"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." -Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Name Desiree'

When they'd left the only police station in the small New England town, it had only been flurrying. They'd been driving an hour, and now the snow was a thick white surrounding them. Not a blizzard, but not fun to drive in either. The naughty words Morgan was throwing around while he navigated through it was proof enough of that. Prentiss just held onto the door, and silently cursed victim number two for moving way the hell out in the middle of nowhere.

The rest of the team was at the station, while the two of them, less tolerant of the 'sit and work quietly' aspect of their job, volunteered to brave the piss poor January weather. It seemed like the better alternative at the time. Now they were wondering if anything she could tell them would be worth the trip.

Then the wheels seemed to slip under them. Black ice. Morgan knew how to drive in winter weather, and he knew how to deal with black ice. Their fancy, government issue SUV apparently did not. The wheels went from slipping to losing all traction.

"Shit, shit, shit!" He cursed, trying to regain control of the vehicle. Prentiss checked both their belts, and hung on tight. This all in the thirty seconds it took for the SUV to go completely wild, spinning around and around, until finally sliding nose first into a snow bank with a sickening crunch of metal.

Both FBI agents jerked forward with the little give of the belts, only to be slammed back by the force of the air bags deploying in their faces. The engine hissed it's death, and everything was silent.

Prentiss came-to first, face stinging from the air bag, chest already aching from the seat belt. She batted down the air bag, and stared out the windshield. It was light enough to see that some of the snow had fallen off what was actually a pile of big rocks, like someone would stash for building a stone wall. Grimacing, she sifted around, looked at her legs, then Morgan's, both fine and unhindered. It seemed the front of the SUV had absorbed most of the impact. She batted down Morgan's air bag.

"Morgan, Morgan," she said, nudging him gently in the arm. "Morgan."

He grunted. "Hmm? What?"

"You okay?"

He groaned as he shifted, checking himself. "Yeah, you?"

"Yes, but the car's dead." She nodded through the windshield.

Morgan studied it, cocked his head to the side in confusion, and finally snapped. "Who the hell thought that was a good idea?"

Emily just shrugged, and reached for her phone. "No signal."

He pulled his out then, not expecting any different. "Same."

"Shit."

"Yep." With that he reached into the backseat, and pulled out the coats they'd taken off. Thick down parkas they used only when traveling to miserably cold climates-and when he went to Chicago in the winter.

"What do we do now?"

"Try to maintain body heat, and hope someone passes and sees us."

"And, if no one passes?" She didn't really want to contemplate that.

Morgan considered that, and then smiled at her. "How do you feel about snuggling, Prentiss?"

She laughed through her nose. "I don't know, but bet it will start looking real good in a few hours."

He smiled and watched her tangle her fingers around the stone hanging at her throat. It was a swirled mix with white, black and gray, a natural rather than precious stone.

"Gift from an admirer?" He asked.

"What?" She looked confused. He nodded at her fingers. "Oh, no my grandfather. According to him it was mined in 19th century France, though he liked to tell stories, not all of them true. It's supposed to bring protection and good luck."

"Oh yeah? You believe that stuff?"

She shrugged. "It went with my top."

Morgan chuckled at that, and they both settled into a bored silence, wondering how long it would take to be rescued by a good Samaritan. They didn't wait long. An engine roared behind them, the truck it belonged to slowing down and pulling over by the side of the road. It was a big semi hauling a long trailer behind it.

Morgan nodded to the necklace. "So far, I'd say that's working."

A figure jumped out of the cab, and trudged through the four inches of snow on the ground over to Morgan's window.

"You folks having some trouble?" He was in his late forties to early fifties, bundled against the cold, including a hat with ear flaps. Snow had caught in his thick mustache, and while his speech was slower and hinted at a lower-education level, his blue eyes were bright and clear.

"Yeah, we skidded on some black ice, and planted in this pile of stones," Morgan explained. "We've got no cell service out here."

"There's a town a ways down, maybe fifteen miles, called Culver. I can take one of you there to use a landline and get a tow," the man offered.

"One of us?" Prentiss asked, uneasily.

"I've got buckets, not a bench, and I wouldn't risk improper seating in this weather."

Morgan turned to her. "You go, call Hotch and tell him what's going on, and send a tow truck out here."

"I'm not leaving you out here alone, you'll freeze to death."

"And, if you don't go, we'll both freeze to death."

Emily turned to the man. "Thank you for the offer, but-"

"No," Morgan cut her off, and turned to their liberator. "She's going with you."

"Damn it, Morgan. I said-"

He cut her off again, and she looked ready to kill him. "It'll take me hours to freeze to death, that's more than enough time to get to that town, and get a tow out here."

"Fine then, if you're so determined, you go, and I'll stay and wait." Prentiss gave him a look, arms crossing over her chest.

"Damn it, would you not be so stubborn?"

"Pot, kettle," she hissed.

"Emily, would you just please go?" He practically begged. And then, there was this soft look in his eyes, and she was suddenly completely incapable of saying no.

Jaw tense, teeth gritted, she looked at the man, "I'll come with you, thank you very much."

"Sure thing, names Chuck, by the way." He held his hand through the window and shook both of theirs.

"Derek, Emily," Morgan introduced them. The man nodded and headed back to his truck.

Emily turned to Morgan then, eyes lit with hostility. "Morgan, so help me, if you die before I can get a truck out here, I will-" She suddenly stopped, not sure what to threaten him with.

"Kill me?" He offered, smirking.

She glared at him. "I'll sell your corpse to the nearest necrophiliac."

His eyebrows rose at that, not that she noticed as she climbed out of the SUV, and started picking her way through the snow to the tractor-trailer. When she was on his side of the car, he called to her. "Hey Prentiss!" She turned, and he grinned at her. "You know, you're a little warped?"

She shot him a smile, and disappeared into the cab. He watched the truck start, and pull back onto the road, all slow and careful movements. Then he watched it disappear in the white distance.

Ten minutes down the road, the trucker was switching his radio to find news and trying to start up a conversation. "What brings you folks out here?"

"Oh, we're heading out to meet someone," she answered, staring at the road, and purposely keeping vague. People got excited and gossipy when the heard that the FBI was in town.

"In Culver?"

"No, it's probably about another hour away."

He nodded, then suddenly said, "Do you see that?"

Emily turned, only to see him looking out her window. She stared out her window, trying to find what he was looking at, but couldn't. "No, I don't see-"

The end of her sentence was lost when her body suddenly tensed, and she began to spasm in her seat. Her body jerked against the seatbelt, arms twitching sickly, then she went limp.

She never even saw him pull the taser out.


So, this is loosely based on the Kurt Russel film, Breakdown. It's Morgan/Prentiss friendship, but it won't be hard to see more if you're a shipper. And, considering that this is the season of finals and Christmas shopping, I can't swear to frequent updates, but they'll at least be regular. Thanks for reading, and please review!

Just a quick thank you very much to whoever nominated my stories for the Profiler's Choice awards, that was a wonderful surprise!