A/N: For the purpose of this story Olly Stevens has left the local newspaper and Rose Tyler has taken his place. Events in the story may take place in a different order and be speeded up.
Rose Tyler was training to be a newspaper reporter and her father, well stepfather had secured her a place in a small Dorset town called Broadchurch. Rose had been expected to join her stepfather at Torchwood but since they had been responsible for her ending up in this universe in the first place, she had been reluctant to join them. So she had worked at Vitex for a while but she wanted a challenge so Pete Tyler had called in a few favours and someone had put him in touch with a local newspaper and after travelling down for an interview, the editor had taken her on after her star protégé had been accepted to a big city tabloid.
Pete had set her up in a nice furnished holiday apartment just on the harbour to see if she was going to actually stay there and Rose loved waking up every morning and seeing all the boats. She had been in the town just over a week when she was given the task of covering the local junior school's sports day and so she set off to cover the event, figuring she had to start somewhere. Rose had been promised a photographer but no-one had turned up so she chatted to the winners and took photos, making sure she had all the names right.
She was just talking to a boy Tom Miller and taking some photos on her phone, when she saw a woman coming towards the boy, thinking it was the boy's mother but the woman just asked him if he had seen a boy called Danny and then the woman went to talk to a teacher. Rose thought nothing of it and since the event was coming to a close, she checked she had covered the main events and headed back to her car. It was going to take her a while to get back as she turned out of the road from the school at the roundabout onto the A35 to find traffic at a standstill.
There were always traffic jams on that part of the road, probably people on day trips going into Broadchurch and it was a hot day so since there were cars behind her, she indicated the opposite direction and just managed to get through. Where she was going she had no idea but there must be another way into the town. She pulled up a bit further back up the road and got out her roadmap, her satnav was telling her to turn around and go join the traffic jam and there was no way she was going to do that. Rose liked nothing better than having a good argument with her satnav.
Luckily, she saw a turning on the map that led to a village and by the look of the map, she could follow it and come out at the other end of Broadchurch then she could double back to the newspaper office. All went well, her satnav picked up the route and she was heading back into the town, figuring the traffic had probably cleared anyway by now but as she passed the hotel just as she came into the town, the road to the left, leading to the beach was blocked off with Police cars stopping vehicles and pedestrians alike. She needed to turn right so she wasn't too bothered but she wondered what was going on.
Finally getting back to the newspaper office, she told the editor, Maggie she had got held up by the traffic and the road to the beach was blocked off.
"Well," her editor said, "Let's see what you have from the school, sorry about Reg not turning up to it, it's seems he had an appointment with a bottle of scotch last night."
Rose smiled, Maggie was always complaining about him. "Lucky I took some on my phone then," Rose said, waving the phone in front of the older woman.
"Great, I knew there was a reason I took you on," Maggie smiled, grabbing Rose's shoulder. "Now be a dear and show me how to download them then why don't you take a walk down to the harbour and find out what's going on?"
Rose download the photos and sent them over to Maggie's computer and put her phone away in her shoulder bag and got up again, passing a piece of paper with the children's names on them.
"You can finish the article when you get back Rose and if you call in the coffee shop, get my usual will you?"
"Yeah, sure Maggie, you're addicted to the stuff."
Maggie laughed, she liked the young woman. An old friend from Fleet Street had asked her to take Rose on, the stepdaughter of the Vitex Chairman wanted to learn the trade, from scratch the old-fashioned way and she had agreed but had said she would cut Rose no slack and she was treated like everyone else and no-one was to know who she actually was.
That had been fine with Rose, who didn't want to bring any attention to herself. Rose set off to walk to the harbour and the beach but when she walked around the corner, the road leading round was blocked off to traffic but people were still walking around so she joined the crowd and made it to the harbour, stopping to talk to the newsagent, who she had met just once and asked him what was going on.
"Hello Jack, any idea what's happened over there?" she asked, nodding her head in the direction of the beach.
Jack knew who she was, he didn't like the press but he knew she had just arrived in the town so as long as she left him alone, he would tolerate her.
"Police have been here since half past six this morning, then more of them came and then the ambulance, it seems they found someone on the beach first thing this morning."
"Oh, well in that case, I'd better go do some reporting then hadn't I?" she smiled, almost like some spark had been lit.
Jack could see that the newspaper editor was going to have her hands full with this one, she was much more lively that that Olly Stevens. Making her way as far as she could before almost crossing the white and blue Police tape, she could see people in the distance, two ambulance crew, a tall man with a scruffy beard and a woman with brown curly hair and someone lying on the beach, covered by an ambulance blanket and from what she could see, it was not an adult. She covered her mouth, it was a child, a boy by the look of it. Then she remembered back at the school earlier, a woman had asked that boy, Tom something if he had seen a boy called Danny. She didn't know the boy's surname but since his mother hadn't seen him at the school, it could be assumed he was at least missing, even if she was wrong about this.
She could see a white tent being erected and suddenly, the people on the beach moved aside as the tent covered the body. She needed to see more, to report back and she watched as the tall man and the woman walked back towards the Police tape and Rose thought she has seen a ghost – the man held up the tape to allow the woman through, just a foot away from her and as he turned his head, he looked right at Rose as if no-one was there. Rose would have sworn it was The Doctor, with a beard.
Rose wanted to call his name out but she knew it was impossible it was him, it couldn't have been and if he had been in this universe, he would have contacted her unless he had lost his memory of her somehow. Rose turned around and saw them walking to a nearby car, the woman getting into the driver's seat and they moved off. She had to find out who he was if he wasn't her Doctor.
Rose walked back to the newspaper office, remembering to get coffee for her boss and reported back to her. When she mentioned she had heard someone at the school asking about a boy named Danny, Maggie took her glasses off and looked at Rose.
"Danny? Danny Latimer? His mother works here at the tourist office but she's been off since before you arrived, you won't have met her. Was she asking where Danny was? How could she not know he wasn't there, unless he went to school right from his paper round, she never said but if he wasn't at school and they found a boy on the beach – oh Rose, it could be him."
Rose was horrified to have a name put to the body she had seen on the beach. "Did you know him?"
"Of course, I knew him, he came in to see his mum sometimes with his older sister, although I only really said hello to him. Beth, his mother talked about him all the time. If it was him you saw, Rose, we have to keep this quiet until we get confirmation, The Echo works with the Police."
Rose nodded, it wasn't right to reveal a name on pure speculation. Pete had been right, Maggie was very old school in journalism.
"I saw what looked like two plain clothes detectives or something on the beach, do you know who they would be?"
"Well, one would be DS Miller, she was due back from holiday and I think the other will be the new DI, I think his name is Hardy."
Rose went back to her desk to finish her report from the school sports day then forwarded it to Maggie for approval then she looked up Alec Hardy. There were numerous reports about him, mainly from his last case, including a report from The Daily Herald by a reporter called Karen White, who apparently was on a witch-hunt with Hardy and had not painted him in the best light.
Alec Hardy had been on the cliff top, answering a call about a cut wire fence and diesel being stolen from a tractor, a job for uniformed officers, not him. He had not come to this dismal town to investigate petty crimes but since the DS who was supposed to come back from holiday today had not official come on duty, it had been passed to him. Then the call had come in, a body had been found on the beach beneath the cliffs.
He had just arrived when a woman came past the Police tape and he tried to wave her off until she flashed a badge at him and started an inappropriate dialogue about him getting her job. He had asked her if she really wanted to do this now and got her to tell him about the boy lying on the beach. They had just left the forensics team to get on with their job and were going off to the cliff top to see if the boy had been thrown over. As they were leaving the beach, he had caught a glimpse of a young blonde woman who had been staring at him. Had he met her before? Surely he would have remembered?
Rose was debating whether to contact this Karen White and ask her for the low-down on Alec Hardy but decided against it, it all seemed a bit one-sided and the woman had clearly had it in for the detective, making him out to be the villain for apparently losing crucial evidence, even though other newspapers had proclaimed his innocence in it all. Ms White had been unforgiving and if she got her hands on this, she would probably make the score of a lifetime at Hardy's expense.
Whether he was The Doctor or not, Rose was determined the other reporter was not going to make a name for herself destroying the man's career. She had only known her new boss a short time but she seemed fair and trusted that if this Karen White showed up in the town, she wouldn't give her the time of day. Well at least she liked to think so.
Rose was interrupted from her thoughts as Maggie called her to her office.
"Rose, there's a press conference being held at the school later, be a dear and go cover it for me will you?"
Her first press conference, Maggie was putting a lot of faith in her. This was an opportunity not to be missed.
"I'd love to. I've been reading up on this DI Hardy, seems he got a rough deal on his last case."
"Yes, I remember that, they made him out to be the villain but he was proved innocent. They must have sent him down here to lie low."
"Fat chance there is of that now. If he's trying to lie low, he's just landed himself right in the middle of it. Have you heard of a reporter called Karen White from the Daily Herald?"
"No, I don't think so. Why do you ask?"
"She hung Hardy out to dry on that last case, wouldn't give him a fair hearing. I expect she will want to come down here and dig her claws into him again."
"Probably, I'll keep an eye out for her, she won't get any co-operation out of us."
Rose was quite pleased with that. Hardy may not actually be The Doctor but she was going to keep his nemesis out of his way as best she could and she had a feeling her boss wouldn't take too kindly to getting 'scooped' so it was up to her to give him a fair hearing.
She finished what she was doing and told Maggie she was going up to the school and made her way back where she had been earlier. The media were gathering, she had to show her press pass to the officers on the door as the public were not being allowed in and she sat down on one of the row's of chairs facing a long table in front of some boards that had been put up with a 'Wessex Police' symbol on each one.
Then the door opened from the side entrance and in walked a uniformed woman, probably the Chief Superintendent, another suited man and followed by who Rose recognised as Alec Hardy. The resemblance to The Doctor was uncanny, except for the beard, she had only seen him occasionally when he hadn't shaved for maybe a day, he had always shaved, probably trying to impress her, which he had, shame he never actually did anything about it though.
The three Police officials took their places and the woman stood up, thanking the members of the press for coming and handing them over to DI Hardy.
He sat there, staring into a TV camera and gave the cold facts about the body on the beach – Maggie had been right – it was Danny Latimer. Rose listened in horror, hoping her boss had been wrong. Then Hardy looked directly at her, well it seemed to Rose he was as he said his last words – we will catch whoever did this.
Rose just prayed he would be able to keep his word this time but he had a secret weapon that he wasn't aware of – Rose Tyler.
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