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Title: Broadchuch: Sins Of The Father

Date of commencement: September 22 2013

Date of completion: December 24 2014

Series: Broadchurch, a sequel to the original, and following on from Life Without Joe

Rating: M

Authors: tkel_paris and tardis_mole

Summary: Two years after Danny's death, life is slowly getting back to normal in Broadchurch. But Hardy's happy life is about to be turned upside down by a spectre from the past he had hoped had been laid to rest. Someone from his past wants to talk to him, someone wants revenge, someone wants to see him ruined. But it's not one 'someone'. But first, he must face the girl in his garden.

Disclaimer: We own nothing, but this is based on Broachurch by Chris Chibnal, with added clues from the novel by Erin Kelly. We gain no financial benefit nor gratuities, only the enjoyment from writing and working together on this epic journey, shared for the enjoyment of others.

Dedication: Chris Chibnal, long time friend. bas_math_girl, for her beta. And each other for hopefully not ruining each other's lives for too long during the writing part.

Warning: If you have not watched Broadchurch in its entirety, do not read this. We mean it. You will be spoiled. Stop and go back. Now. Ideally you have seen the entire show, not just what was aired on BBC America if you live on that side of the pond, but this is understandable in either case. Also, if you have not read tardis_mole's Life Without Joe, that's okay. It's possible to read this without reading that, if you're not on Moley's approved list. You'll probably find this makes a little more sense if you have read it, but you should be fine without it. Take the time to read Erin Kelly’s novelization, if you can, as it provided certain details that helped with writing this. Though you won’t need to rely on it.

Authors' Notes: See Episode One, Part One. They're a bit long to include in each post.

/=/=/=/=/=/

Previously...

Episode Three, Chapter Three: Differing Goals

Karen White followed the progress of Tess and Bruce and Ben. She smelled a story. She needed one. She had gained herself a footing in investigative journalism and she wasn’t about to let that slide without a fight. She was just one step up from a private detective, though the work was more or less the same. It wasn’t without its perks. She’d got to sleep with the enemy last time.

Excuse me,” she called out when she felt the timing was right.

Tess and Bruce stopped level with the door of the deck-chair rental kiosk and glared at her, sizing her up, wondering if this was the woman her ex had married.

And you are?” Bruce said, sharply.

Karen was not intimidated. “Karen White, with the Daily Herald.”

You're a long way from home,” Tess commented, hiding the flash of recognition.

I got wind that a murder had taken place here a few days ago. I came two years ago to cover the Danny Latimer case, and I had to return for this. Three murders in the space of two years in a town that hadn't seen any in a long time. It's a big story, and I wanted to talk with you.”

Sorry,” Tess replied caustically. “I don’t know anything about it. We’re not from around here.

Karen was not to be outwitted. As they attempted to move on, she stepped in their path. “I overheard your argument with DI Hardy. I'm very interested in hearing anything you have to say about him.”

Tess and Bruce exchanged a look. She nodded. “Take him to the chip shop and get him some lunch, Bruce.”

No!” shouted Ben. “I don’t want yucky chips! And I don’t want to go with Bruce!

Ben! Enough! Do as you’re told. Now, go with your dad and stop not calling him that.”

Ben pouted as he was put on his feet, and did as he was told. Not that he had much choice. The man grabbed his arm and clasped it in one hand and practically dragged him along.

Bruce groaned. “Come on, you stupid brat! If you dragged your feet this much about eating you’d save me a bloody fortune in food!”

Shall we go to the Trader’s Hotel and talk?” Karen suggested. We can get a drink at the same time.”

You can’t. Scene of crime. The place was closed down,” Tess replied. “The guests were all moved out. We were reimbursed, but the new place only does breakfast and there’s no en suite bathroom. So we’ll probably have to cut our holiday short or risk running out of money.”

There’s benches along the Esplanade,” Karen suggested. She watched the woman, noticing the slight limp. But she was quiet for now; contemplating her argument with Hardy. It seemed to have been born of a very long feud to have had that much emotion expended on it.

Tess glanced sideways at her, figuring her out, wondering who she was and why she was interested in her ex. Not that she would tell her he was her ex. Unless she already knew. There were many journalists from old cases, far too many to remember. And far too few you’d want to.

They settled on a bench, sitting almost sideways to eye each other with looks of intense dislike and distrust.

First of all, I know you’re Hardy’s wife,” Karen admitted.

Ex wife,” Tess stressed. “We divorced five years ago.”

Oh. I am sorry to hear that.”

I’m not. And, frankly, neither are you. I can tell fake concern when I hear it,” Tess warned her archly.

Karen could feel the claws out already. This was going to be in interesting conversation. She could feel it. “So you’re well shot of him, are you? Then why are you here in Broadchurch?”

Clever,” Tess returned acidly. “He followed us, not the other way around. If I never saw him again it would be too soon.” She noticed the notebook come out. “What do you want to know?”

Karen paused a moment. She knew the woman's assertion about Hardy following her was at least an exaggeration, since she had determined that Hardy had regained the DI position last year. Still, she was a source that could not be ignored. “You have children. The boy. Is that Hardy’s son?

No. As it turned out,” Tess explained. “I was so sure at first, right up until they told me the results of the DNA test, but no. He’s not Hardy’s son.”

And Hardy’s daughter?”

Why is she relevant?” Tess asked flatly. “You’re here to dig up dirt on my ex. So, dig.”

I wrote the articles on the Sandbrook case, during and after,” Karen informed her. “He won’t tell me his version of events. I had to piece it together from the families of the victims and eye-witnesses. I’d like to hear about it from your point of view.”

Police officers aren’t meant to talk to the Press,” Tess mentioned. “What did you hear?”

I saw with my own eyes that he let the families down, Mrs Hardy.”

Don’t call me that,” Tess warned her gently. “I'm Mrs. Stratton now. He made his choices and he’ll have to live with them,” she supposed.

What choices were they?”

Tess suddenly had an idea. Since her ex had taken the blame, she might as well tell her why he had taken the blame. She was convinced Hardy had sent his woman, and this woman was so open to hear anything she told her. So, she would tell her ‘anything’. “We’d swapped cars that night. My car got broken into while he was off getting a bit on the side with a witness, tried to get her to change her story so he could get someone framed for the murders. Get an early arrest, get a promotion. That’s what Hardy is all about. Himself. And I nearly took the rap for that. It was my car, after all. Personally I think he did it on purpose, knowing the evidence bags were in there.”

You’re saying the robbery was staged?”

Of course it was staged!” Tess replied strongly.

What happened after that?”

I kicked him out. He was dropped from the force and had a breakdown. That’s why he’s here, following me about, trying to get me back I suspect. I’m not having him back. I found someone better. This is all off the record, right?”

Karen tipped her notepad up to show the blank page. “Haven’t written a thing,” she assured her.

Good, cos I don’t want that in the papers. I have to protect my daughter, if you don’t mind. That’s something else he never cared about. He left us, disappeared for three years, not a single visit or phone call and now he suddenly turns up wanting to see her. Not going to happen.”

I think my boss would agree that that is probably not what we’re looking for in insights into Hardy as a policeman.”

CID,” Tess corrected. “He’s a detective inspector.”

Karen wondered why she was suddenly defensive of him, given the bitter tale she had just disclosed. Still, they had been married once, she supposed thee was still some tender feelings there. Sometimes it lingered for a long time. She gave the woman a grim smile and slid her notebook back into her bag.

I’ll let you get back to your son, Mrs. Stratton.” she stood, and shook her hand. “Thank you. I'll be in touch.”

Good luck.”

As Karen walked away, Tess's face cracked from the look of controlled frustration she had managed to hold on to for the whole time into a satisfied smile as she stood and walked off towards the fish shop.

Unknown to her, Becca Fisher was listening in as she sat in the sunshine, pretending to be a tourist, mere metres away. She kept absolutely quiet so she could remain unseen. She shivered as she watched Tess walk by. “What is she capable of?” she whispered so softly to herself once she was certain she could not hear her steps.

Tucked behind the fronds of a decorative palm along the Promonade, Maggie stepped into view and glanced at Becca. She didn’t look at all pleased. Becca turned her head back to her sun-worship, shades down, pretending she had heard nothing.

/=/=/=/=/

Olly Stevens stared at his computer screen. Someone had just uploaded a press release about the murder of Sarah Wallace, a teenager on holiday in Broadchurch. If that wasn’t shocking enough, the body had been found on DI Hardy’s front lawn. According to the author’s investigation, Hardy had been suspended under suspicion of murder. He had no alibi.

And now there were two more murders. He had seen Maggie on the phone most of the day, before she had gone down for a smoke on the sea front, and delegating additional tasks for others to handle. He hadn’t known she smoked, but he had the impression it was a ruse, in the same light as going to see a man about a dog.

He was glad to see Beth in that morning. She was in a few mornings each week, helped with the filing and answering the phones. He wasn’t sure Maggie needed the extra help, but with Beth needing an escape for a few hours each week, she had made a job for Beth, to help her feel needed and part of the community again.

The door opened, and in stepped someone who made him stiffen right to his toes. And the others saw him blanch instantly. He held his tongue.

Karen blinked at his frozen expression. “Hello, Olly.”

Back in town?” he said without greeting. “I know you didn't find out from a tweet. What was the clue?”

A police dispatch asking for information from the Sandbrook police station,” Karen replied. “They were coming from here in connection to a murder investigation. It was easy to convince my boss that this would be a good story.”

Olly glanced at Maggie as she arrived through the door looking angry and alert. Her expression alone convinced him that Karen had other motives.

Karen White,” she said, not yet aware that Maggie had walked in behind her. “Just in case you had forgotten.”

Olly felt his blood turn cold. How could he forget? She had taken his innocence in exchange for information. This woman was a snake-in-the-grass. “I hadn’t forgotten,” he told her frankly.

Good,” she said. “I have some information for you that might change your book on the Sandbrook case. Your rundown of the facts is... inaccurate,” she hinted. “Thought I’d let you know before you went to print. Would have been embarrassing to find out afterwards.”

Olly could not stop the loud exhale as Maggie Radcliffe walked around the woman and stood with folded arms in front of her, like a barrier between her and Olly.

Karen knew to stand tall. She held out her hand. “How are you?”

Maggie did not even look at the hand, but eyed her warily. “If you're coming for a place to park, you can just walk out the door right now.”

I thought you decided last time that you'd rather have me on-side,” Karen replied.

That was before you tricked Olly into writing an article that drove an innocent man to suicide,” Maggie returned coldly. “You were out for the DI's blood last time, and he was the one who solved the case. No one else could have, given who the murderer turned out to be. He could have solved it a lot sooner without meddling like yours.”

And that's why I'm writing this book,” interjected Olly. “I want the public to gain a healthy distrust of the press so we're held to higher standards of conduct. Everything I know about Sandbrook says that the press had as much to do with it going unsolved for so long as that robbery did.”

Karen flicked her eyebrows in mock-surprise. “And I know things about it that haven't made the news.”

If your source is Tess Stratton,” Maggie put in. “I would be careful about trusting someone whose record pales in comparison to Alec Hardy's. The man doesn't talk as much to the press, but he's out to find the person involved in this case and arrest the right person for the crime.”

So, you don’t want to know who broke into DI Hardy’s car,” Karen noted. “What a pity. And here I was, thinking you were a viable newspaper.”

Don’t you dare hold us to ransom, Karen White!” Maggie warned her.

Karen was unfazed. It was all bluster to her. She flicked her eyes to Olly. “By the way, for your information, it was Hardy and not his wife who was having an affair. His wife was interviewing witnesses when it happened. They had swapped cars that day. The robbery was arranged.”

I’m not interested in your information,” Olly told her.

Suit yourself,” Karen said. “I was hoping to prevent a libel case against you. But, if that’s what you want-”

Don’t threaten my staff! Now, get out!” Maggie ordered in controlled anger.

Without another word, Karen left the office and walked away.

Olly shook his head. “Why does she hate me so much?”

Maggie grew thoughtful. “I don't know, but I’m thinking it's more to do with her hatred of DI Hardy. Either way, I think we should find out.” She turned to lean in. “Put your book aside for a bit. We're going to look into Sandbrook so we can know more about Tess Stratton, nee Hardy, and the robbery. You trust your uncle told us the truth as far as he knew it?”

Yes. He's an honest man who keeps a lot to himself. And he may be right to do that.”

Karen White was out to wreck his career last time. This time, she’s out for his blood. Let's head her off, and maybe... just maybe... we can make her look like a fool. It may even make your name and sell your book before it's even finished.”

Olly grinned and others around the room smiled in agreement. “When I first started here I was afraid of you,” he admitted. “Now, I think I’m beginning to know how you think. You have a wicked streak that is honed to sniff out the bottom lines before they sink that far. The person the term newshound was invented for.”

Maggie beamed. “I knew you would get that one day.”

Maggie?”

They both looked up at the sound of Beth's voice. “Do you need something?” asked Maggie.

No. I just wanted to say... if you need anything, any help... I'll do it.”

Olly straightened as much as Maggie did. He had forgotten she was coming in today.

I thought you once trusted her,” Maggie recalled.

Not anymore. I think she's trying to discredit DI Hardy, and I want to help him clear his name. Not that I think he did anything wrong. Not until I heard her say that. Because that was shit. I saw enough of him to know a cheat when I see one,” she hinted, but did not elaborate. “And he’s no cheat. So if there's anything I can look into or research for you, you tell me.”

Maggie slowly nodded after a long moment of thinking. “Okay. I'll let you know.”

Beth took a breath before going back to her work.

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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