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Title: Rejuvenation
Genre: Broadchurch
Rating: T (subject matter, emotions, legal matters)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: A chance thought of her assistant makes Jocelyn Knight ask Tom Miller additional questions to check his evidence. His answers lead to others bringing forward evidence that would otherwise have remained hidden until the Defence uncovered them. Will it be enough to reverse the damage done by Sharon Bishop and Abby Thompson?
Disclaimer: If I owned any of the characters, some of them wouldn't have gotten away with what they did. Of course, I'm not yet up to the story-telling abilities of Chris Chibnall. I would like to be, one day.
Dedication: tardis_mole, for betaing and being the reason I'm writing Broadchurch fanfic to begin with. Posted in honor of bas_math_girl's birthday.
Author's Note: Starts in Episode Six after Jocelyn speaks with the Latimers following Tom giving evidence against Mark. Written because I simply needed to right a few blatantly illegal things done. I may be an American, but I think we can all agree when something doesn't seem right.

Hope y'all find the last part satisfying. Life got really busy and I had no time or energy to post.


Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three / Chapter Four / Chapter Five



Rejuvenation

Start Date: July 11, 2015
Finish Date: September 4, 2015


CHAPTER SIX: Just Resolutions

The sight of a teenage girl in Hardy's company caught the attention of the people seated in the courtroom. With Tom and Olly's help they found seats in the public gallery – which happened to be right next to the Defendant's box. The show of solidarity was a silent message to Joe that he had lost his family forever. In case he had not yet figured it out.

Daisy looked around the room as her dad led her to their seats, him sitting next to the Defendant's box. She noticed the open curiosity in all of the gazes, some more restrained than others, and the dawning realization of who she had to be to Hardy. Introductions would have to wait until after the Court adjourned. Chloe, nervous about what the decision would be, tried to focus on her wish to meet Daisy afterward and sent her a smile of support.

It felt like an eternity before the jury was led in. None of them would look at the Defence or Joe Miller. And then it was another eternity before the Judge knocked on the door.

Once Judge Sharma was seated the Court Clerk addressed the woman who now stood at the head of the jury. “Madame Foreperson, has the jury reached a verdict?”

“Yes.”

“Is it unanimous?”

“Yes.”

The Defence and Joe stiffened, the latter closing his eyes. That was a huge warning sign for them.

“Will the Defendant please stand.”

Joe did, but refused to open his eyes. All he did was straighten his suit. Fear finally ruled his body openly, and a few suspected it was fear that had motivated the Not Guilty plea.

“On the charge of murder, do you find the Defendant, Joesph Michael Miller, guilty or not guilty?”

The Foreperson led the jury in looking at Joe, who tightened his eyes and sort of looked heaven-ward.

The whole town held its breath.

She looked back at the Judge. “Guilty.”

The town cried in relief, enough to draw the Court Clerk to bring the Court back into order. Ellie closed her own eyes, almost whimpering from the disbelief that it was over. Sentencing would be a piece of cake by comparison. The worst of the nightmare was ending.

Now if he would just sign the damn divorce papers! Never mind that he had to now. She wanted them signed six months ago!

Hardy exhaled, leaning back in his chair. He had done it. Justice was served, and the Jury had listened to reason. It was far too long of a journey, but the result made everything worth it. He felt Daisy squeeze his hand and smiled, grateful that he did not have to face another embarrassing or needless defeat. Her smile told him she was happy to be there to support him nonetheless.

Jocelyn and Ben exchanged relieved smiles, him silently thanking her for coming out of retirement – as difficult as it was for her to admit to her growing disability – for the Latimer family's sake and for the town. She accepted it gracefully, feeling that she had honored Danny's memory successfully. Now she could retire in peace and feel proud of her final efforts professionally – going out on a high note instead of anything else.

Sharon and Abby sank into their respective chairs. The verdict was not the surprise it might have been had the Prosecution not done such a complete job of ruining their work. And now all they had to show for it was a hearing that would end the legal careers of one or both of them. And there was no question about that. Their actions in this case had already ruined them.

Joe sucked in one breath, and shakily exhaled. Tears broke free from his eyes. His attempt had failed miserably. If he had thrown himself on the mercy of the Court and pleaded guilty, he might have had hope of having a shorter sentence. Now he had to worry about living and surviving inside a prison for a very long time, and at the mercy of convicts who saw child killers in a very low light indeed.

The Judge kept her expression neutral, but the way she briefly closed her eyes suggested that she believed the correct verdict had been reached, and felt a fair amount of relief at that. Yet you had to be very observant and looking right at her to notice, and no one was.

Judges were not supposed to let their own opinions be known during the trial. Now that a conviction had been made, she felt at liberty to make a few things known. Things the town needed Joe Miller to hear.

“Joesph Michael Miller, you have been guilty of first degree murder. Your actions in meeting with a minor, and concealing them from your wife and children and Danny's family were wholly beneath contempt and beyond the pale, made all the worse, if possible, when you cruelly and needlessly cut short his life. Your motives have not been explored, having been wiped from record, and I hope you have a long time to consider that decision and realise where you went wrong with your behavior before the Crown. While I could have once seen a loving family man and respected member of society, I know see before me a coward unwilling to stand by his family, let alone accept his crimes and affects they have had on Danny's family, the community and your own family, which you have destroyed in your thoughtlessness.”

The townspeople stared transfixed as she continued, aware of the interest and expecting it.

“I have seen many different reactions to being accused and brought before the Court, but none are more savage or selfish than yours. While a Defendant has the right to be silent and to choose not to give evidence on their own behalf that does not give them the right to allow their council to partition blame onto the victim's family and community. Your silence and decision to force a trial caused almost as much pain as your actions on the night of July 17th. As a father, stopping your council from tricking your own son would have been understandable if risking Contempt of Court, but you didn't even try. You made a child suffer the indignity of standing in Court, a task hard enough for an adult, when you could have saved him, and everyone else, the trauma of a trial by pleading guilty in the beginning. As if the trauma you already caused them by killing Danny Latimer was not bad enough in the first place. I must commend your wife for her restraint in dealing with you at the police station. Many women would not have held themselves back, given the circumstances. And I should warn you; there is honour among thieves. Your time in prison will be fraught, and you have only yourself to blame. I find you to be a despicable and evil man, without any compassion or remorse for what you have done, and that will colour my decision on the sentence I hand out

You are hereby ordered to appear before me at this Court in exactly two weeks from today to hear the sentencing. You are remanded into custody until that date. Please leave the Courtroom.”

Joe's guards then led him out as he tried to silently beseech Ellie and Tom – to only receive glares in return. He wanted to protest the Judge's declaration that he was evil and without remorse, but her words about the pain he caused his own family shut him up.

The townspeople barely heard the Judge's words to the Jury, thanking them and releasing them from any future jury duty in light of the nature of the case. “May Broadchurch finally be able to carry on with healing in some way from this nightmare begun last year.”

After the Judge closed and dismissed the Court and set the date for the sentencing hearing, the Courtroom emptied.

/=/=/=/=/

After the Judge had left the Courtroom, both teams had remained on their feet, gazing around them in equal but opposite emotions. They had all seen Hardy with a young girl leaving the Courtroom. Even the Prosecution seemed interested, with the older woman giving her a small smile. Jocelyn hoped she had smiled back, she couldn’t tell. Not until Ben spoke.

“I think that was Hardy’s daughter. She seems as pleased with the result as her dad is.”

“Good. She should be proud of the war of wits he has won. He exonerated and elevated himself,” Jocelyn replied.

Across the Courtroom at the Defence Bench, the Defence team had also noticed Daisy. They also noticed the glares he sent them, and knew the girl had noticed. Sharon and Abby turned away, in shame, and true to be professional about what was their least defining moment.

Ben looked on them kindly, if not exactly sympathetic. You reaped what you sowed, after all. He approached with supportive words in mind. “Justice is served,” he said.

Abby Thompson attempted to look affable, while Sharon ignored him, concentrating on sorting and tidying her papers.

“Got anything juicy coming up next?” Abby asked irreverently.

“Armed robberies, Bristol,” Ben replied.

“Nice!” she said, though her smile evaporated under the stern glare from Sharon.

“You?” Ben asked gently.

Abby sank in her shoes. “Erm, hearing with the Solicitors’ Regulation Agency,” she admitted.

“Oh,” was all Ben could say.

Abby attempted a smugly dismissive air. “So, what do you think of my chances?” she wondered.

“I think it could do either way,” he offered.

Abby promptly smiled.

“You could be sanctioned or debarred completely,” he added, wiping the smiled off her face. “That goes for both of you. Actually,” he put in as an afterthought.

Sharon wisely kept silent. Abby sank into it.

Ben nodded a farewell for the moment to Jocelyn, who followed Sharon out of the Courtroom. He crossed the room to stand in front of the Defence bench and looked Abby in the eye. “I just want to say.”

Abby brightened a little, thinking he was about to flirt with her. She was up for that.

Ben looked at her seriously. “I think you are a truly horrible person.”

Stunned, Abby stared at him for a moment, but could not bring herself to follow his progress back to the Prosecution Bench. Whatever happened with the SRA, she had the distinct impression that it would never reach the low she felt now. She was finished.

Sharon, having done all she felt necessary, picked up her folders and left the room, trying to summon some dignity. Jocelyn nodded at Ben and followed. Ben left shortly after, although he took a detour to the Prosecution's office. He had a feeling that his boss has something to say to Abby's, and wanted privacy for it.

Abby remained until a Court officer reminded her that another case was coming in.

/=/=/=/=/

Sharon all but tore her robes off, wanting to get out of the town. Unfortunately Jocelyn followed to likewise change. Sighing, she asked, “I assume the family is pleased.”

Jocelyn turns to her, appalled. “Pleased is not the word. Relieved is. Did you ask yourself enough questions before taking on the case?”

“Oh, please. Don't be a smug winner.”

“And, don't be a shitty loser! I trained you so much better than this. All the people you could've helped, and you take on a tawdry child killer.”

Sharon couldn't look at her, even though disappointment fell over her.

Jocelyn, robes folded, took her jacket and the satchel she brought with her to Court. “All I ever wanted was for you to... prove me wrong, so that you could show the world how brilliant you-”

“No!” Sharon snapped. “You wanted a mini-you.”

Jocelyn shrugged on her jacket and calmly turned around. “Is that what you really think?”

Sharon didn't want to get into that. She had been beaten down enough. “You know the difference between us? I don't see the nobility in this job. I see a loaded, lopsided game... full of people justifying their cynicism as a higher calling. It's street-fighting in wigs, that's all.”

Jocelyn shook her head sadly over the bitterness, suspecting part of why it existed. “There are wins that help you sleep at night, others that keep you awake. If you had won, I'd be advising you to stock up on the sleeping pills.

Sharon took her folded robes and started walking out.

“One more thing, and it's important.”

Sharon sighed. “Well, I never miss a chance to be belittled.”

Jocelyn ignored that. “I want to work with you.”

“You wanna what?” Sharon laughed cynically.

“I'm not ready to stop. In fact, I'm just getting going again.”

“Why would I ever want to work with you again?”

“Because I bring prestige, which matters. Don't protest! I'm brilliant. I'd be your conscience, challenge what you do, and I still think you need that. I think you're wrong about the law. I understand why, but it is a calling. It- It is noble. And I think you need to get that back.”

“I don't need a tutor,” Sharon snapped.

“Yes, you do,” Jocelyn calmly insisted. “We all do.”

“It wouldn't work. I'm sorry, but no.” Sharon started walking away again,

“I've done some work on this,” Jocelyn said, drawing a file out of her satchel. When Sharon tiredly turned back, she added, “They're wrong about your son's case.”

Attention caught, Sharon took the file and opened it.

“I think there could be grounds for appeal. Completely legal ones.”

“Where did you get these files?”

“They're the originals you sent me.”

“And you kept them,” Sharon whispered as she gave them back. “Even though you don't like me very much.”

Jocelyn decided she needed a home truth about work. “I don't have to like you. But I have to believe in you. I've spent too much time here recently being afraid. I need a way back in. And unlike Abby Thompson, I believe that you can be redeemed and resume practice one day.

Sharon looked heavenward and sighed. She hated the very thought of accepting Jocelyn's help after today, and yet what choice did she have? Her son's future was at stake.

/=/=/=/=/

Outside Hardy found himself facing a grateful townspeople. Everyone wanted to shake his hand and thank him. He had a whirlwind of introductions to make, but was relieved that Daisy took it all in her stride and stood by him proudly.

What had he done to deserve a child like this? The only thing he could think of was that he had made sure she never turned into a brat. He had to handle the awkwardness of having far more dinner invitations than he knew how to handle, and Daisy – maybe as a little punishment for leaving her without the explanation she had craved for over three years – coaxed him into accepting far more than he was comfortable with even thinking about.

But the joy of the victory could not last for long. Hardy and Ellie needed to work on Claire, so his reunion with Daisy had to be cut short.

He waited until most of the crowd had dispersed before telling her words that he hadn't said to her in years. “Darling, I'm sorry but I have to question a suspect.”

“That woman who came up with something you were missing?”

“Yes. I can't tell you anything more.”

They had had this conversation before. So she nodded through the tears brought by feeling they had been transported back. “Where do I wait for you?”

“Come with us for lunch,” Chloe suggested, with a smile. “If you're moving here later this year you might be at my school. I can tell you about what there's to do in Broadchurch.”

Daisy smiled. “Sounds lovely.”

“Good luck, El,” Beth said. “Good luck, DI Hardy. Daisy will be fine with us.”

“Thanks,” Ellie said.

Hardy nodded at Beth, then hugged Daisy tightly and reluctantly parted ways with her, needing to draw on more strength than he would ever admit to anyone. But the end of Sandbrook seemed in sight at last, and he was eager to close it for good.

But he also wanted to make sure that in this case there was no chance of an acquittal and, after the ordeal of Joe's trial, he wanted to minimize the ammunition available to the Defence, should there be a trial. Never mind that there was still the sentencing hearing to get through.

/=/=/=/=/

Craig met them in a conference room and hour after the Judge closed the trial, having already looked through the box of information Ellie had compiled. “Sandbrook brass are still not happy about learning how close the evidence was this whole time. You may have to account for why you didn't suspect Ripley, but the case is reopened officially.”

“I think we can show that the case should've been reopened weeks ago,” Ellie stated. “As for making an account, Claire Ripley's web of lies will speak for itself. Shall I show you what we've found?”

“Please.”

Over the next hour they explained how Ellie had uncovered leads that were under Tess Henchard's nose the whole time; leads that had been ignored by South Mercia Police for more than three years; leads that had not swayed Tess to either follow up or reopen the case. The new stories told by Claire were unsurprising, but the detail that the pendent had originally been Claire's was shocking, and yet found to be another lie. And then the revelations about the family hit hardest.

“Ricky Gillespe has no alibi? Claire had his phone number? And he sent her a bluebell? Oh, he has to know something about this that he shouldn't if he had nothing to do with it.”

“What about that information I asked for?” Ellie queried.

Craig handed over several papers. “I got the additional papers and the receipts. You're on to something and I can't believe we all missed this the first time. If Tess noticed this she dismissed it as irrelevant since we weren't looking at a murder at the time, but a kidnapping, and from the house next door.”

Hardy looked over as Ellie reviewed the new evidence, not noticing how big her smile was getting, but he did see what she was seeing. “Brilliant! Miller, this is good work!”

“I agree,” Craig said. “You made Tess Henchard look even more incompetent than anyone had imagined. Good that she won't know how much until the trial. Now we need a plan for questioning Mrs. Ripley because while she is down, she is not out. I don't doubt that she'll make accusations against you, sir. To save yourself trouble I suggest we ensure she sees that there's no point in lying anymore.”

Ellie thought, frowning. “Maybe if we could first get Lee to confess, but how? We'd need to get him in first.”

“Leave that to me,” Hardy said, getting up and drawing his mobile out.

When he left the room, Craig looked at Ellie. “That won't come back to bite us, will it?”

“He knows the law too well. This is nothing that a copper hasn't done before.”

“What's he going to do?”

“Indicate that Claire's been arrested and hint that she's ready to talk. Maybe Lee will panic and prove he knows something that an innocent man wouldn't, that he knew all along that Claire had the pendent.”

/=/=/=/=/

They waited until Lee was brought in for breaking into the cottage and trashing it in his search efforts, which enabled them to delay questioning Claire until after they had questioned him.

By the end of the day they had the whole story. It had required a drive to Sandbrook to question Ricky Gillespe, after convincing Ashworth and Ripley to confess. Turned out that making Claire wait so they could present Lee's confession tape – which was actually a dummy copy since no one trusted she would not try to harm the tape – took the wind completely out of her sails.

And confess Ricky did. Which meant they had to spend another night in Sandbrook, as they had to stay to see if Ricky was telling the truth about where Lisa had been buried. So Daisy had spent the night with her new friend, Chloe, which she handled with aplomb. At least they were able to make a stop to drop off Daisy's things, allowing Hardy one extra hug before going once more into the breach.

This time Hardy and Ellie got a two bed room. It was the only thing available, but it suited Ellie's thoughts. She had her own bed but could keep an eye on the stubborn bugger to make sure he didn't pop a suture.

But the hardest part was going to face Cate Gillespe. No one looked forward to it. Yet Hardy would not permit her to hear it from anyone other than him. She greeted them tensely, but was civil.

Once seated Hardy began the necessary and difficult explanation. “We've made three arrests in the case, which we finally officially reopened yesterday in light of new evidence.”

Cate sagged. “Was it Ashworth? And has he said where Lisa is?”

Hardy cringed. His instincts had been off, sensing the web of lies but not seeing its nature until Ellie shined a brighter light on them. “Ashworth confessed to what happened but our investigation has found that he is only responsible for covering up Lisa and Pippa's murders, not committing them.”

“What?!”

“Ashworth and Ripley were blackmailed by the real killer. We have three confessions, including Claire's to stealing the pendent. We got a court order to dig where we were told Lisa was hidden, and it looks like the confession was spot on.”

“So who killed the girls?” she asked numbly.

Hardy nearly lost his voice from the weight of the moment, but he pressed on. “It was Ricky.”

Cate dropped her wine glass, shattering it and spilling the red liquid all over the carpet. “That can't be right.”

“He confessed. His, Ripley's and Ashworth's confessions match on that.”

Cate's eyes watered. “He knew what happened to both girls all this time, and he let me suffer.” She collapsed into renewed wailing, louder than when she first realized Pippa and Lisa were missing.

Hardy could not think of anything that would help her. He had to let Ellie tell her when they expected the announcement would be, and that they were all hoping the trio would simply plead guilty at the Pre-trial hearings. Not that it did anything for her tears.

The truth had, once again, not been a comfort. This was becoming an unpleasant pattern. And he did not look forward to when Cate learned that the officer who had been in contact with her all this time had lying about so many things. Say nothing of the facts she would find out in Court about what Tess did that led to the case being thrown out in the first place.

Their last stop was the Sandbrook police station to bring copies of their new evidence to bring the case to a point where it could be surrendered to the CPS, and have them make a decision on whether to call a retrial. It would be a fraught wait. And it was not easy, being back in Sandbrook. Tess and Dave were there explaining themselves again, this time with the truth, and saw Hardy and Ellie on their way out.

“You decided to change your story?” Tess demanded, hurrying to speak with him. It was obvious that she and Dave had each had to surrender their respective warrants and IDs.

“I was tired of keeping someone else's secrets,” Hardy snapped. Not even the draining experience of presenting the revived case could keep his anger under wraps now that the secret was out. And knowing Tess she had probably just been suspended without pay while the internal investigation was carried out. “It was your fault the case fell apart, and neither of you would admit to it. The Miller trial forced me tell more than I liked to ensure the jury followed the evidence. It wasn't a time I wanted, but it worked.”

“And now your precious career is over,” Ellie added. “I can't believe anyone would put their own desire over seeking justice when they had a reputation for being tenacious. You are a disgrace!”

Tess flushed under the fire in Ellie's gaze. “Where's Daisy?”

“Safely with some new friends, and that's all you're getting from me,” Hardy snapped. “I didn't give Daisy enough credit. She thought something was wrong with your relationship from the first, and admitted she would've gone to live with me had she known why I left. But I imagine you already know that, because knowing her she wouldn't have restrained her tongue when she found out the truth. I can't believe I didn't see the warning signs that we needed to end our marriage before you broke your vows. From this point on, don't contact me. We won't speak until the trial, and even then I'll be avoiding being in your company. Until we meet in the Family Court, you have ceased to exist to Daisy and me. I've already spoken with a solicitor, and I'm going for full custody, with no visitation rights, until she's of age. She stays with her grandmother for the rest of the school term once she's back from holiday. I'm grateful to you for Daisy, but you killed the love I had for you with your actions.”

With that he turned away. Ellie stared down the pair.

“There was evidence enough to reopen the case weeks ago. And once you knew of a lead missed the last time it should've been reopened immediately. You said you've stayed in contact with Cate Gillespe. How long do you think it'll be before she learns that you were the one who killed the trial in the first place? The pendant might have forced two people to break their silence and tell the truth. Instead she will have had to wait over four years for answers. Hardy will be a hero in her eyes for being the only one to never give up on the case. You're both a disgrace to the force.”

She left before either could come up with a retort. Not that it was a good idea to do it in this public setting, but she knew it had to grate that Hardy could now talk without risking his own job.

/=/=/=/=/

On the drive back, Hardy and Ellie remained very quiet for almost the whole way. It had been a long two days, but now the trial was over and the Sandbrook case was winding down.

But the truth had left no room for triumph. She remembered the sight of Hardy sitting on the bed she chose for him (she had insisted on taking the bed next to the window to make sure he had a shorter distance to use the loo at night if he needed to), and looked like the energy had drained completely out of his body. He had stared in the direction of the window but his eyes looked sightless. He was doing the same now, looking out the passenger window.

She finally had to break the silence when they were approaching Broadchurch. She had deliberately avoided speaking about the case that night, but now she felt compelled to check one thing. “Sir?”

He couldn't look her way.

Ellie sighed and pressed on. “Did you not find any traces of Rohypnol in Pippa's body?”

Hardy took a moment to be able to speak. “Passes through the system in twenty-four hours. We didn't find her for a few days. And besides, the river watered it down.”

She looked at him sadly. “You did it. You got them.”

He nodded, finally looking her way. “Not without your help.”

She sensed he wasn't done, so she remained silent.

“Done my penance,” he breathed, choking on the emotions that had bubbled out after Ricky's confession, when he had asked to be left alone. They had fallen faster as the weight of Sandbrook, Broadchurch, his failed marriage, the long silence from Daisy, and his health all hit him at once. The sudden lack of their weights was as shocking to his system as the relief of no longer being burdened with them. “I just keep thinking of all the damage done... all those lives.”

Ellie nodded. There were no words she could say that wouldn't add to the pain they both felt for the families involved. Including his own.

“Well done. Thank you.”

She smiled, glad that his words oddly gave her a new train of thought. “I think you're wrong, by the way.”

He looked back at her, puzzled.

“What you said to Lee in the interview,” she insisted, kindly. “We're not all alone.”

“Hope you're right about that,” he whispered, his uncertainty showing.

“You're not. You've got Daisy. Fred's taken a shine to you, and given dinner last week Tom's willing to listen to you now. He might need that, a man he can talk to other than Mark.”

He turned his head, wanting silence as he suppressed the tears that threatened to fall yet again. Luckily Ellie seemed inclined to give him quiet, having said her peace.

What was he going to do? There was nothing for him in Sandbrook with Daisy coming to live with him, and he was not sure he would remain welcome in Broadchurch, a place he had not been fond of when he arrived. Despite the warmer reception since his rebuttal evidence and the conviction. But with Daisy making connections and the relief coming from his saving the case, it seemed that he would be obliged to remain at least until he recovered enough to resume active duty. And he still had his follow-up appointment at the hospital, and his police medical to get through.

But his rental contract at the cabin would be coming due within weeks. Where would he go?

As soon as he thought it, he knew he had to remain in Broadchurch for a while. Miller was right; Tom did need a male influence he knew would not betray him, who wouldn't have the biases that Mark or anyone from Broadchurch would have. And with Fred's growing attachment to him – and how he earned that he would never know – it would be cruel to leave.

He decided to wait for them to arrive, and do something he never thought he would ask her for. Her advice.

It seemed an eternity before she parked outside the Latimers', and he wiped his face dry of the tears. Not that he could hide from her that his eyes were red from crying. But she pretended she saw nothing out of the ordinary for him.

“Dinnertime,” Ellie noted. “Hope you're willing to handle another dinner without one grumpy complaint, because that cup threat hasn't been tabled. It's late enough that this is community helping its own, and don't tell me you'd rather not have to think about getting food yourself?”

For once her mother hen style was not grating his nerves. It was actually welcome. He had an equal to speak to for the first time in a while, and she would not push him into something he could not live with. She also would show him how to manage the townspeople, and he would return the favor by helping her return to Broadchurch where she belonged.

So he snorted. “If it's quick. I've lost enough time with her because of Sandbrook.”

Ellie held her tongue. What could she say to that?

Beth welcomed them quietly but warmly with a smile. Tom and Fred were there, and Fred had – who bounded to greet his mum and his new favorite adult – taken an obvious shine to Daisy. He had leaped from her lap, interrupting her reading his favorite story.

Daisy greeted her dad sedately compared with the previous day, but with no less warmth. She eyed his face, noticing the red eyes. “Did you solve the case?”

He found a smile and felt more of the tension go away. “Yes. I finally have the answers.” The smile slipped. “And it's even less pretty than I'd thought. But it's over.”

“Until the trial?”

Her trepidation made the whole room flinch, for various reasons.

Hardy nodded. “Aye, but I think this time most of them will plead guilty. Maybe all.”

Mark nodded at the television. “It was on the news earlier. A DI from Sandbrook gave a statement that the case was reopened and three arrests had been made.”

Hardy's evening would've been better without any mention of it. He had insisted on leaving so he could get back to Daisy. He did not want to face any of the Press, but he had no doubt that at least one reporter would turn up in Broadchurch to question him about it.

He couldn't escape the reminder, as the news re-aired it. Tess' DI stood before the station, flanked by Craig and the Chief Super, and spoke to the Press:

“These answers have been long overdue, and would never have been found if not for the tireless efforts of one of our former officers in looking at the evidence, even years after the trial collapsed. The officer persevered, despite professional and personal difficulties, and finally got to the truth and made the arrests. While he would be the first to say that the final answers were discovered by an outside officer, we would not have resolution at all without the commitment to justice of our former colleague, Alec Hardy.”

Hardy blanched. He could have forgiven them for not naming Ellie Miller, but did they have to name him? He would be hounded by the Press now. Again.

Ellie noted the murmured shocked from the reporters, and while she was fine with not getting recognition she was amused by the thought that the vultures would have to scramble to not look like fools.

The woman continued to the cameras. “While the case is now in the hands of the CPS, I wish to remind the Press that the families of Pippa Gilespe and Lisa Newbury need time to themselves to heal and take in the enormity of what has happened and the result we have now. This has deeply affected both of them, the public and the police. I will add that DI Hardy should also be given the same.”

Hardy frowned at that. Her words did not leave him feeling much better. “Why did she call me DI? I'm still on medical leave, and strictly speaking was stripped of the rank in response to allegations of unprofessional conduct.”

“I think some of your former colleagues are preparing to fight for you to come back to Sandbrook,” Ellie suggested. “Of course, Chief Super Jenkinson will have first grabs, since you're still on her books.”

“Too many bad memories,” Daisy insisted. “We'll visit family and my friends, but that's it. I don't see Dad going back to the place that turned on him.”

“That's not the issue,” Hardy said. “The Press never admits to being wrong. They're more likely to jump to say that I made the officer who lost the pendent a scapegoat. They'll portray her as the weeping heroine who kept contact with the families while I ran off to hide in a backwater town and not face my responsibilities. They won't believe what looks like my sudden innocence and drug up every fault and failing they can find. They won't pull punches. In their eyes, I won't be fully off the hook until the trials are over and those responsible for the nightmare are sentenced. And even then they'll dredge up the failed first trial at every opportunity. I expect them to even try to add it to my obituary.”

The adults and children (save for Fred and Lizzie) were all silent from horror.

“They can try.”

The sound of Ellie's voice stunned Hardy.

She continued, meeting his gaze steadily. “This town won't let its hero be vilified, not without a fight. You're one of our own now, and we will band together to defend you. We'll find the words to make every bloody one of them back off and focus on the real story: the people who caused the Sandbrook nightmare. And I don't see your daughter letting them mess with your obituary; she's yours, after all.”

Not one bit of the assenting sounds drew Hardy from his shock.

THE END

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
aearwen2
Sep. 15th, 2015 06:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this story.

While the second series of Broadchurch was as brilliantly written and acted as the first, I too thought that the Defense was getting away with absolute murder. If nothing else, at least one charge of libel should have arisen out of all of that. If any of what went on during that trial is actually legal in England, I worry about the state of Justice there, to be honest.

Your story nicely fixes all of the not-right stuff, and gives a real sense of closure to both cases. Ya done good.

It's appreciated.
tkel_paris
Sep. 15th, 2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
You're welcome.

I'm not sure the American system is anything to be proud of. Not anymore. The system over there doesn't allow mug shots or suspect names to be released, or victim names. Allows for greater privacy and protects anyone who turns out to be innocent. And that's just part of it. *heavy sigh*

Thanks. I feel proud of this, and even luckier to have the excellent beta I do. :)
bas_math_girl
Sep. 16th, 2015 09:23 pm (UTC)
Phew that you made the verdict guilty; that was the biggest wrong to be righted. But Ben still got to insult Abby - she deserved it. :D
Tess didn't get to keep Daisy. Yay! One of those moments when you want to yell, "In your face!" Aww, how sweet of Chloe to take Chloe under her wing. That was lovely.
Poor poor Cate. :(
A two bed room, huh? I see... But the other big improvement you made was not to leave us with an emotional stalemate between Hardy and Miller, instead Ellie made sure that he was included within their community.

So that only leaves me to say thank you for using me as your excuse to post this! *massive hugs* It's been a brilliant read. :D
tkel_paris
Sep. 17th, 2015 04:36 am (UTC)
Well, how could it be anything else? The only other alternative was a deadlock. And yes, that insult had to stay in. :D

Things might get much worse for Tess. Another story - yet to be revised to account for this - will explore that possibility. Although a shorter one might come to light sooner than that. And that's a feat, Chloe taking herself under her wing. ;)

I know. Imagine how she'll feel when she learns what Tess did. I couldn't get into that here.

Well, they might have their guilty verdict, but no point in shaking things up. Besides, he's still recuperating, hence the comment about making sure he didn't pop a suture. :) And yes, with Hardy admitting what he thinks will happen with the Press and Daisy coming to Broadchurch prohibits a stalemate. Instead the man who doesn't want to be dishy has found a community who welcomes him and will defend him. As much as the Press doesn't listen they're bound to be embarrassed at some point. *evil grin*

You're welcome. Moley was pleased that I wrote this, and I think delighted to be the beta who helped it shine.
alimoseby
Sep. 17th, 2015 06:01 am (UTC)
I've been reading this, but CenturyLink is acting up so I thought I'd better wait until the end to leave a comment just in case. You'll get a comment on Amalgamation too, but probably tomorrow.

I always love a fic that ends with Joe being found guilty. And I've always thought Abby sleeping with Olly and taking the check afterwards had to be illegal, and if not, it should be. I would think to remove stuff from someone's house, they'd need a warrant, and to get a warrant, they'd need probable cause. Not sure how it is in England though.

Hardy has Miller and the town behind him. This is awesome. And I can see Daisy and Chloe being friends.

I loved it. :)

~Alison ♥

tkel_paris
Sep. 17th, 2015 06:06 am (UTC)
Ouch. If it reached my area I would've considered signing up, but I'm stuck with Cox for now.

Not sure exactly how it works, but TM agreed that it is not within the bounds of PACE.

Yes. It'll be fun. :D

Welcome. Thanks for reviewing!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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