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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 Eight, Part Four: Face To Face

Ellie had been waiting for this moment. The interviews were all done, and the suspects knew the evidence that tied them to their crimes. She had heard about the explosions that happened when they caught sight of each other as they were taken to different police stations by the Metropolitan Police. Bruce Stratton had already left. The security van for Tess Hardy had not arrived yet. Even while still in Broadchurch police custody they had had to be taken to opposite ends of the cells to make sure they could not carry on their dispute.

But Ellie had other concerns in her mind besides Tess and Bruce’s domestic squabbling. Her husband, left an emotional wreck and needing sedation, deserved some answers. And she would face Tess, mother to mother, but by no means equals.

“Afternoon, Sarge,” greeted the Duty Officer as he led her through and nodded to the person waiting for them. “DS Broome is already here.”

Detective Sergeant Anna Broome - and God strike her dead if she was wearing her new promotion with pride - greeted her outside the door. “You do know that there are cameras?”

“She actually asked to speak with me, even though she didn’t realise it’s me. I was wondering how long I'd have to wait for this. I won't do anything to hurt the chances for a conviction on any level, or hurting us in getting daisy and Ben. Trust me. I won’t kick her arse like I did Joe’s. She’s not even worth it.”

Anna nodded. “Just take care. Just because she's beaten doesn't mean she's down for the count.”

“I can do more than hold my own,” Ellie promised.

Sighing, Anna opened the door and led her inside. She would remain there at all times, and with the door open. It was the one protection the Supers had insisted on.

Tess Hardy sat on the bench in her cell, head bent and fingers laced together in her lap. She was wearing a Category A, bright orange, jumpsuit which singled her out as a child killer. She had seen her husband in one, and for the second time in her life at seeing one, she now took pleasure in seeing it on this woman. Tess’ own clothing had been confiscated and, pending trial and conviction, she would not be allowed to see normal clothing again for many years.

Tess looked up and grimaced at the sight of her visitors.

Ellie could not resist a smirk as she stood in the doorway across from the woman whose ghost she had sometimes felt like she was fighting against. Said feeling was gone now, edited out by the horrific acts she had committed. “That's not exactly your colour. But I think you know that even without a mirror. And don't look so grim. You asked me here.”

The ex Mrs. Hardy was startled by that. She straightened as she forced her face into a smoother expression. “I wanted to know who had taken my place. Just for curiosity,” she said. “I asked to see the new Mrs. Hardy. I wasn’t exactly expecting you, but I suppose I should have been.”

“I didn’t take your place,” Ellie corrected. “You left it vacant. And assumed it at the hospital.”

Tess did not respond, although the twitching of her lips said she was tempted to. “When did you first realise you were attracted to Alec?”

“None of your business, and I’m only answering it if you answer with the truth. You've told so many lies that I don't know if you remember how to speak the truth anymore.”

Tess bristled but responded with care. “Alec and I met during police training. We fell in love, rose up through the ranks, both switched to CID at the same time. We lived together for five years. I'll admit I married him as much to please my mum as to stake a claim on him. Several other constables were eyeing him up, but he loved me. So... how about you?”

Ellie thought for a moment, more to decide how to phrase it. “I'd just got back from a family holiday to Florida, ready to take on a promotion. I thought Joe and I had revived the spark in our marriage. Then I learned my promotion had been cancelled and my job had been given to someone I thought had failed in his last major investigation. So I was already furious at him when I met him at a scene of crime, which didn't exactly make things better in my mind and didn’t do him any favours. I thought he wasn't what the victim, the family or the town needed. But I quickly realised that he had a keen eye for spotting details and getting information out of people. If it hadn’t been for him, I’d have been the DI on that case, and I know now that I wasn’t ready. I think, in retrospect, my first clue was that when one of the people I work with asked me out. I went and told Hardy.”

Tess had to snort.

Ellie decided to ignore the reaction. “But it was as much how he handled telling me about what my ex had done, how he looked after me and my boys once he was put on medical leave. He made sure we had somewhere to live. He made sure I was reintegrated into work quickly after my ex-husband’s arrest. The clincher was how he was around my boys. He was a natural with Fred, and he gained Tom's trust, maybe drawing him back from the risks of crime and suicide that I'm told some kids go through when their lives are shattered like ours were. In fact, it was Tom who first voiced the idea that I should get together with him. But we waited to act on it until after my divorce.” Mostly, she added silently.

She did not need to admit any of those other instances, near misses, the kindness he had offered her, the safe haven she felt when near him. Not that Tess deserved to hear about them.

Tess folded her arms. “You got lucky. I made mistakes, big mistakes, including trusting Bruce. Did you throw up when you found out about Joe? Even kick him? I would have. I tried to hit Bruce several times, but missed.”

“Yeah. I lashed out,” Ellie responded. “Got a reprimand, which was overturned later. My ex never went as far as Bruce. And given what you did to Sarah, I don't think you have much room to claim to be as horror-stricken as I was about Joe. You made your own bed. Mine was made for me.”

Tess narrowed her eyes in a challenge. “You really think you're any better than me?”

“I know I'm better. Want to know how I know?”

“Do tell. I'm all ears,” Tess said as she leaned forward, positive that her replacement was bluffing.

Ellie smiled. This was one particular moment she had been waiting for. “One, I've seen your record. You couldn't investigate your way out of a paper bag in the time Alec can solve ten cases. Two, his actions prove that while he seems cold and detached, he is anything but. He cares too much rather than not enough. His care towards victims of crime, especially the Latimers - which I did not properly notice or respect at the time - and repeated this year for the Wallaces, the Gotleibs and the Dusks, has earned him respect in this town. His care for every member of the team, CID and uniform, has earned him respect at work. His care toward me and my boys, and the respect he shows us, has earned him respect at home. What I’ve seen of how you interact with your kids is nothing like it. You’re cold and detached, uncaring and unfeeling. Even Joe wasn’t as bad as you. Three, Alec and I have joked with each other that we each traded up in spouses. I think you proved it. We both went from someone who wasn't actually trustworthy to someone who has our best interests at heart. Even if we snap at each other sometimes, we show nothing but a positive front with our kids. Arguing and fighting all say every day breaks a child no less than physically harming them. And four, the biggest one of all?” She paused for a second, allowing her words a moment to sink in and leave a big enough void for her final point. “I never thought it possible, but you actually managed to make my ex look halfway decent.”

“You what?” Tess cried out.

Anna's eyes widened. She did not see this coming.

“You heard me. Joe didn't set out to kill Danny. It was an accident. It was his reaction to what had happened that was the worst part, the not knowing how he could defend his actions in lying to all of us. Unlike you, he never set out to deliberately hurt an innocent. Unlike you, he didn’t kill a child in order to test someone’s ability. Unlike you, he wasn’t twisted or bitter. Unlike you, he did not make his children suffer to hurt anyone else. Unlike you, he did not get involved in someone to cause trouble. And unlike you, he never brought someone into our lives to put the children at risk. You're a copper. You're supposed to be above reproach. Instead you destroyed your family, disgraced yourself and disgraced your profession. In every respect, Joe is the better person.”

Tess stared at her, mouth open and eyes wide.

Anna covered her mouth to hide a smile. That was the best sight ever. She was actually glad to know that it was on camera. Hardy might even be pleased when he heard about it. She knew the duty officer would be only too pleased to share the tape with the DI. Their colleagues might also enjoy it, a reward for their hard work.

Ellie turned to leave, but hesitated. “Oh, and one more thing. You might have been in Court for the custody hearing, but you weren’t at the case conference at Social Services. The case was closed, you attempt to put the blame on us and bring a CPP against Alec failed. So answer me this, because this alone would justify me kicking your arse off Dead Man’s Point. Why did you have Daisy and Ben removed from the hospital while we were still in Court? And don't lie because we found the record of your call to Mrs. Troup.”

Tess slowly shrank in on herself, sagging in the chair.

“Alec got custody. And I've filed to adopt them. Given that your rights have been revoked in the simple light of what you put them through medically, physically, mentally and emotionally, I'll be their mum. So what possessed you to risk Ben’s life by having him moved? Was it jealousy? Was it some final spark of hatred against Alec, a man who had never done you wrong? Whatever it was, you failed. We’ll get Daisy and Ben back. And you better hope it happens before Ben dies. Because no matter where they send you, I’ll find you and kick your arse all the way to hell.”

With that, Ellie walked out, head held high and suppressing a big smile at the final triumph over the woman who made Alec and his children suffer for so long. Never again would Tess have a hold over any of them, except in their nightmares. And those would fade eventually.

Anna moved to close the door behind her. The security van would come for Tess soon. Best that they were out before they arrived. But she paused as an impish urge hit her. She leaned back in. “By the way?”

Tess looked up slowly, blinking as she realised the other visitor was speaking.

“I made DS because of this case. Thanks for the promotion.”

Tess' mouth managed to drop a little further.

Anna smirked as she closed the door. As she rejoined Ellie they shared a grin of professional and womanly solidarity.

/=/=/=/=/

Legal proceedings for the adoption were an informal affair, though it was more sombre than they had hoped. Daisy and Ben were not there at any of the meetings with the key worker, Helen Jolt from Children’s Services. And, as such, the adoption was rejected by the court.

“They must both live with you for six months before you can file for an adoption. Where are they living?”

“I don’t know,” Hardy replied. “I was granted full parental rights two weeks ago, but the children were removed without my permission before we had even left this Court.”

“Sir, the children were removed from their mother’s care and full rights were awarded to Mr Hardy,” Jolt spoke up. “However, another social worker took the children from the hospital, contrary to the conclusions made at both the CPP and the legal hearings, and against medical advice, and the children were placed in foster care. Steps have been made to return them to their father as quickly as possible give the son’s critical condition.”

“I see that. However, legally, a child must be living with the parent and adopting parent for a minimum of six months before this process can begin. That does not include the three-month adoption process. Case dismissed.”

“Sir, please,” Jolt pleaded. “Without the adoption in place, Children’s Services can’t return Ben to his father. And if he is not returned he will not get the life-saving operation he desperately needs. I am asking, I am begging, you to reconsider,” she told him passionately. “Ben is dying, sir. Legally, foster parents are not allowed to give medical treatment, and we are not allowed to intervene unless it’s a case of abuse or neglect. Ben’s condition is genetic and without a pacemaker he will die. Possibly within weeks. I am asking you, please, to allow the adoption to go through under Special Measures subsection 2.”

The magistrate looked from her to one of the sheets of paper in front of him and read the Special Measures for himself. And then he looked at the medical report, the grave outlook and then at the faces of Hardy and his wife. These past two weeks had been a hell no parent or child should have to endure. Could he, in all conscience, dare to make it worse and risk ending a child’s life in the process?

He picked up the rubber stamp and banged it onto the adoption papers. He then signed it and held it out to Miss Jolt. “Done. Now get those children home, Miss Jolt. Today, if not sooner.”

/=/=/=/=/

The only thing Daisy could tell as the car went along the roads was that they were heading toward farmland. So they were going back toward Broadchurch? There were some familiar landmarks, although she was seeing the other side of the road this time. It was near impossible to tell one field from another.

Would she at least be able to reach out to Chloe and Hailey and the others once this was all over? Hailey might take a bit longer, since she had no idea where she was, but the others? If she was going home, to her dad’s... She had her mobile that her dad had given her. The social workers who had some to pick them up had given it back to her. She was happy for Daisy to have the phone, but had asked her not to use it until she got to where she was taking them. That was a good sign, she hoped.

Ben had spent much of the past two weeks sleeping or lying on the sofa. He was too weak to do anything else, and walking to the toilet always gave him palpitations. The key worker was gentle and patient with him. Something Greg and Molly, as nice as they were, did not do. They always wanted him up and out in the garden or took him out on day trips, which exhausted him. At least they noticed how easily he tired and began to lessen the number of occasions and length, although that took too long. Every day she worried it would be her brother's last.

These social workers had sat and talked to them, something the last one had not done. The conversation had taken long enough for Greg and Molly to pack their clothes, none of which actually fitted Daisy and Ben, all given to them by that awful last social worker, Mrs Troup. She wished she could have her own clothes back.

While their key worker, Helen Jolt, had talked with them, Daisy noticed that Molly and Greg had shared their written notes and Ben’s school photos with Helen’s seconder, all in triplicate copies. She wondered what those notes said. She had missed continuing her A-levels, and had instead studied by herself. She was worried at how far behind she might be, or if she would have to give up her education altogether.

Still, five minutes into the drive, Daisy realised where they were heading. She could see it plain as daylight on a road sign. Broadchurch 22 miles. She hoped and now believed she was right. There was the farm where Dean worked, and the old orchard. Controlling her excitement, just in case she was wrong and just in case the key worker noticed, she carefully took out her phone and sent a text to Chloe.

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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