I don't, and never will, own Criminal Minds. The series belongs to its creator Jeff Davis. I am merely letting my imagination run wild.

Too Tired to Care

"Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged." – Samuel Johnson

Standing over the body of William Lee, Elle wondered where the anger and outrage of the past few days had disappeared to. She stared into the face of the man she had killed; his eyes wide open in surprise and disbelief. He hadn't thought she would actually hurt him. No, by Lee's twisted reasoning, they shared a relationship; just as he had convinced himself that he'd been romancing the women whom he was actually raping.

It had sickened her at the time, the idea that this man would take something as precious as the idea of love, the desire to start a family and use it as an excuse to rape innocent women in their homes. Their homes: the one place where they should have felt completely safe. The one place she had once felt safe in, as well. But just like with Lee's victims, home was now to Elle a place of suspicion; a place of anxiety and bad memories, where she kept her gun close to hand and jumped at the smallest sound. Oh yes, she knew what those women were going through. Like them, she had been violated by a man justifying his actions through some crazed delusion. But unlike them, she could do something about it.

Elle Greenaway might have been victimized once, but she would never be prey. She was a special agent with the FBI, a profiler for the BAU and she knew how to defend herself. She also knew how to use a gun and how to justify using it.

She had come to Lee's apartment seeking a confrontation. Watching Lee walk out of the station a free man, while her boss and team stood by and did nothing had enraged her to the point where she'd thought she just might slap Hotch. She had risked her safety and life to arrest Lee and now Hotch was letting him go, simply because she had grabbed the opportunity to arrest him, while Hotch had hesitated, waiting for the right moment. Well, to Elle, the right moment had been the instant Lee had stopped his car in front of her house. And if Hotch accused her of loosing her nerve, then that just proved how little he knew about her. She hadn't lost her nerve; she simply hadn't waited around docilely for another Unsub to come after her.

And if Hotch said they had to let Lee walk because they lacked the physical evidence to link him to the crimes, well, that just meant that they hadn't searched hard enough. They knew and she knew that William Lee was their Unsub. The profile made that clear. And for what he had done to those women, he deserved to be punished. And if the system and her so-called team wouldn't do, then she would.

It was her anger and her outrage over the injustice of it all that had given her the courage to cross that final line; to confront Lee face-to-face and get the confession Hotch and Gideon had failed to obtain. At least, that's what she told herself she was doing when she sat behind the steering wheel of her car.

It was a lie, of course. Elle had come for more than a confession. She'd wanted justice; to avenge the women Lee had raped. His words to her, the way he had twisted her actions, only added fuel to the fire. When she shot him, she hadn't hesitated.

But now, with Lee's dead eyes on her, Elle found she was hesitating, if only for a few seconds. She had shot a man; shot him three times. She had killed a serial rapist, had killed the monster that had haunted Dayton. And now she felt…nothing.

She had thought that by bringing Lee to justice, she would feel satisfaction for a job well done. It was how she used to feel at the end of a successful case. Tired, but certainly happy; sure of herself and her position in life as a monster hunter who faced the shadows most feared. Elle was a passionate person and it was her passion that made her so good at her job. Her passion motivated her to push herself to her limits in the pursuit of an Unsub. It was her passionate anger that had brought her to this point.

So, the absence of all emotion, of all passion, was rather unnerving. There was no triumph, no satisfaction, not even anger. Not anymore. There was only an odd clarity, the knowledge that she had to act fast and manipulate the crime scene to correspond with the story she would tell the Dayton police and the Bureau. Besides passionate, Elle was also meticulous and convincing the police of her version of events was not difficult. After all, who had been killed? Just a man everyone knew to be a serial rapist. No one would cry over the passing of William Lee.

When she looked up to meet Hotch's eyes, Elle remained cool. Not because she had control over her feelings, but because there were no feelings to control. She was neither sorry nor happy about what she had done. She had simply done it.

So she ignored the stares of her teammates, the hidden question and concern in their eyes. She had killed a monster and had avenged the women of Dayton. She didn't care whether or not they knew the truth and thought her a killer. Because quite frankly, she was too tired to care. She had done what needed to be done and once her suspension was over, she would do it again. Because there was always another monster. So what did it matter?

"The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury." – Markus Aurelius

Author's Note: This is my take on what Elle was thinking in those few seconds she stood over the body of William Lee in "Aftermath" and what motivated her to do it.