I've been in hospitals before.
I've seen people die.
I've interviewed victims and I've sent UnSubs packing.
Like I said, I've been in hospitals before.
But this - this is so much different. There's a certain amount of fear and hesitation that comes when you go through the glass doors of a hospital to visit someone that you know; it's different when the person that you're visiting is someone you've worked with for over a year, someone that you've come to rely on, sometimes trust your life with.
It's different when you're visiting someone in the hospital and you feel guilty for sending them there.
I know that Hotch feels the same - he sent her home. He sent her home, and that son of a gun shot her, because we didn't follow his rules. He doesn't make the rules, we do. I'm suddenly filled with a hate that I haven't felt in a long time, not since my father's death. And I know that it's not Hotch's fault, it's got to be mine. I took Elle with me on vacation. I took her there and she nearly got arrested. Is that why the UnSub chose to shoot her, and not me, Hotch, Reid, Gideon, or JJ?
In my head, there's no other explanation. It's got to be the reason that she was chosen. It doesn't make sense otherwise.
I'm watching her sleep through a plated glass window.
The window is bullet proof. That's one measure of safety I'm glad that they took.
She's never seemed fragile. She's the one who grew up in Brooklyn, the chica on the team who's got more sarcastic come backs than anyone I've ever known.
I know he broke her. I know he wrote in blood on her wall and that she's got to be feeling scared.
I'm mad - at myself, mostly, for letting this happen, for not knowing that something would happen if we sent her home. I'm mad at our UnSub. I'm mad at Hotch, for sending her home.
But she's alright, I tell myself. She's alright because she has to be. Because she's Elle.
She'll be alright.