DISCLAIMER: All herein belong to CBS and its affiliates, not me. Not profit was made, no disrespect intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A little offering for Easter, for those who celebrate the holiday, and for Spring, for those who donít. Fluff, pure and simple. Unbeta'd, so all mistakes are mine.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Painted Eggs
By Fewthistle


The delicate pinks and pale greens of the egg glowed, nestled in the dark emerald of the grass, a small jewel in the vast diadem of the stretching lawn. Emily knelt next to it, the dampness of the ground seeping into the denim of her jeans. She picked it up gingerly, not wanting to risk cracking the fragile shell and ruining the elaborate diamond designs, the rich shadings of color that Garcia had so painstakingly painted on. This was the first Easter egg hunt Emily had ever participated in, and the feel of the cool March breeze, the damp grass under her feet, the scent of lilac and pear trees just coming into bloom, made the small oval in her hand appear more beautiful than any of the Faberge eggs that Emily had seen in museums.

Scattered across the wide lawn, her friends, her teammates wandered slowly, their steps abbreviated and meandering, heads down, eyes scanning the lush greenery for the brilliant hues of other eggs. Emily watched them, oblivious to the wet patches spreading on the knees of her pants, leaning back, buttocks resting against the heels of her shoes. A smile creased her face, wide, joyful, and yet holding a hint of melancholy. Just last week the team had spent nearly four days trying to find an unsub who targeted young mothers, and Emily couldn't help but imagine all the small children who would not be having their own Easter egg hunts this year; that instead of dresses and suits of pale blue, pink and yellow, they would be adorned in the muted shades of mourning.

Perhaps that was why Garcia had been so adamant that the team should come out here to the park this fine Saturday morning. To honor those who were lost perhaps, and perhaps too, to make certain that the small child still dwelling somewhere inside each of them did not give in to the weight of the ugliness and horror that covered their daily lives like a sodden wool blanket, dragging them down. Emily said a silent thank you to the universe for the undefeated spirit of Penelope Garcia, who even now was nearly doubled over with laughter as she stood and watched Derek Morgan crawling on his hands and knees under the still dew-laden branches of a magnolia tree, the wide, glassy leaves glistening in the morning light.

He emerged with a triumphant grin, clutching in his hand a rounded oval of brilliant orange and yellow. Emily couldn't hear what Garcia's reply was, but suddenly she took flight, running across the lawn laughing as Derek pursued her, her dress of purple and yellow like streaks of colored light trailing in a zigzag pattern over the green.

The others stopped to watch them as well, Reid looking up from his Sherlock Holmes-like pose, hands behind his back as he methodically paced the perimeter of the lawn, making concentric circles inward toward the center. Hotch leaned back against the rough surface of the oak that rose above him, the slight smile on his face a welcome change from the morose expression he had been wearing since Haley served him with divorce papers.

JJ was nearest to Garcia as she went whizzing by her, and she lunged forward, sticking out a hand, trying to catch the bright garments as she flashed by. She missed and losing her balance, fell gracefully, chuckling, to the ground, her white shirt blinding against the dark lawn. She lay on the damp earth, face to the clear indigo of the sky, laughing as Morgan and Garcia continued in their chase, both short of breath. Morgan finally stopped, throwing himself down on his back, overcome with amusement at Garcia's antics as she twirled and danced across the grass.

Emily rose slowly, her steps muted as she made her way across the green expanse to JJ's side. Looking down at the blonde lying prone on the ground, her hair spreading gold and platinum against the verdant expanse, Emily's heart caught in her throat. JJ's blue eyes were crystal and bright in the late morning sunlight. Emily couldn't tell if they were reflecting the sky, or the sky was merely reflecting back their sapphire depths. JJ's full lips were parted in a smile as she met Emily's gaze, and Emily was certain that she could see all the promise of the season in JJ's lovely countenance.

Without speaking, she offered the blonde her hand, intending to pull her to her feet. JJ reached up, the gentle wrapping of her fingers in Emily's sending a tingle through her body. The teasing look in those blue eyes should have been a warning, because instead of tugging JJ to her feet, Emily found herself tumbling forward, landing with a soft thud next to JJ on the thick carpet of grass. She looked over at her companion in shock, only to be met with raised eyebrows and a low laugh that ran along her skin like a caress.

Glancing down at her left hand, the one that had been holding the fragile egg, she opened her half-closed fist tentatively. The gaily painted shell was unmarred, although some of the paint had come off, leaving semi-circles of pink and green and purple along the soft skin of Emily's palm. Sitting there, the world around them nascent and burgeoning with life, the trilling call of the birds wafted down from the trees above them, the grass softer than the softest feather mattress beneath them, the air laden with the scent of lilacs and the heady, musty smell of the earth, Emily felt an immense peace settle into her bones.

Glancing at JJ, she could see the same peace expanding in those blue eyes, until it surrounded them, encompassing everything, becoming all that either of them knew of the world: only this moment, this place and each other. Emily extended her hand to JJ, the small, frail oblong laying like an offering to a queen on her palm. JJ's eyes were locked on her own and it was only the sudden sense of lacking and the gentle brush of her fingers against Emily's skin that let her know that the blonde had taken the egg. Raising it to the sky, JJ turned it almost tenderly in her fingers, the golden rays of the sun giving life to the colors, radiant like jewels in the soft light.

In the distance, the two could hear Garcia's gleeful laugh, Morgan's baritone rejoinder, Hotch's chuckling bass and Reid's reedy tenor; gorgeous four part harmony lifting to the heavens.

"Happy Easter, Emily," JJ said finally, eyes returning to Emily's, filled with a quiet joy Emily didn't believe she had ever seen before.

"Happy Easter, Jennifer," Emily answered, more aware than she had ever been of the inherent promise of new life and redemption in the simple words.

The End

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