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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.

And at last... something I bet many have been looking forward to since watching the original... (big grin)

/=/=/=/=/=/

Previously...

Episode Seven, Part Two: Long Overdue Denouement

Alec slowly turned to look at Connelly, fearing he had bad news. He always brought bad news. The weight of the previous few days sagged his shoulders and had drawn his face and body into a slump of despair. He couldn’t take another psychic message right now. “What is it, Connolly? I don't have it in me to take any more bad news.”

“No, no. I got a new vision. You did it. You acted in time.”

“In time? Daisy's in surgery, possibly fighting for her life.”

“Her letter got to you in time for her to tell you most of what happened. The release was enough that she found the courage to run away when I passed on the warning, before it was too late. She'll pull through.”

“Who told you that?”

“Louise. She said thank you for finding her epi-pen.”

Hardy frowned. He had no knowledge of the girl’s medicine being found. He looked at him with desperation. “Are you certain about my daughter?”

“Yes.”

“But what else is she keeping from me?”

“It will come out when the doctors finish saving her.”

Hardy felt a new hope. If just a sliver of it, it was better than none at all. And right now he would grasp that with every ounce of strength he possessed.

Connelly glanced out through the glass doors. “Looks like trouble. You should face them. Now. Sarah said they blame you, but she knows the person who killed her was a woman. Let them know before Karen White destroys your reputation.”

/=/=/=/=/

Karen had walked from the High Street, but she had had a good view of the mob approaching from the road that hugged the flood defences. The sight made her straighten in her shoes. People were on her side after all. That upped her courage to face Hardy once and for all.

There were a few cars on the road at this early hour as well, though she paid them no mind. She wanted to make sure she got to the hospital first to confront Hardy about his actions before the mob arrived. Journalists always wanted to be first on the scene. She was no exception.

The townspeople approaching along the other road would have to wait until she had finished with Hardy before they got their word in. Her business took precedence because it was older and, in her mind, far more potent than anything they had to say.

She could see some faces in the mob that she recognised. Mark and Beth, pushing their way to the front. She felt elated. Even the vicar had turned up. Karen was confident that this was going to be the downfall of DI Hardy. She would get him to face facts, once and for all.

As she took prime position outside the hospital entrance, Hardy came out to meet her, with DC Pete Lawson at his side. Backup, she thought silently. As if he couldn’t face her one-on-one. Like a coward, he had a buddy. And a local man stepped out behind them to stand on Hardy’s other side; a medium. Oh, this was just extra for her final article.

“Good morning, DI Hardy,” she said coldly. “I see you brought two friends. I have the entire town,” she gloated.

Mark, Beth and Coates shoved their way out of the crowd to stand with Hardy.

“Not if we have anything to say about it,” Mark interjected.

“What have I been saying about not pointing fingers?” cried Coates, eyes pleading with the mob to list to him.

“You haven’t heard what I have to say yet,” Karen said, unmoved.

“You’re here to accuse DI Hardy of covering up the truth,” Connelly noted. “I have it on good authority, that you’re mixing facts with pretentious lies and half-truths.”

“Good authority?” Karen threw back. “You’re a fraud, Connelly. Been in prison twice, and lives alone. You’re a wash-out and a liar.”

“No more a liar than you tell the truth,” Beth retorted.

“No one in this town should take anything you say as fact!” Mark added in exclamation. “Were you here when the town was pressuring DI Hardy? When no one was helping by telling the truth so the police could find out who the killer was, you were busy trying to rustle up anyone who would speak against him? He might've kept to himself, but maybe he was right to! After your meddling with Danny’s case, he still found out the truth. He got the right man and the right confession! Could you have done the same?!”

“A lot more than most did, or would do!” a voice called out.

The murmuring crowd of onlookers fell silent. One of the cars Karen had spotted earlier had stopped in the car park with an open window and two people had got out.

Hardy had seen them and breathed a sigh of relief. The sight of them and their timely arrival was, for once, a joy. “Maggie. Olly. Didn't know you were back.”

“We just got back ten minutes ago,” Olly said. “Exciting last few days, but we've helped solve a case and helped this one. All our research is now in the hands of the police. Your wife will be especially overjoyed when she finds out.”

Karen scoffed. “You two? Where have you been while I’ve been here, working?”

Maggie smiled. “Oh, you don't get the right to question us, not given what we've found out about you. We’re key witnesses, now. That makes us and what we know beyond your purview.”

A standard police car arrived and pulled to a stop, followed by a plain-looking car. Ellie popped out of the lead car an instant later, accompanied by Broome and the uniformed officer driving also stepped out. Superintendent O’Malley and DC Williams joined her from the other car. On the road from the bay, unnoticed as yet, came a convoy of other vehicles, making their relaxed way up the hill towards them.

“Ah, Ellie, perfect timing,” called Maggie. “You get to be present for the moment you and the DI have been waiting for: the exposing of Karen White's incompetence and lack of integrity.”

Some murmurs passed through the crowd, stilling them and numbing the anger toward Hardy.

Karen's jaw dropped a moment before she recovered her voice. “You what? You're delusional.”

Olly shook his head. “You've had it in for DI Alec Hardy for years, but he once told me he couldn't figure out why. So why don't you tell us, because it predates the Sandbrook murders, doesn't it?”

“I put in a request for information that was ignored,” Karen put in pointedly.

“And where and when was this?” Hardy asked.

“Leatherhead 1998. DI Hardy was the officer-in-charge of a murder investigation into the murder of a young girl.”

“I never worked at that station,” Alec protested. “I was in Sandbrook. I was a DS back then.”

“You're lying!”

“No, he's not,” interrupted Maggie. “I called both stations. I confirmed with Sandbrook that the then DS Alec Hardy was working there at the time and never on loan to Leatherhead.”

Karen stared at her, narrowing her eyes and shaking her head. “That's impossible.”

Olly decided to leave Mick's role out of things since Karen didn't need to know details. “Unlike you did at the time, I looked into the station. I found out something interesting about how in the old days before security was tightened that stations used to list its officers for the public record, available should anyone wish to contact a particular officer with information on a particular case. The lists included the first initial only and then last name. Maggie and I called Leatherhead to confirm a few details of the murder case. The Superintendent there at that time, now Chief Superintendent, remembers the case well. He also recalls his DI Hardy well. But his answer? He said, 'An Alec Hardy? No, there was never anyone by that name here’.”

Karen shook her head, but Olly didn't let her speak.

“He stressed the first name, which we both noticed from the case notes. So we asked if there was an 'A Hardy' at Leatherhead at that time. We were directed to that person, now the Super, and spoke to them. Do you know who answered? A lovely woman by the name 'Anna Hardy'.”

Karen stilled, mouth moving in silence. She did not hear the gasps behind and around her.

“She vaguely remembered the request. Said it was disrespectful to the still ongoing investigation and would have compromised the case. So she and her then Super felt justified in ignoring it, especially since the requester didn't bother to find out that their DI Hardy was a woman and not a man.”

Mark and Beth's jaws dropped further than the rest of the crowd.

Ellie ruthlessly suppressed the smile at the paling expression on Karen's face. Oh this early morning was going splendidly so far.

Alec shook his head, the urge to pace coming out, but he stopped himself. “All this time... you assumed I was the same person. You never bothered to check? Isn't there some rule in journalism to investigate and question everything? Or did you just fall back on the old adage - sift the wheat and print the chaff?!”

Karen's mouth kept moving, but no words came out.

Maggie smirked. “Your editor and I had a lovely chat about you, by the way. He would've called you himself to inform you that you're out of a job, but I asked him to wait until I had the opportunity to tell you right in front of the whole town. He agreed that it was only fair given that your article about Jack Marshall led to his death after you provoked a witch hunt. If it had been me, I wouldn’t have spat on you, like Mrs. Marshall did. I’d have had you arrested for libel, pissed in a cup and thrown it at you.”

“We trusted that you were good at your job,” Beth exclaimed. “If we'd known about this we would never have spoken to you, even if we feared never finding out what happened to Danny!”

“I'm not sure I would've said anything, either,” Dean agreed from where he stood at the front of the crowd. “After Jack died, I always felt bad about what I said. I guess we all misunderstood him.”

Several voices agreed.

Olly stood taller and looked very satisfied. “And now I've made up for listening to you, Karen, and for making the DI's job harder. You do know that he can slap you with a libel suit, right? Both him and Jack Marshall's wife. He left everything to her, even after everything that had happened. Maggie spoke with her and she was not happy to learn why everything really happened here and what started it.”

Ellie smirked. “In short, Karen, you never bothered to check if you had the correct information. And your articles on this case, and Danny’s, interfered with the police investigations, possibly delaying the resolution for days. If not weeks, in Danny's case. So I can finally have the satisfaction of doing this.”

The uniformed officer was ready and handed her a pair of handcuffs. Ellie quickly snapped one on Karen's left wrist.

“Karen White, I am arresting you for obstructing a police investigation, libel, defamation of character, harassment and stalking a police officer...”

“You can’t do this!” Karen wailed.

Ellie ignored her. “...You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court...”

The other wrist was cuffed before Karen could do more than attempt to struggle.

“...Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Do you understand?”

Karen stilled and nodded, mutely. “Yes.”

“Are you carrying sharp objects, weapons, alcohol or legal or illegal drugs on your person?”

“No,” Karen replied sullenly. “A packet of cigarettes,” she added after a moment.

Ellie unclipped the woman’s handbag strap and took it from her shoulder, passing it to a uniformed officer. “We can now prove your interference is against the law,” she told her. “You'll be taken to court to stand trial and, with any luck, you’ll spending time in jail. I'm sure you'll find plenty of stories to tell. Just remember to double-check them if you plan to present them as the truth, in court or elsewhere.”

Karen was officially silenced as she was led away to the waiting car. She had heard that when this DS got into this state there was no arguing with her. And her colleagues looked on with approval of her actions. If her editor was not going to defend her, then she was screwed. But stalking?

/=/=/=/=/

As Karen White was driven away in a police car, Chloe arrived with Tom.

“What’s happened?” she asked.

Tom spied his dad and rushed towards him to hug him. “I thought they’d arrested you,” he said.

“No, not me,” Hardy replied. “Karen White. I was exonerated. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

The two teenagers were quickly updated by Dean. Tom and Chloe looked at Ellie with even deeper and somewhat fearful respect than before.

“She's cooler than I thought,” Chloe responded to Dean.

Dean just nodded, unable to look away any more than she could.

Hardy numbly hugged Tom back, but his body could not stop shaking. “What did I miss?” he muttered to himself. “What did I not spot? How could I not know she hated me that much?”

“You came close to being arrested for murder, sir,” Broome replied. “And Karen White just overlooked the obvious, dismissed the ridiculous and went for the insane instead. She wanted you hung out to dry for murder, child molesting and rape. All crimes for which you have cast-iron alibis.”

She made sure her voice carried across the whole mob, which left them talking amongst themselves and redirecting their anger toward the woman in the car driving away.

Nearby, Beth just stared at him with her jaw slowly dropping. Her words to Ellie came back to mind, and she felt her body go heavy.

Coates numbly made the sign of the cross. “Oh, mother of God,” he whispered, unable to believe what he had just heard. “That anyone can stoop so low...”

Natalie, who pushed her way through the crowd, stepped closer and linked her arm with his, squeezing. It made him meet her eyes. “Know that I'd never even think of being half that cruel to you. Or our child,” she whispered.

He drew her into a hug, and was glad that she was not hesitant about returning it. Or caring that the whole town would now know he was the father of her baby. Maybe she would finally say yes.

Mark silently reached for Beth's hand, which she numbly took. They both felt like bigger fools than ever for listening to Karen once.

An instant later Chloe flew into their arms after a moment's look exchanged with Dean. The whole family trembled, all unable to look away from the stunned DI still being hugged by his son. Dean slowly came toward them, hoping to be of any comfort and not knowing what else he could do.

“Mum, Dad, I’ve got something to tell you, and there might not be a better time. But Dean’s asked me to marry him, and I’ve said yes.”

It was the only time when her words could produce no reaction from her parents other than shock.

Ellie looked at her watch, and glanced at the convoy slowly creeping up the road. Time to get the crowd out of the way. She looked to the Super.

O'Malley tapped Ellie on the arm. “Go. We’ve got five minutes. Get your husband and son out of sight. I’ll disperse the crowd.”

“Thank you.”

With that she moved swiftly to Hardy and took his arm. “Come on,” she coaxed. “Me and Tom are going for breakfast. You’re going to see Ben and Daisy.”

Hardy slowly met her eyes, needing a moment to register her words. Then he nodded.

“We're taking them home, right?” asked Tom hopefully. “I mean, they have nowhere to go that’s safe.”

“Tom, quiet,” Ellie told him softly and patiently. “I know you’ve worked it all out in your head, so I’m not going to lie to you. But for now, nothing’s decided and we have to wait. Don’t let on a word.”

“What’s going on?” Hardy asked.

Ellie straightened. “Custody,” she said. “You’re going to fight to get Ben and Daisy back, aren’t you?” She hoped her white lie wasn’t noticed.

Hardy did not speak. When was he able to think that far ahead? But one clear thought did emerge from his fuzzed mind. His thoughts turned to Daisy and Ben. “How am I going to tell them? They're in the shadow of a man they fear, but... Tess is still their mother. How do you tell two children, one only four years old, that their mother-?” He couldn’t say it, was desparate to be mistaken.

Ellie sighed. “Just go. I’ll help you with that as soon as I can.”

Her lack of challenging his fears did not settle his emotions. “Where are you going?”

“Got something vital to do. Please. I’m on a timer here. When it’s done, you can do what I did with Tom. Tell the kids the bare minimum that counts as the truth.”

/=/=/=/=/

Hardy stood in the hospital, completely uninterested in the little room they had put him in. Parent’s lounge, the panel on the door had said. The nurse had just handed him every parent’s worst nightmare. The evidence was irrefutable and would be passed on to the relevant authorities. It was very likely that his daughter would be placed in care, if a place existed, since she was already seventeen, and possibly face arrest.

Ellie had taken Tom to the canteen to find something to eat. Ben was still asleep. Lucy had the rest of the kids. Karen was off his back, at last.

But those things weren’t what bothered him the most. Daisy was very ill and in theatre and had been for hours. He sat down and found his hands shaking at the thought of how bad it could have been. She could have been a dead body in a gutter somewhere, raped and mutilated. The murderer was still out there somewhere. As it was, she could have been dead anyway. She had haemorrhaged. She had been missing for hours. No one knew yet where she had been, but they knew what she had been doing the other night. But that could wait.

The nurse returned. “Mr Hardy?”

Hardy looked up, expectantly. “Yes?”

“Daisy’s been moved to the ward. Would you like to see her?”

“Please, yes,” he said and got to his feet at once.

He followed the nurse to the postnatal ward and to a side room. The nurse opened the door for him and allowed him in. Hardy didn’t know what to expect. As it was, his daughter lay in the cot-like gurney, looking asleep. She had two IVs attached, one in each arm. As he approached he saw that she wasn’t asleep.

“Hello, Daisy,” he said carefully.

“Hello, Dad.”

“How are you feeling?”

“A bit groggy.”

“It’ll pass,” he assured her.

There was an uneasy silence for several seconds.

“I suppose you know, now,” she said.

“About the baby? Yes,” he confirmed. “I’ve also been told a few more facts about you since I last saw you. What in hell possessed you to get into shoplifting?” he was trying to keep his anger in check, but some of it dribbled out into his voice. This was hardly the time, given her poor health, but he had to know.

“I didn’t want to do it,” she told him. “They made me do it.”

“Who did?”

“My boyfriend, Godfrey... when he was my boyfriend,” she added. “He’s in a gang. You have to do it to be in.”

“Aw, for gods’ sakes, Daisy!” he growled. “What have I told you, time and time again, about gangs?!”

“But I liked him!” she argued. “He said he’d dump me if I didn’t, and he’d tell everyone that I was a slag, and tell the police that my dad was the real Sandbrook Murderer.”

“And you believed him?!”

“I did at first. But only for a few days,” she added.

“Well, thank you for your support!” he griped. “And ignoring my calls? What was that about? Was that getting back at me for not being there, or was that Godfrey’s idea?

“No. Mum took my phone off me four years ago! Thanks for asking!”

“All right, fine! What about getting pregnant? What was that? Don’t tell me that was your mum’s idea!”

“You weren’t there, so how would you know what happened?”

“That wasn’t my fault, Daisy, Your mum stopped me seeing you,” he revealed. “I know girls like to experiment, but this boyfriend of yours faces charges of sex with a minor. Did that occur to you? Is he the baby’s father? Because I have a few words to say to him about putting something on the end of it! And as for you; the fact that you have slept with someone, at your age, has its just rewards as far as reputation goes. You made your own bed on that matter!”

“You make it sound like I got pregnant on purpose,” Daisy accused him.

“I didn’t say that,” Hardy replied.

“No, but it’s what you meant!” She rapidly sank into tears.

“It’s everything else, Daisy, everything together; the shoplifting, the stay out at all hours. What did I tell you about getting into crime, eh? It looks bad on your mum and it looks bad on me.”

“It’s all about you, isn’t it?” Daisy threw back. “Your job, your reputation! Well, you ruined that when you lost that pendant. Oh I know what happened. I’m not stupid. I can read. It was all over the newspapers. But this isn’t about you. This time it was about me.”

“That gives you no excuse to ruin your life, Daisy!” he tossed back, angrily. “I am not in the mood to listen to you justify your actions. You’re barely out of school-”

“You think I don’t know that?!” she sobbed. “No one listened. No one cared. And you just vanished out of my life like it was my fault! And then you come back in, accusing me, like I had a choice!!”

Hardy stared at her, struck dumb. Suddenly his insides, his world and the ground he stood on, sank. “What choice? What do you mean?”

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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