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Title: Broadchuch: 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 Broachurch by Chris Chibnal, with added clues from the novel by Erin Kelly. We gain no 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.



Episode Three. Chapter Two: Unwanted Public Confrontation

You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Tess noted as they walked down the road to the beach.

Stop fussing, woman,” Bruce snapped.

Oi. Don’t you ‘woman’ me! You bad-tempered old sod!” Tess threw back at him.

Do we have to go to the beach,” Ben whined.

Of course we do,” Tess replied. “It’s the whole point of going to the seaside.”

Daisy slowed to a stop. “Mum, I forgot my medicines,” she called out, patting her jeans pockets. “And I’m not feeling too good.”

Oh, Daisy, go back and get them.” Tess fished into her bag for the key to their room. “And don’t be too long about it.”

Daisy caught the keys. “I won’t. I promise. I don’t want to miss the beach,” she replied and headed back up the hill towards the B&B.


Hardy walked alone. Just looking, not really seeing the movement of people around him. No one seemed to notice him and he would rather the world went to hell anyway. He was calmer now. Sort of. Numb was the closest word he could think of. And he didn’t dare think. Thinking brought the tears back and the terror and the frustration quickly followed. He’d rather not have another heart attack. He supposed if he didn’t have the pace-maker he might have keeled over by now.

The sky was cloudy and sullen. Like his mood. There was blue sky all around the grey cloud. It seemed to be following him like those cartoon thunder storms. But it quickly passed over head without dropping any of its rain, and was gone from sight. His mood wasn’t so easy to shift.

The only comfort he had at the moment was the bag of chips in his hand. Might have been a little unplanned, but somehow it seemed like the only type of food that would remotely hit the spot for a snack, much less lunch. He was offered fish, but the idea just put him off eating. Chips was about all he could manage.

And he had had to get out of the station for a bit. And would have voluntarily if he hadn’t been told to go home. Now he had no cases to work on, and he did absolutely nothing! Although he supposed he could have gone home and fixed that bed as he had promised Ellie. But he doubted he could have concentrated on the task. He might have broken it all the more in a fit of anger.

The phrase 'orders from above' was a police officer's worst headache. It limited what you could do and often meant that any action you thought was necessary might cost you your job. And if that happened what the hell was he supposed to do then? So he left, before he opened his mouth and made the ‘orders from above’ permanent.

Being out here meant he was missing yet another case meeting. And another dead girl in the mortuary and this time he had no idea what was going on. God, he wanted to know the exact times of death for the victims. Then he might be able to get himself eliminated as a suspect and maybe back to work. He knew that was why he had been taken off both cases. He wasn’t stupid.

He hated uncertainty more than anything. When would they call him back? He had never been relieved of duty. Not like this. Young girls were in danger, including and especially his daughter, and they were blaming him. Obviously there was more to it than procedure, because Ellie was still in there, still in charge of the case.

Connelly was right. He had been here before. In more ways than one. In limbo; after the Sandbrook case. Suspended for six months, his testimony non admissible in court, his hard work passed to another officer. The humiliation that followed. The loss of his family. He was facing that now. Again. Oh yes, Connelly was right about that. He had also been in Broadchurch before. As a boy he had sat on the sand, made sandcastles, been out to the rock pools at low tide, been up to the old WW2 bunker on the cliff top, to hide in fear of his father while he and his mother shouted and argued and ranted at each other.

And he imagined on his face the same look on his face has he had seen on Tom’s. He had vowed not to put any children of his through that, but had broken that promise. Twice. He had made it up to four of them. But what the hell was he supposed to say to Daisy?

He tried to imagine what Ellie would be doing now. At her desk? Out talking to witnesses, or investigating reams of files and back-stories and post-mortems and alibis.
There was more to police work than met the eye. She would be a while, if she was talking with witnesses, could be hours if she’s researching. She had to notify and re-interview the family of the first victim, now that they had positively identified her. Since Desai was on maternity leave, he susposed she would be out with Anna again. He liked Anna, a very competent detective. She had the makings of a DI herself if she kept it up. Still plenty of time for that. She had only joined the team a year before he had arrived.

He walked aimlessly. He supposed walking a bit further on would pass a little extra time. Maybe it would even help to clear his head.

As he munched on a chip, he glanced up the promenade, checking what was happening around him. Force of habit. He turned his head towards the beach, and he saw something that froze him in place.

His ex-wife was on the beach. She was still as beautiful as she was when he had first met her, a little more rounded in places, she’d had kids so it was to be expected, but she had killed any love he had had for her. She was giving the air of someone trying to pretend to enjoy something she didn’t really enjoy. Or there was something tightly hidden. She moved stiffly, as if going through the motions. Life hadn’t been kind to her since she’d thrown him out.

But it was the man standing over her that was far more interesting. Tess was not one to back down from an argument. And she was giving back a full measure of what the man was giving her. He couldn’t hear the words, but the expressions were enough. Clearly this holiday, if it was a holiday, had not been by choice.

The man looked familiar to him. He had been in Sandbrook, a lab technician, if he recalled correctly. He might have been the third possible father for Tess’s son. He couldn't place his name, though. He didn’t really look like a lab technician, more like a bouncer. He was built like a tank. Perhaps he did amateur wrestling, or some such. He certainly looked like he could do with a bit of anger management. Hardy’s mood soured as he watched the scene play out, with two children watching in horrified silence, trying to pretend to be somewhere else.

Tess was on her feet now, jabbing a finger at the man’s chest. He couldn’t tear his eyes away, even though the heated quarrel was putting him off his food. And it definitely was Tess. She always argued with her finger. Looking back it was funny, but at the time it was just a little scary.

So this was the third man he’d heard about when Ben was born. He suspected that once the affair had come to light and the DNA test done on the baby, the DS had shoved Tess out the door. Hardy felt a wave of vindictive pleasure at knowing that. Unless this was another man she had met later. He didn’t know, but he would not be surprised. She’d skipped beds as fast a stone across water and probably just as often.

He didn’t want to care. Not really. Even if it was a little reassuring that he had not been hallucinating the other day. Seeing her now was the proof that he had seen her. The stress had not got to him. He wondered how long Tess had been in Broadchurch, and how long she would be here for. Would she allow him one conversation with Daisy?

Daisy should have been there in fact he’d mistaken to other holidaymakers for Tess’ kids – but all he could see was a young boy sitting on the beach towel. He hadn’t seen him. He had his back to him, but he had to guess the boy was Ben. He had grown considerably since the last time he had seen him.

His mind recalled Daisy sitting on a beach in her swimming costume, the day he had found out she had had a tattoo done on her arm. The tattoo she’d got without asking them first when she was just thirteen. The tattoo shop had shut down shortly after that, for tattooing with reused needles.

He silently begged for Daisy to turn up so he could at least wave to her. He doubted Tess and Beefcake would notice. He could hardly call him lover-boy. They were practically at each other’s throats. It was impossible to deny that his pride had been wounded when he had learned about the affair, but he was somehow glad it wasn’t working out as well as they had probably planned. What man would not be hurt when his wife ran off with another man? He should have been enough. She had been enough for him.

A short blur of movement suddenly came off the beach towel and rushed toward him. Along with a cry that shocked him and drew attention from the people around and anywhere within earshot.


He tried to step out of the way, but the boy slammed against his leg and clutched it like his life depended on it. Alec was speechless. He had not seen this boy in years, not since he was a baby, barely two years old, and yet the boy remembered him?! And why was he calling him Daddy? He held his bag of chips out of the way, just in case he dropped them. They weren’t as hot as they had been, but they were hot enough to scald.

And suddenly another blur hurried towards him. Tess was running after the boy, but her walk was a little stiff, like she was favouring one leg slightly. “Sorry. Really sorry,” she apologised. Then she met his eyes and she froze. “Alec.”

Hardy took a deep breath to steady his tone. He had to remain calm. “Tess,” he replied flatly. “I wasn't seeing things the other day, then. You were in town.”

She picked the boy up. “Ben, be quiet,” she told the boy sharply. “We're on holiday,” she said to Alec. What are you doing here?”

He did not care for the accusatory tone, but he refused to react to it expressly. Besides, her surprise at seeing him here seemed fake to him. His face had been on national television during the Danny Latimer case, so she had to have known where he was. “I took a job here. DI.”

She huffed as she adjusted her grip on the wriggling boy who was whimpering and trying to get back to Hardy. “Bit of a difference from Sandbrook.”

The change has been a good one.”

Her eyes suddenly spied his left hand. “You remarried.”

And that matters to you?” he challenged.

Why should it?” she muttered defensively, hinting that her pride has been wounded, but not really wanting him to know that. “Can't believe anyone would have you.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Isn't that insulting yourself?”

She bristled at the reminder that she had chosen him once. “Who is she?”

Suddenly Connelly's words came back to him, prickling his spine and making him swear the hairs at the nape of his neck were standing on end. “Where's Daisy?”

I asked first.”

And I haven't got one answer from her in years. Where is she? Is she staying elsewhere?”

No, she's with us. And doing find without you,” she snapped.

Daisy misses you, Daddy,” Ben loudly protested. “She says so!”

Tess slapped the back of Ben’s hand, held tightly in her other hand. “Be quiet. What have I told you about speaking to strangers?”

Ben’s bottom lip stuck and it looked as though he might burst into tears, but he didn’t. He fell silent, though.

I’d heard you’d come here to recover from a breakdown. So I assume that heart attack rumour was false then, if you’re still on the force?”

Hardy was instantly shaking, seething. “Hardly. I don’t know who told you I’d had a breakdown. I’m been fine on that level, thank you. It was my heart. I had a pacemaker put in two Christmas ago. Saved my life, though the doctors weren't sure I'd survive the procedure.”

Ben gasped. “You nearly died?”

Ben!” Tess snapped.

Hardy made his expression and tone soften. The boy did not deserve one bit of his anger and he wasn't about to give anyone reason to think he could hurt a child. The dispute was with his mother, not him. “I’m fine now, as you can see.”

That’s good,” the boy replied. “I’ll tell Daisy all about seeing you.”

Stop it,” Tess ordered. “You don't need to say anything to him.”

A man's voice came in like a small but hard wave. “What's this?” Beefcake had arrived like a storm front. He glared at Hardy as if he was something less than human. “Who the hell are you?!”

Hardy looked at him stiffly, keeping his voice even. “Alec Hardy. I remember you. You worked in Sandbrook Labs so I'm sure you’ll remember me. I'm sorry to say I don’t remember your name.”

The man scoffed as his expression changed to cold cognition. “Bruce Stratton. And you are going to leave Tess and the kids alone.”

Hardy definitely remembered his clipped London accent and the clipped attitude that went with it.

Since he did not know for certain if this was the man Tess had been three-timing him with, Alec knew he could not make any accusations. “I have no argument with you. If it was up to me I'd never see either of you again. All I want is to see Daisy. Why hasn't she been able to answer me? Did you take the phone I gave her, Tess?”

Mind your own business!” Tess retorted. “She was far too young to have phone!”

Since you stopped me from seeing her how else was I supposed to talk to my daughter?”

I don’t want you anywhere near my daughter,” she told him. “Do you get that? My daughter! You’re not fit to be around children. You’re too soft in the head and too busy with you eyes elsewhere!”

Hardy felt eyes on them. He could see Becca not far away enjoying an afternoon off, having not yet been given the go ahead to open up again. Dean was parking his bike in the car park beyond along the Esplanade. And there were dozens of other people around. That meant this altercation would be around town in a matter of hours. He ignored them. “My eyes were never elsewhere,” he refuted.

Oh and the ring on your finger is what? My imagination?”

Alec narrowed his eyes. “I'm not the one who walked out on our marriage. I was faithful. You made it impossible for me to stay even for Daisy's sake.”

She flushed lividly. “You were impossible to live with! I told you clearly that kids were out of the question. But no, you have to go and do a number on me and almost cost me my career!”

And what about family, Tess? You cost us that. You tore us up as if we meant nothing to you.”

You know what,” she dismissed him with a wave of her free hand and changed the subject. “I don’t believe you. You’re nothing but a lying, scheming shit. You’re didn’t come here to work, you followed us here. You’re sick in the head with some kind of delusional disorder. And I’m telling you, stay away from my kids. Coz I’ll have you in court for molesting and attempted kidnapping. And I’ll make it stick!”

Then why did you tell Ben I was his dad?” Hardy demanded.

She and Bruce turned away sharply. Ben looked back at Alec with pleading eyes, like he wanted him to take him away.

The talk the other night with Ellie came back to him, preying on his thoughts. Had he made the right choice in not fighting for Daisy, because of his slowly failing health? He could have made more of an effort on the living arrangements. If he had won custody then he would have fought hell and high water to keep her. And then there was Ben. The look on the boy’s face just said it all. He was perhaps the unhappiest child he had ever seen. At least when he and Tess were still married Daisy had found happiness with him. Who did Ben have?

He had noticed the bruise over Ben’s eye and several more down his legs. Small children tended to bump themselves, and fall down and off things and out of things a lot as they grew and learned their limits. But there was another possibility. Was Ben being mistreated? Why was he so insistent that Bruce was not his father?

Not wanting to be in public a second longer, Hardy dropped the half-eaten bag of chips into the nearest bin and walked away from further confrontation. He walked back toward the station, in the opposite direction, thank god, from the beach.

On the other side of the street on the promenade, Dean stood with his friends. They all watched the DI's movements, thinking about what they just heard.

What was all that about?”

Dean frowned. “I don't know. From here, that boy looks more like the DI than that other bloke. Kid seems miserable. Like he needed an escape.”

You a mind reader?”

No, just Chloe had that look so often two years ago. Only worse on him.”

That stopped the topic right there.

Across the road, Mark stood holding the pushchair, watching the drama unfold. Beside him, Beth tugged his arm. She didn’t want to be rubber-necking on someone else’s life. Hers was cluttered enough without known other people’s problems.

Sitting on one of the benches along the Promenade, Maggie was silent. She knew what this town would do with the clues that had just been revealed. She was glad there weren’t that many locals around to witness this. Hardy had had enough problems since moving here. He didn’t need tongues wagging as well.

But there was one other person watching. Stepping out from the shadow of the taxi doorway, Karen White closed the door. What a welcome, she thought silently. With her mind focused and set, she headed in the direction of the beach, and the very people who would give her more information about DI Hardy, whose time to be dismissed was long overdue.


To be continued...

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