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A/n this is a story for the winter and Christmas season. It will be mostly from Emily and Reid's POV with a case incorporated, but mostly focused on their friendship. Many thanks to my always awesome beta REIDFANATIC for all her ideas and support.
The Coming of the Storm
The rhythmic swish and tap of the windshield wipers had nearly succeeded in hypnotizing her. Their movement supplied the only relief from the white snow covering the road, the trees that lined the road and every living thing that hadn't taken shelter from the storm.
She glanced over at Reid. He hadn't spoken for nearly half an hour. His eyes watched the intermittent swathes of black top with a concentration that rivaled a bomb technician disarming a small nuclear device. Her eyes flicked down to his hands. They gripped the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles were white. If she spoke, he might jump right through the ceiling of the truck.
A spot of green pulled her eyes back to the side of the road. They were coming up on a new mile marker. Reid must've seen it too because he broke his long silence.
"One more mile…" He said softly almost as if she weren't there.
She didn't answer his comment. Instead, she turned her eyes to the file folder on the seat between them. They were making their way to the home of one Walter Hogg who lived twenty miles north of Cedar City Utah. Mr. Hogg lived alone, and worked as a part time maintenance man for an apartment complex in the city. He had a rap sheet a mile long including assault and battery, armed robbery and assault as a hate crime. He'd never served time in Utah, but had been a guest of the state of Wyoming earlier that year for the hate crime. Why had they let him out six months ahead of his sentence just because he'd been a model prisoner?
Emily shook her head in disgust. Why did apartment complexes hire men like Hogg? Didn't they do background checks? Didn't they care?
She glanced impatiently at her watch. They still had to interview Hogg as a possible suspect in three bombings. She rubbed at the back of her sore and tight neck. The team had three possible suspects all spread out over a forty-mile radius in the area of Cedar City. They'd split up to save time. It had seemed like a good idea at first, but then twelve miles out of the city, the snow had begun piling on top of the foot or two already on the ground.
Her eyes flickered back to the road, as Reid turned right onto a dirt road that hadn't seen a snow plow for a while. Fortunately, the four-wheel drive Ford Explorer handled the snow well. Reid handled the truck with a finesse that confused her as well as made her smile. The way Morgan told it, Reid could barely start a vehicle, much less drive one. She didn't understand Morgan's attitude. After all, Reid had passed the same training as the rest of the team to qualify as a field agent.
They rounded a corner about half a mile from the main road and there stood a dilapidated two-story house. She couldn't tell the original color of the house, because the paint had faded to an ugly gray. A faded and rusted green pickup truck stood parked alongside it with it's nose pointing to them. Reid pulled up along side and shut off the engine.
He glanced over at her. "You were right about the truck. Do you think we found the right guy?" He asked her.
"I don't know… Be careful," she ordered. "Don't even think about separating from me or surrendering your weapon to me for any reason."
He rolled his eyes. "Am I never going to live any of that down?"
Emily opened the door. "No… Come on, it's cold out here and it'll be dark before we get back if we don't hurry."
They tramped through the snow piled halfway up their calves. Emily thanked God she'd worn her boots and her parka. They hurried up the walkway no one had cleared for a few days and up the front porch steps. The porch extended the length of the front of the house. An old porch swing hung to her left, squeaking on chains that probably hadn't seen oil in years. The paint had faded the same grey as the rest of the house.
"Looks like Norman Bates' cousin lives here." She quipped through chattering teeth as the wind picked up from the north pushing snowflakes against the side of her face until the porch roof blocked it.
"Who's Norman Bates?" Reid asked.
"You're kidding right?" She said, as she opened the screen door and knocked on the 'faded to grey' wooden door.
He stared blankly at her, his sculpted face peering through the huge fur lined hood of his parka. "No…" He said slowly and irritably. "I'm not kidding."
"He's a -" She stopped when the door opened and a man she assumed to be Walter Hogg addressed her.
"What the f- do you want?"
"FBI…" Emily pulled out her badge. "Are you Mr. Walter Hogg?"
"What if I am?" He said, his small eyes narrowing at her.
He wore plaid shirt tucked into a pair of overalls and rubber boots. His baldhead had wisps of hair as grey as the house standing on end as though he had been electrocuted or badly frightened. He was very tall and muscular, even larger than Morgan.
"We like to ask you a few questions? May we come in?"
"No, you may not come in. I know my rights. I don't have to let you pig feds into my house." He effectively blocked Emily from seeing into his house with his bulk.
"Mr. Hogg… Can you tell us where you were on the evenings of December 1st, December 17th and December 19th?"
"I was here."
Reid glanced over at Emily. She didn't look at him. "Was anyone here with you that can verify that?"
"No… I was alone."
So fast that Emily didn't see it coming, Hogg pulled a gun from his pocket and pointed it right at Reid. "You should've left when you had the chance."
"Sir… Put the gun down." Emily ordered reaching for her sidearm.
"Don't. Move." Hogg ordered through clenched teeth.
"Mr. Hogg… Let's just take a breath…"
The huge man turned on Reid. "Shut up little man or I'll break you in half with one hand."
"Walter…" Emily began. "You're going to face assault on a federal officer. It's up to you if you want to cooperate -"
"I told you to shut up." Hogg roared. "This is private property. I know my rights."
The big man squeezed the trigger. The roar of the gun and the smell of gunpowder overcame the storm as everything began to move in slow motion. Emily felt, rather than saw, Reid lifted off his feet from the force of the blast. She reached for her gun, but the big man was faster. He shoved her hard enough to knock her back and down the stairs to the porch. She fell… her head cracked the walkway hard. She lay dazed on the snow and ice as more white flakes fell faster than she'd ever seen. Her head ached and spun as she tried to stand up.
Hogg grabbed her, yanking her up into his arms with one hand. The other hand clenched around her throat. He squeezed, the pain was enormous, racing through her blood like fire as the lack of oxygen made the grey spots dance in front of her eyes. She beat her arms at his hands, but he held on like a terrier with a bone.
Everything went black and he dropped her again. The release of his hand from her throat was like a blessing from heaven. She sucked air in great gasps and tried to turn over. He kicked her ribs. Her parka blunted most of the blow, but she hissed out a breathless scream.
He pulled her gun from her pocket and tossed into the trees. "Teach you little bitch what happens to uppity women."
She gasped and choked, unable to fight him off as he hooked an arm around her left her leg and began to drag her around the house.
She turned her head toward the anguished voice, but the snow stinging in her eyes and face made it impossible to seeing anything but wavering shadows of black and white like an old film. Hogg dropped her leg and turned back.
"Well… I thought I killed you little man. What are you going to do now?" His taunting voice shattered her nerves of glass.
"Leave her alone or I... will... take you down!"
The edge of hard command in Reid's voice startled her. She'd never heard it before, and it jacked up her heart rate so that she began to try and turn over to stand up. She had to do something.
"I don't think you have it in you." Hogg shouted back.
She peered up through the wavering snow. Hogg had his gun on Reid, not her, so she kicked out hard with her leg at the same time two shots rang out.