Work Header

We Froze But For a Moment

Work Text:

It's some random hotel in Kiev, and she's just passing through. She's between jobs and cooling her heels a bit and this city seems as good a place as any. The last job had gone sour; she'd lost two of her top henchmen when they were nabbed by the bastards at ACME, and it's still pissing her off. The chase is fun, but only when she's winning.

She's sitting at the hotel's bar, halfway through the bottle of vodka on the table in front of her, when she sees him. There's absolutely no reason he'd usually cross her radar - he's not her type, inasmuch as she's even got one. Skinny, kind of nerdy, obviously can't dress himself. But she's two-thirds of the way to being drunk instead of tipsy, and it's only the look in his eyes behind those wire-rimmed frames that makes her sit up and take notice.

He's surrounded by people, the busiest corner of the bar, and he's looking at none of them. And what's more, none of them are looking at him. Carmen knows what it's like to be invisible in a crowd. She excels at it. Hell, it keeps her in business and alive half the time.

Doesn't mean she has to like it.

When she catches his eye over the rim of her shot glass, he holds her gaze for a whole three seconds before looking away without a blink.

Well. That's something.

She takes the half-empty bottle and weaves through the crowded room to his table. She pushes past a necking couple and gets sworn at in Russian, and she responds in kind as she's sliding onto the chair across from him, a slow smile as she looks at him from under her brim of her fedora. "You're not from here."

He looks surprised. "What gave it away?"

"I think it must have been the hat." She laughs, the first in ages that's not related to outsmarting some idiot from ACME.

He looks down shyly, then up at her again through his lashes, and she's charmed. Despite herself. She offers him the bottle and he looks at it for several long moments before raising it to his lips.


His name is Waldo, and she doesn't bat an eye at that, because she certainly knows people with stranger names and oddly, it seems to fit him. But he gets through the rest of the bottle with no problem, and for some reason that does surprise her. He talks more freely, and loses the shy habit of looking anywhere but at anyone, but that's the only indication that the drink is affecting him at all. "The hiding just becomes second nature," he tells her with a conspiratorial gaze, and she knows. They laugh loudly, but the entire bar is loud and they're not noticed any more than anyone else is. And that's more than fine with her.

Finally, she reaches across the table and presses her room key into his palm. He raises an eyebrow but stands up, tossing a few Hryvnia bills onto the table, and takes her hand.

"Vodka loosens you up," she observes, unnecessarily, and he smiles, a bit of the shyness coming back just slightly as he opens the door to her room.

"And it doesn't to you?"

"No." She steps in, still grasping his hand, and lies. "I'm always like this. Part of the game." She still hasn't told him what game she plays. And she won't.

He kisses her then, all awkward teeth and tongue, and she'd laugh except then he tugs at the sash holding her coat closed and ghosts his hand across the skin between her shirt and trousers. With his other hand, he reaches up to his own head, and only then does she pull away.

"No." She drags his hand back to her. "Leave the hat."