A/N: This is all written from Hotch's point-of-view. I know it's extremely short but it's just the introduction so chapters will be longer after this. This is my first Criminal Minds story. Also, I've seen about five episodes and I'm not sure if everything will be right, so please tell me what you think.
Today had been hard, harder than most days. We should have been happy, ecstatic even. We should have been coming down from the rush of catching the unsub and saving the victim, but we weren't. There was no doubt that we were relieved. We saved a life, how could we not be? That relief, however, was overshadowed by our own grief. Most days the sorrow was controllable. We could push it to the back of our minds and shoulder on, but sometimes it just became too overwhelming.
Michael Welsh had been safely returned to his parents from the clutches of a pedophile. We had come in time to stop the boy from being harmed too badly. Saving a child was always an achievement, but this time it had only served to remind us of the loss of our own 'child', our youngest.
I had always resigned myself to the fact that these people, who I was getting so close to, could be hurt, even killed in the line of duty. It was part of the job description. I knew that one day they could be there, and the next day they could be gone. But never had I thought it would be him. He had been in his fair share of dangerous positions, but I never thought he wouldn't make it out. It was impossible for me to imagine him not being around, wearing one of his trademark sweater vests and spouting off random facts like there was a book in front of his face.
We didn't know if he was dead, but maybe it would have been better if he was. Maybe then we wouldn't feel so helpless. Maybe then we would have been able to move on. It had felt good to save a child from a kidnapper, but I think it made us feel even more horrible about our inability to save Reid from one.