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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, Chapter Six: Reunion Long Delayed

When they had seen the car arrive there had been a mad dash to get to the door first. Ellie held them back, explaining that Daddy had waited a very long time for this, so they had to be patient and let him go first. Their little bodies crammed into the doorway to watch the scene unfold.

Hardy took a step towards the car, the tension making him shake like a leaf. Behind him stood Lucy and Olly, keeping Tom, Fred, Harry, and Catherine waiting as their mother joined their father, waiting just behind him. He watched Helen and her colleague get out of the car and get a wheelchair from the boot. He watched in almost-silent disbelief as they prepared Ben to meet him.

Daisy checked on Ben first, for the first time in his life she felt as if she didn’t need to be his main carer anymore, and let them do what they needed to do. Instead she looked at her dad. Her face lit up on seeing his relief. He looked like he was about to cry good tears. Daisy ran. “Dad!”

“Daddy!” cried Ben.

Hardy rushed forward and clamped Daisy against him, fighting the tears that threatened to flood his closed eyes. “Daisy,” he whispered. Her turned and hugged the boy in the wheelchair. He looked even sicker than he had at the hospital. “Ben. You're home. It’s been very hard waiting for you.”

“Pick me up, Daddy,” Ben begged.

Daisy picked up the oxygen so their dad could, and then hugged him with one arm.

He beamed at them, eyes so watery he could barely see them. “Come on. Time to meet the rest of your family.” He walked them to the door, Daisy bringing the wheelchair, where six people waited eagerly.

Ellie smiled as they passed her, and stepped to meet with the social workers who were removing suitcases she recognised from the boot of the car. “Thank you for not putting their things into black bags,” she whispered tightly. “I think we’ve had as much indignity as we can take.”

Helen nodded, noticing the tension in her frame. “They were confiscated from Mrs. Troup, along with the wheelchair. This is the last of their things that they brought with them on their holiday. We will let you know about the rest of their belongings still in Sandbrook.”

Ellie nodded. “We’ve left that in the hands of my husband’s lawyer. Much of the furniture in Tess’ house belonged to his parents and he’d like that back. Once we get clearance, an old friend of Hardy’s has agreed to transport them down for us. How is Hailey?”

“Officially, we can’t tell you that,” Helen replied.

“I know, but Daisy is going to ask. I need something to tell her.”

Helen nodded in agreement. “Unofficially, since she’s not actually under our care, she's fine. Apparently, still reluctant to return to her parents, and she's old enough that she can make that choice not to. But there has been contact now that the charges against her have been dropped. She’s living with a foster family in Broadchurch.”

“I didn’t know there were foster families in Broadchurch. Why weren’t Daisy and Ben placed in Broadchurch? In fact, why were they taken off us in the first place?”

“The actions of Mrs. Troup were unauthorised,” Mrs. Price replied. “But we couldn’t follow the recommendations of the CPP hearing until the adoption had gone through. It’s a loophole in procedural law, and thankfully not many people get caught in it. Sadly, Mrs. Troup knew of it given her lengthy duration with Social Services, but no longer works in our department.”

Ellie could have fainted with relief, but she contained herself to a comment of general gratitude. “Is it true that most of you lot work to the principle that all parents are murdering paedophiles until proven innocent, and think you're above the law?”

There was a long silence. Helen looked at her colleague, who turned her chalk-white reaction away.

“It has to be said that there are some social workers who are more zealous than others,” she hedged. “And there are some who are just not personable. The aim of the service is to do all we can to ensure that children have access to everything they need to reach their full potential in a safe, healthy and happy environment, and we aim to make sure that is with the birth family where possible. Sadly, it’s not always possible. In this case, your husband was misnamed as the abuser and not the innocent party. And for that we are truly and genuinely sorry.”

Ellie knew that her husband had been thinking of himself that way for months. He had had to wait to be cleared despite being the only parent Daisy and Ben had left, despite being cleared of the murders before he had even filed for custody. And here was the culmination of all that fight. Now there would be a settling in time and a life to live.

“There are procedures to follow. Mrs. Troup followed them rather too zealously than was necessary and ignored the findings and recommendations of the CPP. And there is the matter that we can prove contact between her and Tess Hardy that our boss was not pleased to hear about. She will face an internal inquiry.”

Helen would not admit to the pleasure she had when Mrs. Troup was confronted by her manager with the Conference minutes and the custody papers, the record of the call with Tess Hardy, or being informed she was out of a job – she had gone to Sandbrook personally, with her manager, to confront her. Never mind that pending on the results of a disciplinary hearing, she could be liable to criminal charges when the department handed the file to the police on charges of abduction and falsifying legal documents.

That was a relief to know, so Ellie dropped the subject.

“Daisy didn't have to go with her brother. She could have stayed with her father,” the other woman mentioned.

“Would either of them have been comfortable without the other?” Ellie wondered. “Who knows his illness more than or as well as Daisy? She would never have allowed her brother to be in a strange place with strangers. She wouldn’t even allow the man who was supposed to be his father near him.”

Helen accepted that. “Ben needed as much continuity and familiarity as he could get. He still needs surgery. I hope the doctors can do the operation quickly now that he’s home.”

“The doctor said Ben was first on the list. So it could happen within days.” Then Ellie added, “Shall we go in?”

The conversation was light, explaining what would happen next, that a key worker would take over the case on a CIN level, to make sure Ben had access to services for the disabled, and to make sure the family were coping well. She also gave them a leaflet for Young Carers and several other leaflets that may be of interest.

“One more thing,” Helen added. “I’ve given Ben his oxygen and wheelchair back and he’s fine for now, but I would get him seen tomorrow by the doctor who cared for him at the hospital. The foster carers called me with concerns and if they hadn’t Ben would have died. I have the case notes, which once they’ve been seen by my manager, I’ll share with you and Alec. The file could be the final nail in Mrs. Troup's coffin, if you will.”

Ellie nodded. She felt a sense of dread creep in.

After the kids had settled in, Helen and Mrs. Price left them to their own devices. And Ellie made a quick phone call.

/=/=/=/=/

“Eight tomorrow morning...? Yes, we can bring him in that early... Yes, he is a lot weaker than he was the last time I saw him. He looks like he's lost weight... From what I’ve been told his wheelchair and oxygen were confiscated by the social worker who took the children from the hospital... No authorization... You’ll be hearing about it, because I’ll insist you’re at any meetings about it... I think we can handle tomorrow for the surgery, if your staff is ready? Coz he’s far too weak to wait any longer... We will do, but I hope it doesn’t happen... Thank you. For everything... He has something to live for. I hope he'll come through just as his dad did... Yes, see you tomorrow.”

Ellie hung up and approached the huddle of grinning faces in a knot on the sofa. Her husband was in the middle of it. Somewhere. Oh yes, there he was, the biggest grin of all. She should have known. Just as she should have known Olly would use his phone's camera to document the reunion and any extra precious moments, and probably make an article of them for the Echo. With their approval. “Good to have you two finally home. So, we’ll have dinner in a minute. Lucy, could you give it a good stir for me, please? I’ll show the kids where their rooms are.”

Daisy reluctantly let go of her dad, Catherine on her hip as she got up to face her. “It's good to be home.” Her smile fell into an uncertain expression. “May I call you Mum?”

Ellie was still not used to the feeling of her eyes watering so often. They were joyful tears, tinged with so much other more negative feelings, like having had to wait so long and them having to endure so much to get to this point. Even so, she hadn’t expected to face this question so early on. “I did adopt you, so of course you can. If you want to.”

An instant later - with Catherine handed to Tom - Daisy embraced her new mum. The tight hug brought more tears to each; Daisy had never known this kind of hug from Tess. Ellie felt overwhelmed with love for her new daughter.

Hardy smiled through his own tears of joy. His precious daughter finally had a mother who would give her the love she needed and deserved, and his son would be able to get the surgery that would let him have a more normal life.

Ben was not leaving his arms, evidently wanting to try to get all the love he had missed over nearly five years in one moment. Not that Hardy was feeling like letting go anytime soon. He had a lot to make up for. But he would later when he needed to spend some moments with Daisy, father and daughter time, catching up, getting to know each other all over again.

After introducing them to Aunt Lucy and their cousin Olly, the two latest additions had been hugged by their excited siblings. While Hardy carried Ben up the stairs, the oxygen tank in his other hand, Fred decided to be the talker, pointing out all the rooms, even pointing out the ‘castle doorway’ that had long been filled in at the top of the blind stairway at one end of their bedroom and the turret at the other. Lucy stayed downstairs, watching over the twins and dinner.

“Ben, you'll be sharing with your brothers. Fred's been excited about having company at night. Tom, you’ll have the top bunk. Fred, you’re at the bottom, and Ben, that’s your bed.”

Ben's eyes lit up as he looked over the room. The bottom bunk had dinosaur bedding that was very familiar to Fred. And on the pillow was a policeman teddy propped up tucked in ready for bedtime. Fred was overjoyed and hugged his teddy as if he hadn’t seen him for weeks. Between the door and the bunk beds was a single bed by itself. And on the wall above the pillows hung a huge handmade sign proclaiming it 'Ben's Bed'. And on the bed itself was a familiar pair of toys. “My Minion! My doggy!”

Hardy smiled as he sat him down so he could hug his missed toys and gaze around the room that he would have to wait until he had had his pacemaker fitted to explore properly. Fred climbed up beside him and gave his favourite and most careworn teddy as a present, the policeman teddy.

“Ben can have it now,” he offered. “Ben can be safe all the time with a policeman daddy teddy.”

“Thank you,” Ben said, letting go of the other toys and accepting both the teddy and a hug.

Hardy laughed gently at that, wiping away new tears as Olly captured the moment forever. “We had everything brought here for you. And look in the box,” he urged Tom with a nod to opening it for him.

Tom opened the toy box under the window for Ben to see. Ben carefully got down from the bed and joined him, Hardy following behind with his oxygen. Ben squealed, drew out a few items in one swoop. “My toys! New toys!”

Tom grinned. He was just as exuberant as Fred, and probably would be even more so once he was better. “Some were my old ones. You got some awesome things in there.”

“Thank you, Tom!” Ben hugged his big brother, items still in his little fists.

Tom returned the hug. The brother he had lost would have been a little older than Ben was now, but it was almost like he had never lost him. Like Ben had just stepped into the spot he had always been meant for in his heart.

Hardy stood, very pleased and proud of Tom and Fred's efforts to make their brother feel welcome. It was amazing to think that Fred willingly gave up the teddy he had given him nearly two years ago. But he wondered if Fred would remember.

He turned to the quietest member of the group. “Now for your room, Daisy.”

Her face twitched, like she was torn between anxiety and anticipation. There was a concern for Ben on the stairs. What if he needed help during the night? What if he fell? How would he cope with being on his own at night?

“Don’t worry,” he assured her. “The doctor arrived just before you arrived to drop off fresh oxygen and a monitor. And a friend of ours is coming to fit hands rails on the stairs tomorrow morning.”

“He’s sicker than he was when we left hospital,” Daisy spoke gently.

Hardy nodded. “I noticed that. I’ll call the hospital in the morning, or earlier if need be. Come on, let’s leave the boys to play for a bit.”

“It’s already done,” Ellie spoke quietly near Alec’s ear. “They want him in tomorrow morning at eight.”

Her husband’s relief was palpable.

As he and Daisy walked out of the boys’ room, Ben pensively looked up at Ellie. After she had arrested his mum – his old mum, since he knew what ‘adopting' meant – and Bruce in his hospital room, he had been a little frightened of her even though Daisy spoke of how nice she was. He was still a little nervous.

Ellie sighed and knelt beside him and Tom. “You don't have to call me ‘Mum' if you're not ready to. I'll understand,” she whispered.

Ben's eyes widened, beginning to warm to her. “My mummy was not very nice,” he softly admitted. He finally decided he wanted a hug from his new mummy after all and reached out to her.

A fresh round of tears slid from Ellie's eyes as she wrapped Ben into the warmest hug possible. She noticed that her husband was barely holding it together where he stood by the door, but given the sounds she heard from Olly's direction none of their emotions would have been missed.

A moment later, Hardy stood next to Daisy outside another door. “This used to be Fred's room, but we managed to get it ready for you. We’ll redecorate it for you as soon as we can.” He opened it.

Daisy gasped. She had a bed, a wardrobe and a chest of drawers. The colours of the room were her favourites, and posters that Chloe and Lara had put up matched the ones in her old room. And she loved the duvet cover. It was covered in messages from dozens of people, wishing her well.

“Where did these come from?” She pointed to a pile of Shout magazines, including the latest edition. “Oh! Mum never let me read these!” she squealed, her eyes lit up like moons.

“Chloe Latimer and Lara Daniels brought them,” Ellie said from the doorway, holding Ben. He had the Minion tucked under one arm and the policeman teddy in the other, clearly happy in his new mum’s arms. “They and the other girls in town wanted to help you feel welcome. You also have some clothes that they thought you might like. They did some shopping on your behalf.”

Daisy turned to her, a wide look of shock in her eyes. “They did?”

Tom laughed. “Yeah, I think the whole town turned up today. We’ve been very lucky. I don’t know who organised it all, but I'm betting Chloe had something to do with it. Probably persuaded her parents to join in.”

“They would have done it anyway,” Hardy said. “They were the only people in town outside this family who believed in me when things started to go wrong.”

“What do you mean, go wrong?” Daisy asked.

“There was a moment when it looked like my bosses thought I’d killed those girls. Thanks to my amazing wife I was cleared before it too far. She spent weeks combing through skip-loads of information to prove my innocence.”

“But, aren’t you Dad’s alibi?”

“It had to be stronger than that,” Ellie explained. “It had to be cast iron. And I had to describe a few things that were usually kept private.”

“Aw,” Hardy groaned. “Tell me you didn’t mention breakfast in the shower!”

“Sorry. I had no choice.”

Daisy looked at them both. “You have breakfast in the shower?”

Hardy hedged his options. “Occasionally.”

Ellie’s cheeks turned red, ignoring the grinning Tom, and the curious looks Ben and Fred were giving her and Alec. “It would be important to mention it, because it’s proof of your innocence. I’ll have to describe it in court and so will you, Alec. Anyway, you’re dad’s innocent and I had a good shouting match with my superior officers to prove it.”

Daisy gave Ellie a smile of gratitude. “Thanks, Mum. You’re really cool.”

“And your hugs are nice,” added Ben.

/=/=/=/=/

Ellie and Tom put away the dishes, making sure that the remains of the food were all taken care of. Not that there was much left after they had all eaten. Six kids and four adults got through a lot of food. And it seemed Daisy and Ben were very hungry, and she had admitted that neither had had much of an appetite after they were sent to the foster family. In fact, Ben seemed to have been that way since he was admitted to the hospital.

They had said goodbye to Auntie Lucy and Olly and were just sitting down read to have a lovely family afternoon, watch a DVD, just the eight of them, when they heard a knock at the door.

Hardy frowned. “I didn't want any interruptions today.”

Tom bounced up. “I'll get it.” He checked through the window and blinked before opening the door. He looked at the uniform she was wearing and recognised her face. “Hello?”

“Hello, Tom,” the woman said. “May I come in?”

“Just a minute, I’ll get my dad.”

Tom, as expected, closed the door on her. He returned to the living room, looking confused.

“Who was it, Tom?” his dad asked, looking up from picking out a DVD for the children to watch.

“It’s your boss,” Tom replied. “She asked to come in, but I told her I had to get you first.”

Hardy frowned and passed the DVD to Ellie. He followed his son back to the door and opened it. He blinked. “Hello, sir. Unexpected pleasure.”

“Thanks. I have someone here who wishes to see Daisy,” she said.

“Who?”

Elaine waved to a rather shy young girl, who approached the door and then flew into his arms with a relieved smile.

“Hailey,” Hardy recognised at once, returning the embrace before drawing back for a good look at how she seemed. Her hair had grown enough to show her natural colour at the roots, and she looked like she was regaining her old health. He had to smile at the sight. “Hello. You’re looking much better now. Where have you been?”

“I wasn’t meant to tell anyone where I was, just in case,” Hailey explained.

“So you got a police escort?” Hardy wondered. “Couldn’t have got a finer one.”

Elaine smiled.

“Uhm, she’s my foster-carer,” Hailey clarified.

“Really?” Hardy was surprised. “In that case, you definitely couldn’t have got a finer one.”

“She’s nice. But her sons are a bit annoying,” Hailey replied. “They keep insisting on bodyguard duties.”

Hardy coughed a laugh and bit his tongue. “That’s what brothers do, I’m afraid. I wish I’d had an older brother who did the same for me.”

“That’s what I told her,” Elaine grinned.

Hailey lifted a large gift bag she was carrying. “I brought you presents for Ben and Daisy. I got Daisy’s text this morning saying they were coming home today. But I didn’t want anyone to be left out so I’ve got something for everyone.”

Hardy took the bag, seeing nearly a dozen wrapped presents inside. “Thank you.”

Tom had already gone to fetch his big sister. Daisy appeared and hugged her best friend tightly.

“Oh! I didn’t know if I’d get to see you today!”

Hailey had brightened up tremendously on seeing Daisy. “I had to come, coz you’re my bestie. And Chloe and Lara are going down to the arcade on Saturday with a group of friends. Do you want to come?”

Daisy looked at her dad.

He smiled gently. “’Course you can, but be back before dark.”

Daisy and Hailey squeaked in delight. Finally they were able to be normal teenage girls.

Minutes later, after Elaine and Hailey had left, they opened their presents, finding little cupcakes and a toy each and figurines for Hardy and Ellie, and watched a movie together.

Ellie stood slowly, staring at the bags and boxes and paper strewn about. In her husband’s lap, Ben had drifted off to sleep. “I can hardly believe what a day we’re having.”

Hardy smiled. “Best day ever.”

“I’ve got a surprise for you, as well,” Ellie revealed. “I’ve been keeping it in Lucy’s garage for the past month.”

Hardy, not wanting to move Ben from the plainly comfortable spot lying against him, just blinked at the little box she was holding out to him. “You... you didn't have to.”

“I actually think I did,” she said. “We have six kids and our car only has six seats.”

There had been a bit of this when Harry and Catherine were born, and something a little less after the wedding. Hardy remembered how her friends had helped them so they could focus on being parents. It brought a few tears to his eyes, although she tried to dry them quickly.

“Something tells me that many someones have been busy these past few weeks,” he said. He opened the hinge lid of the box, expecting a ring or some such. What he found a set of car keys for a Hyundai i800.

/=/=/=/=/

Half an hour later, Elaine, her husband, sons and Hailey sat in the Family Court. In Elaine’s arms lay a sleeping baby with delicate coffee-coloured skin. He had been asleep for several minutes after his bottle of milk and very loud belch in the middle of proceedings.

“Enoch Hardy?” the magistrate considered the name carefully. “I have just finished an adoption for a family by that name this morning. What a coincidence.”

Elaine smiled secretively.

“Any relation?” he asked.

“As a matter of fact, yes,” Elaine replied. “This was Alec Hardy’s grandson.”

“Hmm,” the judge mused. “Have you chosen a name for your new son?”

“We would like to keep his first name,” Elaine’s husband spoke. “His last name is Jenkinson.”

Moments later, Enoch’s uncertain future was replaced by a bright and loving future. All of a sudden, the Chief Superintendent was faced with a dilemma.

“I’ve just realised something.”

“What’s the matter, love?” her husband asked.

“I will need to file for maternity leave.”

Her sons fell about laughing.

Elaine scuttled a laugh of her own. “Oh, that’s not the funniest thing. Just wait until this gets around the station.”

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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