I'm so sad about her leaving….. this little story came to mind today. Hope you enjoy

She could hear the dulcet tones of the music emanating from Rossi's grand back garden and smiled warmly as she heard the laughter and chatter of her friends, the clinking of glasses and the squeals of Henry and Jack. Draping the shawl around her shoulders, she took a deep breath, before beginning her walk along the cobbled path. She wrapped her arms around herself…. for comfort, not warmth, realising that the decision she had been subconsciously making for months had finally been decided once and for all tonight.

On her approach, she could see them all under the beautiful moonlight….. Was she really going to do this? Was she really going to leave all of this behind?

All her friends were dancing, apart from Spencer who had Henry and Jack running circles around him, giggling hard as they did. As she made it to the end of the path, she laughed as Rossi tipped her a wink over Erin Strauss's shoulder and she then began to circle the dance floor slowly.

She caught JJ's eye first and they shared a knowing smile…. It was so rare in the lives they led for someone to find the happiness and safety of a family life JJ had. She was proud and in awe of her friend, but her smile faded as she pictured her sad smile when she would tell her her news. JJ's eyes would glisten from the moisture forming and her throat would ripple as she swallowed hard, holding back her tears. JJ would give her a tight hug and tell her to be happy and only at that point would the blond allow a solitary tear to fall down her cheek. She'd wipe it away before their eyes met once again and they'd wonder how they were going to cope without each other once again. They were sisters…. No…. They were far more than that.

As Reid spun her round playfully, laughing, she smiled back at him, desperately masking the thoughts racing through her mind. She knew this conversation was going to be the most difficult. She could see his brow furrow as confusion and disbelief swirled around his eyes. He'd ask her why she was leaving them again and guilt would hit her like a ten tonne truck. Would he even talk to her? Would he be angry? She had never really known Gideon that well, but she knew the dejection he had caused the young Doctor when he had left. Would she be doing the same?

As Rossi leant in, swaying her to the music, she heard the quiet murmur of his laughter and she felt a little relief knowing the grief he had suffered in the past few months may have disappeared…. even if for just these few hours. She could see his face as she told him. He'd give her a proud smile and nod, while inside fighting the despair. He'd look at her as a proud father, watching his daughter step away from his life as she went to college or got married. He would never reveal his heavy heart though, because all he wanted was for her to be happy, no matter how much he'd miss her. He'd give a certain smile then turn away, and that's when his tears would fall.

She laughed as Hotch whisked her away from the older profiler and smiled warmly seeing him so relaxed and happy. A new Hotch had certainly surfaced recently. Their smiles soon faded and they remained in silence as they both contemplated the following morning. She knew he would support her and not attempt to hold her back. He'd offer some advice. Tell her that he was always at the end of the phone if she needed him. He may even tell her he'd miss her. She wasn't sure, but she knew it would be implied. He would always remain the stoic leader, but as her friend, at this point, his mask would probably slip just a little.

Although telling Spencer would be most difficult, she knew the hardest to handle would be Penelope. As the words would leave her lips, she could already see her friend's mouth begin to quiver and it would hurt inside to see her face scrunch up painfully as the tears began to flow. She'd take her into her body for a warm, homely, Penelope hug and she'd know at that point this was one of the things she'd miss the most. She'd feel her friend's body judder as she sobbed and it would be now she wouldn't be able to fight her own tears. But even with all of this, Penelope wouldn't try to stop her. She'd understand, and proceed to ask a million and one questions about why she was going and what she was going to do. Emily's one comfort was knowing Penelope would have Derek there for her.

Upon thinking of the dark profiler, she released the techie's grasp and looked around, scanning the dance floor for him. She saw him stood at the side, hands in his pockets, staring in front of him. He may have been looking towards the party, but she knew nothing was registering. His smiles from earlier had gone and his eyes were sad, almost vacant. As they announced the last song of the night, she caught his stare. She didn't feel herself gesturing with a nod of her head for him to join her, but she knew she had, as he made the short journey toward her. He looked down and took her small hand in his strong one and pressed it hard against his chest, then slipping his other arm around her and resting it on her back. She wrapped her arm around him and pressed her cheek against his, holding on tight to him as if her life depended upon it. She didn't need to imagine how he would react. He already had, and although he had not tried to talk her out of it, his eyes had screamed at her to stay. But the desperation in their embrace told them they both knew her mind was already made up.

She was scared for the journey she was about to take all alone…. He was scared as he already knew how it felt to be without her.

The music began to fade and one by one her friends left the dance floor, but she remained where she was with him, not wanting the last note to sound. Hotch stopped, glancing back at them and for the first time that evening, a furrow in his brow formed knowing that he wasn't going to want to hear her news tomorrow.

Penelope let go of Kevin's hand and turned, standing on the spot, just watching them and her heart began to race, suddenly remembering the conversation they had had just a couple of hours ago.

Slowly, Rossi, JJ and Reid all came to notice the anguish on their Unit Chief and Analyst's faces. They followed their gaze to the two people left on the dance floor and upon seeing the pain in Derek's face and the sorry in Emily's eyes, they knew something was wrong. They glanced between one another and then to Hotch, searching for answers, but he just shook his head, signalling for them to leave it alone.

Will, Kevin and Beth looked on, patiently waiting a few feet back from the dance floor for their partners. They shared a confused look as they watched the seven profilers standing like statues.

Something was happening… May be they would find out. May be they never would. Will and Kevin understood….. and Beth would soon learn, that they could never truly be a part of this family they were observing. They would always be on the outside to a degree. These people shared the most horrific, unrepeatable experiences and day in day out, put their lives in the hands of one another. No one would or could ever understand their bond. They were way more than family… and that is something they'd have to accept.

The music had stopped now for a few seconds, and the team all looked on waiting for Derek and Emily to finally part. As a team and as a family, they felt something bare down on them, but no one knew what for sure, apart from the two apparent lost souls on the dance floor. But no one would ask tonight….. Instead, they followed Rossi's lead in gathering several glasses of champagne and meeting in the centre of the dance floor.

"To us". Was all Rossi said, before holding his drink up to the night sky. They all lifted their glasses, meeting in the middle, and as the clink of the glass could be heard all around, Emily looked at her friends one by one, knowing that this moment was precious….. She would never share anything with anyone, the way she did with these six people. And for that reason, she felt safe to leave…. They would always love her and no matter where she was in the world, her heart would remain with them, safe for her to return at any time.

The end….

(I will be doing a sequel with my ship of choice;))