Title: The Living Dead

Rating: T for violence and cursing

Summary: She returns to the BAU six months later, Doyle dead. However, she doesn't receive a warm welcome, and is no longer trusted. Her once-friends are giving her the cold shoulder and, unable to stand it and with nobody there for her, she falls into a depression. Can the team come together, say sorry, and save her before its too late?

A/N: Okay, so Prentiss is my favorite character, let it be known, and I thought Lauren was an amazing episode. I could go on forever, but I won't. And I know I shouldn't have started this since I have an NCIS fic to work on (I will!) but this idea wouldn't leave me alone and I just couldn't think of anything for my NCIS one. So, please enjoy, and the chapters will be shorter in this fic, and the writing style a bit different. Tell me what you think. R&R! I have a few song quotes specifically for some chapters, but not all chapters will have a quote, and this chapter's quote is the main one. Lastly - I am my own beta, so I edit all these chapters on my own.

"We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man... Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness." –Dumbledore

Eight months. For eight damn months each of them were forced to come in every morning, as if everything was normal, and see the empty desk. Every morning Morgan would sigh, shutting his eyes in frustration. Reid would look lost and defeated. Garcia still whimpered at the threat of tears every time she was forced to remember and Morgan no longer had it in him to console her. Rossi exasperatedly rubbed his forehead. Hotch made a deliberate attempt to keep his eyes away. Seaver had taken time off after the original incident, having not been mentally prepared for something so traumatic. In the meantime, JJ was filling her spot, and every morning JJ shook her head and felt even worse at the fact that she had to keep such a heavy secret. If Hotch felt similarly, he was doing a good job of not showing it.

They had tried not to allow her death (or simply her departure for two of them) to affect them too strongly because they knew very well that she wouldn't have liked that. However, JJ had become quieter, loathing the fact that she had to bite her tongue whenever she saw her teammates come in every morning. She knew the truth, but sometimes, ignorance was bliss, as they said. On the side, she was also concerned for Emily, but not for the obvious reasons. JJ had no doubt that her friend would be able to take care of herself, but when she returned, she had a bad feeling in her heart that told her the team would not be happy with her deceit and negligence in fully informing them before anything had happened. In fact, out of all of them, JJ would probably be the most welcoming, since she hadn't actually been there when this whole thing started. Hotch, Morgan, Rossi, Reid, Garcia, and Seaver had been the ones she'd kept secrets from. Hopefully, they wouldn't be too pissed and they'd learn to forgive her.

That's why she dreaded the day when it came. At first, she hadn't known for sure, but as the day progressed, she felt like it was the beginning of another end.

A figure wearing a large beige overcoat with black heels hiding from underneath it walked out of the elevator and into the bullpen that day. Her hood was up and her head was bent, looking down at the ground underneath her. Softly, she announced in a heavy Italian accent, "I am here to see Agent Hotchner."

Instantly Morgan and Reid looked up, both instantly wary and apprehensive. "I'll go get him," Morgan said slowly, gesturing to Reid to keep an eye on the stranger while he fetched the Unit Chief.

If Reid was afraid, he didn't show it. In fact, he seemed more inclined to take place in a friendly conversation. Despite his disposition, he wasn't able to get much out of her other than the fact that she was from Italy and she was here with an important announcement. When Reid tried to coax more out of her, she refused to say anything.

Morgan came back a minute later, trailing after a slightly curious Hotch. When the pair approached, Hotch politely asked, "Can I help you?"

The woman nodded under the hood. "Thank you, Agent Hotchner," she began formally. "May we speak privately?"

Hotch recognized that Italian accent better than any he had heard before. He was careful not to let this show as he motioned towards the door to his office and lead her there, Morgan and Reid watching curiously. Morgan left once more to see if Rossi knew anything while Reid sat hesitantly at his desk and only joined Morgan a few moments later, watching as the door to Hotch's office closed. At least Hotch didn't seem concerned, which put his genius mind temporarily at ease.

"So soon?" Hotch inquired quietly in case anyone outside overheard as the anonymous woman sat down.

Her head was still bent even in the privacy of Hotch's office, lest anyone look in and see something they were completely unprepared for.

"I shot him," she said, the majority of the heavy Italian accent gone, but her voice was quiet. Hotch, in response, merely nodded and sat behind his desk.

"You want to return?" It was her turn to nod.

"More than anything," she admitted, her voice wavering for a moment with blanketed emotions.

Hotch stood and briskly left his office, leaving her on her own. She only shifted in her seat, edgy, nervous, and anxious. When Hotch returned the blonde media liason was accompanying him and she quickly took a seat next to the woman, resisting any contact, still aware that some overly inquisitive team member could be peeking in through the blinds.

JJ glanced up at Hotch. "We have a new case… Our UnSub is kidnapping groups of girls, anywhere from two to seven and beating them all to death."

"Briefing," Hotch said simply, exiting his office closely followed by the stranger and JJ. While the pair disappeared into the briefing room, JJ collected Morgan, Reid, and Rossi from Rossi's office, which made her uncomfortable since she had no doubt it was about their visitor. Finally, she retrieved Garcia from her cave and together, they were the last ones to join the others at the briefing room.

Inside, everyone was situated around the table with the exceptions of JJ, Hotch, and the woman, who was sitting patiently on the couch. Before JJ could jump into an explanation of their newest case, Hotch looked over expectantly at the woman who stood.

"Everyone, please welcome our new agent," he said, giving nothing away. "She'll be helping us with this case."

A few moments later and Morgan was the first one to speak. "Well?" He asked when nobody did anything. "Do we get a name?"

The woman rolled her shoulders uneasily. Yet again, nobody responded. Hotch and JJ just looked extremely patient.

Deciding that it didn't matter how big her entrance was, the woman finally spoke. She had the same diluted Italian accent that she had had in Hotch's office, though it wasn't forcibly maintained; the heavy one had been for show so that her teammates wouldn't suspect a thing. The smaller scale one was real. "Doyle's dead."

Before the team could process this or even begin to try to understand it, the hood was down and the unmistakable face of the once thought to be dead was revealed. She shot a somewhat scared glance at JJ, who nodded her encouragement and offered a small smile. She licked her lips and smiled in return, daring to set her gaze back on the team.

Reid was opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water. Rossi was looking away, and Morgan looked beyond taken aback. Garcia was shaking her head, muttering something under her breath about dreaming, tears already beginning to leak down her cheeks.

Reid ended up being the one to break the silence. "Emily?"

Please R&R, let me know if I should continue.