Hey lovely people,

It's just little old me again. There's not really a lot to say about this one. I was watching a mind numbingly dull film last night and in the process started to consider more interesting facets of my imaginative spectrum, naturally therefore my thoughts turned to our favourite brunette couple. Without any long rambling notes I should say that this written in a completely alternative universe (its AU I guess) so I hope you enjoy it.

My author's note is the same as ever: I DO NOT own Criminal Minds, its characters or plots they belong to CBS and affiliated organisations so all recognisable dialogues will be clearly marked in italics.

I hope you enjoy this please feel free to let me know what you think!

P.S – this was supposed to be a quick fire one shot in order to offer me a bit of escape but it quickly spiralled as is on the case so I decided to break it up and post it as a little multi-chaptered story – it is essentially done, just adding the final touches so I'm going to post up all the parts in quick succession. I know I should wait for reviews yada, yada but my first aim is always the enjoyment factor. Of course reviews are always appreciated and do make me incredibly happy, so if you feel inspired please do leave me a little note.

Also I got inspired by Nathinel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter so that features in this as a bit of a motif.

~ "The saddest thing in the world, is loving someone who used to love you." ~ Anonymous.

"Hey pretty lady; we missed you over at Quan-tee- co. You do remember us don't you?" Penelope Garcia asked her old friend as she embraced her, her arms engulfing the brunette's slender figure.

"Of course I do, you know I love you guys... it's just..." She paused, struggling for the words as she drew back and took a good look at her blonde friend. "Harder these days I guess." She completed the thought after a moment, the universal truth of her words falling heavily around her.

"The BAU is always going to be there Emily." Penelope told her, her tone sad.

She didn't know how to respond to that, it was true of course but there was a looming and unspoken truth which stopped her from returning even just for a visit – the thought that if she went back she would stay because life now just wasn't the same.

"PG... you know I miss the BAU but..." She made to continue but something, someone stopped her.

A voice she had so easily fallen in love with. A timbre she could get lost in which held the ability to captivate her mind and make her believe every word it spoke – a voice she now loathed. A voice which had in six short months managed to make her forget everything she had liked about her old independent life and become completely absorbed with listening to the sweet nothings that its musical tone whispered so easily into her ear.

At first the man to whom that rich velvety voice belonged inspired all kinds of exciting feelings within her – she had finally found the one thing she felt like she had spent her whole life searching for – a man who loved her and whom she could so easily love. A man who never put her second and was not afraid use those four little letters to make that one important word – she was his number one, for once she had become someone's priority and it had felt so good. But now in another state and another life she was beginning to resent the man she was supposed to love.

"She misses you but she doesn't need the BAU anymore. She has a new life now; we have a new life now right honey?" Stephen spoke from behind her, his arm wrapping around her shoulders possessively.

"Right." Her smile was tight and didn't reach her eyes but it was just another part of her half life now.

"I see that. Lovely ring, great outfits, beautiful house out here in Westchester and a wonderful husband of course. You have the good life here. You don't need us anymore do you?" Penelope replied sadly retreating across the room to find the rest of the BAU team who had flown here especially for this night and who now seemed obsolete in their friend's life.

"See? That wasn't so hard was it baby?" Stephen asked, brushing a light kiss into her hairline and giving her a squeeze before releasing her.

The moment he was gone she felt herself breath a slight sigh of relief. "Maybe not for you." She sighed looking wistfully towards her friends.

I hope you like this, as I said expect the next part very soon, I'm chopping it up as we speak so look out...

Thanks for reading, I hope I caught all the edits if not please forgive me :)