It took a few moments for it to register that Emily was standing before them. After seven months of grieving her death, it seemed more than a miracle that she was standing right in front of them.
"Really, you didn't deserve that and I am so sorry." Emily apologised to Derek as she came face to face with him. She watched as a sea of emotions passed through his eyes. She wrapped her arms around him silently begging for his absolution.
"Where is Penelope?" she asked as she reluctantly let go of Morgan, not at all oblivious to the fact that he remained still in her embrace. As Emily's eyes travelled around the room in search of her beloved friend, her gaze was not met by anyone in the room.
"Garcia transferred to Crime Scene Investigations in New York, into Mac Taylor's team." Rossi answered sadly,
"What? When?" her eyes went straight to JJ's for confirmation, whose eyes confirmed what her mouth could not.
"We can get into that a little later. Let's get Declan home first." Hotch said knowing that any further explanation would only bring more questions. Determined to get Declan home safely Emily turned her attention back to the particulars of the case.
Within 12 hours Ian Doyle was dead and Declan was safely back with the family he had grown up knowing. He was safe and now able to live the rest of his life as a normal child.
Emily sat on the couch in JJ's office. Though she was now a fully qualified profiler, she was still looking over cases and being the media liaison as a result of Garcia's transfer.
"Jayje, what happened?"
"After your death, Derek just shut down. I mean he still did his job, but he pulled away from everyone. Especially Penelope. He didn't just pull away from her, he pushed her away, and one day she just had enough and reisgned."
"That doesn't sound like Garcia. She wouldn't leave just because of him,"
"No, but losing you had a this domino effect that had everyone retreating to their own corners. Penelope believed there was nothing left for her in this team. That she was no longer needed. That she wasn't a part of this team, this family."
"And Hotch and Morgan just let her go?" she asked in obvious disbelief,
"To Hotch's defence he just wanted her to he happy, and if New York could provide her with peace he wasn't going to get in the way of that.
"That bad between her and Morgan?"
"A train wreck beyond recognition."
"Oh Jayje, I feel terrible." Emily said sadly feeling responsible.
Derek took a detour as he drove home and found himself outside Penelope's apartment, even though he knew that she was no longer there.
"I can't keep doing this with you Derek. I thought I could just love you through this, but it isn't enough, it's never going to be enough. I loved her too. She was one of my best friends and I am doing my best to just put one foot in front of the other, breathe in and out. You're not the only one who lost her and you're not the only one who's angry. I am done being your punching bag Derek, if we keep going this way, I'm going to hate you, so I am going to take myself out of the equation, and maybe someday we'll run into those two people we once knew. The friends we once were to each other."
The following day when he came to work, Hotch had called him into his office and told him that Penelope had requested to be transferred effective immediately. She had not even gone through Hotch, but straight to Strauss. She had packed up and left without saying goodbye to any of them.
The guilt of what he and JJ had to do distanced him to the rest of the members of the team. Hotch could feel that they were all fraying at the seams and felt responsible for Penelope's departure. Truth was, after Emily's supposed death, they had all broken apart from each other.
Despite the sadness she felt after leaving Quantico, Penelope loved New York. She had known Mac from her childhood as he was one of her brother's best friends, from the moment go, she was a little sister to him and she adored him as a brother in return. He brought a sense of family and belonging that she so needed at that time and without that in the last few months, she would have been lost.
JJ, Emily and Hotch had hopped into his SUV that weekend so that Emily could see Penelope. Hotch felt he owed it to Penelope to be there, and to try and explain it. Judging from the cold shoulder from Spencer, and the coolness from Morgan, the possibility that Penelope would be mad at them all was a high one.
Penelope was coming home from brunch with Mac and Jo when she spotted Hotch and JJ sitting on her porch steps. Worry filled her expecting the worst. Sensing her panic, Jo placed a reassuring hand on her arm.
"What are you doing here? Is everyone okay?"
"Yeah PG, everything's okay. Hotch and I, we just have something to tell you, and it had to be in person, and I'm so sorry Garcie…" JJ begged for forgiveness knowing what was coming was going to be a slap in the face.
"Penelope, seven months ago. I made a decision…" he began. Penelope gasped as it became clear what it was they were trying to tell her,
"Oh my God, Emily's alive?" As if on queue Emily stepped out of the SUV and was standing before her. Penelope emotions were flooding through a hundred miles a minute. It left her speechless and unable to say anything.
"Garcie, I am so sorry." Emily apologised stepping forward wrapping her arms around her friend. Happy to see her Penelope savoured the moment till her brain kicked in. She stiffened immediately in Emily's embrace.