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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.

/=/=/=/=/=/

Previously...

Episode Four, Part Four: Calling In Re-enforcements

A torch was turned on, and hands slapped a blank paper on a flat surface on the ground, placing little nearby rocks on the edges to keep it in place.

The same hands tried to find a place to prop the torch, which took some creative thinking. It meant she could let the rocks slip aside if they failed to stay in place on their own.

A pen clicked, and Daisy took a deep breath. This might be risky, but it was the only way. Doing this in the hotel ran the risk of her mum and Bruce finding out. So she had to wait for them to go to sleep so she could slip out.

She began writing what she knew was the most important letter in her life. The whole time, she was praying on a whisper:

“Please, God, let this get to my dad. Help him to save us. We need a miracle. Amen.”

Over and over, she whispered the prayer, pausing to look around to make sure no one was nearby. In the dark, who knew who was prowling?

And in this case, she knew it might be for real. Not that the alternative was better.

/=/=/=/=/

“What do you mean, there's no evidence leading to anything?!”

Brian Young had a lot of experience dealing with Ellie's temper, and he did not even flinch when she nearly exploded. “What I mean is, I'm not sure where this evidence is going to take us. The first girl gave use very little in usable evidence, and the second one only gave us traces of DNA. Enough for a comparison, but the DNA isn't a match for anyone in the system.”

“And the third girl?”

“That wasn’t murder.”

“No, not that we can prove, but she was raped,” Ellie reasoned.

“We did a thorough check on her. No match there, either.”

She stopped cold. “Wait, did that include the sample you took from the hospital? Or from our own records? He’s in the system. We all are.”

He nodded and found a smile. “Your husband's DNA does not match the DNA found under the victim’s nails. We can confirm, he's not the person the victim scratched.”

That made her sag into the nearby chair and exhale loudly. “Oh thank god!” She leaned forward and held her face with her hands.

Young waited for her to get through the relief.

Ellie slowly raised her head. “What about the evidence that seemed to link him to both girls? The physical evidence?”

“I think the only things tying him to the murders are that one particular photo found with Sarah Wallace and the fact that Luiz Gotlieb looks a lot like that fourth girl in the photo, the girl who died on the footpath. He sure as hell didn't leave that print found in the woods.”

“But you did get a print?”

“Not very detailed, but I can tell you a few things about the person who wore them. Those shoes were brand new, hardly used. None of the DI's shoes are newer than six months, and he's put some marks on the bottoms. And the print didn’t match any of your shoes, either. Also, I think Sarah Wallace's killer was wearing shoes bigger than they're used to wearing.”

“Why?”

He moved beside her and showed photos from various angles. “Do you see how the pressure is lighter along the edges near the ball of the foot according to the shoe size?” He lowered a faint overlay of expected placement of a foot within that shoe size. “The ball of the killer's foot is markedly lower than it should be. I think the killer wore bigger shoes to throw us off. And the second print, found by the tree, made at the same time, is two sizes smaller.”

“Significance?”

He showed her the photo and overlay for the second print. “This print is two sizes smaller than the other. And do you see the pattern of pressure?”

Ellie knew by the methodical way he was doing this that there had to be something. But she wasn’t seeing it.

To save her face, Brian continued. “There is greater pressure along the ends of the toes and ball than at the heel,” he explained. He looked at her face, trying to find a spark of realisation. “The killer is walking backwards,” he filled in. “That probably led to them tripping.”

“Any evidence from the root?”

“Hints of material from the shoe were lifted from the leaf litter and the dirt around it. There will be scuff marks on the shoes. If we can find those shoes, we'll have a match.”

“Have we searched the dumpsters around the hotel?”

“Yes. We're also looking for all dustbins along the path from your house to the hotel. Anyone who had theirs out, we're checking with the Council to see where that was dumped. It's a long shot, and there are a lot of black bags to go through, but maybe we'll get lucky.”

“I hope so. We've got so little to go on.”

“Hey, if it makes you feel any better, I think it's looking less and less likely that the DI killed either of them.”

“But do you agree that someone wants us to think he did?”

He grimaced. “The second one; no. For one thing, the DNA and other evidence don’t match. But the first one; I’d stake my reputation on it that and say, yes. They tried very hard to make it look that way. As for the third one... the attack is too like the second one. I’ll go so far as to say it was an accident that it looks like an accident.”

She rubbed her hands. “Brian, I need a favour.”

“Anything.”

“I need you to go to the hospital and collect a sample from Ben Hardy in any legal yet discrete way possible.”

He frowned and blinked. “What for?”

She wrung her hands. “You heard that he collapsed at the hotel the other night?”

“Yeah. I heard about that. What does that have to do with me?”

“Everyone knows how Hardy collapsed during a chase of a suspect. When I read Mark Latimer's witness statement, I... felt like I was reliving that moment. The details sounded too similar. And we're already watching Harry and Catherine for any heart condition, Harry especially since it sounds like sons are more likely to get them from their dads. The doctors confirmed it's a genetically inherited condition.”

“But... wasn't there a DNA test that proved Ben wasn’t Hardy's son?”

“After seeing a photo of him, hearing how he collapsed, and that they suspect a heart condition... I'm not so sure that test can be trusted. I want a new one run, and run quietly. I want it run by a lab that I trust won't let another sample replace the intended one.”

“You suspect that Hardy's sample was switched for the other man's?”

“I need to know. Because if he is my husband’s son, then... there may be grounds for him to force a new custody hearing. We’ve had another witness come forward, who said that they heard the boy say that Bruce Stratton is not his dad. There is something not right in that family, and I'm noticing that so far no one has been able to talk to Daisy about it properly.”

“You’re sure you’re not just jealous of the ex?” he wondered gently.

Ellie almost smiled. “I’ve spent hours arguing with myself about that,” she admitted. “But Hardy taught me well. Professional detachment. I know this has nothing to do with my feelings for him and my kids. And everything to do with this.” She showed him a printout of a news article she had found on the internet.

The bold but small subtitle ‘Sandbrook Lab shut down for an investigation into sample switching’ was sprawled across the top.

Brian tensed. There was nothing he hated more professionally than technicians who made the evidence lie.

“That’s where Hardy’s paternity test was done,” she continued as Brian read the article. “If there was foul play with that DNA test, it's possible that others were tampered with in Sandbrook. I need to know, because I'll need to contact them if our answer differs from theirs.”

“It says they’re only going back over the past two years. The boy is five, isn’t he?”

“Almost five,” she agreed. “But what if the meddling goes back further? What if it includes criminal cases? Including the Sandbrook case?”

“And you want me to find out? Might save us the effort of running a new test.”

“Can you?”

I have a relative who works there,” he revealed. “I can ask.”

“Perfect.”

Young sighed. “Okay. In case we do need to run a new test I need a little time to make it happen. We'll need some order to obtain them, especially without letting the mother or the supposed father find out.”

“I'll get you one, if you need it.”

Brian turned away to leave, but then turned back with a grin. “Actually, no need. I have samples taken from their hotel room. Hair follicles from their hair brushes, with notes of which brush they were collected from. I’ll send them over now.”

Ellie smiled widely.

/=/=/=/=/

Moments later, Ellie was in her car driving up the hill to the High Street. She pulled into a parking space and hurried out, rushing toward the Broadchurch Echo.

Opening the door, she was immediately greeted by a distant one-time friend.

“Ellie.”

She managed an awkward smile. “Hi, Beth. Where's Maggie? I need to talk with her.”

Beth pointed to the back. “She and Olly have been holed up in the back room, going over something. They've both been making phone calls.”

Ellie nodded thanks and began walking off.

“How's the family?”

She stopped, half surprised that Beth was being so civil. Cold, certainly, but civil. Even though she had been forgiven by the rest of the Town, Beth had done no such thing. She still felt a little uneasy, like what they had before was lost forever thanks to Joe. “We're a little on edge. The twins seem mostly ignorant and Fred is too focused on entertaining them. But Tom... he's too aware of what's going on. He’s had nightmares since he found the body. Been sent home from school a couple of times.”

Beth could read between the lines. There was tension in the marriage, but she knew better than to say anything in public. “Will you let your husband know that our door is open to both of you?”

That made her eyes widen. “Really?” She hadn’t intended to make it sound so disbelieving, bit that’s how it came out. On the other hand, Beth’s words sounded wooden and someone else’s. Probably Mark’s.

In a way, that was surprising. Even though they had rebuilt enough trust following Mark's infidelity.

Beth shrugged. “He got us the answers we needed in the end. I know what people are saying, but... I know he's innocent. I've seen him with Tom and the others. He's not a killer. I want to help in any way I can.”

Ellie found the source of her discomfort. Beth didn’t want to say those words. In fact, she had omitted any trace of her in there. She hadn’t forgiven her. And in truth she probably suspected Hardy more than anyone else, because in her mind, Ellie had already harboured one killer. Why not two? And Beth still blamed her. As a result, it was beyond Ellie to find a real smile. She was too gutted and lost without her friend to even pretend to take her words at face value.

Besides, she knew that her husband had been to the Latimer home. So her answer would be equally flat, letting Beth know that she was under no illusions about where they stood.

“Thank you. I'll let him know.”

With that she walked to the back room, a little calmer than she was before, but still missing her friend. She obviously still had a long way to go before the undercurrent of suspicion was completely gone. Beth had highlighted how far she still had to go, and for that she was grateful.

Beth watched her go and sighed. Then, she turned back to her own desk. Grateful that she could at least say she had made an effort. No matter how distasteful it felt.

A moment later Maggie was having Ellie sit down with Olly, pouring some of the water they had just boiled into prepared mugs. “You've come for help.”

“Yeah, a lot of it. I definitely need you to go to Sandbrook. I need to know more about Tess Hardy and Bruce Stratton, and not just what's on their work histories. There are a lot of unanswered questions about why the Sandbrook ties seem so strong between that case and mine. And I need information. How well did the girls in this photo know each other?” She handed them a copy of the photo that had started everything.

Olly blinked. “That one girl looks a lot like my uncle.”

“That's his daughter from his first marriage. Daisy. Louise Dusk is another of the girls. Pippa Gilespie is another, and we suspect the fourth is a girl who's gone missing from Sandbrook. And then there's this one.” She handed them a photo of several girls, the tension in their frames obvious. “This photo means something to someone, and I'm positive it was taken in Sandbrook given the scenery. Who are these girls and why do they all look haunted? And then there's Daisy. Has she been prevented from contacting her father? Is her mother treating her well? Her brother? What sort of a person is she really? Same for Stratton.”

“Do you suspect them?”

“I have to consider a lot of people suspects, but I don't have the time to go to Sandbrook myself. Nor can I spare someone from the Broadchurch force to go. There are too many witnesses here to interview and keep in town. And while you're at it, see what Karen White was up to during the case and the aftermath. My instincts are telling me she has a grudge against my husband, but I don’t even know where to start finding out why or even if I’m right.”

“We're already looking into her past. How soon do you need us to go?” asked Maggie.

“As soon as you can.”

Maggie glanced at Olly. “I told him to pack a bag just in case. He has it here. And I'm packed. Let me give some directions to the staff, and we'll be off.”

Ellie grasped her hand. “Thank you.”

“Thank us when we've helped solve your case and get that low-life who thinks she's the next Sir Robin Day off your husband's back.”

“Thank you for that mental image. Now, I won't be able to have dinner.”

ĐĐ

To be continued...

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
tardis_mole
Jan. 3rd, 2015 05:55 am (UTC)
The continuation link is missing.
tkel_paris
Jan. 3rd, 2015 07:59 am (UTC)
So was the previous part link. Just fixed that.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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