A/N: Rose never met The Doctor, she finished college where she met Doctor James Smith, a history professor who took her travelling with him for a year as his research assistant. The character is based on the duplicate Doctor.
After all the arguments with her mother, Rose Tyler finally decided enough was enough. Along with the "Why don't you get a job instead of taking money off Jack's father" and the "I can't look after a six month old baby when I have clients coming in, I'm not a babysitting service" from her mother and the "We could start going out again, you could say the baby is mine" from Mickey, Rose thought the best thing she could do was take her six month old son Jack, whose father had left them three months ago saying he wasn't cut out to be a dad, away from London and make a fresh start.
So she had packed her Vauxhall Astra car with two suitcases, a stroller, a bag of toys, a baby bag and a folding cot and headed down the motorway towards Exeter and maybe beyond but she was going to stop overnight in the city and get her bearings. What she was going to do when she decided her final destination was anyone's guess.
She had no need of going out to work, she got a single mother allowance, child allowance and a generous amount from Jack's father every month but getting her own place in London had not been an option. Her mother had taken her in until she found somewhere but the council wouldn't give her priority because she had a roof over her head, even though she had to share her old bedroom with her son.
In her haste to implement her plan of escape, she had failed to notice a problem with her car, which Mickey was supposed to do the maintenance at a reduced rate but she had forgotten to take it two days before she planned on leaving. Now she was off the motorway and had just left the roundabout leading to Dorchester, Jack was asleep in his baby seat after being fed at the last motorway stop but it was after four in the afternoon and she wasn't sure if she should stop off somewhere and find a B&B for the night.
She still had some money from James that he gave her on his last visit to see his son, he gave her a cheque every time though Rose would have preferred for a bank transfer but he said he liked to make sure she got it. On his last visit, he'd still had no regrets about letting them go even though he knew where they were living. He'd told her he could help her set up a private flat but in London, that was out of the question so he'd agreed she would leave, not too far away and if she found somewhere suitable, he would act as a guarantor and help her with the deposit.
She had still a bit to go and a sign was coming up for a place called Broadchurch, which had been on the news recently but it was as good a place as any. Suddenly, the car began acting strange so she thought it best to pull over as a lay-by was coming up. She just made it before steam began coming out of the engine compartment so she turned it off and would have to wait for it to cool down.
She had a large bottle of water in the back so once it cooled down, she would try filling the radiator but half an hour later, Jack had woken up and began crying so she went to sit in the back with him, the car hood still open since she'd covered her hand while doing so.
Suddenly, she was aware a large SUV type car had pulled in behind her, a bearded man at the wheel and she began to panic when he got out and went round to the passenger door and tapped on the window. She was even more worried when he went in his jacket pocket but he brought out a wallet and held it up. It identified him as Detective Inspector Hardy, Wessex Police so she breathed a sigh of relief and opened the door, since the windows were electric and the engine was off.
"Hello there, you seem to be having trouble? I am no expert but perhaps your car radiator has boiled dry?"
"Yeah, stupid thing, I was about to go try and fill it up, I have water in the back."
"Then fetch it and I will attempt to do it for you. Do you have breakdown cover?"
"Yeah, with having a six month old baby. Let me get that water."
"What's the boy's name?"
"Jack and I was trying to get him to go back to sleep. It's starting to get a bit cold now."
"Right, let's try filling the radiator and if that's no good, call the breakdown service, get your son and I will get his seat and you both sit in my car until they arrive, if you agree?"
"Well you are the police, I reckon I'm safe enough with you."
So she waited as Alec Hardy took the bottle of water and since the radiator had cooled down he took the cap off but right away, the water was going straight through so he stopped and shook his head as he looked around the hood at Rose as she kept a safe distance.
"I guess it's got a leak."
"You don't say," Rose replied, feeling totally cheesed off.
"Well get your son and go keep warm in my car and I will call the breakdown company, they will take more notice of me. They will have to tow it to the nearest garage which will be in Broadchurch. Where were you heading?"
"Originally Exeter but I was going to stop there, in Broadchurch anyway, Jack will need to settle down for the night. I'll get my membership card then get Jack out of his seat. Do you know how to take it out?"
He'd had plenty of practice with Ellie Miller's son recently. "Yes, my DS has a two year old, she was driving me around until fairly recently."
That done, Alec put the seat in from the passenger side and Rose strapped her son back in even though he was getting a bit irritated by now so she gave him a baby biscuit to suck on and got in the other side after locking her car, not that it was going anywhere but all her belongings were in there except for the baby bag she'd put on her shoulder when getting Jack out.
Alec got back in the driver's seat, switched the engine on to get the heater going then dialled the number on the card, noting the name of Miss Rose Tyler. Rose was thinking it was her lucky day to have a police officer stop to help her and he wasn't bad looking in a scruffy bearded sort of way. She thought though he looked a little like James but shook the idea off instantly.
Alec was pulling rank with the breakdown service operator.
"Look, I am not having this 'we'll have someone with her within the hour', she is alone with a young baby, now get someone out sooner than that."
"Sir, all our patrols are attending other breakdowns but as soon as one is free, I'll have them go out to her as priority. Is she safe for now?"
"Yes, they are sitting in my car, you had best send a recovery vehicle, her car is going nowhere except to a garage."
"Sir, that is why she will have to wait, if the car is not drivable and she can't sit in it with a young baby and steer it. Are you staying with her?"
He didn't have much choice, looking in the mirror to see her trying to keep the young boy entertained. She was now smiling hopefully at him. There was only one thing to do, the right thing and that was get all her things out of her car and take them into Broadchurch and try to find them a place to stay. Her car would be expensive to fix, would she be able to afford both repairs and accommodation?
He had an idea but didn't know if she would agree. He could call Miller and ask if she'd finished decorating her loft but he doubted it was at the top of her list of priorities. If not, he had a spare room to offer her for the night or however long it took to repair her car.
He half turned to tell her what had been arranged. Rose was annoyed they didn't think of her as a priority.
"That's because you are with a police officer, you are safe enough with me. Now give me your key and I will get your things out of the back. Where were you planning on staying?"
"No idea, do you know any places?"
"No disrespect but if you have car repairs to pay for, can you afford a hotel?"
Rose put on her best smile. "Maybe not then?"
"Well if you agree, I have a spare room, do you have a cot for the baby?"
"Yeah, a folding one, in the bottom, under the cases. Shall I help you get everything out?"
"No, I can manage, stay with your son, he seems to be going to sleep again."
"For now, he'll want feeding and changing again soon and settling down for the night."
"Well if you agree, as soon as the breakdown truck arrives, let them take it to the garage and I'll take you to my cottage, at least for tonight. Then tomorrow, we can see what the damage is and arrange to do the repairs."
"I can't afford a lot, I'm on a limited budget if I have to find a place to stay."
"Well, you can stay for as long as you need to. No need to pay me, maybe you can do a little housework and a bit of cooking in return for your room and board. So what do you say?"
"Thanks, I think. Why are you doing this? Because you're a police officer?"
"Partly but I could hardly check to see how you were doing then just drive off, could I?"
"Most men would have done," Rose sighed.
"I am not most men. I'll go get your things now, is there anything you want to leave?"
"No, there's just the cot, the stroller, two cases and a bag of toys."
"You got all of that in the back? Is it bigger than it looks?"
"Maybe?" she smiled, looking at her baby son, who was now asleep but wouldn't be for long. At least it was now warm in the car, which had lulled Jack to sleep again.
She knew she couldn't afford the car repairs and a room so she was going to have to rely on Alec Hardy's generosity and hope he wouldn't try to take advantage of her but she could handle herself. Looking after his house in return for them staying there, just for a few weeks wouldn't be all that bad, at least she wouldn't have to find a job for a few weeks until the next cheque from James like she thought she might have to do by hoping wherever she could get some work she could take Jack with her. Once the next cheque came through, she could start looking for a place to live, James hadn't been happy her mother was actually charging her rent, which had taken a big chunk out of her income. She knew that was the reason he'd agreed to help her move.
Alec was transferring Rose's belongings to the back of his car when a patrol pulled up behind him, whom he recognised as Bob.
"DI Hardy Sir, I thought that was you so I turned back. The young lady having trouble?" he gestured towards Rose in the back of Alec's car.
"The radiator is leaking, we are waiting for the breakdown truck to take it to a garage, they should be here soon then I am taking her down into Broadchurch for the night until she finds out how long it will take to repair."
"Do you need some help then Sir?"
"Yes, help me with her cases."
Alec was soon back in the car, having checked nothing was left in Rose's and a short time later, he could see the yellow and orange lights of the breakdown truck so still having her membership card, he told her to stay where she was and he got out to deal with the patrol-man.
"Are you with the young lady?" Alec was asked.
He got his ID card out and the other man nodded. "You're sure it's the radiator?"
"Yes, that is why there is water all over the road, though I don't pretend to be an expert, that's your job. Where will you take it?"
"The garage just off the High Street, they should still be open. Right, since the young lady doesn't need a ride, I'll take care of it, can I see her membership card?"
Alec handed it over and waited for it to be checked, he'd not seen a problem with it though. Getting it back, he handed the key over and left the man to it after giving his card with his phone number.
"Give that to the garage, tell them I am dealing with it."
He got back in the car again and told Rose he was taking her down near the harbour where he lived. He'd only come back recently and had been unable to get his riverside chalet back so he'd taken a two bedroomed cottage instead, in case his daughter decided to grace him with her presence, now hopefully not while Rose and her son were going to be staying with him.
He didn't know how she was going to react when he'd suggested they stay with him but what was the alternative? Find an expensive B&B for a few days and live in just the one room? He wondered where exactly she'd been staying and who the baby's father was, maybe she was running away?
He knew nothing about her yet he'd jumped in feet first and offered them a place to stay, he must be getting soft in the head. Maybe he should call Miller, then she could tell him exactly the same, that he needed his head examining, let alone his check-up on his pacemaker, which was where he was coming back from when he'd seen a car up ahead with the hood open and when he'd pulled in, seen a young woman.
He turned off at the next roundabout towards the harbour, then down his street until he reached the row of cottages. Getting out, he went to the passenger side to help Rose get the sleeping baby out of his seat then he went ahead to open the door for them.
"Make yourself comfortable Rose, it is Rose? I'm Alec Hardy."
"Yeah, that's me, hi, we weren't properly introduced, were we?"
"Well we are now, are we not? I will go get your things, I think you need the stroller first, then you can put him in there and come and help me, it will be much quicker with two of us bringing everything in. Will he want feeding soon?"
"Yeah, it's been a while but he has milk before he goes to bed, I'll need to make some up."
Alec brought the stroller in and she put Jack in and strapped him in then went to help Alec with the rest of her things, him taking her cases to the spare room, then the folding cot, putting it up at the end of the bed.
"It's not a big room but it's comfortable enough plus while I am at work, you will have the house to yourself, please make it your own. Right, you get unpacked before he wakes up and I will go make us something to eat, are you hungry?"
"Yeah but if he wakes up first, I'll need to see to him."
Rose decided she may as well get what she needed for the night and following day out but he had said she could stay as long as she wanted but she didn't want to overstay her welcome by too much. She recalled seeing him in the news recently as well as last year but hadn't taken much notice but she could have sworn he'd been ill.
While Rose was upstairs, Alec looked at the sleeping blonde-haired baby, who was making faces which made him smile to himself. He was quite used to babysitting over the last weeks, while the trial had been taking place so this was nothing new to him.
Rose could smell something cooking and went back downstairs as Alec was taking Jack out of the stroller and trying to calm him down by rocking him in his arms and to Rose's surprise, Jack obliged and looked at the strange man holding him.
"You two have met then?" Rose smiled as she held her arms out.
"Yes, we have come to an understanding, have we not young man? Make his bottle up then I will stir the sauce in the pasta, I will keep it on a low heat until you finish."
"That could take a while, depending on what mood he's in. Then I'll get him ready for bed."
"Then I will turn the stove off and leave it for a while until you put him to bed. Then we have some talking to do such as why you are running away."
"What makes you think I'm running away?" she asked, boiling some water to make the bottle since she had used the only one she'd made up on the way.
Alec was now sat with the boy, who was trying to go for his beard and Alec was grabbing his tiny hand and pretending to eat it, making Jack giggle. Rose took the bottle over having cooled it in a jug of cold water and sat next to them, holding her arms out but Jack made no effort to move, now sat in Alec's arm and looking at her.
"Pass it here then. You may as well know I have a teenage daughter, I have done this before."