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Unravelling of the mind

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After Joe Miller was pronounced not guilty, D.I Alec Hardy walked Joes wife, D.S Ellie Miller out of the courtroom as soon as they stepped outside. Journalists swarmed around focusing significantly on Ellie, as Hardy was off-duty because of his heart he had full right to tell the journalist where to go. He thought about saying it but decided better. Just another thing to hound them for in the papers. One significant reporter pushed her way through the crowd and was right beside the tense scot.

“D.S Miller, how did you not know who you were sleeping with? Where you in on it? Are you having an affair with D.I Hardy?”

Hardy had half a mind to tell Karen white to fuck off but before he could say it his colleague jumped in

“If this is for the bloody press, get a life instead of ruining others”

Ellie snapped through the tears. Karen showed a look of disgust on her face, before stomping off to make someone elses life miserable. Alec smiled at his feisty friend, he never did think Ellie had it in her but by the end of the case, she really knuckled down until Alec had to break the devastating news. It was one of the hardest things he ever had to do, which was saying something for D.I Hardy’s mess of a life. He whispered to her

“Ellie, what about Tom and Fred? We should take him out of school early before the news spreads, It will be better if he hears it from you.”

Ellie couldn’t bear to think of explaining it to Tom, Fred wouldn’t realise anyones really missing…

Oh god, how will I explain this to him when he’s older. “Could you come with me lifting Tom and Fred up? Please Alec”

Hardy knew she was serious when Ellie used Alec, he never did plan on leaving her in a time like this though.

“Of course, Ellie, I’ll be there”

His Scottish lilt going soft trying to soothe her. Alec jumped when he felt Ellies arms wrap around him and feeling her head resting on his chest

“Oh Alec, what am I going to do”

She sobbed into her boss’ chest while Alec tried to console her the best he could. Luckily, they were in the car, so no-one saw them. Alec pulled Ellie tighter wrapping his arms around as if trying to protect her from all the stuff she’s going through. After they sat there for about ten minutes, Ellie consoled herself enough to make herself look calm again. Alec took the wheel as Ellie was in no way fit to drive. As they arrived at Toms school, after a tense but sad drive they were both glad to get air. As they arrived at reception, the female receptionist gave them a funny look at Alec nodding to Ellie as to say are you having an affair with her? Alec sighed and shook his head in a way that only the receptionist noticed. She blushed and her eyes gave a look of apology, she spoke up “Ellie, I assume you’re here for Tom.

I’m sorry about what happened.”

Ellie smiled at her

“Uh yes please, is he in his classroom?"

The receptionist stated clearly

“Yes, in room 59”

Ellie whispered to Alec

“I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”

Alec nodded and Ellie walked off, when she was out of earshot the receptionist quickly said obviously embarrassed

“Sorry, D.I Hardy, I meant no offense. Thanks, for trying to get him, we all knew it was him but the bastard got away with I mean”

Alec gave her an apologetic smile

“Don’t worry, you’re not the first to think that and no point thanking me, believe me I want that man to rot in a cell, sadly the jury begged to differ”

The receptionist gave an awkward smile

“That poor family, please D.I Hardy. Be there for them.”

Alec gave a sombre look

“I’ll try, nothing more I can do now though, Miller should have been locked up for a long time because of her work, she’s an amazing detective.”

Ellie sat her son down and warned him about being rude or cheeky to Hardy

“Tom, I’m telling you before hand that D.I Hardy is here, do you remember him?"

Tom tried to remember his name and how he knew the D.I

“Is he the one that’s tall with the Scottish accent that looks angry all the time?”

Ellie frowned at her boy

“Yes Tom, that would be Alec”

Tom smiled and exclaimed

“Mum he’s nice!”

Ellie gave her son a confused look but let him continue

“When I was in the shop, he bought me a chocolate bar when I didn’t have enough money with me and he makes you laugh so he seems nice, and it was my favourite kind of chocolate as well and he says hello to me on the streets”

Ellie gave her son a bewildered look but laughed anyway. D.I Bloody Hardy she thought, the most unlikely person in the world to be like that. Maybe he isn’t completely a gruff and impatient Scot. Thinking of this made her laugh even harder, this is the saddest day of her life but her son can still squeeze laughs and smiles out of her. When she met Hardy at reception who was looking at the work on display, she smirked at him

“Whats so bloody funny oh and hello Tom”

Ellie broke into a smile,

“I’ll tell you later” she said.

The trio walked out to the car and got in, when they all arrived at Ellie’s sister Lucy’s. she sent Tom in to get Fred, she took this opportunity to explain to Alec why she was laughed so much

“Tom told me that you bought him a chocolate bar in the shop when he didn’t have enough and that your very nice and stern, he also said that you make me laugh and he loves that, and you say hello to him in the streets.”

Alec rolled his eyes

“Oh, come on. He was missing a pound and when I came in he put the chocolate bar down after counting his money, I was in to buy food and I picked up the chocolate bar for him. I saw him in the park and walked over to give him it. He said to me thank you Mr Hardy and smiled at me. Yeah I do say hello to him in the streets, jeez Miller I do have a heart.”

Ellie laughed

“Imagine that D.I Hardy the grumpiest and most impatient D.I in the whole bloody country and yet he buys my son chocolate bars. Imagine what the people at the office would say!”

“Ach, shut up Miller. He’s a good lad”

Tom walked out with Fred and set him in the car. Alec said to Tom

“Tom, I can hold Fred for you, it’ll be easier for you”

Tom nodded

“Thank you, wait what should I call you Mr Hardy?”

Alec thought for a minute as people either call him sir or Hardy

“Alec or Hardy will be fine Tom, no need for Mr.”

Tom wondered what to call him but thought to ask this question

“Why do you not like the name Alec?”

Alec shrugged but tried to hide his pain, he answered not telling the whole truth

“I just don’t really like the sound of it Tom but you can call me that if you want, I don’t mind”

“Okay Alec, but I actually think it suits you.”

Alec smiled and reached over for Fred, Fred grabbed Alec’s hair and started to tug on it.

“Awec Awec” Fred said.

Ellie laughed as she glanced at Alec who had a true smile on his face for once. Fred started to laugh at Alec and moved himself towards him and bumped into Alec’s chest. He started to snooze and Alec snuggled the young boy and gently rocked him too to sleep. Ellie thought to herself, he really is sweet when no one pays attention, Alec looked down at Fred and gave a broken smile, so much pain behind those hazel coloured eyes. Alec thought to himself that he would make sure Fred had a happy childhood even if he had a piece of shit father, Alec will stay in this town that he doesn’t really like to make sure of this. When they arrived at Ellie’s house, Ellie started to shake with anger, but failed to hide it. Alex gave her a questioning look but Ellie shook her head. Alec carried Fred up to his nursery and Tom followed him up to his room. When Alec lay Fred down in the cot he kissed him on the forehead and headed downstairs to make himself and Ellie a cup of tea and coffee, Ellie ushered him into the kitchen and closed the door.

“Hardy, how do we say this to Tom. He’ll be ruined.”

Alec gave a sigh

“Oh Miller, I don’t have a bloody clue. I’d just say that he was let out even though he was guilty and not to speak or go near him, I guess.”

Ellie popped on the kettle and took two mugs out, “Alec this may sound stupid, but do you have a place to stay?” Alec looked awkward as he was living in his own house, he finally bought one “uh, I just planned to stay in my house, why?” Ellie with a stubborn look on her face “Stay here for a couple of days, Alec please” She said adamantly. “Ellie I don’t want to be a burden, are you sure?” He looked fidgety as he didn’t want to annoy her. “Please, for me and the boys” Alec smiled “fine, but I’m sleeping on the sofa. Ellie finished making their respective drinks and handed it over to Hardy, he tasted it and it was perfect, Ellie really did know how to make it like he liked it. Ellie also made a hot chocolate for Tom, since he really deserved it. The two detectives went up to Toms room. Ellie knocked on his door “Come in” Tom said. They went in and set down Toms hot chocolate beside him, Ellie sat down beside Tom on his bed and motioned for Alec to sit on the chair beside the bed. They both sat down and Ellie began to speak choosing the words very carefully “Tom, as you know me and Alec have been trying to find who killed Danny, we have convicted your father but…” Tom looked shocked and scared “Mum…Alec what happened at trial today?” Alec gave a sigh... “Tom your father got away with it, I’m sorry” Tom gave Alec a look of shock and confusion, he turned to his mother who regrettably sighed “No, that’s not true, that’s not true. That’s impossible!” Ellie had tears in her eyes and forced the horrific words out of her mouth “I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I’m sorry” Ellie pulled Tom into a hug… and heard a whisper “I hate him… I hate so much mum” Alec looked down at his hands and started to fidget, obviously uncomfortable with the whole situation. He didn’t want to intrude with the intimate family moment, he felt so bad for that poor kid, he can’t comprehend the pain and betrayal he must be feeling right now. Tom pulled away with a broken look in his eyes but also with fury “I’m glad he’s gone and you’re here Alec. Keep us safe” he muttered under his breath too low for anyone to hear. He went downstairs and the adults followed him, Tom sat in the dining room trying to comprehend what he just heard. He felt sick at the fact that his own father would kill his friends and still get away with it. Mum and Alec was quietly talking and after a couple of minutes his mum went out of the house. Alec went into Tom and sat beside him, he didn’t know whether to thank him for trying his best. He desperately wanted to hear that it was a joke and his dad was found guilty but he knew it was true. Alec broke the silence “Are you okay, Tom?” Tom stuttered over his words “I-I don’t know, I-I feel so angry. This may sound weird but could I have a hug?” Alec tried to smile but couldn’t, Tom ran over to him anyway. He threw himself at the Scot, he didn’t care if he wasn’t family or anything, he was still a good friend and that was all he needed. He broke down in Alec’s arms, he felt the warmth and compassion in the hug itself. Alec hugged this boy as hard as he would as his own daughter, he felt so bad for this young boy. He vowed to himself that he would protect Ellie’s two boys until his last breath, if he can’t make his own daughters life better than at least he can try with people who need it. Tom, who needed distraction asked Alec

“Uh Alec, would you maybe play fifa with me?”

Alec laughed “Tom, I can’t remember the last time I played fifa, I have a daughter not a son but sure, just until your mum comes home.”

Tom ran upstairs to his room to put on the playstation, while Alec poured themselves drinks, Coke for Tom and just water for Alec. He walked upstairs into Toms room where he had everything set up and ready to go. Tom had chosen Manchester City and Alec hadn’t decided yet,

“I thought about choosing a Scottish team cause y’know but maybe you like other teams.” Tom said.

Alec exclaimed “Oh wow, for your information I am a fan of Celtic young Tom"

They got into the game, It ended up 2-1 to Alec and as they exited the game the boys heard Ellie come in. she shouted up to them

“Boys, foods here!”

The boys ran downstairs, Ellie got food from a Chinese place, Toms favourite. Alec wasn’t really able to eat a lot of the food so when Fred woke up, Alec heard a

“I’m hunwy”

and tended to him leaving Ellie and Tom in peace for a minute. He Walked up the stairs to a lively Fred.

“Awec I’m weally hunwy” Fred exclaimed at the hardened D.I

" Ach, I know that, wee Fred"

his Scottish tone full of love and care for the young boy. Alec lifted him up and brought Fred down and let his sit on his chair. He tried all sorts of ways to feed Fred but he just wasn’t having it,

“Not yummy” the boy pouted.

Alec gave a sigh remembering all the times Daisy had done this, remembering all the intricate ways he used to get her to eat.

“Fred, if you don’t eat this a big furry monster will eat it on you” his tone of voice stern but kind,

Alec unknowingly used the same technique that bastard Joe Miller would use to get Fred to eat. Fred said something so drastically bad “Daddy?”

Tom spat out his drink and ran up to his room too upset to speak, Ellie broke down in tears while Alec started to panic. Fred obviously confused started to whine

“Why Mummy cwy” and started to cry as well.

Ellie left the room and locked herself in the bathroom the pain too hard to bear, Alec was left alone with a crying child and an ache in his barely functioning heart.

“Fred, don’t cry, don’t cry. Uncle Alec’s here alright wee pet. Mummy’s not well pet”

Fred looked at Alec with his big blue eyes, “Awec is mummy alwight?”

Alec smiled softly at the boy “Your mothers fine darlin’ just a bit sick that’s all”

Fred quieted down and tottered off into the living room to watch telly leaving Alec to console the other two Millers. He went into Ellie after a severe amount of protest coming from the other side of the bathroom door, after all the arguing he manually turned the lock and went inside. What he saw scared him, he had never saw a woman so broken down and defeated not since... Anyway, repressing that memory, he knelt down beside the sobbing Ellie and hugged her, as a true friend and not as a boss. Ellie let herself be hugged but her arms were limp, too emotionally drained too do anything. She hated that man, god she wanted to kill him, she wished Alec did but he didn’t, she knew that. Alec was a better man than anyone else she knew, and now he’s seeing her at her worse.

“Ellie, god I’m so sorry, if I had known I would have never did it”

Alec was not far from tears himself seeing this woman he admired be broken down by her own heart, god if he was not careful Ellie would go down the same road as him. Ellie managed to be quiet for the sake of her sons, but she let it all out for the man hugging her as he was the closest person to understanding she knew, hell they both went through the same thing. Betrayed by the other half, life will never be the same and people hate them for what happened. Alec stayed there for a solid ten minutes just holding her and trying to console this broken woman in front of him. Ellie drifted off in his arms, Bollocks Alec thought, how would he get her into her room without her waking. He scooped her up gently in his arms, despite how thin he was, he had  a surprising amount of strength, enough to carry a sleeping woman, He gently lay her down on the duvet, and smothered her in a blanket, she finally looked calm and not the person that had a mental breakdown forty minutes ago.

He heard pacing in Toms room and knocked on the door

“Go away mum, I don’t want to see anyone”

his pacing stopped when he heard D.I Hardys gentle voice through the door “It’s me, Alec, not your mum Tom, she’s asleep”

Toms tone shifted into a softer and quieter voice “Oh, Alec you can come in… I guess”

Alec let himself in to see Tom on his bed with tears in his eyes, every parental instinct told him to run up to Tom and hug him but he took it slow, he walked across Toms room slowly and sat beside him on the bed. Tom instantly gravitated towards him resting his head against the D.Is shoulder, wishing this was all over.

He whispered to the Scot “Alec, I’m scared, what if he comes for Fred or even me? I can’t even imagine what he would do to see us again and in all truth I don’t want to imagine it. What if he does it to someone else or tries to hurt us? I’m worried Alec, what if he hurts mum again?”

Alec’s heart couldn’t handle it anymore, he physically felt torn in two hearing tom say these words about someone he’s meant to love, not hate or fear. He put his arm around Toms shoulder and said low enough that only Tom could hear

“I’d rather die than let that happen Tom, as my duty as a police officer and friend I will protect you and make sure this never happens again or if he tries to hurt you, your mother or Fred”

His Rs started to roll but not out of anger, out of sorrow and the ache in his heart growing larger by the second. Tom cried but out of happiness, Tom was glad he had Hardy, someone he could talk to about his issues since mum had her own to deal with and he didn’t want to bother her, but he felt safe with Hardy, maybe it was because of how he treats his family or that he was not as grumpy or angry as he looks, Tom was one of the few people to see the real D.I Hardy, Alec. Alec offered the option to watch a movie together, Tom took up that offer and followed Alec downstairs to the sitting room. Fred looked up at them after watching Spongebob

“Awec, Tom!” he shouted.

Alec asked what Tom would like to watch, he said Finding Nemo, Alec was happy. That was a classic in the Hardy household when Daisy was a wee lass, he put it on fully aware of his drowning fear. At least it wasn’t a documentary, he felt so nauseated watching those. An hour through the movie Tom fell asleep on Alec’s shoulder and Fred fell asleep on Alec’s chest, Alec turned the tv off and nodded off himself.

Chapter Text

Ellie woke up feeling broken, she wondered she got to bed but suddenly remember yesterdays events. She suddenly remembered her boss was here, but where was he? The whole house was eerily silent, she slowly walked downstairs quietly. She walked into the living room and what she saw shocked her, her boss Alec hardy was lying down with her two sons. They were all deep in sleep, she stifled a laugh and took a picture but had enough respect to wake her boss after she made tea. “Hardy, Alec wake up” she gently shook Hardy and he slowly opened his eyes “Miller?” he whispered. He gently got up trying not to wake the boys, he surprisingly didn’t wake them and got up to drink the tea Ellie made for him. “When did you go to sleep and thanks for watching the boys Alec” Hardy gave a frown “Ach shut up Miller, no need to apologise, I’ll always look after them” Ellie smiled wondering if the real D.I Hardy has finally come out of his shell, “What ya smiling at” Hardy questioned in a curious tone, “Nothing important” Ellie said. Alec asked Ellie if he could have a shower looking nervous “Jesus Christ Alec, you looked after my kids and helped us all and yet your still worried about asking for a shower, Alec bloody Hardy, will you ever change?” Alec blushed and ran into the bathroom. He welcomed the water trickling down his back and chest feeling the pacemaker helping his heart, he wondered how to help Ellie’s family, poor Tom and Fred. Ellie made multiple stacks of toast, buttered for the boys, unbuttered for Alec who for once actually stuck to the doctors instructions for once in his stubborn life. She woke up her boys Tom immediately said “Wheres Alec, mum” still half asleep. “He’s in the shower sweetie” Ellie said softly, Fred sat up with a bed-head “Awecs gone?” Tom said to Fred “Don’t worry Fred, uncle Alec’s in the shower” Fred went into a huff, not liking Alec’s name according to Tom “No, Daddy Awec, not uncle Awec” Tom and Ellie grimaced at each other, neither of them faulted Fred, Alec did treat Tom and Fred both like sons which wasn’t a bad thing. Tom didn’t mind it, and with recent events he has grown to really like the gruff Scot. Fred, on the other hand adored Alec, and when he saw him, he was always set upon impressing him and he very quickly thawed Alec’s cold heart and earned the Alec side of D.I Hardy, which was very impressive to say the least. He grabbed the food and munched on the buttery toast getting butter all over him, while Tom didn’t really have an appetite. He sipped on his orange juice wondering what the day would hold, worried about school. Alec jumped out of the shower and stuck on a shirt and pants and went downstairs. He saw the family happily eating breakfast and didn’t want to intrude, he stood at the doorway watching. Ellie ushered him over knowing her boss too well, she knew that he wouldn’t go over because he felt that he was intruding, she could just read it on his face. He awkwardly sat down where Miller pointed at the toast and tea, he started to talk with Tom about school and his football team, he slowly eased into the conversation and laughed at a joke Tom made, Tom beamed at the praise and approval. After they had a fulfilling talk about bad referees, Tom asked him whether he could come to his football match and Alec replied with the best answer Tom could possibly hear “Of course Tom, I’ll be there” for Tom the worst thing was that Alec wasn’t even his stepdad and he was already going to be going to more football matches than his real dad, Tom scoffed at that. He wished Alec could be around more, since he assumed he got lonely, seeing as he never mentioned he had other family members or friends. Ellie asked him about when he would be going back to work “Another month or so Miller, still on injury leave, better than nothin’ I suppose.” Hardy said gruffly hating the reminder that his heart was as broken as him. He noticed that Fred was suspiciously quiet and when he turned to look at him he was smearing butter all over his face, he gave Hardy a proud look and exclaimed “Wook Awec, I’m a butter monster!” Alec shook his head and laughed, in fact so did Ellie. “Fred, stop misbehaving, Hardy’s here!” She lightly scolded him, looking a bit embarrassed in front of her boss. “Miller, I think you forget that I do indeed have a daughter, I’m used to it.” He didn’t want Ellie to feel embarrassed on his behalf, and Fred couldn’t annoy him even if he tried, surprising children was the only thing he truly had patience for, being a parent himself. He offered to clean up, Ellie protested but he cleaned it up anyway. He started cleaning the dishes when the boys went into the sitting room, Ellie stayed with him as she wanted to ask a favour. She felt shy and worried since this wasn’t really a thing she would ask her boss, and Alec Hardy of most people. “Alec, I’ve a big favour to ask of you” Alec looked surprised but didn’t stop cleaning “Go on” he said curiously. “Would you, maybe look after Fred for a couple of hours?” She gave a awkward smile “You don’t have to of course, it’s just I want to have a day out, just me and Tom” Alec gave a happy look “Of course Miller, me and Fred get along like a house on fire, I’ll take him to get and ice-cream and go to the park” Ellie was visibly relieved “Thank you so much Hardy, it’ll just be for a couple of hours” Hardy finished cleaning and drying and run his hand through his messy hair knowing how daft it must look. He smiled at Ellie and went into the sitting room to chat to the boys, Fred had drew a picture of Alec, he could tell it was him because of the grumpy look on his face, Alec laughed and ruffled the boys hair making Fred’s grin go from ear to ear like the Cheshire cat. “It’s lovely Fred, since I’m looking after you today, how about we go to my house and you can stick it on my fridge, so I’ll never forget it.” Fred’s face was surprised at the fact he was going with Alec “Yay me and Awec is going to his house, I can draw more pictures for you Awec!” Alec chuckled “I would absolutely love that Fred”. Hardy turned to Tom, I’ll see you at the football match tomorrow, alright?” Tom gave a hopeful look “Thanks, Alec” Alec shouted to Ellie in the kitchen “Me and Fred are leaving now Miller, have fun!” Ellie waved them off and walked into Tom. Alec ushered Fred into his car and set off for town, “So, wee Fred, where would you like to go? Maybe get some ice-cream?” Fred beamed up at the mention of the sweet treat “Yay, Awec get me ice-cream!” They walked along the boardwalk to the ice-cream shop, on there way, Alec saw the worst possible people to see at that moment, Mark Latimer and his newly born daughter in a pram. As they met, surprisingly Mark actually wanted to talk to D.I Hardy, “Hello there Fred and D.I Hardy, why are you two together?” Hardy was nervous and guilt “Ellie needed… some time with her and Tom” Mark seeing Hardys nervous stature and guilty looking face “Don’t beat yourself over it, Alec. It wasn’t your fault, okay.” Hardy gave a smile and knelt down to see the new-born “Congratulations Mark, she’s lovely.” Mark was curious and pressed on “You have a daughter Hardy?” Way to lay on the guilt accidently Alec thought “Yes, a daughter, 14 years old, Daisy we called her. Same age as your Chloe right?” Mark looked shocked, he didn’t think Hardy would be one to be married, let alone have a child. “Hello wee fred, anyways me and Lizzie will have to go now, see you around D.I Hardy.” Glad to see the awkward confrontation was over, Alec let out a breath he didn’t realise he was holding. After he ordered the ice-creams they walked to Alec’s house which was only around 5 minutes away, Fred was surprisingly well behaved, Alec expected to have quite a lot of trouble on his hands with Ellies wee boy. Fred got ice-cream everywhere so Alec got a washcloth and thoroughly washed his face when they got inside, “Awec, wets put up the picture now, I’m squeaky cwean!” Alec lifted up Fred and let him put the picture on the fridge, declaring that this was Fred’s touch on the barren house. Alec made lunch for Fred while the young boy was drawing more pictures, he seemed to love that Alec thought, he was a good drawer for his age. He started to fry the bacon, he was a bit rusty as for the longest time he was under strict conditions to not eat fatty foods, such as bacon. Fred came into him with another drawing for Alec, it was a drawing of the ocean and cliffs he assumed. “Wow Fred, you are a really good drawer. You should become an artist, I’d buy all of your work” He praised the boy endlessly and after 5 more drawings food was finally finished. He made bacon sandwiches and orange juice, something simple that he could do. Daisy would get along with Fred he thought, she always loved children and art. Alec reminisced and broke out of it when he got a phone call from Ellie “Is everything all right? Me and Tom will be here in 5 minutes.” Alec rolled his eyes “Everythings fine Miller, made me quite a lot of drawings, the fridge is covered in them” Ellie nodded even though Hardy couldn’t see her “Great, we’ll be there soon” She hung up. “Tom how do you feel about your father?” She needed to know and she didn’t want her son to bottle everything up like Alec does, although she desperately tries to stop him doing that as well. Tom was apprehensive, he never really opened up to his mum about something like this before. “I hate him mum, I never want to see him again. I’m so so sorry about the trial, I just didn’t want to believe he did it, that’s all” “Oh sweetheart, don’t apologise, you made a mistake but we all make mistakes. One of my biggest mistakes was putting up with hardy’s grumpiness, believe me he is bad on a Monday morning and really all the time, don’t be too hard on him.” Tom rolled his eyes “Mum its not hard to gather that Alecs a massive grump, just look at him. He’s nice, I invited him to the football match tomorrow, is that okay?” Ellie smiled, glad to see that the current situation hasn’t broken Toms undying love of football “Of course, but don’t come running to me when he has a go at the referee, he has a very hot head for a detective.” Ellie knew her boss and co-worker too well, “Mum, why is he so sad all the time?” Ellie certainly did not expect that question, Alec told her but she didn’t want to betray his trust as many other people already have. “Well Tom, he went through a bad divorce, and the he came here. He couldn’t trust many people, Tom between you and me, just ask him yourself, he won’t get mad at you for asking it. If you really want to, just pull him aside when we get to his house, he won’t bite.” She hoped this was a sufficient enough answer, she didn’t want Alec to be hurt again, more than he already had at least, she didn’t want to say anything about his daughter. That was far too important to Alec, he’d be angry if she told Tom and she felt bad for him, as much as Alec hated being pitied. They went inside and saw a sight that everybody at the office would pay to see, Alec Hardy, the one who interrogated murderers and rapists before he ate breakfast was being ferociously tickled by a 5 year old. He was on the floor helpless to Fred attacking him he shouted to the two who just stood there laughing “Miller, bloody help me. He’s gonna bloody kill me if he keeps on going” trying to stop himself from laughing. Instead of helping Ellie ran over and started to tickle him, a thing that she never imagined herself doing and for good reason too. “For gods sake not you to, Tom I beg of you, I’ll buy you chocolate bars whenever you want if you help me!” Ellie quickly interrupted him “Tom I order you as a mother not to help him!” Oh no you don’t Alec thought and pulled the police officer card “I D.I Hardy will arrest you for harassing a police officer if you don’t stop” He quickly sat up and in the process of that stopped the tickle torture. He sat on his sofa regaining his breath. When they all calmed down Tom asked Alec if he could talk, Ellie was prepared for this, Alec would keep calm, right? They walked into Alec’s bedroom leaving Ellie and Fred alone