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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 Four, Part Six: Secrets In Storage

“I’ve given you my side,” Tess interjected. She did not like this journalist. In her mind they were all the same and in the same league as lawyers. “Blood-sucking leeches, that’s what you journalists are. Like lawyers and mortgage lenders.”

“Your story is wildly dissimilar to what’s on record,” Karen persisted.

“I can’t help it if you believed a lying, conniving git like my ex-husband. Look at his track record and then come and tell me who’s wrong,” Tess challenged.

Karen didn’t believe her, but she had to have the story. Her next pay check was riding on this. And she had a hunch that what she knew and what Olly knew were both far from the truth, let alone the complete picture.

Tess eyed her across the table. “Look, I can’t give you more than that. I have my kids to think about. You probably don’t know what that means, but trust me, you put anything in any paper anywhere that jeopardises them and their future you’ll live to regret it for the rest of your miserable excuse for a life.” She saw Karen flinch, at least she thought it was a flinch. It certainly looked like one. “But there is something you can do.”

“What?” Karen asked neutrally.

“Find out who Alec Hardy is shacked up with. Warn her that my ex-husband will drag her down into hell with him when he fails this investigation like he did Sandbrook. She’ll be the laughing stock of the country. Just like I was. I don’t know who she is, but I wouldn’t want this hell heaped on her. And tell her from me, make she he puts something on the end of it. Coz if she gets pregnant by him, God help her. Coz if she doesn’t... I’ll be the one laughing at her the loudest.”

/=/=/=/=/

Karen read through her article and slid the title in place. DI HARDY IN NEW FAILURE THREAT. She was feeling pretty pleased with this one. All the failures in the Sandbrook case were underlined and parallels with the Broadchurch case were obvious.

But this time, not a single person in the town was talking to her. She found that annoying. Not even Beth Latimer was going anywhere near her. That was more upsetting than she cared to admit.

There was a chink in the armour somewhere. She just had to find it. Someone was hiding something. Probably several people were hiding something. But most of all, Hardy was hiding everything. In her article she even noted that he had denied anything to do with the murder investigation.

He denied being the officer in charge and he denied knowing anything. That wasn’t just annoying or upsetting, that was downright offensive to the families of the victims. And she had included that.

On a personal level, how dare he? On a professional level, how dare he?!

Karen clicked send. She waited for her editor to read it. She knew he was there, was still pinging her skype for the article. The skype box stopped pinging for fifteen minutes. She allowed a comfortable smirk to spread across her face. She doubted he would print it in its present form. She knew from experience that he could and did do the dirty on reporters all the time if it suited his purposes. This time she had gone the extra ten miles to kick the dirt in Hardy’s face. That should keep Len Danvers happy.

After twenty minutes she still had no answer. Now she was getting impatient. How long did it take for him to read the article, for god’s sake? Was he writing a critique? Rewriting the article anyway? For another forty minutes she sat waiting, but by then she had decided that perhaps he had decided to drop the article altogether. Drop the dead donkey on page eight of an even deader donkey and relegate this one to the sports pages.

Reporters were sportsmen of a sort. They hounded people for their own delight, much like a hound went after a rabbit. Or perhaps pointer was closer. They honed in on a target and sat there staring at it for hours, days, months, even years until it withered and gave up its secrets for the lascivious and sadistic joys of the Press. Tess Hardy was right. She was a leech. And she loved it.

Finally there was a ping in her message box. “Love it. You got page two.

Page two? Page two?! Karen could not have believed her luck. It was a world better than a page thirteen footnote. Not quite as good as front page, but she was pleased. People paid more attention to the first few pages and generally skimmed the rest until they got to the sports pages. And she’d made the early edition. That meant it would get a mention in the televised reviews.

Still, she schooled herself. She would wait until she saw the paper in the morning. Until then, she would not celebrate. She had to see it with her own two eyes.

/=/=/=/=/

Olly stepped out of the car and stretched his legs. He gazed all around him at the London skyline and then realised what he must have looked like. The ‘country bumpkin’s first trip into something bigger than a farmyard’ look dropped off his face and he mirrored the one on Maggie’s. Determined, strong, in control.

He had learned so much from her. And she had trusted him with her contacts, and they with their protégés. He felt like he was finally getting somewhere in journalism. And he also felt as if his newspaper – because the Broadchurch Echo was his newspaper, or could be one day – was really beginning to feel as important as the dailies in the company chain.

“Where to first?” he asked.

Maggie gave him an appreciative smile. He had enthusiasm and the right questions. She liked that. After this mess was cleared up she was definitely retiring. Olly would be her replacement. If she had any say in the matter. And she’d kick up stink if she didn’t. And if some outsider came in and took his place she’d kick up a bigger stink.

She’d tell them straight. This boy was asking ‘first’. Not, what do we do, or who do I talk to. But where first? That meant he had a list already prepared.

“We’ll speak to Walking Encyclopaedia first, but we might actually see Len Danvers first,” she replied. “It depends on who greets us at the door.

“Walking Encyclopaedia,” Olly lifted a sardonic brow.

Maggie gave him a knowing smirk. “You’ll see. What he doesn’t know can be written on an electron’s arse.”

Olly tried to equate that to a specific number of facts, but decided that there couldn’t be an actual number. Either that, or Maggie was exaggerating. He dismissed that thought as fast as he could think it. Maggie never exaggerated. She was understated in everything. That made him eager to meet this old friend of Maggie’s. He had to be an utter genius.

“How many favours will we be in debt with after this?” he mused to himself.

“None,” Maggie replied. “I’m owed plenty. And don’t get any preconceived ideas about Fleet Street from your local rag upbringing. It’s as cut-throat here as piracy and murder on a career level as you can get. Here, you’re the victim if you let them get to you. And you’d be dead, professionally, before you realise it.”

Olly paled. She wasn’t joking. He managed a brave nod. Which surprised him. He wasn’t feeling particularly brave. He followed her towards the entrance of the tall building and they were met by the receptionist.

The woman, mid-thirties, red lipstick and straw-coloured hair tied back into a pony, looked up. She smiled nicely. “I’m sorry. This is the staff entrance-“

Her words came to a sudden halt as both Olly and Maggie drew out their IDs for her to see. Olly felt as though he had stepped into an American cop show. And strangely, it worked.

“How may I help you?” the woman asked in the same friendly ‘you’re not getting passed me’ tone.

"I'd like to see Len Danvers, please," Maggie replied.

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No.”

“I’m sorry. You need an appointment to see the editor.”

“I’m his ex wife. Trust me, I don’t need an appointment.”

Olly's shocked face snapped in as if on cue. He quickly relegated it to wide-eyes and hoped the receptionist didn’t notice. He followed Maggie as she marched directly for the lifts behind the desk. As they stood in the lifts and the doors closed before the steel box rose upward, Olly let go of the breath he was holding.

“I didn’t know you were married,” he whispered, just in case the lift was bugged or something.

“A long time ago, before you were even born. The world was a different place then and you did things for appearances and not for the heart.”

Olly was shocked. “So... you were a token wife?” He was disgusted by the idea.

“More like he was token husband. Back then women didn’t become editors. I was the real power behind the editor’s chair. But when it became public, I had no choice but to leave. They gave me the Echo. Made it look like it was the top prize. And it was anything but. I was finished; whitewashed by the command structure. Fleet Street is still a man’s world, Olly, so watch your step. If they think you’re a boy you’ll be thrown to the dogs. This is the man who rewrote Karen’s article on Jack Marshall. And if he can do that to her, he can do that to you. Show some spine and you’ll survive the day and gain his respect.”

Olly swallowed dryly, wondering if he had come along as the sacrificial lamb or the white flag. He straightened his tie and smoothed down his jacket and hoped he looked better than either.

Seconds later, the lift opened on the top floor and they walked out onto the main editorial floor. Olly took a look around him at the clean desks the airy feel of the place and the numerous up-to-date computers. There wasn’t a box of newspapers, articles or research material anywhere to be seen. He paled further, almost turning green at the sterility of the place. He wondered if any of these poor sods had even run after a story in their entire professional lives. And to think he almost stepped into their shoes and joined them. He felt sick.

"Maggie. What a pleasant surprise,” a voice spoke. “You haven't changed a bit."

Len Danvers stood there, suit and tie, suave, controlled and in his sixties. He owned the floor, in the professional sense. This wasn’t just his paper. It was his empire.

"Neither have you,” Maggie replied. “Except you employed Karen White, while I'm trying to save lives."

Len’s smile began to falter. "What's she done now?"

“She’s trying to stitch up an innocent policeman, but this time she’s gone after his wife, his ex wife and his kids."

Len’s expression did not change, but his eyes crackled with anger. “I’m on skype with her now. Apparently she’s written an article about DI Hardy.”

Maggie did not show the inward groan, or the flinch it evoked. “Have you answered her?”

“I haven’t read it yet.”

“Read it,” Olly invited. “And then I’ll tell you how far off the truth she is.”

“Who are you and why would I take your word for it?” Len asked.

Olly showed him his Press pass, just because it seemed like the right thing to do. “I’m from the Broadchurch Echo. DI Hardy is my uncle.”

Len paused for a second before beckoning them both to his office. He took a seat and they hovered at a shoulder each as he opened the article Karen had just emailed to him.

“What the fuck?” Olly blurted out. He wasn’t usually moved to swear, but his blood boiled. “None of this is true. For one thing, DI Hardy is not working on the murder case, let alone the officer in charge. My aunt is. DS Miller, Hardy’s wife.”

“How do you know that?” Maggie asked in surprise.

“You’re not the only one with contacts, Maggie,” Olly informed her. “And no, I’m talking about my Aunt. It came from Chloe Latimer and Daisy Hardy.” He looked at Len, held his gaze for a second and indicated the computer. “May I?”

Len stood up and allowed Olly to take his chair. On sitting down, Olly began at once to shift and move the sentences around. Just as Karen had taught him, irony of ironies. When he had done, he stood up for Len to retake his chair. He read the second draft and looked up at the young man.

“You’re sure you want to turn down that job offer?”

Olly noted a strong edge of respect and admiration in the man’s voice. He accepted it without comment.

Len changed the name of the author to Oliver Stevens, and clicked send, sending it to the setters downstairs. He then wrote a reply to Karen, waiting back in Broadchurch. “Love it. You got page two.

“Oh god, pinch me if I have a chuckle,” Maggie mused, but her face showed no sign of humour.

“She deserved it. I warned her that her corrupt idea of facts would bite her in the arse one day. But god, you must want to kill her career with this one, son.”

Olly kept his face impassive. “She used me for her own ends.”

Len nodded slowly. Those words were enough to convey all he needed to know. “What did you come all this way for?” he wondered. “Not to leave Karen White high and dry, surely? You could have done that from the Echo.”

“No,” Maggie admitted. She faced her ex, still feeling the affection she once had for him linger in the unswept corners of her mind. “Get me access to everything you know about the Sandbrook case and DI Hardy and I'll give you back your wife." She did not let on that she had had a woman to be proud of for all those years since. She did not let on how losing her had left her devastated and empty for the passed month.

"You know how to drive a hard bargain." Len stood up and led them through the mezzanine level of the floor and through to the rooms beyond. Phones trilled, emails buzzed and skype pinged. It looked like utter chaos. Beyond it was a darker room, one that Olly recognised immediately.

Boxes, boxes, boxes. And a man who was converting each one into digital form. Methodically and carefully. He turned and drew his glasses off, gazing at Maggie in warm greeting.

“Well, well, well,” he spoke slowly. “If it isn’t Magpie News herself.”

“Hello, Mick,” Maggie replied. “Olly, this is Mick Oxford, the Walking Encyclopaedia.”

Olly stuck out his hand. “Olly Stevens. Pleased to meet you.”

Mick grasped his hand and pumped it with gentle interest. “And you. What can I do you for?”

“Everything you have on Sandbrook, DI Hardy, Tess Hardy and Bruce Stratton. Every detail, even if it looks irrelevant, I want it. Right down to the bone.”

“That might take a while,” Mick warned.

“Maggie says you’re the man with the access. If she’s wrong, then perhaps you had better tell her that,” Olly said.

Len shrank back a step, pursed his lips and surreptitiously eyed Maggie’s blank face. Olly was not just standing his own, but putting Mick’s words back into his mouth.

“We have no idea when the murderer will strike again,” Olly continued. “My instincts tell me it’s related to the Sandbrook case. It might not be the same murderer, but it is connected. I want to bag a child killer, Mr. Oxford. Do we go elsewhere? Or do you earn the nickname your reputation gave you?”

Maggie remained silent. That was one huge bluff to call. Except that it was no bluff. Olly was the coolest and most mature she had ever seen him. In fact it was a double bluff. She knew Mick. Every unsolved case, every police error and he had them stashed in his personal collection of files and folders, paper documents and digital copies.

“I’m in,” Mick told him. “I have them in my personal office.”

That surprised Len. He didn’t know about this.

Mick stepped over to a cubby-hole on the far right and drew out a large cardboard box marked FILE SAFE on the side. He lifted the lid and inside it was stuffed full of document boxes, two layers of ten, each with a label on the leading edge. “This is one of them,” he said. “There are three more.”

“Then, we better get started,” Olly decided, taking out his notebook, pen and camera phone.

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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