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Ache - 1/1 - Broadchurch Fic

Title: Ache
Fandom: Broadchurch
Relationship(s)/Characters: Gen, Alec Hardy
Word Count: 818
Rating: PG
Warnings: Spoilers for season 1 and 2.  Angst.  Ambiguous character fate.
Disclaimers: In case you're wondering:  I don't own Broadchurch, although I'm rather desperately jonesing for an Alec Hardy of my very own (grumpy bastard that he is).  The show belongs to ITV and Alec Hardy belongs to David Tennant, although I'm willing to work out a timeshare arrangement.

A/N1:  I binge-watched Broadchurch on January 3rd, and have been obsessively searching for fic ever since.  Alec Hardy has hit all my character kinks, and it feels so good.  :)  I may have to venture onto Tumblr because it's the only place where I've found the Broadchurch fandom.  Tumblr scares me, though...

A/N2:  How, by all that's holy, have I managed to avoid being exposed to the adorkableness that's David Tennant until now?!  *cries*

Unbeta'd, all mistakes are my own.

~~~~~

Hardy doesn't know which is more ironic:  his name (he's far from hardy), or the fact that he has, both figuratively and literally, a soft heart.  Not that anyone knows or would believe in his figurative soft heart, except maybe his daughter. (too soppy)(but he misses her)  He understands Ellie's yearning for her son, feels the same ache, even if the estrangement is for different reasons.

He's trying, though, trying to show his softer side, trying to reach out to others, although he always messes it up and he doesn't really know why he bothers.   The memory of Becca's rejection still fills him with burning humiliation, but no one - least of all Becca - has any idea just how much it makes him squirm. (being a wanker comes in handy)(sometimes)  He's sure it will come into play during the trial.  Somehow, it'll come out in court that he made a pass at a witness in an active investigation, and his reputation as the worst cop in Britain will be confirmed.  Again. (loneliness is just another familiar ache)(not that pity is any better than contempt)(he just wishes he was better at explaining)

He has nothing left to lose, and only three reasons for living:  getting justice for Danny Latimer, getting justice for the girls in Sandbrook, and preventing Miller from turning into him.  (his daughter is doing just fine without him thank you very much)

(the ache is omnipresent now)(he almost doesn't notice it anymore)(almost)

He's trying, though, to be human.  He offered Miller a hug (people do that)(not you), and got her to eat, and the role reversal would be amusing if she wasn't hurting so much. (he carries her ache as his own)(it's just as much his fault as hers)(he didn't see it either)

He wants justice for Danny.  He wants to solve Sandbrook.  He wants closure for the mothers, for the fathers, for the siblings.  He wants justice for those children.  His daughter is between the girls, sixteen now, half-way between twelve-year-old Pippa and nineteen-year-old Lisa.  He can't help seeing his daughter in those girls, the girl she was and the girl she might be. (not her fate not if he can help it)(it's why he works so hard to catch the killers)(why the ache presses him into the sofa)

He offered Miller a hug, only to have her tell him he didn't do that, and he didn't know how to say he did, once.  He'd loved, been loved.  Once.  He was almost sure she'd loved him, otherwise she wouldn't have married him, or maybe she really had felt sorry for him, like she'd said when he confronted her about the affair.  His heart shattered that day - literally - figuratively - and left him with this bloody, never-ending ache.

(it's different this time heavier somehow duller deeper)

Everything is arranged.  He has a plan, like he keeps telling Miller, hopefully asleep in Claire's spare room while he's on the sofa, staring at the ceiling while being slowly flattened beneath the heavy ache in his chest.  He took care of everything months ago.  He's not ready, there's too much left undone, but he's tired, exhausted.  (there's something beautifully peaceful about it this time)

He forgave his wife a long time ago.  Her betrayal was inevitable, after all (people do that)(not you)  He understands why he's alone.  (doesn't make the ache any easier to bear)(any heavier and he'll simply disappear into the sofa)(he wonders if anyone will notice he's gone)

He needs to make it right.  Danny's murder; Pippa's; Lisa's.  Solve those crimes, rectify his mistakes, maybe leave some good behind, or at least some justice.  Then there's his daughter.  There's no doubt in his mind she's truly the only good thing he's done in his life, even if he's ruined their relationship like he ruins everything else.  He thinks he hears her, moving about the place.  It's been so long since he's seen her face in anything but a photo that his heart leaps. (wishful thinking)  A small groan escapes his lips as the moment of hope brings the ache into even sharper focus.  (he's alone)(except for Miller and Claire asleep in their rooms and the creaking noises of the old house)

He has a plan.  The letters are with his solicitor, along with back up copies of the Sandbrook files for Miller.  She'll curse him when she gets his last request (order), but he knows she'll finish what he started.  Beneath her grief and anger is a good cop, despite her mistakes, in spite of his.  She won't let the case break her; she's stronger than him. He can almost see her face and it makes him smile.  (no tears for him though)(people do that)(not you)

(the ache grows and swallows everything and recedes to nothing at the same time)(he's sorry)(he's relieved)(he closes his eyes)(he surrenders)

(Some things even a stubborn Scot can't change.)

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"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need...fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little --"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

-- Susan and Death in Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

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"And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based."

-- Lord Vetinari in Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

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They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.

-- Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

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As a wizard, it was something that Ponder had only before encountered in acorns: a tiny soundless voice which said, yes, I am but a small, green, simple object - but I dream about forests.

-- Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

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In the 24th century, there will be no hunger. There will be no greed. And every child will know how to read.

-- Gene Roddenberry, as repeated by Jonathan Frakes in the documentary How William Shatner Changed the World

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We've got two lives, one we're given and the other one we make
And the world won't stop, and actions speak louder
Listen to your heart, and what your heart might say
Everything we got, we got the hard way.

-- Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Hard Way from the album Come On, Come On

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Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want.

-- John Mayer, Waiting on the World to Change from the album Continuum

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Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, "I'll try again tomorrow."

-- Mary Anne Radmacher, as seen in Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Tales to Inspire

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I never loved the soldier
Until there was a war.
Or thought about tomorrow
'til my baby hit the floor.
I only talk to God
When somebody's about to die.
I never cherished freedom
Freedom never cries.

-- Five for Fighting, Freedom Never Cries from the album Two Lights

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It may sound absurd: but don't be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed: but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream

-- Five for Fighting, Superman (It's Not Easy) from the album American Town

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Had a dream last night took a time travellin' ride
Back to my childhood where those monsters reside
They snack on innocence and dine on self-esteem
But I like to be in touch with what makes me scream
Vampires, mummies and the Holy Ghost
These are the things that terrify me the most.
No alien, psychopath or MTV host
Scares me like vampires,mummies and the Holy Ghost.

-- Jimmy Buffett, Vampires, Mummies and the Holy Ghost from the album Fruitcakes

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"I want to believe that... the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us... as part of something greater than us - greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen, to what's speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves."

-- Fox Mulder, The X-Files from the episode The Truth, pt. 2
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