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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 Broadchurch 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. Part Four: Feeling Denatured

Hardy returned to the station. He spoke to no one beyond a ‘hi’ when one was offered. He was shaken and fuming at the same time. Now that he was here he realised he should have come the long way around and taken longer to get back. He was no longer panicked or desperate or upset, but he was angrier now than when he had left.

He stepped quietly into the room, casting a long glance around the room. Nothing was amiss. No one looked at him as if they thought he shouldn’t be there. In fact, the complete opposite; the faces that looked in his direction were all of wishing he could help or wishing they could help.

Ellie’s expression was one of deep concern. It was the look she had given him when he had had the heart attack. He’d rather not think about that night. He sighed loudly. Her face just made him feel all the worse. He imagined punching something. He felt like he needed to, but even now he doubted his heart could take that kind of stress. Despite the pace-maker.

He had been gone for at least a couple of hours. He supposed a lot could have happened in that time. But why was the room so empty? Where was a case board? And why was everyone so quiet?

The Chief Super appeared. He still wondered why she was back so soon. He had expected her to be gone for another week or more.

Hardy,” Elaine noted. “Step inside,” she indicated his office with a hand.

Hardy did so without question. At least he wasn’t being called into her office. He would have met that request with a lot more dread. Jenkinson was a woman of mettle and tight control. He had only even heard her raise her voice once, and that was today. From what he had heard from colleagues who had been stationed here longer, he had to assume it was the first time they had heard her raise her voice as well.

Hardy stood in his office, standing by the corner of his desk, wondering if he should bother sitting down. If she was going to take his warrant, he might as well remain standing. He heard her shut the door behind her and carefully lifted his gaze.

Elaine held his gaze. “I am not going to order your next move, but I would like you to hand over all files and documents relevant to the Luiz Gotleib murder,” she spoke.

I’m surprised you didn’t just come in here and taken them,” he revealed.

When I said orders from above, that was the truth. But I did not agree with the decision. I want you to know that. In all my years on the Force I have never had the privilege of working with a finer DI than you. I trust your judgement, your work is exemplary, your eye for detail legendary and your rapport with the troops, uniform and plainclothes, is second to none.”

Hardy blinked in surprise. That was a rather impressive list of compliments. “I hear a ‘but’ in there,” he noted slowly.

I’m combining the murder cases,” she told him simply. “That is where the ‘orders from above’ comes in.”

He frowned. “What? I know I said the cases were connected, but-”

The latest details seem to agree with your hunch.”

Then put me on the joint team,” he asked. “I can solve this case.”

I don’t doubt you or your ability, Hardy.”

Then why are you taking me off the case?”

Because you have no alibi for the first attack and no alibi for the third.”

Hardy’s jaw dropped. He sucked in a breath, suddenly finding it difficult to breathe. He leaned on the desk, feeling faint. “You’re accusing or implying I had something to do with murder and rape,” he spoke, his eyes on the desk, trying to find some ounce of strength to get through this. He looked up. “Am I being arrested? Are you asking me to leave the force? Is that it?”

Elaine shook her head. “Not me.”

Orders from above,” he repeated, feeling empty.

And there’s another matter,” she added. “Phone calls came in while you were out. Members of the public have said you were seen in an altercation with a woman and a man down on the Esplanade. One caller even said it looked as though you were attempting to snatch a child.”

He shook his head numbly. “No. No. no. no. That’s not what happened. I swear, that’s not what happened! I never touched the boy! He ran up to me!”

I believe you,” Elaine assured him. “Did you shout at him?”

No. If anyone raised their voice, the boy did. And then the mother had a go at me and then the father took a turn; he threatened me.”

Do you know the boy?”

Only vaguely,” he said. “He’s my ex-wife’s son. He seemed to think that I was his father.”

Are you?”

No, and I proved that a long time ago, shortly after he was born. I haven’t seen him since he was two years old.”

One caller said the woman threatened to accuse you of child molesting.

Hardy’s eyes darkened with quiet rage, a rage that boiled beneath his now calm exterior. That got the Chief Super's attention.

What did you say to them? Tell me, in your words, what happened.”

Hardy slid into his seat with a heavy breath. It’s not like he had had long enough to forget. And it was best to offload here before it was spread by the rumour mill, or worse the town. Though, on that point, he doubted he had any say in the matter.

I left here and went for chips. I decided to walk off my emotions. Can’t say it worked. I was trying to work out some details about the second murder, something I missed. And as I drew level to the deckchair kiosk at the end of the Esplanade I saw my ex-wife. She was sitting on the sand while a man was towering over her,” he recalled quietly, slipping into the narrative of his memory. “He was verbally abusing her, and I tried to care. I recognised his face but I didn’t recall his name. He works in the genetics lab in Sandbrook. I watched them, wondering if he was going to lay into her. If he did I’d be in a perfect place to stop him. Call it instinct. I’m a policeman, after all. And then, Ben jumped up and came rushing towards me, called me ‘Daddy, and hugged my leg. Tess hurried up to pull him off me, told him off. And then she realised it was me. I was more concerned about dropping my hot chips on him than anything. “I told her I’d thought I’d seen her a few days ago and now I could confirm I hadn’t been hallucinating.

Ben kept wanting to tell me something, but she told him to be quiet. She was holding his hand so tight it was hurting him. Tess demanded to know what I was doing here. I told her I worked here. She seemed surprised, but I know her. I was married to her for sixteen years. She knew I was here. She noticed my wedding ring, wanted to know who my wife was. I didn’t tell her. I said ‘and that matters to you?’; I couldn’t help myself, confronting her as much as she was confronting me. I have a feeling she’s here to find out who I married, cause trouble. She was defensive, jealous and adversarial. She said ‘I can’t believe anyone would have you’. I told her she was insulting herself. I asked her where Daisy was. She refused to answer, but said she was with them. She said Daisy was fine without me.”

Hardy felt his chin wobble and felt his breath snag in his throat as the emotions bubbled closer to he surface. “I wish I could ask Daisy that, to be sure for myself, but she wasn’t there. Ben told me Daisy misses me. Called me Daddy again. Tess slapped him, told him to be quiet, told him that he wasn’t to talk to strangers. I felt so hurt by that. I set out to prove he wasn’t mine, but... All that’s happened, all that time, and the pain just came flooding back. And I was angry. She accused me of following her here. And then she accused me of having a breakdown, said my heart attack was fake. I calmly told her I hadn’t had a breakdown, and that my heart attack was real. I don’t know how I was so calm. I told her I’d had a pace-maker fitted and nearly died. I think that scared Ben a bit. I don’t like scaring kids.”

He paused, suddenly amused. “The boy looked so angelic, looking at me, so innocent and so surprised that I had nearly died. I told him I was fine. And he said, ‘that’s good, I can tell Daisy that I’ve seen you’. Tess again reprimanded him for talking to me. And then her partner turned up, demanding to know who I was. I told him I was certain he knew who I was, since we’d met in Sandbrook, said I couldn’t remember his name. He told me his name was Bruce Stratton and then told me that I was to leave Tess and the kids alone. I didn’t like his attitude, but I kept that to myself.”

Were you jealous of him?” Elaine suddenly asked.

Hardy was startled by the question and the spell was broken. “No. No, I wasn’t jealous. How could I be? He’s not very nice. And besides, I know he’s not the one Tess left me for. But she’s obviously not with that man now either.” He drew a deep breath, feeling the emotions drain away, leaving him far more relaxed. “I told him I had no argument with him, and that if it was up to me I’d never see him or Tess again. But I wanted to see my daughter. I was awarded that right by the courts, but Tess stopped all that, in retaliation for demanding a DNA test on her baby. I asked her outright if she had taken Daisy’s phone, because I know my daughter hated phones, but she would have replied. Tess told me to mind my own business, said Daisy was far too young to have a phone. I told her that there was no other way to maintain contact. She told me she didn’t want me anywhere near Daisy.”

He sobbed unexpectedly and turned away, looking at his hands still on the desk. “She said Daisy was her daughter, as if Id had no part in her conception. She said I was soft in the head and too busy with my eyes elsewhere, like I’d cheated on her. I denied any such wrongdoing. She said my wedding ring was proof that I had. I reminded her that she was the one who’d walked out on our marriage, not me. She had made living with her so untenable. She accused me of getting her pregnant on purpose to ruin her career. I told her that we were a family that she had ruined that far more than having children had ever done. I told her the day she refused to pass on Daisy’s birthday present when she turned thirteen that she had harmed Daisy emotionally with her constant shouting at me. She called me a scheming liar today, just like then. She didn’t believe that I worked in Broadchurch, but believed I’d followed her here, said I was sick in the head with delusions. She threatened me, said if I didn’t stay away from Daisy she would have me arrested for child molesting and kidnapping, said she’d make the charges stick, practically shouted it loud enough for the entire town to hear.”

His voice petered out to nothing. He sat for several seconds, trying very hard not to give in to the tears that filled his eyes.

Has it been proven that he’s not your son?” Elaine asked.

Hardy nodded, for a moment not trusting his voice. “Yeah. But for a long time I was hoping it would actually come back as a positive match, so I could pretend Tess’s affair hadn’t happened.” He took several even breaths. “I wanted kids, always have, but she didn’t. I lived through the hell of her verbal abuse while she was pregnant about ruining her career, and I shielded my daughter as best I could from her abuse for the years that followed. I couldn’t go through that again. By the time Daisy was six I’d gone for a vasectomy; scheduled it for a day off. Had it done on the Friday and was back at work on the Monday. I didn’t tell her. So when she told me she was pregnant I knew it wasn’t mine. I told her so. And I proved that the baby wasn’t mine with a DNA test as soon as he was born. She threw me out then. There I was; my personal life in tatters and the biggest case of my career thrown out of court by a robbery and my wife had run off with a colleague. I was sleeping rough and suspended from duty. I confronted her today for telling the boy that I was his dad when I know for a fact that he isn’t.”

Witnesses said you picked the boy up.”

I didn’t pick him up,” he said. “She did. But she put him down again. His wriggling seemed to aggravate some injury to her leg. She was limping awkwardly.

You do understand that I have no choice but to follow up these allegations?”

Hardy nodded. “I’m finished.”

Not so fast-”

Sir, you know as well as I do, an accusation of this kind doesn’t need an arrest or a conviction. It just needs a mention and it’s logged on the permanent record as a crime. My career is over.”

I have never seen you give up, Hardy. What’s changed?”

Hardy looked at her, his eyes wet with unshed tears. “My daughter is out there. I’ve been told that by a man who had given the police reliable information before that her friends are being picked off, one by one, and she could be next. That’s what’s changed. Every other case I’ve handled it’s always been strangers, people I don’t know and never heard of. This is different. She’s my daughter, my flesh and blood.

And Pippa Gilespie? She wasn’t a stranger,” Elaine pointed out.

Hardy sank in realisation. One of the girls from the Sandbrook case. His daughter’s school friend from years ago. He had never had the heart to tell Daisy why her friend never answered her letters anymore. How could he tell her that and then follow it by telling her he couldn’t catch the killer, because her mother had been in another man’s bed and had the evidence stolen from her bag? Daisy had been through enough from her own mother to have gone through the hell of finding out her friend had been murdered and then having to face the media on top. He had begged Tess to move away, to keep Daisy out of the spotlight while he took the blame. Tess had called him an arrogant arse, but the house had been emptied days later, so he had had to assume she had at least taken his advice. And now she had turned up, for reasons unknown.

I need all remaining files on Luiz Gotleib,” Elaine said again.

Hardy knew he had no choice. He glanced at the room behind her where the other detectives were working away, probably giving his office covert glances every now and then, waiting for him to be sacked, waiting to guess his fate or anything else. Maybe the murmurs had already started. Although Ellie would nip that in the bud, just as he had done for her when her husband had been arrested for murder.

I have no alibi,” he recalled. “Except for the fact that I was here when Luiz Gotleib was attacked. I was home, in bed with my wife and Sarah Wallace was murdered and eating dinner with my children and Louise Dusk was raped. But a few untrue comments from passers-by and suddenly I’m in the frame for a string of crimes I have tried to get you to accept as one and the same case.”

Alec kept his expression controlled as he unlocked his desk drawer and lifted out the file. Inside the photographs had been carefully attached to the relevant witness statements. Statements and scene of crime reports her neatly stacked together for clarity, while his notes were at the back. He pushed it across the table to her. And he would not wait for her to ask, he would volunteer it. He unclipped his ID tag and took out his warrant wallet from his inside jacket pocket and laid them on top of the folder.

Nothing more needed to be said. He pushed the chair back and rose to his feet. “May I leave now, sir?” he asked.

Elaine was stunned, but she said nothing about it. “You may go,” she replied.

There was no anger, unlike the previous time he had walked out. There were no personal items on his desk, so he had nothing to clear out or take with him. He would simply walk away from everything he knew and loved, everything he had worked for and lived for.

You’ll be back on duty in no time,” she assured him.

Hardy doubted it. He wished he could find out who had called the station and made such outrageous accusations. But he supposed that investigation, like the string of murders, would be someone else’s case now. He left the building at once, got into his car and drove away.

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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