Rated: T for violence and prostitution-themes (nothing graphic).
Summary: When four men are murdered in the same ring's territory, the BAU works with a young prostitute with ties to the case. Post-Faceless, Nameless, but pre-Cradle to Grave, so Hotch was attacked, but is still boss-man (sorry Morgan, I love you, but stick to kicking down doors and tackling bad guys), and Reid is on crutches.
Disclaimer: If I owned Criminal Minds, Foyet would've been dead for a looooooooong time ago.
A/N: This is my second multi-chapter Criminal Minds story, but in a way, it's my first (the original one I wrote was when the show first started and I was much younger, very light on profile aspects). So hopefully it's a good one! Also, if anyone wants to beta-read, I'd be honored and ecstatic.
Most people would curse everything they knew if they were called to go to work at midnight. Most people would be snuggled in their beds, not preparing to brave the city's nightlife. Middle-of-the-night work hours were something few people ever saw. But for Carmen Hera, it was something she knew all too well. No, she didn't want sympathy for it, she didn't need anyone to pat her on the back or commend her for having the fortitude to brave Chicago's streets alone. It was a life she'd chosen for herself. Regrets never touched her bitter mind. Nor did fear.
Not until tonight. But it wasn't outright fear, mind you. Just a nagging in the back of her mind, screaming at her that something was very wrong. Only known by word of mouth, this was her turf, her district, the place where her girls worked, untouched by the fuzz. Thriving for years before Carmen had found it, business was good, and because it was so discreet, the police had never been able to pin anything on her or any of her girls.
Tonight was different. For the past eight days, business had been dropping. She supposed three bodies found with their throats slashed in back alleys was cause for alarm. Not for her. Maurice had said, however gruesome the kills had been, this creep was killing clients. Clients who had already paid, and thus were rendered useless. If he wasn't touching the girls, nights were business as usual. But tonight, business hit an all-time-low. During the day, the area had been crawling with cops. Three bodies, found within three blocks of each other, all with their throats slashed, all in eight days? Cops started saying serial killer. That was a harder on a business than finding a steak in a vegan restaurant.
Carmen didn't have a choice but to hit the streets with the few scumbags willing to risk their necks. Another key point to keeping out the cops. All transactions came from her. Cops were looking for a pimp, a big guy pushing all the girls around. What they didn't look for was a woman running the show. So Maurice sat in the shadows while Carmen called the shots.
Little did she know she was being watched the entire time. A pair of eyes took in her every move, every look, ever gesture. They recorded every transaction, each like a well rehearsed dance. A man approaches, Carmen holds out her hand, he placed 60% in her waiting palm, and she points him in the direction of one of the girls. None of these men were threats to him. She was only the gateway to what the men were after. This went on for hours. Locations changed, traffic ebbed and flowed, and no one got to close to what he had laid claim to. At first.
Then there was trouble. A scuffle, an argument, and the statuesque beauty had to intervene.
"HARRIS!" she barked at the blonde causing the ruckus. A pair of terrified green eyes snapped to her, still pulling from the man gripping her arm. Shooting a silencing glare over the frightened 18-year-old, Carmen smiled sweetly at the man she was fighting with. "Is there a problem sir?"
"You pointed me to this one, right?"
"Yes I did. Is she causing you trouble?" she spat with a glare in the blonde's direction. Sarah Harris was their latest find. Maurice had found her passed out, almost dead, OD'd on heroin. She wasn't adjusting well.
"Doesn't seem to want to come with me is all. And I expect my money's worth."
"Of course. Sarah, dear, you remember what we discussed?" Carmen asked through gritted teeth, her smile a mask. The girl nodded. "Then I don't see the problem here."
"Although," the man said, still with Sarah's arm in a vice grip, "I don't want trouble. You seem far better behaved than her, and I wouldn't say no to you." One finger flicked a red curl off Carmen's face. The eyes in the shadows flashed with anger. He'd dared put his hands on a girl that wasn't his! And she'd let him! The unforgivable had occurred. He pulled a knife from his pocket and waited.
Like a true professional, Carmen waved the man's proposition off. "I've already done my job. Believe me, sir, Miss Harris will do hers, and if not," she said, returning her gaze to Sarah, "someone else will do his. Are we clear?" She waited for resistance. It did not come. "Good. Then we're done here." Carmen strode away from the pair as Sarah Harris was led into the shadows.
The rest of the night passed almost without incident. The night was almost over. After final inspection, she could sleep. She began to walk the streets, check for business deals she'd been in the dark about (there rarely were any bold enough to go behind Carmen's back). Carmen turned into a dead-end alley. She stopped in her tracks.
Sarah's client lay in the alley. Blood pooled around his slashed throat. No one else was in sight. Four down.
Carmen bit back a scream. And ran. Business was closed.
A/N: WHO'S PUMPED FOR THE 100TH EPISODE TONIGHT??