Five Times Alec Hardy Fell in Love

By Hazelmist

A/N: THIS IS AU! And it's NOT "When the Storm Breaks", although some of my AU head canon does leak in. I wrote this last year for nannyogg123/mykelara who asked a question about my OC Iris from my fic "When the Storm Breaks". Iris is a maternal figure I dreamed up, she basically adopted Alec when his mother died, and his father was incapable of caring for him. I wrote something completely different from WTSB and something sort of more canon compliant (you could use my OCs or Tess and Daisy for the other characters because I deliberately left it open), but I inserted OC Iris and a little bit of what I imagined Alec's background might've been like in my AU. I've made A LOT of changes to my story since then, and THIS IS NOT "When the Storm Breaks".

The first time she sees Alec Hardy fall in love, he's nine-years-old and they've just met.

Iris's first impression of Alec isn't a good one. He strikes her as a grumpy, sullen, rude child that spends far too much time off by himself, and resembles his useless father. She thinks he'll turn out to be exactly like his idiot father, until she sees him fall in love.

He finds it in the swollen brook behind his school. Someone tried to drown the poor little creature and they very nearly succeeded. He comes home soaking wet and shivering, and brings it into the house, wrapped up in his jacket. It's the ugliest puppy she's ever seen, and Iris knows even before they clean it up that it's not going to live much longer. She tries to tell Alec this, but he won't listen. His face is flushed and his eyes are bright, and for the first time he's looking at her and he's talking to her. She tries to warn him, but she can't bring herself to tell him her fears. She lets Alec keep the puppy, and he actually flings his arms around her and hugs her tight.

He keeps that thing alive for six weeks, six weeks longer than she ever expected it to last. Alec is determined and he loves it so much, but the puppy isn't strong enough, and they can't afford the proper care. Six weeks later, the puppy dies. He and Iris bury it in the backyard, and Iris holds him as he struggles not to cry. That's when she realizes that she also fell in love with that troubled little boy that has a heart for hopeless causes, just like her.

The second time she sees Alec Hardy fall in love, he's older, much older than she expected.

Alec can still be grumpy and rude and sullen, and he still tends to spend far too much time off by himself, but she knows now that he's nothing like his useless father. He's twenty-three years old, he's just been made DS, and she couldn't be prouder of him if he was her actual biological son. He's a good detective and an even better man. Her husband keeps her updated on his career and his stellar success rate that he's too modest to admit. Iris thinks that if he can be happy devoting his life to his career than she can be too. And then her husband tells her that he thinks Alec's smitten with one of the young DCs.

Iris doesn't believe it until she meets the woman. It's easy to see why any man would fall in love with a confident woman like that, but Iris can't believe that Alec would be one of them. But he is, oh boy, he is so in love with her. Alec can't take his bright eyes off the woman, and he's blushing, and he's dropping things, and he's smiling, and he's laughing. Iris takes a good long look at the woman, and catches her blushing and smiling fondly at Alec. Iris decides that if that's what Alec wants, she'll do everything in her power to make it happen. It takes some time, and a very serious conversation between Iris and the woman about the future and how much Iris loves that troubled boy with a heart for hopeless causes, but Iris gets her wish.

Alec hugs Iris before they leave on their honeymoon and he tells her he loves her. And Iris cries and watches that other woman take his hand, and hopes that she'll take care of him in sickness and in health.

The third time she sees Alec Hardy fall in love, he's young, much younger than she expected.

Alec isn't as rude or grumpy or sullen as he used to be, his wife took care of that. And Iris finds herself spending far too much time by herself, as Alec's career continues to skyrocket, and his wife monopolizes what little free time he has to spare. But her husband assures her that he's doing well, and he'll be promoted to DI soon, and Iris is content that he's happy.

Then the baby comes. Alec calls her at three AM in a panic. Iris rushes to the hospital, and finds him pacing in the waiting room and storming and raging at the nurses, and the receptionist, and anyone he can find. They kicked him out of the delivery room, and he's wild-eyed and terrified. He flings his arms around her, and Iris holds him as he struggles not to cry.

The baby arrives six and a half hours later, and she's beautiful and healthy. Alec is shaking so hard that he's afraid to hold her, but he can't take his bright eyes off of her. Iris pushes him down into the chair, and lays his daughter in his arms for the first time. And Alec cries, and tells his newborn daughter how much he loves her already.

Iris steps outside and breaks down in the waiting room, because that little troubled boy is all grown up now with a family of his own.

The years pass, and Iris watches him fall deeper and deeper in love with his daughter. And Iris falls in love too with that little girl. That little girl turns out to be the single bright spot in Iris's life when her husband dies suddenly on the day Alec becomes a DI. Alec assures her that he'll make her proud, and that he'll take care of her. Iris tells him she's already proud of him, and that she can take care of herself. But she cries after he leaves. Alec's wife goes back to work, and Iris steps in to take care of their daughter. For a while, Iris surrounds herself with that little girl's laughter. She pretends not to notice the way Alec buries himself in his work, and the other woman starts to pull away.

Then one dark night, Alec Hardy loses everything.

Alec tells her that he had the affair, but Iris doesn't believe him. He leaves anyway. Iris stays because she loves that little girl, and watching over her is the only thing that troubled man with a heart too broken asks of her.

The fourth time she sees Alec Hardy falls in love, she's shocked.

Alec's a grumpier, quieter, broody man that spends far too much time by himself. It hurts her to see him so bitter and broken, but he gets the surgery, and she brings his daughter back to him little by little. It doesn't happen overnight, but eventually one evening she hears his daughter laughing, accompanied by a hoarse wheezing sound that finally swells into that familiar laughter that once filled that little house, when he was a younger, happier man. Iris comes back into the room and demands to know what's so funny, and Alec and his daughter look at each other and smile. Suddenly, Iris knows that his daughter has realized how much her father loves her, and everything's going to be fine.

She doesn't know where the hell he finds Ellie Miller, but she sincerely hopes it wasn't in a swollen brook. He brings her in soaking wet and wrapped up in his jacket, and Iris immediately thinks of the puppy that he couldn't save. Iris doesn't know what to make of Ellie the first time they meet, and clearly neither does Alec. He's not blushing, and he's not dropping things, and he's not quite smiling, but there's a softness in his eyes when they follow her around. Ellie's snapping at him, and Alec's grumping at her. Iris can't figure them out, so she stops trying.

Ellie keeps coming back, and Alec doesn't spend nearly as much time off by himself anymore. The fourth time Ellie visits, they're having a row, and then a minute later Iris walks in on them snogging. Iris drops the tea kettle, and Alec and Ellie break apart and blush. Embarrassed, Ellie leaves, and Iris shoves Alec out the door after her. He returns alone, but he offers Iris a distracted smile that she hasn't seen in years. The next time Ellie visits Iris has a very serious conversation with her, but it turns out that Ellie's been taking care of that troubled man, and healing his heart a lot longer than she expected. Iris cries after Ellie leaves and takes Alec with her, because this time as Iris watches them walk out together, she knows that Alec will be taken care of.

The last time she sees Alec Hardy fall in love, she's dying.

Alec is grumpier, quieter, and sad, and spends far too much time by her hospital bedside, because he knows she's dying too. It breaks her heart seeing him like this. She tries to tell him that she's fine, and that she can take care of herself. He struggles not to cry and she realizes that she can't anymore.

Usually, Ellie comes with him. Sometimes she brings her little boy Fred with her, who looks up to Alec like Alec used to look up to her late husband. Fred's nine now, the exact age that Alec was when they first met. Alec tells her that Fred keeps asking them for a puppy, and she suspects that he'll wear Alec down very soon. Ellie's eldest Tom is studying abroad, but he sends his love via texts and videos that Iris still doesn't understand.

And that little girl of Alec's that she spent so many years taking care of and loving is now a wife and a mother. Alec and Iris quietly cried through the wedding, and that little girl that wasn't so little anymore had to snap at them to stop being so soppy, while she wiped away tears of her own. Iris thinks that even if she had lived long enough to lose all of her memories, she never would've forgotten the way Alec looked at his daughter as he gave her away, and danced with her one last time. She tries to remember how happy he was that day when she sees him now.

"You need to go," she tells him.

"I'm not leaving you," Alec insists.

So, Ellie arranges for Alec's daughter to come to them instead.

Alec's daughter lays her newborn daughter in Alec's arms, and he falls in love immediately with his granddaughter. He's not shaking quite as badly as he was the first time, and he's older, much older. He tells her how much he loves her already, and then he passes her to Iris. They have to hold her arms steady. All three of them are crying, and Iris tells them to stop it or they'll wake the baby.

"We named her Iris."

Iris falls in love all over again, and she can't stop. She looks at Alec, his daughter, and his grand-daughter, and she wonders how she could have ever been so foolish to think that troubled boy who looked exactly like his useless father was incapable of love.

They manage to hold themselves together until his daughter leaves and takes the baby with her. As soon as the door shuts behind them, Alec sees it in her eyes. He crumbles. He tells her he loves her and she tells him not to cry.

"Come here, darling," she whispers.

Alec slides into the bed beside her and holds her until she dies.

A/N: Like I said this is NOT "When the Storm Breaks" and I wrote this way before I had my route for that story set, but I always imagined some of the earlier scenes when Alec's younger as my AU head-canon. There is a short second chapter that's Alec/Ellie that I might post eventually.