Author's Note: This is for mummacass. She requested Erin Strauss' take on the events of "100". Here is my interpretation. As ever, I do not own Criminal Minds.
They all thought that she was made of ice, frozen solid, straight through to her icy core. She'd purposefully let them all live under that delusion. Under normal circumstances, it suited her motives to have them think those things about her. But these weren't usual times and there was nothing normal about the state of affairs inside the walls of the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Quite the opposite.
It was true that Aaron Hotchner had an enemy intent on his dismissal from their hallowed ranks. But it wasn't her. She might be a bureaucrat, but she wasn't a traitor. Not that any of the agents she supervised would believe her.
Closing her eyes, she dropped her chin to her chest. Lifting her hands to massage her throbbing temples, she stared toward the door through which SSA Aaron Hotchner had just departed. She knew the younger man was right. If he hadn't have stopped George Foyet, his small son would have eventually been killed. The parent inside her had screamed that his judgment call had been sound. The agent in her shouted that he'd been out of options. The bureaucrat in her, however, knew that this was a slippery slope she stood on. And Agent Hotchner's career hung in the balance.
Many people wanted to see the notable agent fail, his unwillingness to play the political game of DC a considerable flaw in their eyes. And if she was entirely honest, up until the last day and a half, she would have agreed with his naysayers. But listening to his team and the man himself recount the horrifying details of Haley Hotchner's demise had changed her mind.
Aaron Hotchner might not be the hero his team proclaimed him to be, but he wasn't the villain in this piece either. Far from it. He and his son were as much a victim of George Foyet as his ex-wife had been. Just in a different, but no less painful way. And no matter what her feelings were for her one-time Unit Chief, she couldn't allow him to be persecuted for doing the only thing he could.
Because Aaron Hotchner was above all things a decent, honorable agent. It was one thing with which she could agree with his team. He'd done the only thing he could. And his team's testimony confirmed everything he'd said was the truth. His detractors would have to deal with their loss.
She'd cleared Aaron Hotchner of all charges. And for once, Erin Strauss could look at herself in a mirror and feel unashamed.