Ellie reached toward the radio. "May as well listen to something that fits the weather," she smiled.
Tim nodded, his concentration still on the road in front of them. Three days of snow had left the roads slippery and impassable in the more remote areas.
Unfortunately the crime scene was in one of them.
"Let is now. Let it snow. Let I snow… Yep that fits," she grinned.
Tim smiled tightly as he slowed behind a semi-trailer. He moved to the left lane to see past the larger vehicle and not seeing any oncoming traffic sped up to pass.
When he was nearly ahead of the other driver headlights appeared seemingly from nowhere blinding him as the lights reflected off the falling snow.
The last conscious sound he heard was Ellie screaming his name.
He was cold. That, he thought wasn't right. The heat in the car had been blasting to keep Ellie warm.
"Ellie," he said trying to turn his head to see her, but found he couldn't move his head. "Ellie," he croaked.
"Tim," her voice sounded relieved. He felt her hand on his forehead- grateful for its warmth. "Don't try to move," she instructed.
"Don't think I can," he groaned. As his mind cleared he was aware of how sore his body felt.
"Well, you hit your head pretty hard against your window. I was afraid you might have injured your neck, so I triaged a little," she explained.
"Triaged?" Tim asked feeling uncomfortable lying awkwardly in his car seat.
"Yeah. I had to use what was handy. I used my scarf to tie your head to the head rest to prevent you from moving it too much. I was afraid if you moved it too much you might, you know…"
"That I might end up paralyzed?"
Tim sighed. "If there's one thing I've learned from Delilah, it's that losing the use of your legs isn't the end of the world."
"Maybe not, but she can still do her job from a wheelchair," Ellie said.
"You trying to say I couldn't," Tim argued.
"You're a field agent, Tim," she countered. "You know crime scenes aren't usually easy to walk in, let alone try to maneuver a wheelchair around them."
"True, but I do a lot of computer stuff. Gibbs could find plenty for me to do."
"And eventually you'd hate it. Anyway, it won't matter. You just lie as still as you can until some help arrives."
"You managed to reach someone?" Tim looked out his window and all he could see was snow and dark masses that must be trees.
"No, my cell isn't working, but surely either the truck driver or the driver that almost hit us would've called. At the very least Gibbs will be wondering where we are when we don't show up at the crime scene."
Tim sighed. "I sure hope it won't be too long."
Ellie looked out the window that was being covered by the falling snow, "Me, too."
Tim assessed his coworker. "You must be freezing."
Ellie had her arms wrapped around her. "It is a bit cold in here," she replied seeing her breath escape as she spoke.
"If you can get to the trunk, I have a Mylar blanket in my bag."
She looked out the back window at the tree behind them. They had hit it pretty hard, but hopefully not hard enough to make opening it impossible.
"Can't hurt to try," she pushed against her door which had only been mildly damaged by some branches as they skidded down the slope. She got out and saw the trunk had been popped open slightly by the impact. She managed to get her fingers between the crack and pushed it open. Thinking there may be other useful items in the bag she grabbed it and carried it into the car.
Shivering as she closed the door she said, "It almost feels warm in here." It didn't take long to find the blanket and open it to spread across both of them.
Tim chuckled as Ellie tucked it under his left side and laid down next to him. "You should be glad it's me you got stranded here with and not Tony. He'd be sure to suggest using body heat to keep warm."
"That's not a bad idea," she snuggled closer.
"Yeah, but he'd point out that it would be more effective if we were both naked."
"Oh," she laughed. "That does seem like something he'd say."
"Well this seems to be doing the trick. Sure glad I packed it."
"Always the boy scout," Ellie smiled.
"It's good to be prepared for anything."
Ellie nodded and rested her head on Tim's shoulder. "I'm not hurting you am I?" she asked.
"No I'm okay. I just hope help comes before the snow covers us completely."
They both watched as the snow continued to fall on the windows. Eventually they nodded off.
Tim woke and grimaced when he tried to move. Ellie sure did a good job tying him to his headrest. He took a deep breath and tried to stretch what he could without waking his partner.
"I'm awake," Ellie yawned and sat up and moved over to her seat. She knocked against her window trying to dislodge the snow on it. "Maybe I should brush some of the snow off," she suggested.
"Maybe some, but the snow is insulating us a little."
She nodded and reached into the back seat for the snow brush. When she got out she noticed how dark it was getting and wondered how long they had been asleep. She used the brush to remove the snow from the hood and roof as well as part of her window and the windshield.
When she got back inside the car she shuddered and moved back under the blanket. "It's getting late."
"I noticed," Tim replied and showed her his cell phone. "We've been down her about 4 hours."
They both looked out at what they could see and waited for a sign that someone was coming for them.
"Are you hungry?" Ellie asked reaching for her bag.
"Now that you mention it," Tim replied. "I never that I'd be happier that you're a hoarder of snacks."
"It comes in handy," she smiled taking two bags of nuts out and handing one to Tim. "I have bottles of water, too."
"At least we won't starve while we're waiting," Tim ate a few nuts sucking on the saltiness, before chewing the up.
"Nope," Ellie said.
"So do you have plans to go back home for Christmas?" Tim asked.
"It was nice to see everyone for Thanksgiving, but yeah, I think I might go back again. How about you?"
"Yeah. I'm bringing Delilah to my mom's. Sarah will be there and she's bringing her boyfriend," Tim said. "Hard to believe it's been almost a year since my dad passed. This year will be different."
"For all of us, I think. Tony will probably be spending Christmas with his girlfriend, unless his dad comes to town. I wonder what Gibbs will be doing without his dad around this year."
"It's still hard to believe he's gone, too. Maybe he'll spend it with Ducky. I know Jimmy and Breena usually make time to spend with Ducky, so maybe they'll invite Gibbs along. He'd love to see their daughter."
Ellie agreed. "Of course you never know with Gibbs," she shrugged.
"That is true," Tim agreed.
They both were startled by a knock at Ellie's window which had been covered again by the falling snow. They watched as the snow was brushed off and saw Tony smiling in at them.
He opened the door. "Hey you two look pretty cozy. Hope I'm not interrupting," he grinned.
"Happy to see you, too DiNozzo," Tim greeted.
Noticing the scarf around Tim's head Tony couldn't help but ask, "I knew you were into some kinky stuff the McFifty Shades."
Tim rolled his eyes.
"Never fear my dear colleagues, the paramedics are on their way down. They had some trouble finding where you went off the road. Darn snow covered your tracks."
"How did you find us?" Ellie asked.
"Well my fine Ms. Bishop I am not the senior field agent for no good reason. Despite all the snow I did manage to see some broken branches and followed my instincts. Voila here you are!"
"I'll never doubt your skills again," Tim said.
"Thanks," Tony bowed. "Wait. What do you mean again?"
Before Tim could answer the paramedics arrived and after wrapping Ellie up in a blanket as she got out to stand next to Tony, they entered the vehicle to assess Tim's condition.
They untied the scarf and put a collar on to keep his neck straight. "Can you move your legs?" the paramedic asked.
"Yes. I'm stiff from sitting so long, but nothing really hurts."
After some more questions and examining Tim they maneuvered him onto a back board not wanting to risk any potential injury.
Once he was outside he smiled at Ellie. "Thanks."
"No problem. That's what friend's are for."
"I'm glad to have you as my friend then."
"What about me?" Tony asked.
Ellie gave him a hug, "We're both glad to have you as a friend, too."
"How did you know where to look for us in the first place?" Tim asked.
Well the Boss was a bit peeved when you two didn't show up. Thankfully the suspect was still hanging around waiting for us to arrest him. Anyway the LEO's heard the report of an accident along this route and Gibbs' gut sent me here to rescue you."
"Gotta love Gibbs's gut," Tim said.
"It's never steered us wrong," Tony agreed. "Now let's get you two back up top and let the man himself know you're okay."
Ellie nodded and turned with Tony to walk back up the slope while the paramedics assisted in getting Tim up. Once they were back on the highway Tony got Ellie into his warmed up vehicle and Tim was put into an ambulance.
It was no surprise to any of them that Gibbs was there to make sure his team was okay. He assured by the paramedics that Tim had only sustained some minor injuries, but they were taking him to the hospital to make sure.
As they slid McGee into the back of the ambulance Gibbs patted his leg and said, "You're alright Tim."
Tim gave a slight nod, as much as he could with the neck brace on. He leaned back on the stretcher as they closed the doors and wished he could turn back time and avoid the accident all together.
The rocking of the ambulance as it sped along the highway made him drowsy. Before too long he was asleep, only to be awakened by the sound of a blaring horn.
To his surprise he was once again behind the wheel of the sedan with Ellie beside him. He saw the headlights coming toward them but managed to slow down enough to pull back behind the trailer and avoid going off the road.
"That was a little too close for comfort," Ellie looked back at the passing car.
"No kidding," Tim looked into the rearview mirror. "Maybe a small winter miracle."
"I don't know about it being a miracle, but I'm sure glad we avoided an accident. Gibbs would kill us if we didn't show up to the crime scene."
"Nah, but let's not test fate," Tim smiled.
Showing up at the crime scene Tim and Ellie ran up to find Tony putting a suspect into the back of his car. "Well you guys are too late. The Boss and I already got this one wrapped up."
"Don't tell me the suspect was just waiting here for you to arrest him," Tim said.
"Yeah, how'd you know?" Tony asked.
"Lucky guess," Tim shrugged. "How about I treat for dinner after we get him booked?" Tim offered.
"You're on," Tony accepted. "I'm starved."
"I could go for a nice dinner," Ellie smiled. "Thanks Tim."
"How about you Boss?" Tim asked.
"Steak?" Gibbs asked.
"Sure," Tim answered.
"You're alright Tim," Gibbs smiled.
Tim smiled. Yeah, he was alright.