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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 Eight: Pretender

Karen walked along the high street, staring at the paper in her hands. While the Herald was printing her articles, so far she still had not managed to get the front lead headline she believed the story required. Say nothing of Olly getting her main article and two subsequent not appearing at all. Instead, they had led with a sports story and more royal news! This was not what the public needed to know!

Gritting her teeth she whipped out her phone and dialled her editor.

Len Danvers was sitting in his office, looking at the papers in front of him and glancing up in front of him when his phone rang. He grabbed it, irritated at the interruption and letting it out in his voice. No one would be calling this number who was not used to his potentially answering this way. “Danvers!”

“You changed my article. Again!” she accused without greeting. “And you printed on Page 15!”

“Good to hear from you,” he replied, and meant not a word of it.

“I gave you a story the public needs to hear about. An article full of information. Why is it still getting only light coverage? There have been three deaths here, all tourist girls!”

“Speculation, more like it, Karen. What facts you stated can be interpreted in more ways than the conclusion you drew. That's why it was buried.”

“Alec Hardy is still on the force. He knew two of the victims, and the third probably died because the killer thought she was someone else.”

“You want the lead? You give me an article that I feel can stand against criticism. Last time you got the lead it drew focus on a man who was innocent. Do I need to repeat the contents of the letter I got from Rowena Marshall’s lawyer?”

Karen cringed. She could not forget the look in the woman's eyes as she spat on her. Nor the tongue lashing she got in the aftermath of Jack Marshall's death. “I followed the evidence.”

"A town was worked up over nothing, and the investigation may have been delayed because of it. So far what you have in this case is the word of Hardy's ex, and how do you know her word can be trusted? Have you checked her record as a copper?”

“Career slowed because her husband was assumed to be the better detective. She has two sick children, one with a laboratory assistant who has helped her begin again.”

“Is that what she told you?” he said. “Call me unimpressed. I thought you would at least back up your research with more than one source. How disappointing.”

Karen was not to be outdone. “My sources are perfectly verifiable!”

“The timing of Tess Hardy’s son's birth means that she had an affair. She cuckolded Hardy. The worst you can accuse him of is bad judgment in marrying her. And yet you believed his ex over him. I've noticed that you haven't said if you've spoken with his new wife.”

Her steps faltered. “I never said anything about a new wife.”

“I saw the picture. He was wearing a wedding ring in that picture that accompanied your story. A new one. Who's the wife? What's her story?”

Karen hesitated. She had had the chance to try to get Ellie Miller to speak, but she had known that the DS had every reason to not speak with her after her involvement that the Broadchurch police had looked on as interference. “That knowledge drove me to tell Miller to not talk to anyone, but she had already made that decision.”

“So you do know who she is,” he noted. “Then go after her.”

“Have a little compassion-”

“Screw compassion! And since when did you have a compassionate cell in your body? You wanted to be a reporter, so get out there act like one, and it might one day pay itself forward on another story.”

“I have a story! But you have reworded every article I’ve written about it!”

Danvers shook his head. “Call back when you actually have a story to tell.” He hung up on her.

She squawked. “The devil, he-!” She thrust her phone back in her bag and sought a cigarette. This was insane! What was she going to have to show in order to get the public to hear the story?!

Given that the town seemed to wonder about Hardy's involvement, maybe that required more investigation. A copper gone bad would be an instant story, but the police held all the proof.

Meanwhile at the Herald office, Danvers looked at the two sitting across from him, hand limply holding a copy of the papers that Karen should have found. If she’d bothered to look. “How could she possibly miss this information when it is there to be found? How could someone who showed so much promise prove so incompetent?”

Maggie smirked at her ex. “Thank you for burying those articles and publishing Olly's rewrites in their place. I know you had to publish something; better the truth that her version.”

A snorting scoff was the first answer. Then he managed words. “If there had been enough other news stories I would have rejected other stories she's sent. As it was I almost did that anyway. What I’m worried about is whether Hardy will sue. He’s bound to, eventually. She has published things that your information shows are lies. A little digging and she would be on to the real story. That Hardy is being gaslit and may have been gaslit back in Sandbrook. Even her previous articles from the Latimer case could be dragged under the libel umbrella.”

Olly grimaced. “I think she's so focused because she's angry that she missed the Sandbrook scoop, and because she believes that he's not the right man to be investigating as a lead. And now we know where this all started.”

Danvers put down the papers he was holding. “What are you offering?”

Maggie answered, “We're thinking of publishing an article about how the wrong actions by a journalist can ruin an investigation or create delays at best. Karen will form the focus. The Echo gets it first, but then the Herald gets the first national run. From there the story will go everywhere.”

“It’ll be bigger than News Of The World,” Olly added. “Because we have proof that one journalist obstructed the police in three major murder investigations, one of them international.”

“And I can protect my paper from accusations where they failed because of their lies,” he said with relief, the emotion breaking his normally severe expression.

Olly personally thought that a good faith effort toward Hardy - a published article that either gave his side or an essay that detailed an apology - would be a good idea, but he was not sure how to suggest that to his boss' ex. Especially if it sounded like they might be getting back together, even if it was just professionally. No, it would be best coming from her - if she agreed. And add to that; the Press rarely apologised, and even rarer than that actually meant it.

/=/=/=/=/

Ellie knocked on Super Jenkinson's door. As soon as her superior looked up she asked her question. “May I use your phone with the door closed? I have to make a call that I don't yet want getting around that I had to make.”

Jenkinson nodded. She waited for Ellie to shut the door before she made her own queries. “Who to?”

“The Chief Super from Sandbrook is expecting a call from me. I'm feeling paranoid about any of this leaking to my colleagues. I need to make sure my husband doesn't hear one word of this too soon. And I don't mean because of the investigation here.”

“Drake? He and I have had a couple of conversations,” Elaine replied. “Why did he speak to you?”

“Because it’s my case. Sir,” she added. “And on a personal note, it was a private matter regarding my husband.”

Elaine accepted that. And she had expected it, even if it was going over her head. She would overlook that part. “Make the call and you can fill me in as we go along.”

Ellie dialled the number and put it on speakerphone. She waited for the answer.

“Sandbrook police, Chief Superintendent Drake speaking.”

“Chief Superintendent Drake, this DS Miller of the Wessex Police, Broadchurch police station. Just to let you know, you are on speakerphone so Chief Superintendent Elaine Jenkinson can hear this.”

“Hello, Peter,” greeted Jenkinson.

“Ah, yes. Hello, Elaine, Miller. I wish we had had better circumstances for speaking. Did you get my earlier report?”

“Yes, and the updates from Miss. Radcliffe and Mr. Stevens. You said you have investigations going that link Bruce Stratton, a technician at the local genetics lab there, to multiple criminal activities.”

Chief Super Jenkinson's eyes widened.

Drake's voice radiated the strain the investigations were taking on him. “I'm afraid it gets worse every moment we keep looking. I mentioned that we suspect he meddled with several paternity tests and other medical examinations?”

“Yes.”

“We've found one hundred and seventeen major medical blunders that led to patient deaths and numerous side effects that were unnecessary. Never mind that at least seventy-five paternity tests that were meddled with. In each case, the DNA not already on file was replaced with his own. No one thought to run the tests again as a backup until one case was blown open over two months ago.”

“What happened?”

“We have this divorce in town. Wife began it. There's a boy involved, and she claimed the husband wasn't the father. Paternity test run by lab Stratton works at agreed with her, but the husband refused to believe it. He went so far as to get a sample of the boy's hair and offered his own sample for another test at a neighbouring lab. That lab gave a different result, that he IS the father.”

Both women's eyes popped wide, but only Ellie kept speaking. “What's the procedure when the results conflict?”

“When we got word of that, I ordered an outside technician to review the case to find anything fishy. She run the DNA of each against their previous results and found out that Stratton was substituting his own DNA for the fathers’. This was not what I wanted to hear because he is the top technician at the lab. So we have been investigating malpractice. The lab is facing going over all of Stratton’s cases and rerunning the tests to see how many times he has done this. But she went one step further and checked when he was in the office. She noticed he was present for at least a dozen cases on days off. Including a paternity case that I believe you said you have an interest in, according to your SOCO Brian Young.”

Ellie stilled. “You reran my husband's test?”

“And Stratton subbed his DNA for both samples from the potential fathers for Ben Hardy in the final report. She found the original swab still in the safe, because he couldn’t dispose of it without being seen. There were too many witnesses for him to manage that, and while his reputation was stellar he does not have friends at the Lab. In every case they’ve discovered so far, Bruce Stratton had been working on it. But in answer to your question... yes, Alec Hardy is Ben Hardy’s father.”

Ellie leaned hard against the desk as he knees felt weak. Her instincts were spot on. “Oh god. He is going to be devastated to learn he lost out on more than four years of his son's life because of this.”

Now was not the time to mention anything else related to it.

“How come Stratton hasn't been fired yet?” Jenkinson demanded.

“The Lab didn't want him to know that they suspected him of anything more serious than tampering, especially not when the rest of his suspected dealings involved kidnapping and sex crimes. As I said, some of his meddling has led to the deaths of patients at the local hospital, but grooming children is just as bad, if not worse. It’s now been passed to us and the CPS. Your reporters have unearthed evidence that should allow us to close in on the abuse ring that we are certain he has to know about, because it's run from his house.”

Ellie's eyes lifted, a light bulb going off behind them. “The one I reported from our witness? They’ve located the Deeds?”

“Yes and yes. They faxed the Deeds through just minutes ago. I assume your witness is one of our missing girls taken by the ring? I won't ask for her name yet, to protect her. You did right there. But yes, Stratton bought the house from a local auctioneer, Connie Bridgewater, cash-in-hand. Her daughter, Hailey, is one of the missing girls.”

Jenkinson pursed her lips. “How soon do you think you can close that house down?”

“Thanks to one of Mr. Stevens’ discoveries, we have someone we can use to get inside the house and get the evidence we need to break the ring and arrest all of the members at the same time. We're setting something up and we hope to be able to spring it at dawn. I will contact you as soon as we’re ready to move in. It'll be the final pieces we need to be certain we've got enough uniforms and CID officers on hand to get every member and client. But we’ll need Stratton in cuffs at the same time. Can you do that?”

“It’ll mean getting the doctors at our hospital on our side and keep Ben there. Stratton won’t leave Tess Hardy and she won’t leave without her son.”

“Have them come up with any excuse possible,” Drake suggested. “Timing is of the essence. We can't risk him or anyone else learning of the raids from anyone else, just in case we miss one. That’s why it’s taken a week to set up the sting. We have to assume that not all of them will be at the house. And if they're not at the house, we have to assume they are either at home or at work and plan for all contingencies. Are you read to go on my word?”

Ellie's answer was prompt, although her eyes showed how little she felt they were ready. “Yes, sir. We’re ready. I do have one request to make, sir,” Ellie put in. “I’d like all charges relating to the girls dropped. They were forced, manipulated and threatened into criminal activity. It was not of their own free will.”

There was a pause. “I’ll do my best, because I do suspect you’re right, but that’s down to the courts to decide.”

With the call over, Jenkinson looked at Ellie with a measured look. “What are you missing to be able to make an arrest?”

“Like Drake said, it has to be done at the same time. One person hears about it and they’ll scatter. Other than that, I have everything I need to arrest and charge Stratton right now for the murder of Luiz Gotleib and Louise Dusk.”

Elaine straightened in her chair. “You got the results of the third autopsy?”

“Just got them back. She was raped and a hand was held over her mouth to stop her screaming. Her teeth left bite marks on the inside of her lips. Still no sign of the epi-pen or Luiz’s skirt, but if I did a search of his luggage, I bet we’d find them both.”

“And Sarah Wallace’s killer. What of him?”

Ellie felt an unexpected thrill in her confidence. “It’s not a him, sir. She was killed by a woman, the woman who left the footprints Brian found. And I have a hunch on exactly who it is, but nothing definite until I can get clearance to go through her belongings.”

“What of Hailey Bridgewater?”

“We have her in a cell downstairs. Her idea. She even insisted.”

“And the baby?”

“Safely at the hospital. Last I heard, he's in good health just by first tests. They'll be running other tests and send us and Social Services the results when they have them.”

“So we have no leads on who the mother might be or why she abandoned her child?”

“None, but I can't shake the feeling that I do know someone he's related to. Even though he was too young for anyone to be able to recognise features, I swear that I've seen them before.”

“Well, figure it out on your own time. The murders come first.”

/=/=/=/=/

He crept into the room, inching his way towards the bed. She was there, alone this time. He had been trying to get her alone for ages. Days.

He carefully moved his feet forward, feeling for obstacles with his toes. Her bed was by the window, on the far side of the empty double bed. Her parents were at the hospital with their little boy. Bless. Or not. He hadn’t seen anything good about this family to speak of.

And there he was, beside her bed. She looked innocent, lying there, except he knew things about her. Things she wouldn’t want just anyone knowing.

He leaned closer, right in her face, just to make sure he got the right girl. Mistakes had happened before. He must have inadvertently breathed on her, because suddenly her eyes were open and she was on the verge of screaming.

His hand covered her mouth. “Don’t do that,” he whispered harshly. “Your life depends on you not screaming.”

ĐĐ

End of Episode

To be continued...

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
ficreader3
Jan. 1st, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC)
Oh that ending!!! Can I take a guess and hope it was Connelly warning Daisy????
tkel_paris
Jan. 1st, 2015 06:58 pm (UTC)
Stay tuned to find out...
tardis_mole
Jan. 3rd, 2015 06:16 am (UTC)
All will be revealed. :)
alimoseby
Jan. 1st, 2015 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yes. The icon represents my brain. Oh my friggin lord.

I KNEW BEN WAS ALEC'S SON. I KNEW IT. And now he's gonna feel like a shit because he missed out on Ben's life. I'm gonna hope Tess loses custody of both kids and they get to live with Alec and Ellie.

Now I think the baby is Hailey's.

God, this is good stuff...
tkel_paris
Jan. 1st, 2015 08:51 pm (UTC)
Yes. Tops should be blowing before the end.

Next chapter will be up early tomorrow.
dm12
Jan. 1st, 2015 11:56 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that does add up. Hailey has been walking on her own and she showed up in awful shape, she has been known to shoplift and would have needed all of that stuff. When I made my guess, Hailey was nowhere to be found. I'm glad she escaped her situation; just hope everything goes well with the raids. I suspect who the dad is, too.

I'm still a little confused about Daisy's symptoms, though. Crohn's disease usually is marked by weight loss, not weight gain. There is abdominal pain and cramping, along with diarrhea and frequent bleeding (hence the constant need for sanitary supplies, I guess), fatigue, and loss of appetite.

So, Alec really is Ben's father. I'm left wondering why Bruce pulled a stunt like that. Is he just trying to wreck marriages or what? No wonder he didn't want to submit his sample... heads are going to roll! Now Alec has a case to gain custody of both his children. That's going to be one huge household!

Edited at 2015-01-02 12:03 am (UTC)
tardis_mole
Jan. 3rd, 2015 06:21 am (UTC)
Not always. I took this detail from my own struggle with Crohn's. The abdomen can balloon after eating. It's really embarrassing.

The 'why' will be revealed in due course.
tardis_mole
Jan. 3rd, 2015 06:18 am (UTC)
Mine was St Helens on reading some of tkel's sections. Half of the time, she was dragging me along. :D

I think I can speak to tkel, but we're very excited that readers are very excited. :D
tkel_paris
Jan. 3rd, 2015 08:08 am (UTC)
I've imagined Krakatoa erupting after reading some of TM's stuff. And trust me, you dragged me along a few times, Moley. This wouldn't have been written if you hadn't jumped all over the idea. :P

And yes, I'm excited. So excited I'm not yet in bed, just hoping to see your returned adjustments so I can set the final posts for Episode 7. :D
tardis_mole
Jan. 3rd, 2015 04:33 pm (UTC)
That one too. :D And yes, I pushed fro this to be written. :DD

I've sent them off. Might have included the unchanged ones in my excitement. :DDD

Twiddling my thumbs now for Ep 8. :DDDD
diane_dme
Jan. 4th, 2015 12:30 am (UTC)
Aw, you had to do that to me - the cliff-hanger - just before I went to bed!! Well it's not Stratton, from what he was thinking. Right now it is unclear whether he means her ill or well.

I'll have to wait until the morning to find out. Good stuff! :D :D
tkel_paris
Jan. 4th, 2015 08:34 am (UTC)
I'm working with a master of cliffhangers. What do you expect?

Episodes 6 and 7 are up. And 8 will go up as soon as Moley and I finish the final edits. Found things that needed to be fixed that escaped our notice before. Oops. :)
diane_dme
Jan. 4th, 2015 11:01 am (UTC)
True enough! :D

Excellent. I shall enjoy reading episodes 6 and 7 today.

Thanks again for a quite excellent story. :)
tkel_paris
Jan. 7th, 2015 05:51 am (UTC)
Welcome!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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