Trigger Warning: Drug addiction (The Call), allusions to rape (The Target).
Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds. No profit made, no infringement intended.

The Side Arm
Elle likes her gun at her side, not on her hip, not hidden under a sports coat like Hotch. She likes the leather holster, straps crossing over her back, tight over her shoulders like modern day armor. She likes the weight of the metal that thuds against her ribs, a constant reminder of her protection when she moves. Most of all she likes that everyone can see her gun, a warning and a promise.


The Call
It's 4 in the morning when Reid calls, staring down the dilaudid bottle on the counter. Elle isn't angry, doesn't complain about the hour.

She only says, "Talk." Only whispers, "It's okay." Murmurs, "You're stronger than this."

Reid clutches the phone, apologizes.

"Don't," she replies. "Don't apologize, don't promise. Just fight this, with every weapon you've got. And you've got me."


The Target
Elle aims at the paper target, knowing the shot will make a clean rip in between the lines meant to be the head. It always does. (She wasn't old enough to shoot a gun. Wasn't old enough to know she needed one).

Her hand clenches over the metal handle, muscles straining to keep her fingers from squeezing too soon. (She didn't know how to fight then. She does now, and she curses every day that it wasn't sooner).

Finally she lets her fingers pull tight against the trigger, in an angry symphony of focus. (Pictures shooting him. Hates herself for it. Still hates him more. Most days).

The rapid fire succession of bullets is a kind of peace, a port in the storm. She takes a breath, slides out the empty clip. The sharp sound is a prayer for the girl with no gun, nothing standing between her and those that wish to do harm. Now the girl with a gun stands in that space, too late for one, but never for others.

Elle clicks in another clip and takes aim once more.