Disclaimer I do not own Law and Order UK. Kudos and ITV1 own all.
After the Storm.
Matt stared out over the river. He was cold, numb and had no idea how Alesha must be feeling. He closed his eyes as he realised he knew exactly how she was feeling. Wiping away an angry tear he straightened up as he felt someone lean on the barrier next to him.
"We got him."
"Yeah, Ron." Matt sighed. "We did."
"Have you spoken to Alesha?" Ronnie turned slightly as he pushed his glasses further up his nose. The concern evident in his voice. He loved the young crown prosecutor as if she was one of his daughters. The fact a man had hurt her the way Merrick had made him feel physically sick.
"No." Matt stared at the murkey waters of the Thames.
"Matt." Ronnie watched the younger man. "She needs you."
"We failed her." Ronnie raised an eyebrow as he listened. "She stood in that court room and told everyone what he did to her. How he hurt her and he was found innocent. How? How does that happen?"
"Sometimes the jury gets it wrong, son. You know that."
"No. It's because we didn't protect her."
"She came to us for help. She sat in Natalie's office and told us what happened when she went to that monster's office. He was a doctor, Ron. He's supposed to be trustworthy."
"And we arrested him. And he went to court. Then what? He gets away with rape."
"No." Ronnie stared at him. "Were you in the same court as me? We put that excuse for a human in prison. For a long time. We found out what he had done to all those women. He aint gonna harm anyone again."
"He was found guilty of rape, but not of attacking Alesha. In law she lied. Even though we got a conviction this time it wasn't for Alesha's case." Matt swore as Ronnie nodded.
"Yeah, I know."
"She wasn't lying."
"You think I thought she was? Good God, Matt. What do you take me for? Alesha told the truth. I know that. Even if I didn't know her I know that. You know how many of these cases even see the inside of a courtroom? No where near enough." Ronnie closed his eyes. "I watched one mate, a WPC break because her case wasn't dealt with half as well as Alesha's. Nearly killed me and all."
"What happened?" Matt turned to him. He knew Ronnie had a story for most situations. He didn't know how, but he did.
"I went to her funeral. She took an overdose the day the scum was found not guilty. That's the difference Matt. Neither the scumbag that hurt my mate or Merrick were ever found innocent. Just not guilty. In my eyes there is a difference."
"Not in the eyes of the law."
"Look after Alesha." Ronnie stared at him pointedly before turning on his heel and walking towards the chip shop.
Alesha hugged her knees to her chest as she tried not to cry. She was angry with herself. Too many tears had been shed already. She didn't want to waste anymore. She buried her face in her knees as she heard the doorbell ring. She didn't want to see anyone. She certainly didn't want to move.
"Matt." She mumbled under her breath as she got to her feet and made her way towards her front door. She knew he was the one person who wouldn't just give up. She had already ignored calls from Natalie, Angie, James, Ronnie and George. She knew they were worried but she couldn't deal with the sympathy she would see on their faces.
"Hi." She opened the door as Matt smiled at her.
"You look like shit."
"Thanks." Alesha smiled as she tugged on the sleeves of her jumper.
"You're welcome." Matt tried his best charm smile.
"Look." Alesha sighed. "I really want to be on my own."
"Ok." Matt nodded. "Me too. I thought we could be alone together? WIth pizza."
"Matt." Alesha rolled her eyes.
"Humour me." He stepped into her flat as she wiped a tear away.
"You don't have to do this." She called after him as he made his way into her living room.
"Yeah." He nodded. "I know but to be honest after today. I don't want to be on my own and I really aint up to Ronnie's stories."
"Ok." Alesha smiled as she curled herself up on the armchair in the corner. "If it saves you from Ronnie's anecodotes then you can stay."
"Thanks." He returned the smile, careful to give her the space he could see she so clearly needed. Ronnie's story about his friend from years ago still rang in his ears. There was no way he was going to let Alesha think she was alone. They sat in silence for what felt like hours as the televison news rambled on in the corner.
"It's going to be ok. I am going to be fine. Aren't I?"
"Yeah." Matt nodded in all seriousness. "Course."
"Why did they believe those other woman and not me?" Alesha closed her eyes as the tears threatened to fall. In seconds she was in Matt's arms as he rocked her.
"They were wrong the first time. We believed you. The people that care about you knew you told the truth."
"Did you? Did you ever doubt?" Alesha mumbled into his shirt as Matt pulled back.
"No. Not for a second." Alesha sighed as he brushed her hair out of her face. "He isn't going to hurt anyone ever again. You stopped him Alesha. You made it possible for the other victims to talk." He kissed her hair before he could stop himself as Alesha hugged him back. "I just wish other people were as strong as you." Alesha tightened her hold on him as realised just what he had said.
"Matt." Alesha mumbled as she let him hold her. "It'll be ok. I'll pick up the pieces."
"You're not on your own, Lesh. Not with this." He answered as Alesha buried her face in his neck. For the first time since she had walked into Natalie's office all those weeks ago she knew she was going to be ok.
A/N Back to Church on Time? Soon. Please review.