The main characters of Law and Order SVU belong to Dick Wolf and NBC Universal. This is meant for entertainment, not profit.* There are several characters I have created. I hope you enjoy, and I welcome feedback.

Author's Note #1 (Especially for laurelhardy) Characters guide-Primary SVU Characters Olivia Benson, Alex Cabot Primary Original Female Characters Army Lt. Col. Erin Mathison, Attorney Angie Secondary SVU and L&O Characters Elliot Stabler, Casey Novak, Abbie Carmichael, Serena Southerlyn Secondary Original Characters Jeff Stockton, Amelia Stockton, Dylan Mathison, Petraeus (Erin's Chihuahua), Senator Rushing, TJ McCoy

"Double Time" Epilogue

Friday, July 15, 2011 (Alexandria, Virginia)

Erin strutted happily into Serena and Abbie's new house, Petraeus and Abbie and Serena's two golden retrievers greeting her eagerly. She heard the radio playing somewhat loudly on the back deck and assumed that her fiancée was once again taking advantage of Abbie and Serena's in-ground pool.

Erin dropped her attaché and beret on the couch. She glanced out the window above the sink in the kitchen and spied Olivia, stretched out on a floating lounge, beer in one cup holder, bottled water in the other and a textbook in her hands. Although they spent many evenings at Abbie and Serena's new home with the couple, this week of house and pet sitting while the duo honeymooned in the Caribbean had convinced Erin that once she and Olivia retired a two bedroom apartment or townhome would not suffice. A home with a big backyard and a pool, especially for Olivia, would be required. Even if they would only get three or four months a year of use out of it, it was definitely a perk to come home to Olivia in a bikini, her olive skin polished by the rays and her mind and body relaxed.

Erin shed her ACU jacket, draping it over a chair in the kitchen and grabbed two beers from the refrigerator. Not only was it Friday, she was off from work early and had some very good news to share with her partner. After the many challenges and scares they had endured in the first year of their relationship their time together since Olivia had come to Virginia had been filled with only good and positive things and stability.

Olivia finally looked up from her book as Erin opened the patio door and the dogs charged out through it rather than the doggie door.

"Hey gorgeous," Olivia called as she paddled with one hand to an edge of the pool and placed her textbook on dry pavement. "You're home early."

"I am," Erin smiled, handing Olivia a towel as she climbed out of the pool.

"And you're smiling so?" Olivia questioned curiously.

"Well you're in a bikini, I have a cold beer and it's the weekend now," Erin said coyly. "Three very good reasons to be happy, wouldn't you agree?"

Olivia nodded and slid her index fingers through belt loops on Erin's ACU pants pulling her closer. "Very good reasons," she smiled as she pressed her lips to Erin's for a quick kiss, "but…"

"Next Friday," Erin grinned. "Fingers and toes crossed nothing changes it…but next Friday."

"I'm so proud of you, so happy," Olivia gasped wrapping her arms around Erin's back, pulling her closer.

"I'm just a tiny piece of a puzzle in as you know too well in a very political process," Erin chuckled.

"My incredibly talented, smart and sexy colonel you underestimate your influence," Olivia husked. "She with senators, congress members and Maddow within her contacts."

"Speaking of those contacts could I have the honor of escorting you next Friday evening to a cocktail reception, maybe dinner thingie celebration hosted by Senator Rushing?"

"I love you and would be honored to go to the thingie with you," Olivia smirked.

"We should have more information by Monday afternoon. DADT certification on the 22nd means four days before our wedding the ban will be officially lifted."

"Which is wonderful and the most important," Olivia smiled as she reached to the small poolside table and snagged the cold beer Erin had brought for her. "We don't have to pretend I'm your cousin or anything like that next Friday though, do we?"

"No," Erin smirked looking down at her t-shirt which had two very distinctive wet marks from where Olivia had pressed up against her in her still quite damp bikini top. "From what TJ said it is going to be a semi-casual affair and certainly limited to advocates so thankfully I can introduce you to folks as my fiancée."

"Besides that I missed you, I might have done that purposefully so you'd take it off," Olivia said with a sly grin pointing at Erin's t-shirt. Erin willingly obliged tossing the t-shirt on a pool chair and then pulling the pins from her hair to allow it to fall naturally.

Erin plopped with a satisfied sigh into one of the chairs alongside the pool, spreading her legs and gesturing for Olivia to sit down between them. Olivia quickly complied setting her beer on the pool deck alongside the chair, her hands quickly undoing the laces of Erin's boots and pulling them off, followed by her socks.

"I love our life together," Erin hummed pressing a kiss to the top of Olivia's head as the detective settled back against her mostly bare torso.

"Me too," Olivia replied looking up at Erin affectionately. "Teresa called earlier wanted to know if we might want to meet them for dinner tonight. Told her you were in meetings all day and you had a busy week so I'd get back to her."

"I'm up for it if you are," Erin replied. "I like Teresa and Deb a lot. It's good we're making new friends here."

"You think you'll still be wanting to grab my ass when we've been together 34 plus years?" Olivia asked with a chuckle reflecting on their last dinner with the couple.

"I'm sure I'll be wanting to but when we've been together 34 years I'm not sure if I'll be physically able to," Erin laughed. "They've been together since undergrad, but it rocks that they're still so into each other," Erin added handing Olivia her iPhone to call Teresa and Deb.

"Thank God Teresa is in CJ Management with me," Olivia huffed. "Professor no real world experience trying to tell us how to manage a precinct."

"I'm glad she's in it too."

"Is that your way of saying I bitch too much about that course as it is?" Olivia retorted.

"No, not really," Erin chuckled. "I was referring to your fear that you would be the oldest person in class, and you're not even the oldest lesbian in a class of 15."

"Nice semi-save," Olivia replied pulling up Teresa and Deb's number in Erin's contacts.

#-#

"I can't believe it's almost midnight," Erin remarked as she turned onto Abbie and Serena's street. "Good thing there's a doggie door."

"Four and a half hours at dinner and we'd probably still be there if the restaurant wasn't closing," Olivia grinned. "They're hysterical."

"And very admirable," Erin added. "I know they're not even 15 years older than us but in many ways it's like they started in a…I don't know a whole different era regarding LGBT rights and issues. Artificial insemination for one child and adopting one in the 80's and hosting exchange students in the late 90's."

"They are pretty amazing, but like Deb was saying they knew what they wanted and they went after it," Olivia said undoing her seatbelt as Erin put the car in park in the driveway. "I don't think they think of themselves as pioneers or activists."

"I was just thinking of all the changes since I've been…heck since I knew I was gay. I had a wicked character crush on C.J. Lamb of LA Law in my early twenties," Erin chuckled as she unlocked the door. "She was hot, but I think it was more that it was the first time there was a real or semi-real kiss between non-vampire women on network TV."

"It wasn't much of a kiss for all the hype," Olivia countered as the dogs eagerly greeted them. "Great show though."

"It was kinda lame, but it was groundbreaking at the time. Still a long way to go, but I don't know that even 10 years ago I would have believed that I would be legally marrying the woman of my dreams and playing an official role in the ending of DADT."

Olivia wrapped her arms around Erin's waist and pressed her chest against her back, placing gentle kisses along a patch of exposed neck.

"You seemed pretty interested in their hosting of foreign exchange students. Is that something you would like to do?" Olivia asked softly.

"I don't know. I was interested in being an exchange student myself in high school, but I didn't want to give up my sports here. I wouldn't want to do it until after I retire at least, but I'm a bit intrigued by the idea?"

"They've had three great experiences and I am definitely not opposed to us looking further into hosting, but I want you all to myself for a few years," Olivia replied as Erin turned in her arms.

"Ditto," Erin smiled as she captured Olivia's lips with her own for a tender kiss. "And even though it's a lot different we will be aunts soon."

"I still can't believe that Casey and Jeff have the same due date as Dylan & Katie," Olivia grinned as Petraeus finally hopped off the couch to greet them in the kitchen.

"And of course just eight days after we return from our honeymoon," Erin smirked.

"Better than during," Olivia quipped as she began unbuttoning Erin's blouse as Erin unlocked and opened the patio door.

"I'm going to miss this house," Erin said softly as Olivia's hands roamed across her now exposed abdomen.

"I love the house and the pool," Olivia added as Erin tugged up on the hem of her shirt before being interrupted by the two golden retrievers barreling through the now open patio door.

"I think we are definitely going to have to buy something similar wherever we settle," Erin said opening the pantry door to get the dogs some treats.

"Without the big dogs though," Olivia countered with a grin as she tossed her shirt and then bra on a chair and stepped outside toward the pool. "At least they don't like the pool water."

"It is definitely just our pool tonight," Erin husked as she quickly discarded her own clothing and followed Olivia.

#-#

"Make them stop Erin," Olivia grumbled loudly into her pillow as she blindly extended her arm reaching for her lover but only feeling fur.

"Somebody's at the door, that's why they're barking," Erin replied hastily as she quickly threw on a t-shirt and shorts and then took a look at her watch. "Fuck Liv…you gotta get up anyway, they're going to be home in like an hour."

"I sure hope they had a lot of sex on their honeymoon as I don't know how they can here with these co-dependent drooling, snoring bed beasts," Olivia groaned as she finally lifted her head from the pillow.

"Well maybe they just fuck in the pool too," Erin retorted as she opened the bedroom door and the dogs quickly followed her to the front door.

Erin glanced through the peephole and then quickly shouted for Olivia. She briskly opened the door and ushered the blonde inside, grabbing a piece of luggage that sat on the porch.

"Alex," Olivia said with surprise and suspicion as she stepped into the living room.

"Surprise," Alex said flatly. Even though both Olivia and Erin knew something had to be wrong for Alex to show up unexpectedly with luggage in hand on a Saturday morning in Virginia, her physical appearance gave barely a hint of distress. "I probably should have called first…I just really could use my best friends right now."

"Of course," Erin said softly rubbing a comforting hand along Alex's back. "You know you're…"

"Alex, what's going on?" Olivia interrupted as she stepped closer to the blonde.

"I need a cup of coffee. Not much sleep and grabbed an early flight this morning obviously," Alex chuckled sarcastically.

"I was just going to make some," Erin said stepping quickly away to the kitchen.

"Liv, you definitely look like you can use some too," Alex smirked.

"Yeah," Olivia nodded and then pulled Alex into an embrace that the ADA eagerly returned.

"C'mon and sit down," Olivia said gesturing toward the kitchen island. "I'll be right back."

When Olivia returned just moments later after brushing her teeth and grabbing a sweatshirt Erin was just pouring three freshly brewed cups of coffee. Olivia herded the dogs outside and quickly secured the doggie door to prevent their immediate re-entry.

Alex took a sip of her coffee and then looked absently out the patio door. "Angie and I…we split up. She's moving out this weekend…so I was hoping I could stay with you two a few days."

"Of course Alex," Erin replied immediately as she set the coffee pot back down on the warmer. "You can stay as long as you want."

"Thanks," Alex said with a half-smile. "I have court Wednesday so I'm flying back Tuesday. It's just too hard to be there while she packs up. Has her stuff packed up."

Olivia reached across the table and placed a comforting hand over Alex's.

"Alex…what happened? Olivia asked incredulously. "You two seemed so happy at the wedding. The whole weekend. Hell all the time…Did she cheat on you?"

"No, no she didn't," Alex said firmly. "Right now," Alex shrugged her shoulders and chuckled, "that almost seems like it would be easier to deal with."

Alex reached her other hand over to Erin's quickly snatching the spoon she had been tapping on the table repetitively.

"Sorry," Erin said earnestly. "I didn't even realize I was doing it. I'm just really shocked...and sad."

"It is going to be real tough going for a while…probably a long time," Alex sighed. "You all are very important to Ang too and not that there are sides to take in this…Well if there were I'd probably be to blame," Alex finished as Erin locked eyes with her.

"There's not…" Erin started.

"No, it's not about someone else for either of us. There was no cheating."

"Will you tell us what happened then?" Olivia interrupted impatiently earning a glare from Erin.

"We don't want the same things," Alex exhaled sharply. "And where I was wrong or was mistaken….or confused was not figuring out all I wanted before Angie and I got so serious. Angie doesn't want the house in the suburbs or country…and she doesn't want a child. And as messed up as I was still in my own head after I came back from Congo the first time I didn't think I did anymore either. So that leaves Angie and me…well it sucks," Alex said as she stood up and walked to the kitchen to grab the coffee pot.

"I love her too much to ask her to give up her passions and to try to do something, be something that she has never wanted," Alex said as she refilled the coffee cups.

"And she loves you too much to let you settle for less than what you want," Erin finished.

"She's doing excellent work with the ICC. She's helping people. I don't want her to give that up. I want to stay at SVU a few more years and then go into private practice or work for a non-profit. Of course if it was just about career paths we could probably work through that," Alex sighed.

"So this obviously just didn't come up between you two this week," Erin commented.

"No. A few months ago. Our closest friends all getting married…Casey and Jeff having a baby. Your brother and his wife expecting," Alex added nodding towards Erin. "It just facilitated us discussing what each one of us wanted in the future."

"You both deserve to have all that you want Alex," Erin replied softly. "I…I just wish you both wanted the same too. You and Ang are so good together."

"Me too," Alex sighed.

#-#

"Had Alex said anything to you before today?" Abbie asked Olivia as they finished loading the dishwasher.

"Not a word," Olivia shrugged her shoulders. "Seemed as happy as ever. Maybe I've already lost some of my detective skills."

"Nah," Abbie drawled. "I don't think that's the case at all Liv. I think this was just a very difficult decision they had to come terms with themselves."

"It sucks though. I never had seen Alex so happy."

"It does," Abbie agreed "But it would be worse for them to stay together and one or both of them growing to resent the other for giving up what they each wanted."

Abbie opened the refrigerator and grabbed two beers and handed Olivia one.

"I am glad though that you and Erin have already discussed such big issues and are in agreement," Abbie smirked.

"Me too."

"And I figure once they both heal some…well Alex and Angie are both very good catches," Abbie added as Serena walked back into the house from by the pool.

"How's it going out there?" Olivia asked.

"Good," Serena said sincerely. "They're talking about your honeymoon cruise. All the excursions Alex wants to do in Alaska."

"What the hell is Erin thinking?" Olivia huffed and bolted towards the patio door.

"Liv, hold on," Serena said grasping the detective's arm. "Alex brought it up. She and Angie are still both going. Alex booked an additional cabin before she came down here."

"She's better than me. Don't know that I'd want to hear about everybody else's happiness when I'm miserable," Olivia countered.

"Alex has always been better than you Liv," Abbie cracked, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "Stop feeling guilty about being happy and just support her. She doesn't want us all to be miserable."

#-#

"Thanks Erin. I really appreciate you all doing that. I know it will mean a lot to her," Alex said sincerely as Erin stood up from the chair next to Alex for Olivia to sit in and headed towards the house.

"Hey," Olivia said plopping onto the now vacant chair next to Alex and handing her a fresh beer.

"Hey," Alex smirked. "I'm glad you came out here."

"I'm sorry. I'm just still trying to wrap my brain around this."

"Liv…I adore how loyal and protective you are of the people you care about. And I have to admit that I like that I'm very high on that list…"

"And always will be," Olivia said softly but firmly.

"The thing is I don't need so much protecting anymore. And that's a good thing. This hurts because I do love Angie and she loves me. But I like who I am now…that fear isn't holding me back and I'm not trying to hold Angie back either."

"I don't know how to help here, Alex."

"Stop feeling guilty for being happy and just be the friend you have been. And don't shun Angie. It's going to take some time for Ang and I to transition to just being friends, but that's what we want. I'll never regret my relationship with her, not even close. I'll always cherish it in my heart. She's a very special woman. This is a tough thing, but it's not a bad thing."

"You two are 100 percent sure of this aren't you?"

"98.9 percent sure," Alex chuckled. "And like I said earlier since she leaves Thursday for six weeks overseas…"

"It makes sense to start getting used to it now," Olivia interjected.

"And I have plenty of court dates coming up…but I am not going to bury myself in my work or drink myself silly. I'll probably call more than usual and I might add an extra appointment here and there with my shrink," Alex grinned. "And I'll be happy when you come up to testify and will drag you shopping with me…"

"How about online shopping?" Olivia grinned.

"Nope, not the same," Alex countered playfully. "I am going through a difficult time after all."

"Oh shut up," Olivia laughed and then leaned back fully in her chair. "You know Abbie was talking about when you're ready it shouldn't be that hard for you to find a woman that wants the same things you do. I agree with her."

"I certainly don't know exactly when that will be, but you'll be back in the city by the end of the year and Erin six months later…so of course I'll be relying on your rigorous assessment as well as Erin's of any woman I go on more than three dates with."

"You really did enjoy looking at Abs and Serena's pictures and hearing about their trip, didn't you?" Olivia asked somewhat shyly.

"Is it wrong for me to be genuinely happy for my friends?" Alex countered with a wide grin.

"Of course not," Olivia gasped.

"Look Liv, I've had more love, laughter and inspiration because of Angie and this group of friends in the past year than I've had in all my previous adult years combined. That's empowering."

"I can understand and relate to that," Olivia said after sipping her beer.

"You should. I do know you pretty damn well and you walked through a hell of a lot of your own fears and insecurities to have what you have now…more than you ever imagined. I'm happy for you Liv. Proud of you and it is inspiring."

"Thank you," Olivia responded sincerely. "I think you'll make a great mom…I just didn't know that you really wanted that."

"I had pretty much buried that idea, that hope. And a year ago I didn't think I would make a good one. But a little over a year ago Detective Benson wouldn't have imagined taking a six month leave of absence to be with her female fiancée and go back to school," Alex finished with a sincere smile.

"Touché," Olivia laughed.

"Let's go back inside," Alex smiled as she stood up and extended a hand to Olivia. "I want to visit with Abbie and Serena some more before we go to your apartment."

#-#

Olivia pulled the covers back on the bed and straddled Erin's waist. She snagged the book from Erin's hands and placed it on the adjacent nightstand.

"How's she doing?" Erin asked.

"Very tired, pretty buzzed, but still good," Olivia responded and leaned forward to press a gentle kiss to Erin's lips.

"And how are you doing?"

"Still a bit shocked. But I think they made the right decision as hard as it was to make," Olivia replied. "And I'm glad she's here."

"I'm glad she's here too, babe. I certainly didn't see it coming either. But I'm relieved that it wasn't over cheating…that's it not an ugly split. I really care about both of them," Erin said as she ran her hands over Olivia's back.

"How is Angie holding up?"

"She got pretty emotional with us calling. She's glad Alex came down here, but was a bit afraid that we all would side with Alex or just think she was an idiot."

"I think I respect her even more for not being selfish and wanting Alex to have everything she wants."

"If I may interject my opinion here," Erin smiled slyly as she slid the pillows propped behind her back onto the bed and laid fully down. "I think you should call Angie tomorrow and tell her that."

"I will," Olivia said as she stretched her body across Erin's. "What do you want to do tomorrow?"

"Whatever Alex wants to do."

"You're amazing Erin Mathison," Olivia whispered as she kissed and nibbled along Erin's neck.

"What if I want a big dog?" Erin grinned.

Olivia lifted her head and locked eyes with Erin. "We'll compromise and the big dog can have its own bed…outside of our bedroom. Petraeus sleeps in his bed most of the time. Big dogs can be trained too."

"You know," Erin laughed, "Abbie said she never lets them on their bed. I think they're smart dogs who played us while their moms were away."

"Played you," Olivia laughed.

"I might have caved a little easier than you."

"You must be tired to concede that easily," Olivia replied pressing a kiss to Erin's forehead.

"No, it is just pretty nice to be alone with you in our bed again."

"I think I can make it a lot better than pretty nice," Olivia husked as she quickly shed her shirt and then slid her hands under Erin's tank top easing it up the long, lean torso.

"I think I'll admit when I'm wrong more often," Erin teased as she tossed her tank off and wrapped her arms around Olivia.

"I'll love you regardless," Olivia whispered as her lips met Erin's.


Thank you all to have read and commented on Stepping Time and Double Time. I appreciate so much your support, reviews and private messages. My apologies it took so long to get this epilogue written and I totally tossed out the first draft of it and changed content and directions in this one several times. Real life is still busy and my muse seems to be a less frequent visitor, but my next step is to read Talk, Ask, Listen again. I am hoping that will return my muse so I can put the proper close to that story. I read a lot of stories myself and I understand how disappointing unfinished stories can be. Thank you all again! Reggieme