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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 Wit​hout 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 Five. Part Three: Confounding Factors

Ellie realised the man was wrecked with spent nerves. “But if you have your baby... then who’s baby was left on Old Grebes' doorstep? Oh god.” Ellie took out her phone and called the Chief Super. “Sir...? We’ve got a bigger problem. That baby is not Natalie Westford’s...”

“How is that possible?” Jenkinson demanded as she froze.

“Cos I’m looking at it and it’s in her arms...” Ellie took a closer look beneath the blankets. “It’s a girl and still attached...”

Jenkinson rubbed her eyes. This day was getting better by the moment. “They look all right?”

“Yes, sir.” She paused to look more carefully at both mother and baby. “Shaken, but looking good as far as I can tell...”

Coates and Natalie ignored the two coppers staring at them, focusing on calming the baby.

Ellie continued talking. “There’s was...? Oh, right... Yes, sir... I’ll let them know.” She closed the phone and looked at them both. “There’s been an accident on the main road just passed the roundabout towards Bridport. All the ambulances are out. My boss is sending for a midwife.”

“We’ve been trying to get through for hours,” Natalie said.

A call came on Anna's phone, and she quickly answered. “Broome?”

“Just got word from Incident,” said the Super’s voice at the other end of the line. “An ambulance has been called to Natalie Westford’s address.”

“You're kidding!” Anna hissed.

“No,” Sandra replied. “I don't know what's going on, but the operator is still on the line with the other ambulance crew. I’m in the Incident Room now. I happened to overhear the call and knew you were on your way over.”

“We're there now, sir,” Anna replied. “Will let you know what’s what as soon as we can.” She hung up. “Someone at Natalie's called for an ambulance five hours ago, it was logged but they couldn’t respond. Another one was logged five minutes ago-”

“Yes, me,” Paul cut in. “I finally got through.”

Ellie rubbed her face as the ambulance crew arrived outside. Anna went to let them in and they hurried inside. They also stopped short.

Natalie groaned at the looks. “Okay, I had a baby. Paul is the dad. I've been here all night. Now will someone check us both to make sure we're all right?”

The ambulance crew began their duties, pushing Coates gently out of the way so they could work. Ellie motioned him to the side.

Coates sat down in the nearest chair. “If you're going to yell at me because of the age difference, go ahead. It's nothing compared to what I told myself. But she is nearly twenty. That makes her and us legal.”

“When did this start?” Ellie interrupted.

He could read her well enough to know when to not delay. She was getting more and more like her husband as this case progressed, but he supposed the pressures were the reason. “A year ago we met when she took over her mum's house and care. She had been deciding what to do about her university education, what with her mum now bed-ridden. I said nothing at first, thinking of the age difference between us. But she needed someone to listen and we talked a lot about how to handle her mum's property, money, a lot of practical things. Before long, I accidentally found out that she returned the feelings.”

“And she got pregnant?”

“I'm not proud of the out of wedlock part, but I've wanted a family to call my own. I've come to trust that God puts people where they are for a reason. I decided to not argue the thought that she might have been sent here partly to meet me, that I was brought into her life to help her.”

“If we all believed that, police work would take a lot less time. In fact, the police would be out of a job and law enforcement would be in the hands of priests and soothsayers,” Ellie retorted waspishly.

Paul ignored her. “Natalie was worried that we might be shunned.” He was silent for a moment and then opened up. “Years ago, Natalie's mum got pregnant by the priest who used to work in this parish. She was a choir girl and he took advantage of her. That's why we tried to keep things secret.. Not because of any impriopriety that you might think. Natalie's mum is beridden, blind, and almost completely deaf. I couldn't ask Natalie to leave her on her own. So I agreed to keep things as they are until we were ready. Then, about six months ago we realised she was pregnant. I asked her to marry me then, but she refused because she thought I was being too old-fashioned. But she didn't push me away. So I've asked again every so often, because I won't give up on the thought of having a proper family.”

“When did you get here last night?”

Coates had to think. “Um... about 9:30. Would have been back long before that, but a parishioner died. I had to wait for the doctor to arrive.”

“When did Natalie go into labour?”

“She started feeling pains earlier than that, but they didn't get bad until about an hour before I got back. I got in and found her on the floor. I’ve been phoning 999 all night.”

“Did you leave the house at any time?”

“No. I sat with her all through it. I helped her with the pain and helped her deliver. I finally got through to the ambulance just before you turned up. Why?”

Ellie sighed. “I had to be sure it wasn’t twins.”

Paul gazed at her in confusion.

“Which means, we're still looking for the mother.”

Seconds later, Ellie returned to the car. Broome pocketed her mobile for the second time..

“Sir, the baby’s been taken to the hospital. PC Daniels took him up himself.”

“Good. That’s one less thing to worry about.”

“But why leave the baby at the Grebe’s house?” asked DC Broome. “Why not leave it at the bus stop where it was born? Why not wait for help to arrive?”

“Maybe the mother was frightened. Maybe she tried to cover her trail by giving birth in one less-than private place and putting the baby somewhere else. But she left him close to a front door. That means she wanted him to be found. Or is it a she?”

“Responders said a boy. Looks Asian or Middle Eastern, they said.”

Meaning, not like a local. They had a Chinese take-away and a Tandoori House, but most of Broadchurch was still a mostly traditional English rural town, untouched by modern or imperial immigration. She could see some uncomfortable scenes with the Asian populations of the area if this got out. An Asian woman with a secret, one that, given what she’d heard of their respective cultures, would not end well for the mother. “That's odd that a boy would be abandoned.”

“He was left on the doorstep, wrapped in a hospital blanket. Whoever it was must have taken off as soon as they’d given birth.”

“That would set the alarms off,” Ellie reasoned. “All babies are tagged.” She thought for a moment. “But she must have been in hospital recently, which means there must be some record of her,” she clarified. “Maybe it was an unwed mother, or someone trying to avoid responsibility, or shame? At least they had seen to it that the baby would be promptly found, which showed recognition of responsibility and a conscience.” She frowned. “But why leave hospital if you’re in labour?”

“Maybe she wasn’t in hospital,” Anna suggested. “She could have stolen the blanket.”

“Sounds premeditated to me.” She sighed. “Let’s go and take a look at him.”

/=/=/=/=/

The drive over to the hospital took barely five minutes. In the reception area of the maternity ward, it was easy to zero in on the baby. As Ellie and Anna approached the huddle of a midwife on the phone and a doctor looking out of his depth, and the wailing that would not stop. Ellie frowned at the man who, given that he should have been adept at this sort of thing seemed to be all thumbs. “No experience with babies.?”

“Junior doctor. First week after qualifying,” he replied candidly. “The others needed to be doing things, and they were the right ones to do them. I drew the short straw.”

Ellie took pity on him. “Oh, give him here. Let a mother show you how it’s done.” They needed the quiet in order to hear each other, and the newborn did not need to be upset any longer. There was an awkward transfer from basin to arms, given the angle Ellie was standing at, but she soon had the newborn in her arms. “There, there, there,” she soothed. “It’s ok. Sh-sh-sh.”

It worked, just as it still did with her own. The baby quieted and then went to sleep, obviously feeling safe as she gently rocked him on her shoulder.

“First things first. Does he have any injuries?”

“No,” the doctor replied. “But the cord snapped during birth and the afterbirth is not with him. He’s quite a large baby. The mother is very likely injured. You need to find the placenta.”

“On my list,” Ellie replied. “Anything else?”

“Asian or Middle Eastern origin. In good health, but has a slight murmur in the left atrium.”

“Has anyone named him?” Ellie wondered.

“I gave him the name Enoch, after the man who found him,” PC Daniels replied. “I could have given him my name, but I thought that might have been pushing it.”

Sighing, Ellie looked up and gave him a nod. She was probably stuck with ‘Enoch’ for the moment, and frankly so was the baby. Though she supposed he was too young to be complaining if he didn’t like it. “Has anyone called Social Services?”

“I did,” the midwife replied. “They have sent someone to pick him up, but I told them he’s not going to be leaving the hospital until we’ve found the mum.”

“Have you traced the blanket? Is it one of yours?”

“That’s the interesting thing,” the Midwife explained. “It’s not a hospital blanket. It’s a play blanket. From a children’s dressing up kit, for role play. It’s stamped ‘Property of Broadchurch Children’s Ward’, but anyone could have taken it or even bought it in a car boot sale or a charity shop.”

It was a relief that they hadn’t got a maternity absconder. She could get back to her cases knowing the newborn baby boy would be safe. “Where are the people who found him? We’ll need statements.”

/=/=/=/=/

Minutes later, Ellie executed an illegal but perfect 180 degree turn, picked up Anna Broome, and raced off towards Finch Lane. It was breakfast time, and her stomach was loudly explaining that fact to her, but she resolutely ignored it.

Even as she stepped into the Grebes’ home, she could still feel the baby in her arms, like an echo. She stood in front of the oldest people she had ever seen in her life. The Grebes didn’t look Asian, nor did they look young enough to have had a baby, much less dumped it on their own doorstep. More than that, they were brother and sister. Neither had married, if Ellie remembered correctly.

He was a former church warden for more than fifty years and she had been in the Mother’s Union. They had been separated only during the war years, but somehow they both ended up back in Broadchurch and shared a home to save money. Must be nice having family you could trust like that, she thought. Her parents-in-law were still not on speaking terms with her, as if Joe’s actions had been her fault.

“What time did you hear the crying?” DC Broome asked.

“Just before Lily phoned you; just gone four. It woke me first,” Enoch Grebes told her. “We were both in bed asleep. I thought there was a fox stuck in the shed. There’s one; he gets in there and then can’t get out again. But when I went to the door the fox had gone quiet for about ten minutes. I expected to go out to the shed and open the door for him, you know? But as I went outside there it was. A bundle. I nearly stepped on him, the poor little mite.”

The woman shook her head. “I called the police while Enoch brought him inside where it’s warm. He was wrapped in a hospital blanket.”

“Did you see anyone or hear anyone?” Ellie asked.

They shook their heads. “No. When I went out there no one was about. I did try looking a little, but I couldn't tell where they went,” he added. “All I could see was the bright light by the bus stop, but I thought it was a car or something parked in the lay-by.”

It was soon clear that they had little else to offer in information, so Ellie and Anna left.

Outside Anna made a comment. “Your thoughts keep drifting to him, sir. You're not thinking about taking him in, are you?”

Ellie snorted, keeping it quiet. “Aw. I’ve got enough with four, and three of them are under three. No, I just... feel like there's something familiar about him. Like I know someone he looks like. Besides, who’d come to Broadchurch to have a baby and then do a runner back home?”

“Who said they’d left?”

Ellie half smiled. “Got a hunch, Detective Constable?”

“Yes, Sarge,” she said confidently.

“Careful,” Ellie teased quietly. “Just because you triumphed over a bus ticket, doesn’t mean you’re on a roll. Oh, listen to me. Now, I sound like DI Hardy,” she noted to herself.

“I’m just saying, sir, that it will narrow down who needs to be questioned if we search the local pregnant mums first. There’s got to be more than just Natalie Westwood.”

“It still means someone has to be spared to ask the questions.”

“Is that our job or Social Services?”

“Ours. Since whoever gave birth could be arrested for child endangerment or at the very least reckless abandonment. I think if the circumstances are extenuating I might convince myself to commute it to diminished responsibilities. Let’s go and talk to SOCO. Grebes mentioned seeing his lights from his doorstep.”

“The bus stop,” Anna agreed. “It’s close to the Grebes’ house, which means there wasn’t a lot of time between the mother giving birth and leaving him there. Poor Brian. Not his night is it?”

“According to uniform, SOCO did turn a bit pale when he realised what he was looking at.” Ellie began checking her notes as she walked down the gently slope towards the bus stop. She paused, looking up at her house on the opposite side of the road. Barely noticeable through the trees, even in broad daylight. And it wasn’t long until dawn. “My lights are on. Why didn’t she leave the baby there? Why go to a cottage that had its lights turned off?”

“Closer?”

“Or trying to hide from the police,” mused Ellie. “It’s no secret where I live.” She dismissed it with a shake of her head. “No, the Grebes’ cottage is closer to the bus stop. Whoever gets this assignment can start with the baby’s ethnicity. That’s going to have to be handled delicately. Mind, I'm sure we have some illegal immigrants in the area. Asking questions might be tricky.”

“Who can be spared?”

“At this point in time, only DI Hardy is free.”

Anna flinched. “I volunteer you tell him, Sarge,” she said.

“Nice,” Ellie shot back quietly. “Let’s get back to the station and file the reports. It looks like SOCO had already gone.”

/=/=/=/=/

“Where is my daughter?!” Beth shrieked.

Chloe stepped from the interview room and flinched. “Oh god.” She lifted her eyes to DI Hardy. “How about police protection,” she hinted.

Hardy lifted a sardonic brow at her. It was all he could manage after being handed his latest case. He had never had to handle an abandoned baby case before. Now he was the rookie and Ellie the experienced one. “I wouldn’t try that. Just be honest and take whatever flack comes from that.”

Beth wrenched the door open, saw Hardy and then her daughter. “Where the fuck have you been?!” she grated, hugging her daughter fiercely.

“I’m sorry, Mum. Really. I am sorry. Me and Dean got caught up in a police investigation.”

“What-?”

“It wasn’t us,” Chloe cut in quickly. “We were at the wrong place at the wrong time. No one’s dead. Just an abandoned baby. They wanted to be sure it wasn’t mine.”

Beth hugged her again. “Oh for god’s sake, Chloe. What have I told you about going out at night? And what have I told you about telling my everything?”

“It’s not mine, I swear,” Chloe insisted.

Hardy watched them, hands in his pockets, feeling the ache of longing in his heart. He missed what Beth had said. He snapped to. “Sorry. Yes. She’s free to go.”

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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