Title: See Emily Play
Rating: PG-13
Criminal Minds
Universe: Remembrance of Things Past (Part Five)
Prentiss-centric - gen
Genre: Friendship/Hurt/Comfort
The past is a dangerous secret.
Author's Note: You'll probably note that I haven't been too specific about anything – I want to wait until they actually show what did happen, so it can kind of fit in with the canon, even if it's going about approaching it a different way.

'Sit down,' Strauss said, the tone of her voice making it clear that it was an instruction, rather than a suggestion. Emily almost regretted the fact that she'd come up here alone, but at the same time, she hated – hated – that she'd put Hotch in an impossible situation. He couldn't well defend her against Strauss for something like this.

Maybe she could get a job flipping burgers at McDonald's. That was the last place Doyle would look.

'How long has he been out?' Strauss queried, which was absolutely not the question that Emily had expected. Strauss seemed to notice the look of surprise on her face. 'Agent Prentiss, don't think for a moment that I don't thoroughly investigate the agents who come into the Behavioral Analysis Unit – especially under the cloud of secrecy that you did.'

'You're the one that brought me in,' Emily said bluntly, at which point realization struck. Strauss brought her in because of her Interpol history. Because she had a history of spying. Of course she must have known all about it. While she was still wary, Emily let herself relax just the slightest bit. 'A few days.'

'And he's made contact?'

'Yes,' Emily confirmed. 'He left a flower on my doorstep last night, and…he called me this morning.'

'What did he say?'

Emily bit her lip. 'He asked me whether I got his gift, and where I was – whether I was staying with a friend, or at a hotel.'

'And what did you tell him?'

'I didn't tell him anything, I hung up.'

It wasn't the whole conversation she'd had with Ian, but the rest of it wasn't exactly something that Emily was ready to give up. Strauss didn't need to know just how deep undercover Emily had been. She didn't need to know that Doyle had probably been in love, and that there was a some small part of Emily – the Lauren Reynolds part, maybe – that had been too.

Sometimes, going undercover meant losing a part of yourself – compartmentalizing so far that those tiny little boxes were separated forever. After all, there was a reason, that no-one at the BAU ever learned about Emily's past.

Strauss made a small sound of annoyance. She might have been accommodating about the situation, but she definitely wasn't pleased. That fact did not surprise Emily in the least. "Nemesis threatening FBI agent" did not bode well for any reason. There would be an investigation, and extra security, and all kinds of things that would be eating up Bureau resources that were better spent in other areas. Emily would have much preferred dealing with Doyle on her own, but if he decided to go after the team – and if he wanted to hurt her, he would – then she didn't want them in the dark. More importantly, she didn't want to die without them knowing why she'd lied.

'Agents McAllister and Easter will be liaising with the Bureau on this case,' Strauss continued. 'Your knowledge of the case is the only thing stopping me from sending you home, but if things do get out of hand, rest assured you will be escorted to a safe location.' Emily took that to mean she'd be kicked off the case, with someone tagging along to make sure she didn't end up dead. It sounded a lot less elegant when put like that.

'Is that all?' Emily asked, relieved that, all things considered, the encounter had gone well.

'For now,' Strauss said, narrowing her eyes. 'We'll discuss your breach of clearance later.'

At the very least, better than she'd expected.

It felt utterly bizarre, seeing Doyle's file on the projector screen. Two parts of her life that had, up until a few days ago, been entirely separate, were coming together, and Emily wasn't entirely sure how to feel about that.

Even if she didn't make it explicit, the team would eventually find out the things she'd done – the things she'd been forced to do in order to keep her cover. Even if she didn't tell them explicitly, they were all profilers – it wouldn't be exactly difficult to figure out. With an undercover situation like that one, sending a female agent in really only meant one thing. It wasn't a truth that Emily particularly liked, but it was a truth nonetheless.

'You alright?' Morgan asked, as Emily continued to stare at the screen. Doyle's unmoving eyes stared back down at her. He couldn't hurt her in the BAU, of course, but the gaze still sent a shiver down her spine.

'Yeah,' Emily nodded, which wasn't a complete lie. She was as well as could be expected, considering the situation. 'Just…a lot of old memories, you know?'

'I hear you.'

As far as Emily knew, Morgan was the only other person on the team that had done any extensive undercover work. Even if the reasons – and the outcomes – were no doubt vastly different, he still knew what it was like.

'I want to try and pretend like it's someone else's life, but…'

Silence hung in the air, Morgan's only response to her statement being a grim smile. Somehow, she figured that his own experience wasn't just from his undercover days.

They all had things they'd be taking to the grave. Emily's list was about to get a hell of a lot shorter.