find her in yet another dimension?

Then she remembered all that time ago, she'd found Donna then again as she went back to before she'd met the Doctor but that was Dalek Caan, twisting timelines to suit his purpose, was someone twisting them now?  Well she wished they'd just leave her alone and left her where she was.  How could standing in front of the dimension cannon have such an effect in a few seconds?

"One more thing Rose," Owen called after her.  "If we find out what happened, which explains why you claim you went nowhere and it proves that time really did go faster where you were sent, this changes everything."

"In what way?" Pete asked him.

"I think you know Pete," Owen replied, Alec turning to see a smirk on his face.  "Just think about it, we recreate it and wherever someone lands, they can be in and out in no time and we can send a lot more than just one every few days."

"That depends what you are going to use it for," Alec told him, not liking the sound of it.

"We know that if we can get in and out quickly, it will cut out the waiting time," Owen told him.  "It doesn't mean they spend any less time there, what do you think we're going to use it for?"

"How do I know you are not going to take advantage and skip the negotiation part?" Pete asked him.

"Come on, we don't take the offensive when going somewhere, that's not Torchwood's mission," Owen defended himself.  "You think that's where this is heading?"

"I hope not Owen, I'm not out yet, I can still stop you if you try anything," Pete replied.

Owen shook his head.  "Well that all depends on if the team find out what caused it and Jake, if I find you interfere with the results to help Rose not have to continue, just be warned."

Jake shrugged his shoulders.  "How would I do that, Director?" he asked.

Rose thought if he was anything like the other Jake, he'd have a few tricks up his sleeve but she still couldn't trust him like she had done before, the only one she could trust was Alec, who now she thought about it behaved differently and it was like having the Doctor and the Scottish actor all rolled into one, the fashion part not coming from the Doctor.  

She dreaded to think what his wardrobe at home was like when she'd seen a few things of his that morning, the red and black fluffy jumper being one of them and the way he was sat in the rocking chair earlier, he'd not had those shorts on last night, what was the rest of his underwear like?  No wonder her mother had gone off.

Once they were in the lift, Alec put his arm around her and Jake leaned back against the glass panel.  Rose guessed the lift had been bugged since he just kept quiet until they reached the ground floor and he led them to his office.

"Forgotten your way around Rose?" Jake grinned as he offered her a seat.

"Stop it Jake, it's not funny," Rose replied, thinking she had better make some effort to get back to normal or raise even more suspicions.  "So, do you want me to dictate to you or are ya gonna pass me your laptop?"

"Be my guest, I'll even bring up the form," Jake grinned back.

"Well this is gonna be a very short report," Rose told him, Alec and Pete looking at each other.

Pete pulled him to one side.

"How is she really doing?" he asked Alec.

"Not as confused as when she came back, or rather opened her eyes," Alec told him.

"She never did that before, not that I remember and what about the dizziness?"

"She never mentioned it, unless she did not want us or the medical director to know about it?" Alec replied.

"I can understand that, she may be reluctant to say anything, especially after what she was like that other time, are you taking her home later?"

"Yes, once she's home, she may talk to me more, she thinks everyone is watching her.  That's if we can get her mother to part with Maisie?"

"Good luck with that then," Pete smiled.

"Tell me about it," Alec replied as Rose looked around.

Rose had typed in the details, Jake telling her to skip the time and date plus the length of time she'd been away to which she'd pointed to it and asked if he was joking.

"Just fill out what you remember, I know it's not much," he grinned.

"You can say that again," Rose grinned back. 

Ten minutes later, having also sent her resignation she looked up.  "So what now?"

"You can go unless you really want to go back to see Doctor Jones?" Jake laughed

"Do you?" Alec asked him, crossing to stand behind Rose.  "You know what Rose can be like when she wants to go home."

"Don't forget, I taught her everything Alec," Jake told him.

"Come on Rose, let's go back and pack everything, best warn your mother," Alec encouraged her.

Once in Pete's car, Rose began to relax.  "Dad, I need to talk when we get back."

"Sure love, you get packed first though eh?  Remembered something you left out of your report?" he asked her.

Alec glanced at her.  "Did you love?"

"No, it's not about what happened yesterday well not exactly.  I'm still a little fuzzy on a few things that's all, family things."

"You need reminding again?" Pete smiled at her through the mirror.  "Best not tell your mother any of this, you know what she's like."

Rose thought if she was anything like her own mother then yes but it seemed now, this Jackie Tyler was her mother, well what she would have maybe been like had Pete not died over twenty years ago.  At least she was nothing like the first Jackie Tyler she'd met.  This also had to be the Pete who made a success of his drinks business though she had no idea if he still owned it or had sold it.  She still couldn't get over not having Tony around, which she needed to talk to Alec about.  

Once back at the mansion, they went off to pack and Pete promised he'd rescue Maisie from her nan so as he went in the larger sitting room, Jackie was reading to the toddler.

"Pete, is Rose okay?" she asked him as Maisie pointed to something in the book.

"She's fine why?" Pete wanted to know, offering to take the young girl.

"Where mummy?" Maisie asked him.

"She'll be here soon, what's that you're looking at?" Pete replied.

"She was a bit odd this morning, well so was Alec but he's always odd when he's here, I swear he thinks I'm going to kidnap Maisie," Jackie told him.

"Well prove you're not and let her leave with them," Pete smiled.  "So, what was so odd then?"

"Alec beating me to Maisie then Rose stood watching him, like she'd never seen him sitting in the chair with their daughter before," Jackie replied.

Pete had thought the two of them had been acting a bit strange but it was understandable, with Rose coming back all confused yesterday.

"They're in love Jaks, leave them be.  Hopefully Owen will scrap the cannon project, then she's free of Torchwood," he told her as Maisie wanted to be let on the floor.  "Where are you going?" Pete laughed as she headed for the door.

"They must let her run around at home," Jackie remarked as he got up, glad he'd closed the door.

"Of course they'll let her run around, she's growing, aren't you princess?" Pete asked the girl.  "I'm sure they don't keep her pinned on the sofa all day, when she's not at nursery."

"Are they still on about having another?  How will Rose cope?" Jackie asked him.

"Now Jackie," he replied as he picked up the escaping toddler, who was giggling and trying to get away again.  "They'll manage, you managed with Rose in that flat, before Vitex took off love, you had no help."

"I know that but I would have had help if…" she trailed off sadly.

"We said we wouldn't talk about that, you know it upsets you and Rose love," he reminded her as Maisie ran to the patio doors.  "Want to go for a walk?" he asked the girl, unlocking them.

"Don't go far with her Pete, if they want to get off.  I hope they're staying to lunch or the cook will be upset," Jackie told him.

Pete knew it upset his wife and daughter if they mentioned Jackie losing what would have been a boy just over seven years ago, when they'd had a family discussion about no-one to pass on the name, which was partly why Rose kept hers when she'd got married and if they ever had a boy, Alec had agreed to carry on her family name as part of his.  It didn't help Jackie though when Rose had Maisie and he often wondered why Jackie hadn't made him move down to Broadchurch to be near them.

Upstairs in what to Rose had been just her room, Alec was trying to delay her packing hers and their daughter's case by fooling around getting changed again into a t-shirt of his favourite Scottish band, just standing and waiting for her to turn around while he was taking off the shirt she'd made him wear earlier.

"Rose, should I wear this t-shirt love?" he asked, standing with the buttons of his grey shirt undone and holding the t-shirt below his bare chest.

Rose thought she was going to have trouble fending him away every night if he kept on doing that.

"Yeah, you should wear it, have your packed your things?" she asked as she smiled at him.  

"All done, just the bathroom to check.  Rose, do you want me to shave off my beard?"

"What?  Why would I ask you to?"

"Just with reminding you of James last night love," he told her as the shirt came off and she couldn't help watching him sexily put on the black printed t-shirt, very slowly she thought as he took his time pulling it down then grinned at her.

She could tell this Alec liked showing himself off to her and he'd surely want her to do the same sooner or later.

"Forget it Alec, I would never expect you to and I know I don't really remember him but I'm sure you're both very different.  When I met the other you, he fooled me for a week thinking I wouldn't notice and I didn't, then I didn't know how I felt about it but I realised they were both very different."

He walked over to help her zip up the case.

"I know love, sorry.  Maybe I deserved you leaving me, if I thought I could fool you?  You have to tell me who you thought I was, if not James."

"It doesn't matter," she told him as he put his arms around her.  "That was in another reality."

"How many have you been in?" he joked, kissing her neck.

"Just two, that one and this, aren't they enough?" she replied, leaning into his shoulder and now wishing he'd left the t-shirt off.

Well it was true, her original world didn't count really.  How could she tell him, he'd already accepted she flitted from world to world though, how would he take it, if she left out the time-travelling bit?  No, it would get far too complicated without mentioning Daleks and Cybermen then crash-landing and being stranded after getting back.  Sometimes she thought it a bit hard to swallow herself.

"Time for lunch before we go?" he asked, going for a kiss.

"Yeah, I'll go clear the bathroom, you grab someone to help with the cases," she replied.

After lunch, the cases, the stroller and holdalls had been put in the back of Alec's silver SUV type car and he was strapping Maisie in her pink car seat.

"Say bye to nanna," Rose was telling her as she got in the front passenger seat after getting away from her mother.

"You'll be back for your father's retirement party," her mother had insisted.

"Yeah Mum, we know when it is, we'll come up Friday night when Alec gets out of work," Rose promised her, hoping Alec knew when it was.

She was going to have to rely on him a lot until she got used to things and now, she just hoped Jake wouldn't find out what had happened, as much as she would love to get the other reality back and see Tony again but unless she could recreate the exact circumstances that had made it happen, that was unlikely.  She'd heard what Owen had to say about it and she was sure he'd use it to his advantage, other worlds wouldn't know what had hit them.

So as Alec drove across London, putting his hand on her leg at traffic lights and Rose watching the youngster playing with her pink bear through the mirror, she would smile back at him as they drove back to Broadchurch. 
At least she knew the place but how much would people there have changed, not that she'd known them very well.  She did notice Alec didn't like getting stopped, tapping his hands on the wheel and she wondered if one of the switches was a siren and if he'd use it.

Alec was hoping once they got home, Rose would settle down, he did believe what she'd told him but had a few doubts that he hoped would fade away.  He loved her, no matter what she thought had happened or who she thought he'd been but it worried him she'd not told him who she thought the other him had been, if it wasn't James, whom he'd not met nor wanted to meet for causing Rose to run away but that had been his gain and the other man's loss.

They made a stop halfway and made good time, missing most of the traffic, stopping at the supermarket just off the main roundabout and Rose going to get some groceries as Maisie was asleep.  Then Alec drove down to the harbour and along past the camp site and turned into a road, then pulled into a gravel driveway with another sports model metallic blue car Rose assumed was hers and seeing a glass panelled front that covered the width of the house.

"Well, we are home love," Alec told her as he got out.  "You get the door while I get her, save getting the stroller out.  The key is in your bag love, on the keyring I bought you with the blue police box you thought was amusing when we went to Blackpool before we had Maisie."

Rose hadn't really noticed.  They must have had police boxes here then?  At least he'd not asked what one was, which was a good sign.

"You'll soon find your way around love," he told her as she opened the door, the girl resting on his shoulder.  "You get the groceries, I will lay her in her playpen while I get everything else.  Want to go out and eat when she wakes up?"

"Yeah, okay but shouldn't we get unpacked?" she asked as he put his arms around her and went for a kiss.

"Plenty of time love, we don't have your mother watching our every move now and Maisie is asleep, we have an hour or so before it will be too late to get something.  I won't be long."

That was what Rose was afraid of as she went to find the kitchen and where everything was.  It was a shame it wasn't the same house she and the other version of him had been going to rent.  She looked out of the kitchen window at him getting the cases out and then putting the holdalls by the stroller.  Then she walked through to the lounge, with a patio door leading to a well kept garden and wondering what was on the other side of the bushes.  

She was about to find out when Alec got everything inside and suggested she carried up the holdalls.  As she looked out of their bedroom window she realised it overlooked the Esplanade, tucked away in the corner and she should have been taking more notice as they'd driven in and she saw the barrier across the road – she could have been in the Broadchurch she'd just left a few days ago.

Chapter 7
Contains a non-graphic sex scene

Alec put the cases on the bed then joined her at the window.

"Anyone would think you had not seen this view before," he told her, turning towards her and kissing her cheek.

"I haven't, remember?  Alec, you do believe me?" she asked worriedly.

He turned her to face him.  "Yes, I do believe you, who else can you trust eh?  Can you trust Jake?"

"I don't know, not now.  This one is different, the old Jake would have stuck up for me more and as for this Owen, he'd never have wanted to take over from Pete.  I should have found time to talk to Jake and Pete."

"Your mother would have suspected something," he reminded her.  "What did you want to ask him?"

He put his arms around her, pulling her close.

"Family stuff I should know but I was gonna be careful how I asked him," Rose replied.

"You should be careful love, he will expect for you to have got over the fact you were fuzzy when you got back, you have left it too late to ask him now."

Rose leaned into his shoulder, aware they had left the sleeping toddler in her playpen but all the doors were open and she was safe where she was.

"Then what do I do Alec?  What if I mess up?  I don't even know when his retirement party is."

"A week on Saturday, I will arrange to finish early on the Friday afternoon then we'll drive up early evening when the traffic has eased off, Maisie will sleep anywhere," he smiled.  "Maybe I can help with your family things?"

"Yeah, I must have told you everything but it took a lot of will not to ask where Tony was."

"I am so sorry about that love but as far as I know, they never even planned to have any more and you never spoke about it.  Maybe it was something you did not want to tell me?" he asked.

Rose looked up at him.  "Then how am I gonna know Alec?  How can I just forget him and Mickey?  At least I knew Mickey had been on another world.  Maybe this one wasn't actually killed?" she asked hopefully.

He led her to sit on the bed.  "Rose, I am so sorry but he did not escape, that was why you were so upset when you came back.  He was defending you and Maisie, he stood in front of you to let you escape, he was shot and killed in front of you as you disappeared.  That was when Pete put you on maternity leave early.  Take no notice of what Owen said about it, Pete always thought expectant mothers should give up working when they got past six weeks, you would not give up."

Rose looked at him tearfully and he held her, trying to comfort her.  He pushed her gently onto the large bed with the silky mauve and cream counterpane and matching sheets and pillowcases and held her in his arms.

"Shush love, that was why I did not want to tell you, come here."

He tried to move her to kiss her, Rose finding herself giving in as the kisses deepened and she felt his hand go up the front of her t-shirt she'd changed into earlier to just under her bra, then trying to get one finger under it.  Trying to let her tears subside, she pulled his black t-shirt from the back of his jeans, Alec going for his belt buckle as she gathered the t-shirt to pull it over his head and Alec unbuttoning his jeans then went for hers, pulling both zips down as Rose moved to let him pull them down.

"What about Maisie?" she asked him as he pulled his own jeans down awkwardly.

"She will be fine, the door downstairs is locked and she is asleep in her playpen love, now come here, I missed you last night love," he told her as he lifted her t-shirt and reached for her bra fastener.  "I always love it when you wear that bra Rose, there is something about it," he smiled as it came away. 

Rose hardly knew what she was doing but was getting carried away but she'd held him off last night and kept her underwear on even when he'd been keen to rid himself and her of them but as she felt him pulling hers down, she knew she couldn't keep fighting him off and risk losing him.  She had no-one else, Pete was still part of Torchwood and she could find herself in danger.

He pulled his briefs down at the back and grabbed her hand.

"You always like to help with this bit," he grinned, indicating for her to pull the front down.

"I noticed earlier you seemed to like this bra," Rose replied, having stopped crying and obliged him.

Before she knew it, he had placed her where he wanted and they were both lost at each other's touch, Rose gasping and Alec calling her name.  Collapsing on her, he then rolled onto his back, his jeans having been wriggled out of as he'd pulled hers and her underwear swiftly off as he'd not been able to hold back any longer.

Rose was still trying to recover.  How could she not believe this was really her Alec, just slightly different as the world had changed around her?  He'd gone nowhere, he was still here, grinning like the cat who had got the cream as she landed on him.

"Anyone would think we had not done that before," he grinned, grabbing her rear.

"What do ya want me to say Alec?" she asked him, resting her head in his shoulder. 

"I want you to say I'm your Alec," he told her.

"You are my Alec, just a bit different, I know that now but how has everything changed so much?" she asked him as the sensations began to wear off a little.

"I thought we had figured it out?" he asked, pushing her over slightly and grabbing her leg.  Rose shuddered again.

"So did I Alec.  So nothing happened to me, standing at the centre, you changed slightly, then everyone else and things around me?"

"Yes love, that's what I think happened.  Are you not so sure?" he asked, deciding they should get dressed and continue this later, in case Maisie woke up.

"It's the only thing that makes sense I suppose?  What else could have happened?"

"Only that you were on a parallel world and I was lucky enough to be still married to you," he smiled as she saw him pulling up his briefs.  "Feeling better now?"

She did and so did he by the look on his face.  Now she knew he liked showing off to her and was expecting her to do the same.  She reached for her underwear and sat up to put them on, her bra still hanging loosely as they'd not bothered with her top half although he'd been fondling her breasts inbetween everything else he'd been doing.

When Maisie woke up, Alec having got down just in time as Rose unpacked, they decided to let her walk between them to try and tire her out and they sat by the river, Maisie watching the birds.

"What is so fascinating about the blue chalet love?" Alec asked Rose as she stared at it.

"Did you ever live there?" she asked him.

"Should I have done?" he smiled, trying to give their daughter her baked potato with tuna and eat his fish and chips, something Rose remembered the other him hadn't been so keen on.  "You will be asking me next if I ever lived in that white house up on the east cliff and the answer is still no love."

Rose smiled back, wondering what had given her the idea he might have done.  She had to stop defining the two versions, they were now one, like the Doctor had been one before his clone had been created.  That was all behind her now, she'd never see either version of the Doctor again, not now.  Now, she had to concentrate on this new version of Alec and all the other changes in her life.

Then she remembered he'd been keen to have another baby and wondered how messed up she was in that department, now she'd seemed to have moved forward yet another three years and she was totally confused.  It seemed a short while ago they had begun the process.

Just after six, letting Maisie walk, they went to the east pier and sat down at the end, Maisie watching all the boats.

"My parents came for a long weekend, just before I found out you weren't who I thought you were," Rose started to tell him.  "Tony loved seeing the boats.  They stayed in a caravan a few rows from us."

"We stayed in a caravan?" he asked, raising his eyebrows and holding Maisie, who was sat on the bench with them and trying to get away.

"Yeah, to get out of the hotel.  Where did we go then?"

"Once you wore me down?" Alec smiled as Maisie wanted to be off again.  "We should tire her out, let her have a run.  We can walk back along the beach."  He picked the toddler up, Maisie had other ideas she wanted to walk.  "We stayed in the hotel, you moved into my room."

"So we still solved a case together?" Rose asked him before she sounded completely mad.

"We got the killer Rose, you helped a lot but he got away in the end, the jury could not make up their minds.  You need to be careful, around the Latimers, well Mark anyway, he could not get over it."

Was that what would have happened if this world had not sprung up around her?  It was looking more and more like someone or something was manipulating her timeline and she wasn't sure she liked it being controlled for her.  She wouldn't have even been aware it could happen if she'd not stumbled into the version that had sprung up around Donna. 

Then it struck her – Donna Noble.  Were those her parents that had been there last night but who was James?  Was there no Donna here either?  Maybe they'd taken him in after having no children of their own?  That was something else she had to find out but she hoped there was a Donna and they knew each other.

"So am I friends with Beth?" Rose asked as they made their way onto the almost deserted beach.

"Yes, you helped her when the case fell apart and she threw her husband out when he could not come to terms with it.  Be careful though, with Mark, I almost arrested him a few times for bothering you, once just after you found out you were pregnant."

"Why, what did he do Alec?" Rose asked him as he chased Maisie.

"You were just three months, Beth had Lizzie during the trial and we were confident he would get convicted.  He didn't so you, Ellie Miller and Beth all stuck together," Alec explained.

"So why did Mark come after me, did he go after Ellie?" Rose asked him.

"He was trying to get to me, not her.  They both stayed away from us then just before the hearing that turned into a trial, he kept reminding me I had better have a strong enough case against Joe Miller.  We did but his defence cast doubt on his guilt."

"So they were divided then, the jury?" Rose asked, wishing she had been there to support him but to him, she had been there.

"Yes, now no more about the trial, just stay away from Mark Latimer and if he starts hanging around again, call the station if I do not answer my phone, they know about it and they can get someone there in two minutes.  Promise me Rose," he asked her.

Rose nodded as Maisie wanted to go in the water.

"No princess, the water's too cold now, we will come back another day," Alec promised her.

The two year old looked at Rose to get a second opinion.  Rose smiled and put her arm in Alec's and shook her head.  When they got back, dodging the barrier across the road, Alec played with Maisie then putting some baby bath oil in the bathtub, Alec watched while Rose got the sand out from between the toddler's toes, Maisie laughing as it seemed to tickle her.  Once they'd put her in her large convertible cot that Alec said Jake had bought for her, he sat in the rocking chair having given the girl a choice of books and he put his specs on.

Rose knew the other Alec had probably done the same with his teenage daughter but this Alec hadn't though he seemed to know what he was doing.  When he got downstairs, Rose was catching up on the news.

"Missed something?" Alec smiled as he sat beside her, Rose curling up against him.

"Maybe?  I don't know how different things are, do I?" she asked him.  "I don't want to keep messin' up all the time.  What do I tell people if I do?"

Alec took the TV remote and turned it off, putting his arm around her shoulder.

"Rose, you will be fine, just let others take the lead.  Ellie knows what you do, she will understand and if she sees you struggling, she will help you.  I will tell her tomorrow.  In the morning, you come to the nursery with me then you know where to collect Maisie at lunchtime, she will be there on Thursday and Friday but next week, we will ask if she can go every morning, now you are not going to Torchwood over the weekend."

"She doesn't have to go every morning does she?" Rose asked as he put his other arm around her waist.

"You have enough to do love, she needs to get used to it and maybe we can try a few afternoons later?"

"You were serious, about another baby?" she asked, fingering the hem of his t-shirt.  "I don't know where I am with that, I mean I've suddenly lost three years Alec, I was covered in that department, now I don't know and I don't even remember having Maisie."

She suddenly buried her head in his shoulder.

"I know, I'm sorry, I keep forgetting.  We will put it off for a while, a few months until you have time to settle down, okay?" he asked, kissing the top of her head.

Rose managed a nod, trying not to cry again but what did he expect?  That she would readily agree though it seemed they had indeed begun the process earlier, if she was no longer covered, it might not take three months.

"Rose, are you sure about me?" he asked, sensing she was holding back the tears again.

"You're the only one I am sure about Alec," she replied. "I can't trust these versions of Jake or Pete and as for Owen Harper, I never had much to do with him until recently, well for me it was recently.  Alec, the other version of you, he'd just got his heart fixed and it was Owen who helped him."

"So the other version of me also knew about Torchwood?" he asked.  "Just how much and if you did the same job, did I know about it?"

"No, we stopped the project years ago, after Mickey got trapped," Rose lied.  "You knew about Torchwood though, they had something to cure your heart problem."

How could she tell this Alec that it was her that had been trapped, gone back and Mickey had stayed behind to let her and the duplicate Doctor have a chance but he'd not wanted it, which now she would never find out why.  She knew it wasn't this Alec's fault, he hadn't asked for things to change.

"Then tell me what happened to make things change for you Rose, I want to understand.  If the project had been dropped, why were you using it again?"

Rose knew she was going to have to lie to him, to tell him the real reason would mean he could turn on her and tell Torchwood.

"There were signs we'd found where the other Mickey was, I was going off to find him.  Now you know why I was upset when this Mickey was killed."

"Then who was the other man you thought I was, who was he to you?"

"A very special friend Alec, I told him I loved him but I never heard his reply as he never got the chance.  When I saw you on TV, I thought he'd come back."

"I pretended I was him?" Alec smiled.  "You said it worked?"

"Yeah but I was so angry when I found out I'd been deceived for over a week but Pete and Jake suspected, so did my mum.  Then I realised I was just as bad, I encouraged you."

"Ah, well I did not know you were running away from someone when I first met you.  Do you want me to tell you my version?" he asked, putting his hand down the neck of her t-shirt and playing with her bra strap.

"Maybe another time?  Want a drink or do you want something else to eat?"

When they got to bed, Rose thought it was just as well he'd said they would put off expanding their family for now – she wasn't ready to cope with having a baby for real just yet, she had to get used to the fact she had a two year old daughter whom she would be left alone with when she'd been picked up from nursery the next day.

As Rose woke the next morning, Alec was missing so she put her silky dressing gown on that was over a chair and went to see if he was in Maisie's room, which he was, trying to get her changed.

"Rose, sorry love, I should have reminded you that you are supposed to see to her during the week," he told her.

"I'll finish seeing to her then, sorry," she replied, kissing his cheek as the toddler tried to get away.

Thankfully, Alec had put the gate across the top of the stairs, Rose had noticed, she'd have to remember that.  After breakfast, they set off for the nursery, Rose spotting Beth Latimer and a strawberry-blonde haired girl a bit older than Maisie.

"Hey Rose, you're back," Beth called to her, shielding her eyes from the autumn sun.  "Want to come over for coffee later, we can collect the girls together?"

Alec gave Rose a slight nod as he got Maisie out of the car seat.

"Go on love, you need to get back to normal," he encouraged her.

"Yeah, around eleven, I have some cleaning to do," Rose called back.

"Remember the way?" Alec smiled as he tried to hang onto his daughter.

"I went once or twice," Rose smiled back.  "She didn't like me at the time."

She took his arm as he carried their daughter and put her down in the playground.  Maisie never even bothered as she waved and followed the other children inside and Alec said they wanted to extend her hours.  After reaching an agreement and Rose promising she would let them know if she had to go off again, Alec dropped her at the back of the police station.

"Have you time to meet us later?" Rose asked, feeling a bit nervous.

"We meet most lunchtimes across from the station, you wait there around one," he told her.

"Right, you call if you can't meet us?"

"Yes, don't worry so much love, you will be fine.  Now give me a kiss and make everyone jealous."

As she watched him drive into the yard at the back of the station, she was worried.  She was on her own, Alec was all she had.  She felt distanced even from her mother and Pete had now become her real dad but what worried her the most as she walked home was she now had a family to look after and all the practice she'd had with Tony would now come into play.

She thought about calling Jake to see how he was getting on with the results but it would just make things worse.  Like Alec had said, she was now expected to get back to normal and the only person she could really relax and be herself was with him.

Now, she had to get on with it and accept this was her life now and hope Owen would either forget that she had more missions she'd apparently agreed to do or close it down and she hoped it would be the latter.  Whatever had happened to her couldn't be allowed to be recreated, not for what Torchwood wanted anyway.  If they discovered what world she'd been on supposedly ran a lot faster, they could invade that world without them knowing anything about it.

Not only that, she'd lose another version of the Alec she loved but what if somehow, the ripple effect could be recreated just around her?  Would she leave this Alec and now her young daughter to get Tony and Mickey back?  As she opened the door to her new home, she had a tough decision to make if the opportunity was ever presented though Torchwood would have to let her stand in front of the cannon again and hopefully, the old reality would reappear around her.  Some choice.
Chapter 8
Rose had plenty to do in the few hours before she was picking up her daughter from the nursery and remember her way to Beth Latimer's house, which she wished she'd never agreed to and pulled up in the street just after eleven, ringing the doorbell.

She remembered Alec meeting her there, not that long ago for her but three years or so for everyone else.  It was Chloe who let her in.

"Hi Rose, come in.  Maybe you can help me?"

"Hi, yeah Chloe, something wrong?"

"Just catching up with my schoolwork, nothing major, like mum's making it out to be.  She's out in the garden, no work today, obviously since she took Lizzie."

Alec had already warned her Mark was out of the picture but had wondered why he'd gone after her, well her to get to Alec.  She wondered if the two women were aware of it.

"Hi Rose," Beth called as Rose stood at the kitchen door and shading her eyes.  "Chloe, are my sunglasses there?"

Chloe grinned and picked them up.  "I'll just finish this work then my driving instructor will be here, shame dad never finished teaching me."

"Never let someone you know teach you to drive," Rose smiled at her, passing on Beth's sunglasses.  "My friends started and they both regretted it.  So, how's things?"

Giving as little away as possible, she drank the coffee Chloe had made then just before twelve suggested they set off in both cars when she told Beth she was meeting Alec.

"I don't know how you can do it Rose," Beth had told her as they'd sat at the garden table, Rose seeing toys scattered around.

"Do what Beth?" Rose asked, wondering if the entire town knew what she'd been supposedly doing.

"Sorry, forgot it was top secret," Beth grinned.  "I just mean going off like that, having your husband and daughter waiting for you coming back?"

So she did know, Rose thought.

"It's not easy Beth, trust me.  I think this was the last one, well I hope so."

"You mean Alec hopes so?" Beth smiled, getting up and Rose following her.  "You're so lucky, that he's understanding about it, I mean you having a career while me and Mark argued over me going out to work."

So that was part of their problem, Rose wondered where she and Alec came into it then but couldn't come out and ask Beth as she unlocked her car.

"How about the girls having a play date down on the beach, tomorrow afternoon?" Beth asked her, getting into her car.  "You bring the drinks?"

"Yeah, I'd love to, great," Rose had to agree.  "If it's raining, just call round."

"Yeah, we will.  So you two still thinking of having another then?" Beth grinned, the car window open.

Rose wondered how many others they, or rather Alec had told as she smiled and waved, getting into what was now her car and hoping she wouldn't get lost on the way to the nursery.

Alec had got back to work, getting teased by Ellie.

"So, anything happened this time?" Ellie asked him as she sat opposite him, inspecting him for bite marks and Alec trying to tighten his tie and wondering why she did that.

"About?" he asked dryly.  "We had a bit of a scare," he admitted.  "Rose was a lot longer than usual, everyone else was so calm about it, checking dials and flicking switches, like that made me feel any better about her being so long."

"Has it happened before?" Ellie grinned as she gave up and thinking if there were any marks, they wouldn't be above his collar anyway, Rose left no incriminating evidence, well not so far anyway. 

"No, it was only when she came back Jake even questioned it and Pete ordered an enquiry," Alec replied, picking up a folder casually.

"What happened, is Rose okay?" Ellie asked, looking concerned for her friend.

"Just a bit confused, she still is, it should have worn off by now.  It's the Mickey incident all over again Miller," Alec told her worriedly.  "I don't know what to do about it."

"Want me to talk to her?" Ellie asked as Alec got his phone out, then put it away as he knew Rose wouldn't thank him for checking up on her, she had to get used to things again, on her own.

"She'll be fine, she's just a bit off, waiting for what Jake finds.  Watch out for her though, she might come out with a few odd things," he managed to smile.

How could he tell his DS, Rose's friend that Rose wasn't who everyone thought she was?  Should he confide in her or see what Rose thought about it?  He decided to wait and see what Jake and his team came up with by tomorrow.  He folded his arms behind his head and stretched back in his chair, the folder now open.

"So, why are we investigating this?" he asked, his specs on top of the sheet of paper.

"Stop changing the subject Hardy, what kind of things?" Ellie asked.  "I don't want to put my foot in it with her when I see her."

"Since when?" he asked, raising his eyebrows then looking at his watch and wondering what his wife was doing.

Ellie was tempted to throw something at him – again.

"I don't know how she puts up with you," Ellie remarked.  "Did her head get scrambled or was she upset like when she lost her friend?"

"Both," Alec replied.  "She told everyone she was just a bit fuzzy and they will have expected it to wear off by now," Alec told her.

"It hasn't then?" Ellie asked him, being serious.

"No and I am worried about her Miller, this is different to when she lost her friend, like she is totally out of it and do not say anything to her about it," he warned her.

"Do you want me to talk to her then?" Ellie offered, seeing as he looked more concerned than usual.  "I'll drop in later, Tom can watch Fred for an hour, you take Maisie out for a walk or something?"

"Fine but you'll get nothing out of her.  I even offered to hold back on trying for another baby, to give her some space," he admitted.

Ellie burst out laughing, Alec seeing everyone look in their direction.

"Hush Miller, why not tell the whole office?  She will be fine, just give her a bit of time and don't go asking a load of questions."

"If you say so but maybe she'll talk to me, if something's bothering her?  Maybe you're trying too hard for another baby?" Ellie grinned.

"How much time we spend is none of your business – Miller," he half smiled.

Ellie knew maybe he'd been a bit too enthusiastic about it recently, not that either of them liked to talk about it but Hardy always had that look on his face the morning after.  She'd get it out of her friend one way or another at some point.

Rose was waiting anxiously outside the nursery where other parents were waiting, Beth having found someone else to talk to but she suspected a lot of women knew Beth under the unpleasant circumstances which for Rose had been very recently but three or so years for everyone else.

She did wonder why Beth had never even mentioned Mark, were things that bad they no longer had any contact?  She saw movement in the classroom doorway, seeing Beth's daughter trying to dodge the nursery assistant and being herded back in and had to smile, wondering where the strawberry-blonde hair had come from.  A woman stood behind Rose tapped her on the shoulder.

"Not talking Rose?" she was asked.

"Hey, sorry, I was miles away," Rose replied, trying not to admit she didn't have a clue who the older woman was.

"I know I don't come very often to pick Jasmine up," the dark-haired woman grinned.

"Trish," someone shouted behind them, Rose turning around and the other woman waving to someone.

Rose wondered if the older woman was this Jasmine's mother or grandmother, who knew these days?

"What's taking them so long?" Trish asked Rose.

"Hope it's not Maisie," Rose tried to smile, hoping the girl would come to her now Alec wasn't with her.

She was soon securing Maisie in the car seat, another slightly different pink one that had a cartoon cat on the back and a matching sunshade stuck on the window that the toddler tried to reach as Rose moved.

"Well Maisie, how did you like nursery today?" Rose asked her, not actually expecting a reply.

"Daddy?" the girl asked.  "Go see daddy?"

"Yeah, we'll go meet him sweetheart, you miss him as well then?"

Rose went to park her car in the driveway then walked Maisie to their meeting place, Alec already waiting at a table with a tray of drinks.  Maisie wanted to be let go of but Rose had a tight hold of the pink reigns, Alec holding his arms out to catch her as Rose reached him and let go.  Picking her up, he kissed Rose's cheek then tried to kiss his daughter's but she pulled a face.

"Maybe I should get rid of my beard?" he asked Rose as she sat opposite.

Rose was hoping not, she was having enough problems dealing with this Alec who looked like a cross between a Timelord and a Scottish actor when he wasn't appearing in anything.  She had thought he looked rather good in a dark grey suit and blue shirt though, whereas the other Alec had favoured his light grey suit.

"Nah, keep it, it'll just confuse her," Rose smiled as their food arrived.  "Are you sharing yours?" she asked as he sat Maisie beside him on the metal chair.

"Ellie said she may call around tonight love, I told her you were a bit off."

"Thanks but I'll manage, I hardly know her," Rose replied.

"You've known her long enough Rose, she will expect you to tell her things I won't tell her," he smiled, Maisie taking hold of a chip and holding it out for Alec to cool it for her.

The girl giggled as Alec obliged.  They said goodbye to him, Rose saying they'd walk back along the beach.

"Don't go too far will you love?" Alec asked as they stood opposite the police station.

"We're meeting Beth and Lizzie tomorrow, on the beach," Rose told him.

"Good, see, you are settling down already love," he smiled, putting Maisie down.

"Yeah, the place hasn't changed, just me.  Say bye to daddy," she told the toddler, who wanted to go back to him.

"Go find some seashells," he suggested to her, knowing this wasn't easy for Rose.  "I love you darlin'," he whispered in Rose's ear.

After their walk on the beach, Rose carrying a sleepy Maisie and laying her on the sofa, Rose couldn't resist asking Jake how things were going as she went into the kitchen.

"Can't stay away?" Jake joked with her.

"It's not easy Jake," Rose told him.  "Have you found anything unusual?"

"You mean like a second beam or something?" Jake asked, Rose not knowing if he was being serious or not, since she had no idea how the thing worked, well not in this version of the universe.  "I was joking Rose," he added when she went quiet.  "Geez, what's wrong with you since you came back?  Seen Mickey's ghost?"

"Stop it Jake, that's not funny," Rose replied angrily.  

She knew the other Jake would never say a thing like that, not that the Mickey she knew was dead, just in yet another version of reality.

"Sorry, I shouldn't have said that.  You were acting strange though, how do I know you didn't go and do something stupid while you were away so long?" he asked her, checking some readings.  "You know I can't tell you if I found anything or not.  The director would go mad, he's not like your father Rose."

Rose already knew that and was still coming to terms that Pete was her real dad.

"You know I said I didn't go anywhere Jake?" Rose asked him, knowing she should talk to Alec first.

"Changed your mind?" Jake laughed.

"Not exactly but maybe Alec got it wrong?  What if I was sort of in suspension?"

"You mean you didn't actually go anywhere, even though we couldn't see you?" Jake asked.

Rose hoped he was falling for it and that Alec would back her up when she told him and not hand her over to Torchwood or worse.   She knew how the Tardis worked, that it could de-materialise without actually going anywhere, like out of sync with everything but the Doctor knew it was there or like a perception filter he'd said.

"Well yeah, wouldn't that explain it?" Rose asked hopefully.

"Yeah, I suppose it would and no time would have passed for you but why appear when you did?" Jake wanted to know.

Rose let out a laugh.  "How would I know Jake?  I just stand in front of the thing but if I went nowhere, maybe that was why I felt dizzy?"

She knew that sounded better in her head and thought Jake would start laughing.

"I'll take it into consideration when I give my report, anything you want to add to that?" Jake asked her.

Rose thought she'd already said enough without telling Alec first but it was a way out and wouldn't be worth Torchwood's time investigating further, using her to do the investigating.

"No, I tell ya Jake, to me it was just black, that probably made me feel dizzy, disorientated."

"Did you hear anything?  Us all talking?" Jake asked, making a note of the conversation now he'd got something new out of her, as Owen had instructed him.

Owen had called him to his office earlier to see how much progress had been made.

"I hope you're not stalling Jake?" Owen had asked him.

"Why would I do that?" Jake asked him, not being able to call him director, except in company.

To him, Pete would always hold that title.

"Don't think you'll get away with it Jake," Owen told him.  "If Rose contacts you, you ask the questions not her – understood?"  

Jake did a mock salute.  "Understood, you want me to get her to admit what she really saw?  You don't go with Alec's theory then?"

"Do you?" Owen wanted to know.  "He'll do anything to stop Rose going off again, I wouldn't usually allow anyone with an operative when they go off and she knows it but since it's now just you and her going off, well more or less, I didn't have much choice since her father allowed him and he didn't look like he'd agree to leave but bringing a child with him?"

"That only started recently," Jake reminded him.  "She's no trouble, well apart from when Rose was gone so long this time.  I'll see if I can get her to talk to me then, she'll probably ring to see what's going on anyway."

"You do that then," Owen sighed, getting tired of all the delays when the report should have been waiting for him when he'd arrived.

"Do ya think you'll accept her resignation?" Jake asked as he got up.

"That's nothing to do with you Jake," Owen reminded him.  "I run a different Torchwood than Pete Tyler did but I'll tell you something.  Things are going to change around here if Alec was right."

"You mean if where Rose went, time was going so quickly?" Jake dared ask.

"Think of the advantages?"

Jake didn't want to, he already knew where this was going and Pete wouldn't be able to stop him.

"Pete will go crazy if you don't let Rose go," Jake dared to tell him.

"Well who would take her place?  She's the expert around here don't go forgetting," Owen had to remind him.

"Because she's done the most missions or her experience?" Jake replied.

"Both.  Now, haven't you got a test to conduct?  The clock is ticking Jake."

So Jake had gone back to work after giving nothing away to Rose hoping she was right, not Alec because he couldn't be part of what Owen Harper was planning.  Owen was right, things would be different and he was getting power crazy, there was no-one to stop him unless Pete wanted his job back.

After Rose's call he had called Pete.

"Trouble Jake?" Pete asked, looking at his stocks and shares on the screen and smiling to himself.

"What do you think?  I wish you'd never asked me to run those tests Pete," Jake told him, closing his office door as he was getting paranoid Owen had spy cameras everywhere.

"Is he not going with Alec's theory then?" Pete asked him.

"The opposite, I think but he's getting dangerous Pete, trust me."

"What can I do Jake?  I finish, officially in less than two weeks, Jackie will go mad if I don't, she's planning a round the world cruise, when she finds a cruise ship to her liking," Pete laughed.  "She won't go until after my retirement party but how she's going to react if I tell her I'm thinking of retaining a seat on the board is anyone's guess."

"Still thinking about it then?" Jake asked.  "It's only twice a year Pete, Torchwood still needs you, even if it's to stop Owen going too far.  He's gonna do something really stupid Pete, I know he is."

"We'll have to worry about that if and when it happens Jake, you know that?" Pete asked him, wondering how Jackie would manage without calling Rose every day to see how Maisie was.

"Rose told me something else Pete, can I call round later?  I don't want to discuss it on the phone."

"Sure, before dinner, I think Jackie's trying her hand at cooking again and you're my only ally in Torchwood," Pete laughed.

"Right, I'll make the  excuse I have a dinner date then," Jake laughed back.  "I have a few questions as well though."

"I expect you do Jake, see you later then?" Pete replied, wondering what Rose had told him.

Maybe he should call her himself but she would have told him if it was important – wouldn't she?

Back in Broadchurch, Maisie had woken up and had a drink, Rose now playing with her on the floor, trying to do a puzzle.  Rose looked at the two year old, pushing her slightly curly hair out of her eyes.

"You're so cute baby," Rose told her, wishing she remembered the girl being born and raising her.  "Daddy will be home soon."

"Daddy!" Maisie giggled, picking up a puzzle piece.  

It brought a tear to Rose's eye as she remembered helping Tony do the almost same puzzle, that of a beach scene.  Her mobile started to ring and she looked to see it was this reality's version of her mother.

"Hi Mum, how's things?" Rose answered, sitting on the edge of the patio sofa in the extended glass-roofed lounge that she'd not noticed the day before as she'd looked around.

She supposed it gave Maisie a lighter play area.

"How's my Maisie?" was all Rose got out of her mother.

"She's fine, we're doing a puzzle together.  You saw her yesterday Mum," Rose told her.

"Well what of it?  If you and Alec moved here, I'd get to see her all the time," Jackie huffed.  "Is it the puzzle I got for her, the beach one?"

Rose was glad she at least knew where it had come from and knew the reason they'd stayed in Broadchurch.  It had been all she could do yesterday for Alec not to charge her mother with kidnapping.

Ten minutes of this Jackie asking what her granddaughter had been doing in nursery, plus what she'd had to eat and who had fed her, not to mention what she was wearing and Rose promising to take a picture of her doing the puzzle and send it directly after she'd ended the call, she took the picture, sent it and leaned back on the sofa, wishing Alec would come home early.

What was she going to do the rest of the time?  She hoped Alec wouldn't be mad at her for suggesting to Jake that what he'd told her friend was wrong, she had thought it up on the spur of the moment and Jake seemed to have fallen for it.  If Owen didn't think it would do any good sending her to recreate it, he'd have to let her go.  Just in case though, she hoped Pete had a good 'get out clause' up his sleeve but Alec would take it further if Owen refused to let her go, even if it meant she'd get her old reality back but would she ever get it back?

Just after four, she put Maisie in her chair at the kitchen table and gave her a drink while she made the girl something to eat, a chilled kids meal from the supermarket.  Putting half of it in a microwavable bowl, she wrapped the carton in clingfilm, seeing a stack of them on the bottom shelf and supposed Alec approved of them or they wouldn't be there.

Alec had said he'd be home just after five so taking her time feeding the toddler then getting her some rice pudding into a dish and taking the chill off it, decided to leave the girl where she was as she heard the door opening and Alec calling out for them.  His greeting was a bit overpowering by the other Alec's standard as he gave her a rather thorough snogging and a half, Rose faintly hearing Maisie calling for Alec. 

"Wow, that was quite a greeting," Alec declared, though Rose swore it was him that had initiated it.  He turned to get Maisie out of her chair and began kissing her cheek all over, making her giggle.  "Have you been good for your mum?" he asked the toddler, kissing Rose's cheek.

Rose could have sworn he'd rather be at home than working.  Maybe she should suggest he gave up, since she had a rich father and they obviously had no money problems but maybe he'd drive her crazy if he stayed all day?

"I called Jake, when Maisie was having a nap," Rose told him as he carried their daughter into the lounge.

"Any news yet?" he asked as Maisie reached for a toy.

"No, not yet.  Alec, promise not to get mad with me?" she asked, sitting beside him and putting her arm in his.  Alec nodded, taking her other hand as Maisie settled on the floor.  "I told Jake that maybe you were wrong about what happened when I seemed to have disappeared."

"You did?" he asked, going to kiss her cheek.  "What exactly did you tell him?  Not about what we think really happened?  Rose, tell me you did not tell him?"

"I didn't Alec, I told him something else and I think he believed me."

Chapter 9
"So what did you tell Jake then?" Alec asked, trying to remain calm since Maisie was looking at him.

"It's okay Alec, I told him that maybe I found myself in like a black hole or something, that I really didn't go anywhere and he seemed to believe me," Rose explained.

Alec thought he should have known really, that he could trust her not to endanger herself or her family.

"Sorry love, this has got me on edge, I should have expected nothing less from you.  You think he will tell Owen?"

Rose put her arm in his.  "I hope so, why'd ya think I made it up?" she smiled as Maisie climbed on Alec's lap to get to both of them.

"Ellie is coming over, she wants to talk to you," Alec told Rose as Maisie wanted to crawl onto her.

"Is she my therapist now?" Rose smiled as Maisie put her arms around her neck.

"Come on princess, we will go for a walk eh?" Alec told the youngster.

"So what does Ellie want?" Rose asked him as Maisie went to him.

"You need someone to talk to love that maybe you can't tell me or Torchwood.  Rose, you're not pregnant already are you love?" he smiled at her.

Rose hoped not but who knew, she'd spent some 'time' with the other Alec and she was now all messed up but if she had been, would the baby have survived the trauma of being flung three years into the future?

"I don't think so but how can I be sure now?" Rose asked him.  "You don't believe me do you?  About not going anywhere and I lost three years."

"Rose, you have to consider you did actually go somewhere and lost all memory of it?"

"What?  You don't believe me at all, do you Alec?"

"We will talk about this later, talk to your friend," Alec told her, trying to get up as Maisie tried to push him back and laughing.

It was Rose who got up.  How could he not believe her?  She was so mixed up with all these theories she didn't know which one was true.  Had something really happened when she thought she'd just been standing there?

"Call her Alec, I don't want to talk to her," Rose told him, going into the kitchen.

Alec gathered Maisie up and put her in the playpen, the girl protesting then went after Rose, getting his phone off the coffee table.

"Miller," he said after Ellie answered as she was trying to feed the dog.  "Cancel your visit, Rose is still upset."

"Oh, okay then, if you're sure?" Ellie asked him.

"Yes, I will see you tomorrow, she will be fine, she just needs a bit of time," Alec replied.

"Sounds like it.  Tell me she's not going to still carry on with it?" Ellie wanted to know.

"I really hope not, they will have a fight on their hands should they try, they will have to put her there by force and then I will take every one of them down."

"I should hope so," Ellie told him, finally sitting down.

Rose had heard him as she went to make something to eat, staring at all the bags of frozen food that consisted of stirfrys and pasta and a few things she would never dream of eating and hoped he wouldn't insist she did.  Alec saw her with the freezer door open.

"Why did we buy all this Alec?" she asked him.

"You like to keep the freezer stocked up love," he replied, going to put his arms around her.

"I don't like half of it.  Would you really do that?  Take Torchwood on like that?"

"Yes, I would and you know it.  Have you changed that much Rose?"

"I don't know Alec, only you know the answer to that," Rose answered him.

He led her over to a chair, closing the freezer door and sat her down, pulling another chair round.

"Rose, I am making allowances for you love, you know I am trying my best to believe you did not go anywhere and everything changed around you.  It is possible though that something else happened and you don't remember what it was.  You could be the one who is right, that maybe you went to a world where nothing exists and you were back in a few seconds, making it seem like hours to us.  There are a dozen reasons for what you think happened.  Is that what you think happened?"

"How would I know Alec?  My eyes were closed, when I opened them, I was where I started and everyone was busy.  At first, I thought I'd landed in another world's version of Torchwood."

Then it struck her and Alec noticed.  She had given the game away.

"Rose, you think you do not belong here, that this is another parallel identical world?" he asked her.

"How can it be Alec?  You know me, I know people, here and at Torchwood," Rose tried to get out of it.  "Please Alec, don't tell Torchwood, they'll drag me back, I can't do it any more.  No, I'm on the right world, things have just changed, like the ripple effect, it has to be."

Alec grabbed her hand and pulled her to sit on his lap, Rose putting her arms around his neck and burying her head in his shoulder.

"It's okay love, you are still confused, it could just as easily have happened to Jake or one of the others," Alec assured her.

"I thought now, there was only me and Jake?" Rose asked him.

"They have agents on stand-by love, in case they think you are not able to go.  Since we lost Mickey, they just cut the numbers down but if you are not well, you get out of going but that only delays the amount of missions that are remaining."

"So I'm never gonna be free, am I?"

"Yes you are love," he promised her, resting his chin on her head.  "We prove this time it caused you psychological damage and prove you are not fit to take on any more and they have to let you go."

"I'm not going under that brain scanner, forget it," Rose replied, clinging hold of him.

"You won't, I can promise you that.  Your father will get a team of experts to say you are not crazy but need help, that you are still affected by the loss of your friend.  I will call him later and discuss it with him, it all depends on what Jake finds."

"Jake might believe what I said though, I said maybe I was just sort of suspended, that everything was carrying on around me, like I was out of sync."

"That was very clever of you love.  Now, want to go for a walk and we will call for some food on the way back?" he asked, raising her chin to kiss her.

"Yeah and tomorrow, I'll go to the supermarket and get some food I like.  Whose idea was it to get all those prepared meals for Maisie?"

"Would you believe yours?" Alec smiled as she got up.

"Did you approve?" Rose asked him as he got up.

"I know better than to argue over how you feed your daughter.  Use them up then at the weekend we will do more shopping and change everything."

"Yeah?  I can live with that.  Sorry."

"I know this has been hard on you love but it will get better, once we find out where things are going at Torchwood.  Sure you're not pregnant, getting all emotional?" he smiled, hearing Maisie call out.

"I'll get a test tomorrow to make sure, it could have happened before all this and I never knew but Alec, I lost three years, how is it possible if I was pregnant that I still am?"

"It could be possible that since you were not affected, neither was the baby, best get tested then we will know love," he told her.

After a walk on the beach, Alec carrying Maisie while Rose went to the takeaway around the corner from the police station, they'd sat on the harbour wall eating then made their way home, Rose quickly putting Maisie to bed.

In London, Jake had arrived before dinner to tell Pete what Rose had told him, Pete listening with interest.

"So do you believe her?" Pete asked him when Jake had told him what Rose thought had happened.

"It's that or Alec's theory and I know which one I'd rather go with.  If Owen thinks recreating what happened will result in someone going nowhere or not remembering it, it has to be better that what he's likely to do if Alec is right."

"Yeah, you’re right about that Jake," Pete agreed.  "I can't stop Owen if he goes ahead and tries to invade the place we all thought Rose went to.  If we can prove there was nothing there or Rose was suspended in time, he'll think twice.  Who's to say the same won't happen next time?  While I still have some influence, the board needs informing it will be a waste of resources and time.  Have you finished going through what happened?"

"You know I can't tell you that Pete, if Owen finds out, then I won't be able to help you persuade the board.  I can tell you one thing though, Owen's gonna have trouble deciding what to do about Rose."

"You mean nothing conclusive came of it?" Pete asked him.  "If there's no proof either way, Rose is free, isn't she?"

"Yeah, let's hope so or Alec will do whatever he can and if that includes getting an independent medical assessment, he will," Jake replied.

"I know that Jake, he won't let her go off again, not after this.  I think I might go into my temporary office tomorrow, just in case.  I dread to think how Owen will take the news and I need to remind him that under the circumstances, Rose should be let go."

Rose knew when she got to bed, Alec would expect her to comply with him, she'd almost got away with it last night, he'd gone easy on her but now, if he thought she was pregnant, he might hold off again to make sure but if by some chance she was, it wouldn't be his, it would be the other version of him and she still wasn't quite convinced they were both the same, not yet.  Now, he was doubting her that she hadn't actually been anywhere.  As Alec got into bed after checking on Maisie, she turned to him.

She had her own decision to make.

"Alec, which version do ya think Owen will go with?  The one you told him or the one I told Jake?"

"Rose, it does not matter what I think, when someone calls, you say you are pregnant and that will be it."

"What if I'm not though?" Rose asked.

"We have already told him we plan to have another, now though I promised we would hold off, to let you settle but he need not know that, we tell him we are going ahead, he'll have to accept that love," he told her.

"What will my dad say, if Owen goes with your theory?  You really started something coming out with that."

"I know and I regret it now, I thought it would help but we cannot tell him what else we think, that will just make him worse and he will never let you go, since it involves you directly.  Rose, even if he lets you go, there will be nothing to stop him calling someone else in to try, the project has to be stopped.  Your father was considering a place on the board, you have to persuade him to go for it."

"Mum won't like it, she told me they're going on a cruise," Rose smiled.

"Well she will have plenty of time to plan it then, won't she?" he smiled back as he turned out the light.  "I think if you are not pregnant, we could go with the idea you are then say it was a false alarm, he can't call you back, I'll make sure it is in the terms."

Rose thought she might well be anyway, the night before they had gone to Torchwood, despite him being ill at the time but she regretted now she'd ever thought of standing in front of the device.  Now, this Alec was fit and well, like the other one would have been after the procedure.  She would never know unless the ripple was recreated and then, Torchwood would get to know and she would be responsible.

"What you think love?" Alec continued, hovering over her.

"Yeah, let's go with that, they might believe it Alec, we said we were trying.  If I go get a test, we can just say it was a bit early to get a positive result."

"That is not going to stop us though?" he asked, pulling the strap of her nightdress over her shoulder.

"No, why should it?" Rose replied.  "You said we would take this easy though."

"We will love, I just miss you, you know that?"

Rose knew she had to give in, if just this once or she would lose his support and he was all she had.  If she was stuck in this version of reality with no way back other than to get Torchwood to recreate the ripple, if there had ever been one, how could she be sure she would find herself back where she came from?  There was too much risk involved, Alec could be wrong and something else had happened.  She was here to stay and it wasn't that bad, judging that Alec was kissing his way across her after finishing with her neck.

After Rose saying she could manage to get Maisie to the nursery on her own the next morning, Alec kissed them goodbye and told her if Jake or anyone rang, she had to let him know right away.

"Yeah, I will but Jake might call you first," Rose told him as Alec put Maisie in Rose's car, the youngster grabbing his hand.

"Then we had best hope he has good news," Alec replied, going to tickle his daughter.  "Bye princess, have a good time at nursery," he told Maisie.  "Go get that test eh love?" he asked Rose, going to kiss her goodbye.

"Yeah, I'll call and get one and do it tonight, I don't want to do it on my own.  Don't ask Ellie to come around though, I wouldn't know what to talk about, we didn't get on all that well before all this."

"Rose, you did not get on at first but you became friends during the trial, I told you that."

"Yeah, I know but she'll ask me things I don't know the answers to.  Can you trust her?"

"Yes, we can trust her, do you want me to tell her what happened to you, well some of it?" he asked her.

"Yeah, tell her I had a bad experience and I don't remember things, she can help me cover it up."

Up at the Miller house, well not that she still considered herself married to the person who took Danny's life and got away with it, Ellie had just picked up the morning post, noticing one looked official.  Brian was trying to get Fred to leave the dog alone again and Tom was picking at his breakfast.  Ellie sat down to read the letter, Brian joining her.

"Does he want a divorce?" he asked her.

"No, I wish he did, the separation will have to do for now, since the judge turned me down because Joe wasn't found guilty," Ellie replied.  "It's from the law firm Sharon Bishop worked for and I thought she was in charge.  Seems there's been a lot of complaints about her and they're looking at old cases of clients she got off."

"Well that's good Ellie, there might be a re-trial then?"

"I doubt it unless new evidence has come to light, Mark tried after the trial and got nowhere and look how he ended up?" Ellie replied.  "Anyway, they say they'll contact me again when they have sufficient complaints to get her disbarred or stopped from trying cases where it's obvious someone is guilty."

"Shame Hardy's wife didn't do something about it at the time," Brian told her.

"What could Rose have done?" Ellie asked him, putting the letter away.

"After you and Hardy got accused?" Brian laughed.

"Rose dealt with the lawyer in her own way, trust me, it was far more effective.  If they'd got another lawyer to take her place, it would have delayed everything and we still might not have won.  Right, we should be off, come on Fred, Tom.  Rose never forgave you for bumping into her that time when she'd just arrived."

"Was she upset I suggested she was too busy doing her nails?" Brian grinned.

"It didn't help, then you wonder why she doesn't like you," Ellie laughed.

"I'm all cut up about it Ellie," Brian replied.

"Hardy wanted me to talk to her but he told me not to bother last night, he says she's been a bit off."

"Well she's probably just distracted by the fact he wants her to have another," Brian told her.

"Another what Uncle Brian?" Fred asked him.

"Never you mind, come on or you'll be late.  Tom, I'll pick him up tonight, I'll tell the school he won't be staying, I'm going to cut my hours," Ellie told the teenager.

Rose had dropped Maisie at the nursery, saying hello to Chloe and her saying they would meet at four on the beach for a picnic then Rose drove to the supermarket, hoping no-one would see her paying for a pregnancy test at the desk, the more expensive reusable one.

Getting home, she read the instructions again and decided she'd rather wait until Alec got home.  She had just got back when Pete rang her.

"How are you doing Rose?" he asked her.

"Still confused, sorry.  Any news yet?"

"No, Owen's not said anything, I came into the office today, just in case.  If he won't close the project, I'm taking that seat on the board and calling a meeting as the still deputy director, since I'm still it until next week.  We'll get you out of this Rose, I promise."

"Alec promised me as well.  I think I can get out of it though, even if he won't close the project," Rose told him.

"Jake told me what you thought had happened.  I'd rather go with your version than his, sorry," Pete replied.

"Yeah, me too and Alec's regretting coming out with that.  No, I meant something else but promise not to tell mum?"

"No, don't tell me you're pregnant?" Pete asked.  "I won't say anything until you're sure love.  Owen will want proof though."

"Yeah, we know Dad, I've got a test but tests can be wrong.  Please tell me you and Jake have a plan if Owen won't let me go?"

"We have, don't worry.  Jake's just arrived, we should be hearing from Owen soon, I'll call you back love," Pete told her.

Jake poured some coffee and sat opposite Pete's temporary desk.

"He's just let me go," Jake grinned.  "I don't know what he's decided but I did everything I could.  How did Rose sound?"

"Upset, not surprisingly," Pete replied.  

"I might not have helped, I mentioned Mickey to her yesterday," Jake admitted.

"Jake, what did you do that for?" Pete asked him.  "Never mind, it's done now.  All we can do is wait but if he won't let her go, I'm calling a board meeting, they can overturn his decision if it brings an agent's health into question."

"I wonder what Alec's like?" Jake grinned.  "I wouldn't want to be his DS this morning."

"We should have said that the other day though it was all up in the air at the time.  Owen might not have been aware anyway, I may have neglected to tell him," Pete smiled.

Alec was sat in his office, trying to take his mind off what Owen would decide.  He was prepared to go to great lengths to stop Rose going off again, he should never have let her go the last time.  Was she right though, that everything just carried on around her while she stood there or was he right?  Weren't they both the same explanations?

He regretted trying to persuade Torchwood that time had gone faster wherever she'd gone though, hopefully it would be proved otherwise, just as long as they didn't come to the same conclusion as he had or Rose would never be free.

Chapter 10
Rose jumped when her phone rang just as she was about to set off to the nursery.  There was Owen's name on the screen and her heart leapt.

"Director," Rose addressed him when he had said hello.

"I've made my decision," Owen told her.

"I'm just going to the nursery so can we please get this over with or you'll have to call Alec," Rose replied, picking up the car keys.

"Well if you don't want to hear what I have to say?" Owen asked her.

"Yeah, I do but I have to go pick up Maisie, if it's gonna take a while, call Alec."

"Then I'll get to the point.  You, Rose Hardy are off the hook, for now."

Rose breathed a sigh of relief.  "What do ya mean for now?" she asked as she realised what he'd just said.

"For further investigation on the device and what happened to you.  I trust I can count on your cooperation?" Owen continued.

"With what?" Rose asked, unlocking her car door.

"Well not with the device itself, with what happened to you."

"I'll have to talk to Alec," Rose told him, fastening her seatbelt.  "I'll get him to call you, I'll be meeting him soon."

"Very well but don't get used to keeping me waiting Rose, I'm not your father."

Rose wanted to say that was for certain and she couldn't get used to the fact this Pete was her real one but ended the call and reversing in the large gravel driveway, set off to the nursery but noticing Mark Latimer's blue van parked across the street and he was sitting in it.  She hoped he wouldn't follow her and she'd have to call Alec about it or tell him when she met him, along with what Owen had just told her.

What did he mean by further investigation though?  It had better not mean a brain scan or Alec would go crazy.  Seeing Mark wasn't actually following her, though she was trained to know when someone was, she arrived at the nursery without incident just in time as the nursery assistant was letting out those who only went in the morning.  Rose was regretting Alec insisting Maisie went every morning from next week and wished they'd opted for three full days instead.  Maybe there was still time to change?

Alec was clock-watching, counting how many minutes until he met Rose and Maisie for lunch and there were too many.  Ellie had smiled to herself as she'd sat back at her desk, she knew the signs he was anxious to leave for his lunch break. 

Fifteen minutes to go, his personal mobile rang – seeing it was Owen Harper.

"You have some news?" Alec asked, not even asking anything else.

"Hello to you too, Detective Inspector Hardy.  I take it I'm not disturbing you?" Owen asked him.

"Well, what do you have to say?" Alec wanted to know.  "If it is anything less than Rose is free from Torchwood, I'm not satisfied."

"She is, well for now.  I called her but she was about to pick up your daughter so I figured she would talk to you soon anyway and I hate waiting around," Owen told him

Alec already knew that after he'd met Owen properly for the first time as acting director – pending Pete's retirement.

Owen continued.  "On condition it's proved Rose is either pregnant or I get a psychological report the last trip has affected her that it's not safe to let her continue, if she imagined she'd gone nowhere when everyone saw her disappear."

Alec was relieved, well a little.  "It is not safe to let her continue and you know it, just let her go, find someone else if you insist on continuing."

"I'm ordering a further enquiry into the cannon, Jake's report was not conclusive so I'm suspending missions until I get some better results.  I am interested in hearing more about your theory though.  Maybe when you and Rose attend her stepfather's retirement party, you will extend your visit and meet me in my office for a further discussion?"

"Rose has been through enough, what I said was only a suggestion, there are several other possibilities she thought she went nowhere," Alec told him, hoping Owen would go off the idea of what he'd come up with on Rose's return.

"Such as?" Owen asked him.

This was Alec's chance to throw him off the scent.

"Well to start with, she told Jake that she may have somehow been suspended in time," he suggested.

"He's already mentioned that.  Go on."

Alec wondered how many more explanations did he want but the more the better – it would keep him too busy to worry about getting Rose back.

"Maybe we should just believe her?" Alec asked, thinking why should he do all Torchwood's work?

"Do you?" Owen asked him, thinking he was going to get nothing else out of the detective.

"Yes, I have to believe that was what it seemed like to her but we all saw her disappear.  She may have just been out of sync and she never went anywhere, that would explain things."

"Maybe?  I would still like to discuss it with both of you, I'm sure your mother-in-law would look after your daughter for you," Owen told him, Alec detecting a hint of sarcasm.

"I will talk to Rose but if she says no, then you will have to settle for it, I'll not have her being upset any more.  You will just have to accept she wants to be let go after what just happened, her father will get her seen by an independent medical expert."

"I have no doubt he will.  Well like I said, she's off the hook for now, depending on what my team of experts make of what happened in previous jumps, not just this one."

"What do you hope to gain by that?" Alec asked him, seeing he only had about ten minutes until meeting Rose and Maisie.

"We have to go back and see if there have been any similar occurrences before this one."

"Then it proves the device is not safe.  Owen, I will not put my wife at risk to test your damn machine, so get that straight.  You want to go into the legal side of it then be my guest, Pete will fight you all the way so let her go, no ifs and no buts."

"We'll see Alec, I'll let you know what we find but until then, do what you must.  If that includes getting legal advice or something to prove Rose has been deeply affected by the last occurrence, then go ahead, it will all be taken into account," Owen told him.

"Well in that case, you know Pete will fight you all the way as much as I will and don't think Rose's mother won't get involved either, not where it concerns stopping Rose going ahead and having another baby.  We may be closer to that than anyone thinks, we just have to confirm it and if you think I will risk that, you are mistaken."

"I'm well aware of your family plans Alec and no-one is going anywhere until the tests prove something conclusive, Jake's findings proved nothing actually went wrong that the device recorded, there may be other factors involved," Owen admitted.

"Well that is quite clear, something the device did not pick up did happen to her, she may have just been suspended in time and who is to know if she would have ever come back?  If you think you can use that to your advantage, you are mistaken, she was gone over four hours, if someone else tries it, it could be four years next time and Rose is not going to stand there and miss four years of her life," Alec warned him.

He knew that Rose had possibly lost three years of her life as it was, he wasn't going to add to that possibility but to him, Rose had been with him every minute of the time she claimed she'd lost.  It was looking more and more to him that she was right, the world had changed around her and everyone except her had moved forward.

What worried him now was Owen would take his suggestions to see if Rose's last trip could be recreated but it would end up with someone going missing and it wasn't going to be her.

"I will see you both at Pete's retirement party and if Rose wants to discuss things, you can come and see me.  Until the time something is proved, she can get back to normal."

"Owen, Rose will take some getting over what happened, it brought back very bad memories of losing Mickey, she does not need that right now if she is pregnant."

Alec hung up, knowing Owen was deliberately dragging his heels over this.  The man just didn't want to admit someone else was right and Torchwood were wrong.  Why did Pete have to give the directorship to Owen Harper?  He was from medical and in a short time had worked his way up to head of the cannon project because he wanted to study how operatives were coping with the impact of being sent to another world.

Sometimes Alec wondered how Rose had got caught up in it but he supposed before he met her, she wanted to do something other than sit in an office all day and process alien arrivals, not that he'd met any that he knew of but he wished she would tell him the real reason.  Maybe it was just to get over the mysterious man who had left her years ago whom she thought he was when they'd met?

He got his jacket and standing behind Ellie announced he was going for lunch.

"Want me to come with you?" Ellie asked him, wishing he wouldn't stand behind her, like he was trying to catch her out.

"No, I'm sure you have other things to do Miller, Rose and I have something to talk about."

"Oh, she heard back then?" Ellie asked him, not wanting to say who from.

"Yes and I just had a call since she was on her way to the nursery," Alec replied.

"So what's the verdict?"

"There is no verdict Miller, just a postponement, Rose will not be too happy but it's marginally better than him saying no, for now."

"Won't her father get her out of it?" Ellie asked him.

"He's doing everything he can before he leaves but he has very little time.  I am going to be late."

Rose was waiting across the road, trying to get Maisie to sit still in her stroller as she was wanting to be out.

"No sweetheart, you wait there until daddy comes," Rose told her.

"Where daddy?"

"Yeah, he's late, something must have held him up, it had better not be uncle Owen calling him."

"Where Yake?" Maisie asked her, holding her hands out.

"You like uncle Jake?  Shame you never knew uncle Mickey, he would have loved being an uncle.  Maisie, daddy's here."

She turned the stroller towards him as she saw him coming down the steps.  Maisie started struggling again as Rose unfastened the strap.

"Hey princess, where are you going eh?" Alec asked her as he held his arms out to pick her up.  "Hello love, sorry I got held up," he apologised to Rose, kissing her cheek then kissing Maisie's, making her laugh and wipe it.  "Go back to your mum while I get lunch."

As they waited for their orders, Alec told her about the call from Owen.

"Well I'd have talked to him myself if he'd not left it so late.  I had a call from dad, I'll tell ya later.  So what did Owen say then?"

"That you are free for now but I doubt it will stop him trying to get you to volunteer," Alec told her.

"Well he's out of luck, that's it now, how can I risk it again Alec?"

"You can't love, it's done with.  We have plans to make now.  Did you get that testing kit?"

"Yeah, we'll get Maisie to bed tonight and see what it says.  I feel okay though."

"You do?" he smiled as their food arrived.  "Rose, you were six weeks when you found out last time."

"I was?  I suppose I was making allowances?"

"You could say that, you kept insisting we'd not tried for long enough once we got together properly," Alec grinned.

"I expect you complained about that?" Rose smiled.

"You could also say that love.  I tried to steer Owen from my suggestion though."

"Did it work?" Rose asked as she tried to feed Maisie, who wanted Alec to do it.  "She's a real daddy's little girl," Rose observed.

"I can't imagine why love," Alec smiled.  "Your mother said you were the same, now I know why she fusses so much after her granddaughter.  If you are pregnant, she will want you to have another girl."

"Well she might be in for a wait, we could be wrong.  It's too soon for me Alec."

"I know love, I know you wanted some time to adjust to this but take the test first eh?  No point in worrying about it just yet."

"Yeah, I know but what if I am?  I'm not ready Alec."

"You have my undivided attention love, I can go on reduced hours or we get Maisie in nursery full time, that will help.  I will be there evenings and weekends, what do you have to worry about eh?"

"Something's bothering me, if I am," Rose admitted.

"We should talk about it at home love.  So princess," he turned to Maisie.  "How was nursery today?"

"You'd get a shock if she answered you," Rose smiled.  "By the way, I saw Mark Latimer's van when I was setting off for nursery, he was parked opposite."

"You should have called me love," Alec told her.

"He was just sitting there, he was gone when I got back."

"Well you call me the next time he's there or anywhere else you go, with or without Maisie but what's brought it all on again?"

"No point in asking me," Rose grinned as Alec tried to fasten Maisie in her stroller, the toddler not obliging.  "We'll walk, she can hold onto it.  Why was Mark hanging around?"

"If I knew where he was staying, I would ask him that.  Did you say you were meeting Beth later?" Alec asked.

"Yeah, on the beach for a picnic, I should go get ready for it.  Come and join us after work, if you want?"

"I will leave you to it love," he smiled, kissing her cheek.  "Bye princess, be good for your mum."

Back in London, Pete was making some decisions.  After his call to Rose and talking to Jake, he called Owen after lunch.

"So, you want a meeting?" Owen asked him when Pete said he wasn't happy with things when Owen had told him about Rose.  "It'll not change my mind about a further enquiry."

"Do I have to take it to the board?  You know as well as I do, the project needs abandoning now, this is the second time something has gone wrong."

"What happened to Mickey was a tragedy, you can hardly blame it on the device Pete," Owen told him.

"If that thing carried two at a time, Mickey would have got away," Pete reminded him.  "He'd still be here and Rose wouldn't be so upset about it all over again, if they'd both activated their devices at the same time but they couldn't and he knew it, he chose to save her and her unborn child."

"Pete, it's done, no-one can bring him back, as much as we want to, that's why we changed how we brought an agent back," Owen told him.  "Do you really think I'm that heartless?  What just happened with Rose was not about her not being able to get back, if she claims she went nowhere.  Alec came up with yet another theory, why did you never recruit him?"

Pete detected a hint of sarcasm in the new director's voice.  "You know why Owen, he's a detective, it's what he does best.  Why, what did he say?"

"Has Rose not told you?" Owen asked him.

"No, maybe because he'd not said anything to Rose.  So, what was it?"

"That Rose was somehow suspended and everything went on around her or something like that," Owen replied.

Pete soon caught on that Alec would keep coming out with theories for as long as it took to confuse Owen and get him to shut down the project for good.

"That could have happened, it would seem to Rose like she went nowhere.  Now you should see why it needs closing," Pete told him.

"Oh, I don't know, who says if he's right this time or the other explanation?  I'm ordering a complete breakdown of past missions and I suggested a meeting to him, when they next come up to London.  Seems he's not so keen on that though, he probably thinks I'm going to order Rose to recreate what happened to her," Owen replied.

"Are you?" Pete asked.

"I'm keeping the options open but think about it Pete, if Rose can recreate it, we can have someone do the same, keep them for a certain length of time.  What does that suggest to you?"

Pete knew where this was going and he liked it even less than how Owen would use the other theory Alec had and send an invasion force to the world they thought Rose had gone to.  Now, the new director was talking about time travel, in not so many words and in Owen Harper's hands, it would be disastrous.

"I think the board needs to know about the possibility, I'm calling a meeting and I'm accepting a place," Pete replied.

"Your wife won't be pleased," Owen laughed.

"That's the least of my worries.  What worries me is who you're thinking of getting to try either of Alec's theories, I take it you have Jake in mind?" Pete asked him, knowing full well who Owen had in mind for the job.

"He's our most senior agent and head of security, amongst other things, he's qualified.  Think about it Pete, we make portable versions and agents would be able to report back what was going to happen, then we can prevent whatever is about to go wrong."

"You're getting way ahead of yourself Owen," Pete reminded him.  "We don't even know if that's what happened to Rose yet."

He was going to say that even if it was viable, it could be taken advantage of.  He called Jake to his office after he put the phone down.

"Owen's getting dangerous Jake, how can I leave now?" Pete asked him.

"Is there nothing you can do?" Jake asked him, helping himself to coffee.

"Not without angering my wife," Pete half smiled.  "Seriously, I wish I'd never agreed to let him take over."

"How did ya know what he'd turn out like?" Jake asked.

"I should have seen it coming, he started taking the project too seriously," Pete replied.

"It was his job Pete, even I never suspected.  Maybe Alec saw it though?  So, what’s the verdict?"

"She's off the hook for now Jake but I'm even more worried for her now and for you."

"How'd ya mean?" Jake wanted to know.

"Alec came up with something else and I'm beginning to wonder whose side he's actually on.  I know he's trying to protect Rose and their daughter but honestly, he's just making things even worse.  Jake, Owen is torn between what he said about Rose going to a place where time ran faster and now, where she actually stayed where she was and time carried on around her."

"So, what's bad about that?" Jake asked.  "If she went nowhere, Owen will see it's a complete waste of time doin' anything about it – won't he?"

"You've not heard what Owen makes of it," Pete sighed.

"Well are ya gonna tell me then?" Jake wanted to know.

"I don't think you want to know for two reasons Jake.  One is he wants you to head up what he has planned."

"Tell me something new," Jake grinned.  "What's the really bad news?  He wants Rose to go with me?"

"No, not yet, I tried to play the 'she's not fit to go anywhere' card.  Jake, Owen now thinks that with Rose going nowhere and everything carried on around her, that Torchwood can develop portable devices so they emerge after a certain length of time."

"So, what does he hope to gain by that?" Jake asked curiously.

"You don't get it Jake.  What he's proposing sounds like an agent emerges say after a few hours but what then?  A few days, a few years?  He wants them to come back and report what they saw, what was happening."

"What?" Jake asked.  "Is he completely crazy?  So what if they come back and report to him, about the future?"  Then it hit him.  "No, tell me he's not thinking of interfering with future events?"

"You tell me Jake but that's what it sounds like to me.  He even said if they report back, Torchwood could intervene, stop anything bad happen but I think it's much deeper than that."

"He's talking time travel Pete, in not so many terms.  An agent reports back on a future development, say in a few years time, he authorises them to go back and steal it, it gets developed years ahead, something we're not meant to have yet."

"Not only that Jake, he doesn't have to go to another world to invade it, if that's what he intended doing with Alec's first theory.  He gets everything he wants from this world."

"Yeah, then when he gets even more power hungry Pete, he does it to other worlds, not just ours and the one we thought Rose went to.  When is he gonna stop?"

Chapter 11
Pete remained in his office after Jake left and debated whether to call either Rose or Alec but Alec would be the level-headed one.  Alec had got back to his office, not happy about Mark Latimer hanging around and Rose not knowing why, well not now she didn't.  He'd wondered if she was ever going to remember the last three years, which had been the happiest of his life, well more than three years since they'd first met when he was trying to get his life back together after his last failed case.

He'd been a scruff at the time of his arrival because he didn't care but Rose had modernised him, got him to style his hair, sort of, taken him shopping and he'd mellowed because despite her telling him she had thought he was someone else, he'd fallen for her in a big way.

Now, some of that was lost – him asking her to marry him when they found out she was pregnant and then almost losing her had it not been for Mickey and the day Maisie was born.  All he could do was try and help her remember and he would, once the thought of her standing in front of that wretched device was gone once and for all.  Maybe he should get Jake to sabotage it?

He was interrupted from his thoughts by Ellie letting herself in and sitting opposite him.

"So, how was Rose?" Ellie asked him as he looked up.

"She'll be fine but we have another problem Miller – Mark Latimer was watching the house again."

"You are joking?" Ellie asked him.

Alec raised his eyebrows.  "He was watching the house when Rose was setting off for the nursery.  She was meeting Beth later, I doubt she will mention it to her though, he's not Beth's problem any more.  There is another thing, Rose has been having trouble recovering from her last mission."

"Well if she'd see me, I'd be able to help but you put me off the last time," Ellie objected.

"For a good reason Miller.  She just needs some time but now Latimer is hanging around again, it may delay things.  Come round tonight, she may talk to you."  Then he remembered they had something to do tonight.  "No, make it tomorrow, we have something to discuss tonight."

Ellie rolled her eyes.  "I can guess what that's all about Hardy, you two have got baby-making on the brain, you should give it a rest."

"We may do, I think that is what is wrong with her, she was fine until she came back this time, now she's going off the idea," he admitted.

"Oh, she came to her senses then?" Ellie grinned.  "Really, give her a chance, with all this going on at Torchwood, another baby isn't what she needs right now until she's let go.  I'm surprised they even carried on after that incident."

"Trust me Miller, her father and her friend are doing all they can to get her out of going again.  I even tried telling the new director that Rose may be pregnant but he wants proof of that or proof she's not fit to go again."

"Is she?" Ellie asked.

"We will find out tonight but tests can be wrong.  Something else is wrong though, she is still forgetting things."

"Such as?" Ellie asked.  "Do you think it scared her and brought the trauma of losing her friend back?"

"Maybe, I have to discuss it with her father but he's out soon, we have very little time."  

His phone buzzed and he saw it was Pete.  Ellie got up to leave him to talk.

"Pete, I was thinking of calling you," Alec told him.

"I take it you already talked with Owen?" Pete asked.

"Yes, what is he playing at?  What is so important that it has to be Rose who carries on?  Is there something you have not told me?"

"You need to ask Rose, it's not up to me to tell you Alec.  Tell her I say it's okay to let you in on what happened to her before she met you."

"She has been hiding something?  Well that explains some of it then but why could she never tell me?  Has it something to do with the man she thought I was?"

"Partly.  Alec, she's lost some of her memories, hasn't she?"

"Yes, the last three years or so, maybe more from what she has told me, things about you and her mother.  She thinks she had a younger brother and Mickey is still alive somewhere.  You can't let on to her that I told you, she does not trust anyone but who knows how that last jump affected her?" Alec asked him.

"You've done the right thing in telling me, it won't go any further Alec.  Does she remember having Maisie or when you got married?"

"Sadly, no, she remembers meeting me and who she thought I was, well still no name though her version of events is slightly different but I expect that is the result of her being over four hours in suspension.  Owen does not seem to agree."

"I know, I spoke with him.  I'm taking it to the board Alec, Owen thinks your theory of Rose standing and letting the world go on around her can have its advantages."

"Such as?" Alec wanted to know.  "No, do not tell me.  He wants to use it to suspend someone for longer and see what they find?"

"You're wasted as a detective Alec," Pete laughed.  "Yes, something along those lines.  Maybe days or even years then he suggested a device to bring them back.  He can't be allowed to go ahead."

"It is not me you need to convince," Alec told him.  "Is there no loophole to get him removed?"

"I'm working on it but Jackie won't like it.  I could take back temporary control until someone else can be appointed but no-one is qualified and bringing someone from outside is out of the question, at least until they are qualified.  I don't suppose you fancy a change of career?"

"Me?" Alec asked.  "I somehow think Rose will accept that less than Jackie does you remaining in the job.  What about Jake?"

"Jake does a fine job Alec but it’s not his thing, he likes too much trouble to sit behind a desk telling others what to do.  I called a meeting for tomorrow morning, Owen is not invited, I can still have some say around here.  It's a shame you won't consider it, not even as the deputy director."

"Speaking of whom, what is she up to these days?" Alec asked.

He could see Ellie was dying to know what was going on.

"Same as usual, staying out of things and on one of her fact–finding missions, in Cardiff.  She doesn't get the concept of being appointed deputy once I go completely, that was the reason I agreed to do it until it's official.  I've made her aware of what happened to Rose but it's doubtful she'll return just yet.  I feel sorry for the Welsh team.  Back to Rose though, do what you can Alec, to fill in the gaps, it'll all come back to her."

"Then I hope you are right Pete, it pains me to see her like that.  With her not remembering having Maisie, it is somewhat difficult for her, I suggested Maisie goes five mornings to nursery next week but we suspect Rose may already be pregnant but do not tell her mother."

"I won't, not until you're certain, then Rose should tell her.  Owen has to let her go if she is Alec."

"I have already made him aware, he wants proof but it may be too early to tell yet.  What are you telling the board?"

"What I told you and Jake, Owen's getting out of hand before he's even started and see what they think, he's changed a lot from when he objected to carrying on after Mickey.  We could be wrong about the whole thing though but I doubt it.  Seems Owen likes the idea of someone doing the thinking for him."

"You mean the ideas I had to get Rose out of being sent on any more missions?  Pete, I tried to come up with reasonable explanations when no-one seemed to believe Rose went nowhere.  It is hardly my responsibility if someone takes those ideas and twists them to suit their own purpose."

"I know Alec, I'm not blaming you that Owen is getting out of hand, it would have happened sooner or later.  I spoke with him earlier, nothing is going to make him let her go that easily and when you come up next weekend, if Rose won't tell you the reason, then I will but you won't like it."

"Pete, she's my wife, whatever it is will not make me love her any less.  There is another explanation that Rose and I think happened but she does not want anyone else to know about it.  I will try and talk her into letting you in on it but I make no promises.  If she says no, that is it."

"I understand Alec, just help her the only way you can but I'll tell you one thing.  Rose never had a brother but she almost did, Jackie lost a baby a few years before Rose met you, no-one knows except Jake, we kept it quiet.  We should have told you and I apologise."

"I see.  Then you have my sympathy and it does explain why now Rose thinks it was for real.  I won't tell her you told me about it.  As for Mickey though, she still cannot come to terms with it and I can't help her with that, as much as I want to."

"I know Alec, no-one can help her if you can't," Pete told him sadly.  "Maybe her thinking he's still alive isn't so unexpected, maybe she was wrong when she came back, he could still be alive."

"I can't give her false hope Pete, she told us she saw half a dozen weapons fire as she vanished, he would not have survived, she was lucky to get out.  I will try talking to her about it, maybe she is still feeling guilty?"

"You're probably right Alec.  Right, I should be off, I have to go appease Jackie and approve payment on a cruise.  Sure you three don't want to join us?" Pete asked.

"I think Maisie is too young to go on a cruise but we should be thinking of going somewhere soon, that may cheer Rose up, planning a holiday, maybe to a resort so there is something to keep Maisie amused.  So which do you think will be the worst, convincing the board about the new director or telling your wife you are having seconds thoughts about leaving?"

Pete let out a laugh.  "What do you think?"

Rose had got Maisie to have an afternoon nap on the sofa by lying next to her after she'd made the picnic up so when the young girl woke, it was time to make their way over to the beach, Rose wondering why they hadn't made a gate in the hedge to save walking around but she supposed Alec thought it a security risk in the holiday season.

She'd been thinking maybe a holiday was in order, if they'd had one, she'd missed out but how was she accepting all this so easily?  She'd hardly had time to think about it the last few days, trying to settle down and accept this was now her life that had been dramatically changed but things were still bothering her, like if she'd got pregnant before this had happened but time was now all over the place for her.

Seeing Beth walking along to their meeting place, Rose waved and keeping Maisie on the reigns they made their way onto the beach.  This was going to be make or break convincing Beth they'd become good friends after the trial, which she knew nothing about and had not taken place from her point of view.

The two young girls were sat on the sands playing with buckets and spades, Rose taking a picture and Beth was asking her how their plans for another were coming along.

"We're working on it," Rose smiled as Lizzie got up to show her mother something.  "Beth, does it upset you, that I keep going on about having another baby?"

"No, it doesn't bother me, Mark and I aren't likely to get back together but I could meet someone else, just look at Ellie, who would have thought her and Brian?"

That was news to Rose, Alec had somehow failed to mention Ellie was in another relationship.  She couldn't let on though but did Beth mean the same Brian who she didn't like when she'd first met him at the station?

"Yeah, who would have guessed?" Rose had to agree.  "Beth, if you don't mind me asking, do you keep in touch with Mark?"

Beth laughed.  "That last trip of yours fry your brain?  No, I don't see him, I offered to let him see Lizzie but he chose to drive off when your husband told him what he'd do if he caught him following you again.  Rose, I'm sorry Mark chose to do that, he had no reason to when I made friends with you but he couldn't let it go, not after he went after Joe Miller and I couldn't forgive him for it"

"Sorry, I didn't mean to upset you.  Yeah, I've been feeling a bit off since I got back, Alec thinks I'm pregnant, he wants me to do a test tonight."

"Well fingers crossed then.  You don't look too happy about it though," Beth observed as Maisie came towards Rose.

"It's just with what's going on at work, changes are happening and Alec doesn't like it," Rose tried to explain as Maisie went to sit on her lap.  "Maisie's going five mornings from next week, aren't you sweetheart?" she asked the toddler.  "With a bit of luck, I won't have to keep going back to London."

"Good luck with that then but I always got the impression you enjoyed it?" Beth asked her.

"Not any more, I just want a normal life Beth, I can't have that when I don't know when they're gonna send for me.  Anyway, enough of that.  Do ya think Chloe will babysit tomorrow night, we might have something to celebrate and if not, Alec will need cheering up."

"Yeah, I'll get her to call you later then.  Looks like these two have had enough," Beth smiled as Lizzie sat herself down on Beth.

After saying goodbye, Rose sat on a bench opposite her new home, well new to her and called Alec, who was just leaving his office.

"Hey Alec, want to come and meet us?  We're just around the corner," she asked him, Maisie trying to grab the phone.  "Oh, your daughter wants to say hello," Rose smiled.  "Say hi to daddy."

Alec soon caught up with them, Rose letting Maisie go to run up to him, Alec swinging her around.

"Hey princess, had a good time on the sands?" he asked her, expecting to get covered with it but Rose had cleaned her up.

He leaned down to kiss Rose's cheek as he sat down.

"Something wrong love?" he asked as Maisie began chatting away.

"No, it's fine, I'm just nervous about taking that test.  Alec, I don't think I could be, could I?  I mean it must have been before I went on that last mission and if I got all mixed up, well I don't want to think what could have happened."

"Rose, you will be fine love, if it was from before, you will have protected it, like Mickey protected you that time and I think we should talk more about that, you could have been wrong, when he let you escape."

"Alec, I don't know what happened to him, do I?  I wasn't the one who was there."

"You were love, you just don't remember, that's all.  I spoke to your dad earlier, he's concerned about what Owen will do with my ideas.  I should not have come out with what I did."

"How were you to know what he'd do with them Alec?" Rose asked him as Maisie pretended to be all shy with her.  "Even Maisie can see something's not right."

"Rose, she knows nothing of the sort, all kids are like that at times.  For some reason, she always favours me when I am around but that is because I am out most of the time, it's only natural.  Don't think anything of it, is she fine when it's just the two of you?"

"Yeah, I suppose so.  Sorry," Rose replied, putting her arm through his and leaning on his shoulder.  "What did dad have to say?"

"That he may delay his retirement but I may have a murder investigation on my hands when your mother finds out," Alec smiled, Maisie copying Rose and resting on his other shoulder, making Rose smile.

"Some investigation when you know who's done it.  It's serious then?  What does dad think Owen will do?"

"Use what happened to you and control how long someone stays suspended.  In other words, we think agents will go into the future and goodness knows what Owen will have them doing, stealing future inventions is only the start of it, who knows where it will end?"

"He's thinking of time travel, isn't he?"

"We think so love.  Your dad said you had not told me something, about before we met.  Care to tell me now?  What is so secret that you can't tell me?"

"Alec, I don't know what dad thinks it is, honestly, not now.  Yeah, I still have secrets because of who I was before all this happened.  Have you not listened to me Alec?  I'm not the same person as before the last mission, literally."

"I understand that Rose, really I do, it changed you.  You are living three years in the past and things developed around you, things you were meant to take part in, things everyone else including me know you took part in.  That in itself is a kind of time travel.  If Owen finds out, I dread to think what he will do, that's why he won't let you go, he thinks you caused it to happen and it won't work for anyone else."

Rose sat up, disturbing Maisie, who had been quite content to rest on her dad's shoulder.

"Does my dad think that Alec?" she asked him.

"I did not mention it to him but we have to tell him what we think really happened.  Now though, I'm beginning to wonder if there was a ripple at all, that somehow, something encompassed you and caused a bubble in which you stayed exactly the same as you were with a few changes.  Yes, you stood in front of the device and we were not married, it dragged you forward slightly then the whole world just bent around you."

"Whoa!  Alec, what are you saying?" she asked, thinking this sounded a bit too familiar for her liking.  "You're scaring me.  We have to go home, I have things I need to tell you and you're not gonna like it.  Actually, you'll probably pack up and take Maisie with you, back to my parents and ask Pete to get me locked up."

"You are being too dramatic Rose.  I'm sure you have nothing to tell me apart from what your dad suggested you were keeping from me already."

"Ya think?" Rose asked him, trying not to upset the young girl.  "Alec, you have no idea what I'm hiding but I'll say this, you're not far from the truth.  I think I did travel in time but it's impossible, Torchwood doesn't have that kind of technology, well my version didn't anyway, now I've given this version of it the means, I'm responsible for what Owen's got planned."

"No, you are not, I am, I gave him the idea."

"Alec, you're him, aren't you?"

"What?" Alec asked, sitting Maisie on his knee.  "Who are you talking about?  You mean the man you never told me about who you thought I was?"

Rose got up.  "We can't talk about this here Alec."

"There is no-one around Rose, please, sit down love."

Rose reluctantly sat back down.  "Why did I never tell you who I thought you were?"

"You said you were over him, that you knew he was never coming back to you," Alec replied.  "We never talked about it again but now, we should.  Who was he?"

Rose had to laugh.  "You should know, he was your twin, Alec or should I say Doctor?"

"What are you on about Rose?  Is that what he was called, just Doctor?"

Rose wanted to run away but it wouldn't do her any good, it would leave her with no-one and she'd be stuck in this version of reality with no way back – ever and worst of all, Owen would send someone after her if this Pete Tyler didn't stop him and she'd have to go into hiding.  She should back out of this while she still could and blame it on the last mission but Alec was looking at her.

She still needed his help, if he was willing after what she had to tell him.

"Yeah, he was called The Doctor, he was a time traveller and I went with him, not just in time but in space, to other planets but not in this dimension or reality, whatever you want to call it.  Alec, before I went on that mission, I was on a parallel world to the one I was born on, this is just another version of that world, well I think it is."

Alec got up, holding Maisie.  "You are right about one thing Rose," he told her, holding out his free hand to help her up.  "We will get Maisie to bed then you, Rose Hardy, if you are Rose Hardy, are going to tell me everything and after that, well?"

Chapter 12
They carried on as normal when they got home, Maisie was already tired and after pouring some lavender baby oil in the bath, she was soon settling down.  Rose assumed the pregnancy test was put on hold for now but Alec had other ideas.

"You may as well get it over with," he hinted as he saw the packet on the kitchen counter.

"I can't be, it's not even possible, not now," Rose sighed.  "If I am, well I don't need to explain it do I?"

"You mean it's not mine, well not this version of me, it's the other one.  I get that Rose.  You just lost three years of your life, it's probably unlikely so leave it if you want?"

"For the second time, I lost three years before.  You never had Cybermen here then?" Rose asked hopefully, thinking that may make it easier to explain.

Alec shook his head.  "Some of the aliens you met?  Care to tell me more?"

Rose was now getting it.  She and the Doctor had never come here the first time, Lumic had never invented the Cybermen and this could theoretically be her original world, there was no proof either way but she somehow doubted it, not unless her original world had given her father back or the Doctor had never whisked her away in the Tardis.

"Well, I don't know where to even start.  I came to Broadchurch because I thought you were him – The Doctor.  Something happened and he was sort of split in two, he had a clone and he was supposed to stay here with me but he ran away.  They went back to my original world, I got trapped here."

She knew she had to alter things slightly, to make it believable.  There was no point saying she'd been once and gone back only to be stranded here, not to mention the Doctor bringing her back and his clone rejecting her.  She'd just got over that with the other Alec.

"You're from a parallel world?  So what about the Rose I married?" he asked, leaning on the kitchen counter.  "I am trying to understand Rose, really I am.  This sounds like Torchwood scrambling your head that you actually believe it.  I spoke with your father, your mother lost a baby before I met you, that is why you think you had a brother.  So, who was this 'Doctor' apart from being a time-traveller?"

She could so easily get out of this by admitting it was the result of her last mission, was she betraying the other Alec and her other family?  What if they were gone?  She went over to the coat rack in the entryway, going for her other bag and bringing out the device then changing her mind.  What if he didn't believe her and handed it over to Torchwood?  She pretended to go in for something else and think about it, going back empty-handed.

"Lost something?" Alec asked.

"Nothing.  I'm so confused Alec, maybe I was suspended and my imagination ran riot?"

"That I can believe.  You never really told me who you thought I was?"

"Yeah, sorry, it didn't seem important at the time.  He was called The Doctor, Doctor John Smith from the Ministry of Science," Rose started to explain, since her first Doctor had shown someone that on his psychic paper.  "He got caught up in an experiment for cloning, the clone took a shine to me but he left me."

What was she doing, she asked herself.  He'd never fall for that but it was her life in the balance here, he'd either accept the truth or pack their things and hand her over to Torchwood, she had no real idea if they dealt with aliens in a friendly way or not.  She had no idea how to recreate this ripple, if like Alec said there ever was one now.

"Alec, about the world changing around me?  Do ya think it really happened?"

He stepped forward and opened his arms.  Rose went over to him, she needed him whether he was her Alec or not.

"Things happened Rose, I accept that.  You don't remember the last three years or so but if we tell Owen you imagined it all, he would stop the project, he'd be wasting his time."

"Well that's good, isn't it?" Rose asked, leaning on his chest.

"Well yes, it's good but he won't believe us, he's determined to make something out of it and unless your dad stops him, he'll never stop.  We have to tell your dad what we think really happened, the ripple or bubble, whichever."

"Can't we tell him I might have imagined it all?" Rose asked hopefully.

"I don't know love, maybe while this ripple effect was happening, you had your memories altered, like we said only you were affected, the rest of us stayed the same.  I'm sorry Rose, something did happen to you and we can't alter that.  All we can do is try to help you get them back.  I should not have said what I did earlier, about you not being my wife but you can see it from my point of view?" he smiled.

Rose couldn't really blame him for that, she'd doubted it when her first Doctor had changed in front of her eyes.  She put her arms around him and he kissed her forehead.

"This is getting us nowhere Alec," Rose had to admit.  "Maybe we'll never know what really happened.  I have to get used to this reality now, maybe all that about the Doctor made me think all those things?"

"That sounds possible, you were stood there all that time, so you say.  You were out of sync with the rest of us, who knows how it affected you?  I'm sorry love."

"Yeah, me too, Beth asked me if I'd fried my brain, she's probably right.  I didn't even know Ellie had taken up with Brian."

"Well don't tell her that," he smiled, resting his chin on her head.  "Want to take that test?"

"I don't know.  Alec, I still think there was a different version of you though."

She knew she had to do something to justify going along with this, what choice did she have, well apart from going into hiding with no possible way back to her own reality.  Her only hope was like Donna, who'd had a world spring up around her, she would somehow break free just as suddenly as it had happened.

She had to face it, the other Alec was gone and she'd lost Tony and Mickey but if she kept her wits about her, she could look for anything that might explain it and find her way back, just like nothing had happened.

"So, no more of this about you being from another reality or another world eh?" Alec asked her, letting her go slightly.  "If you talk like that, someone will get the wrong idea and call Torchwood themselves.  Have you forgotten how they treat people like that?"

Rose shook her head.  "Maybe you'd better remind me so I can avoid it," Rose smiled.

"You don't need that right now.  We go with what we said, that the device messed you up.  You could tell me a few more things though.  You said I'd been ill and I'd been married?"

"I don't know Alec, maybe I shouldn't say what I think the past was like?  Things did change for me but most were for the better.  All we have to worry about is what Owen will do, if my dad can't stop him."

"I could always arrest him," Alec smiled.  "You have to leave it to your dad love, if he can convince the board, Owen will be out but your mother may divorce him.  You told me before she lost the baby they were on the verge."

That sounded familiar, the Jackie her mother had replaced was also on the verge of leaving Pete, maybe this was her adopted world and they had her instead of her mother putting it off?  Yeah, she was still on the same world that had just evolved differently with her being there but why hadn't 'The Reapers' tried to take everyone?  Maybe because the Timelords didn't exist here nothing else did?  The Doctor had been like a magnet to everything.

Maybe that was why his clone had run away?  Because he thought if he stayed, things would start happening, even though he was only a part Timelord?  Maybe he'd not just run off, maybe he saw it as saving everyone and she'd been so angry with both of them.  She was going to have to make the best of it and hope the Doctor would eventually find her and make things right but could she leave this Alec and her daughter?  Some choice.

Alec leaned down to whisper in her ear.

"Why don't I go to the takeaway and get your favourite love?  Then you can go change into that black nightdress and come and relax on the sofa for an hour.  What do you say?"

He kissed just below her ear, making her shiver.

"Yeah, that would be nice, I'll light some candles and pull the curtains over for when you get back.  I think I saw some wine in the cabinet."

"You do that love, maybe you should get changed for when I get back?"

"Eat in my nightdress?" Rose giggled.  "Which wine should I get out?"

"The white, to go with the chicken and rice, had you forgotten love?"

"Yeah, I must have done, sorry.  I'll see if I can find something to wear then?"

Alec got the car keys and using his mobile, found the Chinese takeaway and placed the order.  He got outside and was about to unlock the car door when he caught a glimpse of a blue van opposite, just the front of it.  He was thankful their bedroom was facing the sea, since Rose had just gone upstairs to get changed, she may forget the curtains.

Since he wasn't on duty as such, he decided to wait until he got back and see if Mark was still there but as he reversed his car, he got as far as the gate and saw Mark with his phone in his hand so he stopped and turning off the engine, got out, Mark not seeing him until Alec knocked on the passenger window.  Then Mark pretended he couldn't wind down the window so Alec went around the other side.

"What are you doing here Latimer?" Alec asked him, long since forgetting being nice to the man who'd lost his son after him giving Rose a few scares a while back.

"I've just finished a job, haven't I?" Mark replied.

"You expect me to believe that?" Alec asked him.  "Rose saw you earlier, don't tell me you have just finished?"

"I had to come back with a part," Mark tried to tell him.

"You had better be gone when I get back, understand?" Alec asked him.

"You can't stop me working Hardy, I don't have the luxury of passing up jobs in your street.  How's that wife and daughter of yours then?"

"What?  Don't you talk about them, you have two daughters whom you choose to ignore," Alec reminded him.  "You leave my wife and daughter out of it, it was your choice.  You had better have been at a job because if I find out otherwise, next time I will haul you in."

Alec turned to walk away, since Rose was expecting him coming back with some food and she was getting changed.  Mark decided to call after him.

"It was all your fault Joe Miller got away, you gave the defence the means to get him off.  My Danny should be growing up."

Alec turned back.  "The defence played dirty, it was all I could do stop Rose being in contempt of court when they came out with that rubbish.  Why do you think the two of them became better friends?  It brought them and your wife together because Joe Miller played games.  I have better things to do than stand here talking to you, be thankful I am not on duty."

Alec got in the car before he changed his mind, looking through the mirror to see if Mark was following him.  He wished he knew where the man lived but no-one seemed to know, not even his wife.  He could only find that out through official channels and since so far, the man had only scared Rose and not gone after her, there was nothing he could do.

He just hoped the man would have the sense to keep away from Rose though he suspected she could handle him and she was just playing the scared housewife for his benefit.  Rose had checked on Maisie, standing over her convertible cot that looked like she was going to need it changing soon.  She looked in the wardrobe and found a peach coloured clingy dress that hung off the shoulders so she quickly got changed after deciding Alec would be pleased if she went braless.

She was just lighting the candles when he came back, having set the table and wondered where he'd got to.  Alec locked the door behind him and went into the kitchen.

"Hey sweetheart, I'm back.  Would you believe they were busy and I had to wait?" he smiled as Rose appeared in the doorway.  "Wow, you look great love, got a kiss for me?"

Rose went up to him so he could put his arms around her, seeing the smile on his face as he noticed she wasn't wearing a bra.

"Like what ya see?" Rose smiled back.

"I will tell you when we have eaten," he replied.

"Mark wasn't out there again was he?" Rose asked as she dished the food onto the plates.

"Do not worry about him, he knows to stay away," Alec told her.

Rose was worried, she had no idea how this Mark had reacted to the death of his son, she'd hardly had anything to do with the other Mark, she'd stayed away after she'd been ordered off the case.  It seemed like this version couldn't let it go but it was three years later, who knew what he'd been though?

As they ate, Rose knowing Alec was pleased she had changed for him, she thought maybe now was a good time to bring up going on holiday, before it got too late.

"No, we've not been away, we were waiting to find out about if the cannon project was being stopped," Alec replied.

"So I never knew when I'd be sent for?" Rose asked.

"No love and I wish I could tell you why that was, it was going on long before we met.  You ran away because you thought I was someone else when you saw me on TV.  I suspect that is how you remember it?" 

"Yeah, I left suddenly and never told anyone where I was going until I wanted to help then got Pete to clear it with your chief.  I screwed up and got something wrong so your chief wouldn't let me work with you."

"You keep calling him Pete," Alec observed.  "You say he was your stepfather?"

"Yeah, I told ya Alec, that's how I remember but he must have somehow been saved."

"What do you think happened Rose?" he asked.  "Leave the dishes and come and sit on the sofa with me.  Whatever you remember is the result of what happened a few days ago.  There is no other explanation."

"Alec, what would you do if it was true?  That I'm not your version of Rose?"

"Don't say that Rose, how could you have changed?  You are still the same person, you just have a different set of memories.  Maybe the old ones will never come back properly love but that's fine, I can help you remember.  So, are you going to leave that test?  If you do it and it's positive, Owen will have to let you go and it's all over, at least for a year and your dad can get the project closed down."

"Yeah, I know but I lost three years Alec," Rose reminded him as he put his arm around her and pulled her close.

"You think I don't know that?" he asked her.  "I have just said I will help you but you have to want to remember.  Maybe there was a ripple love, we will never know and whatever it was, we cannot allow Owen to take advantage of it.  We could get you seen by a psychologist, to prove it has affected your perception of things and that you really did go somewhere but you forgot about it," he suggested.

Rose thought about it, putting her arm around his back.  It would be so easy to do as he suggested to just admit she'd imagined her whole past but she knew it was true.  She had the device in her purse that if Torchwood got their hands on it and it still worked, they would get to her version of reality and she dreaded to think what would happen if Owen got his hands on another Torchwood.

The next morning, Alec suggested he dropped Maisie at the nursery and from the next week, Rose would have to get used to going 5 mornings but Rose was about to ask him about that.

"Alec, if I'm pregnant and I'm not saying I am or anything, I might find it awkward to get there every morning," she told him.

"Well we will see if you are first, we can take it in turns unless you are suggesting she goes two or three full days instead of mornings?" he asked her.

"I'm not trying to spend less time with her Alec, honestly but it was different when I was helping mum to raise Tony, she was always in charge and now, I'm responsible for Maisie when you're not here.  I missed two years of her life, how can I make that up?  I don't know what she likes and dislikes."

Maisie was sitting in her high chair, holding a drink out to Alec but he put his arms around Rose.

"You are a great mum to her Rose, you can do this.  No-one knows what a child likes and dislikes, they change their minds about something constantly as we've found out over time.  We have the whole weekend now since we don't have to go up to London, I'll fill you in on a few things eh?" he offered.

"Daddy!" the young girl called out, having put down her plastic cup and was holding her arms out to him.

"Sorry princess.  Time for nursery then?" he asked her.  "Rose, it will be fine, we will try five mornings next week and you find out if you are expecting or not and if not, we will compromise because I do not want to keep holding back in bed every time for fear you don't want to go too far because you don't want to have another baby."

"It's not that Alec, I'm all mixed up.  Before all this, well we had a few shall I say enthusiastic times and I could be but standing in front of that device and being flung forward three years, I don't know now.  If I'm not, I'd rather go on something for a few months until I get used to this, Maisie won't be much older and I may not stay on them for long, just enough time to settle down in this life."

"Then take the test tonight and we will know," he told her, holding Maisie on his hips.  "Come on princess, daddy has to go to work.  See you both at lunchtime then?" he asked Rose as he kissed her cheek and Rose kissed his back then Maisie's.

In the next few hours, Rose had some decisions to make.  She went to where she had the device hidden, not sure if she should even tell Alec about it or not.  It would prove she didn't belong here because if it belonged to this version of Torchwood, Jake would have asked for it back and she now wondered what they used.  Then she had an awful thought – that agents had some kind of implant on their person and she still had one.

She had to be sure so she called Jake, who was with Pete as Pete prepared to meet with the board to ask to be reinstated as temporary director until the project was safely dismantled so Owen couldn't use it to experiment with Rose as to what could only be disastrous and cause her and Alec even more grief.

Pete had not yet told Jackie he was intending going back at least part-time since he could, if he wanted work from his home office and he could safely put Jake in charge of breaking down the components of the cannon device.  Then all that remained was getting Jake and Rose in for minor surgery to have the internal recall receiver removed but he didn't trust Martha Jones to do it, she had been about to scramble Rose's brain even more if Alec hadn't stopped her.

He would just have to trust her under the strict supervision of Alec, Jake and himself plus armed security Jake could trust and if she didn't do the job properly or tried any tricks, she would be forcibly removed from the building after any memories of the organisation had been wiped.  The devices would remain, although harmless since the main components would be useless but there was always the fear that another world's version of Torchwood would get their own versions of the cannon working and Rose would disappear.

Then it hit him as Jake's phone rang and Jake said it was Rose.  As Jake put the phone on the speaker and Rose said she had some questions for him and Jake had said Pete was there, Pete wondered how he could tell them both that it was possible she was not the Rose who had gone away. 

Chapter 13
Pete and Jake had been discussing Pete's upcoming meeting with the board members, Pete knowing what he had to say may or may not be approved of but Owen needed stopping – especially when it involved his daughter.

"So are ya ready then?" Jake asked as he helped himself to coffee.

"Yeah, keep your fingers crossed Jake that we can get Rose out of this," he told him.  "What do you make of all these ideas Alec keeps coming up with?"

Jake grinned.  "That he's doing what any husband would do to protect his wife and his daughter.  You think it's a bit far-fetched?" he asked Pete.

"He's just coming out with what comes to mind to throw Owen off and unless I can stop Owen, he'll use all of them.  There is one thing he's not come up with but I doubt he'll want to hear it."

"It's Rose," Jake told him as his phone rang.  "Hi Rose, you're on speaker, your dad's here."

Rose was running out of courage to ask what was going on.

"Yeah, hi.  Any more news yet?" she asked, just to try to test how things were.

"Nothing since yesterday," Pete told her.  "I have a meeting with the board members shortly, I'll do what I can to get you out of it," he promised her.

"I know you will but what if they won't listen?" Rose wanted to know.

"Don't get upset Rose," Jake told her.  "He still carries some weight around here and even if the board won't throw Owen out, they'll have to agree he needs a reign putting on him."

"Jake's right love," Pete agreed.  "I've got some ideas how to do that but your mother won't like any of them.  I'm going to ask to stay on as director for now and if not, to delay my retirement and remain the co-director so Owen can't do anything without my agreement but not the other way around."

"Do ya think they'll go for it?" Rose asked hopefully.

"I can only ask," Pete replied.  "Were you calling for some other reason?"

"Well yeah, me and Alec were talking and since I forgot some stuff, he just wondered about how I get sent to other places and how I get back, Jake didn't ask me to hand anything over."

Jake let out a laugh.  "You really forgot?  I thought Alec knew?  Well since the incident with Mickey, we had to make those devices useless and the receiver since whoever killed Mickey could figure out how it worked," he tried to explain.

"Right, then what do we use now?" Rose asked, knowing she must be right but not knowing if she really had an implant or not.

"We had to stop for a while and that had been your last mission but when you came back, a tiny transmitter and receiver was planted in your arm, you press on it to be brought back, normally but last time, you just appeared, that's why we were taken by surprise," Jake explained.

"Well didn't that seem a bit odd?" Rose dared ask.

"Well yeah," Jake replied.  "Not that odd though, you must had pressed it to get back, the operator never signalled you were about to appear, maybe the receiver never got it?"

"You did an investigation," Pete reminded him.

"Yeah, I gave my report to Owen, I can't tell ya what was in it," Jake replied.

Rose knew the other Jake would have told them, even when Pete wasn't in charge.

"Then he must know about it, doesn't that give him enough reason to stop this?" Rose asked.

"He has – for now," Pete replied.  "So, any news from you and Alec?"

"No, not yet, I put it off last night, we had some talking to do," Rose had to admit.

"About what happened?" Pete asked.

"Yeah, amongst other things.  We're gonna put off having another baby for now and Dad, we have some things we want to discuss with you," Rose replied.

"Then I look forward to your visit.  Mind you, Alec asked me some strange things himself," Pete told her.

Rose already knew what that was and thought he didn't want Jake to know about it.

"Yeah, he told me a few things.  So, this implant, I'll get it removed then?" Rose asked, getting worried in case there wasn't one.

"Yeah, don't worry, Doctor Jones will be under guard, won't she Jake?" Pete laughed.

"Yeah, too right since she'll be removing mine.  I think your dad's tryin' to say no-one will be going anywhere again to have to use it." Jake replied, looking at Pete, who just nodded.

"I should have ended it after we lost Mickey and now look where it's got us?" Pete asked.

"Don't blame yourself Dad," Rose told him.  "I must have had a reason for continuing after I had Maisie, I just don't remember what it was."

"The memories will come back love," Pete tried to assure her.

"I'm not so sure I want them," Rose admitted.  "Will you call after the board meeting?"

"Yeah, maybe I should call tonight when Alec's there?" Pete suggested.

"Good idea but he's been really good since I got back but I'm still tryin' to convince him I didn't go anywhere," Rose tried to tell him.

"We know it never seemed like it love but since Jake can't tell us what he reported to Owen, we won't know unless I get back in.  Even then, he could have either destroyed the report or locked it up somewhere," Pete replied.

"If he put them on computer, I can probably get it back," Jake offered.

That was another thing about the other Jake, Rose thought.  The other one would have kept a back-up file before handing anything over.

"Maybe you'd best start then?" Pete suggested to him.  "I know Alec will want some answers and if I don't get back in, Owen could have second thoughts about delaying your return Rose."

"Don't tell Alec that," Rose replied.  "He's already going nuts over it.  Jake, don't you know what was in the report?"

"Some of it but unless Pete can get back in, I can't tell ya," Jake replied.  "It's not that I don't want to but even Pete remaining deputy for another week won't stop Owen firing me and wiping my memories.  Maybe you don't remember what he's capable of?" he asked Rose.

"Great, I'm glad I've forgotten then," Rose had to admit, not that she wanted to know.

"Right, I have to get to the board meeting, if we still want a chance to be able to stop Owen," Pete announced.  "Call your mother will you Rose?  If I get back in, she'll go crazy but all I can do is tell her I'm doing it for you.  One thing though, don't let on you can't remember things, just go along with what she says eh?"

"I'll try Dad but it's bad enough here, having to pretend I know what people are on about.  Alec's making excuses up all the time.  I didn't even know Ellie was living with Brian from forensics."

Jake let out a laugh.  "You mean the bloke you took an instant disliking to when he told ya to go polish your nails?"

"Stop it Jake, it's not funny.  Yeah, I remember things like that, just not other stuff, like what happened after Alec caught Danny's killer and what happened to the Latimers, like Mark and Beth splitting up.  Did Alec tell ya Mark was watching the house?" Rose asked.

"He told me a while back," Jake replied, seeing Pete shake his head.  "Is he doing it again?"

"Yeah and I'm sure he was there last night when Alec went to get some takeaway, Alec was longer than he should have been."

"Maybe I should pay him a visit?" Jake asked.

"I'm sure Alec can handle it," Pete told them.  "I can see why he never told me though, I'll let it go for now but tell him I want all the details."

"He probably didn't want to bother you with it?" Rose wondered.

After they had finished the call to Rose, Pete got up to go face the board.

"Well, wish me luck," Pete asked Jake.

If he could persuade the board members Owen was out of control, he'd just have to appease his wife with the cruise she wanted and make it that Owen couldn't do anything while he was away.  As he set off for the boardroom, it could go either way but now he had more ammunition to fire at them – that Rose had really lost her memory but he wasn't going to say he didn't think she was who she appeared to be.

He knew he should talk to Alec first and see what he thought but it could just make things even worse, unless Alec already suspected.  He just had to wait to speak to Alec in person, it wasn't something they could talk about over the phone.

He let himself into the boardroom and was surprised to find Owen talking to someone.

"Thought you'd excluded me?" Owen asked, sipping from his cup.

"I don't want him here," Pete declared.

"Sorry Pete but Owen has the right to hear what you want to talk to us about," one of the board members told him.

"Why?" Pete asked.  "Isn't it bad enough he wants to send my daughter back to where she lost all her memories?"

They all sat around the oval table and Mike, the senior board member told Pete to continue.

"What proof do you have that Owen wants to do that?" Mike asked Pete.

"He said he'd put the project on hold for now but he's not making available the report from what happened," Pete told them, hoping to get Owen to admit it.

"Is that true Owen?" another board member asked him.

"I wouldn't have thought it would be of any concern to the board," Owen replied.

"Well it is now Pete's brought it to our attention.  So, what did it say?" Mike asked him.

Twenty minutes later, Pete had successfully persuaded them Owen couldn't be trusted to take over fully and both he and Owen were asked to leave while the board discussed it and took a vote as to if Pete should remain as co-director.  Before Pete left, he turned back to them.

"I also want you to consider not letting Owen make any decisions without my agreement."

"That's going  a bit far," another board member told him.

"Is it?" Pete asked.  "Ask him what he wants to do with what Rose claims happened to her?"

"Care to explain Owen?" Mike asked him as Owen was about to leave.

"You have no proof I was going to do anything," Owen replied.

"Then why hide the report?" Pete wanted to know.

"Leave it with us Pete," Mike told him.  "What did happen to Rose?" he asked Pete.

"She said she didn't go anywhere and no-one seems to believe her," Pete replied.

"I take it you and her husband believe her?" Mike asked.

"Not at first, no but things have come to light since then, despite Owen not telling anyone what Jake's report contained."

"Owen, I think I can speak for the rest of the board in saying you will go back to your office and deliver that report to us," Mike ordered him.  "You are only acting director and the way things are going, it seems anything more permanent is in question.  Pete, please wait outside while we discuss the position of director.  You propose to stay on in an official capacity of joint director?"

"Yes though my wife won't be happy about it but I'm only doing this for my daughter," Pete told him.

"I can understand your concerns Pete," Mike replied.  "I'm surprise she stayed after the incident with her friend."

"She wanted to but now, she and Alec have plans to extend their family and Owen seems to want to keep them from doing that by not letting her go fully," Pete tried to explain.

"Then why can't you just let her go Owen?" another board member asked him.

"Oh, I get it," Mike added.  "You think her going nowhere and claiming that she lost time could be used to take advantage of wherever someone is sent?"

"Surely that would be a useful advantage?" someone asked.

"Under the right circumstances maybe," Pete replied.  "Under Owen's leadership though?  He wants to keep Rose but what if next time, she doesn't just lose a few years?" Pete asked.

"We understand your concerns Pete," Mike tried to assure him.  "Owen, why are you insisting Rose stays for this?  Do you think she herself caused it and can recreate the circumstances?"

"Well tell them Owen," Pete insisted.

"She could have done," Owen had to admit.

"You can't keep her on the off chance Owen, it doesn't work like that," Pete told him.  "Now you know why I'm worried for her.  It was bad enough when she saw Mickey get killed, right in front of her to save her but if as she claims she was just standing there for hours and no-one saw her, well I don't have to tell any of you how that's affected her, do I?"

"Indeed not," Mike had to admit.  "We will take your concerns into consideration Pete.  If we agree Rose should be formally let go, would that satisfy you?"

"Somewhat but who else will he try it on?" Pete asked.  "It will be a waste of time if no-one else can recreate it but think of the consequences?  I think you all know where this is going?"

"We have a good idea and it could go either way.  It could have its advantages but it could also be disastrous and goes beyond what Torchwood stands for," Mike had to concede.  "I personally think it would be going too far but I have to go by what the others think.  Before we vote on whether Owen can continue to go on to be director I think I can speak for the others that you can inform Rose that Owen cannot force her to take part in any further missions."

"Thank you, she will be most relieved," Pete replied, looking at Owen.

"Well if you will excuse us, it seems we have a lot to discuss.  Owen, we expect that report within the hour, just wait outside with it," Mike told him.

"So you will consider my proposal?" Pete asked him.

"If you still want to stay on even though we are letting Rose go.  Owen, we need not remind you that as acting director we can over-rule you?" Mike asked him.

Owen just nodded.  "Seems like you're intent on doing so?"

"Then if you knew that, why were you refusing to let Rose go completely?" Mike wanted to know.  He could see Owen didn't want to answer.  "We're all interested in what you are hiding from us that maybe isn't in that report."

Pete expected Owen had a lot to hide but as they both left, he wondered how the man had got so dangerous in such a short space of time.  Why was he insisting Rose stayed, surely not just because Alec had come up with those reasons just to get Rose out of going off again, which he couldn't blame him for really.  It had to be more, was he trying to break them up?  He couldn't recall Owen ever having showed an interest in Rose romantically before she'd met Alec unless there was something in that report he didn't want anyone to know about her.

He couldn't even call Jake just yet but he could at least let Rose know it was all just about over, which should cheer her up and make Alec happy but it still worried him about her not remembering.  Was she indeed another Rose Tyler who'd had similar experiences and knew enough to get by but if she was, why was she hiding it?

Then he wondered if this Rose was taking advantage after finding herself better off than where she'd come from but where did that leave the other one, his real daughter?  He helped himself to coffee and sandwiches that had been brought in as Owen left to go get the report but Owen turned as he was leaving.

"I won't forget this Pete," he told him.

"Oh, you are hiding something then?" Pete replied.

"What I want to know is how you knew about it?" Owen asked.

"I've been in the job a long time Owen.  I took you on as medical director but I don't get why you turned on me and my family.  I could have stayed with my health drink company but after those scares, I couldn't sit by and let them happen again," Pete admitted. 

"You mean that crazed inventor?  I'm surprised the thing didn't 'delete' him before Jake's team stopped it from running riot," Owen laughed.  "Is that the reason you gave up your company?"

"You were told about it when you joined and yes, that was part of the reason, to protect not just my family but everyone on the planet from maniacs like Lumic," Pete replied.

"He had some good ideas though, you have to admit.  Shame those earpods never took off," Owen grinned.

"He would have brainwashed everyone if he'd not been stopped.  It was a good thing the then director had the sense to see what was going on."

"Yes, good old Harry Saxon.  Shame he never got elected, he'd have made a great president but even so, we can thank him for the communications network we have today though if you ask me, anyone from another place could use it against us."

"I seriously doubt it Owen," Pete replied.  "Haven't you got a report to fetch?"

"Don't think you're going to get a look at it before the board does," Owen huffed.  "You seriously want to keep tabs on me?  You think your wife will let you?"

"Where it concerns Rose, then yes.  Even if she's let go, you could tempt her back Owen."

"As if I could," Owen replied, opening the door.  "Oh, you think I have something on her and I'm using it to keep her here?"

"Have you?" Pete asked him.  "If you have, Alec won't let you get away with it and neither will I and if you think Jackie will be mad at me for staying on, it's nothing compared with what she'll do with you if Rose puts off having another baby."

"That's as maybe Pete but why does Jackie make such a fuss over her granddaughter?  Is it because she couldn't have any more herself or is it something else?"

Pete tried to keep his temper.  "That is none of your business.  We chose not to add to our family to bring Rose up properly.  I wasn't always rich Owen, I started that drinks company from scratch and it took off.  I got lucky and maybe in another lifetime I could have been a failure but since I wasn't, I sold up and took on the directorship to protect family life."

"Then why are you giving up so easily?" Owen asked, not giving him chance to reply.

Pete sat down.  That was a very good question.  He was only doing it to keep Jackie happy and that had been quite a feat after she'd lost the baby several years ago but now, more things were adding up over Rose and he didn't like where it was going.  

It would explain why Alec had said she'd thought she had a younger brother, he'd not told Jackie what the hospital had said, that it had been a boy when Jackie had been taken in with severe pains and they'd had no explanation as to why she had miscarried apart from maybe she'd left it a bit late to get pregnant again.

After that, he'd done everything she'd wanted including getting that yappy Yorkshire terrier that Rose had always hated because it almost tripped her up when she was having Maisie and fortunately, the dog hadn't been replaced when the animal had passed away but Jackie had then started nagging him to retire, which had finally led to this.

He sure wasn't going to let Rose suffer because of it though so he got his phone out to tell her the good news.  It was almost time for her to be going to the nursery so he called Alec instead, since he knew they met every lunchtime.  Should he bring up the subject of him thinking this Rose wasn't the original one?

Surely Alec would have noticed but if she had lost her memory, maybe she herself doubted it as well but how did he even go about asking?  There was only one way so he got Alec's number instead and waited for his son-in-law to answer and hoped he wouldn't cause any more upset than there already was because if Alec got something in his head, well he wasn't known for letting it go that easily.

If he were to cause Alec and Rose to split up, he'd have more to worry about than Jackie being mad at him for staying on, there would be a double divorce on the cards.  So as Alec greeted him, Pete had his own decisions to make.

As Rose had hung up, she just hoped she'd have chance to tell Alec she'd been questioning how she had been getting sent backwards and forwards on missions.

Chapter 14
Pete was now getting worried as to what was best for everyone, his wife may be appeased if he were to run things from home and he trained Sarah-Jane to take over but she wasn't really director material – she was hands-on like Jake.  Alec was a more likely candidate but that would cause trouble with Rose because she loved him and their life in Broadchurch.

It was clear he'd made a big mistake in letting Owen take over but he'd been the only person at the time who even wanted a shot at it so it was time to have a serious talk with Jake.  If the board rejected Owen staying as co-director he could train him to at least take some of the responsibilities and maybe he and Sarah-Jane could run it between them.

As Pete waited for the board's decision, he had to at least talk to Alec and fill him in on a few things he'd been holding back about Rose since now, she may have difficulty recalling what they were – especially if she wasn't the real one.

Alec as usual was looking forward to lunch but it looked like it was going to rain so he sent Rose a quick text to say to meet him in the café just outside instead.  Just as he'd sent it, his phone rang.

"Pete.  Any news yet, about you staying on?" Alec asked him.

"Well Owen insisted on being here but I persuaded the board to let me run things with him and not let him completely take over – yet," Pete told him.  "Rose called me earlier, I think she's been affected more than we thought."

"In what way?" Alec wanted to know, having to admit Pete may be right.

"About how she went on missions, did she not talk to you about it?" Pete replied.

Alec knew she maybe had a good reason for not telling him.

"We brushed on the subject, she was a bit worried about it, she thought it was the same way as before," he tried to bluff.

"Has she never told you?  Still, the first time she came back to work, you weren't present at her medical and she may have forgotten to tell you.  She and Jake have implants as transmitters and receivers, in view of what happened to Mickey.  They can only be activated by their genetic code and if they are ever captured, no-one will ever know."

"Makes sense then," Alec had to admit.  "Maybe that is why she forgot?  Anything else I should know?"

"Yes but I can't talk here, I'll call you both tonight on a video conference, Jake needs to hear this as well, about Rose," Pete replied.

"Do you want Rose to be there?" Alec asked.  "If not, we can do it while she puts Maisie to bed."

"No, she deserves the chance to know Alec.  She may not want to hear it though, it's about before she met you.  Did she really not tell you about her mother losing the baby?" Pete asked him.

"No, just something had happened, she never went into any details, saying you never talked about it.  I always assumed Jackie had some sort of breakdown," Alec replied, watching the time and getting a message back from Rose saying she agreed where to meet.

"She did afterwards, I sent her to a private clinic for a few days to recover, even Jake doesn't know, she wasn't really showing and back then, Jake didn't socialise with us, not that he does much more now, he was Mickey's friend.  He only got closer to Rose after we lost Mickey, he and Rose grew up together but she probably told you that?"

"Yes, she did and I know it wasn't easy for either of them when Mickey was lost, Jake covered it up, unlike she did.  I am worried about her Pete, she should be starting to remember more things by now."

"I know Alec, that's why I'm so worried and all this isn't helping but you can tell her the board agreed to let her go, despite what Owen may try to do," Pete told him.

"Good.  So is he out then?" Alec hoped.

"Not yet but they're in there now discussing it but I don't think they'll let him remain as director, I put it to them he couldn't exactly be trusted but if I tell him about Rose, maybe he'll change his tune?" Pete wondered.

"You'd trust him if he knew?" Alec asked, about to switch off his monitor.  "When he was going to keep Rose from finishing?  I need to know what exactly that is."

"I know Alec but she's free from Torchwood now, I'll consider it if you and Jake agree he should know when I've told you.  It was something that happened that only Jake knows about, he was the only person I could trust, since she hadn't even met you back then and Mickey knew of course but apart from them, only her mother.  That was part of Jackie's problem Alec," Pete admitted.

"Well it must be one hell of a secret Pete," Alec told him as he reached for his jacket.  "I need to get going but I'll say nothing to Rose apart from her being let go.  So this implant, it needs to be removed?"

"Yes and we have to trust Doctor Jones to do it – under guard," Pete replied.  "Still, she should get a warning if Owen's either removed as temporary director or he gets it jointly with me.  If I get back in, there will be a few changes down in medical – Owen seems to have given her free reign and I don't think it's such a good idea."

"I should think not when she questioned you," Alec told him.  "I have to go meet them now, I will tell Rose the good news."

Just as Pete was talking to Alec, Owen was sat at his temporary desk staring at the folder Jake had given him.  If he admitted it, there was no reason to keep Rose but if there was the slightest chance she could recreate what happened to her, the impact could bring a lot of opportunities to Torchwood.  He knew though that Pete and Alec would fight him all the way and unless he was very lucky, Pete would be keeping a curb on his ideas.

He wished he didn't have to show the report to the board and it was too late to get rid of it.  He didn't think Jake had the nerve to keep a copy though but since it concerned Rose, he probably had despite the warning he'd been given.

The board were just about finishing their discussion – well more like an argument for keeping Owen in charge but Mike had the deciding vote since the director would normally have that honour but at present, there wasn’t one until it was decided who stayed and who went.

"We'll take the vote now," Mike was telling them.  "All those who are in favour of keeping Pete as co-director with Owen, raise your hands."

"Just one more thing," one of the members spoke up.  "What if Owen is right?  There's a lot of potential."

"May I remind you that is not what Torchwood's about?" Mike asked him.  The other board members remained silent.  "We are not discussing what may or may not have happened to Rose can be recreated – it could go either way but we have to consider if it was in the wrong hands how dangerous it would be."

"I agree with Mike," another member spoke up.  "Owen could overstep his authority before Pete steps down and no-one will be able to stop him.  I think we should let Pete stay on, at least until the cannon has been dismantled and unusable.  Then if he wants to step down it will be too late for Owen to do anything."

"That makes sense," someone else agreed.

Out of seven members, only one objected saying he didn't think it necessary to have two directors.  Mike got up to see if Owen had come back with the report.

"You should all stay and see the report Owen got back about what happened on Rose's last mission," he told them.

"Is it still of any consequence?" he was asked.

"Of course it is, if it was used improperly.  Maybe we should just have it destroyed and be done with it?" Mike asked.

"We should leave it as a reference as to why the project needs dismantling, surely?" someone else asked.

"Well I say since it concerns Rose mostly, Pete should decide," Mike replied.

"Well we know what his action would be," the first objector told him.

Owen had got back and was helping himself to coffee and sandwiches, keeping a tight grip on the folder under his arm.

"You think I'll sneak a look if you put it down?" Pete asked him as Owen sat opposite.

"As if Jake hasn't already told you," Owen replied, wondering if the head of security had kept anything back.

"No, Jake may not like you very much but he wants to keep his job Owen," Pete told him.

"Well you got what you wanted Pete, Rose is out whether I say so or not.   Why do you want to stay and anger your wife?" Owen wanted to know.

"I'll stay for now.  I thought I could trust you Owen, seems the first chance you get, you turn on my daughter," Pete replied.

"It could have easily have been Jake it happened to," Owen reminded him.  "Would you have done the same?"

"You know I would but Jake can fight back and he's not married with a young daughter, is he?" Pete snapped back.

Owen laughed.  "Alec seems a bit over-protective, Rose used to be very headstrong before she got married."

"Jealous?" Pete asked him, needing another coffee since the board were taking their time.

"Rose is of no interest to me Pete, you know how she feels about me," Owen replied.

"Well maybe you can prove that sometime, you wanting to keep her here proved the opposite or is it the fact she has a family?" Pete asked.

"I'm not going to answer that Pete, think what you like.  Why are they taking so long if they insisted on seeing Jake's report?" 

"You should have come clean over it and let Rose go, then we would have no need of this," Pete told him.

Back in Broadchurch, Alec was waiting for Rose and Maisie to arrive in the corner café.  It was starting to rain and he figured his daughter would want to walk and splash in the puddles – if Rose could get her to put her pink boots on.  He wished he could watch for them from where he was sitting but unless Rose cut through the back by the station he couldn't.

Rose had been trying to persuade Maisie she needed her raincoat and boots, wondering how she'd done it before.

"Come on sweetheart, daddy will be waiting for us," she tried to tell the toddler.

"Want daddy," the girl told her as Rose tried to get the girl's other arm in the plastic coat.

Rose wondered how much she'd been involved with the raising of their daughter, it seemed Alec had done most of it.  They finally got out, Rose putting the girl in the stroller since if Maisie walked they'd be late.  She got there a few minutes later than planned, Maisie struggling to get out as soon as she saw Alec through the window.

"Hey princess, did you make your mum late?" Alec asked her as she sat on his lap.

"It's fine Alec, she just didn't want her coat on," Rose told him as she put the stroller out of the way.

"Come on Maisie, we'll tell the staff you are here," he told the young girl.  "I ordered to save time."

As he went to the counter, the women behind it making a fuss of Maisie, Rose hoped to be able to tell him what she'd asked Pete and that he wouldn't be mad for not mentioning it though they had sort of touched on the subject.  Rose quickly told him as they ate but Alec assured her he was not mad at her.

"He called me love, the board overturned what Owen said, that part is over," he told her, giving Maisie some cheese from his salad.

"Really?  Well I hope so.  Did he say anything else?" Rose wanted to know as Maisie tried to go for something else on Alec's plate.

Rose thought if she was staying, she had to stop the girl going to him all the time.

"He will call later, to do a video conference with Jake.  Rose, it's time you were told a bit more of who you used to be."

"You mean he told you?" Rose asked him.

"Not everything but enough.  He said you still had things to tell me and I had let it go but now, it seems like you will never remember it all.  If your dad is not retiring, which I know your mother will go crazy about since she loves to hold parties, we will still go up next week because he said some things can't be talked about over the phone."

"Yeah, mum will be upset – trust me," Rose smiled as Maisie decided to go to her.

"How are you coping love?" he asked.

"Well at least I had some experience, it's not much different but any decisions, you're gonna have to help me out," she told him.

"I always do love.  Come on Maisie, let your mum get you cleaned up eh?" he asked the young girl as Rose went for the wet wipes.  "We can start over the weekend Rose, I'll give you a few reminders."

Alec went back to work and called Ellie into his office.

"So, how's Rose getting on?" Ellie asked him.

"Fine, for now.  Do not repeat this but it may be more serious than we thought," he replied.

"In what way?  You mean her not getting over her last trip?" Ellie wanted to know.

"Something like that, she should be getting back to normal and she's not," he admitted.

"Right, well I told you to leave her to me," Ellie reminded him.

"It's personal stuff with her family and me," Alec replied.  "Trust me, you can't help her."

"Well you two would be so secretive," Ellie huffed.  "Anyone would think you have something to hide."

Alec raised his eyebrows, something Rose had told him to stop looking so sexy when he did it.

"Oh, you have?" Ellie grinned.  "If it involves Torchwood, I don't want to know but I bet it's to do with her losing her friend?"

"She doesn't believe he's gone Miller, she doesn't remember seeing what happened."

"Well that's good then, well I would have thought so?" Ellie asked him.

"Not when it does come back to her, she has to face the fact he's gone for good.  Well we have the weekend to go over things, I have to persuade her to take that pregnancy test, she keeps putting it off."

"I would have thought she would have wanted to find out?" Ellie laughed.

"So would I, she's very reluctant, she thinks because she did not seem to go anywhere this time it would have affected her," Alec told her.

"I can come round later, if you want?" Ellie offered.

"No, leave it for now.  There's another thing, her father might not be retiring after all."

"Well his wife won't like that," Ellie grinned.  "Why's that?"

"To stop the new director doing something really stupid Miller, Rose has been let go, the board have spoken but it won't stop him trying to find out how Rose stood there for four hours and claimed she went nowhere."

"Well she had to go somewhere, I thought that was the point?" Ellie wanted to know.

"It is but now we are all worried Owen Harper will try and find out how she did it and use it to his own ends.  Her father is trying the only way he can to stop that."

"I thought she'd been let go?" Ellie asked, getting a bit confused.

"What's to stop him finding a way to bring her back?  Either that or he'll go in blind and it will end in disaster.  He's too dangerous."

While Ellie was talking to Alec, Pete had been called back into the boardroom after someone came out for the report Jake had put together.  Mike had been reading out the main points, which were mostly inconclusive that such a thing had happened before or could be recreated.  Pete had been getting worried Owen might have actually found something but it had been very carefully covered up.  It had been close though and now, Alec needed to know what that was.

"Ah, Pete, Owen, take a seat," Mike told them both.  "We made our decision before reading Jake's report but it would have made no difference.  We're pulling the project, it will remain under guard until the components are disposed of – Jake will oversee it."

"Just think what you're throwing away," Owen tried to tell them.

"For what you want to use it for?" Pete asked him.

"Enough, it won't change the decision," Mike told them.  "There is one thing though, about Rose," he added.

"What about her?" Pete asked.  "Why do you think I'm trying to make sure she's let go and risking angering my wife?"

"Well how does she feel about all this?  How has it affected her?" Mike asked.  "She refused a brain scan."

"I should think she did, while you're dismantling things, that needs to go," Pete replied.

"It can be useful, with our alien friends," another member reminded him.

"Well at least ban it for Torchwood staff then," Pete requested.

"Very well, I'll issue the order and that goes for those about to leave – Owen," Mike insisted.

"You take all the fun out of it," Owen told him dryly.  "So, what's the verdict then?  Do I get to stay in the job or not, not that it will be the same if you take the cannon and the brain scanner away."

"What is it with you?" Pete asked him.

"Never mind that Pete.  You can share the responsibilities, both of you but Pete has the final say and if there are any arguments, it goes to the board – understood?" Mike asked them.  "Pete, it's up to you how long you stay and from where you work and Owen, don't get any ideas, you are to issue no orders or directives without Pete's agreement."

"Concerning the whole of Torchwood or his daughter?" Owen joked.

"Both.  I know there is no likelihood Rose will ever be tempted to come back but just in case you get any ideas," Mike told him.  "Pete, a word before you go."

Owen left, the folder remaining on the table.

"Had you any idea what was in the report?" Mike asked Pete as the other members started to leave.

"Not a clue but I knew it wouldn't be good Mike," Pete replied, picking it up.  "This proves nothing, Alec could be right but so could Rose but you saw what Owen was like?"

"Yes, we did and he's too keen to make something of it.  It will take a while to retrieve all the data from other missions and then we have to consider if it's to be kept or not, in the achieves," Mike told him.

"I would have thought it would be best being destroyed?" Pete wondered.

"Maybe but it could also come in useful to be documented for further reference in years to come, of the places that have been visited.  I take it Rose and Jake will be keen to have their implants removed?"

"Yeah, Jake will wait for Rose coming back but I'll be putting off my retirement party now, that will upset Jackie to start with," Pete smiled.

As Pete left to go back to his office after Mike saying it was up to him what hours he put in and if Owen remained in the director's or not, he called Jake to meet him in the canteen since he thought he should then go home and break the news to Jackie.  He hoped she'd settled on a cruise but also hoped it wasn't for more than two weeks or he'd be constantly on the phone getting updates on if Owen was trying to go behind his back, which he half suspected he would do.

Chapter 15
Alec didn't know what to make of Pete's call.  At least now, Rose was officially out of there and Owen couldn't change his mind about calling her back but it still worried him because now, he'd get to know the real reason why Pete was so protective of her.

He knew something had gone wrong before he'd met her but Pete had assured him it was nothing to worry about, not like the incident with Mickey, thankfully but he wondered why Pete had been so reluctant to tell him.  Maybe he just didn't want to worry Rose but it had to be something else to do with her memory, the way Pete had been talking.

Rose had got Maisie to have a nap and was looking at newspaper reports from the Latimer case and the trial, one of the headlines showed Rose and Alec and Alec refuting everything the defence had come up with and stating it was all he could do to stop his wife taking out an injunction against the barrister concerned.  Then another report showed the three women all hugging after Joe Miller had walked free and Rose vowing nothing could stop them being friends.

She then read the said barrister and the prosecution had teamed up, Rose hoping it was so the prosecution could teach the other one some manners and not to go after a member of the Tyler family.  She then sent a message to Jake asking him to remind her how to get into the Torchwood database, Jake saying maybe she didn't want to get in but sent her it non-the-less, telling her to change the login as soon as she was in.

She was about to look herself up when who was now her mother called.

"Do you know what your father has done?" Jackie asked her.

Rose had a pretty good idea since Alec had told her Pete was waiting to find out what the board were going to do.

"I know Mum and I'm sorry it came to that," Rose replied, hoping they were both talking about him staying on.

She assumed Pete had broken the news to her.

"I'm not happy about it Rose, I had to cancel the party and he may not get the deposit back but now we can only go away for two weeks at the most," Jackie told her.

Rose wondered if she was supposed to take pity on the lack of a party and a cut-down version of a holiday.  Still, if that was the least of her mother's worries?

"I think we're still coming up next weekend Mum," Rose admitted.  "If I'm out of there, I have things to wrap up."

She did not want to mention having an implant removed over an insecure line.

"I know all about it Rose, it's not a secret what you had done when Mickey was lost," her mother informed her.  "If they'd had any sense they could have done it before, then he'd still be here.  How's my little angel?"

Rose was surprised she'd left Maisie until last, considering the last phone call.

"She's having a nap Mum, we'll take her out when Alec gets back.  Did dad say anything else?" Rose wondered.

Jackie went quiet.  Pete had called her while he'd been waiting for Jake to meet him.

"Jackie, I'm sorry love but I'm going to have to delay my retirement, to protect Rose," he'd admitted to her.

She had taken it a little better than he'd expected, since she wasn't screaming down the phone that she was going to divorce him – again.

"Well if it's for Rose, I suppose I'll just have to let you off then," she'd replied.  "If I see that Owen Harper, I'll teach him not to keep Rose going on those stupid missions and having her getting all upset when she comes back."

Pete had been thankful everyone had kept the fact Rose had lost her memory again from her, Jackie had been bad enough last time and it had taken some persuasion to get her to agree never to mention it in front of her and then when she'd met Alec. 

Jackie shook her head and wondered if she should admit anything.

"No, he'll be calling you later," she bluffed, Pete having warned her Rose was still a little 'off' and now, she suspected Rose was expecting again.  "Have you got anything you want to tell me?"

Rose thought if it had been her real mother, she would have already known and already be onto Alec about it.

"No, not yet Mum, well except Maisie's going five mornings to nursery starting next week."

That was it, twenty minutes later, Rose was regretting ever mentioning it as Jackie fired endless questions at her. It was only Maisie waking up that gave Rose the chance to escape, after Jackie insisted Rose put the phone on speaker.

"Nanna wants to talk to you sweetheart," Rose smiled as Maisie crawled onto her.

Jake had finally got away to meet Pete in the canteen, who had survived telling the news to his wife and Pete hoped he'd be able to find out more about the report.

"Well it's good Rose is finally free," Jake told him.  "Sorry Pete, I never made a copy but I remember a few bits though.  There's no real proof one way or the other that Rose never actually went anywhere."

"So anything could have happened then?" Pete asked him.  "That doesn't help Jake."

"You think I don't know that?" Jake asked him.  "I've been tryin' to help her Pete, honestly but she should never have come back, not after what happened at the other thing."

He looked around, not daring to even mentioned what Pete had told him about her.

"You know her almost as well as I do Jake, where work's concerned.  You know the reason she went back, since she thought she'd been wrong.  I'm going to have to tell Alec, about what happened before she met him."

"About her mother?" Jake asked, not wanting to say what.

"No, she knows now, I told Alec.  No, I mean about the other incident, all that time ago," Pete told him.

"After all this time?  Is it a good idea Pete?"

"Alec needs to know and I'm considering letting Owen in on it, if you and Alec agree," Pete admitted.  "Still, Owen can't do any more harm now, not for a while, I got what I wanted Jake but Jackie's not too happy about it."

"So are you recalling Sarah-Jane then?" Jake asked him, wondering what was taking her so long to 'inspect' the Cardiff branch but knowing Jack, he'd be charming her into something or other.

"She's not director material any more than you are Jake," Pete smiled.  "No offence intended.  Shame I can't talk Alec into it."

"Yeah, then Rose would be divorcing him," Jake laughed.

"Yeah, it's too much, since they seem intent on adding to their family, that would just get in the way.  I know you said you didn't want it but would you think about considering it?"

"Pete, you know my reasons for not wanting it, after Mickey," Jake replied.

"I know but the cannon's being dismantled, the board are putting you in charge of it Jake, the reason you turned it down would no longer be a problem."

"Maybe not but how can I forget what happened to my best friend Pete?  I suppose at least Owen won't get his hands on it and take over this world and any other he can invade though."

"That's one good thing I suppose.  I had to break the news to Jackie."

Jake thought that was amusing.  "No chance of getting that report back then?"

"It was never offered to me and I didn't ask," Pete told him.  "I expect it will be either ripped up or used if they ever want a reminder for getting rid of the cannon."

"As long as Owen doesn't get his hands on it though," Jake added.  "So what did Jackie say about the party being cancelled?"

"That I won't get the deposit back," Pete grinned, finishing his coffee.

"I bet you're all broken up over that?" Jake grinned back.  "So what are you gonna tell Alec?"

"Join in a conference call tonight, I need you to back me up Jake," Pete replied.

"Yeah, sure though you know it may do more harm than good?" Jake asked.

"It has to come out sooner or later Jake, we knew that and Rose will at least understand why it's happened again.  Was she ever really over it the first time though?"

"You and Jackie lived with her Pete, she must have accepted some of it?  Why was Alec never told?" Jake asked him.

"Partly because Rose had finally accepted it I suppose, then it didn't really matter.  You can bet Alec kept some things back from her."

"Yeah, guess we'll never know on that score," Jake grinned.

"Oh I don't know Jake, maybe once he learns about Rose?  I bet he had a girlfriend that he never told her about."

When Alec got home and they had taken Maisie for a walk, they settled her down and Alec got the laptop ready for Pete's call, since he'd done it before and Rose couldn't remember how to connect.

"You've done it before love," Alec told her as she passed it to him.

"So, what's all this about?"

"About your past, amongst other things," Alec told her, waiting for Jake to join in and keeping the volume muted.

Jake finally joined in, grinning at the two of them sitting arm in arm and wondering if this was a good idea.

"Right, now we're all here," Pete told them.  "Sorry Rose, but you're not going to like this, there's no easy way.  Jake will back me up.  Have you any questions?"

Alec spoke up.  "I expect what you have to say has been covered up?"

"Yes, we had to, that was what I was afraid Owen would get hold of but before I tell you both, you have another theory, about what happened the other day?"

Alec explained that they both thought Rose had created a ripple effect, changing everything around her and being at the centre, had her perception of things chanced.

"Yeah, I can see why you thought that," Pete agreed.  "It makes more sense than her going to a world where time passed so quickly.  You should have told Owen."

"For him to use Rose to recreate it?" Alec queried.  "I was trying to give alternatives so he would not think it had to do with her rather than the cannon."

"Well, she won't get called back Alec, Jake will start on Monday and it's now under armed guard.  Whatever caused it, there's no going back now so Rose, time for the truth."

"I don't think I want to know," Rose told him nervously, Alec putting his arm around her.

"It's your choice but Rose, things won't get any better, with or without hearing it," Pete told her.  "It goes back around ten years, before I took over at Torchwood."

"So you already had something to do with it back then?" Alec asked him.

"A little, I kept in touch with what was going on and was one of their secret backers," Pete admitted.  "That was around the time John Lumic was making a name for himself, you remember him Alec?"

"Vaguely, he came to a sticky end though I believe it was covered up?"

Rose sat up.  She'd not actually met him before he'd been turned into the Cyber Controller.

"You remember him love?" Alec asked her.  Rose nodded.  "What do you remember?"

"He invented these metal monsters.  They ran riot and rounded up the population of London, until they were stopped."

That was all she was willing to admit for now, she was already on shaky ground.

"That's near enough love," Pete told her.  "He got stopped but there was only one of them.  He was about to go into production but Torchwood found out what his true intention was and how he was going to do it.  I won't go into details but he was intending rounding up the homeless and putting them inside the metal suits.  The one he was showing off had been a real person and got loose.  Anyway, you, Jake and Mickey all got involved trying to stop it running riot when it forced its way into Torchwood.  Lumic went after it but he was somewhat limited to his chair, you got knocked unconscious in the fight.  Do you remember that?"

Rose shook her head.  That was almost what had happened, a few details were different and at least her mother hadn't been turned into one or the entire population almost getting converted.  That meant they'd not escaped and taken themselves to her original world.  It was still possible that was where she was now she supposed.

"I remember there was more than one," Rose admitted.  "So what happened when I got knocked out?"

"Mickey got you to hospital, along with a few others who got involved," Pete told her.  "You were out for days and the x-rays revealed you'd lost your long-term memory.  When you came round, well it was a bit like this time only we filled you in on everything and you accepted it."

"Did she know who she was?" Alec wanted to know.

"Yes, thankfully, it was just other things but we all helped her.  Jake and I have discussed this Alec, we think her standing in front of the cannon sparked it all off again."

"I see.  Well that explains some of it then," Alec told them.  "So, she will never fully get her memory back?  Why not have her go back to the hospital again?"

"We were trying to avoid that Alec, it wouldn't have been pleasant nor would it have helped.  She's best with her family."

"Yeah Alec, we kept it all secret, I didn't know until after Mickey was lost.  I was kept busy that night, I just assumed she'd come round and she'd be okay.  Sorry Rose."

"It's not your fault Jake.  So I knew I'd lost my memory and I'd accepted it?" Rose asked.

Pete nodded.  "I owe you an apology Alec, for not telling you sooner but I always thought Rose would tell you one day.  Now I know that will never happen.  If the cannon's dismantled, there's no fear of her recreating it but you should know Rose, there was never any ripple, it was your mind compensating for what you couldn't remember.  It was filling in the gaps when you had four hours of nothing.  I don't have to tell you the rest."

Rose flopped back against Alec's shoulder, this was crazy, how did Pete expect her to believe that?

"Rose, say something love," Alec told her.  "Pete, did you get her the best care the last time?"

"Yes, she was under a specialist Alec, she was helped to come to terms with it and she adapted.  In fact the last few years since she met you, she almost forget that she'd had to learn things all over again," Pete replied.

"I just accepted it?" Rose asked, not sure what to say.

It was a shock but there had to be some explanation why the Rose they thought she was would stand in front of the cannon just for the sake of it, well to find Mickey.

"That explains why you thought you were responsible for the loss of Mickey," Alec told her.  "You did not want to accept he was gone but Pete, does this explain why she has different memories again?"

"I think it does Alec, don't you?" Pete asked.  "Rose, your mind's playing tricks on you again.  I suppose you could say it's another form on amnesia in a way but selective.  You made up another lot of memories from the ones you'd gained and I suppose some of the old stuff began to resurface."

This was more serious than Rose thought it was.  She had replaced another Rose Tyler with a past history of memory loss and now, no-one would believe the true version.  She was well and truly on her own unless she could convince this Alec but saying she was not his Rose was not going to help her cause.

"So what do we do now?" Alec wanted to know, trying to comfort Rose.

"Well the cannon is being dismantled starting on Monday, Jake, you’re in charge and Rose, my advice is come back to London next weekend and have the implant removed and see the specialist again, I'll make you an appointment for Saturday morning, before you go to Torchwood.  I expect you'll drive up on Friday night Alec?" Pete asked him.

"Yes, we were already planning that Pete, it saves getting stuck in traffic," Alec replied.  "Rose, do agree love?"

Rose could only nod but what would happen when Doctor Jones tried to remove this implant that wasn't there – or was it?

"That's settled love.  Jake, the rest doesn't concern you but I think we should keep Owen out of this for now, don't you Alec?" Pete asked him.

"Yes, letting him know will not help Rose.  I know he will use that as an excuse to keep her on as a Torchwood agent, saying the brain scanner could help her remember.  Just why was that thing even invented?"

"Sorry Alec, I can't tell you that," Pete grinned.  "Let's just say it helps some of our visitors be a little more forthcoming in why they chose to come here."

"Then why do they use it on employees?" Alec wanted to know.

"Even I know that," Rose half smiled as she resurfaced from Alec's shoulder.

"I'll leave that to your imagination Alec," Pete laughed.

He waited for Jake to disconnect from the conversation and checked that the secure connection was enabled, he didn't want anyone, especially Owen listening in.

"Rose, I'm sorry love but you may never remember your true past life but Alec and I will help you as much as we can, won't we Alec?" Pete asked him.

"That goes without saying Pete.  Rose, I can only help you since I met you and now, it seems that time wasn't real for you then either but Maisie and I, we are real, I can assure of that."

"Yeah Alec, I know that," Rose tried to assure him.  

He was the only real thing around here, well except that this one had been single and no heart problem.  She thought it could still be an alternate version of her adopted world, she was ruling out it being her original one but now, Alec would never believe the time-travelling and coming from another world.  He was already sceptical to say the least.

"So what happens to me now?" Rose asked, not wanting to know.

"See what the specialist thinks but if it's more than we thought, you may have to keep regular appointments," Pete replied.

"Pete, it's not practical to go up there every weekend," Alec told him.  "I have no excuses now for taking time off."

"Don't worry Alec, I'll see if we can find someone nearer to you who we can trust.  Torchwood would have to check whoever it was out first though," Pete replied.  "Rose, we'll do everything we can to help you adjust again but first, I think you should tell me everything you told Alec."

"What's the point?" Rose asked, her face still wet with being upset.

"Don't be like that love," Alec told her as she sat up.  "What do you want to know Pete?"

Alec quickly went through a few things, omitting their plans for another baby and some things he thought Rose had her reasons for coming out with.

"So, apart from a few details, it's more or less the same the same?" Pete asked him.

"Yes, there are some things that are personal between us, sorry Pete.  I think she is still a little confused, eh love?" he asked Rose.

Rose nodded again.  She had to trust he knew what he was doing.

"What I don't get is the story of how Mickey was lost," Pete queried.  "It seems similar but Rose, you claim he was left on another world?  That's how you remember it?"

"Yeah, maybe I didn't want to face the fact he was gone forever, I wanted to believe he was still out there?" Rose replied.

"We understand that Rose, really we do," Pete tried to assure her.  "You wanted to believe he's still out there, we all do, don't we Alec?"

"Yes, we do Pete and maybe he is?" Alec asked.  "Rose, if you were confused in the chaos, maybe he activated his device and landed some place else?"

"You may have something there Alec," Pete agreed.  "Still, it's been a long time and even if his device failed after he got away, he should have been back by now, it's been three years."

Rose couldn't let on that her original world was three years behind – maybe the Mickey from here somehow got to that world but it was pure speculation, this world still might not be real.  It could all be a figment of her imagination and if she ever left, it would all disappear, like the world Donna found herself in.

It was all still fresh in her mind that she'd somehow been able to get to Donna's imaginary world and seen it fade, she'd got back, pleased with herself she had helped set things right but maybe it was meant to happen in order for her to finally get to see the Doctor again?  She wished it had ended better and his twin hadn't run out on her – she wouldn't have found herself in this current mess.

Chapter 16
Alec had to agree.  "Yes, he probably would have made it back by now but Rose still has some hope, she has been right insisting all this time," Alec told him.  "Maybe she is right about other things?"

"Such as?" Pete asked.  "Oh, you mean about having a brother?  Sorry Rose, the baby was lost, I know it upset you as much as your mum when it happened.  Don't tell her because she never knew it would have been a boy, she lost it at three months."

That sounded about right to Rose, her own mother had difficulties right up until she was six months and going up to Norway and standing on a cold beach hadn't helped either.

"Sorry Dad," Rose apologised.  "I won't upset her and mention it.  So was that before I lost my memory the first time?"

"Yes love, you weren't to know with all this but things are seeping through, they have to be.  They're just mixed in with things you imagined while you thought the world had changed around you.  I can see how it affected you and with the cannon gone, you can start getting your life back," Pete told her.

"Your dad is right love," Alec told her.  "The first time was unfortunate, you were caught up in something but Pete, we still don't know what may have caused the cannon to send Rose nowhere."

"I know Alec and I can't get my hands on that report although Jake's trying to recover some of it.  Owen must have read it and maybe that's why he's backing down so easily.  I had thought he had found something to use against you Rose but he can't have done.  If he had, you'd already be at Torchwood," Pete told them.

That was what Rose had been dreading when Owen wouldn't let her go.  She hoped desperately he'd not caught on she'd either swapped places with this world's Rose Tyler or the world really had changed around her.  If he had, everyone would be in danger, especially her family because Owen may hold them to ransom.

He may have said he'd spare them if they turned her over and if they believed him, she really would be on her own, not even Alec would stick by her to save Maisie.

Alec disconnected from the video call, trying to judge Rose's reaction.

"So, you didn't know I'd lost my memory before I met you?" Rose asked him.

"No-one told me, maybe with good reason?  I know it can't have been easy for any of you but Jake never knew either.  I should get more details when we go for a visit, if you want to know?"

"I'm not sure Alec, all this is a bit much.  So he doesn't think I had anything to do with what happened then?"

"Not by the sound of it love," Alec tried to assure her.  "Seems you made a fresh start after what happened then but that's not how you remember it, is it?"

Rose shook her head.  "No, there were millions of them Alec, they used real people.  First he rounded up the homeless then he controlled the earpods everyone had started wearing and they just walked into the factory to get converted."

"Rose, I know you think that's what happened love but there was only one.  Those earpods never caught on, not really, it was a phase young people went through and it was about ten years ago.  The then president ordered Lumic to stop what he was doing and your dad told you the rest."

"So, who was the president back then?" Rose asked, not even knowing the name of the one who had been deleted.  "Who was in charge of Torchwood before Pete took it over?"

"Which one do you want an answer to first love?" Alec smiled, taking her hand.  "I'll go get some food, it's a little late to be cooking."

"I remember the president getting electrocuted or whatever, when those metal creatures tried to take over.  Did you have a name for them?" Rose asked him.

"Well I believe Lumic called it a Cyberman, for want of a better word," he replied.  "It was all covered up, it was put out that someone got inside the suit as a joke and Lumic got embarrassed and locked himself away.  Some say it all started because he was looking for a way to preserve himself but that's the way all egomaniacs start."

"Good thing he was stopped then?" Rose tried to smile.  "So what do we do now?"

"After we have eaten?" he smiled back, pulling her close.

"Be serious," Rose told him after they'd kissed.  "How do I know all this is real Alec?"

"You just have to trust us love.  Maybe like before you will just accept it?" he replied, getting up and getting his phone to order some food.

"Alec, what if I've not got an implant?" she asked as he was about to order.

"Of course you have one or you would not have been going anywhere love," he replied, finding his car keys.  "I swear if Mark Latimer is outside I will ram the car into the side of his van."

"Don't do that Alec, you'll get hurt," Rose urged him.

"Not if I put the car into gear and let it go on it's own," he smiled.  "I could blame it on the garage."

"Mickey used to be a mechanic," Rose admitted to him.

"Well he's not around to blame for it love, sorry.  Do not answer the door while I'm out, unless it's Miller."

"What would she be coming around for?" Rose asked.

"She keeps saying if she comes to see you she can put things right," Alec smiled, kissing her cheek.

"I wish she could," Rose replied sadly.

Alec turned back and put his arms around her, kissing the top of her head.

"We will make things right love, I promise.  You are not going anywhere again and since Lumic's creation was destroyed, no more skirmishes either.  The cannon project is over Rose, no-one will ever be lost again love."

"Do you think Mickey's still out there?" Rose asked him, snuggling into his shoulder.

"Maybe, who knows love?  If it makes you happy, you have to believe it is possible."

"I can't get back in front of the cannon and make all this right again Alec."

"What is there to make right love?  You are here, where you belong and everything you thought had happened was just a trick of your mind.  As for the man you were looking for, forget about it, maybe that was all in your mind, now I know you had lost your memory before?"

Alec went off and Rose sat for a moment.  How could she get him to believe her now?  Maybe having the cannon project shelved wasn't such a good idea but if she stood in front of it again she still may not get back where she belonged.  She could end up somewhere far worse with no Alec and a more hostile version of Torchwood who would at the very least lock her up.

She was well and truly stuck if no-one believed her, neither Pete or Alec would let her even attempt to get near the cannon before the parts were dismantled, that was if she was allowed into Torchwood.  What would happen when it was her turn to have the non-existent implant removed?

Would Doctor Jones, whose counterpart she'd only met briefly when the earth had been moved and was sure Mickey would go chasing after her give her up or think she'd made a mistake of not being able to find it?   Maybe Martha wouldn't want to lose her job so she might not want to admit anything was wrong.  Rose could only cross her fingers when the time came and hope for the best.

Maybe she should see what Alec thought about it but now, it seemed like he wanted to forget everything and get back to normal.  That included making a start on another addition to their family – as if not being there to have Maisie wasn't bad enough.

She should be concerned for the other Rose Tyler though, what had happened to her, had they actually swapped places?  After Alec got back and they got to bed, Alec wanted her to promise something.  Rose had to finally give in and have sex with him, if she was stuck here, she needed him and couldn't afford to drive him away but she had to hope for the best nothing would come of it, she had no idea if she was covered or not.

"Rose, sweetheart, you have to finally put this all behind you know, promise me?" he asked as they lay afterwards, tangled up in each other.  "I know now that before you were confused but you will get help with coming to terms you lost your memory before.  I would never have known if your dad had not told me, you had come a long way."

"I'll try Alec but it was all real to me, I think that's a bit different from the last time," Rose replied, not wanting to go too far.  "What if I go to get that implant removed and I haven't even got one?"

"Of course you have love, how have you been going on missions eh?" he asked.  "You think you somehow lost it?"

"I don't know Alec but what if something did happen in those what to you were four hours?"

"If you mean did anyone go in or out of what we thought was a bubble then no, someone was there all the time."

"I didn't mean that Alec.  When I appeared, no-one was taking any notice."

"Because they got no warning you were back.  Whatever was in Jake's report can't have proved anything or Owen would have ordered you back and not reluctantly agreed to your dad sharing the directorship."

"Maybe not then?  Sorry Alec, this isn't going away for me, not yet."

"I know love.  Why don't you sort yourself out and I will check on our daughter eh?"

Alec went off and Rose went to the bathroom. There was just no way out of this, no matter how hard she tried to convince Alec, he wasn't having any of it.  He was convinced she was his wife and unless she started acting like it, he'd leave.  Maybe she was right, this was her world that had been changed – she'd watched enough science fiction films and programmes about it.

Rose survived another week in her altered world or whatever, she'd not yet decided and the following Friday, they had arrived at the Tyler mansion, Jackie waking up the sleeping toddler and getting her told off by Alec, he'd lost count of how many times she'd done it.  After they'd settled the sleepy girl in her cot and Alec had got to the baby monitor before Jackie, he went to have a word with Pete.

"So, how's she doing Alec?" Pete asked him, smiling that Alec was holding the receiver from the baby monitor.

Alec knew what it looked like but he was getting tired of fighting his mother-in-law for possession of his own daughter every time they visited.  Now though, he could understand it.

"She seems to have settled a little over the last week.  Maybe she has finally accepted it?"

"Let's hope so, for her own sake Alec," Pete told him.

"I should not say this Pete but Rose came out with a few things but now, I know it was to do with her earlier memory loss."

"What sort of things?" Pete asked.

"About the man she thought I was when we met," Alec told him.

Pete smiled.  "She never really lost anyone Alec, you're right, it was the memory loss, she imagined it.  She was always doing that as a child.  Before I made my money, we were an ordinary family.  We'd go on picnics every Sunday during the summer and I'd read to her every night but times were hard until I finally sold my first patent.  Well I'm sure you know the story, I won't bore you with it," Pete smiled.

He thought everyone in the country knew how he'd made his first millions, even though he did back Lumic anonymously and never got it back.  He'd just carried on making his money before taking over Torchwood and now, he got paid a modest a salary, enough to support himself and Jackie without touching any of his own money he'd made, which would go to Rose and Maisie after he'd made sure Jackie was taken care of.

"Yes, I know but Rose doesn't, not any more.  So she had a good imagination before her first memory loss?" he asked Pete.

"Yeah, you should hear the stuff she used to come out with," Pete recalled fondly.  "Whatever she's told you is just old memories seeping through but I doubt she'll ever remember everything.  Shame really, her growing up before I made money, that's what made us strong Alec," Pete recalled.  "I remember one year, she wanted a red bike and I couldn't hope to afford to save up for it in time but on the day, the doorbell rang and she opened it and there it was, propped up on the balcony with a red ribbon around the handlebars."

"I bet she got a shock?" Alec smiled, wondering why Jackie hadn't fought him for the device in his hands.

"Yeah, we all were.  Then after that, my ideas took off and I got a lot of money out of it.  Someone was watching over us Alec, I swear they were."

"Sounds like they were," Alec had to agree.

Then he remembered something about Rose saying about travelling in time.  Was that what happened, she actually did and made things right for her family?  He shook the thought off, it was just her mind being confused.

"Actually Pete, she mentioned something.  Don't tell her though but she said something about time travel."

Pete laughed.  "I told you Alec, she used to come out with all kinds of things to amuse herself when she was younger.  It doesn't surprise me and maybe that was why she was so interested in the cannon project?  Going to other worlds even for a short time sort of made her dreams come true."

That explained it, Alec had to admit.  There was no need to tell him what else she had come out with, he still had to protect her from Pete insisting she went into therapy.  Even he wouldn't be able to stop that happening.

The next morning, Pete drove them to the office of the therapist she'd supposed to have been to before and they both waited while she went in, Rose trying to argue on the way there she didn't need it.  She and Alec were sat in the back seat of Pete's car, Alec holding her hand.

"This is a waste of time," Rose had insisted.

"Just see what he has to say love," Alec tried to tell her.

"Alec's right love," Pete agreed, glancing through the driver's mirror.

"Why do I get the feeling I'm being ganged up on?" Rose had asked.

Once inside the therapist's office, Rose was asked to sit in a big overstuffed armchair, wondering what was wrong with the standard couch.

"So, hello again Rose.  Do you remember me?" Doctor Phillips asked her, Rose seeing him holding a large pad.

She wondered how much he expected her to tell him in what Pete had said was a thirty minute session.

"No, sorry, I lost my memory – again, so I've been told," Rose smiled, trying not to sound sarcastic.

"That's quite alright, your father told me you went on a Torchwood mission and left in what could be described as limbo for four hours.  Don't worry, I'll soon get you sorted.  I treated you after the incident with that metal creature, though that was a hard one to believe, I can tell you," he smiled.

"Torchwood covered it up, so I was told," Rose admitted.

"Yes, well we're not here about that, are we?  Your father told me what you thought had happened while everyone thought you were gone and I want you to sit back, close your eyes and tell me, in your own words."

Rose thought this was a complete waste of her father's money and this therapist's time as she gave the short version.

"That's it?" she was asked as he'd written a few sentences, Rose dying to know if he'd added to it, which wasn't really that long.

"Well you asked what I thought had happened," Rose reminded him.  "Maybe you should ask my husband and Jake what they thought?"

"All in good time Rose.  They are not the ones who were confused when they got back."

"I told ya, I never went anywhere, why doesn't anyone believe me?"

Then she got it.  Who'd believe someone who'd lost their memory before and they could just put everything down to the fact she was imagining the whole thing?

"So, do you have anything you want to add to that Rose?" she was asked.

"Not really, what do you want me to say?  That I went to a parallel world that was three years behind this one?"

"Now Rose, I don't want you making things up but the proof is there, or rather you were absent all that time, everyone in that room can't possibly be wrong."

"Well no-one was paying any attention when I became visible again," she argued.

"Your father told me that but he said they should have seen a sign but there wasn't one.  Your father does let me in on these things Rose, I've treated other Torchwood agents for stress and other psychological problems, he trusts me so if there is anything you can't tell him or your husband, now is your chance."

Rose knew she was stuck, they wouldn't let it go, no matter what she told him.

"I have nothing more to say.  I expect my dad told you I'd started making things up?" she asked him.

"In not so many words.  You are compensating because if you actually went somewhere, you can't remember or you don't want to remember.  It's that or you really did go nowhere and your mind ran away, it's called a fugue state, where the mind runs away because it dare not look back.  What don't you want to remember Rose?  Does it go back to before you were knocked unconscious in that incident with that madman's creation?"

Rose shook her head.  If she admitted it, that she was letting her mind run riot, it would be weekly trips to a therapist Pete could trust near home and Alec would make sure she went because he was worried about it.  What was the alternative?  Pete finally leaving Torchwood and Owen would hold a grudge and try to find out what really happened?  She had a decision to make and soon.

"So, nothing to add?" he asked her.  Rose shook her head.  "Very well, I recommend more sessions, I have the name of a good therapist in Dorchester that your father can trust, I'll give him your details and he'll be in touch with your father.  So, you got married and have a young daughter?"

"Yeah but you'd lock me up if I told ya I don't even remember having her," Rose joked.

"That's just the result of you not knowing what happened for four hours Rose, it will come back to you.  You've come a long way since the last time, I would have hardly known that had happened had it not been for this."

Rose smiled.  If only he knew that was because she wasn't the same person he'd treated before but if she admitted that, well she didn't want to think about the consequences.

Chapter 17

While Rose was in the psychiatrist's office, Alec and Pete had been offered a drink and were sat in the corner, after Pete got Alec to finally sit down.

"She's done this before Alec," Pete had tried to tell him.

"I know Pete but all the same, I should be in there with her.  She thinks I don't believe her."

"Do you?" Pete asked, raising his eyebrows.  "Or are you more nervous she'll tell him more than she's told you?"

"Why would she not tell me Pete?" he asked, looking around the tastefully decorated outer office and wondering how much this thirty minute session was costing, glad he wasn't paying.

He didn't suppose Pete Tyler did anything by halves concerning his daughter, considering Rose had fallen in love with their house in Broadchurch, a rental and Pete had bought it for them after the owner got an offer he couldn't refuse.  He knew when it came to money, Rose would get the bulk of Pete's estate to share with Maisie but her money was nothing to them.  

He'd only made a few concessions, the house being one of them but they lived off his salary, which he was sure was actually a bit more than the national average for the rank of detective inspector but dare not question it where Pete was involved for fear of insulting him.  

Jackie though, he made the exception of insulting her from time to time, especially concerning his daughter when the woman didn't want to hand her back but now, he knew the reason.  It must have hit the family hard but he did wonder why Rose had never mentioned it.  He also knew that reason now, Rose had never fully recovered from her first memory loss.

"I'm sure she'll tell us about it when she comes out Alec," Pete tried to assure him.  "When we get to Torchwood, Jake will meet us and we'll go down to medical."

"Rose has this crazy idea she has nothing to remove," Alec smiled, not wanting to say too much.

"Really?  What makes her think that?" Pete asked him.  "She may not remember having it inserted though."

"That's a possible explanation," Alec had to agree.  "Now she is even more confused Pete and I don't like her being like that."

"None of us do Alec, she'll get sorted, maybe this was a good thing, to bring it to light and we should have told you.  I thought she would start to tell you on her own," Pete had to admit.

"Well at least now I know why she never said anything but I hope she was not hiding it from me, thinking I would feel differently about her."

"She wouldn't do that Alec, when she met you, well I don't need to tell you how she changed.  You know she was always getting herself in the papers?" Pete smiled.

"I had it brought to my attention when she arrived in Broadchurch," Alec smiled, remembering Ellie's warning that Rose was only out to make him her latest fling.  "My DS made it her mission to enlighten me."

Pete smiled back.  "Glad to see it didn't work then?"

Alec thought back to when they had first met, he'd not seen her in the same light other people had.

Doctor Phillips was just scribbling something on his over-size notepad, Rose wondering what he was writing now, probably that she was a disturbed individual who needed a full examination.

"Well Rose, I'll be in touch with your father, I take it you will attend any appointments arranged by my colleague once I pass on your details, with you father's permission?"

"If I have to," Rose agreed, getting up.  "I expect he'll insist and make sure Alec takes me."

"Your husband is a detective inspector, so I heard?" she was asked.

Rose nodded.  "Yeah, he is, I'm very proud of him."

"Does he know of your other memory loss?"

"He does now, I don't know why no-one told him before," Rose told him.

"Maybe they thought that was up to you and you may have got around to it.  How long have you been together?"

"Around three years but I don't remember it as that long but that's another story," Rose replied, wanting to get out.

"Well that's something you can discuss at your next session, I'm sure my colleague will pass anything of relevance on to me.  You've come a long way Rose, despite what happened recently."

"In what way?" Rose was dying to know, to get more clues than Alec and Pete were willing to tell her, she was sure they were both holding things back.

"You don't need reminding of that but I will say this, you liked all the publicity."

Rose shook her head.  "Maybe I only pretended I liked it?" she asked as he went to open the door for her.

It was far from the truth – she'd always hated false reports who she was dating or seen out on the town with, rejects from a failed reality show who wanted some claim to fame because they'd failed to get attention on TV.

Doctor Phillips opened the door slightly, reaching to shake her hand.

"I'll let you get back to your husband then," he smiled as Alec got up anxiously.  "Mr Tyler, a word if you will?" he asked Pete.

Alec went to greet her, putting his arm around her and kissing her cheek, all he was willing to do in such company.

"How did it go love?  Was it so bad?" he asked.

"Nah, just a bunch of questions.  He wrote down more than I told him," Rose grinned.

"That's what they do love, they make notes about your answers," he smiled.  "Just one more thing to do love, then we will take Maisie out later, if your mother will give her back.  I swear Maisie will grow up wondering why her nan hordes her."

"I have to go for more sessions, when we get back home," Rose admitted, nodding across to where Pete was talking.

"Ah, I guessed as much love, it's nothing to worry about, I will take you myself, we will arrange for when Maisie is at nursery and Beth or Chloe can always pick her up if we are delayed."

"Yeah, we'll let the nursery know.  I've been meaning to ask, who else is allowed to collect her?"

"Just Miller and Beth, Chloe if not, don't worry about it love, they won't hand her over to anyone else, not even your mother, if she ever got the chance," Alec grinned. 

Pete had finished talking, agreeing he would check out the psychiatrist in Dorchester and Doctor Phillips would send the referral.

"Are you sure she will attend?" Pete was asked.

"Yes, we want this put behind her, she's been through another traumatic experience and I bet she's not told you half of it?" Pete asked.

Doctor Phillips shook his head.  "She was somewhat reluctant, which is understandable under the circumstances.  I think this time, at least she has only lost her short term memory, the rest has just been altered somehow.  Is that the result of the device or something she did?"

"I can't tell you that Clive, sorry but we're doing everything we can to make sure it never happens again, it's being taken care of.  She is all mixed up with her memories though, I was hoping she'd talk to you more about it?"

"No, she never said much Mr Tyler.  I have a colleague in Dorchester, a female psychiatrist, Rose may feel more comfortable with her and talk more, hopefully."

Pete glanced over his shoulder.  "If she'd talk to her husband, we may be halfway there."

As they left the office, Jake had just got away from Owen's office.  Jake felt a bit better now he knew he could get away with certain things, Pete would defend him if he stepped out of place.  The cannon was almost in pieces and under guard until it was decided whether to destroy the equipment, which the board were taking their time about deciding on.

He longed for the days when the director had been completely in charge but now he was grateful the board had insisted since the incident with Mickey that they had the final say on some points.  It was just as well after the conversation he'd just had with Owen, who was still trying the assert his authority that he didn't have.

"So, how's the dismantling going then?" Owen had asked him.

"Almost done, the final phase will be the main computer on Monday when the technicians have finished downloading all the data history.  It's up to the board what they do with that," Jake had told him.

"Well if it was up to me, I'd keep it for future reference, in case we want to bring it back," Owen replied.

Jake had tried to be civil with him.

"Well it's not – co-director," Jake had told him, knowing Owen hated being reminded he'd not got full control but it served him right for what he wanted to do to Rose, what did he expect?

"I expect you think now Pete will cover your ass for being out of order?" Owen raised his eyebrows at Jake.

"I don't need him to stick up for me now, you can't do anything without his say-so," Jake reminded him, grinning.

"He won't stay forever Simmonds, then you'll be out if I get my way if you continue with that attitude.  Whatever did he see in you?" Owen asked him.

"Didn't he tell you?" Jake asked him.  "I only stopped Lumic's creation causing any more damage than it did when it got loose, there could have been more casualties and Rose could have been seriously injured."

"Yes, well from what I heard, that was all covered up and she took some time off.  I don't expect anyone will ever know how badly affected she was.  I still think she had something to do with what happened recently though."

"How could she have done?" Jake asked him.  "You're tryin' to make something out of nuthin' and Pete'll stop you."

"I'm already aware of that fact Jake.  Doctor Jones informed me you're both having your implants removed shortly.  She was a bit annoyed she had to work today," Owen scoffed.

"Well tough, it was the only time Rose could get here without disturbing Maisie from nursery, they just got her in five mornings.  Besides, Alec's got no excuse for having time off now."

"I expect he has Pete to thank for being able to come with her, I would never have allowed it," Owen told him.

"We know that.  Anything else?  They'll be here soon," Jake replied, just wanting to get it over with, if Martha wasn't in a good mood, which she usually wasn't.

"I suppose you're happy Pete got the board to agree that no Torchwood member could be forced to have the brain scanner used on them?"

"What do you think – co-director?" Jake answered, getting up.

"Well I hope you haven't passed on any information to Pete about that report you had made?" Owen asked him.

"How can I?" Jake asked.  "The board kept it."

"Don't tell me you never kept a backup?  Really, I'm surprised at you," Owen goaded him.  "Tell Rose I'd be happy for her to talk to me about what really happened, won't you?"

"You already know the answer to that, now she no longer works here, she'll probably tell ya to get lost," Jake replied.

He got downstairs as Rose, Alec and Pete were waiting in reception, Rose sitting nervously with Alec.

"It will soon be over love," Alec tried to assure her as she leaned her head on his shoulder.

"Yeah but what if I'm right Alec?  What if I really don't have one of those implants?" she asked cautiously, hoping Pete wouldn't hear.

Alec tried to assure her.  "Well if you haven't, don't tell Doctor Jones that, eh love?" he smiled, squeezing her hand.  "Let her come up with the excuse, if she can.  Seriously, you have nothing to worry about, if there isn't one, she's hardly likely to admit it, is she?  She will already be upset she can't use the scanner on you."

"Yeah, well she can't.  If you see her with a funny look on her face, you know I was right," Rose tried to smile as she saw Jake coming towards them.

"Well, are you ready?" Jake asked Rose as Alec helped her up.  "No Maisie?  Did her nan kidnap her again?"

"Stop teasing him Jake," Rose smiled.  "Well, come on then, let's get this over with, I hate to think what kind of mood she'll be in."

"You don't have to tell me.  Maybe I can pop over and see Maisie later then?" Jake asked, leading them back to the lifts when he'd shaken hands with Alec and Pete.

"Sure but you'll have to fight my mum for her," Rose joked, getting a look for Alec.  "Sorry babe, I was just kidding."

"I should hope so.  Rose, you had better tell your dad and Jake what we just talked about, just in case."

Rose knew better than to talk in the lift but she always enjoyed snogging Alec when she got the chance so she snuggled up to him, Alec eyeing the camera in the corner.  He leaned down to whisper to her.

"Putting on a show love?" he asked, seeing a smirk on Jake's face and Pete pretending to look at the lift indicator.

When they got out, Alec asked Jake if it was safe to talk.

"Yeah, what was it you wanted us to know?" Jake asked.

"Rose thinks somehow, she does not have such an implant," Alec revealed.

"That's not possible love," Pete told her.  "Otherwise how did you go on missions?"

"That was what I asked her.  Well love, can you explain?"

Rose had sneaked her original device out of her other purse she'd brought with her while Alec had been giving Jackie her instructions over their daughter, not that she ever took any notice of his warning not to force-feed her milk and biscuits or make her sit on the sofa for hours.  

Jake looked at the small device.  "What's that Rosie?  It looks similar to what we used to use before what happened to Mickey."

"This is how I got back Jake, I've been tryin' to tell ya, this isn't how I remember things."

She had decided last night, after she was sure she was due her monthly and wasn't covered, not to say she came from another world or dimension, it wasn't worth risking it.  If Alec left her and she got pregnant, there would be no-one to help her if he told Pete.  She had very little choice but to just keep up the pretence she just thought things were different and hope that they believed it was all the tricks her mind was playing on her.

As Jake tried to take the device from her, she was already regretting showing them it.

"Where did ya get this from?" Jake asked her, looking at Alec, who just shrugged his shoulders.

"I kept it, isn't that what we used to use?" Rose asked.

"Not exactly but why have ya still got it?" Jake wanted to know.

"Rose believes she doesn't belong here, don't you Rose?" Alec asked her.

"I know my mind's just playing tricks on me Alec, you all keep tryin' to tell me," Rose replied, hoping they went for it.  "You convinced me Alec, that everything I came up with was the result of standing on my own for four hours, like my dad said."

They all looked at her.

"Is that right?" Pete asked.

Rose looked at Alec to back her up.

"Yeah, I have to believe both of ya.  I guess I'm still not over my other memory loss.  I probably do have an implant, I just forgot having it.  There's only one way to find out."

Jake indicated for them to move, they could be still seen on camera but since they were facing away from it and Rose had put the strange device away, he considered it just looked like they were talking about the implant removal, he was sure Owen would be watching.  As they stood outside the medical department, Alec held Rose back.

"Why did you not show me that?" he asked her.  "Did you not trust me Rose?"

"No, it wasn't I didn't trust you Alec, I thought it would prove to you I'm crazy, I was scared."

As they entered, Rose could only hope that was enough.  She thought it must be as Alec took her hand and whispered, "I love you Rose, now get this over with."

Martha Jones had been annoyed that the stuck-up co-director's daughter couldn't be arsed dragging herself away from that backwater seaside town she'd settled in during the week and of course, Pete Tyler had ordered her to accommodate both Rose and Jake, who himself could have gone any time.

"You both took your time," Martha greeted them.

"Always a pleasure to keep you waiting, Doctor Jones," Jake told her.  "Annoyed your little toy is out of bounds, to employees and those exempt?"

Rose let out a laugh, getting a frown from Pete, who'd had to fight the board about her position. 

"Well, who's first then?" Martha asked, indicating to the table and some instruments on a tray, Rose thinking she didn't like the look of that and wondering why she'd ever had agreed to the implant being put in.  Not that she actually remembered.

"Go on then, I'll go first," Jake offered.  "Since Rose is still a bit out of it."

"Is she?" Martha asked, going to prepare things.  "Such as?"

"Non of your business Doctor Jones, Rose no longer works here, she doesn't answer to you now," Pete warned her.

"Fine then," Martha huffed.  

Rose stood back as Martha picked something up to locate the implant, hearing a buzzer sound.  She tried to hide behind Alec, making him smile.

"Well you were here when it was put in love," he told her, not wanting to warn Martha that Rose may not have one.

"Yeah, I must have been off my head agreeing to one," Rose replied.  "Now I know why I didn't want you here."

"I would have been, it was not allowed at the time, Owen was in charge back then," Alec told her.

Before they knew it, Jake was getting up, a bandage on his arm.

"Your turn," Jake grinned, rubbing the spot.  "It doesn't hurt if that's what ya think?"

"Well I had it put in I suppose?  Do I get a sweet if I'm good?" she joked.

"It's not the dentist Rose," Pete reminded her.

"Go on love, then we can go rescue our daughter from your mother," Alec reminded her.

As Rose got on the table, Alec helping her, she pulled him close.

"I love you too Alec, we have some talking to do."

"I know love, we have a lot to talk about and I think it's time you took that test, don't you?"

He stepped back after getting a look from Martha that told him he was in her way – not that he cared.  He just hoped if she couldn't locate an implant, she'd be too embarrassed to say so, especially when she wasn't popular with either Jake or Pete.  He was watching from the other side of the table as Martha was scanning both Rose's arms, wondering if Rose was right after all.

"That's odd," Martha remarked after checking the small device.  "What was Doctor Harper thinking of, burying it so deep in your arm?"

"What ya askin' me for?" Rose asked sarcastically.

"Problem Doctor Jones?" Pete asked.  "Maybe you should ask Jake, since he had his done at the same time?"

"I don't want anyone's help," Martha huffed, scanning again.  "You already had it removed, without telling me, didn't you?  What are you all playing at?" she asked, giving up and looking at the three men.  "You did this on purpose, to get back at me.  What do I tell Doctor Harper now?"

Pete stepped forward as Alec helped Rose off the table.

"Nothing, you tell him both Rose and Jake had their implants removed – understand?" Pete asked her.  "She had to have it removed, in case Owen wouldn't let her go, we had to take precautions against him getting her to recreate what happened.  I couldn't allow him to do it.  He is not to know and if he finds out, I will see you lose your job, get it, Doctor Jones?"

Martha could only nod her agreement.

"Now, you destroy Jake's implant and we attest you destroyed both of them," Pete continued.  "Alec, put a bandage on Rose's arm in the same place as Jake's, make it look like she had it done."

Alec nodded and reached in the tray, taking it out of the wrapper and applying it.

"What are you really covering up?" Martha asked.

"As if we'd tell ya," Jake grinned.  "It would be my pleasure to escort you from the building if you tell Owen Harper."

Martha knew she was being ganged up on and maybe going up against them was a bad idea.  She'd heard what happened to employees, however high up they were if they disobeyed a directive and Owen was in no position to help her, not now he'd not got sole control anyway.  She would have supported him had he not given in so easily but he'd let Pete Tyler back in and in her books, it was a sign of weakness.

Chapter 18
Alec led Rose outside, Jake indicating to go around the corner, away from the camera.

"Thanks for covering for her Pete," Alec told him, his arm around his wife.

"Yeah, that was quick thinking Boss," Jake grinned. 

"Well we all know she's going to tell him, despite the warning so I had to come up with something, didn't I?" Pete asked.  "Care to explain Rose?"

Rose shook her head, hoping she'd get away with it but the look on Pete's face told her that wasn't going to happen.

"So, we talk when we get back home then, we can't talk about it here.  Jake, care to join us?" Pete asked him.

"Yeah, I'll be over as soon as I can, don't start without me, I want to know as well," Jake grinned.

"As do I," Alec joined in.

"Whatcha all looking at me for?" Rose asked indignantly.

"Maybe because of that device you had and the absence of the implant?" Jake grinned.  "Come on Rose, we're all on your side."

"Leave it for now Jake," Alec told him, his arm around Rose.  "Let's get you back where we can talk and no more stories eh?  Pete, I did try to warn you earlier."

"Yeah, I know you did Alec but I hope Owen believes what Martha tells him," Pete replied.

"You were prepared then?" Alec asked, Rose looking nervous.

"When we spoke in Doctor Phillips's office, I had an idea but that's no excuse Rose, you should have come to me."

Rose didn't know what he was on about.  "About what?"

"Everything, what do you think eh?  Come on, let's go get a drink first before we leave and we'll wait for you Jake," Pete suggested.

As they rode up in the lift, Rose knew she was going to have to explain herself but how could she?  Would Alec come to the rescue or leave her to explain herself?  She knew there was something when he made no attempt at anything like on the way down.  Once on the canteen level, Rose excused herself to the ladies room and Pete went with Alec to get coffee and some pastries.

"What do you make of it Alec?" Pete asked him, since Jake had left them on the ground floor to finish off.  "Had you any idea before now?"

"Only what she said.  As for the other thing," Alec replied, meaning the strange device.  "I had no idea she was hiding something although last week she went in her other handbag and made an excuse up.  She must have been hiding it there."

Pete patted him on the shoulder.  "Some detective you are," he joked as they saw Rose walking towards them.

Alec got up to let Rose sit down and moved over.  "So, you could not even tell me?" he asked her, indicating to where the device was.

"I'm sorry Alec, what could I say?" Rose asked him.  "I couldn't just show it to ya, could I?  What would you have done, besides call my dad?"

"I'm disappointed love but I know you had your reasons but next time, trust me eh?" he told her.  "So, what do we do now?"

"Well, we don't talk here to start with," Pete smiled as more people came in for their break.  "Martha will have gone to see Owen by now, we should leave."

"Jake's head of security, he'll have to go through him first, won't he?" Rose asked.

"Well yes but Owen can bypass Jake if he wants.  If it's not an order, he doesn't need my agreement.  Trust me, he's been finding a way around things all week, he's very clever.  I should never have promoted him, it was a big mistake and now, Rose is paying for it."

"Don't blame yourself Pete," Alec told him.  "How were you know what was going to happen on her last mission?  Can you get someone to testify you went to them to get Rose's implant removed?"

"Now who's sneaky?" Rose tried to smile.

"Actually, there may be someone who owes me a favour, if Owen wanted proof.  Right, if he questions either of you, go with what I told Martha.  Agreed?" Pete asked them, getting his phone out.

"Agreed though this changes nothing Rose, we expect an explanation," Alec told her.

Rose knew she couldn't give one without retracting her earlier admission, that she accepted it was the memory loss.

They managed to get out of the building before Owen sent some security guards looking for Rose, though he'd know Pete and Alec would protect her and Jake would call anyone back who worked for him.  Martha had finished her notes and then gone up to Owen's office, hating the fact it was a long way up.

She'd only taken the position because ten years ago, her older cousin had worked there and got caught up in the madman Lumic's creation going crazy episode and she'd never been the same.  She'd been let into Owen's office and he'd indicated for her to sit down.

"So, what have you got to tell me, Doctor Jones?" he'd asked.

"It was as you suspected, Rose was hiding something," Martha told him.  "Her father had her implant removed, to make me look foolish."

"Yes, I did think he was up to something.  That was why they chose today, to cover it up and whoever removed it left no marks?"

"None that I could see Director.  I bet Jake was in on it, to know where the implant was but where did they have it done?"

"Come now Martha, Pete will have arranged it before she went home after the incident, trust me.  I should have known he wouldn't risk waiting for my decision, getting the board to turn against me was his way of letting me know I wasn't getting away with it.  Did you learn anything else?"

"No, they don't talk in front of me, why should they?" Martha huffed.  "She was acting like she still had it though, she made me look like a real idiot.  She never liked me."

Owen couldn't imagine why, when she'd asked Rose to have a brain scan.

Everyone had got back to the Tyler mansion, going to rescue Maisie first, who was actually sitting on the floor with a game Pete had got for her.  She held her arms out for Alec to pick her up.

"Hey princess, have you been having fun?" he asked, scowling at Jackie and suspecting the woman knew they were due back and had just placed her on the floor, having held the girl prisoner on the sofa since they'd left.

Then Maisie saw Jake and tried to get to him.

"Hiya Maisie, come on then," Jake offered, holding his arms out to catch her when she called out.  "Want to go to the park later?"

The girl nodded, getting him a scowl from Jackie.

"Jackie, just watch her for half an hour more love, we all have something to talk about," Pete asked her, as if she'd actually refuse.

Jake put the girl back down and she went straight to Alec.

"Go back to your nan Maisie, we won't be long," he told her, sitting her next to Jackie.

"So how did it go?" Jackie asked, trying not to let the toddler get away, despite what Alec had told her.

"Not bad, Rose is free now but something's still bothering her love, we have to try to sort it out," Pete tried to tell her.

They went off to Pete's study, everyone crowding in.

"You need a bigger office," Jake joked as Rose opted to share with Alec.

Rose giggled.  "It's not bigger on the inside Jake," she laughed, holding onto Alec's neck.

Alec tried to look at her, after what she'd tried to tell him the week before.  Pete just smiled and humoured her.

"Rose, you know we've all made allowances for you, this time and the time before, don't you love?" he asked her.  Rose nodded.  "Alec told me you'd come out the some strange things lately.  Was it all your imagination, like when you were younger?"

"Did I have a good imagination?" Rose asked.

"Yes, the tales you used to come out with were quite lively, especially imagining travelling to other worlds," Pete smiled.  "Alec, is that what she told you?  About travelling in time?"

"Yes, I have to admit Pete, that was mostly it but what about this man you lost Rose?  The one you were looking for when you found me?"

Rose looked across at Pete.  Their Rose had made up stories when she was a child, about time travel so she'd obviously made up the Doctor or a Timelord.  This could still be an alternate version of herself and it could still be her adopted world.

Pete rescued her.  "She won't remember, do you Rose?" he asked her. 

Rose could only go along now, she was too deep in this.  If she told the truth now, they still may not believe her or maybe the opposite, all desert her and throw her out.  She doubted they'd give her up to Owen, not that he could do anything now but she had her own device and she dreaded to think what he'd do with it, if he got it working.

"No, I remember some of it, I told Alec," Rose had to admit.

"Yes but you thought it was real love," Alec told her.  "Pete, it has to be all that time being on her own, it must have seemed longer than four hours.  Rose, that's why you think you don't remember us getting married when you found out you were having Maisie and why you can't accept what happened to Mickey."

"Rose, there was no-one who you would have gone looking for when you saw Alec on TV," Pete tried to tell her.  "You never described the man you made up and when you saw Alec, you thought that was who he had looked like."

"That has to be the reason," Alec agreed.  "Now I understand love and you still need our help and we will help you.  As for your implant disappearing, maybe Doctor Jones never looked hard enough?"

"No Alec,  I think she was told by Owen not to remove it, in case the board ever agreed to put the cannon back together," Pete told them.

"Seriously?" Rose asked, relieved the pressure for her explaining why she had no implant was off.

"Yeah, I agree Pete," Jake told him.  "He gets her to say she can't find it, knowing you'd come up with a reason, we still have to be on our guard."

"Yes Jake, we already know that," Alec replied.  "I trust the two of you will do everything you can to persuade the board to dispose of the cannon parts?"

"That goes without saying now Alec.  Rose, that device, you should hand it to Jake for safe keeping love.  Jake, it looks a bit like the ones you used, maybe you forgot eh?"

Jake had to agree.  "Maybe, a lot's happened since then, sure you never altered it Rose?" he joked.

"I doubt Rose is capable of that though," Alec told them.  "Since they were kept in the cannon room and I never saw them, I can't argue.  Maybe someone slipped it in her pocket one time as a joke?"

"Yeah, maybe you're right?" Jake agreed.  "So, anything else, I'm missing my brunch with Steve."

Now Rose actually knew who his current boyfriend was.

"I think we've covered all bases," Pete told them.  "You get off Jake, if Alec has any questions, I can fill him in.  I'll go to the board on Monday and accuse Owen of putting Martha up to saying there was no implant on Rose and that he planned on getting them to keep the project from being totally dismantled."

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Alec disagreed.  "Surely it would be best to let them think it has been removed?"

"Yeah, Alec's right Pete," Jake had to agree.  "He won't dare try to get her back, tell the board you suspect he's still up to something and it would be best all round it was totally unusable."

"Right, we all agree on going with that?" Pete asked, everyone, including Rose nodding.

"You've been quiet love," Alec told her as she rested her head in his shoulder.

"What do ya want me to say?  You've told me I made it all up when I was a kid and I don't remember.  All I can do is believe ya."

"It's all true Rose," Pete assured her.  "I'd say ask your mother but it may upset her so best not.  I told Alec about the bike."

Rose sat up.  That was something her first Doctor had mentioned and never gone into any details.  How did they know about that or anything else?  This was getting too much, parts of her real life had become integrated into the elaborate plot that was unfolding.  She wondered more than ever if the Doctor himself had something to do with this, that he was the one pulling the strings.

"So Owen won't let this drop, will he?" Rose asked, trying to change the subject.

"You leave him to us love," Pete assured her.  "I'll somehow get the board to agree not to leave him any opportunity to get you back and he can't order another implant if he knows there's one still there, can he?  Now, anything else?  If not, maybe you should go rescue your daughter Alec."

After meeting Jake and Steve at the park, they finally got Maisie to bed and Alec led Rose to their room, Rose still thinking of it as hers.

"Well, we got a lot of answers today love," Alec smiled as he pushed her onto the bed, putting his hand up the front of her t-shirt.  "Still got that test kit at home?"

"You know I have," Rose smiled, putting her hands on his shoulder.  "You think I'm gonna need it?"

"Wait until later love, I'll tell you for certain," Alec smiled, going for her bra strap.

They all met downstairs for dinner, Pete asking what time they were leaving the next day.

"After lunch, Rose is anxious to get back, we have a lot to talk about now," Alec told him.

"What aren't you telling me?" Jackie asked.

"Nothing love, it's between them," Pete answered her.  "They've been worried about Owen trying to get Rose back but that's over now."

"Well I should think so as well," Jackie huffed, still annoyed Alec was in procession of the baby monitor and he wasn't letting go.  "Why wouldn't he let her go then?"

"Because Rose didn't think she went anywhere last time and we thought Owen would use that against her," Pete tried to explain to her, since Jackie only knew the minimum.

"Why would he want to use that against her?  Didn't he think it was a waste of time?" Jackie asked.

Alec was sometimes glad that she knew even less than he did as to why Rose had insisted on going back on missions after Maisie had been born.

"If only he did," Pete replied.  "Jackie, he wanted to use the fact Rose never went anywhere to try to recreate it, to get agents to ride it out and emerge sometime in the future."

"Oh.  You mean like time travel?" Jackie asked, a bit confused.  "That's a bit of a risk, how would he know when to bring 'em out?"

"Actually, she has a point there," Alec had to agree with her, which wasn't very often.

"Yes, I was wondering about that.  I bet he would have had another program made up as some sort of timer, to be set gradually, to see what happened," Pete suggested.

"You mean set it for a day then further into the future?" Alec suggested.

"Exactly," Pete replied.

Rose was getting even more worried now, talking about inventing a form of time travel.  Where would it all end?

"Well how would they get back?" Rose asked, not that she intended ever for it to happen and Owen had just lost his source.

"I'm sure he'd take that into consideration," Alec told her.  "Anyway, he is not likely to get the chance now you are out of there.  I think he planned leaving that device in you to lure you back when he had completed some tests.  I bet he intends getting that information back from the board and start a team to go over it, to see what they make of it."

"I'm afraid you may be right Alec," Pete had to admit.  "He's dangerous and the board have to see that."

"What if they don't?" Rose asked.  "What if they get talked into seeing if it works?"

"He can't love," Alec tried to assure her.  "He can't have got that much information, can he?" he asked Pete.

Pete shook his head.

"I have no idea since the board won't let me see the report.  Sorry Jackie, we'll have to delay that cruise until I'm certain he can't use it against Rose or try and get the cannon project re-started.  I'll have to catch the board early on Monday morning and get my side in, before Owen gets there."

"What if he beats ya to it?" Rose asked.

"Then we're all in trouble Rose," Pete told her gravely.  "Not just us, not just the world but every other world and dimension.  Maybe not immediately but in years to come, who knows how many time periods he'll have agents turn up in and bring stuff or information back?"

Alec didn't like where this was going.  "Yes, we are all in trouble," he agreed.  "Say that Rose did not go anywhere and time passed, if it was recorded, he already knows how she did it and he won't need her now so why try and keep her?"

Rose got up suddenly.  "He does need me Alec, can't you see that?" she asked, throwing her napkin on the table.

"Sit down love, don't get upset," Alec asked her.  "Rose, if he has the data, he does not need you."

"Yes, he does Alec, if the cannon was calibrated to me."

"Sorry Alec, Rose is right.  The information how the cannon works is restricted, on a need to know basis and even Rose doesn't know all of it – well she did.  Since it involves the two of you, you need to know this.  Jackie, why don't you go check on Maisie but don't wake her up love," Pete suggested.

For once, Alec wasn't going to object but he was keeping the monitor on and he'd be annoyed if he heard her trying to wake his daughter.  When Jackie had left, Pete closed the door, meaning for the staff to stay out.

"Rose used to know but now she's lost her memory again, I'll tell you both.  The cannon is set to the agent who stands in front of it so no-one else can follow.  It was designed that way in case of a hostile takeover and if they had a mind to follow the agent but it also acted so that if an agent came back, so much time had to pass before the same co-ordinates could be set for another journey.  That was why no-one went to check on Mickey," Pete tried to explain.

"How long is that then?" Alec wanted to know.

"Two years, which means someone could actually check but since the world was hostile, the board can only approve a trip back there but that's the least of our problems."

"Mickey's important, he could have been spared and held prisoner," Rose objected.

"Yes love, I'm aware of that," Pete told her.  "It would take a rescue team then we don't know what they'd be getting themselves into, the cannon would have to be recalibrated to carry several agents and no, I haven't given up on the idea he could still be alive Rose but Mickey knew what he was doing."

"Then why have the device only carry one person on the return trip?" Alec asked.  "Oh, so no-one can hitch a ride, if they were unfriendly?"

"Yes, you're right about that Alec.  Anyway, that's beside the point.  If Owen has the readings that Rose went nowhere, the rules don't apply, do they?  He could have an unlimited amount of agents going one after the other and now we know they may not need an implant, if Rose hasn't really got one.  Rose?"

Rose looked at Pete then Alec.  How was she going to get out of explaining this, just when she thought she'd got away with it?
Chapter 19
She decided in that split second there was only one way.

"I thought you said they'd left it in me on purpose?  You said Owen was being sneaky?"

"Rose is right," Alec defended her.  "He left it to lure her back, you said so yourself."

"Sorry, I had to ask," Pete grinned.  "We'll never know what really happened, not unless Rose gets her memory back fully and from what Doctor Phillips thinks, it's going to take a while just to get back what you had before."

Rose slid onto Alec's lap.  "So I'll never completely remember everything?" she asked, thinking it was maybe a blessing in disguise, since she was now stuck in this version of reality.

It would get her out of a lot of things.

"Rose, you should tell your father what you told me love, about you imagining that man, The Doctor was it?" Alec reminded her.

"He was someone I made up, wasn't he Dad?  That's what you told Alec."

"Yes love, you had your own little world when you were growing up and after that incident, you started making things up again.  Don't worry about it Alec, I know all about it.  A blue police box that travels in time?" Pete smiled.  "What else did she tell you?"

Rose leaned her head on Alec's shoulder – at least they were making it easy for her.  Who was their Rose?  Did she really make up the life she herself had lived?  This was more than a coincidence – this was her making it up as she went along.  Someone was behind this and it could only be the Doctor himself but why?  Was it his twin, trying to make it up to her for leaving her but if it was, why couldn't she have been left with the other Alec and Tony?

Then it dawned on her – he was trying to give her a version of Alec who was well but who was he to take that decision for her?  She had loved the other Alec because he had been ill and needed her help.  Well at least now, it didn't make her feel as guilty, if as Alec suspected, she was pregnant but making it seem like she had lost her memory?

Why?  To make it easier for her?  Well she didn't want it easy, she wanted her old life back but that wasn't likely to happen.  Maybe the Doctor had somehow found a way to watch over her from the other universe and thought he was doing her a favour.  Well he'd better quit making decisions for her and get her back and hopefully, everything here would fade away.

Could she live with that though?  Pete was asking her something.

"Rose, something wrong love?"

"No, sorry.  I was trying to come to terms I'll never remember everything, not now.  Was I doing well?"

"You were doing fine love," Alec assured her.  "I never knew there had been anything wrong.  I think your dad is right, being in suspension all that time made your imagination run riot but how did you snap out of it?"

"Good question Alec." Pete told him.  "I think there was something in that report that Owen didn't want anyone to see but it backfired on him when the board asked for it.  If it was something he could use, he'll be trying to get it back before the cannon is totally useless."

"He would go that far?" Alec asked Pete, his arm around Rose.

"Yes, if he left that implant in Rose's arm with the intent of luring her back but since now the board won't let him by giving me joint directorship, he'll be trying to think of a way around it."

"Well he's in for a long wait, if he thinks he'll get me to go back now," Rose stated.

"He'll wait for me to finally give in to your mother and give up love, he's in no hurry," Pete told her.

"Your dad is right love, you hold the key to this but why that particular time?" Alec asked.

Rose knew the reason.  It was because she'd just been plunged into this nightmare and there had never been another time, Mickey had never been lost because he'd not been saving her and she'd never lost her real dad, only Tony.  Life just wasn't fair.

Pete answered him.  "I think it may have just been a fluke Alec, what else could it have been?"

Rose knew the answer but could never tell – well not without them having nothing to do with her, then what would be the point of her being here?  Maybe if they did throw her out, the Doctor may see it was doing more harm than good and get her out of here – if he was actually behind it.  Just as long as that crazy Dalek Caan hadn't survived and was playing tricks on her.

"Yeah, it had to have been," Rose agreed.  "Alec, what happened before I was supposed to go off and I didn't go anywhere?"

"Just as normal love.  We came here on the Friday night, I took you to Torchwood and you prepared as normal.  Maisie was making a fuss because she wanted to go get ready with you, the technicians were preparing the cannon."

"Could anyone have slipped her that device she had Alec?" Pete asked him. 

"A female technician went in to check on her," Alec replied.  "You think she put that device in Rose's pocket, to sabotage the mission?"

Pete got up to reach his phone.  "Alec, do you know who it was?" he asked, pressing Jake's number.  "Rose, did you have that device before you went off love?"

"I don't know Dad," Rose replied honestly.  "You think it interfered with the cannon somehow?"

"Yes, it had to have caused that ripple effect we thought it was," Alec agreed.

Jake had answered, knowing it was urgent.

"Jake, who amongst the female technicians were present the day Rose said she never went anywhere?  I want a list of names.  Do you remember who went off with her when she was getting ready?"

"I don't know Pete, we were all pretty busy getting ready.  Why?" Jake asked.  "Did Alec know who it was?"

"He was busy with Maisie.  Alec, did you catch a glimpse?" Pete asked him.

"Just someone with red hair and a white coat," Alec recalled.

"Sounds a bit like Amy," Jake told them, Pete having put the call on the speaker.  "I'll get right onto it and have her in my office within the hour but what for?"

"Because we think she slipped that device to Rose to interfere with her mission," Pete told him.

"What for, why would she do that?" Jake asked.  "You think Owen's behind it?"

"No, he had nothing to gain from it," Pete replied.

"Doesn't he?" Alec asked.

"You're being a detective again Alec," Rose smiled.

"This isn't a joke love, maybe it was an attempt to undermine the project?" Alec asked Pete.

"How long had Amy worked for us?" Pete asked Jake.

"I don't know offhand but she either took the job for that reason or someone got to her.  I agree with you Pete, Owen had nothing to do with it, it was from outside."

"You have rivals?" Alec asked, raising his eyebrows that Rose loved him doing, since it reminded her of the Doctor.

"It seems so.  Why did we not know Jake?" Pete wanted to know.

"Could it be someone out for revenge?" Alec asked.

"Not unless it's a faction who have something against us or they want our secrets," Pete replied.

"Are you telling Owen about this?" Jake asked.

"Not yet, get her in and find out what she knows.  You two should go home as planned, there's nothing you can do," Pete told Alec.  "Jake, leave it tonight, get her in tomorrow but get some background on her, she must have been cleared when she was taken on.  I think someone got to her."

"Or they have something on her," Alec suggested.  "Sure it is not Owen Harper?"

"After he went to all that trouble to get Rose to stay?" Pete replied.  "I doubt he's behind it Alec, he wants to recreate what happened to his own advantage."

"Yes, he does," Alec told them, alarming Rose.  "Sorry love but he may have been using you, to prove a point and he did not care."

"What are you getting at Alec?" Pete asked him, seeing Rose was getting upset.  "He was using her to see what the cannon was really capable of by introducing a second device?"

"You could be right Pete," Jake agreed.  "That's why he wouldn't let me keep a copy of the findings, there was something in it and the board don't get what that is.  If they did, they would have called him into question."

"Would they?" Pete asked.  "If some of them were already in on it?"

"So we could be up against one or more board members?" Alec asked.

"This goes deeper than Owen then?  Why go to such lengths though?" Rose wanted to know.

"I want to know why he picked on my wife," Alec asked.

"She's an easier target than Jake I suppose?" Pete suggested.

"So, she slipped that device into my pocket?" Rose asked, not quite believing the theory they were coming up with.  So much for the 'ripple' theory. "Why didn't I notice and why did I lose my memory again?"

"It could have just been a coincidence you lost your memory love," Pete replied.  "No-one knew about your previous memory loss.  Sorry Alec, it wasn't just you."

"I understand Pete.  So if Owen was hoping to get information out of Rose, when she did not remember anything, he backed down?  Maybe now he has abandoned the idea?" Alec asked.

"If he doesn't think she's faking it, since he doesn't know about the first time," Pete replied.

"I'll get Amy to admit something," Jake promised.

"Do what you have to Jake," Pete told him.  "You know what that includes?  See who put her up to it, if it's Owen, he's out plus if any of the board are involved, he'll give them up.  He won't go down on his own.  Get her in tomorrow then, no-one will be expecting us to catch on so soon.  Amy may not have realised no-one collected the device from Rose?"

"Surely she would have been told to recover it?" Alec asked.

"No-one would have known how long it was going to be before Rose 'returned', so to speak," Pete told him.  "Rose, how are you feeling now love?  Feel like trying to fool Owen?"

"I just wanna go home with Alec and Maisie," Rose replied.

"I know love but if it gets him out, once and for all?  I'll arrange a video conference then?" Pete asked.

Alec nodded.  "Only if I am there Pete, she is not answering any of Owen Harper's questions on her own."

"I wouldn't expect her to," Pete replied.  "We'll see what Amy has to say – if she hasn't disappeared."

"You think Owen would have got rid of her when it failed?" Jake asked, disappointed he couldn't practice his interrogation skills on the red-haired Scottish technician.

"I can tell that disappoints you Jake," Pete laughed.

"Too right it does.  Wouldn't you feel the same Alec, if a suspect got away?" Jake asked him.

Alec smiled, kissing the top of Rose's head.  "I would not know Jake, no-one ever got away."

Rose had never really asked him about his past cases so she had to assume either Sandbrook never took place or no-one got away.

"Show-off," Rose giggled, leaning into his shoulder.

"Right, everyone know what the plan is?" Pete asked.

Rose just hoped she could keep up.  Alec had been listening for any signs Jackie was trying to wake Maisie and if she was, she would be the one to be interrogated.  Jackie Tyler may scare everyone else but not him, he put criminals away for a living and Jackie was always treated like one for trying to kidnap his daughter.  She'd already had her fair share of warnings.

They got up and went to check on Maisie, who was fast asleep with a pink fluffy rabbit Jake had got for her and a rag doll that Mickey had given Rose when she found out she was pregnant.  Maisie called it 'Ickey' because they'd told her she had an uncle Mickey who would have loved her if he'd not had to go away.

Alec put his arm around Rose as they stood over their sleeping daughter.

"Good thing your mother never woke her," Alec whispered into her ear, making Rose shiver.

"She means well and at least now, you know why she makes such a fuss.  She would have been getting up to see to the baby if things had gone right.  Maybe you should go easy on her?"

"For you then.  The next time she goes for the baby monitor, I'll be a bit slower."

"Aw, you're such a softie sometimes," Rose replied, kissing his cheek.  "Come on, why don't you see who's the fastest and put it on the table in front of her?"

"You are tease Rose, do you know that?" he asked, leading her out.

Rose smiled, trying to get the baby monitor off him.  They said goodnight to Jackie and Pete, Jackie pleased that Rose had distracted Alec and she'd snatched it before he had the chance to protest but she suspected Rose was just trying to keep the peace.  When they got to bed, Rose said if they didn't have to listen out for Maisie, Jackie would be in a good mood in the morning and let them leave without any delays.  Alec had to reluctantly agree.

"Well okay then, I will let you off distracting me so she won – this time," he conceded.

"Well no going in and sitting in the chair with just shorts and a t-shirt," Rose warned him, a grin on her face.

"Well you will just have to find a way to keep me in bed love, won't you?" he asked, kissing her neck from behind.

He put his arms around her tummy.

"You can't tell if I'm pregnant like that," Rose giggled.

"Want to bet?  I am a detective remember?"

"Yeah, so rumour has it.  Since I don't remember, did you have any big cases before we met?" she asked, hoping she could fool him into admitting if anyone had got away and he wasn't just bragging to Jake.

"There was a case, when I was in Sandbrook but another detective was in charge.  Well two cases of two cousins, I got the missing one, her younger cousin was not so lucky."

"What happened Alec?"

"She turned up, in Portsmouth, no idea about her cousin.  Why are you asking?  Did you think I was trying to beat Jake?" he asked, trying to undress her.

Rose turned to face him.  "The thought did cross my mind," she smiled, unfastening his shirt buttons.  "I love this shirt, the buttons are easier to undo."

"I was not trying to beat Jake.  The killer got away, it was not my case but my ex girlfriend was on that team, she lost vital evidence and it was thrown out of court.  I'm not the one who has to live with it, thankfully.  Are you going to finish?" he asked as she pulled his shirt off and had forgotten the cuffs.

"Mmm, I think you look dead sexy like that," she grinned as the shirt was hanging on his arms.

"Well get me out of it love then you can help me with my trousers," he grinned back.

"Yeah, wouldn't want to miss that, would I?"

After a more than usual passionate night, Rose thinking if she got away with this she'd be very lucky to say the least, she managed to keep Alec from preventing who was now her mother attend to Maisie and they found them downstairs, Jackie trying to feed the girl some cereal.

"Come on Maisie, eat this for me," Jackie cooed at the girl.

"Want daddy," the girl protested as Alec came in.

Rose shook her head – there was no way her mother was ever going to win when he was around.

Alec then went off to have another talk with Pete before they left, leaving Rose and Jackie to talk, which Rose had found difficult.

"So, is it all over then?  You going off to goodness knows where?" Jackie asked her.

"Yeah, as far as we're concerned but I think Owen has other ideas," Rose sighed as Maisie played with her puzzle and was showing her the pieces.

"Well I'll have to thank him for keeping your father at work when we should have had his retirement party last night," Jackie replied, Rose seeing she wanted to sit the girl on her lap and not let go.

"I know he was doing it for you but he wouldn't stay if it wasn't important," Rose tried to tell her.  "It's all my fault though, if I'd not gone last time, Owen wouldn't be trying to keep me."

"What's going on then?  Why does he want to keep you?"

"I wish I knew Mum, he's under the illusion I can change how things happen when someone goes but I can't.  Can you watch Maisie, I have to tell dad and Alec something."

Knowing Jackie wouldn't refuse, Rose kneeled down to kiss Maisie.  

"I won't be long sweetheart, I'll bring daddy back, yeah?"

Rose knew as soon as she left the room, the young girl would be held captive on the large sofa.

Alec and Pete had been discussing what would happen if they found Amy.

"Jake will get her to confess it was Owen who put her up to it," Pete was telling him.

"He will surely have been expecting that," Alec replied.  "You said he has been getting around things all week?"

"He had but on a small scale.  Having someone stopping Rose leaving the building yesterday would have been the most he'd attempted though if he'd left the device in her arm on purpose, why stop her leaving?"

"That's a very good question," Alec mused.  "Do you think she really never had one at all?"

"She had to Alec or she wouldn't have gone anywhere," Pete replied.  "It was that device Amy planted on her that cause interference but if Rose's own device somehow came out, that would explain things."

"Then where is it?  That means Owen believes you had it removed and that was why he was so insistent on keeping her there.  Why that time though?" Alec asked, wishing there was room to pace the floor.

"Maybe he still planned it though?" Pete suggested.  "I bet he'd been toying with the idea of using the cannon for other purposes and he'd just had that device perfected, slipped it into Rose's pocket and waited to see what would happen.  I wonder if Amy removed Rose's implant?  She could have slipped through while Rose was standing there and removed it."

"Really?" Alec asked.  "How would she do that, without anyone seeing her doing it?"

"Easy.  Everyone was busy, you took Maisie off and Amy had her own device.  Rose would have already been confused by that stage, maybe Owen had a device made to remove the implant and it left no trace?  Maybe Amy's device was slightly out of sync with Rose's and Rose wasn't aware she wasn't alone?"

"Yes, that could explain it," Alec had to agree.  "Pete, you have to stop him going after Rose again, in case he thinks she knew about Amy.  He may indeed think Rose is faking her memory loss."

"Agreed.  Can you keep her safe when you get home?" Pete wanted to know.

"Yes, he would not dare send anyone after her down there, I can have the entire station guard her if need be.  I'll have a car outside at all times when I'm not there and someone can follow her to the nursery, then they normally meet me and I will walk them back home.  He knows my reputation, he'll not send anyone when she is with me, you can bet on that," Alec assured him.

"That means Rose does know something then and Owen's afraid she'll remember and won't co-operate but what is it?"

"You know more than I do about the project Pete," Alec replied.  "She is still in danger from him if she does start to remember but was that the idea?"

"For her to forget it?" Pete asked.  "That makes no sense.  Alec, it's worse than we originally thought then.  He wants to know what happened in there for future missions – so he can send agents into the future.  He wants them to be able to control it and to be aware if someone goes in after them.  He wants to know if Rose remembers Amy going in and I bet when she did, that's when Rose was snapped out of it, when her implant was removed."

"Someone should have noticed," Alec told him.

"Not if Amy herself was left in charge or she volunteered to watch for any signs of Rose coming back," Pete replied.  "That's why we got no warning, she was out seconds before Rose found herself standing there and why she was confused, being brought out of it suddenly."

Alec was about to reply when Rose opened the door.

"Hi, hope I'm not interrupting anything?" Rose smiled, going to Alec and hugging him as he got up.

He leaned down to kiss her cheek.  "No love, we just came up with some more possibilities and you are not going to like them, is she Pete?" he asked.

"No, sorry Rose but everything that happened to you was done on purpose, what that is we don't exactly know but we will when Jake gets back to me.  I was telling Alec that Jake's team were having trouble locating Amy Pond but they'll find her.  When they do, Jake will get the truth out of her, trust me," Pete assured her.

Rose wished he'd stop coming out with that catchphrase.  "I came to tell ya, I thought of something but I think you might already know."

Chapter 20
"We know love," Pete told her.  "We figured that Owen was keeping you for a reason.  Rose, I have to ask you this but were you aware of anyone being with you when you thought you were just standing there?"

"Not that I remember.  You think that Amy whatever her other name is joined me somehow?" Rose asked.

She knew that was impossible, since she'd just appeared there but how could she tell them that?

Pete quickly explained what he and Alec had come up with.

"We're just waiting to hear from Jake, if his team have found her, she has some explaining to do," Pete told her.

"So she was trying to sabotage my mission?" Rose asked, thinking that may explain things, if she'd swapped places with their Rose but there was no real proof yet there had been another version of her.

If there had, that meant when she arrived, the other Rose could have gone to her world and she didn't want to think about that.  No, she thought her first idea was better, that she'd just had this world spring up around her.

"What if she can't be found?" Alec asked.

"Then I have to convince the board, without Owen being there that he was out to conduct an experiment when Rose went in front of the cannon and put her in danger.  He'll be out by the end of the day, they take things like that very seriously, especially after what happened to Mickey," Pete told them.

"Even if some of them know what he was up to?" Alec asked.

"Yes, maybe they went along with it but they would never stand back and put someone in danger, someone who had no knowledge of what was happening.  If Owen wanted to test his theory, the least he could have done was test it on Jake," Pete replied.

"Yeah, I'm sure Jake would have been happy about that," Rose smiled.  "Maybe Owen thought he wouldn't get away with trying it out on Jake?"

"Obviously love," Alec told her.  "Did you leave Maisie with your mother again?"

"Stop changing the subject," Rose told him.

"Now we will never get her back," he complained.

Pete had to smile. "Owen knows he'd never be able to pull a stunt like that with Jake.  I'm going to call an emergency board meeting first thing tomorrow and as co-director, this time Owen doesn't have to be informed, since I'm the senior one.  Jake had better have found Amy, to back me up," he told them.

"Will they still believe ya?" Rose asked, seeing the worried look on Alec's face and wondering what he was most worried about. 

"He has to be stopped, now you have a reason to do so," Alec told him.

"Yes but at what cost?  I should have seen what he was up to," Pete regretted.

"How could ya?" Rose asked.  "The board appointed him in your place didn't they?"

Pete nodded.  "I think that was why he was so keen to get involved.  He saw a chance and took it to use to his advantage.  If we can’t get Amy to confess, the board could still go against him for endangering you."

"Then will you have to admit to them Rose lost her memory before?" Alec asked.

"No, I don't think that's necessary Alec.  Just the fact she lost it this time is enough, we can use that against Owen, that by Amy interfering, that was what snapped Rose out of it and she was confused but Rose, you'll have to say it's coming back though."

"Yeah, you'll have to fill me in on a few things though but you've already told me some things.  Alec will help me, won't you?" she asked him, seeing he looked miles away.  "Chill, Maisie will be fine, stop worrying about her."

"That's easy for you to say," Alec replied.

"I know you're worried but Jackie is capable of looking after her," Pete reminded him.  "Your way and hers are just different.  Are you leaving after lunch?"

"Yeah, we have to go get packed.  Alec, go rescue Maisie then bring her upstairs if you want?" Rose suggested.

"No, I will take her for a walk, your mother will be holding her captive on the sofa again," Alec complained.

"Geez Alec, was it always like this when we came for a visit?" Rose asked him.

"Seriously?" he asked.

"Your husband and your mother never saw eye to eye on child-care," Pete laughed.  "Back to Rose's situation though, you two go back, Jake and I can handle Owen and the board.  He'll not get away with it now we're onto him."

"Good, I can keep Rose safe until such times the board remove him but Jackie won't be pleased you are taking over again," Alec told him.

"I know that but she has two choices and since she lost the baby that time, losing her daughter isn't an option.  She'll be mad at me but she'll be even more mad at the board members for putting Owen in charge and endangering Rose.  If she gets her say, trust me, they'll wish they'd never agreed."

Alec would bet on that.  "Come on Rose, we will do the packing then rescue Maisie, unless you want to do that Pete?" he asked hopefully.

"Yeah, I'll take her for a walk around the garden again, Jackie can supervise lunch.  That way she won't give Maisie any biscuits," Pete grinned.  "You take it too seriously Alec, she always complains about you complaining how she looks after the poor girl."

"Yes, well my ideas are different to hers.  Maisie needs to be playing or running around and she never gets the chance.  She will not like it when she gets older and what about when we have another?" Alec asked worriedly.

"Come on or you'll worry yourself to death over it," Rose smiled.

"I'll go rescue my granddaughter when I've checked in with Jake," Pete promised them.

When they'd gone off, Pete got through to Jake.

"Any luck finding her yet?" Pete asked.

"They went to her address but her boyfriend said he's not seen her for a few days and he's reporting her as missing tomorrow," Jake told him.

"So Owen got to her or paid her to leave?" Pete mused.

"Take your pick," Jake told him.  "Anything new?"

Pete told him what he and Alec had been discussing.

"Yeah, I wouldn't put it past him then," Jake agreed.  "I bet we won't find her, she's probably gone back to Scotland by now but why leave someone behind?"

"No idea Jake but if we can't produce her, it will make it harder to prove Owen tried to interfere.  I can't see Alec agreeing to let Rose be questioned about what she doesn't remember," Pete replied.

"So she didn't know anyone had been present then?" Jake asked.

"No, nothing until she came out of it but I'm worried about something Jake and I can't talk to Alec about it."

"What's so worrying then, is it about Rose?"

"Well yeah, all that time standing alone, what was happening Jake?  What's it normally like?" Pete asked him.

"Well, everything sort of goes fuzzy for a few seconds, we can hear what's going on then it's like a grey swirl until we emerge at our destination.  Rose saying she was dizzy is a new one on me, she's never said anything before Pete, well not to me anyway," Jake admitted.  "What was different this time?"

"Amy going in there and somehow removing Rose's implant, making Rose disorientated.  That's the only explanation Jake, the board has to believe Owen meant to interfere to test his theory and they have to at least suspend him until we find Amy," Pete told him.

Upstairs, Rose was trying to persuade Alec to behave and do the packing but something else was worrying him when she fended him off.

"Did you notice I never told your dad, about you not thinking I'm your Alec?" he asked as Rose put the clean laundry that had just been returned into the case.

Rose thought she'd been caught out.

"Alec," she started, going towards him.  "You know how confused I've been?  Why didn't you say anything to him?"

"Because you were confused, I know that love and all that about you not belonging here.  It was what happened to you, I know that now.  You have not mentioned it for a while anyway, maybe the effects are starting to wear off?" he asked.

"Yeah, I hope so Alec, I don't like all this not knowing anything," she admitted.

It had been bad enough when the other Alec had been faking memory loss.  Maybe that was why she was so good at it?

"Well if questions are asked, you are not to answer them without me being present, okay?" he asked, leaning down for a kiss.

Pete had rescued poor Maisie and she had been running around the garden after a pink football Jake had got for her when Alec went looking for them.  Jackie was watching from the conservatory.

"Here's daddy Maisie," Pete told her.  "Escaped the packing?" he asked Alec.

Maisie ran towards him, Alec scooping her up. 

"Rose is almost done, someone is helping her downstairs with our things.  Have you told Jackie yet, that you may be going back full time?" he asked, seeing Jackie at the window.

"I'd best leave that until you are all safely home," Pete grinned.  "She won't be happy, fancy filing in for me while I take her on a short vacation?"

"Not a chance," Alec replied, Maisie's arms around his neck.  "Come on, we will go find your mum eh?" he asked the girl.

"Just one thing more Alec," Pete stopped him.  "Is Rose recovering?"

"Yes, she seems to be, she stopped thinking I was her imaginary boyfriend," he replied, not mentioning any names.

"Well that's a start then," Pete smiled at Maisie as he tried to tickle her.  "She'll get over it, I just hope if the board want to question her, she can pull it off, that she's remembering things.  They don't know enough to ask her things from before Mickey was lost.  Rose has cast some doubt on the fact he was killed though."

"Yes, I believe she has but you said he knew what he was getting into?  Are you considering not dismantling the cannon now?" Alec asked him as Maisie was trying to get down.

He set her on the ground and kicked the football a short distance, Maisie giggling and going after it.

"No, I can't justify keeping it going Alec," Pete told him, smiling as Maisie picked up the ball and threw it.  "Not after this and it's mostly my fault Mickey was lost.  I should never have allowed Rose back."

"You would not have stopped her, she felt responsible for losing Mickey just as much as you did," Alec assured him, watching his daughter run after the ball.  "Now at least I understand why she never told me things about her past, she did not know herself.  It was never really important to us, she did lose someone though?"

"Yes, a long time before she lost her memory but not who she told you, not this 'Doctor' she goes on about.  Right, we'd best go get lunch then you can be on your way."

"Then who was he?" Alec needed to know.  "Does she remember him?"

"Not now, unless it all comes back to her but as far as you're concerned, you have nothing to worry about, he's long gone.  His name was James Smith, one of the technicians on the project but he left after they had a fallout," Pete explained as Maisie wanted to be picked up.

"Did he happen to look like me by any chance?" Alec smiled as he picked the girl up.

"Where mummy?" Maisie asked, holding her hands out.

"Mummy is getting ready for us to go home princess," Alec told her as Pete handed the ball to her.

"No Alec, not that I can recall, I think she got the two mixed up, she thought the Doctor looked like you and that she was looking for James."

"She mentioned when she saw me she thought I was her old boyfriend.  So she rolled the two of them into one and focused on me?" Alec asked as they walked to the conservatory door.

"Seems so and now, she knows," Pete told him.

"One more thing though Pete," Alec added as Pete went to open the door.  "All the things she said when she came back from Torchwood last week, she thought I was not her husband and she did not remember having Maisie.  It worries me."

"Don't let it Alec, she doesn't realise, not now.  Both times are confusing for her, mixed with what she used to imagine.  Just let her carry on seeing the psychiatrist when you get back home."

"I am making allowances for her and maybe if she's pregnant, it will help restore some normality," Alec replied.

After lunch, one of the male staff was putting everything in Alec's car and he was fastening Maisie into her seat, after getting her away from Jackie.

"So when are you back again?" Jackie asked Rose.

"I'm not sure Mum, we need to put all this behind us and get on with things.  Dad promised me if there were any questions, I could answer them from home," Rose answered her.

"Well don't stay away too long, I don't want Maisie to have grown that much by the time you come back," her mother replied.

"Don't worry Mum, you can always come down anyway, for a weekend."

"With your dad trying to take over again?" Jackie replied, eyeing Pete talking to Alec.

Pete was trying to assure a worried Alec that Rose wouldn't have to appear in front of the board.

"I'll do everything I can to get Owen out, tomorrow preferably," Pete was telling him as Alec closed the car door, leaving the window open slightly, Maisie playing with the rag doll.

"I know you will Pete, I trust you and Jake to have Rose's best interests at heart.  Now I have to convince her I really am her husband and not someone who had been ill," Alec told him.

"Is that what she said?" Pete smiled, waving at Maisie.

"She seemed to think I'd had a bad heart, goodness knows why.  Was there anything wrong with that James?" Alec asked him.

"Not as far as I know but this Doctor, she used to say he had two hearts, maybe that's what gave her the idea?" Pete wondered.

"Yes, that must be it and who knows what's going through her mind now?  Just as long as she knows we all love her and support her, that's all that matters," Alec told him as Rose walked towards them.

Pete went to give her a hug, Rose thankful they were nothing like her mother's.

"Just go easy when you get back Rose and I'll keep Alec informed.  Don't worry about Owen, he can't do anything officially without my say-so and I won't allow him to send anyone after you.  When I get there tomorrow, I'll have Jake put the word out that no-one is to follow any of his orders until either I or the board say so."

"Thanks Dad," Rose told him.  "Mum's disappointed you're going back but she knows you won't let anything happen to me."

"Yeah, I'll make it up to her, Jake can manage for a week while I take her somewhere, I can keep in touch by phone and the internet," Pete replied.

Rose nudged Alec to go say goodbye to her mother, which he did reluctantly.

"Why do ya always think I'm trying to steal Maisie?" Jackie asked him as she gave him a hug.

"I'm a detective, I'm suspicious by nature.  Rose told me to go a bit easier on you, why do you think you got the monitor so easy last night?" he asked her.

"I knew you'd done it on purpose but you see her every day," Jackie replied.

"I know, I will make allowances the next time we visit but making her stay on the sofa and force feeding her custard creams is off the negotiating table," he warned her.

"Yeah, I get it, it's just I'm not used to chasing after kids.  Did Pete tell ya?"

"Yes, he did and I am very sorry Jackie, it must have been very distressing.  I've been told I do not share well."

"I know you daft plum.  Now take them home and I expect another grandchild before too long," Jackie laughed.

Alec did a mock salute.  They set off, Maisie soon falling asleep so they decided not to stop on the way and they were in Broadchurch just after five.

"You take her in and I will get the luggage," Alec suggested as he unfastened the sleeping girl.

"I'll lay her on the sofa and come and help," Rose replied as she took hold of Maisie .

"No love, I can manage just fine.  I told your father that you thought there had been something wrong with me, well the Alec you thought I was."

"What did he say?" she asked, thinking the girl was heavy and probably weighed almost as much as who was now her skinny husband.

"That you confused that Doctor you talked about with myself and your ex, I understand love, really I do but you have to accept the Doctor was someone you made up and now, somehow, you're confusing him with me.  I love you Rose, I will help you get over this but you have to let me help you."

Rose knew she needed him but now, she really was getting all confused with what Alec and Pete were telling her.  Now, she had to be extra careful what she said or they would give up on her having therapy and have her sent for some more serious help.

Rose put the sleeping girl on the sofa, thinking they'd have to take her out before she went to bed.  She smiled as the girl stirred slightly, wondering if she should wake her since she'd slept all the way back.

"Hey sleepy, are you going to wake up?" she asked, kissing Maisie's forehead.

"Best wake her love," Alec told her as he called from the hallway.  "We'll go out for a walk and get something to eat or are you not hungry after all that food your mother insisted we ate?  Does she think she has to also force-feed me?"

"She's just worried why you're so slim, she kept looking at you like I starved you or something.  I didn't, did I?"

"No love, you did no such thing, I am just naturally this way or maybe it's because you keep me fit eh?" he grinned, trying to decide what to take upstairs first, wishing it was her.

"So you don't want me to leave her and come upstairs with ya then?" Rose grinned back.

"You wish love but if she doesn't wake soon, we will have trouble later," he replied, deciding to take Rose's case and a small holdall first.  "We need to talk later love, about if your dad is not successful persuading the board about Owen's motives."

"Yeah, I'm getting a bit scared Alec," Rose admitted as she got up and tried to decide how best to wake the still sleeping girl.

"I know love, your dad will call me in the morning when he's spoken to the board.  If they won't do anything, I'll have a patrol car here in a few minutes, I will tell the chief someone threatened you or else Mark Latimer is hanging around.  Hey, maybe he can keep an eye on you for me, save me getting a patrol out?"

"You are joking aren't you?  After what you said you'd do to him the next time you caught him hanging around?" Rose asked.

"No, actually what better way?  If he insists on sitting out there, denying he is watching you, if he sees anyone coming in here apart from me, especially if he sees you coming out with anyone, he'll be out of the van asking who they are."

"That's just creepy Alec," Rose half smiled, wondering whether to go for his shirt buttons while his hands were full.

She loved the way this version of Alec dressed, even though her mother had questioned his fashion choices when he'd come back downstairs in a blue and yellow patterned flimsy shirt with three buttons undone before they had left.  She felt like borrowing half his wardrobe.

"I know love and stop looking at me like that," Alec smiled back, putting the case down.  "Come here, stop worrying, I won't let anyone get to you."

He put the holdall down and Rose leaned into him.

"I know you won't and I used to be able to look after myself, didn't I?" she asked, thinking she'd best play along with the idea she'd lost her memory twice.

"You did love, we fought a few times when we first met but something you said, about the investigation and something going wrong?  What did you mean?" he asked, kissing her neck.

"I got mixed up Alec, goodness knows what I was thinking standing on my own for four hours in oblivion," she tried to bluff.

"Sorry love, I can't imagine what that was like.  I should get Jake to explain what happens when you stand in front of that thing but since it is being dismantled, there is not much point, apart from trying to understand how it was for you."

"I wish I remembered," Rose sighed.

"I know you do love, maybe it's best you don't eh?  Now let me take these things upstairs or I will just have to take you instead."

"You wish," Rose replied, burying her head in his shoulder.  "I love you Alec."

"I love you too sweetheart.  Now go wake our daughter eh and later, I will remind you how she came into our lives."

"I know the facts of life," Rose laughed.  "Maybe you could show me exactly though and tell me about when I was having her?"

"I would be more than happy to remind you love, I have videos of when you were nursing her afterwards but don't tell your mother."

"I hope you didn't accidentally send her any photos?" Rose grinned.

"Not a chance love, those are for my eyes only and I would have shown you them before but I did not want you to think I was being too forward when you claimed I was not your Alec," he admitted.

"Yeah, about that – I'm sorry, I was really confused last week.  Of course you’re my Alec."

"Then we will talk no more about it or this Doctor you invented but really Rose – a police box that travels in time?" he asked.

Rose thought the only thing she could do now was go along with what Pete had told them – that she made it all up when she was a kid.  Maybe she had and she'd just been brought back to reality but even her imagination wasn't that good – was it?

She let go and Alec went upstairs but Rose knew she could never give up hope of getting back to her own reality but if she was stuck in this one for the rest of her life, she just hoped Alec would never find out she had been living a lie.
Chapter21
Sorry this chapter is a bit long but I wanted to wrap it up!

After they had tired Maisie out again by Alec running her around on the beach, he waited for his wife to join him when they had put the girl to bed, he couldn't help but feel sorry for her.  She was still confused, her imagination was still trying to get the better of her but she was trying her best to come to terms with what was now her life.  He was still bothered by what she had told him not remembering getting married and having their daughter but with some extra therapy, things may start coming back to her, well so he hoped.

"So are you finally going to take that test?" he asked after they'd had sex.

"Yeah, tomorrow," Rose had to agree, not that she actually wanted to know but if she was stuck here, at least she'd remember this time.  "Maybe it was best I left it, get a better result?"

"Oh, I think it's fairly certain after the last couple of weeks, don't you love?" he asked, kissing her cleavage and sprawling himself over her as she ruffled his hair.

"Yeah, if I'm not, it's not for the lack of trying on your part," she giggled.

"Well I know you were a bit reluctant love but I can understand that.  You have to try to put all that behind you now and concentrate on the present.  Maisie needs you and she has to get used to being in nursery for longer and when you do have another.  We will know tomorrow what's happening at Torchwood but try not to worry too much, your dad will take care of things.  Did I tell you he tried to get me to take over while he takes your mother on holiday?"

"Really?" Rose giggled as he bit one of her breasts then kissed it, which was becoming one of her favourite things he liked doing to her.  "I hope you said no?"

"Really Rose, why would I want to take over?  You don't remember he tried to recruit me when you first took me home to meet him," he replied, moving onto his back and indicating he wanted her to do the same to him.

Rose was game as she took the hint and followed him and they both went quiet as Rose bit him and he fondled her breasts from the side and kissed her neck.  The next morning, Rose got Maisie ready for nursery.

"I'll be okay until my dad gets things sorted Alec, don't send a patrol car around," she smiled at him as Maisie messed with her cereal and Alec tried to get her to eat it properly, to which the girl giggled.

"Well okay but any signs you are worried, I will have someone around in a few minutes, I will blame it on the plumber if I have to.  I made sure Miller knows he's been bothering you."

"You shouldn't have Alec, she's friends with Beth as well," Rose told him.

"I know love but I would rather tell her now than break off something if I have to come back.  I do not want her knowing someone from Torchwood may be trying to drag you back to London to see if you really can show Owen Harper how to get what he wants," Alec replied, cleaning the girl's mouth and making her squirm.

"No Daddy," Maisie told him as he persisted.

"You can't go to nursery like that princess," he smiled at her.  "Want me to take you today?"

Maisie nodded and indicated she wanted off the chair booster seat.

"Rose, ask about her going the odd afternoon as well love, she needs to get used to it."

"Yeah, I'll call in before I collect her but maybe just one for now, she's only been doing five mornings for a week," Rose replied.

Rose couldn't believe this was the start of her third week here but things were getting better, if Pete could get the pressure taken off of Owen trying to get her to show him how agents could hide away and jump out whenever they wanted.  He'd never get to know because neither did she, it had been a fluke or as Alec had first suggested.  She had thought nothing more about it being the Doctor who was interfering, it had been a case of her clinging at straws, hoping whatever had caused it was not exclusive to the now almost dismantled dimension cannon.

She hoped that whatever had caused it hadn't been her own device, now being guarded by Jake, who had been her best friend but she had to trust this version of him.  She only handed it to him because if Owen sent someone after her, he'd get his hands on it and if it had started working, he'd send someone to where she had come from.  She could never allow that – if she couldn't get back then no-one else was going there.

Pete had argued with Jackie before he'd set off early to get to Torchwood before Owen had the chance to try anything and defy the board's orders and send someone after Rose.  He'd been worried after Alec had told him the strange things she'd been coming out with but since her latest incident, he'd not been that surprised she had regressed back to her childhood and mixed it all in.  He was glad his son-in-law had taken it all so well.

Jake was waiting at reception for him.

"Sorry Pete, no sign of Amy, I've got agents looking for her up in Scotland though.  If she's up there, we'll find her.  Owen must have really scared her or paid her well," Jake told him.

"We'd best hope it's one of those Jake, you know what the other alternative is?  I didn't know her that well but did you get her background?" Pete asked him.

They got into the lift, remaining silent up to Pete's new office, knowing Owen still had the lift monitored, something that was going to change shortly if Owen was at least suspended.  Once in Pete's now hopefully temporary office, Jake handed him the folder he'd been carrying.  Pete glanced at it, noting Amy had come highly recommended but her psych evaluation was almost as bad as Rose's and she'd had an imaginary childhood friend who could be Rose's Doctor's brother.

"No-one questioned this?" Pete asked him, thinking it was a bit of a coincidence Amy's 'friend' had worn a raggedy brown pinstripe suit and had emerged from a badly damaged blue police box.

"You mean when she was seven?" Jake grinned.  "I've just seen it myself, bit of a coincidence don't you think?"

"Do you think Owen's seen this?" Pete wanted to know, reading she'd been engaged to her boyfriend of several years.  "She must have had a very good reason to leave him behind, unless he's her imaginary friend?"

"I don't think so Pete but Rose and Amy making up almost the same thing, it's a bit odd," Jake had to admit.  "Still, at least Rose never admitted when she was seven she fed him fishfingers and custard," he laughed.

"Be serious Jake," Pete tried not to smile.  "Right, continue trying to find her and I'm going to call a board meeting.  No doubt they'll be pleased with that on a Monday morning.  Did you inform all security and agents not to take orders from Owen?"

"Yeah, I sent the memo from home, they'll get it on their screens when they switch on.  Want me to back you up?" Jake offered.

"I can handle them Jake.  You have that device of Rose's in a safe place?" Pete asked.

"It's safe but it's not one of ours Pete.  Amy got it from some place else and slipped it onto Rose, who she got it from is anyone's guess.  I expect Owen will deny any knowledge of it?"

"Of course he will Jake but the question is, if Martha wasn't lying about not being able to find Rose's implant, where is it?  You really think Amy got to Rose?"

"She had to have done Pete, there's no other explanation," Jake replied, picking up the folder.  "I'll let you get on then?"

"Yeah, I don't want to give Owen the chance of finding out but if Amy took Rose's implant, who put her up to it, if it wasn't Owen?" Pete wanted to know.  "He has to be behind it, why else would he be so keen to keep her here?"

"I wish I knew Pete," Jake admitted.  "Do ya think Owen's working for someone else?"

"He could be I suppose, what better way to get to us than using the new director?" Pete asked.

Jake left and Pete call the chairman, who reluctantly agreed to assemble the board in an hour and to keep it quiet.

"I saw the memo you sent Pete," the chairman told him.  "You really don't trust him, do you?"

"Would you if he was trying something out on your daughter?" Pete asked him.  "He's dangerous and that's what I want to discuss with the board.  He wants to use Rose to recreate what happened to her, I told you that already."

"I know Pete and I have every sympathy about what happened to Rose.  She has her family to think about but I can't believe Owen would go that far."

"He would, if someone else was behind it," Pete told him.  "See you in an hour then?"

It went better than Pete expected, since some more results had come back about the cannon.  The board called for Martha first.

"So Doctor Jones, you're supposed to be the new medical director of the now defunct cannon project.  How did you not realise there was something very wrong with Rose?" she was asked.

"Well I tried to give her a brain scan but her husband flatly refused," Martha replied.

"Yes, well that scanner is now officially off limits to all Torchwood personnel and the public, understood?" she was asked.  "Mr Tyler is concerned about her implant.  Did you remove it without anyone's knowledge?"

"What?  No, someone buried it deep in her arm or she had it removed before she came back to see me," Martha insisted, looking at Pete.

"He insists that Doctor Harper got you to say that," another board member told her.

"I'm not saying anything without my representative," Martha huffed, folding her arms.

"You don't have to," Pete told her.

Martha was excused and the board members talked amongst themselves, Pete crossing to the window and the table with the coffee machine.  As he sat back down, the chairman spoke.

"We will call Owen Harper to appear before us, pending a decision to suspend him.  If what you say is true about using Rose for his experiments, he's out of line and if someone has got to him, he's a danger to all of us, not just Rose.  Rest assured Pete, he'll do no more damage and we're all really sorry for what he tried on your daughter."

"Yeah, I'll leave it with you then but when are you calling for him?" Pete asked.

"Soon, before he can make any plans and as for this Amy Pond disappearing?  Has she been found yet?"

Pete shook his head.  "Jake's got agents on it.  So, what about the remains of the cannon?"

"We'll deal with it, it won't be used again for a long time," he was assured.

Pete left and went back to his office to call Alec.  At least they seemed to think Owen was a liability but there were still a lot of unanswered questions he may never get an answer to.  Alec was in his office having just got rid of his DS, who had been trying to get him to accept a dinner invitation.  It hadn't gone well.

"You know Rose does not like your new partner," Alec had told Ellie.

"That was a long time ago, hasn't she forgotten it yet?" Ellie asked him.

"I'll ask her but she's still not right and I'm worried about her," he admitted, leaning back in his chair sideways and tapping a pen on the clear part of his untidy desk.

Ellie sometimes wished Rose had never come along, the detective was very good looking, especially when he'd tidied himself up when he'd met his wife to be a few years ago.  Alec's phone rang and he indicated she should leave.

"Rose?" Ellie asked.

Alec shook his head.  "Her father, this is important Miller."

He listened as Pete told him it was just a matter of time before Owen was out and he was full director again – pending finding someone more suitable than Owen had been.

"I hope you don't have me in mind for the job?" Alec asked him.

"Relax Alec, Rose would be mad with me for even suggesting it," Pete told him.  "I'll get Sarah-Jane back from her trip to Wales, if she can tear herself away from Jack.  I'll have to train her to take a bit more responsibility but I can't hand the directorship to her."

"Well I'm sure Rose will be relieved.  I'm going to make her take that pregnancy test tonight, she's been putting it off," Alec replied.

He ended the call and decided not to call Rose but to tell her over lunch she had nothing more to worry about, well maybe just trying to remember their past because he hated her not knowing their special moments.  Their first time together properly, resulting in Maisie, then their wedding and the hospital, him pacing up and down while they were getting her ready and when their daughter finally came into the world.

Rose had been doing the laundry, Beth had called and they'd arranged another get-together on the beach so she was enjoying a cup of coffee and reading the news on a website.  She'd looked out and seen no sign of Mark Latimer's blue van so she hoped he'd actually got some work without pretending it was in their street but Mark had just got finished with a job and had parked a few doors down on the opposite side.

He was about to pretend to be looking at some paperwork as he had started doing to stop Hardy from hassling him over watching the house.  The detective thought he fancied Rose but it wasn't that, it was jealousy.  Jealousy Alec Hardy had a wife and a family and he'd lost everything, this was his way of dealing with it, making the detective nervous that his family might come undone just as easily.

His phone rang and it was his ex wife.

"What do you want Beth?" he asked.

"Hello to you too Mark.  Can you watch Lizzie for a few hours?  I have to go somewhere," Beth asked him.

"Another job interview eh?" Mark asked her.  "What was wrong with that job you had?"

"You seriously have to ask that?  I screwed up Mark, I let someone down badly because you couldn't share responsibility of your daughter and pick her up from the nursery.  Has Alec Hardy been on to you again for watching his house?" she asked him angrily.

He wondered how she'd got to know, maybe Rose had told her or their other friend Ellie.

"What time do you want me to come over?" he asked, not wanting to admit he'd been confronted again by her friend's husband.

"Three, sharp.  I have to go the Town Hall and get registered, I'm applying for a job at the nursery.  That way I can fit it with Lizzie being there and before you say anything Mark, the nursery is divided, I won't be spending much time with her, I've already put my name down."

"I never said anything Beth," he sighed, watching in the rear-view mirror for Alec Hardy to creep up on him and drag him out of the van.  "I have a job to do, see you at three," he told her half-heartedly as he saw who looked like Hardy come around the corner from the seafront and wondered why he was around at eleven fifteen.

As he saw who he thought was Alec go into the driveway, he didn't recall the detective owning a brown pinstripe suit and his hair looked to be styled differently but they'd been away since Friday night, he'd not seen him since.

Rose jumped when the doorbell rang, hoping Mark hadn't gone mad and was going to make a nuisance of himself and she'd have to get Alec to arrest him.  Well it would serve him right if he was arrested, it would save Alec ramming the car into man's van.  She came out of the kitchen and as she got to the glass door, she stopped.  Whoever it was had his back turned and was looking around but from the back, it could have been Alec – or The Doctor.

As she unlocked the door, the man turned around, a smile creeping across his face.  He'd been right, his actions had landed Rose in this newly created parallel world and he'd screwed up again.  He knew he had to put this right but only if she wanted – he'd already done enough damage by tearing her away from her family and her Alec Hardy – who could possibly be the twin who had gone into hiding in the past.

Rose was speechless – she knew it wasn't Alec, the clean-shaven man looking at her with a big grin on his face told her that.

"Hello Rose, can I come in then?" she was asked.

Rose stood aside.  She had to set off to the nursery in twenty minutes or call Beth.

"So, this is where you've been hiding then, Rose Hardy?" the Doctor grinned, looking around at the photos on the shelf in the entranceway.  He picked one up.  "You have a daughter?  She looks just like you when you were that age.  I mean from the photos your mother showed me," he corrected himself.

"So which one are you then?" Rose managed to ask him as he put the photo down and followed her.  "I have to go pick her up soon or call my friend."

"Is that all you have to say to me?" he asked, going to stand at the window.  "This is a very nice house.  This Pete Tyler rich as well?"

"Yeah.  What do ya want me to say?  This is another version of my adopted world, isn't it Doctor?"

"Yeah, sorry Rose, it was entirely my fault.  I got these signs someone was trying to break through and I realised it was your Torchwood and well, you know me eh?"

"Yeah, I do know you.  You saw a gap being made or whatever and you had to come and see, didn't you?" Rose asked him, picking up her phone.

"Calling your husband?" the Doctor asked, raising his eyebrows.  "Best not, he probably thinks you imagined me, if you told him about me."

"Him and Pete think I invented you when I was a kid.  They almost convinced me," Rose managed to smile as Beth answered.  "Hi Beth, can you pick Maisie up for me, I got held up.  Alec should have left the car seat."

"Yeah, no problem.  Want to meet at the playground behind the old station?" Beth asked her.

"Yeah thanks, I'll get there as soon as I can."  She turned to the Doctor.  "I should call Alec."

"Go on then but can he cope with your imaginary friend turning up at his house?" the Doctor grinned.

"So you still think you're clever," Rose had to admit.  "Go on then, what stupid thing did you manage to do that landed me in the land of Oz?"

"It's just another reality Rose and I am so sorry it happened but something helped cause it.  Did you have one of those devices you had last time I saw you?" he asked her.

"Yeah, I thought that had caused it somehow.  Alec, I mean this Alec thought it was a ripple, everything changed around me."

"That's sort of what happened.  I saw a chance and thought you deserved an explanation and no, I don't know where he went.  He made himself human Rose and I left him in the past, in Aberdeen.  He chose it, I didn't know until he'd left but he could be your Alec I suppose?"

"What?  How could Alec be him?  He had a bad heart."

"Exactly, my twin only had one heart, something could have gone wrong with it and he had enough awareness of you to look for you.  Rose, the Tardis could have sent him to your adopted world while there was still time."

"No, I can't accept that Doctor but I was trying to get back to ask you for an explanation why your twin ran away from me."

"So that was why you aimed that cannon device?" the Doctor asked.

Rose was watching the time.  "I don't suppose you care to answer why he run off?"

"I can't, he never said anything.  He just used the chameleon arch and told me to leave him alone.  He never asked to be created I suppose and I shouldn't have blamed him for almost wiping out the Daleks, they'll come back at some point."

"You were mean to him," Rose smiled.

"I know, I owe you both an apology but I came to put things right Rose, to take you back."

"Can you?  What about this world, this Alec and our daughter?  They think I lost my memory, twice and I had to go along with it," Rose admitted, hoping Alec wouldn't choose this time to come and check on her.  "I have to meet him in an hour."

"You did what you had to Rose, I don't blame you for that but this isn't real, you know that?" he asked.  "I'm really sorry Rose but this will all disappear when you leave with me, unless you want to stay here?"

"It'll all disappear, when I die, won't it?" Rose asked sadly.  "Like the world Donna created?"

"Yeah, sorry Rose.  I can't explain what happened but your device somehow created this world when I was trying to get through to you."

"You saw Pete?" Rose asked.

"No, I stayed away when I found out you'd gone missing for two days.  I can take you back Rose, to before it happened, if you want?"

"How were they?" Rose wanted to know.

"I stayed away, I just had to find you and there you were, in a tiny pocket of time, like a stasis cube, your adopted world but different.  Things were put right that went wrong.  I got here yesterday but no-one was home.  Have you got that device?" he asked.

"No, I left it with Jake.  Do I need it?" she asked.

"No, guess not.  I can take you back to the morning you were going to find me but when you get to Torchwood, change your mind and don't go."

"But I'll remember all this, won't I?  Or will it be like when Donna created her world?"

"I can make you forget, if you want but do you want to know if the Alec you left is my twin?"

Rose looked at the time.  If she was going back, she should leave before this Alec got worried and thought either Owen had sent someone after her or Mark had kidnapped her and she wouldn't like to be either of them.

"No, I don't want to know, not if he doesn't know who he is but I don't want to remember any of this.  I had to survive and I can't face the other Alec after being with this one.  Please Doctor, you owe me that much."

"I know I do.  Right, the Tardis is parked not far away but there was a man in a blue van outside who must have thought I was your husband," he grinned.

"Well get into my car and he won't know any different, will he?" Rose smiled.  

"Best just walk eh but we can hold hands like we used to?  I still want a hug.  Just leave everything Rose but have you got the clothes you arrived in?" he asked.

"No, just what I'd supposed to have left at Torchwood.  They thought I'd been gone for four hours."

"Right.  Well, I can land behind the mansion, say early morning and you can pretend you got up early for a walk.  I'll leave you enough awareness to explain and not to go on that mission.  What do you think?"

"Fine, as long as I get my Alec and my little brother back," Rose smiled.  "I don't think I would have settled properly here although this Alec is more like the actor I used to have a crush on."

"He's doing really well back in your world.  I almost got mistaken for him a few times," the Doctor grinned.

With just the clothes she as wearing and hoping no-one would question why she'd not worn them before, they opened the door and then Rose locked it, making the Doctor raise his eyebrows.

"Been married to a detective too long?" he joked.

Rose nudged him.  "We still have to maintain the charade or someone will call Alec and tell him I left the house unlocked," Rose smiled, taking his arm.

"Rose, I hate to tell you but all this will be gone once the Tardis is in flight, sorry."

"Yeah I know but before we leave, you'd best make me forget, yeah?  I don't want to feel guilty about it."

"I will and I'm sorry for getting you into this but your Alec is well now.  I read up about him, you got him to go get his heart fixed and I really don't know if he's my twin or not but I like to think he is."

As they walked out into the street, Mark was just leaving and looked in the mirror.  If they were arm in arm, it had to be Hardy who'd lost his weird fashion sense.  They sneaked inside the Tardis, the ship happy to see her again.

"Don't forget that hug," the Doctor grinned as he made the preparations for the return trip.

"Yeah but will you get back okay?" Rose asked.

"Yeah, I'll make it back, things won't change until you're supposed to stand in front of the cannon device.  When you don't go, time will just carry on and eventually, the signs they had of finding your old world will disappear."

"I still won't know why you both left me," Rose told him sadly, leaning on a strut.

"Why do you think Rose?" he asked.  

"That if he'd stayed, he would have put us in danger," Rose smiled.

The Doctor carried her outside once he'd taken her painful memories away of living in a world of her own and sat her by the wall of the fountain in what he hoped was the right world but the Tardis had tried to assure him it was.  He just let her remember not to go to Torchwood later and stand in front of that device.  He'd been saying his goodbyes to everyone because he knew his regeneration couldn't be held off much longer and he had to do this for her after making what she'd called a stupid mistake.

He put the Tardis out of sync and waited for her to wake up.  He saw her get up off the ground and sit on the wall, shaking her head that she'd dozed off.  It was just after seven on the morning she was going back to get some answers but she knew deep down what they'd be and now, she wasn't sure she wanted to risk going.  She looked up as she saw Alec walk down the grass slope from the conservatory that had last night become theirs.  Well at least she thought so.  

She'd woken up feeling a little off but had put it down to nerves and now, she was thinking of putting it off after what Alec had said to her.  The Doctor was watching as who could easily be his missing twin approached her.  He'd seen this Alec Hardy anxiously calling Torchwood after they'd sent him home to get some sleep when Rose hadn't come back.  He knew how the man felt, he'd been the same waiting for her to arrive so he could talk to her through a gap between worlds what seemed like ages ago.

Rose deserved to be happy and so did Alec and he'd done everything he could to locate her, finally finding her in a pocket universe though he should thank his clever ship.  Alec had caught up with her.

"Hey love, what are you doing out here?" he asked her as they put their arms around each other.

"I didn't want to wake ya," Rose smiled.

Satisfied he'd put things right, the Doctor put his ship into flight mode, knowing in a few hours, Rose would change her mind about trying to find him and Pete would announce a few days later they were losing the gap anyway, which he suspected that was partly what had caused it, well that and him interfering.  He had one final thing to do then he'd have to give in to the inevitable and hoped he'd be ginger and not a girl.

Alec was leading Rose back to the house.

"Come and have breakfast love then see your brother off to school.  You know I don't want you to go today?"

"I know Alec but I have to find out and besides, I can say hello to Mickey and see if he went after Martha."

They got back inside and Rose excused herself to the bathroom, really feeling off now.  She'd felt fine last night and put it down to being nervous at getting to see the Doctor again.  She and Alec had finally had their first time together last night but just maybe something had happened by accident when she'd come to her senses and gone back to him after a miserable holiday.

Over breakfast, Tony was being his usual chatty self, Alec knowing where the boy had got it from as Jackie had been grilling him the night before and Rose had to rescue him.  He saw Rose was looking even more nervous.  He guessed it was because he'd just had an alien equivalent of a pacemaker fitted and she was going off.  He was going to make one last plea to her when they got back to Torchwood and he knew she'd not told her mother.

"Rose, will you be here when I get home?" Tony asked as the cook handed him his lunch box.

"Yeah, 'course I will and when you get home maybe we can talk about you coming down during the next holiday?"

"Yeah!  Can I Mum?" Tony asked.

"We'll see.  Go on or you'll be late," his mother told him.

Rose smiled as he came to sit on her lap.

"Go on, say bye to Alec and give me a kiss," she told him.

"Bye Alec, see ya later.  Will you play a game with me when I get home, on the console?"

"You will have to teach me," Alec replied.

"Aw, Rose can teach you, she knows," Tony grinned.

Rose smiled as he went off, wondering what her life here would have been like if her mother had never had him.  She didn't want to find out.  They got into Pete's car, Rose giving a shudder as she thought yesterday morning going with Alec the pacemaker or whatever wouldn't work but then she had the feeling it was something else, that she'd made this journey before to face going in front of the cannon to find the Doctor.  Alec noticed and took her hand.

"You don't have to go love," he told her, seeing Pete watching them.

"Having a change of mind?" Pete asked.

"I have to find out, you both know that," Rose replied.

"I just got a new lease of life Rose," Alec reminded her as they saw the tower in the distance.

"I know but this is my chance, to put this behind me," Rose told him.

"Then at least send Jake to make sure it's the right universe," Alec pleaded with her.

"We don't know how long it will remain accessible," Pete told him.

"Yeah, Jake could go but I might not get the chance," Rose replied.

"Does it matter that much Rose?" Alec asked.  "You thought I was him, I wish I was then you would not want to go."

Rose couldn't answer him.  Something was niggling her and she couldn't shake it off.  She wanted to go and get some answers but something was telling her she already knew.

Alec continued.  "Something made you come back Rose, when you left me.  Deep down you know even if you find him you will never get the answers you wanted."

"I have to try Alec," Rose replied, swallowing a lump in her throat.

Pete went into the underground car park and Jake was waiting to escort them to the cannon room, Alec never letting go of her.  Jake smiled to himself and wondered if she'd changed her mind.

"Dad, can I talk to you?" Rose asked before they went inside.

Alec was hoping it was about calling the whole thing off.  Jake patted him on the back.

"I know you don't want her to go," Jake told him.

"I just got her back, I thought she'd left me," Alec replied, seeing the cannon room for the first time and not expecting guards everywhere.

"Just a precaution," Jake assured him, seeing Alec looking around.

"So, what did you want Rose?" Pete asked her.

"I'm not sure about this Dad.  Something's bothering me."

"You mean Alec not wanting you to go find who could be his twin?" Pete smiled.

"You think it's him, don't you?" Rose asked.

"Don't you?  You did at first when he fooled you all that time and you got mad because of it.  What did you expect him to do Rose, you were convinced it was him."

"I know and I hated the fact I was wrong and I took it out on him.  He knows now I was wrong to do that but he went along with it.  We've forgiven each other but that's not it.  Something's telling me not to go."

"If you go, you still might not get the answers you want," Pete reminded her.

"Yeah but I was thinking that maybe I already know the answers," Rose admitted.

"Then you do think Alec is him then?" Pete asked, knowing they would be almost ready for her.

"I'll never know, will I if he doesn't.  He could have made himself human and something went wrong.  Maybe he felt guilty for leaving me?  I think I might know though, if Alec's not him.  Maybe he thought if he'd stayed, he'd be putting the world in danger if some dimension hopping aliens sense he's here, even with him being part human?"

"Well I suppose that could be it, if he's not Alec.  Now are you going to find the Doctor, if he's not already changed or are you going back to Broadchurch with Alec?"

Rose kissed his cheek and went in the cannon room, Alec turning around.

"Rose, tell me you are not going?" he asked once more.

"No, I'm going home with you, to Broadchurch.  I love you, Alec Hardy," Rose smiled at him.  "I know I got mad at you for pretending to be him but you know what?"  Alec shook his head as Jake ordered the computers to be powered down.  "I thought that somehow, you were him and you'd come back to me and I was mad because you went along with it but what if you are and you don't remember?"

"Rose, I remember my whole life, well except being a wee baby, how can I be him?  Yes, I know I went along with it but you seemed so happy you'd got him back, I did not know how to tell you," Alec admitted as he led her outside.

"Are you two going home?" Pete asked, since Jake was organising a car to take them back.

"Well are we?" Alec asked.  Rose nodded.  "Then we stay and say goodbye to Tony, I promised to play games with him and I need some practice."

As they were driven back, Rose took his hand.

"I'm sorry Alec, I was being silly.  I know you're not him."

"You thought I was," Alec replied, hoping this was the end of it.

"We were both to blame but what if somehow you were and you knew enough to find me, to get help?" Rose asked.

"Leave it be love, please.  Does it make any difference?" he asked.

"No, I suppose we were never meant to know.  That house, well we've not signed yet.  Do ya remember that one on the corner of the esplanade I pointed out?" she asked him.

"Vaguely, I seem to remember we were busy at the time," he grinned.  "Rose if you want to see about renting it or buying it, that's fine with me.  Now, we stay until this evening then we will make our way home, what do you say love?"

"I say anywhere is home where you are Alec, I've waited a long time to get settled and now I have."

"Good, then so am I, whoever you think I am," he replied, hoping she wasn't right but would it be so bad if he was her Doctor's twin who had run away from her and had somehow found his way back to make it up to her?  

Well he could live with that, knowing she was happy.

The End!

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