Out of Africa

Blindside

"When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly."
~Patrick Overton.


Downtown Nairobi.

Mika Kimathi had never reminded Emily Prentiss of Spencer Reid as much as he did in this moment—out of his usual field gear, he looked impossibly young. He was still his usual lucid, relaxed self (in fact, given the high-octane possibilities of this assignment, he was unbelievably calm). But Emily was seeing him with new eyes, the eyes of a chief sending her agent into harm's way—it wasn't the first time that she'd had to do this, since her move to Interpol, but it never got any easier.

He wasn't allowed a vest, or any kind of communication—everyone had agreed that Kimathi would actually be safer if he didn't have anything on him that could label him an agent. He kept a weapon strapped to his ankle, but that was all—and the ankle was a pretty far reach when every millisecond counted, Emily couldn't help but think.

"Don't try to be a hero, m'kay?"

He grinned at her request. "You know me, Boss—biggest slacker you'll ever find. Taking out a bad guy on my own is way too much work."

That was definitely a snarky joke—because Mika was a bit of an adrenaline junkie who also seemed to think that he was superman when the situation got intense (another way that he reminded Emily of Derek Morgan).

"Don't worry," he got serious again. "I don't plan on dying today."

"No one ever does," she couldn't stop the words from tumbling out of her mouth. "Just be careful."

"Aye-aye," he flashed one more reassuring smile as he opened the car door and began his ten-block trek to the restaurant.

Emily took a deep breath to calm her nerves. When she was the one bursting through doors or going undercover, she never had much issue with fear. But when she was merely on the outside looking in, sitting on the sidelines waiting, it became a different story. She felt helpless, and that wasn't a sensation that she found particularly enjoyable.

Yonah Zamir and Karl Vetter were already in position, across the street from the restaurant, posing as tourists. Vetter, with his impossibly chipper outlook on life, was thoroughly enjoying his chance to play the role of charming German tourist. Zamir was bearing his charm with her usual stoic sense of duty, looking for all the world like a tired and unamused wife.

Emily cranked up the volume on her headset, anxiously awaiting the next confirmation. The minutes ticked by, then finally, something:

"Oh, my, look at all the birds roosting," Vetter's thick accent filled her ears. That was the signal that Mika had reached the restaurant.

"Birds are just birds, my darling," Zamir's unimpressed tone replied. That was her way of letting the others know that Mika was alone—no sign of Ade yet.

Emily smiled. She had the sudden urge to take Yonah out and get her drunk—she could enlist Rowena's help, and maybe they'd get the uptight Israeli to smile. That scenario was an amusing distraction, for a little while.

Time ticked by slowly, then suddenly sped up. No sign of Ade. He was ten minutes behind schedule, then thirty. Mika had to leave the restaurant, or risk becoming too conspicuous.

Zamir and Vetter signed off, after radioing in that Kimathi had left the restaurant.

Emily kept her eyes trained on the street corner, waiting for Mika to appear. When he did, she could tell that he was certainly unhappy with recent events.

"Something's happened," he announced as he got back in the car. "Maybe someone tipped him off…again."

After the incident with the heat-mapping satellites, Emily and Mika had quietly discussed the idea that an inside man was helping Wasaki evade capture.

Emily simply nodded. She knew that Mika was smart enough not to voice such thoughts to anyone else—if there was a mole, the only way to find him or her would be to pretend as if they didn't know the person existed.

"What do we do now?" Mika asked as Emily pulled the car into traffic.

"We figure out what to do next," she answered, almost distractedly.

The comm unit crackled. It was Easter's voice.

"We've got something."

"What?" Emily sat up a little straighter, glancing over at Mika. Mika couldn't hear what was going on, but one look from his boss alerted him that something was definitely happening.

"Our analysts have been backtracking financial records of known ANAM supporters—we've got an address for an apartment complex currently under construction. The owner has donated a lot of money to further ANAM's cause. He was pretty crafty about hiding the money, but luckily our people are craftier. On a very interesting note, construction was halted last week, for no obvious reason—just two days before the Central Shopping Center incident."

"So we're thinking this could be Wasaki's hideout." Emily surmised. She could feel every muscle of Mika's body tense and sing with the promise of the chase.

"We redirected a satellite—there are two people in the building."

Emily's heart rate went up another notch. She pulled the car over again, "What's the address?"

"634 Gigiri Street."

She entered the address into the vehicle's GPS. "Looks like we're a few miles out."

"A team's already en route. Shall I advise them that you will intercept and join at the location?"

"Yes."

Clyde made a small noise, as if he knew that would be her reply. "The team will enter the parking garage through the south entrance. And for heaven's sake, be smart about it, Emily."

"We will," she promised. She did a three point turn in the middle of the street, gunning her way back towards the apartment complex.

Mika was nearly bursting with curiosity. "We've got 'em?"

"Possibly," she returned, keeping her focus on the road as she quickly maneuvered around the traffic. She relayed the information that Clyde had shared with her, then added, "We're meeting the tac team at the location."

"Well, this day may have a silver lining after all," Mika gave a small, satisfied smile.

Emily merely set her mouth in a grim line. Just like luck, she didn't believe in hoping for silver linings. It was best to just blow through the storm and try to make it through to the other side.


David Rossi's hands gave a slight tremor of adrenaline as he fastened the clasps on his Kevlar vest. That was a good sign, he told himself—adrenaline makes you sharp, sharp keeps you alive.

A sleek undercover car pulled into the parking garage, Emily Prentiss' pale face shining from the darkness of the cab like a beacon. Dave smiled—his gattina was never one to be left behind when there was action afoot.

Mika was reattaching his sidearm as they walked towards the rest of the team. Emily glanced around, taking in the faces of the people here—the BAU team members, Zamir and Vetter, Whitting and Shir-Del and Silver, with another Israeli, Azoulay, and a few men from the CID whom she didn't know by name.

Eric Silver was obviously the officer in charge of this operation, so she moved to him, her body language open and deferential. "What's the plan?"

"It's down to one heat signature," Silver informed her. "Looks like he's on the fourth floor. Three teams—one for each floor, third, fourth and fifth floors. Plus a team stationed in the lobby to cover stairwells and elevators, if he tries to escape. The fifth through tenth floors are completely uninhabitable—but there's a sky bridge on the fifth floor that connects to the next building, so he might try to take that. We need to be ready if he does."

Emily nodded, taking the vest that Agent Azoulay tossed her way. Mika grabbed a comm headset and a vest as well.

Aaron Hotchner quietly sidled up to Emily, his voice low so that only she could hear, "There's been another development."

She took a beat to simply look at him, to read the seriousness of his expression—that's when she noticed Rossi and Reid waiting over his shoulder. He moved a little further away from the rest of the group, and she followed, her eyes bouncing back and forth between her three former colleagues.

"We've got a rat among us," Rossi kept his voice low. "Agent Masterson came to me, a few hours ago. The prints that Reid found back at the abandoned building definitely belonged to Wasaki. Someone had to have alerted him; that's the only way he could have gotten out before we got there."

"Mika and I figured as much," she admitted, glancing back at her current partner, who was still suiting up. She knew the answer, but she asked anyways, "We have no idea who it could be?"

Rossi's mouth set in a thin line. Reid shook his head.

"It could be anyone," Hotch spoke quickly and quietly. "Which means we need to be very careful—watch each other's back. Reid and I are on a team, Rossi will go with you. Keep each other in sight at all times."

Everyone nodded, then casually drifted away from one another. However, Hotch returned to her side. She felt the lightest pressure on the small of her back—Aaron's hand, for the briefest of seconds.

"Be careful."

She turned to him, taking a moment to simply look into his eyes, "You, too."

"Chief Prentiss," Silver's voice caused her to turn back around. "You're taking the team on the fifth floor. I'll take the fourth. Chief Hotchner, you'll have the third."

Both chiefs nodded. Emily had Azoulay, Mika, and Rossi on her team—she didn't know the young Israeli very well, but she trusted the other two implicitly. Two out of three wasn't so bad.

They took the stairs, moving quickly and quietly. Emily felt edgy and off-balance—there hadn't been much prep time, there wasn't a good schematic of the building and every second was a mark against them—but she couldn't change the circumstances, so she went into her usual mental exercises.

Who, what, when, where, how, and why. Answer the questions, Emily.

Mika quietly opened the door onto the fifth floor, and she moved forward, into point.

Silver hadn't been exaggerating—the fifth floor was completely uninhabitable. Stacks of metal beams, concrete floors littered with plaster and trash, huge rolls of insulation, long lines of ducts and vents waiting to be hung in the ceiling. A few walls were up, just enough to create a hazardous maze of unfinished apartments.

They moved as quickly and quietly as possible, clearing as many half-built rooms as possible. Minute after pounding minute raced by, each deconstructed area as empty as the last. There was radio chatter from the third floor team, then the fourth—all clear.

She felt the anxiety building among her team as they continued through the last few rooms—if he wasn't there, he had to be here, right?

Still, no luck.

"All clear," she radioed back, the frustration evident in her tone. Rossi lowered his weapon, but still kept it in his hand, ready for anything.

"What's the heat satellite say?" Mika asked.

"Does it matter? There's a five minute delay," Chava Azoulay pointed out. She shifted, pivoted on a quiet heel, then went to the stairwell—the one they hadn't entered from, the one that hadn't been cleared yet. Rossi drew his weapon up again, following Azoulay's lead.

Emily saw the skybridge at the end of the hall—she silently gestured to Mika that she was going to check it out. He nodded, then went back to keeping watch outside the stairwell which Rossi and Azoulay were currently clearing.

Emily moved quickly, her eyes alert for any sign that someone had been this way, her ears straining for the slightest noise. She opened the door to the skybridge, taking pains to be as quiet as possible. There was a noise behind her, and she turned back to the sound, glancing down the hall, checking on the others.

When she turned back around, her heart stopped for a full beat.

Constance Connelly was ten feet away. Staring back at her.


"Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody."
~Mark Twain.


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