"Rose, come on, we'll be late," said Pete Tyler, waiting in the hallway of the Tyler residence.
They were both attending a conference to brief senior Police Officers from all over the country to explain exactly how the Cybermen managed to escape from being sealed inside factories and had disappeared over a period of time.
Rose didn't want to go. It was all still so fresh in her mind, both encounters with the metal monsters were far too recent for her even though three years had passed in this world as opposed to a few months in Rose's own world. Pete had thought it a good idea to share information and thought Rose was the best person to explain everything. She didn't believe she was in a fit state to do anything, her heart was broken for good now she knew he wouldn't ever be able to get back for her. She had said goodbye forever and told him she loved him but she'd had to guess his reply but felt sure she knew what his response had been.
Now she had to relive it all over again and had fought with Pete for him to take Mickey instead but both Pete and Mickey had insisted she had been the best person to go. Rose reluctantly forced herself out of the sitting room she had been hiding in, hoping Pete would go on his own but when he shouted again, she knew she couldn't hide all day.
Pete Tyler had taken her and her mother in after rescuing them and going back to get Rose after she had activated the device again and gone back to help and be with The Doctor and had, with Jackie Tyler's agreement immediately taken on responsibility for Rose and had offered her a job within Torchwood after she completed a year at college and had invented cover stories for the two of them. Rose's mother had immediately taken to Pete and even after a short time had established herself in his life with ease and they were even making wedding plans just a few months after their arrival with Pete officially adopting Rose after the wedding.
She was having trouble keeping up with the date here on this world, it was confusing to say the least. Three years had gone by since her first visit although very little time had passed in her own world. She had left in 2006 and here it was 2009 so now she had to act like she was 23 and getting her head around that was taking some doing.
After getting into Pete's car and avoiding any form of conversation, they arrived at the regional Police headquarters and made their way inside. Rose and Pete were to sit on a makeshift stage at a table with the most senior officers and Rose felt a little out of her depth to say the least. It was a large conference room with files at each place setting and the usual water and glasses and Rose couldn't help but feel out of place. Pete had assured her she would be fine, just tell her story but not how she got here the first time but an amended story whereby she came from here in the first place and had gone with the Torchwood team into the alternate universe and had just narrowly got back after nearly being left behind due to her attachment to a man there who had needed their help, almost trapping herself there.
Pete had thought her story more dramatic than Mickey's due to the fact she was younger and now she had adapted her life to living here, her age had been altered to coincide with the facts and figures. Rose looked around the room that was now filling up and had to blink twice as a man entered the room and sat just a few feet away from her as she nudged Pete's elbow and whispered to him.
She had been told by Pete to address him as 'dad' when out although she referred to him as Pete to others she knew and often got chastised by her mother for doing so.
"Dad, look at that man there," she whispered, trying not to look in the man's direction but failing.
Pete had not caught on. "Who are you talking about Rose?" he asked, looking around the room.
"The man with the beard, he's looking at the papers in front of him."
Pete could not see the man's face as he continued to leaf through the agenda. "I don't know who you're talking about Rose, let's just concentrate on why we're here, yeah?"
Pete was used to Rose seeing the man she had left behind everywhere, she would see him in shops, on nights out, in the street and everywhere inbetween. He supposed she would always see him, she had loved him and that would take some getting over. He always felt sorry for her and tried to re-assure her she would get over it one day.
Alec Hardy was far from pleased he had been chosen to represent his division at a conference in London, a place he'd rarely been to and hated it and longed to get back to Glasgow as soon as possible to confront his wife about their daughter and the fact that she had been cheating on him and thought he didn't know. He did and was about to question her about it when he'd been chosen or more like punished into attending a meeting about the disappearance of the Cybermen. Why had they picked him? It was not like he had been on the front lines so to speak. So here he was, about to spend the next 3 days discussing Cybermen.
As he took his seat at a table near the front where his name was on a file, he looked over at the head table where Peter Tyler, the owner of Vitex, the drink he hated so much as his daughter was always drinking it, next to him was a young blonde woman and he began to think the conference wouldn't be so boring after all. He picked up his file, the conference agenda to see that a Miss Rose Tyler would be leading the conference and answering questions. The first part of the conference was about how John Lumic had been allowed to invent the creatures in the first place and not been questioned when they started appearing and how it had been too late to do anything about them.
The second part of the conference was to be about how Miss Tyler had played a part in stopping them taking over the entire world and the third part was when the Cyberman had escaped and gone missing and where it was they had disappeared to and that was being kept under wraps because it was top secret and Mr Tyler had promised to reveal all the facts as no-one knew what had happened to them and now everyone was asking questions and worried they would suddenly reappear without any warning. This is the part he was curious about, how a young woman had been responsible for almost single-handedly defeating them with just a few other people, Mr Tyler apparently being one of them whereas the Police in London had been able to do very little about it except maintain civil order afterwards when the invasion had come to light.
Alec Hardy looked at this young woman, trying not to stare at her by pretending to be studying the agenda whenever she looked over at him, it seemed they were now playing some sort of game as the room filled up and he was glad he was seated where no-one would obscure his view. He shouldn't even be looking at her, she was young and he was married but who was he kidding? Sure he was married but could he still call it that when his wife was cheating on him with a male DS in the same department? Maybe he should give her a taste of what it felt like to be on the receiving end, she didn't care how much it hurt finding out and still living in the same house for their daughter's sake although they were on different shifts that meant they hardly saw each other.
The first thing he was going to do when he got back was move out and get joint custody of Daisy and to hell with his so called wife, he would let her file for divorce, why should he do all the hard work? If she asked for one she would get it. Alec's attention was caught when he suddenly looked up at Rose Tyler who was smiling, not directly at him but she could just as easily have been. He gave himself a mental slap for being distracted by her, what would she want with someone like him?
Peter Tyler stood up as the room settled down and the Police commissioner for the south of England stood and brought the delegates to order and handed over to the Vitex chairman. After introductions, Pete went through the agenda and the conference began. The discussion about Lumic was a heated one, Rose didn't even know why she had to attend this part, she had only met him after he had been turned into the Cyber leader and had been trying to convince The Doctor to become part of his plan. The morning was spent trying to make some kind of sense out of Lumic's chaos and Alec was just as curious as to how Miss Tyler had escaped as anything else and raised his hand to ask her.
"So, Miss Tyler, just how did you make your escape? Did your friends help you or did you and Mr Tyler escape on your own?"
He had learned how several other people, including a mystery man who the two were reluctant to talk about, referring to him only as 'The Doctor' had been doing other things while Lumic had been letting his creations loose.
Rose was amused at this man, he stood out from the rest of the delegates, he looked so like the man she had lost and yet he was different. A different voice to start off with and the beard, well not even a beard as such, just a few days growth, like designer stubble as they called it but it looked good on him, not that she was looking, she was merely comparing him to The Doctor, no-one would ever replace him.
Rose deemed to answer him. It was coming up to lunchtime and the caterers were setting up in the next room and she felt hungry.
"I had some help, sorry, I don't believe I caught your name," Rose asked and this time she was smiling at him.
"Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, Glasgow Police. If Mr Lumic had himself been turned into a Cyberman, then was he locked up with the rest of those remaining?"
"No, he tried to follow us up to the roof of Battersea Power Station and he fell when clinging onto the rope ladder we were using for our escape. There was too much weight on the ladder, it gave way." She couldn't say that Pete cut the rope with The Doctor's sonic screwdriver, they might have arrested him and ask what a sonic screwdriver was.
Alec smiled to himself, he had actually spoken to her but that was not the question he had really wanted to ask her, he wanted to know if Miss Tyler would let him take her out for a drink but he managed to restrain himself and had waited to ask a more relevant question.
"Just one more question for now, Miss Tyler, just how old were you when the invasion took place?" he believed it was a fair question and it would satisfy his own curiosity whilst sounding a valid enough one to ask.
Thankfully, lunch was announced and the delegates left their places and headed next door, Rose however remained in her seat, the question going unanswered.
"Not going for lunch?" Pete asked.
"Yeah, I'll be there in a minute," she replied as this Alec Hardy was delaying his departure as much as she was.
Pete saw what was happening and smiled to himself and his hunger got the better of him and he left.
Rose got up and stepped around the table and stopped in front of Alec's table.
"So, Detective Inspector Hardy, why so curious as to how old I was when this all took place? I was old enough to come face to face with Lumic but I'm not sure just how relevant your question is. I think you're just satisfying your own curiosity," she smiled.
She had him and she had seen right through him. "Well you got me there, are you going to answer me?" he asked hopefully.
Rose just smiled. "Not on an empty stomach. Are you going to escort me to lunch?"
"If I do, will you answer my question?"
Rose wasn't sure she should but was certain he would keep asking her, probably along with the one that would involve asking her out eventually.
Alec gestured for her to step in front of him and he followed her into the room that had been set up as a dining area and allowed her to take a seat as he sat beside her while a waitress placed plates in front of them and began serving. Pete was sat on another table, talking to another Police commissioner and didn't see Rose talking to the detective or her entering with him. He had seen her watching him all throughout the morning and had smiled at the way the detective had tactfully, in front of his fellow officers, asked Rose how old she was and he was worth getting to know just for his nerve.
There was just the two of them at the table and Alec sought his opportunity to question her further and to get the answer from his previous one.
"So, are you going to answer me now, Miss Tyler," he asked as he accepted a glass of wine.
Rose didn't look up as her glass was being poured, she was debating whether to answer him or not, settling for keeping him guessing for the time being.
"Please, call me Rose when we're not in the conference room and you're Alec, right?"
"I never really liked that name, just call me Hardy, everyone else does. You don't have to say my name all the time, do you? I mean when we're talking, you don't have to keep saying my name, I know you're talking to me, unless someone else joins our conversation, which I'm hoping they don't but if they were to join in, you only have to look at me for me to know you're talking to me and then looking at the other person. I don't have to keep saying 'Rose' for you to know I'm talking to you, do you?"
Rose was smiling. He not only looked like The Doctor, apparently he babbled the same as well.
He saw the look on her face and felt a bit put out. "Did I say something amusing?" he asked, trying not to feel hurt.
"No, it's just you remind me of someone I used to know, he used to babble like that."
"Oh, I wasn't aware I was 'babbling' as you so rudely put it, I was merely trying to point out a fact that repeating my name all the time wasn't necessary. I'm not sure I would class it as 'babbling' as you so kindly put it."
Rose was dying to laugh but he already thought she was being rude. She was so used to bantering with The Doctor, she couldn't help but carry it on. She was sure she wasn't going to apologise to him though. She wasn't successful at keeping her amusement to herself as she let out a giggle as he began eating his lunch. He stopped and began to see the funny side.
"So, what's so amusing about me 'babbling' as you put it then?" and began to smile, trying not to draw attention to himself or Rose.
"Oh, it's just something me and my friend used to have arguments over, the one I mentioned earlier. He would do it all the time and we both used to end up laughing about it afterwards. He used to do it without thinking, he never saw it as babbling either."
"Right, no more babbling then, just don't keep using my name when you don't need to."
Rose was now even more determined to keep calling his name just to see how much she could annoy him, at least until he gave in and asked her to stop and the only way he could do that would be to kiss her. There was a niggling feeling in the back of her mind that somehow she was betraying when she had said to The Doctor only a few weeks ago, that she loved him but she was certain that he wouldn't want her to spend her life being miserable and had once told her to have a fantastic life. She was also sure that the man she was sat with had more to him than she had seen and wanted to find out more about him.