Author's Note: Hello Readers! We would like to encourage each reader and author alike to participate in nominating their favorite fics and authors for the second annual "Profiler's Choice CM Awards 2011! The nomination ballot, rules and category summaries can each be found at "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" Forum. To reach that post, please either take a trip to the forum itself OR links are provided on the profile pages of ilovetvalot, tonnie2001969, OR Profiler's Choice CM Awards. Nomination ballots should be pm'd to Profiler's Choice CM Awards ONLY. That link is also provided on the forum or through the profile pages listed above. We look forward to hearing from each of you!

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And, if we haven't stated it before, we do not own Criminal Minds, but darn, we wish we did!


Death Becomes Her

Chapter One

Stretching my long legs out as I watched the seemingly serene water of the pond in front of me, I shook my head. As the Reaper, I'd seen just about everything in my endless time of service. Nothing much surprised me anymore, and even less than that amused me. After all, death was a grim business.

No pun intended, of course.

But, sitting here in my spiritual realm as I waited to do the job I'd been pre-destined to do (don't get me started on that bullshit), I found myself grinning into the pond's reflection at the events unfolding on the mortal realm below.

My current assignment...the collection of one Erin Strauss' malevolent soul...lay in the hospital bed two realms down, that pale yellow hospital gown really most unflattering to a female with her complexion. And the self-proclaimed bitch was lingering, torturing not only me (who really, really would rather have been on the eighteenth hole somewhere), but her entire team as well.

Yep, she was surrounded on all sides. Not because the Behavioral Analysis Team were waiting to mourn her. Nope, not even close. Like buzzards circling a carcass in the middle of a vast desert, they truly just wanted to make sure the old bat as they said in the Wizard of Oz was "really most sincerely dead".

What? I know movies. I know copious amounts of inane knowledge that would send a lesser mortal screaming into the outer darkness. That's what comes from being around for a few billion years. But I digress.

I couldn't blame 'em. Based on the dossier I held in my hand, the woman had made each of their lives hell on earth at some point or another. Yeah, she'd been a real peach in her human life, and already I could smell that distinctive sulphuric aroma wafting over my nostrils.

Yeah, I'd be serving one up for Lucifer today. A trip on the down escalator was obviously on my itinerary sometime soon.

Glancing into the water again, I chuckled as the chick with the vibrant auburn head poked my unconscious query with a pointed nail. I'd almost had an opportunity to meet her a few years back when she'd been shot. But the Creator had his favorites and she'd been one of them. So, while I'd stood on alert for a couple of hours, I'd gone home that night empty-handed. It was cool, though...at least she'd had the good manners to decide which way she was going before the Colts had kicked off.

Shifting my gaze away from that unique soul in waiting, my eyes easily found the blonde head of Jennifer Jareau. She didn't remember me, of course. But, I remembered her. Unlike her friend down there, she'd ensured that I missed an entire half of the Steelers/Colts game almost a year ago today. Watching her exchange a loving look with Aaron Hotchner though, I guess I could forgive her for those trespasses. They appeared happy...and that had been the whole point in using one of my ten little dispensations for mercy.

Honestly, I'd had minor misses with everyone standing inside Erin Strauss' hospital room. And, I'd never taken them for a bloodthirsty lot. But you reaped what you sowed...and I couldn't deny that each of those folks had earned the right to make sure the Wicked Witch really was under the house, if ya know what I'm sayin'.

Yep, that was another movie reference. What can I say? The afterlife can be a bit boring. It's not all heavenly choirs and lakes of fires all the time. A being has to keep occupied, you know.

Sighing as I watched the monitors attached to my prey flicker, indicating the end was indeed nigh, I glanced at my watch. Definitely time to suit up, I thought to myself.

Now, I thought, tapping a finger against my lips as I contemplated my dilemma. Who should I greet my prospective guest with? I do that, you know...assume the body of someone you might feel more comfortable with. After all, whether you're taking the express elevator up or down, the journey should remain as comfortable as possible, right? If you were a good egg, you deserved it. And if you were one of the bad ones, well, let's just consider it my personal effort at mercy, shall we? Because let's face it, you had an eternity of hell, quite literally, ahead of you. I could afford to be generous.

Snapping my fingers, I grinned as my normal form...a better looking Peyton Manning (he's my fricking idol, in case that little bit of detail escaped you)...disappeared, and in its place...yes, ladies and gentleman, it is the great man himself…

J. Edgar Hoover.

Who better to greet the female version of him in the afterlife, right?

Yeah, sometimes my personal sense of irony is really spot on, isn't it? Thank you. Thank you very much.

Adjusting the cuffs of my starched white dress shirt, I glanced in the water again. Yep, just as I suspected...anticipation was a tangible presence in the room two floors below, and already I watched as Strauss' consciousness drifted further into the dream realm.

Oh, yeah, the countdown to D-Day...Death Day for me, folks...had commenced and the clock was ticking down.

Slicking the oily black hair back on old J. Edgar's receding hairline, I rose from my lawn chair and glanced over my shoulder toward the spirit realm's doorway. "Anytime now," I muttered to myself, straightening the navy blue suit coat I wore.

Pacing toward the entrance, I pondered the information sheet in my hand. A decorated agent, Ms. Strauss should have been a soul bound for a much sunnier climate. Her commendations and good deeds were many. It was the greed that had pervaded her soul. As she'd risen to the top of her game, she'd lasciviously searched for ways to climb higher by any means necessary, using both her body and keen intellect as weapons. In the end, those nasty deeds catch up to you.

Trust me on this, guys...St. Peter takes excellent notes on each and every deed you perform. It doesn't matter how big or small, good or evil...it all goes in that freaking tomb of a book of his. Make a note, folks, everything you've ever done in your life is accounted for (even that stuff you mere mortals try to block out of your memory). Believe me, the concept is really worth giving a little mental muscle to...that's all I 'm saying.

At any rate, I thought as I perused the crisp white parchment paper, even if Grand Dame Erin Strauss had been a saint...and she was a far cry from that...her direction into the hereafter had already been predetermined. By her.

Yep, that's right! Our very special girl had been contractually obligated since 1978 by her own hand.

And in case you're missing what I'm trying to say here...Erin Strauss had made a deal with the Devil himself.