Summary:

Bad weather, bullets, drama, heat, friction and (EO) UST… ;)

A/N… New storm fic. It's a complete stand alone (has nothing to do with Storm Surge).

I wanted to write a story about SVU and tornadoes, and this is what transpired. If you liked Storm Surge, this is a very similar approach. By the way, this is SVU…NOT Twister. There will be bad weather and (bad) driving. There will be storms, reporters, storm chasers, destruction and everything you'd expect if you were watching a news report. Mostly just Mother Nature doing her thing while SVU does theirs. I'm very psyched about this one! Hope you like it!

I decided to start this one a little differently. The first chapter's really just a teaser to give you a glimpse on what's to come. So it's fast-forwarded a bit. Starting with chapter 2, you'll get the story from the beginning (it'll work back up through this point in time). Towns and counties are mostly made up, but there are occasional mentions of major cities to give you a point of reference. No specific time frame. Alex Cabot is ADA (although we'll not be in New York much for this). Anything up to season 12 (spoiler-wise) and Elliot doesn't leave.

Like every good storm, there's heat, friction, ('un-Stabler air'…teeheee!) and intensity that builds up before the big showdown. And by the way… E/O is going to be MUCH the same… ;)

Chapter 1

Axeville, Pennsylvania

Elliot slams on the brakes, bringing the Crown Vic to a halt. The two front tires perch at the edge of the flooded road surface. "Sonofabitch!" He growls, smacking his fist against the dashboard. His angry glare fixed on the bumper of his speeding target as it fades into the horizon.

The large creek that runs along the left side of the road appears to have breached its barriers, spilling over onto the road surface.

Judging from the dip in the road ahead and currents flowing across the road way, it's probably too deep to cross in a sedan.

His eyes drift back to the road, and then to his rearview mirror, as he ponders where to turn around.

Behind the sedan, a downed tree blocks part of the road with one of its branches caught on a low-hanging power line. He had managed to steer around the bulk of it by driving partially through the soft, muddy shoulder.

But there's very little steering room now.

Already been stuck once today. A second time would just be asinine, Elliot muses to himself.

Their perp, who happens to be driving a stolen Ford pick-up, has a pretty good lead on them. Might have plowed straight through or took some part of the shoulder. He really wasn't close enough to judge.

Two more cars approach from behind them. Each one stops and turns around when they notice the road conditions.

Oh, what he wouldn't give to have something with a little four wheel drive right now. Or his SUV back…

But no…Kathy got that in the divorce.

He examines the road once more.

Maybe he could have attempted it…?

Or…maybe the water would've been just high enough to flood the engine, leaving them stranded.

Like he needs another reason for Olivia to be pissed off at him.

All he wants to do right now, is arrest this low-life, and get back to New York.

Right now, there's Olivia, himself, and a few local cops serving as backup until they get this guy. Feds may be brought in, in the next day or so.

The local cops are going to be stretched a little thin in a couple of hours.

If not sooner… Elliot scans the horizon in his rearview mirror, where a thick cluster of clouds emerges.

Media's reporting it as a 'potentially dangerous situation.'

Widespread flooding. Hail. Dangerous lightning. Wind gusts to 60 mph. The possibility of a few strong tornadoes.

And of course, his personal favorite… Hazardous road conditions.

Further out west, where the storms have since passed, Missouri and Illinois are under a state of emergency.

Towns leveled. Roads impassable. Lots of injuries, fatalities.

Indiana, Ohio, and parts of Western Pennsylvania—where they are currently—are now under the gun.

They've been skirting the edge of this storm system for the past few hours. Everything is to the south and west of them for the moment. But the storm continues moving closer.

Perp's probably hoping to wear a few of them out.

Elliot clenches his fists once more.

Sonofabitch will be lucky if makes it to lock-up!

He glances down at the radio. It's probably about time to check in with the others.

They had all split up back at junction 63, so maybe one of the locals is already on his tail.

His hand reaches for the radio, but Liv's covers it first. He withdraws his own quickly and releases a sigh.

"…This is Detective Benson with the NYPD… Baker? Sykes? Long? Tennyson? Any of you guys out there? We lost visual on the suspect. Last seen heading north on Highway 279…"

What makes this whole trip much worse…? Them.

They aren't speaking to each other. Hardly get along anymore.

The one thing they can both agree on is that they both want to catch this creep in the worst way.

The orders are to try and bring him in alive.

No one said they wanted him conscious… Elliot muses to himself.

They're tired. They'd been at this for a few hours.

No one expected things to turn out the way they did.

It's starting to get dark, they're close to the Ohio border, the weather's getting worse, and they still don't have him.

This perp's no idiot, either.

But they know more about what they're up against with this guy, than anyone else—Liv especially.

After no response from any of the other responding officers, Elliot gets out of the car and slams the door. He has to do something. Too much pint-up frustration spent sitting inside that car.

She fucking hates him! Especially after what happened earlier.

Then again…what does he do anymore that doesn't piss her off?

When they're not fighting, they're not speaking to each other. He doesn't know which is worse.

Shit, sometimes it's like they're married. Kathy couldn't stand to be around him either.

When they get back to New York, things are going to change. Cragen's already made his mind up.

He'll be working with Munch, she'll go with Fin.

It'll be okay… For a little while. A few weeks at most, but no more than a couple months…

Well, he hopes.

They managed a separation once before, while she was working with that eco-terrorism group.

They've done just fine in the past, but things are different now.

She's changed. Already surpassed him in skills. Well on her way to lieutenant. Hell, maybe even Captain.

She doesn't need him anymore.

He's got to fix this. Has to make things right between them again.

Whatever it takes.

He'll probably have to go to some boring 4-hour anger management seminar. A session or two with the shrink.

He hates it, but he'll deal with it.

He just wants things back to normal. He wants 'them' back.

Because in spite of how crazy they make each other, he doesn't want to do this job without her.

He pushes up his jacket sleeves, eyes the downed tree in the road, then makes his way toward the sturdiest part of it.

They're in Axeville—a small farm town about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. Not much along this stretch of highway.

He's not even sure where the nearest help would come from, if they couldn't get out.

The last thing he remembers seeing about a half mile back was a vacant lot, where only a McDonald's drive-thru sign remains. Right beside that, a boarded-up Amoco station.

He spots the place where the tree was split.

A lightning strike? he considers as he inspects it.

There's still the part of the branch that's caught on a power line. Too much brush in the way for him to see exactly how the line is caught.

And the ground, trees, pretty much everything around that area is soaked from the few storms that passed through earlier.

The only thing he sees that is safe to do is to try and move the bulk of it off to the side. He suspects he can probably do that without disturbing the part that's caught on the line.

The wind is starting to pick up again, so he's getting sprayed with the rain off of the trees.

As he struggles to get at the base of the tree, he hears her approaching.

"Elliot!"

"What?" He glances up, seeing her hair whip in every direction. Her sunglasses are perched on top of her head. She has to hold her sunglasses and some of her hair back, so she can see where she's going.

He wants to laugh, but doesn't. It's probably the only time today he's seen her face and she didn't look like she wanted to kill him. Only because she's distracted.

She stops, her hands rest on her hips.

His eyes continue to pour over her, stopping in places he knows he shouldn't…

Strands of brown hair blowing in the wind. Dark denim jeans, a faded black short-sleeved tee that clings to her chest underneath her NYPD jacket.

They've been through some downpours, road construction dust and mud, and could probably use a shower and a change of clothes.

And she still looks fucking beautiful.

"You're going to try and move this thing by yourself?" she poses, yelling mostly to be heard over the wind… Or so he tells himself.

"Yeah, what'd you expect?" he answers.

She shakes her head, opting not to respond. As she looks the tree over, an idea surfaces. "We have a tow rope in the trunk…don't we?"

"Yeah, I think so…why?" He walks over to where she stands and follows her gaze. At that angle, he sees how they can split part of the tree away from the main trunk without disturbing the wires. They can carry it in pieces if they have to. He'll have room to turn the car around. "Good thinking."

He goes to open the trunk of the car, then searches and then comes up with a sturdy white tow rope. He feeds it around the branch that they're trying to dislodge.

But trying to pull from that angle requires some effort, and the wind is working against him.

She watches him struggle with it. Of course he won't ask for help, she sighs.

When he pauses for a breath, she grabs one of the ends of the rope from his hand.

With the two of them working each end of the rope together, they manage to break it loose from the trunk a few minutes later. The rest is easily toted to the shoulder.

Elliot returns the tow rope, then wanders a few paces back over to her and looks at her appreciatively. "Thanks."

Her response is a slight nod.

They're both quiet for a moment. "You know Liv… I really am sorry…"

He knows she wouldn't forgive him that easily. He was an ass to her. Said some pretty mean things. Questioned her judgment.

But he has to try. Has to start somewhere.

Her attention is suddenly drawn to the late afternoon/early evening sky, where the leading edge of the storm that has everyone worried, continues to creep closer to them.

Directly above their heads, layers of clouds fill the late afternoon sky in various shades of gray. To the right of that, there are these interesting-looking, billowing clouds. Sort of look like rows of tiny cotton balls. Odd, but still interesting.

In the clouds above her, she sees motion in some of them. Further toward the horizon, there's a low-lying layer of clouds. Above that is a stream of fiery red, orange and yellow hues where the sun still peaks over the horizon as it sets.

There's beauty to it. Very picturesque. To her, it looks like nothing more than a cloudy sunset.

Then again, impressions can be deceiving.

"…I'm sorry for what I said…" Elliot continues his apology. "I didn't mean—"

"Elliot…" she halts him, turning her attention back toward her partner. She opens her mouth to say something, but doesn't. Shaking her head hopelessly, she turns and wanders back toward the sedan.

"Liv!" he calls after her. An exasperated sigh escapes his lips and he follows her to the passenger side of the car. "Please, Liv…"

Olivia turns around and stops short of running into him. She pauses for a moment, opting not to put any more energy into fighting with him. Instead she replies, "It's been a long day. Let's try to reach one of the guys on their cell phone, and if not, then we'll—"

The next strong gust of wind interrupts her, blasting them with rain and pieces of gravel.

They cover their faces and hurry into the sedan.

Once seated, they crane their necks toward the back windshield, unable to see much except for the sprays of rain.

The last bit of daylight is starting to slip away.

Finally, they spot the source of the gravel—a large pile off the shoulder of the road that was left behind by some construction crew.

The entire mound is getting sheared apart from the wind. Fragments of rock and gravel are being swept up in the open air and hurled toward the car.

"Dammit!" Elliot mutters as the pelts become increasingly more forceful. "Well, thank God for bullet proof glass," he vocalizes, struggling to get the car turned around amidst the chaos outside.

Olivia grabs for the radio, then sets it back down quickly a second later when the alert tones begin to sound through the speakers. She turns up the volume to hear the report over the ruckus outside.

"…*screech*…*screech*…*screech*…*long tone*

"The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for the following counties in Pennsylvania… Lantern, Cold Trail and Rider… And in Ohio…Flood, Forest, Gray, Crow, and Peak counties…effective until 11pm Eastern Daylight Time.

"This is an Potentially Dangerous Situation. Strong tornadoes, hail up to golf ball size, wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour and dangerous lightning are possible for storms that form in, and close to the watch area.

Remember that a tornado watch means that severe thunderstorms are capable of producing tornadoes, large hail, damaging winds, deadly lightning and heavy rain, with little or no advanced warning. Keep alert for threatening weather conditions and be ready to move to a storm shelter immediately…"

TBC…

A/N… Please let me know what you think! I've got more ready to post!