Set after Season 12, Episode 5 "Wet"

The main characters of Law and Order SVU belong to Dick Wolf and NBC Universal. This is meant for entertainment, not profit.*

Thanks to all who read my previous story Stepping Time. This is a new A/O story and there will not be an OFC love interest coming between Alex and Olivia, however there will be some drama, angst and obstacles as they trudge the road to happy destiny.

I hope you enjoy, and I welcome feedback. Thanks for reading and the reviews so far! Sorry for the long delay between chapters my muse keeps leading me back to writing Double Time, but there's a long way left to go in that story and not much further here.

"Talk, Ask, Listen" Chapter 31

After pouring Sonya coffee and offering her bagels and numerous other breakfast options, Alex settled into the couch, her computer in her lap. Sonya read the morning paper at the dining room table, refraining from commenting on stories so Alex could do her work in peace. She shifted her focus every now and then from the newspaper to Alex. Not once had she heard the familiar sound of keyboard characters being stroked. After finishing several sections of the paper and unfolding the entertainment section and laying it out on the table, Sonya surmised that not only was Alex not typing she wasn't reading either, just staring blankly at the screen.

"So are you pondering all the problems and challenges facing the world or some things closer to home and heart?" Sonya questioned.

"Oh," Alex chuckled softly, running a hand through her blonde mane. "Was it that obvious? I guess it is good I don't have any really pressing work today."

"So who is she partnered up with while Elliot is out?"

"Cragen actually for the time being. I guess it depends on how long El is going to be out as to whether she gets a new temp partner. She said Fin and Munch are working a new case from like 3 this morning. Rape, stabbing. Victim is in critical condition."

"It never ends does it," Sonya groaned.

"No it sure doesn't," Alex replied, setting her laptop on the couch and padding to the kitchen. Alex grabbed the coffee pot and brought it to the table, pouring Sonya more coffee and then taking a seat at the table. "I really was hoping she could take some time off and we could go on vacation for a few weeks, or even four or five days."

"Well hopefully Elliot will be back at work soon and then you two can get away."

"Trust me I would like to get away from this winter weather along with just being with Liv totally away from work," Alex said. "But I also know part of it is I just want to try and run away from here for a while. Run away from what happened with Reckell and run away from the fears I have of her being back on the job."

"Can I ask you something Alex? It is pretty personal and if you are…"

"Out with it Sonya," Alex smiled reassuringly.

"Ok…And I know it is a lot different, because I am not having my whole world turned upside down, removed from me. I was just wondering, not so much physically…"

"What I went through mentally and emotionally after I was shot," Alex finished. "I was going to try and bring that up if you didn't, because my way of dealing was pretty much an epic failure for quite a few years. And I was in a forced 'run away' geographically and I know a change of locale does not eliminate issues, emotions, fears, and problems."

"I still think you two deserve a vacation," Sonya smirked.

"We do, but I know it can't…I know I have to take some steps, do some work to deal with what has happened," Alex stammered. "Not just run away and pretend I'm fine. I am still in shock or denial about Reckell having that gun to my head…everything that has happened since he entered our lives."

"I called my AA sponsor last night and she suggested I talk to you. She said I was trying to minimize what happened to me and that I was in denial," Sonya smirked. "I told her I wasn't in denial…I can feel the pain in my thigh and see the stitches when I change the bandage."

"And I totally understand both," Alex laughed. "And for me those stages of grief were very applicable, very real, even though they didn't necessarily come in order, and at times I felt more than one at once, especially the anger and denial."

"And where are you at with what Reckell did to you Alex?" Sonya asked softly.

"I can tell you that it helps me tremendously that he is dead. Not that I wanted you to have to go through…"

"No Alex, I totally understand. I am very glad he is dead too," Sonya sighed. "Fuck…it is just so frustrating. I don't think I ever truly believed that I was invincible…but…And I guess I am kind of ashamed to admit this."

"It is okay," Alex nodded, encouraging Sonya to continue.

"All the victims I have seen over the years…And some…lord…they really tore at my heart. And I felt such sorrow and empathy for them. Some of them just amazed me with their strength and perseverance…but I had always separated them for me. I guess I never really thought or believed I could become a victim too."

"That's almost exactly how I felt. And then you find out that it can happen," Alex sighed. "And I know for me I haven't looked at any violent crime stats since then and just seen numbers on a page."

"You said you didn't deal with things well after you were shot. What would you have done differently?" Sonya asked.

"Pretty much what we're doing now," Alex smiled. "Talk, ask, listen. I have a great therapist who I was seeing rather regularly before Reckell who now I am scheduling to see twice a month again. And of course support groups. I haven't been in a while, but there's one that meets Tuesday evenings at the church down the street if you want to go with me."

"I would really like that. Thank you."

"I like having you and Sadie here right now. After what happened with Reckell I was almost absolutely sure a few days ago that I wanted to move. Now I think I really want to stay here, or at least not run from here."

"So when is Olivia going to officially move in?" Sonya smiled.

"I think we're already into that process, but we haven't officially decided we want to stay here. Agreed to take it one day at a time…And hell it might be working well until we see who our new neighbors will be in 12C," Alex smirked. "But besides making sure that we can handle staying here with the memories of Reckell across the hall, I really want Liv to feel that we're in our place. Don't want it, whether it is here or somewhere else to be my apartment that she is moving into."

"You two really make me smile," Sonya said, stretching her arm across the table and squeezing Alex's hand.

"Thanks. I wish I would have dealt with my stuff sooner and maybe the two of us would have gotten together four or five years ago," Alex replied.

"There's a saying in AA about not regretting your past or wishing to shut the door on it. I still struggle with it, partially because I am a control freak…and according to my sponsor I still have a lot of resentments too…"

"I know that quote. I had a very dear friend while I was in witness protection. She had been sober 10 years when I met her. I went to quite a few open meetings with her," Alex said softly.

"Are you still in touch with her?"

"She was a cop up in Vermont," Alex sighed. "There was a case that tore her apart. And then she relapsed…And then she ate her gun. I was already back in New York then. Katie was such a wonderful person. She helped me a lot and a lot of others."

"I'm sorry Alex."

"Well don't stop going to meetings based on that depressing story," Alex smirked. "I'm not sure why…I probably shouldn't have brought that up."

"No I won't, I can't stop going to meetings. I had a very good friend who took her own life five years ago. She was a social worker. Helped so many people and knew where to go get help, but I don't know. I don't know why."

"I've experienced some very low lows. And for some serious chunks of time I was basically just existing and not living. I don't want to go back to that."

"I know. I don't want to do that either. I don't want to give Josh Reckell and what he did to me that power to set me back," Sonya said firmly.

"I totally agree. In all of this bad from him, I still have this joy of finally being with Olivia. I won't give him the power, especially after he's dead, to take that away from me."

#-#

"This was really good. Thank you Sonya," Olivia smiled.

"I can order some good Thai food," Sonya smirked.

"It was a very good dinner," Alex said taking the plates and silverware to the dishwasher. "Did you talk to Elliot today babe?"

"Actually he came in to meet with the captain around four. He's been cleared of course for shooting Josh, but he is suspended for a week without pay starting tomorrow," Olivia stated.

"And is he okay with that?" Sonya questioned.

"Yeah he is. He could appeal it of course, but he said he's not going to. Thinks it is very fair to him," Olivia replied.

"So are you okay with it?" Alex queried.

"I am. So going to be basically working with the captain until next Friday," Olivia said and then looked at Alex curiously, hearing a light knocking on the front door. "Are you expecting anyone?"

"No," Alex replied as Olivia walked to the door and looked through the peephole.

"It's Sydney," Olivia said. "Are you okay with seeing her now?"

"Is Maggie with her?"

"I can't see her or hear her," Olivia smirked.

"I'm good with seeing her," Alex said. "You Sonya?"

"It's a step to moving forward, bringing some closure," Sonya said.

"Ok then," Olivia said, opening the door.