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
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 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, Part Six: Sanctuary of the Mind
“What am I doing here?”
The whisper floated away from Hardy's mouth as he stared at the church doors. He had not set foot in here in months. He only came for funerals, and three stuck out in his mind: Danny Latimer's, Jack Marshall's and LIl Henshaw, Maggie’s long-time partner. He could not remember the last time he had gone in to pray in any place of worship, or even done so in his own home. It had not seemed fitting or necessary. Even for his own health or when he and Ellie had broken up.
But none of those times seemed like he was truly going to lose everything. Oh, some might claim he had been in the position of losing everything before. But the thing was that he had thought he had already lost everything that mattered: Daisy; Tess to another man. What was his health if he had no access to his precious daughter?
Even when he had been near death during the Latimer case he had not prayed. Although he had come close to it when he thought that he would not be able to solve it before he was medicaled out. But it had not been necessary. Just when he was about to give up hope an answer came that began to shed light on everything.
Even when Ellie had kicked him out because she thought he had lied to her about the vasectomy he did not pray. He thought he had no right. How could he when he had no real claim to her children? It had not even occurred to him that his impetus for taking the job as permanent DI was seeing if Ellie had kept the pregnancy. Not until he saw the proof, the day she had left on maternity leave, did he have something to live for again. He had almost thanked god then for whatever made him turn up a day earlier than planned.
It helped that there were two boys who needed someone to call Dad, and already thought of him as such. And his twins were his joy. But what his heart was missing, was Daisy.
And it was now, for her, that he came here. For any kind of guidance. He really was out at sea, and needed some idea of how to spot an anchor.
He started at the sound of Reverend Coates' voice, even though he knew the man was there. Where else would a vicar who had no family be?
Hardy cleared his throat. “Do you have time to talk?”
Coates stared at him with widening eyes.
Within moments however they were sitting in the Vestry. Coates had set the tea to brew, and was pulling out mugs for them to use.
“I must say I was not expecting you,” Coates opened the conversation as he waited. “You haven't been the type to come.”
“I thought you kept your door open to the community.”
“And it is. Even to those I'm not sure will seek me or God. We've only spoken when necessary or when you thought you had to investigate me.”
“Don't tell me you hold that against me.”
“No. You had a job to do, and it’s not my place to tell you how to do it. I lack the stomach to seek out the criminals of society, and it never would have occurred to me to think Joe Miller was capable.” He exhaled on a humourless laugh. “What does that say about my ability to look into someone's heart?”
“How can anyone see into another's heart?”
“Sometimes you can. Sometimes your instincts fail you. But we are only human.” The tea was ready, and he poured it as he added, “And I suspect that it is a matter of the heart that brings you here.”
Hardy sighed heavily, and pursed his lips as he sought the words to express himself.
Coates was willing to wait. He had been practicing for such things for years.
Finally Hardy decided on an opening. “What do you know about what's going on?”
Although he had made no judgments or guesses about what was on the DI's mind, Coates was still startled by the beginning. “Um... I know there are two dead girls, and there is talk that you might be involved on the wrong side of things. Beyond that gossip, there is probably worse gossip.”
“A girl was murdered and dumped on my doorstep. There was evidence found at the scene that implicates me, even though I have an alibi. And the second one; I was only taken off the case a couple of hours ago. Gossip travels fast. I was there when the girl died, watched the paramedics frantically trying to save her. She reminded me of someone my daughter spent hours with as a little girl. So much happened in those years that it was all I could do to remember the important things, the good things. And I was confronted by my ex-wife this morning, accusing me of things and people got the wrong idea. So I was pulled from that case as well. I just know both the cases are connected. Even without the suggestion that she may be a girl my daughter knew. So, now my name is being dragged through the mud. People still hate me for the Latimer case. One of them; I don't even know what I did to anger her because I could swear I never met her before Sandbrook, but she acts like she knows me from elsewhere.”
“That reporter, Karen White?”
“Yeah. She is out for my blood. I wish I knew what she accuses me of. Then there's my ex who keeps telling her son I'm his father when a paternity test says otherwise, and who keeps me from contacting our daughter. Our daughter who the town psychic is convinced is in danger but he can't tell me who from. Something is wrong, but I can't work out what. Others have commented on the look in her eyes, She's scared of something, and I'm not sure it's because of girls her age being murdered. Then there's my ex's lover, who would plainly love to see me go to jail when all I can think of as a crime I committed is being with Tess first. And now Ellie won't tell me anything about the cases. I don't even know if she thinks I'm guilty!”
The anger burst, driving Hardy out of his chair, overturning it. The force hit the table, knocking the tea over and shattering a mug.
Coates barely reacted. He had seen Beth in a storm of emotions and had handled it. Although who knew what the DI could do when he was truly angry.
Hardy sighed and rubbed his face. “God, I'm practically proving my own point!”
“That anyone is capable of anything if driven far enough.”
Coates looked at the man before him, taking in the dark lines of exhaustion written all over his face. There was a weight on his shoulders that had not been there during the Latimer case, and the emotions were churning much closer to the surface. Not that any of that was not completely understandable.
He cleared his throat. “Let's start with something simple then. If the truth comes out, it will prove that you had nothing to do with either girl's death, right?”
Hardy stood the chair on its feet and sagged into it. “Yes.”
“Then, look at this another way. Walk me through how police procedure works when one of their own is suspected.”
“Let's think in hypothetical terms, an imaginary case to put some emotional distance between us and the real situation. Can you do that?”
Hardy sighed. “Yeah.”
“So... what are the reasons a police officer could be pulled from a case?”
He ticked them off on his fingers. “The crime happened to them or to someone close to them. They know the victim too well. They know a prime suspect too well. They are a suspect. Any and all of the above that raises questions about their objectivity.”
“So how does the police protect itself and the case from accusations that could hurt either or both?”
“The officer in question is supposed to be kept away from the investigation, and the others aren't supposed to talk to them about it.”
“Even if they believe the officer is innocent?”
“Okay, then. If Ellie isn't talking to you then perhaps she's trying to clear your name while working by the book. To protect you.”
“She let SOCO into our home. They looked through my things.”
“But in any investigation don't you have to make sure they don't overlook anything?”
Hardy paused. “Yes.”
“Then maybe she is forcing herself to face what has to be an impossible situation first so she can focus on what the evidence really says. Is it possible that she had acted this way because she wants you to be able to come back to the job with your name cleared? By confronting head on the idea that you could have done either or both of the murders she is ensuring that all possible avenues are looked at? What would you have done if you have been in her place?”
He thought for a long moment, and then sagged. “The same. I'm being unfair to her, aren't I?”
“You're a man who's been through a lot. It's hard to bear the thought that someone close to us might not trust us. I'm not saying I blame you for reacting this way, but what good does it do you or your family?”
Hardy blanched. “Oh, God. The children. Tom was frightened out of his mind when I argued with Ellie the other night and threatened to leave and take the twins.”
“So, you can’t accept that the cases are out of your hands, or that there is no way can you influence the case, and yet you accept that you can influence other things surrounding you because of the stress your job is causing? Can you ease Tom's fears?”
“Then look for what parts of your life you can do something about. Don't let anyone beat you down with these accusations.”
“It's hard to go into town right now. I wasn't popular to begin with, and I think I have fewer friends now.”
“May I suggest something?”
“Have you talked with Beth and Mark?”
He slowly shook his head.
“I talked a lot with them after Mark confessed his infidelity. They spent many hours in here and at home rebuilding the trust. They know what it's like to have your life turned upside down by crime. Did you know, Mark defended you to one of the town?”
Coates nodded. “I witnessed it. Beth also supported you. She told me earlier what had happened on the Promenade. She said she couldn't believe that you would hurt a child, let alone kill one. They might not have shown it two years ago, but you earned their loyalty. Talk to them. The town might gossip, but people are reluctant to go against you in light of how much time was wasted last time. And I’ve heard Jack Marshall's name mentioned. No one wants to drive another innocent that far. People have been shunning Karen White, by refusing to talk to her. They will help you. All you need to do is ask.”
Hardy spent a long moment sitting there. Finally he exhaled slowly. “Sorry about your mug.”
Coates shrugged. “I expect a few tempers to be lost here, so I buy in bulk. You're forgiven.”
Somehow it seemed funny to Hardy, and he chuckled.
To be continued...