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A Double-Dealing Diva

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Rogers brings her in. More accurately, Carmen allows Rogers to bring her in. She likes Rogers. He’s sweet, in that wholesome national treasure sort of way.

She lets him arrest her in Washington DC, standing in front of the Hope Diamond at the Natural History Museum. He puts her in handcuffs, latching them just this side of too tight, and Carmen can't help but smile.

Rogers scowls back and pushes her none too gently toward the rest of her escort.

*

They take Carmen to an undisclosed location. It's no more than two hours outside of the city by car, so she's probably in the basement of the FBI office building. They un-cuff her in a holding cell with a window, and she knows she's being watched. They're probably waiting to see if she's hidden a lock pick on her person somewhere.

She hasn't, of course; Carmen is precisely where she wants to be.

*

Her first visitor is Rogers himself. He brings two chairs into the room, offering one to her before taking a seat himself.

Rogers crosses his arms and waits for her to speak, but Carmen simply matches his pose. She has infinite patience. She'll happily wait him out.

Unsurprisingly, he cracks first.

"Not like you to be caught so easily, Miss Sandiego," he says. "You appear to be getting sloppy."

Carmen smiles. "My dear captain, when have I ever been sloppy?"

*

A nameless guard brings her food that evening. It's not much of a dinner, just lukewarm soup beans and bread with water to drink, the sort of thing Carmen would expect from a group led by a former street urchin or a military man. She eats it anyway, daintily soaking up the last of the bean gravy with her bread and licking at the corners of her mouth with her tongue.

One never knows who might be watching.

*

Rogers comes back the next day and says, "Why?"

"How is your friend with the metal arm? Is he happy to be back in the States?" Rogers clenches his fists, so Carmen presses, grinning like a wolf. "Have you told him about me? Will I get to meet him?"

"You'll be lucky to leave this room," Rogers snaps.

"Oh really, Captain? How kinky of you."

Rogers takes a deep breath — Carmen can practically see him counting to ten in his head — and moves forward, looming over Carmen. "Why are you here? Why would you let yourself be caught? Why would you want to be here?"

Carmen looks him straight in the eye, serious now. "I want to talk to your Russian friend."

*

She doesn't expect to get her wish, at least not right off the bat, so it's a bit of a surprise when Agent Romanov walks through the door. Rogers is behind her and looks like he's about to come in as well, but Carmen says, "I want to talk to her alone, Captain."

He hesitates, his eyes flicking to Romanov, who nods her head. Rogers looks like he wants to protest, but he lets the door close, making more noise than strictly necessary to let them know he's gone.

Romanov turns to Carmen. "You wanted to talk to me? Here I am."

"I met a friend of yours while I was having lunch in Cuba last week," Carmen starts, playing coy mostly because it's expected of her.

"Oh?" Romanov asks, shifting her demeanor to match. She cocks a perfect eyebrow, her eyes assessing.

Carmen smiles. "Yelena sends her regards."

Romanov's eyes turn steely, but to her credit, her body language doesn't change. "Are you relaying a message or did you just meet in passing?"

Carmen shrugs one shoulder. "She was looking for passage to Cancun. I thought you and your friends might want to know."

Romanov nods once and moves to knock on the door to be let out. She turns back to Carmen as the door opens. "You'll probably want to make yourself scarce," Romanov says. "Yelena has never liked it when people spoil her surprises."

"I'll have no trouble disappearing," Carmen assures her. "I've always been good at that."