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Title: Broadchurch: 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 nor 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 Five. Part Four: Rushing In

Ellie glanced at the clock on the wall. It was gone six in the evening, but she felt light and fully awake. She had been working for thirty hours, straight, and needed sleep, but she had a few pieces of paperwork to finish before that could happen. It had been like old times, all day, playing sidekick to DI Hardy for the day, chasing possible mothers.

She was on a phone call with Maggie, hearing about the latest updates. There was no accounting for time anymore. One day ran into the next and night had ceased to exist. In front of her were three sheets of notes on Karen White, a pile of sheets on Tess Hardy; one sheet of notes on Bruce Stratton ands several pages of unsavoury rumours that had been spread about her husband. All of which she knew were false. He hadn’t come out of an interview with a suspect in the child abandonment case yet.

“Ellie?”

Ellie looked up at the sound of Frank’s voice, and stilled, blinking with a frown. Near him stood Becca Fisher, and with her stood a young girl wearing a hooded top with the hood up. Becca was holding the girl's hand, though it seemed a little odd to be holding the hand of someone who looked at least sixteen years old. The girl was gaunt and frail looking and she was shaking like a leaf, eyes everywhere. Any sudden noise and she flinched. The only thing that seemed to be calming her was Becca's presence. If you could call it calm. She was carrying one backpack on her back, and clutching a second in her other arm.

Then the girl met Ellie's eyes, and the DS's went wide. She knew that face.

“Maggie, got to go. There’s a lot happening here. I'll call you back as soon as I can.”

“We’re snowed under,” Frank began. “All uniforms are out. The Super has asked me to step in and help.”

“Thank god,” Ellie replied. “Thanks, Frank. Call Ann Strickler up, would you? She’s down in Filing.” Frank nodded and left. “Ok. Anna? You and Ann take the girl. I’ll take Becca.”

The girl whimpered, tightening her hold on Becca enough that the proprietor's face flinched.

“As soon as Ann is up here,” Ellie ammended. “See if there's something we can get her to eat, she looks famished.”

Moments later Becca was in one interview room, and the girl was taken to another. “You're sure she's safe?” she asked as sat down.

Ellie frowned as she sat across from her. “I have two female officers sitting with her, giving her tea and finding something for her to eat. She won't be alone. She's safe here.” As she said the words, she wondered what the station was protecting her from.

Becca sighed in relief, but it did nothing to remove the shaking from her shoulders or the haunted look in her eyes.

Ellie prepared the recorder and officially opened the session. It was a little more official that Becca was expecting, since she’d only found the girl. No crime had been committed as far as she was aware. Not in relation to the girl, at least.

Ellie started things off while her colleague began to transcribe. “Becca, why are you here, and who is the girl?”

“Why do you need to record this? All I’ve done is brought her in.”

“We’ve been looking for her,” Ellie said. “She may have witnessed to a very serious crime. Everything is being done by the book.”

Becca wrung her hands and shivered a little, even though it was hot even for the time of year. “She just turned up. She said she’d been on the run and said she needed to speak to a policeman and did I know where the police station was.” she replied.

“Location, time,” Ellie prompted.

Becca looked confused. She had an inkling that the girl was far more valuable to the police than she had thought, almost as if they had been waiting for her, expecting her even. “About ten minutes ago. I was about to go to the One Stop for some hot chocolate for my flat when she walked towards me. Practically jumped out from behind the bins at me. with her hood up over her head, and I got the fright of my life. But as she got closer I could tell she was looking around, like she was looking for someone, as if she thought she was being followed. She had this look of a frightened rabbit, and would bolt like one in an instant. She saw me and almost curled up in a ball. I knew she wasn’t a local. She had the look of someone who was lost. I asked if I could help and she asked me if this was the Trader’s Hotel. I said, 'Yes. Do you have a reservation?' She shook her head and said, 'No, but I'm looking for my friends.' I asked for their names and she said, 'Louise Dusk and Daisy Hardy.'”

Ellie's eyes widened. Frank looked up from his piece of paper and glanced at her.

Becca continued, unaware of their reactions. “I told her that Louise and Daisy were there, but Louise had died. She looked so pale when I said it. I then noticed that she hadn't bathed in a while, and hardly had anything on her other than the clothes on her back and backpack. I offered to take her to Daisy, but she started shaking. She asked if Daisy was only with her mum and brother. When I said that they had a man with them, she immediately asked if Daisy was okay. I asked her if she wanted me to take her to the police station where Daisy's father works, and she begged me to. I hurried her into my car, and yes I know what that looks like. I called calling for Tony, my barman, to watch things for me. And I came straight here. She’s the missing girl, isn’t she? The news has been on about her for weeks and I saw her face on the milk carton yesterday.”

Ellie ignored her questions. “Becca, you're on edge and I don't think it's just because of this girl or the recent murders.”

She exhaled and moaned, raked her fingers through her hair, with her elbows still on the table. “Two of my guests have been murdered, one of them attacked in my own hotel, another guest who was booked at my hotel was attacked and died. I’ve had two leaking bathrooms and four cancellations. I worry every day that my business is finished. This is the kind of publicity that gets me the wrong reputation. I know I have to be a suspect, and it's making me lose sleep. I have guests who have said they would leave if they hadn't been instructed to stay. So I'm doing everything to make sure they're comfortable. If I make it through this I'll have to send the DI a Christmas card for being so persuasive about how important their staying is. I’ve had to add a children’s menu, which I’ve never done before. And with the things I've seen and heard...” She wrapped her arms around herself, shivering despite the temperature.

Ellie leaned in. “What things?”

Becca took several breaths, needing them to calm herself. “The day the German girl was murdered outside my hotel, I was in the back room going through the accounts and I overheard one of the guests on his mobile; a Mr. Stratton. Only he wasn’t a guest. The original booking was for one adult and two kids. Anyway, he was talking rather sharply to someone. Something about, 'That one's your responsibility to deal with.' There was a pause and he had this smirk on his face. I could see it through the frosted glass. He said 'Trust me, I'll deal with her'. I kept out of sight. I was terrified he meant me.”

“Do you think he's dangerous?” asked Ellie.

“Yes. I’ve seen him, the way he leans right over his wife, controls her every move, keeping the kids on a tight rein. And I'm worried for the children he's with.”

Ellie had to restrain the urge to jolt, keeping her tension solely in her legs. “Why?”

“The girl, Daisy, she's DI Hardy's eldest daughter, isn't she?”

Ellie nodded. “Yes.”

“She has this constant look of vigilance about her, and she doesn't like leaving her little brother alone, if she can help it. She's the one taking care of him. She’s only a kid herself. I’ve only seen the mother do one thing for the boy and that was when he collapsed. A moment's hint of the boy being alone with Mr. Stratton and Daisy insists on being there. And the boy never wants to be alone with him, like he’s afraid.”

“We need a little more than that. So far it’s just opinion. Have you seen or heard anything that suggests an abusive situation?” Ellie asked, careful to not let her emotions out. She had to be professional and objective.

Becca looked at her with a dismayed face. “I’d expected a bit more of a reaction than that.”

“I’m the officer in charge of a murder investigation,” Ellie put in. “My own feelings have nothing to do with it. Answer the question.”

“He's sharp with them,” Becca said. “I've never seen him hit or touch either of them. In fact, they shy away from anything like a touch from him. And that mother of theirs is very distant, particularly with Daisy. It's almost like she treats her as a servant at her beck and call, or someone else’s child.”

Ellie picked up on the odd note in Becca's voice at the mention of Tess Hardy. “What's your impression of the mother?”

Becca shivered once again. “I don't trust her.”

“Why?”

“She sat down with Karen White some days ago and they talked for a good half an hour. I didn't hear the first part, but I could see her reaction as Karen left. She looked like the cat that ate the canary and washed it down with the cream. She was telling Karen things about DI hardy, things I didn't want to believe.”

“Such as?”

“She was implying that he was a bad father, that he’d run out on them, had an affair. And then as she walked back towards the Esplanade to rejoin her partner and son, I saw the smile on her face.” Becca shuddered at the memory. “I thought it was the look of someone who delights in manipulating others. I'm just grateful she didn't see me. After what her partner said on the mobile...”

Ellie and Frank shared a look. This was not an encouraging sign for Daisy's safety.

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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